When my daughter was 3-months-old, I lay her on her back next to me and read “Who Said Moo?,” over and over again until my arms hurt from holding the book up. Next came “Rainbow Fish.” We both loved it.
Now, she’s 6, her brother is 5 and their dad and I still read to them every night. They run down the hall announcing ”Faamily Book!,” after they’ve brushed teeth and dressed for bed. But it can be a struggle to find books that appeal to both of them – a reader and a non-reader, a girly girl and a boyish boy, school-age and pre-k.
Enter Magic Tree House. Great series that our daughter has read independently, but was also interested in listening to. As was our son. He loved it as much as she did and the brother and sister protagonists make it a perfect fit if you have boys and girls.
Then we moved on to Junior Classics for Young Readers by Dalmatian Publishing, available sometimes in Target’s Dollar section. We think these abridged versions of the classics are well-done. Plus, they have an illustration on every few pages. Our son enjoyed The Secret Garden and A Little Princess as much as our daughter did, but he played with Legos through Little Women. (Truth be told, his dad would rather have been playing with Legos, too.)
Both kids also liked The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Black Beauty, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Ann of Green Gables. We omitted a few paragraphs about the town drunk in Tom Sawyer - not ready to go there yet. In Ann of Green Gables, when Ann mistakenly gives Diana currant wine, we got away with a brief explanation about a ‘grown-up drink that makes kids sick.’
Now, we’re on to Harry Potter, halfway through The Goblet of Fire (Book 4). I’m amazed at how enthralling this 734-page book is to kids this young. My husband uses a different voice for each character and does it so consistently that the kids know right away who is ‘talking.’ (Of course, his theatrics don’t explain the several hundred million other copies of Harry Potter books that have sold.)
Good, old-fashioned plot and wonderfully-developed characters, plus an enthusiastic reader. Faaamily Book!