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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 27, Number 2 February 2017 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Health Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Board Book Shelf Writing/Publishing Shelf
Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf ABC Shelf
Counting Shelf Bilingual Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf American History Shelf Science Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Cookbook Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Sports Shelf
Books in Series    


Reviewer's Choice

My Brother Is Special: A Cerebral Palsy Story
Murray Stenton, author/illustrator
Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615993109, $15.95, www.LHPress.com

"My Brother Is Special" is a story about being the younger brother of a boy with cerebral palsy. All his life, the younger brother has been told, "Ethan is different than you," because he had brain damage as a baby, which gave him cerebral palsy. That means he will need help and special assistance to learn lots of things, like names, letters, walking, talking, almost every life activity. Written and creatively illustrated for young readers age 5-8 years, "My Brother Is Special" helps children learn to understand what it means to have a disability like cerebral palsy. Although there are many limitations and health problems, a person with cerebral palsy can learn, grow, eat, laugh, and have fun. An although there are many sacrifices and adaptations that a younger brother may need to make, he can still learn to love his older brother who is special. "My Brother Is Special" is a helpful book for families and friends and siblings of children who have cerebral palsy, assisting them in helping, understanding and accepting the total picture of a person with this particular disability.

The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook
Christopher Lloyd, Nick Walton, Andy Forshaw
What on Earth Publishing
www.whatonearthbooks.com
9780993284762, $19.95, HC, 24pp, www.amazon.com

The thirty-eight plays of William Shakespeare that are featured in "The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook" are presented as masterpieces simultaneously performed in front of children ages 6 to 14 on a 6-foot fold-out timeline set in the iconic Globe Theatre. Kids in grades 1 through 9 can spot the ghosts, hunt for the murderers, discover the poison, and revel in Elizabethan romance as each play unfolds. Concise plot summaries, key textual quotes, and carefully illustrated scenes help pinpoint the action. The timeline also features essential moments in Shakespeare's life providing a unique narrative context to the works of the world's favorite bard. "The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook" also includes an easy-to-read chronicle that reports on more than forty seminal moments from the timeline in the style of a newspaper. Other features include a page of letters to the editor, a fifty-question quiz, and pocket magnifier. Developed in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, "The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook" is unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library collections.

Roar and Sparkles Go to School
Sarah Beth Durst, author
Ben Whitehouse, illustrator
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
www.runningpress.com
9780762459865, $16.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Roar is worried about his first day at school. He's worried that he'll have to do really hard things, like molt his scales and fly over a volcano. And what if his teacher doesn't like dragons? Big sister Sparkles reassures Roar That school is fun. And when the first day of school arrives, Roar finds his worries melt away. He meets new friends, plays dragon games, listens to fun stories, and finds a way to thank his sister for support. Charmingly illustrated by Ben Whitehouse and a picture book story with an deftly presented underlying message by children's book author Sarah Beth Durst, "Roar and Sparkles Go to School" is an ideal and highly recommended read for young children ages 3 to 6 -- especially those boys and girls dealing with first-day-of-school anxieties. "Roar and Sparkles Go to School" is original, entertaining, and certain to be a useful and popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Our Friendship Rules
Peggy Mosse & Dee Dee Tardif, authors
Alison Imre Geis, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
www.tilburyhouse.com
9780884482918, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Dazzled by the glamour of a new girl at school, Alexandra is willing to do anything to get to be her friend -- including betray the secrets of her best friend, Jenny. When she realizes what she's done, can Alexandra make things right? Kids are under a lot of pressure to fit in. Sometimes bowing to this pressure forces them to betray their own ideas of what is right and wrong. Momentarily dazzled by the glamor of a new girl at school, Alexandra tattles her best friend Jenny's biggest, most important secret in order to win a place within the cool crowd. When she sees how she's hurt Jenny's feelings, she wonders how she'll regain the relationship she values far more than being invited to sit with the popular girls. "Our Friendship Rules" is both a lyrical story of forgiveness and a guidebook on relationships. Author Peggy Moss draws upon her years of experience and expertise as a mediator and communication expert to provide a simple, sweet but instructive tale of how to get along that is ideal for young readers ages 4 to 8. The charming collage-paintings of Alissa Imre Geis further illustrates the many layers of personality. "Our Friendship Rules" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's book collections.

Smitty Hits the Play Books
Wade Smith & Jayme Lamm, authors
James Little, illustrator
Bright Sky Press
2365 Rice Blvd., Suite 202, Houston, TX 77005
www.brightskypress.com
9781942945338, $19.95, HC, 24pp, www.amazon.com

Since he was a very little boy, Smitty's dream has been to play football, but his mom says school comes first. When his teacher says his excitement for the game is interfering with his work, he's got a big problem. Can Smitty make both his mom and his coach proud? Wade Smith's story, based on his own experience, shows young students and athletes how important it is to stay focused and determined at school so they can achieve their dreams in life and on the field. A charming and thoroughly entertaining read for children ages 6 to 12, "Smitty Hits the Play Books" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.


The Health Shelf

Grow Strong: A Book About Healthy Habits
Cheri J. Meiners, author
Elizabeth Allen, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandberg Road, Suite 100, Golden Valley, MN 55427
9781631980855, $9.99, www.freespirit.com

From the series Being the Best Me, "Grow Strong!" is an excellent illustrated book about healthy habits for children. Written in simple narrative style at reading level grade 1, with interest level for ages 4-8, "Grow Strong!" promotes children taking responsibility for such daily healthy habits as getting enough rest, playing and exercising outdoors in sunny weather, eating a healthy diet with lots of fresh produce and variety, and treating their bodies with respect. Drinking adequate water is another healthy habit, as well as washing hands frequently. When children do get ill, they are encouraged to rest and allow adults to help take care of them to recover. After a busy day, at night, children are encouraged to slow down and prepare to relax, sharing an evening story book with parents. All these healthy habits help children to grow strong and healthy in mind and body. Beautiful full page color illustrations show children choosing to exercise healthy habits every day. The final statement closes with: "I'll choose good habits so I can grow strong and be the best me!" The final pages of "Grow Strong!" offer ways to reinforce ideas for good health plus additional games and activities such as a scavenger hunt, eating the rainbow, playing with food, making a mural, or doing a balancing act. "Grow Strong!" is an excellent resource for parents and teachers who hope to reinforce good health habits in young children, so they can be all that they and be, and "Grow Strong!"

If It Does Not Grow Say No: Eatable Activities for Kids
Kerry Alison Wekelo, author
Al Wekelo, photographer
Peaceful Daily Inc.
800 Village Walk, Suite 103, Guilford CT 06437
9780997014365, $12.95, www.peacefuldaily.com

Described as a healthy eating activity book ideal for children ages 5-10, "If It Does Not Grow Say No" offers a variety of hands on ways to explore ways to expand healthy eating habits. Some of these activities include drawing and writing/describing favorite foods, learning why it is healthy to "eat the rainbow," dream about cooking up a rainbow meal, learning to eat produce and foods in season, trying out new recipes featuring some of their favorite fresh foods such as broccoli or apples, and learning about the concept of "mindful eating." A rainbow foods quiz is easy to check off some of the nutrient-dense facts learned so far. having fun with food is encouraged in preparing and presenting favorite foods. A word search puzzle about different foods is a fun challenge for kids ages 5-10. Other pages encourage readers to count their whole grain choices, and compare and contrast their natural vs. processed food choices. Choices about foods with added sugar are also examined, with a page devoted to asking how the reader felt one time when they ate too much sugar. Pages with color cued graph blocks offer readers fruit tasting challenge, a vegetable tasting challenge, and a dessert challenge, encouraging everyone to try different fruit combinations for desserts. "If IT Does Not Grow Say No" is an excellent juvenile nutrition handbook for kids ages 5-10, encouraging healthy eatable activities to promote eating a healthy diet.

Steak at Stake: A Food Allergy Story
Desiree DeNourie, author
James Balkovek, illustrator
www.desireedenourie.com
Mascot Books
https://mascotbooks.com
9781631771767 $14.95 hc / $6.99 Kindle amazon.com

Winner of a Mom's Choice Award, Steak at Stake: A Food Allergy Story is a children's picturebook about the challenges of living with a food allergy. Cole is a young boy with food allergies, and he has to take precautions when he orders food to eat from a restaurant, such as the steakhouse his family visits. "Can I please have a grilled steak with fries? But, I'm allergic to all milk products, so please ask the chef not to put butter on the grill. Also, if you use peanut oil for the fries, please give me a plain baked potato instead, because I'm allergic to peanuts too." If the steakhouse refuses to make any accommodations for Cole at all, what can he and his family do? Eating the wrong foods could send Cole to the emergency room! Steak at Stake: A Food Allergy Story shows how careful that people with food allergies have to be every day, and encourages readers to be more thoughtful and compassionate about such matters. Highly recommended!


The Social Issues Shelf

Who Are You?
Brook Pessin-Whedbee
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785927287, $18.95, www.jkp.com

Who Are You? The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity is illustrated by Naomi Bardoff and includes an interactive wheel and guide for adults as it introduces ages 3 and older to topics about gender. From our bodies and how gender is experienced and expressed to discussion points about gender differences and identification, this offers an easy set of observations about all kinds of boys and girls of all races and invites kids to understand what is choice, what is inclination, and how gender is experienced by the young.

Rafi's Red Racing Car
Louise Moir
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
www.jkp.com
9781785922008, $17.95, www.jkp.com

Rafi's Red Racing Car is an easy reader that can be used by parents as a read-aloud to help explain suicide and grief to young children ages eight and younger, and revolves around a young child who loses a parent to suicide. Color visuals explore the emotions and blend pictures with metaphors to help children understand the range of their emotions in this moving exploration that walks the young through the grief process associated with losing a parent and suicide.


The Picturebook Shelf

Rosa's Very Big Job
Ellen Mayer, author
Sarah Vonthron-Laver, illustrator
Star Bright Books
13 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
www.starbrightbooks.com
9781595727480, $16.99, www.starbrightbooks.com

"Rosa's Very Big Job" is a vocabulary building story for young children from the Small Talk Books series, which specifically encourages parents and caregivers and grandparents to use new words in everyday work and play situations with their child. All children benefit from building an enriched vocabulary, plus memory, storytelling skills, imagination, and confidence. Warm toned, playful, humorous illustrations show Rosa having fun and getting laundry put away with the help of her grandfather while her mom is out shopping. Rosa knows that even though she is too little to do some things, she can be a big help to her mom. Best of all, When she is done struggling with carrying and folding the laundry and putting it away, not to mention supervising her poor grandfather, she has time to pretend to go sailing and fishing in a pretend boat (the laundry basket) with her wonderful grandfather. She learns new big words like 'difficult,' 'enormous,' and 'exhausted.' Preschool children will love the can-do attitude of the spunky Hispanic Rosa in her family life. "Rosa's Very Big Job" is a great experience for adults and children to share together on the amazing journey of growing up in life.

Harry and Clare's Amazing Staycation
Ted Staunton, author
Mika Song, illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770498273 $16.99 www.tundrabooks.com

Harry and Clare's Amazing Staycation is a children's picturebook about a brother and sister who have to stay at home for their vacation - so they invent their own creative fun! Their imaginations transform the living room into Mars, the diving board at the pool into a pirate's plank, and the local playground into the haunt of a man-eating octopus! But Clare is being a little too bossy about the games, and claiming all the treats for herself; can Harry find a way to turn the staycation around and keep his snacks safe? Lighthearted, funny, and sure to resonate with families who can't necessarily afford exotic travel, Harry and Clare's Amazing Staycation is highly recommended.

Mr. Moon Wakes Up
Jemima Sharpe, author/illustrator
Child's Play Inc.
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, Maine 04210
9781846436949, $16.99 HC, $7.99 PB, www.childs-play.com

"Mr. Moon Wakes Up" is an enchanting children's bedtime story that invites young readers into a delicate, moonlit world of fantasy. The story is doubly told, both in words and in amazing pictures. The art is restrained, yet poignant, using a limited pallet of apricots, golds and oranges against patterned, textured blue green backgrounds such as wooden floors, printed wallpaper, grassy lawns and darker hedges. Against these muted tones, a pure line drawing of a mysterious white cat named Mr. Moon (who sleeps, mostly) stands out. The young narrator is a boy who seems to begin by stating that Mr. Moon is a good bedtime companion because he mostly naps. The boy wishes Mr. Moon would be a bit more exciting, or maybe have fun with books, games, or tea. As he rests in bed with Mr. Moon awaiting sleep, the boy is amazed to see his sleepy white cat jump off the bed and take off on a mysterious journey that takes him through the mysterious stairway green wallpaper of leaves and birds (who have somehow begun to sing). How does Mr. Moon go through this wall, and what could possibly be on the other side? The boy follows, in his light orange pajamas, totally engrossed. A stunning two page illustration follows showing the boy strolling with a quietly pensive Mr. Moon through a gorgeous, manicured green garden with living sculptures of rabbits and birds (of yew). A night full of magical adventures follows, with Mr. Moon befriending living statues of nymphs, mermaids, and satyrs, playing lawn sized chess games, and racing his way through mysterious shrubbery mazes. The boy is amazed to discover the white cat Mr. Moon loves books, adventures, and boating, as well as a really good tea party (under a weeping willow tree, with fantastical guests)! Finally the boy rests on a grassy hill picnic cloth, watching the constellations of stars and animals, drifting off to sleep. Mr. Moon and his tea party guests help carry the boy back inside, through the wall (invisibly), and up the stairs to bed. The boy sleeps calmly, asking Mr. Moon if he always sleeps, (when he dreams). "My Moon Wakes Up" is transparent and evanescent, extending an open invitation to children everywhere to follow their dreams.

That's NOT A Hippopotamus!
Juliette Maclver, author
Sarah Davis, illustrator
Gecko Press
9781927271964, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, www.geckopress.com

"That's NOT A Hippopotamus!" is a hilarious verse odyssey filled with imaginary names of beasts and beast components encountered by a visiting teacher and her class at the wonderful world of Don's Safari. A claim that the exotic animal collection includes a hippopotamus leads to a wild and woolly search for the elusive and lost hippopotamus. Kids will delight in the exhilarating scenes of excited children pursuing substitutes for the mysterious hippopotamus, with every verse couplet ending with the conclusion, " That's NOT a hippopotamus!" Candidates for the missing hippopotamus include a giraffe, a warthog, an elephant, a skunk, a manatee, and even a giant python! All the children are so interested in finding the real hippopotamus that their excitement nearly blinds them, while their harried teacher copes with unbelievable game changing events in the course of the chase, but sticks to her refrain, correcting the children, "That's NOT a hippopotamus!" When the whole group finally discovers the real hippopotamus, it is a revelation. Much of the story's humor is buried in the extremely funny illustrations, including the final sepia and white portrait of Class 2 B, with Ms. Whiskersniff, and names of the three rows of students. Children age 4 and up will love "That's NOT a Hippopotamus!"

