December 2018

Holiday Favorites

written by Eve Bunting, illus. by Timothy Bush, (Clarion Books, 2002), 32p, Ages 3-7


written by Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2014), 24p, Ages 2-4


written by Martin Waddell, illus. by Jason Cockcroft, (Little Simon Inspirations, HC 2004, 2008 Board), 26p, Ages 3+


Holiday Favorites
Ages 4-8

written/illus. by Loren Long, (Philomel Books, 2008), 40p, Ages 4-7 yrs


written by Doreen Cronin, illus. By Betsy Lewin, (Antheneum Books, 2015), 40p, Ages 4-8


written by Richard Simon/ Tanya Simon, illus. by Mark Siegel, (Roaring Brook Press, 2015), 40p, Ages 4-8


written/illus. by Brock Cole, (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011), 40p, Ages 4-8

Holiday Favorites
Ages 8-12

written by Linda Sue Park, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline, (Clarion Books, 2011), 32p, Ages 6-9


written by Kristin Kladstrup, illus. by Brett Helquist, (Candlewick Press, 2017), 336p, Ages 9-12


Illus. by Gennady Spirin, (Atheneum Books, 2007), 32p, All Ages


WHERE DID THEY HIDE MY PRESENTS?: Silly Dilly Christmas Songs
written by Alan Katz, illus. by David Catrow, (McElderry Books, 2005), 32p, Ages 7-10


TUMTUM & NUTMEG: The Rose Cottage Tales
written/illus. by Emily Bearn, (Little, Brown & Co., 2010), 416p, Ages 8-12

Holiday Favorites
Ages 10-13

written by Sherri L. Smith, illus. by Sarah Watts, (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2015), 400p, Ages 10-14


written by Cornelia Funke, translated by Oliver G. Latsch, illus. by Paul Howard, (Chicken House,2006), 192p, Ages 9-12


Holiday Favorites
Ages 12-15

written by Richard Peck, illus. by Brandon Dorman, (Dial Books. 2009), 176p, Ages 11+


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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, and contain heart, humor, hope, and a happy ending.

The holidays are for family, friends, tradition, and memories. This is also a perfect time for reading and reading aloud great children's books, and we hope you will enjoy our selections.

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written by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by A. G. Ford, (Chronicle Books, $16.99, Oct. 2018, ISBN 978-1-4521-3911-1), 40p, Ages 3-7

The team of construction trucks from Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (2011) and Mighty, Mighty, Construction Site (2017) rush to complete their part of the new firehouse before Christmas. Bulldozer clears the ground for Excavator to dig the foundation, “Cement Mixer has concrete to pour: / he lays the foundation, walls, and floor. / And then he churns another load / that will be used to make a road.” Dump Truck and Crane finish their part of the construction as night sets in and snow begins to fall. For their tireless dedication, each construction vehicle receives a gift and thank you note from the crew—a “carbon steel blade” for Bulldozer, a “shiny yellow scoop” for Excavator, a “brand new drum” for Cement Mixer, a “fresh new set of tires” for Dump Truck, and a “rock-‘em-sock-‘em wrecking ball” for Crane—as they settle in for the night with a “Merry Christmas! And … goodnight.”
        Themes: Bedtime, Trains Planes, Cars & Boats, Rhythm & Rhyme


written/illus. by Will Hillenbrand, (Two Lions, $16.99, Dec. 2014, ISBN 978-1-4778-4787-9), 32p, Ages 3-7

In this wordless wintery adventure, a passing owl drops a magical top hat in the snow and it becomes the perfect hiding place for a passing bunny. A gust of wind picks up the hat and plops it onto a newly made snowman, and he magically comes to life. When the woodland animals place a book in the Snowman’s hands, he begins to read aloud, and all enjoy the story, including the bunny in the hat. After everyone drifts off to sleep, Bunny steals the book, runs away, and the resulting chase involves a snowball fight, forgiveness, and bunny’s perfectly good reason for borrowing the book.
        Themes: Adventure, Fantasy Holidays, Humor, Seasons, Wordless

