Category Archives: book reviews

Plenty of Holiday Books for Young Readers!

The holiday season is here!  This is a  special time to visit your local library and check out our collection of picture books celebrating Christmas and it’s magic.  There are a lot to choose from, so here our some of our favorites:

Decorating a Christmas tree and knowing that Santa Claus will leave his presents underneath, is a special part of Christmas. In a childhood favorite, “Mr Willowby’s Christmas Tree” by Robert Barry, 1963,  a giant Christmas tree destined for Mr. Willowby’s grand house doesn’t treefit. So a little is taken off the top, and so begins this rhyming story. The tossed out portion of Mr. Willowby’s tree is not wasted by the maid who in turn also takes a little off the top. The gardener see the discarded portion of tree and takes it into his home but finds it doesn’t fit, so a little is taken off the top. This continues with several woodland creatures each finding the tossed out tree and taking a little off the top. The travels for Mr. Willowby’s tree ends with Mistletoe Mouse who finds the very tip of the Christmas tree and brings it home to his family to celebrate the holiday.


“Auntie Claus” by Elsie Primavera is a new favorite. Have you ever looked up to a special aunt; admiring everything about her?   This relationship is the setting for this story; a story with a moral.  Sophie Kringle has always wondered about her mysterious great-aunt Auntie Claus. Why does she go on her annual business trip right before Christmas, and then to return before Valentine’s Day?  Sophie is determine to follow her aunt to see exactly where she goes. To Sophie’s amazement she finds herself in the North Pole where it is revealed that her aunt is the sister of Santa Claus! After some brief training as an elf, Sophie is tested to see if she understood the wise words of her aunt that “It is far better to give than it is to receive”.  Sophie passes the test.


Christmas seen through the eyes of a chicken is most adorable, and our favorite chicken is back in “Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve”, Janet Morgan Stoeke. To Minerva Louise, Christmas and the arrival of Santa has her questioning why a Farmer with a Red Hat, and goats with fancy horns are on top of the roof. Is there a party going on? Minerva Louise follows that “Farmer” as he falls down the chimney and starts putting his stuff in her farmer’s socks and eating their food, against her protests. But of course the Framer with the Red Hat didn’t forget Minerva Louise. Her present made a perfect nest!

Posted by Miss Jane

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Snoring through the Night….

The theme this storytime was snoring, which had Preschool Storytime children trying out some loud and quiet snores before the first book was read.


In the book “Roar of a Snore” by Marsh Diane Arnold, Jack can not sleep. A snore that “rocked the floor and shook the door'” has awaken him. Determined to search out who is snoring like that, Jack wakes the whole house and barn to stop that snore. A kitten, fast asleep in the hay was the culprit. Jack tries to wake the kitten but everyone says just let him sleep. So every ones decides to sleep and snore, with the kitten. What a noise that snoring group made.

We did a trio of hand plays, starting with Boom! Bang! Thunder, then Fireflies, and Two little Apples.  The action rhyme Boom! Bang! Thunder is a fun favorite with the children.

mr night

“Good Night, Mr. Night” by Dan Yaccarino was a quiet lyrical story. A young boy imagines the night, as a man, that wakes after the sun sets. “Mr Night” closes the flowers, quiets the animals and calms the seas. The boy knows that when Mr. Night is out side his window it’s time to go to sleep.  A good book overall.


“Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson had great illustrations that caught the attention of the children.  In this story, a hibernating bear and his den become a gathering place for creatures during a snow storm.  All the creatures are eating and drinking and having a good time, until a fleck of pepper makes bear sneeze – thus waking him up!  At first bear is mad because he had missed out on all the fun, but then joins the group to have a good time.  After many tales, everyone falls asleep and snores, EXCEPT bear.

The character Bear from “Bear Snores On” was the craft. The bear’s shape was one cut out with paws and his belly glued on. The details of the bear were added with markers.

