March/ April 2017



Winding down at the end of a day requires soothing and comforting stories that kids can slide into sleep with. For some children, having a parent read aloud is all the security they need.


written by Martin Waddell, illus. by Patrick Benson, (Candlewick Press, 2015), 28p, Ages 3-6


written/illus. by Rob Scotton, (HarperCollins, 2005), 40p, Ages 3-7


written by Alice Schertle, illus. by Matt Phelan, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007, 2011 Board), 32p, Ages 3-5


Ages 4-8

Imagination and Fun

The best children's books and filled with imagination and fun. Stories that take children into a world of delight and adventure present storytelling at its best. Children need stories for pleasure, laughter and fun; imaginative and nonsensical stories that may not have a scrap of useful information or lesson, but cheerful and delightful lunacy.


written & illus. by Peggy Rathman, (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1998), 32p, Ages 3-7


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin, 1967), 48p, Ages 5-8


written by Margaret Mahy, illus. by Steven Kellogg, (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013), 40p,Ages 4-8


written/illus. by Chris Gall, (Little, Brown & Co., 2006), 40p, Ages 5-9


JUNE 29, 1999
written/illus. by David Wiesner, (Clarion Books, 1992), 32p, Ages 6-9


written/illus. by Michael Bedard, (Putnam & Grosset, 1998), 40p, Ages 5-8

Ages 8-12


Even the most reluctant reader cannot resist a book that is hilarious. Books that end on a note of despair are not suitable for any age. Books should portray the world as a place where, despite all its serious problems, there is still hope.


written by Paul Tobin, illus. by Thierry Lafontaine, (Bloomsbury, 2016), 272p, Ages 9-12


written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Kevin Cornell, (HarperCollins, Jan.), 144p, Ages 8-11


written by Edward Einhorn, illus., Adam Gustavson, (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2008), 32p, Ages 7-10

Ages 10-13


Heroes represent those who display bravery, courage, and self-sacrifice for the greater good. They possess the highest character, ideals, and values. They may not have started out heroes, but along the way, through hardship, trials, conscience, or circumstances, they were changed for the better.


written by Richard Peck, (Dial Books, 2007), 160p, Ages 10+


written by Lisa Kessler, (Candlewick Press, $15.99, 2015, ISBN 978-0-7636-7060-3), 288p, Ages 9-12

Ages 12-15


A sense of honor and value surround great literature. Laughter, pain, hunger, satisfaction, love, and joy are found in classics. When our children become familiar with this kind of writing, they have a foundation for making comparisons. Not everything they read will be excellent, but they will know a story's possibilities.


written by Louisa May Alcott, (Pufflin Books, Aug. 2014), 816p, Ages 12+


written by C. S. Lewis, Illus. by Pauline Baynes, (HarperCollins, 2004), 778p, Ages 12+


written by Robert Louis Stevenson, illus. by N.C. Wyeth, (Antheneum Books for Young Readers, Oct. 2012), 273p, Ages 12+


For more information on great children's literature for reading to children and by children, visit us at:

Bringing you
books that:

Touch the Heart,
Color the Imagination, and
Delight the Mind

Welcome to The Storytellers, a monthly newsletter of outstanding children's literature to read and read aloud from preschoolers to teens.

The best children's books and filled with imagination and fun. Stories that take children into a world of delight and adventure present storytelling at its best. Children need stories for pleasure, laughter and fun; imaginative and nonsensical stories that may not have a scrap of useful information or lesson, but cheerful and delightful lunacy. Give as many as possible to your children, because imagination and fund are essential to life.

