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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 2 February 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Holiday Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Health Shelf Counting Shelf Board Book Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Biography Shelf
Native American Shelf Activity Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf Christian Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
World History Shelf Fiction Shelf Dance Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Self-Help Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Environmental Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

The Golden Winged Fairy
Lala Fae, author
Laura Siadak, illustrator
9780990852735, $19.95

"The Golden Winged Fairy" is a beautiful fairy tale that teaches children the value of self acceptance and celebration of differences. Enhanced with intricate, sensitive illustrations embellished with silver and golden foil, "The Golden Winged Fairy" recounts a tale of a young fairy named Lorelei, who lived among the Silver Moon Fairies in the Land of the Silver Winged Fairies. Lorelei was different from the other Silver Winged Fairies, for one of her wings shone silver, like all the Silver Winged Fairies, the other glowed golden as Midsummer's Day. Lorelei was ashamed of her golden wing, and hid from the other fairies, fearing she would not be accepted because of her one golden wing. Though her mother assured her she was fortunate to unique, or different, Lorelei could not believe her. Lorelei tried to hide her one golden wing with sprinkles of fairy dust, but midnight rainfall washed her golden wing clean while she was dancing with the other Silver Moon Fairies on Midsummer Night's Eve. Because she was ashamed of her golden wing, Lorelei flew home quickly through the dark, her golden wing glowing. The next day a knock came to her door, and the Silver Moon Fairies spoke to Lorelei, saying: "The glow of your golden wing guided us home. You saved us from the storm!" From then on, Lorelei danced with the other Silver Winged Fairies at night in the forest, with one wing silver and one wing "glowing golden and true." This beautiful fairy fable effortlessly teaches children to accept and celebrate differences in themselves and others.

Mary Poppins Boxed Set
P.L. Travers
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544456839, $27.99,

The Mary Poppins Boxed Set contains four books in one package (Mary Poppins in the Park, Opens the Door, Comes Back, and the introductory Mary Poppins), and the result is a lovely gift package and a fitting introduction for newcomers. One needn't be a newcomer to appreciate the value in having all these books in a handy slipcase for easy consecutive reading: even those who last read Mary Poppins back in school will find this a lovely re-read, offering the books in a set that makes them accessible and a treat to locate and file away.

The Holiday Shelf

Mr. Goat's Valentine
Eve Bunting, author
Kevin Zimmer, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369447 $16.99

Mr. Goat's Valentine is a charming children's picturebook about an anthropomorphic goat in search of the perfect gift to give his first love on Valentine's Day. However, a goat's idea of the best possible gift might not be quite what the reader expects! "Mr. Pygmy-Little Goat had a stall under a tree. He was selling his delicious rotten eggs. He had opened one as a sample. It lay on his counter, black and oozing. 'Rotted for two years,' he told Mr. Goat. Guaranteed foul and disgusting!' Mr Goat drooled. 'I'll take four. Two for my first love and two for me. We always share." The exaggerated, colorful illustrations add the perfect touch to this whimsical tale of seasonal affection and appreciation, and the identity Mr. Goat's first love is the final twist of the story! An excellent read-aloud book, sure to appeal to little ones.

Ishtar's Odyssey: A Family Story for Advent
Arnold Ytreeide, author
Ryan Hill, illustrator
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780825443930, $15.99,

"Ishtar's Odyssey: A Family Story for Advent" is an engaging Christmas story in chapters meant to be shared by families as weekly family devotionals throughout Advent. It is prefaced with well researched chapters on information about the pre Advent world, the Magi, making connections to Persia through foods, Advent customs, and a pronunciation guide. Aimed at an audience of children perhaps age 7 or older, each chapter traces the journey taken by young Ishtar, a spoiled Persian prince, to follow a new star to find a mysterious Messiah. There are daily chapters for reading through the four weeks of Advent, and many of the adventures Ishtar experiences are built upon the Gospel narratives of the birth of Jesus. Black and white chapter heading illustrations of Ishtar and his friends help build the anticipation of this journey through hardship, excitement, fear, and danger to a rich conclusion. "Ishtar's Odyssey" is appealing to the middle school imagination with its undercurrents of daily issues faced by a spoiled young royal destined to participate in a miraculous discovery. Renewing the magic of Advent as a family devotional experience, "Ishtar's Odyssey" can transform holiday preparations to the inspirational.

The Social Issues Shelf

The Story I'll Tell
Nancy Tupper Ling, author
Jessica Lana, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Ave., Suite 1205, New York, NY 10016
9781620141601, $17.95,

"The Story I'll Tell" is a beautiful, tender, delicately nuanced story about a mother's response to her adopted son's future questions about his origins. Filled with sensitive, imaginative illustrations with repeated hints of exotic, Asian/Chinese cultural beginnings, the narrative of "The Story I'll Tell" gently explores different birth and origin stories and fantasies, ending with a brief summary of the true story of the Asian boy's birth and adoption by an Anglo-American couple. Even the boy's tears, which only fall in his real story when he cries for things lost and new, are healing. "The Story I'll Tell" is an amazing, respectful, sensitive exploration of intercultural adoption that many families will gladly welcome.

The Health Shelf

Flossopher and the Brushing Trees
"Dr. Mike" King, author
Rick Ellis, illustrator
The Fifth Dentist, Publisher
9780990948407, $11.45,

"Flossopher and the Brushing Trees: An Adventure for Young Tooth Brushers" is an engaging, eccentric, quirky dental care fable that stimulates kids to tackle the issue of fighting cavities. Flossopher is a plucky tooth care entity whose job it is to help everyone who lives in Brite Forest keeps their teeth clean and sparkly. A cast of many lovable but recognizable characters cavort in Brite Forest, including Sparkla, mother of all the Brushing Trees, and the Brushers. On the other side of the line in the land of Durt, on Mount Yuk, is the evil Cavidorg, who hates toothbrushes and clean teeth because he owns a factory called Denture-Con which seeks to sell more face teeth to the world. There are lots of exciting moments, colorful characters, and plot-foiling actions to keep the tooth brushing going. Many funny, colorful illustrations provide interest for young readers, while reinforcing the basic message of good dental hygiene. At the end of the story is one page of Flossopher's Instructions for Brushing, a helpful refresher course for young brushers. Seven tiny hidden pictures of tooth care kits are planted throughout the pages for sharp eyes to discover. Finally, a portion of the profits form the sale of every copy of "Flossopher and the Brushing Trees" will be donated to Smile Train ( Truly an original work, "Flossopher and the Brushing Trees" is a masterful effort to teach good brushing habits through a fun, entertaining story.

The Counting Shelf

Papa, Why Does The Sun Shine?
Jeanne Styczinski, author/illustrator
JeanneKay Publishing
9780991094622, $14.95,

"Papa, Why Does the Sun Shine?" is recommended as a day-brightener as well as a counting book, and it lives up to this sunny recommendation. Beginning as a light counting verse, with all and response from child to parent, the heart of this counting story dwells in its unfolding colorful illustrations. Pink striped earthworms, green plants sprouting from seeds, yellow striped caterpillars eating milkweed, sleepy turtles on a log, these are just a few of the representations that are done afresh, with a child's awareness of bright color and pattern. The child asks his question 10 times to a answer of "no," for a different number of creatures of the day, but the final question calls forth the positive answer: "No, the sun doesn't shine so ten smart fish can go to school. That's not the reason shy. Papa, then why? Why does the sun start to shine? It's simple! Sun shines, so a father can see his child's beautiful smile each day!" The final pages of the book encourage visual and verbal learning, as the child sees a nonverbal review in the form of a careful sequence of numbers 1 through 10 paired with the matching number of objects counted, divided by colorful patterned, decorating dividing lines. "Papa, Why Does the Sun Shine" is a vivid, unforgettable counting experience for the young child, cradling a core of warm parental regard and love at its center.

The Board Book Shelf

Tiny Blessings for Bedtime
Amy Parker, author
Sarah Walsh, illustrator
Running Press
2300 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762459902, $7.95,

Soft to the touch with its sturdy padded covers, "Tiny Blessings for Bedtime" is a perfect board book of a beloved bedtime prayer. Filled with twinkling owls, starry skies, a shining crescent moon, and snuggly, bedtime kisses, "Tiny Blessings for Bedtime" gently lulls tired children to a restful sleep with thoughts of thankfulness for the blessings of the day and night. Gently smiling children are shown drifting off to slumber surrounded by quietly resting toys and sleepy animals in the surrounding trees. "Tiny Blessings for Bedtime" achieves its invitation to peaceful bedtime blessings with both poetry and pictures, presenting all in a beloved board book that young children will treasure and touch repeatedly as they grow. A second title in this outstanding series which is also very highly recommended is "Tiny Blessings for Giving Thanks (9780762459896, $7.95)," written by Amy Walsh, and illustrated by Sarah Walsh.

Where Are You Little Red Ball?
Patricia Cate & Yaho
Tradewind Books
202-1807 Maritime Mews, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6H 3W7
9781926890128, $8.95, HC, 11pp,

"Where Are You Little Red Ball" is a board book following the adventure of a runaway ball. Author Patricia Cote's simply story is wonderfully enhanced for young readers ages 2 to 4 with charming illustrations by Yayo. Perfect for parent-child bonding, reading "Where Are You Little Red Ball?" together will prove to be an absolute delight for very young children and mothers alike. "Where Are You Little Red Ball?" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, and community library board book collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

A Boy Asked the Wind
Barbara Nickel, author
Gillian Newland, illustrator
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada, L3R 4T8
9780889954809, $17.95,

"A Boy Asked the Wind" is a mystical, poetic, artistic, and geographic exploration of the source of the wind, in answer to a boy's question, "Where do you live?" Sensitively illustrated in vivid land and seascape paintings of far-flung global locations, the nature and names of the wind are presented on a vast panorama of gusty, powerful narrative. Some of the places and names of the wind include the Chinook of North American Great Plains, Papagayo on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, the Shamal found in summer in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, the Cape Doctor, in South Africa, and Zephyr, an ancient Greek name for any light west wind. The poetry is powerful, compelling: "remember... Chinook, Papagayo, one wind, Cape Doctor, Shamal, Zephry, one wind with many voices, one wind with many faces. My home is the world." A global map at the end shows the location of the five different wind names explored, with further explanations of each areas wind patterns. "A Boy Asked the Wind" is recommended for children ages 8-12 or in grades 3-6.

