Oliver and His Alligator by Paul Schmid


Oliver is a little insecure about his first day of school, so he brings an alligator in for reinforcement. While the alligator takes care of one scary thing after another, Oliver starts to realize school might not be so bad. But he has to decide before everything is devoured!

Readers will identify with Oliver’s fears and eat up Paul Schmid’s adorable pastel illustrations.


Oliver and His Alligator by Paul Schmid; Disney (Hyperion); 15.99; Ages 3-6


Hot Off the Press: The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech

I’ve always loved stories about plucky, resourceful orphans. The literary canon is full of them: Anne of Green GablesThe Secret GardenJane Eyre, Oliver Twistand the list goes on. The dramatic stakes are immediately raised if a young protagonist is on his own in the world, and that pulls readers in like a magnet. Sharon Creech makes full use of this notion in her newest novel, the utterly charming The Great Unexpected.

A pair of orphaned girls in the tiny town of Blackbird Tree embark on an incredible adventure when a mysterious boy named Finn shows up by, quite literally, falling from a tree. As Naomi and Lizzie get to know that “Finn boy,” they notice other mysterious happenings in their little village. A cast of curious characters eventually lead them across the wide Atlantic to Ireland, where secrets are waiting to be discovered, secrets that will change the girls’ lives forever.

Newbery medal winner Creech is masterful with the art of interconnected plotlines, and her talent is brilliantly on display here. Little clues dropped along the way coalesce into an utterly satisfying reveal at the conclusion. But it’s Creech’s characters that make this a must-read—they’re funny, unique, and completely lovable. This has got to be one of my top middle grade picks for fall. Highly, highly recommended!

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech; HarperCollins; Ages 8-12; 16.99

A Very Big Bunny by Marisabina Russo

A Very Big Bunny, by Marisabina Russo, Schwartz and Wade Books, Ages 3-6
Amelia is a very big bunny. In fact, she is the biggest bunny in her class. At recess, the other bunnies say Amelia is too big for jump rope or hopscotch or the seesaw, so Amelia plays by herself. One day, a new student is introduced to the class. Susannah is a very small bunny–the smallest in the class. She is too tiny, the other bunnies say, for jump rope or hopscotch or the seesaw. Susannah and Amelia are left all alone in the corner of the playground. But Susannah doesn’t mind, and soon, neither does Amelia. Together they form an unlikely–but dynamic!–duo. The two bunnies learn that you’re never too big or too small to have a wonderful friendship.
Marisabina Russo’s tale is a sweet story that celebrates what makes every bunny (and person!) unique. Russo’s colorful illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the tale, with adorable bunny rabbits frolicking gleefully in the schoolyard. Children will be entranced by this delightful story of friendship and individuality!
Start your summer reading today!
–Miss Megan

A Very Big Bunny, by Marisabina Russo, Schwartz and Wade Books, Ages 3-6