For the past few weeks, the kids and I have been busy reading children’s book for Lori’s Reading New England challenge. Here are our favorites.
Three Children’s Books Set in New England
On a stormy night, a circus ship sinks off the coast of Maine. The animals are able to swim to a nearby island. At first, the inhabitants are not thrilled to find zebras in their flowerbeds, alligators on their wood stacks, and giraffes in their orchards, but they soon change their minds. When the greedy circus owner comes to reclaim his animals, they come together to outsmart him. Kid #3 loves the pictures in this book, and I love the perfect rhymes.
This book is based on a true story: In 1707, John Noble left the Massachusetts colony to claim some land he had purchased in Connecticut. His 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Noble, accompanied him. The journey to Connecticut is scary, but Sarah remembers her mother’s parting words: “Keep up your courage.” And so she bravely travels with her father and helps build a new home for the family. Kid #2 loves how brave Sarah is, and I love how the story is uplifting without glossing over the hardships people faced 300 years ago. (Note: The book has been criticized for its portrayal of Native Americans, but in context, I didn’t find it offensive at all.)
This is the first book in a series about the Penderwick sisters. In this one, they are spending a perfect summer vacation at a cottage that is part of the Arundel estate in Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains. Jeffrey, the son of the estate’s owner, is the perfect companion for their adventures, while his mother is less than thrilled with the girls. Kid #1 liked that each girl in the story is different, and I loved the old-fashioned charm of this book. It would have been perfect to read during summer vacation, but we’ll just do that with the next books in the series.
Three Books With NEIBA Book Awards
These books have all received an award from the New England Independent Book Sellers Association, though the stories themselves are not based in New England.
Whenever Dog visits the country, the first thing he does is run to Frog’s rock to play with him. Throughout the seasons, they play Dog games and Frog games, but everything changes when winter arrives. It’s Mo Willems, that’s all I got to say.
Beautifully illustrated, this is the story of some friendly mice who convince a magpie that more is not always better. I’m hoping that this book has some subconscious influence on my three little horders.
When Masha’s father tells her he will remarry, Masha rather goes into the woods to become Baba Yaga’s assistant than deal with a stepmother and -sister. Remembering her grandmother’s stories helps Masha face the tests that Baba Yaga has for her—like dealing with the house-on-chicken-legs. Kid #1 loved the pictures in the book and would definitely go out to search for Baba Yaga, if she, “you know, ever felt like running away from home.” While I thought the relationship between Masha and her father could have used a little more detail, I liked how the Russian folklore about Baba Yaga has been reworked in this graphic novel.