Chapter books to read to my 5 and 3 year olds? - Mothering Forums
Learning at Home and Beyond > Chapter books to read to my 5 and 3 year olds?
brennatsi's Avatar brennatsi 08:53 PM 10-20-2011

I am homeschooling my kindergartener and I would love to have a book that we can read over time.  Perhaps they are too young to follow a story from one day to the next, but the weather is cooling and I would love to have the choice of curling up in my bed with them and reading longer books. 


Any suggestions?


PS- Doesn't that sound nice??

Daffodil's Avatar Daffodil 06:54 AM 10-21-2011

Some books a 3 year old and 5 year might both enjoy: 


My Father's Dragon (and sequels)

The Jamie and Angus Stories/Jamie and Angus Together

Catwings (and sequels)

The Boxcar Children

Jenny and the Cat Club

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Little Dog Lost

Winnie-the-Pooh/The House at Pooh Corner


I read all of the above to my DS when he was 3.



Mittsy's Avatar Mittsy 08:14 AM 10-21-2011

We have been loving the Tiptoes Lightly series by Reg Down.

jaycou's Avatar jaycou 08:43 AM 10-21-2011
I've been reading novels to my 4 year old for several months now. (He was 3 when we started.) So far we have read:

Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Prairie
On the Banks of Plum Creek (didn't finish that one)
Stuart Little
Charlotte's Web
Ramona the Pest

We just finished Ramona last night. Not sure what we'll start reading today.
AAK's Avatar AAK 10:46 AM 10-21-2011

"Lady Lollipop" and "A Mouse called Wolf" (both by Dick King-Smith)

Toys Go Out

The first Ramona book is more like several short stories (at least it seemed that way to me) so your children don't NEED to remember the stuff that happened earlier in the book.


Wildflower's Avatar Wildflower 03:04 PM 10-21-2011

Teddy Robinson --chinaberry catalogue used to have it ---precious, short chapters too

Wildflower's Avatar Wildflower 03:05 PM 10-21-2011

Oh, also Pippi Longstocking--lots of action there ;)


MommaCrystal's Avatar MommaCrystal 03:39 PM 10-21-2011

There is a whole bunch of books about two mice characters Tum Tum and Nutmeg.  My kids are your age and they adore these books!

Reebekah's Avatar Reebekah 05:38 PM 10-21-2011

my 5 yr old son is enjoying Milly Molly Mandy and The Boxcar Children. 

moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 05:47 PM 10-21-2011

I wanted to put in a plug for books like "Winnie the Pooh" by A.A. Milne and others that aren't so much novels as "collections of linked stories." In other words, there's no over-riding plot that one needs to keep track of from day to day in order to enjoy the sense of the book. Each "chapter" is a separate adventure. The characters are the same, but each day's read stands alone as a story that resolves itself. "My Father's Dragon" is similar: there is a very basic over-riding plot, but each chapter stands alone remarkably well. "Tumtum and Nutmeg" is another such book. We recently donated our copy to our local public school library and it was the one out of the entire stack of great early chapter book readalouds that my 8-year-old got all wistful and nostalgic about. Awesome suggestion. If you forget that yesterday's story was about the tigers, it doesn't matter at all. Sydney Taylor's "All-of-a-Kind Family" is similarly a collection of linked stories, as are Michael Bond's "Paddington" books (though these, IME, are enjoyed by a slightly older age-group because of the humour in them). "Sophie's Snail" by Dick King-Smith is another lovely such book well-suited to ages 3-5, as are Cynthia Rylant's "Lighthouse Family" books.



dovey's Avatar dovey 08:36 PM 10-21-2011

Some read alouds our kids have enjoyed from about age 3:


-Trumpet of the Swan

-The Five Children and It

-The Story of the Amulet

-all the Oz books - the ones by L. Frank Baum are definitely the best

-Dr. Dolittle books (we do some editing to get rid of racist/sexist material, but great stories overall)

-Wind in the Willows (the language is difficult but quite beautiful and poetic - a nice book to read at bedtime)

-The Little Cow and the Turtle

Mom31's Avatar Mom31 08:57 AM 10-22-2011

MY favorite book as a child was the Little Princess, and The Secret Garden.

brennatsi's Avatar brennatsi 05:05 PM 10-22-2011

Thank you so much, everyone!!  What wonderful suggestions!



JamieCatheryn's Avatar JamieCatheryn 07:24 PM 10-22-2011

With my 5 and 2 year old lately I've read The Hobbit, The Last Unicorn, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, Babe, and Stuart Little.

mommy212's Avatar mommy212 08:40 PM 10-22-2011

Another winnie the pooh suggestion!

Laura Wilder books

Fairy tales or mythologies- a collection of short stories might keep them from forgetting old plotlines and details

Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit) books

the Jungle Book, especially if they love animals (there is some slaying of animals, talk of revenge, etc, at one point Mowgli skins a tiger)

East of the Sun, West of the Moon is a very pretty, nicely written picture book

The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings ( a little more complex), and other Tolkein novels

The Secret Garden

A Little Princess

Peter Pan


Black Beauty


Coco_Hikes 08:40 PM 10-24-2011
Yes, it does sound nice! Go with the two Pooh books suggested by pp. My 5yo is absolutely loving them. The audiobooks of the same are a favorite here, too (but go with the Jim Broadbent version).

