I found this question at Barbara Curtis’s blog Mommy Life, and she passed it off to me. So, I thought I’d take a stab at it.
I have been reading your blog off and on for a few months now. I was wondering if you could recommend some chapter books to read aloud to my children. They are three and five.
Like Barbara, I would suggest picture books first of all for this age group. I list over 365 of these in my curriculum book, Picture Book Preschool. I also list some easy reader chapter books that would be good to read with a three and a five year old. These have short chapters with a somewhat limited vocabulary:
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik. The are three or four sequels to this family story of Little Bear, Mother Bear, Father Bear, Grandfather and Grandmother Bear and all of Little Bear’s friends. My favorite story is when Little Bear goes to the moon.
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. There are also other Frog and Toad books. These stories are deceptively simple. The one about Frog and Toad trying and failing to eat just one more cookie is a staple at our house. We trot it out whenever we need willpower or need to laugh at our lack of it.
If these stories are too tame or too simplified for the five year old, here are a few chapter books with more text and fewer pictures:
Mixed-Up Twins by Carolyn Haywood. My urchins love these stories about identical twins, Ronald and Donald, who confuse everyone because they look so much alike. If you can’t find this one (it’s out of print), then try B Is for Betsy or Little Eddie, both by the same author.
Dolphin Adventure by Wayne Grover. The author meets up with a dolphin family in need of assistance.This book is good for animal lovers and for those who enjoy nonfiction more than fiction.
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Four orphaned children, two sisters and two brothers, find an old abandoned boxcar and make their home there. The ingenuity of the children and their care for one another is so inspiring and fun to read about.
The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla. Shan, son of Lord Weldon, hides a sword in the hollow of a tree. The events of this book take place during the time of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table, and Shan eventually ends up in Camelot. If you like this one, you might also like Viking Adventure by the same author.
The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron. Julian tells stories to his younger brother, Huey. I especially remember the story of Julian and the lemon pudding his father makes. Father takes a nap, and NO ONE is supposed to touch the pudding. There are two sequels, More Stories Julian Tells and Julian’s Glorious Summer.
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. I’ve read this classic with my little ones, and they enjoyed it and understood it well as far as I could tell. Pooh is a bear for all ages.
I keep thinking of more possibilities, but I’ll have to save them for another day and another post.