Silver

Rachel dreams of racing huskies, just like her father. So when she gets a tiny puppy for her birthday, she names him Silver for his shiny coat and vows that he will be the fastest lead dog in Alaska. But one day, Silver disappears. Rachels sets out to find him, following the tracks of a large animal into the forest. Snow begins to fall. An eerie howling breaks the silence. Then Rachel realizes she is tracking a wolf, that she is all alone, and that night is falling. 

Silver brings the harsh Alaskan winter to life. Through Rachel’s daily life, readers will be able to imagine the winter weather, the isolation, and the importance of huskies. Since the story is told from Rachel’s point of view, there is little suspense or action. Even though dogsledding is an important part of Rachel’s life, there is very little action pertaining to the dogs. The pace doesn’t pick up until the end of the book when Rachel realizes that Silver is missing. Since there is so little action, some readers may struggle to read the entire book.  

While Silver was written for young readers, the difficult vocabulary and mature tone may make Silver difficult for some readers. However, the format will appeal to readers because of the short chapters, large font, and black and white illustrations that appear on almost every page. The Stepping Stones Series is specifically written for young readers and the books allow readers to explore different genres such as history, humor, mysteries, and classics.  

Readers interested in dog sledding or learning more about Alaska will enjoy Silver. While the story lacks action, Rachel is a caring girl who loves dogs and takes good care of Silver. Plus, her two-parent family is shown in a positive light. Readers craving a more action-packed book that features dog sledding may want to check out Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. Those interested in learning more facts about dogs and how they help humans should add Dog Heroes by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce to their must-read list. 

Sexual Content 

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Violence 

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Drugs and Alcohol 

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Supernatural 

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The Carpenter’s Gift

One Christmas night, Henry sits in his house and thinks blissfully back to a special day in 1931. He was a child then, growing up during the Great Depression. The historical downturn left a significant impact on his family. His family lived in a small house, and both of his parents were out of work. They struggled to afford coal for the stove or blankets for the beds. Henry kept an optimistic mind, and occupied himself with thoughts of warm, magical places.  

On Christmas Eve of that year, Henry was surprised to see his father arrive at the house in a big rental truck. He calls for Henry to come along, and the two happily drive to a nearby forest to cut down its evergreen trees and stack them onto the back of the truck. When Henry asks why, his father joyfully replies that they’re going to New York City to sell Christmas trees. 

The thought of being in a big city like New York excites Henry, and he is immediately fascinated by Midtown Manhattan. Henry’s father parks the truck beside a construction site and asks a worker if they can set up shop there. Acknowledging the pair’s situation, the worker agrees. What follows is a heartfelt story of generosity and hope in the hardest of times. 

The Carpenter’s Gift is a sweet holiday tale that spans several generations before arriving at the message that there is no better present than kindness. Henry searches time and again for the warm, magical moments he dreams of, and finds that these moments are produced not by magic but by simple acts of giving. 

The warm atmosphere of the book is strengthened by its lavish, impressionistic illustrations that are passionately drawn in the beautiful colors of each season. The illustrator makes several uses of double-page illustrations to portray the sheer scale and beauty of the evergreen trees. The story is told with simple, easy vocabulary, and readers can expect four to ten sentences on each page.  

The Carpenter’s Gift is guaranteed to satisfy all readers who celebrate Christmas and is a comforting read for those looking for a warm story this winter season. 

Sexual Content 

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Drugs and Alcohol 

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by Luke McClain 

Snow

Everyone loves snow! It’s fun to play in and makes wonderful snowmen. But where does snow come from? The answer is at your fingertips. Just open this book and explore the wonders of snow. 

Readers will follow an unnamed girl who spends a day out in the snow. Between scenes of the young girl and her dog, information is given about how snow is formed, why it falls to the ground and the different types of snow. Readers will also learn how “snow melts into puddles, intro rivers, into lakes, and gives the earth a fresh, cool drink.” The last page includes six additional facts about snow. 

Each page has large illustrations with a blue sky in the background; this allows the white snow to show up clearly. Throughout the story, the girl makes a snowman, plays in a puddle, skates on a frozen pond, and sleds with her dog. However, she never smiles and in some of the pictures, she looks cold and miserable. This contrasts with the story’s theme, “while winter is here, snow makes the cold world beautiful and so much fun!” 

As part of the Ready-To-Read Level 1 Series, Snow tells a simple story through longer sentences. Some of the sentences begin on one page and end on another. However, each page only has 1 to 2 sentences that use simple vocabulary. Each page’s illustration matches the words on the page and helps explain some of the facts, such as “clouds are crystals of ice.” 

