We’re looking for new good reads around here. With boys 6 and almost 4, we’re immersed in the Encyclopedia Brown books, reading a mystery each night, after a classic picture book or two. The boys love the stories of real(-ish) boys and relish the challenge of picking up the clues. Widget even has made me a deal: if he solves the mystery (by remembering the solution – we’ve now read the 8 books we have over and over again), I read the next story too!
I’d like to branch out a little and spin some yarns, with good solid writing and ideas that captivate the minds of adventurous little kids — but don’t scare them so they can’t sleep alone at night. I’m starting Swiss Family Robinson again this week, but I’m totally open as to what else we try! What mystery/adventure/battle books do you recommend as read-alouds for 6 year olds who want to hear “real” books but have a low tolerance for scary situations?
Edited to add: Here are some of the suggestions that my friends on twitter provided – in the question I asked for “early elementary,” so please choose carefully depending on your child’s age and such. What would you add?
- Indian in the Cupboard (@xtremeparnthood);
- Nate the Great (@adjunctmom, @jennhoegg);
- The Great Brain (@ejwillingham);
- How to Train Your Dragon (@iampixiemama);
- Magic Treehouse (@ejwillingham, @1of5hawks);
- Emily Rodda Fairy Realm (@36balloons) ;
- Rowan of the Rin books (@36balloons);
- Private I. Guana, Sir Cumference, and Ace Lacewing books; Dracula Madness (graphic novel) (Sue);
- Walter Brooks’ Freddy the Pig books from the 50s. (Sue);
- Hoot, Scat, by Karl Hiaasen (@delora);
- The A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy (Anette);
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle (@noteverstill, @plainlysarah);
- A Cricket In Times Square, The Borrowers, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Freckle Juice (@noteverstill); and
- Shel Silverstein poems (@brandie185);
- They’re probably old enough for read-out-loud Hardy Boys. You could also do the Roald Dahl books (The Witches and George’s Marvelous Medicine are particularly exciting for boys with their gross-out factors), and mouse-themed books were big in our house (Ralph S Mouse; The Mouse and the Motor Cycle; Stewart Little, etc) (@delora)
And these books were suggested for later:
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Rick Riordan’s 39 clues, The Spiderwick Chronicles (@ejwillingham);
- Percy Jackson series (@issascrazyworld, @iamkarinwithani, @ejwillingham);
- Summer of the Monkeys, by Wilson Rawls (@xtremeparnthood);
- Gordon Korman’s earlier books (Sue);
- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (@delora);
- The Children’s Shakespeare (@brandie185);
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret (@brandie185);
- The Sisters Grimm (@elleinthecity);
- books by John Bellairs (Carolyn);
- A Wrinkle in Time (@amytoast); and
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (@amytoast).
Mmmm, the memory of some of these books, and the promise that the others hold — just delicious! What are your mystery/adventure faves for this (early elementary, read-aloud or on-your-own) age?