January 2015



Preschooler
Heroes

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DINOSAUR RESCUE!
written/illus. by Penny Dale, (Noisy Crow), 32p, Ages 3-6

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THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD
written by Watty Piper, Illus. by Loren Long, (Philomel Books), 48p, Ages 4+

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LITTLE BEAR'S LITTLE BOAT
written by Eve Bunting, illus. by Nancy Carpenter, (Clarion Books), 32p, Ages 3-6

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LITTLE TUG
written/illus. by Stephen Savage, (Neal Porter Books), 32p, Ages 2-6

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BIG BROWN BEAR GOES TO TOWN
written/illus. David McPhail, (Harcourt, Inc.), 40p, Ages 3-7

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ALWAYS
written by Alison McGhee, illus. by Pascal Lemaitre, (Simon & Schuster), 40p, Ages 4-8 yrs





Ages 4-8
Heroes

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HOW TO HEAL A BROKEN WING
written/illus. by Bob Graham, (Candlewick Press), 40 p., Ages 3-7

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LOST AND FOUND
written/illus. by Oliver Jeffers, (Philomel Books), 32p, Ages 4-8

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GUJI GUJI
written & illus. by Chih-Yuan Chen, (Kane/Miller Publishers), 32p, Ages 4-8

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A HOME FOR BIRD
written/illus. by Philip C. Stead, Roaring Book Press), 32p, Ages 4-8

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CATKIN
written by Antonia Barber, illus. by P. J. Lynch, (Candlewick Press) 48p, Ages 7-11

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THE TALE OF CUSTARD THE DRAGON
written by Ogden Nash, illus. by Lynn Munsinger, (Little, Brown & Co.), 32p, Ages 4-8





Ages 8-12
Heroes

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MR. MAX: The Book of Lost Things
written by Cynthia Voigt, illus. by Iacopo Bruno (Random House), 381p, Ages 8-12


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MISSING ON SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN
written by Elise Broach, illus. by Antonio Javier Caparo, (Henry Holt), 272p, Ages 8-12


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BATTLE FOR THE CASTLE
written by Elizabeth Winthrop, (Yearling), 224p, Ages 9-12


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THE MOUSE WITH THE QUESTION MARK TAIL
written by Richard Peck, illus. by Kelly Murphy, (Dial Books for Young Readers), 240p, Ages 8-12


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THE SPY CATCHERS OF MAPLE HILL
written by Megan Frazer Blakemore, (Bloomsbury), 320p, Ages 8-12


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SMELLS LIKE DOG
written by Suzanne Selfors, (Little, Brown & Co.), 358p, Ages 9-12





Ages12+
Heroes

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THE EYE OF ZOLTAR
written by Jasper Fforde, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), 304p, Ages 13+


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URBAN OUTLAWS
written by Peter Jay Black, (Bloomsbury), 288p, Ages 11+


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THE TWINNING PROJECT
written by Robert Lipsyte, (Clarion Books), 272p, Ages 11+









For more information on great children's literature for reading to children and by children, visit us at:

www.tchliteracy.com

Bringing you
books that:


Touch the Heart,
Color the Imagination, and
Delight the Mind


Welcome to The Storytellers, a monthly newsletter of outstanding children's literature to read and read aloud from preschoolers to middle graders.

The great storytellers in children's literature never lost their love of childhood. Their distinctive styles and personalities are woven into their writing in a special way that enchants children of every generation. We hope you will enjoy our choices reading and reading aloud stories for January.

For more information on reading to children, great books to read and read aloud, and a summer reading program, log on to our web site at www.tchliteracy.com.


Preschool
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I'M A DIRTY DINOSAUR
written by Janeen Brian, illus. by Ann James, (Kane Miller, $11.99, ISBN 978-1-61067-296-2), 22p, Ages 2-5

"I'm a dirty dinosaur / with a dirty snout. / I never wipe it clean / I just sniff and snuff about." While sniffing, snuffling, shaking, tapping, stamping, and sliding about, a little dinosaur's face, tummy, feet, and tail become increasingly dirty. Covered in mud and realizing his yuckiness, the little fellow stomps to the swamp for a lovely bath. This one is for kids who love mud and bathtime.

