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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 1 January 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Environmental Studies Shelf Health Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Holiday Shelf Board Book Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Biography Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
Christian Shelf Fiction Shelf Science Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

The Way to School
Rosemary McCarney with Plan International
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781927583784 $18.95

The Way to School is a children's picturebook about the challenges children face on their daily travels to the school classroom. Some children are so unfortunate they never get to go to school, because they have to work all do. The children who do get to attend school may have to cross a bamboo bridge, ride a dog sled, float on a boat, climb mountains, or carry a heavy bowl of drinking water with them because there is no water in the schooling area. Striking color photographs illustrate this vivid reminder that everyday life challenges some young people much more than others, and that schooling is so valuable that it makes even the most difficult journeys worthwhile! Highly recommended, especially for public and early grade school library picturebook collections.

When My Grammy Forgets, I Remember
Toby Haberkorn, author
Heather Varkaraotas, illustrator
Baypointe Publishers
9780991623600, $12.95 PB, $3.99 Kindle, 38pp,

"When My Grammy Forgets, I Remember: A Child's Perspective on Dementia" traces a child's awareness of a progressing dementia in her beloved grandmother over time. This book helps children understand changes due to dementia in beloved older adults. The realistic color illustrations show the passage of time in a change of seasons, changes in hair color and facial features, etc. The important message reaffirms that the girl remembers her grandmother's loving ways from earlier days when her dementia had not yet surfaced, and she reflects and returns the love. The progression of dementia in a beloved elder can be frightening and disorienting to children and others. "When My Grammy Forgets, I Remember" helps children focus on their ability to provide continuing reflected love for a relative who is experiencing dementia.

The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation
Licia Morelli, author
Jennifer E. Morris, illustrator
Tilbury House Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, Maine 04861
9780884483960, $16.95,

"The Lemonade Hurricane" is a delightful, instructional children's book that introduces the concept of meditation centering exercises for kids. Filled with colorful action page portraits of the lemonade hurricane in action, or a boy named Henry, "The Lemonade Hurricane" explores the value of mindfulness and meditation to instill a sense of organization and self -control in even an active young boy like Henry. Told from the viewpoint of Henry's older sister, Emma, "The Lemonade Hurricane" story conveys an accurate picture of how it feels to experience both inner calmness and clarity and inner chaos, as a kid. Emma has had positive experiences with her own mindful meditation practice, and she decides to offer to help Henry. Approaching the hurricane boy in a tree, armed with an umbrella against spilling lemonade, Emma models a simple meditation practice. "Sit. Bow. Breathe." She pretends when she bows that she is on top of a mountain and can see for miles and miles. When she breathes, she pretends she is the wind moving the leaves in the trees. Henry is intrigued by Emma's unshakeable inner calm and stillness. He decides he can do meditation exercises too. He even pretends he is sitting on top of an elephant so he has to move really slowly when he bows. "Look. Listen. Feel. Breathe." Afterwards Henry and Emma take deep breaths, and the Lemonade Hurricane is gone. Additional meditation tips and instructions, including the suggested use of meditation cushions or mats, are included for comfortable meditation practice for children. Most of us have known a child like Henry at times. "The Lemonade Hurricane" is a valuable asset to clarity of mind for children.

God Made All Of Me
Justin S. Holcomb & Lindsey A. Holcomb, authors
Trish Mahoney, illustrator
New Growth Press
1301 Carolina Street, Suite L-101, Greensboro, NC 27401
9781942572305, $14.99, HC,

"God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies" is a Christian gospel-based book designed to help even young children learn to protect themselves from inappropriate touching and sexual abuse. Concerned parents are aware that children need a gentle approach and awareness education to learn the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching, and to identify their body's private parts as well as all others. "God Made All of Me" delivers a straightforward message, accomplishing a healthy, scripture -based attitude of certainty that God made all things and called it good. Simple, colorful illustrations show children the definitions and distinctions between positive touching and unwanted, or negative touching. Permission is given to the child to say no to touching, even hugs or handshakes, or kissing. Children are encouraged to say Stop, or all done if they don't want to be touched, or they want touching to end. A list is suggested to provide names of trusted people, usually adults, who help the child to feel safe and strong. "God Made All of Me" is not afraid to tackle delicate topics and issues, but it does so in a sensitive way that will not threaten children. A Psalm quotation ends the story: "The Lord Gives me strength. He is like a shield that keeps me safe. My heart trusts in him, and he helps me (Psalm 28:7)." In addition, "God Made All of Me" includes a list of 9 Ways to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse for parents. "God Made All of Me" is a God-centered Judeo Christian health book that deals successfully with a difficult topic for parents and children of all ages.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

We Can Reduce: Precycle It!
Sabbithry Persad, author
Jesse Schilperoort, illustrator
Firewater Media Group
c/o EcoAdventures
P.O. Box 782375, Orlando, Florida 32878
9780981243924, $8.95,

From the EcoAdventures Garbology Kids series, "We Can Reduce: Precycle It!" is a recipient of the Mom's Choice Awards as "among the best in family-friendly media, products and services." Readers follow the eco-education of Shamina and friends in environmental management of landfill. The children learn about precycling, which means to prevent waste before it happens, before recycling. Specific suggestions include ways to precycle, and the children quickly absorb the message, examining their lunch waste and learning about ways to pack a waste-free lunch. They also investigate stopping junk mail by using the mail preference service, switching to rechargeable batteries, and collecting pledges to precycle from the community. Children also learn to encourage parents to shop carefully, avoiding buying thins with excess packaging. The children learn that they can have a positive effect on reducing the waste going into the landfill through their community and individual efforts. Setbacks do not deter the students, they a great Solutions Fair at the Clover Community Center with many creative precycling theme events, such as materials recovery, carpooling encouragement, reusable toy prizes, and highlighting vintage gifts to reduce your environmental footprint. In the end, they find calculations show they have gathered enough community pledges to reduce 2,000 tons of waste per month, a significant outcome. "We Can Reduce: Precycle It!" ends with questions for reflection, suggested related experiments and activities, and a Note to Parents, Teachers and Librarians. Colorful cartoon illustrations keep the theme and narrative exciting and moving, making this installment of the Garbology Kids series a multiple award winner for children age 5 and up.

The Health Shelf

The ABC's of Health
Peter Alderman, author
Mark Kummer, illustrator
Flowerpot Press
142 2nd Ave. North, Franklin, TN 37064
9781486707980 $7.99

The ABC's of Health is a children's ABC book that encourages little ones to eat healthy foods. Most of the letters of the alphabet are paired with the names of nutritious foods, though some refer to other healthy habits such as getting enough rest. "K is for Kale, / a green, leafy treat. / It's a superfood, / so have more to eat!" Brightly colored illustrations add a jubilant touch to this upbeat picturebook, peppered with fun facts about good nutrition. Highly recommended!

Her Brown Hair
Jill Dana, author/illustrator
Guardian Angel Publishing
9781616336493, $9.95 PB, $5.00 Kindle,

A companion piece to the author's book, "Her Pink Hair," "Her Brown Hair" is a sensitive exploration of the meaning of friendship, durable through experiences of pain, illness, and recovery. Children ages 5-7 will empathize with the colorful clay figure illustrations and sparse text portraying a friendship between a child who is ill and hospitalized and other children who are healthy, loyal visitors, bringing gifts such as favorite stories, treats, and cheerful visits. The story of "Her Brown Hair" is told through images of colorful clay child figures with varying skin colors, embellished with friendly black and white canine friends. "Her Brown Hair" ends on an upbeat note, with the ill child's triumphant discharge home from the hospital: "Today, tomorrow, yesterday, and always, we'll be friends." The wondrous message is that friendship endures, steadfast, through good times and bad, health and sickness. "Her Brown Hair" is a powerful, creative children's book with a positive core message.

Blue Skies for Lupe
Linda Kurtz Kingsley, author/illustrator
Woodbine House
6510 Bell Mill Rd., Bethesda, MD 20817
9781606132715, $16.95,

"Blue Skies for Lupe" is a heartfelt, inspiring story about a Mexican girl with spina bifida whose mother crossed the border with her baby to find better care and a better life for herself and her daughter. Lupe was born in Mexico with a serious health problem called spina bifida. Doctors told her mother her baby Lupe would never walk, but she loved her anyway. In order to seek the best health care for Lupe, her Mami secretly crossed the border into the U. S. in the dark of the moon, carrying her baby daughter in her serape. She walked for three days and nights across the Mexican desert, crossing into California, and a new life. Lupe's Mama got jobs picking crops, lettuce, strawberries, all the while singing "Cielito Lindo" to baby Lupe. The song reminded both of them of the blue skies of home. Other babies grew and began to take their first steps, but Lupe did not. Her mother encouraged her, saying, "Your mind is bright and strong... You'll do fine." At age 6, Lupe got her first new wheelchair and started school with an aide named Juanita to help her by pushing her wheelchair, speaking Spanish to help Lupe understand English lessons. Lupe was afraid but her mother continued to encourage her to find her own way of doing things. Lupe had a special teacher and whiteboard to write her lessons with, and extra help with math. Lupe felt accepted by her teachers and classmates. She even began to wheel herself around during P.E. without help, and her arms got strong. She even made hoop shots from her wheelchair. On Cinco de Mayo, Lupe learned that she could even dance in a wheelchair. Every year Lupe learned more. She learned English, and how to use an electric wheelchair and computer, even how to swim and ride horseback. Most important, she learned how to be herself, and dream beautiful dreams of her own. "Blue Skies for Lupe" is based on a true story about a real girl, who continues to progress since high school graduation, attending college on a scholarship. A Spanish English glossary is helpful for embedded Spanish terms in the narrative. The delicate water color paintings of Lupe and her mother and friends add bright splashes of color and festivity to this inspiring true story of a Mexican girl and her devoted mother.

