Miss Megan’s Five Star Favorites, Part I

I’m a pretty critical reader. I guess that’s because I read a lot of things, so inevitably I start to feel a little jaded. But when a special book crosses my path, one that jolts me out of my stupor with its originality or voice or what have you, I get very excited.

For this reason, I love Goodreads. Not only can I keep track of what I’ve read, but I can organize books based on how I rated them. And at the tippy-top of the list is my handful of five star picks, the books that I think are just plain extraordinary.

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen; Candlewick Press; 15.99; Ages 3-adult

Opening line: “This hat is not mine. I just stole it.”

For fans of: I Want My Hat BackI’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

Also, it’s this year’s Caldecott medalist.

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, illus. by Adam RexHyperion (HarperCollins); 16.99; Ages 3-8

Opening line: “This is me, Mac. I’m the author of this book.”

For fans of: The Three PigsOh, No!: or How My Science Project Destroyed the World

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. ValenteSquare Fish (Macmillan); 6.99; Ages 9-adult

Opening line: “Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog.”

For fans of: The Chronicles of NarniaAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Breadcrumbs by Anne UrsuHarperCollins; 6.99; Ages 9-adult

Opening line: “It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems.”

For fans of: Peter PanLiesl and Po

Okay for Now by Gary SchmidtClarion (Houghton Mifflin); 16.99; Ages 10-adult

Opening line: “Joe Pepitone once gave me his New York Yankees baseball cap. I’m not lying. He gave it to me. To me, Doug Swieteck. To me.”

For fans of: The Wednesday WarsAl Capone Does My Shirts

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy SchlitzCandlewick Press; 17.99; Ages 10-adult

Opening line: “The witch burned. She tossed in a sea of blankets, dizzy with heat. It was fever, not fire, that tormented her, fever and the nightmares that came with it.”

For fans of: Charles DickensCatherine, Called Birdy

And it’s a 2013 Newbery Honor Book!

Want to read more from any of these awesome titles? Call us and we’ll put them on hold! (703) 548-4092.

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

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More Storytime Favorites From Miss Megan

Summer’s an awesome time for our Wee Ones Storytime—we’ve got our usual suspects, plus a collection of older siblings home from school! It’s crowded on Friday mornings, which means we’ve got a great audience to tell us which books are the top choices of the two-and-under crowd. Here are a few that have been popular lately.

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry; Dial Books (Penguin)

We follow a giant squid as he swims through the ocean, pointing out various other sea creatures. He’s bigger than the crab! He’s bigger than the shrimp! He’s bigger than the jellyfish! He’s even bigger than the shark! But, surprise, surprise—it turns out there’s one animal in the ocean bigger than our friend the squid. When a big whale gulps down our slimy protagonist, he’s a bit confused. But after taking in his new surroundings, he cheerily exclaims, “I’m the biggest thing in this whale!” I love to get kids involved with this one, yelling “BIG!” and stretching out their arms as wide as they can!

Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli; Candlewick Press

This one always get its fair share of chuckles. Each page displays something that’s either (you guessed it!) yummy or yucky.  At first, comparisons are pretty standard—soup vs. soap, Mommy’s cookies vs. Mommy’s coffee, etc. But the yucky things get progressively sillier (Sand! Boogers! Earwax!), until we end in a fit of giggles from kids and grownups alike. I like to make this read a little more interactive by doing thumbs up for yummy and thumbs down for yucky, or asking kids to shout out “yes!” or “no!” based on whether the food/item is yummy or yucky.

Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton; Simon & Schuster 

This quick read about feelings is one that I sometimes like to grab if the “meltdown memo” has gone out. (Have you noticed that if one child starts to cry, everyone else has to join in? Why is that? Are these kids using telekinesis to communicate without the grownups’ knowledge?!) Anyway, trusty kid-guru Sandra Boynton has paired various emotions with animals (and one undefinable “frazzled thing”) to create an adorable, silly little board book that’s just the right length to keep kids engaged.

I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy; Candlewick Press

Various animals talk about the baby and how they played with it, sang to it, tickled it, etc. This one provides a great opportunity to let loose with various animal sounds! Also, it starts out in black and white, and only gradually incorporates color, until when the baby duckling finally appears, we’ve got an explosion of bright colors as his mommy lays a giant kiss on his little head!

The More We Get Together by Caroline Church; Cartwheel Books (Scholastic)

This book is a simply illustrated version of the popular song, complete with adorable drawings of toddlers. It’s one of my favorites to use at the close of storytime, as we gently wind down towards our goodbye song. It’s also one that’s helpful to have within reach in case a ruckus breaks out. Issues with sharing? Sibling dispute? The perfect segue into this little story/song about friendship and being kind. Done and done.

Need more storytime suggestions? Check out my original list of favorites! Or join us for Wee Ones Storytime on Friday and Saturday mornings at 10:30 am!

Happy reading!

—Miss Megan

Hooray for Summer Reading

Hooray for Books will host a summer reading program again this year! Between June 21st and September 3rd, come in and buy books. Let us know that you are purchasing the books for the Summer Reading Program, and you will receive a voucher. Complete 10 reading vouchers and you win a prize! All grade levels are welcome, from preschool to high school. Not sure what to read? Ask one of our staff or pick up our Hooray for Summer Reading flyer.

Here are some examples of what we are suggesting:

Entering Preschool:  I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry

This Giant Squid believes that he is the biggest thing in the ocean. In fact, he’s bigger than the shrimp, and the clams, and the turtles. But, there is one thing in the ocean that is bigger than the giant squid. This book is available in both board book and picture book, so it is great for beginning preschoolers who are ready to love their books to the end, or those who are very gentle with the books they own.

Entering 2nd Grade: Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

We have raved about this book before. It is a funny book that will capture any chapter-book reader’s attention. It has dogs, it has chickens, it has an evil next-door-neighbor dog, what more does it need? If you’ve already read and loved this book, there’s a sequel that has come out: The Legend of Diamond Lil 

 

 

Entering 5th Grade: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

We told you a few weeks ago about the charming Michael Scott stopping by the bookstore to sign books, and in the past few weeks, we have not been able to keep the series on the shelves! This 6-book series is great for summer reading, when you have time to sit down and read a lengthy series. The book is great for those who like Harry Potter because of its fantasy and adventure feel, and just like Harry Potter, you will not being able to put the book down. The other great thing is that while we suggest the series for kids entering 5th grade, it is a good read aloud for the younger set, and a good read for teens and adults!

 

Middle School: The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine

This book has just come out in paperback, so it makes a nice light travel book. Poor Mike has an “engineering genius” for a father, yet math just does not click for him. When his father has to go off to teach in Romania for the summer, Mike goes to stay with his distant relatives. While with them, he finds that he has a lot more value than he originally thought. If you like this book, we would also suggest Mockingbird by the same author.

 

High School: The Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness

Are you loving this sudden burst of dystopian and sci-fi novels for teens as much as we are? This is another one that would fit in this category. Todd is a boy who has grown-up his whole life in New World (think of Earth 2.0). To the settlers’ surprise, when they landed on New World, they could suddenly hear everyone’s thoughts, nothing is secret. When Todd is told that he needs to leave his town before his next birthday, trouble arises; after all, how can you keep thoughts secret when everyone can hear them?  For more details about this book, check out this glowing review from Megan.

Happy Reading and HOORAY FOR SUMMER!

Maryam