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posted: 11/30/2013 5:37 AM

Stolen books mystery a bedtime story the whole family will enjoy

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  • "The Snatchabook" by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty (Sourcebooks 2013), $16.99, 32 pages.

      "The Snatchabook" by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty (Sourcebooks 2013), $16.99, 32 pages.

 
By Terri Schlichenmeyer

The other night at bedtime, there was big trouble.

You went to grab your favorite storybook and it was gone! You looked under the bed. You searched in your toy box. You peeked into the closet, the kitchen, beneath the sofa, in the laundry and in your brother's bedroom. Where could it be?

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You're not sure, but if you read "The Snatchabook" by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty, I think you'll know.

It's late at night and little Eliza Brown has chosen a book to read before bedtime. That happened every night in every house all over Burrow Down because, well, who doesn't love a good story before they go to sleep? Who doesn't love a fantastic pirate yarn or a tale of dragons or princesses or little rabbits?

So Eliza and her neighbors were all in their quiet houses, all in their quiet beds, getting ready for a quiet night. But what they didn't know was that something strange was just outside their windows

Eliza noticed it first. A breeze moved the curtains in her bedroom just a bit, and when she grabbed for her storybook, it was GONE!

The book that Mommy Owl was reading -- POOF!

The story that Papa Squirrel was reading -- ZIP!

The book that the Badger Family was reading -- ZAP! Just like that. And it happened again and again until every single book in Burrow Down was off the shelves and had disappeared.

Everyone was convinced that "book thieves" were hiding in their houses. They were sure it was bad. They were missing their books.

But Eliza Brown wasn't going to take this lying down -- she loved a good mystery, so she set a trap. She wasn't sure what she'd find -- or who -- but she wanted the stealing to end, and she wanted it to happen "RIGHT NOW!"

Then Eliza Brown heard a tiny voice that seemed quite sad. It seemed to be apologizing, like it needed to make things better, but there was just one problem. Could Eliza Brown and the residents of Burrow Down fix what was very wrong?

You might think you've read your child's favorite book so many times that you could probably recite it backward. You're not sure you can read it again and still retain your sanity. So maybe it's time to replace it with something you both can love.

With a lighthearted and oh-so-clever rhyme and illustrations that are absolutely beyond charming, "The Snatchabook" is very likely going to be your child's new bedtime BFF. In this story of someone who loves books so much, he can't help but take them, author Helen Docherty builds excitement by adding a very gentle scare -- but don't worry. When your kids see the reason for the scare, thanks to Tom Docherty's artwork, they'll be too delighted to do anything but laugh.

While toddlers will adore this book, I also think early gradeschoolers will love it, and so will you. If a brand-new bedtime book is just what your family needs, then "The Snatchabook" is a steal.

• Terri Schlichenmeyer, aka The Bookworm, has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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