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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 12 December 2007 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice DVD Shelf Music Shelf
Biography Shelf Books in Series Preschool Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Math Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Science Shelf Christmas Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
International Studies Shelf Folklore/Fairytale Shelf Fiction Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf
Native American Shelf Audiobook Shelf Gaming Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Waltur Paints Himself into A Corner
Barbara Gregorich
Houghton Mifflin company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618747966, $15.00

Waltur and his friends Matilda and Darwin are back in a three-story collection which helps beginning readers understand everyday sayings – like how not to paint yourself into a corner and letting sleeping dogs lie. Waltur paints himself into trouble and learns about word sayings the hard way in this zany story.

Follow the Line Through the House
Laura Ljungkvist
c/o Children's Books Publicity - Penguin Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
9780670062256, $16.99

Open the front door of a house filled with surprises and find a treasure trove between basement and attic, where secrets are in every room – all by following one continuous line. Questions invite kids to count, match colors, identify shapes and much more in this whimsical activities-filled story line

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

Alan Madison and Kevin Hawkes' VELMA GRATCH AND THE WAY COOL BUTTERFLY (9780375835971, $16.99) tells of one Velma, the youngest Gratch just entering first grade and facing memories of to older sisters who were nearly perfect first graders. Velma can't recall her own name sometimes – but a class field trip to a Butterfly Conservatory provides her with insights into a newfound passion her sisters never shared in this fine story of personal strengths. Professor Potts' UNEVERSAURUS (9780385751193, $16.99) encourages kids to imagine as he embarks on an investigation of what is known about reptiles and what can be guessed. Cartoon illustrations pepper a different kind of dinosaur survey: a story line which encourages kids to think about possibilities. Jarrett Krosoczka's PUNK FARM ON TOUR (9780375833434, $15.99) tells of Farmer Joe's amazing farm: while he's heading off to the National Tractor Society Conference in Reno, his animals are embarking on their own cross-country tour in a beat-up old van. But will their beat-up van make it across the country? Judy Sierra's MIND YOUR MANNERS, B.B. WOLF (9780375835322, $16.99) receives Jotto Seibold's whimsical and fun drawings as it tells of B.B. Wolf, formerly known as Big Bad, who sets off from his senior citizens home to attend the local library's yearly storybook tea. He wants cookies – but three cartoon characters have also been invited, and vie for the food in this hilarious story of a bad wolf gone good. Maxwell Eaton III's THE ADVENTURES OF MAX AND PINKY: SUPERHEROES (9780375838057, $12.99) tells of a boy and his pig who are going to play superheroes, wrestling giant turtles and eating lightning in the process. Very simple drawings and an easy but zany story line lend to a fun tale for the very young.

557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Audrey Wood's A DOG NEEDS A BONE! (054500005X, $16.99) provides a fun story line and pictures by Audrey Wood as it tells of a dog who entreats his mistress to give him a bone – any kind of a bone. A simple, fun rhyme accents the dog's needs and makes for a fun story. Greg Tang's MAKING SCIENCE COUNT: MATH FABLES TOO (0439783518, $16.99) comes from an inspirational educator and follows up his original successful MATH FABLES with a blend of math and science stories for ages 3-6. The idea is to provide stories that will give kids a head start in math: blend a rollicking rhyme with lovely color drawings by Taia Morley and you have a real winner. Leo & Diane Dillon' Jazz On a Saturday Night (0590478931, $16.99) celebrates the jazz style in an excellent picturebook story packed with descriptions of the jazz experience. Kids are provided with the essence and feel of jazz in a moving story line with fun, action-packed drawings. All are excellent picturebook leisure choices.

Playdate Kids Publishing
Box 2785, Malibu, CA 90265-9998
$14.95 Each

Three new Playdate titles are excellent picks for parents seeking multimedia play-oriented books. Tim Friedlander's THE I LIKE ME DANCE (1933721073) provides a fun story of a zany animal park packed with outrageous animals, pairing it with a cd of dance tunes for kids. Kids learn to identify body parts – and like all of them – in this positive fun story. Tim Friedlander's ISLAND POTTY PARTY (1933721154) presents a conga line and a transition from diapers – with musical motivation. Again, parents will find this a fun way to reinforce potty training with music and dance, presenting an unusual ‘restroom romp' of action and whimsical fun. Tena Fanning's BOOGER BOOGIE (1933721138) tells of a solution to sniffling and snuffling: grabbing a tissue. All three teach kids using a fun and whimsical dance-oriented charged blend of story line and music, making them top picks for day care and parent use.

The DVD Shelf

Got A Notion To Sew?
Learning ZoneXpress
PO Box 1022, Owatonna, MN 55060
1571754687 $49.95 1-888-455-7003

Got A Notion To Sew? is a DVD designed to introduce young people in grades 5-9 to the basics of sewing. From safety when working with pins, needles, or a sewing machine, to fabric marking, patterns, sewing terminology, and projects to get started sewing in the classroom, Got A Notion To Sew? is user-friendly and involving. Teaching materials are included with this excellent addition to home economics curriculums. A great way to get young people started in a useful and practical skill. 22 minutes, closed-captioned, color.

Preschool Baby Learns About Computers: Tubby in Computer World
Galloping Minds
$14.99 1-866-425-5672

Preschool Baby Learns About Computers: Tubby in Computer World is a DVD presented by Galloping Minds for tots 2 to 6 years old. A digitally animated teddy bear hosts this extremely basic tutorial to the fun of pointing-and-clicking on the PC, including age-appropriate introductions to the mouse, keyboard, and monitor as well as internet visits to faraway places such as the Statue of Liberty and an Egyptian tomb. A wonderful DVD to help familiarize and acclimate young people to technology in a modern world where an individual's career and financial success are increasingly dependent on being computer savvy. 30 minutes, color.

Pocket Snails Potty Adventure
Soaring Star Productions, LLC
PO Box 8538, Surprise, AZ 85374

Pocket Snails Potty Adventure: Potty Training in Easy to Follow Steps for Boys & Girls is a digitally mastered, Hi-Fi stereo DVD for children ages 2 and up, created to help children make the transition from diapers to potty. The friendly, animated pocket snails guide young Jake and his little sister Wendy step by step through the potty process with the aid of the "Potty Steps Map", included inside the DVD case. Friendly encouragement, emphasis on proper hygiene, and a wealth of extras including sing-along songs, a music player, and a blooper reel make for an invaluable parental and teaching aid. 30 minutes, color.

Paul Revere: Midnight Ride
Marty Panzer and Don Grady, songs
American Animation Studios
715 Sixth Street, Suite 5, Prosser, WA 99350
9780979668128 $19.95

Part of the "History's Heroes" DVD series, Paul Revere: Midnight Ride is a 3-D, computer animated video for young people presenting American history in a lively and entertaining format. The friendly Ellie the Eagle encourages poet Ralph Waldo Emerson to retell the story of Paul Revere's crucial ride to Lexington, in order to warn colonial leaders that the British had mobilized. Half a day later, the "shot heard 'round the world" marked the beginning of the American war for independence. Ideal for students ages eight and up, Paul Revere: Midnight Ride reinforces learning through humor, engaging storytelling, and catchy songs by Marty Panzer and Don Grady. A delightful celebration of American heritage, highly recommended for children's library DVD shelves. 30 minutes, English and Spanish subtitles, color.

Winter Wonderland
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
$14.98 20 Century Fox (distribution)

Winter Wonderland is a children's DVD anthology of six animated, winter-themed adventures from a variety of popular kids' programming. Individual episodes feature the widely beloved characters Barney the purple dinosaur, Bob the Builder, Thomas the tank engine and his friends, Fireman Sam, Kipper the dog, and Pingu the penguin. A delightful snowfall of wholesome fun for the younger crowd. 60 minutes, color.

Bridge To Terabithia
Walt Disney Pictures & Walden Media
Disney Educational Productions
500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-6307
77D18VL00, $29.95

Simply stated, "Bridge To Terabithia" is the finest live action combined with CGI animation to ever come from the Disney Studios. Co-produced with Walden Media, this Disney movie is based on the popular and Newbery Medal award-winning children's book of the same name by Katherine Paterson. A classic story of a young boy's coming of age, the casual cruelty of children, the power of imagination, the magic of friendship, the effect of sudden and unexpect loss, "Bridge To Terabithia" is visually spectacular, deeply engaging, profoundly thoughtful, and wholesomely entertaining. Especially recommended for young viewers in grades 5 through 8, "Bridge To Terabithia" is a film that can be viewed with great interest to teens and adults as well. This 95-minute film's DVD format also for the inclusion of several special bonus features including a downloadable classroom edition teacher's guide for discussing various elements of the movie; 'Digital Imagaijnton: Bringing Terabithia To Life"; "Behind The Book: Themes of PBridge To Tereabitha"; audio commentary with directory Gabor Csupo, writer Jeff Stockwell, and producer hal Lieberman; as well as audio commentary with actors Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, and producer Loaruen Levine. With flawless production values, a very strong supporting cast, and simply spectacular special effects, "Bridge To Terabithia" is a valued and enthusiastically recommended addition to family, school, and community library DVD collections for children.

