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Welcome to the Children’s Hour where reading to children and reading by children is considered a high priority to their success in life. Literacy begins by reading to children, but is developed over the years when great literature is available for their listening and reading enjoyment.

The best children’s books contain imaginative stories, memorable characters, beautiful illustrations, and lyrical language. Well-written stories should contain heroes and role models to imitate. Great books should be enjoyable reads, make the world a better place, and incorporate heart, humor, heroes, and hope.

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Prescool Notables


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BOO! BAA! LA LA LA!

written/illus. by Sandra Boynton, (Little Simon, $5.99, July 2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-5283-1), 16p, Ages 1-3

Now in board book format, little ones will enjoy the adventures of a silly cow on one moonlit night in Autumn. “On Halloween, the cow says BOO. / She likes that word. It’s something new.” When she hears an answer of “BAA!” she wonders who it could be and calls out again, only to hear more voices answering “BAA!” with a quack, meow, cluck, bow wow, and neigh. As she climbs to the top of the highest mountain, imagine her surprise at the number of friends wishing her a “Happy Halloween to YOOOU!” Little ones will love this gentle, non-scary, sweet story for the holidays.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Holidays, Series
Other Books in the Series: Eek Halloween | Spooky Pookie


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CONSTRUCTION SITE: YOU’RE JUST RIGHT

written by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by A. G. Ford, (Chronicle Books, Dec. 2021, $12.99, ISBN 978-1-7972-0430-7), 16p, Ages 2-4

This clever and colorful board book for Valentine’s Day will have preschoolers following Excavator, Bulldozer, Dump Truck, Cement Mixer, Skid Steer, and Crane Truck as they each discover a valentine note dedicated to them. Cleverly concealed behind flaps are messages and clues as to who sent the note which is revealed on the next page. “Excavator digs, then turns around, and—whoa! There’s something on the ground!” Lifting the flap reveals a note: “You dig and lift and lead the way! You help the team so much each day. Thanks for keeping us in line … Now, GUESS WHO pushed this valentine!” Little ones will love the surprise valentine under the last lift-the-flap in this sweet, charming read-aloud.
   Themes: Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme, Machines, Series
Other Books in the Series: Construction Site on Christmas Night | Construction Site: Mission Demolition! | Road Crew Coming Through! | Three Cheers for Kid McGear! | Mighty, Mighty Construction Site! | Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site! | Steam Train, Dream Train | Construction Site: Merry and Bright


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THERE’S A MOUSE IN MY HOUSE

written/illus. by Ross Collins, (Nosy Crow, $16.99. Nov. 2021, ISBN 978-1-5362-2022-3), 32p, Ages 2-5

“There’s a mouse in my house. How he got in, I’d like to know. / He’s unpacked all his stuff just so. / That rodent can’t live here, oh no! / I’ll tell him that he has to go.” This sequel to There’s a Bear on My Chair (2016) finds Bear with an unwelcomed guest, who moves in and makes himself comfortable. He hangs pictures on the walls, eats everything in sight, and floods the bathroom floor.

Completely disgusted, Bear suddenly changes his mind when mouse’s friends show up with party hats, treats, and lots of fun. A great read-aloud for story time.
   Themes: Animals, Bears, Friendship, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme
Other Book in the Series: There’s a Bear on My Chair


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GOOD NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT

written/illus. by Sandra Boynton, (Little Simon, $17.99, Sept. 2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-9974-4), 40p, Ages 3-5

First published in 1982 under the title, The Going to Bed Book, this longer version will more than entertain a new generation of little ones with its assorted crew of animals at sea as they prepare for bed.

They go below deck, “to take a bath / in one big tub / with soap all over— / SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB!” Hanging their towels up, they find their jammies, brush their teeth (“With some on top and some beneath”), then head back up to the deck to exercise. Finally, they head to bed (“some at the foot, / some at the head.”) and are serenaded by two imaginary bunnies with a jaunty song of playing in the mud. As the lights are turned off, the ocean gently rocks them to sleep. Little ones will love this motley crew of colorful animals working together with their cute bedtime routine.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Bedtime, Friendship, Rhythm & Rhyme


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CONSTRUCTION SITE: ROAD CREW, COMING THROUGH!

written by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by A.G. Ford, (Chronicle Books, $17.99, October 2021, ISBN 978-1-7972-0472-7), 40p, Ages 3-7

