We’re running a junior book club at our place this week! My girls are working their way through a pile of fun little chapter books for early readers, swapping the books and sharing feedback. It’s lovely to watch! Ella & Olivia, EJ Spy School and Double Trouble are all available from Scholastic Australia. These three brilliant series are ideal for readers 5 and up who are ready to take the next step from picture books to longer stories.
Age appropriateness always depends on the individual child, but in our house these are just right for Miss 5-and-three-quarters. Miss 7 finds them very easy to read, but for that reason she whips through them in an hour and passes them down the line. They’re funny, engaging and touch on plenty of themes relevant to the age group like friendship, sibling rivalry, pets and homework. Each series includes plenty of black and white illustrations to break up the text while allowing kids to feel as though they’re progressing towards ‘grown up’ books.
The EJ Spy School series is the easiest of the three to read, in terms of larger font size and fewer chapters. These are a junior version of the already popular EJ12 Girl Hero books. Emma Jacks has only recently started spy school, but she’s already solving cases under her secret agent name – EJ10. EJ is 8 years old (so, slightly older than likely readers) and has the sharp mind of a sleuth. With low level code cracking and gadgetry, EJ10 takes on the big cases – like rescuing a litter of lost puppies. Kids can visit the related website, too, for interactive games and colouring in print outs that encourage literacy and a love of stories.
Ella and Olivia have been a big hit at Charming HQ! Ella is 7, Olivia is 5 and they have an annoying little brother, Max. It’s very much like home for us! These books are gentle sibling stories about minor mishaps around day to day events, like making cupcakes, attending ballet or planting a vegie garden. Sibling struggles obviously feature prominently in these stories, with some great examples about taking turns, sharing and compromise.
All of these series could be read by boys or girls, but the Double Trouble books are clearly a cheeky, adventure-based option pitched at the boys. Identical twins Thomas and Cooper are always up to mischief! They like to play pranks on their classmates – like turning a museum excursion into a trip to Jurassic Park by taking control of a robot dinosaur! Packed with skate boarding action and poo jokes, these are a great introduction to longer reads for boys who don’t like to sit still for too long.
All these books retail at $7.99. Anyone with kids at school or kindy in Australia should also keep an eye out for special deals in your Scholastic Book Club brochures.
With thanks to Scholastic Australia for my review copies.