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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 20, Number 8 August 2010 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Music Shelf DVD Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Biography Shelf Preschool Shelf
Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf Math Shelf Crafts Shelf
Folklore/Fairytale Shelf Multicultural Shelf Science Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Poetry Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

Homiedre's Love, Friendship & Imagination Box Set
James Huston & Andres Mendez
2301 Industrial Parkway W., Suite 3, Hayward, CA 94545
9780980092035, $39.87,

This extraordinary boxed set of children's books by Homiedre includes "The Costume Kids", "The Kid & The Robot", and "Petunia & Patches". The themes of these superbly produced children's picturebooks are Love, Friendship, and Imagination. The engaging texts are perfectly supported by bright, colorful illustrations throughout. Thoroughly 'kid friendly', and available as individual picture books, "Homiedre's Love, Friendship & Imagination Box Set" provides a positive message to young children and is enthusiastically recommended as a boxed set trilogy for family, school, and community library collections.

Jon Scieszka
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
9781416979517, $14.99

SPACEHEADZ pairs black and white cartoonish panels with the fun story of Michael K's first day in a new school in a new town with new kids. From three aliens disguised as two fifth graders and a class hamster who talk like advertisements to a threat to Earth, this is a whimsical, fun fantasy title perfect for advanced elementary to middle school collections.

The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle
Dan Bodenstein, author
Brian C. Krumm, illustrator
Totem Tales Publishing
Box 741511, Boynton Beach, FL 33747-1511
9780984322800, $12.99

"The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle" is a colorful child's eco -tale with a real sea turtle as a heroine. Eartha is a beautiful sea turtle who becomes hopelessly entangled with string from polluting trash in the ocean. She is rescued and treated at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center at Juno Beach, then released back to the ocean. Children are encouraged to care about the sea environment and to take steps to help make it clean and safe. "The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle" ends with a Parents' Page that directs parents to visit to learn how their child can adopt a sea turtle. Finally the Native American proverb is quoted: "We do not inherit the land from your ancestors; we borrow it from our children." "The Tale of Eartha The Sea Turtle" is inspirational eco-education for children ages 4-8, and highly recommended.

The Black Pine Tree
Thomas Bristol, author
Bob Hobbs, illustrator
Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310446, $17.95

"The Black Pine Tree" is a wonderful story for children age 7 and up about a special search for the perfect tree by a boy named Jordan and his father. Jordan and his father spend a magical day searching in the forest for their perfect magical tree in hopes that they can make a pinky promise to return every year to visit the tree. Jordan finds a discarded deer antler and they have a wonderful time with Jordan's father telling him stories and legends about the forest. One of the stories told "how the trees moved around the forest to help animals and people in need." finally they find the perfect black pine tree, but a tragic accident happens and Jordan is seriously injured falling from the tree. His father vows vengeance on the black pine tree and comes back later to try to chop down the tree, but since it is a magic tree, he cannot. Instead, he burns the tree, not noticing that one pine cone and seed manages to fall to earth and begin to grow. Many years later Jordan has become a grandfather and the seedling black pine tree has become a magical, moving, healing tree which rescues children and people who are hurt or need help. Jordan and his grandson return to the black pine tree and decide it is the perfect magic tree, so they make a pinky promise to come back every year and give the tree a hug. The tree is so happy one of its top black branches becomes a beautiful shade of green. "The Black Pine Tree" is beautifully illustrated with black and white ink drawings, except for this one illustration showing the green branch at the top of the black pine tree. "The Black Pine Tree" comes complete with a CD of the author reading the story set to music, recorded by

The Adventures of Mali & Keela
Jonathan Collins with Janice Healey
Jenny Cooper, illustrator
Personhood Press
PO Box 370, Fawnskin, CA 92333
9781932181524, $15.95

"The Adventures of Mali & Keela: A Virtues Book For Children" is a series of thirteen chapter adventure stories that showcase four virtues per adventure for a total of 52 universally admired virtues explored at the end of the sailing trip. Each chapter contains an interactive section at the end to promote discussion and understanding of the four illustrated virtues, and an Index of Virtues is displayed at the end with pages listed for stories and discussion. For more information about the virtues defined and discussed in "The Adventures of Mali & Keela," the reader is directed to "The Adventures of Mali & Keela" is designed to be read aloud, perhaps by older children to younger children. Its fun action and story lines are supported by its black and white drawings and illustrations. Children and adults will benefit from the discussion questions at the end of each adventure chapter. "The Adventures of Mali & Keela" is an imaginative stimulus to encourage children to become the best they can be.

Shadow Fox, Book 1, Sons of Liberty
Ron Hardman & Jessica Hardman
Fox Run Press
P.O. Box 64380, Colorado Springs, CO 80968
9780981960708, $11.99

Twins Jacob and Erin discover a red fox named Shadow on a walk in the Black Forest, who helps them time-travel to Boston, 1775, to witness and participate in events surrounding Paul Revere's midnight ride with the Sons of Liberty. This is the first book of a great historical fiction series written for elementary age students, and it promises exciting learning for all. Meticulously researched, spiced with just a bit of imagination and fantasy, "Sons of Liberty" delivers the incredible details of American Revolutionary history with breathless anticipation and excitement. In addition to a driving story line that will appeal to kids, "Sons of Liberty" includes a factual section at the end titled Reality Check, Separating Fact from Fiction. This section verifies the authenticity of many of the historical details and persons mentioned in the story, and also outlines the fiction elements used at authors' discretion. "Sons of Liberty" is intended for children ages 9-13, and is highly recommended for effortless historical education and enjoyment.

Pickle-Chiffon Pie
Jolly Roger Bradfield
Purple House Press
PO Box 787, Cynthiana, KY 41031
9781930900301, $18.95

"Pickle-Chiffon Pie" is a child's illustrated story that challenges the imagination without violence. Adults who read this book to kids will love the mice that paint in the style of Toulouse Lautrec and other famous artists, and other humorous details. The impossible Three-nosed Snozzle with fuzzy ears and an orange polka-dot necktie making pickle-chiffon pie for its children is one of the most unforgettable characters in Storyland. But best of al is the moral about Prince Bernard being chosen to marry the princess because he showed kindness and considerations for others. Children will love "Pickle-Chiffon Pie." Adults will love reading it to them (repeatedly).

The Adventures of Papa Lemon's Little Wanderers Book 5: The California Gold Rush
Lehman Riley, author
Joshua Wallace, illustrator
Papa Lemon Books
c/o Matter of Africa America Time Corp.
2114 Vincent Ave. North, Minneapolis, MN 55411
9780976052340, $5.99

"The Adventures of Papa Lemon's Little Wanderers Book 5: The California Gold Rush" is a history lesson via time travel for the Little Wanderers, an adventurous multicultural band of time explorers who have the wonderful guidance of the neighborhood grandparents, Papa Lemon and Mama Sarah. For this adventure, the time dial is set for 1848 and the California Gold Rush, but somehow the group overshoots their date with destiny and lands in 1851. What will happen? Clearly illustrated portraits show that each character has different cultural/racial origins. In addition, the characters of the group are well delineated, including Nikki, the leader, Carlos the protector, Baby Buck the know-it-all, AJ the worrier, Kaya, the diva, and of course Papa Lemon and Mama Sarah, the neighborhood grandparents and moral compasses in time explorations. Kids ages 7-12 will really enjoy following these amazing events in text and colorful hand drawn illustrations, bringing to life the motto of the publisher, "Making Multi Cultural History Fun!" Also highly recommended in this series is "Book 1: Meeting Dr. Martin Luther King (097605230X, $5.99)," "Book 2: The Dangerous Escape from Slavery (0976052318, $5.99)," "Book 3: World War II, The Navajo Wind Talkers (0976052334, $5.99)," and "Book 4: The Life of Babe Didrikson 'Greatness Is Never Forgotten' (0976052326, $5.99)." Watch for future installments of this marvelous series with its unique vision of preserving family heritage and mission to promote inter-generational relationships, positive family connections, and learning about diverse family backgrounds.

Circus Fantastico
Lynn Gordon, conceptualist
Molly Idle, illustrator
Accord Publishing
c/o Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106
9780740791994, $16.99

"Circus Fantastico: A Magnifying Mystery, The Biggest and Littlest Show on Earth" is a great new mystery kit for junior detectives. Complete with its own attached magnifying glass, "Circus Fantastico" presents amateur sleuths with the perfect opportunity to search for hidden miniature clues in the story's effervescent, colorful illustrations to solve the mystery of why Madam Fantastico's traveling circus show props are disappearing! Magnifying Mystery books are the latest offering in series of interactive books from Accord including Eyeball Animation, AniMotion, Puppet Books, and Stretchy String Books. "Circus Fantastico" encourages kids ages 7-10 to use their cognitive skills and tools to improve learning, memory, reading, and thinking. "Circus Fantastico" is a both a fun adventure and an exciting challenge wrapped up in one delightful package.

Where the Jewels Are, Book 1
Diana Symons author
Breanna Scott, illustrator
Gold Pen Press
PO Box 70057, Sunnyvale, CA 94086
9781934995020, $5.99

"Where the Jewels Are" is the first book of a series "Tales from the Throne," written for readers ages 6-11. "Where the Jewels Are" is the story of a Princess, her servant girl Winifred, and her wise Father, the King. The beloved Princess has many precious toys and belongings but she longs for a special jewel that will remind her of a star she glimpses in the sky through a special telescope. Although her Father has warned her about wanting too many material things, he allows her to go on a journey with her companion and servant, Winifred, to seek the special jewel. This delightful story of faith has a strong moral that will be embraced by its eager readers. Its Christian undertones and framework are sensitively suggested. At the end of the book, the reader is led to expect more journeys and adventures for the Princess and Winifred. Excellent study questions are listed under the last section, Thinking About the Story. Evocative, whimsical black and white illustrations add to the page-turning interest of the story. Also recommended in this series by the same author is "A Lesser Beauty," "A Thinking Man's Drink," "Crossroads," "Dream Builder," "Tapestry of the Heart," "The King's Cup Bearer," The King's Guard," "The Royal Accountant," and "Unimagined Beauty."

