Henry Wants More

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Henry Wants More by Linda Ashman and BrookeBoynton Hughes
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We all enjoyed this rollicking rhyming tale about an energetic toddler who can’t get enough play time. Henry reminded us of own Matt and his boundless enthusiasm for life and we loved that a bi-racial family was depicted in the illustrations.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Becoming Babe Ruth

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Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares
Grades: 3-5
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Jake, like many kids, loves the Who Was series of biographies, but he often needs many explanations along the way. Reading Becoming Babe Ruth was a nice change of pace. Filled with beautiful illustrations and text that conveys the important and interesting details from Babe Ruth’s life without going into too much depth, this biography is a great addition to any sports lover’s collection.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Mother Bruce

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Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
Grades: PreK+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
I’m not sure what is more fun: reading this book or watching other people’s reactions while reading this book. It is laugh-out-loud funny but also witty and touching. Definitely don’t miss this fun read about an egg-loving bear who finds himself the accidental mother to a gaggle of goslings.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

The Red Hat

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The Red Hat by David Teague and Antoinette Portis
Grades: PreK and up
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We loved this delightful tale about a lonely boy living at the top of a skyscraper who goes to great lengths to meet the girl living in the tower recently built next door. The story is whimsical–reminiscent of a Disney short–and beautifully illustrated by one of our favorite artists.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Books for Snowy Days

Snowy days are upon us. As you load up on provisions before upcoming storms, don’t forget to stockpile some great books! Here are a few of our winter favorites.
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Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky
Children who have loved listening to the Toys trilogy, as well as those meeting the toys for the very first time, will be thrilled to see Lumphy, StingRay, and Plastic venture outdoors to play in the snow. Together the toys build a snowman, make snow angels, and, when day is done, head back inside their cozy house and wait for the return of the Little Girl.


Blizzard by John Rocco
Blizzard is based on John Rocco’s childhood experience during the now infamous Blizzard of 1978, which brought fifty-three inches of snow to his town in Rhode Island. Told with a brief text and dynamic illustrations, the book opens with a boy’s excitement upon seeing the first snowflake fall outside his classroom window. It ends with the neighborhood’s immense relief upon seeing the first snowplow break through on their street. In between the boy watches his familiar landscape transform into something alien, and readers watch him transform into a hero who puts the needs of others first. John uses an increasing amount of white space in his playful images, which include a gatefold spread of the boy’s expedition to the store. This book about the wonder of a winter storm is as delicious as a mug of hot cocoa by the fire on a snowy day.


Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen
In this outstanding picture book collection of poems by Newbery Honor-winning poet, Joyce Sidman (Song of the Water Boatman, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night)discover how animals stay alive in the wintertime and learn about their secret lives happening under the snow. Paired with stunning linoleum print illustrations by Rick Allen, that celebrate nature’s beauty and power.

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
Over the snow, the world is hushed and white.

But under the snow is a secret world of squirrels and snowshoe hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals who live through the winter, safe and warm under the snow.


Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston and Jim LaMarch
Day after day, a girl goes to her favorite place in the woods and quietly watches from her tree house as the chipmunks, the doe, the rabbits prepare for the winter. As the temperature drops, sunset comes earlier and a new season begins. Silently she observes the world around her as it reveals its secrets. It takes time and patience to see the changes as, slowly but surely, winter comes.


Slipper and Flipper in the Quest for the Golden Sun

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Slipper and Flipper in the Quest for the Golden Sun by Susan Reagan
Grades: 1-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
This delightful tale of adventure and discovery follows penguin twins, Slipper and Flipper, on their quest to find the great penguin explorer Don Pinguino. Susan Reagan’s use of maps, photographs, and illustration adds a unique twist which brings to life places of interest around the globe. “Slipper and Flipper” is sure to be in heavy circulation in our household for our little geography lover!

We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Just Like Me

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Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Grades: 4-6
Rating: ♦♦♦
This cute story set at a sleep-away camp follows a young girl grappling with her identity as the adopted Chinese daughter to Irish and Italian parents. Through a mix of traditional narrative and letters, Just Like Me delves into friendships, competition, and learning that there is more to people than what they present on the surface.


Frankie Liked to Sing

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Frankie Liked to Sing by John Seven and Jana Christy
Grades 1+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We loved this biography of Frank Sinatra. The boys were fascinated by his life and the perseverance Frankie showed in following his dreams. After reading the book, we listened to some of Sinatra’s music and officially have a whole new generation of fans.

Poetry Collections for Children

We love poetry for so many reasons and try to incorporate at least one poem into our family reading routine every night. Here are some of our favorites.
Affiliate links. Write ups are from Amazon.com
A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

Zen Socks by John J Muth

Leo and Molly love their new neighborhood. Most of all they love their friend Stillwater. The three friends are quite a team! From Caldecott Honoree Jon J Muth comes a story about sharing, another about patience,
and a third about compassion. With warmth and fun, they learn from one another in the most surprising ways….

poems in the attic
Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes and Elizabeth Zunon

During a visit to her grandma s house, a young girl discovers a box of poems in the attic, poems written by her mother when she was growing up. Her mother s family often moved around the United States and the world because her father was in the Air Force. Over the years, her mother used poetry to record her experiences in the many places the family lived. Reading the poems and sharing those experiences through her mother s eyes, the young girl feels closer to her mother than ever before. To let her mother know this, she creates a gift: a book with her own poems and copies of her mother s. And when she returns her mother s poems to the box in the attic, she leaves her own poems too, for someone else to find, someday. Using free verse for the young girl s poems and tanka for her mother s, master poet Nikki Grimes creates a tender intergenerational story that speaks to every child s need to hold onto special memories of home, no matter where that place might be.


The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects by Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka

A book-eating moth in the early Middle Ages. A peach blossom during the Renaissance. A haunted palace in the Victorian era. A lament for the hat in contemporary times. Poetry has been a living form of artistic expression for thousands of years, and throughout that time poets have found inspiration in everything from swords to stamp albums, candles to cobwebs, manhole covers to the moon. In The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects, award-winning anthologist Paul B. Janeczko presents his fiftieth book, offering young readers a quick tour of poets through the ages. Breathing bright life into each selection is Chris Raschka’s witty, imaginative art.


Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving by John Frank and London Ladd
Making a difference in the world can be as simple as planting a tree, giving up your seat on a bus to a disabled person, or training a puppy to become a guide dog. These are just a few of the simple acts of kindness featured in this collection of fourteen original poems. Each poem emphasizes the compassion and the joy of giving. Representing diverse voices―different ages and backgrounds―the collection shows the bridging of boundaries between people who are often perceived as being different from one another. The first step in bridging those boundaries is to extend a hand. John Frank is an accomplished poet and the author of several children’s books, including three highly-praised poetry collections. Coupled with London Ladd’s emotive illustrations, Lend a Hand demonstrates that empathy and social awareness can start at an early age.

Mama Built a Little Nest  by Jennifer Ward and Steve Jenkins

A delightful exploration of the incredibly variety of nests birds build for their babies, illustrated by a Caldecott Honoree.

Mama built a little nest
inside a sturdy trunk.
She used her beak to tap-tap-tap
the perfect place to bunk.

There are so many different kinds of birds—and those birds build so many different kinds of nests to keep their babies cozy. With playful, bouncy rhyme, Jennifer Ward explores nests large and small, silky and cottony, muddy and twiggy—and all the birds that call them home!


Poem Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by Patrick Lewis, Douglas Florian, and Jeremy Holmes

The U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate and an award-winning children’s poet join their prolific forces in this picture book of poems about cars. But they’re not just any cars: there’s the “Sloppy-Floppy-Nonstop-Jalopy” (“So unique there is no copy”); the Bathtub Limosine (“With hot water heating / And porcelain seating”); and the “High Heel Car.” Each of the thirteen quirky, inventive poems will speak directly to the imaginations of children, as will Holmes’s high-concept, detail-filled illustrations.

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko and Melissa Sweet

It only takes a few words, if they’re the right words, to create a strong image. Whether listened to in the comfort of a cozy lap or read independently, the thirty-six very short poems in this collection remind readers young and old that a few perfect words and pictures can make the world glow. Selected by acclaimed poet Paul B. Janeczko and gorgeously illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems invites children to sample poems throughout the four seasons.

