Category Archives: 5 years+

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

By Roald Dahl, Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Alfred A. Knopf, 1964

“Mr Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change color every ten seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips. He can make chewing gum that never loses its taste, and candy balloons that you can blow up to enormous sizes before you pop them with a pin and gobble them up. And by a most secret method, he can make lovely blue birds’ eggs with black spots on them, and when you put one of these in your mouth, it gradually gets smaller and smaller until suddenly there is nothing left except a tiny little pink sugary baby bird sitting on the tip of your tongue.”

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Nate the Great and the Lost List

 

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by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illustrated by Marc Simont

Yearling, 1975

I, Nate the Great, am a busy detective. One morning I was not busy. I was on my vacation. I was sitting under a tree enjoying the breeze with my dog, Sludge, and a pancake. He needed a vacation too. My friend Claude came into the yard. I knew that he had lost something. Claude was always losing things…”I lost the grocery list I was taking to the grocery store. Can you help me find it?” “I, Nate the Great, am on my vacation,” I said. “When will your vacation be over?” “At lunch.”

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Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair

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By Patricia Polacco

Philomel Books, 1996

Absolutely everybody in Triple Creek loved their TV sets. No one could remember a time when there wasn’t a TV in every home. Nor could they remember when they weren’t watching TV. Their TV’s were always on. While they ate their meals. While they worked. While they played. They even kept photos of their TV’s on their mantels along with all the pictures of their family members.

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Full House

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By Dayle Ann Dodds, Illustrated by Abby Carter

Candlewick Press, 2007

The Strawberry Inn was run by Miss Bloom. Happy was she to fill every room. With one for herself and five for the guests, there were six rooms in all for a cozy night’s rest.

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Chloe’s Birthday…And Me

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By Giselle Potter

Atheneum Books, 2004

As we drove into Le Cerisier — which means “the cherry tree” in French — I squeezed my eyes shut. I wish it were my birthday, I wish it were my birthday, I said in my head over and over. Chloe was too little to even care that it was her birthday, and my birthday was my favorite day of the year — much better than Christmas or Halloween because all the attention is just for you.

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One Hen

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Written by Kate Smith Milway, Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

Kids Can Press, 2008

Kojo and his mother live in a village in the Ashanti region of Ghana. None of the twenty families in the village have much money, but they do have a good idea. Each family promises to save a bit of money so that one family can borrow all the savings to buy something important.

My son snatched this off a shelf just as our library was closing yesterday.  It’s the story, to quote the front flap, of “how changes happen in the world, one person, one family, one community at a time.” A book about microfinance? Obviously, this could have been ridiculously pedagogical. Happily, it’s not.  One Hen is based on the story of Kwabena Darko, a real boy from Ghana who lost his father at an early age and  began taking care of hens to help his mother support their family.  When he became a successful poultry farmer, he founded Sinapi Aba (Mustard Seed) Trust, and in 2006 alone, gave out small loans to over 50,000 Ghanians. Cool, right?  The vivid illustrations have a dreamy quality which complement Milway’s matter-of-fact, yet still poetic prose.

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