Books Are Best – A Holiday Shopping List – Picture Books for K-5th Graders

Picture boos aren’t just for preschoolers.  Here’s a list of some of my favorites this year.

 

Kindergarten – Second Graders

wise-pig

Is That Wise, Pig? by Jan Thomas

Hare Tortoise

Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray

 

Woodpecker Waffle

Woodpecker Wants a Waffle by Steve Breen

 

88-instruments

88 Instruments by Chris Barton and illustrated by Louis Thomas

 

Third – Fifth Graders

bloom

Bloom by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by David Small

 

saving-pepette

Painting Peppette by Linda Ravin Lodding and illustrated by Claire Fletcher

 

water-princess

Water Princess by Susan Verde and  illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

 

hat-goldman

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman:  A Story about Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

 

Books Are Best – A Holiday Shopping List – Preschool Edition

I’ve been slack in writing for the blog this year; but I’m a firm believer every child should receive at least one book under the tree.  Below of are some of my favorites published this year which preschoolers will enjoy.

bear-on-chair

There’s a Bear On my Chair by Ross Collins

bossier-baby

The Bossier Baby by Marla Frazee

panda-pants

Panda Pants by Jacqueline Davies and illustrated by Sydney Hanson

dylan-villian

Dylan the Villain by K.G Campbell

seen-elephant

Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow

horrible-bear

Horrible Bear by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora

The Goblin’s Puzzle – Mock Newbery 2017

goblins-puzzle

My dear friend and mother of ML’s best friend recently asked for ideas for potential 2017 Newbery Winners.  Begrudgingly, I am making recommendations.  They moved a few weeks before school started.  ML and I were both heartbroken; but I can never resist giving book recommendations.  The fact that ML and SJ will be together next weekend is making this post easier.  A week from tomorrow… not some much.  It will be the day they have to part again.

There are plenty of Mock Newbery Lists out there.  I’ve yet to see the The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew Chilton on any list; but it should be.  The only books I include on my list are ones I finish.  I devoured this one.  My friend is a lawyer so the logical thinking this book encourages will make her happy.  Her son is into millitary history; so the  battles will make him happy.  The two Alice’s in the book are feisty, independent girls; just like ML and SJ.

Here’s the synopsis from the publisher:

THE BOY is a nameless slave on a mission to uncover his true destiny.
THE GOBLIN holds all the answers, but he’s too tricky to be trusted.
PLAIN ALICE is a bookish peasant girl carried off by a confused dragon.
And PRINCESS ALICE is the lucky girl who wasn’t kidnapped.

All four are tangled up in a sinister plot to take over the kingdom, and together they must face kind monsters, a cruel magician, and dozens of deathly boring palace bureaucrats. They’re a ragtag bunch, but with strength, courage, and plenty of deductive reasoning, they just might outwit the villains and crack the goblin’s puzzle.

Don’t believe me that it’s worthy of a look?  School Library gave it a starred review.

“Brimming with sarcastic, cheeky, laugh-out-loud humor, this is a smart, original, and completely engaging adventure.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Back to School 2016

Steamboat School

School started this week.  I decided I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions very well.  So I’m doing New School Year’s Resolutions.  ML and and I selected three chapter books we would read together this summer.  We didn’t read any of them.  I don’t think we even read a picture book together.  One of my resolutions is getting back to our reading time.  Another is cooking something on the weekend for Monday night; so I don’t have my usual after work scramble.  Every year ML gets a new responsibility.  Last year, it was packing her lunch.  This year, it’s folding and putting away her laundry.

Reality set in and I returned the books we planned to read this summer weeks ago.  I’m waiting for one of them to arrive at my library.  However, I wanted us to start school on the right foot.  Laundry is folded and put away.  Dinner is ready for tomorrow night.  This left the reading resolution.  I didn’t want to start a chapter book; so I looked through my pile of picture books from the library.  Steamboat School:  Inspired by a True Story by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Ron Husband was sitting there waiting to be read.

I’m not giving a summary of this book because I want you to discover the beauty of the loophole yourself.  Often, when people talk about loopholes it’s because someone is greedy.  The loophole highlighted in this book is selflessness at it’s  purest.

 

The Gallery

The Gallery

I cannot let another day go by without sharing The Gallery by Laura Marx Fitzgerald.

I don’t have time to write about it so I’ve put the publisher’s summary below.  I need to spend my limited time googling the paintings featured in the book.

“A riveting historical art mystery for fans of Chasing Vermeer and The Westing Game, set in the Roaring Twenties!

