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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 6 June 2006 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Science Shelf Biography Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Picturebook Shelf Poetry Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Fiction Shelf Video/DVD Shelf
Crafting Shelf Environmental Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Where Does Food Come From?
Shelley Rotner & Gary Goss
Millbrook Press
241 – 1st Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
0761329358 $22.60

Most kids know foods come from markets – but there did they come from before that – and much of it comes from seawater and bees. Shelly Rotner’s gorgeous color photos enhance Where Does Food Come From?, which pairs full-page color and young protagonists with insights on popcorn, lemons (a type of berry!), grape jelly and more. A very simple introduction kids will appreciate.

Enslow Publishers
PO Box 398, 40 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398

Three excellent coverages will reach grades 5 and older with solid material suitable for either reports or leisure browsing. Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin’s The Transcontinental Railroad And The Great Race To Connect The Nation (159845014X, 24.95) joins others in the ‘Wild History of the American West’ group to explore pioneer life and expansion processes. Joining others as an internet reinforced ‘’ title, The Transcontinental Railroad And The Great Race To Connect The Nation provides stories, profiles, and summaries of events and backs them up with Internet links for further research. Color maps, illustrations, and web page screen shots accent a dramatic survey of events. Sarah Hartman’s Asian-American Crafts Kids Can Do! (0766024555, $16.95) adds to the ‘Multicultural Crafts Kids Can Do!’ series, providing some 32 pages of easy crafts embracing cultural connections. Grades 3-4 will find simple instructions for making a Balinese Shadow Puppet, learning Chinese Paper Cutting, and more. Stephen Feinstein’s The 1990s: From The Persian Gulf War To Y2K (0766026396, $20.95) has been revised to provide grades 5 and older with a blend of color and black and white illustrations and a lively survey of major events and issues of the times. From the death of Princess Di to the rise of minorities in government, all trends and their lasting implications are revealed through events of the times.

Dale Carlson & Kishore Khairnar
Bick Publishing House
307 Neck Road, Madison, CT 06443
1884158323 $14.95

Talk: Teen Art Of Communication by Dale Carlson and Kishore Khairnar is an informative and "teen friendly" introduction to the importance of effective communication. Delving deeply into its focus on teen-aged communication habits, tendencies and frequencies, Talk provides an engaging and informative treatise on the improving communication through such mechanisms and incidents as self-discussion, talking to parents, teachers, bosses, siblings, friends, best friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, groups, disliked people, and even total strangers. Talk is very strongly recommended for its informative documentation of teen communication and providing adolescent readers with a knowledgeable guidance in dealing with the inevitable hardships and difficulties associated with teenage life in the process of self-discovery and verbal interaction with others.

The Science Shelf

Hurricane Hunters!
Chris R. Demarest
McElderry Books
1230 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10020
0689861680 $17.95

Hurricane Hunters! Riders On The Storm by Chris Demarest tells of the men and women who fly their aircraft into the heart of a hurricane to collect information for science. Very highly recommended for school libraries, Hurricane Hunters! Riders On The Storm differs from your usual weather books explaining hurricane developments by offering a unique focus on how hurricanes are tracked and studied by today's technologies.

Ten Worlds
Ken Croswell
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Hondsdale, PA 18431
1590784235 $19.95

Ten Worlds: Everything That Orbits The Sun comers from a Harvard-trained astronomer who provides an intriguing guide to fantastic places. Here the most exciting sights of our solar system are captured with vivid color photos and high drama, from the Sun to Pluto and beyond, to the latest 10th planet discovery. Text provides details suitable for beginning reports but it’s the color photos which are the real eye-catcher for grades 3-5.

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

Schlessinger Media has produced two outstanding DVD instructional series on the subject of energy. Energy For Children is a five volume set designed for children grades K-4, while Energy In Action is a seven volume set intended for students in grades 5-8. The Energy For Children Series includes What Is Energy? (1417105-763),All About The Uses Of Energy (1417105755), All About Heat (1417105-720), All About The Conservation Of Energy (1417105739), and All About The Transfer Of Energy (1417105747). The Energy In Action Series consists of Electromagnetic Energy (141710564X0, Mechanical Energy (1417105682), Energy Resources: Use And Conservation (14171-05658), The Transfer Of Energy (141710-5704), Nuclear Energy (1417105690), Energy: Potential And Kinetic (1417105-666); and Heat and Chemical Energy (1417105674). Each DVD volume in both series as a 23-minute running time and features English and Spanish language tacks, discussions questions and activities, an investigation data sheet, as well as chapter select and close-captioning. Both the Energy For Children Series and the Energy In Action Series are very strongly recommended for all grade school science teachers and homeschooling parents (a Teacher's Guide" is included and is also available on line, as is the Investigation Data Sheet). Indeed, no elementary school library should be without each of these superbly produced and thoroughly "kid friendly" series as a Science Class curriculum supplement resource.