The Secret Drawer
Nancy Gee, author
Raye Ann Saunoris, illustrator
Ampersand, Inc.
1050 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780990560319, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

"The Secret Drawer" is a thoroughly entertaining picturebook story that is based on a true life incident. A real flying squirrel found its way into Nancy Gee's bedroom and into her sock drawer. After which her cat, Odis, refused to budge from the front of the dresser for two long days. Children (and their parents) will find "The Secret Door" as inherently fascinating as it is surprisingly informative. "The Secret Drawer" reveals that kindness to animals is returned by them in many unexpected ways. Very highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections, "The Secret Drawer" is all the more impressive considering that it is author Nancy Gee's debut as a children's picture book writer.

My Pet Monkey Named Rue
Kathryn "Kee" LaRocca, author
Debra Volanski Moroco, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781504952491, $29.99,

"My Pet Monkey Named Rue" is a charming story about a boy's special relationship with his pet monkey, who is blue. Told in charming narrative verse, and enhanced by comic colored pencil drawings against a soft tan retro-flavored background, "My Pet Monkey Named Rue" finds a special place in the young reader's heart. The boy loves his funny, messy, different-colored monkey in spite of all the trouble and inconvenience he causes at home. But the boy knows Rue needs a different place to live, where he can be himself and not be in trouble all the time, and sad. A wonderful idea comes to the boy, he will take Rue to the circus! There Rue met Mr. Jed and a very unusual cast of animal characters who star in the circus show. First Rue met Lindsey the Dog ("with a color of green"), then Sam the pink Elephant, and finally Anthony the red striped tiger. All the other circus star animals are also unusual colors just like Rue, who is blue. Each animal has a special talent which they perform as a part of he circus show. What will Rue be asked to do? Mr. Jed tells him: "I know you love climbing so let me tell you how, up this high you will ride and then take a bow. Rue the Blue Monkey came out on the high wire and was riding a bike, He grinned from ear to ear as he thought, now this I really like!" The boy knew Rue had found a better home, and he felt sad because he would miss Rue. But Rue cheered him up by running to bring him grand stand tickets to the next show! The boy was no longer sad, but happy, because Rue was happy. "My Pet Monkey Named Rue" is a wonderful fantasy dip into a world seen through a child's and a monkey's eyes. It's message of supporting hidden talents and learning to accept differences is also significant and imaginative.

Blue Whale Blues
Peter Carnavas, author/illustrator
Kane Miller
c/o EDC Publisher
P.O. Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74147
9781610674584, $11.99,

"Blue Whale Blues" is a lighthearted story about Blue Whale's funny feelings of being "blue" and the cheery effects of Penguin's faithful friendship, a charming antidote to Blue Whale's blues. Penguin is concerned to hear Blue Whale singing the blues, for a series of increasingly unlikely, humorous reasons. First, Blue Whale mistakes a shopping cart for a bicycle, at the bottom of the sea, and he is blue because he does not know which way the "bicycle" goes. Penguin cheers up Blue Whale, telling him the bicycle/shopping cart is upside down. Amusing, multi-textured illustrations underline the whimsical tone of "Blue Whale Blues" while furthering the mysterious, sparse narrative. Gradually, Blue Whale learns that his bicycle is not really a bicycle, and that it takes legs, like Turtle has, to ride a bicycle. Because of the faithful friendship and support of Penguin, Blue Whale is finally able to grasp his version of the truth about the shopping cart and his dream of riding it, and his healthy response is to laugh, a great big blue whale belly laugh! A final surprise of yet one more Blue Whale self deceptive jokes is in store on the last page, but the enduring message is empowering: Each of us can decide to be happy, or sad, no matter what our misperceptions, especially when we are grateful for the support of loyal friends. "Blue Whale Blues" is ideal for a young reader audience of ages 4-8.

A Day with Bonefish Joe
Elizabeth Howard, author
Diana Wege, illustrator
David R. Godine, publisher
P. O. Box 450, Jaffrey, New Hampshire 03452
9781567925340, $16.95,

Filled with stunning paintings of scenes near Harbour Island of the Bahamas, "A Day with Bonefish Joe" celebrates the unusual angling sport of ocean fishing for bonefish, which are caught and released near Harbour Island. Flossie is a curious girl who observes Bonefish Joe, a special marine guide who takes tourists ocean fishing for bonefish. Flossie asks Bonefish to take her fishing in his boat, and he agrees if she gets her mother's permission. Flossie's mother explains that Bonefish Joe only takes rich, paying passengers fishing in his boat. But Flossie's mother later grants her permission for Flossie's fishing expedition after she talks to Bonefish Joe. First, Flossie must go to church with her mother, but she may wear her red shorts and sneakers. Flossie is eager and excited to go ocean fishing with Bonefish Joe. She sees a sea turtle and starfish in the water, and later they sail to the sandy flats to look for bonefish. Once there, Bonefish teaches her to cast with a fishing rod, singing quietly to the bonefish, "Bonefish, bonefish, where are you? You must be on the sandy flats, Or hiding in a cove. But, I'm a coming, Where you've been diggin...Wiggle jiggin', wiggle jiggin'..." Flossie is amazed to discover how hard the bonefish can pull on her line. The bonefish is very strong for its size. Finally Bonefish Joe helps her pull in the bonefish and net and weigh it. He explains to Flossie that bonefish are the fastest and boniest fish in the water, and people love to catch them and release them for the sport experience. Flossie knew she would always treasure her wonderful day in the peaceful boat catching bonefish with Bonefish Joe. Bonefish Joe is a real person who gently instructs many people in the art of patience, and catching and releasing bonefish.

The Girl Who Saved Yesterday
Julius Lester, author
Carl Angel, illustrator
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547248, $16.99,

"The Girl Who Saved Yesterday" is a powerful, poetic fable that continually erupts from its paper pages of living images and tender, reverent deep thoughts. Not just the characters, even the images, thoughts and ideas portrayed are larger than life, mega-dreams of immense power capable of great healing or great harm if neglected or misused. A thrilling wedding of images and narrative inspires the reader to rise to the powerful visions conveyed in "The Girl Who Saved Yesterday." Peopled with a powerful black young heroine, many stern but loving trees and animals, plus living stones on a mountain forgotten by a village who abandoned their savior, the girl the trees named Silence, the story erupts like lava with rainbows. A need for memory and meaning, for honoring, for stories of history, for Yesterday, is at the core of the quest of "The Girl Who Saved Yesterday." This beautiful book may be too large for small minds to comprehend easily. However, children will adjust to its powerful cadences and compelling rhythms with joy and anticipation. It is a story of the need for human wisdom, for memory, for the most basic honoring of ancestors, for ceremony for the forgotten past. "The Girl Who Saved Yesterday" breaks barriers, boundaries, and expectations and leaps beyond to a space where all things have meaning and deserve to be loved. It is a soul-enlarging journey.

Karen Kilpatrick, author
Tara Louise Campbell & Matthew Wilson, illustrators
Nina Charles Publishing
9781938447198, $10.95,

This award-winning series encourages development of imagination, vision, character, compassion, and more in young children. Peopled with young boys and girls of different skin colors and different dreams, every page is a delight to explore. Sliding down rainbows, diving with sharks, that colors can change, swinging from stars, riding fast cars, bouncing on clouds, anything that can be imagined is possible. Join Danza, Sage, Lulu, Ella, Carmin, Xavy and Cameron to discover new ways to explore the world of dreams together. Additional ideas for sparking young imaginations are suggested at the end, with the special admonition to readers to keep dreaming! This positive, imaginative series encourages all sorts of social/emotional levels of learning and education through play, with countless bright, happy illustrations of dream-fulfilling activities and experiences.

Katrina McKelvey, author
Kirrili Lonergan, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing Pty Ltd.
9781921966828, $17.99,

"Dandelions" is a magical story about finding beauty to celebrate in the moment, even if the moment is tear-dimmed. Celebrating a tender, caring bond between a father and his daughter, "Dandelions" tells a story of a girl who tries to stop her father from mowing the yard and her favorite plants, the dandelions. She is too late and tries to explain to her father that to her, the dandelions are not just weeds, but beloved, fuzzy, the color of the sun, and magical. Her father understands and takes time with her. Together they find some white dandelion puffy seed balls, and they make a special ceremony out of blowing all the parachuted seeds away into the breeze. They imagine all the special places each seed will fly over, past roses, poppies, sunflowers, weeping willows, oak tree canopies, among hot air balloons, perhaps finally to be collected by the sun. When the girl asks her father where the dandelion seeds really go, he gives her a magical answer. Beautifully illustrated with delicate, whimsical water colors, "Dandelions" is a story to share for generations.

