Friday, April 18, 2014

The Notebook of Doom Series

I am always on the lookout for books that developing readers will enjoy. In the fourth grade it can be hard to find books with a lower readability that 10 year olds, who are still developing as readers, will want to read. Recently, I found a series some of my students are really responding to. 
by Troy Cummings
Published by Scholastic

From Goodreads
This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Summary of book #1 The Notebook of Doom: Balloon Goons from Goodreads
Alexander has just moved to a new town where he is about to uncover all sorts of monsters! He finds an old notebook with the word "DOOM" inscribed on the front cover. The Notebook of Doom, which Alexander now holds, contains top secret information about monsters! In this first book, Alexander goes up against spooky balloon goons--unique and twisted arm-waving balloon guys! This book is full of humor, engaging black-and-white illustrations, and of course . . . monsters!

My Thoughts
I like this series for several reasons. Too often early chapter books have a low readability level, but the story is not exactly exciting. These books are written at about a second grade level but they have interesting plots and characters. The events are fast-paced and are accompanied with an illustration or graphic on each page. They are funny and suspenseful. At around 100 pages the books are long enough to feel like a chapter book, but not too long that developing readers are intimidated. 
With 4 books currently published and one due to be released in August, kids will have plenty of books to keep them motivated. I strongly encourage any parent or teacher to introduce students in grades 2-4 to this series. 


  1. Thank you sooo soo much for the suggestion. I have a 4th grader that has Dyslexia and reading is not something he likes. He is getting so much better, but it's hard to find stuff he is interested in. These sound like they are right up his alley.