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

Children's Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 2 February 2012 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice World History Shelf Biography Shelf
Health Shelf Crafts Shelf Mythology Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Science Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Fiction Shelf Picturebook Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf CD-ROM Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Music Shelf Activity Shelf Christian Shelf
Judaic Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Money/Finance Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Rhonda Martin, M.A. author
Denis Prouix, illustrator
Jabberwocky Books
212 Third Avenue North, Suite 290
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781935204336, $15.77,

"Stuck" is a sensitive book about a 7-year-old girl named Cinnamon who is a lot like many other smart kids except sometimes she gets "stuck." Cinnamon tells her readers that her mommy and daddy, who love her very much, tell her it is the OCD when she gets stuck. OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Sometimes Cinnamon gets scared or upset, and then she repeats certain actions or routines multiple times to keep herself and those she loves "safe." For example, she may repeat handwashing several times over and over because she fears her hands are still dirty. Cinnamon likes to arrange her toys and dolls in neat rows and lines, and she becomes upset if someone changes their position. It makes her feel that something bad could happen. Cinnamon is afraid of the trash in the trash can. Sometimes Cinnamon repeats movements or motions over and over. If Cinnamon is interrupted, or confused by extra noise or activity, she can get stuck because she feels she needs to finish the last activity or thought in her mind before doing something else. Cinnamon also often requests multiple baths and lathers with soap and shampoo because she never feels quite clean. Sometimes Cinnamon's brain gets stuck on a negative thought that she wants to change. Also, Cinnamon often needs multiple repeated assurances from her parent in order to believe them. Cinnamon is fearful of dirt or unknown stains because OCD makes her fearful of anything she cannot identify or name. Bedtime routines also need to be consistently the same for Cinnamon. Cinnamon also wants to keep all her old toys and coloring books because it just makes her feel better. All of these OCD symptoms can be exhausting for Cinnamon and her family, but she still can lead a normal life with patience, counseling, and support. "Stuck" is an excellent, child-oriented explanation of a complex disorder that is becoming better understood.

The World History Shelf

On A Medieval Day
Rona Arato, author
Peter Ferguson, illustrator
Owlkids Books
c/o Maple Tree Press
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario Canada M5V 2Z2
9781897349946, $27.95,

"On A Medieval Day: Story Voyages Around the World" is a collection of historically researched short stories about young adolescents ages 12-14 who might have lived in a variety of global locations during the Middle Ages, (400-1400 AD, approximately). Here are chapter stories about Kuy, a Mayan sacred ball player of Tikal around 720 AD. Then comes the story of 12 year old Hana, of the Tang dynasty in China, (740 AD), fearfully facing her new bridegroom to be and family. Additional chapters feature Ingrid, a girl of the Viking settlement in Vinland, 1002, who sadly returns home after conflict with the Skraelings, or Indians; Kame of Kamakaura, Japan in 1205, Kofi of Timbuktu, Mali Empire (1345), and more stories about young people in Venice, Toledo, and England and even Baghdad, the Islamic Empire, in medieval times. Each chapter concludes with a historical note about the era in that country, plus facts about daily life, the role of women, children and family, and sacred and cultural customs and achievements. Stunning paintings illustrate each chapter and youthful figures provide an instant empathic connection and invitation to contrast life in medieval times to an adolescent's life today. "On A Medieval Day" is part of an excellent educational series from Canada for middle-school-aged to young adult readers.

The Biography Shelf

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Pains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Demi's JOAN OF ARC (9780761459388, $19.99) is a fine pick for ages 8-12 who have good reading skills but still appreciate an artistic picturebook format. It provides a fine biography of Joan, born into a simple family in a small French town, and traces how she evolves to become a great military leader. At age thirteen she receives a vision from archangel Michael, who tells her she can save France and lead the dauphin to be crowned king. How can a peasant girl become extraordinary? A fine story emerges. Jill Rubalcaba's I.M. PEI: ARCHITECT OF TIME, PLACE, AND PURPOSE (9780761459736, $23.99) provides a fine biography for ages 12 and up and tells of Pei, born in war-torn China in 1917. His mother introduces him to nature, his grandfather draws important connections to the past, and Pei learns lessons about these connections as he evolves into a designer and builder. Six of Pei's most celebrated buildings are considered in a survey that examines his evolving career. Black and white and color photos accompany this fine arts history, which will reach into adult circles as well.

The Health Shelf

The Girls' Guide to Growing Up
Terri Couwenhoven, M.S.
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Road, Bethesda, MD 20817
9781606130261, $16.95,

"The Girls' Guide to Growing Up: Choices & Changes in the Tween Years" is a manual to help guide and navigate girls aged 8-14 through the choppy, confusing waters of puberty. "The Girls Guide to Growing Up" uses simple language and photos and illustrations (black and white) to cover basic information about changes in body hair, breasts, periods, moodiness, and also gives clear instructions about privacy, safety, and appropriate social interactions and behavior, as well as suggestions for concrete problem solving around delicate topics such as what to do when your period comes unexpectedly and you have no pads or supplies. Specific guidelines are spelled out in certain confusing areas, such as who you can flirt with, and who should and should not be allowed to touch certain intimate body areas. "The Girls Guide to Growing Up" is written by an experienced sex educator who is familiar with the learning needs of people with intellectual disabilities. But its simple clarity will be helpful and welcome with all young girls facing the challenges of the onset of puberty.

The Crafts Shelf

A Thousand Cranes
Florence Temko, author
Stone Bridge Press
P.O. Box 8208, Berkeley, CA 94707
9780893469993, $12.00,

"A Thousand Cranes: Origami Projects for Peace and Happiness" is a beautiful collection of suggested peace crane projects, including simple illustrated instructions for folding a crane and 48 different sheets of patterned origami paper. A thousand paper cranes have become a universal symbol of world peace and true healing, because of the true story of the Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki, who suffered from leukemia after Hiroshima. This story is also told in "A Thousand Cranes," included with other information about cranes, sending cranes to the Hiroshima Peace Project, and other creative ideas for creating beautiful crane projects. Begin the New Year with a peace prayer and a rewarding group (or single) craft/meditational activity that is inspirational to all the world. "A Thousand Cranes: Origami Projects for Peace and Happiness" is adapted from the book by Florence Temko.

The Mythology Shelf

Big Turtle
David McLimans, author/illustrator
Walker & Company
c/o Bloomsbury Publishing
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780802722829, $17.99,

"Big Turtle" is a stunningly illustrated retelling of a treasured Huron creation myth. Sky Girl lived long ago when the earth was divided into Sky World, where all the human beings lived, and Water World, where all the animals lived. Pregnant with twins, Sky Girl becomes tired after a long walk and goes to sleep beneath an apple tree. She awakens to a rumbling sound and finds herself and the apple tree being pulled down into a big hole. She falls and falls. Amazingly, she is caught by two swans who take her in the water on their back to Big Turtle. Sky Girl needs a home, since she can't live in the Water World, like the animals, so Big Turtle calls a meeting of the animals and asks each of them to swim down deep beneath the water to bring back some special magic soil so they can build an island on his back for Sky Girl to live on. Muskrat, Beaver, and Otter each claim that they should be the one to dive deep for the sacred earth, but Toad also wants to dive. Big Turtle tells them they each have a part to play. Finally, only Toad is successful in bringing back the special soil, and the effort of the deep dive to get it takes her life. Big Turtle commands all the other animals to spread the soil over his back quickly, so as not to waste Toad's sacrifice. All the animals work together, and all over Big Turtle's shell, things began to grow, continuing until there is an island big enough for Sky Girl to live on. Thus was formed the beginnings of the earth we live on today, where Native Americans still honor the Toad for her sacrifice, naming her Mashutaha, or Our Grandmother. None may harm Toad's descendants in honor of her sacrifice. "Big Turtle" is carefully researched and beautifully and respectfully created and presented. The author's note, sources, books, museums and websites listed at the book's end all add to the majesty and mystery of the Huron creation story.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

...Walking Along... Plains Indian Trickster Stories
Paul Goble, storyteller, illustrator
Albert White Hat, Sr., foreword
South Dakota State Historical Society Press
900 Governors Dr., Pierre, S. DA. 57501
978098450 4152, $19,95,

"...Walking Along.. ." is a collection of trickster morality fables featuring Iktomi, a clown type figure from Lakota oral tradition, retold and illustrated by Caldecott medal award winner Paul Goble. In the words of Albert White Hat, Sr., "Iktomi stories teach us how we should treat our relatives, whether they are human, animal, other living things on the earth, or the earth herself." Every story about the e American Indian Trickster starts with him "walking along," (implying "he is idle, directionless, easily distracted, always ready for the latest piece of fashionable nonsense or mischief") so that is the title of the collection. Iktomi means spider in Lakota, and his dual nature reflects both inherent capacities for good and evil in all humankind. Iktomi embodies the miracle of laughter and humor, and cannot be understood completely with the logical mind. Thus, the gift of the Trickster is his ability to amplify a whole array of undesirable human tendencies to a ridiculous extreme, making them laughable. Somewhat like Falstaff, Iktomi absorbs all the less than heroic qualities from others and renders them accessible and even funny! "...Walking Along..." contains many editorial features that make the tales more easily understandable. These include the use of small print text to indicate Iktomi's thoughts, while text in blue type leads the reader to react with their own comments on Iktomi's foolish actions. Stunning, stylized color illustrations pair perfectly with poetic narrative in six curious Iktomi tales. Many unique modern references add punch and current humor to these amazing tales. "...Walking Along..." is a unique collection of Lakota Trickster tales, retold and illustrated by a master for the delight and edification of children and adults alike.

The Flute
Rachna Gilmore, author
Pulak Biswas, illustrator
Tradewind Books
c/o Orca Book Publishers
P.O. Box 468, Custer, WA 98240
9781896580579, $16.95,

"The Flute" is an Indian folk tale about an orphan girl named Chandra who nearly drowns in a raging river. Her loving parents save her by placing her high in the branches of a tree. Later she is given to her cruel aunt and uncle to raise after her parents had drowned in the river. Chandra comforts herself with playing on a wooden flute, songs like her loving mother used to play. However, her uncle threw the flute, belonging to her mother, in the river. Chandra has to care for the cows and she is fed less and less when the rainy season does not come and the food sources shriveled. However Chandra discovers a place far up the river, wandering with her cows, where she hears her mother's flute music and magically receives food from the air such as her mother used to cook for her. Finally Chandra follows the swollen river as the monsoon returns and her uncle and aunt desert her to the river, calling her an evil child and blaming her for their misfortune. In the depths of the river Chandra finds the magic flute again and allows it to conduct her to safety in the form of a rope. As she plays her hope and enduring strength on the flute, a new couple hear her playing and offer to adopt her in place of a son they had lost to the river. Chandra agrees and leads a happy life, working and playing her flute by the rushing river. "The Flute" is ornamented and further interpreted with stunning black and white paintings with vivid splashes of red for Chandra's dress, blue for the river, and yellow for the overlooking moon. This author/illustrator team is first class and deserves further high awards for artistry, authenticity and design.

