We are big fans of the Orion Early Reader books and recently Mr Z has been trying out some new titles in their range. I always find these books perfect for him at age 5 (almost 6) and we are really enjoying collecting them. With plenty of pictures throughout, they are not too daunting for early readers but still feel much more grown up in format than a younger child’s picture book.
Orion Early Reader books are split into two bands: red and blue. Blue is the slightly easier level “perfect for sharing and reading together” and red is “the next step on your reading journey” We do notice that the red books are slightly longer overall and have some more challenging words in them compared to the blue band.
The first book Mr Z read was: “Where are my lambs” by Francesca Simon, the author of Horrid Henry
This is a simple story all about two cheeky lambs, Tilly and Tam, who run off to hide instead of coming in when their mum calls. The story is then about the mother sheep hunting for her two lambs and asking all of the other animals for help.
The is one of the easier early reader books I’ve seen and the story is pretty simple so it’s ideal for those just starting out. I thought it may be too basic a story to keep Mr Z’s interest but he did still enjoy the book and it kept his attention well enough. There is a quiz at the end so that you can make sure your little one has listened or read the story and absorbed the key information, a very important skill.
The story covers lots of farm animals and animal sounds, and is illustrated in a cute and quirky style by Emily Bolam. It’s sure to be a hit for children who are into animal and it would be a great one for a child at the start of their reading journey. Mr Z liked that it was achievable enough for him so he did not get frustrated reading this at all.
Next up is: Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots by Claire Burgess
This is a sweet story all about two sisters who grow some carrots together and proudly get some great results. It starts of with the girls going to the garden centre to buy the seeds and you read along with their whole journey until the carrots are ready to be eaten up. Mr Z and Mr T like to plant their own seeds sometimes so they enjoyed reading this story, and it’s great that at the end of the story all of the instructions are repeated briefly so that your child can use it as a guide.
Again, the level is just right for Mr Z without having the page too full with words for him to get intimidated. The book is lovely with the great relationship between the two sisters, a helpful neighbour, and the message that it’s fun to grow and eat vegetables which is always a positive one to reinforce!
And last but not least, Monstar Finds a Home by Steve Cole
Monstar finds a home is a red level book, so slightly more advanced than the previous two. (Although the image for Where are my Lambs is shown with a red band, this is a blue level book.) The book is split into seven chapters, so that children can read it in manageable chunks. The whole book is 72 pages so it can be a bit long for some children to read the whole thing in one bedtime. Mr Z would rather read a few chapters at a time. The language is still very manageable for this age group though.
The story is all about a family where the mum and dad are crazy scientist inventors, so nothing is ever normal. The children asked for a pet but instead of just a regular pet they created a special Monstar to be their pet. She is a green fluffy monster who loves to eat green porridge and can be a little naughty although the children love her a lot. The parents start to get annoyed with Monstar breaking things and causing trouble so they asked her to live outside, but then when a porridge flood starts to get out of control in the town Monstar saves the day!
It’s a lovely story with plenty of humour to help encourage the children to read on. Mr Z enjoyed this book, it’s a perfect choice for his book case. There are other Monstar books available from Orion so we may need to check them out!
You may also be interested in our reviews of other Orion Early Reader titles:
If you have a 5 year old, what do they like to read? Share your recommendations with me in the comments