Sunday, August 18, 2013

Early Chapter Books to the Rescue

Well vacation is now over so the serious work of book recommendations resumes!  Welcome to Monday Book Picks.  This week I am taking on the early chapter book.

Early chapter books represent a significant transition for your child.  They can now follow longer story lines and they are faster at decoding words.

These books are a step up in their reading experience as they learn how to predict what will happen next in a story and follow the logic of the story line when more details and descriptors are presented in the narrative.

A great early chapter book can give them a glimpse of what is to come, and inspire their love of books. So get cracking and get some good stories in front of them.  I promise you won't regret it!

Don't forget to follow One Great Book on Facebook or twitter.  You don't want to miss the next post, I have some sweet stuff coming (see my little homage to Arnie the Doughnut which is a sweet read, by the way!)

Title:       The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut: Bowling Alley Bandit

Author:    Laurie Keller

Target:     Grades 1-3

Series:      This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:
One of my favorite picture book characters has returned for an early reader adventure.  After not getting eaten by Mr. Bing and becoming his doughnut dog, Arnie finds himself accompanying Mr. Bing on all his activities, including bowling.  At the big bowling tournament, Arnie knows something is up when Mr. Bing throws an unheard of gutter ball.  Is there foul play involved?

Why I love this book:
Keller has kept so many of the elements that made her picture book, Arnie the Doughnut, so charming - the funny asides and the knee slapping humor.  As Arnie says on the cover, “I beat out two muffins and an onion bagel for the starring role in this chapter book!”

This is the type of book that gets read more than once as kids discover new jokes, funny comments and interesting details in the illustrations.  There is so much to find and appreciate that parents won’t even mind reading it with their kids, and I don’t say that often about an early chapter book!

Who this book is for:
There are plenty of illustrations on every page of this book and usually one or two paragraphs per page.  The bigger issue is vocabulary and humor.  The word choices are a little more difficult and some of the jokes are more sophisticated.

Final thoughts:
I love the invention of the seventh-frame stretch for bowling, replete with song!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Bowling Alley Bandit (Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Title:       Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters

Author:    Lenore Look

Target:     Grades 1-4

Series:      Yes

What this book is about:
No matter how petrified you many be about life, you will never match the worry level of Alvin Ho!  In this installment of the Alvin Ho series,  Alvin ends up having to go on a camping trip, but since he is one to plan for every possible outcome, he has brought along: night vision goggles, a backup generator, a heavy duty flashlight and water purification tablets.  As he worries and frets his way through this trip, he comes out of it with a new appreciation for nature, and his family.

Why I love this book:
Alvin is just wonderfully funny and I have to admit there is a scene were the ever patient dad gets caught in a dangling trap that had me laughing out loud.  What makes Alvin such a great character for kids is that his fears go to the extreme, so no matter what your child may be concerned about, they are never as nervous as Alvin.  I think this provides a great amount of comfort and allows kids to take a humorous look at their own phobias.

The characters around Alvin are also so well done.  His sister Anibelly is the perfect foil for Alvin, as she bravely and naively marches into any situation.  His father is understanding and helpful as he pushes Alvin ever so gently out of his comfort zone.

But in the end, these books will simply make kids laugh.

Who this book is for:
Kids have to feel comfortable with chapter books, but there are illustrations liberally scattered on just about every other page.

Final thoughts:
Nice that the main character is Asian American to provide some diversity for kids.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Title:       Daisy’s Perfect Word

Author:   Sandra Feder

Target:    Grades 1-3

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
Daisy’s favorite thing to do is collect words.  When her teacher, Miss Goldner announces she will be getting married and leaving the school, Daisy wants to get her the perfect going away present.  But what will it be?  Daisy decides on a very original gift, but can she find it in time?

Why I love this book:
This book is absolutely charming, and with just the right amount of suspense, kids will be hanging on to the very end.  Daisy must find the perfect word as her present, and my daughter and I were so curious to find out what it was.

This book is also a lovely way to introduce the power of words to kids, without feeling preachy or like you are delivering a lesson.  I love the way the author evaluates the words that Daisy might pick, encouraging kids to think about what their word choices will convey.  A book that might make your child a better writer - not too shabby for an early chapter book.

Who this book is for:
My daughter loved it, and she is very finicky so I think it will be a hit with most kids.  The illustrations might feel a little girly, so boys may be less inclined to pick it up, but the story certainly will engage both boys and girls.  Readers must feel confident with chapters that have a scattering of illustrations.

Final thoughts:
Can you put the book down, or will you be so curious about the perfect word for Miss Goldner that you read the book in one sitting?  But don’t peak at the ending ... come on that’s cheating!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Daisy's Perfect Word  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

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