Kate Coombs

Kate's Book Picks

Fairy Tale Twists

  • The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents  by Terry Pratchett (4th-6th grades; a good book for boys)
  • Dealing with Dragons (and others in the series)  by Patricia Wrede (3rd-6th grades)
  • Ella Enchanted and the Princess Tales by Gail Carson Levine (3rd-5th grades)
  • Goose Chase  by Patrice Kindl (4th-6th grades)
  • The Goose Girl  by Shannon Hale (5th-6th grades)
  • No Flying in the House  by Betty Brock (2nd-3rd grades, especially girls)
  • The Ordinary Princess  by M.M. Kaye (2nd-3rd grades, especially girls)
  • The Silver Curlew  by Eleanor Farjeon (3rd-4th grades)
  • Tales from the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird and The Rumpelstiltskin Problem  by Vivian Van de Velde (5th-6th grades)
  • Ten in a Bed  by Allan Ahlberg and Andre Amstutz (2nd grade)

Good Folktale and Fairy Tale Collections

  • Tatterhood and Other Tales  ed. by Ethel Johnston Phelps
  • The Maid of the North  ed. by Ethel Johnston Phelps
  • Favorite Folktales from Around the World  ed. by Jane Yolen
  • Not One Damsel in Distress and Mightier Than the Sword  ed. by Jane Yolen
  • East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon  ed. by Asbjornsen and Moe (Norwegian)
  • Sixty Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm  (German)
  • Tales from the Arabian Nights  (child's version)
  • D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths  by Ingri D'Aulaire and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
  • D'Aulaires Book of Norse Myths  by Ingri D'Aulaire and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire

Some of My Many Favorite Fantasy Books

  • Books by Diana Wynne Jones, especially Charmed Life, Archer's Goon, Dogsbody, and Witch Week (3rd grade up)
  • Books by Eva Ibbotson, especially Which Witch? The Secret of Platform 13, and Dial-a-Ghost (3rd-4th grades)
  • The Amulet of Samarkand  by Jonathan Stroud—Bartimaeus Trilogy (5th grade up)
  • Changeover  by Margaret Mahy (Young Adult)
  • Crown Duel and Court Duel  by Sherwood Smith (5th grade up, especially girls)
  • Dragon's Blood (Young Adult) and Wizard's Hall (4th-6th grades) by Jane Yolen
  • The Folk Keeper  by Franny Billingsley (4th grade up)
  • The Giggler Treatment  by Roddy Doyle (3rd-5th grades—silly fun!)
  • The Greenstone Grail  and the other two books in the Sangreal Trilogy by Amanda Hemingway (5th grade up)
  • The Harry Potter books, of course! (3rd grade up)
  • Books by Terry Pratchett, especially The Wee Free Men and Hat Full of Sky, but also his Johnny Maxwell books and the Bromeliad Trilogy (4th grade up)
  • Sabriel  by Garth Nix; also his Mister Monday, etc. (5th grade up)
  • Starswarm  by Jerry Pournelle—science fiction, actually (5th grade-Young Adult)
  • Taash and the Jesters  by Ellen Kindt McKenzie (library availability only, 3rd-6th grades)
  • The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia  by Megan Whalen Turner (5th grade up; Young Adult, really)
  • The Wicked Enchantment  by Margot Benary-Isbert (library availability only, 3rd-6th grades)

A Few of My Favorite Non-Fantasy Books

  • Homecoming and A Solitary Blue  by Cynthia Voigt (4th grade up)
  • Regarding the Fountain  by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise (3rd-5th grades—funny!)
  • Rules of the Road and Squashed  by Joan Bauer (5th grade up)
  • Saffy's Angel, Indigo's Star, Permanent Rose, and Caddy Ever After  by Hilary McKay (4th grade up)
  • The Westing Game  by Ellen Raskin (3rd-5th grades)

Kate's Favorite Read-Alouds for First and Second Graders

Note: I've left off really well-known titles such as Where the Wild Things Are, The Napping House, and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, also the many familiar folk and fairy tales. I like Janet Stevens' version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, also Philemon Sturges and Amy Walrod's The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza, among others.

  • Beware of Boys  by Tony Blundell
  • Birdsong  by Audrey Wood and Robert Florczak (try birdsongs out)
  • Bony-Legs  by Joanna Cole and Dirk Zimmer
  • Caps for Sale  by Esphyr Slobodkina
  • An Edward Lear Alphabet  by Edward Lear and Vladimir Radunsky
  • Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like  by Jay Williams and Mercer Mayer
  • The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night  by Peter Spier (only if you're willing to sing it)
  • Froggy Gets Dressed  by Jonathan London
  • Heckedy Peg  by Don and Audrey Wood
  • How Chipmunk Got His Stripes  by Joseph Bruchac, James Bruchac, Jose Aruego, and Ariane Dewey
  • Julius, the Baby of the World  by Kevin Henkes
  • King Bidgood's in the Bathtub  by Don and Audrey Wood
  • Leonardo, the Terrible Monster  by Mo Willems
  • Library Lil  by Suzanne Williams and Steven Kellogg
  • Little Rabbit Foo Foo  by Michael Rosen and Arthur Robbins
  • Millions of Cats  by Wanda Gag
  • Mr. Semolina-Semolinus  by Anthony L. Manna, Christodoula Mitakidou, and Giselle Potter
  • My Light  by Molly Bang
  • Not This Bear  by Bernice Myers (library availability only)
  • The Old Woman and the Willy-Nilly Man  by Jill Wright and Glen Rounds (library availability only)
  • Quick as a Cricket  by Don and Audrey Wood
  • The Secret in the Matchbox  by Val Willis and John Shelley (has wonderful border art)
  • Shake Dem Halloween Bones  by W. Nikola-Lisa and Mike Reed (rock out!)
  • Show Way  by Jacqueline Woodson and Hudson Talbott
  • Suddenly  by Colin McNaughton (cue kids to come in with the "Suddenly!")
  • The Talking Eggs  by Robert D. San Souci and Jerry Pinkney
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly  by Simms Taback (sing it together)
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo  by Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent
  • Where's Wallace  by Hilary Knight (better with just one child, as kids will want to look at the pictures individually—a far superior predecessor to Where's Waldo—with recurring characters and a plot!)

"The Stolen Spell" by Kate Coombs

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