8 Peculiar Chapter Books for Inquisitive Kids

by ParentCo. January 01, 2018

Animals walking

Jacqueline Kennedy once said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.” A good book can feed a child’s imagination and desire to learn. When the time comes, chapter books add depth to this reading experience. Unlike picture books for younger readers, a chapter book tells a story primarily through prose, rather than pictures. Yet, unlike books for older readers, they still contain lively and poignant illustrations. If your child is particularly adventurous or curious, consider stories with unusual characters or plots. Need some help? Here are eight peculiar chapter books for inquisitive kids:


“Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes”

by Jonathan Auxier

Peter Nimble is a thief. And a blind orphan. One day, he steals a box from a mysterious traveling haberdasher. Inside are three pairs of magical eyes. He thinks this could be his lucky day. But after trying a pair, he is transported to a strange hidden island where he must complete a quest: to rescue the people of the Vanished Kingdom. Can he complete such a complicated task? Will he use his new eyes or his trusted instincts to save the day? “Auxier has a juggler's dexterity with prose that makes this fantastical tale quicken the senses,” says Kirkus Reviews.


“The Wild Robot”

by Peter Brown

Can a robot survive in the wilderness? This wonderfully curious book sets out to answer this question! Roz is alone when she firsts opens her eyes, alone on a wild and desolate island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is being on the lonely stretch of land. All she knows is that she needs to survive. Soon, she encounters raging storms, ferocious bear attacks, and unforgiving surroundings. She endures, and soon makes friends with the animals inhabiting the island. It finally feels like home, until her past comes back and changes her world.


Mirette on the High Wire

by Emily Arnold McCully

Mirette, the daughter of a widow, lives at a boardinghouse where life becomes a little humdrum. One day, a mysterious stranger arrives. Mirette discovers him crossing the courtyard on air, and pleads with him to teach her how to do it too. She doesn’t realize that the strange gentleman was once the Great Bellini, a master wire-walker. Now, after an accident, he is filled with fear. Can Mirette teach him to believe in himself again? The text is accompanied by “sweeping watercolor paintings carry the reader over the rooftops of 19th Paris and into an elegant, beautiful world of acrobats, jugglers, mimes, actors, and one gallant, resourceful little girl.”


The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School

by Fowler DeWitt (Author) and Rodolfo Montalvo (Illustrator)

Something very peculiar is happening in sixth grade, and student scientist Wilmer Dooley is determined to crack the case. Wilmer notices his classmates changing color. Some are green. Others are orange. And a few have turned chartreuse-fuchsia polka-dotted. Now, using his keen sense of observation, he’s set out to find the cause and cure this strange illness. Does he have what it takes to save sixth grade from the mysterious case of the contagious colors?


The House of the Scorpion

by Nancy Farmer

Matt was not born. He was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium. Matt was grown in a petri dish, and then his womb was placed inside of a cow. Although he is an ordinary boy, so he thinks, most consider him a monster. As he grows, Matt struggles to understand his existence and place in the world. Escape is his only hope. But soon he discovers his differences are more profound than anyone, including himself, could imagine.


The City of Ember

by Jeanne DuPrau

It is always night in the city of Ember. But there are no moon or stars. The city is illuminated by floodlamps that cast a yellowish glow over the streets 12 hours of the day. Ember is the last refuge for humans. Now, 200 years later, the lights are flickering. When friends, Lina and Doon, find an ancient message, they’re sure it holds a secret that can save the city. But have they run out of time?


The Extincts

by Veronica Cossanteli (Author) and Roman Muradov (Illustrator)

"Fans of unusual animals and mythology will enjoy this exciting mix of fantasy and realistic fiction, and Muradov’s swoopy spot illustrations make most of these cryptids and other creatures more cute than menacing,” says “Publishers Weekly.” George wants a new bike, so he sets off and tries to find a job. A help wanted ad at Wormestall Farm catches his eye. He decides to take a leap of faith and go for it. Much to his surprise and delight, he gets the position. But what awaits is not what he was expecting. Extinct creatures, mythological beings, new friends, and a maniacal taxidermist will keep him busy.



by Andrew Clements and Brian Selznick (Illustrator)

Nick Allen might be a troublemaker; a troublemaker that loves to egg on his teachers. One day, he decides to show his vocabulary-obsessed fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Granger, that if he wants to, he can invent a new word, and that word will end up in the dictionary. He’s sure of it. With the help of his friends, Nick succeeds in renaming a “pen” a “frindle.” Although Mrs. Granger acts annoyed, secretly, she’s rooting for frindle, and, Nick, despite his typical time-wasting schemes. Which peculiar chapter books for inquisitive kids would you add to this list? Share in the comments!



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