For in-between-readers, a picture book may be too easy and a novel too challenging. Usually between seven and ten years old, these readers are ready for books that have chapters and are a bit longer, but still contain some illustrations along with slightly larger font. Action, humor, mysteries and information top their list of preferred genres, and the following easy chapter books are a great fit.
“Castle: How It Works” by David Macaulay & Sheila Keenan, Square Fish Publishers, 2012, ages 5 to 8, 32 pages.
The inner workings of a medieval castle are described through a clever combination of age-appropriate words, detailed illustrations, and helpful diagrams. David Macaulay has received awards for his work, and this book reflects an adaptation of his more technical informational books for younger readers.
“Goofballs: The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder” by Tony Abbott, Illustrated by Colleen Madden, Egmont, 2012, ages 7 to 9, 101 pages.
Four goofy friends formed the Goofballs, a private investigation service that takes on even the goofiest of cases. In this first book of the Goofball series, Brian, Kelly, Jeff, and Mara search for Thunder, a missing pet, with the help of their sleuthing dog Sparky. Goofballs is just the right mixture of mystery and fun to entice young readers to stretch their reading skills.
“Captain Awesome and the Ultimate Spelling Bee” by Stan Kirby, Illustrated by George O-Connor, Little Simon Publishers, 2013, ages 6 to 8, 119 pages.
Eugene, otherwise known as Captain Awesome, battles his arch enemy, Little Miss Stinky Pinky in a duel of the spellers. Graphic sketches on almost every page enhance the easy-to-read language, making this action hero story just right for younger readers wanting to transition into a longer, more challenging book. The Ultimate Spelling Bee is number seven in the Captain Awesome series.
“The Hardy Boys: The Bicycle Thief” by Franklin W. Dixon, Illustrated by Scott Burroughs, Aladdin, 2011, ages 6 to 9, 88 pages.
Frank and Joe Hardy return to their mystery-solving adventures in this easy chapter book set during the present time. The Hardy Boys first appeared in 1927, with many of the books being revised between 1959 and 1973. Since that time, several other versions of The Hardy Boys have been developed with modern settings, reductions of racial stereotyping, varying the perspective of the narrator, and adjusting the length and vocabulary for different levels of readers. Over the years, the popularity of The Hardy Boys continues. Even younger readers can enjoy a good mystery.
“Calvin Coconut: Extra Famous” by Graham Salisbury, Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers, Wendy Lamb Books, 2013, ages 7 to 10, 176 pages.
Calvin Coconut and his friends are extras in a new movie, Zombie Zumba! Filmed on the beach in Calvin’s hometown of Kailua, Hawaii, the kids wear zombie costumes, gory makeup, and arise from the ocean as they play their zombie parts. Mingled within the story are issues about friendship, blended families, and responsibilities. The Hawaiian setting for this story promotes an understanding of cultural traditions, foods, and language. Extra Famous is one of several books about Calvin and his friends.
Keep in-between readers in mind when searching for a book with just the right level to be challenging, yet not overwhelming.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler
Photo by Pam Albin