Summer 2017

Animals reign in children's literature. Animal characters who talk with other animals are similar to humans who interact with each other. Whether animals teach numbers, colors, or lessons of morality, they are the perfect means to express concepts in an amusing and entertaining way.


written/illus. by Catherine Rayner, (Tiger Tales, $14.99, Sept. 2013, 32p, Ages 3-6


written/illus. by Catherine Rayner, (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, $15.99, 2010, 32p, Ages 2-6


written by Audrey Wood, illus. by Don Wood, (Child's Play, 1984), 32p, Ages 2-5


written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illus. by Arthur Howard, (Beach Lane Books, 2011), 32p, Ages 2-6


Ages 4-8
Humor and laughter are essential to life. They keep things in balance and refresh the mind, and add another dimension to the pleasure found in children's books. Life is sometimes so serious that the value of humor and nonsense is forgotten and not shared nearly enough with children.


AMOS: The Story of an Old Dog and His Couch
written by Susan Seligson, illus. by Howie Schneider, (Little, Brown, 1987), 32p,Ages 4-7


written by Tina Casey, illus. by Lynn Munsinger, (Dutton Children's Books, 2009), 32p, Ages 4+


written/illus. by Lisa Wheeler, (Voyager Books, 2002), 32p, Ages 4-7


written by Mary Casanova, illus. by Ard Hoyt, (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011), 40p, Ages 4-8


written by Jeanne Steig, illus. by Britt Spencer, (Philomel Books, 2008), 32p, Ages 4-8

Ages 8-11
Illustrated storybooks for older children tend to be longer than most picture books but shorter than novels. It's not only the length that separates these books, but it's more a matter of content. They have more complex stories with a kind of sophistication that is beyond younger children.

ARMSTRONG: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon
written/illus. by Torben Kuhlmann, (NorthSouth Books, 2016), 128p, Ages 8-11


BASIL AND THE LOST COLONY #4 (The Great Mouse Detective series)
written by Eve Titus, illus. by Paul Galdone, (Aladdin Books, 1992/2017), 96p, Ages 7-9

Historical Fiction
Facts, date, names and places are usually too dry for children. However, children do have an interest in the past when the focus is on people and how they lived.
Ages 10-13


written by Rosemary Wells, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline, (Candlewick Press, 2010), 336p, Ages 10+

Ages 12-15


written by Kate Hannigan, (Little Brown & Co., . 2015), 358p, Ages 11-14


written by Rohan Gavin, (Bloomsbury, 2016, 336p, Ages 12-15


Ages 14-18+


written by Sharon Cameron, (Scholastic Press, 2015), 464p, Ages 15+


written by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti, (Simon Pulse, 2015), 560p, Ages 14-18


written by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, (Razor Bill, 2016), 352p, Ages 16+


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 contain imaginative stories, memorable characters, beautiful illustrations, and lyrical language. Well-written stories should contain heroes and role models to imitate. Whatever the genre, a great book should be an enjoyable read/read-aloud, and contain heart, humor, hope, and a happy ending, In addition, for older readers the best stories help others and make the world a better place.

The Dog Days of summer are here, and what better time than this to relax with stories full of laughter, mystery, fun, and even an entertaining science fiction for older kids. Books are not a substitute for life, but a greater life can be experienced because of them.

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


written/illus. by Catherine Rayner, (Tiger Tales, $9.99, March 2017, ISBN 978-1-58925-234-9), 24p, Ages 2-4

Based on Catherine Rayner's award-winning Augustus and His Smile (Good Books, 2006), little ones learn to count from 1 to 10 as they travel with Augustus on his playful adventures with birds, insects, fish, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, and fish. From "ONE sad tiger sitting alone," TWO bright bugs, and THREE colorful birds to NINE splishy fish, and "One happy tiger and TEN little friends", curious and playful Augustus is no longer sad.


written/illus. by Michael Slack, (Henry Holt & Co., $16.99, March 2017, ISBN 978-1-62779-194-6), 40p, Ages 2-5

Tugboat Turtle is on a mission to make the world a safer place. "He cruises the coastline / with a keen, watchful eye, / guarding sea dwellers / swimming on by." When a typhoon blows in, he steams through gusty winds and turbulent waves to rescue panicked puffins, a stranded seal pup (towed behind in a life preserver), an entangled sperm whale (pulled with a towline), and a squid tangled in plastic garbage. With courage and bravery, Turtle Tug slowly chugs to shelter. "From stem to stern, / he's loyal as can be. / A special sea vessel / steward of the sea." Kids will love this steady little hero, who in times of danger keeps on chugging with determination and grit to save the day.


