Children’s Books: Serving Up a Few More Favorites

Imagine having dozens of ice cream flavors lined up in front of you and only being able to spoon out a single scoop. Learning magazine’s children’s book reviewer, Kim Minafo, says her job is like that: “I review many wonderful children’s books for each issue of the magazine, but I have to narrow the field to just a half-dozen selections. For some issues, I pick my books right off the bat. For others, I change my mind countless times; I’m adding and subtracting titles right up until the final deadline. I always wish there were a way to fit in just a few more books!”

We have good news for Kim and all the other literature lovers out there: through our Tools of the Trade blog, we can share reviews of terrific titles that didn’t make it into the magazine. It’s not quite an ice cream smorgasbord, but it will give you the scoop on a few more new releases! Plus if you post a comment on our blog by Tuesday, November 3, you could win a copy of Come to the Fairies’ Ball by Jane Yolen. One lucky reader will win! (Update: Congratulations to Eliza, who is our winner! Keep watching our blog for most contests and chances to WIN!)

By Emily Gravett

Can a lonely green frog, supplied only with torn pages from a book of spells, cast himself into a magical future? In a kiss-and-spell book that’s sure to be “ribbiting” for students, the would-be prince’s plight is determined by an unexpected twist—and a few lines of fine print.

Grades 1–5, $16.99. Simon & Schuster.

Come to the Fairies’ Ball
By Jane Yolen

With Cinderella-like familiarity and a dose of fairy magic, this story enchants across grade levels. Young students will happily listen to the rhyming text that depicts the troubles of a fairy who lacks formal wear on the night of the ball. Meanwhile, older children will enjoy the book’s challenging vocabulary and lyrical lilt. (Eliza, post a comment to let us know what your students think of the book!)

Grades 1–4, $17.95. Wordsong.

Mystery Vine
By Cathryn Falwell

Perfect for reading during harvesttime (and rereading as the seasons progress), this story helps students appreciate the life of a garden as they wonder about the identity of a mystery vine. The book is complete with recipes, a garden craft, and plans for a classroom book display.

Grades K–2, $16.99. Greenwillow.

The Blue Shoe: A Tale of Thievery, Villainy, Sorcery, and Shoes
By Roderick Townley

In a town where begging is a crime and the mayor’s wife shops without ever paying, everyone covets a single, blue bejeweled shoe. But no one, not even the mayor’s wife, can do more than admire it in the shoemaker’s window, waiting for the shoe’s buyer to claim it. When the shoemaker’s apprentice takes a single jewel from the shoe, the dazzling gems go gray. Can the shoe—and the village—be saved?

Grades 4+, $16.99. Knopf.

Stay tuned for another serving of book reviews—and another chance to WIN—in the days to come!


PS: Have you heard about the Elmer’s Glue Crew Recycling Program? Recycle your empty glue containers and win prizes! To learn more about this free program, click here now.

5 thoughts on “Children’s Books: Serving Up a Few More Favorites

  1. I own a Pre-K/Homedaycare, as part of our weekly curriculum, we read a book every week, I read the same book everyday, at the end of the book, as well as parts within the book we stop and talk about the book, who the characters are, what they think will happen, and what would happen if that was a real story, as well as when we finish the book talk about what we liked best about the end. By the weeks end all the children have a clear picture of what the story was about, and on Friday we do individule book reports, (as they are onlu 2 thru 4 years old) most are unable to write thier own sentances so I ask them what thier favorite charater was on one page and they draw pictures, clue colored pictures and or anyother art work that pertains to that character, on the next page I ask what thier favaorite part was? I fill in the answer and they repeat the same process on that page as above and I do the same with the final page of the report where they tell what they liked best about the end. I have found that not only does this prepare them for their future book reports but it also making them comprehend what they are being read and they have a clear picture that books have a character, a begginging and an end. They all really enjoy it and have all developed a great love of reading. I have recieved great feed back from both my parents as well as the school system where I live, as they take these skills when they enter elementry school and are entering well prepaired and ahead of the game. I am always open to any book suggestion as well as giving feed back on the ones that went over the best in my class.

  2. I also love your helpful reviews! They are always great in helping me find great literature to share with my students. Thanks for the thoughtful insight 🙂

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