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Here is our list (by request), recently updated.  This includes only chapter books and a few others, excluding picture books, most science books, and little-kid storybooks, regardless how thick.  I also didn’t include books (except two?) that we didn’t finish.  We started and made excellent progress on quite a few more, but for different reasons gave up.

The numbers after the titles is the reading grade level according to the Scholastic Book Wizard.

I divided the list into originals and adaptations.

Amery, Heather.  Greek Myths for Young Children. 4.4

Atwater, Richard. Mr. Popper’s Penguins. 4.9

Baum, L. Frank.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. 5.9-  Liked it very well.  Read it in something like a week—read a lot each day, every day.  Not really so difficult, easier than 5.9 indicates.

Brown, Dottie.  Ohio. Hello, USA.  H. liked it, we were on a geography kick.

Bulla, Clyde Robert.  A Lion to Guard Us. 3.9+ This turned out to be a pretty good book, not maybe a classic for the ages, but it made an impression and was useful for a window into one of the stories of history.  Historical fiction for kids.

Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 5.9.  The original, Chronicle Books edition.  We’ve read this twice, once through a slightly abridged version of the original and once through the unabridged original.  We also listened to the original and Through the Looking Glass completely.

Collodi, Carlo. Adventures of Pinocchio. 4.2  Read twice—one of H’s absolute favorites.  Read while he was three, the language is pretty advanced and I had to explain quite a bit, but he didn’t mind.

Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 5.9

Dalgliesh, Alice.  The Bears on Hemlock Mountain. 3.5x.  Simple, short—H. didn’t love it but it wasn’t bad.  Certainly not a classic for the ages as far as I’m concerned.

Dalgliesh, Alice.  The Courage of Sarah Nobel. 4.4x  Just the right age for H..  Really liked it, 4.5 stars.  Better than The Bears on Hemlock Mountain.

Dicamillo, Kate.  Mercy Watson to the Rescue. 2.3.  Read it in a half hour over dinner.  H. was rapt.  Almost too easy for him, though.  I’ll get one or two more of these for him, I’m sure, just for fun.

Edwards, Julie Andrews.  The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. 7.3  H. wasn’t too excited about this at first but by the end he said it was great and wanted to give it five stars; also, now wants to re-read it.  The vocabulary is rather self-consciously advanced, but sentence structure and theme-wise is not so advance.  Overall, perfectly accessible to H.

Fritz, Jean.  And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? 4.1  We really liked this, somewhat to my surprise.  Turned out to be quite engaging.  We’ll be trying more of the Jean Fritz history series.

Gannett, Ruth Stile. My Father’s Dragon. 4.8

Gannett, Ruth Stile. Elmer and the Dragon. 4.7

Gannett, Ruth Stile.  The Dragons of Blueland. 4.6 – These three are fine books but frankly, nothing so fantastic.

Gipson, Fred.  Old Yeller. 5.4  One of the very best kids’ books, as far as I’m concerned.  H. ate it up.  It’s long but we socked it away pretty quickly.

Goodbody, Slim.  The Mind. Excellent introduction to both brain science and psychology—for children?  Who’da thunk?

Herge.  Tintin books: The Shooting Star; Tintin in Tibet; Destination Moon; Explorers on the Moon. H. liked these, especially Tintin in Tibet which we read practically in a single verrry long sitting, but not so much that he’s asked for a few more I got.

Kimmel, Eric A.  The McElderry Book of Greek Myths. – H. read two back-to-back right after we got this.  I thought they were very well-written and he seemed to like them.

Lindgren, Astrid.  Pippi Longstocking. 5.2-  H. was tickled by it.  Good, lightweight, not too long.  Appealed to his own irreverent personality.

Lear, Edward.  Complete Nonsense. – Finished all the limericks and half of the rest of it.  H. was into it but only in small, irregular doses.

Le Guin, Ursula.  Catwings series.  4.5  Read all four, then later re-read the first.

Mighty Machines. Paragon Q&A book.  H. was totally into this.  We read it 1.5 times.

O’Brien, Robert C.  Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm. 5.8  Both of us ended up loving this hugely, one of our best reading experiences; up there with Pinocchio, Charlotte’s Web, Tales from the Odyssey.

Osborne, Mary Pope.  The Magic Tree House: #1-39. H. loved these from age 3¼ until 4¼ or so, and then pretty suddenly was no longer interested.  Excellent gimmick, well executed—great way to introduce history, I have no doubt that he would not be able to read the history books I’m reading to him now without having read this.

Oxford Picture Dictionary. Sure, this is reference (and ESL), but we read it cover to cover in the course of about two years.  We easily spent more time looking at this one book than any other book, period.

