March/April 2021


Stories from the Past to Read,
Share, and Treasure


Heroes represent those who have shown bravery and display the highest character, ideals, and values. They may not have started out heroes, but along the way they have become so, through hardship, perseverance, and determination.


written by Eileen Rosenthal, illus. by Marc Rosenthal, (Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013), 40p, Ages 3-6

“This morning Willy woke up with a plan. ‘Come on, Bobo, today we’re going exploring.’” With an exceptional imagination, Willy explores the forest with Bobo, his trusted sock monkey and pet cat, Earl. They find poison mushrooms, nuts with hats, flowers, a friendly caterpillar, an explorer stick, an abandoned comb, and a red bucket, which Willy uses to launch Bobo into the river. While Bobo floats away, Willy returns home for the proper rescue gear (fishing line and rain gear), but a certain cat delicately steps across rocks to rescue the sailor man, only to receive an accidental drenching for his effort. Heroism comes in all shapes and sizes, but it is delightful when unexpected. With humor, exuberance, and curiosity, this follow-up to I Must Have Bobo! (2011) and I’ll Save You Bobo! (2012) will captivate small listeners and is a great choice for storytime.
Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Toys
Others in the Series: I’ll Save You Bobo! | I Must Have Bobo!


Ages 4 - 8

A Hoot & Olive Story #1

written/illus. by Jonathan D. Voss, (Henry Holt & Co., $17.99, 2018, ISBN 978-1-250-12748-8), 40p, Ages 4-7

“Hoot was Olive’s very best friend in the whole wide world. But as you know, best friends don’t always like the same things.” While Olive prefers adventures in books, Hoot, a chubby stuffed owl, prefers the real thing. Hoot declares that he has a surprise adventure for Olive and promises to be brave enough for both. When he leads them to a make-shift hot-air balloon and flies them over rooftops and treetops, a storm comes up making for a bumpy landing. The balloon’s basket then becomes a speedy boat, bobbing over rocks and waves until crashing on a shore, where Hoot discovers a rip in his stuffing.

Leading them both safely home, Olive declares that she is indeed brave enough for both. Applying a patch to Hoot’s rip, they settle down for a bedtime story read by Olive. “‘I was afraid today …But you were brave. And you kept me safe,’ says Hoot. ‘Don’t ever be afraid,’ Olive replies, ‘I’ll always keep you safe.’”

With enchanting illustrations, kids and readers will love this memorable tale of friendship, taking chances, bravery, and protectiveness.
Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Series
Other Book in the Series: Imagine That: A Hoot & Olive Story #2


(The World of William Joyce series)

written/illus. by William Joyce, HarperCollins, 1992, 2017), 32p, Ages 4-8

Being a nice frog, Bentley Hopperton agrees to babysit Kack Kack’s duck egg. But the egg is so smooth and white that Bentley cannot resist painting it. “He did a beautiful job, a masterful and extraordinary job. The egg looked dazzling. Never in the history of the wood had there been such a special egg.” Trouble begins when the egg is mistaken for an Easter egg and is taken by a young boy. Bentley courageously begins a journey that takes him through the garden and into the big house.

Along the way he befriends a forgotten stuffed elephant, an earnest goldfish, and a little girl, who helps him escape in a hot air balloon. After crash landing on a lady’s hat at an Easter party, Bentley manages to escape in a toy boat which sinks. With valiant perseverance Bentley returns the cracked egg just in time. Kids will love this endearing little hero and his never-give-up attitude.
Themes: Adventure, Classics, Heroes, Holidays, Series


written by Lauri Fortino, illus. by Bong Redila, (Ripple Grove Press, 2015, ISBN 978-0-9913866-3-5). 40p, Ages 6-9

As a poor old man works in his garden with his dog for company, he hears a peddler’s cart as it squeaks down the road toward his house. He admires the fine bed on top of the cart, and the peddler informs him that it is so sturdy that it will never squeak, but with no money, the old man was unable to purchase it. “The peddler paused for a moment, and then said, ‘I’ll make you a deal, sir. If you can think of a way to make my oak bed squeak by sunset, it will be yours.”” The old man invites the peddler to share a humble soup dinner from vegetables in his garden, a few scraps of meat, and water from his well. Although the old man never is able to make the bed squeak, through the peddler’s trickery, the old man will always rest peacefully on his new bed. Kindness, hospitality, and sharing are great lessons for children in our busy world.
Themes: Friendship, Heroes, Trickster Tales

Ages 8 - 11

written by Gigi Priebe, illus. by Daniel Duncan, (Aladdin Books, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4814-6575-5), 160p, Ages: 7-10

At Windsor Castle there resides the magnificent Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, built in the 1920’s, with four floors, 40 rooms, 2 working elevators, hot and cold running water, and electricity. Never meant for dolls or children to play with, it is only used for exhibition. It has been home for 25 generations to the Whisker family, who live in the empty storage drawers built into the base.

