August/September 2019


Stories from the Past to
Read, Share, and Treasure

These are the magical stories, full of imagination and fun. These are the stories that take children into a world of delightful imagination and adventure and present storytelling at its best.

The greatest bargain in America today is located in the public libraries. Usually the only cost involved is time. Portable, they can be enjoyed anywhere, any time, and they take up less space than most toys. They never go out of style and are the best source of entertainment for children.


written by Russell Hoban, illus. by Garth Williams, (HarperCollins, 1960), 32 p. Ages 3-7

At bedtime Frances, a lovable badger, finds it difficult to sleep with strange noises and menacing shapes of tigers and giants in her room, and the scary cracks in the ceiling. Will kisses from dad and mom, her teddy bear, and a glass of milk help Frances to sleep? Will her active imagination keep her awake all night?
        Themes: Classics, Bears, Bedtime, Series
Others in the Series
   Bread and Jam for Frances |
   A Birthday for Frances


written by Ruth Krauss, illus. by Crockett Johnson, (HarperCollins 1945), 32p, Ages 3+

In spite of his family’s doubts, a young boy plants a carrot seed and believes it will grow, even though he is told by his parents, the competition, and his big brother that it will not grow. .He waters, pulls weeds, and waits, until his patience is rewarded, and it is huge. Published in 1945, this beautiful classic of patience and determination has never gone out of print.
        Themes: Classics, Food, Nature


written/illus. by Janet & Allan Ahlberg, (Viking Books, 1979), 32p, Ages 3-5

Little ones will find familiar nursery rhyme characters on each page, whether lurking in the cupboard, on the stairs, or deep in the woods, and must interact with each picture to discover the next fairy tale/nursery rhyme character. The final page features the characters meeting up for a plum pie in the sun.
        Themes: Classics, Rhythm & Rhyme


Ages 4 - 8

written & illus. by Margaret Mahy, illus. by Steven Kellogg, (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1975), 32p,Ages 4-6

Robert is an ordinary boy to whom extraordinary things happen. One day a hippopotamus follows him home from school, then two, and ultimately forty-three. His parents believe that the situation is solved until the giraffes show up.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Humor


retold by Jerry Pinkney, (Chronicle Books, 2000), 96p, Ages 5-9

More than sixty of Aesop’s classic tales are brought to life in Jerry Pinkney’s unforgettable style. Tales of steadfast lions, crafty wolves, carefree grasshoppers, patient tortoises, dissatisfied donkeys, unwise mice, persistent ants, tricky foxes, grateful lions, honest woodcutters, and many more teach lasting moral lessons for young listeners: “Honesty is the best policy.” “Appearances can be deceiving.” “Look before you leap.” “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.”
        Themes: Anthologies, Classics, Folk Literature


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1965), 48p, Ages 5-8

A greedy, cranky, selfish, old crab lives alone and battles seagulls for food each day. “And he’d have been greedy the rest of his days / If an odd twist of fate hadn’t changed Kermit’s ways.” When a young fisherman saves him from disaster, Old Kermit decides to mend his ways. By accident, he discovers buried treasure, and with the help of a pelican friend, Kermit repays the boy’s act of kindness. Children need to hear more messages about the importance of kindness and helping others.
        Themes: Classics, Oceans, Lakes Rivers & Ponds, Rhythm & Rhyme

Ages 8 - 12

written by Elizabeth Winthrop, (Random House, 1985,1993), 192p, Ages 9-12

His departing housekeeper/nanny gives ten-year-old William Lawrence a miniature wooden castle, a magic token, and a tiny silver knight. Determined to keep her from leaving, William uses the token to shrink her to the size of the lone inhabitant of the castle, a toy knight, Sir Simon. To correct his selfish act, William shrinks himself and accompanies the knight on a quest to win back his kingdom from a wicked magician. On the way, William learns compassion, chivalry, bravery, loyalty, honesty, and mercy and becomes a formidable force against evil. Knights, castles, dragons, wizardry and magic, along with strong morals and values, make this story a classic for all to experience.
        Themes: Adventure, Classics, Fantasy, Folk Literature, Heroes

Ages 10 - 13

DRIFT HOUSE: The First Voyage
written/illus. by Dale Peck, (Bloomsbury Books, 2005), 450p, Ages 10+

After September 11th, three children are sent to stay with their eccentric uncle on the Bay of Eternity in Canada. In an old house designed like a ship, they awake one morning to realize that they have been washed out to sea — the Sea of Time. It takes their combined ingenuity, with the help of a whale and time pirates to return home, and, oh yes, keep the mermaids from stopping time. A great adventure book.
        Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Other in the Series: The Lost Cities


Ages 12 - 15

written by Ian Baucom, illus. by Justin Gerard, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013), 400p, Ages 11-14

Stories entwine across centuries and cultures when three modern day siblings struggle to save lives and correct an ancient evil that began three hundred years earlier in Italy. In modern day Venice, while their professor father works at a local university, Jared, Shireen, and Miranda visit an elderly shopkeeper. The bookseller gives them magical gifts and an ancient book which holds the story of Rashid, Francesca, and Maria, who were kidnapped by a diabolical monk three hundred years ago.

