Hiya, Readers!

Have you ever watched a movie that no matter how many times you have watched it, you cannot switch the channel when it’s on? What about a favorite candy or chocolate — you know, the kind you cannot just eat one piece of? A great book can have that effect, too, and that’s why many kids beg to hear the same books over and over read aloud before bed.

There are several books I cannot get enough of reading! So, to fill my own literary craving, I am doing a favorite children’s book review recap! I’m featuring a few of those fantastic titles I have enjoyed over and over. There are also those titles that stand on their own without a review recommendation — timeless page turners like The Giving Tree, The Cat In The Hat, Strega Nona, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Stewart Little, The Hobbit, The Polar Express and A Wrinkle in Time. There are countless classics to devour time and again along with new favorites!

What are some of your favorite books? Let me know by emailing me at tabadoo@aol.com with the titles and a few words about why you love the book(s). I will be compiling a list of books suggested by Parent Express readers for a future column. Until next time, keep the pages turning, stay safe and stay healthy.

Smiles,

Tabatha

Waking Beauty

Written by Leah Wilcox, Illustrated by Lydia Monks

ISBN: 0399246150

Ages 4 to 8

32 pages

When Prince Charming hears a dreadful sound, he races to find the source. What he discovers is not a dragon he must slay, but a snoring girl in bed. Three little fairies try to tell him how to wake her, but the silly prince makes his own unlucky attempts. He jumps on the bed, pours water on her head — he even shouts at her! Will he ever understand that the only way to wake her is with a KISS? “Waking Beauty” is a delightful story with lively rhyme and bold art that will have kids giggling and laughing from beginning to end.

 Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood

Written by Mike Artell, Illustrations by Jim Harris

ISBN-10: 0803725140

Ages 6 to 12

32 pages

This is one of my absolute favorites! When Grand-mère comes down with the flu, Mama knows just what to do. She sends Petite Rouge, accompanied by her cat, TeJean, off to Grand-mère's house with a basket of spicy Cajun dishes. On the way, Claude, an ol' hungry gator who wants a taste of Mama's food and a taste of Petite Rouge, too, stops Petite Rouge and her cat. He soon discovers that snatching a bite will take more than the snap of the jaw! Eager to sink his teeth into Petite Rouge, Claude executes a tricky plan. But the feisty heroine and her cat teach Claude a hot lesson; he learns gators should never try to eat dinner uninvited!

In “Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood,” Mike Artell's flowing and hilarious rhyme offers new life to a classic folk tale. Cajun words and comical characters are vividly portrayed in Jim Harris' entertaining watercolor illustrations. Readers are sure to satisfy their wordy appetite reading Mike Artell's lyrical buffet!

Bats at the Library

Written and illustrated by Brian Lies

ISBN-10: 061899923X

Ages 4 to 10

32 pages

I can read and share this book again and again! When bats have feasted, fluttered, swooped and soared, what’s left for them to do? Head to the library! Word spreads quickly among the bats that a library window has been left ajar. The bats eagerly dart through the open window to hangout by lamps, make shape shadows on the walls or play wingtip-tag around halls. Even bats who fly at dizzy speed, will settle down with the veteran bats for story time.

“Bats at the Library” is a batty story that showcases the magic and adventure inside the library. Well-written verse is supported by eye-catching illustrations that illuminate every page. This book is also a perfect read-aloud.

The Relatives Came

Written by Cynthia Rylant, Illustrated by Stephen Gammell

ISBN: 0689717385

Ages 4 to 8

32 pages

Such a fun story! As their grapes were nearly ready for picking, a carload of banjo-plucking relatives settles into their rainbow station wagon and eagerly travels north for a visit. When they finally reach their awaiting family members’ house, there’s lots of hugging, eating, fixing and gardening all summer — just maybe not too much sleeping with all that new breathing! 

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Written by William Joyce, Illustrated by Joe Bluhm

ISBN: 1442457023

Ages 4 to up

56 pages

The luminous, magnificent art on the cover grabbed my attention. Page after page, no doubt, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” became one of my favorite book picks. I was captured by the story of Mr. Morris, the loss of his personal book collection and his journey of caring for books. The beautiful illustrations and text are a powerful combination — this is story that will span generations, winning over the hearts of its readers.

Mason Dixon: Pet Disasters

Written by Claudia Mills, Illustrated by Guy Francis

ISBN: 0375872744

Ages 9 and up

176 Pages

When Mason’s parents feel it’s time for him to have a pet, he disagrees and soon embarks on a series of pet disasters. Maybe not every kid is responsible enough to be a pet owner or will it take just the right pet to win Mason over?

Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson

Written by Sharon Robinson, Art by Kadir Nelson

ISBN: 0545052513

Ages 4 to 8

40-pages

It’s not winter yet, but I love this book! Sports history is made in 1955 when the Brooklyn Dodgers finally beat the Yankees. But for the Robinson family, who had moved from Queens, N.Y. to Stamford, Conn., their story begins in 1945 when baseball, like most of America, was segregated. Major League Baseball was for whites and black players had Negro Leagues. It was then that Branch Ricky offered Jackie Robinson a chance to be the first black player to join a major league team… the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and made sports history when he bravely accepted Ricky’s offer.  “Testing the Ice” is told from the viewpoint of Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Sharon Robinson, who has written one of the most beautiful, outstanding stories to ever hit shelves about her father’s selfless ability to overcome personal fears. Educational, brave, heartwarming and dressed in gorgeous illustrations, this book is a must for classrooms and is sure to be a treasured classic.