first chapter books for 5 year old?
June 15, 2015 6:05 AM   Subscribe

Could I have some chapter book recommendations for a inquisitive 5 year old who will be starting kindergarten this fall? Her interests range from magical horses to robots, but she is generally open to anything that isn't too scary. The BFG was well received, but The Wind in the Willows doesn't seem to hold her attention.
posted by steinwald to Writing & Language (37 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
How about Fantastic Mr Fox? He's not a magical horse, but he's a pretty resourceful Fox and all of the other good characters are animals.

Scary factor: the animals steal and eat live chickens and geese, the farmers are creepy, and Mr Fox gets his tail shot off.

If that's too much, The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me is also fun (imo not as exciting) but isn't as dangerous.
posted by phunniemee at 6:13 AM on June 15, 2015

I'm having luck right now with Stuart Little. To my sorrow, Milly Molly Mandy has been thoroughly rejected, but that and Nancy and Plum were my go-to staples at the same age as a child. I did well with The Animal Family and Sarah Plain and Tall for my two boys as gentle wonderful stories which they went on to re-read several times on their own.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:15 AM on June 15, 2015

You should try Beverly Cleary's Ramona books. The first one from Ramona's point of view is Ramona the Pest (Cleary wrote some other books first about Ramona's older sister ). Ramona is a rambunctious 5 year-old girl who goes off to kindergarten. The Amazon summary makes it sound a bit weak and insipid, but it is completely hilarious.
posted by colfax at 6:17 AM on June 15, 2015 [6 favorites]

Are these for her to read to herself or for you to read to her?
posted by fancyoats at 6:18 AM on June 15, 2015

At about a year older, my daughter loved reading the Lucky Stars books by Phoebe Bright. They'd probably be good to read out loud to your daughter.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:20 AM on June 15, 2015

You will despise them if you have any love in your heart for words, but I swear on my life that your child will devour Junie B. Jones.
posted by waterisfinite at 6:21 AM on June 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

I loved Flat Stanley in that stage of my reading. There's a whole series now and an elaborate mail project that you can use to introduce your kids to places all over the world, but the original book retains its charm.

I also loved the Miss Piggle Wiggle series, though there might be a few occasionally scary moments if your kid gets worked up about you leaving them alone for a while. But it's got a similar level of surreal weirdness to the BFG, I think.
posted by Mizu at 6:21 AM on June 15, 2015

Henry & Mudge

Frog and Toad
posted by alms at 6:25 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Are these for her to read to herself or for you to read to her?

For reading to her.
posted by steinwald at 6:31 AM on June 15, 2015

My daughter (who admittedly is reading at a 2nd grade level) really loves the Cam Jansen series, The World According to Humphrey, and the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
posted by mkb at 6:38 AM on June 15, 2015

At that age my kid loved The Boxcar Children and the Little House on the Prairie series. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was another big hit, and not too scary at all.
posted by Bardolph at 6:45 AM on June 15, 2015

Best answer: Stuart Little worked really well with our son as did Pippi Longstocking. He seemed to do best with the books where each chapter is kind of a self-contained story. Wind in the Willows, Winnie the Pooh, the Borrowers were also things we tried, but the more "literary" language, which I loved, just kind of didn't hit the spot for him. Might appeal to your person more, though.
posted by goggie at 6:46 AM on June 15, 2015

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Lots of suspense in the first few chapters before Charlie finds his golden ticket. before Just avoid the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. My little guy, who turns 5 in September, is also loving the Judy Bloom books about Fudge: Tales of a fourth grade nothing, Superfudge, etc.
posted by thenormshow at 6:49 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Ivy & Bean series by Annie Barrows is great fun. Two second-grade girls become friends and have lots of adventures. My daughter loved them and you'll be entertained as well.
posted by mogget at 6:55 AM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

The American Girl books were my first choice as a kindergartener!
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:01 AM on June 15, 2015

The Whatever After series is a huge hit with my six year-old.
posted by tr33hggr at 7:09 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dory Fantasmagory! Amazing and hilarious!
posted by the_blizz at 7:13 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Stuart Little was a huge success for me at that age. As were Rabbit Hill and its sequel, The Tough Winter. They were enormously influential in shaping my young personality. I still remember them to this day and am quite upset that my copy of Rabbit Hill has gone missing at some point.

