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    justinwilliams, Jessica D, Xtydell, lll, A WA parent
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    Joined: Mar 2010
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    MegMeg Offline OP
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    I know there have been threads about appropriate books for young readers (e.g. 5 and 6 year olds reading far above grade level), but what about for a 3-year-old? Hanni doesn't read, but her attention span and comprehension are growing like crazy, and we're dipping into chapter books.

    Right now we're doing Winnie-the-Pooh (the original), with me skipping large chunks when Eeyore is being a pill or other unpleasant things. I tried some Pippi Longstocking, but it was impossible to avoid bits where it's clear that Pippi lacks parents, or she's beating up burglars. Also tried Little House in the Big Woods. That worked fairly well except for having to skip all the animal slaughtering.

    What I'm looking for are books that are fairly concrete. I don't think she's ready for magic, time travel, etc. On the other hand, we don't need simple vocabulary, such as one finds in early-reader books. We need exactly the inverse of that -- complex vocabulary and grammar are fine, but the stories need to be not too threatening to a 3-year-old's emerging understanding of the world.

    Suggestions? (I love crowd-sourcing questions like this! Thanks in advance!)

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    Hi Megmeg,

    Have you tried Enid Blyton? The Wishing Chair series and the Magic Faraway Tree books use rich vocabulary and are not scary (my dd is super sensitive) though the original books have some questionable racism and sexism due to the era they were written in - though much of that has been removed from more recent versions of the books (and at 3 maybe that's not such an issue?) They are about magic though.

    I think she wrote others too for younger kids. At 4 dd loved her Famous Five
    books too (not so much the secret seven)

    I'm sure you'll get lots of good ideas smile


    "If children have interest, then education will follow" - Arthur C Clarke
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    Maybe the "Beazus and Ramona" series by Beverly Cleary. In the first book Ramona is 4 years old and the story is told from her perspective. I think the first we tried was "The All of a Kind Family" - again the youngest sister was 4 in the first book so DD had someone to relate to.

    Last edited by Pemberley; 08/18/11 11:53 PM.
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    When my oldest DD was three, she loved Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. This was also the book that my husband would read to her most often.

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    At that age we mostly stuck to The Magic Faraway Tree and other of the magical Blyton books - he was reading independently but, yes, needed something not too scary or too far outside his understanding. There are OODLES of Blyton books that are about right for that age / level. He also really started enjoying Encyclopedia Brown about that age, he also fell in love with Charlotte's Web, but of course that is VERY sad. Some of the (original) Thomas the Tank Engine stories might work too.

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    I will second Encyclopedia Brown. I think we read a million of those.

    At 3, my daughter liked listening to The Magic Treehouse series. The books are fairly formulaic, but at least they introduce interesting historical locations. I would only do the first 28 books in the series, though. After that the "Merlin Missions" become much more intense. My kids found them too scary.

    Other thoughts (perhaps for a little bit older, but not much) would be The Boxcar Children series (the kids solve a mystery, not scary at all) and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. Both have been big favorites in our family.

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    DD liked the Moomintroll series around this age, though sometimes they can be a little dark and they are rather strange (in a wonderful way). Cynthia Rylant's The Lighthouse Family series is wonderful and very gentle (also available on tape!). The Jenny and the Cat Club series by Esther Averill and the Catwings series by Ursula Leguin are lovely. Mr. Popper's Penguins, Pippi Longstocking.

    I'm looking for suggestions, too, especially for books available on tape/CD. DS will listen to his complete Curious George for an hour and a half straight, though I'm not sure he's quite ready for the books above. He is doing well with AA Milne, too.

    Last edited by ultramarina; 08/19/11 05:34 AM.
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    I'll second the Boxcar Children series. That's a fairly gentle set of books.

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    Yes, to All of a Kind Family and My Father's Dragon.

    Also try:
    Milly, Molly, Mandy storybook
    Teddy Robinson Storybook (very gentle!)
    Half Magic Series

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    MegMeg Offline OP
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    Thanks for all the suggestions!

    Enid Blyton, wow that takes me back. Me and my sister had some of her books when we were kids. We still quote from them when we want to crack ourselves up.

    I never read the Boxcar Children myself. I'll look into that.

    All of a Kind Family! We even have that! I'll put that next on my list.

    The Moomin books -- wow, I could go on at length about those. I love Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, but you're right about the dark edge, especially Moominpapa at Sea and Moominland in November. I think the author probably suffered from depression. Finn Family is her only really joyful book, I think, and I look forward to reading that to Hanni, but for right now I think the scene where nobody recognizes Moomintroll would freak her out.

    I never got into the Ramona books myself, but I think we'll give those a try. Thanks everyone!

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