Book Reviews, Bookishness, Mamaishness, Teacherishness

Mercy Watson. I love her.

And… it’s Thursday. And… the blog has been a little quiet. Sorry about that! To apologize, I’ll share a great series of early chapter books that you can probably find in triplicate at your local library.

Last summer, one of the prizes for our library’s summer reading program was a book. The kids got to pick their own books from a cart, but our awesome librarian stood alongside them and ‘encouraged’ them to make age-appropriate and high-quality choices. Bethany chose a book called [amazon text=Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride&asin=0763645052].

early chapter book

It’s longer than our usual read-alouds, but the girls loved it so much that we read the entire thing in one sitting. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the genre – early-reader chapter books that are longer than Henry and Mudge, but still have large type and frequent illustrations. The storyline is hilarious, the characters are fairly shallow but still engaging, and the illustrations are just plain enticing.

This is actually the second book in the series, but you can read any of them without having read the previous books. In [amazon text=Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride&asin=0763645052], Mercy, a pig living with human parents, goes for a ride in a convertible as she does every Saturday. However, this is the Saturday when she finally achieves her goal of driving the car herself.

As you can probably imagine, fairly predictable hijinks result, and there’s even the involvement of two elderly neighbor sisters to liven things up. Because the plot is predictable, this is a great book for talking about basic reading strategies like predicting (duh), and making inferences. Not every detail is spelled out, and the illustrations are great for helping early readers make sense of what they’re reading.

early chapter book

After reading our previous Mercy selection about 4,987 times, we finally branched out at this week’s library trip. These were shelved with the Young Adult fiction (which surprised me), and were nestled right next to Kate DiCamillo’s award-winning modern classic [amazon text=Because of Winn Dixie&asin=0763644323].

We decided to start at the beginning of the series, and picked out [amazon text=Mercy Watson to the Rescue&asin=0763645044]. In this story, Mercy’s intense love for hot buttered toast allows her to become the ‘porcine wonder’ so adored by her parents, when she inadvertently causes the fire department to visit the neighborhood, thereby saving her parents from a dangerous situation.

If that sounds complicated, it’s not. I can’t recommend this series highly enough for independent reading by kiddos who have outgrown typical first chapter books. Equally, it’s a great family or classroom read-aloud for children as young as two or three. Clara, who is just two, LOVES it, and actually was the one to remind me to look for it at the library. “More Mercy Watson, Mommy!” How can you argue with that?

If your love for Mercy goes past the books, you’ll naturally want to serve up some accompanying hot buttered toast as you snuggle up to read. You might also ask your little readers to draw or write what they predict Mercy’s next adventure will be. There are four more books in the series, so you could draw this out for quite a while, or devour them all in a day or a week.

And for the truly devoted Mercy fans, you’ll want to check out her website, where you can visit a rendering of her neighborhood! There are also a few suggestions for teachers and parents, as well as a bit of background about the author and illustrator.

Would it be wrong for me to strongly, strongly, strongly suggest a Mercy Watson birthday party for next year?

{The book links above are affiliate links. If you make purchases using those links, Read It, Make It! receives a tiny commission. These books are easy to find at your local public or school library, too!}