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Customer Discussions > Children's Books forum

Books to read to 9 and 4 year olds - together

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Showing 1-25 of 195 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 25, 2008 8:14:43 PM PDT
Arapacana says:
I have always read to my 9 year old and my 4 year old separately, but now they are asking me to read them books together sometimes, since they like snuggling up with the same story. The question is: What to read? My 9 year old is a gifted boy who reads at the 12th grade level, but he doesn't object to simpler stories on occasion. There has to be some challenge for him, though, or he will lose interest. My 4 year old is a very bright little girl with an excellent vocabulary (for her age), but she does NOT like books without pictures on every page. What can you recommed that would work for both of them?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2008 12:30:29 PM PDT
Mama Bear says:
Hi Professor,

Thank you so much for your suggestions for my 5 year old. I have a 10 year old and a 5 year old, both are boys and both fantastic readers. The eldest likes to sit in on just about anything we are reading to the younger boy so that makes it easy. I asked them about their mutual favorites and here are their suggestions:
Double Fudge, or anything by Judy Blume
Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Tintin by Herge
Matilda, or anything by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Where the Sidewalk ends by Shel Silverstein
Sideways stories from a Wayside School by Louis Sacher
Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborn
Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
Puzzle and Maze books (everything)
Bailey School Kids by Debbie Dadey

And here are some books that I really enjoyed reading with my kids:
Who Needs Donuts by Mark Alan Stamaty
The Great Pyramid by Cooper (comes with paper jewelry)
Snow White illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burket
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: A pop-up by Lewis Carroll and Robert Sabuda
King Bidgood by Audrey and Don Wood (Audrey and Don Wood do fantastic artwork and rythmic story telling.)
Heckedy Peg by Audrey and Don Wood
Madlenka by Peter Sis (He also created a spectacular book for grown-ups, Tibet through the Red Box)

And my boys can both still enjoy some Dr. Suess, Curious George, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, Dorothy of OZ and other old classics.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2008 3:13:54 PM PDT
Hi professor,
Children as young as 4 and as old as 12 are enjoying the Planet of the Dogs series.
For more information and sample chapters vist
Robert from Barking Planet

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2008 6:40:27 PM PDT
LisaM says:
Something like THE WAY THINGS WORK by David MacAulay might work on both levels for your children. Pictures, science, fun!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2008 6:47:02 PM PDT
K. McNamara says:
You might try the "Picture Books for Older Readers" category. Sometimes they call it picture book plus, but its basically picture books written for upper elementary students (3-5)
Books like:
Van Allsburg - Jumanji
David McCauley - Black and White
Fleischman - Weslandia

In non-fiction you might try Voyages through time: The Beginning by Peter Ackroyd

In fiction you might try Klise's Regarding the Fountain.

And of course there is always The Little Prince.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2008 6:34:10 AM PDT
Arapacana says:
Thanks for all the great suggestions!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2008 6:51:20 AM PDT
Barbara G. says:
'Karate Cat' is a perfect childrens story book that has enough in it that will excite both your children.

Search for it on Amazon, I have heard kids from as early as 2 years old love it to grown adults say it was great.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2008 8:39:15 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 1, 2012 7:24:08 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2008 8:47:52 AM PDT
Hi Professor (whoa just had a Gilligians Island moment)

Anyway, check out a new book series called "Strange Town Volume One: The Woods Behind Trevor Malone's House", It's a great book and I think your little ones will like it. Other readers have read the book to their kids and they all really liked the story.

Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2008 4:14:48 PM PDT
Check out "The Little Cat, the Wonderful Witch, and the Clever Mouse". It's a delightful story that will definitely entertain both of your children. It has full color pictures on every page which will please your daughter. The story is told in a rhythmic verse which makes it alot of fun to read. I know an 8 year old boy that has the story memorized and he loves to recite it. That would make it entertaining for your 9 year old. All the best!

