Chapter Book recommendations
The Creature Department (Weston, Robert Paul)
Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh; the only excitement is the rumours about what goes on deep inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000, the world’s eighth-largest electronics factory. No one seems to know what goes on, until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside and find a collection of strange and magical creatures. But when the evil Chuck threatens to shut down the plant, Elliot and Leslie and their new creature friends must create an invention so astonishing it will save the Creature Department.
Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage (Umansky, Kaye)
When the sensible, reliable, and always tidy Clover Twig goes to work for a messy witch, she discovers that the witch’s cottage has quite a few secrets hiding inside of it.
Smells Like Dog (Selfors, Suzanne)
Meet Homer Pudding, an ordinary farm boy who’s got big dreams-to follow in the footsteps of his famous treasure-hunting uncle. But when Uncle Drake mysteriously disappears, Homer inherits two things: a lazy, droopy dog with no sense of smell, and a mystery.
Why would his uncle call this clumsy dog his "most treasured possession?" And why did he put a gold coin on the dog’s collar?
And who will continue Uncle Drake’s quest-to find the most coveted pirate treasure in the world?
Join Homer, his sister Gwendolyn, and Dog on an adventure that will test their wits and courage as they leave their peaceful farm and head into a world where ruthless treasure hunters hide around every corner. Where they discover that Dog has a hidden talent and that treasure might be closer than they ever imagined...
The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook (Rocklin, Joanne)
In this warmhearted middle-grade novel, Oona and her brother, Fred, love their cat Zook (short for Zucchini), but Zook is sick. As they conspire to break him out of the vet’s office, convinced he can only get better at home with them, Oona tells Fred the story of Zook’s previous lives, ranging in style from fairy tale to grand epic to slice of life. Each of Zook’s lives has echoes in Oona’s own family life, which is going through a transition she’s not yet ready to face. Her father died two years ago, and her mother has started a relationship with a man named Dylan--whom Oona secretly calls "the villain." The truth about Dylan, and about Zook’s medical condition, drives the drama in this loving family story.
The Doll People (Martin, Ann M. and Godwin, Laura)
Annabelle Doll is eight years old-she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll family, day after day, year after year. . . until one day the Funcrafts move in.
Flight of the Phoenix (La Fevers, R. L.)
Nathaniel Fludd’s life has taken a turn for the worst. With his parents lost at sea, he lands on the doorstep of a distant cousin--the world’s last remaining beastologist. Soon Nate is whisked off on his first expedition, to Arabia, where the world’s only phoenix prepares to lay its new egg. When disaster strikes, Nate quickly finds himself all alone.
Will he be able to see the phoenix safely hatched, keep his accidental pet gremlin out of trouble, and rescue his guardian from the Bedouin? If he fails, nothing will stand between the world’s mythical creatures and extinction.
Too bad Nate’s not the sort of boy who enjoys adventure . . .yet.
The Underneath (Appelt, Kathi)
There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road. A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath...as long as they stay in the Underneath.
Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten’s one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O’Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love -- and its opposite, hate -- the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises.
The Wanderer (Creech, Sharon)
This acclaimed bestselling Newbery Honor Book from multi-award-winning author Sharon Creech is a classic and moving story of adventure, self-discovery, and one girl’s independence.Thirteen-year-old Sophie hears the sea calling, promising adventure and a chance for discovery as she sets sail for England with her three uncles and two cousins. Sophie’s cousin Cody isn’t so sure he has the strength to prove himself to the crew and to his father.Through Sophie’s and Cody’s travel logs, we hear stories of the past and the daily challenges of surviving at sea as The Wanderer sails toward its destination--and its passengers search for their places in the world.
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (DiCamillo, Kate)
Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller Kate DiCamillo. It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry -- and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format -- a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell.
The Magician’s Elephant(DiCamillo, Kate)
What if? Why not? Could it be?
When a fortuneteller’s tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The fortuneteller’s mysterious answer (an elephant! An elephant will lead him there!) sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that you will hardly dare to believe it’s true. With atmospheric illustrations by fine artist Yoko Tanaka, here is a dreamlike and captivating tale that could only be narrated by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo. In this timeless fable, she evokes the largest of themes -- hope and belonging, desire and compassion -- with the lightness of a magician’s touch.
Dodsworth in New York (Egan, Tim)
Dodsworth wanted adventure. He wanted to see the world. He especially wanted to visit New York City. What he didn’t want was to be joined by a duck. A crazy duck. A duck that misbehaves. Young readers will laugh out loud at the duck’s silly antics as Dodsworth has the unexpected adventure of his life in the Big Apple . . . and beyond.
