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Favorite Beginner's Chapter Books

Favorite Beginner's Chapter Books

My sister was probably four or five when I sat her down and eagerly began reading Swiss Family Robinson. As a young teen, it was one of my favorite books, and I couldn't wait to share it. She didn't catch my enthusiasm.

Transitioning from picture books to chapter books can be difficult. I used a little more wisdom when selecting books for my children than my sister. I consulted many book lists for suggestions of the best books to read to preschoolers, but my daughters' favorites didn't always match the list. For example, Paddington was highly recommended as a good beginning chapter book, but many of the British terms were unfamiliar to them and, although they listened politely, they didn't love it. These are the ones that they loved and kept asking for the next chapter, and also that I enjoyed as well.



My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett - Elmer sails on a ship to the island of Tangerina where he tries to rescue a baby dragon that was enslaved by wild animals.


Elmer and the Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett - Elmer and the dragon leave the island of Tangerina and fly across the sea, only to go down in a storm. They discover they are close to a little island where they discover hidden treasure.


The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dagliesh. Are there bears on Hemlock Mountain or not? Jonathan finds out when he has to fetch the large soup pot for his mother. Deliciously scary.


Mario a Belizean Boy by Elizabeth Wagler. The girls ask me to read this one and its sequel over and over again, and they ask if we can go visit Mario. A delightful peek into Belizean culture by a woman who's lived in Belize for years.

Mario and His Friends by Elizabeth Wagler. Mario and his friends start going to school. Sequel to Mario a Belizean Boy. 


Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The girls have nearly every Little House picture book memorized, so this longer and more descriptive version did not bore them. I enjoyed it as much as they did!


The Boxcar Children by Gertude C. Warner. Four orphaned siblings work together to create a home in a boxcar. I remember the delight of reading this when I was a child.


Next Spring an Oriole by Gloria Whelan. Libby and her parents travel by covered wagon to Michigan to buy a plot of land where the pine trees are so tall you have to lie down to see the tops. They have many adventures with Indians, lice, and pioneering.


The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren. Follow along on the adventures of six Swedish children living in a group of three farms. 

What are your favorite beginners' chapter books?

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