Spring 2024


Stories from the Past to Read,
Share, and Treasure


Stories that are told by the illustrations and not by words fall in this category. The illustrations are arranged in sequence and 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 and examination, interpreting details in order to understand what is happening.

Picture books without words develop a child's ability to infer what is happening in the story. With no words for guidance, they have to figure this out using the illustrations and their imagination. This develops comprehension and an overall understanding of story structure and plot. Children need to practice retelling stories in interesting and exciting ways, and sharing wordless picture books with your children allows model storytelling techniques, making connections, predicting, and questioning. With consistent practice, their independent responses will become more natural and detailed.



written & illus. by Mercer Mayer, (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1967/2003), 32p, Ages 3-6

Spying a frog on a lily pad in a pond, a young boy and his dog race down a hill with a net to capture it, trip over a log, and end up in the pond. Once again, the boy tries but misses and nets the dog instead. Giving up, the wet boy and dog trudge home for a bath, but the lonely frog follows and joins in the playful bathtub fun. This charming story, by the master of the wordless picture book genre, continues to delight children of every generation, along with several more stories about the adventurous boy, dog, and their friend frog.

Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Friendship, Humor, Wordless, Series
Other Books in the Series:
A Boy, a Dog, a Frog, and a Friend | Frog Goes to Dinner | Frog on His Own | Frog Where Are You? | One Frog Too Many


written by Audrey Wood, illus. by Don Wood, (Harcourt Books, 1984, 2009), 32p, Ages 3-7

Written in cumulative rhyme, this gentle story of a house full of sleeping people and creatures will sooth and amuse even the youngest listener. One by one, a snoring grandmother, a dreaming child, a dozing dog, a snoozing cat, and a slumbering mouse congregate on Granny’s bed in a pile of bodies for an afternoon nap. When a small flea bites the mouse, it creates a chain reaction of chaos, as one by one each bounce, fly, bump, and thump off the bed.

Themes: Bedtime, Classics, Families, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series, Wordless
Other Books in the Series:
Full Moon at the Napping House


written/illus. by Lita Judge, (Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013,
ISBN 978-1-4424-4232-0), 40p, Ages 2-5

In this nearly wordless picture book, a child’s pointy red knit hat, hung to dry on an outdoor clothesline, is irresistible to a playful bear. He borrows it and runs across the winter field. A game of keep away ensues as a raccoon, porcupine, and several rabbits snare the red hat, which begins to unravel. The guilty animals re-pin the pile of yarn to the clothesline and shuffle away, only to watch as the clever young child re-knits the cap, as well as a surprise for the animals. Preschoolers will enjoy the enthusiastic romp, the innocent naughtiness, and the happy ending for all.

Themes: Animals, Humor, Wordless

AGES 4 – 8


written/illus. by Bill Thomson, (Two Lions, 2016), 40p, Ages 4-7

Three friends on their bikes follow a butterfly down the road to an abandoned carousel, where they discover a black box covered in white letters atop a merry-go-round bumblebee. Opening the box, they find an old manual typewriter labeled “Spelling Bee.” Retrieving paper from a backpack, they type the word “Beach” and instantly find themselves on a beach. Typing the words “Ball” and “Ice Cream” result in a fun and delicious time, until the word “Crab” is entered into the machine, and a monster crustacean comes forth. Kids will love this intriguing and imaginative wordless tale loaded with curiosity, surprises, awe, and clever solutions.

Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Humor, Wordless


written/illus. by Bill Thompson, (Two Lions, 2010), 40p, Ages 4-8

One rainy day three children come across a magical bag of chalk hanging from a dinosaur ride at the playground. The first child draws a sun and the clouds part to reveal a sunny day. The second child draws Monarch butterflies, which emerge from the pavement and fly away.

However, when the third child draws a Tyrannosaurus Rex, it comes to life and their game quickly changes to a dangerous one. Fortunately, they run for shelter and devise a way to dissolve the dinosaur by drawing rain. This fun, colorful, and animated wordless story will delight children and adults with its creativity.

Themes: Adventure, Animals, Fantasy, Wordless


written/illus. by David Wiesner, (Clarion Books, 2006), 40p, Ages 5-8

David Wiesner has again created a unique and fascinating wordless story that tells of a young boy, who finds an old barnacle-crusted “Melville Underwater Camera” on the beach. Little does the boy realize what marvelous wonders it contains, until the developed pictures reveal portraits of its previous owners down through the years with astonishing sea creatures (mechanical wind-up fish, gigantic walking starfish with islands on their backs, a hot-air balloon puffer fish, etc.) This is a visual delight for all the members of the family.

Themes: Adventure, Inventions, Water, Wordless


written/illus. by Arthur Geisert, (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), 32p, Ages 4-8

In an almost wordless picture book, A little piglet devises a way to prolong turning his light out at eight o’clock. Piglet invents a series of contraptions that run up to the roof, down the walls, through the yard, and into the basement, eventually turning his light off in the bedroom. Children as well as adults will love the detailed etchings of household items that are rigged to trigger reactions with other items before the room goes dark.

Themes: Animals, Bedtime, Humor, Inventions, Series, Wordless
Other Books in the Series:
Hogwash | The Giant Ball of String | Ice | The Giant Seed




written by Edward Lear, adapted/illus. by Suse MacDonald, (1871, Orchard Books, 2005), 32p, Ages 3-6

This delightful rhyming alphabet book, originally written in 1871, is perfect for reading aloud. Beginning with A on one page and B on the other, a large bear leans across the pages to smell A’s Apple Pie. Children will enjoy “A was once an apple pie, / pidy, widy, tidy pidy / nice insidy, apple pie!”

Themes: Classics, Concept, Rhythm & Rhyme


written & illus. by Crockett Johnson, (HarperCollins, 1955, 1983), 64p, Ages 3-7

A very imaginative little boy sets out one night for a walk. With the help of his trusty crayon, Harold creates many wonderful adventures. Children will enjoy the unexpected twists of the plot as Harold finds a way to return home safe to his little bed.

