*With Dad by Richard Jackson

With Dad packs the best of everything about a father-son overnight tent-camping trip into a bigger story with spare text and warm illustrations. *With Dad, by Richard Jackson, illustrated by Brian Floca, Neal Porter Books, 2024. 40 pages. I’m glad I didn’t read the publisher’s description or the inside flap before I read this book,…

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Where is Wisdom?, Praise Him!, and The Story of Water.

Where is Wisdom? A Treasure Hunt Through God’s Wondrous World, Inspired by Job 28, by Scott James, illustrated by Hein Zaayman, B&H Kids, 2020. 32 pages. A thematic book in which a man searches for treasure, wandering the earth and admiring the gifts God has given. What is the greatest treasure? Wisdom. Where can wisdom…

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*A World of Praise by Deborah Lock, illustrated by Helen Cann

Every evidence of beauty and design points to the Creator who knows and loves us intimately. A World of Praise offers worship with warm illustrations. A World of Praise, by Deborah Lock, illustratedy by Helen Cann. Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, 2022. 48 pages. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world,…

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*Simon and the Better Bone by Corey R. Tabor

Simon is a friendly, curious, naive little dog who re-enacts Aesop’s tale of the dog and the bone and adds his own flair. *Simon and the Better Bone written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor, Publication Information. Page count. Look at the cover. The wagging tale, the surprise lines over the puppy’s head, the bone…

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*Varenka by Bernadette Watts

Varenka is a lovely picture book about a widow whose fears and struggles with faith are mingled with loving her neighbor and trusting the God who does not disappoint. *Varenka by Bernadette Watts, NorthSouth Books. 32 pages. Varenka is a widow who lives comfortably in her cottage in Russia until the day her fleeing neighbors…

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Papá’s Magical Water-Jug Clock

Jesús is excited to work with his Papá on a busy Saturday full of yards to mow, and as soon as the water jug is empty, they can come home…right? Papá’s Magical Water-Jug Clock by Jesús Trejo, illustrated by Eliza Kinkz, Minerva, 2023. 48 pages. It’s Saturday, and because young Jesús is so excited to…

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The Empty Pot by Demi

The Empty Pot is a lovely tale from China about the rewards of honesty and integrity. The Empty Pot by Demi, Square Fish. 32 pages. Ping is a talented child-gardener who especially loves to grow flowers. When the emperor invites all the children to accept special seeds and plant them as a test to determine…

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Growing Patterns, Mysterious Patterns, and the Power of Snow

If fractals, Fibonacci numbers, and powers of multiplication aren’t exciting to you, you need these three books and a long walk outside. Growing Patterns by Sarah C. Campbell, photos by Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell. Boyds Mills Press, 2010. 32 pages. Mysterious Patterns by Sarah C. Campbell, photos by Sarah C. Campbell and…

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Saint Valentine the Kindhearted, Saint Patrick the Forgiver, Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver by Ned Bustard

Three godly men from the church history are worthy of remembering for their character and service to Christ. Saint Valentine the Kindhearted retold and illustrated by Ned Bustard. IVP Kids, 2024. 32 pages. Saint Patrick the Forgiver retold and illustrated by Ned Bustard. IVP Kids, 2023. 32 pages. Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver retold and illustrated…

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We Are Branches by Joyce Sidman

We take branches for granted, but have you ever considered what a wise design they are, with so many applications in nature? We Are Branches reminds us of a few. We Are Branches by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes. HarperCollins, 2023. 40 pages. Trees have branches. Rivers have branches. Have you ever thought about…

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Behold the Octopus! by Suzanne Slade

With text that is both simple and detailed, and with beautiful illustrations, Behold the Octopus introduces a fascinating ocean creature. Behold the Octopus! by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez. Peachtree, 2023. 32 pages. An extraordinary invertebrate like the octopus takes effort to visit if you don’t live close to an aquarium, but there is…

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Evergreen by Matthew Cordell

