Rabbit Hill

Rabbit_Hill

NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER – 1945

Rabbit Hill

written and illustrated by Robert Lawson

Age: (read to) 5+, (independent reading) 7+

Interests: animals, rabbits, farms, country life, community

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Thimble Summer

854764NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER – 1939

Thimble Summer

written and illustrated by Elizabeth Enright

Age: 5+ (read to); 7+ (independent reading)

Interests: farms, country life, family, strong girls

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Rootabaga Stories

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Rootabaga Stories

by Carl Sandburg

illustrated by Maud and Miska Petersham

Age: 5+

Interests: folk tales, history, poetry, language More

Chester

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Chester

text and illustrations by Mélanie Watt

Age: 5+ (but older kids will find it funny too – 7,8)

Interests: cats, mice, artists, telling stories, bad behaviour, humour

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The Dot

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The Dot

by Peter H. Reynolds

Age: 5+

Interests: art, artists, school, teachers

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Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears

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GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 2008

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears

by Emily Gravett

Age: 5+

Interests: mice, fears, phobias

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FArTHER

farther

GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 2009

FArTHER

by Grahame Baker-Smith

Age: 5+

Interests: flight, inventors, fathers, flying machines

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The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

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GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 1995

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

text by Susan Wojciechowski

illustrations by P. J. Lynch

Candlewick Press: 1995

34 pp.

Age: 5+

Interests: Christmas, art, wood carving, Christian religion

Also by this illustrator: When Jessie Came Across the Sea

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Top 5: Pre- Harry Potter Reads

As I wrote yesterday, Harry Potter books (and movies) can be pretty scary and intense for younger children. If your child is intrigued by magic and fantasy, but you’re not certain she or he is quite ready for Hogwarts, here are a few fantasy titles they may be more comfortable with.

(Click on the titles to see full reviews.)


Top 5: Beginner Fantasy Chapter Books

 

1. The Cuckoo Clock by Mrs. Molesworth – age 5+

A very sedate and old-fashioned (1877) story about a girl who visits some magical places and learns to behave herself a little better.

2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – age 5+

Quite different from the movie – a rambling, weird tale with a few scares and dustups along the way. (NB. some violence: see full review.)

3. Half Magic by Edward Eager – age 5+

One of my childhood favourites. This and other titles by Eager are lovely stories about children who come across something magic and mess things up a little. Slightly old-fashioned but charming and full of insight about sibling relations.

4. The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit – age 6+

Snappy and very funny short stories, each about a very unique dragon.

5. The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit – age 6+

Nesbit books like The Enchanted Castle and Five Children and It inspired Edward Eager’s work, and are similarly about children who acquire some kind of magic and mismanage it with amusing or chilling results. This title in particular has one very creepy sequence.

And Two bonus titles… Rather long and wordy, only for the most hardy listeners (and readers).

6. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – age 6+

Find an abridged version if you can. (But NOT a Disney version!) The plot is captivating, but the original novel is a very dense read, and tangled with tangents.

7. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald – age 6+

Goblins living under a mountain plot to kidnap a Princess, but she is aided by the ghost of her great-great-great grandmother and a courageous miner boy. Another very old classic, creepy and intriguing, but a trifle loooong and slow to get going. (Not sure if there are any abridged versions out there.)

As you can tell, my tastes go to the older, classic novels. I must start reading some newer books!

If you have any suggestions for early fantasy books, new or old, please share them!

Scranimals

Scranimals

Jack Prelutsky, poems

Peter Sis, illustrator

HarperCollins, 2002

40 pp.

Age: 5 +

Interests: poetry, animals, birds, word play, nonsense, maps, travel

Next: Edward Lear’s The Quangle Wangle’s Hat and others

Also by this poet/illustrator team: The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, Monday’s Troll, The Gargoyle on the Roof

Also by this poet: The New Kid on the Block and many others

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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.