January/February 2023


Stories from the Past to Read,
Share, and Treasure



written by Anne Marie Pace, illus. by Christopher Denise, (Disney-Hyperion Books, $17.99, Dec. 2017), 48p, Ages 4-7

Moose is busy planning a Valentine’s party, until Bunny reminds him that tomorrow is Groundhog Day. “If Groundhog sees his shadow, he’ll go back into his hole for six more weeks. He won’t be awake on February 14th.” All through the night Moose, Bunny, Squirrel, and Porcupine try many solutions involving calendars, blindfolds, tents, and hole-sitting, until they realize that Groundhog has already seen his shadow and returned home for six more weeks.

Realizing that Groundhog is shadow challenged, they propose funny ways to ease his fears. Settling for hugs, Groundhog returns six weeks later just in time for a St. Patrick’s Day, except why is Bunny is missing? Kids will love the chalkboard drawings and puppet charades in this clever holiday mix-up tale.

Themes: Animals, Friendship, Holidays



written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Betsy Lewin, (Atheneum Books, 2017), 40p, Ages 3-7

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and Farmer Brown is busy cleaning the pigpen, stocking hay for the donkey, and mending broken fences, while Little Duck is decorating the barn for the party. “Little Duck worked hard, too. She tied balloons to. . .everything. She strung sparkling lights between… everything. She made hearts out of anything she could find.”
When the party begins, Little Duck gives each animal guest a handmade valentine and they supply the food, except for the cows that went to the Divine Bovine Ball. When the music begins, everyone begins dancing, until an uninvited guest appears and the animals wonder if he will join them or eat them. Unafraid, Little Duck gives him her last valentine, and everyone dances until the cows literally come home. Kids will enjoy this fun filled celebration, especially the mice hustle.

Themes: Animals, Friendship, Holidays


You're Just Right

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 by Sam McBratney, illus. by Anita Jeram, narrated by Dan Russell, (Candlewick Press, 1994/2004), 32p, Ages 3-7

The unconditional love between father and son is captured in a charming bedtime game. Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare demonstrate their love for each other by how wide and long their arms can reach and how high their legs can hop. As he settles the young rabbit into a nest of leaves, the father gently tells his son, “I love you right up to the moon”.
Themes: Animals, Families, Friendship, Holidays


written/illus. by Michael Hall, (Greenwillow Books, 2010), 32p, Ages 2-5

In clever rhyme, children can examine the feelings of twenty zoo animals created with more than 300 overlapping hearts that are presented in various patterns, colors, and sizes. “Cool as a penguin, / crafty as a fox, / quiet as a caterpillar / wearing knitted socks.” Hippos sip apple juice, a coyote walks in fog, and a walrus lounges on a beach towel.

The conclusion shows a young zookeeper asleep with his stuffed animal menagerie around him. Children will enjoy exploring and counting the many hearts that make up each animal.
Themes: Animals, Concept, Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme


written/illus. by Olivier Dunrea, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), 14p, Ages 2-5

All of Ollie's friends have valentines, except Ollie. Gossie explains that her valentine came from Gertie, who received hers from BooBoo. Splashing in the birdbath, BooBoo says his valentine came from Peedie, whose came from Gideon.

Exasperated, Ollie honks from the top of a barrel, “Who will be MY valentine?” When the last page is turned, kids discover who Ollie's surprise valentine is from.
Themes: Animals, Friendship, Holidays, Series


written by Deborah Underwood, illus. by Caludia Rueda, (Dial Books, $16.99, Jan. 2016), 88p, Ages 4-7

This fourth book in the non-speaking, placard-carrying Cat series finds Cat grumbling about Valentine's Day. Other than his stuffed squid, Cat has no friends and flatly refuses to send a valentine to the irritating, bone-throwing Dog next door. When a ball flies over the fence and hits Cat in the head, it's time for revenge, and he begins to build a rocket ship to send Dog to the moon.

Construction is interrupted when a valentine from Dog flutters over the fence, and Cat has a change of heart. Deciding that his awful neighbor might be lonely and in need of a friend, Cat composes a valentine: “Roses are Red / Violets are Blue / Dogs are Annoying / except for you.” As always, Cat is humorous and charming, as he delivers a timely moral about being quick to judge.
Themes: Holidays, Humor, Series


written by Kathryn Cristaldi, illus. by Kristyna Litten, (HarperCollins, $17.99, Dec. 2018), 32p, Ages 4-7

Using a more than 500-year-old phrase, “till the cows come home,” Kathryn Cristaldi introduces the concept to a new generation of children in a most expressive, whimsical, and fun way that kids won’t forget. “I will love you till the cows come home / from a trip to Mars through skies unknown / in a rocket ship made of glass and stone, / I will love you till the cows come home.”

