Chapter/audio books for the sensitive 3.5 yo - Mothering Forums
Parenting the Gifted Child > Chapter/audio books for the sensitive 3.5 yo
aschmied's Avatar aschmied 02:08 AM 08-12-2008
I am about to take a long car trip, and then a long airplane trip with my munchkins. The 9 mo will have to make do with songs, walking up and down airplane aisles, and random toys. The 3.5 yo though, I can entertain beautifully with books. She adores Magic Treehouse, but is starting to move on from them in search of more complex story. (As a level indication.) The concern that I have is that she's easily frightened right now. Violence really concerns her, and the loss of a parent is horrifying. She's terrified of monsters and volcanoes at the moment, but if it works out ok fairly quickly she can get through it. (And I think the exposure is good for her.) She doesn't grok the social stuff that some of the Judy Blume books, etc have.

So, ideas? Would Wrinkle In Time be too scary, you think? It's been a while since I read it.... I was also considering Swiss Family Robinson (an old fave of mine) Other thoughts would be welcome!

Miss Information's Avatar Miss Information 12:18 PM 08-12-2008
Wendy's has been giving away free Magic Treehouse books on dvd with their kids meals - they have four different kinds. Magic Treehouse aren't too scary.
OTMomma's Avatar OTMomma 12:44 PM 08-12-2008
I think A wrinkle in time is a bit much for a 3 year old- jmho. We like Majic School bus books- both the picture ones and the chapter ones- and those aren't too scary. I also read the Miss Piggle Wiggle books to my dd at 3, those were cute and not scary at all, and Little House in the Big Wood is a good one for that age- some of the later Little house books are scary, but that one isn't.
TEAK's Mom's Avatar TEAK's Mom 05:37 PM 08-12-2008
The original Winnie the Pooh books are great. At that age, my dd1 loved Mr. Popper's Penguins and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. The Mary Poppins books are fun at that age, too.
Daffodil's Avatar Daffodil 06:58 PM 08-12-2008
Yeah, the Winnie the Pooh books would be great. I know Three Tales of My Father's Dragon is available as an audio book, and that's a good one for that age. It has some meanness and threatened danger, but nothing very bad actually happens. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is another possibility, though parts could be scary to some kids. Cynthia Rylant has some very mild, gentle books suitable for 3 year olds, including the Lighthouse Family series and Thimbleberry Stories, but I don't know if any of them are available on CD.
Thalia the Muse's Avatar Thalia the Muse 07:16 PM 08-12-2008
Does it have to be chapter books? what about a lavishly illustrated fairy-tale anthology or book of bedtime stories? Or some natural history picture books -- bugs, butterflies, horses, bats, whatever she likes.

If she likes chapter books better/they hold her interest more, the rainbow fairies books are easy to follow and very tame. They're kind of insipid, but my daughter loves them! Also, I remember Paddington Bear being very gentle.
eilonwy's Avatar eilonwy 11:20 PM 08-12-2008
I think I was three or four when I read A Wrinkle in Time; I absolutely LOVED it.

That's a really tough age, though, book-wise. I think we really need to make a sticky of one of the "Help me find books for my young reader" threads... Sorted by age & reading level.

In any case: The Girl With the Silver Eyes is a fun book, and I don't recall anything scary at all about it. It's a fairly easy read. Harriet the Spy is more difficult to read, but she'll probably *love* it. It's also a "long" book for a little person. Beverly Cleary is another great choice; The first of the Ramona books (Ramona and Her Mother?) will probably delight her. Oh! Anastasia Krupnik; She'll probably love that as well. I listened to that book on cd a year or two ago and it was just as funny as I remembered it when I was a kid. As to Judy Blume, Superfudge is a lot of fun, and the social stuff that she misses right now shouldn't diminish her enjoyment of the book much.
loraxc's Avatar loraxc 01:14 AM 08-13-2008
We have had success with Pippi Longstocking, My Father's Dragon, Beverly Cleary, Stuart Little, Paddington, and some of the Moomin books by Tove Janssen. A Wrinkle in Time is scary and would be hard for my bright 4.5yo to follow still, I think.
aschmied's Avatar aschmied 02:00 AM 08-13-2008
Thanks for all the thoughts, folks! I appreciate the insight. We've just read My Father's Dragon, which was a major hit. I loved it, too. She's not reading herself quite yet. She's on the cusp, but who knows how long that cusp will take.

She does love the Magic School bus books, and Magic Treehouse. Winnie the Pooh on audio is a GREAT idea. She's been a fan of those for a looong time.

Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
Does it have to be chapter books? what about a lavishly illustrated fairy-tale anthology or book of bedtime stories? Or some natural history picture books -- bugs, butterflies, horses, bats, whatever she likes.

