Chapter books for almost four year old girl - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD loves chapter books like Charlotte's Web and The House at Pooh Corner and I'm looking for more books of this length and interest level for her. I'm particularly looking for ones with strong female characters, ideally African American characters.

Any suggestions?

Mom to DD 7 and DS 5.
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#2 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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Mary Hoffman's "Grace" series are pretty good, although more for beginning readers to tackle themselves. I've only read "Starring Grace,' but it's got a lot of kid appeal, about an imaginative African-American girl and her adventures over the summer with her friends.

when she gets older, The Egypt Game is GREAT -- but that's more for an eight- or nine-year-old, at the earliest.
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#3 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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My 3 yr old really enjoys "The Littles" series. We have also read a lot of Rohld Dahl and Beverly Cleary

What about the American Girl books?
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#4 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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The American Girls books are really surprisingly good, but the one African-American girl, Addy's, storyline is about slavery and escape. I think that might be awfully heavy for most children this young ... the family is sold and broken apart (although I think they're reunited in the North as free people by the end of the series).
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#5 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
The American Girls books are really surprisingly good, but the one African-American girl, Addy's, storyline is about slavery and escape. I think that might be awfully heavy for most children this young ... the family is sold and broken apart (although I think they're reunited in the North as free people by the end of the series).
The first Addy book led to 6 weeks of nightmares in my very sensitive then-5 year old. They're fine for her now (age 8), but certainly would be good to avoid for younger ones, particularly if sensitive. Later books in the Addy series are just fine, so if you skip book 1, it's ok.

We like the My Father's Dragon series (misses on the AA female lead part of the request, but good and appropriate for 4 year olds)
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#6 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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DS1 is 3.5 and we're just finishing up The Mouse on the Motorcycle, which he loves We also just read My Fathers Dragon and are going to start THe Dragons of Blueland/Elmer's Dragon next (the following 2 books).

Other ideas... bruce coville's "My Teacher is an Alien" series, "Space Brat". Also The Indian in the Cupboard, or other Beverly Cleary books (Ramona?)
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#7 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 07:35 PM
 
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My 5 yo girls have enjoyed readings of The Secret Garden, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, A Nest for Celeste, all the Thornton Burgess books, James Herriot's stories for children (though in a few some animals die and we had some tears over those), The Night Fairy. Some of those have female characters, none AA though.
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#8 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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What does she enjoy doing/learning about? My DD loves "Magic Ballerina" books (can't say I do), if you search there are children's chapter book series (of varying quality ) on most topics.

Grateful mama striving to respect the two precious beings entrusted to me DD '06 and DS '09
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#9 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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The boxcar children were my favorite from my childhood...loved american girls too!what about junie b jones?
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#10 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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Pippi Longstocking is a strong female character, though not AA. Ronia the Robber's Daughter, also by Astrid Lindgren, has another strong female character. Coraline (by Neil Gaiman) is great, too. Ronia and Coraline would probably both be too scary for a lot of kids, but my DS had heard and enjoyed both of them by the time he was 4, so they're not out of the question for a kid that age.
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#11 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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Clementine, The Talented Clementine

The Ramona books, especially Ramona the Pest (the others are good too, but might be better for a slightly older child).

Cam Jansen

The Magic Treehouse

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#12 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 11:47 PM
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Our favorite chapter books so far:
Pooh
Alice in Wonderland
Phantom Tollbooth (she loved this at first, but after getting into some series, didn't want to finish the last third maybe)
The Disney Fairy books
The Sophie stories by Dick King-Smith (of Babe fame) Sophie kicks butt!
There is supposed to be a great series with an at least part Af-Am female main character, Amy Hodgepodge, but I haven't managed to snag it at the library yet
And then easy readers like Nate the Great and Mr. Putter and Tabby have been huge hits, too.
HTH!
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#13 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 11:48 PM
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Oh yeah, Ivy and Bean are supposed to be fanTAStic chapter books (easy reader style), written by the same woman who did some very popular book club style books my mom loves I have one of those waiting at the library!
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#14 of 24 Old 10-15-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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Some of our favorites have been:

The Ivy and Bean series
Junie B Jones series
Judy Moody series
Clementine books
Just Grace books
Roxie and the hooligans
Ramona

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#15 of 24 Old 10-16-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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DS started really liking Magic Tree House at about that age. We also started the Little House on the Prairie series when he was 4, and he loves those (and so do I!).

