Category Archives: Articles

Animal Adventures: New Books for Younger Readers

ChengduChengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg
It’s late at night in the bamboo grove and everyone is asleep: everyone, that is, but Chengdu. This young panda is having a rough time falling asleep on his branch! No matter how much he tosses and turns, he cannot get comfortable. Chengdu’s nighttime dilemma is told through this sweet picture book filled with dark drawings of the bamboo grove, lightened by green branches and Chengdu’s black and white markings. Some pages flip out, giving the reader more to explore as Chengdu’s struggles to fall asleep. When Chengdu finally gets comfortable, he’ll be thwarted again in his efforts to sleep but readers will delight in his new complication. Chengdu’s dilemma is something many experience and Barney Saltzberg captures the struggles and determination of this frustrating nightly ritual. (ages 2-5)

hearti carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings, illustrated by Mati McDonough
This beloved poem has been crafted into a picture book of a parent’s love for her child. Using mixed-media illustrations, McDonough begins the story with a new mom cradling her pregnant belly and as the poem progresses, readers see instances of the child’s young life before she goes off to school. The mom and daughter are not the only parent-child relationship depicted in this book; an elephant and her child and a blue bird and her child also show the deep love parents have for their children in the illustrations. This beautiful picture book not only introduces children to different forms of illustrated art but also to poetry and e.e. cummings. A classic poem telling the tale of a classic love. (ages 2-6)

milesMiles to the Finish by Jamie Harper 
The race is on! Miles and his friend, Otto, are preparing for their class’ race when they see an electric car on the track. The new competition belongs to Indie, who says her car is “fast.” Miles decides to prep himself for racing in his peddle-car by running, climbing, and lifting during recess. Soon enough, the race is starting and everyone is off! Harper keeps the pace and the action going as Miles drives the track, showing other drivers in a pile-up and spinning off the road. Everyone is a winner with this picture book. (ages 3-6)

monkeyThe Monkey Goes Bananas by C.P. Bloom, illustrated by Peter Raymundo 
The monkey is on a sandy beach island, the bananas are hanging from a tree on another, grassy island, and a shark is in the water between the two. What’s a monkey to do? Swimming is out of the question because of, well, THE SHARK! The monkey has several brilliant ideas, including the use of stilts and a fishing pole, but his attempts are thwarted and he cannot reach the bananas. The monkey does eventually reach the other island, but not without some pain. His frustrating situation is told primarily through large illustrations and very few words. The monkey’s expressions are timeless and his immediate wish is fulfilled, if not without some future obstacles. (ages 5-9)


What’s Happening This Fall?

The 12th Annual Bookmark Contest is underway. Design a bookmark celebrating books, reading, and the Mill Valley Library. Kids age 12 and under can make as many as they want, and all entries are due by Tuesday, September 30 at 9:00 p.m. It’s so hard to choose, but we’ll pick the top 30 designs and hang them on the display wall the first week of October. Then, we want the community to come in and vote for their top five, and we’ll pick the winners from those votes and post them the first week of November. Look for an entry form in your public school child’s backpack, or click here to download an entry form. Don’t forget to fill out the back side!

In September, we also celebrate New Library Card Sign-up Month. If your child can write her own name, she can get her own card. A parent or guardian must accompany the child to the library to get a new library card – we’ll take her picture and give her a free book! Check out our website to find out how your Library Card Saves You Cash in September.

Lego Mindstorms Robotics Lab for Grades 6 to 8

131217_Lego_Mindstorms_robot_05-660x440We’re very excited to offer a Lego Robotics Lab using Lego Mindstorms EV3 robots beginning on Sunday, September 28 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. and running through October 26. This course will teach introductory level robotics. Participants will pair up to build and program the robots to do various challenges. Registration required. Participants must attend all five weeks. Click here to sign up.

