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Staff Pick: Mr. Ball Makes a To Do List

Mr. Ball Makes a To Do List

Mr. Ball loves to make to-do lists but never finishes his tasks, until one day he makes a list so simple it seems he cannot possibly fail.

Mr. Ball, literally an animated yellow ball, LOVES to make to-do lists! But this Walmart Smiley Face-on-Steroids NEVER finishes anything. Will the easiest to-do list EVER help Mr. Ball break his long-running streak of failures? Read along as Mr. Ball tackles angry bees, stinky skunks and a lot of tomato sauce in his quest to finally check-off EVERYTHING on his to-do list. Lots of slapstick humor and a graphic novel format make this a fun and easy read for the younger crowd, ages 4-8, but I confess I enjoyed it too. Not surprising, really, as SpongeBob is also a personal favorite! I look forward to reading the sequel: Mr. Ball an Egg-cellent Adventure.

Recommended by: Nancy Poppleton - Glendale Branch Library



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Staff Pick: How Big Were Dinosaurs?

How Big Were Dinosaurs?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a Velociraptor for a walk, or try to brush a Tyrannosaur's teeth? We think of dinosaurs as colossal giants, but how big were they REALLY?

Have you ever wondered how big dinosaurs really were? Large, inviting color drawings compare the dinosaurs in this book to familiar animals and other objects – a velociraptor was the size of a large dog, while a full-grown argentininosaurus was as long as four school buses and weighed more than 17 elephants! An open-out chart compares the dinosaurs to each other. This fun book will appeal to ages 4-7.

Recommended by: Donna Neblett - Warren Branch Library



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Staff Pick: Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads

The Toad brothers are wreaking havoc in Drywater Gulch when a boy with no experience but immense knowledge of dinosaurs rides into town on his tortoise and declares himself the new sheriff.

Dry Water Gulch has a Toad problem. A gang of outlaws is running rampant until a little lawman rides into town on his trusty tortoise. He uses his extensive knowledge of dinosaurs to outsmart the varmints and bring peace back to town. This whimsical western looks like Gunsmoke but reads like Dudley Do-Right.

---Recommended by Kasey Panighetti, Franklin Road Branch



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Staff Pick: This Is Not My Hat

This Is Not My Hat

Understanding the narrative is an important skill your toddler needs to learn to read, but sometimes talking about the book as you read it can be a challenge.  How do you ask questions without interrupting the flow of the story?  How do you encourage your child to guess what happens next?  Don’t worry, I am here to help!

Check out these two books by Jon Klassen; This is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back.  There’s an obvious underlying hat theme going on, and what kid doesn’t love hats?  In the first story, a little fish has stolen a big fish’s hat.  In the second one, a bear searches for his lost hat.  Both stories have important lessons about stealing, and they’re both amusing (I checked with my nephews, the books are definitely funny), but the best part is how easy it is to talk about the narrative.  Every page is an opportunity for questions.  Both books are written in a conversational style that’s very engaging.   The illustrations are eye-catching.  Both books are open-ended, which allows your preschooler to tell you what happens!  Your child will be guessing what happens next long before you turn the last page.

I Want My Hat Back
Recommended by:  Emilie Lynn, East 38th Street Branch Library

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Staff Pick: Chick ‘n Pug

Chick 'n Pug

Chick leaves the boring coop in order to find his hero, Wonder Pug, and a little bit of excitement.

Chick loves to read about superheroes. He has read “The Adventures of Wonder Pug!” 127 times. But life in his chicken coop is boring, so Chick sets out to find adventure. He soon meets Pug, who unfortunately is asleep. Chick tries to wait for “Wonder Pug” to wake up, but Pug would rather nap. Finally Pug does wake up, and excitedly Chick waits for him to display his superpowers. When Pug fails to behave like the heroes in his comic book, Chick is not disappointed. When an intruder appears on the scene, it leads to a rollicking resolution to the story, and the start of a friendship between two unlikely “heroes.” Jennifer Sattler’s large expressive illustrations are perfect for this humorous story, which begs to be read aloud.

Recommended by: Brenda Whitmore - Lawrence Branch


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Staff Pick: Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great

Envy turns to admiration and finally to friendship for Goat and Unicorn.

Have you ever been jealous of someone? Or thought they were better than you? That’s how Goat feels about Unicorn. Goat can ride his bike, but Unicorn can fly. Goat can do simple magic tricks, but Unicorn can turn things into gold. How can you compete with someone who can make it rain cupcakes?

Then one day, Unicorn actually talks to Goat. Goat finds out that Unicorn likes all sorts of things about him! He loves goat cheese, adores cloven hooves, and is completely jealous that Goat can eat anything he wants. Who knew?

So the two become friends and learn to celebrate their differences. Hooray! They even imagine themselves as crime fighting superheroes. Taste their cloven justice!

Recommended by:  Erin Webster, Pike Branch Library

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Staff Pick: What Color is Caesar?

What Color is Caesar?

Caesar is very confused about his color. He is a Dalmatian, who does not know if he is white with black spots or black with white spots. Nobody else in his house seems to think it is a big deal, but Caesar is very concerned. He sets out on a journey to seek the truth about his identity.

What Color Is Caesar? is a great story to illustrate that skin color is not the best way to identify yourself. It is more important to evaluate others by what is under their skin and not what you see on the surface.

Recommended by:  Lindsay Haddix, Nora Branch Library

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Staff Pick: Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later)

Aunt Flossie's Hats

Sara and Susan share tea, cookies, crab cakes, and stories about hats when they visit their favorite relative, Aunt Flossie.

Sarah and Susan enjoy spending time at their Aunt Flossie’s house.  It’s like a step back in history.  They like playing dress up in her fancy hats because her hats come with their own stories…and Aunt Flossie tells them these stories each time the girls try on a different hat.  Most of the stories are from a time before the girls were born, when she was a girl.  But one of the hats has a story the girls know and help tell.  It involves a lake, a boy, a dog and their dad’s very funny accident.

Recommended by: Claudine Polley, African American History Committee


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Staff Pick: Two Nests

Two Nests

Two birds build a nest together and hatch a baby bird, but when they fail to get along the father bird moves to a new nest, and though baby bird is unhappy at first, when he learns to fly from nest to nest he sees that the situation isn't that bad.

There are so few good books on divorce that are not didactic and can be used with very young children.    Two Nests is at once both light-hearted and honest.  Two little birds fall in love, build a nest and hatch an egg.   “But the birds were large, and the nest was small” and it is decided that another nest is needed.  Everyone is sad when Daddy moves to the other side of the tree.  Baby Bird now has two homes and when she grows wings, everyone celebrates.

Recommended by:  Daniell Wilkins, College Avenue Library



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Andrew Drew & Drew

Andrew Drew & Drew

If you love to draw, if you love to imagine, you will love Andrew. Follow him has he doodles his way through the flaps and folds of this unusual book.

Any young person will love this picture book about Andrew and his love of drawing. Most preschoolers love to draw and in this story titled Andrew Drew and Drew the book unfolds before their eyes with Andrews’s drawings. He takes a blank paper and turns it into something fabulous. Stairs become dinosaur; a simple line becomes a kite and then a spacecraft. Children will learn that their doddles can turn into something magical. Barney Saltzberg author and illustrator do a fantastic job of capturing their minds.

Recommended by: Denyce Malone, Flanner House Branch

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