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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 30, Number 4 April 2020 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Native American Shelf Environmental Shelf
Biography Shelf Self-Help Shelf Board Book Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf General Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Art Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Travel Shelf Social Issues Shelf Activity Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
Science Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Books in Series
Story Monsters Ink Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots
Michael Rex
9781984816269 $17.99

What is the difference between facts and opinions? Many an adult is confused by this, and so it's good to develop an understanding at an early age, especially with the help of Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots. Fun facts, falsehoods and truths, opinions that can't be proven, and the differences between them are reviewed for ages 5-8 in a lively story that adds the allure of robots who move through the panels helping illustrate the differences between fact and opinion. Colorful examples are held up, while kids are encouraged to question whether each is a fact or an opinion. The result teaches critical thinking at an early stage.

Castle of Books
Alessandro Sanna
Tate Publishing
c/o Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781849766685, $17.95, HC, 48pp,

Especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-7, "Castle of Books" by author/illustrator Alessandro Sanna, is the story of two children go on a creative journey to discover the answer to the question "Why do we need books?" As they pore over piles and piles of books and discover the incredible worlds and words within, they find lots of answers to this question: to observe, to discover, to imagine, to understand each other, and so much more!

The Oldest Student
Rita Lorraine Hubbard & Oge Mora
Simon and Schuster
9781524768287, $17.99

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read is a true story, but written in the lively style of fiction, and so is recommended for nonfiction and fiction audiences alike. Ages 4-8 will enjoy this story of a girl born into slavery who was freed as a teen and married with kids by age 20. She was 116 years old when she finally learned to read. Civil rights issues and literacy join in a moving story kids will thoroughly enjoy.

Watch This!: A Book About Making Shapes
Jane Godwin, Hilary Walker, Beci Orpin
c/o Cursor
9781947534995, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

In a world oversaturated with beautiful photos (hello Instagram!) and imagery (hello 'Golden Age of Illustration'!) sometimes the power that photos can have for our children is overlooked or forgotten. "Watch This!: A Book About Making Shapes" by the team of Jane Godwin, Hilary Walker, and Beci Orpin, is an impressive and inherently entertaining compendium of photographs of other kids in action that will promotes empathy, acknowledges the diversity of our community, and encourages children ages 3-7 to simply play! Simply stated, "Watch This!: A Book About Making Shapes" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Native American Shelf

The Train
Jodie Callaghan, author
Georgia Lesley, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781772601299, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

"The Train" by author/storyteller Jodie Callaghan and illustrator/artist Georgia Lesley is the picture book story of Ashley, a young girl who meets her great-uncle by the old train tracks near their reserve in Nova Scotia. When Ashley sees his sadness, her great-uncle shares with her the history of those train tracks. Great-Uncle tells her that, during his childhood, the train would bring their community supplies, but there came a day when the train took away with it something much more important. One day he and the other children from the reserve were taken aboard and transported to a residential school, where their lives were changed forever. Ashley promises to wait with her uncle as he sits by the tracks, waiting for what was taken from their people to come back to them. A lovely, moving, and inherently reader engaging picture book story for children ages 6-8, "The Train" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library Native American and Indigenous People collections.

The Environmental Shelf

Taming Plastic: Stop the Pollution
Albert Bates
Groundswell Books
PO Box 99, Summertown, TN 38483
9781939053244, $14.95, PB, 48pp,

Plastic seems like a miraculous invention and is everywhere in our society today. You can make it into any shape, color or size, and it can be flexible or sturdy. Plastic also lasts forever -- and environmentally speaking, that's a huge and growing problem. It's estimated that by 2050 there'll be more pounds of plastic in our oceans than pounds of fish. Recycling programs are growing faster than the collected plastic can be processed, and not all plastic can be recycled. In "Taming Plastic: Stop the Pollution", young readers ages 9-12 will learn about the creative solutions that visionary people across the planet are using to curb plastic waste. Kids can become an Emergency Planetary Technician and find out what they can do every day to tame plastic. While especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Environmental Issues collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Taming Plastic: Stop the Pollution" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Ricky and the Grim Wrapper
Allen L. Pier, author
James Koenig, illustrator
Independently Published
9781699041611, $9.95 PB, $3.99 Kindle, 43pp,

"Ricky and the Grim Wrapper" is a modern eco-fable written for readers age 6-9 years and up. Filled with large, comic, graphic illustrations in earth tones and colors, "Ricky and the Grim Wrapper" traces the journey of enlightenment for Ricky, a boy who did not recycle and who also littered.

Ricky's best friends were Junior Raccoons who volunteered to clean up litter in the town, and even though they requested Ricky to help them, and to stop littering, he did not. Even though Ricky's parents made it clear to him that littering was bad and he should not do it, he still continued.

Then Ricky had a strange transforming experience. He became a half empty root beer cup and straw that he tossed out the car window in defiance of his parents' anti littering rules. As a root beer cup, Ricky met Rusty, a talking can, and Ginger, an aluminum can, Through further adventures with these new friends, Ricky began to be educated about the reality of the consequences of littering. Ricky, or Cuppy, was to meet a whole world of discarded litter characters, very adroitly pictured with faces and appendages in polished comic illustrations, all of whom seem to share a delusion that their desirable future must be recycling, and a new life.

Ricky also learns about the Grim Wrapper, a character who takes roadside litter to become litter forever. Ricky and his friend Ginger come to rescue a young wrapper named Jerry, a Chew-Chew Cherry gum wrapper who is afraid of being blown to the Grim Wrapper and becoming litter forever. Eventually the friends are blown towards an encounter with the horrible, frightening Grim Wrapper, a truly evil entity whose portrait does him full justice.

Ricky, or Cuppy, finally learns that he really does believe in recycling, and that he can become the difference that will allow recycling to become real. A surprising transformation occurs when Ricky awakens from being a root beer cup to becoming Ricky again. He joins his friends Kiera, Andrew and Keenan in their roadside recycling as Junior Raccoons, and he helps to return his former friends to their cherished dream of being recycled instead of being condemned to being litter forever.

"Ricky and the Grim Wrapper" is a great gift for upcoming Earth Day to kids everywhere. The imaginative story and illustrations help kids to identify with the litter and trash they want to recycle, leaving a cleaner earth.

Microplastics and Me
Anna Du
Tumblehome Learning, Inc.
9781943431502 $16.99

Microplastics and Me may sound like nonfiction (indeed, it embraces many nonfiction elements, educating readers about microplastics and conservation), but it reads with the lively inspection of fiction and will reach grades 3-6 with its story of middle grader/author Anna Du's discovery of how she translated her environmental concerns into award-winning solutions. More than just another educational survey of conservation issues, this proactive, 'can do' model for conservation activism is essential reading for elementary to middle grade learners also concerned about environmental degradation. The first thing to note about Microplastics and Me is that it's narrated in the first person by the young author and includes a wealth of colorful photographs capturing not just issues, but her love of collecting sea glass on the beach in the lovely environment of the New England shoreline.

These personal touches reflecting her fascination with the seaside's beauty adds a personal touch to the adventure, where a factual nonfiction account alone couldn't have translated this science personal connections with nature.

By documenting the process of how she becomes personally involved in and committed to conservation and plastics recycling, Anna Du creates a winning, involving discussion that kids will readily understand because every conservation consideration is backed by personal experience and thoughts. It's the reinforcement of both this connection and Du's personal commitment to not just observing and learning, but problem-solving, that makes Microplastics and Me so extraordinary. The large-size, compelling color photos enhance a story that more than captures attention, injecting a wave of hope and activist opportunities into a subject that is typically approached via factual review, imparting a broad sense of hopelessness. Microplastics and Me is a highly recommended, unique standout in the world of children's conservation writing. Its young author's enthusiasm, research, and concrete science fair tips are extraordinarily helpful and hopeful for fellow would-be young conservationists.

The Biography Shelf

I am Martin Luther King, Jr.
Brad Meltzer, author
Christopher Eliopoulos, illustrator
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780525428527, $14.99, HC, 40pp,

Even as a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by the terrible and unfair way African-American people were treated. When he grew up, he decided to do something about it -- peacefully, and with powerful words. He helped gather people together for nonviolent protests and marches, and he always spoke up about loving other human beings and doing what's right. He spoke about the dream of a kinder future, and bravely led the way toward racial equality in America. "I am Martin Luther King, Jr." by author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos is part of a lively, picture book biography series from Dial Books that will inspires children ages5-8 to dream big -- one great role model at a time. While especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library biography collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that with its underlying message that any child can grow up to be a hero, "I am Martin Luther King, Jr." is also readily available in digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

What Miss Mitchell Saw
Hayley Barrett, author
Diana Sudyka, illustrator
Beach Lane Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481487597, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Every evening, from the time she was a child, Maria Mitchell stood on her rooftop with her telescope and swept the sky. And then one night she saw something unusual -- a comet no one had ever seen before! Miss Mitchell's extraordinary discovery made her famous the world over and paved the way for her to become America's first professional female astronomer. Gorgeously illustrated by Diana Sudyka, this moving and inspiring picture book biography by Hayley Barrett about a girl from humble beginnings who became a star in the field of astronomy is sure to encourage budding scientists everywhere. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections for children ages 4-8, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "What Miss Mitchell Saw" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Muslim Girls Rise
Saira Mir, author
Aaliya Jaleel, illustrator
Sallam Reads
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534418882, $17.99, HC, 48pp,

"Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of Our Time" is a compendium of true stories about nineteen unstoppable Muslim women of the twenty-first century who have risen above challenges, doubts, and sometimes outright hostility to blaze trails in a wide range of fields. Whether it was the culinary arts, fashion, sports, government, science, entertainment, education, or activism, these women never took "no" for an answer or allowed themselves to be silenced. Instead, they worked to rise above and not only achieve their dreams, but become influential leaders. Through short, information-rich biographies and vibrant illustrations, "Muslim Girls Rise" introduces young readers ages 6-12 to the diverse and important contributions Muslim women have made, and role models they may never have heard of before, but whose stories they will never forget! While especially and unreservedly recommended for school and community library picture book biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Muslim Girls Rise" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974988761, $14.99, CD).

Theodosia Burr
Karen Cherro Quinones
Twenty-First Century Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541542754, $37.32, Library Binding, 104pp,

Theodosia Burr was daughter of Vice President Aaron Burr and came of age in New York City when the New American Nation was growing up. She attended the inauguration of President George Washington in 1789, was at her father's side on the campaign trail and at his inauguration in 1801, attended presidential addresses to Congress, and hosted the most prominent politicians and thinkers of her time.

The Burrs' ideas about educating young women were revolutionary. Theodosia was an experiment in the equal treatment of women (regardless of social status) in education, family life, society, and the law. The family believed that women had an important role to play in the New Nation, and Theodosia was fully prepared.

Based on research at libraries and archives, and from the rich body of letters Theodosia and her family left behind, "Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation" is an historical narrative that introduces young readers to a most unusual girl who pursued a radical new path for women.

Very nicely illustrated throughout, "Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation" is expertly written, organized and presented, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to both school and community library American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Self-Help Shelf

The Memory Box: A Book About Grief
Joanna Rowland, author
Thea Baker, illustrator
Beaming Books
PO Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440
9781506426723, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Presented from the perspective of a young child, in "The Memory Box: A Book About Grief" author and kindergarten teacher Joanna Rowland artfully describes for children ages 4-8 what it is like to remember and grieve a loved one who has died. The child in the story creates a memory box to keep mementos and written memories of the loved one, to help in the grieving process. Heartfelt and comforting, "The Memory Box" will help children and adults talk about this very difficult topic together. The unique point of view allows the reader to imagine the loss of any they have loved - a friend, family member, or even a pet. A parent guide in the back includes information on helping children manage the complex and difficult emotions they feel when they lose someone they love, as well as suggestions on how to create their own memory box. Unique, nicely illustrated with the artwork of Thea Baker, and thoroughly 'kid friendly in tone and presentation, "The Memory Box: A Book About Grief " is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, and community library collections.

Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me!
Hannah Carmona Dias, author
Dolly Georgieva-Gode, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
PO Box 66, Lemont, PA 16851
$9.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle, Ages 3-10
9781632331700, $14.99 HC, 32pp,

"Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me!" is a song of resilience for kids who may look or feel different, or who have been asked, sometimes unkindly, "What are you?" The answer, in vibrant, joyous color illustrations and bouncy verse (sometimes terse) is unforgettable: "My skin and my hair Sometimes make me stand out. But the way that I look Is not all I'm about. I'm sassy and smart With a kind giving heart. I'm courageous and brilliant And fierce and resilient. I am not a puzzle to figure out, or a mysterious artifact to learn all about. I stand here before you And what should you see? A beautiful, wonderful, strong little me!.....And I don't need explaining to any degree!" Happy illustrations show Lily, a girl of tan complexion with long bouncy curls whose friends all appear to be very different from her (and from each other). The message is one of empowerment to every child, perhaps especially girls, who has felt diminished by thoughtless probing queries based on her outward appearance. "Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me!" closes with a framed blank illustration page that asks readers to think of positive words to describe themselves, an exercise in loving self empowerment. The message is clear, the medium is fun, and kids of all kinds will love "Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me!"

