Jan/Feb 2022


Stories from the Past to Read,
Share, and Treasure


Born in rural Indiana in 1915, Bill Peet began drawing at an early age, traipsing through the woods looking for animals to sketch. In school, Bill doodled and drew in the margins of textbooks. Fascinated by the mechanical workings of trains, he often sneaked into the local station to draw them.

As a teen he loved the circus and sketched as much of it as possible, usually from memory. Successful in art classes at high school, he eventually won a scholarship to The John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis.

Following college, Disney Studios in Hollywood hired him as a sketch artist. During the next twenty-five years, Bill began to write children's stories, based upon ideas from bedtime stories told to his children. Bill enjoyed great success in writing 36 books for children, dealing with ambition, arrogance, aging, bravery, bullying, compromise, conceit, courage, environment, hope, loyalty, vanity, and helping others. We hope that you enjoy the following samples of his marvelous stories.


written/illus by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin, 1971), 48p, Ages 5-8

Katy is a caboose who is tired of being the last car in the freight train. It’s too noisy, smoky, and jerky to her way of thinking. She longs for the simple, quiet life, but has little hope of achieving it, until one day an accident releases her from the train. “When Katy hit the curve she took off like a kite, \ High over the treetops on her first and last flight, \ That would quickly have ended poor Katy caboose \ If it hadn’t been for two towering spruce.” Watch how Katy spends the rest of her days with plenty of fresh air, peace, solitude, and a great view.
   Themes: Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Trains


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin, 1967), 48p, Ages 5-8

A young, innocent mountain goat learns to adapt to a serious handicap—overgrown horns. Unable to keep up with the other rams and forced to leave his mountain home, Buford takes refuge with cattle to avoid roving hunters. Discover how Buford escapes danger to become a great skier and “the star attraction at the Little Big Pine winter resort.”
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Humor


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1959), 40p, Ages 5-8

“Hubert the Lion was haughty and vain / And especially proud of his elegant mane. / But conceit of this sort isn’t proper at all / And Hubert the Lion was due for a fall.” Embarrassed by accidentally setting fire to his beautiful mane, Hubert hides in a hollow tree. His friends suggest various remedies (hair-growing seeds, needle and thread), but Elephant remembers a remedy (crocodile tears) and begins a dangerous journey to locate them.

Kids will enjoy Elephant cleverly collecting tears, Hubert experiencing a strange transformation, and Barber Baboon creating an artistic and unforgettable haircut. Young and not so young will enjoy this rhyming tale of vanity, humility, and hilarious nonconformity. Themes: Adventure, Animals, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin, 1966), 48p, Ages 5-8

When urban development begins to encroach and destroy their forest home, the animals decide to search for another shady glade. To the old raccoon, leader of the animals, the world was a mystery, but he knew it was time to leave. Jumping onto a moving train was dangerous, but “they jumped, each one in a perfectly flat four-point landing. Everyone but the roly-poly raccoon, who hit with a big bounce and nearly rolled off before he caught himself.”

They travel through meadows, polluted towns, forests, and hundreds of shady glades, but jumping off a moving train proves challenging. When the train is forced to stop, they discover a new shady future. This story of friendship, working together, environmental pollution, and preservation of the natural world should be shared with every child.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Friendship, Nature


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, Friendship, Water, Rhythm & Rhyme, Seasons, Values


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin, 1979), 48p, Ages 5-8

Sir Galavant is a brave knight. His war-horse, Clyde, is not. When a menacing ogre terrorizes local farmers, Sir Galavant eagerly begins a search. Clyde has reservations when the knight locates the ogre and decides to give the monster a fighting chance. Terrified, Clyde runs away leaving the knight behind, but has second thoughts. “‘If there’s even a slim chance,’ thought Clyde, ‘that I could do something to save him, then I must take a chance. If I’m not half brave enough, then I must pretend to be brave! I’ll put on a big act!’”

Discover how Clyde finds his courage, tricks the monster, receives help from an unexpected source, and rescues his friend. Elegant, magical, and full of wonder, most contemporary books cannot complete with Bill Peet’s excellence in storytelling.
   Themes: Animals, Friendship, Heroes


written/illus. by Bill Peet (Houghton Mifflin, 1978), 40p, Ages 5-8

Old, weak, and unable to hunt for food, Eli shares his meals with a flock of noisy, squabbling vultures. Vowing to ignore them and never make friends, Eli finds himself rescuing one from a fox.

Suddenly a hero and dismayed at their devoted companionship, Eli tries to turn the vultures away with insults, but they reply, “We will do as you wish, and leave you be. But no matter what you say, we are still your friends, and in some way we old birds might prove to be useful someday.”

When tribesmen hunt Eli, the play-acting vultures save their friend from certain death. Respect and friendship are sometimes hard to achieve, but they are so rewarding when attained.
   Themes: Animals, Friendship, Values


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin, 1973), 32p, Ages 5-8

Prewitt is different from the other peacocks. Instead of a multi-eyed beautiful tail, his scraggly tail consists of a few feathers that grow into a creepy, scary, two-eyed face. Chased away from the jungle by the flock, Prewitt becomes a hero after a remarkable encounter with Travis, a scrawny old tiger, who stalks the peacocks. “From that day on, wherever Prewitt went the other peacocks followed close behind. Very close.”
   Themes: Animals, Heroes, Humor


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin, 1981), 38p, Ages 4-8

Eleanor is a great circus performer. “But great circus stars can’t keep going forever, no matter how clever they are, and after performing her act for over forty years, the old elephant was getting weak in the knees and was fearful of falling.”