Snow uses a blend of storytelling and informational reading to teach young readers about the attributes and importance of snow. While the story lacks entertainment value, readers interested in snow will enjoy learning new facts. Readers ready to snuggle up with a snowy book should also read Max & Mo Make a Snowman by Patricia Lakin. 

Sexual Content 

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Violence 

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Drugs and Alcohol 

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Language   

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Supernatural 

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Spiritual Content 

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Fox Versus Winter

Fox does not like winter. None of his friends are around to play. He tries to make new friends with the other snow animals, but they’re not as fun as his other friends. So, he is still bored and alone. Then, Fox has an idea. If he cannot escape winter, he will fight it!

Fox’s story is told through adorable pictures that have a hint of humor. For example, when Fox goes to find his friends, Bear is cuddled up with a teddy bear and Frog is in a comfortable bed covered in leaves. Each page has 2 to 3 simple sentences that include word repetition. As a My First I Can Read Book, Fox Versus Winter is perfect to read to your little one because the story uses basic language, word repetition, and has large illustrations on each page.

Young readers will fall in love with Fox and want to read Fox Versus Winter again and again. Readers will relate to Fox, who just wants to play with someone. In the end, Rabbit tells Fox how to relieve his boredom. Rabbit says, “In winter I like to be alone. I like to sit still and listen.” The cute story shows how friends can enjoy being together even in silence. If you’re ready to snuggle up with a blanket, a book, and your child, Fox Versus Winter is an entertaining book choice. If you’re ready for more winter fun, add A Loud Winter’s Nap by Katy Hudson to your reading list.

Sexual Content

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Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Frosted Kisses

Former Manhattan girl, Penny, has quickly discovered that life in a small town is never dull. Not when there’s a festival for every occasion, a Queen Bee to deal with, an animal shelter to save, and a cute boy to crush on.

But Hog’s Hallow just got another new girl: Esmeralda. She’s beautiful, French, and just happens to be Charity’s (the Queen Bee’s) best friend. Penny figures with the arrival of Esmeralda, the Queen Bee might be too busy to keep making her life miserable. Penny couldn’t be more wrong.

But Penny doesn’t have a lot of time to worry about Charity. Her best friend, Tally, has recruited her to help save the local animal shelter, which is in danger of closing unless they can raise some desperately needed funds.

Then there’s Marcus, the adorable and mysterious boy that Penny thinks might likes her as much as she likes him. But while things with Marcus are wonderful and fluttery, they are also confusing at the same time. Can Penny and her friends save the animal shelter, navigate her new family dynamics, and get the boy—or will Charity and Esmeralda find a way to ruin everything?

While The Cupcake Queen was a cute romance that would appeal to middle school readers, the second book Frosted Kisses falls flat. Much of the story follows the exact same format as the first book and none of the characters are given any more depth. In addition, there are too many topics—divorce, jealousy, bullying, and parental problems. None of these topics are fully explored. Instead, the story jumps from topic to topic and leaves the reader with too many questions.

In The Cupcake Queen, Penny’s insecurity was understandable because she had just moved to a new town and her parents had recently separated. However, in the second installment of the story, she is still insecure, this time focusing her insecurities on Marcus. Penny’s jealousy and inability to talk to Marcus are frustrating. In addition, the fact that Marcus and Penny do not talk or spend any time together at school is unrealistic.

Frosted Kisses is a holiday-themed romance that doesn’t add any sparkle to the season. Instead, Hepler writes a stagnant story that relies on a typical mean-girl, love-triangle format. There is nothing exciting or wonderful to keep the story interesting. While readers will enjoy the first installment in the series, Frosted Kisses will leave readers disappointed. If you’re looking for a holiday-themed story to read while snuggling up by the fire, the Celebrate the Season Series would make an excellent choice.

Sexual Content

  • Penny wonders if Marcus is going to kiss her, but they are interrupted before anything happens. Penny thinks, “As much as I think I would want Marcus to kiss me, part of me isn’t sure I’m ready. Because there’s this tiny part of me that likes looking forward to it.”
  • Someone tells Penny that Marcus and Charity kissed “a few times last summer.” Penny gets upset and all she “can think of is him kissing her. And I know it was before I knew him and it shouldn’t bother me, but it does.”
  • Penny’s grandmother tells her a story about Dutch, who she dated in the past. When the two rekindle their romance, Penny’s grandmother kisses him several times.
  • At a festival, Marcus “bends and brushes his lips against mine [Penny’s]. And everything falls away.”
  • After Marcus walks Penny home, she kisses him. “I have to stand on my tiptoes to reach. It’s fast and I might have actually missed his mouth a tiny bit, but it was a kiss.”

Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

  • Several times a mean girl calls Penny, “Penny Lame.” The same girl also refers to Penny as a loser.
  • At one point Penny says, “I’m an idiot.”
  • “Oh my God” is used as an exclamation once.

Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

  • When Marcus tells Penny he is going to be tutored, she prays, “Please not Charity. Please not Charity.”

Winter Wonders

It’s Christmas time at Whispering Pines, and everyone is buzzing with excitement—especially since Cat and Mr. Henry are getting married! Delia and Willow have been appointed junior bridesmaids, and there’s a flurry of things to do.

The counts are whipping up a sweet feast of desserts, and they’re determined to top it all off with an extra-special gift for the couple. Meanwhile, Delia can’t wait to share Saugatuck’s festivities with Willow. But when the wedding treats go missing and a blizzard collapses the Food Pantry roof, can Willow and Delia keep Christmas from snowballing into a disaster?

Bake delicious recipes alongside Delia and Willow, as the entire Bumpus clan teams up to save the day in the final installment of this scrumptious series.

Delia and Willow want to give Cat and Mr. Henry the perfect gift, but they just can’t seem to agree on anything. Most of the story comes from this conflict, in addition to Willow being afraid to cook because of a previous disaster. While their family makes quick appearances, readers who have not read the previous books will not connect with them. Unfortunately, most of the family’s appearances do very little to move the plot forward.

Winter Wonders shows the importance of helping those who are less fortunate. Delia and Willow both help at a food pantry and are eager to make Christmas treats to share with those in need. However, their young age makes some of the events unbelievable. For example, the two girls make enough food for a hundred guests.

Cheerful black and white illustrations appear every 2 to 5 pages. While the illustrations focus on Delia and Willow, they also include many of the family members. One character uses several puns and Cat uses fun sayings such as, “I’ll be back, quick as a snowman on ice skates.”

Young readers who love to cook will find Winter Wonders interesting and will enjoy learning new recipes that celebrate winter. However, the slow pace and lack of conflict may cause readers to become quickly bored. If you’re looking for some winter fun, Diary of an Ice Princess by Christina Soontornvat will take you to a magical world while it teaches positive lessons.

Sexual Content

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Violence

  • The girls wanted to make a lobster dinner for Cat and her fiancé, but when the lobsters arrive, the girls didn’t expect them to be alive. Willow’s dad explained, “They’re supposed to be alive before we cook them. Then when the pot is nice and hot, we drop them into the boiling water.” The girls decide not to cook the “creepy crawlers.”

 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Bear Stays Up for Christmas

Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. At first, Bear has a difficult time staying awake, but soon he’s so excited for Christmas day that he can’t sleep. When all of his friends fall asleep, Bear stays up and makes each one a Christmas gift. Bear is so busy making gifts that he doesn’t see Santa come. Bear and his friends share their gifts, and then Bear falls fast asleep.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas has adorably cute illustrations that feature many forest animals, including a rabbit, a badger, a crow, a mole, and a goffer. Each page has colorful illustrations. When Bear and his friends go outside, everything is wintery white as the snow falls. Inside Bear’s lair, the illustrations are completed in warm browns. Each picture has some fun details. For example in one illustration, the goffer and rabbit are playing jump rope with the mouse.

Bear and his friends are kind to each other, and they demonstrate what friendship looks like—caring for each other and spending time with one another. Each page of the story has 1-4 lines of text. The text repetition and rhyming make Bear Stays Up for Christmas a fun story to read aloud. Little readers will fall in love with Bear and his friends, who will inspire them to make gifts for their friends. Bear Stays Up for Christmas will entertain readers as well as teach the true meaning of Christmas.

Sexual Content

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Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Case of the Sneaky Snowman

Who wears a blue scarf and old rubber boots, and has broccoli for a nose? It’s Sherlock — Nancy, Bess, and George’s snowman! The girls are thrilled to be on winter vacation and take part in all of the season’s activities. Nancy’s friend Deirdre has even transformed herself into Madame Chocolata, a fortune-teller who predicts the future by reading hot cocoa marshmallows!

But the wintry days get a little too chilly after many of Deirdre’s visions come true. Sherlock even goes missing — just as predicted! Can the Clue Crew put a freeze on this mystery before it snowballs out of control?

Case of the Sneaky Snowman is a fast-paced story that will have readers trying to figure out the clues to the mystery. Even though the Clue Crew are trying to discover what happened to their snowman, the story also focuses on Bess’s upcoming skating performance. Madame Chocolata predicts that Bess will fall during the performance. Based on this prediction, Bess worries that she is a “loser” and a “baby” who should drop out of the show. However, in the end, Bess performs without making any mistakes.

