Engaging Stories for Early Chapter Book Readers (geared towards boys; enjoyable for all)

My Weird School, Roscoe Riley, and Stink will always have a special place in my heart. They were the series that started my boy readers on the path to reading for fun. 

The more books in a series the better when your child is in the early stages of building up their reading mojo. It makes the question of what to read next a lot easier to answer. If you are on the lookout for a series of books for a new and improving reader, fear not, there are numerous options outside the obvious and forevers like Boxcar Children, Magic Tree House, and Junie B. Jones. These series are classics, having stood the test of time (relatively speaking). But, if they don’t capture your kid, or they’ve already been read, below are six more options to explore. 

(In compiling this list I looked for picture-heavy books with short chapters. I also looked for books that were a definite step above the easy reader. All of these series were housed in the general chapter book section of our library (vs. the easy reader section) and are geared towards kids who are ready for something longer and a little more challenging.)


Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo

“‘Heh, heh, heh,’ says Mr. Watson every Saturday. ‘You, my dear, are a porcine wonder. But even porcine wonders cannot drive cars.’” -Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride

Or can they… The Mercy Watson series is absolutely delightful. What could be better than a family pig who LOVES hot buttered toast. From the pictures, to the story line this series of books will not disappoint. 

Readers age 6 and up


Humphrey’s Tiny Tales by Betty G. Birney

“Friday’s are always exciting for me. Every Friday afternoon I get to go home for the weekend with a different classmate. It’s the BEST-BEST-BEST part of my job as classroom pet.” -Humphrey's Really Wheely Racing Day

These cute stories are narrated by Humphrey, a classroom hamster. Even better, if your child is a fan and begins to outgrow his Tiny Tales series, the original Humphrey series is geared towards readers ages 8 and up and can provide ample material for your child as they grow as a reader. 

Readers age 5 and up


Captain Awesome by Stan Kirby  

“Even a superhero gets scared, Charlie. But that should never stop us from doing what’s good and right.” -Captain Awesome vs. The Spooky Scary House 

This series follows the adventures of Captain Awesome and his trusty side kick Nacho Cheese Man (aka Eugene and Charlie) as they fight villianous villains and do general do-goodedness. High energy and fun to read, this series has become a favorite at our house. 

Readers age 6 and up


Frankie Pickle by Eric Wight

“If only he had magical powers like the Dryer Sheet Fairy. Cleaning his room would be a breeze.” -Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight

Part comic book (the imaginings of Frankie himself), mostly chapter book, Frankie Pickle is a great way to ease into books containing more words and less pictures. With a bit of a Calvin and Hobbes feel, Frankie Pickle is imaginative, funny and really fun to read. 

Readers age 7 and up


Galaxy Zack by Ray O’Ryan

“Through thin pink clouds, Zack saw purple patches of land and large orange oceans. Nebulous looks nothing like Earth, he thought.” -Galaxy Zack, Hello Nebulon! 

Join Zack and his family as they move from Earth to the planet Nebulon. Adjusting to a new school is hard, adjusting to a new planet is out-of-this world. A modern twist on the Jetson's, Galaxy Zack is imaginative and fun to read. 

Readers age 5 and up


Time Warp Trio by Jon Scieszka

“Sam looked at the castle walls around us. ‘No TV. No cheeseburgers. We are three 20th century guys time-warped into the Middle Ages. Score: Squires of the Round Table, 28; Time Warp Trio, 0.” -TimeWarp Trio - Knights of the Kitchen Table

When Joe receives The Book as a present from his Uncle, he and his friends unexpectedly find themselves face to face with real knights and dragons. Each book in this series tackles a different time period or point of history. While this series is not as picture heavy as the others, the chapters are short and the stories are funny (including things like a disgusting, burping giant that pushes the first book at least a bit into the realm of “boy humor”).  

Readers age 7 and up