This is the book I’ve been reading to Riley before bedtime during the last couple weeks. It’s the first chapter book we’ve started, and it hasn’t been 100% easy going—at first, he complained a bit about the lack of pictures, and he doesn’t always pay attention the whole way through a reading. (Me: “What are you doing over there?” Riley, guiltily producing a LEGO mini-fig from beneath the covers: “Ummm . . . nothing.”)

Still, he asks for the story each night it’s my turn to put him to bed, and I enjoy making our way through something a bit more palatable than those surely-educational but horribly stilted I Can Read! books. (My god, MY KINGDOM FOR A CONTRACTION.)

Anyway, we’ll soon come to the end of Ralph and his adventures, and I’d like to ask you what books you most enjoy(ed) reading to your child—or that you remember from your own childhood. I’m looking specifically for more chapter books, things a six-year-old boy might like. Suggestions?

PS. Amusing object from The Mouse and the Motorcycle I had to spend about ten minutes explaining: a telephone cord.)


200 Responses to “Chapter books for a six-year-old”

  1. FFF on September 14th, 2011 11:59 am

    Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is a favorite in our house, because it’s always fun to read about bad kids–my boy likes to feel virtuous. Her magic is sweet, and because each chapter is it’s own story, it’s better for shorter attention spans. Also Sideway Stories from Wayside School for the same reasons.

  2. Jas on September 14th, 2011 12:00 pm

    Check out more of Beverly Cleary’s books. I loved them all, but a boy might enjoy “Henry Higgins”, “Ribsy”, and “Otis Spofford”, just to name a few. He might also like the “Fudge” books by Judy Blume.

  3. Meighan on September 14th, 2011 12:00 pm

    The Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne. They are chapter books, but only 10 short chapters each with good illustrations. Keep my 5 year olds attention very well. I highly recommend.

  4. Sonia on September 14th, 2011 12:01 pm

    My son enjoyed Charlotte’s Web, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, and Farmer Boy (but not so much the other Little House books). There are others I can’t remember. I tend to go to the library and get the Newberry Award winners for him, but he’s a little older than Riley and reading on his own, and now I can’t remember what I read to him and what he read on his own.

  5. Alice on September 14th, 2011 12:02 pm

    Agree with each of the above commenters (esp. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!), and would add Amelia Bedelia and Sideways Stories from Wayside School.

  6. Kerstin on September 14th, 2011 12:03 pm

    These may or may not be too advanced for a 6-year old: Abel’s Island by William Steig, and My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.
    I was read these books at school when I was 9-10 and we were a mixed class of native English speakers and ESL kids, so I’m guessing a lot of books were pitched low.
    I loved these books so much I bought and re-read them as an adult.

  7. hilary on September 14th, 2011 12:03 pm

    The Boxcar Children were favorites of mine!

  8. Kizz on September 14th, 2011 12:03 pm

    Stuart Little is always a crowd pleaser if you want to stick with the mouse theme. James & The Giant Peach, or any Roald Dahl, is also fun for the whole family.

  9. Fiona on September 14th, 2011 12:03 pm

    We’re on The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton and my nearly 6year old daughter shows transient interest in Esio Trot, Roald Dahl. Same issues with focus though, which is v normal. We come and go between chapter books and her old favourite picture ones (The Cat that Scratched and co). I’m torn – don’t want to move away from that part of her childhood too quickly..

  10. Jessica on September 14th, 2011 12:03 pm

    Wow, that telephone cord thing made me feel about a hundred years old.

    I second the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle recommendation.

  11. Rayne of Terror on September 14th, 2011 12:04 pm

    Anything by Kate DiCamillo, she has a series of books about a pig that are super and also Edward Tulane is the best book ever.

    We also enjoy the guilty pleasure of Junie B. Jones books. I find them hilarious on the first read. My 6 yr old also likes the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary.

  12. Danell on September 14th, 2011 12:05 pm

    We just got started on the How To Train Your Dragon books here. The story in the first book is actually quite different than the movie.
    I also just dug Bunnicula out of my parents basement to read next month closer to Halloween.

  13. Sally on September 14th, 2011 12:05 pm

    Encyclopedia Brown! The ten year old (or so) son of a local detective helps his dad solve crimes and takes on cases from friends for a quarter. My dad read these to us as a kid and I still think about some of the cases when my mind is wandering. I can’t WAIT to read them to my kids.

  14. Penne on September 14th, 2011 12:07 pm

    I loved all the Beverly Cleary books and tried in vain to read them to my son starting when he was about 4-5, but he just wouldn’t get into them. On a whim, I picked up the first edition of Hank the Cowdog – and he loved it. He’d beg for it not at bedtime, and by 2nd grade either he or I had read the whole series. The best part is that a lot of them are available on CDs or iTunes, too, so you can listen in the car or at quiet time in the afternoons… my boys are now 11 and 14 and they’ll still put on the audiobooks sometimes at night to make them fall asleep. And? They’re pretty funny – so you won’t be bored to sleep reading them.

  15. D'Ann on September 14th, 2011 12:07 pm

    That is the book we are reading to our kinder right now. The phone cord tripped us up as well! LOL
    You might want to check out the Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osbourne. They were a hit with our daughter, now 12, and our son who is almost 6 is really enjoying them too!

  16. Kerry on September 14th, 2011 12:08 pm

    Kate DiCamillo is great, and I second Roald Dahl. Also, the Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing series is always a hit.

  17. Liz @ Microwave Goddess on September 14th, 2011 12:08 pm

    I tried Henry Higgins recently for my 5-year-old and he made it through about 3 pages before he asked me very nicely, to read something else!

  18. JennB on September 14th, 2011 12:09 pm

    My daughter was interested in the Little House books, but after the 2nd I think the detail got a little too much for her. She loves the Junie B. Jones and Judy Moody books but I hate them so I refuse to read them. I can’t stand how BAD Junie B. Jones books are – writing and behavior-wise.

    Currently we’re slogging through “Geronimo Stilton” books which are a smidge obnoxious but not as bad as some others. I can’t wait for her to want to read “A Series of Unfortunate Events” or “Harry Potter” but she’ not interested in “Series” and she saw a part of a Harry Potter movie and it scared her.

  19. Cathleen on September 14th, 2011 12:09 pm

    My daughter and I loved the Junie B. Jones series. Many parents object to it because the narrator uses “improper English” but I am an English teacher, and I believe that kids are smart enough to see past that. The stories are very funny and entertaining. I couldn’t bear reading the Magic Tree House books aloud, but my son loved them and read them all on his own. Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little are both wonderful read-alouds.

  20. Anne on September 14th, 2011 12:11 pm

    I second the “My Side of the Mountain” series. My 7 year old and I have read through them twice now and they only got better on the second reading.

    If you want total first grade entertainment, try “Dr. Proctor’s Fart Powder” by Jo Nesbo. Nothing like a subject near and dear to any 6 year old….

  21. Kate on September 14th, 2011 12:11 pm

    I just read James and the Giant Peach to my daughter, who’s a bit younger, as her first chapter book, and it was a huge hit. I have plans for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as well; I think Dahl’s books are comprehensible and engaging for younger kids.

    We’re currently reading Alice and Wonderland, at her request, and it’s not going nearly as well.

  22. Kate on September 14th, 2011 12:12 pm

    Alice IN Wonderland. Jeez.

  23. tina on September 14th, 2011 12:12 pm

    if riley is anything like my son, captain underpants will make him love reading. as long as you don’t mind farting/burping/pooping jokes. but as you have two sons, it’s probably just fine…

    also, we loved the magic schoolbus stories as well. a good mix of pictures and story, and learning along the way.

    have fun!

  24. Tamara on September 14th, 2011 12:15 pm

    I think a few of these are mentioned above but here are some of my faves:

    The Trumpet of the Swan
    Stuart Little
    Charlotte’s Web
    Farmer Boy
    The Boxcar Children
    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
    The Witches by Roald Dahl
    The BFG
    The Cricket in Times Square

    Such a fun time!

  25. Crystal on September 14th, 2011 12:15 pm

    There are two more books in the Ralph series, for starters and I second all the Clearys and How To Train Your Dragon.

