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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 1 January 2008 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christian Studies Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Music Shelf Preschool Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Holiday Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf
Poetry Shelf Fantasy/Sci-Fi Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Folklore/Mythology Shelf Cookbook Shelf Fiction Shelf
Books in Series Biography Shelf DVD Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It
John O'Hurley
Hudson Street Press
c/o Penguin Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781594630415, $21.95

Before Your Dog can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It: Life Lessons From a Wise Old Dog to a Young Boy discusses many lessons the author's learned from dogs, which carried him from the New England woods of childhood to his successful life in Hollywood. It was his dog who pointed the way to wisdom – and who, he says, wrote on small scraps of paper some words of wisdom – Scoshi's life lessons for father and son, from a wise old dog. This parent's insights and advice is purposeful, directed and easy to absorb.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Scholastic offers up a host of fine science and nature titles, and these are some top picks. Joshua Gee's ENCYCLOPEDIA HORRIFICA: THE TERRIFYING TRUTH ABOUT VAMPIRES, GHOSTS, MONSTERS AND MORE (0439922550, $14.99) packs in evidence, special explorations, interviews and eyewitness accounts to probe the facts behind the fictional representations of mermaids, ghosts, aliens, Dracula and more. Eye-capturing color illustrations accompany ‘strange case' biographies and historical facts, making this much more than your usual Halloween-oriented fright title – and suitable for any collection seeking to inspire recreational nonfiction reading in kids. Two new Level 1 and Level 2 easy readers encourage new readers to learn. Wade Cooper's POLAR ANIMALS (0545007186, $3.99) uses easy words and sentences along with eye-catching color photos to explore polar animal life, encouraging kids to develop reading skills. His NIGHT CREATURES (0545007194, $3.99) does the same, adjusting vocabulary and sentence length for beginning students. Kids who already have the beginning basics down will appreciate the warm picturebook told by Juliana, Isbella, and Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Gerald R. Uhlich in KNUT: HOW ONE LITTLE POLAR BEAR CAPTIVATED THE WORLD (0545047161, $16.99). The story of a little polar bear cub born in a German zoo provides a fine tale of a bear who needed a family – and how his life captured the world. Nic Bishop's SPIDERS (0439877563, $16.99) examines all kinds of spiders through the lens of Nic Bishop's close-up color photography. Full-page spider images are accompanied by natural history facts to captivate even reluctant readers. All are excellent collection picks.

Mind Over Basketball
Jane Weierbach, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Phillips-Hershey, Ph.D., authors
Charles Beyl, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
9781433801365, $8.95

Written by psychologist Jane Weierbach and professor of psychology and school counselor Elizabeth Phillips-Hershey, Mind Over Basketball is a self-help guide to dealing with stress and anxiety written especially for young people ages eight to twelve. Filled with coaching guides, skill exercises, self-quizzes and more, Mind Over Basketball teaches the reader how to coach himself or herself to handle stress and stay confident. Mind Over Basketball uses basketball as an example of an activity where one needs to control one's stress, but its advice is applicable to everything life can throw at a person, from tests at school to all types of team activities. Vignette stories help explain the points behind such positive behaviors as learning to keep one's cool, tune one's mind like a radio, talk positively to oneself, and more. Highly recommended as a gift book for young people and for children's library collections, "Mind Over Basketball" is also available in a hardcover edition (9781433801358, $14.95).

The Christian Studies Shelf

Saint Francis and the Wolf
Jane Langton, author
Ilse Plume, illustrator
David R. Godine
PO Box 450, Jaffrey, New Hampshire 03452
9781567923209, $16.95

Saint Francis and the Wolf is a picturebook retelling of one of the less well-known legends of the beloved Saint Francis of Assisi. A terrible wolf is terrorizing the fortified town of Gubbio, gradually starving its people; Brother Francis sets out to rescue them. The villagers watch in amazement as Francis calls to the wolf, tames it, and makes it pledge never to harm the people of Gubbio so long as they care for it. The wolf accepts the pledge and lives in harmony with Gubbio for the rest of its life. Caldecott Honor illustrator Ilse Plume brings the legend to life with soft, colored-pencil style artwork, in this gentle storybook written for young readers of all religious faiths.

The Picturebook Shelf

Even Higher
Richard Ungar
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, ON M5A 2P9 Canada
9780887767586, $18.95

Young Reuven has a problem – each year the rabbi vanishes for a day before the new year begins, until nightfall. Nobody knows where he goes, but everyone wants the truth – and this year Reuven has been appointed to find out. His decision to tail the rabbi to learn the truth leads to some surprising revelations in this excellent Jewish folk story that holds lessons on trust and understanding.

At Night
Jonathan Bean
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003
0374304467, $15.00

On some nights it's hard to sleep with family around – and a sleepless city girl decides to get away from her noisy family member to curl up alone under the skies in her own rooftop urban version of a backyard camping trip in AT NIGHT. Urban kids will find it an excellent, satisfying account of how to appreciate nature and solitude even in the big city.

Pigs Love Potatoes
Anika Denise and Christopher Denise
Philomel Books
c/o Penguin Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780399240362, $15.99

One pig wants potatoes – setting off a chain reaction that spreads through his family even to the neighbors. Now all the pigs want potatoes in this fine and lively picturebook packing a rollicking rhyme with an easy reader helping kids to learn to read. Parents will find it a fun, satisfying read-aloud, too.

Scholastic Books
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439779804, $16.99

Linas Alsenas' PEANUT (0439779804, $16.99) tells of Mildred, who gets a new pet named Peanut and decides he's a dog: the only problem is Peanut won't fetch, roll over, or do anything that other dogs do. The problem is – he's not quite a dog at all. A fun and different tale about pets and companionship evolves. Jane Yolen and mark Teague's HOW DO DINOSAURS GO TO SCHOOL? (0439020816, $16.99) presents the zany story of what happens when giant dinosaurs decide to attend school. It's an unusual day where dinosaur show-and-tell, story time and more add some very special challenges to the typical school setting. Hazel Hutchins' A SECOND IS A HICCUP (0439831067, $16.99) tackles units of time with a difference, dividing them into ideas kids can readily absorb. From descriptions on what makes up a second's time to how long a day is, easy pictures and rollicking rhymes cover minutes, seconds and time in a manner even the youngest can easily understand. These are fine additions for picturebook libraries seeking something different.

Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World
Vatsala Sperling
Bear Cub Books
c/o Inner Traditions
Box 368, Rochester,VT 05767
9781591430735, $15.95

When Princess Karna is twelve she tries reciting a secret mantra for inviting the gods into her life – and when the Sun himself presents her with a baby she finds she has more than she bargains for. Her inability to care for the child and her decision to place him out on the river for adoption raises many issues of right, wrong and loyalty and abandonment in a gentle folk story packed with insights perfect for discussion.

