What Makes A Good Book

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The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat Chanukah in Chelm Verdi
The Dog That Dug
There are two types of literature: fiction and nonfiction, however, fiction brings children the enchantment of storytelling and ultimately a future love of reading.

Quality literature teaches children good morals, ethics, and values. Our culture's survival depends on the children of today. If they are to make a difference in the world, children need to learn about love, justice, courage, and compassion.

Well-written stories have good themes, valid characters, and should always be believable. They should be people centered, not problem centered. Too many stories have society's problems dumped into them.

Good books contain heroes and role models to imitate. Children need to hear about people who contribute something of value to other's lives, people who make hard decisions and have the courage to overcome adversity. Children need to fall in love with stories that entertain and arouse their curiosity. They need stories for pleasure, laughter and fun; imaginative and nonsensical stories that may not have any useful information or lesson, only cheerful and delightful lunacy.

The Caboose Who Got Loose
Clown The Velveteen Rabbit
Dinosaur Days Flea in the Ear
Into the Sea Wilbur's Space Machine One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale Beetle Bedlam

Book Reviews
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The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale
The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale, written by Aaron Shepard, illus. by Wendy Edelson, (Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 1995), 32p, Ages 5-8.
Full of generosity and honesty, this holiday tale tells how thirteen became a "baker's dozen." An old woman questions a baker's heart when he refuses to give her an extra Saint Nicholas cookie after she purchases twelve. Poverty follows the baker until he realizes how to count again.
Beetle Bedlam, written & illus. by Vlasta van Kampen, (Charlesbridge Publishing, 1997), 32p, Ages 5-9.
A tiny bark beetle is accused of killing the forest trees and endangering the insect environment. On trial for his destructive eating habits, the humble beetle declares his innocence before the assembled beetle kingdom. Will the verdict be innocent or guilty? This is a clever and interesting way to introduce children to the fascinating world of beetles.
Beetle Bedlam
The Caboose Who Got Loose
The Caboose Who Got Loose, written & illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin Children's Books, 1971), 48p, Ages 5-8.
Katy is a caboose who is tired of being the last car in the freight train. It's just too noisy, smoky and jerky to her way of thinking. Katy longs for the simple, quiet life but has little hope of achieving it, until one day an accident releases her from the train. Find out how she spends the rest of her days with plenty of fresh air, peace, solitude and a great view.
Chanukah in Chelm, written by David A. Adler, illus. by Kevin O'Malley, (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1997),
32p, Ages 6-9.

For centuries, tales have been told about the kindhearted but foolish people of Chelm who manage to turn the easiest tasks into monumental quests. Mendel, a good-natured, hardworking caretaker of the synagogu, needs a table to hold the menorah on the first night of Chanukah. In the storage closet, the caretaker is unable to locate a table (he's leaning on it), so he borrows one from the local workshop, "Tables Are Us." On the way home, Mendel decides the table is too heavy and concludes that since it has four legs, it could very well walk by itself.
Chanukah in Chelm
Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat
Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat, written by Jennifer Armstrong, illus. by Mary GrandPré, (Crown Publishers,
1993), 32p, Ages 4-8.

Chin Yu Min lives a life of wealth and idleness until one day her lifestyle abruptly ends and she becomes "as poor as a mouse in a monastery." Forced to earn a living, the greedy old woman finds a mysterious cat who agrees to catch fish for her. Only upon losing the ginger cat does Chin Yu Min develop humility and kindness.
Clown, written & illus. by Quentin Blake, (Henry Holt & Co., 1996), 32p, Ages 4-8.
In a wordless picture book, Quentin Blake presents an eloquent story of a small rag doll that was thrown out in the trash. He is determined to rescue and find a new family for all the other discarded toys. His search has its ups and downs, but it eventually leads to a young girl and her baby brother who are in need of a little love themselves.
Dinosaur Days
Dinosaur Days, written by Linda Manning, illus. by Vlasta Van Kampen, (Troll Associates, 1993), 32p, Ages 3-7.
Dinosaurs cavort through this concept book that was written to introduce children to the days of the week. On each day, a different dinosaur appears to create havoc in a little girl's life. One can enjoy this creative book for the illustrations alone.
The Dog That Dug, written by Jonathan Long, illus. by Korky Paul, (Kane/Miller, 1993), 28p, Ages 4-8.
Told in rhyme, this hilarious story surrounds a forgetful pooch who is determined to locate his missing bone. With perseverance, he digs deeper and deeper in the backyard, turning up the most unusual things in the process, but no bone. Digging down through the city's plumbing, past a coal miner and a subway train, he finally locates a bone. However, it is connected to other bones - dinosaur bones.
The Dog That Dug
Flea in the Ear
Flea in the Ear, written by Stephen Wyllie, illus. by Ken Brown, (Dutton Children's Books, 1996), 32p, Ages 4-7.
A big lovable hound dog, guardian of the chicken coop, has a major flea problem. When a sneaky fox proposes a plan for the dog to rid himself of the fleas, the chickens end up missing. Discover how one industrious dog outfoxes the thief, makes a deal with the fleas and gets his chickens back home safe.
Into the Sea, written by Brenda A. Guiberson, illus. by Alix Berenzy, (Henry Holt & Co., 1996), 32p, Ages 6+
The delicate life cycle of the endangered sea turtle is portrayed in this beautiful illustrated information book. A newly hatched turtle must crawl across the sand to reach the ocean. There she begins life with many dangers and perils until she finally returns to the shore where she was born to lay her own eggs.
Into the Sea
One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale
One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale, written and illus. by Demi, (Scholastic Press, 1997), 40p, Ages 6+
"Long ago in India, there lived a raja who believed that he was wise and fair, as a raja should be." However, he was greedy, keeping most of the farmers' rice for himself, and the people were left with only enough to survive. A village girl, Rani, devises a plan to return the rice to the people. In return for doing a good deed, Rani asks the raja for one grain of rice, doubled every day for thirty days. Surprisingly, one grain grows into more than one billion grains of rice, and the raja learns a lesson about fairness.
The Velveteen Rabbit, written by Margery Williams, illus. by Donna Green, (Smithmark Publishers, 1996), 48p, Ages 4-8.
After many years of being loved by a small boy, the velveteen rabbit is old and dirty and most of his fur has worn off. In the nursery, the velveteen rabbit discovers that if a toy is really loved, then it becomes real. When thrown out, he almost gives up hope of finding the magic of being "real." This story is a must for everyone who believes in the power of love.
The Velveteen Rabbit
Verdi, written & illus. by Janell Cannon, (Harcourt Brace & Co., 1997), 48p, Ages 4-10.
His mother tells Verdi that someday he will be big and green. However, he enjoys being yellow and decides never to grow up and become lazy, boring and rude like the big pythons. One day while recovering from a flying accident, Verdi realizes that though he is now permanently green, he is still the same old fun-loving, high-flying Verdi.
Wilbur's Space Machine, written & illus. by Lorna Balian, (Holiday Books, 1990), 32p, Ages 4-8.
Wilbur and Violet enjoy their simple life in the country, but one day they realize that gradually people have moved into their peaceful valley and it is no longer a clean and quiet place to live. Surrounded by smog, trash, garbage, and pollution, Wilbur decides to build a space machine. In fact, Wilbur's machine created so much space that they could not find enough containers to hold it all. Discover how Wilbur and Violet unexpectedly find a peaceful place in which to live.
Wilbur's Space Machine

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