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Books again ...

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

Any suggestions for books for gifts?


Dd1 reads so many books every day, but it is so hard to help her find books. We keep the libraries in business and always have more books checked out than we're technically allowed, but they know we bring them back quickly. Anyway, dd is 6 and can read anything. She is, however, very sensitive, does not like fairy tales, books about cats, dogs or horses, books about fairies, fantasy or anything remotely scary or depressing. Sigh. Her all time favorite is still the Little House series, which she's read all the way through at least ten times. She enjoyed the Clementine books and the first two Julia Gillian books (but not the third, as they we're older and the ninth-graders were mean to them). She loves mysteries, but not scary ones. She didn't really like the Magic Tree House books, but did like Cam Jansen, for example. I tend to have the most luck with random books I find buried in the library that the libraries have never heard of - or some recommendations from here that we order through inter-library loan. She loves books about girls that are smart and nice. The Cobble Street Cousins were sweet when she read then over a year ago, but they were much too short and there were too few of them. She loves series and doesn't like the snarky girl books. She is not super interested in non-fiction right now and can only deal with war if it's just alluded to. She is reading the Astrid Lindgren books in German, and is also reading a couple nice girl series in German. Dh and I really want to make sure she gets a book or books in English for the holidays (we're all set for German). (If anyone has German, Spanish or French recommendations, we would love those, too. We are attempting to go very wide with her reading, and she gets those languages at home.)


Dd2 has the holidays and a birthday coming up. She is 3.5 and reads really well and incessantly. She adores Cynthia Rylant books, so I'm considering getting a couple of the new ones. Of course, she reads them so quickly and the libraries do have them, so I'd love to get more recommendations. She likes things like Mr. Putter and Tabby, Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball, etc. She also loves to read the High Rise Private Eyes and Minnie and Moo. Any suggestions? Again, she likes cute, sweet, innocent and funny books. (She has one German series she really likes and is just beginning to read in German and I've got her something for the holidays from that. I'd be open to any great suggestions in Spanish and French. She loves when we read to her in those languages and usually reads the chapter titles and we read the rest.)


Oh, they both like the math stories books - we've gotten lots of those from the libraries.


So, since you all are book experts, thank you in advance for any and all recommendations. I hope they're serve to help others, too.

Edited by expecting-joy - 11/14/10 at 8:31pm
post #2 of 39

My only suggestion (not sure of the reading levels...) but what about the Tintenherz books in German?  I know most of the kids I knew in Germany loved them!

post #3 of 39

As a little girl, I loved the Anne of Green Gables series, Betsy-Tacy, the Ramona books, Understood Betsy, the "Shoes" series of books by Noel Streatfield...


tons and tons of books. I was just saying to DP yesterday when I left the library book sale that she should be glad we don't have a daughter because I would have come out with 200 books for her.

post #4 of 39

For very sweet, age appropriate books, check out the Carolyn Heywood books, particularly the Betsy books.  They can be somewhat dated (as an adult, I get a constant kick out of how many kids you could apparently fit in the back seat in the 1950s!  There was always room for another set of twins back there, it seems) but the plots are pretty timeless in a Mayberry sort of way.

post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 

Oh, thanks. Dd1 has read all the Betsy Tacy books and really liked them.

post #6 of 39

Tintenherz is fantasy-and fairy...but my niece used to love the Wilde Hühner series by Funke, about a girl gang I believe. No idea whether they're any good, I hated Tintenherz.

If she loves girl classics, how about "Das doppelte Lottchen" and "Puenktchen und Anton" by Erich Kästner? Somewhat depressing I know, but all happy endings. Other girl classics are "Trotzkopf", "Hanni und Nanni". "Heidi" is somewhat depressing, too...dear me, no animals, no fantasy, and a voracious asynchronous reader, no wonder you're a bit stumped. Michael Ende's "Momo" is sort-of real world, but really depressing in parts, and everything else he did is fantasy...how about the somewhat old-fashioned detective stories by Wolfgang Ecke? Another favorite of mine at that time was Barbara Bartos-Höppner.

for the little one "Ich und Klara", maybe?

Next weekend, I can check out my childhood library for more ideas, if you're interested...

Edited by Tigerle - 11/14/10 at 8:57am
post #7 of 39

Not scary mysteries: Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Belden probably fall here, and she might like them. I read all of them, and liked them much more than Nancy Drew.  (Although Nancy Drew might be worth a shot.) I sort of liked Encylopedia Brown books, too, but not as much.


Historical fiction: If DD1 likes the Little House books, I highly recommend Caddie Woodlawn. It's a Newberry Award winner and is one my favorite books as a kid.  I haven't read the American Girl books, but those might be worth a shot, too. 

post #8 of 39
post #9 of 39

What about the A-Z mysteries? My 7 yr. old loves mysteries and those are his new thing. 

post #10 of 39

ooooh, and Encyclopedia Brown!!!

post #11 of 39

Judy Moody series

Catwings series

The Night Fairy, by Laura Amy Schlitz

Elizabeth Enright

Edward Eager

The Moomin series, by Tove Jansson

E.B. White

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Paddington Bear (a lot harder than one would think)

The Wizard of Oz

Rumer Godden

E. Nesbit

The Secret Garden

post #12 of 39

If she likes the Little House books, maybe she would also like the Fairchild Family series by Rebecca Caudill.  We've only read the first one, Happy Little Family, which is milder than the Little House books, but similar in some ways.


If you're not necessarily looking for literary quality, you might think about Enid Blyton books.  We have a random assortment gathered from thrift stores, etc., and they generally seem to be mildly exciting, but not scary.  Some are mysteries.  There's also the Happy Hollisters series, which I loved as a kid - a family gets involved in various non-scary adventures and mysteries.