The Music Shelf

Recess Monkey
Waldmania Public Relations
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

A two-CD collection of superbly performed and flawlessly recorded musical story of Everett the Wonderbee, his friend Harold the Rat, and their struggle to save their home from a mysterious evil force called The Gray and its concrete and steel cronies, "Wonderstuff" is comprised of tracks that range across a wide variety of musical styles and present pure, 'kid friendly' entertainment for children of all ages. Disc 1 features: The Wonderbees, Busy Bees, My Pet Rock, Don't Want to Go to Bed, Magical Meadows, Bad Ideas, The Rat, The Sun Will Shine for You, Backpack, and Best Friend. Disc 1 features: The Pool, Come Out of Your Shell, The Funniest Thing, The Gray, Down Down Down, The Golden Seed, Roudn and Round, My Friend Shadow, Helping Hands, The Wonderbees (Reprise). "Wonderstuff" is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

"Very Derryberry"
Debi Derryberry
Very Derryberry Productions
c/o Waldmania Public Relations
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
6773570217-2, $12.99

The original and lively lyrics of Debi Derryberry blend perfectly with a mix of old fashion rock 'n roll, country & western, rhythm & blues, and 'pop' Latin rhythms and beats in "Very Derryberry", as superbly performed and recorded music CD for young and energetic children. The fifteen energetic and entertaining numbers that comprise this enthusiastically recommended CD for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections, include: Diddely Dee (2:49); Lechita Chocolate (3:29); Freckle Face Freddie (2:35); Animal Fair (2:17); Scoops of Ice Cream (3:26); I'm a Chameleon (2:21); Skinnamarink (2:42); I Love to Share (3:04); Little Cabin in the Woods (2:33); The Very Very Song (2:30); The Tonsil Song (2:17); Kum Bachur Atzel - The Rooster (2:40); I Bit an Apple (2:12); Swingin' on a Star (3:08); and Slumberland (2:35). It's interesting to note that Debi Derryberry is the voice of the popular Disney cartoon character Jimmy Neutron.

The Biography Shelf

Helen Keller: Her Life in Pictures
George Sullivan
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
9780439918152, $17.99

Plenty of books – even picturebooks – have captured Helen Keller's life; but this one comes with a twist – it's her life in pictures. Black and white photos of Keller and her family and friends pack in a different, visual approach to her biography. Most of her books pepper in some photos: by having this picturebook based on images, kids receive a more intimate portrait of Keller and her world and will find her life and achievements easier to digest.

Out of Line: Growing Up Soviet
Tina Grimberg
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor, Toronto, ON M5A 2P9, Canada
9780887768033, $22.95

Grimberg's collection of memories of life behind the Iron Curtain is an essential key to understanding a way of life which millions led in the 20th century. Though the Iron Curtain is gone, thus impact remains – and thus this autobiography of Tina, who was born in Kiev and grew up in a tiny flat with her family, is key to understanding, even today, the psyche of a country.

George Washington Carver
Elizabeth Macleod
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781553379072, $6.95

George Washington Carver: An Innovative Life is a softcover biography of "Peanut Scientist", inventor, researcher, and professor George Washington Carver, the orphaned son of slaves who applied his intelligence and innovation to tremendously improve the lives of African American farmers. He created more than 325 products from peanuts alone, became a successful teacher at the African American school called Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (later known as Tuskegee University), advocated crop rotation and inexpensive fertilizers to help farmers from wearing out their soil, and was even a skilled artist, one of whose paintings was selected to represent Iowa at the 1893 World's Fair. Vintage black-and-white photographs and colorful illustrations on almost every page grace this simple yet educational biography, recommended for young people ages 8 to 12 and children's libraries.

Signature Lives: Modern America
Compass Point Books
151 Good Counsel Drive, Minneapolis, MN 56002-0669 1-877-371-1536
9780756536015, $766.32 List; $574.80 Library

"Signature Lives: Modern America" is a series of biographies showcasing twenty-four influential American men and women from 1890 to the present day. Each 112-page book is designed for students in grades 5 through 7, written to interest young readers ages 10 to 12. Each individual title features a World Events Timeline, a Personal Timeline, source notes, a select bibliography for further reading, a table of contents, a glossary, an index, and relevant websites at From Andrew Carnegie: Captain of Industry; to George Washington Carver: Scientist, inventor, and Teacher; to Yo-Yo Ma: Internationally Acclaimed Cellist; to Elizabeth Dole: Public Servant and Senator; to Will Rogers: Cowboy, comedian, and Commentator, each man and woman selected represents a distinctive aspect of American life and accomplishment. Expertly written, profusely illustrated, "Signature Lives: Modern America" is an accomplished and strongly recommended series acquisition for school and community library Biography collections for young readers.

Cherry Blossoms in Twilight
Yaeko Sugama Weldon & Linda E. Austin
Moonbridge Publications
701 Simmons Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63122
9780977232314, $12.95

Now in a new edition edited for young readers in elementary grades and older, Cherry Blossoms in Twilight: Memories of a Japanese Girl is the true-life autobiography of a Japanese girl's life during the Depression, World War II, and the Occupation. Young Yaeko Sugama Weldon's memories of a poor but content childhood were torn apart by the crushing impact of war. "At noon time on August 15, Emperor Hirohito spoke to the people. For the first time in history a Japanese emperor spoke to his people!... He announced on the radio that the war was over - not whether we won or lost, just that the war was over and an agreement was made. I was so happy! Most people in our town were excited and relieved. They cheered and hugged each other. Many people were just glad the war was over. We were all tired of the war." Cherry Blossoms in Twilight tells of the jobs she took to earn a living after the war, her marriage to an American serviceman and move to America, motherhood, and the difficulties involved in adjusting to American culture. A handful of black-and-white photographs, a glossary of Japanese terms, and a couple of Japanese children's songs round out this memoir, highly recommended for children's library collections and personal reading shelves.

Books in Series

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Kids in grades 5-7 who have been assigned or are just discovering about mythology will welcome Virginia Schomp's ‘Myths of the World' series ($22.95 each): each book holds some 98 pages packed with information and color illustrations, adding excitement and interest to background stories of world myths of different world groups. Books divided by heritage – THE NORSEMEN (9780761425489), THE ANCIENT GREEKS (9780761425472), THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS (9780761425496), and THE NATIVE AMERICANS (9780761425502) each include myths identified by region of origin, and also include an introductory section of background history of each culture, making the books perfect not just for mythology but for social studies. The ‘First Americans' series ($20.95 each) is recommended for grades 2-4, each offering some 46 pages of Native American facts for a fine introduction. THE SHOSHONE (9780761426837), THE SHAWNEE (9780761426820), THE POWHATAN (9780761426815), THE NEZ PERCE (9780761426806), THE INUIT (9780761426790) and THE CHUMASH (9780761426783) each discuss Native American history and culture, providing strong surveys with excellent historical and cultural background information. These will make for excellent introductions for any elementary-level collection, providing just enough background information to make for fine report materials.

Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 South Elm Street, Suite 223, Greensobo, NC 27406
$27.95 Each

Collections geared to advanced elementary to middle school readers who would include biographies of current, top political leaders will want this series: it captures the lives and politics of the latest public figures and will prove social studies and biography readers with plenty of background material suitable for reports. Each 128-page biography comprising the Morgan Reynolds ‘Political Profiles' series includes a timeline, bibliography, web site listing and index, and includes a peppering of black and white images to supplement facts. Kerrily Sapet's BARACK OBAMA (1599339459), Jeff C. Young's ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (1599330505), Sandra Schitman's NANCY PELOSI (1599330491), and Anna Layton Sharp's RUDY GIULIANI (1599330483) each are fine additions for any library seeking a representation of current politicians who promise to have lasting influences in American politics.

Simple Machines
Chris Oxlade
Smart Apple Media
c/o Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002
$135.50 List; $94.75 Library

'Simple Machines' is a five title series by Chris Oxlade showcases Levers (9781599200835); Pulleys (9781599200842); Screws (9781599200859); Wedges and Ramps (9781599200866); Wheels and Gears (9781599200873). Each of these 32-page, expertly illustrated books are written at a second grade level and designed to interest students in grades 1, 2 and 3. Enhanced with a table of contents, a glossary, an index, quizzes and activities, each of these titles presents a clear and engaging introduction to the technology and science of the showcased simple machine, explaining how they are used and applied in science, in technology, and in everyday life. Although each title is available separately ($27.10 List; $18.95 Library), school and community libraries should obtain the entire series for their young students and patrons.

Gallopade International
PO Box 2779, Peachtree City, GA 30269 1-800-536-2438

Gallopade is a premier publisher of mysteries by Carole Marsh who specifically writes for young readers who need encouragement and an introduction to the joy of reading books. Two of her particularly recommended and inexpensive series are 'Pretty Darn Scary Mysteries' and her 'Carole Marsh Mysteries' series. The 'Pretty Darn Scary Mysteries' series is the newest line of 'reader friendly' stories designed to engage elementary school and junior high students. The first four titles include: "The Ghosts of Pickpocket Plantation" (9780635062338, $5.99); "The Secret of Skullcracker Swamp" (9780635062345, $5.99); "The Secret of Eyesocket Island" (9780635062369, $5.99); and "The Mystery at Fort Thunderbolt" ($5.99). New editions to her established 'Carole Marsh Mysteries' series include: "The Mystery on the Great Wall of China" (9780635062055, $5.95); "The Mystery on the Great Barrier Reef" (9780635062062, $5.95); and "The Mystery at Mount Fuji" (9780635062079, $5.95). Teachers, librarians, parents, and kids should visit the Gallopade International website at for a complete and descriptive listing of all eighty Carole Marsh titles currently available for community, school, and family library collections.

Villager Book Publishing
222 West Las Colina Boulevard, #1650, Irving, TX 75039

'Under My Bed' is an outstanding series of picturebooks, each of which focuses on a particular character trait. Deftly written by Janice Stitziel Bloom and Marcy Woodcock, each individual volume also has available a supplemental action guide that will enable parents and teachers to help young readers explore the underlying message further. "Wonderfully Made Under My Bed" (9781934643006, $15.99) features Kristy, her brother Bryan, and their friend Jesse and is about their discover of a village of dust bunnies called the Ohmadillapiclearoos existing right underneath their beds. The family value infused in the engaging story is that not being good at one thing doesn't mean that you can't be good at something else. Book 2 of this original and entertaining series is "Not Afraid: Under My Bed" (9781934643037, $15.99) when the kids are helped by their dust bunny friends to celebrate differences and deal with childhood fears, such as going to a brand new school. Boos 3, "A Grateful Heart: Under My Bed" (9781934643068, $15.99) has the dust bunnies from under the bed help the children learn the value of a good attitude, thinking positively, and to appreciate the things we take for granted. Imaginative, entertaining, and promoting solid family values, the 'Under My Bed' series is confidently recommended for family and community library picturebook collections for young children.

