View Full Version : Living books for littles

10-08-2013, 09:53 AM
We're kind of a Charlotte Mason-lite homeschool family, and my kids respond really well to the "living books" concept. I've had great luck finding things for my ten year-old daughter, but I'd love any suggestions for the preschool (and younger) set. One of my favorite examples is Little Elephant's Trunk. It's exactly the sort of thing I want to use for several reasons: Beautiful, quality illustrations; a good story peppered with factual information that sticks because it's part of the story, not hard facts on a page; and wonderful writing; etc.

Does anyone have any book ideas along those same lines that they can share? I can sacrifice beautiful illustrations for quality writing, of course. We do like the "David" books, and I would not call anything about those illustrations "beautiful". lol

10-08-2013, 10:57 AM
Are you looking for fiction or non-fiction?

Have you seen Simply Charlotte Mason's "favorite read-aloud" (http://simplycharlottemason.com/planning/preschool-guide/preschool-foundations/favorite-read-aloud-books-for-preschoolers/) list?

10-08-2013, 04:25 PM
I'm pretty open to fiction or nonfiction. I have kind of looked at that list before, but I think it was one of those "Ooh, this is neat, I'll have to take a good look at it sometime" kind of moments. lol

But I am open to personal recommendations, fiction or non!

10-08-2013, 05:30 PM
For science:
Let's Read and Find Out books, level two are excellent
How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World
Gail Gibbons's books
Rookie Read About Science/Health books (these are just okay - not great books IMO)

For math:
Anno's Math Games
Anno's Counting House
Mathstart books
Measuring Penny

For history and geography, I'd go with just books about places. For example, My Rows and Piles of Coins and Bintou's Braids for Africa, Monsoon for India, The Empty Pot for China, etc.

10-08-2013, 08:57 PM
I also love let's read and find out science and my son loves the magic school bus. Marilyn burns is good for living math stuff.


10-08-2013, 09:24 PM
Yes, Marilyn Burns is awesome... But maybe not for a preschooler, unless there's some works of hers I don't know.

10-08-2013, 11:32 PM
Some of them are just fun stories, like the one about the triangle (can't remember the title off the top of my head). I also read the 'pigs will be pigs' ones to my son, which he loved, but I'm pretty sure he didn't get were anything about Maths!


10-13-2013, 03:09 PM
Whoo-hoo! Thanks, ladies! I'm adding all these to my potential reading list now.

10-13-2013, 10:26 PM
This school year I have been using the suggestions from Ambleside Online Year 0 and Simply Charlotte Mason for my kids' (ages 4-6) read aloud time. So far, here are some of their favorites that we have read.

The Story of Ferdinand
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Just Plain Fancy
The Little Engine That Could
Caps for Sale
Millions of Cats

We also read Stuart Little but it wasn't a big hit with my four year olds. But they all seem to be enjoying the Tumtum and Nutmeg series. Not sure if that would be considered a "living book" but I think the vocabulary is sophisticated and the plots are engaging. I actually am enjoying this collection very much.

Eta : I see that you were looking mainly for books to teach other academic concept areas. My 6 year old loves National Geographic: Little Kids First Big Book of Animals (Science). All my children love 100 Angry Ants (math). One Grain of Rice is beautiful but pretty advanced concept for the little ones (Math). The Amazing Animals books (science) have clear and simple text which is good for preschoolers and beginning readers. My oldest loved those books so much that she bought more with her own money when she was only 4 years old.

10-14-2013, 09:12 AM
One Grain of Rice is a favorite of mine for math too. And all the Charlesbridge ones like Sir Cumference too. But yeah, more like kindergarten or first grade at least and up.

10-14-2013, 11:54 AM
Also Byron Barton's books are great for non fiction topics and perfect level for tots and preschoolers. Our son in particular loves his books.

11-01-2013, 09:34 PM
My four year old has fallen in love with the Mousekin books by Edna Miller. It started with Mousekin's Golden House. I love them because of the sweet illustrations and all the tidbits of knowledge the books pass on about wildlife.

11-08-2013, 09:31 PM
Naturally our library's website is down right now, when I want to put some of these on hold. Woe is me. Hardships and whatnot.

12-09-2013, 04:35 AM
Magic School Bus and Magic Tree House have educational value. Totally not twaddle in my mind.

Now, the Goosebumps series? Totally twaddle.

I think you're over thinking it, and should relax :) As long as you and the kids are reading, it isn't a waste of time.... even if it is twaddle.

We tend to keep a few different book baskets-

1. Books about history- can be myths, legends, fiction, non-fiction. Anything that helps reenforce what we are studying in history.

2. Books about science- I tend to rotate topics depending on what we are studying

3. Leveled Readers (so I can say, go get a number 2 book and read it!- These tend to be the books that I will talk to him about to practice comprehension)

4. Books for fun (twaddle!) Batman books, goofy books, things that my kids love for free reading time

5. Read Alouds- Basically these are "classics" that I want the kids to know and enjoy, that are either beyond their reading ability at the time, or have literary significance that I want to enjoy WITH them. (on our list this year- The Hobbit, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, James and the Giant Peach.... and a bunch more)

01-09-2014, 10:58 PM
I'm pretty relaxed about it. Not feeling the need for Calgon or anything. Unless you have some. Do you have some Calgon? GIVE ME THE EFFING CALGON.

I can quit anytime. I just don't want to.

But seriously, I don't think that putting together an appealing book list is "overthinking it". Nor is it a sign of a lack of relaxation. It really just seems practical to me. Thanks for the suggestions, though.

01-09-2014, 11:25 PM
I think it's great to share this kind of list. I've discovered lots of great titles, series and authors from listening to what other people have read and enjoyed. I keep lists on our library account under different topics and when it's relevant I can move it to our 'get today' list.


01-30-2014, 02:15 AM
Both my kids love the Pete the Cat books. Im also IN LOVE WITH Suzanne Tate's nature series.
Suzanne Tate's Nature Series (http://www.suzannetate.com)

01-30-2014, 10:15 AM
Both my kids love the Pete the Cat books. Im also IN LOVE WITH Suzanne Tate's nature series.
Suzanne Tate's Nature Series (http://www.suzannetate.com)

Those look great! Thanks!

01-30-2014, 10:30 AM
Your welcome! She also has teaching guides and coloring books! (Suzanne Tate)

01-30-2014, 11:04 AM
Have you looked at other reading lists like BFIAR or MBTP? Moving Beyond the Page Purchase Individual Items for Age 4-5 (http://www.movingbeyondthepage.com/purchase/skulist.aspx?purchaseTab=4to5)
Those might add some inspiration, also.

01-31-2014, 11:55 AM
Have you looked at other reading lists like BFIAR or MBTP? Moving Beyond the Page Purchase Individual Items for Age 4-5 (http://www.movingbeyondthepage.com/purchase/skulist.aspx?purchaseTab=4to5)
Those might add some inspiration, also.

I did snag the book list from MBTP's website, but I had not checked out BFIAR. I will take a look over there now. Thanks!