The Legend of Tiger Tim
Walt Bayless, author/illustrator
www.waltbayless.com
Bayless Studios
97809976677110, $9.99 PB, $7.99 Kindle, 34pp, www.amazon.com

"The Legend of Tiger Tim" is another unique children's book that features stellar artwork in water color the legend of on paper and a tender poetic narrative style that conveys a complex rainbow of emotions. "The Legend of Tiger Tim" begins with the quest of a ragamuffin, ferocious, little orphan boy who climbs up to the Wind Mountain Temple to demand that the Old Master train him in fighting because he heard that was what the Old Master was famous for. With gentle, probing questions, and a ritual cleansing required, the Old Master discovered much about a little red haired orphan boy's courage, determination, and pain. Imagine the surprise when he agrees to teach the boy tiger-style martial training. What follows is the most sensitive sequence of events that can be seen to flow off a brush for pictures or a pen for words. Tiger Tim meets his feared, ferocious tiger (a cub), and the two become fast friends and care for each other as they grow. Tim named his tiger cub Pounce and together the two friends explored a wonderful world, practicing pouncing, stillness, happiness, loving, and fun. "Tim's mind became quiet and his body grew strong. Like a tiger both supple and sound. And he used all the strength that his Tiger Style taught to be kind to others around." But the ending is full of even better, bigger surprises, which this reader will save for others. The sensitive, expressive artwork is filled with light, feeling, emotion, and love, with shades of darker feelings at the edges for contrast. "The Legend of Tiger Tim" is destined to be a kid's classic, beloved from the first to the last reading, over a lifetime.

Dream Big
Kat Kronenberg, author
Stephanie Dehennin, illustrator
Green Leaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781626343474, $15.95, HC, $7.99 Kindle, www.katkronenberg.com

"Dream Big" is a beautifully illustrated inspirational book that takes readers on a mystical journey to learn to dream big and follow their dreams to a new life of fulfillment. Each creature on the African savannah is inspired in turn to seek their truth and find their star and clap their hands/feet and believe. The miracle that follows incorporates their biggest dream. The stars spell in messages five secret truths: " You can be anything. You can do anything. You can have anything. You can celebrate your life. You can love and be loved." Baboon and her friends Caterpillar, Tadpole, Flamingo, and Termite each dream big, experience doubt, and then go on to pursue their greatest dream to realize it is true. Baboon celebrates with her friends with pom poms, drumming, dance, and song: "Twinkle, Twinkle, little star/ Smile BIG in who you are/ Clap "I can" and dare to believe/ Dreams come true for you and me/ We will wish upon our star/ Guiding us we will go far!" "Dream Big" is further enriched with thoughts for adults and kids who experience it, plus activities such as making a "You Can Drum," make a pom pom or a dream catcher, and more. "Dream Big" is all about wonder, and remembering that we are all made of stardust. Children and adults will love its enlightening transformations and energy for change and growth.

Moon of My Own
Jennifer Rustgi, author
Ashley White, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Road, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584695738, $8.95, www.dawnpub.com

"A Moon of My Own" is a lovely, night journey through the mysterious faces of the moon, tracing a loving relationship between a girl and her night time friend, the changing, constant moon. Tender night-dark scenes of layers of shadows, black and purple, are brightly lit only by the twinkling stars and the large, bright moon. The poetic scenes and musings of the girl end with her deciding, "I'm really lucky to have a Moon of my own." Written for young readers ages 4-10, "A Moon of My Own" is both enriched and completed by a section titled Explore More For Kids, which gives additional information about wonderful places around the world referred to in the story, plus a map of the seven continents of the world and a strip of moons sequenced through the moon's stages each month. Further moon facts and ideas for creations and models of your own are suggested, plus there are more associated learning activities available at the "Activities" section of, www.dawnpub.com. "A Moon of My Own" takes young readers from an aesthetic, artistic appreciation of the moon to a scientific, inquiring observation of many of the fascinating attributes of the moon.

Li'l Ben and a Day For Play
Mary Ann D. Cogliano, author
Phil Wilson, illustrator
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781534987289, $12.99 (pb), www.muckapoofarm.com

"Li'l Ben and a Day for Play" is a preschool title from the Muckapoo Farm series about kids and animals at Muckapoo Farm forgetting to play, move, and have fun because of electronic devices. Written in playful verse and brightly illustrated with lovable farm animal characters such as li'l Ben the horse, Harley the bloodhound, the groundhogs and sheep, and Rooty le' Boar, all characters have to be encouraged to come outside and play in the bright sunshine with little Annie and B. The animals have become lazy and weak staying inside their barns tapping on their keyboards, surfing the web, and watching flicks. Finally Ben receives a special delivery, for which he has to sign his name. For a moment, Ben seems to have forgotten how to sign his name, trying to text his signature instead. This upsets the poor mailman, whose truck is also stuck. But Li'l Ben practices writing his name from a letter chart still stuck on his stall wall, until he can actually sign for his package. Then he uses his strong hind legs to kick the mail truck free and excitedly opens his package, which contains .... balls, books, and alphabet blocks! All the animals and Annie and B. join in and have a blast playing with their new toys outside in the sunshine, forgetting all about texting, surfing, and scanning. Playtime is fun, and important for growth at Muckapoo Farm!

Grandpa and Me and the Park in the City
Carren Strock, author/illustrator
Gray Rabbit Publications
c/o Fantastic Books
1380 East 17 Street, Suite 2233, Brooklyn, NY 11230
9781515400509, $7.99 (pb), 30 pages, www.FantasticBooks.biz

"Grandpa and Me and the Park in the City" is a wonderful story about a boy from the country who enjoys visiting his Grandpa in the city for the summer. Braden loved going to the park in the city with his Grandpa when he was young, but now he is bigger, and playing on the swings and playground seems to childish to him. Braden confides in his grandfather, who promises him a new adventure at the park the following day. Excited, Braden discovers a new world in the park at dawn with his Grandpa. People walk, jog, do tai chi, and perform difficult exercises with sticks in groups. Braden tries some of the exercises, but they are hard for him, so he gives up in embarrassment. Finally he looks more closely at all the people around him and discovers many of them are also trying very hard to achieve success in their exercise. He gets the idea that if he worked hard and tried too, he could get better too. Inspired by example, Braden returns to the park with his grandfather and finally achieves the balance stick exercises with lots of practice. "Grandpa and Me and the Park in the City" is written in verse and carefully illustrated with colored illustrations to pique interest. Children from urban locations will relate to the pictures and story of Braden and his Grandpa in the park.

Like a Shooting Star
Rino Alaimo, author/illustrator
Familius LLC
1254 Commerce Way, Sanger, CA 93657
9781944822804, $16.99, www.familius.com

"Like a Shooting Star" is a beautifully illustrated, sensitive, dreamlike tale about how a boy's wish on a firefly becomes a beacon of love to help bring his father back safely from being lost at sea after military service. The war was over. The boy held tight to a picture of his father and tried to wish upon a shooting star.. but when no good star candidate appeared, the boy wished on a little Firefly who fell into his hands. The Firefly fell into the boy's hands because she was still learning to fly, but he did not know that. The boy pleaded, "Oh light from heaven.... you must be a star. I have waited many nights to tell you my wish. Please, can you bring my father home safely from the war?" The Firefly answered, "I can't fly,... but I promise I'll bring your father home." What follows is a symphony of still, shadowed scenes in shades of blue, black and white which tell a delicate story of a Firefly's long journey over a cold ocean and through icy forests to rescue and guide a lost soldier who matched the boy's picture of his father home again. With delicate monochromatic artwork and water brushed imagery, award winning artist/author Rino Alaimo provides the tapestry background for the sensitively told tale. The incredible miracle of the little Firefly's heroic rescue underlines another theme of hope: She flies, she flies beautifully. "Like a Shooting Star" is a beautiful story for children of parents who serve in the military far away, under unknown skies.

I Want To Be Famous
Bracha Goetz, author
Kevin Gillespie, illustrator
Saturn's Moon Press
c/o Cactus Moon Publications
www.cactusmoonpublishing.com
9780997536348, $11.99, PB, 24pp, www.amazon.com

"I Want To Be Famous" is an exciting fresh title about a boy who grapples with the need for fame and gradually learns to see beyond it. Written in spunky, catchy verse and enlivened with bright, comic portraits of a bucktoothed, bespectacled antihero named Seymour, "I Want To Be Famous" traces the changes in the life of Seymour from the day he is caught on a video singing and loudly burping. The video goes viral, and Seymour is an overnight star, with a parade, fireworks, a movie, T.V. program, and more. But after the brief ride of fame, Seymour found that he was quickly forgotten, displaced by another wonder burper, and forgotten Seymour hid in the dark under his bed blankets. But Seymour was not done yet. He resolved to try something new and different, he would kick the habit of itching for more and more applause and fame. Instead, Seymour learned to let his inner light sparkle and shine through, and even though he has no fan club, his inner happiness was real, lit by the radiance from inside his soul, and it lasted and lasted. "I Want To Be Famous" ends with a quote from Rabbi Yisroel Salanter: "The loudest noise in the Universe is the sound of a person breaking a habit." "I Want To Be Famous" is excellent reading to inspire and develop critical thinking skills of children age five years and up.

The Adventures of Max: Meet Max!
Elizabeth Rosso, author
Thinkstock, imagery/illustrations
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
www.maxandmimi.com
9781480826304, $10.95, www.archwaypublishing.com

"Meet Max!" is the first book in a series about the life of an adopted husky dog and his new owner. Max was born the smallest of the litter in a family of six puppies, living in a house near a lake. Max dreamed of having adventures. One day a nice lady came and scratched Max's ears and played with him. He loved playing with her! She asked him if he would like to go away in her car and live with her in her home. Max thought that would be a great adventure! Off they went for a long car drive, with Max looking out the windows at the trees and houses. Max' new owner petted him and promised him lots of adventures when they got home! Max was impatient to begin his new life of wonderful adventures! The story closes with a question to readers: "What sort of adventure did you have today?" Thus begins an exciting new illustrated series about the life of a young Husky with his owner, based on the author's real life experience. Young readers will anticipate future adventures with Max in this exciting new series about the life of an exuberant young husky dog named Max.

I'm A Country Gopher
Stephen Foss and Tony McMehan, authors
Ben Richards, illustrator
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.5understandablewords.com
9781514475706, $21.99, www.Xlibris.com

"I'm a Country Gopher" is a pleasant, colorfully illustrated animal fable about the good country life of a gopher, mole, and mouse family on a farm. The rodent family enjoys farming, harvesting, and eating fresh vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers. The country life is presented as fresh and good but also sometimes dangerous. For the country gopher, mole and mouse family sometimes had to evade or escape the farmer and his dogs, because they would try to chase or drown them out of their homes because they dug so many holes and depleted the farmer's vegetable and grain crop significantly. But despite the challenges and dangers, the country gopher loves his life, and loves sharing the good vegetables and seeds with his friends and family. The message of "I'm a Country Gopher" is twofold: country life and country food is good, and shared family activities of work, fun, and dinnertime is also always good. Illustrations for "I'm a Country Gopher" are in a simply derived, forthright primitive style, with furry rodent family members drinking in the beautiful scenes and harvests and experiences of the countryside. Children will also enjoy a song that is associated with "I'm a Country Gopher," which can be downloaded at, www.5understandablewords.com.

Calling the Water Drum
LaTisha Redding, author
Aaron Boyd, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.leeandlow.com
9781620141946, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

"Calling the Water Drum" by LaTisha Redding is the picture book story of Henri and his parents. A family who leave their homeland, Haiti, after they receive an invitation from an uncle to come to New York City. Only able to afford a small, rickety boat, the family sets out in the middle of the night in search of a better life. Out at sea Henri dreams of what life will be like across the great waters. Then the small boat overturns, and Henri is placed on top of the boat as his parents drift further out at sea. Overcome with grief, Henri retreats into himself and is no longer able to speak once he reaches land. Encouraged by his uncle and neighbor, Henri takes a bucket and plays on it like a drum. The drumming becomes a link to his past and a conduit for his emotions. Slowly, through his drumming and the kindness of his uncle and friend, Henri learns to navigate this new and foreign world without his parents. Beautifully illustrated by Aaron Boyd, "Calling the Water Drum" is a tender and timely tribute to the bravery of immigrants and refugees. Especially recommended for young readers ages 6 to 9, "Calling the Water Drum" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

My Dream For You Is Wonder
Carole Ann Hausman, author
Joanne Raptis, illustrator
Hamer House Books
PO Box 550653, Ft. Laudendale, FL 33355
www.hamerhousebooks.com
9780896390616, $12.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Beautifully illustrated throughout with the artwork of Joanne Raptis, "My Dream For You Is Wonder" by Carole Ann Hausman takes the concept of 'wonder' and applies it to a variety of observations and questions that are common to children ages 1 to 7. Ideal for instilling a sense of peace and gratitude for parent and child in those magical moments at bedtime by planting soothing seeds of serenity for a good night's sleep, and reminding that special child each night how much they are loved, "My Dream For You Is Wonder" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Berto Yosemite's Rock-Lovin' Bear
Marian Parks, author
Christine Karron, illustrator
Nature Tale Books Inc.
4300 Black Avenue, #695, Pleasanton, CA 94566
www.naturetalebooks.com
9781943172016, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

The bears of Yosemite National Park are all brave mountaineers -- except Berto, who's terrified of heights. He's also afraid of a bully named Buck, who torments him and makes fun of his rock collection. Berto's problems only get worse until finally he learns that, just like the rocks, he has strength of his own. Young children ages 4 to 10 will delight in Berto's romp through Yosemite's meadows, rivers, and forest. Along the way, they'll discover that they, too, have strengths of their own. Of special note are the pictures of different kinds of rocks. A thoroughly entertaining read with a deftly crafted underlying message, as well as charmingly illustrated throughout by Christine Karron, "Berto Yosemite's Rock-Lovin' Bear" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Mommy Loves You!
Helen Foster James, author
Petra Brown, illustration
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
www.sleepingbearpress.com
9781585369416, $15.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

From the author-illustrator team of Helen Foster James and Petra Brown that created "Grandma Loves You!" (9781631886256, $14.95 HC, $8.99 Board Books, $8.99 Kindle) comes a touching story just for Mommy and baby. Told in charming verse with the signature bunny characters, "Mommy Loves You!" celebrates the deep love a mother has for her child, mother rabbit and her baby's adventures and tender moments will warm the heart and wonderfully entertain young children ages 2 to 5. While very highly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community picture book collections, it should be noted that "Mommy Loves You!" is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.19).

