You probably know that this commoner (and all of the original commoners) are teachers. I teach third grade. My third graders are exceptionally intelligent and we are reading our way through the books of Roald Dahl.
Long before there were wizards or wimpy kids there was Roald Dahl. Most people know his stories from the movies (the original Willie Wonka Please)-Matilda or James and the Giant Peach. But you really have to read these or give these to your child (mature second graders or above are best suited to these books).
What my students and I love about these books is that while clearly they are written for children he never really treats the reader like they need to be babied or sheltered or protected. Roald puts it all out there, with politically incorrect villains, mature and colorful language (yet always appropriate), he'll scare them, and the bad guy always gets his comeuppance and it's always graphic (in a child like way).
Last year I read the BFG to them (stands for Big Friendly Giant -in case you were wondering-and you know you were). The first chapter takes place at night while children are sleeping. Without spoiling the story too much for you-children are sucked out of their bedrooms while sleeping and taken away by the giants to be eaten. As I read this I looked around to see if anyone was horribly scared (uh oh)-and while they were scared it was the edge of your seat fairy tale scared-and that's okay. The BFG redeems himself and we actually loved him-better yet no reports of nightmares. I'm hoping by the end of the year they will be able to make it through The Witches.
Costco is currently carrying the above set for 25 dollars-a great price because on Amazon it goes for 45. In fact I better pick it up this weekend now that I know that.
Treat your 2nd-5th grader to stories which my class ALWAYS loves-and they have impeccable taste. The commoner suggests tonight any of the stories of Roald Dahl-except for my students because it's so fun to read them when they haven't read them first.