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Bonkers for books

Once again, my roundup of good books we're reading from the library so you can check them out for your family, too...

--Truck Stop by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Melissa Iwai. This is, by far, my favorite of the pile. The kids love it. I love reading it. And it's filled with all sorts of "hidden" messages about helping others, the value of hard work, plus the usual parade of vehicles. It's the story of a boy whose family runs a truck stop and the cast of characters who enter. They use the service garage, they order their favorite breakfasts, and when one regular customer doesn't show up the community pulls together to find the broken pickup.

--Cookiebot! A Harry and Horsie Adventure by Katie Van Camp and Lincoln Agnew. A small child and his stuffed animal. The longing for a cookie placed out of reach by mom. An out of control robot stopped only by two best friends. And very cool, stylized pictures that are a cross between pop art and comic books. Another "highly recommend."

--Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. The kids picked this one and it's very different but thought-provoking. It's cross-cultural, first of all. Largely female-driven. And is the story of a group of sisters who learn some powerful adult lessons while navigating the world of birthday party etiquette. All while fighting over a lollipop. Some of the book will go over the head of anyone younger than 4. But younger ones will still be intrigued because it's so different and has the easy-to-relate narrative of sibling disagreement. Powerful and unsettling at first.

--This Plane by Paul Collicutt. Not much to say about this one because it's so simple. Colorful illustrations of airplanes doing airplane things. It has a lot of aircraft names inside both the front and back cover. A good jumping off point for learning about aviation.

--Owlet's First Flight by Mitra Modarressi and While the World is Sleeping by Pamela Duncan Edward and illustrated by Daniel Kirk. I put these two together because they're very similar. Both are very beautifully done "what goes on at night in the animal world" type books though I think Owlet does it a bit better. It's got a more whimsical approach with more balanced word play. Sleeping relies more heavily on very elaborate, bold, fantastic drawings and the language isn't quite as perfect to read. Both they're both very decent bedtime stories in their own way.

--Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise by Susan Blackaby and illustrated by Carmen Segouia. Lastly, this one is a new favorite. Absolutely wonderful! The pictures are gorgeous and have a very old-fashioned feel, the story is funny and charming, and the characters come to life in fun-to-read conversations that will have you laughing out loud. It's the story of animal friends...one of them a groundhog ready for hibernation. But the others are oblivious. After a bit of an ordeal there is a happy ending for all. Including pie. Parents, get out your character voices for this one. It's fabulous.

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