Thursday, December 31, 2009

Party Time!

If only librarians,teachers, archivists, researchers, fellow writers and other creative souls, encouraging editors, booksellers and publishers who really, really care about books, and family members and friends who love and support writers unconditionally could celebrate the ringing in of this new decade together,


Happy new year and happy reading.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One Baby, One Rocking Chair, One Book

Winter nights are great for moms and dads who like to read to their babies. Parents build memories and babies build vocabulary. All might decide that learning through books is a good way to spend a cold night or a rainy night--or any other kind of night. I don't believe watching TV together accomplishes the same thing, but that's my personal bias.

It's surely warm in the jungle while we in the US are shivering, so here's a picture book to take you there.


As the title promises, this is a bedtime book. It's also a counting book. And a rhyming book. And more. The author introduces animals one doesn't often tell a baby about: One rhino, three leopards, six peahens. There are familiar animals, too, like monkeys, ducks, and elephants. Number ten is a gatefold page, a visual surprise. The author is also the illustrator. His fine art creates a jungle setting both lush and soothing. By the time the elephants lumber into view and join the mass slumber party, the entire jungle is asleep --and perhaps the baby on the lap as well.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009


If the song is right, that people who need people are the luckiest people in the world, bored people must be the unluckiest people in the world. Readers are never bored, just between books. If boredom has set in at your house during this Christmas holiday or winter break or time that everyone is home and climbing the walls, try reading. A good book can be difficult to find if your potential readers have made up their minds there is no such thing, but don't give up. Keep trying. Bring them home, leave them lying around. Books, not kids. A little boredom might drive non-readers to pick up a book when no one is looking. This blog might introduce you to an author or a title you wouldn't have discovered otherwise. I hope. The following title is a new release from Egmont.

CANDLE MAN: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance by Glen Dakin

This is surely considered a “boy” book. It has lots of slime and goop, heart stopping action, no romance or gushy girl stuff, and a 13 year old boy who comes out of enforced seclusion to discover he can save his friends with a touch. But he has to be careful whom he touches. Enemies only. I won’t tell you why. Girls will probably like this book, too. This one did. The good news is, this is only Book One. The author promises more.

Do you have an 11-13 year old reluctant reader at your house?

Monday, December 28, 2009


On Christmas Eve 1914 the British and German armies faced each other across the Western Front and a strip of land called No Man’s Land. The men heard each other singing familiar carols, even though they didn’t understand each other’s words. By the end of Christmas Day, some of the opposing groups of men had declared a truce, met each other to exchange food and gifts, and in spite of orders from their superiors, refused to fire AT each other, even going so far as to let each other know when they’d have to fire so the men would be sure to be in their trenches with their heads down. Kids who see war glorified in movies or video games might find this sobering account of what the soldiers in the trenches cared about a thought-provoking black and white contrast with full color animation.

TRUCE by Jim Murphy
An award winning author of nonfiction, Murphy's window on World War I brings this conflict as close as the accounts we see of current wars on today's newscasts. I've heard about this truce and read brief articles, but here is something I didn't realize: This Christmas truce was unique in that it was not arranged by the officers but came about through actions of the men under them. This truce also lasted longer than other truces, such as the ones during the Civil War which were arranged so burials could take place. Those truces also came with time limits. This one did not. Along some sections of the Front, there was no truce. Along another section, the truce lasted until March.

Before you turn your reluctant reader boy loose with this one, read it yourself and be prepared for questions.

In the meantime, in a new year, we can hope and pray for a truce that has no end.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Something about peppermints endears this sweet striped candy to everyone. Who doesn’t have a peppermint story?

THE PERILS OF PEPPERMINTS by Barbara Brooks Wallace.
In 1980 when Barbara Brooks Wallace wrote PEPPERMINTS IN THE PARLOR, it wasn’t enough for her readers. They wanted more. In 1993 the book was reissued. Those new readers wanted more, too. Finally, in 2003, the sequel appeared. This is not the usual Christmas peppermint story. How peppermints figure into the plot is quite unexpected, as any good story would have it.