The Not-So-Right Day
Wiley Blevins, author
Elliot Kreloff, illustrator
Red Chair Press
Rocking Chair Kids
PO Box 333, South Egremont, MA 02158
9781634400831, $11.25,

"The Not-So-Right Day" is a creative story for children ages 1-5. The Rocking Chair Kids series emphasizes the concept that all children, "no matter what challenges face them, have an inherent potential to become leaders who bring positive changes to their communities and those around them." Especially written for children ages 1-5, "The Not-So-Right Day" compares and contrasts the daily behavior of Milo and Iggy, two brothers who are very different. Milo is neat and clean and likes to keep all things in order, including his daily routine of getting up, bathed and dressed, and preparing to play outside. Iggy, in contrast, likes to do things quite differently. He takes harum scarum baths, makes messy sandwich bread towers, and wears his socks outside his boots to play outside. Milo tells him often "That's not right." But Iggy seems to feel his approaches get the job done with more fun, so to speak. With considerable tact and adjustment to their differences, Milo makes comments like," I guess it will keep your boots warm, but that's not right." The final message is that even though Milo thinks that Iggy had a mixed -up, not-so-right day, Iggy is his brother and he loves him, and that feels.... just right! Pleasantly colorful illustrations display the brothers' many differences in appearance and style in humorous detail.

The Hueys in What's the Opposite?
Oliver Jeffers
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780399257704, $17.99,

The Hueys in What's the Opposite? provides a fun picture book account of some unusual opposites - such as lucky/unlucky, here/there, on/off, and more. Spiced by the presence of fun Hueys illustrations and very simple words, this picture book story takes the idea of 'opposites' in a new direction and creates a satisfyingly fun result, especially recommended for parent/child read-aloud as discussions of 'opposites' will surely ensue.

Over-Scheduled Andrew
Ashley Spires
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770494845, $16.99,

Over-Scheduled Andrew provides the fun tale of a small chickadee, Andrew, who has undertaken too much when he joins the drama club, debate club, dance and karate classes, and more. Everyone wants him and he's learning too much: something has to go when he finds he has no time for anything important, let alone his friendships. A fun story of balancing one's interest ensures, perfect for young readers to absorb before life's demands get in the way.

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Matthieu Sylvander's The Battle of the Vegetables (9780544359420, $15.99) presents a peaceful story of a vegetable garden which lives in peace and quiet - or is it? Under their calm appearance the veggies are having adventures and are filled with rampaging emotions. All this is hidden until a stranger pays attention to them, claiming to be something they haven ever seen before. Is he a friend - and does he have clues to understanding the world? As leeks, carrots and mixed vegetables have different adventures, their calm existence takes on a whole new meaning in this fun, gentle story. Pamela Zagarenski's The Whisper (9780544416864, $17.99) tells of a little girl who receives a book filled only with pictures, and discovers that it's up to her imagination to provide the words and story line in this gentle celebration of the wordless picture book and its possibilities. Can she imagine a good story? What would be its title, its characters, and its plot? Gorgeous drawings accompany a fun exploration.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Molly Bang's When Sophie's Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt (9780545788311, $17.99) provides a new emotion-driven story to accompany the author's prior three Caldecott Honor and other award-winning books, and tells of Molly Bang's problems when someone stomps on her feelings. How can she overcome teasing, shame and anger to trust in her own feelings? Another fine Molly story addresses a common dilemma young kids will find familiar, providing one girl's solution to the problem. Mary Lyn Ray's A Lucky Author Has a Dog (9780545518765, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Steven Henry as it explores an author whose writing efforts are supported by her dog. But how lucky is she, to have such assistance? A whimsical story emerges, holding some unexpected twists. Mina Javaherbin retells a Rumi poem in Elephant in the Dark (9780545636704, $17.99), which tells what happens when a village faces a mysterious beast that has come from India. One by one the villagers enter the dark barn to see it - and each emerges with quite a different perspective. Good reading skills will lend to appreciation of this retelling.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Ancient & Epic Tales From Around the World
Heather Forest, author
Susan Gaber, cover page illustrator
August House, Inc.
3500 Piedmont Road, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30305
9781941460351, $29.95,

"Ancient & Epic Tales From Around the World" is a wide ranging collection of retold wisdom tales from many world cultures, for a youth readership audience. Some of the sources include "Gilgamesh (Mesopotamia-Sumerian)," Homer (Greek)," "Aesop's Fables (ancient Greek)," "Poetic Edda (Iceland-Norse mythology)," "Beowulf (England)," "The Fenian Cycle (Ireland)," "One Thousand and One Nights (Persia)," "The Mahabhrata (India)," "Yuch-fu Poems (China)," "The Water Monster and the Water Lily (Australian/Aboriginal)," "The Pyramid Texts (Egyptian)," "The Popol Vuh (MesoAmerican)," and more. Clear, succinct summaries of key turning points from ancient tales are presented in exciting narrative style. Extensive notes and bibliography material are presented at the end of the collection, which is the first volume of a trilogy planned for the middle school or young adult audience. This collection is very highly recommended, with its stunning award-winning authorship and fine presentation.

A Dublin Fairytale
Nicola Colton, author/illustrator
O'Brien Press
c/o Dufour Editions, Inc.
P.O. Box 7, Chester Springs, PA 19425
9781847177742, $18.00,

"A Dublin Fairytale" is a unique, original revisitation of the story of Little Red Riding Hood with a mischievous, Irish twist. Presented with sun-splashed, eccentric illustrations in a gently muted rainbow palette, "A Dublin Fairytale" follows the journey of Fiona and her cat to buy supplies at the Witches' Market for her Granny, who is sick. Fiona is warned by her mother to not get delayed by anyone, but to explain that she is in a hurry. Fiona first encounters a disguised giant in St Stephen's Green forest. Although she is frightened, Fiona offers to help the giant free his foot from a thorn bush, then travels on. Off in the distance is seen a wolf pedaling his bicycle. On the Ha'penny Bridge past the Trinity College of Sorcery, Fiona meets a large orange troll, who growls at her. Although he is scary, the troll apologizes to Fiona, telling her his throat is sore, so she offers him a cough drop from her pocket. Off in the distant river a sailor merman and strumming mermaid make watery music. At the Spire, who should appear to Fiona but a frightened purple dragon, whom Fiona aids by shooing away a pigeon that is frightening to the dragon. Finally Fiona reaches the Witches' Market and finds everything she needs, when all of a sudden, the lurking wolf on a bicycle rides by snatching her basket of goodies! Fiona cries loudly for help, and to the rescue come her giant, fantastic friends, the giant, the troll, and the dragon, each of them admonishing the wolf to stop and give back her basket! Amazed by her allies, the wolf confesses he is sorry, he just wanted some of Fiona's nice smelling cake. Fiona promptly invites the wolf and her new friends to share cake and witches' brew with her at her Granny's, and they accepted! An added tiny surprise is Fiona's hospitable green witch Granny, who fits right in with the other storybook characters. A delightful story, "A Dublin Fairytale" seems to incorporate the basic elements of a familiar story into a fresh new outlook of hopeful peaceable compromise. Children will love "A Dublin Fairytale" for its candor, freshness, and imagination.

The Sparrow and the Trees
Sharon Chriscoe, author
Susan Detwiler, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628556339, $17.95,

"The Sparrow and the Tree" is a beautifully illustrated retelling of an ancient Native American fable about how the trees lost their leaves in winter. Long ago all the trees kept their leaves through the cold, snowy winters. Then one day Papa sparrow injured his wing and was unable to fly south with his family at migration time. He hoped the trees would provide him with warm shelter through the harsh winter. But when Papa Sparrow asked the beautiful maple tree for shelter, she refused, saying she did not know him. Then Papa Sparrow flew to the Oak to make the same request. Once again, he was refused, who selfishly denied the shelter of his branches. Even the gentle Willow tree refused to help the injured sparrow by giving winter shelter in her hanging leaves. These three refusals saddened Papa Sparrow deeply, but he tried once more, asking for shelter from Spruce tree. Spruce said his needles were small and branches few, but he welcomed Papa sparrow to stay the winter and shelter with him, and also offered help from his friends Pine and Juniper. Juniper even offered delicious berries for Papa Sparrow to eat. Papa Sparrow was so grateful for their kindness, as he thanked Spruce, Pine, and Juniper. That night, when Winter Wind blew through the forest, all the leaves she touched fell to the ground, except for Spruce, Pine, and Juniper. Maple, Oak and Willow were angry and demanded an explanation. Even Juniper's berries were spared by Winter Wind. The answer is given by King Forest himself: "It is I who told Winter Wind to whisk away your leaves and food. I sat and watched each of you who have so much turn away a tiny sparrow in need of your help. Spruce, Pine, and Juniper have so little...yet they offered what they had. From this day on, when winter is near, all the trees except Spruce, Pine, and Juniper will lose their leaves and food." At the end of "The Sparrow and the Tree," additional educational information is given under For Creative Minds about chipping sparrow migration, bird watching tips, and birds and trees, and tree adaptations. There is also a sorting game page for evergreen or deciduous trees. Although the origin of this Native American folk tale is obscure, the outlines of it are a gift to be treasured. Decorative borders on all the illustration pages hint at Native American artistry and origins, although the exact source of the tale has been sadly lost. The illustrations showing human faces on the trees, the winter wind, and the forest king are also concepts that seem rooted in a Native American consciousness.

The Biography Shelf

To The Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space
Carmella Van Vleet & Dr. Kathy Sullivan, authors
Nicole Wong, illustrator
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580896443, $16.95,

"To the Stars!" is an exciting autobiography of Kathy Sullivan, first American Woman to walk in space. Growing up, young Kathy was excited by the thought of travel, maps, books, foreign languages and more. Airplanes flying over made her want to see the whole world. She was told that girls did not do jobs like being a spy, diplomat, or adventurer. But as an adult, Kathy knew she had to follow her own compass beyond the traditional allowed female roles of nurse or teacher. Growing up, Kathy loved fishing and swimming underwater, and she loved the water still when she was grown up. As a teenager, Kathy learned to pilot a plane. Much later, she learned to read another, more complex instrument panel "To the Stars!" continues a pattern comparing Kathy's early flight and learning experience (riding a Breezy aircraft) with later space astronaut experiences as an adult. "To the Stars!" ends with a dazzling illustration of Kathy taking her walk in space, the first American woman to do so. A further Note from Kathy encourages young female readers to follow their dreams and reach for their own stars. Additional biographical information about Kathy joins other American Women Firsts in NASA history in this inspiring nonfiction biographical book.

