Plenty of exciting choice awaits those children that are looking for early chapter books which are shorter in length then middle grade titles, encouraging them to take the next step in their book reading journey by not being daunting in size, whilst containing all the excitement and adventure of their larger and longer counterparts. Here is my round up of available and upcoming titles worthy of purchase for both at home or the school library.
Ariki and the Island of Wonders
Escaping her studies Ariki heads off on an adventure with her side kick pig named Bad Boy to catch a fish for her guardian, but that soon becomes an even bigger adventure with best friend Ipo when the pair steal a stunning new boat for a ride. When a storm hits the boat capsizes and both are thrown into the ocean only to find themselves stranded on an island where even more adventure awaits. This is a real sea adventure that reminds me of Disney films The Little Mermaid and Moana. A great read that children looking for short chapter books will undoubtedly enjoy. The story moves on at a quick pace and the detail within the book really brings island and oceanic journeys to life.
Published by – Walker Books Publication date – 04.07.19 RRP – £5.99 (PB)
The World’s Worst Teachers
Following on from the hugely popular trio of World’s Worst Children we are now able to read of the equally awful adults of the world while focusing on school in the World’s Worst Teachers. Ten short stories that tell of a variety of school staff with a light hearted and hilarious tone including such stories as a tale of a maths teacher with a hatred of balls and all things spherical after being knocked out by a wrecking ball as a child, and the story of the librarian that insisted on fines so that she could buy upgrades for her mobility scooter which she drove around her immaculate library. Little details like fingerprints and fun illustrative details throughout make the book even more interesting and interactive to read with the iconic styled illustrations from Tony Ross making the book such a fun, popular choice with younger readers.
Published by – HarperCollins Publication date – 27.06.19 RRP – £14.99 (HB)
The Truth Pixie Goes to School
Following on from the success of its predecessor The Truth Pixie this instalment featuring a pixie that can only speak the truth tells us what happens next after Aada invited the truth pixie to stay at the end of the previous book. Aada has moved house and started a new school where she attends with the pixie which throws up problems including children that bully the pair for being different to them. I think this book is perfect for helping those unsure about starting a new school, which will be ripe across the country soon enough when high school transition takes place along with those moving to a new school for any number of reasons. The underline message is to stay true to yourself no matter what comes your way and perhaps mostly importantly that it is ok to feel the way you do in life and that you aren’t alone in it. These Truth Pixie books subtly deal with the most significant issues affecting the mental health in young children and reach younger audiences at the right comprehensive level with a quick tempo, rhyming story that is the most emotionally relatable children’s text I have read since its predecessor.
Published by – Canongate Publication date – 01.08.19 RRP – £9.99 (HB)
Warrior Monkeys and the Volcano Adventure
At the beginning of the book we are introduced to the books characters with fantastically detailed illustrations from Steve Brown. Meeting the extremely adventurous Suki, perched in a tree and determined to jump higher up, and her friend Bekko who seems sensible and quietly intelligent. The duo are heading to class late when Bekko notices a strange cloud over a dormant volcano on a nearby island which strangely disappears before he can mention to anyone else other then Suki, and she has no interest at all. What follows is a mystery fuelled adventure that sees the Warrior Monkeys assemble in order to protect themselves from the danger they face. The book has frequent illustrations which break up the text and encourage young readers to use their imaginations. I am a huge fan of the book having equal male and female lead characters encouraging this book to be suitable for any interested reader. The book concludes with ‘rules of the warrior monkeys’ illustrated information pages which make an interesting conclusion to the book and teach young audiences some essential life skills, for example humility and integrity, in keeping with the theme of the book.
Published by – OUP Publication date – 06.06.19 RRP – £6.99 (PB)
Bad Mermaids On Thin Ice
The first thing to mention about this early chapter reader book is the map, found right at the start of the book over a two page spread like all good maps are. Detailing the entirety of the mermaid world gives readers an indication as to the vastness of lands and oceans covered within the Bad Mermaids books. This being the third title in the series continues to give the reader a hugely immersive adventure story to follow, just like the other titles.
When bad mermaids are determined to take over the mermaid world it is up to Beattie, Mimi and Zelda once again to try to prevent disaster from happening. Each chapter is relatively short in length and yet still high in detail making for an impressive read that makes it easier for readers to envisage the world that Sibeal Pounder has created. The illustrative content reinforces the story as pictures feature regularly throughout the pages and break up the text with detailed scenes that give the reader the opportunity to pause and take stock of the adventure so far. Mermaids are continually a popular book choice with younger readers and combined with the adventure storyline and characters that we grow more and more familiar with through the series is a winning combination which will undoubtedly lead to questions of when there will be more.
Published by – Bloomsbury Publication date – 27.06.19 RRP – £6.99 (PB)
Hilda and the Hidden People
Hilda is an adventurer and one of the most important parts of her role is to create maps like the stunning example of one at the start of the book. This book is the ultimate adventure story – and it has its very own Netflix original series to confirm the success of the brand and the book series, there being several other Hilda titles prior to this. On one occasion while Hilda is sketching she accidentally wakes up a rock troll and if that’s not enough to deal with there are other creatures in need of her attention, and then not forgetting that her mum is looking into moving to the city of Trolberg which is such a massive change from the vast countryside surrounded home she has now. All in a days work for Hilda, she is an amazing role model to younger readers with her bravery, determination and skilfulness. With a yellow coloured theme that flows through the book and adds finer detail to the illustrations there is an undoubtedly iconic feel to every aspect of this book.
Published by – Flying Eye Books Publication date – 01.06.19 RRP – £6.99 (PB)