Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Children's Bookwatch

Children's Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 4 April 2012 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christian Shelf
Fiction Shelf ABC Shelf Board Book Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Picturebook Shelf Activity Shelf
Judaic Studies Shelf Social Issues Shelf Native American Shelf
Science Shelf Multimedia Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Money/Finance Shelf
Multicultural Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Environmental Shelf
Sports Shelf Bilingual Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Magic Trash
J.H. Shapiro, author
Vanessa Brantley-Newton, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
9781580893855 $15.95

Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art is an upbeat children's picturebook about one artist's dedication to help his crumbling community turn around. Tyree Guyton loved his childhood home on Heidelberg Street in Detroit, but was disturbed by the decay in his community - vacant lots, abandoned houses, and seemingly endless trash. With his paintbrush, Tyree labored to transform ordinary junk into colorful artistic creations; soon, local kids and families joined in, tapping into the power of art to heal, mend, transform, and build community bonds. He founded the Heidelberg Project on Detroit's East Side, and worked both in art and community activism. An extraordinary true story of inspiration especially for budding young artists, Magic Trash is highly recommended.

Adam's Crayons
Niki Leopold, author
Barry Nemett & Laini Nemett, illustrators
Galileo Books
3637 Blackrock Road, Upperco, MD 21155
9780981751917, $15.00,

"Adams' Crayons" is a sensitively written, beautifully illustrated children's book about a boy's determined artistic rescue of all the beloved wild creatures of Loon Lake, who disappeared when they were drawn too accurately by a visiting artist. Both Adam and his Grandfather, who live near Loon Lake, were greatly saddened when they realized their beloved wild creatures,; the ponies, the owl, the cranes, the turtles, the snakes, fishes, and dragonflies were disappearing. Then Adam found the artist's sketchbook and decided he would color in the wonderful drawings of all the beautiful animals, to reanimate them and bring them back to life. Working hard all day with his crayons, Adam carefully colors all the creatures in their sketched likeness. As he finishes each one, it reappears at Loon Lake. This makes Adam, his Grandfather, and the visiting artist very happy. "Adam's Crayons" is filled with moments of incredible poignancy and beauty, both in the beautiful paintings and the calm, simply cadenced narrative. A hushed reverence for all things wild pervades "Adam's Crayons." A portion of the proceeds from the sale of "Adam's Crayons" will be donated to TreePeople, an environmental nonprofit organization begun in Los Angeles in the 70's that educates and encourages people to plant and care for trees.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Horrifa's Magic Makeover: "Witch" Way to the Ball?
Susan L. Krueger
Little Five Star
c/o Five Star Publications Inc.
PO Box 6698
Chandler, AZ 85246-6698
9781589850880 $11.95

Horrifa's Magic Makeover: "Witch" Way to the Ball? is a fantasy novel for elementary readers in grades 2-5, about the witch Horrifa who dearly wants to attend the prince's upcoming grand ball. Horrifa's mother doesn't understand why any self-respecting, green-skinned, wart-covered sorceress would want to do such a thing, but in response to her daughter's begging, she helps to create a brew that will temporarily transform Horrifa into a blond, blue-eyed paragon of "beauty". They brave one obstacle after another to make it to the ball on time - but in the process Horrifa learns an important lesson about the value of being true to oneself and one's own desires! Horrifa's Magic Makeover is a whimsical story with an positive message, highly recommended.

Wizard Jasper and the Lost Princess
Pat Davies
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781613468562 $12.99

Wizard Jasper and the Lost Princess is a children's fantasy novel about the courageous Wizard Jasper, the best magic-user in the kingdom, and his quest to save King's daughter, who has become lost within a mysterious magic mirror. Yet within the mirror is not one, but two princesses! Japser returns one princess to her father; finding the home of the second princess is a more daunting task, especially since the evil sorcerer behind the mirror trap is still at large! Young adults with a taste for high fantasy are sure to enjoy Wizard Jasper and the Lost Princess from cover to cover.

Dragon's Heart
Amanda Kenney
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781617397493, $12.99,

Life is filled with one uncertainty after another. "Dragon's Heart" is a novel from teen author Amanda Kenney as she crafts a story of epic fantasy as Princess Rina, dissatisfied with her arranged marriage, flees her castle to find refuge with a dragon, Roozan. She is happy for a time; then a kidnapping makes her serenity fall apart, as she must find new friends to put her life together once more. "Dragon's Heart" is a strongly recommended pick for any young reader seeking a tale of dragons and romance.

Aurelia's Magic
John Bolen
Privately Published
9781467962483, $9.99,

There are periods in life where we simply don't want to deal with it. "Aurelia's Magic" is a young adult magic following young Aurelia as she is granted the power to accelerate time as she feels as such, feeling she can't wait for adulthood even at the age of 14. But she soon finds that adulthood isn't all it's cracked up to be. "Aurelia's Magic" is a fine youth fable with a strong message, well worth considering.

W. J. Madsen
Little M Books
19 Avon Drive, Essex Fells, NJ 07021
9780983048701, $7.95,

A boy, his sister, and their cat are hardly the best choices to solve the mysteries of time. "Arkeepers: Keepers" is a children's novel from W. J. Madsen as she tells of a humorous adventure following the unlikely heroes and their discovery of other worlds, and the burden they finally have put on their shoulders. With twists of the unusual seeking to channel Alice in Wonderland, "Arkeepers" is a series to look out for in the future for youth readers.

A Million Suns
Beth Revis
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor
New York, NY 10014
9781595143983, $17.99,

A MILLION SUNS provides Book 2 in the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy and tells of an adolescent's search for the truth about her home, the spaceship Godspeed. Elder has assumed leadership of the ship but his move uncovers a shocking truth behind life on Godspeed. It's up to Elder and Amy to solve a mystery that will ultimately determine the fate of over 2,000 passengers aboard Godspeed. A powerful sequel, this deserves a place in any collection where Book 1 saw patron interest.

Fair Coin
E.C. Myers
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst NY 14228-2197
9781616146092, $16.95,

FAIR COIN tells of Epraim, who comes home to find his mother has attempted suicide after viewing a dead boy at the hospital that afternoon who looks exactly like him. While examining his double's belongings Ephraim discovers a strange coin that makes his wishes come true each time he flips it, and uses it to change his life and gain romance. The only trouble is, each flip of the coin brings consequences and when his wishes begin to go wrong, Ephraim looks for a way out of the coin's power in this powerful survey of a world-changing magic.

The Galahad Legacy
Dom Testa
TOR Teen
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780765321121, $17.99,

THE GALAHAD LEGACY follows the ongoing story of two hundred teens sent into space, concluding the series begin with THE COMET'S CURSE. Recommended for prior followers of the saga, this tells of council leader Triana's return from her journey through the wormhole, accompanied by the ambassador of an alien race. As her people struggle to acknowledge the aliens, their ship begins to fail - and the aliens have a proposal for their survival which comes with a price tag that may prove impossible to accept. A powerful pick for prior readers, this concludes a riveting series.