Penner and Scott.  Dragons. Random House Stepping Stones Fantasy.

Platt, Richard.  D-Day Landings. DK Readers.  Don’t care for this series that much, but H. enjoyed this quite a bit—to my surprise.

Prelutsky, Jack, ed.  Read-Aloud Poems for the Very Young. – He liked this surprisingly well.  This is encouraging because the poetry really is not very different from more “serious” poetry of the sort you find in other sources.  Re-read it.

Sharmat, Marjorie.  Nate the Great, Nate the Great and the Monster Mess, Nate the Great and the Owl Express. 2.2.  Specifically written for easy and quick reading (even more so than, for example, the Magic Tree House books), they are not well written (stilted).  We weren’t sure whether we liked them after the first.  After the third, we’ve decided we’ve had enough.

Sobol, Donald J. Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective. 3.9+ Finished this, liked it quite well, and are mostly done with #2.  We don’t usually read more than one “mystery” per sitting.

Stevenson, R. L.  A Child’s Garden of Verses. – All but the last few poems.

Usborne Greek Myths for Young Children. Excellent storybook-type introduction to Greek myth.  Was accessible to H. at age 3, but only after being exposed to some mythology first from other sources.

Usborne Young Reading history books.  Toilets, Telephones, and Other Useful Inventions; The Story of Slavery; The Story of Spying; Alexander the Great; The Story of Rome; Julius Caesar; The Story of Islam; Crusaders; The Story of Pirates. These are all chapter books, and we liked them to varying degrees (not as much as the fiction), but H. hasn’t said “no” to many.

Warner, Gertrude. Boxcar Children. 3.2 – I think H. liked it rather well, but probably not enough to warrant reading more in the series.  Not a five-star book; maybe 3.5.

Wild Wild World. Paragon Q&A book.

Wilder, Laura I. Little House in the Big Woods. 4.2

White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web. 4.9  Read twice.  Hugely popular with H., five stars.

White, E.B. Stuart Little. 3.9

White, E. B.  The Trumpet of the Swan. 5.1-  H. requested it.  It was quite obvious that H. liked it.  We didn’t take too long to get through it (a few months, on and off), and it’s 300 pages!  Then not long after we finished H. repeatedly requested to read it again, and we started in several chapters, stopped for a while, then finished.


Aladdin. DK Classic Readers.

Alice in Wonderland. The cool iPad app version.  We read the simple version then the long version, which is still (contrary to advertisement) abridged.

The Call of the Wild. Great Illustrated Classics.  This is a very nice series, with one full page drawing on every other page; but the text size is not huge, and the text is not “dumbed down.”

Graphic Universe comics (we loved these): Beowulf, Odysseus, and Trojan War. All three are really excellent entrees into these myths.  We’ll be getting more of these books.

Osborne, Mary Pope.  The Tales from the Odyssey #1-6.  4.5-5.6.  Listened to it all the way through, then read it all the way through, all in the space of 4-8 weeks.  H. loved it, and I did too.

The Invisible Man. Great Illustrated Classics.  H. picked this out from a website, and drove me on to read it to him.  He was fascinated.  Not light or easy reading, even in this adaptation, but interesting.

Peter Pan. Junior Classics for Young Readers, Creative Edge.

The Time Machine. Bullseye Step into Classics.  Easy-reading, short version, but H. loved this so much I had to read it to him twice and he read it again to himself.

Usborne Young Reading (these are all 60-65 pages, except for the anthologies; they’re uniformly excellent, we’d rate these either 4 or 5 stars):

Amazing Adventures of Hercules.

Beowulf. Usborne illustrated classic edition.  4.8?  Wonderfully accessible, exciting, H. liked it.

A Christmas Carol.

Don Quixote.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon.


Jason and the Golden Fleece.

Illustrated Classics from Dickens. Usborne.  5.0-ish.  The language seemed strangely accessible, and what was truly amazing to me was that H. really liked this.

King Arthur.

The Prince and the Pauper.

The Three Musketeers.

Treasure Island.

Ulysses. Our least favorite version, but that’s only because the others were great.  This is actually very entertaining.

Usborne Illustrated Alice. Very nice adaptations, our first exposure, made it possible to read the originals.

Usborne Illustrated Classics for Boys. Six in one—great value.

Usborne Illustrated Classics for Girls. Ditto.

Wyss, Johann.  Swiss Family Robinson. Random House Stepping Stones—not a bad series, this, but we’ve only read a few of them.  4.5 or so.  I think H. didn’t like it hugely—rather below average compared to some others.  At the end, though, H. himself said it was “very good.”  100 pages, not too difficult.

Zonder Kidz, The Beginner’s Bible. Clear and relatively non-devotional.  H. liked it pretty well.