written/illus. by A. N. Kang, (Disney Hyperion, Sept. 2016, $16.99, ISBN 978-1484-71798-1), 40p,
Ages 3-6

Papillon is a very large, lightweight, fluffy kitty, who literally floats around the house, causing his owner, Miss Tilly, concern about his gliding away and becoming lost. She tries weighing him down with food (doughnuts, fish, pizza, spaghetti, and cupcakes), clothes, and costumes, but nothing works. One day when she leaves for the market, Papillon has a fun time in the air with, "synchronized swimming, a relaxing nap, acrobatics, a sing-along to his favorite tune and, of course, dancing." Upon seeing a small, red bird on the windowsill, he follows it and becomes lost. Fortunately his new red friend shows him the way, which gives Miss Tilly a perfect idea for holding him down. Kids will love this irresistible, independent kitty, who realizes that home is finally perfect when shared with a red friend.


written/illus. by Andy Bergmann, (Aladdin, $15.99, June 2017, ISBN 978-1-4814-9100-5), 40p, Ages 3-5

"The starry giraffe stumbled upon a plump apple tree. She was very hungry." When she plucked the most delicious looking one off the tree, a squeaky little mouse pleads for the apple, and she graciously gives it away. She distributes four more apples to a family of skunks, one to an old cane-carrying bunny, one more to a raccoon, two for a snake (indicated by the two bumps when he swallows them), one for a rhino carrying his lunch box, and the last apple to a small, hungry inchworm. Tired, sad, and hungry, she is rewarded for her selfless generosity when she discovers eighteen more apple trees left. This delicious read-aloud tale will delight little ones, especially with its theme of generosity and sharing.

Ages 4-8

written by Carolyn Crimi, illus. by Laurel Molk, (Candlewick Press, $16.99, May 2017,
ISBN 978-0-7636-7542-4), 32p, Ages 3-7

Many things at the beach scare Eleanor's dog, Sukie. "Those waves were big, and they were whooshy, and they might toss her out to the middle of the sea, and she might float all the way to Tasmania or even Florida." Besides, the steps are large and sandy, the beach balls are huge and frightening, and, of course, you never know about the lobsters! When Sukie's toy monkey accidentally floats away, she overcomes her fears, braves the waves, and heroically swims over the supposed lobsters to rescue her beloved Chunka Munka. "Sukie sat in the sandy sand with the wavy waves and watched for lobsters with Chunka Munka by her side. And they didn't see one all day." A perfect summer read aloud while eating ice cream at the beach.


written by Deborah Diesen, llus. by Dan Hanna, (Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.99, April 2017,
ISBN 978-0-374--30194-1), 32p, Ages 3-6.

"Mr. Fish sent off for flyers / And he studied each location / Then he picked the perfect place / For his very first vacation!" Packing his suitcases, he begins the adventure, not letting a detour, forgotten snacks, or an accident with a 90-degree sharp spoil his adventure. Arriving at the HelloStone Park Lodge, Mr. Fish quickly unpacks only to realize that he's forgotten his beloved snoozy-snuggly. Devastated, he remembers that his love for snoozy-snuggly always travels with him wherever he goes. After a good night's sleep, Mr. Fish thoroughly enjoys the whale rides, surfing, land buggy rides, and a massage. Happily returning home, he reflects, "Not every single part / Of a trip goes swell, / But the detours and the bumps / Are the trip as well." Children and adults will love this latest read aloud in the Pout-Pout series.


written/illus. by Jerry Pinkney, (Little, Brown & Co., May 2017, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-316-34157-8), 40p, Ages 4-8

Once again Jerry Pinkney has turned a classic tale of greed, forgiveness, and redemption into a wonderful retelling, but with a twist at the end honoring the value of second chances. As three billy goats approach a bridge that connects to a hillside of lush grass, each one meets a mean, hairy, green troll, who guards the bridge. When the smallest billy goat approaches, the troll threatens to gobble him up, to which he replies, "Oh no, don't eat me! … Wait until the next billy goat crosses. He's much bigger than me." The next one gives the same answer and is also allowed to pass. However, the oldest and biggest billy goat smashes through the bridge gate and tosses the troll into the water, where an even larger creature threatens him. In a change from traditional tellings, readers will notice that endpapers point to perhaps a change in their relationship, as they learn to co-exist. As Jerry Pinkney states about his rendition of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, "They are, like many of us, both meek and at the same time strong in the face of adversity … and they must work together to 'stand up to the bullies' and be a force for change."


