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Lessons to Love: Clever Winter 2017 Children's Books

Children’s Books

Children’s books are colorful, imaginative, creative. There’s a reason children love to be read to; their books are instilled with wonder and fun characters. But the depth of children’s books cannot be overlooked. Characters find themselves and grow, teaching children all manners of wonderful things. It’s easy to love children’s books when the lessons are as good as these.

My Mega Monsterpedia

Book Cover
Catherine Leblanc
Roland Garrigue, illustrator
Insight Kids
Hardcover $16.99 (72pp)

My Mega Monsterpedia is a clever and amusing look at everyday fears and annoyances and the monsters that cause them. Aimed at children ages six and up, the book gives children a way to name and then manage their fears while at the same time making them laugh. Colorful and very creative illustrations of fifty different monsters personify a large range of possible nuisances—from a stuffy nose to a thunderstorm to lice. Each monster is presented with strengths and weaknesses and, most importantly, exactly what a child must do to get rid of it.

Bingo Did It!

Book Cover
Amber Harris
Ard Hoyt, illustrator
Redleaf Lane
Unknown $16.95 (32pp)

Bingo Did It! shares a humorous and relatable story about a little girl and her pet dog. Wisteria Jane and Bingo play all kinds of fun, imaginative games, but Wisty likes to blame Bingo when things go wrong. The story offers a gentle lesson about taking personal responsibility; perfect for the intended age group of three to eight. The accompanying illustrations are appealing, expressing both action and emotion while still matching the soft tone of the story.

Octopus Escapes Again!

Book Cover
Laurie Angus
Dawn Publications
Softcover $8.95 (32pp)

Octopus Escapes Again! is an interesting look at a day in the life of an octopus as it searches for food and tries to avoid becoming food itself. The amazing and numerous defense mechanisms the octopus utilizes are highlighted. Sumptuous, colorful collage illustrations capture the underwater world of the octopus and other animals it encounters. Additional information and suggested learning activities provided at the end of the book will help educators, caregivers, and children ages four to ten learn about this interesting sea animal.

A Child of Books

Book Cover
Oliver Jeffers
Sam Winston
Candlewick Press
Hardcover $17.99 (40pp)

A Child of Books is a gorgeous book about creativity, imagination, and a love of books. The first-person narrative describes the joy and the adventure of stories. In simple pen-and-ink drawings, two children roam through a landscape of words from well-known stories that many adults will remember from childhood. Appropriate for children ages four and up, this is clearly intended for anyone who appreciates the gift of imagination and all the places a good book can lead to.

Hiding Heidi

Book Cover
Fiona Woodcock
Little Bee Books
Hardcover $16.99 (32pp)

Heidi is very good at hide-and-seek. She and her friends play again and again, and Heidi always wins. They even play at Heidi’s birthday party, but when her friends are unable to find her, they continue the party without her. Soon after, Heidi becomes enthusiastic about trying other games and discovers that her friends all have something that they are very good at too. With a simple story and charming illustrations, the book teaches children ages four to eight that letting friends shine can be just as satisfying as always being the center of attention.

Chirri & Chirra

Book Cover
Kaya Doi
Enchanted Lion Books
Hardcover $15.95 (40pp)

Chirri and Chirra introduces the world to two young girls and the adventures they take on their bicycles. Translated from Japanese, the book is innocent and charming and whimsical. As the girls travel through the lushly illustrated forest full of bright colors and adorable creatures, they experience the world around them, drinking, eating, swimming, and napping their way through the day. The book ends with a delightful concert of woodland creatures that will appeal to all ages, but particularly to those ages three to eight.


Book Cover
Barnaby Richards
Toon Books
Hardcover $12.95 (40pp)

Highly appealing, Blip! introduces children ages four to six to the sequential art found in comic books. The book tells the story of a robot exploring an alien planet and consists of very few words. In fact, the only words in the robot’s vocabulary are ’blip,“ with an occasional “bleep” thrown in. The limited language does not limit the story. The simple yet engaging artwork does a wonderful job filling in the details.


Book Cover
Rebecca Pettiford
Hardcover $17.95 (24pp)

Recycling is a wonderful early-nonfiction title for children ages six to nine. It discusses the importance of recycling, what kinds of materials can be recycled, and what those materials can be made into. Each page is accompanied by photographs that provide early readers with important clues to understanding the words on the page. In addition to the straightforward information presented in the text, there is another level of information offered in this book—all of the standard features of nonfiction are included, such as an index, chapters, sidebars, and a glossary. A great bonus for this age level.

