When children launch from easy readers to chapter books it is vital that they get to discover the best of the rest. Firstly, for their sake, they need to read books that grab their attention and then keep it. And secondly, for the parent’s sake, because you are probably going to still be helping your beginner reader at this stage and you need a book to be interesting for you too. You cannot encourage anyone to read a book, especially if that person is a little reluctant, if you are not loving it yourself. So here we go… Se7en Fabulous Chapter Books that are hot off the press right now.
Se7en Great Chapter Books
- Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright by Chris Riddell:
- Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden:
- Timmy Failure: Sanitised for your Protection by Stephan Pastis:
- How to Train your Dragon #12: How to Fight a Dragons Fury written and illustrated by Cressida Cowell:
- My Dad’s a Birdman by David Almond and illustrated by Polly Dunbar:
- Princess Mirror-Belle and the Magic Shoes and Princess Mirror-Belle and Prince Precious Paws, Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks:
It is no secret that we love and adore Chris Riddell’s work and the Goth Girl may as well be a member of the family. In fact, one of my children, who shall remain nameless firmly believes that they are the Goth Girl. This is the third in the series and can I say they are not just books they are works of art. From the sprayed edges, to the chalkboard cover, the mini book within the book… not to mention endless and glorious artwork throughout, magical masterpiece after magical masterpiece on every page… This is beautiful through and through and the perfect gift for any book lover of any age. You don’t have to read the whole series, you can dive right in, but honestly you do want to hold all these books in your hands… beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it. Anyway, the story is that Lord Goth is holding a Literary Dogshow and heaps of authors and their dogs arrive at the Ghastly-Gorm Hall to participate. There is a mystery: strange noises, mysterious footprints and disappearing food… never a dull moment. There is a lot in these reads for the grown-up reader, which makes them perfect for reading aloud. You too can meet Ada, the Goth Girl, on her website.
Rumer Godden is one of those names you can trust, for beautiful and timeless stories, that you feel you can climb right into. I read this book as a child, it was one of my first chapter books and I remember the Japanese postcard that I used as a bookmark as I marched on from chapter to chapter. This is the story of a little girl, Nona, who is sent to England from India. She has been raised by her Papa and her elderly Ayah. She finds herself tossed into a cold winter, amidst three boisterous cousins, she isn’t familiar with games and playing with children, she finds the cold unbearable and trips into town overwhelming. And then Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, two Japanese dolls, enter into the story… they arrive as a Christmas package… and Nona surprises the family with her knowledge of Japan, she is an avid reader, of course. The dolls of are real and they have real conversations with the reader. Nona senses the dolls’ loneliness and decides to build them a home, an entirely Japanese home, that she creates through out the story with delicate precision. As the dolls begin to feel happier, so does Nona… this is a beautiful story, in every way. If you have ever wanted to know how to make a wishing tree… or to follow beautiful vintage instructions to make an authentic Japanese doll’s house then this is the book for you. You can read more about Rumer Godden on her website.
Great excitement that the 4th Timmy Failure is out, just saying. We have blogged and raved about Timmy Failure before, in fact he is quite simply yet another member of the family. If you haven’t read #1, #2, or #3 you can dive in with #4… but trust me you are going to want to read them all. Timmy is a detective, with a polar bear sidekick who right now is lying on a coach eating Bon Bons. Timmy makes numerous and hilarious mistakes, simply because he is burdened with the troubles of youth… history tests, school lunches and such. In this rollicking adventure Timmy and his mum are off on a road trip, let’s just say “interesting times.” Honestly, the illustrations make this book, the cartoon characters interact with the words so well. Those readers just launching into chapter books will love this, chapters are only about three pages long, and more advanced readers will enjoy it just as much… because across all ages it is just jolly fun, so much so, that I have had no problem reading it to my gang more than a few times. If you haven’t met Timmy Failure then head straight over to Timmy Failure’s website watch some videos, gather some print outs.