I’m grateful to 4th grader Carolyn Calvert-Grimes for speaking up for this book so today’s readers can discover it, too. The main character is plucky, resourceful, and the ending turns out to be about as satisfying as, well, as many peppermints as Mom would let you have plus a few extras.

And then there are all those other books with alliterative titles that Mrs. Wallace has written. Although it took her a few years to write the long awaited peppermint sequel, her pen was not idle. There are hours of great reading just waiting for today’s readers.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is a Book a True Gift?

My mother read to us beside the Christmas tree every night from the time the tree was decorated until Christmas night. Then the holidays changed gear, visits from the relatives took over, and this lovely time together was packed away with the tree ornaments for the next year. I'd forgotten about this until I read THE TRUE GIFT and it made me think this was the perfect book for reading aloud to one child or the whole family, maybe as a holiday ritual before bedtime or just after supper.

THE TRUE GIFT, A Christmas story by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Brian Floca. Written by the Newbery Medal winning author of SARA, PLAIN AND TALL, this is the tender story of a young boy’s belief that no one should be alone at Christmas and that even cows have feelings of loss and loneliness. Author MacLachlan has a gift for telling her stories in few words, always the right words, and this book is only 81 pages long, divided into ten chapters. Brian Floca's illustrations evoke the wintry magic that makes a child feel like Christmas must be coming and makes him certain that it will.

What is a true gift? Ask your little listeners.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Underneath the Christmas Tree

I still don't have my very own copy of my favorite book for the last two years -- because I keep giving it away. When I finished reading it the first time, I knew it would be considered for major awards. And it was. It was a Newbery Honor Book and a National Book Award finalist. That's pretty good consideration, don't you think? Maybe Santa will put this under my tree--again.

THE UNDERNEATH by Kathi Appelt with drawings by Ben Small.
When the author was interviewed during the National Book Award festivities, she said she hoped the reader would realize there is always a choice between good and evil. Both protagonist and antagonist must choose. When their lives, like threads, cross each other, tangle each other, and unravel at the last possible minute, what is left? Is it good or evil?

The writer’s magic pulls the reader deeper and deeper into a swamp of intrigue. How does a boy grow up to be an evil man? Is there any possibility of backtracking, becoming that boy again? Can natural enemies build a warm and loving family? Can loyalty triumph over terrible and tremendous odds? And what about revenge? Who should seek it? Who should take it? Can it be used for good?

This is a story that will stay with the reader--even if the book keeps changing hands.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Hanukkah Book!

What could be more appealing to small readers than bouncing bunnies? Here's a book that introduces Hanukkah in the hoppiest of ways. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) The author has written many books about religious observances and considers the preschoolers at her temple to be her surrogate grandchildren. Parents and grandparents will snuggle up their little ones with this one.

HOPPY HANUKKAH! by Linda Glaser. Illustrated by Daniel Howarth.
This is a warm and cozy introduction to family traditions. What does Hanukkah feel like? The author brings family together to light candles, eat latkes, and play dreidel, carefully engaging the bunny children. They choose the color candles for the menorah, sample the potato latkes, bask in the glow of candles during the blessing. The connection is made that the menorah with its burning candles is placed in the window for all to see just as Jews have done for generations. But what makes it feel the most like Hanukkah? I'll leave that for you and your snugglers to find out for yourselves.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Reissued and Ready for Readers Today

I asked my writers' group, the Leaky Pens, which books they'd want to receive for Christmas gifts. We had a great writerly discussion of books. Then Deanna Calvert, the one among us with the youngest reader, said her daughter Carolyn loves books by Edward Eager. Some were published in the mid-fifties and have been reissued. Two of the reissued ones are available within our large metropolitan library system. Your library may have them, too. Another source would be independent booksellers. Don't forget those wonderful used book store owners who seem to know every book ever printed AND where to lay hands on each one.

Here are two enjoyed by Deanna's daughter:

THE TIME GARDEN and HALF MAGIC by Edward Eager. They come in both hardcover and paperback. I haven't read them, but Carolyn is a voracious reader and an excellent judge of quality books for her age group, readers in the middle grades. Since reading levels vary, your own resident reader is the best test for interest and readability. A good audience for these books would be within the age range of 8-12.