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CLIFFORD VISITS THE ZOO
written/illus. by Norman Bridwell, (Scholastic, Inc. $12.99, ISBN 978-0-545-66896-5), 40p, Ages 2+

While exploring the zoo, little Emily Elizabeth compares Clifford's size, habits, and appearance to that of penguins, koalas, butterflies, hippos, monkeys, sloths, tortoises, chameleons, seals, and birds. While penguins are small Clifford is large; butterflies are lightweight and Clifford is heavy; hippos are dirty but Clifford is clean. Endpapers feature short paragraphs about animal's habits and habitats. With bright and appealing illustrations, kids will especially love the plush-like Clifford on the cover.

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BIG BUG
written/illus. by Henry Cole, (Little Simon, $14.99,
ISBN 978-1-4424-9897-6), 32p, Ages 3+

This charming introduction to the concept of scale begins with a huge ladybug, but the next page shows it small when compared to a leaf. The following pages present comparisons to a flower, cow, and sky. Direction is reversed as readers return to a tree, a house, a window, and a dog taking a "little" nap with the ladybug on its nose. It's delightful to envision how something "big" suddenly becomes "little" with each turn of a page. The brilliant illustrations and clever concepts will delight children as they begin to understand their physical world. This lovely presentation of scale and relationships will help them make sense of the natural world.

 
Preschool
Gems from the Past
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SOUTH
written/illus. by Patrick McDonnell, (Little, Brown and Co., $14.99, ISBN 978-0-316-00509-8), 48p, Ages 3-6

As a yellow flock of birds takes flight from a tree, a lone leaf flitters down and wakes a sleeping bird on the ground. Realizing that his flock has flown south for the winter, he begins to cry. Mooch happens along and takes compassion on him. Together, paw and wing, they begin a journey down streets, through crowded cities, across fields, and past forests, until they hear twittering from a utility wire. With a thank you and hug, the little lost bird joins his flock. This wordless story of compassion and friendship will tug at hearts for sure.

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UP AND DOWN
written/illus. by Oliver Jeffers, (Philomel Books, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-399-25545-8), 40p, Ages 3-6

"Once there were two friends who always did everything together. Until the day the penguin decided there was something important he wanted to do by himself … fly!" In a follow up story to Lost and Found, penguin tries multiple ways to fly — balloons, pillows, and planes — but with no success. At the zoo, penguin spies a circus poster advertising for a "Living Cannon Ball," and he decides to tryout. Missing his friend, Penguin flies out of the cannon, but wonders if boy will ever find him. All ends well, and the friends agree that penguins aren't made for flying. Best friends should always come to the rescue.

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MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT!
written by Robie H. Harris, illus. by Michael Emberley, (Orchard Books, $16.99, 2008,
ISBN 9778-0-439-92961-5), 40p, Ages 3-5

In an effort to locate his favorite book at bedtime, a young child considers various scenarios that might have befallen his precious book: "Maybe a Stegosaurus stomped on it!", "Maybe a Rhino ran away with it!", or "Maybe a Shark swallowed it!" Of course, the bear is a likely culprit, because of his appetite for books. Children will enjoy the child's frantic search and his enthusiastic relief on finding the book in the bed covers. The creative story and infectious illustrations make this book a great choice for bedtime and a wonderful first book for children who are learning to read.

 
Ages 4-8
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JULIA'S HOUSE FOR LOST CREATURES
written/illus. by Ben Hatke, (First Second, $17.99,
ISBN 978-1-59643-866-8), 40p, Ages 4-7

A resourceful redheaded girl moves her Victorian home, which resides atop a giant tortoise, to a cliff overlooking the sea. Julia settles in with her books, a lovely fire, toast, and tea. Not content with the loneliness of the quiet house, Julia hangs up a sign inviting lost creatures to stay. Soon homeless creatures of every kind arrive, take over the house, and chaos erupts. Elves overrun the kitchen, the mermaid invades the bathtub, and the troll discovers the record player. Back to her workshop, Julia creates a chore chart for her housemates. "The dragon made toast and the mermaid washed the dishes. The folletti tended the fire, the goblins mopped up, the ghost was in charge of dusting … and the troll picked out the music." With order restored, Julia hears disturbing noises from the old house, advertises for a handyman, and finds a very unique repairman. Kids will love the menagerie of creatures and the lesson of helping others less fortunate.