Evergreen is the story of a fearful young squirrel who learns bravery on her quest to obey her mother and deliver soup to ailing Granny Oak. Evergreen by Matthew Cordell. Feiwel and Friends, 32 pages. Evergreen is a very fearful squirrel. When her mother asks her to take an acorn of healing soup to Granny…

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Hidden Hope by Elisa Boxer

Hidden Hope tells of a brave young lady who smuggled papers in a child’s toy to save lives during World War II. Hidden Hope: How a Toy and a Hero Saved Lives During the Holocaust by Elisa Boxer, illustrated by Amy June Bates. Harry N. Abrams, 48 pages. Many stories have emerged from memories and…

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Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

Of course books make the best gifts for bibliophiles, but some of those oversize tomes don’t fit comfortably in a stocking. Here’s a list of alternative stocking stuffers. We are affiliates for Goldspot and Amazon. Sippable: Burnable: Books and pens: Notable: Literary souvenirs: More ideas: Fine print: We are participants in the Amazon LLC affiliate…

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Babble! And How Punctuation Saved It

Babble! is a short, lively, memorable story that SHOWS writers understand the importance of those little indicators. Babble! And How Punctuation Saved It by Caroline Adderson, pictures by Roman Muradov. Tundra Books, 2022. 48 pages. in a certain land the people talk without expression or are they thinking no one really knows but its extremely…

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Megan’s Favorite Books, Old and New

We are excited to be partnering with Story Glory Kids for our Winter Book Fair this year! In the past, we linked to amazon for all of our Christmas gift suggestions, but this year, whenever possible, we’ll be directing you to Story Glory for your book-related shopping. Like amazon, we get a small commission. Unlike…

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Bruno is a 9yo German boy living during World War II who isn’t happy with his father’s new work assignment until he makes a friend who lives on the other side of the fence. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. David Fickling Books, 2006. Bruno doesn’t want to leave his friends and…

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The Hiding Place, A Christmas Carol, Hinds Feet on High Places, and Les Miserables: An Engaging Visual Journey

The four books in the Engaging Visual Journey series provide beautiful, dignified forms to stories that are dearly loved spiritual classics. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom with Elizabeth and John Sherrill, illustrated by Jill DeHaan, Daniel Strange, and Nicola Evans. Tyndale, 2022. 150 pages. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Jill…

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Music for the End of Time by Jen Bryant

Music for the End of time is a picture book biography, a story of hope found through creating beauty in the midst of affliction. Music for the End of Time written and illustrated by Jen Bryant, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. 32 pages. Did you know that Olivier Messaien’s “Quartet for the End of Time”…

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Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons, 20th Anniversary Edition

Those who love dragons and long for more lore will find this field guide an excellent companion. Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons, 20th Anniversary Edition. Candlewick, 2021. 32 pages I firmly believe that there were once fire-breathing dragons, though I’m probably thankful that I don’t have any in my back yard. (If you’re curious…

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100 Things to Know About Inventions by Clive Gifford

A fun, visual book about the history of inventions and some relationships between them, ideal for those who are mechanically minded. 100 Things to Know About Inventions by Clive Gifford, illustrated by Yiffy Gu. Happy Yak, 2021. 112 pages. Inventors and their work build on one another through the centuries. So many are related (cars…

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*William’s House by Ginger Howard

Wouldn’t it make sense that a house built in the style of a home in England would work just as well in America? *William’s House by Ginger Howard, illustrated by Larry Day. Millbrook Press, 2001. 32 pages. Wouldn’t it make sense to think that a house built in the style of a home in England…

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Gertie: The Darling Duck of WWII by Shari Swanson

A sweet story about a mother duck whose unusual nesting spot provided a welcome diversion from from the war, both in local news and beyond. Gertie: The Darling Duck of WWII by Shari Swanson, illustrated by Renee Graef. Sleeping Bear Press, 2023, 32 pages. In 1945, just a few years after another duck family was…

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Books and Schoolhouse Battles

Those of us who homeschool admire the one-room schoolhouse model of previous centuries. With simple resources, a wide-range of ages, and a school year that fit the needs of the community, one male or female teacher reigned in the classroom. …Unless there were “big boys” whose sole purpose in showing up seemed to be disturbing…

