Favorite Books for Five Year Olds


We are just about to say goodbye to the age of five in this house … and in honor of such a milestone I thought I would document our very favorite books enjoyed by the boys that have been five in this house! These are, in our estimation, the best of the books we have read to encourage good character, develop their moral imagination, give them healthy role models, increase their vocabulary, and inspire their creativity.

Little Pear books by Eleanor Frances Lattimore have been a treasured favorite since we discovered them. The stories have stayed with the boys and they still talk about Little Pear’s experiences and adventures. These books have been, for my boys, everything a good book should be – a friend. I have recommended this series to many and all who have read it have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Brisley  is another treasured series. I read the first book to the boys and now Judah is reading the second one to Wesley. The stories were first written in 1925 and while the main character is a girl my boys have been charmed by the stories and I appreciate the depth of character that is revealed through her choices in her various adventures.

Mother West Wind’s Children by Thorton W Burgess – is our current read aloud but deserves to make the list! First published in 1911 these charming old stories are wonderful for children in their creativity, descriptions of nature, humor, and lessons in virtue and character. These stories answer a collection of “why” question – why does Peter Rabbit have long ears? Why does Bobby Coon wash his food? The imaginative answers are memorable and tuck little tidbits of information away for children to remember about the animals.

Barbara Cooney books – while we haven’t read all of her books we have read a great deal of them and have thoroughly enjoyed her stories, illustrations, and the stories by others that she illustrated for. Her books are short picture books, easily finished in one sitting.

–  The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet  by Eleanor Cameron is a wonderful piece of retro science fiction that draws you into the incredible imagination of the author. An adorable book that brings out rich characters and a hope in science and technology from a time past.

Dangerous Journey the story of Pilgrim’s Progress is a beautifully illustrated and well done children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress that we all enjoyed.

Robert McCloskey books – this is another author whom we have read not quite all but a good deal of his books and we thoroughly enjoy his work.

Elin’s Amerika by Marguerite de Angeli is an intriguing story of a Swedish girl and her first year in the new land, Amerika. It’s not quite chapter book length, and yet not quite short enough to finish in one setting. I think we spent about three days reading through it. We have also read this authors book  The Door in the Wall and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton was a fun mystery book to read to the boys. As every good mystery book should do, it left them hanging at the end of the chapters and had them pleading for more when I needed to stop reading. It was suspenseful, exciting, and had plenty of danger. I did edit out a lot of the bickering between siblings (it seemed excessive) and also eliminated a lot of the references to the black man, choosing to use his name rather than point out his skin color all.the.time.

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield was a surprising delight. The main character, orphaned Betsy, has been rather sheltered her entire life until her living arrangements suddenly change and she is given responsibilities. She rises to the new challenges and, again, great character is revealed as she faces various challenges. This book brought laughter and tears to my five year old!

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