Read to Me
Early Chapter Books
It is difficult to guess who most enjoys the experience of sharing books – the child who listens or the adult reading aloud. The staff at the Berkeley Public Library can’t answer this, but we do know that reading aloud is the best introduction to lifelong literacy that a child can have -- and we can make sure you never run out of good books!
This list contains books to read aloud to preschoolers who are just beginning to enjoy stories that last for more than one sitting. These early chapter books are a great introduction for the 4 to 7 year old crowd, with short chapters, simple illustrations, and stories that are interesting and fast paced. Some of the titles are new favorites while others are classics that have stood the test of time.
Blend one of these chapter books into your next pile of picture books to strengthen your preschooler’s attention span and get them hooked on reading. Many of the books are a part of a series so that you can continue to enjoy your favorite characters!
Please talk to your children’s librarian for more recommendations of chapter book read- alouds…because the only thing better than a good read-aloud today is one that you can continue to hear tomorrow!
The Three Little Witches Storybook (2002)
Life is always full of surprises when you are a witch! Zara, Ziggy, and Zoe are three little witches who share a home. Join them as they prepare for a party with magic ink, silly spells and lively action!
Jenny and the Cat Club: A Collection of Favorite Stories about Jenny Linsky (1973)
Jenny is a shy little black cat who lives with Captain Tinker in New York City. Follow Jenny as she makes new friends and discovers new talents in her adventures through the neighborhood with the other feline members of the Cat Club. (Part of a series)
A Bear Called Paddington (1960)
The fun begins when Mr. and Mrs. Brown find a bear in the train station. Paddington Bear, all the way from Darkest Peru, learns to adjust to life in London, charming us all while he creates a ruckus in the underground with a piece of bacon, accidentally becomes part of a department store window display, and saves the day on opening night of a play. (Part of a series)
Ivy and Bean (2006)
Energetic tomboy Bean thinks she has nothing in common with Ivy, the quiet new girl next door. But when Ivy cleverly rescues Bean from her older sister, a wonderful friendship takes hold. Saucy black and white illustrations capture the tale’s humor and the girls’ spirit. (Part of a series)
Little Horse. (2001)
When Little Horse falls into the river, he is separated from his mother and his home in the small valley. The fast flowing river carries him to a land where he is as small as a squirrel. How does Little Horse deal with being lost in the land of giants? Soft black and white illustrations add character and charm as Little Horse negotiates the danger. (Part of a series)
The Stories Julian Tells. (1981)
Julian’s Dad knows a lot: how to make a lemon pudding, how to grow a fig tree, and how to get rid of a loose tooth. The stories Julian tells paint the picture of a warm African American family and a wise father who plants seeds of understanding as successfully as he leads the planting of the family garden. (Part of a series)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle. (1965)
Here is another wonderful read-aloud by the author of our favorite “Ramona Quimby” books! Ralph is a young mouse living with his extended mouse family in room 215 in the Mountain View Inn. When he makes friends with Keith, a young boy, he also discovers the joys of motor-cycling. Join Ralph for dangerous and exciting mouse adventures on his motorcycle!
Agapanthus Hum and the Eyeglasses.(1999)
Playful language, humorous illustrations and quirky characters will delight readers as they follow Agapanthus Hum who does handstands and other acrobatic tricks while trying to keep her eyeglasses from falling off. (Part of a series)
Mercy Watson to the Rescue. (2005)
Mercy is the beloved pet pig of the doting Mr. and Mrs. Watson. Her penchant for “hot toast with a great deal of butter on it” leads her to a merry midnight chase through the neighborhood with lots of comical twists before she finally saves the day! (Part of a series)
The Jamie and Angus Stories. (2002)
When Jamie sees Angus in the toy store window, he knows they are destined to be friends. Angus is a faithful and constant companion to Jamie as he goes about his daily adventures. Gentle and appealing, with charming black and white drawings, this first book about Jamie and Angus highlights their strong bond and the loving family around them. (Part of a series)
Gannett, Ruth Stiles.
My Father’s Dragon. (1948)
Join young Elmer as he journeys to the Wild Island, and cleverly outwits seventeen crocodiles, two wild boars, seven ferocious tigers, one angry rhinoceros, one disheveled lion, one big gorilla and countless screeching monkeys to rescue a baby dragon. Action packed and fast-paced with color illustrations, this gentle chapter book has delighted generations of young children. (Part of a series)
Wind in the Willows. (1980)
Mole catches spring fever and ventures out beyond the world below, meeting and having adventures with new friends: the wise and industrious Badger, sensible and generous Rat, and dear old Toad, fun-loving and flighty.
