May 2018

Best of 2017



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


MOTOR GOOSE: Rhymes that Go!
written by Rebecca Colby, illus. by Jef Kaminsky, (Feiwel and Friends,2017 ISBN 978-1-250-10193-8), 32p, Ages 2-5


written/illus. by Zebo Ludvicek, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2017 ISBN 978-1-101-99636-2), 40p, Ages 3-5


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


Ages 4-8


written/illus. by Mike Curato, (Henry Holt 2017 1SBN 978-1-62779-640-8), 40p, Ages 4-7


written by Dashka Slater, illus. by The Fan Brothers, (Beach Lane Books, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4814-5160-4), 48p, Ages 4-8


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

Ages 8-12

DAZZLE SHIPS: World War I and the Art of Confusion
written by Chris Barton, illus. by Victo Ngai, (Millbrook Press, 2017 ISBN 978-1-5124-1014-3), 36p, Ages 7-11


written by Karina Yan Glaser, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017, ISBN 978-0-544-87639-2), 304p, Ages 9-12


written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, illus. by Vivienne Tu, (Atheneum Books, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4814-3779-0), 176p, Ages 7-11

Ages 10-13


written by Stuart Gibbs, (Simon & Schuster, 2017) ISBN 978-1-4814-7782-6), 336p, Ages 10-13


YOURS TRULY #2 (A Pumpkin Falls Mystery)
written by Heather Vogel Frederick, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4424-7186-3), 336p, Ages 10-13

Ages 12-15


written by Mechthild Gläser, translated by Romy Fursland, (Fiewel and Friends, 2017, ISBN 978-1-250-08666-2), 384p, Ages 13+


Ages 14-18


written by Katherine Woodfine, illus. by Julia Sardà, (Kane Miller Books, 2017 ISBN 978-1-61067-661-8), 320p, Ages 13+


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 great storytellers of children’s literature never lost their love of childhood. Their distinctive styles and personalities are woven into their writing in special and unique ways that enchant children from generation to generation. We hope you will enjoy our choices of outstanding stories for the month of May.

The books featured represent some of the best of imagination and fun in children's literature and are presented for reading and listening enjoyment. May children never lose their appetite for fun and imagination, and hopefully pass it on to the next generation.

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


TOAD ON THE ROAD: A Cautionary Tale
written/illus. by Stephen Shaskan, (HarperCollins, $17.99, 2017, ISBN 978-0-06-239347-0), 32p, Ages 3+

Little toad is happily and hungrily sitting in the middle of the road watching a fly buzz around, not realizing that others use the road for traveling. “Who’s that coming down the road? / Oh yikes! Oh yikes! / It’s a … Bear on a bike! / Everyone shout Look out! Look out!” With a “SKID! SCREECH!, BAM!” Bear crashes in a ditch and warns toad that playing in the road is dangerous, and what in the world would his mama say? Toad pays no attention to the warning. Soon Croc in a car and Vole in a van also crash, resulting in a pileup of damaged vehicles. Then Mama comes down the road in a tow truck to set things right. Bouncy, catchy, and interactive, this cautionary tale is a great choice for story time.


written by Margaret Read MacDonald, illus. by Rob McClurkan, (Two Lions, $17.99, March 2018,
ISBN 978-1503950986), 32p, Ages 3-7

On launch day a brand new tugboat, constructed of steel with a fresh coat of red paint, discovers a love for twirling and swirling in the waters of the bay in Seattle, Washington. The older tugs grumble and remind him of his duty to just push and pull barges. On his first assignment of towing a barge to Alaska, he challenges an older tug to a race to Sitka, but loses. On the second leg of the trip across open sea to Anchorage the older tug has problems and signals S.O.S. “Arctic Tug lost power! Engine stopped! I have to leave you, Barge, I’ve got to help. I’ll rescue Arctic Tug and come right back. Don’t worry. I can do this, I’m Tough Tug.” With plenty of personality and humor, kids will love this little tugboat as he overcomes obstacles and helps others. According to the author’s note, Tough Tug is based on a true incident between tugboat companies. Maps of the route from Seattle to Anchorage are featured on the inside covers.


written by Kate Banks, illus. by Boris Kulikov, (Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.99, Nov. 2017, ISBN 978-0-374-33508-3), 32p, Ages 3-6

It isn’t widely known, but gloomy days are made for hunting elephants. So thinks a young explorer, who packs food, binoculars, a flute, a colored blanket, and a story, “woven through the cloth to tell the elephant.” The young explorer instructs readers to look for elephant footprints, if thirsty, stop for drinks at the nearest waterhole, take shelter under large leaves in case of storms, and swing with chimpanzees and fly with eagles for quick traveling. There are false alarms and surprises along the way— mistaking rhinos for elephants, taking a nap on top of a waking elephant, and realizing that the elephant may find you first. Readers will spot the cleverly hidden elephant on each page in this beautifully illustrated and whimsical tongue-in-cheek elephant romp.


written & illus. by Ruth Brown, (Mulberry Books, 1997, Andersen Press, 2011), 28p, Ages 3-6

“One hot afternoon, a farmer and his animals were dozing in the barn. The only sound was the buzz-buzz of a lazy fly.” When the fly lands on the farmer’s nose, the resulting SNEEZEEEEE catapults the fly into a spider’s web. This alerts a sparrow, who chases the spider, but awakens the cat, which leaps for the bird, but is chased by the dog, which scatters the chickens, and terrifies the donkey. The hilarious chain-reaction finds the egg-splattered, harness-draped farmer innocently explaining to his wife and child that, “I only sneezed!” Kids will love the humorous expressions, resulting mayhem, and wonderful illustrations.

