June/July 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 sketReading aloud is one of the most important gifts a child can receive. A special bond is created between an adult and child in sharing a book. It indicates to the child that someone cares enough to spend time sharing a good book. There is also a sense of security that comes from the physical closeness in sharing a story.

Literature can positively affect a child's self-esteem. When reading aloud is a shared activity, children are encouraged to ask questions and talk about the story. This is a perfect opportunity to teach values, encourage integrity, and give children high ideals to reach for.

Giving children direct contact with books is very important for increasing their attention spans, listening abilities, vocabulary, ability to visualize, a greater cultural knowledge, and eventual success in reading.

When children are read to, they automatically learn about the written language as well. Educators say that the ability to write well, to state a case carefully and reason with others is usually critical if children are to succeed.

Reading aloud can be extremely beneficial to parents who have difficulty in communicating with their child, difficulty with the English language, or lack quality time with their child.


retold/illus. by Charles Santore, (Applesauce Press, 2018), 64p, All Ages

The wisdom of Aesop and the lessons learned from each tale are richly captured by Charles Santore in this collection of twenty-four fables. Among the more famous tales presented are The Hare and the Tortoise, The Lion and the Mouse, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, The Grasshopper and the Owl, as well as many lesser-known stories. The last fable, The Hare and the Tortoise, contains a foldout scene depicting characters from all the previous fables, who gather at the finish line to cheer on the competing animals. As always, Charles Santore’s illustrations are marvelous.
   Themes: Adventure, Anthologies, Classics, Folk Literature


edited by Armand Eisen, (Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 304p, All Ages

This single volume contains an entire collection of some of the best in children’s literature. Fifty-four unforgettable stories and poems are presented from the traditional classics of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three Billy Goats Gruff, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and Rumpelstiltskin, to the more modern tales of Br’er Rabbit, Johnny Appleseed, John Henry, and Paul Bunyan.

There are excerpts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Pinocchio, the Wind in the Willows, the Nutcracker, and Peter Pan. Of course, no library would be complete without the classic poetry of Mother Goose and A Child’s Garden of Verses.
   Themes: Classics, Anthologies, Folk Literature


Children hear stories on at least three different levels, intellectual, emotional, and social. Their listening skills are atleast two full years ahead of their reading levels. Around the eighth grade, the listening levels and reading levels converge.

Therefore, children can listen to, understand, and enjoy books that are too difficult for them to read independently. These stories are needed because they are far more exciting, enriching and challenging than anything children could read on their own. These are the stories that eventually raise reading levels.

Sadly, many parents stop reading aloud when their children begin to read for themselves. Parents should realize that children who listen to books that are beyond their reading skills will be introduced to an increased variety of words and the complex structure of language patterns.

Most children's books are rated based on age because it better reflects a child's interests, emotion and social development. Usually the age or grade rating covers a broad period and should be considered only as a guide, not a rigid rule on the use of the book.


written by Susan Lowell, illus. By Jim Harris, (Rising Moon Books, 1992), 32p, Ages 5-8

These Southwestern javelinas, cousins of the three little pigs, are a lovable but wild bunch, as a hungry coyote, who hopes to eat them with red chile sauce, soon discovers. Their houses of tumbleweeds and dried saguaro cactus soon collapse, but the one of adobe bricks and a pot-belly stove sends Coyote howling into the desert, an action repeated by coyotes today. Information is also given about the animals, vegetation, and peoples of the Southwest. Themes: Animals, Folk Literature, The Wild West


written/illus. by Janet Steven, (Harcourt Brace Children’s Books, 1995), 40p, Ages 4-8

In the tradition of European folktales and the American south, this trickster tale takes trickery to a comical extreme. Bear and Hare decide to go into a gardening partnership. Bear donates the land, and Hare plants the vegetables, but Bear is extremely lazy and expects Hare to do all the work. Discover how Hare outwits Bare and still manages to feed his hungry family. The book is unique in that it opens vertically.
   Themes: Animals, Folk Literature, Humor, Series
Other Book in the Series: The Donkey Egg


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.