Poop Happened!
Sarah Albee
Walker & Company
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780802720771, $15.99

Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up provides a fun survey of civilizations that realized the need to get rid of poop. From how many toilets were in the average Egyptian pyramid to whether Thomas Crapper really invented the modern toilet, this is an outstanding guide for any general lending library collection for young readers.

The Music Shelf

What Are The Odds?
Meredith LeVande
Monkey Monkey Music
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Musician and educator Meredith LeVande presents her latest children's music album What Are The Odds?, an upbeat collection for young people ages 2-7 that blends gentle tunes with elements of learning and encouragement to engage in physical activity. An up-tempo album great for parents, babysitters, preschool teachers or daycare providers to share with little ones, What Are The Odds? is buoyant, invigorating, and highly recommended. The tracks are "Hello (New)" (1:25), "What Are The Odds?" (2:57), "Shake It Loud" (2:43), "This Way, That Way" (2:46), "In the Garden" (3:25), "Wheels" (3:14), "Air Guitar" (1:54), "Frogs Eat Butterflies" (2:11), "Circle" (4:18), "Turn Your Body Around" (3:11), "Bubbles" (2:55), "Who's a Knockin'?" (2:58), "Silly Animal Friends" (2:58), "Guess What I Am" (4:17), "Willow Tree in the Wind" (3:12), and "Goodbye (New)" (1:47). 46 minutes.

Buckwheat Zydeco's Bayou Boogie
Music for Little People
c/o SKG Publicity

The follow-up to Grammy Award-winning performer Buckwheat Zydeco's popular 1994 album "Choo Choo Boogaloo", Buckwheat Zydeco's Bayou Boogie is a delightful children's album blending accordion, organ, rub board, and guitar into an enthusiastic, joyful cacophony. Pure celebration from beginning to end, Buckwheat Zydeco's Bayou Boogie introduces young listeners to the musical traditions of the bayou as well as simply sharing a rollicking good time. Buckwheat Zydeco's Bayou Boogie is an excellent choice as a gift CD or for public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Loop De Loop", "We're Having a Party", "Barefootin'", "the Mice Ate My Rice", "Ripsy Dipsy", "Walking the Dog", "Everything Hurts", "Zydeco In Space", "Twist And Shout", "Hokey Pokey", and "The Party's Over". Also highly recommended from the "Music for Little People" label is "Maria Muldaur's Barnyard Dance Jug Band Music for Kids" ($13.98).

The Okee Dokee Brothers Take It Outside
Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing
Tor Hyams, producer
Okee Dokee Music
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221

The Okee Dokee Brothers Take It Outside is the latest album of family-friendly original songs by the Twin Cities duo of Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing. A strong element of the country life and heady freedom of Mark Twain's classics "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" seem to permeate this delightful album of songs whose lyrics blend the carefree joys of hillbilly freedom and exuberant youth. From simple storytelling to fast-talk to fantastic delights, the songs of Take It Outside are sure to stimulate creativity and imagination in young people. The tracks are "Bluegrass for Breakfast" (2:37), "Neighbors" (2:59), "Tippy Toes" (2:27), "Hero" (3:49), "Wash Your Face" (2:34), "Lucy and Tighty" (4:30), "Water Balloon" (0:38), "Antidisestablishmentarianism" (3:03), "Auctioneer" (2:08), "What We Got" (3:39), "The Naked Truth" (2:57), "The Extraterrestrials" (3:30), and "Sweet Dreams" (4:18).

Jungle Gym
Justin Roberts
Carpet Square Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221

Family music celebrity Justin Roberts presents Jungle Gym, a wonderful collection of twelve original songs on CD sure to appeal to young people in everything from school classrooms to car trips. Playful, storytelling lyrics, upbeat melodies, and solid drum rhythms distinguish this treasury of kids' pop rock. Highly recommended as a family-friendly gift. The tracks are "We Go Duck", "Sleepoverland", "Trick or Treat", "Sign My Cast", "Gym Class Parachute", "Obsessed by Trucks", "Cardboard Box", "Snow Day", "Never Getting Lost", "New Haircut", "Fire Drill", and "2 X 4". 50 min.

The DVD Shelf

Barney: Furry Friends
Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distribution)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Part of the wildly popular television series starring Barney the purple dinosaur, Barney: Furry Friends is a wonderful children's DVD featuring Barney, his colorful dino friends, and their encounters meeting a wide variety of different show trainers and their animals. From how to take care of one's own furry canine or feline friends, to a user-friendly guide that should help one train one's pet, to a captivating visual guide of the different types of animal breeds, Barney: Furry Friends lives up to its title and is sure to be a hit even with any young person who normally avoids animals. 62 minutes. Also highly recommended from Hit Entertainment, for young people, are "Thomas & Friends: Creaky Cranky", and the DVD medley of popular characters, "Music Music Everywhere!"

The Magic Bowl
Dr. Baruch Kushnir
Price World Publishing
1300 W. Belmont Ave., Suite 20G, Chicago, IL 60657

Created by Dr. Baruch Kushnir, an expert in sphincter control with an M. Sc. in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Medical Psychology, and years of practical experience working with children in his 17 clinics throughout Israel, The Magic Bowl: Potty Training Made Easy is a toilet-training instructional DVD for children. Gentle, friendly animation encourages young viewers to potty train themselves and soothes common anxieties. A helpful, fun and friendly way to introduce young people to the subject of toilet training, The Magic Bowl is highly recommended as an invaluable aid for parents and families preparing to meet this challenge in a child's natural development. 22 minutes, color.

The Bilingual Shelf

Grandma's Pear Tree/ El Peral De Abuela
Suzanne Santillan, author
Atilio Pernisco, illustrator
Raven Tree Press
1400 Miller Parkway, McHenry, IL 60050
9781934960806, $16.95

"Grandma's Pear Tree/El Peral De Abuela" is a bilingual children's picture book with exciting storyline, bright, vivid illustrations, and clear Spanish text references that increase children's vocabulary in both Spanish and English. What happens when a boy's ball gets stuck in Grandma's pear tree and nothing seems to work to get it down? Everyone becomes involved in witnessing the final humorous solution. A charming, rollicking tale with just the right tone to teach new thoughts and new words, "Grandma's Pear Tree" is suitable for children at levels K-3.

Proud to be Inuvialuit/ Quviahuktunga Inuvialuugama
James Pokiak and Mindy Willett, authors
Tessa Macintosh, photographer
Fifth House Publishers
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Co.
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada M1S 1C6
9781897252598, $16.95

"Proud to be Inuvialuit" is a beautiful photo-essay about a traditional community of Beluga whale hunting Inuvialuit in Tuk, short for Tuktoyaktuk, on the Arctic coast of the Northwest Territories of Canada. In addition to details about a modern whale-hunting expedition, there are traditional stories and definitions of Inuvialuit words and other bits and pieces of traditional lore associated with Beluga whale hunting by this aboriginal people. Particularly interesting is the dual ability of the Inuvialuit to live bestriding two cultures and two time frames, traditional Inuvialuit and the dominant culture, and ancient times and modern days. Translating some of their stories and traditional ways can help explain how the Inuvialuit respect and conserve the Beluga whale population while they rely on it for food, tools, and a sense of real community connectedness with nature and the world. "Proud to be Inuvialuit" is a fine addition to any native American studies curriculum for elementary school students.

Norwood House Press
PO Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631

Norwood House Press has published four titles from their popular 'Dear Dragon' series by Margaret Hillert in a new Spanish/English bilingual edition. Ably translated by Eida Del risco, this first set of bilingual 'Dear Dragon' titles include "Querido Dragon Pasa El Dia Con Papa / Dear Dragon's Day With Father" (9781599533605, $19.93); "Querido Dragon Va A La Biblioteca / Dear Dragon Goes To The Library" (9781599533612, $19.93); "Es Un Buen Juego, Querido Dragon / It's A Good Game, Dear Dragon" (9781599533629, $19.93); and "Juega, Juega, Juega, Querido Dragon / Play, Play, Play, Dear Dragon" (9781599533636, $19.93). Each titles includes an instructional note to caregivers and is enhanced with full color illustrations. Highly recommended for children K-2 needing educational and entertaining bilingual reading material, school and community libraries are well advised to order the complete set of four ($79.72 List / $59.80 School-Library).

The Biography Shelf

The Joy of Creation, The Story of Clara Schumann
Sandra H. Schichtman and Dorothy Indenbaum
Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 South Elm Street, Suite 387, Greensboro, NC 27406
9781599351230, $28.95

"The Joy of Creation, The Story of Clara Schumann" is a biography of the famous Romantic composer and pianist, Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896). Written for the enjoyment of both young adults and mature readers, "The Joy of Creation" is the latest in a series titled Classical Composers, with similar biographies of Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, Handel, Mendelssohn, Verdi and Vivaldi. "The Joy of Creation" benefits from painstaking research, careful editing, and a rich narrative of the composer's fascinating life. Enriched by beautiful color graphics and manuscript copies, "The Joy of Creation" conveys a real sense of the complex identity of this very accomplished artist. "The Joy of Creation" flies by in eleven vivid chapters, completed by a timeline, bibliography, sources, and web sites. "The Joy of Creation" is a tour de force to be savored by the music loving world.

The Preschool Shelf

A Nuisance of Cats
HC Fargot, author
Wrolf Bronesby, illustrator
Little Known School Press
9780982515013 $13.95

A Nuisance of Cats is a compact ABC book sure to appeal to cat lovers of all ages. Whimsical, full-color illustrations bring to life the smartly written verses, such as "K is for Kafka killing some time" (brought to life with a picture of the enthusiastic Maine Coone cat Kafka attacking the mechanical chirping bird of a Swiss cuckoo clock)! Pure delight to simply page through, A Nuisance of Cats makes a wonderful gift. Also highly recommended are HC Fargot's other creative ABC books - "A Deluge of Dogs" (9780982515020, $13.95), the canine-themed counterbalance to "A Nuisance of Cats", and "Little Known School of Thought" (9780979846786, $13.95), a truly unique, if surprisingly dark ABC book about the mishaps and misfortunes that befall students at a Jewish school (such as "N is for Nera mocked by a makher").

