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Help Me Find the Perfect Bedtime Story!

by Sierra on November 21, 2012 · 18 comments

in Uncategorized

Last year, I gave the girls the first three Sisters Grimm books for the holidays. They devoured them and asked for more. They’ve been reading Sisters Grimm every night for almost a year now, and they’re down to one book left in the series. We’re sad to see this era end; the Sisters Grimm have become beloved characters in our house, and we frequently gossip about their exploits over dinner.

Which makes a new series of bedtime stories the perfect holiday gift, right? Right.

The question is, what should they be?

Harry Potter has been rejected as too scary/dark. Ivy & Bean we have done and loved. Lord of the Rings and Narnia are too heavy; the kids like playful prose. We’re considering Percy Jackson, but I didn’t love those when I read them a few years ago.

And so forth. It should be a fairly hefty series, not just one great book. They have so far most loved stories about pairs of sisters who are a little older than they are and go on adventures. Solving mysteries is a big hit.

So please weigh in: what books should my 5 and 8 year old girls be read aloud at night for the coming year?


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  • Chelsea Porter

    I wish I had some insight to offer, but I don’t. I wanted to chime in, though, to thank you for the recommendation! My 7-year-old should get a kick out of these, so they’re up on her wishlist now, and if she doesn’t get any from the grandparents for xmas/yule, I’ll be sure to seek out the first for her in the new year. :)  


  • Amy Branger

    we are half way through the Mysterious Benedict Society. i think there are several in the series. very long and complex. my fourth grader and i loving it. 


  • http://twitter.com/edemund edemund

    My seven year old is really into “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” I’m not overly impressed with the writing. But he loves them. They’re about siblings and definitely have adventure. But they are kind of dark. Pre read first for sure, to see what you think. He also just started the “39 Clues” series, and is loving those as well. That’ s a brother/sister team who have to follow clues (39 of them, I presume) to solve a mystery about their family and seek a treasure. But also kind of scary for bedtime. I’ve heard great things about “The Mysterious Benedict Society” as well, but haven’t read it.
    For my 7 and 5 year olds, we had been reading some classics at bedtime. We finished up Paddington and Peter Pan, Treasure Island, Wind in the Willows….  Now we’re on a Beverly Cleary kick. I didn’t think they’d love her as much as they do. We’ve finished “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” and “Runaway Ralph.” Now we’re on to “Henry Huggins.” 


  • Carolyn Salvi

    Would they like Louis Sachar, “Sideways stories from Wayside School”? 
    They are the PERFECT age for The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede.


  • IssaWaters

    The Wizard of Oz series? I don’t remember at what age I read them, so I’m not sure how the age appropriateness lines up. There are 14 books, so if you guys like them there’s plenty!


    Brigitte Reply:

     They get a little dark, I didn’t like them when I was that young. My older brother was more suited to them in his tweens/early teens.


  • Meagan

    Chrestomanci books by Dianna Wynne Jones. They aren’t a true series, just a bunch of really great books (and several short stories) following characters in the Chrestomanci universe.

    You can go chronologically and start with “The Lives of Christopher Chant” but I’d recommend starting with “Charmed Life” which was the first book written, and my first favorite book, when I was 6. :-) It’s still among my favorites.

    There’s also the Bromiliad Trillogy by Terry Pratchett, but I’m not sure how long it would last. It follows a group of gnomes and it’s fantastic. Sort of irreverent, and if you’re very religious you might want to avoid it as it is clear to the adult (though possibly not the children) that the author is mocking the idea of God.


  • JB Segal

    Hm. Elizabeth Enright? Probably E. Nesbit, though wonderful, might be a bit very-late-19th-Century for y’all? Edward Eager?


  • Dawn Yow

    How about the Ramona Quimby series (by Beverly Cleary)?  I started reading it to my 4.5 year old and she likes some parts/books over others, but I chalk that up to her age.


  • badmummy

    My kid really enjoyed the Clementine books. She didn’t love Ramona Quimby (too old school). 

    Have you checked out http://www.amightygirl.com as a resource?


