Best book series for children and young adults?
October 23, 2006 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Book series for children and young adults? Recommendations welcome. There is

I'd like to lay in a supply of some of my favorite series (Hobbit/LOTR, The Great Brain, Wrinkle in Time, Chronicles of Narnia, Foundation) for my young son. Help me figure out what else I should add to the shelves.

What were your favorite book series for children and young adults? What series have your children enjoyed? And why? (All genres considered, and yes, I have looked at this, this, and this). I'm looking for series in the hopes that he'll read the first book, and then ask for the second, and then the third... My own preferences run along the fantasy/sci fi axis, but I'm willing to look at other genres.

Bonus points for series that have come out in the last (cough) 20 years. I've read Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter, but little else as far as series go. His Dark Materials? Gormenghast? I feel like I need a little remedial education in this area. Thanks.
posted by MonkeyToes to Writing & Language (48 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I liked Encyclopedia Brown.
Magic Kingdom for Sale/SOLD! is the first in a series by Terry Brooks that I really liked at around 10-12.
The Belgariad by David Eddings

But I'm a girl, so YMMV.
posted by stray at 6:53 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: I loved (and still re-read as an adult):
Lloyd Alexander, especially the Prydain Chronicles
Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising
Patricia C. Wrede, especially Mairelon and the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, is extremely funny and magical.
Diana Wynne Jones, particularly the Chrestomanci series.
Gail Carson Levine wrote Ella Enchanted, which you may have heard of, but also Dave at Night, which may be more appealing to boys.
I know nothing about Gordon Korman's recent (last 5-10 years) stuff, but his Macdonald Hall books are great -- think Harry Potter and Ron Weasley at a Muggle boarding school in Canada. Even more impressive, his first one was published when he was still in high school.
Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes are similar to the Great Brain, but in the urban East (and with 12 kids).
Similarly, Eleanor Estes' books, especially the Moffat books, which are set during WWII and give a kid's eye view of things.

I'll probably post more later, after I check my bookshelves. Great question!
posted by katemonster at 6:57 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: My kids love John Marsden particularly the Tomorrow series. (I didn't mind them myself). It deals with difficult issues like courage, morality, sex, death. The lead character is female, and I thought, was handled well, not stereotypical and the books have a real Australian flavour to them.
posted by b33j at 7:02 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: There are always the classic Hardy Boy books, which my (now 19) nephew really liked.
posted by orange swan at 7:03 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Seconded Gordon Korman. I read Son of Interflux and A Semester in the Life of a Teenage Garbage Bag to tatters when I was a kid.

My grandmother bought me a copy of No Coins Please so she could keep the one she borrowed from me.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:19 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: I must agree with the hardy boys, and even nancy drew (girl dectective but hey--they're good). Great sci-fi series (Darkover series) by Marion Zimmer Bradley--little sex scenes present, but nevertheless i loved them--was around 18 or so when reading them
posted by uncballzer at 7:20 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: I'll second Roald Dahl from one of your linked threads, as he was one of my favorites from the first grade onward. I started with Matilda, and just never stopped.

My girlfriend, another avid reader, recommends His Dark Materials, though I've not read them.

For poetry, you can't go wrong with Shel Silverstein.

You'll get plenty of good recommendations here, so I'll go ahead and stop. Good luck! You're doing your son a very, very great favor by encouraging him to read. He'll thank you every day of his life once he's hooked.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:25 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Garth Nix, the Abhorsen Trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen); Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men series; Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (warning: you may not like the theological leanings of this trilogy); Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series; Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time series; Ursula Le Guin's The Earthsea Cycle trilogy; Patricia McKillip's The Riddle Master trilogy; Roger Zelazny's The Amber series.
posted by moira at 7:31 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Pippi Longstocking (spunky girl weirdo)
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (funny old lady and various kids' misadventures with morals)
Encyclopedia Brown (boy detective)
Something Queer is Going On (girl detectives)
C.S. Lewis's Narnia trilogy
Little House on the Prairie
Hardy Boys? or similar boy adventure series
Jack London and some of Farley Mowat for adventure books

