Series to Know: George and Martha

Series Info

The first five George and Martha readers written by James Marshall.

The first five George and Martha readers written by James Marshall.

Books:

  1. George and Martha (2007)
  2. George and Martha: Two Great Friends (2007)
  3. George and Martha: Round and Round (2008)
  4. George and Martha: The Best of Friends (2008)
  5. George and Martha: One More Time (2009)
  6. George and Martha: Rise and Shine (2009)
  7. George and Martha: One Fine Day James Marshall (2010)
  8. George and Martha: Full of Surprises (2010)

Links: Houghton Mifflin Harcout || Green Light Readers

Reviews: Horn Book,

Difficulty

Each volume has two to three classic George and Martha stories reproduced with smaller illustrations and (from my examination) little to no text changes. The stories vary in length and difficulty — some are incredibly easy for beginning readers and others include words like “flabbergasted”.

Accelerated Reader average was 2.03 based on six of the readers. Lexile only had scores available for one reader and it was scored at 470L. I looked at three books and found the following unique word counts: Two Great Friends at 140, Round and Round at 195, and Best of Friends at 177.

Thoughts

I’m not sure that these work at the best beginning readers. The humor and laughter from the original stories is there, but the complexity of the words and lack of consistency in the length of the stories may frustrate beginning readers.

More George and Martha?

The original picture books, of course!

  1. George and Martha (1972)
  2. George and Martha Encore (1973)
  3. George and Martha Rise and Shine (1976)
  4. George and Martha Full of Surprises (1976)
  5. George and Martha One Fine Day (1978)
  6. George and Martha Tons of Fun (1980)
  7. George and Martha Back In Town (1984)
  8. George and Martha Round and Round (1988)

Dates to Remember

Doesn’t look like there will be any more George and Martha beginning readers, but that makes sense as author James Marshall passed away in 1992.

Series to Know: Flip-a-Word

Series Info

The first five Flip-a-Word readers!

The first five Flip-a-Word readers!

Books:

  1. Snake Cake (2006, Out of Print)
  2. Pig Wig (2006, 2013)
  3. Snow Bow (2007, 2014)
  4. Stop Pop (2007, 2013)
  5. Wet Pet (2008, 2013)
  6. Quack Shack (2008, 2014)
  7. Crab Cab (2009, 2014)
  8. Ice Mice (2013)
  9. Frog Jog (2014)

Links: Blue Apple Books

Reviews: Horn Book, School Library Journal

Difficulty

A rather bizarre section to write this time because I did not find a single Accelerated Reader, Lexile, or Fountas & Pinnell level for any of these books. All of the books have very few words, between 20-35 unique words in the text. There are supplemental word lists and an activity page for kids to practice identifying sight words after the story, which I did not count in the unique word count.

Thoughts

These are the easiest of easy books for beginning readers. Flip-a-Word books are the ones that I give parents looking for those first readers for their kids.

Each book covers three different word families. There’s a reference page at the beginning of each book that encourages parents about how to help their children experiment with the different word family sounds — to create new words and sound combinations.

The graphic illustrations are eye-catching and clearly illustrate what is going on in the picture. It’s a great help to the kids working through their sounds and words.

More Flip-a-Words?/Dates to Remember

It’s been over a year since a title was released. Without a dedicated website for the series or author, it’s hard to tell what the future of this series is. My only recommendation is snap these titles up as soon as possible! Your patrons will thank you!

Series to Know: The World of Eric Carle

Series Info

The first five Eric Carle Ready to Read readers.

The first five Eric Carle Ready to Read readers.

Books:

  1. Have You Seen My Cat? (2012)
  2. The Greedy Python (2012)
  3. Pancakes, Pancakes (2013)
  4. Rooster Is Off to See the World (2013)
  5. A House for Hermit Crab (2014)
  6. Walter the Baker (2014)
  7. The Tiny Seed (2015)
  8. The Foolish Tortoise (2015)

Links: World of Eric Carle at Ready to Read || Eric Carle’s Website || Richard Buckley’s page at Simon & Schuster

Reviews: Horn Book (as readers)

Difficulty

All of these readers were published as picture books first. Some of the text has been altered and some words have been simplified. All of Carle’s art has been resized and the layout has occasionally changed to accommodate the larger traditional text of the beginning reader.

