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Fiction for Early Readers

Early readers are classified as ages 4-8, though most of these selections are appropriate "read aloud" books for any age.

  • The Color WizardThe Color Wizard
    Barbara Brenner

    Children will love laughing along with the toe-tapping verse and magical artwork of this easy-to-read page turner as Wizard Gray paints his planet from castle door to sky in every color of the rainbow.

    Hardcover: 32 pages

  • The Dragon and the UnicornThe Dragon and the Unicorn
    Lynne Cherry

    The daughter of medieval King Valerio is visited by a unicorn and dragon who plead to have the forests of the realm preserved. A lovely book about forest conservation perfect for children ages 3-7. Lavish illustrations.

    Paperback: 36 pages

  • The Dragons Are Singing TonightThe Dragons Are Singing Tonight
    Jack Prelutsky

    Dragons aren't all the same, of course – some are amiable, some are disconsolate, and some are downright nasty. Here Prelutsky, who has written over 30 books of poetry for children, turns his considerable talents to the subject of dragons – a secret dragon, a thunder dragon, a mechanical dragon, even a lazy dragon who likes to sleep all day.

    Paperback: 40 pages

  • The Dragon's ScalesThe Dragon's Scales
    Sarah Albee

    When a hot-tempered dragon seizes the local bridge, the people of Berryville are cut off from their supply of beloved strawberries until they can correctly answer three questions related to weight. The grownups of the town are stumped, but one very smart little girl saves the day with some facts she learned in school.

    Paperback: 48 pages

  • Good Night, Good KnightGood Night, Good Knight
    Shelley Thomas

    When the Good Knight hears a "very large, very loud roar," he sets off on his faithful steed to determine its origin. Thus begins his visits to a cave where three lonely, young dragons are delaying their bedtime. Children will immediately recognize the tactics the wide-eyed serpents use as each request prompts another visit from the Good Knight. Only when he hears them snoring does he head back to the castle for his own night's rest.

    Paperback: 48 pages

  • The Great Redwall FeastThe Great Redwall Feast
    Brian Jacques

    The mice of Redwall Abbey are preparing a surprise feast for their abbot. To get him out of the way while preparations are made, a quest is invented. Particularly enchanting for early readers with older siblings who enjoy the epic adventures of the Redwall series.

    Paperback: 64 pages

  • How Droofus the Dragon Lost His HeadHow Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head
    Bill Peet

    Droofus the not-so-bad dragon is generally at peace with the world, and is kind to smaller animals. As a nice guy, he's not interested in laying waste to the countryside, even though some people expect him to.

    Paperback: 48 pages

  • Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon HatcherJeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
    Bruce Coville

    Jeremy Thatcher is plagued with all of the problems of a 12-year-old. He is pursued by Mary Lou Hutton, whom he detests, and is constantly put down by his teacher for reasons he doesn't understand. One day, in an effort to escape Mary Lou, Jeremy runs through alleys and side streets, finding himself in a part of town he has never seen. He enters a magic shop where he buys a strange egg. A dragon that only Jeremy and Mary Lou can see enters the picture.

    Paperback: 160 pages

  • King Arthur and the Round TableKing Arthur and the Round Table
    Hudson Talbott

    As a lad of only sixteen years, Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and thus became High King of all Britain. Just as he begins to arrange his court, twelve of the country's lesser kings, jealous of Arthur's glory, declare war on him. This war is fateful in more ways than one, for not only does it secure Arthur's place among his people, it also unites his destiny with that of Lady Guinevere. Richly illustrated with primarily double-page spreads.

  • The King's StiltsThe King's Stilts
    Dr. Seuss

    The King's passion is to run around the kingdom on his red stilts, but he never does so until after putting in a full day of grueling work. Never was there a harder working King than Birtram. He even signs papers while taking a bath at five in the morning! He feels very responsible, because the kingdom is threatened by natural disaster if he lets down his guard. Dr. Seuss classic about proper balance between work and fun.

    Hardcover: 56 pages

  • The Knight and the DragonThe Knight and the Dragon
    Tomie dePaola

    What happens when a sheepish knight and a not-so-fierce dragon fight for the very first time? It's no ordinary battle since the knight has to go to the castle library to learn about dragon-fighting and the dragon must dig through his ancestor's things to find out how to fight a knight.

    Paperback: 32 pages

  • Knight Who Was Afraid of the DarkThe Knight Who Was Afraid of the Dark
    Barbara Hazen

    Sir Fred takes fearsome spiders out of the castle bathtub in the daytime, but at night he sleeps with a bottle of fireflies, several candles, and a pet electric eel close by his bed. When Lady Wendylyn requests his company by the fountain at midnight, Sir Fred agonizes about going out in the dark. Yet he gallantly sets off into the night with his eel wrapped around his arm. The surprising and funny ending helps Sir Fred realize that the dark isn't so scary when you're with someone.

