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When my youngest daughter celebrated her birthday earlier this year, one of her gifts was An Elephant and Piggie Biggie Biggie #2 a book I knew she would squee with delight about since she got An Elephant and Piggie Biggie #1 for Christmas and loved it. Throughout grade one she would bring home the single copies of Elephant and Piggie from her school library and even though she was reading beyond the level of these particular books, it didn’t matter because she found them hilarious so I knew the bind up would be a hit.


Elephant and Piggie Biggie Biggie 2This got me thinking about that next step up from picture books when children start learning to read on their own. Elephant and Piggie is a great choice when a child is first introduced to sentences and sounding words together, however, traditionally, many parents or caregivers will come into a library and ask/look for the classic levelled reader that you will find in the easy reader section.


So what exactly is an easy reader? Typically, these books are a smaller trim size (6X9), 24 - 32 pages in length and are levelled 1 to 4. Many publishers have them under series names such as “I Can Read”, “Step into Reading” or “World of Reading”. They are often limited in word and sentence length and the words are usually repeated throughout the text. My youngest daughter spent many visits over the last year at the easy reader shelf at the library and would look for the Disney Princesses, Pinkalicious, Angelina Ballerina and of course…Barbie.


Now I know you are probably rolling your eyes, and over the years I have heard many comments about these types of “media tie in/character type readers” and how there are “better” higher quality readers out there (and one could argue that there are). But what I have found is that no matter how many non-media type related books I introduced to all my girls (who have all grown into very different human beings), they still  asked for the Princesses and to be honest, if that got them reading, then so be it.


Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Body under the PianoFast forward and I currently have one daughter reading a graphic novel collection called Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan, another is reading Call Down The Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater and the other is reading an advanced reading copy of a historical mystery called Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn. Three very different girls who all took a turn at reading a Barbie easy reader. In saying all this, if you are looking for some non-media tie in readers, you might want to consider Cece Loves Science or Pete the Kitty Goes to the Doctor.


With all that being said, there are some really great engaging fun early readers that I wish had been available when my girls were younger. These types of readers are becoming more and more popular and are great for kids just starting out reading.


Unicorn and Yeti: Sparkly New FriendsWhat About Worms (Elephant and Piggie like reading).


The Acorn reading series from Scholastic, which is a step before the ever popular Branches series.


Unicorn and Yeti by Heather Ayris Burnell: Sparkly new Friends #1, A Good Team #2 and Friend’s Rock.


Dragon by Dav Pilkey: A Friend for Dragon #1, Dragon’s Fat Cat, Dragon Get’s By and Dragon’s Halloween.


The Jack Books by Mac Barnet: Hi Jack and Jack Blasts Off are just two of many.


Attack of the 50-Foot Fly GuyAnd don’t forgot Fly Guy by Ted Arnold.


We'd love to here about your easy reader success stories, either with patrons or family members. What did they start off readering, what did they progress to, and what are they reading now? Send your stories to and we'll feature them in a future blog!


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Take care!

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