  • http://twitter.com/WrittenPyramids Written Pyramids

    I second Edward Eager. There are a set that featrue a group of cousins and then a set that feature those cousins children. In the Time Garden, the younger  generation meets the older generation as they are both enjoying their adventures. 

    I also recommend the Starbuck Twins books, about two sets of telepathic twins who solve mysteries together. There are only three of them, but I loved them when I was a bit older than Rio. I think that they’d be good read-alouds for both, though it’s been a long time since I read them. 

    Lastly, check out Kiki Strike. Not sisters, but girls who go on adventures, but it might be too old/scary for them. there are three of these too)

    If you are willing to do series that are only two books long (I think I am cutting it close with the recommendations that are only three books long), then there’s Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. 


  • Kristi Abuissa

    Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain.  Although there are some sad and scary moments – it’s a wonderful 5-book series, including one Newbery Honor and one Newbery Medal winner.


  • Kristi Abuissa

    My daughter loved the series of four Little Fur books by Isabelle Carmody.  The main character is half elf, half troll, as
    tall as a three-year-old human child, with slanted green eyes, wild red
    hair that brambles about her pointed ears, and bare, broad, four-toed
    feet, who tends to the seven ancient trees that protect her home (a small, magical
    wilderness nestled magically in a park in the midst of a large city) and is forever making “tisanes” of herbs to give to the animals around her.  Ms. Carmody illustrated the books as well, and the illustrations are lovely.


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FD4EK67UG6B4UWJ6ELW4OCE5BQ Micki

    My daughter loved Junie B. Jones books, they are easy reads, and funny.  Another favorite were the old Nancy Drew books, she read those over and over around age 8.  And also, The Little House on the Prarie series was fascinating to her. 


  • Liz RB

    The Gaia Girls series?  (of which only two have been written — out of a planned four).  Or what about the Little House on the Prairie series?  Maybe The Secret Zoo series . . .  


  • Sarah Twichell

    I second Terry Prachett, but specifically recommend the Tiffany Aching series, which starts with “Wee Free Men.”  There are four now.
    Also, they are probably the right age for Tamora Pierce.  Her newest stuff is more complex, but there are three good quartets: Alanna (about a girl who dresses up as a boy to become a knight), Protector of the Small (which is about the SECOND woman knight), and Wild Magic (darker, about a girl who can speak to animals).  

    In a similar vein to Percy Jackson but better written and more enjoyable: Artemis Fowl.  I like Mysterious Benedict Society but not enough to read them all.  

    Oh, are they big enough for “A Wrinkle in Time” yet?!


  • http://www.emtbd.com/ Sidney

    To find a lot of books look back in time:
    - The Happy Hollisters
    - The Boxcar Children
    - Trixie Belden
    - Nancy Drew
    - The Hardy Boys
    - The Bobbsey Twins (more juvinle)
    - Tom Swift Jr. if you like science and adventure
    - Tom Swift the original if you like old time science and adventure
    - Tom Corbett if you like space and adventure.
    - What a jolly street (designed as a series of bedtime stories. 1 story per day, makes a full story cycle over a year.)
    - Cherry Ames nurse
    - For more jungle adventure I suggest the Tarzan series, now mostly out of copyright and available from guttenbug.
    - For martian adventure try the john carter of mars series.
    - Also the land that time forgot. On second thought basically anything by Edgar Rice Burroughs.


  • http://alexandra-thorn.dreamwidth.org/ Alexandra

    I know this is late for the holidays but thought it might be of interest:

    I was raised on a bunch of British classics:
    Winnie the Pooh
    Mary Poppins
    Jungle Book
    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
    The Secret Garden
    Dr. Doolittle (though beware: the version I grew up with had racist slurs blacked out with magic marker)

    Other suggestions from my childhood: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, stuff by Roald Dahl (though his books are sort of creepy sometimes), From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Indian in the Cupboard.

    I also remember that when I was 5 I became sort of obsessed with the Raggedy Ann books, though I think there may have been some racist overtones and/or inappropriate illustrations of black people.


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