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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 23, Number 8 August 2013 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Environmental Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Sports Shelf
American History Shelf World History Shelf Board Book Shelf
ABC Shelf Picturebook Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Activity Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Fiction Shelf
Native American Shelf Christian Shelf Holocaust Studies Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

A Little Book About Feelings
Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, et al.
The Mother Company
11759 San Vicente Blvd #2
Los Angeles, CA 90049
9780615533735, $12.95,

Written specifically by screenplay authors Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, Abbie Schiller and Ruby Vanderzee to help children ages 2-7 more fully understand their complex feelings and emotions, "A Little Book About Feelings" (from the award winning "Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show") encourages children to identify, pursue and express their feelings. Using imaginative color photos of 3-dimensional stuffed toys and accessories, the persuasive narrative is both in character's speaking balloons and lines at the page bottoms. An example of the text message is on a helpful page, which states "Feelings are clues to help you understand what you need and who you are." Soft, felt toy photos and gentle pastel block photos of different characters displaying different feelings help youngsters identify, explore, and express their own unique feelings. Children are thus empowered to further accept the feelings of others, a basis of true communication. Further Ruby's Studio DVDs, downloads, music, books, and apps are available at, an address dedicated to "helping parents raise good people."

Don't Be a Chicken
Binks, author
Ruby Begonia, illustrator
Lost Coast Press
155 Cypress Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
9781935448228, $15.95,

"Don't Be a Chicken" is a charming story about Gander, the foster gosling who is reared by a loving chicken mother named Hennie. Needless to say, there are some surprises and adjustments in store for loving foster mother Hennie as she watches her biggest baby develop big, webbed feet that look like paddles. Although the other chickens try to understand Gander and his strange ways, they quickly retreat from some of his strange, incomprehensible behaviors, swimming in puddles and looking at the night sky. But there are advantages in being different, Gander finds, when he is able to scare away the farm dog who is scaring the chickens. Gander's wings grow so large that he is able to fly, and this also frightens the chickens. Eventually Gander is practicing to strengthen his wings so he can fly south for the winter, something that the chickens will never understand or be able to share. But Hennie gives her beloved, different foster son a memorable farewell: "Have a safe flight, dear...You have made life so exciting for us. Before you go, can you tell me, please, how I can make my life more like yours?" As he lifts off, Gander responds: "That's easy. Don't be a chicken!" The delightful crayoned illustrations complement the story of "Don't Be A Chicken!" ideally. A further bonus at book's end is a recipe for A Kid-friendly Omelet with simple instruction that include "an adult to help you" as the first ingredient. "Don't Be a Chicken!" is all about thinking beyond the box for kids, and coincidentally about always being brave enough to be yourself, no matter how different that may be. All proceeds from the first printing of "Don't Be a Chicken!" will be donated to the Candalaria Elementary School library, plus a portion of further proceeds will go to Polk County 4H.

A Different Little Doggy
Heather Whittaker, author
Scott Alberts, illustrator
Pen - Tech Professional LLC
P.O. Box 67, Greenville, WI 54942
9780982096222, $9.99,

"A Different Little Doggy" is the heartwarming story about a Miniature Pinscher named Taz, a doggy who never loses cheer. Taz is small and different from other dogs in many ways, but she lives her life fully and enjoys it deeply. Taz encounters health obstacles, including joint replacement parts and loss of vision, but she cheerfully continues to work her way through life with special care and assistance. The bouncy verse narrative conveys a sense of Taz's optimism, and the story encourages children to see beyond differences, accepting them. Lively color illustrations present Taz in all her different glory, along with a gaggle of other dogs, all of whom look very different from Taz. This heartwarming dog story is ideal for children ages 4-7.

The Social Issues Shelf

The Story of Nastyman
Kim & Joe Linder, author and artist
Balboa Press/Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452561516, $15.99,

"The Story of Nastyman" is described aptly as an illustrated self help manual for children who may deal with bullying or other antisocial behaviors. It is a fine and imaginative survival kit and guidance manual for kids. Deeply emotional images present difficult personality interactions and familiar, difficult social situations, with some fresh new suggestions for peacekeeping and befriending goals as well as defusing tactics and interaction patterns. A mythic setting presents Nastyman as sort of an Everybully figure, filled with hate and fear and negative feelings. In the end, instead of being vanquished or destroyed, Nastyman is given a great gift of laughter and happiness by Spirit, and he transforms to Happyman. "The Story of Nastyman" has definite elements of the scary, but it also presents keys to new understanding and empowerment to individuals confronted with bullying and other negative behaviors.

The Environmental Shelf

Charley Harper's What's in the Woods?
Charley Harper, illustrator
Zoe Burke, author
Pomegranate Kids
19018 NE Portal Way, Portland, OR 97230
9780764964534, $14.95,

"Charley Harper's What's In the Woods?: A Nature Discovery Book" is a composition of refined artistic impressions/interpretations of flora and fauna frequently observed in northwestern woodlands. Each page illustration of a bird, plant, or animal is accompanied by an inviting verse narrative that names the creature or plant under study. At the end of the book is a dazzling two page foldout illustration incorporating 32 of the previously observed species, with accompanying diagram and key. This is the first book in a series of Charley Harper Nature Discovery Books, which will offer a tremendous artistic and nature observation education to audiences of multiple ages. The artist's paintings are graceful studies in compression and simplification of line and design, presenting the essence of the object, plan or animal under study. This is a dazzling and fun book for children age 6 and up, which adults will also find appealing.

The Cookbook Shelf

Young Chefs
Christina Dymock
Front Table Books
c/o Cedar Fort, Inc.
2373 West 700 South
Springville, Utah 84663
9781462111954 $16.99

Also available as an ebook, Young Chefs is a user-friendly cookbook especially for children. The recipes are presented in plain terms, with enumerated step-by-step instructions; each recipe has a note at top that warns whether adult help will be needed, and if so for what (working a can opener, using the oven, cutting with a knife, and so on). General cooking and safety tips help teach aspiring young chefs the basics of food preparation. "When you first open the oven, count to three before leaning over to pull the food out. This will allow the burst of hot air to pass and you won't feel it on your face or in your eyes." Sample recipes include "Baked Pumpkin Donuts", "Salmon Burgers", "Broccoli and Cauliflower", "Banana Tacos", "Fried Pears", and much more. Highly recommended, both as a teaching resource and as a repository of simple yet tasty culinary creations the whole family can enjoy!

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears
Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff, authors
Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585367986, $16.99,

"Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears" is a magnificent true story of a valiant effort to correct terrible abuse visited upon China's special moon bears, who are caught, cruelly caged, and used for their bear bile. The author has received multiple international awards for her work in exposing, condemning and correcting this systematic animal exploitation and abuse. With help from many others, she founded the Moon Bear Rescue Centre and Animals Asia, to have a rehabilitation facility to accept, treat, heal and shelter the terribly abused captured moon bears of China. "Jasper's Story" tells the amazing story of one special bear who responds well to all the care and healing sanctuary of the Moon Bear Rescue Centre. Despite terrible abuse, Jasper recovers and learns to live a more normal bear life, taking on the role of helper bear to new bear admissions. "Jasper's Story" is a story of both horrible abuse and strength, recovery and forgiveness. Beautifully illustrated by accurate paintings of moon bears both in confinement and later in rehabilitation, "Jasper's Story" is a true tale of survival and endurance, an inspirational, educational story for both children and adults.