The Picturebook Shelf

P.J. Finds a Home
Sharon Wells Wagner, author
Michael L. Miller, illustrator
Aperture Press LLC
201 Washington Street, Suite 533, Reading, PA 19601
9780990930273 $16.95

Telling its story with simple, rhyming text, P.J. Finds a Home is a children's picturebook about a young girl who discovers tiny orange kitten, lost and alone - the kitten's vanilla cream mother has sadly passed on. The girl takes the kitten home for adoption. "Little kitten lost, now found, / Softly purrs, a blissful sound." Illustrated with heartwarming, beautiful color artwork, P.J. Finds a Home is an emotionally moving story about compassion and love, highly recommended.

Willy's Stories
Anthony Browne
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763677619 $16.99

Beautifully illustrated with full-color artwork on every other page, Willy's Stories is a children's picturebook designed to entice young readers into exploring the wonders of classic chapter books, by multiple award-winning author-illustrator Anthony Browne. Willy is a chimpanzee librarian who enjoys experiencing the dramatic adventures within the pages of his books; he re- enacts dramatic, pulse-pounding scenes from some of his favorite stories, and the very last page shows the titles of the books these scenes were from. "...I saw a figure with big ears hurrying down a long passage and turning a corner. I could swear it was a white rabbit. It looked at a pocket watch and then hurried on. I ran after it, around the corner, and then... What do you think I saw?" The classic children's books alluded to in "Willy's Stories" are "Robinson Crusoe", "Treasure Island", "Robin Hood", "The Tinderbox", "Peter Pan", "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", "Rapunzel", "The Wind in the Willows", and "The Adventures of Pinocchio". Willy's stories is especially recommended for public and grade school library picturebook collections.

The Snow Rabbit
Camille Garoche
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701810 $16.95

The Snow Rabbit is a spellbinding, completely wordless picturebook about the bond between two sisters, one of whom is in a wheelchair because she is paralyzed from the waist down. The other sister ventures outside and crafts a rabbit made of snow. The rabbit cannot be kept indoors or it will melt, so the sisters venture outside, where the rabbit magically springs to life and runs away! The sisters give chase, but the snow falls so thickly that the wheelchair sister cannot push her way home. Fortunately, the snow rabbit is not about to abandon the girls who sculpted and adored it to the bitter cold! Beautiful, heartwarming, and featuring extraordinary illustrations of papercraft art, The Snow Rabbit is highly recommended. Also a choice pick is the picturebook "The Story of Snowflake and Inkdrop" (9781592701865, $22.95), a modern fairytale about a lonely inkdrop and a drifting snowflake that meet to create delicate art; elaborate papercut overlays of colorful artwork including fold-out, papercut center pages distinguish this beautiful, read-aloud story.

The Toy and the Twister
Gillian King-Cargile, author
Kevin Krull, illustrator
Northern Illinois University Press
2280 Bethany Road, DeKalb, IL 60115
9780875804965 $18.99

The Toy and the Twister is a children's picturebook adventure about a stuffed toy rabbit caught up in a tornado. Although the main story is a charming adventure, The Toy and the Twister is a deliberately crafted educational tool that parents can use to help their children understand how to prepare for hazardous weather, and what to do when caught in a dangerous storm. The final two pages are an "Ask an Expert" question-and-answer session. "When does the tornado siren go off? Tornado sirens sound when meteorologists issue a tornado warning for your area. When you hear a tornado siren, take shelter just like Jack and Sophie did in the story." Highly recommended.

Today is the Day
Eric Walters, author
Eugenie Fernandes, illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770496484, $16.99,

Today is the Day receives warm drawings by Eugenie Fernandes as it tells of Mutanu, who thinks about the day about to come at the orphanage - the day that has been designed as her birthday. Real children in an orphanage in Kenya run by The Creation of Hope serves as a foundation for exploring how much such a special day can mean even to an orphan child uncertain of her roots. Good reading skills will be required of young picture book readers in order to appreciate the paragraphs of detail about the birthday celebration. The drawings are fun and lovely enhancements of the overall events presented in a winning fictional account of a real situation.

The Only Child
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553497045, $19.99,

This picture book may look thick but it's a wordless beautiful presentation inspired by the author's experiences of being an only child in China, and blends fantasy and dream elements in its story about loneliness. A little girl follows a stag into the woods and finds herself in a strange world far from the familiar. How will she get home again? Over 100 pages of lovely full page black and white illustrations from illustrator/author Guojing makes for a gorgeous, highly recommended tale for fans of wordless picture book stories.

My Dream For You Is Happiness
Carole Ann Hausman, author
Joanne Raptis, illustrator
Hamer House Publishing
PO Box 550653, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33355
9780986390609, $12.99,

"My Dream For You Is Happiness" is a wonderful book from the series titled My Dream For You. Perfect for reading to a child ready for rest, sleep, or quiet time, "My Dream For You Is Happiness" sends a direct message of warm acceptance, contentment, and security to the young child. Sensitively illustrated on a mixed brown paper background, "My Dream For You Is Happiness" reassures the child that happiness is always within reach, of their own making. A child does not need toys, a perfect life, or an ideal existence to be happy. Take a deep breath. Happiness comes from within. Enwrapping the child in quiet serenity, "My Dream For You Is Happiness" conveys that single crucial message of deep love and total acceptance that is the prerequisite for true happiness. "My Dream For You Is Happiness" is recommended for children up to age 5.

Flim Flam & Other Such Gobbledygook
Melica Hudgens, author
Jay Fontano, illustrator
Sweetwater Books
c/o Cedar Fort, Inc.
2373 W. 700 S., Springville, UT 84663
9781462116843, $14.99,

Written in rollicking rhyme, "Flim Flam & Other Such Gobbledygook" is a fun-filled tale of a barnyard celebration that sought to help many guests overcome their old habits and past grudges. It is Edwin Rooster who gives his barnyard friends a loud "Doodle Doo!" wake up call, encouraging all barnyard party guests to rise above their petty intolerances and other such gobbledygook and decide to respect each other's differences and enjoy the company. Comical, expressive color illustrations portray exact barnyard animal reactions to the planned party, underlining the core message of celebration of diversity. The summary is appealing, funny, and memorable: "So if you hear flim flam or gobbledygook, get rid of it quickly by hook or by crook! Don't let it botch friendships or ruin your day. Shoo it out! Hurry! It must go away. And if you see someone who acts like a mule, remember the animals and their new rule: instead of unkindness, choose niceness and see exactly how joyful the barnyard can be!" "Flim Flam & Other Such Gobbledybook" closes with a flim flam glossary to give helpful explanations of the many wonderful nonsense words used in the text to convey the value of acceptance of others. Children will love the excitement and backcountry humor of this fun new book.

Stay! A Top Dog Story
Alex Latimer, author/illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561458844, $16.95,

"Stay! A Top Dog Story" is a hilarious tale of a boy's vacation farewell to a best-loved, but poorly trained dog, Ben and Buster. Ben loves Buster to the moon and back, but Buster's everyday behavior leaves some room for improvement. In fact, this is part of the reason the family has decided they will take this year's vacation without Buster, letting Grandpa take care of him. Ben is consumed with writing detailed, illustrated notes to Grandpa about how to care for Buster, even after he leaves on vacation. However, he forgot one important caveat: Avoid bringing Buster to the post office. However, Grandpa received the post card warning too late, after he had taken Buster to the post office, where he was banned for spectacular bad behavior. Grandpa decided some obedience training was in order for Buster to learn better dog manners. It took lots of persistence and patience, but finally, Grandpa helped Buster make progress with his postman intolerance and other bad behaviors. Ben and family returned to a better Buster, and life with Buster improved greatly, most of the time. Charming, detailed portraits of Buster in action add to the delight of "Stay! A Top Dog Story" Children ages 4-8 will adore Buster and his adventures with Ben and family.

The Bear Report
Thyra Heder, author/illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 W. 18th Street, Floor 6, New York, NY 10011
9781419707834, $10.99,

"The Bear Report" is part bedtime story, part homework, and part Arctic winter fantasy, as well as all fun. Sparse narrative and delicate, softened illustrations spin an enchanting vision of an Arctic existence of a particular polar bear named Olafur. Olafur shares his life with Sophie, a girl who began her bear report with little interest in correct facts. The first thing Sophie learns is that not all polar bears are mean. Olafur shows Sophie who he eats fish, listens to whales sing, swims in the ocean, and sleeps on icebergs. Sophie learns about other Arctic animals like seals, foxes, snow rabbits, and more. Just when Olafur and Sophie get tired swimming in the Arctic ocean, Sophie calls a friendly whale to come help give them a free ride to shore. Sophie is dazzled by Olafur's last gift, a Northern Lights display. Finally, Sophie awakens from her nap and happily resumes her research on polar bears for her bear report. "The Bear Report" is first class educational entertainment for dark winter nights.

Bear Can Dance!
Suzanne Bloom, author/illustrator
Boyds Mills Press
c/o Highlights
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781629794426, $16.95,

Sixth in a series of delightful stories starring Bear and Goose, "Bear Can Dance!" is decorated with soft-edged, fabulous visions of a chalky white bear dancing with his friend, a goose. In a winter world with soft azure/blue backgrounds on white ice, Bear and Goose explore the idea of dancing, with the help of friend Fox, who is well meaning with his offer of a cape of many colors and a box sled on skis to help Bear fly. However, Goose whispers this is not the way to help Bear dance and fly. Instead, all by himself, they see that Bear is swooping and gliding, and dancing! Friend Fox still cannot resist offering to show Bear some new steps, but all three friends are caught up in the magical joy of ice dancing. "It's like flying, but with your feet on the ground. Mostly." "Bear Can Dance!" is perfectly appealing to very young readers, with its enchanting pictures and quiet tones, teasing the imaginations of young readers.

