Spring 2023


Stories from the Past to Read,
Share, and Treasure


There are two types of literature: fiction and nonfiction. It is fiction that brings children the enchantment of storytelling and ultimately a future love of reading. It is through fiction that good stories and beautiful pictures can profoundly affect adults as well as children.

Well-written stories should have good themes, valid characters, and should always be believable. They should be people centered, not problem centered. Unfortunately, society’s problems have been dumped into children’s books. Reading lists now include categories on divorce, physical handicaps, old age, and death, minority problems, poverty, inner-city life, ecology, war, and others. In many cases the subject is not at fault, but the way in which the subject is portrayed in explicit and inappropriate ways.

Books that exploit society’s problems do not bring anything lasting or good to children and are depressing. They do not stir a child’s imagination but exploit the permissiveness of our age. Good books inspire hope for the future and contain the basic truths of kindness and goodness triumphing over evil. Good literature should deal with truth but it should show mankind how to be better.

Childrens books that present storytelling at its best have the ability to say a lot in simple language. Storytellers are like magicians They create images and illusions that portray the world in a special and entertaining way. Storytellers are able to take children away from their everyday surroundings and into another realm, of enjoyable make-believe.

Nonfiction books are important in that they develop curiosity, and children are Naturally curious about everything.

That curiosity will be satisfied, when it is given access to good nonfiction with real-life heroes, places, and things. Nonfiction books should present factual material in imaginative and exciting ways, which is not usually found in textbooks. Children deserve the best of all literature, including well-written, well-illustrated, and well-designed nonfiction books.

Tastes and interests vary as much in children’s books as it does in adult books. Parents usually pass their own tastes on to their children, and parents often choose children’s books by what appeals to them and from what they remembered of childhood stories.

Good books are made to be read aloud and shared. It is never too early or too late to begin. Nor is a child too old to be read to. Continue to read to children long after they can read well themselves. Take time every day to share a book with your child. The joy and warmth from being read to should be every child’s birthright. It does not cost a thing, and it gives dignity, intelligence, and love to both the reader and the listener. It is also fun!


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 lifelong relationship with literature.

In children’s literature, a classic is the rare book that has a special element that 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. Examples of early classis are the fairy tales of Andersen, Grimm, and Perrault, and examples of modern classics are Charlotte’s Web and The Lion, The With and The Wardrobe. Both types were written by people who never lost their love of childhood.

Classics should make a significant contribution to the child’s wisdom, merriment, or appreciation of beauty. Many good stories provide clear standards of right and wrong, show the ethics of human behavior, or provoke spontaneous and wholesome

laughter. Moreover, classis have child appeal. Sometimes it may be obvious, and other times it is developed slowly over several hearings.


Reading 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 eventually success in reading.

When reading aloud to children, 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 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.


Literature for young children can be divided into five main categories: poetry, folk literature, fiction for the young, biography, and informative books.


Poetry has a kind of musical quality that captures a child’s attention. Traditional nursery rhymes are usually the first written words many children hear. They are filled with humor, action, and entertaining and musical language. They help children learn the days of the week, the months of the year, the alphabet, and how to count.

The most obvious way to instill a love of poetry in your children is to read to them. Poetry has a kind of musical quality that captures a child’s attention. Make it light, fun, and loaded with plenty of nonsense and exaggeration.

Traditional nursery rhymes are usually the first written words many children hear. They experience the shape and feel of the words through the cadence and meter found in poetry as well as learning the beauty of the language.

Poetry reaches to the heart not the head of a child. They should be exposed to its richness throughout their young years and develop a love of the language.

Children who have outgrown nursery rhymes can delight in many humorous poems. Nonsense verse appeals to children because it deals with illogical and silly characters and situations.


Folk Literature has existed for thousands of years, handed down from generation to generation. Most folk literature consists of stories in the form of fairy tales, fables, folktales, legends, and myths. It can also include proverbs, riddles, songs, superstitions, holidays, and religious celebrations.

Folktales deal with the customs and beliefs of people that take place in the real world and are told as true stories about animals or humans, and are full of fantasy and magic.

