"ABC Kids" by Simon Basher
I never thought I would like an ABCs book as much as Dr. Seuss', but this is just as great!Basher combines ABCs with funny situations using all words that begin with that particular letter and his adorable manga-like characters give this book an up-to-date feel.A few of my favorite lines: "Henry's horrible hairy hat has huge holes," and"Vera vacuums various vegetables." FOR AGES 2 TO 5.
"THE HOUSE THAT MOUSE BUILT" by Maggie Rudy and Pam Abrams, photographs by Bruce Wolf
The authors create a wonderful new version of "The House That Jack Built."The story has a rhyming, sing-song sound that small children will love and they'll also enjoy getting lost in the pictures.This book is perfect for dialogic reading: Ask the children what they see and point to different parts of the pictures.For more of Maggie Rudy's mouse-house worlds, check out her blog at mouseshouses.blogspot.com. FOR AGES 2 TO 8.
"JUST BECAUSE" by Rebecca Elliott
Toby loves his big sister and thinks she is the greatest.Why? Just because!His sister Clemmie "can't walk, talk, move around much, ... cook macaroni, pilot a plane, juggle or do algebra."Toby accepts her for who she is.He thinks her wheelchair is cool and they pretend it takes them to the moon.Elliot's illustrations are colorful and hopeful.I especially love Clemmie's big, blue, trusting eyes and her facial expression when she does not like pigeons. FOR AGES 3 TO 8.
"INVISIBLE INKLING" by Emily Jenkins, illustrations by Harry Bliss
Hank's best friend has moved away so he will start fourth grade without him.Hank is contemplating this when he discovers something furry under the sink at his family's ice-cream shop.His discovery is an invisible critter named Inkling.When Hank saves him from a dog, Inkling must stay and repay the debt.Jenkins keeps us guessing whether Inkling, who tells a lot of humorous lies, is real.I highly recommend this for any child,especially boys who like humor. FOR AGES 7 TO 11.
"ADVENTURES OF A CAT-WHISKERED GIRL" by Daniel Pinkwater
This book is loaded with bizarre characters and strange happenings.Big Audrey, as the title suggests, has whiskers like a cat.She takes a job working in a book shop that only has books about UFOs.UFOs are the norm in Poughkeepsie; alien visitors frequent the local fritter house and disappear behind a mansion that may or may not be a mansion at all.Audrey goes on a journey that will involve an insane professor,a leprechaun, a giant who only pretends to be dumb, and a cute puppy that frightens everyone but Audrey.If you enjoy odd twists and turns and intelligent humor, you will love this book as much as I do. FOR AGES 9 TO 12.
"WITHER: BOOK 1 OF THE CHEMICALGARDEN SERIES" by Lauren DeStefano
Dystopia is hot right now! The new Chemical Garden series tells the story of a future gone wrong where mankind experiments with designer babies. The first generation did well, but their children started dying in their 20s. Men live to the ripe age of 25 and women don't live to see 21. Girls are forced into polygamous marriages. Sixteen-year-old Rhine is one of those girls. The story is very creepy and may be too mature for younger readers, but readers who loved Katniss's fashions in the Hunger Games will love Rhine's one-of-a-kind wardrobe. DeStefano shows us a world where what we believe is evil may not be at all. FOR AGES 15 TO 17.
-- Kris Hickey, Team Lead, Whitehall branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library