The Tapir Scientist
Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547815480, $18.99,

Kids with good reading skills in grades 4-6 will find THE TAPIR SCIENTIST; SAVING SOUTH AMERICA'S LARGEST MAMMAL to be a fine true story of field scientist Pati and her team, who are determined to save the tapir and preserve Brazil's large freshwater wetland The Pantanal (which is like the Everglades, only more so) from destruction. Her mission involves monitoring, travel, and living in primitive conditions to track and record the tapir and discover its natural history secrets, and young readers are invited to join the expedition and the experience in this engrossing survey, recommended for any interested in unusual animals and animal conservation.

The Sports Shelf

Pitching For The Stars
Jerry Craft & Kathleen Sullivan
Texas Tech University Press
PO Box 41037, Lubbock, TX 79409-1037
9780896727878, $18.95,

"Pitching for the Stars: My Seasons Across the Color Line" is the personal story of Jerry Craft's career playing for the semipro team called the Cichita Falls Graham Stars as a pitcher for $75.00 a game. The Stars were a black team in an era of segregation in professional sports. What was unique was that Craft was white and basically crossed a color barrier in playing. Deftly written with the assistance of Kathleen Sullivan for young readers, "Pitching for the Stars: My Seasons Across the Color Line" is a welcome and valued addition to the growing body of literature regarding the history of American baseball.

The American History Shelf

Just Add Water
Renee Kreczmer
Lake Claremont Press
c/o Everything Goes Media
P.O. Box 1524
Milwaukee, WI 53201
9781893121645 $12.95

Illustrated with full-color photography throughout, Just Add Water: Making the City of Chicago teaches young adults about the history of Chicago's founding through stories, clues, and questions, challenging "Did you figure it out?" after every riddle involving Chicago's past. From the fascinating George Pullman, a millionaire who ruled his company town with an iron fist (he wanted to solve the problems of labor unrest and poverty, and he was a major job creator for African-Americans, yet the he prohibited independent newspapers, town meetings, or open discussion in his company town), to the toll of devastating fires (especially the Great Chicago Fire of 1871) to the spectacular World's Fair, Just Add Water hits the highlights while encouraging young readers to think about what they have learned. An in-book quiz to "collect stars" to test one's Chicago history knowledge and an easy-to-use index round out this excellent addition to public and grade school library American History collections for young adults.

The World History Shelf

Explore!: The Most Dangerous Journeys of All Time
Deborah Kespert, author
Thames & Hudson
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500650134, $17.95,

"Explore!: The Most Dangerous Journeys of All Time" is a brilliantly photo-illustrated summary of historical, challenging exploration journeys made throughout the world from past centuries to the present day. Written for avid readers age 7 and up, "Explore!' presents brief summaries of over 20 earth-enlarging explorations in sidelined news article format. Explorations are grouped into categories of polar, ocean, land, desert, sky, and new frontiers. A historical timeline shows a color-coded (according to location category) timeline with over 60 expeditions shown and briefly described. Richly illustrated with color photos, paintings, drawings, and other ephemera, "Explore!" is sure to stimulate the geographical interests of elementary and older students. The final section, New Frontiers, covers the 1969 flight to the moon. A hard driving factual format provides an exciting approach to learning more about great exploration expeditions in recent and remote known history. Explorers, both make and female, are presented as practical, yet daring individuals who plan for the challenges expected in the adventure.

The Board Book Shelf

Wolf Babies!
Lisa and Mike Husar, photographers
Farcountry Press
P.O. Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604
9781560375661, $8.95,

"Wolf Babies!" is a delightful board book for young children filled with astonishing color photos of wolf cubs at play in wild settings. Narrated by lilting versed descriptions of daily wolf cub activities, "Wolf Babies!" is ideal natural educational material for young children, with a clear bent towards conservationism. Also very highly recommended is another board book title from this series, "Cascade Babies!", showcasing beautiful color photos of 13 different baby animals from the Cascade Mountain range (9781560373308, $8.95).

The ABC Shelf

Tommy Saal's ABC of Auto Racing History
Tommy Saal, author
Racemaker Press
39 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116
9781935240044, $25.00,

"Tommy Saal's ABC of Auto Racing History: Book And B for Little (and Big) Boys and Girls" is designed to be an expanding alphabet auto history book for both younger and older children, actually 2 books in one. Book A for the younger child presents the alphabet with brief appropriate accompanying race history trivia in a colorful page illustration for each letter. For example, there is "D is for Daytona, Where They Raced On the Sand." When flipped over, the book is Book B for Big Boys & Girls, and D is for Daytona is expanded to a photo-illustrated two page article about the history of car racing at Daytona Beach in Florida. Thus the "ABC of Auto Racing History" is both educational and multi-leveled, with a mission of informing and exciting children about the exciting history of auto racing, while encouraging and reinforcing basic literacy.

The Picturebook Shelf

Read Me a Story, Stella
Marie-Louise Gay, author/illustrator
Groundwood Books
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554982165, $16.95,

"Read Me a Story, Stella" is another favorite collage of sunny watercolors and warm tales of the adventures of Stella and Sam, which include reading in all settings and styles. Stella loves to read. Sam likes to explore and have adventures. Stella assists him in building a doghouse, flying a kite, taking a picnic to the pond, and getting ready to sleep with Fred, his dog and best friend, nearby. This lovely preschoolers' story is both enchanting and evocative, alluding to the wondrous delights of reading in all areas, shapes, and sizes. Stella and Sam are part of a multi award winning series of books for children by this uniquely talented, imaginative artist and author.

Circle and Square
Sally O. Lee, author/illustrator
Sally Lee Books
35 Locust Street, Unit 5, Danvers, MA 01923
9781482676853, $9.99,

"Circle and Square" is a fresh, creative take on accepting, exploring, and understanding individual differences. The pen and ink and water color illustrations are a big part of the story. A dialogue between an orange square and a green circle emerges, with frank questions asked and answered ("Are you a square even at bathtime? Still a square, bubbles and all."). "Circle and Square" integrates healthy curiosity into the process of accepting and enjoying differences, which is a great way of promoting tolerance. A teasing, spunky tone takes this book's message to a deeper level for both kids and adults.

Pee-Pee Harley and the Bandit!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Donny Crank, illustrator
Castle Keep Press
c/o James A. Rock & Company Publishers
900 South Irby Street, #508
Florence, South Carolina 29501
9781596638662, $12.95,

"Pee-Pee Harley and the Bandit!" is exactly the kind of irreverent, addictive, rhyming, anti-heroic comic tale that elementary readers adore. Pee-Pee Harley is a slightly socially unacceptable dog with the inconvenient and embarrassing habit of peeing on everything and everyone. Consequently, Pee-Pee and his owner Mrs. Stark have grave difficulty finding or keeping friends in their daily walks in the park. Yet, proving that even the most embarrassing anti hero can rise to the occasion, Pee-Pee tackles the problem of finding the park's mysterious bandit, stealer of picnics of food and trinkets and treasures. What is most believable of all is the final scene, where park goers gather to award the lowly Pee-Pee with his hero's crown, wearing rubber boots! The insouciant tone, the limerick rhymes, the irrepressible humor of the color cartoon illustrations, all these make "Pee-Pee Harley and the Bandit!" a sure hit with readers age 5 and up.