Fables are short stories told with animals and usually contain a moral or lesson. Most of the characters are animals and objects that talk and act like humans. They remain popular as they illustrate truths that almost anyone can recognize.

Fairy tales occur in some imaginary land and are told as fiction. They speak to the heart and soul of a child because they appeal to a child’s courage and confidence by offering hope. They

always end happily, wickedness is punished, and virtue is rewarded.

Myths are historical stories that deal with the traditions and beliefs of people. They differ from most types of folk stories in that they are considered to be true among the people who develop them.

Legends are stories that revolve around a person who may or may not have lived. Like myths, legends are told as true stories, but are set in the real world.


Children need an abundance in stories. Young children can enjoy upside-down situation and absurd nonsensical stories because they know better. However, adults should be certain that children know what is right side up before presenting them with stories that are upside down.


Biographical books introduce children to the lives of important men and women. Through them children can learn about people who have made great discoveries, changed the course of history, made contributions to the arts, or accomplished unusual deeds of courage or daring. A skillful biographer can make the life of a real person as exciting as the life of a fictional hero. Most authors base their information on fact. However, they often invent incidents of dialogue to make the stories more dramatic, especially for younger children.


Children deserve the best of all literature, including non-fiction, if it is presented in imaginative and exciting ways. Because children are naturally curious about everything, they should have access to good books with real life places and things to help satisfy this curiosity Information books and books of knowledge introduce children to the world of learning about the wonders of science, the beauty of art, and the fascination of history.


Classifying children’s literature can be confusing because it contains different organizational formats. The following is our interpretation, and we hope it will be of assistance on your journey through children’s books.


For younger children these books are usually thirty-two pages in length, and may be read aloud in one session. Illustrations should be on every page, because while adults are reading the words, children are reading the pictures. For older children, there is still a need for beautiful illustrations and they should be in every book, whether large or small.


Alphabet, counting, and labeling books as well as those that deal with the abstract ideas of color, time, space, and size are found in this category. Information may be given in story form or offered in a straightforward manner, with pictures used to illustrate the various points being made.


Stories that are told through the illustrations and not the words fall in this category. The illustrations are arranged in sequence and the story is read through the pictures. This encourages logical thinking as children and adults are required to tell the story in their own words. This skill is the basic ingredient in reading comprehension— finding the meaning underneath the words. The more complex wordless books demand closer attention, as interpreting the details is necessary in order to understand what is happening.


Language patterns, meter, rhythm, and repetition are found in these books. They usually appeal more to feelings rather than reason. For young children, the repetitious rhythm of a nursery rhyme is nonsensical, but they hear the shape and feel of the words. Children become accustomed to words in unfamiliar arrangements and to the cadence of the meter.

Illustrations are a huge element to the success of a story, and many times the artwork is the deciding factor to making a great story a classic.


Depending on interest, children may enjoy comedy, mystery, adventure, fantasy, spellbinders, poetry, non-fiction, historical fiction, and science fiction books.


Even the most reluctant reader cannot resist a book that is hilarious. Books that end on a note of despair are not suitable for this age group. Books should portray the world as a place where, despite all its serious problems, there is still hope. Fractured fairy tales are appropriate now. These stories slightly resemble the traditional tales, but they challenge readers to compare, contrast, and think while laughing.


Facts, date, names and places are usually too dry for children. However, children do have a interest in the past when the focus is on people and how they lived. The everyday details of how adults and children worked, played, dressed, and lived makes for a compelling story. When history is presented this way, kids can better connect with the past in significant ways.


Mysteries have special page-turner appeal. These books are built on action and suspense, and less on character development. They provide a simple plot, familiar characters, and welcome support to independent reading. Many adult readers acknowledge that this is where their love affair with books began.


When children are secure in their understanding of real and make-believe, they find safe thrills with witches, dragons, and the unknown. These are the years when tall tales with humorous exaggeration, fairy tales, and myths are most appealing. Through such characters children will encounter danger, overcome fear, taste courage, and triumph over all odds. Some folktales may be acceptable, but they must be free of violence.


These illustrated storybooks tend to be longer than most picture books but shorter than novels. It’s not only the length that separates these books, but it’s more a matter of content. These books have more complex stories with a kind of literary sophistication that is beyond younger children.


