Chapter Books Suitable for Extra-Young Readers (Book Review – Part 2)

By , September 17, 2008 9:58 pm

With 10 comments and 135 page views so far, it seems that people really liked the first post in my new Chapter Books Suitable for Extra-Young Readers series!  Perhaps I shall have to make this a regular weekly feature at Unplug Your Kids rather than simply stop at the three posts that I had in mind. I’ll certainly run out of ideas eventually, but I do have quite a few to share.

If you are interested in this subject, then I urge you to read all the wonderful comments I received last week on Part 1.  Many of you left suggestions of “nice” chapter books that you or your children have enjoyed, and I am so grateful for the helpful input!  You even reminded me of a few that I had enjoyed as a child and forgotten about.  Thank you!

My plan for this week was to mention another book (again, part of a great series) that I was lucky enough to discover at the thrift store:

Happy Little Family (Fairchild Family Story)by Rebecca Caudill

My children fondly refer to this series as “The Bonnie Books.” When we are reading one of these at bedtime, they shout “Let’s read about Bonnie!!!”

The books are about a family of five children and their poor but happy life in the mountains of Kentucky at an indeterminate era (early 1900’s judging by the autobiographical aspect and the fact that author Rebecca Caudill – real name: Mrs. James S. Ayars – was born in 1899).

The series is about the whole family, although it does focus mostly on 4 year-old Bonnie, the youngest of the five Fairchild children. My two oldest children are endlessly amused by the similarity between Bonnie and their own little two and half year old sister.

Happy Little Family is the first book of this series of four Fairchild family stories.  The books are very reminiscent of the Little House series:  horse-drawn wagons, the excitement of a pair of shoes or a trip to town, a one room school house, adventures in the woods… but no prairie since this is Kentucky.

Plus, while the Little House books do have a few suspenseful episodes that might be difficult for particularly young and sensitive types to enjoy, we have read two of the Fairchild series so far, and I cannot recall anything remotely frightening taking place in either of them.

Book 1 is Happy Little Family . It consists of various amusing, sweet, and simple adventures of the Fairchild children.

Book 2, Schoolhouse in the Woods, has a more specific theme: a Fairchild family school year in their one room school house, and most importantly – little Bonnie’s very first year of school. (By the way, the school “year” only went from August through Christmas. In January and February the weather was too snowy to make the long walk to school, in March and April it was too rainy, and May through July were busy times on the farm and the children had to stay home and help.)

By popular demand, I am on my way to order Book 3: Up And Down The River

Each of these books is around 120 pages long. Type-face is medium, and there are 5 chapters in Happy Little Family, and 7 in Schoolhouse in the Woods . This series is definitely for more advanced readers than Cynthia Rylant’s Cobble Street Cousins series that I reviewed last week, however I think it might be a small step below the Little House books.

These are also an excellent choice for a sweet read-aloud and my 6 year-old son enjoys them as much as my 8 year-old daughter.

Here are the books in order, but they needn’t be read in order:

Book 1: Happy Little Family
Book 2: Schoolhouse in the Woods
Book 3: Up And Down The River
Book 4: Schoolroom in the Parlor

If you prefer a visual, here are the covers!

Please come back next week for Part 3 of this series!

AN AFTERTHOUGHT: Rebecca Caudill also wrote one of my favorite childhood easy chapter books (I loved it so much that I kept it and it now resides on my daughter’s bookshelf!): The Best-Loved Doll. This is a shorter and much easier chapter book, more like Cobblestreet Cousins in difficulty. It deserves it’s own post one day, but I thought I should also mention it here.

UPDATE: Here is the link to Part 3

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4 Responses to “Chapter Books Suitable for Extra-Young Readers (Book Review – Part 2)”

  1. shawna says:

    I have all my mom’s old Winnie the Pooh books, and we love reading those to Bella. Of course, at this point I’m sure she couldn’t care less about the content, but it doesn’t seem to be too intense for anyone. My friend’s 6 year old was reading Lemony Snickett and I had to hope most of it went over her head because that’s got some pretty impressionable scenes in it. I myself was an Anne of Green Gables girl as a kid :O)

    shawnas last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Daddy’s Girl

  2. […] if you’re searching for some quality chapter books suitable for extra-young readers, Mom Unplugged has just the books for you at Unplug Your […]

  3. Julie says:

    Another source for classic “classics” is lamplighterpublishing.com . You can’t buy their books on Amazon b.c they publish good books (that would make Charlotte Mason smile) that went out of print about 100 yrs ago.

    Julies last blog post..Oil Pastels & Watercolors

  4. shaun says:

    My early reader also enjoyed this series! My daughter was reading at 3, so by age 5 we were struggling to keep her in decent books. Magic Tree House and such like were OK, but she needed a little more “meat,” and I wanted to save Little House, Anne of Green Gables, and Harry Potter til she was a little older. These were nice, and now my littler one is enjoying the Faraway Tree series. My Father’s Dragon was also a good one (as an earlier commenter said on the other post).

    shauns last blog post..The Inevitable

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