Here's my vision: after nursing her little brother and tucking him into his bed, my little girl and I tiptoe off to her new "big girl" room and cozy up in her bed to read stories. "Big kid" stories with true story lines and descriptive words and beautiful illustrations (but moving toward more words than illustrations). During the dark, winter months, maybe we'll read by candlelight. During the summer months, when it's still light outside when we're heading off to bed, we'll read by the rosy glow of the setting sun.
So, I stumbled upon a couple of books that are not yet chapter books, but have more words than the books we read during the day with her little brother joining us. She has the attention span for longer reads, but we're limited to reading shorter, simpler books so as to include her nearly two year old, I-must-stay-in-constant-motion sibling. These books contain a series of stories, or vignettes, if you will. And they involve animals (which are our favorite kind of characters).
The first is by Cynthia Rylant (we almost always have one or two of her books in our book bag on return trips from the library), called Thimbleberry Stories. I came across this book in the Chinaberry catalog. I mean, come on, do you see that squirrel in slippers, cleaning his thatched home? That doesn't look like a book that will scare my daughter, does it? Truth be told, only time will tell. I haven't given the book to her yet, and I haven't read it yet either. I prefer to read books for the first time with my children. That way, I'm just as excited to see the outcome of the story as they are, and I think that comes through when I'm reading.