Until now poetry has probably been limited to listening and chanting some familiar rhymes. Although they can read it themselves, poetry still should be enjoyed together.


This is a world of wonder, and strange powers, where anything can happen and often does. Books of fantasy are sometimes gentle, sometimes wild, sometimes humorous, and sometimes deadly serious, however, at this age be careful that the content is appropriate for the child’s age level.

Fantasies are stories that involve beings and events that could not exist in real life. The world in these books seems real, but it is imaginary. Characters face overwhelming odds, battle good over evil and usually have a quest to achieve.

Fantasy hints of the greater existence that lies behind our day-to-day lives. Such literature often pulls the reader into new dimensions of space and time, worlds of wonder, and strange powers, where anything can happen and often does. Books of fantasy are sometimes gentle, sometimes wild, sometimes humorous, and sometimes deadly serious.


To create a nation of readers, parents need to read to their children early in childhood and continue well past the point when children learn to read. One of the things of lasting value parents can give their children is their time and memories of stories shared together with a good book. Plant the joy of reading in children today, and there is a good chance that they will do likewise twenty years from now.

The best children’s books and filled with imagination and fun. Stories that take children into a world of delightful imagination and adventure present storytelling at its best. Children need to experience stories for the pleasure, laughter, and fun that they bring; imaginative and nonsensical stories that may not have a scrap of useful information or a lesson, but cheerful and delightful lunacy. Give as many as possible to your children because imagination and fun are essential to life.


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 are filled with imagination and fun. Stories that take children into a world of delight and adventure present storytelling at its best. Children need stories for pleasure, laughter and fun; imaginative and nonsensical stories that may not have a scrap of useful information or lesson, but cheerful and delightful lunacy. Give as many as possible to your children, because imagination and fund are essential to life.

Spring is here and what better time to enjoy stories full of laughter, fun, and adventure.

For more information on reading to children and great books to read and read aloud, log on to our web site at 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.


written by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by A. G. Ford, (Chronicle Books, $12.99, 2022, ISBN 978-1-7972-0431-4), 16p, Ages 2-4

“As great big trucks begin their day, / warm sunshine melts the snow away. / The cold, gray days have finally passed. / Hooray! Now, spring is here, at last!”

With wide smiles, seven trucks begin their workday and as they do, readers and listeners will discover spring surprises on each page— a mother chicken and her chicks, a robin and her babies, beautiful flowers by the side of the road, baby lambs, bunnies, and a surprise under the last flap. “When work is finished for the day, / the trucks ask their new friends to stay.” Kids who love trucks, animals, and surprises will love this interactive Easter board book.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Machines, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: 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 | Construction Sire Mission: Demolition


written/illus. by Sandra Boynton (Boynton Bookworks, ($7.99, 2019, ISBN 978-1-6659-2496-2), 24p, Ages 3+

Told in rhyme, kids will slip off to dreamland after listening to this cute story of the bedtime ritual of several dinosaurs. “When the sun has gone down and the blue stars appear / Then the dinosaurs know that their bedtime is near.” They brush their teeth, wash their faces, stretch, put on their pajamas, yawn, close their eyes, settle down to sleep, and dreamland. Then, the loud snoring begins. ‘HONK SHOOOOOO!” all through the night. Kids will love the silliness of Sandra Boynton books, especially two little bunnies, who are glad the noise is very far away.
        Themes: Animals, Bedtime, Dinosaurs, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: On Board | Pajama Time! | Hey! Wake Up! | Snuggle Puppy! | 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/illus. by Sandra Boynton (Boynton Bookworks, ($7.99, Sept. 2022, ISBN 978-1-6659-2495-5), 24p, Ages 3+