The Christian Shelf

101 Bible Adventures
Carolyn Larsen, author
Tyndale Kids
351 Executive Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781414349978 $12.99

101 Bible Adventures: The Ultimate Quest for Truth! presents 101 tales from the Bible (using the New Living Translation). Each tale is fit into two pages and made more accessible to young adults with various sidebars: a "What's Up" section summarizing the story's premise in plain terms, a "Key Verse" highlighting a critical element of the scripture, a humorous black-and-white cartoon, and a "Now What?" sidebar drawing connections between the Biblical tale and modern-day life. For example, part of the "Now What?" sidebar to the tale of Jesus walking on water says, "What's the lesson from this? Keep your eyes and your thoughts directed toward Jesus. You can trust him, so stay focused on him instead of looking around at the problems that make you afraid." 101 Bible Adventures is an excellent resource for Sunday School libraries, and for Christian parents to read aloud to their children.

Goodnight, Angels
Melody Carlson, author
Sophie Allsopp, illustrator
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310716877 $15.99

Goodnight, Angels is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young boy saying goodnight to all the things and people in the world. At the end, he also remembers to give a thankful nighttime prayer to God. "Goodnight, Father God. Here's my bedtime prayer. / Thank you for your blessings... for your love and care. // Goodnight to the quiet night. My eyes are getting sleepy. / Goodnight to the angels... watching over me." Goodnight Angels is an excellent read-aloud bedtime storybook, perfect for reminding young Christian children to say their prayers before they go to sleep.

Who's Hiding?
Vicki Howie and Krisztina Kallai Nagy
Liguori Publications
1 Liguori Drive, Liguori, MO 63057-9999
9780764819643 $10.99

Who's Hiding? A Christmas Lift-the-Flap Book is a children's board book with paper flaps that inquisitive young ones can lift to see additional colorful pictures. Set during the very first Christmas, when Mary gave birth to Jesus and angels led shepherds and wise men to witness the holy occasion, Who's Hiding? features simple, child-friendly color illustrations and lyrical text. "The shepherds kneel by the manger. / They can't wait to see the person / who will bring peace and joy to all the world! / Who could that be?" [Lift the flap to see baby Jesus!] Although the paper flaps make Who's Hiding? a little too delicate for public library collections, parents and young children will surely enjoy the holiday story together.

Writing to God: Kids' Edition
Rachel G. Hackenberg, author
Paraclete Press
P.O. Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
9781612611075, $12.99,

"Writing to God: Kids' Edition": is an accessible, perky, illustrated guidance manual to teach kids how to talk to God, or how to pray. Written by a pastor with hands on experience guiding kids through early prayer experiences, "Writing to God: Kids' Edition" opens up a creative pathway to God for kids armed with paper and writing utensils. Pastor Hackenberg encourages kids to write to God about ordinary events in their life, about nature, about feelings, or about Bible verses. She also encourages kids to try new ways, words and pictures for God. Finally, Pastor Hackenberg encourages kids to tell God "thank you" in their prayers and letters. "Writing to God: Kids' Edition" is the best news for church educators, parents, and kids since Sunday school picnics were begun.

Joan of Arc
99 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761459538, $19.99,

Joan of Arc's story was one of triumph and tragedy. "Joan of Arc" is a faith-driven children's written and beautifully illustrated by Demi, who tells the story of Joan, a girl who when she was thirteen started on a historic rise in the name of God, bringing much victory to the people of France. But the works of Joan brought hatred against her, and her faith was tested, leaving her to a tragic end. True to her story with a focus on faith, "Joan of Arc" is a picturebook worth considering for read-along or for those about to step away from picturebooks to the more standard chapter book.

Kregel Kidzone
c/o Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607
Grand Rapids, MI 49501

Two colorful, flat-spined picturebooks by Kregel Kidzone are a great way for Christian parents to share with their children. "A Trip Through the Bible" (9780825455544, $9.99) presents eleven stories from the Old and New Testaments, lovingly brought to life with warmly colored illustrations and highlighted by the occasional sidebar. ("Did you know? David wrote many songs praising God. These songs are in the Bible in a book called Psalms.") A list of ninety-six Bible trivia questions and their answers are a great resource for encouraging children to remember details about these classic parables. "The Story of Noah's Ark: Storybook and Wall Clings" (9780825455520, $9.99) uses vivid, simplistic drawings and bright colors in its retelling of the classic Biblical story about God's terrible flood, and Noah's quest to save his family and the animals that were God's creations. A page of wall clings - removable plastic pictures of the ark and several creatures that can adhere to walls via static electricity - round out this delightful, family-friendly picturebook. (It should be noted that the static clings should not be kept near children under three years, since they could potentially be a choking hazard).

The Fiction Shelf

Postcards from Pismo
Michael Scotto
Midlandia Press
1000 Third Street, Beaver, PA 15009
9780983724360, $10.99,

Friendship is sometimes all you have when facing a dreary conflict. "Postcards from Pismo" tells the story of 10 year old Felix Maldonado, and his pen pal correspondence with an American soldier in Afghanistan, learning much. As Felix's brother seeks to join the military, Felix's questions only grow more rapid. "Postcards from Pismo" is a thoughtful novel with a heart warming message about the struggles within that don't go away on the battlefront.

Friends Forever 2
Naomi Suss
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533164486, $9.95,

Friendship is never perfect, but that doesn't mean it should be abandoned. "Friends Forever 2: Lessons Learned" is a story for young readers from Naomi Suss, telling of the ordeals of friendship between Flutterby and Hoppy. An enjoyable read for elementary readers, "Friends Forever 2" is a read well worth considering.

Freaky!! Homework Fiasco
Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman
Good Parent, Inc
One Regency Press, Suite 1001, Providence, RI 02903
9780983218333, $8.95,

Everyone hates homework, but it never becomes as big as a problem as it does for Matilda and Maxwell. "Freaky!! Homework Fiasco" is a read for later elementary and early middle school students as she presents the story of the pair struggling with middle school, trying to find time for sports, their favorite shows, and their friends problems. With plenty of humor kids will love, "Freaky!! Homework Fiasco" is a fine pick and very much recommended readings.

K.M. Walton
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
9781442429161, $16.99,

CRACKED tells of a boy bullied at school, whose parents ridicule him at home. It also tells of the bully himself, who takes out his rage on Victor. Victor attempts suicide, fails - and finds his roommate in the psych ward is none other than his oppressor Bull, whose loaded gun has been deemed a suicide attempt. The boys at first clash but then discover an unusual affinity for one another as they become united in their struggle to survive. CRACKED is a moving story recommended for any young adult reader.

c/o Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Mavis Jukes' THE NEW KID (9780375858796, $14.99) tells of Carson, his dad and their dog who have just moved to town. Carson is facing a new school, new rules and new teachers and isn't happy being the new kid - until he finds a funny teacher, a fat rat who is the class pet, and several nice kids in class who could become his friends. Carson's birthday party could change to become one of the best yet in this fine story of a new kid's unexpected pleasures. R.J. Palacio's WONDER (9780375869020, $15.99) provides middle school readers with the fine story of Auggie Pullman, born with a facial deformity that prevents him from going to a mainstream school until he's slated to enter fifth grade at a new school. How can he convince his classmates he's just an ordinary kid with an unusual face? His adjustment and special challenges make for a moving, involving story. Claudia Mills' MASON DIXON: FOURTH-GRADE DISASTERS (9780375868740, $12.99) tells of Mason Dixon's new grade, new teacher, and the many pros and cons surrounding all the differences that fourth grade promises. How he overcomes adversity and faces new challenges despite his fears makes for a fine story perfect for any fourth to sixth grade leisure reader. Matthew Cody's THE DEAD GENTLEMAN (9780375855962, $15.99) is for middle grades and tells of a 19th century street orphan and protege of the Explorers' Society, a secret group dedicated to exploring secret portals to other worlds. Tommy is betrayed and trapped when exploring the basement of an old hotel - and over a hundred years later his ghost appears to warn a pre-teen girl who is about to embark on the adventure of her lifetime when she joins forces with Tommy to thwart the Dead Gentleman, a legendary villain whose last unconquered world is Earth. A fine story packed with twists and turns evolves. Cath Crowley's GRAFFITI MOON (9780375869532, $16.99) is told in different voices and tells of Lucy, who is going to celebrate the end of her senior year by finding Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. She's in love with his work and is certain she could love the man - but her search for the mysterious artist will lead her to join forces with a guy she's avoided since her first date with him and will reveal surprises beyond her imagination in this unusual romance adventure.