Mystery lovers will enjoy keeping track of all of the clues and seeing if they can figure out who the culprit is. Nancy and her friends are able to discover the logical reasons behind all of the mysteries in the story. The conclusion wraps everything up nicely and will leave readers laughing. One positive aspect of the story is that Nancy and her friends stay within the bounds that their parents have set for them. Even though they want to solve the mystery, they don’t rush their investigation or jump to conclusions.

Black and white illustrations appear every 2 to 5 pages, which break up the text and help readers visualize the events in the plot. The last page of the book gives directions for making a snowflake out of beads. This modern version of Nancy Drew will entertain readers. Even though many characters appear throughout the Nancy Drew books, each story can be read as a stand-alone.

Readers should grab a blanket, a cup of hot chocolate, and snuggle up to the Case of the Sneaky Snowman. Readers who want to add more mystery to their reading list should check out the King & Kayla Series by Dori Hillestad Butler and The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins Series by Holly Webb.

Sexual Content

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Violence

  • Someone starts throwing snowballs at Nancy and her friends. “Another snowball whizzed over Nancy’s head. It burst on the ground, splattering egg all over the snow. The girls ducked as more eggy snowballs flew by fast and furious.” The snowballs stop flying, but the girls do not know who was throwing them.
  • George throws a snowball at a person dressed as a snowman. George “swung back her arm and hurled it across the street. It hit the snowman on the shoulder with a loud thonk!” The snowman’s head falls off.
  • Someone tries to steal Nancy’s dog.

 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

  • Bess is worried about messing up during an ice skating show. She says, “I’m such a loser.”

Supernatural

  • Deirdre says, “Some fortune-tellers read palms. Others read tea leaves. But I, Madame Chocolata, read the marshmallows in hot chocolate!” Later, the Clue Crew prove that Deirdre’s predictions do not come true.

Spiritual Content

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Blizzard of the Blue Moon

In order to save a hidden unicorn, Jack and Annie time travel to New York City during the Great Depression. The siblings must find where the unicorn is hidden. In order to save the unicorn, they have to find it before the blue moon.

As they look for the unicorn, Jack and Annie get lost in a snow storm. They ride in the subway, find help in Belvedere Castle, and go to an art museum. During their adventure, two people follow them. Jack and Annie think the people are their friends, but they aren’t. Instead, the mysterious people are trying to capture the unicorn.

While the kids are lost in New York, most of the suspense is created by the people following them. In the end, Jack and Annie discover a dark wizard has sent these two people to capture the unicorn. Most of Blizzard of the Blue Moon lacks action, and there are several unrealistic events. However, finding the unicorn adds magic and whimsy to the story and produces a happy conclusion.

Proficient readers who are ready for chapter books will enjoy Blizzard of the Blue Moon’s mystery. While the siblings do not spend much time at each stop, readers will get a glimpse of some historical places. An author’s note includes the information about the Great Depression and the places Jack and Annie visit.

The large text and black and white illustrations every 2 to 7 pages make the story accessible to young readers. The large, detailed illustrations bring the characters to life. As the eighth book in the Merlin Missions Series, fans of the Magic Tree House Series will enjoy this new adventure. However, this part of the series should be read in order because several characters return from the previous books.

Jack and Annie are likable characters who both want to help others. While the story has mystery, none of the events are scary. However, some parents might not like how Jack and Annie use a “rhyme” book to cast spells. With magic, mystery, and two siblings who fight for good, the Magic Tree House series has wide appeal. With 50+ books, the Magic Tree House Series will keep younger readers entertained for years. Readers who want to spend more time jumping into the past should add the Time Jumpers Series by Wendy Mass to their reading list.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • A boy pushes Jack, who falls into the snow.

 Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

Language

  • Annie says “Oh, darn” one time.
  • A girl tells the unicorn, “You are coming with us, stupid, like it or not.”

Supernatural

  • Jack and Annie use a book of rhymes. When one of them say a rhyme, it helps them. For example, when Annie is lost in a storm, Jack uses a rhyme. He says, “Treasure forever must never be lost! Um-motta cal, um-motta bost!” After he says the rhyme, Annie appears.
  • A unicorn was “rescued by magic weavers in the Netherlands. To keep him safe, they used their art to hide him in their tapestries.”
  • On the night of the blue moon, the unicorn will come out of the tapestry when someone says his name. A girl says, “Come, come, my lovely Dianthus, stand up now. Come out of that old rug. . .” After she says the unicorn’s name, he appears next to the girl.
  • A girl tries to catch the unicorn by putting “the black rope around the unicorn’s neck.”
  • To keep the unicorn safe, Jack reads the rhyme book. “Known from high, out of the sky, Ee-no-fain-ee-ro-lie.” Fog covers the ground and keeps the unicorn safely hidden.
  • After Jack and Annie walk through Central Park, statues begin to move. For example, “When they passed the statue of the winged angel, Jack thought he saw her move her great wings.”
  • In order to keep the unicorn safe, Jack turns the girl and her friend into ducks. Merlin tells them that the spell will wear off in a few days.