Marion Lewis, author
Kim Smith, illustrator
Inhabit Media
146A Orchard View Blvd.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4R 1C3
9781926569390, $13.95,

"Kaugjagjuk" is an inspired retelling of an Arctic traditional tale of a neglected, despised and abandoned orphan who grows stronger in his hour of need with help from the Man of the Moon. In the Author's Note at the end of the book, she explains that there are many versions of this traditional tale told throughout the Arctic. In some, Kaugjagjuk grows to become a ferocious giant. In some, the villagers heap terrible torments on the orphan boy, and he later returns to take fierce vengeance upon them. None of these different versions is inauthentic or wrong, they are simply variations on a theme. Inuit author Marion Lewis has chosen to present Kaugjagjuk as "a boy who chooses mercy and forgiveness over cruelty and vindictiveness." She wants to show that "meekness does not equal weakness." "Kaugjagjuk" is a fierce, tender tale that shows how a boy can take severe hardship and pain and transform it into great strength and even kindness. "Kaugjagjuk" is a beautiful teaching story of turning pain, privation and torment into strength, ability, and courage. "Kaugjagjuk" is recommended for readers age 8-10 and older.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Michael Morpurgo, author
Emma Chichester Clark, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover St., Somerville, MA 02144
9780763648244, $16.99,

"The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is a wonderful retelling of an ancient tale, rediscovered and refreshed with a few telling twists and turns. Told from the viewpoint of a little lame boy, a "thief dog" beggar and a penny whistle player, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" begins with many underlying details of the familiar tale. The lame boy has one special friend who supports him named Emma. Otherwise his life is very harsh, as it is for all the orphan beggar children of Hamelin. The theme of greed replacing responsible stewardship and concern and caring for all children and people is underlined repeatedly. Charming colorful illustrations with a dark undertone reveal the setting of Hamelin, the mayor and Town Council, the rich, the poor, and the rats. The story unfolds more or less traditionally, but with a different, enlightened ending. "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is a marvelous reframing of a wise traditional tale that has much and more to give to readers of today. Text and tale will be understood best by children age 7 and up.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Jo Ann Kairys, M.D. and Daniel Kairys, M.D., authors
Jo Ann Kairys and Frank Thompson, illustrators
Storyquest Publishing
1070 H HWY 34, No. 124, Matawan, NJ 07747
9780982699829, $15.95,

"Sunbelievable" is a magical fantasy sequence of sun stories created by two special sisters named YaYa and Leen. "Sunbelievable" has a stated goal of connecting children with nature, and it achieves that goal in a most imaginative way. YaYa and Leen are trying to tell stories about the sun to get each other to sleep so they can wake up early and see a very special sunrise with their parents. Some of the stories are fantastic, some are ridiculous, and some are obviously a stretching of the imagination! Still, it's fun to pretend the sun needs to wash its socks, or rides on a roller coaster, or could trip in a mud puddle and get covered with grimy spiders! At the end of the book, a scientific description of the sun is given by Dr. Robert D. Braun of NASA. Both approaches to learning about the sun celebrate the role of the sun in nature and in human life. Whoever imagined that the Sun taught little fireflies to flicker and flash! A visit to the website at also presents a Firefly Lullaby poem with accompanying music by Jeffrey DiLucca and sung by Shayoni Nag. "Sunbelievable" has spectacular illustrations that combine real photos of YaYa and Leen with a fantastic colorful background of sun-related creations. "Sunbelievable" is written for children ages 4-8, with significant creative input from children just about that age.

Shark Wars: The Battle of Riptide
Ej Altbacker
Razorbill Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, NY, NY 10014
9781595143778 $12.99

Shark Wars: The Battle of Riptide provides over two hundred pages of adventure centered around a battle between sharks, overseen by a shark named Finnivus who will eat anything or anyone - and who wants to control the ocean. Kids in grades 4-7 will find the ensuing epic action story perfect for leisure reading, and will also find the Shark Wars game app downloadable online to be further support for a fine fantasy tale.

Shadow's Edge
Maureen Lipinski
2143 Woodale Drive
Woodbury, MN 55125-2989
9780738730370, $9.95,

To abandon the bizarre for the mundane is not so easy when your destiny is to be a shaman. "Shadow's Edge" is a novel following Leah Spencer, who through magic gone awry loses a year of her life, and decides to choose the mundane world as a high school student over the curious world she left behind. But evil must call her back and challenges her existence once more. "Shadow's Edge" is a riveting pick for young fantasy readers, highly recommended.

Chrysalis Chronicles
Edwin Wolfe
Aauvi House Publishing Group
333 Santana Row, #234
San Jose, CA 95128
9781884573255, $27.95,

An eight year old is curious, especially about the things that can't be explained. "Chrysalis Chronicles: The Eyes of the Desert Sand" is the first entry into the Chrysalis Chronicles, following young Ethan Fox and the connections to the portals that lead to other worlds, as he and his new friend Haley try to piece together everything they are suddenly experiencing. "Chrysalis Chronicles" is worth considering for those looking for youth fantasy inspired by Harry Potter.

Nettie Parker's Backyard
C. V. Smith
Avid Readers Publishing Group
20802 Belshire Ave., Lakewood, CA 90715
9781612860329, $9.95,

When the unusual occurs, we often wonder our purpose in these difficult times. "Nettie Parker's Backyard" follows the titular Nettie as she begins to proceed through World War II with many callings. Facing prejudice, she dares to use it to her advantage, and with the protection of those in need, she finds that not everything about her life is clear, or even normal. "Nettie Parker's Backyard" is a unique and much recommended pick for those seeking historical fiction with a blend of fantasy worked in.

Searching for Lincoln's Ghost
Barbara J. Dzikowski
Wiara Books
PO Box 11462
South Bend, IN 46634
9780984030507, $13.95,

The afterlife isn't usually the first thing on the minds of a tween. "Searching for Lincoln's Ghost" is a young adult ghost story, following eleven year old Andi Powell as she pursues his wonders about the legends of the ghost of Abraham Lincoln in their school's auditorium. In her interest in the afterlife, she feels the ghost will give her answers. Blending paranormal mystery with a coming of age tale, "Searching for Lincoln's Ghost" is an excellent and much recommended read, a choice pick for community library collections.

Melinda R. Morgan
Silverton House Publishing
72 N Windriver Rd
Silverton, ID 83867-0446
9781600650109, $11.99,

The world as we know it can be quickly shattered and changed. "Etude" is a novel following Beth Arrington, a high school senior preparing to face the real world, as she moves to a small Wyoming town. As she begins enraptured with romance and music, her happiness seems short lived as the reaper circles overhead and brings truth about her life to her. "Etude" is the first entry into the supernatural Birthright Legacy series for young adults, and proves to be an intriguing and recommended read.

Rhonda Brutt
Brighton Publishing, LLC
501 W. Ray Road, Suite 4, Chandler, AZ 85225
9781936587063, $12.95,

A gift can easily become a curse. "Voyance: Even Here, Some Secrets Remain Unseen" is a young adult novel following Emma Patterson as she copes with her unusual talents that allow her to see what others cannot through clairvoyance and telepathy. As she enters a school with others like her, she finds that even when she can read minds, people are impossible to read, and that their may be a dark truth about their school. "Voyance" is a riveting read of ESP and growing up, very much recommended.

Ian McDonald
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst NY 14228-2197
9781616145415 $16.95

PLANESRUNNER is Book One in the Everness series and tells of a scientist kidnapped in London who leaves his son a mysterious app on his computer. Everett finds he's in possession of the most valuable object in the world: a map of all the parallel earths - and finds himself embroiled in battles for its control. To protect his find Everett must go on the run in a parallel Earth - and if he wishes to rescue his father he needs powerful friends in both worlds. Teens interested in complex and vivid stories of parallel universes will find this a powerful read and will look forward to more titles in the Everness series.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Pains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Jean Van Leeuwen's THE GREAT CHEESE CONSPIRACY (9780761459729, $15.99) provides a funny fantasy for ages 7-10 and tells of a tough mouse who spends his days watching gangster movies and stealing popcorn and candy. But Marvin wants more than occasional heists: he longs for adventure in the Outside, a place no mouse has ever returned from alive. A cheese shop nearby seems perfectly located for his big plans - but can he win against a guard cat? A fun story evolves. Dian Curtis Regan's ROCKY CAVE KIDS: THE DRAGON STONE (9780761459743, $15.99) will reach ages 7-9 with a simple story of Miggy and her friends, who have searched for dragon stones for years. But one day she discovers a stone - and finds a way to rescue herself and her friends. The only problem is: she must keep it secret or its ability to grant wishes will vanish. Even in the face of possible ruin of her Clan...

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Classroom Plays
Wim Coleman
Chiron Books
9902 Crystal Court, #107
Laredo, TX 78045-6378
9781935178187, $12.95,

Some theater grants a new element to understand the art behind it all. "Classroom Plays" is a collection of five plays that can easily be ran in one's classroom that young would be actors can easily embrace. The plays include original takes on classics such as Don Quixote in Hollywood, The Sea Cook, The Lost World, and others as well. With notes offering insight for teachers to help explain the stories and in an easy-to-reproduce format, "Classroom Plays" is a fine choice for an arts and theater teacher looking for great activities for their classroom.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Missing Boston Terriers of Smith Street
Nancy Lucas, author/illustrator
Privately Published
97881463746148, $7.99,

"The Missing Boston Terriers of Smith Street" is the first in a juvenile series about a Springer Spaniel dog detective named Scout, who does his canine sleuthing in Charleston, South Carolina. Scout knows all or most of the dogs in his neighborhood, but he tests his knowledge, his doggy network of friends, and his nose in his madcap search for the lost Boston Terriers, Ike and Clyde, whose reward poster his Mumma reads to him. A canine search of the Charleston peninsula's storm drains and sewers takes Scout to some rather interesting, even unsavory places. Fortunately he is resourceful and alert, and able to enlist the assistance of such unlikely friends as Chisholm, a talkative possum who adores chocolate and snacks. After a few scary encounters with sewer rats, a boa constrictor, and a full dunking in the river, Scout manages to rescue Ike and Clyde and snag them a safe ride home. Even a Doggy party is part of the action in "The Missing Boston Terriers of Smith Street!" This series, with five proposed comic illustrated volumes to come, promises to be enticing to comic canine mystery lovers age 8 and up.