Very Hairy Bear
Alice Schertle
Harcourt, Inc.
c/o Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780152165680, $16.00 1-800-543-1918

A very hairy bear doesn't mind getting stung by bees or when his nose is wet from salmon fishing, but he does have his limits: what does bothering him? A fine approach to a bear's easy life is presented in a smooth rhyme about the talents and vulnerabilities of having a ‘no hair' nose in this whimsical tale, spiced by watercolors from Matt Phelan.

Waking Up Wendell
April Stevens & Tad Hills
Schwartz Wade Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375836213, $15.99 1-800-726-0600

Early in the morning a little bird begins to sing – which wake up the entire Fish Street population, one by one. As everyone begins to arise – who will be last to wake up? A fine story of sleeping in and early risers invites kids to understand differences in sleep patterns – and to enjoy the zany story of animals who like to rise at different times, and in different ways.

How Many Mice?
Michael Garland
c/o Penguin Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780525478331, $15.99

A group of cheerful mice go on a hunt to find food and gather all kinds of fine treats – but instead they uncover trouble in the woods. Greedy cows are stealing cherries, and a scary fox is prowling. They drop their largess and run in fear – but when they arrive home, they need to account for everything lost. An excellent story of counting and fun evolves.

When Randolph Turned Rotten
Charise Mericle Harper
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375840715, $16.99 1-800-726-0600

Most of the time Randolph the Beaver is very nice – but something happens and he feels left out, then sad, then mad – and rotten. Can he change back just as quickly, and what happens before that time? Friendships and changing moods are charted in a gentle picturebook tale kids will find involving and fun.

Have You Filled A Bucket Today?
Carol McCloud & David Messing
Fern press
c/o Nelson Publishing & Marketing
366 Welch Road, Northville, MI 48167
9781933916163, $17.95

David Messing's charming and colorful illustrations are a perfect match for Carol McCloud's simple and inspiring picturebook for young readers. "Have You Filled A Bucket Today?: A Guide To Daily Happiness For Kids" provides a diversity of examples of how their acts of kindness, appreciation, and helpfulness will be emotionally satisfying and personally rewarding for both themselves and others. A beautifully crafted and award-winning picturebook , "Have You Filled A Bucket Today" is a wholesome, inspiring, wonderfully entertaining, and enthusiastically recommended addition to family, school, and community library collections.

Delta & Dawn: Mother & Baby Whales' Journey
Stefanie Cruz, author
Lily Toppenberg, illustrator
Big Tomato Press
1126 2nd Street, #106, Sacramento, CA 95814
9780979123320, $15.95

Delta & Dawn: Mother & Baby Whales' Journey is a children's picturebook based on the inspirational true tale of a mother and baby humpback whale. During their migration through the Pacific Ocean, the whales became trapped for more than two weeks in the Sacramento River and the San Francisco Bay area. Their presence charmed and fascinated humans; marine biologists tried everything they could think of to help the whales return to their saltwater home, and the baby whale always stayed close to its mother. At last the two of them were finally able to find the way to freedom. A gentle and kindly storybook, illustrated with captivating artwork and photography, especially recommended for young whale lovers.

There Come a Soldier
Peggy Mercer, author
Ron Mazellan, illustrator
Handprint Books
PMB 248, 455 Sam Ridley Parkway, Smyrna, TN 37167
9781593541927, $17.95

Educator Peggy Mercer presents There Come a Soldier, a children's picturebook based on the true story of her father, who served America in World War II when he twenty years of age. Told in the distinctive cadence of the rural South, There Come a Soldier tells of how Papa learned to become a paratrooper, and survived in a strange land surrounded by the enemy. The key to nurturing his hope was his memories of growing up loved by family and friends on the Georgia farm back home. The color illustrations add a personal, homestyle touch to the narrative without diminishing the terrible tribulations of war, in this profoundly moving story especially recommended for young people with family members in the armed forces.

Hermit Crab's Home
Janet Halfmann, author
Bob Dacey & Debra Bandelin, illustrators
353 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851
9781592497324, $16.95

Hermit Crab's Home is a fascinating children's picturebook following the life cycle of an ordinary female hermit crab. From the beginning of her life as an egg, to her constant struggle to evade predators, the discovery of her first shell, the need to find larger shells as she grows bigger, to her eventual motherhood, Hermit Crab's Home stays faithful to nature in both story and illustration, eschewing the impulse to overly anthropomorphize wild creatures. The gentle, realistic color artwork adds the perfect touch to the wonderful tale highly recommended for children's library and private collections alike.

Fish Kisses and Gorilla Hugs
Marianne Richmond
Marianne Richmond Studios Inc.
420 N. 5th Street, Suite 840, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781934082034, $15.95

Fish Kisses and Gorilla Hugs is a cheerful picturebook about a six-year-old boy who imagines every excuse he can to delay his bedtime. His mom knows he's stalling; she takes the opportunity to play a silly, friendly game of kisses, hugs, pinches, and pokes, all inspired by their favorite animals. Broad, colorful, yet simply themed artwork practically leaps off the page in this charming read-aloud storybook ideal for just before bedtime.

Dreams to Grow On
Christine Hurley Deriso, author
Matthew Archambault, illustrator
Illumination Arts Publishing Company, Inc.
PO Box 1865, Bellevue, WA 98009
9780970190727, $15.95 1-425-644-7185

Dreams to Grow On is a picturebook for young readers age 3 to 9, following a young girl's dreams as she considers the many wondrous possibilities for her future, from doctor or sailor to actress or artist. "My doll and I walk through the park to see what we can find. / I show her flowers, birds and insects, some of every kind. / I dream that I can study how the forest creatures grow. / Since I might be a scientist, there's lots for me to know." The lyrical verse and magical color artwork perfectly complement one another in this delightful picturebook especially recommended for young girls.

Playing by the Rules
Dena Fox Luchsinger, author
Julie Olson, illustrator
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Rd., Bethesda, MD 20817
9781890627836, $16.95

Playing by the Rules: A Story about Autism is a picturebook that introduces young readers ages 4-8 to dealing with autistic peers. Told from the perspective of young Jody, whose Great Aunt Tilda has come to visit her and her autistic brother Josh for the first time in years, Playing by the Rules chronicles the course of the day in which Jody has to teach Aunt Tilda her nephew's "rules" of the game. Josh has difficulty adjusting to loud sounds and new people; and adding any kind of disorder to his animal collection completely derails him. "Josh quickly rearranged his guys and calmed down. I know how he feels because I like to keep my crayons in rainbow order and I hate it when they get messed up. But it's even harder on Josh. 'What did I do?' Aunt Tilda asked. 'Nothing,' I told her. 'It's okay. You just don't know the rules to Josh's game yet.'" As Aunt Tilda learns to understand and appreciate Josh's likes and dislikes, the family is able to share more fully in the experience of being together. Colorful, exuberant illustrations add the perfect touch to this delightful picturebook, enthusiastically recommended for children's library collections.