The Ruins of Gorlan (Flanagan, John)
They have always scared him in the past--the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied. . .
Here is the fantasy adventure that launched the Ranger’s Apprentice series, an epic story of heroes and villains that has become an international phenomenon. Perfect for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone, Christopher Paolini’s Eragon series, and George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Dragon Rider (Funke, Cornelia)
With a lonely boy named Ben on board, the brave young dragon Firedrake sets out on a magical journey to find the mythical place where silver dragons can live in peace forever. Flying over moonlit lands and sparkling seas, they encounter fantastic creatures, summon up surprising courage -- and cross the path of a ruthless villain with an ancient grudge who’s determined to end their quest. Only a secret destiny can save the dragons in this enchanting adventure about the true meaning of home.
Fortunately, the Milk (Gaiman, Neil)
"I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: t h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road."
"Hullo," I said to myself. "That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened." Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious New York Times bestselling story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.
Spy Camp (Gibbs, Stuart)
School may be out for summer, but top-secret training continues for aspiring spy Ben Ripley--and so does the danger.
Ben Ripley is a middle-schooler whose school is not exactly average--he’s spent the last year training to be a top-level spy and dodging all sorts of associated danger. So now that summer’s finally here, Ben’s ready to have some fun and relax. Except that’s not going to happen, because a spy-in-training’s work is never done, and the threats from SPYDER, an enemy spy organization, are as unavoidable as the summer heat. Will Ben be able to keep his cover--and his cool?
A Tangle of Knots (Graff, Lisa)
Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady’s past and how she became an orphan. If she’s lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent. Lisa Graff adds a pinch of magic to a sharply crafted plot to create a novel that will have readers wondering about fate and the way we’re all connected.
Nature Girl (Kelley, Jane)
Eleven-year-old Megan is stuck in the wilds of Vermont for the summer with no TV, no Internet, no cell phone, and worst of all, no best friend. So when Megan gets lost on the Appalachian Trail with only her little dog, Arp, for company, she decides she might as well hike all the way to Massachusetts where her best friend, Lucy, is spending her summer. Life on the trail isn’t easy, and Megan faces everything from wild animals and raging rivers to tofu jerky and life without bathrooms. Most of all, though, Megan gets to know herself--both who she’s been in the past and who she wants to be in the future--and the journey goes from a spur-of-the-moment lark to a quest to prove herself to Lucy, her family, and the world!
The Tail of Emily Windsnap (Kessler, Liz)
A young girl learns she’s half mermaid and plunges into a scheme to reunite with her father in this entrancing, satisfying tale that beckons readers far below the waves.
For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap has lived on a boat. And, oddly enough, for just as long, her mother has seemed anxious to keep Emily away from the water. But when Mom finally agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery -- about her own identity, the mysterious father she’s never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils shimmering deep below the water’s surface. With a sure sense of suspense and richly imaginative details, first-time author Liz Kessler lures us into a glorious undersea world where mermaids study shipwrecks at school and Neptune rules with an iron trident -- an enchanting fantasy about family secrets, loyal friendship, and the convention-defying power of love.
The Postcard (Abbott, Tony)
While in St. Petersburg, Florida, to help clean out his recently deceased grandmother's house, 13 year-old Jason finds an old postcard which leads him on an adventure that blends figures from an old, unfinished detective story with his family's past.
The Puzzling World of Winston Breen (Berlin, Eric)
Winston Breen finds puzzles everywhere, even on pizzas, and solving them is what he does best. But when his sister uncovers mysterious wooden strips with words and letters that even Winston can't figure out, the entire family is obsessed. It turns out the strips are part of a scavenger hunt that a town patriarch set up for his children. If all four sets are put together, they will lead to a ring worth thousands of dollars. Cooperating seems like a no-brainer to Winston, but to solve the puzzle, the group has to overcome mysterious threats, mutual mistrust, 25-yearold clues, and participants who will do anything to keep the treasure for themselves.
Chock full of puzzles to solve, some involving the mystery and others Winston runs into along the way, this treasure hunt will keep readers challenged right to the end.
