Book reviews - learning to read with Hachette Books

It's Fun To ReadThe books reviewed on this page have been brought together by Hachette Children's Books' four imprints - Franklin Watts, Orchard Books, Hodder and Wayland to give children a graded introduction to reading. They will give you a good idea of the type of book your child can read and then you can help them choose from the wide range of books available.


It's Fun to Read! 
There is a super website for parents and teachers at www.itsfuntoread.co.uk  
It's Fun to Read! is a collection of exciting books, divided into 8 different levels of ability to ensure a reading experience that builds confidence and encourages progress. Use the search function to choose the right books at the right level. You can search by Lexile reader measure, Book Band or Accelerated Reader level, and a wide range of genres and topics means there is plenty to inspire beginner readers. See the end of this page for explanations on the Reading Levels used by It's Fun To Read.

Espresso Phonics

Reading Level 1

Henry's Favourite Friend (Tiddlers) by Jane Simmons

Tiddlers are colourful attractive books for children just starting to read on their own. They have just one short sentence per page, in a large clear font, with plenty of repetition. Henry the dog loves playing, especially with his favourite furry friend, Sam the cat.  A word list at the beginning of the story allows for a quick check of the reader's ability to read and understand words before reading, and a puzzle at the end of the story encourages rereading for pleasure.

At the Water Hole (Tiddlers) by Jane Clarke and Woody Fox

Zebra is thirsty, but it could be dangerous at the waterhole! A colourful story with lots of African animals for children to spot and name. Children can enjoy the picture quiz at the end of the book, which asks them to find which pages the pictures come from. The Tiddlers series features fun stories with a word count of less than 50 words for children who are just starting to read.

Splash! (Tiddlers) by Damian Harvey and Sam Hearn

It's fun to splash in the puddles, but very muddy - so then it's time for a bath and more splashing! A simple story line with single sentences on each page, and plenty of repetition to help young readers. These are fun stories with a word count of fewer than 50 words for emergent readers. Colourful and attractive, they are books that children will really want to pick up and read.

The Funny Duckling (Tadpoles) by Sue Graves

Mother Duck is excited when all her eggs start to hatch. But one egg contains a big surprise! A colourful and attractive story for the very youngest readers, which will give them an excellent start for the exciting world of reading. The stories in the Tadpoles series are varied but with familiar settings so children can easily identify with the story and the characters,
Tadpoles are original stories for young readers told in large text under 80 words, with full colour illustrations to support the story.

The Great Food Robbery (Tadpoles) by Jill Atkins

Greedy Guzzle the Badger and his friends come to town and start stealing everyone's food. It's up to Robin Rabbit to save the day! A fun story with plenty of clues in the pictures, clear font and carefully selected vocabulary.

 Grandpa's Car (Tadpoles) by Sue Graves

Grandpa and Alfie are off to the shops in Grandpa's car, but when Alfie sees the car, he would much rather get the bus ... Another amusing and colourful story for beginning readers, with clearly recognisable characters to make reading simple and fun.

The Wish Fish (Tadpoles) by Lynne Benton

A traditional tale retold for young readers, fulfilling the NC requirement for the reading of traditional tales. Ozzie Otter finds a wish fish, but it escapes before he has time to make a wish! Can he find it again?

The Hungry Little Monkey (Tiddlers) by Andy Blackford 

Tiddlers are designed for children starting to read alone. The colourful pictures and carefully planned text will give children confidence. There is a word list at the front of each book to help with learning, and tips for parents. Poor monkey has a problem - he has a lovely banana but how does he open it? All his animal friends help out in this amusing story.

 Hurry Up (Tiddlers) by Ann Bryant

The illustrations in the Tiddlers series are outstanding. They are simple, yet really bright and colourful and, importaqntly, they contain lots of clues to help children decipher the words. The story makes good use of repetition whilst keeping the storyline flowing. Everyone is getting very impatient with tractor as he crawls along the road. Everyone is relieved when he turns off - but look what happens! And then there is something even slower... A really amusing story. There are picture questions at the end of all Tiddlers books to help understanding.

George the Knight (Tiddlers) by Leon Read

George really wants to be a knight, but he needs a sword, a shield and a horse. Help him find them as you read the story and use the clues in the colourful pictures. Simple repetitive language in a large clear font helps children who are just beginning to learn to read. At the front of the book there are helpful suggestions for parents, together with a list of the words to be found in the book. Check your child's understanding in a fun way with the picture puzzles at the end of the book.