Deanna spent hours researching books to keep her daughter's reading appetite satisfied. I'll share more of her finds later. Her research time benefits the rest of us and our young readers. What a gift! Thanks, Deanna.

How about you ? Discovered any great titles lately?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gifts of Hanukkah

This is a season for giving--of ourselves as well, our cultures, our sense of history, all that we have become and can share with others.

Today Hanukkah begins. For Jewish readers, it's a time of rededication. For those who are not Jewish, it's an opportunity to learn more about the faith of others as we grow in our own.

ON HANUKKAH by Cathy Goldberg Fishman is written from a rich background of heritage with the heart and skill of a teacher. A good book for reading now, this will lead you to more titles by the same author when other Jewish holy days and festivals are observed.

Do you have a favorite children's book about your own faith that would build bridges of understanding within your child's circles or your own?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Giving Books? Suggestions

Finding books under the Christmas tree was both delight and dilemma. Should I read one all day--which I knew I'd finish by bedtime--and how could I choose which one to read first? Or should I read the first chapter of each one, then read the second chapters, and keep the order going until all were finished? Which method would make the magical stories last longer?

Deborah Wiles is a favorite author of mine. If I found these 3 books under my tree, the old familiar problem would rush out to greet me with a huge smile on its face:

Deborah's characters endure, like friends in a town I could well have lived in when I was ten. I read these books out of order and was tickled pink as us small town folks say to find some of the lesser characters in one book take on major roles in another. Order doesn't matter. What matters is that a young reader you love is going to thank you for introducing her to Comfort Snowberger, Peach, Dismay, and .....

Now, how about you? What book(s) would have caused you to be late for Christmas dinner?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Books for the Holidays

If you were ten years old, which books would you ask Santa to leave under your tree?

I know which ones I'd choose, and I'll tell tomorrow. The bad weather coming this way is already making my computer frustratingly slow.

Think I'll turn off the computer and curl up with a good book.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kids Coping with War--Iraq

This week I've featured books about war. Most of them have been about how the family at home copes, especially the kids. Do you know of others? Please share in the comments section.

If you've read the two books by Joyce Moyer Hostetter, BLUE and COMFORT, you will see great similarities between Ann Fay and Rachel Ann in BACK HOME, discussed below. Yet, the two wars are more than half a century apart. How we fight "the war" may have changed, but the struggles at home seem much the same.

BACK HOME by Julia Keller.
Soldiers returning from war often are not the same husbands, fathers, sons, or daughters who left the home front. Rachel Ann's dad survives horrendous injuries but lives to sit slumped in his wheelchair, unable and unwilling to get better. How can a 13 year old help? Rachel Ann is the oldest. Her sister Marcy is 8 and her brother Robbie is 4. Rachel finds herself trying to smooth over all the bumps in the family’s road. She sees that her mother’s struggles are valiant but often unappreciated.

The author refers to "the quiet daily heroism of those who struggle with brain injuries." The patient is only one of those people. Keller chronicles therapy, friends and neighbors who help at first and then slowly slip away, and relatives who don’t agree with the mother’s choices for treatment and further care when improvement ends. The reader sees and feels the impact of a soldier’s traumatic brain injury on the family’s love and support. As the cover blurb says, "Dad’s war is over, but the battle’s just begun."

If you're searching for just the right book for a family going through this traumatic experience, this may be the book.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Iraq--Kids Coping with War

Yesterday I talked about how kids coped during World War II. Flash forward to today.

HEART OF A SHEPHERD by Rosanne Parry.

Brother is the youngest of a family of boys. He's not quite ready to go away to high school when his dad leaves for Iraq. Mom left to follow her art career several years ago, so Dad's deployment means Brother and his aging grandparents are the only ones left at home to run the ranch. The older boys are away at boarding school, college and in the service, too. When the siblings come home for a visit, they act as if Brother is still the boy they left behind months before. He sets out to show them he has become a man.

