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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 7 July 2009 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice DVD Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Religion/Spirituality Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Biography Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Gaming Shelf Music Shelf
Science Shelf Activities Shelf Family Issues Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Fiction Shelf
Christmas Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

The Belly Button Fairy
Bobbie Hinman & Mark Wayne Adams
Best Fairy Books
IPG (distributor)
1241 Chateau Green Ct., Bel Air, MD 21015
9780978679132, $15.95, www.bestfairybooks.acom

"The Belly Button Fairy" is an entrancing, fantasy-filled, original rhyming tale by Bobbie Hinman about how all children's belly buttons came to be in the middle of their tummies. Told by a grandmotherly fairy, filled with full-page, story enriching, and the colorful artwork of Mark Wayne Adams, "The Belly Button Fairy" is the perfect example of the author's whimsical philosophy, "Who better to blame it on than a fairy?" Children ages 3-7 will love this latest of the Best Fairy Books, and they will also enjoy the audio CD complete with original fairy song and chiming bell to mark the page turns. Even parents and babysitters will love "The Belly Button Fairy" because it teaches kids about the joy of reading and besides, it's just lots of fun!

Our Abe Lincoln
Jim Aylesworth
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439925487, $16.99

A cast of schoolchildren dramatize the life of Abe Lincoln in this musical biography pairing an original Lincoln-era presidential campaign song with a lively story of Lincoln's life and times. It's perfect both for reading and for any elementary-level collection thinking about dramatic plays.

Guardian Angel House
Kathy Clark
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 2M5
9781897187586, $14.95,

There was resistance in Europe to the Nazi genocide. "Guardian Angel House: A Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers" is a fictional dramatization of a true story. In 1944, Hungary has fallen to Nazi Germany, and one pair of Jewish sisters' only hope is to enter the protection of a Catholic nunnery. A moving story with roots in fact, "Guardian Angel House" is a great way to teach young readers about the holocaust through fiction.

The Great Dewey Hunt: Library Lessons
Toni Buzzeo & Sachiko Yoshikawa
Upstart Books
401 S. Wright Road, Janesville, WI 53547
9781602130418, $17.95,

"The Great Dewey Hunt" is the third title in a series designed by author Toni Buzzeo to teach grade school children about how to use the Dewey Decimal system in a library. Led by librarian/teacher Mrs. Skorupski, second, third and fourth -graders learn to work in teams to uncover the mysterious codes of the Dewey Decimal System. Collecting and using special objects like a Buddha statue, Cinderella snow globe, a hairy tarantula spider, a sailboat, and theater masks, the students pick their way through the number categories for all books filed in the library. A snag in the game helps students learn what to do when they find a misfiled book, and competition is hot to the end. Different ages are encouraged to find constructive ways to team up and work together and cooperation rules the day when the game comes to a dramatic finish with the flipping of the ten Dewey Decimal flags (with number categories 000-900) to reveal (Ta-Da!) "I Love Dewey!" An enclosed lesson format suggestion handout is available for duplication and further learning activities. Sachiko Yoshikawa's exciting colorful illustrations keep the tempo up and pace racing. Who says libraries are boring? All the best books are there! "The Great Dewey Hunt" is a vibrant tool to unlock library exploration skills in elementary age students.

What's New At The Zoo?
Suzanne Slade & Joan Waites
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
9781934359938, $16.95,

"What's New At The Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure" is a children's animal/adding book by Suzanne Slade with an added educational bonus. In addition to eleven special animal addition pages and problems, there are creative activity pages with suggestions for related games and tasks at the end of the book, including addition methods explanations, Fact Families about related numbers, and animal matching activities. These last four pages can be duplicated to use as teaching materials along with the book. Aimed at children ages 4-8, "What's New At The Zoo?" tackles a beginning math curriculum with fun-filled humour and interest. Full page color illustrations by Joan Waites richly enhances the text for young children.

The Trouble With "Bumble D"
Betty "Bo" Hagan, et al.
Professional Resource Publications
PO Box 501485, Indianapolis, IN 6250-1485
9780963902344, $11.95, 317-465-9688

'The Trouble with "Bumble D"' presents an exciting children's story about the "Bee Team" dealing with problems that arise when one of their team begins bullying, substance abuse activities, and other poor choices. Written by mental health professional Betty 'Bo' Hagan, and illustrated by a talented mother -daughter team of Keri and Leta Jones, 'The Trouble with "Bumble D"' strikes a positive note for healthy decision-making and well-child development. A complete discussion guide helps students puzzle through their reactions to the dilemmas faced by the Bee Team, and 10 year old Keri Jones' crayon-like illustrations add color, dramatic substance, and vivid flair and impact to the story. The end result: 'The Trouble With "Bumble D"' is a fun and challenging resource for teachers and students who deal with familiar problems of bullying, substance abuse and enabling behavior, and peer pressure. All decide to agree in the end: "Three cheers for telling the truth!"

Good-Bye Bully Machine
Debbie Fox & Allan L. Beane
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781575423265, $12.99,

Bullies can only be bullies if you let them be. "Good-Bye Bully Machine" is a guide for young readers who want to stand up to their schoolyard tormentors and establish the confidence they need to rise up through life. Comparing bullies to cold unfeeling machines, Debbie Fox & Allan Beane give many effective tips to help young readers get through the machine and unplug it. "Good-Bye Bully Machine" is a top pick for parents of children who face bully problems in school.

The DVD Shelf

Kidwinks Farm
Kidwinks LLC
2505 W. Plum St., Ft. Collins, CO 80521
Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
9750 Crawford Ave., Skokie, IL 60076
DVD, $14.95,

Created by the team of speech pathologist Mary Nel, art therapist Genevieve Lundberg, and with the assistance of a music therapist, "Kidwinks Farm" is a superbly crafted speech development DVD that uses repetition, one- and two-word phrases, sign language, music and simple movements to enhance the speech development of children having developing language difficulties. Through the combined use of live action and animation, "Kidwinks Farm" shows children interacting with farm animals, naming body parts, naming actions, and modeling the sounds that the animals make. Featuring flawless technical production values and highly recommended for school and community library DVD collections for children, "Kidwinks Farm" will also prove to be a useful curriculum supplement for children learning English as a second language.

Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595 1-800-348-8445

Rock 'N Learn is a premier producer of DVDs for children that are as entertaining as they are educational. Two of their newest releases are especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. Designed specifically for young viewers ages 3 to 5, "Getting Ready For Kindergarten" (RL952, $19.99, 45 minutes) follows Jill and Joey who are to start attending Kindergarten and can't hardly wait! Essential skills from getting dressed and tying shoes, to making the bed and cleaning their room, to learning Left and Right, and so much more, involve young viewers through songs, animated characters and real children. "Division Rap" (RL980, $19.99, 55 minutes) teaches children ages 8 and older the basic math skills of Division, including story problems, remainders, long division, and more. Through the use of animated characters, young learners will learn just what division is, how it's used, and even be able to practice what they are learning with free worksheets for the program obtainable through Both of these flawlessly produced and thoroughly 'kid friendly' DVDs are enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library educational DVD collections.

Bob The Builder: Truck Teamwork
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
H180452, $14.98,

Children ages 2 to 5 will thoroughly enjoy this collection of five new adventures starring Bob The Builder and his Can-Do Crew as they build an exercise park at Bobland Bay, construct a new ice cream parlor (complete with a giant ice-cream cone on top), and more! This new DVD package comes with a free collectible toy truck and two bonus features: a 'We Can Do It' read along and a the game 'If You Were On Bob's Team'. Highly recommended as thoroughly 'kid friendly' and fun, "Bob The Builder: Truck Teamwork" is flawlessly produced and certain to please any and all preschoolers. For more information (and a complete listing) of all the Bob The Builder DVDs, parents (and kids!) are encouraged visit his website at Also very highly recommended for the preschool set are three other newly released DVD titles from Lionsgate and featuring iconic entertainment characters: "Sing & Dance with Barney" (H180449, $14.98); "Thomas & Friends: Hop on Board" (H180450, $14.98); and "Shaun the Sheep: Sheep on the Loose" (H180451, $14.98).

My Life
Rene Zamora
A John Cabibi Production
c/o Brickman Marketing (publicity)
395 Del MonteCenter, #250, Monterey, CA 93940
$19.95 831-633-4444

My Life: Surviving the Loss of a Loved One is a documentary based on the school English class composition of a 16-year-old teenager who has learned to cope with the loss of his father to suicide when he was only five years old. A film with a positive message about dealing with difficult family issues in the wake of devastating loss, My Life reaches out to any who have experienced great childhood trauma. An recommended addition to school library collections, "My Life" is particularly ideal for showing during homeroom. 20 minutes.

Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl Battle Dimension, volumes 1 & 2
Viz Communications Inc.
295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
1421531380, $24.98 1-800-394-3042

Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl Battle Dimension is a box set collecting the first two DVD volumes (containing seventeen episodes) of the latest installment of the Pokemon animated television series. As Ash, Dawn, and Brock continue their journey through the Sinnoh region, Ash trains and prepares to earn his next two Gym badges, while Dawn trains her performing pokemon in an effort to break her recent string of contest defeats with a victory. Each episode brings a different adventure - while the pesky Team Rocket of Jesse and James always seems to be on our heroes' trail, the new menace of Team Galactic also reares its threatening head! Many adventures also contain a helpful or insightful moral, from the importance of positive reinforcement and patience when dealing with others (especially when teaching or training), to the lesson that defeat in a competition, while painful, is not the end of the world; rather, it's an opportunity to learn and grow. A fun and family-friendly collection, perfect for young Pokemon fans - children's library collections will definitely see cartoon episodes checked out quite often!

The Bilingual Shelf

Payshapes and the Bear
Lucina Kathmann
Chiron Books
9902 Crystal Ct. #107, Laredo, TX 78045
9781935178057, $8.95,

An understanding of two different languages can be gained through bilingual fiction. "Payshapes and the Bear" is a collection of short stories presented in both Spanish and English for young readers to help them gain a greater grasp of both languages. With charming illustrations throughout, the stories are sure to bring smiles to child readers, making "Payshapes and the Bear" a must for any bilingual children's fiction collection.

A Very Smart Cat/ Una Gata Muy Inteligente
Mario Picayo
Illustrated by Yolanda Fundora
Campanita Books
c/o Editorial Campana
19 W. 85th Street, Suite A, New York, NY 10024
9781934370001, $19.95

"A Very Smart Cat/ Una Gata Muy Inteligente" is a whimsical bilingual tale of a most unusual cat and her adopted family. She is always on the table, and if she finds anything of interest to her there, she makes full and competent use of it! She eats food, drinks coffee, cuts out magazine articles, makes long distance phone calls (to multiple, foreign, exotic cats!), takes pictures with the camera, draws with the pen, changes channels with the remote, and orders Japanese takeout with the wallet! She plays the harmonica all night long, wears the hat and mittens, sleeps in the fruit bowl, and uses the house keys to lock her owner out! The owner begs the reader (or anyone) to please take my cat, but finally announces at the end that "She finally went outside!" Unfortunately she has the truck keys and plans to tour with friend cats through Catskill, NY. The owner posts a newspaper add for his missing cat, describing her as Very, Very Smart and if found, to please keep her and return the truck! "A Very Smart Cat" aims to amuse and entertain, but also to teach (that all cats are created equal) of human friendship with cats in particular. The charming, colorful illustrations show cozy scenes of a black and white cat in a northeastern farmhouse setting. "A Very Smart Cat" will sweep up the opposition with no visible trouble whatsoever. Thranslations by Jacueline Herranz Brooks make "Una Gata Muy Inteligente" a double asset.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Creation Song
Anna Scott-Brown
Illustrated by Elena Gomez
Wilkinson House, Jordan Hill Road, Oxford OX2 8DR, England, UK
Kregel Publications (distributor)
P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapid, Michigan 49501
9780825462634, $12.99

"Creation Song" offers a beautiful, lyrical interpretation of a God-created universe with laughter, tears, music, dancing, rainbows, and especially, joy. Familiar elements combine with new inflections in "Creation Song." Brightly colored bird and flowers splash across its pages in joyous abandon, while words like "dance" or "sing" are used and experienced afresh with expressively disordered text. All page have something of the breath of God in them, and its effect is magical. Appealing to children ages 4-8, "Creation Song" is a refreshing take on a familiar creation myth that recaptures some of the wonder and delight that must have once been present and may yet be found again.

