What do you look for in a book for an early reader? I look for short sentences and simple vocabulary, but I also look for humor, stories and illustrations that grab readers. One of the problem that many parents talk about is that their children love listening to much longer, more compelling stories than they can read. This seems particularly true of 1st and 2nd graders who are working hard on decoding.
Dinosaur Hunt (Max Spaniel) is a fun book that really does work for 1st graders. It is funny and silly, and the pictures make you want to keep reading. There are only one or two sentences on each page. The winners of my contest have just been notified: Erika, Marie, Carol, Taralazar and Dawn will receive copies from the publisher soon! Thanks to everyone who entered!
Some other great books for early readers that come to mind are:
Elephant and Piggie series, by Mo Willems. Are You Ready to Play Outside? makes us laugh every time. Mo Willems creates such fun characters, and packs so many emotions into very few words. He's a true genius. Here, Piggie becomes despondent when she wants to play outside and rain threatens to ruin her plans. Her true friend Elephant tries to help her, but it's really two little worms who show her how much fun playing in the rain can be. Every time I read this it makes me laugh.
Henry and Mudge series, by Cynthia Rylant. I love reading about this friendship between Henry and his big dog Mudge. It is so real, so comforting, so funny in a gentle way. We've had fun reading about sleepovers, camping trips, visiting relatives - all through these books. Henry and Mudge books have more text than the Elephant and Piggie books. They have about 4 sentences per page, and four chapters per book. I also really enjoy Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter and Tabby series, about the friendship between an older man and his cat. If you're looking for a book for an earlier reader, try the Puppy Mudge books, also by Cynthia Rylant.
Do you have other early readers that you love? One of my biggest frustrations is finding early readers that feature children of color and multicultural schools. I would love any suggestions you have.
Best wishes for the start of school!