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Gorillas, Puppies and Blackbirds: New Books for Younger Readers

onegorillaOne Gorilla by Anthony Browne
In this oversized counting book, Anthony Browne presents one of the most lusciously beautiful picture books that I’ve seen in a long time. The brightly colored, richly saturated portraits of chimpanzees, mandrills, baboons, macaques, and other members of the primate family fill each page, compelling the reader to pause and marvel over these magnificent creatures. But the book doesn’t stop there. With an ending that is surprising and tender, Browne transcends the classic 1, 2, 3 genre to create something deeply humane. (Preschool – Grade 1)

PennyMarblePenny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
As Penny wheels her doll, Rose, down the sidewalk, she spots a marble glinting from a neighbor’s lawn. It’s sky blue. It’s shiny. It’s perfectly round. Penny can’t help herself. She pockets the glass toy and furtively returns home. From that moment on, the marble is never far from her thoughts — or worries. How she handles the dilemma of having the marble, and what she eventually does about her secret possession, make for a compelling story that every child will relate to. With this third installment of the Penny series, Kevin Henkes proves again his mastery as a writer for any form and every child. (Preschool – Grade 2)

otis-puppyOtis and the Puppy by Loren Long
Putt puff puttedy chuff! The endearing tractor Otis is back with another adventure on the farm. After a long day of work and play, Otis and his animal friends have retired to the barn when the farmer appears with a bag. What’s inside? It wiggles. It waggles. It barks! A small puppy bursts out of the burlap and everyone is delighted, especially Otis. Soon, the small red tractor and the smaller white pup are fast friends. But when the baby dog doesn’t come home one night, Otis has to face his fear of the dark to go look for him. Yet again, Loren Long gives us a satisfying and charming story of friendship. (Preschool – Grade 2)

harlemsHarlem’s Little Blackbird by Renée Watson, pictures by Christian Robinson
At the turn of the century, a young woman with an astonishing voice and marvelously quick feet became an international star of the stage. Her name was Florence Mills and she grew up in a “teeny-tiny, itsy bitsy house” with parents who had once been slaves. With clear, simple text and bold, collage-like graphics, this picture book biography tells the story of a remarkable girl who grew into a remarkable woman. Florence faced the sting of racism many times, but always, her voice and her spirit prevailed. Thanks to Renne Watson and Christian Robinson, even the youngest reader can now meet “Harlem’s little blackbird” and be inspired. (Kindergarten – Grade 3)

kelgilligansKel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat
Kel Gilligan is a risk-taker. Kel Gilligan is a stunt master. Kel Gilligan is a daredevil of the highest order. Never heard of him? Well, pull up a chair and learn of his audacious escapades. See the glint in his eye as he dares to… eat broccoli! Watch the set of his jaw as he faces down… the potty of doom! And now, follow him on a day of unparalleled danger as he dresses himself, leaves Mommy uninterrupted as she talks on the phone, and takes a bath with only Daddy to help. The bold graphics and hysterical set-ups will have every member of the family rooting for Kel — and laughing hysterically, too. Move over Evel Knievel. Kel Gilligan has landed. (Kindergarten – Grade 2)

– Molly

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