5 Top Children’s Books for Fall 2019
There’s nothing better than curling up with your kids on a crisp, autumn night and reading them a story – and Hidden Gems subscribers received a ton of free top children’s books in August and September of this year. With so many great books to read and review, it was difficult to narrow the list down – but here are five favorites, as rated by our subscribers!
Detective Trigger and the Ruby Collar by M.A. Owens
A four-legged gumshoe is the star of this paw-fect read for middle grade kids, introducing private eye Trigger as he hunts down a deviously crooked cat. Part of the Detective Trigger series, this book is a great chapter book to encourage reading, and filled with evocative characters that’ll keep supervising adults equally entertained.
Reviewer kympossible gave the book 5-stars, writing: “In this fun private eye story for middle grade readers, all the characters are dogs and cats, and the narrative is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the classic hard-nosed detectives seen in television and movie portrayals. Trigger’s quick wits and sardonic commentary make this a detective story with a great balance of suspense and humor. It may be intended for middle grade readers, but as an adult I was entertained from beginning to end. It’s extremely well written, and is entertaining for adults as well as kids, and I am looking forward to Trigger’s further adventures.”
“The style of the book reminded me of some of the old hardnosed/pulp fiction novels, with talk of foxy dames coming into your office, with the worn detective just trying to fight the system,” writes E. Thiessen in a 5-star review. “Except the detective is a one-eyed chihuahua and that totally cracks me up. There is quite a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor that adds to the atmosphere and had me laughing at times. The world is one where cats and dogs live uneasily next to each other, are there are politics involved in different districts about who runs what. There’s also a mob-style boss who runs the show in one of the districts and there are a few (very few) police with integrity who are still trying to do the right thing. I think this would be great for middle school kids and above, but I also enjoyed it quite a bit.”
Alex Asks About Auntie’s Airplane Day by Carolyn Wilhelm
Children’s books are important because they allow children to explore other characters with situations similar to their own – offering them validation and emotional guidance. That’s the intention behind Alex Asks About Auntie’s Airplane Day, which is a book that explores the experience of being adopted into a mixed-race family; and how this impacts the way in which kids and adults navigate their world and deal with people’s expectations and judgement.
British reviewer Lolah observed that the concept of ‘Airplane Day’ is very American, but praised the book highly for tackling the topic. “This sweet book, beautifully illustrated by Pieter Els, tells the story of a family trip to Alex’s auntie’s house, to celebrate her ‘Airplane Day’, and then tells Alex (and the reader) what that means. It’s a very lovely way to explain the idea of adoption (especially adoption from abroad) to children, and the discussion points in the back of the book are also a really good way to start a conversation with them about what adoption means and why it happens.”
Edna Hill gave the book 5-stars, calling it a “very cute book on adoption” and writing: “This book explains a little bit about adoption and that some call it “airplane day” because some travel to their new family by a plane, others call it “Gotcha Day” for being chosen for that family or even “Adoption Day” to celebrate the day the person became a member of that family. The author did a really good job on explaining what adoption means so that a young child could understand it. Really enjoyed this story.”
Beauty and the Beak by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp
A few years ago, a rare wild bald eagle hit the headlines after she was shot by poachers, losing her beak in the process. Fortunately, she was rescued; but faced a bleak future without a beak to defend herself, hunt and eat. This book tells the true-life story of how Beauty was given a new lease on life thanks to a 3D-printed beak, which restored her ability to live independently and let this beautiful creature roam freely once again.
Reviewer Tamara D Newell gave the book 5-stars in her review, and described it as a “beautiful book about Beauty.” She went on to praise the writing, saying: “I like how there were multiple types of writing (i.e., Story written for my young readers, additional facts written at a higher level) to tell the whole story of Beauty.”
“Great educational book,” writes Erika H. Simons in her 5-star review. “I thought I had bought a children’s book, but I learned quite a lot about beak repair and regeneration from this little gem. I met the author during a photography foray into one of our wetlands.”
“Great Way to Introduce Technology,” writes R. Leppaluoto in their 5-star review. “A great book to share with my Kindergarten classroom before we start using my 3D printer and to introduce different jobs. Highly recommend this book as either a read aloud to the littles, or for proficient readers to read on their own.”
Pushinka the Barking Fox by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut
Another true life story inspired this title, by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut and beautifully illustrated by Shan Stumpf. It tells the tale of an unusual friendship between a Siberian silver fox and a researcher in the Siberian wilderness; demonstrating the beautiful interweaving of science and emotion.
“As soon as I saw the fox on the cover I just had to sign up to read this!” writes Christina Robinson. “The fact that this is also based on truth and real experiments made it even better. My niece who is 5 really enjoyed it too, she loves animals and books that are about “real” animals and events. Foxes have always been a love of mine and I’d love to actually have one as a pet someday 🙂 We love the photos so much, Pushinka is absolutely beautiful! This is a book you can read many times and expect your child to ask many questions along the way. Its very thought invoking which I love. So yeah, this is definitely a book I recommend! Enjoy.”
“Very interesting book, nice illustrations,” writes Jess R in a 5-star review. “My just-turned three year old really likes non-fiction books, and this was just his speed. I know that I can read this book to him many many more times and he will come up with new questions and thoughts because it covers a lot of information. Even as an adult I was learning new things with this book. The illustrations were well-done and helped illustrate the points.”
Goggles: The Bear Who Dreamed of Flying by Jonathan Gunson
Tiny bear Goggles is so-named because he insists on wearing a pair of flying goggles – just in case his dream of taking to the air ever comes true. In this delightfully illustrated book, Goggles gets that chance; and we follow along on his adventure!
“A beautiful story about flying and never giving up!” writes NeoMuadDib in a 5-star review. “Kids will immediately be drawn to this book because of the beautiful illustrations and will fall in love with Goggles while cheering him on! Parents/teachers/caregivers will appreciate this book because of the message it sends: use your imagination and don’t give up!”
“A beautiful, modern classic picture book,” writes Kindle Customer in their 5-star review. “This is everything a children’s book should be: gorgeous artwork, loveable characters, an interesting plot, and values children can aspire to all wrapped up in a sweet story. This book is about a bear who has a dream to do something everyone else says is impossible, and through determination and belief in himself, he accomplishes his dream. Story aside, the illustrations are my favorite part. They are dreamy in soft lines, pastels and vivid colors combined, and sweeping movement, yet they are detailed and full of thought. My kids enjoyed the ebook, and I look forward to purchasing a print copy. I would love to see this series as a movie or show because I know my children would love watching this.”