A Little at a Time
David A. Adler, author
Paul Tong, illustrator
Holiday House, Inc.
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823417391, $16.95

"A Little at a Time" is the first book of well-known, award-winning author David A. Adler. Beautifully illustrated with gentle, soft-edged oil paintings, "A Little at a Time" is the answer Grandpa gives to every hard question he is asked by his active, young grandson. As they walk through a city, seeing buildings, streets, machines, a dinosaur, statues, and a museum, Grandpa is asked many impatient questions by his young companion-grandson. His calm answer, delivered with varying nuances and inflections, remains the same. "A Little at a Time" is a perfect book for any question-and energy-filled child of preschool age.

Luida and the Pig Farm
Clarice Barnes, author
Tanya Stewart, illustrator
Vantage Press
419 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016
9780533157976, $7.95

"Luida and the Pig Farm" is a charming illustrated story about a girl on a farm who falls in love with her very own piglet, whom she names Eddie. The problem is that other farm animals begin to feel neglected when Luida pours all her loving attention into Eddie. When Luida finds her red hen Miss Chick-A-Dee crying because she feels so neglected, Luida learns that her duty is to appreciate and care for all her farm animal family equally, and that even though she might not be able to see it, every animal and every person has some special quality that makes them unique and worthy of appreciation and love. The black and white pen drawings help bring the story of "Luida and the Pig Farm" to fresh life. "Luida and the Pig Farm" is a refreshing child's story that will appeal to ages 4-6.

One Snowy Day
Tammi Salzano, author
Hannah Wood, illustrator
Tiger Tales
202 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589258570, $8.95

"One Snowy Day" is a delightful preschoolers' picture book about learning to count with Penguin, who loves snowy days. From 1 woolly hat to 10 marshmallows in Penguin's hot chocolate, "One Snowy Day" dazzles the senses with glistening foil snowflakes and bright arctic pictures of snowy scenes. Children will love learning their numbers with Penguin reading "One Snowy Day." The soft rounded corners, padded covers and board pages help make "One Snowy Day" safe and fun for small children to enjoy.

Christoph Niemann, author/illustrator
Greenwillow Books
c/o Harper Collins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780061577796, $16.99

"Subway" is a marvelous kids art-adventure story that describes a rainy day of exploring the New York City subway system by two young boys and their father. Based on the actual experiences of the author and his sons, "Subway" is an ode to the MTA, NYC's wonderful mass transit system, which is described as "a way of life" for New Yorkers. The incredible black and primary colored illustrations keep the illusion of hurtling through the dark tunnels at incredible speeds to predictable destinations. Every page is a graphic tour de force, with careful couplets describing the action of the subway for each separate line. "Subway" is sure to enchant children ages 2-5 with its magical maps and mysterious pathways through the subterranean world of the NYC subway system.

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley
Stephanie Greene
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547251288, $16.00

Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley tells of Sophie's forthcoming birthday. Sophie has specific ideas on what she should get for her birthday - but which one would be the perfect birthday gift? The one she bragged to her friends about, the one her mom doesn't know is coming, or the one she's really wanted? A fine easy reader covers Sophie's choices.

Don't Come Here, Julie!
P. Joy Webster
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432740931, $10.95

"Don't Come Here, Julie!" is a high interest science fiction/fantasy chapter book that is designed to appeal to reluctant readers or English as a second language readers of middle school ages. Fast moving chapters and story lines with adolescent appeal keep the pages of "Don't Come Here, Julie!" turning. Julie is a teenager whose mom is an ambassador to another planet, Norandia. When warned by her mother that "Now is not a good time to visit!" Julie decides to go anyway, and discovers that her mom has been kidnapped! Adventures and challenges ensue, and Julie learns to straddle bi-planetary cultures, endless intrigues, and even works to avert galactic misunderstandings and conflict. "Don't Come Here, Julie!" opens a doorway to understanding and communication for teens and preteens, while providing first rate entertainment and education.

Lottie's Adventure
Barbara Francis, author
J.E.M. Hebert, illustrator
Positive Imaging, LLC
9016 Palace Parkway, Austin, TX 78748
9780615167879, $12.95

"Lottie's Adventure: A Kidnapping Unraveled" is a vibrant chapter book mystery for preteens that emphasizes the importance of intergenerational communication and love as well as the immense value of thinking beyond cultural stereotypes. To develop a new moral code or vision, both these elements are crucial. Perhaps the most striking quality of "Lottie's Adventure: A Kidnapping Unraveled" is its powerful positive energy. Featuring a spunky 10-year-old Hispanic heroine, "Lottie's Adventure" keeps interest high and pages turning with exciting plot twists and turns and believable cliffhangers that just keep evolving. The author allows her characters to develop very naturally, with total authenticity. There are many excellent ideas embedded in the story, not the least of which is that people, even wise adults, can learn to admit they are wrong. "Lottie's Adventure" goes a long way towards building a viable alternative to prejudice, and for that and many other reasons, it is highly recommended juvenile reading for kids age 10 and up.

Of Lights in the Night; Friends and Adventure
Sean Noonan
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432752897, $11.95

"Of Lights in the Night; Friends and Adventure" is a delightful fantasy adventure chapter book written for readers ages 4-8 and up. It is about a brother and sister Elannah and Sam and their dwarf friend Arnold, who meet in their secret Tree-House in the Jungle when they sleep and dream. They excitedly fly forth on flying bikes to see Rodger the Badger, in search of magical fireworks. They end up with the Great Wizard Grumphspawn in the Great Northern Mountains, where they experience the seven assorted sensations, the Goblin Racer, the Highlander's Delight, the Jolly Jester, the King's Coronation Ball, the Long Light Liberation, the Parrots, Pirates and Pancakes Piratical Pyrotechnics; and lastly the Troll's Totally Terribly Triumphant Toothy Tongue Tingler. As might be surmised, there is not a dull moment on any page. Best of all, as morning approaches, Elannah and Sam say goodbye to their new friends, promising to return for more adventures. Black and white illustrations drawn by the author's 6-year-old daughter are included in the book's ending, which also promises another adventure dream-story soon, "A First Christmas; Friends and Festivity."

The Math Shelf

Time-Travel Math
Amy Bernstein, author
Michelle M. Farliss, illustrator
Prufrock Press
5926 Balcones Drive, Suite 220, Austin, TX 78731
9781593634131, $19.95

"Time-Travel Math" is an exciting, innovative math workbook that teaches gifted 4th and 5th grade students advanced geometry concepts through the device of a time travel adventure that presents relevant practice problems that utilize deep mathematical thinking skills. Geometry topics included are ratios, angles, regular polygons, symmetry, area, and more. Reproducible worksheets can provide students with problem-tackling tools and teachers with relevant rubrics. Best of all, the exciting concept of time-travel is exploited to pique interest and encourage further investigation. "Time -Travel Math" is presented in three cumulative units that should be taught in order: Unit 1: Leonardo Da Vinci and Ratio, Unit 2: M. C. Escher and Symmetry and Angles, and Unit 3: The Egyptians and Area. Each unit begins with a fictional time travel adventure that is then followed with a series of lessons, problems, worksheets, and activities. Teacher's guides and lesson units are reproducible, and there are appendices for how to make a fabric tessellation quilt, answer keys, and teachers' rubrics. "Time-Travel Math" is a great educational resource both for the standard elementary classroom or for the home-schooled.

It's Rainbows and Ribbons If You're A McGibbons
Paula Ridenour, author
Victor Guiza, illustrator
Castlebridge Books
c/o Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310613, $16.95

"It's Rainbows and Ribbons If You're A McGibbons" is a wacky rhyming educational math circus book with crazy, colorful, rainbow pictures of a circus-star-numbers-filled life of Breanna McGibbons and family. While filled with raucous entertaining verse, crazy illustrations, and eccentric, numbers-loving characters, this text does a very creditable job of teaching elementary age kids to count by twos, fives and tens and accumulate other practical math skills. Kids will love the silly concepts, rollicking rhymes, and wild and wacky characters of "It's Rainbows and Ribbons If You're A McGibbons," but even more important, they will effortlessly learn valuable math skills and other concepts. Also recommended by this same author is "It's Wild and Wacky If You're A McCracky," (9781601310491, $16.95).

Science, Naturally!
725 - 8th St., SE, Washington, DC 20003

The science of everyday life is explored in two fine easy readers recommended not just for advanced elementary-level readers on up, but for many an adult seeking light leisure reads on math applications. Mark Zev, Kevin B. Segal and Nathan Levy's 101 THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MATH (9780967802039, $9.95) offers middle school kids an opportunity to learn how math concepts link to real life. Examples here show how formulas and theorems apply to daily activities and provide entertaining examples in sports, travel, and other student-friendly formats, including trivia facts. Eric Yoder and Natalie Yoder's 65 SHORT MYSTERIES YOU SOLVE WITH MATH! (9780967802008, $9.95) reaches ages 10-14 with fun mysteries. Each are one minute long and have a unique twist, and tells how to tap into math wisdom to solve them. Both lend to leisure reinforcement of school teachings.

