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These two recent releases from HarperCollins are both wonderful examples of how books for very young readers need to challenge not only a child's vocabulary and grammar skills but must convey the idea of something positive. Supporting ideas of friendship and fairness are key to the core of any great young person's book.

Peepsqueak Wants a Friend has a pretty self-explanatory title. The farm animals are waking up to a grand new da,y and all the little chicks skip out into the fields: "2 by 2! 2 by 2! 2 by 2!" But Peepsqueak is alone and has no one. He wanders into the dark woods beyond the farm and has an adventure of his own. He returns with his own four-legged friend.

Emeraldalicious is a tale about Pinkalicious and her sibling Peter making a visit to their neighborhood park. But it's not what they remembered when they see litter and dirt everywhere. Adding to their distress, Pinkie's main wand malfunctions and leaves her in a world of hurt. With a little love and imagination and positive energy, she brings back her wand and turns the park into the paradise it once was.

Sweet little books that will challenge young readers (Peepsqueak is aimed at the 4 to 8-year-old group, while the Pinkalicious book is meant for an audience from 5 to 8) and make them think. Reading is a critical part of young development. Teach a youngster to read - and instill in them the love for words - and they'll climb mountains later in life.


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  Steven Rosen/2013 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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