Can you recommend some books for dd. She likes things like Narnia and Harry Potter, but...

(75 Posts)
ISeeThreadPeople Mon 29-Oct-12 12:42:17

... I'm struggling to get the balance right between reading ability and appropriate literature. She's a fairly precocious reader but I need to keep suitability and comprehension at a level which fits.

She read the first Harry Potter herself and I've read the second and third to her as part of her bedtime stories but have stopped as I think the subject matter becomes too much at that point onwards.

She really likes worlds she can lose herself in in particular. So something like Harry Potter or the Chronicles of Narnia are good and she particularly likes fantasy. We have reams of fantasy but really it's not going to be suitable until she's 10 or older I think. DH reads lots of fantasy fiction and sci fi and she's going to be very happy in a few years time but there's sort of a gap now where she's hankering after longer chapter books, dissatisfied with shorter books but not really old enough for DH's dragonlance collection or things like Philip Pullman.

She's read or had read to her all of the Dahl books, have done Alice In Wonderland, Wind in the Willows and similar classic texts.

What don't I know about? What are the David Walliams books like for example?

HeathRobinson Mon 29-Oct-12 12:44:34

How old is she?

ISeeThreadPeople Mon 29-Oct-12 12:51:44

She's 5 and a half. I did try searching for books recommended for her age group but really they're not what I'm after. She's a competant and voracious reader and her comprehension is good but she is still 5 and I need something which is chapter based, fantastical if possible but not too far ahead in terms of content.

DH has bought The Hobbit for her and is going to give it to her as a Christmas present for example.

Takver Mon 29-Oct-12 12:55:31

Charlie Bone is rather like Harry Potter but less dark (I'd recommend reading through them yourself first though just to check as she's so young)

At that age dd loved (read to her) the Swallows and Amazons books - although they're not fantasy, they're ideal to 'lose yourself', also the Little House books (especially the earlier ones where Laura is younger).

Takver Mon 29-Oct-12 12:58:30

She might also like the Edward Eager books which are 1950s but very much 'inspired by' the E Nesbit books (very similar plot, and in at least one case the children run into the characters from Five Children & It) - Half Magic and the Time Garden are two of them, but I think there are more.

She might also enjoy the E Nesbit books though they are quite wordy.

Has she read The Ordinary Princess?

chinley Mon 29-Oct-12 12:58:41

The Edge Chronicles books are really great. I read them as a kid but I still love them now. blush

Takver Mon 29-Oct-12 12:59:55

Other things suitable for a precocious early reader, though in the main not fantasy:

My Friend Mr Leakey
the Professor Branestawm books
Both the Wombles and the Paddington chapter books (also Olga da Polga)

ISeeThreadPeople Mon 29-Oct-12 13:02:47

Oh this is brilliant. Thank you! She loves The 5 Children and It incidentally. She does NOT like Paddington oddly.

I am making a list.

Poledra Mon 29-Oct-12 13:04:13

Look for the Tumtum and Nutmeg books. DD1 likes Emily Windsnap, but didn't start reading those until she was about 6.5. Or the stardust books, though again DD1 had read them over the last couple of years, so 6-8 years.

shriekingnora Mon 29-Oct-12 13:11:07

If she loved Five Children and It then she will like The Phoenix and the Carpet which is about the same children.

noblegiraffe Mon 29-Oct-12 13:11:08

Diana Wynne Jones is the queen of children's fantasy. I think she has written some books for younger children but there are also plenty around the early Harry Potter level if you want to read to her. The Christopher Chant books are wonderful, maybe try The Magicians of Caprona?

LIZS Mon 29-Oct-12 13:11:21

Magic Treehouse, World according to Humphrey et al, Dick King-Smith, The Family from One End Street and dare I mention Enid Blyton?

wearymum200 Mon 29-Oct-12 19:17:45

.Gobbolino the witch's cat, the little white horse, bogwoppit, stone goblins, green knowe, borrowers
If these look like oldies, it's because I have been raiding my own childhood collection for ds, who similarly mismatches reading age and ability, and I can give him things from my childhood without having to pre read them!

