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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 28, Number 7 July 2018 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Money/Finance Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Science Shelf Math Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Picturebook Shelf ABC Shelf Counting Shelf
Board Book Shelf Fiction Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Music CD Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Language Studies Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Psychology Shelf Biography Shelf Jobs/Careers Shelf
Environmental Shelf Self-Help Shelf Reference Shelf
Agriculture Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christian Shelf
Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Abracadabra!: The Magic of Trying
Maria Loretta Giraldo, author
Nicoletta Bertelle, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433828744, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

All of the little birds have learned to fly -- except for Little Owl. The others explain that it's easy: all he has to do is say "abracadabra!" At first, it doesn't work, and Little Owl thinks the "magic" word must be broken! But as he gets better and better, he realizes that the real magic is in himself. Charmingly written by maria Loretta Giraldo and delightfully illustrated by Nicoletta Bertelle, "Abracadabra!: The Magic of Trying" is an entertaining picture book that teaches children ages 4 to 8 how to face challenges and keep trying, despite setbacks. A special feature is the inclusion of a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" with tips for encouraging kids to persevere. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers, "Abracadabra!: The Magic of Trying" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended!

Jamie Is Jamie
Afsaneh Moradian, author
Maria Bogade, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9781631981395, $12.99, HC, 32pp,

There are so many fun things to play with at Jamie's new preschool -- baby dolls to care for, toy cars to drive -- and Jamie wants to play with them all! But the other children are confused. Is Jamie a boy or a girl? Some toys are just for girls and others are just for boys, aren't they? Not according to Jamie! Written by Afsaneh Moradian and illustrated by Maria Bogade, "Jamie Is Jamie" challenges gender stereotypes, showing young readers ages readers ages 4 to 8 that playing is fundamental to learning, and reinforces the idea that all children need the freedom to play unencumbered by gender stereotypes. Of particular note is the inclusion of a special section for teachers, parents, and care-givers providing tips on how to make children's playtime learning time. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, storyline, and presentation, "Jamie Is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Adventures of Papa Lemon's Little Wanderers: Meeting Dr. Martin Luther King
Lehman Riley, author
Yami Corporation, illustrations
Matter of Africa America Time Corporation
9780976052371 $5.99

First in a new educational series featuring figures of American black history, "The Adventures of Papa Lemon's Little Wanderers: Meeting Dr. Martin Luther King" takes five elementary school students on Papa Lemon's magic train ride back in time to hear Dr. Martin Luther King give his famous speech - 'I Have a Dream.' This will help Kaya, Baby Buck, Carlos, AJ, and Nikki finish their special history reports researching an important American leader from history. Papa Lemon created his magic train from a model that he worked on and souped up with some special recipe lemonade. Papa Lemon showed the gang how to operate the train so they could return to 1963 to hear Dr. Martin Luther King's famous speech. The Little Wanderers got to hear the end of Dr. King's famous speech, and they also had a chance to interview him. They found that Dr. King was a kind man who became a leader so that all races could be friends. Dr. King explained he worked hard so that all races could be together and have the same opportunities equally. He told the Wanderers to remember to treat people the way they wanted to be treated, which is the Golden Rule. Soon the five students returned in the special train to Papa Lemon where they told him about Dr. King teaching them about the Golden Rule. This imaginative series presents five different children as a group of curious explorers who are learning important historical events through hands on experiences in the magical train of Papa Lemon, a kind, caring character based on the author's grandfather.

The Money/Finance Shelf

Kevin, the Money Master
Jessica Wagner, author
Kenny Kiernan, illustrator
Don't Stop Publishing
9781947884007, $18.99, HC, 32pp,

A critically important life-long skill, it is essential that children ages 5 to 10 learn about the basic financial concepts of money. In "Kevin, the Money Master: How a Little Boy Learned to Master Money and How You Can Too!" by author Jessica Wagner, and charmingly illustrated by Kenny Kiernan, a young boy named Kevin becomes a money master through the picture book story that will have very special appeal for young readers. The first title in the Don't Stop Publishers series 'Family Who Reads Together Stays Together series', "Kevin, the Money Master" is specifically designed so a child and his or her family can talk about money management together with the underlying message that what makes us a money master is how much we keep from the money we make. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library instructional Money Management collections for young readers, it should be noted that "Kevin, the Money Master" is also available in a paperback edition (9781947884014, $9.99).

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Bat Citizens
Rob Laidlaw
Pajama Press
9781772780390, $18.95, HC, 48pp,

In "Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night", animal activist and biologist Rob Laidlaw sheds light on these famously shadowy mammals, from their habits and habitats to their importance for maintaining biodiversity. Bat biology is explored alongside human-bat relations, with facts to fascinate even the most nervous reader. Of special note is the Spotlight features on "Bat Citizens" make this an empowering book for children ages 8 to 12 seeking their own expressions of global citizenship. With informational sidebars, color photographs, a glossary and index, and a center-gatefold bat illustration, "Bat Citizens" is an outstandingly informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' book that will prove to be a welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to both elementary school and community library collections.

The Ultimate Book of Sharks
Brian Skerry
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426330711, $19.99, HC, 192pp,

Judging by the popularity of 'Shark Week' on television, the wild sea world of the shark has an inherent interest for young and old alike. Now kids ages 9 to 12 join in an amazing underwater adventure in the pages of National Geographic's "The Ultimate Book of Sharks" to track the sharks of the world, from the teeniest dogfish to the ever feared and fearful great white. This ultimate shark book features every species of shark on the planet, with vivid full color photos, fascinating facts, the latest science, and firsthand stories of real-life encounters with these incredible creatures. Kids will learn how sharks live, how they eat, the challenges they face, and whether or not you are actually on the menu! Impressively informative and exceptionally 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Ultimate Book of Sharks" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections in general, and Shark supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Animal Ears
Mary Holland
Arbordale Publishing
9781607184478, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Hearing is an important sense for animals survival. Ears give animals vital information to help them find food or listen for predators ready to attack. Animal Ears is a continuation of Mary Holland's award-winning Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series and showcases a wide variety of animal ears and how animals use them. Young readers ages 4 to 8 will discover that some animals have ears on their legs! They will find that animal ears come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes -- but each is a perfect match for what that particular animal needs. Of special note is the inclusion of a 4-page For Creative Minds section in the back of the book and a 30-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide online. "Animal Ears" was vetted by experts and designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. The Spanish translation supports ELL and dual-language programs. The interactive ebook (9781607184904, $6.95) reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension. Very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Animal Ears" is also available in a paperback edition (9781607184522, $9.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.95).

Sam: The Cat Without A Tail
Gloria Lintermans, author
Kristina Tosic, illustrator
Blooming Twig Books
9781613431207, $19.95, HC, 36pp,

Sam: The Cat Without A Tail follows the trials of Sam, a young Manx cat with a soft, white puff of a tail. As he discovers that he is indeed different from everyone around him, he learns and helps to teach the importance and beauty of diversity and self-worth. An original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book specifically written for children ages 3 to 7 by Gloria Lintermans, and charmingly illustrated by Kristina Tosic, "Sam: The Cat Without A Tail" is particularly and especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sam: The Cat Without A Tail" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Science Shelf

Volcano Dreams: A Story of Yellowstone
Janet Fox, author
Marlo Garnsworthy, illustrator
Web of Life Children's Books
PO Box 2726, Berkeley, CA 94702
9780988330382, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Lyrical prose and luminous paintings lead young readers ages 5 to 9 on a picture book tour of the Yellowstone supervolcano, from the wolves, elk, bears, and mountain goats that roam its surface, to the fiery depths of its magma chamber. "Volcano Dreams: A Story of Yellowstone " deftly knits together the vibrancy of the Yellowstone ecosystem with its explosive history, placing the everyday lives of its creatures within the context of geological time. Janet Fox's poetic text takes us to the root of it all by identifying the "sleeping giant" of magma responsible for the Yellowstone landscape. Marlo Garnsworthy's evocative paintings fully capture the awe of natural forces at work in our nation's oldest national park. Entertaining, informative, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' from first page to last, "Volcano Dreams: A Story of Yellowstone" is unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

The Math Shelf

King Maximo And The Number Knights
Howard Schrager, author
Malin Lager, illustrator
Lemon Tree Press
9780964484665, $21.95, HC, 87pp,

At the grand feast the twelve 'Number Knights' reveal their answers to King Maximo's momentous question -- What is the greatest of all the numbers? Entertainingly written for young readers by Howard Schrager and featuring the illustrative artwork of Malin Lager, "King Maximo And The Number Knights" is an ideal and effective way for children to learn some basic mathematics and have fun doing it! Very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that the PDF edition Of "King Maximo And The Number Knights" includes full color version and printer-friendly version for use in black & white mode.

The Social Issues Shelf

I'm Mixed!
Maggy Williams author
Elizabeth Hasegawa Agresta, illustrator
Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615993604, $26.95, HC, 40pp,

Growing up as a biracial child, Maggy Williams had three options: she could identify as black, white, or mixed. She chose to embrace her multiracial heritage because she was taught that she could. Her hope is that her story as related in the picture book pages of "I'm Mixed" will help children ages 3 to 7 to realize that it is possible to integrate their multiple racial identities. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and charmingly illustrated by Elizabeth Hasegawa Agresta, "I'm Mixed" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Contemporary Social Issues picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "I'm Mixed" is also available in a paperback edition (9781615993598, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.95).

The Picturebook Shelf

Little Worlds
Geraldine Collet, author
Sebastien Chebret, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433828195, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

A little world is any place where a child's imagination is free to blossom. Charmingly written by Geraldine Collet and wonderfully illustrated by Sebastien Chebret, "Little Worlds" shows a diverse group of children in their own self-constructed little worlds as they explore and play freely, develop their own identities, and learn to understand others. "Little World" also includes a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" by Julia Martin Burch, PhD, with more information on ways to encourage a child's imagination and identity, while also fostering a sense of empathy for others. Delightfully entertaining with a subtle and positive message for children ages 4 to 8, "Little Worlds" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

A Box of Butterflies
Jo Rooks
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433828713, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Ruby is a young girl who describes emotions to her Robot who doesn't know what they are or how they feel. She teaches him what each feels like ("love feels like a box of butterflies!") and when she feels them ("I sometimes feel that way when I'm told no more TV!"). "A Box of Butterflies" is picture book by author and illustrator Jo Rooks that provides children ages 4 to 9 with an introduction to social-emotional learning and affective education. A special feature of "A Box of Butterflies" includes a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" that helps parents, teachers and caregivers to introduce and identify emotions for children. Thoughtful, charming, entertaining, unique, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and presentation, "A Box of Butterflies" is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Wild Wild Weasel
Salvo Lavis, author
James Munn, author
Dave Leonard, illustrator
Spitball Studio
9780997798227, $15.95, HC, 32pp,

In the sequel to "Once Upon a Weasel " (9780997798203, $15.95 HC, $4.99 Kindle), the weasel and boy are back in "Wild Wild Weasel"! Space travel was a breeze compared to their latest challenge: obedience school. But can a weasel be trained? Young and enthusiastic readers will find out what happens when wild animals go to school -- just like kids. Engagingly illustrated by Dave Leonard, and collaboratively written by the team of Salvo Lavis and James Munn, "Wild Wild Weasel" is very highly recommended and certain to be a popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Big Fish Dreams
Lori Fisher Peelen, author
Consie Powell, illustrator
Raven Productions
PO Box 188, Ely, MN 55731
9780988350861, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written by Lori Fisher Peelen and impressively illustrated by Consie Powell, "Big Fish Dreams" is the picture book story of a young boy, a family fishing trip, and a beautiful salmon traveling persistently toward her spawning place. Will she make it? Will the boy catch the fish of his dreams? "Big Fish Dreams" entertainingly intertwines the story of the boy and the salmon while teaching children ages 6 to 10 about ecosystems, watersheds, and the part salmon play in the health of both. Of special note is the inclusion of a non-fiction section that provides more detail about salmon and follows a raindrop's path through a healthy watershed. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Big Fish Dreams" is also available in a paperback edition (9780988350878, $9.95).