1, 2, 3 Team!
Susie Gardner, author
Tina Mullen, illustrated
Mercer University Press
1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, GA 31207-0001
www.mupress.org
9780881465907, $16.00, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Zoey has always been the star of the basketball team. She believes she can win games all by herself. But when a new coach arrives, Zoey must learn that it takes more than one player to make a team. "1, 2, 3 Team!" by real life Mercer University basketball team coach Susie Gardner is an unfailingly entertaining read-aloud book follows one young athlete as she learns how much better it is when all players work together. Enhanced throughout with the watercolor illustrations of Tina Mullen, 1, 2, 3 Team! will have special appeal to young children ages 4 to 8 and be a favored addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Little Lek Longtail Learns to Sleep
Bette Killion, author
Beatriz Vidal, illustrator
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401
www.wisdomtalespress.com
9781937786632, $17.95, HC, 28pp, www.amazon.com

Every mother has at some time or other heard their child say "I can't sleep, mommy, I'm scared." So too, it turns out, has Little Lek's mother. Her little Thai Argus pheasant was so gentle, kind, and handsome with his exceptionally long and brightly colored tail. But he had just one problem: he couldn't get to sleep. Then one day something changed, and Little Lek discovered a strength that lay hidden within, something that gave him the peace of mind to sleep soundly through the night. Young readers ages 4 to 8 will find out the secret of how Little Lek learned to trust in himself! Children will delight in Beatriz Vidal's vivid and expressive art which brings author Bette Killion's deftly crafted picture book story to life. Of special note is the inclusion of an appendix of fascinating facts about the Thai Argus pheasant makes "Little Lek Longtail Learns to Sleep" an educational experience as well. Unfailingly entertaining from beginning to end, "Little Lek Longtail Learns to Sleep" is especially commended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

A Day in D.C. with the Forest Friends
Hugh G. Earnhart, author
Susan Ertel, illustrator
Orange Frazer Press
PO Box 214, Wilmington, OH 45177
www.orangefrazer.com
9781939710536, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Deftly written for children ages 4 to 8 by Hugh G. Earnhart (Professor Emeritus, Youngstown State University) and featuring the whimsically charming illustrations by Susan Ertel, "A Day in D.C. with the Forest Friends" is the entertaining and fully engaging story some Forest Friends on their trip to our nation's capitol in Washington, D.C., embark on a tour the city and learn all about the monuments that celebrate America's history. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, content, organization and presentation, "A Day in D.C. with the Forest Friends" will prove to be a much appreciated and enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

Goodnight Bob
Ann Hassett & John Hassett
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
www.albertwhitman.com
9780807530030, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

It's bedtime for Bob. But, oh no, he sees a pair of eyes in the dark! Who is it? With a flashlight, Bob discovers it's a friendly creature wishing him goodnight. Goodnight, Bob! Then more eyes appear. Who is it now? A perfect 'bed time' book for parents with young children ages 3 to 6, the entertaining, colorful illustrations are a perfect enhancement a simple but thoroughly 'kid friendly' storyline to take anxiety out of the nighttime going-to-bed experience. Thoroughly charming, enjoyable, and comforting, "Goodnight Bob" is an especially recommended addition to family and community library picture book collections.

Chicken Lily
Lori Mortensen, author
Nina Victor Crittenden, illustrator
Henry Holt & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10010
www.henryholt.com
9781627791205, $16.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Chicken Lily may be a lot of things including a careful colorer, a patient puzzler, and a quiet hide-and-seeker (she never made a peep!) but brave has never been one of them. That's why, when a school-wide poetry jam is announced in class, Lily is terrified. Will she sound like a bird brain? Although Lily's friends Baabette and Pigsley try to encourage her, Lily feels like a rotten egg. Finally, Lily realizes that she must put her best claw forward and prove that even chickens aren't chicken all the time. Imaginative, engaging, entertaining from first page to last, author Lori Mortensen and illustrator Nina Victor Crittenden have successfully collaborate to produce a very highly recommended picture book for young children ages 4 to 8. While unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Chicken Lily" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Rocket Boy
Damon Lehrer
David R. Godine, Publisher
Fifteen Court Square, Suite 320, Boston, MA 02108-2536
www.godine.com
9781567925876, $17.95, HC, 36pp, www.amazon.com

In Damon Lehrer's unique picture book story, doodles become real, rising right off the page, turning tangible, and in them allowing a young boy to fly to the moon and discover the deep sea. "Rocket Boy" is an impressively illustrated and wordless picture book in which one young boy explores the boundless reaches of his imagination. Armed only with a pencil and a pad of paper, he can transport himself into adventures where he meets new friends, visits unseen landscapes, and makes his way back home again to his own bed before dawn. Damon Lehrer's visual and wordless narrative is a penciled mix of line work and sketches opening up a charming world to young readers ages 4 to 8. Unique, engaging, "Rocket Boy" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Along the River
Vanina Starkoff, author/illustrator
Jane Springer, translator
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
www.groundwoodbooks.com
www.houseofanansi.com
9781554989775, $17.41, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Boats of all shapes and sizes travel on the river, through the seasons, toward the sea. Who will you meet on the river? Written and illustrated by Vanina Starkoff, and translated into English by Jane Springer, "Along the River" is the vibrant picture book story from Brazil for children ages 4 and older that depicts the joy of the journey, showing in simple yet detailed illustrations the people you might meet along the way, the sights you might see and the food you might eat. Children will delight in identifying recurring details when re-reading "Along the River". A wonderfully entertaining celebration of community bonds and shared experiences, and with strong social studies curriculum connections, "Along the River" is an ideal introduction of young children to an alternate form of transportation, as well as to some of the customs and culture of Brazil. Original, unique, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' from beginning to end, "Along the River" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Hold On, Toby!
Janet Bierbower-Boucher, author
Susan Andra Lion, illustrator
Windy Island Publishing
c/o Satiama, LLC
PO Box 1397, Palmer Lake, CO 80133
www.satiama.com
9780692664575, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Charmingly written by Janet Bierbower-Boucher and colorfully illustrated by Susan Andra Lion, "Hold On, Toby" is the story of a little maple leaf bud on a very big tree. As he grows and matures, he encounters the wonder and forces of nature, and various critters and people of all sizes. Throughout his journey Toby is often told to hold on, although he has no idea what that means. "Hold On, Toby" presents an opportunity for children ages 4 to 7 to experience the joy of each season and to glimpse an understanding of the cycle of life as expressed through the seasons of Tobys life. Consistent engaging and entertaining from beginning to end, "Hold On, Toby" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

In the Land of Elves
Daniela Drescher
Floris Books
www.florisbooks.co.uk
9780863154843, $14.95, HC, 24pp, www.amazon.com

Deftly written and wonderfully illustrated by Daniela Drescher, "In the Land of Fairies" features full-spread watercolor illustrations that reveal the secret world of the elves and their animal companions among the trees, roots, and fields. Young children ages 4 to 7 will see them at work and play through the seasons. An impressively beautiful and unfailingly entertaining experience for children, "In the Land of Elves" will prove to be a particularly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Friend Ship
Kat Yeh
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
www.disneyhyperionbooks.com
9781484707265, $16.99, www.DisneyBooks.com

The Friend Ship is illustrated by Chuck Groenink and tells of a little hedgehog who is convinced the Friend Ship exists, filled with welcoming new friends - all she has to do is find it. Can a lonely hedgehog sail the seas in search of this mythical Friend Ship - and what happens when others want to join her? A gentle story of fun and new experiences makes for a lesson in friends and irony alike.

Tales of the Mushroom Folk
Signe Aspelin
Floris Books
9781782503347, $17.95, www.florisbooks.co.uk

Tales of the Mushroom Folk provides a fun story of Stinkhorns, Button Mushrooms, and more, and comes from a Swedish book illustrator who designed books from 1881-1961. Full-page, gorgeous intricate color drawings a story of the Brain Mushroom family who lives deep in a forest. The beautiful saga of different mushroom folk and their environments and interactions makes for a fun story that all ages will appreciate - especially adults who choose it for read-aloud because of its whimsical characters and Victorian-looking fantasy drawings.

Good Pirate
Kari-Lynn Winters
Pajama Press
http://pajamapress.ca
9781927485804, $19.95, amazon.com

Good Pirate receives fun drawings by Dean Griffiths, who brings to life the story of a dog pirate who just is too good to be inconsiderate. The pirate crew needs to know how to raid, dress up, and more - or so the captain says - but some pirates just aren't getting on board with the overall plan. A fun survey, this doggy pirate show is a fun pick with its oversized, colorful drawings and cartoon-like 'balloon' conversations between very different pirates.

Skypig
Jan L. Coates
Pajama Press
http://pajamapress.ca
9781927485989, $17.95, amazon.com

Suzanne Del Rizzo's plasticine art brings a different visual perspective to this children's picture book of a pig who wants to fly. Ollie has big dreams and his friend Jack is determined to help make them real in this fun tale of a pig who tries all kinds of ways to fly. Good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will lend to this fun saga of a determined pig and his supportive friend.

The Liszts
Kyo Maclear and Julia Sarda
Random House Canada
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
www.randomhouse.com/kids
9781770494961, $16.99, www.penguinrandomhouse.ca

The Liszts tells of a family who likes to make lists both usual and unusual, for all seasons. They make lists six days a week and are listless on Sundays, and each family member - including the cat - makes lists of all kinds. Everything works smoothly, until a stranger arrives who is not on anyone's list at all. Can he become part of the family? A fun story evolves with a message for anyone big on organization and order.

A Friend Like You
Andrea Schomburg & Barbara Rottgen
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
www.tigertalesbooks.com
1680100319, $16.99

A Friend Like You enjoys lovely colorful illustrations by Sean Julian as it tells of animal friends Squirrel, who is very busy busying nuts for the winter and running up and down trees and a tired little bird who has flown a long distance and is hungry. Squirrel offers him a nut - and his new friend decides to give it a try, with some hilarious results. As the two new friends explore their abilities and talents together, a blossoming relationship evolves which makes for a delightful easy read.

Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
www.tigertalesbooks.com

Five lovely new books are top picks for picture book collections looking for standout acquisitions. Jonny Lambert's The Great Aaa-ooo! (9781680100327, $16.99) tells of Mouse, who is going home through the woods when he hears a strange noise. Can it be an Owl? But, Owl has heard the same thing - and thinks it's Mouse. Bear also suspects another beast of making the odd noise. What monster could have produced it? The process of elimination makes for a fun survey. Tracey Corderoy's Now! (9781680100334, $16.99) is illustrated by Tim Warnes, whose oversized and fun drawings lend to the story of little hippo Otto, who hates to wait for anything and wants immediate gratification all the time. A projected family vacation is the worst thing to wait for, in his opinion, in this fun story of patience. Timothy Knapman's Good Night Tiger (9781680100303, $16.99) is illustrated by Laura Hughes, who provides striking and lovely, colorful animal drawings for this story of Emma, who can't sleep because the animals in her wallpaper are making too much noise. Apparently she's not the only one who can't fall asleep in this fun story. Stella J. Jones' The Perfect Present (9781680100365, $16.99) arrived too late for holiday mention but is a gorgeous keepsake acquisition recommended for years to come. Caroline Pedler's lovely, colorful drawings accent the story of siblings who are best friends and who love to make each other happy. They each separately search for the perfect Christmas gift, but neither has enough money to buy it. A gentle, different 'Gift of the Magi' evolves.

Simon and Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids

Ainsley Earhardt's Take Heart, My Child: A Mother's Dream (9781481466226, $18.99) was inspired by the author's own childhood and her father's inspirational notes, and shares the author's hopes and dreams as she lets her child know about life's difficulties and how to react to them. These are very simple admonitions especially suitable to read-aloud ("But if you get lost/In the ocean's vast tides/Take heart, my child/I'll be by your side.") and offer a seasonal appearance and themes as they provide gentle inspiration backed by a mother's love. Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus's Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story (9781481442657, $18.99) provides a fine companion story to Grandfather Gandhi and tells of wastefulness and a service village that is filled with work that benefits all. The villagers decide to reflect Gandhi's concepts of living non-violently and simply, but Arun struggles with these values - and especially the admonition not to waste. Evan Turk's lovely drawings enhance this story of how wastefulness leads to violence. Gilbert Ford's The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring (9781481450652, $17.99) fictionalizes the story of the invention of the Slinky toy, and tells of how one man's observation of a floppy spring leads to a husband and wife's invention of the Slinky name and how they go about capitalizing on it. Kids with good reading skills will find this a fun survey.

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids

These three new picture book reads are fun additions for any collection, and are highly recommended picks. Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman's Big Bear, Small Mouse (9781481459716, $16.99) tells of friends separated not only by species, but by size. They are opposites, as is much of life. As kids ages 3-7 read about various animal opposites, they learn about friends with contrasting abilities, shapes, colors, and more. Pat Hutchins' Where, Oh Where, Is Rosie's Chick? (9781481460712, $17.99) tells of Rosie, who has lost her baby chick. She looks everywhere, but he's nowhere to be found. Where can he be? A fun picture book presentation packed with colorful, detailed drawings invites kids and parents to participate in the search. Keith Baker's Hap-pea All Year (9781481458542, $17.99) celebrates a range of 'hap-pea months' as it combines an easy counting rhyme with a monthly review of the celebrations that make each month special. Seasonal changes in environment are also included in this fun read.

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

Kyle T. Webster's Please Say Please! (9780545844857, $17.99) invites kids to think about how they ask for what they want, and uses text, art, and a fun easy rhyme to consider a little girl's demands and how they are met. The fun story ("I want FOOD/Goodness me, that's just plain rude.") includes clear consideration of what a polite adjustment would entail. Audrey Penn's Kai to the Rescue! (9780545816366, $17.99) receives fun drawings by Mike Yamada as it tells of a little green and white pumper truck who moves into Firehouse #10. This firehouse holds some of the biggest, reddest fire trucks around - how can Kai fit with the other trucks? A fun tale evolves when he's called upon to do something the other trucks can't. C.J. Leigh's The Ninjabread Man (9780545814300, $16.99) features fun drawings by Chris Gall as it retells the classic story of a runaway gingerbread man, with a twist. Sensei makes an old recipe for 'ninjabread', but the cookie soon escapes and havoc ensues. The ninja-related chaos which ensues is hilarious. Steve Antony's I'll Wait, Mr. Panda (9781338028362, $16.99) tells of a panda who is making a surprise - and who keeps all his animal friends in suspense about what it will be. But can they really await his revelation, or is waiting too hard? A fun story of a panda's real surprise evolves. Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig's Are Pirates Polite? (9780545628747, $16.99) is illustrated by David Catrow and tells of unruly, battle-loving pirates who may love mayhem and brawls, but who are still polite enough to say "please" and "thanks". Large, fun illustrations accompany a zany, unlikely pirate saga that's different from the normal picture book approach to pirate activities. Sarah Aspinall's Penguins Love Colors (9780545876544, $17.99) tells of a dull world until six little penguins use paintbrushes to turn it into a colorful wonderland. Paint changes their white, icy world and creates a surprise for their mother in this picture book story with very simple words, large-size images, and an approach that invites read-aloud and bedtime pursuit. Jeremy Tankard's Hungry Bird (9780545864176, $16.99) tells of a bird who goes on a hike with his friends, but wants something to eat. Each friend offers a food that they like, but none of them - grass, carrots, or sandwiches - appeal, no matter how starved the hungry bird gets. What will happen next? A fun story of friendship and food evolves with a zany conclusion that will interest kids and their read-aloud parents alike.