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*Bright April by Marguerite De Angeli

Themes of loving nature, loving one’s neighbor, and loving Truth are woven through Bright April, a story that gracefully handles racism and the dignity of each human in a middle grade book that was originally published in the 1940’s. It’s a story well-worth reading. Bright April by Marguerite De Angeli. Purple House Press, 88 pages.…

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Why Your Church Nursery Needs a Library

The Lord has been challenging my reading skills and assumptions lately, both humbling and teaching me in the process. I had offered to teach a Sunday School class of two-year-olds, and keeping their interest isn’t easy. I had also been asked to read to the littles in our homeschool group once a week just before…

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Poetry on Earwigs (and Also Goats With Beaks)

My husband still teases me about my first poem, which has hitherto never been published. There once was a goatWho lived in a boatHe went to town every week, And to all he would not speak.But the funniest thing about himWas that he had a beak. By Megan E. VanderHart, age 8 (Taking a bow.)…

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Bookish Gifts for Boys

What makes good gifts for book lovers besides more books (and infinite bookshelf space)? Here are some lovely things we’ve recently discovered for boys that would be perfect to wrap in brown paper and tie up with string.

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Bookish Gifts for Girls

What makes good gifts for book lovers besides more books (and infinite bookshelf space)? Here are some lovely things we’ve recently discovered for girls that would be perfect to wrap in brown paper and tie up with string.

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*This is the Feast by Diane Z. Shore

There aren’t many picture books about Thanksgiving; This is the Feast is one of the best. This is the Feast by Diane Z. Shore, illustrated by Megan Lloyd. HarperCollins, 2008. 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture books, Ages 4-8 Recommended For: Ages 4-8, Ages 8-10 This is the Feast describes the trials of the pilgrims from…

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*Heaven and Nature Sing by Hannah Anderson

Heaven and Nature Sing is a collection of advent essays on the curse that sin imposed on nature and the grace that allows us to enjoy God’s glory while we anticipate our Redeemer’s return. *Heaven and Nature Sing by Hannah Anderson. B&H Publishing, 2022. 166 pages. Reading Level: Teen/Adult Ages 16 and up Recommended For:…

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Fun picture books for young listeners: How to Apologize, Not That Pet!, Sometimes Cake, and Mom, There’s a Bear at the Door

Four books featuring animals and young children are imaginative, instructive, and fun to read aloud to little ones. How to Apologize by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Candlewick 2021, 32 pages. Reading Level: Easy Readers, Ages 4-8 Recommended For: Ages 4-8 It would be easy to be didactic with a book like this, but…

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Reformation Day Holiday Traditions

reformation day traditions

Inventing a Celebration I’ve never had much use for Halloween. We didn’t celebrate it when I was growing up, substituting other family fun that day, and now I am simply turned off by the ugliness of the decor. But give me a reason to celebrate, and I love inventing traditions! Most conveniently, Reformation Day also…

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Truth and Story

truth and story

(Note: Betsy and I are indebted to Ethan Pettit, librarian and Children’s Literature professor from Covenant College, who enlightened us so much in seeing Christ in literature and taught us to discern Truth and Story.) “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein…” Psalm 24:1 (ESV) This verse…

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*Baby Believer Board Books

Theologically solid Baby Believer series provides a beautiful way to introduce littles to Scripture and church doctrine. Baby Believer board books series by Danielle Hitchen, illustrated by Jessica Blanchard. Harvest Kids, various dates, unpaged. Reading Level: Board books, ages 0-4 Recommended For: Ages 0-4 My first introduction to Hitchen and Blanchard’s theologically solid series for…

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Home Library Management: Curating and Storing the Collection

HLM curating and storing

A solution for managing your books before investing in more bookshelves. When the books overflow the shelves into piles on the floor, on every surface, and in bins under the beds, what’s a home librarian to do? Curate the collection Did you know that museums and library special collections own far more than they put…

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Home Library Management: Weed out the M.U.S.T.Y. titles!

