The best time to teach youngsters about the amazing new horizons waiting for them in books is when they are beginning to read. This is the time to find stories that they can enjoy and develop the desire to read more. The books I have listed below begin with emergent readers that are geared for ages five and six. Early chapter books will conclude this list and they are best for ages seven through nine. An easy and helpful guide to determine an approximate level where your child will have success, and not struggle, is a quick look at how many words are on each page. Few words and a large font equate to beginning readers. These books progress into more independent books, with few illustrations sprinkled throughout and that are not on every page.
What About Worms!?, by Ryan T. Higgins, is another popular “Elephant & Piggie Like Reading” series book. Tiger is the main character and he is an adorable tiger. He is very brave and not afraid of anything – except worms. The varied expressions on Tiger will have your young reader giggling throughout and the illustrations are bright and bold. There is also a nice lesson here dealing with an awareness that everyone has worries.
Wake Up, Crabby! (A Crabby Book), by Jonathan Fenske, is an acorn book geared for the newest readers. This book is the third book in this series and is a delight for new readers. An important ingredient in new readers is repetition and humor. The repetition helps solidify confidence in new readers and humor brings enjoyment which helps navigate the return to the book again and again. These acorn readers have a high success rate in achieving these two ingredients. This story has Planton desiring many things before allowing Crabby to go to bed. And all Crabby wants to do is go to sleep. The book is designed like a graphic novel with bubbles above each character as they speak making this a delightful read.
Snail Finds a Home (PIX), by Mary Peterson, is broken into five easy and brief chapters about an adorable snail and his great love for strawberries. But when he makes himself sick by eating too much, his friend, Ladybug, talks him into leaving his strawberry patch to find a new home. His travels lead to several funny and fun adventures meeting new friends along the way. The illustrations fill each page with vibrant color.
Chick and Brain: Egg or Eyeball?, by Cece Bell, is the second book in this delightful series. The premise of this story is wacky, and kids will love it! Brain just found something in the shape of an oval and it is undeniable that it is an eyeball. However, Chick and Spot say it’s an egg. This hilarious story reads like a graphic book with bubbles and pictures showcasing several scenes on every page. The conclusion to this funny debate will be quite a laugh-out-loud surprise!
The Shark Report #1 (Benny McGee and the Shark), by Derek Anderson, is the first book in a planned series and a beginning chapter book with seven chapters. This book is a perfect segue from emergent to chapter books as the storyline is simple, the words on each page are limited and the chapters are short. Benny is afraid to go into the ocean because sharks live there. When a shark follows him home, his life becomes very complicated. The storyline is fun and funny, and kids will read this book again and again.
Rose’s Dress of Dreams, by Katherine Woodfine, and vividly illustrated by Kate Pankhurst, is based on the life of the creator of beautiful dresses: Rose Berlin. Young Rose dreams of creating colorful, gorgeous dresses made from satin, taffeta and velvet. She went to several dressmaker shops in Paris attempting to get a job and begin her creations, but they all turned her down. However, this did not discourage her, and she kept trying until she finally found work at a dress shop. Through hard work and persistence to follow her dreams, as well as learning the trade along the way, she was able to dress royalty and begin to change the trends of the world. These chapters are short and the illustrations are delightful and are a perfect combination with the storyline.
Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business, by Lyla Lee, and illustrated digitally with black and gray pictures by Dung Ho, is the first book in this planned series and gives insight to a young girl and her Asian upbringing. When Mindy brings a seaweed snack on her first day of school, others sitting nearby think it’s quite strange. But it all changes quickly when her new friend is able to change everyone’s attitude towards this unusual snack. And a new business is born between these two new friends. However, another student is about to sabotage the company making this a great chapter book.
Fabio The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective: Mystery on the Ostrich Express, by Laura James and delightfully illustrated, is the third book in this amusing series. Fabio is a very pink and very clever detective and who discovers a mystery when he boards a fast train with his giraffe friend, Gilbert. A valuable ruby necklace has gone missing and Fabio rises to the thievery as he explores the train to discover the whereabouts of this piece of jewelry. The story reads with much adventure and humor.