My Favorite Early Reader Books {aka: Must Have These on Your Shelf, Seriously}

by GfG on February 18, 2015 · 5 comments

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We are a family of readers.  Not each kiddo has taken to reading with the same enthusiasm, but finding the right early readers and chapter books has helped our three reluctant readers.  Two of them are card holding Reading Rocks members.  And I think we just found  Paul Louis’ bridge.

And they happen to be my very favorite early readers.  I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned them here on the blog, but a search proved I haven’t.  Egad.  Today’s post will remedy that.

These little paperback books are dear to me.  I first found them when Daniel lived with us and we tried to help him become a stronger reader.  Let me introduce you to Henry and Mudge!

Henry and Mudge WEB

This series is seriously spectacular.  And that’s understating somewhat.

A boy and his dog.  Pretty great start, right?  They adore each other and it’s so sweet that it hurts sometimes.

First and second grade vocabulary with fun repeated phrases, which really help build fluency, as opposed to the dull kind.  The phrase key to the series is “and Henry’s big dog Mudge”, of course, but the ones in each specific story are so great that Paul Louis loves saying them aloud.  It’s darling.

Add to this: stories that share daily life with all the beauty that is there when we are willing to look, parents who are realistic and loving, including a mom  who is barefoot nearly all the time, and simply darling ink and water color illustrations.

Henry and Mudge close up

And you have a perfect early reader series that kids grin and giggle while reading and the parents get all the warm fuzzies that come with enjoying a great story with your child..  And none of the repetitive boring effect that many early readers have.

I love sitting next to Paul Louis while he reads and experiences Henry and Mudge.  Every single story.

And it will be every single book, if I have a say.  There are twenty-nine of them.  Check them out if you have discovered them yet.

While I basked in the Henry and Mudge goodness for this post, I realized I could share the other early readers I like. So…

Favorite Early Readers WEB image

In addition to Henry and Mudge books, here are the other early readers I recommend:

I wrote a post about the Pathway Readers.  I still like them a lot, but they haven’t grabbed Paul Louis like they did the girls.  And while I think the series is sweet and wonderful, many people find them too preachy.  If you are a Conservative Christian I think you might like them. {I forgot to put them in the photo when I had to take these shot for the fourth time… computer problems are lotsa fun}

Frog and Toad are staples here.  I mean, really, if your kids haven’t read about the two friends, Frog and Toad, you’re a slacker.  Apologize to your children and get the entire collection, pronto.

Little Bear.  I mean, how sweet is Little Bear? Pretty sweet.  Talking turtle, goose, bear, badger, snail… and precious stories mostly about friendship.  Great readers.  No pain.

Nate the Great.  These books are a step up from Henry and Mudge, but they are terrific for after them.  They are a reminscent of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, but on a second grade level.  I have found that books for second graders are most difficult to find because of the jump between first and second and then second and third.

Biscuit books.  We found these at Costco.  I’m sure they were a big thing elsewhere before that or Costco wouldn’t have had them, but I hadn’t really seen them until there.  And Esther LOVED them as her very early readers.  These are MUCH simpler than Henry and Mudge.  Much.  A puppy. Short sentences and pages.  Quick reads.  I think they are pricey for how quickly kids read them and that makes me twitchy, but we have the child read them several times.  And use them for several kids. Ha!

So, there ya go.  Those are our Brouse House Early Reader Staples.  Each kid has experienced them (except for Biscuit) and loved them.

Go, read Henry and Mudge right now. Seriously.  Thank me later.

Have you used these books or series with your children?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa in Texas February 18, 2015 at 10:24 am

Oh yeah, Little Bear was all kinds of sweetness!!! Oh and Biscuit too!!! What sweet memories I have of both of those series. Another series that my son enjoyed were the Otto the Robot Ready to Read books by David Milgrim. Many fun laughs were had reading about Otto…See Otto; Ride Otto Ride!; Swing Otto Swing!; See Pip Point; See Santa Nap. For a little older reader (Amazon says suitable for 6-10 years), The Lighthouse Family series of books by Cynthia Rylant…ohhh, so good! If you have not read these, you might enjoy the adoption tie-in ~ a cat and dog adopt two mice; this mama cried or at least had tears well up almost every time we read one of these books. My very favorite days of homeschooling were when we were curled up on the couch reading any of one of these books series of books, over and over again. Precious, precious days! Thanks for prompting the memories! Go read The Lighthouse Family right now! Seriously! Thank me later! 🙂


GfG February 18, 2015 at 10:28 am

I will definitely check that out! I am a huge Cynthia Rylant fan. Thank you!


The Reader February 18, 2015 at 10:38 am

Okay, this is wonderful! I need this list as I approach early reader stage with my youngest, and have to replenish my stash since we didn’t move the books home. Will put all of these on my list!


Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama February 19, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Thanks. I keep hearing about Henry and Mudge and that’s one that I haven’t located yet. We have lots of I Can Read on various levels, a few 2-4 Level Step into Reading readers and a few things in old school treasuries. I’ve been watching for a used set but just haven’t found them yet. With this recommendation, I’m going to have to keep looking!


GfG February 19, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Amazon has a 6 book set for $13.45, which is only $2.24 a book. Pretty great for such quality books. 🙂


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