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Searched for: 1/23/2022 - Found: 7/30/2008 to 8/5/2008
Cautionary Tales For Children
Wonderful witty poems great for reading to your children. The stories and rhymes will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Research has shown how important YOU are to your children and how as a dad the things you do, and keep on doing, really count, whether you live with them, or you are a single dad and are only able see them once a month, once a week or more, what you do really matters. This site is dedicated to all dads but will be of special relevance to the single dad. Remember, you are half the reason your children exist and they need you whether you live with them or not. As their dad, you have what it takes to make their lives successful and fulfilling no matter how often you see them. This site is about all the positive things that we as parents have to offer our children.
Superb kids books
147 14
Some different and some quirky but all interesting books your kids will love

by Chris Barnardo

  Article No. 4
Date posted January 16, 2007  

There are so many fantastic books out there that any useful list of books is going to miss out many favourites. But here youíll find a short list of some of the best books that my children and I have discovered and enjoyed. Have fun reading to your kids, put on funny accents for the different characters to fire up their imaginations (even though my accents are terrible and wander around the globe, my kids love it and always beg for another story or another chapter).
. . . The download of this article is a shortened version on a single sheet, suitable for giving to a friend or taking to the bookshop as a reminder.

Cautionary Tales For Children

Hilaire Belloc

A collection of witty poems suitable for any age from about 6 years upwards.

Read these wonderful poems to your children and the stories and rhymes will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Filled with wit and irony, the tales are imbued with Edwardian English understatement and implausible situations. Most famous is perhaps the story of Matilda, Who told such dreadful lies it made one gasp and stretch ones eyes. But the book is packed with gems. One of my favourites is the story of Jim, which I had to learn at school for one of my homeworks.

There was a boy whose name was Jim
His friends were very good to him. . .

So starts the tale of Jim, who was eaten by a lion after he slipped his nurseís hand while on a day trip to the zoo. After a gruesome and hilariously told story, the poem finishes like this:

When Nurse informed his Parents, they
Were more Concerned than I can say:
His Mother, as she dried her eyes,
Said, "Well - it gives me no surprise,
He would not do as he was told!"

His Father, who was self-controlled,
Bade all the children round attend
To James's miserable end,
And always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse.

The rest of the book is filled with gems just like this, a delicious read all round.

Just William

Richmal Crompton, abridged by Martin Jarvis

A series of books, suitable for reading to children from about 6 years old and for self reading from about 8 years old.

William is an irrepressible 1930ís eight year old school boy. A definite forerunner to Bart Simpson and every bit as funny, if not funnier. The original books were shortened to adapt them for radio, and it is this abridged version which makes for an excellent bedtime read. The stories are expertly crafted, extremely well written, and full of characters that jump from the page, with a perfect mix of childrenís humour and adult insight that will keep both dad and kidsí complete interest. Dadís will recognize the only slightly exaggerated mischief that the William and his friends ĎThe Outlawsí get into, the sibling rivalry between William and his older brother and sister and immediately identify with Williamís long suffering parents.
. . . These books were converted into audio books, and read by, Martin Jarvis for a series on BBC radio, and are some of the best audio books I have come across. Take then on holiday for long car trips and I guarantee that journeys will fly by and youíll be looking forward to the next trip so you can hear more about William and his adventures.

The Twits

Roald Dahl

One of a series stories and novellas, suitable for reading to children from about 6 years and for self reading from about 9 years.

You only have to look on Amazon and see the reviews written by children to know that kids love this story. Roald Dahl imbues his stories with such a childlike quality that itís not hard to see why his stories have been so popular. Famous for writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), his inventive use of language and darker side to his stories engage perfectly with a childrenís way of looking at the world.
. . . The Twits is a story of a nasty old couple, who although they live together, clearly donít get on. They play horrible tricks on each other, something which fascinated my children, and seem to despise the world outside just as much as each other. For example, Mr. Twit tries to catch birds for a bird pie by putting glue on the tree outside his house. For many children, it is books like this that get them started on reading proper books, and open the door the wonderful world of reading for enjoyment.
. . . Youíll have as much fun reading this to your kids as they will have listening to them.

Emily The Strange

Cosmic Debris

One of a series short graphic books, suitable for reading to children from about 6 years old and for self reading from about 8 years old.

