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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 6 June 2005 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Folktale/Folklore Shelf Reference Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Bible Studies Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Biography Shelf Music CD Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Bilingual Shelf Library Video/DVD Shelf
American History Shelf Books in Series Fiction Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

The Librarian Of Basra
Jeanette Winter
Harcourt Brace
525 'B' Street, San Diego, CA 92101
0152054456 $16.00 1-800-543-1918

Ali Muhammad Baker's the librarian in Basra, Iraq: for fourteen years her library has been a meeting place for book lovers until war comes and Alia fears her library will be destroyed. The Librarian Of Basra is the true story of a librarian's struggle to save her community's literary treasure comes to life in this gentle story of courage.

Philippe Dupasquier
Andersen Press
c/o Trafalgar Square Publishing
PO Box 257, Howe Hill Road
North Pomfret, VT 05053-0257
1842703234 $16.99 1-800-423-4525

Philippe Dupasquier's unique book Blue may sound from its titles as just a color oriented children's book; but it's so much more when you play the color game. Collage, abstracts, and friends at play in a new game provide a warm story of a magic house and day for youngsters.

Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

Advanced elementary to early middle school readers will relish Lois Lowry's Gooney Bird And The Room Mother (06-18532307, $15.00), telling of Gooney Bird Greene, who likes to be the center of attention most of the time. Her roles are changing as she enter second grade, leaving her in doubt about her future roles - and a mysterious Room Mother. Black and white drawings by Middy Thomas embellish the second Gooney Bird story, which needs no introduction to prove intriguing. Leo Landry writes and illustrates the very simple Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise! (061-8448861, $12.00), which introduces readers to the world's smallest circus starring the Tender Tiny Peas. A child's dinner tray holds an adventure of action - which doesn't involve consumption, unfortunately, in this easy reader.

Dr. Welch And The Great Grape Story
Mary Lou Carney
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
1590780396 $16.95 1-877-512-8366

Sherry Meidell provides realistic and fun drawings to accompany an unusual biographical topic: the story of Dr. Welch's invention of the grape drink. His idea for a new, non-alcoholic sweet drink was to create an industry and his times and life receive colorful embellishment in a fine picturebook biography written specifically for young readers.


Meghan McCarthy's Adventures Of Patty And The Big Red Bus (0375829393, $12.95) tells of Patty's visits to her big red bus, where her and her sister drive to far-off places - including the moon! Very simple, large-print writing makes Adventures Of Patty And The Big Red Bus an especially recommended easy reader for beginners. Maria Polushkin Robbins' Mother, Mother, I Want Another (0375835886, $14.95) revisits a bedtime classic, providing a newly illustrated format by Jon Goodell and the story of a baby mouse who makes an impossible demand. Nicholas Allan's Where Willy Went (0375830308, $15.95) features an unusual 'facts of life' story about a swimming sperm who wears goggles for the race. A fun story of fertilization tackles the problem of what happens ultimately to a lively sperm winner. Danny Tepper's Look Who's Talking! On The Farm (03-75831134, $7.99) lets youngsters lift the flaps to flap lips: die-cut holes and flaps may preclude library lending, but home readers will find this an engaging story. Lois Lenski's The Easter Rabbit's Parade (037582748X, $12.95) returns to print a classic Easter story of a rabbit and a barnyard getting ready for the big holiday. It's a happy Easter on the farm when a parade is planned in this whimsical story of celebration. Speaking of holidays, Susan Wojciechowski's A Fine St. Patrick's Day (0375823867, $15.95) requires good reading skills but excels in an unusual story of St. Patrick's Day and an annual village's celebrations. An annual town decorating contest involves two towns in competition until a strange arrives to tip the scales in a whimsical picture-book story.

Math Fables
Greg Tang
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439453992 $16.95

Heather Cahoon provides the whimsical and fun illustrations to a collection of Greg Tang's math-based fables offering 'lessons that count'. The numbers are embedded within each rhyming wildlife story, making for a fun way for kids to become familiar with numbers through text.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140

Jonathan Emmett's No Place Like Home (076362554X, $15.99) receives Vanessa Cabban's warm drawings as it tells of Mole, who thinks his burrow too dark and small and decides to set off in search of a big, beautiful new home. His friends have many ideas - but finding a new home isn't easy. Barney Saltzberg's Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready For Bed? (076362-3997, $15.99) tells of a pig who is supposed to get ready for bed - but who has his own ideas of what that means. How can a pig follow his mother's directions and still not be ready? Something must be missing Kathryn Lasky's Tumble Bunnies (0763622656, 15.99) requires good reading skills or parental assistance as it tells of one Clyde, who worries about being chosen for a team at a major event - until he discovers that tumbling doesn't involve teams. Has he found his forte', or will it turn into disaster? Marilyn Hafner adds her illustrations to yet another realistic rabbit Clyde story.

What Does Bunny See?
Linda Sue Park
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10003
0618234853 $15.00 1-800-225-3362

Maggie Smith's very colorful and appealing drawings are the highlight of a visual book of colors and flowers in Linda Sue Park's What Does Bunny See? Each page uses flowers to teach associated colors in a very easy reader for the young.

Michael Cain & Mary Lou Johnson
Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813
1883055717 $12.95 1-800-998-2208

Expertly written by Michael Cain and quite nicely illustrated by Mary Lou Johnson, Mathability: Math In The Real World is a consumable workbook whose exercises and activities are specifically designed to teach children in grades 5 through 8 how people use math in their daily lives. By practicing the mathematics involved in each of the presented "real life" situations, the children will both learn, practice, and come to an understanding of key techniques and problem-solving strategies, as well as seeing practical applications for the math they are learning in school. Mathability is especially commended as a curriculum supplement for homeschooling.