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 generation to 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.

There are two categories of classics: early classics like the fairy tales of Anderson, 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.


written by L. Frank Baum, illus. by Charles Santore, (1900 / Applesauce Press, 2015), 104p, Ages 8-11

Since it first appeared in 1900, this American fairy tale has been one of the most treasured and translated stories in American history. When a cyclone transports a young girl and her dog from Kansas to the mysterious and magical Land of Oz, three faithful friends help Dorothy search for the great and powerful Wizard of Oz to show her the way home.

Santore’s dazzling artwork of the Kansas cyclone, the Land of the Munchkins, the Forest of Oz, the deadly poppy fields, the magnificent Emerald City, the Winkies, Munchkins, Winged Monkeys, and Hammer Heads is an unforgettable delight. Of course, what would this classic tale be without the beloved Scarecrow yearning for a brain, the groaning Tin Woodsman searching for a heart, and the enormous cowardly Lion desiring courage?

An Introduction by Michael Patrick Hearn explains the publishing history of the original tale, its interpretation in other media, the artistic background of Charles Santore, and his condensed interpretation (not adapted or retold) which keeps closely to the original text of L. Frank Baum. Every child should have access to this amazing and dynamic classic tale of friendship, a search for home, and a journey of imagination.
   Themes: Adventure, Classics, Fantasy, Folk Literature, Heroes
Other Books in the Series: The Marvelous Land of Oz | Ozma of Oz | Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz | The Road to Oz | The Emerald City of Oz | The Patchwork Girl of Oz | Tik Tok of Oz | The Scarecrow of Oz | Rinkitink of Oz | The Lost Princess of Oz | The Tin Woodsman of Oz | The Magic of Oz | Glenda of Oz


written by Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm, illus. by Charles Santore, (Park Lane Press, 1996, Random House, 2004), 48p, Ages 7-10

A young princess flees from an evil queen, befriends seven dwarfs, whose cottage she takes sanctuary in, and is rescued from death by a handsome prince. This version is truer to the original Grimm Brothers tale than the animated film version, especially the demise of the evil queen. Charles Santore’s illustrations are pure magic. Adults as well as children will treasure this book for years to come.
   Themes: Adventure, Classics, Folk Literature, Heroes


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

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


There are two types of literature: fiction and nonfiction, however, fiction brings children the enchantment of storytelling and ultimately a future love of reading.

Quality literature teaches 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. They 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. Children need to fall in love with stories that entertain and arouse their curiosity. They need stories for pleasure, laughter and fun; imaginative and nonsensical stories that may not have any useful information or lesson, only cheerful and delightful lunacy.


written by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illus. by Alix Berenzy, (Henry Holt, 1996), 32p, Ages 6+

The delicate life cycle of the endangered sea turtle is featured in this beautiful information book. A newly hatched turtle crawls across the sand to reach the ocean. There she begins a life with many dangers and perils, encounters other sea creatures and a fisherman’s net, until returning as an adult to the shore where she was born to lay her own eggs. Real life drama and spectacular paintings teach children a sensitivity for these gentle creatures of the sea.
   Themes: Animals, Nonfiction, Waters


How Toys Become Real

written by Margery Williams Bianco, illus. by Charles Santore, (Applesauce Press, 2013), 48p, Ages 4-8

“There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning, he was really splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat was spotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen.”

Given to a small boy at Christmas, he is instantly loved, but soon forgotten and left in the nursery. There, he meets a skin horse, the oldest and wisest toy in the nursery, who tells him how toys become real—when a child loves it for a long, long time and not just to play with. Eventually, the Velveteen Rabbit is loved by the boy and they become inseparable, until scarlet fever separates them, and the rabbit is thrown away.

He almost gives up hope of finding the magic of “real” until he is rescued by the Nursery Magic Fairy. With is kiss he becomes real with hind legs. “Instead of dingy velveteen, he had brown fur, soft and shiny, his ears twitched by themselves, and his whiskers were so long that they brushed the grass.” First published in 1922, this classic tale is for everyone who believes in the power of love.
   Themes: Classics, Animals, Toys


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: Adventure, Classics, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Machines


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.

