Two great chapter books for your children this Christmas

If you’re looking for some great children’s books for your 6-9 year olds as part of their holiday gifts, I have two great suggestions for you: My Pet Show Panic by Betty G. Birney and SWITCH: Spider Stampede by Ross Colins, both from WHSmith’s Richard and Judy Collection.

Humphrey is a cute little hamster who lives in a classroom (Room 26) of Longfellow School. He gets to go home with a different student each weekend. His cage, however, has a ‘lock that doesn’t lock’ and so he’s able to sneak in and out in search of adventure. Of course, sometimes too much adventure can get you into trouble!

In this the first book in the Humphrey’s Tiny Tales series, our little hamster goes home with A.J., who has planned to take him to the Pet Show and is set on winning a prize. In the pet show, Humphrey notices that a box next to him seems to be getting a lot of attention. He tries to see what’s inside it, to no avail, so he decides to sneak out of his cage and take a look. Unfortunately, Clem the stinky dog is running around free and chases after him. Suddenly, Humphrey doesn’t care about winning a prize anymore—he’d much rather stay alive!

This is an absolutely adorable chapter book for kids ages 6 to 8. Humphrey is a character to fall in love with. Told in simple language for early and/or reluctant readers, the story is full of action and fun twists and turns that will keep kids turning pages. There’s a lot of lively, fun language and Humphrey’s distinct personality shines through. The simple line drawings are really cute and perfectly complement the text. At the end of the book there are plenty of activities to keep children entertained: word searches and grids, puzzles, games and jokes. This is a children’s book sure to get some new fans, so don’t be surprised if your child asks for more books in the series.

SWITCH: Spider Stampede by Ross Colins is also a chapter book but I’d say it is geared at kids who are more proficient in reading. It has more text than Humphrey’s Tiny Tales and will especially appeal to boys, if only because both protagonists are boys. It is certainly filled with the stuff that boy readers like most: nonstop action, spying and adventure, not to mention giant creepy crawlers and chemical potions with amazing capabilities.

Our protagonists are 8-year olds Danny and Josh, two brothers who live next door to a strange old woman—if we can call it an old women, for she happens to be a brilliant ‘mad’ scientist with a secret underground laboratory. One day, searching for their little dog Piddle, the two brothers accidentally end up in the lab doused in a weird yellow substance that later transform them into spiders… and so the real adventure begins as they try to stay alive against predators, figure out what happened to them and how to turn back into their human form.

SWITCH: Spider Stampede is sure to delight young readers ages 6 to 9. The lively line drawings will further get their attention. If you’re looking for a new chapter book series to hook your child with this holiday season, be sure to check this one out!


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