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

Children's Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 2 February 2008 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Picturebook Shelf Music Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Poetry Shelf Folklore/Mythology Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
DVD Shelf Fiction Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Biography Shelf Books in Series Preschool Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Easy Paper Crafts in 5 Steps
Anna Llimos
Enslow Publishers
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398
0766030873, $22.60

Any who would make paper crafts in five very easy steps will find Easy Paper Crafts in 5 Steps holds a little over thirty pages of cards, bowls, puppets, animals and more - perfect for newcomers to paper crafting, and for collections appealing to art projects for the very young. Bright color photos and easy step-by-step instructions make this an excellent pick.

Maybe A Bear Ate It!
Robie H. Harris, author
Michael Emberley, illustrator
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780439929615, $15.99

Award-winning author Robie Harris presents Maybe A Bear Ate It!, an easy-reader children's picturebook about a young critter child whose favorite book has gone missing - he can't get to sleep without it! He wonders, did a bear eat it, or did a stegosaurus stomp on it? "Looking... / I'm looking... / I'm still looking... / Hey, look! I found my book! / You know what? I LOVE MY BOOK!" The infectiously enthusiastic illustrations by Michael Emberley bring this simple and warm-hearted story to life. A wonderful first book for young people just beginning to learn how to sound out words.

Bart & the Gang
Jean-Paul Loppo Martinez, author
Keegan Gerhard, narrator
LCA Publishing
8635 W. Sahara Ave. #180, Las Vegas, Nevada 89117
9780979533419, $15.95

The second in a new series of children's picturebooks by artist and composer Jean-Paul Loppo Martinez, Bart & the Gang: Picnic at Yellowstone features colorful illustration, a story told through the dialogue of a group of children, and an accompanying audio CD narrated by Food Network Pastry Chef Keegan Gerhard. In Bart & the Gang: Picnic at Yellowstone, the kids opt to enjoy a picnic of healthy food outdoors, yet one disaster after another occurs as animals ranging from ants to a skunk to a fearsome bear cause trouble! The mother brings them a pepperoni pizza since they didn't get to eat anything, but a final page of "Keegan's Advice" recommends a number of healthful picnic foods, such as baby carrots or celery (with peanut butter and raisins), seasonal fruit, water or juice, cheese and crackers, or grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomato. A simple glossary rounds out this high-spirited adventure.

The Picturebook Shelf

115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011

Daniel Napp's PROFESSOR BUMBLE AND THE MONSTER OF THE DEEP (9780810994843, $15.95) tells of a studious bear who goes swimming every week with his goldfish - until a fisherman warns there's a new monster in the week. The Professor wisely refuses to go in - until his goldfish friend is at risk. A hilarious story of courage evolves. Bruce Whatley's CLINTON GREGORY'S SECRET (9780810993648, $15.95) tells of Clinton who has seven secrets just from last week - involving dragons, giants, pirates and more. For Clinton has a very active imagination, and it might even get the best of him in this hilarious story of too many secrets. Stephen Huneck's SALLY GETS A JOB (9780810994935, $16.95) tells of Sally who wants to get the perfect job like the rest of her family. The only trouble is - Sally is a dog, and her talents range from digging to playing ball. There seems to be nothing in the want ads to address her talents - or is there? Maybe she can be a hip-hop star…Sherry North's BECAUSE YOU ARE MY BABY (9780810994829, $15.95) tells of what parents would do for a baby, providing a parent's fun wishes for a child in a gentle lullaby. Easy free verse and warm colors from Marcellus Hall are wonderful visions for the very young.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Ken Geist and Julia Gorton's THE THREE LITTLE FISH AND THE BIG BAD SHARK (0439719623, $6.99) is a wonderful story outlining what happens when three little fish encounter a seahorse, a shark, and various underwater building materials. Fish who stick together make fun houses and safer settings are hilarious here. Monique de Varennes & Ana Juan's THE JEWEL BOX BALLERINAS (9780375836053, $16.99) tells of one Bibi who has two of everything - except friends. But when she buys a magical jewel box with two ballerinas inside, something changes. Both are excellent picturebook stories for collections seeking something different.

Who's in the Bathroom?
Jeanne Willis
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
1416935169, $12.99

Adrian Reynolds provides zany drawings for the fun WHO'S IN THE BATHROOM?, a story of a long line waiting for the bathroom. Can an elephant be taking time, or a whale doing the world's greatest pee? A zany story of bathroom time and fun evolves.

Squirt Swims with the Stars
Michael Stephens
Privately Published
No ISBN, $7.99

Squirt Swims with the Stars is the first in a forthcoming series of children's picturebooks based on the friendly character of Squirt the whale. Available as a downloadable Windows program that can read aloud the story or a softcover print edition, Squirt Swims with the Stars follows a young whale's quest to get closer to the shining stars overhead. He meets a wide array of ocean friends, and finally his brother Tommy takes him to a place where starfish abound - swimming among them is, in its own way, just like swimming amid the lofty heavens. "Sometimes when you are always looking for the one thing that is out of reach, you miss the beautiful things that are right in front of you." The charming illustrations have a relaxing, deep blue color theme, making Squirt Swims with the Stars ideal for sharing with young people right before naptime or bedtime.