The tragedy is that this is the last in a long and very eventful series… and we are so sad to see the end. This series is pure adventure, pure delight and for the child ready for a little magic… forget the movie (well don’t) but read the books. If your kid’s say they have seen the movie, then just start reading a little way in and leave it lying around. They cannot not be hooked, the writing is interesting and is full of wonderful words. The author assumes that readers are bright and curious and the readers, of course, rise to the occasion!!! This series is a fantastic read for kids that are weary of fat books because long passages are broken up with heaps of interesting illustrations, so even if they are stumbling along, it is easy to make quick and noticeable progress, which is always helpful. The down side is, for fluent and avid readers… these books will be inhaled in seconds… and so they should be. The series is about Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, who is a dragon whisperer and Viking Hero, and of course his world and associated family members. No one thought Hiccup would amount to much, but in this grande finale they need a hero and fast. Hiccup could be the one, or could he? The book is a book of olde… you can read it without reading the earlier part of the series… but you will want to go back, everyone reappears from books past, and there heroes and there is wisdom, there is living-on-the-edge-gotta-turn-the-next-page-ness, as well as undying love, mystery and not a little mayhem. Pure solid fun. Fantastic read, cannot recommend this series enough.
This is a very different, somewhat whimsical book, I was intrigued from the start. Lizzie lives with her Dad who is eccentric to say the least. He believes he is a bird and eats grubs and insects to prove it, and spends hours working on his flying skills. Lizzie is the grown-up in the story, who takes days off school to check on her Dad. From time to time Lizzie’s Aunt Doreen swoops down on their apartment and she is the voice of reason, believing that dumplings will relieve the grief at the loss of Lizzie’s mum. The Great Human Bird Competition is in town… and it is just what is required for Lizzie and her Dad to walk down the road to healing their hearts. There is a real “I can do it” attitude throughout this book and the child with a big imagination will love this book…
I have to say that Princess Mirror-Belle is not my favourite, but my younger girls who are lurching from easy readers into chapter books, love them and love reading them themselves. Some books children are meant to read themselves and that is okay. The books are about a girl called Ellen, who every now and then, every story in fact, discovers her double Princess Mirror-Belle in the mirror. The trouble with Princess Mirror-Belle is she is a naughty version of Ellen, and she doesn’t always have the best intentions. If you read Enid Blyton’s Naughtiest Girl in the School as child, then this is the level of naughtiness. Each story Princess Mirror-Belle arrives, then there is a little bit of an adventure and finally Princess Mirror-Belle returns to the mirror at the end of the story. The first book has two stories and the second one has three:
- Princess Mirror-Belle and Prince Precious Paws: Well here is a little surprise… Ellen is throwing a stick for her dog Splodge, when she sees her reflection in the pond and out pops a very wet Princess Mirror-Belle and her dog.
- Which Witch?: It is Halloween and Ellen is practising a poem she is going to recite with her friend, only her friend comes down with a cold and she is left on her own. Princess Mirror-Belle to the rescue… well almost.
- The Princess Test: Ellen is cleaning the house just before her mum comes home from a week in hospital and dusting her mums’ three-mirrored dresser means that not one, not two, but three Princess Mirror-Belle’s emerge for the mirrors. The trick is to figure out who is the true Mirror-Belle.
- The Golden Goose: Ellen is birdwatching from the window and swings her binoculars round the room for a quick glance, of course she lingers on the mirror and out pops a miniature Princess Mirror-Belle.
li>Princess Mirror-Belle and the Magic Shoes: When Princess Mirror-Belle puts on her magic dancing shoes they just won’t stop dancing and as you can imagine there are quite a few consequences to having dancing feet… especially in dance class.
We recently reviewed this book and got such a positive response to it… and then we had an extra copy of it, it immediately became a GiveAway!!! This is a fabulous book to introduce your kids to the famous storyteller from so many childhoods. My oldest guys are reading it to my littlest gang at bedtime, it is very sweet on every level. The stories are just long enough for a bed time read, stories for boys and stories for girls. Sweet stories, with a little excitement, a couple of adventures, and of course a good dose of magic, and, well, happy endings. It is rather lovely, and satisfying my own sweet holiday memories of lying in a shady spot reading Enid Blyton’s again and again. Good clean fun, of the Enid Blyton variety… what could be better really!!!
Hooray, Hooray, it’s a GiveAway
So we have a copy of Enid Blyton’s Holiday Stories to GiveAway to a lucky reader. This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of play on Sunday, 22 November 2015 and tell us “Your favourite Childhood Chapter Book. We will draw and publish the winners in the Fabulous Fun Post after that. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway.
Our GiveAways are open to everyone: If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away. Postage takes forever from here but eventually it should get to you! Good luck and happy commenting!!!
This post is the second in a series we are writing on the latest and greatest reads, previously:
We would really like to thank PanMacMillan Books South Africa for providing us with the books to review for this post. We would like to declare that this is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to do these reviews, just provided with books. All the opinions are as usual, entirely our own!!!