Tag Archives: best seller

Possum Magic

Possum Magic
By Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas
Harcourt, 1983

Possum Magic is a best seller in Australia, written by their beloved children’s writer Mem Fox.

Hush and Grandma Poss live in a tree.  Grandma Poss knows magic to turn wombats blue and kookaburras pink.  But best of all, she turns Hush invisible, to protect her from the dangers of the bush, like hungry snakes!  One day, Hush wonders what she looks like, for she cannot see herself in the pond.  Grandma Poss searches her books for the removal spell, but cannot find it.  She remembers it has something to do with food, human food.  So they ride a bicycle to Australia’s major cities, trying out Anzac biscuits, monray and Minties.  Nothing works, so they head off to cities in the far north.  Find out what Australian foods she eats to regain her visibility.

Possum Magic’s whimsical illustrations are endearing to readers.  The story is a great way to introduce young readers to Australia, the animals and foods different than those in the states.  It includes a glossary explaining Australian terms, and a map showing the cities and foods.

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The Girl in the Golden Bower

The Girl in the Golden Bower
By Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jane Dyer
Little Brown, 1994

This original magical fairy tale is a rich, full and satisfying story by master storyteller Jane Yolen, and exquisite artist Jane Dyer.

A lost young woman, is cared for by a woodsman, and they eventually marry and have a girl, Aurea, which means gold.  An evil Sorceress believes a magic charm resides at their home.  She becomes the cook and caretaker for the woman, who has become ill.  The Sorceress shuns Aurea, and creates marvelous meals for the two adults.  On her death bed, the woman gives Aurea a comb and says, “It is all I can leave you, my child, all that is mine alone to give.  It belonged to my mother, who gave it to me.  It will watch over you when I cannot.”  The sorceress could not get the woodsman to tell her of the charm and he ‘disappears’.  The evil woman began properly caring for the child, but Aurea did not trust the cook.  The girl, instead, befriended the forest animals.  At last the sorceress put a sleeping spell on the girl and returned a week later to retrieve the comb, but instead a young woman lay in a golden bower.  The evil woman started removing the golden items.  In time, and in the ways of magic tales, all is turned right and the young girl and her grandfather live happily ever after.  But not so, the sorceress.

An enchanting tale, more for the 6-8 year olds, the book takes readers to another time, another land where magic exists and good always wins out.  Reading The Girl in the Golden Bower and savoring each page’s beauty is an experience and joy.  This 20-year old book is still a strong seller, one that belongs on nearly every girl’s shelf.

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Z is for Moose

Z is for Moose
By Kelly Bingham, illustrated by Paul O Zelinsky
Greenwillow Books 2012

This alphabet book includes a director and a long cast of characters including a moose who loves the spotlight. He enters the scene at the letter D, and Director Zebra orders him off stage; M is Moose’s letter. Moose enters E’s frame to apologize, taking the attention from Elephant. Eager to be in the spotlight again, Moose appears on the H page, asking “Is it my turn yet?” and again is ordered off. He hides behind the Ice Cream and runs across a Jar, pops out of a Kangaroo’s pouch, and announces on L’s page that his page is next. Only the director had decided to use Mouse for M. The Moose declares it was his page, but the director says no. The moose charges across the O and P pages. Hilariously funny, the Moose appears on every page, becoming sad by the time he reaches the X page, for he has to admit that he will not be used for his own page. But Zebra Director finds a way to get him on stage legitimately. In between all the interruptions and commotions of Moose and Zebra, readers learn the alphabet!

Find out why this has become a best seller.

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A Sick Day for Amos McGee

A Sick Day for Amos McGee
By Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press 2010

This is one of those quiet stories that goes straight to the heart; it sold well beyond original expectations.