The Board Book Shelf

All Around Bustletown: Spring
Rotraut Susanne Berner, author/illustrator
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791374093 $12.95, Board Book, 14pp,

"All Around Bustletown Spring" is a celebration of the season of new life. In shops, streets, trees, parks, and sidewalks, how does Spring show its face in a busy, bustling town? Filled with intricate village vignettes that tell stories without words from pasteboard page to page, "Spring" traces a melange of spring happenings in poignant portraits. Young children will delight in tracing the different details of specific stories, such as "Cara rides her scooter through town," or "Bonnie follows Tom the tomcat everywhere," or even "Why is this fox in the city?" In pasteboard pages of panorama, all will be revealed, and Spring will star. Other books by the same author/illustrator that are included in this creative series and are also highly recommended for children ages 2-5 include: "All Around Bustletown: Summer" (9783791374208, $12.95), "All Around Bustletown: Fall" (9783791374222, $12.95), and "All Around Bustletown: Winter" (9783791374154, $12.95).

Before We Eat
Pat Brisson, author
Mary Azarian, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884488330, $7.99, Board Book, 32pp,

Milk doesn't just appear in the refrigerator, nor do apples grow in the bowl on the kitchen counter. Before we eat, many people work very hard -- planting grain, catching fish, tending animals, filling crates, and stocking shelves. Very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections, that's the principle message of "Before We Eat", a charming board book specifically designed by the team of author Pat Brisson and illustrator Mary Azarian for children ages 3-5.

Spring Is Here!
Carles Ballesteros, illustrator
Abrams Appleseed
c/o Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419738838, $7.99, Board Book, 16pp,

Spring is here, and it's time for bunnies to run, chicks to sing, lambs to munch clover, and ducklings to swim. New from Abrams Appleseed, "Spring Is Here!" is a fund board book for children ages 2-3 who will delight in seeing animals' faces appear and then change when the page is turned, thanks to the magical Venetian blind element. "Spring Is Here!" is sweet and fun novelty book is ideal to read aloud with a young child -- and the perfect addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections.

Curious About Birds
Cathryn Sill, author
John Sill, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781682631904, $6.99, Board Book, 22pp,

"Curious About Birds" is a charming and lovely board book beginner's guide offers a thoughtful first glimpse into the world of birds. Educator and author Cathryn Sill introduces children ages 2- 6 to basic facts about birds with the help of beautifully detailed illustrations from noted wildlife illustrator John Sill. Simple and clear descriptions of how birds look, where they live, what they eat, and how they move around make this first title in the Discovering Nature series from Peachtree Publishers to be a dependable, informative, and fun beginning resource for learning about birds that is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Harris Finds His Feet
Catherine Rayner
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680105964, $9.99, Board Book, 24pp,

Grandpa shows Harris how to hop high into the sky, to climb to the tops of the mountains, and to run very fast. Harris not only learns about the world around him but also the importance of finding his own feet! A charmingly illustrated and thoroughly entertaining board book for children ages 2-5, "Harris Finds His Feet" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections for very young children.

The Picturebook Shelf

The Paper Kingdom
Helena Ku Rhee
Random House
9780525644613, $17.99

The Paper Kingdom receives fine drawings by Pascal Campion and blends fantasy with realistic embellishments as it tells of Daniel's visits to his parents' job as nighttime office cleaners downtown when a babysitter cancels. Charged with entertaining their son and performing their work, the parents turn the office building into a paper kingdom complete with a fantastic story of dragons and royalty. Good reading skills will enhance enjoyment of this beautifully-illustrated tale of creative parents and their lasting impact on a sleepy little boy who comes to appreciate their magic kingdom.

Hop Little Bunnies
Martha Mumford, author
Laura Hughes, illustrated
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9781408892947, $17.99, HC, 24pp,

There are lots of sleepy animals to wake up in this bouncy, energetic picture book. In "Hop Little Bunnies" by author Martha Mumford and illustrator Laura Hughes, children ages 3-6 will enjoy lifting the flaps, then hopping with the little bunnies, cheeping with the chicks, baaing with the lambs and mewing with the kittens. An interactive picture book, full of non-stop fun, based on the popular nursery rhyme 'Sleeping Bunnies' is full of the joys of Spring and the perfect Easter gift. It should be noted that "Hop Little Bunnies" is also available in a picture book edition (9781408892930, $3.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.59), and as a board book (9781547605699, $7.99).

Mrs. Paddington and the Silver Mousetraps
Gail Skroback Hennessey, author
Steve Cox, illustrator
Red Chair Press
9781634409001, $18.99, HC, 40pp,

History is full of fascinating stories of colorful characters, but some of the most interesting parts of history are really odd. Kids may have seen scenes of government officials with their powdered white wigs, but in 1700s England and high-society in the American colonies, women created towering hairstyles. Decorations such as ships and flowers were sometimes added to their hairdos, especially if attending a big party. Taking hours to create, women used beef tallow and sugar-water to keep their hairdos in place. "Mrs. Paddington and the Silver Mousetraps: A Hair-Raising History of Women's Hairstyles in 18th-century London" for children ages 8-12 is a delightfully entertaining picture book story explains a very real fashion trend and the problems it created for women trying to look stylish! While especially recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mrs. Paddington and the Silver Mousetraps" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Go Get 'Em, Tiger!
Sabrina Moyle, author
Eunice Moyle, illustrator
Abrams Appleseed
c/o Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419739644, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

With a rhyming text by author Sabrina Moyle and the engagingly charming artwork of Eunice Moyle, "Go Get 'Em, Tiger!" is a delightfully entertaining picture book story for children ages 2- 5 as a little tiger faces a number of challenges. While certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Go Get 'Em, Tiger!" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Izzy and Frank
Katrina Lehman, author
Sophie Beer, illustrator
c/o Cursour
9781950354238, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Izzy and Frank spend blue-sky-sunny days and gray-cloud-rainy days roaming and playing by the sea in a new picture book for children ages 3-6. But when Izzy has to leave her lighthouse and island life behind to move to the city, she also has to say goodbye to Frank. The city is crowded and noisy, and Izzy misses the sand and the sea. Can Izzy find a place for herself in her new home? And will she ever see Frank again? An entertaining collaboration between author Katrina Lehman and illustrator Sophie Beer, "Izzy and Frank" is an original, utterly charming, and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children.

Boundless Sky
Amanda Addison, author
Manuela Adreani, illustrator
Lantana Publishing
9781911373674, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Nobody knew, nobody dreamed, nobody even considered the possibility that a bird that fits in your hand might fly halfway around the world looking for a place to nest . . . or that a young girl from northern Africa might flee halfway around the world looking for safety. "Boundless Sky" by the team of author Amanda Addison and illustrator Manuela Adreani is the engaging story of Bird and a young girl named Leila. Highly recommended for school and community library collections for young readers, "Boundless Sky" is the beautifully presented picture book story for children ages 5-8 of a chance encounter and a long journey home.

Tickled Pink
Andree Poulin, writer
Lucile Danis Drouot, illustrated
Pajama Press
9781772781045, $18.95, HC, 32pp,

Filippo can't help that he's pink. He's a flamingo, after all. But Zac the zebra and Poncho the panda aren't having it. They only want to play with fellow black-and-white animals. Filippo is sure he'll never be content without Zac and Poncho's friendship. But what would the world be without pink? There would be no roses, no sunsets, no strawberry ice cream. With a little love and encouragement along the way, Filippo sets out to find the value of pink -- and of himself! "Tickled Pink: How Friendship Washes the World with Color" is a delightfully crafted picture book for children ages 4-7 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

A Flock of Fun
Raven Howell, author
David Barrow, illustrator
Doodle and Peck Publishing
P.O. Box 852105, Yukon, OK 73085
9781733346221, $10.99, PB, Ages 3-8
9781733717083, $19.99, HC, 34pp,

"A Flock of Fun" is a delicious new bedtime story with a rule-ignoring flock of fluffy white sheep who amuse and tire a sleepy young boy with their pre-bedtime antics. Counting sheep as a sleep prescription never included such naughty sheep! "They dumped my toy chest, swung from my lamp, played games wearing my underpants! Sheep laundry-dived and scribbled pictures, swirled shirts in neon tie-dye mixtures." Humorous rhymes, dark violet hues and fuzzy- textured illustrations guide the reader's gentle slide into dreamy lullaby-land. To contrast with the funny sheep, the boy wishes to count a swarm of snails instead the next night, but guess what? He found he missed his sheep! "Until the snails began to snore sleeping seemed to be a chore. Then I knew I'd rather keep my noisy laundry-diving sheep!" "A Flock of Fun" is a new kind of bedtime story that will have great appeal for kids age 3 and up.

You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks
Evan Turk
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534432826, $18.99, HC, 56pp,

In simple, soaring language and breathtaking art, acclaimed author and illustrator Evan Turk has created a stirring ode to nature and nation in the pages of "You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks". From the rugged coast of Maine to the fiery volcanoes of Hawaii, "You Are Home" reminds children ages 4-8 that every animal, plant, and person helps make this land a brilliant, beautiful sanctuary of life. As entertaining as it is inspiring, "You Are Home" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "You Are Home" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Princess Jill Never Sits Still
Margarita Del Mazo, author
Jose Fragoso, illustrator
9788417123833, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

The castle has become very lively as of late. Little Princess Jill is like a hurricane, she comes and goes and suddenly everything is out of place or in shambles. The cook, the gardener, the nanny, and most of all, the Queen and King don't know what to do about it! Worst of all, one day they receive a letter from The Royal Family of Farawaylandia: they are coming to visit! Prince Pablo included! Children ages 3-7 who have gotten a bit tired of your average fairytale princess, will truly enjoy this beautifully original picture book story by the team of author/storyteller Margarita del Mazo and illustrator/artist Jose Fragoso. Simply stated, "Princess Jill Never Sits Still" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

Little Mole Finds Hope
Glenys Nellist, author
Sally Garland, illustrator
Beaming Books
PO Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440
9781506448749, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

When Little Mole is feeling sad in his dark, underground home, his mother shows him how to look for hope. He finds that signs of spring are everywhere, from the daffodil bulbs under the soil to the tiny buds on the branches above. Hope can be found -- even in the darkest places. A charming and entertaining picture book story for children ages 3-6, "Little Mole Finds Hope" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Adventures of Rowdy Rabbit
Pamela M. Marston, author/illustrator
9781684701896 $25.20, PB, 30pp,

"The Adventures of Rowdy Rabbit" is a book of delicate colored pencil portraits of Rowdy Rabbit and his family on a series of amazing adventures. Each colored pencil portrait is done on special paper that adds texture to the drawings. Every picture has a an accompanying explanatory verse in 8 lines, with added questions for reader enrichment? Rowdy is an unusual young rabbit who likes to take risks, unlike his gentler, more docile sisters. Rabbit's parents know they have to keep a close eye on him at all times, because he has a tendency to get himself into trouble. Rowdy likes to go on adventures with his daddy, riding a bike, taking a hike, riding a horse, or even rowing a boat. In every picture, the reader is invited to find Rowdy, who is often perched in some slightly unusual or dangerous or hidden position. The reader is invited to speculate what possible trouble Rowdy might get into in his present position. An example is Rowdy's visit to the swing with his mother: "One time the family made plans--/ Off to a secret place to rest./ Sisters chose to stay with Mama;/ Rowdy chose his mama to test./ Since Rowdy loved to be the show,/ On Mama's lap he would not sit./ He wanted to climb the swing's rope,/ Enjoying ev'ry bit of it!" The reader is asked to look carefully at the picture of Rowdy (climbing high on the rope of the swing while his sisters are on the seat by Mama's lap) and his mama and sisters on the swing and speculate what trouble Rowdy might find. Following the thirty plus portraits and poem adventures of Rowdy teaches young readers to be observant, watch for the unexpected, and to enjoy the unusual. "The Adventures of Rowdy Rabbit" teaches many positive life lessons laced with lots of fun and mischief and humor. It will appeal to readers age 5 and up.

