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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 2 February 2005 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Bilingual Shelf Fiction Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Art Shelf Books in Series
Geography Shelf Audiobook Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Science Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Games/Activities Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Let's Eat!
Beatrice Hollyer
Henry Holt & Company
115 West 18th Street, NY, NY 10011
0805073221 $16.95 1-888-330-8477

Five children presented in Beatrice Hollyer's Let's Eat! represent very different countries and cultures, each with their own ideas about what tastes good. Cultural differences and similarities in cooking and foods are explored in chapters which not only cover dishes themselves, but shopping and mealtime preparations and rituals intrinsic to each country. South African, Mexico, Thailand, France, and India are the countries profiled in a colorful comparison of food and cultures.

An Illustrated Treasury Of Latino Read-Aloud Stories
Maite Suarez-Rivas, Editor
Black Dog & Leventhal
708 Broadway, New York NY 10011
1579123988 $14.95 1-800-722-7202

If it's a bilingual Spanish-English collection of Latino-based stories you seek for your child, look no further than this outstanding collection of read-alouds edited by Maite Suarez-Rivas. Here are the classic myths, tales, and legends from across Latin America, with each tale readable in 10 minutes or less, and accompanied by full-page color drawings throughout. An excellent parent-child storybook treasury.

Scary News
Lorna Ann Knox
Crystal Clarity Publishers
14618 Tyler Foote Road, Nevada City, CA 95959
1565892011 $12.95 1-800-424-1055

How can a parent prepare and protect a child from the frightening headlines of the world? Dozens of realistic, effective suggestions are based on scientific research and personal experience alike, providing basic guidelines to deciding what information to discuss with children at different age ranges, in Scary News. Help kids live balanced, joyful lives with a book which covers everything from very young children through teens.

Who Killed Cock Robin?
Etienne Delessert
Creative Editions
123 S. Broad St., Mankato, MN 56001
1568461917 $17.95 1-800-445-6209

The English nursery rhyme comes to life and receives delightful embellishment in Who Killed Cock Robin?, a modern retelling with whimsical drawings by Etienne Delessert. The poem's theme of loss and friendship emphasizes a modern understanding of an old rhyme and will find readers of all ages enjoying the associations.

Bullies To Buddies
Izzy Kalman
The Wisdom Pages
KSB Promotions (publicity)
65 Fraser Street, Staten Island, NY 10314
0970648219 $15.00 1-866-983-1333

Written by a school psychologist with 25 years of experience, Bullies To Buddies: How To Turn Your Enemies Into Friends is a straightforward guide written especially for young people that explains why kids, siblings and parents bully and how to stop it. Stressing that there are extreme situations where the only thing to do is to avoid the individual or report them - cases where the bully is emotionally unstable, dangerously violent, or planning or committing a crime - Bullies To Buddies focuses on the more commonplace forms of bullying such as verbal abuse or simple pushing and shoving. Chapters explain how bullying usually stems from the need for power - the bully's need to exert power over others by getting them angry or frustrated or even baiting them into fights. Step-by-step instructions for defusing bullies by learning to control one's emotions, treat them as people instead of as enemies, and not rise to the bait show one how to turn bullies into friends without sacrificing one's principles or becoming a bully oneself. Bullies To Buddies is very highly recommended reading.

The Bilingual Shelf

The Santero's Miracle
Rudolfo Anaya & Amy Cordova
Enrique Lamadrid, Spanish translation
University of New Mexico Press
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
0826328474 $16.95 1-800-249-7737

Award-winning author and illustrator team Rudolfo Anaya and Amy Cordova present The Santero's Miracle: A Bilingual Story, an English/Spanish Christmas tale about the power of miracles. Don Jacobo is teaching his visiting grandson Andres how to become a santero; the two of them are working on a carving of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers. Due to the great snowfall, Andres' parents cannot come home in time for the holiday, and don Jacobo's neighbor, don Leopoldo, is severely ill but cannot reach the hospital. Then don Jacobo dreams of a miracle: San Isidro plowing with two oxen and and an angel helping. The meaning of the dream brings about a reminder of the power of compassion, faith, and love. The bright color illustrations practically leap off the page in this joyful and uplifting story meant to be shared.

La Llorona: The Weeping Woman
Joe Hayes
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901
0938317865 $16.95 1-800-283-3572

La Llorona: The Weeping Woman by Joe hayes is a bilingual picturebook in English and Spanish that presents a classic Hispanic legend. The shaded and emotional color illustrations by Vicki Trego Hill and Mona Pennypacker add an ominous touch to the dark folklore of a weeping ghost woman always searching for her children - and if little ones aren't careful, she might mistake any child for her lost babies! La Llorona is not a happy tale; it imagines the life of a beautiful and proud young woman, who married the man she loved and bore his children, yet who turned jealous when her husband became cold and distant. He rarely came near her, and only appeared to take interest in her children when he did. A bitter rage consumed La Llorona, causing her to cast her own children in the river; shortly after, she realized what she had done, and her own life ended in grief and remorse. La Llorona is a haunting tale, recommended for older children and faithful to the roots of the ghost story it is based upon.

