Annie and the Wild Animals

by Jan Brett

For four of the five years of Off the Shelf's existence, we have featured a Jan Brett book in at least one of the winter months. This pattern was completely unintentional, but makes sense with the snowy, usually Scandinavian settings of her stories. So, you can tell it's winter as we bring you another treasure, Annie and the Wild Animals

Annie is feeling restless after a long winter. Her loneliness is made worse when her cat Taffy disappears, seemingly for good. In hopes of finding a new friendly pet, Annie bakes corn cakes and places them on the edge of the forest. Come along on a snowy, end of winter adventure to find out if Annie's corn cake plan succeeds! Full of Jan Brett's signature illustrations, Annie and the Wild Animals is a delightful story for young readers to enjoy on long winter days (or any time of the year). 

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Black Dog

by Levi Pinfold

We often hear you have nothing to fear but fear itself, but sometimes (quite often, in fact), that fear takes on a mind of its own and plays tricks on us. This phenomenon is explored in Levi Pinfold's charming picture book, Black Dog.
One day, a large black dog arrives outside the Hope family's home.  As each family member reports their sighting of the dog, the unexpected visitor grows with gargantuan proportions. It takes the smallest member of the family, named Small of course, to show the true nature of the beast. 
Childhood quite often is a time of fears, whether of storms, the dark, or even dogs. But young readers will enjoy the fact that Small is the hero, the one member of the family who shows no fear and keeps things in perspective. Whatever your young readers fears are, sharing this book together just may help to shrink the size of the monsters under the bed. 

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The Three Snow Bears

by Jan Brett

Although many of us are trying to avoid thinking about the freezing temperatures outside, as a follow-up to last week's Goldilocks and the Three Bears, we have chosen to feature The Three Snow Bears, an interpretation set in the Artic north. Rather than Goldilocks, the story features Aloo-ki, the raven-haired Inuit girl who discovers the igloo of a polar bear family. Adding to the charm and beauty of this book are the playful boarders of each page filled with mischevious artic animals dressed in parkas and having great fun. We love all of Jan Brett's books, but this one has a special place at the top of the list. 

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It's Valentine's Day

Dear Friends,

Valentine's Day is a great time to be a kid. There's excitement in the air, crafts to make, envelopes to address, and SUGAR! There's none of the ridiculous pressures of a grown-up's Valentine's Day, and without even realizing it, kids are generally much more excited about giving than receiving. If you are a kid, who cares what Valentine's you get (unless you are Charlie Brown!), it's all about making or choosing the right Valentine to give to each friend. Or mom. 

Enjoy this Valentine week: spread some glue, sprinkle some glitter, and have some sugar!


It's Valentine's Day

by Jack Prelutsky

Illustrated by Marilyn Hafner

 Jack Prelutsky once again gives readers a book of poetry that celebrates a holiday from a child's point of view with It's Valentine's Day. Full of poems about scissors, glue, kids friendships, and chocolate, this book truly gets to the heart of how the pint sized set like to celebrate.

From I Made My Dog a Valentine, to My Special Cake,  Prelutsky writes poems about the real life of kids and the things that have most likely happened to them. The poems are humorous, fun to roll off the tongue and read over and over again. Paired with entertaining illustrations by Marilyn Hafner, this book is sure to be a perennial hit each and every February.


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The Snowy Day

by Ezra Jack Keats

Few things are more magical to children (both young and old) than waking up to find the world outside your door has been transformed into a winter wonderland. Join Peter as he dons his red snowsuit as he experiences a full day of chilly adventures in the 1963 Caldecott Medal winner, The Snowy Day.

Celebrating its 50 year anniversary, The Snowy Day continues to be a favorite of readers of all ages not only for its endearing story but also for its engaging illustrations featuring cut-outs, watercolors, and collage. Don’t miss this book and the opportunity to share a most enjoyable day in the snow with Peter. 


About the Author

The Snowy Day has a fascinating history, thanks to the author, Ezra Jack Keats. Read about Ezra, his amazing career, and the real boy who inspired Peter in the biographyon his website. 


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