Helena's Voyage
Paul Harbridge
c/o John Hunt Publishing
The Bothy, Deershot Lodge, Park Lane, Ropley, Hampshire, SO24 OBE, U. K. tel
9781846941146, $19.95,

Written and illustrated by Paul Harbridge, "Helena's Voyage" is a sensitively written children's book that deals with a very relevant theme: the oneness of three major religious faiths, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Helena is a child coping with serious illness who longs to escape the pain of her life, in a boat to sea. Her wish is granted when an angel comes to guide her on a voyage to three cities that hold the knowledge of mysteries of three holy religious faiths. After visiting each city with the angel, Helena is given a small symbol of each faith to keep in a silk bag; a 6-pointed star for Judaism, a cross for Christianity, and a crescent moon for Islam. She summarizes to the angel what each city has taught her by saying, "(...the true belief of each of these religions is...) To love God, and to love other people as much as I love myself." The angel smiles and says this is a saying like finest gold, the essence of the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an. Helena journeys on with the angel to discover a suffering child, starving and ill, whose parents were killed in (religious) wars. In an effort to help the child, she gives him her silk purse with the three gold symbols of the three religions in it, telling him to trade it for what he needs. Then three women, Jew, Christian and Muslim, enter the room with the sick boy and tend to his needs and heal him. As Helena leaves, the boy gives her back her silk purse, in which she discovers the three golden symbols have combined to form one simple gold disk, with all three symbols on it, inscribed with the words "One God - Many Voices - - One People." When asked, the boy tells her his name is Abraham. Turning over the gold disk, Helena sees that it encases the faces of every human being who has ever lived and who ever will live, slinging together in a thousand tongues in glorious harmony. "Helena's Voyage" is enriched by gold and gray illustrations and completed by Hebrew translation by Yoav Shafir and Arabic translation by Hanaa El-Kashef. It is a profound gift for all children and adults.

Annie's Angel
Grace Carberry Froncko
Illustrated by Raven OKeefe
Elderberry Press Inc.
1393 Old Homestead Drive, Second Floor, Oakland, Oregon 97462
9781932762952, $19.95,

"Annie's Angel" is a paperback children's book that tells the story of a little girl's death and the efforts of her angel to help her family and community accept her passing and soul's transformation. Sensitively written and illustrated, "Annie's Angel" does not avoid the painful reactions and realities of a grieving, loving family. It endeavors to gently lead the reader to a new awareness of the meaning of death. The method chosen by the angel to reassure the family is a miraculous proliferation of snow angels, similar to the last one made by Annie before she died. The possibility of failure is ever present, and the angel's attempt to comfort and heal at first seem futile. But eventually the family, including Annie's mother and father and brother Tom, begin to accept that though they deeply miss her, she is where she needs to be, in a better place, and still loves and treasures them all. "Annie's Angel" might be aimed at an audience age 8 and older, but its gentle message will come through to even younger children if carefully read to them. "Annie's Angel" is a fresh resource dealing with a delicate and needful subject in a timely, sensitive manner.

A Heart Ready to Fly
Jackie Chirco Cogswell
Divine Inspiration Publishing
PO Box 210414, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
9780982049068, $14.95,

A good heart goes a long way. "A Heart Ready to Fly" is a piece of Christian children's fiction following young Sophia as she encounters an angel during a plane ride. The offbeat angel Frank teaches Sophia much about faith and following her heart. Author Jackie Cogswell presents a tale that young readers will delight in reading. "A Heart Ready to Fly" is a very much recommended read for youngsters.

Saint Paul
David Self
Illustrated by Jason Cockcroft
Kregel Publications
P. O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
9780825479069, $14.95,

"Saint Paul" is a simply written retelling of the life and travels of the great Christian apostle Paul. Aided by gentle illustrations and maps of Paul's many journeys, the pertinent facts as contained in "The Good News Bible" are related to form a full biography of Paul, ending with the text of his famous letter to Corinthians I. Careful to distinguish between known facts and unclear outcomes, "Saint Paul" will fill the shelves of both religious and secular libraries. Its special appeal shines through its simplicity of style, which allows the amazing truth of the life of Paul to shine through. "Saint Paul" will appeal to children ages 7-11 and older.

Pictures Of God
John Kosmas Skinas
Conciliar Press
PO Box 76, Ben Lomond, CA 95005-0076
9781888212587, $10.95,

Icons are religious pictures most closely associated with the traditions, theology, and customs of Orthodox Christianity. A premier publisher of books of interest to Orthodox communities, Conciliar Press offers "Pictures Of God: A Child's Guide To Understanding Icons". This informative introduction designed specifically for use with children, explains what icons are, what they mean, and how they portray holy stories taken from scripture and other sources for the benefit of the faithful. The full color reproductions of representative examples of icons is simply flawless. "Pictures Of God" is a highly recommended means by which parents can provide their children with a true understanding of the value icons have within the Orthodox community and the believing hearts of the faithful.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Things Every Kid Should Know: Smoking!
Alya Nuri
Zohra Sarwari
c/o Eman Publishing
PO Box 404, Fishers, IN, 46038
9780982312551, $7.95,

Although "Things Every Kid Should Know: Smoking!" was written to teach adolescent readers about the manifold hazards of smoking, there are a great many adults who could well benefit from reading this 24-page booklet by Alya Nuri. "Things Every Kid Should Know: Smoking!" lays out in a particularly effective format the consequences that sustained tobacco usage can and will inflect. Also very highly recommended for personal, family, clinic, school, and community library Health Issues collections for teens are two other publications by Alya Nuri: "Things Every Kid Should Know: Alcohol!" (Zohra Sarwari, 9780982312568, $7.95) and "Things Every Kid Should Know: Drugs!" (Zohra Sarwari, 9780982312575, $7.95).

Maddie Goes To the Nurse Practitioner
Cindy Middleton Gray
1663 Liberty Dr., Bloomington, IN 47403
9781438902203, $12.00,

Expertly written by licensed family nurse practitioner Cindy Middleton Gray, "Maddie Goes To The Nurse Practitioner" is a child-oriented paperback that achieves its goal of demystifying health assessment and treatment for children through play, or "the work of childhood." In the story, three and a half year old Maddie falls and hurts her head at a pool party, then gets taken to the nurse practitioner assessment and treatment of her head injury. Both the nurse, or Aunt Carol, and the nurse practitioner, or Aunt Cindy, help Maddie cooperate with her examination and follow up treatment procedures by giving her simple, concrete explanations of the things they are doing with her and the tools they are using. All ends well as Maddie is cleared of serious complications and has a quick needle-free glue job on her head wound that does the trick. "Maddie Goes to the Nurse Practitioner" is a great educational book for child health care workers, parents and kids.

The Biography Shelf

Boy in Motion: Rick Hansen's Story
Ainslie Manson & Renne Benoit
Greystone Books
2323 Quebec Street, Suite 201, Vancouver, BC, Canada, VST 457
9781553654278, $12.00,

"Boy in Motion" is a compelling biography by Ainslie Manson of paraplegic athlete and visionary Rick Hansen, the man who publicized the Man in Motion world tour begun March 21, 1985 and finished two years, two months and two days later. Raising over 26 million dollars to help people with spinal cord injuries, Rick and his team helped raise world awareness of the need for inclusion of people with disabilities. "Boy in Motion" traces the beginning of Rick's story as a healthy active boy and traces his subsequent life and adjustment following his traumatic accident in a truck coming home from a fishing trip. Rick's determination to reinvent his life post trauma is challenging but very inspiring, especially since he had always been such a talented athlete. Rick seems to embody the notion of never giving up. His team and family support are acknowledged, but his contribution to world awareness of the needs for inclusion of people with disabilities is outstanding. "Boy in Motion" will appeal to a juvenile audience up to age 16. The accompanying water color paintings by Renne Benoit which effectively illustrate Rick's story are truly masterful and poignant. "Boy in Motion" would be ideal for classes or topics on celebrating diversity, as well as adaptive learning and adaptive physical education.

Up Close: Harper Lee
Kerry Madden
345 Hudson St, New York NY 10014
9780670010950, $16.99

Teens familiar with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD will find essential this focus on its author, a reclusive figure who has receives relatively little attention despite her award-winning book. Kerry Madden conducted extensive research and personal interviews in Lee's hometown in Alabama for her biography, making for an exceptional survey perfect for readers assigned to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Christian the Lion
Anthony Bourke & John Rendall
Delacorte Press/Random
9780385738569, $14.99

Two friends searching for holiday gifts in London come across an amazing sight: a lion cub for sale in Harrods, the famous department store. They take him home; a year later the adopters realize their pet needs more care than they can give him. This story of how Christian was returned to the African wild offers a vivid survey of human interactions with wildlife and nature.

Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St, Honesdale, PA 18431

Pamela F. Kirby's WHAT BLUEBIRDS DO (9781590786147, $18.95) follows a backyard bird's routines and uses color photos and easy text to capture the bird's life from nest to adulthood. The gorgeous bluebird photos invite kids to learn about their own backyard residents. Laurence Pringle's ALLIGATORS AND CROCODILES! STRANGE AND WONDERFUL (9781590782569, $16.95) tells of the crocs and alligators who outlived dinosaurs and went on to evolve to modern creatures, packing bright drawings throughout. From baby alligators that call to their mothers inside their eggs to grown crocs and gators, this is an excellent survey, paired with Meryl Henderson's realistic drawings throughout.

My Little Book of Bald Eagles
Hope Irvin Marston & Stephanie Mirocha
Windward Publishing
c/o Finney Company
8075 215th St. West, Lakeville, MN 55044
9780893170684, $7.95,

"My Little Book of Bald Eagles" is the latest book in a nature series designed and written by author Hope Irvin for children ages 5-10. Beautiful natural landscapes highlighting daily habits of eagles illustrate each page of this fact-filled book. The full life cycle of a normal eagle is represented throughout the book. Solo flights, learning to fish and fly, building a nest; these are all activities of eagles that are explained and shown. The awkwardness of the fledgling eaglets and the unstinting devotion of the eagle parents is accurately described and illustrated. Other pertinent facts about bald eagles (i.e. they are an endangered species, legal ways that American Indians can acquire eagle feathers, etc.) are found in the Author's Note at the end. Nicely enhanced throughout with the illustrations of Stephanie Mirocha, "My Little Book of Bald Eagles" is an excellent naturalist's teaching tool for elementary age students.

Itsy Bitsy & Teeny Weeny
Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen
Illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main St., Ste. 300, Chelsea, MI 48118
9781585364176, $16.95,

"Itsy Bitsy & Teeny Weeny" is the latest book in the Hazel Ridge Farm Story series by husband and wife team Robbyn and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. The stories are drawn from the couple's individual experiences in wildlife rehabilitation and farm life, and they convey an attitude of loving respect for animals and their habitat. "Itsy Bitsy & Teeny Weeny" is the story of two animal orphans, a fawn and a lamb, who are found and raised as orphan siblings when their respective parent(s) are unable to finish the job of rearing them. Both young animals manage to endure, thanks to their foster parents' intervention, and then begins a process of growth and differentiation that ultimately leads to each animal seeking its own best path. "Itsy Bitsy & Teeny Weeny" will tug at heartstrings while it tickles funnybones, while serving to remind that all life is miraculous and a gift to be cherished.

