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

Children's Bookwatch

Volume 27, Number 12 December 2017 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Environmental Studies Shelf Archaeology Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Music Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Board Book Shelf World History Shelf
Gaming Shelf Hobby Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf Christian Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Fiction Shelf Christmas Shelf
Books in Series    


Reviewer's Choice

All Kinds of Friends
Shelley Rotner & Sheila M. Kelly
Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
www.lernerbooks.com
9781512431056, $26.65, Library Binding, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Friends can come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes. Through bright photographs and a simple text, young readers ages 5 to 8 will discover the many ways to be a friend and how to celebrate all the different kinds of friendships they have. A noted photojournalist, Shelley Rotner has also traveled extensively for UNICEF documenting programs about children, women, and education. Sheila M. Kelly is a clinical psychologist . Together they have produced in a photographically illustrated children's picture book format a timely and timeless work that is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "All Kinds of Friends" is also available in a paperback edition (9781512486322, $7.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).


The Environmental Studies Shelf

Chemical Catastrophes
Danielle Haynes, author
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th St., Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781538204184 $26.60 www.garethstevens.com 32 pages

"Chemical Catastrophes" is a brilliantly documented and photo-illustrated juvenile text that briefly presents information about chemical or other toxic spills threatening the environment from both a current and historical perspective. One of six titles in a series called Unnatural Disasters, "Chemical Catastrophes" includes summary and discussion of chemical contamination of the environment, eco-activism, dangers of pesticide use, use of poison as a weapon (including use of Agent Orange), a 1976 explosion in Italy involving TCDD, the same chemical found in Agent Orange, the Minamata, Japan, mercury-water pollution disaster, toxic mining of asbestos minerals in Libby, Montana, air pollution in Norilsk, Russia, and toxic drinking water in China. A final chapter is titled Be an Agent for Change, and includes a color coded timeline for all examples of chemical contamination of the environment discussed. Students are encouraged to become eco-activists in many specific ways. Further information is found in the glossary of terms and in the For More Information page, listing books, websites, and a Student's Guide to Global Climate Change for additional relevant data about chemical catastrophes.

Our Shrinking Planet
Massimo Livi Bacci
Polity
c/o Blackwell Publishing
350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148
www.politybooks.com
9781509515837, $64.95, HC, 160pp, www.amazon.com

In the space of another generation, the population of the earth will rise by 2.5 billion. Yet the real problem we face is not so much the increase in numbers as the fact that growth will be highly uneven. Whereas rich countries will see aging populations with little growth, populations in poor countries will double or even triple, having a much higher percentage of young people. Against this backdrop, demographer Massimo Livi Bacci examines the implications of this disproportionate demographic development for domestic social stability, international migration flows, the balance of power among nations and the natural environment. Covering 10,000 years of human history from the Stone Age to the present, Livi Bacci shows how the space available for every inhabitant of the planet has decreased by a factor of a thousand. The notion of limits to the world's capacity - which once seemed a remote matter - is now among the most pressing issues we face, and the need to create effective global mechanisms for sustainable development is now more urgent than ever. An indispensable contemporary study for anyone concerned with the moral and political implications of our ever more crowded planet, "Our Shrinking Planet" is a critically essential work of scholarship that is a core addition to both community and academic library Environmental Studies collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Our Shrinking Planet" is also available in a paperback edition (9781509515844, $19.95) as well as in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.95).


The Archaeology Shelf

The World of the Bible
National Geographic Kids
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
www.nationalgeographic.com
9781426328817 $14.99 hc amazon.com

Illustrated with full-color artwork or photography on virtually every page, The World of the Bible: Biblical Stories and the Archaeology Behind Them lives up to its title with an amazing tour of the ancient world of the Bible, as supported by up-to-date information from expert archaeologists and Biblical scholars. Retellings of popular Biblical stories are paired with classical art and archaeological discoveries to reveal what life was really like in bygone times, and to put the Biblical stories in context. Maps of the Middle East and profiles of important people of the Bible round out this welcome educational resource. Although The World of the Bible is intended especially for young adults, readers of all ages will find it a most fascinating and educational browse. Also highly recommended for school and public library children's nonfiction collections is 1,000 Facts About the White House (9781426328732, $14.99).


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Extreme Survivors: Animals that Time Forgot
Kimberly Ridley
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
www.tilburyhouse.com
9780884485001 $17.95 amazon.com

Award-winning author Kimberly Ridley presents Extreme Survivors: Animals that Time Forgot, a hardcover nonfiction title introducing young readers to strange and wondrous animal species that have avoided extinction for millions of years. Since they closely resemble their ancestors, they offer modern scientists clues to what life was like in the distant past. Striking, full-color photography offers an up-close and personal glimpse of animals such as the lungfish, the microscopic tardigrade, the chambered nautilus, the ferocious goblin shark, the New Zealand tuatara (closest living cousin of the dinosaurs), and much more. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children's nonfiction collections.

Miss Rosie's Miraculous Journey
Kim Q., author
Thinkstock, illustrations
WestBow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
www.westbowpress.com
9781512780819 $16.95 http://dancingelkalpacas.com

"Miss Rosie's Miraculous Journey" is the amazing story of the first year of life of a baby alpaca, called a cria. Miss Rosie was born to a mother, Meri, who was unable to feed her enough milk. So her farmer mom, whom she called Mamma Q, nursed her inside the farmhouse with yummy goat's milk instead. it took lots of care, love, and attention, but Miss Rosie gradually thrived and grew, with the care of Momma Q, on an alpaca farm in Paradise Valley, Montana. There were many special ways that Miss Rosie was helped to become strong and grow, such as wearing soft braces on her front legs to encourage them to become strong and straight as she grew. An interesting ability that alpacas have is communication through soft humming sounds. Momma Q. helped Miss Rosie make a gradual transition to living in the barn, with other alpaca friends, to eventually become a member of the alpaca herd. Colorful illustrations of Miss Rosie and her friends decorate every other page, and actual photos of Miss Rosie and Momma Q decorate the end pages of "Miss Rosie's Miraculous Journey." Inspiring biblical quotations such as "But the greatest of these is love" (Corinthians 13:13) are used to describe this loving portrait of the first year in the life of a very special alpaca cria.


The Music Shelf

Froggy Bottom Blues
Sharon Edge Martin, author
Timothy Lange, illustrator
Doodle and Peck Publishing
P.O. Box 852105, Yukon, OK 73085
9780998930275 $9.99 www.doodleandpeck.com

"Froggy Bottom Blues" is a delightful origin of the blues tale with friendly froggy, bird, and animal characters for musicians. Loosely based on the biography of W. C. Handy, composer of "Memphis Blues" and early blues performer and collector, "Froggy Bottom Blues" follows the odyssey of E. Z., a froggy daughter who traveled down the Mississippi to follow a dream of becoming a great blues singer, inspiring other animal friends to become blues musicians along the way. Child-like illustrations present the characters of E. Z., Pelican, Woodpecker, and Cat, animal friends who also become blues musicians with E. Z.'s encouragement. One of the most beautiful aspects of "Froggy Bottom Blues" is the theme of sharing as a basic component of blues and perhaps all great music. Simply told and creatively illustrated, "Froggy Bottom Blues" tells a compelling tale about the birth of the blues, in the eyes of a talented, determined frog female who becomes a successful blues singer. It is a perfect introduction to the blues and the rich cultural background of blues musicians on the southern trip down the Mississippi River.


The Self-Help Shelf

Miracle in Motion: Living a Purposeful Life
Antonio Martinez, Jr., SJ, author
David Warden, author
Paulist Press
997 MacArthur Boulevard, Mahwah, NJ 07430
www.paulistpress.com
9780809106479, $18.95, HC, 152pp, www.amazon.com

Father TJ Martinez, S,J grew up in Brownsville, Texas, was educated as a lawyer, but soon thereafter found his true calling as a Jesuit priest. After graduating from Harvard with a Master's Degree in Education he took on the task of starting a new Jesuit College Preparatory High School in Houston, Texas, one strictly for kids living in poverty, but under a new economic model that required the kids to work one day a week to help pay for their education. At age 43, diagnosed with terminal cancer that would kill him within eight months, he began writing this book as a message of hope, courage, and perseverance for his students as they faced the challenges of making a better life for themselves. Told with the help of David Warden, "Miracle in Motion: Living a Purposeful Life" Father T.J.'s last will and testament to the kids he helped pluck out of the barrios of Houston and put on a path, in the Cristo Rey school, to success they never imagined was possible through education. It is a memoir that teaches by revealing his own failures, disappointments, and struggle to find purpose in his life. Father TJ informs the kids and their parents what hard work can accomplish, but also teaches the elite the CEOs of large corporations, and the investment bankers, lawyers and accountants who serve them the value of opening the doors to a better life for all, especially the forgotten smart kids of the ghetto. Father TJ became a reluctant rock star in Houston and beyond for his efforts, and the message of this book informs us all how to live a more purposeful life and face our fears. A compelling read that is both inspired and inspiring, "Miracle in Motion: Living a Purposeful Life" is unreservedly recommended for personal, church, community, and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections in general, and Self-Help/Self-Improvement personal reading lists in particular.

Mister D
Elizabeth Stevens, author
Daniela Frongia, illustrator
Privately Published
www.BrunerandStevens.com
9781484018644 $10.95 pbk / $3.99 Kindle 24 pages

"Mr. D" is described as "an empowering, entertaining fable about overcoming your doubts and fears." Julie is about to take her karate test and earn her black belt, but she has a big problem: When she practices her flying side kick, a most difficult move, by herself, she does it perfectly. But when anyone else is present, Julie gets fearful and makes mistakes. Julie's Aunt Mary came to watch her take her karate test. She told Julie a secret about learning to ignore her doubts, whom she named Mister D. This was very helpful advice for Julie, even though she found it very difficult to ignore Mister D. At her karate test, she finally succeeded in performing her flying side kick in public, with her Aunt Mary's support. Later, Julie learned how to help other kids who had trouble with Mister D. Huge, colorful comic illustrations portray Mister D as an overwhelming golden furry animal with horns and a tail. An element of humor pervades the pages of "Mr. D," a very empowering fable for kids ages 4-8 years about overcoming doubts and fears.

I Hate to Wait!
Kady Martin, author
Inge Bauerle, illustrator
Cam Co Publishers
P.O. Box 1773, Arvada, CO 80001
www.BookCrafters.net
9780692479292 $8.00 pbk / $2.99 Kindle amazon.com

Written by a veteran storyteller and expert at interactive listener encouragement, "I Hate to Wait!" is an exciting illustrated story with built in cues for fun story telling actions to be performed by listening children. Michael is a boy who loved parades, clowns, tubas, drums, and big red fire engines. Michael also hated to wait. All of Michael's exciting adventures happened because he was impatient waiting for the parade to begin. Following this brief introduction, pages of detailed, bright illustrations show Michael, dressed in a bright red shirt and blue jeans against a muted dark background, walking down a forest path, climbing a big tree, jumping over a big rock, jumping over a mud puddle full of worms, crossing a rickety rackety old bridge with one loose board, climbing a hill, rolling down it, and crawling inside a dark hollow log. There, Michael used his sense of smell to find a mother skunk and her baby skunks, EUWWWWW! Quickly, Michael retraced all his steps, but this time, they became disastrous missteps. He ended up with mud in his eyes, a bump on his head, thistles in his rear and too late for the parade. Oh how he wished he had waited! Oh, well, next year there will be another parade. Do you think this time Michael will wait? At the end of the story is a list of suggested actions for listeners to perform as Michael encounters the different obstacles in his impatient journey taken while waiting for the parade. This is an excellent participatory story for elementary age readers to experience as a group storytelling session.


