Classic bedtime stories for 8yr old DS - what are your must-reads?

(40 Posts)
Grockle Tue 04-Jun-13 23:00:10

I still read to DS every night but need some inspiration. He's a good reader and loves listening to longer books. We've recently read:

Roald Dahl - almost all of his children's book
Harry Potter (1-4, 5 will be next but I need a break)
Other JK Rowling, HP-related ones
Moomin books
The Mouse & the Motorcycle (Beverley Clearly)
Treehorn
Flat Stanley
Famous Five/ Secret Seven

I tried to read:

Swallows & Amazons but the language was too old fashioned. Maybe when he's a bit bigger.

The Faraway Tree books (Enid Blyton) but he wasn't ready for them. Might be worth a try.

I also want to try Pippi Longstocking

What else?

Iwearblack Tue 04-Jun-13 23:02:50

My 8yrold daughter loved Mr Gumm and also Diary of a Wimpy Kid (and I found them funny too!)

Iwearblack Tue 04-Jun-13 23:04:04

Oh sorry just realised you meant 'classics' well they probably will be now!

BramblyHedge Tue 04-Jun-13 23:07:03

My 7 year old loves the How to train your dragon series.

feelthis Tue 04-Jun-13 23:16:02

Surprising as there is a picture of a girl on the front, the little house on my prairie trilogy has been a big hit with my dss. They are very practical evocative books and the matter of fact practical way of life in them seemed to grab my boys. Little House on the big woods is the first one - worth a try from the library.

feelthis Tue 04-Jun-13 23:19:12

We too have tried some of the other classics like swallows and amazons and the railway children but the language has been a barrier.

Spydog dog books are exciting too. Found the David Walliams themes too grown up for my Ds who is only 7.

neolara Tue 04-Jun-13 23:23:24

My 8 year old loved the Lemony Snicket books.

Louise1956 Wed 05-Jun-13 07:17:44

Stig of the Dump by Clive King. One of the best children's books ever written, and perfect for eight year olds. Absolutely marvellous book.

The Professor Branestawm books by Norman Hunter are very funny, most boys would probably enjoy them.

The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. you can either start with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the first one to be written, or The Magician's Nephew which is the first chronologically.

The Phantom Tolbooth by Norton Juster, a funny fantasy story with lots of Interesting characters.

All of these are books my sons loved when they were around eight years old.

My DS loved Enid Blyton's Naughtiest Girl series, we're halfway through St Clares now.

Louise1956 Wed 05-Jun-13 07:40:46

The Jennings books by Anthony Buckeridge are good fun, set in a boys' prep school, if he likes Harry Potter he might enjoy them. Although they are quite old, they are not really dated, and the language is not difficult.

SavoyCabbage Wed 05-Jun-13 07:44:25

The Indian in the Cupboard series.

Grockle Wed 05-Jun-13 08:19:54

Great suggestions, thank you.

DS was born in America & I love Little House on the Prairie so maybe we'll give that a go. It's a nice easy one to read. I've made a list of all these suggestions smile

I have Stig of the Dump ready to read him, I'd completely forgotten about it so thank you! I loved it when I was his age. And the Phantom Tolbooth too but I don't remember the story at all.

13loki Wed 05-Jun-13 08:32:40

DS is nearly 8 and has read all the Harry Potters and the Faraway Tree books. He also loved the Narnia books. Not classics, but he has read all the Percy Jackson books and is now on the Kane Chronicles, written by Rick Riordan, like Percy Jackson but with Egyptian gods. He loves the Astrid Lindgren stories, but I am holding off reading them with him (he's learning Swedish so I want to wait until we can read them in Swedish)

Non-fiction, but he loves the Horrible Histories books, and the Terrible Science collection.

lostintoys Wed 05-Jun-13 09:36:47

My 6-year-old DS loved Five Children and It, despite the rather dated language. He also loved Charlotte's Web. Have you tried Tom's Midnight Garden and The Secret Garden?

Takver Wed 05-Jun-13 16:17:14

Definitely the Little House books, but in particular I would read the one about her husband (Farmer Boy). I never read it as a child, but it is fantastic to read out loud, and it covers a year in Almanzo's life from 8 to 9, so especially interesting for dc of that age.

I love the Jennings books, but hard not to giggle when reading them aloud smile

Rosemary Sutcliffe's The Adventures of Odysseus (I think)
Lucy M Boston The Children of Green Knowe
Susan Cooper The Dark is Rising
Joan Aiken The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

maillotjaune Sat 08-Jun-13 22:21:12

I'm currently reading Tom's Midnight Garden to 8 yo DS2. It is great (we have previously read Mrs Cockle's Cat by the same author which he also loves) - and his big brother is listening too.

Philippa Pearce is the writer - classics but while they are charmingly old fashioned the language is much less annoying than Enid Blyton. Don't inflict the Magic Faraway Tree on yourself grin

fuzzpig Sat 08-Jun-13 22:27:58

So glad to see Phantom Tollbooth mentioned! Hardly anyone I know has heard of it.

