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Books as Gifts

Holiday Buying Guide 2007

Reading Rockets' fourth annual buying guide makes it easy to find good books kids will enjoy. Click below to browse through the buying guide online or download the 2007 guide (308K PDF) as a one-page handout you can easily take to the library or store.



For 0-4 year olds

A Good Day

By: Kevin Henkes
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Even a day that starts out on a sour note can become a good day after all, as four forest animals learn. A little girl who lives nearby finds the bird's lost feather and declares for all to hear that it really is a good day! Uncluttered illustrations use strong line and gentle colors to convey the wondrous turnaround.

Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?

By: Bill Martin Jr
Illustrated by: Eric Carle
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

With the cadence, format, and appeal of the creators' Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, animals found in North America are introduced. From a rattlesnake to a mountain goat, children will delight in the rhythm and predictability of the text and the cadence of the illustrations.

Baby Shoes

By: Dashka Slater
Illustrated by: Hiroe Nakata
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Ah, that baby in those "White shoes./High-jumping,/fast-funning,/fine-looking/shoes!" sure moves quickly when she and her mama take a walk to the park and beyond. Lively language and jaunty watercolors share the joy of the outing — for mother and child!

Beetle Bop

By: Denise Fleming
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Beetles come in many shapes and sizes — revealed in rhyming text and luminous illustrations. Readers will enjoy the dynamic interplay of words and pictures in this lively book.

Bunny Fun

By: Sarah Weeks
Illustrated by: Sam Williams
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Bunny and mouse are friends who discover fun and mischief when the weather won’t allow them to play outdoors. But when the rain stops, "slippery drippy everything" makes mud — oh, so much fun in which to play! Simple language and expressive illustrations convey the child-like joy of play.

Emily's Magic Words: Please, Thank You, and More

By: Cindy Post Senning, Peggy Post
Illustrated by: Leo Landry
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Emily can do magic — but how? With words like please, thank you, hello, and more! Emily uses her magic words with friends and family alike. Uncomplicated illustrations create the magic, while the straightforward language makes the useful and pleasant point.

Fabian Escapes

By: Peter McCarty
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Hondo and Fabian, dog and cat friends, are back. Here, their days take very different looks as Fabian the cat goes outside to play with "friends" while Hondo stays in with the baby. Softly lined and hued illustrations create humor to show what really goes on with an escaped cat and a dog-chasing toddler!

Jazz Baby

By: Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by: R. Gregory Christie
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

When brother's hands tap, sister's hands clap and "Itty-bitty Baby's hands CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!" The entire family gets involved in the music and movement — until that tired baby "sleeps deep, deep, deep." Words and pictures swirl and swoop all over the pages of this energetic, musical family jaunt.

Little Trucks With Big Jobs

By: Robert Maass
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Many trucks that are small have big jobs like ambulances or mail trucks. Others have different jobs like pick-ups, zambonis, and ice cream trucks. Readers who are intrigued by things that go will enjoy the full color photographs and brief explanation of the truck's job, cleverly placed on sign-shaped backgrounds of different colors.

Peek-a-Baby

By: Karen Katz
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Who is under the umbrella or behind the laundry on the line? Is it the baby behind the ball? Just lift the flap and find the chubby-cheeked babies. Sturdy pages and everyday objects conceal the appealing youngsters in this interactive book, ideal for sharing.

Rabbit's Gift

By: George Shannon
Illustrated by: Laura Dronzek
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Rabbit's generosity sets off a chain of events that brings his kindness full circle. The lush and accessible acrylic paintings suggest the Chinese folktale upon which the retelling is based. A note at the end supports the notion of universal truth in folktales.

Shape Capers

By: Cathryn Falwell
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Shake the shapes and what do you find? A host of triangles, squares, and more! What can you do with them? Make different things. Where can you see them? All around you! Geometric shapes in bold colors depict a cast of children finding, identifying, and playing with shapes — all to a rhythmic text.

Sleep Black Bear Sleep

By: Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple
Illustrated by: Brooke Dyer
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

The long, cold nights of winter are the time when bear, frog, and a host of animals hunker down for sleep. Soft watercolors illustrate the drowsy text as the animals await spring and hibernate. Humorous touches augment the tone of the lullaby as everyone — including the listener — settles down.