    We just found The Time Warp Trio and my Kinder boy and 3 grader girl both love them. Most are available on kindle, etc as well. I like to do voices for them so these are great fun. Not the deepest literature but I enjoy the sarcastic humor twist. Age appropriate of course. I’m trying to raise two smart asses who are also nice ppl here so it’s a fine line!

    My 5 yr old has seen the H. Potter movies and plays the lego game. We just started the first book (I’ve read all and love them) and he’s doing really well because he already knows these characters. But me doing drama voices + a bit more story has him intrigued.

  26. Reading (and chickens) on September 14th, 2011 12:16 pm

    Yes. Captain Underpants. (Also, your son might be afraid to use the bathroom afterwards, but it’s so hilarious to torture mine this way that it’s worth it.)

  27. Rachel on September 14th, 2011 12:16 pm

    I have been reading the Flat Stanley books to my 4 1/2 year old. She also misses the pictures and i wonder if she is always paying attention, but she continues to ask for them. I secretly think she just enjoys taking the bookmark in and out at the beginning and the end. Hey, whatever it takes.

  28. Kate on September 14th, 2011 12:17 pm

    though it’s not a chapter book i like the poetry compilations of shel silverstein “where the sidewalk ends” etc. it’s silly and gross and just right for a 6 year old boy with a short attention span. you might skip some of the darker ones though depending on your boy’s disposition.

  29. Amy on September 14th, 2011 12:19 pm

    I find to my great dismay that my children don’t actually enjoy most of the books that I loved as a kid. The books that really turned my 6 year old boy into a reader were the Diary of Wimpy Kid series. He loved those. Captain Underpants he liked too. I’ve tried the Great Brain, Boxcar Kids, Hardy Boys, the Soup books, even Where the Red Fern Grows and he was not at all interested. In 2nd grade he got totally into Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson series but I think those are too old for Riley just yet. You could try the Magic Treehouse series–I see other kids at school reading those although my boy was not interested.

  30. Amy on September 14th, 2011 12:20 pm

    We tried My side of the Mountain too, which he read, but wasn’t thrilled about. boo. I loved that book!

  31. kristinc on September 14th, 2011 12:20 pm

    My 6 and 4 year old enjoyed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But our all-time favorites are the Magic Treehouse series. They LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

  32. Lynn on September 14th, 2011 12:22 pm

    Sideways Stories from Wayside School are very funny!

  33. Casey on September 14th, 2011 12:23 pm

    Hank the Cow Dog books! Great for boys, and fun/funny with poop/fart/pee jokes laced in for more BOY fun… (boys, yeesh). My son loved ‘em!

  34. Stephanie Parnell on September 14th, 2011 12:24 pm

    I know it’s Dylan that likes horses but I absolutely loved when my mom read me Misty of Chincoteauge and there are a few pictures in it too :) Here is the link on wiki and there are actually 1 or 2 follow up books on it too.

  35. Anonymous on September 14th, 2011 12:25 pm

    Roald Dahl and Charlotte’s Web (though that is SAD — on that note, I LOVED Where the Red Fern Grows when I was about 8) have already been mentioned but are so great they need more votes! :)

  36. Melospiza on September 14th, 2011 12:25 pm

    Roald Dahl books, E.B. White, Beverly Cleary…yes. What really caught the attention immediately of both my girl & my boy, though, was The Wizard of Oz.

    I also read The Secret Garden to my boy when he was about Riley’s age and thought he would be turned off by the whole “it’s about a girl” thing. It’s a bit of a cliff-hanging page-turner in the middle, though, and he really glommed on.

  37. Catherine on September 14th, 2011 12:26 pm

    James and the Giant Peach
    How to Train Your Dragon series
    Mrs Piggle Wiggle
    Paddington Bear
    Magic Tree House, doesn’t matter the order and the NF accompanying books are wonderful

    try this, or

    comes in handy when trying to get ideas about what to get from the library – so many choices that aren’t grouped ability

  38. Tricia on September 14th, 2011 12:27 pm

    Roald Dahl was a hit with our son:
    The Enormous Crocodile
    The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me
    Revolting Rhymes
    Dirty Beasts

    The Wind in the Willows
    Where the Sidewalk Ends
    Calvin & Hobbes

  39. Stephanie on September 14th, 2011 12:30 pm

    My Father’s Dragon. There are three, and they are wonderful. They even have (some) pictures!

  40. Jen on September 14th, 2011 12:30 pm

    Such a fabulous post! We read Trumpet of the Swan this summer (7yo) and loved every single word….it’s so BOY and LITERATURE at the same time! He was so into it that he actually TEARED up at one point.

    The Magic Tree House series are good for my son because he loves non-fiction–so it kept his interest to read things about, say, the Revolutionary War, and then we would check out kid versions of those topics to supplement the story.

    I was a first grade teacher and found it especially important to engage boys in reading at this age….go for whatever captures his interest. You might want to even look at kid chapter comic books because he can pour over images for long periods of time, which fosters that love of books as a chosen pastime and not just something ‘we have to do at bedtime.” KWIM?

    Also, going back to The Mouse and the Motorcycle–I had to explain what an ashtray is and aspirin. It totally made me gasp that they would give a child an aspirin :)

  41. barb. on September 14th, 2011 12:32 pm

    My six year old loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and we are currently reading the Chronicles of Narnia (which as an adult is full of slap-you-down Christian allegory, but which I never noticed when I was a child, so I am sure the same is true for him). The Magic Tree House series are books I could not bear to read aloud. I tried it and… no. NO. On the other hand, my nine year old, as a second grader lo these many years ago (two! *sniff*), LOVED Magic Tree House. Fortunately, they were books he could read by himself.

    When the nine year old was six, I read the 1st Harry Potter book to him. But I only recommend doing that if you want the TIME COMMITMENT because OMG those chapters! the mommy tears! and also THE BOOKS GET LONGER and *what if* Riley is like my son and insists that you read the ENTIRE SERIES. We started in late KG and finished by the end of second grade. Even now, the books he wants to read and enjoys the most follow that same mold of a fantasy world with a boy hero.

  42. akofaolain on September 14th, 2011 12:33 pm

    My son (6 years old) and I spent the summer working our way through the Magic Tree House books and now we’ve gone on to the Merlin Missions. He loves them (and so do I).

  43. Nik-Nak on September 14th, 2011 12:34 pm

    High In The Clouds by Paul McCartney and a few others. It’s a shortish chapter book FILLED with beautiful illustrations. My husband bought it because a Beatle wrote it but my 2 year old LOVES it, even though it way to advanced for her.

  44. Lori on September 14th, 2011 12:37 pm

    The Magic Treehouse series is a favorite with my 6-year-old. He also really liked,My Father’s Dragon series, Mr. Popper’s Penguins
    and all the Nate the Great books.

  45. Carmen on September 14th, 2011 12:39 pm

    I have a 5.5 year old boy. So far, we’ve read:

    Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
    Charlie & The Great Glass Elevator
    The Wizard of Oz
    James & the Giant Peach (he didn’t like it – too scary)
    Ramona the Pest
    Ramona the ….. (one other Ramona one, can’t remember)
    Winnie the Pooh

    Right now we’re reading the first Harry Potter, because I really want him to read it before seeing the movie. But I think he might be a bit too young. His mind wanders more than it did with the other books. (His item of choice isn’t Lego, but a flashlight that he waves around.)

  46. Aubrey on September 14th, 2011 12:39 pm

    Charlotte’s Web and the Boxcar Children. All of my other suggestions would be girl-oriented. :)

  47. Amy Pollak on September 14th, 2011 12:41 pm

    Magic Tree House (bonus, they learn something too!) are a favorite around here and there are 45 of them so they’ll keep you busy for a bit. We also like Captain Underpants for a laugh, and the My Father’s Dragon trilogy is a must.

  48. aimee @ smilingmama on September 14th, 2011 12:41 pm

    Lucas is just a few months younger than Riley and his mind is exploding right now over the Magic Tree House books. We’ve just finished the first two but he’s begging for more (heading to the library soon, I promise :) :)

  49. Aimee on September 14th, 2011 12:45 pm

    Just have to add my voice to The Magic Treehouse suggestions. It’s the first series both my boys started reading on their own, and they’re interesting enough to hold an adult reader’s attention, too.