David Fickling Books
c/o Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Kitty Wells' FELINE CHARM (9780385752121, $13.99) tells of Ollie, the third Pocket Cat to come to life. Maddy's best friend Rachel is about to give up on ballet, so Maddy uses her new magic power to boost Rachel's confidence: a problem when Rachel lands the star part in the ballet school's big show. Rachel will need the cat magic on opening night - but can Maddy use the magic to put her best friend's interest ahead of her own? A fine story of magic evolves. Simon Mason's MOON PIE (9780385752350, $16.99) tells of pre-teen Martha, who has gotten used to being the one in charge since her mother's death. But her list of family responsibilities keeps expanding, challenging Martha in many different ways in a novel about a child's many family challenges. Kids in grades 6-8 will find this a moving saga.

Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

A.C.E. Bauer's GIL MARSH (9780375869334, $15.99) tells of a smart, athletic popular boy who becomes fast friends with a new kid, only to quickly lose him to a devastating disease. Gil mourns his friend and embarks on a secret journey to find his friend's grave, facing challenges and exploring unanswered questions along the way. A powerful exploration of life, death and change makes this a fine recommendation for advanced teen leisure readers. Seth Rudetsky's MY AWESOME AWFUL POPULARITY PLAN (9780375869150, $16.99) tells of fifteen-year-old Justin Goldblatt's plan to start dating and become popular: a plan that involves an ambitious plan that includes a sneaky plan to date to impress others. His convoluted thinking evolves into a plot that keeps becoming more complex in this fine, different coming of age story. Kate Klimo's DAUGHTER OF THE CENTAURS (9780375869754, $17.99) is set in the future on an Earth populated with half-animal, half-human creatures. Malora may be the last human and has always wanted to be a master horseman like her father - but when her people and their horses are taken by bloodthirsty Leatherwings, only Malora is left with a stallion that was the leader of her people's great herd of horses. The two must find a new life in a changed world in this gripping saga, recommended for middle school leisure readers.

Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Kate Saunders' BESWITCHED (9780385740753, $16.99) tells of pre-teen Flora Fox, who would do anything to avoid going to her parents' boarding school during a family emergency. It may hold many advantages, but Flora will have to face strangers and make new friends - but during the train ride there she awakens from a nap to find herself transported to 1935, where she arrives at a school where she's forced to sleep in a cold dorm and speak French. Three roommates have cast the spell that brought her there; they become allies in her quest to return home in this moving timeslip novel, perfect for advanced elementary readers. Iain Lawrence's THE WINTER PONY (9780385733779, $16.99) tells of a wild pony captured by men and chosen to be one of twenty ponies to accompany Englishman Robert Falcon Scott on his quest to become the first to reach the South Pole. As the expedition races for the pole the pony finds himself involved in a race for not only the pole, but for his life. A fine story evolves for fans of horses and historical fiction alike. Katie Dale's SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE (9780385740654, $17.99) tells of a teen's mother who dies of Huntington's disease, leaving her daughter the legacy that she has a fifty percent chance of inheriting the crippling disease. It's only when she determines to be tested that she learns the truth: Trudie wasn't Rosie's mother and Rosie was swapped at birth with a sickly baby who was certain to die. Her whole life has been a lie - and she leaves England to find her birth mother in America, only to find more secrets and lies. A powerful story emerges for advanced teen readers. D.A. Nelson's THE WITCH'S REVENGE (9780385736312, $16.99) tells of Morag, adjusting to life in the secret northern kingdom two months after she has saved a stone that prevents her world from being discovered. But dark dreams are troubling her, magical items have been vanishing, and she may be facing another wicked threat to her world in this engrossing saga of supernatural dangers. Caitlin Kittredge's THE NIGHTMARE GARDEN (9780385738316, $17.99) provides a satisfying sequel to THE IRON THORN and is a recommended pick for prior enthusiasts. Here Aoife is challenged by a series of lies as she faces the fact that the necrovirus is an illusion, her mother is allergic to iron as is Aoife, and she herself is half human and half Fae - and a fugitive only now acknowledging that the destruction of the Lovecraft Engine is only the start of a cataclysm. Her world is already collapsing when the dreams begin, offering prophecy and a journey to the Bortherhood of Iron, which holds a device that is only accessible in dreams and which may save her world. Fans of dark fantasy will find this a fast-paced adventure. Veera Hiranandani's THE WHOLE STORY OF HALF A GIRL (9780385741286, $16.99) tells of Sonia Nadhamuni, half Indian and half Jewish American, who finds herself yanked out of private school and thrown into the world of public education, where her mixed heritage sparks interest among her classmates. Her challenges trying to make new friends are further tested when her father goes missing, and her search for him reveals keys to her heritage which will change her life. Robin Bridges' THE GATHERING STORM (9780385740227, $17.99) is Volume 1 of the 'Katerina Trilogy' and tells of royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, who tries to hide the secret that she can raise the dead. Nobody knows her secret, and she considers her ability a curse - until she uses her skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family and finds herself involved with an evil growing within Europe's royal bloodlines. Suddenly her secret is out and she's called upon to use her power in a battle that demands she choose sides. Romance, danger, and fantasy blend in a fine pick for older teens.

The ABC Shelf

Zebra-Striped Whale Alphabet Book
Shari Faden Donahue, author
Thalamus, illustrator
Arimax Books
2865 South Eagle Road #399
Newtown, PA 18940
9780963428769 $17.95 hc
9780963428776 $7.95 pbk

Zebra-Striped Whale Alphabet Book is a rhyming, whimsical alphabet book that associates each letter of the alphabet with real animal doing a most unreal or unusual thing! "L is for llama lounging in a pajama. / M is for mouse mopping at her house." Bold, colorful illustrations add to the charm of this delightfully creative ABC book.

The Board Book Shelf

I Love My Family
Laura Gates Galvin, author
c/o Palm Publishing
353 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851
9781607276210, $6.95,

"I Love My Family" is a charming color photo illustrated board book for young children about many different families and the love they share. Complete with downloadable e-book and printable activities, "I Love My Family" is a unique tribute to the wonderful variety of loving families. Easy verse narrative at guided reading level F entices young readers to turn sturdy board pages and study bright pictures of children and loving families engaged in pleasant daily activities in all seasons. "I Love My Family" is perfect for preschoolers and parents and teachers of children ages 2 and up.

