A Seacoast Librarian Recommends: 8 Favorite Read-Aloud Chapter Books


These days when winter still holds on strong are perfect for cuddling up with a good book. Whether your routine is right before bed or anytime on the couch, my favorite read-aloud chapter books are an ideal boredom buster for your preschooler.

Even if your kiddo is old enough to read on her own, reading chapter books together is a quiet chance to share an experience without leaving your home. You can meet new friends, explore new worlds, and chat about whatever comes to mind as you read. (You’d be amazed how the adventures of a stuffed buffalo can bring up an incident from the playground!) 

Here are a just a sampling of my favorite read-aloud chapter books for younger children. All links below are from indiebound.com but you can find most of these at your local library. Pro tip: Ask your librarian to Inter-library Loan any titles that your library doesn’t have! It’s free with your card and a great way to borrow from other libraries on the Seacoast. 

Favorite Read Aloud Chapter BooksGiraffe, Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl

You probably already know Fantastic Mr. Fox and BFG and they can be quite dark.  Roald Dahl has several smaller and gentler stories as well.  In this charming story, Billy runs a ladder-less window washing company with his small crew- a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey.  They just took on their biggest job yet – a 677 window estate! Classic Dahlian hilarity mixed with Quentin Blake’s charming illustrations make this a sure hit for the whole family. 

Favorite Read Aloud Chapter BooksThe Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems and Toni DiTerlizzi

The genius behind Knuffle Bunny, Pigeon, and Piggie and Elephant has teamed up with an incredibly talented illustrator to write a charming story about a Parisian alley cat afraid of the indoors who befriends an apartment dog who is terrified to go outdoors. Their friendship builds as they share their lives with each other. This adorable story lends to great conversations about what good friends do to empower each other accompanied by spectacular illustrations.  

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

With classic illustrations and prose, the story itself is amusingly timeless. When Sir Admiral Drake sends you an emperor penguin from his latest Antarctic expedition, the first thing you do is to empty your icebox and build him a home. The second thing you do is find him friend! This story is delightfully predictable but also delightfully amusing for everyone. Be prepared to laugh. Even if you’ve seen the movie, do yourself a favor and read the book as a whole family. 

Favorite Read-aloud chapter booksThe Lighthouse Family series by Cynthia Rylant

Frankly, you should read anything Cynthia Rylant has to offer. It was hard to choose just one to write about! This particular series really touches our family’s heart. Pandora is a cat who enjoys a solitary life on her island while tending her lantern. However, all of this changes when she nurses a shipwrecked dog  back to health. Together, they rescue a tiny family of mouse children and become the Lighthouse Family. Each book in the series tells a gentle tale of adventure and new friendships.  

Favorite Read-aloud Chapter BooksThe Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo

Illustrated by Maine illustrator/author Chris Van Dusen (of Mr Magee and If I Built a House fame), vibrant illustrations perfectly capture the humorous antics of Mr. and Mrs. Watson and their precocious pet pig, Mercy. You’ll love this series now and your kids will love this series as they learn to read. I assure you, you will all get to know the gifted author, Kate DiCamillo, over the years ahead. 

Favorite Read-aloud chapter booksIvy and Bean series by Annie Barrows

Ivy and Bean are polar opposites. One is clean and well-mannered, the other is always a mess and a little rough around the edges. They are determined they won’t like each other despite their mothers’ insistence. One day circumstances throw them together and forge a rock-solid bond. This book made me long for summer days with the neighborhood kids and my daughter belly-laughed at their adventures. Win-win.

Favorite Read-aloud Chapter BooksMrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the super-kind, but definitely eccentric, widow down the street. The children love her upside-down house, cookies, and sense of fun. The parents love that she has a cure for all bad habits! Have a case of the Answer-Backs or the Bored-Nothing-To-Do’s? Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has the cure! Each chapter is a riotous short story with some solid parenting advice mixed in. You’ll be wishing Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lived in your neighborhood!

Favorite Read-aloud chapter booksToys Go Out by Emily Jenkins

These sweet short stories tell the adventures of three special friends-  Buffalo, Stingray, and Plastic. They are all toys from the room of a very loving little girl.  Much like our friends in Toy Story, they set off on adventures big and small. We loved seeing the “real” world their eyes and thinking about what our stuffies thought of our home too. 


I have so many favorite read-aloud chapter books, it is hard to choose just a few!  What are some of YOUR family’s favorites?