Boogie with Emily Bonn for Ages 2 to 5

emilyWe know your preschoolers love music so we’re offering a music series just for them on Mondays, October 6 through October 27 from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m. Teacher Emily will bring her favorite old-timey, folk and classic children’s songs to create a playful learning environment for children. This four-week course nurtures creativity, self-expression, and confidence while developing singing and rhythm musicality, body awareness and social skills. Registration and caregiver participation required. Please plan to attend all four sessions. Click here to sign up.

Stories and Science for Kindergartners

DSCN1823Does your kindergartner love science? Join us on four Thursdays in October from 2:00 to 2:45 p.m. for stories about the science topic of the day. After the stories, kids will break into groups and do hands-on science experiments. Sign-up for all four or just come to one. Parents can stay or drop-off depending on their child’s comfort level. Registration required. Please sign-up for each session separately.

Click here to sign up for the October 2 session.
Click here to sign up for the October 9 session.
Click here to sign up for the October 16 session.
Click here to sign up for the October 23 session.

Jeepers Creepers: Picture Books & More for First- and Second-Graders

monster-books-for-kidsOur wildly popular four-week series begins on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, October 7 and 8, and runs through October 28 and 29. First- and second-graders can come hear stories, create a creepy craft and have a spooky snack. Advance registration required. Children should plan to attend all four sessions.

To register for Tuesdays at 3:30, click here.
To register for Wednesdays at 2:30, click here.

Playwriting Workshop for Grades 6 to 8

playBack again this year, Marin Theatre Company will teach this five-week course for aspiring middle school playwrights. Explore your voice in this writing class designed for first-time writers who are interested in crafting plays. This collaborative course will explore conflict, character development, dialogue and more! Workshop runs October 16 through November 13 from 6:30 to 7:30pm. Registration required. Click here to register.


Adventures and Mockingbirds: New Books for Older Readers

mockingbirdI Kill the Mockingbird, by Paul Acampora
Didn’t you know that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird? So who is trying to kill the mockingbird? And why? First in West Glover, Connecticut, then across states and online: Harper Lee’s beloved book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is disappearing from bookshelves. In it’s place is a flier that looks like a ransom note: “I KiLL thE MoCkInGBiRD.” Literary terrorists Lucy, Michael and Elena started this underground project to spark people’s interest in their favorite book before they start high school. But what happens when their plan becomes known as the “summer reading sabotage”? This short novel is ideal for fans of Carl Hiaasen’s novel, Hoot, and middle graders who enjoy realistic fiction. It has themes of activism, going against the grain, friendship, and handling the uncontrollable parts of life with the people you love. Last but not least, it will inspire you to read one of the greatest pieces of American literature! (ages 10-14)

beckyThe Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by Jessica Lawson
Becky Thatcher is a cherry spittin’, overall wearing, bold young girl who is as superstitious as she is a darn good friend. She throws spitballs at Tom Sawyer for being a goody-goody, and sneaks out in the dead of night to meet the notorious Old Widow “witch” of the neighborhood. Becky has a promise to keep to her deceased brother Huckleberry: to go on wild adventures with his marbles in her pocket. But what happens when Becky’s adventures meet the Pritchard Brothers, the infamous, grave robbing, and murderous outlaws? Written in an old-timey Southern dialect of the 1860’s, The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher is ideal for readers who appreciate a strong female character. An interesting twist on the American classics Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, this story presents the so-called “real” versions of the people who inspired Mark Twain’s stories, who are vastly different from their more famous counterparts. This historical fiction novel is set in Mississippi and has strong themes of loyalty, navigating grief, and being your true and honest self. (ages 8-12)