Whose Knees Are These?

By: Jabari Asim
Illustrated by: LeUyen Pham
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Lilting language and bold shapes in flat colors encourage response as the narration asks who do these knees belong to? And in another book by Asim, your child will discover Whose Toes Are Those? The author's background as a poet is evident in the simple and evocative writing.

For 4-5 year olds

A Closer Look

By: Mary McCarthy
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Look! What is the large black spot on the red background? As the perspective moves farther away, it becomes clear that it is the spot on a ladybug. Several progressions start up close and move away to reveal the "hidden" subjects. A simple text accompanies each page. An endnote provides additional information about each.

City Lullaby

By: Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by: Carll Cneut
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

From "10 horns beeping" to "2 bikes growling" a baby sleeps on. But when "… 1 bird begins to twitter," a smiling baby awakens! City sounds and sights abound in stylized illustrations and satisfying, rhythmic language of this cumulative rhyme.

Dimity Dumpty: The Story of Humpty’s Little Sister

By: Bob Graham
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Everyone knows that rascally egg, Humpty Dumpty, but few have met the rest of his family which includes his younger sister, Dimity. Painfully shy, Dimity comes out of her shyness (her shell, so to speak!) to help her rambunctious brother. Humor abounds in both text and illustration on this take-off of the traditional rhyme.

Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy

By: Jane O'Connor
Illustrated by: Robin Glasser
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Fancy Nancy (still decked out in her amazingly fancy outfits) and her family decide to get a dog. Of course, Nancy wants a posh papillon, a small and delicate canine. However, they find the perfect pup at the pound � to everyone's delight. Fans of Fancy Nancy (2005) will delight in her newest and quite fancy adventure.

Help! A Story of Friendship

By: Holly Keller
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When Hedgehog finds Mouse covered in leaves he learns that Mouse is now afraid of their friend Snake. When Snake saves Mouse, the rumor is unwound and Mouse realizes that Snake has always been his friend. Textured illustrations and relaxed text engagingly reveal a gentle message.

Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry

By: Jane Yolen, Andrew Fusek Peters
Illustrated by: Polly Dunbar
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A young child's world is presented in a variety of poems, each illustrated with verve and humor. The large pages support the well-organized collection sure to be appreciated by young children and the adults who share the poems with them.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

By: Dr. Seuss
Illustrated by: Dr. Seuss
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The classic tale of the Grinch is now more than 50 years old. But that's just why it's a classic: Seuss' grumpy stealer of Christmas is as fresh today as it was when first published in the mid 20th century.

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

By: Kevin Sherry
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A giant squid of bright blue likes to think of himself as the "biggest thing in the ocean" – until he is forced to realize that he’s not! Cartoon-like illustrations and understated text allow the humor of the underwater tale to shine.

Little Toot

By: Hardie Gramatky
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Original paintings re-energize this sea-going classic to celebrate the year of its creator's 100th birthday. The story of the small tugboat that saves the large ocean liner when other larger tugs cannot remains as satisfying as when it was first published in 1939.

N Is for Navidad

By: Susan Middleton Elya, Merry Banks
Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Join a Latino celebration of Christmas from A to Z, enjoying the sights and symbols of the holiday. Spanish words and additional explanations conclude this energetic book with animated illustrations.

On Meadowview Street

By: Henry Cole
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Caroline doesn't see much of the name of their new street, Meadowview, as she and her family move to their new suburban neighborhood. When she saves a single flower from the lawn mower, she starts to change not only her backyard but ultimately the entire neighborhood. Soft illustrations and understated text convey story and an important concept.

Once Around the Sun

By: Bobbi Katz
Illustrated by: LeUyen Pham
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Every month of the year is cause for celebration – from sledding to holidays. Each poem and accompanying illustration (reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats) for each month of the year reflects a child's joy and interests.

Only You

By: Robin Cruise
Illustrated by: Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Poetic text and handsome illustrations create gentle reminders for children of what parents find special about them. From a nose to a hand, "ordinary" is celebrated in gentle language and soft illustration.