Ages 4-8

written/illus. by Adam F. Watkins, (Price, Stern, Sloan, June 2017, $17.99,
ISBN 978-0-8431-8301-6), 32p, Ages 4-7

Raybot, from R Is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet (2014) and Raybot (2016), along with his friends, Parrot and Puppy, lead an orderly, peaceful life in a junkyard. When a cute, energetic little robot is dumped on the road beside the junkyard, he becomes a new member of the family. Rarely powering down, Weebot’s endless energy causes problems. “Raybot tried to teach him the rules and how to play nice, but Weebot sometimes ruins things.” Determined to return to his peaceful existence, Raybot returns Weebot to his crate and leaves him on the side of the road with a sign, “Free Robot.” Missing the little pest, Raybot has a change of heart, but when the family rushes to take Weebot back home, his crate is empty. Kids will love this friendly little guy with all his faults, in this tale of family and friendship.


written/illus. by Ross Burach, (Scholastic Press, $17.99, March 2018, ISBN 978-1-338-12936-6), 40p, Ages 4-8

Bernie the dog runs a truck service that specializes in delivering ducks. On the way to a new delivery, Bernie’s crazy, goofy, distracted ducks read newspapers, eat donuts, pizza, ice cream, and guzzle down Bladder Buster drinks. When one gobbles up the delivery directions, Bernie improvises and asks everyone he meets, “Did you call for a truck full of ducks?” A little girl replies that she called for a mail truck to mail her little brother far away, a construction worker phoned for a “D-D-D-Dump truck,” a shark with a surf board claims he called for an ice cream truck, and a peg leg pirate claims he called for crackers “not quackers!” After a bathroom break, the answer came from the dark woods of H. Fox, saying, “Perfect timing. MY DINNER …” Readers and listeners will love the reason behind the order of a Truck Full of Ducks, as well as the zany cartoon drawings.


written by Josy Jensen Shaffer, illus. by Daniel Miyares, (Nancy Paulson Books, $17.99, Feb. 2018, ISBN 978-0-399-17388-2), 32p, Ages 5-8

With relatives as large as Uncle Gibraltar and Great Grandma Half Dome, young Rocky might be small, but he is plucky and determined to become legendary. Feeling inspired by his famous rock formation family, Rocky hops on a pick up truck to Arizona to visit the Wave, hitches a ride to Wyoming with an eagle to visit his cousin the Devil’s Tower, falls onto a station wagon loaded with camping gear, and stows away in a backpack to South Dakota, where he discovers that Mount Rushmore is closed due to a crack in Lincoln’s nose. Find out how little Rocky becomes a hero and saves the National Park. “All thanks to Rocky the little pebble that wouldn’t be taken for granite.” Kids as well as adults will love this clever story of persistence and determination with its geological puns and historical information on famous landmarks.

Ages 8-12

written by Santa Montefiore/Simon Sebag Montefiore, illus. by Kate Hindley, (Aladdin, $16.99, Jan. 2018, ISBN 978-1-4814-9860-9), 208p, Ages 8-11

Shylo Tawny—Tail, the weakest and quietest in his family, has a secret and forbidden friendship with an elderly battle-scared, rabbit, Horatio, who lives on the edge of the forest. When Shylo overhears a band of ratzis plotting against the Queen of England, he immediately tells Horatio, who informs him of the Royal Rabbits, a secret society of elite rabbits that live beneath Buckingham Palace and protect the royal family. Horatio quickly dispatches Shylo to London to find the Royal Rabbits and alert them. With the Royal Rabbit motto, “Life is an adventure. Anything in the world is possible—by will and by luck, with a moist carrot, a wet nose, and a slice of mad courage,” Shylo begins an adventure of his life. Conquering overwhelming fears, Shylo cleverly hitches a ride to London, where he leads an underground search through secret tunnels and helps the humorous, eccentric, commando rabbits thwart the evil rats. This first book in the Royal Rabbits series will leave kids eagerly waiting for more adventures.


written by David Fulk, (Delacorte Press, $16.99, June 2017, ISBN 978-0-385-74464-5), 272p, Ages 9-12

Its summer In Menominee Springs, Wisconsin where a lonely twelve-year boy prefers rock and bug collecting to spending time with other kids. One day while chasing an illusive butterfly, Martin falls into a rock quarry and stumbles upon a large, frozen, football-sized egg buried deep below the ground. In his laboratory in the family barn, Martin wonders why it keeps moving, until suddenly it hatches and a bizarre lizard-looking animal, that he names Rufus, emerges. Soon Rufus grows into a huge and constantly hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex. Feeding and hiding Rufus becomes increasingly difficult, but with the help of a new friend at school, they keep him in huge quantities of dog food and teach him tricks. By the time school begins, they realize that adult help is needed, but when adults enter the picture, Rufus’s future is in jeopardy and mayhap ensues. Find out if Rufus’s destiny involves laboratories, side show carnival acts, or freedom. Readers will root for this heroic boy and his oversized pet in this humorous tale of adventure, friendship, and family.