The Whale, the Ocean, the Duck, and the Pond
Susie Rich, author
Randy Jennings, illustrator
SDP Publishing
9780999283905, $11.95, PB, 38pp,

Charmingly illustrated by Randy Jennings, "The Whale, the Ocean, the Duck, and the Pond" by children's picture book author Susie Rich is a thoroughly 'kid friendly' story of friendship and adventure, told through the story of a great, blue whale and a lost, little duck on the shores of Massachusetts. The whale quickly befriends the duck, and agrees to help him and his family at Martha's Vineyard. Along the way, the pair encounters all types of friendly folks, both human and aquatic. An endearing New England based picture book that highlights the importance of helping others, "The Whale, the Ocean, the Duck, and the Pond" is especially recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, and is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Eek! Said Amy
L. J. Zimmerman, author
Charles Long, illustrator
Abingdon Press
2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
PO Box 280988, Nashville, TN 37228-0988
9781501858659, $9.99, PB, 40pp,

An original and age-appropriate picture book specifically designed to teach kids ages 3 to 7 how to deal with fear, "Eek! Said Amy" introduces Devon, who is a little boy and his friend Amy the AMYgdala! Amy helps Devon feel emotions, including fear. Through his friendship with Amy, Devon learns that fear helps him stay safe, but sometimes he needs to face his fears. Original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "Eek! Said Amy" is very highly recommended for family, day care, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Lola's Teddy Bear
Marcia Goldman
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547507, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Lola and her teddy bear do everything together from the time they wake up to when they go to bed. When Bear gets lost, Lola has to sleep without her cuddly friend. Despite her worries, she manages, waking up early to look for Bear, who has also spent the night alone. Bear is wet and dirty and ragged from her night outside, but Lola loves Bear even if she's not perfect. A wonderfully entertaining story for children ages 3 to 7, "Lola's Teddy Bear" by author and photographer offers a heartening message about acceptance and friendship, making it very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Finn's Feather
Rachel Noble, author
Zoey Abbott, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
67 West Street, Studio 317A, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11222
9781592702398, $17.95, HC,

Finn knows his brother is gone. But he also knows that Hamish sent the beautiful white feather on his doorstep. Finn runs to show his mother the feather from Hamish, but she only gives him a big hug. In school, Finn's teacher responds similarly. Why isn't anyone as excited as he is? Finn sits quietly, cradling the beautiful, amazing feather. "Why did Hamish give it to you?" asks his friend, Lucas. "Maybe he wanted to say hi?" wonders Finn. "Maybe," Lucas says, "Hamish wanted you to have fun with it." Finn's Feather is a story about resilience and memory -- about a child, his brother, and a friend who meets him where he is. An imaginative and original story by Rachel Noble that is charmingly illustrated by Zoey Abbott, "Finn's Feather" is a very highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo: Ice Worm Intervention
Oneeka Williams, author
Valerie Bouthyette, illustrator
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781684018413, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

It's time for the Cordova Ice Worm Festival! What fun! But the tiny ice worms are in danger: their homes are melting because of Climate Change! Can Supergirl Surgeon Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo and her friends save the day? An original, entertaining, and vocabulary building picture book for children ages 7 to 12, "Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo: Ice Worm Intervention" is an original picture book story by Oneeka Williams that is charmingly illustrated by Valerie Bouthyette. While an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo: Ice Worm Intervention" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Tim Kubart, author
Lori Richmond, illustrator
HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062573032, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

When a little girl drops her snack or scrapes her knee, does she get upset? No! She says, "Oopsie-do!" Children ages 4 to 8 will delight as they follow along and call out the OOPSIE-DO! refrain throughout this charmingly entertaining picture book story by the team of author and Grammy award winner Tim Kubart and gifted illustrator Lori Richmond. It should be noted that this delightful picture book also includes the link to a free original song by Tim Kubart which is available for download and certain to be a part of every repeat reading. With its reassuring message to children that it's okay for them to make mistakes, "Oopsie-Do!" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

A Big Help
Daniel Fehr, author
Benjamin Leroy, illustrator
9788417123215, $15.95, HC, 36pp,

Badger has lost his favorite teddy and his best friend Bear wants to be a big help in finding it. After a long search over land and through water, they end up empty handed -- but will Badger still care? An original, charming and thoroughly entertaining picture book by the team of author Daniel Fehr and illustrator Benjamin Leroy for children ages 3 to 6, "A Big Help" will prove to be a delightfully and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me!
Hannah Carmona Dias, author
Dolly Georgieva-Gode, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing LLC
9781632331700, $14.99, HC, 32pp,

Dark skin, curly hair, freckles, and full lips. Smart, strong, funny, and friendly. Lilly knows that she does not look like her friends, and others have noticed. Through playful, lyrical lines by author Hannah Carmona Dias, Lilly speaks up for every girl who has been asked What are you? in this celebration of self-love and acceptance. Charmingly illustrated by Dolly Georgieva-Gode, "Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me!" is a delightfully inspired and inspiring picture book that is especially recommended for children ages 3 to 10. While strongly and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me!" is also available in a paperback edition (9781632331694, $9.99).

Isosceles' Day
Kevin J. Meehan, author/illustrator
Isosceles Holdings LLC
PO Box 4616, Jackson, WY 83001
9780999630105, $17.75, HC, 32pp,

"Isosceles' Day" is the story of a day in the life of a dog named Isosceles that begins with his being awakened by friend Mole, to a breakfast of dancing eggs, howling and grunting with Moose, time spent with Frog and Platypus, lunchtime with Lizard, playing it cool with Mouse, listening to drums with Prairie Dog, riding in a wagon with Rhino, drinking from a hose with Goose, and a lullaby with Frog, come share a fun day with Isosceles, a happy rescue dog, and his animal friends! Written and illustrated by Kevin J. Meehan, "Isosceles' Day" is an utterly charming and engaging picture book for young readers and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Isosceles' Day" is also available in a paperback edition (9780999630112, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Jackson's Story
Elizabeth Baker, author
Matt Blanchfield, illustrator
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480859302, $13.95, PB, 28pp,

I had never felt so much pain and sadness in my life! / Everything that had ever make me happy was gone / Toby, Jill, my home and now here I was in a cage in a dark truck. / Oh, WHY was this happening?! -- Deftly written by Elizabeth Baker and nicely illustrated by Matt Blanchfield, "Jackson's Story" is a picture book story written from the dogs perspective. A truly heart-rending story of his abandonment and journey to his forever home. Young readers will learn that dogs feel pain, fear, confusion and sadness, just as we do, and will realize the importance of responsible, loving dog ownership. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Jackson's Story" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Rag Doll Gift
Karen Richards Toothaker, author
Valentina Jaskina, illustrator
In Your Heart Books
9780692045831, $16.95, HC,

Kimberly is a young girl who simply can't wait for her sixth birthday! On their sixth birthdays, all the cousins in her family receive a rag doll homemade with love from Gran. Soon it would be Kimberly's turn! Deftly written by Karen Richards Toothaker and charmingly illustrated by Valentina Jaskina is a gentle story is about loss, but more than that it is about the strength of family, the comfort of traditions, and the boundlessness of love. Very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, "The Rag Doll Gift" is a wonderfully timeless and entertaining storybook that will have immense appeal for young listeners, early readers, and adults alike.

Where in the Wild
Jonny Lambert, author/illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680101041, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Animals are found in every environment around the world from the rain forest to the savanna to the desert. Some creatures, like butterflies and foxes, can survive in many different habitats. The lyrical text and stunning illustrations by Jonny Lamber bring to life the inhabitants of these unique environments in the picture book pages of "Where in the Wild", making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 5 to 6.

American Golem
Marc Lumer, author/illustrator
Apples & Honey Press
c/o Behrman House Inc.
241 Millburn Avenue, Millburn, NJ 07041
9781681155357, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

One day, a young Jewish boy arrives in America. Here he finds that everything here is big, and crowded, and strange, and scary! So the boy creates a golem, an old-country mud monster, to protect him from the kids next door. But the golem was meant for old-world fears, and things are different here in the New World. Now what will his golem do, with no one to protect? An utterly charming, impressively original, thoroughly 'kid friendly', and unfailingly entertaining picture book for young readers ages 8 to 12, "American Golem" by author and illustrator Marc Lumer is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

The Perfect Dad Sings the Birthday Song!
Jerry, author/illustrator
Dorrance Publishing Co.
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 1031, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781480923768 $19.00

"The Perfect Dad Sings the Birthday Song!" is a humble self reflection on parenting by a busy husband and father of twins . Filled with brown paper crayon sketches of busy family life with a wife and growing twins, this delightful story ponders the way to be a perfect dad. It includes keeping up with a busy schedule of growing kids' activities, being a good husband to his wife, keeping up with a demanding career at a manufacturing plant and a side commitment to the Army Reserves, and being a good community member too. Sometimes it all just gets to be too much. Finally, the author concludes: "Stop trying to be perfect. Just be yourself. Just be dad and husband and a good person for your community." On his twins' next birthday, he made them a special song in addition to giving other things. Here are the last lines: "Happy Birthday to you! Our Lord God made all you days, So I'll rejoice and say Happy birthday to you! (Blow kiss) Happy Birthday!" The funny thing was, the twins liked the song better than any other gift. This dad learned that spending time with his wife and children was more important than spending time making money to buy them things. "The Perfect Dad Sings the Birthday Song!" is a moving tribute to the real joy of having a family and making time to enjoy them.

Perfect Petunias
Lynn Jenkins, author
Kirrili Lonergan, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335583 $17.99

"Perfect Petunias" is the third book in a successful and popular 'Perfect' Book for Little Perfectionists Everywhere! series that encourages children to find new ways to work with common emotional difficulties. Illustrated with whimsical Seuss-influenced caricatures of best friends Loppy Lac and Curly Calmster, "Perfect Petunias" tells the story of how a young perfectionist, Loppy, reluctantly learned a different way to think about his frustrating mistakes from his friend Curly. Loppy was trying to make perfect copies of the letter 'a.' Disgusted with his efforts, he shouted he was hopeless and slammed the door and stomped off. His friend Curly invited him to come into the garden later, when he was ready, after commenting "O dear. Loppy's trying to grow perfect petunias again!" Much later, Loppy grumpily came to Curly in the garden to listen to a story about how petunias grow, which is all over the place, in all directions, in a way that can't be controlled. Slowly, Curly led Loppy to understand that the important thing about planting perfect petunias, or doing anything, is to just try your best and then let go. The petunias will do the rest. Loppy needed to let go of focusing on his mistakes, do his best, and then let his petunias grow. To help him tackle his homework again, Loppy took a petunia with him. The humorous and expressive illustrations present the darling effervescent purple petunias as a positive image of rioting beauty and calm acceptance of the results. "Perfect Petunias" is a wonderful, creative book for children with perfectionist tendencies to help them become "a bit more self-accepting and flexible." Gentle humor underlines every page and helps to light the way.

The Magic Feather
Charles Curran, author/illustrator
Austin Macauley Publishers
9781788238502 $13.95 PB, $4.72 Kindle,

"The Magic Feather" is an intriguing story about the adventures of a small black and white kitten named Sixpence and his friends. Sixpence was lapping a saucer of strawberry milk in his garden one day when a magic feather fell to his nose, causing him to sneeze and blow the feather over the garden wall to the ear of a dog named Ten Bob who was playing with a boy named Mattie and another small dog named Two Bob. Creative illustrations of cartoon animal characters set against real photograph garden and forest backgrounds, "The Magic Feather" bubbles on in an amazing adventure laced through and through with a combination of fantasy and reality, reflected in the illustrations. An incredible sequence of events gathers a fantastic group of friends, including Fiver the mouse, Ten Bob and Two Bob the dogs, Scratch and Sniff the rabbits, Mattie the boy, Squidger and Kaytz the ferrets, Stuart and Hannah the badgers, Sixpence the kitten, a lost little dragon named Dodgy Digit, and a magic golden owl named Nikalak. The band of friends become confused by the magic feather and run until they are lost in a forest, where they build a fire and find Dodgy Digit who is crying. Nikalak appears, claims his lost magic feather, and proceeds to use it to help each little creature to find his home. They even get to learn to fly, thanks to the influence of the magic feather! Little Sixpence is quite happy at the end to be lapping up a saucer of strawberry milk in her own little garden. "The Magic Feather" is an inviting story that takes children on a magical adventure that combines elements of danger and darkness with influences of light, warmth, and magic. All's well that ends well for this little black and white kitten and her friends.

Sammy the Station Wagon
Tal Nuriel, author
Aidar Zeineshev, illustrator
Privately Published
9780999726204 $9.95 pbk / $4.99 Kindle

"Sammy the Station Wagon" is sort of a "Little Duckling" type of story updated to modern idioms like turbo-charged motors hidden in a little blue station wagon. Sammy is an awkward young station wagon who struggles with parallel parking and fitting in at school with the other young cars. He has a checkup visit with Mechanic Wheeler, at the suggestion of his friends Mike the Minivan and Susie Wheeler. Sammy's parents were unprepared for the news they received from mechanic Wheeler about Sammy: he was a race car inside! No wonder he always turned left instead of right and left skid marks on the road! Sammy began to train with Coach Vance for the race team. He improved his racing skills and aced all his tests (except parallel parking). Coach Vance encouraged him by telling him to stay focused on the race and what he wanted to accomplish, adding, "As long as you learned something new, then the race was a success!" Sammy was nervous at his first big race, but he remembered what Coach Vance said to him, and Sammy Station Wagon won the race! "Sammy the Station Wagon" is cheerfully illustrated with colorful, expressive character cars that kids will love to identify with. "Sammy the Station Wagon" offers kids a good role model for finding courage and accepting and celebrating differences, and being yourself.

The Littlest Heart
Amy Moses, author/illustrator
Prairie Publications, Inc.
9780997281750 $10.95

"The Littlest Heart" is a delicate tale of the wisdom of kindness. in Heartland, King Rudy was seeking his successor from many candidates. The first heart thought he should be king because he was the smartest heart. The second thought he should be king be cause he was the strongest. The third heart thought she should be queen because she was the most beautiful. The fourth heart thought he should be king because he had the most money. last of all came a small heart named Sweetheart. She said,"Your Highness, I believe that being kind and loving to all your fellow hearts is the most important thing." King Rudy smiled and chose Sweetheart as the next queen, and she ruled wisely for many years, loved and respected by all the hearts. This charming allegory fable, filled with delicate expressive portraits of each of the heart characters, is simple, direct, and unfailing in its message of the supreme importance of kindness to others.

