Reading for Family Fun

Reading for Family Fun

I’ve been in a book mood this week.  Maybe because I’ve been cleaning and re-organizing bookshelves, maybe because I just returned the latest crop of finished tomes to the library. I don’t know; it doesn’t really matter.  I’m rarely NOT in a book mood.

But as I was going through some of my kids’ old books, I came across a few favorites and found that they now all have websites.  How fun!  Not only can your kids read fun stuff–but they can visit with some of their favorite storybook characters on the web.

So here are a few of my favorite book sites.  These are all kid books; maybe next time I’ll visit some more mature authors.

But let’s face it–kid books are just so much more fun.

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First up is Sandra Boynton.

Sandra is the creator of those cute little adorable animals.  She also has a really cool book about chocolate.  I’ve had my copy since it was first published.  Chocolate The Consuming Passion is available at

chocolate the consuming passion

Our family’s personal Boynton favorite is The Going to Bed Book.  Even after many years of not reading it to them, my children, all four of them, know the entire text of this adorable little book by heart.  If someone mentions going to bed, they will all begin to recite this book in unison.

So, go check out her website where you can see all the books she has in print, see the adorable little animals and enjoy the pleasant snarkiness of Sandra Boynton.  You can also buy all manner of products adorned with the adorable little animals.

Next on our list of family favorites is the Berenstain Bears.

When #1 was little, we began collecting the Berenstain Bears books and reading them to her.  I think she now has nearly 100 titles in the “first time storybooks” series.  I can see that there are quite a few more since she was that age, though, so I guess I’ll have to start thinking about a second collection because someday she may be a mom, reading them to her own kids.

Reading for Family Fun

The Bears actually have two websites.  One is the “official” website and the other is the Bears’ Treehouse.  The official website has all the books, it has games, a play, links to iPhone apps (how cool is that?!), learning activities and teaching resources.  The Treehouse has news, appearances and Berenstain Bear art for sale.

These books are kid classics.  They explain just about everything that can happen in a kid’s life and explain it simply with lovable bears that kids and parents alike can relate to.  My kids would have loved these sites when they were little–getting to hang out with Brother and Sister Bear.  So take your kids on by for a visit.

On to Little Critter Land.

Knowing how #1 loved her Berenstain Bear books, we wanted our younger girls to have something similar.  When we found Little Critter, we knew we were on the right track.  Their collection of Little Critter books pretty much rivals #1’s collection of Bear books.  And they have been well loved.  We’ll definitely be keeping these books until our girls are ready to share them with their own little critters.

Poor Little Critter.  He so good hearted and his intentions are always good, but sometimes life is just hard for a little critter though things always work out in the end.

just go to bed by mercer mayer

Little Critter is the brainchild of the wonderful artist Mercer Mayer.  The website is nearly as fun as the books.  There are games and coloring pages and activities and movies and, of course, a store.  Lots here to keep your little critters entertained.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Lest you think we only read picture books at our house, let’s move on to Laura Ingalls Wilder, the only author who ever spurred a family vacation at our house.

Daughter #1, again, is the keeper of all things Laura Ingalls Wilder.  She loved Laura so much she even dressed up as Laura one year for Halloween.  And you can only imagine her delight when she discovered that her third-grade teacher was an even bigger fan than she was.  She started out with the original set of Little House books and fell in love with the Ingalls family.

little house on the prairie

I remember going into her room late one night when she was 7 after hearing heart-wrenching sobs.  When I asked what was wrong, she told me, “Jack died.”  It took me a few minutes to realize she was reading Little House on the Prairie and Jack, the beloved bulldog had died.

After reading all of those books, she started on the series about Laura’s mother, Laura’s grandmother and Laura’s daughter, along with everything else she could find about Laura.  We even have a “Little House” cookbook with all kinds of pioneer recipes.

Though the books are classified as fiction, they are all based on Laura’s life growing up on the American frontier.  Because Laura was a real person, you can find a multitude of websites about her.  I picked this one because it has lots of links to all the various Laura museums around the country.

The year #1 graduated from high school, we were finally able to fulfill our promise to her to visit Rocky Ridge Farm, Laura’s home in Missouri.  And off we went–and it was well worth the trip, since Mom is almost as big a fan as #1.

And then there’s Dr. Seuss

How could any collection of our favorite children’s books and sites be complete with a mention of the master of them all, Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss?  Not only does he have some of the coolest children’s books on the planet, but also one of the coolest websites.  You will have as much fun on this site as your kids will.

horton hears a who by dr seuss

Like most parents we have dozens of Dr. Seuss titles packed away in the basement waiting for the next generation of young readers to come along and enjoy them with us.  Who doesn’t love Horton and Sam-I-Am?  Dr. Seuss is responsible for countless millions of children happily eating green eggs and ham (though personally, since I don’t like regular eggs, I find no charm in the green ones).

green eggs and ham sam-i-am

Dr. Seuss’ website is just packed with activities and games and video clips and lesson plans.  If you wander here, make sure you have some time to stay and play.


I’m always on the hunt for fun literary websites.  If you have some favorites, please share them here.

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