2017 Easy Reader Book/Early Chapter Book Finalists

Easy Reader

Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy: Book 2
by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes
Chronicle Books
Nominated by: MGWriter

Beautifully illustrated, beginning chapter book about two boys and their grandfather, Grumpy. This is the second in a series by Laurel Snyder. Grumpy comes to visit and the reader follows along with the adventures that brothers, Charlie and Mouse, have with their grandpa. A fun, heartwarming read aloud or read alone.

Valerie Byrd Fort, Library Goddess

I Like the Farm
by Shelley Rotner
Holiday House
Nominated by: Pat Zietlow Miller

Cuddly farm animals and racially and ethnically diverse children form a winning combination for new readers in this easy-to-read book. Each two-page spread features full-page photographs of children interacting with animals. The photos are colorful and support the repetitive text (“I like the piglet”).

Maggi Rohde, Books for Squids

King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code (King and Kayla)
by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers
Nominated by: Jennifer W

King & Kayla and their friend Mason are trying to crack a secret code from a letter they each recieved. King wants to help and knows who left the letters but his human friends don’t understand him. Together they make lists of what they know and attempt to solve the mystery. With the help of King they finally get to the bottom of who left the letters and how to break the code.

Kristi Bernard, Kristi’s Book Nook

My Kite is Stuck! and Other Stories (A Duck, Duck, Porcupine Book)
by Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury USA
Nominated by: Flowering Minds

In their second book, Big Duck, Little Duck and Porcupine feature in three short and cheerful chapters. The friends don’t always make good decisions, but luckily, Little Duck is there to save the day. Talk bubbles and Yoon’s bright, colorfully painted scenes offer early readers plenty of opportunities to make their own inferences. While the words are simple and predictable, the story contains enough surprises to be engaging. Sure to delight fans of Elephant & Piggie and Snail & Worm

Maggi Rohde, Books for Squids

There’s a Pest in the Garden! (The Giggle Gang)
by Jan Thomas
HMH Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Becky L.

Jan Thomas now has an early reader series and it is just as funny as you would expect – bright, colorful illustrations. Silly dialogue that will get kids (and adults) laughing. In this installment of the series, there is a pest in Duck’s garden and he is determined to find out what is eating his vegetables.

Valerie Byrd Fort,

Tooth Fairy’s Night (Step into Reading)
by Candice Ransom
Penguin USA
Nominated by: Jen N.

In Tooth Fairy’s Night two creators take a familiar story – the journey of a tooth fairy – to another level in this sweet easy reader. A cheerful, brown-skinned fairy with fluttery wings and cute but practical clothes, the Tooth Fairy makes her rounds, handles minor adventures and problems with aplomb, and even has time for a little tea party. Lovers of the miniature will adore the tiny details of the art and those looking for more character will be pleased to see that the unnamed Tooth Fairy has plenty of resourcefulness and strength beneath her sparkly skirt.This easy reader is a great choice for young beginners who can read simple sentences and who will treasure the adventures of a young tooth fairy.

Jennifer Wharton, Jean Little Library

We Need More Nuts! (Penguin Young Readers, Level 2)
by Jonathan Fenske
Penguin Young Readers
Nominated by: Sheila Ruth

In this hilarious nut-fest, a nut enthusiast invites the reader – and her disgruntled friend – to count along as she juggles, tosses, and celebrates her favorite treats. Fenske’s art pops off the page and readers will giggle over the sly humor and exuberant delight of the nut fanatic. With skillful drawing and only a few simple words, Fenske is able to make kids laugh as well as enjoy practicing their reading skills. Perfect for kids who are still working on fluency and are not ready for intermediate easy readers yet, readers will go nuts for this nutty book.

Jennifer Wharton, Jean Little Library

What Is Chasing Duck? (The Giggle Gang)
by Jan Thomas
HMH Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Valerie Byrd Fort

Jan Thomas has a way of teaching children to read by luring them in with hilarious drawings and a good story, and providing them with just enough scaffolding to decipher challenging words like “vacuum cleaner.” They need no enticement to reread her picture books, and her new series of easy readers, The Giggle Gang, are no different. In this title, a terrified Duck relays the details of his encounter with a wild and hairy assailant with big teeth. The exaggerated movements and expressions of Duck and his friends perfectly compliment the silly story. A welcome addition to the growing canon of humorous, comic-book style easy readers.

Maggi Rohde, Books for Squids

Early Chapter Books

by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Marc Boutavant
Chronicle Books
Nominated by: Valerie Byrd Fort

Nicky gets a big dog, Barkus, from her uncle. Barkus is goofy, loyal, and loving. In short chapters, perfect for early readers, we follow the adventures of Nicky and Barkus. Kids and adults who enjoy a good animal story will enjoy this one. The short chapters make it a great bedtime story or classroom read aloud. The illustrations are bright and colorful. I am looking forward to reading more books about Barkus and his family!

