Tag Archives: Ben Clanton

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Favorite Early Readers and Beginning Chapter Books of 2017

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

This week, I am highlighting my favorite early readers and beginning chapter books from 2017.  So many great books to read and share with your emerging and transitional readers!  Many themes were featured this year, including strong, culturally diverse characters who face adversity, solve conflict and think outside the box to resolve problems.  Each of these books would work well either as a read-aloud in a primary classroom or as an independent reader.  (For each selection, I have included number of pages.)

 

Fergus and Zeke – Kate Messner  (56 pages)

Meet two charming, mischievous mice:  Fergus – a lovable classroom mouse who sneaks into a backpack to join a class trip and Zeke – his streetwise counterpart whom he meets and brings back to school with him.  Short sentences, repetition, great sight words, four easy chapters, straightforward plot and colorful illustrations – this brand-new series is perfect for emerging readers! 

Ballet Cat – What’s Your Favorite Favorite?  – Bob Shae (56 pages)

A delightful celebration of family relationships is the theme in this humorous third book in the Ballet Cat series.  Grandma ends up in quite a predicament when her two grandchildren – Cat and Goat – try to outdo each other when they put on a show for her.  Cat thinks ballet is Grandma’s favorite; Goat is convinced she likes magic tricks best.  A perfect early reader, the text is done entirely in large word bubbles, highlighted by Shea’s signature style illustrations and bright bold colors.

Super Narwhal and the Jelly Jolt – Ben Clanton  (64 pages)

In this follow-up to the first A Narwhale and Jelly Book, Narwhal decides to become a superhero.  He already has a name, an outfit, a secret identity, even a sidekick. But he still needs to find out which his superpower is… Cute, funny and very heartwarming. Comic style illustrations.

The Good For Nothing Button – Charise Mericle Harper (64 pages)

Yellow Bird has a button. It does . . . nothing!  It is a good for nothing button. Red Bird and Blue Bird are excited to try the button. But when they press it, they discover that the button makes them happy.  Happy is something! A flabbergasted Yellow Bird insists the button does nothing. But it sure does seem to be making him mad. Mad is something! A great read-aloud and high on the giggle scale!

Princess Cora and the Crocodile – Laura Amy Schlitz (80 pages)

When an over-scheduled princess, tired of no time to play and discover, asks her fairy godmother for a dog she is surprised when a crocodile is sent by mistake.   But the hilarious plan that follows involves the croc swapping places with Cora – giving her some much needed freedom.  With a mop wig and frilly dress, the “princess” croc insults the Queen (“Reptile!” “Mammal!”) and gnaws on the fitness-obsessed King (just a little). Charming and so much fun to read.  (and I “inferred” a little lesson for helicopter parents!)

Bruno: Some of the More Interesting Days in My Life So FarCatharina Valckx (96 pages)    Six linked quirky stories are full of friendship, silliness, and the little moments that make life memorable and unpredictable.   Bruno, a small cat in a blue checked cap, recounts in turn the peculiar and often extremely silly goings-on of his life.  I loved that Bruno takes such delight in embracing any experience that come his way.

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Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and MarshmallowsAsia Citro (96 pages)

What should you feed a baby dragon?  Zoey and her cat Sassafras use the scientific method and science journals to find out!  I LOVE this first book in a series that celebrates science and features a smart, strong, tenacious female character.  Also love the message that you need to work through mistakes and re-think your plan before you can succeed!  Cute illustrations, short chapters and a sprinkle of magic thrown in!  I can’t wait for more books in this series!
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Yours Sincerely, Giraffe – Megumi Iwasa (104 pages)

Sweet, quirky little book about a lonely giraffe and a lonely penguin who become pen pals.  A great early chapter book, first published in Japan, that touches on loneliness, friendship, letter-writing and understanding differences.  Love the playful line drawings which break the text into manageable chunks.

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Heroes in Training – Hermes and the Horse with Wings – Tracey West (112 pages)

Not sure how I missed this series – but this is book #13!  Each book in the series features one of the Greek Gods as a child.  Ten chapters, simple text and single page black and white illustrations.  A perfect series for any young readers interested in Greek Gods and the exciting world of Greek mythology.

Ivy – Katherine Coville  (144 pages)

This short, delightful fantasy includes pixies, a sick dragon, a three legged griffin, and some nasty trolls! Ivy and her Grandmother, whom villagers call “Meg the Healer”, can relate to all the animals that live in and around the village of Broomsweep.  Her grandmother can heal all the animals, including the magical ones.  Enchanting and heartwarming!

Jasmine Toguchi – Mochi Queen Debbi Michiko Florence  (160 pages)

So much to love about a headstrong eight-year-old named Jasmine Toguchi and her Japanese-American family.  In this first book, Jasmine longs to be part of a cultural family tradition of making Japanese mochi – a small, round dessert ball made with soft, pounded sticky rice.  But she is told she is too young to help.  I loved Jasmine’s determination, the details about mochi, and the family’s traditions.  Great for making connections!  A mochi recipe is included at the end of the book.  Looking forward to more from this series.

