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Snakes, Superheroes and Selling: New Books for Younger Readers

Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird by Stephanie Spinner; illustrated by Meilo So
Irene Pepperberg bought an African grey parrot in 1977 and called him Alex – short for Avian Learning Experiment. This wonderful book tells the true story of how graduate student Irene taught Alex to speak – actually speak, not just mimic words. Alex’s extrovert personality shines through in both the informative text and exuberant pictures: as this charming video shows, he was clearly a force to be reckoned with! You’ll never think of parrots as birdbrains again. (Grades 1 – 4)

Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas
Pauline and John John decide to open a lemonade stand one snowy day. Of course, it’s a crazy idea but they have a lot of fun doing it even if they end up spending more than they sell. Along the way, we get to do sums with quarters and learn a little about salesmanship. The nostalgic story and cozy illustrations of red-cheeked children might just be enough to get your young entrepreneur out there – even without the snow. (Preschool – Grade 2)

Nic Bishop Snakes by Nic Bishop
Astonishing photographs of snakes combined with basic information about their characteristics and behavior make this an appealing book for enthusiasts and casual readers alike. The fold out picture of a Mojave snake is eye-popping and the book ends with a fascinating note about the difficulties of photographing snakes. I’m always recommending Nic Bishop books to young animal enthusiasts and I’m thrilled to add this one to the list. (Preschool – Grade 3)

Wedgieman: A Hero is Born by Charise Mericle Harper; illustrated by Bob Shea
This first book in a series for newly independent young readers (the red spots in our library) gives us the origin story of Wedgieman. Actually, he’s really Veggieman, but due to a misplaced twig and some cheeky children, he gets a new name. Though the title may hint at a younger version of Captain Underpants, this is way more innocent. (Kindergarten – Grade 2)

What Happens Next? by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Marc Boutavant
“Here’s a hungry chameleon. Here’s a juicy grasshopper. What happens next?” Lift the flap to see the chameleon shoot out a long pink tongue to catch the grasshopper – yum! Using bright, detailed backgrounds and cute, but realistic, illustrations of animals, we go through a series of different scenarios to guess what’s going to happen: chimps, beavers, bees and peacocks all take a turn. Just remember this is nonfiction though – the grasshopper does not escape! (Preschool to Grade 1)

– Hayley

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