Books to entertain kids on snowy days

It’s kids’ books week!

Little Golden Book recently released two new titles, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” with illustrations by Sheilah Beckett an “How to Be a Pirate” by Sue Fliess with illustrations by Nikki Dyson.

“The Twelve Dancing Princesses” tells the story of a king whose daughters disappear at night out of a locked castle only to show up the next day with holes in their slippers. The king offers a reward and one of the princesses’ hand in marriage to whomever to find out where they go (and if they don’t figure it out, well, they disappear forever.) A soldier decides to solve the riddle and receives an invisible cloak so he can follow the princesses. He refuses the drink they give him at night, dons the cloak, and follows them down a secret passage to and underground castle where the princesses dance with princes! The classic story comes alive again with the lovely illustrations that will enchant young readers.

“How To Be a Pirate” follows the story of two young children who climb aboard a pirate ship and take lessons from the ship’s captain on how to be a pirate. They learn the lingo, how to swagger, choose a parrot to ride on their shoulder and check for enemy ships. And of course, they hunt for treasure. At the end, they become buccaneers. Wannabe pirate kings and queens will love this book.

Both are $3.99 and published by Random House.

A simple board book will be relatable to young kids who love their blankie in “Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket” by Tatyana Feeney.

Small Bunny loves his Blue Blanket. He takes it everywhere, on the swings, painting and reading books are only a few activities they do together. But Mama thinks they both need a bath. He tries to hide the both of them, but Mama catches them and first gives Small Bunny a bath and then his blanket, who is then hung out to dry. Mama says the blanket is good as new, but Bunny doesn’t agree. Will they still do activities together? Colored only with blue and pink, the lovely but simple illustrations and text will draw young children in. It is published by Anfred A. Knopf and is $6.99.

Another board book celebrates differences and cooperating with “The Crayon Box That Talked” by Shane DeRolf with illustrations by Michael Letzig.

A little girl walking in a toy store overhears the crayons in a crayon box having an argument. Red and Yellow don’t get along and no one likes Orange. The girls buys the crayons and takes them home. She lays them all out on the bed and uses them all to color. After seeing what they can accomplish together, will the crayons change their tune? This is a compelling story about diversity and working together. It is published by Random House and is $6.99.

Baby animals are celebrated in Il Sung Na’s “A Book of Babies.”

As spring begins, animals celebrate their young, including a group of noisy ducklings, a monkey, a baby zebra who walks right away, a lion cub who needs a little help, a joey in its mother’s pouch, baby seahorses in their daddy’s pouch and more. With lyrical text and bold colors, children will enjoy this book of cute animals. It is $15.99 and published by Alfred A. Knopf.

A bunny plays with his friends in “Peek-A-Boo Bunny” by Holly Surplice.

Bunny loves to play and there is one game everyone loves, hide and seek. Bunny’s really into it – except he’s going so fast he is missing some of his friends! He’s too busy hopping around, sniffing the air, trying to keep his balance, looking high and low, that his friends are right next to him and he misses them! But will eagle-eye children miss them as well? This is a fun, interactive story for young children with bright and lively illustrations. It is $9.99 and published by HarperCollins.

There are some great books for older children as well!

For middle grade readers, there’s “Winter Sky” by two-time Newbery Honor winner Patricia Reilly Giff.

Siria, who is named for the brightest star in the sky, decides to chase the fire trucks called out into the night, and riding aboard is her Pop. Her best friend, Douglas, always goes with her. Hearing some of the firefighters talking about arson and reading about it, she is worried an arsonist may be in their neighborhood and could hurt her father. She wants to do what her mother would have wanted and take care of Pop, but can she solve the mystery? This is a good story of family wrapped in mystery for younger readers. It is $15.99 and published by Wendy Lamb Books.

Also for middle grade readers is one for fairy tale lovers, “Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy” by Karen Foxlee.

Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard, and her sister, Alice, are grieving their mother’s loss. Their father takes a job at an odd museum in an even odder town where it never stops snowing. Poking around one day at the museum, Ophelia stumbles upon a small door with the words ‘The Marvelous Boy” written across the arch. The boy says he has been locked in and is being kept prisoner by the Snow Queen. But Ophelia is a girl of science and doesn’t believe in magic. The boy begs her to help him, and soon Ophelia is whisked away on a magical journey that may just save the world. This is a fairy-tale adventure that will please many readers. It is $16.99 and published by Alred A. Knopf.

A young woman wants to break free from her parents’ restrictions and become an artist and ends up in the woman’s sufferage movement in “A Mad, Wicked Folly” by Sharon Biggs Waller.

In 1909, Vicky scandalizes her parents by posing for artists in her class (the way that artists usually do). Though she earns the other students’ respect, her family immediately brings her back to England and insists that she does what every good girl of breeding does – marry a suitable man of their choosing. Vicky resists and wants to make her own life decisions and tries to bring her brother into her fight, but he doesn’t want to upset their parents, or lose any of their funding for his book publishing. Vicky decides to secretly go after an art school’s scholarship in town, while seemingly doing what her parents want, and is accidentally drawn into the world of women’s suffrage and into the path of a young policeman who also enjoys art.

When it seems like the suitor her parents have picked out may actually allow her to attend school, Vicky goes along with the planned marriage, even though her heart is being drawn elsewhere. Will Vicky be able to live her dreams with the man of her choosing?

This is a lush historical fiction novel that will immediately draw teen readers in. It is $17.99 and is published by Viking.

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Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com