Category Archives: animals

N is for….

Magical creatures are real…and your family is charged with protecting them from harm!

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist Series by R.L. LaFevers

In 1928 Nathaniel Flood’s parents are lost at sea, and he is sent to live with his Aunt Phil, a renowned Beastologist.   As Nathaniel and Aunt Phil embark on amazing adventures he discovers first-hand the Fludd family legacy- to care for and protect magical creatures at all costs.    Nathaniel encounters gremlins, a dodo-bird, phoenix and more as he begins to understand the importance of his new position as a Beastologist-in-training.   A little bit history, a dash of magic, a commitment to family, and a good dose of mystery make Nathaniel Fludd a delightful magical hero for the pre-Harry Potter set! (ER-2/3)

nathanielfluddphoenixFlight of the Phoenix – In Nathaniel’s first adventure he barely has time to process the loss of his parents and adapt to his new home with Aunt Phil, the famous Beastologist, before he is whisked off to the Arabian desert to witness the birth of a Phoenix egg!    When Aunt Phil is kidnapped is Nathaniel up to the task of protecting the Phoenix egg?  Does he have what it takes to live up to his family name, and be a true Beastologist?  And was is wise to befriend a gremlin?  (Aunt Phil doesn’t think so!)

nathanielfluddbasiliskThe Basilisk’s Lair – Nathaniel is off to save a Dhughani village from a mysterious, missing, deadly serpent – a basilisk!  On top of this terrifying task, Nate and Aunt Phil must protect The Fludd Book of Beasts from a sinister thief.  And Nathaniel is convinced his parents disappearance isn’t what it seems – if only he can figure out how to find them.  Filled with non-stop adventure Nathaniel Fludd continues his Beastologist training, and with help from some friends, begins to discover his destiny.

nathanielfluddwyvernThe Wyverns’ Treasure – On their return to England Nathaniel and Aunt Phil discover their home has been ransacked!  Who could have done this?  Were they looking for the Book of Beasts?  No time to find out – Nate and Aunt Phil are off to Wales to help stop a Wyvern uprising.  Nate has to calm the giant dragons and restore order before he can figure out how to protect the family book.

nathanielfluddunicornThe Unicorn’s Tale – All Nate wants is to find his parents, who he is convinced are alive.  But Aunt Phil insists that Beastology takes precedence – and when a Unicorn becomes ill Nate must care for it.  And the mysterious evil man is still after them, the Book of Beasts, and the creatures they care for.  Will Nathaniel ever reunite his family and become a full Beastologist?

PBP Note: R.L. LaFevers is also the author of the Theodosia Throckmorton books- this unique heroine tackles mummies, ghosts, curses, and evil archaeologists in 1906 London.  This MR-4/5 series is a Paperback Pigeon All-Time Top 10 Favorite.

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M is for…

Two ordinary kids, a tree-house in the woods, and books about every subject imaginable.  Add a little magic, mystery, and adventure and you’ve got the classic early-reader series that transports every kid to places they’ve only dreamed of!

Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osbourne

Jack and Annie, siblings from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, are transported through time and space to help the mythical Morgan LeFay save the library at Camelot.  Along the way they meet dinosaurs, visit ancient Egypt, tackle ninjas, sail on the Titanic, immerse themselves in American History, and more!   Each book is its own stand-alone adventure, but the books connect in groups of 4 to solve larger mysteries. There is a Magic Treehouse story to complement just about any trip, holiday, or historical event.

These are great stories for those ready to tackle chapter books.  However, they are perfect for older Pre-K and Kindergarten readers who are ready for a complex read-aloud.   Suitable for a wide range of readers, Magic Treehouse books address a variety of experiences in an age appropriate way.  And for more inquisitive readers, the Magic Treehouse Fact-Trackers are fantastic non-fiction companions to the series.  For even more check out to play and learn with Jack & Annie.

