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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 1 January 2005 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Bilingual Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Music Shelf Literary Shelf Library Video Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Biography Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Parties With Pizzazz
Marci Mohan, et al.
Pizzazz Publishing
KSB Promotions (publicty)
PO Box 415, Victoria, MN 55386
0974493600 $19.95

The collaborative effort of Marci Mohan, Jeanne Palmer, and Peggy Simenson, Parties With Pizzazz: A Complete Resource For Holiday Classroom Parties is an activity book filled with ideas for games, crafts, costumes, candies, gifts, and more centered around Halloween themes, wintertime themes, or Valentine's Day. Black-and-white photographs embellish the step-by-step instructions for easy-to-plan projects especially suitable for classrooms but also great for family fun at home. A festive, wholesome resource.

Random Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Four easier readers for kids in grades 3-6 provide chapter books and simpler, attractive reads for kids a step out of the picturebook world. Eye-catching indeed is R.L. Stine's Mostly Ghostly: Who Let The Ghosts Out? (0385746636, $6.95), a story of Max Doyle who has two ghosts living in his bedroom. The ghosts say only Max can help them fight the most fearsome creature in the ghost world in this spirited story. Mary Pope Osborne's Haunted Castle On Hallow's Eve (0375825215, $11.95) tells of a dark castle and a magician who needs someone to enter and solve the mystery of how the castle became haunted. It's up to modern kids Jack and Annie, with their background solving mysteries, to investigate in this satisfyingly spooky encounter. Barbara Park's Junie B. First Grader: Shipwrecked (0375828044, $11.95) tells of a special play put on by Room One, about explorers looking for the New World. Junie thinks she might be the store of the production - only problems keep happening with her role, actors catch the flu, and competitors try to take over. How can she retain her role as Chief Actress? A zany tale evolves. Joelle Stolz's Shadows Of Ghadames (0385731043, $15.95) is set in Libya and tells of a daughter who watches her merchant father depart on one of his famous caravan expeditions. Malika longs to read and travel but all she has to look forward to at age 12 is marriage like all Muslim women - until a stranger enters her home and changes all their lives. A fine story of 19th century Libya.

The Picturebook Shelf

Susanne Santoro Whayne
Handprint Books
413 Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215
1593540019 $16.95

Ages 4-8 will find Petropolis an engaging picturebook story, with its drawings by Christopher Santoro supplementing the story of what pets do when their owners are away for the day. A magical pet door opens upon a vibrant city rather than a suburban backyard, inviting Max to explore a city populated entirely by pets. But how can Max get back home?

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

Four lovely new picturebooks are recommended picks. Karma Wilson's Mr. Murry And Thumbkin (0316076139, $15.99) receives engaging drawings by Ard Hoyt and tells of a furry mouse who lives in an old teapot and worries a lot. Meet his new neighbor Thumbkin who has not a care in the world, in this whimsical story. Toot and Puddle return in Holly Hobbie's The New Friend (0316366366, $16.99): Opal visits Toot and Puddle at Woodcock Pocket, bringing a special new friend to join the group. Fun drawings present engaging new friends and group activities. Nathaniel Hobbe's Priscilla And The Pink Planet (0316735795, $15.99) is an all-pink picturebook and tells of Priscilla, who lives in an all-pink world - and who searches for at least one other color in it. Verse and fun art join a story of exploration and discovery. Molly Friedrich's You're Not My Real Mother! (0316605530, $15.99) describes activities which make a mother real', from daily interactions such as learning and games to caring. An adopted child learns some important lessons on what makes a parent real' in this gentle story of discovery which receives Christy Hale's warm, realistic drawings.

The Wishing Tree
Roseanne Thong & Connie McLennan
Shen's Books
40951 Fremont Blvd., Fremont, CA 94538
1885008260 $16.95

Young readers ages 4-10 will find Wishing Tree by Roseanne Thong to be a deftly woven and lovely picturebook story set in modern Hong Kong and telling of a young boy and his grandmother who visit a rural temple's Wishing Tree every lunar New Year. Connie McLennan's realistic drawings enhances a story which tells how a wishing tree helps a youngster solve common problems in life.

Putnam Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

A host of inviting new picturebooks are strong picks for discriminating collections. Susan E. Goodman's Truth About Poop (0670036749, $15.99) may read like fiction using action words and vivid descriptions, but its contents are nonfiction. Descriptions of which creatures poop, how, different kinds of dung and virtually all natural history involved receive engaging drawings by Elwood Smith to bring the subject to life. Joseph Bruchac and James Bruchac tell Raccoon's Last Race (0803720774, $15.99), receiving funny drawings by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey as it presents a fable of a long-legged raccoon, a race, and the changes which result from his actions. Rosemary Wells' Bunny Mail (0670036307, $15.99) provides a funny lift-the-flap Max and Ruby picturebook: Max wants a bright motorcycle and decides to write Santa asking for one - but the postman can't understand it. It's up to Grandma to save the day. Perhaps not durable enough for vigorous library lending, but certainly an excellent choice for parents. Jan Brett's The Umbrella (0399242155, $16.99) tells of Carlos, who walks into the cloud forest with his green umbrella certain he'll see many animals. When he leaves his favored umbrella in search of creatures he finds a host of wild animals have discovered a new home. The usual lovely Brett drawings make The Umbrella a special winner. Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow's I Wanna Iguana (0399237178, $15.99) tells of Alex, on a mission to convince a skeptical mother that he should have an iguana. Mom is horrified: she imagines the iguana's problems - but Alex has answers in this zany, funny story. Tedd Arnold's Even More Parts (0803729383, $15.99) tells of a boy who takes too literally the dilemma of people losing parts ("I lost my head", "My nose is running.") Chip decides a plan is in order for preserving these parts, and a funny set of solutions evolves.

