Wolf Hollow

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Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Grades: 5+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
One of the best books I have read in quite some time, Wolf Hollow is a beautifully written and gripping story set in the shadow of WWII. When a bully moves to town events are set in motion that put Annabelle’s loyalty and sense of what is right to the test. Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, this suspenseful tale is a must read.

The Enemy Above

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The Enemy Above by Michael P. Spradlin
Grades: 5-7
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Quite a few excellent middle-grade books have been written about WWII recently and this one did not disappoint. When Anton’s family is forced to flee their Ukrainian hometown, they hide in a network of underground caves. The fast-paced story unfolds through the narration of Anton and the German officer determined to make the country Judenfrei.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Our Favorites for Map Lovers

Our boys are obsessed with maps. Every night during story time, they find some reason to consult their globe, wall-decal maps, or one of their many atlases. They love to track down where authors and illustrators live, find countries or cities referenced in whatever we read, and remind us of all of the trips they have planned. Here are some of our favorite resources.
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Wall Pops makes this dry-erase world map. They also have U.S. and Canadian versions. They really brightened up the boys’ room and since we hung them at their eye level, the maps are consulted constantly.

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GeoPuzzles are a hit with our puzzle and geography loving kids. These are some of the few geography puzzles I have seen where the pieces are shaped like countries/states/provinces.

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The 50 States is our favorite U.S. atlas. It contains tons of information, contemporary references, and fun facts (who knew there was a sculpture of a spoon with a cherry on it in Minneapolis, MN?)

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Our favorite world atlas has beautiful illustrations and is full of interesting information and details. Candlewick recently released a Maps Poster Book which we wrote about here.

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I’m shocked this interactive globe didn’t get better reviews on Amazon. We’ve had ours for two years and it is still going strong despite almost daily use. It provides information about continents, countries, capitals, currency, and fun facts. It also has engaging  games that our boys love.

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Maps Poster Book

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Maps Poster Book by Aleksandra Mizielinski and Daniel Mizielinski
Grades: PreK+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Squeals of delight resonated throughout our household when this book arrived. Our boys are obsessed with geography and maps these days so they can’t wait to have these posters laminated to be used as placemats and decoration in their room. Each perforated page features an illustration from the beautiful and informative atlas, Maps.

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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


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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.


 

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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.

 

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.