For more information on reading to children, great books to read and read aloud, and a summer reading program, log on to our web site at


NOPE!: A Tale of First Flight
written/illus. by Drew Sheneman, (Viking, $17.99, Jan. 2017, ISBN 978-1-101-99731-4), 40p, Ages 3-5

High in a nest in a tall tree a mother bird encourages her small blue fledgling to leave the nest and fly. Gazing down at the ground, he imagines a hungry cat, ravenous dogs, and circling crocodiles waiting to eat him, and horrified, he declares, "NOPE! NO! NEIN! NIET!" His patient mother picks him up, gives hugs and kisses, and boops him off the nest. Of course, instinct takes over and he quickly realizes the new world of flight, as he soars past squirrels, turtles, and butterflies, back to the nest with a "Yep." The funny facial expressions and body language of the parent and child in this nearly wordless story carries a lesson to those who struggle with trying something new. The illustrations are an additional delight, making this tale a keeper.


written by Jane Yolan, illus.l by Mark Teague, (Blue Sky Press, $6.99 Board, Aug. 2016,
ISBN 978-0-545-94120-4), 12p, Ages 2+

Who knew that dinosaurs would exhibit the same traits as human children when it's time for bed? They certainly do in this silly bedtime book brimming with playful antics of sleepy dinosaurs. "How does a dinosaur go to sleep / whether it's light or dark and deep? / When Mama says nicely that it's time for bed, / does a dinosaur run—or go hiding instead?" From a Pachyrhinosaurus hiding under a bed that's two sizes to small for him, to a Giganotosaurus throwing a tantrum, the author then explains what a young dinosaur should do—take a bath with his rubber ducky, brush his teeth, listen to a great story with his teddy bear, and wave goodnight to mom. Ten dinosaurs are featured, which should please any dinosaur-loving child, and good luck to the reader, who attempts to pronounce their names.



written by Sherri Dusky Rinker, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld, (Chronicle Books, $16.99, Feb. 2017, ISBN 978-1-4521-5216-5), 40p, Ages 3-5

A new day begins as the five vehicles from Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (2011), Excavator, Bulldozer, Crane Truck, Dump Truck, and Cement Mixer, begin a new project. When challenges arise to the new job ("The plan's unrolled. They stare in awe — / the biggest thing they ever saw."), they call in friends to help. Working in tandem, Bulldozer is helped by Skid Steer blasting rocks, Excavator is aided by Backhoe to set down drainage pipes, Crane stacks his supplies on Flatbed's truck, Front-End Loader helps Dump Truck move piles around, and Cement Mixer pours his load in Pumper's boom. With their part of the job completed, the new crew leaves, and the five friends settle down for a well-deserved rest. "They roll to find their cozy beds, / to cuddle up and rest their heads, / to close their eyes and drift away. / New adventures wait … another day." The illustrations are energetic and fun, and this time with two girl trucks.

Ages 4-8

written/illus. by Ciara Gavin, (Knoph Books for Young Readers, $16.99, Feb. 2017,
ISBN 978-0-399-55179-6). 32p, Ages 3-7

"When Bear tasted jam for the first time, he couldn't believe what he'd been missing." So consumed with his taste for jam, Bear forgets to share. Mama Duck explains that growing bears need balance in their diet and he should eat vegetables first. When Bear pokes, piles, flattens his peas, corn, and mashed potatoes around his plate, he goes to bed hungry. After the little ducks show Bear how to eat vegetables by playing games, he finally goes to bed with a tummy that doesn't grumble. "Now Bear eats vegetables every night. And for balance … he likes to share a jar (or two) of jam with the ducks." Kids will love the silliness and the message will resonate with families of picky eaters.


written/illus. by Holly Hobbie, (Random House, $17.99, Feb. 2017, ISBN 978-0-553-53744-4). 32p, Ages 3-7

When his family disappears, a fearful, scraggly, and adorable kitten crouches among trash cans and barely survives the dangerous streets, until he is rescued and taken to a shelter. "But now there was food. Soon, when nothing harmed him or frightened him, he became less afraid. The new place was safe. Boredom was better than misery." Everything changes when he is adopted by a family, who name him Swan. With the run of the house and yard, napping wherever he wants, and an abundance of love, he gradually becomes one of the family, and each day becomes perfect. "After breakfast, he bounded into the outdoors, if it wasn't raining or snowing, to make his usual rounds of the stone wall, the apple tree, and the garden. Bumblebees made him buzz with excitement, and butterflies made him soar." This heartwarming story of one kitten's journey from danger to unconditional love is one not to miss when reading to children.