Edited by Daffodil - 11/14/10 at 1:11pm
post #13 of 39
Thread Starter 

Oh, my, you guys are really great! We were out all day, so I'm just  now getting to your recommendations.


I have to go check out Tintenherz, Wilde Hühner, Pünktchen und Anton, Trotzkopf, Hanni und Nanni. She really liked Heidi. I've considered Das doppelete Lottchen.The divorce things scared me a bit, but she might be fine with it. I'll check out the fantasy books (but she has told me she doesn't like those). I'll look into Ecke and Barthos-Höppner. She likes the Conni Erzählbände series and the Wir Kinder aus dem Möwenweg series. She also liked the Felix books and the Der Kleine Eisbär series, which we have in German. I will definitely go look at Klara und Ich for dd2. She really likes the Meine Freundin Conni books. Dd2 is into ballet and gymnastics, so I was wondering about some of those books, too. Thank you so much for so many German recommendations. I'll be off to check them out ASAP!. And yes, Tigerle, I would love more ideas!


All-of-a-Kind-Family looks promising! She does like those older stories. Caddie Woodlawn looks VERY promising! Thank you! I remembber reading the Bobbsey Twins. Trixie Belden might work, too. Yeah for options! Is it as mature as Nancy Drew? She found Nancy Drew too mature (and scary). She read all the Encyclopedia Brown books.


I will definitely try the other Carolyn Haywood books! Dd1 did really enjoy the Betsy books. I'll have to look at the Shoes books again, too. those look promising. She has no interest in the Ramona books. I haven'r looked at Ann of Green gables in awhile. The boxed set might make a nice gift.


The American Girl books are a possibility. I know they have those at her school library, but she's never read them. Dh and I are hesitant to open the can of worms that corporation is, but we might consider it. I'm not sure why she hasn't tried the A-Z mystery series. Maybe some of the titles sounded scary? I'll have a closer look at them. The reviews look very positive. They are very short, though, so I'm afraid she might get through them awfully fast. There do seem to be a lot of them, though...


She did enjoy reading the Paddington books (and I agree, they are at a higher level than one would think). She’s also read the Secret Garden and Black Beauty. She found Charlotte’s Web too sad. The other E.B. White stories might be worth a try, though.


Judy Moody she doesn’t want to read. The E. Nesbit books are probably too scary. Mr. Popper’s Penguins is pretty dense, if I remember right, but she might like that. The Wizard of Oz would definitely give her nightmares. I’ll have to check out the Catwings series, the Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz, Elizabeth Enright, Edward Eager, The Moomin series by Tove Jansson, and Rumer Godden; I’m not familiar with those.

Off to research. Thanks again!!!

post #14 of 39

For your older dd, I'd suggest The Penderwicks by Jane Birdsall. There are only two books, but they sound like they'd be right up her alley. They are contemporary, but with an old-fashioned feel. There is nothing too scary in them, but it's good writing and they're pretty long (200+ pages, I'm guessing). My dd1 (9.5) is enthralled with them. For an easier read she might like Just Grace or the Ivy and Bean books. They're sweet and funny and a little mischievous.


For your younger precocious reader have you exhausted all of Cynthia Rylant's stuff? She has a ton! She has quite a few elementary level books that are very sweet, too. Both of your dds might like those, like the Lighthouse Family Series.

post #15 of 39


I second the Penderwicks suggestion. 

For a book about smart girls: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Also: Most of L.M. Montgomery's books are about smart and nice girls - Anne of Green Gables and sequels, Emily of New Moon and sequels, Jane of Lantern Hill, Magic for Marigold etc. 

Hilary McKay's series about the Casson family is good. 


For German, is Cornelia Funke too much fantasy and too scary? 


post #16 of 39
Thread Starter 

Finally have sleeping children. off to check out the recommendations...


Regarding Cynthia Rylant, who is just perfect for my daughters, dd1 never liked the Lighthouse Family series (whereas she checked the Cobble Street Cousins series out of the library six or seven times). I remember someone here recommending them awhile back. I will try those with dd2. She's more into animals. She actually liked the Biscuit and Kitten early readers.

post #17 of 39

Trying to think of less than typical stories:


We've just discovered a cute little series (only 4 books) called Mr. Pin -- cute little mysteries about a Penguin living in Chicago. Not scary at all. And who can resist lines such as "Bad chocolate is always a crime"? No idea what reading level, but your dd will probably go through them pretty quickly.


Another series that we've discovered recently is the Humphrey books -- a story about a classroom hamster (who's smarter than the average hamster, of course). They're told from Humphrey's point of view and are quite clever. About a 3rd grade level, probably.


Have you tried Ivy and Bean? They're not very difficult (~2nd grade?), but dd likes them (and whipped through them all too fast).


What about the Clementine books?


Have you read the Beverly Cleary books? She's the right age for the Ramona books and the Mouse and the Motorcycle series (3 books). I find the Ramona books great for asynchronous readers.


post #18 of 39
Thread Starter 

Dd1 is not interested in Ivy and Bean. She did like The Mouse and the Motorcycle - but only the first one. She lovved the Clementine books. She is not interested in Ramona. I'm checking out the others. Thanks! I did look at many books online last night. I'll come back soon to post on those. Some of them look great! Thanks again...

post #19 of 39

My seven year old daughter, who's favorite books are the Little House series, has also really enjoyed Heidi, The Boxcar Children, The Trumpet of the Swam, Nim's Island, and Charolotte's Web.  Her other all time favorite series is Narnia which might not be right for your daughter or maybe she would end up loving it?

post #20 of 39
Thread Starter 

I tried to interest her in the Boxcar Children awhile back. Maybe I should get it from the library again.

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