Spiritual Content

  • None

Bear Snores On

One snowy night, a little mouse wants to get out of the cold. Mouse scurries into Bear’s cave and starts a fire. When Hare shows up, they decide to brew some tea and pop some corn. As more animals stop by to warm up, Bear snores on! Soon Bear’s cave is full of friends who dance in the firelight. What will Bear do when he wakes up to find his cave full of uninvited guests having a party without him?

Readers will want to cuddle up under a warm blanket to read Bear Snores On. As Badger enters Bear’s cave, he shares a treat with Mouse and Hare. As more animals appear, the group tells stories and dances by the fire. The illustrations beautifully contrast the cold winter snow outside with the warm den and firelight. Bear’s sadness when he wakes up and “blubbers on” is expertly illustrated so younger readers will be able to understand his emotions.

Bear Snores On is a wonderful winter story that is a perfect addition to anyone’s reading library. Each page has 1 to 5 sentences that include imagery, onomatopoeias, and rhyme. The poetic text is perfect for reading aloud. The sweet and surprising conclusion will warm readers’ hearts. A Loud Winter’s Nap by Katy Hudson is another winter-themed picture book that is a fun read-aloud story.

Sexual Content

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Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Mr. Murry and Thumbkin

Once there were two very different, but lovable mice. Mr. Murry worries about every little thing all day long. He worries especially about his new neighbor, Thumbkin, who moved into the pumpkin next door. Thumbkin is the most laid-back mouse around and has not a care in the world.

While manic Mr. Murry works and frets to get all of his fall chores done before winter arrives, lethargic Thumbkin lazes around in his yard, soaking up the sun and eating fat pumpkin seeds. Will Mr. Murry, who worries too much, and Thumbkin, who worries too little, even be able to get along and meet somewhere in the middle?

Mr. Murry’s world comes alive in comical, full-page illustrations that have realistic details such as Mr. Murry using a cat food can as a wood stove, and a teapot as a home. The two mice’s facial expressions reveal their varying emotions. Many of the illustrations show Mr. Murry and Thumbkin side-by-side, which highlights the differences between the two. While Mr. Murry is doing laundry, Thumbkin is laying around gnawing on a stalk of hay and singing.

Mr. Murry and Thumbkin teaches the importance of hard work and preparing for autumn. Because Thumbkin spent all summer laying around, his pumpkin home rots. But not even this can discourage Thumbkin, instead, he decides to “lie back and take in the view.” In the end, Mr. Murry saves the freezing Thumbkin and gives him a home. The conclusion shows the two mice happily living together, and the two “met somewhere right in the middle.”

Younger readers will fall in love with the two mice and enjoy looking at all of the details in each picture. Each page has 1-6 simple sentences that use rhyming and onomatopoeia. Even though Mr. Murry and Thumbkin is a picture book, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. Mr. Murry and Thumbkin uses humor to contrast two mice as it teaches readers not to worry or laze around too much. Mr. Murry and Thumbkin is a wonderful story that younger readers will want to read again and again.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Cheer Up

It’s winter and Unicorn and Yeti want to spend time together because they are each other’s best friend. When Unicorn gives Yeti a gift, Yeti wants to give Unicorn a gift too! Then, after Yeti is crunching icicles, Unicorn decides to eat icicles too! The icicles are yummy, but they make Unicorn so cold! Yeti has a solution—he’s going to knit Unicorn a hat, a scarf, and leg warmers for a gift. After Unicorn is warm, the two friends take a walk in the forest.

Unicorn and Yeti is a fun series designed for children who are learning to read. Cheer Up contains easy-to-read text. Each page has a full page of illustrations and contains no more than three sentences. When each character talks, their words appear in different colored quote boxes. Beginning readers should be able to read the text alone and will enjoy flipping through the story multiple times to look at the colorful pictures.

Cheer Up is the perfect book for all young readers—even the ones that become a little bit wiggly after a short time. As the fourth installment in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone story. Unicorn and Yeti show how friends can be different from each other and still enjoy a special friendship. The two friends react to things in different ways and their friendship helps them see another side to the situation. If you’re looking for a fun book that shows the importance of friendship, Cheer Up is a winter-themed book that will warm readers’ hearts.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

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Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

Language

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Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None

The Biggest, Best Snowman

Little Nell lives with BIG mama, BIG Sarah, and BIG Lizzy. They think she’s too small to do anything. So little Nell goes into the big, snowy woods to play with her friends Reindeer, Hare, and Bear Cub. They don’t think she’s too small at all. They think she can build a BIG snowman. And with their help, she does—the biggest, best snowman ever!

