Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mercy Watson

If only you knew how many times I have tried to get a child to read Mercy Watson: A Princess in Disguise. I bought it last year for the library--using my own money--because it looked like a colorful, fun, beginner chapter book. It didn't hurt that Kate DiCamillo was the author! I was sure the kids were going to love it. 

Fail. 

For a year it sat on the shelf collecting dust. 

Then, as luck would have it, I forgot until minutes beforehand that I was supposed to read to the 1st grade for 30 minutes. I quickly skimmed Goodreads, Pinterest, and the internet at large for good read-alouds. I didn't have my copy of The Read-Aloud Handbook with me, or I would have gone with a Trelease recommendation.

I couldn't find my copy of Pipi Longstocking, and by that point I was sweating bullets. I was tearing apart a particularly disorganized shelf when I found Mercy Watson. Done and done, even though I grimaced at the word princess in the title. Some boys in 1st grade love princesses, and some boys vocally oppose even the suggestion of pink. Ugh. Drama in the afternoon = my favorite.

Luck was on my side. There was not one complaint when I read the title out loud, thereby eliminating my twice monthly lecture entitled: There are No Boy Books or Girl Books, Only BOOKS.

How could I describe the 1st grade's response to Mercy Watson: A Princess in Disguise?


Sort of like that. The majority seemed to love it, so much so that I'm going to buy the rest of the books in the series.* Of course, it helps that I have no shame when it comes to voices, faces, and contorting my body into positions I didn't think possible in an effort to mimic General Washington, the cat, racing up a tree.

I asked the kids later that day if they liked the book. They all said yes. One girl, a girl who poo-pooed the book not two months ago, said she wanted to check it out the next time she was in library. I wanted to beat my chest and cry out I told you so!

Still working on the Beatitudes, clearly.

*Buy the hardcovers, if you can. The construction is very good.

16 comments:

  1. My daughters loved Mercy Watson! The older of the two is 13, and she started collecting them as they were published. The current 10 year old picked up where she left off. They were both a little sad when the series continued after they lost interest. I think they thought Kate DiCamillo should have stopped when they did! Glad those fun books found an audience at your school.

    I used the read aloud trick a lot on my son (now 15) to get him interested in books. He was a great reader, but it was hard to get him interested in a new book. I very often picked up the first of a good series on audio and played it in the car whenever we were driving here and there. Worked like a charm - he'd devour the rest of the series on his own after that. It was also a great way to expose him to books he would have called "girl books" - he's listened to Anne of Green Gables, the Little House series, The Penderwicks books.and many others. He usually enjoyed them!

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    1. I'm having so much fun learning about all these books! Especially books like these, which didn't appeal to my boys. Mikey was all about Star Wars and dinosaurs at this age, and Nico was a huge Notebook of Doom lover.

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    2. Have you tried Bink & Gollie?

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    3. No, but I'm going to B&N this weekend, so I'll take a look. Thank you!

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  2. I just ordered the Mercy Watson boxed set on Amazon thanks to your post. My 6 year old daughter loves to read (which, honestly it would have broken my heart if she didn't), and I'm so excited to share these with her. Thank you so much!

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    1. You don't know how happy that makes me. :) I hope she enjoys them!

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    2. You don't know how happy that makes me. :) I hope she enjoys them!

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  3. I wanted to thank you for your previous recommendation of the "Who Was..." books. I've been checking them out of the library for my 1st grader. So far we've done Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and Bruce Lee and he's asking for more!

    Sarah

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    1. That makes my day, seriously. :)

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    2. Yay! BTW, did you ever read that book about the lady archeologists and the bible scrolls?

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    3. No! What was the name of the book again? I want to add it to Goodreads so I remember to read it.

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  4. Mercy Watson is a porcine wonder! My daighter loves those books

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  5. My daughter loved these books, too! She was sad when she finished the series!

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    1. Aww. I know that feeling. Mikey keeps asking me if J.K. Rowling will ever write another Harry Potter. I wish!

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  6. Luckily, our Mercy Watson's our well-loved at our school library. I foist them off on first & second graders who are reading, but aren't *quite there yet* for longer chapter books. The Bink & Gollie someone mentioned above is popular, too.

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