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 5:17:32 PM PDT
I recently published a fantasy book, THE CRYSTAL PALACE: RESCUE OF THE BABY FAIRY PRINCE that is a collaborative effort, with me as author and my nine-year-old granddaughter Karina as illustrator. Alas, there aren't pictures on every page, but the fanciful story should keep your little girl engaged. It is an 83-page chapter book with eleven chapters. Karina's childlike drawings add an authenticity that other children respond to. This is the first in a planned series of Crystal Palace stories.
Check out my website for details and links to my book detail pages on the online bookstores:
Back cover summary:
Who would have guessed that the saving of a little boy at a pool would lead to an adventure in Fairyland and the Kingdom of rhe Leprechauns? A sleepover at Karina's Grammy's and Popi's house, in a bedroom filled with crystals, turned into an adventure at a crystal palace and a confrontation with a dangerous sea serpent (but nothing three girls can't handle!). Karina, Katie, and Emily Jean entered these worlds through the lead of Grammy's tooth fairy named Angela. They were needed to find the missing baby airy prince. Intelligence, insight, and imagination led these girls to the rescue and the discovery of the truth: children are precious to their parents, no matter how old they are, whether in Fairyland or everyday life.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2009 9:49:52 AM PDT
Klam says:
Professor: When I was a five-year old, my mother read Johanna Spiry's Heidi to me and I just loved it. Of course, it is a full-length novel to be read in installments. Pictures came from what my imagination could conjure up from the rich descriptive language of the author. If you want your children to appreciate classical literature, introduce it to them early on. Eventually I became an English teacher!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2009 11:55:13 AM PDT
MusicMom13 says:
You have even older ones by now -- but I would suggest Chapter Books -- aimed at the age level of the 9 year old (forget reading levels -- that means little -- age levels are stories that appeal to their level of maturity). I raised 3 -- and Charlottes Web (with voices!) was a forever favorite. Roald Dahl is another winner -- the key to the "challenge" is chapter books -- read a chapter or two each night before you take them to their own rooms (we did it on the couch -- I was quite an entertaining narrator) and then on subsequent nights, you can enjoy talking about what they remember and what they think might happen next. The older ones - boys -- are now both working engineers, and the "baby" girl went to Harvard.... Never read "down" to them, but don't assume a reading level has anything to do with an interest level. If the book isn't fun, don't bother. She won't understand it and he'll dread family reading time. Wait until she's about 8 and consider the Harry Potter books (one every year -- like they were released -- not every month) -- though that means a much longer bedtime ritual. Enjoy!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2009 12:07:46 PM PDT
Wayward says:
My then 5 year old loved Heidi, too! The goats sold her! She named one of her stuffies Schneehopli (confused many a medical professional who expected an answer like "daisy" or "bunny")

Secret Garden went over well, too.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 3:20:06 PM PDT
Kristin Nitz says:
My mom read us ALICE IN WONDERLAND when we were kids. It's funny and dramatic. Find a copy with the line drawings.

Edward Eager's fantasy novels don't have illustrations on every page, but they do have one or two per chapter. Plus, the featured family or group of friends always seem to have a mix of older and younger kids. That will give your kids each someone to identify with.

My novel, SAVING THE GRIFFIN, which was recently nominated to the 2009/10 Georgia Children's Book Award list. It has line drawings at the start of each chapter. It also features a first grader and a sixth grader as main characters.

You should also consider humorous picture storybooks like THE STINKY CHEESE MAN by Lane Smith and Jon Scieszka or Jeanie Franz Ransom's WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO HUMPTY. Many such books are written on two levels. Scieszka's TIME WARP TRIO is fun as well.