Gregoire Solotareff
Gecko Press
9781776571567 $16.99

Wolfy is translated by Daniel Hahn and tells of a young rabbit who has never seen a wolf, and visa versa. When a first hunting trip goes awry, Wolfy finds himself alone, untaught, and confronting a stranger destined to become a friend. Good reading skills or parental assistance will provide added appreciation for this fun story of a stranded wolf and the rabbit who helps him.

Look Out! It's a Dragon!
Jenny Lambert
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680100815 $16.99

Look Out! It's a Dragon! tells of a gentle dragon named Sapphire who doesn't enjoy destroying things, and who harbors very different values despite everyone in the world being afraid of her. All she wants are friends, but all the animals run away in fear and just want her to leave. Sapphire is just about to follow directions when a disaster strikes that only she can help with. A warm story evolves, filled with fine insights about friendship.

Dear Substitute
Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484750223 $17.99

Dear Substitute pairs pictures by Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka with events surrounding a substitute teacher's appearance in a story about changing routines, rules, and approaches to learning. The substitute teacher doesn't do anything like her old teacher; from eschewing Tank Tuesday when the turtle's tank is cleaned to uncollected homework and a new rule against lunch-swapping. Is there anything good about the substitute teacher's new rules? A fun story emerges that any school-age child will understand.

The Fishing Lesson
Heinrich Boll and Emile Bravo
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802855039, $17.99, HC, 33pp,

The Fishing Lesson tells of a fisherman who naps in his boat until a tourist interrupts him to tell him he could be a rich, successful man if he'd only work instead of napping. But as the fisherman listens to all the bigger plans and possibilities for his life, narrated by an enthusiastic tourist, he finds he holds other values and insights on what success means. Such a message is usually imparted at a later age, but having this picture book directed to younger readers allows for an earlier appreciation of life values in a presentation highly recommended for all success-driven ages.

Pet Dad
Elanna Allen
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780525428268 $16.99

What's better than a regular father? Why, a pet father, of course! Tired of being told she can't have a pet, Plum decides to confront her father and get what she desires over his objects in a way they both can live with. Dad makes the perfect pet as well as the perfect father: but how can she train him? A zany tale evolves, perfect for Father's Day and year-around enjoyment.

Bitty Bot's Big Beach Getaway
Tim McCanna
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481449311 $17.99

Bitty Bot's Big Beach Getaway is illustrated by Tad Carpenter and tells of Bitty Bot, who is not happy about a planned beach vacation. Other robots may enjoy beach play, but he does not. Colorful drawings follow Bitty Bot as he and his friends aim for something different at the beach. Ages 4-8 will relish this inviting, fun story of how innovation transforms a beach experience into something different.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9781328852250 $26.99

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is exceptional in many ways: not the least of which in its quite oversized format, unusual for a softcover picture book. Libraries interested in big eye-catching displays and parents looking for something different will relish the big drawings of children which celebrate baby fingers, toes, and features in a nearly-baby-sized presentation. The chubby children are profiled in fun examinations of babies around the world.

The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607

Two outstanding picture books are recommended acquisitions for libraries seeking vivid illustrations and memorable stories. Joyce Chng and Jeremy Pailler's Dragon Dancer (Lantana Publishing, 9781911373261, $17.99) takes place on the eve of Chinese New Year, when paper lanterns are hung and Yao is preparing to wake the ancient sky dragon from his year-long sleep. The great, ancient dragon is prepared for Yao, who has heard him speak ever since he was a little boy; but what will happen this year? A fine story of Chinese New Year's emerges with exceptional color illustrations fueling an engrossing read. Ranjit Singh and Mehrdokht Amini's Nimesh the Adventurer (9781911373247, $17.99) tells of a young boy's journey from school which leads to many more adventures than expected when his imagination (or something) begins to run wild. In a world where school is not a school but an ancient cave where dragons live, and where corridors are underwater homes for denizens, Nimesh finds his adventures awaken the second it's time to go home. All of his journey home will be exceptional in this engrossing series of encounters kids will find refreshingly different and delightful.

Andersen Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607

Two new books are recommended picks for young readers and offer different stories and inviting drawings. Qian Shi's The Weaver (9781541514546, $17.99) tells of Stanley the spider, who is a weaver and a collector of seeds, twigs, and other things. In fact, his web is so filled with valuable items that when the rains come, disaster strikes. How can Stanley be a collector if his home can't hold what he values in life; and what can he do about it? Jenny McCartney and Patrick Benson's The Stone Bird (9781541514553, $17.99) tells of Eliza, who is convinced that the stone she finds on the beach is actually an egg. She loves the look and feel of her find and is convinced it's magical. When one morning she awakens to a new discovery, it brings with it new experiences. Parents who choose this for read-aloud will relish the magical message it delivers.

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

Giles Andreae's Be Brave, Little Penguin (9781338150391, $16.99) is illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees who embellishes the story of little Pip-Pip, a penguin who is afraid of water. There are all kinds of penguins in the Antarctic; but Pip-Pip is the smallest and most afraid. Mocked for his fears, the little penguin is sad and lonely. Even his parents don't understand why he's so afraid. But magic has its way and soon Pip-Pip discovers strength where others fail in this gentle story of courage and self-discovery. Peter H. Reynolds' The Word Collector (9780545865029, $17.99) tells of Jerome, who gathers words and sees magic in them all. Words capture his attention and he gains an international education as he gathers all kinds of enlightening words. But what happens when his carefully-organized collection becomes jumbled? A fun language lesson evolves.

The ABC Shelf

My Doctor and Me ABC
Stephanie Cox, author
Emily Burger, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781492919087, $9.99, PB, 30pp,

Written by Dr. Stephanie Cox (who has been practicing Family Medicine in the Des Moines area since 2002 and has over a decade of experience taking care of children of all ages) and charmingly illustrated by Emily Burger, "My Doctor and Me ABC" takes young children on an alphabet journey through the sights and sounds of a visit to their doctor's office in the format of a colorfully illustrated, fun, and rhyming ABC book! Kids will also get a dose of healthy advice along the way and parents will appreciated how it helps in preparing a child for a visit to the doctor's office by helping to ease any fears they may have, and make the visit more enjoyable for everyone. This informative and entertaining picture book is an ideal introduction for a young child to concepts associated with a typical visit to the doctor's office such as getting their height, weight and blood pressure measured and checking their vision. It also discusses healthy habits such as exercising and getting adequate sleep. The lively rhyming verses and adorable illustrations will captivate children's attention, they will be learning about medicine while having fun! Who knows, they may want to become a doctor, too! While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library ABC picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "My Doctor and Me ABC" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Counting Shelf

Ten Sheep to Sleep
Nidi Kamra, author
Eugene Ruble, illustrator
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
9781616338602 $10.95

A bedtime story that teaches counting by twos, "Ten Sheep to Sleep" presents young readers with an array of obstacles to sleep that can be calmed by counting. Appealing to readers between the ages of 5 and 8, "Ten Sheep to Sleep" is filled with 10 zany rainbow striped sheep zipping by on skateboards, while dreamer Sammy Jo counts them. One night Sammy Jo noticed 10 polka dotted sheep in addition to her 10 striped sheep on skateboards. The polka dotted sheep are sadly crying because Mary, their owner, does not need them any more and they have no place to go. Sammy Jo suggest her little brother might need sheep to help him sleep, but Wooly, head polka dotted sheep, reported that he preferred to count superheroes. When Sammy Jo suggested her mom, Wooly said that she counted handbags to sleep. her dad counted sports cars. meantime Sammy Jo was overwhelmed with 20 messy, noisy, squabbling sheep who doodled on her books and walls. Finally Sammy Jo jumped out of bed and straightened up her room, organizing the sheep in pairs of one striped sheep with one polka dotted sheep, lining them up. Sammy Jo counts the sheep by twos, getting 10 pairs of sheep, exactly the right number to help her find Dreamland doorway and fall fast asleep. The incredible, chaotic and colorful images of all the sheep plus superheroes, handbags, and race cars make "Ten Sheep to Sleep" a very funny adventurous invitation to bedtime.

10, 9, 8... Owls Up Late!
Georgiana Deutsch, author
Ekaterina Trukhan, illustrator
Silver Dolphin Books
9781684121847, $9.99, HC, 21pp,

Children ages 3 to 5 will laugh and count along with ten silly, sleepy owls with "10, 9, 8... Owls Up Late!", thoroughly entertaining and adorable countdown to bedtime book as they peek through the pages and spot the mischievous owls in this fun counting book Ten little owls are playing in a tree, / hopping and hooting happily. / But Mama Owl calls from down in the nest, / "It's bedtime now; it's time to rest." Especially ideal for nap time or bedtime, "10, 9, 8... Owls Up Late!" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections.

The Board Book Shelf

The Itsy Bitsy School Bus
Jeffrey Burton, author
Sanja Rescek, illustrator
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534416956, $5.99, Board Book, 16pp,

The itsy bitsy school bus is ready for the first day of school! A fun and playful back-to-school twist on the popular nursery rhyme "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" features a lively and 'kid friendly' storyline: The itsy bitsy school bus was ready for the day. / Backpack was full with lunch and books, hooray! / Dropped off at school, it was time to learn and play, / The teacher said, "Hello, nice to meet you all today. Colorfully illustrated, this charmingly entertaining board book for children ages 2 to 4, is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library collections.

I Belong
Chari J. Meiners, author
Penny Weber, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9781631982149, $8.99, 24pp,

A sense of belonging is a basic human need. Engagingly written by Chari J. Meiners and charmingly illustrated by Penny Weber, "I Belong: a Book about Being Part of a Family and a Group" is a friendly, reassuring board book shows toddlers ages 2 to 4 what it means to belong at home and in a group. "I Belong" is features an illuminated text showing children eating, playing, making music, and working together with family and friends. Thoroughly 'kid friendly in concept and presentation, "I Belong" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections. Also unreservedly recommended for these same collections is the companion board book for children ages 2 to 4 by the team of Chari Meiners and Penny Weber, "I Feel: a Book about Recognizing and Understanding Emotions" (9781631982170, $8.99).

Boo Who?
Ben Clanton
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763699673, $7.99, 32pp,

Boo is new. And even if the other kids are welcoming, it can be scary being new, especially for a shy ghost who can't play any of their games. ("You tagged me? Oh, sorry. I couldn't feel it.") Can Boo find a way to fit in and make friends with the rest of the group? An original, funny, 'kid friendly' story about feeling invisible -- "Boo Who? is about finding a way to be seen and appreciated for who you are. This is an ideal, entertaining and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections for children ages 2 to 5.

Vann The Artist Paints A Necklace
Becky Palmer, author
Vann Benson, illustrator
Benson Palmer Books LLC
9780692925799, $9.99, Board Book, 20pp

Colorfully illustrated by Vann Benson and charmingly written for children ages 1-3 by Becky Palmer, "Vann The Artist Paints A Necklace" is an entertaining board book about an artist who makes a necklace for her friend. Featuring a rhyming storyline and teaching the numerical concepts of 1 through 5, "Vann The Artist Paints A Necklace" is a thoroughly entertaining and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections.

What Is Light?
Markette Sheppard
Agate Publishing
1328 Greenleaf Street, Evanston, IL 60202
9781572842472, $7.99, Board Book, 22pp,

A thoroughly 'kid friendly' combination of a lyrical text and crisp, cheerful illustrations make "What Is Light?" an ideal board book for children ages 2 to 5. Each illuminating page reveals the sparkle found in a child's simple but extraordinary world. Young children will enjoy discovering the special glow in everything from nature to the smiles of loved ones. The light revealed on the final page makes a fitting finale for this sweet, bright tale. Incidentally, this board book edition of "What Is Light?" is the perfect size for little hands and an unreservedly recommended addition to the board book collections of families, daycare centers, preschools, and community libraries.

Sesame Street: 5 Little Rubber Duckies
Matt Midler, author
Tom Brannon, illustrator
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9780794441197, $11.99, Board Book, 12pp,

Ernie and his friends on Sesame Street are trying to find five little rubber duckies. Children ages 3 to 5 can now join Ernie and his friends for a counting adventure in "Sesame Street: 5 Little Rubber Duckies", a fun and thoroughly 'kid friendly' hands-on board book! With touch and trace elements perfect for little hands and plastic duckies to push and count along, this board book is the perfect story time activity for early learners and a highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections.

Auzou Publishing

Auzou Publishing has a new and simply outstanding three volume 'My First Interactive Board Book' series of ten page board books for children ages 1 to 4. With "On The Farm" (9782733859131, $9.99) children are invited to pull, roll, slide tabs and lift flaps whilst discovering farm animals and life on a farm. In "Baby Animals" (9782733859155, $9.99) children are invited to pull, roll, slide tabs and lift flaps whilst discovering fun facts about baby animals. While "Bedtime" (9782733859148, $9.99) has children being invited to pull, roll, slide tabs and lift flaps whilst going through usual bedtime routines. All three of these thoroughly 'kid friendly' titles are unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library Board Book collections for preschoolers.

