Music for Mister Moon by Philip C. Stead

Music for Mister Moon by Philip C. Stead

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Harriet Henry loves to play her cello, but only for herself. When her parents ask her if she is excited to play in an orchestra she says no. Once in her room, Harriet transforms the room into a small house, with a fireplace, and a chair, and a small table, and a teacup. As she goes to play her cello, an owl comes and starts making noises. Annoyed at the owl, Harriet throws her teacup at him. Once he leaves she sets up to play again when her small house starts to smoke. She climbs out her window only to find the moon on her chimney. He had been hit by her teacup and fell out of the sky. Regretful for she had done, Harriet befriends the moon and takes him around town to get a hat, and take a boat ride among other things. When it was time for him to leave, Harriet helps him get back up to his spot in the sky, and plays for just him, as long as he promises not to cheer or look at her. 

I would highly recommend this book. Stage fright is something that people who haven’t experienced would understand. It is especially difficult for children to go through. Though Harriet’s parents weren’t outright upset at her, they clearly didn’t understand or listen to her about her dreams to play her cello alone. Throughout the story it is shown that Harriet didn’t mean to hurt the moon, and makes up for it by befriending him and helping him get a hat and row a boat. When the moon asks her to perform, she says only if he promises to not look or cheer. And he agrees. And then she plays! I feel this shows parents as well as children that asking for something odd doesn’t mean it’s ridiculous. The moon knew Harriet better than her parents.

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough

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Annie Caroll Moore was born to a loving family with seven older brothers. Though society at the time expected women to grow up and marry, Annie wanted more than that. By the age of nineteen she decided to study law like her father. But soon after, both her parents died suddenly from the flu. When her brother’s wife also suddenly died, she stayed to help him raise his children. After he remarried, Annie was determined to get out into the world. That’s when she heard libraries were hiring women to run them! She ran to New York as fast as she could and got a job. While most libraries were quiet places for studying, Annie wanted to include a place for children. She began weeding old dusty books out for more exciting books, and read to children at night like her father used to. Soon, she became in charge of every libraries children section! She toured every branch of the New York Library. She found that most librarians had huge silence signs, or wouldn’t let children borrow or touch books. She was able to change that, but there was still room for improvement. Eventually it was announced a new library was to be opened, and Annie took it upon herself to build the perfect children’s section. It was brightly colored, and there were hundreds of books available. When Annie was around 70, she retired, but instead of staying home, she toured the world, educating them on how great libraries can be for children!

Obviously I’m biased about this book, but I would highly recommend it for anyone. It’s so exciting to read about librarians and how they shaped libraries today. I think most people believe libraries are still the same as when Anne Carroll Moore was little, but they have changed so much, and this illustrates it perfectly. I hope everyone reads this book at some point, because it is a great introduction to how libraries continue to change and evolve even all these years later. Can’t recommend this book enough.

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Agra Deedy

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Agra Deedy

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This is the cutest story I have ever read, and one of my favorites. It is about a cockroach who is ready to marry, and while her family gives her gifts to make her even more beautiful than she already is, her grandmother tells her to use the “coffee test” to find her perfect husband. Each suitor is given the test (coffee spilled on their shoes) and each suitor storms off in anger at her clumsiness. Finally, when the cockroach has all but given up, her grandmother mentions a little mouse that has been waiting for her. He tells her that while his eyes are bad his ears are strong, and he has heard her stand up for herself all day. Who cares if you are beautiful when you are good? He says. Her grandma comes up to initiate the coffee test, and surprisingly the mouse jumps at the opportunity and spills the coffee on the cockroaches shoes. He tells her he also has a cuban grandmother, and they lived happily ever after.

I would highly recommend this book to all ages. The illustrations are beautiful and quirky, with lots of thought going into detail. The story itself is one I’ve never heard of, but picked up on fairly quickly. It is unique, wonderful, and shows that looks are not the only thing people should be looking at. It shows children that someone’s personality is just as important as their looks, and shows girls that settling for someone should not be normal. I loved that the cockroach stood up for herself and found someone who respected her for not her looks, but for her personality. It sends a beautiful message to children everywhere.

