Book Reviews For Category: First Chapter Book

These simpler books are a transition to independent reading for first and second grade readers.

Juana and Lucas

Juana and Lucas - A Multi-cultural Children's Book

Published: 2016
Theme: Learning Something New
Best for: 6 to 9

“My name is Juana. It is spelled J-u-a-n-a, and it is pronounced Who-Ah-Nah…Bogota is where I am. And where school is and where Mami and my abuelos and Lucas are…” This perfect multi-cultural children’s book introduces us to Juana, who needs to learn English for her trip to the USA, and resists it.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Akimbo and the Baboons

Children's Book - Akimbo and the Baboons

Published: 2008
Theme: Wildlife in Africa
Best for: 6 to 9

“They came to a halt beside the hut… It had been made out of tree branches and the trunks of saplings, all tied together with twine and then poked firmly into the ground.” The small first chapter book is set in the bush in Africa, and gives wonderful images of African children, wildlife, and insights into baboon behavior.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

The Poet’s Dog

Children's Book - Poet's Dog

Published: 2016
Theme: Children, Poets, and Dogs
Best for: 7 to 10

“I’m a dog. I should tell you that right away. But I grew up with words. A poet named Sylvan found me at the shelter and took me home. He laid down a red rug for me by the fire…” Prepare to have your heart strings plucked by master storyteller MacLachlan, as a dog and two children comfort each other.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Dragon Masters

Children's Book - Dragon masters

Published: 2014
Theme: Dragons
Best for: 6 – 9

“Drake looked over at his friend Bo. he could tell Bo was thinking the same thing he was: How did the king know one of the dragons was sick?” Our school librarian gets a high demand for books about dragons, especially from the lower grade students. So she and I were delighted to find this one.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, First Chapter Book

Ruffleclaw

Children's Book - Ruffleclaw

Published: 2015
Theme: Monsters
Best for: 7 to 8

“Yes, he had to admit, Ruffleclaw had been quite a pest. Always hungry. Always tired. And he spat absolutely everywhere. And still… Tommy missed him.” Let’s start by admitting that this children’s book is aimed at being gross, and aimed at young boys who like to be gross…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, First Chapter Book

Dodsworth in Paris

First Chapter Children's Book - Dodsworth in Paris

Published: 2008
Theme: First Chapter Book
Best for: 6 to 8

“They sat down for lunch at a cafe. “Bonjour,” said the waiter. “That means ‘Hello'”, Dodsworth told the duck. “Oh well then, ‘banjo’ to you, too,” said the duck.” As a first chapter children’s book, this little book is more than meets the eye, with lovely illustrations, and authentic information about Paris.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Annika Riz, Math Whiz

Annika Riz - First Chapter Book, Children's Book

Published: 2014
Theme: Being yourself
Best for: Third graders

“It was all new and fascinating to Annika. She had never know that baking had so much math in it–so much tasty math!” Here’s a lovely addition to those hard to find interesting first chapter books, which, uncommonly, focuses on the early grade student’s relationship to math.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Waldorf-Aligned

James to the Rescue

Children's Book:: James to the Rescue

Published: 2015
Theme: Trust
Best for: 6 – 9

“Marvin sees crumbs under the table, but those are nothing special. The beetles find crumbs all the time. But then he sees something else. Something shiny. Something silver.” My criteria for an good children’s book for emerging readers is that it is not too daunting, and not too dull. This book meets both criteria.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Waldorf-Aligned

Diva and Flea

Children's Book - Diva and Flea

Published: 2015
Theme: Friendship
Best for: 5 – 8

“Diva was the gardienne’s dog, which mean that Diva was practically responsible of the whole of 11 avenue Le Play, including the courtyard. It was a very big job for a very small dog.” Hooray! An enchanting first chapter book for children that delights, amuses, is readable, and even stretches our reading muscles to read some French words.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Backyard Witch: Sadie’s Story

Children's Book - Sadie's Story

Published: 2015
Theme: Self-confidence
Best for: girls 8 to 10

“Sadie imagined Jess and Maya calling from the road and asking what she was up to. ‘Oh Nothing much. Just doing magic with a friend. Nobody you know.'” With a little imagination, and the help from the Backyard Witch, “a most magical and mysterious visitor, who always appears just when you need her,” Sadie’s summer, and her own sense of self-worth is transformed.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Waldorf-Aligned

