Parents of kids learning how to read, or looking for more books like Dr. Seuss, will enjoy listening to their children read these classic early reader books.
The wide variety of subjects in this list of easy readers means that all kids will find a book they enjoy. The titles include tales about animals, silly stories like Dr. Seuss and rhyming books to help kids learn reading with sight word practice, and phonics. Many of them can also double as a very first chapter book.
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Classic Early Reader Books
Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel. Most parents are familiar with the Frog and Toad series, but don't overlook Arnold Lobel's other books. Owl at Home contains 5 funny stories and my son especially liked "Strange Bumps" in which Owl cannot figure out the source of the bumps under the covers of his bed!
MORE: Books like Frog and Toad
Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant. In the first book of this series Henry is lonely. He had no brothers or sisters, no close friends. His parents tell him he can get a puppy (and Henry rewards them with a hug!) so he searches for the perfect pooch until he finds Mudge. Mudge, however, quickly grows up to be a very large dog! Rylant has several other very, very early chapter book series including the beloved Mr. Putter and Tabby.
Morris the Moose by B. Wiseman. I remember reading about Morris's "moose-take" when I was a kid. Morris insists a cow must be a moose because it has four legs and a tail. He makes the same error with a deer. This leads to a lot of round-about squabbling amongst the animals which is finally solved by the simple act of looking at their reflections in a stream. If your child likes Morris, he will find further moose books by Wiseman in the library.
Grizzwold. Syd Hoff is most famous for Danny and the Dinosaur but check out this silly easy reader about a bear who is on the hunt for a place to live after loggers clear his forest home. Nothing seems quite right, though! Should he live in the city? Become a rug? Where can he find some trees? In the end, he not only finds a forest, but his life's calling.
The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat by Nurit Karlin. A fat cat belonging to a witch sits on a mat and a hat, bat, and rat do their best to convince him to get up. This book had my pre-reader in stitches and I couldn't help smiling at the ending. This book is a nice combination of substantial length and simple vocabulary for kids who can read for a chunk of time but still need to work with easy words.
The Fire Cat by Ester Averill. Pickles is a naughty cat, but Mrs. Goodkind sees his potential and gets the firehouse to adopt him. With the right training and some good friends, Pickles learns the value of kindness and helping others.
I Like Bugs by Margaret Wise Brown. At first glance you might not realize this is a classic by Goodnight Moon author! The short story was first published in The Friendly Book, a compilation of short stories and poems, in the 1950s. This poem is all about (you guessed it) different kinds of bugs, from bugs "on the sidewalk", "in a rug" and "buggy bugs." This book is very spare on text, so it's great for level 1 readers. The new illustrations by G. Brian Karas are delightful and add nice dose of humor.
Little Bear by Elsa Holmelund Minarik. Minarik wrote 5 books in the Little Bear series. Each book contains several connected stories. I love how the stories reinforce values of friendship and family in an unassuming manner. My favorite story is "Little Bear Goes to the Moon," in with Little Bear decides to make a trip to the moon in his new DIY space helmet. His mother simply responds, "be back for lunch!" With delightful writing and gentle humor, these are easy readers you will want to have in your home library.
MORE: Books like Mercy Watson
Put Me in the Zoo. Robert Lopshire is an author I used to get confused with Dr. Seuss because of the branding icon on the top corner of his books! Please don't tell me I'm the only one! In lively rhyme, a leopard tries to convince a pair of kids he belongs in the zoo. He can change the color of his spots but the zoo still rejects him! How can that be? Fortunately, everyone realizes the "circus is the place to be."
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, I confess I had not read this classic book before sitting down to make this list. This book wins the prize for sweetness. A mother bird sits on her egg and when she realizes her egg will soon hatch but she has no food for the newborn she flies off to fetch some. Of course that is the moment the egg hatches; the chick falls out of the tree and goes in search of his mother, asking everyone and everything he meets, "Are You My Mother?" You and your kids will be happy (and not surprised) to know that he does, indeed, find his mother.