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#16 of 24 Old 10-18-2010, 12:01 AM
 
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#17 of 24 Old 10-19-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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Magic School Bus
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#18 of 24 Old 10-20-2010, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, this gives me a lot to look for the next time we go to the library.

Just a question about the Little House series... I remember reading them and loving them when I was about 8 or so, but now I'm wondering how Native Americans are portrayed, given the time period in which they were written. I'd like my DC's to read them eventually, but if there's undertones (or outright) racism I might choose to wait until they're old enough to have a conversation about that.

Mom to DD 7 and DS 5.
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#19 of 24 Old 10-20-2010, 12:05 PM
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Yeah, there are some really, erm, dated parts in Little House. I know I read them with my mom early on, and I have no idea if she skipped that stuff or what. It's definitely a book I'd discuss a lot with my daughter, when we get to it. But for now I'm holding off.
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#20 of 24 Old 10-20-2010, 01:38 PM
 
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I think the portrayal of Native Americans in Little House is surprisingly nuanced. Ma is racist. She's a product of her time, etc., etc., but she pretty much hates the Indians. Pa keeps pointing out that some are nice, some are dangerous, and that after all the Ingalls are building on their land. He takes the girls to an Indian campsite to explore. Laura is fascinated by them (although scared when the girls are alone with Ma and some young Native men come in and very aggressively demand to be fed), and there is a fantastic scene in LHOTP when the Native Americans have been driven off the land and are winding away down the trail with all their worldly goods, right past the cabin, and Laura falls in love with one of the babies she sees passing by and begs her parents to get it for her -- she's very little and doesn't understand that this is someone's BABY and she can't have it like a doll. It's poignant and disturbing and I can't imagine anyone putting it in a book today.

FWIW, if you want to hold off on discussions of how the Ingalls were basically trespassing and helping to steal land and why Ma hated Indians, the only book where this is an issue is Little House on the Prairie -- you can skip from Big Woods to Plum Creek if you like. In one of the other books, Pa takes part in a minstrel show -- it's a very minor scene, but that actually seems way more problematic to me than the Native American issues!
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#21 of 24 Old 10-25-2010, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
I think the portrayal of Native Americans in Little House is surprisingly nuanced. Ma is racist. She's a product of her time, etc., etc., but she pretty much hates the Indians. Pa keeps pointing out that some are nice, some are dangerous, and that after all the Ingalls are building on their land.
I think I will hold off on this series until DD is old enough to have a discussion about it. I did love this series and I think it's a great way to personalize the realities of US history that still affect us today, but she's not old enough to understand all that yet.

Mom to DD 7 and DS 5.
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#22 of 24 Old 10-26-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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Pippi Longstocking is a huge hit in this house - and of course is a STRONG character

The Paddington series is good too.

I've found the Disney Fairies series to be surprisingly enjoyable to read and not formulaic.

I've heard that the Boxcar Children and the Lighthouse Family (I think? Cynthia Rylant I believe) are good.

Oh, and Ursula LeGuin's Catwings. We love that series.

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#23 of 24 Old 10-27-2010, 04:15 AM
 
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DS (3.5) is enjoying the Bunnicula series right now.

We also enjoy Frog and Toad becuase he's able to follow along and pick out certain words.

... and several of the ones already suggested by others.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer"
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#24 of 24 Old 11-02-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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Subbing, so as not to miss any future book recommendations.

I am so excited that dd is starting to be interested in chapter books! She is 3.25 now, but has a neverending attention span when it comes to being read to.

Also, I'm glad to have read the parts of this thread about the Little House books. DH and I have started reading LH in the Big Woods to dd, but we didn't think about the racist elements that show up later in the series. It's hard to decide whether to hold off or just have the discussion now in simple terms. For now, anyway, dd is so into repetition that she wants to keep hearing the same chapters of Big Woods over and over.
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