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Ideas for "boys books" that are not gruesome

33 replies

2234 · 10/05/2011 15:12

DD1 has become a bookworm. He will be 7 in August so is in Year 2. So far he has read almost all Roald Dahl books, many Dink King Smith, Morpugo, Horrid Henry, Astrid Lindgren, Narnia, Famous Five etc.

He reads everything he comes across and often reads for a couple of hours a day, mainly before school as he gets up at 6am.

He tends to get through schoolbooks in a day (last one was the Schoolmouse (Dick King-Smith)). And yes, he does do other things, not only read ;)

His choice of books is a concern however and I struggle to control what books he reads. First it was Beast Quest which he absolutely loved but I felt was unsuitable and have now banned. Then he switched to Harry Potter. He has read the first three books in the last two weeks (on top of school books) and I do not want him to go further. I have not read them myself, but am under the impression that they get darker as Harry gets older. He understands all that he reads and tells me what happens in the books, how people felt, what their plans were etc. He has also re-read the first two books.

I have two younger children and am in the middle of moving and decorating so am unable to read everything before he does. I try to avoid exposure to adult material so that he does not grow up too soon. He gets exposed to enough as an inner city kid. I buy a children's newspaper so he won't try to read mine and he does not watch any adult tv whatsoever.

Am I right to stop him reading Beast Quest and later Harry Potter books? Any ideas for "boys books", with adventures without them being too old for him or gruesome?

OP posts:
Clary · 10/05/2011 15:18

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is big here.

As is Mr Gum, Enid Blyton (adventure series is DD's fave) and Cressida Cowell (how to be a pirate etc), Jeremy Strong (100-mph dog) and Spy Dog series.

I am fine with Beast Quest personally tho you may be right re H Potter - DD has read them all but she was 9 when she did that.

How abotu Just William? Mind you I think the language/concepts (families with servants) etc are hard to grasp for the v young, like 6yo. But then I'd say that about Narnia too.

2234 · 10/05/2011 16:31

Thank you. He has read Just William and 100mph dog. He also liked the S.W.I.T.C.H. books and wants to read more of them. I'll see which ones the library has of the other ones you mentioned.

OP posts:
Takver · 10/05/2011 18:17

Would definitely recommend How to Train your Dragon series if he hasn't read them.

The Lionboy trilogy by Zizou Corder is good - exciting/adventure but not gruesome.

The Charlie Bone books are along the same lines as the earlier Harry Potter ones (totally agree with not giving the later ones to a 7 y/o).

Also what about Swallows and Amazons - very long and exciting but ideal for a 7 y/o

Takver · 10/05/2011 18:18

And there are 12 of the S&A series!

virgiltracey · 10/05/2011 18:30

Have you read many of the beast quest books. I banned them initially but then promised DS1 (6) that once he turned six I'd read two and see what I thought and actually they are not that gruesome. The first few pages are always the worst but nothing bad actually ever happens.

I think Harry Potter is far too old for them and in a way its a shame that the lego etc is out and encouraging them to read the books and want to see the movies.

DS1 loves Astrosaurs and Dinosaur Cove. Both nice short chapters and good for free reading. He enjoyed enid blyton's faraway tree series and Oliver Moon series and Mr Majeika series. He loved Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh but DH read this to him ad it would have been too much to read on his own. I've just bought the secret seven series and am hoping he likes those since I have fond memories from my childhood!

Takver · 10/05/2011 19:56

Astrosaurs definitely good - the same author also writes the Cows in Action books, silly but fun. Captain Underpants are also good if he hasn't tried them yet (better than they sound from the titles!)

DilysPrice · 10/05/2011 20:09

Tricky isn't it. For a child with a reading age so far ahead of their actual age it's usually good to go "classic" like Just William, as those books won't have unsuitable content.

How about The Wombles, Paddington, Bottersnikes and Gumbles, The Phantom Tollbooth, Alice in Wonderland, Doctor Doolittle (not the original edition, a later edition without the gruesome racial stuff).

Even Winnie the Pooh is quite good if he's reading it himself rather than listening.

I'd second Captain Underpants, which is brilliant although slightly violent in a jokey way.

And the Horrible Histories/Horrible Science books are worth a try, they draw the line carefully before the really nasty stuff.

2234 · 10/05/2011 22:23

Thank you very much for these ideas. The are many books that I haven't even heard of before so will definitely investigate them.

The reason I banned the Beast Quest books was because he started having bad dreams - he says they were never related to the actual books, but they stopped as soon as he stopped reading the books...

He loved the dinosaur cove books number 1-10 which he read around his 6th birthday. Would probably like to re-read them now and get more out of them but we haven't unpacked them yet. Books like paddington and winnie the pooh are great and he does read that kind of book happily, but he is passionate about more adventurous books like beast quest and harry potter.