He's Been a Monster All Day!
Denise Brennan-Nelson, author
Cyd Moore, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
978158368273, $14.99,

"He's Been a Monster All Day!" is a delightful story about a boy whose mother has reached the limits of her patience with his monstrous ways. She complains to his father in his hearing that "He's been a monster all day!" This inspires a fantastic monster self exploration adventure for the boy that really does sound like fun if you don't mind a little mud, worms and grime. The boy's faithful companion on every page is his very own monster pet, from under his bed, a friend in all situations! Finally the boy monster drops off to sleep, hoping his mother will somehow find something to love in such a monstrous boy, when he hears his father declare, hearteningly, "He isn't a monster, he takes after me!" Spunky rhymes and zany monster illustrations bedeck this delightful bedtime tale for children age 3 and up.

Gus, the Dinosaur Bus
Julia Liu, author
Bei Lynn, illustrator
Houghton Miflin Books for Children
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547905730, $12.99,

Some lucky children in the city get to ride "Gus the Dinosaur Bus" to school every day! If they live in upstairs apartments, they can jump out the window and slide down his long, green neck. Dinosaur traffic interaction problems are a definite worry, however, and the city takes strategic precautions. "He has been known to knock down a traffic light or two," for example. Finally the principal is forced to pull Gus off the road because of mounting tickets and repair bills. Gus is so sad he cries giant tears with guess what amazing results? Gus creates a dinosaur tear swimming pool for the school children, and he becomes their favorite ride, the dinosaur slide! Wonderful watercolor and pencil illustrations portray Gus and his favorite passengers in enchanting portraits with dollops of artistic humor to spare. "Gus the Dinosaur Bus" is ideal for children ages 4-7 who are experiencing their first education years.

Someone's Sleepy
Deborah Lee Rose, author
Dan Andreasen, illustrator
Amulet Books
c/o Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419705397, $16.95,

"Someone's Sleepy" is a multi-sensory literary lullaby experience for young children. Written as a lulling, soothing, sleepytime rhyming story, the lyrics of "Someone's Sleepy" have been set to music as a lullaby and recorded separately by Tom Chapin. "Someone's Sleepy is doubly enhanced by the tender graphite, ink and digital illustrations in enhanced, cross-hatched pastels, portraying yawning, sleepy pets, toys, and even favorite wall pictures. If ever a bedtime story could charm a toddler to sleep, this beloved treasure is the starred choice.

Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School
Neville Astley & Mark Baker, authors
Based on the TV series Peppa Pig, digitally illustrated
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763665258, $12.99,

"Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School" is a charming, digitally illustrated story about Talent Day at school and other fun activities. Based on an award winning British TV series created in 2004 by Neville Astley, Mark Baker, and Phil Davies, "Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School" is the third Peppa book released by this creative team. Ideal for children at levels pre-K and up, "Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School" uses delightfully different animal characters to teach learning and diversity, creativity and cooperation, and all manner of academic and pre academic skills such as counting and learning the alphabet. Peppa is afraid she will not have a unique talent to share on Talent Day, but sure enough, she finds her special niche. Learning was never so much fun, or so colorfully orchestrated as in this charming and delightful book, "Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School."

Boom! Big, Big Thunder & One Small Dog
Mary Lyn Ray, author
Steven Salerno, illustrator
Hyperion Books
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423162384, $16.99,

"Boom!" is the story of Rosie, a very brave small dog who is frightened of thunder. Despite Rosie's bravery in the face of sirens, tigers, shadows, or vacuum cleaners, nothing her boy owner can do comforts her when she hears booming thunder. She tries to hide in a safe place from the sky's scary thunder, but nothing can save her. Finally the boy, who was just a little frightened of the thunder as well, comforts Rosie by curling up, holding her tight in his room, and waiting for the thunder to "tire." After many scary sound effects, Rosie and the boy heard the calm and stillness that comes after a thunderstorm. Rosie bravely barks again at the stillness. "Boom!" is told in catchy verse and narrative pictures, with amazing thunder replicas in both word and image. Children age 4 and up will enjoy participating in the reading of "Boom!" with a loving adult.

Noisy Frog Sing-Along
John Himmelmen, author/illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Road
Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584693390, $16.95,

"Noisy Frog Sing-Along" uses imaginative text and beautifully accurate color illustrations to showcase the singing styles and appearance of members of 12 frog species. Appealing to children ages 4-9, "Noisy Frog Sing-Along" encourages children to imitate the different sounds made by frogs, from "peep-peep-peep" of the peepers to "jug-o-rum, jug-o-rum" of the bullfrogs. Only the dark, lovely blue and yellow spotted salamander does not sing, because he has no throat pouch. After 12 stunning portraits of different species accompanied by their distinctive sounds, a final page sums up all the frog songs together in amazing rainbow text, a cacophony of frogs! A few final pages include individual descriptions of the 12 species described, plus suggested related activities. "Noisy Frog Sing-Along" is a wonderful opportunity to encourage children to imitate different sounds and learn about frogs and nature.

Three Little Kittens
Paul Galdone
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547994802, $26.99,

THREE LITTLE KITTENS appears in a regular-sized and big-book paperback format and provides lovely, fun drawings by Paul Galdone to accompany the classic rhyme. It's the big-book format which is reviewed here: while too oversized to handily fit many a library holding, it provides an eye-catching winner for any parent looking for read-alouds and huge color drawings, and provides some fun and whimsical moments for this group. It's refreshing to see a format that is truly different; the big book format appeals and will attract young listeners with easy, large-size illustrations and writing!

Little Owl's Orange Scarf
Ttyana Feeney
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
97804497814116, $16.99,

Little Owl's Orange Scarf tells of a little owl that loves many things - but not his new scarf, which is too itchy, too long, and too orange. He decides to lose it - the trouble is, his clever mother is too good at finding it - until one day even she can't find the scarf. A fine story of a little owl's realization of what the scarf really means makes for a lovely picturebook saga recommended for any collection appealing to new readers and parents seeking read-alouds.

Viking Putnam
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor
New York, NY 10014

Divya Srinivasan's OCTOPUS ALONE (9780670785155, $16.99) tells of Octopus, who lives living on the reef and who observes all kinds of fish swimming by. She loves to play with some of them but other times just wants to be alone, somewhere quiet. So one day she swims beyond the reef and finds another cove, where she can enjoy solitude. In this busy world, OCTOPUS ALONE lets children know it's ok to find a safe and quiet place - and to face the unknown. Deborah Freedman's THE STORY OF FISH & SNAIL (9780670784899, $16.99) tells of Snail, who waits every day for Fish to bring home a new story. Today Fish's new story is too good to be told: it must be showed - but that would mean leaving their familiar world. Snail resists and fish thinks less of her: is the world - and this book - too small for enemies? A whimsical story evolves. Both are different, appealing picture book tales for kids.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999

