Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Read-a-Louds for a Zany 6-Year Old

Now that Anthony is a big time Kindergarten graduate, he's ready for some more serious read-a-loud books.  He wants action, adventure, humor, and his mom would like some things that are not totally formula fiction.  Aunt Lou the librarian to the rescue!  Put down your Magic Tree House and pick up something else!

Not that there's anything wrong with MTH, quite the contrary.  However, if the only book that your child's teacher or librarian can recommend for your reader is MTH, suggest they spend a little more time hitting the books--or that they check out this post.

I've taken the liberty of breaking this list into three categories as defined below:

Stand Alones-books that either have no sequel (and in some cases, no equal) or books that really don't need a sequel.

Super Series-okay it's a series, there's a formula, but it's a darn good formula!

Maybe Give it a Year-books that Anthony (or your zany child) might like today, but might like more tomorrow.  You know your kid and what they can handle.

Also, I'm not including some basic parent/child read-a-loud favorites like HP, Narnia, Percy Jackson, so on and so forth.  I'm here to tell you about the hidden gems!  You are here for personalized book recommendations, if you want generic info about bestsellers, go to Amazon.

I give you Read-a-Louds for a Zany 6-Year Old!

Stand Alones:

Bunnicula by James Howe.  This is required reading in my world.  I'm guessing that Anthony will love the animal narrators and strange action.  Yes, there are more books in this "series" and there are newer versions, but stick with the original.

The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman.  A caper for the youngest readers, with pictures!  Quick and satisfying, and there are a couple more of these as well.

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleishman.  A Newbery!  For younger readers!  It's a great adventure story that's funny too, and Newbery-approved.

Mammoth Academy by Neil Layton.  This short, illustrated chapter book has a little mystery and a lot of laughs.  Also a few of these, but really, stick with the first.

The Boy of a Thousand Faces by Brian Selznick.  This book is beautiful, a perfect Halloween read-a-loud, or a great read-a-loud for a boy that thinks dressing up for New Year's means wearing his pirate costume.  Again, it's short, but wonderful.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.  You have to be young with a weird sense of humor to get this book.  It's one of my top expiration date books, but 6-year old boys have a bizarre sense of humor, so I'm guessing this will be a hit.

Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins.  This book always struck me as a weird sell, but this might be the place for it.  You need a reader that likes longer stories, but still believes in the magic of their toys, and six might just be the perfect age.

Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi.  Anthony loves good dragon hunt, and might appreciate this little book about saving, not slaying, a dragon.

Half Magic by Edward Eager.  Nothing like the classics!  A family of children find a magic coin, but their wishes only come half-true.  It's gentle but engaging.

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes.  This gentle classic is about a great little dog that goes missing, but all's well in the end.

Super Series:

The Time Warp Trio by Jon Scieszka.  Start reading these about these time-travelling adventurers today, then read Scieszka's biography Knuckleheads in a couple years.

43 Old Cemetery Road by Kate Klise.  This book is full of puns and word-play, plus it's written through notes and letters, which will provide a great teachable moment about narration.  And it's funny.  Like snort-Sprite-through-your-nose-funny.  Not that I've ever done that.  Or can tell you how much it hurts.

The Knights' Tales by Gerald Morris.  A very light-hearted looks at Arthurian legend complete with illustrations and harrowing battles, perfect for my little knight in shining armor.

Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo.  Mercy Watson is a pig that just can't stay out of trouble and it's all really, really funny.

McBroom by Sid Fleischman.  I mostly recommend these because I remember finding them hilarious in elementary school, meaning that these books are old.  Really old, so good luck finding them!

Maybe Give it a Year:

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo.  Really everything by Kate DiCamillo is beautiful and adventurous in it's own quiet way, but this book might be especially great for bedtime since it's magical and quiet.

Swindle by Gordon Korman.  Another great caper book, and several others that follow, but the group of kids are older, and there's more talk about school, which a six-year old wouldn't have a context for just yet.  But a great adventure none-the-less.  Also, maybe talk to your child about when to involve a parent in their capers!

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood.  Three adopted children that act like wolves--does that sound at all familiar, sister?  This book is a little snarky, so some of the humor will go over Anthony's head, but make you laugh.  That's why I say give it a minute.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.  Like the Magician's Elephant, this is a quietly beautiful quest story.  Might be good for bedtime now.

What did I miss?  What did I get right?  Was this at all helpful?  Are questions annoying?  Hopefully this list will help you out when picking books for your reader, or read-to-er, this summer.  And parents, just because your little one can read on their own doesn't mean you have to stop reading to them.  It's such great bonding time!  It's one of the things I'm most looking forward to about being mom!

Happy Reading (to your zany child!)

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