Miss Kitty and the Krackerknocker
Michael Gerhardt, author
Charlotte Wismer, illustrator
Independently Published
9781091267534, $12.95, PB, 43pp,

"Miss Kitty and the Krackerknocker" is an unusual children's scary tale with an unusual shy feline named Kitty as a heroine. It is filled with dark, dim illustrations of a scary monster called a Krackerknocker and a small person named Nana Anna who lived with her timid cat Kitty in a small house on the edge of the Great North Sea. Miss Kitty was afraid of everything, including thunder, lightning, rain, loud noises, the dark, any animal bigger than she was, things that go bump in the night and even her own shadow. Nana Anna spun and dyed balls of yarn which she sold at the small market. One night a terrible storm blew in from the North Sea, filled with lightning and thunder and driving rain. During the storm Miss Kitty disappeared and Nana Anna was worried about her. After the storm Nana Anna went walking on the beach and discovered a large, highly unusual beast. It was not very pretty, with big brown and yellow eyes, yellow pointy teeth, and a big round horn in the middle of its forehead. It lumbered on 6 large legs, covered with fur, feathers, and scales. Nana Anna patted the creature on its nose and said "Hello, big one." Later Nana Anna found that the creature she found was called a Krackerknocker, and it was known to be dangerous, and hungry to eat everything. Nana Anna worried about her Miss Kitty who still was not to be found. An amazing event occurred later that next night. Nana Anna answered a loud knock at her door to find the Krackerknocker, who pushed his way inside and began to eat everything. This was frightening to Nana Anna, but she courageously took a fire poker and told the creature to leave when it started eating her hand made yarn bundles. The Krackerknocker ignored her and kept eating. Nana Anna was very afraid when the creature began eating the bedsheets at her feet. Suddenly Miss Kitty appeared and came to Nana Anna's rescue. At first she meowed loudly at the Krackerknocker, who growled back at her and kept eating bed sheets. Then Miss Kitty's meow became louder, became a ROAR. Miss Kitty ROARED until the house shook and the windows cracked! It so frightened the Krackerknocker that it began to shake and finally it exploded into a million small flakes that disappeared out the window. Then Miss Kitty licked and comforted Nana Anna, until she sat up and noticed that the basket of balls of yarn which the Krackerknocker had eaten was magically restored in a small corner of the house. And Miss Kitty, who was thanked quite dearly by Nana Anna, was never afraid of anything again. This imaginative fantasy about facing your deepest fears delivers a positive message to even the smallest, most unlikely heroines. Digging deep inside yourself and taking a courageous stand against deep fear is celebrated and rewarded by the vanquishing of evil, which resides in our imagination alongside of hope.

A Way with Wild Things
Larissa Theule, author
Sara Palacios, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9781681190396, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Poppy loves nature, and can be found carrying on conversations with ladybugs or singing with cicadas, but good luck spotting her indoors and around people! She's a master of camouflage, always finding a way to blend into her surroundings. Some might call her a wallflower. At a party, Poppy stays out of sight. But when a very special bug lands on the cake, Poppy can't resist popping out to see it. Soon, the rest of the guests notice the beautiful dragonfly, and Poppy, too. Maybe she's not a wallflower after all, but a wildflower. This poetic and evocative picture book story by author/storyteller Larissa Theule and illustrator/artist Sara Palacios celebrates the shy and introverted kids among us, as well as the other small creatures to be found if we look closely enough. A delightfully entertaining addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 3-6, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Way with Wild Things" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Little Spacecraft
Dr. Mom, author
Shana Koppel, illustrator
Gefen Books
c/o Storch 255 Central Ave #B-206, Lawrence, NY 11559
9789659262885, $16.95, HC, 28pp,

Berrie is a little spacecraft with a big dream: She wants to go to the Moon! But how will she prove to everyone else that small can be powerful too? In "The Little Spacecraft" by illustrator Shana Koppel and author/storyteller Dr. Mom, Berrie is a picture book that is based on the real SpaceIL spacecraft flying to the moon in early 2019! Founded by three young entrepreneurs with a dream, SpaceIL's mission is to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. With "The Little Spacecraft", SpaceIL hopes to get the next generation of children excited about aerospace engineering and exploration. Dr. Mom and her team at StellarNova strive to provide children, parents, and educators with the tools to unlock the superpowers of science through literature, adventures and hands-on experiences. While very highly recommended for elementary school and community library picture book collections for children ages 5-8, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Little Spacecraft" is also available in a paperback edition (9789659262861, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

A Place for Mulan
Marie Chow, author
Jasper Shaw, illustrator
Disney Press
c/o Disney Book Group
1200 Grand Central Avenue, Glendale, CA 91201
9781368023481, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

Hua Mulan is th legendary female warrior from the Northern and Southern dynasties period of Chinese history. Mulan is a girl who disguised as a man, takes her aged father's place in the army. Mulan fought for twelve years and gained high merit, but she refused any reward and retired to her hometown. "A Place for Mulan" by the team of author/storyteller Marie Chow and illustrator/artist Jasper Shaw is a charmingly entertaining picture book for children ages 6-8 in the full Disney tradition. While unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school and community library picture book collections for young readers.

A Wave of Stars
Dolores Brown, author
Sonja Wimmer, illustrator
9788417673413, $16.95, HC, 44pp,

The moonbow is a rarely occurring natural phenomenon. Its beauty is otherworldly, but legend says that if animals gaze upon one -- they become human! Mimbi the seal and Kipo the turtle live carefree lives in the ocean, playing every day with their friends and listening to old tales the octopus tells at night. But one day...! In the pages of "A Wave of Stars" by author/storyteller Dolores Brown and illustrator/artist Sonja Wimmer, children ages 4-7 will fully enjoy following these two friends in their adventure. Original, beautiful, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "A Wave of Stars" will prove to be an extraordinary and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Binkle's Time to Fly
Sharmila Collins, author
Carolina Rabei, illustrator
Flyaway Books
100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY, 40202-1396
9781947888227, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Binkle can't wait until he turns from caterpillar to butterfly. He'll finally have strong, beautiful wings to take him high into the sky! But when the day comes, something is terribly wrong. Why are Binkle's wings so wispy and weak? How will he ever fly like the other butterflies if his wings are nothing like theirs? Yet with some help and creativity, maybe there's more than one way to fly! The collaborative project of author/storyteller Sharmila Collins and illustrator/artist "Binkle's Time to Fly" is charming, gorgeously illustrated story for children ages 3-7 that reminds them that life can present unwelcome challenges, but inventive alternatives and with the support of others those challenges can be met and overcome. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' and impressively entertaining throughout, "Binkle's Time to Fly" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Weasel Is Worried
Ciara Gavin, author
Tim Warnes, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680101935, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

When Weasel is caught in a storm, he builds a fortress to hide in. But then he meets Mole, who loves to play in the wind and splash in the rain. Can Weasel learn to overcome his fears and find joy, whatever the weather? With its underlying message of dealing with and overcoming worries, "Weasel Is Worried" by the team of author/storyteller Ciara Gavin and illustrator/artist Tim Warnes is an inherently engaging and thoroughly entertaining picture book for children ages 3-7 making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

TomTom Loves His Hair!
Dot Gibbens, author
Karine Makartichan, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781977217295, $24.95, HC, 28pp,

At sometime every kid has been reluctant to have a hair cut. And like most kids, TomTom does not want to sit still long enough for a haircut! "TomTom Loves His Hair!" by author/storyteller Dot Gibbens and illustrator/artist Karine Makartichan is an impressively original, delightfully entertaining and gently humorous picture book story as his Mom figures out a way to give TomTom that so much needed trim! Action and adventure abound as TomTom goes through his daily activities, and then guess what? TomTom Loves His Hair! While very highly recommended for elementary school and community library collections for children, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "TomTom Loves His Hair!" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781977217240, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Down Under the Pier
Nell Cross Beckerman, author
Rachel Sumpter, illustrator
Cameron Kids
c/o Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781944903862, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

There's lots of fun to be had up on the pier -- such as the Ferris wheel, the rollercoaster, Skee-Ball and Whac-A-Mole games, cotton candy, copper coins, and the carousel. But it's down under the pier, at low tide, where the real magic can be found. The best part? It's free. Author Nell Beckerman's poetic text and deep love of the intertidal zone, and illustrator Rachell Sumpter's dreamy, "endless summer" art make "Down Under the Pier" the perfect beach book for children 5-7 -- and an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Anne Bustard, author
Daniel Wiseman, illustrator
Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419741012, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Esther, Chester, Hester, and Sylvester are stoked to shred at the skate park! But unlike his daring brothers and sisters, Lester is a total fraidy-cat. Skateboarding doesn't come easily to him -- and with only nine lives to spare, why should he risk one on the half-pipe? When Lester sees how much fun his family is having, he decides to give it a shot anyway only to wipe out! With the encouragement of his supportive siblings, Lester gets back up and tries again. With its underlying message of perseverance as the basis of ultimate success, "Rad!" by the team of author/storyteller Anne Bustard and illustrator/artist Daniel Wiseman is especially recommended as a thoroughly charming and impressively entertaining addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rad!" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.29).

An Armadillo on My Pillow
Deborah Stevenson, author
Morgan Spicer, illustrator
Krista Hill, editor
Pigs Fly Books
9781732541054, $18.95, HC, 34pp,

The school bus is on the way and Miranda needs to get moving! But how can she when her room has suddenly become the wildest menagerie ever? Chinchillas in the sink! An owl with her towel! A platypus in the tub! Something most unusual is happening -- or is it just her imagination? Charmingly illustrated by Morgan Spicer, author Deborah Stevenson's wonderfully whimsical picture book story for children ages 2-9 will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that this impressively original and thoroughly entertaining picture book is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781732541061, $12.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

I Am Goose!
Dorothia Rohner
Clarion Books
9781328841599, $17.99

I Am Goose! is illustrated by Vanya Nastanlieva, who provides lovely and engaging drawings to the story of a silly goose who tries to join in on a common game. Can a goose win in duck-duck-goose? Goose can't calm down when faced with a host of animal possibilities and game snafus, and begins ruining the game with time-outs and other requirements. Young readers and read-aloud parents receive a fun, easy exploration that revolves around an indignant goose's declaration of identity and what makes for a goose in this whimsical read which will benefit from a young reader's understanding of the duck-duck-goose game premise.

Swim Swim Sink
Jenn Harney
9781368052764, $12.99

Swim Swim Sink provides the very simple picture book story of a happy duck who hatches three eggs and raises three tiny ducks. Adults who choose this gentle, easy readers for its sound effects opportunities and easy counting story of a new, happy flock will find it a satisfyingly unexpected, fun story as the rhyme is broken by one little duck who sinks instead of swims. What can he do to join his family? Fun drawings accompanying increasingly hilarious solutions to the problem that will keep youngsters guessing and parents involved.

Tundra Books

Two new books make for appealing reading choices for young picture book readers, who will appreciate their messages and presentations. Eise Gravel's The Bat (9780735266483, $10.99) and The Cockroach (9780735266421, $10.99) each profile 'disgusting little creatures' that have fascinated the author since childhood. The Bat pairs bat facts with full-page drawings that are funny and accompanied by personalized bat insights. The note about bats not appreciating the cold, for one example, is accompanied by a shivering bat picture and his admonition that "I'm not really a fan of winter sports." The Cockroach also dislikes the cold and loves heat, which is why she'll be found in restaurants, hotels, and indoors. "I just love room service!" she extols while enjoying a luxury hotel setting. Both couch their facts in fun representations designed to keep ages 6-9 engaged and laughing while learning some basic facts about each.


These two new books are fine recommendations promising lasting value to parents and libraries alike. Tomorrow I'll be Kind by Jessica Hische (9781534787042, $17.99) teaches kids the basics about kindness and generosity, and encourages patience, peace, and understanding in young picture book audiences. Admonitions about being helpful, taking the lead, persevering against all odds, and being honest are imparted through pictures and single, large-size embellished words. These embellished script words may require parental interpretation, but the discussions which are encouraged by this picture book will prove rewarding and insightful. Anna Pignataro's The Heart of a Whale (9781984836274, $17.99) tells of Whale, who sings his song of hope and happiness to his fellow sea creatures. They all appreciate his message, but deep in his heart, Whale doesn't trust his own words, and feels an emptiness his music belays. When he lets out a sad sigh, the ocean carries it to the perfect place of healing. Lovely watercolors contribute to a moving story.

Candlewick Press

Tooth Fairy in Training by Michelle Robinson (9781536209396, $16.99) takes a different approach to the tooth fairy saga in exploring the dilemma of animals who also lose teeth and need the tooth fairy's help. Briony May Smith's fun drawings are large-sized, colorful picture emphasizing environment and fairy training processes as Robinson's story moves from a sister's instructions to how the young fairy obeys the rules about approaching different sleeping animals and their teeth. Kids will find this a fun, appealing story with vibrant pictures and a whimsical take-off on the usual tooth fairy adventure. Arthur Yorinks's One Mean Ant (9780763683948, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Sergio Ruzzier, who captures the sullen countenance of a little ant that is so grumpy, everything shrivels up around him when he walks by. Kids with good reading skills will appreciate this story of the ant's new discoveries when he becomes lost in the desert and meets a fly who changes his life. The fly speaks Antish, so they can communicate, but whereas the mean little ant is lost, the fly is not ("I just used to be someplace else, and now I'm here."). Kids will appreciate this fun story of an unusual friendship and life-changing encounter.

