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Best & Brightest Beginning Readers of 2019

Description

This Best & Brightest list was created by Denver Public Library librarians to celebrate our favorite recently published beginning readers. Enjoy!

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Beneath The Bed And Other Scary Stories
Brallier, Max, author.
Kindergarten-3rd grade. This collection of scary stories, the first in the Mister Shivers series, will leave readers worrying about more than just what is lurking under their beds. With minimal build up to surprising reveals, Brallier delivers truly creepy tales of what scratches at windows and comes to life in the night. Rubegni’s atmospheric illustrations are gritty, with shadowy tones lending to a hazy, almost dreamlike feel. Scary book fans suited to this reading level will be thrilled with the accessible stories packed with supportive elements for developing readers. The clear, easy to read font is surrounded by plenty of white space, sentences are short but thoughtful and there is an appropriate amount of repetition to help readers learn and remember vocabulary words.
King & Kayla And The Case Of Found Fred
Butler, Dori Hillestad, author.
1st-3rd grade. This newest installment in the ongoing King and Kayla series lands the kid and canine mystery-solving duo with the task of reuniting a lost dog with their family. Told from golden retriever King’s perspective, we observe his world and struggles with not being able to communicate with his human, Kayla. With gags like an inability to tell time and being unsure if nine or three days have passed, King’s enthusiastic internal monologue adds consistent humor to the story. Simple sentence structure and helpful repetition make this early chapter book a strong choice for developing readers. Colorful illustrations on every page reflect the text as well as add some visual humor. Like the previous titles in this series, two of which have garnered Geisel honors, this title works as a stand-alone but readers will definitely want to seek out other titles from the series as well.
Go Home, Goat
Coxe, Molly, author, illustrator.
2nd-3rd grade. Go Home Goat finds Goat out in the snow looking for a warm place to stay. He visits his friends, Mole, Snowshoe Hare and Polar Bear, each of whom tells Goat to find his own home. Goat doesn’t have a home, so the three animals help build him one. Repetition and simple sentences, all practicing the long “o” vowel sound, support readers' developing phonics skills and help them feel a sense of mastery. Illustrations feature needle felted characters photographed outdoors in handcrafted settings. A note to caregivers and teachers at the beginning of the book and questions in the back of the book offer ideas for expanding the reading experience. Intentionally created to support decoding practice, this title stands out as one of the stronger titles in the Bright Owl Books series.
I Will Race You Through This Book!
Fenske, Jonathan, author, illustrator.
Preschool-3rd grade. Book-It Bunny challenges readers to a reading race in this self-aware, Tortoise and the Hare-inspired title for developing readers. Readers who accept the challenge will discover simple yet compelling rhyming text and lively illustrations set in sequential panels. Book-It Bunny doesn’t always play fair, but that’s all part of the fun. Speech bubbles encapsulate dialogue printed in an easy to read, large font. Racing through the book encourages readers to finish the whole book, increasing reading motivation and building confidence. Fenske, a 2016 Geisel Honor Book-winner for A Pig, a Fox and a Box, adds humor to the characters and situations through thick black outlines and hilarious facial expressions.
Do You Like My Bike?
Feuti, Norman, author.
1st-2nd grade. Best friends Hedgehog and Harry come together in the new Hello, Hedgehog! series for developing readers. Character and relationship dynamics shine as readers get to know Hedgehog, who is always reassuring, and Harry, who has nervous inklings. Even if Harry is worried about what Hedgehog will think of him bringing his teddy bear to a sleepover or that he still needs training wheels on his bicycle, their friendship thrives. Straightforward sequential art panels and bold, uncluttered illustrations expand character development through body language and facial expressions while at the same time maintaining clear and supportive layouts. Each title is broken up into three digestible sections and closes with instructions for drawing each of the characters.
Let's Have A Sleepover!
Feuti, Norman, author, illustrator.
1st-2nd grade. Best friends Hedgehog and Harry come together in the new Hello, Hedgehog! series for developing readers. Character and relationship dynamics shine as readers get to know Hedgehog, who is always reassuring, and Harry, who has nervous inklings. Even if Harry is worried about what Hedgehog will think of him bringing his teddy bear to a sleepover or that he still needs training wheels on his bicycle, their friendship thrives. Straightforward sequential art panels and bold, uncluttered illustrations expand character development through body language and facial expressions while at the same time maintaining clear and supportive layouts. Each title is broken up into three digestible sections and closes with instructions for drawing each of the characters.
Snail And Worm All Day
Kügler, Tina, author, illustrator.
Kindergarten-3rd grade. Kügler’s adorable invertebrate duo delivers more heartwarming tales in this third book in the Snail and Worm series. Readers love to be smarter than the characters, and Snail’s frequent misinterpretations gives them a reason to feel clever at least once a chapter. Snail’s good friend Worm is consistently there to support and talk them through everything. The three stories about these exemplary friends all take place during one jam-packed day. Written completely in dialogue and without the use of any gender identifying pronouns, the stories build up to a hilarious, twist punchline. Mostly familiar, single-syllable vocabulary is interspersed with more challenging words and laid out clearly on the page to identify the speaker. Kügler’s mixed media art, created with acrylic on pastel paper, collage and digital media, adorns every page with a variety of patterns and textures and deftly portrays these characters as expressive as a snail and worm could ever aspire to be.
See Me Play
Meisel, Paul, author, illustrator.
