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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 7 July 2007 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Fiction Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Native American Shelf Biography Shelf Reference Shelf
Bilingual Shelf World History Shelf Poetry Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf Music Shelf
DVD Shelf Picturebook Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Real Samurai
Stephen Turnball
Enchanted Lion Books
45 Main Street, Suite 519, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592700608, $15.95 1-888-330-8477

"Real Samurai: Over 20 Stories of Old Japan" by Stephen Turnball is a collection of true stories about the samurai warriors of Japan, a warrior class who dominated Japanese culture and held to high standards of personal honor and loyalty based upon the fundamental concept of Bushido. There are five special sections that focus upon diverse 'samurai facts' ranging from horseback archery, to samurai swords, Japanese armor, Japanese castles, and more. An ideal introduction for young readers to Japanese history and larger-than-life characters of Japanese legend, "Real Samurai" will prove to be an exceptionally popular addition to school and community library collections.

A Bully Grows Up
Caryn Sabes Hackler
Caryn Solutions, LLC
PO Box 635, Naples, FL 34106
9780979104602, $15.95

Through a recent and continuing series of well-publicized tragedies in American school systems the subject of bullying has come to the forefront of American educational issues. To help parents and teachers address this problem, psychotherapist and motivational speaker Caryn Sabes Hacker has written "A Bully Grows Up: Erik Meets The Wizard" in which a young boy learns that aggressive behavior is harmful for both the aggressor as well as the victim. Erik travels through a mystical land and his encounters show him how to develop healthier and more compassionate values that results in feelings of achievement, pride, gratification, and relief. This 'Adult Education Edition' of "A Bully Grows Up" includes questions, exercises and activities that help young readers to understand and incorporate the messages embedded in a text that is as entertaining as it is instructive. "A Bully Grows Up" is a welcome and highly recommended addition to the growing body of literature and resources to help children understand and deal with bullying behavior -- their own, as well as others.

What Else Do I Say?
Malky Goldberg, author
Patti Argoff, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
762 Park Place, Brooklyn, NY 11216
9781929628346, $9.95

What Else Do I Say? is a simple children's book that instructs young people in basic polite phrases to use in different situations when visiting friends or interacting with others. Though intended especially for Jewish children, most of the phrases are universal English terms of politeness. Each of the terms taught to children is tucked under a paper flap young readers can lift, with a short verse describing the appropriate situation for its use, and a gentle color illustration of a traditionally-dressed Jewish family. The phrases taught are "Hello", "Nice meeting you", "Mazel Tov", "Please", "Amein", "Thank you", "I'm sorry", and "Goodbye". An excellent, read-aloud etiquette and cultural values teaching tool.

Children's Tea & Etiquette
Dorothea Johnson, John Harney & Ann Noyes, authors
Dawn Peterson, illustrator
Bruce Richardson, recipes
9780966347890, $19.95

Children's Tea & Etiquette: Brewing Good Manners in Young Minds is more than a simple picturebook - it is a thoughtful etiquette manual to instruct readers in how to properly enjoy afternoon tea. Many of the social graces discussed extend into the practice of the general world. From basic polite phrases such as "please", "thank you", "may I", and "you're welcome", to what RSVP means, to table manners for a tea party (such as not picking up one's napkin until the host has), to the importance of writing a thank-you note, Children's Tea & Etiquette is highly recommended as an instructional tool for preparing young people to do well in formal situations. Beautiful, soft pastel color illustrations by Dawn Peterson, a handful of recipes, and notes on the history of tea parties round out this good manners primer.

Water Words: Rhymed And Defined
Barbara Shaw McKinney & Carolyn R. Stich
Edco Publishing
2648 Lapeer Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
9780971269286, $19.95

The collaboration of author Barbara Shaw McKinney and illustrator Carolyn R. Stich, "Water Words: Rhymed And Defined" combines water-related poems with colorful artwork to provide young readers with definitions, information, and interesting facts about water and water related terms such as water cycle, rain, wetlands, condensation, watershed, aquifer, acid rain, precipitation, evaporation, erosion, point source pollution, transpiration, conversation, overdraft, and bodies of water. An informative, 'kid friendly', 32-page picturebook, "Water Words: Rhymed And Defined" is an ideal and recommended addition to both school and community library Environmental Studies reference collections and reading lists for elementary school aged children.

Rock With Rodney
Patty Fayerweather Harlow
Airleaf Publishing
35 Industrial Drive, Martinsville, IN 46151
160002002X, $16.95 1-800-342-6068

Imaginatively written by Patty Harlow and enthusiastically recommended for readers ages 8 to 18, "Rock With Rodney And Party With Perky To Preserve Wildlife" is an engaging story about the many stresses and assaults happening to the environment and the urgent need for us to deal with these threats to wildlife, and ultimately, to ourselves. Featured characters include Rodney the rock n' roll Rabbit, Perky the partying Panther, Dylan the dancing Dog, Courtney the creative Cougar, Taffy the totally tubular Turtle, Fanny the fun-loving Fox, hart the hilarious hippo, and Sam Slimey Snake. All of them get together for a party and in the course of their fun, play a game about the beauty and misfortunes of American national parks and historical landmarks. What they learn by playing their game leads them to tack action to help take action to save those parks and landmarks around the country. As entertaining as it is informative, "Rock With Rodney And Party With Perky To Preserve Wildlife" is especially recommended reading for young people concerned with environmental issues and a welcome addition to school and community library collections.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Lee Miller's ROANOKE: THE MYSTERY OF THE LOST COLONY (0439712661, $18.99) is a wonderful pick for either leisure readers or libraries strong in early American history for grades 2-4. Every clue about the circumstances of this real 'lost colony' is furnished by primary documents that invite the reader to turn detective to solve the mysteries. The answers to this age-old question are all spelled out by the clues and in conclusions, and kids will find the approach and facts intriguing. Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu's OWEN & MZEE: THE LANGUAGE OF FRIENDSHIP (0439899591, $16.99) provides a sequel to the true story of a unique friendship between a land tortoise and a baby hippo. Photos by Peter Greste explore a special friendship in text and color images, making for a lovely story kids will find involving.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Summer Dragons
Holly Haggarty
Napoleon Publishing
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M2N 4Y8
9781894917520, $7.95 1-877-730-9052

Creative arts teacher and mother of three Holly Haggarty presents Summer Dragons, a novel for young adults following ten-year-old Elizabeth as she and her brother spend the summer at her Great-Aunt Germaine's. As Beth uncovers the hidden secrets of her aunt's "emporium", a former tourist attraction, she happens across an odd, perfectly egg-shaped stone. Is it a mineral or a dragon egg? When the supposed egg cracks she wonders - where has the hatchling run off to? Could it be connected to the legendary Swamp Monster of Caradoc? A rousing fun summer adventure story.

