With reoccurring images of crowns, tigers, teapots and spheres, Pamela Zagarenski’s The Whisper takes readers back to the fantastical world created in her Caldecott Honor-winning books, Sleep Like a Tiger and Red Sings from Treetops.
When Cole asks his mother for a story about a bear, she shares a true tale, one forgotten by time. It all starts with Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian from Winnipeg, Manitoba. During World War I, Harry travels by train across Canada to care for soldiers’ horses. At one of these stops, Harry gets off to stretch his legs and sees a trapper with a bear cub. Noticing something special about the bear, Harry’s “heart made up his mind,” and he buys the bear for 20 dollars.
He doesn’t have the worm-fed physique of the robin, the glossy red pompadour of the cardinal, or the impressively sculpted chest muscles of the eagle. No, Nerdy Birdy’s glasses are too big, his wings are too small, and he’s allergic to birdseed.
“It happened overnight.” On April 9, 1940, German forces invaded Denmark, where they would remain until surrendering in 1945. Also overnight was the start of a Danish resistance movement—not the result of government initiatives, but rather the selfless actions of individuals who risked their lives.
Bowser has led a tough life, avoiding thugs in the city before ending up in an animal rescue shelter in Louisiana’s bayou country. Life hasn’t been easy for 11-year-old Birdie Gaux, either. With a police detective father killed in the line of duty and an engineering mother working on an oil rig off the coast of Africa, Birdie is being raised by Grammy, who owns a bait store and gives swamp tours. When Birdie selects Bowser as a belated birthday present, the lovable mutt and spunky tween become a formidable sleuthing team.
The fact that the world’s not fair is a hard concept for children to learn, but 11-year-old Julia Delaney (based on the author’s mother-in-law, also named Julia) knows this lesson all too well. She's growing up in St. Louis’ tough Irish neighborhood of Kerry Patch in the winter of 1911, one of the coldest winters in Missouri's history.
Everyone knows the possibilities of planting a garden, but in this story with a clever twist, a rabbit and mouse learn the real benefits of planting seeds. As the sun rises, the big-eyed, cute-as-a-button rabbit and mouse plant a tomato seed, a carrot seed and a cabbage seed. As the days pass with rain and shine, they tend to their seeds with love and care until they reap the rewards of juicy and crunchy vegetables.
When young Ursula Brown reaches the estate of the Vaughns (who are also recognizable as the Three Bears) to be a governess for their son, Teddy, her story becomes less a simple fairy-tale retelling and more of a mash-up of classic literary tropes.
Emily Jenkins will bring out the foodie in any reader as she traces the preparation of blackberry fool through four centuries in A Fine Dessert. Starting in 1710 in Lyme, England, a mother and daughter pick wild blackberries from the field surrounding their cottage. Then begins the labor-intensive process that includes milking the cow, skimming the cream, beating the cream with twigs, straining the berries through muslin to get rid of seeds and chilling the delightful blend of berries and cream in an ice pit in the hillside.
At the end of a birthday party, the best gift a little girl receives is her black-and-white tuxedo cat. In Tiptop Cat, author and illustrator C. Roger Mader portrays this cat’s independent and slightly mischievous new life. Seen from Tiptop’s perspective, the rich pastel illustrations depict the cat at eye-level as he explores under tables and beds, defies dizzying heights along the balcony railing and climbs neighborhood rooftops to his favorite spot: a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the world.