Kids will love yaks in a Cadillac, sheep on a cruise ship, wolves in a hot air balloon, frogs on unicycles, dancing deer, geese toasting marshmallows for s’mores, and marching ants with birthday hats and cake crumbs. As the animals settle down to sleep, exhausted from all their activities, the message of love will resonate:

“I’ll love you till then, and again and again / till my love makes a bed for the cows in their pen / and the yaks and the sheep and the wolves settle in, / and the frogs softly strum on their frog violins / and the deer and the geese and the ants close their eyes / as the moon sprinkles moon dust all over the skies. / I will love you till the cows come home, come home.”
Themes: Animals, Bedtime, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme


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 ©2023.

Toddlers / Preschool

BABY LION: Finger Puppet Book
written/illus. by Yu-Hsuan Huang, (Chronicle Books, Sept. 2022, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-7972-1286-9), 12p, Ages 1-3

Little ones will love touching, feeling, and snuggling up with Baby Lion as she plays, pounces, and rolls with her friends, snuggles with mommy, takes a bath, and explores the Savanna.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Series
Other Finger Puppet Books: Baby Bear, Baby Bunny, Baby Chipmunk, Baby Duck, Baby Elephant, Baby Fish, Baby Fox, Baby Giraffe, Baby Hedgehog, Baby Hippo, Baby Kitten, Baby Koala, Baby Llama, Baby Narwhal, Baby Octopus, Baby Orca, Baby Otter, Baby Piglet, Baby Puppy, Baby Raccoon, Baby T. Rex, Baby Tiger, Baby Unicorn, Baby Yeti


written/illus. by Sandra Boynton (Boynton Bookworks, ($7.99, Sept 2022, ISBN 978-1-6659-2498-6), 24p, Ages 3+

Snuggle up with a love song, kiss, and hug for your child as you read this year-round valentine. “Ooo! SNUGGLE PUPPY of Mine! / EVERYTHING ABOUT you is especially FINE!” Snuggle Puppy is told that he is loved for himself, for the many things that he does --- balancing a ball, at the beach, in the snow, stomping in fall leaves. Kids will love the cookies, kisses and hugs throughout.
        Themes: Animals, Concept, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: On Board | Pajama Time! | Hey! Wake Up! | Dinosnores | Birthday Monsters! | Barnyard Dance! | Fifteen Animals! | Perfect Piggies! | Tickle Time! | Belly button Book! | One, Two, Three! | Bunny Rabbit Show! | Your Personal Penguin | Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! | EEK! Halloween! | Woodland Dance! Peekaboo Rex!


written by Alice Schertle, illus. by John Joseph, (Clarion Books, $13.99, 2020, ISBN
978-0-358-27244-1), 20p, Ages 3-5

Sweet Little Blue Truck is back delivering cards to all his friends for Valentine’s Day. “Blue felt happy, / for, truth to tell, / he hoped he’d get / some cards as well.” There’s an egg-shaped card for Hen, a heart shaped one for Pig, Horse loves his horseshoe heart, Cow’s card with flowers is good enough to eat, Duck’s sailboat card can float, and Goat and Sheep receive candy hearts. Everyone is happy except Little Blue, who was hoping to receive some of his own . . . until he motors home to discover a Valentine surprise. Kids will love the bunnies hiding in the grass, the surprise party, and adults will appreciate the great descriptive and action words.
        Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme, Machines


written/illus. by Salina Yoon, (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, $17.99, Sept. 2022, ISBN
978-1-68119-344-1), 40p, Ages 3-6

When Penguin comes across a baby elephant stuck in the mud, he rescues Penelope, gives her food, water, a bath, and helps her find her home. Following the tracks of the herd, they are stymied by a huge ravine but press on to find another way. As the trip grows longer, little Penelope grows bigger as well as their friendship. When Penelope wishes she could fly like the birds, Penguin shows her a different way to fly. They eventually reunite with the herd, and before Penguin leaves, he shares his scarf with her as a reminder of their friendship. “But Penelope had a hole in her heart that was the size of a penguin.” Find out how they reunite and enjoy flying together forever. Kids are sure to enjoy this sweet tale of friendship, kindness, and learning to fly.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Series
Other books about Penguin: Penguin and Pinecone | Penguin on Vacation | Penguin in Love | Penguin’s Big Adventure | Penguin and Pumpkin | Penguin’s Christmas


written by Rina Horiuchi, illus. by Risa Horiuchi, (Viking Books for Young Readers, $17.99, April 2022, ISBN 978-0-593-35162-8), 32p, Ages 3-7

In this delightful rhyming alphabet picture book animal friends illustrate many ways to care for one another. Each page features an upper- and lower-case letter and illustrates a way to be kind. “Ape picks an apple for Aardvark below. / Bat puts a bandage on Brown Bear’s big toe.” An Elephant helps an Eagle find lost glasses, a Fox repairs a Frog’s fire truck, a Lion helps a Ladybug with her luggage, and on to the end of the alphabet, “Yorkie gives Yak her old yo-yo to keep. / Zebra rocks Baby, who’s zonked out asleep.” End pages remind readers and listeners to think of a kind and nice thing they might do.

