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Chapter book

Best First Chapter Books for Children

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 early reader 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. 

Invite early readers to delve into tried-and-tested short, illustrated chapter books with favourite characters like Isadora Moon and Claude, providing delightful and imaginative adventures that children can enjoy in a series to read through or collect. Some readers might opt for gentle animal stories like The Little Lost Kitten while others will prefer to embark on exciting fantasy escapades like the pirate-themed Molly Rogers to the Rescue.

This booklist serves as a resource for parents and teachers seeking engaging and developmentally appropriate first chapter books for newly independent readers.

Chapter book

Mariella loves nothing more than inventing but bedtime keeps getting in the way of all her brilliant ideas! So when Mum and Dad won’t take no for an answer there’s only one thing for it… Mariella has to build a rocket-powered flying suit to zap her round the world faster than the setting sun! If anyone can outsmart sleep it’s Mariella. But everyone needs sleep and without it all of Mariella’s brilliant ideas might just disappear. A “how to live a happy life” tale told with humour, warmth and a loveable female protagonist.

Chapter book

Nick Sharratt’s fabulously funny debut novel is now available in paperback. The Cat and the King tells the story of a gentle, unworldly King and his very clever cat, and is illustrated throughout in two colours with Nick’s irresistible wit and humour.

The cat and the King must find a new home after their castle burns down in an Unfortunate Incident with a dragon.

They choose Number 37 Castle Close, and the cat introduces the King to all sorts of new experiences, from washing-up to shopping.

Then danger looms when the pesky, fire-breathing dragon makes its return.

Chapter book

A wickedly funny new series for ages six and up from the creator of Where Bear? , Pass It On and the Pom Pom series, with colour illustrations throughout.

Jeanie’s Grandma is BAD. Not bad like a vampire or a gangster or anything, more like . . . up to no good. Sometimes she can be a bit embarrassing but most of the time she’s REALLY fun, especially when she gets Jeanie involved in her mischievous schemes. Everyone says she’s old enough to know better . . . but she doesn’t seem to care one bit. In fact, Jeanie thinks she might quite like it!

Bad Nana is a deliciously wicked new series for ages six and up, told through the eyes of 7 3/4-year-old Jeanie. Gorgeously illustrated throughout with vibrantly coloured spreads, Bad Nana’s naughty exploits will shock and appal – and make you snort with laughter!

Chapter book

Thieves, greedy pirates and mischief-makers are no match for Molly Rogers! When Molly and her mother, Barbarous Bertha, discover that Captain Firebeard is destroying Monkey Skull Island in search of buried treasure, they set sail on the Red Swallow to save the island and its animals from his clutches. But Firebeard will stop at nothing to get his treasure – how will Molly outwit him this time? A fantastic swashbuckling adventure for little readers, bursting with brilliant characters, gorgeous illustrations and lots of girl power!

Chapter book

Three more slapstick early readers from our favourite doggy detectives, all set in the summer sun. And things are HOTTING UP! Someone is CHEATING in the SANDCASTLE competition! There’s something FISHY about the new CAFE! But it’s the ALIEN INVASION that REALLY makes Shifty and Sam lose their COOL! Anyone for an ICED bun?!

Brilliant stories hilariously told by Tracey Corderoy and beautifully brought to life by Steven Lenton’s illustrations in deliclous two-colour.

Chapter book

Stanley is a normal little boy, whose dad just happens to be the greatest superhero on the planet. Six days a week, Dad saves the world from disasters, aliens, and bad guys. Friday is his day off and he always spends it with Stan. But one Friday, Dad and Stan meet a series of people desperately in need of Dad’s help. Soon Stan finds himself saving a lion stuck up a tree, rescuing a monster truck from a ditch and taking on shark-infested floodwaters. That’s right: Stan is a chip off the old (superhero) block! High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.

Chapter book

Meet the Twitches, four tiny rabbits who live inside a Teacup House.

They belong to a girl called Stevie and she loves playing with them. But guess what? These toy rabbits have a secret. They come alive when Stevie isn’t looking!

Open up the Teacup House – and meet four little rabbit heroes with big ideas!

Chapter book

Join Kitty and her cat crew on the rooftops for a series of enchanting adventures by the light of the moon. Here, Kitty will discover that being a superhero is about more than using her special abilities-she must learn to be courageous too, scaling the city clock tower to rescue a very frightened kitten.

Chapter book

A walk in the park leads to a walk on a tightrope when Claude joins a circus, throws custard pies, and becomes the star of the show.

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