It is a crucial time when children start learning to read for themselves. The time when their interest and enthusiasm for reading and books can either be piqued, or lost. Therefore, finding engaging, fun and helpful early readers is so vitally important. It’s a stage in children’s book life that we get the most enquiries about in the library.
Maverick arts publishing have just released their own set of early readers. The Maverick Early Readers consist of bright colourful books covering 8 reading bands from pink to purple. These books go through a vigorous editing process and then are checked and endorsed by the Institute of Education, resulting in a carefully produced set of ideally pitched first reading books.
I was sent two books from each of the three earliest, and most popular bands, pink, red and yellow to look at. Considering this is one of the most commonly asked for type of book, I was excited and keen to look at what Maverick have brought to the table, and I have to say, I was incredibly impressed by the quality of these books. The pink and red bands contain two stories in each book, with an introduction page on each one. The introduction page is fabulous. It contains a high frequency letter that the children can trace with their finger, in both upper and lower case. A selection of high frequency words contained within the story and some guidance for adults on how to best use the book. It’s absolutely wonderful supportive and helpful first page for both children and adults.
The yellow bands contain just one story per book and at the end a little quiz to help establish how much the child reader has understood about the story. It’s not only an incredibly useful tool for teachers, parents and carers, but also a fun little challenge for children! I mentioned this page to a friend of mine, whose youngest child has just started to read, and her response was “oh great! She loves a quiz!” So it’s a genius little addition to add an element of fun to early readers, while also helping parents and carers to gauge a child’s comprehension.
Within all the books, speech is written in speech bubbles, allowing children to easily identify when a character is talking, or when the words are descriptive. The lettering is big, bold and clearly spaced making it easy for young fingers to follow words and read. These books have been thoughtfully put together, with careful design, educational consideration, and, most vitally, fun storytelling which will engage and excite young children. An ideal start to early reading.
The thing that impressed me most about the books I received, and looking through the rest of the catalogue are the illustrations. The illustration quality is superb here. Each book is bright, colourful, fun and bold, with lovely appealing modern characters and dynamic scenes. Izzy Wizzy! illustrated by Louise Forshaw contains the most adorable frizzy orange haired witch, who struggles with her spells, until she learns that the word “please” will get her exactly what she wants. The illustrations are glorious. Uncluttered, bright, friendly and appealing, but also carefully support the text, to aid the young reader, which is important at this first stage. I also adored Giusi Capizzi’s illustrations in Cool Duck and Lots of Hats. The disney-esque characters in this story have so much appeal and personality, which bounce off the page, again with bold bright colours and simple focused illustration work, it’s really cleverly created artwork here to spark interest and enjoyment of younger readers, whilst also lending a helping hand supporting the written words. The whole series of younger readers have varied, but consistently high quality illustrations.
Younger readers, at this early stage, by their nature and purpose are required to have very little writing to them and simple stories. All of the books I was sent have this, but the stories aren’t dull, they are still written to be fun and engaging for children and this is incredibly important in igniting a love of reading at these challenging stages.
I must applaud all of the authors and illustrators involved in these books for their brilliant and perfectly pitched work here. It’s a tricky level to target, but all involved have done a superb job. Younger reader books are certainly getting better generally as we realise the importance of nurturing children’s love of reading early on, and Maverick arts publishing have really pulled out all the stops with their very own collection. I’m hugely impressed with the high quality of their younger readers’ series. If you want bright, colourful, funny and entertaining, yet well designed and educational books for young children, then I’d suggest giving these a go.
I just wanted to add a quick update to this review. I have since shown these early readers to a few parenting friends and they are getting a big thumbs up from everyone, one Mum of a young reader commenting that “these are fantastic!”.
Marverick early readers are available across all reading bands now from all good bookshops and libraries.
To find out more about Maverick children’s books, please check out their website:
Thank you for reading this Book Monster review.