Little Nell would like to help with something, but her family thinks she’s too small to help. Nell goes into the snowy woods and plays with her animal friends. When Nell’s friends want her to make a snowman, she says she can’t because “I’m so small.” Bear asks, “How do you know unless you try?” With the help of her friends, Nell makes a gigantic snowman. When she shows her family the snowman, they realize that she isn’t too small to help.

The Biggest, Best Snowman will appeal to a wide range of readers—the story is set in a winter scene with cute forest animals. After Nell and her forest friends have a tea party, they all work to build a snowman. Nell starts by patting snow into a ball, and then each animal helps make the snowball larger. Even the birds help with the snowman by finding objects to make a face. The illustrations have pops of blue and green that help give the story a festive feeling. Nell’s BIG family is portrayed oddly. One sister has silly details, such as holly in her hair and Christmas ornament earrings. However, the other sister is obese, sulky, and ill-mannered.

Even though The Biggest, Best Snowman is a picture book, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. Each page contains 1-8 sentences with some complex sentences. The pictures are beautiful and have some fun details. For example, when the animals roll the snowball, their tracks spell out snow. However, the story’s repetitious dialogue and the repetition of the word BIG may irritate some readers. Some might find the odd sisters and their behavior silly, but others might find it slightly disturbing. For example, the mom pulls the big sisters on a sled, up a hill, while the younger sister has to walk.

The Biggest, Best Snowman teaches that even little kids can do something big with the help of their friends. However, there are better winter books to read including, The Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner, Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer, and A Loud Winter’s Nap by Katy Hudson.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • None

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

Language

  • None

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None

Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?

Who’s knocking on Christmas Eve? Kyri is afraid that it’s the trolls that come every year and gobble up Kyri’s Christmas feast. Kyri hears someone knocking and when she peeks out the window, she sees a boy from Finnmark. Kyri lets the boy and his bear in, then quickly closes the door.

The next time Kyri hears knocking, she knows it’s the trolls. Kyri and the boy from Finnmark try to keep the trolls outside, but the trolls are able to sneak in. The hungry trolls chase Kyri and the boy outside. As the trolls eat Kyri’s Christmas dinner, Kyri wonders if anyone will be able to save it.

Beuer brings a Norwegian fairytale to life with her beautiful illustrations. Each picture is detailed and includes side panels, borders, and a lot of winter landscapes. The artwork is beautiful, but the trolls may be frightening for younger readers. In order to fully grasp the story’s illustrations, readers must look at the decorative side panels that focus on the different characters.

Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? is not a typical Christmas story. Although the story takes place in winter, the focus is on the mischievous trolls who want to gobble up dinner. Some readers may be frightened by both the trolls and the polar bear that chases them away. Even though Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? is a picture book, it is intended to be read aloud to a child rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. Each page has four or fewer lines of text. The complex sentences and detailed pictures will require readers to take their time to enjoy the story. Even though the story is not well-developed, readers will enjoy the pictures and the conclusion of Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • None

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

Language

  • None

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None

Snowmen At Night

Have you ever wondered about the secret life of a snowman? Maybe one morning his grin is a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have drooped, and you’ve thought. . . What do snowmen do at night?

Now is your chance to marvel at their magical frosty adventures, as roly-poly snowmen slide away to the park for an evening of wintertime merrymaking. Once the sun goes down, let the snowman fun begin! And just to add to the wintertime mystery, Mark Buehner has hidden the following in his paintings: a cat, a rabbit, a Santa face, and a Tyrannosaur Rex.

Snowmen At Night is a simple story about the fun snowmen have when everyone is asleep. Told in rhyme with entertaining imagery, readers will enjoy seeing snowmen sipping hot coca, skating on a frozen pond, and having a snowball fight. Most pages have one sentence, which makes Snowman At Night a wonderful read-aloud bedtime story. To add to the story’s appeal, the text is not always linear; it occasionally swoops along with the snowmen.

Even though Snowman At Night is a picture book, it is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. The story’s illustrations are bright, colorful, and the snowmen often look like they are ready to jump off the page. To add to the fun, the reader can search for hidden images within the illustrations. Snowman At Night is a fabulously fun story that will keep its appeal year after year. Grab a hot chocolate, snuggle up with a little one, and let Snowman At Night show you what fun winter can be. Readers who want to add more winter fun should add A Snowy Nap by Jan Brett to their reading list.