written by Barbara O’Conner, (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2010), 176p, Ages 9-12

When Owen Jester and his family move across town to live with his grandfather, Owen’s days are filled with mischief and avoiding Earlene, the grumpy, no-nonsense housekeeper. Having caught the biggest bullfrog in Carter, Georgia, Owen can’t resist slipping Tooley Graham into Earlene’s soup. One summer night Owen’s life radically changes after hearing an object fall from a passing train. For days he and two friends, Travis and Stumpy, search for it and discover a two-person submarine, the Water Wonder 4000. As they scheme to keep the sub secret from the authorities, they fail to conceal it from know-it-all Viola. When she threatens to tell the authorities, the boys are forced to include her in their adventure. Viola proves useful when she interprets the instructional booklet and devises a way to move the sub to a nearby pond, where they have the time of their lives under water, until the authorities find them. This summertime adventure of friendship, family, enemies, and bullfrogs begs to be read all year around.

Ages 10-13

written/illus. by Thacher Hurd, (Henry Holt & Co., 2011), 240p, Ages 9-12

“Bongo Fishing: n. 1. To go on an adventurous trip somewhere at least ten light years away. 2. To set off on any unusual expedition, not knowing what its outcome will be. 3. Non-invasive fishing for the colorful bongo fish in the Pleiades. 4. Slang: ‘Let’s bongo down to Orion, man.’—Zecster’s Intergalactic Dictionary (14th Pleiades edition)” James Jameson’s ordinary life takes an exciting turn when he encounters Sam, a friendly blue alien mechanic from the Pleiades, who travels to earth in a lime green 1960 Dodge Dart spaceship and crashes in James’ neighborhood. Familiar with American culture from previous visits, Sam, loves American glazed donuts and listens to Count Basie on the interstellar radio. After helping Sam repair the Dart with ketchup, James is introduced to space travel, Bongo Fishing in the South Pleiades, and Sam’s Elvis-loving wife, Edna. Subsequent visits become new adventures of manufacturing fuel (a concoction of broccoli, bubblegum, baking soda, and vinegar) in James’ kitchen, finding a cure for Sputnik (James’ cat), which has the Bleagles (Pleiades blue measles), learning to fly a rocket cycle, and rescuing Sam and Edna from a mysterious and deranged Zimborian therapist in Area 51’s restricted area. Short on science fiction, but full of humor and zaniness, James, Sam, and Edna are permanent fixtures in fiction, and hopefully, will return for more adventures.

Ages 12-15

written by Roland Smith, (Scholastic Press, 2011), 160p, Ages 9-12

As a category five hurricane, Emily, bears down on Florida, thirteen-year-old Chase and his contractor father head straight for its landfall. Following hurricanes, tornados, and floods provides business for dad who takes advantage of crises. Chase, familiar with constant traveling and changing schools, is glad to reach the farm of friends, where he can settle in at a new school. The farm is also winter headquarters for a circus. When the storm hits, Chase and two friends find themselves on a wrecked school bus as the levee underneath them crumbles. Trying to survive raging waters, darkness, flying debris, near drowning, and alligators, the three make their way to the farm, only to discover a devastated farmhouse, a barn with a pregnant elephant about to give birth, and rising floodwaters. First in a planned trilogy, kids will be anticipating the next installment.

Ages 14-18+

written by Lorie Langdon, (Blink, $18.99, March 2018, ISBN 978-0-31-76341-3), 336p, Ages 16+

“For long minutes, there was considerable doubt as to whether the child would survive to bear a name at all. Although being born in a workhouse was not the most fortunate of circumstances, in this child’s case the alternative would have made for a much different story; likely a very short one.” In this reimaging of Charles Dickens’ classic story Oliver Twist, a young girl, orphaned as an infant in 1841, raised as a young boy on the streets of London, and protected by the clever Artful Dodger, is taken in by a long-lost uncle, leaving behind her a life of thieving. Now eighteen, vivacious and beautiful Olivia Brownlow is a highly eligible debutante in London society. At a lavish society party she recognizes a handsome, arrogant gentleman, Jack MacCarron, as her old protector, the Artful Dodger. Jack is now the adopted nephew of a society matron, who along with his “aunt” robs society at every opportunity. Intrigued by the young debutante who reminds him of someone from his past, Jack wonders about her secret life involving homeless orphan thieves. As romance develops, Olivia and Jack work together to uncover past secrets, take on crime lords, solve mysteries and murders, and help homeless orphans. Flawed, complex, and likeable scoundrels, menacing villains, daring rescues, heroism, and a bit of romance guarantee that this clever retelling (not as bleak as the original) will captivate and capture the reader’s heart.

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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