Themes: Adventure, Classics, Fantasy, Series
Other Books in the Series:
Harold’s Fairy Tale (1956) | Harold’s Trip to the Sky (1957) | Harold at the North Pole (1958) | Harold’s ABC (1963) | Harold’s Circus(1959) | A Picture for Harold’s Room (1960)


written/illus. by Virginia Lee Burton, (Houghton Mifflin, 1943, 2009), 40p, Ages 3-7

Katy, a red crawler tractor, is a bulldozer in summer and a snowplow in winter. After a blizzard buries the city of Geoppolis under many feet of snow and the city’s truck snowplows break down, Katy is called into action. With power lines down, the fire department unable to reach a fire, the railroad station and airport closed, and a break in the water main, everyone is helpless.

Katy begins to chug slow and steady throughout the city, past the police station, the post office, the railway station, the telephone company, East Geoppolis, the water department, North Geoppolis, West Geoppolis, past the hospital, South Geoppolis, and the airport. “Katy finished up the side streets so traffic could move in and out and around the city.” Tired from a long day of work, Katy returns home for a well-deserved rest. This classic tale teaches children the value of persistence and endurance, addresses problems created by snowstorms and becomes a great tool for understanding how maps work.

Themes: Classics, Heroes, Machines, Values

AGES 4 – 8


written by Luli Gray, illus. by Giuliano Ferri, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2011), 32p, Ages 4-7

Aesop‘s tale of an industrious ant, a fun-loving grasshopper, and the rewards of hard work is developed further into a tale of kindness, compassion, and friendship. Rich and hardworking Ant cares little for Grasshopper’s musical talent and criticizes his negligent ways. “All summer long Ant worked hard. Every afternoon he counted his beans, and his raisins, and his cheese. And all summer long he heard Grasshopper playing his fiddle and singing. Sometimes the music got into Ant’s head and made him lose count.”

As the seasons change into winter weather, a cold and hungry Grasshopper is turned away by Ant. A guilty conscience and bad dream spur Ant to open his home to the freezing grasshopper. Over the winter a friendship develops as Grasshopper learns the merits of hard work and planning, and Ant learns to appreciate the arts and sharing.

Themes: Folk Literature, Friendship, Insects


written/illus. by Ezra Jack Keats, (Viking Children’s Books, 1969, 2009), 40p, Ages 5+

Friends tease Louis about his father “the junkman,” but his father explains that imagination can transform junk into amazing adventures. With help from his parents, Louis transforms junk into a special spaceship called “Imagination I”, which Louis and a friend magically fly into outer space. “They floated past strange and wondrous things . . . and on through worlds no one had ever seen before.” While gliding through space, they discover two friends, who decide to follow in a converted bathtub. When the friends become frightened during a rock storm, they lose their imagination, and Louis tows them safely home.

Themes: Adventure, Classics, Fantasy, Friendship, Outer Space


written & illus. by Marjorie Flack & Kurt Wiese, (Viking Children’s Books, 1933), 32p, Ages 4-8

Ping, a small duck, lives with his mother, father, two sisters, three brothers, eleven aunts, seven uncles, and forty-two cousins on a Yangtze River boat. One day Ping is captured and almost becomes dinner, but is released by a kind child and reunited with his family. A reassuring adventure story for those who are ready for limited journeys into the big world.

Themes: Adventure, Animals, Classics, Families

AGES 7 – 10


Collected by Joel Chandler Harris, retold by David Borgenicht, illus, by Dan Daily, (Courage Books, 1995), 56p, Ages 6+

In 1880 Joel Chandler Harris collected a series of old folktales and created the grand fatherly character of Uncle Remus, who relates the adventures of Brer Rabbit and his friends to a little boy from the “Big House” on the Old Plantation. The language in this version has been modernized and is more understandable for young children.

Themes: Adventure, Animals, Anthologies, Classics, Humor


written by Dick King-Smith, illus. by Jon Goodell, (Crown Publishers, 1997), 112p, Ages 6-9

“Wolfgang Amadeus Mouse was the youngest of thirteen children. He was also the smallest.” When his mother decided that he should have an important “to make up for his size,” she borrows the name from sheet music found on the piano of the owner’s home in which they reside. Wolf enjoys Mrs. Honeybee’s piano playing twice a day, and as he listens to the beautiful tunes, he begins to sing along, eventually working up courage to accompany her playing.

As their friendship develops, Wolf begins to sing along to everything from children’s nursery rhymes to Chopin. One day Mrs. Honeybee breaks her ankle and it’s up to Wolf to find help. Kids will fall in love with this delightful small mouse and thoroughly enjoy the way Wolf defeats the household cat.

Themes: Animals, Classics, Friendship, Heroes

AGES 8 – 12


The Landlord’s Tale

written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illus. by Charles Santore, (HarperCollins, 2003), 40 p, Ages 8-11

“Listen, my children, and you shall hear / Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, / On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; / Hardly a man is now alive / Who remembers that famous day and year.” So begins Longfellow’s Revolutionary war poem of Paul Revere’s famous ride, to prepare Colonial villages to take up the battle cry for American independence and arm themselves against the arrival of the British.

A signal light from the old North Church alerts Paul Revere to begin his dramatic horseback ride across the Colonial landscape. One can almost hear the thundering hoofs of Paul Revere’s horse as they cross over village cobblestones and bridges. “In the darkness and peril and need, / the people will waken and listen to hear / The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, / And the midnight message of Paul Revere.”

Narrated by the landlord of the Wayside Inn, this story-within-a-story is an exciting tale of adventure, courage, and patriotism. Charles Santore’s marvelous illustrations bring to life the urgency of this race against time that no one should miss.

Themes: Adventure, Classics, Heroes, Historical Fiction


retold by Margaret Hodges, illus. by Trina Schart Hyman, (Holiday House, 2004), 32p, Ages 9-12

In this beautiful, abridged collection of three Arthurian legends, “The Sword in the Stone” tells of Arthur’s young years under the training of Merlin, his obtaining the sword Excalibur, and his becoming King. “Excalibur” deals with the wicked Morgan le Fay and her treachery to steal the magic sword and scabbard. The final tale, “The Lady of the Lake,” involves Arthur attacking Lancelot’s castle, fighting his enemy Mordred, and being taken to the island of Avalon mortally wounded.

Trina Schart Hyman’s stunning acrylic paintings make this tale of beauty, danger, and glory come alive for a younger audience. In the Author’s Note, Margaret Hodges explains that the three tales are based on the Winchester College manuscript of Sir Thomas Malory’s collection of Arthurian legends. He believed along with many others that, “Arthur was a real king in the history of early Britain and that in time of need Arthur would come again.”

