Staff Picks: Beginning Readers

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Spooky Sleuths #1: The Ghost Tree By Natasha Deen, Lissy Marlin (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Natasha Deen, Lissy Marlin (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780593488874
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 30th, 2022

Asim’s got some concerns about his new town…there’s this seemingly evil tree that grows creepily fast, weird noises during the night, and even strange lights. Asim is pretty sure something supernatural–and bad–is going on. Rokshar, Asim’s friend, swears this can all be explained by science, until their teacher is possessed by an evil spirit straight out of Guyanese folklore! Asim and his friends will have to stage a daring rescue if they’re going to save their teacher and the town from the ghost tree…

Jenna


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Sir Ladybug By Corey R. Tabor, Corey R. Tabor (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Corey R. Tabor, Corey R. Tabor (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780063069060
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Balzer + Bray - March 29th, 2022

Hark! A tale of bravery and friendship! The first book in Corey R. Tabor’s Sir Ladybug series is a silly twist on classic tales of knights and dragons, with insects and birds in those roles. Sir Ladybug defeats the “dragon” (a hangry chickadee) with an unexpected weapon, crafted inside a snail shell that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Tabor’s illustrations are lively, colorful, and expressive. You’ll laugh through this charming tale of derring-do!

Timothy


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The Flower Garden By Renée Kurilla Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781419750205
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Amulet Books - March 15th, 2022

When Anna and Tess start planting flowers for the bees, they didn’t expect to be shrunk down to gnome size and set on a zany adventure! Leap into a botanical bonanza as these two friends encounter blueberries, burrows, bumblebees, and more, all while learning how to be good friends. This Alice in Wonderland style beginner graphic novel is a perfect summery read.

Claire


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Out in the Wild!: A Graphix Chapters Book (Bug Scouts #1) By Mike Lowery, Mike Lowery (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mike Lowery, Mike Lowery (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9781338726329
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Graphix - April 19th, 2022

Join four bug friends for a hiking, scavenging adventure! With fun facts about bugs and nature, this graphic novel is sure to entertain your outdoorsy beginning reader. Mike Lowery brings silly and engaging dialogue to life with colorful illustrations. Follow the Bug Scouts as they collect plants and learn what you can and can’t eat in the forest. Watch out for the sneaky frog at the end!

Anastasia


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The Inflatables in Bad Air Day (The Inflatables #1) By Beth Garrod, Jess Hitchman, Chris Danger (Illustrator) Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9781338748970
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Scholastic Inc. - May 3rd, 2022

Get ready to dip your toes into this fun, adventurous beginner book with The Inflatables! Follow Cactus, Flamingo, Watermelon, Donut, and Lynn as they travel through the waterpark and help Flamingo reach his stardom! Filled with humor and puns, this book is sure to be a hit while lounging by the pool all summer long.

Jess


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Word Travelers and the Taj Mahal Mystery By Raj Haldar, Neha Rawat (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Raj Haldar, Neha Rawat (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9781728222059
Availability: Backordered
Published: Sourcebooks Explore - October 5th, 2021

Mystery and etymology go hand in hand in the first book of an adventurous new series perfect for fans of Magic Tree House. Eddie and MJ are having a perfectly normal, fun, sleepover when they get to wondering—where did the word “pajama” come from, anyway? Their curiosity leads them to the Awesome Enchanted Book, and before they know it, they are transported across the world and into the middle of a treasure-hunting mystery!

Claire


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Book Buddies: Ivy Lost and Found By Cynthia Lord, Stephanie Graegin (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Cynthia Lord, Stephanie Graegin (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781536213546
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - September 28th, 2021

After years of being left in Anne the librarian’s box, Ivy is reluctant to be borrowed and becoming the newest member of the book buddies where kids can borrow a toy for two weeks. But when Fern is pushed to bring ivy home she learns that being borrowed isn’t so bad after all. In this charming new series, readers learn how Ivy and Fern can lean on one another and adapt to their changing worlds.

Jess


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Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend By Dawn Quigley, Tara Audibert (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Dawn Quigley, Tara Audibert (Illustrator)
$4.99
ISBN: 9780063015388
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Heartdrum - May 11th, 2021

In this fun and funny new series, young readers will meet Jo Jo, her cat Mimi, and her friends, family, and teachers on the Pembina Reservation. Not only will you get to join Jo Jo for her hijinks, you'll get to learn about rhyming, spelling, and a handful of the Ojibwe words Jo Jo uses every day!

