May Book Reviews
Author: Pam Heller

For Younger Readers
The Black Rabbit
by Philippa Leathers

This is the story of a little white rabbit that notices a large and strangely quiet black rabbit following him everywhere he goes (little does he realize that the black rabbit is really his shadow). White Rabbit tries to hide behind a tree or swim away from Black Rabbit to no avail. Finally, White Rabbit escapes into the woods, but the woods present a new problem: a wolf! When White Rabbit runs back into the sunlight, the wolf is scared off by none other than…the big black rabbit! Little White Rabbit and big Black Rabbit walk away safely – hand in hand. This is a sweet and simple story that young children will surely enjoy and parents can use to teach a variety of important lessons. For ages 3 to 6.

Open this Little Book
by Jesse Klausmeier

With so many books available electronically, it’s nice to find a book that can only be fully enjoyed by physically holding it and turning the pages. The story begins with the simple request to “open this little book,” revealing a sequence of ever smaller books of different colors, introducing a variety of characters. A problem arises with the opening of the smallest book, but the characters join together in friendship to solve the problem. Readers are then led back out of the book by requests to close each one. For ages 2 to 5.

For Older Readers
Poems to Learn by Heart
by Caroline Kennedy, Illustrated by Jon J. Muth

Poetry is an often under-appreciated writing technique, but when introduced early and in a variety of styles and topics, poetry often becomes an adolescent’s most expressive form of conveying his or her thoughts. “Poems to Learn by Heart” is a diverse compilation of over 100 poems offering a wide array of subjects and poetic styles written by some of the finest poets of all time. Readers are encouraged to memorize poems to further their experience and enjoyment of poetry. The extraordinary watercolor illustrations truly makes this a “must-have” for book lovers. For all ages.

Out of My Mind
by Sharon Draper

Fifth-grader Melody is afflicted with cerebral palsy. Although this limits her physical activities, it does not inhibit her from experiencing a rich mental life. This is the story of how she overcomes the struggles of being mislabeled as “learning disabled” and how she is faced with choices to either “play it safe” or risk taking challenges. The first-person narrative enhances the reading experience and the reader’s empathetic reaction to Melody’s situation. Taking the risk of reading this realistic look into a subject most would choose to ignore may foster a new perspective of the possibilities for the world of people around them. For ages 10 and up.

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