Good Early Chapter Books

A Listmania! list by Deborah Steinig (Baltimore, MD)
(REAL NAME)   
The list author says: "Parents often ask for good books for advanced young readers who still need age-appropriate content. Below, arranged roughly from simpler to harder reading level, are some chapter books that my 6-year-old has enjoyed over the last few years, plus a few of my own childhood favorites. Some of these have more literary value than others, but all are reasonable selections. (I try to avoid anything too violent or bratty, as well as anything with confusingly tween-y social dynamics.) The settings range from home (pleasingly familiar) to school (perhaps challenging for a preschooler) to fantasy/sci-fi settings (pleasingly unfamiliar). I've typically listed only one book by each author, but most of these are prolific writers -- if you find something your child likes, there's plenty more."
The Three Little Witches Storybook
1.  The Three Little Witches Storybook by Georgie Adams
The list author says:
  ""The Three Little Witches" and its companion volumes, "The Three Little Pirates" and "The Three Little Princesses," are all favorites in our house.  They are early chapter books with a lot of pictures (or else, picture books with a lot of chapters).  The language is playful and there are many elements of fantasy."
Used & New from: $0.73
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Stuart's Cape (pb)
2.  Stuart's Cape (pb) by Sara Pennypacker
The list author says:
  "Sara Pennypacker rocks.  "Stuart's Cape" is a clever, quirky, and funny tale of a boy who already tended to worry even before he moved to a new town and acquired a magic cape."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House, No. 9)
3.  Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House, No. 9) by Mary Pope Osborne
The list author says:
  ""Dolphins at Daybreak" is a good place to start as one of the shortest and simplest books in the series; they get more complex later on.  They're a bit formulaic, but my child has learned a ton of history, science, and culture from these books.  They also model great values without being preachy: the sibling protagonists bicker, but work together to help others."
$4.49   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

In Aunt Lucy's Kitchen (Cobble Street Cousins)
4.  In Aunt Lucy's Kitchen (Cobble Street Cousins) by Cynthia Rylant
The list author says:
  "The Cobble Street Cousins series are like a little-girl fantasy: three cousins live in their aunt's attic for a year while their parents tour the world with a dance company.  The cousins entertain themselves by running a cookie business, putting on a show, and matchmaking for their aunt.  If you liked "Betsy, Tacy, and Tib" as a child, this is in a similar vein (but shorter & a bit simpler)."
$4.49   Used & New from: $0.01
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

The Stories Julian Tells
5.  The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron
The list author says:
  "I love Ann Cameron's books about Julian, his brother Huey, and their friend Gloria.  You know an author's good when other grown-ups in the house linger in the room at story time."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Elisa Michaels, Bigger & Better (Riverside Kids)
6.  Elisa Michaels, Bigger & Better (Riverside Kids) by Johanna Hurwitz
The list author says:
  "This is one of many Johanna Hurwitz books about Elisa, her brother Russell, and their neighbors in their Riverside apartment building.  The books have simple plots, yet are surprisingly witty and sweet.  My child and I both laughed out loud during the chapter where second-grade Elisa takes over from the do-nothing babysitter."
Used & New from: $3.31
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Kate Larkin, the Bone Expert
7.  Kate Larkin, the Bone Expert by Lindsey Tate
The list author says:
  "Who knew that a broken arm could make for such a compelling plot?  This book had my daughter riveted."
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4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Uh-oh, Cleo
8.  Uh-oh, Cleo by Jessica Harper
The list author says:
  "The ER theme strikes again.  My daughter loved "Uh-Oh Cleo," in which the protagonist receives a bad cut and gets stitches."
$13.49   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Your Very Own Robot (Choose Your Own Adventure - Dragonlark)
9.  Your Very Own Robot (Choose Your Own Adventure - Dragonlark) by R. A. Montgomery
The list author says:
  "Remember how much fun Choose Your Own Adventures were?  Now they have a few specifically for younger readers -- still gimmicky-but-great fun, a little shorter than the originals, and nothing too scary."
$6.29   Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure!
10.  Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure! by Jeff Brown
The list author says:
  "Jeff Brown's "Flat Stanley" series has also spawned a popular school project.  When my first grade nephew's Flat Stanley got mailed to us for a visit, we read the book that inspired it all."
$3.64   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)

The Dragon of Doom (Moongobble and Me)
11.  The Dragon of Doom (Moongobble and Me) by Bruce Coville
The list author says:
  "This is a fun first fantasy series, with a classic quest format but a little added dose of humor for the young set."
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4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Martin Bridge: Ready for Takeoff!
12.  Martin Bridge: Ready for Takeoff! by Jessica Scott Kerrin
The list author says:
  "These stories about eight-year-old Martin Bridge have simple, humorous plots and surprisingly deep themes.  For example, after a neighbor's parents lie to her about her hamster's death, Martin starts wondering whether his own parents can be trusted."
$6.26   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

