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

Children's Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 12 December 2008 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Activities Shelf Art Shelf
Self Help Shelf Music Shelf Buddhist Studies Shelf
DVD Shelf Fiction Shelf Science Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Preschool Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Bilingual Shelf Native American Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Cookbook Shelf Crafts Shelf
Holiday Shelf Biography Shelf American History Shelf
World History Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

Yeny and the Children for Peace
Michelle Mulder
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Ste 401, Toronto, ON M5V 2M5
9781897187456, $14.95,

Children can make a difference if they put their hearts to it. "Yeny and the Children for Peace" tells the story of young Yeny and her protests against Columbia's history and high occurrence of violent acts, kidnappings, shootings, bombings, and much more than that. Every year these children gather to protest and ask for a day of peace, earning a Nobel Peace Prize nomination every year since. "Yeny and the Children for Peace" is a moving story that will motivate children, highly recommended.

Barack Obama: America's 44th President
Carole Marsh
Gallopade International
PO Box 2779, Peachtree City, GA 30269
9780635068484, $9.99,

Especially appropriate for young children ages 8 to 14 (as well as a keepsake for their families), Carole Marsh has written and published "The here & Now Reproducible Book Of Barack Obama: America's 44th President". This is a 40-page reproducible book showcasing information on and about Barack Obama which will prove as entertaining as it is educational. Children will learn a variety of informed and informative facts about the newly elected president of the United States, his wife, children, the White House, the Secret Service, and more. Replete with activities and puzzles, "Barack Obama: America's 44th President" will prove a very popular gift for families with children who are inspired by the promise and presence of the first African-American president of the United States.

They're Coming For You
O. Penn-Coughin
You Come Too Publishing
3138 NW Colonial Drive, Bend, OR 97701
9780981683607, $5.99

Scary stories are almost a rite of passage for young children. "They're Coming For You: Scary Stories That Scream To Be Read" is a collection of 27 stories aimed at readers eight years old and up. Perfect for reading with a flashlight in the dark or around a campfire, the stories will provide countless hours of entertainment for children and will delight as well as frighten them. "They're Coming For You" is a solid choice for any parent with children who may host sleep-overs or other gatherings.

The Mystery of the Tree Rings
Mark Meierhenry and David Volk, authors
Jason Folkerts, illustrator
South Dakota State Historical Society Press
900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SC 57501-2217
9780979894008, $13.95

Written for young people at a second to fourth grade reading level, The Mystery of the Tree Rings is a simple "mystery" book about two children, Max and Hannah, taken on a nature trip by their grandfather to find a ponderosa pine that's nearly eight hundred years old. As they hike, Max gets lost and takes a rest next to a gigantic pine tree. A mysterious voice whispers to Max, telling him about the secret life of Rosa the ponderosa. When Hannah and Grandpa find Max, he has learned the wonders of ancient trees, perhaps the very same wonders that Grandpa has written in his private journal. "'Grandpa, our measuring sticks are just like tree rings. Each mark tells how much we grew,' Hannah said the next morning back at the farm. She was studying the measurements they had made on their sticks. 'Right, Hannah,' Grandpa said. 'Like a tree's rings, the marks on your stick record your personal growth. Today, I'm giving you your first journals, too, so that you can record other things. Write down all that you saw and did yesterday in the Black Hills. It will help you remember our adventures.'" Simple, colorful illustrations and a final blank, lined page for the child to write in to start their own journal round out this charming story about learning to appreciate and remember the wonders all around us.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

From Alabama to Wyoming, find out how a state gets its name with Sheila Keenan's Greetings from the 50 States: How They Got Their Names (0439834392, $18.99), a guide exploring the origins of each state's name. Kids in grades 5-7 receive an excellent blend of color drawings, history, and sidebars of information in this colorful coverage. ZANY MISCELLANY (0545053331, $14.99) packs in thousands of facts about all kinds of topics in a Google-type fun listing of zany facts. From what someone who constantly picks their nose is called to the first roller-coaster track and 'Blue Men' who are nomads, color photos and drawings pack sidebars of light, fun facts.

The Activities Shelf

Project Play
6201 West Howard Street, Suite 201, Niles, IL 60714 847-647-7500

A new "Project Play" series of children's hardcover books, written by Marlene F. Byrne and colorfully illustrated by Jesse Graber, teaches young people about fun and active outdoor games, through the antics of the friendly kids of Edgebrook. "Treasure Hunt" (9780977713509, $12.99) not only teaches young people about the Treasure Hunt game, it also comes with sample clues that can be photocopies or cut out of the book, and used to play Treasure Hunt. In "Follow the Leader" (9780977713516, $12.99) learn about the classic Follow the Leader game, which can be enjoyed indoors or out, rain or shine. "Just a Baseball Game" (9780977713523, $12.99) does more than teach young people about the beloved American pastime of baseball; it also addresses the common problems that sports leagues have with fans and parents who let their obsession with winning grow until it overrides the fun of the game. Discussing ways to cool down hot heads, negotiate disagreements, and foster love of the game, "Just a Baseball Game" is a great way to introduce young people to the sport and even comes with cut-out "baseball cards" of the Edgebrook kids. All three books are a welcome addition to children's libraries, both private and public, and especially highly recommended as a way to promote active, inexpensive entertainment in a modern era over saturated with TV and video games.

The Art Shelf

The Impressionists
Francesco Salvi
The Oliver Press, Inc.
Charlotte Square, 5707 West 36th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55416-2510
1934545031, $24.95 1-800-865-4837

Part of the six-volume "Art Masters" series, The Impressionists is an illustrated, educational guide ideal for introducing teen and older readers. Color artwork on every page reveals the history of the Impressionist style, the identities of the famous French artists who pioneered it, and their legacy on subsequent creators. "In 1855, Paris hosted the Universal Exposition, which featured the largest exhibition of painting ever seen at that time. It exposed the future Impressionists to artists like Gustave Courbet, who inspired them to look at art in new ways. The old medieval Paris was a thing of the past, and as far as the Impressionists were concerned, so was traditional art." A top-notch resource for learning and discovery, enthusiastically recommended for school and library children's collections along with the rest of the informative and enriching "Art Masters" series.

The Self Help Shelf

What to Do When Bad Habits Take Hold
Dawn Huebner, Ph.D., author
Bonnie Matthews, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433803833, $15.95 1-800-374-2721

Written by clinical child psychologist Dawn Huebner, Ph.D., What to Do When Bad Habits Take Hold is a handy, softcover consumable book with black-and-white illustrations designed to help young people ages six to twelve overcome hard-to-stop habits like nail biting, thumb sucking, hair twirling, scab picking, and shirt chewing. "It may be that you aren't getting enough sleep. Kids who are 9 to 11 years old need at least 10 hours of sleep every night. Kids ages 8 and under need even more. Lack of sleep affects people in all kinds of ways. It's stressful for your brain and your body, making you more likely to pick, pull, twirl, suck, or chew." The primary focus of What to Do When Bad Habits Take Hold is five different key strategy young people can use - blocking the habit, keeping one's hands or mouth busy with some other more favorable activity, using some activity that involved the same motion (such as sucking water through a sip cub instead of sucking one's thumb), applying a "wake-up" activity to jazz up the daily routine in the part of body associated with the habit (like gargling with mouthwash instead of engaging in a chewing habit), and learning constructive ways to release tension, like laughter or singing. An extremely helpful book, highly recommended for parents to share with children to help them change their lives for the better.

