At the Magic Tree Bookstore in Oak Park, Ill., in Chicago’s western suburbs, co-owner Rose Joseph and bookseller Ann Krusek talk about current favorites.
RJ: When I talk about what I’m excited about selling this summer, the first book that comes to my lips is new and a lot of fun – The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. The appeal is obviously the idea that you needn’t use prescribed colors for a particular object. The sky doesn’t always have to be blue – [color] it pink if you feel like it. It passes along the notion you can think outside the box. And the fact that it is the crayons speaking is hilarious. This book seems to click with everyone I show it to too.
Another book we can’t keep in the store is Tea Rex by Molly Idle. It’s about a princess-y kind of girl having a T-rex to tea. It’s great for girls who like pinky stuff, and the idea of a T-rex coming to tea is a wonderful insertion into the story – not what you’d expect. I show it to lots of people and everyone seems to love it. But it really sells itself. And in YA, I really like On Little Wings by Regina Sirois, about a teen trying to discover her mother’s hidden past. Even though it’s a new book, it reads like a real classic.
AK: One of my very favorite new picture books is Rabbityness by Jo Empson. It’s about a rabbit who likes doing rabbit things like hopping about and twirling his whiskers, but who also likes doing un-rabbity things like making art and music – things that make everyone in the forest happy. When he goes away, the forest is so gray, but the other [rabbits] find art supplies and musical things that he’s left behind. They realize they also like un-rabbity things, and they fill the forest with color. The way the story is worded is really fun, and the art has huge splashes of color. We used this book at story time last week and the kids really had fun with it. It’s great for reading aloud and to use for activities.
For summer reading suggestions, anything by Sarah Dessen is my go-to for older readers. I know that’s what I love to read. And for younger kids, I like to recommend classics like Jamberry and Blueberries for Sal. A more recent book that I’m recommending for middle grade is Summer at Forsaken Lake by Michael D. Beil, which is now out in paperback. It’s a sweet story about a boy’s summer adventures with his twin sisters. It has a classic feel and is great for parents who want a book to read with and to their children. I recommend it to people who like the Boxcar Children and the Penderwicks series. In fact, The Penderwicks is my number one recommendation when parents ask for suggestions of books to read with their kids – in any season.