Posted by Miss Jane

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Red Wigglers Revisited

For our second year of Greenie Programs we once again kept red wigglers living at our desk in the Children’s Department.   The container that the worms were living in was the perfect environment; dark and moist. The Red Wigglers also known as compost worms were feeding on banana peels, coffee grounds, lint, and newspaper, truly a feast.


The first story read was“Ned’s New Home ” by Kevin Tseng . It was a cute story about Ned’s house being an apple and  it “raining apple juice” sending Ned in search of a new home. After attempting to reside in different fruit, with a house made from blueberries as a disaster, Ned once again finds a perfect home in an another apple.


The book “Bob and Otto” by Robert O. Bruel, tells of a worm and caterpillar as friends. One day Bob says he needs to climb the old tree; that it is important. Otto can not understand why. As the story continues we realize that Bob needs to become a butterfly. Although,  all Otto did was to dig around  the tree’s roots, he made it able for his friend Bob to become a butterfly by helping the old tree grow. Bob and Otto reunite, with Bob being thankful for Otto’s simple act of digging.

The craft was inspired by “Ned’s New Home”. A paper apple was made with two holes punched in on each side. A leaf and stem were first glued to the apple. Then a green pipe cleaner was threaded through each hole. Each end of the pipe cleaner was rolled to create a head and tail of a worm. An eye was glue to the top of one end. To finish the craft a popsicle stick was taped to the back of the apple.

Afterwards we talked about how worms live and grow and then the group got a close up look at the red wigglers with our “creature peepers”.  These magnifiers let everyone get a good look from above and below in viewing the worms.

Once  outside everyone got a least two handfuls of dirt and worms to put into the compost bin. “Black Gold”, or amazing composted dirt, will be the end result!


Posted by Miss Jane


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New Reads to Dig into!


In Matthew Cordell’s book “Hello! Hello!‘, a young girl wanting to connect, puts aside her technical gadgets, and reaches out to her parents and brother with no success.  In the mean time, a breeze lifted leaf catches the girl’s eye and her curiosity. Where did the leaf come from who else is out there to say “hello” to. The girl’s imagination brings her outside and the world around  her. Her excitement takes her away and into the wonders of nature, but what’s that sound? It’s her parents calling her on her cell phone; worried about where she is.  Back home, the young girl tells of her outdoor experience. Will  she convince her family to put down their phones and games and look outside?  Yes!


Not only is he the big bad wolf but he is the handsomest is the whole forest – or at least that is what his intimidated fairy tale characters say!  In, “I am So Handsome” by Mario Ramos, the wolf is a bully, who is mean, conceited and likes to brag.  He goes about the forest scaring, first Little Red Riding Hood, the three little pigs, and then the seven dwarfs. Will his  boasting never end about how handsome he is? A baby dragon finally puts the wolf “in his place” when the wolf rudely interrupts his game of hide and seek.


What can Andrew draw? What will his pencil reveal? Even Andrew doesn’t know in, “Andrew Drew and Drew” by Barney Saltzberg. The young boy’s pencil is an avenue to magic and delight. The clever folded pages tell the story of  Andrew doodles and where his imagination takes him.  With his trusty pencil the magic unfolds for what doodle might come next!


Can the rise of the Dino Trux from a million years of sleep take over the Town, by creating chaos?  Who will tame these ancient machines meant to move earth, pour cement, and lift things?  In “Revenge of the Dinotrux by Chris Gall, it is the  lessons learned in school that tame these wild machines. The children teach the Dinotrux to read and soon they learn to help. But wait! The children and Dinotrux are not to be found!   The noises that came from the woods can only mean one thing…


In this picture book world where dogs own other dogs as pets, Archie receives a sewing machine in, “Archie” by Domenica More Gordon.  What will Archie do with the gift? Make clothes for his pet dog of course!  Archie’s idea of designing and making clothes for his pet  starts a trend. Soon he has many orders. Things take a turn when a follow dog asks for a garment meant just for her. Archie meets the challenge, and his creations are met with applause. Where will all this take him?

Posted by Miss Jane


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Star Light! Star Bright!

