Best books for seven year olds: chapter books
Short chapters, charming characters, hilarious storylines, beautiful illustrations and rich language make these books the perfect pick for seven year olds.
One Christmas Wish by Katherine Rundell(£14.99, Bloomsbury)
From the author of the best-selling Rooftoppers and The Wolf Wilder comes this delightfully festive book. From the opening page you are immediately immersed in Christmas. Theo is left alone with his babysitter, who is fast asleep at the kitchen table. He begins putting up the Christmas tree and finds an old decoration box that smells of spices. It is home to four decorations – a robin, a tin soldier, a rocking horse and an angel – that have certainly seen better days. When he spots a shooting star in the sky, Theo wishes with every inch of his heart to no longer be alone. Moments later the decorations spring to life, ready to wreak a little Christmas havoc! This beautifully illustrated book is a real seasonal treat – cosy, gentle, warm and witty, it’s perfect for reading whilst snuggled up by the fire.
Desirable by Frank Cottrell Boyce(£2.99, Barrington Stoke)
Self-confessed loser and geek George is socially inept and would rather spend time playing Warhammer than actually speaking to people. On his birthday, George’s Grandad gives him a bottle of aftershave called Desirable and suddenly his life changes. At school he discovers that the magical aftershave has made him irresistible! But is being popular all it’s cracked up to be and how will George cope? This little book is great fun – witty, funny and touching. The characters are likeable and George is an amusing narrator. The short chapters make it perfect for this age group.
The Princess in Black and The Perfect Princess Party by Shannon and Deal Hale(£6.99, Walker Books)
Who says princesses don’t wear black? It’s Princess Magnolia’s birthday and pink balloons are strewn everywhere. She puts on her favourite fluffy dress and polishes her glass slippers but then suddenly her glitter-stone rings. It’s the monster alarm! Along with her trusty sidekick, Frimplepants the faithful pony, she must defeat the goat-eating monsters that ravage the neighbouring village. But will she be able to do so without alerting her party guests to the fact that she in fact The Princess in Black? This is a simple but exciting read, full of humour. Each chapter is short and zips along at a rip-roaring pace and there are plenty of laughs to be had as the young princess tries to hide her secret identity whilst also attempting to defeat a number of goat-munching beasties. A likeable, fun story.
Arthur and the Golden Rope by Joe Todd-Stanton(£12.99, Flying Eye Books)
Welcome to the Brownstone family vault – a collection of strange artefacts and historical objects from every corner of the globe. In the vault is a prized collection of books, which contain tales of long forgotten lands, monstrous creatures and powerful gods. The first adventure in this series is about Arthur, the unlikeliest of heroes, who must save his town from a terrifying black wolf. This is a wonderful introduction to Norse mythology: quirky, exciting and full of action. Arthur is a likeable, plucky, intelligent and brave character and there’s a lovely message too about how everyone and anyone possesses the power to achieve incredible things. The book comes complete with gorgeous maps, panelled illustrations reminiscent of a comic book and is full of adventure and mystery. It will certainly win over both boys and girls and is a real treat.
Theseus and the Minotaur and Arachne versus Athene by Marcia Williams(£4.99, Walker Books)
Greek myths are a marvellous way to engage and motivate this age group – they are among the most exciting, thrilling stories ever told and feature brave heroes and heroines and dangerous, monstrous creatures. In this book, Marcia Williams retells the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. The Minotaur is a huge and powerful beast who lives in a labyrinth, a ‘miraculous maze of twists and turns’. Theseus, King Aegeus’s son, volunteers to venture into the labyrinth and kill the terrifying creature. What follows is an enthralling journey, full of mythical beasts, spurned lovers and brave warriors. Williams also retells the story of boastful Arachne who stupidly challenges the goddess Athene to a weaving competition, which ends disastrously for the arrogant young girl. Williams is a fine story-teller and these stories are irresistibly entertaining.
Warning! This book contains giant lizard monsters, terrible crimes and cake! Pigsticks and Harold are excited – it’s the day before the Butterfly Ball and someone will win the Spirit of Tuptown Prize! Harold is tasked with making a statue for the winner but the next morning he makes a shocking discovery – the statue has disappeared! Pigsticks and Harold vow to track down the thief and find the statue. But will they be able to solve this dastardly crime in time to save the Butterfly Ball? This silly, funny book is a hoot from start to finish. Pigsticks makes for a brilliant detective and there’s plenty of opportunity for youngsters to guess at the culprit as the story hurtles along. Children will love the jokes, the zany adventure and the book’s sense of mischief too.
Superdad’s Day Off by Phil Earle(£6.99, Barrington Stoke)
Stanley is a normal boy. He is of normal height, normal weight and his head is full of normal things. Everything in Stanley’s life is normal… except for his dad, who is a superhero called Dynamo Dan! Dynamo Dan is constantly at the ready to save the world from robbers, comets and bad guys who kidnap the Queen. But all this saving the world is tiring, so Mum decides that every Friday Dad will have the day off. Stanley, of course, is delighted! He gets to spend time with his dad, after all. But one Friday, Dad and Stan are constantly interrupted by people in need of help, including a panther that is stuck up a tree! Can they save the day? This is a lovely story about the bond between Stanley and his dad and will resonate with fathers everywhere. It is also witty and funny – aliens, bath time floods and monster trucks all feature in a range of bizarre missions. It’s brilliant too to see ‘normal’ Stanley take control of each situation as his poor dad yawns away in the background, too tired to move after a week of fighting crime and saving the world.
Horse Pie by Dick King-Smith(£5.99, Young Corgi)
Three magnificent horses are in terrible danger… This classic story takes place in a large, tree-shaded field in front of the Old Horses' Home. When Jenny, a retired seaside donkey, arrives at the home, Captain, Ladybird and Herbert are horrified. Whilst they move with dignity and strength, they also look down their great noses at Jenny. A donkey… in a horse’s home! Whatever next! But when shadowy, shady rustlers come one dark night to kidnap the horses, ship them to France and turn them into horse meat, it is up to Jenny to save the horses. This is a quaint, delightful and pleasingly enjoyable book. There’s excitement, well-drawn characters and just enough danger to entertain and captivate this age group.
Mr Majeika by Humphrey Carpenter(£4.99, Puffin)
It’s a cold, wet Monday morning and the children in Class 3 at St Barty’s Primary School are waiting for their new teacher to arrive. Suddenly a window flies open and an old man with bright eyes, floats in on a magic carpet. It’s Mr Majeika! What follows is a delightful story full of magic and wonder. This classic story has it all: a school bully who is turned into a frog, magic chips for lunch, rulers being transformed into snakes and a flying headteacher! It's perfect for this age group – the characters are lively and humorous and each chapter presents a magical new adventure sure to amuse young readers.
Mango and Bambang Superstar Tapir by Polly Faber(£8.99, Walker Books)
In this lovely illustrated collection of short stories, Mango and her delightfully curious tapir Bambang partake in a number of amusing adventures. They have a snow day indoors and snaffle lemon sorbet with cream soda and whipped cream for breakfast and then race outside into the sun to go sledging. Next, after devising a plan to skip clarinet and flamenco practice, they visit the fair and venture into a gloomy tent supposedly containing Tutankhamun’s hair and a range of other strange artefacts. A number of clues lead them to an exciting discovery involving a thief and smuggler. Will they be able to stop this dastardly criminal before the end-of-the-fair firework show? The appeal of this book lies not only in the exciting, silly adventures but also in the affectionate relationship between the two main characters, which is beautifully and wittily portrayed. Definitely a modern classic and perfect for this age group!