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Finding the right books to keep new readers excited about reading – without making the books too hard –is always a challenge. Here are books that begin with emergent readers and progress to early chapter books. The last three books are perfect to read out loud to your children ages four through seven.

The Good for Nothing Button, by Charlise Mericle Harper, is the newest book in the delightful Mo Willems “Elephant & Piggie Like Reading” series. This outstanding series features simple stories with few words but the three stories are very clever and new readers will thrive on the storyline and humor found in them. This book is a perfect example. The book is about a button. Yellow Bird exclaims that this button does nothing, but Red Bird and Blue Bird anticipate something might happen when they push the button. The funny expressions of all involved, along with a simple introduction and conclusion with Gerald Elephant and Piggie, make this a winner!

 Chuck’s Truck, by Peggy Perry Anderson, is full of rhyming words making this “Green Light Reader Level 1” fun and easy to read. Farmer Chuck is taking his truck to town but all his barnyard animals want to go along. Some of the animals include Luck the duck, two dogs called Nip and Tuck and his horse Huck. The color is bright and inviting. “Green Light Readers” always show the reading level making them perfect for new readers. 

Snail & Worm Again, by Tina Kugler, is a follow up of another favorite book of mine, “Snail & Worm”. In this book, there are once again three little short stories tying these two friends together in more adventures. The stories are funny and so are the illustrations. This book showcases friendship and appreciation. 

Fergus and Zeke, by Kate Messner, and delightfully illustrated by Heather Ross, features a longer story with more text and four chapters. Zeke is a cute little mouse and the class pet. When the class goes on a field trip to a museum, he desires to go along hidden away in a student’s backpack. Once Zeke arrives he can’t seem to find a buddy like all of the students that are in the class. However, he eventually finds the perfect companion. This looks like the beginning of a nice new series.

The Kid From Planet Z: Crash!, by Nancy Krulik, and illustrated with fun humor by Louis Thomas, is the first book in this planned series. (Book two is titled “The Kid From Planet Z: Don’t Sneeze”). Zeke’s spaceship has just crash-landed on Earth. Now he, along with his family, must try and act human. The only problem is they have a hard time hiding their antennae. The story has a great premise making it a perfect read especially for reluctant readers or kids that haven’t caught the reading bug.

Animal Planet Adventures is a terrific new non-fiction, early chapter book. This series is a great introduction to non-fictional topics and includes “Dolphin Rescue” by Catherine Nichols, “Bugs!” by James Buckley, Jr. and “Farm Friends Escape” by Gail Herman

Ada Lace, on the Case, by Emily Calandrelli, with Tamson Weston, and illustrated by Renee Kurilla, is a smart new mystery series featuring third-grader Ada. She is a whiz at science, math and solving mysteries with technology. There is just a sprinkling of black and white pictures found throughout – just enough to keep the reader very engaged. Ada uses scientific observation and hypotheses to discover the solution to the mysteries. Be sure to check out additional information on the science used in the story. The rest of the books are great to read-out-loud for this age.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile, by Laura Amy Schlitz, and colorfully illustrated with ink, watercolor and gouache by Brian Floca, has humor and a clever storyline that will have your young ones giggling and begging you to not stop reading. Princess Cora is tired of being a princess and having three daily baths and reading boring books that her mother requires. She just wants to go outside and play and get dirty and have fun. So she writes to her fairy godmother and asks for help. But what d

oes she receive the next morning? She opens a large box revealing a large green crocodile who proceeds to help her be a child. This perfect book can be read in one sitting.

Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of The Wizard of Oz, by Michael Morpurgo, is the story of the Wizard of Oz told through the eyes of Toto, the little black dog. The colorfully bright illustrations, by Emma Chichester Clark, are found on almost every page and beautifully move the story along. This retelling of the classic tale is a perfect read-out-loud for youngsters.

Word of Mouse, by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, and sprinkled with illustrations by Joe Sutphin, is quite an adventure that follows a blue mouse named Isaiah. He has been separated from his family and placed in a laboratory and because of experiments tried on him he not only is blue but he can read and write. He escapes to find more danger on the outside with cats, owls and people. Here is a book that your little listener will beg for you to read “just one more chapter” every night!