My Leaf Book

by Monica Wellington

My Leaf Book is the story of a young leaf collector who visits an arboretum ablaze with rich autumn colors. As she travels through the arboretum she discovers how different each tree's leaves are. From ginkgo to sassafras, oak to poplar, she learns that leaves come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and each has special and unique markings that help identify them. Plus, there are so many things to do with the leaves, especially make a Leaf Book!

Has your young reader ever picked up a beautiful or striking leaf and wondered what kind of tree is came from? Reading My Leaf Book will help young readers identify leaves and trees through its vibrant collaged illustrations. Not only is this a fun story about the little girl's autumn adventure, but scattered throughout the pages are fun facts to help young readers become tree experts. Don't be surprised if your next neighborhood walk turns into a leaf identification expedition!

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Nana in the City

by Lauren Castillo

When a little boy spends the weekend with his nana, who lives in an apartment in the city, he is unsure about the new experiences the city offers. But with Nana's special help, he quickly discovers that cities are a perfect place for Nanas to live and boys to visit. 

Is your young reader a city child like Eloise, or not accustomed to the hustle and bustle of big city life like the little boy in Nana in the City? If the latter, your young reader might share some of the little boy's fears. Nana in the City inspires independence and being open to new things. Lauren Castillo's book shows young readers that visiting new places and having new adventures is not such a scary thing after all! 

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by Lori Nichols


Maple is a book about the friendship between two maples, Maple the girl and her maple tree. Throughout the seasons Maple and her tree entertain each other with snowballs, games of make-believe, and quiet times of simply enjoying each other's company . Maple sees the joy and happiness that comes from a good friendship. Caring for her tree prepares her for the important job of being a big sister and, like any good sister, she shares her special friend with the new baby.

In day to day life it is easy to pass tress without really seeing them. But without being sappy (ha ha), Maple reminds us to pause and appreciate the friendship that trees offer. 

The pages of Lori Nicols's book are brought to life with whimsical, child-friendly illustrations that perfectly capture the simple happiness of childhood. Especially vivid are the maple tree's leaves that seem to glow and dance above Maple's play. The tree is just as much a character as Maple is, and will inspire young readers to find a tree friend of their own!  

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Also in this issue, Walter the Art Cat makes an appearance! Can you find him?

Maple Collage

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A Pair of Red Clogs

by Masako Matsuno
illustrated by Kazue Mizumura 

Originally published in 1960, A Pair of Red Clogs is the story of a young Japanese girl and her beautiful new red clogs. After the clogs crack in a game of the weather telling game, the girl is very sad. Can she think of a way to get a new pair of clogs?

This charming book is unique in that it is told in first-person, drawing the reading into the life and culture of Mako and her family. Although the cultures make be very different, young readers will easily make a personal connection based on the shared experiences and emotions of childhood.  And even though some of the illustrated scenes may seem unfamiliar at first, they will quickly recognize the parallels to their own lives and the daily routines of family life. After all, what is more universal than the happiness of a new pair of shoes?

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Hugo and Miles in I've Painted Everything

by Scott Magoon

What's an artist to do when he's painted everything? That's just the question Hugo the elephant artist asks himself when he discovers that he has run out of ideas. A suggestion from his friend Miles sends the pair on a trip to Paris, where Hugo will discover more than just the sights of the city but also a whole new way of looking at the world around him.  

Even the youngest artists can find themselves in a rut, and not just in their creativity. Hugo and Miles In I've Painted Everything shows young readers that, sometimes, one small change can spark a new burst of imagination and creativity. So, this week we are exploring how to look at the same old things in a whole new way!  

In addition to the inspiring story, Scott Magoon's cleverly detailed illustrations give readers lots to look at. This is one of those books where you will want to pull it off the shelf time and time again, just so you can find all the funny details (can you find the bird listening to audio guide in a museum?). 

