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Reading List: A Collection of Classics

Charlotte Mason believed that children should experience the full richness of classical literature rather than receiving dumbed-down versions that attempt to make the books easier to understand and more “fun” to read. MPH in Midvalley recently had a moving sale with up to 70% off selected titles so I went to check out what I could find for Aristotle. We picked up:

  • Tales from Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (these were a collection of stories and poems but not the complete series)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
  • Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Graham

I also bought a few Thomas books from My Thomas Library – okay, so these were just fun books that I got because they were only RM3 each – compared to the original RM15 a pop that we bought them at during Aristotle’s Thomas-mad days.

If I expected the books to last Aristotle for a while, I was gravely mistaken. On day one, he finished all 8 Thomas books and the Tales from Winnie the Pooh. Day two, he finished the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Today is day three.

I’ve been struggling to find a more challenging series of books that are more to Aristotle’s flavour. He enjoyed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Magic Finger, but he didn’t really like Matilda. After reviewing Matilda, I was reminded that it contained some “inappropriate” language for a four year old so I have hesitated to get another Roald Dahl. He liked the Winnie the Pooh stories by A. A. Milne – we have a copy on iBooks but I would like him to have a hard copy because I’m not too keen on him reading on the iPad as well as playing games on it – that’s altogether too much screen time.

The irony with Aristotle is that he still reads books he doesn’t like. He wasn’t keen to read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe but after I’d read him the first chapter, it was as if he couldn’t help himself. He continued reading by himself until he finished the book and then he told me that I could take the book back because he didn’t like it – it was scary. Perhaps he will enjoy Wind in the Willows more…

Recently, I discovered that I could get some of the classics for free on Kobo. If you aren’t familiar, Kobo is a reading program that you can install on your desktop or use from your iPhone or iPad. Best of all, it’s free. Well, most of the books aren’t but the software is. And here are some of the classics that I found on Kobo:

  • Aesop’s Fables – Aesop
  • Little Women – Louisa May Ascott
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
  • Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  • Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie
  • The Road to Oz – L. Frank Baum
  • The Romance of Tristan and Iseult – Joseph Bedier
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  • The Secret Adversary – Agatha Christie
  • The Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper
  • On the Origina of Species – Charles Darwin
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens
  • Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  • Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Hound of the Baskervilleds – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Lost World – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Return of Sherlock Holmes – Athur Conan Doyle
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  • The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  • Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  • Grimms’ Fairy Tales – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  • The Odyssey of Homer – Homer
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
  • Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux
  • Utopia – Thomas More
  • Beyond Good and Evil – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness eEmuska Orczy
  • The Republic – Plato
  • Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
  • The Lady of the Lake – Sir Walter Scott
  • Dr Jekell and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  • Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
  • The Art of War – Sun Tzu
  • Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne
  • A Journey to the Centre of the Earth – Jules Verne
  • The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
  • The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelly
  • Beowulf – Francis Barton Gummere

There is also a number of books by Beatrix Potter:

  • The Story of Miss Moppet
  • The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck
  • The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • The Tale of Samuel Whiskers
  • The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
  • The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies
  • The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan
  • The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes
  • The Tale of Tom Kitten

There are many others, but these were all I got. I’m not expecting Aristotle to read them all, but I thought it might be a good list to aspire towards in the years to come. I don’t intend for him to read them on the iPad either but I figured it’s a good place to start if I want to see how he’ll respond to the books rather than buying the books only to discover he doesn’t like them. Beatrix Potter’s stories have come with high recommendation, so I guess we’ll try those next.

More information:

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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