Category Archives: Ages 4-8

The Almost Terrible Playdate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Almost Terrible Playdate
by Richard Torrey
Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2016

A visual delight where illustrations exaggerate the story told in words.

A boy and girl try to figure out what to do together, only each has their own specific, yet very different, ideas. After ‘arguing’ back and forth what they each want to share, they get mad at each other and play alone.  But, after a while, that gets boring.  They soon start finding small ways they can share playtime and end up having a great time.  But they start all over when they meet up again the next day.

A delight to read the words said to each other, watch each child’s body language and read each child’s imaginative thoughts showing what they are really thinking.  The illustrations tell the entire story visually.

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Invisible Lizard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invisible Lizard
Kurt Cyrus, illustrated by Andy Atkins
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

The agony of not being noticed is beautifully portrayed in Invisible Lizard., as is the satisfaction of having friends.

Napoleon, the chameleon, tries everything he can think of to attract the attention of other potential playmates like parrot and monkey, but, as readers soon learn, chameleons move extremely slow and he goes unnoticed. He builds a welcome mat, birdbath and makes faces, but no one sees him.  Finally, he resorts to the one thing he can do fast and he gets noticed.

Richly illustrated in color and details, the book is a feast for the eyes. Searching for the characters, it’s a bit like reading Where’s Waldo.

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The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way)

by Patrick McDonnell
Little, Brown and Company, 2017

Illustrated in clean, crisp drawings, we follow a little red cat who decides to go for a run.  But yikes! He runs into an alligator. Then a bear chases the alligator and cat.  Then a chicken follows them. They run through the entire alphabet, slipping on Ice, swinging through Jungles and all the way back to where he began in his bed, where he Yawns and sleeps (ZZZZ’s).  Clever, fun, imaginative; there’s ‘energy’ on each page. The drawings leave it up to the reader to discover each letter’s “word”, although words are given at the end.

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She Persisted, 13 American Women Who Changed the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Persisted, 13 American Women Who Changed the World
by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
Philomel Books, 2017

This is a wonderful collection of American female heroes, written with the theme that each ‘persisted’ to reach their dreams. The collection includes women from several races, a woman with disabilities, an anesthesiologist, as well as well-known and little-known women from the past and present.  It’s easy, delightful, and inspiring to read.  Geared for young readers it’s a perfect way to help girls launch their dreams.

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Grandma’s Tiny House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma’s Tiny House, A Counting Story!
by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Priscilla Burris
Charlesbridge, 2017

This counting story is perfect for large families, where everyone piles into Grandma’s house for the holidays.  Author JaNay Brown-Wood creatively crafted a story starting with one grandma, two turkeys and three neighbors and with scrumptious smells, slapping high-fives, and mini stampedes, she cleverly moves up through “Nine chatting aunties”, “thirteen thrilled nieces” and “fifteen hungry grandkids”.  But, “How will they all eat in this too-tiny place?”  One of the clever grandkids has just the answer!  A fun, family story kids will want to hear again and again, if only to find themselves in the pictures!

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Six Dots, A Story of Young Louis Braille

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six Dots, A Story of Young Louis Braille
by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
Winner of a Schneider Family Book Award!

Children will love young Louis who is bright and eager for life.  But then Louis’ world turns dark when he becomes blind.  Still eager for life, he learns to walk with a cane, whistle to hear if something is in his path and read letters made of leather, nails or straw.  Dominoes, with dots he can feel, becomes a favorite game.  Louis wants to learn and is frustrated when he cannot learn to read like everyone else.  He finds a way to attend the Royal School for the Blind in Paris.  When he finally gets to read, the books are large, clunky and few, for all the letters are raised on the page.  About that time a French army captain invented a code that can be read by touch, not by sight. Using a pattern of dots for sounds, Louis learns to read through this method.  When Louis was about 12 he decided he could make his own reading system and worked for 3 years, primarily by himself, to create what is now the Braille system.  He changed the world, for the blind.

The story is fascinating, the illustrations beautifully show Louis’ excitement, eagerness, and earnestness for learning. An inspiring story with more history about Louis and his Braille system included in the back matter.

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Origami Peace Cranes, Friendships take Flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Origami Peace Cranes, Friendships take Flight
by Sue DiCicco
Tuttle Publishing

Emma just moved to a new school and was sure no one would like her. Her hair was too plain, her dress was too plain, even her lunch was too plain. Several kids opened conversations, but Emma assumed they were better than her and didn’t respond.  The class learned to make peace cranes and when Emma returned to her desk, she found a desk full of cranes with personal notes.   She began to think that, “maybe, just maybe, me is enough!”  A wonderful story that gives voice to all the ways kids think no one will like them.  Included in the book are a pack of origami sheets and instructions on how to make a peace crane to share with others.

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The Hawk of the Castle, a Story of Medieval Falconry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hawk of the Castle, a Story of Medieval Falconry
by Danna Smith, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Candlewick Press, 2017

This exquisitely illustrated book shares a tale of falconry set in the medieval days. Author Danna Smith was trained on falconry as a child, and provides an exciting, insightful experience of hunting with falcons.

With easy to understand rhyme, repetition and illustrations, the youngest readers can follow the basic story.  Readers learn how falcons are trained, how the birds are lifted into flight, how they soar above the castle, and how they capture their prey.  As young readers are ready to know more, each page provides explanations of terms, equipment and insights about falcons.  A generous afterward includes many more historical and current details about the sport.

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Love, Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Santa
by Martha Brockenbrough, illustrated by Lee White
Arthur A Levine Books, 2017

This book is sure to become a classic, as it dispels the myth of Santa in a loving, affirming way.  It will be a hit with kids, as half the pages invite children to open letters tucked inside envelopes.

Beginning when Lucy was five, she wrote a letter to Santa, and Santa wrote back. When she was six, she wrote another letter, and Santa wrote back.  When she was seven, she started a letter, but…asking for stuff didn’t matter as much.  By the time she was eight, she suspected that Santa was not real and the presents had come from mom.  Her mother wrote a letter back explaining Santa’s job is not to deliver presents, but to help us ‘believe’. Her mother tells Lucy she is now on Santa’s team. A touching story that reframes ‘Santa’ in a new, fresh way.

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A Voyage in the Clouds, The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Voyage in the Clouds, The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785
By Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Margaret Ferguson Books, 2016

Mix in a small bit of history from 1785, two partners trying to best one another, grown men in underwear, and two men literally ‘peeing’ from a hot air balloon ride to save their lives, and readers will have a fun read on the First International Flight by Balloon. In this ‘mostly’ true story, Englishman Dr Jeffries and Monsieur Blanchard, the pilot, join together to make the first hot air balloon flight between countries.  They start in England and cross the English Channel/La Manche, to land in France.

The story opens when both men claim they will be the first to step off the aerial car in France, and it ends with both men insisting the other goes first.  Find out how they both try to best each other, and how and why they join together in the end.

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