Ages 4-8

written/illus. by Mike Curato, (Henry Holt & Co., $17.99, Sept. 2018, ISBN 978-1-250-18589-1), 40p, Ages 4-7

Little Elliot can’t seem to find his holiday spirit, and his friend Mouse suggests that they visit Santa in a New York department store. To Little Elliot’s request for a Christmas spirit, Santa replies, “You’ll have to find that yourself.” They begin their search with a ballet performance, then onto Rockefeller Center, and finally sledding in Central Park, but at each place, disaster strikes. When a little girl tries to mail a letter to Santa, a gust of wind blows it onto Elliot’s forehead. After failing to reach Santa, they read the letter and proceed to answer her request in person. “Dear Santa, For Christmas I would like some good friends. Love, Noelle S.” This sweet story, celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, is a great choice for sharing friendship and compassion, especially during the Christmas season.
        Themes: Friendship, Holidays, Wordless, Series


written/illus. by Brian Lies, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99.Oct. 2018, ISBN 978-0-544-94882-2), 32p, Ages 4-7

As snow begins to fall in the forest, Izzy, the chipmunk, receives a letter from her friend Bear requesting her immediate presence. Since the letter sounds urgent and serious, Izzy rushes out the door, but soon becomes buried in snow from a blizzard. One by one her friends, Scritch, the squirrel, Bingle, the duck, and Snaffie, the raccoon, offer to pitch in and help. With sheer determination they make it to Bear’s house where Izzy finds a surprise that the animals will remember for a lifetime. The next morning Bear helps everyone home as they sing, “No matter how steep or tough the climb, a friend is worth it every time.” The whole family should enjoy this sweet message of friendship and generosity.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Bears, Friendship


written by David Cali, illus. by Sébastien Mourrain, (Kids Can Press, $17.99, 2017, ISBN 978-1-77138-843-6), 36p, Ages 4-7

“When he was born, Little Pea was tiny. Teeny-tiny.” With a cereal bowl for a bathtub, a matchbox for a bed, and a wind-up car for transportation, Little Pea’s miniature world is full of wonderful adventures with tomato plants, grasshoppers, lady bugs, and lily pads, until he begins school and realizes just how tiny he is. Too small for chairs, or playing instruments, even gym class, Little Pea turns to drawing. Discover how this little guy finds his place in the world, builds a cozy little house, and settles into the perfect job involving postage stamps. Kids will love Little Pea’s perseverance, creativity, and ingenuity in overcoming obstacles along with lessons of self-confidence, regardless of appearance or size.
        Themes: Concept, Families, Heroes


written by Annie Silvestro, illus. by Paola Zakimi, (HarperCollins, $17.99, Sept. 2018, ISBN 978-0-06-256168-8), 32p, Ages 4-8

A little tree on a family’s farm loves her place near the train tracks. “The tree loved the trains—their speed, their click-clacking wheels, their powerful engines. When she heard one rumbling in the distance, the tree would stand tall, her needles tingling.” A little boy, who also loves trains, searches with his father for a Christmas tree, and he chooses the little tree. Taken home with its roots wrapped in burlap and placed in a corner by the fireplace, the little tree misses the farm and dreams of the trains. One morning she awakens to the sound of a toy train as it “chugged along its track right beneath her. The tree twinkled. She carried her lights and ornaments proudly.” After Christmas the boy and his father carefully return the little tree to the edge of their farm by the train track. All train lovers and kindred spirits will enjoy this tale of friendship and love.
        Themes: Families, Holidays, Trains Planes Cars & Boats


TOUGH COOKIE: A Christmas Story
written/illus. by Edward Hemingway, (Henry Holt & Co., $17.99, Sept. 2018, ISBN 978-1-62779-441-1), 40p, Ages 4-8

