We Recommend: 7-year-old Boy Edition

It's We Recommend, in which we do our very best to solve book-related quandaries, needs, and other miscellany, and then turn them over to you, the readers, who really solve them. Need help finding the right book? E-mail us with some information about your reader, likes and dislikes, and anything else, and we'll do our best. Now, on to our challenge!

This one seems like it should be so easy, but alas I am so empty of ideas! Part of it is that this young gentleman loved everything by Roald Dahl. So we should just recommend something like that, right? But here's the problem—there's nothing in the world just like Roald Dahl, because he was so freaking amazing. Which puts us back where we started. Read on:

Looking for recommendations for an advanced 7 year old boy who has just recently enjoyed Stig of the Dump, The Talking Parcel, and just about everything by Roald Dahl.
I'm looking for stuff that he can read on his own, and/or I can read aloud at bedtime, when his 5 year old sister is also listening in. We're currently reading The Peppermint Pig and enjoying that too.
I have The Diddakoi and The Secret Garden waiting next, but after that I am a bit stuck!
They love most things, esp dramatic adventure stuff and things with lots of visual imagery.
He also adores Horrid Henry – but I hate it!!

Well. First of all, I'm just going to blame my current lack of intellect/creativity/brain on the heat, and get that out of the way. Then I'm going to try to figure out what this kid is able to read. The Secret Garden seems pretty advanced for someone who is 7, quite on the other end of the spectrum from Horrid Henry, but maybe he just has wide-ranging tastes and impressive ability. OK, then what does he love? Stories about kids on their own (Stig of the Dump, Roald Dahl) with adventure.

Oh how I wish I were able to pull, right from somewhere in my head, a book published by someone this year that would be just right for this kid (and his listening-in sister). But apparently the one that has taken possession of my brain won't let it alone, and it is this:


I apologize for not being able to hold more than one book in my head at any one time, but this one sprang there and wouldn't leave. I could just see him reading it, her listening (does he read aloud? However it happens), and the book is just so strange and perfect and amazing. And it's not too crazy for a 5- and a 7-year-old, in terms of being terrifying and too grown up and all.

But clearly, what this young man needs is a reading list, not just one book, so excellent readers all, please oblige him in the comments.

20 thoughts on “We Recommend: 7-year-old Boy Edition

  1. My 7-year old son has also devoured every Roald Dahl book he could get his hands on this summer. His other absolute favorites are The Chronicles of Narnia and the How To Train Your Dragon books by Cressida Cowell.


  2. Definitely How to Train Your Dragon! He might also enjoy Shel Silverstein’s childrens novel, Lafcadio. Maybe it’s time to start on A Series of Unfortunate Events. He might also like Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell. If he does, there are two sequels.


  3. Ohhhhhh “The Indian in the Cupboard,” how I wish I could read it for the first time again! “Gone Away Lake” by Elizabeth Enright (?), “Stuart Little,” maybe? “Five Children and It,” or “The Phoenix and the Carpet,” but those might be too old, language-wise; but maybe not. Actually, “Mary Poppins.” He sounds like a fun kid to read with!


  4. Beverly Cleary? I’m thinking Ralph S. Mouse and Henry/Ribsy. And how about Encyclopedia Brown? And the Judy Blume “Fudge” books?
    Also, we haven’t read this yet, but it looks great: Whales on Stilts.
    One more thought–the Rowan of Rin books? (Again, we haven’t read them, but we read most of the Fairy Realm books, also by Emily Rodda, & they were a hit.) http://www.emilyrodda.com/booklist/rowanofrin


  5. Is he too young for Tom Sawyer and the Swiss Family Robinson? Maybe even Treasure Island? Lots of fun and adventure. There are many editions, so you can find the one that fits your child’s maturity. I’m looking forward to reading some of Elizabeth Enright’s books to my kids–Key to the Treasure and Spiderweb for Two. Hope that helps.


  6. I second Edward Eager. Also, there are some Rold Dahl books that are less well know but no less wonderful. Has he read George’s Marvelous Medicine?
    Or, what about Lemony Snicket books?


  7. I was all a-flutter about bringing up How to Train Your Dragon books and revolutionizing this boy’s life, but I can see I’ve been beat to the punch. Ah well. Read them. Enjoy. Repeat.


  8. Yes, Edward Eager and more Roald Dahl! How about Jacob TwoTwo and the Hooded Fang? Wind in the Willows? Did anyone suggest Stuart Little? Yay, Elizabeth Enright! Mmm.. The Borrowers?


  9. Terry Pratchett – Truckers, Diggers, and Wings
    My Father’s Dragon
    Wolf Story
    If he enjoys the British angle, you might try some Enid Blyton like the Famous Five or the Find Outers (can’t remember how many of them there are).
    Oooh, maybe Swallows and Amazons? That’s more read aloud.


  10. Oh oh oh!!! I have a just-turned 7yo boy who’s been reading at a 4th/5th grade level for nearly a year. He loved Stig of the Dump, some Roald Dahl (he’s still wary of anything that could be considered remotely scary). He also loves the entire Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I know that’s normally recommended for girls, but he loves it and anything pioneer-themed. But our biggest hit by far in the last six months has been the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. 12 books, ~350 pages each. Set in between the World Wars in Lakes District, England. They’re about 2 or 3 families of kids on vacation, with small sailboats, on lakes, playing all sorts of imaginative games. My son LOVES them. Nature, adventure, historical, not (too) scary.
    Also, new hit, old book: The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet. He’s almost finished with it, and while searching on Amazon for the sequel, I found all sorts of old (40s and 50s) adventure books for boys that I just got out of the library. Can’t comment personally yet, but reviews seem good: Homer Price, Owl in the Family, the Borrowers, The Great Brain.
    I’ve tried How to Train Your Dragon but he just doesn’t seem into the whole dragon/fantasy thing. I also read The Cabinet of Wonders and The Castle Corona to see if they would be good, and I thought they were great, but he wouldn’t read them. He did like The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.
    I will be checking out the other recommendations too, because I’m always looking for stuff to keep him occupied!


  11. Yes, The Return of the Indian, it’s always odd to find out about sequels you had no idea existed to books you read as a kid. They’re so much more insistent about things being series now, but then it was like finding a book floating in space, untied to anything else by marketing or whatever.


  12. The seven year old in our house has loved Roald Dahl, and the secret garden. Others that he has especially liked include the Narnia books and the two Emily Rodda series Rowan of Rin and Deltora Quest. Also The Jungle Book was a big hit. However these may not be so suitable for a four year old listening in. I’d suggest Pippi Longstocking or the Romona books for broader appeal.


  13. As the original requester, I’d like to say thank you SO MUCH to you and to all the commenters – some brilliant ideas here and lots for me and the kids to get our teeth into! Can’t wait!


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