Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Top Early Chapter Books Part 2

Here's the rest of my favorite early chapter books. 

by Lois Lowry

Two-time Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry introduces a new girl in class who loves being the center of attention and tells the most entertaining “absolutely true” stories.

There’s never been anyone like Gooney Bird Greene at Watertower Elementary School. What other new kid comes to school wearing pajamas and cowboy boots one day and a polka-dot t-shirt and tutu on another? Gooney Bird has to sit right smack in the middle of the class because she likes to be in the middle of everything. She is the star of story time and keeps her teacher and classmates on the edge of their seats with her “absolutely true” stories. But what about her classmates? Do they have stories good enough to share?

I love Gooney Bird's uniqueness and her ability to tell interesting stories. Not only are these fun reads, but they are perfect for reading aloud.  Each book focuses on one curriculum topic, but it's blended so well into the story that it doesn't feel awkward.  The first book focuses on telling stories and the fact that everyone has stories to tell.

by Annie Barrows

The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy knew they wouldn't be friends. But when Bean plays a joke on her sister, Nancy, and has to hide, Ivy comes to the rescue, proving that sometimes the best of friends are people never meant to like each other. Vibrant characters and lots of humor make this a charming and addictive introduction to Ivy and Bean. 

Ivy and Bean are best friends who complement each other perfectly.  Ivy loves dresses, being neat, and reading, whereas, Bean loves being outside, bothering her (annoying) older sister, and exploring. The illustrations make for a nice addition to this series. These books are humorous and remind me of Ramona Quimby, in that the best laid plans always seem to go awry.

by Kate Messner, illustrated by Brian Flocca

Marty McGuire would rather spend recess catching frogs in the pond than playing dress-up with the other girls in third grade. So when her teacher casts Marty as the princess in the class play, Marty's absolutely, positively sure that there's been a huge mistake. But after a special lesson in the art of improvisation, Marty comes up with her OWN plan to IMPROVE the play: Why use stuffed-animal frog onstage when a live one would be so much better? In the end, Marty's one-of-a-kind performance makes for an unforgettable show. Maybe Marty CAN live happily ever after, after all!

Marty is very much a tomboy, she enjoys playing with the boys doing things such as catching frogs.  She is horrified when she is chosen to be the princess in her class play.  But Marty is hard to keep down and with the help of a friend is ready to make this the best class play ever.  Both humorous and touching, this book makes for great read.

by Stephanie Green, Illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson

Posey is really nervous about starting first grade. Instead of getting walked to her classroom, her mom has to drop her off at the Kiss-and-Go Lane. Then she?ll have to walk into school and face the Monster of the Blue Hall all by herself. Worst of all, she has to do it without the one thing that always makes her feel brave and special: the tutu that turns her into the Pink Princess. But when Posey inspires her new teacher to throw a first-day parade in which all the kids are invited to wear whatever makes them feel the most comfortable, first grade starts to look a lot more promising. Posey will charm readers just graduating from easy-to-reads (and from kindergarten) in this lively new series.

Not only is this series well-written, but it works perfectly for first graders who are both excited and scared of all that school has to offer.  Posey is a very believable character who it is impossible not to like.  You'll find yourself cheering her on as she faces new experiences and new problems with her own special flare.   This is a great series for students just starting chapter books.

by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs

Roscoe Riley doesn't mean to break the rules--he just can't help himself. Making his hilarious debut in this brand-new chapter book series, this irrepressible first grader is sure to have young readers eager to find out which rule he'll accidentally break next.

I love Roscoe Riley!  He makes me laugh like few other book characters.  His intentions are usually good but his plans rarely turn out the way he expects.  I have used this series as a read aloud and the students really enjoyed it.

by Tony Davis, illustrated by Gregory Rogers

Roland Wright wants to be a knight in armor. The problem: Roland’s dad is a blacksmith, and only boys from noble families can even dream of becoming knights. When mysterious visitors arrive in the village one day, everything changes. Roland finds himself in the contest of a lifetime, with a real chance to become a page, the first step on the road to knighthood. But how can skinny, clumsy Roland beat an opponent who is bigger, stronger, and older—and who doesn’t play by the rules?

Roland is your typical underdog.  But what he lacks in size or strength, he makes up for in heart.  Whatever he does he does wholeheartedly. When the chance to become a knight, his greatest desire, comes he must find a way to accomplish his dream or spend the rest of his life as a blacksmith's son.  This series is full of heart and humor and reads very quickly.  Once started they are hard to put down.

EOIN COLFER'S  LEGEND OF SPUD MURPHYby Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Glenn McCoy

Every kid in town knows about Spud Murphy. Grown-ups think she's the kindly old librarian, but kids know the truth. They've heard all about the gas-powered spud gun she keeps hidden under her desk-make so much as a sound in her library and you could get spudded with soggy potatoes. Laugh out loud and you may never be seen again . . . And now, in a major coup of parental injustice, Will and his older brother, Marty, have been ordered to spend their summer vacation in Spud's library Will brothers Will and Marty survive a summer marooned on the carpet of Spud's children's section, under the watchful eye of this terrifying librarian? Or will they discover a new interest that surprises even them?

This series is very humorous. Hmmm. I'm starting to notice a pattern here.  I apparently love humor in my early chapter books.  Anyway, Spud Murphy is my kind of librarian, tough on the outside, but doing everything in her power to get kids to read.  Makes for a fun read aloud.

by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul Zelinksky

Lumphy is a stuffed buffalo. StingRay is a stuffed stingray. And Plastic... well, Plastic isn't quite sure what she is. They all belong to the Little Girl who lives on the high bed with the fluffy pillows. A very nice person to belong to.

But outside of the Little Girl's room things can be confusing. Like when Lumphy gets sticky with peanut butter on a picnic, why is he called "dirty"? Or when StingRay jumps into the bathtub, what will happen to her fur? And where in the house can they find the Little Girl a birthday present that she will love the most?

Together is best for these three best friends. Together they look things up in the dictionary, explore the basement, and argue about the meaning of life. And together they face dogs, school, television commercials, the vastness of the sea, and the terrifying bigness of the washing machine.

These stories remind me so much of Toy Story with toys that come alive when no people are around.  The toys themselves are endearing and you can't help but fall in love with them and wish your own toys were like this.  The adventures Lumphy, StingRay, and Plastic experience are exciting but not too scary so any of the three books would make for a great read aloud.

1 comment:

  1. What great suggestions!

    Do you know the I Can Read carnival? It's put together by the Family Bookshelf. You should include these in this month's roundup!


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