2008 Easy Reader Finalists

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time
written by James Howe
Candlewick Press

Houndsley and Catina in the Quiet Time tells of best friends that find themselves snowed in on the day of the big concert they’ve been preparing for over the last month. Catina is frantic with anxiety about the shopping and prepping they won’t be able to do, but Houndsley is happy to sit and watch the snow fall. Howe’s language is tender and poetic in spite of the limited vocabulary and concrete imagery that beginning readers require. This is an accessable story that draws adults and children alike into its cozy, musical world.
–andi, a wrung sponge

I Love My New Toy
written by Mo Willems

In this entry in the continuing series of Elephant and Piggie, Piggie is
enraptured with her new toy, even though she doesn’t know what it does.
But when Elephant accidentally breaks it, Piggie and Elephant go
through a range of emotions as Piggie gets angry, Elephant gets sad,
and they both realize with relief that the toy is not broken; it’s a
“break-and-snap toy”. The different colors and sizes of the text help
new readers interpret the emotions, as do the simple but expressive
illustrations. Young readers will sympathize with this trial of the
characters’ friendship.
–Sonja, Bookwink

I Will Surprise My Friend!
written by Mo Willems

I Will Surprise My Friend is a great story wrapped in an easy reader book jacket. Mo Willems’ simple color scheme allow kids to quickly pick out the humor in this story of Gerald and Piggy. With plenty of white space, vocabulary repetition, and varied type sizes to add emotion, new readers can easily jump in and enthusiastically tell the story.

–Terry, Scrub-a-Dub-Tub

Maybelle Goes to Tea
written by Katie Speck
Henry Holt

Bedecked in a pink bow and a string of pearls, Maybelle is one proper cockroach. Proper cockroach? Hey, why not? With her list of rules (“If you’re spied, better hide”), she does everything possible to avoid an Extermination Event at the home of the equally proper Peabodys. But on the day of the Ladies’ Tea, decorum flies out the window, and one adventure after another ensues. Newly independent readers, and children listening to a read-aloud, will get a kick out of Katie Speck’s original and amusing story, which she tells in thirteen short chapters. Paul Rรกtz de Tagyos’s whimsical illustrations, of the unlikely heroine and her insect friends, add to the insouciant fun.
–Susan, Chicken Spaghetti

Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig
written by Kate Dicamillo
Candlewick Press

The Porcine Wonder, Mercy Watson, returns for her fifth adventure in this easy reader chapter book. This book has it all: a pretend tea-party gone awry, an ambitious animal control officer, and Eugenia Lincoln–the greatest comic foil since Margaret Dumont. Best of all, there’s more of Chris Van Dusen’s cheerily demented illustrations and Kate DiCamillo’s deceptively clever text, in which the words “hot buttered toast” are code for all that we love about life.
— Kara, Not Just For Kids

–Anastasia Suen, organizer