Churchill’s Tale of Tails

Churchill’s Tale of Tales by Anca Sandu is a nominee for the 2015-2016 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

Churchill is a very proud pig. He enjoys many things, but the most important thing in his life is his tail. One day, though, Churchill loses his precious tail, and he looks to his friends for help in finding a new one.

As Churchill tries on tail after tail, he soon loses touch with his friends. Has finding a new tail really become more important to him than friendship?

Will Churchill ever find his own tail? More importantly, will he find his way back to the friends who helped him on his way? Find out when you read Churchill’s Tale of Tails!

With charming illustrations, a simple, entertaining narrative, and an important (but not too preachy) lesson, this book is sure to be a hit in read-alouds and in elementary-level libraries. Many young (and older) readers may just learn a little something from Churchill, and this delightful book could lead them to value their friendships a bit more than the material and fleeting things in the world.

Lost and Found

Lost and Found, written by Bill Harley and illustrated by Adam Gustavson, is a nominee for the 2014-15 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

Lost and Found is a charming, colorful book about Justin, a boy who has lost his hat. He looks everywhere for this special hat made by his grandmother, but he can’t find it anywhere. Eventually, he makes his way to the Lost and Found at school. Everyone avoids the Lost and Found because they’re scared of the custodian, Mr. Rumkowsky.

Justin soon learns that Mr. Rumkowsky isn’t so scary, and the Lost and Found is full of neat stuff, even things that his friends have been looking for! But he still can’t find his hat. But what’s that at the bottom of the Lost and Found box? Could it be his hat, or maybe something even more special?

Lost and Found is a wonderful picture book that lots of kids and adults will be able to relate to. After all, we’ve all lost things and had no clue where to find them! Sometimes, though, when we’re looking for one thing, we find something even better!

This book could also be a cool gift for school custodians. I think they’ll find humor in how the book ends!

A Dog’s Way Home

Abby’s best friend is her beloved Shetland sheepdog, Tam. The two are always together, and they even compete in agility competitions (which they usually win because they seem to read each others’ minds). On the way home from a competition in Virginia, however, a horrible accident on the treacherous Blue Ridge Parkway separates Abby and Tam. Abby is sure that her precious dog is still alive and trying to find his way back to her…all the way home to Harmony Gap, North Carolina.  Even when Abby and her family move to Nashville (something Abby is not happy about), she never loses hope that she will be reunited with Tam one day.

Tam is lost and alone for the first time in his life.  He has only two goals:  survive and find his way back to his girl.  As Tam makes his way south toward where he’s sure he’ll find Abby, surviving is becoming more difficult.  Winter is on its way, and Tam must rely on all his instincts–and the help of some surprising new friends–to live through the season.  As the days, weeks, and months pass, Tam begins to forget much about his old life as he becomes more like a wild animal and less like the pampered dog he once was.  But, somehow, he always remembers that he belongs somewhere else, and he is doing everything he can to get back to the place–and the girl–that is his true home.

Both Abby and Tam are facing new situations and dangers they never expected, but these two friends have a bond that transcends everything.  It’s this bond that helps both of them hope for the day when they’ll see each other again.  Even though hundreds of miles separate them, Abby and Tam are determined to find each other…and they’ll stop at nothing to make that happen.  Find out how Tam makes his way home to Abby’s welcoming arms when you read A Dog’s Way Home by Bobbie Pyron.

I’m confident that my students will devour this book.  Books about dogs are not exactly a hard sell in my library anyway, but I think this one stands out from the crowd.  A Dog’s Way Home is told from both Abby’s and Tam’s perspectives, so it shows how strong the relationship between pet and owner can truly be.  Anyone who’s ever had a pet will appreciate this.

There are so many things to love about A Dog’s Way Home–the setting, the relationships, the will to survive, and the love between Abby and Tam.  I sincerely believe that my students will enjoy this book as much as I did.  I highly recommend this book to all readers, especially those in 3rd-6th grades who have a special bond with their own pets.

For more information about this heart-warming book and author Bobbie Pyron, visit http://www.bobbiepyron.com/.