And yeah, somehow Wind and the Willows just didn't work for me either. It was only as an adult that I gained some appreciation for it. I suspect because my own experience was too far from the period British class context it drew on.
posted by Naberius at 7:32 AM on June 15, 2015

My son is the same age, he loves short chapter books with pictures about every other page or every page. Henry & Mudge, Annie & Snowball, Mercy Watson, Humphrey Hamster, Lulu's Brontosaurus, High Rise Private Eyes.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 7:42 AM on June 15, 2015

Oh! Also the Rescue Princesses series.
posted by mkb at 7:56 AM on June 15, 2015

Best answer: realistic stories about ordinary life:
The Jamie and Angus stories - Anne Fine
Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charley? - Rebecca Caudill
Happy Little Family - Rebecca Caudill
Betsy-Tacy - Maud Hart Lovelace (warning: a baby dies in one chapter)
The Children on Troublemaker Street - Astrid Lindgren
The Children of Noisy Village - Astrid Lindgren
Emil in the Soup Tureen - Astrid Lindgren
All-Of-A-Kind Family - Sydney Taylor
Ramona the Pest - Beverly Cleary
The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook - Joyce Lankester Brisley

realistic stories with more excitement than ordinary life:
The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Chandler Warner
Day of the Blizzard - Marietta Moskin
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain - Alice Dalgliesh

fantasy/talking animals or toys:
My Father's Dragon - Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Frank L. Baum
Catwings - Ursula K. Le Guin
Jenny and the Cat Club - Esther Averill
No Flying in the House - Betty Brock
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Comet in Moominland - Tove Jansson
Toys Go Out - Emily Jenkins
Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White (could be too sad)
Stuart Little - E.B. White
The Night Fairy - Laura Amy Schlitz
The Doll People - Ann M. Martin

Many of these have sequels.
posted by Redstart at 7:59 AM on June 15, 2015 [6 favorites]

Mary Poppins
posted by brujita at 8:08 AM on June 15, 2015

They've been mentioned, but I'll highlight the fact that E.B. White's books (Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, and Trumpet of the Swan) are also a joy to read for adults, because they are so brilliantly written.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:21 AM on June 15, 2015

My son is six. We read a lot of Clementine, Capital Mysteries, and oh goodness a whole lot of the Magic Treehouse
posted by secretseasons at 8:57 AM on June 15, 2015

Response by poster: Wow! Lots of fantastic suggestions! Looks like this will keep us reading through the end of summer.
posted by steinwald at 9:20 AM on June 15, 2015

There is a treasure trove to be enjoyed for years to come in the Moomintroll series by Tove Jansson. Finn Family Moomintroll is a good place to start. Moomintroll Midwinter is one of my favorite books of all time because it works on a basic plot level for little ones but also can be read as literature as an older person. Moominvalley in November is a collection of short stories that can be described the same way. Jansson is one of the best writers for appealing to multiple age groups at the same time. If you get into these stories, there are also some moomin comics written by Jansson that are quite entertaining in a different way.
posted by cubby at 9:27 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Over the last year or so, we've read these books to our daughter:
  • the Ivy and Bean series (she really liked these, and we did too)
  • a Roald Dahl box set (we read everything but his memoirs and most were well-received
  • Judy Blume's Fudge series (you may want to pre-read - one talks about how Santa isn't real and the kids talk about it - I wasn't ready to burst that bubble yet, so we skipped that part.)
  • the Nancy Clancy series (Fancy Nancy is now a third-grader)
  • some of the Rainbow Fairies series (I find these irritating but she likes them - bonus if you can find a book where the fairy's name is the same as your daughter's. That went over well for us since my daughter's name isn't super common)
I'd like to read the Ramona series with her because I enjoyed those books as a child. Am watching this thread for new ideas.
posted by melissa at 10:12 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

My daughter is six. She loves Bink and Gollie, the Owl Diaries, The princess in black. The Mercy Watson series.
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:17 AM on June 15, 2015

Rainbow Magic! Yes, they are formula fiction, they are written by a corporate author (Daisy Meadows), they are an industry, they have almost zero literary value, people have suggested much more awesome books already.

