My eldest just turned eight and the last year has seen his literacy soar. It was a slow start. He didn’t seem bothered with reading books autonomously for a while. Like most kids his age, he was over the large picture books but possibly a little intimidated by the prospect of tackling the novel-sized texts alone, so he sort of backed away for a bit. The English teacher in me miraculously resisted the urge to panic. It wasn’t until he encountered a bizarre, crime-fighting canine/human hybrid that his attitude changed and that was it. He was hooked. He was off. He was reading. Cheers, Dog Man!

The usual disclaimer: I’m not here to tell you your business, nor am I claiming to be any kind of book expert. I’m just sharing some of the reads that were hits here; ones that managed to hold his attention and (hopefully) ignite a life-long love for books. Chapter Books for Early Readers

The Danny Brown Series by Brianóg Brady Dawson (Age 6-8)

If kids up to divilment is your thing, then Danny Brown’s your man. He runs off with his granny’s teeth, buries his toothbrush and manages to unwittingly terrorise members of his family, but always with good intentions. It’s pitched perfectly at younger readers with large text and even larger illustrations. A great place to start for those transitioning from picture books.

Chapter Books for Early Readers

The books are available to buy from The O’Brien Press or from Amazon.

Horrid Henry Early Readers by Francesca Simon (Age 6+)

This guy is a grade-A ass. Nasty, selfish and utterly obnoxious, he’s the character kids love to hate. Sadly my older pair can’t get enough of him. These are some of the most thumbed books on our shelf. In fact, they were the first novel-sized books that my son showed any interest in. They’ve the perfect combination of colourful illustrations and accessible text for readers starting out and youngsters will delight in his unrelenting mischief. I know parents who’ve banned Horrid Henry entirely and I can see why. Ugh.

Chapter Books for Early Readers

Buy Horrid Henry Early Readers on Amazon here. 

The Famous Five Colour Reads Collection by Enid Blyton (Age 6-8)

Despite the fact that there’s little chance that our Generation Alpha kids can relate to the drinking of lashings and lashings of ginger beer and tech-free living, The Famous Five books – first published almost 80 years ago – continue to delight. Four middle-class youngsters and a dog regularly stumble upon crime and strange happenings in the British countryside. Well-defined, likable characters and action-filled plots involving smugglers, shipwrecks, treasure maps, abandoned houses and suspicious strangers never get old.

The Colour Reads Collection combines shortened original Blyton stories with colourful illustrations, making the series more accessible for younger readers. The perfect in-betweener.

Chapter Books for Early Readers

Buy the books on Amazon. 

The Mad Grandad Series by Oisin McGann (Age 7+)

Lenny’s grandad isn’t like other grown-ups. He’s just a little bit mad, and sometimes does strange things, like dancing to the news on the radio, or saying he can see out of his nose. Together they go on wacky adventures; they travel through space, encounter mermaids and river creatures, battle a robot gardener and in the newest offering, they take on the multi-handed Kleptoes; thieves who live deep inside Grandad’s old sofa. Engaging illustrations, large text, zany plots and accessible language made these books a big hit here. Chapter Books for Early Readers

The books are available to buy from The O’Brien Press or from Amazon.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey (6+)

Ah, Dog Man! I genuinely believe that this madcap graphic novel is hugely responsible for my son’s love of reading. He was lost in the original book for hours, chuckling and snorting over the colourful pages and then begged for the rest of the series as soon as he was done. Bad puns, toilet humour and general daftness dominate. Oodles of fun if you’re seven.

Chapter Books for Young Readers

Buy the Dog Man series on Amazon here. 

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (7+)

When he declared that he now had a ‘favourite author’ in Pilkey, we went straight for the Captain Underpants series. Two pranksters use hypnosis to trick their principal into thinking he’s the crime-fighting Captain Underpants and chaos ensues. Comic-style illustrations – this time in black and white – make the book engaging for those fazed by too much text. Again, comedy gold if you like humour that involves farts, poo, wedgies, etc.

Chapter Books for Young Readers

Here’s the link to buy them on Amazon. 

Cass & the Bubble Street Gang by Erica McGann (Age 7+)

The winning formula of brave youngsters plus secret clubhouse plus mystery and adventure is at play again to excellent effect in this series about Cass and her pals Lex and Nicholas who, together, are The Bubble Street Gang. My son loved Making Millions, recently picked up The Clubhouse Mystery in the library and is ready to tuck into the newest installment, Diary Detectives. While the illustrations are minimal, the text is large, so it’s easy to read and doesn’t overwhelm. The stories celebrate friendship and adventure and the female protagonist makes a nice change. Perfect.

Chapter Books for Young Readers

Buy from The O’Brien Press or from Amazon.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (Age 7+)

Is any such list complete without the inclusion of this one? My son devours these books, despite the fact that some of the Americanisms, the story lines and the themes have to be over his head. Nonetheless, he likes them and laughs lots. I think he’ll probably read them over and over for years yet and take more from them every time. To be fair, they are funny.

