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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 21, Number 1 January 2011 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Multimedia Shelf Fiction Shelf
Health Shelf Biography Shelf Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Holiday Shelf Preschool Shelf Audiobook Shelf
DVD Shelf Music Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Science Shelf Bilingual Shelf Folklore/Mythology Shelf
Art Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

My Money Journal
Karris Golden & Melanie Decker
Kids Cents Press
1 Peregrine Way, Cedar Falls, IA 50613
9781934354216, $11.95,

Good financial wisdom can never come too soon. "My Money Journal: A Safe Space for Tracking Earning, Spending, & Saving" is a workbook for young readers to trace how much money they are making from money, chores, allowance, while keeping track of what they have bought and what they have stored away for their future. "My Money Journal" is sure to help children understand good money management.

Artemisia of Caria
Shirin Yim Bridges, author
Albert Nguyen, illustrator
Goosebottom Books LLC
710 Portofino Lane, Foster City, CA 94404
9780984509812, $18.95,

"Artemisia of Caria" is the latest addition to a new series of books designed for girls ages 9-13 called The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses. Complete with a beginning pronunciation guide for some of the many Greek and other names in the story, "Artemisia of Caria" tells an amazing biographical tale about a real princess who grew up to become a famous admiral and Queen of Caria in ancient times, 500 B.C. At the time Artemisia lived in what is now southwest Turkey, Greek women, even princesses, led very limited, proscribed lives. Despite this, Artemisia managed, in her growing up years, to learn to sail triremes or warships, to fight, and to respect and express her opinion. It is not known how she achieved these three things, but it is certain they were not easily given to her. She became one of a very few ruling queens in her area and time after acting as an admiral, a commander of multiple warships. Artemisia was part of the fleet of triremes that sailed for Xerxes in 480 B.C. from Halicarnassus (in Caria) to force submission from 31 defiant Greek states which refused to acknowledge Xerxes as their king. In the ensuing naval and land battles, Xerxes lost 400 ships, not to mention the land battle of Thermopylae, where 7000 Greeks held off the great Persian army. Xerxes was angered at his losses and made a foolish plan to sit his throne high on the Greek cliffs to witness his navy crushing the Greeks warships. Of all Xerxes naval commanders, only Artemisia dared tell him her true opinion of the folly of this plan, advising him against the proposed sea battle. Sure enough, the battle of Salamis, which followed was a calamity for the Persians and Xerxes. Again, Artemisia was asked to advise Xerxes following this naval disaster. She gave honest, practical advice, telling him to take most of his troops home, leaving some under the command of his best general to finish up the battle whatever the outcome. Whatever her achievements and/or tragedies, Artemisia remains an example of a woman who waged naval war and governed effectively in a time when women were not allowed freedom or access to power. "Artemisia of Caria" presents many interesting details of daily life and known history along with a strong profile of a remarkable woman, a real princess.

Jennifer Magicum
Maria Andrade
Clara Publishing
680 Napa Court, Claremont, CA 91711
9780970634764, $7.58 Kindle

It's hard to find a cat you see one moment that miss the next. "Jennifer Magicum" is a charming book for younger readers on a families search for a cat that doesn't want to seem to stay with them and visible. As the cat feels neglected, the story pushes to remember to care for your pets or you may forget they're there. "Jennifer Magicum" is a charming and quick read for readers just ready to step away from picturebooks.

Jessie's Big Move
Dr. Nathaniel Wilson, author
Marina Shoopik, illustrator
Allwrite Publishing
P.O. Box 1071, Atlanta, GA 30301
9780974493572, $TBA,

"Jessie's Big Move" is a wonderful adjustment assistance book that will help children accept changes, such as a move, that are unwelcome. Jessie is anticipating her 9th birthday party in a few weeks, creating fancy invitations for her friends when her mother gently tells her the family is planning to move from Chicago to Georgia to be close her grandfather who needs the family's support due to an illness. Jessie is very unhappy about the move. She tries many ploys to stall or deflect the inevitable day, but her parents amaze her by allowing her to experiment with her feelings and reactions, and to get accustomed to the desirability of moving with her family. "Jessie's Big Move" has some surprising moments, such as when her father finds Jessie and friends formally protesting the move carrying signs, in his yard, and he calmly joins them. he explains to Jessie that he too has mixed feelings about the move, but that it is still the family's plan. "Jessie's Big Move" is the first in a series called the "I'm OK" series which addresses such subjects as diversity appreciation, adjustment to change, peer challenge, personal growth, and empathy. "Jessie's Big Move" can be a useful adjustment tool to children ages 6-10 who are facing large life changes such as a family move.

Being Me
Wendy L. Moss, PhD
Magination Press
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433808838 $14.95 1-800-368-5777

Intended for young readers ages 8-13, Being Me: A Kid's Guide to Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem is a guide to improving one's viewpoint of oneself and outlook toward the world, the better to face down everyday challenges related to school, friends, family, and more. "If you feel nervous because your entire self-confidence is dependent upon this person liking you back, then we have a complication. Self-confidence comes from inside you, not from what this person can give you. Sure, it's great if the person likes you back (and maybe even a little scary, too!), but your value remains the same whether the person likes you or not." Being Me is an important self-help guide, strongly recommended for children's school and public library collections.

Hannah and the Talking Tree
Elke Weiss
Free Focus Publishing
PO Box 716, Blaine, WA 98231
9780982674710, $16.95,

Many children hate their big ears, but Hannah uses them to her advantage. "Hannah and the Talking Tree" tells the story of Hannah, a girl with ears so big, she can hear nature. She uses this as a talent to help the trees and plants in this charming story with a simple yet fun art style. "Hannah and the Talking Tree" is a fascinating pick for younger readers in kindergarten and similar grade levels, highly recommended.

The Traveller, The Tiger, and The Very Clever Jackal
Reshma Sapre, author
Jessica Lian, illustrator
Hathi Chiti Books for Kids
P.O. Box 1219, New York, NY 10016
9780615370712, $16.95,

"The Traveller, The Tiger, and the Very Clever Jackal" tells a wise tale of old Raaheeji, a wanderer who goes deep into the woods, contrary to the wishes of his sleeping wife. Raaheeji goes on to show that he is a very foolish old man indeed, for he frees an old, hungry tiger from a cage with only the slimmest of promises from the tiger not to eat him. The obvious dilemma occurs as soon as the tiger is free of the cage, but Raaheeji begs the tiger to honor his vow, and he finally agrees to let Raaheeji ask three strangers what they think, and then do what they decide. The tiger is confident of the inevitable outcome. Raaheeji encounters and asks for assistance from a banyan tree, a mighty buffalo, and a pitiful road, all of whom tell him, "As I suffer, so shall you suffer. Go, face your foolish fate." But when overcome with weeping and distress, Raaheeji meets another crafty companion, the jackal, who proves to be a wily opponent to the cruel tiger himself. "The Traveller, the Tiger, and the Very Clever Jackal" is a warm, wise fable that will be enchanting for children ages 3-8. The rich, primitive style colored illustrations are very fitting to the foolish/wise to dialogue and dichotomy of the tale.

What's the Catch?
David Sobel
Hoopoe Kids
PO Box 176, Los Altos, CA 94023
9781933779782, $15.99,

No one wants to become someone else's tool. "What's the Catch?: How to Avoid Getting Hooked and Manipulated" is a guide for younger readers on how to resist the influences and pressures that lie all around us. Author David Sobel encourages children to understand the reasoning behind their actions and to remember to act for yourself, and avoid being a puppet. With a strong message for readers, "What's the Catch?" is a solid and highly recommended read. Also recommended from Hoopoe Kids is "Me and My Feelings: What Emotions Are and How We Can Manage Them" (9781933779713, $15.99) delves into how to face the overwhelming emotions that come with growing up.

The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book
Jez Alborough
Kane Miller
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74147-0663
9781935279662, $15.99,

When the humans sleep, the animals get their fun in. "The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book" is an entertaining and short story surrounding Farmer Dougal's tractor and his barnyard animals who decide that the tractor can be a good source of fun and entertainment for them. With full color art and story by Jez Alborough, "The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book" is going to give more than enough enjoyment for young elementary readers, highly recommended.

