Kids Books! Fall 2013
A wonderful read-aloud with bright, friendly illustrations, and catchy rhymes that feature various kinds of working trucks like the street sweeper, the ambulance, and of course, the back-hoe! A great way to introduce young readers to poetry, and a celebration of the hard work that vehicles (and their drivers) do for all of us. We also like the Midwestern connection of both the author and illustrator – Ohio and Indiana!
Rosie Revere is a quiet child, but when everyone else is in bed, she invents all sorts of useful contraptions, but although many of them work, she is discouraged when one doesn’t – until her great-great-Aunt Rosa steps in to help. A marvelously illustrated case for never giving up, for the importance of sharing your particular gifts with the world, and for appreciating the treasures the older folks in our families bring.
Hip and bright, with just a touch of good-natured snark, this storybook points out that being kind, even when you’re not always getting your way, is a pretty great way to live. Goat is the cool kid who feels that his status is threatened by all the awesome stuff that newcomer Unicorn can do. But when the two team up, they find they can do great things together.
With illustrations in a muted palette that evokes a dreamlike yesteryear, this quiet, rhyming bedtime story is sure to be a classic! As each child falls asleep, they are met by their very own dream animal who takes them to Dreamland where they have wonderful adventures.
In this photographic fantasy with a Nordic theme, a young girl looks forward to Christmas as she performs small kindnesses for the folk around her, but more than anything, she wants to be one of Santa’s helpers. So she sets out on a great adventure to the North Pole, and finds new friends and helpers along the way.
Spirin, one of the finest illustrators working today, does it again with better-than-real-life paintings of frogs from around the world in their native habitats. Each spread features a different species, up close and personal, with a paragraph of descriptive text. As much a coffee-table art book as it is a paean to our amphibian friends.
The hottest book in our kids section this fall, this is, yes, another alphabet board book, but with some great twists! Each letter is featured in a 4 page spread with the middle leaf being a cutout of the letter which hides an eponymous scene behind it. Each scene has clues on the previous page that will point alert readers to the letter’s word on the next page.
I gobbled The Peculiar, and its sequel The Whatnot in a week-long feast of fiction deliciousness! A riveting blend of steampunk, Dickens, and Grimm with plucky children enduring their misadventures with courage and wit, as they navigate an alternate world where the fairies inadvertently invaded England some centuries earlier, and are now moving to conquer it using Peculiars — half-human half-fairy children.
Starring Dodge, the retired police dog and his girl, Cassie, the daughter of a police officer, this series for earlier chapter book readers is a real standout. As Dodge puts it, “My girl didn’t have training, but she had something just as good. Instincts. We both smelled a case, and we kept sniffing. And listening.” And by sniffing and listening, the duo is able to solve a series of tough mysteries. There are now 3 books in the series.
When a young science fair winner and his closest competition, the edgy new girl in town are invited to his uncle’s mysterious factory, they find that the Creatures responsible for the wonderful inventions coming out of the research-and-development department are at risk of losing their jobs. The human children set out to help the creatures make a fabulous new invention that will keep the number-crunching mucky-mucks from shutting down the whole department! All about acceptance and teamwork, this is a great pick for either middle grade readers or any-aged listeners! Plenty of action, lots of laughs, and a big dose of imagination.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (along with Black Hearts in Battersea and Nightbirds Over Nantucket)
I was reminded about The Wolves of Willoughby Chase again when I was reading The Peculiar (see above). Written in 1962, this has a gothic Victorian atmosphere, with the same kind of brave and resourceful children who find themselves all alone in a frightening world, at the mercy of the adults around them. Written in somewhat old-fashioned language, this may be a little challenging for some readers, but for the more adventurous, the rewards of this series are many.