 

Reading Level 2

   
   

Tyrannosaurus Ted (Leapfrog Rhyme Time) by Joan Stimson

Tyrannosaurus Ted is a peaceful dinosaur who likes to dance not fight. Find out if his dancing can save the day in this story for children who are able to recognose familiar words and who can sound out new words with some help. Bright pictures, catchy rhyming text,combined with the ever-popular topic of dinosaurs make this an attractive title which children will enjoy.  The puzzles at the end are fun and consolidate understanding.

Reading Level 3

The Frog Prince and the Kitten (Leapfrog) by Clare De Marco

In this enjoyable story, children meet naughty Lily the kitten. She loves chasing the birds and the mice in the palace gardens. But when she meets a frog who returns her golden ball, the tables are turned when Lily doesn't keep her promise! It's a delightful story for young readers who want to tackle books on their own. There are picture questions at the end to check understanding
The Leapfrog series is perfect for children who are reading on their own, with fun stories of no more than 200 words.

Football (Leapfrog Learners) by Annabelle Lynch

The fun facts and accessible text of the Leapfrog Learners series mean that children learn to enjoy reading and finding out about their favourite topics - and football is bound to make boys and girls want to read! The reader will learn about the stadiums, the players and how to join in themselves. Full page colour photos, a friendly frog giving useful tips, plus questions to answer at the end all combine to make a very attractive book.

Cheeky Monkey's Big Race (Leapfrog) by Anne Cassidy 

Cheeky Monkey is great fun and children learning to read will enjoy his adventures, and knowing that there are plenty of books to enjoy.Imagine you are going into a race and a cheeky monkey turns up. That's just what happens to Wendy. Will she be able to beat that cheeky monkey and win the cake? The Leapfrog series is perfect for children who are reading on their own, with fun stories of no more than 200 words. The words are carefully chosen, and the font is large for early readers. Plenty of colourful pictures can be used to help decode the text.
 

 

The Animals' Football Camp (Leapfrog) by Clare de Marco and Trevor Dunton

Jungle United are training hard at a special camp, but Lion refuses to join in as he thinks he is too good.. Can he learn to play as part of a team? A colourful story with a theme that will be useful to children who find it hard to be part of a team. As with the rest of the Leapfrog series, the puzzles at the back test understanding in a fun way which children will enjoy.
The Leapfrog series is perfect for children who are reading on their own, with fun stories of no more than 180 words.
 

 Oddest Pets (Leapfrog Learners) by Annabelle Lynch

Children are fascinated by strange creatures, so they will have fun learning about some of the strange pets people keep. Slithering snakes, colourful chameleons and furless friends are among the animals depicted in bright colourful photographs. A glossary will help children with unfamiliar words. Find out about all the oddest pets that people keep in this new series of non-fiction readers. Leapfrog learners offer fun facts in accessible text, perfect for building reading confidence.
 

Kim's Treehouse Pirate (Story Time) by Diane Marwood

Kim and Sal are in the treehouse reading a book about pirates. Then, suddenly, a pirate appears! The sad pirate has lost his ship. Can Kim and Sal help him find it? This series featuring the popular characters from Espresso Education includes fun stories in under 200 words for children building their reading confidence. They are satisfying stories which will amuse children whilst developing their reading skills. Comprehension is reinforced by the picture puzzles at the end of each book.

Scully Saves the Day (Story Time) by Diane Marwood

Ash and Sal are taking Scully for a walk. Scully is so excited - he can't wait to get to the park! Suddenly, he stops outside an old shed and refuses to move. Whatever can be the matter? This series featuring the popular characters from Espresso Education includes fun stories in under 200 words for children building their reading confidence.
 

Eddy's Space Adventures (Story Time) by Diane Marwood 

Polly and Ash are making a space rocket.  Polly says her little brother Eddy is too young to join in the game. But Eddy has other ideas... This series featuring the popular characters from Espresso Education includes fun stories in under 200 words for children building their reading confidence.

The Cave Monsters (Story Time) by Sue Graves

Polly, Kim and Ash are at the beach with the dogs, Scully and Scrap. They decide to explore a cave, but there are MONSTERS inside! This series featuring the popular characters from Espresso Education includes fun stories in under 200 words for children building their reading confidence.

 Alex and the Troll (Leapfrog) by Clare de Marco

Leapfrog Books - books of around 180 words - are perfect to give children confidence when they are starting reading for themselves. All the stories are fun and there are plenty to choose from, so something to interest everyone. Alex and his Dad build a bridge, but it is taken obver by the troll, who likes the disgusting smell. Alex comes up with an ingenious solution. Plenty of repetition helps reading and the colourful pictures and attractive presentation of all the series ensure their popularity.