Taken to the city zoo to live out her days, Eleanor feels useless and lonely, until one day, she watches an artist sketch one of the rhinos. Intrigued by concept, Eleanor tries drawing a clown with her trunk. Suddenly, she is the star of the zoo and a performer once more.    Themes: Animals, Concept, Heroes, Humor


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Readers, $9.99, April 1982), 48p, Ages 5-8

“Once upon a time there was a giant sea serpent named Cyrus. Even though he was a horrible looking monster he wasn’t the least bit fierce.” When called a sissy, he decides to prove his bravery by sinking a ship. Cyrus reconsiders his decision when the Primrose encounters the doldrums, storms, and is attacked by pirates.

Blowing the ship across quiet seas, using his body as a flotation devise during storms, ramming the pirate ship, and pulling the damaged Primrose to safety, Cyrus becomes a mighty hero. Children and adults will enjoy the marvelous message of courage, self-sacrifice, and protecting life.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Heroes, Values


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin, 1984), 30p, Ages 5-8

As a circus performer, Pamela is a flop. “She was a scrawny scraggly camel who was much too clumsy and awkward to be a performer in the big top.” Disgusted, depressed, and dejected, Pamela runs away. Following a train track, she discovers a broken rail and decides to stand on the tracks hoping to prevent an accident by the approaching train.

Declared a hero, Pamela returns to the circus as its star. Pamela is no longer ordinary but very special, as we all are in our own way.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Heroes


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin, 1986), 32p, Ages 5-8

An abandoned, newly hatched baby ostrich is adopted and raised by a maternal zebra, Zelda. Perched on her back Zack listens as she instructs him on survival in the wild. “You wouldn’t last a minute if I dumped you on the ground. / There’re too many dangerous beasts prowling all around. / There’re lions and hyenas and then, for heaven sakes, / Roving packs of jackals and big, creeping, crawling snakes.”

Growing to around nine feet tall, Zack towers above the herd. When Zelda’s baby is born, Zack repays her and takes on the job of protecting Zodiac from lions and hyenas. The message of repaying kindness and doing the right thing should resonate in the hearts of all who read and listen to this charming tale.
   Themes: Animals, Families, Rhythm & Rhyme


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

Ambitious and determined to avoid his fate at the dinner table, Chester leaves the farm and joins the circus. Resolving to fit in, he demonstrates a talent for balancing on his nose. “He was dressed in baby clothes with a lace bonnet tied under his chin, and Roscoe the clown in a frilly skirt and flowered hat wheeled him around the big top in a doll buggy.”

Embarrassed and humiliated, Chester escapes the circus and searches for acceptance and recognition in a dangerous, cold, and harsh world. His happy ending arrives when a passing carnival discovers his uniqueness. Kids also receive a great geography lesson about the seven continents.
   Themes: Adventure, Animals, Humor


written/illus. by Bill Peet, (Houghton Mifflin , 1990), 48p, Ages 4-8

Known for his spectacular crowing each morning, Dudley has the power to make the sun rise, or so the farmyard animals think. Gunther, a bad-tempered goose, who in a fit of jealousy, chases Dudley into the dark and dangerous forest. Ol Sol, the sun, declares, “If my favorite rooster doesn’t crow in the morning, I’m not comin’ up! There’ll be no day tomorrow.”

Rescued after a frightening night in the forest, Dudley realizes that true friends go the extra mile to help one another. This was Bill Peet’s last story before succumbing to cancer in 2002.
   Themes: Animals, Friendship, Heroes





To all those who love children’s books as much as we do, sometimes we wonder what it is about a book that captivates children and adults.

Of the two types of literature, fiction, and non-fiction, it is fiction that brings children the enchantment of storytelling and ultimately a future love of reading.

The best children’s books should contain imaginative stories, memorable characters, beautiful illustrations, and lyrical language. Children need to fall in love with stories that entertain and arouse their curiosity.

Quality literature should teach children good morals, ethics, and values. Our culture’s survival depends on the children of today. If they are to make a difference in the world, children need to learn about love, justice, courage, and compassion.

Well-written stories have good themes, valid characters, and should always be believable. Well-written stories should be people centered, not problem centered. Too many stories have society’s problems dumped into them.

Good books contain heroes and role models to imitate. Children need to hear about people who contribute something of value to other’s lives, people who make hard decisions and have the courage to overcome adversity.

What makes a good book? Whatever the genre, a great book should be an enjoyable read, make the world a better place, and incorporate heart, humor, hope, and helping others.


There are two categories of classics: early classics like the fairy tales of Andersen, Grimm, and Perault; and modern classics like Charlotte’s Web and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Both were written by people who never lost their love of childhood. Classics should make a major contribution to a child’s education, merriment, and appreciation of literature. Many good stories provide clear standards of right and wrong, show the ethics of human behavior, and evoke natural and wholesome laughter. Classics contain those unique qualities that surpass time and appeal to listeners and readers of every generation.

A classic is the rare book that has a special element, which enables it to endure the test of time and appeal to children from every generation. It stands out because it has the ability to touch the heart and cross the boundaries of culture, nationality, religion, race, gender, and status.

Classics should make a major contribution to a child’s education, merriment, and appreciation of literature. Classics should provide clear standards of right and wrong, show the ethics of human behavior, and evoke wholesome laughter.

A sense of honor and value surround great literature. Laughter, pain, hunger, satisfaction, love, and joy are found in classics. When our children become familiar with this kind of writing, they have a foundation for making comparisons. Not everything they read will be excellent, but they will know a story’s possibilities.

Read stories in their original versions, not the watered-down ones without any drama of life. They may retell the classic stories, but the basic elements that make the stories classics are omitted.

With the influx of new books for children flooding the market each year, old favorites are in danger of being crowded out. Generations of children are missing the opportunity of listening to classical children’s literature. This is unfortunate because classics are the cornerstone to building a life-long relationship with literature.