written/illus. by Chris Van Dusen, (Candlewick Press, $16.99, May 2017, ISBN 978-0-7636-6545-6), 40p, Ages 4-8

"Hattie McFadden loved to explore. Every morning after breakfast, she'd grab her life jacket, wave good-bye to her parents, and paddle out in the canoe to see what she could see." Singing a sweet song to herself, Hattie is unaware of a mysterious creature lurking beneath her, who is fascinated with her singing. When he emerges to sing along with her, they become fast friends and hatch a plan to convince the frightened townspeople of Hudson's kindness. When the people realize that Hudson is a gentle giant and a hero, they welcome him with open arms. "But when the sun went down and the visitors left, for Hattie and Hudson, everything was just as it had been since the beginning. And every night they met in the same place, played the same games, and splashed and frolicked under the big silver summer moon."

Back In Print Ages 4-8

GEORGE SHRINKS (The World of William Joyce)
written/illus. by William Joyce, (HarperCollins, 1985, Atheneum June 2017), 32p, Ages 4-8

George is a very resilient and persevering kid, even when he awakes one morning to find his parents gone and he has shrunk to about three inches tall. Undaunted, George begins his daily chores from a note that his parents left. He scrubs his teeth, minds his baby brother (harnessing him to a wagon to take out the garbage), feeds the goldfish (wearing a diving helmet), and washes the dishes (using a sponge for skis), all while avoiding the family cat.


written/illus. by William Joyce, (HarperCollins Publishers1996, Antheneum, June 2017), 40p, Ages 4-8

The leaf men are guardians of the garden. Brave and courageous, they come to the aid of the good doodle bugs to defeat the spider queen, rescue a long forgotten toy, and restore an old woman's garden. It's reassuring to know that there are still heroes to triumph over evil.

Ages 8-11

THE OCTOPUS (The Lighthouse
Family series)

written by Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Preston McDaniels, (Beach Lane Books, $15.99, March 2016, ISBN
978-0-689-86246-5), 48p, Ages 7-10

This fifth book in The Lighthouse Family series finds Lila and Whistler anxiously waiting for low tide in the estuary to go exploring. With a warning from Pandora, "You must remember not to turn our back to the sea as you explore the estuary. Always watch for the tide coming in, and be sure to return to the shore well ahead of it," the two children begin their adventure and encounter a small octopus named Cleo. It seems that he lives with his parents in an abandoned ship under the ocean, can change colors quickly whenever he wishes, and also loves exploring. Together they have a great time, until the tide begins to come in and Lila becomes stuck in the mud. When Cleo comes to the rescue, a great friendship develops between the two families.


written by James Patterson/Chris Grabenstein, illus. by Joe Sutphin, (Little, Brown & Co., $13.99, Dec. 2016, ISBN 978-0-316-34956-7), 304p, Ages 8-12

Raised in a laboratory with his 96 brothers and sisters, Isaiah has bright blue fur, speaks perfect English, reads, writes, and is fluent on computers. When Isaiah's big brother, Benji, hatches a plan to break the family out of the laboratory, it is only Isaiah that eludes capture by the scientists. Rescued by a family (mischief) of mice, who live in the cellar of a family named Brody (the laboratory's janitor), Isaiah outwits the hairless family cat, leads nightly raids to the kitchen for food, and rescues a mouse from a trap. Officially adopted into the mischief, but still missing his family, Isaiah develops a rescue plan. Along with a young human friend, Hailey, and the mischief, they storm the laboratory. With courage, determination, and perseverance, this little hero proves that friendship and family transcend all barriers. Kids will enjoy the witty sayings under each chapter heading, ("All of us are given gifts. How we use them is up to us.") The detailed illustrations are marvelous and greatly enhance this sweet tale of friendship.