It’s 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family. But, despite the Gatsby-like parties and trimmings of success, she suspects something might be deeply wrong in the household—specifically with Rose Sewell, the formerly vivacious lady of the house who now refuses to leave her room. The other servants say Rose is crazy, but scrappy, strong-willed Martha thinks there’s more to the story—and that the paintings in the Sewell’s gallery contain a hidden message detailing the truth. But in a house filled with secrets, nothing is quite what it seems, and no one is who they say. Can Martha follow the clues, decipher the code, and solve the mystery of what’s really going on with Rose Sewell?

Inspired by true events described in a fascinating author’s note, The Gallery is a 1920s caper told with humor and spunk that readers today will love.”

Hamilton is All the Rage

Duel

Last October a book titled Aaron and Alexander:  The Most Famous Duel in American History written and illustrated by Don Brown arrived in the library just in time for me to take it to Georgia for Thanksgiving.  I’ve known about this duel far longer than most.  As a child, we would sometimes drive by the jail where Aaron Burr was jailed in Warthen, GA. (pronounced Wur-then) on the way to my grandparents.  My grandfather’s name was Warthen.  My mother lived in Warthen when she was a child.  Add in a history buff of a brother and you can see why I’ve know about the duel for so long.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, my brother’s family, ML and I packed up the car and headed toward Tennille, GA.  Along the way, I read Aaron and Alexander:  The Most Famous Duel in American History to ML, my niece and nephew.

We stopped at our favorite roadside barbecue restaurant.  It serves the same barbecue and brunswwick stew, I’ve loved for 40 years.  The building hasn’t changed either.  There’s still sawdust on the floor.  And the brunswick stew is the best in the world.  Before September 11th, I was known to carry a quart of it on the airplane from Atlanta to Raleigh.

After filling up on barbecue, we stopped at the jail in Warthen.  I have a mug shot to prove it.

We arrived in Georgia last weekend to the cd of Hamilton on full blast in my brother’s car.  Seeing that his US History paper in high school was titled “Hamiltonism vs Jeffersoniasm,” I was not surprised.  What did surprise me is how much ML loved it; even with my brother stopping the music every five seconds to give us a history lesson.  She demanded I order a copy for us; not that I hadn’t already planned to get one as soon as we arrived home.

For the past two weekends, we’ve been jamming to Hamilton with three people who most deserve front row tickets to Hamilton.  Last weekend, my brother.  This weekend, our friend and her son.  All were experts on Hamilton before Hamilton was cool.  My friend refers to Hamilton as her “historical boyfriend.”  There’s nothing like driving your child to camp with three kids in the back singing Hamilton at the top of their lungs.

I confess. I’ve been playing it full blast on my way to work this week.  It’s left me in a historical frame of mind.  Expect to read about more illustrated, nonfiction books about historical times and places in the very new future.

mugshot

Even More Picture Books

Summer at the library is CRAZY.  We continue to get great new books, but I’m too tired to write about them when I get home.  Here’s a list of my recent favorites with a very small sentence about each one.  When life calms down, I’ll link to the books and authors but I wanted to get these titles out to you because summer is the perfect time to read great books.

Dog Chicken

My Dog’s a Chicken by Susan McElroy Montanari and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf – Lula Mae’s chicken is a mighty good dog.  Herding, watching and rescuing.  Delightful illustrations.

Hector

Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith – Love the artwork. Love the story line.  Love the book!

Blocks

Blocks by Irene Dickson – As a child, I loved playing with blocks.  So any picture books about blocks make me happy.  The added bonus of this book is it teaches about sharing in a not too preachy way.

Hoot and Peep

Hoot and Peep by Lita Judge – Some of us sing to a different hoot.  An entertaining book about differences in siblings.  A great read aloud with phrases like “Schweep dingity dong, schweep dingity dong.”

Opposite Zoo

The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na – I get asked for books on opposites frequently.  There aren’t enough out there.  And non of them are as beautiful as this one.

Brave Bear

A Brave Bear by Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes – Seeing that it’s already reached over 90 degrees this summer, I could relate to the beginning line of this book.”The sun was hot.  The air was hot.  Even the shade was hot.”  A fun read aloud with beautiful illustrations.

 

Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike and Patrice Barton – A perfect book for baby storytime.

Quackers

Quackers by Liz Wong – A cat who thinks he’s a duck, until he meets some cats.  This cat merges the best of both worlds.

Dylan Villian

Dylan the Villain by K. G. Campbell – First line of the book, “Mr. and Mrs. Snivels were minding their own business, when they happened to have a baby.”

Maggie and Wendel

Maggie and Wendel:  Imagine Everything! by Cori Doerrfeld  – I love this brother/sister combo.