Over The Hills And Far Away
Chris Conover
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 100013
0374380430 $16.00

Tom, an otter pop, learns how to pipe a single song and enchants everyone he meets in Over The Hills And Far Away. Nobody can resist dancing to his cheery bagpipe tunes, and nobody will resist Chris Conover's lovely drawings in this remake of a traditional nursery story, brought vividly and entertainingly to life in rollicking rhyme and total fun.

Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, NY, NY 10011

Some truly lovely artistic titles from this publisher will please librarians seeking high-quality picturebooks. Graeme Base's Jungle Drums (0810950448, $18.95) is outstanding: lush oversized pages packed with color highlight the story of a little warthog who is the smallest in Africa - and tired of being teased for his size. He wishes things could be different - and with a new set of magic drums, they just might be. But magic comes with a price and a surprise. Graeme Base is noted for his lush and lovely picturebooks and this is one of his best productions thus far. David Roberts' Pee-Ew! Is That You, Bertie? (0810950146, $14.95) tells of a boy who likes making smells. Parents might not appreciate what looks like acknowledgment of Bertie's abilities, but kids will find the truths within hilarious and recognizable. Kay Chase's D Is For Drums (081094927X, $16.95) provides the very young with an A-B-C primer providing an alphabetical tour of colonial times. There's a lot more happening here than a typical A-B-C guide: shoes, toys, undergarments and unicorns all pack into a collection of unexpected objects which will teach the basics of colonial times, history and culture. The Metro Museum of Art's Can You Find It, Too? (0810950464, $15.95) uses twenty works of art to provide a search and discover' format. Famous paintings of different scenes are used to encourage kids to search for selected objects.

You're All My Favorites
Sam McBratney & Anita Teram
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
076362442X $15.99

Anita Teram's lovely drawings are a winning addition to Sam McBratney's moving story of a Mommy Bear and father who tell their cubs that each is the best baby bear. But the siblings are growing and question how they ALL could be favorites of their parents. You're All My Favorites is gentle story of love and favoritism evolves with a simple, warming message.

The Stolen Smile
J. Patrick Lewis & Gary Kelley
Creative Editions
123 S. Broad St., Mankato, MN 56001
1568461925 $17.95 1-800-445-6209

With The Stolen Smile, artist Gary Kelley and author J. Patrick Lewis journey to 1911 Paris in their second picturebook, where the Mona Lisa has gone missing from the Louvre museum. An Italian knows the secret of the missing painting in this story, spiced with the proud thief's insights and based on true events surrounding the disappearance of the Mona Lisa from one of the world's most famous museums.

Random Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

John Irving's A Sound Like Someone Trying Not To Make A Sound (0385746-806, $15.95) receives lovely embellishment by Tatjana Hauptmann as it tells of a young boy who awakens in them iddle of the night where an unfamiliar sound makes him afraid. Nighttime fears are explored in a set of vivid images many a youngster will certainly be familiar with. Jarrett J. Krosoczka's Annie Was Warned (0375815678, $15.95) tells of a young girl warned to stay away from a creepy mansion. Does she listen? She is warned, but too curious about what specific dangers might exist to stay away. A creepy adventure kids will relish.

King O' The Cats
Aaron Shepard & Kristin Sorra
1230 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10020
0689820828 $16.95

Kristin Sorra's vibrant drawings bring an old English folk story to life in Aaron Shepard's engaging King O The Cats. What kind of intelligence can cats have? Young Peter Black has noticed some strange things happening among the local cats lately; but nobody will believe his wild tale. His investigation of what is affecting all the cats in town reveals a changing world brought on by a single leader.

The Call Of The Osprey
Norman Jorgensen; Brian Harrison-Lever
Fremantle Arts Centre Press/ISBS, dist.
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
1920731857 $22.50 1-800-944-6190

The Call Of The Osprey by Norman Jorgensen is a picturebook about the challenging and rewarding task of restoring an old, broken sea boat. A young man befriends and forms a bond with a grizzled old captain, as together they work hard, and the young man learns the importance of carrying on a meaningful legacy. Illustrated by Brian Harrison-Lever, The Call Of The Osprey is an especial delight to share with young readers who are fascinated with ships and the sea.

April Foolishness
Teresa Bateman; Nadine B. Westcott
Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton St., Morton Grove IL 60053
0807504041 $15.95

The grandkids are visiting Grandma and Grandpa on their farm. Grandpa is fixing breakfast for everyone when suddenly his grandson bursts into the kitchen shouting "The cows have got loose! I think Big Brown Bessie just stepped on a goose!" But Grandpa doesn't respond to the news -- he just calmly pours himself a glass of milk. Grandpa is so relaxed because its April Fools' Day and the children are playing tricks! Then Grandma steps in with a trick of her own!! In creating her lyrical text for April Foolishness, author Teresa Bateman draws upon her own experiences growing up on a farm and creates a story to which Nadine Westcott's lively illustrations are a perfect complement.