The Folktale/Folklore Shelf

Stories Of Hope And Spirit
Dan Keding
August House Inc.
PO Box 3223, Little Rock, AR 72203
0874837278 $18.95 1-800-284-8784

Compiled and edited by musician, storyteller, and recording artist Dan Keding, Stories Of Hope And Spirit: Folktales From Eastern Europe is a wonderfully presented and enthusiastically recommended anthology of thirteen folktales drawn from the countries and cultures of eastern Europe. The include: The Best Wish (Croatia); The Most Precious Gift (Turkey/Croatia); The First Story (Republic of Georgia); The King's Ears (Serbia); Strawberries in Winter (Slovakia); The Prince Who Married a Frog (Croatia); The Three Brothers and the Pot of Gold (Moldavia); One Man's Trouble (Latvia); The Enhanced Princess (Russia); The Old Traveler (Estonia); How the Rich Man Learned a Lesson (Chechnia); and Nail Soup (Croatia). In addition to an informative Introduction, Stories Of Hope And Spirit is also enhanced with the inclusion of "Telling the Stories" and a bibliography.

The Reference Shelf

Merriam-Webster's Primary Dictionary
Ruth Heller, illustrator
Merriam-Webster Inc.
PO Box 281, Springfield, MA 01102
0877791740 $16.95

Merriam-Webster's Primary Dictionary is an illustrated dictionary for young readers ages 4-7. Filled with nearly 1,000 entries with age-appropriate definitions, uses in context, brief histories of the word's origin, and references to stories, fairy tales, nursery rhymes and more celebrating the words, Merriam-Webster's Primary Dictionary is an educational delight. Enhanced with the poetry of and artwork of children's literature "superstar" Ruth Heller, Merriam-Webster's Primary Dictionary is an ideal teaching tool for the precocious young reader.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Laura S. Jeffrey
Enslow Publishers
PO Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
0766025195 $23.93 1-800-398-2504

Choosing a pet's a complicated process; particularly when it's as large as a horse. Horses: How To Choose And Care For A Horse joins others in the American Humane Pet Care Library series for elementary readers, talking about the selection, housing, diet and health of the pet for grades 3-4. 48 pages of facts blend photos with an easily-absorbed text and exciting details about owning a horse, supporting science curriculum studies in the process. Nor does it gloss over the negatives: "Horses are very expensive" says Jeffrey bluntly, and proceeds to explain the major upkeep needs of a horse.

PO Box 9081, Farmington Hills MI 48333
$21.20 Each

Two new additions to Liza Jacobs' 'Wild Wild World' series from Thomson/Gale were specifically written for young picturebook readers to cover the life-cycles and habits of various animals, offering large-size print and 23 pages of facts for younger grades 2-3. Hamsters (1410300382) and Fiddler Crabs (1410300307) each provide fascinating facts paired with bright color photos to invite leisure browsers as well as young report researchers.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Flowers For Grandpa Dan
Connie McIntyre & Louise McIntyre
Thumbprint Press
PO Box 11343, St. Louis, MO 63105
096776856X $17.95

Gracefully, expertly written by Connie McIntyre, and gently, beautifully illustrated by Louise McIntyre, Flowers For Grandpa Dan is a loving story specifically intended to assist young children to understand Alzheimer's disease -- especially if they encounter it within their own families. Grandson Danny learns that even though Alzheimer's disease is gradually changing Grandpa Dan through an increasing dementia, there is one important, vital, intimate thing that never changes. Also available in a paperback edition (0967-768551, $12.95), Flowers For Grand Dan is an essential addition to every community and elementary school library collection, a very strongly recommended reading for any child whose family must deal with Alzheimer's in the lives of their loved ones.

Eating Gluten-Free With Emily
Bonnie J. Kruszka & Richard S. Cihlar
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Rd, Bethesda, MD 20817
1890627623 $14.95 1-800-843-7323

Eating Gluten-Free With Emily: A Story for Children With Celiac Disease is a charming picturebook that uses simple words by author Bonnie J. Kruszak and Richard S. Cihlar's friendly color illustrations to tell the story of a young girl who learned at age five that her body couldn't properly digest foods with gluten in them. Since gluten is commonly found in wheat, barley, rye, and various foods made from these products, Emily must restrict her eating to special foods such as fruit, yogurt, chicken, and gluten-free breads and pastas. Emily learns to carry gluten-free snacks to enjoy when her fellow schoolmates are served a treat, and how to be a "gluten detective" at restaurants. "Celiac disease is only part of who I am, and eating like me, gluten-free, makes me special. What makes you special?" The friendly tone of Eating Gluten-Free With Emily will help adults answer the questions young people may have about Celiac disease or the need to avoid gluten products. Highly recommended for library collections as well as for families looking for a way to inform their children about this health condition. A list of resources for more information on Celiac disease and gluten-free diets is presented on the inside back cover of Eating Gluten-Free With Emily.