Bug Feats Of Montana
Deborah Richie Oberbillig
Farcountry Press
PO Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604
9781560374442, $14.95,

Fun and informative, Deborah Richie Oberbillig's "Bug Feats Of Montana" is the newest addition to the Farcountry Explorer series. Superbly illustrated on every page by Robert Rath, "Bug Feats Of Montana" provides children and their parents with information on commonly encountered insects in Montana's yards, gardens, and fields. Of special note are the 'Bug Finding Tips' to guide young and inquiring minds in their pursuit of finding and identifying the insects listed in "Bug Feats Of Montana". Each insect is showcased with background information that is informed, informative, and thoroughly 'kid friendly'. "Bug Feats Of Montana" is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library collections -- and would serve wonderfully well as a template for similar compendiums on insect life in other sections of the country.

The Gaming Shelf

Gary's Adventures In Chess Country
Igor Sukhin
Mongoose Press
1005 Boylston St., #324, Newton, MA 02461
9780979148224, $23.95,

With an informative introduction by Susan Polgar, "Gary's Adventures In Chess Country" by Igor Sukhin is a complete guide to the fascinations of learning the complexities of chess geared to children age 6-10 years. The study of chess has been demonstrated to enhance a multitude of desirable abilities, including patience, planning, improved self-image, and imagination, in addition to contributing to increased success in academic test scores. "Gary's Adventures in Chess Country" is deliberately designed to appeal to the "non-geek" students who might have dismissed chess exploration as "too hard" or "too boring," etc. Exciting illustrations and stories are used to describe and illustrate the different pieces and moves, and anecdotes about the history of chess are woven into the text. At the end of the book, a list of puzzles from the notebook and answers to the chess problems are presented and explained. Hey, who knew learning to play chess was so much fun?

The Music Shelf

Picnic Playground
Jay Mankita, et al.
Putumayo Kids
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois St., Portland, OR 97221
B002B4GFNY, $15.98,

The theme of a brand new music CD for children from Putumayo Kids are songs about food, cooking and healthy eating. Drawing from Australia, Cuba, Denmark, France, German, Canada, Trinidad, South Africa, and the USA, "Picnic Playground" offers a toe-tapping internationally oriented entertainment that will engage the attention and appreciation of children. A flawless technical production, this CD features twelve entertaining compositions that include Eat Like a Rainbow; Mes Parents Sant Bio; Bolitas de Arroz con Pollo; Ice Cream; Goutez-les; Peberpelikan; Beautiful Day; Bowl of Cherries; Pomodora; shoo fly Pie; Let's Bake Cookies; and Milch. Unique, original, thoroughly 'kid friendly', and enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library CD music collections, "Picnic Playground" features liner notes in English, Spanish and French.

Field Trips With Recess Monkey
Monkey Mama
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Dr., San Francisco, CA 94127
DVD, $20.00,

There are a lot of really great children's music videos available today. But how many of those DVDs also feature hand puppets and field trips! The member group known as 'Recess Monkey' have a newly debuted DVD, "Field Trips With Recess Monkey" in which they take the toe-tapping young viewer to four fun-filled locations in their hometown of Seattle, Washington for a total of 90 minutes of rollicking musical fun inspired by those elementary school field trips we all remember from our own collective childhoods. A technically flawless recording, the musical numbers comprising "Field Trips With Recess Monkey" includes Fort; Hot Chocolate; Marshmallow Farm; Haven't Got a Pet Yet; bubble Factory; Birthday Bite; Backpack; Under My Bed; Green Monster; Boogie Monster; S-L-E-E-P-Over; Rainbow Road; and Monkey Bars. Original, imaginative, and totally fun, "Field Trips With Recess Monkey" is highly recommended for family school, and community library music DVD collections for kids.

The Science Shelf

Faces Of The Moon
Bob Crelin & Leslie Evans
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472
9781570917851, $16.95,

It's simply universal human nature to look up in the night sky and wonder about the moon, to question why there are times when the moon can be seen at dusk, at dawn, and even at midday. To pay attention to the phases of the moon as it gives the appearance of waxing and waning as the lunar month progresses. That's why Bob Crelin's "Faces Of The Moon" will prove informative and popular with children ages 6 through 9 with its innovative die-cuts and playful poetry introduces the names and shapes of the lunar phases, providing explanations with respect to the role light and shadow play in these visual transformations. Superbly illustrated by Leslie Evans, "Faces Of The Moon" is very highly recommended as an addition to family, school, and community library Astronomy and Science collections for young readers.

Celia Godkin, author and artist
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington St. Brighton, MA 02135
9781554550807, $19.95

"Hurricane!" is a beautifully illustrated children's book using a naturalist's approach to describing the effects and impact of a tropical super storm, or hurricane. Wonderful detailed pictures of manatees, birds, opossum, squirrels, shellfish, and mangrove trees are used to educate the reader. The process of the formation of a tropical super storm is traced and a world map showing distribution of mangroves and locations of major tropical super-storms is shown. The crucial role of mangrove swamps in protecting wildlife during tropical super-storms is emphasized. Aside from answering common human concerns about the effects of tropical super-storms, "Hurricanes!" endeavors to explain the need to preserve wetlands and mangrove swamps "because they help feed, cleanse, and protect human communities...(as well as) serve as buffer zones that protect human settlements from storms ." Such educational approaches are ever more necessary as we observe the increasing effects of global warming, including tropical super storms, or hurricanes.

The Activities Shelf

Try This At Home: Planet-Friendly Projects for Kids
editors of Owl Magazine
Owlkids Publishing
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Suite 400, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2Z2
9782895791928, $14.95,

"Try This at Home" contains suggestions and instructions for over 20 do-it-yourself eco-friendly crafts and activities for tweens, as well as lots of fun eco-facts and figures along with an eco-IQ quiz and profiles of environmental activists. Full color illustrations and photographs punctuate the text with playful bursts. Do you know what your eco footprint is? "Think Green" will tell you. Have you ever tried to plant a pizza? Can you fix your bicycle when it breaks? Have you ever organized or attended a swap meet? What is your favorite green activity? These and many more intriguing questions will be raised and answered in "Try This at Home." Created by the editors of Owl magazine for children, "Try This at Home" promises to become the go-to book for environmentally aware teachers and parents of 'tweens everywhere.

Just Like My Mommy
Agnese Baruzzi
Innovative Kids
c/o Innovative USA, Inc.
18 Ann St., Norwalk, CT 06854-2258
9781584766643, $19.99,

An updated modern day version of paper dolls, "Just Like My Mommy" is a unique and beautifully illustrated activity book that offers sixty distinct pieces that can be made into hundreds of different possible magnetic-outfit combinations allowing little girls to 'mix and match' various out combinations dressing up like their mommies might. The intricate collage-style designs offer hours and hours of fun enhanced with intricate details of costuming with the magnetic clothing easily adhering to the tilt-up pages. As original as it is entertaining, "Just Like My Mommy" is an ideal and highly recommended activity for play time, rainy day amusements, and shared event mother-daughter bonding.

The Mystery of Journeys Crowne
K. Michael Crawford
Privately Published
9780981794006, $14.95,

"The Mystery of Journeys Crowne: An Adventure Drawing Game" is a Bazel Lark drawing adventure/mystery book. Appealing to creative kids age 8 and older, this lavishly illustrated clue hunter's tome will fill hours of drawing and thinking time. Encouraging hands-on artistic talent development is what author/illustrator K. Michael Crawford does best. Readers and drawers will need a pencil, eraser, and markers or colored pencils to finish their embellishments. Young artistic sleuths must figure out each clue/solution in sequence, and they are encouraged to do independent research through the library or use of the internet to solve clues and make drawings. Readers agree to have a weapon-free adventure in the beginning. They must use their imagination to find ways to play and win the game with no weapons drawn (pun intended). Artists must also agree to Bazel's Creed, which includes "I agree to not use anyone else's answers and to keep my quest protected from those who wish to get there before me or I agree to kiss my mom in front of my friends." (Did I mention I love this book?) And then there's also "I agree to do my best no matter what or I agree to eat a worm." To summarize, K. Michael Crawford may be a mystery, but he certainly understands the soul and psyche of an eight -year-old! His most appealing book will encourage and hone artistic, creative, logical, research, and self-entertainment skills, not to mention promote positive, peaceful approaches to knotty problems like thwarting would-be world dominators! "The Mystery of Journeys Crowne" is the heartfelt answer to a violent video/computer games-beleaguered parent's prayer. It is also the perfect answer to the question, "What kind of child would you like to raise?"

The Family Issues Shelf

Mommy Breastfeeds My Baby Brother
Mark Repkin & David Moneysmith
Istoria House
PO Box 6342, Vernon Hills, IL 60061
9780981653808, $16.99,

"Mommy Breastfeeds My Baby Brother" is an educational children's book specifically written by Mark Repkin to help older siblings understand and accept the importance supporting of the special nurturing relationship between Mommy and the new baby, whom she breastfeeds. The story is aimed at two year old Jenna learning to find her new role in the process of helping her baby brother grow up happy and healthy, nourished by breastfeeding. Jenna goes through many reactions to the strange process and experience, but her special Feeding Time toys help her to accept sharing her mother's attention with Spencer, her new baby brother. David Moneysmith's charming color illustrations make "Mommy Breastfeeds My Baby Brother" a reassuring choice for young parents who are coping with breast feeding a baby with a toddler sibling or two.

Paul The Pack Rat
Vickie J. Belmore, et al.
New Horizon Press
PO Box 669, Far Hills, NJ 07931
9780882823072, $8.95,

The ability to empathize, to share, to play fairly are not genetically ingrained traits for children. They are a system of ethics, attitudes, and behaviors that must be taught them. Clearly, the best way to teach such qualities to a child is for them to be modeled by others (especially parents). The second best way is for them to be played out within the entertaining context of a picture book story. That is why "Paul The Pack Rat: Helping Children Learn To Share" by Vickie J. Belmore and Corey Hoover is such an invaluable instructional tool for parents, teachers, and care givers working with young children. Enhanced with the cartoon style artwork of Paul Ciaravino, "Paul The Pack Rat" is the story of a creature who hoards everything from beach towels to board games. His animal friends invite him to a picnic but he's too busy taking inventory on his possessions to accept the invitation. Plus, he refuses to let his friends use any of his frisbees or balls at their picnic. But when trouble strikes, all his friends come to his aid and rescue. That's when Paul the Pack Rate learns a true life lesson -- people (especially friends) matter more than possessions. Also very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections from New Horizon Press is Frederick Alimonti and Ann M. Tedesco's "Tommy And The T-Tops: Helping Children Overcome Prejudice" (9780882823058, $8.95).

Jake The Friendly Fish
Senetta R. Pitts Lancaster
Vantage Press Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, 18th floor, New York, NY 10016
9780533160143, $7.95,

"Jake The Friendly Fish" is a simply but effectively written story of moving to a new home and settling in as seen and experienced by a young girl. At first the girl and her mother don't know anyone in their new apartment building. But they soon make the acquaintance of an elderly lady named Ms. Mary who gives the girl a fish in a fish bowl as a house warming gift. That is the beginning of the making of new friends in a new place! "Jake The Friendly Fish" is an ideal picture book story for any young child having to get used to living in a new place and making new friends.

