Click, Clack, Quackity Quack: An Alphabetical Adventure


Cronin, Doreen. Click, Clack, Quackity Quack: An Alphabetical Adventure. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin. Atheneum, 2005.  ISBN-13: 978-0689877155


What’s the story?

Animals engaged in various alliterative activities designed to help children learn the alphabet.

Book Review

This installment of the popular “Cows that type” series is an alliterative alphabet book that will delight toddlers and preschool children. The letter C is of course devoted to the “clickety-clack” of the cows typing. There are also “duck dashing,” “eggs emptying,” and “inchworms inching.” There is a bit of a plot, since the animals are all racing to a picnic. At the end they all fall asleep, which is characterized by the letter Z, as in “ZZZZZZZZ.” It’s a quick and fun read which will provide joy to a child learning the alphabet. The illustrations feature highly animated creatures who are mostly engaged in the process of running. There are lots of amusing details to keep a child interested in following the story while learning the letters of the alphabet and new words, as well. Cronin and Lewin won the Caldecott Honor for Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type in 2000. Click, Clack, Quackity Quack is equally entertaining.

Awards and Recognition

Bank Street Best Books of the Year
IRA/CBC Children’s Choices
NAPPA Gold Award Winner

 Other Formats and Versions

Cronin, Doreen. Click Clack ABC Board Book. Little Simon, 2010. 24 pages. Tr. $7.99. ISBN-13: 978-1416991243

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A Classic Revisited: Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China

Young, Ed. Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China. Philomel Library Edition, 1989. 32 pages.  ISBN-13: 978-0-698-11382-4


What’s the story?

Three little girls are left alone at home when an old woman comes by claiming to be their grandmother. She doesn’t look like their beloved Po Po. The three little girls have to find ways to outsmart this wolf.


This version of the familiar tale of the little girl dressed in red who visits her grandmother in the woods has many interesting variations to the beloved story. Instead of one girl, there is a trio of sisters who are at home when the wolf comes to visit disguised as an old woman and claims to be the girls’ grandmother or “Po Po” and asks to be let into the house. Like the more familiar Little Red Riding Hood, these girls are not fooled by the hairy deep voiced woof. The illustrations are a mixture of watercolors and pastel with the techniques of Chinese panel art. This version offers the standard warnings about strangers and using one’s intelligence and powers of observation to recognize danger, but it also adds the element of working together and relying on your familiar to help you to avoid harm. This is a perfect book for children who love the Little Red Riding Hood story and is an excellent way to make them aware of other cultures who share their familiar stories.

Other Awards and Recognition

Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards 1990
Caldecott Medal 1990

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Bang, Molly. When Sophie Gets Angry- Really Really Angry. Blue Sky Press, 1999. 32 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-590-18979-8


What’s the story?

When she is asked to share her toy with her sister, Sophie gets really, really angry and runs away.


In this multiple award winning book, including the Caldecott Honor, a little girl named Sophie explodes with rage after her sister snatches her toy gorilla away and causes her to fall on to a toy truck. Sophie has an angry fit which is demonstrated via an explosive rage illustrated with bursts of color and words formed into shapes of fire and volcanic eruptions. After she wanders away from home, she finds soothing comfort by climbing a tree and feeling the calming forces of a breeze and the sound of the waves from the ocean view. This book explores the natural process of anger and our ability to overcome it. The illustrations are a mix of vivid and saturated colors which emphasize Sophie’s array of emotions as the story progresses. This is a wonderful book for children and adults to discuss emotions and feelings of fairness or lack of fairness with the concept of sharing.

Awards and Recognition

Caldecott Honor Book 2000
Charlotte Zolotow Award 2000
American Library Association Notable Books for Children 2000
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Children’s Book Review: Night Lights

Gal, Susan. Night Lights. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 32 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-375-95862-5

What’s the story? 

A little girl and her family are depicted in the many different types of light that are visible at night.