To create a nation of readers, parents should read aloud early in their child's life and continue well past the point when their children learn to read.

No education reforms or laws will matter unless parents teach their children at an early age to love reading by creating an atmosphere in the home that nurtures reading.

Children discover that reading is valuable when they see their parents take time to enjoy reading quality books, magazines, and newspapers.

Parents set a powerful example of the importance of reading when they check out library books for themselves, as well as for their children. It is a sad reflection on American life when less than ten percent of the American people regularly use the public library system.


Good books contain heroes and role models to imitate. Children need to hear about people who contribute something of value to other’s lives, people who make hard decisions and have the courage to overcome adversity.

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

Heroes represent those who display bravery, courage, and self-sacrifice for the greater good. They possess the highest character, ideals, and values. They may not have started out heroes, but along their way, through hardship, trials, conscience


Each year, several awards are given for the best books published. John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott are men in whose names, awards are given annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

As prestigious as they are, do not let awards or medals dictate a choice in children’s books. Awards are given for the quality of the writing or the illustrations and do not guarantee that a book will be successful. The parent’s interest, good taste, and discretion should be the influencing factor.


Begin a child's home library. For young children, divide books into two categories: expensive (place up and out of reach, but in sight) and inexpensive (place on lower shelves within easy reach).

Every child should own a book with his or her name inscribed inside—one that cannot be returned to the library or shared with a sibling. Place a bookrack where it can be used often by a child, no matter how large or small it is.

If parents wish to raise a reader, they should invest in a bed lamp, when their child is old enough to stay up at night and read in bed.

A child’s home library should have a least one good nursery rhyme book by a good illustrator. Purchase one that is beautiful, one the child will want to pass on to the next generation.

They need picture books that say “good-night” or talk about their world in a way that makes them feel safe and loved. Include at least one good poetry book and purchase a new one for each major shift in the child’s comprehension.

As children grow, a good dictionary is a must, one with large enough print to invite reading. A good atlas should be part of a standard child’s library. Ask the children’s librarian at your local public library or check with your local children’s bookstore for a good recommendation.

Because of their flexibility, older children like paperback books. If a book is read a few times and then forgotten, paperbacks are fine, but if the book becomes special, an investment in the hardcover edition is recommended.

Books make perfect gifts. Make a list of favorite titles for grandparents or relatives and friends to give as gifts. Use holidays, seasons, or any other fun experiences as an excuse to give a child a good book.

Unlike toys, books are difficult to break and are ready-made with no assembly or batteries needed. Portable, they can be enjoyed anywhere, at any time of the day, take up less space than most toys, and never go out of style.


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.

Winter is a great time for curling up with a good storytelling book. The books featured represent some of the best of imagination and fun in children's literature and are presented for the reading and listening enjoyment of all.

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. Always remember.

Read to your children before they’re too old
to listen and love the stories you hold.
But after they’re grown, keep reading, no worries,
they’ll never grow tired of hearing great stories.
The Children’s Hour ©2022.


written by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by A. G. Ford, (Chronicle Books, Dec. 2021, $12.99, ISBN 978-1-7972-0430-7), 16p, Ages 2-4

This clever and colorful board book for Valentine’s Day will have preschoolers following Excavator, Bulldozer, Dump Truck, Cement Mixer, Skid Steer, and Crane Truck as they each discover a valentine note dedicated to them. Cleverly concealed behind flaps are messages and clues as to who sent the note which is revealed on the next page. “Excavator digs, then turns around, and—whoa! There’s something on the ground!” Lifting the flap reveals a note: “You dig and lift and lead the way! You help the team so much each day. Thanks for keeping us in line … Now, GUESS WHO pushed this valentine!”

Little ones will love the surprise valentine under the last lift-the-flap in this sweet, charming read-aloud.
        Themes: Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme, Machines, Series
Other Books in the Series: Construction Site on Christmas Night | Construction Site: Mission Demolition! | Road Crew Coming Through! | Three Cheers for Kid McGear! | Mighty, Mighty Construction Site! | Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site! | Steam Train, Dream Train | Construction Site: Merry and Bright


written/illus. by Ross Collins, (Nosy Crow, $16.99. Nov. 2021, ISBN
978-1-5362-2022-3), 32p, Ages 2-5

“There’s a mouse in my house. How he got in, I’d like to know. / He’s unpacked all his stuff just so. / That rodent can’t live here, oh no! / I’ll tell him that he has to go.” This sequel to There’s a Bear on My Chair (2016) finds Bear with an unwelcomed guest, who moves in and makes himself comfortable. From hanging pictures on the walls to eating everything in sight and flooding the bathroom floor. Completely disgusted, Bear suddenly changes his mind when mouse’s friends show up with party hats, treats, and lots of fun. A great read-aloud for story time.
        Themes: Animals, Bears, Friendship, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme
Other Book in the Series: There’s a Bear on My Chair



written by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by AG Ford, (Chronicle Books, $17.99, October 2021, ISBN
978-1-7972-0472-7), 40p, Ages 3-7

This latest tale in the Construction Site series finds the six intrepid crew of machines taking on a new challenge—building a new superhighway. It’s a day of leveling, scraping, grading, flattening, paving, and striping with the help of new friends, Compacter, Scraper, Grader, Roller, Striper, Water Truck, and Paver. Given the plans, they proceed to construct a route through miles of dusty desert-like conditions over a river to make a superhighway “from here to there.”