Summer 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 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 Annie Bailey, illus. by Jeff Harter, (Doubleday Books, $7.99 Board Bk., Jan. 2022, ISBN
978-0-593-30133-3), 24p, Ages 1-3

“Ten little tractors ready for the day. / Shift into gear—Brummmm! / Now they’re on their way.” Little ones will love counting down the ways that these 10 busy tractors work and the issues that cause them to stop. One has a flat tire, another hits a bump, number 6 meets a cattle drive, and number 3 stops to help rescue a kitten stuck in a tree. Whether some have mechanical problems or others stop to splash in water, become stuck in mud, or play with chicks and pigs, kids will love the bouncy, noisy rhymes and colorful illustrations that make for an adorable read-aloud.
        Themes: Animals, Concept, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: 10 Little Excavators


written by Amelia Hepworth, illus. by Pintachan, (Random House, $8.99 Board Bk, Jan. 2022, ISBN
978-0-593-37921-9), 12p, Ages 1-3

“Puppy Dog! Puppy Dog! / What can you see? / Under the lettuce leaf, / who could it be?” In this clever lift-the-flap book, little ones follow a sweet puppy and his cute butterfly friend as he guesses various animals that are hiding behind a lettuce leaf, behind a basket, inside a rain boot, and behind a flowerpot, until the last page is lifted to discover a surprise mirror. Kids will love this interactive board book as they lift flaps and turn pages to find the slightly hidden images.
        Themes: Animals, Concept, Series
Other Book in the Series: Little Hen, Little Hen, What Can You See? | Elephant, Elephant, What Can You See? | Ladybird, Ladybird, What Can You See?


written/illus. by Olivier Dunrea, (Clarion Books, $7.99, March 2022, ISBN 978-0-358-66393-5), 28p, Ages 3-5

Cute little Ollie from Oliver Dunrea’s gosling series has a problem. “Nothing feels right.” Gossie offers Ollie her blue boots to wear, Peedie shares his red ball, Gemma wants him to explore with her, Boo Boo offers him a snack, and Gideon suggests some quiet reading, but Ollie doesn’t want to play, would rather stomp alone, isn’t hungry, and wants to be alone. Gossie finally realizes what Ollie needs, and a hug remedies the problem. Little ones will love this simple solution to grumpy days.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Series
Other Books in the Series: Ollie | Ollie the Stomper | Ollie’s Easter Eggs | Ollie’s Halloween | Merry Christmas Ollie | Boo Boo | Jasper & Joop | Gideon | Gideon & Otto | Gemma & Gus | Gossie | Gossie & Gertie | Gus | Peedie | Ruby & Rufus | Gossie & Friends: A Big Book of Adventures


written/illus. by Joseph Kuefler, (Balzer + Bray, $18.99, Feb. 2022, ISBN 978-0-06-306254-2), 48p, Ages 3-7

The trucks from The Digger and the Flower (2018) return for another tale of friendship, acceptance, and love. “Digger and his crew loved to work. Each day, they rolled. And hoisted. And dug. And built.” When a lost duckling wanders into their jobsite, the trucks see her as nothing but trouble, except Digger, who believes her mother will return and Squirt, who decides to build her a pond. “Each day, the duckling worked alongside the big trucks.” She helps Scoops, Mixie, Hauler, and Roller and is now considered one of the family and crew.