Illustrator Susan Gal makes a stunning debut with this nearly wordless book that simply has words or compound words about some of the types of light, including “streetlights” and “porch light,” that we encounter every night after the sun sets. There are wonderful vignettes of family life and normal activities that require a light source. The highlights include a dog’s birthday party complete with a birthday cake with a dog bone design with the single word “candlelight.” The illustrations are rich with detail capturing the mysterious world of the night. There is also a wonderful use of shadow and illumination. The book ends with “night-light” “moonlight” and “good night” which makes it a perfect bedtime book for toddlers.

Author Information

Susan Gal

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Children’s Book Review: Los Gatos Black on Halloween (Pura Belpre Award 2008)


Montes, Marisa. Los Gatos Black on Halloween. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales. Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers, 2006. 32 pages.  ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-7429-1


What’s the story?

This book explores the wondrous things happen on Halloween night, including a party at the Haunted Hall.


This Pura Belpre Honor Book winner of 2008 is the captivating story of both real and imaginary creatures that are associated with Halloween. It’s not surprising that artist Yuyi Morales is a multiple award winner. The illustrations are stunning, lush with details in deep dark colors, and are both scary and whimsical. Each two page illustration depicts Halloween night creatures, including black cats, werewolves, well-dressed skeletons, and witches of all shapes and sizes as they head for a ball being held at a haunted mansion. The illustrations are the main point of reading this book, so be prepared to stop for a few minutes on every page. The story is wittily told, and what makes it additionally intriguing is that there’s a Spanish word or two in every sentence. There’s a glossary of Spanish words at the back of the book because the Spanish words are not translated in the text of the story.

Other Awards and Recognition
American Library Association Notable Books for Children 2008

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Children’s Book Review: New Year at the Pier (Sidney M. Taylor Book Award 2010)


Wayland, April Halprin. New Year at the Pier. Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009. 32 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0803732797


 What’s the story?

On Rosh Hashanah, Izzy and his family make lists of the wrongs they have committed over the past year, and after they have apologized, they throw pieces of bread into the water to “clean their hearts” in a ceremony called tashlich.


This Sydney M. Taylor Award Book for Young Readers winner of 2010 is the compelling story of a family preparing to celebrate the Jewish New Year. Izzy is a little boy who is supposed to admit to his mistakes, but can’t bring himself to admit the most important one of all. Both children and adults can empathize with the feeling of remorse and regret, and will recognize themselves and their family and friends as being similar to the characters in the story. The illustrations are watercolors in a palette inspired by the colors of autumn, and the drawings have touches that suggest movement reminiscent of a breezy autumn day. This is a great book to introduce children to the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, since it explains the meaning of the Tashlich in an easy to understand way.

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Autumn & Winter Book Festivals

Alphabetical List of Autumn and Winter Events

Banff Mountain Book Festival
Banff, Alberta, Canada

Books by the Banks
Cincinnati, OH

Buckeye Book Fair
Wooster, OH

California Indian Storytelling Festival
Venue varies

Connecticut Children’s Book Fair
Storrs, CT

Delaware Book Festival
Dover, DE

George West Storyfest
George West, TX

Great Smoky Mountain Book Fair
Sylva, NC

Guadalajara International Book Fair
Guadalajara, Mexico

Illinois Authors Book Fair
Illinois Center for the Book
Springfield, IL

Independent and Small Press Book Fair (formerly Small Press Book Fair)
New York, NY

Key West Literary Seminar
Key West, FL

Maine Literary Festival
Camden, ME

Miami Book Fair International
Miami, FL
Nov/weekend before Thanksgiving

Multicultural Children’s Book Festival
Washington, DC

Multicultural Children’s Book Festival
Washington, DC

Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration
Natchez, MS
Feb National African American Read In

National Black Storytelling Festival and Conference
Venue changes each festival

National Young Reader’s Day
Sponsor: Pizza Hut BOOK IT!