savinglucasbiggs-typeSaving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
When Margaret O’Malley’s father is wrongfully accused of murder and sentenced to death by the hardened Judge Biggs, Margaret knows she has to do something, even if it means using the forbidden family trait: time travel. With the guidance of her best friend’s Grandpa Joshua, Margaret will use her time traveling gift to save more than just her dad. She is also trying to save Judge Biggs, who was once an idealistic boy who stood in solidarity with the oppressed people of the local mining corporation, and who saved Grandpa Joshua’s life. What happens to Luke Agrippa during these years will change him forever, into the cold and resentful Judge Lucas Biggs who is too bitter to see the truth. But Margaret is about to discover that time does not like to change. With a combination of historical fiction, adventure and a dash of magic, this versatile book should suit many reader’s fancies. Written from multiple perspectives, this book does a fantastic job of showing how important it is to walk in another person’s shoes. Full of empathy, collective consciousness, politics, and history, it would not surprise me if this novel won a Newbery Award. (ages 9-13)

forbidden libraryThe Forbidden Library by Django Wexler
Everything went downhill when Alice hid in a closet and saw a fairy threatening her father. She thought there was no such thing as fairies. Suddenly her father has vanished, supposedly killed on a shipping expedition, and now she must live with her mysterious but kind Uncle Geryon. When Alice meets a blasé cat who lets her in to her uncle’s forbidden library, she discovers that her family has kept her in the dark about what she is. Alice is a reader. When Alice reads the lines of special books, she finds herself in the book. The only way out is to defeat a character in a book, imprisoning them within her. Alice can use the character as a weapon forever when she is back in the real world. But nonetheless, the creature is a prisoner. Are readers the good guys or the villains? This fantasy novel is very action oriented, and will suit readers who like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books. The Forbidden Library ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the reader yearning for more!


The Magical Moments of Summer

Really, summer’s almost over? But, I feel like we just got started! Yes, we are in our final week of summer programming, and I must say it’s been a wild, but spectacular ride. This was my first summer heading up the Children’s Room, and I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished. We encouraged kids to keep reading throughout the summer, and we provided programming that taught them more about STEAM-related topics such as astronomy, paleontology, physics, engineering, computer science and math. In all, we had 600 children who participated in the Full STEAM Ahead Reading Program and promised to read for three hours a week. If every reader did what they promised, that’s 14,400 hours of reading over eight weeks!

I am sure each member of the Children’s staff has their own magical moments that they witnessed this summer, but these are mine.

I loved watching the kids’ faces as I opened their reading logs to see what they had read for the week. They were so proud and eager to tell me about at least one of their favorite books.

DSCN2030In Cosmic Creations, Jenny made a comet with dry ice, dirt, ammonia and root beer and then used a blow dryer to simulate the tail of the comet! We had many future scientists in the audience who were eager to share their knowledge of space with Jenny. She listened to one boy tell her about black holes and other mysteries of space for about 30 minutes after the program ended.

On the day of our Elephant & Piggie party day, four-year-old Avery brought her favorite Elephant & Piggie book, Are You Ready to Play Outside?, to proudly read to Lauren. Even though Lauren was minutes away from needing to start story time, she happily sat and listened to every word of Avery’s sweet telling of the story.

DSCN2277While the Balloon-powered Raceway was probably one of our most challenging programs, the kids who participated learned a valuable lesson: making things often involves many failed attempts so patience is essential. The children built from water bottles or cardboard, straws, skewers, bottle caps, tape, and a balloon. When the races began, many of the cars needed major adjustments, but in time, we had many that rolled past the finish line! Success!

We created PeRLs (Personalized Reading Lists) for 108 kids entering grades 5 through 8 this summer. This program takes a lot of staff time, but is worth it. Not only do participating kids each get a list of books tailored just for them, but they also gain experience articulating their reading preferences to us. For some, it’s easy, but for many it’s the first time they’ve talked to an adult this way and it takes a lot of thought and courage.

DSCN2692Our Wednesdays on Stage performances offered many wonderful moments, but my favorite was during our last show when Steve Lucky and the five members of the Rhumba Bums paraded through the audience with instruments in hand and got the kids to follow them. This inspired many of the children and parents to dance for the remainder of the show. It was a great end to a wonderful series of magicians, musicians, acrobatics, theater, and storytelling.