The Music Shelf

Come Dance With Us
The First Wave, LLC

Come Dance With Us is an educational audio CD that uses story-telling and song to teach young children about time, geography, phonetics, arithmetic, emotions, and more through listening and singing along. Created by the producers of the award-winning DVD series "Fundamentals", Come Dance With Us follows a brother and a sister on a farm as they attend school and learn about a wide range of subjects, expressed through delightfully catchy tunes. Rhythm helps young people learn and remember the curriculum in this wonderful addition to public and school library CD collections. Highly recommended. The tracks are Come with Us (Mr. Jack) (0:06), I Know a Little Girl (0:29), There's a Little Monkey (2:01), Eye eye (1:32), Conga (0:31), Deep in the Country (1:25), Emotions (1:12), Vowels (1:21), Star Dance (0:57), Art Dance (1:50), Twelve Little Stars (2:17), North America (1:45), Sixty Seconds (1:41), Sitting in a Train (4:34), Come Dance with Me (1:45), Peace Be With You (0:39), Silly Billy (1:38), I Was Born Today (0:57), Bye Bye (2:39), and I've a Feeling (1:23).

Happy Birthday to You!
Margot Theis Raven, author
Chris Soentpiet, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
c/o Thomson Gale
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535
9781585361694, $17.95 1-800-231-5163

Happy Birthday to You! The Mystery Behind the Most Famous Song in the World is a children's picturebook rendition of the true-life history behind the popular and beloved song "Happy Birthday to You". Created in 1889 by two Kentucky sisters Patty and Mildred Hill, the song began as a melody called "Good Morning to All" for kindergarten students as a greeting to start the day. The lyrics evolved to suit other occasions, and in 1935 the sisters' song was fully copyrighted, with due credit afforded to their names. Award-winning artist Chris Soentpiet provides the touching, colorful illustrations in a realistic style to this informative story ideal for curious young children who are just about ready to graduate from picturebooks to more involved fare.

The Buddhist Studies Shelf

Milton's Secret
Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman, authors
Frank Riccio, illustrator
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
1125 Stoney Ridge Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902
9781571745774, $18.95 1-800-766-8009

Milton's Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and the Power of Now is a children's picturebook that teaches a basic yet invaluable lesson from Buddhism - that rather than stress out or obsess over what has happened or what will happen, there is value in living in the moment. Young Milton is an ordinary boy who loves his pet cat, but he is plagued with worry over a school bully and other problems. 'If he ever tries to hurt you again, promise me you'll tell your mom or dad at once, and you should also tell your teacher.' 'Okay, I promise.' 'When did this happen?' 'Yesterday.' 'I see, yesterday. That was When it happened. But it's not happening now, is it?' 'Of course it's not happening now. But I'm worried he'll try to do it again.' 'If he does, it will be Then, won't it? You're worrying about Then and thinking about When. Aren't you forgetting something? Then and When are in your head. They are not here Now, are they?'" The colorful illustrations bring this thoughtful parable to life, and help communicate an insight that readers age eight to eighty and beyond can benefit from. Highly recommended.

The DVD Shelf

Animalia: The Land Where Literacy Lives, Volume 1
11050 Santa Monica Blvd., 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Animalia: The Land Where Literacy Lives, Volume 1 collects ten episodes of Animalia, a marvelous computer animated DVD series designed to help teach literacy to elementary school children. Animalia features classsroom and home-based activities unique to the series yet created to uphold the professional Standards for the English Language Arts, as distributed in 1996 by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. Structured around the key goals of enabling reading, writing, vocabulary, critical thinking, word usage, second language, speech, visual literacy, media literacy, and research skills including library and Internet research, Animalia: The Land Where Literacy Lives is as enriching as it is fun to watch - the amazing rendered creatures, from tigers and lions to apes and reptiles, are sure to keep the attention of young viewers! Enthusiastically recommended for elementary school classrooms, public and elementary school library collections, and as a supplement for home schooling. 10 DVDs, 16.9 widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1.

The Fiction Shelf

Fiscal Pear and Shimmer in the Call of River Whale
Olivia Brooks-Scrivanich
Book Surge
7290-B Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
9781419695896, $14.99,

Not everything is easy when you're a humanoid pear. "Fiscal Pear and Shimmer in the Call of River Whale" tells of Fiscal Pear and his companion Shimmer, and their evasion of an evil baker who wants to exploit Fiscal's unique status. The help of SOL and the council of the wise seem to be their only hope for escape, but ambition isn't foiled so easily. "Fiscal Pear and Shimmer in the Call of River Whale" is a fresh children's fantasy, recommended.

The Dead & The Gone
Susan Beth Pfeffer
Harcourt Inc.
c/o Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780152063115, $17.00

Alex was working behind a pizza counter and worried about grades - but when an asteroid hits the moon and causes catastrophic changes on Earth, his world changes and becomes one of fighting to live. This riveting companion to LIFE AS WE KNEW IT is tense with survival efforts and provides a gripping story line that is hard to put down. Very highly recommended: an outstanding story perfect for any collection appealing to teens.

Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
Holly Black, author
Tony DiTerlizzi, illustrator
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
1416960953, $24.99

It began with a mysterious correspondence left for the authors from three siblings who told of a great-uncle's connection to magical worlds - and his eyewitness accounts of another world. This visual guide to the Spiderwick legend features over thirty drawings of fairies and offers an in-depth focus on both old and new creatures in a delightful blend of picture and text highly recommended for any Spiderwick Chronicle readers.

Eve of the Emperor Penguin
Mary Pope Osborne
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375837333, $11.99

#40 in the Magic Treehouse 'Merlin Mission' series provides a rhyme immersing Jack and Annie in a mission to find the fourth secret of happiness for Merlin the magician. The magic tree house here takes them to Antarctica, where they meet scientists and reporters in modern times. How can they search for ancient artifacts in a modern setting? A delightful fantasy blends magic and science in another satisfying Magic Treehouse saga.

The Good Neighbors
Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439855624, $16.99

Graphic novels for elementary to middle school grades have the attraction of intriguing reluctant readers: THE GOOD NEIGHBORS is no exception, even though its graphics are in black and white and not full color. Rue Silver's mother has vanished and her father's being blamed for murder - is he guilty? Her investigation uncovers a startling truth about her mother's past and her own world in this fine story.

Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles
Rupert Kingfisher
Bloomsbury USA
175 - 5th Avenue, 8th Floor, New York NY 10010
1599903067, $15.99

Madeleine must work in her horrible uncle Lard's restaurant each summer, and is allowed to just wash dishes despite her own cooking skills. But when she stumbles on a tiny Paris shop owned by one Madame Pamplemousse, she finds a kindred soul and new hope for her skills. An engaging story of achievement evolves.

The Kingfisher Book Of Classic Animal Stories
Sally Grindley
Kingfisher Books
c/o Macmillan
33 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003
9780753462102, $19.95, 1-800-225-3362

Compiled by Sally Grindley, "The Kingfisher Book Of Classic Animal Stories" is a beautifully illustrated collection of sixteen animal stories specifically appropriate for children ages 6 to 10 and elementary grades 1 through 5. The individual stories range from 'Aesop's Fables' as retold by Saviour Pirotta and Rudyard Kipling's 'Just So Stories', to Kenneth Grahame's 'The Wind in the Willow' and Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Nightingale'. Of special note are the diverse and impressively talented artists illustrating these various tales of enchantment for children including Richard Johnson, M. P. Robertson, Susan Hellard, Fomina, Paula Bowles, Niroot Puttapipat, Sally Anne Lambert, Paul Howard, Elionor Mutale, Adrienne Kennaway, Georgina McBain, Yvonne Gilbert, Olwyn Whelan, David Kearney, Luch Davey, and Daniela Terazzini. These are the often unsung heroes of children's books publishing. "The Kingfisher Book Of Classic Animal Stories" is a welcome and enthusiastically recommended addition to any and all family, school, and community library Folktale & Fairy Tale collections for young readers.

