While I'm a great fan of books, I've never had much tolerance for children's chapter books--at least not as an adult. Sure I read them, often enough, to the kids throughout the years, but I did so, mostly, with feigned enthusiasm.
It comes down to prose. For me, I'd rather read a beautiful sentence then follow a weak one to a fantastic conclusion.
So, through the years, when the kids would beg me to read this popular children's author, or that one, I'd counter with classic picture books like Peter Rabbit or The Velveteen Rabbit--both books about rabbits, true enough, but both stories in which the sentences danced from the tip of my tongue, when I read them aloud.
There were others: Charlotte's Web was always a pleasure; and anything Dr. Seuss; Pippi Longstocking--mostly for the nostalgia it inspired (that was my favorite when I was a kid); C.S. Lewis; and..., well, of course, the list goes on, and on, and on.
But, there are so any others books, generally contemporary series-fiction, that I could not stand to read, despite the pleas of my adorable, freshly-bathed, sweet-smelling, soft-cheeked babies-before-bed. Didn't matter how fascinating the stories were, if the prose was weak, I'd put my foot down, and the book, too.
Then along came Junie B. Jones! Now, there's a girl I could get into. Didn't matter that her grammar was often as bad as her attitude, I loved Barbara Parks's Junie B. from the get go--which, for me, incidentally, was ten years ago, when Sunshine was a kindergartener.
It was, I know, her righteous, and oh so flawed, but desperately good, while undeniably naughty, character that I fell for.
And then, along came The Storm! And together we revelled for years in some good old Junie B. drama--both on the pages and off.
We still do!