NOTE: This post is an expansion of the previous post, “Analyzing the Situation.” If you feel like the MUSTY acronym is helpful for you or you would like advice about what to do with the books you remove from your collection, then read on! If you feel like you have a handle on it, you…

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Home Library Management: Analyze the Situation

Home Library Management is a mini-series based on a presentation I originally gave to a homeschool group when I was a professional librarian years ago. These are updated thoughts based on my current experience as a home librarian surrounded by five boys and lots of books. I’d love to hear your thoughts as we walk through…

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Home Library Management: Where do I begin?

Home Library Management is a mini-series based on a presentation I originally gave to a homeschool group when I was a professional librarian years ago. These are updated thoughts based on my current experience as a home librarian surrounded by boys and overflowing bookshelves. I’d love to hear your thoughts as we walk through the library…

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Home Library Management: Heart Issues

Help! I have too many books! Is this a familiar concern? Of course you wouldn’t want to blame the books. An abundant home library is a good thing…isn’t it? Isn’t the problem really not having enough shelves? Like yours, my beloved bookshelves are painfully overflowing, and when our home library outgrows its boundaries, the shelves…

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Brave and Bold by Marty Machowski

brave and bold

Brave and Bold draws on Machowski’s knowledge of Scripture and experience in the Army to firmly call young men to integrity and excellence. A wonderful gift for graduation or other occasions. Brave and Bold by Marty Machowski. New Growth Press, 2021. 128 pages. Reading Level: Teens, Ages 12-15 Recommended For: Ages 12 and up Machowski…

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More Than a Story by Sally Michael

More Than a Story assumes that all of Scripture is written for instruction of all ages, and that both parents and children will benefit from a Bible story book that emphasizes. More Than a Story: Exploring the Message of the Bible With Children (Old Testament) by Sally Michael, illustrated by Fred Apps. Truth:78, 2020, 432…

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The Velveteen Rabbit Turns 100: A Bunny Booklist

rabbit stories

The Velveteen Rabbit turns 100 There was once a velveteen rabbit . . . Once upon a time, there were three little rabbits and their names were. . . In your head did you just hear “Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter? (If your head is like mine, it was probably with a nice British accent!)…

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A Jesus Easter by Barbara Reaoch

Explore the story of Easter with A Jesus Easter, a family devotional for Lent with interactive questions and journaling prompts. A Jesus Easter: Explore God’s Amazing Rescue Plan by Barbara Reaoch. The Good Book Company, 2022. 112 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended For: The Whole Family A journaling devotional invites the reader…

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The World of Tumbleweed Thompson books by Glenn McCarty

cover of misadventured summer of tumbleweed thompson

Humorous and winsome, tales from the World of Tumbleweed Thompson will engage young fans of Tom Sawyer and Homer Price. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 10-12 Recommended For: Ages 10 and up The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glenn McCarty, illustrated by Joe Sutphin, 2018. 327 pages. Twelve-year-old Eugene Appleton is a lively storyteller,…

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Retreat Reflections (2022)

RR Retreat

In which the Redeemed Reader team has a retreat after eight years, talks about books, eats wonderful food, talks about books, plans strategically, and talks about books and culture. Reunion Eight years ago the RR team members met in person for the first time (Emily Whitten, our co-founder, was part of that gathering, but she…

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*The Double Dangerous Book for Boys

cover of the double dangerous book for boys

The Double Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn, Arthur, and Cameron Iggulden is a clean, engaging, fascinating, and robust book for boys, just like the original. The Double Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn, Arthur, and Cameron Iggulden. William Morrow, 2019, 320 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 12-15 Recommended For: Middle Grades, ages 12-15…

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3 recent picture books for Advent and Christmas

Looking for picture books for advent or Christmas to share with your own littles or give as a gift? Here are some to consider. A Night of Great Joy by Mary Engelbreit. Zonderkidz, 2020. Board book. Reading Level: Board Book, ages 0-4 Recommended for: ages 0-4 A very child-friendly pageant presents the story of the…