Owl Moon

By: Jane Yolen, John Schoenherr
Illustrated by: John Schoenherr
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A father and daughter go out "owling" on a cold, snow-filled evening with only moonlight to guide them. An introduction by the author to this edition opens the now-classic, luminously illustrated story in which hope "…flies on silent wings under a shining Owl Moon."

The Apple Pie that Papa Baked

By: Lauren Thompson
Illustrated by: Jonathan Bean
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A familiar cadence builds the story of the apple pie that Papa baked for his daughter and sharing it with her, accompanied by their farm animals. The illustrations for this satisfying saga have an informal, old-fashioned appearance which builds with the rhyme.

For 6-7 Year Olds

A Little Peace

By: Barbara Kerley
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

All it takes is…one hand/One smile/A single voice… to achieve it; and children everywhere can "spread a little peace". Full color photographs taken around the world (and sourced at the end) along with a concluding note from the president of the U.S. Institute of Peace concludes this exceptional concept book.

Annie and Snowball and the Prettiest House

By: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by: Sucie Stevenson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Annie and her pet rabbit live next door to a boy named Henry and his oversized dog Mudge. Though Annie loves her neighbors and her home, she still wishes her house was prettier. Uncluttered illustrations and straightforward text reveal childhood concerns.

Dog and Bear

By: Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Three short stories about two friends, a small dachshund, and a teddy bear, are funny, touching, and recognizable. The illustrations have a naïve quality to capture the simplicity and warmth of the friendship and complement the story as told in both narration and the characters' dialog.

How Many: Spectacular Paper Sculptures

By: Ron Van Der Meer
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunningly intricate, handsomely colored paper sculptures jump out with each turn of the page. Readers of all ages will spend time on each double page spread to answer the questions posed and to admire the amazing engineering used to create this handsome book.

I Spy Colors in Art

By: Lucy Micklethwait
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A familiar game focuses the reader's eye on fine art, ranging from Picasso to Velaszquez — with much in between. A note entitled "I spied with my little eye," provides the name of the piece and the collection from which it comes. This is a fine way to encourage looking closely at images everywhere.

Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity

By: Mo Willems
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What's worse than finding out that Sonja has a Knuffle Bunny just like Trixie? Learning that there has been a Knuffle Bunny mix-up in the wee hours of the morning when most preschoolers are sleeping! All's well in the satisfying sequel to the Caldecott honor-winning Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (2004).

Let It Shine: Three Favorite Spirituals

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Three well known spirituals, "This Little Light of Mine," "When the Saints Go Marching In," and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," have been interpreted in vivid, jewel-toned illustrations and presented in a large format for a new generation. A bit of information about the songs' history as well as musical notation for each are included.

Little Night

By: Yuyi Morales
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Little Night is not ready for sleep, even after Mother Sky follows each of their bedtime rituals. Spirited, richly hued illustrations combine with a sumptuous, evocative text to create a heavenly bedtime tale.

Little Rat Makes Music

By: Monica Bang-Campbell
Illustrated by: Molly Bang
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Little Rat wants to be musical and play an instrument just as do the other members of her family. But playing the violin well takes a great deal of practice, as Little Rat learns. Illustrations are richly hued and subtly add humor in addition to a gentle reminder.

Pictures from Our Vacation

By: Lynne Rae Perkins
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The drive is long and the farm of the dad's childhood looks old and tired. What will the siblings document with disposable cameras and journals? The real memories are kept in their heads and hearts when the extended family gathers and the true fun begins.

Rainstorm

By: Barbara Lehman
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Become the storyteller when examining the inventive illustrations that start with a boy who looks out the window on a rainy day. He finds a mysterious key, which leads to an imaginative adventure with other children on a sunny beach. Could it be real? Readers add the story that accompanies this lively book without words.

The Best Chef in Second Grade

By: Katharine Kenah
Illustrated by: Abby Carter
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ollie longs to be the best of anything in his class and ultimately discovers that he is the class' best chef when he brings in his family’s favorite dishes. This delights a special visitor – the teacher’s sister who is a television chef! This satisfying story will be appreciated by creative cooks everywhere.