What could stop the Moon from smiling?!  In “When the Moon Smiled” by Petr Horacek, the evening Moon is unhappy at what he sees happening on the farm. The night time animals are sleeping, and day time animals are awake.  Moon reverses the situation  by slowly lighting the night sky with stars and soon everything is back to normal.


In, Stars! Stars! Stars! by Bob Barner, a young boy’s interest in the night sky sets him off though the solar system. Starting with our sun he travels from planet to planet identifying each as he goes along.  It’s a story celebrating the starry heavens.



The nursery rhyme, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” retold by Jane Taylor follows a curious chipmunk. The small creature questions all the shining things he encounters from dew covered spiderwebs to fire flies buzzing by. With added verses this dream like story takes off.




Posted by Miss Jane





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Nighty Night

Pajamas not required!

Our second installment of MPL’s Big Dreamers Summer Story time had the theme of the “Night”.  A quiet pastoral setting has  a young boy heading off to bed, in “The Noisy Way to Bed” by Ian Whybrow.  On the boy’s  way to bed he encounters different farm animals each interrupting the him as he tries to rhyme his sentences about going to BED. The animals and the boy eventually settle down to sleep with the boy finally  getting to complete his rhyming story.


“Dark Night”, by Dorothee de Monfreid, told the tale of a boy lost in the forest.   Scared by the woodland creatures and all alone, the boy finds help from a rabbit with a black cape and suitcase.  With the rabbit’s ingenious idea and directions the boy manages to scare the creatures and get safely home.



Ever wonder where you might find a sleeping bear? In “A Place to Sleep” by Holly Meade,”she writes lyrically about creatures going to sleep including a young boy and girl. From fish sleeping with their eyes open in the shallows, to the elephant standing up to nap; this gentle story ends with the children safely in  their beds and sweetly dreaming.

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2013 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Nominations

Nominated by school and public librarians throughout Rhode Island, the annual RICBA nominations are some of the best books recently published in children’s literature.  Best of all, they are all available at your local library.  Click on the titles below to check availability or to place a reserve with your library card.

The PS Brothers by Maribeth Boelts

Grades: 3-6

Sixth-graders Russell and Shawn, poor and picked on, work together “pooper scooping” up dog droppings to earn money for a rottweiler puppy who will protect them from bullies. When they learn that the puppies’ owner is running an illegal dog-fighting ring, they are torn on how to respond.

Author website:

Because of Mr. Terupt

Grades: 4-6
Seven fifth-graders at Snow Hill School in Connecticut relate how their lives are changed for the better by “rookie teacher” Mr. Terupt.

Author website:

Floors by Patrick Carman

Grades: 4-6
Ten-year-old Leo’s future and the fate of the extraordinary Whippet Hotel, where his father is the maintenance man, are at stake when a series of cryptic boxes lead Leo to floors, strange puzzles, and unexpected alliances.

Author website:

Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes

Grades: 4-6
While spending a summer in New Mexico with her grandmother, twelve-year-old Izzy makes new friends, learns to cook, and for the first time hears stories about her father, who died before she was born.

Jake by Audrey Coloumbis

Grades: 4-6
What is a family? It has always been just Jake and his mom until she is hospitalized suddenly and he finds himself alone. Jake needs help and finds it in unexpected places.

Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt A. De la Pena

Grades: 3-6
When an African American boxer has a 1938 bout with Adolph Hitler’s “Master Race” German heavyweight, it becomes more than just a boxing match: the honor of the entire racially divided United States is at stake!

Author website:

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy

Grades: 3-6
A community of mice and a cheese-loving cat form an unlikely alliance at London’s Cheshire Cheese, an inn where Charles Dickens finds inspiration and Queen Victoria makes an unexpected visit.

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Grades: 4-6
Abandoned by his mother in an Acadia National Park campground, Jack tries to make his way back to Boston before anyone figures out what is going on, with only a small toy elephant for company.

