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Viewing Blog: Children's Book Reviews and Then Some, Most Recent at Top
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As a lover of children's literature, mother and bookseller of 13 years, I want to put good books into kid's hands. I share my philosophy on what makes a book good as well as book reviews and lists of great books for every reading taste and ability with a focus on new readers. I also highlight some wonderful books that are not always on the shelf at bookstores, but might be at your library and can definitely be ordered. All books mentioned are available in paperback unless noted.
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1. The Trees by Philip Larkin

The Trees The trees are coming into leaf Like something almost being said; The recent buds relax and spread,  Their greenness is a kind of grief. Is it that they are born again And we grow old? No, they die too. Their yearly trick of looking new Is written down in rings of grain. Yet still the unresting castles thresh In fullgrown thickness every May. Last year is dead, they seem to say,

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2. Snowball by Shel Silverstein

Snowball I made myself a snowball As perfect as could be. I thought I'd keep it as a pet And let it sleep with me. I made it some pajamas And a pillow for its head. Then last night it ran away But first - it wet the bed. - Shel Silverstein (suggested by zoey)

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3. The Clouds by Rosemary Wells

The Clouds Some clouds fill with sunshine Some are dark with sorrow. Some are left from yesterday And some are for tomorrow. The clouds go proudly sailing by. I love their proper names. Stratus, Nimbus, Cirrus, Cumulus and James. -Rosemary Wells

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4. Inside this Book (are three books). by Barney Saltzberg

Inside this Book (are three books). is yet another   book with brilliant paper engineering from the master of picture books that playfully inspire creativity, Barney Saltzberg. When I was a kid there wasn't much more exciting than blank pages folded in half and stapled to make a book, and I have students in the library doing this every day. In fact, there is a really neat way to fold a

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5. Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Stick and Stone is a gently rhyming book about friendship with some great word play written by Beth Ferry, hedgehog owner and debut picture book author, and illustrated by the fantastic Tom Lichtenheld. At the start of the book, Stick and Stone are lonely and alone, "A zero. A one." That changes one day at the playground when Pinecone comes along and makes fun of Stone. Stick

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6. brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, 328 pp, RL 4

Winner of the National Book Award, the Newbery Honor Medal (her third) and the Coretta Scott King Award for Authors, brown girl dreaming is worth every medal and more. Like the Newbery Medal winner this year, Kwame Alexander's Crossover, Woodson's book is a verse novel - two verse novels wining ALA awards in the same year! While Jacqueline Woodson's memoir in verse, brown girl dreaming, is

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7. Earth Day by Jane Yolen

Earth Day I am the Earth And the Earth is me, Each blade of grass, Each honey tree, Each bit of mud, And stick and stone Is blood and muscle, Skin and bone. And just as I Need every bit Of me to make My body fit, So Earth needs Grass and stone and tree And things that grow here Naturally. That's why we Celebrate this day. That's why across The world we say: As long

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8. Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

I love reading picture books to every grade at the elementary school where I am the librarian, but I have to confess that the kindergarteners are my favorites to read to. And Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede with perfect illustrations by Greg Pizzoli is my new absolute favorite book to read to them. I love it when I read a book that gets my listeners to think even before I have read the first

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9. Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform

Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform, a French creative studio started by Marie-laure Cruschi in 2007, reads like an inforgraphic with each page presenting a speed (KM/H and MPH) and things that move at that speed. With your interest piqued, you can flip to end of the book where there is a glossary that provides a paragraph of information about the vehicle, person, animal

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10. Noodle Kids: Around the World in 50 Fun, Healthy, Creative Recipes the Whole Family Can Cook Together by Jonathan Sawyer

As someone who is a part Italian, carb-loving home chef who has made more than a few pounds of pasta with my kids, there is almost no way I would not love a cookbook titled Noodle Kids. And, with every page turn I found more and more to love, admire and appreciate about this brilliant cookbook by chef, father and restauranteur Jonathan Sawyer. Sawyer has a long culinary history, but it is

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11. Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets: 100 Poems to Rip Out and Read, Published in conjunction with The Academy of American Poets, Selected by Bruno Navasky

POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY is APRIL 30, 2015! Visit poets.org for printable, pocket sized poems and other fantastic poetry related items or click here! I fell in love with Poem in you Pocket: 200 Poems to Read and Carry, published in conjunction with The Academy of American Poets and selected by Elaine Bleakney, last April. Maybe this year I will be able to bring myself to

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12. maggie and milly and molly and may by e.e. cummings

maggie and molly and milly and may maggie and molly and milly and may went down to the beach(to play one day) and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were; and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while