There are a number of nice series on mythologies of the world; get a few of these and he may tear through them all (Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Chinese...) and get good basic cultural literacy in the process. Look for ones with plenty of words but also nice big pictures.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:39 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: *Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
*Suzanne Collins Gregor the Overlander series
*Christopher Paolini's Eragon and Eldest (though we liked Eragon a lot better PLUS it comes out on the big screen this December)
*Jeanne DuPrau's City of Ember and People of Sparks *note: my oldest daughter (with a very active imagination) had a rough time sleeping with the lights off during the first book
*The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
*Dave Barry's Peter and the Starcatchers series

For beginning indepedent reading in fantasy/sci-fi:
*Spiderwick series
*Time Warp Trio *note: also a tv show that is tolerable
*Magic Treehouse *note: these drove me bananas but both kids loved them
*for some absolutely bizarre reason, Rainbow Fairies and Weather Fairies series by Daisy Meadows were all the rage in 1st and 2nd grade last year for both girls AND boys. I detest them but all the kids devoured them. I will say this, my youngest has a fairy complex now.

My kids never sank their teeth into the Great Hills Divide or Redwall series. They also disliked books by Cornelia Funke.
posted by lostinsupermarket at 7:40 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Plus of course the Phantom Tollbooth.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:40 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Yeah, how old is your son? His Dark Materials, while unbelievably compelling and rich, is also rather dark. Adults doing horrible, cruel things to children and animals-- definitely not the thing for my kids now, but when they're 14 or so, I will def. introduce them. Then again, there were people in the theater with preschoolers for each of the three Lord of the Rings movies, so other people have other ideas about what a child should see/read.
posted by eve harrington at 7:45 PM on October 23, 2006

Response by poster: I will have to mark this entire page as "best answer." Thank you, all!

Nonetheless, keep these ideas coming. I've started a list, and can't wait to check out the names that are new to me.

Lobstermitten, I *loved* "The Phantom Tollbooth."

Perhaps I should add a subquestion: What children's/young adult authors are worth reading for their sensibility, even if the characters don't link up book-to-book? (Silverstein, Juster, and Dahl are examples of what I mean.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:47 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: I read several of Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series when I was a young adult. On a Pale Horse is the first one.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 7:47 PM on October 23, 2006

Response by poster: Eve Harrington: He's a wee mite. But I am on a tear about building a future library. Things that are too advanced for him will go to the attic until the time is right.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:50 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: When I was in elementary school, I loved all of the Beverly Cleary "Ramona" books and the Judy Blume "Fudge" series.

A little bit of good old-fashioned Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne, not Disney) might be something else to think about.
posted by anjamu at 7:58 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: + Prydain Chronicles
++ His Dark Materials
++ Zelazny's Amber (I'm rereading it now)
+++ The Dark is Rising
- Piers Anthony (not that I didn't love Xanth and Incarnations as a teen, but I would have been a bit uncomfortable if my Dad had handed them to me due to the sexuality)

And two newer books, not series though:

Summerland by Michael Chabon
Monster-Blood Tattoo by DM Cornish (this is WONDERFUL, and the first in a planned series)
posted by Rock Steady at 7:58 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: BONE! bone bone bone bone bone. BONE!

Seriously, get Bone. It's my 4-year-olds very favorite thing and has a lot of depth to explore as he ages. Outstanding in every way, totally unique and irresistable.
posted by ulotrichous at 8:01 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Bonus points for series that have come out in the last (cough) 20 years.

My pal the 7th grade English teacher swears by Nancy Farmer's books - says the kids love 'em. The stories aren't part of an ongoing series, but she says they're some of the best young adult sci-fi/fantasy being written right now, full of humor and soul. The Ear, The Eye and The Arm is set in Zimbabwe in 2194; The Sea of Trolls is an epic Viking fantasy; The House of the Scorpion has a young clone of a drug lord as its protagonist, etc.