Little do they realize that their new gifts will bring to life winged lions, talking cats, and mythical fauns, which help them fight corrupt villains, face dangerous circumstances, and give hope to hundreds of children stranded in the twenty-first century. The action, suspense, and exotic creatures will keep kids engrossed in this wonderful European fantasy.
        Themes: Adventure, Fantasy Mystery


Ages 14 - 18

written by Veronica Rossi, (Tor Teen, $17.99, Feb. 2016), 368p, Ages 17+

After a fatal military accident, 18-year-old Gideon Blake miraculously returns to life with special powers, a strange red cuff, magical weapons, a fiery horse, and a destiny beyond his wildest dreams. He is now War, one of four manifestations of the legendary Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Bible. Given their different personalities and backgrounds, Gideon and the three other Horsemen (Sebastian as Famine, Marcus as Death, and Jode as Conquest), learn to work as a team with mystical weapons, superpowers, and magical horses, and ride forth to fight the evil Kindred. The story is told by Gideon in flashbacks while under interrogation by government officials. Teens will enjoy this first book in an action-packed, intense duology, filled with intriguing characters, magnificent horses, weapons, a bit of romance, and a quest to save the world from evil.
        Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Mysteries, Series
Others in the Series


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, great books should be enjoyable, contain heart, humor, hope, and a happy ending.

The Dog Days of summer are here, and what better time than this to relax with stories full of laughter, mystery, fun, adventure, and suspense & intrigue for teens. Books are not a substitute for life, but a greater life can be experienced because of them.

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


written by Jonathan Stutzman, illus. by Jay Fleck, (Chronicle Books, $15.99. March 2019, ISBN 978-1-4521-7033-6), 48p, Ages 3-5

When his friend, Pointy, badly needs a hug, Tiny realizes that his arms are just too small to reach around his friend. He seeks hugging advice from his math-loving dad, health-wise aunt, and comforting mom, but it’s his siblings who suggest practice, practice, practice. Refusing to let physical restrictions hold him back, Tiny uses strategy, training, and persistence, to hug everything from a flower, to an ice cream cone and cactus. When he mistakes a tree for a pterodactyl’s leg, Tiny finds himself flying through the sky. “From up here, everything looks tiny, like me. I could hug anything I wanted.” Kids will love how Pointy gets his biggest hug ever from his very best friend, Tiny.
        Themes: Adventure, Dinosaurs, Friendship, Humor


written/illus. by Kathryn Dennis, (Feiwel and Friends, $17.99, Jan. 2019,
ISBN 978-1-250-30440-7), 32p, Ages 2-5

“The conductor takes the tickets / as the snakes all slither on. / The tracks are checked. The whistle blows / It’s time to move along. / Hissssssssssssssss goes the sound of the train.” Kids who love trains, snakes, and sounds will enjoy the track checker snake, the switcher snake, and the brakesnake when there’s trouble on the tracks (an upside down piggie). Through tunnels, around tracks, racing up and down hills, over bridges (always to the “Hissssssssssssssss” of the train), the passenger snakes enjoy themselves playing cards, reading books, and using their pink tongues to lick ice-cream cones. After a busy trip, the day comes to an end, and the snakes slither off to their dens while the train rests for the night with a “Ssssssssssssssssh.” Kids will love this snakey ride as they wind down at bedtime making their own soundssssss.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Moving Along, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme


written by Ann Ingalls, illus. by Rebecca Evans, (Dawn Publications, $16.95, Feb. 2019, ISBN 978-1-58469-638-4), 32p, Ages 3-6

A small robin fledgling considers the pros and cons of his first flight and decides to give flying a pass. A gentle shove from mom causes a clumsy fall from the nest, a slide down a tree branch, and a landing near a cat. “Oh no, a cat! / He sees me. Good grief! / I jump, and he misses. / What a relief!” With no choice but to pump his little wings to escape, the determined little aviator thrillingly soars on his very first flight. Kids will love the delightful rhyming text and the charming illustrations. Endpapers contain information on the many challenges baby birds face, a literary connection on reading aloud, and STEM activities.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme


written by Anika A. Denise, illus. by Christopher Denise, (Henry Holt & Co., $17.99, July 2019,
ISBN 978-1-250-12036-6), 40p, Ages 3-6