Where Are You?
Laura Olivieri & Kristin Elder
Lulu Press
860 Aviation Parkway, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560

9781435700918, $13.94,

Sooner or later, in every young life there will occur a deeply personal loss of a beloved family member or friend. That is something every parent is keenly aware of and wanting to provide some kind of help and consolation in their child's grief. That's what author Laura Olivieri experienced in her own life. It's also what inspired her to write "Where Are You?: A Child's Book About Loss". Very nicely illustrated in full color by Kristin Elder, this story about the death of a young boy's father and the lonely absences from his life, as well as the ultimate realization that it is within his heart and memory that he will continue to be close to his father, is a simply wonderful message to share with any other child who is grieving a similar loss in their young lives. "Where Are You?" is an especially recommended addition to community library collections for the enduring benefit of their communities.

Hugging Grandma
Zina Kramer & Dave Messing
Ferne Press
c/o Purple Cow LLC
6339 E. Greenway Blvd., #102-278, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
9781933916385, $12.95,

When a little girl's Grandma Sylvia stops doing all the wonderful things they used to do together, and even neglects her birthday, she worries that somehow her grandmother has stopped loving her. That's when the little girl's mother explains that Grandma Sylvia has Alzheimer's and that they must continue to love Grandma Sylvia and help her out in various ways. "Hugging Grandma" is superbly written by Zina Kramer and lovingly illustrated by Dave Messing. More than just another ordinary picture book, "Hugging Grandma" will prove invaluable for any parent or care giver helping a child cope with Alzheimer's in their family, and is a deftly effective way to explain to young children about Alzheimer's. Simply stated, "Hugging Grandma" should be a part of every community library collection.

The Little Word Catcher
Danielle Simard
Illustrated by Genevieve Cote
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 2M5
9781897187449, $14.95

"The Little Word Catcher" is a new children's book about a granddaughter's growing understanding of the effects that Alzheimer's disease has upon her beloved grandmother. Since her grandmother seems to be losing her words, Elise decides to try to help by "lending " words back to her, and by trying to catch her words with a net as fast as she is losing them. The process Elise is watching in her grandmother is saddening and confusing to her. But with help, she decides that her grandmother has used up her words and is passing them on to her. The words are not lost, instead they are a miraculous gift to the future. "The Little Word Catcher" is very sensitively written for children ages 5-8. Its award winning illustrations are particularly effective, enhancing the story as described in Canada's 2007 Governor General's Award for Illustration: "The technique of successive, reworked photocopies creates a muted, slurry effect that poignantly translates the fading and gradual loss of memory." "The Little Word Catcher" is a finely developed tool to assist children and families in understanding and accepting the erosions of Alzheimer's disease in a beloved, familiar, mature mind and psyche.

Sisters Are From Heaven
Onjeinika Brooks and Tamika Jackson
International Plaza II, Suite 340, Philadelphia, PA 19113
9781425752293 (hardcover), $18.99
9781425752255 (paperback), $12.99

"Sisters Are From Heaven" is a heartwarming story about the love between sisters. Not excluding moments of difficulty, pain or upset, the pathways of a relationship between two sisters are described in text and represented in colorful photographs of two real sisters in daily familiar situations and settings involving work and play activities. Co-created by two talented sisters, with photographs of their daughters, "Sisters Are From Heaven " seems designed to appeal to young, preschool age children, to help them pursue the best in their lives together. Emphasizing the God given gift of family and siblings, "Sisters Are From Heaven" is bound to please, attract and gently enlighten. Parents and sibling will welcome it and make it a favorite.

The Picturebook Shelf

Wormy, the Hairy Caterpillar, and the Rainbow
Olga Villa & Pedro Aguirre
Soto Publishing Company
P. O. Box 10, Dade City, FL 33526
9780982171103, $9.95,

"Wormy, the Hairy Caterpillar, and the Rainbow" is a charming children's paperback tale by children's author Olga Villa of a hairy little caterpillar who longs to find and crawl up his best rainbow so he can get his grownup colors and be a butterfly like Mommy and Daddy. Wormy gets discouraged and impatient waiting for his rainbow, but Mommy and Daddy encourage him and one day after a dreary day at school, Wormy climbs up a blossoming apple tree and finds his perfect rainbow! Now if he can only crawl high enough to find his wings! Just when he starts to slide down the rainbow, afraid he will never find his wings, he discovers the rainbow wrapping itself around him and out of it come his beautiful wings! Then he flies high into the sky and finds his beautiful wing change color and let him eat wonderful apple blossoms to celebrate! "Wormy the Hairy Caterpillar and the Rainbow" is a magical tale of endurance, perseverance, and enchantment that will appeal to ages 3-7. The colorful illustrations by Pedro Aguirre add texture and depth to enhance the impact of this morality fable.

My Grandchild, There's No One Like You
Dr. Kevin Leman & Kevi Leman II
Illustrated by Kevin Leman II
c/o Baker Publishing Group
PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
9780800718909, $12.99,

"My Grandchild, There's No One Like You" is a warm and delightful children's book about two lucky grandcubs (grandchildren bears) who get to visit their Grandma and Grandpaw Bear and have a wonderful time. Whether dressing up in old clothes, eating dessert first, making cookies, fishing with Grandpaw, or jumping on Grandma's bed before their nap, the grandcubs have a special time visiting the Grandbears. The message is the memories that they are building will last a lifetime and reach across generations to the future to be passed down to their grandchildren one day. "My Grandchild, There's No One Like You" expresses the love that founds generations and keeps on giving. The humorous bear illustrations add gentle detail to the story. Aimed at children ages 3-8, "My Grandchild, There's No One Like You" can be enjoyed by grandchildren of all ages.

Baron Thinks Dogs Are People Too!
Laurie Dean & Kevin Collier
Dragon Pencil
c/o Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419

"Baron Thinks Dogs Are People Too" is a charming children's book by children's author Laurie Dean about a loveable dog whose exuberance requires training and revision for safety, but not removal. His goal is to find a best friend and in the process of adapting to changes at home and at doggy school, Baron learns a variant of "The best way to have a friend is to be a friend." The charming colorful illustrations by Kevin Collier are like exuberant cartoons, further expressing the endless energy and love of Baron. Aimed at children ages 3-9, "Baron Thinks Dogs Are People Too!" will enchant and charm its intended audience. As an added plus, one dollar for every book sale will be donated by the author to Operation Smile, a medical charity that helps repair cleft palates and cleft lips of children throughout the world.

The Woollyhoodwinks vs. The Dark Patch
Phil Dumesnil & Asa Sanchez, authors
Jeff Root & Scott Runcorn, illustrators
Immedium Inc.
PO Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94127
9781597020121, $15.95,

"The Woolyhoodwinks vs. The Dark Patch" is a charming book about five distinctive creatures called 'woollyhoodwinks' who resemble sock puppets. Descriptively named Ozard, Ludic, Reddy, Junco, and Fluke, the woollyhoodwinks display and use their eccentricities/talents to solve the problem of the Dark Patch, a mysterious infestation of the Black North Forest. Something dire this way comes, but you can be sure the solution to the problem of fear is inbred in a small bit of light called the Firefly, who encourages even the least brave among us. "The Woollyhoodwinks vs. The Dark Patch" is creative story telling at its best, full of twists and turns, textures and threads, rhymes and reasons. Imaginatively designed to appeal to children ages 4-8, the poetry and pictures of 'the Woollyhoodwinks vs. The Dark Patch" are unforgettable and delightful. Adding to the joyful experience of this book, undoubtedly the first of a successful series, actual Woollyhoodwinks plush dolls can be purchased through gift and museum stores as well, or at

In Search of the Perfect Pumpkin
Gloria Evangelista
Illustrated by Shawn Shea
Fulcrum Publishing
4690 Table Mountain Drive, Suite 100, Golden, CO 80403
9781555916978, $7.95

"In Search of the Perfect Pumpkin" is a colorful, 32 page paperback romp with the Pucci family in their exploration of the world of pumpkins; specifically, prize-winning pie pumpkins. After trying pumpkins from Iowa, organic pumpkins, and pumpkins from the local grocery store. While results measured by brother and sister Pucci in pie eating delight were good, the search for excellence continued. Finally the father decides the family will grow their own to achieve the best ever pumpkins for pumpkin pie. "In Search of the Perfect Pumpkin" contains interesting fact about the history of pumpkins (they have been grown for food in America for over 5000 years and were unknown in Europe before Columbus -), pumpkin growing tips, and a recipe for pumpkin pie. The imaginative, slightly loopy illustrations add to the enjoyment of the book's intended audience, children ages 4-8. "In Search of the Perfect Pumpkin" is the perfect fall harvest children's book, carrying the interest through the spring growing season into the fall.

Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles
Lynnette A. Murray-Gibson
Illustrated by Nancy Scheibe
Five Star Publications, Inc.
P. O. Box 6698, Chandler, AZ 85246-6698
9781589851238, $15.95,

"Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles: The Magical Adventures of Clara the Cleaning Lady" is a wonderfully imaginative book about a very territorial cat named Mr. Twiddles and a determined, empowered cleaning lady named Clara, who has Very Special Powers that enable her to understand and speak to cats. As cat owners and lovers everywhere will recognize, Mr. Twiddles resents Clara cleaning his home and most especially, his personal napping chair. He orders her to leave his chair alone but she makes no such promises, because she is no ordinary cleaning lady, as Mr. Twiddles discovers. Well of course, Mr. Twiddles is no ordinary cat. (Has anyone ever known an ordinary cat?) The ensuing exchange is polite, gentle, strong, and heart warming to all. Beautiful full color illustrations enhance and complement this children's book perfectly. Quite a significant amount of assumptions about space, identity, prejudice, powers, and integrity are skillfully challenged and explored in "Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles." The author is devoted to charitable causes and will donate a portion of the sales of the book to support her foundation which funds literacy and educational services in Liberia, the author's birthplace. "Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles" is just the right combination of fun, fact, fable, and fine education. It will appeal to children ages 4-8.

Just Like My Papa
Pamela Haught Stuart
Illustrations by Ana Rae Stuart
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781434353696, $10.00,

"Just Like My Papa" is a wonderful children's tale of growing up to be a cowboy, "just like my Papa." Written in whimsical verse and "cowboyese," "Just Like My Papa" literally paints a picture of the ideal life of a cowboy. "Just Like My Papa" is charming, soulful and sincere, but never formidable. It will appeal to children ages 4-8.

Kajsa in the Middle
Sandi Adams
Illustrated by Beth Schiesher
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781434394972, $10.00,

"Kajsa in the Middle" is a story of a two-and-a-half year old girl whose world is about to change because her parents will be bringing home a new baby sister soon. Kajsa worries about this event and confides in her cat, Irish. Though Kajsa has been happy to feel the baby kicking in her mother's tummy, she is not sure what including the new baby will do to her role and position in the family. She will no longer be the little-bittiest girl in the family. Suppose her father no longer wants to carry her, or her mother read bedtime stories to her? She will have to learn to be "Kajsa int the Middle." But is being in the middle a bad thing? Kajsa does some very serious thinking about this. For after all she wants people to know that she can think big thoughts even though she is little. After some very careful deliberation, Kajsa decides that being "Kajsa in the Middle" is just who she wants to be after all, with many hugs and much love to share all around the whole family. Charming sketches of wide-eyed girls and soft gray kitties make "Kajsa in the Middle" a unique collaboration. "Kajsa" is a Swedish pet name for Katrina or Katherine, and "Kajsa in the Middle" was written by a grandmother especially for her granddaughters.