This latest tale in the Construction Site series finds the six intrepid crew of machines taking on a new challenge—building a new superhighway. It’s a day of leveling, scraping, grading, flattening, paving, and striping with the help of new friends, Compacter, Scraper, Grader, Roller, Striper, Water Truck, and Paver. They proceed to construct a route through miles of dusty, desert-like conditions and over a river to make a superhighway “from here to there.” In fun, bouncing rhymes, a description of each vehicle’s job is given. “Excavator, to begin, / gets to work by digging in. / Scooping heavy loads with ease, / he lifts out boulders, trash, and trees.” End pages contain notes about wildlife crossings, migration, and animal habitats, as depicted by a coyote walking along a river and under a bridge on one of the pages. Kids will enjoy travelling down this road with their favorite crew.
   Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Machines, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: Construction Site: Mission Demolition! | Construction Site: Road Crew Coming Through! | Three Cheers for Kid McGear! | Mighty, Mighty Construction Site! | Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site! | Steam Train, Dream Train | Construction Site: Merry and Bright / Construction site on Christmas Night


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THE MORE THE MERRIER

written by David Martin, illus. by Raissa Figueroa, (Candlewick Press, $17.99, June 2021, ISBN 978-1-5362-0918-1), 40p, Ages 3-6

“HEY, HEY, here comes Bear— / Over rocks, under trees. / Kicking feet, bending knees. / Stepping high, stepping low. / Stepping fast, stepping slow.” High-stepping Moose, wiggling Snake, and leaping Deer join in the fun and joyfully dance through the forest until they meet Owl, who performs aerial flights above them. (“I like your moves. But I’m not like you. So. I’ll just do what I can do.”) When Baby Mouse and his friends join in, it’s singing, chirping, cheeping, barking, and peeping until they all collapse in a heap fast asleep.

Little ones will love the musical fun and will enjoy singing and dancing along with their own song as they join the woodland animals having the time of their lives.
   Themes: Animals, Friendship, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme


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BEAR CAN’T WAIT (The Bear Books)

written by Karma Wilson, illus. by Jane Chapman, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, $17.99, March 2021, ISBN 978-1-4814-5975-4), 40p, Ages 3-6

In this latest entry into The Bear Books series, Bear and his friends, Gopher, Mouse, and Mole, plan a surprise party for their friend Hare. All through the baking, decorating, and wrapping presents, “Bear frets and he fiddles. / He wiggles and he twiddles, / since the bear can’t wait!” In his impatience, Bear accidentally trips and squishes the cake, and more ingredients are needed. “There’s much to be done. / Hurry, Bear, RUN! / And the bear doesn’t wait!” Kids will enjoy this tale of a loveable bear trying to correct his mistakes and deal with his impatience.
   Themes: Animals, Bears, Friendship, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: Bear Snores On | Bear Wants More | Bear Feels Scared | Bear’s New Friend | Bear’s Loose Tooth | Bear Can’t Sleep | Bear Stays Up for Christmas


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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

written by Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99, June 2021, ISBN 978-0-358-41224-3), 32p, Ages 3-6

One morning while driving down the road, Little Blue Truck and his friend toad meet a yellow school bus. Wishing that he could be a school bus too, Blue proceeds down the road where they see a friend crying, “Oink! Oink! I’m late! I missed the bus! I overslept!” Being a brave, helpful, and good friend, Blue offers Piggy the perfect solution.

Although his creative path to school is an ingenious adventure, Blue learns that he is just important as the big yellow school bus. Kids will love Blue’s bumpy, splashy, wet ride through the woods where no school bus has ever gone before.
   Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Machines, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: Little Blue Truck | Little Blue Truck Leads the Way | Good Night, Little Blue Truck | Little Blue Truck’s Christmas | Little Blue Truck’s Halloween | Little Blue Truck’s Springtime | Little Blue Truck’s Valentine | Little Blue Truck’s Beep-Along Book


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GROUP HUG

written by Jean Reidy, illus. by Joey Chou, (Henry Holt & Co., $18.99, Dec. 2021, ISBN 978-1250127105), 32p, Ages 4-7

