February 2021


Stories from the Past to Read,
Share, and Treasure


Children desperately need role models and heroes, people of integrity to follow. They need to read and hear about brave and courageous characters, who display the highest ideals and values. They may not have started out as heroes, but somewhere along the way, through circumstances or conscience, they were changed for the better.


written/illus. by Paul Kor, translated by Annette Appel, (Dial Books, 2017), 32p, Ages 3-5

“Once upon a time, deep under the sea, lived a little fish—a silver fish called Flash.” Loving adventure, one morning Flash swims far away from his family and encounters a big black something with a great big eye with a tear. Realizing it is a lost baby whale, Flash vows to find its parents. Enlisting the help of his family, Flash decides to stay with the lost baby until his mama and papa can be found. “Since then, every day, Flash visits the whale, and the two of them play in the sea.” Little ones are never too young to learn about compassion and friendship.
Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Oceans, Lakes, Rivers & Ponds, Values
Others in the Series: Christmas Visitors | Winter Visitors | Spring Visitors | Summer Visitors


illus. by Jerry Pinkney, (Little Brown & Co., 2009), 40p, Ages 3-6

In a nearly wordless interpretation of the popular Aesop’s fable, Jerry Pinkney’s marvelous rendition takes place in Africa.

An adventurous mouse escapes the claws of a hungry owl, only to accidentally disturb a sleeping lion. Trapped in his paws, mouse is graciously freed to live another day. When she later comes upon the lion, caught in a hunter’s trap, she remembers the lion’s kindness and nibbles through his ropes. The little mouse returns home with a piece of rope for her babies to chew. Endpapers show the mouse and her babies resting on the lion’s back for a family outing. As always, Jerry Pinkney’s illustrations are delightful.
Themes: Animals, Classics, Folk Literature, Heroes, Values, Wordless Books


written/illus. by Oliver Jeffers, (Philomel Books, 2006), 32p, Ages 3-7

Upon opening his front door, a little boy discovers a forlorn looking penguin. Assuming that he is lost, the child decides to return the penguin home. Discovering that home is the South Pole, the boy uses his small boat to row the penguin home, telling him many stories along the way. Reaching their destination, the boy helps the penguin ashore, gives him a hug, and rows away. When loneliness sets in, the boy realizes his mistake, turns around, and returns for his friend. This gentle story of friendship and helping others is always necessary for children to hear.
Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Series, Values
Other Book in the Series: Up and Down


Ages 4 - 8

written/illus. by Joseph Kuefler, (Balzer + Bray, 2018), 48p, Ages 4-7

It’s a great day for Crane, Dozer, and Digger as they begin to clear space for buildings, bridges, and roads on a construction project in the city.

When Digger spies a tiny blue flower in the rubble, he decides to abandon his mission and care for it. “Every day, while the other big trucks built, Digger visited the flower. He watered it when its leaves looked dry. And just before he switched off for the night, Digger sang the flower a bedtime song.”

Deciding that their digging was more important than the flower, Dozer cuts it down. Find out how Digger discovers a way for the flower to flourish in this simple and charming story of compassion, heroism, and rebirth.
Themes: Heroes, Motoring On, Nature, Values


written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by David Small, (Atheneum Books, $17.99, Feb. 2016), 40p, Ages 4-8

“Once upon a time, in a beautiful glass kingdom, there lived an unusual fairy named Bloom. Her boots were caked with mud. There was dirt between her teeth. Beetles rested in her wings. Bloom’s magic could spin sand into glass, turn weeds into blossoms, and grow a trickle of rainwater into a racing river.”

However, the Kingdom is tired of her leaving mud and dirt wherever she goes. After she is cast out, the Kingdom begins to crack, and the royals become anxious and search for the fairy, but fail in their quest.

Desperate to locate Bloom, they send a tiny, ordinary, servant girl, Genevieve, to find the magic fairy. Genevieve finds Bloom, learns the power of self-confidence, becomes a little messy in the process, discovers the solution for saving the Kingdom, and will never be an ordinary girl again.
Themes: Folk Literature, Heroes


written by Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Mike Austin, (Beach Lane Books, 2017), 40p, Ages 4-8

Five fish friends from a pet shop are taken home by a little girl and plopped into her aquarium, where they love the orange gravel, the diver, a beautiful rock, a pirate ship, and bubbles, but not the resident yucky snail, which they ignore. Their days are perfect with swimming, gulping, and blowing kisses to the little girl, except on cleaning day.