Bella's Best of All
Jamie Harper, author/illustrator
Running Press
2300 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762458196, $12.95,

"Bella's Best of All" is a completely entrancing tale of few words and eye-catching illustrations. Bella is a playful young mouse who loves comparing Mommy's special things with hers. Almost everything of Mommy's is better than Bella's except Mommy's cat. When Bella realizes she has lost her beloved stuffed Kitty in her intricate play, she is heartbroken. Fortunately she finds her beloved Kitty, (with her Mommy's help) hidden in the folds of Mommy's dress which Bella is trying on. Bella decides her very own Kitty is the best of all. "Bella's Best of All" is a wonderful book for preschool and young toddlers.

One Day, The End: Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Stories
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, author
Fred Koehler, illustrator
Boyds Mills Press
c/o Highlights
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431
9781620914519, $16.95,

"One Day, The End" is an intriguing collection of very short (etc.) stories often told mostly in the amusing, detailed, expressive, imaginative illustrations. The sparse narrative is blown up to giant sized text colored appropriately to match the story. Kids of all ages will love the very short stories told in very complicated pictures. "One Day, The End" has been described as a book about the power of storytelling. From a child's point of view, that is exactly right. It is all about rereading between the lines and pictures to discover exciting twists and turns and daring subplot developments. "One Day, The End" should be given or read to every child who enjoys stories and making them.

Can't Catch Calico
Elliott Carlson, author
Kevin McHugh, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781517096632, $20.00, PB,

"Can't Catch Calico" is a funny, vibrantly illustrated southern fable geared towards children with physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities. Written in a colorful, descriptive southern dialect, the story follows Calico the coyote's capture of a delicious live chicken meal and subsequent flight from Ol' Man Shotgunny and his slow-poke doggedy dog. Calico runs into snaggletooth troubles in his flight, but he makes a quick decision to escape minus one quickfoot sox and lives to lick his chops and run another day. Coyote ingenuity saves the day for this Calico scamp, and he quickly adapts to difficult hindrances. "Can't Catch Calico" has a special regional appeal, with its Southern drawl and teasing tones, but the overall message conveys strength, wit and cunning, and endurance, all slicked up with gobs of humor. "Can't Catch Calico" is irrepressible fun and an inspiration to readers and listeners who have other issues and obstacles in their lives.

Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race
Marianne Berkes, author
Cathy Morrison, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
978162856353, $17.95,

"Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race" reviews the familiar tale with a focus on applied math, fractions, and more. Henry Hare and Tess Tortoise have decided to run a race of 1,760 yards, or 5,280 feet, which equals one mile. All the animals and birds are interested in the unevenly matched racers. Henry likes to brag of his speed, but Tess is determined to race with him despite her slowness. All the animals helped to set up the course of the race. Because Henry was so far ahead of Tess, he decided to leave the race course a while to chase butterflies in the meadow and play, at just 1/8 of a mile. Tess kept on trudging. At 1/2 mile, Henry got hungry and left the track to find lettuce and carrots for lunch at a farm nearby. Tess told herself she had the finish line in mind and trudged on. Once again Henry got ahead of Tess at the 3/4 mile post. but he was so hot and thirsty and tired he had to stop for a drink. Tess had a definite advantage taking her house with her wherever she went, Henry, decided. Tired, but still overconfident, Henry decided to take a nap under a tree, since he was still ahead of Tess. Tess still kept walking along and eventually passed Henry where he was snoring. Finally, at 8 PM, Tess crossed the finish line to the applause of all the animals. Henry woke up just in time to hear the cheers, which were not for him. Everyone recognized that slow and steady had won the race! Amusing but realistic illustrations show Tess and Henry and all the other animals cheering and helping during the amazing race. Additional resource sections titled For Creative Minds, Measure It! Equal to, Greater than, Less than, and Animals of All Sizes provide opportunities for further study and review. "Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race" is recommended for children in elementary grades.

Dinosaur Rocket!
Penny Dale, author/illustrator
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763679996, $15.99,

"Dinosaur Rocket!" is the fourth exciting dinosaur adventure series title by the author, and it is a doozy! Action-packed colorful illustrations match dynamic, driving narrative free verse, all to celebrate a fantastic dinosaur adventure of riding a rocket to the moon to explore! Dressed in their tasteful dinosaur space suits, with perfectly tailored space for toes, claws, tails, and jaws, three nervous dinosaur astronauts board the rocket for countdown and liftoff! All the way to the moon they fly, then land to explore the moon's surface on dinosaur buggies. They even plant a dinosaur flag, and play dinosaur moon soccer! Looking up, they see blue Earth so far away, Home! Then they blast off to return to splashdown and an inflatable boat ride to an aircraft carrier and home, heroes all! "Dinosaur Rocket!" has a lot of excellent information added inside the front and back covers, with labeled illustrations of 10 dinosaur species and labeled portraits of all 8 transportation vehicles used by the dinosaurs in their trip to the moon and back. "Dinosaur Rocket!" is an exciting book for early readers, using stunning illustrations and dazzling repeated exclamations for style and emphasis.

Ice Cream Work
Naoshi, author/illustrator
Overcup Press
9780983491736, $14.99,

"Ice Cream Work" is an amazing collection of artworks made of colored sand called sunae with an intriguing, wryly humorous story line both written and unwritten. It successfully masquerades as a children's art book, with larger appeal for readers and art appreciators of many ages. Delicate, grainy appearing pastel pages tell the story (in pictures with sparse narrative) of Ice Cream Man, Ice Cream Man reports to work Monday through Friday, acting as ice cream with chocolate cake, a party popper, a road cone, a sunflower petal, and a golf tee! Ice Cream Man works hard all week, then it is time for Ice Cream Holiday! The sunae pages are simply stunning, and filled with mysterious details. A Look & Find section suggests special hidden characters to seek for different starred levels of difficulty. Finally, there are two pages of instructions in six steps to teach readers how to make sunae. The amount of artistry, effort, patience, and vision required are challenging. "Ice Cream Work" is a sophisticated art book that can be enjoyed on several levels by children and adult readers.

I Wonder, I Wonder, What's On This Side of My Super Adventurous Purple Train Ride
Valerie Christopher, author/illustrator
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781483433363, $19.99, PB,

"I Wonder, I Wonder, What's On This Side of My Super Adventurous Purple Train Ride" is an exciting train trip journal as experienced by an African American boy named Corey. Written in rhyme, the trip story unfolds from the viewpoint of an excited boy who savors every new view as a wonderful surprise. Vibrant color illustrations add to the charm of the long day train trip taken by Corey and his family from the city deep into the countryside. Elegantly dressed train staff serve Corey juice and snacks on silver trays as he gazes at the many green scenes flying by. At the end of the day, Corey is happy to curl up with his head in his mother's lap and nap as the train's wheels go round, giving him wonderful, adventurous dreams. "I Wonder, I Wonder What's On This Side of My Super Adventurous Purple Train Ride" is a fun book to read to children age 2 and up. The last few pages of "I Wonder, I Wonder, What's On This Side of My Super Adventurous Purple Train Ride" contain activity exercises, a matching game and counting challenge plus a drawing page, to reinforce learning and stimulate interest and creativity.

The Very Cold, Freezing, No-Numbers Day
Ashley N. Sorenson, author
David Miles, illustrator
1254 Commerce Way, Sanger, CA 93657
9781942934349, $16.95,

"The Very Cold, Freezing, No-Numbers Day" is a creative early numbers story that encourages children to interact with the story by tracing vanishing numbers, blowing on numbers to warm them up, and generally helping to rescue the numbers from "The Very Cold, Freezing, No-Numbers Day." The theme of this exciting story is "Count to save the numbers," and children are motivated to do exactly that. The colors of page illustrations gradually thaw from icy blues, whites, and purples, to warmer greens, yellows, oranges and reds. Children who follow these pages are simultaneously learning numbers, colors, patterns, seasons, and connection, or the importance of direct intervention. The artwork in "The Very Cold, Freezing, No-Numbers Day" is superb and deeply wedded to the exciting narrative. It is an excellent choice for a vibrant multi sensory education experience for children ages 2 and up. Another creative learning title from the same publisher that is also highly recommended is the following: "Full of Empty " (9781942934356, $16.95), by Tim J. and M. Priscilla Myers, illustrated by Rebecca Sorge.

The Trouble with Cavapoos
Stella Dutton, author
Franfou, illustrator
Quinby & Sneet Publications, Inc.
10026 South Linn Avenue, Oklahoma, City, OK 73159
9780979083242, $19.99

"The Trouble with Cavapoos" is a delightful, delicious, rollicking action story about the antics of three little cavapoos, tiny, terrible, tornado puppies, who terrify their smitten new owner. Written in vibrant verse, illustrated in Whirlwind Cavapoo Color, "The Trouble with Cavapoos" is a fascinating tale of mischief, mayhem, and the joy of total chaos. Even the well meaning vet who offers a helpful book on Cavapoos plus special Cavapoo food, is seriously not able to contain the tornado of tiny, terrible Cavapoos. Finally, the bewildered owner takes her three terrible Cavapoos to the groomer to be cleaned and groomed, and takes them home to put them to bed, where she proceeds to lay down some rules (which they sleep through). Finally, the owner is able to rest, except she is disturbed by....snoring, from the Cavapoos three. Children of all ages will love this entertaining puppy book with its action packed pages of portraits and verse.

The Bird That Didn't Want To Be A Bird
Anne Toole, author
Richa Kinra, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478756378, $12.95, PB,

"The Bird That Didn't Want To Be a Bird" is a delightful children's fable in rhyme, telling the appealing story of a little blue bird who grieved his mother by announcing that he didn't want to be a bird. Instead he considered carefully wanting to become a different creature, checking out all his options. Disregarding his mother's tears, the little bird thought about becoming a cow, a turtle, a bee, a cat, a frog, a horse, or a worm. Every creature had attractive features but also less attractive conditions that made transformation much less appealing to the little bird. Rejecting all his alternatives, the little bird discovers that "being a bird is best for me," and his mother is right, surprise, surprise. Colorful illustrations and catchy versed narrative make "The Bird That Didn't Want To Be a Bird" a winner for young readers age 7 and up.

Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014

Dr. Tererari Trent's The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can: A True Story (9780670016549, $17.99) tells of a young Rhodesian girl who longs for an education, even though education for girls is nearly impossible. The determined girl teaches herself to read and write from her brother's schoolbooks, and when she becomes a young wife and mother, she writes her dreams on a scrap of paper and buries them in a can. Can she ever go to America, get a degree, and bring back education to her village? This true story of dreams come true is illustrated with Jan Spivey Gilchrist's lovely watercolors and requires only good reading skills to appreciate the gentle saga. Jan Brett's The Turnip (9780399170706, $17.99) tells of Badger Girl, who struggles to pull up a giant turnip growing in her vegetable garden, dreaming of what she'll do with it. Badger boy tries to help; then a host of animals join the line, each trying to pull it up - but it won't move. One braggart claims he can do so by himself: but will he succeed? A fun folk story emerges with a host of rural Russian animal friends struggling to succeed. Both are lovely recommendations for discriminating picture book collections.

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

Kes Gray & Jim Field's Frog on a Log? (9780545687911, $16.99) offers a rollicking rhyme that covers animal seating arrangements, and considers how cats sit on mats, gophers on sofas and more, with each animal rhyme becoming more and more outrageous. A wise cat has it all covered on which animal sits where - but his wisdom isn't always to be trusted in this fun exploration of animal facts and fancies. Steve Antony's The Queen's Hat (9780545835565, $16.99) celebrates British royalty, the royal baby, and more, and provides a fun saga of a special hat that sends the Queen and all her men on a romp through London. What a fun way of absorbing facts about Britain! Jon J. Muth's Zen Socks (9780545166690, $17.99) tells of Leo and Molly, who love their new neighborhood and the giant panda neighbor who lives near them. Stillwater the bear is quite active, and takes his new young neighbors along for a fun ride as the quiet friendship moves along. Stephen Savage's Where's Walrus and Penguin? (9780545402958, $16.99) tells of two characters who have escaped from the zoo and are eluding a zookeeper through clever moves, and provides a wordless picture book following their adventures as they travel through the big city. When they stumble onto a baseball game, the antics really begin in this fun, whimsical tale. Allen Say's The Inker's Shadow (9780545437769, $19.99) provides a fine companion to the Sibert Honor title Drawing from Memory as it assumes a graphic novel cartoon format and follows the author's journey from his home in Japan to a military academy in Southern California. As the school's first Japanese student, eight years after World War II, Say's experiences include discrimination - and so he escapes to look for the real freedoms America promises to all. A fine story evolves, accessible to all levels of reader.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

The Amazing A-MUSE-ing Lillian
Maria Boundas Bakalis, author
Lillian Bakalis, Feinberg, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781504921862, $17.99, PB,

Curtain Up on "The Amazing A-MUSE-ing LILLIAN: A Play from the Page to the Stage" is an original, creative play about a girl who is a Muse, or a Personal Trainer for the brain, a Cheerleader for the spirit, one who Inspires! Beginning with a stimulating Reader Survey, the reader is encouraged to prepare to participate as an Actor in an exciting drama! The cast of 13 characters of Lillian and her friends prepare to enact a story of the victory over sabotage of the 10th Muse, Lillian, in the mission of inspiring Terrie, an intelligent writer friend, to write for Hollywood. Doubt and Pout have a plot directed by King Fovos to freeze Terrie's inspirational powers. But Taki and Toule in the Garden of Wonder give the inspirational powers of Lillian a jumpstart. starting with an Inspiration Pledge: "WE WILL AND AND WE CAN." Silly Sally arrives to direct passengers to the Jolly Trolley, a tour bus with a secret humor test to weed out camouflaged spies like Doubt and Pout, who show an abysmal dearth of humor. Next, the fearful King Fovos calls on additional reinforcements (Snow Queen and Wiley Weed) to counteract the effects of Lillian's friends Lady Bug and Owl. The plot thickens, enter Mother Nature, the source of magical inspiration for a muse such as Lillian and a writer such as Terrie. Despite the shenanigans of King Fovos, the Snow Queen, Miss Givings, Scaredy Cat and friends, Terrie is rescued by the influence of Lillian, the magical tenth Muse. Lillian offers the Secret Sparkle Bag of words to help spark Terrie's dreams to reality. Ending with the Inspiration Pledge recited again, Terrie promises to do the work of writing her screenplay with the inspiration of Lillian, the tenth Muse. The play script ends with stage directions and instructions for readers who will take the play from the page to the stage, after reading it out loud. Charming, whimsical illustrations of characters and scene action help set the imaginary stage for "The Amazing a-MUSE-ing Lillian," an invitation for elementary and middle school students to enter thespian wings.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

W.H. Beck
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544416668, $17.99,

Glow: Animals with Their Own Night-Lights is the next best thing to deep-sea diving, and discusses bioluminescence in nature. Beck and a collection of photographers reveal an amazing array of creatures that use bioluminescence, and pairs simple text with full-page color photos packed with easy explorations of the kinds of creatures that use bioluminescence - from glow worms to fish - and why. With its full-page color photos, the result is a lovely display with simple explanations that all ages will appreciate.

Camas & Sage
Dorothy Patent, author
Christina Wald, illustrator
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426416, $12.00, PB, 48pp,

"Camas & Sage" is the story of the life cycle of an American bison from birth to adulthood in the American Prairie Reserve. Interesting detailed sidebars describe many astounding features of the life cycle and experience of the North American bison on the open prairie. Some related sidebars topics include the cinnamon colored buffalo calf coat, bison and Native Americans, the difference between "Buffalo" and "Bison," wolves, camping on the prairie, prairie plants, prairie dogs, buffalo wallows, bull fights, pregnancy, breeding cycle, the developing digestive system of the young bison, the prairie winter and survival, springtime on the prairie, and the future of American Prairie Reserve. Stunning, realistic illustrations portray the life of bison on the open prairie in different seasons. The role of the American Prairie Reserve is to restore a sustainable portion of the grasslands in central Montana to provide a functioning ecosystem for over 60 mammals species and 250 bird species, all wildlife native to North America. "Camas & Sage" helps to educate children about the present and future of the North American bison on the open prairie.

The Lucky Litter: Wolf Pups Rescued from Wildfire
Jennifer Keats Curtis, author
John Gomes, photographer
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628557183, $17.95 HC
9781628557190, $9.95 PB
B015RW66C6, $6.95 Kindle,

From the Animal Helpers series, "The Lucky Litter: Wolf Pups Rescued from Wildfire" tells the exciting story of the rescue of a litter of five wolf pups from a forest area devastated by wildfire. The first tiny pup crawled out of he hidden den to the attention of a tired firefighter. He quickly examined the baby wolf pup and got help from a wildlife biologist and others who were able to extricate the other wolf cubs from the deserted hidden den. Thus began the rescue, care and nurturing of five orphan wolf little cubs just 3 week old. The first four were named for the villages of the firefighters: Gannett, Huslia, Hooper, and Stebbins. The last male cub was named X-Ray for the firefighting team. The little pups needed serious attention, being dehydrated and covered with porcupine quills. They were given fluids with a syringe and flown to an animal hospital, where they were weighed at less than three pounds. All the cubs were fed and nurtured until they were old enough and strong enough to be moved. They were kept near to another outside pack of wolves, but separate in their own cage together. The baby wolves grew quickly and began to show pack behavior. Gannett and X-Ray became the pack leaders, or alphas. Finally when the wolf cubs were nine weeks old, weighing 12-15 pounds, they were ready to move to their permanent home at the Minnesota Zoo. There they will live out their lives as a pack, with trained wildlife specialists caring for them. Excellent color photo portraits of the baby wolf cubs trace their rescue and restoration to health and growth in this fascinating animal rescue narrative. A section For Creative Minds offers additional learning material and exercises for young readers, including a section on wolves as a keystone species, and ways to help prevent unwanted wildfires.

The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba: A New Life Begins, Book 1 Series 1
Roe De Pinto, author
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd. - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478754602, $16.95,

"The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba: A New Life Begins" is the first book of a charming young children's series about a baby orca and a little white seal pup. Zealy is the furry white seal born to loving seal parents, who is enchanted to meet her best friend, a young black and white orca whale, Whubba. Exciting adventures in a cold blue ocean are pictured in the many expressive portraits of Zealy and Whubba in "A New Life Begins." This delightful series will appeal to young children age 4 and up. Look for future titles in The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba, with unforgettable expressive ocean illustrations of the young white seal and her orca friend.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws: Fairy-Tale Beasts
Edited by Jennifer Schacker and Christine A. Jones
Illustrated by Lina Kusaite
Wayne State University Press
The Leonard N. Simons Building
4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309
9780814340691 $24.99

Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws: Fairy-Tale Beasts is an anthology of lesser-known classic fairytales featuring animals. Although written for both young adults and adults, Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws also comments on the dark themes that run through some of these classic stories. From the original version of The Three Bears (in which the home of the Three Bears is invaded by a vagrant old woman), to snakes that engages in romantic relationships with humans, to rats that are every bit as dangerous as the wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood", to literary ballads, tales lengthy enough to be considered short stories, and more, Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws will amaze, enchant, and mystify. Highly recommended, especially folktale and fairytale collections.