Traveling Bear and the Drive-Through Safari
Christian Hainsworth, creator
Judy O Productions, Inc., producer
Winning Kids Incorporated
4521 P.G.A. Boulevard #214, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
9781933547014, $14.95

Traveling Bear and the Drive-Through Safari is first in a series of fourteen "Traveling Bear" picturebooks with accompanying read-along audio CDs, created to teach young readers positive values and build up their reading skills through challenging vocabulary words and reading comprehension. In Traveling Bear and the Drive-Through Safari, the young bear goes on a safari in Australia, sees a kangaroo, and learns that he can discover all sorts of amazing things about kangaroos and other animals by reading books about them. "'You found the answers on your own,' Sheldon said. 'Now that's what learning is all about!' Traveling Bear shouted, "Hip-hip hooray! Learning on my own just made my day!'" Colorful, cartoon-style illustrations enhance this wonderful book for parents and children to share, and a shining first installment to a top-quality edutainment series. Highly recommended.

Marja's Skis
Jean E. Pendziwol, author
Jirina Marton, illustrator
House of Anansi Press
c/o Groundwood Books
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801, Toronto, Ontario M5V 2K4
Publishers Group West (distributor)
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9780888996749, $17.95

Based on stories that author Jean E. Pendziwol used to hear from her husband's grandmother, Marja's Skis is an engaging children's picturebook set at the close of the nineteenth century, in the Greak Lakes region where many Scandinavians settled and introduced Nordic customs such as cross-country skiing. Marja is a seven-year-old girl who realizes her dream of learning how to ski to school, despite her young age. She must learn her sums and letters and how to speak English at school; life becomes hard when she loses her father in a tragic logging accident. But one day, when she sees a boarder named Arvo struggling for his life after falling into a hole in an icy river, her strength and determination will be put to the ultimate test. A heartwarming storybook that celebrates Scandinavian heritage.

I Love You More
Judy Cooley
Shadow Mountain
PO Box 30178, Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0178
9781590384329, $17.95

I Love You More is a gentle picturebook about the bond between father and daughter. Daughter and daddy play a game at bedtime about how much each loves the other; ultimately, they learn that love is immeasurable, with no beginning and no end. The soft, colorful, and faintly impressionistic art style adds the perfect dollop of gentle warmth to this wonderful story, ideal for bedtime reading.

Becka and the Big Bubble: All Around Town
Gretchen Schomer Wendel and Adam Anthony Schomer, authors
Damon Renthrope, illustrator
Waterside Press
PO Box 230437, Encinitas, CA 92023-0437
9781933754109, $11.99

Part of the Becka and The Big Bubble series, Becka and the Big Bubble: All Around Town is a lighthearted, rhyming children's picturebook about a young girl who likes to blow bubbles - then ride on them! Adopting the name Becka and The Big Bubble for herself, she floats atop her bubble like a dream, seeing everyone all around town, but when the wind carries her so high that her bubble bursts, she's in big trouble! Becka has to figure out how to save herself in the nick of time, and return home to her loving parents, in this whimsical adventure. Also highly recommended is "Becka and the Big Bubble: Becka Goes to the North Pole" (9781933754116, $11.99).

Hanni and Beth Safe & Sound
Beth Finke, author
Anthony Alex LeTourneau, illustrator
Blue Marlin Publications
823 Aberdeen Road, West Bay Shore, New York 11706
9780979291807, $17.95 1-631-666-0353

Hanni and Beth Safe & Sound is a children's picturebook about the daily life of seeing eye dog Hanni and her owner. Based on the real-life experience of author, Hanni and Beth Safe and Sound is a wonderful introduction for young people to the rules in how to treat a seeing eye dog; for example, a dog is working when its harness is on, and a working dog should not be petted or distracted. Told from Hanni's point of view, and beautifully illustrated by professional artist Anthony Alex LeTourneau, Hanni and Beth Safe & Sound is enthusiastically recommended for children's library collections.

Plato's Journey
Linda Talley, author
Itoko Maeno, illustrator
PO Box 8082, Shawnee Mission, KS 66208
9781559421003, $17.95 1-800-821-3303

Set in ancient Greece, Plato's Journey is the story of a Peloponnese goat of extraordinary speed named Plato. Some ill-told lies propel Plato on a grand voyage to the great goat race at Olympia. During his long travels, he meets a wide variety of colorful characters from an easygoing pig to a prideful rooster and an eagle messenger from truth. Plato learns the vital importance of honesty, in this enjoyable story beautifully illustrated with watercolors capturing the essence of athletic animal action.

Making Grizzle Grow
Rachna Gilmore, author
Leslie Elizabeth Watts, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street, Brighton, Massachusetts 02135
9781550418859, $18.95 1-800-387-9776

Making Grizzle Grow is a children's picturebook about dealing with one's bad temper, among other things. Young Emily is upset that her Dad is too busy to play, so she stomps into her snowy backyard and starts sculpting Grizzle, a snowy, hungry Tyrannosaurus rex. She feeds more and more snow food to Grizzle - but Grizzle's appetite never abates; what if he finds her Dad to be a tasty snack? An enthusiastically whimsical wintertime story.

The Shelter Dog
Christine Davis
Lighthearted Press
PO Box 90125, Portland, Oregon 97290
9780965922548, $11.95

The Shelter Dog is a gentle picturebook especially recommended for young dog lovers. Hero, a dog enjoying the afterlife, asks the Shelter Angel if she could send him back to an earthly animal shelter. After all, Hero considers, what could be better than to be selected from a shelter by a loving family. She warns him that not all the animals in the shelter find happiness, but he is resolute in taking the chance. The one who discovers him at the shelter turns out to be an old woman he remembers from his first life as the little girl who loved and took care of him. A heartwarming story especially recommended to help young people become accustomed to the benefits of adopting an animal from a shelter, rather than buying from a breeder.

Audra George
Red Cygnet Press
11858 Stoney Peak Dr. #525, San Diego, CA 92128
9781601080103, $15.95

Vagabonding is a children's picturebook about a young girl's fantasies of traveling the world. The simple verse follow her imaginary adventures from the Taj Mahal to the Eiffel Tower and a Buddhist monastery. Yet no matter how far her mind reaches, she realizes that the comforts of home and family deserve to be appreciated too. "A traveler, / a vagabond! / To wander / and to roam, // for maybe oh... / an hour or so... // and then I'll go back home!" A joyful singsong picturebook ideal for reading aloud to young people.