The Preschool Shelf

353 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851-1552 1-800-228-7839

Soundprints offers two 'Smithsonian I Love My Board Books' for preschool children. Charmingly written by Laura Gates Galvin, they are "I Love My Mommy" (1592497306, $6.95) featuring young animals in the wild who love their mommies dearly and depend on them for many of the same things that the young readers depend on their own mothers for. "I Love My Daddy" (1592497314, $6.95) shows that daddy penguins, foxes, screech owls, and other animals are loved and admired by their babies just as the young readers love their own fathers. These outstanding board books are illustrated by a team of gifted artists that includes John Paul Genzo, Robert Hynes, Will Nelson, Taylor Oughton, Steve James Petruccio, Fred Smith, Joel Snyder, Daniel J. Stegos, Beth Stover, and Wendy Smith. Each of these enthusiastically recommended 7" x 7" books has 16 pages and is specifically designed to interest children ages 18 months to 3 years.

Publications International
7373 North Cicero Avenue, Lincolnwood, IL 60712
Healy & Schulte (publicity)
343 West Erie Street, #440, Chicago, IL 60610
$19.99 each 1-847-676-3470

Ideal for preschoolers and kindergartners, Publications International has developed a series of interactive karaoke style books based on characters popular with young children ages 3 to 7. "Wiggling Idol!" (9781412788205) is comprised of a book of 40 lively tunes from The Wiggles, a removable microphone, and a battery operated 'Select-a-Song" push button player that will provide youngsters with hours of good, wholesome, musical fun. "Sesame Street Superstar" (9781412788199) follows the same format featuring Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and the Grouch. "A very nice feature of this series is the inclusion of the roar of the crowd and judges to rate performance. A second fun and delightful series are the "Learn-To-Write books for children ages 3 to 7 and featuring popular children's characters. "Learn To Write With Disney Friends (9781412788267) uses Disney and Pixar characters to teach kids how to write both the capital and small case letters of the alphabet. Enhanced with 26 fun animations with sounds, kids can press buttons to see letters and animations, as well as using the provided pen and pad to practice writing the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. A second title following the same learn-to-write format features the Nick Jr. character 'Dora the Explorer' (9781412768757). Children can hear Dora interest them in learning to write through hours of learning that is as fun as it is practical for preschool and kindergarten age kids. Both of these series are particularly appropriate and enthusiastically recommended as home-school curriculum supplements and for day-care center activities.

The Picturebook Shelf

What Color is Your Dream?
Kittie Nesius Beletic
1409 S. Lamar, Box 315, Dallas, TX 75215
9781933285566, $16.95

What Color is Your Dream? is a rhyming picturebook sure to delight children and adults alike. Amorphously colorful illustrations enhance the playful verse about the wonders of creativity and the beauty of transforming thought into reality. "Crystal ideas are sprinkled behind // as the dream makes its way / in and out of your mind... // Thoughts tumble-jumble and circle again, / colored and shaded from places they've been!" A treasure meant to be read aloud and shared with loved ones.

When the Silliest Cat Was Small
Gilles Bachlelet
Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
0810994151, $16.95

Gilles Bachlelet's cat is unusual – actually, it's an elephant… thus begins the fun story of a playful elephant as viewed by an owner who tries to understand him. ‘Kitty' is adapting to his new home in strange ways after being chosen from a litter of other brightly colored elephants: he makes a mess, hides from food, and treats a toy with disdain. This is one of the most creative, best picturebooks to cross our shelf in quite some time, and deserves a prime place in any library.

Random House/Knopf
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

Paul Gallico's THE SNOW GOOSE (9780375849787, $17.99) provides a modern World War II classic as it tells of a young girl who seeks help from a reclusive painter who lives in a lighthouse. The girl and her injured goose will visit the lighthouse each fall in this fine story of three friends whose friendship is challenged by war. Kellie Strom's SADIE THE AIR MAIL PILOT (9780385750271, $16.99) tells of some brave pilots and planes which fly air mail. Sadie in particular risks her whiskers to fly the air mail to safety in this fun story of planes run by animals. Both are excellent involving picturebook stories.

Darlene Halloween and the Great Chicago Fire
Peter J. Welling
Pelican Publishers
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053
9781589804791, $15.95

One October day in Chicago Murphy the witch decides to gather ingredients for an evil magic potion and set out to capture Darlene's field mouse family as one of their ingredients. The ensuing fight causes the Great Chicago Fire in this fun story of How Halloween came to be named – and how some of its traditions evolved.

345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014

Scott Nash produces the fun colorful drawings for Andrew P. Pelletier's THE TOY FARMER (9780525476498, $16.99), a fine picturebook tale of a boy whose toy farmer comes to life. First the toy comes to life – then Jed's bedroom begins to transform to meet the farmer's environment. Jed wins first prize at the county fair with a big pumpkin from his room – but when he returns triumphant, the toy farmer seems to have vanished. Gorgeous full-page drawings are fun embellishments. Kim Norman's JACK OF ALL TAILS (9780525477938, $15.99) tells of an enterprising girl who convinces her family to begin a business posing as people's pets. The humans do their job all too well – and trouble ensues in this engaging story which receives fun drawings by David Clark. Both are top picks for picturebook libraries.

George and Martha: Two Great Friends
James Marshall
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
061896178X, $15.00

Three fine stories of two great friends pack a fun beginner's picturebook which tells of a friendship between two hippos. Stories tell of friends learning privacy, handling each other's habits, and facing disaster when a tooth injury changes appearance. Lessons impart the basics of friends making adjustments.

Emma's Turtle
Eve Bunting
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590783504, $15.95

Kids ages 4-7 will relish this fun picturebook story of a pet turtle who lives to listen to Emma talk about far-away places, and longs to see them. Trouble begins when he decides to embark on his own exciting journey away from home, only to find that adventure isn't quite as exciting as he'd imagined – and a lot more scary.

Righty and Lefty: A Tale of Two Feet
Rachel Vail
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439636299, $16.99

Righty and Lefty can't agree on anything – one wakes up early, the other likes to sleep in. One wants fancy footwear, one wants galoshes. They are definitely on different walks of life: how can they get along? A hysterically funny story of two very different feet emerges.

Cha-Cha & Zee Explore San Antonio
Indigo Tyler
Perceptive Marketing
13202 Dogwood Blossom Trail Dr., Houston, TX 77065
9780976510031, $16.95

Cha-Cha & Zee Explore San Antonio is a children's picturebook following a charming pair of festively dressed penguin tourists as they explore the history, majesty, and landmark features of San Antonio, Texas. From outdoor restaurants to the story of the Alamo to playing golf with their friends, they gain a grand survey of the vibrant, busy life and carefully preserved memories within San Antonio's borders. What makes Cha-Cha & Zee Explore San Antonio especially striking is its full color, photographic illustrations - Cha-Cha & Zee themselves are photograph-quality penguins dressed in human clothes venturing down actual picture-perfect snapshots of San Antonio's streets and attractions. The composite image is so realistic it boggles the mind, in this wonderful read-aloud story ideal for preparing young readers for a San Antonio visit!

Vega and the Stars
Carin Gottlieb, author
Mikael Lofstrom, illustrator
Vinterhallon Publishers
Snarstigen 8, 181 31 Lidingo, Sweden
9789163305085, 10.50 Euro

Vega and the Stars is a Swedish children's picturebook, now translated into English for the very first time. A young girl named Vega has been riding a train; when the train stops for a time, she has a fateful encounter with an old woman and her cat. The old woman has harbored a secret for decades - collecting fallen stars! She shows young Vega how to collect fallen stars and share in the wonder of their beauty and mystery. A charming tale of childhood memory and experiencing the miracles of eternity in a timeless moment, reflectively illustrated with the simple black-and-white as well as color artwork. Vega and the Stars features fairly involved text, and is well suited for young readers who are almost ready to move on from picturebooks to chapter books.

Callie Cat, Ice Skater
Eileen Spinelli &Anne Kennedy
Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723
9780807510421, $16.95 1-800-255-7675

Callie Cat, Ice Skater is a children's picturebook about the joy of doing something one loves for its own sake. Young Callie Cat enjoys ice skating on the pond in her backyard, more than chocolate cake or going to the mall. When the Honeybrook Ice Rink announces a contest, it could be Callie's big chance to win the prize - but is winning the prize what she really wants to do? When another skater achieves an even better performance, she's heartbroken at first, until she remembers that skating can be joyful fun for its own sake. The enthusiastic artwork of a playful cat and her animal friends adds the perfect touch to this heartwarming story.

Melinda Braun
Savage Press
PO Box 115, Superior, WI 54880
9781886028852, $14.95

Inspired by stories of a pet duck, Luella is a children's picturebook about a family who adopts an orphaned baby duckling into their home. Luella becomes imprinted upon the family dog, Pancake. Luella grows up and eats dog kibble, follows Pancake out in the yard, and curls up to sleep next to him on his dog bed. Luella won't even do duck things like swim - until, on a family trip to the lake, Pancake starts to dog paddle, and Luella splashes into the water after him! The minimal yet colorful illustrations complement this lovely children's story about a dog teaching a duck to swim.

Grandpa's Treasure
Rhonda Telfer, author
John Ruebartsch, illustrator
Visual Generation Press
3118 Springdale Ave., Glenview, IL 60025
9780979602603, $19.95

Grounded in author Rhonda Telfer's memories of childhood on a fourth-generation family farm, Grandpa's Treasure is a children's picturebook following best friends Will and Aaron who travel from their suburban neighborhood to Grandpa's farm. They discover the many ways that the barn is like a castle, with Grandpa as its king! "They looked out a window. A big machine was trampling a field. It was growling and heading toward the barn. 'What's that?' asked Will. 'A combine,' said Aaron, 'picking Grandpa's corn.' The combine crawled closer. 'It looks like a dragon,' said Will." Illustrated entirely with majestic color photographs, Grandpa's Treasure is a wonderful reminder of the family farms that form an unforgettable part of America's cultural heritage, and is highly recommended.