The Crafts Shelf

Fairy Tale Adventure Crafts
Anna Llimos
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766037366, $22.60

"Fairy Tale Adventure Crafts" is a theme Fun Adventure Crafts book which uses easily available materials for theme-related crafts, projects, and activities. Adaptable for group or individual use, many of the crafts are simple enough to be managed ;semi-independently, or with minimal adult supervision. "Fairy Tale Adventure Crafts" is full of creative ideas for cool projects that kids ages 5-8 will enjoy using their imaginations to create. The wonderful device in "Fairy Tale Adventure Crafts" is that after a child or a group of children make a number of fun fairy adventure story characters and props, all the props or projects can be used together to create an original story-adventure! A pilot or sample "fairy tale" is illustrated and presented at the book's end, along with additional resources, books and internet addresses. "Fairy Tale Adventure Crafts" is a great way to get your child's creative juices and imagination flowing freely, while time flies. Also recommended in this series by the same author and publisher is "Haunted House Adventure Crafts (ISBN 9780766037304, $22.60)," "Medieval Castle Adventure Crafts (ISBN 9780766037342, $22.60)," "Pirate Ship Adventure Crafts (ISBN 9780766037281, $22.60)," and "Space Adventure Crafts (ISBN 9780766037328, $22.60)."

The Folklore/Fairytale Shelf

The Little Hummingbird
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Greystone Books
1094 Flex Drive, Jackson, TN 38301
9781553655336, $16.95

"The Little Hummingbird" is a magnificent Haida-Manga children's work based on "Flight of the Hummingbird," a tale based on a South American indigenous story about the heroic efforts of a tiny hummingbird to carry drops of water to end a forest fire. The vivid, spare, three-color (black, white and red) Haida-style illustrations are stunning, carrying the storytelling to new, multi-mythic impact levels. Hummingbird is observed and approached by many of the larger animals of the forest, who wonder why she is carrying single drops of water in her beak to fight an enormous forest fire. When asked what she is doing, Hummingbird responds, "I'm doing everything I can." An inspirational message titled Do The Best You Can from Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, is included at the end of "The Little Hummingbird." An additional resource mentioned in the book is the Haida anime "Flight of the Hummingbird," by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, which can be viewed on YouTube,

The Multicultural Shelf

The Perfect Gift
J. Samia Mair, author
Craigh Howarth, illustrator
Kube Publishing
6709 Dayton Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98103
9780860374381, $8.95

"The Perfect Gift" is a Muslim child's story about a girl named Sarah who hopes to find the perfect Eid gift for her mother. When she takes a walk in the woods along her secret path, she finds a serenity and appreciation that lead her to understand what her perfect gift to her mother will be, and what is meant by living in loving submission to the will of Allah. Beautiful, delicate tinted water color illustrations enhance the message of "The Perfect Gift," a beautiful multicultural book for children age 7 and up.

The Science Shelf

Outside-In, A Lift-the-Flaps Body Book
Claire Smallman, author
John Shelley, illustrator
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9780764162817, $14.99

"Outside-In, A Lift-the-Flaps Body Book" is a reprint of a popular biology book for kids originally released over 20 years ago. Basic concepts of the body's organs, skin, breathing and digestion and cooling/heating functions, blood and circulation, and the body's bones, teeth and muscles are all areas of study via the lift the flaps body book approach. Kids age 4-8 will enjoy learning basic human biology with this interactive teaching book. "Outside-In" is a children's classic revisited whose time has come to educate and entrance a new generation.

Mystery Science: The Case of the Missing Bicycle
Diego Patino & Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D., authors
Michael Arnold, illustrator
Prufrock Press
5926 Balcones Drive, Suite 220 Austin, Texas 78731
9781593634209, $14.95

"Mystery Science: The Case of the Missing Bicycle" is an elementary school inquiry activity workbook that introduces students to basic concepts of scientific inquiry. Designed to be used as curriculum for grades 3-4, "The Case of the Missing Bicycle" contains everything needed to conduct a student mystery inquiry, a 2 and one half to three hour joint project for a classroom. Inquiry based learning is an important strategy to teach critical thinking skills as well as cooperative problem-solving skills. Kids ages 8-10 will enjoy analyzing the clues to solve the mystery, completing each activity in sequence, and arriving at their well founded conclusions. "The Case of the Missing Bicycle" also makes learning the scientific method fun for kids and adults.

Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431

Tannis Bill's PIKA: LIFE IN THE ROCKS (9781590788035, $18.95) tells of the cousin to the hamster who watches for hungry hawks and weasels and stores up food for the winter. Lovely color photos accompany facts about pikas and makes for a gorgeous natural history display. Also lovely and different is Sarah C. Campbell's GROWING PATTERNS: FIBONACCI NUMBERS IN NATURE (9781590787526, $17.95) a survey including color photos by Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell. The Fibonacci pattern shows up in unexpected places in nature: this picturebook ties math to nature and creates lovely closeup photos of this number sequence.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Ghost of Schafer Meadows
Beth Hodder
Grizzly Ridge Publishing
P.O. Box 268, West Glacier, MT 59936
9780979396304, $7.99

"The Ghost of Schaefer Meadows" is an award, winning, tingling young adult mystery set in the heart of the Great Bear Wilderness in northwestern Montana. 12 year old Jessie Scott is transplanted unwillingly from relatively urbane New Mexico to lost wilderness forests of Schafer Meadows Ranger Station, Montana, when her ranger father accepts a transfer. Suffering from the pain of relocation and lack of civilization, Jessie turns to her new dog, Oriole for company in her explorations of their new wilderness home. The remote life style of the Schafer Ranger station staff and family is virtually unchanged since the 1930's, with horses and mules providing much of the transport. In this majestic, forbidding setting, Jessie stumbles across a mystery and even a ghost that only she can finally resolve and untangle. The fast action and quick thinking skills of a resilient heroine make for excellent entertaining fiction for young (and older) adults. "The Ghost of Schafer Meadows" won a silver medal for excellence from the Independent Publishers Book Awards in 2008.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Get Me To The Ark On Time
Cuyler Black, author/illustrator
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310716334, $4.99

"Get Me To The Ark On Time" is a color cartoon heroic rescue story version of the biblical story of Noah and the Ark. An anteater and a flamingo make a cheerful pair of narrators, while two comedian giraffes become unlikely heroes, saving two troubled turtles from the great 40 days flood and getting them to the Ark on time! "Get Me To The Ark On Time" helps kids realize that sometimes a ridiculed, unusual trait or gift can be a hidden asset. Colorful, funny comic characters help the action and the laughter flow, and the ending caption (from the Bible) is "Gladly I reward all faithful followers everywhere!" "Get Me To The Ark On Time" is wonderful Bible story retelling in kidspeak.

The Goat of Many Colors
Cuyler Black, author/illustrator
Zondervan, Zonderkidz
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49530
9780310716341, $4.99

"The Goat of Many Colors" is an original interpretation of the well known Bible story of Joseph and the coat of many colors, rethought especially for kids. Narrated by a comic pair of animals, a yakky flamingo and an interrupting anteater, "The Goat of Many Colors" tells the tale of a diving goat with special gifts who finds his true calling in a herd of wild goats after being rejected because of his differentness by the regular herd. It's a rollicking tale with a solid faith-reinforcing ending, and every page is crammed with humorous cartoons and funny puns and jokes. "The Goat of Many Colors" is sure to make kids want to read more Bible stories and be true to themselves and God just to see where all the laughs are coming from.

Wrong Way, Jonah!
Kay Arthur & Janna Arndt with Scoti Domeij
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736928199, $9.99

"Wrong Way, Jonah!" is an updated Jonah workbook in the Inductive Bible Studies for Kids titled Discover 4 Yourself, published by Harvest House. Designed as a special Bible study book for elementary school age kids, "Wrong Way, Jonah!" is designed as a chapter book with special clues, tasks, games and adventures that lead to an understanding of the book of Jonah. Best used by a small group of kids with a teacher or study leader, "Wrong Way, Jonah!" is an excellent part of a good religious education curriculum. Beginning with a simple list of things that are needed, kids are encouraged to seek answers and clues in the Bible as they follow the amazing adventures of Molly, Max, and Sam the Beagle in their search for the scoop news story on Jonah. "Wrong Way, Jonah!" is a creative Bible study curriculum for kids ages 7-11.

Who is God? A Story of Wonder and Love for Kids
Kathleen Ruckman, author
Greg Hardin, illustrator
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736925709, $14.99

"Who is God?" is a child's illustrated storybook about questions about God. Adam and Annie are visiting their Grandpa's Pennsylvania farm and in their wonderment at the stars, both children ask their Grandpa "Who is God?'' This conversation leads to many more talks with Grandpa about God the Creator, and the Bible, which is like love letters to us from God. Religious discussions are interwoven with pleasant, exciting daily activities such as feeding animals, gathering eggs, and coming in from a rainstorm. All lessons are delivered with a kindly twinkle and a caring touch. At the end of "Who is God?' is a page Parent/Teacher Guide that lists descriptions and references for quotations that answer the mysterious question, "Who is God?" "Who is God?" is suitable for children ages 4 and up.

David Cornerstone, A Story of Faith
Faye Hunter, author/illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd.- 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432758226, $23.95

"David Cornerstone, A Story of Faith" is an inspirational Christian children's book that teaches young David Cornerstone, seventh son of a Christian family, to have patience, faith, pray, read scriptures, and believe in Jesus to solve his problems. David's father has a serious illness that frightens the family very much. David wonders if he needs to have magical assistance to solve this scary problem. He falls asleep in the garden and dreams of the intervention of the angel Gabriel in a great battle. he awakens, realizing that all he needs is faith in Jesus. Christian families will treasure "David Cornerstone" as a faith-teaching book for elementary age children. The soft pastel illustrations balance and vivify the text, adding to its appeal. A portion of the profits from the sale of "David Cornerstone" go to help fund a home for abused children called The Olive Branch.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

A Rainbow of Animals
Melissa Stewart
Enslow Publishers Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766037069, $10.99

"A Rainbow of Animals" is a composite book of six previously published books of six colors (red, orange, yellow, purple, blue and green) of animals, vibrantly photographed and carefully described. The various ways and reasons each animal uses color to survive are succinctly enumerated, and there are maps for each animal to show where its native habitat is. Additional information about the influence of diet on color and other color related data about the animals is presented. "A Rainbow of Animals" is presented as appealing to children of reading levels K-3, interest levels K-5. The brilliant photography will attract lingering interest and close examination of each miraculous creature.