Sandra Boynton’s wacky barnyard animals begin a high-spirited dance as they bow to one another, twirl, bounce, strut, spin, and, “With a BAA and a MOO and COCKADOODLEDOO / everybody promenade two by two!” While a cow in sunglasses plays a fiddle, the horses prance, mice skitter, sheep slide, little chicks cheep, turkeys trot, frogs leap, and the barnyard dog spins. After their laugh out loud messages and lively stomping, they wave goodbye “With an OINK and a MOO and a QUACK QUACK QUACK, / the dance is done but we’ll be back!” Kids will love the cute animals, the fiddle-playing cow, and might just join in the fun by stomping their feet and clapping their hands.
        Themes: Animals, Concept, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: On Board | Pajama Time! | Hey! Wake Up! | Snuggle Puppy! | Birthday Monsters! | Dinosnores | 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 Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by A. G. Ford, (Chronicle Books, $17.99, Nov. 2022, ISBN 978-1-7972-1387-3), 16p, Ages 3-7

Spring has arrived and the six beloved trucks from the Construction Site series, Excavator, Bulldozer, Skid Steer, Crane Truck, Dump Truck, and Cement Mixer, help on a busy farm to repair a road, prepare the ground for planting, plant crops, and repair pens for the animals. In Summer they help water the crops, bale the hay and wheat, dig holes for posts, haul away debris, pour cement, and build a barn.

As the days grow cooler and Fall sets in, they help harvest the crops, haul the grain to town, and harvest the pumpkins. In Winter the snow needs clearing, the roof need fixing, and they help bale the hay. “For friends they have and work they do, / for sunshine, rain, and crops that grew. / All set for springtime days ahead. / But now it’s nighttime. Time for bed.”
        Themes: Adventure, Rhythm & Rhyme, Machines, Series
Other Books in the Series: 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 | Construction Sire Mission: Demolition

Ages 4-8

written by Géraldine Elschner, illus. by Alexandra Junge, translated by Marianne Martens, (NorthSouth Books, $17.95, March 2022, ISBN 978-0-7358-4474-2), 32p, Ages 4-8

“Hilda had laid the most beautiful egg, and she fussed over it lovingly. But she was getting a little worried. Weeks had passed, and still her baby hadn’t hatched. Suddenly she heard a little voice. ‘Mother, when is Easter?’” Hilda is more than shocked by the little voice but is determined to find the answer. Visiting Max, the owl, she discovers that three things must happen before Easter arrives, and he will advise her by hooting when they arrive—the first day of Spring, the next full moon, and the next Sunday when church bells ring, it’s Easter.

Kids will enjoy the little chick counting down the days inside the egg, the various hidden pictures throughout the story, mom poking a whole in the egg with a piece of straw for her baby to watch for the moon, and the various cycles of the moon. Adults will enjoy the simple way to establish the date of each Easter. Originally published in 2004, this clever story around Easter will entertain all.
        Themes: Animals, Families, Heroes, Holidays, Humor


written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illus. by Gladys Jose, (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, (Feb. 2023, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-5344-7707-0), 32p, Ages 5-8

“Library Fish loved her home on the desk of Mr. Hughes, the librarian. It was the perfect place to welcome every visitor to the library. From where she sat, Library Fish could check each book that was borrowed and returned.” But she especially loved Storytime when Mr. Hughes read to the children. When he shares a book about a dog learning to read, a whole new world opens up for the Library Fish, and she is captivated and determined to learn to read. “Hour after hour, night after night, she made sure she knew every letter and each sound it made. F for fish was one of her favorites. Z-z-z-z’s were always welcome after a long night’s work.” Finally, after long nights, she is now an official reader and is delighted to share with her friend, the Bookmobile. Kids will enjoy this cute, extraordinary small fish and the joy she found in learning to read.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Heroes, Libraries
Other Book in the Series: The Library Fish

Ages 7-10

written/illus. by Patricia Polacco, (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $18.99, March 2023, ISBN 978-1-5344-5131-5), 56p, Ages 7-10

Patricia Polacco reminisces of the time when her family moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, where she meets a kind librarian, Mrs. Creavy, who introduces her to the wonders of the library and its amazing books about birds that she loves. Upon discovering the books of John James Audubon, famous for his paintings of nature and birds, she is overwhelmed, and it is Mrs Creavy who helps her to become the first member of the Audubon bird club of Fremont Elementary. Kids who love birds and libraries will appreciate this interesting story.
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Libraries

Ages 8-12

(The Devlin Quick Mysteries)

written by Linda Fairstein, (Dial Books, $16.99, 2018, ISBN 978-0-399-18649-3), 288p, Ages 9-12

“It’s the end of summer, and tween sleuth Devlin Quick is on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard with her best friend Booker’s family. It’s not all fun in the sun, though. Dev has a science project for school: to take a daily sample of water from the Vineyard Sound and submit it to an oceanographic DNA lab. From that, the lab can actually tell you what species of fish have been in those waters.