Lily and the Paper Man
Rebecca Upjohn, author
Renne Benoit, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781897187197, $14.95

The debut children's book by author and mother Rebecca Upjohn, Lily and the Paper Man is a story about compassion in cold weather. When young Lily is walking home with her mother, she observes an unfriendly-looking man selling papers on the street. She is afraid of the man, but she also sees his bare toes poking through the holes of his boots - he surely cannot keep warm in such threadbare clothes. She comes up with a wonderful idea: giving the Paper Man warm socks, hat, gloves, scarf, and a quilt she has no use for. A gentle story about the value of compassion, Lily and the Paper Man features involved text and is ideal for young readers who are about ready to make the transition from picturebooks to more involved fare.

I Went for a Walk
Shanti Wintergate, author
Gregory Attonito, illustrator
Hollywood Jersey
164 Silver Fox Trl., McCall, ID 83638
9780979542602, $25.00

I Went for a Walk is a children's picturebook following a first-person protagonist's journey of imagination. His wandering takes him up and down across the Earth, then off its surface, amid the mysteries of space and even to fabulous faraway planets named Moove and IZ. The illustrations are first-person perspective as well, showing wacky space scenes through the eyes of the narrator. "Far away in the distance of space, / I saw this planet shooting rainbows / all over the place. // It was a beautiful hue of Purple and Blue. / This could be the planet of IZ / that I wanted to go to." The final message of I Went for a Walk is what makes it especially worthwhile for young readers: "Always LOOK! / Always QUESTION! / Always LISTEN to your HEART! / Always BELIEVE in YOURSELF!" Highly recommended.

My Hair is Too Long!
Cindy Kuhlman, author
Shelley Hohenecker, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Group
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 216, Edina, MN 55439
9781592981908, $12.95

My Hair is Too Long! is a softcover children's picturebook ideal for preparing a young child for his or her very first haircut in a barber shop - a place that can be very intimidating to a child, especially given that barbers work with sharp tools. Brightly colored, simple illustrations by Shelley Hohenecker add a comforting touch to this excellent read-aloud picturebook ideal for parents to share with their children. "Barbers use scissors to trim hair. It does not hurt at all and makes a snip-snip sound." Highly recommended.

The Little Man in the Map
E. Andrew Martonyi & Ed Olson
Schoolside Press
20950-40 Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
9780978510046, $19.95

The Little Man in the Map: With Clues to Remember all 50 States is a cheery, rhyming picturebook designed to teach young people to remember the names of all fifty American states. The cartoony illustrations and charming rhymes frame delightful visual and verbal mnemonics, and adults who have a hard time remembering all fifty states may find The Little Man in the Map useful too! "We'll start with Min in Minnesota / That's his giant hat. / The Iow comes from Iowa / The place his face is at. / This Mis we'll borrow from Missouri / That's his shirt so neat / The Ark we'll take from Arkansas / The pants that can't be beat. / The Lou is from Louisiana / That completes his name. / It also forms the boots he wears that finish out his frame. // Together they spell out his name: It's MinIow MisArkLou! / Remembering those states - all five - Is easy with that clue." Highly recommended, especially for children's library collections.

Fire Up With Reading!
Toni Buzzeo, author
Sachiko Yoshikawa, illustrator
Upstart Books
c/o Highsmith Inc.
W5527 Hwy. 106, PO Box 800, Fort Atkinson, WI 83538-0800
9781602130197, $17.95 1-800-448-4887

The second Mrs. Skorupski story, Fire Up With Reading! is a children's picturebook that enthusiastically celebrates the joy of reading. Young Patty Lee wants to be recognized as the top reader in fourth grade and earn the right to wear the Chinese dragon costume during the Read Across America Day parade. But her rival, Carmen Rosa Pena, just might surpass her! When Carmen takes the lead, Patty Lee goes to Mrs. Skorupski for help and a new plan - listening to audiobooks as well as reading normal books! The exuberant color illustrations suit this gung-ho cheerful tale perfectly.

Sofia and the Heartmender
Marie Olofsdotter
Holy Cow Press
PO Box 3170, Mount Royal Station, Duluth, MN 55803
9780977945832, $15.95

Sweedish-American artist and author Marie Olofsdotter presents Sofia and the Heartmender, a children's picturebook about Sofia, a young girl learning to deal with life's challenges. Intimidated by shadow-monsters on her wall at night, Sofia tries to tell her parents and her teacher about what she sees, only to have her apprehensions summarily dismissed as foolish. Sad and lonely, her heart broken, she encounters the mysterious Heartmender who teaches her how to mend her heart and confront her fears. Sofia learns not only how to deal with shadow monsters, but also how to remain confident, respectful and assertive when negotiating with the adults in her life. A story of learning how to raise one's self-esteem, Sofia and the Heartmender features a positive message and moderately involved text, ideal for young people who are just about ready to move on to chapter books. Highly recommended.

Prunes and Rupe
Lydia Griffin, author
Judith Hunt, illustrator
Filter Press
PO Box 95, Palmer Lake, CO 80133
9780865410862, $16.00

Based on true events and a stone monument erected in memory of the original Prunes in 1933, Prunes and Rupe is a children's picturebook about the bond between prospector Rupert M. Sherwood and his faithful burro, Prunes. They were a team for nearly forty-one years until their bodies became so worn and tired they couldn't work anymore. Rupe had to go to the lowlands on doctor's orders, and Prunes was faithfully tended to by Rupe's former neighbors. But when a terribly bitter snowstorm came, it would be the beginning of the end for the old donkey, and when Rupe's master's time came, his last wish was to be buried with Prunes. The detailed, folksy artwork complements this warmhearted tale of loyalty and fast friendship.

Roxanne Orgill, author
Stephane Jorish, illustrator
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140-1338
9780763621216, $17.99 1-800-526-0275

Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire is a children's picturebook biography of the early years of celebrated singer, dancer, and movie star Fred Astaire and his older sister Adele Astaire. When both siblings were young, they had to work hard learning to dance and perform for vaudeville theater; the money they brought in helped support their family, and in hard times dinner might be no more than a single egg split between the two of them. In their youth, Adele was recognized as the better performer when both were children; Fred labored to match her natural talent, and honed his creativity inventing new acts to perform. They grew up together, and when Adele chose to get married and retire from dancing, Fred faced a whole new challenge - he'd almost always performed with her before; now he had to face the stage by himself. He dared to venture to Hollywood, and so began his legendary film career. The illustrations are upbeat without making light of the hard times of the Great Depression, and the text of Footwork is just involved enough to be suitable for young readers who are almost ready to move on to chapter books. Highly recommended.

Give Me That!
Usa Tanaka
4N Publishing
44-73 21st St., D6, Long Island City, NY 11101
9780974131900, $15.95

Author Usa Tanaka has previously been published in Japan and South Korea; she makes her American debut with her third picturebook, Give Me That!, in which a bunny rabbit attempts to acquire other animals' unique traits only to learn the importance of being true to oneself. The simple illustrations, which have the visual texture of paint on canvas, drive the story - seeing the bunny rabbit with a monkey's tail, flamingo wings, and other absorbed features speaks for itself. It has to; the text consists entirely of the phrases "Give me that", "Give that back", and "Fantastic". A wonderful picturebook ideal for young people who like to linger on one-of-a-kind illustrations.

The Turtle and the Deep Blue Sky
Elizabeth and Eric Zimmer
Fulcrum Publishing
16100 Table Mountain Parkway, Suite 300, Golden, Colorado 80403
9781555915971, $12.95 1-800-992-2908

The Turtle and the Deep Blue Sky is a delightful children's picturebook about a turtle and other animals who are dissatisfied with their natural bodies and try to swap parts with one another. The turtle longs to fly with the flamingo's wings; the flamingo wants to protect herself with some porcupine quills; the porcupine wants to experience the luxurious wool of the sheep; and so on. But using another animal's parts can have a down side, too! Minimalist critter-mix-and-match illustrations add just the right touch to this charming story of the ups and downs of personal fantasies made real.

The Adventures of Captain Candy
Ryan Lederer
Seven Locks Press
3100 West Warner Avenue, Suite 8, Santa Ana, CA 92704
978097585210, $15.95 1-800-354-5348

The Adventures of Captain Candy is a children's picturebook written and illustrated with all the enthusiasm of a superhero comic book. Following Captain Candy and his friends Agent Mint and Blazing Fireball in their battle to save Candy Village from Professor Metal Mount and The Masked Bat, The Adventures of Captain Candy is packed cover to cover with action, exuberant description, and bold color illustrations. "'Haven't you learned the last time? You can't take things that don't belong to you!' 'You should know by now, Captain Candy--I never learn anything!!!'" Especially recommended for young superhero comic fans.

BooBoo's Story
Paula A. Compo-Pratt
Ivy House Publishing Group
5122 Bur Oak Circle, Raleigh, NC 27612
9781571974778, $14.95

Floral designer, teacher, artist, and poet Paula A. Compo-Pratt presents BooBoo's Story, a rhyming children's picturebook following the adventures of a small bear as he explores the magical world of Jelly Dot, "Where the sky was purple and time forgot, / Where seas were made of red jelly jam, / And the trees made of emeralds the size of your hand." When BooBoo unexpectedly turns the color blue, it's only with the help of the warm sun that he learns to remember joy and change back to his true color. "In Jelly Dot, now all is well, / And children everywhere the story tell, / For they too have known what it is to turn blue, / Before Mommy's kisses cured their booboos." The light, pastel-colored illustrations add the perfect, cushy touch to this nursery-rhyme style story about the sadness and happiness of early childhood.

Cecil's New Year's Eve Tail
Marie Fritz Perry
Buttonweed Press, LLC
204 Seventh Street West, #125, Northfield, MN 55057
9780975567524, $19.95

Set on the east side of Manhattan, Cecil's New Year's Eve Tail is a children's picturebook following Cecil the wealthy and well-dressed snake. Though Cecil carries himself with impeccable poise, he is distressed that the human world seems to reject him. Just as he is on the verge of giving up, his friends remind him to take part in their holiday celebration - and Cecil learns that fitting in the human world is not as important as being oneself in the company of true friends. A glossary of words that may be unfamiliar to young people rounds out this kindly holiday tale, featuring simple color illustrations of a snake who tries to dress like humans.