Farmer's won a number of Newberry awards/honors; the full list of Newberry winners may be useful to your search as well.
posted by mediareport at 8:05 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: The Gormenghast series is fantastic for character, gorgeous descriptive language, and mood, but not for younger kids. There are some dark issues including insanity and murder, and Peake's vocabulary and love of language results in observations like this: Irma Prunesquallor's hipbones were vast and jutting enough "to support upon their osseous shelves enough bric-a-brac to clutter up a kleptomaniac's cupboard" (I'm sure I'm misquoting badly, but you get the idea). My high school English teacher recommended Gormenghast to my class.

What about Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 8:15 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Heinlein's juvenile novels are great
Rocket Ship Galileo
Space Cadet
Red Planet
Farmer in the Sky
Starman Jones
The Star Beast
Tunnel in the Sky
Citizen of the Galaxy
Have Space Suit--Will Travel
Podkayne of Mars
Time for the Stars

There is also the "Jupiter" series of novels put out by Tor, they are all written in the tradition of the Heinlein juveniles:

Starswarm by Jerry Pournelle
Outward Bound by James P. Hogan
Putting Up Roots by Charles Sheffield
The Billion Dollar Boy by Charles Sheffield
Higher Education by Charles Sheffield
The Cyborg from Earth by Charles Sheffield

And The Phantom Tollbooth should be required reading for every child. That is one of my favorite books ever.
posted by anansi at 8:15 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: I enthusiastically second katemonster's suggestion of The Dark is Rising sequence. Not only are they bloody great literature, they also contain many good 'hooks' for further research into pre-Christian Britannic mythology, the Arthurian legends, Welsh as a distinct language and culture in G.B.

I could go on and on...

My own suggestion would be Louis L'Amour's Sackett series, although (being westerns) they contain the sort of violence one wouldn't want to foist on very young children.

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game absolutely fascinated me as a child; I read that novel over and over until my father (an avowed enemy to all great literature) threw it out.

The Speaker of the Dead cycle might be a bit too removed from the original for a child's tastes, but these days there's the excellent Ender's Shadow companion piece/sequels...

Hardy Boys might be good, but try to find an edition where the ethnic stereotyping is intact; it could be a good stepping-stone to discussion of discrimination in modern society.
posted by The Confessor at 8:23 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Oh yeah, The Phantom Tollbooth - I still love that one!

Tove Jansson's "Moomintroll" series (this is the first one) is a slightly quirky and lovable set of illustrated books about the Moomintrolls, who look a bit like bipedal hippos, and their adventures in the Moominvalley. Great for the younger set.
posted by Quietgal at 8:35 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Mythology series:
D'Aulaires' Greek Myths
D'Aulaires' Norse Myths

some edition of the classical Grimm's fairy tales
Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (there are some nice editions with great illustrations)

Once he's about 8 and up, anything by William Sleator.

Of course, you'll want to leave some books for him to discover on his own! ;)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:45 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: As for individual books/authors (the OP added those to the discussion in a comment he made), I would recommend the following:

(Although it is quite likely that one or more of these will already be a part of your child's Elementary/Middle/High School curriculum)

Richard Adams' Watership Down
Lois Lowry's The Giver
Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Wilson Rawls' Where the Red Fern Grows


And another two series which nobody has mentioned:

Samuel Youd's Tripod Trilogy (He wrote these using the pen name of John Christopher)

Louis Sacher's Wayside School series is extremely easy reading, but some of the situations and dialogue that Sacher comes up with is just hilarious.
posted by The Confessor at 8:52 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Ah, here we go. Couldn't find it before, but this is the series of mythology books I had -- and looooved. It's the "World Mythology Series" from Peter Bedrick books.
They've got Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Norse, North American Indian, Central and South American Indian, Jewish, Russian, subcontinental Indian, Celtic, Chinese. The illustrations are great. Worth getting used ones if you can.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:52 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Roahl Dahl is a must, as is Terry Pratchett (the Bromeliad series).