Themes: Adventure, Classics, Folk Literature, Heroes


written by George Selden, illus. by Garth Williams, (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1960), 144p, Ages 8-11

Foolishly jumping into a picnic basket in the Connecticut countryside, Chester the cricket arrives in the Times Square subway station, where he is found by Mario, a young boy who works at his parents’ failing newsstand. There, he meets two friends, spunky Tucker the mouse and Harry the cat, and adjusts to life in a bustling city, his comfortable matchbox bed, a seven-tiered pagoda cricket cage, and tasty mulberry leaves. Sad that Mario’s bug-fearing mother might throw him out, Chester begins to chirp a “few notes of an Italian folksong he had heard the night before.”

Realizing Chester’s amazing talent, Tucker and Harry begin his formal musical education via the radio, and Chester becomes, “the most famous musician in New York City” by entertaining the public from the newsstand with hymns (on Sunday), opera, and musical theater selections.
However, he begins to miss his peaceful life in the Connecticut countryside. Delightful and heartwarming, this classic tale will touch young and old alike with its themes of friendship, prejudice, and fame.

Themes: Classics, Families, Friendship, Insects, Series
Other Books in the Series:
Chester Cricket’s Pigeon Ride | Tucker’s Countryside | Henry Kitten and Tucker Mouse

AGES 10 – 13


written by Sid Fleischman, illus. by Brett Helquist, (1963 Little, Brown and Company, illustrated pb 2013), 224p, Ages 10-13

In 1849 cries of a Gold Rush echo across the country to Boston, where a young boy resides with his sisters and Aunt Arabella. When his aunt loses all her money, twelve-year-old Jack and the faithful family butler, Praiseworthy, sail to California to strike it rich to help her. These two unlikely gold miners/adventurers sail on the paddle wheeler, Lady Wilma, around South America’s Cape Horn and up to San Francisco. Along the way, they outwit thieves, survive vicious storms, save grape cuttings and barrels of spoiled potatoes, deal with an invasion of Peruvian cats, and help the ship’s captain to beat competing ships to San Francisco.

There, they begin their trip to the Sacramento gold fields and encounter miners, outlaws, and varmints. To buy picks, shovels, horn spoons, and a hotel room, clever Praiseworthy cuts and keeps the miners’ hair and beards that contain gold dust. Surviving a stage coach robbery, they arrive at the diggings and begin panning for gold. Written in 1963, this classic western adventure will give readers a taste of history, hilarious action, fascinating characters, clever plots, and the escapades of two tenacious heroes nicknamed Jamoka Jack and Bullwhip

Themes: Adventure, Classics, Friendship, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Tall Tales, The Wild West


written by Betty G. Birney, illus. by Matt Phelan, (Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007), 224p, Ages 10+

During the summer of 1923 in the small farming community of Sassafras Springs, Missouri, eleven-year-old Eben McAllister yearns for adventure as he reads about the Seven Wonders of the World (The Great Pyramids at Giza, Colossus of Rhodes, Statue of Zeus, Lighthouse at Alexandria, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Temple of Artemis, and The Hanging Gardens of Babylon).

Tired of Eben’s moping, his father challenges him to find seven wonders in Sassafras Springs in seven days. If he does, Pa will buy him a ticket to visit his cousins in Colorado to see its marvelous majestic mountains.

With his journal and faithful dog, Eben records wonders that families in the community are eager to share. A Sunday school teacher whose applehead doll saved her life, a bookcase that ended a drought and saved a man’s life, an outhouse flying in a cyclone, a musical saw that fended off crop-eating locusts, a floating table, and a truth-telling loom. Find out if Eben McAllister finds his seventh wonder in this heartwarming, coming-of-age tall tale where wonders can be found in the most extraordinary places.

Themes: Adventure, Classics, Families, Heroes, Humor, Tall Tales

AGES 12 – 15


written by Richard Peck, (Dial Books, 1998, 2004), 148p, Ages 11+

During the Depression years Joey (narrator) and his sister, Mary Alice learn lessons about life from their thrifty, hardworking, and shrewd grandmother in rural Illinois. Each chapter is devoted to the annual weeklong summer visit at Grandma Dowdel’s house at the end of town. Stretching the truth, plotting schemes to even scores, catching fish from a stolen boat, arranging an elopement, handling a teenage vandal, a drunk sheriff, and a wealthy banker, Grandma Dowdel teaches her grandchildren about life. Humor, good old-fashioned fun, impressive escapades, and colorful characters make this classic story unforgettable.

Themes: Classics, Families, Humor, Series


written by Madeleine L’Engle, (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1961, 2011, $24.99,
ISBN 978-0-374-38616-0), 280p, Ages 11+

Meg Murray, her genius five-year-old brother, Charles Wallace, and new friend, Calvin, embark on a science fiction adventure to rescue her missing physicist father from an outer space evil that is darkening the cosmos, planet by planet. With the help of three supernatural beings, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Witch, they learn that Dr. Murray is a captive of the Dark Thing, and time travel through the Universe to the planet Camazotz. There they face the ultimate battle of good versus evil, and Meg conquers her fears to battle the dark for the family she loves.

For over 50 years this classic has entertained children with its elements of theology, science, fantasy, adventure, and time travel, as well as themes of family devotion, first love, individuality, and coming-of-age. This special edition includes an introduction by Katherine Paterson, an Afterword by Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter, the author’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech, and various photographs and memorabilia.

Themes: Classics, Families, Science Fiction, Time Travel

AGES 14 – 18


written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illus. by Pam Smy, (Candlewick Press, 2006), 176p, Ages 14+

Taken from the original version published from 1901 to 1902, this edition is particularly appealing, due to the striking illustrations throughout. The famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, is hired to investigate a murder, a diabolical curse sur rounding the Baskerville family, and threats to the Baskerville heir, Sir Henry. Holmes and his trusted friend, Dr. Watson, investigate several suspicious characters as well as the legend of a murderous hound that roams the moors. Nightly sounds of a woman wailing, secretive servants, peculiar neighbors, an escaped killer, a quicksand marsh, and the howl of a legendary hound combine with the bleakness of the moors and the lizards of the bogs to make this novel a page-turner. No believer in the supernatural, Holmes believes that the answers lie with the natural world. The suspenseful climax has made this mystery a classic for more than a hundred years.

