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Culture Children's Books

Series standouts

Handout

Mo Willems

Children’s Books

Series standouts

Four series for early and middle readers

A Complicated Case (Detective Gordon)

Ulf Nilsson

Detective Gordon, a toad who enjoys cakes and napping, investigates a case threatening his peaceful neighborhood: Who is saying nasty things and spreading unhappiness among the forest inhabitants? With bumbling good humor, Gordon and his eager mouse-assistant Buffy track down the bullying masterminds through clever disguises, edible peace offerings, and intelligent sleuthing. The “Book of Law” makes an appearance, implying that the law is somehow written inside us. Although it stops short of connecting the dots to a Creator, this Swedish import is a terrific chapter book choice for young readers, and a fun family read-aloud. (Ages 4-8)

Guinness World Records

Cari Meister

What is the largest land vehicle? What is the tiniest dog? Which is the fastest, highest, and most unusual? Talented canines and extreme vehicles inspire the curious and bizarre facts found in the first two books in this new series: Daring Dogs and Wacky Wheels. For each item, Meister provides simple details, impressive numbers, and a format that encourages early readers to share this incredible information. High-interest topics and color photographs make this series attractive to boys who are reluctant to read but fascinated by anything on four legs or four wheels. (Ages 4-8)

Mouse Scouts 

Sarah Dillard

Violet, Tigerlily, and their mouse friends look forward to moving up from Buttercup to Acorn Scouts, where they wear fetching acorn caps and can earn merit badges. Not all are thrilled about the Sow It and Grow It badge, or about their new leader, Ms. Poppy, who insists on punctuality and speaks in capital letters. But all share a sense of accomplishment from hard work and outwitting six-legged garden bandits. This appealing series-opener features a cast of diverse personalities that will appeal particularly to girls in Scouts. (Ages 7-9)

Spirit Week Showdown (The Magnificent Mya Tibbs) 

Crystal Allen

Mya Tibbs is certain she’ll rack up enough points during Spirit Week to win free tickets to the annual Fall Festival—until her best friend Naomi pairs with another partner and Mya gets stuck with Mean Connie Tate. Mya’s churchgoing parents assure her that “things don’t always go right out there in the world,” but she can depend on family. Mya has her own mistakes to make and lessons to learn, but her boundless enthusiasm will make learning fun, at least for readers who will be eager to follow “The Magnificent Mya Tibbs” to her next adventure. (Ages 8-10)

Afterword

Debuting in 2008 with I Will Surprise My Friend!, Mo Willems’ 25-book Elephant and Piggie series comes to an end this spring. The books’ genuine emotion, endearing characters, and reflections on life and friendship made the beginning reader series hugely influential and enticed many children to love reading.

The Thank You Book brilliantly leverages the distinguishing features of the series with Willems’ characteristic spare text, speech bubbles, and laughs. Piggie is determined to thank everyone she knows, giving an opportunity for every character that graced the series to make a cameo appearance. Long-term fans will appreciate inside jokes, such as allusions to Pigeon’s clandestine appearances in previous works, in this fitting farewell to two beloved characters. (Ages 4-6) —B.F.