Exploring is great fun for Henry Whisker and his cousin Jeremy, but they are always careful to avoid detection by the museum staff and Titus, the resident cat. When Henry’s little sister disappears, they begin a grand adventure to rescue Isabel. Avoiding the cat, Henry and Jeremy drive a miniature car, escape from the dangerous Rat Alley, rescue a baby rat, make unexpected friends. Their adventure includes avoiding humans, who are cleaning the dollhouse for the Queen’s royal birthday banquet, which coincides with the Whiskers’ Annual Mouse Masquerade. Kids will love this brave, loyal, cheerful, and courageous hero in his first adventure.
Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Series
Other Book in the Series: The Long Way Home #2


written by Clive Cussler, illus. by William Farnsworth, (Philomel Books, 2006), 160p, Ages 8-12

In Clive Cussler’s first children’s book, 10-year-old twins Casey and Lacey Nicefolk, from Castroville, California, experience a magical adventure of a lifetime as they fly a vintage Wright Brothers biplane from California to New York.

Casey’s toy replica of the famous Wright Brothers’ Flyer becomes real when an itinerant farmhand, Sucoh Sucop (spelled Hocus Pocus backward), leaves the twins a gift that allows them to make any tiny object real and life-size. They are sworn to secrecy, with a stipulation: “Use the gift only for good and it will last you a lifetime. But if you use it for bad, it will vanish in a puff of red smoke.”

Their journey begins in the newly christened Vin Fiz, named after Casey’s favorite soda drink. Under the guidance of an enchanted, intelligent, and responsive plane, the twins and their basset hound, Floopy, save a town from gold thieves in Nevada, warn a Mississippi River steamboat of a runaway barge headed their way, stop a runaway train in Ohio, and save two teenagers from plummeting over the Niagara Falls.

Kids and parents will love the magical adventure, historical facts, character names, and surprise ending, as well as the sequel, The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy (2010).
Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Families, Heroes, Values, Series
Other in the Series: The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy

Ages 10 - 13

The Akhenaten Adventure

written by P. B. Kerr, (Orchard Books, 2004), 368p, Ages 10+

Twelve-year-old twins John and Philippa Gaunt live an uneventful life in New York City, until they have their wisdom teeth out and discover a love for smoke and heat and an ability to grant wishes. When they visit their eccentric uncle Nimrod in London, he informs them that they are descended from Djinn. As Nimrod begins their training, they travel to Egypt in search of the pharaoh Akhenaten and his 70 lost Djinn. Legend states that whoever finds the tomb will have the ability to command them. With the help of an Irish speaking Djinn, a human butler, and an Egyptian chauffeur, the children manage to save the world from evil.
Themes: Adventure, Families, Fantasy, Folk Literature, Heroes, Series
Others in the Series: The Blue Djionn of Babylon #2 | The Cobra King of Kathmandu #3 | Day of the Djinn Warriors #4 | The Eye of the Forest #5 | The Five Fakirs of Faizabad #6 | The Grave Robbers of Genghis Khan #7



translated by George Webbe Dasent, illus. by P.J. Lynch, (Candlewick Books, 1992/2005), 48p, Ages 9+

Translated from Norwegian in 1859, this romantic fairy tale tells of a young girl who reluctantly travels with a white bear to a far kingdom, only to discover that the bear is a prince under an evil spell. Only her love and persistence save him from a disastrous marriage to a troll princess.