Grandpa's Soup
Eiko Kadona & Satomi Ichikawa
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853479, $8.50,

"Grandpa's Soup" is a 32-page paperback designed for children ages 4-8 that tells the poignant tale of a widower who grieves for the death of his dear wife, eating only bread and milk day after day. When finally he decides to attempt to reconstruct a meatball soup just like his dear wife used to make, he uses the very smallest of his 5 cooking pots because he thinks he is only making enough soup for himself. But he has a surprise! Three tiny mice come to be his guests for a meal of humble meatball soup! He welcomes his guests and after feeding all of them finds just a little soup left for himself, which he eats, noting that it does not taste quite as good as the soup his dear wife used to make. There follows a lovely learning progression where he remembers more of the little song his wife used to sing when she made the soup, adding more tasty ingredients and making more soup every day, and welcoming at least one more surprise guest each time! The last time he makes the soup, it is full of wonderful healthy ingredients and his surprise guests include three mice, a cat, a dog and nine children, all of whom are friends and all of whom love Grandpa's soup! Thus rejoined to the living stream of joy and life, Grandpa decides that next time he will make soup using all his five pots! "Grandpa's Soup" is beautifully illustrated with subtle, shaded pictures that convey the mood of each stage of Grandpa's journey from sadness to joy again. His heartache for the absent wife is tenderly conveyed in drawings of her empty chair, with knitting by the side, and a vase of dead flowers nearby. The same setting shows the changes in grandpa's mood by first emptying the vase of dead flowers, then filling it with fresh new flowers, honoring his kind wife's legacy of love for him. There are many lessons of love, tolerance, respect, and sharing to be learned in "Grandpa's Soup."

Saving Bonehead
Don Arends & Michael LaDuca
Mission Manuscripts Inc.
1000 Jorie Blvd., Suite 206, Oak Brook, IL 60523
9780976888024, $14.50,

Engagingly written by Don Arends and colorfully illustrated in a cartoon style by Micahel LaDuca, "Saving Bonehead: The Ten-foot Hammerhead Shark" is an original picturebook story of an 800-pound baby shark whose curiosity gets the better of him when he hears a strange noise while swimming in the ocean with his mother and father. In seeking out the noise up on the surface of the ocean, Hammerhead bumps his head and needs the care of his friends in the coral reef like Grandpa Group and Doc Clark (a friendly octopus). With teamwork, problem solving, imagination, and individual underwater abilities, Hammerhead is well taken care of in a beautiful rehab lagoon. Inventive, entertaining, and a perfect storybook message for young readers preschool through the second grade, "Saving Bonehead" is highly recommended for family, school, and community library picture book collections.

Blind Tom
Shirley Raye Redmond & Lois Bradley
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425587, $10.00,

There really was a blind horse called Tom who worked pulling flatcars for construction crews who were building our country's first transcontinental railroad. Now that story has been historical re-told by author Shirley Raye Redmond in "Blind Tom: The Horse Who Helped Build The Great Railroad", published by the Mountain Press Publishing Company and charmingly illustrated by University of New Mexico art student Lois Bradley. This 48-page paperback picture book is enhanced for young readers ages 5 and older with a glossary of 'Things to Know' and bibliographic references so the young reader can learn more about the transcontinental railroad. As informative as it is entertaining, this true story of the handicapped horse who became famous in his own time is very highly recommended reading and certain to become a popular addition to school and community library collections.

Walk In Peace
Ingrid Hess
Herald Press
616 Walnut Ave., Scottsdale, PA 15683-1999
9780836194692, $12.99,

A gentle and inspirational picture book for young readers, "Walk In Peace" is a charmingly illustrated compilation of scenes where a child, upon leaving the company of a parent to go to school, visiting a friend, walk to the market, and a myriad of other errands, is given a parental blessing and prayer in the repeated refrain 'God loves you, sweet child. Walk in peace.' A simple, effective, entertaining, and thoroughly charming picture book written and illustrated Ingrid Hess, "Walk In Peace" is very highly recommended -- especially for parent/child story telling time.

Mabel Takes A Paddle
Emily Chetkowski
PublishingWorks, Inc.
151 Epping Rd., Exeter, NH 03833
9781933002996, $12.95,

The third and newest title telling of the many adventures of a little dog named Mabel is Emily Chetskowski's "Mabel Takes A Paddle". Charmingly illustrated in full color by Susan Spellman, this is the story of Mabel's ride in a kayak and admiring the wildlife of Orange Lake in the state of Maine. But the animals she sees around the lake seem frightened and run away form her. It can't be Mabel who is doing her best to be non-threatening. It's got to be something else -- and young readers will truly enjoy finding out what it is. Also very highly recommended for young readers and community library collections are the two previous episodes of Mabel's adventures: "Mabel Takes A Sail" (9781880158265, $12.95) and "Mabel Takes The Ferry" (9781880158371, $12.95).

Charlie And Mama Kyna
Diana Rumjahn
Booksurge LLC
7290-B Investment Dr., Charleston, SC 29418
9781419656873, $15.99,

Written by Diana Rumjahn, "Charlie And Mama Kyna" is an entertaining children's picture book that is based on the story of her internationally acclaimed and award-winning film 'Going Home'. The illustrations are also drawn from the film as well. Three friends, Charlie (a frog), along with his two friends Leo (a lion) and Joe (a giraffe), are traveling together on a journey to Charlie's mother's home, a little white cottage with big red brick steps. But having to go through the big city, it's turning out to be quite an adventure for our intrepid trio! "Charlie And Mama Kyna" is charming and colorful entertainment, as well as a welcome and highly recommended addition to family, school, and community library picture book collections.

Benny The Baffled Behemoth
Melissa Leembruggen
Clay Bridges Communications & Publishing
300 South Ridge Avenue, Troy, OH 45373
9780615232041, $15.99,

As described in the Bible, a 'behemoth' is a very large animal. Benny is just such an animal and for some reason unknown to him, God has made Benny's skin with a great many colors. This results in Benny's considerable confusion and compels him on a journey to meet his 'King Creator' to discover the reasons behind his coloration and what Benny's ultimate purpose in life would be. "Melissa Leembruggen's original tales is distinctively illustrated by the imaginative artistry of Trish McKinney. The result is a seminal and compelling story for young children with an underlying and valued message of hope, purpose, love, and faith.

Druffles The D. J.
William Hibert & Hugh O'Halloran
A Bear Group Publishing Inc.
11 Harper Avenue, Montrose, NY 10548
9780975489208, $11.95,

The debut title of A Bear Group Publishing Inc., "Druffles The D. J." is the collaborative work of William Hibert and Hugh O'Halloran. Druffles is an upbeat and optimistic young dog who shows by his example how young readers can deal with life's disappointments, that everyone has a special ability, and that wil a positive attitude, a persevering determination, and a little help from friends, we can all accomplish wonderful things for ourselves and for others. Colorfully illustrated in a cartoon-style, "Druffles The D. J." is imaginative, original, 'kid friendly', and a welcome addition to family, school, and community library picture book collections.

An Angel To Watch Over
Laura Reavis & Gary Withrow
Angel Insights Press
c/o Concierge Marketing
13518 'L' Street, Omaha, NE 68137
9780980009101, $9.99,

Drawing upon her personal beliefs and experiences as a hospital chaplin, Laura Reavis has written a light-hearted, kid-friendly story about who guardian angels are and what they do with and for their young charges. The simple storyline is enhanced for young readers with the colorfully artwork of Gary Withrow. Highly recommended reading, this remarkable and original children's picture book is highly recommended for family and community library collections. It should also be noted that Laura Reavis is the founder of The Angel Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated providing financial assistance to families with hospitalized children, and that this laudable cause will be benefit from the sale of this delightful children's book.

Joe Lee And The Boo
Ryan Jacobson & Elizabeth Hurley
Getch! Books
c/o Lake 7 Creative
530 Park Street South, Mora, MN 55051
9780982118702, $14.95,

An original and thoroughly 'kid friendly' story by Ryan Jacobson, "Joe Lee And The Boo: Who's Afraid Of Monsters?" is colorfully illustrated by Elizabeth Hurley and introduces Joe Lee Jensen, a little boy who is afraid of creatures that he sees everywhere throughout his home. In the kitchen, the basement, and even his bedroom! With his faithful little dog, Joe Lee is going to try to overcome his fears if he can. Specifically written to help young readers overcome imaginary fears like those of our little protagonist, "Joe Lee And The Boo" also shows the positive power of imagination. Parents, teachers, and caregivers will appreciate the inclusion of discussion questions to help children become involved in the process of problem-solving their way through their anxieties. "Joe Lee And The Boo" is especially recommended for school and community library collections.

Puppy Stew
Caroline Gregory & Michael Suorsa
Sortis Publishing
2193 East Claxton Ave., Gilbert, AZ 85296
9780977202591, $8.99,

When a lost little puppy is discovered in the park by a grumpy old witch, what she thinks of is how good it would be to make a meal of the little canine. The only problem she can see is that because the puppy is so skinny it will take a bit of time to fatten him up for the pot! But when he's ready for that pot he will be delicious! What the witch will unexpectedly find out is the emotional power a cute and companiable puppy can have to disrupt even the most anticipated of dinner plans! "Puppy Stew" is quirky, fun, original, beautifully illustrated by Michael Suorsa in perfect complement to Caroline Gregory's thoroughly entertaining story that will delight young readers and prove to be a popular addition to school and community library picture book collections!

Morning Rain
Sheila Cayolle & Kal Mebane
Pontchartrain Publishing Company
26107 Mill Creek Ave., Alpharetta, GA 30022
9780578013183, $14.95,

Rainstorms are a familiar part of everyone's childhood. What Sheila Cayolle has done in "Morning Rain" is describe in entertaining detail using single sentence descriptions what a little girl sees from her window as she watches what happens around her during a thunderstorm. When the storm has passed, she is back outside to play in the sun shine. Enhanced with the full-page artwork of Kal Mebane, "Morning Rain" is a gentle and entertaining picture book story that is ideal for beginning readers and would make a popular addition to any family, school, or community library collection.

Dezzer The Gasser
Lorraine Florido & John Ewing
Thinkus Publishers
7950 NW 155th Street, #203, Miami Lakes, FL 33016
9780981844909, $15.99,

Dezzer is an ordinary baby with extraordinary flatulence that is the bane and embarrassment of his long suffering family -- until the family encounter a bear in the cabin where they are vacationing. A rollicking fun and funny story by Lorraine Florido, "Dezzer The Gasser" is illustrated in true Disney style by former Disney animator and artist John W. Ewing. The result is an original and simply hilarious picture book that will be wildly popular with its young readers!

Mary's First Thanksgiving
Kathy-jo Wargin & Robert Papp
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310711797, $16.99,

Robert Papp's museum quality artwork gracefully illustrates Kathy-jo Wargin's inspiring story of Mary, a young pilgrim girl and her family's celebration of the first celebration of Thanksgiving in our new country. Overcoming many problems, such as bringing seeds from England that wouldn't seem to grow. But the Native Americans arrived to show them how to successfully plant corn and thereby saved the newly arrived pilgrims from certain starvation. "Mary's First Thanksgiving" is a simply beautiful and genuinely entertaining picture book that would grace any family, school, church, or community library collection.

Carl The Frog
David N. Weiss & Pete Whitehead
Worthwhile Books
5080 Santa Fe Street, San Diego, CA 92109
Media Masters Publicity (
9781600103384, $16.99,

Carl is handicapped by his very long tongue and huge appetite whenever he tries to make a friend. But when a kingfisher sees Carl as his potential dinner, Carl discovers how to control his tongue and change his table manners when around others. A rollickingly funny story by David N. Weiss is delightfully illustrated in cartoon-style by Pete Whitehead. The result is a terrifically 'kid friendly' picturebook that will make an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library collections for young and appreciative readers.

Wolf Camp
Katie McKy & Bonnie Leick
Tanglewood Press
PO Box 3009 Terre Haute, IN 47803
9781933718217, $15.95,

Summer camp can change a child. But when Maddie upon returning home from Camp Wolf starts snapping at flies, howls at fire trucks, and chases squirrels on all fours, that's not the kind of change her mother is comfortable with! Does Maddie have an overly active imagination or is something else going on? "Wolf Camp" combines the deft writing of Katie McKy with the superbly drawn illustrations of Bonnie Leick to create an original, entertaining, lively, highly recommended picturebook story that will thoroughly delight young readers ages 4 to 8.