 

Cheeky Monkey's Treasure Hunt (Leapfrog) by Anne Cassidy 

Wendy's all dressed up and ready for a treasue hunt, and monkey goes along to help by carrying everything. They find some treasure, but naughty monkey runs off with it......... or does he? Children wil enjoy this fun story with its colourful pictures. At the end there are some picture puzzles which are idealfor reviewing the child's comprehension and for giving the opportunity to talk more about the story.

Prickly Ballroom (Leapfrog) by Ian Smith

Porcupine would love to enter the dancing competition but for some reason, he just can't find anyone to dance with him. I wonder why? He comes up with some very ingenious solutions to his problem but Rabbit has the best idea of all. Another fun story which will give children confidence when learning to read.  

 

 

The Scary Chef's Scarecrow (Leapfrog) by Martin Remphry 

The chef loves his vegetables - but so do the birds. How can he scare them away? His friends in thre kitchen come up with a bright idea but chef can't understand why it works! There's lots of action in the pictures and children will enjoy talking about what is happening.

The Animals' Football Cup (Leapfrog) by Clare de Marco 

Football - a lovely way to encourage boys to enjoy reading! It's Jungle United versus Rainforest Rovers in the football cup final. Hippo isn't playing well. He's just too big and clumsy. But can he save the day? Enjoy talking about the story with your child by using the picture puzzles at the end of the book.
 

 

Felix Takes the Blame (Leapfrog) by Maeve Friel 

Poor Felix gets the blame for everything... even when it isn't his fault! Children will enjoy spotting who is really responsible for the trouble. It was..... Colourful pictures help children with the text and they will nejoy this entertaining story. There are two more stories about Felix to enjoy too.
 The Leapfrog series is perfect for children who are reading on their own, with fun stories of no more than 180 words.
 

Pip's Pets: A New Pet by Claire Llewellyn

Just right for children beginning to read on their own , this is the story of Pip selecting a new pet from the pet shop. He doesn't like the look of any of them - until he saw a hamster who became his new pet, Henry.  It is a satisfying read, with a beginning, a middle and an end perfect as an introduction to independent reading of stories. Repetition in the text helps develop confidence and the pictures can be used to give added clues to the story. There are three more titles in the series to enjoy.

The Wrong House (Leapfrog) by Penny Dolan 

Cat loves her very own house. She knows where everything is. But one day she is a bit too adventurous and she gets locked in the wrong house. Will she ever find her way home? Children will be entertained by the various ways she tries to escape.

 

Little Joe's Boat Race (Leapfrog) by Andy Blackford 

Little Joe hates the village boat race. His boat is too small and he never gets to join in the fun. But, perhaps, this year will be different...
 

The Leapfrog series is perfect for children who are reading on their own, with fun stories of no more than 180 words.
 

Bill's Scary Backpack (Leapfrog) by Susan Gates

Bill gets a scary backpack for his birthday. He puts it on and sets off to school, forgetting all about it... and he just can't think why he is so scary! Children will enjoy showing their understanding of the story when they answer the picture puzzles at the end of the book.
 

That Noise! (Leapfrog) by Penny Dolan 

All was quiet in the classroom... but then the children start making lots of noise. Mr Edwards asks to see them all later. Are they in trouble? Or has Mr Edwards got an idea? He has lots of djembe drums in his room.... THe illustrations are bright and colourful and childfren will enjoy getting clues from them.

Reading Level 4

   
   
   

Dance (My Sports Club) by Jillian Powell

It's great to see some non fiction titles included here. Many children (and not only boys) prefer to read non fiction books, and giving children a book to read on a topic which interests them is a great way to spark an interest in reading. Interest in sport is high leading up to The Olympics, so that gives these books an extra level of interest. Join Adrianna as she goes off to her dance class. Wasy to read text, and lots of colour photos make the book interesting and colourful and children will find out about a popular hobby whit]lst extending vocabulary and fluency.

Horse Riding (My Sports Club) by Jillian Powell

 Both those lucky enough to have riding lessons and wannabe riders will enjoy reading about Josh at the riding club. There are lots of useful tips about riding and plenty of colour photos. Josh has cerebral palsy and it's excellent for children to see him enjoying a sport just like other children.

 The Bear Detectives: Treasure Hunt by Sally Grindley

Can the Bear Detectives solve the clues and win the village treasure hunt? With more text than books at earlier levels, this is a very satifsying and fun story for children to read on their own. The pictures are colourful and engaging and the text is well laid out. Young readers will have a realmsense of achievement and satisfaction in reading a 'real' book.

The Raja and the Rice (Start Reading Tales from Around the World) by Jillian Powell 

An entertaining story about an enterprising young boy. The Raja won't help when his family runs out of rice, but when Tamwar produces a clever picture the Raja rewards him - and Tamwar is very clever in what he asks for! Start Reading is a comprehensive collection of early reading books, providing an ideal introduction to independent reading for children at Years 1 and 2. The series covers a wide-range of text genres, including those required by the National Literacy Framework at KS1. Produced by accomplished, well-established and award-winning authors and illustrators.

