The Treasury of Read-Alouds
SHORT NOVELS page 1 of 3
These books represent
a brief portion of the hundreds
cited in the print edition of The-Read-Aloud Handbook.
Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days
If any subversive person is interested in sneaking in a little laughter among the many serious books these days about orphans, vampires, and post-apocalyptic children, this is for them. A young boy, tired of being the brunt of everyone’s taunts, begins a do-it-yourself course in becoming perfect—with hilarious and unpredictable results. Conclusion: Nobody’s perfect, even the popular kids.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
when the worst-behaved family of kids in town comes to
Sunday school and muscles into all the parts for the
Christmas pageant? The results are zany and heartwarming;
a most unusual Christmas story. Sequels: The
Best School Year Ever and The
Best Halloween Ever. There is also
an excellent CD recording of the three novels, narrated
by Broadway's Elaine Stritch: "The Best Barbara Robinson
CD Audio Collection Ever."
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House series)
In this first
book of the popular time-travel series (with three- to
four-page chapters), young Annie and Jack discover a
treehouse that transports them back in time to the age of dinosaurs.
The journey is filled with fantasy adventure while exploring scientific,
cultural, or historic places and events.
book will have you laughing out loud by paragraph five
and wanting to adopt the main character (a fifth-grade boy) by the end
of the first chapter, nodding in affirmation of its wisdom throughout,
and wiping the tears away at its end. The story is what education, family,
and relationships are supposed to be about, never mind what a good book
can do for the reading appetite. And—it’s fall-down funny.
Oh, yes, it’s about the dictionary, too. It was overlooked for
the Newbery Award but it keeps winning kids’ votes in the state
awards. No author rivals Clements in capturing the soul
of the American classroom. Also by the author: The
Jacket; The Janitor’s
Boy; The Landry News; The Last Holiday Concert ; Lunch
Money; The Report Card; and A
Week in the Woods.
Favorite Kindergarten Novels
(in order of difficulty)
- Two Times the Fun
by Beverly Cleary
- Look Out, Jeremy Bean!
by Alice Schertle
- Junie B. Jones and the Stupid
Bus by Barbara Park
- The Chalk Box Kid
by Clyde Robert Bulla
- Dinosaurs Before Dark
by Mary Pope Osborne
- My Father's Dragon
by Ruth Stiles Gannett
- Mostly Monty
by Johanna Hurwitz
- The Stories Julian Tells
by Ann Cameron
- Chocolate Fever
by Robert Kimmel Smith
- James and the Giant Peach
by Roald Dahl
- The Water Horse
by Dick King-Smith
Gooney Bird Greene (series)
Gooney Bird Greene is the antithesis of Junie B. Jones in civil behavior but a carbon copy in uniqueness and irrepressibility. Second-grader Gooney Bird is smart, mature, kind, and in charge at all times — or at least she wants to be, which sometimes presents a challenge for the teacher. But on the first day in her new school it‘s clear she is mysterious and interesting. Her clothes are unusual. Her hairstyles are unusual. Even her lunches are unusual. On her second day at school, she was wearing a pink ballet tutu over green stretch pants, and she had three small red grapes, an avocado, and an oatmeal cookie for lunch. Just as Gooney wins over her classmates and teacher, she’ll win over her readers. Sequels: Gooney Bird and the Home Room Mother; Gooney the Fabulous; Gooney Bird Is So Absurd; and Gooney Bird on the Map. The Newbery-winning Lowry has long been one of our most gifted writers for children and this series proves again her great versatility.
Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus (series)
put off by the title of this book, part of a wonderfully
funny series (more than 30 books to date). Junie B. is
Ramona, Little Lulu, and Lucy all rolled into one determined
kindergartner. No one in children’s
publishing approaches Barbara Park when it comes to children’s
humor, and her 40 million sales with the Junie series
is prove positive. Park’s other books, like Mick
Harte Was Here and Skinnybones, are aimed at older
students and demonstrate why she’s consistently a state award–winner
with children. For an exploration of the controversies
Junie B. series, see Censoring
Junie B. For those looking for the nest step up from Junie B. but
with a softer edge, check out Lois Lowry's
Gooney Bird Greene.
| Novels: p.1 p.2 p.3 p.4
& Folk Tales : p.1