The children’s novel The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs (published 1921) provides a unique early twentieth century portrayal of a particular summer of two city teenagers spending a summer with a dull but wealthy uncle, the intrigue of the story is predictable and lacks true excitement. Children today will not be impressed with the outdated

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Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (1998 Newbery Medal Winner) is a young adult novel in poetry about the difficulties of dust bowl living in the 1930s. A changing industry, magnified by severe drought and the Great Depression, meant that farming in rural Oklahoma was more difficult than ever. But Billie’s difficulties are compounded.

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I love Jane Yolen’s talent for writing extends from children’s picture books and poetry to middle grade and older books! Her books almost always seem to delight or intrigue me, and her recent contribution to the middle grade bookshelf is no exception. Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen (Macmilian Children’s Publishing Group, October 2014) is a fantasy novel

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In Stop, Thief! by Heather Tekavec and illustrated by Pierre Pratt (Kids Can Press, August 2014), the farmer entrusts Max the dog with a special mission: find the thief that is stealing all the carrots, berries, beans, and cherries. Full of confidence, Max chases a bug, believing it to be the thief. Of course, when he

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A 1959 Newbery Honor book, Along Came a Dog by Meindert DeJong is a simple story of an unlikely friendship. Most of the action is between animals; therefore, there is little dialog. But despite the slower pace of the story, the author creates a moving tale of friendship and support that I really enjoyed reading.

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All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri (Little, Brown and Company 2011) is a sweet and simple farm animal bedtime book emphasizing the fact that “Little ones love kisses.” Each two-page spread tells the kinds of kisses the little animal loves, and it ends, of course, with the little child being kissed goodnight as well.

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The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene (Walker and Company, September 2011) is the story of a princess and a pig whose parents believe they are in a fairy tale. In a rather amusing switch, a baby princess is swapped with a baby piglet. The farmer and his wife are amazed

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Hogwash! by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jim McMullan (Little, Brown, June 2011) is a silly book about a farmer who wants to give the pigs a bath. With Karma Wilson’s signature rhyming style (as in Bear Snores On and The Cow Loves Cookies), she brings a silly farm to life with humor. To my son’s delight, by the end,

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Mr. Duck Means Business by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Jeff Mack (Simon and Schuster, January 2011), tells the story of a very cranky duck who does not want his silent pond disturbed. When the nearby farm animals begin using his pond for their weekly swim, Duck is not happy. That is until he realizes how much he

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Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney takes its story from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It is the story of the rooster named Chanticleer who let himself be flattered by a cunning fox. He is saved in the end, but the reader learns the lesson. There are few things about it that don’t sit well for me

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