For the age, I think it depends on the child really. Some kids learn to sit still and listen erlier than others. For myself, I don't think anyone at home read chapter books to me. I figured out the reading thing early, and got kids books from the library that appealed to me and read them.
When I was in School (I went from Preschool to grade one, the school and my folks didn't think I needed Kindergarten) there were books read to us in the library (there was a 'library class': about 20-25 minutes of being read to, then 5-10 minutes to choose a book and sign it out), but I don't remember if they were chapter books or other books.
As to books, I don't know. I know I read a couple of these, but I read very fast, and my memory has always been bad, so there are many on the list I don't recollect.
I remember trying to read the hobbit when I was 10 or so and couldn't get thru it, and it put me off Tolkein for ages (20 years or so). I did like Anne, and Little house, and gobbled up the whole series in short order. I read the Lion..., and thought it was ok, but didn't want to read the rest. I liked Charlie, and read more Dahl books after it. LIked Charlottes web, but cried at the end.
This might say more about me than anything else, but here it is for what it is worth....
Everyone is going to pick books out of their own experience, but I was curious to hear the experiences of others.
I didn't read The Hobbit until I was 22 and dating mr_messy
He used to read it to me over the phone when I was in bed. :)
I think of Anne and Little House as being for older girls (maybe 8).
Of E.B. White's books, I think Stuart Little is the most child-friendly. Charlotte's death is really hard for most people and almost makes it for a bit older kids. Trumpet of the Swan is great but the whole courtship thing again I think makes it more for 7-8 year olds who are starting to comprehend marriage and dating.
I had parts of the Lion, the Wtich, and the Wardrobe read to me in Sunday School, but with the teacher's uncharismatic personality and myspotty attendance, it turned the whole thing into a snooze and scared me off of the rest. I still only have read the first 3.
I think Stuart Little would be the best first starter. It is wonderfully simple and yet contains plenty to keep a child interested. Not only that but remember you're talking about a little mouse who comes to live with a human family, plus all of his adventures! Charlotte's Web is a close second to that.
Age? Kinda depends on the child. I say 5 definitely if they're showing interest in this. I remember my mom and dad broke me in slowly to chaptered books... we'd read half a chapter each night before bedtime. Then the next night they would ask me if I remembered what we read the night before. It was a great way to give the story more suspense! And gave me great dreams too...
I was leaning towards Stuart Little or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, partly because both have been partially viewed as movies and partly because they seemed to be the most simplistic plot wise.
I answered age 5 and other.
Of course, age depends on the child, their attention span, their ability to remember what went before and their general interest in books and reading.
Of the books you've listed, Stuart Little is a great starter book, as is Charlotte's Web and The Wind in the Willows.
My own experience: Winnie the Pooh was my first chapter book and I was being read that well before age 5 (perhaps as young as 2 or 3), but Mom says I was extremely interested in books with a very long attention span (basically as long as her voice held out or she had time for) and a memory that could contain whole (non-chapter) books and recite them back word for word.
Basically, it's your call since you know your own child best. Try a chapter book and see how it goes. If it's not working, you'll know soon enough and can put it aside for a few months. The key is that it's a fun thing that they're ready for, not an insurmountable hurdle that frustrates them and turns them off.
I know every child is different, I just wanted to get a sense of the experiences of others and what is (for lack of a better word) normal.
I forgot about Pooh, I think because I never read the actual books, but just knew the characters from cartoons.
I also forgot about Jacob Two-two and the Hooded Fang, partly because I was thinking of classic books and classic children's writers and good old Modecai never pops into ones head when trying to think of children's writers.
1) I still have my original Winnie the Pooh, although a little worse for wear and love. :) I also have a much later edition (with colour pictures!) and Winnie Ille Pu (Latin translation). WtP was an early favourite and has stayed with me all through the years. Sometimes, when I need a little light reading and a day-brightener, I go back and visit my old friends between the covers of that wonderful book. :)
2) From what I've said so far, it's obvious that the great pleasure that is reading was set early in my life. Another reading story from somewhat later in my childhood (approx. age 10): for our summer vacation, we travelled across the country to the west coast (by car & camping as we went). In Victoria, we visited the Butchart Gardens (http://www.butchartgardens.com/main.php
). However, I've never actually seen those gardens. I was so involved in a Nancy Drew book, I couldn't be bothered getting out of the car to tramp around seeing a bunch of flowers! :)
Love of reading should be a life-long pleasure. The best thing I can hope for your children is that they find that joy early and that it stays with them as long as they live. :)
I think she is almost ready now for a chaptered book. At the rate she is learning, she will be ready by the time she turns 5. Then it will be our task to stop her from trying to read the whole thing in one sitting :).