The Fiction Shelf

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

The young adult leisure reads from Random House and Delacorte's imprints are excellent leisure choices for young adults. Among some specially recommended recent arrivals: the reprint of Cherie Bennett's Life In The Fat Lane (0440220297, $5.50) provides in paperback a different type of eating disorder story. Lara is a slim model who suddenly and inexplicably begins gaining weight. Is it due to a physical condition, or family stress? Excellent, unusual and hard-hitting and not easily predictable. Lurlene McDaniel's Journey Of Hope (055349451, $6.99) provides two related novels under one cover: Angel Of Mercy and Angel Of Hope. Idealistic Heather goes out to change the world through a mission group on a hospital mercy ship to Africa but her real-world encounters with disease and famine challenge her perceptions and will ultimately threaten her own health, as well as involve her family in new ways of thinking. Speaking of McDaniel, after you're digested these introductions, move on to the latest Angels In Pink (0385731566, $10.95): Kathleen and best friends decide to volunteer for the summer in a hospital. Kathleen already has her hands full with a sick mother and responsibilities at home; but her newfound job brings her not only unexpected romance, but a newfound appreciation for helping others. Katherine Applegate's Sharing Sam (0385731353, $8.95) is also out in paperback and also tackles the dual topics of romance and illness. Alison's best friend is dying, and Alison is attracted to her best friend's boyfriend. As the two develop a closer relationship in support of Isabella, Alison questions both romance and impending loss. Daniel Ehrenhaft's 10 Things To Do Before I Die (0385730071, $15.95) also deals with death: a whimsical list of 'must do' options turns serious when Ted, its maker, discovers he is really dying. His attempts to hasten his goals lead to some unexpected results. Joan Lowery Nixon's novel Laugh Till You Cry (0385730276, $15.95) tackles the experiences of new boy in Texas. Cody doesn't like Txas; especially since his cousin Hayden is unfriendly. His unusual friendship with a police officer and stand-up comic helps when Cody is accused of a crime he didn't commit. Catherine Forde's Fat Boy Swim (0385732058, $15.95) tells of the largest boy in his community who is useless at everything but cooking. When a tough coach discovers his secret, Jimmy accepts his help and finds some unusual results. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's The President's Daughter (0385731477, $15.95) tells of the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, who finds her life changed when her father becomes President. The White House is stuffy and Ethel is sent to boarding school where nobody likes her. Inspired by the life of Ethel Roosevelt, this is a warm story of family changes. Kissing Vanessa by Simon Cheshire (0385-732120, $15.95) tells of a very average boy entranced by a gorgeous smart new girl. She's even interested in photography, his hobby but Kevin's best friend is a 'babe magnet' and his tips for success only seem to result in failures for Kevin's would-be romance. A realistic story of change. Odo Hirsch's Yoss (0385731876, $16.95) is a recommended pick for older teens: a small-town boy from an isolated mountain village sets out to enter a town world packed with deception and schemes. Will Yoss's integrity survive his rite of passage? Alyssa Brugman's newest novel Finding Grace (0385731167, $15.95) is also a recommended pick for older readers: Rachel has just graduated from high school and accepts a live-in job looking after Grace, a brain-injured women with many mysteries. Her realizations of Grace's past force her to confront her own mis-perceptions in this moving story. Nora Raliegh Baskin's What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows (0440418526, $4.99) tells of a pre-teen seeking a suitable stepmother. Her blossoming relationship with her father's latest girlfriend abruptly ends when Cleo leaves, shattering Gabby's hopes and awakening a newfound interest in the mysterious death of her own mother. The Knopf imprint also holds many woderful leisure choices. Kimberly Newton Fusco's Tending To Grace (037-5828621, $14.95) tells of a mother and daughter who seem to switch roles. Cornelia isn't good at school but she cares for her mother, who sometimes won't get out of bed. When Lenore and her boyfriend abandon Cornelia in favor of fortune, it's up to Cornelia to adjust to life with an eccentric aunt. Julia Alvarez's Finding Miracles (0375827609, $15.95) tells of an ordinary Vermont teen confronted by her past when an exotic new student proves from her own native country. Milly's journey to her homeland reveals a country recovering from corruption and a brutal dictator in this first-person search for roots. Sammy Keyes And The Psycho Kitty Queen (0375823492, $15.95) by Wendelin Van Draanen presents another Sammy Keyes novel: Sammy's discovery of a dead cat on her birthday seems to portend a year of misfortune as she celebrates an unusual birthday riddled with bad luck and puzzles. Random House's imprints offer up several recent winners. Cara Haycak's Red Palms (0385746482, $16.95) is set in Ecuador in the 1930s and tells of a family bankrupt by the Great Depression. But Benita's father has a plan to build a coconut plantation on a primitive island, moving his family from grand estate life to shack living and field work. Benita's encounter with a handsome young man offers her a way out and a dangerous new life. Patricia Reilly Giff's A House Of Tailors (0385730667, $15.95) is set in the late 1800s and tells of teen Dina, a German immigrant who is sick of the sewing jobs which her family lives on. Determined never to sew again, she discovers her new life leads right back to the sewing machine - and a longing for the homeland she left. A fine story of adjustment and acceptance. Marcus Sedgwick's Book Of Dead Days (0385730551, $15.95) tells of the 'dead days' between Xmas and New Years when spirits roam and a magician named Valerian must pay for his pact with evil. A nameless servant will hold the key to surviving a demon in this compelling novl. Lee Weatherly's new novel Missing Abby (0385750528, $15.95) tells of former best friends who face challenges then Abby goes missing. Can an old/former friend solve what baffles the police? A tense mystery evolves. Paul Stewart and Chris Riddel's Midnight Over Sanctaphrax (0385750722, $12.95) tells of a beautiful floating city and a fierce storm which threatens it. Only brave sky pirate captain Twig could save it but his sky ship has been destroyed leaving him with amnesia. John Dickinson's Cup Of The World (0385750250, $15.95) tells of Phaedra, who puts her trust in a man she's only met in dreams. Add a threatened kingdom and an escape to a new beginning and you have a fast-paced story recommended for older readers. Simon Mason's The Quigleys Not For Sale (03857-50439, $14.95) tells of a large 'bouncy' family whose house is getting smaller. But the kids don't agree they like the oddities of their home. Can they prevent a move? Four hilarious stories emphasize creative solutions. Joan Aiken's Witch Of Clatteringshaws (0385732260, $15.95) provides fans of Wolves Of Willoughby Chase characters with an exciting new Dido Twite story. After King Richard dies, Dido's friend Simon is on the throne but he hates his job and longs for fun. His need for a 'replacement heir' involves Dido in an investigation into Scottish roots and ancient legends. Colin Bateman's Running With The Reservoir Pups (0385-732249, $15.95) presents one Eddie's run-in with a gang of boys, the Reservoir Pups, who rule his new town. A dangerous initiation plan leads Eddie to a hospital kidnapping scheme involving baby-snatchers in this hilarious comic drama. Gary Paulsen's The Time Hackers (0385-746598, $13.95) tells of a boy who opens his locker, finds a dead body, then thirty seconds later, it vanishes. Is it a practical joke or a time-line hack gone awry? Comedy and time travel rarely mix in fiction but they work well together in The Time Hackers. Marilyn Singer's Central Heating (0375829121, $15.95) presents the perfect winter theme poems about fire and warmth. Add Meilo So's one-color illustrations add to these simple, sometimes funny rhymes about all kinds of heat and warmth.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Three expanding historical fiction sets for middle school to high school readers are recommended picks. Barry Denenberg's 'Life and Times' set adds Pandora Of Athens (043964982X, $10.95) and Atticus Of Rome (0439524539, $10.95). Pandora is set in 399 BC and tells of a Greek girl set to be trapped in marriage to a man more than twice her age at the age of fourteen. Pandora's meeting with Socrates will change her life. Atticus is set in 30 BC Rome and tells of a young boy torn from family and sold into slavery to a Roman aristocrat. Operating as a spy, he learns about political undercurrents which will change the face of Rome itself. New to the 'Royal Diaries' set is Kathryn Lasky's Kazunomiya Prisoner Of Heaven (0439164-850, $10.95): set in 1858 Japan, it presents the 'diary' of one Kazunomiya, set to marry the prince of the country, and of her trails and concerns. New adds to the early America historical novel series 'Dear America' ($10.95 each) include Hear My Sorrow (0439221617), providing the diary of one shirtwaist worker Angela Denoto who endures harsh factory work in New York in 1909, and I Walk In Dread (043-9249732), telling of Deliverance Trembley, witness to the Salem Witch Trails in 1691 Massachusetts. The diary format provides an intimacy and revealing tone to historical fact underlying each presentation, bringing era and experiences to life.