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The Little Lost Robin

On the edge of the deep wood lives an old Hare. Once he would dance under the magical moon, but now he spends his time daydreaming. Every day, the Hare would walk into the woods and feed the birds. All of the birds fly away for the winter, except Robin. Every day, the Hare walks in the woods to visit his friend.

Hare worries about Robin when a big storm blows in, covering everything in snow. The next morning, Hare goes in search of his friend. Is Robin safe? Will Hare find his friend?

Beautiful artwork brings Hare and Robin’s friendship to life. The story starts with gentle green mountains and fades to muted fall colors and finally to the blistery white of winter. As Hare wanders into the woods, younger readers will enjoy looking for Robin’s scarlet feathers. Hare’s facial expressions show that he cares for Robin. The Little Lost Robin is a beautiful story about the benefit of their special friendship.

The Little Lost Robin doesn’t only have beautiful pictures; the poetic words use alliteration, imagery, and dialogue to describe the woods and the animal’s friendships. It is unclear why Robin does not fly south with the other birds. However, Robin’s experiences would be the perfect way for parents to introduce the reason why birds fly south for the winter.

The Little Lost Robin is a picture book that is intended to be read aloud to a child, instead of being read independently. With five or fewer sentences on each page, the story is a quick read. The Little Lost Robin is a sweet story about two friends that help make each other’s day more enjoyable. Readers who would like a little more fall fun should add A Loud Winter’s Nap by Katy Hudson to their reading list.

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The Snowy Nap

Snow is on the way and as Hedgie trundles around the farm all his friends tell him of the winter-time fun he will miss when he hibernates—Icicles decorating the chicken coop! Lisa making snowmen! The pond turned to slippery ice! It sounds so amazing that Hedgie decides to stay awake instead of going to his burrow. But when a snowstorm starts, Lisa has to rescue Hedhie and bring him inside. But it’s okay! Hedgie gets to see the wonders of winter from inside the cozy house.

Readers will be introduced to the idea of hibernation from Hedgie’s point of view. As the curious hedgehog walks through the farm, different animals tell Hedgie what he will miss while he is taking his long winter nap. Although there is little action, animal lovers will enjoy all the farm animals. Before he hibernates, Hedgie is able to see the other animals enjoy winter activities. Readers will giggle when the farm animals take over Lisa’s living room because they want to see winter “from a nice warm house.”

Bauer’s illustrations have an old-fashioned feeling to them. Each picture is detailed and includes side panels, borders, and a lot of winter activities. The artwork is beautiful and charming. Hedgie appears on each page, and also includes decorative side panels that focus on the different animals. The hedgehog is absolutely adorable and readers will love how the other animals look through the windows to take a peek at Hedgie, who is tucked in a warm bed by the window.

As readers fall into the winter landscape, they will be able to relate to Hedgie, who really wants to be a part of the adventures of winter. Even though A Long Winter Nap is a picture book, it is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. Each page has four or fewer sentences. The complex sentences and detailed pictures will require readers to take their time to enjoy the story. Readers who want more winter fun should add Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer to their reading list.

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Drugs and Alcohol

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Max & Mo Make a Snowman

Max and Mo, two hamsters, live in a comfortable cage in a classroom. They love watching the boys and girls. Now that it’s wintertime, the children head outside to play in the snow and make a snowman. The hamsters want to enjoy the snow, but it’s too cold. Instead, Max and Mo decide to stay in the warm, cozy classroom. How can they keep snuggly warm and make a snowman too?

Max’s and Mo’s classroom comes to life through both text and illustrations. The two hamsters are adorably cute and creative too. Instead of going outside in the cold, the hamsters jump into the Odds and Ends bin and find art supplies. As they watch the children, they begin to make their very own paper snowman. The story ends with directions so little readers can also make their very own snowman.

With repeating words and 1-3 simple sentences per page, Max & Mo Make a Snowman is perfect for beginning readers. Anyone who wants to get into the winter spirit will enjoy seeing Max and Mo build their own snowman. The two cute hamsters use creative problem solving to make a great snowman. Readers who enjoyed Max & Mo Make a Snowman may also like the Pets on the Loose series by Victoria Jamieson; however, young readers would need parents to read the graphic novel to them.

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Winter Dance

Snow is coming, and it’s time to get ready! The squirrel gathers nuts, the geese soar south, and the snowshoe hare puts on its new white coat. But what should the fox do? Each animal advises the fox and says its own plan is best, but the fox thinks otherwise. However, it’s not until he meets a golden-eyed friend that he finds the perfect way to celebrate the snowfall.

Beautifully illustrated, Winter Dance combines poetry, dialogue, and onomatopoeias into a fun story that is perfect for reading aloud. Even though Winter Dance is a picture book, it intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. The story shows how various animals—bats, bears, caterpillars, squirrels, and more—prepare for winter. Without sounding like a text book, the story explores the different animal habits. As the fox talks to the animals, he learns that each animal must discover what works best for them.

