Thursday, 5 June 2014

Chapter books to read aloud to pre-schoolers

Our bedtime story has been a fixture in the routine since C was about three months old.  To me, nothing beats sitting with two snuggly children on the sofa reading a good book.

Just lately, since Bug's concentration and memory are clearly up to the challenge of following a story over several evenings, we have started reading chapter books as well as our normal diet of one-sitting picture books.

These are the ones we've read so far:

"The Complete Tale of Winnie the Pooh" by AA Milne.  We've returned to this book time and again since C was a baby, and also have the audio books on the i-pod for long journeys in the car.  You have to do all the voices of course, and my favourite is Eeyore.

"My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannett.  I saw this one recommended on a blog elsewhere (What do we do all day), and ordered it immediately.  It's about a boy who stows away in a ship and travels to a far off island to release a dragon from servitude.  A great story, and one I can imagine reading again in the future.

"George's Marvellous Medicine" by Roald Dahl.  I love this story of a fed-up little boy concocting a new medicine to sort out his cantankerous grandmother.

Currently reading:

"The Enchanted Wood" by Enid Blyton.  Yes, I know, she's not so politically correct, but her stories, particularly this fantasy of a magical woodland where new lands keep appearing at the top of a tree, are wonderful.  My children sit there, far away in the Enchanted Wood in their imaginations.  C giggles away when the Old Saucepan Man mishears.  Last night we read the chapters about the Rocking Land, so this morning the pair of them were both tying cushions to themselves and rolling around in the sitting room - "playing Rocking Land like in The Enchanted Wood"!

On the radar for the future:

Michael Morpurgo - something like "Nine Lives of Montezuma" or "The Butterfly Lion".  I love Michael Morpurgo, and he's written so many books, all featuring animals, and many introducing other cultures or historic settings, appropriate to a variety of ages and stages.

Dick King Smith - we've got "Aristotle" which I've not come across before, and I also fancy "Lady Lollipop" and "Dinosaur Trouble".  I'll leave things like "The Queen's Nose", "The Hodgeheg" and "The Sheep Pig" for them to read independently when they're a bit older.

Roald Dahl - I'm going to leave "Fantastic Mr Fox" as I think it's a brilliant one for an early reader to manage independently, likewise "The Twits".  "Matilda", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "James and the Giant Peach", and "The BFG" are all on the list as potentials to read aloud though.  We've started "The Witches" but got distracted and abandoned it, so I don't think they are quite ready for it yet, we'll come back to it later.

Enid Blyton - There are two more books in the "Magic Faraway Tree" trilogy, plus the "Wishing Chair" trilogy which are magical to read aloud to small children, and I'm sure we'll have some more of those.  I also have the first couple of Famous Five books, though again, these are books which are great for an independent reader to get their teeth into, so I don't want to read too many of them.

E.B. White - "Charlotte's Web"
Astrid Lindgren - "Pippi Longstocking" and "The Children of Noisy Village"
Beverley Cleary - "Beezus and Ramona" and "Ramona the Pest"
Jill Murphy - "The Worst Witch"
"Aesop's Fables"
Atinuke "Anna Hibiscus"
and James Herriot's Treasury for Children.

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