Reading is more important now than ever. Don't let spring fever erase reading time! These imaginative reader series for elementary school kids ages 6 to 9 or 10 are short but very sweet — and affordable.
"Wild Child: Forest's First Home" series by Tara Zann; Imprint/Macmillan; 138 pages and $5.99 each.
When Olive meets Forest, he was covered in a layer of dirt and his hair "appeared to have parts of an actual bird's nest in it." He swings through trees and knows some words learned from campers. But he doesn't know what an Xbox is and finds shaking hands very funny. Still, Olive's father allows him to move in, as long as Olive teaches him proper behavior.
With lots of humor, an older brother who isn't helping and school adjustments, Tara Zann's "Wild Child" series, with "Forest's First Home" and "Forest's First Day of School" is exhilaratingly fun and intriguing. Illustrated to show lots of action, the tales are a great foray into chapter books.
"Skunked! Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet" by Jacqueline Kelly; Henry Holt & Co.,104 pages; $15.99.
"The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate" was an adventurous journey back to the early 1900s that won a Newbery Honor. Its sequel, "The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate," followed along in turn-of-the-century Texas with the rough-and-tumble life of Callie Vee. Those longer books spurned this spin-off series from Jacqueline Kelly, as Callie becomes even more interested in helping creatures. In "Counting Sheep," she helps fix a butterfly's broken wing, and is there when Mother's prize sheep needs to deliver her lamb and Dr. Pritzer is away. Her lovable Granddaddy is often nearby.
The first in its series, "Skunked" is funny and freshly old-fashioned. "Counting Sheep" is a homey read animal lovers ages 6 to 9 will enjoy.
"Super Happy Party Bears" by Marcie Colleen; Imprint/MacMillan; 137 pages and $5.99 each.
Hilarious, wacky and high-energy, this mod series is "a party" The orange, blue, green and purple bears dance, have a slumber party, decorate doughnuts and enjoy their local honey shop in the Grumpy Woods with lots of other animals that are grumpier than the bears. The tales, "Gnawing Around," "Knock Knock on Wood," "Staying a Hive" and "Going Nuts," are all zesty fun with lots of word play and activity.
"Staying a Hive" is "super happy honey time!" and the crazy consequences of too much honey. In "Going Nuts," the squirrels, called the Twitchy Tails, eat up all the nuts that belonged to the Puffy Cheeks, the local chipmunks. A food fight ensues, which turns into a dance-off. Oh, and One-Tail Willy figures into the story, as well.
Creative, colorful and cool, Marcie Colleen's series is an adventure!
"Puppy Academy" by Gill Lewis; illustrated by Sarah Horne; Henry Holt; 115 pages and $16.99 each.
Puppy Academy is where "plucky puppies learn to be working dogs." Seven- to 10-year-olds will love reading about Pip, Scout, Star and Murphy, who learn to become hearing dogs, guide dogs for the blind and dogs that help people with physical disabilities. After each exciting story, readers will meet real assistance dogs, and learn facts about them and author Gill Lewis and her Labrador Sam, who was her faithful companion.
Book titles include "Pip and the Paw of Friendship," "Scout and the Sausage Thief," "Star on Stormy Mountain," and "Murphy and the Great Surf Rescue."
An adorable shout-out to rescue puppies, "Puppy Academy" is wonderfully informative and inspirational.
Other well-written series include "Unicorn in New York" by Rachel Hamilton, published by Scholastic, which tells of unicorn Louie and his quest for the stage. "The Escapades of Clint McCool" by Jane Kelley and Jessika von Innerebner stars an 8-year-old superhero with boundless energy and adventures. "Enchanted Pony Academy," published by Scholastic and written by Lisa Ann Scott, includes four short chapter books about magical ponies. Pirates rule in "The Jolley-Rogers" series by Jonny Duddle, published by Templar/Candlewick.
To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.