When three new additions join the group, they laugh at the clown fish’s jokes, admire the angel fish, and love the fairy castle, until Lenny becomes trapped in the door of the castle. “The clownfish tries to lighten the mood with a joke. The angelfish begins to pray. Yet nothing unsticks Lenny.” When the overlooked and ignored snail comes to the rescue, everyone is grateful with lots of kisses. Charming and loaded with fun, kids will love these friendly, fun-loving fish and one goofy snail.
Themes: Adventure Friendship, Heroes, Values, Water

Ages 8 - 11

written by Antonia Barber, illus. by P. J. Lynch, (Candlewick Press, Oct. 1994) 48p, Ages 7-11

Catkin, a tiny and magical golden kitten is given the job of protecting little Carrie, the only daughter of a farmer and his wife. Distracted by a butterfly, Catkin unknowingly allows Carrie to be captured by the Little People. To rescue the child, Catkin ventures into an enchanted land where he must solve three riddles to free her from the Lord and Lady of the Little People. With courage and compromise, the child is returned, and two families learn the meaning of sharing.
Themes: Animals, Families, Folk Literature, Heroes


written by Mary McCallum, illus. by Annie Hayward, (Gecko Press, $16.95, 2014, ISBN 978-1-877579-95-0), 138p, Ages 8-12

On the coast of New Zealand, a young girl lives with her annoying little brother, Robbie, a busy mother, and a lighthouse keeper father,. On the eve of her 10th birthday, Annie visits her friends in the garden, a row of hedges. They have names, personalities, the ability to communicate, and are caretakers of a fantail’s nest.

When an earthquake and destructive windstorm disrupts Annie’s yard, the nest blows away, and the hedges are devastated. Claiming that they “haven’t lost a bird yet,” Mr. and Mrs. Hedge uproot themselves and walk off in search of the nest. Annie, Robbie, and the Tigrish, (a tiger-like magical creature) join the hunt through an unfriendly forest to a beach where the nest resides high up on her father’s lighthouse.

Along the way, Annie discovers unknown bravery, good decision-making skills, and the importance of protecting family and friends. This delightful story of family, bravery, and a touch of magic will charm all who believe in magic and miracles.
Themes: Family, Fantasy, Heroes

Ages 10 - 13

written by Sid Fleischman, illus. by Brett Helquist, (1963 Little, Brown and Company), 224p, Ages 10-13

In1849 cries of a Gold Rush echo across the country to Boston, where a young boy resides with his sisters and Aunt Arabella. When his aunt loses all her money, twelve-year-old Jack and the faithful family butler, Praiseworthy, sail to California to strike it rich to helpher. These two unlikely gold miners/adventurers sail on the paddle wheeler, Lady Wilma, around South America’s Cape Horn and up to San Francisco. Along the way, they outwit thieves, survive vicious storms, save grape cuttings and barrels of spoiled potatoes, deal with an invasion of Peruvian cats, and help the ship’s captain to beat competing ships to San Francisco.

There, they begin their trip to the Sacramento gold fields and encounter miners, outlaws, and varmints. To buy picks, shovels, horn spoons, and a hotel room, clever Praiseworthy cuts and keeps the miners’ hair and beards that contain gold dust. Surviving a stage coach robbery, they arrive at the diggings and begin panning for gold. Written in 1963, this classic western adventure will give readers a taste of history, hilarious action, fascinating characters, clever plots, and the escapades of two tenacious heroes nicknamed Jamoka Jack and Bullwhip.
Themes: Adventure, Classics, Friendship, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Tall Tales, The Wild West


FRAMED!: A T.O.A.S.T. Novel
written by James Ponti, (Aladdin, 2016), 304p, Ages 10+

