Category Archives: Read-alikes

Foxes are the new owls

Ever since the popular chapter book Pax was published, we’ve been seeing lots of books about foxes!  Here are some new picture books and nonfiction titles:

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All Ears, All Eyes
by Richard Jackson; illustrated by Katherine Tillotson
As darkness falls in the forest, animals hoot, chirp, whirr, and bark, lulling drowsy children to sleep.

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Faraway Fox
by Jolene Thompson illustrated by Justin K. Thompson
A lonely fox roams the forest where he grew up, searching for his family and finding only strange creatures who stand on their hind legs, until, at last, he finds himself at home.

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How to Find a Fox
by Nilah Magruder
Equipped with a camera and determination, an adventurous little girl tries to track down an elusive red fox, which proves more difficult than she thought.

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Little Fox in the Forest
by Stephanie Graegin
A wordless picture book in which two friends follow a young fox deep into the woods and discover a wondrous and magical world.

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Pandora
by Victoria Turnbull
Pandora the fox lives alone in a junk yard. She’s depressed and has no contact with the outside world. Then, she rescues a blue bird. As she nurses him back to health, the bird collects seeds and trinkets for her. One day, the bird grows strong enough to fly away, but the garden seeds he brought begin to transform Pandora’s landscape.

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Watersong
by Tim McCanna; illustrated by Richard Smythe
A fox’s journey to take shelter from a rainstorm, told entirely in onomatopoeia.

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The Secret Life of the Red Fox by Laurence Pringle; illustrated by Kate Garchinsky
The life of a red fox is a mystery to most people. You might catch a glimpse of blazing red fur or hear a far-off bard, but the fox‘s daily activities are know to few. Filled with fascinating facts and illuminating details, this nonfiction book invites readers on a yearlong journey with a red fox named Vixen.

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Sniffer and Tinni: A True Tale of Amazing Animal Friendship
by Berit Helberg; photography by Torgeir Berge
A fox and a German Shepherd living in a small Norwegian town become best friends.

Rescue Cats

Did you know that two Fountaindale librarians volunteer at the animal shelter, taking care of cats? Here are some new stories about rescuing and bringing home cats and kittens.

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Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
A moving tale about friendship, new beginnings, and cats.

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A Cat Named Swan by Holly Hobbie
After surviving on the streets, a homeless cat discovers the joys of living with a human family.

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Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim
Using onomatopoeia, this almost wordless story tells of a homeless cat who finds shelter on a bus where she meets a cat-loving Asian grandfather.

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Little Night Cat by Sonja Danowski
When Tony, a little boy, bravely offers his stuffed animals–including his favorite toy cat–to the animal shelter to raise money for the needy dogs and cats, it touches his mom’s heart. Later that night when Tony misses his toy, she gives him her old stuffed cat. He embraces it with such care and devotion that his mom rewards him in a way that he never imagines.

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Lola Gets a Cat by Anna McQuinn; illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
More than anything Lola would like a cat, but first she must learn how to care for it.

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Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes; illustrated by Sue Cornelison
A family of refugees is accidentally separated from, and then reunited with, their pet cat.

A girl named Miranda

“I was named after a criminal.  Mom says that’s a dramatic way of looking at things, but sometimes the truth is dramatic.

“‘The name Miranda stands for people’s rights,’ she said last fall, when I was upset because Robbie B. had told me during gym that I was named after a kidnapper.”

-from When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

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When I saw that today was going to be the 50th anniversary of the Miranda Decision, I thought it would be a good opportunity to highlight this excellent and unusual book.

It’s a hard title to describe, especially without giving away too much.  It’s narrated by a girl who loves A Wrinkle in Time. It’s a story about middle school and friendship and New York City (I was surprised to see it recommended for fans of Wonder, but when you think of if that way it makes sense).  There are some very strange things happening– not just Miranda’s mom getting ready to be on a game show, or a boy punching her best friend for no reason– but mysterious and anonymous notes in strange places.

This title is available as an audiobook (Playaway, CD, and download) as well as a regular print book, large print book, and downloadable ebook.

 

For Lent: 3 new books about monks

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Brother Giovanni’s Little Reward: How the Pretzel was Born by Anna Egan Smucker; illustrated by Amanda Hall
My mom told me a variation of this story when she showed me how to make pretzels as a kid.  Brother Giovanni, the baker at the monastery, is trying to get a bunch of rambunctious children to learn their prayers.  If you try the recipe at the end of the book, you’ll see why the smell of fresh-baked pretzels is such a great motivator!

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Brother Hugo and the Bear by Katy Beebe; illustrated by S. D. Schindler
If a bear ate your library book, you might find it pretty hilarious.  Brother Hugo was maybe a bit too much of a wise guy when he reported the loss to his abbot, so he’s assigned the penance of replacing the book– from scratch.  The notes at the end of the book say that it was inspired by actual events.

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The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán” by JoEllen Bogart; illustrated by Sydney Smith
Ms. Wendy told me about the poem “Pangur Bán” when we were discussing the movie The Secret of Kells (which features a cat by the same name, and some Irish monks, and some magic).  It’s a poem written long ago by a monk, comparing his own work seeking knowledge in books to his cat hunting mice.  The book won’t be released until mid-March, but this blog gives you a sneak peek at the illustrations.  Pangur Bán’s name refers to his white fur, and I like that the artist chose to give the monk petting the cat white hair, too.