Lexile average was 560L based on three books, one of which (Pancakes, Pancakes) was Adult-Directed. Only one book (The Greedy Python) had a reader specific AR test at level 2.7. Many of the other titles have scores, but I only averaged in the scores that were specifically for the beginning readers since the text was changed from the originals. While each book does not have a Guided Reading Level (Fountas and Pinnell) assigned to it, the Ready to Read brand gives a range for each level which you can find here.

Interestingly enough, the World of Eric Carle books span three of the Ready to Read levels.
Pre-Level One (ranges from A, B, C, D, & E): Have You Seen My Cat?
Level One (ranges from F, G, & H): The Greedy Python, Pancakes, Pancakes, & Rooster is Off to See the World
Level Two (ranges from I, J, & K): A House for Hermit Crab, Walter the Baker, The Tiny Seed, & The Foolish Turtle

Thoughts

Is there ever enough Eric Carle? I don’t think so. However, the classic picture books will always be my favorite since they showcase his art much better than these trimmed down versions. Some of the books work well as beginning readers while others are best left in picture books.

More Eric Carle?

Penguin Young Readers Eric Carle readers.

Penguin Young Readers Eric Carle readers.

I’ve only tracked the Ready to Read brand above. There are also three Eric Carle readers available from Penguin Young Readers:

  1. The Very Lonely Firefly (2012)
  2. The Very Busy Spider (2014)
  3. The Very Quiet Cricket (2014)

The Very Quiet Cricket is a Level Three readers while the other two are both Level Twos readers. No Lexile scores were available for these readers, Accelerated Reader average was, the Level Two books were both Guided Reader (Fountas & Pinnell) level I and the Level Three book was Guided Reader (Fountas & Pinnell) level K.

Dates to Remember

I don’t have any for you to bookmark right now. It seems like the Ready to Read Eric Carles are published two a year in the spring. So keep an eye out for them in 2016!

Series to Know: Fancy Nancy

Series Info

The first five Fancy Nancy readers!

The first five Fancy Nancy readers!

Books:

  1. Fancy Nancy and the Boy from Paris (2008)
  2. Fancy Nancy at the Museum (2008)
  3. Fancy Nancy Sees Stars (2008)
  4. Fancy Nancy, Poison Ivy Expert (2008)
  5. Fancy Nancy and the Dazzling Book Report (2009)
  6. Fancy Nancy: The Show Must Go On (2009)
  7. Fancy Nancy: Pajama Day! (2009)
  8. Fancy Nancy and the 100th Day of School (2009)
  9. Fancy Nancy: Every Day is Earth Day (2010)
  10. Fancy Nancy: Spectacular Spectacles (2010)
  11. Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes (2010)
  12. Fancy Nancy: My Family History (2010)
  13. Fancy Nancy, Splendid Speller (2011)
  14. Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl (2011)
  15. Fancy Nancy: Hair Dos and Hair Don’ts (2011)
  16. Fancy Nancy and the Too-Loose Tooth (2012)
  17. Fancy Nancy: Fancy Day in Room 1-A (2012)
  18. Fancy Nancy: Too Many Tutus (2012)
  19. Fancy Nancy: Apples Galore (2013)
  20. Fancy Nancy: Just My Luck! (2013)
  21. Fancy Nancy: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish (2015)
  22. Fancy Nancy: Super Secret Surprise Party (2015)

Links: Fancy Nancy World || Page on “I Can Read” || Event Kits & Printables

Reviews: Horn Book & School Library Journal

Difficulty

Fancy Nancy is a Level One: Beginning Reading in the I Can Read brand. Level One is described as “Simple sentences for eager new readers.” Fancy Nancy books do have simple sentences, but they also have higher difficulty words and more sentences per page than other “level one” readers. (This is, of course, because the I Can Read brand also has two lower levels than Level One.)

All of Nancy’s new “fancy words” are included in a glossary with simple definitions. And all of the words are defined in the text with various takes on Nancy’s traditional: “That’s a fancy word for…”

“Your glasses are most becoming,” Ms. Glass says. That’s a fancy word I have never heard before. Ms. Glass says it means pretty.” Fancy Nancy and the Spectacular Spectacles

Most of the words will be challenging for beginning readers. I only took real offensive with the word “diorama” in Fancy Nancy: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish as being unnecessary. Although, Fancy Nancy fans expect to learn some new vocabulary in each book.