The Fiction Shelf

The Three Hares: Bloodline
Geoffrey Simpson
thewordverve inc
9781948225182, $15.99, PB, 306pp,

Ethan and his friends decode a series of cryptic riddles from an ancient treasure map. Their discovery entangles them in a centuries-old struggle between warring secret societies. It soon becomes clear that Ethan is not just an adventurous teen who accidentally stumbles upon a shadowy world. He is a catalyst -- a spark which ignites the resurgence. "Bloodlines" is the first volume author Geoffrey Simpson's new 'Three Hares' series and is a smart, twisty adventure mystery that will keep young readers simply spellbound until the remarkably unpredictable conclusion. While very highly recommended for both school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Three Hares: Bloodline" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Fruit Salad Friend: Recipe for a True Friend
Maria Dismondy, author
Kathryn Selbert, illustrator
Cardinal Rule Press
9780997608526 $10.95

"The Fruit Salad Friend" is an excellent source of positive approaches to the problem of making and keeping good friendships among children. Written from the viewpoint of Chloe, a courageous girl who loves school, fruit salad, and friends, "The Fruit Salad Friend" explores the feelings Chloe encounters when several different school friends do or say things that hurt her. Discussing her day with her Papa, Chloe determines a fruit salad maxim for enjoying friendships. Although all fruit is good, only the sweetest are selected to make good fruit salad. Sour fruits are omitted. Chloe resolves to use her new knowledge to enjoy and survive her next day at school. She focuses on enjoying her time (and her fruit salad) with her friends, and looks for the sweetness in others, while ignoring the sour moments that pass. "The Fruit Salad Friend" ends with a recipe for friendship that includes generous dollops of kindness, inclusion, acceptance, empathy, communication, and forgiveness. Also included is a list of 10 Tips to Boost Your Child's Friendship Making Skills, by Dr. Michele Borba, educational psychologist and parenting expert. "The Fruit Salad Friend" is further enhanced for young readers by the cheery, colorful, positive illustrations of different children enjoying interacting together.

The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle
Victoria Williamson
c/o Floris Books
9781782504900, $9.95, PB, 272pp,

Reema runs to remember the life she left behind in Syria. Caylin runs to find what she's lost. Under the gray Glasgow skies, twelve-year-old refugee Reema is struggling to find her place in a new country, with a new language and without her brother. But she isn't the only one feeling lost. Her Glasgwegian neighbor Caylin is lonely and lashing out. When they discover an injured fox and her cubs hiding on their estate, the girls form a wary friendship. And they are more alike than they could have imagined: they both love to run. As Reema and Caylin learn to believe again, in themselves and in others, they find friendship, freedom and the discovery that home isn't a place, it's the people you love. Heartfelt and full of hope, "The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle" is an uplifting story about the power of friendship and belonging. Inspired by her work with young asylum seekers, debut novelist Victoria Williamson's stunning story of displacement and discovery will speak to anyone who has ever asked 'where do I belong?' An inherently entertaining and compelling read from first page to last, "The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers ages 10 to 12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Spin the Golden Light Bulb
Jackie Yeager
Amberjack Publishing
PO Box 4668, #89611, New York, NY 10163-4668
9781944995447, $16.99, HC, 280pp,

It's the year 2071 and eleven year-old Kia Krumpet is determined to build her 67 inventions, but she won't have the opportunity to unless she an earn a spot at PIPS -- the Piedmont Inventor's Prep School. Kia (who has trouble making friends at school) has dreamed of winning the Piedmont Challenge and attending PIPS ever since she learned that her Grandma Kitty won the very first Piedmont Challenge. After she and four of her classmates are selected to compete for a spot at PIPS, they travel by aero-bus to Camp Piedmont to solve a task against forty-nine other state teams to earn their place at the best inventor's school in the country. A deftly crafted novel that will hold special interest for young readers ages 9 to 12, "Spin the Golden Light Bulb" showcases author Jackie Yeager's genuine flair for originality and the creation of characters that kids will find themselves fully engaged with. While very highly recommended, especially for school and community library collections for your readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Spin the Golden Light Bulb" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Squeaky and the Stinky Mouse
Sarah Cash, author
Jason Smith, illustrator
Mountain Arbor Press
9781631830709 $9.95

"Squeaky and the Stinky Mouse" tells a story about a prosperous, well fed house mouse named Squeaky who was asked to share his food with a stinky, hungry stranger mouse. At first Squeaky refused to help the poor sad hungry stranger mouse. Then one night, Squeaky was just about to pounce on some luscious cheese when the strange mouse warned him to stop, because it was a trap! But Squeaky did not listen and he got trapped in a net! Squeaky was fortunately rescued by the stinky mouse, who helped him escape from the net. After thanking the strange mouse for rescuing him, Squeaky asked him why he helped him, when Squeaky had refused to help him earlier. The strange mouse explained that his mama taught him to help whenever he could, because one day he might need help too. Then Squeaky asked his new friend's name, which was Whiskers. Squeaky invited Whiskers to have a nice warm bath and he smelled much better. Then they shared a meal of peas and apples together and remembered the important lesson: "Always help whenever you can, because one day you might need help too." This charming, brightly illustrated series promises to offer a package of education and entertainment for young readers in the form of more Squeaky tales.

We Are All That's Left
Carrie Arcos
Philomel Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780399175541 $17.99

We Are All That's Left tells of an estranged mother and daughter at a crossroads in their relationship. They are very different people in so many ways. But when a bomb explodes nearby, leaving Zara with PTSD and her mother Nadja in a coma, Zara finds herself confronting many issues about their family's history and her own future. Their story is told in chapters that alternate between Zara's world in Providence, Rhode Island and her mother's childhood during the Bosnian War. It's especially powerful kin its survey of cross-generational experiences and points which both intersect and depart on each of their perspectives, making this a thought-provoking read for teens interested in bigger picture questions about family history and interactions.

The Elephant Thief
Jane Kerr
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338188431 $16.99

The Elephant Thief tells of a young pickpocket who accidentally purchases an elephant at an auction and who is tasked with riding it from Edinburgh to Manchester in a week. Everyone is watching his journey; but rival zookeepers have a vested interest in seeing him fail, and soon Danny's own past returns to haunt him. Can his newfound relationship with the elephant prove the turning point in his life and fortunes? An engrossing story evolves which offers many unique considerations in the course of a boy's adventure and changes.

The Multimedia Shelf

On the Luck of an Irish Sailor
Mike Mirabella, author
Amy O'Hanlon, illustrator
Lucky Sailor Productions and Papa Mike's Music
9780997264265 $12.95 34pp,

"On the Luck of an Irish Sailor" is a beautifully illustrated song story by a famous composer, who originally heard the tale told by his grandfather, who swore he was saved by a mermaid. Winner of the Readers' Favorite Five Stars award, "On the Luck of an Irish Sailor" uses the song lyrics and incredibly detailed water color illustrations to tell the story of how he was rescued at sea by a mermaid and taken to visit and feast at the sea folk's table for one year. A small blonde boy (the author) is hearing the song tale told by his grandfather in the illustrations. Full of irrepressible Irish charm and exaggeration, "On the Luck of an Irish Sailor" contains both the illuminated lyrics and the written music for the song of the same name, also available at iTunes and CD baby. "On the Luck of an Irish Sailor" is a special tale that begs to grace the libraries of kids and schools and homes everywhere.

We Were Made For Each Other!
Jim Er, author/illustrator
Julie Nesrallah, narrator
The Secret Mountain
9782924774229, $17.95, HC, 112pp,

"We Were Made For Each Other!" is charming audio picture book features a collection of short illustrated texts by Jim Er evoking the simple pleasures that fill a day in the life of Little Sun, a fearless pig with a big heart. She's always on the lookout for challenges, big and small, and never seems to get discouraged as she embarks on all kinds of adventures with playmates Little Mouse and Miss Rabbit. A funny and endearing tale of friendship that will delight and enchant the whole family. Very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 7 to 9, it should be noted that the recorded narration of "We Were Made For Each Other!" by Julie Nesrallah can be heard for free on The Secret Mountain website at

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter
Atelier Sento
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805314968 $14.99 pbk / $14.24 Kindle

Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter is a full-color graphic novel crafted especially for readers age 10-18, yet the mystery, adventure, and Japanese folklore lend it an all-ages appeal. When two young foreigners visit a remote part of Japan, they acquire an ancient camera with the extraordinary power to capture images of the invisible spirit world. Local people in the countryside tell them of "Yokai", forgotten ghosts, ghouls, and demons known for playing tricks on the living. Some Yokai are kindly, others are mischievous, and some are outright dangerous! Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter is a joy to read, highly recommended for both public and school library graphic novel collections.

The City on the Other Side
Mairghread Scott, author
Robin Robinson, illustrator
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250152558, $23.99, HC, 224pp,

Entertainingly written by Mairghread Scott and beautifully illustrated by Robin Robinson, "The City on the Other Side" is the story of Isabel, a young girl who stumbles into a pitched war between two fairy kingdoms, and the fate of San Francisco itself hangs in the balance! Sheltered within her high-society world, Isabel plays the part of a perfectly proper little girl -- she's quiet, well-behaved, and she keeps her dresses spotlessly clean. She's certainly not the kind of girl who goes on adventures. But that all changes when Isabel breaches an invisible barrier and steps into another world. She discovers a city not unlike her own, but magical and dangerous. Here, war rages between the fairies of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Only Isabel, with the help of a magical necklace and a few new friends, stands a chance of ending the war before it destroys the fairy world, and her own. Engagingly entertaining from first page to last, "The City on the Other Side" is an original and highly recommended addition to elementary school and community library graphic novel collections for young readers ages 8 to 12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The City on the Other Side" is also available in a paperback edition (9781626724570, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Music CD Shelf

STEAM Themes: Songs to Enrich Learning
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477, Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477

STEAM Themes: Songs to Enrich Learning is an educational music album especially for pre-K and Kindergarten children, designed to introduce them to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). Songs are grouped around the themes of Insects, Wheels, Space, Shapes, Nutrition, Growing Things, and Ecology. STEAM Themes blends pure musical fun with a developmentally appropriate approach to learning, and is highly recommended especially for public and school library children's music collections. The tracks are "Grasshoppers", "Bees in the Hive", "Monarch Butterfly", "Whee! Whee! Wheels!", "The Wheels on the Bus", "If I Had Wheels", "My Space Suit", "Gravity", "Space is a Place", "Shapes in Action", "Pick Up Shapes", "Squeeze a Shape", "Step It Up!", "Mission Nutrition", "Gardener at Home", "Cultivate, Germinate, Irrigate, Relocate", "Reduce It! Reuse It! Or Recycle It!", "What Can I Do About Pollution?", and "What Can I Do?".

We Are One
Animal Farm
Bespectacled Records
$15.00 CD / $12.00 digital

We Are One is the second music album for young adults by independent family music band Animal Farm, featuring delightful, rollicking lyrics exploring ideas and learning through the eyes of animals. A wide range of musical influences from rock and jazz to folk and Klezmer grace this sing-along showcase, highly recommended for family fun! The tracks are "Snow Bird", "Awesome Possum", "Slow Down (Snail Song)", "Ear Worm", "Cranky Pants", "It Always Could Be Worse!", "Totes McGoats", "Paws and Think", "Two-Headed Tortoise", "Screen Time", "The Abyss", "Nocturnal Me", "Monkey See, Monkey Do" and "We Are One". 54 min.

Splash and Bubbles: Rhythm of the Reef (Songs from Season One)
Jim Henson Music
Concord Records
$12.96 CD / $9.49 MP3

Splash and Bubbles: Rhythm of the Reef (Songs from Season One) is a music album of songs from the hit animated PBS television series Splash and Bubbles, along with six bonus tracks from the interstitial series "Get Your Feet Wet". Lively and cheerful just like the positive-minded television series, Splash and Bubbles is enthusiastically recommended! The tracks are "Splash and Bubbles Theme Song", "My Best Friend Ever", "I Never Knew About You", "One Small Ripple", "I Don't Know What I'm Doin'", "It's Dark in the Deep", "One Big Ocean", "Yucky", "Hangin' with Friends", "Rhythm of the Reef", "Reeftown Rangers", "Catch a Current", "Have You Heard?", "Keep It Clean", "Only in the Ocean", "And So We Celebrate (Coral Day)", plus bonus tracks "Living It Up", "So Many Kinds of Fish", "The Parrotfish Song", "No Bones", "The Changing Tide", and "Seasonal Pond".

Back to the Land
Hot Peas 'n Butter
Privately Published

Back to the Land is the latest children's music CD from award-winning band Hot Peas 'n Butter. A theme of respect and love for the Earth runs through this delightful album that parents and children can enjoy together. Some songs are original; others are arrangments of traditional favorites. Highly recommended for family and public library children's music collections! The tracks are "Back to the Land", "Listen to the Water", "Big World Kid", "Come Go with Me to That Land", "Firelight", "Funga Alafia", "Little Fox", "Come Into My Kitchen", "Rainbow in Your Eyes", "Ven Conmigo Para Esta Tierra", and "Somos el Barco".

