Books for Younger Readers for Summer - Early Reader/Early Chapter Books

Often I find it easy to pile on full-length Middle Grade novels onto my "TBR" pile for summer reading.  However, finding books for 1st to 3rd graders can be a bit more challenging.  Here are three new releases to check out this summer with young readers.

Dodsworth in Tokyo
Author/Illustrator: Tim Egan
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin (April 16, 2013)

Description from GoodReads:
With trips to New York, Paris, London, and Rome under their belts, Dodsworth and the duck head for Japan: “The plane glided over Mount Fuji. Tokyo sparkled in the distance. Dodsworth was a little nervous.” Dodsworth has good reason to be nervous—the duck bumps into a rickshaw, falls into a koi pond (he can’t swim), and knocks over a tray of wagashi! Readers will love the slapstick humor and the odd-couple friendship between Dodsworth and the duck. Four engaging chapters of short sentences, clean design, and gem-like little paintings of the Land of the Rising Sun make it easy for early readers to enjoy the journey.

Quick thoughts:
 Dodsworth and Duck are on the go again and this time to Tokyo.  This four chapter story takes readers on a journey to the Land of the Rising Sun.  How will the adventurous Duck deal with a culture that respects order?  Will Dodsworth survive Duck's exuberance in returning a little girl's kendama (toy)? Will Tokyo ever be the same?  Another fun travel adventure with the odd couple of Dodsworth and Duck.

The Meanest Birthday Girl
Author/Illustrator: Josh Schneider
Publisher: Clarion (May 7, 2013)

Description from GoodReads:
It’s Dana’s birthday, so she can do what she likes. And what Dana likes to do is pinch. And call people names. And steal her classmates’ desserts. You probably know a kid like Dana. What can stop her from being so mean? In this story, it’s not what you might expect. Because sometimes, it takes a little creativity (and possibly a very large pet) to change a mean kid’s ways. Five short chapters with comical full-color illustrations offer a fresh, fun take on bullying and birthdays (and pet elephants).

Quick thoughts:
Schneider won the Geisel in 2012 for Tales for Very Picky Eaters.  His newest book is told in 5 chapters and helps young readers think about the consequences for mean behaviors.  Dana's behavior is less than nice, but a friend gives her a birthday present that soon has her re-thinking all of those actions.  Large elephants with brightly colored toe nails take on new significance in this story about learning appropriate behaviors. Loved the twist at the end. 

Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach
Creator: James Dean
Publisher: HarperCollins (May 21, 2013)

Description from GoodReads:
Pete and his mom and brother go to the beach! Pete has lots of fun collecting shells and building a sand castle. But he's very, very hot . . . and he isn't sure he wants to go in the water. The water looks scary! When his brother Bob offers to give him a surfing lesson, will Pete give it a try?

Rock and roll with Pete in this brand-new story about everyone's favorite groovy cat, perfect for beginning readers!

Quick thoughts:
Pete the Cat fans will love this early reader with simple sentences.  Pete, his mother, and his brother head out to the beach for a day of fun.  Pete must learn to work through his fear of the water if he is going to have some excitement with his brother while at the beach.  Emergent readers will share in Pete the Cat's enthusiasm for conquering his fears and learning a new skill.

Look for each of these books at your local library or independent bookstore.  Happy reading!