#Cybils2022 Easy Reader/Early Chapter Books


Cornbread & Poppy (Cornbread and Poppy, 1)
Matthew Cordell
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Reshama

This charming story follows a pair of mice as they make preparations for winter. Cornbread, a born planner, starts preparing for winter in advance, scouring for berries, buying cheese, and finding grains. His house is all set with food for winter. Poppy, on the other hand, is a procrastinator by nature. When winter arrives, Cornbread is ready and Poppy is not. A true friend, Cornbread joins Poppy in a search for food that leads them into a perilous mission on Holler Mountain. This sweet, funny exploration of friendship, cooperation, and fun holds a lot of appeal for young fans of animal adventures. – Nadia Pshonyak, (instagram) @nadiareads.sgf

Gigi and Ojiji (I Can Read Level 3)
Melissa Iwai
Nominated by: Jenna @ Falling Letters

Gigi’s grandfather is coming from Japan to live with Gigi and her family. Gigi makes a picture to give Ojiisan at the airport, and she’s confused when he doesn’t open her present or give her a hug. Even more baffling, he doesn’t think Roscoe should be allowed inside the house! Gigi’s initial struggle with cultural differences blossoms into the discovery that she (and Roscoe) can help her grandfather learn new customs, too. Many young readers will relate to the book’s themes of navigating initial awkwardness with a relative and gradually getting to know each other better. – Ellen Zschunke, On the Shelf 4 Kids

Reina Ramos Works It Out (I Can Read Level 2)
Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Andrés Landazábal
Nominated by: Charlotte

Reina Ramos’s name means queen, and in this sweet story she demonstrates what it means to be a queen—and a friend. Reina and her classmates are each choosing a historical figure to represent in their class’s wax museum. Tension arises when both Reina and her bestie want to be Frida Kahlo. How will they decide who gets to dress up as their favorite painter? Reina’s struggle to find a solution to this thorny problem will resonate with many young readers. Emma Otheguy does a masterful job of incorporating information about a number of Latina figures that readers will want to learn even more about after this lively introduction from Reina and her classmates. – Ellen Zschunke, On the Shelf 4 Kids

Tiny Tales: A Feast for Friends (I Can Read Comics Level 3)
Steph Waldo
Nominated by: Patricia Tilton

Tiny, a snail, leaves her friends sleeping and goes looking for something to eat. Discovering a crab apple, she decides to harvest it and share it with her friends as a surprise. After several failed attempts to reach the fruit, her friends come to her aid. This early graphic reader offers readers not only a cute story about friendship, but also adorable characters and plenty of humor. In her efforts to keep her surprise a secret, Tiny confuses her friends by pretending she’s not doing anything. Thankfully their persistence assures that she gets the help she needs. A delightful addition to the series.  – Heidi Grange, Geo Librarian

Ty’s Travels: Lab Magic (My First I Can Read)
Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Niña Mata
HarperCollins Childrens
Nominated by: Maggi Rohde

Brothers Ty and Corey share a love of science. Their mom takes them to the local museum where once they step through the doors they are scientists; however, Corey isn’t old enough to go into the lab, so plans change. Ty gets the idea to create a lab at home with items they already have. The brothers’ enthusiasm for science is infectious as they help each other learn and explore new experiments. This appealing chapter book packs in a lot of brotherly love and fun for the reader and listener. – Shannon Griffin, Magical Wonder of Books

World of Reading: Mother Bruce Ballet Bruce: Level 1
Higgins, Ryan, illustrated by Higgins, Ryan
Nominated by: Becky L.

Continuing the popular Mother Bruce stories, Ballet Bruce is the tale of a lovably grumpy bear who finds himself in charge of some spirited young geese. This time, the geese—inspired by Swan Lake—want to attempt ballet. After succumbing to their sad goose eyes, Bruce attempts to help. First, the geese need ballet shoes. Then dance pants. And of course they need tutus. After several long, difficult trips to town involving replacement pants, flat tires, and detours, the geese have all they need to do ballet. But now they want to go for a ride! With delightfully humorous illustrations and understated text, Higgins creates another winning tale brimming with silliness and heart. – Heidi Grange, Geo Librarian

Early Chapter Books


Book Buddies: Marco Polo Brave Explorer
Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Becky L.

