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Thread: Harry Potter alternatives for young listeners?

  1. #1
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    Harry Potter alternatives for young listeners?

    This is a reading, rather than writing, question.

    My 6 1/2 year old is completely obsessed with Harry Potter. I was comfortable reading the first two books to him, and reluctantly agreed to the third. He's nagged me so much about the fourth that I demonstrated horrible parenting (giving in to nagging) and started reading an edited version to him (cutting out the parts I think are too mature/disturbing), but as I predicted he's having a bit of trouble following the more complicated plot and more sophisticated writing style.

    So I'm looking for suggestions of books that will satisfy that craving he has to get completely immersed in a book without being too mature for him. They don't have to be about wizards, but need to have that certain something that makes kids just go crazy.

    We still read picture books sometimes and he's been happy enough with my recent picks of Charlotte's Web and Mr. Popper's Penguins, but they don't excite him like Harry Potter does. The last set of books he got very excited about were K. V. Johansen's Torrie books (if you haven't read these MG fantasy books, I highly recommend them).

    If I don't come up with another book/series to suck him in, he's going to start bringing Magic Tree House books home for me to read to him again! (Mary Pope Osbourne has my profound respect for the reading empire she has created that has inspired so many kids to love books, but I just can't bear to read any more aloud, and he's several months away from being able to read them on his own.)

    Thanks!

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    My initial thought was the Artemis Fowl books but Eion Colfer, but in retrospect those might be to intense as well...possibly Gaiman's The Graveyard Book?
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    i luv you giant bear statue AW Moderator Kitty Pryde's Avatar
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    Six Crowns series by Allan Frewin Jones
    Wayside School series by Louis Sachar
    Time Warp Trio series by John Scieszka
    Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon
    Squish series by Jeniffer Holm

    These are all good little-kid appropriate fantasy series that last for a while.

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    careful...you'll end up in my novel RuthD's Avatar
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    He sounds a lot like my nephew, who will turn 7 this month. JW has listened to many, many Magic Treehouse books. He's currently obsessed with the Beastologist series by R. L. LaFevers, which my brother and sister-in-law find more stimulating to read aloud. He also really likes Ivy & Bean--they're about two girls, and they aren't fantasy, but for some reason he adores them. Probably because they sometimes misbehave, and he finds that hilarious. If I think of any more, I'll post them.
    Last edited by RuthD; 12-03-2012 at 08:27 AM.
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    Chronicles of Narnia?

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    Have you gone through the Roald Dahl books? James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, the BFG, etc?
    It might be on the top edge of his understanding, but I read the Lloyd Alexander series The Chronicles of Prydain when I was in middle grade and adored it. It's got the whole boy growing up during an epic quest thing going for it.
    Also, I was very fond of Willard Price at that age (Tiger Adventure, Volcano Adventure, etc). They aren't magic themed books, but they are about a pair of boys travelling the world, capturing animals for their father's zoo. They might be a bit outdated now, but I read all of them when I was a bit older than him (and they were probably outdated then too!).
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    practical experience, FTW SheilaJG's Avatar
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    I'll second the Dragonbreath series and the Beastologist series, both fun series that my son loved. He also loved Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker, and so did I. Roald Dahl is fun to read aloud.

    All my kids have loved My Father's Dragon trilogy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty Pryde View Post
    Six Crowns series by Allan Frewin Jones
    Wayside School series by Louis Sachar
    Time Warp Trio series by John Scieszka
    Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon
    Squish series by Jeniffer Holm

    These are all good little-kid appropriate fantasy series that last for a while.
    Great! I've never heard of ANY of these series. It's so exciting to discover entire series of books that weren't even on my radar. I can't wait to go to the library.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthD View Post
    He sounds a lot like my nephew, who will turn 7 this month. JW has listened to many, many Magic Treehouse books. He's currently obsessed with the Beastologist series by R. L. LaFevers, which my brother and sister-in-law find more stimulating to read aloud. He also really likes Ivy & Bean--they're about two girls, and they aren't fantasy, but for some reason he adores them. Probably because they sometimes misbehave, and he finds that hilarious. If I think of any more, I'll post them.
    Thanks! I read an excerpt of the first Beastologist on the author's website and it looks great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lastlittlebird View Post
    Have you gone through the Roald Dahl books? James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, the BFG, etc?
    I was just thinking last night that it's kind of odd that I've never read any Roald Dahl to my older son. I think his dad read Matilda to him when he was about the age the younger one is now. I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I was young.

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    I was at a Barnes and Nobel this weekend and they have a beautiful hard bound edition of Narnia (all 7 books in one) for $20. Some kind of holiday promotion, so that could be a possibility as someone else above has mentioned.

    I mentioned Gaiman's The Graveyard Book above, but also Stardust or Coraline by him would be good
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    practical experience, FTW MsJudy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloo View Post

    I mentioned Gaiman's The Graveyard Book above, but also Stardust or Coraline by him would be good
    If HP#4 is a bit mature for him, I wouldn't try Gaiman just yet. Certainly not Stardust, which isn't even technically for kids.

    Another suggestion: Kate McMullan's Dragonslayer's Academy series. Very silly fantasy. And did anyone suggest the Time Warp Trio series by Sciezka?

    My absolute favorite: The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.
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    Skulduggery Pleasant, Percy Jackson.