The Picturebook Shelf

The New LiBEARian
Alison Donald, author
Alex Willmore, illustrator
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9780544973657 $16.99 hc / $12.99 Kindle amazon.com

The New LiBEARian is a charming picturebook about a most unusual day when a BEAR shows up in place of the librarian! What type of book will the liBEARian read to the children? The whimsical color artwork adds the perfect touch to this super-silly story, ideal for reading aloud. Highly recommended.

Bubby's Puddle Pond
Carol Hageman, author
Nathaniel P. Jensen, illustrator
Nina Story Books, LLC
www.NinaStoryBooks.com
9780998985107 $14.95 pbk / $4.99 Kindle amazon.com

Loosely based on true-life events, Bubby's Puddle Pond: A Tortuga's Tale of the Desert is a gentle, softcover children's picturebook about the adventures of a young desert tortoise adopted as a pet. Bubby has a grand outdoors habitat as his new home, complete with a puddle pond (desert tortoises can't swim). Bubby makes friends with local wildlife, including a cactus wren, a rabbit, a Mediterranean gecko, a Gambel's quail, and a playful Boston Terrier! Of special note is the follow-up information about desert tortoises, as well as guidelines for their care. Desert tortoises are not pets for just anyone; only permanent residents of Arizona may legally adopt one, and they cannot be taken outside of Arizona or released into the wild. "Wild desert tortoises often dig burrows to create shelters from the searing desert heat and frigid winter temperatures. A pet desert tortoise needs a shelter the same protection." A brief glossary, a simple curriculum guide, and instructions for a hand-on project to craft a tortoise bookmark round out this delightful read- aloud tale, especially recommended for sharing with young tortoise lovers.

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon
Judy Young, author
Jordi Solano, illustrator
www.judyyoungpoetry.com
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
www.sleepingbearpress.com
9781585369775 $16.99 hc / $16.14 Kindle amazon.com

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon is an original fable grounded in the ancient Chinese tradition of keeping crickets as pets, and the universal tradition of compassion for those who are grieving a loss. Set in the Year 1572, the story follows Hu Wan, a young boy whose livelihood comes from growing vegetables and gourds with his grandfather. Gourds are not edible, but can be transformed into beautiful containers, or effective cricket cages. Hu Wan attempts to create his first decorative cricket cage, in the shape of a majestic sleeping dragon. When the young Emperor of the Forbidden City loses his beloved father, Hu Wan offers his condolences the only way he can. Beautifully illustrated with Jordi Solano's color artwork, Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon is a thoughtful read-aloud tale for storytime or bedtime, and highly recommended.

In My Pod
Gene Napue, author
Nate Mericle, illustrator
StoryPoemTime Books
P.O. Box 172261, Denver, CO 80217
9780998765501, $19.95, HC, https://www.bookwire.com

"In My Pod" is subtitled Valuable Beginnings in Early Dreams, which describes the gentle odyssey adventure that the infant dreamer experiences in his safe birth pod, where he sleeps to grow strong, and to dream. Written in lilting rhyme, the dream experience includes counting, flying, the joy of eating, singing, exploring nature, water, and space, the rhythm of a passing day, and finally the joy of friends and parental love. Coming full cycle, the infant dreamer tires and returns to sleep in his comfortable pod to grow strong again, and to dream. "In My Pod" is vibrantly illustrated with enchanting visions of dreams and thoughts that are brief glimpses of the infant's "Valuable Beginnings in Early Dreams." "In My Pod" will become a new bedtime classic for the very young reader.

From Dark to Light
Isabella Murphy, author
Natalia Perez, illustrator
Pink Umbrella Books
9780998516226 $12.99 www.pinkumbrellapublishing.com

"From Dark to Light" traces the birth of Pumpker, a boy pumpkin seed from dark planting and underground dreaming to sunshine and growing until final selection by a family for Halloween. Pumpker has two sisters, Plumpalicious and Plumpilina, who mock him and laugh at him. But he grows into a fine large pumpkin and hopes that one day a child and family will choose him to be their Halloween pumpkin, and he will not be mocked or teased any more. Imagine his joy when he sees a snaggle toothed grin of a little girl who claims him and his two sisters for her family Halloween pumpkins. Pumpker is chosen, along with his sisters, and taken home with the girl and her parents. He is delighted to be made beautiful and scary, with the Halloween pumpkin carving of big eyes and scary eyebrows, nose and mouth. Pumpker, Plumpalicious, and Plumpalina are given candles to make the night glow through their carved faces as the night falls. Charming, light, whimsical illustrations portray the metamorphosis of Pumpker and his sisters from seeds planted in the ground to glowing jack-o-lanterns in this charming Halloween fable written by a ten year old girl who loved Halloween and fall. It is an inspiring story for young dreamers.

My Little Light
Cathleen J. Lang, author
Stephen and Michael Lang, illustrators
Buffalo Heritage Press
266 Elmwood Ave., Suite 407, Buffalo, NY 14222
9781942483441 $16.95 www.BuffaloHeritage.com

"My Little Light" is a bedtime prayer in lambent verse, illuminated by warm, earth-toned illustrations with warm glowing colors. A beloved child prepares for sleep with gentle good night bedtime rituals and the comfort of loving parents. The child is happy to see the light of a little lamp in her bedroom. "A gentle glow, I'm safe and sound. I feel secure, love all around. My Little Light, it comforts me. I feel so safe, I feel so free. We read a book or two aloud. My mom tells me she's very proud. On my bed I soundly sleep, A gentle kiss upon my cheek. Into my dreams I slowly drift, the peace i feel is such a gift." After a list of the day's happy doings, play with friends, parents, fun, brothers, and God, stars, grass and angels, the prayer closes: "Thank you God for all I'll be. Your love for me, It sets me free." "My Little Light" is a soothing and comforting bedtime prayer for young children that is lit with faith.

Freeing Freddie the Dream Weaver
Brent Feinberg
http://withlovefromfreddie.com
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
www.squareonepublishers.com
9780757004582, $16.95, HC, 48pp, www.amazon.com

"Freeing Freddie the Dream Weaver" by the team of author Brent Feinberg and illustrator Daniel Clarke is a beautifully illustrated picture book that will captivates children 8 to 12 as it introduces them to Freddie, a young boy who lives in a magical rainforest. The young reader will accompany Freddie on a journey of discovery as he meets Mr. Cotton, the giant friendly spider who teaches Freddie how to let go of his fears, become part of a loving world, and create the life of his dreams. Throughout this magical tale, the young reader learns important life lessons and acquires tools that enhance development. While unreservedly recommended for elementary school and community library collections, it should be noted for families that there is also a "Freeing Freddie the Dream Weaver" Activity Book (9780757004599, $16.95) for children ages 4 to 10, and a "Freeing Freddie the Dream Weaver" Work Book (9780757004605, $19.95) for children ages 12 and older, that fully engage the child in dozens of fun games, puzzles, and projects ranging from making crafts to baking goodies. In addition, the Freeing Freddie website (http://withlovefromfreddie.com) offers audio instructions for both children and adults that accompany the visualization techniques found in the Workbook.

Pandamonia
Chris Owen & Chris Nixon
Fremantle Press
c/o Kane/Miller Book Publishers
4901 Morena Blvd, Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781925163339, $19.99, HC, 32pp, www.kanemiller.com

When visiting the zoo, whatever you do, DON'T WAKE THE PANDA! "Pandamonia" is a wonderfully entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 7 by Chris Owen and Chris Nixon. A rollicking, rhyming text is filled with action and noise that begs to be read aloud combines with playful, energetic art, to make "Pandamonia" perfect for story time -- or anytime! Children will join in the fantastic fun as one grumpy panda sets off a frenzy of wild partying! Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, story content, and presentation, "Pandamonia" is wholeheartedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Lumberjack's Beard
Duncan Beedie
Templar Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9780763696498, $16.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Every day, lumberjack Jim Hickory heads into the forest with his trusty ax and chops down trees. Unfortunately, all sorts of creatures, including a bird, a porcupine, and a beaver, lose their homes in the process, so Jim gives them a home in his beard -- until one day it all gets to be too much. Time for Jim to come up with a better solution! Duncan Beedie is an author and illustrator with more than fourteen years' experience working in children's media. His storytelling skills are in full array with "The Lumberjack's Beard", a funny and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book story for children ages 5 to 8 that carries a green message that is both timely and timeless. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "The Lumberjack's Beard" is also available in a paperback edition (9781783706884, $8.88, Amazon) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.54 List / $3.92 Amazon).

Don't Wake the Yeti!
Claire Freedman, author
Claudia Ranucci, illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
www.albertwhitman.com
9780807516904, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

If you find a yeti under your bed, there's no need to fret! Yetis are friendly, cuddly creatures and with this hilarious step-to-step guide your yeti will soon feel at home. By reading "Don't Wake the Yeti!" children ages 5 to 7 will discover how to feed a yeti (they will need a napkin), how to run a yeti's bath (with ice), and what to expect if they were to take him to school! Original, entertaining, engaging, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and presentation, "Don't Wake the Yeti!" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to any family, elementary school, and community library picture book collection for young readers.

Finn and Puss
Robert Vescio, author
Melissa Mackie, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
https://www.exislepublishing.com.au
9781925335507, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Finn is a lonely young boy. Puss is a cat who is lost. Then Finn and Puss meet. Suddenly Finn isn't lonely anymore, and Puss seems quite happy to be with Finn, too. So, when Finn sees a "Lost" poster put up by Puss's owners, he's faced with a tough decision. Will he do the right thing? The collaborative work of author Robert Vescio and illustrator Melissa Mackie, "Finn and Puss" is a simple, elegant, thoughtful story which while told in few words, touches on themes of hope, despair, loneliness, and friendship. Above all, "Finn and Puss" gently explores how sometimes we need to make hard choices but that 'doing the right thing' has its own rewards. With an underlying message that is both timely and timeless, "Finn and Puss" is especially recommended for children ages 3 to 6 and is unreservedly commended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Catch My Breath
Paul Briggs
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
www.disneyhyperionbooks.com
9781484728376, $16.99, HC, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Breath is a mystery in more ways than one. In the imagination of Paul Briggs (who has worked in the animation industry for twenty years and was fortunate to be the head of story on Disney's Frozen and Big Hero 6), a boy's breath becomes personified, and it zooms away through farm, forest, and sea, returning only when the boy least expects it. Especially recommended for children ages 5 to 6, "Catch My Breath" is an utterly charming picture book story is all about breath: losing it, trying to find it, even trying to buy it. The newest addition to the Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase series, "Catch My Breath" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Catch My Breath" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99). "Breath . . . it inspires so many silly sayings. / Let me catch my breath. / You take my breath away. / I need a breath of fresh air. / And how did little white flowers come to be known as Baby's Breath?"

The Water Walker
Joanne Robertson
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
http://secondstorypress.ca
9781772600384, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson, "The Water Walker" is the determined picture book story of an Ojibwe grandmother (Nokomis), Josephine Mandamin, and her great love for nibi (water). Nokomis walks to raise awareness of our need to protect nibi for future generations and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men and youth, has walked around all the Great Lakes from the four salt waters, or oceans, to Lake Superior. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example she challenges us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations. With a message that is both timely and timeless, "The Water Walker" is especially recommended for children ages 4 to 8 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Leo's Gift
Susan Blackaby & Joellyn Cicciarelli, authors
Carrie Schuler, illustrator
Loyola Press
3441 North Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657
www.loyolapress.com
9780829446005, $19.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

In the pages of "Leo's Gift", young readers ages 6 to 12 will meet Leo -- a creative, shy, young boy in search of a special talent that he can share with the world. Curious and persistent, Leo tries all kinds of activities. Then, with the unknowing help of his sister, he discovers music. Leo may seem quiet, but the piano gives him a big voice, helps his confidence soar, and propels him to embrace the treasure inside him and share it with the world. Beautifully illustrated by Carrie Schuler, and filled with heart and hope by authors Susan Blackaby and Joellyn Cicciarelli, "Leo's Gift" is a perfect picture story for parents, children, and siblings to read together. "Leo's Gift" will inspire kids everywhere to explore their passions, believe in themselves, and learn that not all gifts come wrapped in a box. Wonderfully entertaining from beginning to end, "Leo's Gift" is an unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community picture book library collections.