Author website:

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Grades: 4-6
Based on the author’s own life, a ten-year-old girl experiences the culture shock of moving to America from Viet Nam; this story expresses both the humor and the heartbreak of this time in her life.

Marty Mcguire by Kate Messner

Grades 3-6
When tomboy Marty is cast as a princess in a school play, she doesn’t want anything to do with it until her parents force her to take part. It’s only then that she discovers that she can adapt and still be herself.

Author website:

Fractions = Trouble by Claudia Mills

Grades: 3-4
When Wilson Williams is struggling with fractions and his parents hire a math tutor for him, he is mortified. He is determined to make sure that no one finds out, not even his best friend, Josh.

Author website:

Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Grades 3-6

In this graphic novel, Captain Amazing feels he is getting too old to be a reliable superhero, so he tries to hire a new sidekick, but his super power pets have different ideas. When the arch villain Dr. Havoc returns to town Captain Amazing finds himself in trouble. Can his pet save the day?

Author website:

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Grades: 4-6
The lives of Rose and Ben, two deaf children growing up 50 years apart, intersect at the American Museum of Natural History. Why is Rose running away? Who is Ben’s father? Are their lives connected? Explore the words and the pictures to discover the truth.

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Grades: 3-6

Eleven-year-old aspiring basketball star and interior designer Lucy Wu is excited about finally having her own bedroom, until she learns that her great-aunt is coming to visit from China and Lucy will have to share her bedroom with her for several months. Will this and her parents forcing her to attend Chinese school bring an end to her plans for a perfect sixth-grade year?

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Grades 3-6
As a boy, Tony Sarg invented a method for feeding his family’s chickens while still in bed. As an adult, he created awe inspiring, floating, balloons to star in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Author website:

My Life as a Stuntboy by Janet Tashjian

Grades: 3-6
Derek Fallon has the opportunity of a lifetime when he gets to perform skateboarding stunts and other disciplines of parkour in a movie opposite teen idol, Tanya Billings. But when he learns that he must wear a wig, and his friends post the embarrassing videos of him on the Internet, he wonders if life can get any worse.

Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw

Grades: 3-6
A skeptical shelter cat finally finds a home with the perfect boy. Typical in senryu (a form of haiku) with expressive illustrations; this whole literary package is heartwarming and unforgettable.

Author website:

Pie by Sarah Weeks

Grades: 4-6
Alice’s Aunt Polly is the best pie maker in the country. When she dies suddenly, the whole town tries to discover how to make pies like Aunt Polly. Alice, however, is trying to find out who the mysterious stranger is that is lurking around town looking for the answer…

Author website:

The Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the True Story of an American Feud by Suzanne Jurmain

Grades: 4-6
These two best friends worked together to help form a new nation, but can they fix their broken friendship?

When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica Perl

Grades: 3-6
Zelly Fried wants a dog more than anything, so at the urging of her grandfather, during the summer before sixth grade, she takes care of a “practice dog” made out of an orange juice jug to show her parents that she really is ready for the responsibility, even though she is sometimes not entirely sure about the idea.

Author website:

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Suggested Summer Reading


Angleberger, Tom. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Grades 5- 6
Is Origami Yoda real? Or is it just Dwight who is answering everyone’s questions with his Origami Yoda? Tommy enlists the help of his classmates, gathering stories and sketches to find out the truth.  Tommy needs to know if Origami Yoda is real because he needs to know if he can trust him with a very important question…

Baskin, Nora Raleigh. Anything But Typical
Grades 5- 6
Jason is a boy with autism. Kids at school think he is “weird” and usually avoid him. Jason finally finds friendship with a girl in his online writing group. Will a face-to-face meeting change their friendship?

DiCamillo, Kate. Bink and Gollie
Grades 3-4
Bink and Gollie, two imaginative best friends, share a tree house and a love of pancakes. In three very funny adventures, without leaving their neighborhood, they climb the Andes, befriend a goldfish, and have a big fight about rainbow colored socks.