If I Were A Farmer
Gorden W. Frederickson & David Jewell
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592982769, $11.95,

Nancy is a little girl who simply loves all the farm animals -- but most especially the cows. That's why she uses her imagination as she explains to her kitty, Dusty, just what it would be like if she were a diary farmer. An original and thoroughly entertaining story by Gorden W. Frederickson, the full color illustrations by David Jewell truly bring "If I Were A Farmer: Nancy's Adventure" to life for appreciative young readers. "If I Were A Farmer" is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library picture book collections.

Boris And The Wrong Shadow
Leigh Hodgkinson
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589250826, $15.95,

Boris is a cat who upon waking up from a very good nap realizing something just isn't quite right. He's somehow casting the wrong shadow! To add insult to injury, it appears to be the shadow of a mouse. This makes Boris the object of teasing by the other cats -- and even the birds. Boris sets out to regain his proper shadow and in doing so has a grand adventure along the way! Deftly written and beautifully illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson, "Boris And The Wrong Shadow" is an original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book that will prove to be an exceedingly popular addition to school and community library collections for young readers.

The Adventures of PJ and Split Pea
S. D. Moore & Bobbi Switzer
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432712884, $19.95,

PJ is a little boy who becomes friends with a parrot named Split Pea. This particular parrot speaks with a distinctly British accent and is rather unkempt in his appearance. This moves PJ to give his parrot a make-over. After a serious of tries ending in humorous but less that desirable outcomes, PJ and Split Pea learn to love and accept each other just as they are. S. D. Moore's original and entertaining story for young readers is very nicely complemented with the full color illustrations of Bobbi Switzer. The result is a thoroughly 'kid friendly' picturebook that is recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

Maisy Goes To Preschool
Lucy Cousins
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763642549, $12.99,

The newest addition to the outstanding 'Maisy' series of picture books for young children by Lucy Cousins, "Maisy Goes To Preschool" continues the adventures of everyone's favorite mouse as she and her friends go through a typical day at their preschool. With its bright color and simple artwork, "Maisy Goes To Preschool" allows children ages 2 through 5 to learn about many of preschool activities such as painting, music, story time, napping, bathroom behavior, playing in the sandbox, and more! Thoroughly 'kid friendly' and ideal for parents to introduce children to the concept of attending a preschool or kindergarten program or class, "Maisy Goes To Preschool" should be a part of every daycare center, elementary school, and community library picture book collection.

Do You Want A Friend?
Noel Piper & Gail Schoonmaker
Crossway Books
1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
9781433506215, $12.99,

Every child wants and needs friends. While most friends come and go in a child's life, there is one friend that will be a life-long companion wherever that child lives, plays, or goes to school. That constant friend is Jesus. This is the fundamental message in Noel Piper's charmingly written book for young children "Do You Want A Friend?". Wonderfully illustrated on every page by Gail Schoonmaker, this thoroughly entertaining picture book is an ideal and enthusiastically recommended addition to family and Sunday School library collections.

The Lonely Shadow
Clay Rice
Joggling Board Press
PO Box 13029, Charleston, SC 29422
9780981873534, $19.95,

Clay Rice follows in the steps of his grandfather, Carew Rice, as he continues the family tradition of cutting silhouettes. In a single year, Clay cuts 10,000 children's silhouettes from live sittings be they in his studio or anywhere else he might find himself. Clay has evolved the cutting of silhouettes into a fine art as exemplified by his simple but sophisticated children's picture book "The Lonely Shadow". Clay is also a singer/songwriter and that talent reveals itself in the lyrical cadence and rhythm of his text about a little shadow who just knew he had to belong to someone. In his search for where he truly belongs, children (and their parents!) will appreciate the elegance and novelty of silhouette art which so perfectly compliments this original and thoroughly 'kid friendly' tale. Entertaining and unique, "The Lonely Shadow" is very highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

The Little Pot
Dawn Stephens, author/illustrator
bPlus Books
c/o Bumble Bee Productions, Inc.
725 Watch Island Reach, Chesapeake, VA 23320
9781933982113, $17.95,

"The Little Pot" is a gentle homily for children ages 4-8 about finding patience to uncover God's purpose for all creations, including the very special Little Pot. Each time the little pot is filled with something new (paper, coins, flowers, etc.), she thinks she has finally found "the very best pot to be!" But the Potter has a special plan and purpose for the Little Pot that only unfolds in time and stages, like stations of spiritual development. "The Little Pot" gradually learns to have patience and flexibility in accepting the role(s) which the Potter gives to her. It is a fine model for encouraging humility, acceptance, faith and belief. "The Little Pot" conveys its message beautifully through both the playfully displayed text and the whimsical illustrations. This is a wonderful book for children and adults to learn with.

Sunny Bunnies
Margie Blumberg & June Golding
MB Publishing LLC
c/o Bisson & Barcelona
PO Box 458, Barrington, NH 83875
9780962416644, $15.96,

Margie Blumberg has written a delightfully entertaining story about a family of bunny rabbits who spend a day at the beach. While Mom and Pop are asleep at the beach, brother figures out something fun to do with his sister while their parents nap. The rhyming text is as clever as it is entertaining and children will thoroughly enjoy the surprise at the end! Charmingly illustrated throughout by June Golding, "Sunny Bunnies" is a perfect pick for family, school, and community library picture book collections!

A Wild Father's Day
Sean Callahan & Daniel Howarth
Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton St., Morton Grove, IL 60053
9780807522936, $16.99,

Waking up their daddy on Father's Day, his young son and daughter, the three of them begin by bouncing together on his bed pretending to be kangaroos. That's just the beginning of an active day playing together and exercising their imaginations when they go swimming in a pool or eating at the table. Daniel Howarth's living and animated illustrations are a perfect compliment for Sean Callahan's delightful and original story making "A Wild Father's Day" a welcome and popular addition to family, school, and community library picture book collections.

Kevin Luthardt
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
1561453005, $15.95,

Larabee is an energetic young dog who enjoys helping the mailman deliver the mail. Mr. Bowman allows Larabee to ride in the mail truck and carry the mail. There's only one thing that Larabee yearns for -- to get receive a letter himself! If only it were possible for a dog to get a letter too. "Larabee" is written and illustrated by Kevin Luthardt who demonstrates a masterfully ability to tell a simple story wonderfully well. An ideal and thoroughly entertaining picture book for young children, "Larabee" would make an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library collections.

Spongebob Squarepants: Happiness to Go!
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781416984467, $11.99 1-800-223-2336

Spongebob Squarepants: Happiness to Go! collects six softcover children's paperbacks starring the wildly popular cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants, at a very affordable price! Each paperback features bright color illustrations in the style of the show, and an entertaining story good for reading privately or aloud. The books in the set are "Atlantis Squarepantis", "Behold, No Cavities!", "Hooray for Dads!", "Spongebob's Slap Shot", "Vote for Spongebob", and "Who Bob What Pants?". An excellent gift set for any young Spongebob fan; the books even come in a very convenient cardboard storage and carry case.

Flying High
Jorgen Stamp
Enchanted Lion Books
201 Richards St., Studio 4, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592700899, $16.95,

"Flying High" is an engaging children's book about an enterprising giraffe named Walter who decides to build and fly an airplane. When his turtle friend Sonny expresses an interest in helping and maybe flying along, Disregarding Sonny's feelings, Walter blithely dismisses his offer to help and his hurt feelings as well. When later during his flight he encounters danger in a storm, Walter realizes he may need some help from others, including his friend Sonny. Luckily Sonny holds no grudges and bravely swims to Walter's rescue after his plane crashes in the lake. Then Walter realizes the value of including others in his life and plans. The next plane he builds has room for his friend Sonny too. "Flying High" is a fine fable about learning to value the contributions of others as well as an entertaining story. Author Jorgen Stamp's playful illustrations tell the story even more fully. Appropriate for ages 4-8.

Pastry School in Paris
Cindy Neuschwander
Henry Holt
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780805083149, $16.95

The Zills family is off to Paris to take a class at the International Pastry Academy, where the kids measure liquids to make lollipops and learn about liquid measurements. When an inspector pays a visit, it's up to the twins and their new knowledge to save the day in this outstanding story.

"I Have a Little Problem," said the bear
Heinz Janisch and Silke Leffler
North South Books
455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 37167
9780735822351, $16.95

The bear has a problem - and everyone's in a hurry to help him. Even if they haven't taken a moment to find out exactly what the problem is... repeating, rollicking refrains discuss the various solutions to a problem everyone's too busy to discuss in this fine story kids will find inviting and fun.

Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, NY, NY 10019

OH NO! TIME TO GO! By Rebeca Doughty (9780375849817, $15.99) discusses all the different ways of saying 'goodbye', from 'gotta split' to 'later, gator!' A whimsical, fun set of insights marks a picturebook recommended for any general collection looking for something different. Also offbeat is Sally Lloyd-Jones' BEING A PIG IS NICE: A CHILD'S-EYE VIEW OF MANNERS (9780375841873, $16.99), recommended for ages 4-8. Children have to be polite and clean - but what about pigs? Or owls? The definition of 'manners' might change under such circumstances! Dan Krall's engaging drawings lends to a fun consideration of changing definitions of manners. Janet Stein's THIS LITTLE BUNNY CAN BAKE (9780375843136, $15.99) tells of Chef George's dessert school where one eager student proves the only one willing to follow the basic rules. Black and white and pink drawings accept a fun story of a little bunny who ultimately proves successful.

Shutta Crum
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
9780618618651, $16.00

It's a hot day on the farm and the family's at the pond when suddenly dark clouds roll in and lightning flashes. A thunder-boomer's on the way. Free verse blends with sound effects and fun drawings to tell of a summer storm and a family's reactions.

Roaring Brook Press
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

When an urban boy finds a book about redwoods on the subway, strange things begin to happen: the book springs to life in Jason Chin's REDWOODS (1596434309, $16.95)! As he reads about their history he finds history is all around him - and when he emerges from the subway, he enters a redwood forest! Good reading skills will lend to this gentle blend of fiction and natural science. Mordicai Gerstein's A BOOK (1596432519, $16.95) provides a whimsical story of a family who lives in a book. Their story begins when the book is opened but what happens when a girl questions the story line? Ages 4-8 will find this a fun exploration.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Caren McNelly McCormack's THE FIESTA DRESS: A QUINCEANERA TALE (9780761454670, $17.99) tells of the day Lolo's big sister has a party - and everyone's too busy to play with Lolo. When she lets her dog out, trouble begins and Lolo has to work hard to save her sister's celebration in this fine tale, illustrated by Martha Aviles. Beatrice Schenk de Regniers' LITTLE SISTER AND THE MONTH BROTHERS (9780761455462, $17.99) will reach ages 4-8 with its story of a little sister who's busy doing all the work around the house and yard. She grows prettier and prettier as she does her chores - but her wicked stepmother can't stand her happiness despite her chores. This twist on the Slavic version of Cinderella makes for a fine story reprinted from a 1976 classic inspired by a folktale the author heard as a child. Ralph Steadman's GARIBALDI'S BISCUITS (9780761455783, $17.99) tells of an unlikely army wielding water balloons and wearing pizza buckles. The real Garibaldi's great achievement was to unite Italy: this zany take-off blends history and fantasy in a rollicking good read. Demi's GENGHIS KHAN (9780761455479, $19.99) tells of a boy named Temujin and his rise to power in the Mongolian Empire after he becomes its leader. History blends with legend to recreate the story of a notable warrior in Demi's vivid tale. Demi's RUMI: WHIRLING DERVISH (9780761455271, $19.99) is also a winner, telling of a 13th century Afghani poet who became the great poet of all. From his early scholarship to his religious introspection, RUMI provides a fine survey of his life and poems. Both hold Demi's signature drawings in full color.

