Our younger daughter is still in the thick of her Disney princess phase. Three guesses as to what she wants to be for Halloween this year. Yep, she wants to be Elsa for Halloween! We recently started on the Disney Princess Beginnings books and she’s gobbling them up.
Disney Princess Beginnings books by various authors
Each book of the series focuses on the childhood of a different princess. In the books, the main character solves a problem, learning something about herself in the process and providing a glimpse of the adult she will grow up to be. For example, Belle develops a plan to save the village bookstore from being converted into a meeting place for socialites. In doing so, she learns that she does have something in common with the others in her village after all. In true Disney fashion, the illustrations are striking, but there are usually only one or two per chapter. As with the Disney Princess chapter books (see post from August 30, 2017), I have found that the characters tend to be one-dimensional. For example, Ariel is adventurous while Belle is smart and bookish. Despite this and the relative slow pace of the storylines, our younger daughter has been delighted with them. She can’t wait until the Tiana book is released in January!
Any other recommendations for a princess-loving reader? Please feel free to pass them along!
Our two daughters both have big imaginations. One tends more toward storytelling and directing scenes with dolls and stuffed animals, while the other gravitates toward creating games and contests. When they entertain themselves, they sometimes get into mischief. Thankfully, usually the mischief they cause is relatively tame! I was hesitant to introduce our daughters to the mischief makers included below, worried that they would be inspired to wreak havoc and copy behaviors I’d rather not have them learn. My fears proved to be unfounded. Instead, we’ve found that our daughters enjoy living vicariously through the characters in these books and that reading about the adventures of the characters has stimulated their own imaginations!
Ivy + Bean books by Annie Barrows
Ivy and Bean are unlikely friends. Together they come up with unconventional solutions to their problems, such as being left with a babysitter or avoiding a ballet recital. Our daughters find them hilarious, even upon multiple readings. One of their favorites is Ivy + Bean: What’s the Big Idea?, where Ivy and Bean test multiple solutions to climate change. Ivy + Bean Make the Rules runs a close second, where Ivy and Bean develop their own summer camp. While I am all too glad that the disasters Ivy and Bean create remain confined to the pages of a book, the pair never fails to entertain all of us.
Dory Fantasmagory books by Abby Hanlon
Dory is the youngest of three children whose behavior has earned her the family nickname of Rascal. She longs for the friendship of her two older siblings, but they often refuse to play with her, leaving Dory to entertain herself. Dory has an active imagination and a rich fantasy life, so much so that the lines between reality and fantasy often become blurred. Our daughters were captivated by Dory’s adventures and begged for us to track down all of the books after reading the first one. My husband often chuckles while reading these books aloud to our daughters. Most two-page spreads in the books feature at least one black-and-white illustration. We are all eager for the publication of the next one!
Also on the to-read list for us are the Junie B. Jones books and the Ramona Quimby books. Do you have any favorite mischief-making characters? Please feel free to leave recommendations!
Sometimes people read to experience different worlds, cultures, and time periods or to learn and grapple with new ideas. Other times people read just for entertainment. This quirky series of books fits squarely in the realm of entertainment, producing giggles and laughter.
Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut books by Laurie Keller
Arnie is a walking, talking doughnut with sprinkles who has absurd adventures. His best friend is a walking, talking piece of pizza named Peezo. The books are full of word play and silly humor, making them a good fit for when your reader is looking for a goofy read. Our older daughter laughed out loud when a rival competitor named Pikyor Pocketo escaped with nickels collected during an event of the Spinny Icky Showdown. And you can probably guess what the response was when Heeza, one of the Schmelly twins, got married to Carl Caveman and decided to hyphenate her last name. The books are written and illustrated in a cartoon-like style where the text and the illustrations often merge for greater effect. Arnie the Doughnut’s adventures begin with a picture book by the same name that our older daughter enjoyed as much as she enjoys these chapter books.
Which books have made you laugh out loud? Please feel free to leave recommendations in the comments section!
Growing up, I loved to read mysteries: Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Encyclopedia Brown. Mysteries have built-in suspense and drama. As a parent, I appreciate how often mysteries for early readers can do this without incorporating violence. Mysteries also encourage reader participation as readers race to solve the mysteries before the characters in the books do. Who doesn’t enjoy finishing a mystery and confirming that his or her answer was correct? Looking at the shelves of local bookstores and libraries, we’ve found more options for our daughters than the mysteries I read as a kid, many even better suited for early readers. Enjoy!
King & Kayla books by Dori Hillestad Butler
The King & Kayla books are written from the perspective of Kayla’s dog, King. King helps Kayla solve mysteries, such as finding missing dog treats or decoding a set of secret messages. Kayla models a step-by-step approach to solving problems that readers can use to analyze issues in their own lives. The books have colorful illustrations on each page. The chapters are relatively short and the text is written in a straightforward style. Our daughters enjoy solving the mysteries, as well as the way Kayla often misinterprets what King is asking her for.
Cam Jansen and Young Cam Jansen books by David A. Adler
Jennifer, better known as Cam, solves mysteries. She obtained the nickname Camera due to her photographic memory, which was then shortened to Cam. Eric, her best friend, sometimes helps to solve the mysteries, but more often provides comic relief. Clues are scattered throughout the books in such a way that observant readers can often piece together the solutions for themselves. Younger readers might want to choose the Young Cam Jansen books, which are shorter than the Cam Jansen books.
We have also placed a hold at our library for the first of the A-Z mysteries by Ron Roy (thanks for the recommendation, Kristin!) and are eager to start on this series. Please feel free to send any other recommendations our way!