The Biography Shelf

Robert Kraske
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10003
0618568433 $15.00

Scottish mariner Alexander Selkirk is marooned on a South Pacific island – and becomes the model for Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe. In his real life he survived completely alone for over four years, and engaged in daring sea exploits upon his rescue – including the capture of a Spanish treasure ship. His experiences come to life in a title which reads with all the drama of fiction, embellished with colorful detail in Marooned: The Strange But True Adventures Of Alexander Selkirk, The Real Robinson Crusoe.

John Muir
Kathryn Lasky
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
0763619574 $16.99

It’s a pleasure to see Kathryn Lasky’s biography, John Muir: America’s First Environmentalist appear for a younger audience than biographies of Muir usually writes for: Stan Fellows provides gorgeous watercolors to accompany a book which uses John Muir’s own diaries as a foundation for an exploration of his life and thoughts. Students in grades 3-5 are provided with a review of his childhood dreams and early love of nature, and will find the picturebook format most accessible.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Creepy Crawlies
Hans Post & Irene Goede
Front Street
862 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806
1932425659 $16.95

Hans Post is former Head of Education at the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands and Irene Goede studied illustration in that country. Together these two provide a unique, fun survey of insects, birds, and small creatures such as hedgehogs in Creepy Crawlies. Lovely and realistic color drawings accent a survey which uses the "hook" of a cat’s explorations through a traditional European garden as a foundation for outdoor discoveries. An inviting, wonderful coverage, Creepy Crawlies is enthusiastically recommended for young and curious readers.

Second Chance
Judy Masrud & Cathy Pool
Birdseed Books
520 17th Street, Dallas, WI 54733
0977414205 $9.95 1-715-837-2040

Very nicely enhanced by the black-and-white illustrations of Cathy Pool, Second Chance: A Tale Of Two Puppies by Judy Masrud is about two young boys adopting a pair of "penmates" as their canine companions. Second Chance uses the story of these two boys to guiding young readers ages 6 to 12 through the necessity of responsibility and care when adopting an animal. Second Chance deftly offers these young readers a complete and readily accessible depiction of what love and intimacy really means when treating a pet as a member of the family, and what the realities and responsibilities of having and caring for a pet. Enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library reference "Pets & Wildlife" collections and supplemental reading lists, Second Chance is an excellent introduction for children in understanding what is involved with becoming good pet owners.

The Picturebook Shelf

Walker & Company
104 – 5th Ave., New York NY 10011

Susanna Pitzer’s Not Afraid Of Dogs (08-02780679, $16.95) tells of a boy who isn’t afraid of spiders, snakes nor storms – but he is – just a little – afraid of dogs. When his mother babysits his aunt’s dog, which is upset by a stormy night, can Daniel get up the courage to comfort? A fun story of courage evolves. Corey Rosen Schwartz & Tali Klien’s Hop! Plop! (0802780563, $15.95) enjoys drawings by Olivier Dunrea as it tells of Mouse and Elephant, friends who seek excitement on the playground. Their size difference results in different play approaches and some bit of trouble: can they discover a favorite ride that works for them both? Nick Would’s The Scarab’s Secret (0802795617 $16.95) tells of the days of ancient Egypt where a tiny scarab beetle holds the key to the life of the pharaoh. Lovely drawings by Christina Balit accents an unusual first-person story from the scarab’s viewpoint, which blends drama and mystery with historic background. A highly recommended, top pick.

Did You Say Pears?
Arlene Alda
Tundra Books
481 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5G 2E9
0887767397 $22.99

Very early picturebook readers will relish large, page-sized color photos paired with simple one-line statements and a zany outlook inviting kids to think about words. From animal ‘pants’ to trunks, pitchers, glasses and more, kids learn about the double meaning of words and enjoy a format which is fun to think about. Even parents will find it thought-provoking and filled with insights into language’s oddities.

