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Top Children's Book Series


By Sheila Welsh

Many children discover the joys of reading when they find a series that they love.

The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall is a relative newcomer to the family-centered stories that call to mind the age-old classics such as LITTLE WOMEN and ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Although the setting is in the present, the four books in the series have a timeless quality. Birdsall’s voice has a slight British tone that will appeal to kids who’ve heard or read and enjoyed the original Winnie-the-Pooh tales. There are four girls in this family, and the adventures and relationships between and among them range from slapstick to poignant. The series is best suited for advanced fourth graders and older. The fifth book is scheduled for release this year.



The eight Ramona books begin when this creative and often misunderstood little girl character is starting school, but over the course of more than 40 years, she becomes a fourth grader. How Beverly Cleary manages to do this is a lesson in the consistency of human nature. While the books all have an over-arching concern, most chapters can stand alone, making this a fantastic series for reading aloud to an audience of almost any age.


Lilian Hoban wrote and illustrated eleven Arthur books about a boy chimpanzee who acts and thinks like a human boy. These are intended for children who’re learning to read, and each book has delightfully expressive illustrations that enhance and expand the text. Kindergarteners through third graders will see themselves in these delightful tales that highlight familiar territory such as losing a tooth, going camping, dealing with a sibling, etc.

Amelia Bedelia


A clever series by Peggy Parish features a silly adult, Amelia Bedelia, who works as a housekeeper. Although Amelia tackles each assignment with enthusiasm, she takes them all literally, which leads to some funny and unusual results. For example, she puts sponges in the sponge cake, and the “chicken” dinner she creates is not fried chicken but a “dinner” for chickens. Children ages eight to ten who are old enough to get the word- jokes will giggle their way through all these easy readers. And if they can’t get enough of Amelia’s zany excitement, they’ll find another whole heap of chapter books to enjoy – appropriate for fourth graders and above -- written by Parish’s nephew about the same confused character.

Frog and toad

Frog and Toad


Frog and Toad are two of my favorite fictional critters because they convinced my daughter that reading was fun. Arnold Lobel wrote and illustrated these prize-winners (a Newbery Honor and a Caldecott Honor), and they are the perfect balance between silliness and sophistication. The best audience for these books would be children in kindergarten up through third grade who’re looking for easy reading with amusing but subtly portrayed situations.

About Sheila

Sheila Kelly Welch is a mother, grandmother and retired teacher. She counts among her children’s fiction books LITTLE PRINCE KNOW-IT-ALL and A HORSE FOR ALL SEASONS. Sheila's novel, WAITING TO FORGET, has been selected by Bank Street College and Pennsylvania School Library Association for their lists of best-books-of-the-year. Her most recent stories, MESS-UP MOLLY and BIG CAT AND KITTEN, are published on-line by MeeGenius (