Beatrice Zinker – Upside Down Thinker – Shelley Johannes (164 pages)

I so enjoyed getting to know Beatrice Zinker.  She’s got the right combination of quirky and spunk, as well as her share of bad luck (think Ramona Quimby). She thinks outside the box and upside-down!  Fast paced and delightful with lots of quirky illustrations (reminded me a little of Dory Fantasmagory).  Themes of individuality, optimism, and the shifting shapes of friendships. Can’t wait for more Beatrice!

Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers – John Dougherty (192 pages)

With an undertone of Monty Python, mixed with Captain Underpants, Geronimo Stilton, an abundance of hilarious slapstick silliness, and plenty of tremendous wordplay – I LOVED this goofy LOL British adventure!  I especially loved that the cast of  characters are aware that they are in a story, and occasionally comment on it: when the king realizes they are in a story he immediately goes and puts on his clothes.  HILARIOUS!

A Boy Called Bat – Elana K. Arnold (208 pages)

Bixby Alexander Tam, or Bat, is great at Math and knows more about animals than anyone in his class, but he is not great at making friends. When his mom, a veterinarian, brings home a baby skunk, Bat becomes the best skunk care-taker ever, all while trying to navigate his world.  A charming story perfect for students transitioning from early readers to chapter books. I like that this book has a character most likely on the autism spectrum, without the book being about that.  Also touches on divorce and single parents. The story focuses more on Bat’s love of animals and how this empathy for animals helps him connect to his classmates. Tender, heartwarming and funny with an amazing character you and your students will fall in love with. Major warm fuzziness! 

      Thanks for stopping by!

              What are some of your favorite beginning chapter books from the past year?

 

 

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Filed under 2017 releases, Beginning Chapter Book, Cultural Celebrations, Early Readers, Family, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Read-Aloud, Science

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite new books and series for early readers

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Several teachers have asked me recently for recommendations of books for emerging readers in grades K-2.  After a few visits to book stores, I have discovered a few new series I believe fit the bill!  These books are all written in short chapters, easy to read text, and colorful, explanatory pictures.  Hope there are a few books here that you can add to your classroom and library collections.

Charlie & Mouse by [Snyder, Laurel]

  1. Charlie and Mouse – Laurel Snyder

Two lively, inventive brothers, four hilarious stories!  Lots of fun and imagination!

2. Barkus – Patricia MacLachlan

Beloved children’s author’s new series (out in June) about a spunky girl named Nicky and an adorable dog, Barkus, who she receives from her uncle.  Humourous and energetic.

3. Bradford Street Buddies – Jardine Nolan

Wonderful realistic series set in a multi-cultural neighbourhood with a focus on family and friends.  I love the diversity of the characters.  Each book includes four chapters.

Stinky Spike the Pirate Dog by [Meisel, Peter]
4. Stinky Spike the Pirate Dog – Peter Meisel

For those looking for a little adventure, here is a delightful series that includes dogs, pirates, stinky smells, and treasure!  What more could you want?

5. Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl – Jessie Haas

Especially for horse lovers  –  this is the story of a devoted girl Maggie and her wonderful horse friend, Bramble.  I especially love the colored illustrations.

6. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea – Ben Clanton

Simple text in a graphic novel format make this a wonderful early reader choice.  Three entertaining episodes about the friendship between Narwhal and Jelly.  I like how we learn some interesting facts about narwhals and jelly fish along the way.  Simple line drawings that will inspire young artists!

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7. Owl Diaries – Rebecca Elliott

I loved the colorful bright illustrations and the simple text.  Each book in the series gently teaches lessons such as time management, conflict resolution, delegating others to help get the job done.

9. Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! – Grace Lin

I love Grace Lin’s books but had not seen this early reader series until now.  Adorable series about twin sisters who may look alike but are different in many ways.  I love how the book has six very short chapters, the colorful illustrations and the dumpling story!

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10. The Bad Guys – Episode 1 – Aaron Blabey

Simple text, clear, explanatory pictures makes this a perfect choice for emergent readers. It is hysterical, a little “off” and includes lots of sharp teeth, a few farts, and a car powered by undiluted panther pee!  Captain Underpants fans will love this series!

            Thanks for stopping by!  Which book or books have caught your eye?

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Filed under Beginning Chapter Book, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Summer Preview – Part 2

 

IMWAYR

It’s Monday and I’mIt’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

This week, I am highlighting the rest of my list of summer previews!  In case you missed it, you can read Summer Previews – Part 1 here.

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Dewey Bob – Judy Byron Schachner

This looks like it will be a charming book about a sweet raccoon who lives by himself with his many collections of treasures but is missing a friend.

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Little Miss, Big Sis – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Anything written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a winner – and with illustrations by Peter. H. Reynolds this is one to watch for!  The story explores the wonders of becoming a big sister and celebrating the arrival of a new baby into the family.

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Water is Water – Miranda Paul

A beautiful, descriptive look at the water cycle.  This one is not only one to use for science but also a beautiful example of descriptive language and sensory images.

