(picture book, ages 6 – 10 years)
I love to tell this Native American version of the Cinderella story to classrooms of students whenever I can. David Shannon’s illustrations invoke reverence of the power and beauty of nature in the form of the Algonquian Prince Charming, here called the Invisible Being. But there is no fairy godmother to save the day in this tale – the cinder-scarred girl must take fate into her own hands and use her wits to outsmart her shallow sisters.
The Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen
(chapter book, ages 5 – 7 years)
This new book series by a beloved author are a sort of hybrid picture-book-slash-chapter book that would be perfect for a beginning reader. The painted illustrations are full of whimsy and are featured every other page. The adventures of Mr. & Mrs. Watson’s single-minded pet pig, Mercy, are full of hilarity, and her quests for hot buttered toast get her in tons of trouble. Not everyone in Mercy’s neighborhood is as doting as Mr. & Mrs. Watson, however. There are six books in the series, and they are best read in order:
Mercy Watson to the Rescue
Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride
Mercy Watson Fights Crime
Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise
Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig
Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes
My First Thanksgiving by Tomie dePaola
(board book, ages 18 months – 3 years)
Trying to tell the story of Thanksgiving to wee ones can be a challenge, but this board book for preschoolers is sweet and simple. It begins by illustrating the historical origins of the holiday, and ends with some of the more contemporary traditions your little one relates to now – family, food, blessings, and being grateful for all of them. From Pilgrims to mincemeat pie, this book is a great introduction to a holiday that is often overlooked in the mad scramble to get presents under trees. However, due to it’s simplicity, I wouldn’t recommend it for kids over 3 years.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Consider this more of a recommendation than a review: if you are looking for a book to transport you, charm you, leave you spellbound, look no further. Be warned – this is a story for romantics. Reading it engaged all of my senses – I could smell the popcorn, the smoke, the caramel. I could feel the frosty air of the Ice Garden, and the wispy curls of damp in the Cloud Tent. The protagonists are two magicians locked in a duel to the death, and the romance that blossoms between them is inevitable.
I love to watch book trailers and will leave you with this one…
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