  50. Dala on September 14th, 2011 12:46 pm

    These are all heavily illustrated chapter book series but they may be a little easier than you want… (otherwise I agree with all the others about the Magic Tree House books).

    1. Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant
    2. Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant
    3. Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa series by Erica Silverman
    4. Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo
    5. Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown

    Our favorites from the above list were the Mr. Putter and Tabby books and the Cowgirl Kate books.

    I did a whole post on how difficult it is to find illustrated early chapter books on my blog. (

  51. Emily on September 14th, 2011 12:47 pm

    I have a 6 1/2 year old boy. The Nate the Great books are awesome…they aren’t chapter books but are a good transition to chapter books.
    Cam Jansen
    Tashi is also a fantastic series.
    I second the Magic Tree House books and My Father’s Dragon series, and How to Train Your Dragon. Which have little resemblance to the movie aside from character names, setting, and dragons, but are great.
    We’ve read one Roscoe Riley, my son liked it more than I did. Of course, I’m not the target audience, soo…

  52. aileen on September 14th, 2011 12:47 pm

    Mercy Watson!!! Its about a pig and her adventures.

    Freckle Juice was a big hit.

    Also, as I’m reading I tend to edit if the passages are too long. I scan and condense.

  53. Katherine on September 14th, 2011 12:49 pm

    When Riley complains about the lack of pictures, or even when he doesn’t, stop and ask him to see the picture in his mind and describe it to you. Then you can remind him of it later and let him draw or paint it.

  54. Shana on September 14th, 2011 12:51 pm

    My Father’s Dragon
    Magic Treehouse
    Eragon (what? My 6 yr old loved it!)
    Encyclopedia Brown

  55. Melissa on September 14th, 2011 12:53 pm

    +1 for Magic Treehouse!

  56. agirlandaboy on September 14th, 2011 12:53 pm

    Question for you (or the peanut gallery): How long do you spend reading a bedtime book each night. We have a solid two-book rule (short picture books = 5-10 minutes total), and I’m kind of dreading the point at which we veer into chapter-book territory and the bedtime routine will take twice (or three times) as long.

  57. Jessica on September 14th, 2011 12:54 pm

    Mercy Watson is a cute one! I loved Fantastic Mr. Fox by Dahl (hated the movie), Beverly Cleary books, Kate DiCamillo, and I know the Magic Tree House books are a huge hit. I love the Redwall series but it’s full of crazy accents that are really, really hard to read aloud!

  58. Amber on September 14th, 2011 12:54 pm

    The Bad Kitty books are popular in my house – these are in the chapter format but also have lots of pictures. My daughter’s favorite was the birthday party one.

    Olivia and the Brontosaurus is a super-fun read (for me and the kiddos), which is also in chapter format — but many of the chapters are very short and there are three chapter thirteens! (Three endings, in other words.)

    James and the Giant Peach was fun, too!

    Right now we are slogging through Matilda, which is not working so well for us.

    I kind of recommend against the Magic Treehouse books. The first four or so are tolerable, but I hated reading them out loud. They’re barely a step up from the “I Can Read Books.” After a while the plot got a little off for my kids. They liked the adventures but didn’t appreciate/understand the magical librarian concept.

  59. Sarah in Huntsville on September 14th, 2011 12:56 pm

    The Indian in the Cupboard

    The Castle in the Attic

    And you can never go wrong with Roald Dahl!

  60. Shannon on September 14th, 2011 12:56 pm

    My 7yo tomboy-y girl is liking the newer Hardy Boys books. She hated Junie B. Jones (my other kid loved them, so who the hell knows?)

  61. Miranda on September 14th, 2011 12:57 pm

    I loved James and the Giant Peach, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and Charlotte’s Web.

  62. Nichole on September 14th, 2011 12:57 pm

    Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson series and the Flat Stanley books are big hits around here.

  63. Melissa H on September 14th, 2011 12:58 pm

    Magic Tree House series is excellent for boys and girls and I’d suggest anything by Roald Dahl. My daughter couldn’t get into James and the Giant Peach (!) but loved Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox and sort of loves The Twits.

  64. RA on September 14th, 2011 12:58 pm

    I loved Roald Dahl books at that age, and The BFG is a good one for boys. Lots of funny imagery. My very favorite was Matilda.

  65. tawnya on September 14th, 2011 1:02 pm

    We’ve done the How to Train Your Dragon series (which is awesome) and we are currently doing a mystery a night through the Encyclopedia Brown series from when I was a kid. Also, we have more Beverly Cleary books to plow through soon.

  66. Sunshyn on September 14th, 2011 1:03 pm

    I’m gonna second Henry and Mudge for a six-year old. Also, we just discovered Patricia Polacco. They’re not chapter books, but they’re lovely.

  67. Pete on September 14th, 2011 1:04 pm

    My kids liked it when I put my own spin on what the books said.

  68. heather on September 14th, 2011 1:09 pm

    Do they still make the choose your own adventure books? Man, I loved those as a kid.

  69. Rachel on September 14th, 2011 1:11 pm

    The sequels to *The Mouse and the Motorcycle* are fun, as are (to us) ALL of Beverly Cleary’s books. My boy loved the ones involving Henry and Ribsy. Roald Dahl has great readalouds for that age, and you might even go classic and try some of Kipling’s Just So Stories. (Read them to yourself first — some of them, as a product of their time, have some blatant race-related stuff, and you might want to skip or alter those stories.) They are fantastic for reading out loud, especially “The Elephant’s Child”.

    Also, I used to let my kids draw pictures from the story while I read out loud. It might help your picture-missing boy… :)

  70. Rachel on September 14th, 2011 1:13 pm

    Oh oh oh Homer Price. (Talk about having to explain a phone cord, though…) Bonus: there are occasional pictures. :)

  71. Sarah on September 14th, 2011 1:15 pm

    I highly recommend Swallows and Amazons. He may be a bit young for this right now, but it’s an amazing series. Especially the first installation. Excellent for a young boy – a wonderful story of adventure and imagination. A true classic.

  72. tina on September 14th, 2011 1:20 pm

    @heather – yeah! my son LOVES those choose your own adventure books and they do still make them!!

  73. Sarah on September 14th, 2011 1:25 pm

    Try the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems as a substitute for the I Can Read series. Way more fun.

  74. Heather on September 14th, 2011 1:33 pm

    My daughter loves Where the Sidewalk Ends…She also loved the “Frog and Toad” books by Arnold Lobel. Those are nice because they are more like short story collections. I sixtousandth the Magic Treehouse books and the Cam Jansen Mysteries by David Adler. (These are all recommended by my 9 year old daughter, who is standing here telling me what to type!)

  75. Elizabeth on September 14th, 2011 1:35 pm

    We’ve been reading chapter books to our kiddo since before he was born (it was more to save our sanity). We’ve read a ton of books already mentioned but some I would like to add as possibilities are:
    Pippi Longstocking
    The Graveyard Book (a bit dark, so you might want to read it yourself first)
    The Borrowers Series
    and classics like Peter Pan & Treasure Island

  76. HollyLynne on September 14th, 2011 1:40 pm

    My boy is 16 months, so we aren’t quite there yet. However, being total science geeks, my husband and I were gifted with a copy of George’s Secret Key To The Universe by Stephen Hawking and we are MAJORLY looking forward to reading it to Rhys when he is old enough!

  77. Tatiana on September 14th, 2011 1:47 pm

    Comments have mentioned most I would recommend but I didn’t see anyone bring up Ursula Le Guin. She’s mostly know for some middle school sci-fi, I guess. We haven’t gone there. I stumbled onto her Catwings series and my six year old (and four year old too) love them. There’s only about 6 chapters per volume and maybe four volumes. You can mix up the order without too much confusion. We must have read the series four times over this summer.

  78. Cindi on September 14th, 2011 1:47 pm

    My son recently turned 7 and he loved reading the, Captain Underpants series. It has a good amount of pictures and is interactive for young listeners who are not able to read for themselves.

  79. Erin on September 14th, 2011 1:47 pm

    Personally I would leave Captain Underpants for him to read by himself. Those books work as good bribes for six-year-old boys.