    Paperback: 32 pages

  • Magic in the MistMagic in the Mist
    Margaret Mary Kimmel

    Thomas, living in west Wales, studies long and hard to become a wizard, with very little success. But on one remarkable day he listens to the song of a small toad and notices the beginnings of magic.

    Hardcover: 32 pages

  • Merlin and the DragonsMerlin and the Dragons
    Jane Yolen

    Young King Arthur, troubled by nightmares, doubts he is the rightful king of England. One rainy night, the wizard Merlin tells Arthur the story of dueling dragons and a fateful clash between good and evil, which reveals the surprising secret of the boy king's true legacy. Illustrated with dramatic oil paintings.

    Paperback: 40 pages

  • Paper Bag PrincessThe Paper Bag Princess
    Robert N. Munsch

    Elizabeth, a beautiful princess, lives in a castle and wears fancy clothes. Just when she's about to marry Prince Ronald, a dragon smashes her castle, burns her clothes, and kidnaps Ronald. Undaunted, she dons a large paper bag and sets off to find them. Once she's tracked them down, she flatters the dragon into performing all sorts of stunts that eventually exhaust him, allowing her to rescue Prince Ronald.

    Paperback: 23 pages

  • A Redwall Winter's TaleA Redwall Winter's Tale
    Brian Jacques

    The saga of a lively badger, mole, squirrel, and mouse denizens of Redwall Abbey. In this cozy story, Bungo the mole-babe and his friend, Tubspike the hedgehog maid, are beside themselves with excitement as they await some very special guests on the last day of autumn. Little do they know there's another even more special guest on his way.

    Paperback: 72 pages

  • The Reluctant DragonThe Reluctant Dragon
    Kenneth Grahame

    The boy who finds the dragon in the cave knows it is a kindly, harmless one, but how can he convince the frightened villagers and, especially, St. George the dragon killer that there is no cause for concern? By the author of The Wind in the Willows.

    Paperback: 48 pages

  • Saint George and the DragonSaint George and the Dragon
    Margaret Hodges

    In this adaptation of The Faerie Queen, George, the Red Cross Knight, slays the dreadful dragon that has been terrorizing the countryside for years and brings peace and joy to the land.

    Paperback: 32 pages

  • Sir Small and the DragonflySir Small and the Dragonfly
    Jane O'Connor

    When a dragonfly swoops over the town of Pee Wee and carries Lady Teena away, brave Sir Small rides off on his trusty ant vowing to rescue her. Bright watercolor illustrations.

    Paperback: 32 pages

  • The Sword in the StoneThe Sword in the Stone
    Grace MacCarone

    A short adaptation for young children of how King Arthur became king. Despite the boasting of grown men, only young Arthur is able to draw a sword from a stone, thereby becoming king. MacCrone's Arthur is a young boy, and he is "tricked" by Merlin into freeing the sword from the stone.

    Paperback: 32 pages

  • The Twelve Dancing PrincessesThe Twelve Dancing Princesses
    Ruth Sanderson

    This Grimm fairy tale tells the story of twelve royal sisters who are locked in their room each night. Mysteriously, by morning, all their shoes are worn out from dancing. With the help of a magic cloak, a humble, intelligent gardener solves the mystery. In the process, he wins the love of the youngest princess and the favor of the king. Richly detailed oil paintings.

    Paperback: 32 pages

  • Where Have the Unicorns Gone?Where Have the Unicorns Gone?
    Jane Yolen

    Long ago unicorns lived in a haven of sun-dappled glades and flower-filled dells. But as civilization spread over the ages – with its fierce knights, its chugging trains, its thick smogs – unicorns had to find a new sanctuary. But where? Jane Yolen finds a magical answer in the traditional unicorn myth.

    Paperback: 32 pages

  • The Winter ChildThe Winter Child
    Wendy Froud

    All the woodland creatures have gathered for the Midwinter festival, but this year something is wrong. The forest should be blanketed with snow, but the air remains warm, the leaves haven't fallen, and branches are still covered with autumn's fruit. From this mystery will come a quest, one in which a young faery named Sneezle and his friend, Twig, will confront menacing goblins and an evil sorcerer. Illustrated with photos of dolls by Wendy Froud, who has created dolls and puppets for movies and television shows, including The Muppet Movie and The Muppet Show.

    Hardcover: 64 pages

  • The Wizard, the Fairy, and the Magic ChickenThe Wizard, the Fairy, and the Magic Chicken
    Helen Lester

    When three boastful magicians try to outdo one another, they create a problem that can be solved only when they work together.

    Paperback: 32 pages