Superheroes Club
Madeleine Sherak, author
Esther-Yee Sol Choi, illustrator
My Bench Productions
www.superheroesclubbooks.com
9780997785807, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Lily is just a regular kid with a huge heart who rallies her friends to form a Superheroes Club to help other kids in school and in their communities. She explains that it's not how you look, but what you do that makes you a superhero. It doesn't have to be hard to help others; opportunities are everywhere you look. So Lily inspires and empowers her friends to find the heroic potential that each of them possesses. Children ages 4 to 8 will discover their own superpowers with Lily and the Superheroes Club! Wonderfully charming and original, "Superheroes Club" with it's timely and timeless message will prove to be an entertaining addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Seb and the Sun
Jami Gigot
www.jamigigot.com
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 86740, Portland, OR 97286
www.ripplegrovepress.com
9780999024904, $17.99, HC, 36pp, www.amazon.com

Seb is determined to find some light for his sleepy coastal town. It is so far north, the sun does not shine in winter and the days are cold, dreary, and dark as night. So Seb embarks on a mission to find the sun. Along with his friend Walrus, he makes a plan, collects supplies, and rows far out to sea. Will Seb be able to find the sun and bring its light and warmth back to his town? A superbly crafted children's picture book by author/illustrator Jami Gigot for youngsters ages 5 to 7, "Seb and the Sun" is original and consistently entertaining, making it an unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Grandpa's Ghost Stories
James Flora
www.JimFlora.com
Feral House
1234 West Sims Way Box 1240, Port Townsend, WA 98368
www.feralhouse.com
9781627310529, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

In "Grandpa's Ghost Stories", a grandfather comforts his grandson during a fierce thunderstorm by telling him stories about far scarier things, including a hungry werewolf and an evil witch who turns boys into spiders. The illustrations bring the tall tales to life with Flora's incomparable humor and wit. "Grandpa's Ghost Stories" is a spooky (and silly) delight and this new edition includes an introduction by writer, radio personality and cultural historian Irwin Chusid, who has published several books of Flora's artworks and illustrations, and also runs www.JimFlora.com. A true children's book classic originally published in 1978, "Grandpa's Ghost Stories" is now once again available to a new generation of appreciative young readers. This compendium ghoulish and amusing short stories and wildly inventive illustrations will keep children ages 4 to 6 shivering in an engaged excitement. "Grandpa's Ghost Stories" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections!


The Board Book Shelf

Who's Hatching?
Jennifer Sattler
Barron's
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
www.barronseduc.com
9781438050041, $7.99, Board Book, 26pp, www.amazon.com

When two curious dinosaurs find an egg that will soon hatch, they are filled with questions. What will this new baby look like? Will it be big or tiny? Will it have red spots or green spots? Will it be loud or quiet? The possibilities are endless, and the dinosaurs just don't know what to expect. But that's okay... because maybe, just maybe, there's going to be a surprise that they never even counted on -- and it will be exactly what they wanted all along! Dinosaurs are perennially popular with children ages 5 and up, and Jennifer Sattler's board book "Who's hatching?" is filled from cover to cover with charming text and fun illustrations that is sure to be the one that children reach again and again every day, making it very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library board book collections.


The World History Shelf

The Discovery of Ramen
Phil Amara & Oliver Chin, authors
Illustrated by Juan Calle
Immedium
PO Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94131
www.immedium.com
c/o Consortium (distribution)
www.cbsd.com
9781597021340 $16.95 hc / $7.95 Kindle amazon.com

The Discovery of Ramen is a children's picturebook about the culinary invention of ramen, a Japanese noodle soup that has become ubiquitously popular outside of its home country. When two young people! A friendly, anthropomorphic red panda teaches two curious children how ramen was derived from Chinese noodles, and how culinary inventor Momofuku Ando popularized the flavorful and inexpensive dish, especially in the years after World War II when food was scarce and ramen could be created out of wheat shipped from the U.S. Instant ramen was a form of accessible fast food before microwave ovens were popular, and ramen was even eaten aboard the U.S. space shuttle Discovery in 2005! The Discovery of Ramen is both fun and educational to browse, and highly recommended for children's school and public library collections.


The Gaming Shelf

All-Time Gaming Records
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9781338189957 $8.99 amazon.com

Featuring colorful video game artwork and screenshots on every page, All-Time Gaming Records is an exciting tour of records set in the world of video games - from a glimpse into "speedrunning" communities who compete to finish a specific game in the smallest amount of time, to jockeying for high scores, battling in fighting game tournaments, legendary efforts to reach the "kill screen" (when the game reaches such a high level that its code produces errors and a garbled display) in classic games like Pac-Man or Donkey Kong, and much more. All-Time Gaming Records is a broad-reaching survey and overview, briefly touching on as many different games, genres, and competitions as feasibly possible, and just plain fun for young video game fans to browse.


The Hobby Shelf

Built It!: Farm Animals
Jennifer Kemmeter
Graphic Arts Books
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
www.graphicartsbooks.com
9781513260853, $28.99, HC, 86pp, www.amazon.com

Brick Books from Graphic Arts Books is a series of visually rich instruction books for LEGO creations and is perfect for children ages 5 and up. "Inside Build it! Farm Animals" offers an entertaining number of creative models to put together ranging from horses, goats, chickens, and cows to barnyard scenes and much more, all created by using the LEGO Classic sets 10693 and 10695, or bricks or bricks that LEGO enthusiasts may already have at home. Like all the 'do-it-yourself books comprising this outstanding series, "Build It!: Farm Animals contains 3-5 "dioramas" featuring a diverse range of models. Full color, step-by-step diagrams guide the LEGO fan through the process, enhancing the fun. While very highly recommended, it should be noted that "Build It!: Farm Animals" is also available in a paperback edition (9781513260822, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.17).


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Audrey's Magic Nine: Book One
Story by Michelle Wright
Pencils and Cover by Courtney Huddleston
Penny-Farthing Productions
One Sugar Creek Center Blvd, Ste 820, Sugar Land, Texas 77478
www.pfproductions.com
9780984214358 $14.95 hc amazon.com

Even though Audrey's Magic Nine: Book One is a fantasy graphic novel written for children and young adults, its bold, full-color art and quality storytelling will appeal to readers of all ages. Audrey is a young African-American girl and a talented artist, who has been in shuttled through the foster care system for most of her life. She is fortunate enough to be adopted by loving parents who want to give her all the opportunities they never had - perhaps too many opportunities, since they are eager to overschedule her with endless activities, and both of them might be a little too susceptible to peer pressure. It's still a better life than she had before... and then a mysterious puppet begins speaking to her. The puppet claims he was once a mighty warrior, the leader of nine heroes, until a wicked queen siphoned most of his power and reduced him to puppet form. Audrey embarks on a quest to find the rest of the nine, and help them regain their power and save their world... when she's not exhausted from school, ballet, aikido, soccer, piano lessons, and violin lessons, and more. An exceptionally captivating and compelling adventure, Audrey's Magic Nine is highly recommended for both school and public library collections, and makes an excellent gift as well.

Manosaurs: Walk Like a Manosaur!
Stefan Petrucha and Yellowhale Studios
Papercutz
160 Broadway, Suite 700E, New York, NY 10038
www.papercutz.com
9781629918136 $7.99 amazon.com

Manosaurs: Walk Like a Manosaur! is a full-color graphic novel accessible to young adults, yet sure to appeal to dinosaur and superhero-genre fans of all ages. When a down-on-his-luck museum owner stumbles across four dinosaur eggs, he is astonished to see them hatch and rabidly mature into anthropomorphic human-dinosaur hybrids - who imprint on him as their parent! The toothsome foursome are the last survivors of the imprisoned monster Armageddon, a nemesis that caused the dinosaurs' extinction in ages past... and who continues to plot death and destruction in the present day! Manosaurs is high-spirited and action-packed, and a choice pick for encouraging young adults to read for pleasure. Also highly recommended for school and public library children's graphic novel collections is "The Loud House: There Will Be More Chaos" (9781629918242, $7.99), a comedy graphic novel of all-new short stories based on the hit Nickelodeon cartoon show, about young Lincoln Loud and his ten boisterous sisters.

I Am Alfonso
Tony Medina, author
Stacey Robinson, illustrator
John Jennings, illustrtor
Tu Books
c/o Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.leeandlow.com
9781620142639, $18.95, PB, 176pp, www.amazon.com

Alfonso Jones can't wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school's hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso. When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he's on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso's family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice. In the first graphic novel for young readers to focus on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, as in Hamlet, the dead shall speak -- and the living yield even more surprises. A sober subject handled in the fully accessible and superbly crafted format of a graphic novel, "I Am Alfonso" is unreservedly and strongly recommended for school, community center, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Am Alfonso" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Good Night, Planet
Ricardo Liniers, author/illustrator
Toon Books, an imprint of RAW Junior
27 Greene St., New York, NY 10013
9781943145201 $12.95 www.toon-books.com 31 pages

"Good Night, Planet" is an easy- to- read level 2 comic or Toon book, winner of a Junior Library Guild Selection award. In this creative Toon book, sensitive comic illustrations done in ink and water color portray a girl and her favorite comfort object, a stuffed animal figure named Planet. Action and story line are frequently developed through illustrations only, with sparse dialogue as events continue. Planet kisses his little girl goodnight and proceeds to have an interesting encounter with the dog, Elliot. Together, Planet and Elliot and a mouse comrade decide to climb a big tree in search of the great cookie in the sky otherwise known as the moon. The mouse encourages Planet to jump and reach for the moon, and he makes an amazing leap, but falls back to earth among a pile of leaves. The three friends decide to call it a night and go inside to have a cookie snack. The mouse confides his name, which is Bradley. Planet tells them his name, adding "Every animal, big or small, is a whole universe." The friends return to their respective sleeping places, and in the morning, the little girl stretches and yawns and says,"Good morning, Planet." The tenderness of this entire Toon is so touching it is difficult to describe. "Good Night Planet" is also published in Spanish. in any language, the delicacy of the expressive, limited pallet illustrations takes center stage in this delightful Toon series.


The Music CD Shelf

Revvin' Up the Reindeer
Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could
BradyRymer.com
Bangin' Out A Melody Music
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Three-time Grammy-nominated music artists Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could present Revvin' Up the Reindeer, a family-friendly album of 13 original songs to celebrate the winter holiday season (including Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's Day). Exuberant and upbeat, Revvin' Up the Reindeer is brimming with sing-out-loud cheer, and a choice pick for playing at Christmas parties! The tracks are "Revvin' Up the Reindeer", "Holiday Jam", "It's Christmastime", "Hanukkah Rocks", "Trim the Tree", "Untanglin' the Christmas Lights", "Rainbow Candles", "New Accordions", "Baby New Year", "Christmas Peace", "Can't Sit Still", "Christmas Wishes", and "Peace Be to All".

Beanstalk Jack
Featuring Tami Stronach
Paper Canoe Company
www.papercanoecompany.com
www.beanstalkjack.com
$14.00 CD / $9.99 digital amazon.com

Beanstalk Jack is a folk-rock opera adaptation of the classic "Jack and the Beanstalk" fairy tale, featuring a standout performance by Tami Stronach, who is especially known for her timeless role of The Childlike Empress in the 1984 film "The Neverending Story". Though created especially to appeal to young listeners ages 5-8, Jack and the Beanstalk has a rapturous, storytelling quality that draws in the whole family. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Beanstalk Jack", "Daydream", "Let Me Be", "Milky Cow", "Bestest Bargain", "Lucky Jack!", "Look at Us Now", "Upseedoodledo", "It's a Big World", "Lonely Boy", "Hey Wow", "Fee Fi Fo Fum", "Lay You Down", "All the Pretty Things", "Steal Away", and "Get on Down the Beanstalk".