History in Objects

Lots of good picture book biographies have been published recently that cover different figures in African American history.  I plan to share some themed lists throughout the month of February.  While I was looking up titles, I came across two books that share an unusual focus.  Both tell a story about a person by looking at an object used for transportation.

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The Cart that Carried Martin by Eve Bunting
A short picture book in rhyme movingly tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral.  This book is available as an ebook, and has also been made into a DVD (A good match to this book is a second picture book, Belle, The Last Mule at Gee’s Bend: A Civil Rights Story).

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Rosa’s Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights by Jo S. Kittinger
Follow the story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott by following the path of a bus from its start in the factory to its current home in a museum.

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Girl Detectives

The popular mystery writer Agatha Christie would have been 125 years old this year.  In her honor, here is a batch of new historical mysteries featuring girl detectives.

The Case of the Missing Moonstone
The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford
This is more steampunk than historical fiction, but how could I leave it out?  “Imagines an alternate 1826 London, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects”– Provided by publisher.
This title is available on the Children’s Services Nook and as a Playaway audiobook.

The Case of the Stolen Sixpence
The Case of the Stolen Sixpence by Holly Webb
Junior sleuth Maisie Hitchins, who lives in her grandmother’s boarding house in Victorian London, uncovers an intriguing plot involving stolen sausages, pilfered halfpennies, and a fast-paced bicycle chase.  This not-too-scary mystery is a good choice for younger chapter book readers.  It is also available as a Playaway audiobook.

Chasing Secrets
Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko
Thirteen-year-old Lizzie and her secret friend Noah, who is hiding in her house, plan to rescue Noah’s father from the quarantined Chinatown, and save everyone they love from contracting the plague that is spreading in 1900 San Francisco.  This is a brand new title by the author of the popular Al Capone Does My Shirts.

The Detective's Assistant
The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan
“In 1859, eleven-year-old Nell goes to live with her aunt, Kate Warne, the first female detective for Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency. Nell helps her aunt solve cases, including a mystery surrounding Abraham Lincoln, and the mystery of what happened to Nell’s own father. Includes author’s note and bibliographic references”– Provided by publisher.
Although Nell is fictional, Kate Warne was a real detective!
This book is also available as a downloadable ebook and e-audiobook through eRead Illinois.

Murder is Bad Manners
Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
At an English boarding school in the 1930s, crime-solving friends Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells struggle to find an exciting mystery to investigate until Hazel discovers the dead body of Miss Bell, the science teacher.  This title is also available as a downloadable ebook through 3M.

Nooks & Crannies
Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson
Eleven-year-old Tabitha Crum finds herself in a mysterious situation.  Her parents were just about to abandon her when she is invited to the country estate of a wealthy countess along with five other children and told that one of them will become her heir.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry
“Seven very proper Victorian young ladies conspire to hide a murder from the authorities at their boarding school”– Provided by publisher.
To be fair, they are trying to solve the murder.  The audiobook (available on CD and as a download) won an Odyssey Honor.  An ebook is also available to download.

The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill
The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Hazel Kaplansky and new student Samuel Butler investigate rumors that a Russian spy has infiltrated their small Vermont town, amidst the fervor of Cold War era McCarthyism, but more is revealed than they could ever have imagined.   This title is also available as a downloadable ebook.

Twelve Minutes to Midnight
Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge
Thirteen-year-old Penelope, the secret author of macabre tales in “The Penny Dreadful,” Victorian London’s bestselling magazine, investigates the mystery of a strange phenomenon occurring in the local insane asylum.

Unstoppable Octobia May
Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon G. Flake
In 1953 ten-year-old Octobia May lives in her Aunt’s boarding house in the South, surrounded by an African American community which has its own secrets and internal racism, and spends her days wondering if Mr. Davenport in room 204 is really a vampire–or something else entirely.   This title is also available as a downloadable ebook and a Playaway audiobook.

Jacob Lawrence

Wendy saw this new book in our collection and pointed it out to me:

Jake Makes a World

Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, a Young Artist in Harlem
by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts

It reminded her of an article she had seen about a series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence (usually housed in two different locations) on display for a limited time at the Museum of Modern Art:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/20/telling-the-whole-story
(The article has a lot of interesting information about the artist and includes a slide show of some of the paintings).

MOMA has some fantastic online content to go along with the exhibit, both for general audiences and especially for students and teachers.

You can also take a virtual visit through a library book:

The Great Migration
The Great Migration: An American Story
by Jacob Lawrence
Here, the full series of 60 paintings is paired with a poem by Walter Dean Myers and an introduction by the artist himself.

Pretend you’re visiting a different exhibit with these two books:

Harriet and the Promised Land
Harriet and the Promised Land
by Jacob Lawrence

John Brown: One Man Against Slavery
John Brown: One Man Against Slavery
by Gwen Everett, paintings by Jacob Lawrence

You can learn more about the artist’s life, and see a wide range of his paintings in:

Story Painter: The Life of Jacob Lawrence
Story Painter: The Life of Jacob Lawrence
by John Duggleby