Ocho Loved Flowers
Anne Fontaine, author
Obadinah, illustrator
Stoneleigh Press
PO Box 9673, Seattle, WA 98109
Biblio Distribution, Inc. (distributor)
4501 Forbes Blvd., Lanham, MD 20706
9780978917418, $6.95

The beginning of the Annie series, Ocho Loved Flowers is a children's picturebook about coping with the loss of a pet. Told from the perspective of young Annie, who loves her feline friend Ocho more than anything, Ocho Loved Flowers follows Annie and Ocho when Ocho gets very sick and the veterinarian tells Annie they have only one more month left to be together. Annie learns how to give Ocho medicine, share the time they have, and say goodbye without words. When Ocho passes on, Annie is sad for a long time and misses her best friend, but eventually she feels sufficiently better to go to the store and get flowers - one set for her, one set in memory of Ocho. Simple color illustrations and discussion questions for young children (such as "Taking care of a cat or a dog is a big responsibility. What are some of the things you have to do to take care of a pet?") round out this gentle and thoughtful picturebook. Highly recommended.

EyeLike Colors
Play Bac Publishing
225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014
9781602140189, $9.95

EyeLike Colors is a wonderful and inexpensive picturebook that introduces young people ages 4 and up to the brilliant world of color. Stunning full color photography of natural flora and fauna serve as vivid examples of every color of the rainbow, as well as concepts such as "two-tone" and "multicolor". Simple rhymes further enhance this vivid showcase: "Red is red, dark or light. / On little bugs or on flowers, / Red is always bright." Highly recommended, especially for children's library collections, as are the rest of the beautiful and educational EyeLike picture book series, including "EyeLike Numbers" (9781602140196) and "EyeLike Shapes" (9781602140202).

A Day With No Crayons
Elizabeth Rusch, author
Chad Cameron, illustrator
Rising Moon
PO Box 1389, Flagstaff, Arizona 86002-1389
9780873589109, $15.95

A Day With No Crayons is a delightful children's picturebook celebrating creativity. When young Liza draws on the white wall with crayons, her mother takes them away. With the crayons gone, all the color drains from Liza's world. What is a budding artist to do? Then bit by bit, Liza discovers color in the world all around her, and that there are many new ways to express her imaginative side! The illustrations by Chad Cameron perfectly capture a little girl's enthusiasm, in this read-aloud picturebook ideal for sharing with young people who love to color.

Anna & Natalie
Barbara H. Cole, author
Ronald Himler, illustrator
Star Bright Books
30-19 - 48th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781595721051, $15.95

Community college teacher Barbara H. Cole and award-winning children's book illustrator Ronald Himler present Anna & Natalie, a children's picturebook about putting one's heart and soul into what one does. Young Anna is never picked for teams that do anything fun - but when the teacher Mrs. Randall tells her class about a letter-writing contest to determine which four students will form the wreath-laying team at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia, Anna is motivated to put her all into proving that she is worthy of the honor. She writes the letter, phrasing it as if dictated by her beloved seeing-eye dog Natalie. Together they earn the privilege of paying tribute to the men who served in World War II and the dogs who helped them. An uplifting children's book that gradually lets the reader discover that Anna is blind and Natalie is her seeing-eye dog, subtly integrating the invaluable lesson that disabled people are the same as everyone else on the inside.

Little Night
Yuyi Morales
Roaring Brook Press
c/o Holtzbrinck Publishing
143 West Street, New Milford, Connecticut 06776
9781596430884 $16.95 1-800-462-4703

Award-winning author and artist Yuyi Morales presents Little Night, an imaginative picturebook about Mother Sky and her rambunctious daughter Little Night, anthropomorphized as an African-American family. Mother Sky chases her playful daughter across the heavens in a celestial game of hide-and-seek; at last she finds her child and gently combs her hair. "Mother Sky sits Little Night on her lap and with her shiny comb she untangles the knots, twists the hair between her fingers, and makes little swirls, one on the left side, one on the right. To keep them in place she takes three hairpins from her pocket. 'Venus on the east, Mercury on the west, and Jupiter above.'" A creative storybook ideal for reading to young girls right before bedtime, the better to foster sweet dreams.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Morris and Buddy: The Story of the First Seeing Eye Dog
Becky Hall
Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723
9780807552841, $34.95

Blind and alone, Morris spent his life being shuttled around like luggage and lacking independence – until he hears about the possibility of a ‘seeing eye' dog who helped veterans cope with blindness after battle. His pursuit of independence would inspire a host of others in this moving story which reads like fiction with all its drama, but holds true facts about the first seeing eye dog.

Pocket Babies And Other Amazing Marsupials
Sneed B. Collard III
Darby Creek Publishing
7858 Industrial Parkway, Plain City, OH 43064
The Lerner Publishing Group (distributor)
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607 1-800-328-4929
9781581960464, $18.95 1-800-328-4929

Among the most unusual and interesting animals in the world are the marsupials. These are the animals who carry their babies in pockets or pouches -- even after they are grown. Marsupials include the kangaroo, the koala, the Tasmanian Devil, wallabies, bilbies, quolls, and the opossum. While Australia is home to the most marsupials, they are mammals that can be found in many other places around the world. As their environments are disturbed and non-native animals introduced to their ecosystems, marsupials are often endangered and require help to survive and thrive in their native habitats. Enhanced with truly impressive photography, and an excellent edition to school and community library Pets & Wildlife collections, "Pocket Babies And Other Amazing Marsupials" by award-winning children's author Sneed B. Collard III is an excellent and highly recommended introduction to these fascinating animals for children ages 11 and older.

The Music Shelf

Here Comes Brady Rymer And The Little Band That Could
Brady Rymer
Bumblin' Bee Records
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $15.98

Infused with a feel-good American roots sound, "Here Comes Brady Rymer And The Little Band That Could" showcases the children's music of Brady Rymer and his five member band. Superb instrumental work provides a foundation and enhancement blended with background vocals -- all in support of Brady's lively lead singing. Although the primary audience is children, there are many cuts on this CD that can be enjoyed with enthusiasm by listeners of all ages. The songs comprising "Here Comes Brady Rymer And The Little Band That Could" include The Little Band That Could; Road Trip; Jump Up (It's A Good Day); Your Smile; One True You; Pie; It Was A Saturday Night; The Relatives Came; Again!; Bling Blang; Good Night, Daisy; Well May The World Go; and Get Back Home. Wholesome, energetic, and above all, entertaining, "Here Comes Brady Rymer And The Little Band That Could" is enthusiastically recommended for family and community library music collections for children (of all ages!).

Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477, Long Branch, NJ 07740 1-800-631-2187

Kimbo Educational offers two lively music CDs that promote physical activity and fine motor coordination in young people. "Arms Up Keep Moving: Baic Body Movements" (KIM 9193CD, $13.98) is the creation of William C. Janiak, Registered Music Therapist, and features rhythms that encourage simple body movements involving the head, hand, arm, and leg muscles. Great for burning off excess energy or just plain playtime fun, "Arms Up Keep Moving" lives up to its title and is also good for parents looking to inject a little more physical activity into their quality time with kids. "Finger Play Fun" (KIM 9194CD, $14.95) emphasizes fine motor skills, featuring tunes that walk young listeners through easy-to-follow finger and hand exercises. Designed by educator Georgiana Stewart, Finger Play Fun ranges from hand stretches to independent hand exercises to two-hand coordination drills to hand shadow exercises. Both of these superbly recorded and thoroughly 'kid friendly' CDs are highly recommended especially for preschool and children's public library CD music and activities collections.

The Preschool Shelf

Picture Me as the Amazing Spider-Man
Jon Kapper, et al.
Picture Me Press, LLC
1566 Akron-Peninsula Road, Akron, OH 44313
1601390572, $7.99 1-800-762-6775

A novel concept by Deborah D'Andrea, the 'Picture Me' series for preschoolers is to place a photograph of a child's face into the final page of a colorful board book, with each preceding page having a cut out so that as the child read's the book from beginning to end, each time there is a new page, the child's own image is part of the story. Written by Jon Kapper and designed by Monica Pritchard, one such title in this unique board book series features the popular Marvel comics character in "Picture Me as the Amazing Spider-Man". Each page has a storytelling caption, and to the delight of preschool readers, they are a part of the full color page display, completely personalizing the story for them. Parents, grandparents, and day-care providers are encouraged to visit the Picture Me Press website at for a complete listing of all their wonderfully colorful and 'kid friendly' titles incorporating this unique feature allowing children to become part of their own literary experience.

Little Lion Press
4911 Cumberland Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek, NE , Ada, MI 49301 1-866-7753222

The 'Sleepy Sheep' series from Little Lion Press consists of four titles charmingly written by Rory Zuckerman and cheerfully illustrated by Maryn Roos for preschool children from birth through five years. Each 18-page, laminated, hardcover board book is 7" x 7" in size and ideal for bedtime parental storytelling as they combine illustrations, music and narration ( these last two features coming from an accompanying CD featuring Rory's warm and engaging reading style complete with sound effects). The four 'kid friendly' books comprising this enthusiastically recommended series includes: "Counting Sleepy Sheep" (9780979639333, $7.95); "Colorful Sleepy Sheep" (9780979639326, $7.95); "Shapely Sleepy Sheep" (9780979639340, $7.95); and "Alphabetical Sleepy Shee" (9780-979639319, $7.95).

Maren Green Publishing, Inc.
5525 Memorial Avenue North, Suite 6, Oak Park Heights, MN 55082 1-800-287-1512

Melodee Strong's brightly colored illustration perfectly combine with Tod Snow's thoroughly 'kid friendly' text in Maren Green Publishing's 'You Are..." board book series for preschool children. As entertaining as they are wholesome, the series consists of "You Are Important" (9781934277065, $6.99); "You Are Beautiful" (9781934277102, $6.99); "You Are Friendly" (9781934277096, $6.99); "You Are Creative" (9781934277072, $6.99); and "You Are Brave" (9781934277089, $6.99). An ideal and enthusiastically recommended addition to family, preschool, day care center, kindergarten, and community library collections, these sturdy little storybooks are perfect for teaching very young minds about how their own very special qualities are to be found in their ordinary daily lives.

The Bilingual Shelf

Cynthia Weill and K.B. Basseches, authors
Moises and Armando Jimenez, wood sculptors
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781933693132, $14.95

ABeCedarios is a bilingual English/Spanish ABC book featuring photography of stunningly beautiful carved wooden figures of animals, done in the Oaxacan tradition by sculptors Moises and Armando Jimenez. There is a carved animal for each letter of the alphabet (including the letters unique to the Spanish alphabet, such as n with a tilde), in this colorful and inventive way for teaching a young child their ABCs. Highly recommended; even adults will enjoy lingering over the unique animal artistry.

The Holiday Shelf

The Tree Nobody Wanted
Tom McCann
Exeter Press
223 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02116
9780979740701, $14.95

The Tree Nobody Wanted: A Christmas Story is a short novel for young adults that truly embodies the holiday spirit. Set in a poverty-stricken area of Brooklyn the year after the end of World War II, The Tree Nobody Wanted tells of an eleven-year-old boy assigned to pick a Christmas tree from the few leftover trees no one wanted, and bring it back to the apartment where his Nanny has looked after him since he was a baby. Charmingly illustrated with soft, grey-and-white artwork A gentle, heartwarming tale about the true spirit of Christmas and the depth of family bonds.

The Valley of the Christmas Trees
David Rucker, author
Brenda Laster, illustrator
Seven Locks Press
3100 W. Warner Ave., #8, Santa Ana, CA 92704
9781931643948, $14.95 1-800-354-5348

The Valley of the Christmas Trees: A Legend is a holiday storybook for young adults ready to move beyond picturebooks to more complex reading fare. Every Christmas Eve, the golden wands of Christmas Eve gnomes sprinkle sparkling dust upon Christmas trees, transporting them all to the Valley of the Christmas Trees for one shining hour. There are contests, present making, and the annual parade of the trees to celebrate the season! Told through the eyes of a young boy and girl who accidentally visited the mystic valley over ninety years ago, The Valley of the Christmas Trees is a heartwarming seasonal tale, interspersed with gentle, thematic color illustrations.

Frazier Fir, A Christmas Fable
Jim Macor, author
Jim and Sarah Macor, illustrators
Zuber Publishing
52180 Tammy Drive, Granger, IN 46530
9780978555139, $17.95

Frazier Fir, A Christmas Fable is a heartwarming picturebook about a little Christmas tree with a crooked trunk. Even though the tree manages to lift itself off the ground and keep growing, its crooked trunk causes it to be passed over time and again by families, who take all the other Christmas trees home to celebrate the holiday season. But on one snowy Christmas Eve, the crooked Christmas tree's dream comes true as it becomes a symbol of the season to the local community, animals and humans alike. A thoughtful tale about the power of hope and perseverance in realizing one's dream, despite any obstacles or limitations in the way.