Family members who have scorned the title of "little brother" or "baby sister" will relate to Brother's struggles and cheer him on.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

WWII--Kids coping on the home front

War seems like an unlikely topic for a discussion of children's books. However, reading can lay the foundation for any youngster trying to develop coping skills--and don't we all need those? Children at home while their loved ones serve in the military are serving, too, in ways adults might not imagine.

The following two books have a gentle tone. The characters are as warm and believable as your next door neighbors. Their lives are changed, however, by a war far from their vegetable garden. Where do they find the strength to live the next day?

BLUE by Joyce Moyer Hostetter.
Ann Fay Honeycutt grows on you. From the first time you hear her voice, soft as honey but strong as the sulfur and molasses her North Carolina kin might have used to ready themselves for spring, you won’t stop listening. Ann Fay’s daddy goes off to war "to fight Hitler" and leaves her, only 13, to be "the man of the house." No matter what the crisis in her family of Momma, younger sisters, and little brother, she stands up to the task. Then a polio epidemic strikes. And Daddy is still away at war.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story. Ann Fay survives and is the main character in a sequel, COMFORT, which may not have been in the original plans of the writer. Maybe author Hostetter couldn’t let Ann Fay go, and, like the rest of us, wanted to know, "What happened next?" It’s enough to say both books are about kids coping with war and its aftermath. You’ll want to hear Ann Fay tell you how.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Revolutionary War

December makes me think of General Washington at Valley Forge. What would he think about our ability to wage war today? Later this week, I'll talk about other more current war books for kids, but here's what it was like for one Revolutionary soldier.

BY THE SWORD: A Young Man Meets War, by Selene Castrovilla, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. Headmaster Benjamin Tallmadge planned to study law, but he couldn’t resist the fight for independence. He and his horse Highlander joined George Washington’s troops and made the Revolutionary War their war. Neither had experienced battle or knew the sacrifices that would be expected. Beautifully designed and illustrated, painstakingly researched, and written in vivid, action-packed prose. The reader is present in every heart stopping scene.

The great thing about many current nonfiction picture books is that all ages can read, enjoy, and learn from them. This is one of those. Someone in your family will love it for the horse story. Another will appreciate the historical research. Others will stare endlessly at the pictures.

How did the readers in your house react?

Monday, November 30, 2009

For Kids who wonder about War

Kids play at war but who thinks about a war and how it gets started? Our country is fighting two wars and today's young readers need help sorting through the causes and effects. How do kids cope with the war itself? What happens when a wounded parent comes home as a stranger or a much different person? What kinds of fears, spoken and unspoken, haunt their dreams? In the weeks ahead, I'll suggest titles that could give you and your kids a springboard for discussion. Read these books first and you'll be ready to listen.

RIOT by Walter Dean Myers. Written like a screenplay, this book lends itself to reader’s theater. It tells a little known story set in New York City during the blistering summer of 1863. On July 11, far from the Civil War battlefields, the first federal draft drawing is held in lower Manhattan. Like a match to a fuse, the drawing sets off a race and class war so violent, soldiers are called home from Gettysburg to put down the rioting and looting. They do. Brutally.

The cast of characters is large: Angry Irish immigrants railed at the draft and the New York "swells" who were allowed to pay substitutes to fight in place of their own sons. Struggling white workers shared their rage, but they saw the Irish as job takers and threats to their own survival. Free blacks, already walking a narrow line, became a target for anger. Claire, the fifteen year old daughter of an Irish woman and a black man wonders aloud why anyone must be a black person or a white person. "Why can’t you just be a person?" Her growing understanding of the difficulties of a diverse world nudge the reader to ask a few questions, too.

This book would work well in a classroom or as a discussion in a family made up of several middle grade or young high school readers. What do you think?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Finalists are Tops, too.

After a top award is handed out, the spotlight is so brightly fixed upon the winner, the books that "almost won" are often lost in the shadows. There were five finalists for The National Book Award in Young People's Literature. All are granted excellence by virtue of their nomination. They'll be on library shelves for years. But will they be read? I hope you won't miss the following title. Read it before you leave it around for your kids to find. You'll want to be prepared.

