I’ve been trying to read more chapter books, especially ones for the 3rd-6th grade range. We seem to get a lot of readers’ advisory questions for kids that age and I’d love to be able to branch out on my recommendations. Here’s what I read this week:
The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein
I found that this book was very similar to the author’s previous novel, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, but I still really enjoyed it. There are a lot of smart kids using their resources and solving puzzles. I think most kids would enjoy it, but especially kids who are familiar with literary characters like Robin Hood, Hercules, etc. If they’re not already familiar, the author included a note at the end with literary references so they can do further reading. I think it will be good for kids who like puzzles and mysteries, as well as kids who like reading about familiar characters.
4.3 (4th-8th)/640L (8-12 years)
Dragon Slayers’ Academy 1: The New Kid at School by Kate McMullan
Definitely a solid choice for a lower-level chapter book as it is not intimidating length or language-wise. It has a very silly tone similar to How to Train Your Dragon, but shorter length. This series would be great for kids who liked the How to Train Your Dragon movie but aren’t a high enough reading level for that book series.
3.3 (4th-8th)/O (3rd-5th)/500L
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
This is my absolute FAVORITE mystery book to recommend to kids. There are plot twists and puzzles every reader will enjoy. I think it would be great for classrooms learning literary devices, teachers looking for a read aloud chapter book, and even for lower level readers who can read along with a parent and talk about the clues together. I have never read another elementary/middle school mystery I have loved more.
5.3 (4th-8th)/V (4th-8th)/750L
Kylie Jean: Cupcake Queen by Marci Peschke
My library can’t manage to keep these on the shelf no matter how many copies we order, so I thought I’d give one a try. They are definitely cute books and I see the appeal for kids too old for “kiddie books” but aren’t quite ready for longer chapter books. I think they’d be good for kids who are too proficient for the Katie Woo series but maybe aren’t quite ready for American Girl (although they probably appeal to the same audience).
3.6 (K-3rd)/Probably N–not leveled but the rest of the series is N/630L
Whatever After: Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski
I’ve really been enjoying all of the new fairy tale-inspired books lately. I think it’s a great way to get kids to transition into chapter books. That being said, this series definitely uses kid-friendly language so even though rating systems say it appeals to kids through middle school, a 6th or 7th grader might find them a bit childish. I think this series would appeal to kids with active imaginations who like to imagine themselves as part of the stories they read.
2.8 (4th-8th)/S (3rd-7th)/400 L