The Case of the Diamonds in the Desk
Lewis B. Montgomery, author
Amy Wummer, illustrator
Kane Press
350 -5th Ave., Ste. 7206, New York, NY 10118
9781575653914, $6.95,

Eighth in an extremely successful, popular 'tweens sleuth series 'The Milo & Jazz Mysteries', Lewis Montgomery's "The Case of the Diamonds in the Desk" features another challenging case for detectives-in-training Milo and Jazz (under the supervision of Dash Marlowe). An intriguing chapter book filled with twists and turns, clues and hints, "The Case of the Diamonds in the Desk" contains all the elements of brainteaser Nirvana, especially for those between the ages of 7 and 11. To further stimulate development of logic, puzzle-solving skills, and critical, analytical thinking, there are six pages of Super Sleuthing Strategies at the end of the book, including trick questions, an observation puzzle, a logic puzzle, a working-backward puzzle, and a mini-mystery. Embellished with whimsical black and white pencil and ink illustrations, "The Case of the Diamonds in the Desk" continues to dazzle in a parade of fun, fast moving sequences of events that merge to spiral into a perfectly planned mystery for kids to untangle. Especially effective tactics included working backwards to solve the mystery, and diagraming the evidence and time sequences. "The Milo & Jazz Mysteries" are great educational and entertaining reading for a 'tween audience.

Rescue in Poverty Gulch
Nancy Oswald
Filter Press
PO Box 95
Palmer Lake, CO 80133
9780865411371, $15.95,

Sometimes all you want is time with a friend. "Rescue in Poverty Gulch" is a Ruby and Maude mystery, following the continuing adventures of Ruby and her favorite donkey Maude. Facing the threat of being sent away for a more standard education, Ruby fears for Maude, and when scheming folks are after Maude, she leaps in for what may be one last adventure. "Rescue in Poverty Gulch" is a choice and recommended pick for general children's fiction collections.

Deadtime Stories: Grave Secrets
Annette and Gina Cascone
c/o TOR Books
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780765330659 $14.99

Deadtime Stories: Grave Secrets is first in the new DEADTIME STORIES series of kids, which will pair books and movies (the latter in a series of live-action TV films) for kids who enjoy short chapters, cliffhangers, and no overt violence. Parents will appreciate an approach which combines thrills and chills without the gore. Grave Secrets was adapted for screen by the Deadtime Stories for Kids authors and in the book is portrays Amanda Peterson, who has a pet cemetery in her backyard. Plans to bury a dead squirrel uncover a grave that's already occupied - and not by a pet. The old lady neighbor next door has buried secrets and will stop at nothing to keep them under wraps in this thriller.

The Science Shelf

What Color is My World?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld, authors, Ben Boos & A.G. Ford, illustrators
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street
Somerville, MA 02144
9780763645649, $17.99,

A great mind is a great mind, it cares not for color of the skin. "What Color is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors" tells the story of young African-American teenagers Herbie and Ella as they seek their own ingenuity by looking back on the great African American inventors of the past two hundred years. From life saving surgeries, food preservation, computers and other technologies, this tale is informative, told by famed NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Raymond Obstfeld and a unique illustrative style from Ben Boos & A. G. Ford. "What Color is My World?" is an excellent addition to any children's picturebook collection, highly recommended.

The Bilingual Shelf

Clara and the Curandera / Clara y la Curandera
Monica Brown, author
Thelma Muraida, illustrator
Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Spanish translator
Pinata Books
Arte Publico Press
452 Cullen Performance Hall, Houston, TX 77204
978155857001, $16.95,

"Clara and the Curandera / Clara y la Curandera" is a bilingual children's book about a grumpy, self-centered girl who did not like having to take out the trash, share her toys with her brothers and sisters, or having to read one book a week for her reading journal at school. Clara's Mami finally got so tired of Clara's grumpy frowns that she sent her to the curandera, a wise woman who lived in apartment 220 nearby. After listening to Clara's complaints, the curandera asked her to do three things: First she would take out her own family's trash and also the trash of two neighbors. Second, she would not only share her toys, but she would give her favorite toys to her brothers and sisters. Last, she would read not one book a week, but five! Clara was surprised and upset at the curandera's requests, but she agreed. The amazing week unfolded with Clara very busy doing all her promised tasks. Although Clara's sacrifice, especially of her favorite toys, was hard at first, she had an astonishingly positive experience with every step and every task the curandera assigned to her. She actually didn't have time to be grumpy! Further wise suggestions from the curandera help Clara to realize that she likes helping and giving to others, and being happy playing with her siblings. She also liked reading lots of books! When Clara returns to the curandera to thank her, she sees that the curandera is busy talking to another boy she knows named naughty Nicholas. "Clara and the Curandera" is a joyous book with powerful lessons in human kindness shining from every page. The pleasantly colorful illustrations reinforce the story's theme that no childish meanness can outlast the sunshine of shared kindness for long! Generosity of the heart is the best medicine, as the curandera knows very well.

The Coyote Under the Table
Joe Hayes, author
Antonio Castro L, illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901
9781935955061, $12.95,

"The Coyote Under the Table / El Coyote Debajo De La Mesa" by Joe Hayes, a gifted teller of folktales in English and Spanish, is a collection of ten humorous folktales in English and Spanish for a middle to young adult reader audience. A Junior Library Guild Selection, "The Coyote Under the Table" is completely self-motivating bilingual quality education for young adults and kids. Every story begins with a witty charcoal sketch of the main characters and proceeds in a format with the left page in English and the right page in Spanish. It is impossible to open this book without wanting to finish it, or without laughing! Joe Hayes is a master of the ironic, comic storyteller's art, recognized throughout the United States for his bilingual tales from roots of an Hispanic culture in northern New Mexico. "The Coyote Under the Table" gives everyone who reads it a taste of wry wit, good humor, and fun, New Mexican flavored (with chili peppers)!

A Message For My Child / Un Mensaje Para Mi Hijo
Patrick Atkinson, author
Ernesto Atkinson,
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592982233, $14.95,

"A Message For My Child / Un Mensaje Para Mi Hijo" is a bilingual, inspirational book for children and young adults about a parent's wish and guidance for the child's choices in life. Its prayerful, narrative tone is complemented by the abstract painted illustrations throughout. All proceeds from the sale of "A Message for my Child" help to feed, clothe, and house orphaned children at GODSCHILD.ORG and ITEMP.ORG, the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons. The message seems to be about learning self responsibility. "A Message for my Child" ends with these words: "When everything is said and done, everyone decides for him or herself how they will live their life. I love you, I accept you, and I hope with all my heart that you make the right decisions."

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear
Audrey Wood, author
Don Wood, illustrator
Child's Play
64 Wellington Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
9781846434006, $6.99,

"The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear / La fresa roja y Madura y El Gran Oso Hambriento" is an illustrated bilingual toddler's board book that encourages beginning listening, reading, and comprehension skills in children ages 1-3. Written in English (black text) and Spanish (red text, beneath the black) and covered with imaginative pictures that tell the story with great visual detail, "The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear" is sturdy, perfect educational reading for little ones. The tale is riveting, rapid, exciting, and sports a surprise ending that invites the child to enter the book by acknowledging the narrator (and splitting the prize strawberry with him/her)! The active, whimsical illustrations are particularly enchanting.

Grandpa Lolo's Navajo Saddle Blanket
Nasario Garcia, author
Richard Moeller, photographer
University of New Mexico Press
MSCO5 3185, 1
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131
9780826350794, $19.95,

"Grandpa Lolo's Navajo Saddle Blanket / La Tilma de Abuelito Lolo" is a beautiful bilingual book that tells a true story about an old New Mexican rancher named Teodoro (Grandpa Lolo) who developed a lasting friendship with Manuelito Yazzie, a Navajo who sold him his favorite pinto horse, Zorrillo, named after a skunk because of his black and white markings. Grandpa Lolo and Manuelito Yazzie met and traded baby goats for hand woven blankets for many years after the first trade for Zorrillo, though the trip was long and hard for Grandpa Lolo. Finally, Grandpa Lolo made one last trip to see his friend to return the horse he loved so much, because he had become blind in his old age, and could no longer safely care for Zorrillo. In fact, Zorrillo had guided him home safely many times as his blindness and deafness increased. The two old friends were very sad, but and enduring friendship had been established over the years. Grandpa Lolo's grandson wrote this book in memory of his grandfather and his special horse for Navajo country that he loved so much, and the kind and loving friends that he made there. Color photographs of scenery, people, and beautiful animals and woven blankets make "Grandpa Lolo's Navajo Saddle Blanket" a treasured experience. Every pair of pages has text in both English and Spanish to encourage bilingual literacy.

Fishscale Girl and the Disaster
Ann Hailey
Cochiy Press
1035 Lincoln Road, Suite 304, Bettendorf, IA 52722
9780983281856, $17.95,

Home is something worth defending. "Fishscale Girl and the Disaster" is an inspirational read from Ann Hailey for young readers, as she presents a bilingual photographic picture book, with a unique style of storytelling with still life images all throughout. A riveting tale of a young girl rising to the challenge to protect her home, "Fishscale Girl and the Disaster" is a fine choice and very much recommended reading.

The Fiction Shelf

Love Story
Jennifer Echols
Gallery Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10002
9781439178324 $11.00

Older teen readers will appreciate this teen romance, set in New York at a university where Erin is resisting family pressure to take over their racehorse farm in Kentucky. Her grandmother fives Erin's college tuition and inheritance to a handsome stable boy, forcing her to work hard to pay her own way and realize her dream of writing for a living. Despite her resistance the stable boy creeps into her work as a protagonist - and when he joins her class, trouble and romance ensue in a fine pick for adults and older teens alike.

Sandbox Treasures
Snookie Hodge & Benita D. Abercrombie, authors
Snookie Hodge, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781467041829, $28.99,

"Sandbox Treasures: A New Home For Buzzy Bee And Other Short Stories" is a collection of 12 illustrated original children's tales, some with morals and some with secret messages that children's minds will untangle and interpret for themselves. Here are tales for every taste and type; The Red Tractor, A Doll Named Amy, Why the Opossum's Tail Has No Hair, The Little Princess, A New Home For Buzzy Bee, and She Who Watches, and more. Of these tales, "A New Home for Buzzy Bee" tells the story of a five of honey bees who seek a new home in a hollow tree because the farmer has taken all their honey and they have none left to get through the winter. Deeply grieved and upset, Buzzy Bee decides to seek out a new home for the queen and all the hive, using helpful advice and information from many of his insect, animal, and bird friends. Charming illustrations dot the pages of text and add to the spinning story line. Another interesting tale is a retelling of a Columbia Valley Native American tale about a wise, mystic girl chief named Tonya. This traditional tale is from very long ago, and has many good parts to it, including descriptions of the customs, traditions, and lifestyles of the Washington/Oregon area Native Americans. In all, "Sandbox Treasures" is a collection of hidden jewels to be shared and treasured among children everywhere.

The Adventures of Beanboy
Lisa Harkrader
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547550787, $9.99,

For family, the craziest of plots seem sane. "The Adventures of Beanboy" is a youth novel following Tucker MacBean, who only wants his family back together. Sensing money may be the issue, he hopes to enter an art competition of creating a sidekick to a superhero. With beans as his inspiration, he journey to get the family back together will be anything but simple. "The Adventures of Beanboy" is a choice pick for younger readers, very much recommended.