Allen Say's THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER (9780545176620, $17.99) tells of Yuriko, who has always been happy with her name and has loved to make art. But when a new art teacher calls her "Eureka" by mistake, the other kids laugh at her - and she stops doing what she used to love. It's her father who helps Yuriko find her way back in this fine story of a father/daughter relationship. Bethanie Deeney Murguia's ZOE'S ROOM (NO SISTERS ALLOWED)(9780545457811, $16.99) tells of Zoe, Queen of the Universe, and her sister - and what happens to them when the Queen has to share a room with her little sister. Any fan of the prior Zoe Gets Ready will relish this fine story of two sisters and their uncertain relationship. Mark Teague's THE THREE LITTLE PIGS AND THE SOMEWHAT BAD WOLF (9780439915014, $16.99) takes the classic tale and re-writes it with new twists. Add sody-pop, potato chips and a wolf who is "very hungry and somewhat bad" and you have a fun scenario perfect for read-aloud whimsy. Eva Moore's LUCKY DUCKLINGS (9780439448611, $16.99) offers fine drawings by Nancy Carpenter as it provides a true rescue story of a mother duck who brings her ducklings out of the pond, across a parking lot and into civilization. Can they be rescued? It takes a village in this fine story, recommended for read-aloud or self-reading alike. Dawn McNiff's MOMMY'S LITTLE MONSTER (9780545480574, $16.99) tells of Mommy Troll, who is going to a party, and Mrs. Hag, who is called upon to babysit a tiny troll who resents the idea that he's a baby. He's a little monster having a big tantrum that nothing can stop - until his sitter comes up with new ideas. Kate Willis-Crowley's drawings are whimsical and fun additions to a fine story. Eric Carle's pictures grace THE LAMB AND THE BUTTERFLY (9780545443265, $17.99), a fine story by Arnold Sundgaard that tells the easy, gentle story of what happens when a lamb and a butterfly encounter each other in a meadow. The lovely drawings and rhythmic text lend to a format that very young readers will be drawn to, with Carle's collages supplementing a fun story line. Lori Haskins Houran's I WILL KEEP YOU SAFE AND SOUND (9780545197519, $16.99) is a lovely blend of wildlife story and account of how mothers protect their young, pairing lovely color drawings by Petra Brown with a gentle account of nesting animals. Bunnies, birds, kittens and more all receive gentle love in this fine and very simple reader. All are picks any picturebook collection will relish.

The Bilingual Shelf

Pink Fire Trucks/Los camiones de bomberos de color rosado
Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri, author
Lina Safar, illustrator
Liliana Cosentino, translator
Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601311450, $16.95,

"Pink Fire Trucks" is a bilingual, English-Spanish story to inspire girls of all ages to dare to dream big, speaking vocationally. When Career Day comes to school, Gladys draws what she wants to become, a fire girl. A boy named Rudy tells her she can't be a fire girl, only boys can become firemen. Gladys is tempted to pretend to become invisible. But another girl friend inspires her by saying, "Girls can do whatever boys can do." Gladys envisions a pink fire truck. Later the children visit a fire station and are given a tour by Captain Beth, a woman firefighter. Although there is no pink fire engine, Gladys is encouraged. Later, when the boy (Rudy) who teased Gladys about not being a fireman has an accident on his bike on the sidewalk in front of her house, Gladys takes her medic rescue kit and takes care of Rudy's scraped knee, comforting him and promising not to tell that he had cried. Rudy finally concludes: "You know, perhaps having a girl firefighter isn't so bad after all." "Pink Fire Trucks" is narrated in both English and Spanish for children ages 5-11, and contains Spanish words, sayings and a song embedded in the English text. Spunky, colorful illustrations show portraits of active, intelligent, capable young girls of multiple tonicities, successfully engaging in a variety of vocational activities. "Pink Fire Trucks" is a great resource for encouraging children to think beyond gender stereotypes.

Naming the Tiger/ Llamamos el tigre
Carol McLernon, author
Javier Duarter, illustrator
Jeanine Kopecky, Spanish translator
Mirror Publishing Company
6434 W Dixon Street, Milwaukee, WI 53214
9781612251288, $9.99,

"Naming the Tiger/Lamamos el tigre" is a charming bilingual story of a little gray who follows some children home. Unfortunately, Padre is initially uncharmed by el tigre, but all the children agree to a pre adoption task of naming the tiger. This delightful adventure story unfolds in clever verse narrative that is written first in English, black letters, and second in Spanish, red letters, with helpful repetitions. Comic style colored illustrations help complete the story as the children seek just the right name for the cat, a name which describes what he does that is unique. Thus unfolds a gently told story of the gradual enchantment of Padre by little Laptop, the gray kitty who will be adopted by a family who loves him! "Naming the Tiger" appeals to children ages 5 and up, with dual language teaching application.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire
Tiffany Turner, author
Rich Wallace, cover art and illustrations
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466981324, $12.19,

"The Lost Secret of Dragonfire" is the Crystal Keeper Chronicles Book 3, a popular middle grade series fantasy adventure novel. Dragons and fairies recur in this dangerous and magical world, which Wanda inhabits while seeking to find and free her fellow Crystal keeper, Edina. She locks wits and weapons with the evil Balkazar once more, but will time travel interfere with her brave rescue plans and further foil the fairies? Hidden traps and tricks and puzzles abound in this intriguing middle grade fantasy series designed to be devoured by readers ages 8-12. The fast moving action of this chapter book is hypnotic, and the black and white secret dragon illustrations keep reader attention tightly focused and on point. Many strong lessons of endurance, loyalty, support of friends and family, and truth telling are seamlessly woven into the story line. It should also be noted that "The Lost Secret of Dragon Fire" is also available in hardcover (9781466981348, $22.19), and Kindle (9781466981331, $3.99) editions.

Blueberry Bubble Gum
Mahamad Ali ElFakir, author
Victor Guiza, illustrator
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd. #515
Parker, CO 80134
9780578109749, $11.95,

"Blueberry Bubble Gum" is an intriguing morality tale disguised as a fantasy adventure. Max is a normal boy in second grade who wants to be the best baseball player on the team this summer. The only problem is he doesn't care about following rules, and he is liable to tell untruths about his behavior. Max is introduced to a bag of blueberry gum balls by his father, but he is told not to chew them. During a night's rest, he is unable to resist the blueberry bubble gum, and he lies to his mother after he decides to chew some of the wonderful smelling gum. Then adventures begin for Max, and he finds there will be a test he must pass to return home from Blueberry Bubble Gum World. Max encounters temptation, wise counsel, friends and enemies in his experiences in Blueberry Bubble Gum World, and finally he is safely returned home in a blueberry cloud, where he awakens a changed boy, one who will always follow the rules and also accept responsibility to teach others to do the same. "Blueberry Bubble Gum" is enhanced by dark colored illustrations of the slightly sinister Blueberry Bubble Gum World, and will be eagerly enjoyed by middle grade readers ages 7-11.

Atom & Eve
Jeff Yager
Hannacroix Creek Books
1127 High Ridge Road, #110
Stamford, CT 06905
9781938998362 $29.95

Although Atom & Eve is a science fiction novel written especially for young adults, readers of all ages will find it engaging and thought-provoking. When a flu pandemic leaves mass graves in its wake, humanity's only hope may lie in a special designer drug to cure and prevent the lethal disease. But this miracle drug has a startling side effect... it makes men more like women, and women more like men! Gender-bending developments push human society and evolution to the brink of radical transformation in this extraordinary, well-written, and succinctly presented "what-if" story. Highly recommended.

The Twice Lost
Sarah Porter
Harcourt Books
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547482521, $16.99,

THE TWICE LOST tells of a war which breaks out between mermaids and humans under San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and closes the 'Lost Voices' trilogy about teen-turned-mermaid Luce. Luce has discovered hundreds of mermaids living in exile in the bay: the Twice Lost, once-human girls lost when they changed, then lost again when they broke mermaid law and were rejected. Luce is their new leader, but it's in a war setting that will change the world in this riveting fantasy saga.

