Category Archives: Early Chapter Books

Hilde Cracks the Case: Hero Dog!

Hilde Cracks the Case: Hero Dog!
by Hilde Lysiak
Scholastic, 2017

Author Hilde Lysiak, a real-life reporter since she was seven, now, at age ten, turns her reporting adventures into early reader chapter books. In real life, local reporters, police and other professionals don’t take her seriously, but her neighbors, who watch her meticulously follow through on clues, do!

In the first of the Hilde Cracks the Case series, Hero Dog!, We follow the adventures of Hilde as she is told of seemingly unrelated actions happening in her neighborhood.  Stolen eggs.  Smashed cupcakes.  Broken plates.  Are they related? Why would anyone do these things? Are there suspects?  Readers follow each clue as it’s discovered and think through the clues to help solve the mystery.  Will Hilde figure out the mystery, and will she get the story out on time?  A riveting read!

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

Don’t Throw It to Mo!













Don’t Throw It to Mo!

by David A. Adler, illustrated by Sam Ricks
Penguin Young Readers

This Level 2 Progressive Reader book will enthrall and bring a cheer to any young football lover.

Mo loves football, his mom even gets him out of bed by throwing him a ‘long throw’. Mo is the smallest player on the Robins football team and primarily warms the bench.  One day, playing a game against the Jays, his coach butters up a football and tosses it to Mo.  Of course, it falls to the ground.  He does this several time while the game is going on.  Then the coach tells Mo to wash his hands, and tells Mo to ‘go deep’; he tells the other players ‘don’t throw the ball to Mo.’  When Mo runs deep, the Jay player guarding him, who had seen Mo’s butterfingers, knows this small kid is no threat.  Mo is send out the second time.  The third time, the last play of the game, when the Robins are losing, the coach asks for the same play, but this time the team is to throw it to Mo.  Of course, you can guess the Jays didn’t believe Mo to be a threat and Mo makes a touchdown. Football players will love it!

This book is ideal for reluctant readers who like sports.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

When I am Happiest

happiestWhen I am Happiest
by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Ericksson
Gecko Press, 2015
Originally published in Sweden

The third in an early-chapter book series about third-grader Dani.  It’s the second-to-last day of school when Dani is pulled from the classroom and finds out her dad is in the hospital!  She, of course, wants to be with him, but isn’t allowed for he is in a coma.  She keeps insisting and is finally allowed.  She calls out to him and he awakens for a brief moment.  Dani is happy.  The doctors say the activity is a good sign.  Dani’s grandma cares for her and her many friends support her.  Dani moves through the many emotions of happiness, sorrow, and joy.  Like the others in this series, When I am Happiest is a rich, engaging story.

Others in series:  My Heart is Laughing and My Happy Life.

Read reviews and purchase on Amazon.

My Heart is Laughing

myheartlaughingMy Heart is Laughing
by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Ericksson
Gecko Press, 2014
Translated from Sweden

My Heart is Laughing is an early chapter book that gives the heart something to explore and discover.

We meet Dani, are introduced to the characters in her class, and learn the seat next to hers is saved for when her best friend, Ella, who moved away, returns.  Everyone tells her Ella will not return, but Dani believes it could happen.  On the surface, this story is about two girls who dream of the same boy and become jealous—and mean—when the boy pays attention to Dani.  When the teacher sits Dani between the two girls, they start pinching her, hard.  They get in a food fight until Dani accidentally squirts the teacher.

Dani’s father is called in and doesn’t understand why Dani would squirt the teacher; it is not like her.  He tries to talk to Dani, but Dani is afraid.  Finally she shows her dad the bruises from the pinches.  He marches into the classroom and questions the two girls.  Dani is asked to show her bruises and the class hushes.  The two girls refuse to apologize.  A visitor interrupts the incident—and it’s Ella!  Miracle upon miracle she shows up for the day, just like Dani knew she might.  Learn how Dani takes care of the situation and how Dani and Ella enjoy their one day together.

On the surface, this delightfully written, heartwarming story tells of how Dani deals with bullies, but underneath it’s about a girl who has faith that she will see her friend again.  A story that will be read again and again.

I loved this book so much, I looked up My Happy Life, the first book of this series, and loved it equally.  As The New York Times Book Review says:  “If only all early chapter books were this beautifully conceived.”

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.