Random House/Doubleday
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
www.randomhouse.com/kids

Julianne Moore's Freckleface Strawberry and the Really Big Voice (9780385392037, $16.99) is illustrated by LeUyen Pham and tells of Freckleface Strawberry's best friend Windy Patrick, whose too-loud voice is causing him many problems in school. His voice is fine outside, but inside, he has issues - and he can't seem to control them. Can Freckleface Strawberry help? A fun story of friends evolves. Susan Hood's Mission: Back to School (9780385384711, $16.99) is illustrated by Mary Lundquist, who adds fun drawings to this story of an assignment to go to school. Kids are invited to use this book as a manual of adventure for making new friends, exploring outside during field trips, and more, with normal classroom processes taking on the activities of 'special agents'.


The Board Book Shelf

I Want to Be a Reader!
Mark Powers, author
Maria Montag, illustrator
Blue Manatee Press
www.bluemanateepress.com
c/o Independent Publishers Group (dist.)
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
www.ipgbook.com
9781936669554, $7.99, amazon.com

"I Want to Be a Reader!" is an inspiring board book for preschoolers about a determined little boy who has an ambition to read a whole book! Compelling, brief narrative accompanied by brightly colored, descriptive illustrations draw the young board book reader into the story with ease. Our young hero realizes he has a lot to learn in order to achieve his ambition of reading a whole book. Each letter of the alphabet, each word and sound he learns, all will help to contribute to the wonderful day when he reaches the very end of his first book to read! Inspiring, humorous illustrations suggest added interpretations to the basic theme, such as in the picture of the boy's pet cat in glasses like a teacher, sitting in a chair, reading a book to a whole class group of little mice students. Imagine the surprise and excitement of our ambitious young reader towards the end of the book when he realizes that he actually did just achieve his goal (of reading a whole book all the way to the end)! Even more thrilling is the closing page, a book-wreathed narrative which exclaims: "What book should we read next?" "I Want to Be a Reader" is meant to inspire early readers and to strengthen the bond between young readers and mature readers, and between all readers and books. Reading is a boundless adventure that never fails to enlighten and entertain. Children will love paging through their own board book about reading their first book. Other starred new titles from Blue Manatee Press that encourage young board book readers include the following: "In Spring.../En Primavera... (9781936669561, $7.99)," by Susana Madinabeitia Manso, illustrated by Emily Hanako Momohara, "Dogs! (9781936669547, $7.99)," by Dr. John S. Hutton, illustrated by Doug Cenko, and "Allie's Garden (9781936669530, $7.99), by Sabra Chebby, illustrated by Marla Osborn.

Peekaboo! On the Farm
Corcorette
Child's Play
64 Wellington Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
www.childs-play.com
9781846438546, $7.99, Board Book, www.childs-play.com

Peekaboo! On the Farm is a board book with flaps that offers the very young an early animal-oriented introduction to prediction, guessing, and animal identification. The 'flaps' are actually full-page board book fold-outs, so parents can expect them to be durable and long-lasting. The simple language and easy reader invites parents and kids to interact with a fun board book.


The Writing/Publishing Shelf

How This Book Was Made
Mac Barnett
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
www.disneyhyperionbooks.com
9781423152200, $17.99, www.DisneyBooks.com

How This Book Was Made features fine pictures by Adam Rex and a fun, different story of how a book makes it through frightening re-writing processes, numerous drafts, and a revengeful tiger. It's a unique way of exploring how a book evolves, from the writing process to a New York editor who "...is like a teacher, only she works in a skyscraper and is always eating fancy lunches." While good reading skills and parental assistance will be required, this book's rollicking, unique approach to the process will make it a book many an adult won't want to miss, highly recommended for all ages.


The Christian Shelf

Patrick and the Fire: A Legend About Saint Patrick
Cornelia Mary Bilinsky, author
Maggie Coburn, illustrator
Pauline Kids
c/o Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819860378, $13.95, www.PaulineStore.org

"Patrick and the Fire" is an exciting retelling of a legend about Saint Patrick, who was kidnaped and sold as a slave in Ireland as a young boy, where he herded goats and pigs for his master for 6 years. Although he escaped and returned to England and received training as a Christian priest, he returned to Ireland because he wanted to begin to tell the pagan Irish people about Jesus and Christianity. A goatherd boy named Bevan met Patrick as he was beginning his great work of conversion, helping him with his dangerous plan of lighting the first bonfire of the festival on the hill of Slane, in defiance of a law that said the first bonfire must be lit only by the High King. Sure enough, Patrick's bonfire drew the attention of the High King's men, and he was given an audience when the soldiers found they were unable to extinguish his bonfire. Patrick began to explain to the High King that he came to Ireland from across the sea to teach the Irish people about the one true God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When the king was confused about the concept of three in one, Patrick plucked a shamrock, a common plant with three leaves, to demonstrate that it could be both one and three simultaneously, just like the One True God. The High King became intrigued with Patrick's teaching and was impressed with his courage. He allowed Patrick to continue to preach about his faith, and about Jesus. Patrick left enriched by his friendship with both the High King and the boy goatherd, Bevan. "Patrick and the Fire" also gives further background biographical information about Saint Patrick of Ireland, and includes the famous quotation of St. Patrick's Breastplate prayer: "Christ with me. Christ before me. Christ behind me. Christ on my right and on my left." Expressive colored illustrations and a simple, commanding narrative help make "Patrick and the Fire" a compelling, courageous story, as full of life toady as so many years ago, in Fourth century Britain and Ireland.

Three Wise Animals
Robert G. Seal, author
Jeff West, illustrator
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
www.GuardianAngelPublishing.com
9781616337933, $19.95, www.threewiseanimals.com

Loosely based upon the biblical story of the Nativity of Christ, "Three Wise Animals" is a new take on the reaction of many wise creatures to the impending birth of the Savior. The three animals who become three wise animals are Louis, a young sheep, Joshua, a young trickster ferret, and Mahmoud, the sweetest bull who ever breathed a smile. Despite travel dangers and obstacles and threats, these three special animals are chosen to make the journey to see the newborn King, and to honor him with their special gifts. They are inspired, cheered, and guided by a special new rabbit angel named Sarah. So Louis carries his wool blanket, Joshua carries his necklace of ten pebbles from the tablets of the Ten Commandments of Moses, and Mahmoud carries his special bull horn carried down from the days of Abraham, all to be given to the promised messiah, the newborn King. the three amigo animals face foes in the form of Caviel the wolf and his pack, and also Ruddus, Herod's main war horse. But Sarah the rabbit angel inspires them with her flowing halo of light and her faith in the Lord, and they manage to outwit and avoid the danger and death threatened by Caviel and his pack, with the help of the Lord. The three wise animal friends continued on their way to the manger in Bethlehem, where they offered their gifts to the newborn king, Jesus. The baby Jesus loved and accepted all their precious gifts, and blessed the three wise animals with his baby hands. The three animal friends were guided safely back to their home by Sarah, their angel friend, and all their lives they celebrated the day they had found the newborn King. The story of "The Three Wise Animals" is told in simple narrative text with lush full page color illustrations filled with expression and life. "The Three Wise Animals" is an inspiring new Christmas tale to weave into beloved family traditions at the holiday time.

Saint John Neumann: Missionary to Immigrants
Laura Rhoderica Brown, FSP
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
9780819890665, $8.95, PB, 80pp, www.amazon.com

In Laura Rhoderica Brown's "Saint John Neumann: Missionary to Immigrants" children ages 8 to 11 can now learn about the life and accomplishments of St. John Neumann, the holy man who became the only canonized North American bishop. From very early in his life, John wishes to learn more and grow closer to God. Finishing his studies in his European homeland, he wants nothing more than to be a missionary priest in America. When his ordination is delayed, John sets out for America, relying on God's providence. God watches over John on his many adventures as he travels from Europe to America and becomes a Redemptorist priest. Later, when Pope Pius IX assigns him as the fourth bishop of Philadelphia, he journeys throughout his new diocese to meet the people face-to-face. Listening to the needs of his flock, many of whom were immigrants, he built thirty churches, started the Catholic school system, and was greatly loved by all. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Saint John Neumann: Missionary to Immigrants" is very highly recommended for family, school, church, and community library collections.


The Judaic Shelf

Sky-High Sukkah
Rachel Ornstein Packer, author
Deborah Zemke, illustrator
Apples & Honey Press
c/o Behrman House Inc.
11 Edison Place, Springfield, NJ 07081
www.behrmanhouse.com
9781681155135, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Leah lives high up in an apartment building overlooking the city, and dreams of having a sukkah of her own. But there's no place to build it. With some help from the neighbors, Leah and her friend Ari find a way to have their own sukkah on the roof. An author's note by Rachel Ornstein Packer at the end explores the Jewish value of kehilla, community, and invites children to think about why kehilla is important and what activities they can do to build kehilla. Cheerfully illustrated throughly by Deborah Zemke, "Sky-High Sukkah" is all the more impressive considering that it is Rachel Packer's debut as a picture book author . An ideal introduction to the Sukkah celebration for children ages 3 to 8, "Sky-High Sukkah" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
www.tundrabooks.com
www.penguinrandomhouse.ca

Richard Unger's Yitzi and the Giant Menorah (9781770498129, $16.99) is a lovely story set on the eve of Hanukkah and tells of a special gift given to the people of Chelm by the town's mayor: a giant menorah. Every night the villages are grateful to their mayor as they light their menorah - and each night, they wonder what they can do for him, in turn. There are many ideas; but nothing seems quite right. It's the last night before Hanukkah before Yitzi comes up with something that seems perfect in this gentle story of holiday spirit. Carey Sookocheff's Solutions for Cold Feet and Other Little Problems (9781770498730, $16.99) is a lovely picture book about the cold, and tells of a girl and her dog who decides to address these daily challenges to comfort. From how to handle getting caught in the rain to dealing with boredom, these simple, familiar problems and some innovative solutions makes for a winning survey. Both are top recommendations for young readers.


The Fiction Shelf

Westly: A Spider's Tale
Bryan Beus
Shadow Mountain Publishing
P.O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0178
www.shadowmountain.com
9781629720685 $15.99 amazon.com

Westly: A Spider's Tale is a fantastic young adult novel about Westly, a spider outcast from the butterfly kingdom. Westly goes on a journey to understand what being a spider is truly all about, but neither the dragonfly, the centipede, nor Zug Zug the fly can tell him. The wise Raven knows all about spiders and becomes a mentor to Westly, but then Raven requests an unusual favor - access to the glass menagerie where Westly and the insects live! A dramatic story of arachnid coming of age, Westly: A Spider's Tale is especially recommended for public and school library collections.

Emma Has a Dilemma
Dana Wall & Amber Wall, authors
Phillip Orozco, illustrator
AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
www.authorhouse.com
9781524646219, $14.95, www.emmahasadilemma1.com

"Emma Has a Dilemma" tackles the issue of failing grades in grammar, specifically dealing with Emma's "F" on her grammar test about nouns and pronouns. Written in zippy verse and illustrated with colorful portraits of a very unhappy Emma (in the beginning), "Emma Has a Dilemma" banks on deep empathy between young readers and Emma, facing her very first F ever on a grammar test that she does not understand. Luckily, Wizard Jake heard her distress and came to the rescue with his magic wand and his wonderful green chalkboard in the sand, which reveals all the needed information about nouns vs. pronouns in their most simple expression. Although Emma's confidence has been deeply shaken, she gradually responds to Wizard Jake's creative teaching approaches. In no time Emma is able to understand the difference between nouns, both proper and common, (a person, place thing, activity, emotion or idea) and pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, they, you (in the plural), they (in the plural). Emma practices until she is ready to retake her test with the following result: "Emma is now smiling and so happy in Nouns, As she rolls out the A, she has awaken(ed) the Pronouns." Emma Has a Dilemma" is an appealing story about using creative study and "can do" attitude to overcome initial failure. Kids in elementary grades will enjoy following the learning adventures of Emma in the planned series.

Thunder: An Elephant's Journey
Erik Daniel Shein & L. M. Reker
World Castle Publishing
www.worldcastlepublishing.com
9781629895635, $17.99, HC, 222pp, www.amazon.com

Thunder is a young African elephant who sets out on a quest to save his mother who has been captured by poachers. Thunder's friends (a couple of kooky birds, a family of rhinos, two upbeat gorillas, a majestic eagle, and Jennetta Blue, a blue butterfly) help him in his quest to rescue his mother whom he is convinced is still alive. They brave adventure, daring escapes and meet many exotic creatures from the African veldt who help them on their search. Discovering that his quest is part of an ancient prophecy to bring all endangered animals to the safety of secret sanctuary called Heart Haven, Thunder uses his extraordinary skill of stomping his feet to create small earthquakes to save his mother. Together with his new friends, Thunder helps to stomp out poaching and saves the day. Enhanced with the inclusion of numerous black-and-white illustrations, "Thunder: An Elephant's Journey" is an impressively entertaining and thoughtful read which is especially recommended for school and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Thunder: An Elephant's Journey" is also available in a paperback edition (9781629895642, $6.41) and in a Kindle format ($4.99).

Avril Knows
Ginny Heenan, author
Savannah Lund & Daniele Derenzi, illustrators
www.ginnyheenan.com
Primrose Publishers
9780998415703, $12.99, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Avril is a young girl who loves learning new magic tricks. She also has an uncanny way of noticing details and things that other people don't, and that makes her good at magic. When her parents decide to have her portrait painted Avril imagines herself as a proud magician. However, Avril suffers from allergies. It is when she is seen through the eyes of the artist that she learns her allergies are not a bad thing, but instead make her more powerful and special than she ever imagined. Exceptionally well written and illustrated, "Avril Learns" is specially recommended to the attention of elementary school aged children (of whom one out of every 13 will suffer from some form of allergy), and will prove to be a welcome addition to family, school, and community library picture book collections.