When a fancy cookie, fresh and warm from the oven, runs out of the Christmas Town Bakery and past Fox, he declares, “Run, run, as fast as you can! You can’t catch me—I’m the Sugar Cookie Man!” Of Course Fox gives chase, but after one bite and a broken tooth, he states that Sugar Cookie Man tastes terrible and is one tough cookie. Cookie is devastated and wonders about his purpose in life, until he meets others just like him. They explain that, “You’re not like other cookies. You’re special. Baked with glue and lots of salt … with a little hole in your head for a ribbon!” Cookie is ecstatic when he discovers his calling in life—a Christmas tree ornament. Edward Hemingway, youngest grandson of Ernest Hemingway, includes recipes for edible and non-edible cookies.
        Themes: Animals, Food, Holidays, Humor

Ages 8-12

BEAR COUNTRY: Bearly a Misadventure #6 (The Chicken Squad)
written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Stephen Gilpin, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, August 2018, ISBN 978-1-5344-0574-1), 112p, Ages 7-10

In this sixth adventure of The Chicken Squad, there’s a headless bear on the loose and their beloved caretaker, Barbara is missing. So believe Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie when Barbara doesn’t feed them one morning. On a mission to save her, they gather clues from Zippy, the hamster, Dangerous Danny Finnegan, the guinea pig, Hammer, the resident mouse, Nancy Lee, the local mail carrier, Knuckles, the cat, male honeybees, and a few noisy birds. Gathering clues and ignoring important instructions from a flyer, they head for the city with Sugar shouting, “It’s our turn to save everyone from the headless bears! We are the town’s only hope, and we won’t let them down. Hang on, everyone. We’re going in!”
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Chapter Books, Families, Humor, Series


THE BEAR #8 (Lighthouse Famlly)
written by Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Preston McDaniels, (Beach Lane Books, Mar. 2018, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-4814-6028-6), 48p, Ages 7-10

This eighth book in the Lighthouse Family series finds the mice children, Whistler and Lila, enduring a long winter at the Lighthouse. When spring arrives early, they are overjoyed and anxious to explore the forest, and on their first adventure, they discover a huge tree. “A deep dark hole had been made by the large roots of the tree, and from this hole a wisp of vapor was rising.” When the children believe that a bear may be hibernating in the tree, they leave small presents and a note inviting him to breakfast when he wakes up. Soon Thomas does awake, takes them up on their offer of breakfast, and consumes thirty-four pancakes. On a tour of their garden, Thomas spies a hammock and promptly returns to sleep for forty-three more days. Kids will love this sweet bear, his love of pancakes, a new home beneath a waterfall, and the gift of music he gives the family. “The lovely sound of music could be heard coming from the lighthouse on the cliff. The notes floated out and across the sea. And, sometimes, a humpback whale who loved to sing even answered.”
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Chapter Books, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Series


EDISON: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure
written/illus. by Torben Kuhlmann, translated by David Henry Wilson, (North South Books, $19.95, Oct. 2018, ISBN 978-0-7358-4322-6), 112p, Ages 8-11

The adventures from Torben Kuhlmann’s Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse (2014) and Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon (2016) continue in the newest tale of underwater exploration. A young mouse brings an old letter to a professor at the University of Mice and explains that, “Many years ago, one of my ancestors sailed across the Atlantic. And he took a large treasure with him.” Thus Pete and the Professor begin a search for clues in newspaper clippings and discover that the transatlantic liner, carrying Pete’s ancestor, sank. It doesn’t take long to locate the wreck. Now begins the arduous and sometimes dangerous task of experimenting with trial and error to build a submarine. The day finally arrives when they and their submarine stowaway in a shipping container on a cargo ship and make the journey across the Atlantic to dive for the sunken ship and treasure. Their amazing underwater adventure becomes unforgettable as they discover secrets beyond their wildest imaginations. Could it be that young Pete’s ancestor survived the sinking and went on to help a famous human inventor? Kids will pour over the illustrations, especially antique-like drawings of the various underwater inventions.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Fantasy Heroes, Inventions, Series


written by Karina Yan Glaser, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, Sept. 2018, ISBN 978-1-328-77002-8) 336p, Ages 9-12

