I came across a blog post on Pinterest titled, 10 Books to Read to Your 4-7 Year Old. I was surprised at the book list because these are real books, chapter books and I was a little doubtful they would hold my 5 year old’s attention. My husband, however, started reading Winnie the Pooh with our boys, previous to me finding this post and they love it, so I pressed on and decided to check out one book from the list from my local library with trepidation. (The full list is linked above and a copy of the list is at the bottom of this post.)
It was difficult to choose, I have read many of these books at one point or another in my life and I settled on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I checked out the 100th Anniversary Edition from the library and immediately began reading it with my son. He was excited to have a big book, a chapter book, to read with me. We both really love the illustrations throughout the book, the writing is so fun and imaginative and it makes me wonder what the heck we’ve done to children’s books in the last 50 or so years! The chapters are short, just a few pages so if you only have a few minutes to sit down and read, you can and still satisfy your kid’s need for a “whole chapter.” I have enjoyed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as much or more than my son and have secretly been reading ahead. Whenever he catches me reading it without him, he begs me to read to him out loud. This may not be surprising, but as in most cases, the book is much better than the movie, so don’t let the movie deter you.
Now that I have shared our newest book find, I need to know if any of you have read any good books with your kids recently. I would love some more ideas for when we’ve finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
A direct copy of book list from sarahbessey.com:
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. This is an ongoing series of gentle mysteries but the inaugural book was a big favourite here. The resourceful children are on their own, and that fascinates other kids. Anne and Joe like to play Boxcar Children.
Adventures of Little Bear by Else Minarik and Maurice Sendak. This is a “learn to read” book, but it’s so wonderful. Compared to the drivel that masquerades as “learn to read” books, the stories are interesting, fun, gentle, and lovely. They are the personification of the word “cozy.” (We are also big fans of the Little Bear television series. I want to be more like Mother Bear when I grow up.) Sendak’s illustrations are charming. The one pictured above is a composite of several Little Bear books from Barnes and Noble in the USA though so you would need three books: Little Bear, Father Bear Comes Home, and A Kiss for Little Bear.
Adventures of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel is another B&N composite book. These are two of the most beloved best friends of children’s literature for good reason. We make jokes from these delightful books all the time – Toad croaking “Tomorrow!” about his chores, for instance – and enjoy them immensely. It’s also a “learn to read” book for Anne right now. The three books in our volume above are: Frog and Toad are Friends, Frog and Toad Together, and Days with Frog and Toad.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. A sad but heartwarming tale, this book means I am never allowed to kill a spider ever again. We all love Wilbur. Of course, you want the one with illustrations by Garth Williams. The recent movie of Charlotte’s Web is also quite good, I thought.
Stuart Little by E.B. White. Another classic, this was surprisingly well-received even though some content is rather dated. I had to explain certain customs of the decade to Anne and Joe, but otherwise, they were all in. They were delighted with little Stuart’s adventures.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Without a doubt, this was Anne’s favourite book of her kindergarten year. We read it and the promptly read it two more times, right through. She was absolutely enchanted with it. We have one that is a reproduction of the original 1900 edition, and the illustrations are a delight. I had completely forgotten that the ruby slippers are actually silver.
The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. You knew that this one was bound to appear somewhere. Yes, of course, this collection was the inspiration for all of my “In which…” blog post titles. If your sole exposure to Pooh is through Disney, you’re in for a treat. The books are surprisingly funny and intelligent, clever and winsome, tender and imaginative.
The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Anne fell in love with the Little House books, even listening to the books on tape while she coloured for hours during rainy afternoons. The story is interesting, and let me tell you, I resolved to complain a lot less after becoming re-acquainted with Ma and Pa Ingalls. We nearly included Little House in the Big Woods in this list, too, because it is a close runner-up. (Seriously, go read the last chapter of that book and try not to cry.)
Richard Scarry’s Animal Nursery Tales is out of print, I believe. I found ours at a thrift shop. It’s all the classic nursery tales – Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood, Musicians of Bremen, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and so on. I love the old fairy tales, and the classic Scarry illustrations make them fun for the tinies, too.
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Ganett. Pure nonsense and fun, this book is fascinating for the younger set.