Eliana has a bin of books and a drawer of books in her nursery. For her bedtime stories, I chose three books from the drawer and asked her which one she’d like me to read first. Eliana picked up the books, put them back into the drawer, and walked out of the room. I could tell by the sound that she was walking to Ethan’s room.
Eliana returned shortly with one of Ethan’s favorite books – not a picture book, and certainly not a baby book. She sat down in her baby rocking chair and motioned for me to sit next to her. She handed me the book. It was Redwall, by Brian Jacques, a children’s novel that I’ve been reading to Ethan since before he turned four.
Ethan and I are nearly through the book. Since Ethan was already in bed and I didn’t want to disturb our place by reading to Eliana, so I started over and read a couple pages from the beginning. Eliana was captivated, not only in the dialog and its voice characterization, but also in the narrative, painting pictures such as the habit-wearing protagonist’s oversized, floppy sandals.
It’s hard to say how much Eliana understood, but she clearly enjoyed it. She also enjoyed when I took out a baby book with lots of pictures and read that to her, reassuring me that she’s not all grown up just yet.