In a Garden
Written by Tim McCanna
Illustrated by Aimée Sicuro
Age Level: 4 - 8
Grade Level: P – 3
This book is as beautiful as the cover, and the content will interest a range of kids from preschool to third grade. I’m a retired teacher, and I’d give it to my daughter (she teaches too).
This one’s in rhyme, and it tells the story of a garden on a hill and all the creatures that live around it, including humans. It also includes the creatures living IN the garden, including plant parts as they appear. There’s nothing better than a good story that allows kids to learn something new! The backmatter includes great facts about ecosystems and the relationship between plants and insects, how they rely on each other.
Sleep Like Tiger
Written by Mary Logue
Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Age Level: 4 – 7
Grade Level: P – 3
This is a beautiful book – It won the Caldecott Honor Award in 2013, but the words are equally beautiful. A little girl doesn’t want to go to sleep so she starts asking questions about what animals do. It’s a great strategy to stay awake! She asks about the dog . . . he sleeps on the couch. The whale . . . . he swims circles in the ocean. Slowly but surely she puts the images together, until she puts herself to sleep. It’s a unique and lovely bedtime story.
Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog
Written & Illustrated by Lisa Papp
Age Level: 4 – 8
Grade Level: 1 – 2
Madeline Finn’s celebrating her dog’s birthday this year with the most unusual event ever. No Scooby snacks or puppy pools! Madeline and her dog Star have been working hard to get ready for his therapy dog test. This is one of the kindest books I’ve read in a long time. Will Star get the best birthday present ever? You’ll have to read to find out.
BTW – This is the third book in a series about Madeline Finn and her dog, Star.
Iggy Peck and the Mysterious Mansion:
The Questioneers Book #3
Written by Andrea Beaty
Illustrated by David Roberts
Age Level: 6 – 9
Grade Level: 1 – 4
I didn’t know Andrea Beaty did chapter books! I knew about her picture book series with titles like ADA TWIST SCIENTIST. I love how clever they are! Now Andrea has gotten cleverer – she took all of her picture book characters and put them into a series of chapter books, called the Questioneers!
I loved this story! I was looking for one with hope, and this one popped up in my search! Ada’s Aunt Bernice inherits Herbert Sherbet’s house. He was once the ice cream king and a millionaire. The house used to be incredible, but now it’s run down. Nobody’s done maintenance for years. That means it’s going to take LOTS of MONEY to keep it, and to repair it. Aunt Bernice doesn’t have that kind of money, but she hopes to find Herbert’s collection of antique furniture. If she does, she can sell it and use the money to repair/keep the house. I’ll tell you there’s a happy ending thanks to the questioneers, but you’ll have to read it for yourself!
PS – There’s Back Matter! A tiny bit on subjects that come up in the book like art noveau, art deco, cats with different eye colors, making ice cream, the science behind it at the molecular level, and finally a short bio about Ida Wells.
PPS – Even the end papers are fun, but you’ll have to get the book to see why.
Contrary Creatures: Unique Animal Opposites
Written & Illustrated by James Weinberg
Age Level: 3 – 7
Grade Level: PS – 3
If you like animals, you’ll love this book! It’s nonfiction so it’s completely true. The author decided to compare animals across 9 sets of opposite traits. He compared how a chameleon uses camouflage to a peacock. Then he looked at temperature with gila monsters and penguins. One animal lives in the desert, and the other one in Antarctica. Back matter will tell you a little more about each animal. You’ll have to read for yourself to uncover the rest of the traits, and the animals picked as opposites.
Written by Gideon Sterer
Illustrated by Poly Bernatene
Age Level: 4 - 8
Grade Level: P – 3
This is a cute, sweet story! Grampa has to leave home and move to the city, but he misses his old home and his fishing hole. His granddaughter finds the perfect solution– on the roof. ‘Sky-fishing!’ And it works! The first catch of the day . . . a Flying Litterfish! But it’s just the start! Read on and discover what else these two catch.
Treasure Hunters #3: Secret of the Forbidden City
Written by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein
Illustrated by Juliana Neufeld
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
I loved this book! It’s punny! The Kidd family kids must rescue their mom. She’s being held for ransom in the Forbidden City, where the Chinese emperors once lived. The kidnappers don’t want money. They want the Kidds to find missing artwork. MASTERPIECES!
Some of the artwork was taken by the Nazi’s back during World War II. I knew about the artwork, but I absolutely loved how the authors wove that history into a mystery for kids. This story is so well written! I loved following the bread crumbs to find the artwork, and their mom.
PS- So far this is a series of 7 books. The 7th came out in June of 2020. My fingers are crossed that #8 is on its way!
PPS – My post this week was about the White Rose, a set of college kids who used letters to protest against Hitler. Here’s a link to another one for older kids, THE BOYS WHO CHALLENGED HITLER. It’s about some Danish middle schoolers who decided to resist. Rinda Beach - Beach Reads - Rinda Beach -
Written & Illustrated by Sam Usher
Age Level: 3 – 7
Grade Level: P – 2
This is another cute book from Sam Usher, like Rain. He’s also written Snow and Storm. They’re all available in a boxed set called Seasons. (I thought it should be called Weather!)
I liked Sun a lot, probably because a Grandpa and Grandson are spending the day together, looking for the perfect picnic spot. It hooked me! My favorite line – ‘the sun beat down – ” was repeated through the whole book while they looked for a place to eat. You’ll have to read for yourself to learn all the crazy places they tried, and if they ever found that perfect spot, with the sun merely shining down 😊
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Written by Anne Isaacs
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Age Level: 5 - 9
Grade Level: K – 4
I love this phrase, and I’m so glad Anne used it as a title. Imagine . . . what if . . . an Enlish widow inherits a Texas ranch? It sounds like one of those totally absurd combinations that I’ve heard can be put together to make a great story.
It totally works in this clever, well written/illustrated book. Imagine . . . 100 cowboys turn up to marry you. It doesn’t bother the widow, Tulip Jones. She comes up with contests to get rid of them. One has those cowboys figuring out how to make the Rio Grande flow backwards. Another has them using 100 bridal veils to capture a band of outlaws. It’s true – everything is bigger and better in Texas! Especially this story!
Pearl Goes to Preschool
Written & Illustrated by Julie Fortenberry
Age Level: 2 - 5
Grade Level: PS – K
This book is as cute as its cover. Pearl already goes to school , her mother’s ballerina school, and she’s its tiniest ballerina. She can count ballet positions and follow directions, but Preschool’s different. Pearl has some big questions, like what will she learn, and most important – will there be dance?. Kids and moms will love this book and its answers to those big preschool questions.