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13. A Shooting Star by Edith M. Thomas

A Shooting Star From Aridane's Crown Something came flashing down Over the distant town, Over the river and sleeping farms; The planets above seemed to wink As they watched the traveler sink; And motherly Earth, I think, May have folded a little lost star in her arms. -Edith M. Thomas

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14. A Jelly-Fish by Marianne Moore

A Jelly Fish Visible, invisible, a fluctuating charm an amber-tinctured amethyst inhabits it, your arm approaches and it opens and it closes; you had meant to catch it and it quivers; you abandon your intent. - Marianne Moore

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15. Flowers are Calling by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak

I was immediately drawn to Flowers are Calling, written by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak, because the illustration style reminded me of Jon Klassen with a splash of Brendan Wenzel (Some Bugs). What a treat when I opened the book and discovered that the text is as inviting and intriguing as the rich illustrations! With Flowers are Calling, Rita Gray has created a picture book

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16. Out and About: A First Book of Poems by Shirley Hughes

Author and illustrator Shirley Hughes is a Grande Dame of British Children's literature. Her 1977 picture book, Dogger, won the Kate Greenaway Award (the British Caldecott) and, in 2007 it won the public vote for best Greenaway ever. Reading Out and About: A First Book of Poems, it's easy to see why she is so beloved in England. Although she was born in 1927, Hughes clearly still has a

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17. Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred) by Josh Schneider

Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred) by Theodore Seuss Geisel Award winner Josh Schneider is flat out superbly hilarious. Perhaps because of the nature of the beast, going to bed books can be notoriously dull, but Schneider turns this genre on its head with Fred, the thumb-headed fellow with a "to-do list you wouldn't believe" who resembles a Weeble, a wobbly toy from my childhood. Schneider

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18. Goodnight Already! by Jory John & Benji Davies

Goodnight Already! by Jory John and Benji Davis is an odd couple story with winning illustrations that's hard to resist even if you can seen the end coming. Chipper Duck is fully caffeinated and ready to go while weary Bear is ready to drop with exhaustion. The relief on his face as he pulls up the covers is palpable. The dance begins, Duck suggesting things to do, Bear declining.

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19. The Monarch Butterfly painting and poem by Douglas Florian

The Monarch Butterfly He is a monarch. He is a king. He flies great migrations, Past nations he wings. He is a monarch. He is a prince. When blackbirds attack him, From poison they wince. He is a monarch. He is a duke. Swallows that swallow him Frequently puke. From: Insectlopedia Douglas FlorianCopyright 1998

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20. Snails by Calef Brown

Snails It never fails, those pesky snails are always in the pudding. Lousy guests, those nasty pests, they're always up to something. I've tried like mad to find their nest but snails are smart I must confess. The trails they leave can fool the best, and snails are good at hiding. Oh well, at least they don't make threats, they don't eat meat, they don't place bets, they

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21. The Black Widow Spider poem and painting by Douglas Florian

The Black Widow Spider I am a widow- I always wear black, From my eight dainty legs To my shiny round back. Do not disturb me. My fangs carry venom. I am a widow- I don't wear denim. -Douglas Florian from Insectlopedia Copyright 1998

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22. The Caterpillar painting and poem by Douglas Florian

The Caterpillar The caterpillar's not a cat. It's very small And short and fat, And with those beady little eyes Will never win a beauty prize. The caterpillar's brain is small- It only knows to eat and crawl. But for this creepy bug don't cry, It will soon be a buttery. -Douglas Florian from beast feast Copyright 1994

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23. Caterpillar by Christina Rossetti

Caterpillar Brown and furry Caterpillar in a hurry, Take your walk To the shady leaf, or stalk, Or what not, Which may be the chosen spot. No toad to spy you, Hovering bird of prey pass by you, Spin and die, To live again a butterfly. -Christina Rossetti

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24. Last Man: The Stranger by Balak, Michaël Sanlaville and Bastien Vivès, 207 pp, RL 4

The Last Man trilogy is the creation of a trilogy of men well known for their work in their home country of France. Balak, a star from the world of French animation, Michaël Sanlavalle, a star from the world of French video gaming and Bastien Vivès, a star from the world of French comics joined forces to create this fast paced graphic novel that feels familiar and new at the same time.

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25. On the Wing by David Elliott illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

On the Wing by David Elliott and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander is enchanting and absorbing, an ideal book for introducing young readers to poetry as well as the world of birds. Becca Stadtlander's illustrations are magnificent. The birds are presented with a realistic crispness while the backgrounds take on a more painterly feel that invites your imagination to wander and wonder

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