How has no one mentioned Asterix yet? I know they have pictures, but they are complete classics. Also, Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows for stand alone books. And Famous Five (Enid Blyton), though the gender roles are questionable. And Beverly Clearly - I particularly remember the mouse ones.

You may need to read the first book of a series to him to get him going on it. Or even just the first chapter.

I would have loved to have the entire series of an author I liked bought for me......still would actually:)
posted by kjs4 at 9:21 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: I really loved Jim Kjelgaard's books (Big Red is probably his most well known for kids) as they combined dogs and the great outdoors, two of my loves growing up. I think I spent at least a year obsessed with outdoor adventure books and read Julie of the Wolves, Incident at Hawk's Hill, Jack London stories, etc.

Though not really a series, I also cut my teeth on the Moby Illustrated Classics set. I figured out pretty early on, around 8 or 9, which genres I liked and jumped straight to the unabridged versions of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Arthur Conan Doyle stories.

Fantasy-wise, I recall reading the original Shanara series by Terry Brooks at about age 9 or 10 (I thought Garet Jax was badass). I tried Lord of the Rings at that age and distinctly remember not being able to get beyond the second book -- the pacing wasn't right for me at the time. I did like The Hobbit, though.

I know my parents didn't pre-buy too many books for me at that age. They made going to the library and the used book store (I loved the used book store - we'd hit everyone one in town at least once a month) a special treat and encouraged me to pick out my own stuff. The side effect today being that I'm incapable of buying anything less than a stack of books each time I'm in a bookstore.
posted by Sangre Azul at 9:29 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: I loved the Alvin Fernald books (about a boy inventor). Also, the Mad Scientists Club books, "Danny Dunn," I see a couple people have already mentioned "Encyclopedia Brown." "The Three Investigators" was a lot of fun.

Also, I remember Christopher Stasheff's "The Wizard In Spite of Himself" series being good sci-fi/fantasy crossover. Also L. Sprague DeCamp's Harold Shea series with Fletcher Pratt ("The Incomplete Enchanter" et. al.), H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy books... Asimov's robot novels (I didn't dig Foundation nearly as much, frankly).

Seconding "Secrets of NIMH," what an awesome book that was. "The Pushcart War" might be worth including on the shelf.

Oh yeah. Anything by Daniel M. Pinkwater!

In a minority, I am not a fan of "Phantom Tollbooth" -- it's for youngish kids, but has a lot of puns in it (such as the wagon that "goes without saying") that such kids won't get. I remember not liking it very much when I was a kid, to the extent that I didn't even remember the title -- when I was an adult, a friend was flabbergasted I'd never heard of it, and I looked at it then and realized it was that book I hadn't cared for.
posted by kindall at 11:05 PM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: How could I forget Pinkwater!

There are some good collected novels editions of him that have come out recently. Young Adult Novel is still one of my favorites of all time.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:10 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: Tomie dePaola's autobiographical 26 Fairmont Ave series. Walter Farley's Black Stallion books. Marguerite Henry's horse books.
posted by brujita at 7:23 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: It hardly seems like I have anything left to add, but I've been working through the recent Newbery winners, Printz winners, and Best Books for Young Adults; you might take a look at my blog here.
posted by Jeanne at 7:24 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: I have to strongly second a few of the answers here, especially given what you say you already enjoy:
Lois Lowry's The Giver and its sequels
Jeanne DuPrau's City of Ember and People of Sparks
Garth Nix's Sabriel and sequels. Yes. The first book especially is awesome.
Nancy Farmer
I also really liked Peter and the Starcatchers.