Tera's Dawn
Susan K. Schank, author
Denise Seah, illustrator
Purple Sky Publishing
PO Box 12013, Parkville, MO 64152
9780976901792, $16.95

Tera's Dawn is a children's picturebook for young horse lovers, about the adventure of a wild mare. Young Tera grew up as a free horse, but when ranchers capture her, she learns that the lot of a human-controlled horse is to be worked hard - and horses that grow too weak are not kept alive. Yet Tera is lucky enough to share a reunion with her mother, also in captivity. It takes ingenuity to figure out how to work the latch keeping her and her mother from freedom; together, they escape back into the wild. Beautiful color illustrations grace this gentle and free-spirited picturebook.

AmeriTales Presents Abraham Lincoln and the Forest of Little Pigeon Creek
T.D. Carter, author
Randy Jennings, illustrator
AmeriTales Entertainment, LLC
3525 Del Mar Heights Road, Suite 623, San Diego, CA 92130
Kern Communications (publicity)
9780979873904, $19.95

AmeriTales Presents Abraham Lincoln and the Forest of Little Pigeon Creek, a children's picturebook loosely based on the childhood of one of America's greatest presidents. Abraham Lincoln and the Forest of Little Pigeon Creek follows young Abraham and his turkey friend Jack (based on a pet of the real-life Lincoln's son Tad) during their journey through a forest to borrow a book from old Mr. Crawford, widely known for having purplish-blue veins on his nose. In the course of his adventure Abe learns two powerful lessons that will serve him for life: that the forest is the home of wild animals, and needs to be respected same as any other home; and that books have incredible power and wisdom stored within. The bright, cartoony color illustrations add a vibrant and cheerful touch to this delightful "one to grow on" story.

Fit For A Princess
Risa Rotman & Tova Leff
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628384, $10.95

The King's young daughter has a problem. She can't decide what to wear when she's not in her elegant princess dress and wearing her crown. All her father's royal advisors offer different opinions on the subject. But in the end, it's up to every princess to choose what will make their fathers proud. "Fit For A Princess" is a lively and entertaining story by Risa Rotman that is perfectly framed by the colorful artwork of Tova Leff. The result is a thoroughly 'kid friendly' picturebook that encourages young girls to develop a sense of dignity and modesty by choosing their attire appropriately regardless of the fads and fashions of the day.

Susan K. Mitchell, author
Sherry Rogers, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
9781934359075, $16.95 1-877-958-2600

Kersplatypus is a children's picturebook about a young platypus who doesn't know where he belongs. Other Australian wildlife try to introduce him to climbing trees, flying the skies, or bounding along the ground, but the platypus just doesn't take to it. At last he discovers his natural home - in the water with his beloved mother. Additional pages of fun facts about the platypus and other animals native to Australia round out this delightful, enthusiastic, and educational picturebook.

The Year of the Rat
Oliver Chin, author
Miah Alcorn, illustrator
c/o China Books & Periodicals, Inc.
360 Swift Avenue, Suite 48, South San Francisco, CA 94080
9781597020114, $15.95 1-800-818-2017

Written in celebration of 2008, the most recent year of the rat, The Year of the Rat: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac is a children's picturebook about an eager young rat named Ralph. Grounding the story in the basic animals and associated character traits derived from the ancient Chinese Zodiac, The Year of the Rat follows Ralph as his inquisitive nature gets him into trouble. But when his dear friend the boy Bing runs into trouble at his birthday party, it takes the quick thinking of a born rat to save the day! The colorful, simple illustrations are brimming with unfettered enthusiasm in this charming children's story.

Juana Meets Gabriel the Small-Business Angel
Daphne A. Nowell, author
Esther Nowell, illustrator
Business Angel Press
174 West Foothill Blvd., #327, Monrovia, CA 91016
9780979890918, $17.95

Juana Meets Gabriel the Small-Business Angel is a children's picturebook especially for young girls that contemplates the question, "What if you don't want to wait around for a Prince Charming?" Entrepreneur Daphne A. Nowell spins a humorous and involving tale about a girl who learns more about how to make her own way in the world. "First think of businesses you would like to own... Ok, now you should learn as much as you can about those businesses by reading books, looking on the internet, taking classes and, one good way is to find a business that looks interesting and volunteer to work there for free!" While having fun earning a respectable living as the owner of a pet grooming business, Juana is able to meet her prince at last. A positive-minded picturebook, ideal as a gift for little women who are thinking about what they want in life.

Little Boy with a Big Horn
Jack Bechdolt, author
Dan Yaccarino, illustrator
Golden Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
9780375839030, $14.99 1-800-726-0600

A classic Golden Book by Jack Bechdolt (1884-1954) re-illustrated with care and enthusiasm by internationally exhibited artist Dan Yaccarino, Little Boy with a Big Horn is a picturebook about a bespectacled little boy named Ollie who is learning to play a big brass horn. But the horn makes so much noise it disrupts the neighbors; what is a boy to do? He tries playing further and further away, and finally rows out to sea, only to find that the bell buoy marking reef rocks in foggy weather is missing! His far-reaching brass horn notes warn an oncoming ship and save the day, and as a reward he is given the chance to go to music school. An exuberant and heartwarming picturebook, ideal for public library collections.

Marley's Treasure
Gable Yerrid, author
Jennifer Fitzgerald, illustrator
Yorkville Press
1202 Lexington Avenue, #315, New York, NY 10028
9780976744269, $15.95

Featuring cheerful, child-friendly illustrations, Marley's Treasure is a picturebook with a strong moral lesson. When Marley, a young monkey, stumbles across a beautiful treasure of shining golden bananas, he hoards them to himself - yet discovers that he isn't happy. The wisdom of an old pelican helps him understand that the greatest value of a treasure lies in sharing it with friends. "Life was good again and Marley realized that the treasures of life he had found would never be lost, as long as he shared with others." Highly recommended.

