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Great Books for Beginning Readers

Experts pick their favorite titles for early elementary-schoolers.
 
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by Judith Viorst Illustrated by Ray Cruz

In this contemporary classic, veteran children's author Viorst introduces us to Alexander, a kid with an unruly crop of hair, who gets out of bed to face a day that seems to grow increasingly worse with each passing minute.

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Paperback Book: $5.59

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All About Frogs
All About Frogs
Series: All About
by Jim Arnosky Illustrated by Jim Arnosky
From tadpole to frog, Jim Arnosky shows and tells kids how frogs grow and live. Big bullfrogs and tiny spring peepers, vivid tropical frogs and bronze swamp frogs spring from the pages of the book.
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Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace
by Mary Hoffman Illustrated by Caroline Binch

Grace loves stories, whether they're from books, movies, or the kind her grandmother tells. When her school decides to perform Peter Pan, Grace longs to play the lead, but her classmates point out that Peter was a boy. Besides, he wasn't black.

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Hardcover Book: $15.29

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Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon
Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon
Series: Amber Brown, Book #1
by Paula Danziger Illustrated by Tony Ross

Amber Brown and Justin Daniels are best friends. They've known each other for practically forever, sit next to each other in class, help each other with homework, and always stick up for each other.

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Paperback Book: $3.99

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Anansi the Spider
Anansi the Spider
by Gerald McDermott Illustrated by Gerald McDermott

Author Gerald McDermott has presented picture-book enthusiasts with yet another enthralling adaptation of a well-known folktale, this one from West Africa.

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Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum
by Kevin Henkes Illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum loves her name — until she starts kindergarten, which is an unfamiliar world full of short names like Sue, Bill, Max, Sam, and Joe.

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Clifford the Big Red Dog
Clifford the Big Red Dog
by Norman Bridwell Illustrated by Norman Bridwell
Imagine having a dog bigger than a house! In the original story that has sparked the imaginations of young readers for generations, a little girl gets a tiny puppy who grows up to be the biggest dog in the whole world. He's so big that he can fetch robbers...and their car!
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Paperback Book And CD: $6.96

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Paperback Book: $3.19

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Picture Book: $6.29

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A Color of His Own
A Color of His Own
by Leo Lionni Illustrated by Leo Lionni

Elephants are gray. Pigs are pink. Tigers have black and orange stripes. It seems that every animal has its own distinctive color, except the chameleon. And that makes the little chameleon hero of this picture book very sad. Every time he moves, he changes color!

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Board Book: $5.59

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Corduroy
Corduroy
by Don Freeman Illustrated by Don Freeman

Don Freeman's classic character, Corduroy, continues to stir the hearts and imagination of children and adults around the world.

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Paperback Book: $4.79

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Frog and Toad Are Friends
Frog and Toad Are Friends
by Arnold Lobel Illustrated by Arnold Lobel

It's April, and Frog is looking forward to a whole year of happy times with his best friend, Toad. If only Toad would agree to wake up from his long winter nap! In the first of five short stories, clever Frog finds a way to rouse his sleepy friend. And as children will soon see, theirs is a marvelous friendship.

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Good Night, Gorilla
Good Night, Gorilla
by Peggy Rathmann Illustrated by Peggy Rathmann

In this practically wordless bedtime story, a weary zoo keeper bids good night to his charges and then goes home to bed. He doesn't notice, however, that clever Gorilla has pickpocketed his keys and is letting the animals out of their cages, one by one.

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Paperback Book: $4.79

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Picture Book: $11.99

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Miss Nelson Is Missing!
Miss Nelson Is Missing!
by Harry Allard Illustrated by James Marshall

The kids in Room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzing through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school.

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Paperback Book: $4.76

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Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
by John Steptoe Illustrated by John Steptoe

This Caldecott Medal-winning African tale evokes the Cinderella story, as well as the traditional theme of good triumphing over evil.

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Picture Book: $16.19

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Pinky and Rex and the Just-Right Pet
Pinky and Rex and the Just-Right Pet
Series: Pinky and Rex
by James Howe Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Pinky's family is getting a pet! The problem is, by a three to one vote, they've decided to get a cat, and Pinky wants a dog. And when they get a kitten, Pinky's sister, Amanda, says that Patches is "hers."

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The Snow Day
The Snow Day
by Komako Sakai Illustrated by Komako Sakai

A modern take on a winter classic!

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Ten Black Dots
Ten Black Dots
by Donald Crews Illustrated by Donald Crews

One dot can make a sun or moon when day is done. Two dots can make the eyes of a fox or the eyes of keys that open locks.

Children count all the way to ten with simple rhymes and brightly colored objects. By the author of the Caldecott Honor Books Freight Train and Truck.

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The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!
by Jon Scieszka Illustrated by Lane Smith

The big bad wolf has spent ten years in pig prison for the destruction of the three little pigs, and he has quite a story to tell that just might prove his innocence!

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