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Big Kids and Baby Books

As they cleaned out their bookshelf, Alex and Trevor Smith, 10 and 8, rediscovered the stories their mom used to read to them. Even though they'd moved on to Goosebumps, the boys were mesmerized that day by Clifford and Dr. Seuss, says their mom, Tiffany, of Murray, UT.

Kids who normally breeze through chapter books often love to go back to the simpler, colorful pictures of their (relative) youth. It's interesting for them to react to something familiar in a new way. "At nine and ten, your brain is so different from the way it was at two and three," says Jane Healy, Ph.D., author of Your Child's Growing Mind. Your child may also be:

Seeking comfort. As books get edgier or more complex, simpler books can make her feel in control.

Taking a break. She may feel overscheduled. Reading a book meant for younger kids can be a way for her to clear her mind.

Signaling that she's having a tough time reading. If your child insists on sticking with books she knows by heart, she may need her reading skills checked.