Friday, December 5, 2008

Twelve Days of Giving: Cha-Cha-Chapter Books

Is there a kid in your life who's graduated from beginning readers, but is not quite ready for thick chapter books with no pictures? Do you have a niece/nephew/grandchild/godchild/etc. who has read all the Junie B. Jones books and the Magic Treehouse books and is still clamoring for more?

Transitional chapter books can be a bit hard to pick out among the hordes of chapter books and series books out there. Allow me to suggest some of my favorites.

For the kids who have devoured and loved the Magic Treehouse books or for anyone looking for a series of funny beginning chapter books, I love the Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka. I find them hilariously wacky and funny and I think they're seriously overlooked.

I also love all of Lenore Look's chapter books. Ruby Lu is just about on par with Junie B. as far as innocent mischief (though she's a little less obnoxious), so pick up Ruby Lu, Brave and True and Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything for your Junie B. Jones fans. Also, definitely take a look at Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (read my full review here).

The Moxy Maxwell books are two more of my favorites. With super short chapters and photo illustrations, they're great for reluctant readers as well as kids transitioning to chapter books. Pick up Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little to accompany a title appropriate for the holidays - Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-You Notes. Read full reviews here and here.

Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson books feature the adventures of a mischievous pig named Mercy. Curious George meets Dennis the Menace in this short chapter books. DiCamillo also wrote The Tale of Despereaux, the movie of which is being released this holiday season.

Hairy Hezekiah by Dick King-Smith is the story of a lonely Bactrian camel in search of some pals. But pals are not quite that easy to come by. And so Hezekiah continues in search of friends... maybe a nice big place to live... and maybe another camel to share his days... Will he ever find what he seeks? A great, funny story for young animal lovers.

The first Bad Kitty chapter book, Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel, is perfect for fans of the Captain Underpants series. This heavily illustrated story of a cat who needs a bath is laugh-out-loud funny. A great choice for animal lovers and reluctant readers. Here's hoping there are many more Bad Kitty chapter books to come!

Need more ideas? Check out the rest of my 12 Days of Giving posts!


Unknown said...

These are some great suggestions! I'm also stopping by to let you know that I left you an award on my blog.

Mrs. Johnson said...

I love the Knights of the Kitchen Table. I had reluctant and struggling readers reading them a few years ago. They are also great to turn into Reader's Theater scripts.

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog, its too fun. I like the suggestions! Since you are a librarian maybe you could help me with something. I am looking for Out of the Nursery by Elizabeth Gauthier at my local libraries but no one has it, how can I get it. Its a children's picture book and its hilarious. I bought two copies at a signing but gave them as gifts and have been looking for it since.

Abby said...

Anonymous - It looks like it's a brand new book, so you might see if your local library has a process for suggesting a purchase. If they don't purchase it, you may have to buy a copy for yourself because it doesn't look like any libraries in the country own it. It is available on or you can try your local bookstore. I bet they can order it if they don't carry it in stock.

Anonymous said...

And as it so happens, there WILL be more Bad Kitty chapter books.

A few months ago, I handed in the artwork and final manuscript for "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BAD KITTY." It's even longer at 160 pages and includes a whole new cast of Kitty characters from around the neighborhood. I'm told it will come out in September, 2009.

And with a little luck, my publisher Roaring Brook will accept the two new book proposals I just sent them a few days ago.

So, I'm with you... I hope there are more Bad Kitty chapter books to come.

Thanks, by the way, for mentioning that "Bad Kitty Gets A Bath" is appropriate for reluctant readers. When giving myself the challenge of creating what is essentially a giant picture book that reads like a chapter book, my target audience was reluctant readers. You've made me feel very justified in my efforts.

Anonymous said...

Thought I'd add one more comment... Could not agree with you more on your recommending the "Time Warp Trio" series. In fact, I would add that "Summer Reading Is Killing Me" should be mandatory reading for all librarians and chapter book readers even if they never get to any of the other books in the series.

Thanks again.