Kusikiy: A Child from Taquile, Peru
Mercedes Cecilia
Keepers of Wisdom and Peace Books
PO Box 1314, Woodstock, NY 12498
9780984407903 $24.99

Kusikiy: A Child from Taquile, Peru is a heart-touching children's picturebook about the daily life of Kusikiy, and his great grandparents, in Taquile, Peru. "Tonyo Quispe, Kusikiy's father, is the Keeper of Terraces and Native Seeds. Tonyo learned from his father, how to build terraces along the hills to farm potatoes. Kusikiy's mother, Chami, learned from her mother how to weave the images of birds that migrate to the island shores. She weaves the symbol for the star that shines in the night sky. She weaves Taquile's important events to keep a record of Taquile's memories in the silence of wool." Kusikiy: A Child from Taquile, Peru respectfully portrays the traditions and culture of a heritage that promotes oral storytelling, music, dance, its own rituals and mythologies, and more. The result is a treasury highly recommended especially for public library children's collections with a focus on international and multicultural studies.

I See the Rhythm of Gospel
Toyomi Igus, author
Michele Wood, illustrator
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310718192 $16.99 1-800-727-1309

The Coretta Scott King award-winning writer/author team who created "I See the Rhythm" have returned with a new children's picturebook that touches upon the rhythm of gospel and the history of African-Americans, in I See the Rhythm of Gospel. Colorful illustrations re-enact critical moments in Black History, from the beginning of slavery in the 1500s to the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 to the civil rights movement and the inauguration of America's first African-American president in 2008. Each page features a catchy, gospel-style chant/song embellished with a ring of thumbnail summaries of crucial events. An accompanying CD offers the songs "Wade in the Water", "I Will Move On Up A Little Higher", "Hallelujah Praise", "Jesus Be A Fence Around Me", and "I Love You". I See the Rhythm of Gospel is a treasure for children's public library collections and an inspirational giftbook, highly recommended.

Larry Gets Lost in San Francisco
Michael Mullin and John Skewes, authors
John Skewes, illustrator
Sasquatch Books
119 South Main Street, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98104
9781570615672, $16.95,

"Larry Gets Lost in San Francisco" is the latest in the pooch travelogue series that features everyone's favorite wandering tourist, Larry and his owner Pete. With a jaunty narrative in rhyme and brightly colored illustrations of many fabulous sights of the famous city by the bay, "Larry Gets Lost in San Francisco" covers more facts and fabulous finds about SF than would seem possible. Of course, Larry gets lost, this time by escaping from a cable car to chase a glazed doughnut rolling down the hilly, twisty, windy street named Lombard. Of course, Larry now has to find Pete, encountering Coit Tower and Alamo Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and the ferry to Alcatraz Island in the search. He breezes through Union Square, the Cable Car Museum, and the Dragon Gate, not to mention the San Francisco -Oakland Bridge, Cupid's Span, and AT & T Park. Larry runs through a Japanese Tea Garden, the M.H. De Young Museum, and the Mission District, where a friendly artist leaves his painting to help Larry find Pete at the Cliff House, near Seal Rock. Fortunately, Larry and Pete are reunited and all ends well on another amazing exploration adventure. "Larry Gets Lost in San Francisco" is a perfect travelogue of San Francisco for children ages 3-6.

Time Zones
David A. Adler, author
Edward Miller, Illustrator
Holiday House, Inc.
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823422012, $16.95,

"Time Zones" takes a refreshing look at the differences in time around the earth due to its rotation. The history of standard time zones is also outlined, along with some of the global travel connections that have influenced the development of standard time zones. Filled with spunky, retro, colorful illustrations that illuminate the mysteries of time, "Time Zones" delves into some hefty definitions that arise from our organization of the progressions of time into standard divisions. One of these is, what is the beginning point (of imaginary lines between one time zone and the next, P. 14)? The answer, the prime meridian which runs through Greenwich, England, was devised at a meeting in 1884.This and other fascinating if confusing facts about time theory and practice are cheerfully and efficiently packaged and presented in "Time Zones," the perfect elementary to middle school text, culminating with a fun project that is easy to accomplish using and lamp and a globe in a darkened room, and demonstrates why we need time zones. Readers may visit, for additional activities that accompany "Time Zones, or become a fan of Edward Miller's Bookatorium on Facebook.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Stephen Alcorn's ODETTA: THE QUEEN OF FOLK (9780439928182, $18.99) provides a fine introductory story to the black musician Odetta, whose folk music served as inspiration for black and white musicians alike. Lovely colorful drawings accompany an inspirational piece perfect for any seeking to introduce the young to Odetta's magic. Jim Murphy's THE CROSSING: HOW GEORGE WASHINGTON SAVED THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (9780439691864, $21.99) offers nearly a hundred pages of detail and is perfect for grades 4-6, covering a pivotal time in the American Revolution and pairing lovely maps and drawings with lively facts about George Washington's achievement. Collections seeking a fine, well-detailed and illustrated introduction that provides a 'you are there' atmosphere will find this a perfect pick.

The Multimedia Shelf

Harry Potter: Film Wizardry
Creative Team of Harry Potter
Collins Design
c/o HarperCollins
10 E. 53rd St., New York NY 10022-5299
9780061997815, $39.99,

Harry Potter: Film Wizardry is a pick for all ages and for any film collection strong in science fiction creations. It provides technical, behind-the-scenes analysis of Harry Potter films and their special effects, fun insights into the Harry Potter world and mystique, and an unpublished set of photos and artworks accompanying original stories from the show's stars. All eight Harry Potter films are examined in a pick the entire family will enjoy!

The Fiction Shelf

Skye the Troll
Apryl Skies
Edgar Lenore's Publishing House
13547 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
9781452817194, $16.99,

Being the prettiest troll has its challenges. "Skye the Troll & Other Fairy Tales for Children" is a unique tale from Apryl Skies, telling of Skye, a troll cursed with no hunch, no warts, and no smell and a pretty face, nothing a troll would want to do with. She finds her own place, and Skies tells other stories as well and makes for an entertaining and fun pick for youthful readers. "Skye the Troll" is a fine addition to children's fiction collections, highly recommended.

No More Dragons
Rie Charles
Napoleon & Company
235 - 1173 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON, M4M 3P1, Canada
9781926607122 $9.95

Intended for readers age 11 and up, No More Dragons is a novel in the form of correspondence - letters written by thirteen-year-old Alex to his only friend. Alex is a boy in rural Ontario beset with problems; he's afraid of his dad, worried about his sick brother, and longs to make himself into a new person that other people will like. No More Dragons is a story about coping with pressure, and learning to cultivate one's own self-esteem. Alex learns how to confront both internal and external dragons, in the process of growing up to be a strong and compassionate young man. No More Dragons lends insight into the troubles of adolescence, and is an excellent giftbook for young people, as well as a choice pick for public library young adult fiction collections.

Havoc at Harrison Hospital
M. E. Roche
Yellowback Mysteries
c/o James A. Rock & Company Publishers
500 South Irby Street, #508, Florence, SC 20501
9781596638105, $13.95,

"Havoc at Harrison Hospital: The Adventures of Nora Brady, Student Nurse" is the second in a series about the adventures of sleuth/ student nurse Nora Brady, a modern, updated Sue Bartlett or Cherry Ames. This charming mystery has a vintage flavor that is most appealing, but it is also a product of its time. In addition to being a logical, progressive, well-planned mystery with thoughtful hidden clues strewn artfully through the chapters, "Havoc at Harrison Hospital" has the quality of style and grace that can arrest attention and inspire young minds. Values like perseverance, skilled observation and care, the dignity of knowing and delivering a professional standard of care, and even the seminal concept of a code of nursing, or health care standards, all these concepts build a solid underlying structure to the intriguing mystery of "Havoc at Harrison Hospital." Nora is brave, spunky, and curious about both nursing and medical learning and getting to the bottom of a very complicated chain of events in the hospital setting. Excitingly paced, "Havoc at Harrison Hospital" is a charming mystery with a message and engaging key characters. We may anticipate more delicious Nora Brady student nurse mysteries to be savored in the future.