The Native American Shelf

Native People of Wisconsin
Patty Loew, author
Wisconsin Historical Society Press
816 State St., Madison, WI 53706
9780870207488, $15.95, 197pp,

"Native People of Wisconsin" is a fascinating, well outlined presentation of the history, makeup, and impact of eight major First Nations represented in Wisconsin from early tribal history to the present day. These include the Menominee, the Ho-Chunk, the Potawatomi, the Oneida, the Ojibwe Nations, and the Stockbridge-Munsee Community of Mohican Indians, and the Brothertown Indian Nation, as well as urban Indians Written by an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, who is also professor of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, "Native People of Wisconsin" traces tribal history, tribal traditions, and the relentless process of land removal for each Nation or group represented. Maps with burnt orange shaded areas trace the shrinking areas of land belonging to different Nations, as well as long journeys traveled by some groups such as the Stockbridge-Munsee from New York State to Wisconsin. Also the effect of boarding schools for Indian children and other assimilation programs is presented and explored for each group or Nation. Current First Nation Studies such as the program at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay is highlighted, with its base emphasis of the four values of tribal America: respect, relationships, reciprocity, and responsibility. Thus it presents a place where both Native and non-Native students can learn more about Native histories, languages, and cultures. A final chapter on Native People of Wisconsin Up Close lists brief biographies of different Native exemplary individuals, whose areas of expertise include boxing champion (Leone Peters, Menominee Nation), award-winning Ojibwe filmmakers (Jordan Principato, Shania Jackson, and Ahpahnae Thomas), scientist (Celeste Hockings, Lac du Flambeau), artist (Caleb Washington, St Croix Band, Rachel Baldwin, Brothertown Nation), athletes and scholars, and more. Written clearly and expressively with explanations of Native names, words, symbols, and traditions, "Native People of Wisconsin" could be an excellent Native history text for middle grade students or young adults. Adult readers who wish to supplement their First Nations contributions history will also find much of value to consider in the well researched and evenly presented pages of "Native people of Wisconsin."

Missing Nimama
Melanie Florence, author
Francois Thisdale, illustrator
Clockwise Press
201 Taylor Mils Drive North, Richmond Hill, Ontario L4C 2T5
9780993935145, $19.95,

"Missing Nimama" is a beautiful, sensitive story about a Canadian Aboriginal girl named Kateri who lost her mother, Aiyana Cardinal, to unknown, hidden violence and presumed death. Kateri grows up beloved by her nohkom, or grandmother. Growing up haunted by images of her mother, who is wanisin ("she is lost"), she is called kamamakos, or little butterfly. Kateri experiences happy milestones cared for by her loving nohkom, but she longs to know where her mother has gone, though she realizes, as she matures, that her mother is most likely passed on. The haunting sadness that fills a young life is underscored by the imagined mother's silent observation of her daughter's happy growth in the care of her grandmother. "Missing Nimama" is a story in tribute to the staggering number of Aboriginal women who have disappeared or been murdered; a total of 1181 indigenous women and girls are known to be murdered or missing between 1980 and 2012 in Canada. A glossary of Cree terms is included in the book's beginning, and further background is found on a final page titled Many Voices, which also directs readers to an educators' guide at, "Missing Nimama" is full of sensitive illustrations and is written in free verse narrative, with alternating voices of the mother and daughter. It is recommended for children ages 8 and up in grades 3 and older.

The Activity Shelf

Bakham Sayavong & Tam Sayavong
Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency
9781628577815, $41.50, PB, 152pp,

Gamibots are a unique papercraft developed by Bakham Sayavong for the amusement of children. It is a twist on origami, by creating a robot out of paper. Bakham imagined the idea for Gamibots when he was younger, and his family didn't have much money to spend on toys. Children can create easily create multiple Gamibots, even building an army to play with. Once the Gamibots are destroyed or worn down, they can be recreated. "Gamibots" is a 152 page compendium of illustrated, step-by-step paper-folding instructions that any child (or adult!) can follow. Offering hours and hours of inexpensive fun, "Gamibots" is an ideal 'rainy day' activity, perfect for birthday party entertainment, or for family fun anytime.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Eye of the Drone
Rebecca Murdock Merry, author
Bark & Howl Press
9780992041380, $17.99,

"Eye of the Drone: Wild Cats, Around the Globe with Suki and Finch" is volume two in an exciting new graphic novel series featuring a new type of eco-hero and heroine. The 8-volume series uses 3D digital characters inserted into globe trotting location scenic pictures to discover information about endangered species. "Eye of the Drone" travels through Russia, Mongolia, China, and Nepal to investigate the wild cats, including the Eurasian Lynx, Siberian Tiger, Snow Leopard, Asiatic Golden Cat, and Pallas's Cat. Starting at the North Pole, Suki and Finch accept a ride with Santa and his caribou/reindeer to Moscow. Accompanying Suki and Finch are their animal friends, Screech the Falcon and Tip the Canada Lynx. The pair, Suki Hiroshi and Finch Binoche are commissioned as junior explorers by Science World Canada. They are to investigate wild cat populations all across the globe including the size of populations, threats each species face from poachers, diminishing habitat, and encroachments from human development. On their mission Suki and Finch uncover many diverse sources of threat to the continued existence of the big cats, including a supercompany called K-POG, the Florida -based private corporate owner of the largest lease of world forests in the world(fictional, but feasible). K-POG uses data from a private satellite and drones to further expand their habitat destruction and expansion in forests around the globe. A dizzying barrage of exciting adventures are pictured and narrated with hundreds of color photos of scenic locations and big cats in habitat. Fortunately, Finch and Suki encounter helpful human traveling companions as they journey through Russia, Mongolia, China and Nepal in search of the wild cats in their amazing winter habitats. Danger abounds as well, and the pair are determined to gather their information to present to help protect the habitats of the large wild cats. Many detailed photos of all the rare wild cat species are incorporated into the narrative, along with related facts and attributes of the large cats. As Volume two draws to a close, Suki and Finch are amazed to discover they have a new secret supporter. She names herself Wu-the Woodland Fairy, and she has helped the pair of eco-heroes out of many close scrapes with her magic blurbs. Volume two ends with a promise of further adventures in Japan in the next installment, and also a series of Wild Cat Report Cards. Each species, the Eurasion Lynx, the Siberian Tiger, the Snow Leopard, the Asiatic Golden Cat, and Pallas's Cat is given a grade to reflect its threat to survival as a species, along with extra information, threats, IUCN status, and population trend. "Eye of the Drone" mixes fact and fiction to produce an exciting new type of graphic novel eco warrior saga that is enthralling, educational, and involving for young readers. A portion of all book sales of Bark & Howl Press is donated to protecting wild habitats.

Yakari: The Great Burrow
Derib + Job
Cinebook Ltd.
56 Beech Ave., Canterbury, Kent, CT4 7TA, UK
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781849182720 $11.95

Originally published in 1984, and superbly translated into English, Yakari: The Great Burro is a graphic novel about Yakari, a courageous Native American boy belonging to the Lakota tribe (called "Sioux" in the story). The animals of Yakari's world are intelligent and capable of speech; he talks with them frequently on his adventures, including his faithful horse Little Thunder. The colorful, cartoon-style artwork brings Yakari's adventures to life; he follows a mysterious call to discover that even carnivores can stumble into unexpected trouble in the open prairie! The story is complete and self-contained, but the Yakari series spans many individual graphic novels, with more to come. Yakari: The Great Burrow is an excellent choice for public library children's collections, and ideal for encouraging young people to read. Also highly recommended for all ages is the colorful "Lucky Luke Adventure" graphic novel series by Morris, about a wild west cowboy who shoots faster than his own shadow; in the 55th book "Lucky Luke: Arizona" (9781849182683, $11.95) Lucky battles stage coach robbers and a gang of cheaters, and in the 56th book "Lucky Luke: Under a Western Sky" (9781849182737, $11.95) Lucky Luke enters a horse race to earn some much-needed money, but his faithful steed Jolly Jumper is stolen just before the race begins!

The Music CD Shelf

Heartbeats: Feel Good Songs for Families
Mighty Mo Productions
$9.99 CD / $8.99 digital

Heartbeats: Feel Good Songs for Families is an all-ages music album perfect for the Valentine's Day season and beyond. The songs embody an array of musical styles from indie folk to surf rock and swing jazz, but all celebrate love, compassion, and forming connections. Heartbeats is a pure, joyous delight! The tracks are "Little Bitta You", "When One Became Two", "Light of Love", "Love is the Way", "Love Comes Back", "Love my Lovey", "Because I Love You", "Dear to Me", "L-O-V-E", "Our Love Fits", "Give Me a Hug", and "E's Lullaby". Also highly recommended is Mighty Mo Productions' previous CD, "Smiles Ahead: Cool Music for Cool Families" ($9.99).

