Monday, April 7, 2008

Beyond Picture Books...chapter book read-alouds for young listeners

As a Youth Services Librarian, I'm often asked to suggest a good chapter book read-aloud for older preschoolers or beginning elementary-aged children. I always look for a combination of a good story, short chapters and illustrations interwoven with text. Often families are looking for a story that will capture their child's interest and can be read in short increments night after night. Sometimes a great story meets the right listener and just the words alone bring the story alive for hours of shared listening! Below are some of my favorites - new and old:

Babe: the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith

A piglet comes to Farmer Hogget's farm, where he is adopted by an old sheepdog and accomplishes amazing things

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

The famous story of a little girl named Fern and her favorite pet pig. An absolute classic.

Davey's Blue-Eyed Frog by Patricia Harrison Easton

Davey finds a talking frog that claims to be a princess and plans to take her to school to show off, until he begins to consider the consequences of his actions.

Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel

Two very good friends are back in "a quintet of tales loosely set around the seasons--one for each with a bonus Christmas number. Another winner for (Frog and Toad) fans young and old".--Booklist. ALA Notable Children's Book.

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park

In her own words, a young girl describes her feelings about starting kindergarten and what she does when she decides not to ride the bus home.

Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik

Little Bear's four adventures include taking a trip to the moon and having a birthday party.

Maybelle in the Soup by Katie Speck

When Mr. and Mrs. Peabody invite a guest to dinner, Maybelle the cockroach, who lives under their refrigerator, ignores the warnings of Henry the flea to be sensible and ends up "splashing" into a big adventure.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo

After Mercy the pig snuggles to sleep with the Watsons, all three awaken with the bed teetering on the edge of a big hole in the floor

Mokie and Bik by Wendy Orr

For two rambunctious twins, living on a boat means always being underfoot or overboard.

Moose and Hildy: The Show-Off by Stephanie Greene

Hildy looks forward to a visit from her cousin, Winston, but when he arrives he bores her and annoys all of her friends by declaring his superior intelligence and expertise on every subject, until Moose convinces him to try something different. Also recommended: Moose and Hildy: Moose's Big Idea.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house ans smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them.The incomparable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle loves children good or bad and never scolds but has positive cures for Answer-Backers, Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders, and other boys and girls with strange habits. -- San Francisco Examiner Chronicle.

The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron

Relates episodes in seven-year-old Julian's life which include getting into trouble with his younger brother Huey, planting a garden, what he did to try to grow taller, losing a tooth, and finding a new friend.

Stuart Little by E.B. White

An adventurous and heroic little mouse, with very human qualities, searches for his lost friend, the lovely bird Margalo. "Endearing for young and old, full of wit and wisdom and amusement".--The Horn Book.

The Toys Go Out: being the adventures of a knowledgeable Stingray, a toughy little Buffalo, and someone called Plastic by Emily Jenkins

Six stories relate the adventures of three best friends, who happen to be toys.

Two Times the Fun by Beverly Cleary

Jimmy and Janet are twins, but that doesn't mean they are just alike. When we first meet Jimmy, he wants to dig a real hole. He likes to use a real, grown-up shovel. While he's working, his sister, Janet, pretends to be a bird! She likes to use her imagination. But the twins both like silly jokes, brand- new boots, and talking to Mr. Lemon, the mailman.

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