Spunky Clementine is forever getting into trouble, but always with the best intentions. Children who are always being told to ‘Pay Attention!’ will especially appreciate this little hero.
Watch Out For: Clementine cuts off her hair, colors her scalp, and various other crazy things. She temporarily scares off her best friend and genuinely fears that her parents plan to sell her. Clementine helps her father solve the problem of, as the book describes it, ‘pigeon splat’ on their building.
Bethany gradually realizes how bizarre her childhood has been after her parents drop her off with an unknown aunt. She eventually finds the reasons behind her incredible beginning.
Watch Out For: Bethany discovers that she is a clone of her parents’ first child, who died young. The personal implications of identity and self-determination are major themes, but the greater ethical issues of cloning are not discussed. Bethany was one of four clones, she was the only who survived. Other topics include trust and communication.
Sneaky Weasel has schemed and cheated his way to wealth, but can’t understand why no one comes to his party. After making things right, Weasel’s new friends enjoy a fun party.
Watch Out For: Weasel is mean and self-absorbed, and is only nice so that people will spend time with him. The concept of being good for it’s own sake is not mentioned. All of the mean and nice things Weasel does is shown in illustration rather than words.
The fun and fear of a thunder storm is nicely expressed in this wonderful book.
Watch Out For: The storm is exciting but may be scary. A favorite chicken gets caught in the storm and doesn’t want to be taken inside.
Fans of the movie may be surprised to find that this book is over 30 years old. The book is a simpler tale of the town of Chewandswallow, with no explanation given for the food-based weather.
Watch Out For: A city is destroyed by massive pancakes and meatballs. Townspeople have to flee to a new town and have to learn to buy their own food. Picky eaters may take encouragement from characters complaining about broccoli and gorgonzola.
After a move into a new town, Hero meets a mysterious neighbor and plays detective to find a missing jewel and possibly discover the true identity of the Bard. This mystery novel is based on historical facts and may interest your reader in the dispute behind who wrote Shakespeare’s plays.
Watch Out For: Hero suffers the travails of a new school and trying to make new friends. The main mystery raises issues such as disobedience, white lies and broken trust, broken families and unlikely reunions.
Grimes uses poetry to tell the mirrored stories of two boys: a modern day child of divorce and biblical Ishmael. This amazing book should help convince teens that poetry does not have to rhyme, and can be a great read.
Watch Out For: Both stories call upon God and include prayer and church, but there are few specifics. Divorce, remarriage, hypocrisy and betrayal by the father, and forgiveness are major themes.
Did you ever wonder how bumbling Amelia Bedelia managed to hold down a job? It’s the cooking, of course. This new book shows young Amelia learning to bake with her grandparents.
Watch Out For: Some children might not get the puns , which are far fewer than in the classic Amelia Bedelia books. The whole family learns a lesson in sharing, with each other and with the birds. The book includes an apple pie recipe.
As if high school isn’t tough enough, Rachel also has to deal with the discovery that her little sister is a witch. Not one to miss an opportunity, Rachel is quick to manipulate the situation for her own benefit: she makes the team, gets the guy, and almost cancels her dad’s wedding.
Watch Out For: Witchcraft, obviously, is a plot point. The consequences of casting spells to get what you want is the main theme, however. Rachel must learn about the qualities of real friends, the virtues of hard work, and that her ‘evil step mother’ really isn’t that bad. Rachel makes some very bad decisions and has to live with disappointment and the guilt of having hurt others.
Harry is worried about his Aunt Rose getting married, especially after hearing horror stories from friends. But even after his dog interrupts the ceremony, Harry realizes that weddings, and his new uncle, can be a lot of fun.
Watch Out For:
If you are reading this book to help a nervous child prepare for an upcoming family wedding, this book may introduce some new fears. Tales of pinched cheeks, lost rings and intruding cats complicate things, but the wedding turns out fine.