Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What We're Reading - 5/23/12

Last week I raved about one children's book series we love, and today I'm featuring another!

Cynthia Rylant's Henry and Mudge books chronicle the tales of a boy and his big, drooly, cracker-loving St. Bernard, Mudge.  Henry and Mudge are best friends, and each have their own joys and anxieties to live through together.

The stories are realistic but fun.  Mudge is truly a dog, in that he doesn't talk or take on other human characteristics, yet he has a vivid personality that makes you want to give him a big hug (and a handful of crackers).  Henry's parents are important elements in the stories, and the family dynamic is sweet and supportive. 

Each book is divided into short chapters within the same story.  They're great for young readers, and not-yet-readers can easily sit through and enjoy the adventures as well.

Here are a few of our favorites:

The one where it all began, Henry and Mudge: The First Book introduces the relationship between this boy and dog and how Mudge became part of the family. 

Henry was lonely, with no other children in his home or in the neighborhood. 

While he couldn't have a sibling or a new house, his parents decided a dog would be okay.  So Henry picked out Mudge.  And what a dog he was!

In Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend, the whole family is feeling as lazy and gloomy as the weather outside.

With nothing but wet yuck outside and a whole boring weekend stretched out before them, someone needed to come up with a plan. 

Henry's mother remembered some big boxes down in the basement, and before long, everyone was hard at work at building the best castle ever. 

I love how this became a family project, with everyone genuinely excited and involved.  Even Mudge, in his own way.

Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat brings another animal into Henry's household for a short time.

One evening, Mudge discovered a strange cat on the doorstep.

Everyone agreed that it was a very shabby cat.  But this cat needed some care.

Mudge and the cat developed a close relationship, and everyone began to feel very fondly toward their new friend.  So what would they do when the cat's owner came to take him home? 

In addition to the ones we own, we've checked out lots of Henry and Mudge books from the library.  If your library hosts summer reading programs like ours does and you're looking for some ideas, this is a great series to explore!

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