Sleeping Bear Press

Two new releases are outstanding reads, providing picture books that are engaging and enlightening. Ages 4-8 will relish Helen L. Wilbur's You Are Mine, Porcupine (9781534110038, $16.99), illustrated with fine drawings by Stephanie Fizer Coleman as this STEM-based book blends science and rhyme to explore the life of a porcupine. Kids will find it teaches facts about porcupines in a fun, memorable manner that considers not only their unique form of person protection, but their habitats and habits. The full-page color drawings are whimsical and enjoyable. Shana Keller's Bread for Words (9781534110014, $16.99) will appeal to ages 6-10 with a picture book biography about Frederick Douglass. This story focuses on his childhood and how he learned about freedom and equality, creating the foundations of conviction that would lead to his influential role as an educated adult. Learning to read and write, something forbidden to him in his youth, were cornerstones of the struggle and Keller's exploration juxtaposes Douglass's own writings with biographical background. Kids with good reading skills looking for picture book biographies for report purposes will find this approachable, enlightening, and educational.

Gus the Goose
Linda Davis, author
Samantha Fistere, illustrator
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall Johnson Road, #102-345, Grapevine, TX 76051
9781647648916, $5.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle, Ages 5-10
9781647132286, $16.95, HC, 36pp,

"Gus the Goose" is a compassion-inspiring goose tale created for children age 5-6 years. "Gus the Goose" is filled with colorful, comic illustrations of Gus, the Canadian Goose, and his friends, McGovern, Ella, Paddy, Duke, and Tank, otherwise known as the Fantastic Five, of Livingston Cove, USA.

Gus was a popular migrating Canadian goose who was known for his cheery nature and funny stories. His friends on the farm at Livingston Cove looked forward to his 7th annual visit during his migration and had prepared him a luscious welcome back party in the barn, complete with cake. When Gus was very late in arriving at Livingston Cove, the Fantastic Five friends became very concerned. The very next morning McGovern, Ella, Paddy, Duke, and Tank set off to look for Gus. Four dogs and a cat are able to work together to find some of Gus' friends including the senior goose, who told them where to look for Gus the last place they had seen him.

The Fantastic Five came close to the scene of the geese migration pattern and heard hunters' gunshots. Fearing danger or harm to their friend Gus, The band courageously searched far and wide for their friend. They found some clues from Randy Rabbit, who was also fleeing the hunters and their guns. Randy had heard the sound of a goose just over the ridge, but had been too frightened to stop and help. The Fantastic Five (four different dogs and a plucky cat) searched through dark, thick frightening forest until they heard the sounds of their friend Gus.

Thank goodness they found him, injured and tired and McGowan put Gus on Duke's back and the band took Gus to Farmer Brown's farm, where Farmer Brown took good care of Gus and offered him a position to stay and help keeping track of the animals so they would not get lost. The recovering Gus was happy to accept the offer, as he was growing tired of migrating with the other geese twice every year. Also, Gus was very happy to be with his friends, the Fantastic Five.

"Gus the Goose" closes with a happy scene of Gus and his friends settling down to dinner and some celebratory cake in Farmer Brown's cozy barn.

"Gus the Goose" is a heartwarming tale that teaches respect and compassion for others, cooperation, endurance, and follow through to solve challenging, even dangerous tasks. Children age 5 and up will enjoy getting to know Gus and his friends, anticipating more adventures of Gus and the Fantastic Five.

The Christian Shelf

The Quiet/Crazy Easter Day
Jill Roman Lord, author
Kelly Breemer, illustrator
B&H Publishing Group
1 LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234
9781535991940, $12.99, Board Book, 24pp,

You might think of the first Easter as a quiet, peaceful morning. But with all creation celebrating the risen Lord of Lords, it may not have been so quiet! "The Quiet Crazy Easter Day" imagines the crazy celebration that might have occurred when Jesus arose as a festive day filled with chirps and croaks, shouts and coos and loop-de-doos. Children ages 1-4 will enjoy joining in the rejoicing as they follow along with the Easter story and learn how they too can shout and sing and spread the news that Jesus is alive! An absolutely charming board book by author/storyteller Jill Roman Lord and illustrator/artist Kelly Breemer, "The Quiet/Crazy Easter Day" will prove to be an extraordinarily popular addition to Christian family board book collections.

Jesus Rose for Me: The True Story of Easter
Jared Kennedy, author
Trish Mahoney, illustrator
New Growth Press
1301 Carolina Street, #L101, Greensboro, NC 27401
9781645070450, $11.99, Board Book, 26pp,

Every Easter, members of the Christian community celebrate that Jesus Christ is more powerful than death. But what does that mean for little children? "Jesus Rose for Me: The True Story of Easter" by author Jared Kennedy helps toddlers and preschoolers understand the true, Christian meaning of Easter in a personal, memorable way. This board book is a part of The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible series from New Growth Press and designed specifically for children ages three to seven. Beautifully illustrated by Trish Mahoney, "Jesus Rose for Me: The True Story of Easter" begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter, when Jesus rose for us. Children will learn that Jesus Christ is our king, and that everyone who trusts in him is part of his forever family. Conversational in presentation and highly recommended for family and Sunday School board book collections, "Jesus Rose for Me: The True Story of Easter" simply tells the Biblical story of the gospel and invites children ages 3-7 to respond. Jesus Rose for Me helps toddlers and preschoolers celebrate that every day is resurrection day.

Devon Provencher, author
Jessica Robyn Provencher, illustrator
Crossway Books
1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
9781433565236, $9.99, Board Book, 22pp,

"God" by the team of author Devon Provencher and illustrator Jessica Robyn Provencher is part of the Big Theology for Little Hearts board book series for children ages 2-5 that introduces big ideas from the Bible with concise definitions and engaging illustrations to help young minds gain a foundational understanding of God's word. "God" is specifically and deftly designed to help children develop a cohesive framework of Christian theology beginning with the concept of the supreme deity and creator. Inspired and inspiring, "God" is unreservedly recommended for preschool aged children throughout the Christian community.

The Judaic Shelf

Is It Tu B'Shevat Yet?
Chris Barash, author
Alessandra Psacharopulo, illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
9780807563335, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

As winter ends and spring arrives, one family prepares to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat which means it is time to feast on fruit, share about conservation, and plant trees! A perfect introduction to the Jewish holiday for readers of all ages but most especially for children ages 3-5, "Is It Tu B'Shevat Yet?" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library holiday picture book collections in general, and the Jewish Holiday shelf in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Is It Tu B'Shevat Yet?" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Under the Great Plum Tree
Sufiya Ahmed, author
Reza Dalvand, illustrated
Tiny Owl Publishing
9781910328460, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

An unlikely friendship between Miss Bandari and Mr Magarmach forms when the pair meet under the great plum tree, deep in the heart of India. Mr Magarmach is old and his hunting days are over but Miss Bandari loves hearing his stories as they munch plums together. One day their friendship tested but with courage, trust and forgiveness they discover that living happily together tastes just as sweet as Miss Bandari's golden plums. The story of the monkey and the crocodile is a fable from the Panchatantra, an ancient Indian collection of animal fables dated to 300 BCE. But it's a tale from around the world and versions can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, China, Japan and the Caribbean. Beautifully illustrated by Reza Dalvand, this retelling of an ancient fable by Sufiya Ahmed for children ages 5-7 is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Folklore/Fairytale picture book collections.

How to Catch Little Boys and Eat Them
Lois Wickstrom, author
Nicolas Milano, illustrator
Look Under Rocks
9780916176587, $19.99, HC, 22pp,

A giant's gotta eat. But people are afraid of him. A giant does what he's gotta do. And so does Jack. While most giants in most fairytales get a bum rap, "How to Catch Little Boys and Eat Them" is the Jack and the Beanstalk story as told from the Giant's point of view! The collaborative work of author/storyteller Lois Wickstrom and illustrator/artist Nicolas Milano, "How to Catch Little Boys and Eat Them" is an original and delightful picture book for children ages 4-8. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "How to Catch Little Boys and Eat Them" is also readily available in a picture book edition (9780916176594, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Princesses and Peas
Terry Boucher, author
Shannen Marie Paradero, illustrator
9781796034066, $6.43, PB, 58pp, Ages 7-10,

"Princesses and Peas: A Christmas Love Story" is a fresh imagining of a classic fairy tale. Pages of narrative are alternated with full page color illustrations of the characters and story. In this holiday tale Prince Kevin's mother, Queen Victoria hopes to find him a true princess to become his wife. She plans to use a pea hidden under three mattresses to test a likely candidate who spends the night with them. If the young woman can feel the pea under all the mattresses, she will pass the test of a true princess. However, this test does not allow Queen Victoria to distinguish between a false princess and a true one in the contest for her son's hand.

Kevin much prefers the humbly born Taryn, who visits the castle one snowbound night . Prince Kevin and Taryn learn they share a common interest in reading adventure and fantasy books. The other candidate, the young daughter of a mayor, is crafty enough to fake a reaction to the hidden pea under her mattresses, but she shared no interests with Prince Kevin, preferring thoughts of dancing, ballet, and living a luxurious life as the wife of a Prince. Prince Kevin finally discovered he would be allowed to follow his true feelings about Taryn and left to seek her out to return a necklace she had left at the palace.

The happy ending that emerges in this tale is built upon a family's awareness of true caring and tenderness of heart, which is what prevented Taryn from sleeping well in her night upon the three mattresses and the pea. Prince Kevin's father, King Matthew, tells him and his mother, "A true princess is tender in her heart, not her body. And no pea can measure that."

All ends happily, but as for the test of the pea, did it help unite prince Kevin and Taryn, his true lifemate, after all? Today's fairy tale readers will have to decide for themselves.

The General Fiction Shelf

Extreme Blindside
Leslea Wahl
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
9780819824059, $14.95, PB, 296pp,

After winning silver, teen snowboarder Jake Taylor is struggling with sudden fame when he's offered a gig he can't refuse: becoming a spokesperson for a state-of-the-art athletic training facility. Training for its first competition, Jake relies on his faith to help him find ways to use his fame to help others -- at a time when athletes mysteriously start getting sabotaged one by one. Time is running out for Jake and his girlfriend, Sophie, to figure out what is going on before he is also sabotaged or worse! A thoroughly engaging and entertaining read from cover to cover, "Extreme Blindside" by Leslea Wahl will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to school and community library Contemporary Young Adult General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Extreme Blindside" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Blue Skies
Anne Bustard
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534446069, $17.99, HC, 224pp,

Glory Bea Bennett knows that miracles happen in Gladiola, Texas, population 3,421. After all, her grandmother (who is the best matchmaker in the whole county) is responsible for thirty-nine of them. Now, Glory Bea needs a miracle of her own. The war ended three years ago, but Glory Bea's father never returned home from the front in France. Glory Bea understands what Mama and Grams and Grandpa say (that Daddy died a hero on Omaha Beach) yet deep down in her heart, she believes Daddy is still out there. When the Gladiola Gazette reports that one of the boxcars from the Merci Train (a "thank you" train filled with gifts of gratitude from the people of France) will be stopping in Gladiola, she just knows daddy will be its surprise cargo. But miracles, like people, are always changing, until at last they find their way home. An eloquently scripted novel for young readers ages 8-12, "Blue Skies" by Anne Bustard is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Blue Skies" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

What I Like About Me
Jenna Guillaume
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781682631607, $17.99, HC, 304pp,

The last thing sixteen-year-old Maisie Martin thought she'd be doing over vacation is entering a beauty pageant. Not when she's spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone. Not when her Dad is AWOL and her gorgeous older sister has returned to rock Maisie's already shaky confidence. And especially not when her best friend starts flirting with the boy she's always loved. But Maisie's got something to prove. As she writes down all the ways this vacation is going from bad to worse in her school-assignment journal, what starts as a homework torture-device might just end up being an account of how Maisie didn't let anything, or anyone, hold her back! Very highly recommended for both school and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections for young readers ages 12-16, "What I Like About Me" by Jeanna Guillaume is all the more impressive when considering that this funny and original novel about the value of friendship, the necessity for confidence, and self-appreciation is the author's debut as a novelist to young American readers.

Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters
Suzanne Kamata
Red Chair Press
PO Box 333, South Egremont, MA 01258
9781947159365, $16.99, HC, 208pp,

Thirteen-year-old Satoshi Matsumoto spent the last three years living in Atlanta where he was the star of his middle-school baseball team -- a slugger with pro potential, according to his coach. Now that his father's work in the US has come to an end, he's moved back to his hometown in rural Japan. Living abroad has changed him, and now his old friends in Japan are suspicious of his new foreign ways. Even worse, his childhood foe Shintaro, whose dad has ties to gangsters, is in his school home room. But after he joins his new school's baseball team, Satoshi has a chance to be a hero until he makes a major-league error! An exceptionally engaging, imaginatively well written, and thoroughly entertaining novel for young readers ages 9-14, "Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters" by Suzanne Kamata is an especially recommended addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Nilay's Wish
Riya Aarini, author
Independently Published
9781733166102, $7.99, PB, 104pp,

When young Nilay gets to make a wish, he never expects to travel to 300 CE India. Nilay is in for countless surprises, as Jai fulfills wishes like no newbie genie ever has! The youthful friends follow the trail of India's silk weavers, learning gems about Indian history and growing as eleven-year-olds and novice genies only do. A story filled with adventure, heart and courage, "Nilay's Wish" by Riya Aarini takes young readers ages 8-12 through the lively and colorful times of historic India in a boisterous adventures from contemporary Canada to an exotic land in an engagingly entertaining work of historical fiction. While especially recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Nilay's Wish" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Random House

Young enthusiasts of graphic novels from advanced elementary to early middle school grades, ages 8-12, will find compelling the conclusion of Judd Winick's adventure in Halo: All the Pieces Fit (9780525644064, $13.99), in which robot Razrowark has chased Hilo through the universe. Bright color drawings on every page lend to this story of a hero's hardship, his faceoff with Razorwark on Earth, and how Hilo's choices face both his own future and that of the world around him. Young readers who have been prior fans of the series will relish this concluding story which draws everything together. No True Believers by Rabiah York Lumbard (9780525644255, $17.99) tells how Salma's suburban life is challenged when she's framed for a terror attack and finds herself bereft of friends, community, and support. There's only one thing that can be done: conduct her own investigation and clear her name. And so Salma probes the threat and she and boyfriend Amir uncover more than they can handle in the form of deadly conspiracies designed to change everything. Even her own formidable hacking skills are challenged as she faces danger in this engrossing story of modern community struggle and change.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House
Janet Hill
Tundra Books
9781770499249, $17.99

Janet Hill's Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House deserves ongoing mention as a special pick for ages 12 and up, providing young adults with a vivid story enhanced with colorful full-page picture panels throughout. Lucy isn't a child any longer: she graduated high school a year ago, but still hasn't discovered what she'd like to be in life. When she stumbles into a college arts program, moves to a small town, and takes up residence in the house her father invests in for her, an old 1876 mansion, trouble begins as she struggles to solve its mysteries. Kids who enjoy eerie mysteries and who aren't put off by a protagonist older than the usual young adult story presents will find this an enchanting blend of mystery, supernatural investigation, and thriller, embellished by gorgeous colorful drawings peppered throughout.

Secret Santa: The Mystery of the Lost Guitar
David Tank
Planert Creek Press
9780996221849, $17.99, PB, 206pp,

In "Secret Santa: The Mystery of the Lost Guitar", Sam, Abby and their friend, Justin, time travel back to 1968 in search of their grandpa's long-lost guitar. They jam with a local garage band, meet a yet-unknown musical group called The J5s, and discover the groovy world of pop stars, mod clothes and teen idols. But when they locate the stolen guitar, the kids find themselves trapped, with no obvious way to return to the present. Their biggest challenge, however, may be to convince their parents that Santa is real, without breaking their promise to keep his identity a secret. A deftly written, thoroughly entertaining, and impressively original novel for young readers ages 8-12, "Secret Santa: The Mystery of the Lost Guitar" is the third book in the Secret Santa Mystery series and unreservedly recommended for both school and community library collections.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Frances Hardinge
Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781509836956, $19.99, HC, 416pp,

The ancient gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever? When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he's becoming a monster -- and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him? An original and inherently fascinating action/adventure fantasy novel for young readers ages 12-18, "Deeplight" by Frances Hardinge will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both school and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Deeplight" is readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Art Shelf

The Hunter and His Dog
Sassafras de Bruyn
Wm B. Eerdmans
9780802855343, $17.99

Young readers interested in art and art history, and especially adults who work with them to introduce them to Flemish Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, will find fascinating this wordless picture book that provides quite a different take on Bruegel's famous Triptych paintings depicting the Tower of Babel. It introduces readers ages 5-9 to the work and includes an informational conclusion about Bruegel and his paintings, but captures quite a different, fun story about them in an artistic production which is recommended not just for this age group alone, but for many an adult who will find the interpretation whimsical and thought-provoking. The illustrations are beautifully rendered and compelling.

Frank Bowling
Helene Baum, illustrator
Zoe Whitley, author
Tate Publishing
c/o Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781849766302, $12.95, PB, 32pp, Ages 5-7,

"Meet the Artist: Frank Bowling: An Art Activity Book" is a collection of reflections on the paintings of Frank Bowling, a fantastic British artist from British Guyana who lived a colorful life on three continents, through 8 decades, and creating unnumbered canvas paintings. This creative series presents a brief biography of the artist along with seven brilliant reproductions of Bowling's art and accompanying suggested art activity projects for creative young readers. Bowling experimented with different mediums and methods in art, including pouring and dripping paint rather than using a paintbrush. He said "The possibilities of paint are never-ending." Important to Bowling was the use of color, texture, shape, and memory in art.

In "Frank Bowling: Art Activity Book" painting reproductions are paired with fun project suggestions for kids to try that implement some of the concepts employed in Bowling's paintings. For example, Bowling used a variety of materials in his work, "Spreadout Ron Kitaj," including oyster shells, jewelry, toys, glitter, and spongy foam, plus even another drawing of one of his sons when he was a little boy. Readers are encouraged to create a layered collage using colored paper, magazines, tissue, bits of recycling, and a glue stick. Fabulous colored illustrations and step by step descriptions help readers to create their own multi layered masterpieces. Readers are even encouraged to write down their dreams, since Bowling used his dreams to determine new painting project ideas.

The final two pages show reductions of Bowling's seven paintings used in the book, plus attached descriptions listing the page number, title of the painting, date painted, artist, medium and methods used, size and museum location of the painting. "Meet the Artist: Frank Bowling: An Art Activity Book" is a wonderful art education experience for grade school students that is an introduction to a life of creativity. Also highly recommended is the following title from the same Meet the Artist Series: "Peter Blake: An Art Activity Book (9781849766258, $12.95)," by Rose Blake, illustrated by Peter Blake.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Puffins Take Flight
Ra Anderson
My Favorite Books Publishing Company
9781950590063, $24.99, HC, 72pp,

"Puffins Take Flight" is the story of Arni, a puffin who is about to leave his burrow for a four-year adventure out at sea. But Arni doesn't want to go -- at least not today. You see, he wants one more day to play with his best friend Birta, but she can't be found. While Arni searches Iceland for Birta, his mother and father are searching for him. Little pufflings shouldn't be wandering about all alone! Can Arni find Birta and Arni's parents find him before it's too late? Children ages 7-10 will enjoy coming along on Arni's big adventure as he explores Iceland, the land of fire and ice! Illustrated with actual photographs taken while the author, Ra Anderson, explored the beautiful country of Iceland, "Puffins Take Flight" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections for young readers.

Wild In The City
Kate Baker, author
Gianluca Foli, illustrator
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781788684910, $18.99, HC, 112pp,

In the illustrated pages of "Wild In The City", children ages 9-12 will learn about the secret lives of more than 30 extraordinary creatures that share our cities. From red foxes sneaking rides on London buses to leopards prowling the backstreets of Mumbai, "Wild In The City" explores the clever ways animals have adapted to the urban environment and explains how kids and their parents can help protect their wild neighbors. Crammed with buildings, traffic, and people, urban spaces are the last place anyone would expect to see wildlife. But all kinds of animals live alongside people in the hidden corners of our towns and cities-from ants living under pavement cracks to monkeys and spotted hyenas living among locals."Wild In The City" travels from city to city across six different continents to introduce some of these amazing animals. There are even tips on where and when they might be seen, what signs to look for, and how to help make cities more nature-friendly places. Young readers will also see the conservation status of each animal, from the species of least concern to those that are endangered. While especially recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Wild In The City" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.24).

The Dog Patrol
Rob Laidlaw
Pajama Press
9781772781038, $19.95, HC, 52pp,

In "The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them", animal activist and biologist Rob Laidlaw details both the joys and responsibilities of dog guardianship, from choosing where to get a new puppy to making sure your dog's social and physical needs are being met. Along the way, tens of thousands of years of history between humans and dogs come to life. Highlighted throughout the text are profiles of kids who have gone above and beyond to help canines in need. With informational sidebars, full-color photographs, a glossary and index, and a list of further resources, "The Dog Patrol" is ideal instructional handbook and guide for young readers ages 8-12 who seek to improve their canine companion's welfare at home and beyond -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections.

Winged Wonders
Meeg Pincus, author
Yas Imamura, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781534110403, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

For decades, as the monarch butterflies swooped through every year like clockwork, people from Canada to the United States to Mexico wondered, "Where do they go?" In 1976 the world learned the answer: after migrating thousands of miles, the monarchs roost by the millions in an oyamel grove in Central Mexico's mountains. But who solved this mystery? Was it the scientist or the American adventurer? The citizen scientists or the teacher or his students? "Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery" by author Meeg Pincus and illustrator Yas Imamura shows that the mystery could only be solved when they all worked as a team -- and reminds young readers ages 7-10 that there's another monarch mystery today -- and one that we all must work together to solve. Impressively informative and inherently engaging, "Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school and community library Pets/Wildlife collections. It should also be noted that "Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery" is available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.80).

The Travel Shelf

Amazing Islands
Sabrina Weiss, author
Kerry Hyndman, illustrator
What On Earth Books
9781912920167, $16.99, HC, 64pp,

In the pages of "Amazing Islands: 100+ Places that Will Boggle Your Mind", children ages 7-11 will discover 100 of the planet's most magical islands, including their wildlife, trees, diversity, people, treasures, and more. From islands that have been taken over by animals to disappearing islands, islands made of shells, artificial islands, and even islands that were once prison colonies, this book takes you on an exciting tour of some of the smallest land masses in the world. Young readers will enjoy learning about the Galapagos islands in Ecuador, home of giant tortoises, penguins, boobies of all colors. Or visiting Jiangxin Park in China, a natural island with an awe-inspiring, giant bookshop. Islands great and small dot the seas and rivers of our planet and many of them have incredible stories to tell. Some are home to giant cities and others to colonies of cats or crabs. Scientific discoveries have been made on some, and pirates have hidden on others. "Amazing Islands: 100+ Places that Will Boggle Your Mind" is a truly stunning and beautifully illustrated and informative celebration island life, history, culture, and diversity with fact files, a world map, and a lavish gatefold spread. Of special note is the inclusion of a glossary and index, making "Amazing Islands: 100+ Places that Will Boggle Your Mind" an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school and community library Travel & Geography collections.

The Social Issues Shelf

Our American Dream
Fiona McEntee, author
Srimalie Bassani, illustrator
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781645430186, $16.95, HC, 38pp,

Immigrants come from countries far, to dream their dreams beneath American stars. Let's see who's here in this great place, a land of diversity: the United States! "Our American Dream" is engagingly written by Fiona McEntee who is also an award-winning and nationally recognized immigration lawyer. As an immigrant, mom of two young children, and lawyer who fights for justice every day, Fiona wrote "Our American Dream" to help explain the importance of a diverse and welcoming America to children ages 5-8. "Our American Dream" is the first in a series that celebrates immigrants and immigration. Very highly recommended for elementary school and community library collections. It should also be noted that Fiona McEntee maintains a website at

Everyone's Contributions Count
Bryan Smith, author
Lisa M. Griffin, illustrator
Boys Town Press
13603 Flanagan Blvd., Boys Town, NE 68010
9781944882532,$10.95, PB, 32pp,

When it comes to group projects, Amelia has little time for anyone's input. She just knows her ideas are best, so she smugly takes the lead and all the credit. But Amelia's high-handed attitude puts her on the receiving end of cold shoulders and icy stares. Maybe going solo in a group effort isn't such a good idea? With help from a caring teacher, Amelia begins to see why it's important to recognize and accept the contributions of others. Will this new perspective be enough to undo the hurt she's caused, and make her want to be a team player? "Everyone's Contributions Count: A Story about Valuing the Contributions of Others" is an engagingly entertaining picture book story can help children ages 4-7 in understanding that working as a team and valuing the contribution of others will help bring them success at home, school and in the community. Very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Social Issues collections, "Everyone's Contributions Count: A Story about Valuing the Contributions of Others" also features tips for educators, parents and counselors. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Everyone's Contributions Count: A Story about Valuing the Contributions of Others" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95).