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SMALL BLUE AND THE DEEP DARK NIGHT
written/illus. by Jon Davis, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-544-16466-6), 40p, Ages 4-8

Small Blue (a bunny) is positive that creepy, sneaky, gnarly things are lurking in his bedroom at night. Big Brown (a bear) wonders if they are as scary as they seem. "But if it was dark, how do you know it wasn't a delightful doggies' Saturday-night unicycle convention?" In response to Small Blue's fear of hairy spiders and shifty-eyed flappy bats, Big Brown explains that perhaps it is, "a smiley spacemen's zero-gravity birthday party?" Turning on the lights and sharing a cup of warm milk help to dispel some of the fears. Big Bear's nonsensical, humorous, and loopy logic assures Small Blue that there are no witches, skeletons, or pirates lurking around either. Gazing at the nighttime stars, Small Blue continues the silly logic when asked what he sees. "Maybe the stars are running a relay race around the moon while the planets cheer them on." These hilarious reasonings will surely turn kid's fears into giggles.

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THE TREE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
written by Bonnie Verburg, illus. by Mark Teague, (Orchard Books, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-439-85338-5), 40p, Ages 4-7

"Here is the boy / up in the tree / where he built a house / overlooking the sea." In cumulative rhyme, Jack is visited by a grinning fly, snapping lizard, pecking parrot, jumping cat, swatting dog, swinging monkey, and slithering snake. At story time, Jack proceeds to read a copy of this book to his menagerie of tropical animals before bedtime. With swinging vines, ladders, pulleys, water wheel fountains, platforms, balconies, bridges, and hammocks, young Robinson Crusoe's will love this one.


Ages 4 – 8
Gems from the Past
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J. A. TEDDY
written/illus. by John A. Rowe, (Minedition, 2006), 32p, Ages 4-7

"Once upon a time there was a fearless Pirate called Captain Scallywag, who lived at number 14 Smith Street with his Mom and Dad." Armed with his faithful sword and trusty bear, J. A. Teddy, the young dreamer sails around the world in search of adventure. When attacked by pirates, J. A. Teddy falls overboard. The Queen of Fairies overhears the boy's cry for help and explains that in a far away castle all lost teddy bears are guarded by a giant ogre, each one with a tag marked "LOST". Of course, any self-respecting scallywag would set them free. The next morning, the young boy awakes to find a small tag attached to Teddy's leg.

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CLOWN
written/illus. by Quentin Blake, (Henry Holt & Co., $17.95, ISBN 978-1-4352-6559-2), 32p, Ages 4-8

In a wordless picture book Quentin Blake presents an eloquent story of a small rag doll and his doll friends that have been thrown into the trash. Clown escapes the trash bin, dusts himself off, and searches for help to rescue his discarded friends. His search has it ups and downs, but eventually he finds a young girl and her family, who are in need of a little love themselves. Themes of friendship, compassion, loyalty, and appreciation make this book a unique read-aloud for the young and young at heart.

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THE LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY: THE STORM
written by Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Preston McDaniels, (Simon & Schuster, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-6898-1882-7), 80p, Ages 6-9

A lonely feline lighthouse keeper and a sea-loving dog rescue and make a home for three orphan mice in this first of five sweet books about love, kindness, and families. Pandora is lonely and a little weary as keeper of the lighthouse, but her life radically changes when a storm blows in a shipwrecked, crusty old sheepdog, Seabold. Over the next few months as he heals from his injuries, they become good friends, and he decides to stay. When Seabold rescues three orphan mice, Whistler, Lila, and Tiny, Pandora nurses them back to health and both decide that their family is complete. "It happened because a noble young cat wished to save lives. Because a brave dog wished to sail. And because three small children wished for a family."