Duck to the Rescue
Jez Alborough
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
c/o EDC Publishing
4901 Morena Blvd., Suite 213
San Diego, CA 92117
9781610670807, $7.99,

One wrong turn can ruin your entire day. "Duck to the Rescue" is an entry into Jez Alborough's Duck in the Truck series, following the adventures of a Duck in the Truck, and his friend Sheep in the Jeep. A rhyming adventure sure to appeal to very early readers, "Duck to the Rescue" is a choice pick for those just starting to put together their reading skills. Also from Jez Alborough and Duck, is "Duck's Day Out" (9781610670791, $7.99), telling of Duck's adventures at sea with Sheep.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Carol Thompson
Child's Play
64 Wellington Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052
9781846433733 $9.99

Although Snug is a softcover picturebook, it is printed in a durable "First Picture Book" format - not quite a board book, but the cover, binding, and pages are all extremely sturdy and even resistant to liquids, so that even the littlest of beginning readers can handle and enjoy it. The simple, warm color illustrations celebrate the concept of being snug and warm. "As snug as a bug in a very old rug, / Snug as a mole in his underground hole." Snug is perfect for parents and very young beginning readers to share right before naptime or bedtime.

The Picturebook Shelf

Searching for... The You We Adore
Valerie Westfall, author
Richard Cowdrey, illustrator
Swan River Publishing, LLC
5960 W. Parker Road
Suite 278, Box 324
Plano, TX 75093
9780983379904 $18.95

Searching for... The You We Adore is a heartwarming and absolutely gorgeous picturebook created especially to celebrate the bond between adopted children and their families. "Our love searched the whole world / for the you we adore. // We longed to open our hearts / to the one we were waiting for." The vivid imagery of a loving heart and questing ribbons across the world, from the oceans to the snowy polar caps, highlight this joyful storybook, ideal for reading aloud to little ones just before bedtime.

Little Bird
Germano Zullo Albertine
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18
Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592701186 $16.95

Winner of the 2011 Prix Sorcieres for illustration (also known a "The French Caldecott"), Little Bird is a captivating picturebook about the bond that grows between a man and avian. When a flock of birds suddenly flies out of a man's truck, he notices that one, frightened little bird remains. He shares his sandwich with the little bird, and tries to encourage it to rejoin its flock - but the ultimate treasures of their friendship are fanciful beyond imagining! The bright, solid colors with rich contrast at the perfect element to this wonderful picturebook that will surely appeal to children and adults alike. Highly recommended.

Magination Press
PO Box 92984
Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433811371 $14.95 hc
9781433811364 $9.95 pbk

Available in both hardcover and paperback, Silence is a picturebook ideal for children ages 4-8 about the value of learning to be silent and listen. When one is quiet, one can hear birds chirping, bees buzzing, or even snow twinkling in winter! Simple, colorful illustrations of a young girl experiencing the joy of easily hidden or overtaken sounds enhance this delightful book, which also works as a segue to teaching little ones about the basics of meditation.

Princess Sylvie
Elsa Beskow
Floris Books
15 Harrison Gardens, Edinburgh, UK
9780863158131, $17.95,

"Princess Sylvie" is a reprint of a treasured child's picture book from a series by the author/illustrator now over a century old. Princess Sylvie and her father the king decide to take a walk outside the locked palace garden gate with their dog, Oskar, a Dachshund. The king is entranced by the thrush song and the wildness of the forest, but Sylvie is even more enchanted. Following a rabbit with Oskar, Sylvie meets a gloomy big brown bear who offers to take her for a ride on his back. After delightful adventures, Sylvie rejoins her worried father the king and returns to the palace garden gate (still locked) in time for tea. The lonely bear will miss her, but she promises to come and visit him again soon. The funny rabbit tells his whole family the story of princess Sylvie, the bear, and Oskar. Tender detail in the beautiful illustrations help underline the contrasts in Princess Sylvie's world. "Princess Sylvie" is a beloved classic that will be reintroduced to countless new generations of young readers to come.

Grandpa Green
Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781596436077, $16.99,

"Grandpa Green" is a sensitive, poignant children's picture book about a grandfather's legacy of memories to his grandchild. Every page of "Grandpa Green" is filled with quirky, whimsical topiary figures crafted of green bushy leaves that help to tell his story. Grandpa Green lived a long time ago. Recovering from chicken pox as a child, he liked stories about gardens and wizards and engines. Although he wanted to study horticulture, he had to go to a world war first. He met his future wife abroad and married her later to have a long happy life together. They had children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, including the author, Lane Smith. now he's pretty old, and sometimes he forgets things, but the important things, the garden remembers for him. The stunning final double foldout illustration pages tell the completion of the story of Grandpa Green entirely in topiary creations. "Grandpa Green" is a beautiful story told in pictures of fantastic topiary figures that convey so many different feelings and emotions. Children will adore this beautiful book, and adults will be deeply touched by it.

Frankie the Bunny
Dorothy Jasnoch
Owl About Books Publisher, Inc
PO Box 897, Joshua, TX 76058
9781937752026, $12.99,

Sometimes the most gift is a practical one. "Frankie the Bunny: Wheels of Fortune" is an entry into the series of children's picturebooks focusing on Frankie the Bunny, a wheelchair-bound bunny who tries to come to term with his difficult position. Following a plot of his friends to present a birthday surprise, "Frankie the Bunny" is a fine pick for younger readers, from author and illustrator Dorothy Jasnoch.

A Color Game for Chester Raccoon
Audrey Penn, author, Barbara L. Gibson, illustrator
Tanglewood Publishing
4400 Hulman St., Terre Haute, IN 47803
978193378583, $7.95,

Colors surround us, we just need to look. "A Color Game for Chester Raccoon" is a children's picturebook from Audrey Penn & Barbara L. Gibson as they follow Chester as he seeks colors in a certain order. Sure to help readers find color in their lives, "A Color Game for Raccoon" is a charming read with beautiful illustration from Gibson.

Crafty Chloe
Kelly DiPucchio
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
9781442421233, $16.99,

CRAFTY CHLOE receives fine drawings by Heather Ross and tells of Chloe, who has a crafty solution to every problem. She likes to make things for people - but the latest challenge, a birthday gift for her friend, may be too much for even her creative talents. Can her glue gun save a friendship? CRAFTY CHLOE provides a simple and appealing text paired with fun drawings in a fine picturebook pick for ages 4-8.

Putnam/Dial/McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
9781442421233, $16.99,

Andrea Beaty's ARTIST TED (9781416953746, $15.99) receives fun drawings by Pascal Lemaitre and tells of Ted, a bear who realizes his room needs a little pizzazz. The only problem is: he can't locate an artist. So he becomes one, and uses his talents in various ways until he hurts a new student's feelings and must come up with new ways to make him feel welcome. A fun text and bold art makes this a winner. Cori Doerrfeld's LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO: THE REAL STORY (9780803734708, $16.99) provides a fun rhyme of a naughty little rabbit who is just misunderstood. All she wanted to do was eat her cupcakes in peace, but sneaky mice kept stealing them, forcing her to bop them on the head - and incurring the wrath of the Good Fairy. This is the other side of the kids' rhyme and provides quite a different view of Bunny Foo Foo's trials. Jan Brett's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (9780399257315, $17.99) requires good reading skills but pairs gorgeous art with a romantic view of the struggles between Beauty and the Beast. Beauty becomes a friend of her captor but cannot love him as he needs. Will she break his heart with her choice? Lovely illustrations enhance a lovely story suitable for all ages, with parental assistance required for read-alouds to the very young. Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Geraldo Valerio's HALF-PINT PETE THE PIRATE (9780399251733, $16.99) tells of a pirate who sails the seven seas with a patch hiding half his eyes - and with only half a treasure map. One day he meets Belle, the female pirate with half of a map of her own - and they discover that working together is the best way to find buried treasure. A fun, simple story for young picturebook readers comes to life in a recommendation for any collection.

