INTERMEDIATE CLASSIC READER BOOKS (Ages 8-10)
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Ramona Quimby is ready for kindergarten, but is kindergarten ready for her? As eager student Ramona challenges her teacher with sensible but very funny questions, readers will understand why Cleary is a master at creating characters that are equal parts comical and sweet.
2. HENRY HUGGINS
by Beverly Cleary
Morrow, Avon Paperback
From the moment Henry meets the skinny stray pup he names Ribsy, his life moves from boring to adventure-filled. This sweet and hilarious novel, Cleary’s first, introduces the residents of Klickitat Street, most of whom show up in Cleary’s later works.
The story of five energetic sisters living with their parents on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s brings Jewish immigrant life into focus with humor and tenderness.
The D’Aulaires provide an accessible introduction to such Greek gods and goddesses as Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades and Pandora, and their stories.
5. KING OF THE WIND
by Marguerite Henry
Aladdin Paperback, 1991
“Sham,” a magnificent, feisty horse, is born in the stables of a Moroccan sultan and then given as a gift (along with his young groom) to the King of France. After changing owners many times, Sham ends up in England where he sires a legendary line of Thoroughbred racehorses.
24 wonderully vivid stories in the African-American oral tradition, featuring trickster tales, “Bruh Rabbit” stories, spine-tinglers, and more.
7. THE MOFFATS
by Eleanor Estes
1941, Harcourt Paperback, 2001
The first of several gentle, humorous novels about the four Moffat children and their widowed mother who live in small-town Connecticut in the 1910s.
8. UNDERSTOOD BETSY
by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
1916, Henry Holt, 1999
Elizabeth Ann, a sickly, nine-year-old orphan, expects the worst when she is sent from her city home to the Vermont farm of her relatives. The down-home Putneys introduce cousin “Betsy” to their farm-life ways and before long she is healthier and happier than ever.
9. THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE by George Selden
illustrated by Garth Williams
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1960, Dell Paperback, 1989
Talking animals star in this classic about a cricket, Chester, who plays glorious soothing music in the middle of the hustle and bustle of New York City.
The second in the seven-volume fantasy series about the magical land of Narnia.
Four animal friends traverse the English countryside, making their way back home.
12. HEIDI by Johanna Spyri
Copyright 1881, Puffin Paperback, 1995
Rich gentleman takes on the woes of Heidi and her happy, but destitute Alpine family.
13. PETER PAN by James M. Barrie
Viking, 1904, Puffin Paperback, 1986
Peter Pan spirits Wendy and her brothers out of the nursery and into Never Neverland.
The poetry featured in Shel Silverstein’s WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS strikes a nerve when it comes to young reader funny bones. He is humorous without trying too hard, tender without being overblown. Young readers appreciate that balance and Shel Silverstein’s style.
15. BUNNICULA by James Howe
Aladdin Paperbacks, 1979
When the vegetable in the refrigerator mysteriously lose their color, Chester the cat and Harold the dog think the family’s new pet rabbit is a vegetable sucking vampire.
16. CHARLOTTE’S WEB
by E.B. White
illustrated by Garth Williams
Harper & Row, 1952, Paperback, 1974
E.B. White has captured the essence of friendship and loyalty in his story of the pig Wilbur and Charlotte, his unlikely arachnid friend. Generations have been grateful for his skills. Generations to come will doubtless follow suit.
When this Roald Dahl classic was made into a motion picture (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) it experienced a renewed popularity. But the sometimes dark lessons learned in the original book are what have made the story a classic.
Omri discovers that a cupboard he receives for his birthday can magically bring his toy action figures to life. But when Little Foot the Indian comes alive, Omri discovers that playing with peoples’ lives has consequences. Hollywood gave Lynne Reid Banks a nod when they made THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD into a full-length feature film.
Death and lasting recollection are complex topics both expertly covered in Eleanor Coerr’s classic young reader novel, SADAKO AND THE THOUSAND PAPER CRANES. It is tender literature at its finest.
James escapes his evil aunts when he finds his way inside a giant peach that magically takes flight. A band of insects living inside become his pals. Disney and PIXAR productions brought the story to life on film.
Meet Laura, Pa, Ma and the rest of the Ingalls in this first book in the Little House series. Kids will get a taste of what life was really like for settlers moving West in the 1800s.
by A. A. Milne
illustrated by Ernest Shepard
Reading A.A. Milne’s classic WINNIE-THE-POOH isn’t something most 8 to 10-year-olds will do in public. But when the lights are low and the bed covers are pulled back, it’s a remarkable experience for these budding readers and their parents to share.
23. ABEL’S ISLAND
by William Steig
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1976
Abel, a dandy city mouse, is swept away from his bride during a sudden storm. He finally washes up on a deserted island in the middle of a river and must learn some important lessons about survival and self-confidence. A funny, sometimes-scary, and always exciting adventure.
The pig who thinks he’s a sheep dog makes a splash in this funny, heartwarming novel.
The talented and whip-smart collie who inspired the classic television series was introduced in this wonderful story.
A woman comes to the prairie from Maine to become wife to a stoic farmer and mother to two orphaned kids. All of their lives are dramatically changed.
illustrated by Bob Kuhn
Holiday House, 1945, Bantam Paperback, 1992
A heartwarming boy-and-his-dog story starring a spunky Irish setter.
Harcourt Brace, 1953, Paperback, 1993
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1972, Paperback, 1984
Dominic, a dapper dog, sets out to see what awaits him in the world.
30. CADDIE WOODLAWN by Carol Ryrie Brink
Macmillan, 1935, Paperback, 1990
A girl’s view of pioneer life in 1860s Wisconsin.
31. HALF MAGIC
by Edward Eager
illustrated by N.M. Bodecker
Harcourt, 1954, Paperback, 1989
When four kids wish on a magic coin, they embark on the most unusual summer of their lives.
illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Watts, 1973, BDD Paperback
Kids adore this yucky tale of a bet that has Billy eating one worm a day for 15 days. The worm “recipes” and contest rules will have readers laughing and squirming. Ewwww.
The irrepressible girl with super-human strength and unruly red pig-tails stars in what could be considered one of the earliest fantasies about children living on their own. With her mother dead and her father lost somewhere on the seven seas, Pippi and her friends make their own fun.
34. STUART LITTLE
by E.B. White
illustrated by Garth Williams
Stuart, the second son born into the Little family is quite unusual — he is a mouse! When he grows up he leaves home to follow his heart and the lovely bird Margalo. An unforgettable fantasy.
Nine-year-old fourth-grader Peter Hatcher is trying to deal with friends and school, and at home he is totally exasperated by the antics of his outrageously mischievous two-year-old brother Fudge. Lots of comical and heartfelt situations for young readers.
illustrated Ernest H. Shepard
Holiday House, 1938
A dragon who doesn’t want to breathe fire and terrorize the villagers? Yep, that’s just what you’ll find in this sweet story of a boy who befriends the peaceful and misunderstood beast. Shepard’s line drawings are the perfect complement.
illustrated by Michael Hague
Harcourt Brace, 1936; 1990
These very silly nonsense stories are also great for reading aloud. Titles include “The Two Skyscrapers Who Decided to Have a Child.”