The Christmas Boot
Lisa Wheeler, author
Michael Glenn Monroe, illustrator
Mitten Press
c/o Ann Arbor Media Group
2500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
9781587263279, $18.95

The Christmas Boot is a heartwarming children's picturebook embodying the spirit of Christmas. When Miss Hannah Greyweather, an older woman living on a snowy mountain with no one to talk to, finds a black boot lying in the snow, she wonders where it could have come from. The boot is mysteriously joined by another - and they fit snugly, perfect for snowy weather. Then a mysterious, roly-poly stranger with a white beard comes to her door, politely asking for something of his that has gone missing! Miss Hannah enjoys entertaining her visitor, and he leaves her the best possible gifts for Christmas - not only boots and mittens, but also a lively puppy to keep her company. A wonderful addition to children's holiday storybook collections.

Christmas Night, Fair And Bright
Julie Stiegemeyer & Melissa Iwai
Concordia Publishing House
3558 South Jefferson Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63118-3968
9780758612717, $14.99 1-800-325-3040

The Christmas story of the birth of Jesus is told in simple elegance by Julie Stiegemeyer whose narrative text is perfectly supported by the colorful illustrations of Melissa Iwai. Written to be understood and appreciated by children ages 4 and older, "Christmas Night, Fair And Bright" also includes the story of Mary and Joseph's flight to Egypt with Jesus. Wholesome, entertaining, and a joy to read aloud to a child, "Christmas Night, Fair And Bright" is enthusiastically recommended for family, Sunday school, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Fairy Tale Timpa
Altan, author
Michael Reynolds, translator
Europa Editions
116 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003
9781933372389, $14.95

Fairy Tale Timpa is a unique children's picturebook in the format of a comic graphic novel. Book three in the Timpa series, featuring a friendly spotted female puppy, Fairy Tale Timpa consists of nine different adventures as Timpa discovers the world of fairytales, from Snow White to Pinocchio to the Frog Prince, by entering their world through the magic of imagination and participating in their outcome. The exuberant color artwork and smooth-as-silk translation from the original Italian make Fairy Tale Timpa a delight, and the friendly comic book narrative format is especially ideal for coaxing young people to experience the joy of reading. Highly recommended.

The Poetry Shelf

Lavender's Blue
Kathleen Lines & Harold Jones
Oxford University Press
198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4314
9780192782250, $19.95 1-800-451-7556

Published in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Oxford Children's Books, "Lavender's Blue" is a collection of classic children's nursery rhymes expertly compiled by Kathleen Lines and beautifully illustrated by Harold Jones. The result of the Lines & Jones collaboration is a simply wonderful volume of poetry for children that evokes a visual nineteenth century elegance and a timeless legacy of rhymes. Of special note at the end of "Lavender's Blue" are several pages of nursery rhyme games! An intrinsically lovely volume of verse, "Lavender's Blue" is enthusiastically recommended for personal, family, school, and community library poetry collections for kids.

The Fantasy/Sci-Fi Shelf

Sharkey Explores The Unknown
Timothy A. Bramlett
Azuria Books
PO Box 535, Clyde, NC 28721
9780979644405, $14.95

Written for young adults yet enjoyable for all ages, Sharkey Explores The Unknown is a space opera novel following the crew of the most powerful spaceship in the galaxy - the Dragon - in their quest to learn more about the unknowable forces of the universe. Dr. Orville Overbright, the galaxy's most brilliant scientist, teams up with Sharkey's crew and their mysterious friend Celina X, in an adventure that will put them through their paces in secret missions and rebel groups, and even square off against the galactic death dealer Molotov! A witty galactic adventure, narrated with enthusiasm and a distinctive flair for dramatic storytelling.

The Audiobook Shelf

Penni Russon
Bolinda Publishing, Inc.
48 Oxford Woods, Falmouth, ME 04105-3401
9781740936194, $48.00 1-888-235-2019

Superbly narrated by Mellisaa Eccleston, "Undine" by Penni Russon is the story of Undine, a young girl who gets along quite well with her somewhat eccentric mother, loves her little baby brother, and is best friends with her next-door neighbor Trout -- who has something of a crush on her. But something strange is beginning to happen to her. She finds that she is able to affect the weather. It seems she is beginning to be able to do magic! But magic can have consequences -- sometime rather unpleasant ones. This complete and unabridged, 6 CD audiobook is flawlessly recorded with a running time of six hours. A deftly crafted fantasy brought vividly to life in a true 'theatre of the mind' experience for children age 13 and older, "Undine" will prove to be a popular addition to school and community audiobook collections!

Greathall Productions, Inc.
PO Box 5061, Charlottesville, VA 22905

Two Greathall Productions audiobooks on CD feature the narrative talent of award-winning storyteller Jim Weiss. "Good Luck Duck" (9781882513895, $13.45, 72 min.), written by Meindert DeJong, is a charming, family-friendly audio adaptation of the bond between a young boy and his feathered pet. An unabridged, good-natured adventure especially sure to strike a chord in the hearts of bird lovers of all ages. "A Treasury of Wisdom" (9781882513901, $13.45, 79 min.) presents ten true stories of hope and inspiration, as adapted by Weiss himself. Snippets from the lives of great figures ranging from classical painters Raphael and Michelangelo of Italy, to Alexander the Great and Diogenes, to King Solomon and much more combine into an absorbing audio experience for listeners of all ages. Both audiobooks are ideal for library and family collections alike, and highly recommended.

The Folklore/Mythology Shelf

The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales
Anne Shelby
University of North Carolina Press
PO Box 2288, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
9780807831632, $14.95 1-800-848-6224

The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales is a collection of brief yet enjoyable tales blending the spirit of traditional Appalachian folklore with modern-day awareness. Featuring an extroverted young girl named Molly Whuppie, the stories include encounters with witches, giants, an ogre who refuses to do housework, cornbread-baking mice, unwanted boyfriends, Molly's sisters, and even the Appalachian hero Jack. A handful of simple black-and-white illustrations enhance this rip-roaring fun storybook with a brave and clever heroine. Especially recommended for young girls.

The Cookbook Shelf

Pam Abrams
Harvard Common Press
535 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118
9781558323469, $14.95 1-888-657-3755

Profusely illustrated throughout with the full-color photography of Mellisa Punch, "Gadgetology" is a lively and 'kid friendly' collection of do-it-yourself instructions for recipe, crafts, games, and experimental projects utilizing thirty-five different kitchen implements or 'gadgets' common to any home. Kids can build an edible log cabin with an apple corer, make a strawberry taste like orange juice with a marinade injector, write secret messages in a lemon juice based invisible ink and the use of a citrus squeezer, make a jelly bean nest with a garlic press, and so much more! Fun and informative, "Gadgetology" is a unique and enthusiastically recommended addition to any family or community library children's activities reference collection.

