123 and ABC Books!

There are so many counting and alphabet books out there, but a few new books went straight to my favorite list. The first two books are brand new, and the third was published a year and a half ago. All three are worth checking out.

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett, illus. by Kevin Cornell; Disney Press; 16.99; Ages 3-6

Counting monkeys is fun and easy! Right? Not when a horde of wild animals and polite grandmothers enter the picture. Pack with Barnett’s signature humor, this book demands readers do more than count, they must act in order to find those mischievous monkeys!Barnett’s wit and Cornell’s brilliant illustrations bring this counting adventure roaring to life.

123 Versus ABC by Mike Boldt; HarperCollins; 17.99; Ages 3-6

It’s an alphabet book! No, it’s 1 book about numbers! So goes the battle between numbers and letters as an increasing ridiculous host of animals enters the book. By the time 13 monkeys wearing 14 neckties and juggling 15 oranges appear, the numbers and letters have decided to collaborate. Show-stopping illustrations make this book a delight, even for proficient counters and readers!

Z is for Moose by Kelly L. Bingham, illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky; Greenwillow Books; 16.99; Ages 3-6

Of all the ABC books out there, Z is for Moose is my favorite. Z is obviously not for Moose, but he is too impatient to wait for his curtain call. After his interruptions disrupt the elephant and other animals, the director decides to go with Mouse for M. Children who already know their alphabet and are just learning to read will find this zany book hilarious.



Learning to Read this School Year

Learning to read can be a lot of fun!  There are so many new beginning readers to break the routine of Dr. Seuss and BOB books (although we love them as well!).  Come by before the school year starts and pick up some fun new stories.

Though Giles Andreae would argue that Giraffes Can’t Dance, Jamie Michalak says sure they can, and Joe the giraffe’s talents do not stop at dancing. When Joe picks up his friend Sparky the turtle, they find something very interesting: a box with small people in it showing off their talents and inviting Sparky and Joe to stop living life in the slow lane and come out of their shells (two things that scare Sparky a little). With help from Joe, Sparky finds a talent they both have to show the small people in the box. Will this shy turtle become a star?

Joe and Sparky, Superstars! by Jamie Michalak; Candlewick Press; paperback; $4.99

Can you not get enough of shark week? We have just the book about those creepy, scary sea creatures. National Geographic Kids publishes great level readers about all types of science and nature topics. They now have a level 2 reader called Weird Sea Creatures, and I can tell you, they sure are weird. Dumbo Octopus and Blopfish sound like they aren’t real animals, but National Geographic’s amazing photographs show that they are. There is even a quiz in the back of the book for kids to test their parents on how well they know their weird sea creatures.

Weird Sea Creatures by Laura Marsh; National Geographic; paperback; $3.99

If the strange animals are not your favorite, we also have a new series of animal stories full of cute animals like baby tigers, kittens, penguins, and more. These books are part of the Photo Adventure Series, and the stories can be read a number of different ways: the parent can read the story entirely as a picture book, the child can read the story entirely on their own, or the parent and child can take turns. Each story has boldfaced words, the parent can read the regular typeface words and the child can read the boldfaced words. Almost every page also has a “fact stop” for extra information on the animal. This is a must for finding out about your favorite animal.

Happy reading,


Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown

Star Wars fans will delight in this depiction of Darth Vader’s fatherly duties to 4 year-old Luke Skywalker.  Darth Vader and Luke are showcased as a typical father-son pair, taking on day-to-day activities like breakfast, school, and bedtime, as well as the use of the Force and questions about Yoda.  Full of detailed illustrations that mimic scenes from the movies and a few plays on Darth Vader quotes, this book is guaranteed to generate new fans and leave seasoned fans chuckling.

We laughed our heads off here at Hooray for Books as we flipped through this one! Check out the hilarious illustration above–it’s a perfect example of the humor you can expect from this awesome little book!

Also, it’s the perfect idea for a goofy Father’s Day gift. Get your shopping done early!

Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown; Chronicle Books; 14.95; Ages 2-102

For Beginning Readers: Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst

We’ve had a lot of parents in the store looking for books for beginning readers, and we’ve got lots to choose from! One of our new favorites is Lulu and the Brontosaurus, which is perfect for the child who’s just getting into chapter books.

Lulu is a very little girl who happens to be a giant pain in the you-know-what. Whenever she hears the word “no,” she kicks and screams and howls until lightbulbs break! Generally, this results in little Lulu getting whatever she wants. However, when Lulu announces that she wants a brontosaurus for her birthday, her parents are firm. A brontosaurus would be simply too large to fit in the house! Lulu kicks and screams and howls and finally runs off into the woods to find a pet brontosaurus on her own. But when Lulu stumbles across the brontosaurus of her dreams, she’s in for a big surprise—he wants her for a pet! As Lulu tries to convince the dino to let her go home, she realizes that selfishness isn’t the best way to make friends. Gradually, our young heroine undergoes a change of heart, until she’s hardly a pain at all!

From Judith Viorst, beloved author (and DC resident!) of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, comes a hilarious tale of a sassy little girl who meets her match in the form of a giant prehistoric beast. Viorst’s writing is conversational, witty, quick-paced, and perfect for reading aloud. Lane Smith (Grandpa GreenPrincess Hyacinth, John, Paul, George & Ben) provides delightfully imaginative illustrations that make this a must-read!

Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst, illus. by Lane Smith; Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster); 6.99; Ages 6-9

Megan’s Websites of the Day 7/8/09

Here at Hooray for Books, we realize that boys and girls often learn to read differently. Boys, especially, can be a little reluctant getting started. We are strong proponents of the idea that emerging readers should be encouraged to read exciting, well-written stories that keep them glued to the page! But boys often have a hard time finding books that keep them engaged.

guys-readThankfully, there are books out there to capture your reluctant reader’s imagination!  Jon Scieszka is the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, as well as the award-winning author of books like The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.  Check out his super awesome website, http://guysread.com/, to find some great reading suggestions for guys of all ages!

