As I said in the previous post, this addendum was necessary. Anne just finished kindergarten and is on her way to Grade 1. She still loves all of the picture books I listed, but she was ready for more complexity and imagination. (Joe loved these books as well, some more than others, so I figure they’re okay for the 4-7 year old set.) There are a few books that are appropriate for kids to use for learning to read, but most of them are just good old read-alouds.
Don’t even get me started about the books for the 8-12 year old set….(oh, Anne of Green Gables! Caddie Woodlawn! Harry Potter! Narnia!). We would be here all night long. Which might not be bad….
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.
Your turn: What are your favourite books for the older tinies? What was your favourite when you are between 4-7 years old?
We’re talking about 10 Books a Day for a Week. Share your own favourites on your blog, and post your link in the comments, or just let me know what you think or recommend. I love to snoop bookshelves, and this is my excuse – and yours – to talk books.
Sunday: 10 books that changed my faith
Thursday: 10 books I read over and over (and over)
Friday: 10 spiritual memoirs
Saturday: My daily books + 10 books of poetry
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