Themes: Classics, Mysteries


written by Jack Schaefer, Illustrated by Wendell Minor, (Houghton Mifflin,1949), 224 p, 12+yrs

The Starrett family’s life forever changes when a man named Shane rides out of the great glowing West and up to their farm. Young Bob Starrett is entranced by this stoic stranger who brings a new energy to his family. Shane stays on as a farmhand, but his past remains a mystery. Many folks in their small Wyoming valley are suspicious of Shane and make it known that he is not welcome. But dangerous as Shane may seem, he is a staunch friend to the Starretts—and when a powerful neighboring rancher tries to drive them out of their homestead, Shane becomes entangled in the deadly feud that will change the Starrett family forever.

Themes: Classics, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Wild West

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 ©2021.


written by June Sobel, illus. by Laura Huliska-Beith, (Clarion Books, $10.99, January 2024, ISBN 978-0-06-332564-7), 14p, Ages 2+

“The Goodnight Train toots a tune. / The Easter Bunny’s coming soon! / Climb aboard! Hug your teddy. / Get your Easter baskets ready.” Kids will love the egg-shaped peek-a-boo cut outs on each page as the Goodnight Train travels on an Easter egg hunt past buzzing bees, tweeting bluebirds, croaking frogs, quacking ducks, wobbling lambs with full easter baskets, bouncing bunnies and blooming flowers.

After counting all the eggs along the train track, the child passengers are ready for bed. “Counting eggs instead of sheep, / the tired train can’t wait to sleep.” Each page of this cute board book is filled with colorful eggs, some broken with little chicks running around, as the Goodnight Train travels past the E. Bunny house.
        Themes: Adventure, Bedtime, Trains, Series
Other Books in the Series: The Goodnight Train | The Goodnight Train Rolls on! | The Goodnight Train Halloween | Santa and the Goodnight Train


written/illus. by Sandra Boynton, (Boynton Bookworks, Simon & Schuster, Sept. 2023, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-6659-2516-7), 24p, Ages 1-3

When the fox blows his bugle, “There is sudden commotion in the forest below. COME OUT FROM YOUR BURROW, OR HIDEOUT, OR NEST—TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT! THIS IS NO TIME TO REST!” With a moose playing the cello, a pig playing the flute, and a deer playing violin, the animals waltz, foxtrot, pivot and prance all night to the wonderful music of the Woodland Dance Trio, even to the last song before dawn. “And the fox falls asleep to that magical song, and dreams of the animals swaying along.” The colorful illustrations, lively dancing and delightful rhythm will captivate and delight little ones. Included is written music for the adults to play.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other books in the Series: On Board | Pajama Time! | Snuggle Puppy! | Barnyard Dance! | Snow, Snow, Snow! | Perfect Piggies! | Tickle Time! | Belly Button Book! | One, Two Three! | Bunny Rabbit Show! | Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! | Dinosnores | Your Nose!


written by Hannah Eliot, illus. by Jennifer A. Bell, (Simon & Schuster, $7.99, Jan. 2024,
ISBN 978-1-6659-4856-2), 12p, Ages 2+

“My little lamb, come snuggle with me. / Then off on your own, with the birds and bees.” Little ones will enjoy this adventurous tale of a little lamb who enjoys a marvelous adventure with the butterflies, bunnies, birds, bees, frogs, and ducks. If he wanders too far, he knows that Mom will be there to guide him home. “And when the moon rises and the stars shine, / home you’ll come, little lamb of mine.” The illustrations are delightful and adorable in this cute romp of a little lamb.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Bedtime, Rhythm & Rhyme

written by Karma Wilson, illus. by Jane Chapman, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, $16.99, 2024, ISBN 978-1-6659-3655-2), 40p, Ages 3-6 yrs

While lumbering through the forest, Bear and his friends discover nests of robin eggs and duck eggs. As Bear drops sweet berries for the soon-to-be chicks, he hears Mama Meadowlark crying for her lost eggs.

So begins a hunt for the missing eggs. When a missing egg is found, Mole paints it with bright colors in case it goes missing again and it to Hare’s basket. Before they can return the basket to Mama, the eggs hatch and new little chicks are presented to their grateful Mama. When Bear returns to his lair, a surprise awaits him—all 17 chicks, the robin, mallard, and meadowlark moms. As always Jane Chapman’s illustrations are realistic, delightful, and soothing.
        Themes: Adventure , Animals Bears, Families, Friendship, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series Other Books in the Series: Bear Can’t Sleep | Bear Counts | Bear Feels Scared | Bear Stays Up for Christmas | Bear Says Thanks | Bear Snores On | Bear Wants More | Bear’s Loose Tooth | Bear Feels Sick | Bear’s New Friend | Bear Sees Colors

Ages 4-8

Written/illus. by Alex Latimer, (Kane Miler/Oxford University Press, $15.99, 2023,
ISBN 978-0-7636-6043-7), 32p, Ages 4-7

For as long as they remember, the Fruits and Vegetables have been selfishly fighting. “Keep your MOLDY Mushroom away from our GORGEOUS Grape!” declares Orange. “Your Grape is GROSS. Our Mushroom is MAGNIFICENT! replies Carrot. Grape and Mushroom decide enough is enough and seek the council of the Wise Old Cheese but wonder if he exists. Thinking that he might live on the Top Shelf of the fridge, they begin the journey, encounter blizzards from the freezer and spilled yogurt quicksand, sneak behind the Bad Eggs and Pickled Onions until they reach a very old, smelly, moldy and sleeping block of cheese. Kids will enjoy the peace mission of two courageous friends to the Top Shelf and the Wise Old Cheese’s solution to end the fighting.
        Themes: Character, Food, Friendship, Heroes, Humor


written by Lisa Frenkel Riddiough, illus. by David Mottram, (Viking Books for Young Readers, 18.99, March 2024, ISBN 978-0-593-20328-6), 32p, Ages 4-7

“Pie-rats sail the starry night, / seeking treasures baked just right. / Pie-rats don't want gold doubloons— / their bounty comes on forks and spoons.” Armed with oversized spoons, forks, and pie servers, these ravenous rodents shout from the ship’s poop deck, main deck, and lookouts, “PIE, PIE, PIE, PIE!” on their journey to find every kind of pie for their ravenous appetites. Braving a typhoon, they find a “Dessert-ed Island”, only to discover a group of “scallywags” (Hamsters) that have consumed every pie. With only crumbs left, they prepare to fight, until they discover other scrumptious deserts on the island—cakes. “Bellies bulging, whiskers sticky, / turns out pie-rats aren’t that picky.” Kids will love the clever illustrations, puns, meringue moon, pie-shaped clouds, and enjoy this delicious tale.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Food, Humor


written/illus. by Aaron Becker, (Candlewick Press, $18.99, March 2024, ISBN 978-1-5362-3768-0), 40p, Ages 5-9

In this epic, wordless picture book, Aaron Becker portrays a futuristic flooded world of biblical Noah proportions, where no humankind exists, only waterlogged structures, zoo animals, and a kind-hearted, gigantic yellow construction robot, NOA, who collects every surviving animal it can locate. After building a sailboat from the storm’s wreckage, he searches for new land and home for them. As they sail away, they encounter a new storm and are shipwrecked on a small pocket of land, only to be rescued by another robot in a huge hot air balloon.