I spotted this book in a comic shop in Barcelona when I was there with my daughter. Even in Spanish, a language I donít speak, I was spellbound by its graphic style. Funnily enough it wasnít so much as a dad that I recognised Emilyís outlook on life, but more the boy in me remembering what I thought about girls when I was a kid and how impossible it was to fathom out what they were thinking or why they did the things they did. As a grown-up, the story still resonates with me on this level.
. . . And thereís the funny thing about this beautiful little book, because it captures that feeling so well, it appeals equally to girls and women, in that they identify (in part at least) so strongly with Emily. That said, itís so beautifully designed and put together that itís just one of those books that is lovely to own and look at, whoever you are.

Emily doesnít search to belong. . .
. . . she searches to be lost.

Emily isnít lazy. . .
. . . sheís just happy doing nothing.

Ring any bells?

I bought the Spanish copy of the book, but when I got home I found it straight away on Amazon in English, but then there is some charm to looking at an elegantly drawn picture book in a language you donít understand, I mean, who could resist:

ďEmily no es vaga. . .
. . .le encanta no hacer nada.

I certainly couldnít.

Fox in Socks

Dr. Seuss

One of the many story books written and illustrated by the famous Dr. Seuss, suitable for reading to children from about 3 years and for self reading from about 5 years .

In this, now classic story, Dr. Seussís mischievous tongue twisting Mr. Fox tries to get the grumpy Mr. Knox to say the most difficult rhymes.
. . . I guess itís common knowledge that Dr. Seuss wasnít a real doctor. As a kid, this fact used to trouble me slightly. I am the son of two doctors and the thought of someone just calling themselves Doctor, without actually being one, certainly added an edge to the stories.
. . . Famous for writing The Cat In The Hat (still a great read, although The Cat In The Hat Comes Back is better), in Fox in Socks, Dr. Seussís mischievous tongue twisting Mr. Fox seems to delight in teasing Mr. Knox the most marvelously difficult rhymes.
. . . As I am writing these reviews, it dawns on me that I clearly like rhyme. But then who doesnít? So much of our culture is expressed in music and rhyme, that I can only think that rhyme provides something satisfying and ordered, especially important in troubled times. In a rhyme, the words not only have to tell a story, but also need an ordered meter and obey certain rules that join the lines together. For a child it is very pleasing to have things fit into some form of order. The beauty of Dr. Seuss is that the rhymes are unexpected and almost expected at the same time. The characters and those crazy one-of-a-kind illustrations seem to pop straight from a childís imagination. On top of all that, the stories have an old fashioned moral fibre and sense of fair play running through them that everyone can engage with.
. . . Fox In Socks could be just a collection of tongue twisters, but the under-story of the interplay between the enthusiastic Mr. Fox and the grumpy Mr. Knox, illustrated in that off-the-wall way, lifts the book to greatness.
. . . Even now, over 35 years since I got Fox In Socks as a present one birthday, if itís windy and cold, the words of Mr. Fox, quietly spoken as he leans close to Mr. Knox, float into my head. . .

Through three cheese trees
three free fleas flew.
While these fleas flew,
freezy breeze blew.
Freezy breeze made these
three trees freeze.
Freezy trees made these
trees' cheese freeze.
That's what made these
three free fleas sneeze.
No wonder Mr. Knox was grumpy, he could never say it. It made a lasting impression on me; for a start, I have been wondering for the last 35 years what a Cheese Tree is. If you have any idea perhaps you could email me. Otherwise just get this fantastic book and read it you your kids.

Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood: A Star Is Bathed

Cece Bell

Suitable for children from about 2 to 8 years old.

I bought this book as a present for my son when I was away on a business trip. It is beautifully illustrated and Sock Monkey is just adorable. Youíll like this book because of the lovely illustrations and the humor, and your kids will probably identify with the bath-hating Sock Monkey.
. . . The story follows a grubby Sock Monkey as he goes to Hollywood to win an award, the interesting thing is that just like life, where things donít always go as planned, he doesnít win the award for which he's been nominated, and yet life goes on. Sock monkey is a realist and with his good nature, he is gracious in defeat, which is not a bad lesson to learn in a world where we have to understand that we canít win all the time.
. . . After reading this book, we made Sock Monkey from an old sweater that my flat mate had shrunk in the wash, and that, together with the book has gone on to be one of my sonís favourite characters.
. . . Of course, like all good children, Sock Monkey does eventually have his bath and enjoys being clean.

The Happy Prince, and other stories

Oscar Wilde

One of a number of stories and short books, suitable for reading to children from about 6 years old and for self reading from about 8 years old.