Inventor McGregor
Kathleen P. Pelley
Farrar, Straus, Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
0374336067 $16.00

Michael Chesworth’s engaging drawings lend to a fun story of a zany inventor who can make just about anything to make the world brighter. He enjoys a carefree inventing life – until one day the Royal Society of Inventors persuades him to come to work for them in the city. Even the best new equipment can’t replace his usual wandering methods of inspiration, he finds in this fun tale of an inventor’s sources of creation.

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

Sally Jean, The Bicycle Queen (0374363-862, $16.00) by Carl Best features zany drawings by Christine Davenier as it tells of a girl ‘born to ride’ her bicycle Flash, which is her best friend. Together they explore and have adventures – until one day Sally Jean finds herself too big for Flash. Other play activities don’t feel nearly as good as riding, but she must wait until next year to get a new bike. Can she fix her own? Sergio Ruzzier’s The Room Of Wonders (0374363439, $16.00) tells of a young pack rat who loves to collect things and arrange them in a special room which attracts the curious. But his very favorite item is a plain gray pebble, and nobody can understand why it’s special. Pius bows to pressure and gets rid of it – but finds he’s lost something irreplaceable in the process. Both are wonderful stories of confidence and insight.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Marshall Cavendish has wonderful nonfiction books on the market – but don’t forget they also produce gorgeous picturebooks! These new arrivals are top picks recommended as something different for any elementary-level collection. Margaret Read MacDonald’s Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur! (0761452557, $16.95) provides a Palestinian folktale revolving around a noisy, naughty little pot. The little pot runs off with things that don’t belong to her and has problems telling differences between right and wrong. Alik Arzoumanian’s very colorful, striking drawings provide fun embellishments. Eileen Spinelli’s Hero Cat (0761452230, $16.95) receives Jo Ellen McAllister Stammen’s large, lovely cat drawings as it tells of a Mother Cat who has left her babies to hunt food, when the building catches fire. It takes five daring acts for her to save her tiny kittens. Ten-Gallon Bart by Susan Stevens Crummel (076145246X, $16.95) tells of the weary sheriff of Dog City who plans retirement until he hears Billy the Kid goat is headed for town. Only Ten-Gallon Bart can stop him – with a little help. The story of confronting a bully will provide helpful insights for kids struggling with such in their own lives. Daniel Pinkwater’s Dancing Larry (0761452206, $16.95) receives zany and fun drawings by Jill Pinkwater as it tells of a bear who has many talents. When he confronts a strict teacher who believes bears have no place in ballet, he becomes determined to learn how in this whimsical tale. Nancy Elizabeth Wallace and Linda K. Friedlaender’s Look! Look! Look! (0761452826, $16.95) is perfect for beginning picturebook readers who may develop an appreciation for art early on: three tiny mice find a postcard painting and become inspired with their find, learning how to see elements of the painting, and learning how to discern patterns, colors, lines, and how to make such with paper, scissors and markers. An early primer on observation invites kids to also see. Carolyn Crimi’s The Louds Move In! (0761452214, $14.95) tells of a quiet neighborhood changed when the Louds arrive, talking, eating and playing loud. The neighbors are angry – but suddenly the Louds vanish and the neighborhood seems subdued. What was once offensive has become not just normal, but desirable and fun. Martha Peaslee Levine’s Stop That Noise! (076145280X, $14.95) receives Lee White’s large-sized, colorful effects as it tells of a father who sneezes so hard he blows his nose off his face. Nose decides to start running, and in its bid for freedom begins sneezing out aardvarks, alligators, and more. Marjorie Dennis Murray’s Hippo Goes Bananas! (0761452-249, $14.95) enjoys Kevin O’Malley’s whimsical drawings as it tells of a hippo who begins behaving strangely one day. He bellows, he spins: has he gone mad – or does he just have a toothache? His friends try to help – but they can only do so much. All are wonderful, picks, with very different topics and approaches and delightful illustrations across the board.

