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Early Readers and Younger Fiction

Grades K-4; suggested grade level listed with each entry

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Benjamin Bear in "Fuzzy Thinking," written and illustrated by Philippe Coudray, translated by Leigh Stein (Candlewick/TOON, $12.95)

Twenty-seven single-page cartoon stories for emerging readers featuring Benjamin Bear and friends. The book is original, imaginative, and deep-down funny. Grades K–3. 32 pages.


Cork & Fuzz: The Swimming Lesson [Viking Easy-to-Read series], by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Lisa McCue (Viking, $13.99)

Cork (a muskrat) realizes Fuzz (a possum) has never visited his home—Fuzz can’t swim. After some on-the-ground lessons, the possum falls into the water and, following a moment of panic, swims. Grades K–3. 32 pages.


The Dunderheads Behind Bars, by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by David Roberts (Candlewick, $16.99)

When the “Dunderhead” kids sign up to be extras in a movie over summer vacation, they discover their erstwhile teacher Miss Breakbone and her police-chief brother are there, too. Grades K–3. 48 pages.


Earwig and the Witch, by Diana Wynne Jones, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky (Greenwillow, $15.99)

Orphan Earwig, adopted by an unpleasant witch, teams up with the witch’s familiar, a talking cat. Plentiful line illustrations add to the humor. Grades 2–4. 120 pages.


Friends: Snake and Lizard, by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Gecko, $16.95)

Snake and Lizard, roommates and business partners, bicker constantly, but the outcomes are fair, reasonable, and often delightfully ironic. Grades 2–4. 126 pages.


Grin and Bear It, written and illustrated by Leo Landry (Charlesbridge, $12.95)

"Bear had a dream...to make his friends laugh." But poor Bear has stage fright, and his debut flops. A hummingbird named Emmy partners with Bear to save the day. Grades K–3. 48 pages.


Hooey Higgins and the Shark, by Steve Voake, illustrated by Emma Dodson (Candlewick, $14.99)

In this over-the-top screwball comedy, Hooey and his friend, Twig, try to capture a shark. Their methods involve ketchup, a cricket stick, and a bathtub. Grades 2–4. 104 pages.


I Don’t Believe It, Archie! by Andrew Norriss, illustrated by Hannah Shaw (Fickling/Random, $12.96)

Ordinary Archie always seems to be in the middle of outrageous happenings (told in seven connected short stories). This British import is an easy read, but also complicated enough to engage mystery fans. Grades 2–4. 124 pages.


Invisible Inkling, by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Harry Bliss (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Fourth-grader Hank Wolowitz’s imaginary friend is an invisible, cranky, almost-extinct “bandapat” named Inkling. Inkling’s attempts to help Hank with a school bully go hilariously wrong. Grades 2–4. 156 pages.

 


Ivy + Bean: No News Is Good News [Ivy + Bean], by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Chroncle, $14.99)

Ivy and Bean start a neighborhood newspaper, selling subscriptions to afford the fancy cheese they’ve been coveting. Their attempts to find newsworthy stories have hilarious results. Grades 2–4. 127 pages.



Sadie and Ratz, by Sonya Hartnett, illustrated by Ann James (Candlewick, $14.99)

Sadie and Ratz are the pair of hands that belong to Hannah — and get her into trouble, especially with her little brother. This tale of temper and self-control is an original take on sibling rivalry. Grades K–3. 60 pages.

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