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Books for 5-6 year olds

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > The Arts, Books, Entertainment, & Media > Books for 5-6 year olds


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Positive chapter books for timid 5-year-old

May 2010

My 5 year old daughter LOVES the Cobble Street Cousins books (and so do I) but we've read each of them a zillion times at this point. I can't seem to find a similar series - books that aren't scary and aren't about siblings being mean to each other, kids being sassy to adults, or other negative behaviors. I'm looking for books where the characters model positive healthy relationships with others. By the way, she's pretty timid and doesn't like the Magic Treehouse books. I would appreciate any recommendations, even if they're appropriate for older kids - I'll just hold onto them until she's ready. Thanks so much! Deb


You will be inundated with answers to this one. My kids are now in their 20's, so these are not so new, but wonderful. Also, these are read-to chapter books, rather than for a beginning reader to get through on their own. First, Johanna Hurwitz wrote a wonderful series about Russell and his family (Rip Roaring Russell, Russell Rides Again, Russell and Elisa, Elisa in the Middle ...). The siblings have very real but sweet relationships, the issues are real ones kids face, but very mild (and with enough humor that they are fun for the parents, too). Then there are books by Dick King-Smith, generally about animals. Most of these are for kids slightly older, but they are a LOT of fun. My personal favorite is the Three Terrible Trins (about three young mice who outwit the farmhouse cats), but he has also apparently written at least two about a little girl, Sophie, who wants to be a farmer and practices by training insects (and not to discriminate, Martin's Mice is about a cat who doesn't what to eat mice but likes to keep them as pets--but that might be for a slightly older child). Enjoy. I still remember my favorite books
Little House in The Big Woods and its sequels (Laura Ingalls Wilder), Milly Molly Mandy story books (there are two) by Joyce Lankester Brisley, Betsy, Tacy and Tib books by Maud Hart Lovelace, All of A Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor, B is For Betsy and other books by Carolyn Haywood, Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond, The Borrowers Books by Sherwood Smith...these ought to get you started! Claire
hi, someone recently asked about beginning chapter books and there were a lot of good suggestions which i think also fit your criteria: my father's dragon series by ruth gannett catwings series by ursula k. le guin beverly cleary's books (there is a bit of negative stuff--sometimes the kids say mean things to each other--but it's very mild compared to contemporary books) winnie the pooh (so much fun to read aloud) and then cynthia rylant has some other chapter books which we love including thimbleberry stories and gooseberry park. and as she gets older, you might try: a cricket in times square and the sequels by george selden robert mccloskey's (make way for ducklings) homer price books the mary poppins series (some old fashioned language, but really great) e nesbit's books alice in wonderland, etc. etc. happy reading!
My 4.5 year old daughter loves to read, but is very sensitive, so we're always on the lookout for good books. Here are the ones she's loved so far: The Little House series (except for Farmer Boy, which has a pretty violent section), Charlotte's Web, Trumpet of the Swan, Misty of Chincoteague, and the Lighthouse Family series by the same author as the Cobblestone Cousins. Happy reading! Looking for book recs, too
I have a daughter also 5, and we recently tore our way through the Cobble St Cousins books, too. She is similarly sensitive to anything remotely scary or worrying. I just discovered in the library a small series of books by author Johanna Hurwitz. We're reading 'Make Room For Elisa', and loving it. Looks there's also 'E is for Elisa' and 'Elisa in the Middle', plus a few more about her and her brother. Really fun reads, all about events that are big in the life of a 5-6-year-old girl: new baby coming, moving to a new apartment, looking forward to kindergarten. They're funny, sweet, very real, and written by a long-time children's librarian. Try them out, I think you'll love them too. Kate
I swear I would have another child just to revisit Dick King-Smith. The writer of Babe. Start with Sophie's Snail and move on to Sophie is 6. LOVELY man, he was! The Claremont branch of the Berkeley Library is THE place to be at this age. Dawn may still be there and she is MAVEN of that age and will have a thousand reccomendations. Also, please dont let these years pass without story tellers on tape (disk) The whole Rabbit Ears series is very important! ENJOY Reenie
Our 5-year-old daughter loves the Boxcar Children Series right now. They are a nice family of four kids, very respectful, who solve 'mysteries' which usually involves another character breaking rules and causing mischief. In the end, the person always comes clean, apologizes and everyone is forgiven. Interested to know what others recommend! Laura
How about the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (Little House in the Big Woods etc.)? I loved them when I was a kid. Also Rabbit Hill, Pippi Longstocking, the Borrowers series (maybe a bit old, but FUN -- my 9 year old is still building borrower houses, and we read these when he was 5), Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, the Frog and Toad books, Wind in the Willows, the Moffats series, and Ginger Pye. I'd recommend a bunch more, but my kid is a boy, and very much into the fantasy thing (i.e. he loved My Father's Dragon and the Chronicles of Narnia, but those might be too scary). I don't know that these are all specifically about 'building healthy relationships' per se (don't know too many fiction books that focus on that, as a bit of friction is often necessary to have a story line!). But they certainly aren't terribly scary, and they aren't about kids being mean or sassy either. Karen
love charlotte's web leslie
Sounds like you should try something like the Little House on the Prairie series. We also really liked Harriet the Spy. And we love the Beverly Cleary books. They all have good characters in them. Be warned that Ramona and Harriet too do some things that you might not approve of, but there are always lessons in it, and it helps kids to realize that they don't have to be perfect to be loveable. Also, ask your librarian. They are loaded with good ideas.
Your daughter will LOVE the Betsy-Tacy series - especially if she is a fan of the Little House books. The Betsy-Tacy-Tib books were written by Maud Hart Lovelace and the first book (Betsy-Tacy) starts when the girls are five. From an editorial review: 'Betsy and Tacy are best friends. Then Tib moves into the neighborhood and the three of them start to play together. The grown-ups think they will quarrel, but they don't. Sometimes they quarrel with Betsy's and Tacy's bossy big sisters, but they never quarrel among themselves...Ever since their first publication in the 1940s, the Betsy-Tacy stories have been loved by each generation of young readers'. I have recommended these to two friends with young daughters and both girls LOVED these books. The only caveat -- the books follow the three friends through several different ages, all the way through the teen years. For some reason the 'teen' books do not work as well. But the first four books are absolutely GREAT, funny, insightful can't-put-them-down chapter books! Reading Mom
We recently read 'Serendipity' by Rosy Aronson, 2010. The book was fantastic! Magical, exciting, adventurous and informative. It tells the story of a family of young seals who become separated from their mother and must discover the larger world in order to find her. The themes in the book are captivating and extremely thought provoking. We had many discussions together as a family while reading it - about families, relationships, the larger world of interconnected life and the environment. I highly recommend the story to any family with school-aged kids! Rachel

