In recent years, the genre of beginning reading books – or easy readers – has improved leaps and bounds from the days of repetitive clunky text and boring plots (“She will run. She is fast. She will run fast.”).
Arguably the greatest master of the easy reader is Mo Willems, who created the beloved Elephant and Piggie series. These stories, written in conversation bubbles between the two friends, managed to offer text that was simple enough for the youngest reader but didn’t lose the natural flow of real speech, not to mention being so funny that even adults were eager to read the latest installment.
But now that the 25th and last Elephant and Piggie book (THE THANK YOU BOOK) has been published, it’s time to discover new reading buddies. Here are five newly published easy reader books (each the beginning of a series) that are reminiscent of the zany humor, comic illustrations, and tender friendship we loved about Piggie and Gerald.
DUCK, DUCK, PORCUPINE!
by Salina Yoon
Big Duck likes to be in charge of her brother, Little Duck, but it’s usually Little Duck who ends up getting her and their friend Porcupine out of trouble.
WHAT THIS STORY NEEDS IS A PIG IN A WIG
by Emma J. Virján
This silly rhyming story features Pig taking a boat ride and adding more and more fun along the way: a frog and a dog and a goat on a log!
BALLET CAT: THE TOTALLY SECRET SECRET
by Bob Shea
Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony want to play together but the only thing Ballet Cat wants to play is…ballet. Can their friendship survive Sparkles’ totally secret secret?
SNAIL AND WORM: THREE STORIES ABOUT TWO FRIENDS
by Tina Kugler
After Snail tries less than successfully to play tag with a rock, he is delighted to meet Worm, and the two invertebrates set off on adventures.
RABBIT & ROBOT: THE SLEEPOVER
by Cece Bell
Rabbit meticulously plans a sleepover with his friend Robot, but things don’t go quite as planned: Robot only likes screws and bolts on his pizza, and then the remote goes missing. Can Robot save the day?