We’re getting an early start on the December best-of lists here at the library.
The Port Moody children’s librarians have put their heads together to come up with our top fiction picks for kids in kindergarten through Grade 5. From picture books to graphic novels, there’s something for all readers at your local library.
Kindergarten and Grade 1 kids can get started with I Will Chomp You by Bob Shea, an interactive story about a territorial monster who will definitely, absolutely not share his cake.
Follow up with The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach, a tall tale about the fate of a very delicious lunch.
Introspective types will pore over Dan Santat’s gorgeously illustrated award-winner The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend while the youngest graphic novel aficionados can enjoy an epic adventure interrupted by rampaging goats in Alex Milway’s Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey.
But the librarian favourite? Definitely Please, Open This Book! by Adam Lerhaupt and Matthew Forsythe. You wouldn’t squash the animals’ banana... would you?
Beginning readers in Grades 2 and 3 will be falling off their chairs laughing when they meet Rascal, the unlikely heroine of Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon. Rascal uses her overactive imagination to turn herself into a puppy to escape the baby-snatching grasp of Mrs. Gobble Grackle. Hilarity ensues but when the game is over, how will she convince her exasperated older siblings to include her in their play?
Mystery fans will fall for the adorable Detective Gordon in his first case: solving the theft of Squirrel’s hazelnuts! Swedish author Ulf Nilsson depicts a gentle detective who is more interested in saving baby mice than doling out stern punishment for naughty thieves.
Those ready for a more complex tale will find echoes of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale in Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible. Written by Ursula Vernon, author of the beloved Dragonbreath comic series, this illustration-packed tale follows the adventures Princess Harriet, cursed — or blessed? — with invincibility until her 12th birthday, when she will prick her finger on a spindle and fall into a deep slumber. When the curse backfires, Harriet must use all of her hard-earned adventuring skills to reawaken her kingdom.
Great novels abound for intermediate students but the librarians particularly loved Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones and Katie Kath. This epistolary novel follows the adventures of Sophie, a city transplant who is learning all about taking care of chickens... with superpowers.
For kids who like things that go bump in the night, Canadian superstar Kenneth Oppel’s latest book, The Nest, is an eerie tale of a family struggling with an ill infant and a supernatural force that offers to “fix” the baby. Fans of Coraline will find this haunting tale compellingly creepy.
Ruby on the Outside is a story about a secret. Ruby hasn’t told anyone that her mom is in jail — for murder, no less. She keeps herself isolated to protect her secret but she’s desperate to make a friend. When the effervescent Margalit moves in next door, Ruby thinks she might finally have found someone she can trust. But it turns out that Margalit’s family was involved in the very crime that put Ruby’s mom in jail, and telling her might break their friendship apart. What to do? Author Nora Raleigh Baskin handles a difficult tale with sensitivity and honesty.
We loved these titles but there were so many more fantastic books published in 2015. For a personal recommendation just in time for the Christmas season, drop in to your local public library.
--A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published on Wednesdays. Maryn Ashdown works at Port Moody Public Library.