The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah
Palwasha Bazger Salam, author
Natasha Delmar, illustrator
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698289, $7.99,

"The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah: An Afghan Legend" is a beautiful retelling of a part of the history of a beloved Afghan ruler, King Ahmad Shah Durrani, who lived over 250 years ago. Revered and loved as an outstanding general and a just ruler, Ahmad Shah Baba (the last meaning "our father") encountered difficulties in his search for a faithful, wise, honest Grand Vizier to help him rule his kingdom. There was much greed and corruption in the highest employees surrounding the King. King Ahmad decided to disguise himself as a beggar and go quietly among his people to discover a person with the qualities he required to help him run his empire, rule his people justly, and improve their lives. When he came upon a likely candidate, a contented and creative cobbler, he questioned him, and then withdrew, deciding to set a series of secret tests for the cobbler to see what they would reveal about his inner nature and ability to problem solve. The tests set by the King are difficult, but the young man succeeds in finding good solutions to every difficult obstacle placed in his way by the government of the King. Finally, the King decided he had found his Grand Vizier. "The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah" is beautifully illustrated in sensitive earth hues in an authentic tradition-influenced style of Afghan literature. The final pages of this story, suitable for students age 7 and up, contain a thumbnail biography of Ahmad Shah Durrani (1722-1772), suggested readers' discussion points, and a map of the Durrani empire of Afghanistan, 1722. traditional Afghan tale has many other versions and names, such as "The Wooden Sword". This traditional Afghan wisdom tale helps young readers scrutinize and evaluate issues such as what qualities are necessary for a happy, useful life. For those who will enjoy "The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah", another excellent title by the same author is "The Stranger's Farewell" (9781942698272, $7.99), illustrated by Marie Lafrance.

How the Leopard Got His Spots
Rudyard Kipling, author
Stephanie P. Gilman, reteller
T. G. Tjornehoj, illustrator
Flowerpot Press
142 2nd Ave. North, Franklin, TN 37064
9781486706648, $10.99,

"How the Leopard Got His Spots" is a retold classic from the Jungle Book, renamed the Just So Much Fun Stories. Henry was a plain leopard who liked to sneak and spook his friends Zebra and Giraffe, who also were still plain themselves, on the plains. Henry could blend in well for sneaking in the plains because he had no spots. Then Henry's friends moved to the woods, where shadows made hiding harder for the plain leopard. Hiding in the woods, Zebra and Giraffe and other animals grew patterns to help them camouflage themselves. But Henry got bored trying to find new friends to spook and one day a mouse suggested that Henry go away and try another spot. Henry looked and looked for the spot, but could find nothing, and no friends either. Eventually Henry used his sense of smell, hearing, and touch to find his hiding friends Zebra and Giraffe. the friends decide to help Henry understand how they can hide in the forest shadows by playing Hide and Seek with him. But Henry could not blend in to the woods with no markings, just his plain leopard coat. Zebra advised him to stay and enjoy the woods, to grow his own markings to help him blend in. Henry decided he wanted spots for markings. "By the time Henry could sneak up on his friends again, he no longer wanted to spook them. So, from that day on, he kept the spooking to a minimum and used his sneaking skills to become a champion at Hide and Seek instead. He still holds the number one SPOT!" Delicate, expressive water color illustrations show the transformation of Henry from a plain to a spotted leopard, as well as from a sneaky friend to a fun friend.

Jaya's Golden Necklace
Peter Linenthal
Wisdom Publications
199 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781614292326, $16.95,

Jaya's Golden Necklace tells of little Jaya, who joins her father on a royal mission at the directive of the king, and who uses her magical necklace to create a gift, find her hidden courage, and confront even robbers along the way. Plenty of fables surround supernatural gifts and beings who come to the rescue, but the joy in Jaya's necklace lies in something far different than magical rescue. Jaya's Golden Necklace offers many unexpected moments, from Jaya's own participation in bravery to her determination to reunite her family. Whimsical, fun drawings capture the culture of ancient times and a land where the silk road connected peoples and places, while a concluding section of historical facts about Jaya's times and place offer fine opportunity for learning. Any picture book collection appealing to young readers of fables and magic will find this an unusual, fun story.

The Holiday Shelf

Easter Story: Bible Activity Book
Leena Lane and Anna Todd, authors
Roma Bishop, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
Pauline Kids
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819823977, $9.99,

Designed to educate and entertain children ages 4-7 while exploring the story and true meaning of Easter, "Easter Story" is a treasure trove of colorfully illustrated Bible stories enriched with related word games and other fun activity ideas. some of the Bible stories portrayed include Jesus enters Jerusalem, Jesus gets angry (at the Temple), the story of the ten bridesmaids, Jesus washes his friends' feet, the Last Supper, and more. Some of the learning activities include coloring in details in pictures, counting activities, follow the dots, and many more. The "Easter Story" Bible activity book is an excellent addition to children's Easter baskets or other gifts, providing many hours of related learning activities and fun.

The Board Book Shelf

Sundogs A to Z
Kay Elliott, author
Kevin Cannon, illustrator
Wise Ink Creative Publishing
837 Glenwood Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55405
9781940014753, $9.99,

"Sundogs A to Z" is an alphabet board book for preschoolers with a fresh emphasis, featuring a collection of 26 brightly colored sundogs, named after each letter of the alphabet, each engaged in happy activities (also beginning with their name letter) in their own mini-story. Young children will quickly engage and expand pre-reading skills while enjoying the playful alliterative word use and funny pictures and stories. Thus we meet Auggie, who adds apples, Bo, who barks for biscuits, and Coco who catches a cold. Even more unusual, at the end, we meet Winnie, who waits for water, Xavier who X's his XOXOs, Yogi, who yelps for yogurt, and Zeke, who zigs and zags. Each dog is a different bright color, and resembles a different breed. The Sundogs are featured in a series by author, and readers interested in Sundogs BOGO (Buy One Give One) Program to benefit pet- related charity organizations and children's reading programs.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Their Fractured Light
Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781423171041, $17.99, 432pp,

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now-infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness LaRoux Industries' corruption. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were the only survivors of the Icarus shipwreck, forced to live a double life after their rescue. Now, at the center of the galaxy on Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players in the fight against LRI. Gideon Marchant is an underworld hacker known as the Knave of Hearts, ready to climb and abseil his way past the best security measures on the planet to expose LRI's atrocities. Sofia Quinn, charming con artist, can work her way into any stronghold without missing a beat. When a foiled attempt to infiltrate LRI Headquarters forces them into a fragile alliance, it's impossible to know who's playing whom--and whether they can ever learn to trust each other. With their lives, loves, and loyalties at stake, only by joining forces with the Icarus survivors and Avon's protectors do they stand a chance of taking down the most powerful corporation in the galaxy---before LRI's secrets destroy them all. The Starbound trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner comes to a close with this dazzling final installment about the power of courage and hope in humanity's darkest hour. Like the two previous science fiction novels for young readers ages 12 to 18, "Their Fractured Light" is very highly recommended for school and community library Science Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Their Fractured Light" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Theodore Roberts & the Key to The Imaginary Door
J. R. Robinson
London Publishing
c/o Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9780578154138, $16.95, PB, 232pp,

"Into this world darkness has crept, Into this land many secrets have been kept. You are the child who will set all wrongs right, You are the one who has been sent to save the light." In another world a dark power pulses. . . A land in jeopardy awaits its chosen one to fulfill his destiny, to save them and the land they call home. Yet this hero is not from their domain nor have they ever met him. He resides in our world - the land of humans. It is he and he alone who has the key to unlock the rusted gates that will allow entry to a land of enchantment. To do so will bring his destiny into full light and take him on a quest that will make him question who he is, what he believes in, and reveal to him that he has indeed always possessed the greatest power in any world -- his imagination. Very highly recommended for young readers with an appreciation for original fantasy fiction, "Theodore Roberts & the Key to the Imaginary Door" is a deftly crafted and thoroughly absorbing novel from beginning to end and documents author J. R. Robinson as a master storyteller of the first order. Very highly recommended for school and community Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Theodore Roberts & the Key to the Imaginary Door"" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.00).

The Sea Tiger
Victoria Turnbull, author/illustrator
Templar Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763679866, $16.99,

Awarded the Association of Illustrators New Talent Award, "The Sea Tiger" is a tender tale of friendship and love under, and sometimes above the sea. Incredible, lavishly detailed undersea fantasy illustrations wash every page in hues of azure, pale green, and aqua. The limited underwater palette makes expressions on the faces of the Sea Tiger and Oscar, his merboy friend more poignant. Oscar and the Sea Tiger do everything together. They listen to singing sea turtles, ride a fantastic underwater carousel, and watch spotlighted sea creatures perform a talent show inside a giant clam shell. They even swim to the surface occasionally and gaze at the stars and dream. Oscar is the Sea Tiger's best friend. A circle of dancing mermaids might remind Oscar that he is lonely for a friend just like him. Showing even greater love and friendship, the Sea Tiger decides to embrace a new friend, a Sea Lion, who just happens to have another friend, a little mermaid. Although Oscar appears hurt and confused at first by his friend deserting him, he quickly responds to the sweet, friendly overtures of the Sea Lion's mermaid friend. A new friendship is born, thanks to the Sea Tiger, who really loves his best friend, Oscar. This stunningly illustrated undersea fantasy will dazzle and enchant children of all ages.

The Biography Shelf

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
Laurie Wallmark, author
April Chu, illustrator
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547200, $17.99,

"Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine" is a condensed illustrated biography of Ada Byron Lovelace, talented mathematician/scientist daughter of the famous Romantic poet, Lord Byron. Even her mother, Lady Byron was called Princess of Parallelograms because of her love of geometry. Ada was deprived of her father's presence because her mother took her away from him early due to his scandalous, unconventional behavior. Growing up at her maternal grandparents English home 100 miles from London, Ada was often lonely with her father gone and her mother often traveling. But she filled her journals with pages of inventions and equations. She even invented a flying machine, underlaid by endless pages of calculations and equations. She studied the effect of the wind on sails on a small boat, factoring these results into her flying machine design. Unfortunately, Ada fell ill with a fever from staying out in a rainstorm, and soon developed measles, which left her paralyzed and blind. Her mother tried to help her, keeping her challenged with hard math problems to solve in her head. Ada's numbers were her friend. later Ada was taught math by Mary Fairfax Somerville, a well known female scientist and mathematician, who was also published. When she was 17, Ada met Charles Babbage, a famous mathematician and inventor, at a special symposium for science. Despite an age difference of 24 years, Ada and Charles became close friends and colleagues. Examining Babbage's Difference Engine, a new mechanical calculator, Ada adapted and adjusted it so that it actually worked, correctly solving the equation 15 x 12 = 180. Ada went on to collaborate with Babbage's ideas to create an early computer, developing Babbage's Analytical Engine further by using numbers to give instructions. Ada created an algorithm, a set of mathematical instructions for the Analytical Engine. However, because Babbage never finished building the Analytical Engine, Ada never got to see her program run. But her work was to have lasting influence. One day a computer language to help guide flying machines would be named after Ada. An attractively illustrated juvenile biography, "Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine" is completed by an Author's Note with quotations from Ada Lovelace, a timeline, and a partial bibliography. This exciting woman's biography is for children ages 5 and up.