This Friday, August 22, is our End-of-Summer Party, and it’s a fantastic way to bring the summer to a close. We’ll have crafts, face painting, free ice cream, hula hoops, bubbles and drummer Mika Scott who will lead a drum circle with the kids. The party is from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. in the Peter Dreyfus Garden and Outdoor Amphitheater. Hope to see you there!


Basketball and Big Rigs: New Items for Younger Readers

BIG RIGBig Rig by Jamie A. Swenson, illustrated by Ned Young
Fans of I’m Fast and I’m Dirty by Kate and Jim McMullan are sure to blast their horns for this new picture book by Jamie A. Swenson. A big-rig semi truck introduces himself and invites the reader to accompany him on the road. This multi-wheeled guy is friendly, but tells it straight: “Do I have a horn? Ha! What do you think? Go ahead: pull down — URRRRNNNT-URRRRNNNT!” From there, the sounds of the brakes, the wipers, and, oh no!, a blowout tire punctuate this brightly colored and enjoyable read. Guaranteed to be a big hit for storytimes, Big Rig will also satisfy avid readers of our Things That Go! section. (ages 3-6)

EIEIOcover-330E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm (with a Little Help From a Hen) by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Matthew Myers
We all know the story of Old MacDonald and his many farmyard animals. E-I-E-I-O! But how did the famous homesteader get that farm? Master picture-book writer Judy Sierra tells her version of how Old MacDonald first decided to chuck his lawnmower and begin an honest-to-goodness farm. Using humor and rhyme, Sierra weaves a delightful tale of dirt-digging, heavy-watering, compost-creating, poop-spreading, worm-nurturing, neighbor-protesting mess, leading to a glorious, functional, organic farm. Working as both a funny take on the song and an effective way to teach about gardening, this marvelous new picture book will serve equally well at bedtime and in preschool circle times. (ages 4-8)

CURIOUSJim Curious: A Voyage to the Heart of the Sea by Matthias Picard
Klang! Bong! Bong! Wearing a clunky deep-sea suit and helmet, Jim Curious tottles out of his stone cottage. He teeters down the road and descends a ladder into the sea. As soon as he ducks under water, a voluptuous octopus floats past and a big smile spreads across Jim’s face. For readers of this wordless picture book from France, a big smile is sure to make a similar appearance. Curious comes equipped with two 3-D glasses in the back of the book. With these aids, this sumptuous and innovative tome makes all kinds of exotic underwater life and hidden locales float off the page. Parents, prepare yourselves for many excited shouts of “It looks real!” as your children swim along with Jim Curious. (ages 6-10)

Hoop-GeniusHoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy, illustrated by Joe Morse
Who could imagine that it took a gym class of sweaty, pushy, out-of-control kids and a last-ditch effort by an audacious teacher to devise one of the most popular sports in the United States today? With vivid writing, John Coy tells the story of how a teacher named Joe Naismith created basketball. Naismith went through indoor football (too rough), indoor soccer (also too rough), and indoor lacrosse (much, much too rough) before arriving at a totally new game inspired by his boyhood sport of “Duck on a Rock.” Joe Morse’s muscular, fresh, and large-scale illustrations provide the perfect complement to this fascinating tale. (ages 6-9)


Spark a Reaction: Programs for Middle Schoolers

Spark a Reaction, our inaugural summer reading program especially for middle schoolers, was a rousing success! We have had so much fun with these tweens, from our maker programs (aerial vehicles, video games, and jewelry) to our ongoing book club Pizza and Pages, to playing Life Size Clue. Next Thursday, August 7, we will draw our raffle winners at our Catching Fire movie party.

DSCN2048At Maker Air Force, Josh Cardenas showed more than a dozen middle schoolers how to take apart a matchbox-style car to retrieve the remote-control motor. The kids then made their own propellers out of manilla envelopes and attached them to the motors. Finally, they strapped them onto helium balloons to create powered aerial vehicles they could pilot by remote control. Not every project worked successfully, but the kids really embraced the old “try, try again” spirit. It was so cool to see how one toy could be transformed into a totally other use.

