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Best Frints in the Whole Universe

Antoinette Portis (Roaring Brook/Porter)

Two aliens with sharp teeth and tadpole-like tails that (luckily) grow back provide a very funny portrait of the travails of friendship on planet Boborp, "where teef are long and tempers are short." Portis's playfully semi-homophonic Boborpian language will have human readers in stitches.

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Clara

Emily Arnold McCully (Random/Schwartz & Wade)

McCully transports readers to 18th-century Europe in a moving portrait of the close relationship between a Dutch merchant marine, Captain Douwe Mout van der Meer, and a rhinoceros named Clara that took Europe by storm as they traversed the continent in a horse-drawn wagon.

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Frank and Lucky Get Schooled

Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow)

As Perkins makes humorously clear, some of the best learning happens outside of the classroom—especially when you have a dog by your side. Trying to share a bed with a restless pup? That's fractions right there. And how better to embrace geography than with a long hike through the great out-doors?

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A Piece of Home

Jeri Watts, illus. by Hyewon Yum (Candlewick)

A Korean family endeavors to adjust to life in the U.S. in this intimate story from Watts and Yum. Hee Jun hates how much he stands out, his younger sister acts out, and their grandmother, a onetime teacher, retreats into silence. It's a sensitive portrait of resilience and cross-cultural bridge-building.

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Splashdance

Liz Starin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Summer is the perfect time to hit up the pool, but what if you're a polar bear trying to win a water ballet championship, and the pool has just banned bears? That's the setup for Starin's entertaining story as her heroine, Ursula, finds a crew of dedicated—and aquatically coordinated—allies to tackle injustice head-on.

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