Sonshine Girls: Summer Secret
Rene Morris, author
Paul Casales, illustrator
Summertime Books
PO Box 79684, Fort Worth, TX 76179
9780980186123, $6.99,

Being new is never easy. But sometimes it goes better than one would think. "Sonshine Girls: Summer Secret" tells of new girl Kristin and moving into her new community. She finds friends easily enough through her Church, but a Bully rears his ugly head. She soon considers what is the Christian way to deal with the bully, but soon finds that her Church has a secret of its own. A fine book for young teenage Christian readers, "Summer Secret" is a great gift for one's young daughter.

Johnny Big Ears
John Paul Padilla
Dorrance Publishing Co.
701 Smithfield Street, Third Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
9780805974966, $17.00

Children can be cruel. "Johnny Big Ears: The Feel-Good Friend" is the story of young kindergarten student Johnny, who unfortunately has larger than average ears. A target of teasing and bullying, young Johnny must find a way to overcome the harshness of his young classmates. A story about dealing with adversity as a youth and a message to young children that minor differences mean nothing, "Johnny Big Ears" is a solid choice for young children who may face such teasing.

Secret Messages
Ardith Carratt
Ketalex Publishing
PO Box 603, Grandview, WA 98930-0603
9780981696409, $14.95,

A stolen key, and a sporting thief. "Secret Messages" follows young Roberto as he must solve the puzzles laid out in front of him in order to recover his hidden key. Unbeknown to him, other children have received puzzles as well, and are trying to figure it out as well. "Secret Messages" is a childhood mystery and highly recommended for elementary school age readers.

Katrina's Dream
Xhane Matai
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY
9780533158690, $8.95,

Sometimes adventures start in the most unlikely of ways. "Katrina's Dream" is about a ten year old girl and her purchase of an old mirror. She finds herself in a magical world where she encounters her departed sister and evil monsters. But she soon finds herself wondering if it's all a dream or another reality. An exciting children's story, "Katrina's Dream" is something any young dreamer child will relish.

Partners Again
Arthur T. Lee
Nobility Publishing
PO Box 1338, Brush Prairie, WA 98606
9780980229707, $9.99,

Some children have an overactive imagination. Albert makes that an understatement. "Partners Again" tells of Albert McTweed and his imaginary friend PJ McDougal. He becomes less imaginary as Albert meets him in reality, and a whirlwind trail of events results in murder and Albert's family in danger. "Partners Again" is a unique and original tale for children to read, with enough spin to appeal to higher age groups.

Alicia Afterimage
Lulu Delacre
Lee & Low Books
91 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600602429, $19.95,

Sixteen years is way too short to live in. "Alicia Afterimage" is a story of overcoming the loss of such a short life. Her family grieves over the loss of a daughter and a sister, her school mourns the loss of a friend. Her loved ones battle their grief, in this tale that illustrates the effects of it in the hearts of many. Each chapter covers a important person in her life and what she had left behind. "Alicia Afterimage" is much recommended to any teenager who has lost a close friend.

c/o Penguin Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014

Another Redwall tale is presented in Brian Jacques' DOOMWYTE (9780399245442, $23.99) which presents the mystery of who stole the jeweled eyes of the Great Doomwyte Idol long ago. Young Redwallers battle foes in underground adventures in another fast-paced, complicated adventure perfect for middle school fans of fantasy or former Redwall titles. Sally Gardner's THE SMALLEST GIRL EVER (9780803731592, $16.99) tells of one Ruby, whose parents are world-famous magicians. Ruby dreams of performing magic - but can't do any magic at all, until she begins to get smaller. An inviting story of achievement and magic evolves for elementary to middle-school level readers. Walter Sorrells' ERRATUM (9780525478324, $17.99) tells of Jessica, who walks into an antiquarian bookstore and finds a strange book titled Her Lif waiting for her. It's anything but a misspelling: it tells of Jessica's life - and ends with her murder seconds after she finishes reading the book. Jessica escapes death - but finds the book's changed Brad Strickland carries on the John Bellairs tradition with THE SIGN OF THE SINISTER SORCERER (9780803731516, $16.99) a Lewis Barnavelt adventure. Lewis has battled too many magical heroes, and wants a relaxing summer vacation - but a string of accidents seem more than bad luck, and it's up to Lewis to investigate a possible curse that might lead to death. RAYMOND AND GRAHAM: DANCING DUDES (9780670011025, $14.99) by Mike Knudson tells of best friends who have an idea to make Valentine's Day an unforgettable holiday for their class - until a class bully calls Raymond a 'baby'. Can his friend Graham offer to teach his friend how to be a 'real man' - in 4th grade? Lively picks, all.

Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Jenny Nimmo's new CHARLIE BONE AND THE SHADOW (0439846692, $12.99) provides a new Charlie Bone fantasy centered around enchanter Count Harken who arrives to take revenge on the Red King's heirs - including Charlie Bone's family. His ancestors have been kidnapped, and Charlie need the help of his friends to save them in this vivid adventure. Meg Cabot's ALLIE FINKLE'S RULES FOR GIRLS: THE NEW GIRL (0345040493, $15.99) tells of young Allie, beginning her first day of school at Pine Heights Elementary. Being the new girl is frightening - especially when one of the girls in class takes a dislike to her. Elementary-level readers will appreciate this. Tor Seidler's GULLY'S TRAVELS (0545025060, $16.95) tells of a Lhasa apso who leads a cushy life with a professor in Manhattan - until his master falls in love with a woman allergic to long-haired dogs. The professor must give Gulliver up - to his doorman, who has a very different household in Queens. A fun story of adventure for elementary-level readers is accompanied by pictures by Brock Cole. James Preller's ALONG CAME SPIDER (0541032997, $15.99) tells of friends Spider Stevens and Trey Cooper who have lived next door their entire lives. Trey is a little odd, which hasn't mattered in the past - but seems to matter now that they are in fifth grade. The whole class thinks Trey is weird - does that mean Spider has to turn his back on his best friend to fit in? Kids will relish this fine story of friendship's challenges. Jill Santopolo's ALEC FLINT, SUPER SLEUTH; THE NINA, THE PINTA, AND THE VANISHING TREASURE (0439903521, $15.99) tells of a boy who is a super sleuth in training who has a few detective materials to aid in his life. When the Christopher Columbus exhibit is missing from the local museum, it falls to Alec and his friends to probe the mystery in this fun story. Salamanda Drake's DRAGONSDALE: RIDING THE STORM (0439871743, $12.99) tells of Breena, who is jealous of Cara, who's only been dragonriding a short while but is already a top competitor. Breena needs to beat her best friend - and win - to achieve her goals. At the heart of DRAGONSDALE is friendship gone awry in this moving story. Ingrid Lee's DOG LOST (0545085780, $16.99) tells of a puppy nobody wants that winds up on Mackenzie's bed. Boy and puppy become bonded - but puppy Cash is a pit bull and Mac's father gets rid of him. Will Cash be able to find her beloved young master? A winning boy and his dog story evolves. Alison McGhee's JULIA GILLIAN AND THE ART OF KNOWING (0545033489, $15.99) tells of a ten-year-old who is skilled in knowing everything, from neighbor secrets to how things work. But she doesn't know how to deal with her fear, and must turn to good friends and family to help her in this gentle story of knowledge and success, spiced with black and white drawing by Drazen Kozjan.