Discover their destination in this elegant tale of caring for others, even in difficult times. Kids will enjoy the magnificent artwork, the minute details (tigers kept in a separate cage), a daring rescue, and final destination.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Fantasy, Heroes, Wordless
Other Books by Aaron Becker: Journey | Quest | Return | The Tree and the River


Written by Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Carmen Mok, (Candlewick Press, $16.99, April 2024,
ISBN 978-1-5362-2279-1), 80p, Ages 5-8

“The old barn was abandoned. Only Orris lived there.” The little rat loves his nest made in a hole in the wall which he papered with pages taken from discarded books and filled with his treasures - a red velvet slipper, a yellow marble, and a sardine can. His solitude is suddenly interrupted when a small owl flies through a hayloft window and its claws are caught in a mousetrap. When Timble asks for help, Orris reminds him that “Owls and rats are enemies. Owls eat rats.” When Timble denies that he would ever hurt him, Orris begins to tell him a tale of a mouse who rescues a lion.

Find out how Orris comes to Timble’s rescue, receives a yummy thank you gift, and at Timble’s request tells him more fun stories. “The owl and the rat stood together on the barn floor. The owl listened, his golden eyes huge and unblinking, as the rat told him a story of a wolf and a raven and a princess.” Young readers and listeners will eagerly look forward to more adventures of Orris and Timble in this early chapter book series.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Virtue & Values

Ages 7-10

(Tales from Deckawoo Drive)

written by Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Chris Van Dusen, (Candlewick Press, $16.99, Dec. 2023,
ISBN 978-1-5362-1023-1), 176p, Ages 6-9

There is an uproar on Deckawoo Drive when Mercy goes missing. Her family, the Watsons, are inconsolable and call the police, fire, and animal control, but they offer no help. Their neighbor, Baby Lincoln, recommends hiring a private investigator, however, when P.I. Percival Smidgely bungles the clues, his pigeon friend, Polly, is a much better help. The neighborhood kids, Frank and Stella Endicott and Horace Broom, manage to follow the trail of hoofprints and the overwhelming aroma of butter to the new Butter Barrel Candy Factory. Guess who they find rolling in butter?

Turns out that Stella and Horace are considering starting their own detective agency, and Baby Lincoln thinks it “would be wonderful to write a story about a smart pigeon and an inept, mustachioed detective who solved crimes together.”
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Chapter Books, Families, Humor, Series
Other books in the Series: A Piglet Named Mercy | Mercy Watson to the Rescue | Mercy Watson Fights Crime | Mercy Watson Princess in Disguise | Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig | Mercy Watson Something Wonky Goes This Way | Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride | A Very Mercy Christmas


written/illus. by Patricia Polacco, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 2020,
ISBN 978-1-5344-2622-1), 48p, Ages 7-10

Based on the author’s childhood memories, Patricia Polacco presents a story of her one year in middle school in Michigan where her father lives. She longs for a school where no one is aware of her difficulty in reading, but n the first day of school her face breaks out in a red rash and the kids call her “Cootie”. Life becomes better when she makes friends with Thom, a talented dancer, and Ravanne a gifted artist. “Thom shows Trisha where her classroom is on the first day of school, and before long the three become inseparable.” Even the school bully cannot separate them as they band together and become best friends, especially in times of bullying.

Readers will enjoy the author’s note concerning what happened in real life to her friends and encouragement for kids who are bullied. “If you are the kind of kid who marches to a different drum like Ravanne, Thom, and me, step light! Strut your stuff with courage and goodwill. That cadence will take you to places that your heart aches for and where your dreams dare to lead you.”
         Themes: Courage, Family, Friendships, Heroes, Virtues & Values
Other Books by the Author: The Keeping Quilt | The Blessing Cup | Fiona’s Lace | The Trees of the Dancing Goats | Babushka’s Doll | My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother | Palace of Books

Ages 10-13

written by Sibéal Pounder, Created by Simon Farnaby & Paul King, (Viking Books for Young Readers, $17.99, December 2023, ISBN
978-0-593-52868-6), 304p, Ages 9+

This backstory to Roald Dahl’s “Willie Wonda and the Chocolate Factory” takes readers back to Willie’s childhood, living with his mother and dreaming of becoming a chocolate maker. Despite being poor, they are happy, and his mother encourages his imagination to see wonder in the smallest everyday things. She also sets aside money from their very meager means to buy one cocoa bean and each year on his birthday creates a chocolate bar for Willie. This special bar contains a secret ingredient that no other chocolate has. Willie dreams one day of travelling to the famous Galeries Gourmet, home to the three most renowned chocolatiers Slugworth, Fickelgruber, and Prodnose.

Years later Willie finally gets his chance to travel to the Galeries Gourmet, however he soon realizes the chocolatiers are very unfriendly and seek to kill him. In his fight to become the best chocolatier, Willie makes new friends at the Scrubitt and Bleacher Guest House and Laundry, owned by a mean landlord, uses his powers of invention to fight the evil he encounters, and meets a strange little orange fellow with green hair, called Lofty.

Kids will thoroughly enjoy this delicious tale of daring dreams, unlikely friendships, and magical chocolate creations, only in the marvelous world of Willy Wonka.
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Food, Heroes, Humor, Values & Virtues

Ages 12-15

CITY SPIES: Mission Manhattan #5
written by James Ponti, (Aladdin, $18.99, Feb. 2024, ISBN
978-1-6659-3247-9), 432p, Ages 12+

The City Spies’ fifth installment finds the young MI6 Secret Agents in Venice on an undercover mission to protect a teenage environmental activist from Brazil at a youth rally. When Rio spots a bomb, his quick thinking saves the environmentalist and is hailed as a hero. To determine who is behind the attempted killing, the City Spies follow her to the U.S. where she is to speak before the United Nations. Unforeseen circumstances disrupt their plans to protect her, when both Mother and Monty are taken out of commission and the spies’ skills are challenged as never before.