Go South to Freedom
Frye Gailland, author
Anne Kent Rush, illustrator
NewSouth, Inc.
105 South Court Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
www.newsouthbooks.com
9781588383167, $17.95, HC, 72pp, www.amazon.com

More than twenty years ago, Robert Croshon, an elderly friend of Frye Gaillard's, told him the story of Croshon's ancestor, Gilbert Fields, an African-born slave in Georgia who led his family on a daring flight to freedom. Fields and his family ran away intending to travel north, but clouds obscured the stars and when morning came Fields discovered they had been running south instead. They had no choice but to seek sanctuary with the Seminole Indians of Florida and later a community of free blacks in Mobile. With Croshon's blessing, Gaillard has expanded this oral history into "Go South to Freedom", a historical novel for young readers ages 10 to 13, weaving the story of Gilbert Fields through the nearly forgotten history of the Seminoles and their alliance with runaway slaves. As Gaillard's narrative makes clear, the Seminole Wars of the 1830s, in which Indians fought side by side with former slaves, represents the largest slave uprising in American history. Gaillard also puts a human face on the story of free blacks before the Civil War and the lives they painfully built for themselves in Mobile. Hauntingly illustrated by artist Anne Kent Rush, "Go South to Freedom" is a gripping and extraordinary read. While very highly recommended for both school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Go South to Freedom" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Cease & Desist
Stephen David Hurley
RiverBrook Books
9780997738100, $12.98, PB, 362pp, www.amazon.com

What if the secret to being charismatic were actually a gene you could inherit, and pass along to your children. What if this "X-factor" could make you a star? Welcome to the world of Cease de Menich, a sixteen-year-old actress in New York City who gets cast as Joan-of-Arc in a reality-drama, only to discover her "acting gift" has been passed down through her bloodline for almost six-hundred-years. Cease finds the plot of the drama reveals dark secrets from her past (an abusive mother, a brother who committed suicide) and the reader must decide if she's a reliable narrator or a terrified girl who's succumb to the pressure of fame and the abuse of her past. "Cease & Desist" is a dark, contemporary YA thriller with a supernatural twist and reveals author and novelist Stephen David Hurley as a master of the Suspense/Thriller genre, with a genuine flair for deftly created and memorable characters. While very highly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cease & Desist" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.99).

Circle of Nine
Valerie Biel
Lost Lake Press
N7130 North Lost Lake Road, Randolph, WI 53956
www.LostLakePress.com
9780990645009, $13.99, PB, 312pp, www.amazon.com

In "Circle of Nine", Brigit Quinn reports that: "Since I was a little girl I've been labeled a freak in my small town. There's no blending in when your mom practices an ancient pagan religion and everyone believes she's a witch. On my 15th birthday my secret wish is the same as always - to just be normal. But that's not what I get. Not even close." But Brigit is shocked to learn she's descended from a legendary Celtic tribe - powerful people who serve as guardians of the stone circles of Ireland. A spellbound book of family history reveals the magical powers of her ancestors. Powers that could be hers - if only she wanted them. And when someone sinister and evil returns to steal her family's strength, Brigit has to make a decision. Fight to keep her unique heritage or reject it for the normal life she's always wanted. The debut title in author Valerie Biel's new 'Circle of Nine' series, this deftly written and consistently compelling coming-of-age novel will especially appeal to young adult readers who enjoy stories of magic steeped in the mysticism surrounding the standing stone circles of Ireland. While highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fiction fans that "Circle of Nine" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Thing with Feathers
McCall Hoyle
Blink
c/o HarperCollins
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
www.harpercollinschildrens.com
9780310758518, $17.99, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she's homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she's probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can't swim. Then Emilie's mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj's to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn't told anyone about her epilepsy. Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she'll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet's advice and "dwell in possibility". "The Thing with Feathers" is a compelling story of overcoming fears, forging new friendships, and finding a first love. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists, "The Thing with Feathers" will prove to be an ideal and enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections.

The Fly Strip
Gwen Banta
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall Johnson Road 102-345, Grapevine, Texas 76051
www.waldorfpublishing.com
9781943847402, $24.95, HC, 284pp, www.amazon.com

Weed Clapper is a witty and resilient seventeen-year-old who journeys to Indiana amid the growing racial unrest of 1960. When his black friend is terrorized by the KKK, Weed begins to uncover the dark secrets of this small Midwestern town. He turns to his beautiful young teacher for support, and tumbles into a most forbidden love affair. Laugh-out-loud funny, and yet achingly poignant, the story of Weed's journey to defy convention and to defend his sense of justice will cause the reader to want to stand up and cheer for this charming, hilarious, and very unlikely hero. Exceptionally well written and consistently engaging from beginning to end, "The Fly Strip" by Gwen Banta is very highly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Fly Strip" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.99).

At the Edge of the Universe
Shaun David Hutchinson
Simon Pulse
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781481449663, $17.99, HC, 496pp, www.amazon.com

Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since the second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town -- and then Tommy vanished. More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie. Ozzie doesn't know how to navigate life without Tommy, and soon he suspects that something else is going on: that the universe is shrinking. When Ozzie is paired up with new student Calvin on a physics project, he begins to wonder if Calvin could somehow be involved. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to deny the feelings developing between them, even if he still loves Tommy. But Ozzie knows there isn't much time left to find Tommy that once the door closes, it can't be opened again. And he's determined to keep it open as long as it takes to get his boyfriend. "At the Edge of the Universe" is the heartbreaking story of a boy who believes the universe is slowly shrinking as things he remembers are being erased from others' memories. An consistently engaging novel, "At the Edge of the Universe" showcases author "Shaun David Huchinson's genuine flair for originality and impressively storytelling. While very highly recommended, especially for school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "At the Edge of the Universe" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

Stones
Vicki C. Hayes
Saddleback Educational Publishing Inc.
3120-A Pullman Street, Cosa Mesa, CA 92626-4564
www.sdlback.com
9780606389501, $18.40, Library Binding, 75pp, www.amazon.com

Jan is angry at everyone. Her mom and sister suffer the most. In a fit of rage, Jan stomps off to her room. When she wakes up, she's home, but it's not real. Everything is hard and cold and gray. The people look different. They are square, short. And they are dying. They need her help. Only a human can cure them. Jan wants no part of it. But the machine that brought her there is broken. She has no choice. Jan must learn that helping others will also help her overcome her own pain. Exceptionally well written and an engaging read from beginning to end, "Stones" is especially recommended for young readers ages 8 to 12 and for both community library and elementary school library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stones" is also available in a paperback edition (9781622509782, $7.95) and in a Kindle format ($7.95).

Closing Down Heaven
Lesley Choyce
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada, L3R 4T8
www.reddeerpress.com
9780889955431, $12.95, PB, 220pp, www.amazon.com

"Closing Down Heaven" by Lesley Choyce is a whimsical free-verse novel in which a young man quite literally propels himself out of this world and into the next after pushing his bike just a little too far. In fact, Hunter flies right off a cliff only to awaken in a place called Heaven. Here he meets a compelling young friend named Trinity. From this point on, his mission is to love and protect her and all the while, find a way back to life on Earth. Unfortunately for Hunter that's when things get really complicated. In the end, through unexpected twists and turns that are both humorous and moving, young readers ages 12 to 17 will discover a little bit about the meaning of love, and something of Heaven and Earth. Exceptionally well written and impressively engaging from beginning to end, "Closing Down Heaven" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library fiction collections.

Revenge of the Green Banana
Jim Murphy
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544786776, $16.99, www.hmhco.com

Revenge of the Green Banana tells of the first day of sixth grade, when Jimmy Murphy faces trouble with his new teacher, who is bent on picking on him in class and generally humiliating him. The last straw is when she chooses him to perform with some second graders wearing a green banana costume. That's it - Jimmy's out for revenge - and he and his gang plan the ultimate prank in this hilarious story of a boy's prank that goes awry. A fun tale emerges to attract middle school readers with a zany account.

Random House Canada
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
www.randomhouse.com/kids
www.penguinrandomhouse.ca

Cary Fagan's Wolfie & Fly (9781101918203, $14.99) Zoe Si provides fine black and white illustrations for this easy reader story for ages 7-10 which revolves around a loner girl, Renata (Wolfie), who thinks friends just get in the way of fun plans. But even though she's not looking for friendship, she finds it in the form of "Fly", a strange neighbor boy who equals her capacity for fantasy and fun. As they explore their world together, Wolfie begins to get an inkling of what a real friendship could introduce to her life. Kara Kootstra's Jay Versus the Saxophone of Doom (9780670069408, $13.99) is recommended for ages 8-12 and pairs pictures by Kim Smith with a fun story of a boy who loves hockey: a sport that unites the most disparate interests in his family. But even his beloved sport can't fully compensate for the horrors of sixth grade, where his teammate holds a grudge and the saxophone becomes another obstacle in his life. Can Jay overcome both? A fun story evolves.

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

Gabrielle Kent's The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle (9780545869249, $16.99) centers around Alfie Bloom, who is about to have another terrible summer because not only is his father totally preoccupied with a new invention, but his best friend will be out of town, leaving Alfie alone. A strange letter that hints he may have an inheritance leads Alfie on an adventure in a castle he's inherited, and everything changes in this summer when he discovers a mystery that affects his entire life. Mike Jung's Unidentified Suburban Object (9780545782265, $16.99) tells of a Korean girl who is sick of having everyone mix up her ethnicity, and who is tired of others thinking that everything she does well is only because she's Asian. Complicating matters is the fact that her parents don't want to have anything to do with their Korean heritage, so Chloe is confused about her identity. When a new teacher comes to town who is also Korean American, Chloe at last has someone to talk to about her dilemmas in this engrossing story of identity crisis and change. Gordon Korman's Slacker (9780545823159, $16.99) tells of Cameron Boxer, who is happy to avoid homework and hang out with his friends playing games. Deeply immersed in his gaming world, he almost lets disaster happen around him - and realizes he has a problem of slacking off. When his gang invents a fake school club to appear to do good deeds, problems emerge when some kid think the club is real. A fun story of values and maturity revolves, recommended for advanced elementary to middle school grades. Suzanne Weyn's Bionic (9780545906777, $17.99) tells of Mira, who has a good boyfriend, a part-time job, and is successful at sports and friends alike. Everything seems perfect, until Mira is hurt and wakes up in the hospital vastly changed. Not only is her body changed, but her life, by an experimental program that theoretically can give her back everything she's lost - or, can it? Is she even human any longer? Jennifer A. Nielsen's The Scourge (9780545682459, $16.99) tells of a lethal plague that sweeps over the land. Ani is shocked when she's captured by the governor's wardens and tested for the Scourge, but when she's sent away, she discovers some shocking truths about the Scourge, the Colony, and her place in it. An engrossing fantasy evolves. Shaun Tan's The Singing Bones (9780343946124, $24.99) features wicked stepmothers, traitors, princesses, and more classics from the Brothers Grimm, but receives an update in illustrations with Shaun Tan's beautiful full-page color illustrations throughout. If readers expect a traditional fairy tale, however, they may be disappointed: each tale receives a surprising twist on a theme that reveals a hidden heart to each story line. The result is a truly original take on the Grimm productions that is especially recommended for older teens already familiar with or studying the classics.

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

Alex Bell's Frozen Charlotte (9780545941082, $18.99) tells of Sophie, who is sent away to stay with cousins on the Isle of Skye when her best friend mysteriously dies. The three cousins are strangers to her who have their own odd problems, but Sophie quickly realizes that the odd family has grown even stranger since she last saw them, and the new rules involve some frightening behaviors. Has Sophie moved right into the heart of danger, or is it following her? A sinister mystery evolves. Augusta Scattergood's Making Friends with Billy Wong (9780545924252, $16.99) tells of Azelea, whose new job is to look after Grandma Clark and meet new sixth graders in her Texas hometown. She's never been good at making friends, but when the Chinese-American boy who helps in her grandmother's garden begins to be a friend, the two find their shared adversity with others draws them together even as civil rights issues begin to simmer. A fine story of friendship, prejudice and change emerges. Roland Smith's Above (9780545564892, $16.99) provides a continuation to the saga in Beneath with the story of Pat and his brother Coop, who are running from a too-visible enemy. Joined by Kate, they are trying to escape an underground New York community - especially Kate, who's lived there all her life. But is life any easier above, than below? A fine adventure story evolves.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Crime Cats: The Dusenbury Curse
Written and illustrated by Wolfgang Parker
Rogue Agent Publishing
crimecatsbooks.com
9780692318065 $8.99 amazon.com

Featuring a handful of black-and-white illustrations by the author, Crime Cats: The Dusenbury Curse is the second young adult novel in a series of mystery-adventures featuring Jonas Shurmann and his crime-solving feline friends. In The Dusenbury Curse, the human-and-cat detective team seeks to unravel the history of a 100-year-old curse, in order to protect a friend in need! An engaging read especially ideal for cat lovers ages 8-12, Crime Cats: The Dusenbury Curse is a choice pick for school and public library children's collections. Also highly recommended are the other novels in the Crime Cats series: "Crime Cats: Missing" (9780615984698, $8.99) and "Crime Cats: The Deadly Scarab" (9780692562277, $9.50).


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home
Jody A. Dean, Ph.D., author
Susie Lee Jin, illustrator
Tally Ho Publishing
PO Box 179, Wildwood, MO 63040
www.TallyHoPublishing.com
9780997345308, $23.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

"Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home" is the story of a dachshund dog, as she makes the transition from her temporary Foster home to her new Forever home. Based on a real dog and her experiences, this picture book story by Jody A. Dean is specifically designed to help young children ages 4 to 8 through the complicated process of adoption and other family transitions such as welcoming adopted children into their home, joining step-families and blended groupings, or moving between one separated parent and another. Charmingly illustrated by Susie Lee Jin, Roxie's story shows children that it is perfectly normal to be afraid or anxious, and to ask questions, and most importantly that they are moving into a loving, caring family and everything will be all right. "Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home" comes with a Parent and Therapist Guide for Adoptive Families written by a professional therapist to help adult caregivers and adoptive parents in guiding children through the transition process. While very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home" is also available in a Kindle format ($18.99).

Matilda: The Algonquin Cat
Leslie Martini, author
Massimo Mongiardo, illustrator
Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing
15115 Highway 36, Deadwood, OR 97430
www.wyattmackenzie.com
9781942545446, $26.00, HC, 44pp, www.amazon.com

The Algonquin Round Table was a famous gathering of writers, critics, journalists, actors, and other literary figures back in the 1919 and 1929. "Matilda: The Algonquin Cat" is the real-life story of the feline-in-residence at New York City's legendary hotel, as told by Matilda herself. When a stray cat wandered into the lobby of The Algonquin Hotel, kindhearted hotelier Frank Case provided him a permanent home in the hotel and the legend of The Algonquin Cat was born! "Matilda, The Algonquin Cat" illuminates the daily routine of Manhattan's most celebrated feline while paying homage to The Algonquin Hotel's long held tradition of hosting authors, journalists, and actors-most notably in one of the most famous gatherings of American literary and artistic figures. Illustrated throughout with the drawings of Massimo Mongiardo, "Matilda: the Algonquin Cat" is a deftly crafted children's picture book that will hold special appear for ages 6 to 9, making it an ideal addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Matilda: The Algonquin Cat" is also available in a paperback edition (9781942545569, $13.50) and in a Kindle format ($6.99).