    I also disagree with Magic Treehouse. Well, maybe the first one. They are extremely formulaic. My SIL is a reading teacher and she said they are designed for kids to read on their own. And they will make you CRAZY with the uninspired writing. Seriously, save yourself and don’t read them aloud.

    I do agree with Roald Dahl — such rich language and fun stories! Mr. Popper’s Penguins. How To Train Your Dragon. Have fun!

  80. Mama Ritchie on September 14th, 2011 1:49 pm

    We’ve been doing chapter books, but I have to admit I’m super lazy. I download them from either Audible or the library. We listen on the iPad. My favorite series has been Flat Stanley. It’s really innocent and Charlie thought they were hilarious. We’ve read a couple other series (Ready, Freddie and Horrid Henry) that were funny but had a lot of poopy talk and shit like that. Also bullying stuff, name calling, etc. I was surprised because they had high ratings. But I mean, that’s the stuff that comes with 1st grade, I guess. I’ll be writing down all of the suggestions from the comments – very helpful!

  81. Sandy W on September 14th, 2011 1:49 pm

    My 5 year old really likes the Stink books. He is Judy Moody’s sister. He especially liked The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt. The book was in color and did have a few pictures.

  82. Maria on September 14th, 2011 1:54 pm

    The Henry and Mudge series. The illustrations are really cute and the books are short enough that it doesn’t take long to finish one and move on to the next.

  83. KHD on September 14th, 2011 1:55 pm

    When he’s a little older, I would recommend the House of Dies Drear.

  84. Tony on September 14th, 2011 1:56 pm

    Another vote for the Magic Tree House. Quick chapters for a good pre-bedtime read with some illustrations and I think almost 50 books to choose from at this point.

    Haven’t tried them yet, browsed through one of them at the book store, but the Oliver Moon books look good, especially with Halloween coming up.

  85. Tiffany on September 14th, 2011 2:05 pm

    The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards.

  86. sarah on September 14th, 2011 2:07 pm

    second for bunnicula. so hilarious & super smart. i read it to my 6 y/o girl & 5 y/o boy and we all LOVED it & laughed out loud thru the whole thing. we’ve also done little house on the prairie (husband loved that one b/c non-fiction), owls of gahoole #1 (too advanced), the secret garden (also too advanced) & a little princess (easier), mrs. piggle wiggle (great), all the ramona books (also wonderful). we like to read a book and then watch the movie & compare. oh yes, and mr. popper’s penguins. that was great because the chapters were short enough to read one per night & no one lost interest. also! pippi longstocking. there’s an EXCELLENT edition of pippi that is fully illustrated by the illustrator of the charlie & lola books – look for it. lots of roald dahl, also charlotte’s web. i personally have always found the narnia books a bit boring – but maybe my kids were just too young for them. i just ordered my father’s dragon but it hasn’t arrived yet, looking forward to that one, i keep hearing about it.

  87. Tiffany on September 14th, 2011 2:07 pm

    Oh! And “My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George, too, though that might give him ideas to go live in the woods or something.

  88. Maureen on September 14th, 2011 2:09 pm

    My daughter loved the Magic Treehouse, especially since the girl character’s name is the same as hers. Does Riley’s class do a Scholastic order? I did them for my daughter’s class for years, thus ensuring we would constantly have an influx of new books. So reasonable too-it used to be free shipping with anything over $25-not sure if it still is. I would do the class order so the teacher didn’t have to deal with it, and it worked out well.

    I second what Jen said about the chapter comic books, my philosophy is the kids get used to having a book in their hand, and that is everything. I used to work at a bookstore, and some parents wouldn’t buy manga (age appropriate) for their kids, saying it wasn’t a real book. My daughter struggled with reading and I do believe the manga is what kept her interested in books-now at 17 she is an avid reader.

  89. Teresa on September 14th, 2011 2:14 pm

    I second the Harry Potter series (6 is the perfect age to get him started) and Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events. These are so much fun to read aloud and YOU will love them, too! Though, I might suggest you hold off for a couple of years so that Dylan can join in, too. My boys (7 1/2 & 9)use a lot of the elements of these stories in their play together. We also love reading books that have a movie to follow-up – our recent favorite is Holes.
    And just a thumbs up for Junie B. Jones – she’s a kick!

  90. Kate on September 14th, 2011 2:20 pm

    Geronimo Stilton books! They are very visually enticing to kids and great all-around stories. Also A to Z Mysteries. Not a lot of pictures, but good content.

  91. Jo on September 14th, 2011 2:26 pm

    Another vote for Roald Dahl – Matilda, The BFG, The Witches, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory et al…

  92. Katherine on September 14th, 2011 2:41 pm

    Lots of commenters already listed them – but two of our favorite series:
    My Father’s Dragon (all three books) read them so many times last year
    The Magic Treehouse books

    Also a hit: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little (not so much)

  93. sooboo on September 14th, 2011 2:42 pm

    James and the Giant Peach, Phantom Tollbooth and I know it’s not novel length, but some of the best memories I have as a kid are curled up with my brother and sister listening to my mom read us Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the gorier the better.

  94. Racher on September 14th, 2011 2:47 pm

    My son is 6 and a half, so we’re navigating these waters, too. He loved Gooseberry Park, which his Kindergarten teacher recommended and I felt skeptical about, but really thought was well written and even poignant at times. Pippi Longstocking is another good one. Silly and fantastical.

  95. Francesca on September 14th, 2011 2:55 pm

    I loved Wind in the Willows, Charlotte’s Web, and Stuart Little when I was that age. And the Roald Dahl books.

  96. Wendy Wisniewski on September 14th, 2011 2:59 pm

    My 2 boys LOVED a series called the Time Warp Trio by Jon Scieszka. They’re short chapter books, FUNNY, and they’re great read-a-loud books – - which some chapter books are not. And, there’s an added little benefit of getting some history without knowing it’s happening, as the books take them back in time to varios historical times. Plenty of boy stuff, boy talk and boy fun. AND there are some pictures about every other page. All good!!

  97. Michael on September 14th, 2011 3:15 pm

    I’ll echo the sentiments of others and say the Magic Treehouse series – My son really enjoys them, and we can both read them. I’m hoping as he progresses through kindergarten that he just starts reading them on his own.

    But this post was great, since the other comments gave me some great ideas of what to read next!

  98. Eden on September 14th, 2011 3:32 pm

    My son and I read the Mouse and the Motorcycle too. I loved all the Roald Dahl books. My son always laughed his head off at Captain Underpants (totally a little boy’s sense of humour in these ones).

  99. deanna on September 14th, 2011 3:38 pm

    some favorites, and im sure some repeats, but the more votes the better. some of these might be a little old for riley right now, but file them for future reading.

    - the indian in the cupboard series by lynne reid banks. (i *still* go back and read these 20 years later!)
    - maniac magee by jerry spinelli
    - the phantom tollbooth by norton juster
    - harriet the spy by louise fitzhugh

    the thing i love about kids books especially is that if you find a favorite author, they typically have a whole series of books that you will also like. some favorites, all of who have been mentioned here but i still had to give them some love: beverly cleary, roald dahl, judy blume

  100. Laura Smith on September 14th, 2011 3:41 pm

    These may be a bit crude or too old for him in your opinion, but my 7 year old (he started reading them when he was 5 or 6 – an early reader) loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. He’s in 2nd grade now and his chapter book that he has been assigned from school is the first Little House on the Prairie book. Also, we’re reading Harry Potter together at night.

  101. Lesley on September 14th, 2011 3:45 pm

    I’ll put in a big vote for the Hank the Cowdog books! There’s enough humor in there to entertain the adult who is reading them, too.

    My dad’s sister read them to her kindergarteners, and then to my kids, using voices of the characters in the books. Then my dad read them to my kids using voices. When we returned home from that particular vacation with our introduction to Hank the Cowdog, I walked by my older son’s room. He was reading one of the books out loud to himself – using all the voices!


