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Books for Young Readers & Classroom Resources

Discounts on all books to school addresses inside the U.S.  $3 Media Mail flat rate shipping per mailed order. Contact for discounts on orders of 5 or more copies.

Customers outside the U.S.:   High postal charges prevent us from mailing outside the U.S., so we can deliver non-print versions only. For printed books please order as possible from larger online international distributors.

36 full-color pages plus suggestions for teachers

Paperback List Price $10.95

Discount $2



The Pumpkin Deal:  A Win-Win Halloween

by Alan Venable, pictures by Lena Venable

In this playful, surprising tale, a savvy young witch keeps her own interests in mind as she negotiates with a scarecrow who owns some pumpkins that the witch and her ornery cronies want to carve on Halloween.  A win-win deal depends on her finding out what the understandably wary, secretive scarecrow might want in exchange.  Based on grownup, win-win research!  Stimulating language. Written with classroom discussion in mind.  Includes notes for teachers.

Free elementary classroom readers theater script available at

Based on a true story!

The Pumpkin Deal blends seasonal trappings with a delightfully unique overlay of plot, invention, and moral. The story teaches kids about cooperation, creative problem-solving, intention, and ultimately, the meaning of a ‘pumpkin deal’ that changes everything.

“This particular Halloween opens with a comical septet of witches and wizards intending to “fill our bitter hearts with gladness/By driving other poor creatures to madness.” So this ragtag “posse of loonies,” intent on causing mayhem and generating “reptilian nightmares” for those around them, declares, until eighth witch, little “Cricket,” reminds them of their most beloved seasonal pleasures, which include carving jack-o-lanterns.

“With her reminder, the story becomes a saner but still problematic challenge of finding eight pumpkins to carve at an hour when the market stalls are empty. Will a castaway cabbage do? Perhaps a “nasty old eggplant”?

“Here is where the book sets forth to earn its subtitle, A Win-Win Halloween. From here on, the whimsical fun comes to life with unpredictable twists that set the book apart from the staid progression of the usual Halloween adventure for picture book readers.

“Delightful illustrations by Lena Venable pair nicely with a rollicking rhyme. Her drawings are fanciful, artistic, and crafted for all ages. The art– like the text–is intriguing to adult readers, as well.

Surprising positive turns of events, insights into what constitutes a win-win approach, and Cricket’s own realization of how her intentions blend with those around her coalesce to enrich this book with greater heart, awareness and mindfulness than the usual Halloween adventure.”

—D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Children’s Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review


32 full-color pages plus suggestions for teachers

Hardback List Price $14.95    

Discount $3

Discount to school address $5

Paperback List Price $11.95

Discount $2

Discount to school address $5

pdf version

The Checker Players

by Alan Venable, pictures by Byron Barton

A Win-Win Winner

“A story that will delight young children.” —School Library Journal

“Intelligence and humor…. It has that rare substance.” —New York Times Book Review

“Charm and sense.” —New York Magazine

“Barton’s sketches nicely capture the humor in this elementary lesson that two can do better than one.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“Charm and Sense” —New York Magazine

 “Barton’s sketches nicely capture the humor in this elementary lesson that two can do better than one.” —Publisher’s Weekly

Two Veteran New York State Teachers Say

The Checker Players is a classroom essential, the perfect book for children of all ages. Reading it in September, when friendships are forming and teamwork is being encouraged, sets the stage for cooperation and goodwill throughout the school year. If ever a book promoted tolerance and fair play, this is it.

“Competing at a game of checkers, two comical characters find their budding friendship at stake. How they resolve their differences provides a springboard for endless discussions about the value of respect and compromise.

“Over the years, we’ve used the book in many creative ways.  We use it to frame situations in which the students could get along better: ‘What did the carpenter do to solve his problem? The tinker?’ ‘Can you two work out your differences like they did?’  ‘How can we use the example of The Checker Players to solve problems in our families, our neighborhoods, our world?’

“Our students analyze its story structure and character description, and discover the author’s uses of humor which flows throughout the book. To predict the ending, the children may draw their own versions of the tinker’s and carpenter’s boats, then discuss how these differences would affect the story’s outcome. The Checker Players also lends itself well to reader’s theatre, as well as creative dramatics and script-writing. From this model of creative writing, students are always inspired and their writing improves accordingly.”