The Five Fakirs of Faizabad: Children of the Lamp
P.B. Kerr
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
9780545126588, $17.99,

The Five Fakirs of Faizabad continues the 'Children of the Lamp' fantasy for advanced young adult readers, and is a recommended pick for prior enthusiasts. Here John and Philippa are involved in another magical mystery when five holy men buried alive with keys to the universe's mysteries earn the attention of a wicked djinn who searches for them. Can the twins get to the fakirs first? A tense thriller evolves.

House of the Star
Caitlin Brennan
c/o Tor Books
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780765320377, $17.99,

HOUSE OF THE STAR is a fine pick for any fantasy reader or horse fan, providing a novel introducing Elen, princess of a magical kingdom and lover of horses. Elen dreams of becoming a worldrunner where she can travel with a magical horse, but is slated for royalty. When she runs away from her kingdom she finds a home at the House of the Star ranch, where magical horses are bred and worldrunners trained. Can she bring peace to her kingdom while realizing her dreams? Fantasy readers will be thrilled.

When the Stars Go Blue
Caridad Ferrer
St. Martins Press
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780312650049, $9.99,

WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE tells of Soledad Reyes, whose life revolves around dance - until a fellow student proposes she forget teaching dance and spend the summer performing in competitive drum and bugle, where she may be able to perform in Carmen. Her blossoming relationship with Jonathan threatens her entire future in this fine romantic drama.

The Tapestry: The Fiend and the Forge
Henry H. Neff
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375838989, $17.99,

The Tapestry: The Fiend and the Forge provides Book 3 in The Tapestry series and blends fantasy, science fiction and mystery in an involving story continuing the story of Max, accepted to a secret school where young apprentices are trained in magic to combat an enemy. The story line carries to a new direction as Max faces one posed to reshape history and threaten the one peaceful kingdom left untouched. A fine, gripping saga evolves for advanced fantasy readers.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Kenneth Oppel's HALF BROTHER (9780545229258, $17.99) tells of Ben, who has been an only child for thirteen years - until his mother brings home an eight-day-old chimp. Ben's father is involved in an experiment to determine if chimps can acquire advanced language skills and his parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother - so much so that Ben's observations of Zan's real abilities are going beyond experimental realms in this moving story of interspecies connections and intelligence issues. Pat Walsh's THE CROWFIELD CURSE (9780545229227, $16.99) tells of Will's discovery of a hobgoblin in the woods who confesses that a mythical being doomed by an ancient curse is buried in the snow. The problem is that Will already serves a brotherhood of monks - and his involvement in the hobgoblin's secret will place him in direct danger in this fine story packed with intriguing fantasy and twists and turns. Blue Ballet's THE DANGER BOX (9780439852098, $16.99) provides a fine new mystery centered around a different boy and girl in a small town. The Danger Box links a range of different scenarios and possibilities in this unusual mystery, perfect for older teens. Natalie Standiford's CONFESSIONS OF THE SULLIVAN SISTERS (9780545107105, $17.99) tells of sisters who discover their rich mother is dying - and has cut the entire family out of her will. Only a confession will change her mind - but the guilty party isn't stepping forward, and all the sisters have secrets to keep. An intriguing and funny story of family changes evolves. Suzane Weyn's EMPTY (9780545172783, $17.99) is set in the near future when fossil fuels are running out. Life has become more local and the end is coming fast in this gripping saga recommended for any young adult and many an adult science fiction collection. Carolyn Coman and Rob Shepperson's THE MEMORY BANK (9780545210669, $16.99) tells of the Clean Slate Gang and the World Wide Memory Bank who are at war. Lollipops are clogging machinery and fires are set in this intriguing story of Hope, who has failed to dutifully recorded New Memories. A fine story of a very different world and values emerges. Meg Cabot's BLAST FROM THE PAST (9780545040488, $15.99) tells of Allie, who's excited about her class field trip to a historic schoolhouse - until she finds she's been assigned a 'buddy' for the day in the form of an ex-best friend. Can she survive a day that was supposed to be fun? Erin Bow's PLAIN KATE (9780545166645, $17.99) tells of a girl who lives in a world of superstitions and curses. As the wood-carver's daughter she can make charms so fine that some think her a witch - a dangerous name in a town where witches are burned. Hard times and a stranger's proposition lead Kate on new paths in this intriguing saga. Matthew J. Kirby's THE CLOCKWORK THREE (9780545203371, $17.99) tells of an orphaned street musician, an apprentice clockmaker and a maid who join forces to solve puzzles and change their world. Only their reluctant trust in each other can save the world in this involving saga.

The Health Shelf

Be Healthy! It's a Girl Thing, updated edition
Mavis Jukes and Lilian Cheung, DSC, RD
Alfred Knopf
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780679890294, $12.99,

Be Healthy! It's a Girl Thing: Food, Fitness, and Feeling Great offers advanced elementary to middle school readers - girls ages 10 and up - a fine blend of exercises, diet, and keys to lowering stress labels and caring for body and soul. This newly updated edition is packed with the latest expert details on food and nutrition and makes for an exceptional pick for health collections catering to pre-teens.

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It's OK to Back Away
Howard Binkow, author
Sue Cornelison illustrator
Thunderbolt Publishing
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780982616505, $15.00,

"Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It's OK to Back Away" is an excellent resource fable that teaches children to listen to their bodies, especially their tummies, and to seek constructive ways of dealing with feelings of anger. Exciting illustrations full of action and drama vividly punctuate the story of "Howard B. Wigglebottom". Tools of humor and techniques such as stepping away, listening to one's tummy and testing one's feelings are all part of the arsenal of anger management tactics suggested in "Howard B. Wigglebottom", which is itself part of a distinguished series that is designed to be helpful to children ages 4-8, especially children in classroom or educational settings.

The Biography Shelf

Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 South Elm Street, Suite 387, Greensboro, NC 27406

Sandra H. Shichtman's MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (9781599351353, $28.95) and Bonnie Hinman's ETERNAL VIGILANCE: THE STORY OF IDA B. WELLS-BARNETT (9781599351117, $28.95) each provide over a hundred pages of biographical background perfect for advanced elementary to middle school students working on reports. MICHAEL BLOOMBERG joins others in the 'Political Profiles' series and covers a man born into a working-class family who became first a billionaire from his business efforts, then the mayor of New York City. In 2010 he began his third term, and his biography covers his business and political successes alike. ETERNAL VIGILANCE: THE STORY OF IDA B. WELLS-BARNETT tells of a girl born a slave in Mississippi in 1862 who became a schoolteacher as a teen, then became famous for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to whites. Civil rights history blends with her biography in a fine survey of African-American civil rights.

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

Lucy and the Green Man
Linda Newbery
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780385752046, $16.99,

LUCY AND THE GREEN MAN provides a fine middle-grade novel that tells of Lucy, a young girl with a gift for gardening and mischief. Her affection for the supernatural and feel for an alternate reality stems from the mysterious Green Lob, who she believes lives in the garden - but nobody else believes he's helping her grandfather garden. When trouble strikes Lucy is faced with losing an extraordinary friend in this fine story of a gardening spirit's connections.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Brandon Sanderson's ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE SHATTERED LENS (9780439925570, $17.99) tells of Alcatraz Smedry, who has been the subject of prior adventures and who here appears in a final adventure where he faces down an army of librarians and their giant librarian robots in a war. If they win, everything Alcatraz has fought for will be threatened in this absorbing story of gigantic robots, evil librarians, and danger. Lisa Yee's BOBBY THE BRAVE (SOMETIMES) (9780545055949, $15.99) tells of Bobby Ellis-Chan, who faces a puzzling new gym teacher, is chased by a cat with twenty-seven toes, and must dance onstage in the class musical. Bobby is brave sometimes but often in trouble, and a series of hilarious mis-adventures ensues. Walter Dean Myers' THE CRUISERS (9780439916264, $15.99) tells of Zander and his friends, who are in trouble. They are in a gifted school program - but their grades are slipping and the assistant principal wants to be rid of them. A class project involves Zander in an alternative school newspaper where he learns his words have unusual powers - and can either achieve dreams or cause disaster. Sharon M. Draper's SASSY: THE DAZZLE DISASTER DINNER PARTY (9780545071543, $15.99) tells of Sassy Sanford, who gets a rich new friend at school and a new disaster when a school assignment on cooking goes awry. Her idea becomes a recipe for disaster in this fun account of cooking, which includes zany recipes kids will love.