Written to reassure middle children of the special place they occupy in the family, this sweet picture book portrays the benefits and issues that they face. There’s always someone bigger to help them and someone smaller to need them. Middle children know how to assert themselves with important opinions at times and negotiate arguments when needed. Sometimes they lead, sometimes they follow, and sometimes they forge their own way. They’re not too small for going to school, and not to big to play with dollhouses. Even with hand-me-downs and shared bedrooms, “the best part of middle is … you are loved all around.” Kids will enjoy the sweet illustrations of bunnies reading aloud, helping with homework, baking, riding cycles (with helmets), and playing together.
        Themes: Animals, Families, Friendship, Humor

Ages 4-8

written/illus. by Liz Wong, (Alfred A. Knopf, $17.99, Jan. 2019,
ISBN 978-0-553-51157-4), 40p, Ages 4-7

“Henrietta loved quiet. She savored the stillness of the morning as she sipped her Darjeeling. She loved the soft rustle of the newspaper as she turned its pages.” One day while swimming in the lake, Henrietta accidentally bumps into a piling, disturbs a goose nest, and causes an egg to plop on top of her head. Believing it to be just a bump, she bandages her hurt head and waits for a healing, however, the bump hatches and out pops a fuzzy, young gosling crying “Mama!” When the real mother is nowhere to be found, Henrietta proceeds to teach and train Goose to swim, honk, search for food, follow along, and fly. In spite of the noisy and exhausting job, the little one grows up and eventually flies off with a passing flock. To Henrietta’s dismay, letting go is difficult and a return to her quiet life is unsettling, until one day. . . Kids will love this gentle and charming tale of adoption, letting go, and returning home.

Themes: Animals, Families, Heroes, Humor


written by Ethan T. Berlin, illus. by Karl Newsom Edwards, (Farrar Straus Giroux, $17.99, May 2018,
ISBN 978-0-374--30616-8), 40p, Ages 4-7

“The Itsy-Bitsy Spider climbed up the waterspout. And so did the Mitsy-Bitsy Spider. And the Litsy-Plitsy Spider. And the Witsy-Ditsy Spider.” This charming and funny twist on the classic song finds a gigantic spider unable to climb up a waterspout with his smaller spider friends due to his size. However, when the rain begins, Hugely-Wugely realizes that his friends are in trouble from the water and muck in the drain. Plucking up courage, he climbs to the top, plugs the spout by sitting on it, and yells down, “Geesh, people, would it be too much trouble to CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS?!” After having a small discussion with the sun over who actually dried up the water, readers and listeners will enjoy Hugely-Wugely’s warm, fuzzy reward from his friends for saving their lives.
        Themes: Adventure, Heroes, Humor, Insects


written by Julia Donaldson, illus. by David Roberts, (Abrams Books for Young Readers, $16.99, May 2019,
ISBN 978-1-4197-3757-2), 32p, Ages 4-7

Disgusted with another soggy pizza from a box, a king decides to advertise for a cook, and many are auditioned “One by one they cooked for the king; / They cooked and they cooked like anything, / But nothing they cooked was good enough. / ‘This egg is runny. This meat is tough. / Too hot! Too cold! Too sour! Too smelly! / I don’t want a sausage inside my jelly.’ ” When the King spies Wobbly Bob, he dismisses the rest of the applicanats. Even though Bob looks like a cook and is anxious to please, he is terrified of everything—kitchen knives, dirt from the garden, digging up vegetables, and fishing for food. The hungry king proceeds to show Wobbly how to catch fish, dig and chop up vegetables, cook, and set the table, with skills he probably never knew he had. In the process they work together, share a tasty meal, and Bob gets congratulated on a job well done. Kids will love looking for the small, pink-eared mouse on each page as well as the royal kitty waiting for scraps. Don’t be surprised to hear, “Again!” from listeners.
        Themes: Adventure, Food, Folk Literature, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme


written/illus. by Barbara Samuels, (Farrar Straus Giroux, $17.99, March 2019,
ISBN 978-0-374-30097-5), 40p, Ages 4-8