“There once was a slug, / needing someone to hug. / SHRUG. / Along came a beetle, / a lonely ol’ bug. / ‘You need a hug? / I have one,’ said Slug, / ‘to keep your heart snug!’” Thus, begins a tale of giving hugs to woodland animals that are having a bad day. Everyone gets a group hug, from down-in-the-dumps Mouse, stinky Skunk, smelly Squirrel, busy Beaver,and prickly Porcupine to forgotten Ground Hog, out-of-luck Goose, sneaky Fox, and stuck in a tree Moose. When lonely Bear arrives, everyone scatters except Slug who, “knew a secret / as sure as she’d shrugged / … that a hugger finds happiness … / ‘longside the hugged!” This cumulative tale of kindness is sure to bring on bundles of hugs at story time.
   Themes: Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Rhythm & Rhyme


Notables 4-8 Years


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AMOS MC GEE MISSES THE BUS

written by Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead, (Roaring Book Press, $18.99, Nov.2021, ISBN 978-1-250-21322-8), 48p, Ages 4-7

Amos McGee, the elderly zookeeper from A Sick Day for Amos McGee (2010) returns in an endearing tale of responsibility, friendship, and love. As a responsible zookeeper, Amos McGee is always considerate and on time. However, after a night of lost sleep over planning an outing for his zoo friends, Amos struggles with sleepiness and rushes to catch the number five bus to the zoo, but loses his favorite hat along the way and misses the bus. Arriving late and apologizing to his animal friends, Amos explains the circumstances, yawns, sits down on a bench, wonders where the tortoise has disappeared to, and falls asleep.

The animals love this kindly, elderly, and gangling zookeeper and decide to finish his chores. Elephant sweeps up, penguin holds a “quiet” sign over Amos, rhinoceros feeds the small animals, owl teaches the visitors on animal conservation, and tortoise locates the missing hat. When Amos awakes, he thanks his friends for the pleasant surprise, and they hurry to catch the afternoon bus to their outing at the beach.

Readers and listeners will love this kindly zookeeper, the compassionate zoo animals that step in to help him, and the mysterious giraffe that rides the number five bus.
   Themes: Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Series
Other Book in the Series: A Sick Day for Amos McGee


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OVER, BEAR! UNDER, WHERE?

written by Julie Hedlund, illus. by Michael Slack, (Philomel Books, $17.99, Nov. 2021, ISBN 978-0-593-20355-2), 32p, Ages 4-7

In this clever wordplay story Mole, called Under, and Bird, named Over, enjoy a day at the park. On the seesaw, “Over is over Under. / Under is under Over.” The slapstick continues to the swings until they meet a Hot-dog Dog and spot an Unbearable Bear.

Kids and adults will have fun with the compound words and lessons of making friendships and not judging others. A Glossary explains the meanings of the compound words, i.e., Doggone, Underdog, Overlook, etc.
   Themes: Animals, Concept, Friendships, Humor


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THE RUNAWAY PEA WASHED AWAY

written by Kjartan Poskitt, illus. by Alex Willmore, (Aladdin Books, $17.99, Dec.2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-9016-1), 32p, Ages 4-7

The loveable, quirky runaway pea from The Runaway Pea (2021) returns for another adventure. This time down the kitchen sink and into the sewers. Is he afraid? Nope, he’s having the time of his life. “Into the underground drain, the pea fell— / it was cold; it was dark with a curious smell. / But did the pea mind all the mess and the slime? / No, he was having a WONDERFUL time!”

During his slippery, tumbling journey, he encounters a small defenseless spider look for dry land, two hungry animals, and a helpful frog, who kicks them onto dry land. Feeling sad and lonely, discover how the quirky little pea manages to hitch a ride back home, only to fall in the drain again. Kids will love and root for this cute little kitchen escapee on his wet and wild adventures.
   Themes: Adventure, Food, Friendship, Heroes, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Book in the Series: The Runaway Pea


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TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL

written by Wendi Silvano, illus. by Lee Harper, (Two Lions, August 2021, $17.99, ISBN 978-1542023641), 40p, Ages 3-7

Along with the farm children, Max and Millie, Turkey and the farm animals are anticipating the first day of school. “Each day Turkey got his pals to practice their school skills so they’d be ready. They wrote their names … counted corn kernels … read stories … and even tried out recess games.” To their dismay when the day arrives, they are booted off the school bus, not allowed into school, and told to stay on the farm.