The Castle on Hester Street

By: Linda Heller
Illustrated by: Boris Kulikov
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Julie loves to hear her grandfather's larger-than-life, highly imagined tales of long ago when he emigrated from Russia to New York City. Grandma, however, recalls the same events in a very different way. With fresh illustrations, these 25-year-old tales remain humorous and vivacious.

The People Could Fly: The Picture Book

By: Virginia Hamilton, Diane Dillon
Illustrated by: Diane Dillon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

From embossed endpapers to the gentle homage to its author, the tale of flying to freedom and away from slavery is splendidly illustrated in picture book format. This edition is accompanied by a CD with the sonorous voices of its Newbery medal-winning author and James Earl Jones.

The Tale of Pale Male: A True Story

By: Jeanette Winter
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Residents of the New York City apartment were divided when a red-tail hawk took up residence atop their building and started a family. Based on real events, the illustrated story of the hawk nicknamed Pale Male will inform and perhaps inspire urban dwellers to look up – and share space.

There Is a Bird on Your Head!

By: Mo Willems
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When a bird builds its nest on Elephant's head, his buddy Piggie suggests that Elephant simply ask the bird to move to another location. The bird honors Elephant's polite request and takes up residence on Piggie's head! Humor abounds in the understated text and simple illustrations of this easy-to-read book.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy

By: Tedd Arnold
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Buzz and his pet fly (also a friend) named Fly Guy, visit Buzz's grandmother. The slapstick humor and outrageous parody begin when grandma accidentally swallows Fly Guy. Bug-eyed characters and the slightly gross humor of the expressive cartoon-like illustrations in the Fly Guy books are sure to create a giggle and an "ewww."

For 6-7 year olds: To read on their own

Annie and Snowball and the Prettiest House

By: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by: Sucie Stevenson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Annie and her pet rabbit live next door to a boy named Henry and his oversized dog Mudge. Though Annie loves her neighbors and her home, she still wishes her house was prettier. Uncluttered illustrations and straightforward text reveal childhood concerns.

Dog and Bear

By: Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Three short stories about two friends, a small dachshund, and a teddy bear, are funny, touching, and recognizable. The illustrations have a naïve quality to capture the simplicity and warmth of the friendship and complement the story as told in both narration and the characters' dialog.

How Many: Spectacular Paper Sculptures

By: Ron Van Der Meer
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunningly intricate, handsomely colored paper sculptures jump out with each turn of the page. Readers of all ages will spend time on each double page spread to answer the questions posed and to admire the amazing engineering used to create this handsome book.

Little Rat Makes Music

By: Monica Bang-Campbell
Illustrated by: Molly Bang
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Little Rat wants to be musical and play an instrument just as do the other members of her family. But playing the violin well takes a great deal of practice, as Little Rat learns. Illustrations are richly hued and subtly add humor in addition to a gentle reminder.

Pictures from Our Vacation

By: Lynne Rae Perkins
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The drive is long and the farm of the dad's childhood looks old and tired. What will the siblings document with disposable cameras and journals? The real memories are kept in their heads and hearts when the extended family gathers and the true fun begins.

Rainstorm

By: Barbara Lehman
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Become the storyteller when examining the inventive illustrations that start with a boy who looks out the window on a rainy day. He finds a mysterious key, which leads to an imaginative adventure with other children on a sunny beach. Could it be real? Readers add the story that accompanies this lively book without words.

The Best Chef in Second Grade

By: Katharine Kenah
Illustrated by: Abby Carter
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ollie longs to be the best of anything in his class and ultimately discovers that he is the class' best chef when he brings in his family’s favorite dishes. This delights a special visitor – the teacher’s sister who is a television chef! This satisfying story will be appreciated by creative cooks everywhere.

The Castle on Hester Street

By: Linda Heller
Illustrated by: Boris Kulikov
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Julie loves to hear her grandfather's larger-than-life, highly imagined tales of long ago when he emigrated from Russia to New York City. Grandma, however, recalls the same events in a very different way. With fresh illustrations, these 25-year-old tales remain humorous and vivacious.

There Is a Bird on Your Head!

