Cool books for a cool kid
November 25, 2014 4:20 PM   Subscribe

My friend's 5 yo daughter and I have become bffs and I want to get her a bunch of cool books. I would really appreciate some awesome book suggestions for a smart perceptive young lady. Thanks!
posted by special-k to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I get all the 5 year olds I know the Eagle Annual of Cutaways
posted by bottlebrushtree at 4:30 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is sort of a meta answer, but there was an FPP just the other day that linked to a great article about the best children's books of 2014. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art puts out a best of year list too though it's only up to 2013. And Large-Hearted Boy's list of best of lists includes many lists of children's book lists.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:35 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sally Jean, Bicycle Queen is great, about a generous kid with a can-do attitude.
posted by metasarah at 4:40 PM on November 25, 2014

If she's up for entertaining reading combined with dubious moral lessons, there's the well-loved Great Brain series of books, set in Utah in the late 1800s.
posted by clawsoon at 5:34 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

If she's really into reading, Harriet the Spy should end up on her bookshelf sooner or later.

If you want to splurge, I remember all the fascination I got as a kid from the Childcraft How and Why Library.

If you want to introduce her to classic stories, the Golden Treasury of Myths and Legends is dark and macabre and sad and beautiful and irresistible.
posted by clawsoon at 5:50 PM on November 25, 2014

It may help to know what she likes already, whether she reads on her own, likes chapter books, etc?

Mine really loved Eloise at that age. We both find it hilarious (even still).

Another hit which I've ordered for my nieces and nephews is Three Up A Tree by James Marshall. Anything by James and Edward Marshall is great. It's also silly and ridiculous if you think she'd like that.
posted by biscuits at 5:54 PM on November 25, 2014

Lots of suggestions at A Mighty Girl.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:56 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

My four year old niece is a big fan of this Maps book. The drawings of the featured countries are great at conveying information about the country from kids' names to favorite meals to landmarks and plenty more.
posted by icaicaer at 6:15 PM on November 25, 2014

Every 5 year old needs a collection of Dr. Seuss books, especially the longer, more interesting ones, like I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew or Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book.

At that age my kids loved The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, which was also my favorite Beatrix Potter book. Tom Kitten lives in "an old, old house, full of cupboards and passages. Some of the walls were four feet thick, and there used to be queer noises inside them, as if there might be a little secret staircase." He goes up the chimney, meets some rats, and is rolled up in dough and very nearly made into a pudding. A more sensitive 5 year old might prefer my second-favorite Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, in which a girl climbs the high hill behind her farm and finds a little house inside the hill, where an old woman hedgehog is ironing laundry.

And I wholeheartedly second the Eloise recommendation.
posted by Redstart at 6:53 PM on November 25, 2014

Get thee to your local library and pick the brain of the children's librarian. I am a children's librarian and I will tell you that I love The Midnight Library, Beekle, This is Not My Hat, Extra Yarn, Can You Dance the Boogaloo, the Huey books and Buddy and the Bunnies. The Elephant and Piggie books are excellent for new readers. A Cricket in Times Square is a great read-aloud chapter book, as is James and the Giant Peach. Harriet the Spy is my all time favorite book, but I would wait until your young friend is in 4th or 5th grade for that.
posted by Biblio at 8:01 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

I just want to second the Mighty Girl recs. They're really well thought out overall.
posted by wintersweet at 9:07 PM on November 25, 2014

I remember looooooving the Ramona Quimby series.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 10:45 PM on November 25, 2014

The Rabbit Problem and Wolves, both by Emily Gravett. They are great!
posted by fourpotatoes at 4:40 AM on November 26, 2014

I loved Baby Island as a kid and I give it to friend's kids. The story is two girls are put into a lifeboat with a group of babies when their ocean liner encounters problems.

They end up on an island and they care for themselves and the babies.

It's as old as dirt, but the thrust of the story is that the girls are capable and resourceful and loving.

Your BFF may want it read to her in chapters, but it's a wonderful story.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:48 AM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Serpent Slayer And Other Stories Of Strong Women is magnificent. It's also out of print, so you can either get a cheap used copy or a very overpriced new one.
posted by cometwendy at 6:05 AM on November 26, 2014

If she has someone to read it to/with her, Little House in the Big Woods. My working list of books for giving to friends' kids also includes Stellaluna, Frog & Toad are Friends, and Robert Munsch's delightfully comedic Moira's Birthday for around that age.
posted by deludingmyself at 2:41 PM on November 26, 2014

I constantly recommend Press Here by Hervé Tullet, love it.
I'd also recommend 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert, The Prince's New Pet by Brian Anderson and The Book with No Pictures by B.J Novak.
posted by Lay Off The Books at 6:43 PM on November 27, 2014

I just read this with my daughters over a week and they really liked it. Giants-Beware
posted by Spumante at 1:36 AM on December 5, 2014

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