Soon they realize that the duckling has grown and they proudly, but sadly watch her fly off to the south. Will she ever return to her construction truck family? Find out in this endearing tale of what makes a family.
        Themes: Animals, Families, Friendship, Machines, Series
Other Books in the Series: The Digger and the Flower

Ages 4-8

written/illus. by Gianna Marino, (Viking Children’s Books, $17.99, March 2022, ISBN
978-0-425-29070-5), 40p, Ages 4-7

It’s winter in the Antarctic and a baby Emperor Penguin waits in its shell for its mama to return from hunting. While mama fishes far away for two months, papa balances the egg between his feet and stomach and huddles with the other male penguins for warmth during storms. "When everyone is sleeping, all I can hear is Papa's heart. Boom-Boom-Boom. My papa loves me." As the baby hatches, mama announces her return and all is well. Kids will love the wonderful illustrations that perfectly capture Antarctica’s beauty and the lives of very special animals. “Note on Emperor Penguins” in the endpapers contain information on the habits and wonders of penguin families.
        Themes: Animals, Families, Nature, Wildlife


written/illus. by Christopher Denise, (Little, Brown /Ottaviano), $17.99, March 2022, ISBN 978-0-316-31062-8), 48p, Ages 4-7

“Since the day he hatched, Owl had one wish. To be a knight.” He considers his size irrelevant as he was clever, brave, and could protect the castle from dragons. Owl’s hopes become real when several knights go missing in the kingdom and many applications are accepted, along with his. Being smaller than the other trainees, Owl struggles with the heavy weapons and nods off during the daytime, but he finally graduates with honors and is assigned the Knight Night Watch.

One evening he encounters the reason why many knights have gone missing, and comes face-to-face with a hungry dragon, who considers him a tasty snack. Using his charm and cleverness, Owl befriends the dragon and suggests an alternative midnight snack—pizza. “They talked about how each of them had hatched from eggs, how much they liked the night, and how flying was hard to explain to someone who had never done it before.” Kids will love Christopher Denise’s illustrations that are wonderfully realistic, humorous, and delightful. Whoooo Hoooo to the power of pizza!
        Themes: Animals, Food, Friendship, Heroes, Humor


written/illus. by The Fan Brothers, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $18.99, May 2022, ISBN
978-1-5344-8317-0), 56p, Ages 4-7

Lizzy loves Saturdays. “There was no better place to spend a Saturday than at the park, with its gazebos and fountains, the shade of its grand trees. Lizzy ran straight for the Cloud Seller.” The vendor offers clouds in various shapes and sizes, but Lizzy chooses a small and ordinary one to take home. There, she reads the instructions for “Caring for Your Cloud” which include giving it a name, watering it with fresh clean water, avoiding overwatering, dealing with its moods, and not confining it to small spaces. Lizzy takes Milo on walks, waters him, and Milo helps nourish her rare plant collection.

Life is not without complications as he grows (throwing a tantrum by raining indoors), and Lizzy realizes it’s time to let Milo go. Sending him off with instructions to “Stay close to the bigger clouds!” Lizzy wonders if she will ever see her fluffy friend again. Find out in this quaint, original tale of friendship between a girl and her pet cloud
        Themes: Adventure, Concept, Friendship, Humor, Nature


AGATE: What Good Is a Moose?
written by Joy Morgan Dey, illus. by Nikki Johnson, (Lake Superior Publishing, $17.95, 2021, 2007, ISBN
978-1-938229-58-9), 32p, Ages 4-7

Agate is a beautiful moose but is unhappy with his appearance. “He looks like a Tinker Toy project gone wrong. He feels like a big brown mistake.” Comparing himself to his friends, Agate wishes to shine like Garnet the crocodile, Aquamarine the penguin, Diamond the giraffe, Emerald the lion, Pearl the monkey, Ruby the bear, Peridot the porcupine, Sapphire the hippopotamus, Opal the raccoon, Topaz the eagle, and Turquoise the bat. Agate’s friends help him realize that he is a shining gem too, that his beautiful characteristics create a rainbow of colors to make the perfect secret jewel. Just like his namesake, Agate finally realizes that true beauty lies within.

