Inexpensive and Lightweight Chapter Book Series to Send With Your Child On the Bus (Part One: Box Sets)

Summer is now coming to an end for many children throughout the country. Soon, if not already, your child will step on that yellow school bus and travel back to school. She or he will need a backpack, a good water bottle, a lunch box, notebooks and other school supplies. In addition, you may want to pack a small book to amuse your child on the bus, before school starts and during other quiet times. In fact, my daughter’s school requires students to bring reading with them. Of course, kids being kids, books might come back damaged or not at all. You probably don’t want to send in expensive hardcover books with your child and library books, while always a good option, might go missing. So, I assembled a list of series books that are entertaining to read, lightweight and cost under $5 each on Amazon.com. For the record, I am an Amazon affiliate. For the first post (Part One), I will focus on available box sets for different chapter book series. Purchasing a box set can help reduce costs, as a set is often cheaper than individual books. But of course, not all series are available as sets, so I included other paperback series books and small game books in my second post (Part Two).

Part One: 16 Chapter Book Box Sets That Promote Reading

The collections are listed from easiest to hardest guided reading level according to Scholastic. All of these books can be read individually or as a set. These books are primarily intended for first through sixth graders. Feel free to comment or email me at lizATchildrensbookbin.com with any questions.

The Frog and Toad Collection Box Set
By Arnold Lobel
Includes: Frog and Toad All Year, Frog and Toad Are Friends, and Frog and Toad Together
Premise: Frog and Toad are best friends. Frog is patient; Toad is a bit silly. Together, they have been entertaining children for over 40 years. Good for kids who are beginning readers and animal lovers.
My Daughter’s Rating: Liked It
Cost for the Collection: $9.50
Cost Per Book: $3.17
Reading Level for Frog and Toad Are Friends According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 2.4, Lexile Measure®: 400L, Guided Reading: K

The Judy Moody Uber-Awesome Collection: Books 1-9
By Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Includes: Judy Moody, Judy Moody Gets Famous!, Judy Moody Saves the World!, Judy Moody Predicts the Future, Judy Moody, M.D. The Doctor Is In, Judy Moody Declares Independence, Judy Moody: Around the World in 8½ Days, Judy Moody Goes to College, and Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday
Premise: Judy Moody has many moods (and adventures). Good for kids who enjoy clever dialogue and a bit of sassiness.
My Daughter’s Rating: Loved it
Cost for the Collection: $30.95
Cost Per Book: $3.44
Reading Level for Judy Moody According to Scholastic: Grade level Equivalent: 3.5, Lexile Measure®: 530L, Guided Reading: L

Stink: The Super-Incredible Collection: Books 1-3
By Megan McDonald

Includes: Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker, and Stink and the World’s Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers
Also available: Stink: Absolutely Astronomical Collection: Books 4-6
Premise: Stink is Judy Moody’s goofy (but smart) little brother. His amusing antics are entertaining for both girls and boys. Good for kids who like funny books and science.
My Daughter’s Rating: Loved it
Cost for the Collection: $10.77
Cost Per Book: $3.59
Reading Level of Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 2.5, Lexile Measure®: 480L, Guided Reading: L

Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4
By Mary Pope Osborne
Includes: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon
Also available: Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-28
Premise: Jack and Annie are normal siblings until they discover a magical tree house that travels through space and time. Good for fantasy fans and future Dr. Who viewers. This is also the most educational series on the list.
My Daughter’s Rating: Loved it
Cost for the Collection: $11.67
Cost Per Book: $2.92
Reading Level of Dinosaurs Before Dark According to Scholastic: Grade level Equivalent: 2.5, Lexile Measure®: 240L, Guided Reading: M

Ivy & Bean’s Secret Treasure Box (Books 1-3)
By Annie Barrows
Includes: Ivy and Bean, Ivy, Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go, Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record, plus a special treasure box book
Also available: Ivy and Bean Boxed Set 2 and soon Ivy & Bean Boxed Set: Books 7-9
Premise: Ivy and Bean are neighbors that couldn’t be more different. Somehow they end up becoming best friends. Good for children who like reading about friendships.
My Daughter’s Rating: Loved it
Cost for Collection: $13.97
Cost Per Book: $4.66
Reading Level of Ivy and Bean According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 2.7, Lexile Measure®: 510L, Guided Reading: M

The Flat Stanley Collection Box Set
By Jeff Brown
Includes: Flat Stanley, Stanley in Space, Invisible Stanley, Stanley, Flat Again!
Premise: In Flat Stanley, Stanley is hit by a bulletin board and becomes flat. After many exciting events and travels, he regains his original shape. The series continues Stanley’s exploits. Good for kids who enjoy adventure stories.
My Daughter’s Rating: She has only read the first one, but she liked it O.K.
Cost for the Collection: $10.79
Cost Per Book: $2.70
Reading Level for Flat Stanley According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 4.4, Lexile Measure®: 640L, Guided Reading: M

A Collection of Katie: Books 1-4 (Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo)
By Nancy Krulik
Includes: Anyone But Me, Out to Lunch, Oh, Baby, and Girls Don’t Have Cooties.
Premise: A “magical wind” turns Katie into different people, such as the lunch ladies, babies and boys. Good for building empathy in children.
My Daughter’s Rating: Liked it
Cost for the Collection: $7.19
Cost Per Book: $1.80
Reading Level of Out to Lunch According to Scholastic: Grade level Equivalent: 3.5, Lexile Measure®: 610L, Guided Reading: M

