book

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.)

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FFF
FFF
10 years ago

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.

Jas
Jas
10 years ago

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.

Meighan
Meighan
10 years ago

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.

Sonia
Sonia
10 years ago

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.

Alice
Alice
10 years ago

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

Kerstin
Kerstin
10 years ago

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.

hilary
10 years ago

The Boxcar Children were favorites of mine!

Kizz
10 years ago

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.

Fiona
Fiona
10 years ago

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..

Jessica
10 years ago

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

I second the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle recommendation.

Rayne of Terror
10 years ago

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.

Danell
Danell
10 years ago

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.

Sally
Sally
10 years ago

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.

Penne
Penne
10 years ago

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.

D'Ann
10 years ago

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! http://www.magictreehouse.com

Kerry
Kerry
10 years ago

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

Liz @ Microwave Goddess

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!

JennB
JennB
10 years ago

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.

Cathleen
Cathleen
10 years ago

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.

Anne
Anne
10 years ago

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….

Kate
Kate
10 years ago

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.

Kate
Kate
10 years ago

Alice IN Wonderland. Jeez.

tina
tina
10 years ago

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!

Tamara
10 years ago

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!

Crystal
Crystal
10 years ago

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.

Reading (and chickens)
10 years ago

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.)

Rachel
Rachel
10 years ago

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.

Kate
Kate
10 years ago

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.

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

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.

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

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

kristinc
10 years ago

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!

Lynn
Lynn
10 years ago

Sideways Stories from Wayside School are very funny!

Casey
Casey
10 years ago

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!

Stephanie Parnell
Stephanie Parnell
10 years ago

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misty_of_Chincoteague and there are actually 1 or 2 follow up books on it too.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

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! :)

Melospiza
Melospiza
10 years ago

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.

Catherine
10 years ago

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, http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/homePage.do or http://www.arbookfind.com/

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

Tricia
10 years ago

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

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

Stephanie
Stephanie
10 years ago

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

Jen
Jen
10 years ago

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 :)

barb.
barb.
10 years ago

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.

akofaolain
akofaolain
10 years ago

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).

Nik-Nak
Nik-Nak
10 years ago

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.

Lori
Lori
10 years ago

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.

Carmen
10 years ago

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.)

Aubrey
10 years ago

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

Amy Pollak
Amy Pollak
10 years ago

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.

aimee @ smilingmama
10 years ago

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 :) :)

Aimee
10 years ago

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.

Dala
10 years ago

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. (http://testyyettrying.blogspot.com/2011/04/illustrated-early-chapter-books.html)

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