Fleming, Candace. Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary

Grades 4- 6
When Mr. Jupiter’s class starts fifth grade, the students and their teacher arrive wearing identical toucan headdresses. The moral of the story: Birds of a feather flock together. Mr. Jupiter and his class spend the school year together: learning, and having fun with lessons like singing hamsters and George Washington’s teeth.

Holm, Jennifer L. Turtle in Paradise
Grades 4- 6
It’s 1935 and 11-year-old Turtle moves to Key West to live with her Aunt Minnie. Her Mom is a live-in housekeeper, and her new employer doesn’t want children around. Key West turns out to be fascinating, complete with a Diaper Gang, hidden pirates’ treasures, and first cousins named Beans, Buddy, and Kermit.

Lord Cynthia. Touch Blue
Grades 4- 6
“Touch Blue and your wish will come true.” When the state of Maine plans to shut down her island’s schoolhouse, Tess’s family may be forced to move to the mainland. Will her luck hold out and her wish come true?

Macy, Sue. Bylines: A Photobiography of Nellie Bly
Grades 4-6
Daring news reporter, globetrotter, and advocate for women’s rights, Nellie Bly made people stand up and take notice.

McCarthy, Meghan. Pop:The Invention of Bubble Gum
Grades 3- 5
Accidents can sometimes be fun! The true story of how an accountant at a candy company, who likes a good puzzle, stumbles upon the perfect recipe for bubble gum.

Mone, Gregory. Fish 
Grades 4- 6
Get ready for a swashbuckling pirate adventure! Join Fish as he swabs the decks on the Scurvy Mistress.  When Fish finds himself caught between the noble Captain Cobb and the deceitful first- mate
Scab, he puts his clever nature to good use.  A story of mutiny, sea battles and of course, hidden treasure!

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Emily’s Fortune
Grades 3- 6
Eight year old Emily sets off on a rip-roarin’ ride as she travels by stagecoach in a Wild West adventure.  She teams up with a boy named Jackson to outsmart her wicked uncle who wants her fortune.

Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal
Grades 3- 6
It is 1875 and the West needs deputies.  Former slave, Bass Reeves is hired to keep the peace.  He is an honest man with a strong sense of right and wrong.  Through courage and expert marksmanship Deputy Reeves brings 3,000 criminals to justice.

Paulsen, Gary. Masters of Disaster
Grades 4- 6
Henry and best friends, Riley and Reed share wacky and daring adventures.  “Call 9-1-1” as these friends jump off a roof on a bicycle try to break a world record, spend the night in the woods with wild animals, and attempt to solve a hundred year old murder mystery.

Polacco, Patricia. Junkyard Wonders
Grades 3- 5
Young Trish finds herself welcomed into the “junkyard”, a class of very special friends, led by a very special teacher, who all learn to fly as they overcome tragedy and trials to triumph together!

Roberts, Laura Peyton. Green 
Grades 4- 6
Lilybet Green’s 13th birthday begins with a bang. Literally! An exploding present is the start of a colorful adventure. Kidnapped by a trio of leprechauns, Lily is next in line to be Keeper for the Clan of Green’s gold – but only if she passes three tests that could change her
life forever!

Singer, Marilyn. Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
Grades 3- 6
Presto!  Change-o!  Ever read a poem in reverse?  Prepare to be entertained as you read each poem two ways: top to bottom and…bottom up!

Spinelli, Eileen. The Dancing Pancake
Grades 4- 6
Can eating pancakes make tough times better? When her mom opens a restaurant Bindi gets a taste of a new life with new friends, new experiences and a new apartment.

Springstubb, Tricia. What Happened on Fox Street 
Grades 4- 6
Mo Wren, Dad and “wild child” younger sister live on Fox Street.  The long, hot summer is full of alarming letters, mysterious packages and difficult changes.  Growing friendships and the hope of finding a real fox in her neighborhood inspire Mo to find the courage she needs.