The Science Shelf

Marvelous Moving Things
Mickey Sarquis, editor
Terrific Science Press
4200 East University Boulevard, Middletown, OH 45042
9781883822538, $16.95,

Children are learning about science by observing the world around them from the very time when their memory starts working. "Marvelous Moving Things: Early Childhood Science in Motion" is a collection dedicated to helping pre-school and kindergarten teachers help introduce children to the wonders of science and observing the world around them. These lessons are designed to seem like play to young children, wonderfully veiling the lesson in the basic fundamentals. A must for any teacher of young children who values science, "Marvelous Moving Things" is a great choice.

Soil: More Than Just Dirt
Jerry Wermund, Ph.D.
Rockon Publishing
210 Hy Road, Buda, TX 78610
9780972625531, $16.95

Geologist Jerry Wermund presents Soil: More Than Just Dirt, an educational picturebook for elementary school children. Full-color photography illustrates fascinating basic facts about Mother Earth's soil. Each page has two text sections; the first section states a simpler concept in large typeface, for example "TOPSOIL / Loose and fluffy, / full of life, / bugs, bacteria, worms and roots support / grains, grasses, flowers, veggies. / Principal wealth / for many countries." A second, more complex paragraph for young readers with more experience follows, for example "Topsoil lies on top of the ground as the uppermost layer (named the A layer) in a soil profile. Farmers and gardeners prize a thick, rich topsoil; it yields healthy plants." Highly recommended for elementary school and public library children's collections, Soil: More Than Just Dirt is an excellent introduction to the wonders of nature just below one's feet.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Warriors Tigerstar & Sasha #1: Into the Woods
Erin Hunter, series creator
Dan Jolley, author; Don Hudson, artist
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019
9780061547928, $6.99 1-800-242-7737

Warriors Tigerstar & Sasha #1: Into the Woods is the first in a series of black-and-white graphic novels expanding the story behind the Warriors saga of feral cat clans who master survival in the wild. Tigerstar & Sasha: Into the Woods delves into the past of Sasha, a cat caught between two mutually exclusive worlds - that of the "kittypets" cared for by humans, and that of the proud and independent wild cats. When Sasha's beloved master grows too old to care for her, he must move away to a retirement home. Other humans are willing and able to look after her, but she isn't ready for a new master; instead, she leaves the human world to spend some time on her own. Sasha crosses paths with Tigerstar, leader of the ShadowClan, and gradually gets to know him and other clan members. Together, Sasha and Tigerstar can survive even a battle against a wild fox. Tigerstar extends a tempting invitation for her to join ShadowClan - it would mean added security and an end to her loneliness - yet ShadowClan has a dark, hidden secret in its plans to perpetrate ruthless vengeance on all outside cats! Volume one ends on a tense cliffhanger, leaving the reader in anxious anticipation for more. Suitable for readers age ten to one hundred and ten, Warriors Tigerstar & Sasha #1: Into the Woods is especially recommended for cat lovers everywhere.

The Preschool Shelf

Jesse's Book of Colors
Lee Cohen, author
Leonard Filgate and Chris Hopkins, illustrators
Rip Squeak, Inc.
840 Capitolio Way, Suite B, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
9780974782546, $9.99

Jesse's Book of Colors is a delightful board book perfect for introducing beginning readers to the words for different colors. An inquisitive, anthropomorphic mouse named Jesse leads the reader through each two-page spread - the left page has text printed on the background of a given color, while the right page features a charming illustration featuring the color. For example, "What's green? / My very good friend Euripides the frog!" shows Jesse's green, froggy friend executing a courtly bow in Shakespearian stage dress. A wonderful and friendly book for parents to share with toddlers while teaching them the words for the rainbow spectrum of colors. Also highly recommended is the companion board book "Rip Squeak's A to Z Book" (9780974782539, $9.99).

Scottish Alphabet
Rickey E. Pittman, author
Connie McLennan, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781589805965, $15.95 1-800-843-1724

Prize-winning author Rickey E. Pittman presents Scottish Alphabet, a unique, rhyming ABC picturebook in which each letter of the alphabet is associated with a person, place, or thing connected to Scotland. "P is for peat / That we dig from the bog. / Toss it in the fire; / It burns like a log." The full color illustrations help to vividly evoke the rich history of Scotland, in this enjoyable cultural celebration.

Baby Eye Like: I Love You
Play Bac Publishing
225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014
9781602140493, $5.95,

Die-cut and colorful board books are an ideal introduction for babies and toddlers to the wonderful world of books. With its underlying theme of affection, "Baby Eye Like: I Love You" offers sixteen pages of pictures pairing animals ranging from kissing fish to embracing giraffes, to nuzzling cows, to embracing polar bears. Perfect for parent-child bonding, "Baby Eye Like: I Love Your" showcases affection and is a wholesome delight which is particularly recommended for family, daycare, and preschool library collections.

Eye Like Opposites
Play Bac Publishing
225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014
9781602140547, $9.95

Intended for young readers ages four and up, Eye Like Opposites is a beautiful picturebook designed to teach the concept of opposites through breathtaking, full-color photography of animals. For example, the word "Thick" is illustrated with labeled pictures of "elephant's legs" and "mushroom", while on the opposite page "Thin" is illustrated with labeled pictures of "asparagus" and "stick insect". "Through thick or thin / I see an elephant shin! / Thin or thick? / Here's a bug built like a stick!" A wonderful, visually captivating read-aloud book ideal for parents and young children to share, Eye Like Opposites is highly recommended.

The Picturebook Shelf

A Soup Opera
Jim Gill, author
David Moose, illustrator
Jim Gill Books
PO Box 2263, Oak Park, IL 60303-2263
9780981572109, $22.00

A Soup Opera is more than just a children's picturebook - it's a sing-along opera, with an accompanying, orchestrated CD that parents and children can sing along to while they read. A patron is seated at a fine restaurant, and claims he can't eat the soup - but why? The resounding chorus of "What seems to be the problem here?" and "I can't eat the soup!" echo as the patron's complaint climbs the social ladder of responsibility. At last the president asks, "Why can't you eat the soup, sir?" to which he sings, "Because I have no spoon!" Enhanced with majestic, slightly cartoony illustrations that capture the essence of stage opera, red curtains and all, A Soup Opera is silly musical fun for the whole family.

The Moon Shines Down
Margaret Wise Brown, author
Linda Bleck, illustrator
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781400312993, $16.99 1-800-251-4000

The Moon Shines Down is a Christian picturebook for children, using simple rhyming verse and stylized, colorful pictures of animals worldwide to show how the full moon shines down on children and creatures preparing for bed everywhere. "I See the Moon / And the Moon sees me, / And the Moon sees the Christ Child, / Heaven's Baby. / God bless the Moon / And God bless me, / (And God bless Christmas!) / And God bless the children / In my own country." A wonderfully soothing, read-aloud book perfect for parents and children to share before bedtime.

