Having age-appropriate books for our children is very important. Giving them a book that’s too difficult will only bore them or leave them feeling demotivated and unenthusiastic. Now every child is different and you should really choose books that suit the ability of your child rather than picking a book that suggests it’s for a 5 year old when your 5 year old can read more difficult books. So, you know your child best; go with what feels right or let them guide you and choose the books they would like to read, or for you to read to them.
I want to introduce a set of beautifully illustrated and sparkly books to you that have been written for specific ages but can be enjoyed by all the family. The series is called, Stories for… 4, 5, 6, 7… Year Olds. They are a collection of fun and entertaining stories. There are subtle differences between the books which means your child can grow with the books. They are great for quietly reading alone, as bedtime stories and even to read aloud.
Let me begin with Stories for 4 Year Olds. Bright, sparkly and purple! This book has a collection of 10 short stories and depending on the ability of your child, can be read by your child or you can read the stories to them. My favourite stories in this book have to be The Forgetful Elephant and The Hippso-Piti-Potimus.
The Forgetful Elephant is a story about an Elephant called Alex who forgets everything and it’s always getting him in trouble. But one day, he runs into his great-great-great Grandma who tells him a very old secret that cures his forgetfulness. The story is very endearing and very easy for a 4 year old to understand. The sentences are short and simple and the use of alliteration makes it easy for us to remember the names of the characters, such as Alex’s best friend, Cal Crocodile. Many themes run through this story that are important to a young child, such as friendship, family, life at school and bullying. Alex also runs away when he gets upset and it can be used as another point for discussion. I think this makes for a wonderful bedtime read.
The Hippso-Piti-Potimus is a wonderful story about a little girl called Holly and her imaginary world under the table. She calls her world Holly’s World where she meets amazing and weird animals who just want to play. Holly’s World is an adventure which any child would love to explore with Holly. This story really gets the imagination going and it took me back to my childhood where I would have a make-believe world when it was too wet and cold to go outside. Again, this is a delightful story to read with your child and one that the whole family can enjoy. It’s also reassuring to your child that it’s ok to play make-belief and there’s nothing wrong with playing on your own, or even with your imaginary friends in the world under the table.
Swiftly moving onto Stories for 5 Year Olds, there is a subtle difference to the complexity of the stories compared to Stories for 4 Year Olds. There are again, 10 lovely stories with gorgeous illustrations throughout. Some of the titles include, Where Do Dragons Live? The Magic Dust, A Pig in the Post and the Creepy Crawley Race. The stories use metaphors and similes, a lot more speech and slightly more complex sentence structures.
My favourite story has to be My Neighbour Has Eight Legs. Yes, it is about a spider, but not just any spider. A spider-lady who knits! Joe and his family move into a new neighbourhood and Joe is very curious about his neighbour, Mrs. Web. She never leaves the house and all you can hear is the sound of her knitting needles clacking. They try knocking on her door but she never answers. After months pass by, Joe manages to sneak into her garden to get his ball that he’s kicked over the fence only to see Mrs. Webb through the window. She’s sitting knitting with two pairs of arms and two pairs of legs!
Mrs. Web explains that she hides away because everyone is scared of her. Joe helps Mrs. Web set up a knitting exhibition and everyone gets to meet Mrs. Web. This is a lovely story about friendship and differences. Now, I know we don’t have any spider-ladies in the real world, (or I hope not!), but Mrs. Web felt isolated because she was different. This story will really help our children to learn that we should help those that feel isolated and that it doesn’t matter if we are different, it’s what makes us special and we all have things to contribute. Although my children loved this story in particular, all the stories in this book are just brilliant!
As our children grow, so do their imaginations and this book, Stories for 6 Year Olds, is just what they need to feed that imagination. This book features some whacky stories such as, My Magic Trousers – I wish I had a pair of these trousers! Every time Billy Watson put his hand in the pocket of his trousers, he finds a £1 coin. Can you imagine? My children would love a pair of those; their stories of what they would do with all those pound coins are just crazy! Then there’s Robovac, I will leave that one to your imagination… The Ghost Tree is another lovely story, not at all scary, and some other weird and whacky titles, in all; there are ten stories for your little one to enjoy.
Stories for 7 Year Olds has eight stories and this is because your little bundle of joy is growing up and needs stories that will challenge them a little more. They should, in theory, be able to concentrate for longer, although I know you are all thinking that this is debateable! These stories use all those fancy terms your child has been coming home and telling you about, to which you have no idea what they’re talking about but pretend you do, then google it later!
There is the use of personification, dehumanisation, and the use of alliteration. A lot more vivid sensory detail and complex sentence structures that allow for more vocabulary use have been used to really stretch your child. My daughter loved to read, Never Kiss a Frog! She said it was funny and full of mystery. She seemed engrossed in the story when reading it and I had to stop myself from asking her half way through what it was about!
I have to say that just because the book may say that they are for a specific age, it really doesn’t matter which one they read. As long as they are enjoying the stories – then that’s all that matters. My 10 year still likes to read the Stories for 7 Year Olds and so does my 6 year old. They’re enjoying them together.
So, give them a go and let me know what you think!
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