Every Voice
Kira Willey
Privately Published

The fifth family-friendly album by award-winning songwriter Kira Willey, Every Voice inspires young people to dream about and create a better tomorrow. There is a strong theme of connecting with and empowering one's community, irresistibly catchy lyrics, and sing-along choruses. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Brand New Day", "Real Girl", "Everybody's Got a Heartbeat", "Dream It Up", "Every Voice", "Hello Hope", "The Leader In Me", "Roots", "Community", "Come On In", "Home", and "Kindness Mantra".

Jumpin' Jamie
Privately Published
$10.00 CD / $8.00 download

Kookie the lively debut album of "Jumpin' Jamie", a.ka. Jamie Theurich, and his family-friendly music. Joyful and upbeat, Kookie inspires young listeners to take good care of themselves and wholeheartedly pursue their dreams. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Back to the Future", "Astronauts Love", "All the Animals Are My Friends", "Words", "Herbivore", "Little Crow", "Ghost In My House", "Second Place", "The Rise and Fall of Argentinosaurus", "I Wanna Be Healthy", "The Jungle Song", and "Coffee".

The Bilingual Shelf

Harvesting Friends / Cosechando Amigos
Kathleen Contreras, author
Gary Undercuffler, illustrator
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558858589, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Young Lupe loves helping her mother with their salsa garden full of tomatoes, chile peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro. But one summer day, she sees that the biggest, juiciest tomatoes have disappeared! Who could have taken them?!? Two weeks later, she catches the culprit in the act! It's Antonio, the new boy at school. His family doesn't have much money and the tomatoes look so good. He offers his gold necklace from his grandmother in Mexico in exchange for the tomatoes, but Lupe has a better idea. Let's make a deal. You help me with the garden, and I ll give back your necklace and some tomatoes. They become friends over the summer as they weed, water and pick vegetables. When the growing season ends and they have composted the leaves and stems, Lupe happily returns Antonio's necklace. The following year, Lupe and Antonio invite their neighbors to help with the garden. Soon everyone is pitching in to grow fruit and vegetables for salsa and much more, from tomatoes to watermelon, and squash, beans and corn America's first crops. Including easy-to-make recipes, Harvesting Friends / Cosechando Amigos is a bilingual (English/Spanish) picture book for children ages 4-8 that will have them clamoring for a garden of their own to plant and harvest. Along the way, young readers (and the adults in their lives) will learn that coming together as a community will enable them to harvest more than just vegetables. "Harvesting Friends / Cosechando Amigos" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections.

Quiet Loud
Leslie Patricelli
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763619527, $16.99, Board Book, 24pp,

Sniffles are quiet, but sneezes are loud. Amiably illustrated in a bright, graphic style, Leslie Patricelli's spirited bilingual (English/Spanish) board book, "Quiet Loud/Silencioso Ruidoso", stars an obliging, bald, and very expressive toddler who acts out each pair of opposites with comically dramatic effect. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in concept and execution, "Quit Loud" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library bilingual board book collections for children ages 1-3. Also very highly recommended for the same collections and reading lists if author Leslie Patricelli's companion board book "Big Little/Grande Pequeno" (9780763619510, $7.99, 24pp).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Serendipity Mystery
R. F. Kristi
Prodigy Gold Books
9780998429137, $12.99, PB, 124pp,

Inca the Siberian Kitty can't wait to add Sri Lanka to the list of places she's explored. But before her paws touch the sandy beaches, she learns a local museum needs her crime-solving skills to track down a stolen ancient sword. With her trusty diary in tow, Inca leaps whisker-first down a trail of clues that leads her deep into the wild jungle. After getting a little help from a baby elephant and her not-so-distant leopard cousins, she learns about the country's rich history and just how important it is to restore the sword to its rightful place. With her furry family and new friends by her side, Inca can feel she's close to getting her claws on the sword... but it'll take teamwork to save a priceless piece of history. The seventh 'stand alone' title in the Diary of a Snoopy Cat series, "Serendipity Mystery" is a thoroughly entertaining read for kids ages 7-12. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Serendipity Mystery" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $1.99).

The Language Studies Shelf

Bonjour! Let's Learn French
Judy Martialay, author/illustrator
PolyglotKidz Kids Press
9780997468700, $16.99, PB, 35pp,

"Bonjour! Let's Learn French" is a refreshing, creative introduction to French language and culture for kids ages 6-10. Part of a popular language educational series, "Bonjour!" begins the learning adventure with an introduction to Pete the Pilot who takes the children on a magic airplane ride to meet Louis l'escargot (France's favorite snail) and follow his adventure, which includes fun activities incorporating French vocabulary plus many other ideas for creative activities that reinforce learning about speaking French and enjoying French culture. The intriguing narrative of "Bonjour!" unfolds with embedded French vocabulary and frequent lists and picture clues to meanings of each word. Many fun activities are encountered on the way, each incorporating aspects of speaking or understanding French. Some of the fun features include a skit (Louis va en ville/ Louis Goes to Town), Coin de culture (Culture Corner), Chanson (song), Faisons un dessin impressionniste (Let's Make an Impressionist Picture), and Les mots (Words), French vocabulary words organized by chapter. "Bonjour!" is a cheery, creative approach to learning a new language and culture for kids ages 6-10.

Neville the Nibalong is Scared of the Night: the /n/ sound
Gloria Eveleigh, author/illustrator
9781514447246 $21.62 pbk / $4.99 Kindle

Sixth in a creative phonics series for young children, "Neville the Nibalong is Scared of the Night" is a fantasy phonics story to teach children the sound of the letter /n/. Curiously illustrated with small orange mini-dragon-like creatures called Nibalongs, the story unfolds in prose poetry, with the letter "n" emboldened throughout to encourage familiarity. Neville plays with his friend Nathan in the dark, but he is "niggled" because he is scared of the dark. So one day Neville and Nathan decide to wake up in the daylight and see each other for the first time! They are horrified at the sight of each other's noses. Against a backdrop of real daylight photo-forest scenes, Neville and Nathan meet a newt named Norman, who leaves because he doesn't like their nasty, nobbly noses. Next they meet a nightingale named Nancy who also flies off because she doesn't like their noses. Next they meet a dog named Nigel who barks and chases them. finally the two Nibalongs decide that they have been naive about preferring the day to the night. They are yawning and tired and relieved when darkness comes. determined to stay awake all night, they nevertheless are asleep when the sun rises, having learned two things: "Firstly, they never again want to wake up in the light. Secondly, they will never again be scared of the night!" "Neville the Nibalong is Scared of the Night" is a delightful, enticing story that effortlessly teaches young readers all about the sound of "n," while also inviting a fun, playful learning phonics experience.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

How to Trick the Tooth Fairy
Erin Danielle Russell, author
Jennifer Hansen Rolli, illustrator
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481467322, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Kaylee is a young girl who simply loves pulling pranks: from dropping water balloons on passers by to even tricking Santa Claus, she's a prize-winning prankster! But is she the Princess of Pranks? No! That title is held by none other than the Tooth Fairy. But when Kaylee loses a tooth and the Tooth Fairy goes about her usual tooth-taking business, Kaylee pranks her with a fake frog. As Kaylee and the Tooth Fairy try to out-prank one another, things get way out of hand, until the two finally see eye and eye and decide to share the crown! An original and wonderfully entertaining picture book story by Erin Danielle Russell that is beautifully illustrated throughout by Jennifer Hansen Rolli, "How to Trick the Tooth Fairy" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8. It should be noted that "How to Trick the Tooth Fairy" is also available in a paperback edition (9781471160264, $10.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Adventures of Kid Humpty Dumpty: Humpty Dumpty Meets Shellga
Benjamin Boyd, author/illustrator
Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency
9781606932650 $19.50

In this charming original series about the young Humpty Dumpty during pre-nursery rhyme days, Kid Humpty Dumpty meets a new girl at school named Shellga. Wanting to get to know her better, he loans her his pencil and tries to talk with her, on the advice of his friend Eggden. However, the boy-phobic twins Sunny Side Up and Sunny Side Down intervene with Shellga and spoil all of Humpty's shy efforts become her friend. Unusual dark colored eggland illustrations highlight the awkwardness of young egg love, and Humpty's general haplessness. But hope is not lost, and the ending suggests that a budding friendship between Humpty and Shellga is on its way despite obstacles and interfering Sunny side twins. Children will enjoy and identify with the trials and tribulations of Kid Humpty and will anticipate the next title in the series.

The Psychology Shelf

Don't Rush Me!
Chynna Laird
Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615993789, $26.95, HC, 34pp,

A storybook about special needs siblings to engage the whole family, "Don't Rush Me!: For Siblings of Children with Sensory Processing Disorder" by Chynna Laird is based on her daughter, Jordhan, who has the unique position of not only being a middle child, but a middle child among siblings with special needs. "Don't Rush Me!" touches on the important contributions Jordhan makes to her family, especially on the days when she doesn't think so. "Don't Rush Me" outlines activities that siblings can do on their own, or with parents and/or siblings, as well as affording young readers age 4 to 7 to have a tool that will: Help make siblings of special needs children more visible in the family unit; Give a voice to siblings that represents how real their feelings and concerns are, even when they aren't always able verbalize those things; Help to provide a greater level of understanding by strengthening communication, patience and respect among family members; Show that there is so much more than the labels these families are given and offer some insight into how they can learn to advocate for their children; and; Remember that each of us brings something beautiful and unique with us into the world that we can learn from, and teach others about. Also available in a paperback edition (9781615992645, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.95), "Don't Rush Me!" is a unique and especially recommended addition to family, school, and community library collections.

Research Press
2612 North Mattis Ave., Champaign, IL 61822

Very highly recommended for school, clinic, and community library collections, "REACH for the Kids" (9780878227174, $60.00) from Research Press is a series of five storybooks for young children dealing with emotional disorders and mental illness. Vividly illustrated by Michael D. Perex, these stories deal with such issues as anxiety, ADD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and depression. These picture books use author Andrew S. Hogan's five REACH steps to beat emotional disorders: R-recognize the source of symptoms, E-emerge from isolation, A-authenticate self and disorder, C-control the disorder as you are able, and H-heighten your life! The five books comprising this entertaining and informative series include Kailee Finds the Dragon; A Monkey on Ken's Back; Ami Is Not a Monster; Shawn's Jetpack; and Superhero Jo. Each 40 page, paperback book includes tips for adults on how to use the stories and illustrations when talking to children about emotional disorders and mental illness.

The Biography Shelf

Nancy Kelsey Comes Over the Mountain
Nancy Leek, author
Steve Ferchaud, illustrator
Goldfields Books
9780996583213, $15.95, PB,

Written by Nancy Leek and illustrated by Steve Ferchaud, "Nancy Kelsey Comes Over the Mountain" is picture book biography tells the true story of Nancy Kelsey, the first American woman to come over the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1841. A pioneer on the California Trail, Nancy had to deal with tornadoes, swollen rivers, herds of buffalo, burning deserts and snow-capped mountains. She faced every obstacle and every peril that the men did, and she did it carrying her little daughter in her arms! A fascinating and informative biography for young readers, "Nancy Kelsey Comes Over the Mountain" is unreservedly recommended for both elementary school and community library picture book biography collections.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

I Can Be
Felicia Lee, author
Bryan Tagalogon, illustrator
Tandem Light Press
9780997679779, $16.97, HC, 28pp,

Engagingly written by Felicia Lee and charmingly illustrated by Bryan Tagalogon "I Can Be" is the perfect picture book for exploring such questions with children ages 3 to 8 such as: Have you ever wanted to be a teacher? Or maybe a dancer? How about an engineer? "I Can Be" shows young children different jobs they can explore. Reading it with their mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, or uncle, kids will be motivated to ask them what they wanted to be when they were little! While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Can Be" is also available in a paperback edition (9780997679762, $12.97) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Environmental Shelf

The Adventures of Camellia N: Under The Sea
Debra L. Wideroe, author
Daniela Frongia, illustrator
Notable Kids Publishing
9780997085136, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Pint-size explorer, Camellia N.'s nightly dreams take her on adventures to all seven continents, under the sea and into space where she learns about and gains appreciation for the environment, wildlife and natural resources. "Under the Sea" explores the wonders of our blue planet as Camellia N. learns what makes the ocean one of the most important and mysterious habitats on Planet Earth. The Adventures of Camellia N: Under the Sea is the second in a series of environmentally focused educational books targeted to early readers age 5-9. What sets The Adventures of Camellia N. book series apart are rich, educational stories filled with messaging with meaning. The series not only entertains and educates, but encourages children to become global ambassadors. While "The Adventures of Camellia N: Under The Sea" is strongly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

The Self-Help Shelf

I Love Who I Am: Self-Love For Kids
J. O'Keefe, author
Minnie Drew, illustrator
Grace Hall Publishing
9780983496113, $22.95, HC, 50pp,

Charmingly illustrated by Minnie Drew, "I Love Who I Am: Self-Love For Kids" by J. O'Keefe presents her first book from her new 'Self Discovery Series for Kids'. "I Love Who I Am" will have special appeal for children ages 2 to 7 and will present them with simple, self-affirming rhymes that imprint them with an internal, loving guide. Recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections as an original picture book that will capture and nourish children's hearts and surely remain a childhood favorite, it should be noted that "I Love Who I Am" is also available in a paperback edition (9780983496106, $12.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95).