Valerie Byrd Fort, Library Goddess

Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras)
by Asia Citro, illustrated by  Marion Lindsay
Innovation Press
Nominated by: Jennifer W

Zoey, a perky, dark-skinned girl with curly hair, is thrilled when she happens upon her mother’s secret – she, and now Zoey, can see and interact with magical creatures! Zoey can’t wait to help a magical creature who comes to the special door in their barn, but when it finally happens her mom is away and she is on her own. Can she help the cute little dragon that shows up? Despite being nervous and worried, Zoey keeps trying and with the help of a little magic and a lot of science, she saves the day and makes a new friend.

Citro takes the “girl helping animals” trope of beginning chapters to a whole new level. Filled with scientific language and experiments, including a helpful glossary, Zoey is encouraged to make mistakes, fail, and get up and keep trying. There’s no lack of child appeal either; both boys and girls will delight in the magical creatures and brisk storytelling and will be eager to try some of their own scientific experimentation, even if they can’t find a dragon!

Jennifer Wharton, Jean Little Library

Heartwood Hotel, Book 2 The Greatest Gift
by Kallie George, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Nominated by: Jaymie Dieterle

In her second adventure, Mona Mouse and the Heartwood Hotel are settling down for a cozy winter hibernation. But even though she’s found a home, Mona still has some struggles to overcome and things get worse when she is plunged right into a mystery – and accused of being a thief! Will the real thief be found and will Heartwood Hotel make it through another winter season?

This cozy story of family, friends, and winter holidays in the woods will appeal to more fluent early chapter readers who aren’t yet ready for more dangerous adventures. While there are no quick and easy solutions, Mona’s gentle adventures are full of heart and hope and young readers will be eager to follow along as she learns new skills, makes new friends, and becomes part of the Heartwood Hotel family.

Jennifer Wharton, Jean Little Library

My Fantástica Family (Sofia Martinez)
by Jacqueline Jules, ‎ illustrated by Kim Smith
Picture Window Books
Nominated by: aquafortis

From the author of the Freddy Ramos “Zapato Power” early chapter books comes an omnibus edition of three new stories from the Sofia Martinez series (The Beach Trip, Abuela’s Special Letters and Shopping Trip Trouble). Sofia is curious, energetic and interacts in realistic ways with her big family. Large print, easy-to-decode text and frequent colorful illustrations provide excellent support for transitioning readers. The story also includes numerous Spanish words highlighted in the text and defined in a glossary. Holds strong appeal for reluctant readers and fans of other easy chapter books like Mercy Watson.

Maggi Rohde, Books for Squids

Overboard! (Survivor Diaries)
by Terry Lynn Johnson, illustrated by Jani Orban
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Nominated by: Patricia Tilton

When a rogue wave capsizes a whale-watching tour boat it sends Travis and Marina into the icy sea and a fight for survival. It will take all their courage, cleverness, and combined knowledge to escape the ocean’s deadly grasp, make their way to shore, and find their way home. This driving adventure story incorporates true life experiences, actual survival techniques, and realistic characters to create a fun challenge for younger elementary kids or an exciting page-turner for reluctant readers.

Pam Coughlan, MotherReader

Princess Cora and the Crocodile
by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Brian Floca
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Heidi G.

Any reader who likes a good fairy tale will gobble this one up! An excellent book to use as a read aloud in a 1st or 2nd grade classroom – students are sure to giggle at what the crocodile does to the King! Princess Cora is a strong female main character and the illustrations by Brian Floca are lovely. Excellent addition to any school or classroom library!

Valerie Byrd Fort, Library Goddess

The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation
by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Ami Jones

After battling monsters all night, Princess Magnolia is so tired she could fall asleep in her bed, in her Princess in Black superhero outfit; but the monster alarm keeps ringing, and the Princess in Black fights yet another beast. Suddenly the Goat Avenger appears, and helps. He suggests the Princess go on a vacation, she needs to sleep. Not to worry, he will catch all the monsters around! Princess Magnolia then ride her bike to the beach, and is finally asleep, until a sea monster emerges from the ocean. Will the Princess have enough energy to capture the beast? Will her friend, the Goat Avenger, keep his promise?

Nathalie Mvondo, Multiculturalism Rocks!

Wedgie & Gizmo
by Suzanne Selfors, illustrated by ‎ Barbara Fisinger 
HarperCollins Childrens
Nominated by: Ms. Yingling

A self-proclaimed evil genius guinea pig may have met his match in an unlikely, cape-wearing superhero. As Gizmo adjusts to life with a new girl “human servant” and a pink Barbie playhouse for a home, he is most appalled by the bouncy, barking Wedgie who he sees as his mortal enemy. In alternating chapters, the two very different pets chronicle their adventures and the conversations of their people making their own adjustments to a new, blended family. With humor, style and sensitivity, Wedgie & Gizmo delivers a fun story that has at its heart a message of acceptance and understanding.

Pam Coughlan, MotherReader