 

Wicked Aunt Baba (Start Reading Tales from Around the World) by Jillian Powell 

When Tasha is sent off on an errand by her wicked stepmother, will she land up in the cooking pot? Read about how a towel and a comb with some magical properties save her life in this colourful tale.This series of tales from around the world is an excellent way to introduce children to other cultures, as well as fulfilling the requirements of the National Curriculum.

 

Reading Level 5

Dick Whittington Gets on His Bike (Hopscotch Twisty Tales) by Ellen Weeks and David Ouro

These engaging stories take a whole new look at classic stories, making them fun and interesting for young readers. Our modern-day Dick Whittington is off to London on his bike to see if he can make his fortune - accompanied, of course, by a black cat. Luckily, Dick looks after his cat and their fortunes turn. In the twist at the end of the story, Dick has a very clever idea - adults will see the humour in this, even if children don't! Hopscotch Twisty Tales combine carefully controlled text levels and word counts with highly entertaining and original stories, perfect for children starting to read independently.

The Emperor's New Kit (Hopscotch Twisty Tales) by Maureen Haslehurst and Kelly Kennedy

Definitely one to appeal to the boys! Enrico Empery is known as 'the Emperor'of football; he is very vain about his clothes. When a big cup match approaches his team mate, Freddie Foulo, tells the Emperor about a very special kit that only brilliant footballers can see, but the tables are turned in this entertaining story - and there's a lesson to be learnt. The questions at the end are excellent for checking understanding and for discussion. Hopscotch Twisty Tales combine carefully controlled text levels and word counts with highly entertaining and original stories, perfect for children starting to read independently.

The Lovely Duckling (Hopscotch Twisty Tales) by Penny Dolan and David Boyle

This beautifully illustrated book is a fun retelling of the Ugly Duckling. Mother Duck is very proud of her four eggs but when the first three ducklings are born, she is disappointed that they are not perfect - but then Beauty is born. At first, everyone admires her but things soon change and theother ducklings start to shine. The illustrations are really striking and make the book extremely attractive.
 

Princess Frog (Hopscotch Twisty Tales) by Enid Richemont and Galia Bernstein

This series is great fun and certainly shows fairy tales in a different light! In this new twist on the traditional fairy tale the princess is bored of her princess duties and clothes, she longs for freedom and adventure, in fact she'd prefer to be a frog! But then she falls in love... The carefully controlled text level and beautiful illustrations ensure this is a fantastic read for all children of all reading levels. The two puzzles are fun to do and allow adults to monitor and check the child's understanding.

The Three Frilly Goats Fluff  (Hopscotch Twisty Tales) by Adam and Charlotte Guillain

In this classic twist on the traditional fairy tale, meet three fashionista goats. They love all things frilly. But will the troll share their passion for fashion? These stories are ideal for children just starting out as independent readers and there are plenty in the series so children can build up lots of confidence.

The Princess and the Frozen Peas (Hopscotch Twisty Tales) by Laura North and Joelle Dreidemy

Hopscotch Twisty Tales are a great way to introduce children to fairy tales - albeit in unfamiliar versions. We all know that a real princess can't sleep with a pea under her mattress - but can she sleep with three bags of frozen peas under her? A porcupine? A panda? A pirate? A peacock? A witty retelling, with plenty of colourful pictures to capture children's interest, and some puzzles at the end.

Snow White Sees the Light (Hopscotch Twisty Tales) by Karen Wallace and Andy Rowland

Snow White slaves away for the seven dwarves, while in a distant castle lives a wise queen, who thinks everyone should share the work. Find out how the dwarves get their come-uppance and enjoy the twist at the end of the tale. Use the puzzles for discussion and to check understanding. The books themselves are a great way to extend children's imaginations, but for more focussed extension work, try (as the book suggests) asking children to rewrite the stories with their own twist.

Olga Bakes Bread (Start Reading Nana Knows Best) by Joe Hackett

Level 5 books are for children who are reading alone confidently and are ready for more complex plots. Olga is very excited. Aunt Rosa is coming to stay at Nana's house for the holidays and Olga is determined to make it an extra special visit! But things go wrong when she makes some bread - but Nana knows best! This is one of four books in the series, and children will enjoy getting to know the characters as they read through the colourful series.