The Magic Gown
J.L. Kimmel
Spring Tree Press
PO Box 461, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716
Sgarlat Publicity
PO Box 4204, Charlottesville, VA 22905-4204
0978500709, $17.95

The Magic Gown is fantasy novel written to delight young readers, and beautifully illustrated with simple, full-color paintings on virtually every other page. When eleven-year-old Lilly Segovia is moving, she receives a plain oyster shell that is far more than what it seems. At her new home, she learns of the disappearance of a neighbor boy, and becomes drawn into the otherworldly Land of Ten Kings and Roses. Dragons, dreams, and destiny abound in this enchanting adventure by children's poetry and dream workshop leader J.L. Kimmel.

The Discovery of Dragons
Graeme Base
Abrams Books for Young Readers
c/o Harry N. Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810959675, $19.95 1-800-759-0190

The Discovery of Dragons: New Research Revealed is a singularly gorgeous picturebook of fantastic dragon species. Written for readers of all ages, The Discovery of Dragons features a gorgeous full-color picture of a dragon species on each two-page spread, and scraps of "primary source research" about the amazing sighting of the beast on the other. From Livingstone's Demon to Spotted Marsh Draak and the beautiful yet delicate Japanese Butterfly Lizard, The Discovery of Dragons dazzles the imagination and even challenges the reader to expand his or her imagination about what truly constitutes a dragon. A "must-have" for the private library collections of dragon lovers everywhere.

Saving the Griffin
Kristin Wolden Nitz
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561453801, $14.95 1-800-241-0113

Written by griffon lover and mother of three Kristin Wolden Nitz, Saving the Griffin is a charming young adult novel about three siblings who discover a lost baby griffin in a modern-day Italian garden. Their efforts to keep young "Grifonino" safe, find out where he came from, and return him safely take them on a whirlwind of adventure and even danger, as they are at cross purposes with greedy paparazzi, eager scientists, and the lurking menace of Prince Eduardo. A delightfully fantastic story, highly recommended for young griffin lovers everywhere.

The Fiction Shelf

Adventures on Amelia Island
Jane R. Wood
Florida Kids Press
11802 Magnolia Falls Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32258
9780979230400 $7.99

English teacher Jane R. Wood presents Adventures on Amelia Island: A Pirate, A Princess, and Buried Treasure, an adventure novel for middle school and junior high young adult readers that continues the saga of the Johnson family and their knack for personally experiencing connections with history. When the family spends a week on Amelia Island during the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, five-year-old Katy learns about a real princess who once lived near there, and encounters a mysterious pirate - is he real, or just a product of her youthful fantasies? Nine-year-old Bobby hunts for the buried treasure of legend supposedly hidden on the island. Bobby and his older brother Joey visit a cemetery, a 19th century fort, and streets reputed to be haunted by ghosts. Black-and-white illustrations intersperse this engaging tale, which draws upon carefully researched history to mesh with the medley of adventure and legend. Also highly recommended is Wood's previous young adult novel, "Voices in St. Augustine".

Delacorte Press
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Tim is followed home by a stray dog and decides to find the owner of the friendly pup – which leds him to an adventure packed with car chases, mystery, and espionage in Joshua Doder's A DOG CALLED GRK(9780385733595, $14.99). Middle school grades will appreciate the blend of humor and action which goes beyond the usual dog bonding story and enters into the realm of action and adventure. Anne-Laure Bondoux's LIFE AS IT COMES (9780385903905, $15.99) tells of sisters five years apart in age who have nothing in common – until their parents die and twenty-year-old party girl Patty becomes her sister's guardian. Between grief, changing relationships and a baby on the way, the two sisters must confront and grow in very different ways in this absorbing account. Barbara Hall's THE NOAH CONFESSIONS (9780385733281, $15.99) tells of a teen who receives an unusual gift on her sixteenth birthday: not the posh new car she's expecting like her peers, but an invitation to regain lost perspective by exploring her mother's past. Her journey will bring her to her mother's childhood home, where she uncovers family secrets and a renewed appreciation for life. E.E. Charlton-Trujillo's FEELS LIKE HOME (9780385733328, $15.99) tells of a girl who grows up in a dead-end Texas town whose life falls apart when her brother abandons her to her drunken father. Now Danny is back – a different person – and Mickey's newly-rebuilt life is threatened. The past haunts her in this moving story of family relationships and renewal.

Beyond the Billboard
Susan Gates
Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780152059835, $16.00 1-800-543-1918

Firebird and her family live in a primitive broken-down hut that is completely hidden by a massive billboard – and Firebird has never been allowed to leave their wilderness swamp or talk to strangers. Suddenly strangers are all over the swamp – and threaten her family's secretive life. How can Firebird keep her life the same when the entire world has decided to enter it? A fine, warm story of family secrets evolves.

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

Marthe Jocelyn's HOW IT HAPPENED IN PEACH HILL (9780375837012, $15.99) tells of a mother and daughter who come to Peach Hill where Annie's mother sets herself up, once again, as the spiritualist advisor Madame Caterina, an endeavor supported by her daughter, who pretends to be an idiot to help gain information about clients. But Annie's tired of her role and she wants a real life with friends and school: Peach Hill seems the place she might be able to break free of her deceptions and a mother who wants her to constantly lie. A moving story of freedom evolves. Beatrice Gormley's SALOME (9780375839085, $15.99) tells the classic story of a seductive woman whose dances led to the beading of John the Baptist. This is her side, and tells of a girl's betrayals, search for friends in a strange land, and how she walked into a trap that would betray the ones she loved. An intriguing twist on the traditional Biblical story evolves. Karen Day's TALL TALES (9780375837739, $15.99) tells of Meg, starting sixth grade in yet another new school, and determined to find a best friend. When she meets Grace she believes she's finally found that friend – but Meg has family secrets, and must invent some big lies to hide them. A moving story of what makes for friendship – and what's involved in lying – evolves. J.B. Cheaney's THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE (9780375837906, $15.99) tells of Ronnie, who's hitting the road in an RV with her grandfather at the wheel. During their long journey she will re-discover the meaning of family and learn new lessons about sibling importance and her own place in the world in this moving story of travel and new worlds. Eileen Spinelli's SUMMERHOUSE TIME (9780375840616, $12.99) tells of cousins who share yet another summer together and who find their worlds are changing. As they grow up. From blossoming romances to new interests, SUMMERHOUSE TIME charts the evolution of family closeness against the backdrop of a summer off. Perfect leisure reading for summer!

