As Felix has approached six years old, I’ve been looking for ways to introduce longer bedtime stories. When I was in York in October last year, I spent several hours browsing the bookshelves of a large bookshop, and came home with Pippi Longstocking, Flat Stanley, and The Magic Faraway Tree. We haven’t got onto Pippi yet, partly because Felix was annoyed that the illustrations were different from the abridged version Mum bought the kids in Stockholm last year. He adored Flat Stanley. I remember my very first teacher in primary school reading this aloud to us. She was fabulous. He’s very intrigued by the Magic Faraway Tree but finds it a bit scary, so we are only about five chapters in…
Michael has a collection of five minute Batman stories, which Felix practically knows by heart.
In Australia we picked up Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which he has loved. I managed to find the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, in my library, and he gulped that down too. Michael and Felix have also got through Fantastic Mr Fox, but I think Danny the Champion of the World is a bit heavy for now. For Christmas I gave him all four Bad Guys books by Aaron Blabey, which he thought were hilarious (and a bit scary), but he was devastated when they ended on a cliff-hanger. These are written in a comic book format, and I’m sure he’ll revisit them when he learns to read.
My Grandma gave him this absolutely gorgeous picture book for older kids, Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon, by Torben Kuhlmann. We’ve read it several times, and I’m sure there will be many more.
I recently asked my friends on Facebook what else they would recommend, and they came up with quite a list!
Some were books which I remember fondly from my own childhood:
The Little House on the Prairie
Tom’s Midnight Garden
Now We are Six, and Winnie-the-Pooh
Wind in the Willows
Beatrix Potter books
More Roald Dahl, especially James and the Giant Peach and George’s Marvellous Medicine
The Narnia books
The Famous Five
Every Arthur quest book ever written (I remember my fist King Arthur book, which was half about King Arthur and half about Robin Hood, picked up at a second hand book sale at school. I thought it was the most amazing thing ever.)
Midnite by Randolph Stow (I didn’t read this as a child but it’s one of my favourite books. Laugh out loud funny (for adults, at least). I recently finished writing a chapter about it. Felix is probably about the right age to start getting into it…)
The Secret Garden
And some were new to me:
The Tashi books (lots of votes for these and they look gorgeous)
Andy Griffiths books (13 Story Treehouse and sequels – they look very popular with kids at the moment)
Moomin books, especially Moomin Papa and the Sea
Anything by David Walliams (one of my friends had personal reservations about them, but admitted that the kids loved them. I saw today that my libray has a lot of these)
The Children of Cherry Tree Farm
The Boxcar Children
The Magic Treehouse
Milly Molly Mandy (several votes for this)
Astrid Lindgren’s Lotta books
Emily Rodda’s Fairy Realm books
How to Train your Dragon (these are in my library)
My Father’s Dragon
Swallows and Amazons
Graphic novels like Hilda and the Midnight Giant
Asterix (ok this one isn’t new to me exactly but I never read much of it myself)
The Tale of Desperaux
Treasures in the Snow
And, according to Penni: As read-alones, the Billie B Brown and the Hey Jack books by Sally Rippin are perfect. They are really great everyday social stories too, good for gently rehearsing every day problems like losing something or mean friends or whatever.
And from another friend, who has a boy Felix’s age: As for reading himself, he is reading a series of books about a pig called Mercy that are fun and easy to read.
Anyway, one of my friends asked that I collate the suggestions into a blog post, so they would be easy to find later. So here they are. I’m very aware that he won’t be accessing these books at school (apart from the Scandinavian ones, I guess), so I want to make sure he gets a solid grounding at home. I also think I’ll try to get hold of Bill Bryson’s A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, as Felix wants to know it all. Let me know if you have any more suggestions!