Transitional Books:

Suggested Titles for Young Readers

Denise E. Agosto, Ph.D.

[From: Graves, Bonnie, & Glasser, Robin Priess.  (2002).  Taking care of trouble.  New York: Dutton.]


Transitional books are ideal for children whose reading levels have advanced beyond easy readers but who are not yet ready for full-length juvenile fiction and nonfiction. With fewer than 100 pages of text and large, easy-to-read typefaces, these books can challenge young readers without intimidating them. Many of the titles listed below are entries in large series.


Recommended titles:

Brisson, Pat, & Bluthenthal, Diana Cain. (1997). Hot fudge hero. New York: Henry Holt.
Three charming short stories that all involve Bertie and his love of hot fudge sundaes.

Brisson, Pat, & Bluthenthal, Diana Cain. (1999).
Little sister, big sister. New York: Henry Holt.
Four short stories about Hester and her younger sister Edna.
Buckley, James.  (2001).  Roberto Clemente.  New York: Dorling Kindersley. 
     A basic biography of the famous baseball player, illustrated with photographs.
Byars, Betsy, & Brooks, Erik.  (2006).  Boo's dinosaur.  New York: Henry Holt.
      Boo has always wanted a dinosaur for a pet.  Then one day she finds one in her front yard.
Calmenson, Stephanie, Cole, Joanna, & Munsinger, Lynn. (1995). The Gator Girls. New York: William Morrow.
Two alligator friends celebrate the joys of summer together.
Cameron, Ann, & Allen, Thomas B. (1988). The most beautiful place in the world. New York: Random House.
Growing up in a small town in Guatemala, seven-year-old Juan discovers the most beautiful place in the world.
Cameron, Ann, & Strugnell, Ann. (1981). The stories Julian tells. New York: Pantheon.
In the first entry of this endearing series, Julian and his little brother find themselves in a series of amusing escapades.
Christopher, Matt, & Ulrich, George. (1988). The hit-away kid. Boston: Little, Brown.
Baseball lovers are sure to enjoy this story, which revolves about the big game.  Can the home team win?
Conford, Ellen, & Palmisciano, Diane. (1988). A case for Jenny Archer. Boston: Little Brown.
Jenny tries to solve a mystery in her neighborhood.
Danziger, Paula, & Ross, Tony. (1994). Amber Brown is not a crayon. New York: Putnam.
Amber learns that her best friend Justin is getting ready to move far away.
De Paola, Tomie. (1999). 26 Fairmount Avenue. New York: Putnam.
Children's author/illustrator Tomie De Paola describes his life as a little boy.
Dubowski, Kathy.  (1998). Shark attack.  New York: Dorling Kindersley.
True stories about sharks, illustrated with drawings and photographs.
Fenner, Carol, & Harvey, Amanda. (2003). Snowed in with Grandmother Silk.  New York: Dial.
When Ruddy's parents leave him to go on a cruise, Ruddy finds himself snowed in with his very proper grandmother at her very remote country home.
Graves, Bonnie, & Glasser, Robin Priess. (2002). Taking care of trouble.  New York: Dutton.
Joel panics when he learns hell be babysitting for a troublesome toddler.
Greenburg, Dan, & Davis, Jack E. (1996). Great-Grandpa's in the litter box. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.
    This is the first entry in the popular Zack Files series. Zack goes to the animal shelter to pick out a new kitten and is shocked to learn that one of the shelter cats claims to be his reincarnated great-grandfather.
Guiberson, Brenda Z. (1998). Mummy mysteries: Tales from North America. New York: Henry Holt.
True stories about mummies found throughout North America and what they reveal about the times during which they lived.
Hest, Amy, & Trivas, Irene. (1992). Pajama party. New York: William Morrow.
Three eight-year-old girls celebrate their first sleepover party together.
Howe, James, & Sweet, Melissa. (2001). Pinky and Rex and the just-right pet. New York: Atheneum.
Pinky wants a dog, but his family decides to get a new kitten instead.
Kline, Suzy, & Remkiewicz, Frank. (1988). Horrible Harry in room 2B. New York: Viking Kestrel.
For Doug, second grade is an adventure with a mischievous best friend like Horrible Harry.  This is the first entry in a large series.
Kline, Suzy, & Remkiewicz, Frank. (1993). Song Lee in Room 2B. New York: Viking.
Shy Song Lee joins Horrible Harry and the other students in Room 2B.  This is the first entry in a large series.

Krull, Kathleen, & Santoro, Christopher.  (2003).  The night the Martians landed.  New York: HarperCollins. 

    Straightforward prose tells the true story of the October 30, 1938, radio broadcast of a play based on H. G. Wells' science fiction novel The War of the Worlds.  The broadcast terrified thousands of people who believed it was a real news report. 

Levy, Elizabeth, & Elliot, Mark.  (2001).  Big trouble in Little Twinsville.  New York: HarperCollins.
 Ten-year-old Eve finds life with her five-year-old twin sisters to be a constant (and amusing) battle.
Levy, Elizabeth, & Basso, Bill. (2001). Night of the living gerbil. New York: HarperCollins.
Sam and his brother Robert suspect that their new neighbor is a zombie with designs on their dead pet gerbil.
Lowry, Lois.  (2002).  Gooney Bird Greene.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Spunky second-grader Gooney Bird Greene enthralls her classmates with her wild stories and outrageous outfits.
Lowry, Lois.  (2005).  Gooney Bird Greene and the room mother.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Gooney Bird Greene is back.  In this installment of the amusing series, she sets her mind to finding a room mother for her second grade class.
Manes, Stephen. (1982). Be a perfect person in just three days! New York: Clarion.
The hilarious tale of Milos attempts to become a perfect person.
Marsden, Carolyn.  (2002).  The gold-threaded dress. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
    Thai-American Oy brings her ceremonial Thai dress to school hoping it will help her to make friends.
Osborne, Mary Pope.  (1992).  Dinosaurs before dark (Magic Tree House).  New York: Random House.
    Jack and Annie find a magic tree house that transports them back into the time of the dinosaurs.
Porte, Barbara Ann, & Carpenter, Nancy. (2000). If you ever get lost: The adventures of Julia and Evan. New York: Greenwillow.
Amusing short stories about Julia and her younger brother Eric, who go grocery shopping together, help to catch two thieves, and try to learn to speak Spanish.
Roy, Ron, & Gurney, Steven.  The absent author (The A to Z Mystery series).  (1997).  New York: Random House.
    In this first entry in the series, Dink and his two best friends must solve the mystery the missing author.
Scieszka, Jon, & Smith, Lane. (1994). Knights of the kitchen table (The Time Warp Trio series). New York: Puffin.
In the first entry in this zany fantasy series, Joe, Fred, and Sam travel through time to a world of knights, dragons, and giants.
Spinelli, Jerry, & Nelson, Donna. (1995). Tooter Pepperday. New York: Random House.
Tooter resists moving from the suburbs to Aunt Sally's farm.

Stevenson, James. (1997). The Mud Flat mystery. New York: Greenwillow.

When a large box arrives in the mail, the animals of Mud Flat are desperately curious about its contents.


Van Leeuwan, Jan, & Schweninger, A.  (2004).  Oliver the Mighty Pig.  New York: Dial.

    The Oliver and Amanda Pig is a large easy reader series.  In this entry, after Oliver gets a superhero cape for his birthday, he becomes Oliver, the Mighty Pig!


Warner, Sally.  (2005). Only Emma. New York: Viking.

Third grader Emma McGraw presents her view of siblings, school, and daily life in this first entry in the series.




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created 05/05/99; last updated 04/29/09