BUT there are a ton of them (150+), they are readily available at libraries, and for my five-year-old who is *very* easily frightened and highly anxious, they are the perfect chapter books. They come in sets of 7 around a theme -- the Weather Fairies, the Petal Fairies, the Party Fairies, etc. The main antagonist (Jack Frost) has for some selfish reason sent his goblins to steal the magic objects belonging to a set of fairies, and now the fairies need the help of the protagonists (two female best friends) to get the objects back before some big event happens which requires them. The goblins are mischievious but not really frightening, the girls have to either outwit them or make a deal with them to get the magic objects back, and often at the end of the set of 7 they discover that Jack Frost is really scared/upset about something (afraid of the dark so he messes up the Night Fairies, sad about having no birthday party so he messes up the Party Fairies, etc) which can then be addressed and resolved.

My daughter has been reading them for a year now and is finally starting to get bored by them. I am sure they are not for everyone, but they really worked for her. :-)
posted by brynplusplus at 11:24 AM on June 15, 2015

Nthing My Father's Dragon (and the sequels, Elmer and the Dragon and Dragons of Blueland). My four-year-old really enjoyed them.

He's also listened to the Collected Stories of Winnie the Pooh on CD (It's so good! Judi Dench! Stephen Fry! YouTube Playlist of a bunch of chapters. We downloaded it from our library through Overdrive.)

Oh, and he really likes the Magic Treehouse books, which are kinda crap, but they keep his attention. And there are dozens and dozens of them.
posted by that's candlepin at 11:57 AM on June 15, 2015

Magic Tree House books. There are approximately 11 billion of them, but kindergarten/first graders love them
posted by heathrowga at 12:17 PM on June 15, 2015

My daughter finds Magic Treehouse books too scary (still, at 7+), so I'd hold off on those. I can highly recommend the Heidi Heckelbeck series, which my daughter devours and was a first love back when I was reading them aloud to her. Also Critter Club (another big series), which is about looking after pets and some pretty remedial social situations. Both of those are great for 5-7.

I also love the Clementine books (shorter series), although the social stuff is a little more nuanced. I hope I get to read them to her a second time in another year or two, with similar levels of weeping (by me) at key moments. :))
posted by acm at 12:24 PM on June 15, 2015

Recent hits at our house (4.5 year old):

My Father's Dragon & the sequels

Some Roald Dahl:
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • George's Marvelous Medicine
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • The Enormous Crocodile.
Some of the other Roald Dahl stuff is too dark for him yet. (He's baffled and upset by adults being cruel to kids, which is kind of a big theme in a lot of Dahl's books.) The dark bits in Charlie and the Chocolate factory are currently sailing right over his head, which is fine. There's plenty of story on the superficial level too.

This website has a lot of recommendations and synopses for books to read aloud to young kids - sometimes there's a bit of a tightrope in balancing relatable content with kids' ability to understand more complex language.
posted by telepanda at 12:28 PM on June 15, 2015

Here is my list compiled by our beloved preschool teacher and my mother in law who was the head of the children's dept at public library for 25 years.

(every child is different of course, our favorite has been the Voyages of Dr Doolittle, just starting the Boxcar Children now)

Chapter Books for Children

Winnie-the-Pooh 1926 AA Milne
Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a fictional anthropomorphic teddy bear created by A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included a poem about the bear in the children's verse book When We Were Very Young (1924) and many more in Now We Are Six (1927). All four volumes were illustrated by E. H. Shepard. Hyphens in the character's name were dropped by Disney when the company adapted the Pooh stories into a series of features that became one of its most successful franchises.

My Fathers Dragon 1949 Ruth Stiles Gannett
My Father's Dragon is a children's novel by Ruth Stiles Gannett about a young boy, Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby Dragon. Both a Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book,[1] it is the first book of a trilogy whose other titles are Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. All three were published in a 50-year anniversary edition as Three Tales of My Father's Dragon. It was made into an anime film titled, Elmer's Adventures: My Father's Dragon.