The Activity Shelf

Natural Wonders: A Patrick Hruby Coloring Book
Patrick Hruby, illustrations
Gloria Fowler, Designer
Ammo Books
300 S. Raymond Ave, Suite 3
Pasadena, CA 91105
9781934429716, $6.95,

"Natural Wonders: A Patrick Hruby Coloring Book is a fantastic set of black and white illustrations from the natural world that are ready to be carefully, brilliantly colored. Here are fantastic stylized foxes, fish, elephants, leaves, birds, fish webs, cats, and even scenes with sun, clouds, snow, and forest lakes. Every feather, insect, and flower is a prism-laden wonder. "Natural Wonders" may appeal to both kids and adults, with its fantastic designs.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Thank You For Everything!: A Book About Thanking Hashem
Pia Shlomo, author
Patti Argoff, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628636, $10.95,

"Thank You For Everything!: A Book About Thanking Hashem" is an "I Can Draw" keepsake book that allows space for young readers ages 4-7 to draw and color their favorite foods, family members, home, and all things they are thankful to Hashem for receiving. Along with a cheerful rhyming narrative, brightly colored pictures, and suggestions of categories of wonderful things to be thankful for, "Thank You For Everything" has a special glossary at the end defining special Hebrew expressions such as Hashem, Mitzvah or Mitzvos, Modeh Ani, and Shema Yisroel. "Thank You For Everything" is a beautiful children's book that entwines artistic expressions with daily prayers of thankfulness, teaching young children to appreciate Hashem's good gifts and to reflect their gratitude back in kindly deeds. Also recommended by the same publisher is "Pat, Roll, Pull (ISBN 9781929628643, $10.95)," a picture book by Robin Heald , illustrated by Erin Taylor about making challah, a special sweet bread for Shabbos.

The Social Issues Shelf

A Boy, A Chicken, & the Lion of Judah
Roberta Kalechofsky
Micah Publications, Inc.
255 Humphrey St.
Marblehead, MA 01945
9780916288587 $12.00

Although A Boy, A Chicken, & the Lion of Judah: How Ari Became a Vegetarian features a young Jewish boy living in Israel's Negev Desert, it's a storybook for young adults of all backgrounds and religious faiths. As Ari observes the amazing creatures of the desert, and bonds with his pet chicken, he begins to question the practice of eating meat. He wrestles with the moral implications of consuming animal flesh, yet at the same time he does not want to hurt his mother's feelings because she gives her all to cook for the whole family. Ari ultimately comes to understand the adult world better as he finds his own path, and learns that people who have different beliefs can still love one another even though they just don't agree. Prospective vegetarians of all ages will find A Boy, A Chicken, & the Lion of Judah insightful and invaluable.

The Native American Shelf

Beauty Beside Me
Seraphine G. Yazzie, author
Baje Whitethorne, Sr., illustrator
Salina Bookshelf
3120 N. Caden Court, Suite 4, Flagstaff, AZ 86004
9781893354074, $21.95,

"Beauty Beside Me: Stories of My Grandmother's Skirts" is a bilingual, beautifully color illustrated book about a Navajo grandmother who wears different colored skirts for different purposes, sharing her knowledge, wisdom, and love with her granddaughter in many different activities, such as cooking, planting, weaving, picking herbs, or pinon nuts, or herding sheep. The rainbow colors of Grandmother's different skirts seem to convey the mystery, warmth and beauty of the Navajo culture. Each artistically illustrated page tells the story of "Beauty Beside Me" in first Navajo and then English. The final page reads: "We, the Dine, know there is a spiritual significance in a woman's skirt. White Shell Woman (Changing Woman), our first mother, taught us this significance and provided the example of what has become our Protection Way of life. ...When children are afraid, they hide behind their mother's of grandmother's skirts." The title of "Beauty Beside Me" was taken from an ancient, lovely Navajo prayer. "Beauty Beside Me" is a rich multicultural offering to the world of children's world literature.

The Science Shelf

c/o Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019

Amy E. Sklansky's OUT OF THIS WORLD: POEMS AND FACTS ABOUT SPACE (9780375864599, $17.99) is illustrated by Stacey Schuett and provides poems about planets, stars, rockets and moon landings. It's more than a poetry collection, too: each poem is supported by additional facts and science explanations to provide young picturebook readers with depth and detail. Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld's SECRETS OF THE GARDEN: FOOD CHAINS AND THE FOOD WEB IN OUR BACKYARD (9780517709900, $16.99) receives fine drawings by Priscilla Lamont and tells of Alice, who spends so much time in her family's garden, she thinks of it as her summer home. Animals eat plants, others come to eat those animals - and through it all Alice discovers dozens of food chains that exist in her own backyard. Fun colorful line drawings accompany details on food chains spiced by a personal experience with nature.

The Multimedia Shelf

The Goops Circus
Barbara Ross & Nicholas Beatty, authors
Diana Camille, illustrator
Pam Atherton, CD narrator
Goops Unlimited
PO Box 1840
Battle Ground, Washington 98604
9780971236844 $19.95

The Goops Circus: A Whimsical Telling of Do-Good Tales is a combination picturebook and audiobook CD that teaches children about good manners and polite behavior, as well as being whimsical fun. Each page pairs a silly color illustration with short poem about a "Goop" personality demonstrating behaviors to be avoided! "One might forgive Verivaine, a Miss, / Who talks about herself like this. / But when she does ALL DAY LONG, / It certainly is rude and wrong. / Only a Good would talk about / Soley herself, DAY IN, DAY OUT! (This Goop is called Verivane because she spends so much time in front of the mirror)." Ideal for sharing between parents and children, The Goops Circus is highly recommended for building character as well as spreading mirth.

Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day
Morgan Taylor
Apple-Eye Productions
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Fifth in the Gustafer Yellowgold series by award-winning illustrator and songwriter Morgan Taylor, Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day is a wonderful DVD and audio CD combo pack, featuring a "Musical Moving Book" set to family-friendly indie rock about Gustafer Yellowgold's experiences through eleven different days of the calendar year. All videos are playable in both normal and karaoke style, and DVD bonus features include a making-of featurette and "Gustafer Guitar Lessons". The playful, cartoony, and colorful portraits of Gustafer's adventures through the seasons perfectly complement the catchy original tunes, in this delightful set ideal for youngsters ages 4 and up. Highly recommended. 120 min.