Treasure Of Ghostwood Gully
Marcia Vaughan
Rising Moon
PO Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002-1389
0873588584 $15.95

Coyote leads her animal friends on a spooky treasure hunt through the desert to a ghostly gully, but an uninvited and mischievous skunk decides to play the role of a ghost with unexpected results in Treasure Of Ghostwood Gully, a bright and fun tale enhanced by the colorful, large-sized drawings of Will Terry. Though billed as a Southwest Mystery', kids across the country will find it fun.

The Fiction Shelf

Eddie's Ordeal
Kelly Starling Lyons
Just Us Books Inc.
356 Glenwood Ave., East Orange NJ 07017
0940975165 $16.95

The fourth book in the NEATE series, Eddie's Ordeal is a novel recommended for young adult readers and is about thirteen-year old Eddie Delaney, an African-American boy who loves his father but feels driven too hard sometimes. Eddie enjoys being the starter on the basketball team and gets good grades, but whe he brings home a D in language arts, everything changes. His father forces him to quit the team, and his relationship with his parent takes a very bad turn for the worse. His friends try to help him discover why his dad is so tough on him, and in the process Eddie learns something very important about his father - something that will change his life forever. A moving and dramatic story about facing the challenges of coming of age, and the importance of family bonds.

Cecilia's Year
Susan & Denise Gonzales Abraham
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79901
0938317873 $16.95 1-915-838-1625

Cecilia's Year is a young adult novel about the dreams of a Latina girl living in rural New Mexico. She dreams of traveling far beyond her farm community, to experience high school and a job in the big city she knows through books, yet her mother feels her highest goal in life should be to run a home, cook, sew, and raise children. Written as a tribute to the author's mother, Cecilia's Year explores the tribulations of growing up and determining one's own destiny, in a heartfelt manner sure to resonate with anyone striving to find their place in the world.

Jamie Comes Of Age
Vera M. Kierstead-Farber
Vantage Press Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, 18th floor, New York, NY 10016
0533148219 $10.95 1-212-736-1767

Jamie Comes Of Age is a young adult novel and sequel to Jamie's Journey: An Early American Adventure. Set in 1806, after young Jamie found his soldier farther, a survivor of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the two embark upon a fresh adventure together. They transport a cargo to President Thomas Jefferson, and participate in the rescue of a family from a keelboat wreck along the Ohio River. At last a deadly level of tension between boatmen and wagoners will test Jamie's capacity to the fullest, in this high-spirited and dramatic saga. Jamie Comes Of Age is a wholesome, enjoyable narrative recommended for readers of all ages.

Mystery At Blackbeard's Cove
Audrey Penn
Tanglewood Press
PO Box 3009, Terre Haute, IN 47803
0974930318 $14.95 1-812-877-9488

Bestselling children's author Audrey Penn presents Mystery At Blackbeard's Cove, an exciting full-length novel, intended for young adults yet appealing to readers of all ages. Elements of mystery and adventure combine with suspense as a group of friends travel to a North Carolina, seeking to give a beloved eccentric acquaintance the pirate buriel she so greatly desired. Suddenly trapped in tunnels by a local scoundrel, they must race against time to earn their escape and discover a hidden treasure. A wealth of lore concerning the famous pirate Blackbeard and his hideout intertwine with the captivating present-day adventure. Mystery At Blackbeard's Cove is a treat to be savored at length.

Heir Of Mystery
Philip Ardagh
Henry Holt
115 W. 18th St., New York NY 10011
0805074775 $9.95

Philip Ardagh's Heir Of Mystery is the second "Unlikely Exploit" title but needs no prior familiarity to prove engrossing to newcomers. Fergal McNally's brain resides in a pickling jar in a hospital: it's stolen, and the remaining McNally children are drawn to a mysterious mansion where a dangerous teddy-bear-clutching Mr. Maggs plans on changing the world. Horror and black humor blend in this inviting survey.

The Balloon Boy Of San Francisco
Dorothy Kupcha Leland
Tomato Enterprises
PO Box 73892, Davis, CA 95617
0961735791 $9.95

The Balloon Boy Of San Francisco is an adventure novel based on a true story. Set in San Francisco during 1853, it follows the wide-eyed exploits of an enthusiastic young man whose pasttimes include shouting the latest newspaper headlines from a street corner, and tracking down a gold miner who has gone missing. But when he has the opportunity to watch a hot-air balloon ascension, his life takes a exciting new turn. Based upon diaries and historical documents from the gold-rush era, The Balloon Boy Of San Francisco brings the past to vibrant life, recreating history and setting with such detail it's the next best thing to stepping into a time machine. The protagonist's contagious enthusiasm that lifts one's spirits in this upbeat story, intended for young adults but suitable for all ages.

The Cookbook Shelf

Look And Make Cooking
Sea-To-Sea Publications/Watts
1980 Lookout Drive, North Mankato, MN 56003
1932889256 $27.10 1-800-621-1115

Very young picturebook readers just beginning to cook will find Look And Make Cooking a welcome introduction to the art, starting with the basics of identifying common kitchen utensils to making a Jelly Turtle, a Rainbow Slush drink, and a Surprise Bread. Step-by-step line drawings supplement plenty of color photos of finished products.