Book to read aloud to Kindergarten class?

Oct 2009

Hello! I would really appreciate some recommendations for a good book to read aloud to my son's kindergarten class. I have to 10-15 minute time slot next month to read a book (although I don't need to use all the time alloted). I'm not sure if books my kids enjoy at home will work for a wiggly group of kindergartners. One book I'm thinking of is ''That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown'' because it has some nice repetition and also places where the kids can chime in. However, it may be too long. Any suggestions for books that you have successfully read in the classroom setting? Thanks!


Hands Down: Caps for Sale by Espher Slobodkina Teach students about the ''Tsz'' sound in the book and let them have fun with you! Caps for Sale lover
I did this last year. It was fun. I read: Bear Wants More, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and The Gift of Nothing. I say read what your child likes. I let my son pick the books I read; it made him feel special and all the kids liked and knew most of the books. book wormy
I recommend, Farmers Garden Rhymes for two voices, it lends itself for children to participate Example Corn Corn how do you grow? Tall and straight row and row What do you do when a crow flys near? Hope he doesn't nibble my ear. This picture book was written by David L Harrison and illustrated by me, Arden Johnson-Petrrov. Wordsong/ Boyds Mills Press published it. Arden
whenever I participate in Drop Everything and Read Day, I go to the local library and ask the children's librarian what she would recommend for the age group I have been assigned. They always have great suggestions! Plus it gives me a chance to plug the library to the kids by talking about how much fun it is to go check out books for free.
One of my kids' favorites in kindergarten was Chika Chika Boom Boom. It has a nice rhythm to it and is a fun ABC book with bright colors. Sharon