The Littles
13.  The Littles by John Peterson
The list author says:
  "The gender roles in the Littles series are a little dated, but the books are still fun.  The premise is that mouse-sized people inhabit a "big people" home, inventively adapting the big people's leftovers for their own needs.  In a later book in the series, we learn about the different habits of house tinies, wood tinies, and underground tinies."
$3.26   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

Gooney Bird Greene
14.  Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry
The list author says:
  "Delightful tale of a non-conformist who transfixes her classmates with her surprising yet "absolutely true" stories."
$4.50   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

Cinderellis and the Glass Hill (Princess Tales)
15.  Cinderellis and the Glass Hill (Princess Tales) by Gail Carson Levine
The list author says:
  "This sweet fairy tale -- full of golden horses, magic powders, and lonely people finding friends -- has humor, adventure, inventiveness, and a warm human touch."
$11.83   Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Cal and the Amazing Anti-Gravity Machine
16.  Cal and the Amazing Anti-Gravity Machine by Richard Hamilton
The list author says:
  "Fun early sci-fi book."
Used & New from: $0.01

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December Secrets (The Kids of the Polk Street School)
17.  December Secrets (The Kids of the Polk Street School) by Patricia Reilly Giff
The list author says:
  "This is a story of holiday-season "secret friends" in a second grade class.  The social dynamics take a little inference -- but this could be a good one to discuss with a little one whose social skills aren't quite as precocious as her reading skills."
$4.49   Used & New from: $0.01
2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Clementine
18.  Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
The list author says:
  "This is a wonderful book about a well-meaning but not always well-behaved child.  Large chunks of the book take place in school, so the plot will be more accessible to a school-age child."
$5.99   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

The Adventures of Reddy Fox
19.  The Adventures of Reddy Fox by Thornton W. Burgess
The list author says:
  "Thornton Burgess's classic animal tales are good old-fashioned fun."
$9.89
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
20.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The list author says:
  "Who doesn't like reading about chocolate??  This book became such a big favorite that my daughter chose it has the theme for her 6th birthday party.  It sounded so literary to me...I didn't realize I was being duped into throwing a huge sugar-fest!  This is also a great choice for reading aloud to siblings of different ages.  (Other good Dahl titles are "The BFG" and "The Witches.")"
$5.16   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (822 customer reviews)

All-Of-A-Kind Family
21.  All-Of-A-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
The list author says:
  "This old classic has aged well.  Five Jewish girls grow up in New York's Lower East Side in the early 1900s.  Each chapter stands on its own, telling stories of lost library books, dreaded chores, bedtime antics, and Jewish holidays."
$14.29   Used & New from: $10.27
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
22.  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
The list author says:
  ""Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" definitely seems dated in some of its particulars, but the basic premise rings true: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle saves hapless parents with humorous tough love cures to common bad behaviors."
$5.39   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)

Mr. Popper's Penguins
23.  Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater
The list author says:
  "Great premise: what happens when a penguin (and its mate) mysteriously get delivered to your door?  A favorite of mine as a child."
$7.00   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (330 customer reviews)

Ramona the Pest (Ramona Quimby)
24.  Ramona the Pest (Ramona Quimby) by Beverly Cleary
The list author says:
  "I suspect Ramona Quimby needs no introduction!  If you're looking for a Cleary title with a male protagonist, try "Henry Huggins" or "The Mouse and the Motorcycle.""
$6.29   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)

Stuart Little
25.  Stuart Little by E. B. White
The list author says:
  "E.B. White is great, especially if you're looking for more challenging vocabulary & syntax than contemporary early readers.  "Stuart Little" is probably the easiest of his children's books (the others are "Trumpet of the Swan" and "Charlotte's Web")."
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4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)

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The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket and His Friends)
26.  The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket and His Friends) by George Selden
The list author says:
  "Haven't read this one with my daughter yet, but may soon -- this was another childhood favorite of mine."
$5.71   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
27.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The list author says:
  "Talk about multi-age appeal!  This was a hit with my fifth grade students, my daughter in kindergarten, and my 80-year-old uncle.  This chapter book is told half in pictures, and won the Caldecott Award for best illustrated book.  It takes place in a train station in France in the 1930s, and involves a toymaker, an assistant clock-winder, a mechanical man, and the history of cinema."
$16.55   Used & New from: $2.53
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (633 customer reviews) | 2 customer discussions

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Author

Deborah Steinig (Baltimore, MD)
(REAL NAME)   
Qualifications: teacher, mother
Last updated: 7/14/10
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