Saturday, January 28, 2012

Four Chapter Book Series

Chapter book series are nice. If the character(s) and the plot line in general catch our fancy, there's usually more of where that came from (not always). Over the last couple of years, some series were enjoyed more than others in our house. Early favorites were Rainbow Fairies, Magic Tree House, Magic School Bus, Junie. B. Jones, Ivy+Bean, among others. But, the more recent favorites happen to be:

Ottoline and the Yellow Cat 
by Chris Riddell

Ottoline is a spunky little girl who finds herself alone at home a lot, thanks to her traveling parents, who send her postcards from across the globe for some in-absentia parenting. She is not entirely alone however. Mr. Munroe keeps her company. He is a sort of short hairy creature who doesn't really say much.

In this story, lap dogs start to disappear one by one, and Ottoline investigates. With Mr.Munroe's help, they solve the mystery of the missing dogs and catch the cat burglar Yellow Cat.

The six year old instantly fell in love with this book. Equal parts of line drawings and text is one of the reasons. Each page engaged the six-year old for quite a while with its details. Ottoline's odd shoe collection with a pointer to her other collection -viz., postcards from her parents, and assorted little notes and things add to the charm, I'm sure.

Ottoline at Sea and Ottoline Goes To School are lined up for us to read later.

[Browse Ottoline And The Yellow Cat at Harper Collins]
[View a video of Chris Riddell drawing Ottoline]

[image source: Harper Collins]

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon
by Ruth Stiles Gannett
illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett

This classic set of three books is a fun fantasy about Elmer Elevator and a baby dragon. The books can be stand-alone reads but when taken in all at once, they provide an unforgettable story.

My Father's Dragon, Elmer And The Dragon, The Dragons Of Blueland together tell us the story about how Elmer saves the baby dragon, returns home, and rescues the baby dragon's family. The language is a bit dated, but, that adds to the charm, imo. The original charcoal illustrations wonderfully complement the story.

The tale is inventive and engaging. Bubble gum, comb, lollipop and suchlike are all Elmer packs and they turn out to be the exact things needed in his adventure.

[image source:'s_dragon]

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle 
by Betty MacDonald
illustrations by Alexandra Boiger

Mrs.Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside down house where children are welcome all the time. She has a cure for every common ailment that kids get once in while that the conventional medicine cannot tackle. Like the Don't-want-to-take-baths, or Won't-put-away-toys, Will-not-share, Never-go-to-bed, Ever-quarrelling...

The dated text and repetitive message had me wondering if the six year old would like it but it turned out to be a fun read. We listened to the audiobook during the long drives.

[image source:]

Mercy Watson to the Rescue
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Chris van Dusen

Mercy Watson series is a simple, easy read set of books, a few of which made it to our bookshelf thanks to Nana. The then five year old soon grew out of it and declared it a "baby book" saving hers for her little brother.

Mercy Watson is a huge, silly, lovely pig who lives with Mr. and Mrs. Watson. She has her own room, and acts pretty much like a little kid, and has a lot of inadvertent adventures.

The illustrations are charming and colorful. The story is simplistic, with some possible twist at times, with Mercy coming out on top in the end.

[sample page at Candlewick Press]

[image source: Kate DiCamillo's website]


Choxbox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Choxbox said...

Lovely picks Sheels!

Ottoline is quirky - loved by all of us!
Chris Riddell totally rocks! My older one loves all of Paul Stewart's books (Far Flung Adventures as well as Edge Chronicles) that Riddell has illustrated. The 6-year old has just started Fergus Crane and seems fascinated by it.

My Father's Dragon - the series was intro'ed to us by a friend in London when the older one was 5-ish, was an instant hit. She very generously gave her copy from her childhood to us, which is why it is even more special. Love the illustrations as much as the books. Thanks to your review will dig it out for the lil one now.

Mrs.Piggle Wiggle - who would not like her?!

Mercy Watson has not been that much of a hit, maybe as you pointed out it would have worked at an earlier age when less complexity was required.

Keep 'em coming, your picks are always awesome!

momto8 said...

thank you very much for these suggestions. We are all readers in our house and always looking for good books to read!!
I am your newer follower..pls follow back if you can.

Ali B said...

I love Mercy Watson. Kate DiCamillo has a real winner in this engaging character. Great stories.

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