Olga's Dance (Start Reading Nana Knows Best) by Joe Hackett

When nana and Olga go to collect pumpkins, Nana falls over and won't be able to dance at the village festival. She asks Olga to take her place - and Olga has more fun than she expected! A satisfying read, and an attractive book, with plenty of appropriate illustrations to give a real feel for the setting, 

Sleeping Beauty - 100 Years Later (Hopscotch Twisty Tales) by Laura North 

Young readers will enjoy these entertaining twists on the traditional well-loved tales. Each contains up to 400 words, and these are interwoven with the illustrations to enhance enjoyment and understanding. If Sleeping Beauty really did sleep for 100 years, what sort of world would she wake up to?

Little Bad Riding Hood (Hopscotch Twisty Tales) by Julia Jarman

Little Bad Riding Hood sets off with for some cakes for Granny, but she has a habit of getting into trouble... This series is a brilliant way to extend children's imaginations - encourage them to write their own twisty fairy tales and see what they come up with! The picture puzzles at the end are a great way to check understanding and extend discussion of the stories. 

 Hopscotch Fairy Tales: Sleeping Beauty by Anne Walter

The princess is cursed by a wicked fairy and must sleep for a hundred years. The rest of the kingdom falls alseep too, and the palace is covered by a thick forest. Can anyone rescue the princess? Children will enjoy discussing what they have learnt with the aid of the picture puzzles at the end and extending their writing ability. This series of adaptations of well-known fairy tales is a lovely way to introduce children to this great genre of writing.

Reading Level 6

Sinbad and the Pirates by Martin Waddell

Sinbad the Sailor is in trouble! His ship has been captured by pirates. But the pirates are sailing close to where the sea witches sing... and the sea witches' song is a powerful spell that sends people to sleep... The illustrations are colourful and dramatic and the book is a lovely way to develop reading skills and confidence. This is an entertaining and amusing series, and children will feel a real satisfaction when they have read a 'real' story for themselves.
 

Sinbad and the Giant Spider (Hopscotch Adventures) by Martin Waddell

Sinbad and Ali are shipwrecked by the foot of some needle-sharp cliffs. It seems there's no way out, until they spy an underground cave... but something nasty lives in there! How will they escape? The Hopscotch Adventures series features exciting, page-turning adventures in under 400 words for children developing their reading confidence. There are 8 books about Sinbad, so children have plenty to look forward to if they enjoy the series. Boys especially will enjoy these exciting adventures.

Animal Crackers: Precious Potter by Rose Impey and Shoo Rayner

Precious Potter starts off as a very tiny cat, but he grows........ and he grows...... until he becomes the heaviest cat in the world and eats all the other cats' food. His mother says he must get a job. He can't find anything to start with - until he finds the purrfect job. Illustrated with great humour throughout, this is a fun read for children who are ready to read paragraphs.

Reading Level 7

Happy Ever After: The Ugly Duckling Returns by Tony Bradman 

Have you ever wondered what happened after the Ugly Duckling turned into a swan?  Life has been good. Now he's a famous model, but does being the biggest celebrity in the Forest mean he can't help save it? An entertaining collection of stories form the series (6 books) and children will be encouraged to read all the series once they have enjoyed one book. At this level, children have moved on to books with more text but still plenty of illustrations to keep interest alive.

Reading Level 8

The Dragons of Wayward Crescent: Gruffen by Chris d'Lacey 

Lucy  suspects there's a monster in her bedroom but her mum knows exactly what to do. She makes a guard dragon - Gruffen - to look after Lucy. But soon Gruffen realises there's a mystery behind the monster... A longer story for children who are ready to move into reading chapter books, but still with illustrations. A really satisfying read.

 It's Fun To Read

Espresso Phonics

This series featuring the popular Espresso characters aims to support children who are learning to read through phonics, giving them the opportunity to read simple words in print. Brightly coloured pictures make this a really attractive series which children will enjoy reading.

 

Sal on the Bus (Level 1) by Diane Marwood

Fast as she runs, Sal just can't catch up with the bus.  Will she get on before the bus gets to school? This book of no more than 50 words, focuses on CVC words with short vowel sounds, plus the words and, the, to. All the books in the series include puzzles at the end, thus enabling parents and teachers to verify the child's comprehension in a fun and clourful way.

Kim's Top Hat (Level 1) by Diane Marwood

Kim gets a magical top hat, and he conjures up all sorts of things in this amusing story... including his cross Dad! This book of no more than 50 words, focuses on CVC words with short vowel sounds, plus the words and, the, to. All the stories in the series feature familiar scenarios, meaning that children will readily identify with the stories and be keen to read more.

Kim's Big Bed (Level 1) by Diane Marwood

All children who have a bed piled with toys will identify with Kim who has a big new bed. He can put all his toys on it. But will Mum be able to find Kim in the morning? This book of no more than 50 words, focuses on CVC words with short vowel sounds, plus the words and, the, to.

