Looking for classic books to read aloud to your kids this summer? Try these!
Disclosure: I received copies of these books and compensation for my time while writing this review. All opinions are my own!
What do your kids think of them?
Often the two-tone illustrations, “boring” cover, or old-fashioned layout turn my kids off. Sometimes I have to push a bit to get them interested in books written long ago.
What better way to get them excited about classic books than reading to them?
Today I’m partnering with Dover to share eight classic children’s books. Read our review of each title and decide if it’s right for you!
Favorite Uncle Wiggily Animal Bedtime Stories, by Howard Garis
We own and love the Uncle Wiggily board game, so I immediately had my Five’s interest when I pulled out this short collection of bedtime stories. He and my Three huddled close and gave me their full attention to two short stories – even with very few pictures. The animal stories are sweet and child-friendly. Recommended!
The Girl in the White Hat, by W.T. Cummings
When my Five saw this book he immediately grumped, “I don’t want this one. It looks boring.” But just a few pages in, he was entranced. (I love when that happens!) Annabelle is a little girl who is spending a quiet day with her grandmother while her parents work. When she’s supposed to be napping, Annabelle discovers a white hat in the attic. It turns out to be a magic hat which grants her every wish. Suddenly Annabelle’s day isn’t so quiet! My Three requested this one many times.
Sam and Emma, by Donald Nelson
The charming illustrations are the highlight of this little book. Sam and Emma, a dog and a cat, are two good friends. Emma is often judgmental and rude, which leads to a lesson about treating others kindly with words and actions.
I wanted to like this book, but it was hard to read aloud. The rhyme is inconsistent, making it difficult to read in a rhythmic fashion.
However, I do appreciate the lesson of the book; it’s a good conversation starter.
Too Many Mittens, by Louis Slobodkin
This is classic reading at its best. The book includes three separate titles. Our favorite was Too Many Mittens, an engaging story about twin boys who lose their red mittens. Soon everyone in town brings them all the lost red mittens they discover – until drawers of red mittens overtake the house. The story is well-written and engaging. And even though the illustrations lack the sophistication of today’s artwork, the book was a hit with my preschoolers.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
How is it possible that I had never read the original Wizard of Oz, neither to myself nor to my children? I suppose I always thought that it would be dry and wordy. After all, the original story was published in 1900.
Thankfully, I was wrong!
I read this aloud to my Six, Eight, and Ten, and all of us enjoyed the fascinating story and the humor woven throughout.We followed it with a movie night and had fun comparing the movie and the book. They are very different!
My Father’s Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett
This simple chapter book is about a boy who rescues a dragon and enjoys many adventures with him. It is part of a trilogy which is still popular today. If your child is new to listening to chapter books, this is a great one to begin with.
The Golden Basket, by Ludwig Bemelmans
We are big fans of the Madeline books and wanted very much to enjoy this book by the same author. But we just couldn’t get past the first few pages. The narration is long and takes too long to get to the main story, which didn’t intrigue us. The book is about a father traveling with his two little girls in the city of Bruges. It tells of their adventures in an Old World hotel and ancient city.
We hope it’s a better fit for your listeners!
Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, by Edward McLachlan
This was by far our favorite! I lost track of how many times I read this collection of four stories to my Three and Five, and it wasn’t unusual for an older sibling to stand beside us as I read aloud. In each book, Simon’s chalk drawings come to life in a special land on the other side of the fence. The illustrations are just as a child would draw them, and the stories are absolutely perfect. This book would make a wonderful gift!
Enter our giveaway
Dover is sponsoring a giveaway! U.S. residents may enter below to receive a bundle of all the featured books. Also be sure to shop Dover with the special code WHCM. You’ll get 25% off! (Good through 9/1/17)