Endpapers feature the animals, their gem names, and the months the gems represent. Readers and listeners will enjoy the magnificent illustrations and the unforgettable story of feeling special. A terrific addition to a home library. To order an author/illustrator signed copy visit LakeSuperiorMagazine.com
        Themes: Animals, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Values


written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illus. by Gladys Jose, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, March 2022, ISBN 978-1-5344-7705-6), 32p, Ages 4-8

A sweet and adventurous goldfish arrives at a library with two notes: “Loves Stories” and “Care and feeding of Goldfish: Change water every day, Feed 2 to 3 times, Read to fish DAILY.” The librarian, Mr. Hughes, names her Library Fish, and places her on the circulation counter, where she watches as each book is borrowed and returned, loves story time, field trips in the Bookmobile, and imagines wonderful adventures awaiting her. “She loved days spent on the bookmobile. Winding through busy streets, Library Fish could feel the excitement of the crowd awaiting their arrival.”

When a snowstorm blows in and closes the library, what’s a library fish to do? Create a water-filled helmet, escape the fishbowl, read her favorite books to the Bookmobile and have adventures beyond her wildest imagination until the sun comes up. Kids will love this little creative goldfish and her attempts to enjoy books and wonderful adventures.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Fantasy, Friendship, Heroes, Libraries


written by Dan Brown, illus. by Susan Batori, (Random House, $18.99, Sept. 2020, ISBN
978-0-593-12384-3), 44p, Ages 4-7

“I’m Maestro Mouse, I’ll be your guide. / So come along on my wild ride! You’ll meet my friends; they’re smart and fun. / I think you’ll love them—every one!”

In this unique reading and listening experience, children meet a variety of musical animals and enjoy clever poems with Maestro Mouse’s lessons of wisdom. The poem “Clumsy Kittens” concludes with “When life trips them up a bit, / Cats just make the best of it.” The lesson suggests, “Falling down is part of life. The Best thing to do is get back on your feet.” Kids will also enjoy searching for a hiding buzzy bee and solving a coded message in a word search.

From “Woodbird Welcome” to the “Cricket Lullaby” kids will meet noisy birds, bouncing kangaroos, energetic kittens, a blue whale, speedy cheetahs, croaking frogs, busy beetles, and many more to the final double full page spread featuring an all-animal orchestra. The clever book is an interesting way to introduce kids to the orchestra and they also have to opportunity to listen to a musical soundtrack while pouring over each page.
        Themes: Animals, Concept, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme


written by Lisa Wilke Pope, illus. by Arthur Geisert, (Enchanted Lion Books, $17.95, Aug. 2021, ISBN
978-1-59270-314-2), 40p, Ages 7+

In this second installment of the Clayton County Trilogy, the classic three little pigs’ tale is wildly reimagined. “What if the three little pigs’ mother warned them about the big, bad wolf so that they could plan for— and even count on—his huffing and puffing?”

When their mother sends them out to seek their fortunes and warns of the wolf, these clever pigs strategically engineer plans for thwarting their enemy. The first pig engineers an underground contraption beneath his house to cover the wolf in flour. The second pig’s house constructs his house to fly into pieces and reassemble itself into a strong castle when blown upon. When the starving wolf finds the third pig’s home, he encounters a deafening noise and huge blast which, “set off an intricate alarm system of horns and whistles” and the defeated, the wolf returns home hungry. But the pigs visit their mother, enjoy a pizza dinner, and “lived happily ever after.”

Older kids will appreciate this fractured fairy tale with its hand-colored copperplate illustrations, the ingenious inventions, as well as the wolf’s comeuppance.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Folk Literature, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: Pumpkin Island | Thunderstorm

Ages 7-10

written by Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Arthur Howard, (Beach Lane Books, $17.99. March 2022, ISBN 978-1-5344-9450-3), 112p, Ages 8-12

Continuing the adventures of Kona, the Labrador, Gwendolyn, the Hermit Crab, and Murray, the Bat from Gooseberry Park (1995) and Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan (2015), bad weather brings trouble in the form of a bobcat kitten that accidentally washed down from the mountains into their park.