Stranger Moon
Heather Zydek
Moth Wing Press
9780615564234, $11.99,

One interest leads to another curiosity. "Stranger Moon" follows preteen Gaia as she pursues her nature obsession and how that obsession leads her to a curious bug eating woman in the woods. Through her summer, Gaia and her friends observe the woman from afar, with the bullies right behind them. And through it all, she learns that not every weirdo is simply weird and that weirdness is really quite universal. "Stranger Moon" is a fun read of juvenile fiction and learning about the world.

Victory on the Home Front
D. S. Grier
Windy City Publishers
2118S. Plum Grove Rd., #349
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
9781935766148, $10.99,

It never becomes clear they care until it may be too late. "Victory on the Home Front" follows Les MacGregor, a pre-teen who finds that his family doesn't really care for him. He seeks to run away from a life of being bullied and neglected, setting off on his very own. When he does so, he finds that the world isn't so clear. Set in the height of World War II, "Victory on the Home Front" is an excellent and much recommended addition to youth fiction collections.

Almost a Senior
Brenda Faye Collie
Daylight Books
671 W. 193rd St. #4J
New York, NY 10040
9780963217775, $7.99

Change is not easily gained. "Almost a Senior" is a novel of high school as junior Loresha Evans discusses her desires to make her school a better place, but finds a reluctant student body and apathy standing in her way. "Almost a Senior" presents a tale of the drive to make a difference and how sometimes it's worth it to go that extra mile.

The Little Peninsula
Ruth Dran
Mazo Publishers
PO Box 10474
Jacksonville, FL 32247
9781936778874, $18.95,

Alien invasion has some basis in reality. "The Little Peninsula" is a novel of historical fiction from Ruth Dran, following Native American Indians and their place in the land as strange people from a distant land begin to appear in their homes. Blending a bit of the alien ideal with historical events, "The Little Peninsula" is an excellent pick with original ideas for younger readers, much recommended reading.

How to Beat the Bully Without Really Trying
Scott Starkey
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781442416857 $15.99

How to Beat the Bully Without Really Trying tells of Rodney, a coward who has been dreading the first day of his new school all summer. When he meets Josh, the worst bully in school history, on the bus his fears become reality - until a stray baseball attributed to Rodney gives him a reputation for courage. With everyone willing to believe Rodney is a hero notable for super feats, how can Rodney resist the notion that he's someone extraordinary? A fine novel of courage and resistance evolves.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Kevin Brooks' IBOY: SEARCH. SHOCK. DESTROY. (9780545317689, $17.99) tells of a boy who survives an attack, but is turned into an actualized App when fragments of a shattered iPhone become embedded in his brain. The iPhone is affecting his thoughts - and Tom can do more than any new boy ever could. But now that he has virtual superpowers, should be hunt down the gangsters who hurt the girl he loves, or should he be choosing a different path? A fine, action-packed novel results. Christopher Paul Curtis' THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE (9780385734912, $15.99) tells of a family on a journey to 'a place called Wonderful' in the small town of Gary, Indiana. The Depression has hit the town hard and there are basically no jobs for black men like Mr. Malone, so their father leaves to find work - and his family follows. A powerful story of the Depression's impact on one family!

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Pains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Steve Shreve's STAN AND THE TOILET MONSTER (9780761459774, $12.99) provides black and white cartoon line drawings to chart a toilet monster, who comes from out of the sewer drains to threaten Stan and his friends, who are playing baseball when their last ball falls into the drain. Everyone knows there's a monster in the sewer, and Stan and his best friend bravely go in search of the baseball. A fine monster story evolves. Ellen Jensen Abbott's THE CENTAUR'S DAUGHTER (9780761459781, $17.99) is a pick for ages 12 and up and tells of Abisina, who finds her newfound community home threatened by creatures that will destroy it unless an alliance is found. If Abisinia doesn't become their leader and find a road to peace she may lose the peace she discovered there after her father was killed by the evil White Worm. A fine fantasy about identity, war, and courage evolves for older teens. Catherine Friend's BARN BOOT BLUES (9780761458272, $16.99) tells of preteen Taylor, a city girl whose parents have just moved to a sheep farm in the middle of nowhere. Taylor's job is to help with the animals but she finds the farm messy and her new school is filled with puzzling rules and teasing peers. Can Taylor adjust to such a different world? A fine story of a new girl trying to fit into a very different place evolves.

The Picturebook Shelf

The I Love You More Book
Debby Herbenick, PhD, author
Rosalie Orlando Hatch, illustrator
StoryPeople Press
P.O. Box 7, 110 Winnebago St., Decorah, IA 52101
9781937137991, $16.95,

"The I Love You More Book" is a fantasy narrative poem about the love between a bull and a butterfly. Each feels their love for the other is greater and more infinite than the other's. This leads to some fantastic comparisons, all delicately and deftly illustrated in pastel shaded pencil drawings of incredible sensitivity and detail. Although "The I Love You More Book" is supposed to be a children's story about the unlikely devotion between two such contrasting friends, it really is for adults too. Perhaps it is always good to be reminded that lasting love, even between two unlikely mates, is a precious gift that must be ever celebrated. Poems and pictures that honor the love and the beloved are a traditional homage, here interpreted to new and delightful heights.

East Dragon, West Dragon
Robyn Eversole
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9780689858284 $16.99

East Dragon, West Dragon enjoys fine drawings by Scott Campbell and tells of dragons who live on opposite sides of the world and who have never met. Each is sure the other is exceptionally strong and fierce - but when a knight begins a riff between their two kingdoms, the dragons finally come face to face - only to discover some startling similarities. A fun story of differences and bonds emerges.

Anna Hibiscus' Song
Atinuke, author
Lauren Tobia, illustrator
Kane Miller
c/o EDC Publishing
P.O. Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74147
9781610670401, $15.99,

"Anna Hibiscus' Song" is an amazing book about a girl in Africa whose happiness cannot be contained, but grows and grows until she finds herself sitting quietly in the mango tree hearing all the birds sing. Then she realizes what she can do to express her happiness - she sings her amazing happiness song! Vivid colored illustrations of Anna Hibiscus and all her family and friends doing wonderful things to express happiness take the reader to exotic, amazing Africa. "Anna Hibiscus' Song" is about celebration, happiness, love and the special beauty of ethnic diversity.

Fish On a Walk
Eva Muggenthaler, author/ illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592701162, $16.95,

"Fish On a Walk" is an imaginative children's picture gallery with minimal text, encouraging developing minds to investigate original or unusual interpretations and reactions to visual complexities presented, with much fun and humor involved. Each two word caption presents a pair of opposites, or contrasting states of being, while the pictures present wildly idiosyncratic interpretations of the meanings of the subtext, with funny animal, reptile, and bird characters demonstrating very human tendencies in many funny circumstances. The artist's unique style is unmistakable and poignant. Children will enjoy searching out tiny details and interpreting their significance. "Fish on a Walk" is an unusual children's book that will lead to visual and conceptual adventures that are profoundly educational.

The Adventure of Wormee the Worm
Ricky Mickiewicz, author/illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781463400071 (sc), $16.86,

"The Adventure of Wormee the Worm" is a fun, fantastic, picture voyage of a fabulous Hawaiian vacation experience of Wormee, the Big City green worm with worm wanderlust. "The Adventure of Wormee the Worm" is told almost entirely in quirky, colorful paintings of Wormee finding a travel folder, flying to Hawaii, surfing, staying in a luxury hotel that seriously resembles a pineapple, and finally flying back home to the end, or is it? What a fun book this will be for young children to discover! An entire tale of travel adventure is told in simple pictures, featuring a brave, adventurous, green worm! "The Adventure of Wormee the Worm" is perfect for kids age 4 and under; and older readers will also enjoy its humorous illustrations.

A Snow Day For Hannah
Linda Petrie Bunch, author/ photographer
Book Club Productions
241 S. Cherokee St., Denver, CO 80223
9780977778119, $17.99,

"A Snow Day For Hannah" is a fantastic photo-journal of a day playing in snow in the life of a Bernese Mountain puppy named Hannah. With a story in verse and vivid color photos of Hannah frolicking in the snow, "A Snow Day For Hannah" appeals to all the senses. Children will feel the cold crisp tang of the snowy woods and slopes where Hannah gambols. They will see her sense with her fine nose that the storm is coming. After the storm, they will have such fun sliding on the sled and trying to talk to the snowman! In addition, children's enjoyment of the book is augmented by its focus. A portion of the profits from "A Snow Day for Hannah" are donated to Boys and Girls clubs. To enjoy learning more about the special breed of mountain dog breed that Hannah is, read "A Snow Day for Hannah" to children age 5 and up. A lovely set of note cards featuring the stunning photo portraits of Hannah in the snow also make a lovely gift for presentation.

How To Be A Good Cat
Gail Page, author/ illustrator
Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781599904740, $16.99,

"How To Be A Good Cat" is the third book in the popular "Bobo" series by the same author ("How To Be A Good Dog," and "Bobo and the New Neighbor"). Delightful, expressive illustrations show what a kind, good dog Bobo is. He is so good hearted, he offers to look after Mr. Hiccup's kitten! The kitten, Bonkers, is very cute, but also very NAUGHTY. Bobo despairs of teaching Bonkers to be a good cat, so he has a calm adult cat tutorial from a friendly yellow cat. He learns a number of amazing things about cats, such as that they are sneaky, they are stretchy, they are chatty, and they are very clean (but they don't like water)! Cats like to climb, but they always land on their feet. After Bobo learned all he could about cats, he feels much better about supervising little Bonkers. In fact, he feels so good, he stretches out in a comfy chair and takes a cat nap with sleepy little Bonkers! The adorable whimsical illustrations of spunky Bonkers and befuddled Bobo really make "How To Be a Good Cat" a prize of a book!

Feeding Friendsies
Suzanne Bloom, author/ artist
Boyds Mills Press, Inc.
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590785294, $16.95,

"Feeding Friendsies" is a delightful book filled with colorful, charming paintings of cherubic children happily creating mud and grass and flower concoctions to be eaten by their "friendsies," hoppy frogs, wiggly worms, chickadees, butterflies, and even Lamby, Bunny, and Bear, stuffed animal and pet companions. Then it's time to wash, wash, wash and sit down to lunch with Nana, of sticky bits, crunchy munchies, and pink drinks. Will they eat it? Yes, and Yes! Then it's time for a sleepy-snoozy nap in a hammock, under the garden sun. Not since Eloise Wilkins have such enjoyable, funny, plump, cherubic children bedecked the picture book pages of a beloved book. The tone of text and verse is calmly humorous, with flashes of ridiculous joy! Young children and adults will love reading "Feeding Friendsies!'