The Picturebook Shelf

Otto's Orange Day
Frank Cammuso & Jay Lynch
A Toon Book
27 Greene Street, New York, NY 10013
9780979923821, $12.95,

Too much of a good thing ruins the good of that thing. "Otto's Orange Day" is a children's picturebook done in the style of a comic book from Frank Cammuso & Jay Lynch, following Otto, who loves orange and everything that's orange. But when he finds a lamp, unleashes a genie and wishes the world is orange, he sees a world of orange is too much orange for him to handle. "Otto's Orange Day" should prove to be a fun read and a valuable lesson for early elementary readers.

Allison Investigates
Colette Omans Nicoletta
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983568, $17.95,

The important questions in life are the ones that need the answers. "Allison Investigates: Does Chocolate Milk Come from Brown Cows?" is a fun read from Colette Omans Nicoletta, who provides both the story and art. Allison through her story learns about diary farming and what goes into it to solve her chocolate milk mystery and learn a good deal on top of that. "Allison Investigates" is a fun read for elementary school students, highly recommended. Also recommended from Beaver's Pond Press for kids is "Henry!: You're Late Again" (9781592983575, $16.95) by Mary Evanson Bleckwehl and illustrated by Brian Barber, following Henry and his punctuality issues and his goal to overcome them.

Rudy and Cirrus of Karma
R. M. Smith
Clarence-Henry Books
4135 Teton Place, Alexandria, VA 571-1936
9780578052359, $14.95,

Wishes can be quite powerful things. "Rudy and Cirrus of Karma" is an engaging children's picturebook telling the story of Rudy who finds he has three wishes from a creature called Cirrus and he's uncertain if he's used those wishes well. A thoughtful read of trying to make the world a better place, "Rudy and Cirrus of Karma" is both written and illustrated by R. M. Smith and tells a good story with a powerful message.

Sandra Sovago-Royal, author
Tyler Hollis, illustrator
Outskirts Pres
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432743758, $15.95,

A lost toy is lost love. "Magimus" tells of a worn down and trashed blue teddy bear who as Christmas draws near, finds love in a family who takes him in spite of his condition in a story about Christmas love and devotion. With thoughtful art from Tyler Hollis and story by Sandra Sovago-Royal, "Magimus" is a choice pick for younger readers.

The Bee Who Lost His Buzz
Reg Down
Lightly Press
4033 San Juan Ave. #219, Fair Oaks, CA 95628
9781453884300 $11.95

Illustrated with soft, watercolor-style artwork throughout, author Reg Down's The Bee Who Lost His Buzz is an softcover anthology of short stories about Tiptoes and Jeremy Mouse, who help friends including the Bee whose buzz has been taken away by the cantankerous Mr. Cactus, the Worm who can't make his way home on his own, a tangled young Octopus who can only count to seven, and more creatures. Each warmhearted mini-tale blends into the next, making The Bee Who Lost His Buzz flow into a captivating whole. The Bee Who Lost His Buzz is ideal for teaching children how much fun reading can be. Also highly recommended is Reg Down's "The Cricket and The Shepherd Boy: A Christmas Tale" (9781453855034, $11.95), a touching holiday story that bring the generous and reverent spirit of Christmas to life year-round.

Zero, Zilch, Nada: Counting to None
Wendy Ulmer, author
Laura Knorr, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364619 $16.95

Zero, Zilch, Nada: Counting to None is a high-spirited children's picturebook about a bright, anthropomorphic bunny rabbit with a math problem. Harry has been hired by the 4 Color Balloon Factory to blow up 100 balloons for Mrs. Doopido's birthday party. But when Harry tries to make sure he has the proper number of balloons, counting them proves to be troublesome - no matter what he does he can't get the right number. What's the best way to count to 100? Finally Harry's boss shows him how to group the balloons into ten sets of ten for easy counting! Zero, Zilch, Nada: Counting to None is simple yet charming, and a great storybook to read aloud.

The Surprise Party
Lee Cohen, author
Loyal de Neuville, illustrator
Raven Tree Press
c/o Delta Publishing Company
1400 Miller Parkway, Mc Henry IL 60050-7030
9781934960851 $16.95

Part of a series starring the lovable Rip Squeak cast of anthropomorphic mice and friends, and based on characters created by Susan Yost-Filgate and Leonard Filgate, "The Surprise Party" is a children's picturebook in which Rip Squeak and his friends decide to throw a surprise party for their parents. So they embark on a whirlwind day of cleaning the house, baking a cake, and blowing up balloons in preparation. A lovable adventure of joy, warmth, and celebration ensues in this charming tale brought to life playful illustrations.

The Lovesick Skunk
Joe Hayes, author
Antonio Castro L., illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781933693811 $16.95

The Lovesick Skunk is a playful children's picturebook about a boy's encounter with a lovesick skunk. The skunk has a peculiar attachment to the boy's old sneaker - but when the skunk's bigger, jealous boyfriend comes along, he sprays the sneakers! The sneakers may stink too much to use any more, but at least the boy is finally ready to move on to new shoes; it's a great relief to his mother. Told with wit and charm, and beautifully illustrated in full color, The Lovesick Skunk is an enjoyable tale about learning to move on from the old and embrace the new... and giving skunks the wide berth and respect they're due!

Steve Bjorkman
Beaufort Books
27 West 20th Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10011
9780825305542 $17.99

Popular comedian Jeff Foxworthy presents Hide!!!, a children's picturebook about a hide-and-seek game that invites the reader to join in the fun. Each colorful two-page spread invites the reader to look for hidden objects, ranging from raccoons and spoons to mops and flip-flops. As the playful story progresses, the number of items to search for grows bigger. Hide!!! is a fun giftbook to share, although the temptation to take a black marker and circle each hidden object can be powerfully strong!

Catching Time
Rachna Gilmore, author
Kirsti Anne Wakelin, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135
9781554551620, $17.95,

"Catching Time" is a child's fantasy about catching time to do a treasured activity; play with her friends in the park. Her busy parents talk about grabbing time, catching time or finding time when she asks for time to be in the park. But Sara can see that they will never catch time that way. It eludes them, going down the drain with the dishwater, sucked into the vacuum cleaner, tapped away on the laptop keys, hiding and running through their fingers at the same time. Finally Sara uses a jar and a net and grabs a fat space of happiness in time. When she shows it to her parents, they stop what they are doing and ask her what she wants to do with her time. "Catching Time" is imaginatively illustrated with action-packed, fantastic pictures that blend the real with the fantastic effortlessly. "Catching Time" is perfect for children age 4-K and up.

