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Cover art for Big Momma Makes the World

Big Momma Makes the World

Written by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

This picture book, written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, tells the story of the world as created by Big Momma, a no-nonsense character who keeps an eye on the world from above, occasionally saying, "Better straighten up down there!" but just as often, she looks down and says, "That's good. That's real good."

Recommended by mj

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Carrie Hepple's Garden

Written by Ruth Craft
Illustrated by Irene Haas

Carrie Hepple's Garden is another favorite from the 'reading to my kids' era. There is a cool kind of shivery feeling in the beginning as we learn of Carrie Hepple--the neighborhood eccentric. Then the kids' ball sails over the wall to Carrie Hepple's Garden! The children sneak in expecting to find a scary old "witch"; instead they are surprised and amazed at who Carrie Hepple really is.... The writing is poetic, the watercolor illustrations perfect for invoking the mysterious world of this book. The quiet message to not rush to judgement about people is craftily woven into this gentle story. Bonus points for use of the hedgehog!

Recommended by LouAnn and the Gagne'-Hawes clan.
Cover art for Dodsworth in Paris

Dodsworth in Paris

Written by Tim Egan

Dodsworth and the duck travel to Paris by ship. They enjoy the food, the sights. From the top of the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre museum, Dodsworth and duck experience all things French. However, all does not go well as duck explores the city. Can Dodsworth save the day?

Lovely, sweet illustrations help us to explore Paris and bring the story to life!

An adventure that is fun and interesting!!

Recommended by Suzi
Cover art for Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus!

Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus!

Written by Atinuke
Illustrated by Lauren Tobia

“Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa, amazing Africa”. Anna Hibiscus stories are gems. Each book contains short stories celebrating Anna’s extended family that combine the traditional and modern ways in which they live. We learn of clothing, customs and community in her world and at the same time see that Anna deals with similar problems such as her little brothers, Double and Trouble.

Recommended by Carol
Cover art for Jingle Dancer

Jingle Dancer

Written by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright

Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared by generations of women in her family, and she hopes to dance at the next powwow. But she has a problem— how will her dress sing if it has no jingles? After listening to a traditional tale, she decides to find her jingles from various family members.
Jenna is careful to borrow only a limited number of jingles, "not wanting to take so many that [another's] dress would lose its voice."
Seeing Jenna as both a modern girl in the suburban homes of her inter-tribal community and as one of many traditionally costumed participants at the powwow will give some readers a new view of a contemporary Native American way of life, there’s a harmonious meshing of the old and new ways.
A powerful feature of this wonderful picture book is how it tells a story about a Native girl and her family's traditions without resorting to age-old stereotypes. And it’s got great illustrations. It would read aloud well.

Recommended by LouAnn
Cover art for The Maggie B

The Maggie B

Written by Irene Haas
Illustrated by Irene Haas

The plot of this picture book is summed up by the Library of Congress like so: "A little girl's wish to sail for a day on a boat named for her 'with someone nice for company' comes true”. Maggie's little brother is that "someone nice" and the two of them spend the day on their little boat living the sea life. The boat is fully equipped with a tree bearing fruit, also various chickens and a goat. Maggie herself fishes and serves up sumptuous meals of lobster and peaches with cinnamon and honey for dessert. The day is simple and homey, the only real source of concern a thunderstorm that threatens their serenity towards the end of the day. Even then, Maggie thoughtfully battens down the hatches and plays her fiddle to her brother, tucked snugly in his bed.
I read this book often to my kids. We also had a boat, admittedly with none of the accoutrements that the Maggie B had, but we loved reading this simple book so much because it’s filled with love. It totally gets across a big sister’s imagining of a “perfect day” with a loved sibling. How could you go wrong? Twenty-some years later, all three of the kids remember this story with a smile. We love this book.

Recommended by LouAnn, Genevieve, Anna and Alexander
Cover art for Zero


Written by Kathryn Otoshi
Illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi

Zero is bummed because she's different and despite her efforts to stretch and straighten, twist and turn, she isn't like the other numbers. With little self-esteem, Zero believes she just doesn't count. Beautifully colored hand painted numbers can be big bullies until a pile-up forces zero through nine to take a look at value in a whole new way. With the help of their new friend Zero, the numbers find they can reach greater heights.

Recommended by Jonas

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