The Bible Studies Shelf

Five Minute Bible Stories
Lois Rock & Richard Johnson
Augsburg Books
PO Box 59304, Minneapolis, MN 55459
0806651253 $17.99 1-800-328-4648

Impressively enhanced throughout with the full color artwork of Richard Johnson , Five Minute Bible Stories is comprised of twenty classic stories from the Old and New Testaments engagingly retold for young readers by Lois Rock. From "The Garden of Eden"; "Noah and the Flood"; "The Tower of Babel"; and "Joseph and His Dreams"; and "David and Goliath"; to "The Birth of Jesus"; "The Good Samaritan"; "Jesus in Jerusalem"; and "The Story of the Cross", each story is designed to be read in five minutes, making them ideal for bedtime reading, a shared family night activity, or a child's quiet time. Five Minute Bible Stories is especially recommended for family and Sunday School picturebook collections.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Usborne Children's Cookbook
Rebecca Gilpin
EDC Publishing
10302 East 55th Place, Tulsa, OK 74146
0794508545 $18.95

The Usborne Children's Cookbooks is packed from cover to cover with wonderfully illustrated, thoroughly "kid friendly", easy-to-make, palate pleasing, appetite satisfying recipes that children can prepare in the family kitchen. From Spicy Bean Soup; Bacon and Onion Quiche; Chile Con Carne; and Chicken Stir-Fry; to Ratatouille with Butter Bean Mash; Oven-Baked Salmon; Fluffy Lemon Cheesecake; and Raspberry Cream Puffs, each of the more than fifty delicious recipes are nicely laid out with easy-to-follow, illustrated, step-by-step instructions. Enhanced with basic ingredient information, practical cooking tips for everything from using a food processor to whisking cream, to thickening sauces, The Usborne Children's Cookbook will quickly prove to be as family favorite for children aspiring to enjoy themselves in the kitchen by helping to make a family meal. Highly recommended!

The Biography Shelf

I Will Plant You A Lilac Tree
Laura Hillman
1230 Ave. of Americas, NY, NY 10020
0689869800 $16.95 1-800-223-2336

Laura Hillman's memoir of a Schindler's list survivor takes the form of a first-person account and tells of one Hannalore, who receives notice her family is being deported to a concentration camp, and who leaves safety to join them so they can be together. When Hannalore meets and falls in love with Polish POW Dick Hillman, they look to Oskar Schindler to survive: an effort which may well prove impossible. Specifically written for young readers, I Will Plant You A Lilac Tree is a gripping first-person account of one woman's struggle to survive Nazi concentration camps.

In The Promised Land
Doreen Rappaport
1350 Ave. of Americas, NY, NY 10019
0688171508 $15.99 1-800-242-7737

Here's a new approach to biography: a retelling of pivotal moments in the lives of notable Jewish Americans in In The Promised Land: Lives Of Jewish Americans, a picturebook for grades 2-4, embellished with drawings by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. 'Notable' doesn't necessarily translate to 'famous', as these stories show: among the featured are frontier tailor Jacob W. Davis, who invented the durable overall design Levi Strauss came to sell, Harry Houdini, master of magic, and Asser Levy, who fought against unfair treatment of Jewish citizens in Amsterdam - in 1654. Thirteen extraordinary Jewish people are treated to one-page detailed biographical sketches.

Morgan Reynolds
620 South Elm Street, #223, Greensboro, NC 27406
$24.95 Each

Two new biogaphies for teen readers are highly recommended picks, standing out from the wealth of biographies about the same folks, and adding depth and political perspective to the focus. Roy Wilkins: Leader Of The NAACP by Calvin Craig Miller (1931798494) provides 176 pages of detail covering the life of Wilkins, who joined the NAACP and became an active crusader against discrimination, dedicating his life to nonviolent confrontations. While Wilkins was one of the most important leaders of the civil rights movement at its height, this is one of the few teen biographies to give him a full, in-depth and detailed analysis. Highly recommended. A Stranger In My Own House: The Story Of W.E.B. Di Bpod (1931798451) by Bonnie Hinman joins other biographies for this age group with a difference: it focuses on his basic convictions that political and economic equality equaled a voluntary segregation as a means to achieving these goals. Chapters follow his press for the liberation of blacks around the world, and reveal the foundations for many of his controversial beliefs. Also an important guide.

Making It Home
Lynn Westerhout
Napoleon Publishing
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M2N 4Y8
0929141903 $18.95 1-416-730-9052

A former elementary and special needs teacher and experienced storyteller Lynn Westerhout draws upon her considerable expertise in Making It Home: The Story Of Catharine Parr Traill to tell the story of a daughter of 19th century Canadian pioneers who wrote stories in secret ad a young girl knowing that her frivolous activity would be punished if she were found out. Catharine grew up to be an adult who wrote while hungry and fearful for the safety of her own children. She wrote when it physically hurt her to hold the been. She wrote stories for children about emigration to Canada in the 1800s and those stories encouraged other pioneers who struggled with life in the new country. Catharine Parr Traill was one of the first to record the Ontario wilderness in literary and scientific detail. An impressive addition to any school or community library collection, Making It Home is an inspiring biography written for young readers ages 9 and older.

Lerner Publishing Group
1251 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1036

"Amazing Athletes" is an eighteen volume series of superbly illustrated and informative biographies showcasing men and women who excell in their particular sports. Each 32-page volume includes a discription of the athlete's career from the beginning through their contemporary achievements. With a text replete with "Fun Facts", a list of suggested further readings, a glossary, and thematically appropriate websites, this outstanding series (0822500232, $406.80) would present any school system or community library with a complete "instant collection". For those systems who already have the previously releated "Amazing Athletes" titles, there are five new and highly recommended releases ($22.80 each) for Spring 2005: Alex Rodriguez (0822524279); Annika Sorenstam (0822524287); Carly Patterson (08-22526395); Michael Phelps (0822524-317); and Sammy Sosa (0822536722).

