Want some light and constantly entertaining books to bring along on the plane or the car for your kids eight and up? (Or younger if you're willing to read them aloud...)
These are some of Roald Dahl's best:
Fantastic Mr. Fox (so much better than the movie)
George's Marvelous Medicine
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
The Magic Finger
The Enormous Crocodile
Some of these are poetry books—very funny poetry books—but most of these are short novels, or collections of short stories.
Our favorites are Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Twits, and George's Marvelous Medicine, but you haven't experienced life unless you've read Esio Trot. It's about an old man's attempts to woo his downstairs neighbor. Esio Trot is tortoise spelled backwards. I won't tell you any more, but it is an absolutely ridiculous, fantastic story that never leaves you.
The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me, is darling and imaginative and perfect.
Going Solo is a collection of stories about Dahl's time in Africa. He tells the most incredible true stories in this book, one about a deadly mamba snake that kills a dog and is killed himself by a brilliant snake hunter. He tells another true story in this book about a lion who picks up a native woman with his mouth, carries her most of the way to its den, then drops her when she does just the right thing, and she is left relatively unscathed.
I like to bring our single versions of these books on airplanes, because the kids can pass them around so easily, but we also love our Roald Dahl Treasury. In this you can find excerpts from all of Dahl's novels, and many complete stories such as Esio Trot, and the Going Solo stories. It is now out of print, but you can still get a used copy (in Hardcover!) for $0.78, plus shipping, so hurry fast. It's one of the best books we own!
You can also get the fifteen book boxed set of Dahl's stories for $40 used, which works out to $2.60 a book. Not a bad deal at all.
(Now off to Battle of the Books, Round Two!)