Mine is much the same age and LOVED the E Nesbits (5 children, Phoenix etc). We're pondering Borrowers or Blyton next, I agree with The Little White Horse.

What's that fantasy series with mice - Brian someone? Redwall? I also found the Animals of Farthing Wood series very pacy.

ravenAK Mon 29-Oct-12 19:28:23

I devoured Watership Down at a similar age - but it might be a tad gruesome?

weegiemum Mon 29-Oct-12 19:30:12

Try reading to her the Ursula LeGuin Wizaed Trilogy (wizard of Earthsea). My dad read me the Hobbit at 6/7.
Rosemary sutcliffe roman books.
Narnia?

Rents Mon 29-Oct-12 19:32:21

The Mary Poppins books are really good, there's about 5 in total. They are pure fantasy and much darker and imaginative than the original film. Also all the Phillip Pullman books are fantastic.

Swallows and Amazons series.
Archer's Goon by Diana Wynn Jones
Elidor, might be a bit scary?
The Green Knowe series by Lucy M Boston
The Box of Delights, The Midnight Folk
The Changes Trilogy by Peter Dickinson

So many to choose from, I can't wait until my DD is old enough, so that we can start reading together!

Strawhatpirate Mon 29-Oct-12 19:45:13

Truckers by Terry Pratchett? Its a lovely funny little fantasy novel. A hat full of sky (also by Terry Pratchett).

3bunnies Tue 30-Oct-12 12:47:02

Will have to go through this list later as looks like some great suggestions. Wrt Walliams, dd1 loves them, but she is nearly 8. The style is v v v similar to Dahl, however some of the issues are more 'contemporary'. For example boy in the dress is about a boy whose mother has left his father who is a 'bloke', who discovers that he likes looking at Vogue and that he enjoys dressing as a girl helped by an girl a few years older than him, he then goes to school pretending to be a girl, but is expelled but then ends up playing in a football match where all his friends wear a dress too. It isn't massively heavy, not scary, and dd1 was fine with it, but it did raise a few questions.

tribpot Tue 30-Oct-12 12:50:54

The Dark Is Rising? Artemis Fowl? I can't get my ds to let me read him Artemis Fowl, I don't know why grin Love, love, love The Dark is Rising, though.

vesela Tue 30-Oct-12 12:51:45

Seconding Takver's recommendation of Edward Eager - Half Magic etc. I've just bought them to have in for DD (the same age) and they look good. Also Mary Poppins and Swallows and Amazons.

Also:
- The Toymaker's Daughter, The Three Toymakers and Malkin's Mountain by Ursula Moray Williams (second-hand from Abe Books). Mix of fantasy and Alpine village.
- The Sam Pig Storybook (Alison Uttley). These are beautifully-written. One of DD's favourites.
- Magic in my Pocket (an anthology of Alison Uttley stories)
- The Night Fairy (Laura Amy Schlitz)
- Bunchy (Joyce Lankester Brisley). Bunchy makes an appearance in Milly-Molly-Mandy (which DD likes too) but the Bunchy stories all have an element of fantasy.
- The Little Book Room (Eleanor Farjeon)
- The Girl with the Broken Wing (Heather Dyer - haven't read yet but looks good)
- Where the Wind Blows (Helen Cresswell) Second hand (we found it in the library). Maybe other Helen Cresswell books for younger children, too. I don't know them - can anyone suggest? There's one about a dragon.
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate diCamillo)
- Green Smoke (Rosemary Manning) and other things published by Jane Nissen unless they say 10+
- Rumer Godden books.

What about the Borrowers? (was wondering re. DD too) - a bit older?

I was keeping the Green Knowe books for when DD is a bit older, although she loves history. I have The Castle of Yew in my Abe Books basket, though.

Is The Mouse and His Child (Russell Hoban) too old?

Nightwish Tue 30-Oct-12 12:51:48

I second the Edge Chronicles suggestion. I started with 'Beyond the Deepwoods'.
I have them all and will still read them now at 21.