As for more sentences, Fancy Nancy and the Boy from Paris averages 4.15 sentences per page. When compared with other Level One brands: Pancakes, Pancakes from Ready to Read averages 1.95 sentences per page and Ice Cream Soup from Penguin Young Readers averages 2.09. Even even compared to another I Can Read Level One book: Pinkalicious Cherry Blossom has 3.59 sentences per page.

I only figured out unique words for one Fancy Nancy book: Fancy Nancy: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish. (Seriously, it was nearly an hour of work!) It has 278 unique words, which is a LOT for a beginning reader.

And for leveling: 329L for Lexile score (discounting the two Adult-Directed books) and 2.2AR for Accelerated Reader. Interestingly enough, beginning with Fancy Nancy: Too Many Tutus HarperCollins has included the Guided Reading levels (Fountas and Pinnell) on the back of the books. Too Many Tutus was level K while the rest are at level J (Just My Luck!, Apples Galore!, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, and Super Secret Surprise Party).

Thoughts

Fancy Nancy is a solid beginning reader series for more advanced and confident readers. With more sentences, higher unique word counts, and the French pronunciations that occasionally appear, I would definitely recommend this to first graders and above.

Perfect for kids who love all things fancy but have exhausted the more traditional princess books, Nancy has so much more than just fanciness. She faces real-life challenges like holidays and events, friends and family problems, and fears/worries. I also love that she teaches new and harder vocabulary in an accessible way.

More Fancy Nancy?

Fancy Nancy (the original), one of the shorter hardcovers, and one of the 8x8 paperbacks.

Fancy Nancy (the original), one of the shorter hardcovers, and one of the 8×8 paperbacks.

Boy, are there ever!

Picture Books:

  1. Fancy Nancy (2005)
  2. Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy (2007)
  3. Fancy Nancy: Bonjour Butterfly (2008)
  4. Fancy Nancy’s Favorite Fancy Words (2008)*
  5. Fancy Nancy: Explorer Extraordinaire (2009)*
  6. Fancy Nancy Tea Parties (2009)*
  7. Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas (2009)
  8. Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire (2010)*
  9. Fancy Nancy: Ooh La La It’s Beauty Day (2010)*
  10. Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique (2010)
  11. Fancy Nancy: Aspiring Artist (2011)*
  12. Fancy Nancy: Stellar Stargazer (2011)*
  13. Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet (2011)
  14. Fancy Nancy: Fanciest Doll in the Universe (2013)
  15. Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century (2014)

8×8 Picture Books (Paperback only):

  1. Fancy Nancy: Halloween or Bust! (2009)
  2. Fancy Nancy: Heart to Heart (2009)
  3. Fancy Nancy: Elegant Easter (2009)
  4. Fancy Nancy and the Sensational Babysitter (2010)
  5. Fancy Nancy and the Late, Late, LATE Night (2010)
  6. Fancy Nancy’s Marvelous Mother’s Day Brunch (2011)
  7. Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet (2011)
  8. Fancy Nancy: Tea for Two (2012)
  9. The first early chapter!

    The first early chapter!

  10. Fancy Nancy: JoJo’s First Day Jitters (2012)
  11. Fancy Nancy: There’s No Day Like a Snow Day (2012)
  12. Fancy Nancy: Puppy Party (2013)
  13. Fancy Nancy: Budding Ballerina (2013)
  14. Fancy Nancy: Sand Castles and Sand Palaces (2014)
  15. Fancy Nancy and the Fall Foliage (2014)
  16. Fancy Nancy: Spring Fashion Fling (2015)

Early Chapter Books:

  1. Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth (2012)
  2. Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer (2013)
  3. Nancy Clancy Sees the Future (2013)
  4. Nancy Clancy, Secret of the Silver Key (2014)
  5. Nancy Clancy, Star of Stage and Screen (2015)

Dates to Remember

No readers are forthcoming, at least from what I know. I would guess that one more is likely to publish this year.

But there is a new early chapter coming out: Nancy Clancy, Soccer Mania on September 8th, 2015.