I was in a local theatre performance of it age 11. I was the spelling bee grin

Only just realised it was you grockle! <waves>

I wonder if he would enjoy Artemis Fowl.

If he was born in the States, he might also like:
My Side of the Mountain (Jean George)
The Wheel on the School (Meindert de Jong)
The Children on the Oregon Trail (A.Reutgers Van der Loeff)
Year of the Black Pony (Walt Morey)

From this side of the water how about:
The Hobbit
The Alan Garner Wierdstone series (although The Owl Service may be a little scary for him)
Second the Susan Cooper recommendation too.

fuzzpig Sun 09-Jun-13 08:41:54

Have you seen the film Hugo? The book it is based on is The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. It is really lovely, it looks really big but actually lots of the story is told in pictures. It also sparked my interest in automata and the film maker George Melies as the book takes a lot of inspiration from these.

Also if he enjoys famous five then there's other series by EB - island of adventure, mystery of the burnt cottage, secret of moon castle, ragamuffin are examples but they are varying lengths so some might be too simple. My favourite stand alone book by her is The Boy Next Door, though it's out of print so I had to buy it on amazon to fulfil my nostalgia need!

Am I right in thinking you have a kindle app? You can get all 14 wizard of oz books for free or cheap on kindle/iBooks. Also Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass which of course has much more detail than the film (much as I love the old Disney version grin)

Thinking about popular children's books at the library - I haven't actually read any of these, I am just remembering what I see borrowed a lot, so some may be wrong level (some easier ones might be better for private reading if you prefer doing more ambitious ones at bedtime, some might be a bit too dark if he's sensitive) but they are all in the junior section at work -
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Wednesday Brothers series by Anthony Horowitz
The London Eye Mystery
Lion Boy series
Midnight Library series by Nick Shadow
Soul Eater series by Michele Paver
Avantia Chronicles by Adam Blade
Anything by Michael Morpurgo
Abridged versions of classics - Dickens etc
Books by 'Pseudonymous Bosch'
Island Mystery series - Cora Harrison I think (publicised as a modern famous five)
Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
Simon Scarrow's younger books (gladiator I think)

Is that enough grin

He sounds liked very well read lad smile I have only managed to read a couple of chapter books to DD (6 in 2 weeks!) as she is often too tired to concentrate.

fuzzpig Sun 09-Jun-13 08:42:52

Oh and:
Diana Wynne Jones books
Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence

fuzzpig Sun 09-Jun-13 08:50:27

Oh sorry the Anthony Horowitz series is Diamond Brothers (but one of the books is called I know what you did last Wednesday grin)

Lauren St John is popular too

Also the Island thing is Adventure Island series by Helen Moss, goodness knows where I got the other name from blush hmm - I'm sure there is a similar series by Cora somethingorother, no joy on Amazon so I'll look on Monday... Serves me right for thinking about work on a Sunday morning grin

Grockle Sun 09-Jun-13 21:26:31

He loves reading & is a very good reader. He will sit & get through a Horrid Henry book in half an hour or so & he really enjoys me reading more challenging books.

I cannot read The Hobbit. ExP read it to me earlier this year & it is the hardest book ever. I don't know why I can't manage it but I can't.

I have a Kindle app and DS has requested books on his Kindle app too. I've got quite a few of the free children's books.

Not seen Hugo but sounds good. I now have a mega reading list! Thank you so much.

Stop working, Fuzz. grin

fuzzpig Sun 09-Jun-13 21:29:00

Just wanted to add Corydon and the Island of Monsters by 'Tobias Druitt' - written by a 14yo child genius and his mum grin

IdaBlankenship Sun 09-Jun-13 21:40:57

Good thread! I have a DS of about the same age and I've been reading some of my favourite books to him at night (he normally lets me start just to indulge me, then he gets into the story!).
We have done Roald Dahl, the Moomins, Charlottes Web, I was thinking of Pippi Longstocking next.
But whoever said Stig Of The Dump - I'd completely forgotten that book -good call.

IdaBlankenship Sun 09-Jun-13 21:44:03

Just remembered - a book called Jennie by Paul Gallico about a boy who turns into a cat - my memories are fairly hazy but I remember it being very good!

MacaYoniandCheese Sun 09-Jun-13 21:58:26

You mentioned Beverley Cleary; my boys (8 and 6) love the Ramona and Henry Huggins Books. They are funny and charming. The Roddy Doyle books for children (Rover Adventures...can't remember the others) have lots of potty humour, but in a clever way.