As with all great fairy tales, there are quests, magic spells, strangers bearing gifts, impossible roads to travel, and good triumphing over evil. P. J. Lynch’s realistic illustrations, especially of the North Wind, dangerous forests, and drooling trolls, are marvelous.
Themes: Adventure, Classics, Folk Literature, Heroes

Ages 12-15

written by Jonathan W. Stokes, illus. by David Elliot, (Philomel Books, 2016), 336p, Ages 12+

Addison Cooke is a smooth talking, impeccably dressed seventh grader, who has a passion for history, archeology, and adventure. He and his sister, Molly, live with their aunt and uncle, world-famous archeologists, who travel the world in search of hidden treasure and dodging danger.

When Uncle Nigel discovers a clue to ancient lost Incan gold, he and Aunt Delia are kidnapped by members of a ruthless band of thieves’ intent on stealing the riches. With a positive attitude, knowledge of the Incas, and endless optimism, Addison, Molly and friends, Raj and Eddie, fly to Columbia, South America (using Uncle Nigel’s credit card), where they begin a quest to find three Atahualpa keys to the Incan treasure and stay one step ahead of the kidnappers. Addison leads his team through death traps, crocodile infested rivers, booby trapped caves, and wild car chases to reach the famous Machu Picchu.

Kids will enjoy the exciting adventure and nonstop humor in this story of family love, friendship, and loyalty. An Author’s Note explains the real history of the Incan treasure, which is, “stranger than fiction.”
Themes: Adventure, Countries & Cultures, Friendship, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Humor, Mysteries, Series
Others in the Series: Addison Cooke and the Tomb of Khan #2 | Addison Cooke and the Ring of Destiny #3


Ages 14-18

written by Katherine Woodfine, illus. by Julia Sardà, (Kane Miller Books, 2016), 352p, Ages 13+

“NEW YORK TYCOON TO TAKE LONDON BY STORM! New York millionaire Mr. Edward Sinclair is set to throw open the doors of London’s largest department store this week. The new Piccadilly store, which has been a year in construction, stands an impressive eight storeys high, with six acres of floor space, nine state-of-the-art lifts, and over one hundred different departments.”

During the Edwardian era of England, fourteen-year-old Sophie Taylor, orphaned after her father’s death and considered too old for an orphanage and old enough to support herself, is hired by Sinclair’s as a shopgirl to work in the Millinery Dept. Sophie is impressed with Mr. Sinclair’s special exhibition of jewels, including the Clockwork Sparrow, a musical box in the shape of a bird from the Russian Imperial Court. The Sparrow is considered priceless as it contains valuable gems with a unique ability to play a different tune whenever wound.

When a burglary occurs and the Sparrow is taken, Sophie is fired due to accusations by the store manager. With the help of new friends, Billy Parker, an apprentice porter/mystery-lover, Lilian Rose, a friendly store model/aspiring actress, and Joe, a homeless boy, who was involved with the crime lord known as the Baron, they band together to solve the mystery. Readers will enjoy the intrepid heroes as they solve messages coded in ciphers, uncover police corruption, discover explosive devices, and devour iced buns, while attempting to bring the villainous Baron to justice.
Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Mysteries, Series
Others in the Series: The Mystery of the Jeweled Moth #2 | The Mystery of the Painted Dragon #3 | The Mystery of the Midnight Peacock #4


INVASION (C.H.A.O.S. Novel #1)
written by Jon S. Lewis, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2010), 321p, Ages 14-18

16-year-old Colt McAlister, youngest son in a family of eight brothers, is a typical California teen who loves surfing. However, he is far from normal whether he knows it yet or not. When his parents are killed in a mysterious car accident, Colt is sent to live with his grandfather, a World War II hero, known by only a few as the "Phantom Flyer", on which a popular comic book is based.

After learning of his parents’ assassination due to his mother’s investigation of Trident Industries, a company specializing in biotechnology and mind-control, Colt and his friends investigate and find themselves in the middle of a secret war to thwart an alien invasion.

Teaming up with C.H.A.O.S. (Center Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural), they fight to expose the underground world of alien monsters, who are trying to take over Earth.

Kids will enjoy the flying motorcycles, jetpacks, flashy gizmos, mechanical men, and shape-shifters.
Themes: Adventure, Heroes, Mysteries, Science Fiction, Suspense, Series
Others in the Series: Alienation #2 | Domination #3


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.