In fun, bouncing rhymes, a description of each vehicle’s job is given. “Excavator, to begin, / gets to work by digging in. / Scooping heavy loads with ease, / he lifts out boulders, trash, and trees.” End pages contain a thoughtful note about wildlife crossings, migration, and animal habitats, as depicted by a coyote walking along a river and under a bridge on one of the pages. Kids will enjoy travelling down this road with their favorite crew.
        Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Machines, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: Mission Demolition! | Construction Site: Road Crew Coming Through! | Three Cheers for Kid McGear! | Mighty, Mighty Construction Site! | Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site! | Steam Train, Dream Train | Construction Site: Merry and Bright / Construction site on Christmas Night


written by Jean Reidy, illus. by Joey Chou, (Henry Holt & Co., $18.99, Dec. 2021), 32p, Ages 4-7

“There once was a slug, / needing someone to hug. / SHRUG. / Along came a beetle, / a lonely ol’ bug. / ‘You need a hug? / I have one,’ said Slug, / ‘to keep your heart snug!’”

Thus, begins a tale of passing on hugs to other woodland animals that are having a bad day. Everyone they meet gets a group hug from down-in-the-dumps Mouse, stinky Skunk, smelly Squirrel, busy Beaver, prickly Porcupine, to forgotten Ground Hog, out of luck Goose, sneaky Fox, and stuck in a tree Moose.

When lonely Bear arrives, everyone scatters except Slug who, “knew a secret, as sure as she’d shrugged … that a hugger finds happiness … ‘longside the hugged!” This cumulative tale of kindness is sure to bring on bundles of hugs at story time.
        Themes: Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Rhythm & Rhyme Other Books in the Series: Little Blue Truck | Little Blue Truck Leads the Way | Good Night, Little Blue Truck | Little Blue Truck’s Christmas | Little Blue Truck’s Halloween | Little Blue Truck’s Springtime | Little Blue Truck’s Valentine | Little Blue Truck’s Beep-Along Book

Ages 4-8

written by Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead, (Roaring Book Press, $18.99, Nov.2021, ISBN
978-1-250-21322-8), 48p, Ages 4-7

Amos McGee, the elderly zookeeper from “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” (2010) returns in an endearing tale of responsibility, friendship, and love. As a responsible zookeeper, Amos McGee is always considerate and always on time. However, after a night of lost sleep over planning an outing for his zoo friends, Amos struggles with sleepiness and rushes to catch the number five bus to the zoo but loses his favorite hat along the way and misses the bus. Arriving late and apologizing to his animal friends, Amos explains the circumstances, yawns, sits down on a bench, wonders where the tortoise has disappeared to, and falls asleep.

Loving this kindly, elderly, and gangling zookeeper, the animals decide to finish his chores. Elephant sweeps up, penguin holds a “quiet” sign over Amos, rhinoceros feeds the small animals, owl teaches the visitors on animal conservation, and tortoise locates the missing hat. When Amos awakes, he thanks his friends for the pleasant surprise, and they hurry to catch the afternoon bus to their outing at the beach.

Readers and listeners will love this kindly zookeeper, the compassionate zoo animals that step in to help him, and the mysterious giraffe that rides the number five bus.
        Themes: Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: A Sick Day for Amos McGee


written by Julie Hedlund, illus. by Michael Slack, (Philomel Books, $17.99, Nov. 2021, ISBN
978-0-593-20355-2), 32p, Ages 4-7

In this clever wordplay story Mole, called Under, and Bird, named Over, enjoy a day at the park. On the seesaw, “Over is over Under. / Under is under Over.” The slapstick continues to the swings until they meet a Hot-dog Dog and spot an Unbearable Bear.

Kids and adults will have fun with the compound words and lessons of making friendships and not judging others. A Glossary explains the meanings of the compound words, i.e., Doggone, Underdog, Overlook, etc.
        Themes: Animals, Concept, Friendships, Humor


written by Kjartan Poskitt, illus. by Alex Willmore, (Aladdin Books, $17.99, Dec.2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-9016-1), 32p, Ages 4-7

The loveable, quirky runaway pea from The Runaway Pea (Aladdin June 2021) returns for another adventure. This time down the kitchen sink and into the sewers. Is he afraid? Nope, he’s having the time of his life. “Into the underground drain, the pea fell — / it was cold; it was dark with a curious smell. / But did the pea mind all the mess and the slime? / No, he was having a WONDERFUL time!”

On his slippery, tumbling journey he helps a small defenseless spider look for dry land. Shooting out into a small stream, they encounter two hungry animals and a helpful frog, who kicks them onto dry land. When the spider scurries away, the little pea feels lonely and sad.

Find out how the quirky little pea manages to hitch a ride back home, only to fall in the drain again. Kids will love and root for this happea little kitchen escapee on his wet and wild adventures.
        Themes: Adventure, Food, Friendship, Heroes, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series Other Book in the Series: The Runaway Pea or Treat | Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter | Turkey Claus


written by Arnold Johnston/Deborah Ann Percy, illus. by Kelly O’Neill, (Belle Isle Books, $12.95, July 2021, ISBN 978-1-953021-09-0), 32p, Ages 5+

On a business trip to New York, a father buys a toy monkey for his son Bobby, who loved Mr. Robert Monkey at first sight, “Mr. Robert Monkey was like Bobby’s little brother, / And if you saw one of them, you’d always see the other. / They liked to eat their pizza cold, with lot of apple juice, / And always wore their special hats when reading Dr. Seuss.”