In this heart-warming sequel to The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (2017), the Vanderbeeker children, Jessie 13, Oliver 9, Hyacinth 7, and Laney 5, decide to create a magical garden for their upstairs elderly neighbor, Mr. Jeet, who is recovering in the hospital from a stroke. They have 19 days to transfer the abandoned lot next to the church into the best community garden in Harlem, in spite of little money, no gardening experience, and a padlocked gate. After Oliver picks the padlock, they discover a dumping ground of trash, but help comes from neighborhood kids, donations, selling personal items, and fundraising to cover the cost of plants and flowers. All seems lost, when a developer seeks to build a luxury condominium complex on the property. Discover how one family’s shared love overcomes obstacles and brings their Harlem neighborhood together. Readers and listeners will enjoy REP (Roof of Epic Proportions), music to entertain the plants, and yarn bombing.
         Themes: Families, Friendship, Series

Ages 10-13

written by Dean Pitchford, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, $16.99, Oct. 2013, ISBN 978-0-399-25465-9), 272p, Ages 10+

An embittered and troubled eleven-year-old encounters a reclusive neighbor, who changes his circumstances, alters his future, and saves his family and town at Christmas. With a history of larceny, Sam is well known by the police and in danger of being removed from his struggling single dad’s care. Fleeing from the police one evening, he encounters the mysterious Mr. Wells, a reclusive, wealthy neighbor, who anonymously distributes $100 bills at Christmas to Nickel Bay residents, thereby raising their spirits and the town’s economy. Unable to participate this year due to a broken leg, Mr. Wells obtains a list of Sam’s crimes, blackmails him into becoming the secret Santa, and trains him in skills of a spy, pickpocket, and cat burglar. What results is a well-written, humorous, exciting, and fast-paced tale of rescue, redemption, and second chances. A surprise ending reveals Mr. Wells’ motives for becoming involved in Sam’s life. Kids will find themselves rooting for this kid every step of the way.
        Themes: Friendship, Heroes, Holidays


written by Charles Dickens, illus. by Robert Ingpen, (minedition, 2008), 192p, Ages 10+

This unabridged edition of a classic holiday tale tells of love, goodwill, mercy, and redemption. On Christmas Eve in Victorian England, old, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge encounters three spirits: Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. Each spirit teaches him the meaning of Christmas by reviewing his past, disclosing his present, and foretelling his grim future. Can Scrooge reverse his miserable destiny and change his cold heart? Every Christmas we should try to read the timeless story that was first published in 1843. Award-winning artist, Robert Ingpen, brings his own unforgettable interpretation to this timeless classic. This edition includes a short biography on Dickens and circumstances surrounding his writing of this famous story. Also included is Dickens’ A Christimas Tree, a short story that first appeared in 1850 and written as one of his yearly Christmas stories for the twopenny weekly Household Words. Endpapers contain “The Best of Charles Dickens”, a listing of his novels, dates published and a brief description of each novel.
        Themes: Classics, Holidays

Ages 12-15

written by O. Henry, illus. by P. J. Lynch, (Candlewick Press, $15.99, Sept. 2008, ISBN 978-0-7636-3530-5), 40p,Ages 12+

First published in 1903, O. Henry’s tale of love and sacrifice at Christmastime comes alive again with the beautiful illustrations of P. J. Lynch. A young and poor couple in New York scrape by on a meager income, which leaves only pennies for holiday spending. With only $1.87 to buy a present for her husband, Della sells her long hair to purchase a platinum chain for his watch. Jim, in turn, sells his watch to buy Della combs for her hair. On Christmas Eve, they discover what each has sacrificed for the other, and realize that their love and devotion are far more lasting than material things. O’Henry, a master at humor and plot twists, has entertained readers and listeners for generations.
        Themes: Classics, Families, Holidays

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