SarkyWench Tue 30-Oct-12 12:55:01

Be careful with the David Walliams books.
I just read Gangsta Granny to my 7 and 5 year olds. The 5 year old was in floods of tears. I had no idea that it would end this way but felt I couldn't stop reading when it was clear where it was going.

Great book though smile

vesela Tue 30-Oct-12 12:55:45

also Finn Family Moomintroll, which I didn't like as a child, but feel duty bound to recommend! (I always feel bad that I don't like it, because the setting is great and the writing beautiful, but some of the creatures are too out there for me. I know that sounds silly).

Lancelottie Tue 30-Oct-12 12:57:54

Yes, save us from the Antlion, Veseda!

Nightwish Tue 30-Oct-12 12:59:19

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett is the first in a set of three books, very good. I think it is pretty much perfect for her!
Actually still my favourite set out of all the Pratchett books.

vesela Tue 30-Oct-12 13:05:52

Beyond the Pawpaw Trees (Palmer Brown) - on the expensive side but would make a nice present. (I have it for DD for Christmas).

The Wizard of Oz.

The Phantom Tollbooth (you can check it out online here)

vesela Tue 30-Oct-12 13:08:19

The Antlion!! And those little things that stumble about like lemmings. DD is a bit more resilient than I am, though, so I'll get it for her.

StarsGhostTail Tue 30-Oct-12 13:26:19

All the traditional Enid B's secrecy seven, Mallory towers, St.Claire's. DD2 likes the far away tree. Black beauty is a bit dark towards the end for 5.

But most of all she needs a copy of "Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nihm"

Which was my absolute favourite.

(honestly despite DD2 being a very good reader I'm having huge difficulty getting my head round a 5yo reading books this difficult. It seems a terrible waste, do much of HP, black beauty and other things written for 8-10 year olds must go over her head. Like when people suggest Phillip Pulman for under 12s. However, clever they are, they haven't the knowledge of the world to understand it as more than a good story)

Indith Tue 30-Oct-12 13:34:13

Marking my place! Must start a separate amazon list for ds1!

vesela Tue 30-Oct-12 13:42:48

Love Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, but I think it would be better appreciated a bit older. It depends to what extent they're likely to revisit books, though - lots of Swallows and Amazons certainly went over DD's head, but she loved it so much that she'll no doubt read it again when she's older (we're already reading some chapters again as it is). Ditto Wind in the Willows.

vesela Tue 30-Oct-12 13:58:27

BTW - I found this great article on the subject of reading The Wind in the Willows to a five-year-old,. The author of the article read the unabridged version to her 5-year-old and her daughter loved it (so does DD). She makes a good case against abridged versions of this and other books.

(It's a pity that when you search amazon.co.uk for it, the first version that comes up is Inga Moore's, which looks full but is abridged. The full version - e.g. the Egmont Heritage one, which is cheaper as well!! - comes up much less readily when you search).

ooh look Egmont Heritage have a nice edition of The Box of Delights too - could be a good present.

drjohnsonscat Tue 30-Oct-12 15:24:14

Frances Hodgson Burnett? Not fantasy exactly but you can lose yourself in A Little Princess. Also The Secret Garden.

Also the Worst Witch series.

drjohnsonscat Tue 30-Oct-12 15:29:20

Also what about Magic Faraway Tree? DD is reading some Enid Blyton atm and I think its bad reputation is undeserved. Some of the sentence structures are much more complex than typical children's writing these days - DD who is an excellent reader - has to really work at parsing the sentences because they are just longer than is usual now. A

tribpot Tue 30-Oct-12 18:44:10

I've thought about reading ds The Secret Garden but worried about having to explain why Mary is so outraged at the maid thinking she would be Indian, and Colin being shut away because he's (essentially) a wheelchair user.

shriekingnora Tue 30-Oct-12 19:10:24

The beginning of The Secret Garden is really upsetting. I had to edit it massively as I read it to DD. She was fine with a quick explanation of the other stuff!

The Egmont Heritage books are very nice vesela. I have bought the set for DD (and me, grin).

Pleasenomorepeppa Tue 30-Oct-12 21:21:10

Noel Stretfield 'Ballet Shoes'.
The Famous five.
Beaver Towers.
Bedknobs & Broomsticks.
Mary Poppins.

