The popular early chapter book series, Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo has a lot going for it. It's funny, includes a host of lovable but quirky characters, is easy to read and contains full-color illustrations.
Once your kids have read the iconic series over and over, they might be looking for books similar to Mercy Watson with short chapters and an easy-to-read format.
This list of illustrated early chapter books like Mercy Watson will help! I used three criteria to chose just the right books. One, the books had to be well-written (of course!) Two, they had to be at a similar reading level for kids ages 6-9. And three, they had to have full-color illustrations!
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For more illustrated easy chapter books check out this list of Books similar to Frog and Toad Are Friends.
The Princess in Black (series) by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
When trouble is near Princess Magnolia and her horse/unicorn spring into action! With her secret identity she fights the local monsters when they harass the shepherd's charges. Tongue-in-cheek humor, color illustrations, spare text and a bit of action make this a great book for early readers.
Meet Yasmin (series) by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Meet Yasmin is a very early beginning chapter book series about a charming Pakistani-American girl. Each book is divided into four separate stories in which Yasmin uses her creative energy and high imagination to solve problems. Delightful and a good choice for very young readers.
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea! (series) by Ben Clayton
This is a lovely and funny-cute graphic novel series. Each book is three stories about the cheerful, silly Narwhal and his straight-person type sidekick, Jelly. Each story emphasizes the pleasure of friendship and having a positive outlook.
Tiger Vs Nightmare by Emily Tetri
This book is completely adorable! Every night Tiger and the monster who lives under her bed play together and when Tiger falls asleep, Monster scares all the nightmares away. One night there is a nightmare too scary for Monster to take on by itself so Tiger has to face her fears and banish the nightmare herself.
Juana & Lucas (series) by Juana Medina
Juana is a charming and plucky girl who narrates her experience living in Bogotá, Colombia. She has to learn English at school and she doesn't like it! But then her grandparents tell her they are going on a trip where English will come in handy and Juana discovers that learning English gets easier the more you practice. I love the mingling of Spanish and English in this book and Juana's way of expressing herself is wonderfully dramatic and charming.
Sydney and Taylor Explore the Whole Wide World (series) by Jacqueline Davis, illustrated by Deborah Hocking
Sydney the Skunk wants to stay at home, Taylor wants to travel. Together, these two friends decide to head out for an adventure! A cute friendship story about overcoming fears, supporting others and learning how to use a map! Adorable and cozy.
Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us (series) by Lauren Castillo
What a marvelous book! I have long admired Castillo's illustrations and this gentle chapter book is perfect for kids who like cozy and gentle reads. It may remind you more of Winnie-the-Pooh, than Mercy Watson, but that's okay! A storm carries away Hedgehog's stuffed toy dog, Mutty, leaving Hedgehog feeling lonely. She sets out to find Mutty, following clues that lead her to encounters with other friendly animals who help her. Eventually all the creatures meet a human, Annika May, who has lost something of her own. All the animals have charmingly distinctive personalities. With its full color illustrations, Castillo's book is also a great read aloud for young children.
Fox and Chick (series) by Sergio Ruzzier
I adore this series about two friends who sometimes annoy each other, but ultimately remember the things that make them friends. I've always loved Ruzzier's illustrations and dry humor (after all, he wrote one of my all time favorite books EVER, Amandina) and the comic strip format makes it fun to read. A real winner of a book.
Upstairs Mouse, Downstairs Mole (series) by Wong Herbert Yee
I used to read this colorfully illustrated short chapter book to my child, but the series is well-designed for beginning readers who want more books with full-color illustrations. Friendly neighbors, mouse and mole, live in an oak tree, one above ground, the other below ground.
Captain Pug: The Dog Who Sailed the Seas (series) by Laura James, illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans
A quirky and humorous series about a pug who lives with the charming Lady Miranda. The pair are off on a boating adventure, but poor Captain Pug highly dislikes the water, but like Mercy Watson, he has a culinary preference. He loves a tasty jam tart! Pug gets lost during the adventure, hatches a plan to be found but must overcome his fear in order to for his plan to work.
The Fabled Stables (series) by Jonathan Auxier, illustrated by Olga Demidova
Willa the Wisp is the first title in The Fabled Stables series. Auggie lives on an island and has a job taking care of one-of-a-kind animals. His sidekick is a shape-shifting stick-like creature called a "Stick-in-the-Mud," named Fen. When a new stall magically appears in the stables, Auggie knows there is a creature who needs rescuing. Thus begins his quest to find and save a will-o'-the-wisp.
MORE: Books like The Bad Guys
Kondo and Kezumi Visit Giant Island (series) by David Goodner, illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi
This is a very easy chapter book series with colorful illustrations that's likely to appeal to even reluctant readers. Kondo and Kezumi are great friends who spend their days frolicking and looking for berries. One day a message with a map in a bottle washes up on shore and the pair build a boat and set out to see the islands on the map. After visiting Dairy Isle and Fireskull Island, they land on Giant Island where they meet Albert, an anthropomorphized mountain who is so delighted to have some company he doesn't want them to leave. Not to worry, it all ends happily.
Sato the Rabbit (series) by Yuki Ainoya
Ainoya's lyrical book sweeps you up into Sato's imagination. A young child wearing a rabbit suit uses their imagination to transform ordinary tasks into the extraordinary. Water from the hose becomes a winding river, a watermelon is a boat, a walnut is a tiny home. Surreal and enchanting.
Jop and Blip Want to Know (series) by Jim Benton
We loved Jim Benton's Catwad series, and he uses the same quirky humor in this graphic novel series, which is full of all those random facts kids are dying to know. Jop and Blip are two curious robots who ask the weird but important questions like "Why do we need two ears?", and then discuss the answers in a surprisingly profound way.
Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Brian Floca
Princess Cora is bored! As heir to the throne she is supposed to follow all sorts of tedious rules and regimens, but what she really wants to do is get dirty and have wild adventures. She writes a letter to her fairy godmother and the result is the appearance of a questionably behaved crocodile! Loads of great illustrations, humor, and only 80 pages make this a great short read aloud!
Waffles and Pancake (series) by Drew Brockington
Brockington has created a prequel of sorts to his popular CatStronauts graphic novel series. The first installment has Waffles and his sister, Pancake, headed to the science museum with Dad-Cat to see all the cool stuff. Things go awry when Waffles and Pancake are separated from Dad-Cat and they must figure out how to re-unite or get stuck in the museum forever. Sprinkled throughout are fun space facts.