The story is about Amos McGee, a zookeeper, and the animals he cares for. Some animals are shy, some are afraid of the dark and some like to read, all characters in which a child can find him or herself. One day Amos stays home sick. After waiting and waiting for Amos, the animals bus to his house—yes the elephant and rhinoceros, too! They come in and spend their day with Amos. After a cup of tea and bed time story, they pile in Amos’ room and all go to sleep. A perfect book to quiet a child, a perfect book for a sick child.

The illustrations match the book’s tone and humor and won the Caldecott Medal and Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award.

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Andy, That’s My Name

Andy, That’s My Name
by Tomie DePaola
Prentice-Hall Books for Young Readers, 1973

This small book about a small boy making his way through life has lasted the years for it speaks to one of the common coming-of-age experiences, standing up for yourself.

Andy, a young toddler, pulls a wagon containing the letters of his name.  Older kids, a bit bored at that moment, spot the letters and, ignoring Andy, begin removing the letters from his wagon to make new words with their letters.  Andy asks for his name back, but the group refuses and they begin to make new, longer words.  Andy watches nearby, and tries to capture his letters as the others toss them aside.  The kids rudely take his ‘y’.  Andy tries to pull his letter back as the older kids crawl on top of the new words they made.  Finally Andy has had it and announces he is going home.  “I may be little,” he says, “but… I’m very important!”  And he returns home to enjoy his name letters.  So simply told.  So powerful for the very youngest.

Andy is written and illustrated by award-winning artist Tomie DePaola,

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From Head to Toe

From Head to Toe
by Eric Carle
Harper-Collins Children’s Books 1997

Listed in 2014 as one of the top eleven books that should be included on every child’s bookshelf, I picked up this book and found out why. It introduces a child to animals, to different parts of their body and invites them to move their body, too. The story, along with Eric Carle’s bright vivid illustrations, enlists a child’s imagination and physical experience to learn more about themselves.

A book to engage a toddler’s movement with reading a book. A brilliant book for the youngest readers and listeners; a perfect book for every child’s library.

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Frederick

Frederick
by Leo Lionni
Alfred A. Knopf, 1967
Caldecott Honor Book

This book is about the quiet person who studies the environment around him/her and shares it when the time is right. It’s my personal favorite of Leo Lionni’s books.

The story is about a family of five mice who work hard all year to survive the long winter. Frederick seemingly does nothing to help, and when asked, he says he is gathering sun rays, colors, and words to share during the cold winter months. Winter comes and when food runs out, the mice ask Frederick for help and Frederick reminds them of the warm, colorful days and entertains his fellow mice. His fellow mice accept and benefit from his efforts. This is his contribution to their survival during the bleakest of winter.

This story speaks to the quiet part of a child, a part often overlooked by our American culture.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle
Philomel Books, 1969

I now understand why this book continues to be a very big seller year after year—it has everything to fascinate a child.

First, on the cover, appears a very large green caterpillar, with a clashing red head. On the fourth page in, the largest, warmest, friendliest sun glows. Then—so cool—an actual hole is punched in an apple. And holes are punched in pears, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, and all of a child’s favorite foods, until the eating caterpillar gets a tummy ache. Then the reader learns how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. The art looks like kid art. Simple, kid friendly, engaging with cool holes-—a ‘must have’ for the earliest of readers. I’m sure some can count the holes, count the fruits and practice math, too. A brilliant book for pre-readers.

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Minerva Louise at School

Minerva Louise at School

Minerva Louise at School
Janet Morgan Stoeke
Dutton Children’s Books, 1996

Minerva Louise at School is about a chicken who goes out for her morning walk and happens upon a new barn (school). She interprets what she sees in her own terms of barn life. She worries about a baby chick (fish) and fluffs up a nest with straw (pencils). It’s a clever book on perspectives and funny in its innocence, for the chicken has no idea the school was meant for children.

This classic story is one of a dozen Minerva Louise books available. The power of Minerva Louise stories is how the illustrations show a story different from the words. Simple, loosely drawn illustrations in bright colors attract the attention of the youngest readers.

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