Staff Selections Kids


Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night
Joyce Sidman, illus. by Rick Allen

Joyce Sidman takes us out after dark, without a flashlight, to examine nocturnal life in the woods.  Her evocative poems are accompanied by factual details at a level suitable for mid- to late-elementary students.
Printmaker Rick Allen provides more moonlit detail on Sidman’s subjects.  Multiple linoleum plates and hand tinting give the illustrations a rich complexity well-suited to the text.


There Is a Tribe of Kids
Lane Smith

When a “tribe of kids” strays off , casually incommoding one of their number, the plucky castaway launches on an expedition on his own.  Through his experiences in  the natural world, he learns the order of things.   Fitting in here, falling out of step there, a series of encounters carry him to his own kind of “kids”.   The humane message inferred throughout  this tongue-in-cheek romp is revealed in the conclusion:  it’s only natural to want to find your tribe.  Lane Smith is just the artist to convince you.


Lisa Fiedler

Hopper is a mouse living with his sister and younger brother in a New York pet store.  When he escapes into the subway tunnels, he is completely lost until he's befriended by Prince Zucker, son of the emperor of the rat city of Atlantia.  But there is unrest in this too-good-to-be-true kingdom -- a rebellion is forming in the outlying tunnels, and Hopper is filled with questions:  Why don't the feral cats attack the rat city?  What is Hopper's connection to a strange prophecy the rebels hope for?  Is Zucker really a friend?  And what happened to Hopper's siblings -- did they make it out of the pet store?  This subterranean swashbuckler is an exciting adventure, and carries some important lessons about trust, morals, loyalty, courage and learning how to follow the advice of your own heart.  A very good book.


The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Brian Pinkney

Trip trap, trip trap, trip trap! With wit and eventually brawn The Three Billy Goats Gruff prove more than a match for the troll in this new retelling by master storyteller and illustrator Jerry Pinkney. Pinkney breathes lively freshness into the classic Three Billy Goats Gruff. No stone troll at the end of this version but the open-ended possibility of a lesson learned, even as the troll receives his just due. For proof, examine the exquisite end pages that extend the tale. The artist’s note provides additional food for thought


The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition
Jim Trelease

In the early 80s, Jim Trelease published his first handbook for parents, teachers, and all friends of children and books. Not only was it a smashing success, but it proved to be a read-aloud bible for many families and schools. In this new edition he summarizes the latest research about reading and shows that the place for daily read-aloud time has enormous results for reader’s lives.  This latest and Trelease’s his last edition, we get updated lists of recommended titles, plus the old nuggets he told us about before. This volume is a treasure that belongs in the hands of anyone who loves a good shared read.

Trelease steers you right in every category: wordless picture books, predictable books, early novels, full length novels, poetry and nonfiction.


Rebecca Young, illus. by Matt Ottley

In Teacup, by Rebecca Young, with illustrations by Matt Ottley, a young boy sets off on a journey into the unknown, cast away in his boat on a glass-like sea.  Only as the story goes on does the reader learn that vague, dark forces may be behind his loss of home.  There are beauties in the seas he crosses, and dangers.  Even in the darkness he has hope, until he comes ashore to a surprising and deeply satisfying conclusion.  The story is simple, yet full of possibilities.  It is moving and timely.  The artwork is luminous.  A book to read to someone you love, it will provoke much discussion.  A simply stunning picture book for readers of any age.  One of the best of the year.