After making friends with the kitten, Kona and Murray devise a complicated and daring plan to return the little bobcat to its mother in the mountains. With the help of their friends, the Canadian Geese, Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto, they manage to find a truck stop and rest area that the kitten remembered. “Kitten’s friends prepared him for his trip home. 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 Stumpy put some kibble in an old marbles bag to make sure he wouldn’t be hungry, even though Murray had promised Kitten a slice of cheese pizza at the truck stop.”

Goodbyes are hard as the friends say farewell, and Kona and the kitten hitch a truck ride to the mountains. Wonderful endings, new beginnings, teamwork, and friendships make this story a great read/read-aloud for kids.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: Gooseberry Park #1 | Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan #2

Ages 8-12

THE ICE CREAM MACHINE: Tales from the Multiverse: Volume I
written by Adam Rubin, illus. by Daniel Salmieri, Charles Santoso, Liniers, Emily Hughes, Nicole Miles, Seaerra Miller, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Feb. 2022, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-593-32579-7), 384p, Ages 9-12

Six special stories with the same name, “The Ice Cream Machine”, but with different subtitles, will tickle kids’ imaginations. In “The Ice Cream Machine (the one with the five-armed robot)” meet Shiro, a boy from the future, and Kelly, his robot nanny as they travel the globe searching for ice cream, not necessarily to eat. “The Ice Cream Machine (the one with the ice cream eating contest)” features a young girl, Penelope, who lives in a community of anthropomorphized animals, discovers that the ice cream’s brain freeze doesn’t affect her, and enters a contest to unseat the ice cream champion, a pig.

“The Ice Cream Machine (the one with the genius inventor)” features Rhonda, a child prodigy, who lives on a farm with her father and invents a clever way to create the freshest ice cream ever, “From Cow to Cone.” In “The Ice Cream Machine (the one with the evil ice cream man)“ meet Cromulous Blotch, who not only hates kids, but detests ice cream. Kids will love the rivalry between the Lickety-Split Gang and the Crusty Old Ice Cream Jerk.

In this medieval fantasy, Martin, an apprentice to a sorcerer in “The Ice Cream Machine (the one with the sorcerer’s assistant)” must find a way to conjure strawberry ice cream, but disaster occurs when it ends up all over town for a harvest festival. In the final story, “The Ice Cream Machine (the one with the alien space lab)” finds Phil, the only human stuck on an alien space lab, longing for the taste of ice cream. His life drastically changes when he discovers a box that produces anything he asks for.

In the seventh chapter, readers are invited to create a story of their own. Endpapers contain a recipe for making ice cream in a plastic bag. Kids may never look at ice cream the same way again.
         Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Heroes, Humor, Inventions, Outer Space, Science Fiction

Ages 10-13

written by S. P. O’Farrell, (Brandylane Publishers, $17.95, April 2022, ISBN
978-1-953021-36-6), 248p, Ages 10-13

What does chocolate, a pack of wolves, a mysterious key, a famous British boarding school, espionage, a missing girl, a watch, and the infamous Maestro have in common in this second book of the Simone LaFray Mystery series? The answer is twelve-year-old Simone LaFray, junior spy and daughter of a famous spy and French chocolatier, who is opening a new LaFray's Patisserie in London.

When asked by the Ministry to locate a fellow spy and a mysterious key that can access any computer or network, Simone jumps at the chance to enroll in the elegant Claymoore School in London. Little does she realize her life will involve the notorious Red Wolves of London on their nightly escapades of painting murals to expose corrupt businesses, or encounter the mysterious Maestro, or share secrets, and question loyalties to friends and adults.

Readers will enjoy the well-paced action, intrigue, imperfect characters, and the mission's resolution in this mystery series that will have them yearning for more Simone tales. Caution: Readers may crave chocolate after reading this latest mystery.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Food, Friendship, Heroes, Mysteries, Series
Other Book in the Series: Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball


written by Karina Yan Glaser, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, Sept. 2021, ISBN 978-0-358-25620-5), 352p, Ages 9-12

This latest installment of the Vanderbeeker family of Harlem finds the kids looking forward to a summer full of fun and anxiously waiting Papa’s fortieth birthday— in five days. Celebration plans abruptly change when Papa is called out of town, Mama’s critical parents arrive early, and the kids discover a family secret that surrounds a cross-country trip that Papa was unable to take with his father. Their mission: Track down information to recreate the trip and make Papa’s birthday even more special. But where to begin?

