Six incredible illustrated chapter books for 7-9 year olds
Published on: 01 June 2021 Author: Pippa Curnick
Picture books don't just have to be aimed at younger readers - there's plenty that older children can enjoy in a sumptuously illustrated chapter book! Indigo Wilde and the Creatures at Jelly Bean Crescent author Pippa Curnick shares some of her favourites.
Author Pippa Curnick and her book, Indigo Wilde and the Creatures at Jelly Bean Crescent
When times are tough, like they have been for a while now, it’s more important than ever to be able to escape into a good book. Whether it’s a story that’s jam-packed with adventure, side-splittingly funny, or something more heartfelt, what better sort of book to escape into than one that has lots of lovely pictures to look at, too?
So, here are my best illustrated chapter books for 7-9 year olds:
Illustration by Alex T. Smith
Mr Penguin and the Catastrophic Cruise by Alex T. Smith
Mr Penguin is a top-notch detective and is always on the lookout for mysteries to solve, even when he’s on holiday. When he boards a luxury cruise ship with his friend, Colin the spider, he soon realises that something incredibly fishy is going on and it’s his duty to get to the bottom of it.
This is the third book in the Mr Penguin series and it’s just as laugh-out loud funny as the first two. With beautiful illustrations, slapstick humour and a healthy dose of adventure, there is nothing not to love.
Rabbit and Bear: Attack of the Snack by Julian Gough and Jim Field
When a mysterious Something lands with a splash in Rabbit and Bear’s lake, Rabbit is absolutely certain that it is a rabbit-eating monster and wants to lock it up, while Bear is much more level headed. When the creature wakes up, it’s not quite as scary as Rabbit had assumed. This is a story that teaches about the importance of not jumping to conclusions, or judging others, through hilariously relatable characters with big personalities. Jim Field’s illustrations are, as ever, wonderfully characterful and you’ll want to frame every one of them on your wall.
Illustration: Lydia Corry
The Tindims of Rubbish Island by Sally Gardener and Lydia Corry
If you’re looking for a series that teaches about the importance of conservation in a unique and imaginative way, then look no further.
The Tindims are tiny folk that collect rubbish thrown into the ocean by us humans (Long Legs) and turn it into useful stuff. With clothes made from tea towels and bubble wrap, and their entire island made from rubbish, the Tindims are master recyclers. Their motto is 'rubbish today, treasure tomorrow' but when the pile of plastic bottles they’ve collected turns into a mountain, they begin to wonder whether the stuff thrown into the ocean by the Long Legs is really treasure at all.
The illustrations are packed with lovely details and are sure to spark important conversations about how we can all be kinder to our planet.
Illustration: Levi Pinfold
The Last Bear by Hannah Gold and Levi Pinfold
When April moves to a remote island in the Arctic Circle, she is expecting it to be wild, but when she meets the last polar bear on Bear Island, a great friendship blooms in the wilderness. A poignant and heartfelt story about the relationship between humans and animals and how our actions (or inaction) are threatening the planet. This is sure to be a classic that will undoubtedly be read again and again. The stunning black and white illustrations are full of drama and will make you fall in love with the characters, and Bear Island, even more.
Fabio the World's Greatest Flamingo Detective: Peril at Lizard Lake by Laura James and Emily Fox
When Fabio Flamingo and Gilbert Giraffe crash land their plane in the savannah, all Fabio wants is a glass of pink lemonade. But there is no water to be found anywhere and no water means nothing to drink. Where has the water gone? It’s down to Fabio to find out.
This is the third book in this wonderful series and it is just as action-packed as those before it. The illustrations are spectacularly vibrant and make you want to keep turning the pages to see what happens next.
Illustration: Adam Stower
King Coo: The Thing From Space by Adam Stower
It’s tricky to pick a favourite from this series because all three books are absolutely brilliant. After much deliberation, The Thing From Space just snapped the number one spot. It has plenty of mystery and sees Ben and his best friend King Coo (a brilliantly fearless, bearded girl) go on an extra-terrestrial adventure. This time, some very strange things are happening and it’s down to Ben and Coo to find out exactly what is going on. With lots of fabulous illustrations, you won’t be able to put it down.
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