Readers will enjoy the connections to world events, dangerous adventures, plot twists and turns, heroic feats, the Motherisms (“The aim is always to stay hidden, so fame in all ways is forbidden.”), and questions about Mother’s family.

“Meanwhile, somewhere in the south of France, Clementine sat in a darkened room, watching it all play out. She had used the tracking device in the phone to locate the FARM. Then, while the team was in the United States, she went to Scotland and planted bugs and miniature cameras throughout the house.”
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Mysteries, Series, Suspense

Other Books in the Series: City Spies #1 | Golden Gate #2 | Forbidden City #3 | City of the Dead #4


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

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


written by Joyce Dunbar, illus. By Deb Gilori, (Houghton Brace Co., 1998), 32p, Ages 3-7

When Willa can't sleep, she turns to big brother Willoughby, who assures her of the happy things that await her in the morning: her chicken slippers waiting just for her feet, the blue-and-white jumpsuit on the chair, a yummy breakfast of fruit and cereal, the basket of toys that dream about the games they will play. Big brother also points out that the morning is waiting for Willa to wake up and enjoy its pleasure. Comforted, Willa and her teddy snuggle with Willoughby for a good night's sleep. A heartwarming read-aloud of sibling love.
         Themes: Bedtime, Families


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

“There’s a mouse in my house. How he got in, I’d like to know. / He’s unpacked all his stuff just so. / That rodent can’t live here, oh no! / I’ll tell him that he has to go.” This sequel to There’s a Bear on My Chair (2016) finds Bear with an unwelcomed guest, who moves in and makes himself comfortable. He hangs pictures on the walls, eats everything in sight, and floods the bathroom floor.

Completely disgusted, Bear suddenly changes his mind when mouse’s friends show up with party hats, treats, and lots of fun. A great read-aloud for story time.
         Themes: Animals, Bears, Friendship, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme
Other Book in the Series: There’s a Bear on My Chair

Ages 4 - 8

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

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


written by Ogden Nash, illus. by Lynn Munsinger, (Little, Brown & Co., 1936), 32p, Ages 5-8

Belinda lives with a collection of extremely brave pets—Ink, a black cat, Blink, a gray mouse, Mustard, a little dog, and one very cowardly dragon named Custard. When a pistol-packing, peg-legged pirate suddenly climbs through Belinda's window, it's Custard who discovers a way to prove his bravery. Even though he has become a real hero, Custard still longs for a nice safe cage.
         Themes: Animals, Classics, FFF, Heroes, Humor


written by Betty Paraskevas, illus. By Michael Paraskevas, (HarperCollins, 1997), 32p, Ages 4-7

What's a bear to do, when he finds himself for sale in the window of a second-hand store on the wrong side of town, all because of an upside-down smile? No longer brown, Tangerine Bear sits on a hard chair, gazing out Mr. Winkle's shop window year after year, longing for a home. The other toys try to cheer him up, but he feels, “doomed to spend the rest of my days with itchy fur, a sore bottom, and no home.” When a stranger wants to buy the little bear, Mr. Winkle realizes that the toys have become his friends and cannot part with them. Now treated with respect and kindness, the Tangerine Bear has a comfortable pillow, his friends nearby, and a forever home in this sweet, touching story of happiness found in the most unlikely places.
         Themes: Bears, Families, Friendship, Toys


written by Cary Fagan, illus. by Gary Clement, (Tundra Books, $18.95, 2007, ISBN 978-0-88776-716-6), 32p, Ages 5-8

As families move to other neighborhoods, the remaining members of a dwindling synagogue are ten old men. Their lonely lives brighten when an intelligent mouse takes up residence among the holy books. After failing to trap the mouse, they decide that one small mouse would be good company; after all, “he’s the first new member we’ve had in thirty-five years.” Day after day, they form a deeper attachment to the mouse. They bring him food and fresh water, provide an old dollhouse for sleeping, and make a bed out of a matchbox. Then her new babies arrive. Now there are too many mice, and the men relocate the family to the country. Loneliness sets in again, until they hear a familiar scritch-scratching and they realize that the empty-nest mother has returned to the synagogue. This humorous tale, full of wit and truths, teach excellent lessons of compassion and friendship.
         Themes: Animals, Friendship, Humor, Values


or How the Wild West Was Tamed

written by John Frank, illus. by Zachary Pullen, (Simon & Schuster, 2004), 48p, Ages 5-8

Who can tame a wild cowboy like Grizz Brickbottom who flosses his teeth with barbed wire and keeps a rattlesnake in his bedroll to warm his feet? Well leave it to a miniature poodle named Foofy, who fears everything out on the range but loves to catch flying dinner plates.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Humor, Pets, Tall Tales, The Wild West


edited by Armand Eisen, (Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 304p, Ages 5-8

“There’s a mouse in my house. How he got in, 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, Classics, Folk Literature

Ages 7-10

TOYS GO OUT: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic
written by Emily Jenkins,illus. by Paul O.Zelinsky,(Schwartz & Wade Books, 2006),128p,Ages 6-10

Stingray, Lumpy, and Plastic are three toys that belong to a little girl. There are times when they are very insecure and uncertain about their role and purpose in her life, but together they face the huge washing machine, school, the bathtub, commercials, dogs, and bathtubs. Shy Lumpy fears the washing machine and is terrified when a peanut butter accident results in her being washed.