I Believe in Little Things
Diana Panton
Little Things

I Believe in Little Things is the first children's music album by award-winning jazz vocalist Diana Panton. Her gentle, brightly beautiful singing enriches this wonderfully beautiful album. Some of the songs are beloved classics, or poems set to music; others such as "Sleep Is A Precious Thing" are Panton's original creation. A treasure for the young and young at heart, I Believe in Little Things has a soothing tone that makes it especially ideal to play just as bedtime approaches. Highly recommended! The tracks are "In a World of My Own" (3:58), "Alice in Wonderland" (5:38), "Pure Imagination" (4:16), "Imagination" (3:32), "Sing" (4:42), "I'm Going To Go Back There Someday" (3:20), "The Rainbow Connection" (3:19), "Little Things" (2:48), "When You Wish Upon A Star" (5:49), "Halfway Down The Stairs" (2:12), "Everybody Sleeps" (3:38), "Sleep Is A Precious Thing" (4:54), "Hushabye Mountain" (4:14), and "Slumber My Darling" (2:27). 54 min., 47 sec.

Are You Listening?
The Not-Its!
Little Loopy Records

The sixth studio album by family-friendly indie rock band The Not-Its!, Are You Listening? is a lively, cheerful selection of songs with witty, carefree lyrics that mix humor with a high-energy beat. All ages can enjoy these get-up-and-move tunes, perfect for playing at car trips, family parties, and more. Inspired by finding the fun in everyday life, Are You Listening is highly recommended. The tracks are "Dance With Me" (2:14), "Donce with the Science Fair" (2:50), "Washington DC" (3:31), "Granddad Is a Spy" (2:18), "Don't Fear the Dentist" (2:14), "Traffic Jam" (3:30), "Bird on a Wire" (3:33), "Kid of the Week" (2:44), "Brain Freeze" (3:38), and "Bring Your Friends" (3:09).

I Chew
Hullabaloo Band
Hullabaloo Music
$12.00 CD / $9.99 digital

I Chew is the twelfth children's music CD by award-winning duo Hullabaloo, brimming with their unique style of wordplay, humor, and heart. The titular song "I Chew" is in honor of a panda named Gao-Gao at San Diego Zoo, who chewed so much bamboo that his teeth are worn down to almost nothing. A wide variety of guest artists contribute to "I Wear Pink", a song about giving children the freedom to express their individuality. All the songs share Hullabaloo's upbeat, lively sense of wonder. I Chew is just plain fun to share on car trips or children's gatherings; highly recommended. The tracks are "Birthday Fish" (1:16), "Senator John Arthur Clydesdale III" (0:57), "I Chew" (1:07), "Air-O-Plane" (1:13), "I Can't Let It Go" (1:39), "I Wear Pink" (2:06), "Day 16" (1:46), "Worm With Wings" (0:33), "Lucky Stars" (0:57), "Flowers On My Shirt" (1:58), "Yodel In My Head" (1:22), "Boring" (0:34), "Shake, Shake, Shake" (1:30), "Waterfront" (1:45), "You Are Loved" (1:04), and "You Are Loved (Reprise)" (1:16). 22 min.

The Christian Shelf

The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible
Siku, Richard Thomas, Jeff Anderson
Lion Hudson
c/o Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780745956176, $19.95, HC, 192pp,

The story of the Bible is a unique tale of origins and cosmic powers; of the ageless battle between good and evil; of human potential and human treachery; and of a Messiah -- a savior for the world. This is indeed the stuff that graphic novels are made of. Superheroes are the biggest comic genre of all, with many heroes having their origins in biblical characterization and imagery. "The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible" is the first Bible retelling to engage with the superhero genre and is a dynamic expression of the Bible's depth and power, produced in the style of Marvel Comics. You've heard of Spiderman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Now meet Earthman, Lawman, Warrior Man, and many others. With dynamic illustration using a range of styles, Siku (Old Testament) and Jeff Anderson (New Testament) bring the Bible stories alive for a new and graphically sophisticated generation. Presenting the Bible in the format of a graphic novel, "The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible" is very highly recommended for readers of all ages, but especially children ages 12 to 18. Indeed, "The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, family, church and community library Christian Studies collections.

Make Room
Laura Alary, author
Ann Boyajian, illustrator
Paraclete Press
P.O. Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
9781612616599, $15.99,

"Make Room: A Child's Guide to Lent and Easter" is a lovely Christian education text to help children understand the significance of Lent and Easter. Lent begins on February 10 this year, a close proximity to the joyous season of Advent and Epiphany. Such a short time between major holidays can make it difficult for children to grasp all that is being remembered and celebrated in the Christian calendar. "Make Room: A Child's Guide to Lent and Easter" helps children understand and prepare for Lent. Without talking down to kids of any age, "Make Room" conveys the importance of making time, space and room in our lives to be with God. The forty days of Lent are important to examine our choices, our lives, and whether what we say and do each day helps to make the world a better place. "Make Room" encourages children to take time to think and pray, saying '"The Kingdom of God is inside you." But it needs time and space to grow. (p. 12)' Children are encouraged to tell God they are sorry if they have done wrong, to be kind, to let angry thoughts go, and to forgive others. They are encouraged to go through their belongings and give away toys and clothing they no longer need for others to use. This is another exercise in making space. They are invited to pray the Lord's Prayer. Other activity ideas for Lent include making pretzel-like twisted rolls to remind them of crossed arms in prayer, or to plant seeds and wait for them to sprout. Children are encouraged to save money, plan and eat simple meals. " Lent is a time for emptying, for sharing, for giving away. It is good to make space. (p. 21)" The example of Jesus, who invited all kinds of people to the table, is paramount. It is a time to try to see others and act as we think Jesus would act. Finally, the significance of the days of Holy Week, including the Last Supper, (Maundy Thursday), Good Friday and the Passion of Jesus, and Easter Sunday and the resurrection are explored. "Make Room: A Child's Guide to Lent and Easter" is a wise children's book that gently explains some of the complexities of the whole season of Lent in moving, expressive words, inviting the searching and sharing and cleansing of our souls that are never too early to begin, or too late to start. Sensitively illustrated with seasonal images and explanations of the significance of liturgical colors of purple and white, "Make Room" guides a child's awareness of the season of sacrifice and prayer through familiar images of daily life as well as historical references to the life of Jesus.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Sounds of the Savanna
Terry Catasus Jennings, author
Phyllis Saroff, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628556322, $17.95,

"Sounds of the Savanna" is a sensory exploration of the world of communication patterns of night and day sounds that are made by creatures of the African savanna. An exciting sequence of described sounds, scenes, and actions unroll, bringing a day and night on the African savanna to life on the pages. Some of the sounds described are a lion's roar, the pounding hoofbeats of wildebeests, the trumpeting of elephants, the danger/alert signal cries of the vervet monkeys, the shrieks and grunts of a troop of baboons, the whinnying of zebras, the squeals of a spiny mouse, the high pitched sounds of the yellow-winged bat, and the soft contented purr of lion cubs when their mother brings home meat for them to eat. Then it is night, and once again all is quiet on the savanna. "Sounds of the Savanna" presents many animal noises as communication efforts, and in the added For Creative Minds Section, further explores the definition of sound waves. There are suggested activities called Sound Experiments, and Make Vibrations, plus causes and reasons for High squeaks and low rumbles. A sorting game is last, with pictures of animals of prey and numbered statements naming and describing the animal. "Sounds of the Savanna" is an excellent educational book for children in elementary to middle grades.

Camas & Sage
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426416, $12.00,

Camas & Sage: A Story of Bison Life on the Prairie is illustrated by Christina Wald and follows Camas the bison calf from birth to adulthood through several years on the prairie. As she grows and experiences the seasons, young readers learn about not only bison natural history, but how they were important to Native American life. Good reading skills or adult assistance will lend enjoyment to the detailed descriptions, which read like fiction but pack in bison natural history facts.

The World History Shelf

In the Fields and the Trenches
Kerrie Logan Hollihan
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
c/o Independent Publishers Group (dist.)
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613731307, $19.95, HC, 208pp,

When it started, many thought the Great War of 1914-1918 would be a great adventure. Yet, as those who saw it up close learned, it was anything but. "In the Fields and the Trenches: The Famous and the Forgotten on the Battlefields of World War I" by Kerrie Logan Hollihan traces the stories of eighteen young idealists swept into the brutal conflict, many of whom would go on to become well-known 20th-century figures in film, science, politics, literature, and business. Writer J. R. R. Tolkien was a signals officer with the British Expeditionary Force and fought at the Battle of the Somme. Scientist Irene Curie helped her mother, Marie, run twenty X-ray units for French field hospitals. Actor Buster Keaton left Hollywood after being drafted into the army's 40th Infantry Division. And all four of Theodore Roosevelt's sons (Kermit, Archibald, Quentin, and Theodore III) and his daughter Ethel served in Europe, though one of them did not return. "In the Fields and the Trenches" chronicles the lives of heroes, cowards, comics, and villains (some famous, some not) who participated in this life-changing event. Extensive original material, from letters sent from the front to personal journals, brings these men and women back to life. And though their stories are a century old, they convey modern, universal themes of love, death, power, greed, courage, hate, fear, family, friendship, and sacrifice. Very highly recommended for young readers ages 12 and up, "In the Fields and the Trenches" is especially appropriate for school and community library 20th Century Military History reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "In the Fields and the Trenches" is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.01).

Echoes from World War II
50 students, ages 9-14
The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration
PO Box 11343, St. Louis, MO 63105
9780996939454, $14.95, PB, 134pp,

The forty-six family stories comprising "Echoes from World War II: Young Writers Sharing Family Stories" are remembered and written by students age nine through fourteen, enhanced with illustrations by students in grades 4 to 8, and are true life stories family experiences drawn from Second World War battlefields, prison camps, and homes in twenty countries around the world. Passed down through generations, these compelling stories honor family members who courageously faced their challenges -- many bravely living out their beliefs and celebrating their blessings. Sharing these stories sends echoes of inspiration, strength, and courage throughout our world today. Simply stated, "Echoes from World War II" is a unique and highly recommended addition to school and community library 20th Century Military History collections and could well serve as a template for similar works by other groups of children around the country.

