Back again, with one of my favorite kid lit book series recently, the adorable Starla Jean series by Elana K Arnold, illustrated by A.N Kang. Let’s talk about it!
The real debate here is if this is an easy reader series. Well, I don’t do a chapter book series, so I declare it is! This could easily be a Level.3 Easy reader, but the publisher upped the quality and my library shelves it in JUV Fiction. Arnold’s a strong writer–she’s got lots of JUV FIC credits, but I think Starla Jean would resonate best with developing readers who are looking for the thicket books in the easy reader series, rather than the thinner books in Juvenile Fiction.
Starla Jean: Which Came First: The Chicken or the Friendship?
“I never thought she would catch the chicken, ” Starla Jean’s dad laments but Starla Jean can do anything she sets her mind too, and after seeing a scrawny chicken in the park, she knows she has to save it and bring it home. At home, of course, she has to learn more about being the pet owner of a chicken, and deal with Opal Egg’s real owner knocking on their door. This is an adorable kick-off for a new series, reminiscent of Marisol Rainey, Yasmin, and a smidge of Junie B Jones.
This is a Level 3 easy reader or a lower level chapter book–it has chapter, but it’s also very slimly written. Enough that there’s a plot, but not a ton of extraneous prose. The illustrations are really important in this story as well.
Starla Jean Takes the Cake
It’s Starla Jean’s sister Willa’s first birthday, and Starla Jean wants Opal Egg to lay an egg to use in the cake. The problem is, a watched hen never lays an egg. She tries cheering her on, giving her a relaxing massage, etc. But then, the morning of Willa’s birthday, Opal Egg is sitting upon the biggest, furriest egg Starla Jean’s ever seen, but oops, it’s the next door neighbor’s kitten.
This is a cute follow up—a little bit wordier, but still adorable.
Starla Jean Cracks the Case
This third Starla Jean book takes Opal Egg on a walk–but you can’t really walk a chicken, they have a mind of their own—and along the way Starla Jean, Willa, and their friends discover some uniquely colored beads that blend into the environment. Who did they belong to? Opal Egg’s old owner, Dani, of course! More than a mystery, this is more of a “keep adding people to the journey until the answer is found” book, and not as wordy as book 2, but a solid third book.
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