It turns out that Frank is a great conversationalist, and Lumpy deliberately causes accidents when he feels like company. Gentle Plastic has an identity crisis until TukTuk, the towel, convinces her that she’s a beautiful rubber ball. Know-it-all Sting Ray has a comeuppance in the bathtub, when she realizes that she cannot float. For all children who belong to toys, this story of three extraordinary friends is a must.
         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Humor, Toys, Series
Other Books in the Series: Toy Dance Party: Being the Further Adventures of a Bossyboots Stingray, a Courageous Buffalo, & a Hopeful Round Someone Called Plastic | Toys Come Home: Being the Early Experiences of an Intelligent Stingray, a Brave Buffalo, and a Brand-New Someone called Plastic | Toys Meet Snow: Being theWintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-loving Rubber Ball


Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall

written by Emily Bearn, illus. by Nick Price, (Little, Brown & Co., 2009), 512p, Ages 6-9

In the dilapidated British home of Arthur and Lucy Mildew and their inventor father, reside a pair of non-adventurous mice, Tumtum and Nutmeg. Their residence, a forgotten broom closet, is as magnificent as the Mildew’s house is shabby. Tumtum and Nutmeg live quietly and secretly help put Rose Cottage in order by rewiring heaters, darning socks, reworking Mr. Mildew’s non-functioning inventions, patching shoes, and making the dollhouse livable. In three stories, with the help of the mouse community, they rescue friends, defeat enemies, emerge victorious, and make their world a better place in which to live.

In the first of three stories, the children’s mouse-hating Aunt Ivy spots the mice and tries to poison Tumtum. The second story concerns Miss Tiptoes and her pogo-bouncing ballerinas, who rescue the adventurous General from the gerbil cage in Arthur’s classroom. The final story surrounds greedy rat pirates, who kidnap Tumtum and Nutmeg and demand a ransom from Arthur and Lucy. These clever stories from England teach that there are consequences to greed and selfishness, and that happiness comes from loyalty and friendship.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Heroes, Series

Ages 8-12

Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

written by Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Timothy Basil Ering, (Candlewick Press, 2003), 272p, Ages 7-12

Despereaux Tilling, an exceptionally tiny, big-eared mouse, is pursuing a quest to rescue Princess Pea from the castle dungeon where she is being held by the devious rat, Roscuro. Unlike his brothers and sisters, Despereaux loves to read and befriends the princess. When he is thrown into prison by the Mouse Counsel, due to his association with humans, Gregory the jailer frees little mouse only because he enjoys Despereaux’s stories. These characters and more come together in a marvelous once-upon-a-time story of hopes and dreams, guaranteed to warm and win your heart.


written by Linda Bailey, illus. by Victoria Jamieson, (Greenwillow Books, $16.99, June 2017, ISBN 978-0-06-244093-8), 336p, Ages 8-12

Eddie, a little green bug, lives with his 53 siblings, parents, and Aunt Min behind the chalkboard in the fourth-grade classroom of Ferny Creek Elementary School. Aunt Min taught Eddie to read and told him about the wonderful classics from Dr. Seuss to E. B. White in the school library. When she fails to return from the library one day, Eddie begins a quest to find her, dodging sneakers, spiders, and falling books, only to find her injured, starving, and hiding on the librarian’s desk in the paper tray. Discovering that the substitute librarian wants to board up the windows, remove all the books, and turn it into a testing center, Eddie begins another quest involving sticky notes, blueberry juice, and licorice. Readers will thoroughly enjoy this unlikely hero, who faces dangers and obstacles with tenacity and perseverance. Endpapers include “Eddie & Min’s Bugliography” featuring over 25 classics for reading and reading aloud.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Heroes, Insects


(The J. J. Tully Mysteries)

written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Kevin Cornell, (HarperCollins, 2012), 144p, Ages 8-11

“It was a hot, sunny day when I met that crazy chicken. So hot that sometimes I think the whole thing may have been a mirage. But mirages don’t have chicken breath, mister.” After seven years of saving lives, all J. J. Tully, a former search and rescue dog, wants is to enjoy retirement in the country. That is until a mother chicken, Mildred, and her chicks, Dirt and Sugar, request his help in finding her other two missing chicks. Grudgingly agreeing to help, with a promise of a cheeseburger, Tully reasons that Vince the Funnel, the housedog with an attitude and a cone-shaped collar from an ear infection, has kidnapped Poppy and Sweetie. During the rescue mission, Tully realizes that he may have been double-crossed, and plans change drastically. Readers and reluctant readers will savor the endearing characters, tongue-in-cheek humor, comical illustrations, and zany sleuthing in this detective tale full of giggles and fun.


written by Julie Falatko, illus. by Colin Jack, (Scholastic, $9.99, May 2018, ISBN 978-1-338-18951-3), 192p, Ages 8-11

Hilarious fun and slap stick comedy abound when two dogs, Waldo and Sassy, realize that their boy, Stewart, has school problems. Deciding to rescue him, they pose as a new student at the Bea Arthur Memorial Elementary School and Learning Commons.

Disguised in an old trench coat with Sassy on the bottom and Waldo on top her shoulders, they walk to school where Waldo registers them for Stewart’s class as Salty Woofadogington from Liver, Ohio (Waldo speaks human which he learned from a video). Turns out they love school, Stewart’s teacher, the class skeleton, the cafeteria, Sloppy Joes, playing Frisbee, and music class.

When they realize that Stewart doesn’t have a topic for a project due the next day, the well-meaning dogs suggest squirrels. The resulting chaos of Stewart’s presentation will have kids reeling with laughter. Black and white illustrations are found on the majority of pages with the dog’s favorite food (just about everything) in bold throughout the story. Anyone with a sense of humor will love this first tale of two wacky dogs and their boy.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Humor, Pets
Other Books in the Series: Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Start a Club by Accident #2 | Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go on a Class Trip #3 | Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Enter Stage Left #4

Ages 10-13

3 BELOW #2: A Floors Novel
written by Patrick Carman, illus. by Chris Turnham, (Scholastic Press, 2012), 240p, Ages 10+

J“The Whippet had always been exclusive and mysterious. It was never really meant to operate like a normal hotel with the burden of real guests.” In this sequel to Floors, eleven-year-old Leo Fillmore, new owner of the Whippet, discovers that its prior owner, Merganzer D. Whippet, neglected to pay $700,000 in back taxes, (actually $7 million, as Merganzer is zero-challenged). Merganzer issues strange instructions to find items and avert disaster. Leo and his best friend Remi venture deep into the hotel’s subbasements in search of four Floogers, a zip rope, and an iron box. This magical, funny, and madcap mystery with its burping robot, green-eyed, orange-tailed monkeys, Flarts Fizz, Realm of Gears, spinning hotel floors, metal dominoes, giant ants, and endearing characters will have fans eagerly awaiting the next installment.
         Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship, Mysteries Series
Others in the Series: Floors #1 | The Field of Wacky Inventions #3


written by John Grisham, (Dutton Children’s Books, $16.99, 2010, ISBN 978-0-525-42384-3), 263p, Ages 11-13