The Buzz on Bees, Why Are They Disappearing?
Shelley Rotner & Anne Woodhull, author
Shelley Rotner, photographer
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823422470, $16.95

"The Buzz on Bees, Why Are They Disappearing?" is a color-photo studded fact book about the alarming disappearance of whole populations of bees in North America. The phenomena is called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, and since 2004 almost half of the honeybees in the United States have vanished. "The Buzz on Bees" explores possible causes, including pollution, mites, even migratory beekeeping. There suggestions as to how kids can be proactive in encouraging the survival of bees, including planting their own garden, encouraging parents to buy local, organically grown food, buying local honey, planting meadows instead of lawns, avoiding spraying pesticides, planting flowers to bloom at different times to ensure a summer-long food supply for bees, and even beginning to try home beekeeping, just like First lady Michelle Obama and her family. many interesting facts about bees are included along with countless fabulous photos. If bees are a key to the health and survival-potential of earth's environment, we need to focus on how to support bees and make a more habitable environment for them. "The Buzz on Bees" helps teach kids more about how to do just that.

Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

HP Newquist's HERE THERE BE MONSTERS: THE LEGENDARY KRAKEN AND THE GIANT SQUID (9780547076782, $18.00) provides a fast-paced account about myths and modern studies of the giant squid. Folklore and nature combine in a survey packed with color photos and lovely insights perfect for leisure browsing or natural history reports alike. Pamela S. Turner's PROJECT SEAHORSE (9780547207131, $18.00) tells of the endangered seahorse whose populations have been declining over the past twenty years. This survey is more than a natural history of the seahorse: it explores how committed conservationists and community organizers have restored damaged seahorse habitats, and offers all ages a fine coverage of ecological restoration. Kathleen Krull & Kathryn Hewitt's Lives of the Pirates (9780152059088, $21.00) provides a range of collective biographies packed with facts and caricatures of pirates, from notorious swashbucklers to forgotten pirates of lore. From odd animals William Dampier had on board his ship to why Grace O'Malley cut off her hair, this packs in whimsical, fun facts and illustrations in a lively pirate history!

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Nowhere Hair
Sue Glader, author
Edith Buenen, illustrator
Thousand Words Press
38 Miller Avenue, PMB #119, Mill Valley, CA 94941
9780984359103, $15.99

"Nowhere Hair" is a mother's positive efforts to explain to her son why her cancer treatment makes her look different, with "nowhere hair." Filled with illustrations described as both vibrant and poignant, "Nowhere Hair" tackles the sometimes difficult issue of addressing children's fears, particularly about illness, change, and loss. The last few pages of verse sum up the plucky content of this courageous, sensitive children's book: "So if you see her, please be kind. Don't snicker and don't stare. I'm thinking that's what you'd prefer if your own head was bare. It's hard to see her without hair, I miss her curls that bounce. And though I know her hair will grow, it's what's inside that counts."

My Blood Brother
Elizabeth Murphy-Melas, author
Mary Kate Wright, illustrator
Health Press
2920 Carlisle NE, Suite 111, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
9780929173566, $14.95

"My Blood Brother: A Story About Childhood Leukemia" is a children's picture book that explains about ALL, acute lymphocytic leukemia, or childhood Leukemia, through the eyes of two brothers, Stefan and Sam. Sam is sick with ALL and Stefan wants to help him get well. There are some good diagrams and explanations of cell function and the disease process. The best news is that after Sam has hospital tests and prescribed chemo treatment (that makes his hair go away for awhile), he has a chance to get better. The best news of all is that if his brother Stefan has blood that matches his, he can receive a transplant that will really help him get better. "My Blood Brother" is a very helpful book for kids trying to understand this scary disease, with just enough information and ideas to point out ways in which a sibling or friend can support a child who is diagnosed with ALL. The colored illustrations are both gentle and reassuring in tone, an integral part of the educational and therapeutic goals of "My Blood Brother."

The Poetry Shelf

Green Tiger's Book of Children's Poetry
Harold Darling, editor
Green Tiger Press
c/o Laughing Elephant
3645 Interlake N, Seattle, WA 98103
9781595831392, $24.95

"Green Tiger's Book of Children's Poetry" is a nostalgic, illustrated children's poetry anthology that is beautifully presented with favorite and lesser-known children's verses texts paired with stunning retro-images from children's books of long ago. These gently tinted, sometimes sentimental, sometimes whimsical illustrations are redolent of a century and more of children's dreams inspired by poetry and imagery. Thus the pictures and the poems weave together to connect today's child and companion reader with a whole, ageless past of earlier beloved children, being nurtured, loved, and read to by bygone parents, nurses, and caretakers. "Green Tiger's Book of Children's Poetry" is the third volume in a series that includes "The Green Tiger's Illustrated Mother Goose (2003)," and "The Green Tiger's Illustrated A.B.C. (2005)." A vast collection of rhyme, audio and visual delights awaits the lucky owner of "Green Tiger's Book of Children's Poetry." Many of the poems and versions of the illustrations are familiar, even well-known, but slightly readjusted, with a tasteful tinting and retuning of the strings to achieve just the right chord. All these poems may be read aloud to children as young as 12 months, and children ages 5 and up will enjoy reading them independently. Poets include Robert Louis Stevenson, Vachel Lindsay, Christina Rossetti, Hilda Conkling, Edward Lear, Eugene Field, and more, including some treasured lesser known authors. A list of the illustrations' picture credits complete with dates and original editions is included at the end. The dates range from 1960 to 1885. The pictures and poems are purposely grouped in juxtaposition to maximize diversity, variety, and surprise. All effects are subordinate to the stimulation of the child's appetite for beauty in both the spoken word and flowing lines. Green Tiger Press is to be commended for its work in researching and preserving through re-imaging these beautiful archetypes from juvenile literature.

The Social Issues Shelf

What's the Point of Being Green?
Jacqui Bailey
250 Wireless Road, Hauppauge, NY 11788
0764144278, $12.99

What's the Point of Being Green? Provides a fine survey of fossil fuels, world climate, and what people are doing to address the problem of living with more environmental consciousness. Colored sidebars of information accompany a lively text packed with insights perfect for leisure readers who want a lighter approach to green living issues.

Why Should I Recycle?
Susan Meredith author
Christyan Fox, illustrator
EDC Publishing
10302 E. 55th Place, Tulsa, OK 74146
9780794527853, $6.99

"Why Should I Recycle?" is the perfect answer to kids who want to know why they need to be concerned about recycling for the future of the planet. "Why Should I Recycle?" is a small book, 48 pages long, packed with colorful illustrations and tips and information about recycling practices and questions frequently asked by kids. Handy frames feature special suggestions such as what kids can do specifically to help recycle and reduce unnecessary waste. Complete with Glossary and referral to internet links to recycling websites at, "Why Should I Recycle?" is a great guide to recycling values and activities for kids and adults.

ABC's of Surviving School Violence
Natalie Johnson-Leslie & H. Steve Leslie
Joshua Allen, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449063979, $15.99

"ABC's of Surviving School Violence" is a color-illustrated 22 page book that attempts to educate children ages 5-8 on safe practices to protect themselves and others from school violence. Written in verse, "ABC's of Surviving School Violence" presents practical self-protective approaches and strategies, one for each letter of the alphabet. It ends with "Violence in schools is always WRONG/ We must be kind to EVERYONE." Emphasizing common sense approaches and tactics, "ABC's of Surviving School Violence" presents a viable safety training resource for teachers and students today.

Sallie Lowenstein
Lion Stone Books
4921 Aurora Drive, Kensington, MD 20895
9780965848688, $17.00

"Wolfley-O's" is a piquant twisted slant on a creative remedy for children who are faced with bullying. Though written for kids ages 4-9, teenagers have suggested that it is empowering for older young adults as well. A boy named Davey is afraid to begin school in the first grade because he dreads being bullied. Lo and behold he finds a magic box of Wolfley-O's for breakfast. It is labeled, "eat with discretion. Once gone, it is hard to replenish your supply." Davey makes it through one eventful day of school and then discovers a special green blank on his Wolfley-O's box that he can fill in however he likes, so he writes "the cereal that builds your confidence." Other amazing adventures ensue with Davey and the Wolfley-O's in confidence -building. He even tries out a great recipe for Wolfley-O cookies that readers can make themselves! Best of all, Davey uses his pens and markers to create a drawing of Wolfley-O himself. Finally Davey shares his homemade Wolfley-O cookies with his friends and they enjoy them very much. But he is sad, because he can never have any more Wolfley-O's cereal to make more. Just when he is at his lowest, a special delivery man in a funny red jacket finds him and delivers boxes and boxes of Wolfley-O's cereal to him, "enough cereal to feed my friends cookies for the rest of the year!" Charming mixed media illustrations add to the impact of "Wolfley-O's" underlining the message that kids can create solutions to problems in their lives with just a bit of imagination and support.

Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows
Cindy Jett, MSW, author
Kathy Voerg, illustrator
New Horizon Press
P.O. Box 669, Far Hills, NJ 07931
9780882823164, $8.95,

"Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows: Helping Children Adjust to Change" is a juvenile self-help handbook in the Let's Talk Book series to assist children in adjusting to change. Written in cheery prose with brightly colored illustrations, "Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows" gradually introduces ideas that will make change easier to accept and integrate for young children. Coping and flexibility, making a list of things that are not changing, focusing on the positive aspects of change, all these suggestions and more are successfully implemented by Harry in his struggle to accept the change coming in his caterpillar life. Children will identify with Harry and learn ways they can work to adjust to changes in their lives too. At the end of "Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows" there are two lists: One is Tips for Children, and one is Tips for Parents and Guardians; both are very helpful. Also recommended in this series by the same publisher is "Cassandra Gets Her Smile Back: Teaching Children to Care for Their Teeth," by Sherri Alpert, D.D.S., illustrated by Tea Seroya, (9780882823140, $8.95).