Spring is here and what better time to enjoy stories full of laughter, fun, and adventure. For more information on reading to children and great books to read and read aloud, log on to our web site at


written by Tom Percival, illus. by Christine Pym, (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Dec. 2018, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-68119-901-6), 32p, Ages 3-6

“Let me tell you the tale of Alfonzo the goat, / who was terribly proud of his lovely new coat. It had bright shiny buttons all made out of glass / and a collar the color of freshly cut grass.” Alfonzo is a kind goat but far from ordinary, as readers and listeners learn when he goes the extra mile to help other creatures in need.

On a morning walk, Alfonzo comes across a family of frogs without a home, a cat with a hurt tail, and a lost chick up in a tree. Using the stitches on his new coat, Alfonzo provides a boat for the frogs, a bandage for the cat’s tail, and a rope for rescuing the chick. “Alfonzo’s new coat was now just a few threads, / but he thought of the good deeds that he’d done instead.” When the weather turns cold and Alfonzo is close to freezing, find out how the animals return his kindness in this lovely tale of resourcefulness, kindness, and helping others in need.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Rhythm & Rhyme


written by Megan Wagner Lloyd, illus. by Phoebe Wahl, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, May 2019, ISBN 978-1-4814-8166-3), 40p, Ages 3-7

One day a young girl and her grandmother cut out two paper mice from envelopes, paint eyes, tiny noses, and whiskers on the cutouts, give them names, and slip them between pages of two books. That night, unaware of each other, Ralph and Della come to life and venture out of their books to explore their surroundings. Della discovers a doll house just her size, while Ralph explores the kitchen and runs into trouble. When Della rescues him, they decide to explore together. “The house creaked, the fire sighed, the night slipped away, and the mice were happy. Out into the darkness they’d each ventured—alone—and found true comfort: a friend.” As the night comes to an end, the two friends slip back into their books to wait for the next night’s adventure. Kids will love the detailed illustrations in this whimsical, clever tale of adventure and friendship.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Humor


ROAD TRIP!: A Whiskers Hollow Adventure
written/illus. by Steve Light. (Candlewick Press, $16.99, Feb. 2021, ISBN 978-1-5362-0947-1), 40p, Ages 3-6

Welcome to the magical world of Whiskers Hollow with its magnificent tree branches which the inhabitants zoom around on using unique vehicles. This day Bear’s red 1940s Chevy pickup needed a headlight replacement after Bear accidentally crashed into a large acorn, thus requiring a road trip to Elephant's Old Junk Tree. Along the way Bear picks up his friends, snack-obsessed Rabbit, fearful Mouse, and junk enthusiast Donkey. Finally, they arrive at Elephant’s Old Junk Tree. The tree was filled with old car parts and lots of rusty treasures. There were tires, tricycles, a guitar with broken strings, a motorcycle, and lots of wrenches. Even hubcaps!”

Find out how a mud puddle and an elephant help them find their needed treasure. Little ones will love the detailed illustrations to pore over in this charming miniature world of adventure and friendship. Endpapers contain a detailed map of Whiskers Hollow with its trees that contain a bank, library, a general store, acorn storage, acorn ice cream shop, gas station, train station, and much more.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Humor, Machines

Ages 4-8

written/illus. by Hans de Beer, (NorthSouth Books, $17.95, March 2021, ISBN 978-0-7358-4428-5), 32p, Ages 4-7

In this newest addition to the Little Polar Bear series, spring in in the air in the Artic. When Lars follows a group of tourists in their snow vehicle to their cruise ship, he smells something delicious and investigates, only to find himself on a trip to China. Now a stowaway on the ship, he meets new mice friends, who smuggle him off at the next port. Wandering through a bamboo forest he meets two young pandas, Ying and Yong, who introduce him to bamboo and help him scale the Great Wall of China.

Smelling water in the distance, Lars finds fish to eat and a friendly otter, Oleg. “The two of them sat and began to eat the fish. ‘Everyone keeps helping me,’ said Lars, his mouth full of fish. ‘And now you’ve helped me too. How nice you all are!’ ‘Of course,’ laughed Oleg ‘It’s the best way. You today, me tomorrow.’” Discover how Lars manages to fly home, arrive safely to relieved and overjoyed parents, and tells of an exciting adventure and new friendships. Kids will love the illustrations especially the rope ladders.
Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Series, Values
Others in the Series: Little Polar Bear | Ahoy There, Little Polar Bear | Little Polar Bear Finds a Friend | Little Polar Bear, Take Me Home! | Little Polar Bear and the Brave Little Hare | Little Polar Bear and the Husky Pup | Little Polar Bear and the Big Balloon | Little Polar Bear and the Reindeer | Little Polar Bear and the Whales | Little Polar Bear and the Submarine | Little Polar Bear Takes a Stand


written/illus. by April Stott, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99. Oct. 2020, ISBN 978-8888-1-5344-6238-0), 40p, Ages 4+

