Series – Paddington

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Another sweet, funny, British classic. My daughter loved Winnie the Pooh, so it was no surprise when I introduced Paddington that she would love him too. These silly bears are always getting into trouble!

Lots of books in the series by Michael Bond:

Fabulous narrators include British actors Stephen Fry, Hugh Bonneville, and Jim Broadbent.

(I have to say, Stephen Fry’s narration is really softening me up to his version of Harry Potter. Right now I’m still in the Jim Dale narrator camp, but can be persuaded…)

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Series – Little House on the Prairie

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Despite its popularity, this was not a series that I grew up with, and so I’m reading/listening to it for the first time along with my 5 year old daughter. Whenever people give audiobook recommendations, Little House in the Big Woods, the first book in the semi-autobiographical series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, is always a top suggestion. So I felt like we had to try it.

There are nine books in the series. We haven’t gone through them all yet, but they are:

I can definitely see why they are so beloved. My daughter was fascinated by how Laura and her homesteading family made their own butter and cheese, hunted, and collected honey from a beehive. Laura’s life as a pioneer girl is just so interesting and beautifully described. As for the audiobook, narrator Cherry Jones‘s voice has the perfect twang, and overall it’s a wonderful production.

Why I hesitated for long to read this series was because of the overt racism toward First Nations people, especially in the subsequent books.

I needed time to commit and prepare, time to listen with my daughter and pause the story as needed, and time to have some frank discussions with her. I still wrestle with what to say, and I know it won’t be the last time we have to talk about a problematic classic, but hopefully we can still use these books for some teachable moments.

Podcast – The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian

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I’ve posted about a number of non-fiction science podcasts, but this is the first science fiction podcast that we’ve started listening to.

Finn Caspian is an eight-year old boy who lives aboard the Famous Marlowe 280 Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station. Together with his friends and pet robots, Finn tries to solve the mysteries of the universe, and maybe help some aliens along the way!

This podcast is fun, free, and serialized (so start with episode 1), and aimed at kids aged 5 to 10, or for any budding science fiction lover.

Series – The Chronicles of Prydain

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I have to remember that my oldest is only five. But there are so many epic books I can’t wait to introduce her to, like the Harry Potter series and The Golden Compass. And of course, this beloved award-winning series by Lloyd Alexander, set in a magical land loosely based on Welsh mythology.

The characters of Taran, Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam, Gurgi, and Doli, are all my old friends. These books were my security blanket.

Needless to say, I was excited to find the audio version narrated by James Langton, which doesn’t disappoint. I also finally learned how to say their names correctly!

Book – The Frog Princess

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We gave this book a try as it was on sale through Audible for just $1.95, and we’ve had great experiences listening to books narrated by Katherine Kellgren.

The Frog Princess is actually the first in a series of books by E. D. Baker about Princess Emma, who gets turned into a frog when she kisses a cursed frog prince. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Disney’s The Princess and the Frog is loosely based on this story.

If you like fairy tales, especially mixed-up fairy tales, like my daughter does, then you might like this book. We’re looking forward to listening to the rest of the series one day!

Series – Rainbow Magic

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So I’m including these fantasy books by Daisy Meadows (a pseudonym for a number of different writers) for completion’s sake.

I thought this series, about two friends who help save the seven Rainbow Magic fairies (one book for each fairy), was a little saccharine, but my four year old freaking loved it! Did I mention she had a fairy phase?

And so I followed a book lover’s advice to let your child make their own book choices, no matter how annoying, in the early years so they develop a passion for more stories. Good literary taste will come later – I hope!

The audio series is made much better by narrator Kathleen McInerney, who we’ve listened to and enjoyed in other productions.