When five chickens are adopted by a city-dwelling family, everyone gets more than they bargained for in raising backyard chickens. Sophie and Winston, help their parents build a chicken coop, roll in the dirt with the chickens, play music for them, and read to them. In spite of the encouragement, the chickens leave poop instead of eggs. As the days pass, the children learn about each chicken’s personality— Desiree enjoys flying, Deliah is curious, Divina is bossy, Dawn is shy, and Daphne bumps into everything. When the children begin finding eggs, they realize something is wrong. “‘Oh no!’ cried Winston. ‘First we had chickens without eggs, and now we have eggs with no chickens!’ ” After following a trail of chicken poop, the kids find their pets in the living room eating leftover pizza and watching, “The Deep-Sea Adventures of a Lobster Named Leonard!” This laughable read-aloud includes information on backyard chicken coops, the different breeds, and countries of origin.
        Themes: Animals, Families, Humor, Pets


written by Michelle Houts, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline, (Candlewick Press, May 2019, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-7636-8443-3), 32p, All Ages

During mid-20th-century Maine, a young boy enjoys exploring, discovering, and dreaming of sea glass during a summer visit at his grandmother’s seaside cottage. Thomas loves to skip rocks and look for treasures washed ashore with his grandfather’s magnifying glass. When a broken piece of glass is found, his grandmother explains, “Years ago, something made of glass was dropped into the sea, and after being broken and tossed in salt water and sand, the pieces turned smooth and cloudy … But your grandfather used to say that each piece of sea glass has a story all its own.” At night Thomas dreams of broken glass tumbling into the sea (WWII ship’s christening, a schooner tossed by the sea losing previous cargo overboard).

When a present day young girl explores the same beach, she discovers a clear piece of sea glass, shows the treasure to her grandfather, Papaw Tom, and the story comes full circle. Bagram Ibatoulline’s stunning illustrations bring these nostalgic memories of seaside adventures and forgotten treasures to life. A brief author’s note speaks to a past time when trash was dumped in the ocean and today’s more environmentally aware culture.
        Themes: Adventure, Families, Seasons

Ages 8-12

written by Stuart Gibbs, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, Feb. 2019, ISBN 978-1534424739), 352p, Ages 9-12

Readers return to Fun Jungle, a zoo theme park located in an uninhabited area of Texas, where thirteen-year-old Teddy Fitzroy is taking a well-deserved rest from his last adventure/mystery, (Panda-Monium, 2017).

When the beloved dog of an aggressive local radio and TV news personality goes missing, a local mountain lion is quickly accused of the murder, and a bounty is offered for the lion. Teddy feels that the lion may have been framed for murder, and is asked by an agent of the Department of Fish and Wildlife to investigate.

Along with the investigation, Teddy and Summer, daughter of the park’s owner, are asked to look into why the giraffes are being poisoned every Monday. Kids will love the penguin fish-cannon feedings and the crazy, humorous way bounty hunters are thwarted.
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Humor, Mysteries, Series

Others in the Series
        Belly Up | Big Game | Poached

Ages 10-13

written by Stuart Gibbs, (Simon & Schuster, April 2019, $17.99,
ISBN 978-1-5344-2470-8), 320p, Ages 8-12

Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley, a spy-in-training with the CIA’s Academy of Espionage, returns in the seventh installment of the popular Spy School series to finally realize the possibility of taking down the evil organization SPYDER. Going rouge from the CIA, Ben and his fellow spies join with a MI6 operative to locate the leader of SPYDER.

From the British Museum, to the Tower Bridge of London, tumbling 10 stories into the Thames, commandeering a red London double-decker bus, parachuting onto a Paris museum roof from a Russian helicopter, stomping through Paris sewers, and fighting for their lives atop the Eiffel Tower, they will stop at nothing to locate SPYDER’s leader and bring down the evil organization forever. Dealing with evil splinter factions, double crosses, cracking codes, and driving on the opposite side of the road, this action-packed adventure with its likeable heroes, great spy gadgets, and humorous dialog will leave kids yearning for the next spy adventure.
        Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Mysteries, Series

Ages 12-15

ALEX RIDER: Secret Weapon: Seven Untold Adventures from the Life of a Teenaged Spy
written by Anthony Horowitz, (Philomel Books, $17.99, May 2019,
ISBN 978-1-524-73933-1), 336p. Ages 12-15

After eleven entertaining adventures in the life of the indestructible teenage spy Alex Rider, this newest collection of seven short stories features four previously published adventures and three new stories of the teenage spy, trained by an uncle and recruited by MI6. Infiltrating a terrorist hideout in Afghanistan, fighting to prevent an assassination attempt at a ski resort over Christmas, a school trip with a deadly twist, and more will hold readers on the edge of their seats with the escapes, fights, and brilliant gadgets.
        Themes: Adventure, Heroes, Mysteries, Suspense, Series

Others in the Series
        Stormbreaker | Point Blank | Skeleton Key | Eagle Strike | Scorpia | Ark Angel |
        Snakehead | Crocodile Tears | Scorpia Rising | Russian Roulette |
        Never Say Die

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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