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Books for Grandparents — July 2011

We've teamed up with the editors of Publishers Weekly to scour the latest titles — from books for babies to cutting-edge fiction for teens — to help you find that perfect book for your grandchild.


Book List

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

By Michael B. Kaplan, illus. by Stéphane Jorisch
(Dutton, $16.99; ages 3-5)

How picky is Betty Bunny? Having never tried chocolate cake, she insists she doesn’t like it. But after her first taste, Betty changes her tune: “I am going to marry chocolate cake.” That discovery leads to tantrums and other problems when she can’t get chocolate cake whenever and wherever she wants. A sly, lively portrait of modern family dynamics.

Itsy Mitsy Runs Away

Itsy Mitsy Runs Away

By Elanna Allen
(Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $16.99; ages 3-7)

In this funny, ebulliently illustrated story, Itsy Mitsy—a diminutive girl who sports a dinosaur outfit and orange goggles—is loath to go to bed. So she decides to run away somewhere she won’t be obligated to. But the comforts of home prove hard to relinquish, so Itsy Mitsy packs up the house—Dad and all—to bring along.



By John Rocco
(Disney-Hyperion, $16.99; ages 4-8)

In intimate urban scenes lit by candlelight and starlight, Rocco captures the magic of a summer blackout in the city while gently commenting on the distractions of modern life. Sure, grid failure brings urban life to a standstill—but it can also reunite a busy, technology-laden family.

Amanda and Her Alligator

Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator!

By Mo Willems
(HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99; ages 4-8)

Here’s a bargain for you: Willems’s latest picture book offers six (and a half!) stories for the price of one. Having depicted a pigeon, a knuffle bunny, and a naked mole rat in previous books, Willems’s latest animal hero is a toy alligator who interacts with a small girl in quiet, honest tales that address the ups and downs of childhood friendships.

Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat

Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat

By Philip Christian Stead
(Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Books, $16.99; ages 4-8)

When Jonathan’s parents trade his beloved stuffed bear, Frederick, for a toaster, he takes matters into his own hands, embarking on a nautical journey in search of his lost friend—and making several new ones along the way. Kids will find vicarious thrills in Jonathan’s travels as he charts the course of his future.

Invisible Inkling

Invisible Inkling

By Emily Jenkins, illus. by Harry Bliss
(HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $14.99; ages 7-10)

Fourth-grader Hank’s best friend has moved away, but the loss is soon offset by an unusual gain—an invisible “bandapat” named Inkling that Hank finds living in his parents’ ice cream shop in Brooklyn. Kids will be tickled by the humorous proceedings as the small, furry creature gets Hank into (and out of) several scrapes.

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

By Uma Krishnaswami, illus. by Abigail Halpin
(Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $16.99; ages 8-12)

The exuberant world of Bollywood serves as the backdrop for this lively, globetrotting novel in which 11-year-old Dini moves from her home in the U.S. to an Indian village. Obsessed with Bollywood, Dini views her life through the lens of the movies. But the events that follow her move to India turn out to be utterly unpredictable.



By Kevin Henkes
(Greenwillow, $15.99; ages 8-12)

In this quiet summer story—a perfect choice for family vacation reading—Alice is determined to find a rare junonia shell during her family’s annual trip to Sanibel Island, Florida. But change is in the air this summer: Henkes thoughtfully portrays Alice’s coming of age, filling it with unforeseen disappointments and rewards alike.

Missing on Superstition Mountain

Missing on Superstition Mountain

By Elise Broach, illus. by Antonio Javier Caparo
(Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano Books, $15.99; ages 8-12)

Broach follows her acclaimed novel Masterpiece with a story steeped in real-life mysteries, set in the American Southwest. After 10-year-old Henry Barker and his brothers move to Arizona, they are drawn to Superstition Mountain, the site of several deaths and disappearances. The author delivers a gripping thriller as the kids unlock the secrets of the mountain.



By Jack D. Ferraiolo
(Abrams/Amulet, $16.95; ages 10-14)

Fans of superhero comics will have a blast following the adventures of Bright Boy, who battles villainy every night alongside the heroic Phantom Avenger. This tongue-in-cheek spoof achieves real depth after the aptly named Dr. Fiendish escapes from prison and a series of revelations shake Bright Boy’s world.

What Happened to Goodbye

What Happened to Goodbye

By Sarah Dessen
(Viking, $19.99; ages 12 and up)

Bestselling author Dessen’s 10th novel is an authentic story of self-discovery, the kind her fans have savored for years. Moving around the country with her father, Mclean Sweet has tried on several identities over the years. But when the Sweets land in Lakeview—the setting of several Dessen books—Mclean resolves to figure out who she really is.

Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens

By Libby Bray
(Scholastic Press, $18.99; ages 13 and up)

Lost meets Miss America in this hilarious social satire, after a plane carrying teenage beauty-pageant contestants crashes on a deserted island. The premise is tailor-made for easy jokes, but Bray has more in mind: She targets sexism, the modern media, and our appearance-obsessed society.



By Veronica Roth
(HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99; ages 14 and up)

Set in a future version of Chicago, this first novel ushers readers into a society divided into factions organized around certain treasured values: humility, fearlessness, honesty, kindness, or intelligence. Now the time has come for Beatrice to choose her faction, a process that tests her strength and loyalty—and awakens her to dangerous secrets about the world.

You Don't Know About Me

You Don’t Know About Me

By Brian Meehl
(Delacorte, $17.99; ages 14 and up)

In this contemporary update of Huckleberry Finn, 16-year-old Billy gets an out-of-the-blue message from his supposedly dead father, launching Billy on a cross-country road trip in which he confronts long-held beliefs. Featuring con artists, a trip to the Burning Man festival, and a professional baseball player on the run, it’s a madcap yet moving story of a teen coming into his own.

Where Things Come Back

Where Things Comes Back

By John Corey Whaley
(Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $16.99; ages 14 and up)

In his first novel, Whaley seamlessly weaves several threads—a missing sibling, a failed teenage missionary, the possible reappearance of a woodpecker believed to be extinct—into a darkly comic and sometimes heartbreaking thriller. Whaley has much to say about family, faith, and the current state of the media.

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