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Eleanor Updale's MONTMORENCY'S REVENGE (0439813735, $16.99) tells of Montmorency's determination to exact revenge on killer who have destroyed Queen Victoria – but before he can do this he must stop one Doctor Farcett's slide into insanity – and handle the grief of others. This is the fourth Montmorency adventure about the gentlemen thief, and is a powerful tale of revenge and recovery. Suzanne Collins' GREGOR AND THE CODE OF CLAW (043979143X, $17.99) presents the fifth in the Underland Chronicles': prior familiarity with the other adventures will lend a satisfying uniformity to this story of Gregor, who finds out the prophecy fortells his death – and the time is coming to face off an army of rats. Somehow Gregor must defend his home and get his family home safely; and key to this and his survival is a code which must be cracked and a war which will change his world. Another outstanding, riveting Gregor fantasy. Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis add another to the 'Grey Griffins' series with RISE OF THE BLACK WOLF (043983774X, $12.99), a story of Max and his Grey Griffin friends who are invited to a Scottish castle for a relaxing summer vacation. When Max's father is missing and some werewolves attack, Max and his friends find themselves on a magical adventure mission. No prior familiarity with the Grey Griffins series is required to appreciate this new adventure. Dietlof Rieche's FREDDY'S FINAL QUEST (0439874149, $16.99) adds to the other four books in the 'Golden Hamster Saga'; this telling of author Freddy's journey through time with a tomcat, guinea pig poets and a robot hamster on a rescue mission. From wild Golden Hamsters who capture the guinea pig poets and plan to eat them to a dangerous quest, high adventure marks this cartoon-drawing embellished fantasy. Lisa Yee's SO TOTALLY EMILY EBERS (0439838479, $16.99) is presented in the form of Emily's letters to her father and chart a move to California and a series of ideas and impressions on life, friendship, romance and divorce. It's a winning story of coming of age and coping with a new family and social life and the format and chatty style will involve young adults in a fine leisure choice. Michael Morpurgo's WAR HORSE (0439796636, $16.99) tells of war horse Joey, who began life as a farm horse with a gentle boy master and was sold into the army during World War I. Fans of Black Beauty and other classic animal stories will find this first-person horse's eye story of war and change brings to dramatic life all the conflicts and struggles of battle. Kevin Brooks' BEING (0439899737, $16.99) tells of a boy who uncovers a strange past after a hospital visit reveals he is something unusual. He escapes the hospital – but finds himself targeted for murder and having to trust a beautiful thief to help him. Who – or what – Robert is makes for a gripping thriller which is hard to put down. Eireann Corrigan's ORDINARY GHOSTS (0439832438, $16.99) tells of a boy facing a vanished brother, a dead mother and a father who leaves him alone. He has nobody to talk to – and discovers a new world when he finds the key which opens every door in the elite prep school he's been forced to attend. Suddenly Emil finds himself prowling the school for answers – and falling for a girl who also sneaks into his new world. An excellent story of changes evolves.

Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003

Doug Wilhelm's FALLING (0374322511, $17.00) tells of teen Matt, who was expected to be the star player on his junior high basketball team – and now won't even touch a ball. Nobody knows why – until he meets Katie, becomes close to her, and eventually reveals a secret that will change more than his world. Ruth White's WAY DOWN DEEP (0374382514, $16.00) tells of a toddler found abandoned in a small town. Miss Arbutus takes her in and she leads a good life – but when Ruby is twelve a new family arrives in town with news of her past – and to learn more she must travel far from her newfound home. Is it worth it? A fine story of bonds and community connections evolves. Both are excellent leisure choices for summer reading.

Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson
Roaring Brook Press
143 West Street, New Milford, CT 06776
1596431385, $16.95

On the first day of class Connor finds an unusual attraction for his history teacher, Ms. Timms – and he can't stop thinking about her. The love and home he's always missed seem to be offered up through her – and through the possibilities of a forbidden relationship. GONE is a touching story of a student and teacher who cross the line – and is a recommended pick for mature young adults.

Kate Morgenroth
Simon & Schuster Books
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
1416914382, $15.99

Justin's younger brother died in a terrible accident and in the year following, Justin's life has fallen apart. He's unpopular at school, he even gets into a fight with his former best friend – and now he's hearing a voice that makes him relive the accident over and over. Justin's recovery process is realistically charted in a moving story which will attract ages 12 and older.

Deep and Dark and Dangerous
Mary Downing Hahn
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618665455, $16.00

Just before summer Ali finds an old photo in the attic – one which contains a puzzling family member, who's been torn out of the picture. She'll have much opportunity to investigate during her summer in Maine in the house where her mother used to vacation – but an encounter with a moody girl next door and her mean spirit leads to an encounter with a spirit who drowned under mysterious circumstances when Ali's mother and aunt were kids. Hahn is noted for her fine ghost stories with their unpredictable twists of plot – this joins others as an outstanding read.

Ron Koertge
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
9780763627058, $16.99

Teen Ted's parents just died in a fiery car cash and he's stuck with a set of strange foster parents and an inner-city high school full of delinquents. It's the most miserable time of his life – but despite it all things are changing, in this intriguing story of a teen who faces some terrible disasters and through them, learns lessons on coping and building new worlds.

Dreamquest: Tales of Slumberia
Brent Hartinger
c/o TOR Teen
175 – 5th Avenue, new York NY 10010
076531979, $16.95

Pre-teen Julie's parents are fighting so much she can't escape even through dreams – until one night she wakes up inside her dream, in the studio where they are produced. If she can find the people responsible for producing her dreams she might get them to go away – but she becomes stuck between two worlds. An outstanding, different fantasy evolves.

Me, Penelope
Lisa Jahn-Clough
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618773665, $16.00

Penelope's like many teens, seeking independence from her family, a driver's license, and a way out of her town. And, she wants love and sex. Added problems for her are having a young, beautiful mother and a horrible accident that has affected her family and fostered secrets. An excellent story of evolving relationships.

Forever Home
Sandra J. Philipson, author
Jenny Campbell, illustrator
Cleveland Clinic Press
9500 Euclid Avenue, NA32, Cleveland, OH 44195
9781596240803, $12.95 1-216-444-1158

The latest novel in the Max and Annie series, Forever Home is a chapter book for young readers distinguished by its high-quality paper, its gentle color illustrations on virtually every other page, and its heartwarming story. Trini, a cheerful three-legged English springer spaniel, finds herself abandoned when her owner passes away. Her journey in search of a new "forever home" will take her past obstacles and through hard times, but with courage and cheer, Trini is determined to brave any obstacle. Highly recommended, especially for young dog lovers.

The Azura Stones
Helen D. Bailie
American Book Publishing
5442 So. 900 East #146, Salt Lake City, UT 84117-7204
9781589823747, $18.00

The debut novel of Australian teacher Helen D. Bailie, The Azura Stones is a tale of suspense for young adults. Hayley and her friends were looking forward to a normal school vacation, but when they discover a map left by Hayley's grandfather shortly before his death, they opt to follow in his footsteps. But as they hike further and further up the forbidding mountain trail, they become more and more aware of the danger that they have entered. Hidden within the mystery of the lost Azura Stones is a secret that could destroy the world, in this nail-biting adventure ideal for children's libraries and personal leisure reading on rainy days.

