If you parent or teach growing readers ages 6 to 9, you’ll want to know about the latest books! HAPPY READING!
Dirt and Bugsy Beetle Mania by Megan Litwin, illustrated by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn
Penguin Young Readers continues to use outdated F&P leveling — which is NOT HELPFUL in terms of decodability. However, this book is one of the more accurate level 2 books I’ve seen in the marketplace even though it doesn’t have controlled vocabulary or repetition of high-frequency words. That being said, I really like the story about bugs and think you can use this with children in a shared reading experience.
(*Penguin Young Readers (and every publisher) needs to update their back cover description and STOP USING F&P LEVELING. It’s not researched-based. It’s not decodable-based. It’s not helpful to parents, teachers, or children.)
See the Ghost: Three Stories About Things You Cannot See by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
This is the SILLY third early reader book in the SEE THE CAT series that kids will love. Why? Because of the invisible things. Like a ghost who scares itself! And the wind that blows the words off the page. And the fairy who is so small you cannot see her…and who uses her magic wand on the ghost, the dog, the cat to do WHAT? You’ll have to read it to find out! The amazing illustrations are full of personality, action, and charm.
Beginning Chapter Books
Rainbow Days written by Valerie Bolling, illustrated by Kai Robinson
In this new Acorn series, Zita and her dog love making art together. Even when it’s rainy and gray, they use color and glitter to brighten up the walls inside. A cute first book!
Dory Fantasmagory Can’t Live Without You by Abby Hanlon
I actually laughed out loud in this funny, wildly imaginative sixth book in the Dory series! In fact, it’s probably the funniest character in all of children’s literature. A misplaced mom at the hardware store leads to big feelings. So does Dory’s disastrous dance class. Then, Mrs. Gobble Gracker says she’s going to marry Dory’s dad. WHAT?! Finally, Dory’s mom returns to work, and the kids get a new babysitter who Dory thinks is super cool. The babysitter’s arrival lead to Dory’s siblings pretending to see Dory’s imaginary friends which is hilarious.
The Story of Gumluck the Wizard by Adam Rex
A grumpy raven named Helvetica narrates the story of meeting the little wizard named Gumluck. Gumluck is a bit bumbling and hapless, but as our narrator watches him, she learns he has a big heart. Unfortunately, his generous heart means he’s constantly taken advantage of by the ungrateful villagers. Gumluck continues helping others and hopes to be crowned Harvest Hero. Then, when the king’s castle topples over from all the gold Gumluck made for the king, Gumluck, Helvetica, and a child save the villagers from death by castle. Playful writing with charming characters, this is a delightful story.
A to Z Animal Mysteries The Absent Alpacas by Kayla Whaley, illustrated by Chloe Burgett
This new mystery series with an animal focus is written by a different author than the original A to Z mysteries. It offers readers more representation with a girl in a chair and main characters of color. Also different is that the illustrations are in full color. I liked it, but didn’t love it. I wonder what your readers will think. Let me know! In this story, the friends investigate a group of missing alpacas belonging to their friend who is falsely accused of stealing them.
The Puppets of Spelhorst written by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Five puppets with big dreams search for their purpose from one owner to the next until they arrive at a family with an imaginative girl. The girl puts on a heartfelt play using all five puppets, a play that seems to reflect the real life of her maid, Jane Twiddum. That play gives the puppets their life purpose, and they find meaning and contentment. I felt like the story lagged until the mid-point when they arrived at the little girl’s house, but then it picked up. It’s on the harder end of chapter books — more of a third grade reading level than first or second.
Where’s Joon? by Julie Kim
I’m not sure exactly the level of this graphic novel picture book, but it’s 120 pages, so we’ll call it a chapter book. It’s an illustrated, bilingual, whimsical adventure about a little girl named Jin searching for her little brother Joon while on an errand in a magical world of stories. When she finds Joon, she learns that he’s broken their mother’s magic pot. Jaw-dropping art with vibrant colors.
Sejal Sinha Battles Superstorms by Maya Prasad, illustrated by Abira Das
It’s Diwali. Sejal’s cousin comes over with her family. But her cousin, Mira, doesn’t like to pretend play anymore. When a storm knocks out the power, Sejal convinces Mira to fly in her cardboard box plane to investigate and stop the hurricane. They have a BIG adventure filled with learning more about hurricanes from observations and a plane of scientific researchers.