All the Dear Little Animals
Ulf Nilsson, author
Eva Ericksson, illustrator
Gecko Press
9781776572892, $17.99, HC, 72pp,

Young readers ages 7-11will enjoy the dry humor and wonderfully rounded story of "All the Dear Little Animals" by author Ulf Nilsson and illustrator Eva Ericksson. in "All the Dear Little Animals" Nilsson perfectly captures the child's perspective, balancing compassion and humor when dealing with the subject of death and dying. A very funny and impressively 'kid friendly' story about a topic that touches anyone who has every had a pet or enjoyed watching wildlife. While also available in a paperback edition (Hawthorn Press, 9781903458945, $17.95), "All the Dear Little Animals" is a unique and highly recommended addition to school and community library collections for children.

The Activity Shelf

Dinosaur in the Elevator: A Guess Who Book
Howard Eisenberg
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781684015535, $14.95, PB, 64pp,

Getting into an elevator to who-knows where with a T-Rex they'd only just met was risky, maybe even loony. But they'd never get another chance at such an adventure. Twins Robbie and Abby get more than they bargained for when they imagine a museum T-Rex back to life. Soon they're on an adventure through the Cretaceous Era with dinosaurs of every shape and size and not all of them are friendly. But they are surprisingly helpful. Can you guess their names from the clue-filled poems they sing? "Dinosaur in the Elevator" is a Write-Your-Own-Ending book in which children ages 4-7 get to be their own author! Very highly recommended, "Dinosaur in the Elevator" features blank pages near the end perfect for kids to figure out how they would get the main characters out of the desperate situation they've gotten into -- or they can just enjoy the ending provided!

The Multimedia Shelf

Nanushka: A Russian Children's Story
Story written and music performed by Ina Allen and Barbara Kemp
Narrated by Chris Potts
Music and Narrative
$11.21 CD / $8.99 MP3

Nanushka: A Russian Children's Story a beautiful fusion of classical music and timeless storytelling. Although created especially for children to enjoy, listeners of all ages will thoroughly enjoy the saga of little Nanushka's adventures in a rural Russian village. Classical pianists Ina Allen and Barbara Kemp lend their music playing talents, while narrator Chris Potts brings the tales to life with a masterful performance. Nanushka: A Russian Children's Story is enthusiastically recommended for both personal and public library children's collections.

The Audiobook Shelf

Dog Diaries: Mission Impawsible
James Patterson with Steven Butler
Read by Steven Butler
Hachette Audio
9781549100680 $20.00

Dog Diaries: Mission Impawsible is the unabridged audiobook rendition of a cheerful story for young people, from the perspective of Junior, an enthusiastic dog. When Junior's pet humans go on vacation and try to leave him in a very unhappy kennel, Junior decides that he won't take it lying down! A whimsically delightful dog-days adventure, Dog Diaries: Mission Impawsible is highly recommended especially for public and school library children's audiobook collections. 2 CDs, 1.5 hours.

The Music CD Shelf

Fiesta Global
Flor Bromley
Privately Published
$10.00 CD or digital

Native Peruvian Flor Bromley presents Fiesta Global, a bilingual Latin fusion party music album for all ages. Featuring a mix of musical genres from Peruvian marinera to Mexicon son jarocho, NOLA jazz, punk rock, Brazilian batacuda, Colombian cumbia, and much more, Fiesta Global is a joyous celebration. Although suitable for a younger audience, Fiesta Global has a world-class enthusiasm that all ages can appreciate. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Fiesta", "We Came to America", "Lalalalala", "Vida", "Bamba", "Panuelo", "Otono", "Salta", "Balloon Party", "Superheroe", and "Vinimos a America". 36 min.

Be a Pain
Alastair Moock and Friends
Moockshake Music
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

Be a Pain is a roots-style music album for all ages, created to inspire kids and adults alike to strive to create a society that is more equal, more just, and more compassionate. Individual songs honor notable people who sought to bring positive change, and encourage the will to make the world a better place. Highly recommended! The tracks are "What is a Leader?", "Be a Pain", "Everybody Was a Kid", "Get to Work", "Go Pete Go (Grab Your Hammer)", "Intro to One Foot/Lead with Love", "One Foot/Lead with Love", "No Wall (Ninguna Pared)", "I am Malala", "Freight Train / The Story of Elizabeth Cotten", "If I Had a Hammer", "Go Shine (Song for Elm)", "Kids Can Do Great Things", "Planting Seeds" and "What We Tell Our Children".

Kokowanda Bay
Ruth and Emilia
Privately Published
$12.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Award-winning music artists Ruth and Emilia present Kokowanda Bay, a playful children's music album, filled with songs that include saxophone, brass, drums, guitars, harmonica, trumpet, oboe, and piano accompanying vocals. The songs tell stories about Emilia, her friends, and an alien who all work together to preserve their beautiful bay. A delightful album with a strong environmental message, Kokowanda Bay is a treasure. Also highly recommended is the Ruth and Emilia's previous music CD featuring the same delightful characters, "The Spaceship That Fell in My Backyard." The tracks are "Get on Up!", "Who Would Believe It's True?", "Kokowanda Bay", "Little Kids with a Great Big Heart", "Like Magic", "We're Goin' Green", "With My Snorkel On", "The Good Chain", "Turn It Into Something New", "Good Friends Never Really Say Goodbye", and "Soaring Through the Galaxy".

The Science Shelf

Discovering Energy
Eduard Altarriba, author
Veronica Sanz, author
Altaribba Eduard, illustrator
Button Books
c/o The GMC Group
9781787080492, $17.99, HC, 48pp,

Creating and harnessing energy is a fundamental part of enabling life to exist and thrive on earth. Energy comes in a vast array of different forms - using our muscles and those of other creatures, enabling us to move, lift etc, creating heat and steam through fire, capturing the power of the wind in a ship's sails or to turn the blades of a wind turbine, harnessing the power of moving water to generate electricity in a hydroelectric power station, applying the forces of magnetism to turn an electric motor, using solar panels to transfer the sun's energy into electricity for our homes - all of these and more are explained in "Understanding Energy".

The newest addition to the 'Discovering Big Ideas' series from Button Books, "Discovering Energy" introduces children aged 8-12 to this fascinating world in a fun and absorbing way -- and deftly explains many of the different principals of energy production with the use of beautiful, dynamic illustrations making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to both middle school and community library Science collections for young readers.

Editorial Note: Veronica Sanz is Professor of Physics at the University of Sussex, UK. She has worked at Harvard, Yale, Boston and Durham universities, as well as her hometown university in Valencia, Spain. She was a Fulbright fellow at Harvard and Marie Curie fellow at Yale and she has been awarded a Large Hadron Collider-Theory initiative prize.

Eduard Altarriba is a graphic designer and illustrator. He runs Alababala, a Barcelona-based independent studio producing games, exhibitions, animation, apps and workbooks for children that are practical and fun. He also illustrated My First Book of Relativity and My First of Quantum Physics. My First Book of Quantum Physics was the 2018 winner of the British Book Design and Production Awards in the Educational Books Category as well as the silver winner of the Junior Design Awards in Junior Magazine.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Fred's Big Feelings
Laura Renauld
Simon and Schuster
9781534441224, $17.99

Fred's Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers is recommended reading for ages 4-8 looking for picture book biographies of modern heroes, and follows the evolution of a shy boy who is initially afraid to express his feelings. His wise grandfather's help allows him to grow up to create Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, all about community and communication, and when his show is threatened by a cut to its funding, he enacts these lessons in his own life, journeying to a hearing on Capitol Hill to save his show. Warm, realistic drawings by Brigette Barrager accompany a story that requires only good reading skills and an interest in biographies of modern public figures to prove accessible and engrossing.

Books in Series

Disaster Diaries
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
A0551, 6 Book Set, List $165.60/S&L $124.20, RLB, 32pp.
A0552, 6 Book Set, List $59.70/S&L $51.02, PB

"Disaster Diaries" is a timely six volume series that examines natural disasters around the world and how they impact the lives of people. This fully illustrated series of narratives are inspired by the accounts of many disaster victims. Written from a young person's perspective, each individual title follows the story of what a fictional family experienced during and after a real, specific disaster. Clear, simple nonfiction text also explains what causes each kind of disaster, in what parts of the world they usually happen, who helps prevent them or clean up after, and how some natural events can be predicted. Striking images, statistics, maps, and information about particular disasters help reinforce the central story. Young readers ages 8-11 will also learn about the agencies in their communities and around the world who help people who are struggling after a disaster. There is even a free downloadable Teacher's Guide available. Comprised of "Surviving The Earthquake"; "Surviving The Flood"; "Surviving The Hurricane"; "Surviving The Tsunami"; "Surviving The Volcano"; and "Surviving The Wildfire", this simply outstanding series is unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Natural Disaster collections for children.

Comparing Animal Differences
The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503845282, 12 Book Set, $239.40 S&L, HC, 24pp

Is that a llama or an alpaca? An alligator or a crocodile? The animal kingdom is full of creatures of all shapes and sizes, but occasionally there will be two that are seemingly identical. Each individual title in this twelve book set breaks down the similarities and differences between two animals that are commonly confused. Vivid images give young readers ages 5-8 a close look at each animal, highlighting the differences described in the text. Additional features include a side-by-side comparison of the animals, an activity encouraging readers to demonstrate their knowledge, a phonetic glossary, sources for further research, an introduction to the author, and an index. Enhanced with the inclusion of a phonetic glossary, sources for additional research, thematically relevant web sites, and activities for further learning, and unreservedly recommended for both elementary school and community library Pets/Wildlife collections, it should be noted that this outstanding series is comprised of: Alligators and Crocodiles; Butterflies and Moths; Dolphins and Porpoises; Hares and Rabbits; Leopards and Cheetahs; Lizards and Salamanders; Llamas and Alpacas; Puffins and Penguins; Spiders and Daddy Long Legs; Toads and Frogs; Turtles and Tortoises; Wasps and Bees.

Dilemmas in Democracy
Cavendish Square
243 5th Avenue, Suite 136, New York, NY 10016
9781502647573, 6 Book Set, $213.84 List/$149.70 S&L, HC, 80pp

The fundamental requirement of a functioning democracy is that of a well informed citizenry to protect that democracy from attacks both foreign and domestic. "Dilemmas in Democracy" is a simply outstanding series of six volumes with each individual title covering an important issue with respect to preserving democracy. Each volume provides objective discussion about nuanced debates on the selected issue; primary source texts and explanations of pertinent laws and sections of the Constitution; explanations of how the media reports on highly charged topics and how media coverage shapes citizens' views; suggestions for how young people can get involved in democratic processes. Illustrated throughout with full color photography, and featuring a bibliography, a glossary, informative sidebars, thematically appropriate web sites, and very highly recommended for both school and community library Political Science and Contemporary Social Issues collections, the "Dilemmas in Democracy" series is comprised of: Corruption in Politics; Fake News and Propaganda; Freed of Speech; Military Force; Money in Politics; Voter Disenfranchisement.

So Into Science
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781538229453, 6 Book Set, $135.60 List/$101.70 S&L, HC, 24pp

A new six volume science series for children ages 4-8 from Gareth Steven Publishing will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library collections. Each book is profusely illustrated throughout with full color photography and showcases the science within a particular field of study. This informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' series is comprised of Exploring the Aquarium; Exploring the Forest; Exploring the Night Sky; Exploring the Pond; Exploring the Weather; and Exploring the Zoo. It should be noted for home schooling parents that each volume is also available individually ($11.60 List/$16.95 S&L).