The Social Issues Shelf

Why Can't I Be the Boss of Me?
Annye Rothenberg, Ph.D., author
Bonnie Bright, illustrator
Perfecting Parenting Press
3943 Jefferson Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94062
9780979042065, $9.95,

"Why Can't I Be the Boss of Me?" is described as a story for 5-8 -year-olds and a manual for parents. It actually teaches both parents and kids what to do when kids think they should be in charge. Ryan is a boy who doesn't want to do what his parents tell him to. Instead he bargains, speaks rudely to them, or whines about unfairness. Both of Ryan's parents decide they need to take charge of Ryan by giving him consequences, or chores, whenever he argues or tries to bargain with them in order to avoid doing what he is told. They also have Ryan practice rephrasing rude comments so they are more acceptable. Both parents explain to Ryan that grownups do not get to do what they want to all the time. Together the three make lists of things to do every day, things before school, after school, and before bedtime. They also decide to make a weekend list of things to do. When Ryan completes all his chores, his parents do the last thing on their list, take Ryan to the Children's Museum. This is a wonderful experience for Ryan. Gradually, Ryan learned more about making good decisions and helping with daily chores without complaining. He finally began to understand that it is good to have Mom and Dad be in charge, to make the hard decisions, while he continues doing his most important job as a kid: having fun and growing up. "Why Can't I Be the Boss of Me?" comes with a detailed Guidance Section for Parents, dealing with what to expect and ask of kids 5-8 years old. It also discusses what kids should be able to decide, how to be an authoritative parent, and helping kids understand decision making. Many helpful suggestions about consistent partner parenting are included in the 20 page Parents' Guidance Section. "Why Can't I Be the Boss of Me?" is an excellent teaching manual for parents of kids who challenge their rules and expectations and need help to learn to make better decisions.

Peanut's Mistake
Karen Kilpatrick, author
Tara Louise Campbell & Matthew Wilson, illustrators
Nina Charles Publishing
9781938447181, $10.95,

"Peanut's Mistake" is from an award-winning Pumpkinheads series of children's books that are focused on social and emotional development. Peanut is a delightful, beloved dog who forgets the rules and runs in the house, creating a big mess. Carmin stumbles over the mess and ruins her nice dress. Peanut hides under the bed in fear. But Carmin decides not to scold Peanut, instead saying, "Silly little pup. You made a mistake but we can clean it up!" Peanut works very hard and helps Carmin clean up the mess he made. He is happy when Carmin tells him,"We All make mistakes. Don't worry... I will help you when I can...We are best friends forever." The message presented in large, bright illustrations and perky narrative verse is plain to even very young children. Read on for 3 tips from the Pumpkinheads for when you make mistakes, and keep learning! Also highly recommended from the Pumpkinheads series is the following title: "Imagine (9781938447198, $10.95)" by Karen Kilpatrick, illustrated by Tara Louise Campbell and Matthew Wilson.

The Bilingual Shelf

Maya's Blanket/ La Manta De Maya
Monica Brown, author
David Diaz, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9780892392926, $17.95,

"Maya's Blanket/ L Manta de Maya" is a beautiful Spanish/English story about a girl's beloved blanket, made especially for her by her Abuelita. The blanket has special protective properties, it protects Maya from bad dreams while she sleeps. When it becomes worn and frayed at the edges, Maya makes her manta (blanket) into a vestido (vest) that she loved very much. When she danced and whirled, the purple butterflies swirled with her and kept her from getting dizzy and falling. But there was a red stain on it from punch that could not come out, so Maya and Abuelita transformed the vestido, from the original manta, into a falda, or skirt. Maya jumped rope so high that the falda became too small, so Maya and Abuelita made the falda, formerly her vestido, and her manta, into a rebozo, or shawl. Through daily play, the rebozo got tugged in two, and then was transformed into a bufanda, or scarf, to wear on cold days. One day the bufanda became old and worn, and Maya and Abuelita transformed the buganda/rebozo/falda/vestido/manta into a cinta, or hair ribbon that Maya loved very much. When Maya cut her hair and no longer needed a cinta, her Abuelita helped her transform the cinta into a marcador de libros, or magic bookmarker. Although Maya loved her marcador de libros, one day she lost it. Maya did not know what to do. A fantastic idea came to her, she would write about her wonderful manta and all its beautiful, magical transformations. She would name this gook "Maya's Blanket/La manta de Maya," and enjoy magic on every page. When Maya grew up and had a little daughter of her own, she read her the wonderful story of "Maya's Blanket," while her daughter cuddled to sleep beneath her own special magical manta. "Maya's Blanket" weaves generational dreams of magic into its beautifully illustrated pages, while ensuring that special touches of love in our lives will endure beyond time. Every page is presented first in English, than in Spanish on the facing page, with Spanish terms interwoven in the narrative.

The Audiobook Shelf

Aoede: Do You Believe in Magic?
Created by Lisa Sniderman
Aoede Muse Music, ASCAP

Do You Believe in Magic? is a musical "rock opera" audiobook that listeners of all ages will enjoy. The saga is set in the Kingdom of Wonderhaven, where a curse upon memory itself is rapidly draining the land's magic. Aoede is the Muse of Song; although she disdains magic, she has a secret of her own and is the only one capable of saving the Kingdom. A sweeping, melodic odyssey, Aoede: Do You Believe in Magic? is a treasure for both the young and the young at heart. Highly recommended, especially for gift-giving!

The Boxcar Children: The Return of the Graveyard Ghost
Created by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Read by Aimee Lilly
Oasis Audio
289 Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781613756775 $9.99

Part of a new series inspired by the classic children's mystery novels by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Boxcar Children: The Return of the Graveyard Ghost is an unabridged audiobook performance. In The Return of the Graveyard Ghost, the inquisitive and self-reliant Boxcar Children learn about a curious superstition tied to the local Greenfield Cemetery. It's said that it brings good luck to leave gifts in a certain place, and bad luck to spurn making any offerings. But the Boxcar Children don't believe in ghosts; together they decide to uncover the truth behind the rumor! A high-spirited, family-friendly adventure, The Boxcar Children: The Return of the Graveyard Ghost is a choice pick for grade school and public library children's audiobook collections. 2 CDs. Also highly recommended are other Boxcar children audiobooks: "The Boxcar Children: Blue Bay Mystery", "The Boxcar Children: The Boardwalk Mystery", and "The Boxcar Children: Mystery of the Fallen Treasure."

The Music CD Shelf

Owl Singalong
Rounder Records
c/o Concord Music Group
100 North Crescent Drive, Garden Level, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
$14.98 CD / $9.49 MP3

Wildly popular children's musician Raffi presents Owl Singalong, a new album brimming with his characteristic charm, optimism, and heart. The title track is inspired by the owls that Raffi heard outside his Canadian home, and by the adoration his grand-niece Lucie has for her stuffed- toy owl. Other songs draw inspiration an African folk tale ("Abiyoyo"), the late yet beloved folk music performer Pete Seeger ("Garden Song"), and the cultures of other nations; Raffi sings in Spanish for "Somos El Barco" and French for "Dans La Foret Lointaine". Gentle and joyful, Owl Singalong is a delight to share with young listeners. The tracks are "Owl Singalong", "I'm Not Small", "More We Sing Together", "The Lion Pokey", "See The Moon", "Green Dream", "Every Day", "Dog On The Bus", "Somos El Barco", "You May Be A Triangle", "Who Hoo Could I Be", "I Nod My Head", "Dans La Foret Lointaine", "Garden Song", "Blossoms", and "Abiyoyo".

The Christian Shelf

Saint Anthony the Great
John Chryssavgis & Marilyn Rouvelas, authors
Isabelle Brent, illustrator
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786465, $17.95, HC, 28pp,

"Saint Anthony the Great" tells the inspiring story of the man who became known as the father of Christian monasticism. Anthony (c. 251-360 A.D.) lived in the Egyptian desert just two hundred and fifty years after Jesus' lifetime. "Saint Anthony the Great" is a beautifully illustrated book that will capture the attention of children ages 4 to 8, and help teach them about Anthony's struggle to acquire a pure heart. Very highly recommended for family, community, and church library collections of books for young readers, "Saint Anthony the Great" is a timeless story about the victory of good over evil, inside us and around us.

Pleasing the Lord
Serenity Anderson, author
Rina Risnawati, illustrator
Rayleen Tritt & Melanie Hall
Gifts From Heaven
9781942779001, $21.95,

"Pleasing the Lord: What We Can Do To Please Our God" is a child's book of Judeo-Christian scripture-based wisdom regarding seeking and portraying an upright, good course of action in all things. Every color-illustrated page contains a related quotation from the Bible about understanding how to choose the best path to please the Lord. Children of different races are shown listening to their parents and seeking a right path with an awareness of the word of God. Youth and young adults are encouraged to seek guidance from God, to plan ahead, walk a straight, righteous path, and listen to their parents. They are also asked to accept discipline and correction (Proverbs 3: 11-12), seek wisdom through prayer and research, worship the one true God, and listen and obey the law of God. Children are encouraged to be kind, patient and caring, to avoid unnecessary trouble, to tell the truth, and love your neighbor as yourself. It is important to keep our work keep promises, and to forgive on another's wrongs. Children must learn to cultivate patience, and keep trying. There is to be no theft, and courteous speaking to others is always best. Avoid cruelty to others in speech and deed. Working hard is good, and learning that each person must carry their own load. Accept others different beliefs, and be satisfied with what you have. Enjoy the good gift of life, cling not to anger, and talk to God always. These are the guideposts for learning to lead a life that is pleasing to the Lord. "Pleasing the Lord" is an excellent guidance book for middle school aged children.