Let Me Bee
Vanita Oelschlager, author
Kristin Blackwood, illustrator
3875 Embassy Parkway, Suite 250, Akron, Ohio 44333
9780980016215, $17.95

Let Me Bee is a children's picturebook about the importance of overcoming fear, and learning to live and let live. A young boy is fearful of beestings, but a simple honeybee explains to him that honeybees, unlike wasps and hornets, simply want to gather nectar in peace. (The rare cases of people who have allergies to bee stings are not addressed.) "The word 'Apiphobia' / Stands for this fear / That lots of kids have / When a bee gets too near. // There are so many things / That you can do / To make sure apiphobia / Never happens to you. // Read books about bees / And articles, too. / Go to insect exhibits / Down at the zoo." Simple, charming colorful illustrations that resemble paper cut-outs add the perfect touch to this book about learning to regard simple creatures with a realistic rather than over defensive perspective.

The Three Robbers
Tomi Ungerer
Phaidon Press
180 Varick Street, 14th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780714848778, $16.95

An ALA Book award-winning story by Hans Christian Andersen Prize recipient Tomi Ungerer, The Three Robbers is a children's picturebook about three robbers who steal from carriages and terrorize the countryside. Until one day they abduct a little orphan girl who is glad to be kidnapped, rather than sent to live with her wicked aunt. She notices that they have hoarded all their ill-gotten gains without ever spending them! Finding a new purpose, the three robbers buy a castle where the girl and homeless children from all over can live; when the children grow old enough to found a village, it becomes a village that honors the three former bandits. The simple, stark drawings complement this minimalist-style story about unexpected change for the better in the unlikeliest of people.

Queen Vernita's Visitors
Dawn Menge
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134, 1-888-672-6657
9781598007145, $12.95,

"Queen Vernita's Visitors" is an imaginative and entertaining picturebook for young children that tells the story of a queen of the Oceaneers Kingdom, who invites twelve of her friends to visit her during each month of the year. Brightly and colorfully illustrated throughout by Bobbi Switzer, "Queen Vernita's Visitors" author Dawn Menge draws upon creative imagination, her friends and family, and her experiences working with severely handicapped children to create a wholesome, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picturebook that will help children to learn about the days of the weeks and the seasons of the year. "Queen Vernita's Visitors" is enthusiastically recommended to the attention of parents, teachers, librarians, and children everywhere!

Who Made This Cake?
Chihiro Nakagawa
Front Street
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590785959, $16.95

In an industrialized Lilliput little people use machines to make a giant birthday cake in this hilarious book, which displays cranes, tractors, helicopters and hundreds of workers who put their best effort into building a giant cake. This lively story includes simple drawings by Junji Koyose.

Babar's USA
Laurent de Brunhoff
Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York 10011
9780810970960, $17.95

Zephir's photos compliment BABAR'S USA, a picture book survey blending photos of U.S.A. scenes with Babar drawings. From cable car rides to visiting Graceland, red rock canyons, and American culture, BABAR'S USA is a fine pick for any interested in either Babar or introducing kids to U.S. culture and sights.

John Rocco
114 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
9781423100119, $15.99

Kids ages 4 and older will find thrilling the large colorful drawings and zany concepts in MOONPOWDER, which tells of how a moonpowder factor is on the blink, creating havoc in a magical kingdom. Only one Eli, fixer of all things, can stop his nightmares and fix the Moonpowder factory before all others are prevented from a good night's sleep. A gentle story of nightmares and recovery rests within the body of a fine fantasy.

The Dog Who Belonged to No One
Amy Hest
Abrams Books
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810994836, $15.95

Amy Bates provides engaging drawings for a lovely picturebook in The Dog Who Belonged to No One, telling of a lonely small dog and an equally lonely little girl. Lyrical test and lovely watercolors by illustrator Amy Bates makes for a compelling picturebook story of a dog who tries to be helpful while he awaits true love and a home.

Critter Sitter
Chuck Richards
Walker & Company
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0802795951, $16.99

Henry is a professional 'critter sitter' - or so says his ad - and so he should be able to take control of any situation having to do with pet dogs, cats, reptiles or birds. But one day the critters take control of Henry - and problems abound. A zany, hilarious story line is accompanied by attractive full-page whimsical color drawings in this winning story.

Sort it Out!
Barbara Mariconda, author
Sherry Rogers, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
9781934359112, $16.95 1-877-958-2600

Featuring colorful and charming illustrations, Sort it Out! is a rhyming children's picturebook about Packy the Packrat, an anthropomorphic rodent focused on organizing his ever-growing collection as he puts the trinkets away. For example, he puts an acorn, pinecone, and cherry together because all were plucked from a tree; while his needle, locket, and dented tin kettle belong together because all three are made of metal. Surprisingly, some of his items have gone missing - his mother borrowed them for a tea party! To encourage creativity in young readers, the final few pages include some simple sorting and classifying exercises for the reader to try with "Packy's Sorting Cards", which the reader (or more likely, their parents) can photocopy from the book itself or print out from the publisher's website. A great read-aloud storybook ideal for stimulating young minds.

All of Life is a School
Kermit Weeks, creator
Project Firefly, illustrations
KWIP Publishing
c/o Deatrick Public Relations
217 W. Lake Faith Drive, Maitland, FL 32751
9780979026706, $19.95

Created and written by aviation enthusiast Kermit Weeks, who has won medals at World Championships and twice been a US National Aerobatic Champion, All of Life is a School with Gee Bee Zee - the Little Racer is a children's picturebook about an anthropomorphic airplane and its friends in a faraway place of neverending summer dubbed "Fantasy of Flight". On the first day of racing school, a young yellow monoplane named Zee is excited at the prospect of learning from famous racing planes - so excited that he forgets to use a checklist to ensure everything is in proper order before he begins flying! "'Why do we have to use a checklist when we already know how to fly?' Exasperated, Roscoe responds, 'It's a great habit to get into and at this time in your life, it's a great time to learn great habits!'" Zee eventually discovers that all of life is a school - one can learn valuable lessons anywhere, anytime, from everything one does. Bright, cartoon-like illustrations bring to life this enjoyable picturebook with an important message about the value of lifelong learning, especially sure to appeal to any child who loves airplanes.

My Saturday Adventure
Johnny Swager
Enfantino Publishing
22750 Mercedes Rd., Cupertino, CA 95014
9780979258374, $19.95

My Saturday Adventure is the first in a series of children's picturebooks written and illustrated by seven-year-old Johnn Swager. "Oh! Look on Mom's tomato plant... an itsy bitsy lady bug. I need to sneak up on her so she will not fly away. Yeah, I caught her! 'Hello little lady bug. I will name you Riley.' Then, I put Riley in my jar with a leaf from Mom's tomato plant. (Shhh... don't tell)" Colorful, brightly painted illustrations done with surprising skill considering the young age of the artist fill this delightful storybook about bug collecting adventures in one's own backyard. A wonderful example for young people of the value of having fun outdoors on Saturday, instead of just watching cartoons.

Igor: The Movie Storybook
Based on screenplay by Chris McKenna
Adapted by Kitty Richards
Weinstein Books
22 Cortlandt Street, 16th floor, New York, NY 10007
9781602860520, $15.95 1-800-759-0190

Igor: The Movie Storybook is the picturebook adaptation of the family-friendly CGI movie Igor, which dares to play around with the venerable mad scientist/hunchbacked assistant trope! Set in the perpetually overcast kingdom of Malaria, where evil is good and good is bad, evil scientists from all over are gathering for the annual Evil Science Fair. The natural lot of Igors is to serve their malevolent masters, but one Igor as dreams of becoming something more. He successfully brings to life a monster with one flaw - his creation Eva isn't evil at all, but rather an aspiring actress! With help from his friends Scamper the undying rabbit, and Brain, the low-IQ brain-in-a-jar, Igor must teach Eva to be a properly horrific evil monster. Movie-quality computer animation stills illustrate this rousing complement to a film all ages can enjoy. Highly recommended, particularly for young people who enjoyed the Igor movie!