Puerto Rico International Book Fair
San Juan, PR

Rhode Island Storytelling Festival
Newport, RI

Rochester Children’s Book Festival
Rochester, NY

Sarasota Reading Festival
Sarasota, FL

Vancouver International Storytelling Festival
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Vegas Valley Book Festival
Las Vegas (Arts District), NV
Nevada Humanities Committee

Vero Beach Book Festival
Vero Beach, FL

Portland, OR

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Children’s Book Review: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

Gerstein, Mordecai. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.  Roaring Brook Press, 2003. 40 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-7613-1791-3

 What’s the story?

This is the story of French aerialist Philippe Petit who connected a tightrope between the two World Trade Center towers.


This multiple award winning book tells the story of a French aerialist who decides that he would like to walk a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers and manages to accomplish this extraordinary feat. This event happened in 1974, and reading this book is a bit unnerving knowing what will happen twenty seven years later. However, the story is beautifully and simply told. There are significant technical details about how to connect the tightrope and the book helps the reader understand how much preparation went into the final tightrope walk. In the middle of the book there is a foldout section that highlights the distance Philippe has to cross. The illustrations are in ink and oil in rich dark colors that help set the tense mood. The final words state that the tower is gone, and then a final picture of a ghostly version of the towers makes the ending quite powerful.

Awards and Recognition

Caldecott Medal 2004
Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Books 2003
New York Times Notable Books of the Year  2003
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year  2003
American Library Association Notable Books for Children 2004
Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards 2004

Other Formats

Book on CD: ISBN-13: 978-1595194251
Gerstein, M. (2005). The man who walked between the towers. [CD]. New York: Live Oak
Book on cassette: ISBN-13: 978-159519421-3
Gerstein, M. (2005). The man who walked between the towers. [cassette recording]. New York:
Live Oak Media.
DVD: ISBN-13: 978-0-439-76717-0
Michael Sporn Animation (Producer) & Sporn, M. (Director). (2005). The man who walked
between the towers. [motion picture].Norwalk, CT: Weston Woods Studio, Inc.
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Children’s Book Review: How to Heal a Broken Wing

Graham, Bob. How to Heal a Broken Wing. Candlewick Press, 2008. 40 pages.  ISBN-13: 978-0763639037


What’s the story?

A little boy finds a bird with a broken wing on a crowded big city street and takes it home to help it get well.


This multiple award winning story is a sweet story of a boy who struggles to help heal and bird with a broken wing. This is a nearly wordless book which depends on the richly detailed illustrations to tell the story. The colors are muted tones that capture the shadows made by the tall buildings in large cities. The pictures and the text work in combination to create a tense mood as the reader wonders if the bird will survive. The other emotional element is wondering how the boy will be able to set the bird free after he has grown to care for it. This is a lovely story about compassion, and provides an excellent example of what loving and supportive parents will do to help a child in this situation.

Awards and Recognition

Charlotte Zolotow Award 2009
Australian Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2009
American Library Association Notable Books for Children 2009

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Children’s Book Review: The Storyteller’s Candle/La Velita de los cuentos

Gonzalez, Lucia. The Storyteller’s Candle/La Velita de los cuentos. Illustrated by Lulu Delacre. Children’s Book Press; Bilingual edition, 2008. 32 pages. Tr. $ 16.95. ISBN-13: 978-0892392223 ____________________________________________________________

What’s the story?

This is the story of Pura Belpre, New York City’s first Latina librarian.


This compelling story was nominated for several awards in 2009 including the Pura Belpre Award and Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. In the winter of 1929, a pair of cousins move to New York City. The boy and girl miss their home in Puerto Rico and wonder if they will ever be happy in this big cold city. Their lives are dramatically changed when a librarian who is also a storytelling comes to visit their classroom. Her name is Pura Belpré and she manages to inspire the two children to love their local library. This is a wonderful tribute to the first Latina librarian of New York City whose name is now associated with a prestigious literary award. Presented in both English and Spanish on facing pages, this story can inspire a preschooler to visit his or her public library.

Awards and Recognition

American Library Association Notable Books for Children 2009

Illustrator Interview

Book Talk. Lula Delacre

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