Mrs. DiGiacomo's Favorites

  • Because of Winn-Dixie

    Because of Winn-Dixie

    by By Kate DiCamillo Year Published: Average
    Synopsis from Barnes and Noble: The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket -- and comes out with a dog. With the help of her new pal, whom she names Winn-Dixie, Opal makes a variety of new, interesting friends and spends the summer collecting stories about them and thinking about her absent mother. But because of Winn-Dixie, or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship -- and forgiveness -- can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm. Recalling the fiction of Harper Lee and Carson McCullers, here is a funny, poignant, and unforgettable coming-of-age novel.

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  • Stellaluna


    by Janell Cannon Year Published: Challenging
    From the Publisher... Knocked from her mother's safe embrace by an attacking owl, Stellaluna lands headfirst in a bird's nest. This adorable baby fruit bat's world is literally turned upside down when she is adopted by the occupants of the nest and adapts to their peculiar bird habits. Two pages of notes at the end of the story provide factual information about bats.

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  • The Kissing Hand

    The Kissing Hand

    by Audrey Penn Year Published: Challenging

    A synopsis from Barnes and Noble...In this contemporary classic Chester Raccoon seeks love and reassurance from his mother as he ventures out into the world to attend his very first day of school.


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  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

    by By Kate DiCamillo Year Published: Challenging
    Synopsis from Barnes and Noble: Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely. And then, one day, he was lost. Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle—that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

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  • Where the Wild Things Are

    Where the Wild Things Are

    by Maurice Sendak Year Published: Average
    A review from a third grader on Barnes and the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is one of my favorite books. The story is about Max Max’s room grew a forest until Max’s room became the whole world. Then Max went where the wild things where then the wild things tried to scare Max but Max didn’t get scared so Max tried to scare the wild things then things got scared so Max became king of the wild things. What I thought the cool part was Max’s room became a real forest.

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Realistic Fiction

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Ver

    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Day

    by Judith Viorst Year Published: Challenging
    A Synopsis by Barnes and Noble...He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. When he got out of bed, he tripped over his skateboard and by mistake dropped his sweater in the sink while the water was running. He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Nothing at all was right. Everything went wrong, right down to lima beans for supper and kissing on TV. What do you do on a day like that? Well, you may think about going to Australia. You may also be glad to find that some days are like that for other people too.

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  • Diary of a Worm

    Diary of a Worm

    by Doreen Cronin Year Published: Challenging

    A synopsis from Barnes and Noble...This is the diary . . . of a worm. Surprisingly, a worm not that different from you or me. Except he eats his homework. Oh, and his head looks a lot like his rear end. Doreen Cronin, the New York Times best-selling author of CLICK, CLACK, MOO and GIGGLE, GIGGLE, QUACK, teams up with illustrator Harry Bliss for this hysterical journal about the daily doings and the hidden world of a lovable underground dweller.


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  • I Wish I Were a Butterfly

    I Wish I Were a Butterfly

    by James Howe Year Published: Challenging
    From The Critics Publisher's Weekly After the frog at the pond's edge tells him that he's ugly, the cricket of Swampswallow Pond loses his zest for life and for singing. The glowworm and the ladybug try to persuade the cricket that he's just as good as the rest of them, while the dragonfly declares, ``Wishing is a waste of time.' Finally, the Old One, a spider who lives on the other side of the pond, spins a wise tale about the real beauty of friendship and convinces the cricket to sing again. The author tells the familiar story of the loss of identity and the uniqueness of individuals in a wistful, not particularly fresh, way. While Howe gives insects a human dimension, Young perceives that world with the eye of a cricket or a dragonfly, noting the color variations and luster on that particular wavelength. The resultant paintings are extraordinary, almost abstract works, much worthier of praise than this oft-told tale. Ages 4-8. or this oft-passed-back-and- forth-review!!!(October)

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  • Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

    Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

    by Kevin Henkes Year Published: Challenging
    From the critics...Meredith Kiger Lilly loves everything about school and her teacher, Mr. Slinger. One day Lilly brings her new purple plastic purse to school. She is so excited to show and tell everyone about it that she can't keep quiet. When Mr. Slinger takes the purse from her, Lilly is angry and resentful. During writing lab, Lilly draws an unflattering picture of Mr. Slinger and sneaks it into his book-bag. Mr. Slinger returns Lilly's purse to her at the end of the day. On the way home, Lilly discovers a treat and an encouraging note from Mr. Slinger. She is embarrassed and sorry for her actions. With her mother's understanding and encouragement, Lilly writes a story and draws a flattering picture of Mr. Slinger in hopes of his forgiveness. The ending is joyful and restores Lilly's positive feelings for school life.