The Secret Tunnel
Joy Nelkin Wieder
Hachai Publishing
156 Chester Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218
1929628110 $7.95

Yonatan is an 11-year-old boy who wants to help his family and his people when the wicked King of Ashur threatens to surround the sacred city of Yerusalayim. Many other cities had already fallen to King Sancheriv, but the Prophet Yishayahu has told the people to trust in Hashem, but the powerful enemy could drive the city to surrender by simply blocking off the water supply of the Jews. Authored and illustrated by Joy Nelkin Wieder, The Secret Tunnel impressively employs historical details of daily life and the threat of conquest by siege with language and imagery which will hold the rapt attention of young readers ages 7 to 10. Also very highly recommended is Joy Wieder's previous historical adventure for young readers from Hachai Publishing, The Great Potato Plan.

345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Three highly recommended picks from recent publications deserve attention from discriminating librarians. Mette Ivie Harrison's Mira, Mirror (0670059234, $17.99) tells of a girl abandoned by her parents, then apprenticed to a witch. Desperate for friendship and family, Mira finds herself captivated by the witch's other young apprentice and is happy when the girl adopts her as a sister until the girl embarks upon a dangerous road which changes Mira's life forever. Older readers will find this an engrossing, compelling fantasy. Susan Shaw's Boy From The Basement (0525472231, $16.99) tells of a boy perpetually punished by a brutal father who locks him in a basement. For Charlie, the basement is home, even though it's filled with dangers: once let loose into the world Charlie finds himself on a road to recovery and a search for love in this enchanting story of change. J. Irvin Kuns' While You Were Out (0525472959, $15.99) tells of Penelope, who has to begin fifth grade without her friend when he dies. Her father's the school janitor, further complicating matters, while a persistent neighbor seeks to replace Tim in Penelope's life as a new best friend. A secret notepad of confessional letters to the vanished Tim aids in survival but to its credit, Kuns' While You Were Out isn't your usual cut-up diary format, but a smooth-reading story.

Please Don't Come Back From The Moon
Dean Bakopoulos
15 E. 26th St., New York NY 10110
0151011354 $23.00

A boy's father vanishes the summer he turns seventeen, first in a trend of fathers vanishing suddenly from their families' lives. A family's loss joins others and continues to haunt past young adulthood in Dean Bakopoulos' engrossing Please Don't Come Back From The Moon, which will reach advanced young adult into adult readerships with a complex, engrossing story of loss tinged with mystery.