350 - 5th Avenue, #3308, NY, NY 10118

Two new additions to Bobbie Kalman's outstanding "KidPower" series outlining recipes for healthy lifestyles for kids will especially appeal to grades 3-5, and provides step-by-step healthy recipes kids can easily follow along with plenty of color photos of kids in action in the kitchen. Delicious Desserts (0778712540) features healthy recipes low in fat and sugar, from baked apples, fruit salads and drinks to custards. Directions also include definitions and nutrition tips. Multicultural Meals (0778712559) presents authentic meals adapted to contain less fat and sugar, without sacrificing cultural authenticity. From Bagels and Lox to Mexican Fajitas and Japanese Tofu Snacks, kids receive a range of dishes from different cultures.

The International Cookbook For Kids
Matthew Locricchio
Marshall Cavendish Corporation
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown NY 10591
0761451854 $18.95 1-800-831-9881

The International Cookbook For Kids by professional chef and caterer Matthew Locricchio specifically designed to be the perfect introduction to the joys, pleasures, and accomplishments of cooking for kids ages 12 and older. Showcasing 60 classic, "kid friendly" recipes from Italy, France, China, and Mexico, each individual dish comes with easy-to-follow directions and involves fresh and nutritious ingredients. Enhanced with the color photography of Jack McConnell, the dishes range from Tortilla Soup; Cold Sesame Noodles; Tomato Salad; and Pasta Sauce from Bologna; to Polenta Pie with sausage and Cheese; Red Enchiladas; Stir-Fried Orange Chicken; Roast Pork with Dried Plums; and Beef Stew with Tomatoes and Olives. The wonderful chapter on desserts offers Cream Puffs with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce along with other savory dishes to top off any meal. Completing this perfect and enthusiastically recommended introductory cookbook for young chefs are chapters on "Essential Ingredients in the Kitchen"; "Cooking Terms"; "Cooking Equipment and Utensils"; and an Index.

The Bilingual Shelf

Birthday In The Barrio
Mayra L. Dole & Tonel
Children's Book Press
2211 Mission St, San Francisco CA 94110
0892391944 $16.95

Chavi must find a way to throw a birthday party for her friend's sister Lazrita who is turning 15 and wants a special "quinces" party, but whose family does not have enough money for such a fancy event. Chavi decides to rally all of her neighborhood friends to donate food and decorations, bringing her entire Cuban American community together in a birthday celebration like Miami has never seen before! Tonel's distinctive illustrations for Birthday In The Barrio/Cumpleanos en el Barrio are a perfect compliment to Mayra Dole's English/Spanish bi-lingual story. Also very highly recommended is Mayra Dole's Dole's Drum Chavi, Drum! which first introduced this spirited young Cuban American girl!

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

How Dogs Came From Wolves
Jack Myers
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
159078278X $9.95 1-800-490-5111

Jack Myers is Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Texas at Austin and the Senior Science Editor for "Highlights for Children". In How Dogs Came From Wolves And Other Explorations Of Science In Action, Professor Myers showcases twelve inherently fascinating questions arising from the world of animals. Superbly enhanced with the brilliantly executed illustrations of John Rice, the chapters comprising this outstanding title recommended for young readers ages 9 to 12 explores how fish can life in ice-cold water; how elephants talk to each other even when miles apart; whether or not dogs can see in color; how birds hatch their eggs; how dogs evolved from wolves; and so much more. With an extended bibliography for further reading and a "user friendly" index, How Dogs Came From Wolves is an ideal addition to any school or community library, and a wonderful curriculum supplement for home school instruction as well.

Weigl Publishers
250 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY 10118-0069
1590361423 $206.40 1-866-649-3445

Specifically designed and written to National Science Education Standards, the forty titles comprising the new "Caring For Your Pet" series from Weigl Publishers offers young readers in grades 2 to 6 informed and instructive introductions to the care of particular pets ranging from Frogs (shy animals who need a hiding place) and Iguanas (cold blooded therefore needing to bask in sunlight for 8 to 12 hours a day), to Snakes (female snakes lay as many as 100 eggs at a time) and rats (most of whom live about 3 years). Each 32 page title is enhanced with photos and illustrations, side bars such as "Pet Profiles", "Picking Your Pet", "Pet Puzzlers", and "Frequently Asked Questions", as well as highlighting that particular animal's life cycle, grooming needs, behaviors, feeding requirements, physical details, and place in world cultures. Although each title is available individually ($18.20), school libraries should acquire the complete set as an ideal reference resource for teaching children the importance of being responsible pet owners and as ideal supplements for classroom science and biology curriculums.

How Animals Live
Bernard Stonehouse & Esther Bertram
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439548349 $16.95

Simply gorgeous drawings by John Francis from cover to inside encourage leisure browsing and reading despite a title which sounds quite ordinary: once inside, kids in grades 4-6 will find How Animals Live is packed from cover to cover with inviting natural history facts about a wide range of animals, from jewel fish and wild schools of animals to gila monsters. It's the lovely illustrations which are eye-catching on every page, making for a survey hard to put down.