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  • The Chocolate Touch

    by Patrick Skene Catling Year Published: Average
    The story tells of the two days after John acquired the chocolate touch-the magic that turned everything his lips touched into chocolate. At first, John was elated with his discovery. Now at last he could have all the chocolate he wanted. Chocolate toothpaste was delicious; chocolate bacon and chocolate eggs were even better. But soon he began to get awfully thirsty, and before the day was over John suspected that his sweet dream-come-true might have its bitter side.

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle

    The Mouse and the Motorcycle

    by Beverly Cleary Year Published: Challenging
    A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn and discovers the joys of motorcycling.

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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Jan Brett

  • Hedgie's Surprise

    Hedgie's Surprise

    by Jan Brett Year Published: Average
    A synopsis from Barnes and Noble...Jan Brett's beloved character Hedgie stars in this charming story about a little Tomten who gets tired of porridge for breakfast and starts stealing Henny's eggs. But Henny wants a brood of chicks and she needs her eggs. With the help of clever Hedgie, she substitutes an acorn, a strawberry, a mushroom and finally a potato in her nest. But nothing stops that Tomten until the little hedgehog hides in Henny's nest: when the Tomten reaches in to get his morning treat, all he gets is a handful of prickles. He runs home for porridge and never comes back again!

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  • Honey...Honey...Lion


    by Jan Brett Year Published: Challenging
    A Synopsis from Barnes and Noble...The African plains provide a stunning environment for Jan Brett's latest animal adventure. For as long as anyone can remember, the honeyguide bird and the African honey badger have been partners when it comes to honey:Honeyguide finds the honeycomb, Badger breaks it open, and they share the sweetness inside. But this day, Badger keeps all the honey for himself. Foolish Badger! In no time, Honeyguide leads Badger on a fast chase. Badger thinks it's for honey; but Honeyguide has a surprise waiting for her greedy friend. As they swim across a pond, push through a thicket of reeds, leap over a huge anthill, a menagerie of exotic animals passes the news along in a kind of animal Bush Telegraph. Finally Badger faces a lift-the-flap page, revealing the twist that teaches Badger a lesson. Can you guess who's under that flap?

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  • The Gingerbread Baby

    The Gingerbread Baby

    by Jan Brett Year Published: Challenging
    From the Publisher..... Jan Brett's highly original version of the Gingerbread Boy story has quickly become a family classic. Now, the charming tale of Matti's clever trap for the runaway Gingerbread Baby is available as a beautiful board book for younger readers. And it still features a surprise lift-the-flap gingerbread house at the end!

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  • The Hat

    The Hat

    by Jan Brett Year Published: Average
    From The Critics... Publisher's Weekly In this agreeable companion to The Mitten, a Scandinavian girl prepares for winter's arrival by hanging her woolens out to air. When a red-and-white patterned sock falls from the line and gets stuck on his prickles, a hedgehog (who bears the too-cute name of Hedgie) acquires a curious-looking hat. Various farmyard animals mock him, but when Hedgie explains that his new headgear will protect him from the impending snowfall, they are inspired to search out similar garb. Leaving a more lasting impression than this sparse plot, Brett's signature art introduces animal characters as endearing and expressive as those who congregated in her earlier book's expandable white mitten. The format here is familiar as well: the artist frames her double-page pictures with broad borders depicting additional goings-on that hint at the tale's outcome. As before, Brett demonstrates an expert eye for color, rendering the child's embroidered coat and lush, patterned knits in vivid primary hues that pop boldly from the cool, subdued tones of the northern winter landscape and sky. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

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  • The Mitten

    The Mitten

    by Jan Brett Year Published: Challenging
    From The Critics..... Publisher's Weekly Baba, Nicki's grandmother, knits pure white mittens for him, even though she is afraid that he will lose them in the snow. Sure enough, the first time Nicki is out, he drops one and some animals promptly move into its snug wool interior. First comes a mole, then a rabbit, a hedgehog, an owl, a badger, a fox, a bear and, finally, a mouse. That mouse tickles the bear's nose and he sneezes, dislodging all of the animals at once. Nicki finds his mitten, and takes it home, but Baba is left to wonder about how it became so enormously stretched out. Brett's magnificent paintings feature her usual array of folk details, and this time, intricate knitting tracks, ornate embroidery, the crusty, peeling texture of the birch bark borders and the exquisite patterns found in Baba's homey rooms. Readers will sit back, suspend belief and welcome this tall tale from the Ukrainian tradition. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