Uncle Rocky: Fireman Helping Out Book #9
James Burd Brewster, author
Mary Barrows, illustrator
J2B Publishing
9781941927694, $9.99 PB, $2.99 Kindle,

"Uncle Rocky: Fireman Helping Out" is Book #9 in the "Glad To Do It" series, from J2B Publishers, which features "Good Books for Young Boys and Girls." All these stories model families whose members like and respect each other, whose members are loving and kind, caring and respectful. The "Glad To Do It" series features a fire fighter (Uncle Rocky), a police officer (Officer Jack), and an EMT (EMT Morales) and their adventures. In "Uncle Rocky: Fireman Helping Out" a house fire devastates a local family's home, and Uncle Rocky, fireman, EMT Morales, and Officer Jack all arrive ready to help put out the fire and help the family and survivors. The family was found outside the house, safe, but all their belongings were destroyed in the fire. A team of professionals and volunteers, including kids, help to organize a clothing and necessities drive for the family at the Fire Department's Crap Picking Festival. Everyone is glad to help. Churches, community groups, schools, and individuals contribute many items to help supply the family with many needed items. The community effort is represented by individuals of different races, cultures, and backgrounds, all working together. At the end the family was presented with all the items and they were overwhelmed with gratitude. The mother said, "Thank you. Thank God for your kindness."' and the police chief answered, "Glad to do it!" Also highly recommended are the following titles by the same author/illustrator team in the same or similar series: "Uncle Rocky: Fast Action Book #8 (9781941927618)," "Pete and Petey: Knight in Shining Armor (9781948747295)," "Pete and Petey: Kite Flying (9781948747554)," and "Pete and Petey: The Tire Swing (9781948747226),"

Global Viewpoints
Greenhaven Publishing
353 3rd Avenue, Suite 255, New York, NY 10010
9781534505810, 6 Book Set, $277.20 List/$221.76 S&L, HC, 176pp

As technology makes the world more accessible, students need exposure to social, political, environmental, and health issues of global significance. Each anthology delivers contemporary views on the featured issue with much of the material reflecting stances of countries other than the United States. Primary sources, including speeches and government documents, join
essays from international magazines and news sources for a truly panoramic view in the Global Viewpoints series from Greenhaven Publishing. Each individual titles features: Viewpoints selected from publications and sources around the world offer students a global perspective on pressing issues; Critical-thinking questions guide students in continued consideration and analysis of the topics; Thematic chapters simplify and summarize key aspects of topics into comprehensible information. Each volume features a world map; guided reading questions; brief text sidebars; charts, maps, graphs, editorial cartoons; discussion questions to foster critical thinking, an annotated list of thematically relevant organizations to contact, a periodic bibliography for each chapter, a bibliography of relevant books, and a subject index. Very highly recommended for both highschool and community library Contemporary Social Issues collections, six of the newest additions to this outstanding series include: Chemcial and Biological Warfare; Citizenship in the 21st Century; Climate Change and Population Displacement; Gender Diversity in Government; Reproductive Rights; and The Rise of Authoritarianism.

Warfare Through The Ages
The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781508186540, 6 Book Set, $238.50 List/$179.10 S&L, HC, 160pp

"Warfare Through The Ages" is a an informative six volume series for young readers showcasing specific warrior groups that include Flying Aces; Gladiators; Greek warriors; Knights; Sharpshooters; and Vikings. Each individual, library binding title features black-and-white photographic illustrations, a detailed table of contents, diagrams, maps, a 'Further Information' section, a glossary, a bibliographic listing of 'Primary Sources', and thematically relevant web sites. With an 8th grade reading level and a 7th-12th grade interest level, this informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' series is especially recommended for middle school, highschool, and community library Military History and World History collections.

The Common Good
PowerKids Press
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781538332115, 7 Book Set, $165.20 List/123.90 S&L, HC, 24pp

Each of the seven titles comprising this thoroughly 'kid friendly' series on personal responsibilities is comprised of: Why Do Families Have Rules?; Why Do Towns Have Rules?; Why Do We Have Rules in School?; Why Do We Have to be on Time?; Why Do We Have to Do Chores?; Why Do We Have to Listen to People We Disagree With?; and Why Do We Have to Pay Attention in Class?. With a second grade reading level and a second through fourth grade interest level, each book in this unique series is illustrated with full color photography and features a glossary, thematically relevant web sites, and a helpful index, making the entire series very highly recommended, especially for elementary school and community library Social Studies collections for children ages 5-8.

Bruce Wayne Is Insane: Meeting Ninja Kitty
Arlene Gillo, author/illustrator
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781982221218, $13.95 PB, $3.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 3-4,

"Bruce Wayne Is Insane: Meeting Ninja Kitty" is the first title in a new children's series featuring a young pit bull dog who begins an unlikely friendship with the inscrutable Tuxford Ninja, a visiting yellow kitty. Charming colored illustrations and fast moving action prose set a sharp story style for the series which will appeal to young readers of the active persuasion. Bruce Wayne was checking his yard in preparation for coming inside the house for dinner with his Mom and Dad when he first saw a small yellow kitty in the corner of his yard. As he prepared to scare the unwelcome kitty away, Bruce was intrigued to hear the cat address him. "I'm here as your visitor.....I heard about you and I thought we could be friends." Bruce Wayne was really puzzled about how a dog and a cat could be friends, but his visitor, Tuxford Ninja had lots more to show him. For Tux was a Ninja kitty who was really good at kung fu and karate. After a few demonstrations of kicks and punches and karate chops, Bruce Wayne agreed to practice ninja moves so he could learn more. Tux Ninja gave Bruce Wayne a black ninja mask and the two commenced their first training together, which was a real workout for Bruce Wayne. Twenty minutes later, the two were on their way to becoming friends. Bruce was very impressed with Tux, and wanted to learn more. He invited him in to supper, which was approved by his Mom, who told him he could always invite friends home for a meal, with the exception of snakes (friends). So Bruce Wayne and Tux Ninja went happily in to supper, tired out from their first training session but happy to be progressing in their friendship. What will happen next? Will Bruce Wayne and Tux Ninja meet up with Fred, the old neighborhood corn snake? Or will they have other adventures together?

Patti Fix-It: Billy the Bully
Dr. Tiffany D. Tyson, author/illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781728308555, $16.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 48pp, Ages 4-6,

"Billy the Bully" is the first title in a new children's series called "Patti Fix-it," featuring a self-described rainbow child veggie lover's its peacekeeper heroine. Black and white action illustrations keep interest high in the fast moving story of Billy the Bully. Billy threatened to hurt a frail smaller boy named Kenny unless Patti can intervene successfully. It is only after Patti asks permission from her parents and agrees to wear her protective bike gear that she rides her bike six blocks to the park to hopefully stop the bullying. Handling the confrontation which is progressing between Billy and Kenny is a challenge to Patti, but she is not cowed. She reminds Billy that he is much bigger than Kenny and that he is a coward unless he chooses an adversary who is his equal. Other children who are onlookers observe a fire happening in a nearby house. Thinking quickly and acting cooperatively, Patti assigns one child to call 911 and suggests that Billy can help to rescue old Mrs. Allen, a sick lady stuck in the burning house. Billy is able to use his strength and skills to break through the window and boost Kenny, the smaller child, into the house so he can open the door and let the fire rescue crew inside. Billy even manages to carry Mrs. Allen out to the waiting emergency workers. In the space of an afternoon Billy is transformed from a bully into a hero, an event to be celebrated. Patti Fix-it has helped this transformation in her own unique fashion. All the neighborhood children played an important part in this challenging adventure. What new problems and opportunities will Patti Fix-it encounter next? This series will appeal to kids of varying ages.

Face Your Fears: Kids Can Cope series
Gill Hasson, author
Sarah Jennings, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427
9781631985294, $13.99, HC, 32pp,

Written at reading level grade 2 for readers ages 6 through 9 years, "Face Your Fears" from the Kids Can Cope series addresses its audience directly about ways to deal with feelings of fear. Cheery colorful illustrations reassure readers that it's not silly to feel scared, that the important thing is to do something about our fear so we can feel happy and safe. It is also important to find someone we can trust and tell them about feeling afraid.

In addition to seeking a trusted adult to tell about fearful feelings, other counseling connection resources are suggested on Page 28 along with steps to help children face their fears. Also suggested are possible ways to take action so that the child can feel less afraid. An example is using a night light for a child who is afraid of the dark at bedtime.

Other steps towards self empowerment include setting a goal for yourself that will help children approach a specific fear. Some techniques are counting silently in our heads, breathing deeply, or having someone hold our hand. Other approaches involve taking small steps towards feeling less scared, such as helping a child get ready to perform music on his instrument in front of others, starting with small familiar audiences like his family and moving up gradually to performing in front of a larger audience.

Kids are also encouraged to build up their courage by telling themselves they are brave, they will be OK, taking deep breaths just before doing something and counting to three, then doing the scary thing as they breathe out.

Plenty of self reinforcement is also suggested, along with education, learning about our fear. A child can learn to stop or tell scary thoughts to go away, and to remember all the things that they can do to deal with their fear.

Staying safe is always important and justified, and kids are encouraged to confide in a trusted adult about fears that are beyond their fixing. At the end of "Face Your Fears" are suggested effective techniques, approaches, activities, and notes for adults, parents or teachers who are working with a child who has fears. "Face Your Fears" is an excellent resource for elementary school age children to help them build strong self protective life skills.

Another title from the Kids Can Cope series that is also highly recommended is: "Turn Away From Teasing (9781631985287, $13.99)," by Gill Hasson and illustrate by Sarah Jennings.

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence through our marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, opportunities for connecting with schools, and the award-winning Story Monsters Ink(R) magazine.

Bella's Meadow Adventure
Hannah Jardine, author
Zoe Waring, illustrator
Clever Publishing
9781949998580, $7.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

Bella's Meadow Adventure is a beautifully illustrated board book introducing the differences in animals. Follow Bella the bunny on an adventure in the meadow, her natural habitat. Along the way, she meets new friends and learns simple facts about them. I highly recommend this board book for young children to teach them that we all have differences and unique talents. (Ages 1-3)

I Really Want the Cake
Simon Philip, author
Lucia Gaggiotti, illustrator
Orchard Books
9781338589412, $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

The lively pace and rhythmic bounce carry this delightful tale of a child's battle with obedience and impulse control. The illustrations capture the fight with perfection, and leaves the audience chuckling as she tries to make amends. This is a fun and lively read, and we are even rewarded with a cake recipe! (Ages 3-5)

Bad Brows
Jason Carter Eaton, author
Mike Petrik, illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
9781419725371, $16.99

Christine Irvin

Do you take your eyebrows for granted? Bernard does, until one day when he wakes up and discovers his eyebrows have gone berserk! They make funny faces at his brother (which annoys his mother), they mess up his picture on picture day at school (which annoys the photographer), and they taunt his teacher (which annoys the teacher). The more he tries to tame them, the worse they behave. Just what is going on and what can Bernard do about it? The silly story and giggle inspiring illustrations are a winning combination in this sure-to-please picture book. (Ages 3-7)

The Welcome Wagon
Cori Doerrfeld
Abrams Books for Young Readers
9781419744174, $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Have you ever been excited about something new, only to try to talk yourself out of it with every possible negative there could ever be? This cute story of meeting new people and playing the "What if?" game will surely identify with its readers. Bobby, an adorable little bunny, is more than eager to join the welcome wagon when a new family moves into town, only to find worry pressing him with every step. (Ages 3-7)

Be You!
Peter H. Reynolds
Orchard Books
9781338572315, $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

The empowerment of YOU is the beauty of this book! Although, its colorful artwork captures as sweetly as its encouraging words. Reading this book with our children will become a lasting experience for us all. (Ages 4-8)

Things That Go Away
Beatrice Alemagna
Abrams Books for Young Readers
9781419744822, $18.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

The clever and unique style of the author brings home a very important lesson of life: This too shall pass! Whatever side of this truth we view - its good or its hardships - it helps to remember that life is always changing and that change is the very foundation of adventure! The innovative illustrations capture the reality of many wonderful things that all, at some point, go away. And, with great warmth, reminds us of that one very special thing that never does! (Ages 4-8)

Boats Will Float
Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum, author
Brett Curzon, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781534110410, $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Morning captures the harbor's happy sounds. Boats of all shapes and sizes fill the day with a buzz of activity. Then, the day wanes and the harbor comes to a rest, along with houseboats and their families all nestled warm inside. Detailed descriptions and colorful illustrations of many types of boats are provided to enhance the enjoyment of the story. (Ages 5-7)

The Mess That We Made
Michelle Lord, author
Julia Blattman, illustrator
Flashlight Press
9781947277144, $18.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

This fun tale for children carries the flow of old British nursery rhymes. Children will love the cumulative momentum that builds with each page, as well as become aware of the serious issues our world is facing. Issues they may very likely be handed to resolve. (Ages 5-7)

Back Roads, Country Toads
Devin Scillian, author
Tim Bowers, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781534110397, $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

You're sure to get a chuckle with these two lovable country toads. Their interest and ambition, coupled with their quick wit, make for quite a comical story. When things don't turn out quite as Hank and Buckaroo planned, this ingenious pair happily turn their disappointment into victory. (Ages 5-7)

Sparky's Bully Workshop
Victoria Ann Devine, author
Laura Doll, illustrator
9781543930344, $13.00

Darleen Wohlfeil

In such a time when bullying has become a way of life to many, whether in the workplace or on the school grounds, it's good to know Sparky and his K-9 bully forces are set in place. From their high tower, they search far and wide for children in need of their help fighting this morale-crushing epidemic. Sparky, a sweet Golden Retriever, comes to the rescue, teaching children everywhere how to be confident and assertive. Equipped and empowered, children are able to stand up and reclaim the joys of their childhood. (Ages 5-7)