The Adventures of Cali
Michele Lallouz Fisher, author
Ginger Nielson, illustrator
Cali Publishing
13580 S.W. 51st Street, Miramar, FL 33027
9780979300400, $4.95

The Adventures of Cali is a bittersweet children's picturebook about a young girl caterpillar and the city boy who befriends her. "He fed her tomatoes and let her wiggle through his fingers. When she was especially playful, Cali would climb up his arm and tickle his ear." The boy brings Cali back to the city with him, but the little caterpillar misses her old home and doesn't eat as heartily as she used to. At last she builds herself a cozy cocoon, and transforms into a beautiful butterfly, saying goodbye to her friend before she flies out the window and away toward home. The charming color illustrations engage the senses in this gentle picturebook, and the dust jacket offers helpful tips to young readers for taking care of a caterpillar if they happen to befriend one.

The Magic In You!
Sally H. Taylor
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd., 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432703240, $24.95 1-888-672-6657

The Magic In You! is a softcover children's picturebook about the importance of a healthy self-image. A little wildflower growing by the side of the road feels unloved, mocked as she is by her fellow flowers. A billy goat eats one of her petals, and a careless driver runs over her leaf, deepening her misery. She asks a fairy to magically make her beautiful again; the fairy replies, "You do not need my magic to become beautiful or happy. You can become a beautiful, happy little flower any time you want." The little flower is mystified at first, but she gradually learns the truth, as her injuries allow her to shelter a butterfly and a ladybug in need. When she forgives the billy goat who harmed her, he feels sorry for his misdeed and becomes her friend. Despite her injured outer appearance, she learns that becoming happy and truly beautiful depends the most on how one is like inside. A positive-themed picturebook, best for reading aloud to very young children due to the moderately involved amount of text.

I Like Gum
Doreen Tango Hampton, author
Gina Pfleegor, illustrator
Shenanigan Books
129 West End Ave., Summit, NJ 07901
9780972661423, $15.95

I Like Gum is a rhyming picturebook recounting a young girl's likes and dislikes. The enthusiastic bordering on outrageous art emphasizes the sense of whimsy and pure fun that comes from the gleeful lyrics. "I like ice cream. / But not in the sun. And not on my shirt. / And not when it's done." A truly fun read-aloud book for parents and children, with simple text ideal for young people just learning how to sound out words on their own.

Adventures of Countess Pigula
Karen Freysinger
Aha! Elora Danan Productions
PO Box 928, Estero, FL 33928
9780978672904, $15.95

Adventures of Countess Pigula: "Her Royal Imagination" is a picturebook intended for young readers in grades K-3, about taking proper care of a pet guinea pig. Though the title guinea pig Countess Pigula is slightly anthropomorphized, her regular routines from feeding time to bath time to toenail trimming are all standard tasks guinea pig owners need to perform, though related in the snooty tone of a noble receiving proper tribute from her "subjects". "When it is time to clean her lovely cage of blue, she will want the best above the rest. No ordinary bedding will do. 'Nice job! Ahh! There is nothing like the smell of fresh pine bedding. It is my favorite you know. Now, don't forget. I insist my bedding must be at least three inches deep. Anything less just will not do.'" The final page spells out responsibilities and rewards of being a guinea pig pet owner. A "must-have" for any young person considering a pet guinea pig of their own.

Full Mouse Empty Mouse
Dina Zeckhausen, author
Brian Boyd, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433801327, $14.95 1-800-374-2721

Written by Dina Zeckhausen, an expert in the field of eating disorders prevention, Full Mouse Empty Mouse: A Tale of Food and Feelings is a rhyming children's picturebook with an important underlying message about the importance of drawing the distinction between emotional craving for food and true hunger. Chapters teach young people how to separate "food" messages from "feelings" messages and respond properly to each. A note to parents and discussion questions round out this "must-have" for children's reading lists and library collections, especially in today's era with its unfortunately high rate of child obesity. "With Tummy and Heart they stay in touch. / They eat enough, but not too much. / They talk about the way they feel, / And now they love their family meal!"

One Million Men and Me
Kelly Starling Lyons, author
Peter Ambush, illustrator
Just Us Books
356 Glenwood Avenue, East Orange, NJ 07017
9781933491073, $16.95

One Million Men and Me is a children's picturebook inspired by the author's personal experience witnessing a father and daughter at the Million Man March of 1995, which brought together black men across America who were committed to making positive and lasting changes for the better both in the home and in the community. Told through the eyes of a little girl who was with her father on the day black men made history, One Million Men and Me emphasizes the importance of a father-daughter bond as well as standing up for one's beliefs. The simple yet iconic color illustrations bring the events of the Million Man March to life for young readers who might not have been born yet when the it took place. "I'll always remember / the day Daddy took me / on a journey. // The day a million Black men / stood shoulder to shoulder, / the day history was made with / one million men and me."

Meerkats Don't Fly
Mark Miller, author
Cathy Butterfield, illustrator
Good Turn Publishing
1 Bancroft Road, Wellesley, MA 02481
9780979439308, $16.95

Meerkats Don't Fly is a charming children's picturebook about Benny, a young meerkat who dreams of flying. Meerkats are social mammals who live in underground burrows with their families though - they certainly don't have wings, or feathers. What's Benny to do? He tries attaching feathers to himself, and even creating a dummy meerkat that an eagle can snatch so that he can hitch a ride. But his most daring gambit is to disguise himself as an eaglet in hope of riding on the predatory eagle's back! The warmhearted art by debut children's book illustrator Cathy Butterfield subtly blends anthropomorphism with colorful crosshatching in this delightful story about never giving up on one's ambition.

Sunny and Wondrous Cat Cousins
Mary Hochenauer & Louis (Suji) Hochenauer-Fox, authors
Diane Lucas, illustrator
Gnatcatcher Children's Books
1451 E. Armando Drive, Long Beach, CA 90807
9780977800506, $16.95

Set during a chilly Thanksgiving holiday, Sunny and Wondrous Cat Cousins is a children's picturebook inspired by the antics of the authors' real-life feline friends. Sunny and Wondrous belong to two cousins who are good friends. The cousins want their cats to become "cat-cousin friends", but not everything goes as planned - they even get into a cat-fight! But after they're given a time-out and allowed to cool down, each cat starts to think about what he or she did to hurt the other's feelings, and they learn to make up and become friends. A tenderhearted story about learning to get along with others, and deal with hard feelings without being controlled by them. Enthusiastically recommended for young readers year-round, and a welcome addition to children's library collections.

Little Eagle
Chen Jiang Hong
Enchanted Lion Books, LLC
45 Main Street, Suite 519, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592700714, $16.95 1-888-330-8477

Set in 15th century China, Little Eagle is a children's picturebook about a boy, orphaned at an early age, who is taken in by a wise Kung Fu master. When the boy observes his new guardian practicing strange movements, he starts to imitate them, learning the basics of Eagle boxing. Eventually the master accepts the boy as a student, dubbing him "Little Eagle". As a martial arts master in training, Little Eagle must work hard, but his ultimate test will come when the cruel General Zhao attacks in search of a book of martial arts secrets! The artwork is reminiscent of classical Chinese paintings, and the story does not shy away from the tragic reality of death. "The wound was deep. Master Yang knew that he was going to die. In a voice of great gentleness, he said to Little Eagle: 'They will never find the book for which they search, because that book does not exist. The secrets of Eagle boxing have lived in me. It is now in you that they will live. Respect them always and use them for good alone.'" Highly recommended.

John Denver's Grandma's Feather Bed
Christopher Canyon
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584690962, $8.95 1-800-545-7475

John Denver's Grandma's Feather Bed is a softcover children's picturebook based on the famous song written by Jim Connor and "adopted" by popular musician John Denver. Exuberantly illustrated by Christopher Canyon, John Denver's Grandma's Feather Bed brings a classic ditty about family fun and togetherness to life. "When I was a little bitty boy / just up off the floor, / we used to go out to Grandma's house / every month-end or so. / We'd have chicken pie and country ham / and homemade butter on the bread, / but the best darn thing about / Grandma's house was her / great big feather bed!" The last few pages offer more information about the people who created the song, as well as a musical score for the tune. An especial treat for young and old John Denver fans to share together.

Gloria Whelan, author
Peter Sylvada, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
c/o Thomson Gale
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535
9781585362110, $17.95 1-800-231-5163

Award-winning author Gloria Whelan presents Yatandou, a story set in a village in the African nation of Mali. Eight-year-old Yatandou must sit with the women in her village and pound millet kernels for their food, a task that takes three hours a day! The women dream of a machine that can grind the millet and free them from their pounding sticks, but such a machine will cost money. Yatandou must help raise the money, a sacrifice she makes by parting with Sunjata, the goat she has raised. Gradually, the people of the village learn reading and writing as well. "I have learned to write my name. I take my pencil and spell out YATANDOU on my pounding stick. When I have a little girl I will show the stick to her. I will tell her how I raised Sunjata and sold him and how that helped bring the contraption to our village. She will show the pounding stick to her daughter, who will never have to use it." Highly recommended.

Remember Beauty and Songs For a Blue Time
Janie Johe Webster and Nila J. Webster, authors
George M. Ulrich, illustrator
StarMist Books
PO Box 12640, Rochester, NY 14612
9780961829254, $20.00

Remember Beauty and Songs For a Blue Time is a gentle, picturebook poem offering a comforting allegory for being separated from loved ones by great distance or death. Strikingly illustrated in an unforgettable, solid-color style, Remember Beauty and Songs For a Blue Time recounts the fast bond between the lupine Great Lone Wolf and a tiny kitten called Buddha Baby. The two steadfast friends would always sing together; but then the time came when Great Lone Wolf had to leave Buddha Baby on a faraway journey. "And the Great Lone Wolf / Sings a song of wonder / That shines like / A giant red harvest moon / Rising in the East / Through the tree tops / Along the banks of the river // remember our love / travels a great distance / than the whole wide universe // plant the love / within yourself / and you will see // at night you will still behold / the star-scattered sky / and that sky will carry / my love to you." Also highly recommended is the previous picturebook of Great Lone Wolf and Buddha Baby, "Remember Rain and Songs of Wonder for the Night Sea Journey."

