Newsbee is kicking off 2018 with a resounding buzz. To mark a marvelous New Year, he’s chosen books that highlight attributes he hopes you’ll hone in on in the coming months. Here’s hoping you laugh a lot, read tons of books and endeavor to live a life of courage, just like the characters in his January Picks. Page On! Enjoy!

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Make room, grandmother of Red Riding Hood fame, your eyes will get bigger reading about another wolf that bites off more than he can chew. “The Wolf, The Duck & the Mouse” is a laugh-a-minute read with a twist.

It begins with a shocker — a Mouse is gobbled up one morning by Wolf. Now lest you think this is the end of the story and not the beginning, remember the author is Mac Barnett, who’s as quirky as the wolf in this story is goofy. Once Mouse is encased in Wolf’s gullet, he realizes he has company in his dark chamber — a Duck that doesn’t think his situation is fowl in the least.

Rather than complaining, Duck is thankful. He is safe inside the wolf’s belly, has plenty to eat and doesn’t have a care. Before he was ingested by the wolf, all Duck did was worry about that happening. But now his worst fear has been realized, and it isn’t near as bad as he imagined.

Things do go awry when Mouse and Duck eat, drink and get too merry inside Wolf’s tummy, giving him an ache that causes woe for the Wolf — who ends up being a sympathetic character. Illustrations by Jon Klassen bring the trio’s antics to life in understated pictures that deliver a potently amusing punch.

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Imagine being a kid but only having adult titles to read. That’s the way it was until bookseller John Newbery turned the literary world on its head. Check out “Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books,” by Michelle Markel.

Back in 1726, children “had to read preachy poems and fables, religious texts . . . and manuals.” There weren’t any picture or chapter books. Folks screamed “Balderdash” when Newbery suggested kids needed their own age-appropriate books to read.

Newbery’s mission to provide books for children had seeds that were planted when he was just a boy — seeds nurtured because of his fondness for books. When Newbery grew up, he became a publisher and moved to London, “the center of the bookselling trade.” There he opened a bookstore, and set a book he’d written in the window to entice families to buy it for their children.

From these humble beginnings, children’s literature was established, a movement depicted in this book with illustrations by Nancy Carpenter, her busy pages filled with cartoon-like renderings. To this day John Newbery is honored. The prestigious Newbery medal is given annually to the most distinguished author of a children’s book.

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Stellar storyteller Kimberly Brubaker Bradley delights with another historical favorite featuring Ada, a British 11-year-old enduring the trauma of World War II and an array of personal issues.

“The War I Finally Won,” an immersive read, follows Ada’s acceptance of tough issues in life as she recovers from surgery to fix her club foot, makes peace with her abusive past, and adjusts to becoming the ward of Susan, her guardian, an angel of a woman who takes Ada and her 6-year-old brother in, providing them with a home and kindness like they’ve never known.

The fly in the pudding of Ada’s transition is crotchety Lady Thorton. The wealthy woman provides Susan, Ada and her brother with a home, rent free, but the cottage comes with conditions, and the mood in the home gets even more tense when Ruth, a German Jewish teen takes refuge there, much to the dismay of Lady Thorton, whose son is fighting against the Germans.

With a plot that begs page turning and a heroine with faults who grows in self-knowledge, “The War I Finally Won” is rife with life lessons. It’s a pleasure from first page to last.