When the family moves to New York, Mr. Monkey is accidentally left behind at a gas station and Bobby is devastated. But Mr. Monkey is no ordinary toy. Determined to reach New York, he enlists the help of a bullfrog, a truck driver’s dashboard pig, a crop duster pilot, and a seagull who drops him off at Times Square. Kids will love this determined little fellow, his brave journey to find his family, and the magical friends he meets along the way.
        Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Families, Heroes, Rhythm & Rhyme, Toys


written/illus. by The Fan Brothers, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, Sept. 2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-5762-1), 56p, Ages 4-8

One day a lovely marble fell into a garden and the residents speculated as to what it is. Frog thought it was a gumdrop, Grasshopper was sure it came from outer space, and Luna Moth believed it to be a chrysalis. The next morning Spider proclaimed it fell into his web and belonged to him. “Nobody remembered the web being there the day before, but in fairness, nobody remembered it not being there either.”

When Spider devised a plan to build Wonder Ville to showcase his “Wonder from the Sky” he became wealthy by charging admission, but his wealth was short lived, when “A five-legged creature stole the Wonder and took it back to the sky.” Things returned to normal, but patient Spider realized other things could fall from the sky and began to spin webs high up through the flowers. Find out what other amazing things fell from the sky in this cleverly constructed tale of imagination, wonder, and sharing in Barnum and Bailey style.
        Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Humor, Insects, Nature
Other books from the Authors: The Antlered Ship | The Scarecrow | The Night Gardner | Ocean Meets Sky | The Barnabus Project


written/illus. by Ben Hatke, (First Second, $18.99, Oct. 2021, ISBN 978-1-250-76932-9), 40p, Ages 4-7

“Julia’s House roamed the high hills, looking for a home. And so, when Julia saw the Perfect Spot glittering in the distance, she told her creatures, ‘That’s where we’re going.’”

Moving to the Perfect Spot is a little more difficult than Julia thought, as the house tumbles down a mountain and rolls away, without Julia. As she sets off to locate the missing house, Julia encounters new creatures who are also looking for a home. To them all, she answers, “We’ll make room.” There are so many creatures that Julia wonders if everyone will fit in the house. Finding the house shattered in a junk yard, Julia’s optimism crumbles, but the creatures are ecstatic. They not only build a new home but a new town—Julia’s Town. Young and old will love the lessons of perseverance, friendship, kindness, and helping others in this final tale of the trilogy.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Fantasy, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Series Other Book in the Series: Julia’s House for Lost Creatures #1 | Julia’s House Moves On #2


written/illus. by Alfredo Soderguit, translated by Elisa Amado, (Greystone Kids, $18.95, April 2021, ISBN
978-1-77164-782-3), 48p, Ages 5+

The farm is happy and comfortable place where the hens and chicks have plenty of food, lay eggs, and know the rules. No one seems to notice when occasionally a chicken is taken away. One day everything changes when the capybaras appear seeking refuge from hunters. Initially they are not wanted but agree to the chickens’ rules: “1. Don’t make any noise. 2. Don’t come out of the water. 3. Don’t come near the food. 4. Don’t question the rules.” Life changes for the capybaras after a little chick goes missing, chased by the vicious guard dog, and rescued by the capybaras. Life also changes for the chickens far beyond what they could ever imagine. Just ask the sheep. Kids will enjoy this delightful tale about acceptance and friendship.
        Themes: Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Humor


written by Adam Rubin, illus. by Adam Rex, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99, Oct. 2021, ISBN 978-0-593-32560-5), 48p, Ages 5-8

In ancient times there were tales told of Gladys, a dancing chicken that changed the lives of everyone she met. Believing her to be a magical chicken, a young Shepherd Boy wishes to be handsome but trades her to a Traveling Merchant, only to be stolen by a Long-Bearded Bandit, rescued by a Brave Swordsman, gifted to a Learned Princess, kidnapped by a Fearsome Pirate, saved by a Drowning Sailor, snatched up by a Lone Rider, and finally finding her way home to her handsome grown-up Shepherd Boy.

Kids will love Gladys’ unexpected life of adventure, plooping out an egg when excited or surprised, the colorful illustrations, flamboyant characters, and will have to decide if Gladys is magical after all.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Fantasy, Heroes, Humor


written/illus. by Matthew Cordell, (Little Brown and Company, $15.99, 6.99, Jan. 2022, ISBN 978-0-7595-5487-0), 80p, Ages 5-8

Cornbread and Poppy are the best of mice friends, but they are as different as night and day. Cornbread loves planning, and Poppy loves playing. Before winter arrived Cornbread diligently gathered food, but Poppy collected nothing and soon realizes that all the food is gone. Cornbread offers to help, but the only place left to forage for food is Holler Mountain, a dangerous climb with slippery rocks and mice eating owls. Discover how their encounter with friendly foe leads to an old friend who disappeared long ago. Kids will love hearing and reading about two friends who help each other, experience a change in fortune, and learn the value of planning ahead in this early chapter book full of adventure, friendship, and kindness.
        Themes: Adventure, animals, friendship, humor, series, values

Ages 7-10

written by Gary D. Schmidt / Elizabeth Stickney, illus. by Jane Manning, (Clarion Books, $17.99, Oct. 2021, ISBN
978-0-544-88835-7), 80p, Ages 7-10

Wilson is not only the smartest sheep on Abigail Atwood’s farm, but the friendliest, woolliest, most lovable, and extraordinary of all her 27 sheep. Even Tippy, Abigail’s Border collie, is fond of him. When the sheep gate is locked at the end of each day, “Wilson would bleat a soft baa that was a little bit lonely.” One day when Abigail forgets to latch the pen, Wilson nudges it open and proceeds down the path to the house where a piano delivery truck is parked. Looking for Tippy, Wilson enters the truck only to find himself locked inside. When the doors open, he realizes that he is alone in a busy city and far from home. What does a smart sheep do? This one relies on sounds to hopefully lead him home. With themes of loyalty, friendship, problem solving, and bravery, kids will enjoy this loveable, one-of-a-kind smart sheep.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Friendship, Humor


written by Kirkpatrick Hill, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2000, 2020, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-5344-7854-1), 128p, Ages 7-10

The year is 1948 and a new teacher arrives at the remote Athabascan Indian Village of Alaska. Since all teachers leave after the school year, the children don’t expect her to stay, especially ten-year-old Frederika (Fred), who narrates the story. The unorthodox Miss Agnes transforms their one-room schoolhouse into delightful geography, mathematics, reading, and writing lessons. They learn about the world via a huge map covering one wall, and math lessons teach them how to sell animals pelts without getting cheated. “And then she’d make us write stories, because she said that writing was just reading backwards, and you learned to read by writing just as well as reading.” Miss Agnes even teaches Fred’s twelve-year-old deaf sister sign language.