Stauffacher, Sue. Gator on the Loose! 
Grades 3- 5
Carter’s Urban Rescue is the place to call when you find a wild animal where it shouldn’t be. Especially, when it’s a baby alligator – loose at the city pool! Follow the fun and adventures of this delightful family who work together to get the job done.

Viorst, Judith. Lulu and the Brontosaurus 
Grades 3- 4
Bossy! Demanding! Spoiled! That’s Lulu! Is it possible for a polite brontosaurus to be the pet she wants for her birthday?  Or will Lulu find she has met her match and finally change her ways?

Williams-Garcia, Rita. One Crazy Summer 
Grades 5- 6
As they board a plane to visit their mother in California, Delphine and her sisters imagine themselves visiting Disneyland, and meeting movie stars.  Instead they learn about the Black Panthers, and a mother who’s a mystery to them.

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Where Did That Baby Come From?!

Do you have a baby on the way?  Do you already have a child that is about to be a new older brother or sister?  Then we have plenty of picture books that can help a new older brother or sister deal with the adjustment of having to share you as a parent.   All of these titles can be requested through our catalog .

Barfburger Baby, I Was Here First by Paula Danziger
Jonathon was there first, but then his interloper baby brother is born and he is none too happy about it.  All that baby does is poop, drool, and pass gas, so what’s so great about it?  Jealous at all the attention the new baby is getting from friends and family, and annoyed that they keep calling him Jonathon Pookie Bear (ugh!), he finds a way to make amends with the new baby and get rid of his old nickname.  Grades PreS-K.

Where Did That Baby Come From? by Debi Gliori
“Where did that baby come from?  And can we take it back?  It wails and squeaks.  It’s diaper leaks.  It’s an insomniac.”  Older siblings will relate to the chaos of sounds and new routines that comes with having a new baby in the house.  Written in witty verse, this story follows an older tiger cub who is aghast at all the noise and smells coming from such a small baby, but who ultimately sees the joy that a new baby can be.  Grades PreS-3.

Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth! by Sarah Weeks
Sophie Peterman is an older sister, and she is here to tell you the truth about babies.  Babies are messy, smelly, whiny, crying things that look like aliens and even when they start walking and talking, that just means they’re turning into monsters who like to get into all your stuff.  But don’t worry, you might start to like that little monster…just don’t tell your parents…because they might bring home another one.  Grades PreS-2.

If you are interested in these books, you might also like:
Baby Baby Blah Blah Blah by Jonathan Shipton
Lazy Little Loafers by Susan Orlean
But I Wanted a Baby Brother by Kate Feiffer
Once Upon a Baby Brother by Sarah Sullivan

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2010 RI Children’s Book Award

The results are in and Rhode Island’s students have cast their votes!  Amulet (Book 1: The Stonekeeper) by Kazu Kibushi is the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award winner for 2010.  The RICBA Committe summarizes:

“Emily and her brother Navin are lost in an alternative world of Alledia as they chase the tentacled beast that kidnapped their mother. The key to their survival lies in Emily’s amulet and her ability to control its powers.”

 This series also continues with Amulet (Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse), and Amulet (Book 3: The Cloud Searchers).  These books are recommended for grades 4-6.

 The complete list of nominees for this year were:

Kibuishi, Kazu. Amulet. Book 1, The Stonekeeper.
Scieszka, Jon. Knucklehead.
Korman, Gordon. Swindle.
Schulman, Janet. Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City.
Look, Lenore. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things.
Law, Ingrid. Savvy.
Cox, Judy. Puppy Power.
Nobleman, Marc Tyler. Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman.
Wolf, Joan M. Someone Named Eva.
Avi. The Seer of Shadows.
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Dexter the Tough.
Giff, Patricia Reilly. Eleven.
Barrows, Annie. The Magic Half.
Nuzum, K.A. The Leanin’ Dog.
Hurwitz, Joanna. Squirrel World.
Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Shooting the Moon.
Preller, James. Along Came Spider.
Park, Linda Sue. Tap Dancing on the Roof.
Perkins, Mitali. Rickshaw Girl.
Frazier, Sundee T. Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It.

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