P.J. Hoover
Tor Teen
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765334695, $17.99,

SOLSTICE documents a global warming crisis that is threatening human survival on Earth even as Piper endures the suffocating rule of her mother. When her mother is called away on Piper's 18th birthday, Piper flees and discovers a universe inhabited by gods and monsters - also in crisis. Can she uncover a secret that is linked to her own existence, that might change both worlds for the better? Mythology and a powerful end-of-world novel combine in a vivid story young adults will relish.

The Activity Shelf

Summer Fit Learning
PO Box 520126
Salt Lake City, Utah 84152

Summer Fit workbooks and online resources are part of an ongoing initiative to keep children mentally and physically active while away from school using a unique, active and values-based approach to summer learning. Summer Fit Learning is made up of parents, teachers, trainers and athletes committed to preparing children mentally, physically and socially for challenges inside and outside the classroom. Summer Fit has an outstanding series of nine Summer Fit Workbooks each one of which is targeted to particular grade levels: P-K; K-1; 1-2; 2-3; 3-4; 4-5; 5-6; 6-7; and 7-8. Each of these workbooks is packed from cover to cover with 'kid friendly' educational games and exercises. The spectrum of subject matter ranges from math, reading and language arts, to fitness, nutrition, and values. Each workbook is $12.95 and especially recommended for both public and private Summer School curriculum supplements, as well as year round educational workbooks for use by home-schooled students.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Fairy Tale Comics
Chris Duffy, editor
Roaring Brook Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781596438231, $19.99,

"Fairy Tale Comics" is a fantastic collection of 18 famous cartoonists' illustrated adaptation of well known fairy tales, a companion book to the famous "Nursery Rhyme Comics" by the same publisher. Here we have The Boy Who Drew Cats, adapted by Luke Pearson, Puss in Boots adapted by Vanessa Davis, Snow White adapted Jamie Hernandez, and Jillian Tamaki's adaptation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, plus many more. Every fairy tale is told in comic book style with succeeding colored comic picture frames and inset narrative. What a way to tempt young readers to read the classics! A standout favorite of this reviewer is Rabbit Will Not Help, adapted by Joseph Lambert, using a wry, sparse, comic style to tell a story with a witty, hidden moral or two. "Fairy Tale Comics" is sure to become a classic, enjoyed and treasured by children (and adults) 7 and up in coming decades.

Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers
Dav Pilkey
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545175364, $9.99,

Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers pairs a black and white large-size graphic novel cartoon format with another captivating Captain Underpants story - this one revolving around a time travel snafu that leads Captain Underpants to not be created, leaving heroes George and Harold stranded as evil zombie nerds. They've changed the course of history - do they have the power to change it back? A fine saga emerges, specially recommended for prior Captain Underpants fans.

The Music CD Shelf

Gratitude Attitude
Recess Music
Big Round Records LLC
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Part of the educational "Best Foot Forward" series of children's music CDs, Gratitude Attitude is packed with children's songs that have important messages and morals, particularly with regard to politness and etiquette. Parent's Choice Gold Award-winning children's band Recess Music bridge the gap between entertainment and educational, in this fast-paced and funny collection ideal for young people ages 4-11. Highly recommended as a family-friendly gift, or for public library children's music collections! The tracks are "I'm Glad You're Here" (3:13), "Gratitude" (3:58), "In My Family's House" (3:07), "There's a Pea on my Plate" (3:06), "Love You a Million" (2:48), "Thank You Letters" (2:16), "Only Take What You Need" (2:19), "The Table Manners Polka" (3:57), "Grateful" (3:30), "Every Little Bit of You" (3:19), "Thank You World" (3:29), "Use a Napkin (Not Your Mom)" (2:57), "Circle of Friends" (1:27), "Thank You" (3:26), and "Best Foot Forward" (3:07).

The DVD Shelf

Puffer Learns About Ceramics
Written by Pam Stephens
Animated by Jim McNeill
Crystal Productions
1812 Johns Drive
Glenview, IL 60025-1581
9781562907112 $29.95

Part of the "Dropping in on..." series of art education DVDs for viewers of all ages, Puffer Learns About Ceramics explores the history and processes behind ceramic art, from wheel-thrown functional pottery to decorative and nonutilitarian creations. The delightful animated characters of Puffer the avian reporter and his artist friend Polly act as guides; their animated sequences interleave with vivid examples of ceramic art. A teacher's guide with discussion questions and suggested art activities rounds out this excellent educational DVD, highly recommended for public and school library collections. A companion hardcover book is also available, "Puffer Learns About Ceramics" ($15.95, CP5268); the DVD and book can be obtained as a set ($41.00, CP5269).

The Magic School Bus: Revving Up
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999

Recommended for children ages 4-10, The Magic School Bus: Revving Up is a 3-DVD set the Emmy award-winning, educational animated children's show, based on the popular books. Each episode teaches young viewers about a different principle or thing, such as "engines", "electricity", "city critters", or "desert adaptation". Colorful, lively, and celebrating the joys of discovering and learning new things, The Magic School Bus: Revving Up makes an excellent gift for families with young children, and is a choice pick for public and early grade school library children's collections. The episodes presented are "Revving Up", "Under Construction", "Gets Programmed", "Hops Home", "Getting Energized", "Gets Charged", "A Bright Idea", "In the Haunted House", "In the City", "Cracks a Yolk", "All Dried Up", and "Ants in Its Pants". 3 DVDs, 5 hours plus extras, English and Spanish languages. Also highly recommended is the latest DVD in the series, "The Magic School Bus: In a Pickle" (0545627141, $12.95, 78 min. plus extras, English and Spanish languages), featuring the episodes "In a Pickle", "Meets Molly Cule", "Makes a Stink", and "The Magic School Bus Meets The Rot Squad".

I Want My Hat Back
Jon Klassen, author
Narration by Daniel Pinkwater
Music by Scotty Huff
Animation by Galen Fott
Weston Woods
c/o Scholastic
90 Old Sherman Turnpike
Danbury, CT 06816
0545571510 $59.95

Ideal for young viewers ages 4-8, I Want My Hat Back is the DVD adaptation of the award-winning children's picturebook by author Jon Klassen. Bear has lost his hat, and none of the other animals have seen it - but the right question from a friendly deer just might trigger Bear's buried memory of his favorite headpiece! Simple animation and charming music bring this delightful story to life, and an interview with Klassen rounds out this brief yet excellent DVD particularly suitable for homeroom viewing and elementary school DVD collections. Highly recommended! 9 min, optional English subtitles.

Angelina Ballerina: Musical Medleys
Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distribution)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Angelina Ballerina: Musical Medleys is the latest in a computer-animated song-and-dance themed children's DVD series ideal for young girls, featuring the dainty mouse and aspiring ballerina Angelina. When Angelina and her friends plan to welcome the stars of "Mousical the Musical", one problem after another seems to go wrong! But the show must go on, and performances are meant to be enjoyed in this delightful, family-friendly adventure. Bonus features include a "Dancing Star Memory Game" and a karaoke music video. 62 min., English/Spanish/French languages, widescreen, closed-captioned.

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

Available as a DVD, digital download, or Video on Demand, Imagine with Barney is a live-action children's DVD of four episodes in which the lovable purple dinosaur Barney and his friends discover the wondrous power of imagination, especially when shared as a team. From exploring a tropical island to building their own bus, the dinos encourage very young viewers to enjoy their exciting fantasy adventures. The episodes are "Imagine That!", "Seeing", "Let Your Creativity Fly!" and "Let's Go for a Ride!", and bonus features include an "Imagination Vacation Game" and two karaoke music videos. Imagine with Barney is wholesome entertainment and makes a great birthday gift or party entertainment for little ones. 88 min., English/Spanish languages, full screen, closed-captioned.

