Watership Down

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I just finished reading Watership Down to the kids. It was wonderful. I’d never read it before and I now find myself talking about elil, frith, and hrududus. The author, Richard Adams, invented a whole language for rabbits called Lapine. Hrududus are motorised vehicles.

Ever since Daniel was a tiny baby we have always read to the kids every day, as part of our bedtime routine. I can remember reading Treasure Island to Daniel before he could even crawl. I doubt he’d remember that.

When the kids were little we mostly read picture books (with the exception of Treasure Island). As they got older we moved onto novels, reading a chapter or so each evening. Reading to your children is so important. It’s not just that it’s good for them intellectually, I think the real benefit is that you’re spending quality time with your child and making them feel valued and loved.

Ben has read quite a lot of the books to the kids at bedtime but I find that when he reads them I fall asleep and miss the story. So if it looks like a good book, I want to be the one to read it aloud.

I recently finished reading The Lord of the Rings to them for the second time. The first time was a few years ago and Elizabeth missed most of it because she fell asleep so I read it all again. As I’m reading Ben corrects me when I don’t properly emphasize italics. He can’t see the text because he’s lying on the other side of the bed – he just somehow magically knows which words are italicized. Similarly, if I try to skip some of the verses in one of the many poems from Lord of the Rings, Ben suddenly wakes from what looked like a slumber to demand that I read the full poem. I’ve never figured out how he could possibly know every verse from every poem in The Lord of the Rings along with the font-weight for all the words.

What are some good books to read to kids?