Appreciation Party!
Lisa Rey Marks, author
Eris Klein, illustrator
Focus Friends, LLC
PO Box 271757, Fort Collins, Colorado 80527
9780978602819, $16.99

Appreciation Party! is the second book in the "Focus Friends Appreciate" rhyming picturebook series for young people ages two to nine, featuring a cast of children who each embody the quintessence of a positive trait or theme. Award-winning illustrator Eris Klein brings to life the children Joyann, Happylee, Merrylou, Appreciakate, Wiseguy, Sagelle, Danamite, and Rayray as they attend a celebration at Appreciakate's house. As part of the party, they're given three clues to discover that all human beings have the Gift of Appreciation - one must only look around to see all the good things in life that deserve to be appreciated. "Let us appreciate: / A loving family; / A warm, safe home; / Cuddly pets; / Fun toys of our own." An excellent picturebook to remind young people the importance of showing respect and gratitude for the good things in life. Also highly recommended is the first book in the series, "Joy is the Greatest Gift".

Demo: The Story of a Junkyard Dog
Jon Bozak & Scott Bruns
Fifth Paw Press
40 Adelphi St. #3, Brooklyn, NY 11205
c/o Independent Publishers Group (distributor)
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780981618807, $16.95 1-800-888-4741

Demo: The Story of a Junkyard Dog is an exuberant children's picturebook about a junkyard dog who tries to save his town from the excesses of its own rampant consumption. Townspeople shop and consume recklessly, thoughtlessly, and the waste they discard turns into towering stacks of garbage. Demo must save the town from his master's malevolent plans, and educate the people to change their haphazard ways! The character of the faithful dog is based on author Jon Bozak's own four-legged friend, in this thoughtful picturebook that challenges young readers to think about their environment and the importance of minimizing human impact upon it. Highly recommended.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Don Wood's INTO THE VOLCANO (0439726719, $18.99) presents an outstanding graphic novel by an award-winning artist who himself lives in a tropical jungle. His story tells of two brothers facing an erupting volcano, and how their expedition changes a vacation hike into a dangerous battle for survival against not only nature, but human greed. Reluctant readers who love graphic novel/comic book formats will find the detailed adventure easy to absorb, with its pages packed with action and color illustrations. Roddy Doyle's HER MOTHER'S FACE (0439815010, $16.99) tells of a child who can no longer recall her mother's face - and her father's too sad to help her. When a mysterious woman appears and tells Siobhan a secret, their lives are enlightened and changed in this warm picturebook tale. THE BOY WHO WENT APE by Richard Jesse Watson and Benjamin James Watson (0590479660, $16.99) tells of boys, apes, and a visit to a zoo that draws some parallels between behaviors. Who is the boy, and who is the ape? Fine full-page color drawings contribute to a lively story. Tedd Arnold's HOORAY FOR FLY GUY! (0545007240, $5.99) tells of Fly Guy who wants to be in a big game with his boy. The only problem is - flies can't play football. How can Fly Guy participate? A fine story of being too small and possibly left out evolves.

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

Wanda Gag's diary indicates she HAS to draw and paint forever and cannot stop - and reveals two important aspects of her life: her art and her family. Her biography reads with all the dramatic embellishments of fiction but provides a fine solid fact-based biographical survey in WANDA GAG; THE GIRL WHO LIVED TO DRAW by Deborah Kogan Ray (9780670062928, $16.99). Tim Warnes' CHALK & CHEESE (1416913785, $16.99) tells of Chalk, a New York City dog, and Cheese, an English country mouse who are like night and day. They are friends despite their many differences, in this zany story. Brian Jacques' URSO BRUNOV AND THE WHITE EMPEROR (9780399237928, $17.99) tells of a cry for help carried over cold winds and indicating wolves in the prowl. Two young polar bears are lost in the forest - and a tiny brave bear goes to great lengths to help them in this fine story of an exceptionally small hero. Dave Horowitz's HUMPTY DUMPTY CLIMBS AGAIN (9780399247786, $16.99) tells of an egg who lives to climb, but whose confidence is shattered after his famous fall. Maybe doctors can fix his shell - but can Humpty regain his confidence? An excellent story of courage evolves. Dianna Hutts Aston's THE MOON OVER STAR (9780803731073, $17.99) tells of a summer's night in 1969 when the moon tells Mae to dream of a moon landing - and invites her to take a step towards life's possibilities. A family's interest in and involvement in the moon landing introduces excitement and celestial projects into their lives in this fine story. Berkeley Breathed's PETE & PICKLES (9780399250828, $17.99) tells of one Pete, a predictable, practical pig who might have remained so if not for discovering a shivering elephant hiding under his lamp shade during a storm. Pete's world expands with the elephant's arrival in this fun and whimsical tale.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories
Sandra Markle
Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780822578840, $29.27 1-800-328-4929

Award-winning children's book author Sandra Markle presents Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories, a collection of amazing true-life tales about animals that have saved or greatly aided human beings. From the shocking story of a mother gorilla who cradled and protected a toddler that tumbled into a zoo exhibit, to a pet cat that awakened a sleeping mother and saved the her family from death by carbon monoxide poisoning, to a cow in river that allowed her herder to hang on to her as she swam to safety, to a capuchin monkey trained to assist a quadriplegic man, to trained rescue dogs and more, Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories is sure to captivate young animal lovers with its blend of fascinating anecdotes and striking color photography of the savior animals and humans they have aided. Highly recommended.

Animal Mimics
Susan K. Mitchell
Enslow Publishers
Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398
0766032930, $23.95

The new series for reluctant readers, 'Amazing Animal Defenses', opens with ANIMAL MIMICS: LOOK-ALIKES AND COPYCATS, a 48-page survey that will delight any youngster who enjoys 'find the animal' and puzzlers on differences. Grades 5-9 will appreciate bright, large color photos and clear explanations on animal imitators in nature, and different ways the imitations work.

Boatyard Ducklings
Heather Austin
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
9780892726639, $15.95 1-800-685-7962

Boatyard Ducklings is a captivating children's picturebook about two young girls spending summer at seaside Maine, who discover that a wild mother mallard has laid a nest of eggs in their rowboat! Leaving the nest undisturbed, they take joy in watching the ducklings hatch and grow. Their grandfather warns them, "I hope you're not feedin' 'em. Ducks that learn to depend on people for food sometimes stay around all winter. But Maine in December is no place for a duck!" The girls observe as the ducks begin molting and conserving energy for their upcoming migration - just like the girls themselves will have to leave the Maine coast when fall comes and they have to leave to attend school. Beautiful, shaded black-and-white illustrations in a realistic style grace this thoughtful picturebook, with text sufficiently detailed to be suitable for young people who are almost ready to progress to more complex reading material.

The Bilingual Shelf

Perfect Season for Dreaming
Benjamin Alire Saenz, author
Esau Andrade Valencia, illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781933693019, $17.95 1-800-566-9072

Prize-winning children's author Benjamin Alire Saenz presents Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un Tiempo Perfecto Para Sonar, a bilingual English/Spanish children's picturebook about an old man who enjoys the most beautiful summer dreams. He is too nervous to tell anyone about them, since they are as strange as they are wondrous; he fears that no one will understand. But the dreams fill him with so must joy that he must tell someone or burst, and at last he dares to confide in his granddaughter, who also experiences the mystery of beautiful and fantastic dreams. Happier for having shared his secret, he enjoys one more splendid dream. Mexican-born artist Esau Andrade Valencia, whose work has been featured in museums, brings the marvelous dreams to vivid life in this brilliantly illustrated storybook.