The Water Castle (Megan Frazer)
Ephraim Appledore-Smith is an ordinary boy, and up until his father's stroke he lived an ordinary life. But all that changes when his family moves to the Water Castle-their ancestral home in the small town of Crystal Springs. Mallory Green's family has always been the caretakers of the Water Castle-and the guardians of its secrets. She has been raised to protect the legendary Fountain of Youth, hidden on the estate grounds. But ever since her mom left, she's stopped believing in magic. Will Wylie's family has been at war with the Applegates for generations, all because of the Water Castle's powerful secrets. But Will has rejected legend and magic, putting all his faith in science.When Ephraim learns of the Fountain, he's sure finding it can cure his dad. With Mallory and Will's help, the trio embarks on a mission that brings them deep into their families' shared history, through every secret room in the Water Castle, and on a quest that will blur the lines of magic and science, creativity and discovery, leaving readers left to wonder: Do you believe in the unbelievable?
Madhattan Mystery (Bonk, John J.)
All set to spend their summer in New York City with their aunt while their father is honeymooning with his new wife, Lexi and her younger brother Kevin's snoozy summer plans turn into high-stakes adventure when Lexi overhears a plot to steal Cleopatra's famous jewels from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Joining forces with budding investigative journalist Kim Ling Levine, they ditch day camp to track down the thieves and rake in the reward money. Can Lexi, Kevin, and Kim find out who's behind the jewel heist without getting into too much trouble themselves?
The Name of This Book Is Secret (Bosch, Pseudonymous)
Warning: this description has not been authorized by Pseudonymous Bosch. As much as he'd love to sing the praises of his book (he is very vain), he wouldn't want you to hear about his brave 11-year old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest. Or about how a mysterious box of vials, the Symphony of Smells, sends them on the trail of a magician who has vanished under strange (and stinky) circumstances. And he certainly wouldn't want you to know about the hair-raising adventures that follow and the nefarious villains they face. You see, not only is the name of this book secret, the story inside is, too. For it concerns a secret. A Big Secret.
The Fairy-Tale Detectives(Buckley, Michael)
Orphaned sisters Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their newly discovered grandmother, Relda Grimm, in the strange town of Ferryport Landing. The girls soon learn a family secret: that they are descendants of the famous Brothers Grimm, whose book of fairy tales is actually a history book. When a terrorizing giant goes on a rampage through the town, it's up to the Sisters Grimm to stop him and to solve the mystery of who set the giant loose in the first place. Was it Mayor Charming, formerly Prince Charming, who desperately wants his kingdom back? The Three Not-So-Little Pigs, the shifty town cops? Or one of the many other fairy-tale characters who seem to have it out for the Grimms?
The London Eye Mystery (Dowd, Siobhan)
Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim board the London Eye. But after half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off–except Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air? Ted and his older sister, Kat, become sleuthing partners, since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery. This is an unput-downable spine-tingling thriller–a race against time.
Sly the Sleuth and the Pet Mysteries (Napoli, Donna Jo and Furrow, Robert)
There are some strange new pets in Sly's neighborhood: a cat on a diet that keeps getting fatter, a fish that seems angry at its owner, and a peculiar pet named Wilson that suddenly disappears! Only Sly the Sleuth can solve these mysteries. Grade-schooler by day, private detective by afternoon, Sly (a.k.a Sylvia) uses her sharp wits and reasoning skills to get to the bottom of these odd goings-on.
Treasure Hunters (Patterson, James, Grabenstein, Chris, and Shulman, Mark)
The Kidd siblings have grown up diving down to shipwrecks and traveling the world, helping their famous parents recover everything from swords to gold doubloons from the bottom of the ocean. But after their parents disappear n the job, the kids are suddenly thrust into the biggest treasure hunt of their lives. They'll have to work together to defeat dangerous pirates and dodge the hot pursuit of an evil treasure hunting rival, all while following cryptic clues to unravel the mystery of what really happened to their parents--and find out if they're still alive.
The Westing Game (Raskin, Ellen)
When an eccentric millionaire dies mysteriously, 16 very unlikely people are gathered together for the reading of the will--and what a will it is. A Newbery Medal-winning novel.
Three Times Lucky (Turnage, Sheila)
Meet Miss Moses LoBeau - rising sixth grader natural born detective, borderline straight-A student, and goddess of free enterprise. Mo washed ashore in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, eleven years ago during one of the meanest hurricanes in history, and she's been making waves ever since. Mo's summer is looking good. She'll take karate with her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III (whose daddy believes in naming for the famous), and plot against her sworn enemy, Anna Celeste (aka Attila). She'll help out at the café run by the Colonel and Miss Lana, and continue her lifelong search for her Upstream Mother. But when the cafés crankiest customer turns up dead and a city-slick lawman shows up asking questions, Mo's summer takes an unexpected turn. With another hurricane bearing down on Tupelo Landing, Mo and Dale set out to save those they love and solve a mystery of epic proportion.