Clue06Life-Size Clue was such a huge hit that we are planning to do it again soon. Twenty one kids formed eight teams named for literary characters like Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, and Alex Rider. We gridded off the Creekside Room and transformed it into a 22-foot square game board. The middle schoolers took turns accusing one another – who killed the librarian? It was Aragorn in the Cornucopia with the wand.  Next time we’ll scale back to six character teams so we can move the game along at a little faster pace.

At Pizza and Pages the middle schoolers devoured six extra large pizzas as they discussed Scott Westerfeld’s steampunk thriller, Leviathan. We’ll be running this program again on October 16 when you can discuss Monster, by Walter Dean Meyers.

DSCN2430Our next maker program was Jewelry making with Chelsee Robinson. The tweens learned all about beading and created some beautiful masterpieces.

Our final maker program of the summer was Create a Video Game with Scratch. Ten eager middle schoolers learned all about the programming platform Scratch and how to use it to make their own – completely playable! – video games. They could even keep tinkering at home to make their games even better.

The end of our Spark a Reaction summer programming is Thursday, August 7: Catching Fire movie party. We hope to see you there!


Reliable Authors

Almost-HomeLots of kids like reading series – it makes finding your next book a little easier and you know you’re probably going to like being in the company of the same characters in the same world.

Well, another way of finding that next read is to hit upon an author you like and read all of his or her books. Some authors just seem happier working with standalone titles but will frequently stick to the same genre and often the same type of characters and settings.

Here are a few of my favorite authors that I always keep in my back pocket for recommendations and who make my heart skip a little faster when they publish a new book.

Joan Bauer – lots of girl power stories that are great for upper elementary and middle grade readers. There is often a tragic edge and some fairly soft hitting social realism. Try Almost Home or Hope Was Here to get a flavor of her style.

Sharon Creech – great for elementary school readers who like their fiction to reflect the real world with just a touch of magic. Ruby Holler is a good one to start with.

Matthew J. Kirby – one of my favorite fantasy authors, Mr. Kirby always comes up with something unexpected like the Norse historical fantasy, Icefall.

Carl Hiaasen – laugh out loud stories set in Miami often with a mystery element and always with a side of environmentalism. We listened to Chomp on Spring Break and the whole family loved it!

Jonathan Auxier – a new kid on the block with only two titles to his name but they are both brilliant! His debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a highly original fantasy.

All the children’s librarians at Mill Valley will have their own favorite reliable authors, so if you’re stuck for a new book to read, just ask!

- Hayley

Fantastic Magazines for Kids

The zine. Sometimes this word stirs up connotations such as “non-literary,” and “disposable.” But magazines can offer so much more than that. Our Children’s Room purchases an eclectic list of magazines to meet young people’s variety of ages and interests. They are not only fun, but also enriching!

Magazines are a great medium of information because they are alive. A new issue is born each month that reflects current trends in thinking, culture and events. It is the place where words meet the world of graphic design. The display of art/photography, stylish fonts, and strategic layouts grab the reader’s attention. Magazines are topic-specific, which makes them an excellent resource for related information and professional voices.

Browse through our collection and check out up to ten magazines for two weeks at a time. Look for our magazine shelf along the aisle as you walk into the Children’s Room and remember to lift those shelves up for issues you can take home.

Let’s take a look at some of the magazines in our Children’s Room collection:

Stone Soup
stonesoupCalling all writers ages 8-13! Founded in 1973, this magazine is for kids and written by kids. Young writers submit poetry, short stories, illustrations, and book reviews. They can get published and see what their peers have written. Stone Soup empowers kids by giving them their own professional space to be creative and connected.

