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First Chapter Books

Finding the right books is essential in helping young readers successfully make the leap into their first chapter books. On this booklist we have picked a selection of short, illustrated chapter books that are perfect for children launching into independent reading. This collection of books - with colour illustrations, shorter length and clear formatting - has been picked with those readers in mind who need something to bridge the gap between reading scheme books and lengthier chapter books.

Nellie Choc-Ice and the Plastic Island

Jeremy Strong & Jamie Smith

Nellie Choc-Ice is a well-travelled penguin, who also happens to be slightly accident-prone. While attempting to get home via a series of mishaps, she comes across an island that blocks her path. The island is entirely made of plastic rubbish in the ocean. The story makes it clear that the plastic is putting wildlife in danger and that it must be cleared up. This is a funny and accessible first chapter book addressing an important issue, with a super-readable and child-friendly format that makes it perfect for newly independent readers. 

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Claude at the Circus

Alex T. Smith

This is part of an award-winning and hugely popular series about a loveable dog called Claude and his hapless companion Sir Bobblysock. In this story, Claude stumbles across a circus and cannot help but inadvertently become the star of the show. This entertaining series is full of slapstick humour and amusing illustrations that hold a high appeal to new readers aged 6-8 looking for a fun, accessible read. Highly recommended!

Also featured on: 

Recommended Books for Year 2

Dixie O'Day: In the Fast Lane

Shirley Hughes & Clara Vulliamy

Mother and daughter duo Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy offer a perfect first chapter book series for emerging readers, all about a bowtie-wearing dog and his friendly driving companion Percy. In this story, the duo enter an All-Day Car Race and find themselves up against a villainous rival called Lou Ella. With a gentle but pacey story, never too much text on each page and added comic details in the illustrations, this is a winner for those not wishing to be overwhelmed by a longer read.

Isadora Moon

Harriet Muncaster

This is part of a series responsible for turning many young children into independent readers. Isadora Moon is half fairy, half-vampire and each book in the series follows her adventures with friends and family. In this book, Isadora has reached school age and has an important decision to make. Her mum wants her to attend fairy school and her dad wants to send her to vampire school. Isadora tries out each school, with their very different priorities and curriculums, and in the process answers some important questions about her own heritage and identity. This is a humorous chapter book, with attractive black-and-pink illustrations and a high appeal to modern young readers.

Also featured on: 

Recommended Books for Year 2

The Cat and the King

Nick Sharratt

This story from well-loved author-illustrator Nick Sharrat is full of warmth and humour. After a fire at the castle, the King and his cat move to 37, Castle Close where life is very different. Normal tasks like shopping and setting the table for dinner are unfamiliar to someone used to having servants at their beck and call. Fortunately, the king's loyal cat is close by to lend a hand. A funny book with a wide appeal, especially written for emergent readers.

Bad Nana: Older Not Wiser

Sophy Henn

This award-nominated series features Jeannie, aged 7-and-three-quarters, and her mischevious Nana, who gets up to all sorts of mishaps. This book features three hilarious short stories about Nana's madcap adventures, accompanied by stylish illustrations in neon pinks and greens.

Molly Rogers to the Rescue

Cornelia Funke & Kasia Matyjaszek

Captain Firebeard has been destroying beautiful Monkey Skull Island and its inhabitants in his search for lost treasure. Molly Rogers - daughter of the famously fearsome pirate Barbarous Bertha - is not going to stand for Firebeard's antics any longer and soon embarks upon a pirate rescue mission of her own. A fun, swashbuckling adventure with vibrant illustrations. 

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Aliens Are Coming!

Tracey Corderoy & Steven Lenton

Shifty and Sam have exchanged their life of crime as burglars (and not very good ones at that) for a new venture selling homemade cupcakes. Their criminal know-how soon comes into its own when they take it upon themselves to solve mysteries and catch crooks. This book contains three humorous short stories brought to life by Steven Lenton's cheerful illustrations. 

