Book Reviews

18 read-aloud suggestions…

I’ve been reading out loud to my girls since they were born, and for just as long I’ve asked others and searching their bookshelves to find out what their favorites are. Here is a partial list of some that our family, and others too, have enjoyed.


All of these have big bright pictures on every page, and the first three are rhymed, which makes it a lot easier for a beginning Dad to get off to a good reading-out-loud start; these will make you sound good!

  • A camping spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen – it has two great sequels
  • The Farm Team by Linda Bailey – about a hockey playing barnyard
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel  – a favorite of millions for the last 40 years
  • Charlie The Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond – there are sequels to this charmer
  • Don’t Want to Go by Shirley Hughes – Shirley Hughes has dozens of other wonderful read aloud picture books
  • The Little Ships by Louise Borden – Dunkirk is in the news right now, and this is a stirring account
  • James Herriot’s Treasury for Children – a big book with eight sweet stories for animal-loving children
  • The Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant – an old man and his cat, and his wonderful neighbor and her trouble-making dog
  • The Piggie and Elephant series by Mo Willems – 20 books, most of which require from the reader only the ability to do just two different voices


There are pictures in these selections, but not on every page. These are slightly longer, more involves stories which your children will not be able to read on their own until the later part of Grade 1, or the beginning of Grade 2, but they’ll love to hear them a lot earlier than that.

  • Bruno the Bear by W.G. Van de Hulst – one in a series of 20+ classic books that are impossible to find except here
  • Winnie the Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne – it’s worth getting the big collected treasury to read and reread again and again
  • The Big Goose and the Little White Duck by Meindert DeJong – a gruff grandpa wants to eat the pet goose!
  • Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling – the gorgeous Jerry Pinkney adaption is the very best


Once the kids are hitting kindergarten or Grade 1 mom and dad can read books they might read for themselves only in Grade 5 or 6, or even as adults. That can make reading aloud more fun for parents, as the stories will be of more interest to them now.

  • The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – this is not the easiest read aloud – the sentences can be quite choppy – but girls everywhere are big fans
  • The Bell Mountain series by Lee Duigon – only downside to this 9-book Christian fantasy series is that each title leads into the next; it’s one big story with no clear ending in any of the books
  • The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson – A laugh out loud hilarious adventure for older children (maybe Grade 3 and up)
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien – much more of a children’s tale than Lord of the Rings and shorter too (maybe also best for Grade 3 and up)
  • The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton – the author is Christian though that doesn’t come up directly anywhere; it’s just good silly fun

Jon Dykstra, and his siblings, blog on books at

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