Undaunted, Turkey disguises himself as a backpack, a book, cafeteria worker, and a soccer ball, but nothing works until he presents an idea to the principal that she can’t refuse. Kids will love the creative puns and animals sounds of Turkey singing, “Farmer Jake, he had a farm. E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a … TURKEY. E-I-E-I-O.”
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: Turkey Trouble | Turkey Trick or Treat | Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter | Turkey Claus


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LITTLE BAT IN NIGHT SCHOOL

written/illus. by Brian Lies, (Houghton Mifflin Books, June 2021, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-358-26984-7), 32p, Ages 4-7

With his yellow floaties and backpack stuffed with crayons, water bottle, pencil sharpener, glue stick and critter snack, Little Bat arrives at night school and meets his teacher, a raccoon named Mrs. C. When rebuffed by two other bats in the classroom, Little Bat hides in thecloset where he meets Ophelia, the opossum, hanging upside down. Their friendship grows and the rest of the night improves as he meets other nocturnal classmates.

They all enjoy show-and-tell, learn their numbers, enjoy art projects, snack time (Ophelia states, “This is delicious—my mama found it on the road. Want some?”), quiet down for rest time, and listen to Mrs. C. read a story. All in all, Little Bat’s first night school turned out fine when he listened, acted with kindness, and made new playmates. Kids will love the show-and-tell items, rest time pockets, and the racetrack.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Humor, Series
Others in the Series: Bats at the Beach | Bats at the Library | Bats in the Band | Bats at the Ballgame


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MOVE THAT MOUNTAIN

written by Kate & Jol Temple, illus. by Terri Rose Baynton, (Kane Miller Publishers, $12.99, 2021, ISBN 978-1-68464-293-9), Ages 4-8

Continuing the storyline from Room on the Rock (2019), the authors present another two-sides-to-every-story featuring a beached whale and tiny puffins who try to return it to the ocean. Read from front to back, the puffins try everything they can think of the move the huge whale, but ultimately decide, “We can’t move that mountain / So it’s madness to think / We can make it budge / We can make it shrink.”

When the story is read in reverse, the puffins find a positive way to return the whale to the sea by working together. “We can make it shrink / We can make it budge / So it’s madness to think / We can’t move that mountain.” By using the same words in reverse, a negative story cleverly becomes a positive one that readers and listeners will love, especially the beautiful illustrations.
   Themes: Animals, Concept, Oceans, Nature, Values


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MR. ROBERT MONKEY RETURNS TO NEW YORK

written by Arnold Johnston/Deborah Ann Percy, illus. by Kelly O’Neill, (Belle Isle Books, $12.95, July 2021, ISBN 978-1-953021-09-0), 32p, Ages 5+

On a business trip to New York, a father buys a toy monkey for his son who loved Mr. Robert Monkey at first sight, “Mr. Robert Monkey was like Bobby’s little brother, / And if you saw one of them, you’d always see the other. / They liked to eat their pizza cold, with lot of apple juice, / And always wore their special hats when reading Dr. Seuss.”

When the family moves to New York, Mr. Monkey is accidentally left behind and Bobby is devastated. Determined to reach New York, Mr. Monkey enlists the help of a bullfrog, a truck driver’s dashboard pig, a crop duster pilot, and a seagull, who drops him off at Times Square. Kids will love this determined little fellow, his brave journey to find his family, and the magical friends he meets along the way.
   Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Families, Heroes, Rhythm & Rhyme, Toys


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THE CHILDREN’S MOON

written by Carmen Agra Deedy, illus. by Jim LaMarche, (Scholastic Press, October 2021, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-338-21639-4), 40p, 4-8

In this delightful tale, Carmen Agra Deedy explains why sometimes the moon is seen during the day. “There once was a time when the sun alone ruled the day, the moon graced the night, and little children were put firmly to bed before sunset.” Since children were sent to bed early, they had no chance to see the moon rise, and likewise, the moon never saw the children.

Each morning the moon heard children’s laughter that sounded like silver bells and begged the sun to see them but was rebuffed. “You know the rules. The day is mine. The night is yours.” When the sun boasts of how beautiful the lakes, jungles, rivers, and cities are during the light of day, the moon counters with the beauty of the moonflowers, aurora borealis, nocturn animals, and the gorgeous stars, which are suns like him.