Hotel Flamingo

Alex Milway

Anna Dupont arrives at the dilapidated Hotel Flamingo after inheriting it from her Great Aunt Mathilda, who left it to her in her will. Shocked at the state of the “sunniest hotel in town”, Anna decides to restore the hotel to its former glory and sets about the enormous task of cleaning it up alongside a team of animal staff. Imaginative, accessible and little bit wild, Hotel Flamingo is a fabulous early chapter book with fun illustrations set in pinks and greys. This is the first title in a growing series that will appeal to readers aged 5-8.

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SuperDad's Day Off

Phil Earle & Steve May

It's not easy having a dad who is the greatest superhero in the world. For six days a week, Stanley 's dad works hard at saving the planet from disasters and supervillains, but Friday is his day off and that means father-and-son time. But one Friday, Stanley finds himself caught up in some superhero adventures of his own. This exciting adventure story makes a brilliant first chapter book for children who love superheroes!

Meet the Twitches

Hayley Scott & Pippa Curnick

A gentle story about a family of toy rabbits and their owner, a girl called Stevie. As her family moves house to the country, Stevie discovers a box with a teacup house inside and four toy rabbits. Little does Stevie know that the rabbits magically come alive when nobody is looking. This is a charming chapter book series with appealing, full-colour illustrations. 

Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue

Paula Harrison & Jenny Løvlie

There's a new superhero in town and her name is Kitty! This series features a girl called Kitty and her crew of felines as they embark upon brave rooftop adventures in the moonlight. Illustrated in cool blacks and oranges, these fun-filled mystery adventures with talking cats are likely to be a purrrfectly popular independent reading choice among ages 6-8.

 

Mariella, Queen of the Skies

Eoin Colfer & Katy Halford

This story from Eoin Colfer and Katy Halford is part of Barrington Stoke’s ‘super-readable’ Little Gems series, which are short, illustrated chapter books specifically designed for readers just taking off with independent reading. This one is bags of fun and tells the tale of young Mariella, whose imaginative story champions girls engaging and leading in STEM. Mariella has a passion for inventing and a head brimming full of creative ideas to solve everyday problems, but the only remaining problem is that there are not enough hours in the day and Mariella wishes that she did not have to go to sleep!

 

