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Early Chapter Books For Young Readers

This week concludes my review of books geared for new readers. Many of these early chapter books are the first in planned new series. They are all excellent reads and most likely will entice kids, ages six to eight, into the joys of reading.  All of these books have illustrations sprinkled throughout to help propel the story and retain the interest of the reader.  The first books are a bit easier with less chapters, bigger font and less words. But as the list progresses, the books become more difficult. However, even by the end of the list they are still considered easy chapter books.

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Duck for a Day, by Meg McKinlay, and illustrated by Leila Rudge, is a story about the calamities of a class pet when it’s brought to a student’s home for overnight.  Abby is very organized and orderly and prepares for the class duck in every way. But her neighbor, Noah, is messy and unorganized. How these two unlikely kids come together to find the lost pet will produce many smiles throughout this book.

Judy Moody’s Mini-Mysteries and Other Sneaky Stuff for Super-Sleuths, by Megan McDonald, and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, not only has six short mysteries and helpful advice to become a detective, but is terrific in helping young authors develop their writing skills and incorporate this genre into their repertoire.

Sadie and Ratz, by Sonya Hartnett, and illustrated by Ann James, is a story about how an older sister, Hannah, copes with her baby brother. The ways Hannah copes and ultimately adjusts with her young sibling will surely bring about much discussion as the story progresses.

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Mrs. Noodlekugel, by Daniel Pinkwater, is a new genre for this celebrated children’s author and hopefully this will be the first in a series. Young Maxine, and her brother Nick, have just moved into a high-rise. But when looking out the window at just the right angle they spot a tiny house with a yard that is completely surrounded by buildings. Soon the children seek the house and its owner, sweet elderly Mrs. Noodlekugel – and off goes the story.

Little Wings:  Willa Bean’s Cloud Dreams, by Cecilia Galante, and illustrated by Kristi Valiant, is the first in a series that is set in the clouds. Willa Bean isn’t your typical Cupid Angel and she has just discovered that her unusual color of purple wings just won’t fly. Girls will especially like this new series of books.

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Heidi Heckelbeck and the Cookie Contest, by Wanda Coven, and illustrated by Pricilla Burris, is another new series. This is the third book in this lively series with Heidi baking a magical cookie for the school’s cookie contest while no one knows about her powers.

Mermaid Tales: Trouble at Trident Academy, by Debbie Dadey, was published in May with two more books currently in this series. Shelly is going to a new school deep in the ocean, but she’s nervous. Will she fit in?  Will others like her?  This book is perfect for the beginning of school.

The Adventures of Jo Schmo: Dinos Are Forever, by Greg Trine, and illustrated by Frank W. Dormer, is part of a new series featuring Jo and her dog. She’s just a normal 4th grader when suddenly a magical superhero cape arrives from her uncle and her life is about to change.

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Marty McGuire Digs Worms!, by Kate Messner, and illustrated by Brian Floca, is one in a series of books where Marty experiences many adventures while in 3rd grade. Teachers will love this particular book because of the many teachable moments during the experiments.

I Don’t Believe it, Archie, by Andrew Norriss, and illustrated by Hannah Shaw, is a hilarious adventure about Archie and all the crazy, random things that happen to him daily.  Could there be a reason?  Kids will read to the end to find out. The author is from England so there are some references that parents can explain to children (e.g., mum, lorry, etc.).

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Lawn Mower Magic, by Lynne Jonell, and illustrated by Brandon Dorman, is a delightful story and the second in this magic series, “Hamster Magic” was the first book.  The Willow kids are sick when they discover their nice lawn mower has stopped working. But then everything changes when they find an old push mower in the shed that’s loaded with magic!

Fourth Grade Rats, by Jerry Spinelli, is a reissue and a great story about bullying and how to deal with kids that try to overpower others.

Third Grade Angels is Spinelli’s newest edition for young readers and a prequel to “Fourth Grade Rats”.  The subject is how to be the best behaved for a month in class. Suds is determined to accomplish this very difficult task – at least for him.

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Libby of High Hopes, by Elise Primavera, is hopefully the first in a series as this charming story demonstrates patience and heart.  Libby dreams everything about horses. But her older sister ends up getting the chance to take riding lessons. Now, Libby has to deal with not achieving her dreams, being nice to her sister and still looking toward her goal of being with horses.

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