Japanese Nursery Rhymes
Danielle Wright
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, N. Clarendon VT 05759
9784805311882, $16.95,

Japanese Nursery Rhymes: Carp Streamers, Falling Rain and Other Traditional Favorites comes with an audio CD and receives drawings by Helen Acraman as it teaches nursery rhymes in Japanese and English, making it a pick for adults and kids alike. 32 pages provide some 15 traditional Japanese nursery rhymes and provide a format that lends to parent and child interactions and learning. Perfect for any elementary-level foreign language collection.

Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
$8.99 each

Tate Publishing's line of e-Live softcover, brightly-colored picturebooks offer more than charming, family-friendly stories; every picturebook copy comes with a unique code that can be redeemed at the website for a free audio version download! This audio download may be played on one's computer speakers, burned to an audio CD, or saved on a portable music device such as an iPod. Shawnna D. Poor's "What Kind of a Name is That?" (9781613460405) offers an upbeat lesson about tolerance and resilience, as a young girl teased for her surname of Poor learns that she is not defined by her last name, and kindly shows the children who teased her the error of their ways. Christina Davis' "The Teeter Twins in Without a Fight" (9781617777790) is a faith-based storybook about the importance of speaking up and telling the truth, as well as the enduring power of God's love; when a policeman asks a pair of children how a fight between other children started, eventually they find the spiritual courage to resist the fear of being branded know-it-alls. Mary Lee's "When Grandma's False Teeth Fly" (9781617779749) is about a heartwarming moment shared between grandmother and granddaughter, as the granddaughter learns that losing her baby teeth isn't all that bad or scary compared to a wild event that once happened to her grandma! Cindy C. Harris' "Raoke and the Camp Raid" (9781617398308) is an allegorical children's story about standing up for oneself against peer pressure, as Raoke the raccoon must decide whether to abide by the morals his parents taught him, or be pressured into stealing food from humans. Danielle Kirrane's "The Fish Who Swam Too Far" (9781617779374) is the story of a shy little fish, too frightened to stray far from his mother's side, until excessive teasing from his peers makes him swim too far away - but adventuring on his own is ultimately destined to teach him courage! All are inexpensive, family-friendly choice picks, especially fo parents who want to share the audio as well as the picturebook versions with their children.

The Audiobook Shelf

Carl Hiaasen, author
James van der Beek, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
9780307916402 $40.00

Chomp is the audiobook adaptation of a wickedly funny and dramatic novel for young adults about a boy whose life is literally a zoo! Wahoo Cray's father Mickey is a professional animal wrangler, so Wahoo has grown up among alligators, snakes, raccoons, monkeys, and turtles. But dealing with animals is nowhere near as difficult as dealing with his dad! When Mickey Cray works for a reality-TV show called "Expedition Survival!", the stage is set for a tremendous clash of egos between Mickey and the show's charismatic but incompetent star. Further complicating the situation is a young girl named Tuna, who received a black eye from her father and needs to hide in the Everglades Wahoo. Things go from bad to worse when a bat chomps Derek, a storm leaves him missing, and Tuna's father appears armed with a gun! A tremendous adventure from start to finish, Chomp is sure to appeal especially to young boys. 5 CDs, 6 hours.

The Music CD Shelf

I Am Happy!
Sukey Molloy
PlayMoveSing Inc.
PO Box 50, Nyack, NY 10960
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Ideal for young listerners ages 2-5, I Am Happy! is a delightfully upbeat music album by multiple award-winning children's performer Sukey Molloy. Some of the songs are based on classic nursery rhymes; others are entirely original. All the tunes overflowing with bustle and fun, in this choice pick for children's playtimes, parties, sing-alongs, or car trips. The tracks are "I Put My Scarf on My Head" (2:06), "Cuckoo Bird" (2:18), "Jack and Jill" (1:31), "Riding on a Ferry" (2:32), "It's Snowing" (2:57), "Action Chant" (1:39), "Little Dance" (1:39), "My Head Goes Round" (1:55), "Sunny's Song" (2:39), "Be Happy Don't Worry" (1:40), "I Saw a Duck" (1:53), "I'm a Baby Hippo" (1:22), "Raindrops" (2:56), "Water Flowing Over" (2:37), "Counting Song" (3:26), "Little Boy Blue" (2:05), "Little Flame" (2:46), and "I Am Happy" (1:03). 40 min.

Monster Suit
Mo Phillips
Hey! Bacon!! Records
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Monster Suit is an album of catchy children's songs that adults can enjoy too! Performer Mo Phillips enjoys blending Americana, soul, and blues into an expressive and lyrical whole. The result is a music CD that will entertain children while helping parents and babysitters keep their sanity - parents and caretakers might even want to try a fun-filled jam session with their kids! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Toes", "The Worst Party Ever Thrown", "The Princess and The Cowboy", "Hot Lava", "Droolin'", "Big Red Truck", "Rollerskate Banana Peels", "All Okay", "Bed Head", "To The Zoo", "Ducks Don't Get Wet", "Suction Cup", "Twirlin'", and "Monster Suit". 34 min.

Radio Jungle
The Pop Ups
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Radio Jungle is an album of family-friendly music from off-the-wall garage band The Pop Ups, known for their popular stage show "PASTA: A Pop Ups Puppet Musical". The songs are brimming with enthusiasm, and even a little educational content here and there, yet catchy enough that parents just might find themselves humming the tunes under their breath! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Intro", "Connect the Stars", "The Bat", "Box of Crayons", "Pop Up City", "Math Rock", "Best Fruit", "Banana", "Feelings Change", "Elephant", and "Color Wheel".

Pink Elephants in Paris
Mary Lafleur
Golden Angel Music
PO Box 160004, Nashville, TN 37216

Originally issued on cassette, Pink Elephants in Paris is now available as a music CD designed to introduce young people to the French language and culture. Family-friendly performer Mary Lafleur offers songs, riddles, and poetry spoken and sung in both French and English, as well as two humorous sketches about learning to speak French. Pink Elephants in Paris is perfect for children's multicultural library collections, public and private. The tracks are "Fairy Wings", "We're Gonna Go To Paris", "City of Light", "Flaneur", "Bring Your Dog Along", "I Speak a Little French", "Fox", "Alouette", "Moonshine", "Frere-Jacques", "Left Bank/Right Bank", "Cheese", "Tower", "C'est La Vie", "Cathedral", and "Fairy Wings".

The DVD Shelf

Letter Sounds
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595
Conroe, TX 77305-3595
9781878489463 $19.99

Ideal for young people ages 4-7, Letter Sounds is an educational DVD that uses colorful computer animation and catchy songs to help children learn how to read. Charming cartoon characters review uppercase and lowercase letters, and help young people practice the most common sound each letter makes. Children can race the clock to speak letter sounds aloud in loopy sentences (such as "Polly Porcupine pokes people") before hearing the correct answers. A variety of games reinforce letter-sound associations, and encourage children to read aloud sentences and short stories. Letter Sounds is worthy of the highest recommendation for children's library DVD collections, and an excellent educational pick for family home viewing, especially when helping little ones prepare for a new school year! The DVD segments are "The New Alphabet Song", "Learn the Sounds", "Letter Sounds Quiz", "Name that Letter!", "Sounding Out Words", "Reading Words", "Consonant Combinations", "Spell It!", "Swap the Sounds", "Common Sight Words", and "Reading Sentences". 62 min.