Stargazer Books
c/o The Creative Company
PO Box 227, Mankato, MN 56002

Two lovely new series titles are fine choices for libraries seeking bright color and interesting, different titles. The Amazing Bugs' set ($27.10) by Anna Claybourne are special recommendations: Ants And Termites (1932799575) and Bees And Wasps (1932799567) each pack in detailed information, large-size and eye-catching color photos, question and answer boxes and fact panels to invite interest and learning. The detail is extraordinary. Two new Baby Animals' titles ($22.80 each) by Kate Petty include Chimpanzees (1932799419) and Elephants (1932799427): each hold a little over twenty pages of facts about baby animals and their habitats.

Gareth Stevens
330 W. Olive, #100, Milwaukee WI 53212

Gareth Stevens' many series titles will prove lasting library additions; especially in the case of All About Wild Animals' ($17.50 each), a set of colorful introductory references for grades 2-3. Each book in this set holds 32 pages including an index, glossary and bibliography, and each provides enough introductory facts juxtaposed with bright color photos to enable students to produce reports. Lions (0836841859), Elephants (0836841832), Zebras (0836841905), Crocodiles (08368-41824), Camels (0836841816), Penguins (0836841867), Polar Bears (0836841-875), Sharks (0836841883), Tigers (0836-841891) and Frogs (0836841840) each provide all the basics for the young. Kids also need primers on pet care, and the I Am Your Pet' series ($19.93 each) is the perfect place to provide introductory pet care facts. Hamster (0836841042), Rabbit (0836841050), Cat (0836841026) and Dog (0836841034) all use colorful photos of each animal to provide basic care tips, from choosing an initial pet and training to identifying medical concerns.

KidHaven Press
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535

Komodo dragons are sure to capture the interest of youngsters in grades 3-5, and Marcia Gresko's Komodo Dragons (0737-717645 $23.70) 48-page book will provide them with all the details necessary for a juicy report on the topic. From the habitats and habits of Komodos to how they hunt and dangers to their environment, Komodo Dragons packs in both color and detail. John Becker's California Condor (0737722924) provides a rare look at the near extinction and return of California's largest bird. Very few books on the condor exist for this young age rage, and this 48-page primer packs in both color photos and appealing facts.

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

Two new additions to the lovely Creepy Crawly World' series from Smart Apple Media are wonderful picks for teaching kids about basic backyard wildlife. Butterfly (1583403795) by Ting Morris not only covers the usual life cycle from caterpillar to butterfly, but provides plenty of natural history detail such as what kind of bushes the eating caterpillar prefers, and the butterfly's remaining cycle of life. Ant (1583-403760) by Ting Morris reads almost like fiction as it covers the natural history of worker and queen ants alike. Both are gorgeous presentations.

1980 Lookout Drive, North Mankato, MN 56003

Three new animal books from this publisher provide grades 1-3 with almost thirty pages of very simple facts, large print, and inviting topics. New to the Keeping Minibeasts' series ($27.50 each) are Beetles (1932889167) and Caterpillars (1932-889183): photos on cover and inside are close-up, very bright, and supplement excellent natural history facts and details on how to build and maintain an environment for keeping these creatures as pets. New to the I Know That!' series is City Animals (1932889310, $22.80), outlining the different wild animals to be found in city parks, in homes, and on the streets. Both are excellent series titles.

The Music Shelf

Wings Of Slumber
Banana Slug String Band
PO Box 2262, Santa Cruz, CA 95063
1-888-327-5847 $14.99

The home of every small child should have a collection of lullabies for the purpose of midmorning quiet time napping as well as gently ushering children to nighttime sleep after a busy day. Wings Of Slumber is a very highly recommended CD album for that purpose. With a total running time of 61 minutes and 25 seconds, the fourteen compositions comprising this exceptionally well performed and flawlessly recorded album include Mother Nature's Lullaby; Up they Get To My Sunset; Return To Me In The Morning; Swimming With Whales; So Why Aren't You?; Singing To The Moon; A Season's Lullaby; Beauty; This Little Island; Ready For Your Dreams; I'd Like To Be; The Camper's Lullaby; Where Dreams Can Grow; and the hauntingly beautiful title piece, Wings Of Slumber.

We All Laugh In The Same Language
Marla Lewis
Plumjuice Records
PO Box 550, Wantagh, NY 11793
8353465257 $14.99 1-516-785-8456

Marla Lewis has performed her original music programs in schools, libraries, and parks in all five boroughs of New York City (as well as Long Island and Westchester County) for the past twenty years. Now Marla Lewis has newly released We All Laugh In The Same Language, a CD album featuring twelve of her original songs in a tuneful celebration of diversity, curiosity, friendship, and the love of learning. Drawing upon such diverse musical stylings as Dixieland, Blues, Rap, and Pop, and more, the individual songs comprising this highly recommended and beautifully recorded CD album for children (and adults!) of all ages includes Wonderin' Why (3:28); Best Friends (3:48); Muskrat Rap (3:58); Jackson Avenue (2:12); Down Chinatown Way (3:35); Don't Run In The Hall (3:24); We Can't Wait For Spring (3:42); Down In Old Hawaii (3:05); Home Again (3:52); Homeless Man (2:12); Round And Round (3:55); and the title piece, We All Laugh In The Same Language.

