Four picture books (2 fiction and 2 nonfiction) about animals and compassion — should not be missed

Summer is a wonderful time to spend outdoors with children, showing them the beauty of nature and the beauty of the animals in nature. It’s a wonderful time to play with dogs and visit forest preserves. At night, reading books about nature and about animals is an excellent way to drive home lessons about respecting nature and treating animals — whether pets or wild animals — with love and compassion.

Two of these books are new releases, and two are simply picture books that deserve to be shared and widely read. Two are about domestic animals, dogs, and the two nonfiction picture books are about wild animals and how two brave, resourceful people became determined to help them. All are fabulous choices for every home and school library.

Two nonfiction picture books that should become classics are “Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears” by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff and the semi-autobiographical “A Boy and a Jaguar” by Alan Rabinowitz. Both books are about brave people dedicating their lives to helping animals, and both are fascinating to children of all ages. I’ve read these books with first graders and fourth graders, and each child appreciated each book on a different level.

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‘Welcome to Wonderland: Beach Battle Blowout’ by Chris Grabenstein is much beloved in this student review

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“Welcome to Wonderland:  Beach Battle Blowout,” by Chris Grabenstein, will excite readers from the first page to the last. This funny and action-packed book is sure to make people laugh and gasp in suspense at the same time. Adding on to the series, New York Times bestselling author of “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” spins a story that, of course, has a beginning, a middle — and a twist.

P.T. Wilkie and his business-wiz friend Gloria Ortega make a really good team. As P.T. likes to say, Gloria is the “sizzle to his steak.” P.T.’s grandpa, who is the owner of the Wonderland Motel, finds out that all of the bigger attractions like Disney World are not going to be in this year’s Florida Fun in the Sun competition, so the smaller attractions have a chance to win the title of the hottest family attraction. The Wonderland Motel will have to get ready! Continue reading

‘Endling: The First’ is the second book in the heartwarming and thoughtful Endling series

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Don’t miss Katherine Applegate’s newest series, “Endling,” consisting of the first book, “Endling: The Last” and this book, “Endling: The First.” Applegate’s genius is her ability to write a book filled with adventure and endearing characters, and at the same time use the beliefs and lessons learned in the stories to teach readers about kindness, compassion, and above all, justice.

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May picture books kids will adore

The month of May is good for flowers and green growing things, but it’s also got some wonderful picture books just released in time for spring. And after a long day filled with sunshine, or even a long day filled with rain, nothing gets a kid ready for bed better than a wonderful picture book. Here are a few fabulous suggestions: some will make your child laugh and giggle, others will lead to fabulous discussions. Enjoy.

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‘The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade’ by Jordan Sonnenblick: A student review

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“The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade” by Jordan Sonnenblick is a book that will inspire readers to think about bullying and do their part to make their world a bully-free zone.  Even though it is a little bit sad, the bibliophile will be touched by this moving story. This book shows how some people have to survive without a lot of money. Whoever is reading this book might realize that they take too many things for granted.

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‘Teeny Weenies’ are the new collections of short stories that kids love by David Lubar

Wonderful children’s author David Lubar has two new collections of short stories, “Teeny Weenies: The Intergalactic Petting Zoo” and “Teeny Weenies: Freestyle Frenzy.” Kids love the original Weenie series like “Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies,” which are perfect for older middle grade readers. In this new “Teeny Weenie” series, the stories are great for younger kids in first grade and higher. The stories are a bit shorter and simpler to follow, yet still filled with Lubar’s clever wit and bizarre imagination.

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