1 | The Secret Horses of Briar Hill By Megan Shepherd. $16.99. Any girl who’s ever loved a horse (or The Secret Garden) will devour this story set in WWII England that deals with secrets, sickness, and being brave. Grades 3–7.

2 | Gary By Leila Rudge. $16.99. Gary is an enthusiastic racing pigeon—who can’t fly. But when he ends up a long way from home, his scrapbook of maps and schedules comes in handy. Delightfully humorous illustrations. Grades K–2.

3 | Rhymes With Doug By Chad J. Thompson. $16.99. Learning the -ug rhyming words will be a snap after reading this comic tale of a little bird whose rhymes get Doug in some deep trouble. Grades K–2.

4 | Penguin Problems By Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith. $17.99. It takes a philosophical walrus to change the attitude of a cranky young penguin whose beak is always cold. Great deadpan text from John. Grades K–2.

5 | The Water Princess By Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. $17.99.  A beautifully drawn story based on the childhood of model Georgie Badiel conveys all in Africa is not “tragic.” Back matter on water crisis. Grades K–2.

6 | The Great Spruce By John Duvall, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon. $17.99. More a paean to nature than a Christmas story, this tale of a boy and his tree will make each of us want to climb, or plant, one. Grades K–2.

7 | Also an Octopus By Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Benji Davies. $16.99. This goofy and clever book starring a ukelele-strumming octopus with intergalactic dreams will get kids thinking of their own crazy plots. Grades K–3.

8 | How to Avoid Extinction By Paul Acampora. $16.99. What to do when you have to watch your stubborn, donut-loving grandma? Follow her to a dino dig in Utah, of course. The humor is cut with sobering themes. Grades 3–7.

9 | Full of Beans By Jennifer L. Holm. $16.99. The true, absorbing story of how Key West was saved in the ’30s and became a vacation mecca stars  a Little Rascals–like cast of kids with  the best nicknames ever. Grades 3–7.

10 | The Littlest Bigfoot By Jennifer Weiner. $16.99. Fantasy meets true-life bullying issues when a lonely girl makes an unlikely friend. Weiner keeps it funny by lampooning both teen vanity and hippie culture. Grades 4–7.


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