The Fiction Shelf

The Snow Car
Arthur Brood, author
Lindsey Bergsma, illustrator
Class Act Productions
9780979485114 $7.50 pbk / $TBA ebook

The Snow Car is a novel written especially for "reluctant reader" young boys; chapters are deliberately kept brief (3 to 7 pages each), and enhanced with "Did You Know?" fun facts about cars. Set in the fall of 1912, The Snow Car follows eleven-year-old Henry's adventures. When it seems that an early snowfall will keep the Model T automobile confined to the barn for the duration of winter, Henry has an innovative idea that could enable him to drive it in spite of season. Henry is well-known for his off-the-wall ideas, but when an outbreak of influenza cripples the town, could Henry's plan for the Model T help others in their hour of greatest need? A story about dreams, gumption, hard work, and courage, The Snow Car is a choice pick for public and school library YA fiction collections, highly recommended. "The Snow Car" is a sequel to "The Mud Hole" (9780979485107, $6.99) but the two novels do not need to be read in order; each story is complete by itself.

Etched in Lies
A. M. Hughes
Lodestone Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach, Alresford, Hants, SO24 9JH, UK
9781782799566, $12.95, PB, 248pp,

It looked like a paper cut, but sixteen-year-old Dylan Lord is discovering just how painful lies can be. Every lie she tells or hears causes physical pain. It isn't coincidence this started with Jack. He's there to teach her to be a "Fide"; to feel and heal lies. She wants to believe nothing is happening. A letter opener sliced her hand, not her mother's "I love you." The cuts opening on her arms as she walks through her high school were already there, but it's not working. Every wound she suffers Jack does too. When a lie rips open across Dylan's stomach, she must admit she isn't fine. She never asked for this. She doesn't want to be a walking lie detector, but not all lies can be covered with Band-Aids. The lies she hasn't fixed are spreading across her body, and she isn't the only one suffering. Jack is growing weaker. She has to hear the truth to heal. If she doesn't hear the truth soon, someone is going to die. A carefully crafted novel, "Etched in Lies" is an absolutely absorbing read from beginning to end and clearly establishes author A. M. Hughes as an exceptionally talented writer. Very highly recommended for high school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Etched in Lies" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.29).

Inherit the Stars
Tessa Elwood
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762458400, $9.99, PB, 304pp,

As the youngest daughter of the House of Fane, Asa lives every day of her life in honor of both, for herself and her people. But as her kingdom's food and energy crisis peaks, Asa must find more to fuel Fane's survival. Taking the place of her older sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the prosperous House of Westlet, seems like a straightforward solution. Forging an unforeseen bond, however, leads to an unavoidable division of loyalties. One simple truth lies at the heart of the matter, and only Asa can decide which one to tell. Exceptionally well written and an inherently absorbing read from beginning to end, "Inherit the Stars" is author Tessa Elwood's impressive debut as a novelist and very highly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted for young readers ages 13 to 18 that "Inherit the Stars" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).

Through Flood and Fire
Anne Patton
Coteau Books
2517 Victoria Avenue, Regina, SK, Canada, S4P 0T2
9781550506402, $9.95, PB, 192pp,

After traveling thousands of miles, Dorothy Bolton is still getting used to her new home in Canada, and on the prairies no less. The Barr Colonists who arrived with Dorothy and her family are getting restless. Fire and flood consume homes and resources, and many promises made to them before leaving England have proven false. But Dorothy's father has always dreamed of having his own farm. So, with the help of Dorothy, her family and a community that comes together despite their different backgrounds, the Boltons set out to create a life for themselves on the vast prairie landscape. "Through Flood and Fire" by Anne Patton is an impressively crafted and fully entertaining novel written specifically for young readers ages 9 to 12, and students in grades 4, 5, and 6. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition for school and community library Juvenile Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Through Flood and Fire" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.48).

Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked
Maggie M. Larche
Leopold Press
9780692550373, $5.99, PB, 132pp,

Featherbrained, lovable Charlie Bingham just wants a peaceful day at school with Miss Walker, the teacher he loves. But when his best pal Brad accidentally steals Miss Walker's prize possession, an antique alarm clock, things get messy. Pretty soon, Charlie, Brad, and their friend Alyssa are racing to return the clock without being caught in a madcap adventure that's full of laughs! "Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked" by Maggie Larche is an exceptionally well written and rollicking great read from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for children ages 7 to 12 and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

The Wolf and the Shield
Sherry Weaver Smith, author
Nicholas McNally, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
9780819883568, $10.95, PB, 128pp,

Kieran is braver and stronger than most eleven-year-old boys. And ever since his father's death, he's been doing his best to take care of his mother and little brother. In fifth-century Ireland, though, there aren't many options. When Kieran rescues a wolf pup and meets Saint Patrick, his choices become even more difficult. Should he leave home to join Carrick's warriors? Will someone discover the wolf he's been hiding and kill it? But the hardest question for Kieran to answer is the one Patrick had asked him on a moonlit night: What does your heart hunt for? Join Kieran as he cares for an orphaned wolf pup and searches for a shield strong enough to protect everything-and everyone-he loves. Filled with well-researched facts about the people, animals, and customs of fifth-century Ireland, "The Wolf and the Shield" is deftly written and nicely illustrated historical adventure story for children ages 7-10. Very highly recommended for school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Wolf and the Shield" is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.95).

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics
Chris Grabenstein
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553510409, $16.99,

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics provides a fine sequel to Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and returns Kyle and his teammates to a new dilemma as game maker Luigi Lemoncello invites teams from across America to compete in the Library Olympics. When books begin to go missing from his library, the kids must join together - as well as readers - to follow clues and puzzles that led to solutions. Both prior fans and newcomers will find this packed with satisfying suspense and engrossing twists and turns.

Elemental Island
Kathy Hoopmann
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849056588, $19.95,

Readers age 8-13 will find an unusual and compelling read in Elemental Island, which tells of Astie, who has always been different from others. Her 12th birthday is about to arrive and she still hasn't made some important decisions - and is about to be diagnosed with Social Syndrome, until her chance encounter with a stranger in a flight machine introduces her to a strange new world. This captivating story of a young girl with Aspergers offers a first-person account that realistically portrays the world of a confused preteen.

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Eve Bunting's Forbidden (9780544390928, $17.99) tells of teen Josie, who has just lost both her parents and is sent to Scotland to live with a previously-unknown aunt and uncle in a small town, where everyone is distant and hostile. So when Eli appears and is kind to her, Josie is attracted to him despite warnings that he's forbidden. What secrets are being kept in the town? A terrible truth emerges that will change her life. Virginia Zimmerman's The Rosemary Spell (9780544445376, $16.99) tells of Rosemary and Adam, who find books an important part of their lives and who agree on most everything - until one old book is discovered that seems to change its contents. Is it magic? The book connects to a dangerous memory that holds the power to transform their lives and when Adam's older sister vanishes, it's up to Rosemary and Adam to probe the book's true powers to bring her back. A powerful mystery and supernatural thriller evolves. Sarah Beth Durst's The Girl Who Could Not Dream (9780344464971, $16.99) tells of Sophie, who loves the hidden shop beneath her parents' bookstore where dreams are bought and sold to strangers. Sophie's attraction to this world partially stems from the fact that she has never dreamed once; but when the shop's dreams are stolen and her parents are missing, she must tackle both family secrets and her own limitations to answer many long-held questions. Teens will find it filled with unexpected twists, and hard to put down.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Middle school readers will relish a different kind of story in Mary Downing Hahn's Where I Belong (9780544540668, $6.99), which tells of a talented young artist whose teachers and classmates bully him, and whose foster mother doesn't support his goals. His hidden tree house retreat in the woods is the only thing that gives him a sense of place and freedom - until he's brutally attacked and the feeling of being in a protected sanctuary vanishes. It's an enchanted forest where anything can happen - the good, and the bad. Katherine Paterson's The Same Stuff as Stars (9780544540309, $6.99) tells of Angel Morgan, whose dad is in hail and those mother has left her and her little brother Bernie at their great-grandmother's old Vermont farmhouse. Grandma can barely care for herself let alone two kids - so Angel, not yet twelve, is forced to take charge of everyone. How can she reach a better place? A stranger might hold the key. A beautiful story of survival and growth is enhanced by a celestial theme and a girl's desire to do more than exist.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Allan Woodrow's Class Dismissed (9780545800716, $16.99) outlines the dilemmas faced by Class 507, the worst class Ms. Bryce has ever taught. In fact, they're so bad that she quits teaching in the middle of a lesson and walks out - which means that the class is teacher-free, when the office doesn't find out. As long as nobody snitches, they can remain so - but keeping a teacherless class a secret proves more challenging than they could imagine as a series of disasters test their ability to work together, keep a secret, and have fun despite it all. A fine middle school read evolves into an unusually whimsical story that's also recommended for advanced elementary-level readers. Edwidge Danticat's Untwine (9780545423038, $16.99) tells of sixteen-year-old identical twins who are close, especially and even as they family faces divorce. When disaster strikes, one twin is forced to take a closer look at her life, relationships, and choices if she is ever to find peace and recovery and understand the real connections between herself and her twin sister. Alyssa Sheinmel's Faceless (9780545676014, $17.99) explores what happens when a teen who is out jogging one morning experiences a freak accident, loses her face, and qualifies for a rare new medical treatment that will give her back a changed identity. Maise knows who she is - a girl who runs track, does well at school, and loves her boyfriend and her best friend. Now everything's changed, and she must re-invent herself and create a new, different life in the process. Faceless is a riveting novel that's hard to put down, and will draw both high school and adult readers with its captivating saga. Brian Selznick's The Marvels (9780545448680, $32.99) is a weighty read recommended for mature teens to adults. Well over six hundred pages pack in two stand-alone stories: the first told through nearly four hundred pages of continuous black and white pictures; the second in prose. Gilt edging wraps a book that begins on a ship at sea in 1866 when Billy Marvel survives a shipwreck and finds work in London, where his family makes a name in the acting business for generations, and moves to 1900, when a young actor is banished from the stage. Nearly a century later a runaway seeking refuge with his uncle in London uncovers a strange house, ghosts from the past, and a story that leads him to search out the truths of his own hidden heritage. All are fine young adult reads.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Two fine new titles are recommended picks for kids who have moved past the picture book level into chapter books, but who still look for easier readers. Kevin Sherry's The Yeti Files: Monsters on the Run (9780545556194, $8.99) tells of a lonely Loch Ness monster who is seeking a friend. But when Blizz and his team time-travel millions of years into the past in search of a sea monster buddy, they uncover more than enough trouble during the search. Black and white full-page cartoon-style illustrations on every page document a funny set of encounters. DavPilkey's twelfth novel in the Captain Underpants series, The Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-a-Lot (9780545504928, $9.99) tells of George, Harold, and their doubles Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold, who switch roles between school and play so nobody gets stuck doing too much drudge work - until a nasty gym teacher's mind control talents change their fellow students into obedient drones. It's up to the fabulous four to confront her world-changing and dangerous skills in this latest fine Captain Underpants adventure, which includes full-page black and white cartoon drawings throughout.

The Dance Shelf

How They Became Famous Dancers
Anne Dunkin
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781508554035, $13.95, PB, 136pp,

Anne Dunkin has been a dance educator for most of her life. As a professional dancer, she co-founded her own company, Qwindo's Window, which introduced dance to thousands of young people and their teachers throughout the eastern/midwestern United States for twelve years. Specifically written for young readers, "How They Became Famous Dancers: A Dancing History" Annie tells the story of twelve famous dancers (six women and six men) from different parts of the world. Spanning the seventeenth into the twenty-first centuries, each biographical sketch is placed within the subject's historical and cultural context. The dancers include: Louis XIV, John Durang, Marie Taglioni, William Henry 'Juba' Lane, Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Laban, Doris Humphrey, Michio Ito, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Pearl Primus, Amalia Hernandez, and Arthur Mitchell. Of special note is that each individual chapter includes "Create a Dance" giving young readers the opportunity to dance themselves based on each dancer's style. A unique and impressively written, organized and presented history of dance, "How They Became Famous Dancers" is very highly recommended for both school and community library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "How They Became Famous Dancers" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans
Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder, author
Illustrations by Mary Grandpre
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385392310 $6.99 pbk
9780385392303 $10.99 ebook

Now available in both paperback and ebook editions, A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans is a fantasy novel and the first collaboration of award-winning author Laurence Yep, and award-winning nature writer Joanne Ryder. Although the reading level is intended especially for young people ages 8-12, the unique humor and fairy-tale twists of A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans have a strong appeal to all ages! The seemingly mundane city of San Francisco is home to fantastic hidden creatures as well as ordinary humans; one of these is the ill-tempered, seemingly immortal Miss Drake, who cherishes humans as pets. But Miss Drake's latest human, a strong-willed ten-year-old girl named Winnie, seems to think that Miss Drake is a pet! Can a cross-species friendship blossom amid such pride and prejudice? When Winnie's sketchbook drawings suddenly come to life and wreak mischief, both Winnie's intelligence and Miss Drake's magic are vital to clearing up the potential chaos! Lighthearted and just plain fun, A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans is highly recommended for dragon fans everywhere, and public or high school library YA fantasy collections in particular.

Zoonauts: The Secret of Animalville - Far Beyond the Wild
Richard Mueller
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781496962812 $27.99 hc
9781496962805 $16.95 pbk / $4.99 Kindle

First in a series intended for young adults ages 8-13, Zoonauts: The Secret of Animalville - Far Beyond the Wild is a fantastic adventure about super-empowered animals, each based on the real-life animals who pioneered the international space program. Together, the Zoonauts travel to different cultures and continents, all the while fighting to protect humanity from an alien invasion, led by the dragon-like Scout Pilots Kornblend and Fishwick. Upbeat and exciting, Zoonauts seamlessly weaves educational material into the adventure, subtly encouraging young readers to learn more about science, technology, engineering, and math. Highly recommended!

Wondry Dragon Finds a Home
Joan Marie Verba
FTL Publications
PO Box 1363, Minnetonka, MN 55345-0363
9781936881444, $6.87, PB, 66pp,

Do you like dragons? The follow the adventures of Wondry Dragon as she finds a new home with her new human friend, Rhea in Joan Marie Verba's delightful story, "Wondry Dragon Finds a Home". Rhea and her mom and dad have never had a dragon in the house before, and they all learn what Wondry can and cannot do. Rhea and Wondry play together, help out their neighbors -- and try to stay out of trouble. Rhea can never tell what Wondry will do next because Wondry is always surprising her with what dragons can do. Wondry will surprise young readers ages 6 to 8 as well! A children's chapter book story suitable for students in grades 1-3, "Wondry Dragon Finds a Home" is very highly recommended for both community and elementary school libraries. For children's personal reading lists it should be noted that "Wondry Dragon Finds a Home" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

The Midnight Games
David Neil Lee
Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd.
280 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8R 2L3
9781894987967, $12.00, PB, 200pp,

When Nate sneaks into Ivor Wynne Stadium to check out the midnight games that are keeping his neighborhood up at night, he knew something wasn't right, but he had no idea how strange, and deadly, things would be. It turned out that Nate had snuck into one of the rituals of the Resurrection Church of the Ancients, and soon his days and nights are dogged by ancient books, giant centipedes and geometric curses that bring death down upon you in the form of glowing hounds. "The Midnight Games" is a thrilling young adult novel, set in gritty, post-industrial Hamilton. Author David Neil Lee blends the rich horror of H. P. Lovecraft with the pace of a modern mystery. "The Midnight Games" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections for young readers ages 12 to 18.

The Wish Twister
Devi Anderson Anton
Whimsiquill Books
9780985908959, $7.99, PB, 140pp,

Finn Grant just wants to dodge school bullies and get home to his new sleuth game, Haunted Holmes, but then he finds a most peculiar card for his 11th birthday--an eye mysteriously appears on the cover, along with an urgent appeal for help. When a door in the illustration opens, Finn taps it and he's whisked to the magical land of Capriliya--and to his first real case. Someone has stolen a wish-fulfilling machine and wished people gone, and Finn must find the disappeared and solve the mystery before the thief creates even worse disasters. As Finn and his friends follow the trail of clues, the culprit swiftly gains unlimited power, vaporizing or warping cities. The case seems hopeless. Finn is stumped--how can he discover the identity of the demolisher, outsmart him and stop him before the catastrophes spread to Finn's own world? "The Wish Twister" is a wonderfully entertaining and magical adventure story specifically written by Devi Anderson Anton for children ages 7 to 12. Very highly recommended for both school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Wish Twister" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

Alexandra Bracken
c/o Hyperion Books for Children
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781484715772, $17.99,

Passenger opens a new series of time-traveling adventure and tells of a teen violin prodigy who is drawn back into time and into a new world and who faces a mysterious stranger sent to bring her back. Nicholas seems to know all the answers to the time travel scenario, and introduces yet another time traveler who holds a valuable object they must obtain. Present and past evens, clearly marked by chapter headings, dissolve into one another in this engrossing timeslip saga recommended for mature teens to adult readers.

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle
Janet Fox
Viking Penguin
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780451476333, $16.99,

What is the mystery surrounding The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle? At first twelve-year-old Katherine Bateson believes there are likely logical reasons for what's happening at Rookskill Castle, where she and her siblings have been sent to escape the London Blitz. But given ghosts, nighttime shrieks, an overbearing castle mistress, and the ongoing disappearance of classmates, it soon turns out that much more is going on than mortal minds can comprehend. Add a clockwork evil sorceress and a series of dangerous truths and you have a compelling saga that's hard to put down and nearly impossible to predict.

The Self-Help Shelf

Grieving for the Sibling You Lost
Erica Goldblatt Hyatt, DSW
Instant Help Books
c/o New Harbinger Press
5674 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609
9781626252493 $16.95 pbk / $8.99 Kindle

Erica Goldblatt Hyatt, DSW (assistant professor and dept. chair of psychology, Bryn Athyn College) presents Grieving for the Sibling You Lost: A Teen's Guide to Coping with Grief & Finding Meaning After Loss, a helpful guide written especially for teenagers. Chapters speak directly to young adults, and cover matters such as the symptoms of grief, understanding coping styles, and much more. "It's always helpful to be open to what others are thinking and feeling and to support them in whatever they're going through. But that doesn't mean you have to believe their perspective represents some sort of absolute truth." Measured, compassionate, and fully grounded in modern psychology as well as everyday wisdom, Grieving for the Sibling You Lost is highly recommended especially for school and public library collections.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Crime Cats: Missing
Written and illustrated by Wolfgang Parker
Edited by Michele Doughty
Rogue Agent Publishing
9780615984698 $8.99 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

The first novel in the "Crime Cats" mystery series written especially for young readers ages eight to twelve, Crime Cats: Missing is about Jonas Shurmann, an eight-year-old boy with an amazing superpower - he can hear what cats are saying! Cats are vanishing all over the neighborhood, and at first Jonas doesn't care because he has his own problems (such as having to wear a ridiculous chicken costume to his class Halloween party). But when Jonas' power awakens, he makes friends with two feline detectives CatBob and Neil Higgins; all three of them grow concerned about the missing cats. Their search takes them to a haunted mansion - is there a ghost of a chance that the disappeared cats can be rescued? A handful of black-and-white illustrations enliven this spooky mystery-adventure, with an underlying moral about the importance of compassion and empathy. Highly recommended as a gift for young cat lovers, and for public and school library children's fiction collections! Additional novels in this ailurophile series include "Crime Cats: The Dusenbury Curse" (9780692318065, $8.99 pbk / $2.99 Kindle) and "Crime Cats: The Deadly Scarab" (9780692562277, $9.50 pbk). A portion of the profit from each new copy of "Crime Cats" sold will go to the Crime Cats Relief Fund, a private charity that dispenses grants to help with medical care expenses for Clintonville's community cats.

