Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I finally snapped the other day. For about the 800th time I listened while a third grader explained to me that yes, his AR zone is 3.1 and yes, The Third Wheel is a 5.6 but HE UNDERSTANDS ALL OF IT. Forget that the he nailed a 40% on the AR Quiz. HE SHOULD BE READING WIMPY KID.

This time I was not patient. This little guy did not even get to finish before I was tearing through the chapter shelves, practically throwing books on a table. This, and This. HAVE YOU READ THIS? THIS is your zone and this is HILARIOUS! This may be TOO GROSS for you, but whatever. This, I KNOW you have not read this.

He was late for Computer Lab and I may have startled him a little but when my tornado settled I had a large-ish pile of Wimpy Kid type books staring at me.

There is NO WAY I am the only Librarian/ Teacher/ Parent who faces kids who a. insist on "reading" WK when it is simply out of a reader's reach. The style, humor and reputation prove irresistible for young chapter book readers, especially those who struggle. b. refuse to consider other titles after completing the series - after all, Jeff Kinney's last joke was the last one the world heard. Right?

I love the following list of titles I gathered in my craze - it spans 2nd through 7th grade and accommodates readers of all levels in between. This list goes from easy for those  aspiring to WK and grows beyond for the WK Graduates.

STINK Series, Megan McDonald. These gross/ funny/ comic like books feature 2nd grade Stink and all of his friends who love trouble as much as he does. These begin at a 3.0 AR and only go to the mid 3's. The money I spent on this entire series is some of the best spent this year in the Library. This is my go-to Character for my younger kids who really are not ready for WK.

The Notebook of Doom Series, Troy Cummings. This four book series ranges from 3.2 to 3.4 which makes it another perfect choice for my kids bummed that WK is ALL checked out.  This was a featured title in the Scholastic Book Fair Video this fall - it sold out at the Fair and I can't keep them on the shelves now.

Geronimo Stilton Series. This is the only series I have purchased in paperback SO that I can afford more. These clever books range from 3.1 to 4.2ish and involve time travel, prehistoric animals, and trouble in all situations. The full color throughout the book makes the comic style even more appealing to WK fans.

 Billy the Kid is Not Crazy, by S.F. Guerra. This is actually the only "stand alone" book on this list - wow! This book is not AR leveled but I have been happy with the reviews and interest my third graders have given me. I would happily pass this to fourth graders if it was available.

Captain Underpants Series, Dave Pilkey. For years this was the only "companion" book for WK. And I still get phone calls from parents who are less than thrilled this was sent home. So not everyone is a fan but Elementary School boys are and those are my customers!! These books are surprisingly higher level but are here because some of the Uuk and Gluuk and SuperBaby titles start even in the 2.9 area. For the most part these books are in the high 4s and low 5s.

Spaceheadz Series, John Scieszka. If you have not had a chance to read John Scieszka, why are you reading THIS? He is unique, hilarious and a smart, smart writer for all age levels. This four book series ranges from 4.2  4.6 and is a must have addition for all lK fans out there.

Origami Yoda Series, by Tom Angleberger. This series sees shelf time even less than WK. Aside from the I Survived Series OY has my longest hold lists. The comics are great fun for the readers and the stories are empowering. The AR level ranges from 4.6 to 4.9 for the entire series, a perfect suggestion for those kids almost at that WK level.

The Dork Diaries Series, by Rachel Renee Russell. I don't think I am supposed to tell anyone this but lately most of the kids checking out DD have been boys! There was a little hesitation at first but all kids love this series. My girls wait for the new copies to make their way to them and the boys grab it right off the shelf. This series ranges between 4.1 and 5.3 and engage those reluctant and struggling readers with the illustrations.

Return of the Jedi Series, by Jeffrey Brown. The first book in the series comes in at a 3.8 level and I can't find a level on The Return of the Padawan. I don't know if the title is too new or not AR leveled because of too many "cartoons". Either way, readers in this range will tear through these books. Another book that follows a kid  while he follows his personal strengths against some crazy challenges.

Big Nate Series by Lincoln Peirce. Along with Captain Underpants, BN was one of the first WK cousins. This is another series that makes me grit my teeth only because the level is actually solidly high (5.1 and up) but the comic styling and illustrations lure the younger readers. This book is more for the kids who have read WK and want more of the same-ish.

Totally Lame Vampire Series, by Tim Collins. I really am happy to have this three book series in our Library. Each book comes in at 6.7 and has been wonderful to offer my higher level readers who are still KIDS and enjoy the goofiness these books offer. Kids love werewolves, vampires and zombies - this series is proof that there ARE kid appropriate higher level books.