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Product Type: Books
Award: Gold
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
Letters to Leo
(by Amy Hest/ illus. Julia Denos, Candlewick $14.95 Score:)

Fourth grader Annie writes letters to her new dog Leo almost everyday. Her letters help her deal with the ups and downs of life with her teacher, Mrs. No-Fun Bailey, her best friend leaving and her memories of her dead mother. This is a tender little book with a quiet humor, warmth, and a loving father. The pace may be a little slow for some, but the letter format will make this easier for readers new to chapter books. 3rd grade and up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Purrfect Friends
(Adapted by Karen Barss, Houghton Mifflin $12.99 Score:)

Martha, the Talking dog, created by Susan Meddaugh, has a new life in a PBS cartoon series. This is one of several new books adapted from the show and unlike many cartoons, this one says a whole lot about a subject of prejudice. When a neighbor brings home a kitten from the shelter Martha and her buddy Skits reject her because she is different. Without hitting kids over the head this little tale does have a message and one that can't be delivered too soon or too often! We liked the Martha Bakes a Cake story, too but the bilingual text printed under the English text makes for a cluttered page, one that may be difficult for beginning readers to navigate. Too bad since the pace of the story and humor is right on the mark!

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
In the Garden
(by Elizabeth Spurr/ illus. Manelle Oliphant, Peachtree Press $6.95 Score:)

A charming small poem about a boy and his small garden. The illustrations have an old-fashioned look that perfectly compliment the verse. If only a real garden would grow from seed to fruit as easily. A nice blend of young science, poetry, and art on sturdy cardboard pages. Marked 1-3, we would say more like 2-4.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Brothers at Bat
(by Audrey Vernick/ illus. Steven Salerno, Clarion $16.99 Score:)

Based on a real family with 16 children, twelve of them boys, who all loved the game of baseball. In fact, there were enough brothers to form a baseball team--and then some. This family takes place at a time when girls rarely played on baseball teams. Back in the 30's and 40's the Acerra brothers toured the country playing as a team, with a break for WWII, when six of them served in the armed forces. After the war they began to raise families of their own, but continued playing the sport they loved. They played their last game in the 50's and then in 1997 they were honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame. An interesting slice of baseball history. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived
(by Matt Tavares, Candlewick $16.99 Score:)

Baseball fans who like history are going to love this inspiring book about one of the game's all time greats! It follows Ted from his boyhood days when baseball was an obsession though his years in the military in WWII and Korea. There are few crisis points in this story, so there is not a lot of drama, yet the single mindedness and determination gives young readers a glimpse into the life of man who kept his eye on his goal and achieved it! Glorious painterly art illuminates every page of this oversized picture book. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
In the Sea
(by David Elliot/ Holly Meade, $16.99 Score:)

Another young science book about the diverse creatures of the sea. Glorious illustrations accompany each of the short rhymes about the many inhabitants of the sea. 3 & up

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?
(by Mo Willems, Hyperion $15.99 Score:)

In this latest of Pigeon saga, Duckling has asked and received a cookie from an unknown source. Enter Pigeon: jealous, angry, whining, complaining and generally carrying on a monologue about all of the injustices in his life. This will be a fun read aloud or a reasonably easy to read book. Worn down with Pigeon's woe-is-me tale, duckling can take no more, so he gives his cookie to Pigeon. One might have hoped Pigeon would do more than say thanks; perhaps offer to share it? As always, Mo Willems delivers.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
I've Lost My Hippopotamus
(by Jack Prelutsky/ illus. by Jackie Urbanovic, Greenwillow $18.99 Score:)

The poet laureate of kids has done it again. His newest collection of rhymes is bound to please even those who insist they don't like poetry. Most of these poems are about animals; but not sentimentalized or scientific in nature. And then there's the Fabulous Skating Potato, Stokingbirds strutting, and Halibutterflies, among other creations. It's full of the usual Prelutsky humor and silly illustrations that add to the entertainment. Our 8-year old tester and his mom took turns reading these to each other and shared the fun. 5-10.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Demolition
(by Sally Sutton /illus. Brian Lovelock , Candlewick $15.99 Score:)

Big machines are often fascinating for preschoolers. Usually books focus on construction sites where new buildings are going up. This one takes a look at the reverse—a building going down with a surprising construction for an ending. The text is full of lively action words that crackle with the sounds wrecking balls and parts that crunch and snap. All are illustrated with bold images. Unlike construction sites where one cannot linger, these pages are fun to explore without some grownup saying, "We have to go home now."

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
About Habitats: Oceans
(by Cathryn Sill/ illus. John Sill, Peachtree Press $16.99 Score:)

A very fundamental book about the nature of oceans and the life in them. It's part of a nature series for the very young. It does not have the joyous color of Wow! Ocean! But it has small factoids and a very clear overall message about the diverse creatures and nature of the great salt water bodies that we call, Oceans. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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