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Adventure

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Secret Keepers is the new title by the author of the Mysterious Benedict Society. In the same vein, it is a long read, but I found that it sustained my interest throughout. (That can be important information if you are picking out a book for a young reader, aka, the intended audience.) Reuben lives with his mother and she is working two jobs and not quite making ends meet. Their city is ruled by a secret individual known only as The Smoke. He employs The Counselor to extort the citizens of their money using The Directions, four men who are the eyes and ears of The Counselor and the Smoke. Very ominous. Enter Reuben who is a stealthy kid who likes to sneak out of his apartment building and explore the neighborhood unobserved. In his explorations, he happens to find a mysterious object. It is a watch that doesn't tell time. What happens next will change his whole world and the lives of everyone in his city. He makes fast friends and discovers the identity of The Smoke as he seeks to solve the mystery of the watch. Reuben manages to get himself in and out of some prickly situations. It's great fun to read! There is plenty here for those who love action and also good characters in their novels.

Number of Pages: 
501

An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni

An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni

Jessica the frog finds a magnificent rock one day only to be informed by know-it-all Marilyn that it is, in fact, an egg...a chicken egg! And so when it hatches, Jessica becomes friends with the chicken, and they proceed to go on many adventures together. Eventually, the chicken finds its mother and parts ways with the frogs, but you wouldn't believe what the mother called her baby...an alligator! Can you believe that?

An Extraordinary Egg is a sweet, funny classic and a joy to read out loud. If you can manage to read it with a straight face and act like the alligator really is a chicken, children will go crazy every time you refer to "the chicken" throughout the story. Leo Lionni is one of my favortie children's book author/artists, and his distinctive paper collage style is alive and well here. Maybe you can try your own at home!

Number of Pages: 
32

It's a Tiger! by David LaRochelle; ill. by Jeremy Tankard

It's a Tiger! by David LaRochelle; ill. by Jeremy Tankard

Are those vines? Snakes? A sea captain? No! It's a Tiger! RUN! This is one of my most requested books when I do storytime with preschoolers. A tiger chases our protagonist from page to page, but in the end, we find out it didn't want to eat us after all...we just mistook that ROAR for a yawn. This picture book encourages audience participation--readers will be climbing, swimming, bumping, and shouting the whole way through.

Number of Pages: 
36

Dear Yeti by James Kwan

Dear Yeti by James Kwan

Dear Yeti is about two young hikers searching for the yeti in the snow. But the yeti is shy, and isn't sure whether or not to trust them, so he hides. They send him letters via a bird, trying to convince him to come out and meet them. The longer the hikers are out in the cold, the more they need help, and the yeti is there to be their friend and rescue them.

Dear Yeti is a sweet little book. The illustrations are beautiful and simple, and show the paths the letters take to get between the hikers and yeti. There are only a few short sentences per page, so it works well for young readers and listeners.

Number of Pages: 
40

The Pirate's Bed by Nicola Winstanley, ill. by Matt James

The Pirate's Bed by Nicola Winstanley, ill. by Matt James

The pirate's bed has stayed a long time on board the pirate ship, but when a great storm comes, the bed floats off into the sea. There it is finally able to have its own adventures, but it realizes that something is missing.

This picture book is on the longer end, probably better for an older child or one with a longer attention span. It's written as a bedtime story, and even before that becomes clear, the cadence of the words give the calm feeling that it would work well as such. It opens the child's imagination into what things might be thinking, and the adventures they could all have with and without people.

Number of Pages: 
32

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, ill. by Meg Hunt

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, ill. by Meg Hunt

Interstellar Cinderella is an outer space retelling of Cinderella. Cinderella dreams not of balls and gowns, but of being allowed to fix spaceships. When the prince has a royal space parade, and Cinderella is only allowed to fix her stepmother's spaceship, not attend, her fairy godrobot comes to the rescue with new tools and a spacesuit!

This book is a fun spin on Cinderella. It's perfect for any fairy-tale enthusiast who may need to get out of the stereotypical gender roles set forth by most classic tales. The illustrations are bright and fun and the whole thing is told with a wonderful rhyme scheme. It does have some bigger, more difficult words in it, and is on the longer end, so is probably better for the older end of kids still enjoying picture books.

Number of Pages: 
40

Journey by Aaron Becker

Journey by Aaron Becker

Journey is an artistic masterpiece and a story of an epic journey that is told without words. Every page is a beautifully detailed painting that takes you on a magical trip with a young girl. The girl is bored and her family is all busy so when she finds a magical red crayon, of course she draws a magical door and enters a new and magical world. There are friendly people and there are villains but she is clever and has her magical crayon to help her along the way. There is more to discover every time I read this book and it is absolutely a joy to put this in the hands of a child who struggles with reading or is just learning English and tell them, "you can read this whole book all by yourself." If you love Journey, make sure to check out Quest and Return which continue the story.

Number of Pages: 
40

Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip C. Stead

Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip C. Stead

I'm jumping in for Picture Book Month! Sebastian and the Balloon is a lovely, dreamy story of a boy who is bored and makes a balloon out of his grandma's old quilts and afghans. He packs all the things he could ever need and begins his adventure. He meets some interesting characters along the way and makes new friends over shared pickle sandwiches. The text is simple but lovely and the artwork is dreamy and magical with fantastic details.

Number of Pages: 
40

Squid Kid the Magnificient by Lynne Berry, ill. by Luke LaMarca

Squid Kid the Magnificient by Lynne Berry, ill. by Luke LaMarca

Squid Kid the Maginificent is an amazing magician who uses the powers of sea creatures in his magic tricks. Unfortunately, his sister is trying to ruin his show by giving away all his secrets!

Squid kid and his sister's faces are just eyes and mouth, but somehow still very expressive. This cute book of playing pretend doubles as fun facts on sea creatures and a friendly sibling rivalry. The showmanship of the story makes it a fun one to read aloud with different voices -- Squid kid's magician persona is very separate from his brother character as he interacts with his sister.

Number of Pages: 
38

One Day, The End by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, ill. by Fred Koehler

One Day, The End by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, ill. by Fred Koehler

One Day, The End is a collection of "very short, shorter-than-ever stories." Each story is written from the point of view of the same little girl, covers about two pages and consists of only a couple sentences. Though the words are kept to a minimum, they clearly give only a vague idea of how the little girl's day went. The illustrations hold the true story -- here you can follow the details of the girl's day, understand her emotions throughout the day and the true feeling behind the short story. These are great for kids who like to make up the story themselves by reading through the illustrations in picture books -- studying the pictures is the only way to understand the story, and the tiny details are important. The stories themselves are sweet and simple, but the fun comes from going through the pictures carefully and patiently.

Number of Pages: 
27