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From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate

Written by Robin Nelson

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Part of the Start to Finish Series, From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate gives kids an insider’s look into the production of chocolate. What kid doesn’t love chocolate? And by the time kids reach the 2nd grade, they are inquisitive enough to want to know more than just that chocolate is a yummy treat. Kids want to know how things are made and it’s no different with chocolate.
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The Tree That Bear Climbed

Written by Marianne Berkes
Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

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This fun, cumulative poem follows in the tradition of “The House that Jack Built.” Yet it has an important theme: everything in nature is interconnected. The tree is anchored by roots that need rain and soil. It grows a sturdy trunk and long branches that sprout leaves and flowers. The flowers attract bees that use the nectar to make honey. That’s where the bear comes in, but neither the bear nor the bees are happy about it. The humorous tone emphasizes that everything in the cycle has come together to the perfect outcome: that there is honey in the beehive. Just as bear cannot resist climbing the tree for the honey, the bees cannot resist going after him for getting their honey.
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Mud Puddle

Written by Robert Munsch

Illustrated by Dusͮan Petricͮić

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In Mud Puddle, Robert Munsch and Dusͮan Petricͮić create a delightful story of Jule Ann, who fights dirty with an incredibly antagonistic mud puddle. The illustrations are simple, but effective in showing Jule Ann’s dilemma and emotions as she tries to outwit her nemesis. Second grade students will surely relate to the feeling of trying to avoid trouble to no avail. At times, all of us have felt like no matter what we do to stay clean, we just can’t keep from getting dirty! This book is a lovely read aloud, and provides a nice segue into discussing literal versus symbolic stories.
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The Little Prince: The Planet of Wind

Adapted by Guillaume Dorison

Artist Direction by Didier Poli

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In the tradition of the novel by Antoine Saint-Exupéry, the Little Prince returns to save many worlds. This graphic novel is the first of four planned volumes in a series. The exquisite artwork alone makes this a book worth having as a second grade read.

The Little Prince and Fox find themselves battling Snake on the Planet of Wind. Imaginative machines and creative landscape further comprehension for the reader. No need to say they’re floating to the ground. No need to note the encroaching ice. The characters are vivid and expressive. The reader knows when they’re troubled or happy or angry.
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Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox #4: Peace and Quiet

Written by Brigitte Luciani
Illustrated by Eve Thartlet

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Beautiful artwork and a touching story make this short graphic novel a winner for second graders. Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox, in their fourth book, prepare for winter. They gather dried branches to protect the burrow entrance and provide bedding. The badger children react like badgers, eating everything in sight to fatten up and sleeping longer and longer periods of time. The badgers explain that they don’t really hibernate, though. One badger, Grub, stays out too long and ends up sleeping for a three-day stretch. Ginger, the fox child, enjoys the colder weather and learning about hunting. She offers to give the badgers hunting lessons. With added humor, Ginger slides down a snow-covered hill. They also engage several human activities. They build a board game and play it together. Snowballs fly and the kids build snow-badgers later in the book. Because the fox is more active than the badgers, a bit of conflict ensues. They solve the problem by providing a closing bedroom door for Grub. The carving on the door reads “Do Not Disturb.”
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Raining Cats and Detectives

Written by Colleen A.F. Venable
Illustrated by Stephanie Yue

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What a fun mystery with an unexpected detective: a guinea pig named Sasspants. It all begins in the pet shop. The animals all wonder what their futures will be if they are sold. Sasspants’s friend, Hamisher the hamster, decides the two of them must go to the same owner so they can continue their detecting. Then pizza enters the picture. The cat from the bookstore next door comes up missing and Sasspants and Hamisher are separated. Even with two sets of clues, all roads lead to pizza. Sasspants and Hamisher conclude that the cat climbed in the pizza carrier. They solve the crime, each in his or her own way, to find the cat and get him back home.
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Oh No, Jonah

Written by Tilda Balsey
Illustrated by Jago

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Many bible stories have been made into children’s books. The story of Jonah is a popular story to embellish or illustrate and it’s almost always turned into a great fish tale. The Biblical account of Jonah’s folly is not so much about the fish, but about Jonah’s disobedience and God’s forgiveness. In the end Jonah still doesn’t change his heart. We’ve seldom heard this more accurate account of Jonah in children’s literature but Oh No, Jonah not only is biblically accurate, but its fantastic artwork by Jago will give kids a vivid picture of this whale of a tale.
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Hiss-s-s-s!

Written by Eric A. Kimmel

Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013 from the National  Science Teacher’s Association and the Children’s Book Council (click for more info)

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Look out for hidden corn snakes! Especially if you’re afraid of them, but also if you love them and keep them as pets. Rich plots, wonderful characters, and an appealing voice make this a winner for second graders. Because the snake information will speak to boys and because the family is Muslim, this is sure to appear on reading lists for cultural diversity.
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Your Skeletal System

Written by Caroline Arnold

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What do bones do for you? What would happen if you didn’t have any bones?  Could you run and jump? Second grade readers will find out in this fun and fascinating look at the world of bones. This is a wonderful addition to the “Searchlight” books series. After an introduction, the author launches right into the substances that make up bones. For children, marrow and hard bone are surrounded by cartilage and the periosteum. What are the ways bones help you function? From protection to hearing to keeping you upright, there are many groups. The rib cage protects the heart and lungs, while the hips protect a different set of organs. The vertebrae are extra special. How are bones connected? What is a muscle? What are the different types of joints and how do they work? Why do adults have fewer bones than children? What is the difference between a ligament and a tendon? What can kids do help maintain a healthy skeleton?
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