We all have memories of sitting down as a kid and reading and rereading our favorite books (after lights out in our childhood bedroom by nightlight of course!). Books like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Corduroy are childhood favorites that have expanded into a book series because the characters and stories are so lovable. Early children’s book series create an easy setup for getting our young readers into reading series on their own since they’re used to familiar characters and continuing storylines.
We know reading to kids helps vocabulary development, sharpens the function of the brain, and improves memory. The same is true for young readers as they work to sharpen their new skills. So when our kids grasp onto a book series, this can have a powerful impact on creating lifelong readers. We know we’re not the only ones who devoured Magic Tree House, Nancy Drew, and Babysitters Club books in our youth! In an instant gratification world, getting hooked on a series can drive us nuts as our LOs clamor for the next one (they so don’t get how publishing works) before it comes out. Choosing a well known kids book series that has a lot of volumes is wise to save our sanity. But matching the topic to stage of development and the interests of our child is equally as important. Part of the hook of a good book is that it’s in some way relatable to the reader. We’re all a little bit narcissistic aren’t we? This is certainly true for our kiddos!
Choosing a good book series is no easy task with so many options out there. Our list of best book series options for ages 4-10 is in no way exhaustive, but these tried and true favorites are a great place to start. Each of these book series are beloved by millions and either have plenty of volumes, or are continuing to release new ones (aka saving the mamas the hassle of finding a new series before the end of summer).
Let’s get started on our poolside reading for summer— inflatable pools and sprinklers count!
Best Book Series For Ages 4-7
Often referenced as the new Dr. Seuss, Mo Willems and his Elephant & Piggie series offers young readers plenty of practice with new vocabulary. An excellent choice for a read aloud (them to us at this age), our LOs will master key words by the end of the story due to repetition. Willems also makes sure to alter the use of his choice words by utilizing different punctuation to help new readers decipher the intended use of the word. The cute and colorful images help readers make sense of the words on the page as they’re learning to read.
One reviewer commented, “Mo Willems writes fun to read, funny and often heart-warming stories that we cannot read often enough. The Elephant and Piggie books are unbelievably smart for books written at a level that is obtainable for new readers. So much is said in a few well chosen words and hilarious pictures that let you know that you are in on the joke!”
Winner of both a Caldecott Honor and a Newbery Honor for books in The Frog and Toad Collection, Arnold Lobel’s most beloved series continues to delight young readers. Considered Level 2 I Can Read books, this series is perfect for new readers that still need a little help. Frog and Toad are the best of friends that engage in a variety of adventures in every book. Both characters are extremely likeable and relatable for younger kids. Each book holds 5 different stories, about 5 pages long, perfect for the attention span and ability of our LOs, but we know plenty of kiddos who devour the whole book in one sitting at bedtime.
One mama notes, “My daughter desperately wanted to read chapter books like her older cousins and this set made the perfect gift to help her do so. The vocabulary is appropriate for a 4, 5, or 6 year old and the story plots are simple and straightforward. Frog and Toad are friends who help each other throughout the books, which subtly sends the right messages about interpersonal relationships. Many parents will probably remember these books from when they were kids, which makes reading at bedtime even more fun.”
Part of Scholastic’s early reader line, Acorn, the Poppleton series has captured the hearts of the Kindergarten set as they learn to read. According to Scholastic, “With easy-to-read text, a short-story format, plenty of humor, and full-color artwork on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and fluency. Acorn books plant a love of reading and help readers grow!”
Poppleton is no exception to this. In the first book, Meet Poppleton, Poppleton the pig comes to town, makes new friends, and even visits the library! Poppleton is kind, caring, and funny (all things we want our kiddos to be).
The fourth book in the Acorn series, Poppleton in Fall, is set to be released on July 7, 2020 and is available for preorder now. In this newest edition, Poppleton meets geese flying south for winter, shops for a brand-new coat, and has a delicious pancake breakfast with his friend Cherry Sue! Plus, (it’s our favorite feature) as an added bonus, the end of the book includes how to draw pages.
One reviewer wrote, “My five year old son has requested more of these books, which is about the highest praise you can get from a reader. I would highly recommend this book due to the nice bedtime length of the stories, the lovely illustrations, and the comical life of the pig named Poppleton.”
Also part of Scholastic’s Acorn line, the Dragon series by Dav Pilkey has developed quite the cult following amongst elementary students. Dav Pilkey, best known for Captain Underpants and Dog Man, is considered one of the most popular contemporary authors because of his artist abilities, humorous style, and moralist messages. Pilkey’s Dragon series brings these talents down to the level of younger readers with easy to read text and short-story formatting. From the beginning, Dragon models what it’s like to be a good friend, especially when his gets sick. Dragon has proved time and again to be a loveable character that everyone roots for.
The newest book, Dragon’s Halloween is set for release on July 7, 2020. According to Scholastic, “Dragon is so excited for Halloween! He plans to carve a big, scary jack-o’-lantern and create a creepy costume. Unfortunately, Dragon can’t find a big pumpkin, and he can’t decide which costume to wear. Plus, when Dragon goes for a walk through the woods, he hears some unexpected growling — yikes! Will Dragon’s Halloween be filled with more tricks than treats?”