The Literary Shelf

A Student's Guide To F. Scott Fitzgerald
Eva Weisbrod
PO Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
0766022021 $21.95 1-800-398-2504

Eva Weisbrod's A Student's Gudie To F. Scott Fitzerald is a must' for high school readers: the career and major works of Fitzgerald are examined in chapters which cover both his full-length fiction and his shorter works. Chapters offer a depth of focus and detail on the major themes begun and created by Fitzgerland's approach and writings which lend particularly well to school research as well as understanding his writings.

274500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535

Two new guides to understanding literature are picks for middle to high school grades equally. Clarice Swisher's Understanding The Canterbury Tales (1560067829, $27.45) and Thomas Streissguth's Understanding Beowulf (1560068612, $27.45) both belong to the expanding understanding great literature' series by Thomson/Gale: each hold a little over a hundred pages of information, from a brief biographical sketch of the author and his times to a historical background and overview of the work itself, including surveys of major themes and characters. Both lend to reserch papers.

The Library Video Shelf

Ecosystems For Children
Schlessinger Media
7 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096-0580

An ideal instruction tool for classroom science classes and home school curriculum supplementation, Ecosystems For Children is a new three volume video series from Schlessinger Media that showcases biological concepts through experience with living things, their life cycles and their habitats. Developed in full compliance with National Science Education Standards for Life Sciences appropriate for elementary school students, the three 33-minute VHS formatted volumes include "Characteristics of Organisms", "Life Cycles of Organisms", and Organisms & Environments. The ecosystems presented and examined include deserts, grasslands, coniferous forests, deciduous forests, rainforests, oceans, rivers & streams, lakes & ponds. A Teacher's Guide accompanies each individual title providing additional information that includes vocabulary words, discussion questions and activities appropriate for generating student assignments and class projects.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Secret In The Attic
R. Frie & K. Zahradnik
Zahrob Publishing Company
PO Box 5825, Rochester, MN 55903-5825
0975364103 $9.95

The Secret In The Attic is a deftly written fantasy novel recommended for preteens and young adults, about a girl who inherits a secret gift from her grandmother, opening the doorway to adventures. In the course of her journey she experiences personal growth and discovery, braves challenges of mettle and spirit, finds courage and learns the hard meaning of remorse. A brief yet original and captivating story.

Gabriel's Journey
Thomas J. Prestopnik
1st Books Library
1663 South Liberty Drive, #2, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
1410735885 $13.50 1-888-280-7715

Gabriel's Journey is a young adult fantasy novel in the timeless spirit of classics such as "Watership Down." A mouse named Gabriel and his companions have lived a carefree life for a long time, yet sudden disaster threatens them all as a summer storm frees six terrible, beastly enemies and forces them on a life-or-death journey, fraught with betrayal from within as it is attacked from without. A captivating, original saga, appealing to readers of all ages, and highly recommended.

Return To Evergreen
Wendy Cincotta
Evergreen Books
PO Box 186, Mohegan Lake, NY 10547
0972301011 $9.95

Return To Evergreen is a fantasy novel meant for young adults but appealing to readers and fantasy fans of all ages, following the adventures of a young boy, his close friend, and the bond he shares with a tree come to life. Second in a four-part series, Return To Evergreen is a tale of courage, a quest to restore goodness and free kidnapped elves in the Land of Silence, and of the mysterious Nadia, who begins searching for her own heart and memory yet finds her purpose in rescuing the hearts of others. An emotionally moving, uplifting, and wholsome fable. Also highly recommended is the first novel in the Evergreen series, Adventures In Evergreen.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Why Me? Why Did I Have To Get Diabetes?
Robert Messinger & Laura Messinger
Little Mai Press
102 River Dr., Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034
1893237028 $12.95

Why Me? Why Did I Have To Get Diabetes? is a storybook intended for young people age 3-11, about a nine-year-old girl diagnosed with diabetes. She must learn to restrict her diet, prick her finger daily, and get insulin shots. Though she holds to the regimen like a trooper, she sometimes asks herself "Why Me?" The narrative deals with guilt and conflicting emotions concerning the all too common condition of childhood diabetes; gentle, somewhat blurry color illustrations add a visual touch to the girl's personal journey. The importance of taking joy in one's life, and being as happy and productive as one can be, is stressed in this highly recommended story ideal for reading aloud.

The Girls' Guide To AD/HD
Beth Walker
Woodbine House
6510 Belles Mill Rd, Bethesda MD 20817
1890627569 $17.95 1-800-843-7323

Written with humor and encouragement, The Girls' Guide To AD/HD is a compendium of explanatory facts and practical advice on how to life a full and successful life while dealing with peers, teachers, friends and family despite AD/HD. Three girls (Maddy, Helen, and Bo) each have unique personalities and combinations of AD/HD traits enabling the reader to learn all about what AD/HD is like for girls; how the AD/HD brain functions; how adolescence impacts AD/HD symptoms; how counseling, coaching, and medications can help; how to deal with emotions that range from anxiety and anger, to forgetfulness and depression; the advantages that having AD/HD can have; how to cope with school and homework; and how to get along with others. To put it simply, The Girls' Guide To AD/HD is "must" reading for girls having to cope with this increasingly widespread condition and should be available in every school and community library.

