Mercy Mercy Me.
My favorite six year old, on fire with the excitement only a new reader can feel, is a big fan of Kate Di Camillo’s Mercy Watson series, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. Mercy, a plump, pink pig, belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Watson, who treat her as though she’s their all-too-human child. When Mercy is scared, she pops into their bed to snuggle between them and that’s just fine with them, though her presence is not always fine with one of their neighbors, Eugenia Lincoln, who firmly believes that pigs belong on a farm, not in a house. Mercy has a fine nose for adventure (not to mention a very sweet tooth) and loves nothing better than a lot of butter on her toast. She gets in and out of scrapes that are just silly enough to tickle beginning readers and make them want more. Fortunately, there are five books in the series so far to keep them going.
Contrary to what we might suppose, some chapter books provide a more accessible experience for beginning readers than pictures books do, since those are often intended for parents to read to their children, rather than kids reading them on their own. Mercy Watson to the Rescue, and those that follow, don’t just have vocabulary and sentence structure that are simple without being insulting, they’re rollicking adventures. Your beginning reader will love them.
Check out our Anti-Princess Reading List for more great book ideas for young children.