We hope you enjoy traveling to Paris once again this week. How many sights does your young reader recognize in Hugo and Miles that they visited last week in Crêpes by Suzette?


This week's activities are a part of the 2015 Paint-a-thon. Check out for 101+ painting ideas for kids during the month of August!


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Crêpes by Suzette

Monica Wellington


Bonjour! Would you like take a trip with us to see the sights and hear the sounds of Paris? How would your young reader like to whirl on a carousel or sail a toy boat in the Luxembourg Gardens? With all that activity, you will surely need to stop for a goûter to keep you going!

Do all this and more (and before nap time too!) with Crêpes by Suzette, a picture book-turned-app by Monica Wellington. Travel around Paris with Suzette and her crêpe cart and meet her many customers, all of whom are inspired by subjects of famous works of art (such as a ballet dancer who looks very much like Degas's Little Dancer). 

While traditional picture books can never be replaced, the Crêpes by Suzette app is the perfect example of how a book can be enhanced by technology. Choose between reading the story yourself or having it read aloud, with each word highlighted as it is spoken. Or, read or hear the story in six different languages! As you dive into the story, you will hear the background sounds of Paris, the music, laugher, and bits of conversation that will immediately transport you to the City of Lights. As a bonus, on each page you will find features including photos and videos of Parisian scenes, a French vocabulary word with its translation into six languages, and the art history that inspired each of Suzette's customers.

And we can't forget the crepes! We are big fans of picture books that include a recipe at the end, such as Old Black Witch and The Apple Pie Tree. In the Crêpes by Suzette app, you will find a recipe and video so you can make crêpes at home, and ideas for both sweet and savory fillings (plus find one below). Bon apetit!

Crêpes by Suzette in iTunes

Crêpes by Suzette in Google Play

Crêpes By Suzette app on Amazon


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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

by Dan Santat

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend is an absolutely adorable book that kids are going to beg to hear over and over again.  It celebrates the power of imagination, the joy of friendship, and the tremendous fun that can come from doing everyday things when you have a best friend. Most children have an imaginary friend at some point whose name and appearance quite often baffle the adults in their life (my cousin had two imaginary friends: Joe Hunk and Sue Kleenex...we're still wondering about that!). Beekle shows us the importance of these imaginary playmates and how all friendships, real or imagined, are a wonderful thing. 

The Adventures of Beekle -

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The Most Magnificent Thing

by Ashley Spires

If you are not familiar with The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires, we heartily recommend it for your short list of books to add to your bookshelf. This is the story of a girl and her best friend who just happens to be her dog (yes, once again it becomes obvious we love dogs) and their process to make the most magnificent thing. This treasure of a book shows young readers the fun and frustration of the creative process and how rewarding it is to persevere through those rough spots. The detailed illustrations meld perfectly with the engaging text and readers are sure to be inspired to imagine and create magnificent things of their own after finishing this wonderful story.

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The Problem with Chickens

by Bruce McMillan
illustrated by Gunnella

There's nothing quite like exercising chickens to draw us into a story, and that's only the beginning of the appeal of The Problem With Chickens! The fine feathered fowl in this delightful book have personality plus. When the ladies make a simple plan to get more eggs, these precocious chickens give the ladies more than they bargained for.

Not only do the illustrations induce giggles galore, but they also depict the traditional culture of the book's Icelandic setting.  Enjoy a trip to the Icelandic countryside and discover how these imaginative ladies solve The Problem With Chickens!

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by Kelly DiPucchio
illustrated by Christian Robinson

If you have followed Off the Shelf for very long you will know that we love dogs and dogs booksGaston, of course, is no exception. We love Gaston (the dog) because he is boisterous and goofy but is full of love and does his best even though he seems out of place among his siblings. We love Gaston (the book) because it is about celebrating differences and being happy where you are. You and your young reader are sure to find your own reasons for loving this delightful book (please share!), and pulling it off the shelf will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step! 

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