Our family recently took a 3 week road trip! And believe-it-or-not, we had a GREAT time! One of the things we did in the car together to pass the time was to listen to books on cd. The challenge was finding stories that were appropriate for all our kids (ages 2, 4, and 7) plus were interesting to Mom & Dad too! Guess what? We actually found some!!
Here are our favorites (in order)
- Jonathan Park – This is our favorite for sure. After we finished Goofy wanted to start listening again! This is not a typical book on CD – it is a dramatized radio drama. What’s better – it is a Christian radio drama intended for kids 7+ (but we didn’t find anything to be too dramatic for our girls) So what does a radio drama mean? It means you will hear different actors talk and hear sound effects! It was so well done! The series follows the family of Jonathan Park and their adventures centering around his Dad who is a Creation Scientist! Each 30 minute episode is packed with example of how their Christian worldview plays itself out in everyday life. Even though the story is fictitious, the creation data presented in each episode is based on real research. Not only does it help kids learn to defend their faith, but my husband & I (both growing up in Christian homes and going to a Christian college) learned plenty too! It is all presented very naturally and models a wonderful Christian family! You can also go online to download a free study guide with additional information about the creation data presented – perfect for family devotions, homeschool, or parents who want to learn more! We own the first volume which contains 12 episodes. There are 10 more sets that I could find already and the series is ongoing! This would make an EXCELLENT birthday or Christmas present ~ it’s on Goofy’s list!
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – This classic was an instant hit with our kids. My husband and I also enjoyed relieving this favorite story from our childhood along with our children! The story is about Charlie Bucket, an extremely poor kind boy who lives with his Mom, Dad, and both sets of grandparents in a 2 bedroom run-down house. Once a year for his birthday he gets to eat one chocolate bar. The most famous chocolate is made by Willy Wonka. Wonka owns a local chocolate factory that has been closed to the outside world because of the spies who were stealing his secrets. One day a contest is announced – there are 5 golden tickets inside Wonka candy and the lucky finders will get to not only tour the closed factory, but have a life supply of chocolate awarded to them as well! Charlie ends up finding the last ticket and along with his Grandpa and 4 other children (and their parents) they get a tour of the most incredible, creative chocolate factory. Along the way you will laugh at Wonka’s inventions, marvel at the imagery, laugh at the Oompa Loompa’s, and find out how naughty the other children are. Spoiler alert – at the end only Charlie remains; Wonka gives him the factory and all of Charlie’s family will move into the factory too. This beautiful tale kept both my 4 and 7 year old on the edge of the seats and giggling throughout! A must read for sure!
- The Indian in the Cupboard – I remember reading this delightful creative tale when I was in 4th grade I believe. My husband had never read it and he enjoyed it very much. Minnie (4) listened, but wasn’t as engaged as Goofy. Goofy (7) was delighted and hung onto every word. In this story a boy is given a cabinet for his birthday. When his mother finds a spare key that fits something magical happens – all the plastic toys he puts in the cabinet and “locks” become real! The super sweet story follows the adventures of a school aged boy, his teeny tiny Indian he made real, the boy’s best friend, and a cowboy toy that was made alive as well. A classic story that is sure to please!
- Charlottes Web – This story is a classic for good reason! It is the story of a pig name Wilbur, the girl who loves him, and a spider who becomes his friend and saves his life. It is a simple but beautiful story about friendship. I will mention that in the story Wilbur (the pig) learns that pigs get slaughtered in the fall – this is something that comes up throughout the book. I loved that it presented what really happens in a tasteful way, but if your child might be upset to learn that bacon comes from a pig – you might want to consider if he/she is ready for this book yet. Spoiler Alert: Also, at the end Charlotte (the spider) dies. It is more presented in this is what happens, although Wilbur is sad and misses his friend. Again, I loved that it introduced the topic of death and how Wilbur moves on but always remembers her. Once my kids are ready I’d rather introduce them to life topics in a gentle way with me there to answer questions they have. But wanted to at least point that out to you.
- Little House on the Prairie – Little House on the Prairie is an American Classic that tells the story of Laura (and her family) who move west in their covered wagon. This story is great way to introduce the pioneer / westward expansion period of American History in personal way that kids can understand, remember, and relate to. This beloved story spawned the writing of many more in the series and a long running TV series. But this is the book that started it all. This book is much longer than the typical story books I’ve been reading to Goofy; it is a 335 page book! So I would wait until you’ve given you child a good introduction to fun chapter books and have the time to commit to a longer book. With nothing but time in the car the kids enjoyed listening to the story. I was surprised how much my husband & I enjoyed it as well. The story is so well written with such beautiful imagery. Again, Minnie (4) enjoyed it, but Goofy (7) really processed what he heard and asked more questions comparing life now and back in the 1800s.
- Flat Stanley – This is a great book for the earliest readers. Flat Stanley begins as the story about a boy who accidently gets squished by a piece of furniture and ends up flat. He isn’t hurt and now he can have lots of exciting adventures like being put in an envelope and being mailed! There are other adventures too – one time Stanley disappeared! The story is silly, absurd, and simply written. This story engaged and tickled my 4 year old and 7 year old alike. It was written well enough and creatively that Mom & Dad didn’t mind listening along either =-)
- The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Other Stories – We enjoyed listening to some of these classic tales read to us in a delightful English accent. The first story tells us the tale of Peter Rabbit, one of several children who were told to go pick berries for super. But Peter was a naughty bunny and instead went where he was told not to – to Mr. McGregor’s garden. After eating some delicious veggies he has a run-in with a cat and eventually Mr. McGregor as well. Lucky for Peter he got away with only a few missing clothes (his father was not so lucky). Peter goes home sick and learned his lesson. A nice, simple story with a good morale.
Have you read the books on our top 7? Do you have a favorite story your family likes to listen to/read? Please leave me a comment and share it with us!