The Mitzvah Bus
Mister G
www.MisterGsongs.com
Coil Records
$14.99 CD / $9.99 digital amazon.com

Four-time winner of the Parent's Choice Gold Award and 2015 Latin Grammy Award for Best Children's Album Mister G presents The Mitzvah Bus, a multicultural children's music CD featuring 14 original songs in English, Hebrew, Spanish, and Yiddish. "Mitzvah" is Hebrew word commonly used to refer to good deeds born from human kindness, and the noble spirit of joyful giving radiates from this delightful album ideal for young listeners ages 3-7, perfect for the Hannukah holiday season! The tracks are "The Mitzvah Bus", "Hannukah", "Hola Shalom", "Camp", "Latkes for Breakfast", "Bevakasha", "Matzah on my Mind", "Shabbat Shalom", "Purim Party Song", "Tokhes", "Flood's Gonna Come", and "Naturaleza".

We Dream in 3D
SaulPaul
www.SaulPaul.com
Privately Published
www.WeDreamIn3D.com
$TBA CD / $10.00 digital itunes.com

We Dream in 3D is the debut children's album by hip-hop songwriter SaulPaul, a master of the acoustic guitar and loop pedal. Created especially for fans of urban rhythm who don't like negative themes in their rap, We Dream in 3D features upbeat, cheerful songs from the perspective of a child, and overflows with wholesome family fun. The tracks are "Shine Right Now", "Rise (Remix)", "Encourage Me (Remix)", "Mama (Live from Austin)", "We Dream In 3D", "Do That Hula Hoop (Remix)", "Texas Two Step", "One Word, Two Capitals", "Be the Change", "Motivation (Remix)", and "Si Se Puede".


The Christian Shelf

God Gave Us Family
Lisa Tawn Bergren, author
David Hohn, illustrator
WaterBrook Press
c/o Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group
10807 New Allegiance Drive Suite 500, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com
9781601428769, $10.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Little Pup's wolf family is on their way to a special reunion with lots of cousins, games, roasting marshmallows, and fun! As the young wolf thinks about different kinds of families, it's the perfect opportunity for Mama and Papa to teach their inquisitive child about the families that God brings together. Some families are big and others are small, some are led by grandparents or just one parent, and some families include adopted little ones -- yet each family is truly special. Even the members of Little Pup's pack make up an important role in his family, although they sometimes pester him. Papa gently reminds his son that "We need to love the family God gave us." Entertainingly written by Lisa Tawn Bergren and charmingly illustrated by David Hohn for children ages 3 to 7, "God Gave Us Family" is a heartwarming and colorful addition to the best-selling God Gave Us series. Very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, Sunday school, community library picture book collections, God Gave Us Family is timely and timeless tale that will delight young hearts and help them understand how families of all types reflect God's unconditional love.


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Wearle
Chris D'Lacey
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9780545900348 $7.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle amazon.com

The first fantasy novel in The Erth Dragons series for young adults and dragon fans of all ages, The Wearle features dragons on a mission as main characters. A wearle of dragons ventured from their home planet to the land of Erth, yet was never heard from again; now, a new wearle is searching for evidence of the lost mission, or possibly even survivors. The young dragon Gabrial hopes to find his vanished father, but when Gabrial unintentionally causes a terrible accident, a baby dragon goes missing. Meanwhile, the human boy Ren is too fascinated by dragons to stay away from their mysterious lands; when outbreaks of conflict erupt between humans and dragons, will Ren be able to prevent total war? The Wearle is an excellent contribution to private and public library young adult fantasy collections, and especially recommended as a gift to encourage young dragon lovers to experience the joy of reading! Also highly recommended is the second novel in The Erth Dragons series, "Dark Wyng" (9780545900577, $16.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle).


The Easy Reader Shelf

The Great Pancake Race
Adapted by Jeanette Lane
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338193664 $4.99 www.scholastic.com

The Great Pancake Race is a Level 2 easy reader book adapted from an episode of the enormously popular "Pokemon" cartoon series, which is in turn based on the Pokemon role- playing video games with trans-generational appeal (specifically, the recently released "Pokemon Sun" and "Pokemon Moon" games). The premise of the Pokemon franchise is that Pokemon trainers, like the forthright protagonist Ash, capture and train fantastic Pokemon creatures to battle one another and achieve their highest potential. In The Great Pancake Race, Ash and his loyal pokemon Pikachu want to win the legendary Pancake race, since the grand prize is free pancakes for a year. But the reigning champion, and Alolan Raichu, will be tough to beat! Full color illustrations and a handful of stickers enhance this delightful storybook, crafted especially to be accessible to young readers in kindergarten through second grade. Also highly recommended for young Pokemon fans is "Alola Region Adventure Guide" (9781338148602, $5.99), a colorful showcase of Alola region pokemon featuring brief summaries of Ash's escapades through the region, as well as a fold-out poster.

The Festive Frolics of Panda and Owl
Frank Lewis, author
Autumn Brook, illustrator
www.franklewisbooks.com
Brown Books Kids
16250 Knoll Trail Drive, Suite 205, Dallas, TX 75248
www.BrownBooksKids.com
9781612549583 $14.99 www.FrankLewisBooks.com 40 pages

"The Festive Frolics of Panda and Owl" is a collection of short story adventures starring the two good friends, Panda and Owl. One of the delightful characteristics of Panda and Owl's friendship is they complement each other's abilities and tendencies. Owl is a bit confused and clueless about some of Panda's vague plans, but Panda is often carefully corrected by Owl's accurate observations. The two friends enjoy many activities together in these five exciting chapter stories, with their charming, colored, quirky illustrations. In the first story, Fighting the Heat, Panda and Owl try to figure out a way to make ice to cool themselves while walking in the heat. Owl helps Panda realize that although they can't make the ice, they did have a nice series of walks together anyway. In A Well Deserved Treat, Owl and Panda work hard at cleaning the outside area of Panda's house, then finally decide to go try out Badger's ice cream stand. Fun by the River presents Panda and Owl with the dilemma of where to use the paddle and how to play with only one paddle together in the water. Happy solutions arrive when both friends realize their favorite thing if spending time together. in The perfect Picnic and Panda Has a Birthday, there is further exploration of the theme of friendship shared with fun and creativity, plus an element of surprise. "The Festive Frolics of Panda and Owl" is a delightful salute to the joys of comradeship, with all the funny twists and turns any real relationship can have. It is enhanced by tiny detailed color illustrations that have delicacy, charm, and spice.

Mr. Putter & Tabby Hit the Slope
Cynthia Rylant, author
Arthur Howard, illustrator
Houghton Miflin Harcourt
3 Park Avenue, 19the Floor, New York, NY 10016
9781328740601 $5.99 www.hmhco.com

"Mr. Putter and Tabby Hit the Slope" is an early chapter story for young readers ages 6 to 9 from the series of the same name. Mr. Putter and Tabby love their quiet days, but in winter, sometimes they forget how to have fun. So Mr. Putter remembered what fun he had as a boy racing his sled down the slope of snow. Fortunately he had an adventurous friend and neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry and her dog Zeke, who had sleds and energy for fun to spare. So Mr. Putter and Tabby got bundled up to hit the slopes. Tabby was not convinced this was a good idea. The double sled ride does not go quite as planned, but both humans and animals survived it, and Mr. Putter comforted Tabby with a nice warm bath, muffins and cream and a good night's sleep afterwards. Bewitching, homey, funny illustrations make this story unforgettable and adorable.

That's My Book! And Other Stories
Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
www.bloomsburyusa.com
9781619638914, $9.99, HC, 64pp, www.amazon.com

The third Duck, Duck, Porcupine book has a new trio of stories featuring loud and in-charge Big Duck, quiet and clever Little Duck, and friendly and gentle Porcupine. They use books in a whole new way, decide to throw a talent show, and play doctor. No matter what problems they get themselves into, Little Duck always finds a way to save the day! Salina Yoon's paper over board early readers are perfect for fans of bestselling series like Elephant & Piggie and Ballet Cat, giving all her picture book fans a fantastic next step for reading fun. The comic book style artwork and engaging characters are perfect for children ages 5 to 7. A delightfully charming entertainment from first page to last by a writer/artist with a genuine flair for originality, "That's My Book! And Other Stories" is unreservedly recommended, especially for family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "That's My Book! And Other Stories" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).


The Fiction Shelf

A Rare Gift
G. Rosemary Ludlow
Comwave Publishing House
9780973687118, $10.95, PB, 156pp, www.amazon.com

Ten-year-old Susan Sinclair is a typical girl whose most exotic pastime, in the normal course of things, is her weekly martial arts class. But when a complete stranger gives her a rare crystal while she's at a flea market with her parents, everything changes. When Susan sleeps, she wakes up on a nineteenth-century migrant ship headed for New York City. There, she meets a young boy named Jeremy who was orphaned at the beginning of the vessel's journey. When Susan attempts to return the crystal, she learns it has chosen her to go to places in the past where something is wrong and must be set right, and she can't give the stone away until it determines the time is right. Susan, who does not even like Jeremy, is outraged. However, as her travels through time continue, she softens toward the unfortunate boy and decides to give this new adventure a chance. But on one return visit to the ship, a bully steals the crystal -- and Susan finds herself stuck in the past. She will have to summon all the bravery and resourcefulness she can to escape from a danger beyond her wildest dreams. An impressively well crafted and exceptionally entertaining novel by for young readers ages 8 to 12 by an author with a genuine flair for originality, "A Rare Gift" is the first volume in Rosemary Ludlow's outstanding 'Crystal Journals' series and unreservedly recommended for both elementary school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Rare Gift" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99). Also very highly recommended is "Pharaoh's Tomb" (9780973687132, $11.95 PB, $4.99 Kindle) which is the second volume in the 'Crystal Journals' series.

Caleb and Kit
Beth Vrabel
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
www.runningpress.com
9780762462230, $16.99, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That's because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit -- a vibrant, independent, and free girl, and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb's palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit's friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what's best for him -- or her. An original and unfailingly entertaining novel for kids ages 8 to 12, "Caleb and Kit" showcases author Beth Vrabel's undeniably flair for originality and the deft creation of truly memorable characters. While unreservedly recommended for both elementary school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers, it should be noted that "Caleb and Kit" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99). School and community librarians should also be aware that "Caleb and Kit" is also available as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781478994732, $69.99, CD).

The Other New Girl
L. B. Gschwandtner
She Writes Press
www.shewritespress.com
9781631523069, $16.95, PB, 328pp, www.amazon.com

During her first week at coed Quaker prep Foxhall School, sassy Susannah Greenwood, one of two girls who've entered as sophomores, gets pulled into the cool girls' clique. While the school is instructing her in the moral and ethical tenets of the Quaker faith, the cool girls allow her to enter their world beyond the rule book. But in trying to find a balance between idealistic faith and the reality of a competitive system, Susannah runs afoul of the school's most authoritarian dean and befriends the only other new sophomore, a brainy, socially inept outcast. Then her new friend runs away after being shamed by the dean, and Susannah finds herself caught between the two forces of loyalty and authority: Should she cooperate with the unforgiving, and now vulnerable dean, who, with her job on the line, is pleading for information from Susannah about her runaway friend? Or should she keep the secret she's sworn to protect? An impressively crafted novel that reveals author L. B. Gschwandtner's genuine flair for creating memorable characters and a consistently engaging story, "The Other New Girl" is unreservedly and wholeheartedly recommended for both high school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Other New Girl" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).