    Some other good novels are those by Susan Cooper there's even a film which I'd think is age appropriate

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seeker_(film)

    Also the Chrestomanci series by Dianne Wynne Jones http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrestomanci

    I also liked http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardians_of_Ga%27Hoole series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MsJudy View Post
    If HP#4 is a bit mature for him, I wouldn't try Gaiman just yet. Certainly not Stardust, which isn't even technically for kids.

    Another suggestion: Kate McMullan's Dragonslayer's Academy series. Very silly fantasy. And did anyone suggest the Time Warp Trio series by Sciezka?

    My absolute favorite: The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.
    Prydian is a great choice, but it gets pretty dark itself by Taran Wanderer. Y eah in retrospect Graveyard and Stardust are both probably too much, but I think Coraline would be okay. My best friend is reading Graveyard book to his kids (13, 9, 6) and they aren't having any probmes but I can understand that line of reasoning.

    Slightly off topic there though LOL Prydian is good though, as are some of Alexander's other works, MAYBE the Vesper Lloyd(?...that doesn't sound right but I can't think of the character's last name) series by him. It's kind of a Victorian Lara Croft/Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones type series
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    My daughter is almost seven and we have read all the Harry Potter books aloud many times. She is totally and completely obsessed. I didn't plan to read them all when we started (she was five!) but it was absolutely the right thing for us to do. So I don't personally think you need to beat yourself up about horrible parenting. (She has only seen the first movie.)

    Some other books/series/authors she has enjoyed immensely - Narnia, Mary Poppins, Wizard of Oz, Doctor Dolittle (racism alert) and Pegasus: Flame of Olympus. She also loves Ivy & Bean and Clementine, as have been recommended, but they definitely don't have the same adventurous bent. And we have not read the Willard Price books with my daughter, but I remember LOVING them as a kid!

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    I've recently started reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and I can't wait until my son is old enough to listen to it. The writing is just fun. Obviously, from the title of the series, it gets dark, but it's dark in a whimsical way, if that makes any sense.

    I agree that Stardust is not at all for young children. If you want to give Gaiman a try, pick up Wolves in the Walls or The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish. They are both picture books, but aimed at the older end of the PB audience.
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    Man, I need to read Stardust again LOL
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    i luv you giant bear statue AW Moderator Kitty Pryde's Avatar
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    For Gaiman, Crazy Hair, Instructions, and Odd and The Frost Giants are good for a 6 year old. Coraline and Graveyard Book have some awfully scary bits in them, so I would not suggest them for every 6 year old.

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    Odessa Quinn Laura J's Avatar
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    Peter and the Starcatchers series

    or Percy Jackson

    My son loved those. I agree on the Magic Tree House. They got him interested in reading, but I was glad to move on to something new.
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    practical experience, FTW jmascia's Avatar
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    I also like Peter and the Starcatchers (a prequel to Peter Pan) and the Percy Jackson series - good choices Laura!

    If your kid like Harry Potter, he will likely like these.
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  21. #21
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    Try The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas. If your son is into magic and wizards, this series is an easy and light read. It is no where near as intense as Harry Potter.

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    Septimus Heap - Geared for younger readership than potter, but full of magic. Great books and not tough to follow at all. do lot nu goi cam ao lot nam sieu mong chau tam cao cap cho be ban si vay cong so nu chup anh hoi nghi
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    How about the Ralph S. Mouse series by Beverly Cleary? Or Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher? Gosh, I loved those! To be clear, however, NOTHING tops Harry Potter. J.K. deserves her billions of dollars. (I totally understand that they can be too dark, however...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsJudy View Post
    My absolute favorite: The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.
    Oh, me too, although I'm wondering if the undead soldiers would be a bit much for a 7 yo? I haven't read it to my 8 yo yet, who stuck at HP 2.

    I always struggle with this, as so many of the great books that appeal to this age group also have themes that are too dark. Septimus Heap, for example, gets pretty dark.

    We often get 3/4 of the way through a read-aloud book, when I suddenly remember the dark stuff, and we have to stop!

    Note to someone brilliant: Please write a HP/Fablehaven/Prydain type series with all the adventure and complex plot and sophisticated language, but nothing excessively dark for 8 year olds, especially boys. At that age, they don't all want simplicity, but they're not ready for the really dark stuff. I get frustrated at the notion that all 7 & 8 year olds want simple short chapter books. I hear this plea for recommendations from parents for this age group all the time. Their kids read, or listen, to complex stories, they've read the classics, but they want fantasy and adventure and magic of the HP style. They start HP, then have to quit.

    Is it possible, or is it the dark that makes the books work? I"m not sure.

  25. #25
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    Try the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. The premise is about a bunch of wild cats that live in the moors of England. Its a great series and the books are relatively non-violent. They deal with big issues- love, loss, honor, honesty, bravery...but its done in a way that isn't overt. You still get lost in the books. I'm 30 and I love them. Everyone I hang out with has had the first book pushed on them, and they've all ended up borrowing the whole series.

    I wouldn't read harry potter beyond 4 to a seven year old and I would highly recommend Warriors. There's currently somewhere in the neighborhood of 24 books plus 5 or so super editions, plus manga. There is also a couple of other series by the same author about bears and dogs.

    You can get them at B&N for about $7.99 a book. You could probably find them on Amazon or Alibris for cheaper, if you're strapped for cash.

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