In this month’s issue (July/August 2014), my favorite piece is 13-year-old Lucy Hoak’s poem, “The Fairy House.” Descriptive language fills the reader’s senses as Lucy writes about a fairy house decorated by a child waiting for fairies. Her poem gives perspective on childhood wonder, loss of innocence and the ambiguity of fact versus fiction.

Did you know that Uruguay hosted the first World Cup in 1930? Isn’t it hard to imagine that the Dead Sea is ten times saltier than ocean water? Do traditional Nigerian foods such as obe ata pepper soup make your mouth water for new flavors?

If you have a traveling spirit or are interested in the way other people live, Faces: People, Places, and Cultures is an excellent magazine for you. Read about a kid your age in another country, and how their typical day is similar and different than yours. Learn phrases in a different language, marvel at photographs of world heritage sites, and understand regional conflicts deeper. This magazine is a cultural gold mine for ages 8-13 that will connect and inform on an international level.

ladybugTime for a picnic with words! Young children will be entertained with this magazine playground as they bounce from a colorful short story to a craft they can cut out. Ladybug makes reading fun and active for kids ages 3-6. Sing a song, learn a new joke, play a matching game, and see how the eye-popping art makes a tale come to life.

The latest issue (Jul/Aug 2014) tells a short story of a Cherokee mother and son traveling on animals. Readers get to try out a few Cherokee words, such as ka nu na, the word for jump. Kids can also learn to do the “dog paddle” boogie this month.

newmoonNew Moon Girls
Girls just wanna have fun! Or do they? This magazine is for tween girls who want to be awesome girls: creative, opinionated, curious, and compassionate individuals. New Moon Girls invites young ladies to confidently share their voices. From peer advice columns, voted movie choice awards, to debates on societal issues, this magazine is fun, feminine, intelligent and meaningful.

The most recent issue (Jul/Aug 2014) features a community profile of a tween girl who started her own lemonade stand to support honeybees (partnering up with Whole Foods!) and an interview with an adult cartoonist who loves her career. Young girls get to take fun personality quizzes and hear what their peers have to say about the pangs of getting braces.





New Books for Older Readers

UpsideDownNowhereUpside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana
Armani is looking forward to an exciting weekend, celebrating her tenth birthday with all her friends. But a heavy storm is brewing in the skies and some of her neighbors are leaving for safer cities. Armani is determined to celebrate her birthday, and despite the gray weather, she and her extended family throw a party complete with the best present of all: a new puppy. This happiness is short-lived as Hurricane Katrina speeds up, causes the levees to break and Armani’s neighborhood to flood. Armani, her parents, her grandmother, and her four siblings race to higher grounds. When their family separates, it’s up to Armani to look after her younger siblings and stay together. The horrors and tragedy of Hurricane Katrina are told in the fist-person narrative of young Armani, her main concerns keeping her family safe. Through this disaster and through Armani’s eyes, readers are taken on a powerful, personal journey of growing up in the harshest of disasters. (ages 9-12)

The-Islands-of-Chaldea-UKThe Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones, completed by Ursula Jones
Aileen has failed the test for her wise woman magic powers, but before she has a chance to explain herself to her Aunt Beck – the most powerful wise woman in Skarr – the two of them are sent on an impossible journey to rescue the High King’s son from the warring country, Logra. Accompanying Aileen and Beck is Prince Ivar and his servant, and they’re tasked with creating a team from all the countries of Chaldea to enter Logra. However, at an abandoned island, Aileen befriends a large, almost invisible cat who accompanies the travelers on their quest. With the cat’s help and encouragement, Aileen begins to see and understand more of her country, her family, and herself. Diana Wynne Jones’ final novel, The Islands of Chaldea is a journey through an enchanted land rife with legends, magic, and betrayal. (ages 8-12)