Treasure Forest
Cat Bordhi
Namaste Publishing
PO Box 62084, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6J 4A3
0968236480 $21.95

Treasure Forest is an adventure novel intended for young adults, yet appealing to all ages. A brother and sister are left a mysterious challenge by their recently deceased grandmother - solve the riddle of a hidden treasure within a pond. Their quest will cause them to witness the mysteries of the forest, meet a paraplegic private eye with a three-legged bloodhound, and discover a secret that will change their lives forever. A delightfully mysterious saga of puzzle solving, character building, and the inward resolve to see an adventure through to its conclusion.

Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10020

K.P. Bath's Secret Of Castle Giant (0316-018480, $16.99) has all the elements of a great mystery: a shy girl who is hardworking and eager to please, a secret revealed which will change her life, and two spunky heroines. Add intrigue and danger and you have a fascinating, fast-paced coverage that just won't quit. Martin Booth's Doctor Illuminatus (0316155756, $14.99) tells of dangerous magic against dark forces. Pip and Tim's move to a strange old country estate brings with it a mysterious boy who claims he's been asleep for six hundred years. An ancient enemy has also been awakened and is determined to bring his evil alchemy into the modern world. History and action brings exciting tension and twists of plot.

1230 Ave. of Americas, NY, NY 10020

Simon & Schuster's group holds some real winners: kids will find a new set of leisure choices to offer exceptional plots and winning characters. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Lovingly Alice (0689843992, $15.95) will reach ages 9-2 with the ongoing adventures of Alice: this one another 'prequel' introducing Alice of the 5th grade who tackles a vanished best friend, a father's new date, and sexual maturity alike. Lovingly Alice is the last of the prequels to the series and fills in many gaps. Donna Jo Napoli's Bound (0689861753, $16.95) is recommended for readers 12 and older as it tackles the story of a girl bound to her father's second wife and daughter after her father passes away. Xing Xing's life in ancient China faces dire prospects, yet she's content to practice her poetry and calligraphy and to dream of a new life even as changes threaten her dreams of a different future. Nancy Farmer's The Sea Of Trolls (0689867441, $17.95) has received our praise prior but deserves ongoing mention as a fine story of one Jack, kidnapped in AD 703 by beserkers who grab kids to work on ships. His life as a slave to a fierce captain involves him in a dangerous fantasy quest facing dragons, giant spiders and more in this complex fantasy, recommended for older readers. Lea Wait's Wintering Well (0689856466, $16.95) tells of a terrible farm accident which causes an older brother to lose a leg and leave his beloved farm. Will and his sister Cassie go to live in town with an older sister, both to find town life reveals new worlds, career options, and challenges. Margaret Peterson Haddix's House On The Gulf (0689-854226, $15.95) provides a very different sibling story: Britt and Bran have moved to Florida so their mother can finish college, finding a summer house-sitting job for an elderly couple which seems perfect until Britt suspects her family isn't supposed to be there. An intriguing story of mystery and survival evolves. Cherry Whytock's My Scrumptious Scottish Dumplings (068986549X, $14.95) tells of an annual family trek to Sotland to visit their roots. Angel must leave school early to make the trek, all the while resenting her mother's crazy schemes in this funny story of recipes, ethnic roots and rebellion. The 25th anniversary edition of Deborah and James Howe's Bunnicula (0689867-751, $16.95) reprints a winner of Halloween comedy, adding a dramatic, captivating new dust jacket and preface from James Howe drawing new readers to the story of a dangerous vampire bunny!

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

A Goose Named Gilligan
Jerry M. Hay
Kramer/New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
1932073094 $15.95 1-800-972-6657

Here is the true story of a wild river, a man who loves it, and an unusual goose who decides upon a new home. Jerry is on a mission to rescue a fading river from ecological disaster: caught in the middle of disaster is a goose whom he rescues and who becomes a loyal friend. A Goose Named Gilligan reads like fiction with all the drama and the realism backed by a true event.

The Art Shelf

Disney Looking At Paintings
Bunker Hill Publishing
c/o Crystal Productions
Box 2159, Glenview, IL 60025-6159
159373008X $14.95 1-800-255-8629

Disney Looking At Paintings: An Introduction To Fine Art For Young People uses Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Pluto to show young readers the majesty and imagination present in great works. Full-color, finely reproduced images of classic artworks captivate the eye on almost every page. The text renders artistic concepts in readily accessible terms. Chapters address how shape, size, color, light and dark, motion, materials and more are applied in works of art ranging in style from impressionism to realism to modern art and much more. Simple quizzes help reinforce the lessons about art learned in this excellent, gorgeous and highly accessible book, superb for reading aloud to young ones or letting them discover on their own.

The Secrets Of The Rock
Phyllis J. Perry
Upstart Books
Box 800, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800
1932146229 $16.95

The Secrets Of The Rock is a playful mystery for kids featuring Fribble Mouse and his delightful friends. A chapter book for young people making the transition from picture books to wordier fare, The Secrets Of The Rock features a scattering of whimsical black-and-white drawings to illustrate the simple yet magical mystery that Fribble uncovers one day in the park. Young people will enjoy learning about piecing together clues even as Fribble does, in this delightful story.