By: Mo Willems
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When a bird builds its nest on Elephant's head, his buddy Piggie suggests that Elephant simply ask the bird to move to another location. The bird honors Elephant's polite request and takes up residence on Piggie's head! Humor abounds in the understated text and simple illustrations of this easy-to-read book.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy

By: Tedd Arnold
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Buzz and his pet fly (also a friend) named Fly Guy, visit Buzz's grandmother. The slapstick humor and outrageous parody begin when grandma accidentally swallows Fly Guy. Bug-eyed characters and the slightly gross humor of the expressive cartoon-like illustrations in the Fly Guy books are sure to create a giggle and an "ewww."

For 6-7 year olds: To read with you

A Little Peace

By: Barbara Kerley
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

All it takes is…one hand/One smile/A single voice… to achieve it; and children everywhere can "spread a little peace". Full color photographs taken around the world (and sourced at the end) along with a concluding note from the president of the U.S. Institute of Peace concludes this exceptional concept book.

I Spy Colors in Art

By: Lucy Micklethwait
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A familiar game focuses the reader's eye on fine art, ranging from Picasso to Velaszquez — with much in between. A note entitled "I spied with my little eye," provides the name of the piece and the collection from which it comes. This is a fine way to encourage looking closely at images everywhere.

Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity

By: Mo Willems
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What's worse than finding out that Sonja has a Knuffle Bunny just like Trixie? Learning that there has been a Knuffle Bunny mix-up in the wee hours of the morning when most preschoolers are sleeping! All's well in the satisfying sequel to the Caldecott honor-winning Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (2004).

Let It Shine: Three Favorite Spirituals

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Three well known spirituals, "This Little Light of Mine," "When the Saints Go Marching In," and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," have been interpreted in vivid, jewel-toned illustrations and presented in a large format for a new generation. A bit of information about the songs' history as well as musical notation for each are included.

Little Night

By: Yuyi Morales
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Little Night is not ready for sleep, even after Mother Sky follows each of their bedtime rituals. Spirited, richly hued illustrations combine with a sumptuous, evocative text to create a heavenly bedtime tale.

The People Could Fly: The Picture Book

By: Virginia Hamilton, Diane Dillon
Illustrated by: Diane Dillon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

From embossed endpapers to the gentle homage to its author, the tale of flying to freedom and away from slavery is splendidly illustrated in picture book format. This edition is accompanied by a CD with the sonorous voices of its Newbery medal-winning author and James Earl Jones.

The Tale of Pale Male: A True Story

By: Jeanette Winter
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Residents of the New York City apartment were divided when a red-tail hawk took up residence atop their building and started a family. Based on real events, the illustrated story of the hawk nicknamed Pale Male will inform and perhaps inspire urban dwellers to look up – and share space.

For 8-9 Year Olds

Another Book about Design: Complicated Doesn't Make It Bad

By: Mark Gonyea
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Seemingly simple shapes and primary colors are presented to illustrate, intrigue, and introduce how design elements come together to create images. This is as engaging and illuminating as Gonyea's earlier Book About Design.

Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County

By: Janice Harrington
Illustrated by: Shelley Jackson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Though Big Mama repeatedly asks her not to chase the birds, the young African American girl is determined to become the "chicken chasing queen." She often focuses on Miss Hen, a particularly adept escapee – although a surprise find helps the girl reform. Humor and personality shine through in story and image.

Comets, Stars, the Moon & Mars: Space Poems and Paintings

By: Douglas Florian
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Short rhymes provide accurate glimpses at heavenly bodies, even noting Pluto's new status. Each poem is accompanied by colorful, evocative illustrations. Additional information about the topic of each poem concludes this handsome volume.

Dogs & Cats

By: Steve Jenkins
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Read about dogs with cat icons, and then turn the book over to learn about cats – with dog icons. Informative, informal text combines with textured collage illustrations for an intriguing and edifying look at these familiar animals.

Henry's Freedom Box

By: Ellen Levine
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This riveting account is based on the true story of Henry Brown, a slave who literally mailed himself to freedom. Dramatic illustrations show what young Henry endured during his grueling trip to Pennsylvania.

Jabberwocky

By: Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by: Christopher Myers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunning, semi-abstract illustrations create a contemporary, recognizable setting for Lewis Carroll's now classic nonsense poem. An illustrator's note provides background for the choice of the Jabberwock as a many-fingered ball handler on an urban basketball court.

