This continues the list of all my recommendations and reviews for easy chapter books for children who are learning to read and ready for chapter books, ages 5, 6, and / or 7 years old. (See previous list here.)
Best Easy Chapter Books for 5- and 6- Year Olds
The Whodunit Detective Agency The Diamond Mystery by Martin Widmark, illustrated by Helena Willis
Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest Episode 1: The Quest for Screen Time by Marti Dumas, illustrated by Marie Muravski REALISTIC
What kid doesn’t want more screen time? Jaden has a plan for convincing his parents that he needs more time — and he’s going to use his big brain and his fellow kindergarteners to help. Not only is this a fantastic story, I love that we see a family with cultural diversity!
Kylie Jean Carter wants to be beauty queen but also a rodeo queen, blueberry queen, hoop queen, singing queen . . . Kylie Jean is adorable!
Dragon Slayer’s Academy by Kate McMullan HUMOR
These colorful princess stories are printed on colorful pages. Fun stories of different girls in relatable adventures.
The Vanishing Coin (Magic Shop Series) by Kate Egan and Mike Lane, illustrated by Eric Wight
Sam Silver Undercover Pirate by Jan Burchett & Sara Vogler
The Kingdom of Wrenly: The Lost Stone by Jordan Quinn FANTASY
Prince Lucas doesn’t have any friends. His parents don’t want him to play with the village children. But finally, the King agrees to let him play with Clara, the daughter of the dressmaker. Lucas and Clara soon embark on an adventure to find Lucas’ mom’s missing jewel.
Three Tales of My Father’s Dragonby Ruth Stiles Gannett FANTASY
This is one of the classic adventure / fantasy stories for beginning readers. The first story is about a boy (now a father retelling the stories to his son) who rescues a dragon held hostage on a wild island.
Monster Juice by M.D. Payne HUMOR
The Oodlethunks: Oona Finds an Egg by Adele Griffin, illustrated by Mike Wu
Oona brings home a gigantic egg that she hopes will hatch into a wonderful pet. At school after her opposable thumb exercises and tall tale telling, she learns that Egg needs a habitat so she makes Egg a habitat. A wild adventure of stolen Egg and hatching at the neighbors who wants to keep him, Oona gets to keep her new pet Steg! I love this story and adore Oona’s family because they defy all stereotypes about cave-people — the dad is quit the cook (crepes with mushrooms, anyone?) and the mom is the hunter / gatherer for the family.
Einstein The Class Hamster by Janet Tashjian, illustrated by Jake Tashjian HUMOR
Einstein, like his namesake, is super smart. His dream is to host a game show for the class but since he’s a hamster, that’s a problem. But one student, Ned, can actually hear Einstein talking. Will Ned help Einstein get his big chance while the teacher naps? Filled with awesome cartoon-like illustrations, hilarity, and trivia, this is sure to be a hit with beginning readers. Also see the other book in the series: Einstein the Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show.
Fancy Nancy is now Nancy Clancy and ready for chapter books. She ad Bree want to solve crimes, and have their first case in their very own classroom. Love this new, grown-up Nancy.
Mouse Scouts: Make a Difference #2 by Sarah Dillard REALISTIC
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville FANTASY
This is a simple but charming story of a boy who is guided to a secret (disappearing) store to buy and care for a dragon egg. Jeremy and his friend care for the baby until it grows so big that it must cross to his home world.
Lola Levine Is Not Mean by Monica Brown REALISTIC
Second grade soccer-loving Lola, daughter of a Peruvian mom and Jewish dad, is misunderstood. Her classmates think she’s mean but really she’s just a competitive person. When she accidentally hurts someone’s ankle playing soccer, she feels terrible especially since her classmates say she’s mean. But, things turn around for Lola when her class does science time with her brother’s kindergarten class. Loved the diversity and the topic — many kids will be able to relate to this charming story. See also: Lola Levine: Drama Queen.
The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi REALISTIC
An unlikely friendship of a small, pampered dog and a savvy street cat teach the friends new things about their worlds with a very satisfying ending.
The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham ADVENTURE
Amazingly enough, this princess is able to fight monsters and have a fun birthday party — even though it keeps getting interrupted.
Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight HUMOR
Frankie loves imagining, which is when he becomes a superhero and the story is told in comic form. I love these books!
Second grader, Alvin Ho, is afraid of everything, especially school. A school he’s quiet but at home, he’s Firecracker Man, superhero.
Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke REALISTIC
Anna Hibiscus lives in amazing Africa but in this story, she goes by herself to visit her Granny Canada in Canada where it’s snowy and cold. Anna gets to wear warm clothes and eat new foods. She even gets comfortable with Granny Canada’s dog and makes new friends. This is a delightful story of a sweet girl on an exciting new adventure.
Zeke Meeks vs the Putrid Puppet Pals by D.L. Green HUMOR
Zeke Meeks is a funny beginning chapter book with lots of entertaining illustrations. Third grader, Zeke, is annoyed with his classmates who all jump on the latest marketing craze – Puppet Pals – and won’t play basketball with him anymore. Eventually Zeke is tired of playing by himself so he gets his own Puppet Pals. The story is entertaining and brings to light commercialism and peer pressure.
Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale MYSTERY FAIRY TALE
The Big Bad Wolf aka. Wolfgang is the only suspect in the destruction of the Little Pigs house. And he doesn’t have an alibi. But he didn’t do it either so he partners with the cheerful 4th Little Pig, Ferkel, (who knew!?) to find the real culprit. I love this humorous fairy-tale mash-up and can’t wait for more adventures in this series.
Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre FANTASY
Unicorn Magic: Bella’s Birthday Unicorn by Jessica Burkhart FANTASY
The pacing is a bit slow in this story about Bella’s 8th birthday when she gets to (hopefully) be matched with her own unicorn. Bella’s evil aunt reveals herself at the end of the story and we are left thinking something bad will happen . . . in the next story. A decent but not stellar read for kids who like magic and unicorns.
Kung Pow Chicken Let’s Get Cracking! by Cyndi Marko
Open this early chapter book and you’ll think you’re reading a comic or picture book, it’s that colorful and also full of speech bubbles. Gordon Blue, an ordinary second grade chicken accidentally developed superpowers in his uncle’s laboratory. (It happens.) When chickens start loosing their feathers all in one POOF!, it’s up to Gordon, aka. Kung Pow Chicken, and his little brother, Egg Drop, to solve this catastrophe before everyone in town ends up feather-less. It’s funny, easy-to-read, and an entertaining story.
Ranger in Time #1: Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner, illustrated by Kelley McMorris HISTORICAL
Ranger, a golden retriever trained for search-and-rescue, travels back to the Oregon Trail to help a family in need. It’s a simple story that introduces the ups and downs of traveling on the Oregon Trail. The pacing is a bit slow but it’s worth reading for the history, especially if you’re a dog lover.
Tank & Fizz The Case of the Slime Stampede by Liam O’Donnel, illustrated by Mike Deas ADVENTURE
I loved this book – and could’t put it down. Tank is a girl techie troll and Fizz is her best friend detective goblin. They know that their beloved school janitor would never have released those slimes that ate the playground but now he’s in jail and it’s up to them to figure out who did it — and why. Excellent!
Snoop Troop It Came from Beneath the Playground by Kirk Scroggs
Comic-book style illustrations with lots of interactivity in this interesting story totally impressed me. I know your kids will love this book, too. As a reader, you get to play a part in solving the crime by looking for clues in the pictures, drawing the culprit based on the description, and so on. Isn’t that cool?
Space Taxi Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer
It’s an exciting night for Archie – his first ride in his dad’s taxi all night! What he doesn’t expect is that his dad is a SPACE taxi driver who drives around aliens. And, it turns out that Archie has inherited his grandfather’s map reading skills so he’ll be able to copilot his dad’s space taxi in the future. But this is a night of more surprises. Archie helps the Intergalactic Security Force cat catch a criminal who just so happened to be riding in Archie’s dad’s taxi. What a night! I like the story alright but wish there were more illustrations.
Princess Posey and the First Grade Boys by Stephanie Greene, illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson REALISTIC
Posey gets annoyed about those crazy first grade boys and makes up a mean song about Henry. All her friends laugh but not Henry. When Posey’s teacher, Miss Lee, says to stop and that Posey was bullying Henry, Posey feels very mad. And she stays mad for awhile. Until her neighbor boys make fun of Posey’s little brother and suddenly Posey realizes the truth. I loved the life lesson, the relatable characters, and the excellent pacing. Great white space to text to picture ration, too!