The Gaskitts Series

Gaskitts Children's Book

Published: 2005
Theme: First Chapter Books
Best for: 6 to 9

“Mr. Gaskitt was minding the baby. It was his turn. And doing the grocery shopping and opening the trunk and feeling in his pocket for the parking-lot ticket and tying his shoelace… and looking the other way.” Imagine the above sentence written with only 4 or 5 words on a line, and you can see why these first chapter children’s books are great for new readers

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

The Cat Who Got Carried Away

Children's Book: The Cat Who Got Carried Away

Published: 2003
Theme: First Chapter Book
Best for: 6 to 9

“And the strange thing was – which Horace noticed- the strange thing was, the baby carriage…was barking.” This “first chapter book” is a treat – it has some humor, as well as unusual elements such as maps and timetables for the reader to follow. It has a simple plot, with an attempt for the story to be a mystery to be solved, but the clues are present on every page.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

The Great Cake Mystery – A Precious Ramotswe Mystery

Children's Book: The Great Cake Mystery

Published: 2012
Theme: Light-hearted Mystery
Best for: 6 to 9

“Nice people smile a lot, and Precious Ramotswe was one of the nicest girls in Botswana. Everyone said so.” Oh joy! My favorite adult author, Alexander McCall Smith, has recreated his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency as a series for young children.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Like Bug Juice On A Burger

Like Bug Juice - Children's book

Published: 2013
Theme: Growing up
Best for: Girls 8 to 10

“As she handed me back my most worn-out underwear, I realized she wasn’t going to be at camp with me at all. Not even to help me put my things away…Or tuck me in, under my thin sleeping bag.” In this children’s book, we go away with Eleanor to summer camp, which starts out dreadful, and ends up wonderful. It’s a great book for any young girl going off to sleep-away camp for the first time

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Inspiring for Girls

No Fighting, No Biting

Children's Book - No Fighting No Biting

Published: 1958
Theme: Early Reader
Best for: 5 to 8

“If you can count,” said the big, hungry alligator, “maybe you will count my teeth. I have always wanted someone to count my teeth. I will open my mouth wide. Then you two can get in and count all my teeth. All the way to the back of my mouth.” In this easy reader, a young girl has the ideal way to deal with her two young cousins who are pinching, and fighting, and biting. Tell a tale about crocodiles…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Classics, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Little Bear’s Visit

Little Bear's Visit - Children's book

Published: 1961
Theme: Early Reader Book
Best for: 5 to 8

“One spring day, when Mother Bear was little, she found a baby robin in the garden. A baby robin, too little to fly. “Oh how sweet you are,” she said, “Where did you come from?” “From my nest,” said the robin…” When a child can pick up a children’s book and read it on their own, it’s as big as learning to ride a bike. The “I Can Read” series is perfect for new readers…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Classics, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Like Pickle Juice On A Cookie

Children's Book - Like Pickle Juice

Published: 2011
Theme: Growing up
Best for: 7 – 9

“After her very important call my mom sat on the couch with me and read five whole chapters of a book to me… And when we got to the happy ending, my mom’s eyes got red…My mom always cries at happy endings.” Here’s one of the absolute best early readers/ first chapter books I’ve come across. The writing is simple, laid out with only a few words on a line for ease of reading…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey

Pigsticks and Harold - Children's Book

Published: 2014
Theme: First Chapter Book
Best for: 5 to 8

“Being an explorer’s assistant is hard work,” said Harold. “Being an explorer is even harder!” said Pigsticks. Harold wasn’t convinced. He hadn’t realized that The Ends of the Earth would be so far away.” Interspersed with delightful illustrations, filled with humor and jokes, this is a fabulous first chapter book…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Miss Emily

Miss Emily - Children's Book

Published: 2014
Theme: Emily Dickinson
Best for: 7 to 9

“She needs our eyes to see these things for her, for –playful as she is with us– she isn’t part of the world’s hubbub anymore. She is getting old!” This poetic children’s book is a wonderful addition to bringing Emily Dickinson to young people, depicting her playful nature with children.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Biography, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Historical Fiction, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

