Children’s Books

Candy Bomber by Michael O. Tunnell

Booklist

*Starred Review* Curious about the city into which he ferried goods during the Berlin Airlift in 1948, pilot Gail Halvorsen stayed over to visit, met some children, and offered to drop candy and gum when he next flew over. This simple idea grew into a massive project with reverberations today. Tunnell tells this appealing story of a cold war soldier who made a difference clearly and chronologically, weaving in just enough background for twenty-first-century readers and illustrating almost every page with black-and-white photographs, many from Halvorsen’s own collection. Opening the book with a shot of a nine-year-old boy looking for the plane that will wiggle its wings, the author captures young readers with the very idea of the chocolate pilot and keeps them with a steady focus on the German young people, including their letters and drawings. He concludes with a chapter describing Halvorsen’s successful military career, his meetings with children who caught the candy, an anniversary drop, and more—highly satisfactory results from his spontaneous good deed. Halvorsen contributes a prologue; biographical, historical, and research notes add information; and selected references, including further-reading suggestions (though no source notes), close out this accessible and positive portrayal of a serviceman who wasn’t on the battlefield. Irresistible. Grades 4-7. –Kathleen Isaacs

In November by Cynthia Rylant

“Curl up with your loved ones and enjoy the sights, the sounds, the scents–and the traditions–of this very special time of year with Newbery medal-winner Cynthia Rylant and artist Jill Kastner”  Book jacket

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

Booklist

*Starred Review* A young girl is given a golden key to a house. “In the house / burns a light. / In that light / rests a bed. On that bed / waits a book.” And so continues this simple text, which describes sometimes fantastical pleasures as a bird from the book spirits the child through the starry sky to a wise-faced moon. The cumulative tale is a familiar picture-book conceit; the difference in success comes from the artwork. Here, the art is spectacular. Executed in scratchboard decorated in droplets of gold, Krommes’ illustrations expand on Swanson’s reassuring story (inspired by a nursery rhyme that begins, “This is the key of the kingdom”) to create a world as cozy inside the house as it is majestic outside. The two-page spread depicting rolling meadows beyond the home, dotted with trees, houses, barns, and road meeting the inky sky, is mesmerizing. The use of gold is especially effective, coloring the stars and a knowing moon, all surrounded with black-and-white halos. A beautiful piece of bookmaking that will delight both parents and children. Preschool-Kindergarten. –Ilene Cooper

Trouble on the Tracks by Kathy Mallat

Discover hidden surprises, look for clues…because things are not always what they seem with a mischievous cat named Trouble around.

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-To-Be by Mini Grey

Modern version of the fairy tale as told by the Very Smart Pea.  Fun!