Marco Polo, a small felt mouse, wants to go on adventures. But life as a Christmas ornament isn’t adventurous at all. After a librarian adds him to the book buddies program, he hopes that this will be his chance to have an adventure. It doesn’t look good, though, as parents discourage their children from borrowing him because he’s small and might get lost. Seth, a boy nervous about his first sleepover, brings Marco Polo along to help him be brave. Being snatched by a cat and dragged off to the cat’s secret stash proves to be more of an adventure than Marco Polo expected. An array of whimsical characters add interest and charm this delightful adventure for young readers who love stories about toys coming to life. Marco Polo makes for an appealing character who truly wants to help Seth while experiencing his own adventure.- Heidi Grange, Geo Librarian

Crimson Twill: Witch in the City
Kallie George, illustrated by Birgitta Sif
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Christopher Helton

Crimson Twill is a young witch, but you wouldn’t know by looking at her. She wears bright colored polka dots, a crimson hat with a bow to match her name, and gum boots. She giggles, skips, and plays like all children instead of cackling and creeping around like witches are supposed to do.

Crimson is excited when her mother announces they are going to New Wart City to shop at Broomingdale’s. After making plans to meet her mother later for the fashion show, Crimson sets off to explore on her own. She thinks she might find a new hat or a wand or even a broomstick, maybe even a pet cat? But events take one unexpected turn after another, to comic effect. Crimson Twill: Witch in the City is a captivating read with heart, friendship, bravery, and a strong female protagonist who dares to be different. – Pamela Thompson McLeod, What We’re Reading Now

Frank and the Bad Surprise (Frank and the Puppy, 1)
Martha Brockenbrough, illustrated by Jon Lau
Levine Querido
Nominated by: Darshana Khiani

Illustrations by Jon Lau capture the personality and mannerisms of Frank, a cat who is living the good life. He has a warm ray of sun to nap in, humans who love him, quiet times and plenty of Whiskies to eat. Then one day his dear humans bring home a box containing a yappy little puppy—a puppy who invades Frank’s naps, eats his Whiskies, and steals his dear humans’ hearts. Bad turns to worse when Frank finds himself caged after a swat at the puppy. His hurt and outrage compel him to run away from home. Frank soon discovers the big, wide world is not as safe and wonderful as he had imagined. Maybe, just maybe, the puppy isn’t so bad after all. This is a lovely early chapter book about fitting in, acceptance, being open to change, embracing found family, and love. – Pamela Thompson McLeod, What We’re Reading Now

Jo Jo Makoons: Fancy Pants
Dawn Quigley, illustrated by Tara Audibert
Nominated by: Katy K.

The latest installment of the Jo Jo Makoons series does a beautiful job of seamlessly integrating Ojibwe and Michif words and culture as Jojo prepares to travel from her familiar reservation to Wisconsin for a family wedding. She’s heard that dairy is a pretty big deal there and anticipates getting cheese on everything. Jo Jo sometimes takes people’s remarks very literally, a la Amelia Bedelia, and she likes to show people when she’s being “helpful” with her smiles and head tilts. Young readers will be enchanted by Jojo Makoons and her bear-ear hairstyle in this relatable tale about figuring out what it means to be fancy. – Ellen Zschunke, On the Shelf 4 Kids

Leave It to Plum!
Matt Phelan
Greenwillow Books
Nominated by: Kristen

Athensville Zoo is a scene of wild adventures, thanks to the fun characters in this hilarious early chapter book. Readers will root for Plum, a spunky young peacock, and his friends as they take on the zoo’s resident bully, a marsupial named Itch. Leave It To Plum has short, engaging chapters and vivid black-and-white illustrations that portray the zany creatures and zoo antics with just the right mix of hope, friendship, and laughter. – Shannon Griffin, Magical Wonder of Books

Little Olympians 4: Artemis, the Archer Goddess
By A.I. Newton, Illustrated by Anjan Sarkar
little bee books
Publisher/ Author Submission

Book 4 in the popular Little Olympians graphic novel series, this story follows Artemis and her quest to stand up for herself and make sure that she gets the credit she deserves. Artemis, an excellent archer, wins a competition against her brother, Apollo—but Hermes names Apollo as the winner in an article for the camp paper. Artemis confronts Hermes about the error, but he blows her off, saying Apollo’s personality and boasting make for a better story. Artemis is faced with a challenge: how to show the boys how it feels to be overlooked. Readers will be charmed by the delightful cast of characters who have a few things to learn about friendship, fairness, and standing up for what is right. – Nadia Pshonyak

The Weird Sisters: A Note, a Goat, and a Casserole (Weird Sisters Detective Agency, 1)
Mark David Smith, illustrated by Kari Rust
Owlkids Books
Nominated by: T.S. Davis

This debut tale in a new series about three mystery-solving sisters makes for a laugh-out-loud, can’t-put-it-down kind of read. When the sisters move into the neighborhood and open their own pet emporium—complete with possums and fire ants—their first customer, Jessica, discovers a note near the door that seems to be a bit menacing, telling the sisters they should leave the neighborhood. But things are not at all as they seem. And the note’s not the only unexpected development…This whimsical tale is full of wordplay and puns that will keep the reader guessing, right up to the end. – Ellen Zschunke, On the Shelf 4 Kids