Some of our favorite read alouds- for the older kids at least- have been the Redwall books by Brian Jacques.
The Redwall series is a fantasy series with a middle ages feel. The characters are animals-primarily small animals such as mice, rats, badgers, etc. Good always versus evil, and good always wins. It's my kind of fantasy story!
The first book we read was Redwall. This is the tale of a brave mouse- Matthias- who saves Redwall Abbey. After Redwall, we read Martin the Warrior. Martin was another brave mouse that came before the Redwall times and was referred to in the book Redwall. After Martin the Warrior, we branched out and read some of the other Redwall books. Most recently we finished Lord Brocktree.
Although most of the books refer to characters in Jacques's other stories, the books do not have to be read in any particular order. All of them have brave and noble warriors and evil and violent villains. The books are rather violent and descriptive in a fantasy sort of way. They are not all happy endings. Often the good guys are killed before the end of the story. But, good always wins out.
We really enjoy the Redwall books. The kids like the vast array of animal characters (especially when I read in mole speak), the complex story lines going on, and the fighting (especially Charles). I just enjoy a good fantasy always- animals or people, it doesn't matter to me.