Ages 8-12
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DAPPLED ANNIE AND THE TIGRISIH
written by Mary McCallum, illus. by Annie Hayward, (Gecko Press, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-877579-95-0), 138p, Ages 8-12

On the coast of New Zealand, a young girl lives with her annoying little brother, Robbie, mother, and father, a lighthouse keeper. On the eve of her 10th birthday, Annie visits her friends in the garden, a row of hedges. They have names, personalities, the ability to communicate, and are caretakers of a fantail's nest. When an earthquake and destructive windstorm disrupts Annie's yard, the nest blows away, and the hedges are devastated. Claiming that they "haven't lost a bird yet," Mr. and Mrs. Hedge uproot themselves and walk off in search of the nest. Annie, Robbie, and the Tigrish, (a tiger-like magical creature) join the hunt through an unfriendly forest to a beach where the nest resides high up on her father's lighthouse. Along the way, Annie discovers unknown bravery, good decision-making skills, and the importance of protecting family and friends. "Protecting someone was a different job from making sure they were okay … It meant you had to be bigger than yourself, not physically bigger exactly, but big inside your head." This delightful story of family, bravery, and a touch of magic will charm all who believe in miracles.

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NUTS TO YOU
written by Lynne Rae Perkins, (Greenwillow Books, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-06-009275-7), 272p, Ages 7-11

Friends watch as Jed is snatched up by a hawk and carried away to certain death. Thus begins a journey of adventure, friendship, danger, rescue, acceptance, and determination. Unaware that Jed narrowly escaped the hawk's talons, friends TsTs and Chai traverse buzzpaths (utility lines) and frozen spiderwebs (towers) to rescue their friend. New friends are made, homes are saved, and communities are relocated from habitat destruction. However, there are numerous challenges, "Getting squirrels to listen to reason is like getting a tree to drop its nuts at your front door." Short action-packed chapters, humorous squirrel games, hair-raising escapades, and cockney accents combine to portray the power of friendship, the importance of community, and the saving of the red squirrel world. Animal lovers and environment enthusiasts will find this tale charming, full of warmth, and plenty of fun.


Ages 8-12
Gems from the Past
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LINDBERGH: The Tale of a Flying Mouse
written/illus. by Torben Kuhlmann, translated by Suzanne Levesque, (North South Books, $19.95,
ISBN 978-0-7358-4167-3), 96p, Ages 7-11

To escape terrifying mousetraps in his German homeland, a heroic mouse invents a way to cross the Atlantic to freedom in America. Inspired by his bat-flying cousins, Lindbergh uses intelligence, perseverance, and strength to build a mouse-size plane, narrowly avoiding close encounters with owls and cats. With map in paw and goggles in place, he begins the trans-Atlantic flight. "Night fell, and the air grew cold. The mouse chewed on a hunk of cheese and tried to ignore his exhaustion while swishing through the dark." Arriving safely in New York City, he soon becomes famous. Newspapers tell of his spectacular adventure, and legend states that he inspired a young Charles Lindbergh. Endpapers include A Short History of Aviation, information on Otto Lilienthal, a German aviation pioneer, the Wright Brothers, and Charles Lindbergh. The illustrations are so plentiful and stunning that this wonderful tale might also qualify as a wordless book.

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MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER
written by Mal Peet/Elspeth Graham, illus. by P. J. Lynch, (Candlewick Press, $15.99, ISBN 978-0-7636-6232-5), 48p, Ages 7-9

"The riders came desperately fast, pushing through the howling desert storm, carrying with them their most precious cargo: a baby hidden in a basket. But the storm proved to be too much, and the swirling sands swallowed them all, except for one: the baby." Issa, famous for his knowledge of desert and mountains, discovers the baby and decides to raise her. Little does he realize that Mariama will become his eyes when blindness strikes. One day, three travelers from the east seek Issa's help in guiding them on a difficult journey. Learning of his blindness, they leave in disgust, only to encounter a disastrous sand storm. Upon rescuing the travelers, neither Issa, Marimama, nor one particular traveler realize that their lives are destined to change forever. Author's Note explains Peet and Graham's interest in Timbuktu of Mali, West Africa, traders of salt and gold, and one blind guide. P. J. Lynch elegantly captures the magnificent and harsh environment in which people endure and survive.


