New Books for Growing Readers Ages 5 – 8

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Dear parents and teachers of growing readers, you’ll be so happy to see how many fantastic new easy readers and new easy chapter books have been published around this month! (December 2019)


ACORN BOOKS: The new Acorn easy (early) reader books from Scholastic are exciting! I reviewed Hello, Hedgehog! and Unicorn and Yeti books a few months back and today I am sharing the Bumble and Bee and Moby Shinobi series. If you go to my list of The Best Easy Reader Books for 5-and 6-Year Olds, look for the books with the ACORN word and picture in the top right corner, you’ll see all the books I’ve liked and reviewed.


BRANCHES BOOKS: Branches launched two new beginning chapter book series this month, too — Unicorn Diaries and Once Upon a Fairy Tale which you’ll see below as well.


I hope you find lots of new books to share with your kids!


Don’t Worry, BEE Happy
by Ross Burach
(An ACORN easy reader book for ages 4 – 7)
Sure to give readers the giggles, this cute story in cartoon format is about two bees named Bumble and Bee and their grumpy frog friend and everything that happens in their day…told in short stories. From picture day to hiccups to a dance party, you’ll love their unlikely friendship and entertaining antics.
Added to: The Best Easy Reader Books for 5-and 6-Year Olds.


Surf’s Up (Moby Shinobi and Toby Too!)
by Luke Flowers
(An ACORN easy reader book for ages 4 – 7)
Moby the ninja and his dog go to the beach. In these short stories, they discover that no matter what they do like building a sandcastle, it’s always better if they work together. Rhyming, easy-to-read text, adorable characters, and fun stories make this a new must-read for beginning readers.
Added to: The Best Easy Reader Books for 5-and 6-Year Olds.


I’m giddy about this magical, sweet new series — this first book is absolutely enchanting, and not in a cheesy way at all. I love the diary format, we feel connected to the main character Bo (short for Rainbow) as he shares about his life in Sparklegrove Forest where he lives along with other magical creatures. I loved the plot about a new friend, disappointments, helping others, and figuring out what’s really important in life — friendship!
Added to: Easy Chapter Books for 6- and 7-Year-Olds.


Pug Blasts Off (Diary of a Pug)
 by Kyla May
(A BRANCHES early chapter book for ages 6 – 8)
Narrated in diary format by a lovable pug named Bub with plenty of illustrations and large sized text, we learn that Bub is afraid of water but loves to craft just like his person, Bella. In fact, he’s going to help her invent the best craft project ever. Unfortunately, disaster strikes when a mischievous squirrel interferes. Bub must face his biggest fears in order to fix things for Bella. Luckily, he’s a brilliant problem solver!
Added to: Easy Chapter Books for 6- and 7-Year-Olds.


Get ready to laugh at these well-intentioned yet oblivious squirrels who don’t recognize their friend, Wink Squirrel, when he’s in his Superhero Reader costume. When the squirrel friends can’t read a sign, the Mystery Reader bravely reads the mysterious sign using his letter-sound knowledge to sound out and decode the word– STOP. The other squirrels try his techniques, too. And they even try to sound out his business card. Which leads to more lacking-common-sense confusion and silliness. Plus, there’s more: punny Acorn-y Jokes, a Book of Wonders about writing, and the story of how Mo Willems created the book.


This second Unlimited Squirrel book is longer than the Elephant and Piggie books and it feels too long to me. It includes some repetition of words (very important for new readers) but is less than the Elephant and Piggie or Cat the Cat books. And in the Book of Wonders section, a new reader wouldn’t be able to read the text as it’s at a much higher level than the rest of the book. Overall, it’s a bit disjointed. Also, the strategy of “sounding out” a word is very limited so I wish the book included that it is only ONE way. Parents often fall back on the “sound it out” strategy as their only tool for decoding and it doesn’t always work for many reasons which I won’t go into in this review. I would have loved to see the squirrels tracking the letters in the words with a finger, using the picture and context clue (a red octagon street sign), and so forth.


Sadiq and the Desert Star
by Siman Nuurali, illustrated by Anjan Sarkar
Not only is this a great STEM story about a young boy who finds the stars to be fascinating, but it’s also a story with diversity because Sadiq’s Muslim family is originally from Somalia. The story is also about how after a field trip to the planetarium, Sadiq and his friends start a space club and work together to raise money for a DIY telescope. Growing readers will enjoy the friendship, teamwork, STEM topics, and diversity found in this first book of the Sadiq series from Capstone Publishing’s Picture Window Books.
Added to: Books with Muslim Characters, Easy Chapter Books for 6- and 7-Year-Olds & Beginning Chapter Books with Diverse Main Characters.


Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle
by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
(ages 6 – 9)
Featuring all the princesses superheroes trying to rid their kingdoms of a super disgusting stench! What is that horrible smell asks the Princess in Black? Starting with the Princess in Black, one after another the princesses attempt to get rid their kingdom of the gross smell but accidentally send it into another princesses’ kingdom. Soon, they discover the source of the super stinky monster and work together to give the smelly monster…a bath! This newest addition to the series is a fun story of girl-power, teamwork, and kindness.
Added to: Easy Chapter Books for 6- and 7-Year-Olds.


Creature Campers The Secret of Shadow Lake
by Joe McGee, Bea Tormo
(ages 6 – 8)
Readers will enjoy the full color, expressive illustrations that accompany an entertaining story about mythical creatures (and one human) going to summer camp. A very tall Bigfoot named Norm doesn’t want to go to camp and hates being different. At camp, he meets a human kid named Oliver who thinks Norm might eat him. Little do the campers know that there’s a nefarious creature collector named Barnaby Soup lurking nearby preparing to capture a Bigfoot. Plus, they have to go canoeing and avoid the scary lake monster… Relatable themes of feeling like an outsider and making new friends plus some dry humor make this a fun, readable story.
Added to: Easy Chapter Books for 6- and 7-Year-Olds.


Undersea Mystery Club Problem at the Playground
by Courtney Carbone, illustrated by Melanie Demmer
(ages 6 – 8)
Not only is this beginning chapter book a creative, entertaining mystery story with adorable full-color illustrations but it shows the power of problem-solving, listening, and working together. Mermaid Violet and her best friend, the always-hungry narwhal named Wally, excitedly watch as her mother the mayor cuts the ribbon for the new playground. But their joy is short-lived because the playground falls apart, one piece after another because all the screws, hinges, and nails are missing!! Luckily, Violet and Wally love mysteries. For this mystery, they brainstorm and look for clues. While they’re watching the playground, they notice a rock undoing the screws. Gotcha! It turns out that the culprits are collector crabs who didn’t know they were causing trouble. In the end, the crabs join the community to rebuild the playground. Helpful back matter provides information and photos about decorator crabs, narwhals, and civil engineers.
Added to: Easy Chapter Books for 6- and 7-Year-Olds.


Truman the Dog (My Furry Foster Family)
by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer
(ages 6 – 9)
Introduce readers to fostering pets until they find a forever home. This story shows the tentative beginnings followed by bonding and a growing relationship, then the feelings that come when the pet finds a forever home. Kaita’s experience helping a Labrador named Truman feels true-to-life and might just inspire you to become a foster family for a pet, too. Added to: Easy Chapter Books for 6- and 7-Year-Olds & Beginning Chapter Books with Diverse Main Characters.


Readers who love fantasy, adventure, and mystery, you are going to love this story of two good friends who travel to help the ice and sun princesses solve two big problems to save The Enchanted Kingdom from everlasting summer… When Kara learns the ice princess is in trouble, she and her best friend Zed travel to her ice palace to help fix her magic mirror that is shattered in pieces and missing a piece. Not only do they have no clues but they also want to help the argumentative sisters get along and share their beloved pet monkey between them. Will the friends be able to solve both problems? You know it! And you’ll be as excited for me to keep reading in this new series — it’s fantasy-tastic!
Added to: Best Books for 7-Year-Olds & Beginning Chapter Books with Diverse Main Characters.


Magical Land of Birthdays
by Amirah Kassem
(ages 7 – 10)
This story features many cultures starting with the main character, Amirah who lives in Mexico with Arabic heritage. Amirah loves cooking and baking and when her neighbor gives her an old cookbook titled The Power of Sprinkles, Amirah knows it’s the perfect cookbook for her upcoming birthday cake. Strangely enough, there’s a recipe inside called Amirah’s Birthday Cake! Even stranger, that night, she’s transported to the Magical Land of Birthdays where she meets other kids with the exact same birthdate as her who are from different areas of the world. Together they have an exciting, magical adventure that includes finding a missing B-Bud girl, parties, unicorns, and of course, cake.


New Books for Growing Readers Ages 5 - 8 (2019)
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