CHARLES AND EMMA: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman. This biography for middle school readers brings Charles Darwin to life as much more than a white bearded man who wrote a controversial book, THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES. His wife Emma is very real, too, as a strong partner whose firm religious convictions contrasted with his radical science. Theirs is a story of love and strong devotion to each other and to their own beliefs. This would be a great springboard for discussion for parents whose teens are beginning to search for answers in their own worlds.

What kind of discussion did this book stir up at your dinner table?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

National Book Award Winner!

Congratulations to author Philip M. Hoose who won the 2009 National Book Award for Young People's Literature for CLAUDETTE COLVIN: Twice Toward Justice.

Teens will relate to this unsung heroine of the Civil Rights Movement. 15 year old Claudette Colvin was arrested for not giving up her seat on a Montgomery bus several months before Rosa Parks became the icon of the Movement. A misunderstood teen who asked questions adults didn't want to answer, Claudette endured many insults and much isolation. Girls who suffer bad hair days will empathize with Claudette's decision to stop straightening her hair. It was considered an act of rebellion at the time. How would today's independent thinking thirteen year olds view this? What a lively discussion this could be!

The author does a brave and balanced job of bringing Claudette Colvin's story forward. What do your teen readers think?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Box Filled with Magic-- Possibility

Remember your child's first birthday? What was the favorite gift? The wrapping paper, yes? Well, here's a novel idea and it's a picture book.

MAGIC BOX by Katie Cleminson. On her birthday, Eva is given...a box! She jumps in, becomes "a master magician," and starts to wish. That's when the fun begins. The ending iis fun, too, and it's all made possible by Eva's imagination. Be sure you have a big box handy for play time after you read this with your pre-schooler.

What kinds of adventures does your young reader imagine when given a magic box?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Then and Now

Who loves to discuss (and discuss!) more than middle school family members? Here's a question to keep them talking during the hustle bustle of Thanksgiving preparations.

"Do you think the Pilgrim and Indian story is true?"

And here's a book with answers:
THANKSGIVING: THE TRUE STORY by Penny Colman. From early harvest rites to today’s family gatherings, Colman studied primary materials and created a survey to contrast perceptions of Thanksgiving held by everyday people like us. Then she shared her own perceptions and discoveries as the research mounted. The author is no stranger to digging in the past. recreating experiences and leading readers to share them, as if they were there, too. See her other titles at

Do you have a favorite book about Thanksgiving that you share with your family as part of the tradition?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gathering Together

Almost forgotten in the crush of holiday festivities is a time to stop and contemplate our blessings. We are fortunate. To keep us from forgetting, we have an entire day set aside. Thanksgiving Day is dedicated to remembering all the good things in life.

THIS THE FEAST by Diane Z. Shore and illustrated by Megan Lloyd will introduce the youngest listeners to the history behind this day of gathering memories and family members together. Written in lyrical verse, the art is so inviting the reader will look for a place at the table. From crashing and thrashing on the rough, rolling seas to meeting and appreciating Squanto who shared his knowledge to harvesting from gardens leafy and green, the pilgrims make it clear their survival is reason to rejoice and be thankful.

What are you thankful for this year?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What's Ahead

Next week:

Thanksgiving Books!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Calling Reluctant Readers

Looking for a book for your middle school reader with no drugs, sex, or violence done to classmates? Of course, you'd want that young let-me-choose-it-myelf teen or tween to read it, right? Here's a great mystery that fills the bill.

THE MILES BETWEEN by Mary E. Pearson is an unpredictable mystery that builds to a powerful revelation. The reader will be certain he’s figured it out. Pearson is also the author of THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX which is being made into a movie. Jenna's story is futuristic and raises a number of issues to ponder and discuss. Again, the ending comes as a shock. Read them both and leave them in odd places around the house for your other reader(s) to discover.

Did you figure out the endings?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Let's Pretend We're at the Library

Most libraries are future reader friendly. Many libraries host story times for the youngest set and these special events inspire parents to read more books, to their little wigglers and to themselves. Sharing a book about how to treat books would be a great way to prep your child before each visit, wouldn’t it?