Linda 


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Too Small Tola By Atinuke, Onyinye Iwu (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Atinuke, Onyinye Iwu (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9781536211276
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Candlewick - March 2nd, 2021

Tola is small but mighty! This series of three stories about Tola’s life in the megacity of Lagos, Nigeria with her brother, sister, and Grandmommy are utterly adorable. Is she too small to carry home the shopping with her Grandmommy? What will Tola do when the water and electricity go out again before she needs to go to school? How will Tola’s impeccable measuring skills come in handy when her neighbor has an accident right before Eid? Iwu’s illustrations and Atinuke’s uncomplicated language make this an accessible and engaging book for emerging readers.

Kara


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Donut Feed the Squirrels: (A Graphic Novel) (Norma and Belly #1) By Mika Song Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781984895837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Random House Graphic - September 29th, 2020

Perfect for fans of Elephant & Piggie and Narwhal & Jellyfish, this action-packed graphic early reader is charming and hilarious from cover to cover. Squirrels Belly and Norma devise a plan to steal a fresh donut from a local food truck. Song’s watercolor illustrations are silly and perfectly express the squirrels’ abundant mishaps and culinary detours.

Kara


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Willa the Wisp (The Fabled Stables Book #1) By Jonathan Auxier, Olga Demidova (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jonathan Auxier, Olga Demidova (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781419742699
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Amulet Books - October 20th, 2020

As a kid, I devoured any book about caring for animals, especially mythical ones, and I know child-me would have loved The Fabled Stables. Full of humor and adventure, the first book in this series has Auggie, the stable caretaker, rushing headlong into a swamp to rescue a new creature. Auxier has brought to life a cast of endearing characters, and I can’t wait to see what new animal calls the stables home.

Anna


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Sadiq and the Perfect Play By Siman Nuurali, Anjan Sarkar (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Siman Nuurali, Anjan Sarkar (Illustrator)
$6.95
ISBN: 9781515872870
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Picture Window Books - September 1st, 2020

Sadiq and his friends are inspired to put on a play, and between building the set, making the costumes and learning the lines there is so much to do! Sadiq thinks that, as director, it’s his job to make all the decisions, but he learns that when everyone helps you have all you need for a perfect play. Join Sadiq on all his adventures in this bright and engaging beginning reader series!

Kristen


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See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog By David LaRochelle, Mike Wohnoutka (Illustrator) Cover Image
By David LaRochelle, Mike Wohnoutka (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9781536204278
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Candlewick - September 8th, 2020

For children and their grown-ups, beginner books often seem boring, but not this romp of a reader. When the book (actually a character) attempts to tell a cat story, the dog that is pictured (there is no cat) feels offended. It learns the power of words by inserting its own to change the outcome of the story with hilarious effect. See the cat? No! See the fully engaged little reader.

Carmelle


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Pea, Bee, & Jay #1: Stuck Together By Brian "Smitty" Smith, Brian "Smitty" Smith (Illustrator) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062981165
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: HarperAlley - September 1st, 2020

Pea, Bee, and Jay are three unlikely friends living on a farm. Although the trio often gets into trouble (who knew raspberries could be rude?), they always get through it if they stick together. Smith combines running gags and clever wordplay with his bright illustrations to create a new series that will leave you wanting more, bee-lieve me!

Anna


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Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras #1) By Asia Citro, Marion Lindsay (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Asia Citro, Marion Lindsay (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9781943147090
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Innovation Press - March 14th, 2017

Until now, Zoey had no idea she could see magical creatures or that her scientist mother could see them too; not only this, the barn in their backyard is where these creatures come to when they need a helping hand. Zoey and Sassafras are witty, critical thinkers who encourage curiosity, compassion and problem-solving, spreading wonder for the natural and scientific worlds right from their own backyard.

Beth


Snail and Worm All Day: Three Stories About Two Friends By Tina Kügler, Tina Kügler (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Tina Kügler, Tina Kügler (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780358063643
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Clarion Books - September 24th, 2019

Spare, simple language makes this book perfect for newly independent readers, without skimping on quality content. These three stories follow Snail and Worm throughout the course of a day, with dialogue characterized by delightfully droll humor. Together, Snail and Worm celebrate their friends' successes, save a turtle from itself, and write their own bedtime story. Kügler’s illustrations perfectly complement each hilarious story and establish Snail and Worm as genuinely genial and kind creatures.