The Borrowers Mary Norton 1952
The Borrowers is a children's fantasy novel by the English author Mary Norton, published by Dent in 1952. It features a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of an English house and "borrow" from the big people in order to survive. The Borrowers also refers to the series of five novels (The Borrowers and four sequels) that feature the same family after they leave "their" house.[2]
The Borrowers won the 1952 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association,

Swallows and Amazons Arthus Ransome 1930
Swallows and Amazons is the first book in the Swallows and Amazons series by English author Arthur Ransome; it was first published in 1930, with the action taking place in the summer of 1929 in the Lake District. The book introduces central protagonists John, Susan, Titty and Roger Walker (Swallows) and their mother and baby sister, as well as Nancy and Peggy Blackett (Amazons) and their uncle Jim, commonly referred to as Captain Flint.

The Railway Children Edith Nesbit 1906
The Railway Children is a children's book by Edith Nesbit, originally serialised in The London Magazine during 1905 and first published in book form in 1906. It has been adapted for the screen several times, of which the 1970 film version is the best known. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography credits Oswald Barron, who had a deep affection for Nesbit, with having provided the plot.

Heidi 1880 Johanna Spyri
Heidi (pronounced [ˈhaɪdi]) is a work of fiction written in 1880 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri, originally published in two parts as Heidi's years of learning and travel (German: Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre) and Heidi makes use of what she has learned. (German: Heidi kann brauchen, was es gelernt hat)[1] It is a novel about the events in the life of a young girl in her grandfather's care, in the Swiss Alps. It was written as a book "for children and those who love children"

Doctor Doolittle 1920 Hugh Lofting
Doctor John Dolittle is the central character of a series of children's books by Hugh Lofting starting with the 1920 The Story of Doctor Dolittle. He is a doctor who shuns human patients in favour of animals, with whom he can speak in their own languages. He later becomes a naturalist, using his abilities to speak with animals to better understand nature and the history of the world.[1]

Mr Popper’s Penguins 1938 Richard and Florence Atwater
Mr. Popper's Penguins is a children's book written by Richard and Florence Atwater, originally published in 1938. It tells the story of a poor house painter named Mr. Popper and his family, who live in the small town of Stillwater in the 1930s. The Poppers unexpectedly come into possession of a penguin, Captain Cook. The Poppers then receive a female penguin from the zoo, who mates with Captain Cook to have 10 baby penguins. Before long, something must be done lest the penguins eat the Poppers out of house and home.[1]

The Littles 1967 John Peterson
The Littles is a series of children's novels by American author John Peterson, the first of which was published in 1967. Peterson's books were adapted into the The Littles animated series by DIC Entertainment 16 years later. In 1985, an animated feature film called Here Come the Littles was released. The television show ran on ABC Saturday mornings from September 10, 1983 to November 2, 1985 for three seasons and 29 episodes.

The Minipins

Pippi Longstocking 1945 Astrid Lindgren.
Pippi Longstocking (Swedish Pippi Långstrump) is the protagonist in the Pippi Longstocking series of children's books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Pippi was named by Lindgren's then nine-year-old daughter, Karin, who requested a get-well story from her mother one day when she was home sick from school.

and others by Astrid Lingren

The Zoom Trilogy 1997 Tim Wynne-Jones
The three picture books collected in this single volume tell the story of Zoom, a cat in search of his mysterious, seafaring Uncle Roy. His search leads him to his uncle's friend Maria, a woman whose house holds not only the ocean (as we discover in Zoom at Sea, which The Toronto Star called "the most completely satisfying Canadian picture book ever produced"), but also, somewhere up near the attic, the North Pole (as we learn in Zoom Away), and, behind the books in the library, Egypt and its Nile (Zoom Upstream). Tim Wynne-Jones' gentle, whimsical stories are enhanced by the enchanting black-and-white illustrations, by Eric Beddows, that complement each page of text. A lasting treasure for the family library. With a Preface by James Mustich, Jr.

