Now that summer is almost here it is time to start to think about books to read to your kids over the next few months. My son does not like to sit still and the idea of getting him to listen to a story rather than doing something active does not appeal to him in the least. However, the following books got him engaged and he came to me daily to request that I read him more of these stories. Some of them are classics and others are more modern. They all captivated his attention.
1) The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizza-This is a five-part series. It is a story concerning three siblings who end up living in a house with all sorts of fantasy creatures. However, only the kids know about this and the silly grown-up just don't understand. The sister is an excellent sword fighter and the brother is great with animals. Each book is a page-turner. The books are each about 100 pages and have about 10 full-page illustrations, with other illustrations are found throughout the book. The pages are short as well. The first book my son read on his own was the fourth book in this series.
2) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- A classic story by Rold Dahl. This is a book about a boy from a poor family. They have a wonderful son who loves chocolate. One day he is lucky enough to win a tour of the local chocolate factory. Four other boys and girls join him in this adventure. Only Charlie is good-natured enough to last to the end of the tour. What happens next changes his family's life forever.
3) Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien. This is an action-packed story involving a widowed mouse and her sick son. She needs to move before the tractor plows up her land. However, if she moves her sick son will surely perish. So she enlists the help of the rats of NIMH. This is a classic story of friendship, betrayal, mystery, and intrigue.
4) Dogman Seris- Dav Pilkey. These stories look like 5th-grade comic book drawings. The plot centers around a creature called Dogman. This hero has the head of a dog and the body of a person. He is a cop. He is constantly stopping Petey (a cat) from completing his evil schemes. Reluctant readers love these stories because they can look at each frame and surmise what is going on. My son would grab the books from me and read a few pages and then give them back to me.
5) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. This book is great to read aloud. It is as much fun for parents as for kids. The plot centers around a boy who is quite dull and doesn't know what to do with himself. One day he finds this tollbooth in his house. He begins on an adventure of a lifetime. His goal is to bring rhyme and reason back to the kingdom. The book has all sorts of plays on words, but also insightful ideas about seeing problems in new ways to overcome obstacles. A must-read for any age.
6) Stuart Little by E.B. White. This author is best known for Charlottes Web. This story centers around a mouse that is part of a family of humans. This mouse is friendly and incredibly talented. He keeps finding himself in situations that would have killed most creatures, however, his wits get him out each time. When we were done, my son asked if the book had a sequel. He wanted to hear more of Stuart's adventures.
7) The Swing in the Summerhouse by Jane Langton. This is an underrated series. This book is about siblings that are told not to use the swing in the Gazebo. They break that rule and find that each archway leads to a different world. In each world, they learn to rely on each other and in the process learn a life lesson. Grown-ups enjoy this book as much as the kids.
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