Book Reviews

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“Book Reviews,” Friend, Nov. 2010, 16–17

Book Reviews

Picture Books

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. The biggest pumpkin always has the most seeds, right? Maybe not. Find out what Mr. Tiffin’s class discovers in their messy experiment.

Velma Gratch & the Way Cool Butterfly, by Alan Madison, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. It’s hard for Velma to start first grade in the shadow of her smart and talented older sisters. As Velma looks for ways to get noticed (including getting sent to the principal’s office), she finally discovers something her sisters have never done.

The Wheat Doll, by Alison L. Randall, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. Mary Ann takes her beloved wheat doll, Betty, everywhere. But then Betty gets lost outside on a stormy day. After months of searching, Mary Ann finds a special surprise one spring day.

The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus’ Birth, by Dandi Daley Mackall. Jack gets excited when he smells cookies—a treat the family hasn’t had in a long time. But he is disappointed when he learns the cookies are for those in need. As his mother rolls out the cookies, Jack learns the story behind the special Christmas treat.

Fiction for children ages 5–9

Three Little Robbers, by Christine Graham, illustrations by Susan Boase. Jo, Flo, and Mo are three little robbers who live down the lane. When they discover that an elderly woman is cold and hungry, they decide to stop their thieving ways and help her.

Rats on the Range and Other Stories, by James Marshall. Find out what happens when a mouse becomes a cat’s housekeeper, a pig buys a sports car, and rats take a vacation. Enjoy these and other funny stories about some unique animals.

Fiction for children ages 10–12

The Chocolate Touch, by Patrick Skene Catling, pictures by Margot Apple. John loves candy. He would have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if he could. Find out what happens when John wanders into a mysterious candy store and buys a special kind of chocolate.

The Doll Shop Downstairs*, by Yona Zeldis McDonough, illustrated by Heather Maione. Anna and her sisters enjoy playing with the dolls waiting to be fixed in their father’s doll repair shop. When the shop is in danger of going out of business because of World War I, Anna looks for a way to get her family through the hard times.

My Side of the Mountain*, by Jean Craighead George. Sam is tired of city life, so he decides to go live in the forest. Follow Sam on his adventure as he builds a home, tames a wild falcon, learns to live off the land, and enjoys the wild beauty of the forest.


Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian. Wilson Bentley loved snow. But instead of building snow forts and throwing snowballs, Wilson studied the beautiful patterns of the icy snowflake crystals. Over the years, he experimented more and more, and even learned how to photograph the tiny flakes. Learn about this farmer who became a snow scientist!

Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, by Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. Life was hard for the people in West Berlin after World War II. They didn’t have access to food or supplies, so pilots flew the necessities into the city day and night. One pilot decided to drop special treats for the children from his plane, and became known as the Chocolate Pilot. You can also read about the pilot on pages 28–29 of the October 2010 Friend!

Illustrations by Brad Teare

You can serve other children by passing on books you’ve outgrown. Many libraries and homeless shelters accept donations!