2mama's Avatar 2mama 10:01 PM 10-24-2011

The Magic Tree House are quick, fun, and full of adventure.  They start of short and easy and get longer and more detailed as the series progresses. 

elizawill's Avatar elizawill 08:09 AM 10-25-2011

definitely "my father's dragon" series. it has been my son's favorite since age 4.

Grace and Granola's Avatar Grace and Granola 10:19 PM 10-27-2011

My Father's Dragon and the two sequels were great at age 3 and still great at age 5!  Now at 4 and 6, we're really getting into the Boxcar Children series.

Aletheia's Avatar Aletheia 01:24 PM 10-28-2011

We've read the "My Father's Dragon" trio countless times-- those are really great.  I have a 5 and 3 year old, too.  Our latest fascination, though, are the Magic Tree House books that got one mention by a PP.  They are sometimes a bit scary, but really adventurous and eye-opening.  My 3 year old is going to be a ninja as a result, and my 5 year old was telling Grandma all about the "Gypshuns" and the pyramids the other day.  The series is seemingly endless, and has a website which we have not begun to use yet, but probably will soon.  In addition, I was able to get the first... 16? books on CD through our library.  


We've begun "Ralph S. Mouse"and "Little House in the Big Woods," but they were a bit more complicated and not as... pressing in their story lines, so the boys were not so eager to return to them.  But with the Magic Tree House books, they can tell you exactly what happened the day before.  :)  They get a little hooked. 

teamsalem's Avatar teamsalem 04:57 AM 11-01-2011

I wanted to add "The Trumpet of the Swan."  We finished that one recently and my kids LOVED it.  (They are 5 and 3 as well).  And we've already read a few of the already mentioned books -- "My Father's Dragon," "Stuart Little" (another big hit in our house), "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (ok, this one had a bit too much dark humor for them, but they enjoyed it nonetheless).  "James and the Giant Peach"  (same problem, actually, my kids found it scary)

jilson41's Avatar jilson41 09:34 AM 11-01-2011

I love threads about children's books!

Most of the books below have already been mentioned, but I thought I'd add a little more info to help you narrow down where to start with so many great suggestions.

We read the My Father's Dragon series when my youngest were 2 1/2 and even at that age they were able follow along for a chapter at a time.  I think this series is an excellent place to start.  A warning, though--in the beginning of the first book, Elmer's mother spanks or whips (something violent) him for bringing the cat in the house--we just  edited.  These books were written over 50 years ago.

My kids also loved the Magic Treehouse series.  I don't think these books are as well-written as some of the others mentioned, but my kids could follow the stories easily and they are somewhat educational.  They are very popular.

We read the Little House series when my oldest was 5.  My youngest two were 3 at the time and they liked Little House in the Big Woods, but weren't as interested in the other books.

You may consider The BFG by Raold Dahl for your 5 year old.  We've read this book five times in the past few years.  I think we started when they were 3 and 5.  There are giants that eat children in the book, so if your 3 year-old is not intrepid, you may want to wait a bit but I think most 5 year olds could handle it.  My husband and I love to read this book out loud because the language is fun and our kids think it is the best book ever.  Fantastic Mr. Fox by the same author would also be appropriate for your kids and it is shorter and less scary.  My seven year old is currently on a Roald Dahl kick and can't get enough of his dark, silly and very inventive books.  Your 5 year old may also enjoy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  We've tried James and the Giant Peach several times but my kids just can't get past the very depressing beginning.  All in all, though, we love Raold Dahl.

The Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo are cute and funny.  They are a nice bridge between picture and chapter books.

The Ramona books are funny, too.  I think most 5 year olds could relate well to Ramona and her antics.

We are big fans of Cythia Rylant.  Mr. Putter and Tabby and Henry and Mudge books have very short chapters and also make a nice bridge from picture to chapter books.

Hope this is helpful.


lemontreelane's Avatar lemontreelane 11:12 AM 11-03-2011

we are enjoying the rainbow faries series by daisy meadows... enjoyable easy to follow stories...

Aletheia's Avatar Aletheia 11:36 AM 11-04-2011

Has anyone tried The Phantom Tollbooth with this age group?

AlyssaYoung's Avatar AlyssaYoung 10:23 PM 11-04-2011

Wow, most of these titles were books that I loved as a girl- What a great thread!  Thanks for the reminder!


burrow2mom's Avatar burrow2mom 09:43 PM 11-05-2011

We have read most of the above as well. Right now both my 7 yr old son and my 5 yr old daughter love the Fairy series by Daisy Meadows. They are all pretty easy to read and relatively short. In addition my son really liked to read and be read to many of the Mother West Wind series and by Thornton W Burgess. The kids grandfather started collecting them when he was a boy and then my husband read them and now my kids. There are many books by TW Burgess. Many are out of print but some are available as reprints in paperback.

Another great animal story is Rascal by Sterling North about a boy growing up during WWI and his pet racoon.

burrow2mom's Avatar burrow2mom 10:22 PM 11-05-2011

This is a great thread. I got many books bookmarked for this coming winter. I forgot to add The Children of Noisy Village and Christmas in Noisy Village both by Astrid Lindgren. Both my kids like those stories.

Aletheia's Avatar Aletheia 08:12 PM 11-06-2011

Oh!  I remember Rascal from my own childhood!  It really made an impact on me.

dzt66's Avatar dzt66 08:53 PM 11-06-2011

Just finished Charlotte's Web with my 8, 6, and 4 year old kiddos.  They all loved it.  So much you can talk about with farm life!