Tag Archives: series

Franny K. Stein: Mad Scientist series

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This series, about a slightly-diabolical genius whose science skills far outpace her social skills, has been making the boys HOWL with laughter. In a very happy coincidence, the poem generator above was part of tonight’s bedtime reading. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Author: Jim Benton
Illustrator: Jim Benton

 

Those Darn Squirrels!

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Old Man Fookwire has only one pleasure in life: painting birds. But some clever squirrels have invaded his beautiful birdfeeders. What happens next is not what you would expect.

This very funny book is a great read aloud. We first read it at a local library and ordered a copy as soon as we came home.

Author: Adam Rubin
Illustrator: Daniel Salmieri

 

Jack and the Bean Tree

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This variant on Jack and the Beanstalk is a pleasure to see and read. Although we found it after Jack and the Fire Dragon, it is the first tale in the series. My youngest loves it even more than Fire Dragon; my oldest loves them both “to infinity.”

Author: Gail E. Haley
Illustrator: Gail E. Haley

 

Jack and the Fire Dragon

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Old Fire Dragaman is about the wickedest
and biggest giant that ever roamed these hills. Some
people believe he dug right up from the center of the
earth bringing fire and brimstone with him. Nothin’
or nobody could stop him, and no one would live in
the places where he hung out. He was famous for
takin’ people’s money and daughters.

Now wouldn’t ye know Jack–that reckless
feller–would run across him?

This book is full of gorgeous pictures, magic, swords, and dragons. Unsurprisingly, it is a huge hit. (Don’t worry about the dialect. It rolls off the tongue quite well, regardless of whether you’ve spent much time in the American South.)

Author: Gail E. Haley
Illustrator: Gail E. Haley

 

Christmas Wombat

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Leaving cookies (chocolate chip!) and milk for Santa, plus carrots for his reindeer, is an old and happy tradition. Little did we know who else might be hitching a ride on the sleigh…

Suffice it to say that wombats still love carrots (and we still love wombats). So, this year, we will include some extra carrots on the plate.

Author: Jackie French
Illustrator: Bruce Whatley

The Squirrel’s Birthday and Other Parties

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Over the last thirty years, Dutch author Toon Tellegen has written over 300 stories about a group of anthropomorphized animals. This book is contains nine of these stories that all, in one way or another, relate to parties. The stories are whimsical, delicate, and quiet. The characters glory in lists, details, and internal discourses. The book itself is beautifully and thoughtfully produced (down to a bright ribbon bookmark). It is charming, bittersweet, and perfect for bedtime.

Author: Toon Tellegen
Illustrator: Jessica Ahlberg

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

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Making an apple pie is really very easy.
First, get all the ingredients at the market.
Mix them well, bake, and serve.

Unless, of course,
the market is closed.

In that case, go home and pack a suitcase.

The pie-craving protagonist travels to Italy (for wheat), Frances (for a chicken that lays “elegant eggs”), Sri Lanka (for kurundu bark), England (for a cow to provide milk), Jamaica (for seawater and sugar cane), and Vermont (for apples). Once the traveling is through, all she will have to do is:

mill the wheat into flour,
grind the kurundu
bark into cinnamon,
evaporate the seawater
from the salt,
boil the sugar cane,
persuade the chicken
to lay an egg…

Well, you get the idea. This book is thoughtful, colorful, and quietly funny. Perhaps it was inspired by the famous Carl Sagan quote: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” (My youngest swears by the apple pie recipe on the last page.)

Author: Marjorie Priceman
Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type

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Farmer Brown has some problems.

It was bad enough the cows had
found the old typewriter in the
barn, now they wanted electric
blankets! “No way,” said Farmer
Brown. “No electric blankets.”

So the cows went on strike.
They left a note on the barn door.

Sorry.
We’re closed.
No milk
today.

Soon the hens join the work stoppage. And what are those seemingly-neutral ducks up to?

If workers’ rights are civil rights, as the slogan goes, we have a mini theme going this week. (When the boys stage a sit-in protest of my menu choices, I’ll have only myself to blame.) This book is very funny and I can’t read it aloud without hearing (and slightly mimicking) the Scholastic video version narrated by Randy Travis.

Author: Doreen Cronin
Illustrator: Betsy Lewin

The Night Before Kindergarten

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This cute book was a kindergarten orientation present. If you tweak the grade, it makes for a nice night-before-the-first-day-of-early-elementary-school tradition.

Author: Natasha Wing
Illustrator: Julie Durrell

 

Million series

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Visualizing a million, billion, or trillion (or other concepts like compound interest and the metric system) isn’t easy, unless you read this fun series of books.

For example, a tank big enough to hold a million goldfish would be big enough to hold a whale. A tank big enough to hold a billion goldfish would be as big as a stadium. And a tank big enough to hold a trillion goldfish would be as big as a city harbor. (Keeping in mind a tank should hold one gallon of water for every one inch goldfish!)

Steven Kellogg’s cheerful illustrations keep things light, bright, and engaging. How Much is a Million? is our favorite of the series.

Author: David M. Schwartz
Illustrator: Steven Kellogg