Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson is part a mystery story but also part a story of friendship in a friendly forest. Detective Gordon, a toad, is the only officer in the forest, and he sits alone at his desk. When a hungry and lonely forest mouse is caught stealing nuts from squirrel’s winter
Power Up: A Visual Exploration of Energy by Shaker Paleja and Glenda Tse is a visually appealing and easily accessible book about energy for the upper elementary school and middle school student to enjoy perusing. Each page provides a huge amount of detail but the format of the pages gives the book a casual feel
Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Velchin is a lighthearted look at a serious time in Russian history. From the other books I reviewed this week about Pakistan child slavery and the Sudanese civil war, I have had a heavy week for reviewing difficult subjects. Breaking Stalin’s Nose, on the other hand, is a completely fictional story, but it still
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord (published 1984) tells of one girl’s journey from her traditional Chinese home to New York City in 1947. How can Shirley hold on to her heritage in such a strange land?
The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron (originally published 1987) is a clever early chapter book about a boy and his younger brother, along with the crazy stories Julian makes up to explain the world around him. When seven-year-old Julian does not know the answer to his three-year-old brother Huey’s questions, he makes up stories! For example, he tells his
In Illinois, there is a student vote on favorite books for Kindergarten through third graders called the Monarch awards. Although Raisin is not in public school in which the voting takes place, he has enjoyed browsing the shelves at the library for new favorites! Here are three that I really enjoyed too.
Sometimes we underestimate the attention span of our youngest children. When I saw the first Bird and Squirrel book, I thought of my 7-year-old son, someone who loves reading but may need a nudge to get interested in a new series or even genre. He has not had much experience with graphic novels, so I thought
Two years ago, I wrote about how much I enjoyed the first of the Precious Ramotswe Mysteries, a new series by Alexander McCall-Smith sharing the childhood mysteries featuring Precious Ramotswe, the future Ladies’ Detective. I enjoyed the second and third in the series as well. Simple mysteries give the young children reading a chance to feel
What is Poetry? by Trudi Strain Truit (Lerner Publishing, September 2014) is an attractive nonfiction book for early readers. It teaches common types of figurative language and common formats of poetry (free verse, rhyming, and so forth). Even better, it provides sample poems to demonstrate the concepts. It has large text for the young reader, a
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet (published 1948) won the Newbery Honor upon publication. It is an adventure story about a child and geared for a child. In this story, a child named Elmer Elevator (called “my father” throughout the book) befriends an alley cat, who tells him of a captured dragon forced to
Rejoice! Deckawoo Drive, home street of the beloved pig Mercy Watson, is now open to stories once again! My son loves Mercy Watson, and every time he rereads the series (he’s read them all 5 or 6 times, I think), he asks, “Has this author written any more about Mercy Watson? I want more!” It
When I saw The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber (originally published 1950; republished New York Review of Books) had an introduction by Neil Gaiman and was a part of The New York Review Children’s Collection, I was intrigued. The Thirteen Clocks is a short and bizarre fairy tale. Or fantasty story. Neil Gaiman describes it as
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