For both boys and girls, check out http://www.readkiddoread.com/.  From bestselling author James Patterson comes a fantastic resource for parents and kids of all ages!  The reading suggestions are divided by age group and subject matter (check out their summer reading suggestions!) to make your search more simple and efficient.

Want to purchase the books you find on these websites?  Give us a call!  We’re always happy to put books on hold or special order them for you!  703-548-4092.

Happy reading!

–Miss Megan

Megan’s Book of the Day 7/3/09

Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt, by David Catrow, Ages 3-7

9780545057486Max is no ordinary dog. He is a great hunter! His prize of choice? Dinosaurs! But Max simply can’t hunt dinosaurs inside. For that, he must go on a true adventure to the unexplored wild of the backyard. As this zany canine prowls the yard, he encounters bicycles, toys, a rake, and a gardening hose. But to Max, the intrepid dinosaur hunter, these items are no mere playthings and grooming implements–they are dinosaur bones! Piece by piece, the bloodhound puts together a towering display of dinosaurian strength that he is sure will strike fear into the hearts of any trespassers!

From David Catrow, beloved illustrator of the energetic Doggone Dogs and I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, comes an equally entertaining picture book for young adventurers! Catrow’s text is simple and sparing, allowing his fantastic illustrations to shine brilliantly. The sketch and watercolor artwork is colorful and alive with movement and silliness. This is the perfect fast-paced summer read for children who are ready to get up and go! Additionally, Catrow’s design makes this book fantastic both for a read-aloud storytime and for beginning readers who aren’t quite ready for chapter books.

Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt, David Catrow, pub. Summer 2009, Orchard Books

Need more recommendations for growing readers? Stop by or give us a call! Hooray for Books, 1555 King St., Alexandria, Virginia. 703-548-4092.

Have a safe and fun Fourth of July–and keep reading!

Miss Megan

Recommended Summer Reads

Summer is here! Check out some of our favorites to share with your children this season…


Goodnight, Goodnight Sleepyhead, by Ruth Krauss, illus. by Jane Dyer

9780694015016It’s time for baby’s bedtime! As a tired little toddler says goodnight to her toys and dolls, readers are invited to say goodnight to everything in the nursery: “Goodnight walls, goodnight floors, goodnight chairs, goodnight bed, goodnight goodnight sleepyhead.” This gentle, soothing rhyme is the perfect bedtime story to read to your child.


 Goodnight, Goodnight Sleepyhead, Ruth Krauss, Jane Dyer, pub. August 2007, HarperFestival

AGES 3-6

Willoughby and the Lion, by Greg Foley

willoughby-the-lion_covWilloughby hates his new house. But suddenly his world becomes much more exciting when he discovers a golden lion in his front yard! The lion offers to grant Willoughby ten wishes, and the little boy couldn’t be more elated. He wishes for a roller coaster, x-ray glasses, and the fastest shoes in the world! He wishes for cookies and candies! He wishes for a hot-air-balloon-submarine with an escape helicopter! But none of these things seem to be quite enough. But before he makes his final wish, he realizes that the thing he has wanted most all along may be right in front of him. Author Greg Foley’s text is simple and accompanied perfectly by beautiful gray-toned illustrations punctuated by dramatic splashes of gold. Children will be delighted by this entrancing tale of friendship and imagination.

Willoughby and the Lion, Greg Foley, pub. Feb. 2009, HarperCollins

AGES 6-8

Danny and the Dinosaur, by Syd Hoff

24599649One day, Danny visits the museum. He loves to look at all the interesting things, but most of all, he absolutely loves the dinosaurs! When he makes friends with a real live dinosaur from the museum, Danny is ready to have the most fun day of his life! Together Danny and his dinosaur pal have adventure after adventure, and when the day is through, they are both happy to return to their respective homes. Beginning readers will be delighted with this classic tale of fun and friendship!


Danny and the Dinosaur, Syd Hoff, pub. Sept. 1992, HarperTrophy

AGES 8-10

Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker, illus. by Marla Frazee

n258189Clementine is full of energy! Whether she’s playing with her best friend, entertaining her brother, or helping her parents, she is always busy! But sometimes Clementine’s helpful spirit gets in the way and causes trouble she couldn’t ever have seen coming. But even when she makes the biggest of well-meant mistakes, Clementine knows that her family and friends will always understand. Sara Pennypacker’s delightfully lovable heroine is a character readers can appreciate, a girl who is always in trouble, but always has the best of intentions! Marla Frazee’s illustrations perfectly reflect the attitude of the story, full of life and movement. This is an excellent book for energetic readers who like their stories fast paced and unique!

Clementine, Sara Pennypacker, Marla Frazee, pub. Feb. 2008, Hyperion Books for Children


Heroes of the Valley, by Jonathan Stroud

heroes of the valleyHalli has always felt like the misfit of his family. Instead of being tall and impressive like his siblings, he is as short as a stump. No one seems to expect anything from him but trouble, and he is usually able to deliver. But when Halli’s practical joking goes a step too far, he must face the consequences of his actions. As Halli works to complete his punishment, he discovers that the peaceful society he has grown up in may not be all he thought it was. Halli must go deeper and deeper into a web of mystery, until secrets he has never before faced demand to be addressed.

Heroes of the Valley, Jonathan Stroud, pub. Jan. 2009, Hyperion Books

Want more recommendations? Stop by or call us! Hooray for Books, 1555 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314. 703-548-4092.

Happy reading!