Friday, April 13, 2012

My Top Early Chapter Book Series Part 1

I love reading early chapter books, there are so many good ones.  But I noticed as I worked on this list that there are not very many early chapter books that aren't part of a series.  Most of my favorites are part of series.  This isn't bad, after all repetition is good for younger readers and I personally love revisiting my favorite characters.  But sometimes these books can be too formulaic, each story reads pretty much like the story before.  The books on this list do not fall into that category, maybe that's why I like them so much.  Not only do they have delightful characters, but interesting plots as well.

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa. She lives with her whole family in a wonderful house. There is always somebody to laugh and play with. Anna Hibiscus loves to splash in the sea with her cousins and have parties with her aunties. But more than anything else in the world, Anna Hibiscus would love to see snow.
This is the best kind of story, in my opinion, where the reader learns about different points-of-view without the author trying to teach it. The reader quickly learns to like Anna Hibiscus and her extended family. The delightful illustrations beautifully compliment the stories. I soon wished I could climb Anna Hibiscus's favorite tree or laugh and play at the beach with her and her family. I highly recommend the whole series

MILO AND JAZZ MYSTERIES by Lewis B. Montgomery

I love this series of mysteries.  There are a lot of different mystery series available for the 7-9 crowd but this is my favorite.  This series has continued to be fresh and interesting while many series are so formulaic that the books all start to sound the same after a while.  This series focuses on the friendship between Milo & Jazz and their efforts to solve mysteries that pop up around them.  These mysteries include a swimming pool turned purple, missing lucky socks, a lost pet, and fraudulent fortune teller.  See here for more detailed reviews of some of these books.  I'll also be reviewing the 7th and 8th books in the series in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned.

CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker

 Clementine reminds me so much of another beloved chapter book character named Ramona.  Clementine's intentions are always good, but the results are often disastrous.  For example, her plan to help her friend Margaret fix her hair after a glue emergency results in a bald Margaret.  Clementine and her family provide lots of humor, perfect for sharing.

DOWN GIRL & SIT by Lucy A Nolan

THE HILARIOUS ADVENTURES OF TWO CONFUSED CANINES Down Girl and Sit are two dogs who are "smarter than squirrels." They know how to protect their masters from all the things that can go wrong in the neighborhood: they bark at paperboys and guard the garbage cans, and keep mischievous squirrels at bay. But when Here Kitty Kitty moves in next door, their daily routines are turned topsy-turvy. Filled with humor and adventure, this illustrated chapter book takes a look at life in the backyard from the well-intentioned but misguided viewpoint of man's best friend.
Hilarious, perfect for reading aloud, what more needs to be said.

Chapter book meets graphic novel in this first book in the series everyone will be talking about. Like most kids, Frankie Pickle hates cleaning his room. But what happens when his mom says he never has to clean it again? For Frankie and his unstoppable imagination, it means he and his sidekick, Argyle, can become explorers swinging on vines, forging paths through piles of clothes, and scooting past lava pits. They can perform flawless surgery on a broken action figure. They can spend time in the big house. They can even become superheroes. But when junk piles grow too high, will all this imagining be enough to conquer . . . the closet of DOOM?
 The series is a great combination of graphic novel and chapter book.  I love the way the comics show what Frankie is imagining and the text represents reality.  It's a great concept and Wight does a great job with it.  Plus the topics are perfect for kids, I mean cleaning one's room, scouting, and the dreaded math test all make for great fun.

GHOSTHUNTERS by Cornelia Funke
Bestselling novelist and picture book author Funke now reaches a brand-new audience with a silly, spooky, illustrated series for early readers. Among her top sellers in Germany!

Nine-year-old Tom can't catch a break: He's a klutz, his sister Lola pretty much hates his guts, and--and this is a BIG "and"--he just found a ghost camping out in his cellar. Lucky for Tom his grandma's best friend just happens to be the world's foremost ghosthunter. Under her expert tutelage, Tom learns the tools of the trade--which just happen to include buckets of graveyard dirt--and soon finds he has to face down not just the Averagely Spooky Ghost (ASG) in his basement but the Incredibly Revolting Ghost (IRG) in town. All while keeping the nettlesome Lola off his trail....
Not only is this series very well written, but they are very entertaining as well. My only regret is that there are only four books in this series. Not only is this series perfect for reading out loud, it also shows how fears can be overcome.

Looks like I need to divide this post into too parts.  I just have too many favorites. :)

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