Kara


Nina Soni, Former Best Friend By Kashmira Sheth, Jenn Kocsmiersky (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kashmira Sheth, Jenn Kocsmiersky (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9781682632055
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Peachtree - October 6th, 2020

This book bridges the gap between beginning readers and intermediate books in a fun and refreshing way. Throughout the first person narration about Nina Soni’s life there are snippets of her notebooks interspersed: definitions, lists, and sometimes even drawings. These help burgeoning readers see that although Nina might not think there’s much interesting happening in her life, her mind contains multitudes, just like theirs!

Linda


Penny and Her Sled (I Can Read Level 1) By Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
$4.99
ISBN: 9780062934550
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Greenwillow Books - October 12th, 2021

Waiting is hard. Penny, a sweet and creative mouse, learns this lesson when she gets a new sled and has to wait for the snow to fall. Day after day, she looks out her window and wishes for the surrounding hills to turn white, but will the snow ever come? Penny can’t control the weather, but she can use her imagination and transform her sled into all sorts of wonderful things. Penny and Her Sled is the fourth in a series and will appeal to fans of Frog and Toad and Little Bear.
 
Karlyn


Do You Like My Bike?: An Acorn Book (Hello, Hedgehog! #1) By Norm Feuti, Norm Feuti (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Norm Feuti, Norm Feuti (Illustrator)
$4.99
ISBN: 9781338281385
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 30th, 2019

Meet best friends Hedgehog and Harry. Hedgehog is bold while Harry tends to be more cautious, but they have one very important thing in common: they love to have fun together! In the first two books of this hilarious and heartfelt new series, Hedgehog and Harry undertake such new adventures as learning how to ride a bike and embarking on their first sleepover. Follow along as Hedgehog and Harry figure out how to balance their two personalities for the maximum level of fun and friendship.

Claire


Douglas By Randy Cecil, Randy Cecil (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Randy Cecil, Randy Cecil (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780763633974
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Candlewick - September 10th, 2019

Prepare yourself for an adventure story to rival any action movie out there. Join Douglas, our daring hero, on her journey across town to the movie theater she calls home. Watch as she leaps through open windows. Gasp when she narrowly avoids a swinging broom. Hold your breath while she swings perilously from a clothesline. Douglas will keep you on the edge of your seat. And leave you wanting popcorn.

Anna


Meet Yasmin! By Saadia Faruqi, Hatem Aly (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Saadia Faruqi, Hatem Aly (Illustrator)
$5.95
ISBN: 9781684360222
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Picture Window Books - August 1st, 2018

Meet your new favorite second grader! Whether she’s visiting the farmer’s market with her mama or creating a fashion show with her nani, Yasmin is an adventurer
and a problem solver. Hatem Aly’s lively illustrations perfectly capture Yasmin’s exuberant personality at school and at home with her family. Be sure to add this
charmer to your beginning reader’s bookshelf!

Katie


Stories of the Night By Kitty Crowther, Kitty Crowther (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kitty Crowther, Kitty Crowther (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781776571970
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Gecko Press - September 1st, 2018

“Choose a star to lead you into tomorrow,” Mother Bear whispers. But first Little Bear asks please, please, please for her to tell the three stories—their bedtime
ritual. In the gloaming, an exquisite pink hue is cast over a nacreous fairy tale forest. The Night Guardian with her gong in hand, Zhora, the little girl with a sword,
and Bo, the man in the big coat, are stars of their own cozy tales rendered with a dreamy moiré effect. Snuggle in with a bedtime book for the ages.

Jesse


Ivy and Bean One Big Happy Family (Book 11) By Annie Barrows, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Annie Barrows, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9781452169101
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Chronicle Books - March 17th, 2020

After a dreadfully long five-year hiatus, Ivy and Bean are back! When Ivy is convinced that she must be spoiled (as are all only children, according to a classmate), she takes steps to become unspoiled. Giving away all of her
clothes and her best headband just gets her in trouble, and she’s not ready to part with her toys, so there’s only one solution: a baby sister! Hilarious attempts to procure one make for an entertaining story for both new readers and the adults in their lives.