The Reference Shelf

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2019
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426330148, $24.99, HC, 352pp,

Young readers ages 8 to 12 will have fun keeping up with our quickly changing world with the "National Geographic Kids Almanac 2019" -- the New York Times best-selling almanac, curated and created just for kids. Packed from cover to cover with incredible photos; a wealth of fun facts, crafts, and activities; as well as fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, and more, "National Geographic Kids Almanac 2019" features an updated "Fun and Games" chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; all new weird-but-true facts; a "19 Facts for 2019" feature in every chapter; updated reference material; and cool stuff on topics today's curious kids care about. While very highly recommended for both elementary school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "National Geographic Kids Almanac 2019" is also available in a paperback edition (9781426330131, $14.99).

The Agriculture Shelf

Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean
Sigrid Schmalzer
Tilbury House Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884484042 $17.95

Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zhelong's Work for Sustainable Farming tells of a teacher in Communist China who was actively working to forgo pesticides and used insects to control threats to crops even as Rachel Carson was promoting the concept in her Silent Spring in the 1960s. Professor Pu's work joined science with concepts of Chinese culture and an underlying perception of world connections: concepts explored here for young picture book readers with good reading skills and the parents who will choose to learn about this man's life and concepts of interacting with and managing natural forces. Melanie Linden Chan provides engaging illustrations to back concepts of sustainable farming which aren't usually available to young readers, making for an exceptional, original survey that's very highly recommended indeed.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Thunder Girls: Freya and the Magic Jewel
Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481496407 $16.99

Thunder Girls: Freya and the Magic Jewel tells of eleven-year-old Freya, who hears a prediction from her magic jewel that she doesn't understand. Commanded to bring her magic to the Asgaard Academy and encouraged by her twin Frey, Freya begins a new adventure which starts off ominously when she loses her magic to dwarves. Freya believes she is now powerless; but in truth her discovery of her abilities is only beginning in this engrossing story of adventure and self-discovery wound into a fantasy recommended for advanced elementary to early middle grade readers.

Vampires at Easter
R.F. Kristi
Prodigy Gold Books
9780998429113 $9.99 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

Intended for young readers ages 7-12, Vampires at Easter is the sixth standalone novel in the Diary of a Snoopy Cat series, featuring Inca the Siberian Kitty and her globe-traveling furry family. In Vampires at Easter, Inca is looking forward to the forthcoming Easter celebration at Bran Castle in Transylvania. But a sorceress and a would-be vampire have disastrous plans! Can Inca's feline sleuthing skills protect her family and friends from supernatural horrors? A rollicking fun read for young fans of felines and vampires, Vampires at Easter is a choice pick for school library collections and young adult reading lists.

The Christian Shelf

Jesus Our Savior: The Story of God's Son for Children
Patricia Szczebak, adapter
Mary Joseph Peterson, ESP, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819840233 $8.95 58 pages

"Jesus Our Savior" is a children's collection of Bible stories about Jesus, with many colored illustrations. The narrative is simply written and covers the life of Jesus as it is presented in the New Testament, from the beginning with Mary, the Mother of God, and the birth of Jesus, to his education, baptism, teachings, healing, miracles, and transfiguration. Continuing on with Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on palm Sunday, subsequent arrest, trial, torture, and crucifixion, the gospel of "Jesus Our Savior" ends with his mysterious reappearance, and then his return to his heavenly Father, followed by the birth of Christianity. The conclusion teaches young readers to pray to be close to Jesus, and to receive the sacraments to strengthen their relationship with Jesus. Most important of all, children are asked to honor the Great commandment of Jesus, to treat others as we wish them to treat us. "Jesus Our Savior" is a beautiful first New Testament condensation for children.

Books in Series

Pokemon Adventure Collection
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338284003 $39.92 pbk

Pokemon is an enormously popular video game, cartoon, and book franchise with all-ages appeal, set in a world where humans befriend and train an amazing variety of fantastic creatures called Pokemon. Pokemon Adventure Collection is the second boxed set of eight paperback adventures of Ash, Pikachu, and other humans and pokemon (books #9-16). Each chapter book is a self-contained story about friendship, teamwork, and overcoming adversity. Written especially for young adults age 7-10, Pokemon Adventure Collection is a great way to encourage young Pokemon fans to practice their reading skills. Pokemon Adventure Collection is highly recommended for school and public library collections, as well as family gift-giving! The individual titles are "Go West Young Ash", "Ash Ketchum Pokemon Detective", "The Chikorita Challenge", "Prepare for Trouble", "Battle for the Zephyr Badge", "All Fired Up", "Ash to the Rescue", and "Secrets of the GS Ball".

Ways to Go
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781538212875, $135.60, HC, 24pp, 6 Volumes,

"Ways to Go" is a six volume, library bound, attractive and informative series of children's books that showcases six different methods of transportation for young readers. This simply outstanding series is comprised of "Bikes Go!" (97815438210116), Boats Go! (97815382109116), Cars Go! (978153821054), Cars Go! (978153821085), Planes Go! (9781538210239), Trains Go! (9781538210277), and Trucks Go! (9781538210307). The 'reluctant reader' accessible text is accompanied with full color photographic illustrations throughout. Each individual volume is presented with a high-interest/1.0 ATOS reading level, and includes a table of contents and an index. Thoroughly 'kid friendly', the entire series is unreservedly recommended for both elementary school and community library children's books collections. It should be noted that this series is also available in a paperback edition (9781538216590, $48.90). The individual titles comprising the "Ways to Go" series are also available in a digital ebook format.

Zoom in on Engineering
Enslow Publishing LLC
101 West 23rd Street, Suite #240, New York, NY 10011
9780766086029, $101.78, HC, 24pp, 6 Volumes,

Showcasing the role engineering plays in the construction of six kinds of fundamental infrastructure, "Zoom in on Engineering" is a six volume series for young readers ages 5 to 8 and consists of: Zoom in on Bridges; Zoom in on Power Grids; Zoom in on Rail Networks; Zoom in on Rail Networks; Zoom in on Superhighways; Zoom in on Tunnels; Zoom in on Water and Sewage Systems. Each individual volume features both black and white photo illustrations, a 'Words to Know' section helping young readers expand their vocabulary, a 'Learn More' section that provides age appropriate resources for further research; 'Hands-On' activity for applying what has been learned. Throughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation with a 2nd grade reading level and a K-4 student interest level, "Zoom in on Engineering" is very highly recommended for both elementary school and community library collections for young readers.

Child's Play

Child's Play has added four new and wonderfully entertaining titles to their 'Classic Books With Holes' series for children ages 5 to 6. Children will love stomping, roaring and singing along to this fun rhyme, which will help to develop number skills. Illustrated by Will Bonner, in "Five Enormous Dinosaurs" (9781786282347, $6.99, PB, 16pp) Five enormous dinosaurs are letting out a roar. One stomped away... and then there were four! Illustrated by Emma Schmid, "Hey Diddle Diddle" (9781786281784, $6.99, PB, 16pp) Hey diddle diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such fun, And the dish ran away with the spoon! But what happens next? With new verses about piano playing pigs and chimps with cellos, the rhyming fun continues! Illustrated by Anne Passchier, "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain" (9781786282323, $5.99, PB, 16pp) She ll be coming round the mountain, when she comes. Toot, Toot! How will she arrive next? Featuring a range of vehicles, activities and sounds, this catchy song is a delightful way to learn new words. Illustrated by Claire Keay, "This Old Man" (9781786281760, $6.99, PB, 16pp) will teach children how to count and add with this traditional rhyme. This lively and thoroughly 'kid friendly' series is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections.

Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

Three new books provide elementary-level readers with excellent science coverages that will appeal to a wide audience, and are recommended picks for elementary-level collections seeking lasting lending value. Richard Spilsbury's Investigating Energy (9780778741831, $27.60) supports CCSS, NGSS: 3 PS2 and 4-PS4, and any collection looking for a survey that features science question boxes, captions, lively contemporary color photos, and sidebars of materials and instructions that accompany step-by-step project descriptions. It nicely adds to the Investigating Science Challenges series. Helen Mason's Energy Entrepreneurs (9780778744115, $27.60) adds to the Science and Technology Start-Up Stars series that examines entrepreneurs in these areas, considering how they built their businesses. This book offers insights into successful energy entrepreneurs, discussing innovations, alternative energy resources, issues in energy management, and more. A glossary, good-sized contemporary color photos, and scientific discussions of new products make the 32-page coverage inviting. Rebecca Sjonger's Changing Matter in My Makerspace (9780778746065, $27.60) will appeal to grades 2-3 with 32 pages of detail that uses simple text to describe the properties of matter and how young experimenters can change them. Project ideas reinforce the scientific principles and make for an inviting format particularly appealing to elementary-grade science learners. All are solid picks for classroom and school pursuit.

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence through our marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, opportunities for connecting with schools, and the award-winning Story Monsters Ink(R) magazine.

Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact
Jennifer Swanson
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426328671, $18.99, HC, 96pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a fascinating book for those with hungry minds. It's filled with amazing facts and fun experiments, along with the cool realization that exploring the heights of outer space and the depths of the dark blue sea have a lot in common. The photography heightens the interest level and encourages learning.

Lindie Lou Adventure Series
Jeanne Bender, Kate Willows
Pina Publishing
9781943493166, $29.95, PB, 3 Volumes, 562pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This cute series (Flying High: Flying On An Airplane For The Very First Time; Up In Space: An Adventure At The Space Needle; Harvest Time: A Celebration On An Organic Farm) follows a sweet little puppy named Lindie Lou through her adventures. Starting out in the happy home where she was born, we see the puppies grow and get ready for their new forever homes. Each book is a new adventure, whether it's a door left open, a fast ride in a truck, or flying high on an airplane, and each includes valuable lessons Lindie Lou must learn. This adorable puppy will have children eager to follow her in each new setting. Great introduction for young readers into chapter books and the concept of a series.

A Werewolf Named Oliver James
Nicholas John Frith
Alison Green Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338254334, $17.99 HC, $10.79 PB, 32pp, Ages 4-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a cute story of self-actualization and belonging. No matter what perceptions or rejections may come from the outside, home is a place of understanding. When Oliver suddenly comes into the fullness of his identity as a werewolf, it is met with startling reactions from those around him. As he heads home wondering how he will ever explain his abrupt transformation, he arrives to find no explanation is needed. Home is a place of acceptance and inclusion.

I Am the Rain
John Paterson
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584696155, $16.95 HC, $8.95 PB, $6.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 3-6,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Captivating! From the onset, its words compel. An unseen force pushing you forward with an irresistible effect. A voice leading deeper into its identity, until you feel a living connection in its cycle. What a great way to enjoy science, and learn the amazing cycle of water!

A Home For Leo
Vin Vogel
Two Lions
9780810136571, $17.95, HC, 48pp, Ages 4-8,

Leo finds himself caught between two really different worlds, and two loving families. Loving both, Leo also feels a bit lonely in both. Is there a remedy, a true joy for all? Today, in a world of diversity, many find themselves in such a place - multiple cultures, diverse languages, extended families. We love it all, but sometimes it can press on our emotions. Sometimes, we may find ourselves wondering where we truly belong. There are many helpful ways to find our own personal wholeness in such diversified settings, and Leo finds his.

Anna Kang, author
Christopher Weyant, illustrator
Two Lions
9781503902589, $17.99 HC, $4.99 Kindle, Ages 3-7,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is truly a delightfully creative way to learn respect, and a clever way to find the importance of each individual to the corporate whole. School supplies each provide a unique quality to a task, and Eraser begins to doubt her contribution. Everyone can add to the project, but her job is only to remove things. This cute story reminds us that everyone has value, whether it's completing a school project, or rounding out the joys of family life.

The Big Umbrella
Juniper Bates, author
Amy June Bates, author/illustrator
Paula Wiseman Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534406582, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Rainy days bring warm and snuggly thoughts. And what better way to describe an umbrella. It waits quietly at the door until it's needed, then opens wide and gathers you in. This sweet depiction of kindness falls upon us as gently as the rain.

What's on Your Plate?: Exploring the World of Food
Whitney Stewart, Christiane Engel
Sterling Publishing Company
387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016-8810
9781454926726, $16.95, HC, 40pp, Ages 5-9,

Larissa Juliano

A picture, geography, and cookbook all in one, I love everything about it. Starting with the sneak peek pictures of the world map and children enjoying dishes all across the seven continents, we are then transported to special countries, including Morocco, Brazil, Italy, Spain and more. Each page gives the reader a synopsis of the food and general culture of that country. The recipes look delicious and easy to prepare. I'm sure that after reading this beautiful book, parents and children will quickly travel to the kitchen.

Marigold & Daisy
Andrea Zuill
Sterling Publishing Company
387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016-8810
9781454922933, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Sibling rivalry goes back to the second child ever born in time. We can never exhaust its content. There is a story to tell in the voice of every second, and third, and fourth, and so on and so on. Every family will store such tales upon its bookshelves. Zuill's adorable graphics will enliven the reading experience of every non-firstborn. Simple and delightful!

Rosie the Tarantula: A True Adventure in Chicago's Field Museum
Katie Macnamara, Peggy Macnamara
Northwestern University Press
629 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL 60208
9780810136571, $17.95, HC, 48pp, Ages 4-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago was founded in 1893, and is one of the largest museums of its kind in the world. Along with millions of artifacts and preserved specimens, it also houses many live creatures as well. Rosie is numbered among these live creatures. In 2011, Rosie snuck off the third floor where she lived, and took a fascinating tour of the museum. Her discoveries lasted a year, and upon her return, inspired this story. Its soft, almost poetic flow, narrates her amazing adventure.