The Music CD Shelf

Makin' Lemonade
Leonardo Biciunas
PO Box 323 Beverly Shores, IN 46301

The debut children's music CD by 15-year independent musician Leonardo Biciunas, Makin' Lemonade is a collection of friendly-themed acoustic guitar songs that emphasize imagination, self-esteem, safety, and the wonder of nature. An overall theme of optimism and hope, as embodied by the well-known saying "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!", shines through in this joyful family-friendly audio experience. The tracks are "Snow Day"; "Yankee Doodle"; "Do It Myself"; "Mind to Migrate"; "Tools"; "Shake It Off"; "The Bee Goes Buzz"; "Makin' Lemonade"; "Computer Ate My Homework"; "Ocean Blue"; "How Did the Chicken Cross the Road?"; "Layers"; "Deep in Mama's Heart"; and "Believing in the Child". Run time: 42:12.

Letter Adventure & Other Snaily Songs
Soaring Star Productions
Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
PO Box 8538, Surprise, AZ 85374
DVD $15.95; VHS $12.95; CD $14.95

Part of the imaginatively produced and highly recommend "Pocket Snails" series for children ages two through five, Letter Adventure & Other Snaily Songs focuses on helping toddlers learn their ABCs through twelve lively songs as Jake, a young boy learning about the world around him with the help of three nails (Gordon, Dale, and Buttons) who live right in Jake's pocket. The lively and rhythmic tunes have a total running time of 30 minutes and include Pocket Snails Theme; Pocket Snails ABC Song; Pocket Snails Celebration; Jake's Them - ABCs; Letters Letters Everywhere; We Love The Vowels; Shell & Spell; Upper Case, Lower Case; Tell Me All About (Phonics); Don't Give Up; I Love The Pocket Snails; and Outtakes.

Chomp Chomp
Shad Weathersby
Singing Rock Records
c/o The Creative Service Company
4360 Emerald Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Chomp Chomp is a music CD for young people, chock full of fantasy, history, feelings, and just plain fun. Written with guitars, percussion, and lead vocals by Shad Weathersby, this delightful kid-friendly collection is especially great for playing at birthday parties and other kid-oriented celebrations and get-togethers. The tracks are "Calendar Song"; "Together"; "Extra Curricular Sunshine"; "Chomp Chomp"; "Yellow"; "Sausage Song"; "Elephant Jones"; "Big Big World"; "The Chicken and the Hog"; "Anywhere the Wind Blows"; "Ralph Disobedient Roach"; and "In My Room".

The Picturebook Shelf

When Charlie McButton Lost Power
Suzanne Collins & Mike Lester
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014
0399240004 $15.99 1-800-847-5515

Charlie loves computer games so much, he never plays with anything else - so when the power goes out, he's really in the dark. His desperate search for batteries involves his sister's toys and some nasty behavior before he settles down to realize what's truly important in his life. Deftly written by Suzanne Collins and nicely illustrated by Mike Lester, When Charlie McButton Lost Power is refreshingly original and moving!

A Home For Bilby
Joanne Crawford & Grace Fielding
Magabala Books/ISBS, dist.
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213-3786
1875641912 $17.00 1-800-944-6190

Written with true originality by Joanne Crawford and distinctively illustrated by Grace Fielding, A Home For Bilby is about a small Australian marsupial with blue-grey silky fur that is called a "bilby". Bilby is very shy and sad. When they notice him, all the other animals including Kangaroo, Platypus, Koala, Wombat and others, try to help the Bibly find his home. The result is an utterly charming picturebook story that will engage the interest of (and thoroughly entertain) young readers preschool through first grade. A Home For Billy would make a popular addition to any family, school, or community library picturebook collection.

That's What Friends Do
Kathryn Cave
Hyperion Books
77 West 66th St., NY, NY 10023-6298
0786851651 $15.99 1-800-759-0190

Ages 2-6 will enjoy a celebration of friendship and fun with Kathryn Cave's That's What Friends Do, a zany picturebook tale that is nicely illustrated by Nick Maland: very easy 3-line pages celebrate elements of friendship from acceptance to reliability.

Fooling The Tooth Fairy
Martin Nelson Burton & Clint Hansen
London Town Press
PO Box 585, Montrose, CA 91021
0966649028 $17.00

When Marty tries to deceive the Tooth Fairy with a paper tooth, he learns that she has a strong sense of justice and an even stronger sense of humor! This original "fairytale" is a classic in the making and a genuine storytelling treat with the artwork by Clint Hansen providing a perfect framework of Martin Burton's deftly written story about what happens when you try to fool one of our most beloved and hardworking fairies! Fooling The Tooth Fairy is an enthusiastically recommended addition to any and all community and grade school library picturebook and fairy tale collections.

The Mona Lisa Caper
Rick Jacobson & Laura Fernandez
Tundra Books
PO Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
0887767265 $15.95 1-800-788-1074

The Mona Lisa Caper by Rick Jacobson is based on a real theft that took place on Monday, August 21, 1911 when Vincenzo Perugia stole the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci from the Louvre museum in Paris. Vincenzo actually meant well, he wanted to return the painting to the Italian people in the mistaken belief that it had been stolen from them. Vincenzo was caputered in Florence and put on trial. He became something of a hero to the Italian people who gave him so much food, wine, clothing, and furniture that he had to moved to a larger cell. Very nicely illustrated by the Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson, The Mona Lisa Caper has the story being narrated by Mona Lisa herself! Lively, imaginative, and fun, The Mona Lisa Caper is enthusiastically recommended for children ages 5 to 7.