Having recently moved to Washington D.C. with his parents, seventh-grader Florian Bates uses his observation skills of T.O.A.S.T (Theory of All Small Things) to help recover three masterpieces that were stolen from the National Gallery of Art, where his mother works. When the FBI asks for further help, Florian discovers a fourth theft at the Gallery, which leads to a European Crime Syndicate. When a new friend, Margaret, asks him to investigate the mysterious circumstances of her adoption, they create their own FBI—Florian Bates Investigation. This tightly woven, well-crafted mystery surrounding a smart, funny, and unusual 12-year-old will have readers considering their own observation skills and looking forward to a sequel.
Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Mysteries, Series
Others in the Series: Vanished: A Framed Novel #2 | Trapped: A Framed Novel #3

Ages 12-15

A Novel of World War II

written by Alan Gratz, (Scholastic Press, 2016), 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. In a complex coming-of-age drama of friendship, loyalty, espionage, and betrayal, Michael experiences tough choices and moral dilemmas

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 adventure.
Themes: Adventure, Families, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense


THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER: #1 The Chronicles of Kazam
written by Jasper Fforde, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), 304p, Ages 13+

Sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange, foundling from the Blessed Ladies of the Lobster, is in charge of the Kazam Mystical Arts Management, an employment agency for magicians With magic slowly drying up, Jennifer hires out once powerful sorcerers and wizards to magically repair plumbing and electrical systems, deliver pizza, and perform various low level spells around the town of Herford, part of the UnUnited Kingdom. After magicians begin predicting the death of the last dragon, Jennifer is appointed to kill him. Her negotiating skills are tested as she wrestles with duty, political maneuvering, corruption, and greed. Hilarious characters, unpredictable magic, a Transient Moose, and a Quarkbeast round out this wacky and imaginative tale.
Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Heroes, Series
Others in the Series: The Song of the Quarkbeast #2 | The Eye of Zoltar #3


Ages 14-18

(Wars of the Realm)

written by Chuck Black, (Multnomah Books, 2014), 320p, Ages 16+

At the age of twelve, Drew Carter’s father, a member of a Special Forces unit, dies in action. Since then, tragedy and heartache seem to follow Drew from one school to another. Over the years his father’s best friend and fellow soldier, Jake Blanchard, helps Drew through his grief, takes him on camping trips, and eventually teaches him combat training.

When college offers Drew a chance to start over, a physics experiment explodes leaving him blind and his high school friend, Ben, missing. After his sight miraculously returns, Drew discovers he has skills and sight beyond the normal and can observe what he calls invaders influencing humans for good or evil. When Drew begins to question his sanity, he remembers his father’s advice: “It’s wrong to do nothing when you have the power to do something.”

Determined to thwart the invaders, Drew moves to the inner-city of Chicago, locates Ben, discovers a long lost love Sydney, and protects his neighborhood from a local gang, earning him the nickname of “The Guardian,” which brings him to the attention of the FBI. Teens will enjoy this first book in the Wars of the Realm series containing humor, heartache, suspense, action, a touch of romance, and an insight to the real spiritual battle between angels and demons. Endpapers provide readers with Biblical facts versus the author’s fictional account of each chapter.
Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Suspense, Intrigue, Series
Others in the Series: Rise of the Fallen #2 | Light of the Last #3


DEATH CLOUD: Sherlock Holmes:
The Legend Begins

written by Andrew Lane, (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011), 320p, Ages 14+

In the summer of 1868 fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes is sent to live with his eccentric aunt and uncle in their Hampshire mansion. His brother, Mycroft, sends an American tutor to keep Sherlock out of trouble.

When two people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Sherlock, a streetwise orphan Matty, and the tutor’s daughter, Virginia, investigate the bizarre murders. Sherlock encounters mysterious beekeepers, escapes from kidnappers, participate in brutal boxing matches, and thwarts an eccentric crippled mastermind behind the plot to destroy the British Empire.

