James to the Rescue
by Elise Broach, published 2015
“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.”
This first chapter children’s book is the second in the recent adventures of a beetle named Marvin, who has a human friend named James. The author had previously written two lovely books for middle school readers, and then began writing for a younger audience as well. It is so hard to find interesting early chapter books, especially ones for boys. This one definitely works.
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. The chapters look slightly long, but the book has large print and lots of space, so the chapter is not that long. The story is also very simple, making it very approachable for young readers, and yet it has it’s small moment of drama, when one of the beetles gets injured.
Early chapter books for children, in my opinion, are really about getting children accustomed to independent reading. The gripping excitement of a children’s book for the new readers is probably still found in books that an adult will read-aloud. However as a step into the world of literature, James to the Rescue does a good job.