Little Girl can read now, but she still doesn’t think it’s an especially fun thing to do, not when there are sticks she could be anthropomorphizing in the front yard and Barbies to take swimming in the sink. And English has way too many words you can’t just sound out, in her opinion.
But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like books. Oh no, if there is one thing Little Girl is into right now, it’s books. Specially, Bamse comic books. Bamse is a Swedish children’s character, a semi-magical family bear who helps of all of his forest friends and goes on adventures with his buddies Skalman (a turtle) and Lille Skutt (a rabbit). Bamse has been around since the 60s, and you can find back issues of comic books for three crowns apiece at the secondhand shop, and these books serve as a primary motivator for Little Girl (e.g. if you clean your room within 45 minutes, you get a new Bamse). Little Girl can spend hours in bed paging through her Bamses, but it’s been unclear to us how much she was actually reading and how much she was looking at the pictures and remembering what we’ve read aloud to her.
Today I had the belatedly brilliant idea to use Bamse as our reading lesson. For the most part*, Swedish is spelled like it is pronounced, and I just had to tell her what what the Swedish vowels sound like (Swedish has all the same vowels as English, plus ä, å and ö). The English vowels can each have several pronunciations, of course, and can also differ when combined with each other in assorted ways, and sometimes are pronounced differently for no clear reason at all, so compared to that, saying that the “a” always sounds like “ah” in Swedish sounds shockingly straightforward.
And the reading lesson went great, of course; she read two whole pages, and was rewarded with, you guessed it, a new Bamse. She’s in there poring over it right now. Anybody got any recommendations for English-language comic books for little kids?
* When Swedish is not spelled consistently as it is pronounced, this happens mostly around the ⟨ɧ⟩ sound, which can be spelled ⟨stj⟩, ⟨skj⟩, and ⟨sk⟩, or around some of the pronouns, as when you drop the g in “jag” and “dig.”