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Finding the right books is essential in helping young readers successfuly make the leap into their first chapter books. On this booklist we have picked a selection of short, illustrated chapter books that are perfect for readers who are launching into independent reading. This collection of books - with colour illustrations, shorter length and clear formatting - has been picked with those readers in mind who need something to bridge the gap between reading schemes books and the longer chapter books they might find in the library. Nellie Choc-Ice and the Plastic Island Jeremy Strong & Jamie Smith Nellie Choc-Ice is a well-travelled penguin, who also happens to be slightly accident-prone. While attempting to get home via a series of mishaps, she comes across an island that blocks her path. The island is entirely made of plastic rubbish in the ocean. The story makes it clear that the plastic is putting wildlife in danger and that it must be cleared up. This is a funny and accessible first chapter book addressing an important issue, with a super-readable and child-friendly format that makes it perfect for newly independent readers. Also features on: Plastic Pollution Booklist Buy Online Claude at the Circus Alex T. Smith This is part of an award-winning and hugely popular series about a loveable dog called Claude and his hapless companion Sir Bobblysock. In this story, Claude stumbles across a circus and cannot help but inadvertently become the star of the short. This entertaining series is full of slapstick humour and amusing illustrations that hold a high appeal to new readers aged 6-8 looking for a fun, accessible read. Highly recommended! ​ Also featured on: Recommended Books for Year 2 ​ Buy Online Dixie O'Day: In the Fast Lane Shirley Hughes & Clara Vulliamy Mother and daughter duo Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy offer a perfect first chapter book series for emerging readers, all about a bowtie-wearing dog and his friendly driving companion Percy. In this story, the duo enter an All-Day Car Race and find themselves up against a villainous rival called Lou Ella. With a gentle but pacey story, never too much text on each page and added comic details in the illustrations, this is a winner for those not wishing to be overwhelmed by a longer read. Buy Online Isadora Moon Harriet Muncaster This is part of a series responsible for turning many young children into independent readers. Isadora Moon is half fairy, half-vampire and each book in the series follows her adventures with friends and family. In this book, Isadora has reached school age and has an important decision to make. Her mum wants her to attend fairy school and her dad wants to send her to vampire school. Isadora tries out each school, with their very different priorities and curriculums, the in the process answers some important questions about her own heritage and identity. This is a humorous chapter book, with attractive black-and-pink illustrations and a high appeal to modern young readers. ​ Also featured on: Recommended Books for Year 2 Buy Online The Cat and the King Nick Sharratt This story from well-loved author-illustrator Nick Sharrat is full of warmth and humour. After a fire at the castle, the King and his cat move to 37, Castle Close where life is very different. Normal tasks like shopping and setting the table for dinner are unfamiliar to someone used to having servants at their beck and call. Fortunately, the king's loyal cat is close by to lend a hand. A funny book with a wide appeal, especially written for emergent readers. Buy Online Bad Nana: Older Not Wiser Sophy Henn This award-nominated series features Jeannie, aged 7-and-three-quarters, and her mischevious Nana, who gets up to all sorts of mishaps. This book features three hilarious short stories about Nana's madcap adventures, accompanied by stylish illustrations in neon pinks and greens. Buy Online Molly Rogers to the Rescue Cornelia Funke & Kasia Matyjaszek Captain Firebeard has been destroying beautiful Monkey Skull Island and its inhabitants in his search for lost treasure. Molly Rogers - daughter of the famously fearsome pirate Barbarous Bertha - is not going to stand for Firebeard's antics any longer and soon embarks upon a pirate rescue mission of her own. A fun, swashbuckling adventure with vibrant illustrations. Buy Online Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Aliens Are Coming! Tracey Corderoy & Steven Lenton Shifty and Sam are have exchanged their life of crime as burglars (and not very good ones at that) for a new venture selling homemade cupcakes. Their criminal know-how soon comes into its own when they take it upon themselves to solve mysteries and catch crooks. This book contains three humorous short stories brought to life by Steven Lenton's catchy illustrations. Buy Online Hotel Flamingo Alex Milway Anna Dupont arrives at the dilapidated Hotel Flamingo after inheriting it from her Great Aunt Mathilda, who left it to her in her will. Shocked at the state of the “sunniest hotel in town”, Anna decides to restore the hotel to its former glory and sets about the enormous task of cleaning it up alongside a team of animal staff. Imaginative, accessible and little bit wild, Hotel Flamingo is a fabulous early chapter book with fun illustrations set in pinks and greys. This is the first title in a growing series that will appeal to readers aged 5-8. ​ Also features on: Reading for Pleasure Blog ​ Buy Online SuperDad's Day Off Phil Earle & Steve May It's not easy having a dad who is the greatest superhero in the world. For six days a week, Stanley 's dad works hard at saving the planet from disasters and supervillains, but Friday is his day off and that means father-and-son time. But one Friday, Stanley finds himself caught up in some superhero adventures of his own. This exciting adventures story makes a brilliant first chapter book for children who love superheroes! Buy Online Meet the Twitches Hayley Scott & Pippa Curnick A gentle story about a family of toy rabbits and their owner, a girl called Stevie. As her family moves house to the country, Stevie discovers a box with a teacup house inside and four toy rabbits. Little does Stevie know that the rabbits magically come alive when nobody is looking. This is a charming chapter book series with appealing, full-colour illustrations. Buy Online Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue Paula Harrison & Jenny Løvlie There's a new superhero in town and her name is Kitty! This series features a girl called Kitty and her crew of felines as they embar upon brave rooftop adventures in the moonlight. Illustrated in cool blacks and oranges, these fun-filled mystery adventures with talking cats are likely to be a purrrfectly popular independent reading choice among ages 6-8. ​ Buy Online Mariella, Queen of the Skies Eoin Colfer & Katy Halford This story from Eoin Colfer and Katy Halford is part of Barrington Stoke’s ‘super-readable’ Little Gems series, which are short, illustrated chapter books specifically designed for readers just taking off with independent reading. This one is bags of fun and tells the tale of young Mariella, whose imaginative story champions girls engaging and leading in STEM. Mariella has a passion for inventing and a head brimming full of creative ideas to solve everyday problems, but the only remaining problem is that there are not enough hours in the day and Mariella wishes that she did not have to go to sleep! Also features on: Reading for Pleasure Blog

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