Series to Know: Mr. Putter & Tabby

Series Info

mrputterandtabby

Books:

  1. Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea
  2. Mr. Putter & Tabby Walk the Dog
  3. Mr. Putter & Tabby Bake the Cake
  4. Mr. Putter & Tabby Pick the Pears
  5. Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane
  6. Mr. Putter & Tabby Row the Boat
  7. Mr. Putter & Tabby Toot the Horn
  8. Mr. Putter & Tabby Take the Train
  9. Mr. Putter & Tabby Paint the Porch
  10. Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish
  11. Mr. Putter & Tabby Catch the Cold
  12. Mr. Putter & Tabby Stir the Soup
  13. Mr. Putter & Tabby Write the Book
  14. Mr. Putter & Tabby Make a Wish
  15. Mr. Putter & Tabby Spin the Yarn
  16. Mr. Putter & Tabby See the Stars
  17. Mr. Putter & Tabby Run the Race
  18. Mr. Putter & Tabby Spill the Beans
  19. Mr. Putter & Tabby Clear the Decks
  20. Mr. Putter & Tabby Ring the Bell
  21. Mr. Putter & Tabby Dance the Dance
  22. Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball
  23. Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page

Links: Publisher Page || Author Site (Cynthia Rylant) || Illustrator Profile (Arthur Howard)

Reviews: Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Jouranl

Awards: Geisel Honor 2015 (Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page)

Difficulty

A higher-level beginning reader series. Mr. Putter & Tabby books are told in multiple chapters that converge into a single storyline. Stories are simplistic and easy to understand: painting the porch, reading a book at the library, having a birthday, going on a boat, etc.

The series has a Lexile average of 467L and an Accelerated Reader average of 2.5. Most online resources put Mr. Putter & Tabby at Guided Reading Level J, although none of the books have the rating on the back covers. Make a Wish has 213 unique words and Pour the Tea has 194 unique words. This is a great series for 2nd graders.

Thoughts

I am not a cat person. I’m typing this while playing ball with one dog and another one laying at my feet. And yet…there is something so endearing about Mr. Putter and Tabby. I love the universal things they represent — we all want good company and companionship and that’s exactly what Mr. Putter and Tabby are.

More Mr. Putter & Tabby?

Give fans of Mr. Putter & Tabby either of Cynthia Rylant’s other beginning series: Brownie & Pearl, Henry & Mudge, or Annie & Snowball.

Dates to Remember

The past few years indicate a yearly release, sometime in the fall or winter.

Series to Know: Brownie & Pearl

Series Info

brownieandpearl

Books:

  1. Brownie and Pearl Hit the Hay (2013)
  2. Brownie and Pearl See the Sights (2013)
  3. Brownie and Pearl Get Dolled Up (2014)
  4. Brownie and Pearl Step Out (2014)
  5. Brownie and Pearl Grab a Bite (2014)
  6. Brownie and Pearl Go For a Spin (2015)

Links: Brownie & Pearl on ReadytoRead.com || Brownie & Pearl on S&S || Cynthia Rylant

Reviews: Horn Book (for the readers); School Library Journal & Horn Book (for the picture book versions)

Difficulty

This is a difficult Difficultly section to write about. All of the Accelerated Reader and Lexile scores available are for the picture book editions of the books. Average AR was 1.00 based on seven books and average Lexile was AD100L based on two books.

I looked at both the picture books and reader editions of the four following books: Brownie and Pearl Hit the Hay, Brownie and Pearl See the Sights, Brownie and Pearl Step Out, and Brownie and Pearl Go for a Spin. Hit the Hay and See the Sights omit sentences from the picture books in the reader editions. “She is already snuggly.” from Hit the Hay and “Brownie gets her handbag. Pearl gets her mouse.” from See the Sights. Most of the books also change the contractions from the picture books to full words in the readers. Which is helpful, but does change the score potential for both AR & Lexile.

Thoughts

These are a great beginning reader series and I think it was a very smart move to re-publish them as readers. The picture books are lovely and I do miss the full panel illustrations in some spreads, but the text was always a beginning reader text to me.

I’m not sure is there are any plans for more Brownie and Pearl released as only readers. I can imagine that a child who is already familiar with the picture books will not find any real challenge in the readers, especially if they have the storyline memorized.

More Brownie and Pearl?

Well, original Brownie and Pearl:

  1. Brownie and Pearl Step Out
  2. Brownie and Pearl Get Dolled Up
  3. Brownie and Pearl See the Sights
  4. Brownie and Pearl Take a Dip
  5. Brownie and Pearl Make Good
  6. Brownie and Pearl Grab a Bite
  7. Brownie and Pearl Hit the Hay
  8. Brownie and Pearl Go For a Spin

These were originally published from 2009 to 2012. The readers began in 2013.

