In July, I wrote about the two summer reading programs we were participating in.
I expressed a little disappointment that with three (or four) set prizes, it encouraged my kids to read but not to read more.
But then we went to claim the final prize at the county library (a free book), and all disappointment immediately dissipated.
Last year, I wrote about the final book prize because I was so surprised (and pleased!) when there were dozens of high-quality books to choose from. I didn't think I would write about it again this year because either a) it wouldn't be as good so not worthy of mention or b) it would be as good so I'd basically be repeating myself.
But then we saw the books, and I practically did a little happy dance right there in the library, and I knew I would have to brag about our good fortune.
It was so nice to see such a wide selection: recent titles alongside older ones, award winners and character books (not what I would choose, but I suppose they have their place), easy readers and more sophisticated books. With so many good books out there and such a wide range of book tastes among kids, I was so glad they didn't do what would have probably been the easier thing and restrict the choice to two or three unmemorable books.
The book prize could be claimed anytime during the month of August, so of course (since our charts were already filled up) we went early in the month to capitalize on the best selection.
I may have done a little coaxing to get the boys to stay away from the more commercialized books, but in the end, they were all super happy with their choices.
Aaron selected Barnum's Bones: How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World by Tracey Fern. We had never read it before, but it's the true story of the first Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered. You know how I feel about picture book biographies . . .
Max went with Z is For Moose by Kelly Bingham. I wrote about this book a year and a half ago when the boys and I were making predictions for the 2013 Caldecott. It has remained a favorite ever since, and we're so happy to own our own copy of it now.
Bradley chose Mitchell's License by Hallie Durand. I fully intended to write about this book for Father's Day because it is the sweetest, funniest story about a little boy who gets to "drive" his dad to bed. My boys had forgotten most of it but soon fell in love with it all over again. They started laughing uncontrollably at the part where Mitchell honks his dad's nose. I couldn't even continue reading for a good long while because they were laughing so hard. I'd be happy to read it over and over again just to hear those giggles.
P.S. I should mention that the Salt Lake City Library also gave a book to each child, but at the beginning of the program when they signed up. We missed the kickoff day (new baby and all that) so missed the best selection but still found three great books to bring home.