  102. tanya on September 14th, 2011 4:12 pm

    Dr. Doolittle
    Uncle Wiggily
    The Wind in the Willows
    Anything by Roald Dahl
    Abel’s Island

    what wonderful memories

  103. g~ on September 14th, 2011 4:20 pm

    We’ve read some hefty ones (which required explanation but our son LOVED THEM and can still recall the story lines). We started with the heavy ones when he was around Riley’s age. Actually, I think it helped that my husband has been the chapter book reader while I have maintained the picture book reader status.
    *Swiss Family Robinson (followed by movie)
    *Call of the Wild
    *Black Beauty
    *Harry Potter (followed by movie(s))
    *Watership Down
    *Gregor the Overlander

    My daughter (also 6) loves:
    *Magic Tree House
    *Junie B. Jones
    *Mythical Books (various legends and myths)

    Always glad to have some new book ideas. My son didn’t LOVE Mouse and the Motorcycle but I think it’s because of those odd things he didn’t understand (like telephone cord, aspirin, etc.)

  104. Amy on September 14th, 2011 4:25 pm

    Too funny!! We’re reading Runaway Ralph right now!! Must be a continuation of what you are reading now! You’ve already had so many good suggestions hard to add to it. There is a group of books kind of like magic treehouse but geared to younger readers called Dinosaur Cove. My boys liked those. One of my favorites was an old scholastic book I got when I was in school (yes they had school way back then my smart alec son) is called Rascal. it’s about a boy who raises a racoon. After this my oldest found Treasure Island in a box of my old books so we will be moving on to that (my boys are 6 and 9)

  105. Shawna on September 14th, 2011 4:29 pm

    Our first was Stuart Little because the kids love the movies. Alas, he’s a stuffy, priggish, pompous little mouse in the original print. Bleah.

    Charlotte’s Web is way better if memory serves.

  106. Shawna on September 14th, 2011 4:30 pm

    BTW, now that I’ve done such a great job of talking it up to you, if you do decide you want to give Stuart a go, let me know. I’d be happy to mail you our copy.

  107. Sharri on September 14th, 2011 4:32 pm

    Beverly Cleary – The Ramona books (although it’s about a girl, it’s funny for boys). Stuart Little, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

  108. Rachel on September 14th, 2011 4:37 pm

    I have always valued reading aloud to the young students I teach. I find that it is the most calm part of the day and the kids really look forward to relaxing into the story and soon are chomping at the bit to catch up on what will happen next. Many of the books I have picked have had content that needed censored, but I can only imagine that you are an expert at thinking on your feet and ad libing some. Beyond that, I think the kids learn so much from the content, vocabulary, and quality time read aloud provide.
    Some of my favorite reading experiences with young ones include:
    Charlotte’s Web
    Mary Poppins (LOVED this)
    The Mouse and the Motorcycle (the sequel to this was requested by the students and they like it a lot too.)

  109. Amy on September 14th, 2011 4:42 pm

    Ooh ooh! Our faves have been “Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon” for Ruth Stiles Gannet. Kept my rugrats *spellbound*.

  110. Sozie on September 14th, 2011 4:49 pm

    How to Eat Fried Worms!

  111. Shann on September 14th, 2011 4:50 pm

    Magic Treehouse was very popular here but I agree they are awful to read as an adult! (give me Roald Dahl any day!) We got copies of the Magic Treehouse books and also copies of the stories on CD so our reluctant reader could follow along with the book (or just listen). This method also had our keen preschooler teach herself to read. Our son *hated* to read (has ADD so had alot of literacy issues) now can’t be dragged away from a book! The Magic Treehouse was a good start but the Zac Power series is what switched on the love of reading for him.

  112. goingloopy on September 14th, 2011 4:54 pm

    I love the idea of the Choose Your Own Adventure books…having an impact on the outcome is always fun. As a kid, I also loved the first few Narnia books, Boxcar Children, Shel Silverstein, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (bonus: you could watch both movies and ask him to compare both of them to each other and the books), the Great Brain, and, well, pretty much everything in print, I learned to read early and I read a LOT. I read the Gregor the Overlander and the Percy Jackson books recently, and they would probably be fun for a kid. Also, Charlotte’s Web, A Wrinkle in Time (and sequels)…I seem to remember my brother reading a lot of the same stuff, but I think he also read some Hardy Boys. Finally, I remember a couple of books we had in elementary school called “Bet You Can” and “Bet You Can’t”. They had a bunch of neat and mostly non-destructive tricks to try…things like licking your elbow and rhyming with orange. We had a lot of fun with them.

  113. Jan Ross on September 14th, 2011 4:56 pm

    I read “The Miraculous Adventures of Edward Tulane” to my kindergarten students and they loved it. Just noticed they are making a movie of it too. Also they would howl with laughter over “All about Sam”.

  114. kim on September 14th, 2011 5:14 pm

    Wow; so many comments I had to stop reading, so I apologize if someone else suggested these.

    I was going to say JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH (our teacher read it to us in first grade and the images are STILL vivid in my mind). A great favorite of mine were the Chronicles of Prydain, the first book of which is THE BOOK OF THREE. They were some of the first books I read . . . sooooo loved them. Here’s Wikipedia on them:

  115. Sarah Bell on September 14th, 2011 5:48 pm

    We’ve read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle”, “The BFG”, and “The Phantom Tollbooth” to Elliott so far and he has loved them all. In fact, he loved “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” so much we read it twice (much smother going the second time through). Plus, it’s fun for us to be able to revisit books we remember reading when we were kids. :)

  116. Megsie on September 14th, 2011 5:54 pm did posts on 6 year old boys a while ago, many are listed here though.

  117. jules on September 14th, 2011 6:14 pm

    Found alot of books for my daughter at Kohl’s for Kids @ Kohl’s department stores. Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin was one of her faves. Short, funny, great illustrations and has a nice tempo. Dr. Suess and other famous authors hardcover books can be found for great prices sometimes with stuffed animals to go with them for like $5 each and some of the proceeds go to children’s non-profit organizations.

  118. jules on September 14th, 2011 6:16 pm

    P.S. I know those aren’t chapter books, but she really didn’t get into those until she was around 7 yrs. old…so we just kept reading these types of books until then.

  119. Sabrina on September 14th, 2011 6:21 pm

    We are into the same kinds of books right now. Ralph S. Mouse was actually a little too much for my kids–we didn’t make it to the end, probably because not enough pictures. But I have mildly enjoyed the Geronimo Stilton books and I think a 6 year old boy would especially like them. (Yes, a bit annoying, but totally survivable and an acceptable exchange for getting them into the idea of reading on their own.) Otherwise, we read girls’ books. Think Riley would like the Rainbow Fairies? Ha.

    I noticed Ronald Dahl mentioned–I’m a fan of his, but some of the stuff can be quite dark. My kids recently watched his book-turned-movie The Big Friendly Giant and really, really liked it. I keep meaning to check out the book and skim through to see if it’s mild enough for them. Just a thought!

  120. melanie on September 14th, 2011 6:33 pm

    The Henry & Mudge books are great for shorter “chapters” – you can do them in one sitting, but they still have that longer book feel and they also have great, fun pictures. Mr. Putter books (by the same author) are awesome, too. For longer stuff, anything by Roald Dahl is awesome, and things like The Twits or George’s Marvelous Medicine (I have a feeling Riley might love that one) are shorter but still a little more of a challenge. My son was starting to get into Goosebumps at that age, too, but he’s a weirdo and they’re not that fun to read as a grown-up, so that’s your call. ;) We also read aloud Charlotte’s Web and Trumpet of the Swan and Stuart Little and A Wrinkle in Time at that age… any of those classics are classics for a reason and they should be able to hold his interest pretty well (maybe not Wrinkle yet, but the others). Really, best advice – go with what he likes. If it’s about something he’s totally interested in, he’s probably going to be interested in the book. And talk about it (which you’re obviously already doing) – it makes it so much more real and part of your actual life, you know?

    I envy you, I miss reading aloud!! My boy is 9 now and we read side-by-side but it’s not quite the same. Have fun. :)

  121. melanie on September 14th, 2011 6:35 pm

    Oh, and Sideways Stories from Wayside School!! Something someone else replied just made me think of that, and those are awesome, awesome chapter books and so freaking funny (even for grown-ups, because they are just off the wall weird). And Bunnicula. Unless vampires might freak him out, but it is told with a light hand. And someone mentioned Gregor the Overlander, which is awesome but VERY violent and a little dark (a lot of death) so I’d read yourself first and see what you think.