The Fiction Shelf

The Elephants Visit London
Beverly Eschberger
Antemesia Publishing
9 Mockingbird Mill Rd., Tijeras, NM 87059
9781932926309, $3.99

The Elephants Visit London is a delightful and inexpensive treat for young readers who have just discovered the joy of chapter books. Following the Elephant family (two parents and their twin children Harold and Penelope - all of them bipedal elephants dressed in nice travel clothes) during their trip to London, The Elephants Visit London shows an elephant's-eye view of historic buildings, traditional English food, and the Natural History Museum. But when the twins suddenly go missing from the museum, detectives from Scotland Yard are set on the case! The last few pages offer lists to help young readers reacquaint themselves with British English terms mentioned in the book, such as "telephone call box" (telephone booth). A scattering of simple black-and-white illustrations round out this wonderful book, fun to read in its own right and especially recommended to help prepare young people for the culture shock of visiting London and England.

Arnie Carver and the Plague of Demeverde
Kenneth R. Besser
PO Box 15105, Baltimore, MD 21209
9781934316023, $14.95

Part of the beloved Arnie Carver series of novels for young adults, Arnie Carver and the Plague of Demeverde follows the adventures of Arnie Carver, once Thayne Davidson Miller III. The child prodigy of billionaires, he hated how airtight family security protected him at the expense of keeping him away from other children his own age and everything a child might want to do. But on his thirteenth birthday, he became a billionaire orphan when terrorists allegedly killed his parents. No evidence of Thayne's parents' supposed murderers could be found, though - what really happened to them? To solve the mystery, and experience life unsheltered if not entirely unprotected, Thayne replaced himself with a lifelike robot and took on a new alter-ego, attending an international high school named the Global Optimum Development Academy as Arnie Carver. Just as Arnie gets settled in, a deadly disease starts plaguing the island and the school - what could be causing it, and why? A gung-ho adventure featuring a young protagonist who respects schools and books as well as learning through experience, sure to engage young readers to the very last page.

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

Marlee Martin and Doug Cooney's LEADING LADIES (0689869878, $15.99) continues the story of spunky deaf child Megan in a sequel following her fourth grade adventures, directed to ages 8-12. Here her class is putting on their own original musical based on Wizard of oz – and Megan wants to be the star, and sign Dorothy's part. When a friend from camp transfers into her class from her all-deaf school and covets the same songs, trouble ensues in this lively and positive story. Neal Shusterman's UNWIND (1416912045, $16.99) tells of a grim future society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts. Conner is an unwanted troublemaker, Risa has no parents, and Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth. The three join forces to survive and find themselves on a dangerous cross-country journey struggling to survive through their eighteenth birthday, when they won't have to worry about being ‘unwound'. A thought-provoking story of survival makes for vivid reading for mature young adults.

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

Michael is a dedicated athlete, captain of the track team, and has never been in trouble – until the police find four joints in his locker in Rich Wallace's ONE GOOD PUNCH (9780375813528, $15.99). The choices he will make next will affect his career and his future in a story of would-be champion struggling to find his winning way in the world. Teens at the middle school level in particular will find it engrossing. Christine Hurley Deriso's THE RIGHT-UNDER CLUB (9780385733342, $15.99) tells of five girls who are right under their parents' noses, yet feel home life is very difficult. They decide to form a club to understand and share their experiences, from custody battles to step parents and half siblings, and discover shared strengths in the process in this fine young adult story.

Books in Series

Bearport Publishing
101 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6R, New York, NY 10003 1-877-337-8577

'Crime Solvers' is an inherently fascinating and unique six book mystery series that enables young readers to become detectives in their own right as they see real-life crimes being solved. Narratively written at a fourth grade reading level, they allow children in grades 4 through 8 a close-up look at criminal evidence and forensic techniques (fingerprint matching, autopsies, phone tapping, computer and handwriting analysis) that were used to catch the criminals. The six titles comprising this outstanding and highly recommended series include Olivia Gorden's "Cold Case File: Murder in the Mountains" (9781597165471); Edward Nicholson's "Murder File: A Killer's Manual" (9781597165495); Mikaela Sitford's "Serial Killer File: The Doctor Of Death Investigation"; Amanda Howard's "Kidnapping File: The Graeme Thorne Case (97815965488), "Robbery File: The Museum Heist (9781597165501), and "Terrorist File: The Lockerbie Investigation" (9781597165525). Available individually (List $25.27/Library $18.95), school and community libraries should acquire the entire series as a set for their young students and patrons (9781597165594, List $151.62/Library 113.70).

Stone Arch Books
PO Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002-0669 1-800-421-7731

Stone Arch Books specializes in publishing high-interest fiction for struggling and reluctant readers, making them ideal for remedial reading and English as a second language curriculums. Especially recommended are three novels in their 'Graphic Trax' series. "Joker" (1598890247) by Anthony Masters is a compelling mystery in which Mel's dad, the magician, is kidnapped -- but no one will believe him. They think Mel is just joking again! Michael Hardcastle's "Sam's Goal" (1598890883) is wonderfully humorous reading as England's top goal-scorer invites Sam to a soccer game. Sam can't believe it -- and neither can his friends! In "The Monster Piano" (1598890875) by C. Pitcher is a very funny tale in which Lenny has to convince the rest of his family that his little sister is in real danger from the monster piano in the living room! Teachers and home-schooling parents are encouraged to visit the Stone Arch Books website for a complete listing of their dozens of titles specifically appropriate for problem readers who require high-interest, low-vocabulary books that will capture children's interest while improving their literacy skills.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308, New York, NY 10118 1-800-387-7650

'The World of Insects' is a four volume series of 32-page books focuses upon the word of insects and is written at a first to second grade reading level, with a narrative text designed to interest children from kindergarten through the sixth grade. Each title is available in a hardcover edition ($23.92) or in a paperback edition ($6.95). Enhanced with full-color photography and illustrations, as well as a glossary and index, the titles comprising this informed and informative series include "Insect Defenses" (9780778722349 HC/9780778723684 PB); "Everyday Insects" (9780778723363 HC/9780778723707 PB) which are co-authored by Bobbie Kalman and Rebecca Sjonger; "Insect Homes" (9780778723455 HC/9780778723790 PB) co-authored by Bobbie Kalman and John Crossingham; and "Insects In Danger" (9780778723448 HC/9780778723783 PB) co-authored by Kathryn Smityman and Bobbie Kalman. An outstanding series for young readers" The World of Insects' is a very highly recommended addition for school and community library reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

Chelsea Clubhouse
c/o Chelsea House Publishers
132 West 31st Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10001 1-800-322-8755

'Let's Meet' is a series of six African-American biographies written for students in grades 2 through 4. Enhanced with both full color and historic black-and-white photographs, each title features an 'Important Dates' chronology, a glossary, a bibliography, a list of appropriate websites, and an index. The individual books comprising this outstanding series that is especially appropriate for school and community libraries includes "Let's Meet Booker T. Washington" (9780791073186); "Let's Meet Frederick Douglass" (9780791073193); "Let's Meet Ida B. Wells-Barnett" (9780791073209); "Let's Meet Jackie Robinson" (9780791073216); "Let's Meet Sojourner Truth" (978079107323). While these biographies may be purchased individually (List $23.00/Library $17.25), librarians should acquire the complete set for their young patrons (9780791073179, $103.50).