Emily & the Captain: A High Seas Adventure
Noelle Hall, author
Mel D'Souza, illustrator
Jesperson Publishing
100 Water Street, St. Johns, NL, Canada, A1C 6E6
9781894377157, $8.50 1-800-563-3333

Written by Newfoundland aficionado Noelle Hall and featuring friendly, sketch-style color artwork by "Downhome Magazine" cartoonist Mel D'Souza, Emily & the Captain: A High Seas Adventure is a flat-spined picturebook for young readers who are almost ready to move on to chapter books. When the evil sea imp Santana casts a wicked spell on Captain McKenzie's ship, the Georgia K, it vanishes and the residents of Woody Point must find the missing vessel before ice floes crush it. With food and supplies running out, the crew must combine their efforts to fight against a cruel fate Santana has planned for them! A rollicking nautical story packed with excitement.

Adirondack Nightmare
Rebecca Leonard, author
Nick Leonard, illustrator
Leonard Enterprises, Inc.
240 Champlain Drive, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9781934383148, $9.95

Written by mother of two Rebecca Leonard and featuring numerous black-and-white computer-generated illustrations by her son Nick Leonard, Adirondack Nightmare: A Spooky Tale in the North Country is a Halloween adventure novel for young people new to chapter books. Enhanced with tasty original Adirondack recipes like "John and Mary's Best Michigan Sauce Recipe Ever" and "Caramel & Chocolate Covered Candied Apple Recipe", Adirondack Nightmare is goosebump-inducing treat from cover to cover. A great holiday mood-setting story for reading aloud chapter by chapter or allowing novice readers to immerse themselves in the spine-chilling joy of words.

All the Cats in Cairo
Inda Schaenen
Brown Barn Books
119 Kettle Creek Road, Weston, CT 06883
9780976812654, $8.95

The first novel specifically for young adults by published author Inda Schaenen, All the Cats in Cairo is an adventure in which Maggie, an ordinary 13-year-old girl, receives contact from the mysterious cat goddess of ancient Egypt, Bastet. With the aid of the goddess' many cat disciples, and the friendship of an Egyptian boy, Maggie must uncover a terrible evil secret within Egypt, one that could sap its very life force. All the Cats of Cairo comes alive with its vibrant setting and its harmonious blend of twenty-first century modernity and mystic wonder. Highly recommended for teen cat lovers.

The Cookbook Shelf

Simply In Season Children's Cookbook
Mark Beach & Julie Kauffman
Herald Press
616 Walnut Avenue, Scottsdale, PA 15683-1999
0836193369, $21.99 1-800-759-4447

The collaborative effort of Mark Beach and Julie Kauffman, "Simply In Season Children's Cookbook" is a compilation of 'kid friendly' recipes for do-it-yourself, wonderfully delicious and nutritious dishes specifically designed for children ages 6 to 12. The recipes are organize by the seasons of the year and promote 'whole foods in a whole life experience'. Commissioned by the Mennonite Central Committee, "Simply In Season Children's Cookbook" is an ideal introduction for parents to use with their children for the purpose of instilling within them an appreciated for the food they find on their table, the joy of accomplishment to be found in preparing good meals for themselves and their families, and acquire kitchen oriented life-long skills. Also very highly recommended for family and community library cookbook collections from Herald Press are three other outstanding recipe compilations combined with insightful commentary raising awareness about world food issues and the interconnectedness of our global community: "Simply In Season; "More-with-Less"; and "Extending the Table"

Books in Series

Clara House Books
c/o The Oliver Press, Inc.
Charlotte Square, 5707 West 36th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55416-2510
$19.95 each, 1-800-865-4837

Two new installments in the "How It Happens" nonfiction picturebook series are sure to delight, amaze, and educate young readers. How It Happens at the Motorcycle Plant (9781881508991) walks young readers through a plant that assembles and paints motorcycles piece by piece, and How It Happens at the Pizza Company (9781881508984) reveals how pizza factories prepare ingredients, assemble, cook, preserve, and ship pizzas. Full-color photographs illustrate these illuminating guides to modern mass-producing technology that enables economy of scale production and the men and women involved in the system that keep it running smoothly. Both titles are enthusiastically recommended for their educational value to children's libraries.

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

Stone Arch Books specializes in publishing high-interest fiction designed to engage struggling and reluctant young readers, improving their reading skills while helping to foster a love and appreciation for reading. 'Vortex Books' (1598890441, $135.60 List/$101.70 School/Library) is one of their latest series consisting of six titles written to have a particular appeal to readers ages 10-14 and in grades 5 through 9. This is a series of mystery, adventure, and fantasy novels that deftly combine text and illustration. Each volume includes a glossary, discussion questions, writing prompts, and an author biography. The individual titles comprising this outstanding and highly recommended series include "The Curse of the Wendio: An Agate and Buck Adventure" by "Scott R. Welvaert; "Rock Art Rebel" and "The Pirate, Big Fist, and Me" by M.J. Cosson;" Poison Plate" and "Missing by M. Sobel Spirn; and "The Ghost's Revenge" by M. Peschke. Teachers, librarians, and home schooling parents are encouraged to visit the Stone Arch Books website at for a complete listing of all of their outstanding series designed to be incorporated into reading instruction curriculums for developing phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension skills in reluctant readers.

Blue Thistle Press
PO Box 652, Van, TX 75790 1-866-679-7323

"The Time Bridge Travelers" by Linda Ayers is a series of deftly crafted fantasy adventure stories for young readers that hold the distinction of each individual title being able to be read and enjoyed independently of the others. Available in both hardcover and paperback editions, this outstanding and imaginatively written series is enhanced with illustrations by Ryan Ayers. The three volumes of the series (so far) include "The Time Bridge Travelers: Book 1" (9780976050506, $7.95, PB) in which three children find that the spinning wheel in the back room of their mother's antique shop looks ordinary -- but it's actually a device that sends two of them hundreds of years into the past! "The Time Bridge Travelers And The Mysterious Map" (9780976050537, $7.95, PB) has Mandy, Toby and Clint going back into the past again -- this time it's more than seventy million years into the past when dinosaurs roamed the earth! "The Time Bridge Travelers And The Time Travel Station" (9780978630270, $7.95, PB & 9780978630287, $16.95, HC) finds the kids taking a trip back to 1936 Texas and the Texas Centennial Exposition -- plus learning that their little town of Crabtree Corners is destined to become Time Travel Station #57! All three of these books will capture the imaginations and interest of young readers in grades 6 through 8, with the hardcover editions being ideal for both middle school and community library Fantasy & Science Fiction collections.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Terrific Science Press
Miami University, 4200 East University Boulevard, Middletown, OH 045042 1-513-727-3269

Terrific Science Press is a premier publisher of classroom-tested science resource materials for use as curriculum supplements by elementary school teachers and home schooling parents. Their newest five volume series is the 'Strive to Thrive Handbooks' for adolescent readers formatted in a 'kid friendly' magazine-style format. Deftly edited by Mickey Sarquis, this outstanding series consists of "Breathing Room!: Indoor Pollution Activity Handbook" (9781883822453, $9.95); "Lather Up!: Hand Washing Activity Handbook" (9781883822422, $9.95); "More Than Skin Deep: Skin Health Activity Handbook" (9781883822446, $9.95); "Safe Not Sorry!: Chemical Safety Activity Handbook" (9781883822521, $9.95); and "Wet Your Whistle!: Drinking Water Activity Handbook" (9781883822439, $9.95). Each individual volume features thematically appropriate hands-on activities using readily available materials, magazine-style readings, thought-provoking questions, entertainingly informative games and puzzles. Specifically designed and written to help teens make healthier choices, the 'Strive to Thrive Handbook' series is very strongly recommended for both school and community library collections.

