Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman plus more recommendations


Song and Dance Man 

written by Karen Ackerman and illustrated by Stephen Gammell

published by Dragonfly Books in 1988

Winner of the Caldecott Medal

Caldecott medal

Caldecott medal

  • picture book sharing the joy of relationship between a grandparent and his grandchildren-  really touching
  • quick and easy read- targeted to younger readers ages 4-6
  • ideal bedtime story
  • Grandpa puts on a show for the young ones in the attic using simple props and delights them with songs and dance from his younger days on the vaudeville stage

The Relatives Came


by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Stephen Gammell

published by Atheneum Books in 1985

  • bustling joyful picture book conveying the joys of summer time and spending time with extended family

The relatives stayed for weeks and weeks. They helped us tend the garden and they fixed any broken things they could find.

Caldecott Honor Book

Caldecott Honor Book

Caldecott Honor Book

  • cheerful illustrations remind children of the fun of playing outdoors – simple pleasures like sharing juicy watermelons and listening and playing music together –  this book is full of fun and will make you smile
Morning Glory Monday

Morning Glory Monday

Morning Glory Monday

written by Arlene Alda  and illustrated by Maryann Kovalski

published by Tundra Books in 2003

  • uplifting Historical Fiction Children’s Picture book- focusing on life in a busy American city in the 1930’s
  • readers will be reminded of the lovely book, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney in the cheery tale of the greening of a landscape and the power of flowers to enhance one’s well being
  • the author is the wife of Alan Alda- the actor famous for portraying  Captain Hawk Eye Pierce in MASH
Who Loves the Little Lamb

Who Loves the Little Lamb

Who Loves the Little Lamb 

written by Lezlie Evans and illustrated by David McPhail

published by Hyperion Books in 2010

  • adorable picture book any mother will love to read with her child
  • repetitive text and cuddly familiar barnyard creatures give this book a cozy feel
  • Highly recommended for 3-5 year olds(but older ones will equally love it- my 9 year old grinned ear to ear as she gobbled this gorgeous book up)IMG_5453

“No more crying, here I am.”

Mama loves her little lamb.

Who loves the Messy pup?

“Come on, dear, I’ll help clean up.”

Mama loves her little pup.IMG_5454

Little Red Writing

Little Red Writing

Little Red Writing 

by Joan Holub with pictures by Melissa Sweet

published by Chronicle Books in 2013

  • EXCELLENT and unusual picture book focusing on the craft of writing
  • this book is geared for writers aged 7-9
  • including tips and tricks to develop one’s craft – this useful tale- incorporates vocabulary detailing different elements of story writing and editing to go alongside the adventurous path which little Red takes…she is humorously portrayed as a pencil
  • clever and memorable- this book also has a “scary”villain-  a pencil sharpener/wolf!
Boxes for Katje

Boxes for Katje

Boxes for Katje

written by Candace Fleming  with pictures by Stacey Dressen- McQueen

published by  Melanie Kroupa Books in 2003

  • fabulous historical picture book based on a true story following the kind acts of  the author’s mother- to send parcels to a young girl in Holland -post World War II
  • This book is a “must” read
  • encouraging tale of friendship and letter writing as well as an emphasis on the power of children to effect good on the world- HIGHLY recommended
I am CAT

I am CAT

I am CAT 

by Jackie Morris

published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books in 2012

  • visually stunning informational picture book featuring fabulous felines
  • striking watercolors of domestic and wild cats from all continents grace the pages of this gorgeous book
  • IMG_5451 IMG_5450



by E. B. McHenry

published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books in 2009

  • hilarious picture book chronicling the fun filled days of a dainty  pampered pink poodle
  • ideal for little girls to encourage them to go out and play and get a bit dirty!


The Heaven of Animals

The Heaven of Animals

The Heaven of Animals 

by Nancy Tillman

published by Feiwel and Friends in 2014

  • a touching picture book for animal lovers young and old
  • imagining a place where beloved pet friends can rest and play in peace- this book would be perfect to share with anyone who is grieving the loss of a precious pet friend
The Willoughbys

The Willoughbys

The Willoughbys

by Lois Lowry

published by Houghton Mifflin Books in 2008

This highly engaging and clever parody will be enjoyed by gifted young readers ages 8 and above.  The story follows the unlikely tale of four orphaned children and their marvelous rescue by a kindly benefactor alongside their extremely capable nanny. This book is full of twists and turns – and lots of adventure

Older readers will be familiar with the interesting interweaving of characters from classic books which feature orphans- such as Oliver Twist, Pollyana, and Jane Eyre.  Lois Lowry provides an exemplary bibliography as well as a fantastic glossary.

Expostulation – means a sound that expresses disagreement or disapproval.  “Yuck!” is an expostulation. So is “Arrrrggghhh.”

Maelevolent means wanting to harm others or having an evil influence.  Even though if you glance quickly at the word, it may look like “male violent” , this word has nothing to do with males.  It is actually pronounced mah-LEV-oh-lent.  Some females are very malevolent.

This is a funny quick read- I  loved it.

Max Disaster #1

Max Disaster #1

Max Disaster #1 Alien Eraser to the Rescue

by Marissa Moss

published by Candlewick Press in 2009

This highly engaging hybrid graphic novel is superb.  Max is struggling with his parents separation and their quarrelling.  He finds solace through his hobby of creating comics.  I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to reluctant readers ages 8 and above and it also will particularly appeal to boys and would be useful for any child who is undergoing a difficult family situation.  The author gently suggests finding support from friends and family as the best way of coping with the confusing emotions which can crop up during conflict.

Penderwicks at Point moutte

Penderwicks at Point moutte

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

by Jeanne Birdsall

published by Knopf Books in 2011

  • exciting summer adventure in the beach haven of Point Mouette, Maine
  • 4 Penderwick sisters make friends and have some mishaps whilst enjoying their holidays
  • some romantic feelings explored- but otherwise very wholesome and appropriate for ages 8 and above
Roller Girl

Roller Girl

IMG_5411 IMG_5412 IMG_5414 IMG_5415

Roller Girl

by Victoria Jamieson

published by Dial Books in 2015

  • Outstanding Graphic Novel
  • action packed and pacey
  • Astrid takes on the nerve wracking sport of Roller Derbying- she must work extremely hard to build up her fitness and learn the many skills necessary to be on her team and compete
  • Caution- this book explores issues regarding friendship- including the subject of peer pressure and fitting in.  It also contains episodes of angry outbursts between Astrid and her well meaning mom.
  • This would be a superb book for moms and daughters to read side by side/simultaneously – lots of important talking points which are essential for families of pre teens to discuss –

What’s on Deck-  To be Read Soon:


Counting by 7s  by Holly Goldberg Slaon

Miss Spitfire- Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian  by Sherman Alexie

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Belle Prater’s Boy  by Ruth White

Tunnels  by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams


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