  122. Jen on September 14th, 2011 6:39 pm

    I am sure someone already suggested this but I didn’t see it in quick scan I did of the comments. Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of my all time favourite books.

  123. Bruja on September 14th, 2011 6:45 pm

    All good suggestions. The Gregor the Overlander series is awesome.

  124. Elly on September 14th, 2011 6:59 pm

    MATILDA!! And anything else Roald Dahl.

  125. CindyAz on September 14th, 2011 7:02 pm

    I loved reading the Hank the Cowdog series to my sons who are now 12 & 13. I loved these books because there were so many characters to do voices for and they were entertaining to me as well as the kids. So funny and just a few small illustrations. Highly recommend.

  126. KateMac on September 14th, 2011 7:07 pm

    You can’t go wrong with Roald Dahl. My daughter loved ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Matilda.’ Now we’re starting on ‘The BFG,’ and I think it may be her favorite so far.

  127. KateMac on September 14th, 2011 7:08 pm

    (PS. One bonus to Roald Dahl books: there are quite a few illustrations!)

  128. Allison Martin on September 14th, 2011 7:09 pm

    Junie B. Jones is a favorite of ours… the boys don’t get some of the humor, but hoo boy. I do :) Also, anything by Roald Dahl, and Beverly Cleary as a rule. I also have Mrs Piggle wiggle… but my boys didn’t really like them. I have My Father’s Dragon set aside for future reading as well, oh and the boxcar children.

  129. Gina on September 14th, 2011 7:41 pm

    I love all the Ralph S Mouse books – I read them as a child & couldn’t wait to read them to my kids.

  130. Christina on September 14th, 2011 7:56 pm

    My son is six and we have read our way the past couple of years through a pile of chapter books. Charlotte’s Web, Edward Tulane (any of the books by this author, Kate I cannot remember her last name Disalvo maybe… she also wrote the Mercy Watson series which are silly easy fun reads with more pictures), The Magic Treehouse series, anything Beverly Cleary and some Rohl Dahl, The Kingdom Keepers, Junie B Jones, Peter and the Starcatchers, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, there are tons more… just keep exploring the shelves at B&N and Amazon and the library. We have tried some and stopped (The Witches which he hated, it scared him!) All he wants us to read to him now are chapter books and we work through them a few chapters a night. I love it because I get to relive being a kid!

  131. Christy on September 14th, 2011 8:01 pm

    Geronimo Stilton books are fun to read, and they have a few pictures which make the adjustment to chapter books a little easier.

  132. Jen on September 14th, 2011 8:01 pm

    Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad stories have entertaining pictures and friendship and simplicity. And the musical is great too!

  133. Adrienne on September 14th, 2011 8:08 pm

    I remember my teachers reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School. It’s good for young listeners and humorous. As a teacher, my students also loved Maniac Magee- they asked me about it years after we read it. I personally loved reading Frog and Toad to myself as a 6 year old, along with Charlotte’s Web.

  134. Karen on September 14th, 2011 8:23 pm

    I kind of edit as I read (add the contractions!) It helps.

    I’m reading Geronimo Stilton books with my six year old. He also loved Captain Underpants. And Ricky Ricotta.

  135. jess on September 14th, 2011 8:30 pm

    Time Warp Trio series. Funny, entertaining, light, and a fabulous vehicle for teaching history. When I was teaching 5th grade I read these to my students and they loved them. Now my 6&7 year old are reading them and my son thinks they’re hilarious.

  136. Melissa on September 14th, 2011 9:13 pm

    We love the Sideways Stories from Wayside School. The chapters are fairly short and the humor is goofy and silly and my kids love it!

  137. Lise on September 14th, 2011 9:35 pm

    At six my kids loved the books by Dick King-Smith. Also the Hank the Cowdog series. And Charlotte’s Web.

  138. Cara on September 14th, 2011 10:43 pm

    We’ve read a bunch of the Magic Treehouse books and my 6 year old liked them. We’ve recently started the Spiderwick Chronicles books. There’s a picture every few pages…enough to hold his attention.

  139. jody on September 14th, 2011 11:50 pm

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    James and the Giant Peach
    Mr. Popper’s Penguins (before the movie came out, and we haven’t actually even seen the movie yet…)

    I tried one of the “Ramona” books, but he was not interested AT ALL.

    The Mouse and the Motorcycle is next on my list!

  140. Marna - jwoap on September 14th, 2011 11:50 pm

    Mrs. Pigglewiggle series:)

  141. Laurie on September 15th, 2011 12:28 am

    Lots of great suggestions here! My boys loved the Bunnicula books–how can you not love a carrot juice sucking bunny?

  142. Jennifer in Germany on September 15th, 2011 4:04 am

    What a great post! I loved reading through the comments and being reminded of some great books I’ve forgotten about or couldn’t remember the title.

    Also: “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” (much better–than the movie as most books are–the movie is an almost unrecognizable rewrite)

    And one of our favorites that I am surprised I didn’t notice mentioned, “Treasure Island”. It’s fun to get your pirate accent down. We had a Playmobil pirate ship that I used to help my boys visualize the ship as we were reading. I love that periodically the boys will throw out,

    “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest—
    Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
    Drink and the devil had done for the rest—
    Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”


  143. Tricia on September 15th, 2011 4:21 am

    seriously? the telephone cord? holy crap i feel old all of a sudden!

    When I was a kid, and it was my Dad’s turn to put me to bed, he read me some story about a turtle that I dont quite remember. Helpful, no?

  144. Emily on September 15th, 2011 5:48 am

    I’m going to try to keep this short, by which I mean “fewer than 100 authors”. Here goes!

    On the “I Can Read” level, Arnold Lobel is really great. He wrote the “Frog and Toad” books. They’re a LOT less painful than similar “I Can Read” books. Also, there are new “I Can Read”s that are “Read With Me”, where the child reads the easy text and the adult has a page with real sentences with contractions. If you think Riley would go for that, those might be worth looking for.

    I remember loving the Miss Mallard Mysteries by Robert Quackenbush. I love Beverly Cleary, but she’s not as popular with kids as she used to be. E.B. White (”Charlotte’s Web”, “Stuart Little”) is still very popular. So is “Farmer Boy”. “Captain Underpants” is hugely popular. Matt Christopher writes books about sports for younger readers that are very popular. I also enjoy the “Horrible Harry” series–they’re similar to Junie B. Jones, but the main character isn’t such an insufferable brat. (Ooh, did I say that out loud?) The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series is great, and I think there’s been a new one put out recently. I also loved the Henry Reed series by Keith Robertson.

    Good luck! There’s so much good stuff out there, I’m sure you’ll find something you and Riley love.

  145. Maggie on September 15th, 2011 5:54 am

    My daughter’s favorite is the BFG (or Big Friendly Giant) by Roald Dahl. I am now reading it to my 5 year old. Also try the “Stink” books by Kate McMullin. He is Judy Moody’s annoying little brother. I think they are totally age appropriate and funny and gross, what kid doesn’t love that!

  146. Maggie on September 15th, 2011 5:54 am

    Here is a link:

  147. Deanna on September 15th, 2011 6:14 am This series is fun! The author is also a college chemistry professor and I think it is cool to support an author who write for the love of it. I sooo wish he would write more and I buy these books for gifts all the time.

    ( My kiddo met the author when he visited the school and he was pivotal in turning my comic book loving kiddo (garfield, calvin & hobbes, archie, anime) onto chapter books.

    Relatedly: Books that are banned in our house (yes, I ban books) are the captain underpants, goosbumps and spongebob. I consider my book bans the equivalent of not letting my kids gorge on pixie stix at every meal.

  148. Deanna on September 15th, 2011 6:20 am

    Forgot to mention- they are not chapter books but are great to sneak in some learning -
    The Explorer Wanted series.

    And if your kids like the Magic Schoolbus there are Magic Schoolbus chapterbooks, too.

  149. Lauren on September 15th, 2011 6:37 am

    I still remember – very clearly – being about 6 years old and each night my Dad and I sitting down to read Charlotte’s Web. I’ve kept the tattered paperback all these years and those memories – and that book – are incredibly special to me.

