Amazing Books In Which Nothing Much Happens: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The opening chapter sets the stage in this story of wilderness survival and historical family life. There’s not much character development at first, but amazing detail of living on the rustic frontier pull the reader onward. Really, not much happens at all. Yet when I finished this book, I rushed back...

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Overlong Crocodiles: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber

This book is fairly obviously the personification of a child in Crocodile form. The mean neighbor doesn’t like Lyle the Crocodile and wants him in a zoo but through events, Lyle ends up rescuing him and his cat from a fire, thus solving the problem. It’s quaint and the personification allows the author to stick Lyle in a zoo for a time...

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Too Tall for Truth: Tall Tales - John Henry by Julius Lester

An authentic, engaging voice mingles fantasy with reality.

Pinkney’s vivid artwork combines with Lester’s picturesque text to make the telling of the story every bit as “larger than life” as the subject of the story. Lester fills his pages with word pictures, “bat wings on tombstones” and personification, the sun flossing, the wind out of breath. Yet...

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All Time Fave: Where the Wild Things Are

Illustrations and text work together to move the story forward. In the first spread Max faces the farthest edge, urging the reader to turn the page quickly as the text hints at all the mischief he’s carrying out. The next spread shows him running down the stairs, the very stairs that will, on the next page, take him right back up and into his bedroom for bed without supper. As Max slips...

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Chilling History Lessons: Hitler Youth

Fascinating and similar in tone and writing style to Darkness Over Denmark. Both take the individual stories from this horrid time in history and weave them into a steady and powerful narrative. I found myself caught up in the history—like that Hitler coming to power after the great depression meant a world-wide work shortage and tight immigration quotas so that the Jews who might have otherwise escaped...

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