Baptism & Boomerangs
Sherrie L. M. Gavin, author
Tatiana Lawton, illustrator
Bonneville Books
c/o Cedar Fort, Inc.
2373 W. 700 S., Springville, Utah 84663
9781462116812, $14.99,

"Baptism & Boomerangs" is an explanation of the sacrament of baptism in the LDS tradition, written especially for Australian children. Eight year old Amara is excited to celebrate her birthday with her parents and grandparents and is anticipating the experience of her baptism in the LDS faith. During a day of waiting, Amara and Jack, her brother go off with Grandad to play in the park with boomerangs, because, as Grandad explains, baptism and boomerangs go together. The boomerang has a special shape and a shaved edge that make it perfect for returning to its thrower. This shape is like the perfect plan created by the Heavenly Parents to help children begin the journey to return to live with their family and Heavenly Parents forever. Throwing the boomerang is a special skill that must be practiced in exact form to succeed in a returning boomerang. Grandad teaches Amara and Jack to try their best and throw lots of boomerangs so they can learn to make the boomerang return. Amara and Jack can't quite get their boomerangs to return yet, but they are encouraged by their mother to remember their parents are there to help them, along with the Holy Ghost, to find the right path. Later Amara has her special baptism ceremony performed by her dad and she is very happy. She decides instead of her birthday wish to say a prayer. Then she helps Jack with the boomerang throwing until they finally get it to return. Everyone is so happy that Amara understands her baptism means that families are forever and we can all return to our Heavenly Parents. Colorful illustrations embellished with Australian Aboriginal dot painting help to tell this story, to protect the sacredness of the story, and to enchant the sense of vision. "Baptism & Boomerangs" is ideal for children at or before age 8, this last being the age for the LDS baptism sacrament.

The Fiction Shelf

My Diary from the Edge of the World
Jodi Lynn Anderson
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781442483873, $16.99,

My Diary from the Edge of the World tells of Gracie Lockwood, who lives in a magical alternative world where sasquatches helped win the American Civil War and dragons migrate south for the winter. Here be giants. Here also is world where dark clouds can spirit away people when they die: when one comes looking for her little brother, he parents flee in search of a different world which is supposed to exist at the ends of the earth. Family relationships', love, and an epic journey are presented in diary form in a different kind of fantasy coming of age saga.

Anne M. Pillsworth
Tor Teen
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765335906, $18.99,

Fathomless tells of Sean, who has tried to avoid magic but who has been offered the chance to hone his skills with a good teacher. Plagued by his abilities and seeing them as dangerous temptations, Sean more than welcomes the opportunity to reign in his skills - but when he discovered that there are more magical secrets hidden in a library and that his special abilities involve investigating myths, legends, and realities long buried, trouble ensues. A gripping fantasy about magic and coming of age makes this a highly recommended pick.

This Way Home
Wes Moore with Shawn Goodman
Delacorte Press
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780385741699, $17.99,

This Way Home tells of Elijah Thomas, who has become a top basketball player even through he's only seventeen. He loves the game's rules and plays by them; but when a street gang enters the picture and wants to influence their game and choices, the boys take a stand that results in tragedy. What begins as a sports survey turns quickly into a social observation and a powerful coming of age novel that considers personal ethics, struggles, and bids for power. Basketball serves as a backdrop for these wider issues in a story that will especially intrigue teen urban sports fans.

Richelle Mead
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, NY, NY 10014
9781595147639, $19.99,

Soundless tells of a village of deaf people where young Fei lives: a village isolated by mountains and avalanches whose only connection to the outside world is a zipline. The villagers have adjusted to their harsh conditions and limitations; but when they all begin to lose their sight, their zipline's connection to food and the outside world begins to fail. It's up to Fei to explore further and save the day when she begins to hear and also learns what is really happening in her home. A powerful journey evolves in a unique story that is riveting and impossible to predict.

What We Left Behind
Robin Talley
Harlequin Teen
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, M3B 3K9
9780373211753, $18.95, 416pp,

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college (Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU) they're sure they'll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, theirs is bound to stay rock-solid. The reality of being apart, though, is very different than they expected. Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, meets a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, but Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship. While Toni worries that Gretchen won't understand Toni's new world, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in this puzzle. As distance and Toni's shifting gender identity begin to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide if they have grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together? "What We Left Behind" by Robin Talley is another deftly crafted novel by a master of the genre and strongly recommended for both high school and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "What We Left Behind" is also available in a paperback edition (Mira Ink, 9781848453913, $3.88) and in a Kindle format ($7.99).

David Poulsen
The Dundurn Group
3 Church Street, Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5E 1M2
9781459732483, $12.99, 200pp,

Andy Crockett doesn't fit in at his new school not with the goths, not with the jocks, and certainly not with the brains. Not even, really, with The Six, a group of misfits who hang out with each other mostly because they can't stand hanging out with anyone else. But maybe Andy's luck is changing and all because he is in Mr. Reztlaff's grade ten social class. Mr. Retzlaff, is the coolest teacher; in fact, the coolest thing about Parkerville Comprehensive. Social Studies is awesome from day one. It's the class that looks at World War II, Hitler, and the Holocaust. It's the class Andy wants to ace and make Mr. Retzlaff proud. But eventually Andy also begins to understand that acing the class might just have a greater cost than he's willing to pay. And when it turns out that Mr. Retzlaff might not be so cool after all, Andy is facing the most difficult decision of his life. "Numbers" by David Poulsen is particularly recommended for young readers ages 12 to 15. Very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Numbers" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

The Finding Place
Julie Hartley
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada, L3R 4T8
9780889955332 $12.95

Found as a baby outside a school in China, Kelly Stroud is adopted and raised by North American parents. One day, her dad leaves the house to buy milk, and doesn't come back. Struggling anew with what it means to be loved and then left behind, Kelly embarks with her mother on a journey back to China in search of her cultural roots. "The Finding Place" is an adventure story which moves from urban North America to the magical landscape of Yangshuo, China. It is also the tale of a young girl's coming of age, written in the voice of an international adoptee whose unique perspective throws fresh light on the meaning of family: the people who raise us, and the parents who bring us into the world. Exceptionally well written and an absorbing read from beginning to end, "The Finding Place" is especially recommended for the personal reading lists of children ages 12 to 15 and in grades 5 to 10. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library Children's Fiction collections, "The Finding Place" is enthusiastically recommended.

The Mardi Gras Chase
Maggie M. Larche
Leopold Press
9780692548660, $7.99, 148pp,

Twelve-year-old Melanie is bored with her little sister and with yet another Mardi Gras in her hometown. But when she notices a secret code built into the floats of a Mardi Gras parade, she realizes that life might have some surprises left. Melanie and her friends set off to break the Mardi Gras code. They chase clues throughout the season's parades, sneak into forbidden float barns, and even join forces with the intriguing boy who lives down the street. But when they uncover the final clue, Melanie must decide how much she's willing to risk to learn the secret of the Mardi Gras code. And she may find that the solution to the riddle isn't the biggest reward of the chase. "The Mardi Gras Chase" is the first of the True Girls series from Maggie M. Larche showcasing stories of girls with heart and intelligence, plus a touch of romance! Exceptionally well written and thoroughly entertaining for young readers ages 8 to 12, "The Mardi Gras Chase" is very highly recommended for school and community library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "The Mardi Gras Chase" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

Weird Girl and What's His Name
Meagan Brothers
Three Rooms Press
9781941110270, $16.95, PB, 336pp,

In the tiny podunk town of Hawthorne, North Carolina, seventeen-year-old geeks Lula and Rory share everything but most especial, sci-fi and fantasy fandom, including Friday night binge-watching of old X-Files episodes, as well as that feeling that they don't quite fit in. Lula knows she and Rory have no secrets from each other; after all, he came out to her years ago, and she's shared with him her "sacred texts" - the acting books her mother left behind after she walked out of Lula's life. But then Lula discovers that Rory (her Rory, who maybe she's secretly had feelings for) has not only tried out for the Hawthorne football team without telling her, but has also been having an affair with his middle-aged divorcee boss. With their friendship disrupted, Lula begins to question her identity and her own sexual orientation, and she runs away in the middle of the night on a journey to find her mother, who she hopes will have all the answers. Appropriate and recommended for young readers ages 14 and up, Meagan Brother's piercing prose in this fresh LGBT YA novel speaks to anyone who has ever felt unwanted and alone, and who struggles to find their place in an isolating world. "Weird Girl and What's His Name" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Weird Girl and What's His Name" is also available in a Kindle edition ($1.99).

Twenty-One Heroes
Sam A. Forman
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455620876, $17.95, HC, 224pp,

Inspired by the 21 graves of soldiers who died at the Continental Army's encampment along the Delaware River, author Sam A. Forman pays tribute to these anonymous young heroes by capturing the essence of their experiences during the Revolutionary War in the pages of his latest novel "Twenty-One Heroes". The formative trials of America are mirrored in the personal choices of the three main characters. Outspoken Katherine supports the patriot cause with conviction, intelligence, and poise, inspiring the respect of many and the affections of two college students -- Ezra and Joshua. While fighting, disease, and unrest surround them, these young people suffer the additional pains of heartache and the longing of true love. Combining historical facts with modern sensibilities, "Twenty-One Heroes" is an engaging tale of adventure and romance written for young readers ages 12 to 17. Highly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Twenty-One Heroes" is also available in a Kindle edition ($17.05).