13-year-old Theo Boone, only child of two busy attorneys, knows all the legal jargin, offers advice to his friends, the courthouse is his second home, has an office at his parents’ law firm, and dreams of becoming a famous trial lawyer one day. When a high profile murder trial begins in his hometown of Strattenburg, Theo finds himself deeply involved when he meets a witness, a young illegal immigrant, who wishes to keep his identity confidential. Theo involves his family, and ultimately his friend, the judge. This surprising ending is continued in the next installment. While a tamer read for the Science Fiction/fantasy/Adventure crowd, kids will enjoy the behind-the-scenes intrigue and tension surrounding a murder trial. Plus, Theo is a great role model for kids today.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Heroes, Series
Other Books In the Series: The Abduction #2 | The Accused #3 | The Activist #4 | The Fugitive #5 | The Scandal #6


written by Kathi Appelt, illus. by Jennifer Bricking, (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2013), 384p, Ages 10-14

“For as long as raccoons had inhabited the Sugar Man Swamp, which was eons, they had been the Official Scouts, ordained by the Sugar Man himself back in the year Aught One, also known as the Beginning of Time.” Official Scout raccoons, Bingo and J’miah, are assigned to protect the swamp and report emergencies to the Sugar Man. When they discover that the Farrow Gang, a family of seventeen rampaging wild hogs, are coming to pulverize the swamp and its precious cane brake sugar, Bingo and J’miah risk the Sugar Man’s wrath to wake him.

Twelve-year-old Chapman Brayburn loves the swamp and has grown up listening to stories by his late grandfather about his missing 1949 DeSoto (lost in the swamp sixty years ago), the ancient Sugar Man, and possibly an extinct ivory-billed woodpecker. When the swamp’s crooked owner, Sonny Boy Beaucoup, threatens to evict Chap and his mother to build an alligator wrestling arena and theme park, Chap determines to raise a boatload of cash to save his mother’s Paradise Pies Café.

These colorful characters, complex plots, and ecological message all come together in a wonderful fun-filled finale to save Sugar Man Swamp. Told from the perspective of animals and humans, this hilarious, charming, and thoroughly entertaining tale of friendship, heart, and compassion will charm all who enter its enchanting world. Not to miss reading and reading aloud.
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Fantasy, Humor

Ages 12-15

3 OF A KIND (Knightley & Son)
written by Rohan Gavin, (Bloomsbury, $16.99, Aug. 2016, ISBN 978-1-61963-830-3), 272p, Ages 12-15

Knightley & Son series finds thirteen-year-old Darkus Knightley leaving his detective life behind and trying to live normally, until his father’s housekeeper, Bogna, is kidnapped by the Combination, a criminal organization dedicated to destroying the Knightley family. On a rescue mission with his father, Alan, and stepsister, Tilly, they travel from London to America and encounter several brushes with death on their way to Las Vegas. Although their mission is to rescue Bogna and damage the Combination, Darkus secretly desires to reunite his parents and Tilly searches for the truth behind her mother’s death. Kidnappings, disguises, catastrophisers, narcoleptic trances, and murder should keep kids glued to this page turner.
         Themes: Adventure, Mysteries, Suspense, Series
Other Books in the Series: Knightley & Son #1 | Knightley & Son K-9 #2


written/illus. by Cornelia Funke, (Chicken House, 2010, ISBN 978-0-545-22770-4), 376p, Ages 11+

An abandoned movie theater, a magical carousel, a soft-hearted disguise-obsessed detective, two orphaned run-away brothers, evil relatives, a greedy shop owner, a kind photographer, and street children under the care of a cocky young thief combine to make this tale one of the most fascinating in print.

After their mother’s death, twelve-year-old Prosper and five-year-old Bo run away to Venice and try to avoid their aunt, uncle and a detective, hired to locate them. In Venice, they join street children, who live in an old abandoned theatre under the protection of a youth called the Thief Lord. When offered a job by a nasty shop owner on behalf of his mysterious client, the Thief Lord and kids search for a missing carousel lion wing. According to legend, the wing belonged to a lion, one of four animals attached to a magical merry-go-round, which was donated to an orphanage by a wealthy Venice merchant 150 years earlier. “People said that a few turns on the merry-go-round of the Merciful Sisters made adults out of children and children out of adults.” The missing wing now belongs to a Venice photographer, who joins the children in hunting for the magical carousel.

Find out whose lives are altered by riding it, how the children find a permanent home, and if the young Thief Lord finds happiness. Endpapers contain interesting information and facts about the lovely city of Venice.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Fantasy, Friendship, Mysteries


written by Ian Baucom, illus. by Justin Gerard, (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013), 400p, Ages 11-14

Stories entwine across centuries and cultures when three modern day siblings struggle to save lives and correct an ancient evil that began three hundred years earlier in Italy. In modern day Venice, while their professor father works at a local university, Jared, Shireen, and Miranda visit an elderly shopkeeper. The bookseller gives them magical gifts and an ancient book which holds the story of Rashid, Francesca, and Maria, who were kidnapped by a diabolical monk three hundred years ago.

Little do they realize that their new gifts will bring to life winged lions, talking cats, and mythical fauns, which help them fight corrupt villains, face dangerous circumstances, and give hope to hundreds of children stranded in the twenty-first century. The action, suspense, and exotic creatures will keep kids engrossed in this wonderful European fantasy.
         Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery

Ages 14-17

written by Kat Carlton, (Simon & Schuster, $16.99, Sept. 2013, ISBN 978-1-9424-8172-5), 256p, Ages 14-17

“Can u pick up milk on ur way home?” For sixteen-year-old Kari Andrews, junior at Kennedy Preparatory School in Washington, DC, this is an emergency text—a Code Black warning from her father. Shedding her school uniform for a Goth disguise and picking up her seven-year-old brother, Kari enlists the help of a few friends (makeup artist, computer whiz, and judo expert) to locate her missing parents, declared double agents working for the Russians. Escaping Agency thugs, breaking into CIA headquarters to rescue her mother, discerning friends from enemies, and trying to impress a longtime crush, Kari is determined to exonerate her parents from all false charges. But, are they false? Engaging characters, plot twists and a surprise ending make for a wild and fun teenage ride through espionage territory.
         Themes: Adventure, Families Heroes, Mysteries, Series
Other book in the Series: Sealed With a Lie

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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