Sydney & Simon Full STEAM Ahead! by Paul A. Reynolds, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Amazing! I loved this story and see many possibilities of how it could be used in your STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) homeschool or classroom plans. Sydney and Simon are twins (like the author and illustrator) working on their flower show project. Throughout the book, they work together questioning, predicting, and experimenting as well as using art, music, and technology to make their booth the best it could be. Not only did I love the creative story, but I also loved the beautiful, colorful artwork.
Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball by Cynthia Rylant and Arthur Howard REALISTIC
I’m not sure these books appeal to young readers. While it’s technically a good early reader, it’s about an old man and a cat. If your kids are like mine, they don’t want to read books with main characters that aren’t kids or heroes with whom they can relate. Would your kids enjoy this story? EASY.
Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes I Can Read Book 1
I love Penny but my kids never took to her like they did with Henkes other characters (Lily especially.) In this cautionary tale, Penny finds a beautiful blue marble on the sidewalk in front of her neighbor’s house. She takes it home but feels guilty about stealing it and not returning it to her neighbor. Finally, she returns the marble and her neighbor tells her she can keep it. EASY.
Boris Gets a Lizard by Andrew Joyner (easy reader in chapters) REALISTIC
You can’t help but love Boris, a wildly imaginative boy who really wants a pet Komodo dragon. In fact, it’s his wild imagination that prompts him to tell his entire class that he’ll be not only getting a Komodo dragon, but that they can all see it. (Which isn’t exactly true. At all.) And, it’s that same imagination that saves the day when there is no Komodo Dragon but many excited visitors who Boris doesn’t want to disappoint. Appealing colorful illustrations accompany this fabulous simple early chapter book making it another book I highly recommend.
Grin and Bear It by Leo Landry
This is a darling easy reader book about a bear who wants to be a comedian but he has a problem with stage fright. Fortunately, hummingbird helps bear’s dream come true. VERY EASY.
Piper Green: Too Much Good Luck (book 2) by Ellen Potter, illustrated by Qin Leng REALISTIC
Piper is a lovable girl who just like all of us, makes mistakes, and hopes for her luck to change. She learns a valuable lesson about jealousy and friendship in this short and sweet story. Also read, Piper Green and the Fairy Tree.
The Philly Fake Ballpark Mysteries by David A. Kelly, illustrated by Mark Meyers MYSTERY
Not only is this a well-written mystery, I loved how the author included so much history within the story. I really enjoyed reading it and thought the mystery had a great hook. One of my top picks for early chapter books!
Charlie Bumpers vs. The Squeaking Skill by Bill Harley, illustrated by Adam Gustavson REALISTIC
This beginning chapter book is about friends, not-so-good friends, scary movies, and Halloween costumes. Charlie, the main character, deals with disappointment, fear, and empathy, in a very relatable story that could easily happen to any child at this age.
Violet Mackerel’s Possible Friend by Anna Branford, illustrated by Alanna Allen REALISTIC
This is such a sweet story about friendship, I think it’s super relatable to kids. Especially because Violet worries that she’s not fancy enough for her new, rich neighbor friend, Rose. But Rose loves everything about Violet. Love!
Super Lexi by Emma Lesko, illustrated by Adam Winsor REALISTIC
As Lexi describes her feelings and reactions, we begin to understand that she has some differences than many other kids such as noises affect her strongly and she has phobias. Sometimes she just curls up into a ball. But she is the same as other kids, too — she has a fantastic imagination, loves art, and likes having a friend. I can’t decide if kids will like this but I think it might be a great book for kids might relate to feeling different from the other kids.
Greetings From Somewhere The Mystery of the Mosaic by Harper Paris, illustrated by Marcos Calo MYSTERY
Second in a series, this is a simple story about two kids who accompany their parents to Venice, Italy and get the chance to solve two mysteries. I liked the bits of geography and history and suspect this will be an interesting beginning chapter book series.
Claude at the Beach by Alex T. Smith REALISTIC
While I liked the previous books better, more silliness ensues in this fun, third adventure of Claude and his friend Sir Bobblysock who (unbeknownst to their owners) are on vacation at the beach. At the beach, Claude rescues a man from a shark, wins a sandcastle contest, and helps his new pirate friends find treasure. All in a day’s vacation for Claude. I found the illustrations to be delightful — black and white with pink and red – and loved the idea of a dog who has adventures without his owners knowledge.
Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell REALISTIC
I really loved this story told in first person from Eleanor’s point of view. It’s about the challenges when Eleanor gets jealous of a new girl she thinks her best friend Pearl might like better than her. This made my top five list of best books for the year.
