Start the new year right with a few good books

Start the new year right with a few good books

January 5, 2013

Navigating the sea of children’s books that hit the shelves every year, I’m always on the lookout for books that provide children with something that makes them think and will take them just a bit beyond where they were before the book was opened. That pursuit includes all kinds of material, from laughter to facts, introspective thought, imagination and books that challenge previously held ideas.

Get a hold of all kinds of books and read them to a child. Help kids grow, expand and learn by opening the door to the joy and enrichment that reading provides, this year and all throughout childhood.

Books to borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries:

The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico and illustrated in color by Beth Peck (Alfred Knopf, 46 pages)

Read aloud: ages 8 to 9 and older

Read yourself: age 10 and older

Philip, a lonely hunchback artist, lives in seclusion in an old lighthouse by the English Channel. Frith, an innocent, shy village girl, befriends Philip, and slowly but with certainty overcomes her fear of Philip’s grotesque shape and learns to see the beauty of the person within.

The snow goose, saved from death by Frith and nurtured back to health by Philip, proves to be the truest and most courageous of friends. It is the snow goose that aids Philip in his daring rescue of allied soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II – a moment of tremendous courage and fulfillment for Philip, Frith and the snow goose.

The words of Paul Gallico flow like music and are perfectly complemented by the rich illustrations of Beth Peck. Love, friendship, courage, heroism – these are but a few of the themes so beautifully and sensitively woven throughout this story. Nothing short of a masterpiece, “The Snow Goose” is meant for all ages, meant to be read many times over.

Librarian’s choice

Library: Bowlby Library, 311 N. West St., Waynesburg

Library director: Kathy McClure

Director of Children’s Services: Kerry McClure

Choices this week: “The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunit” by Werner Holtzworth & Wolf Erlbruch; “Frog in the Bog” by Karma Wilson; “Bunnicula” by James Howe

Books to buy

The following books are available at bookstores:

Duck & Goose: Goose Needs a Hug, written and illustrated by Tad Hills (Schwartz & Wade, 2013, 20 pages, $6.99 board book)

Read aloud: age 2 to 3

Read yourself: age 5 to 6

Goose is feeling sad and knows just what he needs to feel better: a hug. Goose tries to tell Duck and his other friends what he needs, but before he can, they come up with all sorts of ideas to cheer Goose up. Despite their efforts and good intentions, Goose is still in sore need of a hug from a good friend, and when Goose is finally able to tell his friends what he needs, they gladly comply.

Charming in every way and supporting simple, important lessons on friendship and listening, this is another winning book by author/illustrator Tad Hills.

Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? And Other Notorious Nursery Tale Mysteries by David Levinthal and illustrated by John Nickle (Schwartz & Wade, 2012, 36 pages, $17.99 hardcover)

Read aloud: age 5 to 8

Read yourself: age 7 to 8

A fun, sophisticated twist on five nursery tales most kids already know, this hilarious version of these well-known stories is bound to have kids smiling on every page.

Binky the frog cop lived in the forest, where he diligently solved crimes. His first case of the day involved the Bear family, who were quite upset by their house being broken into. A quick survey of the house made Binky realize, “It could only be one dame: Goldilocks!” Binky quickly closed the case after nabbing Goldilocks as she tried to make her getaway.

Featuring awesome, very funny retellings of four additional nursery-tale crimes solved by the tough cop Binky, this selection is loaded with fun.

Kendal Rautzhan can be reached at her website,



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