Hobie: The Hope Bear
Jayne Hanson and Sheila Dokken, authors
Pamela A. Erickson, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592982080, $17.95 1-952-829-8818

Written by Jayne Hanson and Sheila Dokken in response to the September 11th tragedy and illustrated by award-winning artist Pamela A. Erickson, Hobie: The Hope Bear follows an anthropomorphic teddy bear as he starts a new year of school. He doesn't know anyone in his class, and everyone else looks so different - how could he ever make friends or share common interests with any of them? Gradually, he learns to believe in himself, respect others, and forge strong friendships with others despite mutual differences. "Later that day, Mrs. Honeypot asked everyone to partner up and read a book together. 'Hey, Trent, how about being partners?' asked Hobie. 'I saw on your poster that you like to read, too.' 'Sure!' said Trent. Then they sat down and read a story about two tiger cubs that became very good friends." Hobie: The Hope Bear offers an invaluable lesson about building confidence, social skills, tolerance, and connections with others. Highly recommended.

Jules the Lighthouse Dog
P.T. Custard, author
Ana Greer & David Pearson, illustrators
Black Plume Books
608 Jordan Trace, Chesapeake, VA 23323
9780978531706, $12.95

Based on a real-life lighthouse dog (whose photograph is shown on the last page), Jules the Lighthouse Dog is a children's picturebook by award-winning children's book author P.T. Custard. Simple, exuberant illustrations follow Jules' daydreams of undertaking different canine careers. But one foggy day at the lighthouse, Jules howling warns ships in peril of coming too close to shore and capsizing. Jules learns that he's needed right at home, in this gentle story perfect for young dog lovers.

Pardon Me, It's Ham, Not Turkey
Lisa Suhay, author
Pamela Barcita, illustrator
Bumble Bee Publishing
725 Watch Island Reach, Chesapeake, VA 23320
9781933982014, $17.95

Pardon Me, It's Ham, Not Turkey is a children's picturebook about the American tradition of Thanksgiving. Written in singsong rhyme by award-winning author Lisa Suhay and cheerily illustrated by Society of Illustrators honoree Pamela Barcita, Pardon Me, It's Ham, Not Turkey tells of the unusual presidential tradition of pardoning a turkey, the real first Thanksgiving that took place nearly two years before the arrival of the Pilgrims (and probably included a meal of ham rather than turkey!), and much more. A final page of historical notes rounds out this lighthearted reflection upon the origin of a cherished holiday.

At the Door
Maly M. Kiendl, adapter and illustrator
Rosedog Books
701 Smithfield Street, Third Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
9780805989960, $9.00

Based on the children's storybook by Victorian writer Katherine M. Yates, At the Door is a black-and-white softcover picturebook by author and award-winning artist Maly M. Kiendl. A little girl named Loxalillya has a dream about meeting an elf and becoming a doorkeeper in Folkstown, but the job is not all it appears to be - the house is a human mind, and the people going in and out of the house are thoughts and emotions. As doorkeeper it is her job to let in the good thoughts and keep out the bad! "If you keep an open mind to bad thoughts, the good ones just leave. The good thoughts expect you to do your job." The story's moderate amount of text and simple metaphors make At the Door ideal for children who are almost ready to move beyond picturebooks. Highly recommended.

Ballerina Dreams
Lauren Thompson, author
James Estrin, photographer
Feiwel and Friends
c/o Holtzbrinck Publishers
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312370299, $16.95

Featuring gorgeous photography by Pulitzer Prize-winning team member James Estrin, Ballerina Dreams: A True Story is a picturebook following five little girls who wanted to become ballerinas and dance on stage. Each girl had cerebral palsy or other physical difficulties, which affect their control over their leg muscles; some use leg braces, wheelchairs, or walkers to get around. Yet with practice, hard work, and the aid of a committed teacher, they were able to realize their dream. A truly inspirational picturebook especially recommended for young girls of all backgrounds.

If This Old Tree Could Talk To Me!
Jancy Morgan and Tom Dunn
Leathers Publishing
4500 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS 66211
9781585974399, $24.95 1-888-888-7696

If This Old Tree Could Talk To Me! is a children's picturebook featuring gaily ornamented rhymes and vibrant colored pencil illustrations to recount the wonderful moments an ancient tree has observed over the course of its life. "Buffalo once gathered / To graze beneath my boughs. / And once, a loving couple / Stood below to say their vows." A sense of wonder and longevity permeate this thoroughly enjoyable tale, ideal for read-aloud sharing with young people.

A Journey with the Spider & Snake to Arizona
Beatrice Cook
Travel America Books
64 Vanderbilt Avenue, Floral Park, NY 11001
9780979586705, $14.95

The first in a new picturebook series about Betty the spider and Jake the rattlesnake, A Journey with the Spider & Snake to Arizona follows these two unlikely anthropomorphic creatures as they travel the desert and become fast friends. The vivid color illustrations stand out, adding almost three-dimensional touch to the upbeat story. Betty and Jake discover the Arizona state capital, state bird, and state flower, and learn about desert animals in this engaging and educational romp.

