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:
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