I just finished a brand new book called Larklight. Trust me, you will both love this book. It's kind of a parody of the Jules Verne-style scifi, but it totally stands on its own. I imagine there will be more.
Along those same lines, if he does like the old Hardy Boys and other mystery series, M. T. Anderson has a parody series called M. T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales. The first book is Whales on Stilts. It's funny, in a tongue-in-cheek, Lemony Snicket kind of way. You also might like some of Anderson's more straight forward SF/F stuff.
posted by lampoil at 7:39 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: When I was growing up, I really liked the Tom Swift series. I recently bought one of the books for my 11-year-old stepson and he said he really enjoyed it. (I was a little worried it might come off as too dated.)
posted by Otis at 7:50 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: I've read hundreds of such books to my children over the years. Pullman's His Dark Materials is absolutely at the top of my list.

Moira wrote >(warning: you may not like the theological leanings of this trilogy). More like atheological leanings.

Cornelia Funke's Inkheart also deserves a mention.
posted by Neiltupper at 7:52 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: seems like you're getting a lot of fantasy reccomendations, so here are a some that are outside that genre. Also, don't discount non-series books! A lot of kids can fall in love with an author just as well as characters.

-The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
-Chasing Vermeer and the sequel, The Wright Three, both by Blue Balliett
-Ranger's Apprentice series
-Holes, Louis Sachar
-The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka, very funny though they might be a bit young for him.
-The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, Daniel Pinkwater (and some of his others books as well)
-Hoot and Flush by Carl Hiaasen
-Mike Lupica's sports books (Travel Team, Heat, etc)
-From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
-Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
-Frindle by Andrew Clements
-The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Beverly Cleary

Oh, and The Little House in the Prairie books are not just for girls!
posted by kumquatmay at 8:37 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: Seconds for Unfortunate Events, Earthsea, His Dark Materials, Prydain, and A Wrinkle in Time. Especially Earthsea.

If you want to get into mysteries, I absolutely devoured Agatha Christie's books as a young teen.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:57 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: Seconding kumquatmay's excellent suggestions from Ellen Raskin and EL Konigsberg, as well as Little House.

Also, since he's still quite young, he may not have yet outgrown 2 of my absolute, all-time favorites: Ira Sleeps Over, by Bernard Waber, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Ira is best for 2-5 year olds; Alexander is the quintessential 4 year old's book, but I, at least, have never outgrown it. There are still days when I think about moving to Australia, and it's nice to know I'm not the only one.
posted by katemonster at 10:36 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: Another vote for Lloyd Alexander, Lemony Snicket, and Watership Down.

Also, one of my favorites as a kid was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (another Newberry winner, if I'm not mistaken).
posted by somanyamys at 10:45 AM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: "The Tripods" trilogy by John Christopher.
I also second the suggestion for the "Dark is Rising" series by Susan Cooper. It was one of my favorites as a child.
posted by elkelk at 12:27 PM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: More votes for Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci series, for Eleanor Moffat and the Moomintroll books, and for Asterix. There was a Metafilter thread on the Moomins not that long ago.

Cynthia Voigt's Tillerman family series is amazing, particularly in the way it shows the same events from different viewpoints. It's a good series to grow with, I think, as the books age with the characters. The first one is Homecoming.

E Nesbit's series and stand-alone books - can't find a particularly exciting link, but some of her books are on Project Gutenberg.

Edward Eager's series starting with Half Magic - fantasy, firmly based in family life, good presentation of brother and sister relationships.

The Three Investigators series, the older one series rather than the 1980s ones - much more interesting than the Hardy boys in character presentation, and I think less wince-making in attitudes.

Jane Langton's Hall Family Chronicles starting with The Diamond in the Window - fantasy, interesting setting in Concord.

Eve Garnett's Family from One End Street series, though I'm not sure how well they translate to a non-UK setting.

Elizabeth Enright's stand-alone books and series (Gone-Away Lake series and the Melendy family series starting with The Saturdays) - atmospheric settings, convincing dialogue, children showing initiative.

I've totally failed to get bonus points for newish books, but I do think there's a lot to be said to introducing children to older or more obscure series - it gives them a historical sense, as The Confessor says about the Hardy boys series, and they are likely to find newer series through friends, school and the media. And despite having given a lot of suggestions I also think there's something to be said for not suggesting more books than you can help to your children, however much you want them to enjoy what you enjoyed - it's more fun to discover series for yourself, even if you then find your parents like them too, and there's that emotional thing about what if you don't like what someone you love recommends to you.