This action packed first adventure of a young Sherlock Holmes offers a solid introduction to the younger years of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic character. It provides an insight to the adult Holmes’ interest in bees, future drug addition, boxing, sword fighting, and investigation skills he uses later in life. Authorized by the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle, this first adventure/detective tale of Sherlock Holmes’ younger years is an engaging tale.
Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Mysteries, Series
Others in the Series: Rebel Fire | Black Ice | Fire Storm | Snake Bite | Knife Edge | Stone Cold | Night Break


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 and great books to read and read aloud, log on to our web site at www.tchliteracy.com.


written/illus. by Esther van den Berg, (Clavis Publishing, $18.95, November 2020, ISBN 978-1-6053-7588-5), 32p, Ages 3-7

“Here comes Dot. She’s arriving at the Bug Hotel, just in time for bedtime. Before Dot goes to sleep, she’ll make sure all the other bugs are getting ready for bed.” With checklist and pencil, the ladybug visits a variety of bugs and joins each one in their bedtime routine. Dung Beetle needs a bath (so does Dot), Stick Bug picks out yellow striped pajamas (Dot picks out polka-dot), Fly needs to brush his teeth (both remember to spit in the sink), Pill Bug reads while on the toilet (Dot remembers to go also), and Bookworm reads a book before bedtime (Dot looks at the pictures). After double-checking her list, Dot prepares for bed, but is interrupted by the other bugs, who give her a surprise good-night kiss. Kids will love this cute ladybug and her friends, the amazing illustrations, and a comfy bedtime story of kindness and helping others.
        Themes: Bedtime, Friendship, Humor, Insects, Values


written by Julia Donaldson, illus. by Sharon King-Chai, (Dial Books for Young Readers, $20.99, November 2020, ISBN 978-0-593-32453-0), 58p, Ages 3-5

In a beautiful die-cut, lift-the-flap, counting book with peak-a-boo pages, each page reveals an animal in its habitat with a flap that lifts to reveal baby animals from 1 to 10, then 15, 20 and 25. “This bat has . . . 1 baby / Holding on tight / as they fly through the night. Who has more babies than that?” The answer is found on the following page. Fourteen animals are featured from leopard cubs, owlets, fox kits, leverets, potbelly piglets to caterpillars, tadpoles, poults, and many more. Kids will love the surprise ending featuring spiders. “LOTS of spiderlings. Take a good look they’re all over this book. How many babies is that?”

Beautifully illustrated with engaging rhymes and descriptive language, this clever counting book is delightful, a pleasure to read-aloud, and a winner.
        Themes: Animals, Concept, Families, Nature, Nonfiction, Rhythm & Rhyme


written/illus. by Marcus Pfister, (NorthSouth Books $17.95, May 2020, ISBN 978-0-7358-4417-9), 32p, Ages 4-7

“It was Leo’s first trip to the home of his friend Zoe. He left the city to visit her in her country mouse home.” As Leo ventures outside, Zoe cautions him about the cat, but he returns describing a horrible monster with an enormous tail, a tongue that could “tear out trees,” two pointy horns, a loud roar, and stinky poo. When Zoe realizes the description fits his friend, Bertha, he happily introduces Leo to the sweet-tempered cow. In bits and pieces, the clever illustrations present clues on each page that hint of a friend not an enemy. Children will enjoy the mystery, suspense, and this cute story of exaggeration.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Humor

Ages 4-8

written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Betsy Lewin, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $17.99, Oct. 2020, ISBN 978-1-5344-5108-7), 32p, Ages 4-8

The nighttime ritual on the farm involves Farmer Brown tucking all the animals into bed with great care and attention. He pats the cows on their heads, brushes out the tangles on the sheep, covers the chickens with a blanket, and turns each night light out. Soon they are all sound asleep, except for Duck, who is “not quite ready for bed.” Farmer Brown sings him songs, reads books, turns on a white-noise machine, creates a puppet show, tries yoga, and a discussion of the day’s top news. Wide awake, Duck tries different sleeping spots, but everywhere is too soft, hard, loud, or bright. Then, Duck remembers the perfect spot with hot sauce, sliced cheese, whole wheat bread, the right book, Farmer Brown’s pajamas, and bed. Kids will love this latest Click Clack book with its silly bedtime sleeping dilemma.
Themes: Animals, Bedtime, Friendship, Humor, Series
Others in the Series: Click, Clack, Boo!: A Tricky Treat | Click, Clack Moo Cows That Type | Click, Clack, Peep! | Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure | Click, Clack Surprise! | Click, Clack, Quack to School! | Dooby, Dooby, Moo | Giggle, Giggle, Quack | Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure | Duck for President | Click, Clack, Moo: I Love You


(Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series)

written by Josh Funk, illus. by Brendan Kearney, (Sterling Children’s Books, $16.95, Sept. 2020, ISBN
978-1-4549-3427-1), 40p, Ages 5+

In their 4th adventure, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast find themselves turning stale. Their friend Baron von Waffle suggests a new treatment by Professor Biscotti using his DE-spoiling ray. When the technology malfunctions and they are transformed into children, they are afraid of their friend the Baron and run away. “Shrieking, the duo of pint-sized companions / scampered and slid all the way to Bran Canyons. / Over the Great Wall of Pine Nuts, they dashed, / and down through the Fjords of Farfalle, they splashed.” Will they find a remedy and make amends with their friend Baron?

In this delightful kitchen adventure, kids will love the maple syrup cure, and adults will love Juice Springsteen, Lime Square, and the book titles “If You Give a Mousse a Cookie,” “Make Way for Duck Sauce, “and “Sylvester and the Magic Pepper.”
        Themes: Adventure, Food, Friendship, Humor, Mysteries, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series:Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast #1 | The Case of the Stinky Stench #2 | Mission Defrostable #3


A Story of Patience & Fortitude #2

written by Josh Funk, illus. by Stevie Lewis, (Henry Holt & Co., $18.99, Oct. 2020, ISBN 978-1-250-24140-5), 40p, Ages 5-7

The popular lions from Lost in the Library (Holt, 2018) return for a mystery/adventure as they search for missing books from the Children’s Center of the library. Every night they slip away from their post outside the 42nd Street New York Public Library to read books in the children’s section, but one night they find the Center empty. As they begin a quest to find their books, the two search through Times Square, Central Park, past the zoo, and several branch libraries. “They scoured each library, scanned every stack / And pored through each awesome collection. / The found some new books, but they wanted theirs back! / Where was their old children’s section?” With dawn breaking they return home, only to discover their beloved books in the newly renovated library across the street from their own library.

A note in the back includes the history of Patience & Fortitude, various literary sculptures the two lions encounter, and the sites they visit in New York City. Children will love these two loveable lions as they persevere to find their beloved lost books.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series


written/illus. by Jan Brett, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Oct. 2020, $18.99, ISBN 978-0-593-10979-3), 32p, Ages 4-8

“Storms rolled over the tundra when Cozy the musk ox was separated from his herd. He was used to being with his family. His mother and father had named him Cozy because his silky coat was so soft and thick.”

Desperate to escape the cold, a family of lemmings quietly burrow under Cozy’s fur. One by one, a snowshoe hare, a snowy owl, an artic fox, a wolverine, and a team of huskies request shelter, and Cozy sets house rules to provide safety for the animals, who otherwise might be enemies. “Quiet voices, gentle thumping, claws to yourself, no biting, no pouncing, and be mindful of others!” When the Alaskan spring rolls in and Cozy begins to shed, the animals head for their summer homes but promise to return next winter. Kids will love the illustrations, especially the side panels of each page which preview the next event. This sweet tale of kindness, sharing, and friendship makes for a comfy story to read at bedtime.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Nature, Values

Ages 8-12

written by Dan Bar-el, illus. by Kelly Pousette, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 16.99, October 2020, ISBN 978-1-5344-3344-1), 272p, Ages 7-10

“If you head north, true north, to the truly north part of north, where icebergs shiver, where thermometers lose confidence, and where snowflakes prefer to avoid, and then once you reach that north, you go just a little bit further north, that’s where you’ll find Duane the polar bear and his friends.” This charming second book surrounding a warmhearted polar bear and his Artic friends introduces an unfriendly guest, a sarcastic, trouble-loving weasel, who causes disruption among the friends. When cracks begin to form in friendships, and they drift further apart, Duane takes a thinking walk and discovers a perfect solution for repairing cracks before they become too deep. Along the way, the friends learn that secrets are not always to be shared, unexpected events can change day to day lives, responsibility must be taken for actions, forgiveness is sometimes difficult, and true friendships can never be broken.

