Sunday, February 5, 2012

Conquering the Early Chapter Book

Early chapter books are the biggest struggle for new readers and parents.  Kids want to move up to chapters to feel more grownup, but some early chapter books are too hard and some are too easy.  This is a critical time when kids are first learning to read and parents are afraid that a book that is too hard will turn kids off, but some of the easier books have such simple stories that they don't inspire your child.  What is a parent to do?

First don't give up.  We are fortunate that some great authors have made the leap to early chapter books, such as Newbery winner Kate DeCamillo, with her Mercy Watson series profiled below.  There is also a greater interest by publishers in this age group, so the selection and quality has grown.

I hope you find a few contenders among this weeks offerings!  Don't forget to "like" One Great Book on Facebook!

Title:          The Cat on the Mat is Flat
Author:     Andy Griffiths
Target:      Grades K-2
Series:       Yes, but there are only two books
What this book is about:
Nine silly tongue twisting rhymes about a cat, a rat and a baseball bat, or Bill and Phil and the Very Big Hill to name a few
Why I love it:
Silliness abounds in this easy reader book.  The writing is for new readers but the book looks like a chapter book, so kids will feel quite grown up reading it! Each rhyme is a story with a funny ending, so kids will be engaged to see how the story ends.
Who this book is for:
Early readers, but reluctant readers or older children who are having difficulty reading will especially like this book.  While the words are simple, the humor can be a little more sophisticated.  
Final thoughts:
”Nine silly rhymes, and a pig that slimes, from a writer voted BEST by the New York Times!”  Enjoy.

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: The Cat on the Mat Is Flat

Title:          Mercy Watson to the Rescue

Author:     Kate DiCamillo
Target:      Grade K-2
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
Mercy Watson is a pig, who also happens to be a beloved member of the Watson family.  When she decides to crawl into bed with the Watsons, the floor boards break under the weight and only Mercy can get out.  When Mercy ambles over and incites the neighbors she is unwittingly deemed a hero for saving the day, when in fact, she was just looking for a snack.
Why I love this book:
This is a fun adventure with a lovable pig and a big series of misunderstandings which the reader is in on!  The illustrations are perfect and capture the essence of the story.  Our villain, the neighbor Eugenia, runs around throughout the book in a bathrobe and curlers only to be outwitted by a delightful pig.  Each book in the series is a charm.
Who this book is for:
This is for children just starting chapter books.  Illustrations are plentiful and the big type and spacing make the pages feel manageable.
Final thoughts:
A delightful beginning chapter book!

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: Mercy Watson to the Rescue

Title:          Alvin Ho
Author:     Lenore Look
Target:      Grade 2-3
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
Alvin Ho is afraid of everything including elevators, tunnels, substitute teachers, wasabi, shots and school.  In fact when he is at school he can’t seem to talk at all.  In this book he tries to face his fears and find friends with very funny and clever results.  
Why I love this book:
Alvin is a wonderful character and the author has given us a rare glimpse into how his brain works!  Despite being afraid of everything, he is intelligent and clever.  His absolute innocence makes him even funnier as he curses in Shakespearian verse and puts together his PDK (personal disaster kit!)  This book is so well done, and I am always impressed when books at this level can create complete characters who have charm and humor.
Who this book is for:
This book is for children who are comfortable with chapter books.  There are illustrations throughout, but the pages are substantive so they will be overwhelming for a child just starting chapter books.
Final thoughts:
Alvin Ho is a boy you should get to know!

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

Name:          Franny K. Stein:Lunch Walks Among Us
Author:      Jim Benton
Target:       Grade 1-3
Series:         Yes
What this book is about:
Franny is not a normal little girl, she likes bats, tarantulas and test tubes.  In fact she considers herself a mad scientist!  But even a mad scientist needs friends and she finally discovers that friends don’t have to like all the same things.
Why I love this book:
This book is funny and I love that there is nothing typical about Franny.  The lessons in the book are nice, but they are never at the expense of a fun and entertaining story!  I like that a girl character can be so appealing and not fall into the stereotypical typecasting for girls
Who this book is for:
This book is absolutely great for boys and girls.  In fact it was my older son who first discovered the series.  The vocabulary is advanced in some places, so it could be frustrating for a first grader, depending on their reading level, but there are plenty of illustrations so the pages never seem overwhelming.
Final thoughts:
A fun read for kids wanting to start chapter books.

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: Lunch Walks Among Us (Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist)

No comments:

Post a Comment