5 Big Books for Little Kids on World Book Day

*** GUEST POST ***
Like many parents, my hubby is really keen on reading - both for himself and with the boys. So with that in mind, as it is #WorldBookDay today, I asked him about his favourite books for the boys ...

Experts tell us that reading to our children is good for them and who am I to disagree! 

So, in my role as super geek dad, it was obvious that I'd want my boys, aged seven and nine, to enjoy the same books I experienced as a kid... Even if it turns out I was a teensy bit older (teenager) than they are now. So sometimes we settle down in the evening to enjoy these bedtime stories ...

5 Big Books for Little Kids on World Book Day

1. Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

This comedy space odyssey turned out to be a lot more technical than I remembered. It contained some swearing too and needed to be edited while reading. So surprisingly this list choice turned out to contain the trickiest subject matter to deliver to kids who, at the time, were about 5 and 7. 

Now I'm not one for holding back on heavy, material at story-times, so long as I feel it's not going to leave them in a kerfuffle or heavily traumatised. However, sometimes it's hard to know how far to push bigger literature.

I very much had the feeling that I'd gone too far, too early with this book. Nevertheless, having checked if they would like to continue, we collectively decided to soldier on to the end. Alas, we never progressed to the remaining books in the series, as they were summarily deemed 'boooooring!'

Why add it to the list then? Well, when my wife asked me to write up this list I instantly thought of this one but then dismissed it for the reasons above. However, it transpires that they still talk (not to me obviously) about the book with great fondness (they did like Marvin and the Mice). Something had obviously stuck! 

So, perhaps it's time to break out the rest of Douglas Adams' trilogy
  • Restaurant at the End of the Universe
  • Life, the Universe and Everything
  • So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

Apparently, there have also been another two books added to the series since I was a boy, titled...
  • Mostly Harmless
  • And Another Thing

Hopefully, we can explore and enjoy these additions for the first time, together. 


5 Big Books for Little Kids on World Book Day

2. The Hobbit

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort" – J.R.R. Tolkien

Having started to read these opening lines, my youngest sat bolt upright and declared in no uncertain terms that I should stop reading immediately! Like I said, it's best to check whether the kids are enjoying a story. If they find it scary, however, they usually won't waste time in telling you.

Now I personally was gutted. I'd been looking forward to reading this charming tale again but of course, I had to be patient and eventually about 6 to 12 months later we were all ready to try again.

I'm pleased to report that this time we all very much enjoyed the magical adventures of Bilbo and Co. It really is quite special to watch their expressions, witnessing their imaginations take flight whilst answering their questions and listening to their story predictions! 

Now I'm hoping they will read its sequel 'Lord of the Rings' for themselves... Apparently, though, they've gotten wind of some young chap called Potter and simply must read the boy wizard's adventures first. 


5 Big Books for Little Kids on World Book Day

3. Shakespeare 

I know I said I don't hold back with big ideas and heavy culture but even I realise Shakespeare is stretching their delicate levels of concentration a bit too far.

However, imagine my delight when a family friend alerted us to the existence of a child-friendly box set where many of the great Bards classics have been simplified into what is (hopefully) a gateway into hardcore literature... Knowledge equals power!

We worked our way through them quite quickly, usually, one story split over two nights and the boys loved them. It'll be interesting to see if they remember any of it when it comes to secondary school education. They still teach Shakespeare right?

5 Big Books for Little Kids on World Book Day

4. Mr Men & Dr Seuss

Some nights, when the boys have been thoroughly walked and are slumped in bed with heavy lids, Shakespeare just doesn't cut the mustard! On such occasions, I revert to these tried and tested collections of sweet-natured classics. Guaranteed to gently lull your cherubs off to sleep with a great big soppy smile on their face... Sometimes daddy too!

5 Big Books for Little Kids on World Book Day

5. Candide

While most classical literature like Shakespeare might have to be edited into something a child can readily understand and appreciate, there are rare exceptions where this needn't be the case.

Candide (translates as 'Optimism') is a short story written in the Middle Ages by revered philosopher Voltaire (this guy was so cool that the Age of Enlightenment is commonly referred to as the Age of Voltaire!) and tells of a young man's global quest for the meaning of life.

While the book tackles a great many heavy worldly issues, it's true greatness lies in the fact that they are deeply hidden within what appears on the surface a simple and very funny story.

Written this way on purpose, Voltaire believed the best way to convey important messages to the widest possible audience, was to make them as simple and as entertaining as possible!

If you haven't already, then check it out for yourself first, then read it to your kids and subliminally prepare them for life ahead. Perhaps it will armour them with sub-conscious answers to questions that most adults probably haven't even asked ourselves yet!

I mean seriously, Voltaire wrote this book in just three days but is lauded for having built into it a lifetime of intellectually considered wisdom. That must make it worth checking out!?

 5 Big Books for Little Kids on World Book Day

5 Big Books for Little Kids on World Book Day

So, maybe I'm a little over-enthusiastic in attempts to broaden my kid's culture, guilty perhaps of overburdening their comprehensive capabilities!? But then again, at their age, their minds are like sponges, eager to soak up info and experience. So obviously I've sided with it being a good thing. I mean, we all want our kids to be smarter right, equipped with some predetermined survival guide to life?

I satisfy myself that we are simply reading adventures to them before they begin their own. If they get bored or frightened, they speak up and we stop but I find more often than not they will just listen. If there's anything they don't understand they ask questions and together, we work out the answers.


Which of your favourite books do you think would be ok to read to your kids?

Deb x

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  1. Imogen enjoyed the shakespeare for kids books. her favourites at the moment are Tom Gates books-bit like diary of a wimpy kids, funny! For world book day the girls had to go in dressed as meerkats. has to be the most bizarre theme ever!!

    1. Meerkats wow - yes slightly bizarre. Our school did it earlier this year and we did Wimpy Kid and Where's Wally x

  2. We love Dr Seuss and the Hobbit is a big one in our house too. Thanks for linking up to KLTR. I'm also a fan of Shakespeare.

  3. Ooh some great books. I read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in my teens and I loved it so much. Thanks for linking up to #kltr