written by Jackie Azúa Kramer, illus. by Maral Sassouni, (NorthSouth, $17.95, Jan. 2017,
ISBN 978-0-7358-4218-2), 32p, Ages 4-7

One rainy day when a plump, pink elephant takes a walk with his favorite umbrella, he encounters Hedgehog, who claims that the umbrella is his boat. "I crossed deep oceans on my boat and faced the crash of icy waves. I saw dolphins leap two by two and tasted the salty spray of whales." Patient and courteous, Elephant replies, "I'm sure you're mistaken," and invites him to share the umbrella. Along comes Cat , who explains that he used the umbrella as a tent for camping, Bear insists it's his flying machine, and Rabbit states that it is his cane. Each one shares an elaborate and imaginative story about their use of the umbrella, and compassionate Elephant invites everyone to join him beneath the umbrella to share stories and a picnic. "Together they went … Sailing. Camping. Flying. Hiking. And when it rained they stayed dry under the green umbrella." The illustrations are delightful in this imaginative, whimsical, and funny tale of friendship, generosity, and sharing.


written/illus. by Leila Rudge, (Candlewick Press, $16.99, Nov. 2016, ISBN 978-0-7636-8954-4), 32p, Ages 4-8

"Most of the time, Gary was just like the other racing pigeons. He ate the same seeds. Slept in the same loft. And dreamed of adventure." However, Gary cannot fly, so on racing days he stays behind and organizes his scrapbook of travel mementos from the other pigeons. One day Gary's life radically changes when he and his beloved scrapbook accidentally fall into the travel basket, and he awakes in the big city, alone. Find out how Gary plots his way back home, uses his beloved scrapbook as a guide, discovers an ingenious way of traveling, and returns with souvenirs of his own. Even the racing pigeons love Gary's clever way of traveling. With lessons of perseverance, resiliency, and innovation, strength can be found in the most unlikely circumstances.


written/illus. by Benji Davies, (Henry Holt & Co., $16.99, Jan. 2017, ISBN 978-1-250-11186-9), 32p, Ages 4-8

"Noi lived with his dad and six cats by the sea. Last summer, Noi rescued a little whale after a storm washed it ashore. He and his dad took it back to the sea, where it belonged. But Noi could not forget his friend." In this sequel to The Storm Whale (2014), a winter storm blows in, and Noi waits for his dad's return from a final boat trip out to sea. When his father doesn't return, Noi ventures out onto the icy sea, only to discover his father's empty boat. When all seems lost, a loyal friend comes to help push Noi and the stranded boat back to shore where his father waits from being rescued by fishermen. Fine storytelling with a dash of suspense and magic is always compelling to the reader and listener.

More Adventures In Storytelling
Ages 4-8

written by Josh Funk, illus. by Brendan Kearney, (Sterling Children's Books, $14.95, Sept. 2015,
ISBN 978-1-4549-1404-4), 40p, Ages 5+

"Deep in the fridge and behind the green peas, / way past the tofu and left of the cheese, / up in the corner, and back by a roast, / sat Lady Pancake beside Sir French Toast." Their friendship is legendary, until their neighbor, Miss Brie, mentions that there is only one drop of syrup left, and the race is on to reach the last drop. The competition is fierce as they race past Broccoli Forests, the Orange Juice Fountain, and the Potato Mash Mountain, over beets, behind the dressings, and a bean avalanche. When Sir French Toast falls into the jam and Lady Pancake is sucked into the Chili Lagoon, the race becomes a sticky obstacle course. The silliness is just plain fun, and readers will be surprised at who takes the last drop. "Trudging back home beneath layers of grime, Toast said, 'Perhaps we should not fight next time.'" The fold out page at the end shows the inside of the refrigerator with a shopping list featuring syrup on the freezer door.

