My oldest daughter (now just turned 8) is a really good reader and has been reading at chapter book level for quite some time.
Since she started reading so well at a young age (6) and is also a somewhat sensitive child, I found it difficult at first to find books that were challenging enough, but not scary or upsetting. She was ready for upper level reading, but not for mature or even remotely suspenseful themes.
Of course everyone knows that the The Little House series is wonderful (although beware, there are a few scary episodes). Since I adored those books as a child (and I am a terminal packrat) I kept all my old Little House books and gave them to my daughter.
I also kept some other wonderful classic books from my childhood, but at the time, they were a bit beyond my daughter’s comfortable reading skill level: Heidi, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, the Anne of Green Gables series, the Emily books (my old copies are the ones my mother read and loved as a child in the 1930’s!), The Borrowers series…etc.
So once the Little House books were all read, what then? We only have one bookstore in town and as it is very small, the choices there are limited. I began looking online, and scouring the local thrift stores.
I had some great thrift store luck! My first find is the subject of today’s post:
The Cobble Street Cousins series by Cynthia Rylant
These are very easy first chapter books about nine year-old cousins Lily, who wants to be a poet, Tess, who wants to be a Broadway star, and Rosie, “who wants a little cottage with flowers by the door.” The girls share some happy, innocent adventures while spending a year sharing an attic bedroom in their Aunt Lucy’s house.
Cynthia Rylant immediately piques every young girl’s interest in the first page of each book by explaining that the cousins’ parents are all ballet dancers and are off on a world tour for a year. What young girl wouldn’t want ballet dancing parents? Your girl will most likely be hooked from then on!
The six books in the series are each only a bit over 50 pages long (except for Wedding Flowers which is a bit longer) and are quite suitable for beginning chapter book readers. The type-face is fairly large and the chapters (between 3 and 6 depending on the book) are each short enough to accommodate young attention spans.
My thrift store find was Some Good News, which is actually Book 4, but the books can really be read in any order. It was a perfect choice for my then 1st grade daughter. Since she loved it so much, I ordered the other four online and she devoured them all.
The Cobble Street books would also make pleasant read-alouds for children not quite ready to read them on their own.
Here are all six titles in order:
Next week I’ll publish Part 2 of this post: another wonderful discovery of nice chapter books for girls.
UPDATE: Here is the link to Part 2.