Glow
Megan E. Bryant
AW Teen
c/o Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
www.albertwhitman.com
9780807529638, $16.99, HC, 272pp, www.amazon.com

When thrift-store aficionado Julie discovers a series of antique paintings with hidden glowing images that are only visible in the dark, she wants to learn more about the artist. In her search, she uncovers a century-old romance and the haunting true story of the Radium Girls, young women who used radioactive paint to make the world's first glow-in-the-dark products -- and ultimately became lethally radioactive themselves. As Julie's obsession with the paintings mounts, truths about the Radium Girls (and her own complicated relationships) are revealed. But will she uncover the truth about the luminous paintings before putting herself and everyone she loves at risk? A deftly crafted novel by a truly gifted novelist, "Glow" by Megan E. Bryant is an absorbing, almost spellbinding read from cover to cover. An ideal and highly recommended addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Glow" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Slug Days
Sara Leach, author
Rebecca Bender, illustrator
Pajama Press
http://pajamapress.ca
9781772780222, $15.95, HC, 120pp, www.amazon.com

On slug days Lauren feels slow and slimy. She feels like everyone yells at her, and that she has no friends. Today there is a different bus driver; Dan and Sachi are sitting in Lauren's seat on the bus; and Lauren's teacher interrupts her reading time. It is definitely a slug day. But not every day is like this. On butterfly days Lauren makes her classmates laugh, or goes to get ice cream, or works on a special project with Mom. Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder (an umbrella term that has included Asperger Syndrome since 2013), and she sees the world differently from many people. Sometimes this can be frustrating and makes Lauren want to flip her lid, especially at school where she learns differently from her classmates. But with support and stubbornness and a flair that's all her own, Lauren masters tricks to stay calm, to understand others' feelings, and to let her personality shine. She even manages to find common ground with her sticky, slobbery baby sister. Best of all, it is being different that gives Lauren insight into the insecurities of the new student, Irma. A thoroughly 'kid friendly' story that is as entertaining as it is informative, "Slug Days" is unreservedly recommended as an important and highly valued addition to preschool, elementary school and community library collections for children ages 4 to 8. It should be noted that "Slug Days" is also available in a paperback edition (9781772780321, $9.95).

Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story
Sonia Patel
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
www.cincopuntos.com
9781941026861, $16.95, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Seventeen-year-old Jaya Mehta detests wealth, secrets, and privilege, though he has them all. His family is Indian, originally from Gujarat. Rasa Santos, like many in Hawaii, is of mixed ethnicity. All she has are siblings, three of them, plus a mother who controls men like a black widow spider and leaves her children whenever she wants to. Neither Jaya nor Rasa have ever known real love or close family -- not until their chance meeting one sunny day on a mountain in Hau'ula. The unlikely love that blooms between them must survive the stranglehold their respective pasts have on them. Each of their present identities has been shaped by years of extreme family struggles. By the time they cross paths, Jaya is a transgender outsider with depressive tendencies and the stunningly beautiful Rasa thinks sex is her only power until a violent pimp takes over her life. Will their love transcend and pull them forward, or will they remain stuck and separate in the chaos of their pasts? "Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story" is a deftly crafted and consistently entertaining novel that will grasp the readers full attention from beginning to end. While unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for both highschool and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story" is also available in a paperback edition (9781941026878, $11.95). Author Sonia Patel's first YA novel, "Rani Patel in Full Effect" (9781941026502) is also available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle editions.


The Christmas Shelf

Don't Push the Button! A Christmas Adventure
Bill Cotter
Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139, Naperville, IL 60563
www.sourcebooks.com
9781492657040, $8.99, Board Book, 22pp, www.amazon.com

It's almost Christmas and Santa is coming, so whatever you do -- DON'T PUSH THE BUTTON!! Well, maybe just once can't hurt...uh oh! Imaginatively written and charmingly illustrated by Bill Cotter, "Don't Push the Button! A Christmas Adventure" is a wonderfully entertaining and impressively original board book for children ages 4 to 6 that will prove to be an ideal and enduringly popular addition to preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library collections -- as well as an absolutely fitting 'stocking stuffer' gift for Christmas!

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Robert L. May, author
Antonio Javier Caparo, illustrator
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781442474956, $17.99, Board Book, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Rudolph, a youthful reindeer buck who possesses an unusual luminous red nose, is harassed mercilessly and excluded by his peers because of this trait. One particularly stormy Christmas Eve, Rudolph manages to prove himself after Santa Claus catches sight of his nose and asks him to lead his sleigh for the evening. Rudolph agrees, saving Christmas, and is finally treated the way he deserves by his fellow reindeer! Based on a classic, catchy, joy-inspiring Christmas song, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!" was originally written by Robert L. May in 1939. Now charmingly illustrated in a board book edition by Antonio Javier Caparo, this is an ideal Christmas choice for kids ages 4 to 6.

The Boy Who Lived In Pudding Lane
Sarah Addington, author
Gertrude A. Kay, illustrator
Grafton And Scratch Publishers
http://www.graftonandscratch.com
9781927979266, $22.95, HC, 104pp, www.amazon.com

"The Boy Who Lived In Pudding Lane" follows Santa as he grows up in Pudding Lane, eventually to become the famed gift-giver who flies around the world. "The Boy Who Lived In Pudding Lane" first appeared in the American magazine, Ladies Home Journal, for Christmas in 1921 and was published as a hardcover the following year. Author Sarah Addington's charming story of the boyhood life of dear Santa Claus became an instant classic, and is now lovingly reproduced for a new generation of appreciative young readers ages 6 to 10 in a facsimile edition that includes the original size, page format, and layout. The original illustrations reproduced for this edition are magnificent, and were originally created by in her iconic style by prominent American children's book illustrator Gertrude Kay. Timely and timeless, "The Boy Who Lived In Pudding Lane" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library Christmas themed children's book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Boy Who Lived In Pudding Lane" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Nativity
Cynthia Rylant
Beach Lane Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781481470414, $17.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Cynthia Rylant takes the beloved text of the nativity story, as told in the King James Bible, and lovingly illustrates it in her simple but boldly powerful folk art style that has been that is simple and compelling. With "Nativity", Cynthia (who has is the author of more than 100 books for young people) has once again created a sublime take on a classic Christmas story that will appeal to readers of all ages, but is specifically appropriate for children ages 4 to 8 making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, Sunday School, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for the Christmas season.

Santa Calls
William Joyce
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781481489591, $18.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Art Atchinson Aimesworth (an inventor, crime fighters, and all-around whiz kid) journeys north with his sister, Esther, and his pal Spaulding, go along by special invitation from Santa himself. Why did Santa call them to the North Pole? Art wants to know. But when Esther is taken by the Queen of the Dark Elves, Art must put his questions aside and save his sister. In "Santa Calls" by author/illustrator William Joyce, three kids venture to the North Pole to help Santa defeat an army of evil elves with a warmly entertaining and epic Christmas picture book tale that includes lift-the-flap letters from Santa himself! Ideal for children ages 4 to 8, "Santa Calls" is especially recommended for family, day care center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Christmas season picture book collections. It should be noted that "Santa Calls" is also available in a paperback format (9780064434676, $3.50) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Tor Seidler, author
Fred Marcellino, illustrator
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781481476621, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

True love blossoms between a handsome one-legged tin soldier and a graceful paper ballerina, posed in arabesque. But when a jealous goblin pushes the soldier out a window, the soldier embarks on a journey through storm drains, past toll-collecting rats, into canals, and inside a fish before finding his way back with his beloved ballerina. With this new and impressive edition of "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" award-winning author Tor Seidler and the incomparable illustrator Fred Marcellino retell Hans Christian Anderson's classic Christmas tale about a tin solder who is separated from the paper ballerina he loves in a visually stunning picture book that is a wonderfully entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 8. This superbly crafted rendition of "The Steadfast Tin Solider" is very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Christmas season picture book collections.

Christmas Adventure
Eone
Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9781338228137, $4.99, PB, 24pp, www.amazon.com

It's Christmas Eve in the Little Kingdom, and Santa is visiting to make sure holiday preparations are going well. Ben and the other elves are busy making the presents and growing the Christmas trees, while Holly and the fairies use their magic to make noisy Christmas crackers. Everything is going according to plan -- until a few encounters with the Big People cause a little Christmas chaos! This utterly charming and original storybook with stickers is based on the hit Nick Jr. show Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom, from the creators of Peppa Pig! Perfect for the Christmas season, "Christmas Adventure" will have a very special appeal for young children ages 3 to 5. While recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that "Christmas Adventure" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Little Reindeer
Nicola Killen
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781481486866, $15.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

When a jingling sound wakes her from her sleep, a little girl's dreams come true when she meets a lost reindeer in the forest. They set off on a magical adventure and it becomes a Christmas never to forget. Author and artist Nicola Killen's evocative illustrations are sure to enchant in this beautiful book with die cut pages, foil, and flashes of festive red. An enchanting Christmas story about a magical yet unlikely friendship between a little girl and a lost reindeer, lovingly told and impressively illustrated, "The Little Reindeer" is very highly recommended for children ages 4 to 8. While enthusiastically recommended, especially for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for the Christmas seasons, it should be noted that "The Little Reindeer" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Stubby Pringle's Christmas
Jack Schaefer, author
Lorence Bjorklund, illustrator
University of New Mexico Press
MSC05 3185, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
www.unmpress.com
9780826358653, $16.95, PB, 48pp, www.amazon.com

The spirit of Christmas is contagious and overwhelming in this charming and unpredictable holiday tale. Orphaned at thirteen, the poorly paid, patched-clothed cowhand Stubby Pringle is now nearing twenty as he looks forward to whooping it up at the schoolhouse in the valley for the Christmas dance. His box of chocolates is tucked into his saddlebag for the gal who "appeals to him most and seems most susceptible". But this Christmas Eve Stubby finds that the magic of the season may have something different in store for him. In true Schaefer fashion, "Stubby Pringle" is a Christmas themed short story that will delights young readers ages 8 to 12, filling their hearts and minds with the magic and spirit of Christmas. Now available in a paperback edition for a new generation of appreciative readers, and featuring the artistic sketches of Lorence Bjorklund, "Stubby Pringle's Christmas" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Christmas themed collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stubby Pringle's Christmas" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Christmas Quiet Book
Deborah Underwood, author
Renata Liwska, illustrator
HMH Books for Young Readers
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9780547558639, $12.99, PB, 32pp, www.amazon.com

The various holidays celebrated around the year are often filled with joyful noise -- including Christmas with its slay bells, jingle bells, Christmas Carrolls, hymns, and laughter. But sometimes Christmas can be wrapped in quiet: "Stealthily searching for presents quiet", "Trying to avoid getting caught quiet", and "Hoping for a snow day quiet"! Irresistibly cute, soft colored pencil illustrations by Renata Liwska of bunnies, bears, and more paint a magical holiday picture and illuminate author Deborah Underwood's original picture book story for children ages 4 to 7. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Christmas Picture Book collections, it should be noted that "The Christmas Quiet Book" is also available in a paperback edition (9781328740564, $7.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Little Match Girl
David Warner, author
Greg Newbold, illustrator
Shadow Mountain Publishing
P.O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0178
www.shadowmountain.com
9781629723594, $18.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Featuring the exquisite artistry of Greg Newbold and retold by David Warner, the Hans Christian Anderson classic children's story, "The Little Match Girl" is imagined for a Christmas audience as part of the annual Christmas concert series hosted by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. "The Little Match Girl" is the story of a young girl who attempts to sell her last bundle of matches on Christmas Eve. As the snow falls and the crowds pass her by, she strikes one of her matches, hoping for a little warmth. In its flame, she sees a vision of a roaring fire in a hot stove. The match goes out, taking the vision with it. A second match conjures a vision of a vast dining room complete with a feast fit for a king. The third match reveals a towering Christmas tree. With only a few matches left, she strikes them all and sees a vision of her beloved grandmother. Only this time, it is more than a vision as the spirit of grandmother takes the little match girl with her into heaven. A beloved and ultimately inspiring Christmas tale presented in a simply beautiful edition, "The Little Match Girl" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library Christmas themed picture book collections.

