a dash of comfort and humor for early readers

If you’ve got an independent reader ready for a longer easy-to-read book or a short first chapter book, here are a couple of titles to consider.

lavender by karen hesse cover imageLavender, by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Andrew Glass
published in 2010 by Square Fish
originally published: 1993
40 pages

Codie lives just down the block from her beloved Aunt Alix. Happily, that’s close enough to walk every Saturday night for a sleep-over. And, even though Aunt Alix is so, so close to having her baby, she still welcomes a visit from Codie.

Codie is thrilled that after a long wait, she will finally have a lavender karen hesse and andrew glass 001cousin. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, though, as “Aunt Alix has tried having a baby lots of times” and “this is the closest she’s come to a baby fully done.” While she’s waiting for her new cousin, Codie begins sewing a secret, surprise baby blanket. She figures that it’ll be finished at the same time the baby is ready to be born.

Events don’t turn out exactly as planned, however, because the baby abruptly chooses to arrive early! There’s some anxious moments, worries over blankets and belonging, and a bit of a surprise at the sight of such a wrinkly newborn. But all’s well in the end.

This is a gentle story full of love, comfort, and family by a Newbery-winning author. Great little read for girls especially, who are ready to launch into a slim, chapter-length book. The graphite drawings add warmth and a contemporary feel.

harley by star livingstone cover imageHarley, by Star Livingstone, illustrated by Molly Bang
published in 2001 by SeaStar Books
64 pages

Harley is a llama. He’s a llama with a bit of an attitude. Loads of stubborn. A dollop of crankiness. A tendency to scream, shove, kick, or spit when vexed.

Still, when a shepherd is searching for some protection for her sheep, she chooses Harley to be her guard llama. Will Harley rise to the harley illustration molly bangoccasion? Or will he create havoc?

This funny, warmhearted story is based on real events. In fact, the author says that “all of the characters, animals, and events” are real. That makes it all the better, because Harley is a clever, headstrong, tough, and sentimental fellow that you will fall in love with!

Written for early- intermediate readers, these pages are loaded with vibrant, handsome paintings by award-winning illustrator Molly Bang. Her paintings make the personalities and antics of all these animals come wonderfully to life.