Kid books about starting kindergarten

June 2008

My 5.5 yr old son will be starting kindergaten in the Fall. Can anyone recommend good books for kids that are about starting kindergarten? Thanks! anon


We loved ''Franklin Goes to School'' - a paperback in the Franklin series. It addresses the butterflies and also points out that everyone is good at something different. Cute book! anon
When both my kids started kindergarten, the night before I read them ''The Kissing Hand'' by Audrey Penn. It's about the anxiousness a little raccoon feels about starting school without his mom being nearby him. Mom kisses the palm of his hand and tells him that whenever he needs to feel her near, to put his hand on his cheek, and he'll feel her love.

Then on the first day of school I kissed my kids' palm before they walked inside and reminded them that they could put that hand on their cheek whenever they needed some love while they were in school. This started a daily tradition that continues to this day -- and my oldest, my son, is now in 3rd grade!

Good luck! Stephanie


Kindergarten Rocks! Anon.
Dear Friends- I teach Kindergarten locally, and I can tell you that Kindergarten can be intimidating for the first week or so, but then the ice melts and the fun starts! ''Miss Bindergarten'' is a cute series about Kindergarten and if you type in Kindergarten on Amazon under kids books, you will pull up a few more. Perhaps you could set up a ''desk'' at home for ''practice school'' in August and equip it with some crayons and paper. I know that the children that can already write their names and can use a pair of scissors are a lot more confident. Best of luck on your child's new adventure:) Ms Mc
Rosemary Wells has two great books: My Kindergarten and Yoko's World of Kindness. Both of them are excellent books about great kindergartens, beautifully illustrated, compelling to kids, and very gentle.

Lauren Child has a Charlie and Lola book about fear of starting school called I am Too Little to Go to School, which is as funny as most of those are. Judith


Berkeley Public Library has a great selection of the books you may be looking for. This search will give you more than you're looking for, but might be a fun process for you to go through with your son. You can look through the book covers together, read the brief descriptions, and decide which ones you'd like to check out.

Search under Subject: First day of school -- Fiction

http://www.berkeley-public.org/screens/opacmenu.html


Engaging books to read aloud to 5 year old

Nov 2004

My 5.5 y.o. son loves reading time. He's not yet reading on his own but several days a week we sit together for about an hour and read one of the Magic Treehouse Mysteries. Unfortunately we're near the end of the series. Does anyone have any suggestions of a series (doesn't have to be a mystery line) that would engage him? I've seen several but the language looks over his head and/or the themes aren't appropriate for his age. Thanks for your help! Book Lovers


We LOVED the ''Junie B. Jones'' books by Barbara parker. Silly, fun, personal, and very age-appropriate situations. The protagonist is a feisty, slightly ''immature'' kindergarten girl who gets into some silly scrapes at school and at home. Some parents complain that some of the language isn't really proper English (not profanity or anything like that - just slightly imperfect grammar that sounds like Junie B. and her friends would actually talk). Have fun! RK
Try the Boxcar Children books (a mystery series), or a non- series book:

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Stuart Little, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, any book by Roald Dahl (James and the Giant Peach, the BFG, etc), Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I read most of these books to my daughter a few years ago (she's 8 now) and we really enjoyed them. Kristen


