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lights out

Reading a book or two at bedtime is part of our nighttime ritual. I love cuddling up with my little ones and reading with them. It's the perfect way to end the sometimes not so calm day. But there is something new I've been wanting to try.. a chapter book. (I attempted this last year with Charlotte's Web, but the kids grew tired of it after about a week. It's nice to see how much their patience has grown in a year.) 

We gave the kids a copy of Stuart Little for Christmas, so we've been trying to read a chapter a night. And we've made a few changes to our nighttime ritual. We're gathering in mom and dad's bed, where we all get to sit under great grandma's big quilt. And the best part.. we've been reading by flashlight. (Thanks to Jennifer and her lovely blog for the great idea) After we finish the chapter, we play a game of flashlight tag on the ceiling before shuffling the kids off to their beds. 

Stuart Little is a wonderful little book, I may have liked it as much as the kids. Each chapter is a complete little story, so it's perfect to read in little chunks. We would talk about Stuart's adventures throughout the next day, and I would try to help the kids remember what had happened the night before.  When we finished the last chapter a few days ago, both Bee and C were sad to see Stuart's adventures end. And so am I.

We'll go back to picture books for a bit before starting our next chapter book.. any suggestions? (My kids are 2 and 4, so it needs to be short and not too involved.. and a few illustrations along the way really helps my littlest one stay interested.) What should we read next?

Want to know more about Stuart Little and how the book was written? I almost forgot to mention this article I read last summer in The New Yorker. 

UPDATE: Guys! Wow, thank you all for taking the time to let me know your favorite books. I just finished reading through all of your recommendations and I think we will have plenty of great books to read for the next few months.. maybe years! Thank you!

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Reader Comments (45)

I also recommend the Little House series. My girls were 4 and 5 when we read them and they ate them up. I even made bonnets for them to wear while we read them. Another series is the Boxcar Children. It is a nice innocent and wholesome series for small children. The books are short and have a few pictures. They all have a small mystery that the children solve.

We too all pile up in mommy and daddy's bed and read. But we have not done it by flashlight. Great idea. I was thinking of getting my girls headlamps like the ones from LLBean to wear. Maybe the whole family can each get one and we too could read by flashlight.

01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulieKP

Just stumbled across your blog through someone else's blog, through someone else's blog...but i can tell already that I'm going to love it. :)

My boys are 6, 4, and 2 and about 6 months ago we read The Invention of Hugo Cabret (http://www.amazon.com/Invention-Hugo-Cabret-Brian-Selznick/dp/0439813786/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232769394&sr=8-1).

EXCELLENT illustrations and a story line that kept them interested. I like all the other suggestions from your other readers as well. Great post!

01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterTammi

I LOVE story time! So does my son. I can't recommend The Magic Faraway Tree enough. My fave growing up - each chapter has a different world at the top of the tree - topsy turvy or candyland. Quite longish chapters though for memory but so much fun!

01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

Right now I'm reading the Jenny and the Cat Club series aloud to both of my boys (4 and 6). Charming, sweet illustrations, not scarey. I love your idea of reading in your bed with flashlights - fun!

01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLecia

We are loving the Magic Faraway Tree & Wishing Chair series, too, and have really enjoyed Pippi and Milly Molly Mandy. We've not read Stuart Little, though - thankyou for the recommendation!

01.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterFiona

how cozy, reading by flashlight! I read Charlotte's Web every year to my 1st grade class and they L-O-V-E it! I can't get through it without crying. It gets me every time. we have lots of other reading-with-your-family ideas on my blog eensies.com. check it out!

01.24.2009 | Unregistered Commenterbrett

The Wizard of Oz - definitely! I've been reading it with my munchkins for years and they never get tired of starting over...

01.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCMN

The "Miss Piggle Wiggle" books are great...I think you'd love her. (my kids love them, and wish I were more like her!)

01.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSooz

we love Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!

01.24.2009 | Unregistered Commenterlynne

Stuart Little was my favorite book when I was younger. Loved that book to pieces. And I remember my grade three teacher was awesome and let me read some to the class who probably thought I was such a nerd, but I was so happy to share this with everyone. Awesome book and I'm so glad that you're sharing it with your kids!

01.25.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

I second Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Dahl
Also, my three year old recently loved Julie Andrews' new book "The Great American Mousical". It has short chapters and pictures interspersed throughout just like Stuart Little and is fairly clever and enjoyable.
She also wrote a wonderful pictureless book called "The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles" under her married name Julie Edwards. Both my boys loved listening to it when they were young.
I am currently reading "The Great Brain" to my three year old. The story line is a bit more advanced than Stuart Little. But there are pictures placed here and there and the book series is just great (my ten year old has been through the entire series and the three year old is enjoying his introduction to the books right now).
Next on the list for the three year old is another of his older brother's favorite favorite series "The Mad Scientist Club". These books are wonderful. My husband and I love reading these aloud (which is a good thing because I think we've read this series at least four times through).
I've got loads more.
I'll take a look at the shelf and repost later.

01.25.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjsklsk

How about the Paddington Bear books? They too have a little story in each chapter, and always brought plenty of giggles. Not too long for little attention spans either.

01.25.2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I love Rabbit Hill. It's such a wonderful book!

01.26.2009 | Unregistered Commentererin

i'm with your first commenter...we (like you) started a new tradition of reading chapter books in our bed every night to great acclaim. we started with Pippi and my daughter LOVED IT. We're reading Stuart Little next and have some Junie B. Jones books that we might try.

01.26.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjoslyn

You have to try Pippi Langstrømpe (or longstocking as it is in English). She's so wonderful. My four year old loves it.

01.26.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristel

brooke - we just found at our library this afternoon a version of Pippi, illustrated by the fantastic Lauren Child. I've never heard my five year old laugh so hard as she did when Pippi put a can on her head and wandered around the neighborhood pretending it was night. ...

01.26.2009 | Unregistered Commenterlynne

This is totally random, but came from necessity. After a vintage reading lamp burned out, our lower bunk story time was stymied by lack of light. I grabbed my headlamp and went on a reading adventure. SO MUCH MORE FUN! And no fighting over who holds the flashlight...I'm inspired to begin the Chapter books now.

01.28.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Maybe wait a year more for this one (though with the movie out, you could try it now!) and read Kate DiCamillo's "The Tale of Despereaux". It is such a sweet, wonderful, adventuresome book. And though it looks big, the margins are wide and the chapters are short, so you end up gobbling through it very quickly. I've never met a kid who doesn't like this book.

02.5.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJTay

P.S. Despereaux has pictures, too -- beautiful, but I believe all black and white.

02.5.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJTay

I just found your delightful blog and I'm so happy I did! We've started Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary. Each chapter is a story in itself just as you said about Stewart Little. Both my daughter and son enjoy the book...my son also loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

I love children's books...thanks for sharing!

02.7.2009 | Unregistered CommenterZana

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