Best Book Series For Ages 6-10
Bestselling author of more than 300 books for children and young adults, Tracey West knows a thing or two about how to enthrall our kiddos. Her series, Dragon Masters with its brief chapters, large print, and intense action makes every kid want to be a Dragon Master (like they don’t already want to anyway?). One of our favorite features is the beautiful illustrations by Matt Loveridge. Most childrens books feature pastel watercolor images, but Loveridge and West take on a different kind of approach with black and white sketches. From the content to the images, this series makes a perfect transition away from picture books into chapter books. Each book is an exciting read with cliff hangers so good, our littles will surely be ready for the next book by dinner time.
One mama commented, “My 7-year old daughter LOVES these books! She brought home book #12 from a book fair and read it cover to cover in 2.5 days! Yet, getting her to read other books was like pulling teeth, so I ordered the entire series. She is now on book #5. As soon as she finishes a book I give her the next one. I’ve no idea how Tracey West has managed to captivate my daughter with Dragons, but she’s reading an entire chapter book in 3 days! I hope there will be 50 of these books.”
The newest book, Dragon Masters #17, Fortress of the Stone Dragon is due out in October, but we know several mamas who have already placed their preorder. According to Scholastic, “An evil wizard named Astrid is plotting to become the most powerful wizard in the world. She is collecting ingredients for a dangerous spell, and it is up to the Dragon Masters to stop her from casting it. Drake and Mina travel to the Fortress of the Stone Dragon to warn the Stone Dragon’s Dragon Master, Caspar, that Astrid is on her way there. But will the evil wizard’s dark magic overpower the Dragon Masters?” We can’t wait to find out this fall!
After doing her student teaching in the seventh grade, and running screaming from the school building every day, Barbara Park decided to become a writer. (ANYONE who knows seventh graders totally gets it!) We’re so glad that Park decided to stop the mayhem and channel it into her famous Junie B. Jones series. Junie B. Jones is the world’s funniest Kindergartener who undertakes all kinds of adventures from riding the bus on the first day of school to losing a tooth. But don’t let her age fool you, Junie’s books are perfect for kids age 6-10 because they know so much more than she does. The books are fast paced and hilarious, so much so that even struggling readers will want to keep going.
One mom reviewer commented, “My 6 year old is obsessed with Junie B. Jones! This is definitely the best value for all of the books! The stories are so great and they have him cracking up. He will actually sit and pay attention through an entire book! This collection will for sure be well loved!”
Kyla May’s Diary of a Pug series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line, Branches. Branche books are geared for newly independent readers with shorter chapters that are easy to read, have high interest and fast paced content, and pictures on every page. Formatted like a diary, this series is perfect for any animal lover or anyone who believes dogs truly are man’s best friend.
The newest book in the series, Paws for a Cause, is being released this summer. According to Scholastic, “When the local animal shelter can’t afford new toys, it’s up to Bub and his human, Bella, to save the day. But how could they possibly raise the money? A pet wash, of course! Fun and high jinks abound as Bella and Bub learn that running a pet wash is harder and wetter than it looks.” We think this sounds perfect for summertime fun!
One reviewer agreed, “My son loved this book and wants the others! The chapters were short, making it a good book for that in-between stage of being too old for picture books but not ready to read most chapter books alone yet. He read the whole thing to me in 3 nights, and was so proud!”
Author of the acclaimed Notebook of Doom series, Troy Cummings, has continued the saga with his Binder of Doom series. If your kids haven’t read Cummings’ work (and you really need a break this summer), you’ll want to start with book 1 in the Notebook series to get a proper introduction to Alexander Bopp and his Super Secret Monster Patrol. However, both Branches book series provide super engaging, fast-paced plots.
If you’re LO is well versed in monster mania, they’ll be thrilled that Cumming’s newest book, Hydrant-Hydra will be out in just a few weeks. Our kiddos will be thrilled for a fully illustrated, full on water battle. Scholastic writes, “Sound the alarm — things are heating up in Stermont! The Super Secret Monster Patrol arms themselves with water balloons to take on their hottest monster yet. But when puddles appear in the streets and the town starts to flood, Alexander and his friends realize there’s a different monster splashing about!”
Author Dav Pilkey was so disruptive in class when he was a kid, that he was often asked to leave. Lucky for us he used that time spent in the hallway to draw and create his own original comic books — the very first adventures of Dog Man and Captain Underpants. The Dog Man book series is all about a crime fighting canine who is part man and part dog, undeniably 100% hero. This series is hugely popular (not just because we all would like to be a little part man, part dog), because of its universally positive themes such as, empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one’s self.
One mom noted, “My 7 yr son is obsessed with this series. He actively reads these everywhere – at night, in the car, after school, in the tub, on the can, on the trampoline… The comic book graphics draw him in and, on his own, he can now pronounce and read complex/compound words I never thought he’d comprehend at his age level. I can honestly say because of this one series his reading level went from poor (and unengaged) to advanced.”
Looking for more great ways to entertain the littles and give you a break this summer? Check out all of our mom approved kids toys.