Dougie in Disguise
Neptuno Films
c/o Organa Kids
$19.95 each

Originally created in Spain Dougie in Disguise is a colorfully animated two-DVD set ideal for little ones ages 2-5. Designed to stimulate creative young minds, Dougie in Disguise is about a young boy who enjoys playing with sticker albums and loves his faithful dog Tim. Dougie dresses up in a variety of disguises in this delightful series packed with educational vignettes about occupations, geography, and famous literary characters. A wonderful, family-friendly set for both home viewing and children's libraries! Volume 1 is 100 minutes and 13 episodes, while Volume 2 is 105 minutes and 14 episodes.

Timmy Time: Timmy Finds Treasure
Created and produced by Jackie Cockle
Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distribution)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Timmy Time: Timmy Finds Treasure (45 min.) is a delightful, computer-animated children's DVD featuring the sheep Timmy and his adventures in search of mysterious treasure. Yet as he braves the unknown with his faithful crew, he learns that good friends are the greatest treasure of all! Packed with fun for youngsters age 2-7, Timmy Time: Timmy Finds Treasure is an excellent addition to public library preschool children's DVD collections. The five treasure-themed stories are "Timmy Finds Treasure", "Timmy's Treasure Hunt", "Timmy's Tractor", "Timmy Makes a Splash", and "Timmy's Spring Surprise", plus the bonus features "Timmy's Days of the Week Video" and a Shaun the Sheep episode "Spring Lamb". Also highly recommended is Hit Entertainment's DVD anthology of computer-animated stories about heroic deeds featuring Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam, and Bob the Builder, "Awesome Adventures Vol. One Rescue Friends" (62 min., $14.98).

Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distribution)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
$14.98 each

Three family-friendly, computer-animed DVDs from Hit Entertainment are sure to delight young viewers. "Barney: Clean Up, Clean Up!" features everyone's favorite purple dinosaur, who shows kids how cleaning and tidying up can be fun. From painting the caboose to washing windows to putting away toys, "Barney: Clean Up, Clean Up!" (53 min.) has a strong positive message, plus bonus features including a Clean Up Time Game, a Clean Up, Do Our Share Video, and a Clean Up karaoke song. "Thomas & Friends: Up, Up & Away" (49 min.) stars everyone's favorite anthropomorphic tank engine and his best pal Percy as they try to bring balloons to Mr. Bubbles' Big Balloon Show - an endeavor that is not as easy as it looks! Bonus features such as a Catch the Balloon Game, Guess Who? Puzzles, and more round out this playful adventure. "Angelina Ballerina: Ballerina Princess" (61 min.) blends ballet and fantasy into a wonderful adventure little girls will love. Angelina the mouse ballerina makes her way through a world filled with royalty, as she confronts a terrible witch, discovers a Cinderella-style mystery, and performs ballet for the King and Queen! All three DVDs are excellent gifts for little ones, and sure to prove popular picks for public library children's DVD collections.

The Money/Finance Shelf

The Secret Life of Money
Kira Vermond, author
Clayton Hanmer, illustrator
Owlkids Books Inc.
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2Z2
9781926973180 $13.95

The Secret Life of Money: A Kid's Guide to Cash is a no-nonsense, practical-minded guide that teaches preteen and teenaged young people basic money savvy. From how credit cards work, to saving and investing, to even broader issues such as how poverty affects people throughout the world, The Secret Life of Money is a user-friendly guide packed with so many invaluable tips that adults may want to browse it too! "But Dad always pays the minimum balance! The credit card issuers must love him. He's their perfect client. He pays some of his loan (or principal) on time, but pays plenty of interest, too. How much? If he borrows $5,000 and makes the 2 percent minimum payments per month, it will take him 32 years to pay it off! Not only that, he'll also pay $7,789.56 in interest... In debt terms, dear old Dad is a 'revolver', someone whose debt cycle just keeps going around and around in circles - and keeps making the credit card company money!" Highly recommended.

The Multicultural Shelf

I'm Like You, You're Like Me
Cindy Gainer, author
Miki Sakamoto, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575423838, $14.99,

Written and illustrated with bright, cheery illustrations to appeal to children from the ages of 3-8, "I'm Like You, You're Like Me: A Book About Understanding and Appreciating Each Other" is a kids' book about the delights of exploring and celebrating diversity. Multicultural picture books for children are crucial childhood educational experiences and assets to growth. The original edition of "I'm Like You, You're Like Me" was released in 1998. This newly released contains an added two page section for parents and childcare workers that presents talking points for teaching children respect and tolerance for others from different backgrounds or ethnicities. Sensitively written, beautifully illustrated, "I'm Like You, You're Like Me" is a childhood multicultural classic that continues to meet a crucial educational need.

Only the Mountains Do Not Move
Jan Reynolds
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
9781600603334 $18.95

Award-winning author and photographer Jan Reynolds presents Only the Mountains Do Not Move: A Maasai Story of Culture and Conservation, an extraordinary picturebook about the culture of the Maasai people in Africa. For centuries, they have regularly migrated with their herds of cattle and goats across thousands of miles in Kenya and Tanzania. Today, their traditional way of life is being threatened by overgrazing, and local wildlife is endangered or even on the verge of extinction. Only the Mountains Do Not Move reveals how the Maasai are facing these challenges by adapting new agricultural and conservation practices into their lives, while preserving their unique cultural heritage and traditions. "Streams of water have been created to flow through the fields and irrigate the dry land so that food plants, such as squash, will grow. By farming and adding food plants to their diets, the Maasai have more to eat that does not rely on livestock and grazing. Less grazing means the plant life outside the enkang will be able to restore itself to support more wild animals." Only the Mountains Do Not Move is highly recommended especially for community library children's book collections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Track that Scat!
Lisa Morlock, author
Carrie Anne Bradshaw, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200
315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585365364 $15.95

Track that Scat! is a picturebook about discovering the traces of common woodland creatures, including rabbits, chickadees, red foxes, and Canada geese. A young girl and her faithful dog venture on a woodland hike, and observe the tracks and feces of different animals (sometimes the girl accidentally steps in the scat - good thing she's wearing boots)! Each two-page spread features a colorful picture of an animal, rhyming read-aloud story text up top, and a brief educational section of text at the bottom, including silhouettes of each animal's types of tracks and waste. An educational, nature-minded storybook, Track that Scat! is just plain fun to read aloud, provided that neither the parents nor the children are squeamish about what animals do in the woods!

The Environmental Shelf

Who Will Save My Planet?
Maria Cristina Urrutia
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770492813 $10.95

Who Will Save My Planet? is a wordless picturebook consisting entirely of photographic contrasts. Each two-page spread features an opposing pair of striking, full-color photographs - the vacant stare of a leopard rug versus the majestic prose of a living leopard; a waterfall literally clogged with litter versus a pristine waterfall; the wake of logging versus a majestic forest of great trees standing tall. Each picture is quite literally worth more than a thousand words in this striking collection with an unforgettable overall message of the importance of being good stewards of the Earth.