Frannie K. Stein by Jim Benton HUMOR
She’s not a normal kid, she’s a crazy but genius scientist. We love these stories that are wacky and laugh-out-loud funny.
The Chicken Squad The First Misadventure by Doreen Cronin illustrated by Kevin Cornell HUMOR
Missy’s Super Duper Royal Deluxe
This is a great easy chapter book for kids just beginning to read chapter books with bright and friendly illustrations to match the fun antics of Missy.
Daisy Dawson REALISTIC
Daisy can talk to animals! You’ll love her free spirit personality and her kindness in all sorts of adventures. I love Daisy!
Olive & Beatrix The Super Smelly Moldy Blob by Amy Marie Stadelmann FANTASY
It’s science fair time and these twins, one who is a witch and one who is a super smart science nerd, are in it to win it. Except disaster happens when the girls fight and their projects combine to form a huge green blog that absorbs everything. It will take both their skills to fix this slimy problem. Very enjoyable!
The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham FANTASY
When the monster alarm goes off, the Princess in Black discovers a field of bunnies that look too cute to be monsters. But don’t be fooled like Princess Magnolia. These bunnies eat everything and now they want to eat her. You’ll love this latest entertaining adventure in the Princess in Black series.
The Infamous Ratsos by Kara Lareau, illustrated by Matt Myers REALISTIC
I loved this book! Louie and Ralphie Ratso keep trying to do mean, tough-guy things but every time it ends up helping someone. Ultimately, both boys and their dad decide to go with kindness but before they do, their experiences are very funny.
Posey is worried about first grade; especially worried since she’s not supposed to wear her tutu which helps her be brave, and lets her become Princess Posey. Her boy neighbors tell her all about “the Monster of the Blue Hall” and snakes at the school. Posey is sort of sure they’re teasing but feels more worried than ever.
When Posey sees her new teacher, Miss Lee, in the grocery store, she is scared and tries to hide. Will Miss Lee understand and help Posey feel comfortable about school?
You’ll love the way Miss Lee helps Posey. She’s the kind of teacher everyone would want for first grade – wonderful and kind. This is a sweet book many girls will relate to.
Aggie the Brave by Lori Ries, illustrated by Frank Dormer REALISTIC
Colorful illustrations match the basic sentences which tell the story of Aggie the dog who must go to the vet to get spayed, stay overnight and heal at home. The story teaches about the process at the vet as well as what to expect – like the stitches and cone she must wear post-surgery. I love the way the little boy owner imagines that Aggie is not a cone-head but a LION.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Susanna Davidson, illustrated by Petra Brown
A lesser known fairy tale that will enchant your imaginative emergent readers of beginning chapter books.
The Fastest Pet on Earth
In this beginning chapter book, Wonder Woman’s super-pet Jumpa the Kanga must race the super-villain Chauncey the Cheetah who has criminal intentions.
Pooches of Power
Ace (Batman’s dog) is ready to solve the mystery of the missing sardines at the Gotham City Marina with some help from Krypto the Super-Dog.
Finley Flowers Original Recipe by Jessica Young
3rd grade Finley wants to win a cooking contest so she can give the prize (free pizza for a year) to her best friend, Henry, for his birthday. She insists she doesn’t need ideas or help which turns out to be a disaster as well as a valuable learning experience. Charming illustrations accompany this sweet story of friendship.
Scribbles and Ink Out of the Box by Ethan Long
I’m such a big Ethan Long fan — he must have some sort of mind meld with kids, his books are perfect for early readers. In this easy-to-read (very easy first chapter book) adventure, Scribbles and Ink (a cat and mouse) find that a box is a really cool thing to play with — it can become so many things (a race car, a mask, overalls). Unfortunately, the duo begins arguing about who gets the box and the box rips in half. After working out their differences, they think of a boxtastic solution.
The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell HUMOR
Kids know it’s not the blue chicken (who is a bird, not a chicken) who is weird, it’s the chicken squad — they are downright wacky! In this adventure, the chickens are asked to investigate who has stolen the blue bird’s house. And despite the chickens inability to actually investigate anything, they do discover the culprit and a solution. Very funny.
Owl Diaries Eva’s Treetop Festival by Rebecca Elliott
I liked this more than my 9-year old but I think it’s a really cute book that’s just right for beginning readers, particularly girls. Eva writes in diary form all about getting the Bloomtastic Festival put together and how she eventually learns to ask friends for help.