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April 14, 2006 Edition

Lizzie Nonsense, written and illustrated by Jan Ormerod.

This delightful story introduces readers to an isolated young pioneer girl living in Australia’s bush whose imagination has the power to send her baby brother afloat on the sea in a little boat, make her dinner of turnips (again!) into peaches and cream, and turn her mother into the bravest mother ever. Lizzie’s mother calls it “Lizzie nonsense”, but even she and Lizzie’s father indulge in dreams. Soft watercolors evoke Australia’s beauty in this 2005 BCCB Blue Ribbon Award Winner.

Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown, by Laura Malone Elliott, illustrated by Lynne Munsinger

Best friends Hunter and Stripe do everything together – until they end up on different soccer teams. Hunter is the fastest player on his team and Stripe has great foot control, and each of their teams wins a lot of games. Both want their own team to be champion, but they will be playing each other in the final game. Will this be the end of the friendship?

Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing, by April Jones Prince, illustrated by Francois Roca

From dizzying bird’s-eye views of Brooklyn and New York to beautifully lit drawings of the elephants on the bridge, this elegantly illustrated and well-researched story celebrates the 1883 completion of the Brooklyn Bridge (14 years in the making). But some people doubted that this bridge, built differently from any other bridge, would be strong enough to last. Finally, P.T. Barnum combined a reassuring gesture with a bit of advertising for his circus by marching 21 of his elephants (including Jumbo) across to show the strength of the bridge.

A Gift of Gracias, by Julia Alvarez, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal

When Maria’s family moved from Spain to the Dominican Republic, her father tried to farm as he had at home, but olives wouldn’t grow in the new land and the farm began to fail. When Maria had a dream about orange seeds, their Indian farm worker, and a beautiful lady wearing a crown of stars, the family worked together to save the farm, and were rewarded for their faith and hard work with a miraculous harvest of juicy oranges.

Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee

Dinner comes together in a bouncy rhyme with the help of a little girl (but mostly her mother), who is hungry, hungry, hungry for this traditional Korean dish of rice topped with meat, vegetables, and egg. Who knew cooking could be so much fun to read about? Keep an eye on the dog, who’s ready for dinner, too. Recipe included.

A Play’s the Thing, written and illustrated by Aliki

In this graphic novel-style book, we meet Miss Brilliant and her smiling, happy class - and the class bully, Jose. When Miss Brilliant proposes that the class put on the play “Mary had a Little Lamb,” everyone gets into the act – except Jose, who doesn’t want to be in it at all. The play has some unusual characters, including a firedog and a bully, and the ending is wholly satisfying to all - even Jose.

Nora’s Ark, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

In this true story of the Vermont Flood of 1927, 9 inches of rain drums down on the farmhouse where Wren lives with her grandmother and grandfather. It rains so hard that the river floods and they move up the hill to the house that is almost finished, along with a cow, a duck, 3 horses, 5 pigs, 4 cats, 100 chickens, and 23 of Wren’s neighbors. By the time the rain stops, it is the only house left. Colorful drawings emphasize the support that friends can give each other in the midst of chaos and disaster, even as floodwaters float houses away.

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