Golden Peach Publishing
1223 Wilshire Blvd., #1510, Santa Monica, Ca 90403

One of the primary benefits of bi-lingual stories for American children is the multi-cultural enrichment of their understanding and appreciation for the folklore and fairytales of other lands. Such is the case for the superbly produced and illustrated series "Enchanted Tales of China" from Golden Peach Publishing. Featuring English/Chinese text, their first five volume series of 36-page illustrated paperbacks written by Teri Tao includes "The Carpet That Disappeared" (9781930655201, $4.99); "The Bird That Played On" (9781930655188, $4.99); "The Mouse Wedding: Finding A Groom" (9781930655072, $4.99); "The Mouse Wedding: Groom Found!" (9781930655102, $4.99); and "The Dragon Pearl" (9781930655171, $4.99) . Equally impressive is Teri Tao's second five volume series of 48-page illustrated paperbacks: "Legend Of The White Snake" (9781930655164, $5.99); "The Girl Who Cried On The Great Wall" (9781930655133, $5.99); "Cowherd Boy And Weaver Girl" (9781930655027, $5.99); "The Girl Who Flew To The Moon" (9781930655034, $5.99); and "Lotus Lantern" (9781930655157, $5.99). Each of these outstanding and colorful fairytales for young readers is embellished with cultural notes. Although the individual titles are available separately, both school and community libraries, as well as families, should acquire the complete sets for the benefit and entertainment of their young readers.

The Native American Shelf

The Native Americans of Texas
Grace Stamper
Hendrick-Long Publishing Company
10635 Tower Oaks, Suite D, Houston, TX 77070
1885777337, $17.95 1-800-544-3770

Written by history teacher Grace Stamper, The Native Americans of Texas is a simple introduction to the histories and cultures of the eleven Native American tribes of Texas territory. Presented in easy-to-read large print, and enhanced with a glossary, The Native Americans of Texas is an excellent introductory text for middle school students. "At first the Apache traveled and hunted on foot. Hunting on foot was very dangerous. The Apache could not out run the buffalo. When traveling, their goods were pulled or carried by shaggy dogs. After contact with the Spanish, Apaches adopted the horse. Horses made hunting much easier, but also improved transporting their goods." Also highly recommended are the teacher's guide and student workbook designed to go with this fine educational text.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Toney Allman
Chelsea House Publishers
c/o Infobase Publishing
132 West 31st Street, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10001
9780791095850, $35.00, 1-800-322-8755

There is an epidemic rise in the number of juvenile diabetes cases in America. One of the Chelsea House Publishers outstanding series of health and medical books published in their 'Genes and Diseases' series, "Diabetes" by Toney Allman is specifically written for young readers in grades 9 through 12 and provides a complete and comprehensive introduction to diabetes in terms of what it is, what it does, how it can be diagnosed, how it can be prevented, how it can be treated, the genetic variations contributing to diabetes, and the prospects for a cure. The thoroughly 'kid friendly' text is enhanced with full-color photography and cogent illustrations, informed and informative sidebars, a bibliography for further reading and study, references, thematically appropriate websites, a glossary, and an index. "Diabetes", as with all of the other titles in the Chelsea House 'Genes and Diseases' series is an emphatically recommended addition to family, school, and community library Health & Medicine reference collections and supplemental reading lists for adolescent young readers.

Putting On The Brakes
Patricia O. Quinn & Judith M. Stern
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433803871, $8.95, 1-800-374-2721

Attention Deficient Disorder or ADD is an increasingly prevalent condition amongst America's children. Now in a newly revised second edition, "Putting On The Brakes: Understanding And Taking Control Of Your ADD or ADHD" is the collaborative effort of developmental pediatrician and ADD treatment specialist Patricia Q. Quinn (Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center) and educational consultant Judith M. Stern. This thoroughly 'kid friendly' compendium of practical ideas, activities, and insights is specifically designed to help children to manage their attention disorders, make friends, control emotions, and improve their general health. Also available in a hardcover edition (9781433803564, $14.95), "Putting On The Brakes" is very highly recommended reading and ideal for children ages 8 to 13 (and their parents) having to deal with ADD and ADHD in their daily lives at home and at school.

The Cookbook Shelf

The 2nd International Cookbook For Kids
Matthew Locricchio & Jack McConnell
Marshall Cavendish Corporation
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761455134, $18.99, 1-800-831-9881

Do you want children to eat well, help out in the kitchen, learn culinary skills that will last them a life-time? Then you want to avail yourself of "The 2nd International Cookbook For Kids", a collection of thoroughly 'kid-friendly' recipes by professional chef Matthew Locricchio and enhanced with the colorful photography of Jack McConnell. A spiral bound and sturdily reinforced cook book compendium, "The 2nd International Cookbook For Kids" will lay out flat upon a kitchen table or counter for ease of use by young chefs. The sixty classic recipes from Greece, Brazil, Thailand, and India showcase elegant, palate-pleasing and appetite satisfying recipes ranging from Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup; Green Papaya Salad; and Indian Bread; to Garden Vegetable Stew with Coconut; Grilled Chicken with Peanut Sauce; and Sweet Rice Pudding. Of special note is the section devoted to safety in the kitchen, the section providing cooking terms and definitions, and the occasional 'Chef's Tips'. "The 2nd International Cookbook For Kids" is highly recommended as an ideal addition to family and community library cookbook collections for children and their parents.

The Crafts Shelf

Kids! Picture Yourself Making Jewelry
Denise Etchison
Cengage Learning
25 Thomson Place, Boston, MA 02210
9781598635263, $12.99,

Jewelry doesn't have to be made out of expensive gold, silver, or other precious metals. "Kids! Picture Yourself Making Jewelry" is a fun activity book for elementary grade school children to help them craft simple jewelry that they and their friends will love. Filled with easy to follow instructions, it's the perfect book to entertain child and parent on a rainy afternoon, making "Kids! Picture Yourself Making Jewelry" an ideal acquisition for any with 7-12 year old children.

The Holiday Shelf

Thank You for Thanksgiving
Dandi Daley Mackall, author
John Walker, artist
Concordia Publishing House
3558 South Jefferson Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63118-3968
9780758615008, $12.99 1-800-325-3040

Thank You for Thanksgiving is a colorful, rhyming picturebook designed to remind young people ages four to seven about the importance of thanking the Lord for his bounty during the Thanksgiving holiday season. The folksy, colorful art of a family coming together to celebrate and enjoy a bountiful feast perfectly complements the thoughtful, easy-to-read lyrics. "Roger's thankful he can play / Sports like football every day. // That's what I was going to say! / Now what am I thankful for? // What's a kid like me to do? / Talk to God and say what's true. // 'Lord, can I give thanks for You? / And thank You for Thanksgiving!'" An excellent, read-aloud gem of Christian holiday spirit.

What Does Mrs. Claus Do?
Kate Wharton, author
Christian Slade, illustrator
Tricycle Press
PO Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707
9781582461649, $15.99 1-800-481-2665

Santa Claus' yuletide responsibilities are well-documented, but what of his better half? What Does Mrs. Claus Do? is a cheery, rhyming children's picturebook speculating on the many professional and leisure occupations of Mrs. Claus. "Perhaps Mrs. Claus runs and advises / the whole operation of Claus Enterprises. / She meets with the elves and she gives / her projections for upcoming toys / and new safety inspections." The humorous illustrations of the many, increasingly wacky careers and activities bring to life this happy, imaginative, can-do storybook sure to delight young readers all year round.

