Parents of avid young readers often ask me for new titles of basic chapter books. Here are some suggestions for those budding literary scholars. Their chapters range in length, but all the stories are simple and could also be read aloud to preschool age children.
Lawn Mower Magic by Lynne Jonell
This sequel to Hamster Magic finds the Willow family children once again in a dilemma-actually two. Their parents are faced with financial difficulties that make even necessary expenditures, like a new lawn mower, impossible. Abner, Tate, Derek and Celia want to help, but the solution in itself is another problem! The hill on which they live is permeated with underground magic which has infested an old fashioned push mower in their shed. The antics that ensue as the children try their luck at landscaping will surely elicit giggles from preschool age as well as primary grade children.
Mostly Monty by Johanna Hurwitz
Ideal for children who are nervous about school, Mostly Monty tells simply, but frankly, the worries of a young first grader. Monty has asthma and therefore cannot participate in all the activities his peers enjoy. He has special qualities of his own, however. His creative thinking and efforts to capitalize on them will teach youngsters to focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.
The Rascally Reality of Rosie B. by Lucy Bermingham
Being the middle child is not always easy, but Rosie B. does it with flair. Her vivid imagination keeps her entertained and her parents on their toes. An older sister with grace and poise and baby brother who cries a lot highlight Rosie’s love for adventure. Her own person, Rosie forges ahead with independent ideas and undaunted spirit, but also with a clear sense of right and wrong.
Sadie and Ratz by Sonya Hartnett
Sometimes children’s hands have minds of their own. In Hannah’s case, they even have their own names: Sadie and Ratz. Sadie and Ratz often get into mischief, and Hannah does her best to keep them under control. She defends them, however, when they are unjustly accused. Hannah suspects her four-year-old brother is taking advantage of their reputation. Determined to prove Sadie and Ratz’ innocence, she bides her time until the truth comes out.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.