Ages 8-12

THE CHICKEN SQUAD #4: DARK SHADOWS: Yes, Another Misadventure
written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Stephen Gilpin, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, March 2017, ISBN 978-1-4814-5049-2), 128p, Ages 7-10

The Chicken Squad, Peep (Dirt), Little Boo (Sugar), Poppy and Sweet Coconut Louise (Sweetie), return for a family reunion on a farm out in the country. There, they greet 85 cousins whose names all begin with the letter B, and they encounter a mysterious looking bird by the name of Befrizzle, who steals their jelly beans and Poppy's beloved shoe. Using a chicken decoy and a second bag of jelly beans, the Chicken Squad seeks to trap the mystery bird and retrieve their precious food. Kids will love Dirt's lesson on perimeters, Sugar's self-made, look-alike decoy, the piglets who want "A loofah sponge, a hot glue gun, and six yards of yellow chiffon" in exchange for information on the thief, and the mysterious Shemu. Dysfunctional as ever, The Chicken Squad's silliness, humor, and lovable characters are not to be missed.


written by Timo Parvela, translated by Ruth Urbom, illus. by Virpi Talvitie, (Gecko Press, Sept 2016, $16,99, ISBN 978-1-776-57031-7),128p, Ages 8-12

Twenty short chapters tell the story of two friends, Barker (the dog) and Purdy (the cat), who live together, but whose habits, thoughts, and opinions are as different as night and day. Barker, thoughtful, hard-working, and meticulous, enjoys the pleasures of gardening, chores, and owning a home. Being a dog, sometimes he has urges to howl, chew or bury something. Purdy, on the other hand, is a free spirit, fanciful, and mostly thoughtless with schemes ranging from riding a bicycle up a moonbeam, taking Barker's prize winning tomato for spaghetti sauce, to entering a singing contest where Barker is the judge. "Purdy's first screech shattered the plasterwork on the walls, made the little ones cry, and sent the entire audience charging for the exit." Through a year of ups and downs, their friendship remains strong, they understand and value each other, and always make up. Each chapter has a subtle message about bragging, apologizing, perfectionism, etc., that would be best read aloud to kids, who might not understand the intended meaning or some of the humor. These charming, witty, sensible, fanciful, and forgiving characters will delight both readers and listeners.

More Adventures In Storytelling
Ages 8-12

written by W. H. Beck, illus. by Brian lies, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), 272p, Ages 9+

In a sequel to Malcolm at Midnight (2012), Malcolm and the Midnight Academy (a secret society of classroom pets) return in a mystery/adventure tale of treasure, secret codes, hidden identities, and a forgotten time capsule. When Malcolm learns that the McKenna Elementary School is closing, the Midnight Academy vows to find a solution and save the school. Leading the investigation, Malcolm consults with shady "outside" animals, new friends, old enemies, and a few of his fifth-grade class students to uncover a hidden time capsule and buried treasure that may keep the school from closing. He even helps an old enemy find a new future. "Saving someone could be done with something quite small. You just needed to pay attention." As Malcolm ponders the meaning of revenge, loss, compassion, and friendship, he learns the values of perseverance and happiness in helping others. Narrated anonymously in a report to the fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Binney, Malcolm will charm even the most reluctant reader and listener.

Ages 10-13

written/illus. by Lynne Jonell, (Henry Holt & Co. June 2015, ISBN 978-0-805-09683-5 ,Square Fish Nov. 2016, ISBN 978-1-250-07981-7), 368p, Ages 10-14

12-year-old Duncan's life is full of secrets. He learned to secretly speak cat at an early age. He is forbidden to show his intelligence at school, cannot seek attention, and must never remove his cap when out in public according to his mysterious, overprotective mother. Raised on the small island of Dulle in the kingdom of Arvidia, Duncan yeans for answers about his absent father, until the day he deliberately achieves a perfect score on his national exams, meets the famous Earl of Merrick, and is kidnapped onto the Earl's ship as a crew member. There, he learns that his father was a notorious traitor, and realizes that the Earl is out to murder him. When he goes overboard with a stowaway kitten, Duncan discovers an unchartered island, a trained tiger, a missing princess, and a secret that will shatter his world and change his destiny forever. With his ability to communicate with cats, Duncan seeks to clear his father's name, punish the Earl, rescue the princess, and return home a hero. Kids will love this swashbuckling tale with its quirky cats, including the friendly lock-picking kitten, Fia, and the majestic Brig from the Royal Order of Gemstone Tigers. Those who love adventure, mystery, and humor will root for this young, industrious, cat-speaking hero, who discovers that he is royalty and part of history.