Discover how the sun has a change of mind and agrees to the moon’s plan of working together to experience each other’s beautiful world. Information at the conclusion includes interesting facts about the moon, its phases, solar eclipses, and its legends. Kids will love the spectacular illustrations.
  Themes: Folk Tales, Friendship, Humor


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THE PEPPERSTORM

written by Rafael Ordóñez, illus. by Marifa Morea, translated by Laura Victoria Fielden, (NubeOcho 2021, $15.95, ISBN 978-84-17673-80-2), 44p, Ages 4-8

“The jungle is home to many elephants. Many mice live there as well. Elephants live a happy life in the jungle. They eat and they sleep without a care in the world.” Mice, on the other hand, do not lead happy lives. They are always troubled by the elephants’ wandering feet that might stomp on them as well as their falling piles of dung.

The mice decide to hatch a simple and well thought out plan to triumph over the careless elephants and teach them an unforgettable lesson. Named the Pepperstorm, the strategy involved bats, spicy pepper, sneezing, pepper-red trunks, and the fleeing of the elephants. Kids will enjoy this delightful tale of why elephants are afraid of mice today along with lessons of considering others and living in safety.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Humor, Values


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IT FELL FROM THE SKY

written/illus. by The Fan Brothers, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, Sept. 2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-5762-1), 56p, Ages 4-8

One day a lovely marble falls into a garden and the residents begin to wonder about it. Frog thinks it is a gumdrop, Grasshopper was sure it came from outer space, and Luna Moth is sure it’s a chrysalis. The next morning Spider proclaimed it fell into his web and belonged to him. “Nobody remembered the web being there the day before, but in fairness, nobody remembered it not being there either.”

When Spider devises a plan to build Wonder Ville to showcase his “Wonder from the Sky” he becomes wealthy by charging admission, but his wealth is short lived, when “A five-legged creature stole the Wonder and took it back to the sky.” Things return to normal, but patient Spider realizes other things could fall from the sky and begins to spin webs high up through the flowers. Find out what other amazing things fall from the sky in this cleverly constructed tale of imagination, wonder, and sharing in Barnum and Bailey style.
   Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Humor, Insects, Nature
Other books from the Authors: The Antlered Ship | The Scarecrow | The Night Gardner | Ocean Meets Sky | The Barnabus Project


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THE SPECKLED FEATHER

written/illus. by Johanna Ries, translated by David Henry Wilson, (NorthSouth Books, May 2021, $17.95, ISBN 978-0-7358-4447-6), 40p, Ages 5-8

“Elephants live in the savanna. They are so big and gray that you can see them from miles away. But if you dare to go closer you will realize that someone else is there too …” Three birds, Ade, Emem, and Nuru share space on top of an elephant, where they are safe from predators, feed off the insects on the elephant’s skin and live in harmony.

One day a strong gust of wind blows a beautiful red speckled feather toward the elephant and Ade quickly grabs it, boasts that it belongs to her, and their peaceful existence ends. Tired of their constant bickering and arguing, Elephant demands that they get rid of the feather or leave him forever. Now on their own, danger approaches and they finally realize that friendship and their lives mean more than a feather. All should enjoy the beautiful illustrations in the translation from German.
   Themes: Animals, Countries & Cultures, Friendship


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JULIA’S HOUSE GOES HOME

written/illus. by Ben Hatke, (First Second, $18.99, Oct. 2021, ISBN 978-1-250-76932-9), 40p, Ages 4-7

“Julia’s House roamed the high hills, looking for a home. And so, when Julia saw the Perfect Spot glittering in the distance, she told her creatures, ‘That’s where we’re going.’” Moving to the Perfect Spot is a little more difficult than Julia thought, as the house tumbles down a mountain and rolls away, without Julia. As she sets off to locate the missing house, Julia encounters new creatures who are also looking for a home. To them all, she answers, “We’ll make room.” There are now so many creatures that Julia wonders if everyone will fit in the house. Finding the house shattered in a junk yard, Julia’s optimism crumbles, but the creatures are ecstatic. They not only build a new home but a new town—Julia’s Town.

