Finishing a book can be bittersweet. Sweetness in seeing yourself as the main character finishing a journey, finding successful solutions to hefty problems, or simply learning important lessons. Bitterness in realizing that now the story is OVER! I want to go back into the tale, have more adventures and meet more people.
Enter, the book series. The story goes on, or in some cases, you simply get another story of the same sort. Yes, many series are full of twaddle, and I find myself wanting to limit my young reader’s exposure to them. However, they can be helpful in turning a reluctant reader into an excited reader or bring new excitement to a bored reader. Besides, summer is the perfect time for fostering a spirit of fun in reading.
Picture Book Series
Pete the Cat by James Dean – My friend introduced me to these silly, crazy, books. Pete the Cat sings songs about staying calm when life doesn’t go how you would like it to. We all enjoy the bright primary colored illustrations, and I love hearing Anna, my two year old, singing about her “groovy buttons.”
Billy And Blaze by C.W. Anderson – I found our first one of these at a yard sale. When a book is brought to me multiple times a day, I know we have a winner. My girls and boy both love this horse series with gentle adventure and monochromatic drawings. If these are a hit in your house, be sure to check out some of C.W. Anderson’s other titles. A Pony for Linda is a favorite here as well.
Bear and Friends by Karma Wilson– Bear Snores On and others are fun and quick for small ones. I love books that have a repeating line that kids can say or yell when the time is right, and the colorful artwork is engaging.
Babar by Jean De Brunhoff – Do you remember Babar? This crazy elephant can be found doing just about anything these days; coming to America, going into space, creating an art museum and even teaching kids their ABC’s. The original story is a favorite read aloud, but the other adventures are paged through with intense concentration by my non-readers. They love the interesting illustrations, and I like to think they are imagining new adventures every time they open the book!
Old Favorites For Everyone
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley – My seven year old daughter has loved this series. She has finished the first two books and is working on the third. She loves that they are about horses and adventure, and I love that they are written better than other horse series.
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney – We read The Five Little Peppers last spring and my children love to hear my daughter read it again. It is an old fashioned story of five children who live in poverty, but by the end of the story have a wonderful benefactor. A sweet gentle read aloud.
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander – These are too old for my children, but my babysitter and I both enjoy this author. Alexander takes ordinary characters and sends them on extraordinary journeys with nearly impossible tasks to accomplish. Through the story they grow in wisdom and humility. What they experience impacts the characters as well as the reader. I stayed up late reading these, because I fell in love with the characters, all of them. Take my word for it, if you are a Narnia fan, add these to your book stack.
Book Series for Girls
Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace – In my daughter’s words, “A nice story about two girls who become friends. They also meet another girl who becomes their friend. I liked it.”
Mandie by Lois Gladys Leppard – I read these rousing mysteries of preteen Mandie Shaw and her friend Celia all through my preteen and teen years. They were a step up from Boxcar Children and satisfied my tastes for drama, as well as intrigue without crossing any lines. These books have an obvious Christian theme, are well written, but follow a similar format.
Rainbow Magic Fairies by Daisy Meadows– Originally I found Cherry the Cake Fairy and just had to purchase it for my daughter who had a fairy named Cherry. I had no idea this series was virtually never-ending with all sorts of fairies to choose from. Not the best writing, but quick and fun for summer and reluctant readers: gem fairies, music fairies, party fairies, night fairies, animal fairies.
Book Series for Boys
Encyclopedia Brown by Donald Sobol – I never got into these as a kid, but brought them home to try on my clan. What a hit! I think I missed out as a kid. I like the way the answer to each mystery is in the back. That way you can think a bit and then check to see if you were right.
The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff: You Wish by Jason Lethco – I very much enjoyed this middle grade book. The story concept was fantastic! Think Oliver Twist meets Willy Wonka and The Arabian Nights at the playground. But perhaps it was this quote early on that won me over, “But make no mistake… A mother’s evening prayers for her child are one of the most powerful curse-fighters in the world.”
More Book Series
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner – These were some of my first books. I enjoyed the camaraderie of Benny, Violet, Jessie and Henry as they solved mystery after mystery. I recently gave these to Ruth my seven-year-old, and she is tearing through them as well!
Redwall by Brian Jacques – Mini monk-mice defending an abbey filled with other gentle forest creatures against an army of rats, stoats and weasels. What’s not to like? The complexity of the plots in this series kept me interested well into my teens and even young adulthood. Yet, they are great read alouds for younger children. I have also been told that the audio series is very good.
Do you have a favorite series you love to read?
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