Mom Can I Have A Dragon?
T. E. Watson & Dave Patterson
Paw Prints Press
2384 Tokay Court, Paradise, CA 95969
1584780207 $16.95

When young Sam brings home a rather unusual pet, his parents are oblivious to the large new addition that has taken up residence in their cellar as Sam tries to figure out how he will get to make his new friend a permanent addition to the family. The new friend being a full fledged dragon! T.E. Watson's lively and imaginative story is nicely punctuated by the equally lively and imaginative illustrations by Dave Patterson. An exceptional picturebook recommended for family, school, and community libraries, Mom, Can I Have A Dragon? is delightful reading certain to entertain picturebook readers from 6 to 12.

Henry Holt
115 W. 18th St., New York NY 10011

Henry Holt's spring picturebook list includes some wonderful and original titles certain to captivate young audiences! Cindy Neuschwander's Mummy Math: An Adventure In Geometry (0805075054, $16.95) receives Bryan Langdo's zany drawings as it tells of the Zills family, summoned to Egypt to help locate the hidden burial chamber of an ancient pharoah. Two boys trapped in the pyramid stumble on a mystery which tests their math skills to resolve: kids receive a lesson in geometric solids in the process of a lively adventure. Erica Wolf's Brave Little Raccoon (0805074082, $16.95) tells of a little raccoon who leaves her den to chase leaves, having a good time away from home until she finds herself far from home and lost. She is determined to be brave and find her own way when night falls - but SOMETHING is following her Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross' Misery Moo (0805076-727, $16.95) tells of a moooody old cow who insists on being depressed despite all her friends' efforts - until an equally-depressed lamb challenges her long-standing role. Tony Ross provides the zany, colorful cartoon-like illustrations which add a touch of hilarity and fun to a potentially depressing story. Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall's Meet Wild Boars (0805074880, $15.95) is also hilarious: the zany full-page wild boar drawings accompany an equally-zany story of wild boars who are rude, naughty, stinky, and ugly. They try to be good --but they can't resist a good soak in the toilet! A highly recommended pick indeed: truly original. Jan Wahl's Humphrey's Bear (0805078126, $16.95) tells of a teddy bear who comes to life at night when owner Humphrey goes to sleep, joining him on a sea adventure. William Joyce has illustrated many award-winning picture book stories and enhances a delightful, simple tale for the very young.

Hoppity Skip Little Chick
Jo Brown
Tiger Tales
202 Old Ridgefield Rd, Wilton, CT 06897
1589250451 $15.95 1-203-834-0005

Gently written and colorfully illustrated by Jo Brown, Hoppity Skip Little Chick is the story of finding lots of friends to play with around the farm when Little Chick's mother sends him out to play because she is busy keeping her eggs warm. Little Chick runs with the geese, bounces with a lamb, jumps with a pony, and rolls in the dirt with the pig. At day's end, Little Chick is anxious to show his Mom the new hopping-running-rolling-skipping game, but when he gets home he finds a surprise waiting for him in the form of new brothers and sisters to play with! Hoppity Skip Little Chick is ideal for children ages 3 to 7 and would make a welcome and appreciated addition to day care center, preschool program, kindergarten, family and community library picturebook collections.

No Monsters Here
Sharon Jennings & Ruth Ohi
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
121 Harvard Ave., #2, Allston, MA 02134
1550417878 $14.95

When it's his bedtime, a little boy is ready to say goodnight and climb the stairs to his bedroom. But Father isn't ready! He's afraid of monsters and doesn't want to be left alone downstairs! But the boy knows just how to handle this and leads his father through the bedtime routine which includes looking in the closet, behind the drapes, and everywhere in between if it will make his anxious father feel better. After the bedtime story it's time for lights out. Father should feel more comfortable now -- but what will happen when he has to go downstairs alone? Strongly recommended, especially for family picturebook collections, No Monsters Here is a delightful role-reversal picturebook story by Sharon Jennings that is very nicely illustrated by Ruth Ohi (who includes a father monster and his son!) so that young readers can become more comfortable when it's time for them to go to bed.

The Golden Circus
Kathryn Jackson
Golden Books/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
0375832157 $9.95 1-800-726-0600

Mr. Roly-Poly's big-top circus is filled with lions, bears, elephants and more: all are celebrated in a classic which first appeared in 1950 featuring the classic drawings of Caldecott Medalists Alice and Martin Provensen. Remember the revolutionary 'fuzzy drawings' in the original? They're faithfully reproduced in this version of The Golden Circus, too!

This Is The Matzah
Abby Levine & Paige Billin-Frye
Albert Whitman
6340 Oakton St., Morton Grove, IL 60053
0807578851 $15.95 1-800-255-7675

Another fine Passover title joins the surprisingly few books for young picturebook readers on the topic - few, given the large Jewish population of young readers. This Is The Matzah by Abby Levine is the modern and "kid friendly" story of Max, who helps his mother buy matzah in the supermarket, reflects on its many uses and Seder traditions, and enjoys family rituals during Passover. Realistic drawings by Paige Billin-Frye provide lively embellishments.