Young and old will love the lessons of perseverance, friendship, kindness, and helping others in this final tale of the trilogy.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Fantasy, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: Julia’s House for Lost Creatures #1 | Julia’s House Moves On #2


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THE CAPYBARAS

written/illus. by Alfredo Soderguit, translated by Elisa Amado, (Greystone Kids, $18.95, April 2021, ISBN 978-1-77164-782-3), 48p, Ages 5+

The farm is a happy and comfortable place where the hens and chicks have plenty of food, lay eggs, and know the rules. No one seems to notice when occasionally a chicken is taken away. One day everything changes when the capybaras appear seeking refuge from hunters. Initially they are not wanted but agree to the chickens’ rules: “1. Don’t make any noise. 2. Don’t come out of the water. 3. Don’t come near the food. 4. Don’t question the rules.” Life changes for the capybaras after a little chick goes missing, they are chased by the vicious guard dog, and rescue the little chick. Life also changes for the chickens far beyond what they could ever imagine. Just ask the sheep. Kids will enjoy this delightful tale about acceptance and friendship.
   Themes: Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Humor


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GLADYS THE MAGIC CHICKEN

written by Adam Rubin, illus. by Adam Rex, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99, Oct. 2021, ISBN 978-0-593-32560-5), 48p, Ages 5-8

In ancient times there were tales told of Gladys, a dancing chicken that changed the lives of everyone she met. Believing her to be a magical chicken, a young Shepherd Boy wishes to be handsome but trades her to a Traveling Merchant when he is not changed. Gladys’ adventures begin when she is stolen by a Long-Bearded Bandit, rescued by a Brave Swordsman, gifted to a Learned Princess, kidnapped by a Fearsome Pirate, saved by a Drowning Sailor, snatched up by a Lone Rider, and finally finds her way home to her handsome grown-up Shepherd Boy.

Kids will love Gladys’ unexpected life, plooping out an egg when excited or surprised, the colorful illustrations, flamboyant characters, and will have to decide if Gladys is magical after all.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Fantasy, Heroes, Humor


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CORNBREAD & POPPY

written/illus. by Matthew Cordell, (Little Brown and Company, $15.99, 6.99, Jan. 2022, ISBN 978-0-7595-5487-0), 80p, Ages 5-8

Cornbread and Poppy are the best of mice friends, but they are as different as night and day. Cornbread loves planning, and Poppy loves playing. Before winter arrives Cornbread diligently gathered food, but Poppy collected nothing and soon realizes that all the food is gone. Cornbread offers to help, but the only place left to forage for food is Holler Mountain, a dangerous climb with slippery rocks and mice eating owls.

Discover how their encounter with friendly foe leads to an old friend who disappeared long ago. Kids will love hearing and reading about two friends who help each other, experience a change in fortune, and learn the value of planning ahead in this early chapter book full of adventure, friendship, and kindness.
   Themes: Adventure, animals, friendship, humor, series, values


Notables Ages 7-10


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ONE SMART SHEEP

written by Gary D. Schmidt / Elizabeth Stickney, illus. by Jane Manning, (Clarion Books, $17.99, Oct. 2021, ISBN 978-0-544-88835-7), 80p, Ages 7-10

Wilson is not only the smartest sheep on Abigail Atwood’s farm, but the friendliest, woolliest, most lovable, and extraordinary of all her 27 sheep. Even Tippy, Abigail’s Border collie, is fond of him. When the sheep gate is locked at the end of each day, “Wilson would bleat a soft baa that was a little bit lonely.”

One day when Abigail forgets to latch the pen, Wilson nudges it open and proceeds down the path to the house where a piano delivery truck is parked. Looking for Tippy, Wilson enters the truck only to find himself locked inside. When the doors open, he realizes that he is alone in a busy city and far from home. What does a smart sheep do? This one relies on sounds to lead him home. With themes of loyalty, friendship, problem solving, and bravery, kids will enjoy this loveable, one-of-a-kind smart sheep.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Friendship, Humor


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EINSTEIN:
The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse through Space and Time

written/illus. by Torben Kuhlmann, (NorthSouth Books, Sept. 2021, ISBN 978-0735844445), 128p, Ages 8-11

A very adventurous and inventive mouse marks the days to “The biggest cheese fair the world has ever seen.” Using a human pocket watch and calendar, he measures the passing days, but upon arrival at the fair, he discovers that it was held the day before. Extremely disappointed, the little fellow determines to find a way to turn back time. And so, his journey begins.

Inquiries lead him to a mouse clockmaker and the Swiss Patent Office where a certain “physicist and later winner of the Nobel Prize Albert Einstein worked here from 1902 until 1909”. There, he finds a copy of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity and begins calculations to assemble a time machine.