You could try the far-flung adventure books for slightly younger readers by Stewart and Riddell (of the edge chronicles): Hugo pepper, Corby Flood and Fergus Crane.

ISeeThreadPeople Tue 30-Oct-12 22:00:45

You are all BRILLIANT.

Some of these we have done. Most Blyton mentioned (originals too, unsanitised), some Nesbitt, I have a lot of Diana Wynn Jones in boxes (tiny house, millions of boxes, I need to dig them out), Bedknobs we've read, Borrowers and Artemis Fowl I know people have bought her for Christmas.

I'm reading Peter Pan to her atm. I, embarrassingly, have never read it myself. She has Treasure Island lined up next but I'm wobbling about it. I have a few vivid memories of it and think I need to skim it again before we start. I have Swallows and Amazons somewhere so will probably do that next instead.

ISeeThreadPeople Tue 30-Oct-12 22:02:24

Redwall is Brian Jacques. I can see it on the shelf from here...

bitsofmeworkjustfine Tue 30-Oct-12 22:04:25

we liked the tumtum and nutmeg books, lots of long words as well as a fantasy plotline

elfycat Tue 30-Oct-12 22:06:40

Have you thought about the Eoin Colfer books with Artemis Fowl? I'm enjoying them (I am 41 <cough>) and also enjoyed the HP and Narnia books.

wigglybeezer Tue 30-Oct-12 22:07:14

The little white Horse is lovely, a real favourite of mine.

vesela Tue 30-Oct-12 22:07:38

Thanks, charley - glad to hear they are.

elfycat Tue 30-Oct-12 22:08:18

x-post on the artemis fowl thing - I had to go look at my bookshelf mid-reply as my brain is fried with non-sleeping teething DD2

Takver Tue 30-Oct-12 22:49:29

I would have thought Artemis fowl might be a bit violent for a 5 y/o, surely?

StarsGhostTail Wed 31-Oct-12 14:41:17

We need the BBC to bring back the proper old Jackanory, the one aimed at 6-8 yearolds of my childhood. Not the dumbed down Cbeebies version.

That's where I first met the rats of Nihm.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 31-Oct-12 14:44:20

Pippi Longstocking books

Michael Moporgo?

TwllBach Wed 31-Oct-12 14:47:06

Oh please read her the Redwall books. I didn't discover them until I was a couple of years older than your DD but I adored them. I wrote all the characters names on pieces of paper, cut them out and tried to organise them into family trees. I made up tunes for the songs and learnt them and I was convinced I was going to have a child called Martin <daydreams>

Your DD will adore them!

Noren Wed 31-Oct-12 15:10:08

http://www.goodreads.com/series/40371-the-chronicles-of-prydain are funny, silly and set in a coherent fantasy world. Most of my other suggestions have been done!

Noren Wed 31-Oct-12 15:10:17
Noren Wed 31-Oct-12 15:11:10

Ignore me, trying to post the first link properly and ended up posting a link you don't really need. Will try again: www.goodreads.com/series/40371-the-chronicles-of-prydain

Though The Orge Downstairs is a good age appropriate DWJ.

showtunesgirl Wed 31-Oct-12 15:14:48

Try The Hounds of the Morrigan It is a totally amazing book based on Irish mythology and I cannot for the life of me fathom out why it's not more popular. All those that I have made read it have been amazed by it. I think I've read it at least twice a year since I was about 7.

QueenBOObread Wed 31-Oct-12 15:18:52

I devoured the Belgariad when I was about 8.

I can't think that there's anything in them that should justify her waiting until she's older, except that the series put together is very long?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 31-Oct-12 15:29:48

How about Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisengemen? I loved it when I was about 8 or 9.

TwllBach Wed 31-Oct-12 15:34:25

I am also having flashbacks to a book called Elidor. I'm sure it was brilliant...

exexpat Wed 31-Oct-12 15:42:53

Just coming on to recommend Eva Ibbotson's books (as I always do). A 5-6yo who likes Harry Potter will probably love The Secret Of Platform 13, Island of the Aunts, Not Just a Witch, Which Witch, Haunting of Hiram etcetc (DS powered through them in the wake of Harry Potter when he was 6).

