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We Share Our Favorite Schwartz & Wade Books

June 24, 2011

Over the 5 years we’ve had the pleasure of selling Schwartz & Wade Books, each of us, and our booksellers too, have adopted a few favorites. Join us in our continuing celebration of Schwartz & Wade’s 5th Anniversary and please add your favorites too by responding in the comments section (you can find out more about books not featured here, authors and illustrators on their Facebook page).


The Bog Baby: This charming picture book is a treat for both parents and children. Children will love the delicate depictions of the woods and bogs, as well as the magic discovery of a “bog baby,” a small creature two sisters find hidden deep in a bog and take home as a pet. Parents will love the touching message of the importance of leaving nature alone and the whimsical ending where the narrator, years later and a mother herself now, returns to the bog and finds a new generation of the creatures she thought she may have imagined. -Erin

How to Be a Baby: This has become my go-to gift for friends expecting their second child. The narrator, a young girl, tells her new baby brother all of the reasons it is better not to be a baby: babies are stuck in jail (their cribs), they have to eat yucky baby food, and they don’t have their own friends. She finally admits, though, the good things: receiving lots of hugs and people smiling at you, and then tells her sibling she can’t wait until he is old enough to play with her and her friends. The text is sweet and funny and the detailed illustrations will hold older children’s attention. -Erin


Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five A marvelously informative book for 3-5 year olds, but grownups and older kids will have a blast with this book too. Bright, colorful and slyly funny, this book is filled with all of the early learning concepts you’ll ever need to navigate the world. There are lots of fun and funny objects to find too–a very “I Spy” experience for any age, and you’ll learn things without even realizing it.-Kate


ALVIN HO: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things Alvin is a wonderfully loveable, totally neurotic and well loved child, who somehow finds his way in the world with the help of his loving family and his two best friends. Once you start reading these charming and oh, so funny books you won’t want to stop. Luckily there are three books available now, and another one coming this Fall! – Kate

Book Court in Brooklyn liked Honeybee Man so much that they had an event with the author! Here’s what they had to say:”The Honeybee Man is a wonderful Brooklyn-based story, which teaches children all about beekeeping in an urban environment in a picture book format. We had great fun at BookCourt when Lela Nargi came to read to the children & showed them how to make origami honeybees.” – Lillian

A crowd pleaser  in our house has turned out to be the forthcoming The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot. This is a take-off (in case you couldn’t guess) on the three little pigs. My kids love space and before we even started reading they were admiring the end papers showing a map of our solar system and naming the planets (with help from the 9-year-old). They were immediately taken with the three little aliens named Bork, Gork and Nklxwcyz  (we had a lot of fun trying to figure out how to pronounce that last one and still aren’t sure!). When Alien Mom kicks them out of the house and they need to find their own planets to live on, sneaky science lessons are introduced in the descriptions of their new homes. When the robot comes to smash their houses down the kids were truly afraid – in that way that kids like to be. – Deanna

I love the two books about a girl who makes herself very difficult to love! The first, 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to do Anymore, our impish narrator describes all the things she did, many of them to her brother, and what was taken away as a result. Stapling her brother’s head to a pillow, unsurprisingly, resulted in banning her from the stapler. -Deanna

In a sequel of sorts coming this fall, 11 Experiments That Failed, the misbehavioralist is now misbehaving in the name of science. Each devious scheme is set up as a perfectly legit experiment complete with a Question (what is the best way to speed up a boring car ride?), Hypothesis (yodeling makes the time go faster), What you need (traffic jam) and What to do (yodel!).  Her conclusions are always a bit discouraging, as in this example of What Happened: Walked to school, felt lonesome like a cowboy.  But somehow that never seems to stop her next ill-advised plan. She really does make herself difficult to love in this one, though I couldn’t help but love that at least she isn’t mine…. – Deanna

NEVER FORGOTTEN by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon  This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and not surprisingly, a slew of books about the decisive battles and heroes and villains of the war are hitting the shelves in droves. Just as we as a society need to understand our history in all of its complexity, in the case of the Civil War, it is vital that books about the primary casus belli of the war –that is., slavery and its abolishment—get equal treatment.

It is particularly important for our children to understand how our nation came to be and the diverse makeup of our people. One of the most stunning picture books to come along which captures both the rich cultural legacy of an African-American community, but also harsh reality of slavery is NEVER FORGOTTEN.  With a verse text by Newbery-Honor winner Patricia McKissack and vibrant illustrations by the Caldecott husband and wife team Leo and Diane Dillon, NEVER FORGOTTEN tells a story about a father and son living in an earlier time in West Africa: Dinga, a blacksmith, widowed, a leader in his clan and Mustafa, his son who live off the land and are reliant on the “Elements “for survival and spiritual sustenance. One day, Mustafa is stolen away by from Dinga and taken captive, along with hundred others, and shipped to the Americas“…naked and filthy…hungry and weak…sick and diseased…” to be sold “in marketplaces with cattle and cane”. Despite the brutal conditions he endured, Mustafa never allowed his situation to take away his dignity. Like his father, he valued hard work and became a skillful blacksmith, and one takes away from McKissack’s poetic rendering of Mustafa’s predicament that one day he would live free once again. I loved this book and believe it will be a staple text in homes and in the classroom for years to come. – Tim

Here Comes the Garbage Barge: I fell in love with this book in stages. First, the mind-boggling art.  The jacket flaps show how The Red Nose Studio created the images, which actually makes me even more impressed!  Second, the eco-friendly theme.  We live in a disposable world and don’t often think about what happens to all the garbage we create – this book will change that!  And finally the humor.  Seriously!  A book about garbage and what to do with it CAN be funny! -Nic

Clever Jack Takes the Cake: A clever young boy named Jack is thrilled to be invited to the princess’ tenth birthday party and she is just as happy when her new friend gives her the best gift ever: a story!  This modern day fairy tale by bestselling author/illustrator duo Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas captures the imagination and celebrates the wonder of storytelling.  I was met with great enthusiasm for this book when I was selling it to my buyers last Spring and am always excited to see that it continues to appear face out on many bookshelves today. – Sarah N.

Toys Go OutI describe this book as Winnie the Pooh meets Toy Story.  It has a timeless classic feel that makes you want to curl up on a couch & read it all the way through in one sitting.  I loved this book the first time I read it, but now that we’ve read it aloud MANY times as a family I can still say I love it!  Yea Plastic!! – Dandy

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2011 9:06 am

    You’ve given me a whole slew of books I now want to read to the little ones in my life. Thanks!

  2. Connie LeFever permalink
    June 24, 2011 8:13 pm

    My book clubs LOVE the “Toys Go Out” series! The whimsical text and beautiful illustrations complement each other to recreate that special experience between a child and their stuffed (or plastic) animals. We had to sing “The Washing Machine” song three times before we could move on to another favorite part. LOL fun.

  3. June 25, 2011 9:00 pm

    I adore both Toys Go Out and The Garbage Barge! But my absolute favorite Schwartz & Wade book would end up a tie between You Never Heard Of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter and Andre Carrilho and Abe Lincoln Crosses A Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale by Deborah Hopkinson and John Hendrix. Impossible to choose between those two!


  1. The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot « Illustration

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