No Small Change
John Luksetich & Patti Kern
Imagine Nation Press
6109 Peabody St., Long Beach, CA 90808
0940411016 $14.95 1-877-372-3629

Impressively illustrated with sixteen watercolor artworks by Patti Kern that will attract and keep the attention of children ages 4 to 8, No Small Change by John Luksetich is a unique medieval money math story that teaches preschool and early elementary children the value of money, the skill of counting, and the importance patriotism and of standing up for what they believe in. The origins of this unique picturebook allegory began 15 years ago when John Luksetich's son Sergio threw away the pennies that his father had given. Sergio had the mistaken feeling that those discarded pennies were worthless. But those coins had value, and the moral of the story is that people whom others deem as not mattering nonetheless have a quite genuine value, and if a community or a nation is to flourish, then attitudes about what makes a coin or a person of worth must be addressed and explained. In this case, through the medium of an entertaining, thoughtful and thought-provoking picturebook story.

The Bilingual Shelf

The Banjoman / El Hombre de Banjo
Tyler Norman & Jose S. Perez, authors
Jose S. Perez, illustrator
The Overmountain Press
PO Box 1261, Johnson City, TN 37605
1570722927 $12.95 1-800-992-2691

The collaborative work of authors Tyler Norman and Jose Perez,The Banjoman / El Hombre de Banjo is a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook by about a wandering musician who travels to entertain children. When a broken string on his banjo stops his music, nothing seems able to replace it -until help from a most unexpected source provides harmony for his music to play once again. Warm color illustrations by Perez of children, animals, and the devoted musician add a touch of life to this gentle tale of cooperation and renewal.

The Library Video/DVD Shelf

Schlessinger Media
7 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096-0580

Available in both video and DVD formats, "The Arab World" series is a six volume series specifically designed for students grade 7 and up and offering an informed and informative survey of Arabic culture and civilization from antiquity down to the present day keyed to historic Arabic monuments and architecture in Europe, North Africa, and the nations of the Middle East. Viewers will encounter the trade routes and cultural centers showcasing Arabic achievements and contributions. The individual titles in this enthusiastically recommended series include Ancient Cities of the arab World: volumes I & II; Ancient Trade Routes of the Arab World; Arab Dynasties; Art & Architecture of the Arab World: Volumes I & II. Each 38 minute program is available separately at $29.95 each. The DVD edition features English and Spanish language tracks, chapter selects, and discussion questions/activities. A Teacher's Guide is included, providing additional information including vocabulary words, discussion questions/activities that can be used for assessment or class projects. With flawless production values and presentations, "The Arab World" series will prove a welcome and popular addition to school and community library systems -- and would be truly ideal for supplementing homeschooling curriculums.

Disney Presents Count On Math
Disney Educational Productions
500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-6307
1932644679 $TBA 1-800-295-5010

Disney Presents Count On Math is an educational DVD for young people featuring three 12-minute programs the teach young people in grades 2-4 key math concepts and applications. The programs are "Exploring Geometry: Shapes and More" about two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes, "Solving Equations: Number Patterns" which offers examples of using the equal sign, recognizing patterns, and predicting outcomes, and "Organizing Data: Beginning Charts and Graphs", a hands-on walkthrough to asking the right questions, putting data in a graph, and then using that data to make decisions. Further enhanced with an interactive quiz and clips correlated to NCTM Standards and activities in the on-disk Educator's Guide, Disney Presents Count On Math is a wonderfully entertaining educational resource and very recommended for classroom, home schooling, or household family viewing. Close-captioned, approx 36. minutes, color.

Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
PO Box 1831, Bristol, CT 06010

Getting young children to physically exercise has never been so difficult with today's sedentary lifestyles. Enter two outstanding 30-minute titles from Thinkeroo specifically designed to get fledgling couch potatoes ages 2 and older to get up on their feet and start moving to music. Available in VHS and DVD formats , Gallop, Hop & Stomp (VHS 1929944616; DVD 1929944608, $14.95) is hosted by Maureen Straub and her simian friends Flip, Tumble and Twist taking children into a make-believe jungle where they will hop like frogs, climb like monkeys, and stomp along like elephants all to lively music enhanced with a combination of live action footage of children and animals, along with computer animation to teach the various movements. Pedal, Paddle And Twirl (VHS 1929944624; DVD 1929944632, $14.95) has children pretending to be a helicopter, a hot air balloon, and bicycling riding in the tour De France.

Art On A Shoestring
Cherie Lynn
c/o Crystal Productions
PO Box 2159, Glenview, IL 60025-6159
$39.95 1-800-255-8629

Cherie Lynn, a professional and published art teacher for grades K-8 with over 20 years' experience, Art On A Shoestring is a DVD that teaches young people how to create beautiful things from everyday materials around the house, such as buttons, string, and cardboard. From wrapping paper to mosiac stepping stones, African rain sticks, paper mache sculptures, clay vases and more, Art On A Shoestring is brimming with ideas for creative stimulation. A great DVD for educational use rainy day fun. 186 minutes, color.

All About John Deere For Kids
TM Books Video
PO Box 279, New Buffalo, MI 49117
193229127X $14.95 1-219-879-2822

All About John Deere For Kids: Part 1 is the first of an all live-action DVD series filled with intrinsically fascinating information about John Deere farm equipment. Featuring catchy ditties and award-winning music by James Coffey, All About John Deere For Kids describes the diverse uses of farm equipment, showcases various models of tractors from vintage to modern, and even features an eye-opening comparison of toy tractors to real ones - details toys look amazingly similar to the real thing when seen close up! Though the fun and laughs are meant especially for young people, All About John Deere For Kids is sure to appeal to grown up tractor enthusiasts as well! 40 minutes, color.