Sammy's Day At The Fair
Jerome Tiller & Paul Tiller
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohm's Lane, Suite 216, Edina, MN 55439-2129
1592980465 $15.95 1-800-901-3480

Jerome Tiller's Sammy's Day At The Fair: The Digestive System is a children's picturebook with simplified color illustrations akin to what a child can draw, but also offering straightforward information on the digestive system at an intermediatae level. Following one boy's adventures at a fair, it explains why cramming so much unhealthy food into one's digestive system one day can make one feel so bad another day, following the natural course of digestion and the organs involved including stomach, intestines, liver, and more. Deftly illustrated by Paul Tiller, Sammy's Day At The Fair is as instructional and educational as it is enjoyable and reader engaging.

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

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

Limericks From The Heart (And Lungs!)
Lanny Poffo
White-Boucke Publishing
1205 Hawk Ridge Road, Lafayette, CO 80026
1888580291 $14.00

Limericks From The Heart (And Lungs!) offers 335 original limericks for children, though they are fun to read aloud for all ages. The verses share a common theme of anti-smoking, and are arranged in order of age. Black-and-white illustrations add a whimsical touch to this witty collection. A glossary helps younger people better understand unfamiliar words, and a name-and-place index allows for quick and easy searches for specific limericks. An excellent resource for impressing the perils of smoking on young people, Limericks From The Heart (And Lungs!) is a simple but fun-filled collection suitable for quoting, reading aloud, adding filler to youth newspapers and publications, or just plain fun. "A drinker who drank when she smoked, / With a carefree demeanor she joked. / But she lost her poise / When she made a frog noise - / Yes, she smoked and she smoked till she croaked."

The Biography Shelf

Shirley Temple
John Bankston
Mitchell Lane
34 Decidedly Lane, Bear, DE 19701
1584151722 $16.95

John Bankston's Shirley Temple appeared some time ago but deserves ongoing mention as a rare biography of the child actress geared to grades 3-4. Plenty of books on Shirley reach adult audiences: this 32-page title is a delight for kids who want to read about a notable successful child star. There could be more illustrations, but the value here is the information which is suitable for a report.

World Almanac Library
330 W. Olive St. #100, Milwaukee, WI 53132

World Almanac's books are geared to be lasting references: each set of titles provides strong biographical coverages appropriate for reports at different age levels. The Presidents and First Ladies' series ($22.50 each) provides a fine set of 48-page biographical sketches for grades 3-5: each covers biographical and political topics on the selected president and first lady. New additions include Ronald & Nancy Reagan (0836856961), George & Martha Washington (083685967X), George W. & Laura Bush (0836856937), Abraham & Mary Todd Lincoln (0836856953), and John & Jacqueline Kennedy (0836856945). The beauty of each: they pack in black and white and color photos and illustrations, provide index, glossary, and bibliography, and present well-rounded portraits of both individuals. The same age group will also benefit from the Lives of the Artists' series ($22.50 each): even more color is packed into these pages as they outline both the artistic works and the lives of each selected painter - and again, 48 pages includes a handy index, glossary, bibliography and plenty of detail on both the artist and his works. New additions include Rembrandt (0836856511), Claude Monet (0836856503), Marc Chagall (083685649X), Botticelli (0836556481). Biography readers will also appreciate the Trailblazers of the Modern World' series ($22.50 each): each book selects a notable political or scientific leader to profile, and each includes plenty of cultural background and social history to place the figure in historical context. Thomas Edison (0836854969), Aung San Suu Kyi (0836-854942), Roberto Clemente (0836854-950), Yo Yo Ma (0836854977), J. K. Rowling (0836854993) and Colin Powell (0836854985) each provide excellent biographies: the inclusion of contemporary figures and artists and musicians expands greatly the possibilities for capturing student interest through key figures more likely to prove lasting notables over time.

The Boy Who Drew Birds
Jacqueline Davies
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116
0618243437 $15.00

John James Audubon loved nature and the outdoors as a child, and was determined to study birds in the wild rather than from books even as early as 1804. Jacqueline Davies' lively story of his youth and pioneering attitude will reach grades 3-6 with an excellent survey of his pioneering observational techniques. Drawings by Melissa Sweet provide lovely accompaniment to the story of the naturalist's early years.

Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 S. Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27406

"Renaissance Scientists" is a series of informative books showcasing six of the most influential of the renaissance era pioneers of science. Consisting of six individual, 144-page titles ($23.95 each), the illustrious scientists featured includes Tycho Brahe: Mapping The Heavens (1883846978); Nicholas Copernicus And The Founding Of Modern Astronomy (1883846994); Johannes Kepler: Discovering The Laws Of Celestial Motion (1883846986); Galileo Galilei And The Science Of Motion (1931798001); Isaac Newton: Organizing The Universe (1931-79801X); Louis Pasteur And The Founding Of Microbiology (1931798133). Written specifically for young readers ages 10 and up, these books feature an easy to read text richly illustrated with period photographs, maps, paintings, and portraits. Enhanced with suggestions for further reading, source material citations, and age-appropriate websites, "Renaissance Scientists" is especially commended for school & community libraries.