Also second the recommendations for Diana Wyn Jones. And have you come across the Madame Pamplemousse books?

EugenesAxe Wed 31-Oct-12 15:51:18

I'm like a broken record but yes to Redwall, also The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. But that might be a little scary... read the chapter 'Mitching Mallecho' - that is spine-tingley/suggestive scary, and 'Maggot Breed of Ymir', which is more matter-of-fact scary to judge for yourself.

I read the Hounds of the Morrigan and found it boring... but it was after Weirdstone that also features the Morrigan and is a gazillion times better IMO.

101 Dalmatians is good, also, possibly a little old but Watership Down?

EugenesAxe Wed 31-Oct-12 15:51:47

Ooops cross-post leBeaver.

EugenesAxe Wed 31-Oct-12 15:53:28

Worse Witch of course! And I lived/breathed the three Faraway Tree books at that age. I still read them on the loo at my folks' [TMI].

showtunesgirl Thu 01-Nov-12 12:56:15

EugenesAxe You're the first person I've ever heard who didn't like the book!

EugenesAxe Fri 02-Nov-12 19:54:00

Well it doesn't mean much really; I'm only one opinion! I'm sure it's just because I was soooo into Garner. The same thing happened when I read Thomas Covenant being soooo into Tolkein... and loads of people like those books.

I don't think I thought it pants, it just didn't stay with me IYKWIM.

howcomes Sat 03-Nov-12 01:05:08

Jill Murphy's the worst witch series, Rosemary Manning Greensmoke - I think there are three in that series and I remember loving a book called the stream that stood still but I can't remember the authors name.

howcomes Sat 03-Nov-12 01:06:32

Also check out a book called Carbonel, sorry but I can't remember who wrote it, I think there are three in the series.

madamehooch Sat 03-Nov-12 11:28:33

Don't mean to be a wet blanket but please wait until she's older before you give her Artemis Fowl. It's such a brilliant series with so much humour in it but she will have no way of appreciating it properly at 5.

Why not try Angie Sage's Septimus Heap series? Similarly, Cressida Cowell's 'How to Train Your Dragon.'

I would have thought that if the later Harry Potters were too scary for her, 'The Dark is Rising' is definitely best left!

showtunesgirl Sun 04-Nov-12 12:19:01

Carbonel is by Barbara Sleigh. Loved those books!

Naggity Wed 07-Nov-12 09:07:40

The unicorn chronicles by Bruce Coville is a good read. The first in the series is called 'into the land of the unicorns'. I read it to my children at bedtimes, We all greatly enjoyed the books. Unfortunately Amazon is the only place that sells his books.

The magic shop series by the same author is also a lot of fun. My children read these on their own, but I sneakily read them when they were in bed.

wearymum200 Wed 07-Nov-12 18:52:59

Not sure if already mentioned, but ds1 has just finished the secret kingdom by Jenny Nimmo. He was absolutely gripped by it and we are now awaiting the 2nd from the library.
Fwiw, I think he (at 6) is a bit young for chronicles of prydain, tho' I loved them as a child and can't wait for him to get there and deffo think dark is rising and alan garner are too scary yet awhile!
Anothe story worth a try is the adventures of jack brenin, which was available as a free e book from amazon; not sure if is still free!

ProPerformer Wed 07-Nov-12 18:58:47

The secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0330398016

Very much like HP in many respects, but also very different. One of my favourite kids books ever.

Great book. smile

Zorayda Wed 07-Nov-12 19:51:10

Agree Diana Wynne Jones - also Anne Fine! She's brilliant, although across a range of ages, but you can tell from book length and font size wink

showtunesgirl Wed 07-Nov-12 22:03:00

Ooh yes, Jenny Nimmo! I loved her Snow Spider Trilogy!

Beverly Cleary
Judy Blume
Paula Danzigar
Babysitters Club

And the Queen IMO- Cynthia Voigt.

Oh, sorry, didn't realise she was five!
Enid Blyton and Dick King Smith would be the obvious choices then.

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