The Fiction Shelf

Falcon in the Glass
Susan Fletcher
McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, NY, NY 10020
9781442429901, $16.99,

Set in 1487 Venice, Falcon in the Glass tells of Renzo, who dreams of becoming the greatest glass-maker in Venice until his father is killed. Now he's a drudge in a glassworks with no opportunities to prove his skills or achieve his dreams - unless he can pass a difficult test. When he discovers a girl hiding in the glassworks - one of the bird children outcasts - he may have his answer; but only if they can work together. And when a greater group of children accused of being witches become involved, Renzo finds himself tasked with more than just learning his trade in a fine story of struggle and achievement.

The Adventures of Jo Schmo: Shifty Business
Greg Trine
Harcourt Books
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547807966, $12.99,

The Adventures of Jo Schmo: Shifty Business provides large-size black and white drawings by Frank W. Dormer as it charts the adventures of a fourth grade superhero, Jo Schmo, and her drooling dog Raymond. A cast of unlikely and odd characters evolves as Jo keeps the streets of San Francisco safe from bad guys and faces a crime wave that challenges her just as she's learning her new superhero skills. Can Jo save the day while still learning? A fine story evolves, recommended for any with elementary reading skills in grades 3-4.

Brianna on the Brink
Nicole McInnes
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823427413, $16.95,

BRIANNA ON THE BRINK tells of a teen who joins the cheerleading squad - and finds herself instantly popular despite her social background. Heady with success, Brianna finds a one-night stand changes her life and teaches her not only the meaning of family, choice, and consequences, but the impact of popularity and trying to fit in. BRIANNA ON THE BRINK is a powerful story that teen girls will find realistic and compelling.

c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor
New York, NY 10014

Andrea Cremer's INVISIBILITY (9780399257605, $18.99) tells of Stephen, who was born invisible, and Elizabeth, who wishes for invisibility. Elizabeth's move to New York City brings her not only the coveted anonymity, but the ability to see Stephen. Their blossoming friendship is barred by an invisible world of spells, cures and misfortune that both must overcome in order to achieve their deepest dreams - which lie somewhere on the border of invisibility and visibility. A moving account of achievement and change makes for a fine and different story line. Regina Sirois' ON LITTLE WINGS (9780670786060, $17.99) tells of a lifetime of family secrets that comes to a head one summer, when only child Jennifer discovers a secret old photo of a woman who looks just like her. Jennifer's journey from Nebraska to Maine to uncover the source of the secret will result in a confrontation that will rock her world in this fine saga of courage and family ties.

Random House/Delacorte
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1
New York, NY 10019

Elana K. Arnold's BURNING (9780385743341, $16.99) tells of Ben, just graduated from high school and set to leave his Nevada mining town, and Lala, who lives with her Gypsy family earning money by telling fortunes and who awaits an arranged marriage. The two will find their very different worlds changed upon encounter - and their viewpoints are narrated from alternating points of view as they come to new revelations about life, their journeys, and each other. High school leisure readers will find this a compelling saga. Sarah Zettel's GOLDEN GIRL (9780375869396, $17.99) tells of Callie, who works at a major motion-picture studio in California where she meets stars daily. But her search for her missing mother continues, and she may meet her father - who is a fairy prince - for the first time. Can a half-human with growing magical powers make her way in a human world? A fine fantasy evolves. Elizabeth Ross' BELLE EPOQUE (9780385741460, $17.99) tells of Maude, who runs away to Paris in search of romance and answers an unusual help wanted ad: one that offers 'beauty foils' for hire. As a plain friend she can make her companion look more attractive - but when a countess hires her to compliment a headstrong daughter, trouble begins. The result is a powerful story of friendships and achievements that teens will find unusual and engrossing. Jani Lee Simner's second novel FAERIE AFTER (9780375870699, $16.99) is for any reader of dark fantasy and returns to the setting of the original BONES OF FAERIE, a post-apocalyptic world where war between Faerie and humanity has left both worlds in ruins. Second in the trilogy, this tells of a deteriorating Faerie realm and Liza, who must choose between her life and her friends, or the survival of both worlds. A riveting fantasy for older readers emerges. Mark Goldblatt's TWERP (9780375971426, $16.99) analyzes the mind of the bully in a coming-of-age story about a sixth grader who is convinced he isn't a bully - he's just made a mistake. TWERP is his diary of events that led to disaster - and is a moving account of fear, self-worth, and events that spiral out of control. Laura Golden's EVERY DAY AFTER (9780385743266, $15.99) tells of Lizzie Hawkins, whose father has deserted the family and left them destitute. Lizzie is losing her top grades and her friendships and faces losing what's left of her family as well - but she finds a way to keep hope and her courage may be the only element that will save their family in this moving saga. Rosanne Parry's WRITTEN IN STONE (9780375869716, $16.99) tells of Pearl, who has always dreamed of hunting whales like her father. When he's lost on the last hunt and the whales hide, Pearl's tribe struggles to survive as she finds herself not hunting whales, but hunting stories and preserving their legends. A warm story of survival and change will delight any interested in sagas of tribal fortitude. Stewart Lewis' THE SECRET INGREDIENT (9780385743310, $17.99) is a story of summertime, romance, intrigue, and family relationships and tells of sixteen-year-old Olivia, her British best friend Lola, and family trouble that changes the summer equation in a powerful, fun read for any leisure browser. All are fine choices for any summer reader.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999

Sophia Bennett's THE LOOK (9780545464383, $17.99) tells of teen Ted, who has 'the look' and is scouted by a modeling agency at age fifteen. When her older sister Ava gets cancer just as Ted's career is taking off, worlds collide and Ted faces the choice between a high-stakes career and family relationships. The British setting and emphasis on family interrelationships makes for a powerful, realistic saga. Lin Oliver and Theo Baker's THE SHADOW MASK (9780545196949, $16.99) provides a sequel to Sound Bender and is a recommendation for any collection seeing popularity with the prior story. Leo is back in New York, but his uncle has kept him isolated from friends and his sound-bending powers are changing. Leo is faced with a deadly choice and a journey to find a strange mask once owned by his father. A thriller combines with supernatural influences to make for a gripping read, especially with those already familiar with and enthusiastic about Sound Bender. Kay Honeyman's THE FIRE HORSE GIRL (9780545403108, $17.99) tells of Jade Moon, born under the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls - a sign that makes her stubborn and reckless - and not eligible for marriage. She dreams of traveling beyond her small village - dreams that are at odds with her family's desires - until a young man offers her the chance to journey to America. But 1923 American doesn't welcome Chinese immigrants, and when they are detained at Ellis Island, Jade discovers a betrayal of the highest order. A riveting saga of courage is steeped in Chinese culture. Suzanne Weyn's DR. FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTERS (9780545425339, $17.99) continues the Frankenstein legend and legacy by positing what happens when the Doctor leaves behind both horror and two lovely unacknowledged twin daughters who have now become teens and are about to claim Frankenstein's castle and its secrets. The two are very different and as they embark on life's changes, one decides to follow in her father's footsteps - with frightening results. A gripping story emerges.

