‘Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book!

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* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.

 

Today’s great book: Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot written by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenbuyzen (2002, Sleeping Bear Press)

The Author’s Website:  http://www.margotraven.com/Pages/default.aspx

The Illustrator’s Website:  http://hazelridgefarm.com/books.html

Awards:  2003 Children’s Choice Award; IRA 2002 Midwest Independent Publisher Merit Award; and the 2004-05 Children’s Crown Honor Award – 2004-05 Show me Award

Time to Read: we read it just before bed and it took about 10-15 minutes with a few extra minutes to talk about the history and read the epilogue.

Summary:  from the inside cover…A true story of the 1948 humanitarian rescue mission, the Berlin Airlift, and the candy that dropped from the sky…[The story of] a seven-year old girl named Mercedes who lived in West Berlin during the airlift and [Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen] who came to be known as the Chocolate Pilot.

Best Quote from the Book:  “The memory of this day would stay with her for the rest of her life.”

Our View:  This book is among our newest finds and is already a treasure in our book room.  This is a truly powerful tale of history and children that is beautifully illustrated.  It is not only a work of art, but of literary worth and will take your breath away as you read the conclusion of the story and hear what has since happened to each of the people in the story.  The girls and I read this book just before bedtime and it propelled us into a discussion of war and worry and children and life in difficult times.  It is also a glorious story of chocolate and the magic that it can work even in difficult times.  The heroes are plentiful in this wonderful book.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe - Wild Blue Yonder Chocolate Cake!  - created by the kids for this particular book.

‘The Mysterious Tadpole’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.

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Today’s great book: The Mysterious Tadpole (25th Anniversary Edition) written and illustrated by Steven Kellogg (2002, Dial Books for Young Readers)

The Author’s (WONDERFUL!!!) Website: http://stevenkellogg.com/

Time to Read: short and funny; bedtime or anytime

Summary:  from the inside cover…On Louis’s birthday, his uncle brings him the gift of a tadpole – all the way from Scotland.  Excited, the boy names his tadpole Alphonse and can hardly wait to take him to school for show-and-tell.  But it soon becomes clear that Alphonse is not turning into an ordinary frog!  It’ll take a little help from friends and a lot of ingenuity to feed and shelter this unusual, ever-growing pet.

Best Quote from the Book:  “Alphonse found a pirate treasure ship,” explained Louis.  “And we used part of the gold to buy you this present.”

Our View:  What a wonderful book!  We had never heard of it and bought it just a few days ago because we have enjoyed Steven Kellogg’s other books for a long time now.  This one does not disappoint.  The illustrations are all over the page and big and interesting and colorful to look over, long after you have read the book.  The imagination and love that the main character has for his mysterious pet captured us as we read each page and tried to anticipate where the story would go next.  This is one great book!

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe - Cheeseburgers!  - created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

Julia Reviews: ‘A-Z Mysteries: The Kidnapped King’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book!

* Thank you to our daughter Julia for writing this week’s first ever guest review and recipe! Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.Mystery
Today’s Great Book:  The Kidnapped King was written and illustrated by Ron Roy (Random House, 2000)
Time to Read:   I was so into this book that I read it in only 2 hours because it was fun, interesting, entertaining, and…MYSTERIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Summary:  from the back of the book…The king and queen of Costra have been kidnapped! For his protection, the prince is sent to Green Lawn-to hide out with Dink’s family. Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose promise to help their royal friend rescue his parents from the enemies of the Crown. But then the prince gets kidnapped, too. Can the three sleuths catch the kidnappers and unravel this royal mystery?
Best Quote from the Book:  “Dink was reading Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. He had seen the movie, but he still loved the story. He took the book to the reading corner and plopped down in a bean-bag chair.”
Julia’s (age 9) View:  I very much enjoyed reading this very detailed story. If you are a mystery kind of person, then you will instantly fall in love with this book. If you are good at figuring out clues you will know the answer to the mystery even before it starts.

 

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe - The Case of the Mysterious Fudge!  - created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

‘If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.

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Today’s great book: If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo by Mary Jean Hendrick with illustrations by Jane Dyer (1993, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)

The Illustrator’s Website: http://www.harpercollins.com/author/microsite/about.aspx?authorid=14891

Time to Read: short and sweet; bedtime or anytime

Summary:  from the Kirkus Review – “Every Saturday, Leslie makes an eponymous offer to one of the zookeepers: “…you can send the zebras to my house.” They promise to remember but aren’t encouraging (“Oh, no…Monkeys…need things to swing on”). Then something does go wrong–heavy rains, flooding–and, one memorable night, the keepers bring the animals to Leslie’s hilltop home, where they put the elephants in the garage, the monkeys on the swing-set, an alligator in the tub, ostriches in the hall–but just for the night. The keepers are grateful; Mom is surprised but polite: “The next time you invite friends home, would you check with me first?” It’s a simple, enticing idea, gracefully and logically developed by this new author and ably abetted by Dyer’s watercolors, which nicely capture the animals’ appeal and the cozy, dependable family so willing to take them in. A real charmer. (Picture book. 4-8)”

Best Quote from the Book:  “I’m glad I remembered that if anything ever went wrong at the zoo, we could bring the animals to your house.”