175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

Matthew McElligott's THE LION'S SHARE: A TALE OF HAVLING CAKE AND EATING IT, TOO (0802797687, $16.99) tells of a small ant invited to a lion's dinner party. She's on her best behavior, but the other partygoers don't share her manners and are greedy, leaving her nothing but a crumb to share with her host. Can her offer to bake another cake turn the tables on greed? An unexpected result makes for a fine story. Patricia Marx's DOT IN LARRYLAND: THE BIG LITTLE BOOK OF AN ODD-SIZED FRIENDSHIP (1599901811, $16.99) tells of tiny Dot, who is 'just bigger than invisible'. And she's miserable about her stature in life. Larry, meanwhile, is so big his head's always in the clouds. Can two unlikely characters become friends? Roz Chast's drawings are fun embellishments.

c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson, New York NY 10014

Sophie Blackall provides engaging drawings for Carol Diggory Shields' WOMBAT WALKABOUT (9780525478652, $16.99), a lively survey of six woolly wombats who go on a walkabout and miss seeing the dingo with the hungry eye. This whimsical counting book set in the Australian outback is a lovely presentation for any young math learner seeking an adventure story. Amy Zuckerman and James Daly's 2030: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF TOMORROW'S KIDS (9780525478607, $16.99) takes a look at what a kid's life might be like in the world of tomorrow, based on scientific trends and discoveries today. From amazing video presentations to the ability to beam health information directly to a doctor's office, this is filled with many engaging amazing possibilities!

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Corinne Demas' ALWAYS IN TROUBLE (0545024536, $16.99) pairs pictures by Noah Z. Jones with the story of a very bad dog who is always in trouble, wetting the rug, running into the road, and eating forbidden food. What's a owner to do? Fun drawings accompany Emma's attempts to turn a bad dog good. Sara Varon's CHICKEN AND CAT CLEAN UP (0439634083, $16.99) tells of two best friends. When Chicken opens his own housekeeping business, Cat comes to mind as the perfect partner - but he's clumsy and is making lots of mistakes. How can Chicken and Cat be in business and still be friends? A fun story of cooperation and shared goals evolves. Linas Alsenas' HELLO, MY NAME IS BOB (0545052440, $16.99) tells of quiet Bob - and Jack, who is NOT. Bob likes a lot of quiet and Jack is opposite - you wouldn't think they'd be best friends but they are. A fine story of friendship evolves.

A Mighty Fine Time Machine
Suzanne Bloom
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590785270, $16.95

Ages 5-7 will appreciate this hilarious story of Samantha the anteater, whose friends aardvark and armadillo invite her to help them build a time machine. Can an old box really take them back in time? An unpredictable adventure results in a delightful, zany story of three friends who think outside of - and get inside - the box.

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
Mo Willems
114 -5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
9781423114376, $16.99

Wilbur is different from the other naked mole rats in his colony - he wears clothes secretly, and likes it. So what will happen when the oldest, wisest, most naked of the mole-rats discovers Wilbur's secret passion for clothes? A gentle story of not quite fitting in emerges in a fine tale.

I'm Your Peanut Butter Big Brother
Selina Alko
Alfred Knopf
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375856273, $16.99

Big brother wonders whether the new baby will look like him - and considers all the different family features the new baby could have. A lyrical text lends to read-aloud rhythm and an artistic set of drawings captures the feel of a big brother's anticipation of the new arrival.

The Lime Green Secret
Georgia Graham
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St, 5th Floor, Toronto, ON M5A 2P9, Canada
9780887768415, $19.95

Gloria's been chosen as a flower girl for her sister's wedding and is thrilled with her costume - so thrilled, she can't resist trying it on for the dog to see. What results is an unpredictable dilemma as Gloria finds trouble multiplies from her untimely dress up. Good reading skills will lend to an appreciation of the story.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Gary Paulsen
Random House
9780385746854, $12.99

Mudshark is cool: fast-thinking and the guy with the answers: that's why he's started his own detective agency and is so successful - until a psychic parrot enters the school library. Can he outthink Mudshark? A funny easy reader follows Mudshark's dilemma in this step above chapter book status.

Abigail Iris: The One and Only
Lisa Glatt and Suzanne Greenberg
175 - 5th Ave, 8th Floor, New York NY 10010
0802797822, $14.99

Joy Allen provides fun black and white drawings to accompany the story of a girl who is One of Many in her family - but longs to be an Only, like her three best friends. When she's invited on a trip to San Francisco she has a rare opportunity to be an Only child - but will she miss her large family? Kids in either situation will relate to Abigail's dilemma.

In Memory of Gorfman T. Frog
Gail Donovan
345 Hudson St, New York NY 10014
9780525420859, $15.99

Fifth grade motor mouth Joshua spots a frog with three back legs and decides to bring it to school - but having an unusual frog doesn't win him the expected points. When trouble strikes, he decides to organize his classmates to fight for what's right in a daring plan that could lead to more trouble. Janet Pedersen provides funny drawings for this zany story of a boy and his unusual frog.

The Gecko & Sticky: The Greatest Power
Wendelin Van Draanen
9780375843778, $12.99

Dastardly Famien Black is holding a bank full of people hostage as he loots - but one of the people is ordinary boy Dave who holds ancient powers and a secret gecko as weapons against evil. Sticky and Dave hope to recover the loot - but danger may keep them from being heroes in this fine easy reader, a step above chapter books for elementary grades.

George and Martha titles
James Marshall
Houghton Mifflin
$15.00 each

GEORGE AND MARTHA ONE MORE TIME (9780547144238) offers two stories in an easy reader chapter book: THE SCARY MOVIE, where Martha is viewing her first scary film with friend George, and THE SECRET CLUB, where George wants his own club apart from Martha. Hilarious drawings of the hippo and elephant best friends accompany very fine tales. RISE AND SHINE (9780547144252) tell of best friends who have more fun adventures, in three short tales. THE FIBBER tells of George's attempts to impress Martha with some lies; THE EXPERIMENT tells of Martha's possible science gone awry, and THE PICNIC tells of two very different interests in a day off. Can the two friends compromise their different styles? A fine set of tales is perfect for chapter book early readers.

The Fiction Shelf

The Wisdom of Solomon
Wanda E. Brunstetter
PO Box 719, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
9781602602830, $16.95,

The Amish are a strict people, but it doesn't meant heir lives are devoid of adventure. "The Wisdom of Solomon: A Soloman Lapp and Friends Amish Storybook" tells the story of young Solomon and Sara Lapp as they deal with the stress and challenges of everyday Amish life. It's not as dull or alien as one would think, as Solomon and Sarah's problems translate well to the standard child's lives as well. "The Wisdom of Solomon" is a great pick for a young reader seeking something different.

Home Free
Sharon Jennings
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781897187555, $8.95,

Specifically written by author Sharon Jennings to appeal to girls ages 9 through 12, the brand new 'Gutsy Girls' series from Canadian publisher Second Story Press promises to be lively, funny, engaging, and original. Judging by the debut novel "Home Free" it will truly live up to that expectation! Leanna Mets (known as Lee to her friends and family) is a twelve year old girl with an ambition of becoming a writer. Cassandra is an orphaned girl who moves into a house across the street from Lee who is at first glance convinced the two of them will be great friends. But Cassandra is less than impressed with Lee's overtures because of her fascination with Cassandra's orphan status. It takes a tragedy in Lee's own family and an uncovered truth about Cassandra's past to bring the two girls together. Author Sharon Jennings is an original and talented storyteller who brings her memorable characters to life with a novel that is deftly crafted to engage intense reader interest from beginning to end. "Home Free" is highly recommended reading and a popular addition to community library fiction collections for young readers.

G Force
Anthony Hampshire
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington St., Brighton, MA 02135
9781554550272, $8.95,

Driving in the Indianapolis 500 with a custom made Formula race care was also Eddie Stewart's big dream. When Eddie's dream comes true with an innovative new Formula racing care, an international sponsor to fund it all, and a top notch track team to help him, there is only one problem left. Eddie discovers there's the crushing G (gravity) forces that come with high-speed racing. Complicating things further is a series of mysterious and dangerous crashes to threaten Eddie's big dream with possible catastrophic results! A deftly written novel, "G Force" is highly recommended reading and a popular addition to both school and community library collections.

Matthew Livingston And The Millionaire Murder
Marco Conelli
iUniverse, Inc./Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781440123474, $11.95,

The second title in Marco Conelli's 'Matthew Livingston Mystery Series', this time an intrepid young journalist named Dennis Sommer finds himself in trouble with the police when a wealthy man he was scheduled to interview is found dead under mysterious circumstances. That is when Dennis turns to Matthew Livingston who will use his incredible powers of deduction and lateral thinking to discover that the dead man was murdered -- but not by Dennis! Deftly written with plenty of plot points, twists and turns, "Matthew Livingston And The Millionaire Murder" is highly recommended reading for young adults who appreciate a well crafted and original work of mystery and suspense.

Jenny's Bubble Flight
Michelle Bandel
Vantage Press Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, 18th floor, New York, NY 10016
9780533159512, $8.95,

A modern kind of fable, "Jenny's Bubble Flight" by Michelle Bandel is the story of a little girl who enjoys blowing bubbles of all sizes, shapes and colors. As she blows her bubbles she can't help but think of her mother's illness. Then she blows a most unusual bubble -- one that enfolds her completely and floats her off to high adventure where she encounters a beautiful and friendly butterfly named Tiger, an island filled with sympathetic and unusual birds, generous sea creatures willing to help out, badly needed guidance from an elegant albeit mysterious fairy, and trouble from an enormous, misshapen beetle. There's a popcorn volcano, a pounding waterfall, and the ultimate realization that even an 8-year old girl might be able to find a cure for her mother and a way home for herself. "Jenny's Bubble Flight" is a truly entertaining flight of fantasy and highly recommended reading for imaginative young readers.

The Kane Press
240 W 35th St., Suite 302, NY, NY, 1001-2506

The Kane Press has launched 'The Milo & Jazz Mysteries", a new series written by Lewis B. Montgomery for young readers ages 7 to 11. Nicely enhanced with black-and-white illustrations by Amy Wummer, this series of mystery adventures features two friends who aspire to be detectives, with a little assistance from time to time from the world-famous private eye Dash Marlow. Our intrepid duo first takes on "The Case Of The Stinky Socks" (9781575652856, $6.95) when the Wildcats' star pitcher is missing (along with his lucky socks), the kids set out to find them both. Their second case is "The Case Of The Poisoned Pig" (9781575652863, $6.95) when it's up to Milo and Jazz to discover who has poisoned a harmless pet piglet -- and why? Certainly to be a popular series, 'The Milo & Jazz Mysteries' are highly recommended additions to school and community library collections for young readers.

Forest Secrets
Tracy Kane & Kelly Sanders
Light-Beams Publishing
10 Toon Lane, Lee, NH 03861
9780976628910, $14.95,

Nicely illustrated with occasional black-and-white artwork, "Forest Secrets" is the collaborative work of Tracy Kane and Kelly Sanders. The newest addition to their 'Fairy House' series of mysteries for young readers ages 7 to 11 and in grades 3 through 6, "Forest Secrets" finds Kate, a precocious eleven-year-old girl moving to a new home at the edge of a forest. That's where she and her neighbor Luke discover a fairy house hidden in a tree trunk, as well as a clue that leads the children to still more fairy houses! The forest is home to an enchanted and enchanting world hidden from the mundane world. But that fairy world is threatened by a land developer and the problem of how to save the fairies and their houses is now up to Kate and Luke to solve -- if they can. Very highly recommended for both school and community library collections, "Forest Secrets" is charming, original, entertaining, and superbly well crafted from beginning to end.

