British author, Jill Tomlinson is one of my favourite authors for serial-reading in the library. Each chapter of her animal stories stands alone and the humour and the characterisation (really anthropomorphism) sustains the story until the next week and the next lesson. For me it is hard to reconcile Jill's multiple sclerosis pain with her humour, but I am sure it is the fact that she could not physically do the writing herself, that makes The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark and Penguin's Progress (renamed The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out) read aloud so well. These two stories never let me down. I read the first to Year 1 and the second to Year 2 every year and then they read the rest of her books themselves. Paul Howard who illustrated the new editions of the chapter books has also published some of the titles in picture book formats, and while they are beautiful, the text has been abridged and much of the humour has been lost. Therefore your library really needs to have both the chapter books and the picture books.
See tomorrow's entry for Diane Stanley and David Metzenthen.