The Little Toy Shop
Frances Wolfe
Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887768651, $19.95

Mr. Kringle spends his days helping every customer find just the right toy, and when a box arrives with a small bunny inside, he decides to find him a fine home in time for Christmas. A little girl seems a likely choice - but when she vanishes, Mr. Kringle must decide how to locate her or get Bunny a home in time in this moving story of Santa's dilemma.

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

The lovely poem picturebook AMAZING PEACE (9780375841507, $17.99) combines a Christmas poem by Maya Angelou and a CD of Angelou reading the poem with a story by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. Her poem was first read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony and now is featured as a gorgeous children's book as it tells of a family who join with their multicultural community to celebrate the holidays. A fine, gentle story of holiday goodwill emerges in a pick especially recommended for family sharing. Stephanie Spinner's THE NUTCRACKER (9780375844245, $16.99) comes with a fully orchestrated cd and lovely drawings by Peter Malone as it tells the Nutcracker story in easy language younger picturebook readers can enjoy. Emily Jenkins' TOY DANCE PARTY (9780375839351, $16.99) tells of a stuffed buffalo, a stuffed stingray and a bouncy rubber ball who are best friends belonging to the Girl - who has begun to grow up, leaving the toys alone. A zany series of toy adventures will delight elementary-grade readers and adults interested in unusual read-alouds for kids. All are top picks.

The Biography Shelf

The Road to Oz
Kathleen Krull
Alfred A. Knopf
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375832161, $17.99

Dorothy's creator Frank Baum is revealed in a picturebook biography of his life and times and tells of a daydreamer who had many failed vocations before at age forty-four he did what he loved best: storytelling. In 1900 his WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ was published to acclaim and became a big success around the world. Baum's life history and inspirations for Oz makes for a wonderful read.

Portraits of Jewish-American Heroes
Malka Drucker
c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
9780525477716, $22.99

Kids in grades 4-6 will relish this different survey of Jewish history and biographical sketches of key figures, PORTRAITS OF JEWISH-AMERICAN HEROES. Rabbi Malka Drucker provides compelling stories of over twenty individuals who have had lasting impact on Jewish culture and the lives of all Americans. From Levi Strauss and Golda Meir to Albert Einstein and Harry Houdini, kids with good reading skills will appreciate the detailed coverages.

WHAAM! The Art & Life of Roy Lichtenstein
Susan Goldman Rubin
Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810994928, $18.95

Ray Lichtenstein brought a new era and look to comics, changing them from a limited audience and bringing them into a mainstream world where panels juxtaposed print, advertising and more, and even came to be considered their own art form. WHAAM! The Art & Life of Roy Lichtenstein surveys the life and contributions of Roy Lichtenstein, with full-page panels of his comics and ads complimenting a 46-page biography kids - and parents too - will find absorbing. Any collection strong in comic history, for all ages, needs this.

The American History Shelf

March On!
Christine King Farris
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0545035376, $17.99

From the sister of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes an account of how her brother wrote the landmark 'I Have a Dream' speech that was to change civil rights history - and that became the cornerstone of a march which was the first to be televised around the world. MARCH ON! THE DAY MY BROTHER MARTIN CHANGED THE WORLD offers fine paintings by London Ladd to accompany a poignant story of change and civil rights history.

The World History Shelf

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Kids in high school and older will appreciate the 6-volume reference RENAISSANCE AND REFORMATION (0761476504, $469.95), an extensive in-depth reference covering rulers, wars and battles, politics, philosophy and culture of the Renaissance era. Gorgeous color photos and reproductions of paintings accompany color sidebars of detail, with a bibliography for further reading completing each chapter section. Kids at the advanced middle school grade levels will also consider it a winning set, perfect for reference papers.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Take It to the Queen
Josephine Nobisso, author
Katalin Szegedi, illustrator
Gingerbread House
602 Montauk Highway, Westhampton Beach, New York, 11978
9780940112193, $17.95

Inspired by the works of the Italian mystic Luisa Piccarretta, Take It to the Queen: A Tale of Hope is author Josephine Nobisso's Christian allegorical fairy tale, which pays tribute to the role of The Blessed Virgin Mary in salvation through the story of a kingdom that parallels the three eras of history - Creation, Redemption, and Sanctification. The kingdom is ruled by a wise and just king that blesses his people, yet as time passes the people grow greedy and selfish, too obsessed with stealing from one another to do the necessary work to keep their aqueducts running clear and their fields laden with food. When the king's heir, the promised Prince of Peace comes among them, he too is robbed and treated cruelly. Yet when the people reach their lowest point, and are on the verge of starvation, they offer the Prince, the Queen, and the King their only remaining fruit. Even as the king turns a decaying piece of fruit into a worthy item for a banquet, the prince can help guide the people back to their old ways of love, respect, and work, the better to create prosperity for all. The painted-on-canvas illustrations add the perfect touch to this profound children's story.

Books in Series

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Marshall Cavendish's book sets are excellent library additions, offering lasting research value and proving perfect for reports. The 'Presidents and Their Times' ($23.95 each) series expands with Billy Aronson's ABRAHAM LINCOLN (97807614128398), Dan Elish's FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT (9780761428411), Wil Mara's JOHN ADAMS (9780761428404), Susan Dudley Gold's LYNDON B. JOHNSON (9780761428374), Corinne J. Naden and Rose Blue's JAMES MONROE (9780761428381), Steven Otfinoski's CALVIN COOLIDGE (9781761428367) each provide 96 pages of history and biography perfect for reports. The 'Nature's Wonders' series ($24.95 each) will appeal to grades 4-6 with a little under a hundred pages of natural history and geography to each title in the series. Sara Louise Kras' THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS (9780761428565), Patricia Kummer's THE GREAT BARRIER REEF (9780761428527) and THE GREAT LAKES (9780761428534), Ann Heinrichs' THE NILE (9780761428541) and her THE SAHARA (9780761428558) all pack in colorful contemporary photos, a glossary, and plenty of facts lending to both reports and leisure reading. The 'Hispanic America' series ($23.95 each) offers up a little under 80 pages each of Hispanic America history. Roger E. Hernandez's THE CIVIL WAR: 1840-1890S (9780761429395), EARLY EXPLORATIONS (9780761429371), NEW SPAIN 1600-1760S (9780761429364), Steven Otfinoski's THE NEW REPUBLIC 1760S-1840S (9780761429388) and Richard Worth's THE TEXAS WAR OF INDEPENDENCE: the 1800s (9780761429340) all provide invaluable Hispanic American history for students in grades 3-5. The 'Religions Around the World' series by Katy Gerner($19.95 each) holds 32 pages of detail for grades 2-4, with each book discussing a different world religion. Not only are the religious concepts surveyed, but how the religion affects dress, culture, and values systems. BUDDHISM (9780761431640), CATHOLICISM (9780761431657), ISLAM (9780761431671), HINDUISM (9780761431664), JUDAISM (9780761431701) and PROTESTANTISM (9780761431732) each discuss the belief structure and how it affects daily living. The 'Peoples of Western Asia' set (0761476776, $514.21/set) is an outstanding acquisition for any elementary level reference collection strong in Asian history and cultures. 11 volumes comprise the set, with each A-Z set offering some 46 pages of facts, colorful eye-catching photos, maps, color sidebars of information, and extensive internet and print bibliography.

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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design