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Friday, April 27, 2012

Fun Books for New Readers

Ben, reading with some friends, April 2012

As part of his Kindergarten homework, Ben is supposed to read out loud for at least 15 minutes after school every day.  Luckily, this has not been a struggle -- he loves to read, and can often be found with a book or two, even when it's not homework time.  We own a few "easy readers", and always bring several home whenever we visit the library, too.  I thought I'd share some of the books that Ben's read to me recently.  Some of these are actually marketed as books for beginning readers.  Others are not, but they use simple language.  All of them are also great stories for parents and others to read aloud to those who aren't reading on their own yet.

Snug House, Bug House, written by Susan Schade and illustrated by Jon Buller, 1994... A group of bugs find a tennis ball and turn it into a cozy home for all of them.  Short phrases and rhymes make this a fun book for all ages.

Moongame, written and illustrated by Frank Asch, 1984...  When Bear learns to play hide-and-seek, he decides to play the game with the moon.  Asch uses simple words and sentences to tell this gentle story.  This used to be one of my daughter Emmalie's favorite books, and she would beg to hear it again and again at bedtime!

Cars Galore, written by Peter Stein and illustrated by Bob Staake, 2011...  Ben found this book at the library, and couldn't wait to read it!  With its rhythmic verse and whimsical illustrations, this is an entertaining book for everyone -- but especially for vehicle enthusiasts like Ben.

Go to Bed, Monster!, written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz, 2007...  Lucy does not want to go to bed -- she wants to draw.  But when she creates Monster with her crayons, all he wants to do is play.  When Lucy finally gets tired, she must figure out a way to get Monster to go to bed.  Ben and I both loved this silly, imaginative book!

Sir Small and the Dragonfly, written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by John O'Brien, 1988... In the land of Pee Wee, no one is taller than a toothpick.  When Lady Teena is captured by a dragonfly, the brave Sir Small and his trusty ant ride off to find and rescue her.  I remember hearing this book for the first time many years ago, when Emmalie was learning to read.  I found it to be a funny, clever story back then, and it still makes me smile today.

The Cat in the Hat, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss, 1957... The Cat in the Hat knows all kinds of fun games to play when it's cold and wet outside.  Unfortunately, his games -- and his friends Thing One and Thing Two -- create a huge mess in the house... and Mother will be home soon.  I had a copy of this book when I was a little girl, and I loved reading it with my parents. Filled with Dr. Seuss' distinctive rhymes and zaniness, this book is truly a classic!

The rest of these are short chapter books:

Frog and Toad Are Friends, written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, 1970... Frog and Toad are the best of friends, and they do everything together, from swimming to telling stories to searching for lost buttons. Lobel created a series of books about these two that also includes Frog and Toad Together (1972), Frog and Toad All Year (1976), and Days With Frog and Toad (1979).  Each one is a delightful, humorous tale of friendship that will resonate with children and adults alike.

Houndsley and Catina, written by James Howe and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay, 2007... The first in a series of four books about this dog and cat pair, this chapter book begins with Catina wanting to become a famous writer.  The only problem is, the book she wrote is terrible.  Meanwhile, her friend Houndsley loves to cook and enters a cooking contest.  In the end, the two realize that friendship is more important -- and more fulfilling -- than being famous.  We haven't read the other volumes in the series yet, but Ben and I really enjoyed the light comedy and cute illustrations in this one.

Poppleton and Friends, written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Mark Teague, 1998... Through a sequence of silly events, Poppleton the pig, Hudson the mouse, and Cherry Sue the llama learn that friends are the secret to a long, happy life.  When we checked this out from the library, I didn't realize that it was the second book in a series of eight.  We haven't read the others yet, but plan to look for them next time!

What are some of your favorite "easy readers"?  Ben and I would love suggestions for new books to try!


  1. Thanks for posting these Janelle, I am always looking for books for my grandchildren and these look like very good ones. I have written them down so I can be on the lookout for them!