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Friday, February 5, 2016

Two Great Chapter Book Series for Younger Kids

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of these books free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

 We all want to do what is best for our children and want to bring them up to love learning and reading. It is hard to know what is best to do. I have seen articles about reading chapter books to preschoolers both pros and cons. I feel it is important to do a variety of reading. Chapter books can help kids begin to picture the stories in their own heads, but you need to be careful the story is appropriate for your child. We started reading chapter books by reading Charlotte's Web. I chose to read it to Hazel because we were going to a live production of it and I wanted Hazel to know the story ahead of time so we could discuss the sad part of Charlotte dying before seeing it. Reading this book opened the door to chapter books for Hazel. She loves them!! She also loves picture books and really loves any book. Then we discovered The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale. Hazel LOVES the Princess in Black and even dressed as her for Halloween. She was so excited when Candlewick sent us second book in the series: The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party. And now the third book is being released on Tuesday, February 9th and we get to review it early!! Yes, Hazel was ecstatic about getting The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde.  

http://candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763665134&pix=y

What is nice about The Princess in Black series is that they are easy reader chapter books. (They are in the easy reader section at our library.) The words are a bit bigger and there are pictures still. 
http://candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763665134&pix=y
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The other great thing about this series is there is a heroine and she is strong and brave. She is the superhero and has her disguise in black since normal princesses never wear black. In this story the Princess in Black is called away from her trip to brunch with another princess to save the goats from a hungry bunny horde that has come from Monster Land. She cannot figure out why the goat boy sounded the alarm at first. After all what girl doesn't want to cuddle with cute bunnies. Once they start eating her shoes and everything else she realizes they are a problem. That and they multiply even faster than normal bunnies. (For older kids it would be a great connection to the bunny math problem.) It doesn't help that her horse, Blackie was really hungry and looking forward to the brunch. It is a fun twist on the Princess in Black story. There are many extensions an adult mind can take like safety of monsters don't always look like monsters. And of course for the young girls who love the Princess in Black, it is just exciting to get another book!!
My Little Princess in Black
Another chapter book we love is the Cody series by Tricia Springstubb and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. The first book Cody and the Fountain of Happiness became a favorite right away. Hazel would chant, "Cody! Cody! Cody!" at bedtime. This series is for slightly older readers but has nothing in them that cannot be read to young children. There are also occasional pictures in these books as well. These books are about a young girl in her every day life. The second book in the series is being release in April and it is Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe.
http://candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763658588&pix=y

Things I love about this series are that the characters are every day ordinary people and multicultural. Cody's father is a truck driver and her mother is a shoe salesperson. Her older brother (high school age) wants to be a doctor. In the first book Cody becomes best friends with Spencer who is staying with his grandmother for the summer while his parents are away. The story is about their every day adventures and trying to figure out life. In Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe, Spencer's family is moving in with his grandmother. The little house becomes crowded but his grandmother loves having everyone close. Of course Cody has to deal with sharing Spencer with her friends at school. Then there are the other new kids that live in the other half of Spencer's grandmother's duplex. They are the mean kids. This story is a wonderful tale of life for kids. They get into problems, hurt each other's feelings and figure it all out. We absolutely love the series!! 

I hope you will check out these great series and enjoy them as much as we do!! I can strongly say that these chapter books are safe to read to younger children as they do not have any of the situations that you might not want a younger child to hear or think about.