Readers and listeners will love this unconventional British school teacher and her amazing love of teaching children (even some adults), and will wonder, like the children, if Miss Agnes will leave at the end of the school year. This repackaging marks the twentieth anniversary of the award-winning story of one teacher who brightened the lives of all she touched.
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Heroes, Series
Other Books in the Series: Bo at Ballard Creek | Bo at Iditarod Creek | Winter Camp | Tough Boy and Sister

Ages 8-12

written by Kathi Appelt, illus. by Eric Rohmann, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, $17.99, Sept. 2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-0643-8), 336p, Ages 8-12

Zada is a keeper of stories and a teller of tales. She is also a camel in charge of two baby American kestrels while they wander the West Texas desert in 1910, seeking refuge from a sandstorm (Haboob). Separated from their parents during the storm the two baby birds, Wims & Beulah, nestle in the fluff between Zada’s ears as she keeps the babies’ small minds occupied from the fierce winds with her stories as they make their way to an abandoned Mission. There are tales of being raised by the royal Pasha of Smyrna and trained as a racing camel along with her best friend, Asiye, and their beloved keeper, Teodor. There are stories of being gifted to the U.S. Army in 1856 along with eight other camels and experiencing rough seas on a ship across the Atlantic to Texas.

When Zada and her achy joints take refuge in a mountain lion’s cave, she even saves their lives with a story for the lion. “She had many more stories to tell them. Stories about jumping spiders and double rainbows and ridiculous horses. When a camel lives a long time, she has a lot of stories. At least a thousand and one.”

Readers and listeners, young, old, and in between, will love this wise old camel, her marvelous stories, the humorous bickering of the two chicks, the historical facts, the gorgeous illustrations, the Turkish phrases woven into the text with a glossary in the back to explain their meaning, and the Author’s Note.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Humor

Ages 10-13

written by Hilary McKay, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, $17.99, Oct. 2021, ISBN 978-1-6659-0091-1), 288p, Ages 10-14

This heartwarming and unforgettable novel revolves around four young people, their families, and one junkyard dog during the 1927 to 1947 interwar years and the turbulence of World War II.

In Germany best friends, Erik and Hans, love to watch the swallows over the rooftops of Berlin and dream of working at the Berlin Zoo tending to animals (Erik) and running a pastry stall (Hans), only to become Luftwaffe pilots during the war. In England fragile and courageous Kate records everything in her diary and enjoys a long-distance friendship with Ruby, who struggles with facial birthmarks and enjoys her mother’s news agent’s shop. In London an abandoned junkyard dog dreams of freedom and searches for a kind, warm, and loving home.

When England joins the war against Germany, the lives of these four young people, their families, and one mistreated dog converge, resulting in surprising friendships and unexpected rescues with courage and resourcefulness they never knew they possessed. This heart-rending tale of war, courage, heroes and friendships will have readers and listeners yearning for a sequel. Endpapers contain historical notes and family trees.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Humor, Series
Other Book in the Series: The Skylark’s’ War

Stories from the Past to Read, Share, and Treasure

Humor & Nonsense Part I

Humor and laughter are essential to life. They keep things in balance and refresh the spirit and body. It’s hard to even the most resistant reader to say no to a book that is hilarious. Even slapstick humor is a way to attract readers, especially reluctant ones.


written/illus. by Juana Medina, (Viking Children’s Books, 2016), 32p, Ages 3-6

Delicious garden vegetables and fruits are transformed into delightful animals in this whimsical counting book. In teaching children about healthy eating, the vegetables and fruits are given arms, legs, ears, heads, antlers, and wings. From one Avocado Deer and two Radish Mice to nine Romaine Dogs and ten Clementine Kittens, the ingredients cavort across the pages to the counting of one to ten. Kids will love the Tomato Turtles, Cucumber Alligators, Flying Walnuts, and Radicchio Lions. The counting finishes with a wooden bowl featuring delicious vegetables and fruits. A recipe for dressing features a pepper shaker bird, lemon pigs, and porcupine bowl of olive oil. All in all, this clever concept book is a nutritious and educational must for all preschoolers.
        Themes: Concept, Food, Humor


written & illus. by Peggy Rathman, (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1998), 32p, Ages 3-7

A little boy’s pet hamster advertises a special 10-minute bedtime tour at #1 Hoppin Place. Unbeknownst to the boy and his father, who is reading a newspaper while clocking the minutes out loud, the enterprising blue uniformed pet directs carloads and busloads of vacationing hamsters into the kitchen for a snack, the bathroom for tooth brushing, and to the bedroom for a story. When dad finally announces “Bedtime!” the group clears out, except for a family of hamsters, who decide to stay. Kids will thoroughly enjoy this keeper.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Bedtime, Humor


written & illus. by Ingrid Schubert, illus. by Dieter Schubert, (Front Street Books, 1999), 32p, Ages 3-7