Winterberries and Apple Blossoms
Nan Forler, author
Peter Etril Snyder
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9781770492547, $22.95,

Beautiful seasonal reflections of a young girl's daily experiences are framed in a poem for every month of the Mennonite calendar in "Winterberries and Apple Blossoms: Reflections and Flavors of a Mennonite Year". Sunny water color paintings illustrate the activities of each passing season. Quilting in January, tapping maple sugar in March, driving the buggy in August, picking apples in September, all these experiences and more await the lucky reader. The simple life of the Mennonite community is reflected here, as well as a closeness to the cycle of seasons. "Winterberries and Apple Blossoms" is full of excellent poetry that must be tasted to be believed. As a tasty bonus, there are complete Mennonite recipes for each month at the book's end, including Maple Syrup 'Bread Pudding for March, Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp for May and Apple 'Blossoms, Pumpkin Muffins, and Whoopie Pies for September, October, and November. "Winterberries and Apple Blossoms" is a treasure of seasonal savorings and samplings in the Pennsylvania Dutch, Mennonite setting, where a simple life, strictly observed with daily faith and prayers, holds both sacrifice and delight.

Can Hens Give Milk?
Joan Better Stuchner, author
Joe Wiessman, illustrator
Orca Book Publisher
P.O. Box 468, Custer, WA 98240
9781554693191, $19.95,

"Can Hens Give Milk?" is a hilarious tale of residents of the mythical village of Chelm who wish to have both milk and eggs, though they only have hens. Shlomo, Rivka and Tovo try different comical experiments to encourage their hens to begin giving milk so they can have cheese and milk to eat in addition to eggs. this results in unhappy hens and chaos in egg and milk production. Fortunately the rabbi is clever and observant and can imagine a creative solution to the dilemma. An exchange of goats and hens results in eggs and milk for both families. However, silly Shlomo is ready to start imagining another hair-brained scheme just as contentment starts to nibble away our doubts. "Can Hens Give Milk?" is ethnic humor and didactic storytelling at its silliest and finest for the 5-10 year old audience.

Witches Ball
Donna Zellers, author
Jack Rogers, illustrator
Little Creek Press
c/o Kristin Mitchell Design, LLC
5341 Sunny Ridge Road, Mineral Point, WI 53565
9780982802359, $17.99,

"Witches Ball" is a charming Halloween story, told in verse and illuminated by delightful water color illustrations of fantastical skeletons, mummies, barns, and even a beautiful, ugly witch queen with green eyes and spiders in her hair! Bug juice cider, swamp weed cookies, and skeleton band music complete the wild world of "Witches Ball." With a flutter of bats and brooms, witches prepare to fly away until next Halloween and the new Witches Ball! Children ages 4-8 will love the zany story, with colorful pictures and vigorous rhymes. "Witches Ball" grew out of a series of poems lovingly written by the author for her grandchildren. Its charm extends to all children who have a witch fancier to read it to them.

Big Little Brother
Kevin King, author
Chris Monroe, illustrator
Borealis Books
c/o Minnesota Historical Society Press
345 Kellogg Blvd. West, St. Paul, MN 55102
9780873518444, $17.95,

"Big Little Brother" is a sibling rivalry story with a great twist: How do two very different brothers reach an accord and even a special friendship during trying times with 2-4 year olds? "Big Little Brother" addresses many complex feelings experienced by the older but smaller brother in his process of discovery of his true feelings about his (larger) younger brother. Humor, expressive water color illustrations, even bullying all have a part to play in this exciting sibling saga. "Big Little Brother" has a tender, true to life tone that sends its message home to the hearts of fortunate children (ages 4-8) and adults who are allowed to read it.

Mr. Badger and His Rose Petal Cake
Francesca Lilley, author
John Watling, illustrator
Chess Publications
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E. Marlton Pike, Ste. I-46, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9780956848406, $9.99,

"Mr. Badger and His Rose Petal Cake" is a delightful illustrated children's book about a charming, eccentric gentleman Badger who needs careful shepherding to be rescued from his confusing delusions imagining himself as a snail, a pony, or a frog. Fortunately many of his other animal friends carefully guide him safely home after his precipitating head bump, and he eventually thanks them all with a celebratory round of his very own rose petal cake, recipe included (with metric measurements)! Truly original delicate illustrations add just the right touch of homemade whimsey and charm. Children will learn many unexpected lessons from reading or hearing "Mr. Badger and His Rose Petal Cake," not the least of which is the best outcomes arrive when all work together to care for one another. The idea of creating unique family traditions is also firmly planted in these crayoned and painted pages. The rhyming story and the gentle tale will appeal to children age 4 and up.

The Year of the Dragon, Tales from the Chinese Zodiac
Oliver Chin, author
Jennifer Wood, illustrator
P.O. Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94131
9781597020282, $15.95,

"The Year of the Dragon" is the seventh book in the series "Tales from the Chinese Zodiac." Illustrated with bright, comic, energetic paintings, "The Year of the Dragon" tells the story of Dom, a fiery red dragon who enjoys playing with his other zodiac pals and a boy named Bo. Excitement mounts when the team decides they want to learn to row a boat in a famous race. Dom can't fit in the boat, and his parent dragons do not approve. However, Dom thinks of a marvelous creative solution that lets all the zodiac friends (dog, pig, rat, snake and others) and Bo ride on his back and he is the dragon boat. An exciting race ensues and the ending is satisfying to all. Chinese traditions about the zodiac circle are taught in this series of tales from the Chinese zodiac, making it fun and exciting for children to understand.

The Fearsome Beastie
Giles Paley-Phillips, author
Gabriele Antonini, illustrator
Maverick Arts Publishing
Studio 4, Hardham Mill Park, Pulborough, UK, RH20 1LA
978184886667, 5.99 Brit. pounds,

"The Fearsome Beastie" is a scary children's illustrated book about a fearsome beastie who tricks little children and then gobbles them up. However one resourceful child survives by running to his dear old Gran, who happens to have a plan up her sleeve, and an axe to implement it. An ending reminiscent of Grimm's "Little Red Riding Hood" or "Peter and the Wolf" ensues, and restored children enjoy beastie stew for a change, with Gran in charge. Creative, colorful, expressive illustrations emphasize both the scary dark side and the brave, cheery bright side of the story. "The Fearsome Beastie" should be read to children with discretion by adults who love them, possibly not at bedtime.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Pains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Jonathan London's LITTLE PENGUIN: THE EMPEROR OF ANTARCTICA (9780761459545, $17.99) receives fine drawings by Julie Olson and will appeal to ages 4-8 as it provides the fictional account of a little penguin from the time he hatches from an egg to when he goes off to live at sea alone. His story comes to life and reads like fiction but is recommended for any interested in penguin natural history. Carmen T. Bernier-Grand's ALICIA ALONSO, PRIMA BALLERINA (9780761455622, $19.99) is a pick for kids in grades 3-5 with good reading skills, is illustrated in color by Raul Colon, and tells the life story of Alicia Alonso whose artistic achievements are remarkable. Alicia became partially blind and lost her peripheral vision at age nineteen but showed a passion for dancing since childhood. She founded her own dance company in Cuba and in 1959 the Cuban government gave her money to establish a new dance school which she directs to this day. An outstanding story evolves, told in fictional dramatic form. Ella Boyd's HELLO BICYCLE! (9780761459644, $12.99) is illustrated by Daniel Griffo and will appeal to ages 4-7 with its simple story of a girl who graduates from a tricycle to a 'big girl bike'. A very simple format makes this a winner! Tammie Lyon's OLIVE AND SNOWFLAKE (9780761459552, $16.99) will reach ages 4-8 with the story of Olive and her dog Snowflake, best friends who do everything together. The two get into trouble all the time - and Olive's parents decide to send BOTH to obedience school in this fun story. Brenda Reeves Sturgis' 10 TURKEYS IN THE ROAD (9780761458470, $16.99) receives fine drawings by David Slonim and will reach ages 3-6 with its whimsical rhyming story of ten turkeys who block the road one day. They are circus performers practicing their show - and as they block the road on a frustrated farmer, the turkeys fly away one at a time in this funny counting rhyme story. Bryan Langdo's TORNADO SLIM AND THE MAGIC COWBOY HAT (9780761459620, $17.99) is for ages 5-8 and tells the story of a 'regular cowboy' who meets a coyote who asks him to deliver a letter to the sheriff. Slim's never been to the big city but as he travels through towns on his journey, disasters follow in this fun story of a new hat that is NOT an average cowboy hat. Scott Gibala-Broxholm's MADDIE'S MONSTER DAD (9780761458463, $16.99) is for ages 4-8 and tells of Maddie, who loves anything to do with monsters - and her father. But her dad's been busy with work so Maddie decides to use her build-a-monster kit to create a Monster Dad that is never too busy to play. A fun story evolves. Jennifer Ward's THERE WAS AN ODD PRINCESS WHO SWALLOWED A PEA (9780761458227, $16.99) receives illustrations by Lee Calderon and tells of a princess who not only swallows a pea, but swallows a slipper, a crown, and even a queen. Can a princess with a huge appetite really live happily ever after? Lee Harper's THE EMPEROR'S COOL CLOTHES (9780761459484, $16.99) is for ages 4-8 and tells of an emperor who can never find the perfect outfit - until he meets the Rogue Brothers, who make clothes so special only the coolest people can see them. An easy-reading format lends to a fun survey that's the perfect take-off on the classic tale! Maureen Wright's SNEEZE, BIG BEAR, SNEEZE! (9780761459590, $16.99) receives Will Hillenbrand's fun drawings and will appeal to ages 4-8 as it tells of Autumn and how Big Bear thinks his sneezes are causing the leaves and apples to fall from the trees and the geese to fly away. His conviction of his own importance - and drawbacks - makes for a fun tale! Jeanne Walker Harvey's MY HANDS SING THE BLUES: ROMARE BEARDEN'S CHILDHOOD JOURNEY (9780761458104, $17.99) will reach ages 5-8 and provides a fine story of artist Bearden, who heads north with his family when faced with oppressive racist laws in his North Caroline home. His journey would spark his painting representations in this vivid story of his journey. Helen Ketteman's IF BEAVER HAD A FEVER (9780761459514, $16.99) receives Kevin O'Malley's fun drawings and tells of Little Bear who wonders how his mother would handle illness in other animals. Little Bear's mother has a sense of humor, and offers funny and zany words of wisdom to all his queries about animal illness and recovery in this fun story. All are excellent picks for young leisure readers.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Ivy & Bean: No News is Good News
Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall
Chronicle Books
680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
9780811866934 $14.99

Ivy & Bean: No News is Good News tells of two kids who need to make ten dollars so they can purchase bags of lowfat Belldeloon cheese. How are they going to make ten dollars? Babysitting seems too messy, car-washing the same... can they write and sell a newspaper about what they know? It seems like a good idea, until the two snooping reporters get news that's too interesting - and share it with neighbors who are not appreciative of their efforts. A fun and zany story, this is a fine pick for grades 2-4.