175 – 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010

Gail Page’s How To Be A Good Dog (15-82346836, $15.95) charts a bad dog’s course through the house, from raiding the refrigerator and tracking mud through the house to dancing in the kitchen. Bobo is banned from the house: it seems Good Dog lessons are in order in this hilarious story. Alexander McCall Smith’s Akimbo And The Crocodile Man (1582346925, $9.95) tells of an African boy excited to be joining a crocodile expert on a research outing – until the man is injured by the crocodile. Akimbo must go for help – which involves crossing a crocodile river. 65 pages and larger print paired with drawings by LeUyen Pham make for a good easy read.

McElderry/Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10020

Bear’s New Friend (0689859848, $16.95) by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman presents a rollicking, rhyming story of a bear on his way to a swimming hole, who must find his friends first. He and his forest friends discover a new friend in the process, with a mystery investigation revealing a surprising new pal’s talents. Ron Schotter and Giselle Potter’s Boy Who Loved Words (0375836012, $16.95) tells of one Selig, who loves everything about words, from how they look to how they stir his heart. But what can he do with so many luscious words to his name? His journey takes him beyond doubters to a world where everyone seeks the perfect word. Jerdine Nolen’s Plantzilla Goes To Camp (0689868030, $16.95) receives fun drawings by David Catrow, who tells of Mortimer’s excitement t going to his father’s childhood sleepaway camp – until he discovers no pets are allowed. Can he really leave his beloved Plantzilla at home? When he discovers he’s bunking with a bully, Plantzilla is even more needed.

c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

Matteo Pericoli’s True Story Of Stellina (0375832734, $14.95) tells of a baby finch who is stranded on a busy city sidewalk after falling from her nest. Stellina patiently waits for her mother, but discovers a new home in the process. Very simple bird drawings spice the gentle story. Mary Quattlebaum’s Winter Friends (9375745-261, $15.95) receives simple drawings by Hiroe Nakata as it tells of a snowfall, a lost mitten and two friends. A story in poems celebrates both winter and friendship Maya Gottfried’s Good Dog (037583-0499, $15.95) deserves ongoing mention as a special story with Robert Rahway Zakanitch’s realistic paintings enhancing the story of a series of very different dogs, from chows and collies to Westies. Which is the right dog for a potential owner? The pictures and doggie descriptions tell of very different personalities between breeds.

Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

Cambria Evans’ Martha Moth Makes Socks (0618557458, $16.00) tells of Martha Moth’s birthday, when her friends are coming to dinner. She picks up socks, yarn and sweaters for some birthday surprises – and makes a surprising discovery of her own when the guests arrive for dinner. Melanie Walsh’s Do Lions Live On Lily Pads? (0618473009, $15.00) provides a gentle account of where animals live and where they don’t. A very simple set of pictures offer one-sentence insights for the very young picturebook learner, with some hilarious food for thought. Speaking of animals William Wise’s Zany Zoo (0618188916, $16.00) features Lynn Munsinger’s fun and whimsical animal drawings as it tells of an exotic menagerie come to live. Fun rhymes spice a story of a wild variety of very different, unusual animals at a very different kind of zoo. Brian Lies’ Bats At The Beach (0618557-44X, $16.00) blends lovely verse with gorgeous art to inspire insights into a world of moonlight and bat antics. A top pick for its blend of enchanting drawings and different plot. Tim Egan’s Roasted Peanuts (0618337180, $16.00) tells of two baseball-loving animals who love everything from the green grass to the tasty roasted peanuts. The two are very different players – so Sam makes the team and Jackson doesn’t, sparking problems until a poster solves the dilemma. Diane Gibfried’s Brother Juniper (0618543619, $16.00) receives Meilo So’s fun drawings as it tells of the most generous of the brothers who live in the hills of Assisi with Father Francis and seven other brothers – too generous, at times. He’ll give away the robe off his back – even if he isn’t wearing anything underneath! A traditional story is done beautifully and differently, here.

Taming Horrible Harry
Lili Chartrand
Tundra Books
PO Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
0887767729 $16.95

Harry is a bad monster who needs to change: but how? Taming Horrible Harry was written originally in French and includes wonderful paintings by Quebec artist Roge: it tells of Harry the Monster’s strange find as he terrorizes children in the forest – and of how his discovery of a book changes his life.

Lucy Goose Goes to Texas
Holly Bea, author
John Boddy, Illustrator
HJ Kramer/New World Library
14 Pamaron way, Novato, CA 94949
1932073159 $15.95

Joe Boddy illustrates the fun story of Lucy Goose, who always goes west when the others go east. She’s an independent-minded Canadian goose who doesn’t care about fitting in, and who wants to do something different when it’s time for the fall migration. Her different route to Texas results in both adventure and some frightening encounters.


