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Summer Reading Round-up for Kids 


Bad Bears Go Visiting
Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Jill Pinkwater
Houghton Mifflin, April 2007, $16

Polar bear Larry visits zoo buddies Irving and Muktuk for an impromptu session of cheating at cards, eating cake with fish, and volleyball. Deciding that “visits are nice,” Irving and Muktuk drop in on a suburban family for a fun-filled evening that ends with an utterly cheerful arrest. Jill Pinkwater is the Rembrandt of ursine expressiveness.

Camp Babymouse
Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Random House, May 2007, $5.99

Babymouse is thrilled about summer camp until she hits Susie Skunk with a roasted marshmallow, tips over the canoe, and accidentally sets the woods on fire. This is manga for the middle grades, the sixth book in a charming series by Hudson resident Matthew Holm and his Newbery Honor-winning sister, Jennifer.

Fabian Escapes
Written and illustrated by Peter McCarty
Henry Holt and Company, May 2007, $16.99

Hondo the dog likes to nap and let the baby dress him up, while Fabian the cat would rather sneak out for a walk on the wild side. This sequel to Caldecott Honor-winning Hondo and Fabian features fuzzily adorable illustrations and whimsical text. Perfect read-aloud fare from Rhinebeck author McCarty.

My Friend is Sad
Today I Will Fly!
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Hyperion Books for Children, April 2007, $8.99 each

When Piggie decides he’s going to fly, Gerald tries to talk him out of it. And when Gerald is sad, Piggie tries to cheer him up. Comforting tales with a comic twist, these books launch a new easy-reader series by the Caldecott Honor-winning writer/illustrator of Knuffle Bunny and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

Written and illustrated by Barbara Lehman
Houghton Mifflin, April 2007, $16

On a rainy day with nothing to do, a lonely boy finds a mysterious key. It unlocks a secret passageway to an island with a lighthouse, a sunny beach, and, best of all, kids to play with. Entirely wordless and graphically striking, a fitting successor to the Claverack artist’s award-winning The Red Book and Museum Trip.

The Top Job
Written by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, illustrated by
Robert Neubecker
Dutton Children’s Books, July 2007, $16.99

Emma’s mother drives racecars, and Elizabeth’s father hunts UFOs. But another child’s father has the coolest job of all: He changes light bulbs—on the antenna of the Empire State Building. Step-by-step illustrations illuminate a very big adventure atop one of the world’s tallest buildings.


The ABCs of Fruits and Vegetables
and Beyond: Delicious Alphabet Poems plus Food, Facts and Fun For Everyone

Steve Charney & David Goldbeck, illustrations by Maria Burgaleta Larson
Ceres Press, June 2007, $16.95

“Two Books in One!” trumpets the colorful cover, and this cornucopia of alphabet rhymes, kid-friendly recipes, food facts, and family activities demonstrates hybrid vigor. Radio ventriloquist Charney’s read-aloud vegan poems (from Applesauce to Zucchini) are tasty appetizers to health-food maven Goldbeck’s multi-course banquet of food lore.

Trailblazers: Poems of Exploration
Bobbi Katz
Greenwillow Books, March 2007, $16.99

“A well-brought-up girl was I. But just being une fille was not my cup of tea.” Katz, whose Once Around the Sun was a Book Sense Top Ten Poetry Book, offers an expansive view of explorers and exploring. Stalwarts like Vasco de Gama join Adam and Eve, astronaut Michael Collins, and Annie Smith Peck, the first woman to climb the Matterhorn wearing pants. School librarians and inquisitive kids will love this book.


Girl Overboard

Aimee Ferris
Puffin, May 2007, $6.99

The ninth offering in the SASS (Students Across the Seven Seas) series mixes teen fantasy—a sojourn on a Caribbean research vessel with an irresistible Aussie rafting guide—with a genuine sense of place. Woodstocker Ferris knows her reefs, and makes the romance of marine biology as alluring as the hottie from Down Under.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Ned Vizzini
Miramax Books, May 2007, $8.99

A 15-year-old overachiever cracks under pressure, calls a suicide hotline, and checks himself into a hospital that dumps him into the adult psychiatric wing. Downer? Hardly. Vizzini’s pitch-perfect voice makes this saga of teenage depression and recovery both realistic and unexpectedly hilarious. A great read for older teens.

Kimchi & Calamari
Rose Kent
HarperCollins, April 2007, $15.99

As if there’s not enough teenage angst looking at your pores, try being Joseph, a Korean adopted by an out-and-out Italian family in the ‘burbs. Niskayuna author Kent deftly uses both chopsticks and garlic bread to serve funny and wise words about identity, change, and place.

Coming this fall

Upcoming books from regional children's authors:

Big Slick by Eric Luper (Farrar. Strauss and Giroux, 9/07)

Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara by James Gurney (Andrews McMeel, 10/07)

Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart (Scholastic, 10/07)

Tis the Season: Main Street by Ann M. Martin (Scholastic, 10/07)

What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire (Candlewick, 9/07)

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