It's Time for Good Manners!
Leslie A. Susskind
Good Manners Kids Stuff Press
9780982474457, $11.99

"It's Time for Good Manners!" is a Kids' (and parents', too!) book that combines learning to tell time with learning good manners. In workbook format, "It's Time for Good Manners!" presents lots of practice pages with incomplete colorful illustrations that encourage kids to trace and draw in clock hands to appropriate times, plus practice pages for lists of examples of good manners. Children will love learning about telling time and showing good manners with Torie, Tad, Tyler and Tessa, in a packed -full day's schedule. An example of the combined learning tips includes: "It's 3:30 in the afternoon and Tad's dad has come to pick him up early from day care for karate practice. Tad's teacher compliments him but he isn't listening. His dad reminds him and he says "Thank you, Mrs. Davis." Lesson: It's time to pay attention." Colorful clock faces show the reader how to trace and place the clock's hands at 3:30. "It's Time for Good Manners" is a great package workbook for children ages 4-7, combining learning twin virtues of considerateness and courtesy and punctuality.

Something Is Wrong at My House
Diane Davis, author
Keith R. Neely, illustrator
Parenting Press, Inc.
11065 Fifth Avenue NE, Suite F, Seattle, WA 98125
9781884734656, $7.95

"Something Is Wrong at My House: A Book About Parents' Fighting" is a book especially written for school age (and also adapted for preschool age) children to help break the generational cycle of domestic abuse. It is based on a true story of a boy who lived in a violent household. Written in simple terms that can easily be understood, "Something is Wrong at My House" addresses and describes the effects of domestic abuse in terms of a child's feelings and reactions. There are specific suggestions for what the child can do to deal with their own chaotic feelings to avoid violence and a Safety Plan development suggestion so that the child can take appropriate steps to protect himself and siblings when the violence is too threatening. The book's format is such that each set of pages presents similar information for an older child or for a preschool-aged child. It ends with suggestions for adults to contact for help and some positive steps a child can take plus affirmations: "I am a very special, lovable person. My needs are important. I deserve to be safe and happy and so do you!" "Something Is Wrong at My House" is an excellent resource for children in families at risk and those who work with them or are close to them. Also recommended by the same publisher is "Where is My Mommy?: Coping When a Parent Leaves (And Doesn't Come Back)," by Mary Kilgore and Mitchell Kilgore, illustrated by Cary Pillo (9781884734465, $12.95).

The Picturebook Shelf

A Tree's Wish
Allyson Byrd, author
Lina Safar, illustrator
Castlebridge Books
c/o Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310583, $17.95

"A Tree's Wish" is a wondrous children's picture book about a little tree who longs to be chosen for special holiday decorations and have other tree and animal friends near him to keep him company and play. Finally he is chosen by a little girl and her parents, but he thinks they are going to cut him down and take him home with them. He is surprised and delighted when they bring popcorn strings and other decorative treats for the birds and animals to decorate him where he grows, in the forest. He is most pleased because the treats will be relished by many of the forest creatures. Best of all, the little girl returns with two small tree saplings and plants them near the little tree, which had stood alone before. Now the little tree will have companion trees to tickle branches and trade tree tales with! The charming painted illustrations add to the appeal of "A Tree's Wish," a lovely book for children age 4-8 with an ecologically sound message.

Noah's Bark
Stephen Krensky, author
Roge, illustrator
Carolrhoda Books
c/o Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780822576457, $16.95

"Noah's Bark" is a lively retelling of the story of Noah's ark with special emphasis on the animal noise/confusion factor. Noah has a big job to do, first he has to build the Ark, then he has to take care of all the animals on the ark for 40 days and nights while the rains fall and the floodwaters rise. It doesn't help when the animals who came to be saved on the ark all try to make sounds at once. All of the animals made all different kinds of sounds at this time, making things even more confusing. Noah barks at them, and finally he cleverly invents a way to get each animal to choose its own sound, communicating from then on in its own unique "language." The animals cooperate with Noah and the ark stays afloat, and all ends happily, with the animals thanking Noah for giving them their wounds as they leave the ark to begin a new life. The story and drama of "Noah's Bark" is especially enhanced by the colorful, imaginative, enchanting illustrations. Children age 3 and up will enjoy "Noah's Bark" while they benefit from the wonderful lesson of using unique individual gifts to work cooperatively on shared goals.

The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher
Robert Kraus, author
Vip, illustrator
Purple House Press
PO Box 787, Cynthiana, KY 41031
9781930900448, $18.95

"The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher" is a child's picture book about a brave boy named Nat who sleuths to find the thieving Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher just in time to teach a morality lesson about stealing vs. sharing and to join with everyone in the special celebration of Christmas that springs from the heart of giving. The story is written in verse, and the humorous illustrations soften the cookie sprinkle theft crisis to a manageable level while keeping young readers' interest high. The charming story ends with Nat flying with the Sprinkle Snitcher and spreading sprinkles (and cheer) on children's Christmas cookies everywhere. "The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher" is a fun "Christmas in July" read for children ages 3-7.

Mr. President Goes to School
Rick Walton, author
Brad Sneed, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561455386, $15.95

"Mr. President Goes to School" is a picture book for children ages 4-8 that tells a tale of creative conflict resolution ideas learned (by the President, disguised and on time-out from Presidential responsibilities) in Mrs, Appletree's class, just seven blocks away from his oval office. It's really wonderful what learning basic consideration and good manners can do to reduce conflict. The wacky water color illustrations suggest all kinds of playful activities and plans. When the President returns to his responsibilities, he is just in time to avert a world crisis by implementing the very rules of conduct and courtesy that he learned in Mrs. Appletree's class. Children and adults will enjoy "Mr. President Goes to School."

Card Auntie's Wonderful Workshop
Sharon Hickey, author/illustrator
Mirror Publishing
6434 W Dixon Street, Milwaukee, WI 53214
9781936046904, $12.99

"Card Auntie's Wonderful Workshop" is an inspirational illustrated story about Card Auntie, a wonderful, creative old woman who creates and sends thoughtful cards all sorts of people giving them special notes of appreciation, thanks, or cheer. One day Card Auntie has a terrible accident, tripping over her cat, Zip while carrying boxes of her cards. She breaks her arm and has to convalesce under the care and supervision of grumpy (but well meaning) Nurse Hopkins. Oh dear! Card Auntie worries that no one will receive her wonderful cards while she is unable to do her special, creative work. A marvelous surprise solution takes shape from the people of Card Auntie's community, and everything does work out for the best in the end. The painstakingly detailed colored pencil illustrations of "Card Auntie's Workshop" will keep young readers searching for their favorite little orange snail and other guides and cues to the story. "Card Auntie's Wonderful Workshop" has a gentle tone and a message of kindness returned that will resonate with young and old alike.

I Dreamed I Was A Cloud
Neena, author
Kenny DeWitt, illustrator
Castlebridge Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310545, $15.95

"I Dreamed I Was A Cloud" is the optimistic story of Billow the cloud, a drifting island of kindly philosophy who encourages all the sad or disappointed people he observes to think of a better way to fill their lives. Billow's gentle rhyming speech is characterized by the following: "I smiled down on them all,/ and then I moved on./ They'd found the treasures/ That were there all along./ Beneath the surface of their ho-hum lives,/ People discovered life is full - when lived, not just survived." Pastel illustrations help Billow deliver his gentle message to children ages 4 and up.

Sitting In My Box
Dee Lillegard, author
Jon Agee, illustrator
Marshall Cavendish Classics
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761456469, $15.99

"Sitting In My Box" is a re-released classic children's picture book in the Marshall Cavendish Classics. The timeless colorful illustrations reveal a boy with a book of wild animals sitting in his cardboard box. Amazingly, a whole series of wild animals come to ask to sit in his box with him! Just when there is no more room, and no one is willing to leave, along comes an uninvited flea. Problem solved! Once again, a boy (and his book) are sitting in his box! Children of a whole new generation will love this timeless classic that appeals to the imagination of children everywhere.

The Grey Grey Cloud
Manjula Naraynan
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449085070, $14.49

"The Grey Cloud" is an illustrated children's story about a sad, crybaby grey cloud who finally found his silver lining, with the help of the Silver Fairy. Scary, dark pictures of witches and goblins and other things that frighten the grey cloud are counterbalanced by the presence of the helpful Silver Fairy, who patiently explains to the grey cloud that all scary things have their purpose, and eventually even a thunderstorm can lead to a beautiful rainbow and a little grey cloud can find a silver lining. "The Grey Cloud" will enchant children 3 an up and reassure them and encourage them to find the bright side to all scary things.

Jaw-Jaw the Donkey
K. K. Corner, author
Sharon L. Richert, illustrator
Tex Ware Publishing
5714 134th Pl SE, Suite 5, Everett, WA 98208
9781935500094, $15.99

"Jaw-Jaw the Donkey" is an illustrated children's book that tells the tale of Jaw-Jaw, the donkey who, over a time span of three seasons, learned to laugh, long, loud, and lofty, with a little help from the Wise Old Scarecrow. "Jaw-Jaw the Donkey" is filled with delightful action-packed illustrations that practically sing themselves right off the pages, giving hints to Jaw-Jaw in his quest to learn his donkey's bray of laughter. Children ages 4-7 will empathize with the comical dilemmas of Jaw-Jaw, and they will rejoice with him when he finally achieves his goal, laughing long, loud, and lofty.