Baby's First Toys
Hinkler Books
c/o Guideposts
Suite 100, 2630 Elm Hill Pike
Nashville, TN 37214
978174181551, $8.99,

Speech and language are early lessons that must be mastered in life. "Baby's First Toys" is a picturebook for young readers to help them learn the names of their beloved toys, designed for read along with parents and children. For anyone who wants to help their child get a better grasp on language, "Baby's First Toys" is a colorful and much recommended pick.

Virginia Kroll, author
Betsy LePlatt, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Co.
1000 Burmaster St., Gretna, LA 70053
9781589808836, $16.99,

"Mosquito" is a fun, witty, color illustrated versed nature book that follows the path of a very annoying mosquito. The mosquito buzzes and annoys many different animals, including a human girl, but only one has the perfect reaction to the mosquito's sting: the bat (who eats the mosquito)! Splashy, colorful paintings display the world inhabited by the mosquito and animals, each with human-like expressions in their eyes. The witty rhyme, the pace of the unfolding panorama of pictures, and the ever present underlying annoying buzz of the mosquito all combine to make "Mosquito" a first class preschool-toddler nature book experience.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Lily Renee, Escape Artist
Trina Robbins, author
Anne Timmons and Mo Oh, illustrators
Graphic Universe
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780761381143 $7.95

Lily Renee, Escape Artist is the full-color graphic novel biography of a courageous and talented survivor of the Holocaust who became a female pioneer in the field of comic books. Lily Renee Wilheim was a 14-year-old Jewish girl living with her well-to-do parents in Austria when the Nazis came. Her world transformed into one of starvation and persecution; yet she was blessed with the good fortune of being allowed to leave the nation to stay with an English host family via the Kindertransport. Lily feared for her parents, and life with her host family proved to be a struggle - forced to do grueling chores and to subsist on barely enough to eat, Lily finally couldn't take it anymore and set out on her own. With the aid of the Leeds employment agency she helped take care of children, and worked as a nurse's assistant, yet despite her diligence the British authorities classified her (and nearly all refugees from Nazi countries ages 16 to 70) as "enemy aliens". Fortune blessed her again when she was able to reunite with her parents in America, yet life was still not easy - she had to work tirelessly at any job she could find. It was in America that her artistic skill and talent landed her a job in the comics industry, where she would eventually help support American morale by drawing stories about strong female heroines who resisted the Nazis! Lily Renee, Escape Artist is an involving true story for suitable for readers of all ages, and is especially recommended for public and school library graphic novel collections.

Nursery Rhyme Comics
Introduction by Leonard S. Marcus
:01 First Second Books
c/o Roaring Brook Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
9781596436008 $18.99

Nursery Rhyme Comics is a family-friendly anthology of a vast array of traditional nursery rhymes adapted to full color comic short stories. Each comic story is only a few pages long, yet drawn in a completely different style by one of the vast array of talented artists recruited for the project - contributors include talented individuals such as Stan Sakai, Mike Mignola, Lucy Knisley, and many more. Though largely faithful to the original rhymes, sometimes the comic stories offer their own interpretations with a flippant twist, such as portraying the old woman who lived in a shoe and "had so many children she didn't know what to do" as a rockstar babysitter! A charming treasury that kids and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy, Nursery Rhyme Comics is highly recommended.

The Audiobook Shelf

Oliver Twist
Written by Charles Dickens
Retold for younger listeners by Roy McMillan
Read by Jonathan Keeble
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28
Franklin, TN 37064
9781843795872 $17.98

Oliver Twist is an abridged adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel, rewritten especially to be more accessible to young listeners by Roy McMillan. Narrated by award-winning reader and veteran radio play performer Jonathan Keeble, Oliver Twist brings to life the violent and cruel city of London during the industrial revolution. Orphaned at a young age, Oliver Twist runs away from the near-starvation conditions of his workhouse only to become inducted into a gang of thieves headed by the diabolic Fagin and his criminal comrades. Oliver's chances of survival, let alone finding happiness, seem abysmal - but then one member of the game risks everything to help him, at a terrible cost. An engaging retelling of a great work of literature, Oliver Twist is especially recommended for public library children's audiobook collections, the better to introduce young people to great works of literature. 2 CDs, 2 hours 22 min. 50 sec.

Brendan Buckley's Sixth-Grade Experiment
Sundee T. Frazier, author
Mirron Willis, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
9780307942791 $39.00

Brendan Buckley's Sixth-Grade Experiment is the unabridged audiobook adaptation of Sundee T. Frazier's novel for young adults, about Brendan Buckley, a young boy about to start middle school. His anxieties range from worrying about his pet anole to the relentless pestering of the new girl to trepidations about the national science competition his class is entering - what project can he come up with impress and amaze the judges? He has an alternative energy idea that puts him together with the very girl he dislikes, yet he finds that they work well together as partners on a methane-producing experiment with bottles, balloons, and fresh cow manure. Could Brendan's scientific efforts truly help change the world for the better? An engaging novel, Brendan Buckley's Sixth-Grade Experiment is a choice pick for school and public library YA audiobook collections. 6 CDs, 7 hours.

High Dive And Other Things That Could Have Happened
Bill Harley
Round River Music
301 Jacob Street
Seekonk, MA 02771
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

High Dive And Other Things That Could Have Happened is a family-friendly audio CD of short stories by Grammy Award-winning performer Bill Harley, set to a smattering of music. The tales relate mundane moments of life that kids (and adults!) everywhere can relate to, from nine-year-old Bill's efforts to impress a beautiful 17-year-old lifeguard at the local pool, to a school field trip that quickly becomes rife with hijinks. Witty, folksy, and very fun, High Dive And Other Things That Could Have Happened is a choice pick for children's library audiobook collections, car trips, or rainy day fun. The tracks are "It Could Have Happened" (3:01), "High Dive" (11:50), "Interlude" (0:39), "Field Trip" (32:35), "Interlude" (0:15), and "Monster Valentine" (12:53). 1 CD.

The Music CD Shelf

Tune Into English
Uwe Kind
Delta Publishing Company
1400 Miller Parkway
McHenry, IL 60050-7030

Tune Into English: Learning English Through Familiar Melodies is more than a family-friendly set of two music CDs - it's an educational tool that uses commonly known, popular tunes (such as "La Cucaracha" or Row, Row, Row Your Boat") to help teach listeners English. English learners of all ages will find Tune Into English a useful aid that taps into the power of rhythm to promote learning in multiple dimensions. Tune Into English is a choice educational classroom aid, as well as a top pick for public and school library audio music collections. Also highly recommended is the "Tune In To English" supplementary consumable textbook (1887744789, $12.95), which uses dialogue and narrative songs to aid high school or adult learners of English as a second language.

The Hero in You
Ellis Paul
Black Wolf Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Fourteen-time Boston Music Award winning singer-songwriter Ellis Paul presents The Hero in You, a family-friendly album created for parents and children to enjoy together. Each song features a different, real life American hero or heroine from history, including inventors, politicians, entertainers, scientists, and sports champions. The Hero in You is highly recommended as an inspirational album particularly ideal for public and school library children's music CD collections. The tracks are "The Hero in You", "Nellie Bly", "Augustus Jackson", "Woody Guthrie, Working Man", "Chief Joseph", "Rachel Carson", "Jackie Robinson", "Albert Einstein", "Rosa Parks", "Ben Franklin", "Mr. Tee Tot", "Thomas Edison", "Martha Graham", and "Georgia O'Keeffe".

Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Hits
Katherine Dines
Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Music
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Hits is a joyful best-of-the-best collection from award-winning songwriter Katherine Dines. Her most-requested songs are gathered into a single, whimsical album with an infectious joy that will reach into the hearts of kid and adults alike. Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta-Hits is a delight to play in car trips, children's parties, or rainy day fun. The tracks are "All the Way Around the World" (3:00), "The Tickle Bug" (3:23), "The Goobaws" (3:15), "Muscle and Bone" (2:34), "Goosebumps" (2:18), "Dad on Diaper Duty" (2:03), "Itchy Itchy Owie Owie Boo Boo" (3:27), "Imagination" (2:12), "Ooey Gooey Stew" (3:04), "Zoom" (1:05), "Are We Ever Gonna Get There?" (2:36), "In the Backseat" (2:24), "Sheet Shakin' Bed Quakin' Belly Achin' Wide Awake Blues" (2:34), "Angels Are Dancing With You" (2:11), and "We Don't Ever Have To Say Goodbye" (2:54).

Gypsy Lullaby
Sounds True Audio
413 South Arthur Avenue
Louisville, CO 80027

Gypsy Lullaby: Latin Melodies for the Young and Young at Heart is a beautiful guitar album blending Mediterranean and Latin elements. Performed by the talented, Sicilian-born guitarist Priyo, the gentle melodies are ideal for soothing young people at bedtime, but listeners of all ages will find the tranquil songs a restful sleep aid. The tracks are "Spazio" (3:48), "Caramba" (3:25), "Carrettero" (3:30), "Caraibi" (3:12), "Fortuna" (2:57), "Chileno" (3:24), "Allegria" (3:07), "Nova Bossa" (3:43), "Bellezza" (2:35), "Assaibene" (3:18), "Sei Viva" (3:03), "Lontano Lassu" (2:43), "Paradox" (5:44), and "Ocean 11" (3:35). 1 CD, 48 min 11 sec.

Anna and the Cupcakes
Bari Koral family rock band
c/o PFA Entertainment and Media Marketing (publicity)
285 W. Broadway, Ste. 630
New York, NY 10013

Anna and the Cupcakes is the latest full-length album by the multiple award-winning Bari Koral Family Rock Band. Featuring lively music in a mixture of styles ranging from country to blues to pop rock, Anna and the Cupcakes makes children's music a joy for the whole family to hear. Some of the songs tell silly stories, such as when a dragon comes to dinner; others are more mood and fun-inspired. Anna and the Cupcakes is a joyful addition to any parent's or child's music collection, highly recommended. The tracks are "Shoes", "Anna and the Cupcakes", "Train Song", "Hearts", "Rocket Ship", "Let's Get Together", "Gingerbread Man", "Kick Drum Heart", "Butterfly", and "Dragon Comes to Dinner".

La Bella Stella
Recess Music
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

The fifth installment of the "Celebrate Earth" series of music CDs by the award-winning Recess Music company, La Bella Stella is a family-friendly celebration of not only the planet Earth, but also the amazing galaxies, solar systems, and other cosmic phenomena of our universe. Young people ages 4 and up will enjoy invigorating music, enthusiastically performed by a wide variety of veteran children's musicians, that prompts one to think of the big picture. La Bella Stella is a choice pick to encourage young people to take an interest in science, or simply to make car trips more enjoyable! The tracks are "Nature's Lullaby" (1:53), "I Love the Dark", (2:44), "Shooting Stars" (2:20), "Galaxy Song" (2:47), "Gravity" (3:41), "Nocturnal" (1:41), "Man In The Moon" (2:58), "Earth's Satellite" (3:37), "Pluto" (2:12), "Aurora Borealis" (2:17), "Shadow" (2:12), "Neptune" Lullaby" (2:48), "Safe at Home" (3:51), "Harmony of the Spheres" (4:03), and "So Long to the Day" (1:51).

