A few months ago, Forrest picked Stuart Little off our bookshelves and wanted me to read it to him. And after about 4 pages of confusion and questions and struggling to follow the story, he got frustrated, tossed the book across the room, and told me he didn't ever want to read chapter books again.
Heartbreak! (And also: melodramatic!)
But over the last few weeks, he started expressing interest in chapter books again. I wanted to make sure we dipped our toes in a little more successfully this time with books that would grab his attention and be easy to follow, and wouldn't make him frustrated or confused.
I asked for suggestions on Instagram and got lots of great comments recommending plenty of books I hadn't thought of, so I wanted to post them here (both for my own future reference, and in case you, too, are looking for fun and entertaining chapter books to read aloud to a young kid). The first 3 are books Forrest and I have read aloud together, and the rest are suggestions from friends on Instagram.
What we've read together:
Mercy Watson (Kate DiCamillo) Mercy was our first successful chapter book, which may be a tad generous since they are still very heavy on the illustrations--making them perfect for transitioning between short picture books and 'real' chapter books. The illustrations are bright, fun, and eye-catching, and the stories are silly and sweet. We read every book our library had, and Forrest loved them all.
My Father's Dragon (Ruth Stiles Gannett) After speeding through the Mercy Watson books, we checked out My Father's Dragon, since so many people suggested it on instagram. It was quick and cute, and Forrest loved hearing a chapter or two before bed each night. I have to admit, I didn't think it was anything terribly exciting, but Forrest enjoyed it, so I'd call it a success. We started in on the sequel after finishing it, quickly got bored, and moved on to . . .
The Adventures of Captain Underpants (Dav Pilkey) I never thought I'd read Captain Underpants. But Forrest is loving it. It's silly and a little bit gross, so of course it's going over well. And he especially loves that every now and then, a chapter is written in comic book panels, which he thinks is awesome. We're almost finished with the first book, and I'm sure he'll want to continue the series.
Suggestions from Instagram:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl) I loved Roald Dahl when I was a kid (Matilda in my blog name is not a coincidence), and I'd love to read this one with Forrest!
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Roald Dahl) I read this a year or two ago--quick and funny, so I'm sure it would go over well with preschool-aged kids.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (Betty MacDonald) Some of my favorites when I was a kid! I'd love to re-read them.
8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel / 1 Dog = Chaos (Vivian Vande Velde) Suggested by a friend with twin boys the same age as Forrest, so we've got the votes of not one but two young boys backing this selection.
Hi! Fly Guy (Tedd Arnold) More along the line of 'easy reader' books (similar to Forrest's much beloved Elephant & Piggie books), but apparently very well-liked by young kids. I haven't read them yet but they look cute.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Beverly Cleary) I can't imagine Forrest not liking this one. And I'm looking forward to reading it again.
Charlotte's Web (E.B. White) Forrest's struggle with Stuart Little makes me a tad hesitant to read this, but I remember loving it so much that I'm happy to give it a try with him.
The Magic Treehouse series (Mary Pope Osborne) Quite a few people suggested these books, which I haven't even heard of before! They're on my library list for this week.
Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Judith Viorst) Lane Smith illustrated this one, which I've never heard of before . . . but he also illustrated quite a few of our favorite picture books, so I'm excited to check this one out.
The Mr. Putter and Tabby books (Cynthia Rylant) Forrest is a major cat lover, so I'm sure he'd be on board for this series about an elderly man who adopts a cat. And there are 23 books in the series, so there's plenty to keep a cat loving preschooler busy.
Bink and Gollie (Kate DiCamillo) By the same author as Mercy Watson, which Forrest loved, so this is definitely worth a shot.
The Twits (Roald Dahl) More Roald Dahl? Well, twist my arm.
Any chapter books you'd add to this list as great read-alouds for preschool kids?