More Adventures In Storytelling
AGES 10-13

WEBSTER: Tale of an Outlaw
written by Ellen Emerson White, (Aladdin, $16.99, Nov. 2015, ISBN 978-1-4814-2201-7), 256p, Ages 10-13

Cool, indifferent, and a loner, Webster arrives at the Green Meadows Rescue Group after three failed adoptions. Determined to remain aloof in spite of lovely accommodations, home-made treats, a soft bed, and new friends, he renames himself the Bad Hat. When Webster sees his chance to escape, he roams around town envisioning himself as a cowboy or outlaw, returning to the shelter for kibble and nightly TV episodes of Masterpiece Classics on PBS. Florence, the shelter's bossy resident cat, decides to create a buddy system and assigns other dogs to join him. His roamings become adventures when he rescues a drowning man, saves a toddler from being run over by the family car, herds lost sheep home, rescues six abandoned kittens, locates the kitten's abused mother, and captures media attention and his own Facebook page. Over the course of this heart-warming tale, Webster realizes his purpose in life, begins to trust again, and finds his forever family. Quirky and hilarious dialog between the animals will keep kids entertained throughout.

Ages 12-15

written by Mechthild Gläser, translated by Romy Fursland, (Fiewel and Friends, $17.99, Jan.2017, ISBN 978-1-2550-08666-2), 384p, Ages 13+

When fifteen-year-old Amy Lennox persuades with her single mother to visit her birthplace, a mysterious and magical castle on the island of Stormsay in Scotland, little does she realize that her life and destiny is about to undergo a radical change. Amy's family and another clan on the island, the Macalisters, are keepers of a secret library of books dating back centuries, they have the ability to jump into stories, move from one story to another by staying in the margins, and interact with the characters. In training to become a book jumper, Amy discovers that a thief is stealing ideas from stories and ruining the books. Joining fellow book jumper, Will Macalister, Amy attempts to solve the mysteries and restore the stories, only to realize that someone is trying to kill her. While meeting and interacting with famous book characters (the Jungle Book's Shere Khan and Dickens' Oliver Twist), Amy discovers her unknown father, falls for Will, fights for justice, and finds forgiveness, but at a high cost. Fairy tales, compelling characters, mysteries, and a star-crossed love story make this unusual tale a magical and entertaining read.

AGES 12-15

written by Rohan Gavin, (Bloomsbury, $16.99, Feb. 2015, ISBN 978-1-61963-494-7), 304p, Ages 12+

"My eyes are your eyes, to watch and protect. My ears are your ears, to hear in the dark. My nose is your nose, to sense the enemy. And as long as you live, my life is yours." Darkus Knightley (Knightley & Son 2014), 13-year-old investigator, takes this K-9 oath seriously, as he and father, Alan, work with their burned out police dog, Wilbur, to solve a current case of missing pets, werewolves, and its mysterious connection to the criminal organization, the Combination. Darkus struggles with an on/off relationship with his father, abandonment issues, and paranormal phenomena. Lately when full moons appear, pets go missing and police are mauled at a famous London tourist spot. With sinister trained hounds watching their home, Darkus, his father, a police detective uncle, and stepsister, Tilly, investigate a famous TV dog trainer and a notorious criminal boss, while avoiding a noisy press reporter. Young Sherlock Holmes fans will root for this tweed-loving protagonist, who fights crime (sometimes gruesome), reveals villains, and loves his blended family, especially his loyal dog. To be continued in the next installment.

Over the years, we have researched thousands of children's books, and can recommend some of the best in outstanding children's literature for parents to read aloud and children to read. Our recommendations must meet certain criteria: fun, creative and imaginative stories, delightful illustrations, and excellent for age appropriate listening and reading. We hope that you enjoyed our recommendations. If you desire further information some of the best in children's literature, please visit our website,

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