Archive for Easy Reader

Urgency Emergency: Itsy Bitsy Spider by Dosh Archer

Itsy Bitsy SpiderAn ambulance arrives one rainy day at City Hospital. The Pengamedics call out “Urgency Emergency! We have an injured spider.” As it turns out, Miss Muffet was the one who had called the ambulance because she found the spider at the bottom of the waterspout. Everyone knows that Miss Muffet is afraid of spiders, but that doesn’t stop her from worrying. While Doctor Glenda examines the injured spider she learns that her name is Itsy Bitsy, and that she was climbing the waterspout when the rain washed her out. After the cut on Isty Bitsy’s head is stitched up, she is a bit wobbly and needs someone to help her home and take care of her. Once again Miss Muffet comes to her rescue!

How fun this beginning reader is! Dosh Archer is very successful at combining the nursery rhymes of Itsy Bitsy Spider and Little Miss Muffet . I recommend a refresher on both those rhymes before reading this story to thoroughly enjoy the characters. The reader doesn’t have to stop with this book as there are more books in the Urgency Emergency series.

Posted by: Wendy

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Stella Batts Needs a New Name by Courtney Sheinmel

Stella Batts Needs a New NameI think many children (and adults) have at one time or another wanted to change their name. Stella Batts is no exception, especially when a boy in her class calls her Smella!

Stella is eight years old and wants to be a writer when she grows up. Stella loves that her parents own a candy shop where their specialty fudge is named after her. However, she does not love her name. Stella recently went on a class nature walk and something happened that she does not want to talk about. But now she wants a new name. Stella picks a new name, but then has second thoughts about her decision.

Courtney Sheinmel has created a likeable character. Stella goes through typical ups and downs that many third graders can relate to such as dealing with a mean classmate, hanging out with a group of friends, and having a younger sibling that wants to be just like her big sister. This story would be great for those who are just starting with chapter books. Charming black and white illustrations by Jennifer A. Bell add to the pleasant appeal of the book.

If you liked reading about Stella, you’re in luck! Young readers can enjoy more adventures about this enthusiastic third grader in the rest of her early chapter book series.

Posted by: Katie

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The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure by Doreen Cronin

The Chicken Squad: The First MisadventureJ. J. Tully certainly stays busy these days. One would think a retired search-and-rescue dog could laze around the yard and enjoy a peaceful afternoon nap. However, J. J. does not know that luxury. Sugar, Poppy, Dirt, and Sweetie make up the Chicken Squad and they always keep things interesting. These four fuzzy little chicks are constantly getting into mischief and it’s J. J.’s job to keep them out of trouble.

It seems like a normal day for the Chicken Squad until Tail the squirrel dashes into the chicken coop with a huge dilemma. Tail has seen something in the yard that is BIG and SCARY! What could this big and scary thing be? The chicks try to get more information from Tail but it is an extremely difficult task as the squirrel keeps fainting from being scared. Will the chicks learn what this big, scary object is and protect everyone in the yard? The Chicken Squad is certainly up to the task!

This is a comical delight for young children who are beginning to read longer books. The black and white illustrations by Kevin Cornell enhance the story by perfectly depicting the range of zany emotions that each character experiences. The drawings are also paced throughout the story to break up the text for readers just starting with chapter books. If you enjoy these wacky chicks you can read more about them in their next adventure called The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken, or check out some of their previous escapades in the J. J. Tully Mysteries.

Posted by: Katie

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Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana by James Dean

Pete the Cat and the Bad BananaPete the Cat loves eating bananas. They are easy to peel, they are sweet and tasty. Every morning he puts a banana in his cereal. Sometimes he puts a banana on his peanut butter sandwich. One day something bad happens – Pete eats a banana with brown spots. YUCKY! It’s mushy and gross and makes his tummy hurt. From then on he refuses to eat any food that has anything to do with bananas. He tries other foods that are yellow like bananas or shaped like bananas or that need to be peeled like bananas, but none of those foods are just right like bananas.

Finally something perfect happens! Could it be he finds a good substitute for a banana OR could it be he starts eating bananas again? Read this delightful Pete the Cat book to find out.

I agree with Pete that a banana is fun to eat and that they are sweet and tasty. This story really spoke to me because I am very fussy when it comes to eating bananas – they can’t be too ripe (mushy), nor can they be not quite ripe enough (slightly hard). My family knows that I will only eat a banana that seems just right.

Pete the Cat is such a beloved book character who finds great solutions for any problem. His books are always fun to read and this newest book is just right – not at all too mushy!

Posted by: Wendy

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Heidi Heckelbeck Gets the Sniffles by Wanda Coven

Heidi Heckelbeck Gets the SnifflesWe all know what it’s like to be excited for something special. Heidi Heckelbeck waits all year long for the Brewster Fall Festival. She’s especially excited this year to go through the haunted barn with her best friend Lucy.

We also all know what it’s like to get sick and have to miss out on something special. Poor Heidi starts sneezing and feeling achy all over. At first she tries hard to ignore her symptoms, but when she becomes feverish she has to admit that she feels overall terrible. She has a really bad cold that she can’t even cure with a special “potion” and she will have to miss going to the long awaited Brewster Fall Festival!

When Heidi finally feels like her old self again, her family and friends delight her with a great surprise. They have turned the garage into a special haunted house just for her. What fun and how scary!