  150. wealhtheow on September 15th, 2011 6:43 am

    Wind in the Willows for sure. GREAT book. Cricket in Times Square.

  151. Amy on September 15th, 2011 7:12 am

    when our kids turn five in our house, they have to read to themselves before bed. Lately all three big kids (9,7,5) like to listen to stories before bed on CD. There favorites are by far the Ramona and Henry Huggins series’.

  152. Rebecca on September 15th, 2011 7:18 am

    Another vote for Charlotte’s Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My boy and I have also been enjoying our foray into chapter books!

  153. Mary Beth on September 15th, 2011 7:27 am

    Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.

    It’s organized both by age group and genre. My mom read aloud to us every night until I was 13 years old (now 29). The handbook was her bible and she found many stories that we still treasure and reference to this day. Long after I was reading on my own, I still looked forward to curling up with her and my brother for the next chapter of our current adventure. She never let me read ahead, so it kept me thinking about the character throughout the day.

  154. Erika on September 15th, 2011 9:18 am

    My 6-year-old loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (I don’t know if you’ll think they are a little inappropriate for the age group) but the way they are written makes them interesting to him (like a kid’s journal) and there are lots of pictures. Even my 4-year-old stays interested, and they are plenty long. Not exactly classics, but they like ‘em. Also Roald Dahl books (the BFG, Matilda, etc) are a big hit. They have pictures too.

  155. Sue M on September 15th, 2011 9:35 am

    Try Edward Eager books – Half Magic, Seven Day Magic, Magic by the Lake… Somewhat Roald Dahlish – clever books about clever and not always perfectly behaved children getting into trouble with magic. There are even a few pictures.

    I’ve also read a few of the Narnia books to my six year old with pretty good success.

  156. Life of a Doctor's Wife on September 15th, 2011 9:44 am

    I agree with everyone who’s recommended Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and everything by Beverly Clearly and Roald Dahl. Judy Blume has some great ones two – Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Freckle Juice are fabulous.

    I loved Hatchet as a kid and The Sign of the Beaver.

    There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom
    Maniac Magee
    There’s a Girl in My Hammerlock
    The Chocolate Touch
    How to Eat Fried Worms
    The War with Grandpa
    The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
    All About Sam

    The My Teacher Is an Alien series is fabulous. Bruce Coville has tons of other wonderful books. The Cam Jansen mysteries and Encyclopedia Brown and Nate the Great.

    Oh my gosh – how fun to be able to start reading these books with your son. I remember some of these books as vividly as if I’d read them yesterday – and they definitely launched my love for reading and writing.

  157. Simon on September 15th, 2011 9:54 am

    The Decameron of Boccaccio.

  158. Rachel on September 15th, 2011 10:42 am

    Everyone’s suggestions are so delicious, I agree with all of them. The Hobbit is great to start at this age, one of my best memories of my dad is him reading it to me when I was 5. The Chrestomancy series is delightful. I can’t recommend classic literature enough: Robinson Crusoe, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Swiss Family Robinson, David Copperfield, The Jungle Book (by Rudyard Kipling, not Disney), Zane Grey’s Westerns, A Month of Seven Days, The Great Brain, Gulliver’s Travels, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, A Christmas Carol, anything by Jules Verne, Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, White Fang, Kavik the Wolf Dog, The Little Prince, The Adventures of Pinocchio (by Carlo Collodi, not Disney), Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner (A.A. Milne, not Disney) and everything child-oriented by Dr Suess.

  159. sarah on September 15th, 2011 11:22 am

    +1 for Cricket in times square, my fathers dragon & the phantom tollbooth (which is an awesome movie, too!)

  160. Barb Ruess on September 15th, 2011 11:23 am

    I read chapter books to my 6yo son also – it’s worth the challenge of sitting still! Right now we’re having fun with Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series. I post reviews after each book here:

  161. Leslie on September 15th, 2011 12:18 pm

    I recommend the Little House books. When we started, my girls were just like Riley – hoping for more pictures, not exactly paying attention, but by the time we got to Farmer Boy, they were riveted. We’re reading On The Banks of Plum Creek now and I’m amazed at how often they bring up something we’ve read from the books in the every day doing of things.

    We also love Ivy and Bean books by Annie Barrows. The main characters are girls, but I don’t think they’re too girly. They’re actually pretty hilarious.

  162. Lindsey on September 15th, 2011 12:46 pm

    Great list. Glad you asked the question.

    We have a 5 year old new reader (lvl 1 & 2s). The thing I’m struggling with is whether to read him the beginner chapter books (ala Magic Tree House, Junie B. Jones) myself, or whether to just wait until he’s ready to tackle them on his own.

    The only chapter books we’ve done with him so far were much more advances (Harry Potter, etc.).

  163. Kris on September 15th, 2011 1:58 pm

    To my dismay… Captain Underpants was a constant. Diary of a Wimpy Kid too, although I had to make sure he was actually reading the story and not just cruising the cartoons! We both really enjoyed the Stink Moody series. I tried to get him into Humphrey Hamster but he thought it was lame. Met with more success with the Geronimo Stilton series.

  164. Nikki on September 15th, 2011 3:06 pm

    We read the Lauren Child (of ‘Charlie and Lola’ fame) illustrated version of ‘Pippi Longstocking’ to our 5yo over the summer… she LOVED it. Yeah, it’s about a girl, but Pippi is so outrageous I think any kid would enjoy her antics. I also join the chorus of Roald Dahl recommendations, specifically ‘James and the Giant Peach’ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. We started ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ and Nan got bored after a few chapters. She’s DYING to start the Harry Potter books, but I want to make her wait a few more years.

  165. Shel on September 15th, 2011 3:24 pm

    Sideways Tales from Wayside School (It’s a series) Super Fudge, The Indian in the Cupboard, The Jolly Postman (This one is interactive w/ letters and envelopes you pull out and read!), Hatchet (Riley may like this one as an outdoorman), The Phantom Tollbooth, Where the Sidewalk Ends,

  166. Katie on September 15th, 2011 4:10 pm

    I will buy my kids as many “Magic Treehouse” or similar books as they want–but they must read them to themselves. I get to pick our readaloud book (yep, I’m mean).

    With both of my older ones, we started with “All About Sam” (Lois Lowry) other great “younger” ones have been: Anything Roald Dahl, the whole Ramona series, Socks, the whole “Fourth Grade Nothing” series, the first few Little House books, and the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series.

    For slightly older kids (more second-gradish?): The Phantom Tollbooth, A Wrinkle in Time, Dealing with Dragons (Patrica Wrede, a female princess protagonist, but my son loved it as much as my daughter), Snow Treasure, Number the Stars, and, of course, Harry Potter.

  167. sheilah on September 15th, 2011 4:14 pm

    Oh, yes, the Magic Treehouse books…my son is 8 and still loves them. Also Diary of a Wimpy Kid…I remember the Flat Stanley series as well.

  168. Kate on September 15th, 2011 4:41 pm

    The “Mercy the Pig” series by Kate DiCamillo are pretty cute…

    And the “Frog and Toad” series are ok too.

  169. Lindsay on September 15th, 2011 5:44 pm

    I have to second the fantastic The Great Brain series by John Fitzgerald. Riley might be a smidge young for them but otherwise they’d probably be right up his alley. And for Dylan you should check out the Boy, A Dog, and A Frog series by Mercer Mayer.

  170. Cate on September 15th, 2011 5:50 pm

    The CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS books. He will love them!

  171. Gwen on September 15th, 2011 6:49 pm

    Ursula Vernon’s Dragonbreath books are great, and she has another called Nurk. They may be listed for slightly older kids but I think most 6 year old’s get them.

  172. Frannie on September 15th, 2011 7:41 pm

    The Mossflower series by Brian Jacques is a favorite of mine. I still remember my 3rd grade teacher being so entertaining and funny while she read the story of “Fudge” by Judy Blume to us.

  173. Lucrezia on September 15th, 2011 9:03 pm

    I loved the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe books, except I think the last one (it’s been a while). A Wrinkle In Time was a big favorite, though it might be too advanced. And my mom read us the while Laura Ingalls series when I was a kid, and I’m still fond of them.

