Reading books to a toddler is a bit like trying to take a cat for a walk, it's pretty difficult and noisy. If we get through an entire book without someone wiggling off my knee, trying to pick my nose or attempting to rip the pages, it's an accomplishment.
Despite my daughter's limited attention span, reading books is her number one favourite thing to do. From the moment she wakes up to the last minutes before bed, books are never far from reach. It's something we do together where she has my complete attention. I think that's where the magic lies.
Kids engage in stories. Their eyes light up, they laugh, they clap and they are brutally honest if it stinks.
A good portion of my day is spent reading the same book, over and over. I dream about this book. Goodnight Gorilla is forever etched in my memory. I've recently hidden it in the tallest, most out-of-reach kitchen cupboard. Don't judge.
This is why having someone else read to your child is fantastic. This Saturday (Nov. 30) stop by Whistler Kids at Blackcomb Base at 4 p.m. for a reading of Radar the Rescue Dog, a story about Radar and three adventurous young skiers who venture beyond the ski area boundary and find themselves lost on Whistler Mountain.
In 1978, Radar was Whistler’s first avalanche rescue dog. His home was Whistler and his owner was Bruce Watt, one of the original founders of the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA).
"Radar is an icon, he is the Lassie of the ski industry. When I met Bruce several years ago, I thought we could create an educational kids story with the intent of highlighting mountain safety awareness," said author Janet Love Morrison.
While older children will grasp the mountain safety message, young ones and toddlers will enjoy the stunning illustrations by Revelstoke's Zuzana Riha Driediger. Whistler local Rob Boyd will be reading the story and a few CARDA dogs will be on hand as well.
"The art in the book really completed the project. Kids give you honest feedback and I did a lot of testing on kids before the book was published," said author Love Morrison.
I don't know about your toddler but the combination of books, dogs and snow is my daughter's dream come true, not to mention the safety message which I hope she'll tuck away somewhere in that growing brain.
While special events like the reading of Radar the Rescue Dog are great, Whistler has several literacy options for kids every week. Both the Pemberton and District Public Library and the Whistler Public Library offer excellent programs for little ones ranging from infancy to three years old and beyond.
Your toddler doesn't need to know how to read to enjoy going to the library because most libraries are designed to accommodate kids. There are children’s sections with cute comfy seating and plenty of kid-friendly books.
It's common knowledge that the earlier young children are introduced to reading, the more successful readers they will become. The preconceived notion that libraries are all quiet and dark is not true today. In fact, most libraries in the Sea to Sky Corridor are very welcoming to their younger patrons.
The Pemberton & District Library and the Whistler Public Library offer a great variety of drop-in programs for kids. For more information, check out www.whistlerlibrary.ca or www.pemberton.bclibrary.ca.