READ IT, DON’T EAT IT! By Ian Schoenherr is exactly that book. A dog, a bear, and other animals young readers love to recognize show what NOT to do with a book–all in rhyming text and bright colors.

How did your last visit to story time turn out?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Start Your Engines!

Motors, engines, the roar of a bus, plane, or train. Kids love these sounds. They imitate them. And they love to hear about them as characters in books. When my daughter was 2, she brought me her book about Stubby the Tractor whenever I made a lap.

OTIS by Loren Long is another tractor book. The author/illustrator paired this lovable and loyal farm machine with a calf bawling for its mother. The combination hits just the right note of nostalgia for parents and the kind of warmth and comfort toddlers get from a favorite bedtime blanket.

What do your toddlers call their blanket?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Snuggle Book

Winter may be a gray time of year, but it can also be a cozy time. Snuggle under a quilt made by loving hands with a little reader or a very young listener and feel blessed.

ONE WIDE SKY: A BEDTIME LULLABY by Deborah Wiles is as wide as a yawn. Soft hues, warm words, and careful page turns will lull even the most resistant to quiet time. ZZZZ

Are you asleep?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Music, music, music.

Music surrounds us. But how much do we know about those who create it?

LIVES OF THE MUSICIANS and What the Neighbors Thought by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt, answers questions we'd never think of asking. Did you know Johann Sebastian Bach was thrown in jail because he wanted to quit his job? Ludwig Von Beethoven's favorite food was mac and cheese. Clara Schumann's concerts were so well attended that police were needed for crowd control. That might sound like "today" but it happened in the 1840's!

With an appeal to all ages, this book could inspire your family to start its own musical tour.

Or not.

Kathleen Krull has written other "Lives of..." books. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Veggies for Monsters

Halloween is over and NOW your little ones like monsters so much they want to BE them, all the time. And of course real monsters don't eat the green stuff that's good for them. What's a caring cook to do?

MONSTERS DON'T EAT BROCCOLI by Barbara Jean Hicks, illustrated by Sue Hendra, may start out on a note of "no!" but it ends with a second helping. Read it aloud with your toddler. Happy munching sounds should follow.

Did they?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Call of the Great Outdoors

I'm writing from Alabama in fall weather so glorious everyone wants to bolt from school and office and head for the woods.

ALABAMA MOON by Watt Key is one of those adventure and survival books boys will make time to read even if they say they don't like books. Middle school guys and girls (parents, too!) will not want to sleep until they find out how this one ends. Hint: start before lunch. Warning: you might be tempted to live in the woods until snowfall.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Frantic about Flu?

You can't watch TV without hearing concerns about flu, regular and H1N1. Parents are anxious, many distressed. If parents are upset, how could kids NOT be worried, too? Readers who've progressed from chapter books to middle-grade novels might be relieved to learn about the health crises their grandparents experienced--and survived!

BLUE, by Joyce Moyer Hostetter, is set in WWII. Ann Fay Honeycutt is 13 when her daddy goes to war and she steps into the role of "man of the house." Life develops its own routine of struggles. Then polio storms the Honeycutt household and a different kind of war erupts. A sequel, COMFORT, follows Ann Fay to Warm Springs, GA for polio rehabilitation. Both books celebrate the spirit of those who triumph over disabilities and demonstrate how hard times build strong people.

What kind of discussion will these books start at your house?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Overcoming Sugar Rush

Halloween isn't over 'til all the candy is gone. All that sugar adds energy (for the moment) to your little ones and you may need the energy but abhor the calories. What better way to work off the sugar rush than to act out a picture book. Here's one that leaves a sweet taste:

TREASURE by Suzanne Bloom.

Goose thinks Bear is taking him on a treasure hunt. They race, dig, and dive, but Goose decides there is no treasure. Bear sets him straight.

A favorite book is a treasure. What's yours?


Friday, October 30, 2009


How scary is Halloween for young readers and their still younger siblings? Peek-A-Boo is fun, but familiar voices coming from behind monster masks may be something else. Here are two more books to ease the way into a night of frights. These could be enjoyed for days after, every time the candy bag is rattled.