You might be interested in The Child That Books Built, a memoir about childhood reading (talks quite a lot about the Narnia books).
posted by paduasoy at 1:15 PM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: I'm pretty sure these haven't been mentioned, but if they have, please forgive tired eyes at the end of a long day . . .

I've been falling in love with YA books by Tamora Pierce - they're cleverly written fantasy books full of intrigue, smart protagonists (primarly women) and several series that that span generations. (As a warning, she obliquely references sex between teens. She addresses her view on it on her website)

Clive Barker has started the Abarat series, which is creepy but fun with really vivid imagery.

He also wrote The Thief of Always, which was made into a graphic novel. (The link goes to book one of four of the comic issues.) This story has a little boy disappear and find his way home.

I'm a pretty huge fan of Neil Gaiman and his books are listed in the other threads you linked, so that's just an extra 0.02usd.

Are you interested in non-fiction books at all? I am, to this day, fascinated by books by David Macaulay ([The New] How Things Work, Castles, etc.)

I wish I could come up with more, but I'm a bit fried at the moment. Hope this helps.
posted by oreonax at 3:13 PM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: A coworker just asked me for recommendations for her grandson, which started me off on collecting a list of my favorite books from when I was young, which I have since made into Amazon lists. They're not all series, but many are. They're roughly divided by age group.

My favorite picture books

My favorite children's books (part 1)
My favorite children's books (part 2)

Hope that helps (and that the links work!)
posted by srah at 4:42 PM on October 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: My cup runneth over. I knew you guys would come through for me -- thank you, one and all, for these suggestions.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:43 PM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: I have a feeling you already know this but reading with him all the time now is the trick to getting him hungry for stories and for those transporting moments that books can bring. And read the stuff (appropriate for his age, natch) that you like, too, and he'll feel your enthusiasm (I had to stop reading Charlotte's Web to wipe my eyes and blow my nose-- my kids were taken out of their rapt attention to the story by my pause but were kind of strangely thrilled to see how affected I was by a story meant for them.) William Steig, whom I used to think of as only (!) that New Yorker cartoonist, knocks me out-- the books for little ones Dr. DeSoto and Shrek; for older ones like Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and The Amazing Bone and Amos and Boris and we just recently ventured into his chapter books with Dominic, which I can heartily recommend. Reading together is one of the best things about being a parent, I think.
posted by eve harrington at 7:39 PM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: Oh oh! Another one!
The Magic Pudding, for younger kids with charming turn-of-the-century illustrations.

And two more young-kid books:
the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel, which just have pictures , so when you read with the kid, he gets to explain what's happening in the story to you.

Millions of Cats is another great read-aloud.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:00 PM on October 24, 2006

Upon looking more closely, I see that some of these Frog and Toad stories have words. I may be misremembering the wordless series. :/ Maybe ask at your nearby good kids' bookstore, or the kids' librarian.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:03 PM on October 24, 2006

Best answer: It may be a little late, but Paul Jennings writes brilliant books for kids ranging in age from young to early-mid teens. They're brilliantly imaginative and plain fun to read.

My favourite kids books (i suppose you could call them 'junior novels') were:
Round the Twist
The Gizmo Series
The Cabbage Patch Fib
The 'Singenpoo' Series

For teenagers, I couldn't go past the 'un-' series of books. They are called unbearable, unseen, uncanny etc, and are full of the most amazing short stories, which are sometimes a little unconventional, strange and somewhat crude [one story that has been cemented in my mind is about a boy who hasn't got middle fingers, so he eats the tail of one of those lizards that can regrow their tails to try and solve his problem. Hilarity ensues.]. I read them all when I was about 11 and my younger brothers have since devoured them.
posted by cholly at 3:16 AM on October 25, 2006

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