I recently picked up The Wimpy Kid Do-it-Yourself Book (an interactive book that lets you draw your own Wimpy Kid-style cartoons, fill in facts and lists and write your own stories) and, unexpectedly, it was a MASSIVE hit. He spent the entirety of two 2.5-hour flights happily doodling in it. I know. We were stunned too.

Chapter Books for Young Readers

Here’s the link to buy it on Amazon. 

The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths (Age 7+)

This one was recently recommended by a friend and my son loved it. In fact, I’ve never seen him finish a book in such a short space of time and he can’t wait to get his hands on the rest of the series. It’s laugh-out-loud silly, unpredictable and completely surreal. Andy and Terry live and write in the world’s wackiest tree house. They’re attempting to finish their latest book amidst such distractions as mutant mermaids, sea-monkeys and flying cats. The combination of text and cartoon-style illustrations is, once more, a winner for those transitioning from short chapter books to junior novels.

Chapter Books for Young Readers

Here’s the link to buy them on Amazon. 

Roald Dahl’s Everything. Obviously. (7 – 99)

We started with the shorties: George’s Marvellous Medicine, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits, The Magic Finger and Esio Trot. Then came The Witches (which enthralled him more than the others combined) and then came the rest. I bought the entire collection for a song from The Book People and every time there was a lull in reading activity, another one was fetched from the attic and off he went again. I probably need to do more of this kind of bulk book-buying, don’t I?
Chapter Books for Young Readers

Buy the Roald Dahl collection here. 


More Walliams (he loved the few he’s read so far), more from the Kid Normal series by Greg James and some Tom Gates. I’d be delighted to hear some recommendations for his age group in the comments below, if you have any. What are your kids reading? Do they have favourites?

Oh and while I have you…


I’m in the running for Best Parenting Blog in this year’s Maternity and Infant Awards. If you like the blog, I’d be delighted if you voted for me! You can do so here. You don’t need to register or leave any details. Just two simple clicks. Voting closes August 24th, 2018.

Thanks for reading (and voting, if you did!)

If you like this post you might also enjoy these…

5 Fantastic Books for Under Fives 
Our Favourite Kids’ Books of 2017
Great Kids’ Book Adaptations on Netflix 


  • I often get sent books to review from publishers, including The O’Brien Press. I don’t write about everything I receive. I wasn’t paid to include anything on this list, and I’m an honest sort, so if I say I liked something, then I promise I did! 
  • This post contains affiliate links. Shinners & the Brood is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to To find out more, please read my Disclosure page. 

Looking for some reading inspiration to entice emerging bookworms? These are our favourite Chapter Books for Young Readers (age 6+) #chapterbooks #kidsbooks #earlyreaders



    • Sinéad Reply

      They’re really great for kids just starting out. Not overwhelming at all but they feel like they’re reading a proper book!

  1. My brother and I read a lot of Enid Blyton as kids, I hope to introduce my daughter to your list. I will vote now and good luck xx

  2. Lovely, how nice are the Enid blyton books now, I remember bring so put off by all the pages of text and no colour when I was little.

    • Sinéad Reply

      Absolutely. Totally agree. It’s a really nice way to introduce kids to her!

  3. Monkey is just moving onto chapter books. He got the Famous Five ones for his birthday and hes almost finished them. I was wondering what I should get him to read next! Now I know. Great comprehensive list thank you x

  4. Great post, its so hard to keep kids interested in reading. I think nowadays children are more likely to read as the books out now are much more fun than when i was young.

    • Sinéad Reply

      They are actually! We didn’t have the same range to choose from. A LOT of Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew! 😉

  5. Fab selection! Roald Dahl was a HUGE hit with any eldest although now he is 14 and a little past it these books. I can’t wait to start them all over again with the youngest three!

    • Sinéad Reply

      I love reading him to my 5 year old. They just don’t age!

  6. Keeping this list in mind for my now 4 year old, who is a bit of a reluctant reader currently. So lovely to see that the Famous Five books are still popular with kids today – I remember loving them as a child, and all of Roald Dahl obviously!

  7. We literally kept all our Roald Dahl and Horrible Histories books. I also kept my narnia series. I wonder if my Mum still has all my Point Horror books in the loft!? It is so great when they get engrossed in books. Sarah

  8. Oh yes, these take me back. My ids all loved the Horrid Henry series, Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpey kids. These modern books that engage them are just perfect. Mich x

  9. Ahhh, I recognise some of these. I have two young children who love reading. We haven’t heard of the Mad Grandad series though and it sounds right up their street so I will have to check these out 🙂

  10. Ahh these took me back to Lewis being a little younger! He has always enjoyed reading and now it wont be long until my daughter is starting these too. We loved Captain Underpants!!

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