Bad Luck Sal (Level 2) by Diane Marwood

The familiarity of the characters will encourage children to continue reading through the weries. Sal has a go on the machine to grab a toy. But everything she picks up keeps falling back! Maybe Kim will have better luck? This book of no more than 70 words, focuses on CVC words, double letter sounds and new letter sounds (ck, ff, ll, ss, j, v, w, x, y, z, zz) plus the words and, the, to, no, go, I. The progression offered in the series ensures children learn words in the appropriate order.

Sal's Red Sock (Level 2) by Sue Graves

Dad has to pick up Nan but he has a sock issing. Sal has a red sock, but will it fit Dad?  This book of no more than 70 words, focuses on CVC words, double letter sounds and new letter sounds (ck, ff, ll, ss, j, v, w, x, y, z, zz) plus the words and, the, to, no, go, I. As with the rest of the series, at the end of the book is a section entitled 'Espresso Connections' which illustrates how learning can be extended.

Fizz Pop (Level 2) by Sue Graves

In this story, Kim's can of pop rolls off down the hill. A dog picks it up... but will the can fizz up on top of the dog?  This book of no more than 70 words, focuses on CVC words, double letter sounds and new letter sounds (ck, ff, ll, ss, j, v, w, x, y, z, zz) plus the words and, the, to, no, go, I

Scully at the Fair (Level 2) by Sue Graves

In this story, Scully has to sit and wait while the children go on the rides at the fair. Then Scully gets a BIG surprise! Carefully graded to ensure children progress in a controlled way, this book of no more than 100 words, focuses on new graphemes (qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er) plus he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, they, her, all. The gradual introduction of sounds ensures that children's learning has a strong foundation.

Ash and the Big Bad Fox (Level 3) by Sue Graves

The children are playing in the woods. Is there or is there not a big bad fox out there waiting to get them? Another fun story in this colourful series. This book of no more than 100 words, focuses on new graphemes (qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er) plus he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, they, her, all

You Win! (Level 3) by Sue Graves

Kim has a new cricket set. Will Ash or Polly be able to catch him out and win? Or perhaps Scrap will be the winner?  This book of no more than 100 words, focuses on new graphemes (qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er) plus he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, they, her, all

Polly's Trick Mug (Level 4) by Sue Graves

Kim and Sal decide to play a trick on Polly. But will the trick work? It is Polly's trick mug, after all! Another entertaining story to ensure children find reading is fun. This book of no more than 150 words, focuses on adjacent consonants (CVCC/CCVC words) plus the words said, so, have, like, some, come, were, there, little, one, do, when, out, what

The Sand Goat (Level 4) by Sue Graves

In this story, Polly and Eddy are at the seaside. They decide to make a goat out of sand... but the goat turns out to be a very naughty goat indeed! This book of no more than 150 words, focuses on adjacent consonants (CVCC/CCVC words) plus the words said, so, have, like, some, come, were, there, little, one, do, when, out, what

Scrap's Best Stick (Level 4) by Sue Graves

Scrap finds the biggest stick ever. He thinks it's brilliant, but Polly and Ash aren't so sure. Then they find a little chick that needs rescuing. Perhaps Scrap's stick will come in useful after all!  This book of no more than 150 words, focuses on adjacent consonants (CVCC/CCVC words) plus the words said, so, have, like, some, come, were, there, little, one, do, when, out, what.

Cloud Nine (Phonics) by Gill Budgell

Sal and Polly are looking forward to an exciting day at Cloud Nine and the young reader will enjoy sharing their adventures. 'Puzzle Time' at the end is a fun way to check understanding. This Phonics series features the familiar Espresso characters and aims to support children who are learning to read through phonics. The simple words used and the careful selection of those words helps to develop children's confidence and their reading to progress in a progressive fashion. This book of no more than 170 words concentrates on two letter graphemes and split long vowels.

The Run-Away Game (Espresso Phonics Level 5) by Gill Budgell

Eddy and Ash take the dogs to the park for a run - but the dogs want to run a bit too far!!! This series featuring the popular Espresso characters aims to support children who are learning to read through phonics, giving them the opportunity to read simple words in print. This book of no more than 170 words concentrates on two letter graphemes and split long vowels. There's a puzzle to reinforce learning and tips on learning new phonemes.

Kim's Joke (Espresso Phonics Level 5) by Gill Budgell

Children will be amused by this entertaining story of Kim playing a joke on Mum after a visit to the hairdresser. The stories in this series have settings familiar to young readers and are contemporary and enjoyable. This book of no more than 170 words concentrates on two letter graphemes and split long vowels.