Lilly has big plans for Mr. Slinger’s wedding in Kevin Henkes’s Lilly’s Big Day (0060742364, $16.99): she’s always wanted to be a flower girl, and is going to be one at last. But she has other excitement too, and has a special responsibility she feels proud to carry out. Join Lilly in pre-wedding arrangements in a series of cartoons detailing her very special arrangements. Lindsay Barrett George’s Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse (006004665, $15.99) provides lovely drawings of two very different mice who are friends. Together they embark on a journey and face many large obstacles. The gentle story of mouse friendships is appealing and fun; the drawings really make the tale vibrant, rich and lively.

Dear Fish
Chris Gall
Little, Brown
1270 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10020
0316058475 $16.99,

When a boy writes a letter to the underwater fish inviting them to visit, he doesn’t necessarily expect their enthusiasm; but the lure of mother’s pies draws even the largest fish from the ocean and soon a very fishy problem is close at hand. The large fishy drawings are zany, fun embellishments to a compelling story of an invite too good to be true.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Dayle Ann Dodds’ Teacher’s Pets (0763-622524, $15.99) receives Marilyn Hafner’s warm drawings as it tells of show-and-tell time in class. The kids may bring a pet to share for the day, so new pets come to visit weekly – and wind up staying. Miss Fry has a soft spot for them all – but one pet is very special…Colin McNaughton’s Captain Abdul’s Little Treasure (0763630454, $14.99) tells of one Captain Abdul and a fearless pirate crew of kids aboard The Golden Behind. Good reading skills will lend to a story of zany pirate encounters.

345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Joseph Slate’s Miss Bindergarten Celebrates The Last Day Of Kindergarten (0525477446, $16.99) adds to the Miss Bindergarten series, this ending the school year and allowing the now-favorite teacher to say goodbye. Kids will appreciate all the ideas Miss Bindergarten has for celebrating and closure, with Ashley Wolff’s wonderful, appealing animal drawings accompanying a rollicking rhyme. Shiver me timbers! It’s a different kind of pirate adventure when you substitute cute mice for humans in Loretta Krupinski’s Pirate Treasure (0525475796, $15.99), telling of mice whose pirate ship has been driven upriver by a storm. Captain Oliver and first mate Rosie decide to settle down as farmers – but their troubles growing grain and making friends comes from bad reputations as pirates – until a storm comes up and Captain Oliver’s expertise might save the day.

The Poetry Shelf

Python Play And Other Recipes For Fun
Robert Heidbreder
Stoddart Kids
180 Varick Street, 9th Fl, NY, NY 10014
0773732136 $14.95

Poems for play cover events as varied as a tire swing and hide and seek to sliding and playing with best friends in this fun collection pairing Karen Patkau’s drawings with Robert Heidbreder’s poems. Kids will find much familiar to invite them into the world of poems.

The Easy Reader Shelf

My Robot
Eve Bunting
525 ‘B’ Street, #1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
0152055932 $12.95

Dagmar Fehlau illustrates this new ‘Green Light Reader’ for Level 2 readers. Fun activities accent the equally fun story of a robot who has all kinds of adventures. Short sentences, simple dialogue and many attractive color drawings create an inviting chapter book kids can really enjoy.

Fitch & Chip
Lisa Wheeler
Atheneum/Simon & Schuster
1230 Ave. of the Americas, NY NY 10020
0689849532 $14.95

Fitch & Chip: Invasion Of The Pig Sisters is a Level 3 ‘ready to read’ easy book pairs fun drawings by Frank Ansley with a lively story revolving around best friends Fitch and Chip, who have big plans in the park – which do not include pesky, scared little sisters. Fitch the friendly wolf decides to make a point to his pig friend’s sisters in this fun story.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Kids ages 8-11 looking for inviting yet easier readers will relish Patricia Hermes’ Emma Dilemma And The New Nanny (0761452869, $15.95), a story of a series of family dilemmas stemming from a loose ferret. Emma always seems to be the cause of family problems: how can she prove to her parents that she’s responsible, so she can join the traveling soccer team? A new nanny may take her side, after all. Dorian Cirrone’s Lindy Blues: The Missing Silver Dollar (0761452842, $14.95) will also reach this age group with an easier reader spiced by Liza Woodruff’s drawings. When Lindy Blues, "Your Nose for News", gets a call there’s been a bank robbery, she rushes to the scene of the crime: home of Joshua and Amy Becker, to learn one silver dollar is missing from the bank. It’s a small job for a serious reporter – but it’s also a slow week, and Lindy discovers a complex plot underlying a seemingly small sum of vanished money in this zany, appealing story.

