My oldest daughter, Lena, picked up on reading fairly quickly. Hooray! That means that we now have a very young 5-year old who can easily tear through an 80+ page chapter book in a single evening. Luckily, our local library is well stocked! Many of the choices that are available for her reading level aren't quite what I want her to be reading in terms of content. Some books are too scary. Some are too sassy. Some use language I'd prefer her not to encounter (stupid, idiot, etc.). Some have characters who are mean to their siblings or disrespectful to their parents and teachers.
The books in the series in this list, however, are all (what I would consider) age-appropriate for a 4 or 5-year old. There is some mild adventure. There is some occasional mischief. But for the most part, the characters are strong, respectful, and wholesome boys and girls that I feel comfortable having my young daughter read about. These Age Appropriate Chapter Books For Very Young Readers are all good choices. As with anything, be sure to preview the material yourself to determine what is right for your family.
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"Magic Tree House" series by Mary Pope Osborne
You really can't go wrong with the "Magic Tree House" series. Siblings Jack and Annie travel through time and around the world via (you guessed it) a magic tree house. The adventure is mildly dangerous, but becomes predictable (in a comforting sort of way) for young readers. The stories also throw in historical or scientific information, based on the setting of the adventure. Best of all, there are over 50 "Magic Tree House" books, so if your young reader is hooked, there's plenty of material for them to devour!
"The Adventures of Sophie Mouse" series by Poppy Green
My younger daughter, Maggie, LOVES mice, so I bought a few books in this series for Lena to read aloud to her. The "Sophie Mouse" books are a little bit shorter than some of the others on this list, and there are beautiful illustrations on each page. The stories are about a young mouse and her forest friends. The characters are all sweet and nice, making them a perfect choice for your young reader.
"The Ralph Mouse Collection" by Beverly Cleary
The Mouse and the Motorcycle is the first book in this series about a mouse's adventures with his motorcycle. Fans of little critters will love to follow Ralph's antics. There are also several themes to which many young children will be able to relate.
"Animal Stories" by Thornton Burgess
I adore these little animal stories from Thornton Burgess. They're about a cast of animal character friends; each book focuses on a single animal. The stories are sweet, but funny, and old-fashioned in the best sort of way. The writing is just old-fashioned (published in the early 1900s) enough to be charming, but still easy enough for young readers to understand. There are over 100 stories all together!
"Nancy Clancy" series by Jane O'Connor
Fans of the "Fancy Nancy" will love that Nancy grows up along with them, in this series of early chapter books. Nancy is such a sweet, smart, and clever girl who has a good attitude and doesn't use unkind language.
Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
If your child loves adventure, you'll definitely want to read this classic from Ruth Stiles Gannett. Elmer Elevator (what a great name, right?!) goes on a grand adventure to rescue a dragon from Wild Island. He meets lots of animals, gets into some scrapes, and relies on his wits. The story does begin with Elmer running away from home, so this may not be an appropriate choice for all families. I wasn't really concerned about Lena getting any serious ideas, though!
"Amelia Bedelia" series by Herman Parish
Sweet Amelia Bedelia takes everything literally and does everything exactly as she is told. That often means she's not doing what she is supposed to be doing because people speak in idioms! These books may prompt many discussions about common idioms, but once your child gets the hang of this humor, they won't be able to stop giggling. Amelia is a good girl who is respectful to her parents and kind to her friends. Perfect!
"The Littles" series by John Peterson
I love "The Littles" because the concept provides such tremendous fodder for young imaginations. The Littles are a family of tiny little people (with tails) who live in the walls of a regular house. In this popular series, they have countless adventures and like to do good deeds for others. There are over 10 "Littles" books, and a television series adaptation as well!
"The Critter Club" series by Callie Barkley
If you have a child who is an animal lover, then The Critter Club may be a great choice. A group of four friends set out to help and rescue animals in need. This is my daughters' favorite series at the moment. There are currently 11 books, but we wish there were more!