Children love a good story, don't they? Especially a good bedtime story.
But what to read?
Your children will probably be clamouring for Harry Potter. (Yes, I have read every single word of all seven books out loud) and The Chronicles of Narnia (Yup, read all of them aloud as well). They are quite rightly top of nearly everyone's reading list and both series are truly brilliant.
But what do you do when you want a break from them?
So I decided to ask my kids which books they had enjoyed being read to the most.
So here are the ten books, chosen by my kids, that they loved having read aloud to them, that I enjoyed reading (very important!) and which they enjoyed enough to want to read the books themselves later on.
All these books having been thoroughly road-tested. Some are classics and some are more recent books, and I promise you that there is something for everyone here.
The exploits of 12-year-old arch villain Artemis Fowl went down a treat with my kids. The story is full of action, magic, some terrible puns and quite a few explosions.
Artemis Fowl kidnaps Captain Holly Short, a feisty fairy who works for LEPrecon. Fowl demands a ransom but doesn't reckon on Holly being a particularly resourceful fairy, and that the whole of LEPrecon will stop at nothing to rescue her.
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is based on Greek mythology, this is the book which inspired the film of the same name and spawned a whole series.
This gripping tale of Percy, a boy who has never quite fitted in, then discovers that the reason could be that he the son of the god Poseiden. With an entourage of mythical characters, he goes in search of the lightning master bolt which has been stolen from his uncle Zeus.
Surprisingly, in this house anyway, the The Tales Of Olga Da Polga, story of the guinea pig with the big heart and an even bigger appetite beat Michael Bond's more famous creation Paddington Bear. Olga loves to eat, to tell outrageous stories of her own adventures and to aways get her own way in the end.
There were quite a few Roald Dahl books that I could have put on this list, but Danny The Champion Of The World was the one that came out as the favourite Dahl book.
I do hope that the fact that this is the story of an illegal pheasant poaching enterprise doesn't mean that my two are planning to grow up to be master criminals......
The New Policeman is a lyrical tale set in Ireland about music, dancing, fairies and family. If you've ever wondered why time seems to pass more quickly the older you get, this could just be the answer.
It also explains where all those odd socks go to. Delightfully there is also a snippet of related music before each chapter. The older son took this one to read for himself the moment I finished reading it aloud.
Me: "Why did you like this one?"
Younger Son: "It's poems. About cats."
When I was at school, Enid Blyton was so reviled by my English teacher that the only possible response was to read as much Blyton as possible. The whole of my class obsessively read all the St. Clares, Mallory Towers and Naugtiest Girl In The School books (it was an all girls school).
Suspecting that two boys might not appreciate those books the way I did, I tried them on the Famous Five books, which got a resounding thumbs up. Five Go To Mystery Moor was the first one we read, but they have happily read many more of the series by themselves since then.
I chose to read Pippi Longstocking aloud because it was one I hadn't read as a child, but it is so much loved by so many people that I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about.
Well, it lived up to the hype, was enjoyed by all of us and I certainly wished that I had read this story of possibly children's literature's spunkiest heroine in my childhood.
This is a book where the illustrations are as important as the text, making it a perfect book to cuddle up together with.
Fergus Crane's father has gone missing and his mother makes ends meet by working in a cake shop. Helped by mysterious parcels from his long-lost uncle and fuelled by a lot of hot chocolate, he sets off in search of his father.
Children who love tales of magic and wizards (so most of them then) will love this beautifully written story of a boy wizard who has to make amends for a foolish prank that goes wrong, unleashing a monster which haunts both him and his fellow countrymen.
A Wizard of Earthsea probably would be more appreciated by slightly older children than some of the books included here, but will entrance all who listen. This is my own personal choice as my favourite book that I read to the children, because it is simply so beautifully written.
If you are itching for some more book ideas, try 20 Children's Classics That You Can Download For Free Right Now or Ten Brilliant Books for Toddlers.
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