Nosey Rosey
Paige Clough
Bright Sky Press
2365 Rice Blvd., Suite 202, Houston, TX 77005
www.brightskypress.com
9781942945352, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Paige Clough worked as a floral designer before a chance encounter with miniature horses changed her path. She began training miniature horses for local and world level competition, teaching riding lessons and horsemanship to children and adults, and visiting schools and churches with her herd of minis. She opened the Paloma Trails stables in Katy, Texas, to provide riding and carriage driving lessons, boarding minis, and other educational opportunities for children. As she observed improvements in the behavior and moods of many of her special needs students and saw the deep connection they had with the minis, she began training to become a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and began working for SIRE, a non-profit Therapeutic Equestrian Center. With "Nosey Rosey" Paige draws upon her experience and expertise with the miniature horse world to write an engaging and entertaining story for young children ages 5 to 10. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, school and community library Pets/Wildlife collections, "Nosey Rosey" is thoroughly 'kid friendly' and informative introduction to a thoroughly charming miniature horse.

Birds Make Nests
Michael Garland
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823436620, $16.95, www.holidayhouse.com

Birds Make Nests uses gorgeous drawings and colorful details to explore the different kinds of bird nests and how they help keep eggs and chicks safe. The drawings were created with a blend of woodcuts and digital tools, and provide full-color pages of detail from lovely pink American Flamingos to American robins and wood ducks. The result is a gorgeous collection of images that lend colorful and realistic embellishments to an easy reader recommended for grades 2-4 who are interested in birds and bird basics.

Narwhal
Solomon Awa, author
Hwei Lim, illustrator
Inhabit Media
PO Box 11125, Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 1H0
9781772270808 $15.95 www.inhabitmedia.com

Part of the "Animals Illustrated" series for beginning readers, Narwhal is a fascinating picturebook of facts about this amazing species of whale, which sports a long tusk that looks like a horn. Realistic color illustrations and simple, plain-spoken text teach young people about the life cycle of the narwhal. "Narwhals can dive deeper than almost any other whale. They have been known to reach depths of more than 4,900 feet (1,500 metres) on a dive. These deep dives last close to half and hour. The blood of a narwhal is able to hold a lot of oxygen for these deep dives." Educational and accessible, Narwhal is an excellent choice for both school and public library children's collections.


The ABC Shelf

Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose!: A Canadian Wildlife ABC
Geraldo Valerio, author/artist
Owlkids Books
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771471749, $16.95, www.owlkidsbooks.com

"Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose!" is an exciting Canadian wildlife tour through the alphabet that uses poetic narrative, and repeated featured letter sounds to enhance each designated letter creature, in addition to the spectacular paper collage portraits of so many Canadian birds, beasts, and creatures. Truly stunning color collage portraits present the Arctic fox, beaver, bison, caribou, dragonflies, eagles and eaglets, frogs, Canada goose and gosling, and many more. A creative approach to the difficult or more obscure letters is successful, the featured letter is capitalized in the middle or end of the creature's name, such as griZZly for "Z," or lynX and muskoX for "X." At the end of the alphabet animals, a thumbnail portrait review of each animal is presented on four pages that pairs each featured animal with a fun fact or unknown feature of the Canadian animal. "Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose" is a truly stunning new approach to regional animal alphabet books, with arresting artwork on every single page. Young children will be delighted to learn their ABC's with this fascinating new book.


The Counting Shelf

Over in the Grasslands: On an African Savanna
Marianne Berkes, author
Jill Dubin, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City, CA 95050
9781584695684, $8.95, www.dawnpub.com

"Over in the Grasslands" is an African savanna-based counting rhyme story imitating the familiar rhythm of a classic beloved children's rhyme, "Over in the Meadow." Like the seven previous books in this series, each page and verse and number features an animal or bird common to the African savanna. Stunning colored cut paper illustrations of the animals are presented opposite a page of verse, which features the number being featured on that page, along with a collage of objects of the same number. One favorite example is the number five, paired with lions: "Over in the grasslands/ Knowing how to survive/ Lived a proud mother lion/ and her little cubs five. 'Stalk,' said the mother./ 'We stalk,' said the five./ So they stalked in the grass/ Knowing how to survive." Children will love learning to count by clapping and singing the verse in rhythm, with accompanying tune with notation in the back of "Over in the Grasslands" and also at, www.dawnpub.com underneath "Activities" and the book title. Adding to the fun is a mystery hidden African animal to be found on each page, plus a related "Find Us" section with a map of Africa that uses color shading to show where each of the ten featured animals is found in Africa. The 10 species include jackals, meerkats, aardvarks, hornbills, chimpanzees, lions, hippos, elephants, giraffes, and one zebra. As with all Dawn titles and all earlier books in this series, additional information about life on the African savanna, plus thumbnail biosketches of both the original counted animals and the hidden animals is provided. Written to appeal to children ages 3-8 years, "Over in the Grasslands" is a beautiful tour of the grasslands and rainforest of Africa combined with a familiar counting rhyme. Spectacular art work is featured throughout the story, and tips from the illustrator plus tips from the author can inspire similar creative efforts from young readers.

Mousequerade Ball: A Counting Tale
Lori Mortensen, author
Betsy Lewin, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
www.bloomsburyusa.com
9781619634220, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

In a castle on a hill, in a great grand hall, / mice are getting ready for the Mousequerade Ball. / They dress in their finest. What a grand affair! / But when an unexpected guest arrives, / the mice get quite a scare. // Is the evening ruined? Should they run in fright? / Or will a gallant mouse stand up and save the splendid night? -- The lyrically presented story of children's book author Lori Mortensen is wonderfully supported by the whimsical artistry of Betsy Lewin. Counting up to ten and back again, dancing all the while, this deftly crafted picture book is an utterly delightful story that invites young readers (and dancers) ages 3 to 6 to the event of the season: the Mousequerade Ball! While very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mousequerade Ball: A Counting Tale" is also available as a Board Book (9781681190334, $7.99) and in a Kindle format ($5.99).


The Bilingual Shelf

Rainbow Weaver
Linda Elovitz Marshall, author
Elisa Chavarri, illustrator
Children's Book Press
c/o Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9780892393749 $18.95 www.leeandlow.com

Rainbow Weaver is a bilingual English/Spanish children's picturebook inspired by a real-life recycling movement in Guatemala. The story follows a young Mayan girl, Ixchel, who wants to weave beautiful fabric just like her mother, grandmother, and ancestors have for generations. But her family is very poor, and there is no fabric to spare. She experiments with grass and bits of wool, without success. Then she discovers that she can collect discarded yet colorful plastic bags, wash them, and cut them into thin strips suitable for weaving! This positive-minded story celebrates ingenuity and resourcefulness, and is highly recommended especially for public and school library children's collections. A portion of the proceeds from Rainbow Weaver will benefit weavers of the Mayan Hands and Maya Works cooperatives, helping them provide health and dental care to weavers' families, as well as education for their children.

A Surprise for Teresita / Una Sorpresa Para Teresita
Virginia Sanchez-Korrol, author
Carolyn Dee Flores, illustrator
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
www.artepublicopress.com
9781558858312, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

When Teresita opens her eyes that morning, she knows it's a special day. It's her birthday, and now she's a big girl. She's seven! And her Tio Ramon has promised her a surprise. She can't wait to find out what it is! "Is it time for Tio Ramon to come to our block?" she asks her mama excitedly as she sits down for breakfast. But it's too early. Her uncle has to take his snow cone cart to the other blocks before he comes to theirs. All day, Teresita watches for the green and white cart. She listens for Tio Ramon calling, "Snow cones, cold snow cones. Piraguas! Piraguas frias!" While she waits for her uncle, she jumps rope, plays games with her friends and watches the goings-on in her neighborhood. Mothers hold their young children's hands as they walk to the corner bodega to buy groceries. Boys and girls ride bikes and play stickball. Older people sit at their windows and enjoy the sights and sounds of their community. And coming from far up the block where water sprays from an open fire hydrant, Teresita finally hears the sound of her uncle's voice. What will her surprise be?!? Set in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in New York City, this bilingual picture book is especially recommended for children ages 4 - 8 because it accurately and entertainingly captures both the daily life of an urban community and a child's excitement about her birthday surprise. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Carolyn Dee Flores, "A Surprise for Teresita / Una Sorpresa Para Teresita" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections for young readers.

Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club
Xavier Garza
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
www.cincopuntos.com
9781941026403, $19.95, HC, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Max seems like any other nerdy kid until he's asked to join the Lucha Libre Club. The super-secret club admits only the offspring of wrestling royalty. And Max is a prince, descended through his mother from royal blood, his uncle the very king of lucha libre: The Guardian Angel. Trouble is, the club is so secret that Max can't tell his best friend or girlfriend what he is up, vexing Paloma no end. An unfailingly entertaining read from cover to cover, "Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club" is a bilingual novel (English/Spanish) that is especially recommended for young readers ages 8 to 12, and will prove to be a popular addition to school and community library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1941026410, $12.95) and in a Kindle format ($9.48).


The Needlecraft Shelf

Klutz
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, 8th floor, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.klutz.com

Children ages 8 and older will be able to stitch and stuff an assortment of twelve fuzzy animals from felt using the "Sew Mini Animals" kit (9781338106442, $21.99) that includes a 48 page book of instructions; 3 pages of paper patterns; 12 sheets of acrylic felt; 32 yards of cotton floss in 8 colors; a 30 piece set of precut acrylic felt eyes and cheeks; 2 embroidery needles; and 1 ounce of polyfill stuffing. "Pom Pom Kitties: Make Your Own Cute Cats" (9781338106435, $19.99) will have strong appeal for children ages 8 and older who will be able to create three feline friends chosen from seven different types of cats. This thoroughly 'kid friendly' crafts kit includes a 48 page book of instructions; 3 pages of paper patterns; 12 sheets of acrylic felt; 32 yards of cotton floss in 8 colors; 30 sets of precut acrylic felt eyes and cheeks; 2 embroidery needles; 1 ounce of polyfill stuffing. Fun, easy, and providing basic needlecraft skills training, both of these outstanding crafts kits are very highly recommended.


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Guttersnipes
Scott Eric Barrett
www.scottericbarrett.net
Vanguard Press
c/o Perseus Books Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
www.vanguardpressbooks.com
9781784651374, $14.99, PB, 250 pp, www.amazon.com

Charlie Daniels is more than six feet tall, allergic to almost everything, and has a pet dinosaur at home. His life in Arizona is relatively normal. That is, apart from the nightmares Charlie has. But when his dinosaur, Trike, gets kidnaped by a strange old lady and her cat-like sidekick, Charlie and his misfit friend Arty are sucked into a story bigger than both of them. Risking everything to rescue Trike, Charlie and Arty are flung into the past, landing in the chaos of New York City, 1865. Dodging the mysterious Nasten Cobblestine, and avoiding the perils of New York's nastiest street cleaners' strikes, test Charlie's wits as well as his courage. All he wants to do is reunite with his dinosaur and somehow find a way back home. As Charlie searches for Trike, he draws dangerously close to P.T. Barnum's eerie museum and the creature that lies within. Will he find Trike and get home alive? And who is the Ice Lady of his nightmares? An impressively well crafted novel that is a consistently compelling and unfailingly entertaining read from beginning to end, "The Guttersnipes" is unreservedly recommended for community library young adult fantasy collections. For personal reading lists, it should be noted that "The Guttersnipes" is also available in a Kindle format ($5.99).

Moonlight Hunting
Kathrine LaFleur
Storymine Press
www.storyminepress.com
9780982909799, $12.56, PB, 282pp, www.amazon.com

With one quarter of the Cardonian population in his grip, Fillian Barnabas has made his way into the Steeple Basin and the next phase of his plan to usurp all control of Cardonia. But Moonlight is close on his heels, determined to rescue the friends Barnabas has taken hostage, and to put an end to his dominion. Separated from the small group of dissenters who pulled her into this fight in the first place, Moonlight must face not only a lethally dangerous Persuasive, but her own inner demons if she is to survive and win freedom for herself and her kingdom. "Moonlight Hunting" is the second volume of author Kathrine LaFleur's outstanding 'Cardonian Chronicles' series and showcases her genuine flair for deftly crafted fantasy-adventure storytelling. An unfailingly entertaining read from cover to cover, "Moonlight Hunting" is very highly recommended for young adult reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "Moonlight Hunting" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Wishing World
Todd Fahnestock
Starscape
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765385888, $17.99, www.tor-forge.com

The Wishing World provides a compelling adventure in a magical realm where wishes come alive and come true, and will appeal to middle grade fantasy readers. Lorelei doesn't know about this world, where dreams come to life - but she does know that a monster kidnaped her family during a camping trip a year ago. Determined to find them, she stumbles upon a secret land and accidentally breaks into it, only to discover it's more alluring and lovely than her own. There, Lorelei is a wish-maker who can make her own dreams real - and there she discovers that the monster kidnapper is her equal. The problems that evolve threaten both worlds, especially since an evil force in her own world wants to learn her secrets. Middle grades will find this a compelling, original read.

Doctor Who: A History of Humankind
BBC Children's Books
Penguin Random House UK
9781405926539, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, www.penguin.co.uk

Doctor Who: A History of Humankind is recommended for middle school readers on up who are prior Doctor Who Fans, and who will welcome quite a different addition to the series. Here the time-traveling Doctor has corrected a school history textbook with his own notes and illustrations to cover the "real" history of humankind - one that includes time travel, monsters, and the creatures that visit it. Since The Doctor has met a variety of historical figures, from Leonardo Da Vinci to the Aztec people, he's in a fine position comment on realities and facts, and Doctor Who: A History of Humankind offers a fun blend of fantasy and history's mysteries and oddities in a pictorial graphic novel-style book that is a fun take-off on the series.

Shadowsmith
Ross MacKenzie
Kelpies
c/o Floris Books
www.florisbooks.co.uk
9781782503040, $9.95, PB, 280pp, www.amazon.com

When mysterious Amelia Pigeon turns up at Kirby's bedroom window in the dead of night, 'Are you brave?' is the question she asks him immediately before they tumble into a world of ancient malevolent spirits who have torn their way into Kirby's sleepy seaside village. In the pages of "Shadowsmith", author Ross MacKenzie deftly weaves a world of magic and adventure in a fantasy adventure novel replete twists and turns magnificently and will keep thrilled young readers ages 9 to 12 guessing right to the end. Impressively original and exceptionally well written, "Shadowsmith" is a consistently compelling read from beginning to end and very highly recommended for school and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Shadowsmith" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World
Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Marvel
9781484781548, $13.99, www.marvel.com

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World tells of a teen who has moved from California to the New Jersey suburb, where she faces the usual challenge of making new friends and settling into a new home - with a difference. Doreen has to hide her fluffy tail and her squirrel powers, on top of all the changes. But when she uses her unusual powers to stop a group of mischief makers, everyone in school is talking about her - and she becomes a super hero with as many new challenges as it holds benefits. Middle school readers will find this a fun series of adventures as a lonely outcast makes a new name for herself - and doesn't quite know if she likes it.