Friends Stick Together
Hannah E. Harrison
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780399186653, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

The artwork alone makes this a truly enjoyable reading experience, but the storyline's added depth of heart, and practical wisdom makes the purchase well worth the money. I think we all have run across those larger-than-life folks who press hard on the annoyance button, and at the same time, our world would truly be off kilter without them.

Sticks 'n Stones 'n Dinosaur Bones
Ted Enik, author
G.F. Newland, illustrator
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764353949, $16.99 HC, $14.99 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 48pp, Ages 5-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is truly history made fun. The whimsical rhyme turns man's folly to laughable learning. Greed and misguided ambition are sneaky culprits that can disrupt the best of times. Competition between Edward Drinker Cope of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, and O. Charles Marsh of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale stirred quite a Bone War! Each paleontologist used less than ethical means to outdo the other, yet brought to the public the wonder of dinosaurs. The illustrations by G.F. Newland complement the great text so wonderfully, that it is a most entertaining lesson in (pre)historical events!

Visiting You
Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg, author
Andrea Edmonds, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335668, $17.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 4-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Though there is a sweet sadness that flows lightly through this book, it brings us to a gentle reality that we all share heartache and loss. Though we may all look different, come from many different places, and seem less than engaging, once we dare to reach, to touch and be touched, a common thread can tie such sweet bonds. This is a sweet reminder to not judge harshly. To take a moment and engage that troublesome person. We might find they are carrying a burden we understand quite well, and sharing it may lighten both our loads.

Sky's Amazing Dream
Mark Stevens, author
Carol Stevens, author
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781981493876, $12.99 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 42pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Who says imagination is only for kids? Sky, a beautiful Golden Retriever, has some pretty big dreams of his own. Mark Stevens is a bestselling author and the very proud daddy to Sky, and he enjoys sharing his wonderful adventures. Though Sky's dreams lead him to great success, he finds being home with those he loves best, and helping others, is the greatest adventure of all.

Neema's Reason to Smile
Patricia Newman, Mehrdokht Amini
Lightswitch Learning
9781682655849, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

Sherry L. Hoffman

Brightly-colored illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini beautifully highlight the poignant story found within Neema's Reason to Smile. While following the pages of this Kenyan tale, readers will transcend to young Neema's journey through her life and witness her desire to attend a local school near her village. Saving each coin earned through peddling fruit, young Neema defines the perfect example of hard work and determination. Everyone should own a dream basket like Neema, and thanks to the useful appendix included with this empowering tale, teachers, parents, and students alike can follow the directions to create their own. Equipped with Depth of Knowledge questions, a handy glossary, and real-life dreams of Kenyan students, Patricia Newman inspires readers to dream and reach goals while emphasizing the necessity of education as a key to unlocking a world of opportunities.

Albert's Tree
Jenni Desmond
Walker Books Ltd.
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763696887, $15.99 HC, $6.97 PB, 32pp,

Sherry L. Hoffman

Albert's Tree is a soft, fuzzy tale that young readers will be sure to love. Spring awakens Albert the bear from his slumber, making him want to seek out his favorite tree. As he settles into his favorite comfortable spot on the branches, a surprise startles the huggable, lovable bear. Continuing through the playful story are adorable forest animals helping to solve the mystery in question. Illustrations mesh perfectly to add both humor and sweetness to the tale. Easily destined to be a new favorite, readers will learn how the beauty of friendship can evolve in the most surprising ways.

Hazel and Twig: The Birthday Fortune
Brenna Burns Yu
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763689704, $15.99, HC, 40pp, Ages 3-7,

Sherry L. Hoffman

Hazel and Twig: The Birthday Fortune is a delightful tale which incorporates Korean words and delicately illustrated characters to introduce first birthday customs for the Korean culture. Family bonds between young siblings play an important role in birthday preparations for young Twig. Along with reading for the pure enjoyment of taking in a beautiful story, this book serves as a helpful tool in discussing family and cultural traditions. Author and illustrator Brenna Burns Yu has many reasons to celebrate; this delightful birthday tale is both beautifully written and illustrated and will surely leave a lasting impact on readers.

Better Together: A Book of Family
Barbara Joosse, author
Anneke Lisberg, author
Jared Schorr, illustrator
Abrams Appleseed
c/o Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419725388, $14.95, Board Book, 22pp, Ages 3-5,

Larissa Juliano

Family and friends fulfill our lives in so many ways and this sweet story celebrates these special relationships between animals. Better Together appeals to kinesthetic animal lovers who will appreciate the sturdy open-the-flap pages that, when peeled back, reveal the family coming together in various scenarios (feeling lonely, scared, hungry). I like the inclusion of animals that are not your typical animal characters in books - zebras, meerkats, bats, and crows. A nice discussion for some older readers as to why the author included those families, and also a fun extension project would be to research other animals that have a tight family bond! The focus throughout this colorful and lovely illustrated story was clearly how much we are all better when we're together.

This Zoo is Not for You
Ross Collins
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536200157, $16.99 HC, $13.25PB, 32pp,

Larissa Juliano

This sentimental story (sprinkled with some silly) starts off with a little platypus approaching the zoo gates, only to be shunned by some snooty flamingoes, entitled chameleons, dismissive pandas, and rude elephants. It's hard not to feel sad for the platypus, but the author keeps the rhyming text fresh and readers will quickly catch on to the repetitive phrase "this zoo is not for you." Fortunately, the animals quickly realize how rude they were and then discover an envelope the platypus left behind! Forgiveness and fun are at the heart of the story along with the powerful message... kindness matters more than anything and everyone deserves a chance at friendship.

Remy Sneakers and the Lost Treasure
Kevin Sherry
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338034615, $9.99 HC, $5.99 Kindle, 128pp, Ages 7-10,

Olivia Amiri (Age 11)

Remy Sneakers and the Lost Treasure is a fast-paced, fun cartoon book. Remy's house gets broken into and his grandma's journal gets stolen. That was his most important family heirloom, the journal of the Raccoon family. Remy and his critter crew set out to find the thief. Will they find the journal? Read the book to find out!

Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol: The Haunted House Next Door
Andres Miedoso, Victor Rivas
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534410381 $5.99 pbk, $4.99 Kindle

Olivia Amiri (Age 11)

This is an entertaining, adventurous book series. If you're a kid or an adult, you can relate to this book because everyone has a friend who's afraid of everything. The big difference is that the other friend, Desmond Cole, is a fearless 8-year-old who patrol's Kersville for ghosts, monsters, and spirits. And Andres Miedoso, his new best friend is determined to go everywhere with Desmond, but he's afraid of everything. By the way, Andres Miedoso is also the author of this book series. You might want to read up on him to see if he actually is afraid of everything!

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School
Julie Falatko, Colin Jack
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338189513, $9.99 HC, $5.99 Kindle, 192pp, Ages 8-12,

Diana Perry

Sassy and Waldo are happy dogs who belong to their young master, Stewart, but when Stewart leaves for school, they fear that he may be heading to danger. Sassy climbs onto Waldo's shoulders as they disguise themselves as a human by wearing a trench coat, then sneak into the school where they pass as the new kid. They've practiced speaking "human" and everyone but Stewart believes they are. It is up to Stewart to convince his beloved pets that he is safe and happy in school. I found the illustrations most comedic and entertaining. Younger readers will just love the escapades of these two loyal pooches. A fun read for any child.

The Disappearing Spoon
Sam Kean
Back Bay Books
c/o Hachette Book Group
9780316051637, $17.00, PB, 416pp,

Diana Perry

This science-based book makes learning about the Periodic Table actually fun. The author takes the huge task of learning about elements and what's not an element and breaks it all down into manageable, understandable bits. A complete lesson, he informs readers on how the Greeks named the elements and includes the Periodic Table of Elements, an exciting glossary, and a helpful Index. This book was fun to read and I believe it will present this subject in a way that readers will enjoy learning. I also see it igniting the spark of science in future chemists, physicists, and other scientists.

My Year in the Middle
Lila Quintero Weaver
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763692315, $15.99 HC, $15.19 Kindle, $15.99 MP3 CD,

Diana Perry

In a racially-polarized sixth-grade classroom in 1970 Alabama, Lu's talent for running track makes her a new best friend - and tests her mettle as she navigates the school's social cliques. Some say blacks and whites shouldn't mix and others say we're all the same race: human. Having just moved from Argentina, Lu feels stuck in the middle and wishes to remain invisible but she realizes she must make her stand. Teenage life is hard enough as it is, but Lu has more than most in this coming of age story. Kids will relate to her and root for her.

Rock Collecting for Kids: An Introduction to Geology
Dan R. Lynch
Adventure Publications
820 Cleveland St S, Cambridge MN 55008
9781591937739, $12.95, PB, 144pp,, ages 6-12

Diana Perry

Being an avid rock collector myself, I can attest that Mr. Lynch knows his subject matter. This book includes great examples of rocks and minerals, complete instructions to teach young collectors what to take, how to be safe, where to look, and even how rocks and minerals are formed. A really fun read and a great guidebook for children to use when rock collecting. The glossary includes all kinds of terminology that will leave any reader feeling like a junior geologist.

Love, Penelope
Joanne Rocklin, Lucy Knisley
Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419728617, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 240pp, Ages 8-12,

Diana Perry

This is the most charming example of a perfect big sister -- Penelope. The book is filled with heartwarming daily letters from Penelope to her unborn sibling. She shares the trials and tribulations of being a fifth-grader and asks little questions about her sibling's development, which leads to big questions about the world around her (like if and when her moms are ever going to get married "for real"). I was touched and found myself smiling through each page. The perfect book for any child who either is or will soon be a big brother or sister.

The Boy Who Went Magic
A. P. Winter
Chicken House Books
9781338217148, $17.99 HC, PB $7.62, $10.99 Kindle,

Diana Perry

The mages of Ferenor were outlawed and destroyed by the royal family centuries ago for performing incredible feats and powering wondrous machines with their magic, and the world is a much duller place. Bert is a young boy who's lived in an orphanage longer than he can remember, with no friends and a most ordinary life. He's told that magic is just a myth. But then a chain of strange and inexplicable mishaps causes Bert's life to spiral out of control. This book is indeed a magical adventure with many mysteries. Young readers will be caught up in all the action and suspense of this page-turner.

Front Desk
Kelly Yang
Arthur A. Levine Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
9781338157796, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 304pp, Ages 8-12,

Diana Perry

Ten-year-old Mia Tang lives in the motel where her parents work. They clean the rooms and she works the front desk. The owner is a horrible man who cheats them constantly. Mia makes a new friend, Lupe, and through their daily lives, they reveal to young readers how America can be the best and the worst place for a poor immigrant to be. Mia comes up with an idea that will not only help immigrants understand English phrases, but pulls many together in a plan to get them all out of poverty. A must-read.

Neck & Neck
Elise Parsley
Little, Brown Children's Books
c/o Hachette Book Group USA
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9780316466745, $17.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, Ages 4-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Competition has its place in life. It can nudge us on to be our best. It can teach us the thrill of winning a prize, and reaching success. But sometimes, it can lose perspective and turn a positive into a threatening negative. Leopold, the zoo's highlight of the fans, becomes threatened by the presence of a look-a-like balloon, and the battle begins. This comical story is sure to bring laughter, along with some clever insight. The illustrations are fun and lively, making this an all-around good time.

Scaredy Book
Devon Sillett, author
Cara King, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335682, $17.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 4-8,

Diana Fisher

Book - who has an endearing personality - loves his nook in the library, which is safe and cozy. But Book's life is boring, until he summons up just a little courage, and then his adventure begins. Children will root for Book and applaud him in the end. His story will make you smile, and tickle your insides with warmth. The narrative is sweet, clever, inspiring, and amusing. And the whimsical illustrations complement the story wonderfully.

Anne's Numbers
Kelly Hill
Tundra Books
9780735262850, $7.99, Board Book, 22pp, Ages 4-6

Diana Fisher

This charming board book, inspired by Anne of Green Gables, takes us along a walk through nature and teaches the numbers one through ten. The homey and gentle embroidered illustrations invite children to investigate and count the flowers, trees, friends, and other adorable elements of each tableau. Another in a series with Anne's Colors - both books are captivating worlds to be in.

Roof Octopus
Lucy Branam, Rogerio Coelho
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369973, $16.99 HC, $16.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 5-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a lighthearted romp children will surely enjoy. It's a delight from start to finish. A friendly giant octopus on the roof of an apartment building? Whatever could it want? The story, the colors, and the illustrations by Coelho all work hand in hand, making it truly a feel-good experience!

Animal Planet Adventures Chapter Books series
Animal Planet
$5.99 each

Darleen Wohlfeil

Animal Planet is a popular division of Discovery Communication. This fact-packed series is as enjoyable and entertaining as its TV counterpart. Each book is filled with details, education, and great facts. Perfect for kids on all levels. Great for school reports. I read Book #5 Horses!, and Book #6 Dolphins! and found them both impressive.