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THE CASTLE IN THE ATTIC
written by Elizabeth Winthrop, (Random House), 192p, Ages 9-12

His departing housekeeper/nanny gives ten-year-old William Lawrence a miniature wooden castle, a magic token, and a tiny silver knight. Determined to keep her from leaving, William uses the token to shrink her to the size of the lone inhabitant of the castle, a toy knight, Sir Simon. To correct his selfish act, William shrinks himself and accompanies the knight on a quest to win back his kingdom from a wicked magician. On the way, William learns compassion, chivalry, bravery, loyalty, honesty, and mercy and becomes a formidable force against evil. Knights, castles, dragons, wizardry and magic, along with strong morals and values, make this story a classic for all to experience.

Ages 12+
Gems from the Past
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ON THE WINGS OF HEROES
written by Richard Peck, (Dial Books, $16.99,
ISBN 978-0-8037-3081-6), 160p, Ages 10+

Boyhood memories from World War II are recalled in this humorous and poignant story of a midwestern family and their courage, sacrifice, and love for one another. Davy Bowman adores his father and older brother, Bill. When the war begins in 1941, Davy and his family adjust to scrap metal drives, blackouts, tire rationing, and Boy Scout paper drives. Bill enlists as a B-17 bombardier pilot, but life changes drastically when his plane goes down in Europe. Radio news is crucial, and grandparents arrive to help. Davy's adores his dad and brother, but there are other heroes in town. A retired teacher steps up to help in Davy's classroom, when his teacher joins the war effort. "Under Miss Titus we learned a lot more than we'd meant to. Spelling counted. Everything counted, and she ran our grade like Parris Island boot camp for the marines." With honesty and warmth, this delightful coming-of-age novel is a great read with its eccentric characters, humorous situations, and sacrifices that pull families together.

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HERO
written by Mike Lupica, (Philomel Books, $17.99,
ISBN 978-0-399-25283-9), 304p, Ages 11-14

Fourteen-year-old Zach Harriman idolizes his father, a covert government agent disguised as a globe-traveling businessman. When his father is killed under mysterious circumstances, Jack discovers that they share a super hero connection of magical powers. As his super powers increase, Zack investigates his father's death, only to become a target by a sinister organization bent on assassinating a presidential candidate. Realizing that the forces behind his father's murder may be an old family friend, Zack is forced to grow up quickly and deal with issues of trust, friendship, and courage.

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THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER: The Chronicles of Kazam: Book 1
written by Jaspar Fforde, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-547-73847-1), 304p, Ages 13+

Sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange, foundling from the Blessed Ladies of the Lobster, runs Kazam Mystical Arts Management, an employment agency for magicians. With magic slowly drying up, Jennifer hires out once powerful sorcerers and wizards to magically repair plumbing and electrical systems, deliver pizza, and perform various low level spells around the town of Herford of the UnUnited Kingdom. When magicians begin predicting the death of the last dragon, Jennifer is appointed to kill him. Her negotiating skills are tested as she wrestles with duty, political maneuvering, corruption, and greed. Hilarious characters, unpredictable magic, a Transient Moose, and a Quarkbeast round out this wacky and imaginative tale.

Over the years, we have researched thousands of children's books, and can recommend some of the best in outstanding children's literature for parents to read aloud and children to read. Our recommendations must meet certain criteria: fun, creative and imaginative stories, delightful illustrations, and excellent for age appropriate listening and reading. We hope that you enjoyed our recommendations. If you desire further information some of the best in children's literature, please visit our website, www.tchliteracy.com.

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