Drew


Good Rosie! By Kate DiCamillo, Harry Bliss (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kate DiCamillo, Harry Bliss (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763689797
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Candlewick - September 4th, 2018

Rosie and George live a charmed life, measured out in poached eggs (George) and kibble in a big silver bowl (Rosie). When George goes out on a limb and proposes
“something new,” it means the dog park. Rosie is in turns slightly afraid, slightly growly, incredibly plucky, then a bit encouraged towards friendly cooperation as
she learns how to make friends and have a great time in the dog park. Spare language and exquisite cartoon panels propel the nine chapters, perfect for an emerging reader. BTW, George might make a friend or two as well. You be the judge.

Collette


Dog Man: A Graphic Novel (Dog Man #1): From the Creator of Captain Underpants By Dav Pilkey, Dav Pilkey (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Dav Pilkey, Dav Pilkey (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781338741032
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Graphix - August 3rd, 2021

Dav Pilkey is at it again in Dog Man, a comic written by his fictional characters George and Harold. Dog Man is a police officer with the head of a dog who fights crime and gets dog hair all over the chief’s couch. The mom in me cringes at the potty humor that was characteristic of the Captain Underpants series, but my kids have read this book fifteen times and vouch that it is hysterical and awesome. Pilkey is a master at creating books that get kids excited about reading. 

Kristen


Book Uncle and Me By Uma Krishnaswami, Julianna Swaney (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Uma Krishnaswami, Julianna Swaney (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781554988099
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Groundwood Books - August 1st, 2018

“Right book for the right person for the right day”. So goes the motto of Book Uncle, a retired teacher in India who daily offers free books from his stand to the community. Young Yasmin can’t get enough and aspires to read a book a day, so when a governmental notice forces Book Uncle to leave his corner Yasmin decides to do something. Yasmin’s introduction to community activism, local elections and organizing is relevant and endearing, and will leave our youngest book lovers with a sense of how they, too, can make a difference.

Kristen


Lucy By Randy Cecil, Randy Cecil (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Randy Cecil, Randy Cecil (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780763668082
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Candlewick - August 2nd, 2016

A little white dog (Lucy) roams the streets, always in search of food and shelter, revisiting her former life only in dreams. A little girl (Eleanor) notices the dog and dreams of befriending her. The girl’s father (Sam) juggles brilliantly at home, but cannot get past his stage fright to complete a public performance. Told in four ‘acts’, the story unfolds gracefully and ends with all parties getting their fondest wish in a perfect storm of magic and memory.

Collette


The Infamous Ratsos By Kara LaReau, Matt Myers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kara LaReau, Matt Myers (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9780763698751
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Candlewick - September 12th, 2017

Brothers Louie and Ralph Ratso hear from their dad Big Lou that there are two types of people in the world, the toughies and the softies. They want to be toughies like their dad, so they spend their time trying to impress him-taking someone’s hat, making a gross sandwich for the new girl at school, and soaping up the window of the mean lady next door. But all of their tough moves end up unexpectedly helping the people involved, and the brothers find that being kind and helpful isn’t just for the softies.

Kristen 


Flop to the Top!: Toon Level 3 (Toon Books) By Eleanor Davis, Drew Weing Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781935179894
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Toon Books - September 8th, 2015

 Being a superstar isn’t as easy as it seems! Wanda loves to take selfies and stay up on the latest celebrity gossip, but when her favorite canine companion, Wilbur, suddenly becomes the next big thing, Wanda doesn’t know what to do! That’s when Wanda sets off on a zany adventure to win Wilbur back, wonderfully rendered by Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing. Although the story often verges on silliness, Davis and Weing never lose the emotional core of the story about a girl and her best friend. A great comic to inspire beginning readers in any family! 

Toffer


Bradford Street Buddies: Block Party Surprise (Green Light Readers Level 3) By Jerdine Nolen, Michelle Henninger (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jerdine Nolen, Michelle Henninger (Illustrator)
$4.99
ISBN: 9780544358638
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Clarion Books - September 1st, 2015

This new series follows four friends on imaginative outings in their neighborhood. Whether preparing robotic dinosaurs for a block party or finding their parents’ old tent in the garage, the Bradford Street Buddies try to find the best in the situation. The tension and anticipation builds in each story through age appropriate conflict with whimsical details that mirror a child’s sense of wonder. A highly enjoyable series for beginning readers! 

Toffer