Clara and the Bookwagon

It's hard to imagine a time when books were expensive and not readily available, especially for children. Clara and the Bookwagon by Nancy Smiler Levinson tells the story of Clara, who badly wants to learn to read, but does not have anyone to teach her.  Clara lives on a small farm, where there are no... Continue Reading →

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail

Mouse Minor is what everyone calls him, but it's not his real name. The hero of The Mouse with a Question Mark Tail doesn't have a name. And it bothers him immensly. He never knew his parents either. He lives with Aunt Marigold under the Royal Mews, the carriage house of Buckingham Palace. Mouse Minor... Continue Reading →

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa

Beginning readers will enjoy the sweet relationship between Cowgirl Kate and her beloved horse, Cocoa, in Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman. Each short chapter tells about an interaction between the two of them, some more mundane than others. But all made exceptionally delightful by colorful watercolors by Betty Lewin (Click, Clack, Moo: Cows... Continue Reading →

Beverly Cleary

As a child, I read Beverly Cleary's books over and over and over again.  I couldn't get enough of Ramona, Beezus, Henry Huggins and Ralph S. Mouse. Cleary's books reflect childhood wonderfully - a simple childhood, with simple problems, like what are the real words to the national anthem?  How will I get this dog... Continue Reading →

The 18 Penny Goose

Letty Wright is beside herself.  The British are coming, and she doesn't have time to catch her flock of geese. Instead, she tries to chase Solomon, her gander, and his wives out of the barnyard. But he won't listen, and her family is about to leave without her.  Letty gives up the chase, and instead... Continue Reading →

Penny and Her Marble

As Penny plays outside with her doll, she spots a beautiful blue marble in her neighbor's yard.  She wonders if she should take it, and she decides she can. But Penny hadn't asked permission to have the marble, and as her conscience nags her, she loses interest in life. When she finally decides to return... Continue Reading →

My Happy Life

I have to be honest.  When I first finished My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz, I wondered, "What was that about?"  It didn't particularly strike me as a great book. But the more I thought about it, the more the story grew on me and the more I liked it. Dani, the main character, is... Continue Reading →

Emily’s Fortune

Emily lives a very quiet life.  She never runs, never shouts, and hardly plays.  She lives with her mother and the wealthy Miss Luella Nash, who doesn't like noise at all. But then, Emily finds herself alone in the world, after a horrible carriage accident.  And suddenly, everyone wants to make decisions for her -... Continue Reading →

Gooney Bird Greene

Have you ever met that uber-confident child?  The one who knows who she is and is not afraid to be herself?  Gooney Bird Greene is such a child.  Her presence lights up the classroom.  Everyone looks forward to seeing her and hearing her stories. The kind of confidence Gooney Bird exhibits is endearing in a... Continue Reading →

I Survived…

Children ready for short chapter books will enjoy the I Survived... books by Lauren Tarshis (the author of Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree). These action-packed adventures tell the story of a child, usually a boy, who has survived a catastrophe - like the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, 2005 Hurricane Katrina, etc.  The stories... Continue Reading →

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