boysofblurBoys of Blur by N.D. Wilson
Charlie and his family return home to Taper, Florida for the funeral of the high school football coach, Willie Wisdom. Mack, Charlie’s stepfather, was one of Willie Wisdom’s star players who made it to the pro-leagues, and has been asked to step in as the new coach. However, before Mack, Charlie, and their family can decide whether or not to stay in Taper, Charlie is pulled along the sugarcane fields with his cousin, Cotton, and the boys run into a strange man with a sword, live panthers, and a dark creature that is not quite alive nor dead. The next time Charlie and Cotton are together in the fields, more of these dangerous creatures emerge and both boys barely escape with their lives! It’s up to Charlie to bury the anger and hatred of the past in order to save Taper and his family. Boys of Blur is as fast-paced as the boys in this story of old legends, football, and family. (ages 10-13)

NightGardener_cover_finalThe Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Siblings Molly and Kip have traveled a long way to work for the mysterious Windsor family and, upon arriving at the old house, they immediately notice something is very wrong. Molly scrubs the floors every morning because muddy footprints appear in the night; the whole family is pale and dark-haired when in previous family portraits they had rosy-cheeks and light hair; Molly knows her employers have no money but, when creditors come to collect, Master Windsor produces a sackful of coins in minutes. When, one night, Molly hears the same, heavy sound over and over again — THUMP, THUMP — she leaves her room to investigate and encounters a tall, dark figure wandering the house, visiting all the bedrooms. Everyone in the Windsor house desires something, especially Molly and Kip, but they will trade more than they bargained for when they’re wishes are granted. The Night Gardener is a creepy and fascinating tale about the reality of legends and to be careful what you wish for. (ages 9-12)


Monsters and Dragons and Bears, Oh My! New Books for Younger Readers

cover-HYSMD_cover HI-RESHave You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
Have You Seen My Dragon? takes readers along on a little boy’s journey as he searches for his lost pet dragon. Each detailed pen and ink illustration features the boy in a different area of a bustling city. Is the dragon riding on a bus or maybe visiting the monkeys in the zoo? Even though the double page illustrations are mainly black and white, with the only color coming from the objects to be counted, they are still the main attraction of this book. The dragon, which can be found on each page, blends into the city background making this counting book even more interactive and fun for young readers. (ages 3-7)

CannotWaitCoverThis Monster Cannot Wait by Bethany Barton
Stewart is waiting, not very patiently, to go on a camping trip. He tries every trick he can think of to make time go by faster, like building a time machine, changing the clocks, and even trying to get the reader to turn the pages faster. With help from his best friend, Stewart realizes that focusing on his impatience is making him miss his last week of school with his friends. Silly colorful monsters illustrate the lesson that good things come to those who wait. (ages 3-6)

deedeeDee Dee and Me by Amy Schwartz
Dee Dee is the quintessential bossy older sibling who steamrolls over her younger sister Hannah and always gets her way. After Dee Dee steals her bear, turns her favorite apron into a purse, and delegates her to the role of butler, Hannah has had enough. She decides to run away and take all of her favorite things with her. But where is Brown Bear? While Hannah is looking for her bear and playing by herself, Dee Dee shows up with Brown Bear having repaired his missing eye. Hannah takes advantage of her sister’s moment of kindness to establish new rules for playing together. Through colorful, detailed illustrations, and humor, Schwartz tells a delightful story of sibling rivalry and love. (ages 4-8)

ThreeBearsBoatThree Bears in a Boat by David Soman
From the co-creator of Ladybug Girl comes a delightful story of adventure and three lovable bear cubs: Charlie, Dash, and Theo. After breaking their mother’s favorite seashell, the cubs decide to set out in their boat to find a new one instead of confessing what they have done. Their voyage takes them far away from home, past islands, over mountains, and through caves until they encounter a mighty storm that sends them back home empty-handed. On their very own beach the bears find a beautiful blue shell just like their mother’s, but are still sent off to bed with no dessert. Children and parents alike will love this tale of familial camaraderie and the beautiful watercolor illustrations. (ages 3-5)

-Sarah Beth