Meet Mercy Watson: she loves buttered toast, and she’s a porcine* wonder. These are wonderful early chapter books. Vibrant illustrations and short chapters full of action make them great choices for read alouds to the preschool or kindergarten crowd who might still be learning how to sit through a chapter book; they also work well for those new to reading chapter books. The text rolls off your tongue, making these easy to read aloud with expression without prior practice. This also makes them good candidates for books that an older sibling (who hasn’t had a lot of read-aloud experience) could read to a younger sibling. *Porcine is pronounced ‘poor-sine’ (long “i”)

Each book adds 1 or 2 new characters to the delightful line-up already present. Many make reappearances, especially Mercy’s neighbors, sisters Baby and Eugenia Lincoln. DiCamillo has a knack for characterization even given the limited text of this early chapter book. The illustrations flesh out these characters nicely.

One step up from Beginning Readers, they will most likely reside in your library’s juvenile section along with Kate DiCamillo’s other (longer) charming books (Tale of Despereaux, Because of Winn-Dixie, Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,…). All are great read aloud selections, but the Mercy Watson books are particularly fun for the younger crowd. My three will sit through an entire book in one sitting and often beg to take the “pig book” to bed with them. As a matter of fact, we’re having buttered toast this morning in honor of Mercy Watson!

  • Mercy Watson to the Rescue
  • Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride
  • Mercy Watson Fights Crime
  • Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise
  • Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig
  • Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes
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