Bear does things he never imagined, when he finds three eggs and discovers that being a parent has its challenges. The fun begins when Bear has to do some very unbearlike things to raise his new family—making a home for them, protecting them, feeding them, and the list goes on and on.
        Themes: Animals, Bears, Families, Humor


written by Julia Jarman, illus. by Adrian Reynolds, (Orchard Books, 2004), 32p, Ages 3-5

It’s pure fun and imagination when young Stan and Stella are joined in the bathtub with lion, duck, dog, turtle, penguin, and giraffe, but the excitement begins when Hippopotaus tries to fit in. A book to guarantee giggles.
        Themes: Animals, Families, Humor

Ages 4 - 7

written by Susan Seligson, illus. by Howie Schneider, (Little, Brown, 1987), 32p, Ages 4-7

An old Irish Setter, tired of his family leaving him alone, discovers that the family couch drives like a car, and off he goes following his family on shopping trips all over town. One day Amos doesn’t count on rush–hour traffic and is delayed returning home before the family. When they discover Amos and his motorized couch, they have great adventures going everywhere together.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Humor, Pets


written/illus. by David Small, (Random House, 1985), 32p, Ages 4-7

Imogene is just a normal little girl who awakens one morning to find antlers growing out of her head. Her mother faints, the doctor pokes, and the principal glares. However, antlers are useful to hang wet towels on. The next morning everything is back to normal, except for the appearance of peacock feathers.
        Themes: Families, Fantasy, Humor


written by Tjibbe Veldkamp, illus. by Philip Hopman, (Kane/Miller, 1998), 32p, Ages 4-8

A strict headmistress arrives to take charge of an orphanage and finds twenty-two happy and carefree children sliding down banisters, scaling the walls, and hanging from balconies. Horrified, she admonishes them to be careful. When they fail to heed her advice, the headmistress takes action. Confined to their room with nothing to play with except their checkered blankets, the orphans decide to teach her a lesson about enjoying life. When the children suddenly disappear, a mysterious checkered elephant turns up and takes her on a wild playful romp in search of her charges. Too bad the headmistress doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Humor


written by Leslie Helaioski, illus. by Henry Cole, (Dutton Children’s Books, 2008), 32p, Ages 4-8

Feeling cooped up, four hapless chickens decide to find the farmhouse. Unfortunately, they look in all the wrong places. The Doghouse proves to be too scary, the tractor is too dirty, and the barn has wild ponies. Finally, they locate the farmhouse and realize that their coop is next door. The only explanation, of course, is that someone moved the coop. This silly, flapping, squawking farmyard adventure is sure to tickle every child’s funny bone.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Humor


written by Lori Mortensen, illus. by Michael Allen Austin, (Clarion Books, 2013), 32p, Ages 4-8

Cowpoke Clyde is a great role model of cleanliness. “Cowpoke Clyde propped up his feet. / His house was clean, his chores complete. / He’d even washed the kitchen floor / and shooed the horseflies out the door.” Realizing that his dog needs a bath, Clyde grabs his rope, bucket, water, and soap, but Dawg races out the door. Determined to catch him, Clyde manages to drench the chickens, lasso the hog, and soap the cats, resulting in flying chicken feathers, hissing cats, a kicking mule, and spilled soup. Disgusted and dirty, Clyde uses the tub himself. Who do you suppose decides to share his bath? The cumulative rhyme, catchy phrases, and hilarious antics will rope in even reluctant listeners at story time.
        Themes: Adventure, Humor, Pets, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Book in the Series: Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Ranges


written/illus. by Jean-François Dumont, (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2015), 28p, Ages 4-8

A selfish, self-centered, and cranky rat prefers his own company. When Edgar notices a worm following him, he tries to lose his stalker by running fast around the barn and swimming across the pond. He enlists the help of a mole, a woodpecker, and a pig, but they fail to find the worm, and Edgar is disgusted at their lack of sympathy. Settling down for the night, Edgar spies the worm in his bed and bites down hard on it. “Ever since that day, all of the animals on the farm laugh when they tell the story of Edgar, the rat who mistook his tail for a worm.” Sometimes lessons in humility are painful.
        Themes: Animals, Humor, Series
Other Book in the Series: The Chickens Build a Wall | The Sheep Go On Strike | The Geese March in Step


written by Jeanne Steig, illus. by Britt Spencer, (Philomel Books,2008, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-399-24756-9), 32p, Ages 4-8

There is a saying about a place for everything and everything in it’s place. Farmer Quantz might agree as he takes readers on a comical journey, swapping fleas from a stray dog for a talkative uncle, the uncle for a wheel of limburger cheese, then a banjo, a wig, a pet rabbit, a used bone, and finally the original dog (without the fleas). It’s pure fun to witness the trading of useless items, and then watch everyone come together at a flea circus where all the participants in the story play a role. As he saunters home with the dog by his side, Farmer Quantz sings, “Patta pim-pam-pun, what a barrel of fun!” Sprinkled with wonderful, lyrical language, this story makes a fun read-aloud for children.
        Themes: Humor, Insects

Ages 7 - 10

written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Stephen Gilpin, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, May 2016, ISBN 978-1-4814-5046-1), 112p, Ages 7-10

The Chicken Squad’s third adventure finds Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie investigating a mysterious new cage on stilts in their yard. Sugar is positive that their new neighbor is up to no good, but after a short surveillance and Dirt overrules the possibility of a shark, they decide it must be a rabbit. When they find the hatch door open and the bunny is missing, they decide that the bunny can’t survive in the wild and begin a search and rescue operation. Donning their spy kits (fake mustaches, marshmallow belts, binoculars, an observation log, headlamps, and plastic baggies for the approaching storm), they begin to search the backyard hoping to rescue Sparkles and avoid the rain, because everyone knows that chickens can’t swim. Full of humor, spying, observing, speculation, rain, and other things that sprinkle, kids will love this latest adventure of the Chicken Squad.
        Themes: Adventure, Humor, Mysteries, Series
Other Books in Series: The First Misadventure #1 The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken: The Next Adventure #2 | Dark Shadows: Yet Another Misadventure #4 | Gimmie Shelter: Misadventures & Misinformation #5 | Bear Country: Bearly a Misadventure #6


written by Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Arthur Howard, (Harcourt Brace & Co., 1995), 144p, Ages 7-10