*A Paperback Pigeon All-Time Top 10 Favorite*

mth1-4Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon – Real dinosaurs?  Medieval Knights?  Ancient Egypt? Swashbuckling Pirates?   Adventure is just a turn of the page as Jack & Annie begin to discover the magic in their treehouse! (ER-K-3)

mth5-8Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 5-8: Night of the Ninjas, Afternoon on the Amazon, Sunset of the Sabertooth, and Midnight on the Moon –  Time and space are no match for the Magic Treehouse – or for Jack & Annie – when they travel to ancient Japan, voyage down the Amazon River, tackle the Ice Age and land on the Moon!!!

mth1-28Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-28 – Sets of 4 books just not enough to satisfy your curious reader?  Get all 28 of the original Magic Treehouse Books and join Jack & Annie for every single magical, mystical adventure from Shakespeare’s England to George Washington’s Revolutionary War encampment.

mthchristmasincamelotChristmas in Camelot (Magic Tree House, No. 29) – In the first book in the Magic Treehouse Merlin Missions, Jack & Annie take on more mythical challenges.  The series elevates in reading level, growing with its readers, as well as in content depth and story length. (ER-2/3)

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Filed under A to Z, Africa, animals, Asia, Early Readers, europe, History, Holiday, magic, mystery, North America, series, Time Travel, Uncategorized, United States

L is for….

Libraries are the ticket to wondrous worlds.  Even if you never get on a plane, pack the car, or hop on the next train you can visit the world, both real and imaginary, in the stacks of a library.  Many children are first introduced to the unlimited magic of the library at storytime.  Captivated kids hang on every word the librarians read, and they always know the best books to share.  On your next visit to library pick up this all-ages read-aloud because, no matter how old you are you never out grow the library and, everyone loves storytime, especially…..

Library Lion by Michele Knudsen

librarylionThis is a charming tale of a special lion who comes to the library and is allowed to stay as long as he follows the rules.  The Library Lion soon becomes an indispensable helper to the head librarian and a welcome presence in the library.  But when he breaks a rule everyone at the library learns that sometimes rules need to be broken to help a friend. (PB)

nycpubiclibrary lionsThe New York Public Library branch on 5th Avenue & 42nd Street, Manhattan, NY is the home to two lion sculptures that welcome visitors.  Their names are Patience & Fortitude and have become the symbol of the New York Public Library System.


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Filed under A to Z, animals, Library, New York City, Picture Book

D is for….

Dodsworth by Tim Egan

Traveling the world is a lifelong dream for many.   Few, if any, of those many would care to do it in the company of a poorly behaved, trouble-making duck.  Dodsworth is no different.  As he travels the globe he just can’t seem to shake the duck, which results in hilarious travel tales that are fun & funny for both kids and adults.  Even Dodsworth has to admit the duck is a little endearing, after a while.  These short chapter books, with repetitive  word choices are perfect for beginning readers, and great to share as a read-aloud, too.  RA/ER -1/3

dodsworthinnyDodsworth in New York – Dodsworth wants to see the world.  Before leaving his hometown of New York he needs some breakfast.  Unfortunately for Dodsworth, and luckily for readers,  on his trip for pancakes at Hodges’ Cafe  he meets a crazy duck who leads Dodsworth across New York city, past famous sights right onto a boat that’s traveling across the ocean….

dodsworthparisDodsworth in Paris – The Eiffel Tower beckons as Dodsworth and the duck visit the City of Lights.   But try as he may the duck just can’t seem to stay out of trouble!   For  comedic mischief from Notre Dame to the Louvre follow Dodsworth and the duck as they don a beret and visit the sights of Paris.  This early reader contains some French words which help build diverse vocabulary, but may require a grown-up to assist with the initial reading.

dodsworthlondonDodsworth in London – They’ve crossed the channel via hot-air balloon and Dodsworth and the duck (still sporting his beret) are now in London.  This time a case of mistaken identity leaves Dodsworth with the wrong duck!  How will Dodsworth find his duck, and return this one to it’s home?  From double-decker buses to Buckingham Palace this hilarious duo don’t miss a thing while in London!

dodsworthromeDodsworth in Rome – When in Rome…trouble is bound to follow Dodsworth and the duck.  From entering a pizza throwing contest to a visit to the Sistine Chapel, with these two nothing ever goes as planned.  Follow Dodsworth and the duck on another adventure as the scooter around Rome as they see the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain and eat lots of gelato!

dodsworthtokyoDodsworth in Tokyo – Dodsworth is excited to visit Tokyo, but nervous that the duck will have trouble minding his manners.  As usual, the duck doesn’t disappoint and has accidents everywhere he goes. This time however, he redeems himself by helping a young girl.  Even Dodsworth has to smile at that.  Many of the Japanese words may be too difficult for the earliest readers, but the pictures help with decoding and adults will enjoy these adventures too, so read along together!