The American History Shelf

Gareth Stevens
330 W. Olive #100, Milwaukee, WI 53212
$18.95 Each

Six new additions to Gareth Stevens 'Events That Shaped America' series each provide readers in grades 3-5 with 32 pages of facts and vintage black and white photos, detailing major events in U.S. history which have lasting impact today. From early history such as The Writing Of The Star-spangled Banner (0836834097), The Salem Witch Trials (0836834062) and The Oregon Trail (0836834054) to The Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention (0836834089), The Scottsboro Case (0836834070) and The Atom Bomb Project (0836834046), each book provides insights into decision-making processes of the times, alternates American history with world response and overviews of the times, and provides excellent insights with easily-read text and suggested activities.

Books in Series

Saying Goodbye To A Friend
Chrysalis Education
Smart Apple Media
1980 Lookout Dr., N. Mankato, MN 56003
1932333185 $27.10

The Chrysalis Education 'Saying Goodbye to ' series should be a cornerstone of any elementary-grade school library that includes self-help titles: Saying Goodbye To A Friend answers common kids' questions on the bereavement process, and tailors its series to specific events. Saying Goodbye To A Friend covers everything from illness and dying to the aftermath of feeling guilty, scared, sad, and lonely. Tips on how to be a friend during an illness, and how to say goodbye and remember the friend after death, are included along with plenty of color photos of kids. A touching tribute.

Benchmark/Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown NY 10591

Grades 4-6 will appreciate Kathryn Hinds' 'Life in the Roman Empire' series of a solid in-depth set of references suitable for reports, each holding 72 pages of fax and concluding with an index, bibliography, glossary and more. The separation of the topic into four outstanding titles allows for a narrowed, more in-depth focus in The Patricians (0761416544, $20.95), The Countryside (0761416560), The City (07-61416552, $20.95) and Religion (0761-416579, $20.95). Add black and white photos and drawings and you have an excellent reference suitable for reports.

The Child's World
PO Box 326, Chanhassen, MN 55317

Children of all ages have a fascination with dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures that became extinct millions of years ago only to be discovered as fossils today. "Exploring Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures" is an outstanding series (divided into three sets) that combines superb full color artwork depicting these long-lost animals with an informed and informative text written at a fourth grade reading level by Susan H. Gray making them of great interest and accessibility for young readers grades 3 to 8. Each 32-page book highlights a particular animal and includes a table of contents, informative sidebars, and introduction to the author, a glossary of key words and phrases, a "kid friendly" index, suggestions for further study (including websites), and a geologic timeline with key features and creatures. Young readers will learn about the habitats of prehistory and the science of paleontology and fossil hunting. Although each title is available individually ($27.07/$18.95), the complete set of (thirty volumes, $812.10) is recommended and offered to school and community libraries at a substantial discount ($568.50). From the Allosaurus, Velociraptor, Meglasaurus, and Iguanodon, to Trilobites, Saber-Toothed Cats, Mammoths and Mastodons, "Exploring Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures will prove an enduringly popular library acquisition and would make an ideal Memorial Fund selection.

Crabtree Books
350 5th Avenue, #3308, NY, NY 10118

Adding to the 'food chains' series is Bobbie Kalman & Kelley MacAuley's Desert Food Chains (0778719448, $16.95), a colorful survey of desert food chains, offering kids in grades 2-5 clear explanations suitable for reports, paired with color photos. Maps and sidebars of detail complete the offerings. The 'Disaster Alert' titles ($16.95) continue to expand with the addition of Paul Challen's Volcano Alert! (0778715701), telling of kinds of eruptions, forecasting challenges, and volcano effects, his Hurricane And Typhoon Alert! (0778715752), about storm seasons, stages, and destruction; and Shilpa Mehta-Jones' Earthquake Alert! (077871-5728), a survey of seismic waves, tectonic plates, and how science can help. Modern color photos and plenty of information in eye-catching form make for real winners.

Stargazer Books/Creative Company
PO Box 227, Mankato, MN 56002
$27.10 Each 1-800-445-6209

Two new 'Young Musician' titles provide 'how to' theory to young picturebook readers, using plenty of photos and color illustration to reinforce a music teacher's guidelines. Paul Archibald's Playing The Trumpet And Brass (1932799605) surveys all the basics; from how a brass instrument produces sounds to its use in various musical genres, and how young players can master first steps to move to more advanced playing. Coverages of everything from instrument sections to embouchure, tonguing, rhythm practice and more provide reinforcing exercises. Same goes for Simon Walton's Playing The Flute, Recorder And Other Woodwind (1032799583), which follows the same organization in presenting step-by-step coverage of mastering the basics of playing. A list of composers and performers, glossary and index round out a coverage perfect for home-schoolers or as supplemental assignment for music studies.

The Fiction Shelf

Hattie Marshall And The Prowling Panther
Debra Smith
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053
1565549406 $7.95 1-800-843-1724

Book 1 in the "Hattie Marshall Frontier Adventures" series, Hattie Marshall And The Prowling Panther is a young adult novel about a twelve-year-old girl for whom frontier life can be scary. Threats range from floods that can sweep a person away to a hungry black panther that hunts for its next meal around the family farm. Worst of all, her beloved brother Sam is leaving on a cattle drive that will take him away from home for several months. But love between siblings remains strong despite distance, and God remains with her even when she is lonely and the world makes no sense. A gentle novel of surviving and making the most of life in rugged times, with roots in the tales that the author's grandfather told her about his childhood in east Texas.

