Jason Toon

quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon

Reading to my daughters is an essential part of the bedtime ritual at our house. The kids enjoy the story, the grownups enjoy how it quiets them down before bed. Sometimes we'll read a whole picture book in one sitting. But longer books, doled out a chapter a night, really turn bedtime into something they look forward to. Once you've run through Harry Potter and Winnie the Pooh, here are three more you can try, every one a hit with the Toon girls.

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White: Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little fully deserve their reputations as classics. But don't overlook this lovely gem about a swan who can read but can't trumpet - until he finds a manmade trumpet and gets a job playing reveille at a summer camp. Fame and fortune working nightclub gigs soon follow - but can he really be happy so far away from home? White's typically elegant prose brings life to the old cliche: you will laugh, and you will cry.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart: When four orphans - all geniuses in different ways - respond to a cryptic ad about opportuntities for gifted children, an eccentric millionaire assembles them into a team of agents. Their mission: stop a megalomaniac's global mind-control scheme. This series does for spies what Harry Potter did for wizards. Analytical kids will enjoy the brain-teasers that the plot often turns on. Sensitive kids will respond to the moments of genuine tenderness in the orphans' lives. And you'll all be wondering what happens next.

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder: For me, reading the Little House books was a revelation. I was expecting gentle calico nostalgia; I found hardship, struggle, and frontier weirdness. They're all great, but On the Banks of Plum Creek gets my nod for a truly astonishing locust infestation, and the first appearance of another kind of equally nasty pest: Nellie Oleson.

What are you guys reading at bedtime? Right now we're halfway through the second Mysterious Benedict Society book, so I need suggestions ASAP! Post 'em in the comments…



quality posts: 105 Private Messages inkycatz

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder! I remember that book - have you gotten to The Long Winter?

I remember that was a bit of a depressing read.

Oh such book memories! Thank you!

I'm just hanging out, really.

Jason Toon

quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon
inkycatz wrote:On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder! I remember that book - have you gotten to The Long Winter?

I remember that was a bit of a depressing read.

Oh such book memories! Thank you!

Yeah, The Long Winter was some heavy stuff!


quality posts: 4 Private Messages Mancho

The Wizard of Oz has been a great read for us.


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ualaw2006

The Ann of Green Gables books were great. Most of the Little House books were good, but I thought I'd never get through The Long Winter. Just skip it.

Nancy J. Busey


quality posts: 0 Private Messages seaking

Anyone with children should check out the works of Daniel Pinkwater. He has lots of picture books and many novels. The novel to start with might be Lizard Music.

I would also recommend the Prydaine books by Lloyd Alexander.


quality posts: 0 Private Messages seaking

Oh, and smbelcas (her woot username) has just reminded me that she has a page of recommendations on her site:


quality posts: 0 Private Messages woncer

Try "The Search for WondLa" by Tony DiTerlizzi. It's absolutely captivating with beautiful illustrations. Both my 6yo and my 10yo love it.


quality posts: 1 Private Messages cotterpinx

Ooh! Timely! I've done the Wizard of Oz with my daughter, but she wasn't super into the chapter-a-night thing until this year when she started 2nd grade. She expressed some interest in Harry Potter, so I gave book 1 a trial. She tends to be easily frightened so I thought it might be a bit too much, but she's been fine with it. We're now into book 6, so I've just been thinking about what to follow up with once we wrap it all up. I have to say, she loves HP so very much that there have been some nights when she wanted to know if she could go to bed yet, please? because she couldn't wait for more HP. :-D

I've been thinking maybe Chronicles of Prydain and Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series but it's been soooo long since I read those, wasn't sure if they'd be OK for a 7 year old. The Benedict Society sounds pretty good & I haven't heard of that one before, so thanks!!

Others that may be too advanced for my 2nd grader but which she will probably enjoy in the future -- the 39 Clues series and both of Riordan's series (Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles.) Riordan is better than 39 Clues, but Clues is probably good enough to keep your kids' attention. Plus there's a lot of them! 12 or something in the series? Plus a sequel series, too.


quality posts: 18 Private Messages wrightmenow

For read-aloud chapter books, our favorite is Magyk by Angie Sage. Half the time my husband can't finish the chapters because he laughs so hard he snorts which sets everyone else off... and he's read the series at least twice!

Magyk (& the rest of the Septimus Heap series) has been voted better than all the previous favorites: Little House, Chronicles of Narnia and Andrew Clements' Frindle.

For a quicker read on trips, definitely get The Great Turkey Walk. Hilarious historical fiction with a moral: Anyone can do anything they set their mind to. And turkeys ain't as dumb as they look.


quality posts: 1006 Private Messages ThunderThighs


Jason Toon wrote:Yeah, The Long Winter was some heavy stuff!

I was going to introduce son to Farmer Boy when he was young. I decided to read it first since it has been years since I had last read it.

Realized it started out with Almonzo getting a whipping in the barn from Pa. Yeah, we'll move on to something else.

We read 18 books from the Wizard of Oz series though. Pro Tip: Skip book 2, it's not part of the series.

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quality posts: 1 Private Messages Hindmost

All of the L. Frank Baum Oz books are wonderful. I've read the first 5 of them to my 6 year old and she loves the stories. The vocabulary of the books is from the turn of the century, but she has learned a lot of great words and the fantastical world of Oz opens vistas for the imagination.

Also consider Heidi (a great story), Charlotte's Web, anything by Kate DiCamillo. We also enjoyed the Brian Selznick book "the Invention of Hugo Cabret".

We are currently reading Swiss Family Robinson, and Tom Sawyer right now and my 6 year old begs for more of Tom each night.

Jason Toon

quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon

Wow, so many good recommendations! Thanks, everybody. I'm off to submit some requests to the library. (Yes, even employees of Amazon subsidiaries have library cards.)


quality posts: 29 Private Messages jeeperwoot

These three are in regular rotation right now.

Along with


quality posts: 0 Private Messages genxfansub

We just finished The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, which is great read aloud.

I am eyeing Jess George's Tuesdays at the Castle next. (I loved it and hope my 10- and 6-year-olds will too).