Where's Nat?
Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes, authors
Susan Arciero, illustrator
VSP Books Inc.
7402-G Lockport Place, Lorton, VA 22079
9781893622197, $17.95

Where's Nat? A Nat, Nat, the Nantucket Cat Adventure is a picturebook ideal for children ages 5-8, featuring whimsical rhymes by authors Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Saw Barnes, and colorful, densely populated illustrations by Susan Arciero. Nat the Nantucket Cat, an adorable grey-and-black tabby, is hiding somewhere in each of the pictures packed with scenes of events and special places in Nantucket, from the Daffodil Festival to a crowded day on Main Street to Fourth of July fireworks on Jetties Beach. "The fireworks on Jetties Beach on Independence Day / For many is the summer's most spectacular display. / Look up! Is it a bird, a plane, or could it be a star? / No, it's our favorite kitty, twinkle, twinkle from afar!" A charming look-and-find adventure, highly recommended along with the previous Nat the Nantucket Cat picturebooks, "Nat, Nat, the Nantucket Cat" and "Nat, Nat, the Nantucket Cat Goes to the Beach".

Grapette, The Runaway Who Rolled Away
Svetlana Konnikova, author
Anatoli Smishliaev, illustrator
Aurora Publishers
5970 S.W. 18th Street, Suite 117, Boca Baton, FL 33433
KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301
9780979175800, $19.95

The award-winning team of author Svetlana Konnikova and illustrator Anatoli Smishliaev present Grapette, The Runaway Who Rolled Away, a picturebook adventure about a little grape girl who runs away from her vineyard home. Mama Grapevine is beside herself with worry, and calls upon the very forces of nature to find little Grapette; a thundercloud, a stream, a hawk, a sparrow, and a butterfly all work hard to bring Grapette home safely. Grapette learns that she shouldn't run away because, more important than seeing the world, she has learned how much her mother truly loves her and is concerned about her. A gentle, whimsically illustrated story with a strong underlying warning against running away and making parents worry.

Millie Waits for the Mail
Alexander Steffensmeier
Walker Publishing Company, Inc.
104 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9780802796622, $16.95 1-800-289-2553

Millie Waits for the Mail is a laugh-out-loud funny children's picturebook about an extraordinary cow who goes out of her way to scare the mail carrier! The result is a clash of personalities, and unfortunately damaged packages. When Millie's own package becomes damaged, and she accidentally totals the mail carrier's bicycle, she sees the error of her ways - and makes up for it by happily helping him deliver the mail! The whimsical bordering on joyfully ludicrous art adds the perfect touch to this playful story, especially recommended for young cow lovers.

Why Won't Anyone Play With Me?
Joy V. Smith, author
Andrea Gradidge, illustrator
PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705-0151
9781424186341, $19.95

Why Won't Anyone Play With Me? is a delightful, flat-spined children's picturebook with a relevant moral for young readers. Kallie, a curious and exuberant kitten, wants to play. But the creatures Kevin Kroaker, Tazi Treefrog, and Topper Turtle don't want to play with her! Why not? "A muffled voice, Topper Turtle's, said, 'You won't let us. We can't play the rough games you play; we're too little.'" Kallie learns to play gentle games such as hopscotch, leapfrog, and tag with her new friends. A handful of colorful cutouts of the main characters round out this simple story for teaching older children about getting along with younger children.

The Frog who Wanted to See the Sea
Guy Billout
The Creative Company
123 South Broad Street, Mankato, MN 56001
9781568461885 17.95 1-800-445-6209

"The New Yorker" illustrator Guy Billout presents his latest children's picturebook, The Frog who Wanted to See the Sea, about a timid little frog named Alice with a grand dream, who dares to venture from her comfortable, humdrum pond in her quest to see the sea for herself. Her journey will lead her to bigger and bigger bodies of water, and introduce her to unusual friends - including the mysterious reflection of the moon. The striking illustrations vividly contrast light, shadow, and perspective in this wondrous tale of discovery.

The Math Shelf

Now... For My Next Number!
Margaret Park, author
Sophia Esterman, illustrator
Troy Lennerd Nielsen, Bruce Lambson, & Ahti Mohala, musicians
Great River Books
161 M Street, Salt Lake City, UT84103
9780915556380, $16.95

Now... For My Next Number! Songs for Multiplying Fun is a picturebook introduction to multiplication for young readers. Whimsical rhymes and colorful illustrations walk the reader through counting the first twelve multiples of numbers two through twelve. An accompanying singsong audio CD of the text enhances this delightful and educational book, recommended especially for young people in elementary school and children's library collections. "Oh, Sinbad sailed the Seven Seas / In a gold galleon on a gentle breeze / He left early one morning without saying a word / With his telescope and his secretary bird / Listen if you want to know what Sinbad saw / As he sailed the seas from shore to shore // He saw / 7 frogmen / 14 mermaids preen / 21 flying fish run / 28 penguins skate // He saw / 35 submarines dive / 42 whales turn blue // 49 pelicans dine / 56 dragon chicks // He saw / 63 sailors see / 70 pirates flee // 77motors revin' / 84 oysters snore // Oh Sinbad sailed from / Shore to shore / From shore to shore / Until there wasn't any more."

The Bilingual Shelf

My Name is Gabito
Monica Brown, author
Raul Colon, illustrator
Northland Publishing
PO Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002
9780873589086, $15.95 1-800-346-3257

Award-winning author Monica Brown presents My Name is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook about the brilliant and imaginative writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Following "Gabito" from childhood to adulthood, and his evolution from a dreaming boy to a great storyteller read by millions, My Name is Gabito offers vibrant color illustrations by Raul Colon, featuring a visual texture to the color distantly reminiscent of the swirls of a fingerprint. A wonderful multicultural picturebook, My Name is Gabito features modestly involved text and is ideal for young readers who are just about ready to enjoy chapter books. The flawless Spanish text alongside the English will also appeal to Spanish-language students of all ages seeking to hone their skills and fluency.

A Great Time
Masha Shurin, author
Valentin Ginukov, illustrator
White Stag Press
c/o Publishers Design Group, Inc.
PO Box 37, Roseville, CA 95678
KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek NE, Ada, MI 49301-9768
9780979258329, $19.95

A Great Time is a bilingual compendium of children's poems in both English and Russian, by Russian-born author Masha Shurin. Playful color illustrations highlight the enthusiastic verse sprinkled with positive, character-building messages. A read-aloud treat for young people ages 2-8. "The Snail's House": The snail's house has no doors / So her friends can't come in. All day long she dreams and thinks, / Of how to visit them. // She can't invite the other bugs / To tea or for a snack, / Because her little doorless house, / She carries on her back!

Cool Cat Goes Biodiesel
Derek Savage, author
Robert Rooch, illustrator
Blue Thunder Books
2375 E. Tropicana Ave., #8-155, Las Vegas, NV 89119
9780967300009, $7.95

Endorsed by the "Biodiesel Coalition", among other eco-friendly groups, Cool Cat Goes Biodiesl is the latest softcover picturebook in the "Cool Cat" series. Featuring bilingual text in both English and Spanish, Cool Cat Goes Biodiesel follows Cool Cat and his family as their car runs out of gas during a country drive. Cool Cat's dad manages to push the car to a gasoline station, but the prices there are terribly expensive - what are the cats to do? Fortunately, one of the pumps offers biodiesel fuel. Celebrity Willie Nelson teaches the Cool Cat family that biodiesel fuel, which is made by mixing soybean oil with diesel, can be used in any engine that accepts diesel fuel. Biodiesel also burns much cleaner than gasoline, and breathing it is easier on the lungs and heart than breathing gasoline. Also, the soybeans that contribute to biodiesel are grown by American farmers, so driving cars that have biodiesel engines helps to promote economic self-sufficiency. The cheerful color illustrations add the perfect touch to this enthusiastically pro-biodiesel picturebook.

The Science Shelf

Nigel Marven, author
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
9780753461020, $12.95 1-800-225-3362

Part of the Kingfisher Knowledge series for young people, Dinosaurs is a fact-filled repository of information about these fascinating extinct reptiles. Featuring full-color artwork and photographs on every page, Dinosaurs is packed with bonus web sites, book lists, and recommendations of places to explore, as well as an amazing tour of where dinosaurs once lived in the Americas, Africa, and Australia. A glossary and index round out this reader-friendly resource for young dinosaur fans and children's libraries.

The Mystery of the Round Rocks
Mark Meierhenry & David Volk, authors
Jason Folkerts, illustrator
South Dakota State Historical Society Press
900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SC 57501-2217
9780977795536, $13.95

The Mystery of the Round Rocks is an educational children's picturebook about the mysterious and powerful forces of nature that have affected our planet for millions years. When a boy and a girl discover a stacked mound of smooth, round stones, their grandfather tells them the amazing true story of how the stones came to be. The force of a glacier once crept across the land, shaping the earth and smoothing rocks; when the glacier retreated, the humans who came much later to farm the land stacked the rocks in a pile so they could plow the earth. The simple, shaded color illustrations add a visual touch to this geological tale. Highly recommended.

