This is one of my favorite parts of being a librarian: getting to know the collection and discovering gems on our very own shelves. Here are two that I really enjoyed and hadn't heard of before. See the end of the post for a giveaway of one of these. I'll choose an entry randomly on Friday morning, Budapest time.
Before You Were Mine, by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by David Walker
A boy imagines what life was like for the dog his family has adopted from a shelter. We get a picture of their life together now (learning tricks, sleeping under the covers), how it might have been for the dog before he was found (cold, chained up, hungry), the circumstances that might have led to him becoming a stray (owners moved to a "no dog" apartment, or running away), and the reason the family adopted him in the first place (their other dog died). The whole story exudes the tenderness the boy feels for his new pet.
Oil pastel (or acrylic?) illustrations.
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The King's Chessboard, by David Birch, illustrated by Devis Grebu
Exponents! And a great lesson about kindness being its own best reward. A king wants to repay a wise man for his service but the wise man resists. After much pressure from the king, he agrees to a reward of grains of rice for as many days as there are squares on a chessboard. But, the grains must multiply by twice the amount as the day before. This becomes TONS (literally) of rice, and the king realizes his error.
Set in India. Detailed watercolor illustrations. Grades 4 and up and up...!
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