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2003 Award
Loretta, Ace Pinky Scout
(by Keith Graves, Scholastic $16.95 Score:) If you have a perfectionist in your midst, here's a larger-than-life-size tale that will bring a smile and perhaps a wink of recognition to the bigger idea that nobody's perfect. Loretta, an all-around scout, has every badge except the Golden Marshmallow Badge. 6–9.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Katie's Wish
(by Barbara Shook Hazen/illus. by Emily Arnold McCu, Dial $15.99 Score:) Katie is so sick of potatoes she wishes they would disappear. Soon after that the potatoes rot and sickness sweeps through Ireland. Young Katie is reunited with her Da in Boston, but cannot shake the guilt she feels for her terrible wish. A beautifully crafted picturebook that introduces the Irish famine through a child's moving story. 6–10.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Zathura
(by Chris Van Allsburg, Houghton Mifflin $18 Score:) Once again, a game board is the point of departure for a great adventure. This time Walter and his younger brother Danny find themselves in a world with flying saucers, rockets, and a purple planet called Zathura. Chris Van Allsburg's illustrations are fresh, mysterious and evocative of a world that never was but always might be! 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Opera Cat
(by Tess Weaver/illus. by Andre Wesson, Clarion $15 Score:) Madame SoSo, the opera diva, gets a serious case of laryngitis on opening night. But the show must go on! Little does she know that Alma, her adoring cat, is ready to sing every aria pur-r-r-fectly. 5–8

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
If You Take a Mouse to School
(by Laura Numeroff/illus. by Felicia Bond, HarperCollins $15.99 Score:) If you take a mouse to school, it's safe to predict he'll want your lunchbox and then a sandwich and a snack and a notebook and pencils. You get the drift. Fans of this clever little mouse will enjoy his newest adventure. 4–8.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Giggle, Giggle, Quack!
(by Doreen Cronin/illus. Betsy Lewin, Simon & Schuster $15.95 Score:) An amusing sequel to Click, Clack, Moo! When the farmer goes away he leaves his brother notes about tending the animals. But, watch out! This time it's a mischievous Duck who replaces the farmer's notes with requests for pizza and other treats. 4–8.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Dear Mrs. LaRue
(by Mark Teague, Scholastic $15.95 Score:)

Being a loved but disobedient dog, Ike La Rue is shipped off to the Brotweiler Canine Academy where Mrs. LaRue hopes he will be trained to behave. But Ike has other ideas. In a series of letters Ike begs for someone to find and tell Mrs. LaRue to come and get him! Good fun! 5–8.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2003. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2003 Awards
The Ticky-Tacky Doll
(by Cynthia Rylant/illus. by Harvey Stevenson, Harcourt $16 Score:) When she begins school the little girl in this story has to leave her homemade ticky-tacky doll behind. She misses her doll so much that she is unhappy in school. It's Grandma who finds a small but perfect solution. 4–7.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
First Day
(by Joan Rankin, Simon & Schuster $16.95 Score:) Haybillybun is not at all sure he wants to go to Yappy Puppy Play School. He worries about how he looks and what will be expected of him. A reassuring tale with a happy ending—except for mother, who has a problem letting go. 3–5

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Countdown to Kindergarten
(by Alison McGhee/illus. by Harry Bliss, Harcourt $16 Score:) In a matter of days the heroine will start to school. She knows how to do a lot of things, but not how to tie her shoelaces! Thanks to comic exaggeration kids get the message that whatever their shortcomings, they're not alone. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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