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Filed under A to Z, animals, Asia, Early Readers, europe, series, travel

Of Mice and 4th Graders

Make no mistake, HuskyGirl is the animal lover in our household.   She is passionate, and compassionate, for any living thing – a quality that I encourage wholeheartedly (even when I get yelled at for moving the stone markers in the “slug cemetery”).    But last week, when we went to the pet supply store to pick out a harness for our foster dog, I mistakenly allotted enough time for us to visit the animal residents.  And HuskyGirl fell in love.  With the little white mice.whitemice

Let me step back a moment and clarify my standing on pets.  I love having a dog and appreciate that now my girls are older they are learning some caregiving responsibility.   That is where my relationship with anything else living in our house ends.  I had several traumatic attempts to own fish in college.  Nope, not tropical or exotic- just goldfish and betafish.  They usually lasted 2-3 days and then I’d find them floating, and cry, and call my boyfriend to come over and dispose of them for me as I couldn’t bear it.  After the third time he did this I decided I should marry him.  Which I did for many reasons, but this was one of the his top selling points.  I also don’t do plants.  I compulsively buy cut flowers as I simply can’t keep anything green alive.  Yep, I’ve even killed bamboo.

Regardless of my ability, or rather inability, to keep another creature alive I also will not have anything my house that eats live food, that I also have to keep alive.  That rules out lizards –  I am not making a salad for the crickets, just to feed them to the bearded dragon.   In addition, I refuse to have anything that requires frozen food that was once alive – knocking snakes off the list.  Ferrets?  Too smelly.   Turtles? Unless someone is digging a pond in our backyard that isn’t happening.  Nope on nocturnal animals either – we tried that with hermit crabs (may they rest in peace) and found that nocturnal pets are A)boring because they sleep when we are awake and B)annoying because they make noise at night.  This is how the previously mentioned hermit crabs wound up in my dining room.  I was less than thrilled.

And so we come to the little white mice.  I’ve said “No”.   My husband has said “No”.  Still she persists. HuskyGirl has taken to joining me when we walk the dog, only to talk about how much she wants mice the entire time.  She’s offered to pay for them. She’ll keep them in her own room.  She wants to visit them at least once a week.  Talk about committed!  However, I am holding firm. Mice are one of those animals that people try to get rid of from their home, not intentionally bring into it!  At this point I just can’t see it happening.  For one thing summer is almost upon us and we do have a couple trips planned.  You can board a dog, or have a neighbor feed your cat.   The fish get week-long dissolving pellets. Who is going to take our mice?   So right now we are doing our best to ignore her pleading requests.   Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you take bets against me.

What is it about mice that fascinate young readers?  When mice are anthropomorphized they become these remarkable creatures that live life in secret.  They are mysterious, mischievous and quite marvelous. Although we haven’t traveled this week, check out books where the adventures are far and wide and the mice do the traveling!

mousecookieIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give…) by Laura Joffe Numeroff – The original that started the whole series!  This book is just plain fun! If you give a mouse a cookie what will happen next?  It all leads back to the cookie in the end, after an exhausting afternoon of adventure.  Check out the rest of the Mouse stories: If You Take a Mouse to School, The Best Mouse Cookie (If You Give…), and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. Or you could branch out and Give A Pig A Pancake, Dog a Donut or Moose a Muffin!  Then take time to bake the delicious treat that started the story off, and create your own story.   If You Give A Kid A…..PB

angelinaballerinaAngelina Ballerina 25th Anniversary Edition by Katherine Holabird – Angelina is a darling little mouse who wants to dance!  And do nothing else.  Her parents are fed up with her constant dancing, and finally decide to help channel this passion by sending her to ballet school.  Will her love of ballet and determination pay off?  PB