My kindergarten son and I are currently reading the first Harry Potter book. We have also read and enjoyed the ''My Father's Dragon'' books (MUCH simpler than Harry Potter, more on the level of the Magic Treehouse books), and we read the first of the Little House on the Praire series (it falls somewhere in the middle of the above two). Last year, we read the original Wizard of Oz book (which does have a series, but we couldn't get into the second one and stopped trying after that.) Nanu
I'm a first grade teacher and love to read the first books of series to my class, hoping to get them hooked on the rest of the series. Two that come to mind, and that both of my kids also loved, are the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books (there are four in the series) and the Boxcar Children books (there are over a hundred in that series). Hope either or both proves enjoyable for you and your son. Judy
My five year old loves adventure but is easily scared. And I have pretty strong feelings about keeping stuff age appropriate. He has liked:

My Father's Dragon (this is the first in a series of 3 terrific books, very sweet, mild adventure but nothing too scary)

Mary Poppins -- there's four books in the series, I believe. My son loves them.

The Oz Books -- there's something like 40 all together and almost all of them are better than the famous first one.

The Time Warp Trio books are similar to Magic Treehouse in that they involve time travel but they're more geared toward the 8-10 year old boy crowd, so a bit more attitude and potty humor. Okay though, and if your kid is into historical stuff, they work. Not literature though.

Dinotopia. Two beautifully illustrated very cool books that are written as the journal of a 19th century explorer who finds a land where humans and dinosaurs live cooperatively. Lots of pictures and a nice utopian message -- not your typical monster-slaughtering adventure book. The first one is out of print, but you can find it at the library.

mr. poppin's penguins. Not a series, but a lovely chapter book that's suitable for young kids.

other series that I plan to introduce in the next few months:
-paddington bear
-little house on the prairie (I have friends whose kids love these books -- my son is easily frightened so I want to wait a little longer as there's some peril in the earlier books)
- finn family moomintroll

I look forward to hearing other people's ideas. nelly


There are many wonderful books for this age. If you're looking for a series of Chapter books, try the Oz books (note that we've only read the L. Frank Baum ones; I'm told the others aren't as good). Other great chapter books are I'd recommend, for starters, Charlotte's Web, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If your child prefers shorter stories, try the Milne books (Winnie the Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner -- lovely books, much different from the movies). For chapter books that come in a series, there is always the Half Magic books by Edgar Early; also Redwall and the Harry Potter books. Our daughter enjoyed them in Kindergarten, although I'm not sure that they're for every kid. Ann

Book to Teach 5 Year Old to Read

Aug 2004

My son who is five says he wants to learn to read. IbMarch 1999m not a teacher so IbMarch 1999m looking for recommendations for a book that we can work on together for him to learn to read. I found recommendations on the web for Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Engelmann, Haddox, Bruner. Does anyone have this book to loan or sell, or a recommendation for another book that I can use? Thanks! Time to Read


When my daughter wanted to start to read we got the Bob books. Its a series of little books (10 per box I think) with 4-6 pages of one sentence pages, all done with three letter words. Good for starting to learn sight words, easy to sound out words, and it gives them a sense of accomoplishment (vs. trying to read Hop On Pop which is long!) when they read a book. They are very popular and easy to find; I got mine at Barnes & Noble in Emeryville. Hilary
Try Books with patterns, rhymes, songs, and books that can be memorized/remembered easily.

Pattern and Predictable Books

Books with a repeating line or phrase
Carle, Eric, Today is Monday
Carle, Eric, The Very Busy Spider
Carle, Eric, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Carlstrom, Nancy White, Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? (and other Jesse Bear books)
Collicut, Paul, This Train
Martin, Bill Jr., Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?
Stow, Jenny, The House that Jack Built
Williams, Sue, I Went Walking
Wood, Audrey, The Napping House
Cookie's Week

Rhyming Books
Shaw, Nancy, Sheep in a Jeep

Songs
Westcott, Nadine Bernard, The Lady with the Alligator Purse (and other song books by her as well)
Over in the Meadow

Counting Books
Root, Phyllis, One Duck Stuck


Dr. Suess and Dr. Suess-like books
Berenstain, Stan and Jan, Bears on Wheels
Eastman, P.D., Go, Dog, Go!
Suess, Dr., Hop on Pop
Suess, Dr., Marvin K. Mooney will you Please Go Now!
Suess, Dr., One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish

teacher and parent of 6 year old


Fun Easy Reader Books

April 2003

My daughter is a struggling reader, and we are looking for fun easy readers that appeal to her rather typical girl interests and are not too annoying for us to hear read aloud over and over and over again. Something along the Henry and Mudge line, only easier and more appealing to little girls. Thanks.