J.A. Kundert
Cypress Productions
14184 Waterside Lane, Bloomfield, CO 80020
9780980189100, $14.95

Sometimes the violin simply isn't interesting enough. "Samantha: The Legend of the Whispering Trees" follows young Samantha as she leaves her violin practice and pampered life to find adventure in the forest, which leads her to a fantasy world with princely rabbits. She finds herself on a whirlwind series of events that will keep any young reader riveted to the book until it's done. "Samantha" is a fine addition to any children's fiction collection.

Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Curbstone Press
321 Jackson Street, Willimantic, CT 06226
9781931896498, $16.95

Gringolandia is a novel for young adults about a young Chilean-American. Disturbed by troubled memories of his father's arrest, Daniel Aguilar has escaped from the brutality of Pinochet's Chile. When his father is released and rejoins the family, Daniel sees firsthand what harsh imprisonment can do - his father is partially paralyzed, subject to nightmares, and resents his exile to "Gringolandia". As Daniel seeks to reconnect with his father, he must also confront the turmoil and struggle for democracy in the home nation he thought he left behind for the rest of his life. A thoughtful and emotionally moving story, highly recommended.

Cold Hands, Warm Heart
Jill Wolfson
Henry Holt and Company
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Media Masters Publicity (publicity)
9780805082821, $17.99,

A sudden death is a tragedy, but there may yet be triumph to go along with it. "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" is a novel following Dani, a girl in dire need of a heart transplant after years of medical problems from birth. When all seems lost, one person's death becomes another persons life as a teenage gymnast's life is ended by an accident. As Dani seems to get her second chance, there's a lot to cope with, including the brother of the donor. Looking into the personal and emotional side of teenage organ donation, "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" is a moving and intriguing read from start to finish.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Kat Black's THE BOOK OF TORMOD: A TEMPLAR'S APPRENTICE (0545056543, $17.99) tells of one Tgormod MacLeod, who knows things before they happen and who finds even his own family treats him differently because of his gift. When a Knight Templar asks him to delivery a secret message, his life takes a strange twist in this fine historical fantasy. Karlijn Stoffels' HEARTSINGER (0545069297, $16.99) tells of Mee, born with a gift to sing others' stories and heal their pain. He's a wandering mistral but Mitou knows she belongs with him - even though they've never met. Two musicians are fated to share a love of music and for each other. HEARTSINGER covers many different facets of love. P.B. Kerr's THE EYE OF THE FOREST (0439932157, $17.99) is the fifth book in the Children of the Lamp series and follows djinn twins John and Philippa in another magical mystery. When rare Inca artifacts go missing, the twins and their uncle embark on a dangerous journey into the Amazon jungle to find them in this powerful novel of discovery and change. Sam Llewellyn's LYONESSE: THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS (0439934699, $17.99) tells of a land before King Arthur, where a sword is plunged in a stone. The land of Lyonesse has become a place of danger, with its people living with the threat of monsters in the wells. Idris, rescued from certain death, finds his fate tied with his world's in this fine epic fantasy of a journey into dangers.

Vivian Vande Velde
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761455158, $16.99

The same day villagers finally hunt down a witch in the woods, a pre-teen appears with no memory of her past. Is there a connection between the two? Isabelle's only memory is of a mysterious chant: could she have been stolen by the witch of the woods, or lost her memory? Satisfying supernatural mystery abounds in this riveting novel for middle to high school readers.

The Christmas Shelf

The Christmas House
Carol Bullman & Jim Madsen
Ideals Children's Books
c/o Ideals Publications
2636 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 120, Nashville, TN 37214
9780824955984, $16.99,

Charmingly written by Carol Bullman and beautifully illustrated by Jim Madsen, "The Christmas House" is a beautiful hardback children's book telling the tale of a young family who moves into an old house with a young baby just before Christmas. Although their neighbors have not meant to be unkind, they have been too busy to welcome them. Nevertheless, the sound of George and Kathleen's piano playing a familiar old Christmas carol touches and embraces each of four neighbors differently. They each allow the music to hold them for a moment, carrying them back to memories of earlier Christmases. Then each neighbor is moved to share a special piece of Christmas joy with the new little family, previously neglected and unwelcomed. Beautiful full color illustrations enliven every page of "The Christmas House." Children of all ages will enjoy this gentle story with its message of love and acceptance.

An Old Salem Christmas, 1840
Karen Cecil Smith & Bebe Phipps
Parkway Publishers
PO Box 3678, Boone, NC 28607
John F. Blair, Publisher (distributor)
1406 Plaza Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
9781933251462 $14.95

Deftly written by Karen Cecil Smith and appropriately illustrated by Bebe Phipps, "An Old Salem Christmas, 1840" is the story of a young girl who attends a Moravian Lovefeast in celebration of Christmas back in 1840. As part of the celebration she joins a candlelight service of sacred music and texts and afterwards savors a sweet bun and a cup of milky coffee. A Protestant Christian sect, the Moravians had their own distinctive traditions which author Karen Smith has faithfully portrayed in "An Old Salem Christmas, 1840", making it a highly recommended picture book for young readers and a welcome addition to school and community library collections.

Corinna the Christmas Elf
Suzanne Sumner Ferry & Jason Hutton
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 East Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781606969311, $10.99,

"Corinna the Christmas Elf: A Christmas Story" is an exciting new Christmas storybook written by Suzanne Sumner Ferry with a definite empowering message for girl elves with electrical engineering/managerial ambitions. One of Santa's best toy-maker elves (and the only girl elf), Corinna longs to go to college and become an electrical engineer, even though Santa has promoted her to Senior Elf Factory Manager. So she reads special electrical engineering textbooks at night and studies hard to achieve her dream of becoming Chief Elfin Electrical Engineer. One day the elves have a work-stopping electrical failure, and Corinna decides to take the opportunity to use her special skills and knowledge, even though she is untested and untrained as an electrical engineer. She takes proper safety precautions, plans ahead, and prepares to save the day and solve the problem, even though Santa and other elves are quite worried about her ability to tackle the dangerous work safely. Santa says, "I don't think this is something a girl elf should be doing!" Oddly enough, Mrs. Claus weighs in as her supporter, asking Santa, "if it were a boy elf up on the roof, would you be saying the same thing?" Finally Corinna achieves her goal, after a few more frightening moments, and Santa proudly tells her, "Corinna, you were the best man for the job today!' Of course, he then realizes he needs to amend that compliment by saying "You know I'm joking, Corinna. You were the best girl for the job!" "Corinna the Christmas Elf" is a refreshing revision of older holiday stories. It is charmingly illustrated by Jason Hutton in holiday-colored cartoons full of humour and detail. Another offering of the author is a free audio book digital download. "Corinna the Christmas Elf" is a delightful reinterpretation of holiday activities and the value of a stiff work ethic.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Dinosaur Hour Volume 1
Hitoshi Shioya
Viz Communications Inc.
295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
9781421526485 $7.99 1-800-394-3042

Presented in unflipped format (read right-to-left, just as the author originally drew it), Dinosaur Hour Volume 1 is a black-and-white manga (Japanese graphic novel) that combines amazing facts about dinosaurs with a hefty dose of humor! Young and old readers alike will enjoy these zany short stories about species ranging from velociraptor to dimetrodon to triceratops, baryonyx, and many more as they toil to survive, escape quicksand, escort dinosaur babies, or even run in fear from ghosts! Though the stories are fictional with anthropomorphic personalities given to the dinos, the true facts scattered amid captions adds a surprisingly educational touch to this enjoyable romp. Dinosaur Hour is enthusiastically recommended light reading for dino fans of all ages!

Books in Series

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Six colorful, 23-page readers in the Sharon Gordon's 'Animals in the Wild' ($19.95 each) series for the very young provide eye-catching introductions perfect for elementary grades K-3. WETLAND ANIMALS (9780761429043), OCEAN ANIMALS (9780761429036), PLAINS ANIMALS (9780761429029), MOUNTAIN ANIMALS (9780761429005), RAIN FOREST ANIMALS (9780761428992) and DESERT ANIMALS (9780761428985) each provide vivid, colorful covers and large-sized print pairing color photos on one page with one sentence of detail on the facing page. A lovely set of basic primers for early grades. Carmen T. Bernier-Grand's DIEGO: BIGGER THAN LIFE (9780761453833, $18.99) tells of artist Diego Rivera and his 'bigger than life' works. From his early entry to art school at age 10 to his travels studying art in Europe and his return to Mexico, this offers nearly 60 pages blending biography with David Diaz's artistic drawings capturing Diego's life. Patricia Hubbell's BOATS: SPEEDING! SAILING! CRUISING! (9780761455240, $17.99) covers all kinds of boats from canoes and barges to fishing boats and ferries, pairing zany illustrations with an easy, rollicking rhyme. Kids who love boats will find fascinating the brief poems and funny illustrations of the vessels.

'ABCs of the Natural World' titles
Bobbie Kalman
350 - 5th #3308, New York NY 10118
$26.60 each

THE ABCS OF THE ENVIRONMENT (9780778734178), ENDANGERED ANIMALS (9780778734154) and INSECTS (9780778734161) are excellent choices for any elementary library. Each hold 32 pages of detail including large color photos, a glossary, and index and quick quizzes, making for excellent additions to any beginning nature collection.

The Oliver Press, Inc.
5707 W 36th St., Minneapolis, MN 55416 1-800-865-4837

The Oliver Press is a premier publisher of non-fiction books-in-series for young readers. One of the best of their series is 'How It Happens' which offers a fully illustrated tours of a variety of businesses where people and machines produce products that are used in the everyday life of a child's family. Two new additions to this outstanding series of 32-page, photographically illustrated books specifically written and designed for children in grades 2 through 5 are "How It Happens at the TV Station" (9781934545072, $21.95) and "How It Happens at the Ice Cream Factory" (9781934545065, $21.95). These sturdy bound 'library edition' titles are enhanced for young readers with the inclusion of a Glossary, an Index, and a list of thematically appropriate web sites. The entire 'How It Happens' series in general, and these two newest additions in particular, are enthusiastically recommended for school and community library non-fiction collections for young readers.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308, NY, NY 10118

It's important for young children to understand what a holiday is for, both in terms of what it celebrates and how it is celebrated. 'Celebrations in My World' is a new six volume series offered in both hard cover ($26.60) and paperback editions ($8.95), from the Crabtree Publishing Company is specifically written and illustrated to provide children K-2 with just such an understanding with respect to Earth Day (9780778742883 HC; 9780778743064 PB), Easter (9780778742890 HC; 9780778743071 PB), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (9780778742906 HC; 9780778743088 PB); Thanksgiving (9780778742913 HC; 9780778743095 PB); Halloween (9780778742920 HC; 9780778743101 PB); and Passover (9780778742937 HC; 9780778743118 PB). Each 32-page title in this informative and engaging series is illustrated in full color and written at a K-3 interest level. A highly recommended addition to school and community library collections for children, the 'Celebrations in My World' series is also appropriate for family and daycare center libraries as well.

Small Bear Publishing
PO Box 842, Livingston, MT 59047

'Travels with Barrington Bear' is a picture book series for children which is engagingly written by Keith Szafranski and superbly illustrated with color photography by Keith Szafranski. Barrington is a stuffed bear who in "Barrington Bear Visits The Emperor" (9780980166200, $19.95) visits the Emperor Penguins where he talks and plays with them and learns interesting facts about them along the way. In 'Barrington Bear On Safari" (9780980166217, $19.95) Barrington is on a Kenya safari in Africa where he makes a new friend, photographs wild animals, and visits a village of natives. An impressive series guaranteed to be as informative as it is entertaining, 'Travels with Barrington Bear' is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

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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