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Some of the Year's Best Kids Books for Beginning Readers, 2011

<img src="http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/files/santacruz/2011WinterNewsletterCov... align=right hspace=5 />These recommendations from our staff were published in our <a href="http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/2011-winter-newsletter">2011 Winter Newsletter</a>.

We Are in a Book! written & illustrated by Mo Willems

Willems has made a new generation of genuinely easy-to-read Easy Readers. Writing a great book using a very limited, repetitive vocabulary, of mostly one-syllable, consonant-vowel-consonant words, is very hard to do. Unfortunately, this does not keep a lot of writers from trying. Mo Willems succeeds. His Cat the Cat, Who Is That? is lovely, but my utter favorite is We Are in a Book!. Here two friends, a pig and an elephant, discuss several existential dilemmas in simple, clean, easy, and very funny (meta)text. Ages 5 through adult.

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We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) Cover Image
By Mo Willems, Mo Willems (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781423133087
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hyperion Books for Children - September 14th, 2010

Happy Birthday Sophie Hartley by Stephanie Greene

“Things get complicated for impulsive, prone-to-enthusiasms middle-child Sophie when her whole 4th-grade class finds out she’s getting a baby gorilla for her birthday—which she definitely isn’t. A lively chapter book exemplary for its humor, believable family dynamics, and characters who talk and act like real people.” —The Horn Book. Grades 2–4.

Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780547550251
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Clarion Books - August 1st, 2011

Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

About Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus, the third installment of this new, immediately likable series for new readers, School Library Journal says, “Atinuke handles the complexity of life in Africa (and the differences between life there and in North America) with deftness and grace. Serious concepts like racism, poverty, and social activism are covered as simply and expertly as dealing with taking the blame for a sibling’s misbehavior without becoming heavy-handed or unsuitable for early chapter-book audiences. Although elements of Anna’s life may be foreign to some readers, her sweet nature and youthful troubles are common to children everywhere. The expressive black-and-white images that weave seamlessly through the texts enhance the stories beautifully. Anna Hibiscus is a lovely, rare bird of a series, providing a modern view of another culture in warm, approachable language.” Grades 1–3.

How Oliver Olson Changed the World by Claudia Mills

Oliver Olson’s problem could easily be every kid’s dream: His parents do his homework for him. But they are also so overprotective that the 3rd-grade space sleepover is absolutely out of the question for Oliver. When he connects with outspoken classmate Crystal about their mutual dismay at Pluto’s demotion from planet-status, Oliver begins to feel more confident about expressing his opinions, even as he fears disappointing his parents. Heartfelt and emotionally resonant, but full of humor and deftly drawn characters, Mills has created another winner for young readers. Grades 2–4.

Reviewed by: 
Holly
How Oliver Olson Changed the World Cover Image
By Claudia Mills, Heather Maione (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780312672829
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Square Fish - October 25th, 2011

The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

“J.J. Tully, retired search-and-rescue dog, is one tough cookie—laconic, unflappable, and master of speech noir: ‘Sometimes there’s a plan, sometime’s there’s only adrenaline. Sometimes adrenaline is all you need.’ He is lured out of retirement by a determined chicken who promises him a cheeseburger if he’ll take on the case of her kidnapped offspring.…Tidily embedded clues, a generous scattering of vignette and full-page illustrations, a dandy plot twist, and a cast of hilarious characters add up to a treat of particular delight to fans of the mystery genre, dog lovers, and the chicken positive.” —The Horn Book. Grades 3–5.

The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery Cover Image
By Doreen Cronin, Kevin Cornell (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780061215346
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 24th, 2012

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