Also, I have kept all my old Marshall Cavendish Story Teller books and Tapes from the 80's and my children love them. There's really nothing else like them...they are beautifully illustrated stories from around the world (lots of classic serials, folk stories as well as more contemporary things) narrated by actors (some very famous!). Most of my tapes no longer work so I read them outloud. You can still buy them on eBay relatively inexpensively but I thought I'd mention them in case anyone has them lying around or in a loft somewhere as they have really stood the test of time and are a real treasure.

louisianablue2000 Sun 09-Jun-13 22:02:40

What about:
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (JK is 9 at the beginning of that)
Carrie's War (might that still be a bit old?)
Mrs Pepperpot
The Worst Witch series
The Rats of NIHM
The Ramona series
Mr Majeika
The Gaskitt books
The Goblin series (David Melling, very much toilet humour)
The Wizard of Oz?
Anything by E Nesbit
Huckleberry Finn
Alice in Wonderland
Wind in the Willows ( although I was defeated by the language in this when I was a child)
Peter Pan
Treasure Island
The Machine Gunners (another one that might be a bit old)

Mumzy Sun 09-Jun-13 22:03:29

A gift from Winklesea by Helen Cresswell

IndridCold Mon 10-Jun-13 11:32:02

Paddington
Just William
Jennings

Also, JP Martin's 'Uncle' books.

booksteensandmagazines Mon 10-Jun-13 16:05:34

there is a book called A Little Aloud which is ideal for introducing primary age children to new books - it has extracts from novels with a little introductory piece telling you about the writing/book and at the end there is a poem that ties in with the theme of the extract. The extracts also give you a rough idea of how long it will take to read it. There are extracts from books like The London Eye Mystery, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Silver Swan and so its an ideal way to find out if the style of the book and the writing appeals to your child before buying the actual book.

fuzzpig Mon 10-Jun-13 22:19:21

I'm back! And I was right about the Cora Harrison thing. I didn't imagine her - the series she wrote is the London Murder Mysteries (set in Victorian era). Not sure if that's a bit dark for your DS, but I feel vindicated grin

Also - Baker Street Boys series by Anthony Read, and Lady Grace Mysteries series by 'Grace Cavendish' (pseudonym), the latter is set in Tudorish times IIRC.

polkydot Mon 10-Jun-13 23:11:39

We're reading our way through the Narnia books at the moment with DSD, 7 and DSD, 8, and really enjoying them. We've also read abridged penguin classics with them.

LoveSewingBee Wed 12-Jun-13 21:33:08

Jungle Book
Mary Poppins
The Railway Children

Also non-fiction books?

sarahandemily Wed 12-Jun-13 21:51:04

The original book of the 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith is fab

Grockle Sun 16-Jun-13 07:38:06

I need to order the narnia books. I've never read them other than the lion, witch & wardrobe blush

Thank you for all the great suggestions. I think I have enough to read to DS til he's 15! grin

IndridCold Sun 16-Jun-13 09:59:05

I forgot about 'Emil and the Detectives', that was a big favourite at that age.

babybythesea Mon 17-Jun-13 20:48:47

Some of the other Enid Blytons? Secret Seven perhaps, or Famous Five?

The other one of hers that I would say is brilliant for that age is The Boy Next Door - hard to come by now but really good. And Shadow the Sheepdog.

Dick King Smith - Daggie Dogfoot, The Sheep Pig.

Animals of Farthing Wood perhaps?

And I would always recommend 101 Dalmations and the sequel, The Starlight Barking. Much much better than you'd think from the Disney tripe!

Quangle Thu 20-Jun-13 09:42:34

DD loved Wind in the Willows but I do edit it as I read it. And leave out the whole chapter where Ratty meets a river sprite or something like that.

But it's a great book to read to children - naughtiness and animals.

YY to the Naughtiest Girl and Jennings.

DeWe Thu 20-Jun-13 13:50:44

Another thought is look in second hand shops for boys adventure books from 50s/60s. Check them for language, some have stuff that was acceptable at the time but is very unacceptable now. (I think it was the first Professor Brainstorm book that made me totally shock when I looked at it as an adult)

But there's a fair number which are just basic adventures, without modern gadgets, and parental intervention. I've started reading ds those and he's a mixture of excited and scared. Absolutely hanging on the end of the bed every night and begging for more.
Authors I can recommend from that era include: Malcolm Saville (mostly Lone Pines, some of the others are good too) Arthur Catherall has some great "boy reaching manhood through misadventure books", Stanley Mason (Kestrel stories), John Putney (Monday adventure etc., Fred and I series) is very funny, but probably a bit old for that age and one of the most funny books I've read is by Lane Mitchell, but I've only read one by him.
I quite like that era as they're generally just interested in producing a good adventure without worrying about health and safety. I mean, if a 10yo accidently gets trapped on a boat as it's setting off on a journey of course the natural thing for the owner and parents to say is "oh well, 6 months at sea will do a lot for them and never mind about school" grin
And it makes me smile when I hear ds say "oh golly", or "gosh" or one we had yesterday "what ripping bad luck!"

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