If she likes chapter books better/they hold her interest more, the rainbow fairies books are easy to follow and very tame. They're kind of insipid, but my daughter loves them! Also, I remember Paddington Bear being very gentle.
Nah, for general reading purposes, it definitely doesn't have to be chapter books. I was looking for things that lent themselves well to audio books. Heck, she still loves Sandra Boynton, too. Those, she likes to read to the baby herself. (OMG the horror if I prompt her when she hesitates now and then....) I picked up at the library one of those rainbow fairy books a while back. She did like it. Insipid is a good description.

I think a sticky with ages and reading levels would be awesome. I know I'll keep wondering what to get next. I don't understand how so many kids get by on a couple dozen books, or way fewer. *blank incomprehension*

Thank you all!
milehighmonkeys's Avatar milehighmonkeys 02:43 AM 08-13-2008
DD likes the Magic School Bus Science chapter books as well. She's also read all of the Rainbow Magic Fairy books by Daisy Meadows. Both of these are pretty quick reads for DD, but they keep her busy for 20-30 minutes each. What keeps her occupied even longer are Ranger Rick magazines! These keep her occupied for almost twice as long. She spends a lot of time looking at the colorful pictures and then she has to read us all the jokes, etc. She loves them.

Other books she's read: Judy Moody series, Weird Familes series (My Mom the Pirate was her it twice. It's written by Jackie French), Disney Fairies, Cam Jansen (not a fave by any means), Chang's Paper Pony, Geronimo Stilton series.

Depending on how sensitive, you can also look at The Secrets of Droon and the A to Z mysteries. DD is loving the A to Z mysteries right now.

Most of these books are fun reads and not necessarily challenging. DD has certain criteria that a book must meet before she will even consider reading it. It's got to pass the cover test (not that I'm sure of the criteria on that one) and it has to have enough illustrations and color pictures are even better. We have had many books recommended to us that are supposedly great stories (Nim's Island is one such book) and the appearance doesn't appeal to her, so she refuses to read it.
Thalia the Muse's Avatar Thalia the Muse 03:45 PM 08-13-2008
Oh, magazines are great! I love Spider and Click, or Ladybug.

Pictures were a big deal for my daughter for a long time, too. The Jenny Linsky series are wonderful for that -- they start with Jenny and the Cat Club. They're older books, about a shy little cat named Jenny who finally gets brave enough to join the neighhorhood cat club, and then she has all kinds of adventures. They're completely charming, and there's a picture on every page.

Cynthia Rylant's Cobble Street Cousins series is good, too.
alexsam's Avatar alexsam 04:13 PM 08-15-2008
My son who is about that age really likes the read-along style- with the book and the CD. We just picked up "Frog and Toad" with the book/CD. There are a few Frog and Toad books which are very tame but adorable and a bit more complex. Perfect for gifted pre-schoolers . He also loves "Winnie the Pooh" (and I did see some read-along audio books for the original Pooh too, so I know they are out there). My MIL got him a Puff the Magic Dragon book that has a CD with it (not exactly read-along, but with the song and the book is an illustration of the lyrics). DS also occasionally enjoys Clifford the Big Red Dog read-along. I think the stories are a bit simplistic for him, so he kind of tires of them quickly, but he will still occasionally choose them out of the selection.
Janansmom's Avatar Janansmom 04:28 PM 08-15-2008
Lots of good ideas here. I second the Winnie-the-Pooh. My dd also loved the Magic Tree House and the Magic School Bus series (especially the Magic School Bus chapter books), thought not sure if they're on CD or tape.

The only other one I would add, but you would have to verify for scariness (my dd was the same way, we had to leave the movie Chicken Little when she was 5 b/c it was too scary and everyone not believing Chicken Little REALLY made her mad!) would be the Fairy Realm series by Rhodda. DD has loved these books since she was about 3-4 and still goes back to re-read them occassionally. I'm not sure they're on CD either, though.

What I know is on CD for sure that DD loved were the Disney Fairy series (nothing scary there at all and everyone works through their problems before the story ends), definitely Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Stellaluna, Rainbow Fish, Frog & Toad and the Borrowers.

Travel safely!
LuckyMommaToo's Avatar LuckyMommaToo 10:21 PM 08-15-2008
Chiming in late here, but Jim Weiss has amazing stories on CD. You can see his catalog here:

DS adores them, and there's such a variety to choose from. I haven't checked if they're available on audio, but maybe some Roald Dahl? DS is also sensitive, and I find this site is really helpful with their age ratings (they do books as well as movies):

Hope your trip went well.
AmyCarin's Avatar AmyCarin 01:32 AM 08-17-2008
My 4 yo likes the Boxcar Children, Nate the Great, Stepping Stones has a version of the Classic Jungle Book that is very readable (it's a level 4 reader - chapters)
Actually the Stepping Stones books are fun - good topics - we have 3 out right now. "Pirate Mom" "How NOT to babysit your brother" and "Jungle Book"

Books on CD: Winnie the Pooh, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Adventures of Lemony Snicket, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are the ones we've checked out from the library recently.

We use Books on CD for our Quiet Time - we prefer ones w/o books.