Flight of the Genie (Abbott, Tony)
The city of Ut is a city of secrets. Mysteriously, it only appears once every one hundred years. And to enter, you need the key, which is kept in the magical bottle of Ut. Eric, Keeah, and the others need to get inside the city to help a friend. The good genie, Hoja, is being held prisoner there, and he needs rescuing! They have discovered the secret of the magic bottle, and so they know they can get inside the city walls. But what they don't know is that Ut holds other secrets. Dark, dangerous secrets. Secrets that involve a certain sorcerer named Sparr...
The Twenty-One Balloons (Du Bois, William Pene)
Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions.
Aliens for Breakfast (Etra, Jonathan)
Join Richard and Aric, a tiny, wisecracking creature from the planet Ganoob, as they battle to save the world from evil aliens in Aliens for Breakfast, Aliens for Lunch, and Aliens for Dinner.
Swordbird (Fan, Nancy Yi)
Written by the author when she was in the fifth grade, this extraordinary fantasy--inspired by a dream and her complicated feelings about terrorism after September 11th--portrays a world of warfare, deception, bravery, and freedom.
Dude, Where's My Spaceship? (Greenburg, Dan)
Klatu is such a varna! He crashed the spaceship into planet Earth with his brother Lek and sister Ploo onboard. Stuck in the middle of the Nevada desert with nowhere to run, Ploo is captured by army Earthlings who think that she is an enemy of humankind. Can Klatu and Lek to rescue Ploo from the terrifying Major Paine? Or will Ploo be held prisoner in Area 51 forever?
Babe & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure (Gutman, Dan)
On October 1, 1932, during Game Three of the Chicago Cubs-New York Yankees World Series, Babe Ruth belted a long home run to straightaway centerfield. According to legend, just before he hit, Babe pointed to the bleachers and boldly predicted he would slam the next pitch there. Did he call the shot or didn't he? Witnesses never agreed. Like other baseball fans, twelve-year-old Joe Stoshack wants to know the truth. But unlike other fans, Joe has the astonishing ability to travel through time using baseball cards--and now he's determined to settle one of baseball's greatest debates. With historical photos and back matter to separate the facts from the fiction, New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman takes readers on a page-turning trip through baseball's past.
Found (Haddix, Margaret Peterson)
Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who's also adoped, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, "You are one of the missing." The second one says, "Beware! They're coming back to get you."
Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere -- and people who seem to appear and disappear at will. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip's lives. Do Jonah and Chip have any choice in the matter? And what should they choose when both alternatives are horrifying?
With Found, Margaret Peterson Haddix begins a new series that promises to be every bit as suspenseful as her Shadow Children series -- which has sold more than 41/2 million copies -- and proves her, once again, to be a master of the page-turner.
The Journey (Lasky, Kathryn)
The second book in the GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE series continues this classic hero mythology about the battle between good and evil. This book chronicles Soren's quest for nobility.
In the second book in the GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE series, Soren, Gylfie, Twilight, and Digger travel to the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, a mythical place where an order of owls rises each night to perform noble deeds. Soren and his group are seeking help to fight the evil they discovered in the owl world (in GUARDIANS #1). After a harrowing journey, they arrive at the Great Ga'Hoole Tree and learn they will need to stay to receive training from the Ga'Hoolian elders. During his time at the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, Soren finds (and then loses) a great mentor and he is reunited with his beloved sister.
What Came from the Stars (Schmidt, Gary D.)
The Valorim are about to fall to a dark lord when they send a necklace containing their planet across the cosmos, hurtling past a trillion stars . . . all the way into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Mass.
Mourning his late mother, Tommy doesn't notice much about the chain he found, but soon he is drawing the twin suns and humming the music of ahanorah.As Tommy absorbs the art and language of the Valorim, their enemies target him. When a creature begins ransacking Plymouth in search of the chain, Tommy learns he must protect his family from villains far worse than he's ever imagined.
Spaceheadz (Scieszka, Jon and Sedita, Francesco)
The perfect combination of the age old experience of holding and poring over a physical book with newest media technology that kids love!
Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn't hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with apparently aren't kids at all. They are aliens. Real aliens who have invaded our planet in the form of school children and a hamster. They have a mission to complete: to convince 3,140,001 kids to BE SPHDZ. But with a hamster as their leader, "kids" who talk like walking advertisements, and Michael K as their first convert, will the SPHDZ be able to keep their cover and pull off their assignment?
When You Reach Me (Stead, Rebecca)
Shortly after a fall-out with her best friend, sixth grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn't know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter--a true story, and that she can't share her mission with anyone.
It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem--because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.