Our View:  One of the ways in which I have chosen books for our children is to base the choice upon things we like to do in real life – and going to the zoo was always a treat, especially when the kids were little.  That’s why this book is so special to me and often helped me wind up a great visit to the zoo with this bedtime story.  It brought a connection to the events of the day and a funny way of thinking about what might happen if they really decided to bring one of those animals home for the weekend!  I really do enjoy reading this particular book to the girls just before bedtime.  With three daughters five years apart in age, I have had the pleasure of reading and re-reading it to them for more than 16 years now.  It has even become part of our family’s lexicon whenever we talk or visit zoos and it never fails to get the younger children talking about what it would be like to have such things as elephants in our garage and lions in our closet and monkeys on our swingset.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe - Animal Crackers!  - created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

‘The Valentine Bears’ Tuesday’s Look at this Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.

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Today’s great book: The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting with illustrations by Jan Brett (1983, Scholastic)

The Author’s Website:  https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/contributor/eve-bunting

The Illustrator’s Website: http://www.janbrett.com/index.html

Time to Read: short and sweet; bedtime or anytime

Summary:  from the back cover – “Mr. and Mrs. Bear always missed Valentine’s Day because they were hibernating.  But this year they share a wonderful surprise.”

Best Quote from the Book:  Mr. Bear hugged her.  “You thought I could sleep through just about anything, didn’t you?” he boomed.  “Well, I fooled you.  Happy Valentine’s Day!”  He pulled a box from under his pillow.  “I’ve had these here all along.”

Our View:  Simply put, this one will steal your heart.  I bought this to read first to my wife and then to my daughters.  That it was written by one of the great children’s authors of this century, Eve Bunting, and illustrated by one of the great children’s artists of this century, Jan Brett, means this is a priceless treasure.  They outdid themselves and created a timeless classic that should be in every classroom and read among every family.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe - Honey I’m Home!  - created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

‘Eli the Minnow’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.

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Today’s great book: Eli the Minnow by David Sterling with illustrations by Tony Thunder (2013, Rowdy Boys Books)

The Author’s Book Website: http://www.elitheminnow.com/

Time to Read: short and sweet; bedtime or anytime

Summary:  from the publisher’s website – “The Coral Cave Adventure is the first kids book in the Eli the Minnow series, and it deals with teaching our children to never give up regardless of the circumstance. In this story, all the friends get trapped in a cave! After watching multiple friends try to get out but failing, Eli’s confident determination to get his friends to safety pushes him to find a way out. Don’t let Eli’s size fool you! He is a very determined and dedicated little minnow, and he always gives it his all! Come join Eli and all his friends at Coral Cave Park in this adventure filled kids book!”

Best Quote from the Book:  “I might be small, and I’m not very tall; but I always give it my all!”

Our View:   As the father of three and an early childhood education professor, it is always refreshing to see a book like this available for children and their families and their teachers. This is an adventure story rich with characters who resemble the kids your children already know, which makes this the best kind of book to start conversations about important things among your family. The illustrations are also vibrant and express the storyline very well for toddlers and emergent readers, as well. Beyond that, the debut of this book is as wonderful as its interactive website.  My favorite link, http://www.elitheminnow.com/index.php/characters/, provides a great summary of each of the book’s characters.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – Here Fishy Fishy - created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

‘Sadie and the Snowman’ – Look at this Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.  To celebrate the holiday season, we are reviewing a great Christmas book every Tuesday this month!

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Today’s Great Book:  Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan and illustrated by Brenda Clark (1985, Scholastic)

Time to Read:  short and sweet for bedtime or anytime

Summary:  From the back of the book…Sadie made a really good snowman. And he lasted for a long, long time.

Best Quote:  “The sun kept coming out and the snowman kept melting. But there was always enough of the snowman left to start all over again.”

Our View:  Our oldest was a kindergartner at Christmas in the year 2000 when she received this outstanding winter children’s book from her excellent teachers, Connie Westhof and her assistant Marilyn Oldfield. We read it throughout the season and have returned to its comforting story every winter since. The story follows a little girl through a wonderfully instructive time in which she makes her first snowman (the illustrations are perfect for enhancing this learning aspect of the story). As the season moves along, she discovers a way to keep her snowman year-round. When summer comes, she fondly remembers the experience of creating the snowmen. It is a wonderfully simple idea that is common to so many young children and its instructive style really is helpful in bringing a young child along in their thinking about time and change and memory. Sadie and the Snowman is a wintertime classic here at our house.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe - “We All Scream for Snow Cream!” - created by the kids to accompany this particular book.