barraged by blaster rifles!

Today I’ve got a different sort of post.

From time to time I am asked by young moms or homeschoolers for particular book suggestions or lists. The other day, a young friend wrote to ask for some ideas for her 5-year-old son who is gaga over Star Wars.  They have read A Whole Lot of Star Wars books and she is pining for a broader menu of stories. I bet some of you can sympathize with her 🙂


This particular boy has listened to lengthy fantasy books read aloud as well, including the Narnia series and The Hobbit.  Therefore, he’s up for some bona fide read-alouds in addition to easy-to-read, first chapter books, or zesty picture books.

I decided to publish my suggestions today, hoping they might help someone else out there.  Hoping, as well, that some of you might have some great suggested titles along these lines.  If so, please chime in by commenting!

I’ve tried to list titles generally in ascending order of length/difficulty within each category. Most of these I’ve reviewed earlier. Click the title to find my review.

Sci Fi-ish other than Star Wars

Nobody Likes a Goblin, by Ben Hatke
Little Robot, by Ben Hatke
Mush, a Dog from Space, by Daniel Pinkwater
The Commander Toad series – Jane Yolen
Space Taxi series – Wendy Mass
Zita the Spacegirl series – Ben Hatke

Fantasy beyond Narnia

My Father’s Dragon trilogy, by Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Princess in Black series, by Shannon Hale
Princess Cora and the Crocodile, by Laura Amy Schlitz
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – the original by Ian Fleming
Cakes in Space series, by Philip Reeve
Hamster Magic series, by Lynne Jonell
Emma and the Blue Genie, by Cornelia Funke
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, by Roald Dahl
The Hilda graphic series, by Luke Pearson (ie. Hilda and the Midnight Giant)
The Magician’s Boy, by Susan Cooper
Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms, by Lissa Evans
Fergus Crane, by Paul Stewart (and other Far-Flung Adventures in this series)
Horton Halfpott, by Tom Angleberger
Mighty Jack (set of two), by Ben Hatke
The Oz books, by L. Frank Baum (There are many!)
Thomas and the Dragon Queen, by Shutta Crum
The Borrowers series, by Mary Norton

Adventure Fiction… that has nothing to do with Star Wars but has at least a fair bit of action

The Mellops Go Diving for Treasure; The Mellops Go Spelunking, by Tomi Ungerer
The Little Tim books (ie. Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain), by Edward Ardizzone
The High Hills, by Jill Barklem
Captain Pug series, by Laura James
The Boris series, by Andrew Joyner
A Toad for Tuesday, by Russell E. Erickson
The Ottoline series, by Chris Riddell
The Famous Five series, by Enid Blyton (My kids loved these! And they’re on audio.)
The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester, by Barbara O’Connor

Epic quest/mythology – cousins to Star Wars/Narnia/Hobbit narratives

Imelda and the Goblin King, by Briony May Smith
Arthur and the Golden Rope, by Joe Todd Stanton
D’Aulaire’s Book of Trolls, Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire
Odd and the Frost Giants, by Neil Gaiman
Sigurd and His Brave Companions, by Sigrid Undset
The Hero and the Minotaur, by Robert Byrd
Jason and the Argonauts, by Robert Byrd
Lugalbanda, retold by Jane Henderson
Beowulf, retold by James Rumford
The Children’s Homer, retold by Padraic Colum (My son loved this at an early age.)

Space – a few for starters

Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon, by Torben Kuhlmann
Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse, by Torben Kuhlmann

Moonshot, by Brian Floca
The Mighty Mars Rover, by Elizabeth Rusch

Adventurous non-fiction picture books that might spark other interests:

Down the Colorado, by Deborah Kogan Ray
Dare the Wind, by Tracey Fern
Crossing Niagara, by Matt Tavares
Henry’s Freedom Box, by Ellen Levine
The Great Serum Race, by Debbie S. Miller
Marco Polo, by Demi
The Quest for Z, by Greg Pizzoli
Shackleton’s Journey, by William Grill