Henry and Mudge 1996 Cynthia Rylant
There are some 20+ Henry & Mug books, each one a small masterpiece. However, this is the one that started it all!!
Everything great or small has it's beginning, and in the beginning of THIS book, which begins, in turn, the whole series, we meet our hero, Henry. Henry lives with mom and dad, but he really doesn't have any friends. No other children live on his block, he doesn't have any brothers or sisters. So, he asks for a dog. That dog is Mudge who swiftly goes from a teeny, handful-sized puppy to the 180-pound pooch we know and love through the rest of the series.

Junie B Jones by Barbara Park
Juniper Beatrice "Junie B." Jones: The series' title character and main protagonist, Junie B., lives with her parents Robert and Susan, and her baby brother Ollie. Her birthday is in the month of June. She also has a dog named Tickle. She is 5 years old in the first kindergarten adventures, and six years in the first grade stories. Junie B. is friendly and has a bright personality.[1] In kindergarten, her two best friends are Lucille and Grace; in the first grade, her best friends are Herb, Jose, and Lennie. Junie B. has two rivals: Jim in kindergarten and May in first grade. In kindergarten, her classroom is Room Nine, and in First Grade, Room One. Junie B.'s favorite foods are spaghetti and meatballs, lemon pie, and ice cream. She has many catchphrases, such as "Wowie wow wow!", "Yeah, only", and "Hello! How are you today?". She is afraid of roosters because she thinks "they can peck your head into a nub", ponies because she thinks "they can stomple you to the ground and kill you", and clowns because she thinks "they are not normal people". She is shown to have brown hair and blue-green eyes. In the kindergarten series she was shown with short hair and a bow, she wears a pink sweater, purple skirt, white socks and signature black Mary Jane shoes. In the first grade series she had longer, messier hair and the bow was dropped, being replaced by her purple glasses. In Junie B. Jones is A Beauty Shop Guy, she is shown that she wants to be a "beauty shop guy" herself.

Nate the Great 1972 Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Nate the Great is a series of more than two dozen children's detective stories written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. Alternatively, Nate the Great is the main character and title character of the series, a boy detective. Sharmat and illustrator Marc Simont inaugurated the series in 1972 with Nate the Great, a 60-page book published by Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, and Simont illustrated the first twenty books, to 1998. Some numbers were jointly written with Marjorie's sister Rosalind Weinman,[1] husband Mitchell Sharmat or son Craig Sharmat, and the last six were illustrated by Martha Weston or Jody Wheeler "in the style of Marc Simont". Several of the books have been adapted as television programs, one of which won the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival Award (Nate the Great Goes Undercover).[when?] The New York Public Library named Nate the Great Saves the King of Sweden (1997, number 17) one of its "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing".[clarification needed]

My Side of the Mountain 1959 Jean Craighead George
My Side of the Mountain is a children's or young-adult adventure novel written and illustrated by Jean Craighead George, published by Dutton in 1959. It features a boy who learns about courage, independence, and the need for companionship while attempting to live in a forested area of New York state. In 1960 it was one of three Newbery Medal Honor Books (runners-up)[2] and in 1969 it was loosely adapted as a film of the same name. George continued the story in print, decades later (below).

The Secret Garden 1911 Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was initially published in serial format starting in the autumn of 1910, and was first published in its entirety in 1911. It is now one of Burnett's most popular novels, and is considered to be a classic of English children's literature. Several stage and film adaptations have been produced.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler 1949 E. L. Konigsburg
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a novel by E. L. Konigsburg. It was published by Atheneum in 1967, the second book published from two manuscripts the new writer had submitted to editor Jean E. Karl.[3]

Mixed-Up Files won the annual Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1968, and her first-published book Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth won a Newbery Honor in the same year, the only double honor in Newbery history (from 1922).[4] Anita Silvey covered Mixed‑Up Files as one of the 100 Best Books for Children in 2005.[5] Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children".[6] It was one of the "Top 100 Chapter Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by the School Library Journal.[7]

The Penderwicks 2005 Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy is a children's novel by Jeanne Birdsall, published by Knopf in 2005. It won the annual U.S. National Book Award for Young People's Literature (United States).[1]

This was Birdsall's first book published and it inaugurated the "Penderwick sisters" series, whose third chronicle of five that Birdsall plans was published in 2011. Both A Summer Tale and its sequel The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (Knopf, April 2008) were New York Times Best Sellers.[2]

The novel was inspired by the kind of stories the author read when growing up,[3] The National Book Award citation compares the novel to Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and E. Nesbit's The Story of the Treasure Seekers.[4] The fictional setting is more modern than Alcott's or Nesbit's, although not clearly contemporary with Birdsall's writing.