I think Astrid Lindgren's "The Brothers Lionheart" is almost written for him. Unfortunately the local library does not stock it. But it gives an idea of the type of boy he is.

Thanks again for all the great suggestions, much appreciated!

OP posts:
stealthsquiggle · 10/05/2011 22:30

Does he like dragons? I too would add the 'how to train your dragon' series to excellent suggestions like Mr Gum (which is a whole series) and the classics like Swallows and Amazons. Good Luck finding Bottersnikes and Gumbles - last time I tried it was out of print (and DH was for some reason deeply traumatised by it as a child and therefore doesn't want it anyway Hmm) - the others we liked as DC were the Lone Pine books by Malcolm Saville.

DS liked astrosaurs and the cow ones - I thought they were really badly written but if your DS is consuming books at speed some "junk" won't do any harm - Jack Stalwart books fall into the same category IMHO.

Be a little careful with Michael Morpurgo - DS found some of them quite harrowing.

TheCowardlyLion · 10/05/2011 22:33

Hmmm, tricky. DS, who has just turned 8 but at the end of Yr 2 had a reading age of 12+, is a voracious reader too and absolutely devours the Beast Quest books, although TBH he can read them in about an hour so they're not very good value!

He has also read all the Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson ones - his tastes definitely run towards the magic/adventure stories. I just had a look on his shelf to see if there was anything milder that might suit and found Jack Stalwart - a child secret agent.

munstersmum · 11/05/2011 14:07

I've said it before & I'll say it again - Jennings series Grin

iheartdusty · 11/05/2011 22:46

'Professor Branestawm' and other books by the same author, Norman Hunter

'My friend Mr leakey' here

'Green Smoke' here

Clary · 12/05/2011 00:23

The Phantom Tollbooth is a brilliant book.

I have rescued my childhood copy from my mum's bookshelves Grin

Clary · 12/05/2011 00:26

Agree tho re Michael Morpurgo. I love him but somethign liek Private Peaceful would be a bit grim for a 6yo. Yr 7s are reading it at my school.

OTOH lots of his animal ones are great.

piprabbit · 12/05/2011 00:28

What about the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer? Adventure, but not at all gruesome.

stealthsquiggle · 12/05/2011 08:52

These threads always end up costing me money Grin

in a fit of nostalgia, I now need to go and buy (or at least add to a wishlist) The Phantom Tollbooth and Professor Branestawm and probably My Friend Mr Leakey as well.

stealthsquiggle · 12/05/2011 08:58

more suggestions - thrown up by Amazon - Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf, and Lizzie Dripping.

Takver · 12/05/2011 21:01

stealthsquiggle, have a look on abebooks - I've found that I can usually find good condition copies of all my old favourites for not too much, I reckon to pay around £2.00 to £2.50 or so per book including postage.

SecretSpi · 13/05/2011 08:56

I'd recommend the Greene Knowe books by Lucy Boston - I loved (re) reading them too. And the Box of Delights/Midnight's Children by John Masefield.

stealthsquiggle · 13/05/2011 09:00

Thanks, Takver - will do. I paid over the odds for copies of the "fell farm" books out of sheer nostalgia - and they (of course) meant nothing to DS at all Hmm

bruffin · 13/05/2011 09:08

Mr Majeika

My dcs loved these books when they were younger

stealthsquiggle · 13/05/2011 09:26

£70 for bottersnikes and gumbles Shock.

I need to brave the depths of my parents' house in search of my their copy.

loosinas · 19/05/2011 09:25

could someone advise what age the enid blyton adventure series is appropriate for ? first time ive heard of it ? wondering if i could read it to my five year old ds x

cluckychook · 19/05/2011 10:25

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the rest of the series if he likes that one.

perfectstorm · 28/05/2011 00:01

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Black Hearts in Battersea, The Farthest Away Mountain, The Phantom Tollbooth, the Children Of Green Knowe, the Silver Sword (tough themes, being about child refugees after WW2, but hapy ending in spades), Stig Of The Dump, Box of Delights, I Am David (is another tough theme, but gently done, and again with a happy ending), The Wizard of Oz (much zanier than the film!) The Sword In The Stone, Swallows and Amazons series I LOVED as a kid, and the Lemony Snicket books are only gruesome in a Roald Dahl way - beautifully written, very intelligent, and there are over a dozen!

I think the later HP books are really very dark, yes. They'd have given me nightmares at his age. When he is older there is a trilogy by a New Zealand guy called the Halfmen of O that I loved as a kid.

I think Little House in the Big Woods is fine for boys, actually, because it's frontier life and so not exactly girly! I knew boys who read it on the sly.

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