The Environmental Shelf

National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A., Centennial Edition
Sarah Wassner Flynn and Julie Beer
National Geographic Kids
1145 17th Street N.W.
Washington, DC, 20036-4688
9781426323157 $24.90 library binding
9781426323140 $14.99 pbk

Released in a special "Centennial Edition" celebrating the 100th anniversary of America's national parks, National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A. is a fantastic tour of parks and preserves across the United States, with striking full-color photography of natural scenes or wildlife on almost every page. Intended for young readers ages 8-12, National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A. encompasses history, trivia, appreciation for nature, and a vast array of government or public websites where enquiring minds can learn more. A choice pick for public and school library young adult nonfiction collections!

Books in Series

Inventing the Internet
Cynthia Kennedy Henzel, author
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781634074575, $28.50, 24pp,

"Inventing the Internet" is a photo-illustrated educational resource about the source, invention, and impact of the internet, for young readers age 7-8 and up. Tracing the early beginnings of the internet and computers to the 1950's, important inventors mentioned are J.C. R. Lickliker, Paul Baran, and Donald Davies. Together their ideas moved forward the early computer network of communication systems, developed through ARPA in the U. S. (Advanced Research Projects Agency). From ARPAnet to internet traces the early development of information sharing through routing on small computers called nodes. Eventually the names of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs are introduced, along with their Apple II computer system (1977). Steve Case also pioneered the idea of social media, and America On Line (AOL) in the late 1980's. But in 1991 a talented Swiss inventor named Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web, which is different from the Internet. The Internet connects computers, while the Web connects people. Berners-Lee did not sell his invention or make money from it. He gave it to the world. Further developments trace the beginning of Web browsers, blogs, and the Google system, invented by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, students at Stanford University. Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger started the Web site Wikipedia, like a free encyclopedia online. Tiny chips now contain complex computers, and have changed the way of communicating all things now and into the future. "Inventing the Internet" has a Glossary page at the end, plus a list of related books and web sites for further information. Other titles from this innovative juvenile Momentum series that are highly recommended include: "Inventing the Skateboard" (9781634074599, 28.50), by Christine Zuchora-Walske, "Inventing the Snowboard" (9781634074605, 28.50), by Carolee Lane, "Inventing the Television" (9781634074612, 28.50), by Carolee Lane, "Inventing the Video Game" (9781634074629, 28.50), by Heather Adamson, "Inventing the Cell Phone" (9781634074551, 28.50), by Jodie Mangor, "Inventing the Hybrid Car" (9781634074568, 28.50), by Christine Petersen, and "Inventing the Personal Computer" (9781634074582, 28.50), by Angie Smibert.

The Year of the Monkey
Oliver Chin, author
Kenji Ono, illustrator
PO Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94131
c/o Consortium (dist.)
1045 Westgate Drive, Suite 90, St. Paul, MN 55114
9781597021180 $15.95 hc / $9.59 Kindle

The Year of the Monkey is the eleventh picturebook in the "Tales from the Chinese Zodiac" series about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac (each of which is identified with a year and certain personality traits), and the features bilingual English and Chinese text. The cheerful story follows young Max, child of the legendary Monkey King and his devoted Queen. Max attends school, where in addition to learning how to study (a challenging task), he also discovers the joy of sports - including a unique sport called "Jianzi", or shuttlecock. The sport involves hitting a feathered weight back and forth over a net, but using one's hands is not allowed! Max practices his skill, and learns how to play as a team with a human boy; together, they decide to test their limits at a Jianzi tournament! Exuberant color illustrations of both humans and anthropomorphic animals pepper this lighthearted, can-do adventure about finding inner strength and wholeheartedly pursuing one's passions.

How Do Animals Communicate?
Sara Howell, author
Britannica Educational Publishing
Rosen Educational Services
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781680480054, $14.95, 32pp, 32 pages

"How Do Animals Communicate?" is a color photo-illustrated junior educational volume about different ways animals communicate. From the series "Let's Find Out! Animal Life," this handy educational text presents fascinating information and observations about animal communication patterns such as using their voices and bodies to make recognized sounds and signals. Different animals, such as or ca whales and white -crowned sparrow also use different dialects. Patterns of color on feathers and fur are other ways animals and birds communicate with each other. Cobras use a certain posture with neck hoods flared to communicate threat to other animals. Fireflies use flashing light patterns, and many mammals use grooming and touch to strengthen bonds of friendship or family. Animals also use scent, and pheromones to communicate territory or availability to each other. Humans and animals have also established ways of communicating, especially with dogs and domesticated mammals. Animal expression can be divided into four types: sound, touch, scent, and display/movement. Colorful photographs and informative sidebars aid this attractive presentation. A helpful Glossary is provided at the end, plus a section of resources titled For More Information. "How Do Animals Communicate?" is an excellent resource for students in grades 2-5. Also highly recommended are the following titles in the same series: "How Have Animals Evolved and Adapted?" (9781622759965, 14.95), by Jennifer A. Swanson, "How Do Animals Hunt and Feed?" (9781680480153, 14.95), by Jeanne Nagle, "What Is Animal Migration?" (9781680480108, 14.95), by Therese Shea, "What Is Animal Camouflage?" (9781680480009, 14.95), by Erin Staley, and "What Is Animal Behavior?" (9781622759910, 14.95), by Monique Vescia.

Riddle Rhymes
D. J. Panec, author
Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9781601152770 (hardcover), $9.95,

"Riddle Rhymes" is a pre-K to K level book for use with children who are readers or pre-readers. From the We Both Read educational series which encourage children to develop reading skills through interactive fun and learning, Riddle Rhymes asks the child riddle questions with rhyming answers in a reading partnership activity with a parent or educator. Each riddle question and answer is accompanied by a colorful photograph framed in a bright primary color. An example of this call and response game is "Where can you learn that rhymes with pool? ( turn the page to answer) School." The display of image and riddle is cleverly presented to pose a clear question or answer even to the child with no reading skills yet. This clever, inviting book is fun to page through and guess at, in the Parent Reads, Child Responds approach. Other books in the We Both Read series also use the Parent Read, Children Find approach or a more complex and a less complex page for both parent and child to read on the same material. "Riddle Rhymes" is sure to promote awareness of rhyme, as well as critical thinking skills, all while having fun together. Also highly recommended in this series are the following We Both Read titles: "Can You Find (9781601152794, $9.95)," by Sindy McKay, illustrated by Matt Loveridge, and "How Many? (9781601152916, $9.95)," by D. J. Panec, illustrated by Katherine Blackmore.

Clothing in Different Places
Adrianna Morganelli, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778720102, $23.60, 24pp,

"Clothing in Different Places" is filled with color photographs of many people from many places wearing typical or festive clothing representative of their area and culture. Elementary school children are invited to research all about different types of clothes made from different materials in places around the world. Photographs of many exotic samples are tied to specific locations on a multicolored global map in the opening chapter, Our Global Community. The need for clothing is basic, but different types of clothing are preferred for different seasons, or climates. Extreme examples of clothing worn in places with very hot weather (such as the Sahara Desert) are compared/contrasted with examples of clothing from very cold climates, such as Nunavut, Canada, where the Inuit people were parkas of caribou or seal skin, lined with fur. Examples are shown of different countries' school clothes, work clothes, traditional clothing, uniforms, and ceremonial traditional clothing. Materials to make clothing vary widely from alpaca and other animal hair to silk, which is spun from cocoons of silkworms. Final pages contain Notes to Educators, with objectives, concepts, and discussion and activity suggestions, and additional resources listed in the Learning More section with books and websites listed. A Glossary lists vocabulary words used in the chapters of "Clothing in Different Places." Children are encouraged "to make global connections by understanding that even though people live in different kinds of climates and environments, people use clothing to meet the same basic need of comfort and protection (p. 22)." A Guided Reading Level M is indicated in this innovative series. Additional, highly recommended titles in the Learning About Our Global Community series include the following: "Birthdays in Different Places" (9780778720119, $23.60), by Lauren McNiven and Crystal Sikkens, "Schools in Different Places" (9780778720133, $23.60), by Lauren McNiven, "Transportation in Different Places" (9780778720140, $23.60), by Adrianna Morganelli, "Foods in Different Places" (9780778720096, $23.60), by Linda Barghoorn, and "Homes in Different Places" (9780778720126, $23.60), by Cynthia O'Brien.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

Young learners in grades 4-5 will find plenty to like about the 'Travel With the Great Explorers' series: recent additions profile four new explorers with biographical history sketches that support the Common Core State Standards for Reading Informational Text and Writing Standards, using a magazine-style format to attract even reluctant readers who normally find history boring or challenging. Each book includes primary source materials, plenty of colorful illustrations and sidebars of information, and 32 pages of detail suitable for report research, including an index, glossary of terms, and bibliography of web and hard copy resources. Explore with Francisco Pizarro (9780778717003, $27.60), John Franklin (9780778717034, $27.60), James Cook (9780778717010, $27.60) and John Cabot (9780778717027, $27.60) each offer discoveries, journeys, and exciting formats that analyze each explorer's discoveries, how and why they traveled, and what went right (or wrong) along the journey.

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

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