Kindergarten-1st grade. In a rare follow up to previous books in the mostly standalone I Like to Read series, Meisel’s dogs make their fourth appearance. As with Meisel’s See Me Run, See Me Dig and I See a Cat, this title features many supportive elements for developing readers wrapped in a canine caper. The hyper-focused pack of dogs in this title will easily pull readers through to the end of the book as they chase one silly situation after another. The giggle-worthy ending introduces the dogs to a stick, prompting readers to imagine and discuss what could happen next. The small controlled vocabulary allows for almost every word to repeat, providing readers with mastery through practice. Meisel’s mixed-media illustrations, packed full of happy pups, feature strong linework adding energy and movement to each spread.
Ana & Andrew : A Day At The Museum
Patrick, C. P., 1976- author.
Preschool-3rd grade. These four #ownvoices titles center around siblings Ana and Andrew’s adventures as they learn about African American history and culture. In Dancing at Carnival, the siblings travel to Trinidad with their parents to visit family during Carnival, an annual celebration of Trinidadian culture. A Snowy Day finds Ana and Andrew ecstatic about the first snowfall of the season in Washington, D.C. and making snow cream with their neighborhood friends. Summer in Savannah follows the kids to visit their grandparents in Savannah, Georgia, and A Day at the Museum has the two visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Each page features thoughtfully placed, full color, digital illustrations, which complement and support the narration and introduction to cultural markers. With culturally specific characters and subjects, the Ana & Andrew series is a standout in the beginning reader landscape.
Ana & Andrew : A Snowy Day
Patrick, C. P., 1976- author.
Preschool-3rd grade. These four #ownvoices titles center around siblings Ana and Andrew’s adventures as they learn about African American history and culture. In Dancing at Carnival, the siblings travel to Trinidad with their parents to visit family during Carnival, an annual celebration of Trinidadian culture. A Snowy Day finds Ana and Andrew ecstatic about the first snowfall of the season in Washington, D.C. and making snow cream with their neighborhood friends. Summer in Savannah follows the kids to visit their grandparents in Savannah, Georgia, and A Day at the Museum has the two visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Each page features thoughtfully placed, full color, digital illustrations, which complement and support the narration and introduction to cultural markers. With culturally specific characters and subjects, the Ana & Andrew series is a standout in the beginning reader landscape.
Ana & Andrew : Dancing At Carnival
Patrick, C. P., 1976- author.
Preschool-3rd grade. These four #ownvoices titles center around siblings Ana and Andrew’s adventures as they learn about African American history and culture. In Dancing at Carnival, the siblings travel to Trinidad with their parents to visit family during Carnival, an annual celebration of Trinidadian culture. A Snowy Day finds Ana and Andrew ecstatic about the first snowfall of the season in Washington, D.C. and making snow cream with their neighborhood friends. Summer in Savannah follows the kids to visit their grandparents in Savannah, Georgia, and A Day at the Museum has the two visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Each page features thoughtfully placed, full color, digital illustrations, which complement and support the narration and introduction to cultural markers. With culturally specific characters and subjects, the Ana & Andrew series is a standout in the beginning reader landscape.
Ana & Andrew : Summer In Savannah
Patrick, C. P., 1976- author.
Preschool-3rd grade. These four #ownvoices titles center around siblings Ana and Andrew’s adventures as they learn about African American history and culture. In Dancing at Carnival, the siblings travel to Trinidad with their parents to visit family during Carnival, an annual celebration of Trinidadian culture. A Snowy Day finds Ana and Andrew ecstatic about the first snowfall of the season in Washington, D.C. and making snow cream with their neighborhood friends. Summer in Savannah follows the kids to visit their grandparents in Savannah, Georgia, and A Day at the Museum has the two visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Each page features thoughtfully placed, full color, digital illustrations, which complement and support the narration and introduction to cultural markers. With culturally specific characters and subjects, the Ana & Andrew series is a standout in the beginning reader landscape.
Harold & Hog Pretend For Real!
Willems, Mo, author, illustrator.
1st-2nd grade. Best friends Harold the elephant and Hog the pig stumble across an Elephant and Piggie book, and unable to resist, they pretend to be Elephant and Piggie, replete with grandiose gestures. Harold is actually more intrigued by emulating their heroes than Hog, who tends to appreciate his own identity. In fact, neither of them is at all like their fictional idol, leading them to question if they can really be best friends like Gerald and Piggie. The newest title in the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series, this book uses supportive conventions such as color-coded speech bubbles and the breaking of the fourth wall to talk to readers that will be familiar to Mo Willems fans. Santat’s illustrative style depicts realistic and detailed animals, nevertheless, readers will understand and appreciate his homage Willems’s characters and more cartoonish renderings.
Who Is The Mystery Reader?
Willems, Mo, author, illustrator.
1st-3rd grade. When a scurry of squirrels happens across a sign they cannot read, someone from their midst slips away, only to return adorned in a mask and a super pair of underpants. Luckily for the group, Mystery Squirrel not only knows how to sound out difficult words but can teach others to do it too! This high energy installment in the Unlimited Squirrels series demonstrates the benefits of slowing down to sound out words while reading. Chapters introduce the main storyline, some history on written language and a look at Willem’s artistic bookmaking process from concept to published book, all interspersed with “acorn-y” jokes. A familiar look, replete with speech bubbles and sparse backgrounds, will help ease the transition for developing readers graduating from Willem’s Elephant and Piggie books.