“Coco and Bear were friends from almost the first time they met. They were very different: Bear was big. Coco was small. Bear was shy. Coco was brave.” When Coco learns that the forest animals think Bear is mean, she offers to remedy the situation. Giving Bear a hug, she remembers her grandmother’s saying: “When life gets dark as winter’s night, share some kindness, bring some light.” Together they make cookies and lanterns to share, but the animals reject the gifts in fear of Bear.

Returning home, Coco and Bear discover Baby Deer, who is stuck in the snow, give her a ride home on Bear’s back, and meet up with a rescue party using their lanterns for light. Recognizing that Bear is responsible for the rescue, the animals appreciate Bear’s kindness, friendliness, and bravery, and Bear realizes that “kindness is about giving away love instead of gifts. It’s doing something nice without expecting to get anything in return.” Kids will love this big, brown, lovable, and dancing bear.
        Themes: Adventure, Bears, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Values


written by Eveline Hasler, illus. by Käthi Bhend, (NorthSouth Books, $17.50, Reprint Feb. 2021, ISBN 978-1-7658-4430-8), 32p, Ages 4-7

Five friends, a grub, a beetle, two worms, and a caterpillar wait for spring in their underground homes. “Every third evening, the friends played cards together in the grub’s home among the roots. The little beetle usually lost, so the caterpillar told him funny stories and jokes to cheer him up.” As winter progresses and food runs out, beetle eats most of grub’s huge onion, and caterpillar disappears.

All seems lost, until the snow begins to melt. Spring was on its way, and the friends begin to tunnel out. Once above ground they love the Spring breezes, find that grub’s onion has sprouted, and discover that their friend caterpillar is now a butterfly. “‘You can fly!’ gasped the grub. ‘It’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing.’ The butterfly laughed. ‘Be patient, little grub,’ she said softly. ‘One day your dream will come true!’” Kids will enjoy the beautiful, intricate illustrations and friends working together.
        Themes: Friendship, Insects, Nature, Seasons


written/illus. by the Fan Brothers, (Tundra Books, $18.99, September 2020, ISBN 978-0-7352-9626-0), 72p, Ages 5+

Barnabus is a cute half-mouse/half-elephant, who lives underneath a pet store in the Failed Projects laboratory along with other imperfect pets. Confined to a small bell jar, Barnabus dreams of the world above ground with its green trees, tall buildings, sparkling lakes, and the stars that his friend Pip the cockroach described.

Slated for re-cycling by the lab’s Green Rubber Suits, Barnabus cracks his jar open, frees the other misfits, and their quest begins to reach the outside world. Along the way they discover another failed project, a huge marine creature in a tank of water, however, when the Green Rubber Suits find them, all seems lost. Discover how Barnabus and his friends find freedom with the help of water pressure, proving that with determination “Nothing is impossible.” Kids will love the creative illustrations and the ambitious dream of finding “a place that might be home.”
        Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship, Heroes, Pets

Ages 8-12

written by Emily Ecton, illus. by Dave Mottram, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $17.99, June 2020, ISBN 978-1-5344-5536-8), 256p, Ages 8-12

“Butterbean knew she wasn’t always a GOOD dog. But until the morning of Tuesday, October 20, she’d never considered herself a BAD dog. And she definitely never thought that by Wednesday, October 21, she’d be a member of an International Crime Syndicate.”

When Butterbean’s owner, Mrs. Food, accidentally slips and falls on Butterbean’s throw up and ends up in the hospital, the household pets suspect that their owner may never return. Realizing that they may be destined for the shelter, Butterbean, Walt the cat, Oscar the myna bird, and pet rats Marco and Polo devise a survival plan to become independently wealthy. When Butterbean smells coins on a mean, shifty man in the elevator, the pets discover a cache of coins in the man’s apartment and plan the heist of the century. With the assistance of an octopus named Chad and a vent-dwelling Wild Rat Wallace, they begin a quest to rescue the cache of gold and free their young caregiver, who was kidnapped by the criminals.

