The Kids Are All Right

Fantasy Chapter Books, Grandparents, And More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! Some of my favorite books when I was in elementary school were fantasy, so today I thought I’d recommend some amazing fantasy chapter books for early readers. There’s so much more out there now than when I was a kid!

Before I get to those reviews, let me tell you about Book Riot’s New Release Index! Delighting velocireaders since 2017, Book Riot’s New Release Index will keep you in the know about all the latest books. New books for days. Subscribe today — you won’t be able to read them all, but it’s fun to try!

Bookish Goods

Book Lovers Wall Art by Lee White Illustration

Book Lovers Wall Art by LeeWhiteIllustration

This bookish fantasy print is so whimsical and lovely! $55

New Releases

My Dear Nuakuluapik by Jonas

My Dear Nuakuluapik by Irene Jonas, illustrated by Tindur Peturs (picture book)

In this endearing Indigenous intergenerational picture book, a young girl remembers everything she and her Nuakuluapik used to do together. Nuakuluapik means “my dear aunt” in Inuktitut, and Nuakuluapik was the girl’s mother’s mother. The girl spent her days with Nuakuluapik as her mother worked, helping her sew and playing with the toys Nuakuluapik made her. She also went camping with her and loved zooming across the snow in a snowmobile. Unfortunately, Nuakuluapik is no longer with them, but the girl is glad she has many memories with her.

Cover of The Story of Gumluck the Wizard by Rex

The Story of Gumluck the Wizard by Adam Rex (chapter book)

I have yet to read a book by Adam Rex that didn’t make me laugh out loud, and his latest fantasy chapter book is no exception. It’s told from the perspective of a cranky crow and her observations of the tiny wizard Gumluck and his blundering adventures. It’s a silly, super fun read full of magic and fairy tales. I don’t know if it’s going to become a series, but there’s definitely series potential.

In my list of August new releases, I also review Your One and Only Heart, Make a Move, Sunny Park!, and Totally Psychic, which release today. For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Here are four more fantasy chapter books for kids!

Cover of Unicorn Diaries: Bo's Magical New Friend by Elliott

Unicorn Diaries: Bo’s Magical New Friend by Rebecca Elliott

For readers just venturing into chapter books, Rebecca Elliott’s books are always my first recommendations. She has two extensive chapter book series: Owl Diaries and Unicorn Diaries. They’re heavily illustrated, really engaging, and very easy to follow along. The Unicorn Diaries series follows a unicorn named Bo Tinseltail as he attends school at Sparklegrove School for Unicorns. Every unicorn has one magical power, and Bo’s is to grant one wish per week. In book one — Bo’s Magical New Friend — Bo wishes for a friend, but he can’t grant wishes for himself!

Cover of Crimson Twill: Witch in the City by George

Crimson Twill: Witch in the City by Kallie George, illustrated by Birgitta Sif

Crimson Twill isn’t like other witches. She doesn’t like dressing in black and cackling and being spooky. Instead, she wears bright colors and skips and giggles. Crimson lives in the country but in this first book she’s visiting Broomingdale’s in New Wart City for the very first time! She has five gold coins to spend, but no idea what she’s going to buy. As she explores the store, shenanigans ensue, and she finds out that money can’t buy the thing she wants most of all — friends. There are currently two books in this fun series with a third releasing next year.

Cover of The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Hale

The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

The Princess in Black is another great chapter book series for children who are transitioning from readers to chapter books. The print is large and easy to follow, and there are lots of illustrations. Plus the stories are action-packed and super fun! There are currently 10 books in the series. In this one, the third book, a horde of adorable bunnies escape from Monster Land, but the Princess in Black is too charmed to fight them off. What harm could come from bunnies? But when the grass swiftly disappears and the bunnies begin hungrily eyeing the princess and her horse companion, she realizes there might be a problem. I just read this one last night with my daughter and we had lots of laughs!

Cover of Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows by Citro

Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows by Asia Citro, illustrated by Marion Lindsay

This is another fantasy series I absolutely adore. Zoey and her mom have a special ability: they can see magical creatures! These magical creatures visit her mom when they’re injured or in trouble, and she helps them and keeps track of their treatments in a journal. Now that Zoey can see the creatures too, she’s stepping in to help. In the first book, Zoey aids a baby dragon while her mother is away, with the help of her sweet cat Sassafras, of course!

Komodo dragons the kids are all right

Speaking of dragons, last week we went to the Nashville Zoo to see their Komodo dragon exhibit, which was really cool! But I overheard a hilarious conversation on the walk up to the exhibit. A person walking in the opposite direction was complaining about the zoo’s “false advertising” because the exhibit didn’t have real dragons. Uhm… Should I have told her? And just to be clear, this was an adult!

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

Until next time!

Margaret Kingsbury