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Suggestions for good read-aloud for "entire family"?

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Last summer we did something fun during swim team -- every day we came home after the kids's practice, they all showered and changed, we ate lunch, and then hung out in the living room while I read a chapter of two of The Westing Game.


I want to do that again this summer, and am trying to find a good read-aloud for a 13 year old girl, 11 year old girl, and 8 year old boy. I would do the Little House books, but we've read them all already.


Any great suggestions? Thanks!

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The incredible journey.

Three pets make an incredible journey in the wild to get home.


The enchanted forest series, starting with Dealing with Dragons

Eldest just started rereading this series and youngest is listening to it. Even though in the past few years the boys have already heard it four times and eldest has already read it once.

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My first choice:

- The Great Wheel (Lawson)

Building of the first Ferris Wheel in 1893; lots of humor, engaging characters, and it's just flat-out interesting! This has remained one of our all-time favorites.


Second choice: an adventure:

- The Hobbit (Tolkien)

- The Twenty-One Balloons (du Bois)

- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Aiken)

- One Hundred and One Dalmatians (Smith) -- such a fun and funny story, better than the movie versions!


More great read-alouds:



- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Carroll)

- The Reluctant Dragon (Grahame)

- Half Magic; Magic by the Lake, Knight's Castle (Eager)

- Five Children and It (Nesbit)

- The Book of Dragons (Nesbit)

- The Secret of Platform 13 (Ibbotson)

- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Fleming)

- The Never Ending Story (Ende)



- Just So Stories (Kipling)

- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Robinson)

- By the Great Horn Spoon  (Fleischman)

- The Great Brain (Fitzgerald)


REAL LIFE ADVENTURE or misadventures

- The Cay (Taylor)

- Island of the Blue Dolphins (O'Dell)

- The Toothpaste Millionaire (Merrill)

- Little Britches (Moody)

- In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (Lord)

- Anne of Green Gables(Montgomery)

- A Little Princess  (Burnett)

- The Secret Garden (Burnett)

- Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain)



- Adam of the Road (Gray) -- Medieval England

- The Great Turkey Walk (Karr)

The Prince and the Pauper (Twain)

- Oliver Twist (Dickens)

- Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (and others by Howard Pyle)

- Treasure Island (Stevenson)



- Detectives in Togas (Winterfeld)

- From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Konigsburg)

- The Baker Street Irregulars (Newman)

- Hank the Cowdog (Erickson) -- also humorous, and also a talking dog


ANIMALS (real)

- Owls in the Family (Mowat)

- The Black Stallion, The Black Stallion Returns (Farley)

- My Side of the Mountain (George)

- Summer of the Monkeys (Rawls)

- All Creatures Great and Small (Herriot)

- Kildee House (Montgomery)

- Because of Winn Dixie (diCamillo)

- The Incredible Journey (Burnford)


ANIMALS (talking)

- Trumpet of the Swan (White)

- The Mouse and the Motorcycle (McCleary)

- The Rescuers, Miss Bianca, The Turret, Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines, Miss Bianca in the Orient (Sharpe)

- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (O'Brien)

- Redwall (Jacques)

- Rikki Tikki Tavi (Kipling)

- The Jungle Book (Kipling)

- Rabbit Hill (Lawson)

- The Tale of Despereaux (DiCamillo)

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I just (last night) started reading The Hobbit for the first time ever.  To myself (my children are too young). I am already excited about using it as a family read-aloud once they are older!!!! Loving it.


My dad read The Chronicles of Narnia to me when I was about your children's age.


Also Kate DiCamillo has some very fun family read-aloud books....

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Little Britches and The Man of the Family by Ralph Moody still remain our favorite family read alouds of all time. Followed by The Hobbit, of course...

Chip the glasses and crack the plates!

Blunt the knives and bend the forks!

That's what Bilbo Baggins hates—

Smash the bottles and burn the corks!


Cut the cloth and tread on the fat!

Pour the milk on the pantry floor!

Leave the bones on the bedroom mat!

Splash the wine on every door!


Dump the crocks in a boiling bowl;

Pound them up with a thumping pole;

And when you’ve finished if any are whole,

Send them down the hall to roll!


That's what Bilbo Baggins hates!

So, carefully! carefully with the plates!


*Especially for girls: All of a Kind Family, Understood Betsy, Caddie Woodlawn, Anne of Green Gables, The Little Princess, and ( my favorite) Little Women. We also loved Patricia St John's unabridged version of Treasures of the Snow.

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I would agree that the Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit are both good reads for those ages.  We recently read Wheel on the School, which we really loved.  We are currently working our way through The Breadwinner trilogy by Deborah Ellis. 

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Just a warning about Anne of Green Gables.

The first few chapters are FULL of long, descriptive sentences. In my mind, they are to show Anne's imagination to the reader; her thought processes as she travels to her new home. As she grows up and becomes more secure in her world, the sentences in the book grow shorter--still lots of description, but the writing mirrors Anne's own maturation.

So the beginning can feel a little excessive/sloggy/slow but patience will take you into the story.


I love when an author is so good, she can even make her word choice/writing style "tell" the story. IYKWIM!

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My boys loved these but they might be too young for the 13 year old:

The Penderwicks series 
The Moffat series 


The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings

A Wrinkle in Time 

Mysterious Benedict Society series or The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict 

The Evolution of Calpernia Tate 




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My kids are the exact ages of yours. Ours favourites have been


The Willoughbys (one of the funniest books I've ever read - kept the kids roaring)

A Mango Shaped Space (interesting read about a character with synesthesia)

The CandyMakers (sort of mysterious like The Westing Game)

Harry Potter series

Where the MountainMeets the Moon (beautifully written and engaging)

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