Readers will love returning to Castlemen’s Bakery, the hysterics of Oliver’s hair dying experience with Tuxedo the cat, and the interesting family bike trip over the Brooklyn Bridge.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Series
Other Book in the Series: The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street #1 | The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden #2 | The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue #3 | The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found #4 | The Vanderbeekers on the Road #6


THE VELVET FOX (The Clockwork Crow #2)
written by Catherine Fisher, (Walker Books, $17.99, Nov. 2021, ISBN
978-1-5362-1492-5), 208p Ages 10-13

Months after rescuing Tomos from the evil Tylwyth Teg fairies in The Clockwork Crow, (2020), Seren is enjoying her adoptive family, her beautiful home Plas-y-Fran, and Tomos’ friendship. When Tomos recklessly boasts of how they defeated the mystical creatures, a sudden autumn wind stirs up a gust of leaves and a mysterious carriage arrives with a strange new governess, who gives Tomos an enchanted toy carousel with dangSerous figures that begin to stalk the house.

Seren calls on the Clockwork Crow for help, not realizing that the magic of the carousel’s Velvet Fox, may be too powerful for even her friend. Readers will enjoy the Welsh folklore, Seren’s courage in the face of overwhelming magic, the haughty, arrogant, loveable Clockwork Crow, and eagerly await the next installment.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Humor, Series
Other Book in the Series: The Clockwork Crow #1 | The Midnight Swan #3

Ages 12-15

written by James Ponti, (Aladdin, $17.99, Feb. 2022, ISBN 978-1-5344-7921-0), 448p, Ages 12+

In this third installment of the City Spies, it’s fun and games and danger in between for the City Spy kids. Set in Scotland, Moscow, and Beijing, their new mission is to prevent Umbra, an international criminal ring. from recruiting a North Korean nuclear physicist. 15-year-old Paris is recruited to go undercover to international chess tournaments in Moscow and Beijing to keep tabs on the physicist’s chess loving son. 14-year-old Sydney poses as a junior reporter for a teen magazine to keep an eye on the son while reporting on the tournaments. Kat helps solve puzzles, while Rio uses his magic skills to charm and distract. Even though Brooklyn is stuck in summer school, she still manages to help with the mission. Mother often reminds them of his sayings or Motherisms – “The mission is fraught, so don’t get caught.”

Readers will love the rollicking fun and games interspersed with adventure, nuclear missiles, suspense, friendship, and danger for these five newly adopted kids by Mother (code name), the male spy from MI6, who worries about the line between father and spy. Endpapers contain a dossier of each City Spy.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Mysteries, Series, Suspense
Other Book in the Series: City Spies #1 | Golden Gate #2

Ages 18+

Tavor Massad Thriller) #1

written by Amir Tsarfati & Steve Yohn, (Harvest House Publishers, $15.99, Nov. 2021, ISBN 978-0-7369-8520-8), 368p, Ages 18 - 98

“Blue skies, a gorgeous mansion, stunningly attractive models…It was the perfect day. Until the gunfire.“ Set in the Middle East, Nir Tavor, a secret service operative turned Mossad agent, Nicole le Roux, a highly skilled model with hidden technology talents, and an extremely adept team of operatives seek to stop violent extremists, terrorists, and assassins. Especially skilled at behind-the-scenes technology of ground missions, battle action, satellite investigations, and hacking, these heroes will do whatever is needed to protect the innocent and take down the enemies.

Readers who enjoy spy novels, intrigue, romance, and history will find this suspense-filled, page-turner filled with true events across the Middle East from an Israeli perspective, understand the stakes and sacrifices made in a violent world, and gain insight to Middle Eastern politics and the gospel message.
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, History, Intrigue, Suspense, Series

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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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