Kona, a brave Chocolate Lab, Stumpy, a caring mother squirrel, Murray, a Oreo-loving bat, and Gwendolyn, the wise hermit crab work together to save Stumpy’s babies, when an ice storm destroys their pine oak home. Devising a plan to reunite Stumpy with her children, Top, Bottom, and Sparrow, Kona and the animals concoct a scheme involving a glow-in-the-dark watch, a “sharp little nose twitching” weasel, and five egg rolls. Kids will love this fun-filled tale about courage, family, friendship, and loyalty.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Pets, Series
Other Book in the Series: Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan

Ages 8 - 12

written/illus. by Robert McCloskey, (Viking Press 1943, Puffin Books 1976), 160p, Ages 8-11

Welcome to Centerburg, USA where a young boy named Homer Price resides with his family, builds radio sets for fun, pumps gas at his father’s gas station, helps his mother clean the tourist cabins she manages, and tinkers with his uncle's new invention—an automatic donut maker.

Readers will love Homer using his wits and pet skunk to catch bandits, a rampaging donut machine making hundreds of donuts with a lost diamond bracelet in one, a competition between his uncle and the sheriff involving a local widow and a ball of string, and a mysterious shaggy-looking stranger claiming he can rid the town of mice with a fancy musical machine.

Written in 1943, this classic with its colorful townspeople, humorous events, and one clever and thoughtful boy from small-town America, make is a winner for the whole family.
        Themes: Adventure, Classics, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Series
Others in the Series: Centerburg Tales


written by Karina Yan Glaser, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, Oct. 2017, ISBN 978-0-544-87639-2), 304p, Ages 9-12

Down on 141st Street in Harlem, New York there lives a warm and loving family called the Vanderbeekers, who love their old brownstone home with its whistling pipes, wobbly banisters, and “the crack in the shape of Eastern Europe on the ceiling.” 12-year-old twins Isa and Jessie, 9-year-old Oliver, 6-year-old Hyacinth, and 4 (and 3/4)-year-old Laney, along with Frantz, the dog, George Washington, the cat, Paganini, the rabbit, and parents look forward to Christmas with great anticipation.

When their landlord, Mr. Beiderman, decides not to renew their lease at the end of the year, the parents look for new accommodations, and the children, who consider the brownstone a member of the family, begin a mission to change their grouchy, reclusive landlord’s mind in 11 days. From building a scientific contraption to water the garden from the roof and leaving small gifts outside his door to obtaining community signatures on a petition, nothing makes a difference, until they realize that the landlord’s disposition is grounded in tragedy. This heartwarming and humorous story about family, friends, and community coming together during difficult times will charm and captivate readers from the first page. And yes, this Christmas book is a great read any time of the year.
        Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Holidays, Humor, Series

Ages 10 - 13

HOW TO CAPTURE AN INVISIBLE CAT (The Genius Factor series)
written by Paul Tobin, illus. by Thierry Lafontaine, (Bloomsbury, Mar. 2016, ISBN 978-1-61963-840-2), 272p, Ages 10+

Sixth grader Nate Bannister is an off-the-charts genius usually, but only on Friday the 13th he tries to accomplish three not-so-smart things. This time he teaches his caterpillar math, mails a love letter, super-sizes Proton the family cat, turns him invisible, reverses the formula, and places sections of it onto seven people or things. When Proton escapes and is determined to destroy the city, Nate enlists the help of his only friend, Delphine. They use every gadget, invention, and theory of Nate’s, including his talking Scottie dog, Bosper, and Betsy, his self driving car, to avoid the criminal Red Death Tea Society, turn Proton back to normal, and try to survive until Friday the 14th. Funny, silly, and kooky, kids will love the huge Catnip Incense Burner, Costume Disintegration Ray, Molecular Scanner, String Theory Net, and the Mechanical Hypnotizing Robot Octopuses.
        Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: How to Outsmart a Billion Robot Bees | How to Tame a Human Tornado


RUFF VS. FLUFF (Queenie & Arthur #1)
written by Spencer Quinn, (Scholastic Press, $17.99, March 2019, ISBN 978-1-338-09139-7), 304p, Ages 9+

Arthur is a happy, big-hearted, loyal, but not too smart dog. According to Queenie, she is a beautiful, elegant, intelligent, and choosy cat. Both love sausage; both are mortal enemies. They live with their humans, twins Harmony and Bro and their mother at the Blackberry Hill Inn in the snow county of New England. With no guests, the Inn is experiencing financial difficulties, but relief comes in the form of a guest, who is interested in hiking, specifically the old Sokoki Trail.

When the guest fails to return that evening and is found murdered, the bumbling local sheriff decides that Matty, mom’s cousin and the best professional trail guide in the area, is guilty. The twins are determined to solve the crime, with only an old map and postcard. Arthur and Queenie realize that they have access to more information, however, they must, horror of horrors, work together.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Queenie and Arthur, kids will enjoy the animals’ quirky humor, some history surrounding the rum running era of Prohibition, and the surface of family secrets in this fun middle school mystery.
        Themes: Animals, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Mysteries, Series
Other in the Series: Paws vs. Claws #2

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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