Children’s series books can help parents teach their kids about difficult situations such a overcoming their fear of the dark or learning to share. These books can be valuable resources for teaching about colors, numbers, the alphabet or even what happens if you give a mouse a cookie.
Best of all, kids love series books and once they make “friends” with a particular character or series, they are usually not satisfied until they have heard or read all of the stories in a series.
Here’s a guide to five children’s book series and their authors for your family’s reading pleasure. These books are targeted to children ages three to five and chosen based on their popularity with my son or children in my classrooms.
For parents of children in an Accelerated Reader program, information on the book level of each book and the AR points value is provided where available.
1.Paulette Bourgeois – Franklin Series
Whether they have read or heard the Franklin the turtle stories or seen Franklin on television or in an animated movie, most kids know and love this adorable turtle.
After all, they can relate to being afraid of thunderstorms or the dark or the need to have your favorite blanket and stuffed toy at bedtime.
Because kids connect so readily and easily with Franklin, these books by Paulette Bourgeois can be a good resource for helping children understand and cope with difficult situations such as going to the hospital or their first day at school.
While there are way too many wonderful books at Franklin to list here, two of our all time favorites:
Franklin in the Dark: A Classic Franklin Story: Most kids get being afraid of the dark, but is Franklin going to the extreme? Being afraid of the dark in your shell is really a handicap if you are a turtle. However, as he works to overcome his fears, he makes a startling discovery. Almost everyone, even adults, are afraid of something.
Franklin and the Tooth Fairy: Franklin’s friends are losing their teeth and enjoying visits from the Tooth Fairy. But poor Franklin doesn’t have any teeth. Will he miss out on the excitement of the Tooth Fairy’s visit?
Accelerated Reader Program(AR): There are too many of the Franklin series books that qualify as AR books to list here, but you can find a complete list by doing an advanced search on “author: Bourgeois, Paulette” and “title: Franklin”.
The books listed (at the time of this writing) range from a BL 2.2 to 3.3 and are worth 0.5 points each. In addition to English editions, there are some titles available in Spanish as well.
2. Doreen Cronin – Click, Clack Series
This is a short series – three books – but it is packed with teaching resources for adults and learning opportunities for kids. All of these books featuring Doreen Cronin’s typing cows and other characters are on our favorites list.
In Click, Clack Moo: Cows That Type, Farmer Brown discovers just how much trouble literate cows can cause. In addition to frazzling his nerves with their incessant “click, clack, moo” as they type on an old typewriter, they begin to type demands for electric blankets and other luxuries. When Farmer Brown refuses their requests, the cows go on strike. Your kids will love the hilarious resolution and the wonderful illustrations in this clever tale.
Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure: Farmer Brown wants to sleep; the animals want to go fishing. Led by ringleader Duck, they make a plan to sneak by Farmer Brown, but will it really be as easy as 1-2-3? This is an excellent book for introducing and teaching number recognition to preschoolers.
Click, Clack, Quakity-Quick: An Alphabetical Adventure: This is an alliterative adventure as well as an alphabetical one. The typing cows and Duck lead readers on a merry expedition through the alphabet which terminates in an all-animals picnic. In addition to being a clever way to introduce your preschooler to the alphabet, if you finish your book reading session with a picnic as well, you’ll add a multisensory dimension to the reading to help your child retain the information for longer. Besides, what child can resist a funny story and a picnic?
- Click, Clack Splish, Splash A Counting Adventure – BL 1.0, AR points 0.5
- Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type – BL 2.3, AR points 0.5 points
3. Laura Numeroff – If You Give…Series
In addition to being the talented author of the “If You Give…” children’s series book, Laura Numeroff is a children’s book illustrator.
If you’ve ever read any of her engaging cause-and-effect stories about what can happen when mice get cookies or dogs get donuts, you may be surprised to know her first book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie was rejected nine times before being published. These books are one of the best ways I’ve found to introduce children to the concept of cause-and-effect, and they lend themselves well to sequencing activities as well.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: Better stock up on milk and be ready to put on your running shoes because you’ll never imagine what can happen when you offer a cookie to a mouse.
If You Give a Moose a Muffin: If you didn’t learn your lesson when you gave the mouse a cookie, you’ll be even more surprised at all the convoluted events that can ensue from giving a moose a muffin.
AR Program: I found seven qualifying titles; do your advanced search on “author: Numeroff, Laura” and “title: if you give” to narrow your search.
- If You Give a Dog a Donut – BL 2.1, AR points: 0.5
- If You Give a Pig a Party – BL 2.2, AR points 0.5
- If You Give a Cat a Cupcake – BL 2.2, AR points 0.5
- If You Give a Moose a Muffin – BL 2.4, AR points 0.5
- If You Give a Pig a Pancake – BL 2.5, AR points 0.5
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – BL 2.5, AR points 0.5
- If You Give an Author a Pencil – BL 4.1, AR points 0.5
4. Mo Willems – The Pigeon Series
The Pigeon is one of Mo Willems’ best known and loved characters. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was awarded a Caldecott Honor in 2004, and it is one of our favorite stories. Pigeon just might be one of the best negotiators on the planet, and his persistence is legendary.
To this day (nine years after our first meeting with Pigeon and his bus driving ambitions), my son still attempts to use some of Pigeon’s best lines on me in an attempt to wheedle me into agreeing to one of his requests. Although he has turned his back on many of his former childhood fictional favorites, Pigeon has stood the test of time and is still a guaranteed page-turner in our house.
Watch the video below and experience it for yourself!
AR Program – The Pigeon Series
- The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! – BL 0.7, AR points 0.5
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! – BL 0.9, AR points 0.5
- The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! BL 1.0, AR points 0.5
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! – BL 1.1, AR points 0.5
5. Jane Yolen – How Do Dinosaurs Series
Jane Yolen’s humor, use of familiar childhood behavior such as trying to extend bed time as late as possible, and rhyming text paired with an all-time favorite topic of kids – dinosaurs – are the signature elements of the How Do Dinosaurs…children’s book series.
- How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? – BL 1.6, AR points 0.5
- How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? – BL 1.7, AR points
- How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? – BL 2.1, AR points 0.5
- How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? – BL 2.3, AR points 0.5
- How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? – BL 2.4, AR points 0.5
Not all kid’s books have to include a moral, teach a lesson or take a child to a higher level, although it’s always a good idea to have some titles in mind as part of your strategy for raising literate kids.
Sometimes it’s important to let kids just be kids and read for the sheer entertainment value. When you choose any one of these titles in these children’s series books, you are guaranteed of a good read for your child – and for you. Snuggling up and reading books together is a pleasant way to pass the time on rainy days, but don’t wait! Try one or several of these books today.
What’s your favorite children’s book or favorite children’s book author?
Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net