Then Devlin and her friends scoop up something unexpected—a real gold doubloon from the days when pirates hid treasures along the New England coastline! As the daughter of the New York City Police Commissioner, Dev knows that finders aren’t always keepers, so she’s determined to figure out the doubloon’s rightful owner. But solving that mystery is easier said than done, especially when it turns out that someone on the island wants the doubloon’s secrets to stay buried.” Publishers Synopsis
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Mysteries, Series
Other in the Series: Into the Lion’s Den #1 | Digging for Trouble #2


(Once Upon Another Time)

written by James Riley, (Aladdin Books, 2022, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-5344-2590-3), 320p, Ages 9-12

“Lena might finally be accepted by the other giants after she helped defeat the Golden King and his faceless army in the Cursed City, but that doesn’t mean life’s any easier for her. The power-hungry Golden King wants revenge and has begun spreading shadow magic across the kingdoms. His magic takes over the mind of anyone it touches, instilling fear and hatred as it goes.

But Lena and her genie friend, Jin, can handle that, right? Not according to the Last Knight, who changes everything Lena thought she knew about herself by divulging a horrible secret.

And he’s not the only one. The fairy queens—godmothers to some and protectors of the realm—reveal to Lena that, according to the fairies’ The Tales of All Things, she is the only one who can defeat the Golden King and his shadow magic and that she can only do it if she first proves herself worthy.

All Lena ever wanted was to be accepted as she was. But after learning that secret from the Last Knight, she’s not even sure who that is anymore or what it means to be “worthy.” Can she and Jin save the human world that doesn’t trust them, or will they fall prey to shadow magic and doom everything? Knowing how second books tend to go, let’s hope it’s not the latter …” Publishers Synopsis
         Themes: Adventure, Folk Literature, Friendship, Heroes, Series
Other in the Series: Once Upon Another Time #1

Ages 10-13

written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illus. by Hannes Binder, (NorthSouth Books, $18.95, April 2023, ISBN 978-0-7358-4488-9), 56p, Ages 10+

This adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s last planned story in the Sherlock Holmes mystery series is short but stunning with its scratchboard illustrations. Narrated by Dr. Watson, the story begins with a visit by Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson, requesting his presence on a journey for a week to the Continent to apprehend Holmes’ archenemy, Professor Moriarty. “He sits like a spider at the center of a giant web of intrigue, spreading wickedness wherever he can. And he is a master of disguise. In brief, Moriarty is a genius of evil, the Napoleon of crime.”

The two men make intricate plans to evade Moriarty and his men on their journey to Switzerland. At the famous Reichenbach Falls in the Alps, the two men are separated by a medical emergency at their hotel, which requires Dr. Watson’s attention. Agreeing to meet later at the hotel, Holmes continues, but when Dr. Watson returns to the Falls, Sherlock has disappeared.

Readers will be astounded by the surreal illustrations that set the tone for this dramatic, graphic retelling of Conan Doyle’s supposedly last Sherlock Holmes mystery. End pages feature information of Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysteries after “The Final Problem” and a short biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Graphic Novel, Mysteries


REALLY TRULY: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery #3
written by Heather Vogel Frederick, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020, ISBN 978-1-5344-1437-2), 368p, Ages 10-13

“Truly Lovejoy is excited for the perfect summer in Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire: swim practice outside, working at the family bookstore, one-on-one time with her mom, and best of all, time with the dreamy R. J. Calhoun who may just like Truly back. But her plans fall apart when she’s sent off to mermaid academy—sparkly tail and all. Luckily, a mystery is never too far behind the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes, and this one might just encourage Truly to come out of her shell, in more ways than one.” Publishers Synopsis.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Mysteries, Series
Other Books in the Series: Absolutely Truly #1 | Yours Truly #2


WHALE DONE #8 (FunJungle Series)
written by Stuart Gibbs, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, Feb. 2023, ISBN 978-1-5344-9931-7), 320p, Ages 10-13

“After an escaped kangaroo starts a fire that burns down his house, Teddy Fitzroy accepts an invitation to go to Malibu with his girlfriend, Summer, and her mother, Kandace. He’s hoping to spend some time relaxing on the beach, but wherever Teddy goes, trouble isn’t far behind.