Gym Club (Espresso Phonics Level 6) by Gill Budgell

It's time for Sal and Polly to go to the gym! Another in the series featuring the popular Espresso characters. They support children who are learning to read through phonics, giving them the opportunity to read simple words in print, and the satisfaction that comes through reading for themselves. This book of no more than 50 words, focuses on CVC words with short vowel sounds, plus the words and, the, to.

Hide and Seek (Espresso Phonics Level 6) by Gill Budgell

A fun game of hide and seek with a clever hiding place! Espresso Phonics are carefully graded, fun stories, featuring the well-known characters from Espresso Education. Children love the familiarity of the characters and will love to follow them through the various reading levels. The series supports the teaching of reading through synthetic phonics. The full colour backgrounds to the pages, with vibrant colours really make ther books atrractive and appealing to children. This book of no more than 200 words, focuses on alternative spellings.

The Magic Dragon (Espresso Phonics Level 6) by Gill Budgell

What happens when Eddy goes to see a magic dragon show? Is it what he expects? This book of no more than 200 words, focuses on alternative spellings. There are puzzles at the end of the book which children will enjoy and which help the learning of the phonic sounds. There is also a useful note on the pronunciation of the phonemes with teaching tips.

 

 More reading  and phonics books

Rumpelstiltskin Returns (Race Ahead With Reading) by Maggie Pearson

Children and adults will be familiar with the story of Rumplestiltskin but they will get some surprises in this amusing take on the old favourite. Rumpelstiltskin is a reformed character when he makes a surprise visit to a young girl - but that doesn't stop him from causing trouble, even though he means well. The stories in the Race Ahead With Reading series are satisfying stories with sufficiently challenging vocabulary to give children a real sense of satisfaction and achievement.

Zak's King Arthur Adventure (Race Ahead With Reading) by Charlotte Guillain

Zak and his family are off to a caravan site for a holiday. Zak has brought his new metal detector, hoping that he can finally find some treasure. But when he finds a broken sword it leads to a much bigger adventure! The short chapters and exciting story make reading run and the plentiful use of illustrations makes the transition from picture books easy. "Race Ahead with Reading is the perfect introduction to reading chapters with brand new page turning reads in five short bite size chapters, to encourage children to take the driving seat with their reading."

Short John Silver (Pocket Heroes) by Chris Inns and Dave Woods

What shall we do with the shrunken sailor? Short John Silver has a map showing him where the buried treasure is - but he has no ship! So with the help of Captain Poopdeck and his motley pirate crew, he sets out to seek his fortune. But first the scurvy sailors have to brave the deadly seven seas before they can get their hooks into the treasure. A hilarious story, packed with puns and jokes - children will revel in it.

Zak Zoo and the School Hullabaloo by Justine Smith and Clare Elsom

Zak has an amazing animal family and that's no problem when they stay where they should be. But one Monday morning, they decide to follow Zak to school - and that's the day Zak has a new teacher. Chaos in the classroom ensues in this fun early reading book. Lots of pictures will entertain the young reader and help with the transition from picture books to chapter books.

High Stakes (Freestylers Short Thriller) by Andrew Fusek Peters and Cathy Brett

Short stories packed with action that can be read in one sitting are great for reluctant and struggling readers - they get a huge sense of achievement from completing the book, so this series really is excellent. Cool, edgy crime detective duo, Jas and Sam are teens who solve spine-chilling cases - using equal measures of humour and heroism along the way! This is a humorous mystery about first love and vampires, and there's a lot at stake! Vladya Blud-chik is the new girl at Jas and Sam's school. With her red lips and killer smile, she's soon the most popular girl in the class, but Vladya is bad news - as Jas and Sam soon find out!
Reading level for this book:- ATOS: 2.4 Lexile ® Measure: 320L Book Band: 10 White

Sliced in Two (Freestylers Short Thriller) by Andrew Fusek Peters and Cathy Brett

Sam and Jas tackle a ghost on the loose in the local woodyard and it looks like it's not any ordinarya ghost - it's a ghost that has been sliced in two by a wood saw! Sam keeps her cool but Jas is all of a dither as they try to solve the case. Plenty of illustrations in an edgy contemporary style add to the appeal of the series.
Reading level for this book:- ATOS: 2.5 Lexile ® Measure: 340L Book Band: 11 Lime

Wolf Boy (Freestylers Short Thriller) by Andrew Fusek Peters and Cathy Brett

In this humorous mystery, teen detectives Jas and Sam are called to solve the case of an escaped dog. The moon is full and suddenly, a mass of fur and teeth looms out of the shadows towards them. That's no dog - there's a werewolf on the loose! And there's a strange new boy at school - is there any connection?
Reading level for this book:- ATOS: 2.4 Lexile ® Measure: 340L Book Band: 10 White

Zak's King Arthur Adventure (Race Ahead With Reading) by Adam and Charlotte Guillain

Zak and his family are off to a caravan site for a holiday. Zak saved up for a whole year to buy a metal detector, hoping he can make a fortune - but so far results have been disappointing!. He hopes he can find some treasure on holiday. When he finds a broken sword, he has a very exciting adventure - but is it real? A fun story for young readers which they will enjoy and which will encourage their reading.