The Christmas Camel
Anne Bancroft Fowler, author
Doina Cociuba Terrano, illustrator
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781546724209, $16.99, PB, 82pp, www.amazon.com

Omarr the camel loves two things, his owner and friend, Basel, and figs. He is old and set in his ways, but when Basel sells him to one of the Three Wise Men, Omarr is thrust into a world of deceit and intrigue. An original Christmas story by author Anne Bancroft Fowler, "The Christmas Camel" also features the charmingly illustrations of Doina Cociuba Terrano. The result is a delightful and entertaining story about what really matters about the Christmas season for children of all ages. While highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Christmas Camel" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Merry Christmas, Curious George
H. A. Rey, author
Catherine Hapka, author
Mary O'Keefe Young, illustrator
HMH Books for Young Readers
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9781328695581, $5.99, PB, 24pp, www.amazon.com

It's Christmastime and irrepressible, excitable Curious George has just the spirit for it! He can't wait to help his best friend, the man with the yellow hat, pick out their holiday tree. At the tree farm, however, amid all the excitement of finding the perfect specimen, George gets carried away, as usual -- from atop his favorite tree! Hiding in the tree's branches, George finds himself delivered to the local children's hospital, where his tree trimming antics cheer the children and he gets to meet a jolly man in a bright red suit. A very special Christmas season addition to the growing library of Curious George books, "Merry Christmas, Curious George" is especially recommended for children ages 4 to 7. While highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Merry Christmas, Curious George" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

A Beary Merry Christmas
Henri Meunier, author
Nathalie Choux, illustrator
HMH Books for Young Readers
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9781328766786, $8.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

The Super-Duper Duo, Rory and Sheldon, are just regular guys, going to school, having play dates, and, of course, counting down the days until Christmas. But when a furious bear starts wreaking havoc in their calm wood, Rory and Sheldon are there to save the holiday as the masked heroes known Super-Duper Duo! They use their super-duper powers (and their knowledge about animal hibernation) to calm the crazed carnivore and keep the peace. This latest addition to The Super-Duper Duo series mixes zany adventure comics and animal facts in exciting format that young readers ages 4 to 7 that are as hysterically entertaining as they are true nature informative. While enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that "A Beary Merry Christmas" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

It's Christmas!
Tracey Carderoy, author
Tim Warnes, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
www.tigertalesbooks.com
9781680100679, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Otto is a little Rhino boy who is so excited for Christmas! He makes his father's Christmas cookies look even better by adding globs of frosting and LOTS of sprinkles. When Mom uses new ornaments to decorate the Christmas tree, Otto decides that they need all of the old ornaments as well -- especially the star that never stops blinking! But Otto isn't done; he's determined to make this holiday the most Christmassy Christmas ever! A wonderfully entertaining picture book collaboration between author Tracey Carderoy and illustrator Tim Warnes, "It's Christmas" is an unreservedly recommended addition to the picture book list for children ages 4 to 6. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and presentation, "It's Christmas" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for the Christmas Holiday Season.

One Cozy Christmas
M. Christina Butler, author
Tina Macnaughtor, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
www.tigertalesbooks.com
9781680100686, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Little Hedgehog and his friends are so excited to spend Christmas together. They pick out a tree and decorate it, then happily go to bed. But the next morning, everyone is grumpy! You stepped on my paws! cries Fox. I can't find my socks! moans Rabbit. Who was snoring all night long? grumbles a tired Badger. And someone even ate one of the cookies that had been hung on the tree! Is their Christmas ruined? Charmingly illustrated throughout by Tina Macnaughtor, "One Cozy Christmas" is a wonderfully entertaining and original picture book story by author Christina Butler for children ages 5 to 6 and will prove to be an enduringly popular Christmas themed addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Good Night, Reindeer
Denise Brennan-Nelson, author
Marco Bucci, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
www.sleepingbearpress.com
9781585363704, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Christmas is coming and it's time to get a full night's rest at the North Pole. Santa checks in on all his reindeer to make sure they're tucked in for the night. All the lights are out, except one -- Good night, Rudolph! Told in simple rhyme by author Denise Brennan-Nelson, and charmingly illustrated by Marco Bucci, "Good Night, Reindeer" is a perfect bedtime story for children ages 5 to 7 who just can't wait for Christmas morning. Destined to be a Christmas classic, "Good Night, Reindeer" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Good Night, Reindeer" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.00).

Missile Toe: A Very Confused Christmas
Devin Scillian, author
Marty Kelley, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
www.sleepingbearpress.com
9781585363711, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Christmas can be a very confusing holiday. Just what are sugarplums anyway?! Charmingly written by Devin Scillian and playfully illustrated by Marty Kelley, "Missile Toe: A Very Confused Christmas" is an unforgettable collection of silly poems, classic Christmas carols, and traditions re-imagined through the eyes of a very confused kid. Delightful and impressively entertaining from beginning to end, "Missile Toe: A Very Confused Christmas" is highly recommended as a unique and memorable picture book for children ages 5 to 8. While unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Missile Toe: A Very Confused Christmas" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story
Tomie dePaola
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781481477635, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Every morning and every afternoon, Old Befana sweeps with her broom. "Cranky old lady," the children say. "She is always sweeping!" Sweep, sweep, sweep. But when a brilliant star glows in the eastern sky one night, and Old Befana encounters the glorious procession of three kings on their way to Bethlehem, her little world will never be the same. "The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story" is a beloved and classic picture book, in which author and artist Tomie dePaola retells and illustrates an Italian Christmas folk tale, breathing warmth and humanity into the character of the lonely Old Befana and her endless search for the Christ Child. Absolutely and unreservedly recommended for children ages 4 to 8, "The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library Christmas themed picture book collections. It should be noted that "The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Littlest Reindeer
Brandi Dougherty, author
Michelle Lisa Todd, illustrator
Cartwheel Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9781338157383, $3.99, PB, 24pp, www.amazon.com

Dot may be the littlest reindeer in the North Pole, but she has a big desire to help Santa pull his sleigh! But Dot just can't seem to fly the right way, no matter how hard she runs, leaps, and kicks. Will Dot learn to fly, or is the littlest reindeer just too little? An original and charmingly entertaining story for the Christmas season by Brandi Dougherty for children ages 3 to 5, and delightfully illustrated throughout by Michelle Lisa Todd, "The Littlest Reindeer" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

A World of Cookies for Santa
M. E. Furman, author
Susan Gal, illustrator
HMH Books for Young Readers
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9780544226203, $16.99, HC, 48pp, www.amazon.com

"A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa's Tasty Trip Around the World" takes children ages 4 to 7 on a picture book trip across the globe to see all the treats that await Santa on Christmas Eve. Head to the Philippines, where children leave out puto seko cookies and ginger tea for Santa; jet to Russia for a honey-spice cookie; then set out for Malawi for a sweet potato cookie! When you've returned home, the journey's still not over! Author M. E. Furman also provides 'kid friendly' recipes for children to bake some of Santa's cookies for themselves -- and Santa of course!. Charmingly illustrated throughout by Susan Gal, "A World of Cookies for Santa" is a truly multicultural celebration that families will return to year after year. While absolutely recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "A World of Cookies for Santa" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Love, Santa
Martha Brockenbrough, author
Lee White, illustrator
Arthur A. Levine Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9780545700306, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

In a series of letters, a young girl writes to Santa to ask about the North Pole, Mrs. Claus, and of course, Christmas goodies. Year after year, Santa writes back, and a heartwarming relationship develops, until one year, the girl writes to her mother instead: Mom, are you Santa? Her mother responds to say that no, she is not Santa. Because Santa is bigger than any one person -- we bring him out through kindness to one another and the power of imagination. "Love, Santa" is transformative tale transforming a universal childhood experience into a warmly entertaining story about love, giving, and the spirit of Christmas. The impressively entertaining collaboration of author Martha Brockenbrough and illustrator Arthur A. Levine, "Love, Santa" is a unique and very special addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers ages 9 to 12.

Pick a Pine Tree
Patricia Toht, author
Jarvis, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9780763695712, $16.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, "Pick a Pine Tree" is the debut picture book by author Patricia Toht and charmingly illustrated throughout by Jarvis. Evoking all the rituals of decorating the tree, including digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights, "Pick a Pine Tree" is a joyously drawn and rhythmically written picture book celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season. Wonderfully entertaining and specifically intended for children ages 3 to 7, "Pick a Pine Tree" will be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Elf in the House
Ammi-Joan Paquette, author
Adam Record, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9780763681326, $15.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

The collaborative work of author Ammi-Joan Paquette and illustrator Adam Record, "Elf in the House" is a deftly crafted and wonderfully entertaining picture book story for young children ages 3 to 7 and follows a young girl on a most magical of Christmas nights as she looks for the source of the sound that woke her up. While the little girl searches the house, she encounters some unexpected new friends. But the biggest surprise is sure to come last! Highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, "Elf in the House" is a lively, cumulative story full of page-turn reveals -- and all is not what it seems!

An Artist's Night Before Christmas
Joan C. Waites
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
www.pelicanpub.com
9781455622054, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

In "An Artist's Night Before Christmas" by Joan C. Waites, children ages 3 to 8 can follow the picture book story of Henri, the French artist mouse living in a French country house, as he tries to paint the perfect Christmas gift for a very special friend. When Henri begins to doubt his own ability, a certain Christmas visitor, jolly and round with black boots and a red suit, steps in to reassure Henri about what's truly important. With a bit of guidance, Henri discovers the greatest gift he could give: friendship! "An Artist's Night Before Christmas" is a wonderfully entertaining and ultimately inspiring story of lost confidence and renewed determination. Of special note is that this original picture book entertainment will also introduce young artists to real art terms, materials, and techniques, as well as to several master painters who are cast as Henri's colleagues and friends. "An Artist's Night Before Christmas" is unreservedly recommended as an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The 12 Days of Christmas
Greg Pizzoli
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
www.disneyhyperionbooks.com
9781484750315, $16.99, HC, 56pp, www.amazon.com

Elephant is delighted to get a gift, but as the twelve days of Christmas continue, presents pile higher and higher! This thoroughly delightful and wonderfully entertaining picture book adaptation of the classic 12 Days of Christmas song by author, illustrator, and screen printer Greg Pizzoli is especially recommended for children ages 4 to 6 and will prove to be an immensely popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted that Greg Pizzoli's "The 12 Days of Christmas" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

A Christmas for Bear
Bonny Becker, author
Kady MacDonald Denton, illustrator
Walker Books Ltd.
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9781406374308, $16.99, HC, 48pp, www.amazon.com

One frosty night, Bear hears a tap, tap, tapping on his front door. "Merry Christmas!" cries Mouse, who has arrived for a Christmas party. Bear has never had one before, but he's certain that pickles are essential, along with the reading of a long and difficult poem. The problem is, whenever Bear comes back from the kitchen with treats, Mouse has vanished - only to be found, small and grey and guilty-eyed, scurrying under the bed or searching the closet. Will there be a present for him from Bear this year? An original and thoroughly 'kid friendly' story by Bonny Becker that is charmingly illustrated on every page by Kady MacDonald Denton, "A Christmas for Bear" is a consistently funny tale full of festive cheer and friendship that is ideal for children ages 5 to 8. While especially recommended for elementary school and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Christmas for Bear" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.67).

