Doc McDuke's Books for Kids!

Perfect Picture Books!


One sultry summer night in the city all the power goes out. There is no phone, no computer, no TV, no cooking dinner. The whole family is rendered helpless. They go up to the roof to escape the heat and discover the stars; they discover their neighbors, they begin eating ice cream before it melts. They suddenly aren't frantically "busy" and they even break out a board game by candlelight. Then the power is restored, and they decide they prefer the fun of the board game. A reminder to put our cares aside for awhile and enjoy one another.

Max puts on his wolf suit for some fun but ends up getting sent to his room. No problem, monsters join him in a forest in his bedroom and they all have a blast together. Ever miss having monsters in your bedroom?

One of the more popular Barefoot Books is a picture book combines poetry, song, and dance into a brilliantly illustrated, fun-packed guessing game. In one place, the text reads, "Down in the jungle, come if you dare!/What can you see shaking here and there?" A clue in the illustration shows a boy peeking at an animal that is partly concealed by a looming tree. A flip of the page reveals a bear that loves dancing: "Shake, shake, boogie, woogie, oogie!/That's the way she's shaking here and there." A monkey, a leopard, an elephant, and several other creatures also move in their own particular ways. The rhythm of the text encourages children to boogie-woogie right along.

Al, the wolf, wasn't really to blame for ruining the lives of the three little pigs. You see he was just baking a cake for his granny and he was missing a key ingredient. So he was simply going from house to house asking for the ingredient. He just happened to sneeze when he got to the pigs' house. You're going to feel really bad for the wolf after you hear the real story.

This book makes for great bedtime reading and has helped kids to go to sleep on many a night. Six fun stories about bedtime and a nonsense song make up the contents which are illustrated by a bunch of animals. A few of the stories include one about
 Snoozers who can sleep anywhere and anytime (except bedtime). A little bear puts himself to sleep by fussing about not being tired. One about different animals like different types of pajamas. Night Sounds of the snores of the jungle as the animals sleep until...

I've never heard of this book, but you should have. A book that kids love and one that also makes adults laugh and tear up a little is a rare thing. And believe it or not, it's a book for both boys and girls. Lilly is a character!

Every young boy must go through the fun ritual of learning to fish with Dad. Eli goes fishing with his dad for the first time. His daddy shows him step by step the quiet art of fishing. Eli is beginning to appreciate the joy of patience and a slower rhythm to life. Illustrations are photographs, well done.

Things were just peachy in the town of ChewandSwallow. It rained and snowed food instead of the usual weather. The people were well fed until the food started getting bigger and bigger. They were in big trouble. Would the meatballs and stuff destroy them? Read and find out.

This beautiful hardbound book with case includes all of the original Beatrix Potter stories, reaching far beyond Peter Rabbit. It is a bit more expensive than a typical children's book, but if you tried to buy the stories individually it would undoubtedly cost several hundred dollars. Though written over a century ago, the stories have stood the test of time, and children still love them. Can be excellent adult read-alouds for younger children or readers for children a bit older.

Olivia is one crazy six-year-old piglet. She not only wears out everyone around her, but, finally, she actually wears herself out too. Her frenetic life is presented and illustrated in a manner that adults will find almost as entertaining as the kids. When her mother finally gets her to bed, she says, "You really wear me out! But I love you anyway." Olivia simply answers, "I love you anyway too."

This is a proven classic. Harold goes out for a moonlit walk and all he has is a chunky purple crayon. But oh what he's able to do with that lone crayon. He needs a boat to float so he draws one with the crayon. He gets hungry so he draws a picnic feast. Anything he can imagine he can create in this magical world.

An unexpected friendship is explored in this delightful rhyme about two distinctly different dogs. Angel, a fancy poodle pup, has her own insecurities. When Scruffy, a cross between poodle and Labrador, is brought home by the owner, Leah, havoc ensues wherever Scruffy goes. His less than stellar manners are appalling to Angel until the "ah-ha" moment that Scruffy is not so bad but is actually fun.  Story shows we are all individuals whether canine or human and should appreciate the positives in all we meet.

