Okay. I admit that I had to do a little research to learn what a chapter book was. I checked out several places online and I believe the best definition I found was that it was juvenile book which consisted of several chapters, depending on the length and complexity of the text. I also noticed that there were eager book sellers that were publishing small, simple books with totally unnecessary chapter breaks: I think the idea was to make it so simple that a trained chipmunk could puff up its self-esteem reading the book.
But let’s assume that chapter books are real and valuable and not just a publisher or educator scam to convince proud parents that their offspring are truly excelling in the 3rd grade reading class.
So what was the first chapter book I read, or at least the first chapter book I remember? Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question. I was into Jules Verne, Daniel Defoe and Gidget before they invented chapter books. We were less fortunate I guess: we only had two kinds of books: books with pictures and books without pictures. Oh that’s not true. Living just 14 miles from the Mexican border I also remember books in English and books in Spanish. Some books had chapters, some had capítulos, some had lots of pictures, some were sparsely illustrated.
Back then (in the dark ages of Max Rafferty) we were encouraged not to read above the state recommended reading level. I remember bringing Macbeth into school for a book report and coming home with a stern note. I’d like to say that the first time I got in trouble at school was for reading Macbeth in the 3rd grade but there was that incident in 2nd grade that I was still living down. How did I know you weren’t suppose to say those words in mixed company. Like Ralphie, I know the taste of Lifebuoy soap.