Yetsa's Sweater
Sylvia Olsen, author
Joan Larson, illustrator
Sono Nis Press
Box 160, Winlaw, BC V0G 2J0
Orca Book Publishers (distribution)
Box 468, Custer, WA 98240-0468
9781550391558, $17.95

Former Cowichan sweater shop operator Sylvia Olsen presents Yetsa's Sweater, a children's picturebook tribute to the tradition of knitting sweaters on Coast Salish (on the Tsartlip Reserve near Victoria, British Columbia) and the bonds between mothers, grandmothers, and granddaughters that highlight the creation of knitted sweaters. Impeccably illustrated by award-winning artist Joan Larson, Yetsa's Sweater follows the entire process of creating a Cowichan sweater through the eyes of a young girl, from harvesting and spinning the fleece to the actual knitting. The final two pages offer a more concise history of Coast Salish knitted sweaters. Highly recommended as an educational and multicultural celebration of family love.

The Cake Thief
Sally O. Lee
Lee Publishing
35 Locust Street, Danvers, MA 01923
9781419683978, $22.50

Imaginatively written and colorfully illustrated by Sally O. Lee, "The Cake Thief" is the picturebook story of Clarence, a fellow who loves to steal cakes -- and does so from everyone in the neighborhood! One morning as Clarence is skulking through someone else's house seeking out a cake to steal, he instead finds an invitation to a party made out to 'The Cake Thief'. What a dilemma! Clarence has never received a party invitation before. He decides to go -- and in carrying out that decision learns some valued lessons that result in his never having to steal another cake! The story is lively, the simple text is superbly enhanced by the whimsical art style. The result is a welcome and recommended addition to family, school, and community library picturebook collections for young children.

Dance in a Buffalo Skull
Zitkala-Sa, author
S.D. Nelson, illustrator
South Dakota State Historical Society Press
900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SC 57501-2217
9780977795529, $14.95

Translated from the original Native American legend into English in 1901 by author Zitkala-Sa, and illustrated by award-winning Lakota artist S.D. Nelson, Dance in a Buffalo Skull is a picturebook tale of mice conducting a dance in old, dried-up buffalo skull, while a wildcat sneaks up on them. The art blends Lakota tradition and modern styles to match the tall tale and bring it to life. At the peak of the dance, the wildcat is spotted and the mice run away into the dark! An enjoyable story faithful to the original legend. Also highly recommended is the first picturebook in the Prairie Tale Series, "The Discontented Gopher".

The Music Shelf

Fast & Feisty
Princess Katie & Racer Steve
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $15.00

Katie O'Sullivan and Steve Borne effectively collaborate to bring lively, energetic, entertaining music to children in the music CD "Fast & Feisty". A kind of homage to 1940s style golden age of radio for kids, the pieces comprising this superbly recorded collection is wonderfully characterized by rhythms and wordplay, brought out in an impressive performance of tunes and skits. Original and flawlessly recorded, the "Fast & Feisty" features Holidays; Sneakers; Hide & Seek; Jump Jump Jump! (Skit); The Pillow; Hey Clair!; Bubbles; Dragon Breath (Skit); Hot Shot!; Go, Go, Go!; The Babysitting Job (Skit); Looking For Trouble; We Dress Ourselves; and The Invitations (Skit). "Fast & Feisty" is an enthusiastically recommended addition to family, school, and community library CD collections for young listeners.

Celtic Dreamland
Putumayo Kids
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
PUT 272-2, $14.98

Celtic Dreamland offers an assortment of delightful melodies drawn from the softer aspect Celtic musical tradition, ideal for children's bedtimes as well as adult quiet time or meditation time. A diversity of artists contribute their talents to this soothing anthology of gentle Gaelic music and songs. The tracks are Casadh an tSugain (4:01), Dream Angus (3:25), Goodnight and Joy (2:25), An Fhideag Airgid (4:17), The Dove's Return (2:58), Cagaran Gaolach (2:21), Eilean M' Araich (2:33), A Phluirin Mhilis (2:41), When Juniper Sleeps (3:54), and Ye Banks and Braes (3:55). Highly recommended.

You Can Dance!
The Learning Station
3950 Bristol Court, Melbourne, FL 32904
CD-1600, $15.00 1-800-789-9990

You Can Dance! Lyrics and Dance Instructions is more than a music CD for preschool through elementary grade listeners - it teaches the basics of a broad variety of dance styles, from ballroom to disco, hip-hop, hula, cha cha and much more! Absolutely no prior dancing skills are required. The twenty-four page included booklet lists lyrics and step-by-step dance instructions to get moving to the diverse tracks. A great physical activity for encouraging exercise, as well as teaching young people about the joy of dance, highly recommended. Adults who have never danced before will find the ultra-gentle learning curve a benefit too!

Guardians of the Earth
Penelope Torribio
1 World Education
695 E. Kingsley Ave., Pomona, CA 91767
CD, $15.00

Guardians of the Earth is a music CD of catchy tunes for young people, created to build their vocabulary and ecological awareness. Toe-tapping fun with a message good for home, car trips, or the classroom, Guardians of the Earth proves surprisingly catchy for adults too! The tracks are Puppy Love (1:28), Monkey Dance (1:29), Orangutan (1:52), Monkey Here, Monkey There (1:32), Pedro Wants an SUV (1:46), Butterfly Song (1:58), Pretend with Me (1:40), Cowboys, Cowgirls, Cowhorses (2:20), Have You Seen My Teddy Bear (0:39), Seagull, Seagull (0:39), The Shark Song (1:19), The Mermaid Song (1:20), Leviathan (2:08), Octopus (1:11), One World (2:33) and Guardians of the Earth (0:52). A delightfully wholesome and positively-themed musical adventure.