The Gift of Haley
Terri Bene and Rosemary Lyn, authors
Marty Petersen, illustrator
TheDot Press
9781947444027, $10.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

When things get broken, we often cry. Some things are easily fixed, and some are not. The heart is one of those tricky to fix. And sometimes, the thing that will make it all right in our universe again is the least expected. Emily faces a rejection she cannot bear. And the best way she knows how to deal with it is to never let it happen again. Then Haley arrives, a real rascal and a thief. What do you think will happen when Haley and Emily meet? Can love find its way back through the broken cracks? A bright and colorful book in heart and in presentation. (Ages 5-8)

Out of a Dark Winter's Night
Flora McDonnell
Thames and Hudson
9780500651957, $16.95

Dr. Dawn Menge

Life is filled with ups and downs. It is hard to explain this to young children. Flora felt there weren't enough books to explain the highs and lows of life. So she created one to show children that on some days you feel full of energy and hopeful, and on other days you feel as if the dark winter night will last forever. With the help of our friends, we continue on in the darkness until the light of day is bright upon us. It takes great inner strength to continue on through the darkness but we all feel this from time to time. (Ages 6-8)

Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey
Alessandra Macaluso, author
Thais Damiao, illustrator
Warren Publishing
9781734126242, 12.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

This engaging tale of bravery and heart takes a single bee on an incredible journey. Lucy chooses to press beyond her fears, beyond the daunting opinions that prevail, and dares to believe she can make a difference, leaving hope for all those willing to believe. There are many personal victories in this story, breaking down barriers built in fear and misunderstandings. The illustrations are bright and bold, adding wonderfully to the power of the story. Helpful questions are also provided at the end to make the story personal and meaningful. (Ages 7-10)

Thomas Krajewski and Jennifer Muro, authors
Gretel Lusky, illustrator
DC Comics
9781401296575, $9.99

Christine Irvin

Are you ready for another superhero? Meet Ashley Rayburn, aka Primer. She's a teenager with a troubled past. Her father sits in federal prison, and she is shuffled from foster home to foster home. She finds it difficult to trust anyone, so she is skeptical when her new foster parents seem to care about her. She finds a hidden box of what looks to be ordinary paints, but they are anything but. When applied to her skin, they give her superpowers. Now that Ashley has found them and transformed herself into Primer, what will she do? Great illustrations and an interesting storyline make this graphic novel appealing to a wide audience. Because of the way the story ended, I hope to see more stories about Primer. (Ages 8-12)

My Video Game Ate My Homework
Dustin Hansen
DC Comics
9781401293260, $9.99

Christine Irvin

Dewey Jenkins is on the verge of failing science. He creates an unusual project for the upcoming science fair and needs to get an A on it in order to pass the class. The school is offering a super cool prize for the winner of the science fair: the Infinity Lens, a device that allows users to physically participate INSIDE a video game. But Dewey's friend finds the Infinity Lens and manages to break it. Dewey is able to fix the machine, but when he does, it comes to life and swallows his project! Now he and his friends have to go into the game to rescue his project or Dewey will fail the class. Will they make it out in one piece? This is a graphic novel with lots of great illustrations and short texts, perfect for comic book enthusiasts. The subject matter is also sure to please little gamers. (Ages 8-12)

Confessions of a Dork Lord
Mike Johnston, author
Marta Altes, illustrator
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books
9781524740818, $13.99

Diana Perry

Meet Wick. He's the son of the Dark Lord, heir to the throne of black and broken glass, and next in line to be the leader of the Grim World. Too bad he's stuck in Remedial Spell Casting (he can barely even cast the fart-revealer spell), he's allergic to fire and brimstone, and the bullies at school insist on calling him Dork Lord. Follow Wick through the pages of his journal as he comes up with a genius plan to defeat his foes, achieve greatness, and survive Middle Ages School. Young readers will get a kick out of this fantasy adventure filled with all kinds of crazy creatures and dangers. A most entertaining tale for boys and girls. (Ages 8-12)

The Best of Iggy
Annie Barrows, author
Sam Ricks, illustrator
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books
9781984813305, $13.99

Christine Irvin

Have you ever done something that you really wish you hadn't done? Everyone has, including Iggy Frangi. It seems like he is always getting into trouble. Yeah, so, he's done a few stupid things (OK, maybe more than just a few stupid things) in his short 9-year life, but so what? Who hasn't? He's never done anything really bad, unless you count that one time when what he thought was a good idea turned into a really, really bad idea and got him into loads of trouble. Iggy is really sorry he did that stupid thing. Want to know what he did? Read the book and you'll find out! This is a light-hearted but quite realistic view into how good kids can get themselves into real trouble. Iggy is someone many kids will be able to identify with. (Ages 8-12)

The Truth According to Blue
Eve Yohalem
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
9780316424370, $16.99

Diana Perry

Thirteen-year-old Blue Broen is on the hunt for a legendary ship of gold, lost centuries ago when her ancestors sailed to New York. Blue knows her overprotective parents won't approve of her mission to find their family's long-lost fortune, so she keeps it a secret from everyone except her constant companion, Otis, an 80-pound diabetic alert dog. Will Blue unravel a 300-year-old family mystery, learn to stand up for herself, and find the missing treasure? Or is she destined to be nothing more than "diabetes girl" forever? This story is a great teaching tool - it serves as a pathway to show how anyone can make friends with others who are very different from them and it gives us all an idea of how diabetic kids must live life a bit differently while trying to be just like everyone else. (Ages 8-12)

The Popularity Pact: Camp Clique
Eileen Moskowitz-Palma
Running Press Kids
9780762467457, $16.99

Diana Perry

In the blink of a summer, Bea goes from having a best friend and a place she belongs to being dropped and invisible, eating lunch alone, and only talking to teachers. The end of sixth grade and the start of Camp Amelia can't come soon enough. But then ex-best friend Maisy shows up in Bea's safe place and ruins it all. Maisy lands in the same bunk as Bea and summer suddenly seems dire. In a desperate bid to belong, Bea is offered a deal by Maisy: if Bea helps her fit in at the camp, she will get Bea into their town's popular clique when they enter seventh grade in the fall. This wonderful book gives a great view into the typical life of middle graders and teaches important moral lessons. The characters are believable and kids will bond with both Bea and Maisy as this story unfolds. They won't want to put this one down. (Ages 8-12)

Someplace to Call Home
Sandra Dallas
Sleeping Bear Press
9781585364152, $9.99

Diana Perry

In 1933, what's left of the Turner family - 12-year-old Hallie and her two brothers - finds themselves driving the back roads of rural America. The children have been swept up into a new migratory way of life. America is facing two devastating crises: the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. As the Turner children move from town to town, searching for work and trying to cobble together the basic necessities of life, they are met with suspicion and hostility. They are viewed as outsiders in their own country. Will they ever find a place to call home? An intense and educational book perfect for the classroom, library, and home. (Ages 8-12)

Selah's Stolen Dream
Susan Count, author
Lori Sanford, illustrator
Hastings Creations Group
9780997088380, $12.45

Darleen Wohlfeil

Another great story in the Dream Horse Adventures series. An amazing tale of two strong and determined young girls. Two lives touched and deepened by the love of one horse. Harsh circumstances strip one life to its bare core, while filling up the emptiness of another's. Heartbreak and despair hit Selah hard when Sweet Dream is stolen in broad daylight at a horse show. While on the other side of this evil deed, Emma's dream of a lifetime comes true as she finds Sweet Dream in her local auction house. I say these books should come with an attached handkerchief. They are sure to capture your heart! (Ages 10+)

The Struggle for Fenland: Quietly We Fall
M. Byron and Sakshi Mangal
9781525545740, $22.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is truly a story that will be enjoyed by all. On a casual read, it is engaging and offers the excitement that comes with a quest. Those looking to chew on something a little deeper than the surface provides will find gentle hints and beckonings for more. In the wake of adventures and discoveries of portals and diverse dimensions, Beatrice finds herself on a journey led by animals that appear to have wisdom and magical powers summoned to help their cause of righting something seriously gone wrong. The characters are enjoyable, and the story hosts interest. (Ages 10+)

The Tantalizing Tale of Grace Minnaugh
Alice Kaltman
Regal House Publishing
9781947548978, $15.95

Diana Perry

Grace Minnaugh is not a fan of big changes. She's miserable during her first weeks in the seaside town of La Toya. One fateful morning, while taking a predawn swim, she is caught in a thunderstorm. Without the ocean skills to survive, she's sucked below the surface, convinced she will drown. Instead, a new life begins. On land, Grace is still the same walking, talking social misfit she's always been. But in the salty sea, she's an underwater marvel. Things get complicated when Grace befriends Alfie DeCosta, a kid who's obsessed with finding an elusive shipwreck off the coast of La Toya. Grace knows exactly where the shipwreck is. But she can't tell Alfie about it, or can she? This is the perfect bedtime story for any middle-grader. (Ages 9-12)

The Grave Digger
Rebecca Bischoff
Amberjack Publishing
9781948705523, $15.99

Diana Perry

In 1875 Ohio, 12-year-old Cap Cooper is an aspiring inventor - and a reluctant graverobber - enlisted by his father to help pay for his mother's medical expenses. When one of the dead returns to life at his touch, Cap unearths a world of dark secrets that someone at the local medical school wants to keep buried. On the brink of discovery, he'll have to use every ounce of cunning he has to protect those he loves most and save his own skin. The Grave Digger is an eerie mystery set in the aftermath of the Civil War, filled with action, friendship, and a hint of the paranormal, perfect for those who enjoy reading late into the night and long after the lights go out. Fast-paced, exciting, dangerous, and a bit of a sleuth story, young readers won't want to put this one down! (Ages 9-12)

The Case of the Stolen Bikes (Two-Inch Detective Finch's Tasty Mysteries)
L.J. Dunbar, author
Sophia Patch, illustrator
Independently Published
9781082078811, $8.99

Diana Perry

When 7th grader Elias Alexander Finch discovers a dusty, old box in the basement that holds his grandfather's little book of candy potions, his life changes forever. He mixes up and drinks one of the potions and shrinks to two inches tall. He sneaks into candy shops, hiding and tasting jelly beans and ice cream, eavesdropping on conversations. Soon, he discovers he can help the police chief solve crimes in this small Iowa town by gathering clues while hiding in foods like spaghetti and tuna casserole and listening to suspected criminals. When 10 bicycles go missing, Two-Inch Detective Finch is on the case. Young readers will have fun with this story and will even be able to create recipes at the back of the book. (Ages 10-12)

Where You Lead
Leslea Wahl
Vinspire Publishing
9781732711228, $18.99

Diana Perry

Teen Eve Donahue's lonely existence changes in an instant when visions of a mysterious stranger haunt her. Thousands of miles away, Nick Hammond has been dealing with his own unusual experience. When these two unlikely teens finally meet, their belief that God has called them to work together sets them on a journey of faith to untangle a web of deception involving international trade agreements, lost confederate gold, and a blossoming romance. Not only is this a book to make young adults think, it has a beautiful side effect of leaving the reader with a lasting peaceful and happy feeling. Our children need more books like this. (Ages 13+)

Trowbridge Road
Marcella Pixley
9781536207507, $17.99

Diana Perry

It's the summer of '83 on Trowbridge Road, and June Bug Jordan is hungry. Months after her father's death from complications from AIDS, her mother has stopped cooking and refuses to leave the house, instead locking herself away to scour at the germs she believes are everywhere. June Bug threatens this precarious existence by going out into the neighborhood, gradually befriending Ziggy, an imaginative boy who is living with his Nana Jean after experiencing troubles of his own. But as June Bug's connection to the world grows stronger, her mother grows more distant - even dangerous - pushing June Bug to choose between truth and healing and the only home she has ever known. This is a heartwarming tale of children who get caught up in the failures and bad choices of their parents. A must-read for young adults to help them recognize and help kids who slip through the cracks. (Ages 10-14)

The Great Upending
Beth Kephart
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
9781481491563, $17.99

Diana Fisher

Sara lives on a farm with a collection of delightful characters - human and animal. The farm is in a bit of trouble and Hawk, Sara's brother and best friend, enlists Sara to help unlock a mystery that just might solve their problems. But the farm is not the only trouble they are faced with - Sara needs an operation her family can't afford.

The mystery revolves around an enigmatic renter living in the farm's converted silo whom Sara and Hawk call The Mister. The destinies of The Mister and Sara's family eventually merge in a most surprising way. The richness of their small-town farm life, connection to the natural world, and the challenges of being "different" unfold with poignant beauty in the background of this uniquely told story. The Great Upending will captivate adults as well. (Ages 11-14)

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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