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‘Twas the Season of Advent

‘Twas the Season of Advent is an advent devotional for littles that hearkens back to the classic poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” but focuses on anticipating the coming of Christ. ‘Twas the Season of Advent by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Elena Selivanova. Zonderkidz, 2021, 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 4-8 Recommended for:…

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*Little Hearts Prepare Him Room by Holly Mackle

Little Hearts Prepare Him Room by Holly Mackle is a simple Advent devotional with deep theology, suitable for a variety of ages. Little Hearts Prepare Him Room by Holly Mackle. CDM Discipleship, 2019. 74 pages. Reading Level: Ages 8-10 Recommended For: Ages 0-10 Little Hearts Prepare Him Room recognizes that many well-intentioned attempts to sit…

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The Expected One and The Risen One by Scott James

There is much to anticipate in both Christmas and Easter, but the Story is much bigger than the significant events, as Scott James demonstrates in a pair of devotional books. *The Expected One by Scott James. B&H Publishing, 2021. 121 pages. *The Risen One by Scott James. B&H Publishing, 2021. 121 pages. Reading Level: Adults…

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Something Better Coming: The life of a new author

In which Megan’s books arrive and she and her boys have fun with them, and why the books will not be sold through Amazon. The long-awaited arrival of 2000 copies. The fort built out of books. (My boys wish I had ordered an extra thousand copies and wondered if the boxes would make good airsoft…

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Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson against the odds

Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson Against the Odds by Robert Burleigh. Simon & Schuster, 2007. 32 pages. Reading level: Picture books, ages 4-8, ages 8-10Recommended for: Ages 4-8, ages 8-10 “I need a player with guts enough not to fight back.” That’s what the Dodgers’ manager told Jackie at the start of his career. Jackie Robinson…

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A Cookie Story Tea

chocolate chip cookies

A cookie story tea is a great place to share my personally developed recipe for chocolate chip cookies. May these books enhance your pleasure in making and sharing them! Golden Key Members find a themed Story Tea printed in each copy of Redeemed Reader Quarterly. Have you tried any of them yet? Which is your…

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Are You Reading Under Law or Under Grace?

I have a fat file of booklists, recommended reading by people I respect who have read certain books I haven’t read yet, and I struggle with feeling inadequate because I haven’t checked off as many titles as they have. When I do read, I agonize. Should I read this title or that one? Why am…

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*Tree Street Kids: Jack vs. the Tornado and The Hunt for Fang

Authentic characters and classic themes shine in a God-honoring series about Jack, his sister, friendship, and a great clubhouse. Tree Street Kids series by Amanda Cleary Eastep, illustrated by Aedan Peterson: Jack vs. the Tornado and The Hunt for Fang. Moody, 2021. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10, ages 10-12 Recommended For: Ages 8-12 Some…

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The Best Pet of All and Bertha Takes a Drive

The Best Pet of All and Bertha Takes a Drive are picture books about boys and moms. In the first, a boy asks his mom for a dog. In the second, two boys take an unusual ride. The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama. Dutton, 2004, unpaged. Reading level: Picture…

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Oversize Nonfiction: Math, Anatomy, and Classification

Do you see order, beauty, and relationships in the world around you? Three recent oversized picture books require special shelving, but offer a feast for the mind. Anatomicum by Jennifer Z. Paxton. Big Picture Press, 2020. The Welcome to the Museum series is extraordinary, and Anatomicum is no exception. An elegant introduction to the extraordinary…

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*See the Cat: Three stories about a dog

cover image of See the Cat

A dog on a rug is quite understandably aggravated by the narrative narrator through three very short stories for beginning readers. Brilliant, clever, and hilarious. See the Cat: Three stories about a dog by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Candlewick, 64 pages. Reading Level: Easy readers, ages 4-8 Recommended For: Ages 4-8 Last August,…

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2021 Newbery Buzz #3: Skunk and Badger

We’re continuing our annual “Newbery Buzz” series today with round #3 for 2021. (We have already discussed Chirp and King and the Dragonflies earlier this month.) As a reminder, we do not know which books the actual Newbery committee is seriously considering; we discuss books we’ve been hearing lots of “buzz” about in the children’s…

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