The Dragonfly Races
Ellis Paul
Black Wolf Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
CD, $15.00

The Dragonfly Races is a family-friendly music CD, with a colorful and whimsically illustrated "picturebooklet" of the lyrics packed in. The tracks range from songs with fantasy overtones, to light social commentary and multicultural themes, to the classic "You Are My Sunshine". Created by folk singer and troubadour Ellis Paul, The Dragonfly Races is rise-and-shine, toe-tapping fun for listeners age five to five hundred, and highly recommended. The tracks are Wabi-Sabi, Because It's There, Abiola, Road Trip, The Dragonfly Races, The Bed Song, The Little Red Rose, I Lost a Day to the Rain, I Like to Swing, Million Chameleon March, Pinwheel, The Star Inside the Apple, 9 Months to Fix the World, and You are my Sunshine.

Shakin' In Chicago
Thaddeus Rex
Thaddeus Rex Inc.
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Chicago-based independent children's recording artist Thaddeus Rex has a new collection of lively and entertaining music for young children. "Shakin' In Chicago" is also a kind of musical salute to the Windy City and features a his gifted wordplay combined with the lovely vocals of Koko Taylor, the piano playing artistry of 94-year-old Pinetop, as well as songs which were co-written by Alan Gershwin. The fifteen numbers comprising this beautifully recorded and highly recommended CD album for kids, schools, and community libraries includes Running in the Sun Again; Daddy Lived Inside A Boxcar; I'll Always Follow You; I Still Love Cookies; Don't Know What This Son Is About; Dinosaur Living Inside My head; A Dream of Tucson; Where Can i Find Green Eggs & ham; The Stream; Dog Without Fur; Midway Fair; Pretty Diamond; Dare You; 25 or 6 to 4; and the title piece, Shakin' in Chicago.

The Cookbook Shelf

Holy Guacamole! And Other Scrumptious Snacks
Nick Fouchald & Rick Peterson
Picture Window Books
5115 Excelsior Blvd., Suite 232, Minneapolis, MN 55416
9781404839953, $18.95 1-877-371-1536

Part of the thoroughly kid-friendly 'Kids Dish' series of cookbooks for children from Picture Window Books, "Holy Guacamole! And Other Scrumptious Snacks" is a picturebook style compilation of do-it-yourself recipes for children ages 6 to 8 and in grades 1 to 3.compiled by Nick Fouchald and illustrated by Rick Peterson. The recipes are organized into three sections: Easy; Intermediate; and Advanced. They range from Pineapple Popsicles; Quick Energy Trail Mix; and Mini Pepperoni Pizzas; to Chili Cheese Popcorn; Yogurt Fruit Kabobs; and Gooey Granola Bars. Featuring 'Notes to Kids and Parents', 'MyPyramid', Special Tips and Glossary, Conversion Chart, and Kitchen Tools information, "Holy Guacamole! And Other Scrumptious Snacks" is an excellent resource for teaching children kitchen safety, nutrition, and the joy of cooking. Of special note is the FactHouse website relating to the topics covered along with the recipes. Also very highly recommended for family and community library cookbook collections for children are the other titles in this outstanding 'Kids Dish' series: "Chocolate Chill-Out Cake And Other Yummy Desserts (9781404839977); "Indoor S'mores And Other Tasty Treats For Special Occasions" (9781404840003); "Keep On Rollin' Meatballs And Other Delicious Dinners" (9781404839984, $18.95); "Puffy Popovers And Other Get-Out-Of-Bed Breakfasts" (9781404839960); and "Walk-Around Tacos And Other Likeable Lunches" (9781404839991). Although each of these highly prized titles are available individually (List $25.26 / Library $18.95), homeschoolers, elementary schools, and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the entire series (9781404843653, List $151.56 / Library $113.70).

The Judaic Studies Shelf

The Invisible Book
Bracha Goetz, author
Patti Argoff, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628377, $10.95

The Invisible Book is rhyming picturebook in which a young Jewish boy considers the invisible nature of many things in everyday life, from human thoughts and feelings to the force of attraction between magnets. "Invisible things just like to hide, / Like my neshama, deep inside. // It's part of me that makes me strong / And glad to do mitzvos all day long! // ... // I can't see Hashem; that may be, / But look what He does for you and me!" The simple color illustrations vividly express this delightful introduction to important spiritual concepts for young Jewish children.

Richard Codor's Joyous Haggadah
Richard Codor & Liora Codor
Loose Line Productions, Inc.
583 - 16th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
9780979921803, $11.95

"Richard Codor's Joyous Haggadah" is a 48-page cartoon-style illustrated story of Passover and the Jewish celebration called Haggadah. Richard and Liora Codor created this thoroughly 'child friendly' explanation of the meaning of Haggadah, the games and celebratory elements associated with it, in order to inform and inspire children to join in. The text is organized in traditional order, with the prayers and customs being concise and written in English, transliterated in English, and in Hebrew. There are sing-along-songs, easy to make recipes that will fully engage young celebrants. From the blessing of the wine (Kadesh) and the washing of hands (U-Rechatz), to telling the story (Maggid) and bitter herbs (Maror), to the festive meal (Shulchan Orekh) and the hidden desert (Tzafun), and especially to praising God (Hallel), Featuring Jo Ellingson's graphic design, deftly edited by Zelda Shluker, and featuring Hebrew type by Rachel Fyman, "Richard Codor's Joyous Haggadah" is a welcome and enthusiastically recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library reference collections for children about the annual Jewish celebration of Haggadah.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Three Kings
Brian Harrison-Lever
Fremantle Press
c/o International Specialized Book Services (ISBS)
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
9781863682961, $25.50 1-800-944-6190

Three Kings is a children's picturebook rendition of the story of the Three Kings who traveled to present gifts at the birth of Christ. Richly illustrated, Three Kings focuses primarily upon the Kings' journey, the adventures they have, and the lessons they learn during their quest to visit the son of the Lord of the Universe; only the last couple pages are about their legendary visit to the baby Jesus' manger. In the course of their long travels, they give away nearly all of their wealth to desperately poor people and children; by the time they reach the prophesied place, what are they to give to the young Savior? A gentle and heartwarming retelling of the Christian New Testament story.

