Come Over to My House

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By Dr. Seuss

Illustrated by Katie Kath

This is a fun, easy reader that takes you to dozens of countries around the world, emphasizing different lifestyles but the universal welcome of an open door and an invitation to “Come over to my house! Come over and play.”

For kids who have been studying geography, an enjoyable challenge is to identify every country mentioned, based on the illustrations.

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Ages 2-8

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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In a Cloud of Dust

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By Alma Fullerton

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This story of a girl and her school friends’ whose trip home from school is made shorter by use of the bicycle lending library, takes place in Tanzania. Nicely illustrated. Fullerton’s books gives a taste of children like us, living far different lives around the world.

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A Good Trade   takes place in Uganda  Nicely illustrated.

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Community Soup   takes place in Kenya  Nicely illustrated.

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When the Rain Comes     takes place in Sri Lanka

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Recommended

Ages 4-10

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

Waiting for High Tide

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By Nikki McClure

You could give your kids or students a lesson on tides and clams, herons and barnacles….or you could read Waiting for High Tide. It was the illustrations and the cover that made me pick this book up. Beautifully done in white, black, and pale blue, the bold illustrations are reminiscent of wood-burning relief illustrations.

A simple story about building a raft with Mom, Dad, and Grandma one summer day, the facts in the book are so real you know the author must have almost lived them…which he did.

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Science

Picturebook

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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The Snail and the Whale

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By Julia Donaldson

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I really loved this book :). It’s a board book but not just for babies. Toddlers and preschoolers and early elementary will enjoy: “This is a tale of a tiny snail…this is the whale who came one night…” With a real adventure and rescue, rhythmic language, and well-done illustrations (although they are a little spoiled by the comic-strip eyeballs), it is sure to be enjoyed a few times over. Includes an audio version with background music, that is wonderfully read.

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A long picture board book, with audio CD

Ages 3-8

Available from public libraries

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Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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Tigress

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By Nick Dowson

A nonfiction picture book that takes children right into the wild with big, realistic illustrations and a brief telling of life with a mother tiger and her cubs. Although geared for older children, my two year old listened to this CD over and over again, cued by the page signals on track 2 for when to turn the page.

Also recommended, from the same “Read and Wonder” series:

Gentle Giant Octopus, by Karen Wallace

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Walk With a Wolf, by Janni Howker

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Nonfiction

Picturebook with Audio CD

Ages 2-12

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

Misty of Chincoteague

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By Marguerite Henry

Here is an adventure for horse-loving children that will introduce you to a wild horse band on two real islands off the coast of North America. The story focuses on the efforts of a brother and sister to get a pony of their own, and speculates a little on the history and legend of how the first wild ponies got to North America. The children’s success in the story may seem a little too-good-to-be-true, but the author assures her readers at the beginning that though the order of the events in the book may have been shuffled, the events did truly happen!

Bonus: There are many more “horse” books written by this author. It is too bad that public libraries don’t seem to carry many of others.

Recommended for horse-adventure lovers

Chapter Book or Unabridged Audio Book

Available from public libraries

Ages 6-12

Reviewer: Doreen

The Call of the Wild

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By Jack London

I should begin by saying we only listened to the first third of the book. The Call of the Wild is a dog-story adventure set among the gold-diggers in Alaska. Perhaps this is a book for those who love the violence of a struggle for life and dominance among a pack of savage dogs and their rough and tough owners. There was so much beating and killing and tearing of flesh in the first third of the book that we quit. The violence was not redeemed by one moment of compassion, but perhaps that comes later in the book. The title, however, is fitting as the book tells the tale of Buck, a sheltered dog, who is stolen and forced into the world of a sled dog. Buck soon finds the call of the wild in his own character as he becomes hard and cruel himself, in order to succeed against nature and the other dogs who would kill him. There will be a further “call” though, as Buck encounters wolves.

If you have read or listened to the complete book and found the second half redeems the first half, please share in the comments below!

Ages 12-15

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

Audio: read by William Roberts

Frog Song

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By Brenda Z. Guiberson

Okay, I knew there were a few different frog species out there, but Guiberson obviously has a fascination for the incredible variety in creation and has chosen the widest range of frogs on the planet to introduce kids to these incredible hoppers!

Leap around the world with the amazing, larger-than-life illustrations by Gennady Spirin…so realistic that I almost thought some pictures were photographs.

(Do I talk a lot about illustrations? 🙂  I guess my philosophy is not so much to introduce kids to the “masters” by studying paintings from past eras, but to let them enjoy amazing artwork by putting great picturebooks with good story-lines right into their hands! What an easy, enjoyable way to inspire a love for art!)

Picturebook

Ages 3-10

Nonfiction

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

Silent Observer

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By Christy Mackinnon

This is not your traditional picture book…I think it took ½ an hour to read aloud! Instead, the diary notes and artwork for Silent Observer was discovered by Christy Mackinnon’s niece among her late aunt’s things, and she worked at getting it published. It is a book worth publishing, as it rings true, like Laura Ingalls’ childhood accounts.

This story about the author, however, takes place in Nova Scotia in the late 1800’s, and centres on the childhood years of Christy who becomes deaf at age two after a bout of whooping cough. The picturebook chronicles her struggle with deafness and her triumphs and features a brief real-life meeting with Alexander Graham Bell as well as Helen Keller. But it also brings to life in a small home with 8 kids, an energetic hard-working grandma, a mile-long walk while singing to school, and newborn twins that arrive in the doctor’s black bag 🙂

Ages 5 and up

Autobiography/nonfiction

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen