My friend Kollen says he thinks his 4-year-old daughter -- who is "pretty bright, natch" -- is ready for some read-aloud chapter books. "Any good ideas?" he asked. "I guess 'Little House on the Prairie' is the obvious one, but she may not be able to follow or be interested in all that."
Have to agree there. I adored the "Little House" books as a girl, but when I got them back out to read to Hannah (she was about 5 at the time), I realized that some of the chapters went on and on and ON. I remember one that included a detailed account of Mr. Ingalls building a door, for example. Not exactly intriguing stuff for a preschooler. (Granted, it could have been me. Yawns did not help the presentation.)
In any case, I offered my friend some alternatives to consider. Then I put out a call on Twitter and Facebook and got a whole bunch of great suggestions. Here's the list.
** The Junie B. Jones series. (These early chapter books are sort of a love-it-or-hate-it thing. I happen to LOVE them with all my heart.)
** "Charlotte's Web" and "The Trumpet of the Swan" (E.B. White)
** "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" and "Runaway Ralph" (Beverly Cleary)
** Winnie-the-Pooh (the original A.A. Milne books, not the Disney stuff)
** "Because of Winn-Dixie"
** "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
** the "Little Bear" series
** Amelia Bedelia
** the "Fudge" series (Judy Blume)
** Magic School Bus series
** Magic Tree House series
** the Captain Underpants series
** "The Boxcar Children"
** "James and the Giant Peach"
** "Harold and the Purple Crayon"
** the "Henry and Mudge" series
** "Flat Stanley"
** the "A to Z Mysteries" series ("Canary Caper," "Quicksand Question," etc.)
More suggestions? Please add them here.