The Native American Shelf

Caribou Song/ Atihko Nikamon
Tomson Highway, author
John Rombough, illustrator
Fifth House Publishers
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Co.
195 Allstate Parkway
Markham, Ontario, Canada, L3R 4T8
9781897252611, $19.95,

"Caribou Song (Atihko Nikamon)" is a bilingual Cree folk tale set in Northern Manitoba about two brothers named Joe and Cody who go searching for caribou. Joe liked to play the accordion, or kitoochigan and sing a song inviting the caribou to come, while Cody liked to dance, even at night under the silver moon. One day in spring the two brothers find a perfect spot on a great rock in a meadow. They decide to make music, sing a caribou song and dance, inviting the caribou to come. Soon, even though the time is early for the running of the caribou, 10,000 caribou fill the meadow like a lake. The brothers manage to stay safe on the great rock while the teeming thousands of caribou drum past them like thunder. The boys embraced the spirit voice of the caribou, and the fears of the boys' parents and dog were calmed and they rejoiced. This beautiful story is written first in English and then in Cree on each page, with the facing page filled with deeply colorful, mosaic style illustrations that evoke an exotic culture and rich heritage filled with sacred secrets of life. This classic work is perfect to explore with children age 4 and up, inviting them to imagine themselves in the Caribou song making.

Magic Words: From the Ancient Oral Tradition of the Inuit
Edward Field, translator, interpreter
Mike Blanc, illustrator
VanitaBooks, LLC
3875 Embassy Parkway, Suite 250
Akron, Ohio 44333
9780983290469, $15.95,

Filled with spectacular, shaded color artworks in ink, charcoal, and digital painting, "Magic Words" is an ancient Inuit creation myth tale interpreted in narrative verse for children ages 5-11. It begins with a wondrous idea; that in the beginning there were both humans and animals, and the two could interchange. In this early long ago time, there was no difference between people and animals, all spoke the same language. Thus, words were like magic. "A word spoken by chance might have strange consequences." All you had to do, was say it! No one could explain it, that is simply how it was! In "Magic Words," Fantastic metamorphosing images spur young imaginations to leap into different frames of reference and fresh new places. A tone of mystical awe, reverence for life, and heightened awareness overlays this beautiful child's retelling of the ancient Inuit story.

Custer's Last Battle
Paul Goble, author/artist
Joe Medicine Crow, Foreword
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Dr. Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786113, $16.95,

"Custer's Last Battle: Red Hawk's Account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn" by Paul Goble is a revised reissue of the famous original, first published in 1969 by Macmillan, London and Pantheon Books, New York. This was the author's first illustrated book documenting the Battle of the Little Bighorn, June 25, 1876 according to a series of Indian sources. "Custer's Last Battle" contains all the beautiful illustrations of the original (44 original color ledger-style paintings by the author), a slightly modified layout that allows a column of text to be integrated into each two page illustration, a new author's introduction, a Foreword by Joe Medicine Crow, the Crow tribal historian and oldest living member of the Crow tribe whose grandfather was one of Custer's scouts, and a revised and updated text. The narrative includes asides to the reader in italics to explain theories of what may have occurred, incorporated with the overall fictional narrative by the Oglala warrior, Red Hawk. Including information about the pageant : "Battle of the Little Bighorn Reenactment" by Joe Medicine Crow in the Foreword, "Custer's Last Battle" is hailed as an authentic, accurate retelling of the Custer story based on Indian sources. The fabulous ledger-style artwork embellishes and embodies the heart of this historic event.

Children of the Tipi
Michael Oren Firzgerald, Editor
Wisdom Tales
P.O. Box 2682
Bloomington, Indiana 47402-2682
9781937786090, $15.95,

CHILDREN OF THE TIPI: LIFE IN THE BUFFALO DAYS comes from an award-winning editor who here combines lovely vintage sepia photos with simple quotes by Indian chiefs and elders to explain to children what life was like growing up on the American plains. Ages 4 and up will find this an inviting and revealing survey, requiring good reading skills but replete with inviting pictures and facts that capture this experience. Any holding strong in Native American nonfiction and culture will find this an excellent addition from a child's-eye perspective.

The Christian Shelf

My Best-Ever Book of Bible Stories
Phil A. Smouse, author/illustrator
Barbour Publishing
P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683
9781624162534, $7.99,

"My Best-Ever Book of Bible Stories" is a collection of 17 favorite Bible stories retold in humorous verse with unforgettable color cartoon illustrations. Perfectly appealing to youngsters from pre-reading level through early readers, this ebullient collection is filled with a happy faith in the goodness of God and the sacredness of life. Some of the stories so presented include The Creation story, David and Goliath, The Story of Ruth, The Prodigal Son, The Good Samaritan, The Pharisee and the Tax Collector, The Story of Peter, and Jesus and Nicodemus. "My Best-Ever Book of Bible Stories" is an excellent child's gift and the religious teacher's best ally.

Shepherds to the Rescue, #1 Gospel Time Trekkers
Maria Grace Dateno, FSP, author
Paul Cunningham, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819872517, $5.95,

The beginning title of an innovative Bible story series represented for a juvenile audience, "Shepherds to the Rescue" follows the adventures of three siblings, Caleb, Hannah, and Noah. The three are mysteriously drawn to a time and place far from their own, where they meet Benjamin, a shepherd boy, and his family. Gradually they discover that they are in the area of Judea near Bethlehem at around the time of the birth of Jesus. They learn through everyday life with Benjamin and the shepherd family what living was like in Gospel times. After many exciting learning experiences, they find themselves again mysteriously returned to the present day, where they find their mother has not missed them for three days, which they thought had elapsed. But their parents help them to read the Gospel story in Luke 2, 8-20, about the role of shepherds in the birth of Jesus. "Shepherds to the Rescue" reads like an exciting time travel adventure with a well woven Christian message deep inside. Illustrated with distinctive, amusing black and white illustrations of characters, "Shepherds to the Rescue" is a wonderful way to teach children ages 6-8 about the beginnings of Christianity according to the Scriptures. Additional titles by the same author/illustrator team in this series that are also highly recommended include: "Braving the Storm, Gospel Time Trekkers #2 (9780819812049, $5.95)," and "Danger at Sea, Gospel Time Trekkers #3 (9780819818917, $5.95)."

Dear God, I Don't Get It
Patti Maguire Armstrong, author
Shannon Wirrenga, illustrator
Liguori Publications
Liguori, Missouri 65037
9780764822469, $7.99,

"Dear God, I Don't Get It" is a great chapter book about everyday challenges to a boy's faith that lead him to question some of the efficacy of prayer. Perfect for an audience of 9-12 year olds, "Dear God I Don't Get It" successfully combines faith, humor, juvenile action interest, and spirituality in a fun and faith-filled series. What does a 12 year old boy do when he has to adjust to a move to a new city, a new school, and new friends with different ideas of what is cool? What is the definition of a hero? What is the role of prayer, and trust in God? "Dear God I Don't Get It" has much to offer young readers of varied faith backgrounds in a quest for a humane morality.

