Tag Archives: recommended reading

Billy Twitters and his Big Whale Problem

By Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Adam Rex

Disney/Hyperion Books, 2009

Mom says…”Billy Twitters, clean up your room, or we’re buying you a blue whale…” But I’m not worried. See, I know a thing or two about blue whales. I mean, they’re the biggest animals in the world, ever. It’s not like you can just have one delivered to your house overnight.

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The Well at the End of the World


By Robert D. San Souci, Illustrated by Rebecca Walsh

Chronicle Books, 2004

The King of Colchester was a kind and just man, but not a very good ruler. Oh, he did fine dubbing knights or deciding what to have for dinner. But it was his daughter, Princess Rosamond, who really ran the kingdom. She advised her father on matters of state, kept the royal accounts, and fixed the drawbridge when it wouldn’t rise or lower. People often said it was a shame she wasn’t beautiful, too. But practical Rosamond would just laugh and say, “I prefer good books to good looks. I may not be pretty, but my father’s treasury is in order, the drawbridge works, and I’ve almost saved up enough for a new set of royal dishes!”

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By Liesel Moak Skorpen, Pictures by Martha Alexander

Harper & Row, 1971

When Charles felt like quiet times, the girl blew her horn and beat her drum or brushed him with a bristly brush singing loud songs that he didn’t like. When Charles felt like doing things, she said he was sick and put him to bed. She poked a thermometer in his eye and dribbled sugar water down his chin.

Books are all the much better when they’re inscribed. I always appreciate opening this tiny book, a Christmas gift for me when I was five, and and seeing “with love” so carefully penned in my grandparents’ handwriting.  Charles is the story of a toy bear who wants to “belong to someone.” That someone is, at first, a spoiled, insensitive girl. Luckily, she trades Charles to a kind-hearted boy whose mother knits matching blue sweaters for them. No one can draw angry girls better than Martha Alexander and this book is largely responsible for my deep-seated suspicion? Belief? that stuffed animals and dolls most certainly have feelings, too.

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