Superfairies: Adventures in Peaseblossom Woods

Book Cover
Janey Louise Jones
Jennie Poh, illustrator
Softcover $6.95 (192pp)

Superfairies is a fun set of four stories, one for each season of the year. The four fairies—Star, Berry, Rose, and Silk—tend to the animals around Peaseblossom Woods, rescuing them from whatever trouble they get into. The enchanting stories are accompanied by whimsical illustrations of the fairies and their animal friends. Children ages five to eight will be thoroughly entertained and may not even notice that they are practicing their reading skills.

Why Am I Here?

Book Cover
Constance Ørbeck-Nilssen
Akin Duzakin, illustrator
Eerdmans Books
Hardcover $16.00 (32pp)

Why Am I Here? is a thought-provoking story about a young girl who ponders her place in the world and wonders what it would be like to live in a different climate or perhaps some far-off place ravaged by war or some natural disaster. The book is intended for ages five to nine and offers a valuable opportunity to explore empathy. Soft illustrations depict the girl’s imaginings of different lives and mute some of the harsh realities she considers. The layout includes plenty of white space, which seems to offer a place for each child to imagine other possibilities for their own lives.

Cinderstella: A Tale of Planets Not Princes

Book Cover
Brenda S. Miles
Susan D. Sweet
Magination Press

Cinderstella is a retelling of a classic fairy tale, but in this version, the young lass has dreams that go far beyond finding a prince. Cinderstella’s stepsisters demand her help each day to get ready for the ball, but at night, she studies the sky and dreams of becoming an astronaut. The story, intended for children ages four to eight, is accompanied by charming, humorous illustrations, creating a work that gently encourages children to expand their dreams beyond traditional gender and socioeconomic roles. A note to readers at the end of the story offers suggestions on how caregivers can foster a child’s interest in STEM subjects.

The Flower Girl Wore Celery

Book Cover
Meryl G. Gordon
Holly Clifton-Brown, illustrator
Kar-Ben Publishing
Softcover $7.99 (32pp)

The Flower Girl Wore Celery is a humorous story about Emma, who is asked to be a flower girl at her cousin Hannah’s wedding. Emma looks forward to dressing in a celery dress and meeting the ring bearer, and most of all to meeting Hannah’s groom, Alex, whom she cannot remember. When the big day arrives, Emma is surprised that things are not as she expected: Alex is another bride! Illustrations of Emma and her family support the text showing the silly things Emma imagines. The traditions of a Jewish wedding add another layer of interest to the story.

Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh

Book Cover
**Johnette Downing **
Heather Stanley, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
Hardcover $16.99 (32pp)

Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh is a fascinating book with two distinct strengths. The first is the story of Petit Pierre, a young pelican who must leave his mother’s nest and find a new home. The second is told across the bottom of each page through facts about the Louisiana wetlands and the animals that make their home there. The book includes vibrant, lovely illustrations that support both the story of Pierre and the information about the wetlands. Though written for children ages five to nine, this book is appropriate for anyone who would like to learn about this unique ecosystem.

I Want a Bedtime Story!

Book Cover
Tony Ross
Anderson Press USA
Hardcover $17.99 (32pp)

I Want A Bedtime Story! is an endearing tale about a princess who cannot go to sleep without a bedtime story from her daddy. When he is gone, everyone else in the castle tries to tell her stories, but none of them do it well enough. Finally the maid takes her to the castle library and shows her the picture books. The little girl quickly discovers the joy of reading. Watercolor illustrations express the frustration of the castle inhabitants as they try to get the princess to sleep, as well as the happiness that she finds in her new books. For children ages four to nine, and very effective in encouraging young children to learn to read.

The Magical Rooster: Stories of the Chinese Zodiac, A Tale in English and Chinese

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Li Jian
Yijin Wert, translator
Shanghai Press
Hardcover $16.95 (42pp)

The Magical Rooster tells the story of Tang Yun, who must travel a long way to the capital city to take the Imperial Exam. Distressed by the idea of her son traveling thousands of miles, his mother embroiders a rooster on her son’s clothing to watch over him on his journey. Whenever he is in need, the rooster comes to life and protects him. The story is beautifully told and illustrated and reflects Chinese culture and style, with the text written in both English and Chinese. Intended for children ages four to eight, it will be appreciated by all ages.

Special You

Book Cover
Jonny Lambert
Tiger Tales
Hardcover $9.99 (20pp)

Special You is about a little elephant named Little Why. As he travels with the other elephants to a watering hole, he meets several interesting animals and wishes that he had long legs, spiky horns, or a snappy snout like they do, but he soon learns that he is special just the way he is. The story is accompanied by vibrant collage illustrations of elephants, giraffes, a crocodile, and a wildebeest. Children ages two to four will learn the very important lesson that everyone is special, even a crocodile.

Catherine Reed Thureson

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