Magical books offer snippets of wisdom
Share important messages with your child
What makes a children's book remarkable? Many things, of course, but I am always looking for books that the child will come away from having learned something of value.
The true gems in children's books come from prolific writers who capture the child's attention with carefully crafted characters and situations that become almost real, all wrapped-up in the subtle message or messages of value that the writer wishes the reader/listener to believe.
Being able to accomplish all of that is not an easy task. But when you find a book that does all of those things, it is extraordinary, it is wonderful and it must be shared with children.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"The Report Card" by Andrew Clements, Simon & Schuster, 173 pages
Read aloud: age 8 and older
Read yourself: age 8 and older
Do grades and standardized tests really measure a person's intelligence? Not according to fifth-grader Nora Rowley — and Nora has a plan to prove she's right.
The fact is, Nora is a genius, but she's the only one who knows that. She discovered her genius when she was a little girl but didn't want to stand out. So Nora intentionally has always been an average student. But with standardized tests making her friends and classmates nervous and worried, Nora decides it's time to take action.
First, Nora gets a report card with all D's (and one accidental C), and the ball starts rolling just as Nora planned, with her ultimate goal to convince everyone that tests alone don't accurately measure intelligence.
Lively, thought-provoking and superbly written, "The Report Card" gets an A-plus.
Library: Sutter County Library, 750 Forbes Ave., Yuba City
Library Director: James Ochsner
Children's Librarian: Chalese Valdez
Choices this week: "Bark George" by Jules Feiffer; "Babymouse" by Jennifer L. Holm; "The Secrets of Droon" by Tony Abbott
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"The Cloud Spinner" by Michael Catchpool, illustrated by Alison Jay, Alfred A. Knopf, 2012, 32 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 4 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8
There was once a boy who could weave the most extraordinary cloth from the clouds. His mother had taught him this magical skill, and she had also told him that he should only weave enough cloth to make what he needed — not one stitch more.
The boy wove just enough cloth to make two scarves for himself. One day, when the boy was in the village, the king rode through town, noticed the boy's magnificent cloth scarf and told the boy to make scarves and cloaks and dresses galore for the royal family.
The boy told the king that his request wasn't wise, but this enraged the king, who then said, "I want those clothes, and I order you to make them!" Sadly, the boy set off to work, knowing this was a bad choice. Not long thereafter, the boy was proved right. Fortunately, the king's young daughter knew just what to do.
The wonderful illustrations by Allison Jay provide the perfect complement to Michael Catchpool's delightful tale about greed, our fragile planet and the courage to do what's right.
"A Bus Called Heaven" written and illustrated by Bob Graham, Candlewick, 2012, 40 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 3 — 4 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8
An old, abandoned bus suddenly appeared one morning outside of Stella's house. Stella knew right away that there was something magical about it. In an odd way, many people in the city thought so, too. Little did any of them know how this abandoned bus would bring many, many people together in the very best of ways.
Filled with a myriad of colorful characters, intriguing story line and his usual delightful artwork, author/illustrator Bob Graham has once again delivered an awesome book.
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures about children's literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.