The Christmas Shelf

Beaser the Bear's Rocky Mountain Christmas
Patricia Derrick, author
Doug Hoch, illustrator
Animalations Publishing
4186 Melodia Songo Court, Las Vegas, NV 89135
KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301
9781933818092, $18.95

Part of the colorfully illustrated "Animalations" series, Beaser the Bear's Rocky Mountain Christmas is a holiday-themed picturebook for young people featuring a lovable bear family sharing the true meaning of Christmas together. An accompanying CD of the rhyming text set to music is a great way for parents and children to share holiday spirit. "Beaser told of opening stuff, / And when he was all through, / He had so much he could not use, / He wondered what he should do. // At that moment Beaser understood / what it was he should do. / Give his extra stuff to other cubs / And make their dreams come true." The final pages offer an assortment of activities teachers or parents can share with children, and true facts about Rocky Mountain bears, in this charitably-themed picturebook enthusiastically recommended for the yuletide season.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Percy & the Plan
T.B. Dockter
FWE Publishing
PO Box 1532, Soquel, CA 95073
9780971220157, $9.95

Book three in the Percy Veerance Adventure Series, Percy & the Plan is as whimsical as its predecessors. The humble farming town of Yoosa (sounds a little bit like USA, doesn't it?), which recently survived the Summer Sun Scare and the Autumn Fire Tragedy, now faces a new threat - the fiend behind the disasters, Luster Krupter, has created a new evil plan to wipe Yoosa off the map! The Anti-Goodness Society and Biter Spider Army are supporting Luster's malevolent musings, but when Percy learns of Luster's plan, he has a risky idea to stop it. A handful of black-and-white illustrations embellish this wacky, lighthearted, but ultimately warmhearted fantasy-adventure with undertones about the value of cooperative behavior and personal responsibility.

Quest for the Dragon Stone
Ami Blackford
Red Cygnet Press
11858 Stoney Peak Drive, #525, San Diego, CA 92128
9781601080080, $18.95

The debut children's book by author and illustrator Ami Blackford, Quest for the Dragon Stone is a children's book ideal for young readers who are ready for more involved fare than simple picturebooks, but who also enjoy vibrant and colorful illustrations throughout their stories. Ruth and David have become involved in The Society of Magebeologists - those dedicated to the study of magical beasts - and are tending to a beautiful but terribly sick Phoenix Dragon. The gorgeous, orange feathered-and-scaled creature belongs to a race of dragons that never truly dies; instead they combust into ash, and renew themselves from an egg within the ashes. Ruth and David witness the dragon's combustion and take it upon themselves to deliver the egg to a good hatchery. A mysterious message leads them deeper into the society, which is their strongest connection to their excavationist father gone missing. Quest for the Dragon Stone is hopefully a stepping stone to more wondrous and fantastic adventures by Ami Blackford, and is especially recommended for young dragon lovers.

The Wild Tales of a Curious Princess
Heather McGhee, author
Shari Lynn Myers, illustrator
A Better Be Write Publisher
PO Box 1577, Millville, NJ 08332
9780978898595, $19.95

The Wild Tales of a Curious Princess is a chapter book for young adults about thirteen-year-old Princess Penelope, who wants more than anything to be a physicist and go on grand adventures. This doesn't sit well in Fairyland, where there are strongly understood rules concerning how princess should behave - such as always waiting for a prince to rescue them when taken captive, rather than rescue themselves. When Master Chemist Silas the Almost-Great kidnaps Penelope and takes her to his castle, Penelope uses all her knowledge of physics and her "Damsel in Distress Textbook" to elude evil chemists, cabbage-head hunters, dragons, giants, pickle poppers, and more. An ogre, a fairy, and a well-meaning prince join her quest in this fairy tale that turns genre conventions upside down. A handful of black-and-white illustrations grace this fantasy novel, highly recommended for preteen girls.

The International Studies Shelf

In the Land of the Jaguar
Gena K. Gorrell, author
Andrej Krystoforski, illustrator
Tundra Books
PO Box 1030, Pittsburgh, NY 12901
9780887767562, $22.95

In the Land of the Jaguar: South America and Its People is an amazing tour of the history, geography, people, and culture of South America for young adult readers. Featuring colorful art by award-winning illustrator Andrej Krystoforski on almost every page, In the Land of the Jaguar is divided an introductory chapter plus eleven more chapters each devoted to a different South American nation, from Argentina to Venezuela. Written in a tone that is reader-friendly without being patronizing, In the Land of the Jaguar is a welcome educational addition to grade school and children's libraries. Highly recommended.

The Folklore/Fairytale Shelf

The Great Race
Dawn Casey, author
Anne Wilson, illustrator
Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
9781905236770, $16.99 www.barefootbooks.com1-866-215-1756

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac is a picturebook retelling of an ancient Chinese legend of how their annual calendar came to be. The Jade Emperor decreed a grand race between the animals to determine the order of the years. Thirteen animals raced, but the rat, eager to be first, tricked the unfortunate cat into missing the finish line completely - as a result, the rat and the cat remain worst enemies to this very day! Playful color illustrations by Anne Wilson add an enthusiastic touch to this adventurous narrative, rounded out with fun facts about the Chinese calendar and Chinese astrology.

In Search of the Thunder Dragon
Sophie & Romio Shrestha
Mandala Publishing
17 Paul Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903
9781601091000, $16.95 1-800-688-2218

Set in the mountainous and isolated kingdom of Bhutan, In Search of the Thunder Dragon is a children's picturebook following the adventures of two children in their quest to find the legendary thunder dragon. Their search leads them to befriend a majestic winged tiger, and fly on its back into the roiling clouds of a thunderstorm! The Eastern traditional-style artwork makes In Search of the Thunder Dragon worthy of framing in an art gallery, and the gentle story about coming face-to-scaly-face with a legend is sure to appeal to young readers who love fantasy. Highly recommended as an introduction to Bhutan's culture for young people as well as a charming fairy tale in its own right.

The Fiction Shelf

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Book 6 of Jeff Smith's graphic novel Bone series, Bone: Old Man's Cave (0439706289, $18.99 ) features a showdown between the Hooded One and the valley folk – and Bone and Phoney Bone at the center of controversy. A secret sacrificial moonlight ceremony threatens them in another fine Bone presentation. Cornelia Funke's IGRAINE THE BRAVE (0439903793, $16.99) tells of a nearly-twelve-year-old who dreams of becoming a famous knight, but life at the family castle is boring – until the nephew of the baroness-next-door shows up. Osmund plans to capture the castle and steal Igraine's magic singing books just as her parents mistakenly turn themselves into pigs. What more could go wrong? Young leisure readers will love the zany aspect of this story. Sheila P. Moses' SALLIE GAL AND THE WALL-A-KEE MAN (0439908906, $15.99) tells of Sallie, who wants some hair ribbons just like her cousin Wild Cat's. But money is slim and no matter how hard she works, she can't afford ribbons – until Wall-a-kee Man comes into the house and offers her charity – which Sallie isn't supposed to take. A warm story of courage evolves. Norma Fox Mazer's TEN WAYS TO MAKE MY SISTER DISAPPEAR (0439839831, $16.99) tells of ten-year-old Sprig, who wants everything her older sister Dakota has. But Dakota has it all – and does everything better, too – until a key year when Sprig's father is away and the class bully acts like a friend. A poignant, realistic story evolves.

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

J.M. Trewellard's BUTTERFINGERS (9780385751230, $15.99) tells of Princess Bella, snatched from her secret garden by a terrifying monster, leaving behind nothing but a golden ball. It's up to stableboy Ned and his animal friends to rescue her when all the knights fail: will he be able to effect rescue, or will his butterfingers let her slip through? Thatcher Heldring's TOBY WHEELER: EIGHTH GRADE BENCHWARMER (9780385733908, $14.99) tells of Toby, who loves basketball and playing pickup games at the rec center with his best friend JJ. But JJ's getting too busy for Toby and junior high basketball season hasn't even begun yet, where JJ is the star and Toby is just ordinary. Sports pressures and experiences make for a fine story of a boy's adjustment to friendship changes. Graham Salisbury's NIGHT OF THE HOWLING DOGS (9780385731225, $16.99) recreates in fiction the true story of a volcano's eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii. Dylan's Scout troop camps below the volcano in a beautiful setting – a nice expedition until disaster strikes and brings with it changes demanding Dylan assume an unusual leadership role. S. Jones Rogan's THE DARING ADVENTURES OF PENHALIGON BRUSH (9780375843440, $15.99) is a fantasy animal saga on the level of Watership Down or Redwall – but with young adult readers in mind. One Penhaligon Brush here finds himself in for more adventure than he wishes when he's captured by a band of armed ferrets, locked in Ferball Manor's dungeons, then thrown to his death in the sea. Upon rescue he discovers the dangers have only just begin in this hard-hitting saga of adventure. Eric A. Kimmel's A PICTURE FOR MARC (9780375832536, $11.99) tells of a boy who grows up in a small Russian town in the late 1800s, and who doesn't know what art or drawing is. When he discovers his hidden talent, he decides to make pictures nobody has ever seen before – with unexpected results. The story of artist Marc Chagall's discovery of his talent translates well to a vivid fictionalization. Katy Kelly's LUCY ROSE: WORKING MYSELF TO PIECES AND BITS (9780385734080, $12.99) tells of a girl lucky in friendships – and able to help friends in need. When a plumbing store operator seeks to turn his venture into a bakery – a job that costs lots – it's up to Lucy Rose, 4th grade wonder, to help make it happen. Sundee T. Frazier's BRENDAN BUCKLEY'S UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT (9780385734394, $14.99) tells of a ten-year-old Tae Kwon Do blue belt and rock hound who discovers a grandfather he's never met – who is an expert mineral collector who even lives nearby! Brandan sneaks off to visit his grandfather – and makes discoveries he'll come to regret in this warm story of family secrets. All are top picks for young adult leisure readers.

Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020 1-800-223-2336

Lucy & Stephen Hawking's George's Secret Key To The Universe (1418954627, $17.99) includes the latest ideas about black holes but assumes a more accessible fictional form for young adults as it tells of George's pet pig, which leads him to meet his new scientist neighbors when it breaks through the fence into the yard next door. And his new neighbors are anything but ordinary; for they hold a secret key to looking at the world from outer space, and introduce him to a science adventure wilder and more meaningful than any lesson he could learn from school. Vivid action pairs with black and white drawings and color space photos throughout in an intriguing mix of science and fiction. E.L. Konigsburg's THE MYSTERIOUS EDGE OF THE HEROIC WORLD (1416849720, $16.99) tells of Amedeo Kaplan, a new kid who has a secret dream: to discover some hidden treasure to make himself famous – and make a new friend to share his discoveries with. William is an aloof boy who is a loner and seems an odd friendship choice – but the two find themselves working on an odd mansion project and find themselves becoming involved in a long-kept secret revolving around Nazi Germany. These are excellent, different leisure reading choices libraries will find popular picks.

A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Linda Urban
Harcourt Inc.
c/o Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780152060077, $16.00 1-800-543-1918

Ages 8-12 will appreciate this story of one Zoe, who has big musical plans and dreams of getting a glossy baby grand piano – but gets an old organ instead. How can she become a discovered prodigy with a beat-up old organ and a lesson book of pop tunes? It's a zany story of a girl's determination.

Still Just Grace
Charise Mericle Harper
Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618646434, $15.00

Grace has a wise grandmother who lives in Chicago, has empathy, and lots of imagination – but she wishes she didn't have a new neighbor boy and a mean school project partner. How can Grace make the most of her friendships and life? A moving story of Grace's growing understanding of others makes for a fine pre-teen leisure read choice.

A Boy From Ireland
Marie Raphael
Persea Books
853 Broadway, New York NY 10003
9780892553310, $19.95

Set in Connemara Ireland in 1901, history is recreated in this story of Liam, whose English father has long vanished and whose Irish mother has just died. Sent to live with an uncle who is a fierce patriot against England and who despises Liam for his English blood, Liam finds himself involved in no end of conflict, until a letter from America invites the family to leave conflict behind for a new world. Will they find their father in America – and can the two leave prejudices behind also? A BOY FROM IRELAND is an excellent, moving story of Irish history and social changes.

Kristina Coia
Strategic Vision, LLC
1360 Regent Street, Suite 152, Madison, WI 53715
iUniverse, Inc.
2021 Pine Lake Road, #100, Lincoln, NE 68512
9780595452682, $10.95

Lymeria is a fantasy novel for young adults about four friends - kitchen maid Wynne, Princess Avariella, Prince Jared, and stable hand Aric - who embark on a grand adventure in the magical world of Lymeria, in order to stop the evil machinations of the dread wizard Cepheus. Their strength of their bond, as well as their wits and ability to cooperate, will all be tested in this imaginative saga especially recommended for preteen and teenage girls. Also of interest is author Kristina Coia's previous novel for young readers, "Falcon's Prey".

The Crab Boys
Nancy Rhyne
Sandlapper Publishing Inc.
1281 Amelia Street, Orangeburg, SC 29115
9780878441839, $8.95

Based on real-life events, The Crab Boys is a novel for young adults set in post-World War II Low Country South Carolina. Two boys, Rhett Gingyard and Gaffney Dorn, are fast friends who face adventure and danger together, from copperheads and wild boars to octopus tentacles and stone crabs. Their adventures take an extra turn for the fearsome when they eavesdrop on a conversation between estate owner John Blackhall and General George Marshall about the atomic bomb! Author Nancy Rhyne has grounded her saga in thousands of hours of interviews with Low Country residents, crafting a cover-to-cover amazing adventure.

Pioneer Poltergeist
Mel Malton
Napoleon & Company
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M2N 4Y8
9781894917605, $8.95

Author and editorial cartoonist Mel Malton presents Pioneer Poltergeist, the second novel in the Alan Nearing Mystery series intended for young readers age nine and older. Pioneer Poltergeist follows Alan and his two friends near the end of summer, while they work as costumed helpers at Laingford Pioneer Village. When odd events start happening, the Alan Nearing Detective Agency is on the case! Something appears to be haunting the Laingford Pioneer Village, and Alan won't rest until he uncovers who and why! Also highly recommended is the first Alan Nearing Mystery, "The Drowned Violin."

The Christian Studies Shelf

Where Do Angels Sleep?
Cynda Strong, author
Julia Denos, illustrator
Concordia Publishing House
3558 South Jefferson Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63118-3968
9780758612984, $14.99 1-800-325-3040

High school English teacher, mother, and faithful Christian Cynda Strong presents Where Do Angels Sleep?, a rhyming Christian picturebook for young people that answers questions young children might have about angels and what they do. "My mom said something curious- / That angels never rest, // And guarding Jesus' children / Is the job that they like best!" The sketchy, warmhearted color illustrations by Julia Denos bring this gentle tribute to God, angels, and Jesus Christ to life.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Busy Body Bonita
Tolya L. Thompson, author
Bill Villarreal, illustrator
Savor Publishing House, Inc.
6020 Broken Bow Dr., Citrus Heights, CA 95621
9780970829641, $16.00

The newest addition to the Smarties series of educational and entertaining children's books, Busy Body Bonita is a children's picturebook written from the perspective of Bonita, a young girl with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Bonita is out of control, causing unimaginable trouble everywhere; she might even get kicked out of school! Fortunately, Mr. Mellow devises the solution to Bonita's problems. "He composed a diet of limited sweets. / The doctor added meds to make things complete. / And soon I learned to concentrate. / With focus and patience, life is great!" A final postscript section discusses facts about ADHD for parents and children. The exuberant color illustrations suit this lively and thoughtful picutrebook perfectly. Highly recommended, especially for teaching young people about ADHD.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Winston of Churchill
Jean Davies Okimoto, author
Jeremiah Trammell, illustrator
Sasquatch Books
119 South Main Street, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98104
9781570615436, $16.95 1-800-775-0817

Winston of Churchill: One Bear's Battle Against Global Warming is a charming children's picutrebook that addresses a serious modern social issue. Winston the polar bear of Churchill, Canada has observed that the earth is getting warmer due to human-generated pollution, and wants to mobilize his fellow bears to do something about it. "Burning gasoline in cars makes carbon dioxide. Methane gas comes from rotting garbage in landfills. Digging for oil an natural gas and mining coal lets out a gas called nitrous oxide. Too much of these gases is no good. But green plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, which is very good. People need to burn less gas, make less garbage, and plant more trees." However, Winston's wife notices that Winston himself contributes to global warming - by smoking a big, burning, smelly cigar! "'How can you convince people to stop doing what they're doing unless you can show that every little bit helps?' His wife glared at him. 'No cigar or I'm not going.'" Winston learns that the most persuasive way to advocate change is to change himself, and gives up his cigar to help convince humans to improve their world, in this thoughtful and motivational picturebook.

The Native American Shelf

Powwow's Coming
Linda Boyden
University of New Mexico Press
MSC04 2820, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
9780826342652, $16.95 1-800-249-7737

Former elementary school teacher Linda Boyden presents Powwow's Coming, a picturebook that teaches young people about the Native American custom of the powwow dance. The colorful, paper-collage style illustrations and simple, rhyming text reflect the joy and enthusiasm inherent in a powwow celebration. "Powwows started / long ago, / but dances change, / powwows grow. // Still today the / steps and songs / bless the dancers, / make them strong." A wonderful read-aloud book ideal for introducing young people to Native American culture.

The Audiobook Shelf

Greathall Productions, Inc.
PO Box 5061. Charlottesville, VA 22905-5061 1-800-477-6234

A premier producer of audio books and stories for children, Greathall Productions has now released five new and highly recommended CD recordings suitable for young listeners. "A Christmas Carol and Other Stories as told by Jim Weiss" (188251341X, $14.95) features master storyteller Jim Weiss expertly narrating 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens; 'The Gift of the Magi' by O. Henry; and 'Dick Spindler's Family Christmas' by Bret Harte. In "The Three Musketeers and Robin Hood as told by Jim Weiss" (1882513290, $14.95), Weiss applies his very special storytelling talents. 'Robin Hood' ( is comprised of five separate tales: Robin the Outlaw; Little John; Of Gold and Lady Marion; The Archery Contest; and The King. 'The Three Musketeers' features: Our Hero; Treachery; Athos, Porthos, Aramis; The Duel; A Fair Lady; The Queen's Diamonds; and Home Again. "King Arthur and His Knights as told by Jim Weiss" (1882513312, $14.95) includes the stories of Sir Bedivere; The Sword in the Stone; King Arthur; Guinevere; The Round Table; Sir Lancelot's Journey; Sir Percival Meets A Lady/A Queen/Two Rude Knights; Two Noble Knights; Merlin's Magic; and 'Afterward'. After an Introduction, "She and He: Adventures in Mythology as told by Jim Weiss" (1882513347, $14.95) offers the stories of Psyche & Cupid; Pygmalion & Galatea; Echo & Narcissus; Atalanta and the Golden Apples; Baucis & Philemon. "Good Night: Enchanting Story Visualizations with Sleepytime Music as created and told by Jim Weiss" (1882513266, $14.95) is an enhanced production of six wonderful stories for children: Tropical Island; The Unicorn; Mountain Cabin; The Farm; Treehouse in the Forest; and Mermaid's Lagoon. Each of this enthusiastically recommended CD story collections feature flawless production values and have a running time of one hour, making them perfect additions to family and community library audiobook collections.

The Gaming Shelf

Wizard Junior Card Game
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
179 Ludlow Street, Stamford, CT 06902
9781572815599, $6.00 1-800-544-2637

Very highly recommended for players ages 8 and older, the "Wizard Junior Card Game" will provide hours and hours of good clean fun based on the popular Wizard Card Game for adults. Young players will acquire basic card game skills with fewer cards and colors instead of suits. Each round uses more cards as the excitement builds. Each player must try to predict the exact number of tricks necessary for them to win in each round, making bids and winning points for each trick. But too many or too few tricks and they could lose points! Complete in and off itself, the "Wizard Junior Card Game' includes 40 cards with 2 Wizards and 2 jesters (32 cards in four different colors and 4 quick rules cards); a custom score pad; instructions; and 20 bidding sheets.

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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