The Sports Shelf

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Sportsmanship
Howard Binkow & Susan F. Cornelison
Thunderbolt Publishing
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780982616567 $15.00

Part of the superb, character-building "Howard B. Wigglebottom" series about a young rabbit who learns positive ways to approach life's challenges, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Sportsmanship: Winning Isn't Everything has a valuable lesson for young readers ages 4-8. Howard loves all sorts of contests, from sledgehammer contests to pie-eating and soccer. He wins first place many times - but no one can come in first at everything! Howard reacts badly to losing, doing things like kicking his second-place trophy or yelling at other people. When he behaves rudely at a soccer game, calling the other team's players bad names, his coach pulls him for a Time Out. "'Howard this is NOT OKAY,' said the coach. 'You need to learn about sportsmanship and being a team player. You are making poor choices and don't deserve to play.'" Howard learns about the importance of respecting one's teammates and opponents, and being a good player, win or lose. As a result, he finds contests can be more fun than ever! Highly recommended, especially as a tool for parents to discuss the importance of being a good sport with their children.

The Bilingual Shelf

Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll
Sunny Seki
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive
North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805311875 $15.95

Set two hunder years ago in Japan, Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll is a bilingual English/Japanese picturebook rendition of the true story about a blind, orphan girl who accomplished incredible things. Little Yuko-chan had a creative, inquisitive mind and talent for learning and memorization. She caught a temple thief in the act, but had the compassion to help him change his ways rather than simply turn him in. Perhaps her most striking achievement was the invention of the Daruma Doll - when she became lost on a snowy mountainside, she noticed that the tea had frozen her gourd and it would always right itself when dropped. From this she devised dolls in honor of Daruma, the legendary Father of Zen Buddhism, enshrined in history for bringing Buddhist teachings from India to Japan. Selling and distributing the dolls helped her village support itself in the wake of a terrible volcanic eruption! Yuko-chan's story is lovingly brought to life by award-winning Japanese author and illustrator Sunny Seki, in this inspirational and highly recommended picturebook.

The Cookbook Shelf

Baking with Friends
Sharon Davis & Charlene Patton, authors
Coleen McIntyre, illustrator
Nicholas Beatty, editor
Goops Unlimited - A Family Academy Book
PO Box 1840
Battle Ground, Washington 98604
9780971236820 $19.95

Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association, Baking with Friends is a cookbook designed to introduce children to the joy of baking. Packed with family-based cooking activities, fun facts, even vocabulary-building sidebars, Baking with Friends is a joyful, user-friendly guide filled with recipes ranging from waffles to breadsticks to monkey bread, country fruit cobbler, and much more! Highly recommended especially for parents to share with budding young chefs.

Books in Series

Writing Builders series
Norwood House Press
PO Box 316598
Chicago, IL 60631
$25.27 each / $151.62 set (list price)
$18.95 each / $113.70 (school/library price)

Writing Builders is a six-book set ideal for children in grades 2-4. Each volume teaches young people about the basics of different types of writing. In the increasingly interconnected world, good writing and communication skills are more valuable than ever; these user-friendly guides supplement their simple instructions with colorful, hand-drawn pictures of fellow children undertaking writing projects. The story native of children discovering how to write interleaved with basic steps and handy tips makes the Writing Builders series easy to pick up and learn from. "'Are you ready to practice your speeches?' asked Mr. Boscombe. 'Practicing will make you more comfortable with your speech. You'll do a better job when you go in front of your audience. Try not to read your note cards. Just glance at them.'" The Writing Builders series is an absolutely invaluable addition to grade school children's libraries! The six individual volumes are Amanda St. John's "Evin and Erin Build an Essay" (9781599535081) and "Bridget and Bo Build a Blog" (9781599535074), Rachel Lynette's "Ben and Bailey Build a Book Report" (9781599535067) and "Leah and LeShawn Build a Letter" (9781599535104), & Ann Ingalls' "Isabella and Ivan Build an Interview" (9781599535098) and "Seth and Savannah Build a Speech" (9781599535111).

My Guide to the Constitution series
Mitchell Lane Publishers
1104 Kelly Drive
Newark, DE 19711
$29.95 each

"My Guide to the Constitution" is an educational series ideal for students in grade school and junior high. Each volume examines a different aspect of the Constitution of the United States - how it came to be created, the human rights it was meant to protect, and the major roles and duties of the three branches of America's government. Written in plain terms and illustrated with full color photography on every page, My Guide to the Constitution lives up to its title and is an excellent resource worthy of the highest recommendation for school library collections. The individual volumes are Amie Jane Leavitt's "The Bill of Rights" (9781584159476), Bonnie Hinman's "The Executive Branch" (9781584159438), Pete DiPrimio's "The Judicial Branch" (9781584159445), Rebecca Thatcher Murcia's "The Legislative Branch" (9781584159421), Tammy Gagne's "The Power of the States" (9781584159452), and Tamra Orr's "The Story of the Constitution" (9781584159469).

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Avenue, 59th Floor, New York NY 10118

Four books in the new series 'Myths Understood' ($22.95 each) hold nearly fifty pages each of history and myths for grades 5-8, and provide colorful stories explaining the relationships of heroes and gods to man. Legends are retold and explanation given for how the stories helped people understand their world in titles that combine folklore, history, and culture. Megan Kopp's CHINESE MYTHS (9780778745075), Sheri Doyle's EGYPTIAN MYTHS (9780778745082), Natalie Hyde's GREEK MYTHS (9780778745099) and Robin Johnson's ROMAN MYTHS (9780778745105) each belong in any collection looking for contemporary colorful illustrations combined with a lively writing style. Four new books in Bobbie Kalman's 'Big Science Ideas' series ($19.95 each) will appeal to grades K-3 with simple discussions of animal classifications. This series explains how animals are classified, explaining concepts in a way children can easily understand and providing 32 pages to appeal to a reading level of grades 2-3. WHAT ARE NATURE'S COPYCATS (9780778727712), WHAT IS A TOP PREDATOR? (9780778727729), WHAT IS CLIMATE? (9780778727736) and WHY DO ANIMALS BECOME EXTINCT? (9780778727743) each pack in colorful photos and simple explanations to reveal shapes, patterns, and animal behaviors that fool predators and lend insights on animal behavior and survival patterns. The eye-catching series will appeal to a wide audience. Bobbie Kalman's 'Baby Animal' series ($15.95 each) is for grades K-3 and provides 24 pages each of easy reading explanations of baby animals. BABY MARSUPIALS (9780778740742) discusses the life cycles of marsupials, BABY PETS (9780778740759) surveys baby pets and their needs, ENDANGERED BABY ANIMALS (9780778740766) considers the special needs of endangered baby animals, and HOW DO BABY ANIMALS LEARN? (9780778740773) covers baby animal lessons. All are top picks for younger elementary-level animal lovers.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor
Toronto ON Canada M5A 2P9

Three new editions to the 'Ecosystem' series by Karen Patkau each offer about 30 pages of facts and eye-catching covers and illustrations for elementary level readers in grades 4-6. WHO NEEDS A SWAMP? (9780887769917, $17.95) explores wetland ecosystems and packs in facts on animal lifecycles and habitats, WHO NEEDS AN ICEBERG? (9780887769931, $17.95) explores the Arctic's polar ecosystem, and WHO NEEDS A JUNGLE? (9780887769924, $17.95) examines rainforest ecosystems, their animals, and their special challenges. Other elementary level readers explore these subjects: what sets these apart are captivating drawings, maps, and illustrations that invite the attention of young leisure readers.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design