Make room for Elisa. (1993)
Russell’s little sister Elisa faces new challenges every day, including attending Russell’s music recital, and getting glasses. But when her parents announce they are moving, what is Elisa to do? Each chapter tells a complete story of Elisa’s special place in her warm, affectionate family. (Part of a series)
Kerrin, Jessica Scott.
Martin Bridge Ready for Takeoff! (2005)
In three illustrated stories, Martin encounters two bus drivers with two different ways of relating, makes a tough decision about a friend's pet, and takes on an extremely competitive model rocket project that almost costs him a friendship. (Part of a series)
Mrs. Jane Tabby gives birth to four kittens. But these are no ordinary kittens – each is born with a pair of wings. Follow these unusual siblings as they fly to their adventures and eventually discover a loving home. (Part of a series)
Pippi Longstocking. (1950)
Spunky 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking lives without parents, doesn’t go to school, and is unbelievably strong. Follow the escapades of this imaginative, unusual girl whose best friends are the ordinary boy and girl who live next door. (Part of a series)
Harley’s owner wants him to be a pack llama but Harley is not interested and spits gobs of green goo. When a shepherd buys him to guard her sheep from coyotes, his life improves immediately. Harley learns how to deal with a rambunctious ram and a shy sheep dog while taking good care of his sheep. Charming illustrations highlight the action in this book, which is based on a true story.
MacDonald, Betty Bard.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. (1947)
Do you know kids who misbehave, who talk back to their parents, or refuse to clean their rooms? Well, then it might be time for a visit from Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, who magically cures kids of mysterious ailments like Won’t-put-away-toys-itis and has remedies such as the Answer-Backer cure. (Part of a series)
Rats on the Roof and Other Stories. (1991)
These seven entertaining, illustrated tales feature absurd creatures getting into silly situations. How do you get rid of rats dancing on your roof? When is a swan just a silly goose? Delightful plots and unpredictable outcomes combine with zany humor to tickle your funny bone!
The Quigleys at Large. (2003)
Four interconnected stories acquaint us with the small but universal dramas of everyday family life in this humorous and loving British family: Mum, Dad, Will and Lucy. (Part of a series)
Winnie the Pooh. (1926)
This childhood classic invites readers to join Pooh Bear in the warm, whimsical world of the Hundred Acre Woods. Pooh and his friends Piglet, Christopher Robin, Eeyore and others, chase a Heffalump, embark on an expedition to the North Pole and while away their hours in gentle and amusing adventures. (Part of a series)
Napoli, Donna Jo.
Sly the Sleuth and the Pet Mysteries.(2005)
Sylvia (Sly), a young “sleuth for hire” solves mysteries in her neighborhood through a combination of sharp observation, careful reasoning and an occasional flash of insight. She takes only cases of which her cat would approve, and her friends are her best customers. The engaging pen-and-ink illustrations add plenty of personality to these upbeat mysteries of fun and friendship. (Part of a series)
Nixon, Joan Lowery.
Gus and Gertie and the Missing Pearl. (2000)
Humorous high jinks and full color illustrations create a fast-paced mystery as globe-trotting penguins Gus and Gertie stumble into a hotel full of shady characters. Colorful illustrations and spirited alliterations add to the fun! (Part of a series)
“I have had not so good a week,” says eight-year-old Clementine. Unfortunately, the week moves from “not so good” to “disastrous”! Clementine and her impulsive antics are not to be missed, and Frazee’s pen-and-ink illustrations are a perfect match to her amusing escapades. (Part of a series)
Gooseberry Park. (1995)
Stumpy, a squirrel who lives in Gooseberry Park, is a new mother with three squirrel babies. When a storm knocks over the tree that is Stumpy’s home, her friends Kona the dog, Murray the bat, and Gwendolyn the hermit crab, band together to save the family in this tender, delightful fantasy.
The Mud Flat Mystery. (1997)
When a large box arrives for vacationing Duncan, the other Mud Flat animals cannot contain their curiosity. Little by little, the box delivers up its secret, with each animal playing a part in its uncovering. The irresistible lure of an unopened box, along with the entertaining conversations and expressive illustrations make this story an attractive package. (Part of a series)
All-of-a-Kind Family. (1951)
Being one of five sisters is special! This family-centered chapter book gives a warm and engaging look into the daily life of a Jewish family living in New York’s lower east side in the early 1900s. Come visit with Henny, Ella, Sarah, Charlotte, Gertie and Mama and Papa. You’ll be glad you did! (Part of a series)
Beany (Not Beanhead) and the Magic Crystal. (1997)
Beany’s magic wishing crystal will only grant one wish – which one should Beany choose?? Humorous situations arise as she decides on the perfect moment to use it. Simple and satisfying, this book shows life from Beany’s point of view. (Part of a series)
Want to get your hands on one of these books? Check the Berkeley Public Library catalog to see where you can get a copy!