Kids will love the animals quirky, endearing personalities, their crazy plot to become independently wealthy, and the stunning illustrations.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Heroes, Humor, Families, Fantasy, Friendship, Pets


THE SASQUATCH ESCAPE: The Imaginary Veterinary Book 1
written by Suzanne Selfors, illus. by Dan Santat, (Little, Brown & Co. 2013, ISBN 978-0-316-20934-2), 224p, Ages 9-12

Not much happens in Buttonville since the factory closed, until 10-year-old Ben, who is expecting a dull summer with his grandfather, spies a helicopter-sized bird with enormous wings and a ropelike tail and Grandpa's cat brings home a bat that breathes fire. With the help of a new friend, Pearl, they take the wounded baby dragon to the only veterinary office in town, Dr. Woo’s Worm Hospital in the old Button Factory.

Turns out that the hospital is home to imaginary creatures, one of which (a hairy sasquatch) is accidentally released by Ben. Now tasked with the job of retrieving the pudding-loving sasquatch, the two friends begin an adventure of a lifetime filled with mythical creatures, cliffhangers, suspense, and secrecy. Kids will enjoy the endpapers featuring the Wyvern and Sasquatch Connection, the Dragon Milk Science Connection, and the Creativity Connection (homemade chocolate pudding).
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Fantasy, Heroes, Mysteries, Series Other Books in the Series: The Lonely Lake Monster #2 | The Raindragon Rescue #3 | The Order of the Unicorn #4 | The Griffin’s Riddle #5 | The Fairy Swarm #6

Ages 10-13

written by Catherine Fisher, (Walker Books, $16.99, Sept. 2020, ISBN 978-1-5362-1491-8), 208p Ages 10-13

One wintery night before Christmas in Victorian Wales, an orphan girl waits at an empty train station, ready to begin a new life as a ward of her godfather at his country mansion, Plas-y Fran. When a frightened stranger leaves a mysterious package with her containing the pieces of a mechanical talking crow, little does Seren Rhys realize that her life is about to magically change. Upon arrival, Seren finds the mansion nearly deserted with a dark secret, a few tight-lipped servants, the family away, and the son, Tomos, missing for almost a year. With the help of her only ally, the crochety crow, and a snow globe, the two heroes begin a magical quest to an enchanted world of danger, mystery, suspense, snow, and adventure to rescue Tomos.

Originally published in England, readers and listeners will enjoy the forbidden rooms, hidden tunnels, magical snow globes, the Fair Family, Enoch the crow, and the clever rhymes that begin each chapter in this engaging tale of family, friendships, heroes, and magic.
        Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Folk Literature, Heroes, Mystery, Suspense
Others in the Series: The Velvet Fox #2 | The Midnight Swan #3


written by Sarah Beth Durst, (Clarion Books, $16.99, June 2020, ISBN 978-0-358-06502-9), 288p, Ages 10-13

What does a giant talking, reading, singing cat christened Pipsqueak, a multi-colored flying mouse called Buttermouse, and a six-tailed, shark tooth, green dog named Kermit, have in common? It seems that they all met a young girl when they were normal animals, who promises to take care of them after they begin to transform into magical animals. About to celebrate her 12th birthday, Zoe rescues a stray kitten and decides to keep it hidden, as her parents have forbidden any more animal rescues. She begins to realize that this is no ordinary kitten when it begins to abnormally grow bigger and starts to read, talk, and sing opera. Zoe and her neighbor/best friend Harrison devise clever hiding places for Pipsqueak as he grows, but they realize the impossibility of keeping an almost mountain-sized cat in the backyard. Zoe longs to return Pipsqueak to her normal size and thinks her aunt in New Hampshire can help.

They devise a plan to ride the still growing Pipsqueak from Western Massachusetts to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, discover two other magical animals along the way, and camp out, without avoiding detection. As Pipsqueak declares, “We’re having an adventure! Our own incredible journey!” Kids will enjoy the flying poodle, the rooftop leaps, second cake, s’mores, and the secrets that Aunt Alecia is keeping.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Fantasy, Friendship, Heroes, Pets


NEVER AFTER: The Thirteenth Fairy #1
written by Melissa De La Cruz, illus. by James Madsen, (Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, Dec. 2020, ISBN 978-1-250-31121-4), 336p, Ages 10-14

12-year-old Filomena Jefferson-Cho, adopted as a baby, overprotected by her parents, and a victim of school bullying, enjoys escaping into the world of fantasy. A fan of the Never After fairy tale series, Filomena looks forward to the release of the thirteenth book in the series. Upon discovering that the long-awaited book was mysteriously never published, Filomena returns home only to be followed by one of the characters in the books, Jack the Giant Stalker, and both are almost killed by one of the creatures in the books.

