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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Harry and Clare's Amazing Staycation, written by Ted Staunton and illustrated by Mika Song. Tundra Books, Random House. 2017. $22.99 ages 5 and up

"Harry had an idea,
but his stomach was
growling and his hands
were full of suitcase. "I -"

"Look out," said Claire.
"Quicksand!" She ate
Harry's snack for him ... "

It won't be long until the kids are out of school for another year. Wasn't it just spring break? Seems a long past to them, I am sure - especially as the days turn warm and sunny, and the evening's sunshine lasts until after 9. Summer vacation can't come soon enough for many.

And the days are not always filled with amazing things to do, or places to go. Some of them can be rainy - and repetitive - and boring! You might want to seek advice from Harry and Clare if that's the case at your house. It's only a week for them. The family is staying home, the rain is falling, and Clare is being the 'boss' for everything they do. Isn't that the way it is for some kids?

Despite their circumstance, the two find a way to make the days more adventuresome. On Monday, it's Mars, with Harry carrying all the supplies while Clare takes care of the snacks. Distracted by his hunger and with Clare in charge, he is victim to quicksand. As he sinks, Clare gets to eat his snack. Tuesday is rainy, too. A race car (shopping cart) provides transport at the grocery store. Harry wants to navigate. Clare has other ideas. She lets Harry 'drive and park' their race car (using both hands) while she partakes of their granola bar snacks. Wednesday is not any better.

Time for Harry to take control of the adventures and the snacks. He must be very sneaky! When they can get outside on a sunny Thursday, their zoo trip is orchestrated by Clare. Harry keeps mum. His planning pays dividends! Bravo, Harry!

What respect for the imagination and for sibling conflict and resolution is shown in Ted Staunton's storytelling. Fun to read, and an invitation to share adventure and fanciful stories from listeners, the watercolor and ink illustrations show common settings for paired adventure.  High-spirited and full of joy, they will have all kids looking forward to a staycation of their own!

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