One of Us
Jeannie Waudby
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762457991, $16.95, HC, 320pp,

"One of Us" by Jeannie Waudby is a deftly crafted novel that involves a narrow escape from a bomb attack, the Brotherhood (a radical insurgent organization on the rise), and K, a young girl who aspires to a place and a people to call her own. K has a choice to make, and her answer is yes. Yes to spying. Yes to making right wrongs of the past. Yes to leading a double life. But when the two worlds lead to one trapdoor, will K be able to avoid falling through? All the more impressive when considering that is it author Jeannie Waudby's debut novel, A riveting read from first page to last, "One of Us" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "One of Us" is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

A Fighting Chance
Claudia Melendez Salinas
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558858183, $10.95, PB, 285pp,

Seventeen-year-old Miguel Angel spends every minute after school at the Packing Shed, working out with the Alisal Boxing Club. He dreams of becoming a champion so he can get his mother and five siblings out of their cramped one-bedroom apartment in one of Salinas' poorest barrios. But suddenly his life gets more complicated. The city is threatening to take the Packing Shed away from Coach, and without a place to train he won't be able to avoid the gangbangers in his neighborhood. His childhood friend, Beto, has succumbed to the wiles of easy money and expensive cars, and Miguel Angel wonders if he'll be able to resist. Meanwhile, beautiful blonde Britney from Pebble Beach has entered his life, and Miguel Angel has never felt this way before. She too feels an overwhelming attraction, and she's willing to defy her hard-nosed father, who expects her to date someone from their social background of exclusive country clubs and Ivy League schools. When Beto turns to him for help, Miguel Angel is torn between his commitment to friends and Coach's warnings about gang life. With gang violence getting closer and closer, he and Britney are suddenly faced with the consequences of unprotected sex. Can their love for each other survive all of the problems swirling around them? All the more impressive when considering that this is the author's debut as novelist, "A Fighting Chance" by Claudia Melendez Salinas (an award-winning multimedia journalist working for the Monterey Herald in California's Central Coast region) is a deftly crafted novel for young adults that fully captures the challenges of contemporary urban life in one of the Latino community's poorest barrios. Very highly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Fighting Chance" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest
J. A. Myhre
New Growth Press
1301 Carolina Street, Suite L-101, Greensboro, NC 27401
9781942572084, $15.99, PB, 128pp,

Ten-year-old Mu, orphaned as a toddler, has lived his entire life in the heart of Africa. For as long as he can remember, he has served in the household of a great-uncle where he is unloved and ignored. In his drudgery-filled life, Mu has little hope of happiness and little hope that anything will ever change. But one day everything does change. On his way to draw water one morning, Mu is astonished when a chameleon greets him by name and announces that they will embark on a quest together. And what a quest it turns out to be! Mu faces danger and finds unexpected allies as they journey through an everchanging landscape. Through his adventure, Mu learns many things about himself. Along with Mu, you will walk through Africa, encountering good and evil. Read carefully and you just may find out who you are too! "Jennifer Myhre, MD, serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked for over two decades. In "A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest", Dr. Myhre brings to bear her years of experience and observation to create an inherently absorbing novel with an important underlying message that is especially recommended for young readers ages 8 to 14. Indeed, "A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest" will prove to be an enduringly popular and much appreciated addition to both school and community library children's fiction collections.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9

Two new young adult readers are fine recommendations for pre-teens and teens alike. Anne Michaels' The Adventures of Miss Petitfour (9781770495003, $17.99) pairs color illustrations peppered throughout by Emma Block with the engaging story of Miss Petitfour, an expert at baking and eating little cakes, and who travels the world by tablecloth on windy days, taking her sixteen cats out for an airing. A series of magical journeys offer whimsical, fun adventures that are satisfyingly different from most pre-teen books in that no angst, divorce, death, or other life challenges are involved: just an easy, cozy plot filled with mouth-watering food and fun, magical encounters. Glenda Leznoff's Heartache and Other Natural Shocks (9781770498365, $21.99) tells of a difficult move's effects on fifteen-year-old Julia, whose family moves form Montreal in the early 1970s to suburban Toronto. Everything familiar is gone, and nothing attractive seems to replace what she's lost. Even the new neighbor next door, who instantly dislikes her and who is a contender for a coveted school production and the boy Julia finds attractive, is at odds in Julia's new world. Satisfying alterations of perspective between Julia and Carla add understanding to the different perceptions of each in this fine survey of change and adjustment.

The Science Shelf

Boy, Were We Wrong About the Human Body!
Kathleen V. Kudlinski
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780803737921, $16.99,

Boy, Were We Wrong About the Human Body is illustrated by Debbie Tilley and is the latest in a blend of humor and facts that takes common historical misconceptions and debunks them. From the theories of ancient doctors on illness and how to treat it to the process of trial and error that dismissed theories, this blends history with physiology to provide an engaging, fun survey of facts and fantasy revolving around the human body. Elementary-level picture book readers seeking elements of fun from their nonfiction reading will find this lively coverage the perfect choice.

Books in Series

What Is Weather Forecasting
Lynnae D. Steinberg, author
Shutterstock and multiple sources, photography
Rosen Educational Publishing
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781622757954, $26.51,

"What Is Weather Forecasting?" is a 32-page, color photo-illustrated overview resource about the science of weather forecasting. Using definition maps, dramatic photos, colored sidebars of pertinent information, and educational narrative in brief chapters, many issues, interests, and facets of weather forecasting are presented for consideration. Brief chapters on weather-appropriate clothing choice decisions, history of weather forecasting, science behind weather forecasting, weather maps, floods, cyclones, other storms, heat waves and cold snaps, and climate forecasting are included. Students in middle elementary grades or older will be intrigued by this series. A helpful glossary of terms and suggested list of related books and web sites for more information are also included in this excellent educational series for children. Other titles in this outstanding Let's Find Out Weather series which are also highly recommended include: "What Are Air Masses and Weather Fronts?" (9781622757879, $26.51), by Bobi Martin, "What Is the Atmosphere?" (9781622757831, $26.51), by Joe Greek, "What Are Weather and Climate?" (9781622757794, $26.51), by Joanne Mattern, "What Are the Elements of Weather?" (9781622757756, $26.51), by Joanne Randolph, and "What Are Weather Instruments?" (9781622757916, $26.51), by Joseph Kampff.

Lloyd Tireman, author
Evelyn Yrisarri, adaptor
Ralph Douglass, illustrator
University of New Mexico Press
MSCO5 3185, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131
9780826356048, $12.95 48 pages,

"Hop-a-Long" is a reissued vintage story about a desert jack rabbit from the Mesaland Series, originally published between 1943 and 1949. Written by a pioneer in bilingual and community in education, the original series consisted of 7 separate volumes and stories, about a jack rabbit and family, a bumblebee, a coyote, a road runner, a prairie dog, and a porcupine. "Hop-a-Long" has five short chapters, illustrated with charming, stylized black, white, gray and red prints of Hop-a-Long in the desert. Chapters about Jumping Jack, Big Fat and Little Ugly, Hop-a-Long Hurts His Foot, Hop-a-Long Gets Caught in a Sandstorm, Hop-a-Long's First Snowstorm, and Hop-a-Long and the Owl tell of everyday life adventures, beauty, and danger of the life of a jack rabbit in the desert Southwest. "Hop-a-Long" teaches children many fascinating details about the exciting ups and downs in the life of a jack rabbit. "Hop-a-Long" is written in English, suitable for reading to young children age 4 and up, or for independent readers second grade and above. Other titles in this delightful vintage Mesaland series that are also highly recommended include the following: "Baby Jack and Jumping Jack Rabbit" (9780826356048, $12.95), "Cocky" (9780826356062, $12.95), "3 Toes" (9780826356109, $12.95), "Big Fat" (9780826356055, $12.95), "Dumbee" (9780826356079, $12.95), and "Quills " (9780826356093, $12.95).

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

Crabtree's elementary-level picture book nonfiction is perfect for libraries seeking lasting materials suitable for both reports and leisure reads. Each book features an eye-catching cover and contemporary photos with sidebars of information and detail perfect for capturing interest and attention. Top recommendations for their latest series titles includes the 'Engineering in Action' series ($27.60 each) for grade 5, which was created to support the Next Generation Science Standards. Additions to this series include Biomedical Engineering and the Human Body (9780778775058), Materials Engineering and Exploring Properties (9780778775140), Geotechnical Engineering and Earth's Materials and Processes (9780778775065), and Agricultural Engineering and Feeding the Future (9780778775041). Each book holds some 32 pages, including an index, glossary, and bibliography of books and online resources, and each blends contemporary photos with 'post-it notes' of information to capture attention and educate young readers. The 'Ten of the Best Adventures' series ($23.60 each) will appeal to grades 3-4 with 24 pages each of historical information paired with colorful drawings. New Worlds (9780778718352) surveys the challenges to early explorers in new lands; On the Seas (9780778718390) includes maps and feature boxes of high adventure; Frozen Landscapes (9780778718345) surveys expeditions around the world from Shackleton to Riiser-Larsen and Amundsen, In Space (9780778718369) considers the dangerous journeys of Uri Gagarin, Armstrong, and other astronauts; In the Sky (9780778716383) surveys inventors and pilots who conquered the skies, and In the Jungle (9780778718376) considers famous jungle adventurers. All pair facts both historical and biographical with lively color illustrations. The 'Next Generation Energy' series 'Energy From' titles ($27.60 each) for grade 5 provides 32 pages each of information specific to the pros and cons of natural and human-made energy sources, examining these energy forms and their sustainability. Nuclear Fission: Splitting the Atom (9780778719816), Living Things: Biomass Energy (9780778719809), Living in a Sustainable Way: Green Communities (9780778720003), Energy from the Sun: Solar Power (9780778719823), Fracking: Fracturing Rock to Reach Oil and Gas Underground (9780778719847), Energy from the Earth's Core: Geothermal Energy (9780778719793), Energy from Wind: Wind Farming (9780778719830), and Earth's Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Overload (9780778719786) each pack in details on sustainable forms of energy and their competitors, exploring how scientists, researchers, consumers and energy managers are involved in different quests for new energy sources. All are top recommendations for elementary-level collections seeking lasting library references.

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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