When my first was one year old, I read her the entire Chronicles of Narnia out loud while she played on the floor. We lived with my in-laws at the time, so I had significantly more time to do something like that. Since then I had really only read my girls the picture books that they chose. Which is great too.
But I have memories of my mom reading books aloud to all six of her children. Once my dad even read the book (Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls). I know we read lots of different books, but the ones I remember most are the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Farmer Boy remains one of my mom's favorite books in the world.
One of my goals this summer was to read a chapter book out loud to my girls. I chose Little House in the Big Woods. Little House on the Prairie is the most well-known, but in Big Woods, Laura is about four years old, my daughter's age. Reading a chapter at a time, we didn't even finish its 13 chapters this summer. But then we started preschool and found a good rhythm for reading together and finished it quickly. After lunch my daughter changes into her uniform and brushes her teeth, then while we wait for it to be time to go, we read a chapter. Some days are too hectic, but more often than not we get to read together.
She loved reading this book because it did have a few drawings that she could look at as we read about something completely foreign to her (like harvesting or making cheese or going to a town for the first time in your life). Laura has a sister and a mom and a dad just like my daughter (both of them even have dads who have beards!).
Today we get to choose a new book to read. I significantly cleaned up my book collection before we moved here, but I still have a few of my favorites. I still have the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder collection because of the childhood memories they brought, so we could choose another one of those. A few other ideas I'll suggest to her:
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Matilda by Roald Dahl
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
I'm looking for something with stories that will entertain, but not be too difficult of topics. I've heard of a series of books called Ivy and Bean, which we may check out from the library. Any other suggestions of good read aloud books for young children?