The Taxing Case of the Cows
Iris Van Rynback & Pegi Deitz Shea, authors
Emily Arnold McCully, illustrator
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547236315, $16.99,

"The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story of Suffrage" is a charming true story of two independent sisters named Abby and Julie Smith who ran a farm with Alderney cows in Glastonbury, Connecticut. They became victims of an unfair tax law that taxed single female landowners only. Remember these tax laws were written by men, who were the only sex allowed to vote in 1869 when this story takes place. The sisters argued they should not have to pay an unfair tax that they were not allowed to vote on. A long historic battle about taxation without representation ensued. In 1873, when the male lawmakers would not allow her to formally address the lawmaking body, sister Abby Smith gave speeches outside public meeting places on an ox cart, on the town green. Things came to a head when a tax collector named George Andrews confiscated 7 of the Smith Sisters' cows, to be auctioned off for payment of the Smith's property tax in one week if they didn't pay their entire tax bill by then. There were many unfair practices enforced upon the Smith sisters in the interpretation of this unfair tax law. The cows and the Smith sisters were furious. They were to be kept on a neighbor's farm, the Hales', but the cows were having none of it. The cows ended up crowded in a tobacco shed and the Smith sisters had to walk over to milk them day and night. On the day of the auction, a week later, the townsfolk bid such low prices for the cows that the auction was a sham. The townsfolk sided with the sisters. finally a male neighbor was given, $101.39 to bid for 4 of the cows to give them back to the Smith sisters. Since no one else would bid, the tax collector threw in the other 3 cows and the sisters bought back their 7 cows. This was not the end of the taxing case of the cows. Many more months and years passed and the case of the Smith sisters' cows and taxation without representation was publicized and fought in court, with the sisters winning they case on final appeal. Not until 1920 did the women of the united States get the chance to vote, but the Smith sisters and their cows played a significant part in making this happen. "The Taxing Case of the Cows" is an accurate retelling of a quirky piece of American history that will intrigue young students. The charming, hilarious water color illustrations add depth and dimension to the heroic tale of two sisters and their 7 brave cows.

The Little King and His Marshmallow Kingdom
Louis Rotella III, author
Mark Chickinelli, illustrator
Ata-Boy Productions/Concierge Marketing
13518 'L' St., Omaha, NE 68137
9780982684214, $22.95,

"The Little King and His Marshmallow Kingdom" is a heartwarming story about a boy-king named Louie whose father, grandfather, and great- grandfather are also named Louie. The Marshmallow King is therefore Louie the IV, an incredibly imaginative boy who loves to play games inside and out, play rock and roll, and help his grandfather with chores. Louie is not perfect, but he tries very hard. Sometimes his mischievous side wins out, and unexpected things astound (or possibly upset) his mom. Usually in King Louie's family, they work things out with a smooch. One thing about Louie that may be different from other children is he has Down's syndrome, something he was born with, like freckles or red hair, that makes him unique. Some things may take longer for Louie to learn to do or play, but with extra help, he can accomplish many useful things. So although there is no cure for Down's syndrome, Louie and other children like him can still lead full, rich and happy lives, teaching others to celebrate the wonder of being alive. With its vibrant, descriptive illustrations, "The Little King and His Marshmallow Kingdom" is a joyous affirmation that speaks to children and adults about the value of celebrating diversity.

Ragdolly's Love
Donald W. Kruse, author
Craig Howarth, illustrator
Castle Keep Press
James A. Rock & Co., Publishers
900 South Irby Street, #508, Florence, SC 29501
9781596638211, $12.95,

"Ragdolly's Love" is a sensitively written soft cover book about a girl whose smile has needed fixing since birth, because she was born with a cleft palate. Because that made her look funny, and because her father was poor and unemployed and she had to wear poor clothing, the children at her new school teased her and made fun of her, calling her "Ragdolly" because of her ragged appearance. But Ragdolly somehow manages to give caring responses to her classmates, teacher, principal, and custodian, despite their jeering, critical attitude towards her. In a beautiful illustration of Christian charity, Ragdolly touches each of the important people in her life with her thoughtfulness. Finally, the class and teachers learn that Ragdolly is hospitalized and needs a serious operation because of her congenital cleft palate, which they had mocked her for. They all decide to help raise money to pay for her surgery, which is partially covered by an organization called the Smile train. A happy ending is in sight, and everyone whose life has been touched by Ragdolly helps to improve her new life, where her beautiful smile outside matches her beautiful kind heart inside. "Ragdolly's Love" is an inspirational book to be read by children ages 6 and up. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of "Ragdolly's Love" is donated to The Smile Train, at, Also recommended by the same author is "Moose Pee and Tea!" (9781596636798, $12.95), a hilarious versed tale about a creative young entrepreneur who starts out selling lemonade and ends up buying a swimming pool.

Small Medium & Large
Jane Monroe Donovan, author/artist
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364473, $15.95,

"Small Medium & Large" is an imaginative picture book about a girl's wish list letter for Santa. Charming illustrations in sequence tell much of the action of the story. When the girl opens her presents on Christmas, she finds living surprises in boxes that are small, medium and large. The first is a kitty, the second is a dog, and the third is a miniature pony! All the animals play in the snow with the girl, and they help her make small, medium and large snowmen as well. Sammy is very happy with her small, medium and large gifts, and writes Santa a special thank you letter, also requesting a new bone, some carrots and a toy mouse for next year. The unusual thing about "Small Medium & Large" is the entire story is told in pictures, except for the letters to Santa. "Small Medium & Large" is suitable for children ages 4-10, allowing and encouraging them to create their own narrative for the wonderful tale unfolding in the pictures.

Seaside Dream
Janet Costa Bates, author
Lambert David, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600603471, $17.95,

"Seaside Dream" is an award-winning children's illustrated story about the precious relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, and the impact of immigration on a family. Cora is excited to find a birthday present for her grandmother who will be 70. Cora's Grandmother had emigrated to the United States from Cape Verde, a small cluster of islands off the West coast of Africa. For Grandmother Piedade's birthday party, there is a big feast cooked of many favorite Cape Verde foods. When Cora asks why there is so much food, she is told the reason is because when Piedade lived on Cape Verde, there wasn't always enough food to eat. So now the family feels blessed and shows that with their shared feast of munchupa or kachupa, a stew, and other foods. Cora takes a shore side walk with her grandmother after night falls and her grandmother tells her about mantenhas, or warm messages send from faraway loved ones, like a hello that hugs. Cora finally dreams of just the right gift or her grandmother, who misses her sister back in Cape Verde. "Seaside Dream" is a wonderful book about strong connections and honoring one's family traditions and past, no matter how far away in time or space. "Seaside Dreams" is winner of the New Voices Award and honor, and is appropriate for children ages 5-10.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Steven Guarnaccia
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810989665, $18.95,

Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne is retold and illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia: while it keeps to the core tradition of Goldilocks, it also offers more modern beats who are actually sophisticated. They've built a fancy modern house to the intrusion of Goldilocks in their renovated home causes them more than light anguish in this fun new classic take on the theme.

The Rabbit Problem
Emily Gravett
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781442412552, $17.99,

THE RABBIT PROBLEM may be based on a book solved in the 13th century by mathematician Fibonacci, but it's not actually a book about math - it's the story of too many rabbits. While its pop-ups and fold-outs are not suitable for the rigors of library lending, THE RABBIT PROBLEM does pack in colorful, whimsical and fun pages perfect for parent/child interactions. Hours of delight are promised in this whimsical, fun survey!

Knopf/Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019

Barack Obama's OF THEE I SING: A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTERS (9780375835278, $17.99) is illustrated by Loren Long and offers a series of inspirational observations to his daughters. Images capture the promise of childhood and modern Americans, detailing the achievements of Einstein, Jackie Robinson, Sitting Bull and more. The manuscript was written and acquired before Obama took office in 2009, and provides an inspiration to all. Karen Henry Clark's SWEET MOON BABY: AN ADOPTION TALE (9780375857096, $17.99) receives fine drawings by Patrice Barton and a lovely story of a perfect baby born in China. Her journey from her birth parents in China to her adoptive parents on the other side of the world makes for a gentle tale of love.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Norton Juster's THE ODIOUS OGRE (9780545162029, $17.95) receives fine drawings by Jules Feiffer and tells the story of a rotten Ogre who is big, ugly, angry and always hungry. He terrorizes the countryside wrecking havoc and sadness - until he encounters a kind young lady who tries to help him. Good reading skills lend to an intriguing drama perfect for picturebook readers. Richard Egielski's CAPTAIN SKY BLUE (9780545213424, $17.95) tells of what happens when Santa brings Jack his best toy pal Captain Sky Blue, who always speaks in pilot lingo - until a thunderstorm separates the friends. Sky's search for the road home takes him into the sea and around the world until he finds an unusual road back. Rebecca Emberley and Ed Eberley's IF YOU'RE A MONSTER AND YOU KNOW IT (9780545218290, $16.99) presents a fun, rollicking sing-along rhyme inviting young readers to snort, growl, wiggle and more. Download the catchy tune, sung by Adrian Emberley, and read along in a whimsical picturebook. Leonid Gore's THE WONDERFUL BOOK (9780545085984, $16.99) provides an original tale asking about a strange object and a clever boy who knows what the object is. The object can be different things to different animals, but only the boy can reveal its true meaning in this fun account.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Becoming Buddha
Whitney Stewart, author
Sally Rippin, artist
c/o Stone Bridge Press
PO Box 8208, Berkeley, CA 94707
0893469467, $16.95,

