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Dad By My Side

"Dad By My Side," by European illustrator Soosh, is an endearing depiction of a parent-child bond, shown through the tender interactions of a larger-than-life father and his tiny daughter. The book invites readers into a world where unconditional love is shown through late night lullabies, chess lessons and cuddles on the couch. Soosh doesn't waste energy making sure every spot of watercolor is neat and just so; instead, her illustrations depict the realistic nature of parenting -- natural, personal and just messy enough to feel authentic. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Ages 4-8; $16.99

Cat in the Hat Builds That! App

PBS KIDS launches its first gaming app from the animated series, "The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!" The app features a collection of science adventures for preschoolers to engage with the characters, curriculum, tools and fantastical worlds, even their own customized backyard. It also includes personalization that empowers kids to make choices about their play-based experiences which enhance their learning. Available in the App Store, Google Play and Amazon.

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

Celebrating Father's Day

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

Daddy, Me, and the Magic Hour

A rambunctious boy and his father set out for a neighborhood adventure during the Magic Hour, when the "sun has gone down but clouds still ... glow." Through her lyrical text, Laura Krauss Melmed reveals the joy to be found in waving to neighbors, parading with dog walkers and tickling one another with a feather. As darkness gathers, the boy marvels at the chirps of crickets and the blink-blink of fireflies before Daddy carries him to bed. Sarita Rich's mix of colorful panels and double-page spreads vibrantly convey the changing energy of a busy child as he goes from thudding and running to quietly observing to winding down for sleep -- while watched over by his loving dad.

ages 4 – 7

I Am Jim Henson

Witty language and kid-friendly facts are hallmarks of Brad Meltzer's acclaimed biographies, and this book about puppeteer genius Jim Henson will entertain and inform the whole family. Meltzer's grandparents were key to Henson's development, from their love of laughter to their encouragement of young Jim's creativity. As kids, the boy and his friends loved acting out scenes from movies, and with much practice, Jim parlayed this skill into his first job as a puppeteer -- and eventually to his ground-breaking TV work with "Sesame Street." Young readers will learn Henson's favorite joke and how he made his best-known character, Kermit the Frog, from his mother's old coat.

ages 8 – 12

Charlie & Frog: A Mystery

With his parents off to Africa to help the wildlife there, lonely Charlie must stay with grandparents he barely knows in their small town, which is where he meets Frog, an intrepid deaf girl. She teaches him American Sign Language, and the two team up to solve a hair-raising mystery that involves a missing elderly woman. Maryland author Karen Kane combines humor with heart in this fast-moving tale of friendship, red scarves and the importance of listening. Kane's 25 years as an interpreter for the deaf community underpin her vivid characterizations and assured debut.

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 25 award-winning children’s books, most recently “Hero Dogs,” a National Geographic nonfiction chapter book about amazing animal heroes. Mary is a popular school and conference