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And speaking of great new picture books, my Christmas orders came in earlier this week and you all must buy “Shall I Knit You a Hat?: A Christmas Yarn” by Kate Klise. Because of an impending blizzard, Mother Rabbit knits a hat for Little Rabbit. He likes it so much that he asks his mother to knit hats for all their friends for Christmas so they won’t be cold in the snow. What makes this so adorable is the hats themselves. Little Rabbit’s hat is fitted to his ears – kindof like toe socks. The other animal’s hats are giant and bizzare-looking (bells hanging off and the like). The expressions on their faces wearing their new hats for the first time is priceless as is Deer saying “My antlers have never been drier.”

I also read “The Schwa was Here” by Neal Shusterman. What an odd little gem. Anthony “Antsy” Bonano first notices the Schwa whiile attempting to destroy an indestructible plastic mannequin. The Schwa is Calvin Schwa, a young man who is “visibly challanged” as in no one notices him to the point that Antsy’s mother repeatedly hits him in the face while talking with her hands because she doesn’t see him there. There’s a lot going on in this book: Calvin’s story and that of his mother who disappeared nearly a decade earlier and Antsy’s relationship with his family. There’s also a cranky old man and his blind grandaughter, 14 Afgan dogs, and a butcher with a tale to tell. Definitely one worth picking up.

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