Teen Nutrition: What's the Big Debate?
Learning ZoneXpress
PO Box 1022, Owatonna, MN 55060
1571755136, $79.95 1-888-455-7003

Teen Nutrition: What's the Big Debate? is a closed-captioned, educational DVD produced especially to help young people in grades 6 to adult make wise choices about the foods they eat and the lifestyle they pursue. Offering the acronymic F-A-T-S method of eating and activity, and the P-L-A-N method for changing bad eating and activity habits, how to use a hunger scale to control eating, and how reading food labels can provide one with valuable information about food choices, Teen Nutrition: What's the Big Debate? is enthusiastically recommended for school classrooms and public library collections. Two genial high school classmates act out the simple, positive lifestyle patterns described in this much-needed antidote to the bombardment of today's children with advertisements for unhealthy foods.

The Vegetables We Eat
Gail Gibbons
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10017
0823420019, $16.95

Leaf, root and stem are three of the eight groups of vegetables and here are details about these groups, from how they're planted and harvested to the basics of tending a home vegetable garden and making use of produce. Drawings accompany facts and add lively embellishments to the story of everyday vegetables and their importance in diet.

The Audiobook Shelf

Philomena Wonderpen Is A Very Naughty Teacher
Ian Bone
Bolinda Publishing, Inc.
48 Oxford Woods, Falmouth, ME 04105-3401
9781740939096, $18.00 1-888-235-2019

Philomena Wonderpen (her best friend George calls her Philomena Daydreamer) is a little girl who loves to daydream. Perhaps if she could draw her dreams with a magic pen she could make them become real. Then maybe she could even make herself the teacher and then be able to boss the whole class! Superbly narrated by Melissa Chambers and featuring a total running time of 1 hour and 10 minutes, "Philomena Wonderpen Is A Very Naughty Teacher" by Ian Bone is a thoroughly delightful, charmingly imaginative, flawlessly recorded, and wonderfully engaging story that will prove to be a popular addition to family, school, and community library CD audiobook collections for young listeners ages 7 through 10.

The Native American Shelf

Schlessinger Media
7 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096-0580 1-800-843-3620

'Indians of North America' is a new DVD series of three flawless produced historical videos for students in grades 5 through 12 showcasing aboriginal cultures in Central and North America including their communities, traditions, religions, values, and individual relationships with nature. Each 30-minute video features photograph images, illustrations, portraits, maps, and live footage showcasing the regions where various tribal communities have lived over the centuries. Each program features commentary from leading Native American scholars and contemporary tribe members who challenge the myths and stereotypes surrounding Native American cultures down to the present day. Of special note are the hard facts about Indian/White relations in the United states and Canada, and the examination of the role of women in Native American Societies. Each individual DVD is $39.95 and includes "The Aztec"; "The Iroquois"; and "A History of Native Americans. Strongly recommended for both school and community library collections, the DVD format allows for the inclusion of English and Spanish language tracks, chapter select, discussion questions and actives. Also available in a VHS format, a free Teacher's Guide is also available online at

The Biography Shelf

Mary Queen Of Scots
Nancy Lotz & Carlene Phillips
Morgan Reynolds, Inc.
620 South Elm Street, Suite 223, Greensboro, NC 27406
9781599350400, $27.95 1-800-535-1504

Educators Nancy Lotz and Carlene Philips has collaborated to present the life story of Mary Stuart, the daughter of Henry the Eighth. Mary became the Queen of Scotland only a few days after she was born and lived in her native land for a total of six years. But that was long enough for her life and tragedy to impact the course of British history with her struggle to supplant her sister, Elizabeth Tudor, from the throne of England that ultimately ended with her death at the headsman's axe. This political contest was also a struggle between the entrenched forces of Catholicism and the newly emerged powers of Protestantism. "Mary Queen Of Scots" offers young readers an engaging and informative 'window in time' that brings this peace of history to life. Also very highly recommended for both school and community library biography and history collections for young readers from Morgan Reynolds are Kerrily Sapet's "Cleopatra: Ruler Of Egypt" (9781599350356, $27.95); Sandra H. Schichtman and Dorothy Indenbaum's "Gifted sister: The Story Of Fanny Mendelssohn" (978-1-59935-038-7, $27.95); and Julie Baker's "The Bread And Roses Strike Of 1912" (9781599350448, $27.95); John Duggleby's "Revolution: The Story Of John Lennon" (9781599350349, $27.95); and William Schoell's "Giuseppe Verdi And Italian Opera" (9781599350417, $27.95)

The Reference Shelf

The World Almanac for Kids 2008
World Almanac Books
c/o World Almanac Education Group
512 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10018
9781600570599, $12.99

Illustrated with full-color photographs on every page, The World Almanac for Kids 2008 is a completely updated, fact-filled reference and resource covering topics from animals to science to branches of government, sports, American history, and popular culture. The eye-catching layouts, jazzed up from page to page, make The World Almanac for Kids 2008 fun to browse through as well as being educational, and an index allows for quick reference. Highly recommended for grade school library and children's reference shelves.

The Bilingual Shelf

Marian A. Hassan, author
Betsy Bowen, illustrator
Minnesota Humanities Commission
987 East Ivy Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55106
9781931016186, $15.95

Dhegdheer: A Scary Somali Folktale is a striking English/Somali bilingual picturebook of an ancient cautionary tale from Somalia. When the Hargega Valley is plagued by the monstrous Dhegdheer, who devours everyone in her path, a widow and her young son try to escape with their lives. Only their own innocence and virtue has a prayer of saving them from the monster. Betsy Bowen's boldly tribal paintings illustrate this one-of-a-kind folktale.

The World History Shelf

Wind the World Over
Irene Boland & Vanessa Kellogg, authors
Tamberley Thomas, illustrator
Bright Sky Press
340 South Second Street, Albany, TX 76430
9781931721943, $14.95 1-866-933-6133

Environmental science experts Irene Boland and Vanessa Kellogg present Wind the World Over, a simple book for middle-school readers about the amazing history of wind power. Following two children as they visit ancient Persia, Imperial China, medieval Europe, and rural America for an up-close and personal look at wind power throughout history, Wind the World Over is a fascinating introduction to this remarkable alternative energy source. Black-and-white illustrations intersperse this simple and lively chronicle recommended for middle school library shelves.

