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Step Up Into Reading

The Hot Off the Press Spotlight segment showcases new books from our current Hot Off the Press list to further assist parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and other book enthusiasts in finding engaging books for all types of readers.

It’s been proven again and again that reading with children from a young age can help instill a lifelong love of reading. And while reading together has no age limit (and indeed can be an enjoyable, bonding activity right into adulthood), there usually comes a point when a listener wants to become a more active reader—and that’s where early reader books come in. Working as a bridge between listening and independently reading longer novels, early reader books range the gamut from the very simple—with only a few words per page and a multitude of pictures, to advanced—with more text and fewer pictures, but all tend to have a larger font size and more accessible vocabulary (with some even providing a glossary!).  And along with varied formats, early reader books also come in a broad range of subjects, so whether your new reader is more interested in a laugh-out-loud tale with zany capers or a factual account of a modern-day sports hero, there’s definitely the perfect starter book out there for them! This week’s spotlight takes a look at some newly published titles from our May Hot Off the Press list that can help boost your budding reader to the next level.

Curlilocks and the Three Hares, by Andrew Hacket; & illus. by Jan Dolby (The Little Press) — Fiction, Early Reader, Folklore / Fairytales / Myths, Humor, Animals, ages 7-12.

Children will delight in this modern-day fairy tale twist.

Everyone far and wide loves Curlilocks’ hair. Everyone except for Curlilocks, who is ready to quit her curls and discover her “just right” ‘do. With picture day fast approaching, Curlilocks is ready to quit her curls. When she finds the three Hares of the local salon have hopped out, Curlilocks chooses to take her hair into her own hands. Dripping dye, sizzling styles, and excess accessories lead to “hair”larious results that leave Curlilocks in a tangle. She will need a curltastic idea to reclaim her mane and her confidence before picture day.

Go and Get With Rex, by David LaRochelle; & illus. by Mike Wohnoutka (Candlewick Press) — Fiction, Early Reader, Humor, How-to / Activity, Concepts, ages 4-6.

The Geisel Award–winning creators of See the Cat channel their comic sensibility into a rousing alphabetical exercise in thinking outside the box.

Jack, Jill, and Rex are excited to play a game of Go and Get! The rules are simple: on the count of three, each player must go and get something that begins with a certain letter. While Jack’s and Jill’s picks always fit the bill (What starts with F? Frog! Fish!), Rex keeps getting it wrong (a duck?)—or does he? David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka share a laugh-out-loud primer on subverting expectations that will have readers clamoring to play Go and Get themselves—and competing to see who can come up with the most creative answers.

Just Us, Platypus!, by Michelle L. Brown; & illus. by Rayanne Vieira (North Star Editions / Jolly Fish Press) — Fiction, Early Reader, Animals, Friendships, Humor, ages 4-6.

When Kangaroo falls into the river on her daily hop, she startles an animal with a flat bill. But it’s not her friend Duck. In fact, it’s a creature she’s never seen before. Sharp claws . . . brown, shiny fur . . . could she have discovered a River Monster?

Kangaroo is one small animal in a big, wonderful world, and each day brings a new adventure. Playful, rhyming text and lively imagery help beginning readers follow along as Kangaroo explores her world and makes friends along the way.

The Kitten Next Door, by Holly Webb; & illus. by Sophy Williams (Tiger Tales Books) — Fiction, Early Reader, Animals, Friendships, Family / Community, ages 7-12.

The best-selling Pet Rescue Adventures series by Holly Webb continues with this heartwarming tale of Sophia and a sweet neighborhood kitten named Willow. Sophia has wanted a cat forever, but her parents have always said no.

Then one day, a kitten named Willow sneaks through the fence, and Sophia instantly falls in love with her. But soon, the neighbors move away, and Sophia is devastated that she won’t see Willow anymore. But to her surprise, Willow is still in the neighborhood! Has the kitten run away from her new home?

Or could there be another reason why the kitten is on her own? Features black-and-white illustrations throughout.

Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Greats, by Luke Hanlon (North Star Editions / Press Box Books) — Nonfiction, Early Reader, Sports / Games / Recreation, History, Biography / Memoir, ages 7-12.

Get to know the greatest players in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates, from the legends of the past to today’s biggest superstars. This action-packed book also includes a timeline, team facts, additional resources links, a glossary, and an index. This Press Box Books title is aligned to a reading level of grade 3 and an interest level of grades 2-4.

Pizza for Pia, by Betsy Groban; & illus. by Allison Steinfeld (Simon & Schuster / Simon Spotlight) — Fiction, Early Reader, Humor, Family / Community, Concepts, ages 4-6.

A plucky little girl in a pizza-loving family pushes for her meal of choice in this delicious Level 1 Ready-to-Read!

Pia’s pop, Pete, is making pizza for Pia. Pizza is easy. Pizza is cheesy. Pia’s family says pizza is perfect. Everyone loves pizza…right?

Welcome to the Woofmore, by Donna Gephart & Lori Haskins Houran; & illus. by Josh Cleland (Abrams Books / Amulet Books) — Fiction, Early Reader, Humor, Animals, Action / Adventure, ages 4-6.

The first in a paw-some full-color chapter book series about a hotel for dogs from authors Donna Gephart and Lori Haskins Houran and illustrator Josh Cleland.

Welcome to the Woofmore, where the water bowls are always full and there’s kibble on every pillow! Rufus and his boss, Ms. Coco, work hard to make every guest feel like a VIP (Very Important Pooch).

It’s the grand opening of the hotel, and Rufus and Ms. Coco want everything to be pawfect. Especially for their VIP guest, movie star Greta Garbark. How can Rufus keep the pup-parazzi from hounding Ms. Garbark? And what will Ms. Coco do when a (very itchy) problem hits the hotel?

With adorable illustrations and hilarious text, this early chapter book series will hit young dog lovers smack in the funny bone!

For more great book suggestions, be sure to check out the full May Hot Off the Press list!

List compiled by CBC’s resident book connoisseur, Brooke Pisarsky. Check out other Hot Off the Press Spotlight book lists on our blog.

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