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Adventures In History

Adventures In History

This European-centric version of world history features fun descriptions — and Playmobil-based recreations — of the famous characters, notable figures, major trends, and remarkable events we should all be familiar with. The book is surprisingly lengthy and the full-page photos and recreations with Playmobil — such as famous paintings of historical events, rendered with Playmobil characters — are playfully inventive, truly clever, and so much fun.

Librarian (Busy People)

Librarian (Busy People)

The story follows librarian, Rita, as she celebrates the library’s anniversary with reading time, a party, and more. I think this book will help children consider whether to become a librarian, and particular professions generally. Further, I suspect it would help many children feel more comfortable interacting with librarians when they need help as the patrons in the story do.

An Alphabet

An Alphabet


The charming watercolor and ink illustrations really make this the best alphabet book I’ve seen in years. Many of the paintings are offbeat and may require a little playful explanation to your youngest children, yet that is just part of the fun. Why is the “E” elephant drinking from the “C” coffee cup? Why make the letter “P” a parsnip, exactly? And the “Q” for question of a police man wondering about a little carrot person walking down the road will be fun to wonder about, for parent and child alike.



Sometimes inconsistency is not only fun, but a real delight. The somewhat-random illustrations and text in this charming book are so much fun. Each page of the board book is filled with odd watercolor and ink paintings (and is that text in crayon?). All of that helps tell this delightful story, where Lloyd gets a kite stuck in a tree, and decides to throw one thing after another up in the tree to knock his kite out — or is he just offering it for trade? It all gets more absurd, page by page. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, although it may require a little explanation to your youngest children. No worries though, it’s all great fun in a simple story.

Charlotte And The Rock

Charlotte And The Rock

My whole family loves Charlotte and the Rock, a charming, instant-classic children’s book. When this little girl wants to get a pet, her parents surprise her with a pet (rock)! Still, she tries to look at the bright side: good listener, hypoallergenic, and obedient (“Stay”). But it’s hard to overlook the downsides (hard to take on walks).

In the end, she focuses on the things they can do together, and have a fun time together, and she truly loves her pet. But does the rock love her back? That challenge leads to a surprising conclusion, where her parents learn to look at the bright side, too, and helps make it a remarkable book overall. The illustrations are charming, with a retro-style limited palette that is such a delight. I think there’s another surprising metaphorical lesson in there, too: If you allow yourself to love someone, make sure they are capable of loving you back.

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

With the winning Broadway show, his restored $10 bill, and more, Alexander Hamilton is certainly having a moment right now. Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America is a well-written and engaging young-adult telling of his life’s story helps make clear how this orphan boy on a remote Caribbean island became president and more. It starts and ends with his famous duel, answering questions and providing context for the duel as it progresses. Well told, informative, and easy to read.