So after a string of successful read-alouds, I've struck out with my last few choices. My 7-year-old chose The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, which I knew was too hard for her and we gave up halfway. She finally admitted to me that she didn't like The Cricket in Times Square. Then, not remembering when I read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, just remembering that I read it and liked it, we tried that. Big mistake. The language - both the vocabulary, the sentence construction, not to mention the use of dialect - was way over her head and once again, we had to stop. Same with Strawberry Girl (which I hadn't read previously). We also gave up on Edgar Eager's Half Magic a while ago because it was both too hard (she had no context for the medieval jousting scenes and I had trouble explaining it) and, to her, scary.
Now I'm considering The Trumpet of the Swan or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which I fear may be too scary or disturbing for her). I've also thought of Heidi and Cheaper by the Dozen recently, both of which I loved as a kid, and the sequel to which I read every summer at our country house, but again, I can't remember at what age I first read them. I think The Secret Garden and A Little Princess should wait a year or so. And I returned to Eleanor Estes recently and found Ginger Pye boring, I confess.
I want a book that she can't read on her own, whether it's above her level because of vocabulary, language, or emotional or historical context - but not too hard. And I want a book I'm going to enjoy too.
We've hit most of the other classics. Any other suggestions are appreciated! What are you reading to your 7-year-old/second grader?