Reading and play are essential building blocks for a child's development.

One way to combine them together is to make a game of hidden clues or riddles that children have to read to find the next clue. On small pieces of paper that you've written, the first clue might say "Look inside the oven." In the oven is the next clue, leading the child/children to another hidden clue in the house or in your yard.

The more clues, the more fun, with the last clue leading the players to a prize, such as cookies or a toy from the dollar store.

The benefits of reading and playing far outweigh being plopped in front of the TV or computer. Read together every day and make a game of reading, too. It's up to you to make it happen.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

"The Pink Refrigerator" written and illustrated by Tim Egan, Houghton Mifflin, 32 pages

Read aloud: age 6 and older.

Read yourself: age 7 and older.

Dodsworth's motto was "Try to do as little as possible." But one day, Dodsworth saw a note on an old pink refrigerator. It read, "Paint pictures." Out of curiosity, Dodsworth opened the refrigerator and found a beautiful assortment of paints and brushes and a sketchbook. Later that day, Dodsworth painted a picture and thoroughly enjoyed himself.

The next morning Dodsworth went back to the refrigerator. There was a different note on the front that read "Read more." Low and behold, the refrigerator was filled with literary classics, and Dodsworth read late into the night.

Each day brought another adventure; the pink refrigerator left a new note and provided the means for Dodsworth to execute the suggestion. He had never felt so alive!

Then he encountered the final note: "Keep exploring," and that's exactly what Dodsworth did.

A marvelous story with an excellent message, "The Pink Refrigerator" is a real gem.

Librarian's Choice

Library: Priestly-Forsyth Memorial Library, 100 King St., Northumberland

Library Director: Karen Burd

Youth Services Coordinator: Kim King

Choices this week: "Philadelphia Chickens" by Sandra Boynton; "The Things a String Can Be" by Julie Golis; "The Higher Power of Lucky" by Susan Patron

Books to Buy

The following book is available at favorite bookstores.

"What a Good Big Brother!" by Diane Wright Landolf, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. Random House, 2009, 28 pages, $16.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 2 and older.

Read yourself: age 7-8.

Cameron loves his new baby sister, Sadie, but she cries a lot. Sometimes she cries when she's tired, needs a diaper change, or is hungry.

Cameron's parents always ask him if he'd like to help with whatever Sadie's needs are, and he is always ready to pitch in.

One day, Sadie had been fed, had a clean diaper, and had already had her nap. Still, she cried and no one knew why.

Cameron decided he would sit next to her, gently pat her head, rub her tummy, and kiss her toes. Sadie's cries dwindled to a whimper, and then she did something she had never done before.

"What a Good Big Brother!" is a beautifully rendered tale of a big brother's love and offers subtle suggestions on how an older sibling can adjust to the new baby in the house.

• Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan, of Lewisburg, writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached via e-mail:

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