Realizing that the stories were real, Filomena travels to the world of evil fairies, princesses, ogres, and sorcerers, where an evil queen is bent on destroying what is left of the fairy kingdom. Together with friends Jack and Alistair they begin a quest to defeat an evil queen, return the fairy tale world to safety, and find the truth behind the fairy tale series. Along the way Filomena confronts her bullies, befriends fairy tale characters and learns the truth of her past.

Kids will enjoy the motor-cycling wolves, riddles that become spells, and one brave, independent heroine who confronts her bullies and bands together with her beloved characters to save Westphalia.
        Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Folk Literature, Heroes, Series

Stories from the Past to Read, Share, and Treasure

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



written/illus. by Maryse Guittet, (Twirl, 2014, ISBN 978-2-8480-1945-1), 8p, Ages 3+

Young children will enjoy the seasons in all their splendor presented in this tree-shaped board book. Birds, bees, ladybugs, butterflies, flies, caterpillars, dragonflies, and spiders flit through the trees, while questions on the flaps ask, “Who’s hiding here?”, “Who is munching these apples?”, “Who is making that crunching sound?”, and Who’s there?” This colorful and attractive board book is a great introduction for little ones to the yearly seasons.
        Themes: Concept, Nature, Seasons


written & illus. by Ruth Brown, (Knoph Books for Young Readers, 2001), 24p, Ages 3-6

Touching on the number concept as well as the stages of a plant, children learn, in a fascinating way, the number of creatures that are found in the garden, plus how ten seeds can multiply. When a little boy plants 10 seeds, they are subsequently reduced by an ant lifting out a seed, a pigeon picking up a seed with is rootlets, a mouse digging one with longer roots, a slug eating one, a mole burrowing under the roots, and a cat clawing one up. Of the four remaining seeds, three are taken out by a ball, dog, and greenflies, but the lone survivor seed blossoms into a beautiful sunflower, which produces 10 more seeds.
        Themes: Classic, Concept, Nature


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. 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 Tom Lichtenheld, (Henry Holt & Co., 2011), 40p, Ages 3-7

Small, content, and happy Cloudette was friendly with birds, squirrels, and kites. She loved watching fireworks, sneaking through tight spaces, and hiding between buildings. However, she longed to do important things like the big clouds that made storms, watered crops, and created mighty rivers. “She wanted to make a garden grow. She wanted to make a brook babble. She wanted to make a waterfall fall. And she thought nothing would be more fun than giving some kids a day off from school.”

When blown from her neighborhood by a huge storm, Cloudette sees a chance to help a small frog, whose pond has dried up. Puffing, rumbling, and raining, she creates a lovely water-filled pond, perfect for frog jumping. According to the author, water was collected during a rainstorm and used for the watercolor illustrations.
        Themes: Concept Heroes, Humor, Nature, Values


written by Emily Gore, illus. by Leonid Gore, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015), 40p, Ages 4-7

Nick, the youngest of four identical brothers, is always trying to catch up. Whatever the activity, Nick always lags behind. Even when picking flowers for Mom, he is left with a “small green sprout.” It turns out that his sprout blooms into the most beautiful flower of all, which Mom labels a “late bloomer.” Family love, patience, and acceptance always makes for the best in read-aloud stories.
        Themes: Families, Nature


written/illus. by Peter Brown, (Little, Brown and Co., 2009), 40p, Ages 4-7

One day while exploring his dreary neighborhood, Liam finds a few flowers on an old, elevated train track. With several hits and misses, he begins watering, weeding, and pruning them. “But this was no ordinary garden. With miles of open railway ahead of it, the garden was growing restless. It wanted to explore.” Over the next few months, the garden expands along the railway and into the drab city. Sidetracked by winter snow, the plants and flowers lay dormant until spring, when they pop up in every conceivable place. New gardens turn up on rooftops, windmills, and ponds along with new gardeners to care for them. The colorful illustrations are fascinating, and the message that one small dream can change the world is what children need to hear.
        Themes: Concept, Heroes, Humor, Nature


written by Joseph Anthony, illus. by Cris Arbo, (DAWN Publishers, 1997), 32p, Ages 3-10

