Somewhere between the insipid and obsolete Dick and Jane books and the latest preschool television-character phenom lies a wonderful collection of early or emergent reader books. These books not only emphasize age-appropriate character development, but also infuse the reading with clever facial expressions and witty lines even you as a parent or adult facilitator would appreciate. In short, they are not mind-numbingly dull. My apologies to Dick and Jane and the BOB books. Authors like Arnold Lobel have intuitive books with beloved characters who speak in repetitious ways without boring their readers, young or old. Thank you, Mo Willems, Arnold Lobel, Kate Di Camillo, and others for providing us opportunities to share a giggle together on the sofa, growing closer, growing in literacy. Here are our favorite early reader chuckles.
The Elephant and Piggie series is a brilliant blend of facial expressions, font choices and speech bubbles. The text is simple. The plot is basic. The vocabulary is repetitious. The personalities are HUGE. I dare you not to laugh at Elephant’s irritated expression, or Piggie’s elated grin. There are many choices to choose from in this series. Truly, any of them will instantly become your favorite.
This classic series is priceless for many reasons. Written in simple sentences, replete with endearing illustrations, these very early chapter books are also full of life lessons and sweet reminders of friendship. There is always a reason to giggle at Toad’s worries and Frog’s laid-back approach to trouble. Cut out a pair of toad or frog foam feet for your young reader and turn these brief stories into fun, impromptu plays. These two will always be our friends. Titles in this series include Frog and Toad are Friends, Frog and Toad Together, Frog and Toad All Year and Days with Frog and Toad.
Just look at that face – pure exhilaration! This is how Mercy Watson approaches most adventures. From wearing a pink tutu to an adventurous Saturday drive the “porcine wonder” of Deckawoo Drive charms her owners, readers and sometimes even her grumpy elderly neighbors. Each adventure includes giggles, mishaps and a tall stack of hot buttered toast. Honestly, I would read these stories even if I didn’t have a young one next to me. Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane) deftly places humor in simple sentences. And Chris Van Dusen’s glossy, gouache illustrations only add to the merriment.
Go ahead, let your little one read to you. You will not be bored.