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories
Amy Steedman, author
Sophia Institute Press
Box 5248, Manchester, NH 03108
9781933184715, $19.95,

Originally published in Great Britain between 1907 and 1922 as "The Nursery Book of Bible Stories," the "Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories" is a treasure trove of classic Bible stories, recreated with skill and style to appeal to imaginative young children. Studded with beautiful original black and white illustrations, the "Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories" tells 35 chapter-length well known tales, including Noah and the Rainbow of Hope, Elijah, the Hungry Prophet, Joseph, the Dreamer, Moses, the Great Leader, Ruth, the Gleaner, David, the Shepherd Boy, Solomon the Wise King, Jeremiah, the Wise Prophet, Queen Esther, The Coming of the King, St. John the Baptist, The Parables of Jesus, Saul, the Persecutor, St. Paul, the Servant of Christ, and St. John, the Beloved Disciple. The following quotation from the chapter of Ruth, the Gleaner, gives a flavor of the author's narrative style and gentle, cadenced prose: "There was no more poverty or hard work now for Ruth or Naomi, no anxious days of wondering how long their flour and oil would last. Boaz was very rich, and nothing was too good for his fair young wife, whom he had first seen humbly gleaning in his harvest field. Happiness, too, began to steal back into the life of Naomi. Winter and spring passed, and when harvest time came around once more, all the sorrow and bitterness faded from her heart, for God sent a little child to comfort her. A baby son was born to Ruth, and the whole world seemed full of sunshine and happiness as she laid him in his grandmother's arms and the two loving hearts rejoiced in their happiness, just as they had clung together in their sorrow. Of course, they dreamed many happy dreams over the little downy head and planned a splendid future for the baby, as all mothers and grandmothers will do. But even their dreams never touched the golden reality, for they did not know that he was to be the grandfather of King David, that in this same little town of Bethlehem, there was to be born of his line a greater King yet, the King of Heaven." A specific, reverent visionary style conveys an ancient story in unforgettable images and words, meant to be both secure and inspiring to young minds and hearts. Evoking tones that are both timeless and reminiscent of a not too distant past, "Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories" is a treasure to be shared with future generations of dreamers.

The Holocaust Studies Shelf

The Tattered Prayer Book
Ellen Bari, author
Avi Katz, illustrator
Gihon River Press
P.O. Box 88, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301
9780981990682, $18.95,

"The Tattered Prayer Book" is a retelling of a family story of a young boy who survives the terror filled days of the pre-holocaust time in Nazi Germany, finding and keeping a tattered prayer book, or siddur, in Hebrew and German after the Kristallnacht destruction of Jewish synagogues in November of 1938. The boy's father eventually was able to secure safe passage for his family to America, and the Siddur is discovered by his daughter Ruthie, who begs him to remember the past it evokes for him even though it is painful. He shares his boyhood memories of the terrifying times in Germany and finally arrives at a new understanding with Ruthie. He shares that he is grateful to have found a missing part of himself. "The Tattered Prayer Book" is sensitively illustrated with sepia and white drawings and tells a painful but important piece of human history for children ages 6-10.

Books in Series

Dairy From the Farm to Your Table
Brian Hanson-Harding, author
Rosen Central Publishing
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781448868001, $29.25,

Part of an educational series subtitled The Truth About the Food Supply, "Dairy From the Farm to Your Table" is a cautious review of some of the practices and sources of dairy products available in the United States and other countries today. The differences between organic and nonorganic milk and dairy products is examined in some detail. Health hazards of modern commercial dairy farming practices including CAFOs (confined animal feeding operation, or factory farm) are analyzed and examined. Students are encouraged to pursue their own dairy sources' milk production practices, and to discover how far the milk they drink has traveled. The risks and costs of intensive dairy farming are extensive. Alternative organic dairy farming practices are becoming more common and are worth seeking and supporting. A list of sources of more information on healthy dairy practices is provided along with a web site link, suggestions for further reading, and a bibliography, plus a handy glossary. After a brief history of U. S. dairy production and subsequent chapters on dairy processing, costs of intensive dairy farming, the emphasis lands on wise dairy consumption. Current photography of many aspects of modern dairy practices enhance the book's impact. " Dairy From the Farm to Your Table" is a great introduction to responsible dairy consumption for students age 10 and up. Other titles from this series that are also highly recommended include: "Fruits and Vegetables From the Garden to Your Table (9781448867998, $29.25)," by Ann Byers, "Fish From the Catch to Your Table (9781448868018, $29.25)," by Paula Johanson, "Poultry From the Farm To Your Table (9781448867981, $29.25)," by Daniel E. Harmon, and "Meat From the Farm to Your Table (9781448867974, $29.25)," by Heather Hasan. All are part of the juvenile education series subtitled The Truth About the Food Supply.

Let's Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Barbara deRubertis, author
Gershom Griffith, illustrator
Kane Press, Inc.
350 5th Avenue, Ste. 7206
New York, NY 10118
9781575656380, $7.95,

From the Holidays & Heroes Series, "Let's Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day" is a color and black and white illustrated background story of the January holiday honoring the achievements and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., tireless martyr and crusader of equal rights and fair treatment of African Americans everywhere. The narrative provides specific biographical history and inspirational summaries from the life of Dr. King, plus background history, clear profiling, and ending with an invigorating call to action: "When we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we remember his dream. How can we keep the dream alive (p. 32)?" In addition, suggestions for associated learning and educational activities may be found at, Another very highly recommended title from the Holiday & Heroes Series that is currently highly recommended is "Let's Celebrate Thanksgiving Day" (9781575656366, $7.95) by written by Barbara deRubertis and illustrated by Thomas Sperling.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308
New York, NY 10118

Crabtree's fine 'Forms of Government' series offers guided reading at Level 5 and provides an excellent set of five 48-page coverages that include indexes, plenty of contemporary color photos and illustrations, sidebars of information, and a format that lends to research papers. Susan Bright-Moore's WHAT IS A DEMOCRACY? (9780778753162, $30.60 hc /, $8.96 pb) covers the basics of what a democratic government means, Sarah B. Boyle's WHAT IS A THEOCRACY? (9780778753193, $30.60 hc /, $8.96 pb) considers governments tied to particular religions; her WHAT IS A DICTATORSHIP? (9780778753179, $30.60 hc /, $8.96 pb) examines the history and actions of dictators and explains their differences from other government structures; Joseph Brennan's WHAT IS AN OLIGARCHY? (9780778753209, $30.60 hc /, $8.96 pb) considers a secret form of government in which a few people control behind the scenes, and Margaret R. Mead's WHAT IS A MONARCHY? (9780778753186, $30.60 hc /, $8.96 pb) provides keys to understanding how a monarch can 'rule for life' and how power is passed in a family over generations. All are key picks for any elementary-level government studies collection. Bobbie Kalman's 'Spotlight On' series each provides some 32 pages of information for Guided Reading M youngsters and uses modern photos and eye-catching cover art to attract leisure browsers as well as students. SOUTH KOREA (9780778708643, $26.60 hc /, $8.06 pb), ARGENTINA (9780778708636, $26.60 hc /, $8.06 pb), FRANCE (9780778708650, $26.60 hc /, $8.06 pb) and KENYA (9780778708667, $26.60 hc /, $8.06 pb) each provide lively geography titles perfect for any young researcher who wants lively treatments. All are top recommendations for any elementary-level reference collection.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999

Scholastic's 'Discover More' titles are designed to capture the interest of confident readers in grades 3-5, and provide eye-catching covers and appealing subject high in drama and real science. WEATHER (9780545505161, $12.99) provides the latest weather science and what can happen during the world's worst weather, covering storms, hail, and everyday and special occurrences. REPTILES (9780545505093, $12.99) is packed with close-up and eye-catching photos of snakes and other reptiles, from lizards to crocodiles, and offers the latest scientific facts about their lives and habits. DISASTERS by David Burnie (9780545479738, $15.99) joins the 'Discover More' series, providing an in-depth look at nature's biggest disasters. These are all powerful titles packed with amazing photos, graphics, and the latest science information backed by further online information for added wonder. Highly recommended!

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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