Afraid to leave the garden and venture out into the world, a small reluctant dandelion seed is carried away by the wind across farmland, cities, and lakes arriving as the winter snow begins. When spring comes, the little seed begins to grow and flower, and so begins the lovely cycle once again.
        Themes: Nature, Nonfiction, Seasons


written/illus. by Lisa Anchin, (Dial Books for Young Readers, $17.99, April 2019, ISBN 978-0-735-23073-6), 40p, Ages 4-7

“The Little Green Girl, like so many great things, began as a tiny seed. One bright morning, she unexpectedly blew into Mr. Aster’s garden, and he was just as surprised as she was.” Even though Mr. Aster prefers his normal routine, he places the seedling into the greenhouse, carefully cultivates her, and then moves her into the garden as a topiary. There, the birds tell her about the outside world and faraway places.

Desiring to see for herself, the Little Green Girl tries to convince Mr. Aster of her need to travel by stretching her roots, but he thwarts her every attempt to leave. Find out how the little topiary convinces Mr. Aster to leave his comfort zone, broaden his horizons, and explore the world in this father-daughter friendship/adventure.
        Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Humor, Nature


written by Martha Sullivan, illus. by Cathy Morrison, (Dawn Publications, 2015), 32p, Ages 4-10

Two raindrops, Pitter and Patter, fall from the sky one day and take quite different paths on their way to the ocean. Pitter lands on a leaf, drips into a stream, and is carried into a valley river, past wetlands, and onto the ocean. During the long journey, Pitter happily greets all the animals in each habitat. “Hello, crayfish. / Howdy snake. / Best wishes for the day, mayfly.” Patter tumbles into a spring meadow with similar greetings to the surrounding animals, “Hello daisy. / Good morning, bee. / Rise and shine, butterfly.” Patter trickles into the soil and spills into an underground cave that flows into a river, which sweeps to the ocean.

There, both are reunited, become warmer, and rejoin a gray cloud. Endpapers describe the water cycle, and offer diagrams, scientific terms, and activities for kids. Martha Sullivan’s clever story of two raindrops and Cathy Morrison’s outstanding illustrations will help kids connect with the water-cycle journey, realize the importance of water to our planet, and teach good manners in the process.
        Themes: Adventure, Concept, Nature, Water


written by Knister, translated by Kathryn Bishop, illus. by Eve Tharlet, (Minedition, 2006/2016), 32p, Ages 4-7

In a sweet story of trust and friendship, a young marmot awakes after a long winter to discover a beautiful dandelion. Over the summer, their friendship grows. They laugh together, play together, and dance together. . . and when it was time to sleep Bruno looked after her.” One day the dandelion asks Bruno for a promise (to blow on her), and she assures him that all will be fine. Bruno fulfills the promise but is heartbroken when he realizes that his friend is gone. Upon awakening the next spring, he discovers hundreds of new dandelions and just as many new friends.
        Themes: Friendship, Nature


written by Dianna Hutts Aston, illus. by Sylvia Long, (Chronicle Books, $16.95, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8118-5520-4), 40p, Ages 5-10

From the creators of “An Egg Is Quiet” comes another elegant and informative book about seeds. From tiny redwood seeds and hamburger bean seeds to Texas mountain laurel seeds and pods of fluffy milkweed seeds, information is presented on two levels. For younger children, poetic phrases such as “A seed is secretive”; “A seed is fruitful”; “A seed is inventive” are easy to understand.

For older children, science concepts and general information is given in short paragraphs. “Ninety percent of the plants on Earth are flowering plants. Flowering plants produce fruits—fruits of all shapes and textures that keep the seeds cozy until they have found the right place to grow.” A helpful chart depicts various seeds as they grow over days, months, and years into adult plants. Pages filled with attractive illustrations and interesting plant information will surely help children develop an interest in botany.
        Themes: Nature, Nonfiction, Seasons, Series
Other Books in Series: An Egg is Quiet | A Nest is Noisy | A Butterfly is Patient | A Rock is Lively

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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