Masterpiece (Elise Broach)

This was a delightful children's novel about a beetle named Marvin and his friendship with a boy named James. Marvin and James have real problems in life, but none so serious as when they become involved in a carefully crafted art theft. Their friendship is tested many times, and at the end of the adventure, this bug and boy know that they are true friends.

Interspersed along the curiosities of beetle life in a human world, and  the friendship between Marvin and James, is very interesting information about true artists and their work. With short, suspenseful chapters, written on an upper 4th grade level, this book would be a wonderful readaloud for 3rd-5th grade students!

Poppy (Avi)

Poppy is a tiny little mouse with a huge heart of courage. Part of an enormous family of deer mice, Poppy has grown up heeding the survival lessons taught by her father. The most important rule is asking permission from a huge forest owl, Mr. Ocax, before leaving their home to go to another part of the forest. Mr. Ocax is the villain we love to hate. He is the ultimate bully, and continually takes advantage of the mice. Eventually, brave Poppy learns that even Mr. Ocax has fears. 

This is the best children's fiction book I've read in a long while. It is suspenseful, witty, and would make a great readaloud for any 3rd-5th grade class.  

I Stink! (Kate and Jim McMullan)

The "stinky" main character in this book is the garbage truck, who explains what he does and why he is so important to people. The dialog is a bit choppy at times (some pages have only "Hopper's full. Hit the throttle. Give me some gas. Rev me to the max."), but it would be great for boys, and for teaching kids about the importance of sanitation crews in our society. At one point, he goes through the ABC's of the garbage he gets to eat, which is filled with boy humor. (D for dirty diapers, P for puppy poo)

Let's Have a Daddy Day (Karen Kingsbury)

A dad explains to his children the fun day they might have together. He tells what might happen if they choose this activity or that, and explains that quality time playing together now will help them look back on their childhood and know that their Daddy loved them because they took the time to play.

Sweet book. The "maybe we'll play baseball, maybe we'll look at frogs" scenarios are underdeveloped, but it's a great book for dads and kids to read together!

Papa, Do You Love Me? (Barbara M. Joose)

This is a wonderful and super sweet picture book about a father and his son, both of whom are members of the Maasai culture in African Kenya and Tanzania. The son is asking his papa questions, and the papa's responses are reflections of the tribe's way of life as well as very reassuring of his love for his son.  The illustrations appear to be done with water color, and are beautiful, but it seems to me that the father's features are rather feminine. On each page I wondered why the book wasn't called Mama, Do You Love Me?

The papa's words on the closing page are the sweetest.

"I'll care for you, love you, and teach you. Always. Because I am your papa, and you are my tender heart."

Great book for fathers to read with their children!