Foreword Reviews

Not Just for Giggles

The Best Children's Books of the Summer

Children’s Books

At first glance, some of these books may look like pure fun, with cute drawings and silly story lines sure to induce lots of giggles at storytime. But each colorful page and goofy premise has an important message—from the importance of personal care to teaching about the wonders of nature. These are the best indie children’s books of Summer 2016. Laugh and learn!

The Stone Thrower

Book Cover
Jael Ealey Richardson
Matt James, illustrator
Groundwood Books
Hardcover $18.95 (32pp)
978-1-55498-752-8
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

The Stone Thrower, by Jael Ealey Richardson, is the true story of Chuck Ealey, an African American boy born in 1950. He played quarterback in football throughout high school and college and never lost a game. Intended for children ages five to nine, the story is inspiring because Chuck Ealey did not let discrimination stop him from fulfilling his dreams. The book is also a wonderful tool for starting a conversation with young children about racial prejudice. Vibrant illustrations accompany the text, depicting the injustices of young Chuck Ealey’s young life and the hope and determination he used to overcome them.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

The Boy with the Big Hair

Book Cover
Khoa Le
Insight Kids
Hardcover $14.99 (24pp)
978-1-60887-733-1
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

The Boy with the Big Hair is a wonderfully silly story about Harry, who refuses to comb his hair. His hair is so messy that a pair of birds decide to nest in it. A seed in the bird nest takes root, and a tree begins to grow on top of Harry’s head. As the tree grows, so does the bird family, and soon Harry is overwhelmed by the noise from the birds and very unhappy with the tree. His mother comes to the rescue, and Harry learns the value of good grooming habits. Full color illustrations accompany the text with delightful depictions of Harry and his outrageous hair, offering an important lesson and a lot of fun to children ages four and up.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Their Great Gift

Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land

Book Cover
John Coy
Carolrhoda Books
Hardcover $19.99 (32pp)
978-1-4677-8054-4
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

Their Great Gift is a beautiful book about the American immigrant experience. A simple narrative shares the often difficult struggle of families as they tried to establish new lives in America and the legacy that they created for their children. The text is accompanied by stirring photographs of families from all over the world, illustrating joys and the pain, successes and the setbacks. The book is intended for ages five to nine but it is a thoughtful, meaningful reminder for everyone of the amazing diversity that built the United States.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Phil Pickle

Book Cover
Kenny Herzog
Kelly Canby, illustrator
Peter Pauper Press
Hardcover $16.99 (40pp)
978-1-4413-1933-3
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

Phil Pickle is a wacky, amusing story about a pickle who wants to be an actor. None of the other pickles think that Phil can do it, believing that a pickle can only have one destiny: to end up next to a burger and fries on a plate. Phil, however, is determined to try, and he does not let the naysayers dissuade him. Vibrant and expressive illustrations bring life to the story. The book is intended for children ages four to eight, but is great for anyone who needs a reminder to follow their dreams.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Prairie Dog Song

The Key to Saving North America’s Grasslands

Book Cover
Susan L. Roth
Cindy Trumbore
Lee & Low Books
Hardcover $18.95 (40pp)
978-1-62014-245-5
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

Prairie Dog Song is a gorgeous book that blends information about grasslands with music and stunning collage illustrations. It is intended for ages six to eleven, with two levels of text. The first level contains song lyrics that tell story of the grasslands that once thrived across North America. The second level provides detailed information about grasslands, the prairie dogs that live in them, and the efforts to protect both. The book concludes with music for the song, a timeline of the Janos grasslands in Mexico, a glossary of terms, and author resources. This is a wonderful resource for teaching and learning about grassland conservation.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Eddie the Bully

Book Cover
Henry Cole
little bee books
Hardcover $17.99 (40pp)
978-1-4998-0181-1
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

In Eddie the Bully, everyone knows that Eddie is mean. The children treat him with fear and the teachers are frustrated with him. When a new girl joins the class, she unknowingly offers Eddie her friendship. Eddie quickly realizes that being nice feels good. For children ages four to eight, this book demonstrates that bullies are often angry and afraid, and that sometimes an offer of friendship can change behavior. Illustrations of anthropomorphic animals are very well done and show differences among children without judgment.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Sharks and Dolphins

A Compare and Contrast Book

Book Cover
Kevin Kurtz
Arbordale Publishing
Hardcover $17.95 (32pp)
978-1-62855-739-8
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

Sharks and Dolphins: A Compare and Contrast Book is a fact-filled examination of the similarities and difference between two species. Each page includes colorful photographs of different types of sharks and dolphins, highlighting both similarities and differences. The end of the book features four pages of activities for further learning. The simple text and easy-to-understand facts are appropriate for children ages four to eight, though people of all ages may learn something from this interesting book.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee

