We Recommend, Unsophisticated Edition

This feature, in which we recommend books based on what you tell us
in an email, is going to be around throughout our summer vacation. I am
trying to catch up on all the kind people who have been patiently
waiting for a recommendation.  If you have specific questions, needs,
or desires (my child is a reluctant reader who loves carnage but hates
cats) send it to us here,
and we will do our best to recommend the right book for you. And, as
always, please don’t hesitate to put in your own recommendations!

This one is a girl, aged 5, who loved Ivy and Bean, Sister Magic, but shied away from Clementine and Ramona. Also: an avid reader. Her mom can’t keep up, so the more you guys offer up, the better. She’s looking for chapter books that are sweet and unsophisticated.
I identified with this one quite a bit, and thought of a number of options. There are the Betsy-Tacy books, the Borrowers, and the Girls to the Rescue series, but, even though I am repeating myself, here’s my pick:


Yes, I’ve railed against them as crack for girls, but at the same time, doesn’t that also apply to cupcakes? And who’s against those?
I hope she likes it, and that her mother doesn’t hate me!

11 thoughts on “We Recommend, Unsophisticated Edition

  1. little house on the prairie? (laura ingalls wilder) Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series? (betty macdonald)
    BALLET SHOES (!!!!!) by Noel Streitfield (not sure of spelling)
    The secret garden (francis hodgson burnett)
    All of a Kind Family (Taylor)
    The American Girls Series?


  2. And lots more Cynthia Rylant after that… Poppleton the pig was charming.
    Ruby Lu, Brave and True (and sequel)
    The early chapter mysteries? Cam Jansen (a girl with a photographic memory), and what’s the boy one, um, darn. Jigsaw Jones!
    That’s a hard stage. My girl basically read every single easy-reader paperback the library had, and I had to fend off “my dumb diary” and the other books for older kids still acquiring reading skills. And all those formulaic color-coded fairies. Blech.


  3. The Noisy Village stories, by Astrid Lindgren are great for this age, sweet but not cloying, realistic without being at all dark.
    I loved All of a Kind Family, but I think it might be a little old for a 5 year old. Or maybe I was immature when I read it at 11 ;-).


  4. When I was five I stayed up past bedtime reading Nancy Drew with a flashlight every night.
    If she’s not quite ready for that, how about the Amelia Bedelia books? Also, my five-year-old daughter loves the Magic Treehouse books.


  5. Depending on the length of the book she might enjoy either reading or having these read to her:
    Elizabeth Enright – Thimble Summer
    The Lighthouse Series By Cynthia Rylant
    The Betsy Books by Carolyn Haywood
    Eleanor Estes: Moffats, Pinkey Pye, Ginger Pye, etc.


  6. My just-turned-six-year-old loves the Magic Treehouses too. And I loved Amelia Bedelia and Mrs Piggle Wiggle. They were just silly enough. Along the same lines, Pippi Longstocking?


  7. I think a lot of the suggestions are a wee bit old for 5? There are some simplified Little House books where a chapter is turned into a standalone story published under My First Little House. Eloise isn’t a chapter book, but it is on the longer side. We also liked the Henry and Mudge series which are simple chapter books. Maybe Lobel’s Frog and Toad books are too easy? How about Nate the Great series.


  8. Thank you! We can’t wait to hit the library with EVERYONE’S wonderful suggestions. We’ve gone through most of Henry and Mudge and Amelia Bedelia already, and while some of the recommendations are a little advanced for her, she’ll probably be ready for them in a few months!
    I have Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Nate the Great waiting for her already on our own shelves. It’s fun to see all the ideas. I totally forgot about Pippi! And the Cobble STreet Cousins sound EXACTLY like what she would love.


  9. Some of the books by Finnish writer Tove Jansson, especially the illustrated ones like Who will comfort Toffle, might also be suitable for a 5-year old.


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