The Soldier's Tale
Story by C.F. Ramuz
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Narrated by Yadu
Maestro Classics
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127
9781932684117 $16.98

Part of the multiple award-winning "Stories in Music" series by Maestro Classics, The Soldier's Tale makes one of Igor Stravinsky's great musical masterpiece accessible to young listeners ages 8 and up, as well as their families. A dark story about the terrible price of foolishly making a deal with the Devil, The Soldier's Tale blends a breathtaking performance by the Philharmonic Orchestra with family-friendly storytelling. Fascinating information about composer Igor Stravinsky and his music plus an accompanying 24-page booklet round out this superb introduction to classical music, highly recommended especially for public library collections. The tracks are Introduction (0:44), The Soldier's Tale (36:25), About the Composer: Stravinsky (6:12), The Amazing Baz Dance Remix (3:25), and About the Music: The Soldier's Tale (9:59). 1 CD, 56 min. 51 sec.

The DVD Shelf

Barney: I Love My Friends
Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distribution)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Barney: I Love My Friends (58 min.) is the latest addition to the popular series of family-friendly children's DVDs featuring the widely beloved purple dinosaur Barney and his friends, including Riff, BJ, and Princess Baby Bop. The kid-centric stories emphasize the positive values of sharing, learning, and exercising one's imagination. Plenty of dancing and playful monkeying around further enliven this upbeat program, enhanced with a "Book of Hugs" read-along and an "If You're Happy and You Know It" sing-along. Also highly recommended particularly for young girls is "Angelina Ballerina: Sweet Valentine" ($14.98, 61 min.), a collection of computer-animated episodes featuring a young mouse dancer as she learns about the importance of treasuring one's friends.

The CD-ROM Shelf

Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119
Novato, CA 94948

Treasure Bay's publications have long fostered literacy and love of reading in young people; now they branch out to new media with two interactive ebook software publications on CD-ROM. "Ant in Her Pants" (9781601156549, $9.95) by Paul Orshoski adapts a picturebook in the "We Read Phonics" series; intended for those at reading level K-2, the ebook consists of colorful picturebook pages with text, and the option to play a narrative audio recording on any given page. Each word of the story can be clicked and heard individually, for readers who need just a little bit of help in learning phonics. Three extra word games further enhance phonics skills learned and practiced in the playful story. "Amazing Eggs" (9781601156532, $9.95) by Fran Hodgkins adapts an installment in the "We Both Read" series; intended for reading level K-3, this nonfiction ebook teaches young people about the cycle of life for animals that hatch from eggs. Like the rest of the "We Both Read" series, each two-page spread of "Amazing Eggs" features a higher reading level text on the left page, and lower reading level text on the right page. Ideal for parents sharing with children, or for teachers to use on an interactive whiteboard for the benefit of their class, "Amazing Eggs" is an especially helpful tool for young people who may be learning English as a second language. Both are worthy of the highest recommendation for children's library software collections.

The Multimedia Shelf

Quinn At School
Rick H. Warren, author
Illustrations by
AAPC Publishing
P.O. Box 23173, Shawnee Mission, KS, 66288
9781934575871, $18.95,

"Quinn At School: Relating, Connecting, and Responding at School, A Book for Children Ages 3-7" is a practical, colorfully illustrated handbook that instills social communication skills in young children beginning to attend a structured learning environment. Accompanied by a free CD and foldout poster that summarizes 14 desirable social communication response patterns with illustrations and text reminders, "Quinn at School" is easily uploadable to laptop or iPad for further flexibility. "Quinn At School" teaches young children by double impact learning; colorful illustrations accompanied by brief, written messages. Teaching young children to make greetings, sit quietly and listen to the teacher, share and take turns, sit with friends at lunch, raise their hands and ask permission in class, point and say please, smile and ask for help, and wave and say goodbye are some of the important social skill areas of communication that are emphasized. Also included with the book is a UCC-EI checklist for underlying characteristics checklist-early intervention for infants age 3 months through 72 months to help identify characteristics associated with individuals with autism spectrum disorders. "Quinn At School" is a user-friendly, practical book for parents and teachers of children ages 3-7 who are beginning attendance of structured educational settings.

Nature Jams
Farmer Jason and Buddies
Universal Music Enterprises
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Award-winning, family-friendly musician Farmer Jason presents Nature James, a delightful multimedia package of a music CD and a bonus DVD featuring four music videos. The sixteen original songs on the CD have lively, active themes ranging from hiking to canoeing, skating, spelunking, and more; all are designed to foster children's interest in the amazing world around them, including its fascinating animal inhabitants. A medley of star guest artists sing and perform along with Farmer Jason in the songs, including Mike Mills from R.E.M., Grammy-award winning bassist Vic Wooten, Tommy Ramone of The Ramones, and many more. A wholesome, entertaining treat for young people, Nature Jams is highly recommended. The CD tracks are "Nature James", "Can You Canoe", "Take a Hike", "Well Oh Whale", "Meadowlark in Central Park", "Bayou Boogie", "Prairie Riddles", "Buffalo Or Bison?", "Dison the Bison", "Spelunker", "The Glacier", "Manatee", "No Place Like The Woods", "The Moose Lives Where?", "Have You Ever", and "Skating Along", while the DVD has music videos of "Take A Hike", "Dison The Bison", "Spelunker", and "Can You Canoe".

Up, Up, and Away!
Heather Zschock, author
Martha Day Zschock, illustrator
Peter Pauper Press, Inc.
202 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
9781441306333 $12.99

Up, Up, and Away! A Bedtime Shadowbook is more than just a bedtime story for parents and children to share. Each page has a translucent image that one can shine a flashlight through, projecting a shadow picture on the bedroom wall! The simple story follows the amazing journey of a kite past a bird, a balloon, an airplane, a rocket, and more. Up, Up, and Away! is highly recommended as a distinctive, dreamy storybook perfect for sleepytime. "My kite zoomed into space / Up, up, and away! / As far as I know / It's still flying today! / It flew so high..."

The Music Shelf

Disney Music Activity Book
Sharon Stosur, editor
Hal Leonard
7777 W. Bluemound Rd.
P.O. Box 13819, Milwaukee, WI 53213
9781458402585, $14.99,

The "Disney Music Activity Book : An Introduction to Music" (music instruction text for juveniles) is a colorful beginner's introduction to music using creative notation on staff labeled in color and also color cued to matching stickers for a piano or keyboard. Filled with songs, games, puzzles, and other fun music learning activities, "Disney Music Activity Book" features favorite Disney songs as effortless learning vehicles. The "Disney Music Activity Book" can easily be used by a beginning musician, pianist, vocalist, guitarist or other C- instrument. Some of the featured songs include "Cruella De Vil," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Under the Sea," "A Whole New World," "You've Got a Friend in Me," and more. Learning begins at a comfortable pace with notes, the music alphabet, long and short notes, and your first song ("Mary Had A Little Lamb"). Additional lessons cover rhythm, notation, counting, rests, steps and skips, and all the basics for a solid beginning in music performance. For self taught or home schooled children, there is an answer key to games and puzzles and mazes in the back. Parents and kids will love the "Disney Music Activity Book," for beginning musicians age 7 and up.

The Activity Shelf

Pop-Out & Paint Horse Breeds
Cindy A. Littlefield
Storey Publishing
210 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781603429634, $12.95,

"Pop-Out & Paint Horse Breeds" is an educational craft and activity book that contains pop-out models for 10 different breeds of horses for kids ages 8-12 to paint, finish, and decorate. As they paint, they will learn interesting facts about each breed's individual characteristics, plus they end up with a sturdy stand-up paper horse figure with a mane and tail completed from embroidery floss or yarn. There are also directions for creating horse accessories, including an entire stable, plus fences, jumps, grooming tools, prize ribbons, and other barnyard accessories. From the Tennessee Walker to the flashy Friesian to the splashy Appaloosa, here are ten fabulous, beautiful breeds of horses to finish individually with realistic coat, patterns and markings, offering hours of satisfying and educational creative activity. "Pop-Out & Paint Horse Breeds" is the perfect gift for any juvenile equine fancier or rider.

The Christian Shelf

Bible Animal Stories for Bedtime
Jane Landreth, author
David Miles, illustrator
Barbour Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683
9781616263393, $5.99,

"Bible Stories for Bedtime" is a collection of illustrated animal stories from the Bible rewritten especially for kids ages 5-8. Here we have Jonah and the Big Fish, Ravens Feed Elijah, Daniel and the Lions, Shepherds Watch Their Sheep and many more beloved animal stories from the Bible. Each chapter text and ends with a special child's prayer. Boys and girls will love this simplified set of animal stories from the Bible. Humor is laced throughout both text and illustrations. Here is an example of one child's prayer, after the story of Balaam and his donkey, titled The Donkey Talks: "Dear God. You are truly the Master of me and all animals. Help me to be gentle with every living thing. Amen (p. 101)." With over forty chapters of animal stories from the Bible for children, "Bible Animal Stories for Bedtime" makes the perfect bedtime companion for children learning about their relationship to God and all the wonderful animals in creation.

The Judaic Shelf

A Touch of Shabbat
Rivkah Krinsky, author
Boruch Becker, illustrator
Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch
770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213
9780826600196, $9.95,

"A Touch of Shabbat" is a 'Touch and Feel' book for preschool age children about Shabbat, or Sabbath. Colorful illustrations and snips of silk, velvet, strips of shiny foil, and scratch and sniff Kiddush wine bottle cover make "A Touch of Shabbat" a multi-sensory, educational exploration about mindful preparation for Shabbat that is great fun for kids! From the special fish with the shiny blue fins and scales to the fresh baked challah under the blue velvet cloth and the sweet red Kiddush wine, everything is ready for a special day of rest and prayer, thankful celebration. Youngsters will love "A Touch of Shabbat" with its soft cloth textures and shiny foil inserts. The interactive, multi sensory approach to reading and education is recommended for small children age 2 and up. Also recommended in this same series from the same publisher is "A Touch of Chanukah (9780826600134, $9.95)," by Sylvia Rouss, illustrated by Boruch Becker.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Do You Have A Dog?
Eileen Spinelli, author
Geraldo Valerio, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853875, $16.00,

"Do You Have A Dog?" is a delightful illustrated book about the joys of having, or being owned by a dog! A wonderful list of famous dogs owned by famous people is celebrated in both verse text and bouncy painted pages full of fun. The inside of both front and back book covers are filled with portraits of famous celebrities' dogs contained in the story, along with canine thumbnail biographies. Do you have a dog? Read "Do You Have A Dog?" with your favorite 4 to 8 year old and you'll be glad you do or wish that you did!

