(Another) Top 5: First Chapter Books to Read Aloud to Children

I’ve already done a “Top 5” on this topic, but I just keep finding more good titles, so will continue with it.

1. Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Richard and Florence Atwater – 138 pp – Age 4 +

Never mind the movie – the original book is a charming, old-fashioned story about an ordinary family with some extraordinary pets.  (This title on amazon.)

2. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl – 119 pp, 39 chapters – Age 5 +

Now this is a ripping yarn! Very short, action packed chapters move the story along at a good clip. I read it myself first, and couldn’t put it down, then read it to my daughter (and my mom too) and it kept everyone on the edge of their seats! Baddies are quickly vanquished at the start – squashed flat by peach – and young James is an excellent model of pluck and smarts. (Excellent for those who love bugs.)  (This title on amazon.)

3. Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan – 58 pp, 9 chapters – Age 5 +

The story of a farm family in the pioneer past who welcome a mail-order bride. Unfortunately though, Sarah misses her home by the sea. Will she stay or will she go back home? Gentle, touching story with vivid descriptions of life on the prairies. A ‘stepmother’ story in which nobody acts badly is novel in itself.  (This title on amazon.)

4. Stuart Little, by E. B. White – 131 pp, 15 chapters – Age 5 +

The famous story of the mouse who lives in a human family. Much interesting detail on his life, from matchbox bed to bent paperclip ice skates. Stuart has many misadventures due to his size – the thrilling sailboat race is one of the best. Rather unsettling ending, a little unresolved, but over-all a great read.  (This title on amazon.)

5. Rabbit Hill, by Robert Lawson – Age 5 +

The Newbery Medal Winner in 1945. The various woodland creatures watch curiously as new people move into the big house. Will they have guns dogs and traps? Will they be planters? Will there be food enough for all? The new inhabitants turn out even better than hoped for. A little wordy with old-fashioned language, but pretty gripping nonetheless. The real dangers the animals face are not side-stepped, but happily nothing too terrible happens in this tale.  (This title on amazon.)

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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