My son was not as instantly attracted to books and reading as myself or his little sister. While he loved picking out books and being read to, once it came time to read on his own he was easily discouraged. He had the skills to read, but had trouble sitting still or focusing on decoding the more challenging words. I offered him every style of easy reader and early chapter book imaginable. Thankfully, as a librarian with many friends that happen to teach, I had plenty of resources. The book that finally caught his attention is one that many try to steer clear of because of its silly and sometimes disgusting humor. However, if he was going to read, and do so happily, I was going to encourage it regardless of the book in question.
As you might have guessed, that book was Captain Underpants. He has now read the boxed set of the series through more than a few times, and expanded to other books, all of which I like much better. Now he still loves that silly humor, but he also loves jokes and anything vaguely monster, hero, or adventure. So, for fellow parents that fear the draw of the Captain, there are some great follow up books that a fan might easily and happily transition to. The number of easier chapter books and graphic novels that will appeal to the fans of Captain Underpants is growing, with volume and quality. If you are trying to ease your young reader away from the underwear clad superhero, here are some great options to keep them reading. If the book belongs to a series, which most of them do, I have listed the first book in that series. And on a side note, do not be afraid to introduce harder books via audiobooks! I hooked both my kids on the Magic Tree House series by listening to the audio book collection in the car.
Squish 1: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Introducing SQUISH—a new graphic novel series about a comic book-loving, twinkie-eating grade school AMOEBA trying to find his place in the world (or at least trying to make it through a school day).
Sardine in Outer Space by Emmanuel Guibert
Sardine and her uncle, Captain Yellow Shoulder, sail their ship, The Huckleberry, across the universe meeting up with monsters and aliens in order to confront Supermuscleman, who is trying to take over the galaxy.
George Brown, Class Clown: Super Burp by Nancy E. Krulik
When fourth-grader George starts at a new school, he vows to become a model student instead of the class clown he has always been, but just as his plan is going really well, he is overtaken by a magic burp that turns him back into a mischief-maker.
The Fake Cape Caper by Greg Trine
Melvin Beederman, superhero in charge of Los Angeles, attends the Superhero’s Convention in Las V egas, leaving his young sidekick to keep Los Angeles safe from evil bad guys and bullies.
Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight
Fourth-grader Frankie Piccolini has a vivid imagination when it comes to cleaning his disastrously messy room, but eventually even he decides that it is just too dirty.
There is an increasing number of wonderful books for this reading level and age group as of late. If you have already read all of these and are still looking for me you might also want to try: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne, The High and the Flighty by Catherine Hapka and Lisa Rao, Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy: The Hero Revealed by William Boniface, Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Balloon Goons by Troy Cummings, Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Wiley & Grampa’s Creature Features by Kirk Scroggs,Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon, Looinverse: Stranger Things by David Lubar, My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara, Galaxy Zack: Hello Nebulon by Ray O’Ryan, and Attack of the Giant Hamster by Paul Harrison.