In the journey of reading… from picture books to classics there is a vast array of books that make up the little steps and books in between. Jut above the level of easy readers and not quite the level of chapter books… these books are fun and vibrant reads where all the illustrations form an integral part of the story. When you child lurches into the world of reading and still needs a little (or a lot, depending), then these books are it. Firstly, they are fun for parents to read too and they fill the gap in bed time stories when your children want a little more than a picture book but they aren’t quite ready for a saga. The chapter’s tend to be short and sweet, the stories designed to grab your attention and the illustrations will capture you. These books are great and if you are looking for something fun to read with kids of all ages then these books are a great choice…
Se7en + 1 of the Latest Easy Chapter Books
- The Mysterious Traveller and the Night Sky Dragons by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham: Oh my word, these are the most beautiful books… you will read them and hold your breathe… magical.
- Night Sky Dragons illustrated by Patrick Benson: This is the story of a small boy, Yazul, who lives in a Han, a place of safety along the Silk Road. He and his grandfather have a great relationship and spend hours together making beautiful kites. Yazul’s father is disappointed in his son and wants Yazul to work harder and take life a lot more seriously. (spoiler alert) Their town is under siege and Yazul uses his kite making skills to conquer the enemy… he and his grandpa create sky dragons and the enemy flees… and at last his father smiles at him and Yazul knows everything is going to be good from now on.
- Mysterious Traveller illustrated by P.J.Lynch: Is the story of Mariama, a girl raised in the Great Desert, the Sahara, by an old man who discovered her when she was a baby, abandoned in the desert after a sand storm. The old man is a desert guide, he knows more about the desert than anyone around, but in his old age he goes blind… and Mariama becomes his eyes. One day three visitors arrive and demand to be taken over a difficult route, until they discover that the old man is blind and head out into the desert on their own. Together Mariana and the old man catch up to the visitors and (spoiler alert) rescue them… and there is a surprise waiting for Mariane in the end of this book…
- The Gaskitt Family Stories by Allan Ahlberg: are pure fun and if you haven’t read them, then look out for them. Lovely beginner mysteries to read. The family consists of Mr and Mrs Gaskitt and nine year old twins, Gus and Gloria, and their cat, Horace. The children’s teacher, Mrs Fritter always has some sort of accident close to the start of the book and ends up with a crazy replacement teacher. The illustrations are perfect, lovely and busy… but not crazy busy. There are clever little things to look out for through out the books… the doormat changes all the time, the refrigerator has little messages for the family. You can read a lovely interview with Allan Ahlberg here, and meet the illustrator, Katherine McEwen on her website here.
- The Cat Who Got Carried Away by Allan Ahlberg: Mrs Gaskitt spends almost the entire book in bed, but why? And then there is a huge black pram wandering through town and the children have a replacement teacher who is quite exceptional. And all the pets are going missing… all the questions do actually get answered. Just a fun read, that my beginner readers have loved.
- The Man Who Wore All of His Clothes by Allan Ahlberg: Mr Gaskitt gets up in the morning and puts on all his clothes… all of them!then he heads for work and we find ourselves caught up in car chase across town, that somehow involves the whole family. It is only on the second last page, after a very interesting read, that you find out why he wears all his clothes to work.
- The Woman Who Won Things by Allan Ahlberg: Mrs Gaskitt is on a winning streak… she keeps winning amazing prizes, like a year’s supply of Crunchy Mice cat food. Otherwise the children’s replacement teacher is the most amazing Mrs Plum, there is nothing she cannot do… and then things start to go missing. This is really a first mystery and a great one at that.
- Swashbuckle Lil, The Secret Pirate by Elli Woollard and Laura Ellen Anderson: Well as most of you know, Hood #8 is our resident pirate, and I have to say he was a little shocked to think that I was going to read a book about a girl pirate… but that song very quickly changed to read more, read more… this is pure fun. Two books in one and we read each of them in a sitting… because they are pure brilliant fun. Firstly they are stories that rhyme, and there is something magical about kids and rhymes. Imagine the stuff you like best and then there is more of it… much more of it, chapters in fact. Swashbuckle Lil will be popular amongst all pirate spirits, she is a gal who nobody else knows is a pirate… all pirateering happens right under the noses of her classmates, not to mention her formidable teacher. This is all good clean fun… and fantastic.
