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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Emily
Emily
11 years ago

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…

aileen
aileen
11 years ago

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.

Katherine
Katherine
11 years ago

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.

Shana
Shana
11 years ago

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

Melissa
Melissa
11 years ago

+1 for Magic Treehouse!

agirlandaboy
11 years ago

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.

Jessica
11 years ago

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!

Amber
11 years ago

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.

Sarah in Huntsville
11 years ago

The Indian in the Cupboard

The Castle in the Attic

And you can never go wrong with Roald Dahl!

Shannon
11 years ago

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?)

Miranda
11 years ago

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

Nichole
11 years ago

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

Melissa H
11 years ago

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.

RA
RA
11 years ago

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.

tawnya
11 years ago

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.

Sunshyn
Sunshyn
11 years ago

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.

Pete
Pete
11 years ago

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

heather
heather
11 years ago

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

Rachel
11 years ago

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… :)

Rachel
11 years ago

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

Sarah
11 years ago

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.

tina
tina
11 years ago

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

Sarah
Sarah
11 years ago

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

Heather
11 years ago

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!)

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
11 years ago

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

HollyLynne
11 years ago

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!

Tatiana
Tatiana
11 years ago

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.

Cindi
Cindi
11 years ago

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.

Erin
Erin
11 years ago

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!

Mama Ritchie
Mama Ritchie
11 years ago

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!

Sandy W
Sandy W
11 years ago

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.

Maria
Maria
11 years ago

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.

KHD
KHD
11 years ago

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

Tony
Tony
11 years ago

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.

Tiffany
11 years ago

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards.

sarah
11 years ago

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.

Tiffany
11 years ago

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.

Maureen
Maureen
11 years ago

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.

Teresa
Teresa
11 years ago

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!

Kate
Kate
11 years ago

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.

Jo
Jo
11 years ago

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

Katherine
Katherine
11 years ago

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)

sooboo
sooboo
11 years ago

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.

Racher
11 years ago

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.

Francesca
11 years ago

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

Wendy Wisniewski
11 years ago

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!!

Michael
11 years ago

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!

Eden
Eden
11 years ago

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).

deanna
deanna
11 years ago

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

Laura Smith
Laura Smith
11 years ago

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.