The Fiction Shelf

How To Speak Dragonese
Cressida Cowell
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10020
0316156000 $10.99

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III’s loyal dragon Toothless has been captured, and it’s up to Hiccup to prove himself a true Viking hero and rescue him. Both newcomers and prior fans of Hiccup will find this latest saga, ‘translated from the Old Norse’, to be a delightful and fun adventure.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter
Calkins Creek Books
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
1590783891 $16.95

When her father is sent to fight Hitler, Ann Honeycutt puts on the blue overalls he’s given her: she’s now in chafe of tending the house and watching out for her siblings. When polio strikes, her challenges grow into firsthand knowledge in this story of loss, friendship, and early battles during the polio epidemic of 1944.

Day One
Matthew Dunn
2021 Pine Lake Road, Suite 100, Lincoln, NE 68512
0595368360 $12.95

Day One by Matthew Dunn is the adventurous tale of the young man Zeu, and his exciting exploration of the his world while atop the back of the giant bird he has raised since its birth. As well as the nearby worlds, as Zeu ventures into manhood he discovers the young girl Etys, and together they discover both one another and their familial heritage out among the far stretches of the universe. With it's fun fantasy and interesting storytelling, Day One is very highly recommended reading, especially for children on the verge of their own self-discovery.

High Rhulain
Brian Jacques
Philomel Books/Penguin Books
375 Hudson, New York NY 10014
0399242082 $23.99

Young Tiria Wildlough is an ottermaid touched with destiny: she journeys from Redwall Abbey to an isle where she must fulfill an ancient prophecy to gain her inheritance, and face a wildcat chieftain and his catguard slave masters. Her involvement in an otterclan battle will change her world in this latest Redwall saga for fantasy readers in middle school, high school and beyond.

Braced 2 Bite
Serena Robar
Berkeley Jam Books/Penguin
375 Hudson St., New York NY 10014
0425209768 $9.99

Colby Blanchard seems your normal American teen: a cheerleader, Daddy’s girl: but she’s also a vampire. When she has to defend her eternal life in front of a Vampire Council which doesn’t care for half-vampires, trouble results – not to mention her romance for Thomas, a hottie Vampire Investigator. Humor and irony abound in a very different kind of vampire story teens will relish.

Quit It
Marcia Byalick
Dell Yearling/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
0440418658 $5.50 1-800-726-0600

Marcia Byalick’s Quit It is one of the best books on Tourette Syndrome to appear for teens: Carrie is in 7th grade when her symptoms begin appealing, and her fidgeting and habits only get worse as she grows more self-conscious. From a peer counseling group she has to hide from her parents to the reactions of adults – including her own – to her growing symptoms, Carrie has too much on her hands. Her efforts to accept her condition make for an involving read and a solid set of insights into a little-discussed condition.

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

Clemency Pogue’s recollection of a trick saves her when she’s attacked by a wicked fairy: unfortunately, her chant also has killed six other fairies around the world – mostly good ones. It’s up to Clemency to make good, even if it was a terrible mistake. Humor abounds in J.T. Petty’s zany story of fantasy and fun Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer (0689872364 $9.95). Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice In The Know (0689870922, $15.95) provides another Alice story. Here Alice is enjoying the summer before her junior years – or would, if she didn’t have to work in a local store, try to stop shoplifters, and face the serious illness of a good friend. Her growing up continues with realistic scenes and events any can relate to.

The Drowned Violin
Mel Malton
Napoleon Publishing
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2N 4Y8
1894917235 $9.95

The Drowned Violin: An Alan Nearing Mystery by Mel Malton is the fast-paced and fun mystery story that begins with finding of a violin in a local river by eleven year old Alan Nearing and his friends. Carrying young readers through the ever-thickening plot of a missing Stradivarius and a gang of thieving bullies on jet-skis, The Drowned Violin involves charming Josee and Ziggy with Alan's quick and fun investigation of their town's oddest mystery yet. The Drowned Violin is very highly recommended as the debut novel for Mel Malton's "Alan Nearing Mystery" series and highly recommended for all young mystery fans as a creative, entertaining read.

