Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Mark Teague

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poppleton_webThe adventures of a pleasingly plump city pig when the moves to the country and meets his new neighbors and makes new friends.

Poppleton, a most interesting pig, lives in a charming house in the country in this three-chapter beginning reader. In the first chapter, instead of submitting indefinitely to an overly friendly neighbor’s ministrations, he finally tells her, though not without first making a muddle of it, that he needs time to himself. In the second, he shows how much he values reading, for not even the temptations of a lovely afternoon tea or an exciting parade stand in the way of his Monday library day. The final story reveals Poppleton’s sense of humor as he joins a sick friend in bed when it becomes clear that there is a very palatable way to take pills. With his aerial view on the endpapers, Teague ushers readers into the pig’s small country town. His large, acrylic cartoons introduce many humorous touches: a chicken on rollerblades; a framed picture of Poppleton’s sociable neighbor, waving, of course; a picture of a can on the wall in a goat friend’s house. The characters’ facial expressions and body language greatly enhance the text. Rylant titles this Book One. Readers will be happy to know there are other Poppleton adventures in the wings.–Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community-Technical College, CT (From the School Library Journal (March 1997))

First in a series.

George and Martha by James Marshall

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george and martha_webGeorge and Martha are best friends who happen to be gigantic hippopotami. They learn the same lessons humans do about the ups and downs of true friendship. These two lovable hippos teach the meaning of friendship in five separate vignettes: “Split Pea Soup,” “The Flying Machine,” “The Tub,” “The Mirror,” “The Tooth.”

Seven title series.

Cork and Fuzz by Dori Chaconis illustrated by Lisa McCue

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cork and fuzz_webCork is a muskrat. Fuzz is a possum. Cork eats only veggie stuff. Fuzz eats beetles and worms. Cork likes to play hide-and-seek. Fuzz likes to play find-and-eat. Cork and Fuzz have nothing in common. Or do they?

With a theme of unlikely best friends, a small introverted muskrat, Cork and a larger, extroverted possum, Fuzz meet and have more in common than seemed possible.

Eight title series.

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

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Frog_and_toad_cover_webFrog and Toad are Friends is the original early reader about best friends whose opposing natures complement one another to create an unbeatable friendship. Frog, more energetic and positive and Toad, more passive and negative, set the standard for the early reader best friend series to come. Four title series.

Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems

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thank you book_webThe Elephant and Piggie series is the award winning best friend series by multiple-time Caldecott Medal and Honor Winner Mo Willems, creator of the Pigeon series and Knuffle Bunny. The Elephant and Piggie series has 25 titles concluding with The Thank You Book in 2016.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

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The_Unwanteds_book_cover_webIn a society that purges thirteen-year-olds who are creative, identical twins Aaron and Alex are separated, one to attend University while the other supposedly “Eliminated” finds himself in a wondrous place.

The City of Ember by Jeanette DuPrau

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The_City_of_Ember_webIn the city of Ember, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions.