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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 1 January 2007 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Pets/Wildlife Shelf Music Shelf
Science Shelf American History Shelf DVD Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Art Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf Cookbook Shelf Books in Series
Biography Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mythology/Folklore Shelf
Fiction Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7
Ben Schoen, et. al.
Ulysses Press
P.O. Box 3440, Berkeley, CA 94703
1569755833 $13.95

The experts at have analyzed the first six Harry Potter titles for hidden clues on what might happen in the final book, so any Potter fan speculating on the final adventure will find much to fascinate in What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7. Owners of all the Potter books will have much to consider here, from questions on whose side Snape's on to whether Ron and Hermione's relationship will last, and whether Harry will really defeat Voldemort in a final showdown. A top pick for Harry fans who are on tetherhooks for the concluding novel.

7 Secrets of Highly Successful Kids
Peter Kuitenbrouwer
Lobster Press
1620 Sherbooke Street West, Suites C & D, Montreal, Canada, H3H 1C9
1897073410 $12.95

Now in a new edition featuring updates concerning where the kids interviewed in the first edition are now and what they're doing, 7 Secrets of Highly Successful Kids is a compilation of true stories about successful tweens, each with a personal strategy for achieving his or her goals. From a skateboarder to an actor, a drummer, a ballet dancer, a magician, and much more, each young person describes largely in his or her own words the challenge of honing personal skills, as well as the rewards of achieving progress towards one's dream. An excellent inspirational and motivational book, especially recommended for grade school library collections.

The Kids' Fun Book Of Jewish Time
Emily Sper
Jewish Lights Publishing
PO Box 237, Woodstock, VT 05091
1580233112, $16.99 1-800-962-4544

Enthusiastically recommended, "The Kids' Fun Book Of Jewish Time" is specifically designed by children's book author and illustrator Emily Sper to introduce children ages 3 to 6 to the Jewish calendar. This includes the concepts of night and day, the seven-day week, Shabbat, the Hebrew months, seasons and dates. Through the use of clever paper engineering, bold designs and colorful illustrations, children will acquire mastery over key concepts and vocabulary in both English and Hebrew. From turning a wheel to find the new moon, to lifting flaps to learn counting with Hebrew letters, "The Kids' Fun Book Of Jewish Time" is as fun as it is informative – and ideal for young children in gaining a basic understanding of the Jewish Holidays.

Smart Talk
Robert A. Schultz, Ph.D. & James R. Delisle, Ph.D.
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
1575422050 $13.95

Written by Professor in Gifted Curriculum and Instruction (University of Toledo, Ohio) Robert A. Schultz and award-winning educator and author James R. Delisle, Smart Talk: What Kids Say About Growing Up Gifted is a straightforward "tell it like it is" book gathering testimony from gifted children ages 4 to 12, in their own words, especially for other gifted children to read. Smart Talk gives the straight word on the ups and downs of being gifted, and solid advice on how to deal with expectations, cope with boredom, find personal passions, and look ahead to the future. For example, one boy's honest answer to "What is it like when you feel smarter than some of your friends?" is "You get used to it. But I hate the fact that you can't confide in them about some of your problems or tell them what you REALLY like to do in your spare time." Above all, Smart Talk reaches out to young readers with the reassurance that being gifted may make a person feel different from others of the same age, that doesn't mean he or she is all alone. Enthusiastically recommended for gifted children and their families.

Leslie Margolis
Simon Pulse
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
1416924566 $6.99 1-800-223-2336

The debut novel of social anthropologist and expert on all things teenaged Leslie Margolis, Fix is the story of a young woman, Cameron Beekman, who suffered years of being ostracized and called "Beakface" because of her large nose before a simple nose job transformed her life. Now, just as she is about to start college, she has decided to undergo breast surgery in order to move up from "smart and pretty" to "smart and drop-dead gorgeous". Meanwhile, her younger sister Allie is struggling with the concept of her own approaching nose job, and her mother contemplates cosmetic surgery to breathe life into her own struggling career. But cosmetic surgery is still surgery, and contains a plethora of medical and health risks. Cameron's own boyfriend doesn't understand how and why the surgery is important to her. Fix is graphic and very serious about the problems and numerous complications that can result from breast augmentation surgery, including the simple fact that it is almost never a one-time deal - women with breast implants usually need to have repeat surgeries over the course of years, even if nothing goes drastically wrong. Fix also explores two dynamic perspectives toward cosmetic surgery in the sisters: Cameron, who embraces procedures with fierce determination, and Allie, who gradually questions them more and more. Highly recommended reading, especially for girls ages 15 through 18, for its three-dimensional characters and straightforward, non-preferential treatment of all positive and negative aspects of cosmetic surgery.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Arctic
Wayne Lynch
NorthWord Press
c/o T&N Children's Publishing
11571 K-Tel Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343
978-1-55971-961-2 $8.95 1-888-255-9989

Featuring miles of ice fields, glaciers as large as a ten-story building, vast snow fields, lethal blizzards, desert-dry soil, and bone-chilling cold, the Arctic is one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. Nevertheless, it is also provides an amazing ecosystem that features ground-hugging plants, evergreen trees, rock-climbing puffins, fierce birds of prey, polar bears, walruses, muskoxen, and more. Author Wayne Lynch's informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' text is beautifully and expertly illustrated by his color photography throughout. Part of NorthWord's 'Our Wild World Ecosystems' series, "The Arctic" features basic and introductory information on the effects of global warming on arctic plants and animals. Also available in a hardcover edition (978-1-55971-960-5, $16.95), "The Arctic" is a welcome and recommended addition to school and community libraries. The other two very highly recommended titles in this outstanding series by Wayne Lynch include "Prairie Grasslands" and "Rocky Mountains".

The Music Shelf

Fins And Grins
Johnette Downing
Wiggle Worm Records
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
J087 $15.00

Children's musician, singer and songwriter Johnette Downing presents thirteen new and original marine animal themed songs in "Fins And Grins", her newest and enthusiastically recommended CD album for kids. The music is lively and positively toe-tapping as Downing musically celebrates penguins, crawfish, clams, amphibians, hermit crabs, seahorses, turtles, stingrays, sharks, and the circle of life in the seas, in the ocean, in the Amazon river, and in aquariums. Superbly recorded and energetically performed, the individual pieces include: rock Hopper Penguin (2:13); Amazon ABCs (2:44); Amphibians (2:29); Clamshell Clap (3:18); Circle of Life (3:47); L'ecrevisse (1:59); I Want to Be a Frog Today (3:30); A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea (2:04); Moving Along (2:40); Stingray Shuffle (2:56); Camouflage (1:35); Most Fish Swim (2:39); Seahorses (2:51); I Went to the Aquarium (3:39); Tooth Fairy (2:48); and Turtles (3:00). With a total running time of 44 minutes, 47 seconds, "Fins And Grins" is a welcome and appropriate addition to family, day-care center, preschool, elementary school, and community library CD music collections for children.

Bottle Of Sunsine
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
MSM102 $13.99

From preschoolers to first graders, "Bottle Of Sunshine" will prove a 'kid friendly' favorite with its toe-tapping tunes, hand-clapping rhythms, and sing-along lyrics flawlessly delivered by Milkshake (singer Lisa Mathews and guitarist Mikel Ghel) with their usual flair and easy expertise. The fifteen superbly presented and impressively recorded pieces comprising this outstanding and highly recommended CD album for children include: Bluebird; School; Woo-Woo; Milkshake!; Boom, Boom; ABC of Me; Space Song; Book of Dreams; Jump; Smile; Ms. R&R; Rainy Day; One Wish; Sleepytown; and the title piece, Bottle of Sunshine. This is a wonderfully entertaining and sure to be kid-pleasing addition to any family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, or community library CD music collection for children. Also highly recommended is Milkshake's other kid's CD, "Play!" which features songs about kids having fun playing baseball, bowling, pretending, playing music, having parades, planting a garden, and more!

The Science Shelf

Basic Biology
Denise Walker
Smart Apple Media
c/o Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002
$205.50 list; $143.70 school/library 1-507-388-1609

"Basic Biology" is a six volume series specifically written and designed by Denise Walker to introduce students in grades 7 through 12 to fundamental concepts of the biological sciences. Profusely illustrated with color photography and deftly written at an eighth grade reading level, each individual 64-page title includes a table of contents, an index, a glossary, diagrams, and activities. Children will learn the answers to a diversity of questions ranging from why people are of different sizes and shapes, the diversity of plant and animal species, the life cycles of animals, plants, and humans. The books (which are ideal as supplements for home schooling curriculums!) comprising this very impressive and thoroughly 'kid friendly' series includes Adaptations and Survival (978-1-58340-992-3); Body Systems (978-1-58340-990-9); Cells and life Processes (978-1-58340-988-6); Green Plants (978-58340-993-0); Inheritance and Evolution (978-1-58340-989-3); Reproductions, Breathing, and Health (978-1-58340-991-6). Although each book is available individually ($34.25 list; $23.95 school/library), school and community libraries should acquire the entire set for the science collections for young readers.

The American History Shelf

Bold Women in Michigan History
Virginia Law Burns
Mountain Press Publishing Company
1301 South Third Street West, PO Box 2399, Missoula, Montana 59806
087842525X $12.00 1-800-234-5308

Written by former teacher Virginia Law Burns especially for young adults, Bold Women in Michigan History collects the true stories of courageous women who helped make Michigan the proud state it is today. From fur traders and poets to soldiers and senators, each woman's unique contribution is recounted in a brief biography, with black-and-white illustrations or photographs. Individuals profiled include Cora Brown, the first black woman in the state senate; artist Marguerite de Angeli; Genevieve Gillette, champion of Michigan parks; and many more. An upbeat, well-researched and enthralling introduction to the role great women have played in Michigan state history.

The DVD Shelf

Legend of the Dragon
BKN International / Genius Products
c/o SSA Public Relations (publicity)
16027 Ventura Blvd., Suite 206, Encino, CA 91436
1594442843 $19.95

Legend of the Dragon collects the first four episodes of the martial arts, animated cartoon series that originally debuted on Disney/Jetix. Though not rated, Legend of the Dragon is a family-friendly television show, dealing with such issues as growing up, facing burdens of personal responsibility, and learning to accept that the figures one worships as heroes or idols may in actuality be less noble than one might guess. Set in modern-day China, Legend of the Dragon follows two gifted twins, Ang and Ling, both born in the Year of the Dragon and destined for greatness. Yet when Ang is chosen to be the next Golden Dragon, guardian of the Dragon Temple, Ling feels deeply humiliated and, under the direction of the sinister Zodiac Master, follows the path of the Shadow Dragon, clouded with the "power of darkest Yin." Also caught in the war between light and dark are Ling's childhood friend, the Tiger Guardian, and the carefree Monkey Guardian. Of especial interest are references to the latest innovations of modern technology, from GPS cell phones to email and prudent investing, amid the main story of ancient artifacts and martial arts disciplines. The cartoon episodes are "Trial by Fire Volume 1", "Trial by Fire Volume 2", "Eye On the Tiger", and "Hero Worship." A wholesome, action-packed cartoon show for young people.

I Could Do That!
Linda Arms White
Weston Woods Studios/Scholastic
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
NDVD692, $59.95 1-800-290-7531

"I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women The Vote" is the true story of Esther Morris, a women who started out believing she could do anything and then provided it by building up her own business, rasing a family on the western frontier, becoming the first woman judge in the United States, and then becoming America's first elected political office holder. Deftly written by Linda Arms and engagingly illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, this Weston Woods DVD edition is narrated by Joan Allen and features music by David Mansfield. Enthusiastically recommended for young viewers ages 6 to 12, "I Could Do That!" is a wonderfully entertaining, informative, and inspiring addition to school and community library DVD collections. "I Could Do That!" is also available from Weston Woods as a closed-captioned video (NMPV692VCC, $60.00), a hardcover/CD combination (NHCD692, $29.95), and as a hardcover/cassette combination (NHRA692, $24.95).

The Picturebook Shelf

My Family
Sheila Kinkade & Elaine Little
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
1570916918, $6.95 1-800-225-3214

Engagingly written by Sheila Kindade and enhanced with photographic illustrations by Elaine Little, "My Family" showcases families of all sizes and from all parts of the world. Young readers ages 4 to 7 will learn that families can include not only mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins – and, of course, themselves. Kids will also discover that some families around the world are much like theirs, while other families are different. But whatever those differences may be, they are still families and all of us together make up one global family of human beings. Also available in a hardcover edition (1570916624, $16.95), "My Family" would make a wonderful addition to any school or community library picturebook collection for young children preschool through first grade.

Muskrat Will Be Swimming
Cheryl Savageau & Robert Hynes
Tilbury House, Publishers
132 Water Street, Gardiner, ME 04345
0884482804, $7.95 1-800-582-1899

"Muskrat Will Be Swimming" is the inspiring story of a native American girl who, with the gentle guidance of her grandfather, learns to find strength in her identity as a native American living in the broader American society. Elegantly illustrated by Robert Hynes, "Muskrat Will Be Swimming" also includes the Seneca creation story and demonstrates how such ancient tales of native American cultures can be utilized to help children find their way in the world. Author Cheryl Savageau has written a superb story that will entertain and inspire young readers in grades 3 through 6. Enhanced with a 'Teachers Take Note' section devoted to suggestions for activities and thematically appropriate resources, "Muskrat Will Be Swimming" is an award winning and very strongly recommended addition to elementary school and community library picturebook collections.

c/o KSB Promotions
55 Honey Creek, NE , Ada, MI 49301

'Animalations' is a series of four brightly colored picturebooks written by Patricia Derrick, illustrated by J-P Loppo Martinez, and specifically designed for the amusement of young children ages 2 to 8. The texts emphasizes rhythm, rhyme and repetition, while each charming and lively picturebook is also accompanied by the inclusion of a 5-minute musical audio CD. There is even a teacher/parent activity page with suggestions on way to expand the learning experience beyond the simply reading of the book and listening to the CD to include movement, art, language, music activities, and discussion questions. A page of science notes provides basic information about the featured animal. This enthusiastically recommended 'Animalations' series includes "Riley the Rhinoceros" (1933818158, $18.95); "Rickity & Snickity at the Balloon Fiesta" (1933818115, $18.95); Dody the Dog has a Rainbow" (1933818107, $18.95); and "Farley the Ferret of Farkleberry Farm" 91933818123, $18.95).

The Art Shelf

How To Draw Magnificent Mammals
Earl R. Phelps
Phelps Publishing
PO Box 22401, Cleveland, OH 44122
1887627065, $14.95

In "How To Draw Magnificent Mammals", artist and illustrator Earl Phelps draws upon his more than 30 years of experience and expertise in the field to create a fun and effective 'how to' book for children wanting to learn how to accurately and easily draw all manner of animals including the two-toed sloth, a polar bear, an African elephant, a pipistrelle bat, a dingo, a markhor, a walrus, a giraffe, an hyena, a rhinoceros, a wart hog, a leopard, a baboon, a slender loris, a red kangaroo, a llama, an aardvark, a gorilla, and a lion. Each animal is showcased with step-by-step instructions that are as effective as they are 'kid friendly'. Information as to each individual animal's behavior, habitat and diet are also featured. Also very highly recommended for rainy day fun activities and art class curriculum supplements are Earl Phelps' earlier 'how to' art instruction books: How To Draw Supercharacters And Supermonsters"; and "How To Draw Spectacular Reptiles.

Make It Pop!
Joyce Raimondo
770 Broadway, New York NY 10003
0823025071 $12.95

Ages 5-12 and parents and teachers will appreciate this unusual focus: a collection of art activities for this age group that provides a visual focus on the basic elements of Pop Art. Six artists plus the author provide a survey of Pop Art elements and explore the stories behind major art works – then moves beyond to encourage kids to create their own Pop Art. Bright pages of color examples and a question/answer format promises learning and fun.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Deadly Invaders
Denise Grady
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0753459957 $16.95

Denise Grady is a medical reporter who decided to survey the threats of flu and new illnesses caused by viruses, journeying to Angola to study the spread of Marburg. Hers is not only a survey of a single disease, but charts the course of health issues, scientific investigation, and accompany social and ethical issues. Students in grades 5-8 will find Deadly Invaders: Virus Outbreaks Around the World, from Marburg Fever to Avian Flu to be an important first-person journey with many implications for modern health.

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Albert Lamb's endearing SAM'S WINTER HAT (0439793041, $6.99) pairs David McPhail's engaging pictures with the story of a forgetful young bear who has misplaced all his winter clothing. When he gets a new blue winter hat from his grandmother he vows to keep it always; but his active life may prevent this in a simple, engaging story holding a dilemma kids will find familiar. Tedd Arnold's SHOO, FLY GUY! (0439639050, $5.99) tells of hungry Fly Guy, whose owner Buzz always takes good care of him. When Fly Guy decides to explore the greater world, trouble emerges – and he finds not everyone likes a fly. Jeff Smith's BONE: THE DRAGONSLAYER (0439706378, $9.99) provides another fine graphic novel in Book 4 of the Bone series. Here the forces of evil are growing – and the roots may be within the Bone family itself. Full-color graphic novel pages entice kids to read the Bone adventures, and even newcomers will find it easy to jump in. Martine Murray's HENRIETTA: THERE'S NO ONE BETTER (0439807476, $9.99) tells of Henrietta, who doesn't want to be a king (because kings can't fart) and doesn't want to be a dad (because they have to clean up). She DOES want to be a wild thing and a champion cake eater. Two-color drawings accompany the zany story of a girl with too many options. All will be pleasing picks for elementary-level libraries looking for something different.

Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

Nate the Great is back in NATE THE GREAT TALKS TURKEY, with Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Mitchell Sharmat providing another investigative chapter book rivaling the adventures of detective Encyclopedia Brown. Here Nate the great detective is tailing a giant turkey… with the help of his dog Sludge and his savvy cousin Olivia Sharp. It's a host of characters on the tail of the popular turkey in this hilarious story. Mark Crilley's AKIKO: PIECES OF GAX (0385730446, $9.95) tells of a pleasure trip to Gollarondo with Pog, Gax and others – to a city which has been built completely upside down. When robot Gax accidentally falls into the Moonguzzit Sea he becomes the property, by law, of the ruler of the seas: can Akiko and her friends retrieve the now-disassembled Gax? A vivid plot and fine fantasy make for a moving story: both books will please libraries with young patrons from grades 2-4.

1350 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10019

Can a lovely white elephant actually be a curse in disguise? Run-Run, a young elephant trainer, incurs the fury of a prince and his punishment is to receive a cursed white elephant in Sid Fleischman's THE WHITE ELEPHANT (0061131366 $16.89) . Run-Run is forced to pay for its expensive upkeep: can he solve his problem by making his expensive gift vanish? Yes – but with consequences. A fine story of an unwitting gift evolves. Doug Cushman's DIRK BONES AND THE MYSTERY OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE (0060737648, $15.99) presents Level 1 beginning readers with a fine story pairing vivid adventure with simple sentences perfect for the new reader. In the town of Ghostly every house is haunted – and to ghosts are frightened because something is haunting them. It's up to ace reporter Dirk Bones to find out who. Kids ages 4-8 will love the action.

An Elk Dropped In
Andreas Steinhofel
Front Street/Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781932425802 $16.95

While doing a trial run for Santa Claus Mr. Moose gets off course and crashes through Billy's roof, injuring his leg. The entire family gathers to hear his tales of adventures – except for a nosy neighbor, who is a hunter and envisions a bounty for bagging Mr. Moose. When Father Christmas shows up for his moose carrying a bag of Milky Way Power, enabling Mr. Moose to fly – the family finds their own route into high adventure in this zany story which just missed December's issue, but is recommended for year-round enjoyment for libraries looking for different holiday themes for grades 4-6.

Please Write in This Book
Mary Amato
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10017
0823419320 $16.95

A notebook hidden in a Writer's Corner of the library entices kids to write their ideas about school and life – and soon the notebook is causing trouble as it becomes filled with rumor and innuendo. From a Stinky Feet Experiment to Worm Day, events are hilariously told in this fine story for younger readers in grades 2-4 seeking something different in easy books.

The Cookbook Shelf

Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook
Dr. Seuss/Georgeanne Brennan and Frankie Frankeny
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0679884408 $16.95

Cookbook author Georgeanne Brennan teams up with Frankie Frankeny to provide a Seuss cookbook of fun and wild food references. Here are some forty recipes for breakfast, lunch, snakes and desserts which offers Corn-Off-the-Cobsk, Nice Lime Ice, and more. Some are easy, some more complicated: all will capture the interest and imagination of kids in grades 2-6.

Books in Series

Neighborhood Helpers
Cecilia Minden
The Child's World, Inc.
PO Box 326, Chanhassen, MN 55317-0326
1592966098, $273.48 list/$191.40 library 1-800-599-7323

Engagingly written at a second grade reading level and photographically illustrated by Cecilia Minden, 'Neighborhood Helpers" is a series of twelve books designed with an interest level spanning kindergarten through the third grade and showcasing community workers that children will commonly encounter. Each 32-page book has a reinforced library binding for an extended shelf life, features a table of contents, info sidebars, an introduction to the author, key occupational terms explained, an intertextual glossary, a comprehensive index, and sources (including websites0 for further research. The individual titles include Auto Mechanics; Coaches; Dentists; electricians; Firefighters; letter Carriers; Nurses; Pilots; Restaurant owners; Teachers; Television Reporters; and Veterinarians. Children will learn what men and women in each of these various occupations do and the significance of their work for the good of the community. This series is especially invaluable for homeschooling Social Studies curriculum supplemental reading lists. Although available individually ($22.79 list/$15.95 library), school and communities are recommended to acquire the complete twelve volume set for their young students and patrons.

Native Nations Of North America
Molly Aloian & Bobbie Kalman
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308, New York, NY 10118
$23.92 each 1-800-387-7650

Informatively written at a 4th grade reading level by such talented writers as Molly Aloian, Kathryn Smithyman, and Niki Walker, and which are superbly illustrated by Bobbie Kalman, 'Native Nations of North America' is a four volume series on the Native American tribal nations featuring their customs, traditions, and activities. Molly Aloian's "Nations of the Northeast Coast" (077870386X, HC, $23.92 & 0778704785, PB, $8.95) describes the tribes and tribal confederations that lived along the coast of northeastern North America during the seventeenth century. Beautiful paintings and detailed illustrations highlight the family lives, hunting traditions, and even transportation methods of the Abenaki and other nations in this region. Molly Aloian's "Nations of the Southeast" (0778703851, HC, $23.92 & 0778704777, PB, $8.95) reveals how the Cherokee, the Creek, the Choctaw, the Seminole, and other native nations in the American southeast farmed, hunted, and moved from place to place on the extensive waterways of the area. Kathryn Smithyman's "Native North American Foods and Recipes" (0778703835, HC, $23.92 & 0778704750, PB, $8.95) showcases the wide variety of foods native peoples hunted, gathered, and grew. Children will learn how those foods were preserved and prepared, There are even easy to follow recipes kids can take to the kitchen and make their own tasty Native American dishes! Niki Walker's "Native North American Wisdom and Gifts" (0778703843, HC, $23.92 & 0778704769, PB, $8.95) reveals that many of the foods we eat, the tools we use, the games we play, even the ideas we believe in today had their origins in Native American traditions, practices, and cultures. Ideal for use with homeschooling curriculums, The "Native Nations Of North America" is an informative and fun series which should be a core part of every public elementary school and community library Native American Studies reference and resource collection for young readers.

Marshall Cavendish Corporation
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
$20.95 Each 1-800-831-9881

'Turning Points in American History' is a new six volume series by Dennis Brindell Fradin which introduces young readers to overviews of key events in the development of our country. Each of these 46-page histories features a throughly 'kid friendly' text that is as engaging as it is informative, as well as very nicely illustrated throughout with paintings and pictures. The titles include "The Mayflower Compact" (0761421254) which tells the story of the Pilgrims who in seeking religious freedom settled the New World and ruled themselves under a mutual compact. "Jamestown, Virginia" (076142122X) is the story of the settlement founded in 1607 and how the Native Americans help the new settlers survive in the American wilderness. "The Declaration Of Independence" (0761421297) is the story of how Americans separated from England and declared themselves a sovereign nation. "The Alamo" (0761421270) is the story of a critical battle against Mexico and it led to Texas becoming part of the United States. "The Assassination Of Abraham Lincoln" (0761421238) is the story of Lincoln's life, his death, and his impact upon the preservation American and race relations in the aftermath of Civil War. "Custer's Last Stand" is the story of George Armstrong Custer, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the struggle of Native Americans forced to settle on reservations, and the end of an era in American history. An ideal and very highly recommended addition to school and community library American History collections for young readers, each sturdily bound volume is enhanced with the inclusion of a glossary, a Timeline, suggestions for further information, a bibliography, and an index.

Picture Window Books
151 Good Counsel Drive, Minneapolis, MN 556001 1-877-371-1536

Young children have a natural curiosity about themselves and world around them. Two outstanding and recommended series for children from Picture Window Books nicely address this interest with highly illustrated and age appropriate picturebooks. The six volume series "All About Me" (1-4048-0079-4PI, $135.60 list/$101.75 (schools/libraries) complies with National Council for the Social Studies standards and is enhanced with activities and a glossary. The individual titles comprising this entertaining and informative series for children ages 4 to 6 include: "Marvelous Me: Inside and Out"; "My Body: Head to Toe"; "My Day: Morning, Noon, and Night"; "My Family: Love and Care, Give and Share"; "My Home: Walls, Floors Ceilings, and Doors"; "My Neighborhood: Places and Faces". "Community Workers" (1-4048-0083-2PI, $191.44 list/$143.60 schools/libraries) is written and illustrated to appeal to children ages 4 to 9 and showcase typical jobs people have in a community to make it a better place for children and their families to live in. This eight volume series is comprised of "Caring for Your Pets: A Book About Veterinarians"; "Delivering Your Mail: A Book About Mail Carriers"; "Helping You Heal: A Book About Nurses"; "Helping You Learn: A Book About Teachers"; "Keeping You Healthy: A Book About Doctors"; "Keeping You Safe: A Book About Police Officers"; "Protecting Your Home: A Book About Firefighters": and "Taking You Places: A Book About Bus Drivers". Each title in these two superbly produced series is available separately, but school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the complete series for their young students and patrons. Both the "All About Me" series and the "Community Workers" series are ideal as home schooling curriculum supplements as well.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
$10.99 Each

Two very affordable, eye-catching titles are recommended for elementary grades 4-7, offering an eye-catching format and drawings to capture interest. Nick Arnold and Tony De Saulles' THE STUNNING SCIENCE OF EVERYTHING: SCIENCE WITH THE SQUISHY BITS LEFT IN! (0439877776) covers everything from dinosaur burps to a 'gruesome garden's differences between plants and animals. Cartoon graphics throughout offer up eye-catching images while topics are anything but common-place. Terry Deary and Marin Brown's THE WICKED HISTORY OF THE WORLD: HISTORY WITH THE NASTY BITS LEFT IN! (0439877865) covers 'rotten Rome', 'nasty knights', 'cruel criminals' and more, packing real history with zany accounts. The cartoon/graphic approach to both these titles assures young reader interest and attention.

Morgan Reynolds
620 South Elm Street, Suite 223, Greensboro, NC 27406
$27.95 Each

Della Yannuzzi's NEW ELEMENTS: THE STORY OF MARIE CURIE (1599350238) packs in 144 pages of biographical and scientific facts about Marie Curie, adding colorful illustration to the story of a young Polish immigrant whose initial dream was to complete university and return to Poland. Her journey to Paris changed her life, brought romance and a new career, and would lead her to discover new elements in a vivid biography that includes color illustration and living writing. Roberta Baxter's SKEPTICAL CHEMIST: THE STORY OF ROBERT BOYLE (1599350254) tells of the favored son of the wealthiest man in England and Ireland who committed himself to advancing scientific knowledge – and in so doing, formed the basis for what we know as modern chemistry today. His biography takes a potentially dry topic and makes for a vivid survey, weaving biographical and scientific history together against the backdrop of his times. Jane Polcovar's ROSALIND FRANKLIN AND THE STRUCTURE OF LIFE (159935022X) tells of a girl who grows up loving science and is determined to prove herself as a skilled experimentalist. Her post-war research will lead Watson and Crick to their discovery of the structure of DNA, will lead a scientific revolution, and will be doomed to obscurity: all told in a biography of one of the best female researchers of the 20th century. Clarissa Aykroyd's SAVAGE SATIRE: THE STORY OF JONATHAN SWIFT (1599350270) tells of an ordained minister who is best known for his Gulliver's Travels novel, but who wrote poetry and other fiction which challenged the ideals of his era. It's an excellent pick for classes studying the politics and history of Gulliver's Travels, offering biographical and social background suitable for rounding out reports. LeAnne Gelletly's GIFT OF IMAGINATION: THE STORY OF ROALD DAHL (1599350262) tells of a children's book writer whose CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and others brought him much fame. He's one of the most famous children's writers of our times – and this new biography tells of his life and inspirations, making for perfect report material for any who loved his books. These are strong picks for any collection for grades 4-7 that offers material suitable for reports in either biography or science.

Ottn Publishing
16 Reisler Street, Stockton, NJ 08559
$23.95 Each

Numerous elementary-level titles focus on the American Revolution, but the 'Forgotten Heroes of the American Revolution' series is different – and highly recommended for any library strong in both period history and biographical sketches. Here lesser-known patriots are surveyed in a series of five books exploring their bravery in the face of war. Gregg A. Mierka's NATHANAEL GREENE: THE GENERAL WHO SAVED THE REVOLUTION (1595560122) tells of an army commander who developed and implemented a strategy that would led to the British surrender; Richard M. Strum's HENRY KNOX: WASHINGTON'S ARTILLERYMAN (1595560130) tells of a young Boston bookseller with no war experience who offers his services to the new American rebel army and plays a key role in the battle plans, Jim Gallagher's DANIEL MORGAN: FIGHTING FRONTIERSMAN (1595560155) surveys a leader whose strategies won key victories throughout the colonies, Scott Kaufman's FRANCIS MARION: SWAMP FOX OF SOUTH CAROLINA (1595560148) tells of a hero who emerges from the backwaters of South Carolina to turn the British tide of victory to defeat; and Karl Crannell's JOHN STARK: LIVE FREE OR DIE (1595560165) tells of an experienced soldier whose men not only succeeded in the Battle of Bunker Hill, but more importantly crippled British soldiers at the Battle of Bennington. All are outstanding surveys.

Capstone Press
Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002

Elementary-level school libraries will find these titles excellent additions promising attraction from both leisure browsers and students in grades 2-4. The 'Explore The' series of Fact Finders guides provides excellent and very simple surveys of different environments: Linda Talgiaferro's TROPICAL RAIN FOREST (0736864075) pairs close-up photos of plants and animals with studies of tropical rainforest facts, her TUNDRA (0736864083) covers the plants and animals of the tundra through a working scientist's study of the biome, her DECIDUOUS FOREST (0736864032) covers forest plants and animals, Kay Jackson's GRASSLANDS (0736864059) invites kids to look at the grasslands and its animals and plants; OCEAN (0736864067) tells of shallow and deep water ocean life, and her DESERT (0736864040) tells of desert animals, plants and peoples. All are outstanding titles perfect for biome studies. Lissa Johnston's ELLEN OCHOA: PIONEERING ASTRONAUT (073685438X) tells of a female astronaut's life, dreams, and training. Inspired by Sally Ride, Ochoa made her dreams a reality and young readers searching for unusual biographies will find this an exciting survey of her life.

Enslow Publishers Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398

Kenneth G. Rainis's BLOOD AND DNA EVIDENCE: CRIME-SOLVING SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS (0766019586, $31.93) blends biological insights with the story of how investigators can tell what happens during crimes. Learn about true crimes, forensic techniques based on scientific research, and do an experiment which helps to understand how scientists solve crimes in a title advanced elementary to middle school grades will find key to not just understanding applications of scientific theory, but to appreciating its role in crime-solving. Richard Marshall Gaines's WHEN BEARS ATTACK! (0766026698, $23.93) is perfect for reluctant elementary-level readers who need high visual excitement to motivate a report. It tells true stories of bear attacks from polar bears to grizzlies in California and pairs toothy close-up photos of bears with plenty of natural history suitable for reports.

Chelsea House Publishers
132 West 31st Street, 17th Floor, New York NY 10001

Adding to the 'Who Wrote That?' series of biographies is Hal Marcovitz's MAURICE SENDAK (0791087964, $30.00), a fine pick for grades 6-12 with its coverage of a famous writer whose works have become a key element of quality children's literature right up to modern times. This surveys his life and influences and is suitable for reports – especially for kids assigned biographies. Yael Calhoun's ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY (0791082059, $31.95) joins others in the 'Environmental Issues' series, gathering articles by some of the biggest names in wildlife biology and conservation. Students at the 9-12 grade level will appreciate chapters that focus on how environmental policies are created and implemented at the local to global levels. Calhoun also edits WILDLIFE PROTECTION (0791082040, $31.95) for readers in grades 9-12, examining important environmental issues from how endangered species are defined and classified to reserves for their protection. All are excellent sources for research projects.

The Biography Shelf

From Slave to Superstar of the Wild West
Tom DeMund
Legends of the West Publishing Co.
174 Santa Rosa Avenue, Sausalito, CA 94965
0978690400 $18.95

From Slave to Superstar of the Wild West: The Awesome Story of Jim Beckwourth is the incredible true-life story of a biracial ex-slave turned American mountain man who lived over 200 years ago. The son of a wealthy slaveowner and a black slave, given a limited education and his freedom by his father, Jim Beckwourth's natural talent for languages and diplomacy as well as his physical strengths and yearning for adventure led him to a hard life of venturing into territory known only to Native Americans, trapping animals for their fur, and survival in the wilderness. His exceptional career led him to become a member and later a chief of the Crow tribe, and he saved lives and escaped death by the skin of his teeth numerous times. From Slave to Superstar of the Wild West reconstructs Beckwourth's life from civil records, known historical details, and information gleaned from Beckwourth's own autobiography. Illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs written in a lively, friendly style to appeal to preteen readers, From Slave to Superstar of the Wild West is an enthusiastically recommended for grade school and children's library collections.

Extraordinary Ordinary People
Alan Govenar
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
0763620475 $22.99

Each 'ordinary individual' featured herein has received a National Heritage Fellowship: candid interviews with folklorist Alan Govenar blends their biographies with color photos and historical perspective in Extraordinary Ordinary People: Five American Masters of Traditional Arts. In taking a journey through their lives and artistic sentiments, Alan Govenar provides artistic and social insights kids in grades 5-9 will appreciate; especially since few other books on modern artists take such an approach.

Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini
Sid Fleischman
Greenwillow Books
1350 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10019-4703
0060850949 $18.99

Ages 9 and older will find ESCAPE a vivid story of master escape artist and magician Houdini, a man who could walk through brick walls and escape the most impossible circumstances. This biography comes from an author who was a former professional magician himself, and offers stories of how the son of an impoverished rabbi changed himself into the world-known Houdini. An excellent, lively text makes for a biography perfect for reports.

Andy Warhol: Pop Artist
Susan Goldman Rubin
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
081095477X $18.95

Andy Warhol took ordinary objects from daily life and transformed them into big paintings and art, becoming known as a leader of the American Pop art movement. ANDY WARHOL: POP ARTIST surveys his career as a commercial artist and his perspective on painting, and is a perfect pick for kids in grades 4-6 who are receiving introductions to modern artists. Bright color photos of his art accompany clear explanations of his style and approach.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Color: Awakening the Child Within
Julianne Bien
Spectrahue Light & Sound Inc.
PO Box 85507, 842 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5N 0A2
0973483512 $17.95

Color: Awakening the Child Within is a delightful space odyssey fantasy novel written for both the young and the young at heart. Seven galactic pioneers, each named after a different frequency of visible light and each with their own distinctive personality traits, come to our known universe in their spacecraft. Their journey and discoveries parallel those of humans, and in the process they learn how positive will can change the nature of reality itself. Black-and-white illustrations intersperse this fantastically written, upbeat adventure filled with magic and wonder.

Gaia Girls
Lee Welles
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
PO Box 428, White River Junction, VT 05001-0428
1933609001 $18.95 1-800-639-4099

Written by summer camp nature director and wellness expert Lee Welles presents Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth, the first novel of the Gaia Girls Book Series. A young girl, Elizabeth Angier, is shocked when the powerful Harmony Farms Corporation moves in and absorbs family farms like those of her parents and neighbors. As the repercussions of the gigantic factory farm loom closer, Elizabeth unexpectedly encounters the mysterious Gaia, the living entity of the Earth itself. Elizabeth receives a gift of Gaia's power, and strange things begin to happen around and through her. But with these amazing new powers come heavy responsibility, and the challenge of taking on a whole corporation and its profit-fueled pork production that befouls air, land and water. Though written for young adults, Gaia Girls is an engaging parable of taking responsibility for one's place on the Earth for all ages.

The Mythology/Folktale Shelf

The Mountain of Marvels
Aaron Shepard
Skyhook Press
1102 Olympia Avenue NE, #18, Olympia, WA 98506
0938497340 $15.00

American Folklore Society award-winner Aaron Shepard launches a new "Ancient Fantasy" series with The Mountain of Marvels: A Celtic Tale of Magic, a chapter book retelling of medieval Welsh legends from "The Mabinogion." Narrated in simple, vivid prose for readers age ten and up, The Mountain of Marvels is a brief yet exciting and exotic fable of heroes striving to make their mark and protect those most dear to them in a fantastic world. Highly recommended especially for grade school library collections and public library children's collections. In addition to the sturdy hardcover edition, The Mountain of Marvels is also available in paperback (978-0938497363, $6.00).

The Fiction Shelf

Cry of the Goshawk
Roy W. Bush
Elderberry Press LLC
1393 Old Homestead, Second floor, Oakland, OR 97462
1932762639 $19.95

Academic instructor Roy W. Bush presents Cry of the Goshawk, a novel for young adults about a young man's coming of age. Set in the old west in the United States territory of Alaska, Cry of the Goshawk follows its pious young lead as he learns to love the beauty and wonder of the wild, a passion he retains even as he tries to adapt to the complicated machinations of society. An uplifting, adventurous story of pride in oneself and the courage to claim one's own destiny, regardless of family, peer or societal pressures.

Shadow Island
Raymond Bial
Blue Horse Books
3147 S Pennsylvania Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53207
1883953375 $18.95

Written by award-winning author and photo-illustrator Raymond Bial, Shadow Island: A Tale of Lake Superior is a spooky ghost story for ages eight to eighty. Set on a mysteriously deserted island in close proximity to a quiet family resort, Shadow Island follows twelve-year old Amanda, her younger sister Sally, and her best friend Roxanne who accidentally become marooned. Exploring the vacant Stardust Hotel, they soon learn it's not quite as deserted as it looks - it's inhabited by a nonstop host of ghosts! Together they learn the importance of doing the right thing, even in difficult circumstances. A spine-tingling tale of personal growth and discovery.

Peace I Ask Of Thee, Oh River
Lyda Phillips
iUniverse, Inc.
2021 Pine Lake Road, #100, Lincoln, NE 68512
0595361722, $10.95

"Peace I Ask Of Thee, Oh River" by Lyda Phillips is the story of a young woman named El Campbell who had spent all of her childhood summers at Camp Nichia and who has now become a camp counselor. It's El's assignment to teach new cambers about Nichia's traditions and rituals, contests and classes – everything from how cabins are assigned to how friends are made. It was going to be the perfect capstone to El's life at Camp Nichia – until Tiffin, the troubled daughter of the state's governor, shows up and El's summer of perfection turns into a constant struggle with this very angry and out-of-control young girl. The first place winner of the 2006 Writer's Digest International Self-Published Books Awards in the category of Children's Fiction, "The Peace I Ask Of Thee, Oh River" is a superbly crafted novel which deftly addresses the issue of teenage depression, suicide and bullying. Journalist, novelist and screenwriter, Lyda Phillips is an obviously accomplished writer with a self-evident mastery of the storytelling arts and her novel should be a part of every school and community library collection of YA fiction.

The Mysterious Jamestown Suitcase
Linda Salisbury
Tabby House
PO Box 544, Mineral, VA 23117
1881539431 $8.95

Fourth in the Bailey Fish Adventure series, The Mysterious Jamestown Suitcase is a chapter book for young readers set in modern-day central Virginia. Written to tie in with the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement, The Mysterious Jamestown Suitcase blends facts about American history into the enjoyable narrative of young Bailey Fish, her grandmother, and her friends as they are puzzled by the contents of a locked green suitcase. Bailey and her grandmother also reach out plan a party to help a young, silent foster child start talking again; and the mystery takes an unexpected turn when another guest arrives! A high-spirited, wholesome adventure story.

Delacorte Press/Random/Knopf
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Isobelle Carmody's LITTLE FUR: THE LEGEND BEGINS (0375838546, $12.95) provides grades 4-6 with a cute story of a half-elf, half-troll girl who cares for a magical grove of trees in the middle of a big city. Evil forces are out to destroy them – and it's up to Little Fur to journey into the human world to save them in this engaging tale of courage and fantasy. Tamora Pierce's BEKA COOPER BOOK ONE: TERRIER: A TORTALL LEGEND (9780375814686, $18.95) is set a hundred years before Pierce's popular Alanna series and tells of heroine Beka Cooper, a crime fighter in a world of magic. This first book introduces her story, telling of her position as a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost's Guard in the capital city of Tortall and her new assignment to the dangerous city of her birth. Bekka's magical listening talent couples with a complex, fast-paced story line to appeal to fantasy fans in grades 5 and older. Diane Roberts' PUPPET PANDEMONIUM (0385733097, $15.95) tells of a kid who moves to a new town in Texas, only to discover that his grandmother's gift of a ventriloquist's dummy may be the key to making new friends. Little does he know his puppet will change the school and gain him new inroads into life in this story of acceptance and growth. L.S. Matthews' A DOG FOR LIFE (0385733666, $14.95) tells of Mouse, who is anything more than an ordinary pet dog. John and his brother got Mouse when they were kids and they discover early on that Mouse is as clever as a person – but when Tom falls ill and Mouse may be sent away to the pound, the brothers have to do something that involves a dangerous journey to find a temporary home for Mouse. Beth Cooley's SHELTER (0385733305, $15.95) tells of a father's death and a family's loss of both their father and their home. As Lucy finds her circle of friends vanishes as her home life deteriorates, she has only courage and faith left – faith that her mom will find a job, and she'll make new friends. SHELTER is the moving story of a young girl's adjustment to terrible challenges, and makes an absorbing read. Linda Collison's STAR-CROSSED (0375833633, $16.95) tells of a British girl whose father has died: to claim her estate she has to travel to Barbados as a stowaway. When she's discovered she lives a dual life: in training as a surgeon's mate, and at night donning pants to climb the rigging with sailors. Her very different lives will bring her a new understanding of both romance and male/female roles in a fast-paced adventure recommended for teens in grades 6-12. Brent Bunton's MAYBE (0375835431, $16.95) uses the first person narrative style to display the emotions and thoughts of Brian, who is still gripping with his older brother's death. He's recently moved to a new town and is starting a new school – but he's unable to escape his past. The narrative is moving and involving – hard to put down. Celeste Conway's THE MELTING SEASON (0385733399, $15.95) tells of Giselle, a ballet student and daughter of a famous ballerina. Her journey to a different county of New York introduces her to the most beautiful boy she's ever seen, who introduces her to a world quite different from her familiar Manhattan. Despite her enchantment problems from her home life continue to haunt her – and will ultimately affect her decisions. Jean-Claude Mourlevat's THE PULL OF THE OCEAN (0385733488, $13.95) tells of seven children who flee a violent father, and begin a journey which will ultimately involve many outsiders in their uncertain life. Each person they encounter provides a different story to the social worker investigating their family; but it's not until all voices are joined that a complete picture is presented – and a blueprint for change. All are recommended picks for collections where leisure readers are looking for something different.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Suzanne Collins' GREGOR AND THE MARKS OF SECRET (0439791456, $16.99) is the 4th volume of the Underland Chronicles: here Gregor is drawn into a deepening crisis as mice begin vanishing and the young queen Luxa tries to find out why. Gregor joins her on her quest, thinking there's no prophecy on this mission – but in fact there is a final prophecy he has yet to fulfill and all his talents will be tested as never before in this fast-paced, thrilling adventure for grades 506. Dar Williams' LIGHTS, CAMERA, AMALEE (0439803527, $16.99) tells of a grandmother's death and Amalee's strange inheritance of a big champagne bottle packed with over a thousand dollars' worth of change, to be spent on 'something important'. Her decision will bring her to new friendships and other changes – including a link with a long-vanished, dead mother. Her decision to get behind the camera opens up a new world of possibilities in this gentle story of a girl's ongoing growth. DESPERATE JOURNEY by Jim Murphy (0439078067, $16.99) tells of pre-teen Maggie, whose father loses all their money in a fight with an Erie Canal bully, placing the family in danger of losing their boat. The only way out is to work harder – but when her elders are arrested it's up to Maggie and her mother and brother to race against time to get the job done. All are excellent stories of kids facing the impossible and achieving despite all. Grades 4-7 will find them particularly involving.

Stink City
Richard W. Jennings
Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618552480 $16.00

Fishing stinks – and it isn't just Cade's family's best-seller catfish bait, either – a secret recipes which produces both noxious odor and fishing success. Cade is sure fish feel pain and therefore his family is a harbinger of pain – can he make amends? A hilarious set of mis-adventures results in this moving story of a boy's concerns over nature: perfect for grades 3-5.

Hearts of Iron
Kathleen Benner Duble
McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
1416908501 $15.95

Ages 10-14 will find Hearts of Iron totally engrossing; from its lovely color art to the story of Jessie, a dreamer who wants to leave for adventure, and Lucy, who can't ever imagine leaving her mountain home. The two are best friends – and in 1920 the face many changes and different goals which place them at odds with family and each other. Can their very different perspectives find love nonetheless? A fine novel of change and acceptance emerges.

Side Effects
Amy Goldman Koss
Roaring Brook Press
143 West Street, New Milford, CT 06776
1596432942 $16.95

Izzy has cancer – and is back in school trying to catch up. Her descent into illness – and struggle to retain to a world of normalcy – makes SIDE EFFECTS an outstanding survey of cancer recovery, delving into much more than the usual physical issues of struggling with cancer. Leisure readers in grades 4-8 will find it outstanding.

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Jennifer Armstrong's ONCE UPON A BANANA (0689842511, $16.95) will appeal to ages 4-8 with its story of how one banana turns a town upside down. Caldecott artist David Small and Jennifer Armstrong provide a rollicking story of fun in a wordless picturebook set of zany images. Angela Johnson's WIND FLYERS (068984879X, $16.99) tells how a boy's love of flight takes him on a journey from Alabama to the war in Europe, telling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen of the second world war. Lovely full-color paintings by Loren Long blend with the story of a boy's early love for flight in this simple introduction to the Tuskegee Airmen's accomplishments. Marion Dane Bauer's A MAMA FOR OWEN (068985787X, $15.99) tells of a baby hippo and his mama who are best friends and who love to play hide-and-seek in Africa, before the tsunami washes Owen's world away. The tsunami of 2004 serves as the inspiration for a gentle story of new friendships and changes, with John Butler's lovely realistic paintings spicing the story. Elementary-level readers will love it. George Ella Lyon and Peter Catalanotto's NO DESSERT FOREVER! (1416903852, $16.95) will reach ages 5-9 with its story of a pesty brother and a girl who is tired of being blamed for his mischief. A girl's fantasy of what will happen when she 'gets big' makes for a fun tale. Betsy Franco and Steve Jenkins' BIRDSONGS (0689877773, $16.99) celebrates neighborhood birds, reading like fiction but incorporating plenty of facts about different kinds of birds and their habits. From a tree of chickadees to the caw of the crow, kids are invited to learn the sounds of nature, and to understand bird habits. All are solid picks for elementary-level picturebook holdings.

The King's Chorus
Linda Hayward
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618516182 $16.00

Kadoodle is king of the barnyard and likes to strut his stuff, including crowing all hours of the day and night. Nobody on the farm can sleep – and it's up to Honketta the goose to set him straight with her story of another king and a different way of presiding over the barnyard. Fun drawings by Jennifer P. Goldfinger illustrates a fun tale.

Amazing Mr. Zooty!
Emma Chichester Clark
Andersen Press/Trafalgar Square Publishing
Box 257, Howe Hill Road, N. Pomfret, VT 05053
184270480X $15.99

The amazing Mr. Zooty's motto is 'get out, help out!' – and he grants the poor Taylor family a wish to help them out when they help him out. Their wishes will take them beyond their dreams in this whimsical story of a cat's magical gifts. Younger readers will find it an engaging tale.

Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723

Kathi Ember's warm drawings enhance the story from Pat Miller, Substitute Groundhog (0807576433 ), telling of a young groundhog who gets sick the day before Groundhog Day and is told by Dr. Owl to stay in bed. His search for a substitute groundhog leads to a new assessment of his many unique qualities to fit the job description in this fun story. Moira Rose Donohue's ALFIE THE APOSTROPHE (0807502553, $16.95) tells of an apostrophe who longs to make it into the punctuation-mark talent show. There's lots of competition among the other punctuation marks – and to make things worse the show's director has mistaken Alfie for a comma! JoAnn Adinolfi's whimsical drawings enhance a fine story elementary-level readers will find both entertaining and educational.

Ella Sets the Stage
Carmela & Steven D'Amico
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439831520 $16.99

The school on Elephant Island is holding a talent show and everyone's excited and making plans – all except for Ella, who helps others plan but doesn't know what to do, herself. Does she have any talent at all? Ella's search for a unique gift makes for a gentle, fun story kids will relate to.

Tickets to Ride: An Alphabetic Amusement
Mark Rogalski
Running Press
125 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
0762427825 $15.95

TICKETS TO RIDE comes from first time author Mark Rogalski and offers a fine survey of a menagerie of attractions. Twenty-six rides, listed alphabetically, range from Alligators in Air to a Zebra Zeppelin in a rollicking A-Z book especially powerful for its fantasy art. The unique art pairs with rhymes for maximum impact. TICKETS TO RIDE is an especially recommended addition to school and community library fiction collections for young readers!

I'm Dirty!
Kate & Jim McMullan
0060092939 $16.99

Who's making all that noise? It's heavy equipment, moving dirt and counting down what is being cleaned up. Boys especially in grades 2-4 will find it a fun and easy read pairing noisy descriptions perfect for read-aloud with the story of a busy piece of equipment that gets dirty in the process of cleaning up.

The Old Red Tractor
Andreas Dierssen
PMB 248, 455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 38167
0735820880 $16.95

Daniel Sohr lends his whimsical drawings to the story THE OLD RED TRACTOR, telling of a boy who has the best tractor in the world until neighbor Ned shows up with his shiny new one. He crashes his old one thinking his parents will now have to replace it – but he's wrong: now he has no tractor and lots of boring times until a savvy uncle comes up with a solution. Many a boy will find much to learn from here.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
Julia Rawlinson
Greenwillow Books
0061134015 $16.99

It's autumn and Fletcher's favorite tree is changing colors and losing its leaves, worrying him. All his plans to help his tree friend won't work and he sees the last leaf fall and faces a feeling of failure, despite what everyone tells him – until on the first day of winter his tree presents him with a big surprise. Kids will find the story of the changing seasons intriguing.

The Day the Dragon Dances
Kay Haugaard
Shen's Books
40951 Fremont Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94538
1885008309 $16.95

Carolyn Reed Barritt's lovely drawings spice the story of a Chinese New Year's Day parade that is something different when an Afro-American girl takes her grandmother to the event. Grandma is skeptical about a February New Year's celebration, but Sugar has learned all about the ceremony and wants her grandmother to watch her father dance in the parade. When trouble threatens, Sugar uses her knowledge to help in this warm tale of quick thinking and cultural celebration, perfect for grades 3-5.

Batter Up Wombat
Helen Lester
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618737847 $16.00

It's a new baseball season and the Champs have new uniforms and new determination – even if they did finish last in the series last season. But when Wombat wanders onto the field on opening day, the Champs are in for a big surprise – and younger readers will wind Lynn Munsinger's drawings hilarious and engaging in this story of a wombat's participation. Lester L. Laminack's JAKE'S 100TH DAY OF SCHOOL (1561453552, $16.95) receives Judy Love's drawings and tells of the surprises being planned for the 100th day of school. Jake's planning on showing off his big project of 100 photos – but when the day arrives he rushes out without his project. Can he participate when he's forgotten the best idea of all? Kids in grades 3-4 will relate to the story and will applaud the surprise ending.

Matilda's Humdinger
Lynn Downey
Knopf Group
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0375824030 $15.95

Matilda's nearly the worst waitress Burt's Diner has ever had: her talents lie not in food serving, but in storytelling. She's always dreaming up adventure stories – and so the townspeople forgive her inept waitressing to hear her 'humdingers' – until a city slicker tries to enforce the health codes Matilda's been breaking right and left. Matilda must straighten up and avoid her humdingers – but they prove her salvation when robbers attack. Tim Bowers' whimsical drawings enhance a plot for grades 2-4 packed with fun twists and turns.

Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda
Margaret Atwood
Bloomsbury USA
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1599900041 $17.95

Bob's been abandoned by his mother and raised by a bunch of dogs, so is bashful around humans, while Dorinda's own tough childhood with distant relatives has made its mark on her personality. Their similar experiences leads them to be close friends, and when a buffalo bounds over a barrier at a botanical garden, they join to salvage the situation and emerge victorious – discovering, in the process, they can be brave and winners as well. Add the funny wordplay and you have an exceptional story.

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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