Meet Jesus
Lynn Tuttle Gunney, author
Jane Conteh-Morgan, illustrator
Skinner House Books
25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-2800
Red Wheel/Weiser (distribution)
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950-4600
9781558965249, $12.00 1-800-423-7087

Meet Jesus: The Life and Lessons of a Beloved Teacher is a children's picturebook that recounts simple tales from Jesus' life, the parables he taught, and the important moral lessons to be learned from him. Though especially recommended for Christian children, Meet Jesus places emphasis upon the benevolent teachings of Jesus rather than religious dogma concerning his divinity. "Some people say that Jesus was the son of God. They say that after Jesus died, God resurrected him, or brought him back to life. They celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Some people say that Jesus was a wise and beloved teacher, whether or not he was the son of God. They say it is important to remember him because he taught us to treat people with love and to stand up for justice and peace." Simple color illustrations add a child-friendly touch to this picturebook especially recommended for church libraries.

The Poetry Shelf

Stefi Weisburd, author
Lori McElrath-Eslick, illustrator
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590783061, $16.95 1-877-512-8366

Barefoot: Poems for Naked Feet is a lighthearted children's picturebook poetry collection celebrating the joy of going without shoes or socks. Prizewinning poet Stefi Weisburd and "Highlights for Children" magazine illustrator (among her many other credentials) Lori McElrath-Eslick combine their talents in a collection that's pure fun to read or share aloud. "What's Afoot at the Beach": Hot! Hot! Hot! / I try ballerina toes, / quick-stepping heels; / I try to imagine ice, / but nothing douses / the sand's / firecracker spice! // Bulldozer feet / crack / the salty crust, / plow roads, / pave / muddy mortar / and unearth / a quarter.

The Folklore/Mythology Shelf

2Dot to Dot in the Sky
Joan Marie Galat, author
Lorna Bennett, illustrator
Walrus Books
c/o Whitecap Books
351 Lynn Avenue, North Vancouver, BC V7J 2C4
9781552858059, $14.95

Dot to Dot in the Sky: Stories of the Zodiac is a softcover book that teaches young readers about mythology, astrology, and astronomy. Chapters offer fun facts about stars in the heavens, and instructions for locating constellations in the night sky; yet the heart and soul of Dot to Dot in the Sky are its renditions of ancient Greek mythology behind each of the twelve Zodiac constellations. From Astraea, the goddess of justice who fled to the heavens with the balance Libra because humankind had become too violent and dishonest, to Leo, the Nemean lion that Hercules killed as one of his twelve labors, the tales of myth are brought to life with vivid color illustrations. A glow-in-the-dark star map rounds out this exciting blend of science and fantasy, enthusiastically recommended for young stargazers.

Imagine a Dragon
Laurence Pringle, author
Eujin Kim Neilan, illustrator
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781563973284, $16.95 1-877-512-8366

Gorgeously illustrated by Eujin Kim Neilan, Imagine a Dragon is a children's picturebook about the many myths behind the magical, fantastic beast that is the dragon. From the serpent of Apep that attacked the sun god Ra every night according to Egyptian lore, to the Norse dragon Nidhoggr that gnawed at the roots of the great tree Yggdrasil, to East Asian dragons that regulated the weather, Imagine a Dragon spans the gamut of multicultural dragon lore. An especial treat for young dragon lovers, though the abundance of text makes Imagine a Dragon ideal for readers who are just about ready to move beyond picturebooks.

Hide-and-Seek Dragons
Fiona Watt, author
Mary Cartwright, designer
Fabiano Fiorin, illustrator
c/o EDC Publishing
10302 E. 55th Place, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74146
9780794515904, $16.99

Hide-and-Seek Dragons is an Usborne Touchy-Feely picturebook featuring stiff pages like a board book, flaps that young people can lift and search under, and perhaps most amazingly, a wide variety of different surfaces to touch, from fur to reflective fabric to scaly dragon bellies and much more. Cartoony dragons of different colors are playing a hide-and-seek game, and it's up to the young reader to find the hiding dragon behind one of the paper flaps. A definite treat for young dragon lovers!

Matt Doeden, author
Jonathan Mayer, illustrator
Edge Books
c/o Capstone Press
151 Good Counsel Drive, PO Box 669, Mankato, Minnesota 56002
9781429612951, $23.93

Dragonatomy is a fantastic picturebook for young readers that discusses these mythical monsters as if they were real-life animals. "It's fun to think of dragons as real creatures, rather than imaginary beasts. They are fierce, deadly foes for even the bravest dragon slayers." Colorful artwork by illustrator Jonathan Mayer brings to life musings about dragon's keen senses (hypothetically attributed to their Jacobson's organ, like other reptiles have), their tough skin and hollow bones of their wings, their strong scales made of keratin, and much more. An easy-to-use glossary makes unusual words readily accessible. Though intended for a youthful audience, Dragonatomy is thoroughly enjoyable for dragon lovers of all ages. Also highly recommended are the other picturebooks in the "Dragon" series: Dragon Legends (9781429612944), Real-Life Dragons (9781429612968), and Dragon Life (9781429612975).