The Miniature World of Marvin & James

Children's Book - Marvin & James

Published: 2014
Theme: Friendship, First Chapter Book
Best for: 5 to 8

“Under the kitchen sink, where the beetles live, there is an art studio just for Marvin. James gives him paper and ink. He can draw and draw. Marvin loves making pictures. But today he just doesn’t feel like it.” This children’s book succeeds on several counts – imagination (the world as seen by beetles), clear simple writing, and a single message: friendship.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Mercy Watson

Children's book: Mercy Watson

Published: 2010
Theme: First Chapter Book
Best for: 5 – 8

“The cat ran out of the kitchen. The pig ran after him. It was a chase. Mercy loved a chase.” It’s easy to love Kate DiCamillo’s writing, as she seems to know just what children enjoy…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud

Three Stories You Can Read To Your Cat

Children's booi: Stories to Read to your Cat

Published: 1997
Theme: First Chapter Book
Best for: 5-8

“It was still raining! ‘This is terrible,’ you said. ‘What am I going to do all day?’ You sat down and gave yourself a bath.” Here’s a sweet little early reader/first chapter children’s book especially for kids who have cats they love…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Bink and Gollie

Bink and Gollie Children's Book

Published: 2010
Theme: Friendship
Best for: 5 – 8

“Bink,”said Gollie, “the brightness of those socks pains me. I beg you not to purchase them.” “I love socks,” said Bink. “Some socks are more lovable than others,” said Gollie.” This quirky and fun book is a perfect easy reader. It moves fast, has funny lines, and great pictures…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud

Zero Grandparents

Zero Grandparents Children's Book

Published: 2001
Theme: Valuing Grandparents
Best for: 6 – 9

“Next Wednesday is Grandparents Day.” Calliope dumped all her candy on the table. “And I don’t have any grandparents to bring.” I love this children’s book, because it addresses the precious relationship between grandchildren and grandparents. It reminds us to cherish our past…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book

Owen Foote, Soccer Star

Owen Foote Soccer Star Children's Book

Published: 1998
Theme: Loyalty and Courage
Best for: Boys 6 and up

“He had promised Joseph he’d protect him. But he didn’t. They were best friends. Best friends were supposed to stick together. Even if it meant being called names…Even if it ruined the sport you loved more than anything in the world. Even then.” This first chapter book delighted me from beginning to end. It places the dilemma of friendship front and center…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud

Bramble and Maggie – Give and Take

Bramble and Maggie Children's Book

Published: 2013
Theme: Give and Take
Best for: 5 and up, new readers

“Maggie said, “Let’s go for a ride, Bramble!” Bramble knew about rides. The rider sat in the saddle. The horse did all the hard work.” From the opening line of this little “first chapter book,” I loved it. I’ve been on the lookout for early reader children’s books since I began this website, hoping to help the younger struggling readers…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Mr Popper's Penguins Children's Book

Published: 1938
Theme: Dream Big
Best for: all ages

“Mr. Popper soon found it was not so easy to take a penguin for a stroll. He tied one end of the clothesline to the penguin’s fat throat, and the other to his own wrist.” Here’s a delightful, simple, amusing book with nothing possibly true in it. Purely entertaining, with some sweet morals at the end..

Posted in Ages 5-8, Classics, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud

Amelia Bedelia Means Business

Amelia Bedelia children's book

Published: 2013
Theme: Daily Life
Best for: 6 and up

“You can’t pick flowers in the park. They’re for everyone who lives here to enjoy.!” “I live here,” said Amelia Bedelia. “So does my mom. I picked these for her.” For children struggling with the English language, especially if they are second language learners, words can be confusing. And no one demonstrates this better than Amelia…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book

A Bear Called Paddington

Children's Books Paddington Bear

Published: 1958
Theme: Coping with Circumstances
Best for: age 5 and up

“You know, Henry,” said Mrs. Brown as they watched Paddington go up the stairs to bed, looking rather sticky and more than a little sleepy, “it’s nice having a bear about the house.” This is a real chapter book, perfect for young readers who have just learned to read, with a few choice illustrations to keep it moving.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Classics, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

The Frog and Toad Collection

Frog and Toad Children's book

Published 1970
Theme: Friendship; Easy Reader
Best for: 5- 8

This is one of those books that is important not because it is great literature, but because it is possible for children to read it on their own, love it, remember it, imitate it, and feel the magic that comes from learning to read…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned
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