The Poetry Shelf

I Must Go Down To The Beach Again
Karen Jo Shapiro & Judy Love
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580891448, $5.95 1-800-225-3214

Nicely enhanced with occasional black-and-white illustrations by Judy Love, "I Must Go Down To The Beach Again And Other Poems" is a compilation of very highly recommended and entertaining verse by Karen Jo Shapiro characterized by storytelling, whimsey, humor, and themes that every child can recognize and appreciate. Of special note are the little homages (each of which begins 'With apologies to') citing the established poet and the poem used as a rhythmic template for Karen Jo Shapiro's delightful effort. 'About My Baby Sister' - With apologies to George Gordon, Lord Byron ("She Walks in Beauty"): She wakes up crying in the night,/Which keeps us all up very late./She screams for milk with all her might,/Then spits up everything she ate./Her diapers are a messy sight--/So why does Mom insist she's great?

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Don't Squash That Bug!
Natalie Rompella
Lobster Press
1620 Sherbrooke Street, West, Montreal, Quebec, H3H 1C9, Canada
9781897073506, $14.95

Part of the 'Lobster Learners' series of informational picturebooks for young readers, "Don't Squash That Bug!: The Curious Kid's Guide To Insects" by Natalie Rompella (Curriculum Coordinator at The Notebaert Nature Museum) is profusely illustrated with full color photography and is a welcome and highly recommended introduction to beneficial insects and their vital role in nature. A compendium of facts (including a 'Word List' glossary of special terms), children will come to appreciate what a variety of insects and their necessary and very special functions. Each insect is provided with its scientific name, location, growth cycle, history, and beneficial function. Simply put, "Don't Squash That Bug!" should be a part of every school and community library's reference collection for elementary school age children.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Child's Guide To The Holy Days
Kathy DellaTorre O'Keefe & Anne Catharine Blake
Paulist Press
997 MacArthur Boulevard, Mahwah, NJ 07430
9780809167319, $9.95 1-800-218-1903

The collaborative work of author Kathy DellaTorre O'Keefe and illustrator Anne Catharine Blake, the "Child's Guide To The Holy Days" was published by the Paulist Press to teach children ages 5 to 9 about the meaning and significance of special and recurring occasions within the Catholic Church to commemorate and celebrate of 'Holy Days of Obligation in reference to the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, the Ascension, All Saint's Day, Christmas, and the Virgin Mary. Young readers will be able to learn about the special obligations associated with each significant day, the religious legacy of Catholic traditions, and the differences among dioceses that can occur in each holy day's observance. Thoroughly 'kid friendly', the "Child's Guide To The Holy Days" is especially recommended for family, parochial school, and parish library collections for young children.

The Music Shelf

Dream Big!
Roger Day
Roger Day Productions
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $15.00

"Dream Big!" is the latest CD music album by two-time Parent's Choice award-winning independent children's recording artist Roger Day. The music in both its composition and performance is successfully and deftly designed to encourage children to 'sing loud, jump high, and dream big' with its toe-tapping, hand clapping rhythms combined with lyrics notable for their wit, whimsy and wordplay. The thirteen selections comprising this technically flawless recording include Rumble in the Jungle; Zachary Hated Bumblebees; I Like Yaks!; Roly Poly; Uno, Dos, Tres; Turn Off the TV; Hello Sunshine; Zoe's World; Happy Hippos Hopping; Life is a Miracle; I Love You (More than My Shoe); and the title piece, Dream Big! Also very highly recommended for family, school, and community library CD music collections for children are Roger Day's two previous albums: "Rock 'n' Roll Rodeo" (1998) and "Ready to Fly" (2001).

Music Makes Me Happy
Robbi K & Friends
Balidali Productions
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $14.99

"Music Makes Me Happy" is award-winning independent children's recording artist Robbi K's third music album for children ages 7 to 12 and features an amazing mixture of jazz, pop, folk, world beat, classical, blues, Broadway, and calypso tunes performed with an impressive array of guest artists ranging from roots-rocker Brady Rhymer to Riverdance fiddler Eileen Ivers, and from Jon Bauman of Sha Na Na, and bluesman Guy Davis. The superbly recorded and expertly performed pieces comprising this outstanding and highly recommended CD album for family, school, and community library music collections include: Feel da Beat; Summer's here; Eating Some Pizza; Legend of John Henry; Music is My Friend; Favorite Things; Got Me Laughing Blues; Happy! Happy! Happy! Happy! Happy!; I Love My Teacher; The Peace Song; and the title number, Music Makes Me Happy.

The DVD Shelf

Thomas' Trusty Friends
Anchor Bay Entertainment
1699 Stutz Drive, Troy, MI 48084
DV14837, $12.98

The latest in the delightful Thomas the Tank Engine DVD series, Thomas' Trusty Friends offers six new episodes and two sing-along songs featuring the lovable blue train. When a storm causes chaos on Thomas' island home, he must work together with his friends to restore things and get ready for the upcoming big game! A charming, family-friendly show ideal for young children who love trains and other industrial vehicles. 60 minutes, color.

Kids Love Spanish Volume 1
Brock Sisters Productions
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc. (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
0978575709, $19.99

Kids Love Spanish Volume 1: Basic Words is a simple, fun and educational DVD for children of all ages, offering an introduction to Spanish words anyone can use every day. Created by two mothers who happen to be sisters and grew up speaking Spanish, one of whom is a credentialed bilingual teacher, Kids Love Spanish Volume 1 is a great way to expose young people to the wonder and creative potential of learning to communicate in a new language. Highly recommended. Approximately 30 minutes, color.

Learning Zone Xpress
PO Box 1022, Owatonna, MN 55060

Two titles in the "Extreme Etiquette" series by Learning Zone Xpress instruct viewers from grade six to adult in the basics of human courtesy and interaction. "The Courtesy Challenge" ($79.95, 21 min.) is an all-around general primer in etiquette covering how to use common courtesies, watch one's language, make smooth introductions, apply mealtime manners, and take the basics one step further. A highly useful DVD primer with practical demonstrations. "The Netiquette Edge" ($79.95, 21 min.) is a guide that will prove useful to older individuals unfamiliar with the interne as it will to grade school children. Topics covered include good manners in the context of the Internet, cell phones, iPods, and other devices, as well as the importance of using the net to keep in touch without letting it eclipse face-to-face contact. Both titles, which are ideal for classroom, homeschooling, or personal instruction, and have teaching materials included. Closed captioned.

The Picturebook Shelf

Ivar, The Short But Brave Viking
Annie Jacobsen & Susan Jo Hanson
Pickled Herring Press
2380 West Hill Drive, Fitchburg, WI 53711
9780977827619, $16.95

In "Ivar, The Short But Brave Viking", children's author Annie Jacobsen teams up with illustrator Susan Jo Hanson to create a lively and entertaining picturebook story about a Viking named Ivar who is simply too short to be a warrior like most other Viking men. Ivar does not lacks courage despite his small stature because he sets off on a perilous journey of adventure from Ardal to the home of the fierce Mountain Trolls to return a little lost Mountain Troll Kitten before the trolls destroy everything in their path when they decide to come looking for it. Along the way Ivar must deal with a Forest Troll, two Noekkens (water trolls), a fiddle playing Fossegrimmen, and the three-headed Mountain Troll who is the kitten's owner. Fortunately, Ivar has a little blue book that tells him just what he needs to do to get past these various creatures and it is his kindness along the way to those he meets that is rewarded by their kindness to him in return. There are some extra special features setting this picturebook above most others in that it also includes a map of Scandinavia with the settlements and cities located; a list of 'Survival Tips' when dealing with trolls; a glossary of special words used in the text; an Runes alphabet; a bibliography of 'Child Friendly Troll Stories', and a hand-drawn map of Ivar's trip. An original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' Scandinavian folktale, "Ivar, The Short But Brave Viking" will prove to be a delightful and popular addition to any family, elementary school, or community library picturebook collection for young readers. Also very highly recommended is Annie Jacobsen and Susan Jo Hanson's previous picturebook collaboration, "Terrible Troll Cat", which is also published by Pickled Herring Press.

Goldie Socks And The Three Libearians
Jackie Mims Hopkins & John Manders
Upstart Books
c/o Highsmith Inc.
PO Box 800, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800
9781932146684, $17.95 1-800-448-4887

Combining an imaginative re-working of the 'Goldilocks and the 3 Bears' fairytale by Jackie Mims Hopkins with the cartoon-style full color artwork of John Manders, "Goldie Socks And The Three Libearians" is the picturebook story of a little girl who enters the home of a book loving family consisting of Papa Bear who is a public librarian, Mama Bear who is a school librarian, and Baby Bear who is a librarian in training at the Grizz Lee Preschool. Goldi Socks takes advantage of the Bear family's absence to explore the home and becomes so engaged with the books she finds there that she doesn't hear the family's return. Adding to the delightfully entertaining twist to an old and favorite story, is a thoroughly happy ending! "Goldie Socks And The Three Libearians" is a simply delightful read that will entertain young readers and make a very popular addition to family, school, and community library picturebook collections. Teachers and homeschooling parents will find the accompanying 'Library Lessons' created by Jackie Mims to be an ideal supplement to teach children how to select 'just the right book' in a school or community library in a timely fashion.

Where In The World Is Henry?
Lorna Balian & Lecia Balian
Star Bright Books
30-19 48th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
1595720359, $15.95 1-800-788-4439

"Where In The World Is Henry?" by the Wisconsin-based mother-and-daughter team of Lorna and Lecia Balian is a picturebook specifically designed to entertain preschool through kindergarten children while teaching them basic concepts about the relationship between places. For example, 'Where is the quilt? 'The quilt is on the bed.' The simple one-line-per-page text is wonderfully illustrated by full-page, full color artwork. Ideal for a teacher story hour or a parent's bedtime read-aloud with their child, "Where In The World Is Henry?" is very strongly recommended for family, preschool, day-care, elementary school, and community library picturebook collections for children.

The Cave Painter Of Lascaux
Roberta Angeletti
Crystal Productions
PO Box 2159, Glenview, IL 60025-6159
CP1346, 1562903233, $16.95 1-800-255-8629

When Anna and her classmates go on tour to see the famous cave paintings in Lascaux, France, she gets separated from her group and meets a tour guide dressed as a caveman who explains to her some of the wonderful things she see's in the elaborate cave system. Then Anna and the tour guide meet someone else dressed as a caveman -- and he's the real thing! He is one of the artists who drew the famous paintings of humans and animal life on the walls of the cave. Their new acquaintance tells them what life was really like back in the Stone Age. Eventually Anna is able to rejoin her classmates and has learned a great deal about not only the cave paintings, but the people who made them. A superbly written and illustrated picturebook story by Roberta Angeletti, "The Cave Painter Of Lascaux" is further enhanced for young readers with a section about what archaeology has taught us about people of the Stone Age with respect to who they were, where they lived, what they wore, what we speculate they believed in, and how it's thought that the beautiful cave paintings in Lascaux were created so long ago. "The Cave Painter Of Lascaux" is as entertaining as it is informative and a welcome, enthusiastically recommended addition to school and community library picturebook collections for young readers.

The Story Of Pepper
Scott L. Olsen & Heather Leigh Olsen
1663 Liberty Drive Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781425979645, $15.75 1-800-839-8640

Pepper is a black-and-white spotted kitten who enjoys a series of exploratory adventures, often in the company of her kitten cousin Salty. A thoroughly charming and gentle picturebook story for children, "The Story Of Pepper" is the collaborative effort of author Scott L. Olsen and illustrator heather Leigh Olsen. The origin of these stories about a kitten who explores the world around her and learns life lessons (some of which are rather painful and others simply joyful) were the bedtime tales that Scott told his own four young daughters -- who finally convinced their father to write them down so that they could be enjoyed by other children. Highly recommended and thoroughly entertaining, "The Story Of Pepper" is particularly appropriate for bedtime reading by parents to their youngsters.

The Great, Great, Great Chicken War
David de la Garza with Joyce Rosner and Gene de la Garza
Anchorage Press
No. 10 Waverly Court, Houston, TX 77005
9780979526602, $15.95

Written by parents struggling to explain the concept of war to their young son, The Great, Great, Great Chicken War is a children's picturebook that presents concepts such as war and fighting in the simplest possible terms. Tackling the idea that sometimes people can be too silly or chicken to talk out their problems and fight instead, The Great, Great, Great Chicken War combines rhyming verse with exaggerated color pictures in a gentle, whimsical style. "In the Great, Great, Great Chicken War, // Rockets filled the sky with a deafening roar, / Criss-crossing a land where peace was no more. // Velociraptors stormed across the isle, / Scorching the land for mile after mile. // And in the deep ocean, where sea creatures sing, / Silent octopus feared what the future would bring." The Great, Great, Great Chicken War is an effective way to open the topic of war with young children, with a subtle message against wars fought for seemingly pointless reasons. A portion of the profits of The Great, Great, Great Chicken War will be donated to charity for child victims of war or disaster.

Bed Head
Nancy Bennetts, author
Lance Bowen, illustrator
Kesterson & Associates
516 North Chinowth, Visalia, CA 93291
9780972600415, $16.95

Retired public school nurse Nancy Bennetts presents Bed Head, a rhyming children's picturebook about the tangled, messy condition one's hair tends to be on waking up. Featuring wildly exuberant, boldly colorful illustrations by Lance Bowen, Bed Head revels in irreverent whimsy from cover to cover. "You can smile, laugh and giggle too... for in the morning your friends look just like you." A charming and delightful read-aloud experience, great for sharing just before bedtime.