With heart, humor, and heroes, kids will again experience Duane’s philosophical sayings —“All stories involving overly loud characters begin on a Monday,” as well as “All stories involving snow removal begin on Saturday”, and Handsome’s definition of friendly chatter — “Chitchat was the oil that greased the steering wheels of friendships.”


BO-BO’S CAVE OF GOLD #2 (At the Heels of History series)
written by Pam Berkman & Dorothy Hearst, illus. by Claire Powell, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, $18.99, April 2020, ISBN 978-1-5344-3336-6), 191p, Ages 7-10

This second book in the “At the Heels of History” series takes place in California during the Gold Rush days of 1852 and tells of a small dog that has been expelled from her pack for being too caring, but is befriended by a squawky bird, and adopted by a young gold prospector, Sheng. Named Bo-Bo, the Chinese word for treasure, they become inseparable. Life is hard in the gold fields and Sheng along with his father and uncle struggle to find enough gold to even pay the local greedy tax collector. When Bo-Bo releases a caged bear in town, the cruel tax collector demands that Sheng pay for the loss of the bear or lose their claim. Legend has it that there is a cave filled with treasure across the foothills, and Sheng and Bo-Bo are determined to locate it. Find out how a newly released bear helps Sheng, Bo-Bo, and the family redeem the fabled gold and begin a new life. Author’s Note explains some of the difficulties of a prospector’s life, Chinese Immigration and Racism, The Foreign Miner’s Taxes, The California Gold Rush and Native Americans, African Americans in the Gold Rush, and animals involved in the Gold Rush era.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Pets, Series Other Books in the Series:Filigree’s Midnight Ride #1


KENNY & THE BOOK OF BEASTS (Kenny & the Dragon series)
written/illus. by Tony DiTerlizzi, (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, Sept. 2020, ISBN 978-1-4169-8316-3), 224p, Ages 9-12

Kenny Rabbit, the young hero from Kenny & the Dragon (2008) returns along with his crème brûlée-loving dragon friend, Grahame, and bookstore owner/retired dragon slayer, Sir George, in a charming adventure with new friends, new challenges, twelve new baby sisters, a new enemy to defeat, and a mystery to solve.

Complications arise when George announces that he is leaving, an old friend of Grahame’s, Dante the manticore, monopolizes Grahame’s time, a witch with magical powers plots against Graham and Dante, and Kenny’s annoyance with a new automobile. Find out if Kenny can put aside his frustrations to rescue old and new friends with the help of his temperamental automobile, and maybe realize that sometimes change is a good thing. Tony DiTerlizzi’s illustrations are as always delightful and charming. Kids will enjoy the mythical beasts and lessons of friendship, compassion, and appreciating what you have.
         Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship, Folk Literature, Series

Ages 10-13

written by Lev Grossman, illus. by Tracy Nishimura Bishop, (Little, Brown & Company, $16.99, Sept. 2020, ISBN 978-0-316-53953-1), 272p, Ages 10+

“Dear Uncle Herbert—You’ve never met me but I’m your niece Kate, and since it is my birthday tomorrow and you are super rich do you think you could please send me a present?”

Young Kate and her brother Tom feel that their lives are boring and uneventful and yearn for thrilling adventures to save the world. Little do they realize that their lives are about to change when their mysterious and wealthy uncle presents Kate on her eleventh birthday with the Silver Arrow, a magical train that will bring them lost treasures, enchanting adventures, lifestyle changes, courage, and responsibility beyond their wildest dreams.

The magical 102.36-ton team engine feeds them information via printed paper tape. As engineers they learn to feed the coal box, acquire additional cars, and solve life or death problems with ingenuity, resourcefulness, and courage. As conductors on an international railway system, they receive tickets from a myriad of talking animal passengers, and transport them to new habitats, due to climate change, global warming, forestation, migration patterns, and endangerment and extinction of certain species.