The Heidi Heckelbeck series is always a hit with me. Every page has an illustration that helps the reader further enjoy the story. This easy reader is not only a great read-alone story, but would also be fun to read aloud – especially on a crisp fall day!

Posted by: Wendy

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Pete the Cat – Too Cool for School by Kimberly and James Dean

Pete the Cat - Too Cool for SchoolIt’s time to go back to school, and just like a lot of kids, Pete is trying to figure out what to wear. He is asking EVERYONE! He asks his mom, and she tells him the yellow shirt, because it is her favorite, so he puts it on. Then his friend Marty tells him that the red shirt is his favorite, and Pete puts that one on too. Pete’s brother Bob likes the blue shirt, and Pete puts that one on too. Pretty soon EVERYONE is giving their opinion of what Pete should wear, and he is following EVERYONE’s advice and putting EVERYTHING on!! Of course Pete looks just plain silly, and he is also very hot with all those clothes on. He decides to go home to change his clothes, and this time he decides what he’s going to wear. In the end, Pete also decides that what really matters is being yourself . . . so if you want to be cool, just be you! I like the message of this book, and I think kids who love Pete the Cat will love this one too.

Posted by: Mary

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My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz

My Happy LifeInstead of counting sheep at night, Dani counts all the times she’s been happy. She is especially happy when she thinks about her new schoolbag, because she is so excited for her first day of school. It will be a new chapter in Dani’s happy life! And, as it turns out, there are many happy times spent in Dani’s new classroom and with her new best friend, Ella. But the school year brings some unhappiness, too. Ella moves away midway through the year, which makes Dani very sad. Dani is reminded of other times of unhappiness in her life, too, like when her mother died when she was very young. Dani misses Ella terribly and things look fairly bleak, but as Dani begins to snatch up little opportunities for happiness – like new pet hamsters and new friends at school – and to think about all of her happy memories, Dani’s life once more becomes a happy one.

Don’t let the size of this book fool you – it is 134 pages, but there is a lot of white space and an abundance of illustrations, making it perfect as a first chapter book for early readers. This book touches on two different sad events – the death of a parent and a best friend moving away. While these events are never trivialized, the book itself is not a sad book. It is mainly a book about resilience and about keeping on the sunny side of life. It is about how love from family, friends, and your own self can provide you with an inner reserve of happiness to draw from when bad things happen in life.

Posted by: Parry

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Moonsilver (The Unicorn’s Secret, #1), by Kathleen Duey

Moonsilver (The Unicorn’s Secret, #1)In Moonsilver, the first book of the series The Unicorn’s Secret, we meet Heart Avamir, a young girl who was abandoned at birth and raised by Simon Pratt, a demanding and unloving guardian. Despite this, Heart grows to be a kind, gentle, and hard working girl. When she meets an abandoned and starving white mare in the fields one day, she is instantly devoted and fights to keep the mare. Heart wakes up extra early to gather food for the horse, and enlists the help of the village healer and her only friend to help her nurse the horse back to health. When the mare begins to regain strength, Heart discovers that she is going to have a foal. But the foal turns out to be no ordinary horse, and in order to protect them both Heart must set out on a great adventure.

This beginning chapter book makes a great fantasy introduction, and is also recommended to young horse lovers. This would also make a good read aloud for children not yet ready to read chapters on their own.

Posted by: Parry

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Chip Wants a Dog by William Wegman

Chip Wants a DogChip wants a dog – it’s all he thinks and dreams about. He would just love to teach a dog tricks such as to roll over, fetch and sit. A dog would be his best friend.

The problem is Chip’s parents do not want a dog. They think dogs are too much hard work and his Mother is really more of a cat person. Chip doesn’t understand why he can’t have a dog. All the other kids have dogs.

One night Chip has a dream that he is a dog. When he wakes up in the morning he realizes something about himself that has to do with his intense desire to have a dog.

What a funny easy reader! The William Wegman photographs are classic!

Posted by: Wendy

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Urgency Emergency: Big Bad Wolf by Dosh Archer

Urgency Emergency! Big Bad Wolf When the penguinmedics burst through the hospital doors with a choking wolf, Dr. Glenda wastes no time diagnosing his problem – something is obstructing his airway! Quickly, Dr. Glenda and her faithful, if not slightly skittish, aide Nurse Percy deduce that it is not something stuck in the wolf’s throat, but rather someone. After much back-slapping and wolf-squeezing, a formerly missing grandmother is finally dislodged from the wolf’s gullet. Subsequently, police are called to haul away the carnivorous canine, and the undigested grandmother is reunited with her distraught, red-hooded granddaughter. It’s all in a day’s work for Dr. Glenda and crew.

Dosh Archer’s Urgency Emergency series is a fun take on fractured fairy tales for beginning readers. Each installment takes well-known characters from nursery rhymes and folk and fairy tales out of their storybook realms and into the E.R. with Dr. Glenda and Nurse Percy. As the author herself states in a 2009 interview, Dr. Glenda, Nurse Percy, and the rest of the City Hospital staff attempt “to bring an element of order to the chaotic world of fairy tales and rhymes,” and the results are rib tickling. These books are fun on their own, but would also make for a great read-aloud addition to a folk and fairy tale unit for Kindergarten through Grade 2.

Originally published in Britain in 2009, the third title in the series, Little Elephant’s Blocked Trunk, is scheduled to be released in North America in September of this year. Until then we always have The Big Bad Wolf and Itsy Bitsy Spider to tide us over.

Posted by: Staci

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