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Reviews by : Appleton Public Library

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

A Very Babymouse Christmas

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Author: Jennifer L. Holm

In A Very Babymouse Christmas, the latest in the graphic novel series by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, Babymouse is absolutely obsessed with the idea of receiving a Whiz Bang from Santa Claus. A few literary vignettes including The Night Before Christmas and A Christmas Carol are referenced with a few changes. Will Babymouse receive her Whiz Bang for Christmas? Will she learn any lessons in this installment of the series? Will the series continue past this book? All these questions are answered in A Very Babymouse Christmas.

Recommended for grades 1 to 4.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

A Christmas Tree for Pyn

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Author: Olivier Dunrea

Oother is a big, gruff, widowed mountain man who lives with his small, gentle, pigtailed daughter, Pyn. While he loves Pyn, Oother is not the kind to soften for anyone; when Pyn calls him “Papa,” he responds with a grunt, “My name is Oother.” Patient, uncomplaining Pyn cooks and keeps house while Oother works all day in the woods. As Christmas draws near, Pyn longs for a tree to decorate, to help bring cheer into their humble cottage. When Pyn asks, Oother’s immediate grunt of an answer is, “No Christmas Tree.” But Pyn does not give up, and finally sets off alone in the snow to find the perfect tree.

Popular author and artist Olivier Dunrea uses his distinctive, clean lines and intricate shadings to illustrate this sweet (not sappy) story. This would make a great holiday bedtime story, especially for ages 5-8.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

It's a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook

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Author: Stephanie Spinner

This charming and cheerful holiday book, published in 2003, is recommended by the Cooperative Children's Book Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Little Owen Block is finally old enough to be the "Official Candle Lighter" during the nights of Hanukkah. After lighting each candle, his Grandma Karen tells him a funny and heartwarming bedtime story. Many of the stories seem to be about the family members who later come to dinner on the eighth night of Hanukkah. Of course by then, readers will feel familiar with the whole family and understand the family's inside jokes told at the dinner table. At the end of the book, the author adds educational material about "The Hanukkah Legend", "Hanukah Blessing" and a glossary of terms.

I recommend this book for ages 5-9.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

Christmas Farm

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Author: Mary Lyn Ray

Perhaps it is because I love the outdoors, planting and gardening that this was among my favorite holiday books recommended by Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wilma had gardened for years, but she wants to plant something new on her land. During the winter months, she decides to start a Christmas tree farm in the spring and begins planning. She will need some help with all the planting and she knows that Parker, the little boy next door, will help her. Readers will enjoy the seasonal changes as years pass by and delight in watching Parker grow as the trees grow from year to year. A note from the author in the back of the book tells readers how many years it takes to grow a Christmas tree.

I recommend this book for ages 4-7.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

Zero to Hero

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Author: Henry Winkler

This first book in the new Ghost Buddy series by authors Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver will capture readers with its genuine, good guy, but clumsy, protagonist Billy Broccoli. Moving into a new house, Billy finds teenage ghost Hoove in his room and learns to accept him and his suggestions. Hoove is determined to help Billy gain confidence and become cool. When Billy is totally embarrassed by the school bully, Hoove conspires with Billy to get even, yet Billy manages to maintain his ethics while coming out ahead.

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Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

A First Visit to the Beach

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Title: Wave
Author: Suzy Lee

This wordless story captures a little girl's endearing first visit to the beach. Although the girl is hesitant about the water at first, some splashing around and picking through shells cause her to grow quite fond of the beach. Drawn with flowing watercolors that portray the swelling waves of the ocean, this is a beautiful story that will captivate children and parents alike. Recommended for children 2 and up as the wordless pages require the reader to unravel the message behind the pictures.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

How To Steal A Dog

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Author: Barbara O'Connor

Georgina and her family suddenly find themselves homeless. Living out of a car with her mother and little brother while her mother works two jobs makes Georgina think about what she can do to help the situation. She comes up with a wild idea to steal a dog and claim reward money after the owner posts reward signs for the lost dog. As the story unfolds, Georgina and the reader grow fond of a mysterious man named Mookie, an old woman named Carmella, and a little dog named Willy. Sometimes, the best lessons happen in the worst of times. Although the topic is sad, the story is told in a loving way that keeps the reader engaged throughout.

I recommend it for both boys and girls, grades 5-7.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

Gooney Bird Greene

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Author: Lois Lowry

Gooney Bird Greene loves to be the center of attention (just like most second graders) and only tells absolutely true stories. Gooney Bird is an excellent storyteller and tells a new story to her classroom every day. What's interesting is how Gooney Bird shows that words can mean different things than you might expect, for example, how Gooney Bird moved to her new home from China in a minivan.

A good book for second grade students who are ready for short chapter books.