QEB Publishing
c/o Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002

QEB Publishing's colorful 'First Book Of..." series written by Jean Coppendale showcases four major classifications of vehicles that are fundamental to transportation, agriculture, and safety. This outstanding series consists of "Fire Trucks" (9781595664329); "Tractors" (9781595663405); "Trains (9781595663412); and "Trucks" (9781595663399). Each 24-page title is written to a second grade reading level with a thoroughly 'kid friendly' text that has an interest level spanning grades one through three. Each book features a table of contents, a glossary, and an index. Impressively illustrated with color photography throughout, each title is enhanced further with the inclusion of highlighted glossary terms and activities. Whether purchased individually ($24.95 List/$16.95 Library) and as a set ($99.80 List/$67.80 Library), the 'First Book Of...' series is confidently recommended for family, elementary school, and community library nonfiction titles for young readers.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
$23.95 Each

Grades 4-6 will appreciate these 'Animal Ways' natural history surveys: each of which offers a little over a hundred pages of facts, pairing vivid, colorful close-up photos of each animal with discussions of natural history, history, and interactions with humans. A glossary, bibliography, genus checklist and index make for exceptional report reference materials while topics are eye-catching and lend to leisure browsers as well. Marc Zaludoff's MONKEYS (9780761425359) and his BEETLES (9780761425328), Rebecca Stefoff's DEER (9780761425342) and her TURTLES (9780761425397) and Tom Warhol's OWLS (9780761425373) all provide plenty of insights for reports. Rebecca Stefoff's THE FUNGUS KINGDOM (9780761426967, $22.95) is also a pick for this age group, adding to the ‘Family Trees' series and providing excellent color photos and information on all kinds of mushroom and fungus species. From identification challenges to reproduction and natural history, THE FUNGUS KINGDOM is an excellent survey. Kids in grades 3-5 will find most accessible the ‘Health Alert' series ($21.95 each). Each book holds some sixty pages including a glossary, index, bibliography of resources, and plenty of contemporary color photos to accompany a discussion of modern health issues, research, symptoms and solutions. New to the series is George Capaccio's ADD AND ADHD (9780761427056), Lorrie Klostrman's RABIES (9780751427049), Marlene Targ Brill's MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (9780761426998) and her AUTISM (9780761427001), Gretchen Hoffman's OSTEOPOROSIS (9780761427025) and Marjorie L. Buckmaster's SKIN CANCER (9780761427032). The ‘Presidents and Their Times' series ($22.95 each) are all excellent additions for collections appealing to grades 4-6. Each book holds a little under a hundred pages of facts in a biography covering each president's life, times, and contributions. Suitable for either book reports or historical or biographical research are Billy Aronson's RICHARD M. NIXON (9780761424284) and ULYSSES S. GRANT (9780761424307), Edward F. Dolan's GEORGE WASHINGTON (9780761424277), Ted Gottfried's MILLARD FILLMORE (9780761424314) and Dan Elish's THEODORE ROOSEVELT (9780761424291) and JAMES MADISON (9780761424321).

ABDO Publishing Company
4940 Viking Drive, Edina, MN 55435
$22.78 each

Young readers in grades K-5 learning about Native American cultures for the first time often find library sets limited to the most famous of Native groups – but Abdo Publishing's set by Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh brings a wider range of Native American tribes to young reader attention. Each book offers some 32 pages including an index, glossary, plenty of contemporary color photos, and discussions of each Native group's society, culture, myths, and history. Newly added to expand the series is YUROK (9781591976585), PAIUTE (9781591976578), MODOC (9781591976561), CHOCTAW (9781591976530), KUMEYAAY (9781591976554), KIOWA (9781591976547), CADDO (9781591976509), CHICKASAW (9781591976523), CAHUILLA (9781591976516) and ARAPAHO (9781591976493). All are top picks for any introductory library strong in Native American tribes.

Compass Point Books
151 Good Counsel Drive, Minneapolis, MN 56002-0669 1-877-371-1536

'Our Solar System' is an eighteen volume series for children ages 8 to 10 and in grades 3 to 5. Each individual titles focus upon a particular feature of our solar system and the universe. The informed and informative text is beautifully illustrated with satellite photography, as well as additionally enhanced with diagrams, a table of contents, a glossary, relevant websites, and an index. The books comprising this impressive series include: Earth; Moon; Jupiter; Mars; Mercury; Neptune; Pluto; Saturn; Sun; Uranus; Venus; Comets, Asteroids, and Meteoroids; Constellations; The Milky Way and Other Galaxies; Black Holes; Space Exploration; Space Walks, The International Space Station. 'Our Solar Systems' (9780756504618TK, List $430.74/Library 323.10) is a strongly recommended core addition to both school and community library Science & Astronomy collections.

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

The revised, updated edition of Dianne M. MacMillan's MARDI GRAS (0766030628, $23.93) joins others in the ‘Best Holiday Books' series to appeal to grades 3-4. Nearly fifty pages of information on the holiday's origins and enactment include an index, glossary, and bibliography, along with historical facts and plenty of color photos. Rebecca Wingard-Nelson's Subtraction And Addition (0766028755, $27.93) joins others in the remedial math book series for middle school students who have failed to absorb the basics. It provides a step-by-step guide to the basics and can be used either with tutors or parental assistance, or as a personal study guide.

The Biography Shelf

Civil War Doctor: The Story of Mary Walker
Carla Joinson
Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 South Elm Street Suite 223, Greensobor, NC 27406
9781599350288, $27.95

Mary Edwards Walker was the daughter of a freethinking New York farmer and abolitionist who at an early age became determined to live life on her own terms, shunning women's fashions, wearing men's clothing, and eventually becoming a medical doctor in an era where women couldn't even vote. Her pursuits would take her to the forefront of battles during the Civil War and her story deserves a place on any advanced elementary-level bookshelf where women's biographies and history are featured.

The DVD Shelf

Bridge to Terabithia
Disney Educational Productions
500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-6307
77D18VL00 $29.95

The Classroom Edition of Katherine Paterson's classic story includes a downloadable teacher's guide, an informative ‘behind the book' discussion of theme in the movie, audio commentaries with actors and directors, and more – and of course, the beautifully produced, visually enriched story of the growing friendship between two loners who invent a magical kingdom between them. Kids in grades 5-8 receive not only a gentle story of fantasy, but of coping with loss.

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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