Books in Series

Stargazer Books/The Creative Co.
123 South Broad St., Mankato, MN 56001
$75.80 (4 volume series) 1-800-445-6209

Stargazer Books offers a new four volume series that is specifically intended to help young musicians in grades 4 and up to get the most out of their chosen instrument. Each individual title is written by experienced music teachers and introduces musical theory, practical advice on instrument tuning and maintenance, examinations of various instrumental styles, and profiles of the work of relevant composers and soloists. Also available individually ($18.95 each), the the titles comprising this outstanding series include Simon Walton's Playing The Flue, Recorder & Other Woodwinds (1932799583); Alan Blackwood's Playing The Piano & Keyboards (1932799591); Paul Archibald's Playing The Trumpet & Brass (1932799605); and Playing The Violin & Stringed Instruments (1932799613) by Allison Hunka and Philppa Bunting.

Smart Apple Media
1980 Lookout Dr., N. Mankato MN 56003
$27.10 each 1-800-445-6209

Smart Apple Media simply excels in bright titles inviting leisure learners to partake, from its 'Religion in Focus' series revealing the history and religious symbols and rituals of Christianity (1583404651) and Buddhism (1583404643) to its gathering of stories from ancient civilizations in Egypt (1583406182) and Greece (158340-6190) to Medieval history such as Kathy Elgin's Knights And Chivalry (1583405-682) and Sean Sheehan's Castles (15834-05690). But Smart Apple doesn't limit its productions to history and religion: its ever-expanding roundup of series adds includes science, health, social issues and liberal arts with such contributions as the 'Micro World' series Microscopic Life In Your Body (1583404708) and Microscopic Life In The Garden (1583404732), with Sean Connolly's social surveys the 'In Time of Need' series covering War (1583403914) and Fire (1583403922), with its 'Body in Action series Eating (1583404368) and Moving (1583404376), and with its excellent 'Body Science' titles Inside The Brain (1583404627) and Digesting Food (1583404619). While similar topics have been covered elsewhere in other age-appropriate titles for grades 2-4, these books excel because of their clearer organization, their more inviting color illustrations, and for their ability to appeal to both a leisure browsing audience and a young researcher alike.

The Geography Shelf

Pat McCarthy
Enslow Publishers
PO Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
0766051765 $19.95 1-800-398-2504

Canada joins others in Enslow's fine '' geography titles for grades 4-7, adding to the series 'Top Ten Countries of Recent Immigrants' with its internet-linked pages of facts. What differentiates Canada from similar geography coverages is the focus on Internet links throughout, not just in a bibliography in back: almost fifty pages pack in report links which include web site links to many of the illustrations throughout, making for a solid reinforcement of print to electronic resource.

The Audiobook Shelf

Rascal The Dragon
Paul Jennings, author
Rebecca Macauley, narrator
Bolinda Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 307, Shelton, CT 06484
1740935152 $18.00

Rascal The Dragon is a delightful children's audiobook on compact disc. It's the story of a young boy who wishes he could have a dragon for a pet - to him, dragons are just like dogs, except they have dragonish features such as multiple heads or being able to fly. A treat for early readers, Rascal The Dragon contains three versions on its audio CD: an entertainment version with original music score, a readalong version with page turner prompts, and a version with narrator Rebecca Macauley's voice only. Tracks are sectioned every three minutes for easy bookmarking, in this delight to share with young people, by itself or along with the book form of the story. 1 CD, approx. 20 minutes.

Greathall Productions
PO Box 5061, Charlottesville, VA 22905
$14.95 Each

Two new storytelling favorites created and told by Jim Weiss are recommended picks for young listeners. Abraham Lincoln And The Heart Of America (1882513843) was created by Weiss and tells the story of Abe Lincoln's life, from youth to war times and beyond. 70 minutes of listening bring insights into Lincoln's times and add a touch of drama the written word couldn't approach. Famously Funny! (1882513-835) presents a gathering of some of the funniest stories and poems of all time: two retellings of Hans Christian Andersen classics, trickster tales from India and Turkey, plus an African Anansi story excel in diverse presentations certain to capture and retain young audiences.

Listening Library
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

Four excellent audio CD packages excel in unabridged presentations and fine readers. Jim Dale performs the classic Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1400086-035, $19.00), which deserves year-round mention as a collection staple, not just for Christmas listening. Jim Dale captures the drama and lively lessons of a stingy wealthy man who confronts his lonely future ala a ghost. The three books in Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' set come to life in unabridged audio cds performed by both the author and a full cast. The Golden Compass (0887284714, $44.00) presents Book 1 on 9 compact discs, telling of a fearsome uncle who draws wild child Lyra into a terrible struggle involving stolen children and armored bears. The Subtle Knife (0807204722, $40.00) is Book 2 on 8 compact discs, providing a sequel in which Lyra is an a haunted world facing soul-eating stalkers and a pre-teen ally. Book 3, The Amber Spyglass (0807262813, $54.00) provides the conclusion on 12 compact discs, where Lyra and Will face more danger to journey to a world where no living soul has ever gone. The set together is powerful even more so in all its audio drama than the books themselves.