Junie B. Jones’s First Boxed Set Ever! (Books 1-4)
By Barbara Park
Includes: Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying, Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth, Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business, and Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus
Premise: This is honestly not my favorite series, but tons of kids love Junie B. with her goofball stunts and babytalk. Good for children who like humor and over the top situations.
Also available: Junie B.’s Books in a Bus! (Books 1-27!)
My Daughter’s Rating: Liked it
Cost for the Collection: $12.07
Cost Per Book: $3.02
Reading Level of Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 2.1, Lexile Measure®: 410L, Guided Reading: M

The Boxcar Children Bookshelf (The Boxcar Children Mysteries, Books 1-12)
By Gertrude Chandler Warner
Includes: The Boxcar Children, Surprise Island, The Yellow House Mystery, Mystery Ranch, Mike’s Mystery
Premise: This series is over 70 years old, but children still enjoy reading about this group of orphans that lived in a boxcar and then moved in with their grandfather. Good for kids who like mysteries.
My Daughter’s Rating: Liked it
Cost for the Collection: $37.78
Cost Per Book: $3.15
Reading Level of The Boxcar Children According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 3.2, Lexile Measure®: 490L, Guided Reading: O

The Complete Ramona Collection
By Beverly Cleary
Includes: Beezus and Ramona, Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, Ramona and Her Father, Ramona and Her Mother, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona Forever, Ramona’s World
Premise: Ramona is the second-born daughter and can’t seem to do anything right. Good for mischievous children who love comedy and real world adventures.
My Daughter’s Rating: Loved it
Cost for the Collection: $29.48
Cost Per Book: $3.69
Reading Level for Beezus and Ramona According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 4.8, Lexile Measure®: 780L, Guided Reading: O

Box of Clementines, A (3-Book Paperback Boxed Set)
By Sara Pennypacker
Includes: Clementine, The Talented Clementine, Clementine’s Letter
Premise: Clementine is a high-spirited third graders who has many adventures. Good for Ramona lovers and children who like realistic fiction.
My Daughter’s Rating: Liked it
Cost for the Collection: $11.48
Cost Per Book: $3.83
Reading Level for Clementine According to Scholastic: Grade level Equivalent: 4.5, Lexile Measure®: 790L, Guided Reading: O

The New Captain Underpants Collection (Books 1-5)
By Dav Pilkey
Includes: The Adventures of Captain Underpants, Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets, Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space, Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, and Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman
Premise: Captain Underpants is actually an evil school principal who is periodically enchanted by a group of kids and turns into an extremely off the wall superhero. Good for kids who enjoy potty humor and slapstick.
My Daughter’s Rating: Loved it
Cost for the Collection: $20.46
Cost Per Book: $4.09
Reading Level of The Adventures of Captain Underpants According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 4.3, Lexile Measure®: 720L, Guided Reading: P

Encyclopedia Brown Box Set (4 Books)
By Donald J. Sobol
Includes: Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret Pitch, Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues, Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man
Premise: This is classic series about a boy who helps his police chief father solve mysteries. Good for kids who love mysteries.
My Daughter’s Rating: She hasn’t read it yet, but that will be fixed soon.
Cost for the Collection: $14.47
Cost Per Book: $3.61
Reading Level for Encyclopedia Brown According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 3.9, Lexile Measure®: 560L, Guided Reading: P

Judy Blume’s Fudge Box Set
By Judy Blume
Includes: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and Double Fudge.
Premise: Peter is fed up with his irresponsible and badly-behaved (but charming) little brother – Fudge. Good for kids who like funny books and reading about sibling dynamics.
My Daughter’s Rating: Liked it
Cost for the Collection: $20.46
Cost Per Book: $4.09
Reading Level for Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 4.9, Lexile Measure®: 470L, Guided Reading: Q

The Spiderwick Chronicles, the Complete Series
By Tony DiTerlizzi
Includes: The Field Guide, The Seeing Stone, Lucinda’s Secret, The Ironwood Tree, The Wrath of Mulgrath
Premise: Children move into a house only to discover that it is inhabited with magical creatures – many of them dangerous. This is a great early choice for fantasy fans.
My Daughter’s Rating: Loved it
Cost for the Collection: $23.38
Cost Per Book: $4.68
Reading Level for the Field Guide According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 4.1, Lexile Measure®: 600L, Guided Reading: Q

E. B. White Box Set
By E.B. White
Includes: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan
Premise: This set includes three great children’s classics. Good for animal lovers and strong readers.
My Daughter’s Rating: Loved it
Cost for the Collection: $14.48
Cost Per Book: $4.83
Reading Level for Charlotte’s Web According to Scholastic – Grade level Equivalent: 4, Lexile Measure®: 680L, Guided Reading: R

For more suggestions, continue to Part Two of this post!

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6 thoughts on “Inexpensive and Lightweight Chapter Book Series to Send With Your Child On the Bus (Part One: Box Sets)

  1. Brittany

    Great round up! The Boxcar Children and Ramona were always my childhood favorites, and I love the idea of having the boxed set – great gift ideas, too!

    Stopping by via the Kid Lit Blog Hop
    Brittany

  2. Reshama

    We just got started with the Magic tree house set, so excited about the series. Thanks for sharing on the hop!
    -Reshama @StackingBooks

  3. Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

    What a great post – we have definitely checked out a few of these books! My kids loved the Magic Tree House books. It was among the only books that I could read aloud to both my children for a while (I have a boy and a girl who are 3.5 years apart.) My daughter also loves the Judy Bloom books. I remember loving those when I was a young girl as well. Thanks for linking in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. 🙂

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