The concept of kindness can be challenging, but this ABC book presents a warm and gentle way to teach young children kindness as well as and their ABC’s.
        Themes: Animals, Concept, Friendship, Heroes, Rhythm &&Rhyme

Ages 4-8

written by Wendi Silvano, illus. by Lee Harper, (Two Lions, 17.99, Dec. 2022), 40p, Ages 4-7

“It was Valentine’s Day, and all the animals on Farmer Jake’s farm were exchanging cards and treats.” Turkey especially liked his card from Otter that said, “DEAR TURKEY, YOU ARE LIKE NO OTTER!” Deciding to make clever cards for all his friends, Turkey delivers them in disguise (almost) from a secret admirer. However, Rooster isn’t fooled by Turkey’s cat costume and suggests a card for the next animal. No matter the costumes or clever messages, the animals are never fooled by Turkey’s disguises. Returning home, he begins to read his own valentines and devises a brilliant, creative, and delicious idea for the Valentine Dance. Kids will love the puns, the wacky disguises, and the surprise party with the banner: “I Love You All to Pizzas! From a Secret Admirer”.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Food, Holidays, Humor Series
Other in the Series: Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter | Turkey Claus | Turkey Trouble | Turkey’s Trick or Treat | Turkey Goes to School


written by Christopher Cheng, illus. by Stephen Michael King, (Random House Studio, $18.99, Nov. 2022, ISBN 978-0-593-56450-9), 40p, Ages 4-7

“Bear,” said Rat. “I’ve been wondering. Will we always hold hands like this, even when we are old and wrinkly . . . and tottering up this hill?” / “Of course we will,” said Bear. “As long as you hold mine when my fur turns gray and starts to fall out. I’ll even hold your tail so you don’t trip over it.”

In a lovely tale of kindness between best friends, Rat presents a series of “what if” questions to his best friend Bear, and Bear always answers with kindness, goodness, gentleness, and love. In good times or bad times, rain or shine, Bear tells his friend that they will always be together in health, sickness, crankiness, loud snoring, old age, crossing rivers, searching for food, and even through injuries. When Rat asks the hardest question of all, (“What if I have to leave and go somewhere you can’t come?”), find out Bear’s perfect answer in this beautiful story of love and friendship for all time.

Kids will love the marvelous illustrations, the umbrellas, reading glasses, tea party, and loyalty of two best friends. Adults may need a tissue.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Bears, Concept, Friendship, Heroes



written by Josh Funk, illus. by Brendan Kearney, (Union Square Kids, $17.99, Nov. 2022, ISBN 978-1-4549-4363-1), 40p, Ages 4-8

“Deep in the fridge and a bit before dawn, / In their apartment, the curtains still drawn. / Slept Lady Pancake, adrift in a dream, / When, suddenly, Sir French Toast let out a scream!” With the refrigerator in complete darkness, Toast knows someone stole the light. But who? Count Caper in the veggies claimed no knowledge of the light.

Unconvinced, Toast develops an intricate plan to find the missing light. With the help of Baron von Waffle, Miss Brie, Tofu, Professor Biscotti, the Fruitcake, Beets, and Inspector Croissant, they assemble blueprints and supplies to find the real culprit. Kids will love the solution to the mystery, the “Berry Manilow Show” and the “Fabulous Las Veggies”.
         Themes: Adventure, Food, Friendship, Humor, Mysteries, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast #1 | The Case of the Stinky Stench #2 | Mission Defrostable #3 | Short & Sweet #4

Ages 8-12

written by Merrill Wyatt, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, $17.99, Nov. 2021, ISBN 978-1-5344-9579-1), 256p, Ages 9-12

Sloane Osburn and Amelia Miller-Poe, seventh grade enemies, are partnered together for a class project to find missing jewels of an estate in Wauseon, Ohio since 1887. Little do they realize that their teacher was tricked into using their seventh-grade class to investigate the mystery of a long-missing treasure. Their relationship grows as they learn to work together despite a classmate’s efforts to sabotage their relationship and assignment and the effort of a leading citizen to harm them.