Kids will love the magical destinations (Al-Ansariyah Mountains, Maolankart Forest, Crothers Woods, etc), the specialty train cars (candy car, library car, mystery car, swimming pool car, greenhouse car), and variety of animals. “Even by human standards they were incredibly polite. There was no pushing or shoving. No one barked or growled or squawked or tried to eat any of their fellow passengers.” Occasionally breathtaking, often humorous, and sometimes sad, this wonderful adventure of two sibling heroes, who grow to understand the world around them, is not to be missed.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Fantasy, Heroes, Trains, Values


written by Stuart Gibbs, (Simon & Schuster, Oct. 2020, $17.99, ISBN
978-1-5344-4378-5), 352p, Ages 11+

In this eighth installment in the Spy School series, Ben Ripley finds himself defending his friend Erica Hall from her attack on the CIA, rejoicing that his parents are in the Witness Protection Program, recruited for a special division that uncovers double agents, and tracking down a century’s old evil organization, the Croatoan, a Spanish society founded in the 1700’s to fight the British influence in the United States. From sneaking into Mt. Vernon to locate a secret code from George Washington, careening through neighborhood's in one of the estate's carriages, to thwarting a plan to bomb the Capitol, Ben has his hands full just staying alive. Author’s Note explains, “How much of what I said about George Washington I true?” and presents Major General Braddock’s Cipher code. Kids will love this latest conspiracy theory, close calls with explosives, and George Washington’s spy network with cipher codes and invisible ink during the Revolutionary War period.
        Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Mysteries, Series
Other Books in the Series: Spy School | Spy Camp | Evil Spy School | Spy Ski School | Spy School Secret Service | Spy School Goes South | Spy School British Invasion

Stories from the Past to Read, Share, and Treasure

Paul Galdone

Born in Budapest in 1907 Paul Galdone emigrated to the United States in 1928. He has received many awards including the Caldecott Honor award and has illustrated more than three hundred books in his lifetime. The following are among his famous Folk Tale Classics series:


THE LITTLE RED HEN: A Folk Tale Classic
retold/illus. by Paul Galdone, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 2001, ISBN 978-0-547-37018-7), 44p, Ages 3-7

Paul Galdone’s classic tale is truer to the original story in that it teaches children that there are consequences to actions. When an industrious little hen asks her roommates for help to plant wheat, the lazy cat, dog and mouse reply, “Not I!” and refuse to help with the watering, cutting, grinding, and baking of a cake. Guess who eats the cake in the end? Children are entertained, comforted, taught where food comes from, and learn about the value of work.
        Themes: Animals, Classics, Families, Folk Literature, Food, Humor, Values


retold/illus. by Paul Galdone, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 1986, ISBN 978-0-547-57575-9), 36p, Ages 3-7

Young children will love this classic Mother Goose rhyme about three careless kittens who lost their mittens, find them, only to get them dirty again. To enjoy Mom’s delicious pie, the careless the kittens must find a way to correct their mistakes with the help of their mother. Kids will love the rhyming lyrics and learn respect for their belongings.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Families, Folk Literature, Food, Humor, Values


THE THREE BEARS: A Folk Tale Classic
retold/illus. by Paul Galdone, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 1972, ISBN 978-0-547-67019-4), 36p, Ages 3-7

A bear family (Little Wee Bear, Middle-Sized Bear, and Great Big Bear) lead an interesting and routine life. One day when they take a stroll in the forest, a curious little girl finds their cottage, eats a bowl of porridge, breaks a chair, falls asleep in Little Wee Bear’s bed, and awakens to discover three unhappy bears staring at her. Kids will love the Little Wee Bear with his stuffed toy teddy and appreciate the lesson of respecting others belongings. Words that describe the bears are written in small, medium and normal size fonts to match their sizes.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Families, Folk Literature, Humor, Values


A Folk Tale Classic

retold/illus. by Paul Galdone, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 1971, ISBN 978-0-547-66854-3), 36p, Ages 3-7

“Once a contented country mouse had the honor to receive a visit from his old friend who lived at His Majesty’s Court.” When a simple country mouse visits his friend in the big city, he finds the extravagant lifestyle with its abundant food lovely, but he quickly learns that there is a dark side to riches and not worth losing the peace, safety, and tranquility of his own country home.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Folk Literature, Friendship, Values