Full Cast Audio
618 Westcott Street, 1st Floor, Syracuse, NY 13210

Jean Van Leeuwen's The Great Cheese Conspiracy (1932076778, $18.00) enjoys a fine unabridged full-cast production and tells of a mouse who wants to 'do something big' by leading Ray the Rat and Fats the Fuse out of their lair to greater glory outside their comfortable movie theater home. Comedy and danger come to life in an audio the entire family will enjoy. Ditto for Sid Fleischman's classic By The Great Horn Spoon! (1932076719, $34.00), a recommendation for ages 10 and up telling of the lure of gold in 1849 California, and of young Jack Flagg of Boston, who answers the lure of gold to find civility does not exist out West. Can they survive Gold Rush California? Both are wonderful family listening picks.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Teen Knitting Club
Jennifer Wenger, et al.
Artisan/Workman Publishing
708 Broadway, NY, NY 10003-9555
1579652441 $17.95 1-800-722-7202

Parents who wish to involve teens in knitting should look no further than Teen Knitting Club co-authored by Jennifer Wenger, Carol Abrams and Maureen Lasher. A compilation of 35 easy patterns designed specifically for teens present quick projects, basic guides to yarns and options, and the ingredients for starting a teen 'knitting club'. Highly recommended for beginning needlecrafters, the easy-to-make projects range from purses and tote bags to caps and scarves, and both sexes are profiled in teen-friendly photos.

The Science Shelf

Curious Minds
John Brockman, Editor
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
0375422919 $23.95

What makes a child decide to become a scientist? Some of the scientists included here share a curiosity and passion for learning and reveal their inspirations and motivational events in a collection of essays from almost thirty world scientists. Parents receive a fine guide on the sources of inspiration and how to recognize early scientific genius.

What's Older Than A Giant Tortoise?
Robert E. Wells
Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton St., Morton Grove, IL 60053
0807588318 $15.95

Written and illustrated by Robert E. Wells, What's Older Than A Giant Tortoise? will provide young readers ages 7 to 10 with concepts and examples to help them grasp the concept of epoch time and age in the lives of animals, plants, and planet Earth. Noting that some giant tortoises have lived for more than 150 years, Wells illustrates that a good many other things live to be far older still such as California's giant sequoia trees who grow to be 3,000 years old While Arizona's Barringer Crater was made about 49,000 years ago, and that the the dinosaur dominated the Earth more than 65 million years ago. Also available as a paperback (0807588326, $6.95) and enhanced with full color illustrations, What's Older Than A Giant Tortoise? is a unique and superbly presented "kid friendly" introduction that is enthusiastically recommended for both school and community library acquisition.

My Water Comes From The Mountains
Tiffany Fourment & Dorothy Emerling
Roberts Rinehart Publishers
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200 , Lanham, Maryland 20706
National Book Network (dist.)
1570983879 $19.95 1-800-462-6420

My Water Comes From The Mountains is an educational picture book by Tiffany Fourment that teaches young readers about the natural cycle of water. Looking at the nation's watershed, the Continental Divide, My Water Comes From The Mountains describes the water cycle from evaporation to glacier formation to the zones of life that water passes through, including alpine tundra, prairie, and conifer forest. Also discussed are how human society uses water, treatment processes for water, and what happens to water after it is used. Extensively researched, My Water Comes From The Mountains was prepared with the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research project of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Reasearch at the University of Colorado, in honor of the International Year of the Mountain. The gentle and realistic color drawings of wildlife and nature by Dorothy Emerling complement this informative and enriching picture book ideal for inquisitive young minds.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

A Muggle's Guide To The Wizarding World
Fionna Boyle
ECW Press
2120 Queen St. East #200, Toronto, Ontario Canada M4E 1E2
155022655X $14.95

Think you know all about Harry Potter? Think again, whether you're a parent or a teen fan of the series: Fionna Boyle's examination in A Muggle's Guide To The Wizarding World quite deftly explores J. K. Rowling's entire fantasy universe, covering all the finer points of the series thus far, examining its characters, creatures and mysticism, and arranging ideas by themes that excel in trivia and gentle encouragement for the reader to think about interpretation possibilities for the series. All five books and all three movies are included in the analysis, offering debates the entire family can enjoy. A Muggle's Guide To The Wizarding World is "must" reading for all Harry Potter fans!

The Cookbook Shelf

Lerner Publishing Group
1251 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1036
0822500107 $212.80 1-800-328-4929

The eight volumes in the simply outstanding "Plants We Eat" series by Meredith Sayles Hughes provide students in grades 5 to 12 with informed and informative introductions to the botanical and biological sciences behind what we eat. Enhanced with both color and b/w photography, charts and cross-sectional diagrams of plants, "Fun Facts", a bibliography for further reading, a glossary, recipes, nutritional information, "kid friendly" activities, literary quotes and sidebars, the titles comprising this outstanding and enthusiastically recommended series include Flavor Foods: Spices & Herbs; Glorious Grasses: The Grains; Green Power: Leaf & Flower Vegetables; Hard To Crack: Nut Trees; Spill The Beans And Pass The Peanuts: Legumes; Stinky And Stringy: Stem & Bulb Vegetables; Tall And Tasty: Fruit Trees; and Yes, We Have Bananas: Fruits From Shrubs And Vines. Although each volume is available separately ($26.60), school and community libraries are advised to acquire the complete set. Homeschoolers and classroom teachers should note that each of these superbly organized and accessibly presented books is published in full accordance with National Science Education Standards and are ideal for supplemental curriculum enhancement for any Home Economics studies.

Benchmark/Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown NY 10591
$20.95 each

Four new 'Superchef' titles by Matthew Locricchio outline the cooking of different countries for kids in grades 4-7, introducing each with a discussion of regional food history and differences within the country, then proceeding to kid-oriented recipes for appetizers, main courses, desserts and more. Each bright book packs in photos by Jack McConnell, providing bright examples of completed dishes and local ingredients. New to the series are Greece (076-141729X), Brazil (076141732X), Thailand (0761417311) and India (0761417-303). The series makes for an excellent introduction to foods of different cultures for an age range which normally wouldn't receive such specific detail or age appropriate recipes. School and community librarians are encouraged to send for the free Benchmark catalogs for a complete listing of their non-fiction "books in series" titles for young readers.

