Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fav Beginner Chapter Book Series

I have to give a big shout out and THANK YOU to my bestie, Katie (Reinlein) Schwaneke for all of her kids' lit suggestions.  For the last 25 or so years, she has been my go-to side-kick, sounding board, and survival guide....particularly throughout this crazy current journey of parenthood!  She is as beautiful on the inside as she is (clearly) on the outside and I am thankful every day for her friendship and support.  LOVE YOU GIRL!

Katie and I at her lake house Circa 1990? I have to say...I am admiring the 'modern' bar stools...go Kathy & Karl!
Destin, FL Circa 1992, yes, that is a boombox next to us!
Captiva, FL, Circa 2009
St. Louis, Circa 2011

As my oldest, Jack is in 1st grade, we are pioneering our way through beginner chapter books.  Prior to this, his favorite beginner books included The Bob Books, Dr. Seuss, Mo Willems (i.e. Piggie and Elephant), Little Critters, Danny the Dinosaur, and various other 'I Can Read' books...

Now, it is challenging to find chapter books that are appropriately the right level while still being engaging and fun to read.  If they are too easy, he quickly loses interest...too hard, he gets frustrated and shuts down.  Katie's oldest, Kathryn, is an avid reader, so she has shared some great tips with us...He has absolutely LOVED all of her suggestions thus I am sharing some of our favorites with you all below...

As a side note, when I discover a good children's book, I am often equally impressed with the writing/story as I am with the fabulous illustrations.  Beautiful and interesting artwork seems to be as important for keeping (both parent and child) engaged and entertained!

(1) Mercy Watson series, written by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen...(very beginner chapter book level)....Hilarious stories about a trouble-making, buttery-toast loving pet pig and his foes, including neighborhood firemen, animal rescuers and persnickety elder neighbors...

(2) Ready, Freddy series, written by Abby Klein, illustrated by John McKinley...(very beginner chapter book level)...Funny adventures and stories about Freddy and his classmates, friends, and family...

(3) The Magic School Bus series, written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen...(moderate chapter book reading level)...Tricky to find because it was located in the 'education' section at our local bookstore.  This series is heaven for the true nerds among us.  Basically, a school bus magically shrinks to the size of a dust particle and goes rogue, exploring (and educating the reader) about everything from the eyeball to the ocean to the educational and fun to read!

Some additional chapter book series that we have been enjoying and were recommended by my sister, Julie, and sister-in-law, Barbara, are Nate The Great , Captain Underpants, Magic Treehouse, Encyclopedia Brown, Stuart Little, Frog and Toad, Little Bear, Big Nate, Flat Stanley, etc...

Some suggestions from others include A to Z Mysteries, Bailey School Kids, Boxcar Children, Puppy Place, Rainbow Magic Fairies, Fancy Nancy Mysteries, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, anything by Ron Roy (Baseball and Capital Mysteries), etc.

Barbara also gave me a useful link that gives a rough guideline for reading levels...You enter the title of the book and it gives the level in terms of grade/months.  For example "2.6" is 2nd grade, six months into the year.  Obviously, this is just a rough guide, but helpful nevertheless.  

If you have any favorites you would like to share, any suggestions are appreciated!

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