  174. Lucrezia on September 15th, 2011 9:05 pm

    Oh, and now that I’m brainstorming, the Boxcar Children books and Nancy Drew (Hardy Boys for him?) were other young kid books I liked. And I read the Hobbit when I was eight; he might be a little young for it now but maybe not.

  175. Michelle on September 15th, 2011 9:06 pm

    The ‘My Father’s Dragon’ trilogy is fantastic! We also loved Cynthia Ryland’s ‘Lighthouse Family’ series (I think there are four in total?) as well as the Boxcar Children books. I’ll second (or whatever) Jim Trelease’s Read-aloud Handbook, also Honey for a Child’s Heart is a similar guidebook. And, don’t be scared off, but Sonlight curriculum’s read aloud literature selections are top notch and give you lists by age/level. IMO, A Wrinkle in Time is one of the best, but not for a 6 yr old just starting to listen to chapter books at bedtime, you know?

  176. brenda on September 16th, 2011 3:03 am

    Try “The Twits” by Roald Dahl. It’s funny and disgusting, stuff a 6YO would like. My son loves it and I use it to get him to practise reading out loud at the funny passages.

  177. JB on September 16th, 2011 7:34 am

    My wife reads your blog and occasionally sends it my way. She did today because I came home yesterday with some chapter books from my school’s library. I am an assistant principal at an elementary school. My son said the same thing about the lack of pictures.

    I brought home some books from the Magic Tree House series by Osbourn. I started with “Night of the Ninjas” or something like that. My son is 5 and likes Power Rangers, so I thought this would be a way in. They are on a 2nd/3rd grade reading level but IF he pays attention, he might comprehend.

    Some others that my librarian suggested were:
    A-Z mysteries
    Junie B Jones
    Magic Tree House by Osbourn
    Books by Gutman – something about things that crazy teachers do
    Ready Freddie by Kline
    Arthur by Brown

  178. Lauren on September 16th, 2011 9:05 am

    I’m reading The Mysterious Benedict Society to my 5 and 10 year old boys. They love it and so do I! I enjoy your blog…thanks for writing!

  179. Cheri on September 16th, 2011 10:33 am

    I haven’t read thru the hundreds of comments here, and I’m sure someone’s already suggested the Superfudge books but…..I remember LOVING those as a kid.

    He’s probably too young still for “Where the Red Fern Grows” but I can remember our teacher reading that to us a chapter a day in maybe 2nd/3rd grade and the entire class was completely enamored with it.

  180. kristylynne on September 16th, 2011 11:06 am

    My 6-year-old boy loves the Henry and Mudge series, which are very short chapter books with pictures. He also loves the “let’s read and find out about science” books. Every one we have has been a big hit. They aren’t really chapter books but cover pretty advanced science topics in simple terms.

  181. Laurel on September 16th, 2011 1:36 pm

    I have a cherished memory of my dad reading me James and the Giant Peach when I was Riley’s age. You’ve gotten tons of great recommendations above too.

  182. Very Bloggy Beth on September 16th, 2011 3:36 pm

    Good choice, I LOVED that book as a kid. I also really liked Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, basically anything by Roald Dahl. I liked the Ramona books too, but those might be girly? I don’t remember.

  183. sara on September 16th, 2011 8:06 pm

    A big thumbs up to my father’s dragon series. They’re great introductory chapter books to read a loud. Once you get going , I aslo like the Roald Dahl books and and The last of the really great whangdoodles. A few people mentioned the read aloud handbook, which was a good resource for me as well.

  184. Donna on September 17th, 2011 2:41 am

    Hope this is not repeated information, but the character of Ralph also appears in two more of Beverly Cleary’s books. The titles are Ralph S. Mouse and Runaway Ralph.

  185. Clarity on September 17th, 2011 6:46 am
  186. Meagan on September 17th, 2011 10:35 am

    The Bromiliad trillogy by Terry Pratchett is awesome. My baby is too young to care what I read him, but I like it a lot, and think 6 would be a good age for it. You’ll enjoy it as much as he does.

    A suggestion I’ve heard for restless readers/listeners is to read to them during mealtimes, so they’re occupied with something else, but not so much that they won’t enjoy the story.

  187. anna samantha on September 17th, 2011 7:43 pm

    I read A Cricket in Times Square (among others)to my kids when they were little. It’s a lovely story and he is the perfect age for it. I also love The 11th Hour by Graeme Base…not a chapter book but an amzingly beautiful illustrated mystery. It’s probably my favorite book of all time.

  188. alyn on September 17th, 2011 9:01 pm

    The Magic Tree House Books

    Anything by Beverly Cleary

    Anything by Eva Ibbotson ( Island of the Aunts, Beasts of Clawstone Castle, etc)

  189. Fiona on September 18th, 2011 10:33 am

    Second Captain Underpants…my son loved these books!

  190. KC Brown on September 18th, 2011 12:30 pm

    I second Misty of Chincoteague and all other Maraget Henry, especially for your horse lover, but my brother wasn’t and he liked them too. I just read an abridged Black beauty to my 3 y/o. I’ll be adding Walter Farley The Black Stallion soon!

  191. SB on September 18th, 2011 8:16 pm

    Roald Dahl! James and the Giant Peach is a good one to start with.

  192. Lindsay on September 19th, 2011 12:12 pm

    You cannot go wrong with Roald Dahl. We are huge fans. Especially Fantastic Mr. Fox and The BFG. The Spiderwick Chronicles were also big hits. And you even get the odd picture. Which usually involved the kids leaping in front of the book for fear of having the page turned before seeing the picture…

  193. ElizabethZ on September 20th, 2011 12:57 am

    I too am in the same boat with the twins about to transition to chapter books at bedtime – they also started kinder this year. I was really glad to see so many votes for the Magic Tree House series because I just bought them nearly the entire set, the first 39 books in the series on ebay for about $1.50 each. They look like a great set of stories, and since my husband is in the process of building them a treehouse I figured what could be more perfect? I will check into some of these other suggestions too, lots of good ideas here. :)

  194. Lindsay on September 21st, 2011 9:32 am

    The Frankie Pickle series by Eric Wight!! Chapter book blended with graphic novel. Fantastic books with a little lesson tossed in. Perfect for boys.

  195. Rose on September 21st, 2011 3:29 pm

    Love all the suggestions! I teach 5th grade and, honestly, read ANYTHING and EVERYTHING all the time to and with your kids. Let your kids see you reading “grown up” stuff, too. My own boys are now almost 19 and 14 (wah!) and up until graduation, we still made time to read aloud together at least a couple times a week (admittedly weird). Check your local library’s web site, as ours offers a service called NoveList and it. is. awesome.

  196. Christina on September 21st, 2011 8:48 pm

    We love Beverly Cleary! I read my 5 year old son the entire Ramona Quimby series (he loved it and we watched Ramona & Beezus after we finished), Henry Higgins, Ribsy, and now we are going through Little House on the Prairie series…which is also loves. I read all of them as a kid and loved them and they are NOT girly!

  197. Ang on September 29th, 2011 10:21 am

    Loads of good suggestions – second the captain underpants books (and the accompanying ook & gluk & super diaper baby series) – we also loved The day my butt went psycho…was the first chapter book our 6yo actually paid attention to. You can tell, we like a bit of crass potty humor at our house.

  198. Kaitlin on October 12th, 2011 3:42 pm

    My Kindergarteners LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Freddie Fernortner, Fearless First Grader! series by Jonathan Rand.

  199. Sara on November 4th, 2011 3:09 pm

    He may not be quite old enough, but the series starting with “The Name of This Book is Secret” is a great read-aloud. My daughter’s teacher started reading the series to her class last year (1st grade). It gets so much better once they are out of those leveled readers! If you are ever near Powell’s Books, the folks who work in the chidren’s section are great with recommendations. We are there far too often; I do try to check books out from the library!

  200. Teri M. on March 21st, 2012 5:46 pm

    I’m super late to this particular party because I’m supposed to be updating my resume and instead decided this would be a good time to catch up on the All & Sundry posts I’ve missed… Aaanywho… If you can find it, I recommend A Toad For Tuesday by Russell E. Erickson. I got to read a bit every night and once I finished I read it over and over and over again through the years. It does have a little bit of, hm, tension, shall we say so maybe read it first.

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