Ages 10-13

written by Kier Graff, (G. P. Putnam's Sons, $16.99, Jan. 2017, ISBN 978-1-101-99622-5), 288p, Ages 10+

Boring, Illinois is the summer destination of Brian Brown, when his widowed father is called to replace an injured astronomer in Antarctica. Leaving Boston, soccer, and his friends behind, Brian endures his Uncle Gary's summer school program, rules, homework, and his irritating cousin, Nora. When their argument ends in a chase through forbidden woods, Brian and Nora become lost and stumble upon a peculiar wooden seven-story house with a boat on the roof. There, they meet Cosmo, the youngest of the eccentric van Dash family. The three form a unique friendship as they begin battling South American giant wasps that have infested the house, locate Uncle Kingsley, who has been lost inside the castle for a year, battle an evil bureaucrat intent on demolishing the dilapidated old house, try to avoid sharp-tusked wild boars, and perhaps find the family's missing fortune in gold. All in all, Brian discovers that his summer isn't so boring after all. For any kid who has ever longed for adventure, this crazy, madcap tale is the perfect summer read.


written by Carol Goodman, (Viking Children's Books, March 2017, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-101-99766-6), 368p, Ages 10-14

On December 7, 1941, four thirteen-year-olds, with a connection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art come together on the day that Pearl Harbor is attacked, to search, solve, and decode pages from the Kelmsbury Manuscript, an Arthurian book of legends about King Arthur. Hidden within the museum's collection, the pages hold the key to preventing a Nazi attack on American soil. Sharing a magical link to the King Arthur legend, Madge, an orphan, Kiku, daughter of the Curator of Far Eastern Art, Joe, a Native American runaway, and Walt, a Jewish boy sent away from Germany to escape the concentration camps, join forces to thwart enemy agents from sending coded message to Germany. Little do they realize that the Kelmsbury has magical powers that link them to the King Arthur legend. Readers will enjoy the fast-paced action, clever clues, and skills the kids use to complete each task they are given while forging unbreakable friendships in this fantasy, espionage, and historical fiction tale.

Ages 12-15

PROJEKT 1065: A Novel of World War II
written by Alan Gratz, (Scholastic Press, $16.99, Oct. 2016, ISBN 978-0-545-88016-9), 320p, Ages 13+

In 1943 Michael O'Shaunessey, 13-year-old son of the Irish ambassador to Germany, is a spy for the Allies during World War II. With his flawless German and photographic memory, Michael joins the Hitler Youth to infiltrate Nazi hierarchy and access information that will assist his parents in spying for the Allies. When Michael rescues a downed British pilot, he is alerted to the existence of Projekt 1065, a new Nazi warplane with no propellers. Upon discovering that his classmate's father is the designer of the plane, Michael is given access to the blueprints, and with his excellent memory, he is able to pass on pages of enemy codes and formulas to the Allies. As a junior Gestapo member, Michael is assigned, along with three other boys, to assassinate a Jewish physicist, who is developing an atomic bomb for the Americans.

In a complex coming-of-age drama of friendship, loyalty, espionage, and betrayal, Michael experiences tough choices and moral dilemmas with cruelty, betrayal, and sacrificing lives for the greater good. The drama is occasionally offset by hilarious Irish-Scotch-English jokes, a marriage proposal from a friend's 10-year-old sister, and Michael's humorous limericks when under stress ("There once was a man from Nantucket, who kept all his cash in a bucket. But his daughter named Nan ran away with a man, and as for the bucket, Nantucket!") The author's note gives background information on the Hitler Youth organization, Nazi's use of children to fight the war, their rehabilitation after the war, the real Projekt 1065, Operation Paperclip, the Manhattan Project, and Ireland's neutrality. Kids will find themselves on the edge of their seats in this action-packed mystery/adventure.

Ages 14-18+

written by Katie Kennedy, (Bloomsbury, July 2017, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-61963-912-6), 336p, Ages 13+

NASA has proven that the Universe is infinite and has created a mysterious Interworlds Agency to explore, assess, engage and protect Earth from intelligent life on other worlds. They are looking for the brightest high school juniors to become part of their team, and through round after round of exhaustive competitive testing, the field is narrowed down from two hundred to four students. Rosa is a privileged and brilliant is a child of scientists. Eddie, raised by a physicist grandmother, is on his own and hitched hiked his way to NASA. Theo is the son of medical professionals. Brad comes from a wealthy family, who can buy or sell NASA. When aliens land, determined to destroy Earth, the teens, along with their ball-headed, pickle-crunching instructor, steal an alien craft and head to the alien's parallel version of Earth, where they discover slightly altered versions of themselves. Find out how the teens from both Earths work together to defeat enemies and fight for a brighter future. Hilarious banter, likeable characters, competitive friendships, action-packed adventure, and crazy science fiction make this an excellent read for teens.

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,

The Children's Hour
10 N. Santa Anita Ave., #300
Arcadia, CA 91006



Copyright © 2017 The Children's HourAll rights reserved.
150 N. Santa Anita Ave., #300,Arcadia, CA 91006
Tel: 626-791-4848 | Email: