By Kathryn Peck
Who remembers the scene in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” when the mother is reading “Peter Pan” to her daughter (yes, the adorable Drew Barrymore)? I sure do.
As a child, I replayed the scene with E.T. hidden in the closet as a stuffed animal over and over in my head, and of course E.T. eating Reese’s Pieces. But as a parent, the storybook scene sticks with me as a sweet moment that I’d love to re-create with my own daughter. She’s old enough to appreciate and follow the more involved chapter books, and she’s still young enough to want to read them with me at night.
The storybook scene sticks with me as a sweet moment that I’d love to re-create with my own daughter. She’s old enough to appreciate and follow the more involved chapter books, and she’s still young enough to want to read them with me at night.
Here are 10 classic chapter books for reading aloud with your children that’ll help you to re-create that heartwarming scene from the movie (and I mean the bedtime reading scene, not the scene where E.T. first emerges from the corn field … hello, terrifying!).
- “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C. S. Lewis. It’s universally spellbinding for children, plus there’s the newer movie to follow-up the story when you’re through.
- “The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Everyone already knows the tale so it’s easy to draw up pictures in your head, and the story itself reads very much like a fairy tale.
- “Pollyanna” by Eleanor H. Porter. A sweet story about an orphaned girl who moves in with her Aunt while always looking on the bright side with her “just be glad” game, which young readers might find fun in itself.
- “Shiloh” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. A story about an abused beagle who runs away from its owner only to be discovered and loved by a young boy.
- “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I remember this one from my own childhood; the sense of mystery behind the garden wall and a secret key is enough to pique anyone’s interest.
- “The Story of Doctor Dolittle” by Hugh Lofting. A series that follows the adventures of an English doctor who can talk with animals in their own languages. Who wouldn't want to talk with animals?
- “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Ronald Dahl. It’s about chocolate, what more needs to be said!? (Ok, it’s really about a lot more than just chocolate.)
- “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. This fantasy/science fiction story follows the strange adventures of the Murray children as search for their father (missing while working on a secret project for the government).
- “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster. This modern-day fairytale tells the story of Milo, a curious boy whose adventure to an another place and time includes a quest to save two princesses.
- “The Trumpet of the Swan” by E.B. White. A sweet story about a swan born without a voice who find it with a trumpet that he wears around his neck.
About the author: Kathryn is the owner of Bicycle Pie and mom of 4 little ones. Also a writer, editor, and former owner of one of Boston's premiere baby boutiques, she continues to write about motherhood, children's products, family life, and all other things that test our skills and patience as parents.
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