Angelica did not know at birth that she would become the female John Bunyan, but she might have had a slight suspicion when she built a whole log cabin at age two and rescued a stuck wagon train at age twelve. This is a great tall tale with superb illustrations. Kids love it.

Amos McGee spends almost every day running errands and doing things for the animals at the zoo. Then one day Amos gets sick and the animals decide they're going to return the favor. Fun book.


Wilfrid lives next door to a retirement home. Something draws him back to those old folks and he begins to get to know them and care about them. Terrific life lesson and illustrations. 

This is the craziest book you've ever seen. It tells all the fairy tales wrong because it mixes them together. Everybody knows the ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan, but in this book she stays ugly and when the princess kisses the frog, she just gets slime all over her lips. You've got to read this kooky book.

Great illustrations and just the right simple words to describe what it may have been like for a family to travel across the sea to freedom in America. A fine read-aloud.

Eli goes blackberry picking with Mom for the first time. He learns to watch out for thorns, which berries to pick, and how many Mom needs for a blackberry tart. Simple learning tool. Children like books that show them how to do new thing

This is a curiously captivating story of a Japanese man who immigrates to America and finds he wants to drift around and see everything the country has to offer. Then he marries and settles with his family in California. He goes back to Japan but eventually begins longing to be back in California. He doesn't get to, but his daughter does.


Kitten thinks her first full moon is a bowl of milk, so she tries various charming but disappointing methods of reaching that bowl of milk in the sky!

Few stories are so charming that they're brought back into print many decades after they were written, but this is one of the few.  Wee Gillis is an orphan in Scotland and each side of the family is coercing him to live with them full-time. But Gillis is quite diplomatic and enjoys both lifestyles. How will he settle down without making permanent enemies out of one side of the family? Read this story with your children or your pupils. They'll love it.

There are some tales that are just real and quirky enough that adults like them too. Ezra is an old codger who Betty worries about. When she worries he'll freeze to death, he simply says something about one dog nights or five dog nights. She thinks he's finally lost his mind. But he means that on a particularly freezing night all five of his dogs sleep on top of him. Betty and Ezra have a falling out, but, come spring, they patch things up, and Ezra finds out that now Betty makes dogs useful too.

This book, Biggest, Strongest, Fastest, is written simply enough that some preschoolers can appreciate the pictures paired with the facts. However, it would probably be even more fascinating for the six or eight-year-old. Some of the comparisons between abilities of animals and humans, for example, boggle the imagination. They can outdo us in lots of ways.

In The Dory Story, a little boy is in his red boat on the high seas! He sees various sea creatures who are part of the food chain for other creatures. He sees big fish consume others. He sees smaller creatures consuming even smaller shrimp. Then he spots a killer whale and a tuna capsizes his boat. He swims heroically to escape the killer whale. Suddenly he hears his mom's voice and she tells him his bathtime is about over.  A fun, very well illustrated book.

This is the true story of a black slave from long ago in South Carolina. He was a potter by trade and he loved making pots huge and small and trademarking them with little scraps of poetry he made up. This is a book that will fascinate children and make them want to try their hand at making a clay pot. But, more than that, it will introduce them to a man who refused to moan and groan about being a slave. He just enjoyed working hard doing what he'd been greatly gifted to do.

This book is guaranteed to keep young children laughing as Judi Barrett tells funny reasons why it just would not work for animals to walk around wearing clothes. Illustrations add to the humor.

This is a tongue in cheek book about kids and their dads that is sure to strengthen the bond between dads and kids. A young dinosaur tells about things a dad can't do. A dad isn't good at sleeping late because his child wakes him up. Nor is a dad good at staying hidden when playing hide and seek, or putting up a tent, or going fishing alone. You get the point.

Little Critter is having a very bad day. They say he can't keep frogs in the bathtub, he can't help paint up the house, he can't, can't can't....  Finally he gets so mad he says he's going to run away. Just then, some pals come by and ask him to come play baseball. He grabs up his bat and takes off, saying that maybe he'll just run away some other day. Can help kids begin to understand their anger.