Book Cover
Erin Petti
Kris Aro McLeod
Mighty Media Junior Readers
Hardcover $16.99 (216pp)
978-1-938063-72-5
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee is a delightfully scary story about a bright young girl with a curious mind and an adventurous spirit. When Thelma’s dad is kidnapped by a ghost, she must find a way to get him back. The book is filled with likeable characters and interesting settings, brought to life by simple black-and-white drawings scattered throughout the text. Children ages eight to twelve will be thrilled with an engaging story that is full of twists and surprises.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Choose Your Days

Book Cover
Paula S. Wallace
Cinco Puntos Press
Hardcover $17.95 (32pp)
978-1-941026-37-3
Buy: Local Bookstore (IndieBound), Amazon

Choose Your Days is a story about finding wonderment and joy. When Corky is born, Old Bear gives her the keys to her days and a list to mark her dreams and deeds. Her life speeds by and as she is nearing the end she goes to Old Bear and asks for more time so that she does not miss out on anything. Old Bear reminds her that she holds the key to her days and can make of them what she will. Though simply written, the book is powerful. The illustrations are beautiful and tell a far more complete story than the words alone. The book is appropriate for children as young as three but all ages can find meaning in the lesson it teaches.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Living Fossils

Clue to the Past

Book Cover
Caroline Arnold
Andrew Plant, illustrator
Charlesbridge
Hardcover $16.95 (32pp)
978-1-58089-691-7
Buy: Amazon

Living Fossils is a fascinating book providing an examination of “living fossils”: plants and animals that retain characteristics of their earliest ancestors. The book discusses six different species, with beautiful, detailed illustrations of both the ancient creatures and their modern counterparts. Details on how each creature survived, and how they have or have not adapted over time, are included for each creature. A time line and a glossary of terms are included. The book is intended for ages seven to ten and will surely spark the imagination of anyone interested in prehistory.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

1 Robot Lost His Head

A Robot Counting Book

Book Cover
Marc Rosenthal
POW!
Hardcover $17.95 (20pp)
978-1-57687-749-4
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

1 Robot Lost His Head is a very simple book designed to help children ages two to five learn to count to ten. When one robot loses his head, the head is cared for by other robots until it is reunited with its body. Colorful illustrations with lots of white space create images that are amusing and easy to understand, with big bold numerals to focus on. Foldouts on each page will engage young children, allowing them to interact with the book as they learn their numbers.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Wild Eggs

A Tale of Arctic Egg Collecting

Book Cover
Suzie Napayok-Short
Jonathan Wright, illustrator
Inhabit Media
Hardcover $16.95 (32pp)
978-1-77227-025-9
Buy: Local Bookstore (IndieBound), Amazon

Wild Eggs tells the story of Akuluk, a young girl visiting her grandparents in the Arctic north. She is sure that the trip will be boring, but finds that her grandparents have a lot to teach her when she goes to gather wild eggs with her grandfather. Illustrations have a soft, almost dreamy quality and serve as the perfect accompaniment to a story about respecting and honoring family, culture, and the world around us. Children ages five to seven will enjoy learning about another culture through the eyes of Akuluk.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep

Book Cover
Robin Newman
Chris Ewald, illustrator
Creston Books
Hardcover $16.95 (32pp)
978-1-939547-23-1
Buy: Local Bookstore (IndieBound), Amazon

In Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, Hildie cannot sleep because of the all the noise her fairy-tale neighbors make. Hilde gets very angry, and she even tries to move, but she cannot find a quiet home. With honesty, creativity, and some help from all of her neighbors, Hildie is able to make everyone’s nights more restful. Colorful, amusing illustrations highlight Hildie’s woes, adding humor to each page. Children ages four to eight will enjoy revisiting some favorite fairy tale characters in this entertaining story.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Goldilocks and the Three Polar Bears

Book Cover
**Ross Murray **
Craigmore Creations
Hardcover $15.99 (36pp)
978-1-940052-23-6
Buy: Local Bookstore (IndieBound), Amazon

Goldilocks and the Three Polar Bears is a simple story about a difficult topic. A little girl moves with her father to Alaska, where he works on an oil rig. As she and her father fly over the rig she is very excited to see three polar bears, and watches for them on return trips. An oil spill occurs. Though the company tries to clean up, the environmental impact is huge and the little girl worries over the fate of the bears. Beautiful illustrations detail the bears and the little girl as her excitement turns to worry. The book can serve as a useful tool in talking to children ages seven to nine about our impact on the environment.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Calling All Cars

Book Cover
Sue Fliess
Sara Beise, illustrator
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Hardcover $14.99 (32pp)
978-1-4926-1881-2
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

Calling all Cars is a fun read-aloud book about all types of cars. Each page is filled with colorful, energetic illustrations of cars driven by a plethora of adorable cartoon animals. The book is written in rhyme and includes all kinds of cars from the ordinary, such as convertibles and taxi cabs, to the unusual, such as limousines, clown cars, and lowriders. Intended for children ages three to seven, but even babies will appreciate the bright colors and rhythmic text.

CATHERINE REED-THURESON (May 27, 2016)

Catherine Reed Thureson

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