The Picturebook Shelf

Little Ruth Reddingford And The Wolf
Hank Wesselman, Ph.D., author
Raquel Abreu, illustrator
Illumination Arts Publishing Company
13256 Northup Way, Suite 9, Bellevue, WA 98005
0974019003 $15.95

Little Ruth Reddingford And The Wolf is a new rendition of the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale. Young Ruth Reddingford loves visiting her grandmother more than anything. So when Grandma can't come for her weekly visit, Ruth packs a basket of goodies and sets out on her own. When bullies confront Ruth in the woods, she discovers the strength in her Native American heritage, and makes a striking new friend. Little Ruth Reddingford And The Wolf pays homage to the passing down of shamanic traiditions from grandmother to grandaughter, and reminds the reader that not all cultures regard the Wolf solely as a symbol of fear. The inviting full-color illustrations facilitate immersion in this uplifting and empowering tale.

Carlo And The Really Nice Librarian
Jessica Spanyol
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140-1338
0763625264 $15.99

Carlo the giraffe loves the new library with its many books and posters, but he's afraid of the librarian with her sharp teeth and claws until he discovers she too loves books. Very simple drawings accompany the cute story of a little giraffe and an alligator librarian. A treasure to read aloud.

The Nothing King
Elle Van Lieshout & Eric Van Os
Front Street
862 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806
1932425144 $15.95

Paula Gerritsen provides the simple yet winning drawings to enhance Elle Van Lieshout and Eric Van Os' The Nothing King, the tale of a King Bear who moves away from royal digs to live in a shabby apartment. People laugh at him; but he likes a simple life without servants and fuss, and doesn't need the rich things in life. His simple needs keep him in touch with his kingdom in this engaging, warm story.

Pea Soup Fog
Connie Macdonald Smith, author
Jen Cart, illustrator
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
0892726431 $15.95

Pea Soup Fog is a charming picturebook story, set in a small village on the rocky coast of Maine. One day, a thick-as-pea-soup fog covers the whole town; no one will listen to the advice of a small girl, turning instead to the butcher, the baker, and the candle-maker for help. Only when these three have failed do they listen to the girl's wisdom, share a wonderful meal, and see the fog vanish. The soft, colorful illustrations bring this heartwarming and simple story to vibrant life. This is a brief picturebook tale that is well-suited for read-aloud storytime or bedtime.

The Rainbow Tiger
Gayle Nordholm & Jennifer Frohwerk
Seven Locks Press
3100 West Warner Avenue, Suite 8, Santa Ana, CA 92704
1883697522 $16.95 1-800-354-5348

Gayle Nordholm's The Rainbow Tiger is an imaginative modern-day picturebook fable about a tigress who longs to be beautiful. She wishes her coat could be rainbow-colored - but when her wish is granted, all the animals mock her, and she can no longer sneak up on her prey! On the verge of starving to death, she falls asleep regretting her foolish wish, and wakes up having learned a valuable lesson about being and appreciating oneself. The Rainbow Tiger includes a supplement of fun facts about real tigers rounding out this beautifully illustrated (Jennifer Frohwerk is a superb artist) picturebook story with a positive message about self-respect.

175 5th Ave., New York NY 10110

Four wonderful new presentations are recommended picturebook pics for the young. Axel Hacke's A Bear Called Sunday (1582349290, $14.95) requires good reading skills or parental assistance but provides an enchanting story of a boy and his believed bear. The boy loves his bear but does the silent, stiff bear love him back? There really is an answer for the boy in this gentle story. Margaret Atwood's Rude Ramsey And The Roaring Radishes! (1582349509, $16.95) receives Dusan Petricic's fun drawings as it tells of revolting relatives and a quest for independence. Sick of rules, Rude Ramsey and his rat strike out for freedom. Good reading skills required. There's lots of animal noises to enjoy in The Noisy Farm by Marc McGee (1582348790, $15.95), from snorts and hoots to squeaks and creaks. A very simple picturebook with zany drawings by Leonie Shearing illustrate animal noises at their best. Michael Rosen's Howler (158-2348510, $15.95) is the perfect companion to ROVER, presenting a hilarious story of a puzzled dog trying to understand a new baby in the house. The baby 'Howler' takes up everyone's attention: is Rover doomed to take second chair? Neil Layton's drawings are simple and engaging, while the plot needs no prior familiarity to prove inviting.

Peter Pan And Wendy
J.M. Barrie
Orchard Books
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439672570 $17.95

Readers seeking a high-quality hardcover edition of Barrie's classic Peter Pan complete with high-quality drawings should look no further than Orchard Books' latest re-issue, pairing Barrie's story with Robert Ingpen's drawings. Color marks both full pages and half pages, adeptly and beautifully highlighting all the unedited adventures of Wendy and the childish Peter.

Tusk Trouble
Jane Clarke & Cecilia Johansson
Hodder/Trafalgar Square Publishing
PO Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053-0257
0340877251 $14.95 1-800-423-4525

Wilbur the Walrus has a tusk that hurts, but he resists going to the dentist until his wise Grandfather presents another option. Many a child will relate to the story of a young walrus who resists treatment until he sees for himself the results of avoiding it!

