Getaway Reading

Our big vacation took place not too long ago, but that didn’t stop us from going on a quick weekend getaway to celebrate a big birthday in the family. It’s too bad that the lack of rain is spoiling the fall foliage this year, but we still had 2 beautiful days of hiking and 2 spooky nights around the campfire, with plenty of s’mores and lots of tall tales.


We also had time for plenty of reading. Kid #3 and I are slowly reading our way through the Dragon Masters series. I am so happy that I discovered these books. They are perfect for beginning readers; the chapters are short enough to hold the attention of a busy first-grader, but long enough to make bedtime reading exciting. There are dragons and magic, which is enough for my child, but they are also tied into smart and sensible stories, which makes them entertaining for me to read as well.

Kid #2 is a good but picky reader, and she still lacks a bit of reading stamina. So I have started to split up our reading. First, she reads me 2 or 3 pages, and then I finish the chapter. It’s working well so far, and we are currently enjoying the first in the Chet Gecko mystery series. The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse is great fun, styled after the hard-boiled detective stories of the 1950s. Some of the word play is going straight over the kid’s head, but the mystery is interesting enough and the bugs are gross enough to keep her interest. I am having great fun reading this, because in my head, I can hear Humphrey Bogart tell the story.

Kid #1 is a reading machine. Seriously, the library is running out of books for her. After powering through the Serafina series, she made quick work of The School for Good and Evil series and was only momentarily distracted by Rump, the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin. At the last minute, I found the first books in two other series to bring for her, but if you have any recommendations, please let me know.

I feel downright inadequate then, that I only managed to read one book. Ok, so I had to cook and clean and hunt down socks and crickets, but still… At least my chosen book was a good one. In the mid-50s, Roald Dahl and a filmmaker friend planned to produce a 24-story TV series of ghost stories, and he consequently read through over 700 ghost stories to find the best ones. The TV series never happened, but Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories brings together 14 of his chosen 24 ones. Included are stories by Sheridan Le Fanu, Robert Aickman, and Edith Wharton, among others, and they are indeed all quite spooky. Especially when read by the light of a campfire.

How as your weekend?




  1. I adore the idea of a hard-boiled novel for kids! There’s so much choice for children now – I’m kinda jealous. Is your oldest ready for the Anne of Green Gables books? You can never start them on their own Classics Club lists too early… πŸ˜‰

    • Dial M for Mongoose, The Possum Always Rings Twice,… just the titles of these Chet Gecko books make me smile! I’ve been trying to talk my eldest into reading Anne of Green Gables for the past year. She’s definitely old enough, but so far, she’s shown little interest. Argh! I will have to come up with a good bribe. And believe me, a Classics Club list for the kids already exist; they just don’t know it yet. πŸ™‚

  2. How lovely! Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories sounds wonderful. I had no idea that Edith Wharton had written a spooky tale – I feel some further investigation coming on…

    As for reading recommendations for your daughter, Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort books have proved a big hit with girls over here, so they might be worth a look. Also, The Girl of Ink & Stars by Karen Millwood Hargrave – this one might be closer in style to the Serafina series.

    • I was surprised to see Edith Wharton’s name in that collection as well. It was a very pleasant surprise. Thank you so much for your recommendations. The Girl of Ink and Stars especially sounds like something Kid #1 would enjoy.

  3. You must be getting the summery weather we’ve been getting! Perfect for fall camping – not so perfect for the foliage. Oh well, enjoy what we can!
    One book is great for the weekend! There’s always so many other things to do when you’re camping… I find it hard to get much reading in at all unless we’re gone for more than a few days.

    A couple of years ago, my daughter couldn’t get enough of Wendy Mass’s Willow Falls series, which starts with 11 Birthdays.
    It can be hard keeping them stocked with just the right books, can’t it?

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