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Welcome to Books to Hoot About! the children's book review blog from InfoSoup librarians and users!

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Author: Ying Chang Compestine

I used this book in celebration of Chinese New Year. It is a great tale about a beat up wok that takes things from the mean rich family--food, toys, and money--and brings them to the poor family who is appreciative and willing to share. The wok also makes handy work of the mean family at the end. The pictures are vivid and carry the energy of the story.

Illustrator: Sebastia Serra

Tall Tales

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Author: Anne Isaacs

Join widow Tulip Jones as she finds out that everything in Texas is bigger, from vegetables to  tortoises.  Without giving away the story, this tall tale is a read aloud tongue twister that's lots of fun.  Meanwhille, I'm going to head back to the ranch for more laughs...

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Author: Holly Sloan

This book reminded me of Out of My Mind and Wonder (both books I loved by the way) being that it is about a 12-year old girl who is a genius, but feels detached from her peers.  Suffering the loss of her parents in a tragic accident sets this story on a hopeful mission to find Willow Chance a new family.  But what does it take to be a family?  Readers will have a lot to talk about after reading this book.  What is strange?  Are we all strange or at varying levels of strangeness?  Is it fair to group like strangers?  Hmmm.

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Title: Hold Fast
Author: Blue Balliett

This book is a mystery and a work of art.  The Pearl family experiences a huge upheaval and Early, the young protagonist, feels the urgency to not only solve the mystery of where her father has disappeared to, but hold her family (mom and brother) together in the Chicago homeless shelter scene.  Readers will get a pretty realistic look at the lives of those having to live in such shelters.  I'm interested now in checking out some Langston Hughes poetry.  Lots to talk about after reading this book.

Word Ladders

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Author: Valerie Wyatt

By simply changing one letter at a time, wacky things happen in this world!  This word game adventure explores letters and spelling.  Simple changes occur at first (toy becomes boy) leading up to the more complex changes (safe becomes whew).  Silly illustrations reinforce the unrelated word changes creating a comically fun book to read visually as well.  Two thumbs up on the fun approach to exploring words and spelling.

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Author: Amy Krause Rosenthal

Sparse words and simple illustrations lend itself to the power of this great story!  Little Miss grabs her shovel and plants a kiss (literally!).  From there, she patiently waits, verging on doubt, until a small sprout appears.  She wastes no time in sharing the love whereever she goes, learning that a simple act of kindness and love can lead to "endless bliss."  A great example of sharing and selflessness for young children.

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Author: Peter Brown

This book was a delight and so hopeful. I found out more by watching the DVD produced by Weston Woods. I like that the main character, Liam, starts a garden that spreads and spreads and spreads all over the city.

It seems like the opposite of a book that I loved by Australian author Jeannie Baker (published 1991) called "Window". However, that book was a cautionary tale about the city taking over nature. I'm really happy with this new concept of "greening" in this book and DVD.

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Author: Peter Brown

Poor Mr. Tiger. He is a tiger cooped up in a world of "acting proper". One day he gets tired of it all and decides "I gotta be me". The consequences of his actions and the outcome of the story are predictable (for adult readers) but the illustrations portraying Mr. Tiger's journey to self-fulfillment are what make this book impressive. You can't help but root for Mr. Tiger and you are so happy to see the influence he has on others. The world Brown creates in his illustrations is humorous but alo provides a good commentary on our everyday lives and how we choose to live them. Definitely a book that will appeal to young readers in one way and to adults in a completely different way.