The Sun Jumpers
Ken Luber
Dog Ear Publishing
4011 Vincennes Road, New Augusta, IN 46268-3005
www.dogearpublishing.net
9781457550461, $16.99, PB, www.amazon.com

"The Sun Jumpers" by Ken Luber is the story of how some ten thousand years ago, two teenage lovers set out to save their clan. But what they didn't expect is to end up in the 21st century. Along with two loyal friends, Ty and Sita embark on a daring vision quest, searching a deadly prehistoric forest for a tribe to save their cave-dwelling clan. But when the blood of a beast and Sita's shamanic potions combine to scramble their psyches, the dark-skinned seekers find themselves thrust from their familiar cave-land world into the technology-driven modern-day city of Los Angeles. Darren, a young filmmaker shooting a carpet commercial on a mountaintop, mistakes the Stone Age kids for a rap group and brings them to his home, where the teens discover the wonders of Star Wars, pizza, sunglasses, and skateboarding. Ty's courage and Sita's shamanic wisdom eventually force the pompous filmmaker to face his destiny, and disbelief slowly becomes trust. Still, Ty must find a way to travel back ten millennia with a miracle that will save his starving clan. But how? Or will Sita's potions hurl them into another, unrecognizable, even malevolent future? A witty yet moving tale of teenage love, the power of friendship, and how bravery and a willing heart can save an entire people "The Sun Jumpers" clearly showcases author Ken Luber's genuine flair for creating a consistently compelling, original, and memorable story populated by deftly crafted characters and replete with unexpected twists and turns. While highly recommended for school and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Sun Jumpers" is also available in a Kindle format ($7.99).

Pico the Gnome
Martina Muller
Floris Books
9781782503293, $16.95, www.florisbooks.co.uk

Pico the Gnome looks like a picture book but borders on the chapter book age range, so good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance are recommended for this story of how an evening stroll leads to falling sleep in the forest and an encounter with a frightening giant. Beautiful full-page color illustrations by the author accompany a tale of a gnome who co-exists peacefully in his forest home until his blissful sleep is interrupted. Kids will enjoy the gentle story, lovely drawings, and unexpected results of Pico's encounter.

The Oodlethunks: Steg-O-Normous
Adele Griffin
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545732840, $12.99, www.scholastic.com

The Oodlethunks: Steg-O-Normous provides advanced elementary to middle grade readers with an inviting easier read enhanced by blue and white illustrations by Mike Wu, and tells of Stacy, a stegosaurus who wants to explore her new world, and Oona, the other who wants to show her off. Add potions and witch spells, cave creations, and a touch of magic to a fantasy replete with action and fun moments as Stacy explores her world and interacts with its inhabitants.

Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholasticlibrary.com

Josh Funk's Pirasaurs! (9780545750493, $14.99) features fun drawings by Michael Slack to accompany the zany tale of 'pirasaurs' - dinosaur pirates who delight in making enemies and wielding canons. One young pirasaur has a lot to learn - and finds it difficult to adjust to the pirate's life. What happens when the ship is lost? A zany tale evolves. Eric Litwin's Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs (9780545883788, $17.99) tells of a dog who is living the dream with his doggy ice cream. He's a happy dog - until his song attracts a dragon who enjoys doggy ice cream, as well. What can Joe do in the face of a dino threat? A fun tale evolves, perfect for young picture book readers who like zany plots. Tim Lichtenheld's drawings are fun embellishments to the positive story.

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

Dan Poblocki's Shadow House: The Gathering (9780545925501, $12.99) is a little over two hundred pages of ghost stories, and tells of five children summoned to Shadow House for seemingly-innocent reasons, who discover that the house is filled with ghosts and changing atmospheres. Advanced elementary to middle grades will find haunting images, a free Shadow House app linked to the book's events, and a fine sense of thrilling adventure and horror throughout as the five kids explore their strange new world. Sarah Mlynowski's Whatever After: Sugar and Spice (9780545851060, $14.99) adds to a New York Times best-selling series and tells of a magic mirror that drops the protagonist and her brother into the story of Hansel and Gretel. They may get to taste the cake house - or, they may never return from their adventure, because the real Hansel and Gretel are now free and the siblings have taken their place. Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater's Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures (9781338088151, $9.99) creates a list of magical animals which Pip finds easier to talk to than people. Because of an accidental Unicorn Incident at her school, Pip has been banished to Aunt Emma's for the summer, and her Cloverton Clinic for Magical Creatures. This seems far preferable to humans, but when Fuzzles begin appearing, Pip and her new friend are charged with solving a puzzle and an issue that could change their world. Jonathan Auxier's The Burning Tide is Book 4 of the Fall of the Beasts: Spirit Animals series (9780545832144, $12.99) and is set in a world long before humans evolved, where the sleeping evil wyrm Erdas is awakening. Four children travel between worlds, each charged with stopping the evil; but each faces an old trip that challenges each young hero. Do any of them have any chance of saving their home? Tommy Greenwald's Crime Biters! It's a Doggy Dog World (9780545783972, $12.99) tells of a dog, Abby, who is enrolled in obedience school to control her behavior - a move which inadvertently stops her superhero abilities as a vampire crime fighter. When Jimmy Bishop adopted his awesome crime-fighting pet, he had no idea the dog would solve a big, puzzling crime. Can Abby put the bite on the latest issue? A fun story of a boy and his special dog emerges.


The American History Shelf

Our Country's Presidents
Ann Bausum
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
www.nationalgeographic.com
9781426326851, $24.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

In Ann Bausum's "Our Country's Presidents", the National Geographic Press presents the 43 individuals who have led the U.S., as president, plus the newly elected Donald Trump, America's newest commander-in-chief, in an up-to-date, authoritative, and lavishly illustrated family, school, and library reference work. It features comprehensive profiles of the 43 former presidents along with timelines and descriptions of crucial events during their terms. Thematic spreads cover a variety of topics from the history of voting rights to writing a presidential letter. Full-page portraits, famous quotes, and fascinating facts help kids ages 10 to 12 to get to know each presidential leader. This new and volume is thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation. The result is an inherently fascinating read and an excellent reference for students and kids of all ages. Simply stated, "Our Country's Presidents" is unreservedly recommended for personal, family, school and community library collections.


The Science Shelf

Stories of the Aurora: Dot to Dot in the Sky series
Joan Marie Galat, author
Lorna Bennett, illustrator
Whitecap Books
314 Cordova Street, #210, Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 1E8, Canada
9781770502109, $16.95, www.whitecap.ca

"Stories of the Aurora" provides a dual approach to the great mystery in Northern and Southern night skies called the greatest light show on earth. First, the scientific approach is explored with explanations of the aurora's creation from particles from the Sun entering the Earth's magnetic field and colliding with gas in the Earth's atmosphere. The resulting magnificent light show, visible in both Northern and Southern hemispheres, is called aurora borealis in the north and aurora australis in the south. In addition to the summary of scientific background on the aurora, there is a rich multicultural tradition of stories, tales, or myth and folklore about the aurora from many cultural sources around the planet Earth. many and varied are the colorful interpretations of the dancing, different colored lights from Inuit, Estonian, Latvian, Russian, Finn, Chinese, and other Aboriginal cultural sources. Some of the interesting names given to the aurora by different peoples include: blood rain (Greek), Buddha lights (Ceylon), the Light You Can Hear (Sami), Dancing Goats (French), the Light of the Northern Dancers and Sacred Cloud (Plains tribes), and more. More objective information about the auroras is presented alongside traditional cultural ways of regarding different aspects of the aurora phenomena. Special chapters are devoted to the aurora as fire, aurora dancers, or auroral movement. Sky Spirits, an Inuit tale, deals with the perceived significance of auroral sound. Further views of aurora phenomena are presented in Skirnir's Journey (Norse) about views from outer space, the Valkyries (Norse), Eos' Wish (Greek) about forecasting auroras, the Rainbow Belt (Wabanaki/Algonquin) about environmental effects, and the Land of Eternal Memory (Mi'kmaq/French Canadian), about magnetic storms. "Stories of the Auroras" closes with tips and facts about where and when to search for auroras, and the final chapter recaps the theme of enjoying the aurora through facts and fiction, which showcases both the marvelous auroras themselves and human wonder at their marvelous existence. Written for the understanding of young readers ages 9-13, "Stories of the Aurora" also contains colored full page illustrations to highlight individual chapters and aurora shows, adding further hand created visual effects. A final glossary of terms from "atom" to "watt" completes this intriguing title from the series titled "Dot to Dot in the Sky."

When the Sky Breaks
Simon Winchester
Viking Books for Young Readers
c/o Penguin Putnam Inc.
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
www.penguin.com
9780451476357, $22.99, www.penguin.com/youngreaders

When the Sky Breaks: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and the Worst Weather in the World uses the collection of the Smithsonian and information from its experts to examine weather phenomena and how violent storms are made, exploring a range of processes and issues related to meteorological measurement and events. Kids ages 10 and up - including many an adult - will find this survey offers many striking color photos of storm activity while history and science blends to cover memorable storms and scientific investigations of forces of nature. The result is a vivid and compelling read recommended for anyone with an interest in weather phenomenon.


The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Boy Who Drew Cats: Karadi Tales
Anushka Ravishankar, author
Christine Kastl, illustrator
Karadi Tales Company Pvt. Ltd.
c/o Consortium Book Sales & Distribution
The Keg House, 34 Thirteenth Avenue NE, Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55413
www.cbsd.com
9788181901590, $9.95, www.karaditales.com

"The Boy Who Drew Cats" is a tasteful illustrated retelling of a famous Chinese folk tale about a boy, named Akiro, who drew cats. As a boy, Akiro drew cats over and over, with a stick in the mud or whatever materials he could find. His parents were at a loss to help him decide on a vocational choice, so they took him so the temple to study under the priest there. When other students were taught to use their brush and ink to make words, or to do sums, Akiro only used his brush and ink to draw cats. He even drew cats on the rice paper screens in the temple. Although they were very beautiful, lifelike cats, the old priest told Akiro that he could not become a priest because he did not have the temperament. AS Akiro was leaving the temple, he asked the priest if he had any advice for him. The priest thought deeply, then said, "Stay away from large places. Sleep only in small spaces." Although this seemed like odd advice, Akiro accepted it, bowed low, and left. Then Akiro walked on to a large temple in a neighboring village. No one was present, only blank rice paper screens, a single burning lamp, and a brush, an ink stick, and a hollow stone with a bit of water in it. In the quiet gloom of the temple, Akiro began to draw beautiful, large, perfect, alive looking cats on the blank screens. Finally he was tired and ready to fall asleep, but remembering the old priest's advice, he crawled inside a little old wooden cupboard before he fell asleep. During the night, Akiro was awakened by dreadful screeching sounds, but he closed his eyes and stayed safe in his little cupboard. when he awakened in the morning and crawled out, an amazing sight met him, a huge, dead, giant, goblin rat. Every single perfect cat he had drawn on the screens had a blood stain on its face! Next, Akiro was surprised by all the village people and the priest who came to thank him for saving them all from the giant goblin rat! They pressed gifts of money and food upon him and invited him to become the head priest of the temple when he grew up, but he declined, saying he did not have the temperament. But Akiro accepted the gifts and took them to his parents who were very proud of him. Then Akiro left to roam across the world, drawing cats wherever he went, becoming a very famous artist when he grew up. Although he lived to an old age, he was always known as the boy who drew cats. The quiet narrative of "The Boy Who Drew Cats" is perfectly enhanced by styled illustrations done with watercolors and ink on rice paper, featuring, of course, cats.

Gertrude and Toby Meet the Wolf
Shari Tharp, author
Jim Heath, illustrator
Atlas Publishing
www.atlaspublishing.biz
9780996967976 $16.99 amazon.com

Gertrude and Toby Meet the Wolf is a children's picturebook with a unique twist on the classic fairytales of "The Three Little Pigs" and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". When Gertrude the goat and Toby the turtle set out for and adventure, they quickly find more than they could have imagined. They cross paths with a boy who cries "Wolf!", and then they encounter an actual wolf - who happens to be very hungry! Can Gertrude and Toby save the boy from becoming the wolf's next meal? Cartoony color illustrations bring this adventurous picturebook to life!


The Cookbook Shelf

Little Chef Cooks: The Cookbook
L. De Geest, author
Scott Kennedy & Bridget Laws, illustrators
CreateSpace
www.createspace.com
9781533650870, $9.99, PB, 72pp, www.amazon.com

Second of a series, "Little Chef Cooks: The Cookbook" is described as a "child-centered skill-based cookbook" created for children aged 3 years and up. Each recipe is presented to encourage children to cook as independently as possible, but with safety precautions including adult supervision. Featuring simple healthy foods with appeal for young children, recipes include the following: Boiled Egg, Honey Butter, Dried Apples, tomato Tiptoes, Banana Split Trail Mix, Bird Muffins, French Toast, Macaroni Cheese, Toasted Vegetables Wraps, Easter Bunny's Green Salad, Watermelon Splash, Pineapple Slushy, and Lemonade. Instructions are addressed to little chefs, but imply adult supervision. Recipes are rated by difficulty level, such as a Level 2 recipe means it is most suitable for chefs age 5 and up. Instructions are addressed to both little chefs and to grown-ups, for different steps. Ingredients are listed after a brief description and introduction, and instructions are listed in consecutive order. In addition to recipes and related comments, "Little Chef Cooks: The Cookbook" includes pages for children to decorate, color, add photos of their completed recipes, etc. There are also funny black and white illustrations of cooking related scenes to amuse little chefs. "Little Chef Cooks: The Cookbook" is all about increasing kitchen skills and having fun with your very own little chef. A final project invites little chefs to participate in the Great Food Challenge. Kids get to select one new food from a long list of healthy foods to try each week for five weeks. The Great Food Challenge even includes two related projects and theme suggestions to enhance the appeal of trying new healthy, interesting foods, like horned melon, artichoke, turmeric, grape leaf, and so many more...


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
www.nbnbooks.com

Three full-color graphic novels from Cinebook, superbly translated from the original French, will appeal to young people and nostalgic adults alike. "The Wrong Head" (9781849183130, $15.95) is eleventh graphic novel about the adventures of Spirou and Fantasio, reporters and fast friends. A self-contained story, The Wrong Head begins with a spat that opens a rift between two friends; then Fantasio is accused of robbery, and Spirou must uncover the truth before Fantasio is condemned to a long prison sentence! "Ducoboo: Lovable Dunce 5" (9781849183116, $11.95) is a pastiche of mirthful comics about a (mostly) well-meaning but inept student, his eccentric, long-suffering teacher, and his friends. Ducoboo's gift for misdirecting conversations rivals that of the iconic Bugs Bunny! "Billy & Buddy 6: Buddy's Gang" (9781849183147, $11.95) is a humorous anthology of comic strips about the antics of a young boy named Billy and his dog Buddy. Their lives become all the more exciting when the circus comes to town! A genuine love for outdoor play on sunny days shines through this delightful anthology. All three graphic novels make excellent introductions to their respective series, and are especially recommended for public library children's collections.


