Welcome back to our series of posts all about our favourite books for children designed to give you some gift ideas for the holiday season. In our previous posts we covered our favourite board books for infants and toddlers and our favourite picture books for kids. This time around we will focus on our favourite chapter books for beginner readers.
There are many, many series out there aimed at the early elementary-aged beginner readers. Unfortunately, while many of them appeal to children, they aren't written particularly well (we're looking at you Rainbow Magic Fairies). So here are some of our favourite early chapter books that are both fun and well written at the same time.
The "Dodsworth" series by Tim Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007 to 2011)
These are some of our favourite books for emerging readers. Part picture book, part chapter book, each entry in the series follows the little bear Dodsworth and his troublesome companion duck on their world travels. Including the titles "Dodsworth in New York", "Dodsworth in Paris", "Dodsworth in London" and the newest release "Dodsworth in Rome," these are the perfect books to introduce chapter books to your young reader.
The "Clementine" series by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Hyperion, 2006 to 2011)
Including the titles "Clementine," "The Talented Clementine," "Clementine, Friend of the Week," "Clementine's Letter," and "Clementine and the Family Meeting," this series chronicles the misadventures of the well-meaning Clementine, who seems to have trouble follow her wherever she goes. These great books always deliver hilarious stories that make you smile, while presenting well-rounded characters and great lessons in family and friendship. Perfect for fans of "Judy Moody" or “Ramona Quimby."
The "Time Warp Trio" series by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith and Adam McCauley (Puffin Books, 1991 to 2006)
Written by Jon Scieszka, one of the best children's book authors working today, the Time Warp Trio series is smart, funny, and full of adventure. Using a magical book, three young boys, Fred, Sam, and Joe, travel to different time periods in each instalment in the series. Whether it's during the time of Cavemen, Ancient Greece, or in the far future, the three boys always take on the challenges of the particular time using their current day knowledge and know-how. Perfect for kids who love adventure and have a good sense of humour.
The "Daisy Dawson" series by Steve Voake, illustrated by Jessica Meserve (Candlewick Press, 2008 to 2011)
You can't get any sweeter, cuter, or happier than the Daisy Dawson books by Steve Voake. Including the titles "Daisy Dawson is on Her Way," "Daisy Dawson and the Secret Pond," and "Daisy Dawson and the Big Freeze," and "Daisy Dawson at the Beach," these books follow the adventures of a young girl who is gifted with the ability to talk with animals. Squeaky-clean and wholesome, these books are a safe bet for any young reader. As a bonus, each book is full of adorable illustrations by one of our favourite children's book artists Jessica Meserve.
The "Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist" series by R. L. LaFevers, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009 to 2011)
Including the titles "Flight of the Phoenix," "The Basilisk's Lair," "The Wyvern's Treasure," and "The Unicorn's Tale," this is a wonderful fantasy adventure series for ages 8 and up. When Nathaniel Fludd's parents disappear, he is sent to be in the care of his distant relative Aunt Phil. He soon finds himself training in the family business, becoming a "Beastologist" and tracking down all sorts of mythical creatures. R. L. LaFevers is one of our favourite authors (see her "Theodosia Throckmorton" series for middle-grade readers) and kids are sure to love the adventure found in this series.
Marty McGuire by Kate Messner, illustrated by Brian Floca (Scholastic, 2011)
This is the first book in a what will prove to be an amazing series if the subsequent books carry as much charm and fun as this first instalment does (the second book will be out in 2012). It follows Marty McGuire, a spirited girl in grade three who would rather dig in the dirt and splash around in the pond catching frogs than play dress-up or other girly pursuits. When her class prepares a rendition of the "Frog Prince" as a school play, Marty is cast as the princess much to her horror.
Stay tuned for our upcoming posts where we will cover novels for middle-grade readers and young adults and some of our favourite Christmas-themed books.
Now go read a book with your kids...