14 NEW Beginning Chapter Book Reviews, Fall 2015

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If you’re at that stage (around age six or seven) when your child is taking off with reading, you’re no doubt searching for excellent books. Start with these beginning chapter book reviews and see what she want to read first. Let him choose the books. You buy them or check them out. Then find lots of time for reading every day. Go, you!

It's so important to let kids choose the books they want to read -- even if it's from a selection!

For lots of at-home reading ideas, read this article I wrote for Brightly.

14 NEW Beginning Chapter Book Reviews

Hamster Princess

Hamster Princess Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon
I love this author — she has the best comedic writing for kids and this book is one of her best yet! So Princess Harriet is a remix of Sleeping Beauty. In this (much better) retelling, the princess realizes she can’t die until she’s 18 so she must be INVINCIBLE!! And thus becomes a total daredevil — vanquishing dragons, cliff-diving, and attacking ogres. When her 18th birthday rolls around she returns home to face the evil fairy, Ratshade.  And things get even more interesting . . . Such a great  heroine!!

Dory REal True Friend
Dory and the Real True Friend
by Abby Hanlon

Dory is one of my favorite book characters because her imagination is THE BEST! She has three imaginary friends: one monster friend, one fairy godmother that’s actually not a lady, and one bad lady nemesis. Her friend is Mary, a monster with two horns and a bit of a mischief maker! Plus, there’s Mr. Nuggy, her fairy godmother who loves in the woods. And, the dreadful Mrs. Gobble Gracker who is a creepy witch lady. I love this story because she meets a real-life friend who understands all about imaginary friends and together, they’re the perfect match.

Digby O'Day
Digby O’Day and the Great Diamond Robbery
by Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy
Charming illustrations in red and yellow colors help readers enjoy this story about Digby’s memorable vacation. He and Percy visit to the fancy Hotel Splendide. While there, the singer Peaches Meow’s, diamonds are stolen! With the help of a new friend on the island, Percy and Digby catch the thieves.

Secrets of the Manor
Secrets of the Manor:  Claire’s Story, 1910
by Adele Whitby
I loved this book — it’s a captivating story about an orphan girl who moves to France to live with friends of her family. She befriends a servant girl and the duo realize there are mysteries that must be answered — like what happened to the daughter of the manor and why did her parents send her to this family. Excellent first book in a new series for early readers!

Little Rhino
Little Rhino My New Team
by Ryan Howard and Krystle Howard
You’ll find the themes about making friends and dealing with bullies to be both realistic and helpful. Little Rhino joins a little league baseball team only to discover that the boy who bullies him is on his same team. His wise grandfather and daily lunch at the dinosaur table help Rhino and his shy friend gain new social skills and the confidence to deal with the bully.

Dio-Mike and the T.Rex Attack
by Franco
Michael travels with his paleontologist dad. On this particular trip, Mike wanders off and meets a girl who is trying to trap a REAL dinosaur to send it back in time from where it came. I think kids will enjoy this first book in a new dinosaur adventure series. It’s a simple adventure story with good kid-appeal.

Good Crooks
Good Crooks Missing Monkey!
by Mary Amato, illustrated by Ward Jenkins
What a fun premise! These are children of thieves who really want to do good things, not bad things like their parents. So when their parents steal a monkey from the zoo, the kids must figure out how to return it without their parents figuring out that their children are up to some good.

Sophie Mouse
The Adventures of Sophie Mouse A New Friend
by Poppy Green, illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell
A new student arrives at Sophie’s school — a SNAKE named Owen! (Yikes!) All the mice students are scared. When Sophie tells her parents, they explain that they knew a really nice snake who moved away which makes Sophie think about giving Owen a chance. Owen rescues Sophie from a dangerous situation and they become good friends. This is an enjoyable story with a lovely message of not judging others based on outward appearances.

Lucy Magic Loom
Lucy and the Magic Loom: A Rainbow Loomer’s Adventure Story
by Alice Downes
I liked this story but wonder how much kid appeal it has not that looms aren’t as popular. Lucy gets transported into another world and she must use her magic rainbow loom to face the challenges. For example, she must loom a bridge to cross the river. In this world, she meets a girl from her own world but a different time period who is trapped. Together they determine to free themselves.

Battle Bugs
Battle Bugs #1: The Lizard War
by Jack Patton 
Max LOVES bugs — but he never expects to become one! Not that he’s a bug, he decides to help his new bug friends fight the invading lizards who want the bug’s island. Adventure, battles, and bugs make this a fun first read in a new early chapter book series.

by Peter Hannan
The pets kick out their owners and decide to form their own country — Petlandia. I didn’t love it, neither did my daughter because she didn’t like the way the author portrayed cats, but I think it’s an overall cute story — especially if you love dogs.

Elephitten The Nuttiest Pet Ever. And the Messiest . . .
by Michael Andrew Fox, illustrated by Ed Shems (Petimals #3) REALISTICish Coby wants a pet SO bad — one that is unique, like an elephant. But his parents say no, it’s too big. His solution is to draw an elephant-kitten combination — that’s smaller, right? When he puts it into a 3D printer, the elephitten comes to life. Although the characters are lacking in  development, I enjoyed the technology and imagination themes.

Cornelia Funke Pirate Pig
The Pirate Pig
by Cornelia Funke 
A pig who can sniff out treasure!? That’s a pig whom all pirates want. When the pig is stolen, her best pirate friends, Stout Sam and Pip, endeavor to rescue her. I really want to love Funke’s new beginning reader series but I only mildly like it. Kudos to Funke on fun, colorful illustrations — they remind me of the Mercy Watson books with their structure and age-appropriateness.

Pigsticks Harold Thief
Pigsticks and Harold and the Uptown Thief
by Alex Milway
Even better than the first book, the friends in this story are solving the case of the disappearing statue. The pair look for clues and interview suspects. Fantastic, colorful illustrations aid readers in solving the crime –maybe even before Pigsticks and Harold do. I enjoyed the story so much. It’s a great book to get kids thinking and interacting with the text while reading.

Find more books:

Kindergarten Reading

1st Grade Books

2nd Grade Books

3rd Grade Books

4th Grade Books

5th Grade Books

6th Grade Books

7th Grade Books

Soccer Books

Japan Picture Books

Funny Children’s Books

Best Magazine Subscriptions for Kids

Star Wars Gift Ideas

Minecraft Book Series

Read Aloud Books for Kids

Coding websites for kids

Good Sci fi Books Best sci fi books best science fiction books

Children’s Historical Fiction

Good Mystery Books

Action Books

Books About Kindness

Cat Books

Star Wars Gifts


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  1. We have to check out Hamster Princess! It’s been a struggle getting my early reader to listen to chapter books like her teacher wants. We just haven’t found the right book to “grab” her yet. Thanks for the suggestions!