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Janey Junkfood's Fresh Adventure
Barbara Storper & Frances E. Schneid
FoodPlay Productions
1 Sunset Avenue, Hatfield, MA 01038
KSB Promotions
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301 (publicity)
9780964285859, $15.95

Drawing upon her more than 25 years of experience turning kids onto to healthy eating habits, Barbara Storper (Founder and Director of FoodPlay Productions) wrote "Janey Junkfood's Fresh Adventure" because the average American boy or girl consumes more than 150 pounds of sugar a year (with one-third of it coming from soft drinks), while only one percent of American children eat the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, calcium-rich foods and whole grains. Then there is the acknowledge problem of childhood obesity which is doubling among children and tripling among teens -- who in turn are also seeing an increase in eating disorders. Energetically illustrated by Frances E. Schneid and presented in a scrapbook-style layout, "Janey Junkfood's Fresh Adventure" will help children (and help the parents of those children) to understand that for reasons of health and well-being, children of all ages must break their junk food habits and addictions, while developing an attitude that good eating is also good fun with great taste. Simply stated, "Janey Junkfood's Fresh Adventure" should be a part of every school and community library collection in the country!

Maple Tree Press
51 Front Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1B3

Two softcover books in the "Girl Zone" series published by Maple Tree Press offer positive and informative messages for young women and teenagers. "The Girls' Yoga Book: Stretch Your Body, Open Your Mind, & Have Fun!" by Michaela Caldwell (9781897066256, $9.95) introduces the reader to using yoga to revitalize one's body, mind, and mood. Chapters discuss how to create a yoga space, enact basic poses, control one's breathing, improve balance and more. Simple and colorful illustrations make The Girls' Yoga Book an easy-to-use springboard to get started in this physically and mentally fulfilling practice. "Body Talk: The Straight Facts on Fitness, Nutrition & Feeling Great About Yourself!" by Ann Douglas & Julie Douglas (9781897066614, $9.95) takes the reader on a voyage to learn tips, tricks, and techniques for taking care of one's body. From learning how fickle and unreliable standards of beauty are (and have been throughout history), to not putting too much emphasis on artificial and commercial cosmetics, to advice for including more activity in one's life and eating a balanced nutritional diet, Body Talk is a welcome antidote to the unhealthy, unrealistic, and self-esteem destroying messages advertising constantly bombards young women with. Both titles are enthusiastically recommended for children's library collections and as giftbooks for girls.

The DVD Shelf

Kibbles Rockin' Clubhouse Volume 1: Expressing Yourself
4585 Murphy Canyon Road, San Diego, CA 92123
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc. (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
9780980043600, $24.95

Developed by parents and experts in speech and music therapy especially for children on the autism spectrum, Kibbles Rockin' Clubhouse Volume 1: Expressing Yourself is a DVD for young people ages 2 to 7 about learning to properly handle and speak one's feelings. Handy Sam plays the song "Guess that Feeling"; the clubhouse crew sings about how to tell if someone is happy, sad or frustrated; and Miss Angela teaches ways to calm down when in a bad temper, such as counting to ten or doing something fun to improve one's mood. Parent teaching tools and karaoke songs round out this enjoyable, educational, and musical DVD. Highly recommended. 40 minutes, color.

Skill-Building Buddies: Handling Transitions and Change
Mazzarella Media
PO Box 86, Bristol, CT 06011
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc. (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
DVD, $19.95

Skill-Building Buddies: Handling Transitions and Change is a DVD designed especially to teach young children with autism spectrum disorder about successful social interaction skills. Animated hosts Mikey, Mandy, and Marvel discuss age-appropriate situations that children commonly face in school, at home, and in peer groups. Live-action vignettes demonstrate appropriate strategies in a clear and simple way, and music videos reinforce salient points. An invaluable audio-visual supplement for teaching young people about social settings, and sure to prove helpful to those who are not on the autism spectrum as well. 30 minutes, color.

The Fiction Shelf

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World
E.L. Konigsburg
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
1416949720, $16.99

Amadeo Kaplan is a new kid in town; but one with a difference: he wants to discover something unique - and wants a true friend to share his discoveries with. William is an aloof boy who has no friends and seems an unlikely candidate for confidences - but when Amadeo and he work together on a house for sale, their investigation into Mrs. Zender's mansion - which holds lifeline treasures - promises to make dreams come true for everyone. A secret dating back to Nazi Germany will change both their lives in this moving story of life's real treasures.

Grk and the Pelotti Gang
Joshua Doder
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385733601, $14.99 1-800-726-0600

Natascha and Max are recent orphans adjusting well to their new life on the run with their little dog Grk and their friend Tim - until the infamous Pelotti brothers go on a crime streak in Brazil, leading Natascha and Max to act swiftly to avenge Natascha's father's senseless death by the gang. Fast-paced action and fun great kids in grades 3-6.

The Orange Slipknot
Jan Young, author
Pat Lehmkuhl, illustrator
Raven Publishing
PO Box 2866, 125 Cherry Creek Road, Norris, MT 59745
9780977252558, $10.00

Tutor Jan Young draws from her husband's real-life experiences as a cowboy in The Orange Slipknot, a novel set on a Nevada cattle ranch for young readers in the middle grades. Twelve-year-old Ben doesn't want to be treated like a child, but he's at wits end trying to deal with his short-tempered father and the old cow boss with a grudge against him. A salt-of-the-earth, modern-day tale about riding and roping, and coming of age.

