Emil. He lives on a farm in the Swedish countryside with his father, his mother, his little sister Ida, the farmhand Alfred and Lina, the maidservant. The chapters in these three books have titles like
Tuesday, the twenty-second of May when Emil got his head stuck in the soup tureen.
Sunday, the thirteenth of June when Emil made three brave attempts to pull Lina's tooth and then painted little Ida blue.
Tuesday, the tenth of August, when Emil put the frog in the lunch basket and then behaved so badly that I hardly dare write about it.
He's not all bad though, little Emil. There's also
Saturday, the eighteenth of December, when Emil did such a noble deed that the whole of Lonneberga was proud of him and all his past tricks were forgotten.
These books are very funny and perfect to read aloud to ages five or six and up. Great too for kids to read alone from about seven, depending on ability. The chapters are long and definitely written before attention spans were shrunken by screens but fantastically written. Emil isn't as well known as Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgrens more famous creation, but I prefer him.
The Great Brain. This is about the same reading level and also about a little boy in a small town. Its very popular in the States, but we just got it this past Summer and my nine, 11 and 13 year old sons loved it. Again, very funny and again great too insofar as it is set in another time and place - here it's Utah in the 1890's. An overall very good read, both aloud and independently. There are three in the series.
12 Finally and 13 Gifts, both of which I meant to get for the appropriate birthdays but completely forgot. Anyways, 11 Birthdays is great, Well written and obviously, perfect for an 11th birthday present.
For ten years and up too there's the His Dark Materials trilogy. Utterly brilliant. Good for those who have finished with Harry Potter and anyone who likes any kind of magical, creepy exciting mystery. So beautifully written, they're hard to put down. I started reading The Northern Lights out loud the other night and and went on way longer than planned.