Mary Fessenden & Ruth Rath


Hardback with jacket, 32 full-color pages

List Price $11.95

Discount $2

Discount to school address $5


Nutty to Meet You! Dr. Peanut Book #1

by Alan Venable, pictures by Natalie Lewellyn

As the peanuts’ peanutrician, Dr. Peanut leads a pleasant life until he ventures out into a peanut-eating world. Out there, he needs to travel in disguise. Costumed as an ant one afternoon, he barely escapes a squirrel and is scooped up by two hungry kids. Laughing at the learned doctor’s ingenious arguments for why they shouldn’t eat him, the amused children tell him not to worry, “We don’t eat anything that talks!”

Medical centers use this book to reassure children that doctors are friendly. The story also reminds little people to speak up!  This book makes a great primer for the six-story chapter book Don’t Eat Dr. Peanut, which children will enjoy reading together or to themselves in their early elementary years.

 “Peanuts don’t talk…or do they? A charming story of friendship from the perspective of one Dr. Peanut [who] encounters giants (human children) who…may turn him into a quick snack. But he is delightfully surprised…. Cute drawings.”  — Reviewer’s Choice, Children’s Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

“Delightfully nonsensical, this tale of a peanut doctor…will suit every child and adult who appreciates the absurd.  Much of the charm of the book is the advice he gives to his young friends, boy and girl, who are wise enough to question some of his conclusions.  What civilized conversations they have! The illustrations admirably capture the spirit.” — Small Press Review

“Plain pea-nutty fun.”  — Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Paperback, 76 pages, 48 black-and-white illustrations

List Price $9.95

Discount $2

Discount to school address $5



 Don’t Eat Dr. Peanut!  Six Nutty Tales 

 by Alan Venable.

This book begins with the tale told in the picture book Nutty to Meet You!, this time in chapter format, with fresh illustrations, slightly more advanced language for bedtime or early elementary reading. From there it just gets nuttier! The book is filled with wordplay and glimpses of real natural science and outlandishness that young readers and listeners will enjoy detecting.


  1. “Meet Doctor Peanut” — In which Dr. Peanut learns how to communicate with giants, and the giants learn a bit of “Pinglish.”
  2. “Slimy” — In which the doctor acquires a snail for a pet and decides after scientific research and some surprising communication that neighborliness might be a better way to go.
  3. “Too Many Squirrels” — A spine-tingling thriller of what can happen when a peanut takes a walk in the park!
  4. “Where Peanuts Come From” — We mean the talking kind, and the surprising natural history of the real kind, too.
  5. “The C-in-P Machine” — Pea-nutty high-tech unravels the mystery of why some peanuts are taller than others, yet all are nutty as they are.
  6. “Ask Before You Bite” — The peanut world goes into an uproar when a young talking peanut is bitten by a giant. Naturally, the science-minded doctor wants to prevent such disasters in the future.




Hardback with jacket, 10 chapters, 110 pages, 10 full-page, monochrome illustrations

List Price $12.95

Discount $3

Discount to school address $5

Smashwords ebook

Take Me With You When You Go

by Alan Venable, illustrated by Laurie Marshall.

Ages 6 – 10.

“Sister and Brother Forgotten in one of the phrases used to describe the young siblings at the center of this story of love, loss, and longing. Taught that, ‘once together, never apart,’ Sister and Brother embark on a quest that begins when Granny becomes too old to care for them.  The treasure of the story is its connection to fairytales and folklore.  Take Me with You When You Go will make a great bedtime story for the older child.” —ForeWord Magazine

“Smoothly written, …moves at a strong pace. There is a kindness about the book, realistic conflicts, and incidents of humor…. Interesting, expressive illustrations enhance the text. In all, a winner for young readers, or for group audiences.  Recommended.” —Nancy Ferrel, Juneau Public Library Review Committee

“I was moved and passed this on to my own grandsons. The rhythm replicates traditional folktale.  The environmental theme resonates with other stories from other times. It echoes deep in the unconscious.”  —Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Composing a Life and Willing to Learn: Passages of Personal Discovery

 “A good story lasts a lifetime, especially one that awakens compassion and courage. Take Me with You leaves a mark.” —Adriane Lonzarich, teacher and storyteller

More Resources 

The lyrics of a simple song expand throughout the book. The tune is given in the book. You can also hear it here or download a simple piano arrangement.

Readers’ theater and fuller scripts are available free to teachers and children’s theaters.  Contact the publisher.