Great photographic journey for young ones to Central America jungles to figure out how the red-eyed tree frog spends the night finding food to eat and avoiding being food for other animals.

You can't beat the rich illustrations in this somewhat updated version of the mighty John Henry. He was a legend who even the animals loved. He fought and achieved until he worked so mightily that his heart just quit.

Mom doesn't have a comfortable chair to sit in when she comes home so weary from all her work. A child helps to sacrifice by saving little bits of money for a chair. Finally, there is enough money and mother goes with child to the store to try out all the chairs until they find the perfectly comfortable one. A touching story of childhood love.

This is a beautiful boxed set of some of the very favorite Thornton Burgess stories for kids. Characters include Peter Cottontail, Happy Jack, Grandfather Frog, and Reddy Fox. Though presented on Amazon as appropriate for older children, in our society with kids' huge exposure to more complex children's movies and such, these seem better used as adult read-alouds for children in the five- and six-year-old age range.


An interesting and simple explanation to children about how seeds are planted and how they then turn into plants. Fascinating stuff when introduced for the first time.

Tommy wants to be an artist when he grows up. His parents and other adults hang up his drawings everywhere and Tommy can't wait to meet his school art teacher. But then the teacher wants him to just copy the teacher's picture and he wants to be creative. The story ends well and communicates clearly the lesson that everyone has something original to do.

Now that diesel engines are invented Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel feel useless. They can't find any work at all in the big city. So they end up way out in a little town that needs a new city hall. Mike tells the townspeople that if he can have the job, he'll get the foundation dug in one day. This may well be your child's first suspense thriller. Will Mike get the hole dug in time? Will his very survival be threatened. Read to find out.


Check out The Hungry Caterpillar,  a great picture book of a caterpillar devouring everything in its path.  Extremely popular book!


What could be more exciting to a young child on Christmas eve than to get a visit from Santa and be swept up to the North Pole for an exclusive visit?

A wonderful wordless book about a friendship between a boy and a snowman. The boy even takes the snowman on a tour of his home. Some priceless moments of humor and fun with excellent illustrations.

Willy Bentley was a real boy who lived in Vermont. As a boy he became enchanted by the snowflakes and, for the next fifty years, he examined the exquisite shapes, finally proving that no snowflake is designed exactly alike. Sit down with your children around a Christmas fireplace and read them the story of Willy. It will become a tradition.


A devoted mother keeps singing and rocking her child to sleep even as he grows up to manhood. But the time finally comes when she is too old and weak to rock him, so the son rocks his mom to sleep. Very touching story.


The author humanizes Abe Lincoln by telling entertaining, true anecdotes about things the absent-minded Lincoln did as he moved toward the presidency.

Based on a true story that occurred in the 1700s, a young girl wanders into the woods, gets lost, and starts crying. When searching villagers find her footprints beside bear prints, they quickly conclude the child has been killed. But one man has a dream in which he sees the child alive. They keep searching and find the child safe and sound. Especially intriguing because of truth behind story.

This story is about Larry, the poor shoeshine man. He meets a freezing young boy on a winter night and ends up giving him his cap, his gloves, and finally his angel made out of a spool. Suddenly the boy is revealed as an angel who lifts the generous shoeshine man out of this life to soar among the angels. Touching story and great artwork.

Yep, it's a crisp, wonderful reprint of one of your favorite stories as a kid. When a ship is in big trouble in a storm, the waves are too big for the huge bulky boats to help. But Little Toot, the tugboat, is just the right size to come to the rescue. You liked it and your child will too.

All the little fish are scared to venture out and have fun exploring the endless variety of the sea. Then Swimmy comes along and shows them, through disarming ingenuity, how to avoid predators and still have a good time. Lionni's wondrous  illustrations alone make this a book that must rest on your child's shelf.


Sam has lost full control of his bubble gum and it has taken on a life of its own, sticking to everyone in its path! How can Sam stop the Bubble Gum Monster and save the world?