"Becoming Buddha, the Story of Siddhartha" is a beautifully illustrated children's book about the life of Buddha. A foreword and special meditation guide by Hi Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama add to the immense appeal and value of "becoming Buddha." Written in white flowing text against black background and unfolding like a calendar of miracles, "Becoming Buddha" presents the story of Siddhartha's life like a luminous, unfolding flower. Just reading and experiencing the story is sure to bring a measure of hidden peace and joy to anyone. The Four Noble Truths are presented along with the Buddha's saying: "Pay Attention to your mind. Otherwise it will cause you to suffer. The focused mind brings happiness." "Becoming Buddha" is accessible to children ages 8 and up, and adults of all ages. Younger children will love the illustrations and sense the message of peace that is folded in to this inspiring interpretation of the life of Buddha.

Sensing Peace
Suzana E. Yoder, author
Rachel Hoffman-Bayles, illustrator
Herald Press
616 Walnut Avenue, Scottsdale, PA 15683-1999
9780836195156 $13.99 1-800-759-4447

Sensing Peace is a spiritual children's picturebook that teaches young readers about experiencing peace - whether through simply laughing and sharing good times with others, cleaning up trash, planting a tree, enjoying the aroma of fresh-baked bread, or any number of other positive activities. "Peace is the smell of earth on your hands after planting a garden. You can smell peace after a summer rain. Breathe deeply. Breathe in peace!" A gentle, fulfilling picturebook, Sensing Peace has much to offer to readers of all ages, and is an especial joy for parents and children to share aloud during storytime or bedtime.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

An Osprey Summer
Bethany Masters, author/photographer
Book Bridge Press
c/o River Lake Press
1799 Ashland Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104
9780615369518, $17.95,

"An Osprey Summer" is a fact-filled photo essay of an osprey family that nests on the upper Mississippi banks on a channel marker. A friendly cartoon character named Sammy offers added information and fun-filled observations on the osprey observations and pictures. Written and photographed by an elementary teacher, "An Osprey Summer" is an award winning nature-education book suitable for children ages 7 and up.

The Holiday Shelf

Sherry Shahan, author
Paula Barragan, illustrator
August House Inc.
3500 Piedmont Road NE, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30305
9780874838619 $16.95

Award-winning team Sherry Shahan and Paula Barragan present Fiesta! A Celebration of Latino Festivals, a children's picturebook that vividly presents fun facts about Latino festivals connected to each month of the year, from Cinco de Mayo to Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun). The celebrations of a wide swath of South American cultures are represented, including beloved holidays of Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, even the Quiche and Cuchumatan peoples of Guatemala. The blocky, colorful artwork adds the perfect complement to this educational and enjoyable tour of cultural festivities, highly recommended especially for children's public library collections.

Santa's Birthday Gift
Sherrill S. Cannon
Kalpart Team, illustrations
Eloquent Books
Strategic Book Group
P.O. Box 333, Durham, CT 06422
9781608608249, $11.50,

"Santa's Birthday Gift" is a charming children's Christmas book that explains origins of Santa's role in connection with the birth of the Christ child. "Santa's Birthday Gift" is beautifully written in a gentle versed narrative and illuminated with starlit illustrations of the Nativity including the jolly angel-elf in red known as Santa. Written in answer to a child's question about the traditional Nativity, "But where is Santa?", "Santa's Birthday Gift" is the perfect explanation of mysterious Christmas customs and traditions for young children. "Santa's Birthday Gift" will enchant inquisitive children of all ages.

The Preschool Shelf

The ABCs of Caribbean Fruits and Vegetables
Julia E. Antoine, author
Frankniell Concepcion, illustrator
Privately Published
9781453721872 $16.99

The ABCs of Caribbean Fruits and Vegetables is an unusual, softcover ABC picturebook - each letter of the alphabet is demonstrated for young readers with a full-color picture of a corresponding fruit or vegetable that can be found in the Caribbean. Additional black-and-white simple outlines of each fruit or vegetable encourage drawing, coloring, or tracing. The text is filled with amazing information about each food item. "The mutant-apple looking Quince is usually yellow, with a pronounced bump at the end. It bruises very easily. It is tart and occasionally eaten out of hand with salt but it can be made into jam, jelly or Quince pudding." In addition to being educational, The ABCs of Caribbean Fruits and Vegetables is a great way to help young people take interest in fresh and healthy foods!

The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book
Jez Alborough
Kane Miller Books/ EDC Publishing
4901 Morena Blvd., Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781935279662, $15.99,

"The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book" is a lusty, noisy, merry farm animals' sounds story that will charm children ages 2-6. Farmer Dougal is sleeping late, so all the animals pretend to mimic the sound the tractor makes when he turns the engine on. For some reason, the tractor sounds come out a little different from each animal. For the sheep, it baaaas, for the cat, it purrrs, and for the turkey, it gobble gobbles! Will Farmer Dougal ever wake up? What if the animals manage to make the tractor go? Children will love the colorful foldout illustrations and the wildly funny sounds from all the different animals. "The Gobble Gobble Mooooooo Tractor Book" is a delightful experience for preschool children to read and love.

D is for Dala Horse
Kathy-jo Wargin, author
Renee Graef, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585365104, $17.95,

"D is for Dala Horse" is a Nordic countries alphabet that presents beautiful pictures of scenes from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, and Svalbard, for every letter of the alphabet. From Arctic Circle to Zigzag roads through fjords and tundras, every letter is represented by a different aspect of Nordic custom, culture, or land. The rhyming text helps make the alphabet recital pleasant, and additional information on the featured word is presented on the opposite page. Beautiful color illustrations by the creator of the illustrations in the "Kirsten" books in the American Girl collection enrich the pages of "D is for Dala Horse." Some letters get two words, like R" is for runestones and reindeer, and also rosemaling. Others, such as "U" have one word, which is Uppsala University, in Sweden, the oldest institution of higher learning in all the Nordic Countries. Many treasured surprises await the lucky child whose alphabet is traced in "D is for Dala Horse, A Nordic Countries Alphabet.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Ring of Solomon
Jonathan Stroud, author
Simon Jones, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780307738615 $48.00 1-800-726-0600

The Ring of Solomon: A Bartimaeus Novel is the unabridged audiobook production of the latest in the magical series of Bartimaeus fantasy sagas for young adults. In 950 B.C.E., when King Solomon rules Jerusalem, and on his hand rests a ring of terrible power. Solomon has begun work on his temple, and tasked the magician Khaba to oversee its construction; this is no easy job, for the workforce consists of unruly demons! Bartimaeus the djinn especially chafes at the labor, and for his insolence gets sent to the even less desirable task of hunting bandits in the desert. When he meets the beautiful Asmira, who is desperate to protect her nation from Solomon's forthcoming invasion, she makes Bartimaeus a most daring and dangerous offer! Readers of all ages will enjoy "The Ring of Solomon"; familiarity with the prior Bartimaeus novels is not required to get swept up in the adventure. Highly recommended. 10 CDs, 12 hours 39 min.

The DVD Shelf

The Curious Garden
Peter Brown, author
Katherine Kellgren, narrator
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545296048 $59.95

Intended for young viewers ages 4-8, and featuring a "read-along" option, The Curious Garden is the animated DVD adaptation of an ALA Notable children's picturebook by Peter Brown. The story follows a young boy named Liam who wants to help promote a greener world, one garden at a time. He discovers a struggling garden and strives to take care of it; time passes, and the garden spreads through more of the city, transforming it into a beautiful green world. Warmly narrated by Katherine Kellgren, with music by David Mansfield, The Curious Garden is a delight especially recommended for children's library DVD collections. 10 minutes.