Magic Tree House #24: Earthquake in the Early Morning by Mary Pope Osborne

Magic Tree House #24: Earthquake in the Early Morning by Mary Pope Osborne

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This book is part of a series that follows two children who must help a librarian from another dimension save her library. They do this by time-traveling in a special tree house. In this particular book, the children are given the task of retrieving a certain piece of literature from the great earthquake that took place back in San Francisco, California, in 1906. Throughout the story, the siblings attempt to save as many people as possible, and through their kindness they find the piece of literature they need. 

I would highly recommend this book for many reasons. First of all, it’s a long series, so those reading it have a lot to read through before finishing. Second, it’s entertaining to read, who doesn’t love magic tree houses, amazing adventures, or inter-dimensional librarians? And finally, it exposes children to a wide variety of history in a fun manner. I honestly didn’t even know there was an earthquake in 1906 in California, and while I’m certainly not an expert, I have a better understanding of something I didn’t before.

Lulu and The Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst

Lulu and The Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst

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This book was about a little girl who could be considered spoiled. For her birthday, she demanded a pet Brontosaurus, and when her parents said no (for nearly the first time) she threw a fit. She set off into the nearby forest to find her pet Brontosaurus for herself. She encountered many animals along the way that wanted to harm her, but she bullied her way through them until she found her pet. Unbeknownst to her, the Brontosaurus wanted to make her his pet! She eventually escaped from him, apologized to the animals she bullied, and apologized to her parents She and the Brontosaurus became good friends, and she learned to not be so spoiled.

I would highly recommend this book as it took a twist I wasn’t expecting. Like most children’s books, I was expecting some sort of lesson to be learned, and it was quickly apparent that the lesson was about accepting “no” for an answer. I wasn’t expecting the dinosaur to also want Lulu as a pet, or keeping her against her will, forcing her to escape. I also didn’t expect her to befriend the animals she had bullied earlier. I enjoyed that there were multiple endings (three, I believe), and that the author clearly had fun writing this.

Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour

Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour

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This story almost made me cry, it was so sweet. A little girl, Lubna, finds a pebble when she and her father land and set up their tent. Lubna finds a felt tip pen and draws a face on the pebble. She and the pebble become friends, she tells the pebble all about her life, her family, and her worries. Soon, she makes a new friend, Amir. Together they play hide and seek and all sorts of games. Each night, Lubna tells the pebble that it is still her best friend. One day, her father tells her that they are leaving for a new home. Lubna and Amir are both sad, and Lubna doesn’t know what to do. She asks the pebble for help, and in the morning realizes what she can do. Before leaving, she gives the pebble and marker to her friend Amir, and explains that he can talk to it whenever he misses her. Then she leaves, bidding farewell to pebble. The book ends with Amir greeting the pebble.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone. I feel like going to get a pebble for myself! This book wonderfully illustrates how anything can be a comfort, no matter what it is. Lubna and her family had hardly anything, but she still found something to help her through her troubles. She even met a new friend, and was able to form a genuine relationship because of the pebble. When it was time for her to go, she was able to let the pebble go, because she knew that she could find another special friend wherever she ended up. This story was so sweet, I would read it again in a heartbeat.

Lon Po Po by Ed Young

Lon Po Po by Ed Young

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This book is a cultural re-telling of little red riding hood. It begins by introducing a small family who lives in the country, a mother and her three children. She has to leave to visit the children’s grandmother and told her children to lock the door behind her. A nearby wolf sees this exchange and decides to try and trick the children by pretending to be their grandmother. Though the wolf tricked his way into the house, the oldest child knew who the wolf really was and devised a plan to save them all. The wolf ended up dying, and the children were safe when their mother returned.

I would highly recommend this book as it was a cultural spin on a classic. It is fascinating to read classic stories from various cultures, as no two are exactly the same. Though this story was a bit more unsettling than the red riding hood that I remember, it has a good lesson to teach and remains a classic.