All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.
This week Alyson Beecher from KidLitFrenzy and I are sharing some upcoming releases of books that support those on the #road2reading. As we know, learning to read happens at different paces and at different stages of a child's development. The books I am sharing this week, I'm listing in order of degree of difficulty and I'll also share what kind of reader would match well with each book.
King and Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats
King and Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code
by Dori Hillestad Butler
illustrated by Nancy Meyers
published by Peachtree Publishers, March 1st
I was so excited to see this series at NCTE. The Buddy Files series is still a favorite series of mine to put in hands of readers. It's a great transitional chapter book series featuring Buddy the dog. Buddy tells the story and I love how we see the world through his eyes.
This series takes place prior to The Buddy Files series, when King (he becomes Buddy in the next series) is still living with his original owner, Kayla. Things that I love about The Buddy Files series stays true in this new one. King has the same voice, he still likes solving mysteries, and he is still easily distracted! Young readers will enjoy reading this from King's point of view.
Readers who are getting ready to move on from Henry and Mudge and Frog and Toad will be ready for the King and Kayla series. The story takes place across the book, so readers will have to hold the story across five chapters. The stories follow a problem/solution format and a predictable structure which will help readers. There are illustrations on each page and I noticed the illustrations showed changes in settings and when new characters are introduced.
The first two books in the series are being published simultaneously, and it's noted in the back of the books that there are more coming. I'm really looking forward to getting this series to my readers.
Charlie and Mouse
by Laurel Snyder
illustrated by Emily Hughes
published by Chronicle, April 11th
There is a lot that I love about this book but there is a lot that I hope will be adjusted in further installments of this series.
I love that Laurel Snyder has said this series may or may not be loosely based on her own two boys. In fact, her sons gave the characters their names! In that sense, I think readers will enjoy the everyday happenings of the two main characters.
I love the illustrations by Emily Hughes. I've admired her work in the past, and love some of the little details she has added.
With that said, I think this book will appeal to a younger reader, yet will require some sophistication to read on their own. The first two chapters of this book go together, so my first thought is this is going to be a chapter book that tells the story across the book. But then, the last two chapters are episodic - each chapter is its own story. That could confuse readers. There are also a lot of names in the book. Too many characters can be tough. The additional characters don't have important parts in the story, but again, can confuse readers.
Alyson and I have had conversations about the illustrations of this book. When I think about readers of this book, I think the majority of them will still be relying on the illustrations to help support them - whether its to figure out an unknown word or give visual representation to help the reader understand the story. While I love the illustrations, I'm not sure if they support the reader. I'm hoping this can be something that is adjusted for the future.
This book will be well loved by readers who are comfortable with reading. Readers who are looking for support and scaffolding may need assistance with this one.
by Patricia MacLachlan
illustrated by Marc Boutavant
published by Chronicle, June 6th
Barkus is the story of how Nicky got her dog, Barkus. Each chapter is episodic, yet they flow a bit more than the Frog and Toad chapters do. This book has longer sentences and some larger vocabulary than in the previous books I shared. There are some long names in this book that may be difficult for readers to decode. Some of the illustrations will support readers, others won't. I think this book will also appeal more for a younger reader who is ready to handle longer and more sophisticated texts. I think students in kindergarten and first grade who are ready for longer texts and have large reading vocabularies will be ready for a book like this. This one will also be a series.
Princess Cora and the Crocodile
by Laura Amy Schlitz
illustrated by Brian Floca
published by Candlewick, March 28th
Princess Cora is loved and adored by her parents, the King and Queen. However, upon her birth, the King and Queen realize that in order to rule the land, she must grow up and be wise, strong and clean. To that effect, her nanny makes her take three baths a day, her mother makes her read (dull) books about how to rule a kingdom and her father has her training in the castle gym, which used to be the castle prison. Princess Cora just wants a day to herself! After writing a letter to her fairy godmother requesting a dog, she is sent... a crocodile. The crocodile devises a plan to allow Princess Cora to have the day to herself while he teaches nanny, the King and Queen a lesson of their own.
This one is a transitional chapter book. The illustrations are done by the fantastic Brian Floca, and while adding to the story, they do not support the reader. The story is under 100 pages but instead of falling into a problem/solution format, there is one main problem, with additional problems that arise throughout the story. Although more complex with these multiple story strands, they come together in a logical way so a young reader does not have to infer much. Reader who are ready for something a bit more challenging than The Princess in Black series will be ready for this book. I would hand this book off to readers who enjoyed Diva and Flea by Mo Willems.
I hope you found some new books for your collection! Be sure to check out Alyson's post for more new releases!