The Golden Hammer: The Movie
Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distribution)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Bob the Builder and his Top Team star in an exciting new computer-animated DVD for children, The Golden Hammer: The Movie. In The Golden Hammer, Spud and Scrambler discover a legend of the Pirate Brickbeard's Golden Hammer, a treasure hidden within their hometown. They track down clues to the hidden hammer one by one, in this delightful, wholesome, and family-friendly adventure with a "Build a House with Bob" game as a bonus feature. 60 min. Also highly recommended for young people from Hit Entertainment and Lionsgate is "Ready for Action" ($9.98, 46 min.), an exciting collection of Fireman Sam episodes.

Katie Loves the Kittens
John Himmelman, author
Elizabeth Himmelman, narrator
Robert Kessler, music
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851

Intended for young viewers ages 3-8, Katie Loves the Kittens is the brief yet warm-hearted DVD adaptation of the children's storybook that earned the award "Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year". Katie Loves the Kittens is about a little dog named Katie, who is so excited when Sara Ann brings home three kittens that she howls and runs after them. But her actions frighten the kittens, and they run away from her, leaving poor Katie sad. Why don't the kittens understand she just wants to play? A delightful story with a read-along option and a bonus interview with author John Himmelman, Katie Loves the Kittens is a choice pick for children's DVD libraries or for playing during elementary school homeroom. 9 minutes, subtitles, closed captioned.

The Music Shelf

Along Came a Giant
Adam Miller
Privately Published

In "Along Came a Giant" (53 min. 50 sec.), folksinger, storyteller, and autoharp virtuoso Adam Miller adapts traditional American folk songs for young people. The result is a lively, adventurous collection of tales (most of which are grounded in traditional tales, although a few have credit given to various authors) intended for listeners age 4-12, but sure to entertain all ages. These brief but amazing legends set to music are the perfect choice for car trips! The tracks are "When I Was a Little Boy", "Who Were the Witches?", "Twenty Froggies", "I'm Not Scared", "Old Bill Pickett", "The Three Foolish Piglets", "Talking Nautical", "The Brandy Tree", "Froggie Went A'Courtin'", "Simple Gifts", "Hi Ho Jerum", "Little Old Woman All Skin and Bones", "To the Gray Whale Ranch", "The Coast of High Barbary", "A Horse Named Bill", "I Had a Little Nut Tree", "The Farmer and the Crow", "Michael Finnegan", "Old Bangum", "The Frog Song", "When the Rain comes Down", and "Wynken, Blinken and Nod". Also highly recommended is Adam Miller's memorable "The Orphan Train" (52 min. 13 sec.), a nostalgic album intended for listeners ages 9 and older.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Cable Publishing
14090 E. Keinenen Rd., Brule, WI 54820

David Schmidt's "Natural Forces" series for young adult readers consists of action-packed novels about a team of evolved animal heroes fighting to protect both the human and natural world. The spirit of an ancient shaman has called together five adventurous animal orphans to protect the planet: Wolf, Bear, Falcon, Ferret, and Badger. Each creature has been given supernatural powers, including the ability to shape-change into an adult warrior form! In "Natural Forces: Jinx of the Black Lynx" (9781934980309, $7.95), the existence of a newly discovered wild cat in northern Minnesota could reveal the secret of a buried war cache of nuclear weapons. To keep the weapons secret, the ruthless hunter Colonel Shaka and his army of Soldierjacks have been hired to exterminate the mysterious Black Lynx! The Natural Forces must use their wits, teamwork, and powers to protect an elusive species as well as their own lives. In "Natural Forces: Game of Spade's" (9781934980316, $7.95), the Rocky Mountains are being plundered by the destructive Axxes corporation, which seeks to use the source waters of the Colorado River to spread their mind-control weapon. The Natural Forces must fight Mr. Spade and his ruthless Soldierjacks in the unforgiving Alpine wilderness. Both novels are brief yet exciting, and sure to encourage reading for pleasure among young adult animal and fantasy lovers everywhere. Highly recommended.

The Science Shelf

Recycle: Green Science Projects for a Sustainable Planet
Robert Gardner
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398
9780766036482 $31.93 1-800-398-2504

Award-winning science author for young adults Robert Gardner presents Recycle: Green Science Projects for a Sustainable Planet, a compendium of educational science projects and ideas structured around ways ordinary people can help the planet. From composting as an activity, to a demonstration of how ordinary paper can be recycled into cardboard, to recreating the basic idea behind a waste-to-energy power plant (in which steam turns a turbine that serves as an electrical generator) with a toy electric motor, Recycle: Green Science Projects for a Sustainable Planet is packed with ideas for science fairs, hands-on activities, and invaluable recommendations for being a responsible citizen and environmental steward. Recycle is part of a series of similar activity and science experiment books including Air (9780766036468, $31.93), Earth's Cycles (9780766036444, $31.93), Energy (9780766036444, $31.93), and Soil (9780766036475, $31.93). All are highly recommended, especially for children's public or school library collections.

The Bilingual Shelf

I am Honest
Mark Eroll
Gareth Stevens
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781433948664, $22.60,

Good values are something to be celebrated. "I am Honest/Soy Honesto" is a dual language book in both English and Spanish, telling of what honesty is and how to become more honest in one's life by following the rules and being responsible for what has been done. Thoughtful and positive, "I am Honest" is a strong pick for young readers with a good moral message.

Grandma's Chocolate
Mara Price, author
Lisa Fields, illustrator
Pinata Books
452 Cullen Performance Hall, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558855878, $16.95,

A grandmother is a great source of wisdom for many children. "Grandma's Chocolate" tells a story of young Sabrina as she learns much about Mexican heritage from her grandmother over something every little girl and perhaps every grandmother enjoys too, chocolate. The book is presented in both English and Spanish and provides a charming read with detailed and thoughtful artwork from Lisa Fields, making "Grandma's Chocolate" a choice pick for multilingual children's collections.

Fox on the Ice
Tomson Highway, author
Brian Deines, illustrator
Fifth House Publishers
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario M1S 1C6
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135-3303
9781897252659 $19.95 1-800-387-9776

Award-winning author Tomson Highway presents Fox on the Ice, a children's picturebook with text presented in both the English and Cree languages. When brothers Cody and Joe go ice fishing with their parents, suddenly the sled dogs react to a bright-furred fox across the lake. The dogs rush to chase the fox, pulling the mother and Joe on an unexpected ride; what are Cody and his father to do? Absolutely beautiful color illustrations of a family's unexpected adventure enhance this simple and heartwarming tale.

The Folklore/Mythology Shelf

Tales of Irish Enchantment
Patricia Lynch, author
Sara Baker, illustrator
c/o Dufour Editions, Inc.
PO Box 7, Chester Springs, PA 19425-0007
9781856356817 $29.95 1-800-869-5677

In Tales of Irish Enchantment, prolific Irish writer Patricia Lynch adapted six classic legends for young reader. Each story is fairly lengthy - a small epic in its own right - and brought to life with Sara Baker's colorful and slightly cartoony illustrations on virtually every other page. From the heroic exploits of Cuchulain, to fables about the Kingdom of the Dwarves, Tales of Irish Enchantment is filled with wonder from cover to cover. Highly recommended for public library children's collections, or as the perfect St. Patrick's Day gift!

Cinderella: An Islamic Tale
Fawzia Gilani, author
Shireen Adams, illustrator
The Islamic Foundation
c/o Kube Publishing Ltd.
Consortium Books Sales & Distrubution
34 13th Avenue NE, Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55413
9780860374732 $14.00

Cinderella: An Islamic Tale is a picturebook of a classic Islamic fable, retold by Fawzia Gilani. The gentle and pious Zahra's parents die, she lives a harsh life with a stepmother who cares little for her. Yet she stays true to her beliefs and her principles, and her inner goodness ultimately earns her goodness in reward. "As for the stepmother and stepsisters, when they saw how Allah had rewarded Zahra's goodness, they were filled with shame. They repented for their sins and asked for her forgiveness. And, remembering the example of the Prophet Yusuf and his brothers, Princess Zahra forgave them wholeheartedly." Simple, colorful illustrations enhance this lovely recreation of a cherished fairy tale, and the final two pages offer a glossary of Arabic terms as well as a brief footnote list of the passages from the Qur'an and Hadith referred to by the story. Cinderella: An Islamic Tale is highly recommended especially for children's public library multicultural picturebook collections.