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  • The Three Snow Bears

    The Three Snow Bears

    by Jan Brett Year Published: Average
    A synopsis from Barnes and Noble...Aloo-ki glances up from fishing and sees her sled dogs floating off on an ice floe. She races after them and comes upon an igloo. Being a curious girl, she goes inside only to find no one home. That's because the polar bear family who lives there is out walking while their breakfast cools off. Aloo-ki eats some soup, tries on their boots, and finally crawls into the smallest bed for a nap. Meanwhile, Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear see her dogs adrift, swim out to rescue them and return home to find Aloo-ki fast asleep in Baby Bear's bed.

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  • The Umbrella

    The Umbrella

    by Jan Brett Year Published: Challenging
    A synopsis by Barnes and Noble...A walk through the Costa Rican cloud forest provides a wonderfullylush setting for Jan Brett's beloved animal illustrations. When Carlos drops his umbrella to climb a tree for a better view of the animals, they all cram into the banana-leaf umbrella as it floats by—from the little tree frog to the baby tapir to the big jaguar and more. It gets so crowded in the umbrella that there isn't even enough room for a little hummingbird! So over the umbrella tumbles, everyone falls out, and poor Carlos comes back wondering why he didn't see any animals all day. In the spirit of Jan Brett's The Mitten and The Hat, this cheerful tale of escalation will have readers poring over every illustration for the world of details Jan packs in. With its classic story, exotic jungle setting, and brilliantly colorful menagerie, The Umbrella is sure to take its place among Jan's many family favorites.

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  • The Wild Christmas Reindeer

    The Wild Christmas Reindeer

    by Jan Brett Year Published: Average
    Little Teeka thought she had to be firm with the reindeer to get them ready for Santa's important flight, but when her bossy yelling only got their antlers tangled up, she knew she had to try something different.

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Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, ...

  • Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock

    by by Eric A. Kimmel Year Published:
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  • The Tale of Despereaux

    The Tale of Despereaux

    by By Kate DiCamillo Year Published: Challenging
    Review from Barnes and Noble: This wonderful tale takes place in a castle. The Tale of Despereaux is divided into three parts that cover the three main characters. There is Despereaux, a small mouse, which will not follow the rules set by the mouse council. He is in love with the princess, a human. The second story introduces Roscuro, the rat. Unlike the mice that live on the main floors of the castle the rats are banned to the dark dungeon. He also does not want to follow the rules of the rats’ way of life. The third character is Miggery Sow, an abused young girl, who dreams of being a princess. These three characters come together in a very well written story of hope and adventure. As Despereaux reads in a book at the beginning of the story can they all live happily ever after together? This is for the reader to discover.

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  • Tops and Bottoms

    Tops and Bottoms

    by by Janet Stevens Year Published:
    Synopsis from Barnes and Noble: This is clever reworking of several childhood fables put into the language of the modern business world. Hare and Bear are neighbors and they decide to go into the crop raising business together. Bear is so lazy, however, that he does none of the work, and the Hare family collects the best part of the harvest (the profits). Bear complains and insists on being more fairly treated, but again does none of the work. At the next harvest, Bear's lack of attention again leaves him with the short end of the stick. Engaging illustrations add to this humorous tale of the ups and downs of partnerships and the work ethic. The format is also a nice surprise and there are great possibilities for extending the story.

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  • True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

    True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

    by by Jon Scieszka Year Published: Average
    Synopsis from Publisher's Weekly: In this gaily newfangled version of a classic tale, Scieszka and Smith ( Flying Jake ) argue in favor of the villain, transforming the story of the three little pigs into a playfully suspicious, rather arch account of innocence beleaguered. Quoth the wolf: ``I don't know how this whole Big Bad Wolf thing got started, but it's all wrong.' According to his first-person testimony, the wolf went visiting the pigs in search of a neighborly cup of sugar; he implies that had the first two happened to build more durable homes and the third kept a civil tongue in his head, the wolf's helpless sneezes wouldn't have toppled them. As for his casual consumption of the pigs, the wolf defends it breezily (``It seemed like a shame to leave a perfectly good ham dinner lying there in the straw') and claims cops and reporters ``framed' him.

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