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Rude Cakes – Rowboat Watkins

Who knew cakes were so rude?   A wacky book about manners.  This one looks like it will bring some laughs!

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One Word From Sophia – Jim Averbeck

Sophia desperately wants a pet giraffe and tries varied techniques to convince her parents to get her one for her birthday. Looks playful and fun and will be a great addition to my list of “persuasive” anchor books!

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What Pet Should I Get? – Dr. Seuss

A never-before-seen book by Dr. Seuss about a brother and sister trying to decide what pet to buy from the pet store.  I can’t wait to read this one!

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I Yam a Donkey! – Cece Bell

Hysterical and silly look at grammar as a Yam lectures a clueless and grammatically challenged donkey.   A perfect book for all ages – great in an English class to discuss importance of using proper grammar.

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Maple and Willow Apart – Lori Nichols

I’m looking forward to reading this third book in the charming  Maple and Willow series.  In this book, Willow has to adjust when Maple starts school.  I love the artwork in these books and the strong sibling bond.

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Sea Rex – Molly Idle

I love everything Molly Idle writes.  I fell in love with Flora as she danced with a Flamingo and skated with a Penguin and am now looking forward to Cordelia swimming with her Sea Rex friend.

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Something Extraordinary Ben Clanton

This looks like it will be a great anchor book for writing!  Have you ever wished for something extraordinary? Like the ability to fly? Or to breathe underwater? What if you could talk to animals?  What would you wish for?

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Piper Green and the Fairy Tree – Ellen Potter

This is the first in a new early chapter book series about a girl who says everything that’s on her mind (for better or worse) and has something unusual in her front yard: a fairy tree. I’m sure this will be a popular one at my school!

Big Dog and Little Dog (Reader) – Dav Pilkey

This series originally came out as board books but are now available as Level 1 readers.   Looks like a sweet series by the master of the super wedgie!

Thanks for stopping by!  Which book or books have caught your eye?

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Summer Preview Part 1 (Or: I can’t wait to get my hands on these new books!)

IMWAYR

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

Although most of my Monday posts feature books I have actually read, I’ve been keeping track of some new titles that I’m eagerly awaiting to be released.  So this week, I’ve decided to let you in on my some of the books I’m excited to get my hands on when they do come out.  Most books listed here will be released between June and August.   I’ve already done a few “pre-orders” of some of these and the countdown is on!

23310161The Day The Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt

I am beyond excited to read this companion to the block buster, best seller The Day the Crayons Quit.  Apparently, Duncan is now dealing with a whole group of crayons who have been lost in strange places like behind the couch and melted on the window sill!  Will it be as good as the first?  I can’t wait to find out!

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Billy’s Booger – William Joyce

The “fictionalized picture book memoir”, loosely based on an incident in William Joyce’s life when a young “Bill”, who is constantly distracted in class and spends his class time drawing,  is encouraged by his teacher librarian to enter a book writing contest.  He writes about the worlds’ biggest and best booger!  Another anticipated brilliant book by William Joyce!

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The Specific Ocean – Kyo MacLear

I was captivated by the title of this book – and have enjoyed this author’s previous books (Spork, Julia, Child).  It is about a girl who would rather stay in the city with her friends in the summer, but ends up making a deep connection to the ocean.   Such a great title!

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Book – David Miles

Was drawn in by the title, of course – but on a closer look have made this a “must have” book that celebrates literature in a world of gadgets, passwords and Youtube videos.  “With soft, warm storytelling and stunning, whimsical illustrations, Book embarks the reader on an imaginative journey through the literary lands of fact and fiction.” 

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Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada – Jimmy Fallon

Ok – so I will admit that I have a bit of a crush on Jimmy Fallon.  He is so darn funny and makes me laugh every time I watch his show.  So I’m looking forward to reading his new book about how father’s wage a secret campaign to ensure that their babies’ first word is “Dada”.

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Float – Daniel Mryares

I love wordless picture books and this one looks like it will be delightful.  A boy, his newspaper boat, and a rainy day adventure.  Apparently a “how to” at the back for making your own boat is included!

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The Blue Whale – Jenni Desmond

There is already quite a buzz about this engaging nonfiction book that is filled with relatable facts about the largest living creature on our planet.  The illustrations depict not only the facts, but also the story of the narrator, a young boy who is reading about the whales.  This makes me think of the layered illustrations in The Bear in the Book.  This book comes out tomorrow!  Can’t wait!

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Buddy and Earl – Maureen Fergus

There was something about this cover that caught my eye.  This is the first in an apparent series about a dog and his hedgehog friend.  “Their friendship is tender and loyal, and their adventures are funny and imaginative.”  I’m keeping my eye out for Buddy and Earl!  Cuteness!

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The Little Gardener – Emily Hughes

A sweet looking story about a determined little gardener.  The illustrations look amazing!

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Bike, On, Bear! – Cynthia Liu

An over-thinking and over-achieving bear learns to ride a bike.   The illustrations look adorable.

Thanks for stopping by!  Which soon-to-be-released book has caught your eye?

Look for more previews next week!

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Preview New Releases