Ordinary Oscar
Laura Adkins, author
Sam Hearn, illustrator
Tiger Tales
202 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589250857, $15.95

"Ordinary Oscar" is a charming child's picture book about Oscar, a snail with theatrical dreams and ambitions. Oscar wants to be Hollywood famous! Misunderstood by his slimy family, Oscar goes to the Wise Old Snail for guidance. He is asked if he has special talents? No? Well in that case a bit of magic will have to help out! Oscar is directed to summon his Fairy Godsnail who will grant him three wishes! But his first wish (to be spectacular) gets him into trouble, as he is nearly eaten for dinner by a hungry bird! Quick, Oscar, make another wish! OK, now he is Oscar the giant spectacular snail, scaring the population, unable to hide, and finding no friends. Guess what his next wish is? To go home to his mom and dad (who have been awfully worried about him) and very ordinary family. Amazingly enough, even an "ordinary snail can do extraordinary things." "Ordinary Oscar" closes with a fabulous news clipping praising Oscar Slimeglider for rescuing his mom, Gertrude, from being buried by shifting soil. The brilliantly colorful, imaginative illustrations of "Ordinary Oscar" will help deliver unforgettable punch to the story appeal for children age 2 and up.

The Blizzard Wizard
Lynn Plourde, author
John Aardema, illustrator
Down East
P.O. Box 679, Camden, Maine 04843
9780892727896, $16.95

"The Blizzard Wizard" is a funny children's story about what happens when the Blizzard Wizard loses his snow spell! Because a winter without snow is like a rainbow without colors, Blizzard Wizard knows he must find a solution for the world's children and fast. How he finally manages to achieve his re-discovered snow spell, and what a funny scene ensues caps this unusual version of weatherworking for the snowbound. Fairytale pastel illustrations help bring the Blizzard Wizard and crew to life in this most appealing weather primer for children ages 4 and up.

That Mama is Grouch
Sherry Ellis, author
Don Berry, illustrator
Privately Published
9781450535656, $13.99

"That Mama is a Grouch" is a lovely children's picture book that explains in both pictures and rhyme, why Mama is a grouch: her adorable child is not cleaning up her mess, being quiet and considerate of baby's naptime, or being respectful of her food or home environment. Some simple rules help to clear the way through strewn toys and messy foods and boisterous activities to make life more pleasant for both Mama and family. An adorable tiny companion mouse helps the child follow cues to become a more self-cleaning model child. "That Mama is a Grouch" is perfect for children ages 3-8 who can benefit from learning some of the "rules" of considerate living together.

Frieda B. Herself
Renata Bowers, author
Michael Chesworth, illustrator
Privately Published
9780984386239, $15.00

"Frieda B. Herself" is a delightful children's picture book that celebrates the magic of dreams. Frieda is a unique, spunky girl with wiry red hair and a pet go named Zilla whose motto is "Dream your dreams big and believe they can be." One night Frieda finds her ideals are tested, in spite of wonderful imaginative cruises to the Planet Mandoo. What solution does she find, when the fountains of dreams' inspirations seem to unwind? Read "Frieda B. Herself" like a rhyming mantra to children from 2-6 and you will quickly discover they already know the words and the story. Incredibly lively. imaginative illustrations that pop off the pages add to the considerable charm and appeal of this very attractive children's book.

Nighttide on a Vineyard Farm
Patty Schaal
Vineyard Stories
RR1, Box 65-B9, Edgartown, MA 02539
9780982714614, $21.95

Nighttide on a Vineyard Farm is a gorgeous display examining a spring night through beautiful color illustrations. An active, ocean-side farm on Martha's Vineyard is the feature in a title aimed at adults who love lyrical descriptions and kids who like realistic illustrations that 'pop' with color. Few small press picturebooks can boast of the superior-quality presentation of NIGHTTIDE, with Margot Datz' gorgeous color works! Highly recommended!

Schwartz & Wade/Random House

Hanoch Piven's My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil and Other Funny Classroom Portraits (9780375853388, $17.99) tells how to project the image of a funny librarian, a friend who is jumpy as a rubber band, and more, using everything from marbles to balloons. Kids interested in classroom characters and connections between word descriptions and images will find this a powerful pick. Jennifer LaRue Huget and Edward Koren's How to Clean Your Room in Ten Easy Steps (9780375844102, $16.99) gives a whimsical account of how to clean a room, from never lifting a finger until a mother yells using all three of your names to carefully arranging all stuffed animals on a bed. Any collection interested in fun whimsical stories will enjoy this!

345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Jane Sutton's DON'T CALL ME SIDNEY (9780803727533, $16.99) offers fun drawings by Renata Gallio as it tells of Sidney, who loves to write rhyming poems for his friends' birthdays - until he realizes his own name doesn't rhyme with anything. How can a pig with a non-rhyming name enjoy his hobby of making special rhymes? By changing his name! Funny results make this hilarious. Valeri Gorbachev's WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA, MOLLY? (9780399254284, $16.99) also involves poems: Molly wants to write a poem, but can't find the perfect idea. Her friends are also looking for birthday ideas: can they work together to improve results? A fine problem-solving title evolves new ideas for collaboration. Dave Horowitz's BUY MY HATS! (9780399252754, $16.99) tells of Frank and Carl, who have plenty of hats to sell for only ten dollars each. But sales languish - while Blue Monkey, Mister Pig and Big Ox don't have trouble attracting customers. This fine business book introduces kids to some very basic concepts of marketing. Sean Taylor's THE RING WENT ZING! (9780803733114, $16.99) receives fine drawings by Jill Barton and tells of a frog, his beloved chicken, and characters that become involved with a runaway ring. Rhymes and a fun repetitive game make for a winner for any picturebook collection!

Ugly Pie
Lisa Wheeler and Heather Solomon
Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780152167547, $16.00

UGLY PIE tells of a bear on a hunt for an unsightly pie. All he finds are pies that please the eye - so can Ol' Bear cook up something appropriately ugly himself? A fun tale of a special pie and an elusive recipe evolves in this gentle, fun story.

Windows With Birds
Karen Ritz
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590786567, $16.95

The cat loves its home, a house with places to climb and hide and a boy who loves him. And the windows have birds. When the cat is brought to a new home above the ground, the cat hides and cries for its familiar old home. Can the cat find value in a house whose windows don't have birds? A fine story of change evolves, with lovely illustrations.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591

Ages 4-8 will relish Bill Thomson's CHALK (0761455264, $15.99), a fine story of a rainy day and three kids with a bag of chalk and a dinosaur spring rider. Photos and drawings blend in a magical fashion, here! Eric A. Kimmel adapts a fine Middle Eastern fairy tale in JOHA MAKES A WISH (9780761455998, $17.99), with Omar Ryyan's fine drawings accenting the story of Joha, who discovers a magic wishing stick on the way to Baghdad. He makes some wishes - and discovers the stick has the opposite effect. What good is a stick that gives the opposite of a heart's desire? A fun story evolves! John Olander's A FIELD GUIDE TO ALIENS (9780761455943, $15.99) offers ages 8-12 a fun collection of blends between fantasy and reality and come from a monstrologist and alienologist who offers profiles of over twenty-five previously undocumented aliens. From the latest alien sightings to fun fantasy reflections, this is a whimsical winner. Steven Kroll's THE TYRANNOSAURUS GAME (9780761456032, $17.99) receives S.D. Schindler's drawings and will reach ages 4-8 as it tells of bored kids who participate in a run 'round-room' game begun by Jimmy, who starts a story and passes it around. All the kids make up crazy new scenes for the story - with some unexpected results. Julie Stiegemeyer's SEVEN LITTLE BUNNIES (9780761456001, $15.99) provides whimsical drawings by Laura J. Bryant and will reach ages 3-8 with its fun story of bedtime for seven little bunnies, each busy having fun. One by one each bunny gets cozy and drops off to sleep in this fun bedtime read! Jennifer Ward's THERE WAS AN OLD MONKEY WHO SWALLOWED A FROG (9780761455806, $16.99) receives fine drawings by Steve Gray who will reach ages 4-9 with a fun story of an old monkey who swallows a frog, and keeps moving upward in the food chain. His diet of a host of increasingly large jungle animals presents a fun adaptation of a whimsical rain forest song. All are top picks for picturebook collections!

The Fiction Shelf

Sound From A Star
Fred Yager
Hannacroix Creek Books
1127 High Ridge Road, #110, Stamford, CT 06905
9781889262994, $19.95,

Devon Turner is a teenager who, when's he's recorded some music off his satellite dish, believes that it's extraterrestrial in origin because it's able to bring his dying plants back to life! What Devon doesn't realize is that the music contains powerful vibrations that can destroy as well as heal. "Sound From A Star" is a deftly written, original, and thoroughly entertaining read offering 149-pages of engaging story that will grip the total attention of teen readers from first page to last. "Sound From A Star" is highly recommended for both community library collections and personal reading lists.

The Adventures of Browser & Sequoia
Richard de Montebello
Saber Cat Comics
2725 Scarlet Road, Winter Park, FL 32792
9780972153348, $17.95

Just because you can make a giant of a friend, doesn't mean you'll have it easy. "The Adventures of Browser & Sequoia" tells the story of a mammoth and his human companion who can talk to him. Through their partnership in these prehistoric times, they find themselves raging against rival clans, hungry sabretooths, and people who are just plain mean. "The Adventures of Browser and Sequoia" is quite a read that will appeal to many a young reader.

Melonhead and the Big Stink
Katy Kelly
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780385736589, $14.99

Melonhead and the Big Stink tells of Melonhead a.k.a. Adam Melon, and provides a fine first-person survey of Melonhead's list of things he's not supposed to do. He gets in trouble and is supposed to do chores for Mrs. Wilkins, messing up his summer plans to see New York City. A fun story evolves with plenty of twists and turns for middle-grade readers.

The Gecko & Sticky: The Power Potion
c/o Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375843792, $12.99

The Gecko & Sticky: The Power Potion tells of Dave and his gecko pal Sticky, who return for more adventure in the fourth book of the kid-friendly series illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. Here Dave delivers packages and breaks the cardinal rule of not looking into them. His inspection of a strange tube sent to the evil Damien Black opens the door to oddities and dangers in this fine story.