FRANKIE STEIN by Lola M.Schaeffer works on several levels, as all good picture books do. Even after Halloween, Frankie could be invited over to play. He plays "nice."

BATS AT THE LIBRARY by Brian Lies will have your youngsters looking for bats while you look for books to take home.

What Halloween picture book was most helpful at your house?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Magazine Treat for Tiny Tricksters

HIGH FIVE is a magazine for the kindergarten set and younger. It's the brainchild of the same creative folks who produce HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN, a favorite of generations of readers.

Pick up HIGH FIVE at the library or a bookstore that carries a good selection of children's magazines and flip throught the bright pages of crafts, activities, and stories.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monsters and their Care

Monsters are tricky. What would you feed one if it followed you home? Not MY chocolate! Not to worry. Here's one that eats peas.

THE MONSTER WHO ATE MY PEAS by Danny Schnitzlein and Matt Faulkner will change attitudes about those little green orbs that get smushed under the plate or fed to the dog. This picture book that tempts older kids to sneak peeks, too, is a great vehicle for papa or mama drama. Emote. Bring the monster to life.

What's for dinner?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rhyme Time Clean-Ups

RHYMING DUST BUNNIES by Jan Thomas bursts from the page with a sense of humor perfect for little crumb droppers. They will get it! Rhyming your way through housework is yet another way to multi-task when your little helpers are underfoot.

No dust bunnies? I can send you some!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Picturebook for Little Wigglers

PLEASE PICK ME UP, MAMA written and illustrated by Robin Luebs is one way to multi-task. The little raccoon of the story wants to be picked up, put down, picked up, you know the routine, don't you? It struck me that this would be a great way for a new mom to exercise away unwanted inches, read to Baby, and enjoy a good action story with other toddlers. Baby also says "please" with each request. Another chance to emphasize manners!

What do you think?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

For Tiny Trick or Treaters

Halloween can be spooky for first-timers. Here are a couple of books to ease the trauma of all those green faced goblins ringing the doorbell.

BOO TO YOU by Lois Ehlert
Ehlert's colorful collage illustrations manage to set a spooky mood gentle enough for the youngest among us. A nice touch is the introduction of Halloween traditions like pumpkin carving and roasting pumpkin seeds. No tricks anywhere!

Thomas has created a wiggly, giggly interactive book that older siblings will enjoy reading to little brothers and sisters or the preschoolers next door. A treat for everyone!

What's your favorite scary book?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Counting on fingers, toes, and books

Kids love to count. Here are two books to give parents a break from counting fingers and toes over and over again:

HOW MANY ANTS? by Larry Dane Brimner, illustrated by Joan Cottle. Picnic any time of year. Spread a beach towel on the floor and make a lap. Follow Cottle's fun inspiring critters across the page and engage your future math star in Brimner's rhythmic text. You won't miss the bugs you didn't invite.

ONE BOY by Laura Vaccaro Seeger won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor from the American Library Association. Count on bright colors and rhythm to win attention from the youngest library patron, too. What does your scholar in training think?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Toddler Favorite

A friend's 18 month old makes it clear that LLAMA, LLAMA RED PAJAMA by Anna Dewdney is the book he wants to hear over and over again. It's on the book shelf where he can reach it, and he picks it from the rest of the shelved books, over and over again. He pats the book and calls it by name, his own version of LLAMA, LLAMA. Which book is your toddler's favorite bedtime story?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Picture book for any age

GARMANN'S SUMMER by Stian Hole was translated from the Norwegian and this is a treat for those of us who read picture books in English. Both author and illustrator, the creator speaks to everyone who has been uneasy or just plain afraid. Garmann is contemplating the first day of school. His round, jolly, wish-you-could-hug-them aunts arrive for their traditional summer visit. Each aunt has a different perspective to consider when Garmann quizzes them about their fears. This is a helping hand for anyone facing change--and who isn't?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Book Tip for Toddlers

RED TRUCK by Kersten Hamilton has lots of get up and go plus a slow down and enjoy feeling for readers and listeners. Let me know what you think.

Hillview School Library