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The Village that Vanished


The Village that Vanished

by Ann Grifalconi,
illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2002

This original story reads like an African folk tale and stirs the imagination of how it could be true.

During the time when slavers stole families from African villages, young Abikanile watched her mother pray for magic to protect their village. When they were warned that slavers were coming, Abikanile’s mother decides they must disappear and leave the village behind. In fear they discuss, burning the village, but Aabikanile’s mother says they must dismantle their straw hutches and scatter the materials in the woods. They do so, and disappear to hide in the forest.  Unable to find anyone, the slavers leave, sure someone had been there.  And that is how the village of Yao vanished and all survived.

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One Happy Tiger

One Happy Tiger
by Catherine Rayner
Tiger Tales, 2017

A hard-bound, toddler-proof, beautifully illustrated counting book featuring a happy-to-be-alive tiger.  It’s so perfect, your toddler will want to carry it around and read it again and again.

The book begins with “One sad tiger sitting alone.”  Then the tiger meets two friends, “One thoughtful tiger and two bright bugs.”  As the tiger meets new friends or explores new items, we explore his feelings as we count to ten.  Award-winning artist Catherine Rayner’s illustrations capture the heart.  They are simple, relaxing on the eyes, and somehow exquisite. The tiger is friendly-looking and happy to meet and greet the world.  The book gently introduces insects, birds, feelings, and numbers.

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Jabari Jumps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jabari Jumps

by Gaia Cornwall
Candlewick Press, 2017

First time author/illustrator Gaia Cornwall captures the pride, the boasting, the fear, the concentration and the joy of Jabari’s first jump from a diving board.  She also captures Jabari’s dad supporting his son with just the right amount of visibility in the background.  A beautiful book on Jabari’s all important day.

After completing his lessons and passing his swim test, Jabari boldly proclaims, “I’m jumping off the diving board today.”  “Looks easy,” he says, watching other kids jump.  But looking up the tall ladder, he has other thoughts.  He allows other kids to go before him, while he thinks “about what kind of special jump” he wants to do.  When they are no kids left, he starts to climb. His dad gives him an out, suggesting he could take a “tiny rest.”  Jabari thinks, “tomorrow might be a better day for jumping.”

A heartwarming story, perfect for new swimmers.

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Little Wolf’s First Howling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Little Wolf’s First Howling

By Laura McGee Kvasnosky, illustrated by Kate Harvey McGee
Candlewick Press, 2017

It’s Little Wolf’s first night to howl, he can’t wait!  When Little Wolf, asks, “Can I howl now?”  Big Wolf suggests he listen to a demonstration.  So thrilled, Little Wolf takes a deep breath, lifts his muzzle and howls.  Little Wolf tries again, adding his own flavor to the howl, but Father says.  “It is not proper howling form.” Even though he knows it’s not proper form, Little Wolf lets loose with his own howl.  Although it is not correct, Big Wolf’s tail wags and ears twitch and he joins in with a howl like Little Wolf’s.

An endearing story of being patient when teaching a child new skills.  Filled with onomatopoeia, children will love the sounds and love the warm illustrations set in Yellowstone Park.

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Dad and the Dinosaur

Dad and the Dinosaur
by Gennifer Choldenko, illustrated by Dan Santat
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2017

While Nicholas was afraid of many things, his dad was afraid of nothing.  When Nicholas carried his dinosaur, he was just as brave as his dad.  While playing soccer, Nicholas and dinosaur scored a goal, but after the game, Nicholas could not find his dinosaur.  When his father got home and saw that something was the matter, Nicholas finally confessed it was his dinosaur who was brave and he was lost.  They left late to find the dinosaur, his father telling mom “it’s guy stuff,” keeping Nicholas’ secret.

The honor and respect between the two males is heartwarming.

Award winning author and illustrator teamed up to create this powerful book about a father-son relationship.

