When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A bookworm's breakfast - 3

It's March Break here this week, and among all of the other activities we're enjoying with our free time together, the boys and I are glad for some extra opportunities to relax with a few great new books. When I peeked in on them this morning, Noah and Will were passing the hour before we left for our favourite indoor playground hanging out on Noah's bed. Will sat completely mesmerized while Noah read aloud one of Geronimo Stilton's recent adventures to him. I really love catching them in these moments of quiet comradery.

If you're looking to expand your children's library, this week is a great time to do so. Indigo/Chapters/Coles bookstores are offering 20% off all children's books in-store during the March Break (and they're also hosting some fun activities for kids at many of their locations). Perhaps your family will find a new book to love in one of today's recommendations.

3-5 year olds: Duck & Goose by Tad Hills

When Duck and Goose simultaneously discover a big, spotted "egg", each of them tries to claim ownership and gain control over what to do with it, initially resulting in scuffles and squabbles between them. However, while they are both determinedly sitting on the egg and waiting for it to hatch, the two birds realize that they have some important things in common. Duck and Goose may not get what they expected from trying to hatch the egg, but in sharing a special, selfless act together, each of them gains a wonderful new friend. Tad Hills' engaging text and expressive, colourful illustrations make this a truly appealing spring read for younger children.

6-8 year olds: Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

This absolutely delightful book describes the escapades and enduring friendship of two unique girls through three different adventures. Bink is a dishevelled, enthusiastic young lover of outrageous socks, pancakes, and pet goldfish, while Gollie is a more reserved, well-spoken adventurer and a quick-thinking problem solver. Their personalities and ways of seeing the world differ, but these two girls are truly "marvelous companions" and always figure out a way to compromise. Primary grade readers will find DiCamillo and McGhee's portrayal of Bink and Gollie's relationship both incredibly funny and tender, and Tony Fucile's brightly coloured illustrations set among black and white ones are as vivid and intriguing as the two girls' adventures.

9-12 year olds: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

This week's 9-12 year old book recommendation was once again written by my 9 year old son, Noah, who is extremely happy about all of the uninterrupted hours of reading time he has over March Break!

Hugo Cabret, an orphan, clock keeper, and a thief, has found an automaton, a machine that's identical to a human. Before he was dead, Hugo's father had told him the automaton could write, so Hugo is desperate to continue his father's work and discover the automaton's message. This book has beautiful illustrations and has even won the Caldecott Medal. The drawings were amazing and I was stunned when I first saw them because of how realistic they looked. The pictures tell the story almost as well as the words do. Out of 533 pages, 284 of them are drawings, but I still knew exactly what was happening. If readers are looking for a cross between a picture book and a novel, this book is perfect. (Thanks, Noah!)

As always, I'd love to hear what you love about these and other great children's books in the comments section below. Have a wonderful March Break!

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