You know, there really is a plethora of excellent books out there for kids. My eldest is teetering on the edge of chapter books. Recollecting back to when I was that age, it was a superb time for reading. Imagine experiencing the Hobbit (the book, not the movie) for the first time! What an incredible handful of hours!
Anyway, I’m starting to mentally assemble a buffet of books for Son #1. There are the Freddy books, of course (the ones about the talking pig who goes on adventures), the Alvin Fernald books, Redwall, Danny Dunn, Eleanor Cameron’s Mushroom Planet books, all the historical fiction books of Rosemary Sutcliff (starting with Knight’s Fee), the Black Fox of Lorne, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles (a pox on you, Disney, for doing such a dreadful job with the Black Cauldron–may your garden be infested with a swarm of ravenous locusts), Lewis’ Narnia series (I think I’m going to read those out loud to #1 and his little brother), Sobol’s spaceship books, A Wrinkle in Time, The Moon Behind a Cloud & A Shadow on the Sun (fantastic books about ancient Egypt), the Little House on the Prairie books.
Aha…every single book by Sid Fleischmann, from The Great Horn Spoon & Chancy and the Grand Rascal, to the Ghost in the Noonday Sun. Fleischmann is (was?) a treasured gem embedded in the short history of American writers. If you get his books, try to get the ones illustrated by Quentin Blake for extra wonderfulness. Let’s see…Robert L Stevenson, of course: The Black Arrow. Howard Pyle’s White Company. Mrs. Fribsy and the Rats of NIMH. The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (I think the Mrs. of Mrs. Fribsy prompted my mind over to Mrs. Basil E.). Fitzhugh’s Sport & Harriet the Spy. When I Was Jersey. Judson’s books about various immigrant children in the 19th century (mostly), such as Petar’s Treasure, etc. Karlsson on the Roof. The Pippi Longstocking books. Emil and the Detectives. The Otterbury Incident! Now that is a stand-out book. I think I own it. I better own it.
It’s a long list and it will definitely be longer (though, I must say with a certain amount of rancor that I’m not finding a lot of new, well-written books for young kids…they just aren’t being written, unless they’re hidden somewhere: and, no, I’m not all that fond of Snicket books or Riordan’s books; they don’t measure up to someone like Sid Fleischmann). A veritable cornucopia. A garden of Eden for readin’. Aargh. I shouldn’t have written that last sentence. It makes me wince. I’m still wincing now.