11/21 – 11/26 Children’s Book of the Week: The Seeing Stick

The Seeing Stick
by Jane Yolen 
illustrated by Daniela Terrazzini
Hwei Min is the only daughter of the emperor of China – and blind. The emperor, an inscrutable but devoted ruler and father, offers a reward to anyone in the kingdom who can lift the princess’ blindness. From all over, magicians, sages, and medicine men try their luck at making the princess see. But it is the unlikely figure of a poor old man, and his seemingly ordinary walking-stick, that the princess learns to see – though in a different way than her father expected.

A beautiful classic, from the award-winning author of Owl Moon and The Emperor and the Kite. Ages 3 +.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

11/14 – 11/20 Children’s Book of the Week: The Sweetest Fig

The Sweetest Fig 
by Chris Van Allsburg 
Bibot is a cold and calculating dentist in France. He has his little white dog for company, Marcel, but even Marcel only reminds Bibot that if he were really rich, he’d have a Great Dane. One day, Bibot pulls the tooth of an old woman who afterwards tells him she can’t pay him in money, but in two magical figs that will make Bibot’s dreams come true. Bibot quickly turns her out without giving her the pain medication he promised her.

Though he disbelieves the old woman’s words at first, the evidence after eating the first fig reveals that the figs are indeed magical, and capable of granting Bibot the limitless wealth he so dearly wants. Unfortunately for Bibot, the fruits of his nasty attitude are about to come back to haunt him.

Beautiful illustrations and a story with a twist, from the author of The Polar Express and Jumanji. Ages 5 and up.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of Too Many Visitors for One Little House. Susan is also a composer, lyricist and producer of musical theater. Too Many Visitors for One Little House is available as a musical DVD ~

11/7 – 11/13 Children’s Book of the Week: Yoshiko and the Foreigner

Yoshiko and the Foreigner
by Mimi Otey-Little
Though the main characters of this story are young adults, the story is very beautiful, and the heroism and fortitude in it make it something of a fairytale!

Yoshiko, a proper young Japanese woman, has been raised to never speak to foreigners – especially soldiers. But when a young American officer tries to communicate with a train conductor and can only say phrases like “You see, I’m a boiled cabbage!”, Yoshiko helps the young man in spite of herself in perfect English, and so their courtship begins. Yoshiko is worried what her family will think of the American, who has been dutifully studying Japanese ever since he met Yoshiko and wants Yoshiko’s family’s approval to marry her. Through the many gifts and acts of kindness the American shows Yoshiko’s family, he demonstrates his profound respect for their traditions and his love for Yoshiko.

The end page of the book is a black and white photograph of the couple’s actual wedding. A truly sweet, touching story about love, perseverance, and embracing other cultures and ideas. Best for kids ages 5 and up.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

10/24 – 10/30 Children’s Book of the Week: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
by Linda D. Williams 
Illustrated by Megan Lloyd
In this story, a little old lady must go a long way to get back home through the woods…but she sees some strange things on the way! A pair of shoes that walk on their own, a levitating suit, clapping gloves and bobbing pumpkin head are all determined to follow her home and make their weird noises the whole way. However, the little old lady overcomes her fear of them, and finds an ingenious way to put them to use back at home. 

A good, not-too-scary, classic Halloween book! Rhythmic repetition makes it an excellent choice for reading out loud. Great for ages 3-7.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

10/10 – 10/16 Children’s Book of the Week: The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians

The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians
by Carla Morris 
illustrated by Brad Sneed
Melvin goes to the library everyday after school –  and at the public library, everyday there’s something new to learn! The three fabulous librarians – Marge, Leeola, and Betty – might not know absolutely everything…but they can get Melvin answers faster than even he can believe. Melvin stays riveted by his library and his dear librarians friends even as he grows up, up, up. But even as Melvin’s questions get trickier, the librarians still have answers. And when Melvin becomes a librarian himself, he responds the same way to those in disbelief of his rapid-fire answers:

We’re librarians. It’s what we do!

A sweet, engaging story with vivid illustrations and a remarkably true-to-life depiction of libraries. Best for Kindergarten-3rd grade, and a true winner for librarians!