The Boxcar Children 1924 Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Boxcar Children is a children's literary franchise originally created and written by American writer and first-grade school teacher,[1] Gertrude Chandler Warner. Today, the series includes well over 100 titles. The series is aimed at readers in grades 2-6.[2]

Originally published in 1924 by Rand McNally and reissued in 1942 by Albert Whitman & Company,[3] the novel The Boxcar Children tells the story of four orphaned children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. They create a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar in the forest. They eventually meet their grandfather, who is a wealthy and kind man (although the children had believed him to be cruel). The children decide to live with the grandfather, who moves the beloved boxcar to his backyard so the children can use it as a playhouse. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the original book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[4] The original book was one of the "Top 100 Chapter Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[5]

One Hundred Pounds of Popcorn 1961 Hazel Krantz
In the story, 100 Pounds of Popcorn, A family went on a long, hot trip in their car. On the side of the road they found a 100 pound bag of popcorn, so they picked it up and put it in the trunk slowly. When they got home from their trip, Andy wanted to start popping some and selling it by the bag. He needed help so he called three of his friends, Barry Lindhoffer, Sally Jean, and Peggy Marshall to help.

Authors that have many great childrens chapter books

Beverly Cleary
Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) is an American author of more than 30 books for young adults and children. One of America's most successful writers of children's literature,[1] she has sold 91 million copies of her books worldwide.[2] Some of her best-known characters are Henry Huggins, Ribsy, Beatrice ("Beezus") Quimby, her sister Ramona Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse. She won the 1981 National Book Award for Ramona and Her Mother[3][a] and the 1984 Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw.

EB White
Elwyn Brooks "E. B." White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985)[1] was an American writer. He was a contributor to The New Yorker magazine and a co-author of the English language style guide The Elements of Style, which is commonly known as "Strunk & White". He also wrote books for children, including Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. Charlotte's Web was voted the top children's novel in a 2012 survey of School Library Journal readers, an accomplishment repeated in earlier surveys.[2]

Enid Blyton
Enid Mary Blyton (11 August 1897 – 28 November 1968) was an English children's writer whose books have been among the world's bestsellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies. Blyton's books are still enormously popular, and have been translated into almost 90 languages; her first book, Child Whispers, a 24-page collection of poems, was published in 1922. She wrote on a wide range of topics including education, natural history, fantasy, mystery stories and biblical narratives, and is best remembered today for her Noddy, Famous Five, and Secret Seven series.

Following the commercial success of her early novels such as Adventures of the Wishing Chair (1937) and The Enchanted Wood (1939) Blyton went on to build a literary empire, sometimes producing fifty books a year in addition to her prolific magazine and newspaper contributions. Her writing was unplanned and sprang largely from her unconscious mind; she typed her stories as events unfolded before her. The sheer volume of her work and the speed with which it was produced led to rumours that Blyton employed an army of ghost writers, a charge she vigorously denied.
posted by silsurf at 1:21 PM on June 15, 2015 [5 favorites]

Around that age--maybe I was 6?--I devoured The Hobbit. It's an excellent story, plenty of opportunity for fun voices and interaction, especially Riddles in the Dark.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:26 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, and we devoured Little House series, read em all! That was quite a revelation to me having only the TV show to go on.
posted by silsurf at 5:34 PM on June 15, 2015

My five-year-old enjoyed the aforementioned My Father's Dragon and we're currently a third of the way through the first Baum Oz book. Things she's enjoyed which I haven't seen mentioned are The Hobbit (with gender-flipped Bilbo), Dorothy Edwards' My Naughty Little Sister, and Edward Eager's magic books, beginning with Half Magic.
posted by snarkout at 9:45 AM on June 16, 2015

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