Saffron Ice Cream
Rashin Kheiriyeh
Arthur A. Levine Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338150520, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Moving is hard. Whether it's across town or across the big oceans, adjustments can be most uncomfortable. Excitement surrounds each new place, and each new discovery. Yet, sadness whispers in memory of old things left behind. Rashin lets herself find new joys, while she holds tenderly the old ones.

The One and Only Owen
Nicole Evans Haumesser
9781389015519, $18.99, PB,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Owen has lost sight of himself, and falls to wishing he were like others. Until he can refocus and find is own true value, his world takes on a gloomy outlook. We all have a part to play, a gift to add to the whole. Something so unique to us that it cannot be done by another. So, when we look and admire others, let it be for their special identity, and don't let it take away from our own. Along with Owen, we learn life lessons to strengthen the heart.

Don't Touch My Hair!
Sharee Miller
Little, Brown Children's Books
c/o Hachette Book Group USA
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9780316562584, $17.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This story is a great reminder to regard the personal space of others with respect and that courteous and gracious behavior promotes strong and friendly relationships. Everyone has boundaries. A personal space we find comforting. We all may have encountered a person who stands a bit too close when they speak. As kind and considerate people, we should be aware of these unseen barriers, and do our best to respect them.

Bulldozer Dreams
Sharon Chriscoe, John Joven
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762459667, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 5-6,

Darleen Wohlfeil

The illustrations will surely hold the interest of little ones as they read this story. Gentle reinforcement of nightly routines will tickle their fancy with these amazing machines. Additional titles include Race Car Dreams and Fire Truck Dreams. A great series to offer encouragement for strong and healthy bedtime habits.

Andy Rash
Arthur A. Levine Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780439368803, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Living up to our name can be tough sometimes. Take Bud, he's a stinkbug. Only thing is, he doesn't stink! While all the others are outstinking each other, he comes up smelling like roses. Desperate to fit in, Bud tries hard to find his own personal foulness, but instead discovers a totally different talent. Sometimes, we just have to bring what we got and find our own special spot.

The Kool Kids & the Land Of the Giants
James Tate
Privately Published
No ISBN, $15.00, PB, 60pp

Darleen Wohlfeil

A fresh take on an old tale. Size isn't always necessary to win a battle, but a strong faith that dares to believe it's winnable. The Kool Kids have that kind of faith. They have their own giant wreaking havoc in their land. His name is Obesity, and with faith and prayer, they know just how to bring him down. Tate opens the topic of fitness and health in terms and interests kids can enjoy. Positive stories told, and retold, bring confidence and strength for our children to meet all the giants of life that may cross their path.

Dust Flowers (Tales from American HerStory series)
Lisa Gammon Olson, author
Kyle Olson, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
PO BOX 66, Lemont, PA 16851
9781632330765, $10.99, PB, 34pp, Ages 5-10,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Everything about this touching story is soft and moving. From the illustrations by Kyle Olson, to the times in history that tore at the heart of its people. The reality of loss and hardship seen through a young child's eyes, relates to us the dark days of drought that created the historic Dust Bowl Era of the early 1930s. This is a tender tale of love and hope, reminding us of the strength of those before us who endured and overcame, and forged the path we now travel. This is the first in a series to discover our nation's past. I'm looking forward to the next.

Rock 'n' Roll Soul
Susan Verde, Matthew Cordell
Abrams Books for Young Readers
c/o Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419728495, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 5-7,

Sherry L. Hoffman

This is a book that resonates in the heart of its reader as the words by Susan Verde and illustrations by Matthew Cordell blend together in literary harmony. Told through the main character's point of view as she poetically plans her act for the upcoming talent show at her school, readers are bound to make a connection through her love of music. This story trumpets the important message of being true to yourself and finding your inner voice.

A Lion is a Lion
Polly Dunbar
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763697310, $15.99, HC, 40pp, Ages 3-7,

Dr. Dawn Menge

This wonderful story answers the age-old question, "Is a Lion still a lion..?" What if he's dressed himself up and uses his manners? Has his inner self changed because he appears to be kind or is he still dangerous? Should you welcome him into your home and treat him to lunch? This book is an enchanting way to help teach children to stand up for themselves, trust their instincts, and just say "No."

Frog and Beaver
Simon James
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763698195, $16.99, HC, 40pp, Ages 3-7,

Dr. Dawn Menge

Frog and his friends the ducks and voles live happily beside the beautiful river. Along comes beaver searching for a place to build his first dam. Frog kindly invites him in to share in their world. But the animal friends soon learn that beaver might not be a good fit for their community when he stops the river from flowing. What happens next is a lesson on learning from your mistakes and how they affect others. This delightful book will help teach young readers about cause and effect and how to correct your mistakes when they have hurt others.

Goodnight, Seahorse
Carly Allen-Fletcher
Muddy Boots
9781630763336, $9.95, Board Book, 22pp, Ages 2-6,

Denise A. Bloomfield

This is a delightful picture book that is reminiscent of the famous children's story Goodnight, Moon, but the main characters are an adorable seahorse and other wonderful animals in the ocean. It is a simple book that children will enjoy hearing over and over again. I love the brightly colored illustrations and the pages at the end that include pictures and names of the animals of the coral reef. I even learned about an animal that I had never heard of before! I highly recommend this book for ages 2-5.

Sewing the Magic In at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Lisa Gammon Olson and Lauren Rutledge
Eifrig Publishing
PO BOX 66, Lemont, PA 16851
9781632331243, $9.99, PB, 38pp, Ages 5-10,

Denise A. Bloomfield

This is a charming story of a little girl named Nora who is a young seamstress for the circus. Nora is unaware of her part in the grand scheme of it all but she learns that she plays a big part in creating the magic. It's a great story and it flows well from beginning to end. It also includes interesting facts about the circus and the illustrations are delightful! I would recommend this book for ages 6-11.

I Feel Teal
Lauren Rille, author
Aimee Sicuro, illustrator
Beach Lane Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481458467, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 3-8,

Julianne Black

There are so many reasons to love I Feel Teal. First, the illustrations are simply adorable, each spread creates such a deep plunge into the corresponding feeling of emotion. Second, it's totally relatable. Each situation represented is a very solid, very real experience to which we all can connect. But I think the biggest reason is that while the book uses colors to describe emotions, it doesn't use the same stock colors and situations with which young viewers are already familiar. This book doesn't regurgitate "red is mad, yellow is happy," but includes more shades and variations introducing scarlet, mauve, ecru, etc. A wonderful read for anyone, but an especially fun eye-opener for a younger crowd.

I'm Sad (The I'm Books)
Michael Ian Black, author
Debbie Ridpath Ohi, illustrator
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481476270, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8,

Julianne Black

I didn't know I could feel so much love for a book about a little girl, a flamingo, and their potato friend. Wonderful quick read about not fixing feelings, but experiencing them and letting them be okay. Sometimes we are all just sad. This story is about not being cheered up, and how that is okay, too. Wonderful characters, easy to absorb dialog for younger readers, and a completely relevant and important subject for a 4 years and up audience.

Know Where You Are series
Dennis Brown
Ricky Reader, LLC

Larissa Juliano

The Know Where You Are series is fantastic selection of board books intended to educate, enlighten, and explore the world around us and explains how our brain processes this invaluable knowledge. Each book includes gorgeous pictures, easy-to-understand dialogue, and topics presented in an approachable way. I just loved how topics like geography, the human brain, and thoughts and emotions are explained so clearly, with fun characters sharing extra tidbits of information in speech bubbles. The Know Where You Are series is leading the way for readers of all ages to understand and appreciate how truly amazing our mind, body, and world really are.

Hammer and Nails
Josh Bledsoe, Jessica Warrick
Flashlight Press
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781936261369, $17.95 HC, $7.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 5-7,

Larissa Juliano

This fresh and fun story begins with Darcy's devastation over her play date cancellation and the expression on her face when Daddy tries to console her captures every emotion little children experience when they are disappointed. Darcy reluctantly agrees to have a "Darcy Daddy" day instead, but they must follow her play date plan list, of course! Dress-up? Daddy surprises Darcy in his tutu. Lawnmower turned into a carriage? Daddy had pink ribbons to spare. Hair salon time? Fancy hairdo's coming right up! The illustrations are superbly done, and the relationship between father and daughter is perfectly captured. A must-read for every family.

Anne Humphrey, author
Kass Reich, illustrator
Tundra Books
9780735262577, $12.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 192pp, Ages 7-10,

Diana Perry

Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It's big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. And it's haunted! Megabat is now living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there. Daniel realizes it's not a ghost in his new house. It's a bat. And he can talk. And he's actually kind of cute. Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit. This is the cutest story I've ever read. A great book for an early reader.

Louisiana's Way Home
Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763694630, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, $35.00 Audio CD, Ages 10-14,

Olivia Amiri, age 11

Louisiana's Way Home is a sweet, heartfelt story. I can tell you I wouldn't want to be in Louisiana Elefant's situation, which is to leave her home and everything in the middle of the night because her Granny wants to escape a family "curse." Louisiana ends up in a small town in Georgia. Will she make her way back home to Florida or find a new home in Georgia? Will she discover the truth of the curse? Sometimes the most difficult situations can be the best life lessons. I'm sure Louisiana can attest to that!

Red's Planet
Eddie Pittman
Amulet Books
c/o Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419719073, $19.95 HC, $9.95 PB, $7.53 Kindle, 192pp, Ages 8-12,

Olivia Amiri, age 11

Red's Planet is a quirky, imaginative and fun graphic novel! This comic-style book is engaging, especially following headstrong, adventurous 10-year-old Red. Red longs to leave her annoying foster family for her perfect world but before she does a UFO mistakenly kidnaps her. I like this book because it's funny and you can relate to this type of story. Sometimes things don't always turn out as you expect, but making the best of what comes is pretty much what Red must do to survive.

The Key to Everything
Pat Schmatz
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763695668, $16.99 HC, $12.91 Kindle, $15.11 MP3 CD, Ages 8-12,

Diana Perry

Tash didn't want to go to camp, didn't want to spend the summer with a bunch of strangers, didn't want to be separated from the only two people she has ever been able to count on: her uncle Kevin, who saved her from foster care, and Cap'n Jackie, who lives next door. Camp turns out to be pretty fun, actually, but when Tash returns home, Cap'n Jackie is gone. All she has is the key Cap'n Jackie always insisted had magic in it. Jackie always said all Tash had to do was hold it tight and the magic would come. Was it true? Could the key bring her back? Young readers will be aware of the foreverness of love, especially when it's mixed with a little magic.

Gordon Korman
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338200164, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 240pp, Ages 8-12,

Diana Perry

When 12-year-old Cooper Vega moves for the third time in five years, he receives a state-of-the-art smartphone to help him stay in touch with old friends. He's had phones before, but this one is buggy and unpredictable. When a boy named Roderick Northrop communicates with him through the phone, Cooper realizes that his phone isn't buggy at all; the thing is haunted! I loved the ending that transformed both Roddy and Cooper from self-imposed losers to unexpected stars. A great read with a great ending. Kids will love it.

Be Prepared
Vera Brosgol
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626724440, $22.99 HC, $12.99 PB, $9.22 Kindle, 256pp, Ages 10-14,

Diana Perry

All Vera wants to do is fit in but that's not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera's single mother can't afford that sort of luxury, but there's one summer camp in her price range Russian summer camp. This is the perfect coming-of-age story for any young girl who is new at school or the most unpopular. It serves as the perfect example that when you change a few things about your character, you can become a new person and that can change how everyone else sees you, too. A most encouraging and inspiring story - I just loved it.

Doodle Journeys: A Fill-In Journal for Everyday Explorers
Dawn DeVries Sokol
Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419728624, $12.99, PB, 160pp, Ages 8-12,

Diana Perry

This is a fun activity book that gets kids to develop and increase creativity by drawing and writing to create a story. It opens young minds to real and imaginary experiences. This is not one for a young reader to finish in a few hours - I could easily see this entertaining youngsters for a few days. This is the perfect book to take on a long ride; your little creatives will enjoy using their imaginations to complete the many pages. Not only is it fun, it is most educational as well.

Rock Log Kids (Nature Journals)
Daniel Brandt, DeAnna Brandt
Adventure Publications
820 Cleveland St S, Cambridge MN 55008
9781591937777, $9.92, Spiral Bound, 80pp, Ages 7-12,

Diana Perry

This is a scientific and exciting read for any youngster. It contains everything you need to know to start your own rock collection. The Brandts also include games and projects and teach everyday uses of rocks and minerals. There are pages and pages of log sheets - enough to assist the weekend junior geologist in logging all their many finds. A great way to spend a weekend outside in the fresh air. I highly recommend this book to young, aspiring collectors.

Racing Manhattan
Terence Blacker
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763692735, $17.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 352pp, Ages 12-16,

Diana Perry

Jasmine Barton grows up hearing terrible stories about her now-deceased mother. To make things worse, Dad mysteriously disappears. She lives her early teen years with relatives who treat her more like hired help than family. She lives a lonely life until the day she meets another unwanted creature - a horse named Manhattan. Young readers who love horses will get an insider's view on the sport of equestrian riding and particularly, life with these beautiful animals. I particularly love how Jasmine and Manhattan bring out the best in each other and the wonderful surprise ending. A fantastic read!

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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