Rutherford B. Who Was He? Poems About Our Presidents by Marilyn Singer and John Hendrix

Forty-three men with forty-three passions, but with one thing in common: a presidential place in America’s history.

With her gift for unforgettable rhythm and innovative rhyme, Marilyn Singer brings the presidents of the United States to life-from Washington to Obama-and contextualizes them in their time. Illustrations by John Hendrix are full of hilarious wit and refined exuberance, and backmatter enriches the experience with short biographies, quotes by each president, and more.

Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater and Robbin Gourley

A spider is a “never-tangling dangling spinner / knitting angles, trapping dinner.” A tree frog proposes, “Marry me. Please marry me… / Pick me now. / Make me your choice. / I’m one great frog / with one strong voice.” VanDerwater lets the denizens of the forest speak for themselves in twenty-six lighthearted, easy-to-read poems. As she observes, “Silence in Forest / never lasts long. / Melody / is everywhere / mixing in / with piney air. / Forest has a song.” The graceful, appealing watercolor illustrations perfectly suit these charming poems that invite young readers into the woodland world at every season.

Book Speak: Poems About Books by Laura Purdle Salas and Josée Bisailloa

Laura Purdie Salas, the acclaimed author of Stampede!, is back with another collection of wild and weird, wacky and winsome poems about all the magic to be found on a single bookshelf. In BookSpeak!, each poem gives voice to a group that seldom gets a voice . . . the books themselves! Characters plead for sequels, book jackets strut their stuff, and we get a sneak peek at the raucous parties in the aisles when all the lights go out at the bookstore!Illustrator Josée Bisaillon’s mixture of collage, drawings, and digital montage presents page after page of richly colored spreads filled with action and charm. Together, Salas and Bisaillon deliver a unique collection brimming with ideas as much about spines and dust jackets as they are about adventure and imagination.


Dear Wandering Wildebeest And Other Poems from the Water Hole by Irene Latham and Anna Wadbam

Spend a day at a water hole on the African grasslands. From dawn to nightfall, animals come and go. Giraffes gulp, wildebeest graze, impalas leap, vultures squabble, and elephants wallow. Irene Latham’s gorgeous poems are accompanied by additional facts that provide further details about the animals and their environment. Imaginative illustrations from Anna Wadham complete this delightful collection.

Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth

Caldecott Honoree and NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author/artist Jon J Muth takes a fresh and exciting new look at the four seasons!

Eating warm cookies
on a cold day
is easy

water catches
every thrown stone
skip skip splash

With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth–and his delightful little panda bear, Koo–challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons.

On the Wing by David Elliott and Becca Stadtlander

Take to the sky to explore a glorious array of all things avian, from the tiny, restless hummingbird to the inscrutable horned owl to the majestic bald eagle. David Elliott and Becca Stadtlander bestow a sense of wonder onto such common birdfeeder visitors as the sparrow, the crow, and the cardinal and capture the exotic beauty of far-flung fowl like the Andean condor, the Australian pelican, and the Caribbean flamingo. Concise, clever verse from an award-winning author pairs with striking artwork from a debut illustrator to make this a true pleasure for anyone who loves birds.

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

In this outstanding picture book collection of poems by Newbery Honor-winning poet, Joyce Sidman (Song of the Water Boatman, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night)discover how animals stay alive in the wintertime and learn about their secret lives happening under the snow. Paired with stunning linoleum print illustrations by Rick Allen, that celebrate nature’s beauty and power.

The Magical Animal Adoption Agency: The Enchanted Egg

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The Magical Animal Adoption Agency: The Enchanted Egg by Kallie George and Alexandra Boiger
Grades: 4-6
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We just loved this whimsical and delightful chapter book. In everything she does, Clover’s kind heart and compassion shine through. In this, the second installment of the series, Clover is left in charge of the Magical Animal Adoption Agency while Mr. Jams heads off for a few days. While his is gone, chaos breaks out yet Clover handles each situation with grace. This is a great choice for animal lovers.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.