Monday, July 01, 2013

Early Chapter Book: Joe and Sparky Get New Wheels

As I've mentioned before, I've been reading lots of books to prepare for my move to 3rd grade in the fall. I've been focusing on series books but I also know that many of my readers will need more support that the popular series chapter books provide.  This week, I found an easier beginning early chapter book series Joe and Sparky published by Candlewick and read Joe and Sparky Get New Wheels by Jamie Michalak.  I'm so glad to have discovered this series--I think it will be perfect for some of my incoming students!

Joe and Sparky are pretty fun characters who are fun to read about. In this story, this turtle (who likes to hide in his shell) and giraffe (who loves an adventure) go out of their cageless zoo on a car ride adventure.  It is full of fun surprises.

The sentences are simple so transitional readers should have lots of success with text. This book supports young readers in lots of ways. The humor is sophisticated enough to keep readers engaged. The characters stay true to character and there is lots of inferring to do. There is lots of picture support but also lots that has to be comprehended from text only.  Readers have to hold onto the plot of the story in a very minimal way so this book is perfect for readers new to chapter books.

I am excited about this series and hope to pick up a few more. My test for books like this is my own engagement--if I enjoy the characters and story well enough to stay engaged, I am set and I truly enjoyed these characters and their adventure. So I am confident, this is a great series for my students. 


  1. I'm so glad you are reviewing these. I am going to be teaching second for the first time next year and have been thinking the same thing. I should be reading lots of their chapter books so I can make good recommendations. Looking forward to reading your reviews and thinking I might start doing a few of my own on my blog!

    First in Maine

  2. This is just the type of review I was hoping for. I've been looking for some books like this for our sixth grade tutors. This book looks like a winner for both sides of the equation!
    Thanks Franki, as always, for your thoughtful commentary.

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  3. Thank you so much for this series of posts. It's hard to find early chapter books that are accessible yet engaging. A common complaint with my third graders is that many early chapter books are "too babyish", yet most of them don't yet have the stamina to read intermediate level books. I'll be stocking up on your recommendations!


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