A Cold Night: A Christmas Fable
Emanuele Bertossi
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Avenue, 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
www.sparkhouse.org
9781506424965, $14.99, HC, 28pp, www.amazon.com

On a cold, cold night, animals take shelter in a barn. How many can stay warm inside? Can they make room for a fox, a bear -- and even a man and a woman about to have a baby? Deftly written and exquisitely illustrated by Emanuele Bertossi, "A Cold Night: A Christmas Fable" is delicate fable echoing the Christmas story and helping children ages 4 to 8 to understand the welcoming hospitality and kindness that bring light and warmth to the holiday season. A wonderfully entertaining read from beginning to end, "A Cold Night: A Christmas Fable" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Merry Christmas from The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle
Grosset & Dunlap
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
http://us.penguingroup.com
9781524784249, $8.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Eric Carle, the creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is back with the perfect stocking-stuffer of a treat for young children ages 3 to 5 with the publication of "Merry Christmas from The Very Hungry Caterpillar"! Featuring Eric Carle's bright, colorful artwork of Christmas delight ranging from presents, to snowflakes, and even Santa Claus, The Very Hungry Caterpillar making an appearance alongside each one. An absolutely fun and sweet little book that is an ideal Christmas present for readers young and old, "Merry Christmas from The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is a joy and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library collections.

The Christmas Fairy
Anne Booth, author
Rosalind Beardshaw, illustrator
Nosy Crow
http://nosycrow.com
9780763696290, $15.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Clara's dream is to become a Christmas fairy, whose job it is to stay still atop the tree. But when Christmas lesson time rolls around at fairy school, things don't go quite as planned. Clara's so excited that she can't possibly be still and quiet like a fairy should. Although she tries her best, at heart she's still a wriggly, giggly chatterbox who likes nothing more than making people smile. But when it's time for the big Christmas Show, it looks like that's exactly the kind of fairy Santa needs to help him save the day. At last, Clara can put her talents to good use, and it soon becomes clear that there's more than one way to be a Christmas fairy! The rhyming text of author Anne Booth is charmingly illustrated by Rosalind Booth. The result is a unique and impressively entertaining picture book for the Christmas season that will utterly delight children ages 3 to 7. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Christmas Fairy" is also available in a paperback edition (9780857637055, $8.99).

The Princess and the Christmas Rescue
Caryl Hart, author
Sarah Warburton, illustrator
Nosy Crow
http://nosycrow.com
9780763696320, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Princess Eliza is lonely in her beautiful snow palace. Stuck inside all day with no one to play with, she figures out how to make almost anything with a few bits of wood and some string -- including her own toys! Anything, that is, except the thing she wants most -- a friend. As she sets off to find one, Eliza is excited to stumble across a group of elves. But, oh dear!, Santa isn't feeling well, and there are still so many presents to make! Could Princess Eliza be just the person to save Christmas? A delightfully original and wonderfully entertaining addition to the growing canon of Christmas themed picture books for children ages 3 to 7, "The Princess and the Christmas Rescue" is a truly extraordinary and unreservedly recommended acquisition selection for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Sing Along With Me! We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Yu-hsuan Huang, illustrator
Nosy Crow
http://nosycrow.com
9780857636782, $8.99, Board Book, 12pp, www.amazon.com

Yu-hsuan Huang is an illustrator and artist from Taichung City, Taiwan. With "Sing Along With Me! We Wish You a Merry Christmas" she draws upon her impressive artistry and expertise to create a bright, slider board book for children ages 2 to 5 that simply bursts with energy and cheering illustrations. "Sing Along With Me! We Wish You a Merry Christmas" features five slider mechanisms, and both an instrumental and vocal version of the Merry Christmas song. It should be noted that there is also a QR code on the first page for little ones to listen to and sing along! A thoroughly Christmas season delight that will prove entertaining all year long, "Sing Along With Me! We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library Board Book collections.

The Nutcracker Mice
Kristin Kladstrup, author
Brett Helquist, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9780763685195, $17.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Hidden in Saint Petersburg's famed Mariinsky Theater are the world's tiniest ballet fans: the Mariinsky mice, including Esmeralda, a rising dancer in the Russian Mouse Ballet Company. Despite being unable to control her tail, Esmeralda has just been assigned the lead role of Clara in a ballet debuting at Christmas: The Nutcracker. But when she learns that the new ballet features mice as villains, her excitement turns to horror: the mice of Saint Petersburg will never come to see such a production. Meanwhile, nine-year-old Irina is convinced that the mice she's seen in the Mariinsky (the mice her father, the custodian, is supposed to exterminate) are not only fans of the ballet, but dancers themselves. No one will believe her, so it falls to Irina to help save the mice everyone else considers vermin -- and perhaps to help Esmeralda ensure the future of the mouse company. Sweet and inventive, Kristin Kladstrup's ballet fantasy features artwork by beloved illustrator Brett Helquist, old-fashioned drama, and just a touch of holiday magic. A wonderfully entertaining, Christmas season appropriate novel for young readers ages 7 to 10, "The Nutcracker Mice" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Nutcracker Mice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), as well as in a complete and unabridged audio book edition (Brilliance Audio, (9781536685411, $19.99, CD).

Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus
David Michael Slater, author
Michelle Simpson, illustrator
http://davidmichaelslater.com
Library Tales Publishing
www.LibraryTalesPublishing.com
9780999275825, $15.99, PB, 50pp, www.amazon.com

Everything was going smoothly, a typical first night of Hanukkah. Or so Harvie thought! There was someone else in the house, and he had presents, too - Santa Claus! The collaborative work of author David Michael Slater and illustrator Michelle Simpson, "Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus" is the hilarious and heartfelt story of how two holiday heroes wind up with the greatest gift of all -- friendship. Funny, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus" is very highly recommended, especially for children ages 5 to 8. While unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas: Children's Edition
Emily Belle Freeman, author
David Butler, author
Ryan Jeppesen, illustrator
Ensign Peak
c/o Shadow Mountain Publishing
P.O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0178
www.shadowmountain.com
9781629723570, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

The collaborative effort of authors Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler with illustrator Ryan Jeppesen, "Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas" is a children's picture book edition of the best-selling adult book of the same title and intended for kids ages 4 to 8. Using exquisite illustrations and an age-appropriate text, this children's edition features passages of scripture along with original text to tell the story of the birth of Jesus and provides ideas for family traditions that young children can understand to make the holiday more Christ-centered. Each spread uses one person from the nativity story to illustrate a theme and suggests one activity a child can do to remember the lesson learned from that character. For example, the story introduces Mary and talks about the search for an inn where she could stay with Joseph and give birth to her baby. The book then presents a question for the child to ponder---How could you make room for the baby Jesus as part of your Christmas celebration this year?---and an activity to do---Place an empty stable somewhere in your home where you can see it every day until Christmas. Combining the biblical version told by Luke and Matthew with a beautiful story line and wonderfully charming, full-color illustrations, "Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas" will help make Christ the focus of Christmas celebrations this year. An ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, Sunday School, and community library picture book collections, "Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas:" will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to the celebration of Christmas for present and future generations.

Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree
Claudia Cangilla McAdam, author
Dave Hill, illustrtor
Paraclete Press
PO Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
www.paracletepress.com
9781612616308, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

It's Christmas Eve 722, and Kristoph, a young orphan boy, is accompanying the missionary priest Boniface through the German countryside. They are hurrying to reach the next village by nightfall when they come upon a group of people in the forest worshiping an oak tree and preparing to sacrifice the son of the village chieftain. To prove that the oak is powerless and that there is only One True God, Boniface miraculously fells the giant tree with a single ax stroke. In its place stands an evergreen. Calling it "the tree of the Christ Child," he instructs the men to mend their lives and take the tree home where it will shelter "loving gifts and lights of kindness." Now rescued, the son of the village chieftain invites Boniface and Kristoph to share Christmas with his family around another evergreen that Kristoph cuts down for their own celebration. The effective collaboration of author Claudia Cangilla McAdam and illustrator Dave Hill, "Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree" is a truly extraordinary and thoroughly entertaining Christmas story that will have special and particular appeal to young readers ages 8 to 12, making it unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections!

That Baby in the Manger
Anne E. Neuberger, author
Chloe E. Pitkoff, illustrator
Paraclete Press
PO Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
www.paracletepress.com
9781612619460, $15.99, PB, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Anne E. Neuberger has been a freelance author of children's stories, books, activities and curricula for over 25 years. The majority of this has been for religious education, including books on Saints Kateri Tekakwitha and Francis of Assisi, as well as ongoing work for the Maryknoll Classroom Program. You can also see her work at www.anneneuberger.com. With "That Baby in the Manger" she deftly collaborates with illustrator Chloe E. Pitkoff to create an enduringly memorable children's Christmas picture book for young readers ages 5 to 8 with a much needed message about inclusion and acceptance of cultural differences. As the children of a small church struggle with the portrayal of the Holy Family in the Nativity scene as European (not Middle Eastern and not necessarily like them) they learn more about Jesus's love for all children. While very highly recommended for family, Sunday School, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "That Baby in the Manger" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Look!: A Child's Guide to Advent and Christmas
Laura Alary, author
Ann Boyajian, illustrator
Paraclete Press
PO Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
www.paracletepress.com
9781612618661, $16.95, PB, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Told from the point of a view of a child, "Look!: A Child's Guide to Advent and Christmas" weaves together familiar Advent traditions like the Jesse tree and the Advent wreath, biblical stories and characters, and reflections on what these stories call us to do and be. "Look!: A Child's Guide to Advent and Christmas" reassures children of the presence of God in all times and places and invites them to become part of the holy work of making Christ present in the world. With "Look!: A Child's Guide to Advent and Christmas", author Laura Alary and illustrator Ann Boyajian have deftly collaborated to presents Advent and Christmas as a special time for waiting, watching, and paying attention to the ways God comes to us. Especially appropriate for children ages 5 to 8, "Look!: A Child's Guide to Advent and Christmas" is unreservedly recommended for family, Sunday School, and community library Advent/Christmas themed picture book collections. It should be noted that "Look!: A Child's Guide to Advent and Christmas" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Shepherd Boy and the Christmas Gifts
Aly Hilberts, author
Sanne Dufft, illustrator
Floris Books
www.florisbooks.co.uk
9781782504382, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Nathan wants to be a shepherd like his father but he also loves to craft beautiful figures from wood and wool he collects on the hills. His father loses patience, and Nathan agrees to throw away his toys and look after the sheep more carefully. Then one night an angel appears to the shepherds and tells them that a special child has been born. Nathan knows they must go and see the baby -- but what can be bring as a gift? "The Shepherd Boy and the Christmas Gifts" is a heart-warming and unique version of the Christmas story by Aly Hilberts which especially suitable for young children ages 4 to 7, and features joyful artwork from German illustrator Sanne Dufft. Simply stated, "The Shepherd Boy and the Christmas Gifts" is unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.