From an old mansion, converted into a bed-and-breakfast, to the town cemetery, these enemies turned partners discover friendship and just maybe a career in sleuthing. The author includes a cast of characters at the beginning of the book to help readers with multigenerational characters. Kids will enjoy this fun-filled mystery, especially Sloane and Amelia’s idea of serendipity (really, really good luck) and zemblanity (really, really bad luck).
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Mystery, Series
Other in the Series: Tangled Up in Nonsense #2

Ages 10-13

written by Stuart Gibbs, (Simon & Schuster, Sept. 2022, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-5344-7949-4), 352p, Ages 10-13

This tenth book in the popular Spy School series, finds Ben Ripley, spy in training, racing across America to avoid multiple assassins brought on by Murray Hill’s 21-million-dollar price on his head. By using fringe groups and conspiracy theorists on the internet to target Ben, Murray’s revenge is greater than ever with villains around every corner. Friends try to help, but it’s Erica who suspects Murray. Ben realizes that even if Murray is stopped, his destiny is compromised, and relocation may be required. Readers will enjoy the action sequences, constant suspense, and over the top humor.
         Themes: Adventure, Heroes, Humor, Mysteries, Suspense Series Other Books in the Series: Spy School |Spy Camp | Evil Spy School | Spy Ski School | Spy School Secret Service | Spy School Goes South | Spy School British Invasion | Spy School Revolution |Spy School at Sea


(The Chronicles of Never After)

written by Melissa De La Cruz, illus. by James Madsen, (Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, Feb. 2022, ISBN
978-1-250-31123-8), 336p, Ages 10-14

“Tossed back into the not-so-familiar fairy tale world of Never After, Filomena Jefferson-Cho and her friends set off on another adventure … this time in search of Cinderella’s glass slipper. Or rather, glass slippers.

It turns out the classic story of Cinderella is full of lies—starting with how Cinderella herself is far from the innocent heroine everyone thinks she is. She’s manipulative and cunning---willing to do anything to be the princess of Eastphalia. The real heroines of her story are her “wicked” stepsisters, Hortense and Beatrice, who aren’t actually wicked at all!

With the help of the dashing Jack talker, adorable Alistair, and glamorous Gretel, Filomena must track down the slippers, which may be the key to a certain mysterious prophecy. But when Filomena and Beatrice get tossed into the Beast’s dungeon, all hope seems lost. Will the conniving Cinderella shatter everyone’s hopes for a true, un-twisted ending? Or will Filomena and her friends secure the happily ever after Cinderella’s stepsisters deserve?” Publisher’s Synopsis
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Folk Literature, Heroes, Series Other Books in the Series: The Thirteenth Fairy #1 || The Broken Mirror #3


written by Karina Yan Glaser, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, Sept. 2022, ISBN 978-0-358-43457-3), 352p, Ages 9-12

In an amazing cross country road trip, the Vanderbeekers pile into a borrowed van and hit the road to Indiana, where they pick up their dad for his 40th birthday and recreate his long ago missed vacation cross the states to California. Along with mama and the five kids, their neighbors Mr. Beiderman and Orlando decide to join them. Franz the dog, Tuxedo, the cat, and Peaches and Cream, two sister cats they were bringing to Aunt Penny in California tag along as well. The Vanderbeekers make new friends, discover a stowaway chicken, visit several national parks, deal with wet tents, creepy campgrounds and an overheated van along the way.

Readers will enjoy this one-of-a-kind vacation from New York to California, all the hijinks along the way, and feel like they’re part of this warm and loving Vanderbeeker family.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Series Other Books 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 Make a Wish #5

Ages 12-15

written by Sheila Turnage, (Dial Books for Young Readers, $17.99, Sept. 2022, ISBN 978-0-735-23125-2), 384p, Ages 11+

The year is 1942 and twelve-year-old Sarah Stickley Lawson, along with friends, Rain and Neb, (aka the Dime Novel Kids) live on Hatteras Island in North Carolina at the beginning of World War II. They love to solve mysteries while awaiting a call from the FBI. Using the abandoned Hatteras lighthouse as a lookout for U-Boats, enemies, and local spies, little do they realize that their lives, as well as the families on the island, are about to about to be upended. Newcomers appear on the island, German U-boats are bombing cargo ships off the coast, Stick’s father goes missing, and the town’s postmistress may be a spy.

Readers will enjoy the clever sayings throughout the story. “Time stopped by, pulling summer toward us like a kid pulls a red wagon,” “Only bad news and strangers use the front door.” Humor, mysteries, and wartime adventures will have kids on the edge of their seats in this entertaining saga of island life during a little-known era of American history.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Mysteries
Other Books by Author: Three Times Lucky | The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing | The Odds of Getting Even | The Law of Finders Keepers

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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