Classic childhood favorites for second graders

Revisit tales about a tug boat or a pair of ducklings in these classic kids' books.

By GreatSchools Staff

The Chocolate Touch

The Chocolate Touch

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling, illustrated by Margot Apple (HarperTrophy, 2006, reprint edition). $5.99.
Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's.

Ah, my fantasy... Everything our hero John Midas touches turns into chocolate! However, he soon finds out you can certainly have too much of anything, even chocolate. A cross between Bread and Jam for Frances and King Midas and the Golden Touch. For a strong reader or a bedtime "read to me." 128 pages.

— Danielle Marshall and the Kids' Team at Powells.com

The Dark is Rising

The Dark Is Rising

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (Simon and Schuster, 1973). $8.99.
Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's.

Parents need to know that Susan Cooper's powerful narrative vision will draw young readers into this exciting tale. There is some fantasy violence and a young man turns against his benefactor and follows the forces of the Dark. This is the second book in a five-book series and actually the best one to start with. 224 pages. Boston Globe-Horn Book Award.

— Common Sense Media

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, illustrated by Pauline Baynes (HarperCollins Children's Books, 1950). $6.99.
Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's.

Classic fantasy story for kids. Parents need to know that the plot and writing, although superior, are somewhat dated, and the art is small and simplistic. The language is simple but precise, and the main characters act valiantly to help save Narnia from the White Queen's enchantment (though one is initially caught under her sway). Contains bits of British culture and Christian allegory. 208 pages.

— Common Sense Media

Little Toot

Little Toot

Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky (Putnam Juvenile, 1939). $3.99.
Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's.

I can't think of another book more perfect for a little boy or girl than this story of a scrappy little tugboat. Although he gets himself in too deep, Little Toot learns that he can do it! The nostalgic illustrations are the perfect compliment to this tale reminiscent of The Little Engine That Could. 96 pages.

— Danielle Marshall and the Kids' Team at Powells.com

Make Way for Ducklings

Make Way for Ducklings

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (Puffin Book, 1969). $7.99.
Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's.

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard search for the perfect place in Boston to hatch their ducklings. They travel all over the city until they find a quaint little island on the Charles River. Once their ducklings hatch, Mrs. Mallard teaches them how to swim, dive and walk in a straight row through the busy city streets. Watch your child smile and laugh with delight with this historic award-winner. 64 pages.

— Second-grader Read to Self. PBS Bookfinder

The Puppy Sister

The Puppy Sister

The Puppy Sister by S. E. Hinton, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers (Bantam Books, 1995). $9.99.
Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's.

Powerful message of how family love overcomes sibling rivalry. The few illustrations are perfect for this well-told story. Reading level and content make it a great read-alone, even for reluctant readers. 128 pages.

— Common Sense Media