HENNY PENNY: A Folk Tale Classic
retold/illus. by Paul Galdone, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 1968, ISBN 978-0-547-90200-5), 36p, Ages 4-7

When silly Henny Penny feels an acorn drop on her head and concludes that the sky is falling, she runs off to tell the King. On the way she meets many friends who join her in her quest, and then they meet a fox. The ending may be a little dark, but children should be aware of making foolish decisions, believing rumors without proof, and trusting those with bad intentions.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Folk Literature, Values


retold/illus. by Paul Galdone, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 1973, ISBN 978-0-547-57655-8), 36p, Ages 4-7

Three Billy goats are hungry and need to reach the other side of the river to graze on the green grass and flowers. One by one they cross the bridge where a mean and ugly troll resides and promises to eat them up. The troll agrees to let the smallest goat pass over unharmed for being too petite, and the medium sized goat promises that his brother is bigger, but the story changes when the largest goat is ready to fight! The troll probably regrets his decision as he plunges down the river. A good lesson about bullies and greed.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Folk Literature, Heroes


written by the Brothers Grimm, retold/illus. by Paul Galdone, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 1974, ISBN 978-0-547-66855-0), 36p, Ages 4-7

This retelling of the classic story surrounds a little girl in red, who makes a journey to see her sick grandmother, encounters a wolf along the way, becomes distracted, picks flowers, and allows the crafty animal to rush over, devour the grandmother as well as Red. However, they are magically freed by a passing Hunter, which is a milder ending than most versions. Hopefully children will learn to stay on their paths and don’t trust strangers.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Folk Literature, Heroes


CINDERELLA: A Folk Tale Classic
retold/illus. by Paul Galdone, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 1978, ISBN 978-0-547-98867-2), 36p, Ages 4-7

Paul Galdone’s weaves a magical tale of a gentle and kind young girl who is forced to work as a servant for her stepmother and stepsisters, but is visited by her fairy godmother and sent to a royal ball where she meets the prince. This retelling differs from others in that she returns to another ball the following night. Forgetting about her godmother’s warning about midnight, she barely escapes leaving a glass slipper behind. Cinderella also forgives her stepsisters, which differs from most other tales.
        Themes: Adventure, Classics, Families, Folk Literature, Heroes, Values


written by the Brothers Grimm, retold/illus. by Paul Galdone, (1984. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), 40p, Ages 4-7

A poor shoemaker cuts out his remaining piece of leather to make one last pair of shoes and goes to bed wondering how he will support his family. When he awakes in the morning, he finds an exquisite pair of finished shoes. Morning after morning, more shoes are left, until the shoemaker and his wife are financially stable. To return the kindness, they make and leave little clothes for the elves, who are overjoyed, sing, and dance out the door never to be seen again. This lovely and timeless fairy tale of kindness and unselfishness has entertained children since it was first published in 1806.
        Themes: Classics, Families, Folk Literature, Heroes, Values

Other Fairy Tales and Folk Tales adapted and illustrated by Paul Galdone:
The Three Little Pigs - 1970
Three Aesop Fox Fables – 1971
The Moving Adventures of Old Dame Trot and Her Comical Cat – 1972
Jack and the Beanstalk – 1974
The Gingerbread Baby – 1975
Puss in Boots – 1976
Hans in Luck – 1979
King of the Cats – 1980
Rumpelstiltskin – 1985
The Teeny Tiny Woman – 1986
The Magic Porridge Pot – 1979
The Frog Prince – 1975
The Table, the Donkey, and the Stick – 1978
The Two Old Bachelors – 1975

Other Folk Tales written and illustrated by Paul Galdone:
The Monkey and the Crocodile: A Jataka Tale from India – 1969
The Greedy Old Fat Man: An American Folk Tale – 1983
Gertrude, the Goose Who Forgot – 1975
The House That Jack Built – 1971
The Old Woman and the Pig – 1960
The History of Mother Twaddle and the Marvelous Achievements
     of Her Son Jack – 1974
The Three Wishes – 1961
Amber Day: A Very Tall Tale - 1978

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, www.tchliteracy.com.

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