Beginning Readers for Kindergarten to Grade 3 May 2016 Picks
Best Books for Beginning Readers May 2016 Picks


This month’s picks for best early readers includes books from some of my favorite beginning reader series – the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems, the Babymouse books by Jennifer and Matthew Holm and the Bad Kitty books by Nick Bruel.  Here are a few pluses about these series...

1) It isn’t necessary to read these series in order, which simplifies grabbing a book at the library or bookstore.  

2) Finding a set of characters, a particular style of writing, and, importantly, a certain level of text complexity that clicks with a beginning reader is GOLD.  Getting into a great series exponentially multiplies an awesome book find.  

3) The familiarity and anticipation of reading a series book can be a real boost to beginning readers.

My favorite early reader series of all time is for sure the Elephant and Piggie series.  Most of these books are considered suitable for readers that are just getting started (in Kindergarten or first grade).  The vocabulary is simple and words or phrases are repeated, which helps to build confidence.  Elephant and Piggie books are funny, which really helps break the tension that can develop while laboring through beginning reading.  The characters in the books exhibit kindness and tenderness in their friendship and the experiences the characters go through are relatable for young children.  The only downside of the series?  The Thank You Book is the last one!  I was so sad to hear this, but author and illustrator Mo Willems will surely continue to create wonderful new stories.

The Bad Kitty and Babymouse series are also great fun.  Both series are suitable for more advanced readers, and while the Bad Kitty books might be entertaining as a read-aloud for younger kiddos, the Babymouse books actually have a slightly older target audience.  Babymouse is forever going through trials and blunders that a younger child probably wouldn’t relate to, including encounters with a mean girl type character.  These series are both funny and the image-heavy styles tend to speak to eager and reluctant readers alike.

In addition to these new books from favorite series, 

I’m also excited to read Moo Bird, which looks really silly and cute.  Also, the Guinness World Records: Daring Dogs looks great.  I don’t know about your kiddos, but my son loves dogs.  I know that cool facts about dogs and dogs doing tricks would be really intriguing to him.

How about you?  What series or particular books do you and your kids love?

**This post was mentioned on The Mommy Monday Blog Hop, The Homeschool Link-up, Literacy Musing Mondays, and the Homeschool Nook.


 Seeing stars?  Professional book reviewers only award a star to exceptional books.  More than one star means experts from multiple organizations felt the book was outstanding. 

The Thank you Book Cover
The Thank You Book (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 1
by Mo Willems
published May 3, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

In The Thank You Book!, Piggie wants to thank EVERYONE. But Gerald is worried Piggie will forget someone . . . someone...READ MORE

Go, Otto, Go! (The Adventures of Otto)
Go, Otto, Go! (The Adventures of Otto)
Approximate Reading Level: Kindergarten,
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 1
by David Milgrim
published May 24, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews  

Otto the robot builds a spaceship in this Pre-level 1 Ready-to-Read by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator David Milgrim, part of the award-winning, star-reviewed The Adventures of Otto series!

See Otto work. Work, work, work on a spaceship to take him home.

Since landing on Earth, Otto has made many friends, but...READ MORE

Hippopotamister Book Cover
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by John Patrick Green
published May 10, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star ImagePublishers Weekly

The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act...READ MORE

Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire Book Cover
Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by Sundee T. Frazier
published January 26, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist  

Cleopatra Edison Oliver has always been an entrepreneur, just like her inspiration, successful businesswoman Fortune A. Davies. So when Cleo's fifth-grade teacher assigns her class a "Passion Project," Cleo comes up with her best business idea yet: the finest "tooth-pulling" company in town. With the help of her best friend...READ MORE

Guinness World Records: Daring Dogs (I Can Read Level 2) Book Cover
Guinness World Records: Daring Dogs (I Can Read Level 2)
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 2
by Cari Meister
published February 2, 2016

A brand-new Guinness World Records book for kids!

Sit, speak, roll over. Surf, recycle, scooter? No, we’re not wagging your tail! Dogs of all breeds and sizes are impressive. From heroic rescues to zany tricks, the awe-inspiring pooches in Daring Dogshave gone above and beyond to earn their Guinness World Records....READ MORE

Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet Book Cover
Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by Nick Bruel
published January 5, 2016

When Kitty is happy and healthy, everything is perfect. She jumps around, eats everything in sight, and has the energy to keep slobbering puppies in their place. But when she's sick, all she can do is lie in her bed. Looks like it's time for this sick kitty to MORE

Babymousee Goes for the Gold Book Cover
Babymouse #20: Babymouse Goes for the Gold
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 2
by Jennifer L. Holm
illustrated by Matthew Holm
published April 12, 2016

Winner of the Eisner Award and multiple children’s choice awards and with over two million books sold, kids, parents, and teachers agree that Babymouse is perfect for fans of Junie B. Jones, Ivy and Bean, Bad Kitty, and Dork Diaries! 
Babymouse has big dreams . . . and...READ MORE

Moo Bird Book Cover
Moo Bird (Scholastic Reader, Level 1)
Approximate Reading Level: Kindergarten,
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 1
by David Milgrim
published December 29, 2015

This Level One reader opens with a bird saying "moo" instead of "tweet." Moo Bird is clearly different from the other birds in his nest. He feels like he doesn't belong. So Moo Bird goes off in search of where he DOES belong. Will Cow want to be his friend?...READ MORE

Fly Guy Presents Snakes Book Cover
Fly Guy Presents: Snakes (Scholastic Reader, Level 2)
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by Tedd Arnold
published January 5, 2016

It's time for a field trip! Fly Guy and Buzz are going to the zoo to learn all about snakes. With straightforward text, humorous asides, and kid-friendly full-bleed photographs throughout, young readers will love learning about these slithery creatures. Award-winning author/illustrator Tedd Arnold really brings nonfiction to life for beginning...READ MORE

March of the Mini Beasts (The DATA Set) Book Cover
March of the Mini Beasts (The DATA Set)
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by Ada Hopper
illustrated by Sam Ricks
published April 5, 2016

Danger! Action! Trouble! Adventure! Introducing The DATA Set, a brand-new chapter book series for young readers.

What would happen if your next-door neighbor were a mad scientist?

Gabe, Laura, and Cesar live on a quiet cul-de-sac. They are the whiz kids of Newtonburg Elementary and each specializes in...READ MORE


Awesome, I love new book lists and I haven't heard of many of these titles. Thanks so much!

Hi Erin! Glad you found some new material. :D

Thank you Beth! We love Elephant and Piggie too!! I was so sad to hear that the series is coming to an end. :( Oh well. I'm looking forward to seeing what Mo Willems comes up with next.

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Hi!  I'm Sarah.  I'm a former librarian and mother of two -- a teen daughter and a preschooler son.  We love to play outdoors... and read.  :)

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