Come Fly With Me

Felonious fish, reimagined fairy tales, nanotech adventures, fantasy, and one strange creature from seventh grade.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Jon Klassen, author of This Is Not My Hat

 How can teachers use this book to explain storytelling through art?

To ask kids how they know what they know. Why do we think the crab said he’d do one thing, then does another? What about his expression leads us to that? These sorts of questions help kids start to realize that things in pictures are put there for a reason, not just for decoration.

 Why do you like to write for a young audience?

I like being forced to be as clear as I can be. A younger audience needs a hook almost right away. This isn’t to say the younger ones don’t pick up on subtleties—I think they feel vague things deeply, but I like mixing those vague things with the steady beat of a clear story.

 Any advice for teachers of reluctant readers?

I was a bit of a reluctant reader myself, and I still have trouble with the idea of promoting reading as an abstract thing. Maybe the way to go is to get them to fall for specific stories instead of Reading. Show them stories that start with a bang, an event, where they feel they have to find out what happens. They’ll do what they need to do, and that might just happen to be reading.

1. Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty?
By David Levinthal, illustrated by John Nickle. $17.99.
Fairy tales get a true-crime twist in a clever collection of whodunits starring an amphibian detective channeling Sam Spade.
Grades preK–3.

2. Otter and Odder: A Love Story
By James Howe, illustrated by Chris Raschka. $14.
Otter is looking for a meal and instead finds love. This mustelid-meets-fish romance is a charming tale of love against the odds.  Grades K–2.

3. Oliver
By Birgitta Sif. $16.99.
Oliver is “a bit different”—and when an errant ball sends him through wild jungles and over rivers and mountains, he meets someone else who’s just a bit different, too.
Grades K–2.

4. Vordak the Incomprehensible: Double Trouble
By Scott Seegert, illustrated by John Martin. $13.99.
A wink-wink tone runs joyously through this sort-of graphic novel about a villain and his good-guy doppelgänger.
Grades 2–5.

5. The Land of Neverbelieve
By Norman Messenger. $17.99.
This “guidebook” documents the fantastical flora (a pasta tree), fauna (an eel that ties itself in knots), and landscape of the island of Neverbelieve.
Grades 2–5.

6. The Creature From the Seventh Grade
By Bob Balaban, illustrated by Andy Rash. $15.99.
“I was the littlest nerd in my class. Now I’m the biggest.” Charlie Drinkwater has turned into a giant sea creature (one way to cope).
Grades 3–7.

7. In a Glass Grimmly
By Adam Gidwitz. $16.99.
Jack and Jill do way more than go up a hill in this frightful journey that takes them through the landscape of Grimm and Andersen. Narrated by Grimm’s lovelorn frog.
Grades 3–7.

8. Darwen Arkwright & the Insidious Bleck
By A. J. Hartley, illustrated by Emily Osborne. $16.99.
This book finds our hero in Costa Rica battling a tentacled creature—and he doesn’t know whom he can trust.
Grades 4–6.

9. This Is Not My Hat
By Jon Klassen. $15.99.
A felonious small fish, a resolute big fish, a two-faced crab, and a coveted hat—Klassen makes magic in a few expressive illustrations and pithy sentences. Grades preK–2.

10. Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies
By William Joyce, illustrated by Lauren Rille. $14.99.
This tooth fairy is a fierce warrior whose collection of teeth holds deep memories and protection. Third in a series. Grades 4–6.

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