How to Grow Up and Rule the World
Vordak the Incomprehensible
Transcribed by Scott Seegert
Illustrated by John Martin
Egmont USA
443 Park Avenue South, Suite 806, New York, NY 10016
9781606840139, $13.99

"How to Grow Up and Rule the World: Not for Wimpy Kids! " is a ferociously funny book about following your ambition to become the greatest evil supervillain imaginable (like Vordak the Incomprehensible). It's hard to tell exactly what twisted minds this charming manual is aimed at, but anyone who picks it up will be unable to resist paging through some of the fabulously inflated superhype with an occasional nugget of actual fact buried in it. Think of a macabre Terry Pratchett (famous British humor/fantasy author) with a Midwestern inflection and a middle-school age mentality (but an adult set of references). You have an inkling of Vordak the Incomprehensible. "How to Grow Up and Rule the World" is irresistible. No matter where you start, middle, beginning, or end, you won't be able to put it down. The black and white comic book illustrations are perfect to round out the plot, which is, quite simply put, to take over the world. A worthy ambition for a non-wimpy kid (or adult). Read, enjoy, and laugh in good health, maybe not where your folks can see you if you are a kid.

Random House/Knopf/Delacorte
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Lurlene McDaniel's HEART TO HEART (9780385734608, $12.99) tells of Elowyn Eden and Kassey Messechek who are best friends. When Elowyn receives a brand-new car from her parents, she gives an extra set of keys to Kassey - but doesn't tell her she checked the organ donor box on her newly acquired license. A shocking accident intersects the lives of three girls in this moving saga. Mary Hershey's LOVE AND POLLYWOGS FROM CAMP CALAMITY (9780385737449, $15.99) tells of Effie Maloney, who has been waiting for St. Dom's special fourth-grade camp for a long time. When her big sister works in the Mess, her perfect camp experience turns into a nightmare - complicated by the fact that Effie has to hide her problems in swimming. Her hilarious camp experience is fun reading in this light leisure novel. Jennifer L. Holm's TURTLE IN PARADISE (9780375836886, $16.99) tells of pre-teen Turtle, who is smart, tough, and sees scarce funds in 1935 where jobs are scarce. So when her mother gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle heads off to Florida to stay with relatives she's never met. A fine story of change and growth emerges. C.K. Kelly Martin's THE LIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE AND DEATH (9780375845888, $16.99) tells of teen Mason Rice, who is gaining fame from a school play and a gorgeous girlfriend. His dreams seem to be coming true, but inside he's filled with angst in this story of complex friendships and his puzzling involvement with an older woman.

c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's ALICE IN CHARGE (9781416975526, $16.99) tells of Alice and her friends, who understand mischief-making but face troubles when an increase in vandalism at Alice's school turns out to be the work of a neo-Nazi group and not a senior prank. Her world changes with this knowledge and the pressures of college applications and romance in this fine addition to the Alice saga. Heather Henson's DREAM OF NIGHT (9781416948995, $15.99) tells of Shiloh and a racehorse's different dreams. A pre-teen foster child and a difficult horse have both suffered abuse: DREAM OF NIGHT brings them together and tells of last chances for each in this moving story of hope, healing and growth.

St. Martin's Press
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

Alyson Noel's DARK FLAME (9780312590970, $17.99) tells of Ever, who is fighting for control of her soul and love - that she's been chasing for centuries. Ever is trying to help Haven make the transition into life as an immortal - but Haven's reckless behaviors threatens their secrets. As Ever delves into dark magick and faces the dangerous results of a spell that backfires, she finds more complicated possibilities in this addition to Novel's Immortals series. Sherrilyn Kenyon's CHRONICLES OF NICK: INFINITY (9780312599072, $17.99) tells of teen Nick, who is streetwise, tough, and sarcastic. When his best friends try to kill him and he's saved by a mysterious warrior, Nick becomes endangered by immortal vampire slayers who will risk anything in their pursuit in this fine fantasy story.

The Last Hunt
Bruce Coville
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
9780545128070, $18.99

THE LAST HUNT is Book IV of the Unicorn Chronicles, and tells of a fine tree called Alexis Mundi, the heart of the world. The tree has been wounded by magic, and unicorns that gather to defend their lives and a human girl sent on a mission to save a dragon make for an involving story with a fine conclusion.

Shelter from the Wind
Marion Dane Bauer
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761456872, $16.99

SHELTER FROM THE WIND tells of a new stepmother who is now pregnant - and Stacy runs away, looking for a place in life. Her discovery of an old woman living with two dogs in a small secluded cabin changes her life in this story of coming of age in Oklahoma. A perfect addition to any library gathering coming of age stories for teens!

Books in Series

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591

32 pages each in the 'Biodiversity' series by Greg Pyers provides young readers with specific keys to biodiversity in different habitats, making for a fine collection. Greg Pyers worked as an educator in zoos and as a schoolteacher before becoming a full-time writer. He's written many kids books and his series offers fine basic discussions, from what is biodiversity and why it's important, to threats to ecosystems from different sources. WOODLANDS (9781608700745, $28.50), RAIN FORESTS (9781608700738, $28.50), POLAR REGIONS (9781608700721, $28.50), DESERTS (9781608700714, $28.50), CORAL REEFS (9781608700707, $28.50) and COASTS (9781608700691, $28.50) all offer habitat-specific books and insights perfect for reports.

The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003 1-800-599-7323

A premier publisher of books-in-series of young readers, one of The Child's World newest offerings is 'Basic Biographies'. This eight title series is specifically designed and written for children preschool through second grade. Featuring a first grade reading level in terms of vocabulary, each 24-page volume comes with a reinforced binding and features both full-color and historical photographs. Available individually ($22.79 List / $15.95 Library), the series features the biographies of Albert Einstein (9781602533387), Barack Obama (9781602533394), Charles Schulz (9781602533400), Helen Keller (9781602533417), Jackie Robinson (9781602533424), Michelle Obama (9781602533431), Rosa Parks (9781602533448), and Thomas Edison (9781602533455). A superbly produced series, this biography series is particularly recommended for school and community library collections and should be obtained as a complete set (9781602533851, $182.32 List / $127.60 Library).

The Adventures of Munford, The Klondike Gold Rush
Jamie Aramini, author
Emily Lefferts, illustrator
Geography Matters
P.O. Box 92, Nancy, KY 42544
9781931397667, $8.95

"The Adventures of Munford, The Klondike Gold Rush" is a Geography Matters adventure reader that takes Munford and his readers "slap into the middle of the Klondike Gold Rush!" Excitement builds as Munford catches gold fever, rides the Whitehorse Rapids, and pans for gold in the great Klondike Gold Rush. Munford is just one molecule, two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen, and all parts water, but he can change from running water to rain, snow, sleet or steam. He can thus be a part of all history's amazing adventures in this imaginative history revisited series for middle school and elementary age students. Although he is only one molecule, he is illustrated as a "drop" of water (which is really many water molecules) for clearer visualization of his character, which is crucial to this waterdrop keyhole peep into history. Also in this highly recommended series for geography/history students is "The Adventures of Munford, The American Revolution," (9781931397674, $8.95).

State Shapes: New Jersey
Erin McHugh, author
Alfred Schrier, illustrator
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
151 W. 19th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781579128203, $9.95

"State Shapes: New Jersey" is the thirteenth book in a series of state-shaped books with covers and pages outlined with (half of) the state's shape, filled with facts and interesting information about the state of New Jersey. Every set of pages features a bottom highlighted question and answer about a special feature of New Jersey. For example, "Where did the word cliffhanger come from? From the Palisades, of course! They were used as a background for gripping scenes in an early silent movie series called 'The Perils of Pauline.' (pp. 12-13)." Other historical and geographical facts and information about new Jersey are presented, with frequent comical illustrations to reiterate background stories. The book is written as a series of questions, part of a dialogue between a kid named Sessalee who just moved to Maplewood from Texas and Edward, the native narrator, an expert on New Jersey! What a fun way to learn facts, traditions, stories, and background about this east coast, Mid Atlantic state. Beginning and ending with a clear, artist's rendition of a map of New Jersey, complete with Interstates 80, 95 and 190, "State Shapes: New Jersey" is the recommended kids' guidebook to a fascinating state with loads of American history included in the package.

Rosen Publishing
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010

"Failed States: Unstable Countries in the 21st Century" (9781435894471, $29.95) by Matthew Bukovic is a Rosen publication in the young adult current events series, "In The News." Using a device called the Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST), data relating to political, economic, and social conditions is collected and analyzed by computer software on 177 countries. CAST was created by Dr. Pauline Baker, president of the Fund for Peace, in 1996. A color coded global map showing recent results of the annual CAST data collection is on page 6 of "Failed States." it divides the countries of the world into four categories, Alert, (red-orange), Warning (light orange), Moderate (yellow), and Sustainable (green). It is of interest that the United States is classified as at Moderate risk by the CAST Failed States Index, whereas Australia, Great Britain, and Canada are classified as Sustainable. After defining what is a failed state, following chapters cover How States Fail, Finding Solutions, The Road to Recovery, and Looking to the Future. Predictions for failed states in the future include Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, among others. In addition to documented definitions and discussion of causes and solutions for failed states, there is a glossary, a section on more information including web sites and other sources of information, suggested further reading, a bibliography, and an index. "Failed States: Unstable Countries in the 21st Century" is a compact guide to systematic analysis of failed states in today's global structures. Also highly recommended for both community and school libraries in this outstanding contemporary issues series for teen readers and young adults are "Rebuilding America's Infrastructure," by Annalise Silvanch (9781435894440, $29.95), "The Great Hope For An Energy Alternative, Laser-Powered Fusion Energy," by Carol Hand (9781435894501, $29.95), "Homelessness In America Today," by Jennifer Bringle (9781435894518, $29.95), Modern-Day Piracy," by Jason Porter field (9781435894464, $29.95), "The U.S. Auto Industry: American Carmakers and the Economic Crisis," by Jeri Freedman (9781435894488, $29.95), and "Bailout! Government Intervention in Business," by Bethany Bezdecheck (9781435894495, $29.95).

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

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