Beyond Picture Books

The transition from picture books to chapter books can be tricky for kids (and the big people reading with them!). Finding chapter books that are short enough, fun enough, still have enough pictures, and have simpler plots is a challenge. Here are a couple ideas for kids who are beyond picture books and early readers or for littler ones who are still reading aloud with adults…

My Father's Dragon is loaded with adventure and has lovely black and white illustrations (from the original award winning 1948 edition) on most page spreads. There’s enough action to keep little ones interested in what happens next, too, as we follow the adventures of a young boy on a mission to save a baby dragon from his captors. Using his wits and a few handy items stashed in his backpack, the boy manages to overcome a number of animal obstacles in his path to the dragon. A charming story in which kindness and quick-thinking triumph over the bad guys. Try Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland, too.

The Wizard of Oz, or “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” is more than a movie! The book is a little longer than My Father’s Dragon, but is available in a number of beautifully illustrated editions with each chapter nicely rounded out to introduce a new character or problem for Dorothy and her friends to solve. The story is written with quirky giggle-inducing humor that parents will also appreciate if reading-aloud. If you like this first tale of Oz, you’re in luck – there over 10 books in the Oz series that Baum wrote later!