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Novel Ideas

A new year opens many possibilities: fresh starts, unsullied dreams, and original notions. Meet real and make-believe characters in the books suggested here - the boy who invented television, a young female flyer, a sleepless hamster, and an observant owl, as well as others. Though each character you meet will be quite different, they share one thing in common: each has a novel idea or perhaps a novel problem and each is sure to start your new year off with energy and imagination!

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Book of Sleep

By: Il Sung Na
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When it's nighttime, everyone sleeps; that is, everyone except owl who notices other animals. Some sleep peacefully and quietly. Others sleep in unique ways - standing up or with one or even two eyes open. Succinct, almost lyrical language and highly stylized illustrations create a contemporary bedtime book with an old-fashioned feel.

A World of Colors: Seeing Colors in a New Way

By: Marie Houblon
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Crisp, color photographs of people and places from around the world are used to introduce and explore color. For example, readers will see orange in hair, a robot's eyes, and tangerines and are then asked to look around to find orange in their environment. Expressive text adds to the wonder of the images. Photo credits are included.

Looking Like Me

By: Walter Dean Myers
Illustrated by: Christopher Myers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A boy named Jeremy defines himself in the context of his world. The animated narrator begins by looking in the mirror and seeing a boy, and then adds brother, son, artist, writer, and more as he interacts with his family and community. The lively poem concludes with a look at a very young author and illustrator and a short list of how they self-define.

Pet Shop Lullaby

By: Mary Ann Fraser
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Even the youngest listener will recognize what the animals in the closed pet shop try to get the hamster to sleep. When they finally do get the hamster settled in for the night, it's suddenly morning and the hamster is rudely awakened! Mellow illustrations and onomatopoeic language create a gently humorous tale of concern and friendship.

Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated

By: Florence Heide
Illustrated by: Lane Smith
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Princess Hyacinth has a truly unique problem. If she doesn't wear additional weights, she'll float off to who knows where! One day, the princess, however, takes off - literally - on her own but is rescued in an innovative way. Comic illustrations combine with an understated text for a very funny and very satisfying resolution.

Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee

By: Marissa Moss
Illustrated by: Carl Angel
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

As a girl, Maggie Gee was inspired by planes and Amelia Earhart. Not surprisingly, Maggie set out to join the women's air force (WASPs) as a young adult at the start of World War II. She would become one two Chinese American female pilots. Her story is told in first person but concludes with actual photographs and an update of Maggie Gee.

The Birthday Box

By: Leslie Patricelli
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

What does the baby get for his birthday? A big, brown box - just right to stand on to become taller, to hug, and to hold a dog named Oscar. Oscar and the narrator use the box for imaginative adventures and inventive play - and to sit in to eat birthday cake! Bright, boldly outlined illustrations and a simple text communicate the joy of creative play.

The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth

By: Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by: Greg Couch
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Two machines captivated young Philo Farnsworth: a telephone and a phonograph. Both had cranks and both connected people with others (one in real time, the other through music). These and other inspirations motivated young Philo to invent what was to become known as the television. His early story is fascinatingly told and well illustrated.

The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy

By: Dori Butler
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Look for a new mystery narrated by King (also known as Buddy), a bright, persistent pup whose first family has gone missing. Once King is adopted by Conner and his mom, he becomes Buddy and solves several mysterious events and helps Connor adjust to his new life. This first of a series will delight new readers.

Tyrannosaurus Math

By: Michelle Markel
Illustrated by: Doug Cushman
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

As soon as he popped out of his shell, the young dinosaur started making a number sentence leading his mother to name him Tyrannosaurus Math (TM). TM introduces readers to a variety of math concepts using recognizable examples. Playful illustrations and a clear presentation allow this engaging book to work on several levels.

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