Complications set in when he miscalculates and ends up in 1905, where he meets in certain young patent clerk, with a bushy mustache. Using a series of riddles about the relationship between space and time, he communicates with Einstein to calculate the formulas for his return trip to the future. Is he successful? Find out in this outstanding time-travelling adventure of a determined little mouse, his clever inventions, and his encounter with an employee of the Swiss Patent Office, who turned the world upside down.

Closing chapters present an overview of Albert Einstein’s life and his thinking about relativity and time travel. Kids will love the outstanding illustrations of a small mouse and his adventures of a lifetime.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Famous People, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Inventions, Science Fiction, Series
Other Books in the Series: Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse #1 | Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon #2 | Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse #3


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THE YEAR OF MISS AGNES

written by Kirkpatrick Hill, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2000, 2020, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-5344-7854-1), 128p, Ages 7-10

The year is 1948 and a new teacher arrives at the remote Athabascan Indian Village of Alaska. Since all teachers leave after the school year, the children don’t expect her to stay, especially ten-year-old Frederika (Fred), who narrates the story.

The unorthodox Miss Agnes transforms their one-room schoolhouse into delightful geography, mathematics, reading, and writing lessons. They learn about the world via a huge map covering one wall, and math lessons teach them how to sell animals pelts without getting cheated. “And then she’d make us write stories, because she said that writing was just reading backwards, and you learned to read by writing just as well as reading.” Miss Agnes even teaches Fred’s twelve-year-old deaf sister sign language.

Readers and listeners will love this unconventional British school teacher and her amazing love of teaching children (even some adults), and will wonder, like the children, if Miss Agnes will leave at the end of the school year. This repackaging marks the twentieth anniversary of the award-winning story of one teacher who brightened the lives of all she touched.
   Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Heroes, Series
Other Book in the Series: Bo at Ballard Creek | Bo at Iditarod Creek | Winter Camp | Tough Boy and Sister


Notables Ages 8-12


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THE HEDGEHOG OF OZ

written by Cory Leonardo, (Aladdin, $17.99, 2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-6759-0), 400p, Ages 8-12yrs

This charming and delightful animal adventure pays homage to The Wizard of Oz and stars Marcel, a little hedgehog, who hides out in the Emerald City Theatre with two chickens. They love the popcorn and candy from the concession stand and enjoy the Saturday matinee of The Wizard of Oz. When captured and dumped in the countryside into Mousekinland, bespeckled Marcel begins his journey home with the help of Scamp, a fierce little mouse with big ideas and bold courage and Ingot, an old crotchety squirrel. On their journey, they find Tuffy, a lost baby raccoon, who joins the group. Similar to the movie, they encounter many enemies. (Wickedwing, Whizzers, and Gulls, Oh My!)

Kids will love Marcel, who brings out the best in those around him, loves through his own grief, keeps doing the next right thing, and discovers that, “Being brave isn’t being something you’re not. Courage is knowing everything you are, fears and all, and stepping out anyway.” This tale of adventure, friendship, and hope, filled with little nuggets of wisdom, is destined become a classic.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Values


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THE GREAT GHOST HOAX

written by Emily Ecton, illus. by Dave Mottram, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $17.99, Sept. 2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-7991-3), 272p, Ages 8-12

The pets and residents of the Strathmore Building from The Great Pet Heist (2020) return for another adventure as they investigate Mrs. Third Floor’s rental unit that is showing signs of ghost activity. Butterbean, Walt, Marco, Polo, Oscar and Wallace discover eerie noises, moving objects, empty cans of sardines, and fish missing from the aquarium.

They discover the culprit is Jerome, a celebrity octopus named Mr. Wiggles, a camouflage artist that recently escaped from the local zoo. When confronted by crooked professional ghost hunters, they find a way to scam the scammers and save Mrs. Third Floor’s life savings.

Kids will love the animals’ quirky personalities, their dedication to help their friend, the silliness of their antics, and the “Cannonball” ending.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Heroes, Humor, Families, Friendship, Mysteries, Pets, Series
Other Book in the Series: The Great Pet Heist


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The Great Pet Heist

written by Kathi Appelt, illus. by Eric Rohmann, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, $17.99, Sept. 2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-0643-8), 336p, Ages 8-12

Zada is a keeper of stories and a teller of tales. She is also a camel in charge of two baby American kestrels as they wander the West Texas desert, in 1910, seeking refuge from a sandstorm called a Haboob. Separated from their parents during the storm the two baby birds, Wims & Beulah, nestle in the fluff between Zada’s ears. She keeps the babies’ minds occupied from the fierce winds with her stories as they make their way to an abandoned Mission.