Books in Series

Harriet Tubman, Union Spy
Jeri Cipriano, author
Scott R. Brooks, illustrator
Red Chair Press
www.redchairpress.com
c/o Lerner Publisher Services
9781634402972 $8.99 soft cover 32 pages www.lernerbooks.com

"Harriet Tubman, Union Spy" is a title from the junior historical biography series, Hidden History Spies. Written to appeal to readers ages 8-12 years, this fast -moving condensed biography highlights famous and little known incidents of great skill and bravery in the life of Harriet Tubman, former black slave, tireless Abolitionist Underground Railroad Conductor, and champion of slaves, the poor, and disadvantaged. Harriet planned many spy missions to free black slaves as a top war spy for the U. S. government. Working with other abolitionists, she helped many slaves on their way to freedom during the pre Civil War years of 1850-1860. more than 1000 slaves escaped to freedom because of the Underground Railroad, and the work of Harriet Tubman and others. As a Union spy, Harriet Tubman became the first woman in American history to lead troops into combat. Never paid directly for her service, Harriet supported herself while spying for the Union by making and selling pies. Harriet worked as a nurse, a spy, a cook, Underground Railroad organizer and conductor, and fearless leader to freedom. This brief biography of her life places her deeds within a historical context, and provides much background detail about her life and deeds. Historical details are presented in blue shaded sidebars, with frequent, dramatic, colored illustrations and dramatizations, while further helpful features include a glossary and references for more information about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. "Harriet Tubman, Union Spy" is an excellent junior biography for elementary and middle school students. Further titles in the Hidden History Spies series that are also highly recommended include: "Rose Greenhow, Confederate Spy (9781634402958, $8.99)," by Joanne Mattern, illustrated by Scott R. Brooks, "Moe Berg, Spy Catcher (9781634402941, $8.99)," by Jeri Cipriano, illustrated by Scott R. Brooks, "Benedict Arnold, Hero or Enemy Spy? (9781634402934, $8.99)," by Aaron Derr, illustrated by Scott R. Brooks, and "Nathan Hale, America's First Spy (9781634402965, $8.99)," by Aaron Derr, illustrated by Tami Wicinas.

Critical Perspectives on Millennials
Bridey Heing, editor
Enslow Publishing
101 W. 23rd. St., Suite 240, New York, NY 10011
www.enslow.com
9780766084858 $47.93 amazon.com 225 pages

In a nonfiction series titled Analyzing the Issues, "Critical Perspectives on Millennials" is a collection of relevant papers edited and collected for an audience of 9th to 12th grade students. Defined as the generation born between 1980 and 2000, the millennials present unique talents and challenges to traditional teaching tactics. They are exceptionally "wired," being fluent in all things electronic from early ages, and they seem to need to be engaged to retain learning. Yet they are also creative, resourceful, and highly educated, able to embrace "multiple jobs and casual work in.... the 'gig economy.'" To answer the question, Who are the millennials? "The Myth of Millennial Entitlement Was Created to Hide Their Parents' Mistakes," by Sarah Kendzior, from Quartz, June 30, 2016. Following that is the article "In Defense of Millennials," by Gabrielle Lewine, from Psychology Today, June 8, 2016. At the end of articles, shaded sidebars highlight helpful questions to explore within the article's thesis. Another article in this chapter is "The Millennial Muddle," by Eric Hoover, from the Chronicle of Higher Education, October 11, 2009. A final article in chapter one is "Millennials v Baby Boomers: A Battle We Could Have Done Without," by Steven Roberts and Kim Allen, from The Conversation, April 6, 2016. This array of viewpoints and positions exemplifies the remaining five chapters of "Critical Perspectives on Millennials." These include Millennials and Politics, Millennials and Activism, Millennials and Work, Research on Millennials, and How Will Millennials Shape the Future? Some of the views posited by authors include the notion that millennials are "the first downwardly mobile generation in US history." Many other interesting and challenging observations and conclusions about millennials leap forth from this fascinating melange of papers and articles. Although the reading is of great interest, one wonders if members of the millennials will have the necessary interest in the sustained deliberate self scrutiny that is implied in the reading of this collection. But it makes for helpful food for thought for everyone concerned with increasing knowledge and productivity and problem solving on a global scale.

Get Into Smart Snacks
Janice Dyer, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10118
www.crabtreebooks.com
9780778736424 $27.60 32 pages

"Get Into Smart Snacks" offers readers age 8 and up an array of healthy snack recipes and suggestions plus valuable nutritional information, showcased with colored photos, striking sidebars, and step by step instructions with circle thumbnail portraits of tasks being demonstrated. Chapters are succinct and clear, offering Kitchen Time prep basics plus safety guidelines, followed by 10 chapters of appealing snack suggestions and recipes, from fruits and veggies to popcorn, nuts and seeds, energy bars, muffin pan creations, cheesy snacks, wraps, and half sandwiches. All recipes are listed in the index for easy reference. A section on Learning More offers additional resources on healthy snacks, including books and web sites, and a glossary completes the definitions used in recipes and food texts. "Getting Into Smart Snacks" is listed as Guided Reading level R. it is appropriate for students age 8 and up, and will have wide appeal to the middle grade student population. Also highly recommended are the following titles from this series: "Getting Into Citizen Science (9780778736363)," by Vic Kovacs, "Get Into Wow-Factor Science (9780778736431)," by Janice Dyer, and "Get Into Yoga (9780778736448)," by Jaime Winters.

Transcontinental Railroads
Natalie Hyde, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778739418 $31.32 (list) $23.49 (school) 48 pages www.crabtreebooks.com

"Transcontinental Railroads" demonstrates an excellent historical analysis approach to encourage and develop middle grade students' critical review of primary sources of information on U. S. transcontinental railroads development in North America. Secondary sources are also presented as a provider of different perspectives on the event or history. Many reproductions of period illustrations are examined, with sidebar color coded framed suggestions, such as evidence record cards, perspectives suggested, and clues and suggestions for interpretation. The 19th century phenomena of transcontinental railroad building changed the country and the world. Questions are highlighted, such as why the railroads were built, who built them, who profited, and who paid the highest prices. Exploitation of indigenous peoples, labor supplies from Chinese, Irish immigrants, and other immigrant populations are examined. The main chapter headlines trace the history through the following headline chapters: The Past Comes Alive, Historical Sources: Types of Evidence, Analyzing Evidence: Interpretation, The Story Uncovered: Building the Railroads, Different Views; Evidence Revisited, and Modern Examples: History Repeated. The reading level is appropriate for students ages 10-14. This is an exciting approach to history that has appeal for kids. A timeline from 1841 to 1878 is included, plus a bibliography, internet guidelines, and glossary. "Transcontinental Railroads" is valuable historical analysis in action, teaching excellent critical analysis skills through cross referencing primary and other source material. Also very highly recommended are these other titles from the Uncovering the Past series: "The Battle of the Alamo (9780778739401, $23.49)," by Lynn Peppas, "McCarthyism and the Red Scare" (978 0778739395, $23.49)," by Heather C. Hudak, and "LGBTQ Rights" (9780778739425, $23.49)," by Natalie Hyde.

Superstar Stories
Momentum
c/o The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
www.childsworld.com
97815038228818, $151.60 (8 Book Set) www.amazon.com

Children ages 8 to 11 are as star struck as any teenager or young adult. Now The Child's World has published a new 'Superstar Stories' series that brings the lives and accomplishments of eight current superstars that are of particular interest to students in grades 3 to 6. Comprised of 24 pages of informative narrative vignettes, primary source quotes, sources notes, and a wealth of captioned photographs, each individual volume also includes 'fast facts', critical thinking questions, a phonetic glossary, and index, and a listing of sources for further research. Each individual volume of this simply outstanding series is library bound for an extended shelf life. The showcased superstars include: Adele: Music Sensation (9781503819931, $27.07); Jennifer Lawrence: Movie Star (9781503819948, $27.07); Pharrell Williams: Music Industry Star (9781503819955, $27.07); Rowan Blanchard: Teen Actress (9781503819962, $27.07); Shawn Mendes: Pop Star (9781503819979, $27.07); Taylor Swift: Music Icon (9781503819993, $27.07); Zendaya: Star Performer (9781503820005, $27.07). Impressively informative and exceptionally well presented, while each volume is available separately, elementary school and community libraries are well advised to obtain the entire series intact.

Why Do People Have Chins?
Patricia Fletcher
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
www.garethstevens.com
www.rosenpublishing.com
9781538203996, $26.60 Library Binding, $10.50 Paper Back, 32pp, www.amazon.com

The appendix seems useless. Most peoples baby toes are so small, they seem unimportant. There are so many odd parts of the human body, each page of this volume is able to reveal fascinating adaptations of the body readers didn't even know they wanted to know! "Why Do People Have Chins?" includes up-to-date scientific findings explained in understandable and age-appropriate language for children ages 8 to 12, the main content satisfies young readers curiosity as well as parts of the science curriculum. Full-color photographs, diagrams, and supplementary sidebars help readers understand human body systems, evolution, and even why people have chins! Also very highly recommended are the other five titles comprising this outstanding series from Gareth Stevens Publishing: Why Are Ostriches So Big? (9781538203873, $26.60 Library Binding, $10.50 PB); Why Do Frogs Have Teeth? (9781538203910, $26.60 Library Binding, $10.50 PB); Why Do Mudskippers Walk? (9781538203934, $26.60 Library Binding, $10.50 PB); Why Do Platypuses Lay Eggs? (9781538204030, $26.60, $10.50 PB); Why Do Thorny Devils Have Two Heads? (9781538204078, $26.60, $10.50 PB).

Cutie Meets Mr. Lizard
Felicia De John, author
Terence Gaylor, illustrator
The Cutie Series, Co.
9780998756806 $9.95 www.CutiesBigAdventures.com

Part of the "Cutie's Big Adventures" series, "Cutie Meets Mr. Lizard" features Cutie, an adorable rescue Chihuahua dog who lives in the desert with her mom, Ava Rose. One day Cutie decided to leave her home to explore the desert after Ava Rose went to school. She cleverly got out an upstairs window and climbed out onto a tree, then crept to the ground. Cutie was free She ran and ran very fast, until she found a green tail that belonged to Mr. Lizard. At first Mr. Lizard was afraid of Cutie and she cased him very fast. Soon the two became acquainted and friendly, and Mr. Lizard invited Cutie home for lunch. Lunch was ants with the Lizard family. Cutie declined the ants politely, then played games like tag, and hide and seek with Mr. Lizard all day. Finally she remembered to go home before Ava Rose got home from school, and found her way back up the tree and through the window. Her breakfast dog food looked so good, she gobbled it up. Cutie couldn't wait for her next adventure, and she was happy to be home in time to greet Ava Rose. "Cutie Meets Mr. Lizard" is filled with huge colorful comic illustrations of Cutie, Mr. Lizard, and their desert home.

Purrmaids series
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
$4.99 each www.scholastic.com

Intended for young readers ages 6-9, the Purrmaids series of fantasy chapter books follows the undersea adventures of feline mermaid best friends, Coral, Shelly, and Angel. In book one, "The Scaredy Cat" (9781524701611) they attend their first day of school and receive the assignment to bring in something special to share with the class. Can Coral muster up the courage to venture beyond Kittentail Cove and find an extra-special treasure in Tortoiseshell Reef? In book two, "The Catfish Club" (9781524701642), the purrmaid girls are working on a school-assigned art project, but a rival group of prima donna kittens, the Catfish Club, is trying to ruin their fun! A handful of black-and-white illustrations enhance this purely, purr-ly delightful series, highly recommended for children's library collections and for encouraging young girls to read.

Arjuna: The Gentle Warrior
Vatsala Sperling, author
Illustrated by Nona Weltevrede and Pieter Weltevrede
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781591432036 $15.95 amazon.com

Part of "Classic Indian Stories for Children" series adapting Hindu legends to picturebook format, Arjuna: The Gentle Warrior is derived from part of the epic Mahabharata narrative. The noble Prince Arjuna is aware that his dharma, or purpose in life, is to combat the avaricious and cruel king Duryodhana. But can Arjuna bring himself to fight against his own relatives and friends on the battlefield? With divine advice from the god Krishna, Arjuna overcomes the trials before him and strives valiantly for his kingdom. Arjuna: The Gentle Warrior is a moderately text-heavy picturebook (adapting a classic tale from the lengthy Mahabharata is an artistic balancing act), and best suited for picturebook readers who are almost ready to move on to chapter books, or for a shared read-aloud storytime with parents or educators. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library collections.


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
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
e-mail: mwbookrevw@aol.com
http://www.midwestbookreview.com


Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design