Our favorite books have witty illustration, descriptive text, thoughtful stories that motivate kids to think creatively and logically. Following are books that I read to my kids at 5 and 6. These are books to read to your children, that will engage them even as they are learning to read themselves.
Alice in Wonderland - At 5 my daughter thought it was hilarious. My daughters were hesitant for me to read them books without pictures, so this was a good segue, because it has some pictures! Just simplify a few words or concepts here and there.
Anne of Green Gables - The antics of Anne, an endearing and unforgettable character who comes to life on the pages.
Eloise - The first and best Eloise story. My daughters love,love,love Eloise. She lives in a hotel in NYC and does a lot of funny things. Her character is so unique that we invent Eloise stories with more escapades and adventures. There are several others in the original series, including the wonderful Eloise in Paris. Newer books written "in the style of" the author lack the original charm.
Toot & Puddle - First and favorite of the series, it's the story of best friends. One goes on a global adventure with exciting escapades and the other stays home, cozy in the comforts of familiar traditions. There is such depth to the story and the illustrations ~ the unique characters, the months and change of seasons, postcards, traditions. We love Toot & Puddle: You Are My Sunshine - Friends go to amazing efforts to cheer up Toot, and they love him no matter what.
The Velveteen Rabbit - A stuffed rabbit becomes real because of a boy's love.
I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew - Seuss tells the story of a child's fantastic adventure to a mythical land where he will escape his troubles, meeting unique characters and situations along the way.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Kids of various ages get something different out of this story. Food rains from the sky and the havoc begins... The illustrations are amazingly detailed and expand upon the story.
Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss classic with marvelous illustrations and a zest for the amazing things life has to offer.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - A story of a bad day, told with lots of exxageration and detailed line art.
The Snail and the Whale - An adventure story with lovely illustrations and charming poetic language.
Jumanji - If you are ready for a scary story, but not too scary, this is a great one. A brother and sister play a board game which goes quite wrong. Darkly but realistically illustrated. We also like Polar Express - The story of a peculiar train ride to the North Pole.
Look-Alikes Jr.: The More You Look The More You See - Photographs of pictures, using everyday objects to represent other objects.
Meerkat Mail - Lushly detailed watercolor illustrations embellish the story of a meerkat who visits his far-off cousins. We loved the funky ephemera, postage and ads, woven into the story.
The Lorax - The Seuss tale of man's impact on the environment and the lovely truffula trees. KidsEconBooks (a website focusing on the use of children's literature to study Economics!) uses the book to study the concept of scarcity. The Web English Teacher shares links for activities for numerous Seuss books.
Stella, Princess of the Sky - Like the other Stella stories, author and illustrator Marie-Louise Gay's lovely watercolor illustrations and witty, descriptive dialogue tell the story of a simple adventure of a brother and a sister.Do your kids know their books inside out? Try doing an Illustration Treasure Hunt! Check out the other book recommendations in the Children's Books category, including Witty Books for Kids 7-9.