Finally, Ruth McNally Barshaw's ELLIE McDOODLE books are lots of fun with multiple pictures on every page.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 4:38:32 PM PDT
Mommy Reader says:
Illustrated storybooks: The Tale of Despereaux or Charlotte's Web
Chapter books: Joe and Sparky Get New Wheels is a new one that has illus. on every page and has a humor that appeals to ages 5-9.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 4:59:05 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 27, 2009 11:50:09 AM PDT]

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 5:54:21 PM PDT
We have a 10 year old and a 4 year old. We are currently reading LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE series of books. We have family reading time at bedtime. Those books have enough pictures to keep the little one entertained and enough action to surprise the older kids. They are full of adventure and wonderful vocabulary words too.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 7:31:10 PM PDT
MusicMom13 says:
<<read a chapter or two each night before you take them to their own rooms (we did it on the couch -- I was quite an entertaining narrator) and then on subsequent nights, you can enjoy talking about what they remember and what they think might happen next.>> I said this above, but want to emphasize it -- we did it because we liked it, but little did I know that it was developing "critical thinking skills" by employing predictive behavior etc. I babysit now and I am very wary of too many "learning opportunities" in everything we do with kids, but I can say that there is real value to interacting with the literature by having them contemplate it, not just enjoy it (though they dont' know the difference if it goes well).
Good suggestions all! Thanks for sharing!

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 8:57:56 AM PDT
J. Walsh says:
I recommend The Fairy Chronicles, chapter books with lots of color pictures, around age 7-11 level. Even though it's more geared to girls, boys can find something pleasing in it. There's boy fairies, along with trolls, dwarves, elves, etc.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 1:33:38 PM PDT
Ian Leal says:
I have recently written a new book with an African Theme, A is for Africa.
It is wonderfully illustrated by a native Ugandan that I met who does Batik paintings for a living. He did over 30 pieces for me to complete the book. The book is simple in nature, but has the captivating illustrations as well as exposure to new animals and the African culture. There is a fair amount of rich vocabulary written in rhyme that I think would be good for both your well as yourself!
You can look at some inside pages here:

And here is a review from an educational web-site that had recently recommended my book:

It is here on amazon for purchase (free shipping with the purchase of two copies!):
A is for Africa

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 4:41:08 PM PDT
Hazel says:
You could try The Secrets of Droon series by Tony Abbott.
So far, I've only read the first book The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet. The language is fairly simple, but imo the story is appealing to a 9 year old as well. You can read the first few pages on (ISBN 978-0439457477). And also of book 9 Tower of the Elf King, and some of the others.
I've read some of the descriptions of the special editions. They seem a bit more difficult and might be a bit too scary for a 4 year old, but they might be something for your son alone.
You can find more information on

A short description from Amazon:
Eric and his two friends, Neal and Julie, discover a secret doorway in Eric's basement that leads to the rainbow stairs. The stairs reach down into the wondrous world of Droon - a land where all kinds of amazing things occur. A cast of magical characters appears to guide the kids on their journeys. And one thing is for sure-magical, fantastic adventure is in store!

Happy reading!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2009 9:36:34 PM PDT
ChaiForTwo says:
Hi Professor,

Consider a new children's fable - Patulous, The Different Caterpillar. It has rich vocabulary, colorful illustrations, and teaches children to accept differences in themselves and others.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2009 5:41:04 AM PDT
Hazel says:
Hi again!

After loggin off I thought of a series your son might like.
The Warriors series by Erin Hunter (first book: Into the wild) is great!!
Your daughter is probably a bit too young right now, but some of the stories in the special editions might be suitable for both. And there are manga, not as great as the actual books, but nice.
Anyway, I think your daughter will be old enough soon. I've heard of fans as young as 6 and as old as their grannies.

The website is
You can find a few (free) short stories there as well. And of course, you can read an excerpt on

Happy reading!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2009 4:48:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 20, 2009 4:49:17 AM PDT
Hazel says:
Hi Professor,

In my previous post I said "some of the stories in the special editions might be suitable for both". I posted this from memory, but now I can be a bit more precise. In the Warriors Field Guide 'Secrets of the Clans' there are some short stories like How The Clans Came To Be, but there is a lot of 'background information' that I suppose, readers/fans of the actual novels will appreciate it more than those who haven't read any of the books yet.

So, sorry about this recommendation that wasn't a suitable recommendation (yet).
I hope you have found some that are.
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Discussion in:  Children's Books forum
Participants:  163
Total posts:  195
Initial post:  Oct 25, 2008
Latest post:  Mar 19, 2012

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