Simon & Schuster
1230 Ave. of Americas, NY, NY 10020

Kids will find Tamara Bower's How The Amazon Queen Fought The Price Of Egypt (068-9844344, $16.95) tells the lovely story of a queen who leads a race of free Amazon women, who live without men until an army of Egyptian soldiers invades their land. A curious prince invites the brave women to combat --but Serpot holds some surprises for him. A fine story of courage and creativity. Douglas Wood's What Grandmas Can't Do (0689-846479, $14.95) receives Doug Cushman's funny and zany alligator embellishments as it tells of a grandmother's failings and strengths. Little alligator learns how to help his grandmother, and when to rely on her for strength - and some surprising situations evolve between the two in Douglas Wood's celebration of grandmothers and kids. Hilary McKay and Amanda Harvey's There's A Dragon Downstairs (0689867743, $16.95) tells of a savvy Sophie who hears a dragon downstairs ever night. Her parents claim there's no dragon, so Sophie becomes determined to prove them wrong. Illustrator Amanda Harvey's whimsical drawings perfectly accent the zany tale of a determined, brave little girl. Kids will love her courage.

Orchard Books
557 Broadway, NY, NY 10012-3999

Ann Turner's Maia Of Thebes (043965-2235, $10.95) joins others in the 'Life and Times' historical novel series in exploring the daily life of Maia in 1463BC Egypt. Maia and her brother are orphans who live with cruel relatives in Thebes: Maia's search for a better life leads her to learn to write: a skill which eventually will save her life. Edwidge Danticat's Anaconda Golden Flower (0439499062, $10.95) joins others in the 'Princess Diaries' series, appealing to advanced elementary through high school students with a setting in Haiti in 1490 and the story of an encounter with white people in Haiti. It seems to the local people of Haiti that they are 'at war with the gods' in this dramatic first-person recreation diary. Jeff Smith's new Bone story Out From Boneville (0439706238, $18.95) is really a graphic novel, dune in complete color: any fan of comic books will find much to attract in the exciting story of a funny hero charged with rescuing the valley from evil forces. Three Bone cousins lost and reunited face their greatest challenge to a peaceful forest life yet. Older readers won't want to miss the latest fantasy from arth Nix's 'Keys to the Kingdom' series, Drowned Wednesday (0439700868, $15.95): Arthur must return to the House on Wednesday, and finds himself moving from a hospital room to pirate-laced high seas. His ongoing probe of the House mystery leads him on a complex journey to discover the third part of the Will and claim the Third Key for his world. Familiarity with the first two series books is recommended for a quick immersion into Drowned Wednesday's ongoing action. Dietlof Reiche's Ghost Ship (0439597048, $16.95) presents Vicki, who plans to spend her summer waitressing at her father's seaside tourist restaurant - until the bay goes dry and the lost ship Storm Goddess suddenly appears. The Mayor senses profit from tourism - but Vicki senses disaster, especially when she's haunted by ghosts and faces the truth about the reborn ship's curse. It's been five years since Montmorency has given up hi life of crime in London's sewers, but that doesn't mean he's free of worry. His evil alter ego, Scarper, is back, and Montmorency struggles to resist his world even as London faces new threats from bombers. Another gripping story of street adventure and unlikely hero who is not all good Kate Constable's The Waterless Sea (0439554-802, $16.95) tells of a mercy mission conducted by Calwyn and her friends, who have traveled to a distant empire to rescue two children with the magic gift of chantment. Exciting tales, all. Her mission will do more than save them: it'll uncover dangerous secrets of those Calwyn loves and will threaten her very world, unless she can restore harmony to the kingdom. Start Hill's Cry Of The Icemark (0439686261, $18.95) is a recommended pick for older fantasy enthusiasts on the edge of turning to adult fantasy reading: princess warrior Thirrin is only thirteen, but is already charged with protecting her tiny kingdom from a terrible invasion. Her army consists of wild animals and ancient vampires as she joins together some unlikely alliances and friendships in a battle to save her lands. A complex story with plenty of action makes Cry Of The Icemark gripping. Kevin Brooks's Candy (0439683270, $16.95) is also recommended for older readers: an up-and-coming musician finds his single-minded pursuit thwarted by a girl named Candy, who draws him into her dangerous, violent world. Joe and Candy seem on a collision course with disaster; but their mutual interests may also save them in Kevin Brooks' romance about two very different worlds. Kate Klise's Deliver Us From Normal (0439523222, $16.95) tells of a coming-of-age in Normal, Illinois, where Charles and his family are poor, stand out, and seek to escape Normal's dangers by fleeing further into the South. Charles' entire family will change by their decisions in Klise's warm story of flight and discovery.

Catastrophe Cat
Mary Small, author
Chantal Stewart, illustrator
Cygnet Books/ISBS, dist.
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213-3786
1920694374 $13.50 1-800-944-6190

Catastrophe Cat is a young adult novel about a girl who survives Cyclone Tracy, but loses her beloved cat Tia, swept away by the fierce winds. Evacuated with her family to Melbourne, she struggles with grief welling up in her heart. But amid the rubble of her devastated home city, miracles are still possible, and Tia is a hardier survivor than one might expect of a small Siamese! Catastrophe Cat is an emotionally well crafted tale of perseverance.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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