The story’s illustrations beautifully convey the calm and peaceful start of winter. As the fox tries to answer, “What should I do?” the winter landscape comes alive. Endearing illustrations end with the fox finding a friend who he can enjoy a winter dance with. Winter Dance celebrates the winter season and will delight younger readers. Each page has five or fewer short sentences, making the story a quick read and an excellent bedtime story.

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A Loud Winter’s Nap

Tortoise is set in his ways. He doesn’t like winter. He’s been planning his long winter nap, and now he’s ready to find a peaceful place to snuggle up. Tortoise has his pillow, his teddy bear, and his ear plugs. But what will tortoise do when the robins create a ruckus with their winter singing class?

Readers will giggle as Tortoise tries successfully to find a peaceful sleeping spot. But every time he snuggles down to sleep, a different forest animal wakes him up – from the playful squirrel who invites him to a snowball fight to the beaver who chops down the tree he’s sleeping in. Tortoise just doesn’t understand winter fun. All he knows is that “tortoises just don’t like winter!”

A Loud Winter’s Nap is a beautifully illustrated picture book that explores the joy of winter. Rabbit noisily creates an ice sculpture. Squirrel starts a snowball fight with the sleeping tortoise. Colorful illustrations add little details that will delight readers. Each animal is adorably cute and has expressive facial expressions. Readers will enjoy finding Tortoise’s teddy bear in each picture.

The text includes onomatopoeia words and repetition that will capture young readers’ attention. With four or fewer sentences per page, A Loud Winter’s Nap would be a fun story to read aloud. Readers will want to grab a blanket, a teddy bear, and curl up with this fun book. A Loud Winter’s Nap will become many children’s favorite winter book.

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Red Fox Running

Red Fox runs on and on through the snow in search of food for his family. Then, he makes the long trek back to his den where his mate and cubs are waiting. The lyrical poem focuses on a winter day and on Red Fox’s search for food. As he searches, he notices many different animals. Unlike many children’s books, Red Fox Running doesn’t shy away from the hunger that animals face in the winter. Red Fox is described as starving and desperate to find food.

The beautiful poem is accompanied by large, full-color illustrations. Although many of the illustrations show Red Fox in a winter landscape, there are other wildlife shown such as duck, geese, and a rabbit. The ending of the story shows Red Fox carrying a dead animal in his mouth. Even though Red Fox’s dinner is not recognizable, the illustration might upset some children.

Even though Red Fox Running is a picture book, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child rather than for a child to read it for the first time independently. Each page of the poem has 8-9 short lines. Many of the pages have no words, but they use the illustrations to bring the winter landscape and the forest animals to life instead. Even though the illustrations are stunning and the poem uses a concerned tone, younger readers who are not ready to be introduced to animals hunting for pray will want to leave Red Fox Running on the shelf.

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  • Red Fox finds his pray. “Dragging it behind you / Along the ground. / Your paws are raw and bleeding / Your body’s sore and spent.” Red Fox takes the food to his “mate and cubs, / Eat your fill and then / All curled up together.”

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A Long Way from Home

It’s bedtime in the burrow, and as usual, Noah is squished and squashed by sleepy rabbits. So out into the night he goes. Outside Noah meets his friend Albatross, who flies him to the land of the North Star, where sky and snow go on forever. When Noah falls from Albatross’s back, he’s not worried.

At first Noah loves being the only rabbit as he explores the snowy world. There’s no one to squish or squash him. But when Noah snuggles up in an icy nest, he missing the cozy nest full of snuggly siblings. Noah wants to go home, but without wings how will he make it home? Will ever find Albatross?

The beautiful illustrations begin by showing Noah’s cramped bunny den. Noah is being squeezed by his favorite sister, Ella. But Noah doesn’t want to be held like a teddy bear. As the story progresses, the animals’ expressions convey emotions. Noah visits a beautiful winter wonderland filled with blues and whites. The fanciful illustrations are lovely and young readers will want to look at them again and again.

Even though A Long Way Home is a picture book, the story intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. Each page has 2-6 lines of text and some of the sentences are complex. However, the easy-to-read story’s topic makes A Long Way Home a good bedtime story.

Children will relate to Noah’s story. Even though adults will find A Long Way Home predictable, younger readers will love Noah’s adventure in the snow and understand the theme. Noah learns to appreciate his family despite being squished and squashed. Parents can use Noah’s story to discuss different habitats, Noah’s personal growth, as well as the importance of appreciating what you have. A Long Way Home uses a winter landscape to create a warm story that highlights the joy of family.

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