The Music CD Shelf

Best of Hullabaloo Volume Two
Hullabaloo
Hullabaloo Music
PO Box 636, Del Mar, CA 92014
www.hullabalooband.com
$12.00 CD / $9.99 digital cdbaby.com

The popular "free-range, organic kid-folk" duo Hullabaloo present Best of Hullabaloo Volume Two, featuring three favorite songs from each of the past five Hullabaloo music CD albums. Exuberant, expressive, and appealing to all ages, Best of Hullabaloo Volume Two has lasting appeal, and is highly recommended for personal, public, and grade school library children's music collections. The tracks are "Sleep Well Tonight" (2:01), "It's All Gonna Be O.K." (2:05), "Dog Song" (3:16), "Road Trip" (2:26), "Siren Song" (2:29), "I'm Hungry" (1:58), "Raise a Ruckus" (3:13), "Favorite Day" (2:52), "Out Standing" (2:41), "365 Days on Earth" (1:39), "Sometimes Even I Feel Shy" (2:02), "Best Friends Forever" (2:16), "I Chew" (1:07), "I Wear Pink" (2:06), and "You Are Loved" (1:04).

Born in the Deep Woods
Red Yarn, a.k.a. Andy Furgeson
Red Yarn Productions
www.redyarnproductions.com
$TBA https://redyarn.bandcamp.com

Born in the Deep Woods is the third and final family-friendly music album in the Deep Woods trilogy celebrating American folk music. Brimming with vibrant enthusiasm, these catchy songs have a cheerful appeal that transcends generations. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Born in the Deep Woods", "Old Mother Goose", "Birdies' Ball", "Mr. Gamble", "Rabbit in a Log", "Little Baby Born Today", "Mockingbird", "Leatherwing Bat", "Crawdad", "Deep Woods Revisited", "Born Again", and "Old Black Dog".

Best of Raffi
Raffi
raffinews.com
Troubadour Music, Inc.
$9.99 amazon.com

Best of Raffi is a curated collection celebrating 40 years of music from the award-winning, supremely popular children's entertainer Raffi. The song selections span Raffi's storied career, and also speak to Raffi's cross-generational fans, including those who grew up listening to songs in Best of Raffi! Best of Raffi is a "must" for family, grade school, and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Baby Beluga", "Down By the Bay", "Apples and Bananas", "Shake My Sillies Out", "Wheels On the Bus", "Day O", "Bananaphone", "Let's Play", "Everything Grows", "Mr. Sun", "Love Bug", "Owl Singalong", "One Light One Sun", "Rise and Shine", "If You're Happy and You Know It", and "Thanks a Lot".

Night & Day
JoJo & The Pinecones
www.jojopinecones.com
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $8.99 MP3 amazon.com

Night & Day is a family-friendly jazz album for all ages. Joelle & The Pinehurst Trio have adopted the alter ego "JoJo & The Pinecones" especially for performances designed to appeal to parents, children, and jazz aficionados alike. The original songs of Night & Day share a theme of mindful awareness, and the value of treasuring the moments spent enjoying life, or sharing connections with others. Highly recommended for both personal and public library jazz collections! The tracks are "It's Time to Wake Up", "Have a Good Day", "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'", "I Can See Clearly Now", "I Spy", "Orange Colored Sky", "Breakfast for Dinner", "Night and Day", "You're a Firefly", "Storytime", "Dream a Little Dream of Me", "Seasons Lullaby", "How High the Moon", and "Farewell and Goodnight".

Keep On
Little Miss Ann and Amy D
Privately Published
$TBA www.littlemissann.com

Keep On is the fifth children's music CD by Little Miss Ann, in collaboration with Amy D. Both performers have spent years working with young people and families (Ann in education, Amy in social work). The songs range in nature from 50's doo-wop to a Jamaican Calypso, and crafted to appeal to parents as well as little ones. Eclectic, lighthearted, and joyful, Keep On is highly recommended for family fun time! The tracks are "Ube", "Shake & Sing", "Hill and Gully Rider", "The Senses Song", "Tiptoe Through the Tulips", "L.O.V.E.", "The 606", "Swing Me", "Where is Thumbkin?", and "Keep On Keepin' On".


The DVD Shelf

Sukey's House! with Sukey Molloy & Friends Volumes 1, 2 & 3
Sukey Molloy
www.sukeymolloy.com
PlayMoveSing Inc.
c/o Naxos of America, Inc. (dist.)
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28, Franklin, TN 37064
$15.00 http://naxosdirect.com

Sukey's House! with Sukey Molloy & Friends Volumes 1, 2 & 3 is a DVD featuring eighteen upbeat songs by award-winning recording artist Sukey Molloy (her honors include Parents' Choice, NAPPA, and Mom's Choice Awards), performed with her band Sukey Molloy & Friends and filmed in her living room. The playful songs are ideal for young children, and embellished with colorful felt boards, scarves, hand puppets, naptime rituals, and Sukey's cherished autoharp. Sukey's House! is a treasure, highly recommended for family, preschool, and public library DVD collections. The songs are (Volume 1) "I Put My Scarf on My Head", "Here We Go Up", "Colors of the Rainbow", "I Saw a Duck", "Old MacDonald", "I Am Happy", (Volume 2) "Open Shut Them", "Riding on a Ferry", "Be Happy Don't Worry", "Three Little Ducks", "Down in the Meadow", "Night is Falling", (Volume 3) "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Today is Monday", "Little Boy Blue", "Cuckoo Bird", "Three Itching Mice", and "Twinkle Little Star". 1 hour 13 min.


The Sports Shelf

Easy 8: The Big Event
Carrolyn Foster, author
Michael Bermundo, illustrator
Tate Publishing, Children's Division
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781683529392, $10.98 PB, $7.99 Kindle, www.tatepublishing.com

"Easy 8: The Big Event" is an unusual, gritty action story about the world of champion bulls in the rodeo ring, with a new emphasis in the story of every "easy 8" or eight second bull ride being experienced and told from the bulls' viewpoint. Filled with simple colored portraits of the bulls in action, "Easy 8" begins with a beautifully choreographed bulls' dance in Native American tradition to honor Mother Earth. Every one of the 9 bulls plays a valuable part in the dance, with a special blanket to help tell the story that glows under special lights in the arena. The reader is introduced to Winter Hawk, White Cloud, Wind Talker, Fire Walker, Rain Dancer, Black Thunder, Spirit Wind, Black Eagle and War Eagle. At the end of their stately dance, the bulls go down on their knees to honor Mother Earth. Then the fun begins! The bulls take their turn at providing a pounding, twisting, trash-talking ride for free to the rodeo cowboys for their "easy 8" trophy. The bulls each have their own attitude and do a mite of bull bluster to terrify their cowboy riders into submission. The bulls complain and grumble about unfair calls, but Foley, one of the greatest bulls of all time, speaks up to reprimand the loudest complainer, Muldoon: "That cowboy was supposed to make the ride, Muldoon. He is the number one cowboy. You are just going to have to bull up and take it like the bull you are." Thus the Big Event ends with the awarding of the Bull of the Year to Flapjack, whose owner proudly accepts a silver statue. "Easy 8 The Big Event" comes complete with a free audio book download.


Books in Series

Why Do We Need Rules and Laws?
Jessica Pegis, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
www.crabtreebooks.com
9870778725985, $23.60, HC, 24pp, www.amazon.com

From the Citizenship in Action series, "Why Do We Need Rules and Laws?" is a nonfiction sociology text for elementary students that explains the positive and protective nature of rules and laws in society. The value of rules and laws is demonstrated by explanatory narrative and by color photos and illustrations. An example that is used is schools often have a rule against bullying. Having the rule is good, but it is not enough. To help everyone follow the rules, students must remember their responsibility to stand up for others in enforcing the rule. This does not mean more bullying or disrespectful behavior, it means reminding others to follow the rule, for example, that bullying is not allowed. Color photographs of real school children reinforce this idea with images of the rule in action. Helpful information about following rules and laws is provided in dark purple background sidebars, making comments such as: "It's not enough to follow the rules. It's important to stand up for the rules!" "Why Do We Need Rules and Laws?" is an excellent introduction to the concept of social order, and is further enhanced by the closing addition of more resource, including books and web sites, and vocabulary words to know.

3-D Printing
Hal Maracovitz, author
Norwood House Press
PO Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
9781599537597, $26.60 HC, $13.26 PB, 48 pages, www.norwoodhousepress.com

"3-D Printing" is a new Techbytes series title about the innovative effects of 3-D printing, or stereolithography. Using selective laser sintering, or directed heat shaping powers on the e-D printing substance, such as silica sand, the 3-D printer creates solid objects as duplicates or copies of an original. This fascinating and important technology is fast developing into a most important component of modern culture, and its impact is multiple and varied. From making objects for home consumption to improving the lives of the handicapped and disabled, the implications of 3-D printing are huge. The issue of using stereolithography to create guns is also discussed, along with the creation of 3-D junk. The future of 3-D printing remains bright, and millennials who are makers will continue to scope out new roles and uses for this fascinating new technology. Written for 8-12 year old readers, "3-D Printing" offers an excellent 3-balanced summary of the state of this new technological development in our culture. " 3-D Printing" is completed with a glossary of terms and list of resources for more information, including books and websites. Additional titles in the Techbytes series that are also highly recommended include: "Artificial Eyes (9781599537610)," by Barbara Sheen, "Wearable Robots (9781599537603)," by Carla Mooney, and "Self-Driving Car (9781599537627)," by Stephen Currie.

Animal Legs
Mary Holland, author, nature photographer
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
www.arbordalepublishing.com
9781628558432, $17.95, www.ArbordalePublishing.com

Written and photo illustrated by award-winning photographer/author Mary Holland, "Animal Legs" is a title in the educational series on animal parts for children ages 4-8. Filled with stunning full page portrait color photographs of insects, birds and animals, "Animal Legs" teaches the functionality of animal legs by defining characteristics and behaviors of a wide variety of creatures, including backswimmers, caterpillars, a praying mantis, butterflies, frogs, turtles, hawks, ruffled grouse, skunks, river otters, moles, and human children. Further examples are explored in the added learning pages called For Creative Minds, What Legs Can Do (a matching game), another matching game called Match the Foot to the Animal, and finally Fun Facts which present information about the feet functions and features of opossums, porcupines, beavers, and spiders. Special attention is focused on the amazing adaptability of each animal's legs, encouraging more discerning observation in young scientists and naturalists. Additional titles in this series that are also highly recommended include "Animal Eyes," and "Animal Mouths."

If You Were Me and Lived in .... Viking Europe
Carole P. Roman, author
Mateya Arkova, illustrator
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
www.CarolePRoman.com
9781532875304, $16.99 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 76pp, www.amazon.com

"If You Were Me and Lived in.....Viking Europe" explores with elementary school students what life would have been like for a child in 870 AD born somewhere on the coast of Norway. Vikings were described as "hearty seafaring people who liked to explore and find places to trade." Some vikings were more forceful and destructive than others, who were more interested in trading and learning new ways. A child born to a Viking family could belong to one of three classes: a Jarl, wealthy and influential in society and government, a Karl, or free peasant who worked with growing crops and caring for cows, or a Thrall, or slave, often brought back from raids, doing hard, unpleasant work and not well treated. Details of daily life, cloth woven, sheep, horses, fowls and cows that were kept, and other customs of daily life are described and colorfully illustrated. Descriptions and pictures of the shiplike wooden building which was home are presented, along with many more fascinating accounts of games, written communication through runes, clothing, duties, roles for men and for women, marriage customs, reckoning of time, and more. Some of the more important Norse gods and goddesses are also listed and described, including Freya, Frigg, Idun, Loke, Odin, Thor and more. Finally, a list of historic Viking or Norse figures are given with thumbnail biographies. Some names such as Erik the Red, Leif Erikson, and Swen Forkbeard are well known, but others are also quite interesting, such as Sigrid the Haughty, Unn the Deep Minded (who freed all her slaves), and Emma of Normandy, wife to two kings, Ethelred the Unready and Cnut the Great. "If You Were Me and Lived in.....Viking Europe" presents a great volume of historic information about a little known time of history. A glossary of terms closes this excellent early Viking culture study for kids.

No Place Like Space, #5 How to Be an Earthling
Lisa Harkrader, author
Jessica Warrick, illustrator
Kane Press
www.kanepress.com
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group (dist.)
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
www.lernerbooks.com
9781575658476, $6.99, 64pp, amazon.com

"No Place Like Space" is #5 in the spunky juvenile series about the adventures of the alien Spork, who is introduced to an amazing culture of earthlings by his trusted circle of third grade friends. This delightful chapter book series, written for young readers ages 6-9, excites interest and rides gusts of humor and innovation to encourage kids to rethink all they experience from an alien perspective. Winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award (gold medal and silver medal), the How to Be an Earthling series challenges readers to think outside the box while embracing differences and reaching high for more enlightenment. In "No Place Like Space," Trixies worries that Spork is homesick for space, so she thinks of a great solution to make him feel more at home on earth; a space themed carnival! Even though Spork fears he will destroy a recreation of Blast Fest, a space-carnival-like event on his home, he is finally and soundly comforted by the surprising kindness of his friend Trixie and all the others. Trixie also learns some special gnome wisdom which she shares: Kindness is not a competition. "No Place Like Space" is a charming story that practically reads itself, with funky black and white and shades of gray illustrations and tons of action, dialogue, humor, and character development. What's not to like? Additional titles in this exciting, addictive juvenile adventure series that are also highly recommended include: "Alien in the Outfield, #6 (9781575658483, $6.99)," "May the Votes Be With You, #7 (9781575658490, $6.99)," "Money Doesn't Grow On Mars, #8 (9781575658506, $6.99), all by Lori Haskins Houran or Lisa Harkrader, illustrated by Jessica Warrick.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
www.crabtreebooks.com

Six new books in the 'Be a Maker' series encourage kids to design projects, with each book holding some 32 pages of information including a glossary, index, bright color photos throughout and examples of peers working on different 'maker projects'. Each book holds a theme and ideas based on community involvement and individual achievement. Megan Kopp's Designing Spaces (9780778725749, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) shows how makers and artistic pursuits design interiors, her Electronics (9780778725756, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) examines creations of circuits, components, and how these are combined with everyday materials to produce fun effects, Sarah Levete's Exploring the Outdoors (9780778725763, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) encourages kids to try new skills and use the natural world as a materials source and her Woodworking (9780778725794, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) uses different projects and tools to encourage kids to experiment with wooden materials and their applications, Kelly Spence's Photography (9780778725787, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) explores digital cameras and lenses, filters, and lighting and the types of maker projects that use photography to create different effects, and Rebecca Sjonger's Paper Engineering (9780778725770, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) covers paper model projects and how to design patterns and build structures using them. All are packed with fun projects all ages will relish.


James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
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