First, a massive dead whale has washed up on the beach—and before anyone can determine what killed it, it explodes. Doc, the head vet from FunJungle, suspects something fishy is going on and ropes Teddy and Summer into helping him investigate.

Then Teddy stumbles upon yet another mystery involving tons of stolen sand. And the paparazzi start spreading rumors about Summer dating a celebrity, leaving Teddy to question their relationship.

Without Summer a his trusted partner, can Teddy navigate the rough waters of this glitzy world and uncover what’s going on?” Publishers Synopsis
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Humor, Mysteries, Series
Other Books in the Series: Belly Up #1 | Poached #2 | Big Game #3 | Panda-monium #4 | Lion Down #5 | Tyrannosaurus Wrecks #6 | Bear Bottom #7

Ages 12-15

CITY SPIES: City of the Dead #4
written by James Ponti, (Aladdin, $18.99, Feb. 2023, ISBN 978-1-6659-1157-3), 400p,Ages 12+

This fourth installment of The City Spies series finds the five young MI6 Secret Agents investigating a series of cyberattacks at the London British Museum. Kat, the quietest of the five young spies and known for her logic and patterns in chaos, takes charge of the mission. Following clues and deciphered messages, Kat and her now adopted sisters and brothers travel from London to Berlin and ultimately to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and the City of the Dead, hot on the heels of the suspected enemy, Umbra.

A surprising addition to the team suddenly appears and the City Spies must learn to accept him. Readers will enjoy the interesting history surrounding the discovery of the Egyptian boy king, Tutankhamen’s tomb, the undercover taxi driver, and, of course, the Motherisms.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Mysteries, Series, Suspense
Other Books by Author: City Spies #1 | Golden Gate #2 | Forbidden City #3


Stories from the Past to Read, Share, and Treasure

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


written/illus. by Maryse Guittet, (Twirl, 2014), 8p, Ages 3+

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


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

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


written by Ruth Krauss, illus. by Crockett Johnson, (HarperCollins 1945), 32p, Ages 3+

In spite of his family’s doubts, a young boy plants a carrot seed and believes it will grow, even though he is told by his parents, the competition, and his big brother that it will not. He waters, pulls weeds, and waits, until his patience is rewarded, and it is huge. Published in 1945, this beautiful classic of patience and determination has never gone out of print.
         Themes: Classics, Food, Nature


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


written by Joseph Anthony, illus. by Cris Arbo, (DAWN Publishers, 1997), 32p, Ages 6-10

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


written/illus. by Lisa Anchin, (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2019), 40p, Ages 4-7

“The Little Green Girl, like so many great things, began as a tiny seed. One bright morning, she unexpectedly blew into Mr. Aster’s garden, and he was just as surprised as she was.” Even though Mr. Aster prefers his normal routine, he places the seedling into the greenhouse, carefully cultivates her, and then moves her into the garden as a topiary. There, the birds tell her about the outside world and faraway places. Desiring to see for herself, the Little Green Girl tries to convince Mr. Aster of her need to travel by stretching her roots, but he thwarts her every attempt to leave. Find out how the little topiary convinces Mr. Aster to leave his comfort zone, broaden his horizons, and explore the world in this father-daughter friendship/adventure.
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Humor, Nature


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

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

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


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

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


written by Dianna Hutts Aston, illus. by Sylvia Long, (Chronicle Books, 2007), 40p, Ages 5-10

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

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

Over the years, we have researched thousands of children's books, and can recommend some of the best in outstanding children's literature for parents to read aloud and children to read.

Our recommendations must meet certain criteria: fun, creative and imaginative stories, delightful illustrations, and excellent for age appropriate listening and reading. We hope that you enjoyed our recommendations. If you desire further information some of the best in children's literature, please visit our website, www.tchliteracy.com.

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