Jack Plank Tells Tales

By: Natalie Babbitt
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

As a pirate, Jack Plank was not a very good plunderer, although he makes up for it as a fine storyteller. He wows Mrs. Del Fresno's daughter and her other boarders with his stories as he seeks another profession. This episodic yarn spins a wonderful read aloud.

Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World

By: Isabella Juliana, Craig Hatkoff, Gerald Uhlich
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When first born, this small offspring of a circus bear was small enough to fit in one hand. Brought to the Berlin Zoo, Knut the baby polar bear went on to capture the hearts and imaginations of many people around the world. His story is told through full color photographs and gentle text.

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little

By: Peggy Gifford
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sometimes putting something off is worse than what is being put off – and that's just what Moxy Maxwell learns when she puts off her summer reading. Short chapters build tension as readers both understand Moxy's dawdling but also root for her to finish herassignment.

National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers, 3rd edition

By: National Geographic Society
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The latest edition of the Young Explorers atlas uses satellite images to help focus on various parts of the world and to build an understanding of continents, countries, and natural resources. This edition also suggests links to a dedicated website to extend the learning.

Pass it Down: Five Picture Book Families Make Their Mark

By: Leonard Marcus
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Family

Conversations with families provide insight and information into how books are created and the intergenerational impact of illustrating and writing them. From the Rockwells, the Crews/Jonas family, the Pinkneys, the Myers', and the Hurds – talent seems to run in the family!

Planets, Stars and Galaxies

By: David Aguilar
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunning illustrations, recent photographs, and current information combine to present a compelling look at the various planets (including the dwarf planet Pluto), stars, and galactic mysteries. This authoritative presentation is by a well-known specialist in the field.

Playing to Win: The Story of Althea Gibson

By: Karen Deans
Illustrated by: Elbrite Brown
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

From a sharecropper family, Althea Gibson went on to become a highly skilled tennis player and to break down the game's racial barriers. Strong, varied illustrations accompany the lucid text to present a compelling portrait of a complex woman and accomplished athlete.

Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book

By: Ralph Masiello
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Dragons are beautiful, powerful creatures that have immense appeal to the budding artist. This book not only gives drawing advice but also background information on a wide variety of dragons.

Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker

By: Megan McDonald
Illustrated by: Peter Reynolds
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stink gets a huge batch of jawbreakers when he writes a letter of complaint and so is inspired to write other companies. While he receives other things for his letter writing, Judy Moody's little brother comes to realize that there are really more important things in his life.

Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo

By: Linda Sue Park
Illustrated by: Istvan Banyai
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Like haiku, sijo – a little known, brief poetic form from Korea – looks at everyday activities from breakfast to the weather. Sophisticated illustrations complement the seemingly simple language to delight readers and listeners.

The Talented Clementine

By: Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by: Marla Frazee
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Clementine is back, this time wondering what special thing she might do in the school's talent show. Line drawings add verve to the oh-so-plausible, often funny story of how Clementine finds her special skill.

When Harriet Met Sojourner

By: Catherine Clinton
Illustrated by: Shane Evans
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Though born years and miles apart, the paths of two extraordinary women would one day cross briefly. The women, who are known now as Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, would come to play a significant role in securing rights for African Americans. Stylized illustrations and brief text present the people, the period, and their encounter.

For 8-9 year olds: To read with you

Dogs & Cats

By: Steve Jenkins
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Read about dogs with cat icons, and then turn the book over to learn about cats – with dog icons. Informative, informal text combines with textured collage illustrations for an intriguing and edifying look at these familiar animals.

Jabberwocky

By: Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by: Christopher Myers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunning, semi-abstract illustrations create a contemporary, recognizable setting for Lewis Carroll's now classic nonsense poem. An illustrator's note provides background for the choice of the Jabberwock as a many-fingered ball handler on an urban basketball court.

National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers, 3rd edition

By: National Geographic Society
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The latest edition of the Young Explorers atlas uses satellite images to help focus on various parts of the world and to build an understanding of continents, countries, and natural resources. This edition also suggests links to a dedicated website to extend the learning.