Zada tells tales of being raised by the royal Pasha of Smyrna and trained as a racing camel along with her best friend, Asiye, and their beloved keeper, Teodor. There are stories of being gifted to the U.S. Army in 1856 along with eight other camels and experiencing rough seas on a ship across the Atlantic to Texas. When Zada and her achy joints take refuge in a mountain lion’s cave, she saves their lives with a story for the lion. “She had many more stories to tell them. Stories about jumping spiders and double rainbows and ridiculous horses. When a camel lives a long time, she has a lot of stories. At least a thousand and one.”

Readers and listeners, young, old, and in between, will love this wise old camel, her marvelous stories, the humorous bickering of the two chicks, the historical facts, and the gorgeous illustrations. Endpapers include a glossary of Turkish phrases woven into the text and the Author’s Note.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Humor


Notables Ages 10-13


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THE SERPENT’S NEST (Young Captain Nemo series)

written by Jason Henderson, (Feiwel and Friends, Macmillan Publishing, $18.99, March 2021, ISBN 978-1-250-17327-0), 256p, Ages 10+

This third installment of the Young Captain Nemo series finds Gabriel, Peter, and Misty on the coast of Wales looking forward to a family Thanksgiving, when they hear a distress call involving an attack by giant sea serpents. As they rush to the rescue, they encounter another ship piloted by a young girl from an underwater community that the Nemo’s have long suspected of its existence. Befriending Cora, a descendent of the original Captain Nemo crew, they follow her to her moveable, underwater city, where they discover the new leaders are controlling the sea serpents for their own benefit.

Discover how Gabriel and his friends stop the sea predators, rescue Cora, and enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. Kids will love the daring rescues, great technology, pincher torpedoes, controlled sea monsters, undersea battles, intrigue, a great environmental message, and the centuries-old mystery of Captain Nemo’s disappearance.
   Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Machines, Science Fiction, Series
Other Book in the Series: Young Captain Nemo #1 | Quest for the Nautilus #2


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THE SWALLOWS’ FLIGHT

written by Hilary McKay, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, $17.99, Oct. 2021, ISBN 978-1-6659-0091-1), 288p, Ages 10-14

This heartwarming and unforgettable novel revolves around four young people, their families, and one junkyard dog during the 1927 to 1947 interwar years and the turbulence of World War II.

In Germany best friends, Erik and Hans, love to watch the swallows over the rooftops of Berlin and dream of working at the Berlin Zoo tending to animals (Erik) and running a pastry stall (Hans), only to become Luftwaffe pilots during the war. In England fragile and courageous Kate records everything in her diary and enjoys a long-distance friendship with Ruby, who struggles with facial birthmarks and enjoys her mother’s news agent’s shop. In London an abandoned junkyard dog dreams of freedom and searches for a kind, warm, and loving home.

When England joins the war against Germany, the lives of these four young people, their families, and one mistreated dog converge, resulting in surprising friendships and unexpected rescues with courage and resourcefulness they never knew they possessed. This heart-rending tale of war, courage, heroes and friendships will have readers and listeners yearning for a sequel. Endpapers contain historical notes and family trees.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: The Skylark’s’ War


Notables Ages 14-18


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LORE (The Starlore Legacy) #3

written/illus. by Chuck Black, illus. by Elena Karoumpali, (Perfect Praise Publishing, $24.99, $11.99, June 2021, ISBN 978-1-7359061-4-0), 256p, Ages 15+

This third installment in the Starlore Legacy series finds Daeson Starlore fighting for the future of the Raylean people that are on the edge of annihilation. Battling marauders and the archenemy of the Sovereign Ell Yon, Daeson and his loyal friends rediscover the power of the Protector. However, leading his people to freedom results in a higher cost than he could ever imagine.

Readers will enjoy the Biblical allegory of this well-crafted tale, mirroring God’s deliverance of Israel’s children from Egypt and the promise of their Messiah.
   Themes: Adventure, Heroes, Mysteries, Science Fiction, Series
Other Book in the Series: NOVA #1 | FLIGHT #2


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The Children's Hour was created to promote and encourage reading to children and by children. We believe that reading aloud not only creates a special bond between parents and children, but it is important to the development of their imagination and curiosity.


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