Oscar Wilde is perhaps the most famous nineteenth century Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and short story writer. Famous for his ironic wit, and being imprisoned for being gay. Wilde wrote these fantastic true-to-life fables for his own sons.
. . . The Happy Prince is a very moving story about a golden statue and a swallow. Told in a way that is vaguely similar to Hans Christian Andersonís fairytale. Despite the fact that I have read it many times, I still have trouble reading it all the way through without crying. Donít let this put you off though, the story is magical. It is the tale of a statue of a prince that in life had always been happy. Now perched on a plinth high above the town square, the statue is saddened by all the misery he sees in the town below. One day, a sparrow having set off to migrate a bit late, alights on the statue to rest and for some shelter.
. . . The sparrow sees that the statue of the Prince is crying, and discovers that this is because of all the poor and poorly people the statue of the Prince can see in the town. The statue asks the swallow to peel off some of his gold coating and take it to the poorest people. Bit by bit, with the help of the swallow, the statue gives himself away and as the days get colder, the sparrow misses his opportunity to fly south.
. . . A lovely story that shows that love and compassion are the most valuable things we have.

The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupťry

Suitable for reading to children from about 6 years old and for self reading from about 8 years old up to any age.

Written as a children's book, The Little Prince makes some profound points about love and life in general. The story is written as if the author was recounting the life story of a small child he once met while stranded in the Sahara Desert thousands of miles away from civilization.
. . . Despite looking like a child, the person the writer meets is actually a prince from another planet. As the Little Prince tells him about his life, his dreams and ideas, the author talks through his own views about mankind and the simple things that make life what it is, and laments all the important things that people seem to forget as they become grown-ups.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. . .

the Little Prince recalls what one of his friends once told him,

. . . What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Throughout the book the strength of the simple naivety of the children's view of the world, is brought out, by the recounting of the characters that the Little Prince has met on his travels from planet to planet. This book shows that from a childís point of view, grown-ups often seem to do strange things, but thatís not their fault, itís just that sometimes they seem to have forgotten what really matters.
. . . A book about the importance of commitment and love and keeping a childlike perspective as you grow up; to be read and re-read.

Artemis Fowl

Eoin Colfer

Suitable for reading to children from about 8 years old and for self reading from about 10 years old.

My eldest son bought me this book for Christmas. He enjoyed it so much that he thought I would like it. I started reading it as a bedtime story to my three children, a chapter at a time, each time they came to stay. About three chapters in I got so engrossed in the story that I had to quickly finish it for myself, when they had gone home. Of course, I didnít tell them. In any case it didnít spoil the experience of reading it to them, because it was so good, re-reading it a chapter at a time was a pleasure.
. . .
. . . The story follows the life of a genius 12 year old, Artemis Fowl. Artemis, the son of a kidnapped European crime lord, is already notorious enough in his own right; he has his own Interpol File. Using his genius and natural cunning, Artemis has discovered that a whole society of hugely technologically advanced beings (fairies) live deep underground, below us. Using his familyís enormous financial resources and with his trusted body guard (aptly called Butler) to help, Artemis then sets about discovering the fairies and relieving them of some of their technology, oh, and a ton of their purest gold.
. . . A clever boy, a strong girl and a trustworthy father figure are all glued together with an exciting storyline, Artemis Fowl is extremely well written (for this genre), with readily identifiable characters for those reading it and those being read to alike.
. . . Plenty of magic when needed in both the writing and the story, with a series to read if you like the first book, which Iím sure you will.

Edgar Allan Poeís Tales of Mystery and Madness

Edgar Allan Poe, illustrated by Gris Grimly

Suitable for reading to children from about 8 years old and for self reading from about 10 years old up to any age.

If you donít like being at the edge, or you are worried about reading anything dark to your children, especialy when reading bedtime stories, then you might want to avoid this book. But then again, if you do, you will be missing out on something really very good.
. . . The stories are fantastically illustrated and although they are edited versions of the original 19th Century prose, they have lost none of their old world writing style that seems to soften the outrageously macabre story lines.
. . . The book contains four tales, each compellingly gruesome, and all beautifully illustrated by Gris Grimly, each with a proper short story ending. On every page, the text winds its way through sumptuous pictures. My kids absolutely loved them, and listened with wide-eyed awe.

We want to hear from you. If you have discovered any books that you think other people might not have heard of please tell us so that other dads and kids can discover them too. Click here to tell us about your favourite story or book..


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