The Secret Zoo
Bryan Chick
Second Wish Press
PO Box 139, Clarkston, MI 48347
9780979188732, $5.99

The Secret Zoo is a fantastic novel for young readers about mysterious happenings in the Clarksville City Zoo. Nine-year-old Megan Nowicki has witnessed monkeys scaling the zoo walls, scurrying across rooftops, searching for something unknown. Weeks later, she suddenly disappears - her brother and their best friends know it has something to do with the zoo! To solve the mystery and rescue Megan, they must sneak inside the zoo and uncover an ancient secret, which must be protected from the nefarious Shadow Man at all costs! A modern-day fantasy adventure packed cover to cover with wide-eyed wonder.

The Audiobook Shelf

Tell Me a Story 2: Animal Magic
Amy Friedman, writer & producer
Lori Ada Jaroslow, director
Friedman & Danziger
4160 Lyceum Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066
9780979086717, $16.95

Tell Me a Story 2: Animal Magic is an audiobook on CD comprised of fantastic retellings of classic folktales about animals. The stories have diverse origins from around the globe, and each revolves around a different amazing beast. The narratives are The Tortoise and the Magic Drum, a Nigerian Tale (5:38); The Poet and the Dragon, a Chinese tale (9:15); Kerplunk, an Australian tale (8:07); The Elephant's Reward, an East Indian tale (7:52); The Talking Cat, a French Canadian tale (10:36); Coyote's Gift, a Native American tale (8:52), and The Cricket's Song, a Guatemalan tale (11:28). Adults as well as children are sure to enjoy this engrossing audio anthology.

The Biography Shelf

George Washington Carver
Tonya Bolden
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810993662, $18.95

Books about George Washington Carver are typically written for an older age range, so it's refreshing to find a picturebook biography on the subject complete with color illustration and vintage black and white photos throughout. Kids in grades 3-5 will find it most accessible, following his early life as a slave and orphan, his college achievement as the first Afro-American to attend Iowa State, and to his work in conservation. An outstanding coverage, not to be missed!

Books in Series

Crabtree Publishers
350 5th Avenue, Suite 3308, New York NY 10118
$19.95 Each

Bobbie Kalman's 'What Is A' series joins others in the 'Big Science Ideas' set, each book offering 32 pages of information including an index, glossary, and eye-catching, stunning photos. WHAT IS A VERTEBRATE? (0778732770), WHAT IS A CARNIVORE? (9778732746), WHAT IS AN OMNIVORE? (0778732762) and WHAT IS A HERBIVORE? (0778732754) all different types of eaters, seasonal diets, and habitats. Bobbie Kalman's HOMES OF LIVING THINGS (0778732282) and LIVING THINGS IN MY BACKYARD (0778732312) will appeal to younger grades 2-4, explaining the basics of what makes a living thing and providing a very simple visual glossary of terms. Her ANIMALS GROW AND CHANGE (0778732274) surveys how animals develop, with a little over twenty pages of facts surveying how animals are born, develop and change. Kay Barnham's PROTECT NATURE (077873658X) provides 32 pages of detail all about nature, serving as an excellent introductory overview to common threats to nature, from climate change and nature reserves to marine life and ideas for positive change. All are excellent choices for elementary-level libraries.

The Preschool Shelf

My Favorite Places From A to Z
Peggy Snow, author
Brian Barber, illustrator
Maren Green Publishing, Inc.
5525 Memorial Avenue North, Suite 6, Oak Park Heights, MN 55082
9781934277034, $15.99 1-800-287-1512

My Favorite Places From A to Z is a delightful children's ABC picturebook. Every letter of the alphabet represents a different wonderful or special place, which is described in a poem by author and mother Peggy Snow, and vividly illustrated in an exaggerated, cartoony style by professional artist Brian Barber. A joy to read aloud and share with little ones. "D d: Dance Studio / At the dance studio, I stretch and pose. / I see myself in mirrors from my head to my toes. / Wearing pink ballet shoes, I glide across the floor, / Trying to remember everything I learned before. / Watch how I leap. See how I whirl. / Like a leaf in the wind, I flutter and twirl."

2P is for Peanut
Lisa Gelber & Jody Roberts
Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682
9780892368785, $9.95

P is for Peanut is an ABC book for children featuring striking black-and-white photography; each letter of the alphabet is associated with a word, and an unforgettable image. "L is for lucky / M is for manners / N is for neighborhood" have pictures of balloons at a fair, sloppy spaghetti-eating, and a large assembly of children, respectively. Of especial interest are the "did you know?" notes with fun facts about each photograph. For example, the "did you know?" for "Neighborhood" is "Joe Schwartz loved to photograph the neighborhood he grew up in. Taking pictures was his way of keeping a diary." A memorable book for adults to share with young people and help them learn their letters.

Mother Goose's Storytime Nursery Rhymes
Axel Scheffler
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439903068, $19.99

Mother Goose has three curious goslings: Boo, Lucy and Small. Their questions create short stories - and poems - in this gentle selection of short nursery rhymes and tales for the very young. Color drawings enhance stories and poems parents will find perfect for bedtime: short, interesting, and intriguing, perfect for any parent looking for light lullaby or nursery rhyme material.

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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design