I've been at this Mommy job for 30 years. Here are some books that you might never have thought of, or even heard of that are worthwhile to read to your kids. (Or they might want to read it for themselves.)
1. Mary Poppins. If you think seeing the movie is the same as reading the book, think again! Unless your child's imagination is dead, they will absolutely love this book, especially if read by mom or dad. And the best news is, the book Mary Poppins is only the beginning of the series. There is also Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins Opens the Door, Mary Poppins in the Park and Mary Poppins and the House Next Door. This is absolutely the best series of books to read before bedtime, and don't be surprised if older siblings, ones that are much too old for Mary Poppins, listen in too!
2. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is absolutely a great book to read on a cold winter afternoon! Make a cup of hot chocolate and read it it aloud to your kids. This book has it all; winter nights, villains, suddenly becoming an orphan, danger, train rides and menacing wolves. You will love it!
3. Magnificat This is not a prayer book, despite what the title implies. This is a book to read to the kids , preferably during the warm days of late spring to early fall. It is the story of an alley cat that is simply magnificent! Read the adventures of this cat, that eventually lead him to the ultimate in loyal acts, and his trip to heaven to receive a rainbow colored halo. (obviously a fiction book) This book will stay with you.
4. Miss Suzy - This was one of my most favorite books when I was young. So much so, that when I had my first children, we waited months for an intra library loan in order to get it to read to my kids. Then came Ebay, and I was able to buy a few copies. I just checked, and there are some copies available right now. Essentially, this book is about a squirrel, Miss Suzy, who lives happily at the tippy top of a tree, until a group of red squirrels evict her. She goes into an open attic window and spends the winter with some new found friends. But by the spring, she wants to be in her old home. New found friends to the rescue. A totally delightful story.
5. Nancy Drew and the Crooked Bannister - A nice thick, complete story featuring the teenage sleuth and her friends Bess and George. The story has such enticing elements as, a mad scientist, a family squabble, a robot. Trust me, you'll enjoy, and very easy to find on Ebay for about $5.
6. The Bobbsey Twins and the Playhouse Secret - This is the original series of Bobbsey Twins when they offered a full exciting story before the Twins became an easy reader series. Read this story in the last weeks of January, with some nice hot chocolate on the side. The story in a nutshell: the Bobbsey parents have to leave home to take care of a family member who is very sick in another state. Slightly deaf, Aunt Sally, a family friend comes to take care of the kids. At the same time, a shady antiques dealer comes to town and starts to scam people, hiding the toys in a playhouse that the Twins find by accident. Elements of this story include, being snowed in, a Valentine's Day Party, a Sleuth Club, and capture of the scammers. Very easy to get on Ebay at very reasonable prices.
7. A Christmas Carol - You've seen the movie a dozen different times, with a dozen different casts. Even with different spins on it, but nothing compares to the original. "Marley was as dead as a door nail, of this we must be perfectly clear." A history lesson, for this story portrays life of 1843 England exactly the way it was. I have read that it Dickens wrote this book after having a dream, within two weeks. Elements in this story are generosity, renewal of ones humanity, ghosts, and how one's life touches those around them, even people they don't know.