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Need girly read-aloud chapter books


mommysanders
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My DD is ready to listen to chapter books and keeps asking me to read them to her, but she's very picky and doesn't seem to enjoy most of the books we already own. I want to find something that will capture her attention and that she'll love. She likes princesses and fairy tales, adventure and excitement. She has listened to the entire Wizard of Oz (I was surprised!) in a version with lots of good illustrations. But most other chapter books I own she's not excited about. She's almost 4yo. Any ideas?

 

TIA

Sarah

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Pick a few you think have potential and then read her a selection from each do that she gets to choose one. That might increase her investment.

 

A shorter, starter one would be the Princess in Black series.

 

If she likes fairy tales, Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted) has a series of fractured fairy tales that is great.

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Sweet/Old Fashioned Adventure
Baby Island (Brink)

Milly Molly Mandy (Brisley)

Madeleine series (Bemelmans) -- picture books

The Noisy Village (Lindgren)

Roller Skates (Sawyer)

Emily's Runaway Imagination (Cleary)

Ellen Tebbits (Cleary)

B is for Betsy (Haywood)

All of a Kind Family (Taylor)
The Moffats (Estes)
The Saturdays (Enright)
The Courage of Sarah Noble (Dagliesh)
 
Princess or Fairy Adventure
The Paper Bag Princess (Munsch)
Princess Hyacinth (Heide)
Lady Lollipop (King-Smith)
The Ordinary Princess (Kaye)
The Night Fairy (Schlitz)
Flower Fairies chapter books (Barker)

Fairy Realm series (Rodda)

The Book of Princes and Princesses (Manning-Sanders) -- out of print; the whole series is great

 
Fantasy or Fantastical Adventure

Raggedy Ann Stories (Gruelle)

The Five Sisters (Mahy)

Pippi Longstockings series (Lindgren)

No Flying in the House (Brock)
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Lin)
The Borrowers series (Norton)

Bedknobs and Broomstick (Norton)

Twig (Jones)
Big Susan (Jones)

Glenda (Udry)

The Dragon of Lonely Island (Rupp)

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series (MacDonald)

Miranda the Great (Estes)

The Witch Family (Estes)

Letters From Father Christmas (Tolkien) -- either this version, or this version

 
Talking Animal Adventure
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (Smith)
The Rescuers, Miss Bianca, The Turret, Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines, Miss Bianca in the Orient -- (Sharp)

Cat Wings (Le Guin)

The Lighthouse Family series (Rylant)

Mercy Watson series (DiCamillo)

Edited by Lori D.
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When my girls were that age, I found that books with the highest success rate were "episodic" books, where each chapter is its own story and you don't have to remember an ongoing plot from one read to the next.

 

Most of these books are older books - The All-of-a-Kind Family, The Saturdays, Five Children and It, Pippi Longstocking, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

 

Ballet Shoes series (Streatfeild)

 

I love Ballet Shoes with all my heart, but I think for a four year old it might be better to start with one of the other books. Ballet Shoes, being just a cut-down rewrite of The Whicharts, has a funky chronology that can be kinda hard for a young child to grasp. Dancing Shoes or Theater Shoes (Curtains Up in the UK) or Skating Shoes (White Boots in the UK) might be a better start because the plot is compacted to a year or two. (OP, it's not really a "series", they're just sold that way in the US, so you don't need to read one to understand any of the others.)

 

A shorter, starter one would be the Princess in Black series.

 

That's a good one.

 

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My 4 year olds enjoyed Pippi Longstocking, Milly-Molly-Mandy and books by Dick King Smith as well as any of Johanna Hurwitz's books for younger children (Nora, Elisa or Russel) - she does write books for older children which were not suitable. They also liked The Boxcar Children and many of The Magic Treehouse series which were shorter for them. It was only by age 5 or 6 that they became ready for The Little Princess, The Narnia Series and other classics.

 

I found there was a transition for my children where early reader chapter books were great for reading aloud to them to make the transition to longer chapters with more difficult plots and subplots.

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The first chapter book I read aloud to my daughter was The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.  She was sure she wasn't going to like it, because there weren't really any pictures...at least compared to the story books we had been reading.  But...she loved it (it was a real favorite of mine when I was young).  The next chapter books I read aloud to her were The Doll People series (The Doll People, The Meanest Doll in the World, The Runaway Dolls, and The Doll People Set Sail), .  We both LOVED them.  These first few chapter books, being read aloud by me, really sparked her to become a lover of chapter books on her own.  Now she has so many favorites that she'll never part with.  She just did a book review, on her blog, of one of her absolute favorites right now, The Green Ember.

Edited by BatmansWife
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The first chapter book I read aloud to my daughter was The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.  She was sure she wasn't going to like it, because there weren't really any pictures...at least compared to the story books we had been reading.  But...she loved it (it was a real favorite of mine when I was young).

 

One caveat about Wolves and the rest of the series - it's set in a sort of alternate history England. Not having this made clear to me made for a few awkward moments in history class later on!

 

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