I’m so excited to tell you I’ve found even more recently published early chapter book gems for your beginning readers.
The more a child reads, the better he’ll get. Practice makes better. (In most cases. Not in the case of kids with learning disabilities. Find out the warning signs of a learning disability.)
Beginning (Early) Chapter Books
Sydney & Simon Full STEAM Ahead! by Paul A. Reynolds, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Amazing! I loved this easy chapter book 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 (early reader in chapters)
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?
Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes (early reader in chapters) 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.
Kung Pow Chicken: Bok! Bok! Boom! by Candi Marko
Gordon, a superhero chicken, and his little brother Benny must rescue an opera singer from the evil Dr. Screech. This is an entertaining comic-style story with lots of laughs!
Boris Gets a Lizard by Andrew Joyner (easy reader in chapters)
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.
The Greatest Star on Earth (Three-Ring Rascals) by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
When a newspaper reporter decides to write about the greatest star of the circus, all the performers worry so much that they end up getting sabotaging their own acts. Soon the circus is left with no performers and a stand-in ring master (who is helped along by the smart book-writing mice.) This is a fun and funny easy chapter book in a new series, Three Ring Rascals, that both my daughter and I enjoyed.
Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion by R. A. Spratt, illustrated by Dan Santat
I can’t believe I missed this series until now! It’s totally charming and entertaining. This is another adventure about a family with children whose dad detests the children and tries to get rid of them (to Nicaragua in this case) but their amazing nanny (who is a pig) always figures out how to outsmart the dad. In this particular story, Nanny invites a foreign exchange student to live with them, tames a lion, and saves the day. I love the Nanny Piggins beginning chapter books!
Leroy Nicker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
This is a more challenging chapter books than the ones listed above. If you’ve read and enjoyed the Mercy Watson books, then you’ll want to check out this book about one of Mercy’s quirky side characters, the tiny cowboy-wanna-be, Leroy. However, this story and characters are not as appealing to me as the Mercy books. In this story, Leroy gets himself a horse who he must compliment, feed, and stay nearby to keep her happy. They all have toast with Mercy’s family at the end which ties it in to the other series. I think it’s lacking in relatable characters.
Monkey Me and the New Neighbor by Timothy Roland
What a fun and imaginative easy reader story! Clyde turns into a mischievous monkey when he gets excited – which ends up being a big disaster when he’s in school. To make matters worse, his principal moves NEXT DOOR. Then, he sees his new neighbor’s house being burglarized and finds the robbers, saving the day.
The Case of the Stolen Sixpence by Holly Webb
I’m not sure if kids will find this story, set in Victorian England, totally relatable. I think kids need to have enough background knowledge about the setting and characters when they’re reading beginning chapter books. That being said, the story is interesting. Our heroine solves a mystery and helps a friend. The line drawing illustrations are lovely and helpful to understanding the developing plot. See what you think and let me know!
Stink and the Shark Sleepover by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
I loved this adventure because it’s an exciting adventure as well as it includes a lot of factual information about marine life. Stink gets to sleep over at the aquarium. While he’s there, he learns more about sharks, gets to solve a mystery, learns a ghost story, and has tons of fun. I like that kids can easily relate to the characters in the story, as well as the setting. Of course, the Peter H. Reynolds illustrations are ah-mazing as always.
Shelter Pet Squad: Jelly Bean by Cynthia Lord
I’m a big fan of Cynthia Lord’s middle grade books and I really like this new series, too. Suzannah joins the Shelter Pet Squad because her apartment building doesn’t allow pets. She meets a sad girl who has to leave her guinea pig, Jelly Bean, at the shelter due to moving. Suzannah promises the girl she’ll find Jelly Bean a good home. Only it’s not as easy as she first though. The Shelter Pet Squad works together to find the perfect home — a kindergarten classroom.
Unicorn Magic: Bella’s Birthday Unicorn by Jessica Burkhart
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.
Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert, illustrated by Sam Ricks
Sam isn’t thrilled about becoming hall monitor. Especially when he discovers that the school is ALIVE and trying to harm he and the other students. Sam has quite a wild adventure trying to save the students from the school. I think kids who like sort of scary things (it’s not too bad) will enjoy this book.
Lulu’s Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Don’t you just love our little stinker of a heroine? And that quirky narrator who in this book warns us RIGHT AWAY that there may or may not even be a mysterious mission, that it’s actually about Lulu’s babysitter. And, indeed, it is about the best babysitter in the world, a trained professional, who is good with problem children like our Lulu. Hilarious and entertaining – another win for the Lulu series!
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