The Art Shelf

Travels with Monet
Susan Rodriguez
Crystal Productions
PO Box 2159, 1812 Johns Drive, Glenview, IL 60025
9781562906641, $15.95

Of landscape paintings today, many artists owe their inspiration to Claude Monet. "Travels with Monet: Travel in the Artist's Footsteps" is a light and fun read aimed at young would be artists focusing on the travels and life of legendary French artist Monet, who changed how many artists did landscapes forever. Packed cover to cover with full color photos, "Travels with Monet" is a top pick for any youth-oriented art collection, highly recommended.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Yossi & Laibel Learn to Share
Dina Rosenfeld, author
Norman Nodel, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628582, $6.95,

Sharing is a virtue that pays back. "Yossi & Laibel Learn to Share" is a Jewish children's book from Dina Rosenfeld, adapted from Rosenfeld's earlier children's book 'Labels for Laibel'. With a unique art style from Norman Nodel, "Yossi & Laibel Learn to Share" is a charming read aimed at Jewish children, but the message is clear for anyone.

Books in Series

Freddie the Frog
Sharon Burch, author
Tiffany Harris, illustrator
Mystic Publishing, Inc.
Bradley Bank Bldg, 2nd Floor, 307 N. 13th Centerville, IA 52544
$23.95 each,

Rhythm and music is just another part of life. "Freddie the Frog" is a series of books following Freddie and his family on Treble Cleft Island. Musically driven stories, each volume has a CD with original music as well as a picturebook, with the story written by Sharon Busch and unique full color artwork from Tiffany Harris. "The Thump in the Night" (9780974745497) follows the first adventures of Freddie as he faces an unknown sound in the night and must face it himself. "The Bass Clef Monster" (9780974745480) tells of Freddie's encounter with a monster who is doing more than just growling at him angrily, as Freddie tries to deduct it as friend or foe. "The Mysterious Wahoooo" (9780974745473) has Freddie and his best friend stranded on Tempo island, as the story seeks to teach children about tempo and what it means in music. "The Secret of Crater Island" (9780974745466) continues Freddie's musical adventures as he tries to deduct the mystery behind crater island as he makes new friends.

Animal Antics A to Z
Barbara deRubertis, author
R.W. Alley, illustrator
The Kane Press
350 5th Avenue, Suite 7206, New York, NY 10118-7200
$7.95 each,

With an allure to alliteration, author Barbara deRubertis brings young readers an educational and humorous treat with "Animal Antics A-Z", following the adventures of Alpha Betty's class and their letter driven dilemmas, emphasizing letter sounds throughout their stories. Readers will enjoy the rhyming sing song nature of the books, as well as the excellently complementary art style from R. W. Alley. "Kylie Kangaroo's Karate Kickers" (9781575653235) follows Kylie Kangaroo's martial arts adventures where she tries to build herself up to her goal, breaking a brick with her hands like they do in the movies. "Lana Llama's Little Lamb" (9781575653242) tells of Lana's lamb friend and her problem with a sneaky wolf, who turns to her teacher for advice and help. "Maxwell Moose's Mountain Monster" (9781575653259) tells of Maxwell who enjoys camping and finds that he may not be alone in the mountains and is unsure of what may be stalking him, and if it's just his imagination. "Nina Nandu's Nervous Noggin" (9781575653266) is about the anxiety that Nina Nandu, the newest kid in school faces as she moves into a new place and finds it a rough task of trying to fit in once more, but her classmates and teacher may have something waiting for her yet. "Oliver Otter's Own Office" (9781575653273) is the story of Oliver getting a place of his own to do his homework, as his siblings continue to torment him and get in the way of getting it done. But it isn't so easy for Oliver. "Polly Porcupine's Painting Prizes" (9781575653280) looks at the messy problem that Polly faces where her art that she loves creates a big messes that clashes with her father's wishes, and she tries to clean up her act. "Quentin Quokka's Quick Questions" (9781575653297) looks at the inquisitive Quentin who is never without a question about what's in front of him. But he soon learns when to ask questions and when to keep quiet. "Rosie Raccoon's Rock and Roll Raft" (9781575653303) tells of Rosie's raft race as she has to get through the rapids in order to win a difficult race, and she questions whether she is up to this tough task.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Two fine new titles covering the ancient world are picks for any advanced elementary to middle school collection, each offering well over a hundred pages packed with color illustration and lively history. ANCIENT EGYPT AND THE NEAR EAST: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY (9780761479345, $57.07) provides a fine survey filled with photos of relics, modern-day Egypt and the Near East, and maps detailing the geography and history of the region. ANCIENT GREECE: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY (9780761479321, $57.07) achieves the same for Greece, with sidebars of detail accompanying surveys of early Greece's social, political and economic influences. Both are top picks for collections strong in ancient history. The references MAMMALS OF THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE (9780761479369, $85.64) and MAMMALS OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE (9780761479376, $85.64) are fine choices for any middle school collection strong in natural history. Each holds some 200 pages pairing color illustrations and maps with details on the anatomy and habits of different animals. Together these provide a fine introduction to students seeking initial facts about animals of different regions.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

New additions to the 'Surprising Science' series by Dana Meachen Rau offer kids in grades K-2 some 24 pages each of lively facts paired with lovely color photos to encourage excitement and leisure reading. HOT AIR BALLOONS (9780761448730, $20.95), MUMMIES (9780761448693, $20.95), ROLLER COASTERS (9780761448723, $20.95), FIREWORKS (9780761448686, $20.95), and ROBOTS (9780761448716, $20.95) pack in lively subjects familiar to kids and review the basic science involved, thus linking science to fascinating, exciting concepts kids will want to read about. Elementary science collections need such books!

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 - 5th Avenue, 59th Floor, New York NY 10118

The 'My Path to Math' series ($15.95 each) will reach grade 2 with its outstanding 24-page basic introductions to math concepts. With its clear step-by-step explanations, math problem examples, and color photos, many an adult may wish to consult these as a 'refresher course'. Claire Piddock's REGROUPING (9780778767855) and her PLACE VALUE: THE NEXT STAGE (9780778767831), Marina Cohen's POLYGONS (9780778767848), and Marsha Arvoy and Dorianne Nardi's AREA (9780778767800) all provide math examples based on easy problems so that students receive keys to math applications, not just formulas. John Burstein's additions to 'Slim Goodbody's Life Skills 101' ($19.95 each) will reach Grade 3 with 32 pages of details ranging from how to understand basic money management to managing stress and developing good manners. DOLLARS AND SENSE: DEVELOPING GOOD MONEY HABITS (9780778747949), MANNERS, PLEASE! WHY IT PAYS TO BE POLITE (9780778747956), PAST TENSE: HEALTHY WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS (9780778747963), and SPEAK UP! COMMUNICATING CONFIDENTLY (9780778747970) each pack in details kids in grades 3-6 will all find intriguing. Bobbie Kalman's WHAT ARE OPPOSITES IN NATURE? (9780778733263) and her WHAT IS SYMMETRY IN NATURE? (9780778733270, $15.95 each) join others in the 'Looking at Nature' series for grade 1, offering 24 pages each exploring the basic concepts of differences in nature and identical parts in nature. Her 'What Is' nature series holds 32 pages each packed with keys to understanding different small aspects of nature. New releases include WHAT IS SUPER NATURE? (9780778732877), HOW DO LIVING THINGS FIND FOOD? (9780778732341), WHAT KIND OF LIVING THING IS IT? (9780778732358) and WHAT IS POLLINATION? (9780778732860). Each offers lively discussion paired with a glossary, index, and bright color photos throughout! All are winning picks for libraries seeking to encourage leisure browsing.

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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