Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review Round-Up: Books for Beginning Readers, July 2015

Each week, my fellow Cybils organizer, Charlotte, compiles a round-up of middle grade science fiction and fantasy reviews from around the blogs. As someone who reads primarily realistic fiction, I find this to be such a useful resource for learning about the latest and greatest books in the sci-fi/fantasy category, even if I don't often read them. I have decided to provide a similar monthly posting here at Story Time Secrets, but focusing on the books in my Cybils category: easy readers and beginning chapter books.

This list, for the month of July, is by no means exhaustive. If I've missed your review, or a review on a blog you love, please share and I will add it the round-up! Please note, however, that I am somewhat particular about my definition of a chapter book, and I reserve the right not to include something I don't think fits the category. Thanks!

(Note: if you think you might want to be a Cybils judge this year, now's the time to get familiar with the requirements. It won't be long before we start accepting applications!)

Easy Readers

It seems that the most popular book for beginning readers so far this summer is What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig by Emma Virjan. It was reviewed this month by Kid Lit Reviews, Waking Brain Cells, and Librarian's Quest.

Also popular this month is Mo Willems's latest installment in the Elephant and Piggie series, I Will Take a Nap, which was published in June. Both Jen Robinson's Book Page and Sal's Fiction Addiction recently featured this book.

Jean Little Library's Small Readers feature also covered a few easy reader titles during July: Brave Fire Truck by Melinda Melton Crow, Dino School: Meet Teddy Rex! by Bonnie Williams, Justin and the Bully by Tony and Lauren Dungy, and Welcome, Bao Bao by Gina Shaw.

In the 27th installment of the Seuss on Saturdays series, Becky's Book Reviews covered The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss. Becky also reviewed the latest from Pete the Cat, Pete the Cat's Train Trip by James Dean. reviewed two easy readers in graphic format from the Toon Books series: We Dig Worms by Kevin McCloskey and Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms by Philippe Coudray. 

Check out the links below for additional reviews of easy readers old and new:

Chapter Books

By far, the most popular chapter book in the blogosphere this month was the sequel to Dory Fantasmagory, entitled Dory and the Real True Friend. There were reviews here at Story Time Secrets, as well as by The Cath in the HatSal's Fiction Addiction, There is a Book for That, Waking Brain Cells, and DIY Del Ray.

A close second in popularity is the beautiful new Toon book, Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadia Spiegelman, which was reviewed by Kids Book a Day, Books4YourKids, Sonder Books, and It's All Comic To Me.

Also getting some attention are Piper Green and the Fairy Tree by Ellen Potter, which was reviewed at Waking Brain Cells (Book 1), Jen Robinson's Book Page (Books 1 and 2) and here at Story Time Secrets (Books 1 and 2), as well as Detective Gordon: The First Case, reviewed by Kids Book a Day and Anastasia Suen.

A good bunch of bloggers have also been reading various titles from the Scholastic branches line. Jean Little Library and Geo Librarian both reviewed books in the Dragon Masters series, while Ms. Yingling Reads and Story Time Secrets both focused on the Race the Wild series. Here at Story Time Secrets, I also reviewed the first book in the Silver Pony Ranch series.

Ms. Yingling Reads had two additional chapter book reviews: Backyard Witch: Sadie's Story by Christine Heppermann and Ron Koertge and Pool Party Puzzler by Carolyn Keene, while Jean Little Library had one (Best Friends Forever! and More True Stories of Animal Friendships by Amy Shields) and I had three (The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz, the Chime Travelers series by Lisa M. Hendey, and Sprout Street Neighbors: Five Stories by Anna Alter.)

Kids also got into the blogging fun this month! At Blooming Brilliant, Isabella gave a wonderful video review of Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble from the Judy Moody and Friends series, and on his own blog, A Boy's Books, nine-year-old Ben weighed in on Ellray Jakes is Magic! Kidliterati also interviewed nine-year-old Claire about Amelia Bedelia Road Trip by Herman Parish.

There were lots more chapter book reviews this month. Click the links below to see what everyone has been enjoying! 


  1. What a great new feature, Katie. This is going to be a wonderful resource for parents and librarians. Thanks for including my Elephant & Piggie review.

    Just today I also posted a review of the first two Piper Green books:

    Anyway, I'm going to be saving these posts for when I need new books for my daughter. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for including my review, Katie! I try to review easy readers and beginning chapter books every Tuesday, but I certainly appreciate a round-up to help me see what I've missed.

  3. Yay Katie! Long ago there was an I Can Read round up, but sadly it fell by the wayside. I'm very happy to see a new round-up - and you know I'll have plenty for you to collect!


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