A Fishing Surprise
Rae A. McDonald, author
Kathleen Kemly, illustrator
NorthWord Press
c/o T&N Children's Publishing
11571 K-Tel Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343
9781559719773, $16.95 1-888-255-9989

Written by school librarian Rae A. McDonald, A Fishing Surprise is a delightful easy reader children's picturebook about the joys of summer. A boy and a girl set out to catch fish for their supper table, but when nothing bites on their lines, they spot a tasty unexpected surprise bobbing in the water - apples! The rhyming writing style groups words in very short phrases, making A Fishing Surprise easy and fun for beginning readers to sound out and comprehend. "Hurry, scurry / What a flurry! / Follow the trail / Fill up the pail // Nets dip / Apples flip / Water dripping Feet a-slipping"

Animal Tales
Golden Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
9780375841781, $10.99 1-800-726-0600

Animal Tales is an omnibus collection of nine classic "Little Golden Book" stories featuring wonderful animal characters. The oft-beloved tales included are "The Saggy Baggy Elephant", "The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse", "How the Leopard Got Its Spots", "Mister Dog", "Animal Friends", "The Big Brown Bear", "Home for a Bunny", "How the Camel Got Its Hump", and "Tawny Scrawny Lion". Printed with a durable hardcover binding, gold-edged pages, and the charming full color illustrations, Animal Tales is an ideal anthology for reading aloud to young people at storytime or bedtime, or for budding young readers learning to sound out picutrebooks on their own. Highly recommended.

Families Change
Julie Nelson, author
Mary Gallagher, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
1575422093, $9.95

Written by Julie Nelson, who has taught in at-risk early childhood settings for nearly 30 years, Families Change: A Book for Children Experiencing Termination of Parental Rights is a simple, softcover picturebook about the realities of when families have big problems and need to change so that kids can be safe. The illustrations, painted in warm colors, evoke a powerful sense of hearth and home while the text gently discusses difficult situations. "When families change, kids can remember the happy times and the sad and mad and scary times too. Kids can remember and love their birth families. Kids can love their new families too." The last few pages offer a serious message to parents, foster parents, social workers, teachers, and caregivers, offering basic information about how to support and encourage young children amidst the terrifying crossroad of the termination of parental rights, as well as a list of resources and organizations created to help such children and those who look after them. Highly recommended especially for sharing with children in foster care or other, similar situations.

The Color Pets
Seth Lehman, author
Randy Jennings, illustrator
4All Ages LLC
5 Murdock Road, Suite 100, East Rockaway, NY 11518
9780978798604, $10.95

The debut self-published book of author Seth Lehman, The Color Pets is a rhyming children's picturebook following the adventures of six loyal canine friends, each a different rainbow hue. Brightly and sharply illustrated in full color, The Color Pets tells of mysterious, colorful crystals that fell to earth and gave different dogs their amazing superpowers. "Greenbean is a Golden Retriever, / who has a slight cold and a bit of a fever. / A Color Crystal then crashed right next to his bowl, / it hit the ground hard and made a big hole. // To Greenbean's surprise he felt all better, but now / he was green from head to toe - / a strange thing happened as he walked - the grass began to / quickly grow. / This new power of growth is amazing to see; / he can make a broken acorn become a full grown tree!" A delightful and imaginative picturebook, sure to capture the hearts and minds of young dog lovers, and hopefully the first of a series.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

THE END by David LaRochelle and Richard Egielski is different: usually a story ends with 'the end' but here it's the beginning, moving backward from Happily Ever After and involving a sad dragon who is tickled by a knight, and a fear of hundreds of bunnies invading. A wacky, fun fantasy evolves. Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson's HENRY'S FREEDOM BOX: A TRUE STORY FROM THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD (043977733X, $16.99) tells of a young slave who doesn't know how birthday or age, and who dreams of freedom even as his family is sold. His search for freedom on the underground railroad will carry him on a dangerous path in this moving story of a bid for a different life. Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis' LILY BROWN'S PAINTINGS (0439782252, $16.99) tells of Lilly Brown, who paints her world and by doing so, changes it with her fantasy images. From singing apples to trees wearing hats, this story was inspired by the author's own appreciation for art. Libby Gleeson's HALF A WORLD AWAY (0439889774, $15.99) receives Freya Blackwood's simple drawings and tells of Amy and Louie, best friends until Amy's family moves half a world away. They are on totally different time schedules – but discover new ways to remember and enjoy their friendship despite the distance. James Warhola's IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT (0439727669, $14.99) presents a zany 'jungle edition' of a classic song/rhyme. Kids learn to roar, flap wings, laugh out loud and more as they follow the funny jungle animal antics accompanying a lively story perfect for a simple read-aloud. All are excellent additions for picturebook libraries.

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

Jean Conder Soule's NEVER TEASE A WEASEL (9780375834202, $15.99) receives George Booth's drawings as it tells of how to resist teasing a weasel. There's lots of other things to do to be kind to animals – like knitting kittens mittens, giving a moose some juice, or more. If this sounds familiar – it's because this reissues a classic 1964 picture book – but adds new drawings by New Yorker cartoonist George Booth for a totally new look. John Burningham's EDWARDO: THE HORRIBLEST BOY IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD (9780375840531, $16.99) tells of a boy who is always disappointing adults. He's the clumsiest, noisiest, nastiest, and dirtiest boy in the world – and he lives up to every accusation. How can such a bad boy change his ways? Possibly by doing something nice, by mistake. Barbara Jean Hicks' THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER KITTY (9780375831966, $16.99) receives Dan Santat's fun drawings and tells of Fang, a superhero tiger of a cat who is always reading to save the day – despite the fact that his quiet old owners don't seem to understand his heroic gestures. For Walter is always in trouble… and his imagination doesn't save him. All are excellent picture book choices, especially for parents and collections seeking something different.

Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest
John Lechner
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
9780763630546, $15.99

Sticky Burr is a little forest burr who sets off on an adventure to Burrwood Forest – there to be caught in the trunk of the dangerous Maze tree as Burr Village is being attacked by dogs. Can Sticky escape from his own danger in time to save his friends? This is a fun tale with a cartoon appearance and pages of fast-paced adventure; both of which invite kids to read.

Once Upon a Full Moon
Elizabeth Quan
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5A 2P9, Canada
9780887768132, $19.95

Lovely watercolors accompany a fine first-person story set in the 1920s and telling of a family's journey to China. The family leaves Toronto by train, ship, rickshaw and on foot for a village in inland China to visit a grandmother the children have never met – in the process learning lessons about family roots and home between countries. Good reading skills or parental assistance will lend appreciation to this gentle story of a return home to the 'old country'.

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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