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The Sorcerer's Apprentice Dragon Takes a Wife Tops and Bottoms Over the River and Through the Wood
Horton Hatches the Egg
Children hear stories on at least three different levels: intellectual, emotional, and social. Their listening skills are at least two full years ahead of their reading levels. Around the eighth grade, the listening levels and reading levels converge.

Therefore, children can listen to, understand, and enjoy books that are too difficult for them to read independently. These stories are needed because they are far more exciting, enriching and challenging than anything children could read on their own. These are the stories that eventually raise reading levels.

Sadly, many parents stop reading aloud when their children begin to read for themselves. Parents should realize that children who listen to books that are beyond their reading skills will be introduced to an increased variety of words and the complex structure of language patterns.

Most children's books are rated based on age because it better reflects a child's interests, emotion and social development. Usually the age or grade rating covers a broad period and should be considered only as a guide, not a rigid rule on the use of the book.

A Tooth Fairy's Tale
Grasper The King of Ireland's Son
William the Curious: Knight of the Water Lillies The Red Poppy
The Three Little Javelinas Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale From West Africa A Garden for Groundhog The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Book Reviews
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Dragon Takes a Wife
Dragon Takes a Wife, written by Walter Dean Myers,
illus. by Fiona French, (Scholastic Press, 1972), 40p,
Ages 4-8.

Harry is a lonely medieval dragon. He wants a wife, but in order to get one, he must win a battle with the knight in shining armor. Defeated, Harry seeks the assistance of an unconventional fairy, Mabel Mae Jones, whose magic spells constantly backfire. She may be a washout as a fairy, but she makes a great dragon.
A Garden for Groundhog, written & illus. by Lorna Balian, (Humbug Books, 1985), 32p, Ages 4-8.
In February, Mr. & Mrs. O'Leary argue about the purpose of the groundhog who has hibernated all winter on their farm. Mrs. O'Leary maintains that the groundhog predicts the weather. Mr. O'Leary feels that he only come out to gobble up the vegetable garden. Therefore, they devise a plan to keep him from eating all the vegetables, but fail to realize that groundhogs can't read.
A Garden for Groundhog
Grasper, written & illus. by Paul Owen Lewis, (Beyond Words Publishing, 1993), 32p, Ages 4-7.
Grasper is a small, shy crab who lives with his friends in a cramped tide pool. As part of a natural growth cycle, Grasper begins to shed his hard shell and discovers strange, new feelings of adventure that comes with molting.
Horton Hatches the Egg, written & illus. by Dr. Seuss, (Random House, 1940), 64p, Ages 4-7.
Dr. Seuss was a master of nonsense and especially in this early story about a good-hearted elephant who is recruited by the irresponsible and selfish Lazy Mayzie to sit on her nest while she takes an extended vacation. Horton endures faithfully for fifty-one weeks through rain, ice, teasing and capture. When the egg hatches, is everyone in for a big surprise.
Horton Hatches the Egg
The King of Ireland's Son
The King of Ireland's Son, written by Brendan Behan, illus. by P. J. Lynch, (Orchard Books, 1997), 40p, Ages 6+.
The youngest of the king's three sons takes up a challenge to find the source of music heard throughout the kingdom. Along the way, he encounters three old men, a captured princess, and a fierce giant. He manages to defeat the giant six times and frees the captured princess.
Over the River and Through the Wood, written by Lydia
Maria Child, illus. by David Catrow, (Henry Holt & Co., 1996),
32p, Ages 4-7.

Based on a favorite Thanksgiving poem and song, the story has been modernized into a comical spoof of one family's attempt to travel to their grandparents' house for a turkey dinner. Caught in a traffic jam from the Thanksgiving Day parade, the youngest member of the family experiences a series of mishaps with a tuba, a gorilla, and an airplane.
Over the River and Through the Wood
The Red Poppy
The Red Poppy, written & illus. by Irmgard Lucht, translated
by Frank Jacoby-Nelson, (Hyperion Books for Children, 1995), 32p, Ages 4-8.

Translated from German, this beautiful picture book begins in a summertime grain field and centers around the red poppies that grow on the edge of the field. During its one day in the sun, a bud unfolds and is visited by flies, beetles, and bumblebees who feed on its pollen to ensure the next generation of plants. The new seeds must survive through the windy autumn and harsh winter to begin the cycle again in spring.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice, written & illus. by Ted
Dewan, (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 1998),
32p, Ages 4-8.

A brilliant inventor creates a robot assistant to keep his workshop clean. However, the little apprentice has other ideas and creates his own robot to do the chores. Soon the chaotic workshop contains an army of robots, and the small robot learns that a little knowledge can be dangerous.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
The Steadfast Tin Soldier, written by Hans Christian Anderson, retold by Tor Siedler, illus. by Fred Marcellino, (Michael di Capua Books, 1992), 32p, Ages 5-8.
First published at Christmastime in 1838, this is an original tale of a one-legged tin soldier who loves a paper ballerina from afar. Through a series of unusual events, the tin solder endures hardship and separation from his beloved ballerina until they are finally reunited forever.
The Three Little Javelinas written by Susan Lowell, illus. Jim Harris, (Rising Moon Books for Young Readers, 1992), 32p, Ages 5-8.
Cousins of the three little pigs, these southwestern javelinas are a lovable but wild bunch, as a hungry coyote, who hopes to eat them with red chili sauce, soon finds out. In addition to a retelling of a classic tale, readers and listeners will learn interesting facts about the animals, vegetation and peoples of the Southwest.
The Three Little Javelinas
A Tooth Fairy's Tale
A Tooth Fairy's Tale, written & illus. by David Christiana, (Farrar, Straus Giroux 1994), 32p, Ages 5-8.
A brave young tooth fairy decides to rescue her mother from a giant's spell. With the help of her father, the Sandman, she is determined to break the spell with "what dreams are made of." This is not an easy task, because greedy giants like nothing better than getting two fairies for the price of one.
Tops and Bottoms, adapted & illus. by Janet Stevens, (Harcourt Brace & Co., 1995), 32p, Ages 4-7.
In the tradition of European folktales and the American south, this trickster tale takes trickery to a comical extreme. Bear and Hare decide to go into a gardening partnership. Bear donates the land, and Hare plants the vegetables. Bear is extremely lazy and expects Hare to do all the work. Discover how Hare outwits Bare and still manages to feed his hungry family.
Tops and Bottoms
William the Curious: Knight of the Water Lillies
William the Curious: Knight of the Water Lillies, written & illus. by Charles Santore, (Random House, 1997), 40p, Ages 4-7.
The Queen of the Land of Far and Wide decrees that every imperfect thing in her castle be discarded. Only one small and brave moat-dwelling frog dares to confront the queen about the pollution problem. Determined in his quest, William puts on armor and carries the last surviving lily as a peace offering as he fights his way past the guards to speak to the queen. Underneath the clever story are lessons about caring for our environment, perfection, and overcoming obstacles.
Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale From West Africa, written & illus. by Gerald Dermott, (Harcourt Brace & Co, 1992), 32p, Ages 4-8.
Trickster tales appeal to children because of the ability of the trickster to triumph over larger foes by wit and cunning. Zomo is a mischievous rabbit who desires wisdom, but must first accomplish three impossible tasks.
Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale From West Africa

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