Easy Reader/Early Chapter Books for the Holidays

Do you have a fledgling or newly independent reader in your family? Cybils has recognized many great easy readers and early chapter books that would make great holiday gifts for beginning readers. Check out some of my favorites below: 
Easy Readers
The Penny series by Kevin Henkes
Penny is a young mouse with loving parents and adorable baby siblings. In each of three books, she faces a simple, realistic childhood problem: finding time to share a song with her busy family,  deciding what name to give to her doll, and making amends after doing something wrong. All three books about Penny have been named Cybils finalists: 
Penny and her Song (2012 Finalist) 
Penny and her Doll  (2012 Finalist) 
Penny and her Marble  (2013 Finalist) 
Love is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske (2013 Finalist) 
After a party, Balloon is left all alone, tied to a table. Just as he starts to droop, along comes Kite, a new friend who invites Balloon to fly with her. Balloon manages to break free, but then he flies higher than Kite. Once they are side by side, they have lots of fun… until the wind dies down and Balloon runs into a bird with a sharp beak. Is this friendship doomed to deflate? This wonderfully written easy reader is a perfect exploration of the (literal) ups and downs of friendship. 
A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse by Frank Viva (2012 Winner) 
This easy reader is written in graphic format and it follows a traveler and his impatient pet mouse on a trip to Antarctica during which Mouse can’t wait to arrive, and then can’t wait to go home. The engaging illustrations make this a great choice for visual learners. 
Okay, Andy! by Maxwell Eaton (2014 Winner) 
Also told in graphic format, Okay, Andy! introduces the dynamic duo of Preston and Andy, two animals who could not be more different. Preston drives Andy crazy, leading to some laugh-out-loud funny moments, but at the end of the day, the two are still somehow the best of friends. This is a great read-alike for the Elephant and Piggie series and for the George and Martha books, but it has a slightly more sophisticated sense of humor.   
Frog and Friends by Eve Bunting (2011 Finalist) 
Eve Bunting’s Frog and Friends includes three short tales about the silly adventures of a group of woodland creatures. The warmth of the characters’ friendships and the humor in each of the three stories makes this book a great gift for fans of the classic Frog and Toad series. 
 Chapter Books 
Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade by Stephanie Greene (2010 Finalist) 
The Princess Posey series is great for kids who are just transitioning from easy readers to chapter books. In this first book, Posey is nervous about walking down the hallway to her classroom on the first day of first grade, but with the help of a sympathetic and creative teacher, she comes up with a way to handle her fears. Princess Posey is perfect for kindergartners and first graders who are ready for chapters. 
Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell (2012 Finalist) 
Rabbit is excited for Robot to sleep over, but he gets a little carried away with the planning and refuses to do any activity that is not on his carefully prepared list. When things go awry, however, it is Robot’s calm, easygoing demeanor that saves the day. Another great friendship story a la Frog and Toad and Elephant and Piggie, this one is not just a great book for independent reading, but also a fabulous read-aloud. 
Home Sweet Horror by James Preller (2013 Winner) 
For kids who love scary books, Home Sweet Horror will be a welcome holiday treat. Liam and his family move to a creepy house in upstate New York. When a game of Bloody Mary takes a terrifying turn, only the spirit of Liam’s late mother can save the day. 
Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon (2014 Finalist) 
For the child with a big imagination, Dory Fantasmagory will be a kindred spirit. Along with her imaginary friend, Mary (a monster) Dory inhabits a fantasy world so vast that the line between reality and make believe is always blurred. Her older brother and sister have no patience for Dory, so they taunt her, promising that someone named Mrs. Gobble Gracker is coming to snatch her away unless she stops acting like such a baby. Unruffled, Dory decides the only thing to do is defeat Mrs. Gobble Gracker – with the help of a bearded fairy godmother. A celebration of make-believe that all kids can appreciate, Dory Fantasmagory is a great choice for boys and girls in first and second grade. 
The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin (2011 Finalist)
This laugh-out-loud funny story about a retired rescue dog who is taken advantage of by a band of baby chicks and their duplicitous mother is a guaranteed hit with even the most reluctant of new readers. Kids who have loved Click Clack Moo as preschoolers will be pleased with this more advanced book by the same author. 
— Katie Fitzgerald