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

10/3 – 10/9 Children’s Book of the Week: Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly

Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly
by Alan Madison 
illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Velma Gratch is the youngest of the three Gratch sisters–and the older two are school legends. Frieda and Fiona, Velma’s fabulously talented older sisters, have already been through 1st grade and have very distinct, incredible gifts. Velma feels the heat to be ‘known’ for something–but, as the principal told her shortly into the year, Velma isn’t going about it in quite the right way. But when the time comes for Velma and her class to visit a butterfly conservatory, Velma discovers her fascination with science may just be a gift–and she picks up a valuable, vibrant little reminder that the best way to be unique is to be yourself.

A wonderful story with beautiful illustrations. Best for ages 4-8.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

9/26 – 10/2 Children’s Book of the Week: Corduroy

Corduroy
by Dan Freeman 
In this classic, Corduroy, a precocious teddy bear in the toy section of a huge department store, misses his chance at a real home when a little girl’s mother points out that he has a missing button on his overalls. Anxious to be adopted by the right child, Corduroy sets off on a night time adventure to find his button. He climbs a mountain (the elevator), finds a palace (the furniture department), and even thinks he has found a sea of his buttons, all tightly fixed to the top of a mattress! Though Corduroy’s mission is cut short by the night watchman, he is delighted to find that the same little girl the next day comes back – and she’s going to buy him, even without his button, with her own money.

A sweet, classic story. Best for ages 3 -8.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

9/12 – 9/18 Children’s Book of the Week; Robot Zot!

Robot Zot!
by Jon Sciezka 
illustrated by David Shannon
The earth had better prepare itself, quick – Robot Zot is going to conquer our planet! Robot Zot will destroy anything (inanimate) that stands in his way, and even plans to rescue the princess of all earth…a tall order for a 3 inch toy robot. Robot Zot’s triumph over kitchen appliances (his enemies) and eventual success in finding the pink toy cell phone (his princess) leave an action-packed, over-the-top, intergalactic ride through hilarity that fascinates kids and endears parents.

Great for ages 4 -8.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz, Founder of Booksicals is also a composer and song writer.  Her company Booksicals is dedicated to encouragin a love of reading through the arts by taking picture books and bringing them to life ~

8/22 – 8/28 Children’s Book of the Week: You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum

You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum
by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser 
Told entirely through illustrations, the story follows the (mis)adventures of a loyal museum guard who makes the mistake of promising to look after a little girl’s yellow balloon. Confident her balloon is in good hands, the little girl and her grandmother look at all the wonders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Meanwhile, the balloon escapes, the guard gives chase, and panic ensues! Each new wreck of a scene that the balloon creates in its passing is cleverly paired with a famous painting at the museum, which the girl and her grandmother obliviously enjoy.

A fun, whimsical story! The lack of words also provides very young readers the chance to embellish the story themselves, and let their imaginations run wild with the wonderful illustrations.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is a composer, writer, lyricist and children’s book author.  She founded Booksicals in 2009 to encourage a love of reading through the arts.  Too Many Visitors for One Little House is Susan’s debut picture book ~

8/15 – 8/21 Children’s Book of the Week: The Library Dragon

The Library Dragon
by Carmen Agra Deedy
illustrated by Michael P. White
Miss Lotta Scales has a fiery passion for books, so when a school puts an ad out for a new librarian, getting the job is a piece of cake. Unfortunately for Sunrise Elementary, Miss Lotta Scales is a dragon – and a bully when it comes to books! Miss Lotta is determined not to let any grimy hands dirty, tear, or destroy her books, and she uses her fire to get her way if any child or grown-up suggests otherwise. But all that changes when near-sighted Molly Brickmeyer comes into the library and starts to read Snuff the Magic Dragon aloud. The kids of the school, usually deprived of their storytime, eagerly listen, and Miss Lotta does too, tears steaming in her eyes. Soon, Miss Lotta starts shedding her hard dragon scales, and beneath them is the much more sharing, human, library dragon.

A great story with some darn fun puns and wordplay – great for ages 6-10.