Dates to Remember

It looks like a paperback set will be coming out on October 13, 2015. I just hope that they also release the last two Brownie and Pearl adventures in reader format, too!

Series to Know: Amelia Bedelia

Series Info

ameliabedelia

Books:

  1. Amelia Bedelia
  2. Thank You, Amelia Bedelia
  3. Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower
  4. Come Back, Amelia Bedelia
  5. Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia
  6. Good Work, Amelia Bedelia
  7. Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia
  8. Amelia Bedelia Helps Out
  9. Amelia Bedelia and the Baby
  10. Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping
  11. Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia
  12. Amelia Bedelia’s Family Album

Links: Amelia Bedelia website || Amelia Bedelia publisher site || Amelia Bedelia Facebook || Amelia Bedelia Twitter

Reviews: School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, Horn Book

Difficulty

I grew up reading the classic Amelia Bedelia books. They were one of my first reader series. As a child, I never thought that the words were too difficult or that Amelia’s mix-ups were hard to understand. As an adult, I think that the classic Amelia books are definitely appropriate for readers. But they are most appropriate for shared reading or for older readers. (In the “I Can Read” brand, they are listed as Level 2: Reading With Help.)

Some of the words or phrases have become outdated — like when Amelia is directed to “draw the drapes” or “put out the lights” — but this is a great way to develop some new vocabulary.

The classic Amelia books have an average Lexile of 193 and an average Accelerated Reader of 2.2. All of the original twelve books have Lexile and AR ratings.

Thoughts

This series has a wonderful pull with today’s parents because it’s the series that they (like me) might have read as children. I constantly see new children being introduced to Amelia Bedelia all the time and I don’t see her staying power waning any time soon.

I think that the way Amelia makes mistakes makes her totally appealing for children, who often struggle with finding their own way and figuring out their own mistakes. I think the humor is still accessible, though again it might require a bit of explanation.

More Amelia?

Oh, man. Is there more Amelia? YOU BET.

After Peggy Parish’s death in 1988, her nephew Herman Parish took over the Amelia Bedelia series with these volumes:

ameliabedelia_herman

  1. Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia
  2. Bravo, Amelia Bedelia!
  3. Amelia Bedelia 4 Mayor
  4. Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia
  5. Amelia Bedelia, Bookworm
  6. Happy Haunting, Amelia Bedelia
  7. Amelia Bedelia, Rocket Scientist?
  8. Amelia Bedelia Under Construction
  9. Amelia Bedelia’s Masterpiece
  10. Amelia Bedelia and the Cat
  11. Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey
  12. Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off
  13. Go West, Amelia Bedelia
  14. Amelia Bedelia, Cub Reporter

These seemed to be published simultaneously published in both a picture book format and a beginning reader format. Their difficulty ratings were 342L based on 12 books and 2.7AR based on 14 books.

He also wrote these picture book special editions:

  1. Amelia Bedelia and the Christmas List
  2. Amelia Bedelia Goes Back to School
  3. Be My Valentine, Amelia Bedelia

youngameliabedelia

The last “classic” Amelia published in 2012. Then came Young Amelia Bedelia, first with picture books:

  1. Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School
  2. Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine
  3. Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie
  4. Amelia Bedelia’s First Field Trip
  5. Amelia Bedelia’s First Vote
  6. Amelia Bedelia’s First Library Card

Then a beginning reader series:

  1. Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend
  2. Amelia Bedelia Sleeps Over
  3. Amelia Bedelia Hits the Trail
  4. Amelia Bedelia Tries Her Luck
  5. Amelia Bedelia Joins the Club
  6. Amelia Bedelia Chalks One Up

Difficulty: 414 Lexile based on 5 books and 2.5AR based on 6 books.

And finally, Parish introduced Amelia Bedelia early chapter books:

  1. Amelia Bedelia Means Business
  2. Amelia Bedelia Unleashed
  3. Amelia Bedelia Road Trip
  4. Amelia Bedelia Goes Wild
  5. Amelia Bedelia Shapes Up
  6. Amelia Bedelia Cleans Up

Dates to Remember

The next beginning reader “Amelia Bedelia Is For the Birds” publishes on April 21st, 2015.

The next early chapter “Amelia Bedelia Sets Sail” publishes July 7th, 2015.