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Dad School

Dad School
by Rebecca Van Slyke, illustrated by Priscilla Burris
Doubleday Books for Young Readers

With Van Slyke’s playful and innocent words and Burris’ funny and loving illustrations, this book is a winner!  When Lucas goes to school, he imagines his dad goes to ‘Dad School’.  He just knows it’s where Dad learns to fix boo-boos, make huge snacks and throw kids up in the air and catch them.  Dad and young one will laugh together at the humorous illustrations of dad being playful like a kid at school. Lucas is sure his dad was the best student.  But, dad says his favorite, best and most important job is…you guessed it.  A delightful, loving book, perfect for dad and a young one.

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There, There

There, There
by Tim Beiser, illustrated by Bill Slavin
Tundra Books, 2017

As half the work of a picture book is the illustrations, this book’s textured, rich acrylic pictures, kept me turning the pages, again and again.  I was not familiar with Bill Slavin‘s books, but I’m reading them now.  A Canadian artist, he’s won numerous awards.

The text, written in well-done rhyme also pulled me in.  The story features a whiney rabbit who complains of just about everything, and a patient bear who accepts his friend’s quirks up to a point.  Tired of all his complaining, he marches his friend out and show’s him an earthworm who spends all his time in dirt, has no arms or legs and gets happy when he mistakes his own rear end for a friend!  Fortunately, rabbit gets it, and suddenly the day turns warm.  But the worm, tossed into the dirt was insulted!  The story ends on a humorous note in perfect rhyme.

A fresh story with a good lesson.

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Rolling Thunder (A Memorial Day story)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rolling Thunder

by Kate Messner, illustrated by Greg Ruth
Scholastic Press, 2017

The story is of a boy who rides with his Vietnam vet grandfather on the 30th Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom, done on Memorial Day each year.  The story captures the importance the ride is for the grandfather who rides to honor friends lost.  Riding in on a motorcycle, they arrive at a campground and meet up with others.  In the morning, a long motorcycle convoy arrives at The Wall, where names are touched and prayers are said. The story is written in perfect rhyme and emphasizes the importance of Memorial Day and honoring those who fought for our freedom.  The illustrations tell many other stories, featuring other soldiers, family members at the wall as well as a star-lit sky signifying the vastness of the lives lost and honor earned.  A fresh story about the importance of the holiday.

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The Skydiving Beavers, A True Tale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Skydiving Beavers, A True Tale
by Susan Wood, illustrated by Gysbert van Frankenhuysen
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

A recounting of a true story that happened in 1948 in McCall, Idaho, when, after the war, people and houses were taking over the beaver’s territory.  It soon became apparent that beavers and people don’t mix well when dammed water flooded roads and land for food became land for houses.  Elmo Heter, a staff person for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, decided they needed to move the beavers to some open land, many miles away.  But how? After many ideas and several practice parachute jumps with Geronimo, a senior beaver, Elmo had a plan.  That fall they successfully moved a beaver colony to an open area.

Well-written, well-paced out, and written in a friendly voice, this is a delight to read.

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Sea Otter Heroes, The Predators that Saved an Ecosystem

Sea Otter Heroes, The Predators that Saved an Ecosystem
by Patricia Newman
Millbrook Press, 2017

Why is the Elkhorn Slough, an estuary, where freshwater mixes with ocean water, contain abundant meadows of seagrass, whereas nearly every other estuary on the Pacific coast does not?  This book tells the story of a scientist who wondered why and studied the phenomenon until he knew.

With generous photos, charts, graphs, and ‘clues’, author Patricia Newman keeps readers curious and turning the pages, while she discusses each hypothesis the scientist made and discarded during his research. In clear, age-appropriate language, Newman invites readers to do their own thinking.  She shows them how much it works to reach the “aha” moment and how much more meticulous work it takes to prove a hypothesis.  The book discusses how the findings are applied to other environments.  It also includes a section that invites readers to rethink their relationship with wildlife.   Sea Otter Heroes is an excellent introduction to science, scientific method, and environmental studies.  The science was performed off Monterey Bay, California.

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