Rumpelstiltskin Returns (Race Ahead With Reading) by Maggie Pearson

When the girl helps a funny little man who is stuck under a  stone, she finds that she has someone who will always help her. To start with, he seemed very useful but then it all got a bit much and something has to change.... an entertaining story. Race Ahead With Reading is an outstanding new range of first chapter books that helps children build their reading stamina and progress towards longer books. The stories are lively, the language carefully chosen and the characters are engaging.

Cinderella: the Terrible Truth (Race Ahead With Reading) by Laura North and Joelle Dreidemy

Everyone knows the famous story about Cinderella - but is that the real story? Npw's your chance to find out what really happened at midnight on the night of the Royal Ball... It's a fun twist on the traditional tale, which children will find enjoyable and a refreshing change. The series is well produced, on good quality glossy paper which makes the illustrations stand out.

The Pirate Pie Ship (Race Ahead With Reading) by Adam and Charlotte Guillain

The Pirate Pie Ship is a burly tale of tasty adventure on the high seas! Times are changing and the pirates can no longer rely on stealing treasure to make money so they decide to go into the pie making business. But they soon find a rival ship has the same idea... These are exciting stories, well illustrated to have great appeal to children. The stories are well written and children will feel a real sense of accomplishment at reading a 'real' book.

The Big Bad Wolf and the Robot Pig (Race Ahead With Reading) by Laura North and Kevin Cross

The Big Bad Wolf is hungry, but her can't get near the three little pigs. One night he has a wicked plan - to build his very own robot pig and trick the pigs into walking straight into his house! Race Ahead with Reading is the perfect introduction to reading chapters with brand new page turning reads in five short bite size chapters, to encourage children to take the driving seat with their reading. Each story is split into short, numbered chapters to give a sense of achivement at completing each one.
 

Dragons v Dinos (Race Ahead With Reading) by Ann Bryant and Ben Redlich

There is trouble on Scarytops Mountain. The Dragons are trying to out scare the Dinos yet again in the great gang rivalry. However when a baby Dragon goes missing, it inadvertently brings the two sides together.

 
Race Ahead With Reading is a great new series which really gives children an incentive to persevere with reading for themselves. The chapter book format is satisfying and is an excellent route into reading longer books.

Sizzling Sausages (Fizz Wizz Phonics) by Kate Ruttle

Fizz Wizz Phonics is designed for children who have not yet started to read and the books support language development, speaking and listening skills and pre-reading skills. Phonics is all about sounds, so this series is a good way to get children to listen to the sounds which are all around them. The story is a day in the life of Tom, from the sizzling sausages at breakfast, through a variety of activities, ending with night sounds from the garden. It's great fun to share in making all the sounds and will encourage observation.

Bang the Drum (Fizz Wizz Phonics) by Kate Ruttle

Join the Music Man and his marching band in this colourful book and learn all about the sounds the instruments make. Fizz Wizz Phonics is a lovely colourful and interactive series, which really draws children into the action and encourages them to think about the sounds which are all around us. Each book concludes with a wide-ranging selection of further activities.

Playful Penguins! (Ark Adventures) by Sally Grindley

Noah and his wife have built and ark and are sailing around the world to rescue as many animals as they can before the flood comes. Written by a very popular and well-respected children's author, Ark Adventures is a fun series which will really engage children and enthuse them to read all eight in the series. Poor Noah is in freezing Antacrctica this time, trying to rescue the penguins, but he just can't walk on the ice. Can the penguins show him how to do it?

Cheeky Chimpanzees! (Ark Adventures) by Sally Grindley

This time, Noah and his wife are searching for chimpanzees in Africa, but the cheeky chimps give them all sorts of trouble. The story is amusing and children will enjoy the monkeys' antics. Colourful illustrations complement the text and enhance children's understanding, with plenty of clues in the pictures.

Crazy Chameleons! (Ark Adventures) by Sally Grindley

Guess what the chameleons' favourite game is? You've guessed - it's hide-and-seek. Poor Mr and Mrs Noah have all sorts of trouble as they try to find the chameleons and take them on board the ark. Children will enjoy spotting the chameleons as they read the entertaining story. A lovely series for young readers.

 

The most recent reviews are at the top of each section, so these are generally the most recently published books.

 

Print

Sign in