- Julius Zebra by Gary Northfield: I can honestly say, I have no idea where we have been and why we haven’t met this really funny zebra before… these books are must must must reads. In these books the illustrations play a large roll in the story, with some sort of cartoon to read on just about every page. For the beginner reader the reward for getting through a paragraph is a funny cartoon… A lot of snippets of information are packed in-between all the funniness… these books are great reads and as first chapter books they are brilliant: fat so an achievement to get through, short chapters so steady progress and humour all the way through. Ancient Rome with the animals of the African Plains, what is not to love. Our middle schooler boys really enjoyed these, and you can meet the author, Gary Northfield at his website here.
- Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans: The story begins with Julius at the watering hole, he hates it there, it is dirty and disgusting and he decides to quietly wander off… and it only takes a chapter or two and Julius is captured by the Romans and finds himself on a journey to Rome. When Julius got to Rome he became a gladiator, with his gang of extraordinary, misfit friends.
- Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons: Just one more task from the emperor, in order to win their freedom, the now popular Zebra and his crazy collection of friends head for Roman England. The Britons are a crazy bunch and the Romans need to win them over. This is funny, funny, funny all the way through… the best way to learn about ancient times… we are looking forward to much more Julius Zebra in the future.
- The 52 Story TreeHouse by Andy Griffiths and Illustrated by Terry Denton: This is hands down Hood #5’s favourite series of books, he literally absorbs these books as they launch… and if you haven’t read the previous books in the series then hunt them down and read those ones too. The illustrations are brilliant and totally totally make the book, plenty of details and oh so funny. The author and illustrator are the main characters in their own books… already that is a little unusual. They live in a tree house that expands from book to book, and they discuss the expansions as they go. Each book has new levels and incredible extensions, and lots of silliness. Imagine the most amazing place on earth, and double that, double that again and you aren’t even close. In this book there is a life size snakes and ladder board, with real snakes – yikes, and a ninja snail training academy, and a water melon smashing machine. You can meet the author Andy Griffiths here and the illustrator Terry Denton here.
- The Claude Collection by Alex T. Smith: Oh Claude we love you so… love love love. Claude is a small, plump, dog who wears a beret and a dashing jumper and his best friend is a sock, called Sir Bobblysock. He lives with his owners Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes, who go off to work everyday, and then Claude and Sir Bobblysocks go off on adventures. These two are very sophisticated and they are just as funny for the adult reader as the junior reader… trust me, read these to your kids before handing them over, you will enjoy them. Gotta say, we love Claude books and collect them.
- Claude in the Country by Alex T. Smith: Claude and his best friend go for a visit in the country and the find themselves at Mrs Cowpat’s farm. Together they do a whole lot of helpful tasks on the farm: including getting the pigs ready for the Most Beautiful Pig competition, and saving the day, from a huge bull. The farmer asks them to stay on on the farm… but they choose to head home for a nap.
- Claude in the Spotlight by Alex T. Smith: In this book, Claude and Sir Bobblysocks follow a group of gals to their dance class. Of course Claude and his many skills, impresses the dance teacher so much, when he chases a fly that is bothering him, that she invites them to join her at the theatre. He loves the theatre and then helps to solve the mystery of the theatre ghost… absolutely exhausted from their day out they head home for a nap, laden with cakes as a reward for solving the mystery.
- Claude Doodle Book by Alex T. Smith: Of all the lovely things… a doodle book!!! With all sorts of lovely things to fill in… picture frames to fill, postcards from their travels to complete, a few pages relating to each of the books… and of course Claude’s basket is ready for you to draw Claude taking a nap.
- The Princess Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham: Something about this book appeals to girls, my two little one grabbed this book and vanished… as they read it together. There is a ton of pink in this book and a heap Books that make them want to read more, I am all for. There is an enormous amount of pink in this book, Princess Marigold is having a birthday… when there is a monster attack. Princess Marigold, transforms into the Princess in Black and tries to save the day before anybody notices that she isn’t at her own party. But somebody does notice. This is an ultra sweet book, and my girls loved it.
- King FlashyPants and the Evil Emperor by Andrew Riley: This is just a fun read… about a young king, Edwin, who is nine years old. Apart from his flashy crown, with smaller crowns up on it, Edwin appears to be quite a fine king… he has a wonderful invention the K.E.N.N.E.T.H. King Edwin’s Nutritious Nibbles Ejector, Thrower and Hurler… with which he delivers all the candy in the fully stocked candy store, to his peasants each week. The story is packed with imaginative problems, and more imaginative solutions… what really makes the book is the very creative names of the characters. Just a bit of fun that an emerging reader would enjoy whiling away an afternoon.
Thank you so much to PanMacmillan South Africa for the copies of these books for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to create it and the opinions expressed are as usual, our own.