Who's Got Game? The Lion Or The Mouse?
Toni & Slade Morrison
1230 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10020
0743222482 $16.95 1-800-223-2336

Comic-book-style four-panel color drawings by Pascal Lemaitre provide an inviting format in Toni and Slade Morrison's "Who Got Game?" series. Their retelling of the classic Aesop fable about the lion and the mouse extrapolates quite a bit on the original, adding a zany and fun side to the tale and truly wonderful illustrations.

Mystery At The Club Sandwich
Doug Cushman
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10003
0618419691 $15.00

The very young may not readily understand the meaning of the film noir black and white drawings in Mystery At The Club Sandwich: this caveat aside, it's an inviting, wonderful story of one Nick Trunk, Private Detective, who is the only one to help foxy singer Lola regain her lost marbles. Nick's efforts at solving a sticky crime prove hilarious; especially to picturebook readers with some reading and critical thinking skills behind them.

Trumpet's Kittens
Carolyn Polizzotto & Sarah Spinks
Marion Duke, illustrator
Fremantle Arts Centre Press/ISBS, dist.
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
1863683313 $22.50 1-800-944-6190

Charmingly co-written by Carolyn Polizzotto and Sarah Spinks, Trumpet's Kittens is a heartwarming picturebook about a mother cat who finds a friendly, loving house in which to give birth to the beautiful miracle of adorable kittens. Marion Duke's colorful, slightly abstract color artwork perfectly captures feline grace, and the story narrates from Trumpet's point of view without exaggeratedly anthropomorphizing her. A gorgeous picturebook to share, especially in a household that is soon expecting the pitter-patter of many furry little feet.

The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard
Gregory Rogers
Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press
2 Old New Milford Road, Brookfield, CT 06804
Media Masters (publicity)
1596430095 $16.95 1-800-462-4703

The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard is a picturebook that presents its humorous and amazing story entirely in sequential, comic-book style illustrations. A young boy playing by himself in an old theater accidentally discovers a way to travel to the distant past - and the time of Shakespeare! Accidentally inciting the Bard's wrath, he flees, liberates a captive bear, rescues a timid baron from the tower of London, all the while evading William Shakespeare's furious pursuit. The whimsical color pictures perfectly relate this chuckle-inducing story all the way to the wistful end.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Cancer Information For Teens
Wilma R. Caldwell
615 Griswold St., Detroit, MI 48226
0780806786 $58.00

Young adults and their parents alike will find this new addition to the 'Teen Health Series' an important reference to cancer in teens. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among those ages 10-19: lifestyle choices from tobacco to sun expose increase the risks and are often the choices made during the teen years. In presenting a health title geared for teens, basic questions about teen cancer are addressed, from adolescent-onset to risk factors.

Gareth Stevens
330 W. Olive St., Milwaukee, WI 53212

A new series from Gareth Stevens is a very highly recommended pick for discriminating school and community library reference collections for young readers. 'Understanding the Human Body' ($18.50 each) provide around 30 pages of colorful information and facts, breaking bodily system into related parts for easy understanding and research. Heart, Blood And Lungs (0836842065) thus receives its own coverage emphasizing the teamwork between all three to maintain health; Brain, Nerves And Senses (0836842049) work together to explore how these systems work with the body as a master search engine; Digestion And Reproduction (0836-842057) discusses the guts of the matter and the tasks these related systems perform, and Skin, Muscles And Bones (083-6842073) surveys how the skin packages it all together. All are excellent basic guides.

Cancer Happens
Rebecca Gifford
Capital Books Inc.
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
1931868727 $15.95 1-800-758-3756

Rebecca Gifford was only 22 years old when she was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer: this is her story of diagnosis, treatment and recovery: a story of coming of age with cancer which involved her entire family. There are relatively few accounts of young people struggling with cancer: Cancer Happens documents Gifford's challenges and her ability to be a patient advocate and choose her treatment options throughout.

274500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535
$27.45 each

Two important histories of diseases and disorders are picks for library health shelf holdings. Barbara Saffer's Smallpox (159-0183010) tells of the history of smallpox, using both primary and secondary source material to reveal its devastating effects in Europe, the development and dissemination of the smallpox vaccine, and the possibilities of its use as a biological weapon. Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen's Chemotherapy (1560069260) joins others in the 'Great Medical Discoveries' series for middle school kids and older, providing a survey of poisons that heal and their pros and cons. Since relatively little has been accessible on the topic for this age group, Chemotherapy is a welcome publication.

The Palette Of Breath
Lauren Robins
Safe Goods
561 Shunpike Rd., Sheffield, MA 01257
1884820778 $7.95

The Palette Of Breath is a very simple guide to "easy belly breathing", written especially for children, parents, and teachers. Promoting reduced stress and improved health through a very simple breathing technique, The Palette Of Breath combines friendly line-drawings with information as to why good breathing promotes good health. Every other page features a quote from an immense range of sources concerning the importance and value of good breathing habits. An excellent book to share with young people in order to teach the advantages of breathing awareness and instill positive lifelong behaviors.

The Games/Activities Shelf

The 2,000 Best Games & Activities
Susan Kettmann
Sourcebooks Inc.
Box 4410, Naperville, IL 60567-4410
140220194X $14.95 1-800-432-7444

Parents who have infants through age eight will welcome an activities book which pairs activities and games which take 5-30 minutes each with a focus on teaching curiosity, self-control, kindness and other values. From a 'Scavenger Number Hunt' which involves common household items and can even be done in the grocery store. The 2,000 Best Games & Activities is an excellent collection of lessons on how to be a better person, couched as games.

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

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