Weekly Reader
330 West Olive Street, #100, Milwaukee, WI 53212

Kids in grades 2-3 will find Jonathan A. Brown's People to Know' titles to be ideal 24-page biographical introductions and the perfect place to start for reports: each book includes plenty of vintage black and white photos, enough detail for a simple report, and a glossary, index and bibliography. New additions to this outstanding and highly recommended series for young readers include The Wright Brothers (0836843142), Bill Gates (0836843-10X), Jackie Robinson (0836843118), Oprah Winfrey (0836843126), and Anne Frank (0836843096).

Books in Series

Blackbirch Press
27500 Drake Rd.
Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535

Six new additions to the Blackbrich Press America's Leaders' series deftly written by Scott Ingram for grades 2-3 provide fine introductions to different key positions in the U.S. government. Each holds 32 pages of facts, an index, glossary and small bibliography, and plenty of background history about the key position covered. New additions include Postmaster General (1410300897), Secretary Of The Treasury (1567112838), FBI Director (1410300900), National Security Adviser (156711962X), Secretary Of Labor (156-7119611) and Secretary Of Commerce (1410300919): each provides an in-depth examination of a high-profile job often in the news. Many an adult will want to consult these for refresher purposes.

Clara House Books/The Oliver Press
5707 W. 36th St., Minneapolis, MN 55416

Clara House Books has launched a new series of "How It Happens" books specifically written to introduce young readers grades 1 through 4 to a behind the scenes look at how factories and plants operate. How It Happens At The ATV Plant (188-1508943, $19.95) shows how workers at the Polaris factory in Roseau, Minnesota (just south of the Canadian border) build rugged all-terrain four-wheel vehicles. How It Happens At The Building Site (1881508951, $19.95) shows how a large, two-story house is build from the laying of the foundation, to framing the walls and roof, to the finished structure. Along the way young readers will learn about huge earth-moving equipment, plumbing, writing, painting, and carpentry as they are employed in building a house from the ground up. How It Happens At The Cereal Company (188150896X, $19.95) reveals how raw materials are turned into delicious foods. Readers will learn how basic grains are cooked and then mixed with colorful dyes and treats like marshmallows and raisins to finished food products reading for packaging and shipping to supermarket shelves. How It Happens At The Fireworks Factory (1881508978, $19.95) reveals the secrets of the pyrotechnic industry from carefully crafting handmade shells, to the computerized choreography that determines the firing sequences and music accompaniment at elaborate Fourth of July shows. Enthusiastically recommended for school and community library collections, each title includes highlighted glossary words and detailed photographers to enhance an informed and informative, "reader friendly" text.

Capstone Press
PO Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002-0669

"Energy At Work" (0736825576, $135.60) is a new and rather impressive science series from Capstone Press that showcases the six primary sources of power upon which we all rely. The 32 page, profusely illustrated titles comprising this outstanding series include: Fossil Fuel Power; Geothermal Power; Hydroelectric Power; Nuclear Power; Solar Power; and Wind Power. Enhanced with a Table of Contents; Glossary; Bibliography; and Index; each of these informed and informative volumes designed for young readers grades 2 to 5 also feature activities, a "Fact Box", a "Fast Facts" section; as well as diagrams showing energy conservation. Ideal for home schooling and traditional classroom curriculum supplemental readings, each book in the "Energy At Work" series can be acquired individually ($22.60) but school libraries and community library children's science collections should acquire the entire set for their young patrons.

Rourke Publishing LLC
PO Box 3328, Vero Beach, FL 32964

The new "Discover the Life of an American Legend" series from Rourke Publishing presents a social studies series designed specifically for elementary school curriculums on American history. Written for students in grades 1-4, this six volume series features a thoroughly "reader friendly" text enhanced with full-color photography and illustrations. Each one of the titles introduces the life story of an American who made a significant contribution to our country's history. Included are Matthew Henson (an African American explorer who reached the North Pole in 1909 and then wrote a book about it); Coretta Scott King (the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. who despite her husband's assassination continued to fight hard for civil rights); Betsy Ross (the colonial seamstress who created the first official American flag at the request of George Washington); Mark Twain (a popular American public speaker and author of the 19th century); George Washington (the American Revolution's Commander in Chief of the American Continental Army and the first president of the United States); Laura Ingalls Wilder (a brave pioneer girl who grew up to author the "Little House" books showing what pioneer life was like to subsequent generations of young readers). "Discover the Life of an American Legend" is a series enthusiastically recommended titles which are simply packed from cover to cover with names, dates, places, and with the addition of biographical timelines, bibliographies for for further study, website resources, glossaries, and indexes, is an ideal resource for school reports and a welcome addition to community library American History and American Biography collections.

Lerner Publications
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607

Five new titles in Lerner's How Government Works' series provide important key focus on issues of politics for kids in grades 3-5, outlining the basics of how different American government branches work. Sandy Donovan's Running For Office (0822547007) outlines what it takes to run for office, from starting a campaign and winning endorsements to winning elections and meeting voters; her Making Laws (0822513463) covers how bills are created, amended and passed; How Congress Works by Ruth Tenzer Feldman (0822513471) examines how the senate and house work together; Kathiann M. Kowalski's A Balancing Act (0822513-501) examines checks and balances in theexecutive, legislative and judicial branches of the government, and her Order In The Court (0822546981) narrows the focus to different court and jury trial systems in this country. All of these "How Government Works" titles are key introductions not only for this age group, but for ESL and adults seeking very basic political insights on how the system works.

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

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