I hesitate to recommend them, as I don't like them too much myself, but my daughter loved the Junie B. Jones books (by Barbara Park) when she first started reading on her own. That actually worked to her (our) benefit, as I read her the first one, and then told her if she wanted to read more, she would have to do it herself. She did! I would say they are best for K-1st grade or so. Claire
I have boys, so my recommendations may be off point, but:

The Magic Tree House series is fun; a brother and sister travel in time to interesting places/times in history. It is a bit more advanced that Henry and Mudge, but kids can leap from that level to this in no time.

Nate the Great is a very easy series, which uses the same words over and over but tells ok mystery stories. Lead character is a boy, but there are some girl characters too. Leslie


You don't say how old your daughter is, but I would like to recommend the ''Amanda Pig'' series by Jean Van Feeuwen. It is about a little girl pig who lives with her parents and her brother, Oliver. Each book has several short stories (related, but not necessarily sequential). Though younger than her brother, Amanda is shown as a clever and strong little girl.The stories show very nice, gentle solutions to typical family situations. R.K.
Scholastic Books publishes a series of books called ''Hello Reader'' which come in four different levels. The Level 2 books are a bit easier than Henry and Mudge and the level 3s are just a bit harder. The books are on a range of topics (both fiction and non-fiction) and are by different authors. They're not all of equal quality though, for the most part, they are good, entertaining beginner books with lots of picture support, high frequency words, and rhyming language. They don't use the stilted controlled vocabulary of some beginner books and are therefore not only better for children but more tolerable to adults. Also Dave Pilkey's books about Dragon are good books at a similar level. Also, Dr. Seuss wrote a lot of great books for that level of reader. A number of other books by Henry and Mudge's author, Cynthia Rylant, are at a similar level and may be appealing to your daughter. These include Poppleton and Mr. Putter and Tabby. anon

Non-violent adventure books for 5 year old

March 1999

For the parent of the adventurous five year old, I've got the perfect series, "The Magic Tree House" by Mary Pope Osborne. A seven year old girl named Annie and her eight year old brother Jack encounter a mysterious treehouse filled with books. The books transport them to far away times and places, where they learn about dinosaurs, knights, Egypt, pirates, the moon, etc. Along the way they have mysteries to solve. There are now 18 books in the series. It makes the most sense to read them in sequence, as the first 8 lead up to a particular discovery, then the next batch constitute a particular quest.

Number one is called Dinosaurs After Dark, #2 is The Knight at Dawn, #3 is Mummies in the Morning, #4 is Pirates Past Noon. You get the idea. These books appeal to both boys and girls, to about age 9. They are "chapter books" about 70 pages long (we usually finish them in 2-4 nights), and cost only $3.99. You can get them through Amazon.com, and I've also seen them at Cody's, Mr. Mopps, and Borders. Natasha


This is for the parent who was seeking good books for her 5-year old son. I highly recommend a book called "Valerie & Walter's Best Books for Children," by Valerie Lewis and Walter Mayes. It is the most readable book on great books for kids I've ever seen. It offers thumbnail descriptions of books they love and highlights terrific authors. Walter is well-known in the Bay Area as "Walter the (Storytelling) Giant. He reads and acts out books all around. Valerie owns Hicklebees, a children's bookstore, in San Jose. I love to thumb through this books and select things for my 6 year old and 3 year old to read. Franny
Adventure books: "My Father's Dragon" is great and non-violent. depending on your child, the Narnia series by CS Lewis may be too old for him, but soon... Deborah
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