Pass it Down: Five Picture Book Families Make Their Mark

By: Leonard Marcus
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Family

Conversations with families provide insight and information into how books are created and the intergenerational impact of illustrating and writing them. From the Rockwells, the Crews/Jonas family, the Pinkneys, the Myers', and the Hurds – talent seems to run in the family!

Planets, Stars and Galaxies

By: David Aguilar
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunning illustrations, recent photographs, and current information combine to present a compelling look at the various planets (including the dwarf planet Pluto), stars, and galactic mysteries. This authoritative presentation is by a well-known specialist in the field.

Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo

By: Linda Sue Park
Illustrated by: Istvan Banyai
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Like haiku, sijo – a little known, brief poetic form from Korea – looks at everyday activities from breakfast to the weather. Sophisticated illustrations complement the seemingly simple language to delight readers and listeners.

When Harriet Met Sojourner

By: Catherine Clinton
Illustrated by: Shane Evans
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Though born years and miles apart, the paths of two extraordinary women would one day cross briefly. The women, who are known now as Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, would come to play a significant role in securing rights for African Americans. Stylized illustrations and brief text present the people, the period, and their encounter.

For 8-9 year olds: To read on their own

Another Book about Design: Complicated Doesn't Make It Bad

By: Mark Gonyea
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Seemingly simple shapes and primary colors are presented to illustrate, intrigue, and introduce how design elements come together to create images. This is as engaging and illuminating as Gonyea's earlier Book About Design.

Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County

By: Janice Harrington
Illustrated by: Shelley Jackson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Though Big Mama repeatedly asks her not to chase the birds, the young African American girl is determined to become the "chicken chasing queen." She often focuses on Miss Hen, a particularly adept escapee – although a surprise find helps the girl reform. Humor and personality shine through in story and image.

Comets, Stars, the Moon & Mars: Space Poems and Paintings

By: Douglas Florian
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Short rhymes provide accurate glimpses at heavenly bodies, even noting Pluto's new status. Each poem is accompanied by colorful, evocative illustrations. Additional information about the topic of each poem concludes this handsome volume.

Henry's Freedom Box

By: Ellen Levine
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This riveting account is based on the true story of Henry Brown, a slave who literally mailed himself to freedom. Dramatic illustrations show what young Henry endured during his grueling trip to Pennsylvania.

Jack Plank Tells Tales

By: Natalie Babbitt
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

As a pirate, Jack Plank was not a very good plunderer, although he makes up for it as a fine storyteller. He wows Mrs. Del Fresno's daughter and her other boarders with his stories as he seeks another profession. This episodic yarn spins a wonderful read aloud.

Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World

By: Isabella Juliana, Craig Hatkoff, Gerald Uhlich
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When first born, this small offspring of a circus bear was small enough to fit in one hand. Brought to the Berlin Zoo, Knut the baby polar bear went on to capture the hearts and imaginations of many people around the world. His story is told through full color photographs and gentle text.

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little

By: Peggy Gifford
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sometimes putting something off is worse than what is being put off – and that's just what Moxy Maxwell learns when she puts off her summer reading. Short chapters build tension as readers both understand Moxy's dawdling but also root for her to finish herassignment.

Playing to Win: The Story of Althea Gibson

By: Karen Deans
Illustrated by: Elbrite Brown
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

From a sharecropper family, Althea Gibson went on to become a highly skilled tennis player and to break down the game's racial barriers. Strong, varied illustrations accompany the lucid text to present a compelling portrait of a complex woman and accomplished athlete.

Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book

By: Ralph Masiello
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Dragons are beautiful, powerful creatures that have immense appeal to the budding artist. This book not only gives drawing advice but also background information on a wide variety of dragons.

Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker

By: Megan McDonald
Illustrated by: Peter Reynolds
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stink gets a huge batch of jawbreakers when he writes a letter of complaint and so is inspired to write other companies. While he receives other things for his letter writing, Judy Moody's little brother comes to realize that there are really more important things in his life.

The Talented Clementine

By: Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by: Marla Frazee
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Clementine is back, this time wondering what special thing she might do in the school's talent show. Line drawings add verve to the oh-so-plausible, often funny story of how Clementine finds her special skill.

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