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse lillypurpleplasticpurseby Kevin Henkes – Lilly loves school and  just adores her teacher, Mr. Slinger. When Lilly wants to show the class her new purple plastic purse  she and her teacher don’t see eye to eye.  Lilly learns a hard, but important lesson, about following rules, kindness and forgiveness. PB

alexanderwindupmouseAlexander and the Wind-Up Mouse: (Caldecott Honor Book) by Leo Lionni – This classic tells the story of a real mouse, Alexander, who befriends a toy mouse, Willy.   Alexander wants to be just like Willy so he searches for the magic pebble to give the garden lizard who will grant his wish at the full moon.  But Willy has found himself in the discard box of old toys!  Will Alexander still wish to be a toy, or will he wish for something else?  PB

mousepaintMouse Paint  by Ellen Stoll Walsh – The three mice are trying to escape the cat!  Luckily they find white paper to hide in, but soon they begin playing in the paint and make some wonderful discoveries!  This is a perfect introduction to color mixing.  When your are done reading make sure you get out the finger-paint and try mixing up some colorful fun.  Also check out Mouse Count and Mouse Shapes for more stories of how the mice avoid capture! PB

mousetalesMouse Tales (I Can Read Book 2) by Arnold Lobel – A father mouse has seven little mice who all want a story at bedtime.  So he tells a story for each mouse!  This book is the classic collection of the seven stories and is perfect for beginning readers.  Check out more of Arnold Lobel’s mouse stories in Mouse SoupER-1

gstilton1Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye (Geronimo Stilton, No. 1)– Geronimo Stilton is the editor of the newspaper  The Rodent’s Gazette and always searching for the next scoop!  This series is eye-catching for readers trying to tackle more in-depth chapter books, as the type changes color & font to emphasize certain phrases.  Geronimo lives in a world of mice and there are many mouse-centered word changes and cheese puns to keep you in the rodent mood.  There is an adventure for every area of interest.  Many of these books contain cool information within the text that provide a great knowledge base while keeping readers interested.  There are several spin-off series to keep readers turning the pages!  ER-3

tstilton1Thea Stilton #1: The Secret of Whale Island – Geronimo’s sister has been teaching journalism at Mouseford Academy where she’s become a mentor to five mouseling friends.  Nicky, Colette, Pamela, Paulina and Violet travel the world and work together to solve mysteries.  The Thea Sisters, as they call themselves, find out cool information about the locations they visit and check in to see if you are following the clues along with them.  Fantastic information presented in the same style as the Geronimo Stilton books. For more on Thea Stilton check out Amazon’s Thea Stilton Page ER-3

mouseandmotorcycleThe Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary – When Ralph discovers a toy motorcycle under the bed in the hotel room he can’t help himself and just has to try it.   Unexpected adventure awaits, but there is also danger, as Ralph get himself into some sticky situations.  A classic tale that is a perfect read-aloud. Keep the adventure going with follow-up books Runaway Ralph and Ralph S. MouseMR/RA

tumtum&nutmegTumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn – Tumtum and Nutmeg live a quiet life in Rose Cottage, looking after the human children that live there.  However, things aren’t going to stay quiet for long!  A string of visitors threaten the peaceful existence of the mice in Rose Cottage and Tumtum and Nutmeg will use their daring and wit to make sure that everything works out.  This collection of three stories is a wonderful read-aloud for Early Readers.  Check out the second volume, Tumtum & Nutmeg The Rose Cottage TalesMR/RA

secretsatseaSecrets at Sea by Richard Peck – Mice sisters Helena, Louise, and Beatrice live with their little brother Lamont in the Cranston home in Victorian England.  When the Cranstons decide to voyage to America in hopes of finding a husband for their daughter the mice join them!  The ensuing adventure is full of intriguing characters, romance and excitement.  Also check another of Richard Peck’s mouse themed stories, The Mouse with the Question Mark TailMR/RA

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