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Beyond the Tree House and the Fairies: The Wide World of Chapter Books

You’ve read each and every Magic Tree House in the series (49 and counting!). You never leave the library without a stack of sparkly Rainbow Magic Fairy books. And your patience for Captain Underpants is wearing thin. Sometimes it seems like only a few chapter book series dominate the green dot section at our library. In fact, there are loads of other fun titles if you (and your kids) need a change of pace. Here are a few suggestions of series that are aimed at kids aged six to nine and have pictures every few pages.

If you like The Magic Tree House, try…

the-search-for-the-sunken-treasure-australiaSecret Agent Jack Stalwart, by Elizabeth Singer Hunt. ¬†Just like Jack and Annie of Magic Tree House fame, Jack Stalwart travels through time and space to help people. This Jack is a secret agent and in each book, he’s sent across the globe to solve a crisis. In The Search for the Sunken Treasure (#2), Jack must save a diver and recover the treasure before a band of pirates make off with it. In Peril at the Grand Prix (#8), Jack is whisked off to Monaco and poses as a junior reporter to find out who was trying to sabotage the star racer. These books are short, snappy, and action-packed, perfect for boys and girls just moving on from beginning chapter books.

If you like The Rainbow Magic Fairies, try…

katieKatie Kazoo, Switcheroo, by Nancy E. Krulik. There’s a magical element here that may satisfy that Rainbow Fairy craving: Whenever she least expects it, fourth-grader Katie finds herself trapped inside another person’s body, or even in an animal. Try reading It’s Snow Joke! (#22), where Katie takes a vacation to the mountains and turns into the ski instructor and finds she has to use all her wits to save his job. Aside from the out-of-body experiences, the books consist mostly of the day-to-day adventures of Katie and her school friends. Fun and frothy-light.

If you like Captain Underpants, try…

dragonThe Dragon Slayers’ Academy, by Kate McMullan. When Wiglaf’s mean and piggish family send him off to the Dragon Slayers’ Academy he hopes things will look up for him. Unfortunately, poor Wiglaf doesn’t manage to bring home the dragon’s gold his parents were hoping for. He does, though, manage to make an unlikely friend and prove he’s not the wimp he thought he was. Full of seven-year-old boy humor and with a cast of likeable (and villainous) characters, this is a great pick for the reluctant reader.

If you like The Magic School Bus, try…

akimboAkimbo, by Alexander McCall Smith. The Magic School Bus books teach science through the magical travels of a class of elementary school students. If your kids enjoy learning about other places, cultures, and animals, this sweet series about an African boy named Akimbo, a little more challenging than the average chapter book, may be just the thing. Bestselling novelist McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) shows us the beauty and danger of Africa through the eyes of Akimbo, who lives on a game preserve with his father. Animal lovers will be enthralled. Also try McCall Smith’s books about young detective Precious Ramotswe, starting with The Great Cake Mystery.

If you like Junie B. Jones, try…

Ruby-Lu-Brave-and-True1Ruby Lu, by Lenore Look. Ruby is a Chinese-American girl living in Seattle, and although in many ways she’s as American as the neighbors on her suburban street, her family’s heritage in a theme that runs through the books and sets them apart from the pack. Fans of spirited heroines like Junie B. Jones and Ramona the Pest will enjoy Ruby’s escapades as she makes her baby brother the star of her magic show, hates and then loves Saturday Chinese school, and teaches herself to drive.



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