Thursday, November 8, 2012

Level 2 Beginner Reading Books

There are some really great series for level 2 beginning readers. One of my favorite authors is Cynthia Rylant. She has four great level 2 reading series-Mr. Putter and Tabby, Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball, and The High-Rise Private Eyes. The characters in Henry and Mudge overlap with Annie and Snowball which makes it nice for boys and girls to read from each series.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Series
Mr. Putter is an older man with a cat named Tabby and a neighbor lady named Mrs. Teaberry. They both live alone and share a meaningful friendship. They do lots of activities together, share stories and laughs. The more and more I read these books, the more I grew to love this relationship between Mr. Putter and Mrs.Teaberry. Cynthia Rylant does an excellent job of portraying the older population in a very wise and positive manner in this series and other picture books she has written. Personally, I would read this entire series. My favorites are Catch the Cold and Stir the Soup.

Excerpt from Mr. Putter and Tabby Row the Boat: "Then Mr. Putter had an idea. 'Let's go to the big pond,' he said to Tabby. 'We'll take Mrs. Teaberry and Zeke.' Their neighbors-Mrs. Teaberry and her good dog, Zeke - were sweaty, too. Mr. Putter was sure of it because he had see Mrs. Teaberry dump a bowl of water on Zeke's head."

Henry and Mudge Series is about a young boy named Henry and his dog named Mudge. There are over twenty books in this series. Henry and Mudge have adventures and learn life lessons together. My favorite in the series is Henry and Mudge and a Very Merry Christmas.

Excerpt from Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea: "Henry promised he (Mudge) would like it. 'You'll like the waves!,' he said. 'And the sand castles. And the shells. But don't drink the water!' he warned. 'Too salty!'"

Annie and Snowball Series is about Annie, Henry's cousin (from the Henry and Mudge Series), and her pet bunny Snowball.  Both characters move next door to Henry. There are over a dozen books in this series. My favorite is the Book Bugs Club.

Excerpt from Annie and Snowball and the Wintry Freeze: "Annie and Henry were not the only ones who loved winter. Henry's big dog, Mudge, and Annie's bunny, Snowball, also loved winter. Mudge loved it because snow was one of his favorite foods."


Many children, like my husband when he was a boy, learn to love mysteries and thankfully, there are three great level 2 reading mystery series.

Young Cam Jansen Series by David A. Adler is a mystery series about a girl named Jennifer
Jansen who's nickname became The Camera because she has a great memory. Soon her nickname The Camera turned into Cam. Cam helps to solve little mysteries with her good memory. When she wants to remember, she says "Click!" which is the sound a camera makes when taking a picture. It is as if she has a photographic memory. In the back of most books is a Cam Jansen Memory Game that the reader can play by looking at a page in the book, studying it and then blinking and saying "Click!" Then the child answers the questions listed to see how good of a memory he or she has. It is very clever!

One great thing about the Young Cam Jansen Series is that there is the original Cam Jansen Series with Cam as a 5th grader for more advanced readers. There are over 30 books in that series!

Here is an excerpt from Young Cam Jansen and the New Girl Mystery: "'Cam's memory is like a camera. She has pictures in her head of everything she's seen. Click! is the sound the camera in her head makes when it takes a picture.' 'You have wavy brown hair,' Cam said with her eyes still closed. 'You're wearing blue pants, a red shirt, and floppy socks.'"

David A. Adler's second mystery series is called Bones about a boy named Jeffrey Bones who likes to solve mysteries. He is good at finding things and calls himself a detective. There are eight books in the series.

 Here is an excerpt from Bones and the Dog Gone Mystery: "One morning Grandpa gave me a new magnifying glass. It was bigger than my old one. I held it up and looked at my detective bag. Wow! That's a big bag."

The High-Rise Private Eyes Series is by Cynthia Rylant. The Private Eyes are Bunny Brown and Jack Jones who live in a high-rise building and solve cases together. There are about seven books in this series. I like Adler's two series over this one, but if your child really likes mysteries, this is a good third choice.

Other Great Series

Frog and Toad Series by Arnold Lobel
This 4-book series is one of my childhood favorites about the friendship of Frog and Toad and their often humorous adventures. Forewarning: In the book Days with Frog and Toad in the Chapter called Shivers, Frog tells Toad a ghost story, "'A terrible ghost,'...'He comes out at night and eats little frog children for supper." If your child is sensitive, you may want to skip that part.

Excerpt from Frog and Toad are Friends: "'Don't be silly,' said Frog. 'What you see is the clear warm light of April. And it means that we can begin a whole new year together, Toad. Think of it,' said Frog. 'We will skip through the meadows and run through the woods and swim in the river. In the evenings we will sit right here on this front porch and count the stars.'"

Amelia Bedelia Series by Peggy Parish was again one of my childhood favorites. Amelia Bedelia is a housekeeper who takes everything she is told to do literally. Her humorous antics may go over your child's head at times, but the illustrations help the reader understand that Amelia Bedelia does silly things and is sure to give your child the giggles time after time. There are over twenty books to choose from.

Here is an example from Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping: "It's time to hit the road." "Hit the road?" asked Amelia Bedelia. "All right." She picked up the stick. And Amelia hit the road."

Those are my "series" level 2 reader recommendations. There are dozens and dozens of books I would not recommend. Just because it is labeled "early reader" does not mean it is suitable for children. Know that books based on movies and TV are published to make as much money as possible. The goal is not in educating children. For example, there are Alvin and the Chipmunks level 2 reader books based on the popular new movies. Here is a quote from Chipwrecked: Too Cool For Rules: "Simon followed Alvin to the casino. He tried to stop Alvin, but Alvin just wanted to have fun! Alvin even met a girl." 

I will quote myself from my First Readers post: "My opinion is that you are only young once, and you have the rest of your life to learn all about pop-culture and the latest fads. First readers should be short, sweet, and simple."

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