My Big Book of Animals
Christopher Boncens, author/illustrator
Editions Auzou
24/32 Rue des Amandiers, 75020, Paris, France
9782733819449, $18.95,

"My Big Book of Animals" is a colorful, artistically creative children's picture book of all kinds of animals. Every two-page spread shows animals from a specific habitat such as, animals of the forest, animals of the jungle, animals of the savannah, etc. Each two page spread reveals a vivid display of labeled, personable animals, with added interest due to textured or shiny foil inserts, flaps that reveal hidden details, tabs to create moving pictures or animals, and more. Young children age 3 and up will e curious and delighted to explore "My Big Book of Animals." Such a book is designed to stimulate curiosity, imagination, and delight. and joy in reading. The interactive art aspect is central in "My Big Book of Animals," making it a juicy plum for children and parents interested in integrating cultural education into a young child's daily life. This vivid, stunning picturebook for young children certainly has enormous appeal, and should present hours of pleasure and learning for children those who nurture them.

The Cookbook Shelf

Jackson & Julie, the Twelve-Month Chefs
Christine Perrenet, author
Ralph Voltz, illustrator
Brown Books Publishing Group
16250 Knoll Trail Drive, Suite 205, Dallas, TX 75248
9781612540283, $16.95,

"Jackson & Julie, the Twelve-Month Chefs: A Holiday Cookbook for Families and Children" is a kids' cookbook featuring one special, easy, delicious recipe for every month of the calendar's year. Kids are going to love making Snowflake Snickerdoodles in January, Peanut Butter and Jelly Valentine Hearts in February, and even muffins for Mother's Day and pizza for Father's Day! Every recipe has clear instructions presented in numbered steps, with easy to find ingredients listed with standard measurements above. Colorful illustrations show children helping to prepare each month's recipe with anticipation and delight. From Labor Day Sliders to Saint Patrick's Day Pancakes, each recipe offers a special treat for the featured holiday of the month. Each recipe also contains a highlighted sidebar with a list of tools needed and illustrations of them. Most recipes can be completed by kids age 8 and up with minimal adult supervision. Enjoy "Jackson & Julie, the Twelve -Month Chefs" with you middle-school aged child and create a year round offering of tasty seasonal treats.

The Money/Finance Shelf

Money Sense: Managing Money
Andrew Einspruch
Black Rabbit Books
c/o Smart Apple Media
P.O. Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002
9781599204321, $19.95 (school/library price)

"Managing Money" is part of an educational series titled "Money Sense" that teaches young savers (reading level 4 and up) the basic principles of money management. Topics that are covered include, growing money by investing, growing money by saving, earning money, managing money, spending money wisely, making a budget, and more, even how to start planning to be a millionaire. Complete with a list of resources and glossary, "Money Sense" packs a lot of money savvy for young readers. It also contains fun ways to learn more about managing money, such as playing the game of Monopoly. There are also wise quotations from many recognized sources about money plus reality tips to kids about reasonable expectations about home-centered earnings such as allowances. In all, "Managing Money" is an excellent resource for improving financial literacy in young adults between 8 and 12 and up. Other titles in this series by the same author that are also recommended include "The Money System" (9781599204291, $19.95), "Currency" (9781599204314, $19.95), and "Consumer Sense" (9781599204307, $19.95).

Books in Series

Kids Can Cook: Midwestern Recipes
Mary Boone
Mitchell Lane Publishers
P.O. Box 196, Hockessin, DE 19707
9781612280714, $33.95,

"Midwestern Recipes" is a kids' cookbook from the regional-based series titled "Kids Can Cook." Most recipes are accessible to kids age 10 and up, some with adult supervision. Regional inspired recipes include entrees for Breakfast, Soups Salads and Sides, Sandwiches and Main Dishes, Sweet Stuff, and Holiday Treats. There are step by step instructions and color photo illustrations and sidebars about the history or ethnicity of a featured food or recipe. Some examples are Apple Pannekoeken, Wild Rice Soup, Tater Tots Hot Dish, Strawberry Shortcake, and Pumpkin Harvest Bread. A glossary and bibliography plus internet resources are listed at the end. These recipes were collected and edited by an Iowa-born food editor who enjoyed Midwestern home cooking all her life. Cooking from regional recipe collections is an excellent way for young people to become connected with the rich variety of ethnicities and food sources in different regions of the U.S. Also recommended from this series are the following titles: "Kids Can Cook Mid-'Atlantic Recipes (9781612280684, $33.95)" by Joanne Mattern, "Kids Can Cook New England Recipes (9781612280677, $33.95)" by Tammy Gagne, "Kids Can Cook Pacific Northwest Recipes (9781612280721, $33.95)" by Tamra Orr, "Kids Can Cook Southwestern Recipes (9781612280691, $33.95)" by Amie Jane Leavitt, and "Kids Can Cook Western Recipes (9781612280707, $33.95)" by Amie Jane Leavitt.

Nate LeBoutillier
The Creative Company
123 South Broad St., P.O. Box 227, Mankato, MN 56002
9781608182107, $24.95,

"Gymnastics" is a book from the series titled 'Summer Olympic Legends'. This fascinating summary of historic gymnastic competitions covers competition history, famous medal winners from previous years, filled with breathtaking color photos of dramatic scenes of such renowned medal winners as Nadia Comenaci, Mary Lou Rettig, Olga Korbut (1972 winner from the Soviet Union,),Larissa Latynina (1960 medalist from the Soviet Union), Kerri Strug (U.S. 1996), and many more. Interesting historic details such as former gymnastics activities including rope climbing and a critical error of a low horse in the 2000 Summer Olympics are parts of additional background. The book ends with exciting announcements about the London site of the 2012 Summer Olympics, plus endnotes, a glossary, bibliography and suggested websites. "Gymnastics" is a fascinating survey of the challenging performances of both male and female gymnasts in the Summer Olympics. Also recommended from the Summer Olympic Legend series are the following titles: "Basketball (9781608182084, $24.95)" by Nate LeBoutillier, "Boxing (9781608182091, $24.95)" by Shane Frederick, "Volleyball (9781608182138, $24.95)" by Nate LeBoutillier, "Track & Field (9781608182121, $24.95)" by Shane Frederick, and "Swimming (9781608182121, $24.95)" by Nate LeBoutillier.

Coin Magic
Mike Lane, author
David Mostyn, illustrator
Windmill Books
c/o Rosen Publishing
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781615335107, $25.25,

"Coin Magic" is an illustrated magic book from the series titled 'Miraculous Magic Tricks' by Windmill Books. Including the Magician's Pledge, "Coin Magic" includes illustrations and instructions for nine exciting coin tricks, including the coin flip, coin from paper, coin rub, penny nickel trick, sweating coin, coin catch, and another cool coin trick. Highlights are used to identify illusions and magic tips for tricks. Student magicians are reminded that practice makes perfect. At the end are web sites, further reading suggestions and a glossary. "Coin Magic" is ideal recreational reading for children age 7 and up. Also recommended from this series are the following titles by the same author/illustrator pair: "Close-Up Magic (9781615335152, $25.25)," "Mind Magic (9781615335145, $25.25)," "Card Magic (9781615335121, $25.25)," "Performing Magic (9781615335138, $25.25)," and "Paper Magic (9781615335114, $25.25)."

Pioneering Women
Jeff Savage, author
Paul Daly, illustrator
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766040229, $15.95,

"Pioneering Women, offering middle school level historical thumbnail biographies of women, is the latest release in the 'True Tales of the Wild West' series. Highly appropriate for reluctant readers, Pioneering Women contains thumbnail biographical sketches of famous women of the American West in the 1800's. Both Western Native American women and white pioneer women are featured in the biographical material, The heroic (unsung) roles of women in the Westward expansion are explored. Carry Nation, Sacajawea, Calamity Jane, and many more historical figures are presented, with black and white photos and illustrations. In addition, "Pioneering Women" has a Glossary, Bibliography, and Chapter Notes added at the end. "Pioneering Women" is sure to secure the attention of middle school reluctant readers of both sexes. Look forward to upcoming titles in the same series, including the following: "American Cowboys (9780766040199, $15.95)," "Daring Pony Express Riders" (9780766040236, $15.95), "Fearless Scouts" (9780766040243, $15.95), "Quick-Draw Gunfighters" (9780766040212, $15.95), and " Rugged Gold Miners" (9780766040205, $15.95).

The Fish in Our Class
Sharon L. Beck & Jamie Lapsley
Mitchell Lane Publisher
P.O. Box 196, Hockessin, Delaware 19707
9781584159780, $25.70,

"The Fish in Our Class" is a 'Class Pet' series book for elementary students about caring for a pair of class pet goldfish. Filled with color photos of students enjoying caring for their pet fish as well as highlighted fish facts and other instructions for fish care, "The Fish in Our Class" presents an attractive background reading resource on pet goldfish. Complete with bibliography, glossary, and index, "The Fish in Our Class" is an excellent introduction to responsible ownership and maintenance of fish pets for children under adult supervision. Also recommended in this series are the following titles: "The Frog in Our Class" (9781584159773, $25.70), by Kathleen Tracy, "The Hamster in our Class" (9781584159803, $25.70) by Kathleen Tracy, and "The Turtle in our Class" (9781584159797, $25.70) by Kathleen Tracy.

Crabtree Publishing
PMB 59051, 350 - 5th Avenue, 59th Floor, New York NY 10118

New series additions from Crabtree all have much to offer: curriculum-appropriate content, eye-catching covers and illustrations, and facts suitable for reports. Kids in grades 5 will appreciate the 'Dealing with Drugs' additions ($22.95 each) that each offer some 48 pages packed with a blend of drug history and the latest statistics and research on drugs most commonly used by young people. Erin Knight's STEROIDS (9780778755111), Jon Eben Field's INHALANTS AND SOLVENTS (9780778755081), Troon Harrison Adams' MARIJUANA (9780778755098) and Jessica Wilkins' STREET PHARMA (9780778755128) each provide a glossary, index, resources and plenty of introductory material. New additions to Lynn Peppas' 'Vehicles on the Move' series ($19.95 each) are particularly notable for their appeal to grades 2-3: an interest level typically not reached in titles about vehicles. Captivating color covers and simple discussions packed with visually appealing pages make these a pick for any collection where kids are fascinated with unusual vehicles. New releases: AIRCRAFT CARRIERS: RUNAWAYS AT SEA (9780778727477), FIGHTERS JETS DEFENDING THE SKIES (9780778727474), MILITARY HELICOPTERS FLYING TO BATTLE (9780778727491) and POWERFUL ARMORED VEHICLES (9780778727507). The 'Science of Catastrophe' titles by Steve Parker and David West ($19.95 each) will reach grade 4 with each book packing some 32 pages of detail. Dramatic, eye-catching covers will lend to leisure browsing as kids receive books that consider disasters from a scientific point of view. New books pack in diagrams and color photos in the titles ECOLOGICAL DISASTERS (9780778775737), NATURAL DISASTERS: VIOLENT WEATHER (9780778775744), HUMAN-MADE DISASTERS (9780778775751) and NATURAL DISASTERS: MOVING EARTH (9780778775768). All are fine picks for any elementary-level collection!

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