The list author says: "Parents often ask for good books for advanced young readers who still need age-appropriate content. Below, arranged roughly from simpler to harder reading level, are some chapter books that my 6-year-old has enjoyed over the last few years, plus a few of my own childhood favorites. Some of these have more literary value than others, but all are reasonable selections. (I try to avoid anything too violent or bratty, as well as anything with confusingly tween-y social dynamics.) The settings range from home (pleasingly familiar) to school (perhaps challenging for a preschooler) to fantasy/sci-fi settings (pleasingly unfamiliar). I've typically listed only one book by each author, but most of these are prolific writers -- if you find something your child likes, there's plenty more."
""The Three Little Witches" and its companion volumes, "The Three Little Pirates" and "The Three Little Princesses," are all favorites in our house. They are early chapter books with a lot of pictures (or else, picture books with a lot of chapters). The language is playful and there are many elements of fantasy."
""Dolphins at Daybreak" is a good place to start as one of the shortest and simplest books in the series; they get more complex later on. They're a bit formulaic, but my child has learned a ton of history, science, and culture from these books. They also model great values without being preachy: the sibling protagonists bicker, but work together to help others."
"The Cobble Street Cousins series are like a little-girl fantasy: three cousins live in their aunt's attic for a year while their parents tour the world with a dance company. The cousins entertain themselves by running a cookie business, putting on a show, and matchmaking for their aunt. If you liked "Betsy, Tacy, and Tib" as a child, this is in a similar vein (but shorter & a bit simpler)."
"This is one of many Johanna Hurwitz books about Elisa, her brother Russell, and their neighbors in their Riverside apartment building. The books have simple plots, yet are surprisingly witty and sweet. My child and I both laughed out loud during the chapter where second-grade Elisa takes over from the do-nothing babysitter."
"Remember how much fun Choose Your Own Adventures were? Now they have a few specifically for younger readers -- still gimmicky-but-great fun, a little shorter than the originals, and nothing too scary."
"These stories about eight-year-old Martin Bridge have simple, humorous plots and surprisingly deep themes. For example, after a neighbor's parents lie to her about her hamster's death, Martin starts wondering whether his own parents can be trusted."
"The gender roles in the Littles series are a little dated, but the books are still fun. The premise is that mouse-sized people inhabit a "big people" home, inventively adapting the big people's leftovers for their own needs. In a later book in the series, we learn about the different habits of house tinies, wood tinies, and underground tinies."
"This is a story of holiday-season "secret friends" in a second grade class. The social dynamics take a little inference -- but this could be a good one to discuss with a little one whose social skills aren't quite as precocious as her reading skills."
"Who doesn't like reading about chocolate?? This book became such a big favorite that my daughter chose it has the theme for her 6th birthday party. It sounded so literary to me...I didn't realize I was being duped into throwing a huge sugar-fest! This is also a great choice for reading aloud to siblings of different ages. (Other good Dahl titles are "The BFG" and "The Witches.")"
"This old classic has aged well. Five Jewish girls grow up in New York's Lower East Side in the early 1900s. Each chapter stands on its own, telling stories of lost library books, dreaded chores, bedtime antics, and Jewish holidays."
""Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" definitely seems dated in some of its particulars, but the basic premise rings true: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle saves hapless parents with humorous tough love cures to common bad behaviors."
"E.B. White is great, especially if you're looking for more challenging vocabulary & syntax than contemporary early readers. "Stuart Little" is probably the easiest of his children's books (the others are "Trumpet of the Swan" and "Charlotte's Web")."
"Talk about multi-age appeal! This was a hit with my fifth grade students, my daughter in kindergarten, and my 80-year-old uncle. This chapter book is told half in pictures, and won the Caldecott Award for best illustrated book. It takes place in a train station in France in the 1930s, and involves a toymaker, an assistant clock-winder, a mechanical man, and the history of cinema."