Not sure why I picked Wind in the Willows. (P) But I have vague recollection of having read the at least one of the books. In looking over the list of books, complicated plot lines and violence (and scarey stuff) kind of make most of what you listed for 8 year olds and up. I don't think I would want Grace reading the hobbit until she was at least 8, maybe even 9 or 10. Its not tha she need protecting, but she needs to be old enough to have the mental abilities to understand what is going on.
couple o' cents worth
I don't remember what books my parents read to me, but I remember loving reading when I hit grade 1, and rapidly moving through the school libraries.
Books I specifically remember reading when I was 6 or 7 (because of remembering which school librarian was giving them to me) were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, other Roald Dahl books, Jacob Two-Two, and a wonderful group of books (very loosely a series but reading them out of sequence doesn't matter) by Sydney Taylor called the "All of a Kind Family". The latter is slightly moralistic, but it's the sort of morals that you would value (getting along with your family, honesty, helping one's parents, being charitable, doing your chores, etc), though from a Jewish perspective rather than Christian . And it's not as preachy as the Narnia books or Little Woman.
I didn't hit Narnia until I was in grade 3 at school (liked the first two books, got bored with the Horse and his Boy and stpped reading them). I was addicted to Enid Blyton adventure stories (a whole bunch of series) but I don't know how much the libraries still stock these.
I think Anne might be geared to a slightly older child.
I don't remember Little Women being preachy. I remember crying when Beth died, and finding it aweful that Jo married that old guy while Laurie (who seemed to be the good catch) went to Amy. If it had been more moralistic, Jo would have got Laurie and Amy would have become an old maid or AMy would have been the one who died.
I have heard that kids are intereted in protagnoists their own age or slightly older. Since Anne is 11 when she comes to Green Gables, I think 9 (or 8) would be about the right age to start, not really any earlier. Anne also came from an orphanage which is a hard concept for a 5 or 6 year old. At least Jacob Two-Two came from a normal family, even if no one listened to him.
As to when to start reading chapter books, it depends on the kid. The sooner the better in my opinion. As for a recommendation, I'm going to toss in a series that my daughter and I both loved. The "Betsy-Tacy" series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Probably have to find it at a library. The books are about the adventures of two girls living in small town Minnesota around the turn of the century. The girls are age 5 in the first book, and it is written for readers at about that level. Each book is a bit more advanced as the girls grow up.
My mother wanted to teach me to read before I started school (age 5). Since we didn't start reading on day one, I came home, said "teach me", and she did. I have few memories of what was read to me - but my experience suggests that 5 might be late.
My own copy of the Wind in the Willows is I think the oldest book in the house that's mine. I was born in 1959, and it's a 1960 printing. (35th printing of the 29th edition, it says!)
I'm a few years older and my copy has a printing date similarly close to my year of birth. However, interestingly, I received my copy early in 1960, so I guess I just missed your printing. My copy is inscribed: "Many Happy Returns, Love Auntie Kath" (who we used to go visit at her nursing home in Kingston every time we were down for a Greyfells event - she died in 1999, aged 90). :)
I never read The Wind in the Willows, although I am familiar with the characters. It almost seemed like Mole and Ratty had to stage (to use a 90's term) and intervention or two to get Mr. Toad to stop being a danger to himself (and through his car) to others. Ah - there's a bardic challenge - how owuld the tabloids report on the antics of Mr. Toad.
I picked five, but only because it was the youngest age. I wouldn't have a problem with trying a four-year-old on chapter books.
I hadn't thought of Jacob-Two-Two and the Hooded Fang, but that's a great book.
Have you thought of trying the Junie B. Jones series? They're very short chapters aimed at the younger crowd, and have a sense of humour that I can see her enjoying.
The Narnia series is great, but whether she'd like it would depend on her attention span. It'd be a nice way for you to get to know it, when she is ready.
I haven't heard of Junie B. Jones, but will file it away. This thread has been the best conversation I've engaged in in a long time.
I think Ramona the Pest is an excellent first read aloud chapter book. Definitely something a five year old can relate to.