A hole is to dig, a brother is to help, toes are to wiggle...  Adults seem to like this book almost as well as children. It tells what everything around us is for, with a hefty dose of humor. A classic.


A great crisis has occurred. The King wants to give his Queen a bed for her birthday but beds have not yet been invented and he does not know how to make it the right size.


Sylvester finds a magic pebble that grants his every wish. But he sees a lion and turns himself into a rock. Now he can't hold the pebble and wish himself into another form. Is Sylvester doomed to forever be an old rock?


Thoroughly upset about their daughter's wonderful manners, a monster mom and dad insist that she adopt their bad manners.


Sal and her mom go blueberry picking on the same day a mother bear and her cub do. Craziness ensues when the young ones follow the wrong mother home.


David keeps getting himself into terrible trouble until the only words he seems to hear are, "No David!" But, in the end, a penitent David is held in his mother's forgiving arms.

A young caterpillar is about to melt into slumber when an aged Monarch butterfly arrives from his worldwide flight. He describes the amazing animal life he's seen in each region of the planet. Schimmel is a master artist who will make children gasp at his paintings of animal life.

A clever book that seems to start out sad but ends with a joyful burst. A clever rhyming story that only seems too simple.



For over 50 years the six Curious George titles have become classics for children everywhere. Why not buy all six in one collection and entertain your child with the monkey's shenanigans?

Here's a perfect introduction for your child to Dr. Seuss and his crazy characters and inventive rhyming lines.


Bobby is  an average OK baseball player. He just can't hit the ball. His good friend, Willy helps Bobby learn how to actually wallop the ball and avoid hearing the familiar, "Here comes the strikeout!"


You've got to order this collection of several of the very best Amelia stories, the housekeeper who takes every instruction so literally it gets her into all sorts of hot water. Kids love her antics.

It's the ever-popular Where's Waldo? This book is wackier than ever, introducing the Land of Woof, the Crazy Cake Factory, and more. Kids love searching for hours for various figures in the endless mazes. A good way to keep kids occupied on a long trip.

Madeline is a child in Paris, being reared by a muddled Miss Clavel in a house with other girls. She awakes in pain and is rushed to the hospital for an appendectomy. May not sound like such an entertaining premise, but the author makes sure it is.

This is a classic children want again and again. A lonely woman sends her husband out to find a cat to keep them company. He returns with thousands of cats and they must try to choose the best. Well, the cats fight because they all think they're gorgeous. Finally, a thin scrawny cat remains, only because she gave up and hid during the cat fight. They fall in love with her.


Snail goes to school but the water fountain creates a tidal wave, the fire extinguisher blasts him into space, and the music baton becomes a magic wand. The school is never quite the same after snail attends.


Pupils take advantage of their teacher's good nature, until she disappears and they are faced with a not-too-nice substitute.


A simple, matter-of-fact story about a friendship between a mouse and a whale. Come on, what's so crazy about that?


Painfully shy, Emma goes to meet her new neighbor, Sally. She decides their winter boots are magic, and the magic boots help both girls overcome their awkwardness and become close friends. 

  Leo is a baby lion cub and he's way behind the other cubs in every way. His father is very worried but mom is confident that, in time, Leo will develop. The illustrations could have made the book too syrupy, too cold, or just average. But their appropriateness makes the story come alive.  

Harry, the dog, hates baths so he buries his scrub brush in the backyard. Then he proceeds to become magnificently dirty. However, when his human family no longer recognizes him, he unburies the scrub brush and submits to a bath. 



Owen, the mouse, loves his little blanket and carries it around everywhere. Mrs. Tweezers, the neighbor, has all sort of horrible advice about how to get him to give up his security blanket (reminds me of my little brother, whose blanket literally fell to pieces before he would give it up).


Delores thinks her cat is so smart she will win a trip to Hawaii. But alas, Fifi, from Indiana wins the trip. Oh well, Delores and her sister immediately hatch another plan they think is just as good.

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