Getorix: The Eagle And The Bull
Judith Geary
High Country Publishers
197 New Market Center, #135, Boone, NC 28607
193215874X $24.95 1-828-297-7127

Judith Geary's debut novel, Getorix: The Eagle And The Bull is set in the days of the Roman Republic (rather than the later Roman Empire) and is the story of a young Celt named Getorix. Following the adventurous life of Getorix which includes the depressing defeat of his father in a battle with the Romans, Getorix: The Eagle And The Bull deftly carries readers through a Celtic family struggles and Getorix befriending a Roman soldier who has spared his life. A superbly written novel whose author has taken great pains to be as historically accurate as possible in the little details so important to background settings and plot developments, Getorix: The Eagle And The Bull is very strongly recommended as a thoroughly captivating and intimate story of a young man's struggle with identity and pride. Written for a young adult readership, Getoix: The Eagle And The Bull is the first installment of a three volume trilogy and will leave the reader looking eagerly toward the next two titles in this superbly crafted and original series.

Daisy Chains
Sandra Byrd
Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55438
0764200232 $10.99

Part of the "Friends For A Season" series, Daisy Chains by Sandra Byrd is the entertaining young adult novel of Kylie Peterson and Rachel Cohen and their quick friendship as the two of them are both invited to help out with a wedding between separate cousins of each. As the two progress as friends, their fascination with their cousin's religion, (one being Jewish and the other not), opens the gate to an interesting investigation, Daisy Chains takes the young reader through the women's most intimate struggles with their emotion, self-discoveries, and their faith. For its entertainingly creative interpretation of teenage life and concerns, Daisy Chains is very highly recommended for all young readers.

Front Street
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431

Helen Hemphill’s Long Gone Daddy (19-32425381, $16.95) tells of Harlan Q, ready to bring his dead father to Las Vegas to be buried. His religious father decides to come along, and through a series of incidences, prejudices on all sides help two generations understand one another. Steven Herrick’s By The River (1932425-721, $16.95) tells of one Harry, who lives in a sleepy Australian town and spends time dreaming and having fun. Despite his relatively easy life, Harry longs to leave the small town here his mother died and his friend Linda was swept away in a flood. His decision to solve one mystery before he goes will change everything. Terry Hokenson’s The Winter Road (19-32425454, $16.95) tells of a teen struggling with the death of her brother and adults who neglect her for their own mourning. When her uncle’s drinking threatens the delivery of important cargo, she undertakes to fly his cold Canadian route solo, crashes, and finds herself struggling for her own survival. A fine tale of nature, love, and honor evolves. Rosemary Sutcliff’s Mark Of The Horse Lord (193-2425624, $10.95) is the reprint an award-winner in an paperback format with an appealing contemporary cover art, and tells of an enslaved gladiator in Northern Britain in the first century who earns his freedom by killing his best friend in a final fight. His journey through a land ruled by superstition, loyalty and ritual brings an early era to life.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Susanna Reich’s Penelope Bailey Takes The Stage (0761452877, $16.95) tells of a pre-teen with dreams of becoming an actress: but in 1889 San Francisco, proper young ladies do not become actresses. How far will Penny go to achieve her dreams? With the help of a neighbor Penny makes some connections which will overcome even the will of her strict aunt in this story of a girl’s determination against all odds. Jennifer Roy’s Yellow Star (076145277X, $16.95) brings to life the times of the Holocaust, using free verse to tell of one of only twelve children to survive the Polish ghetto when the Germans invaded. The free verse format to describe experiences may not appeal right away, but the vivid descriptions grow on you.

Treasure Hunt
Eunice Geil Smith
Herald Press
616 Walnut Avenue, Scottdale, PA 15683
0836193326 $9.99

The debut novel Eunice Geil Smith, Treasure Hunt is a fun and creative mystery story of eleven-year-old Maggie Diver, her family and friends set in the mid-nineteenth-century. Carrying young readers through a gripping and fast-paced tale, Treasure Hunt delves into the remarkable lives of the Diver family and the peculiar occurrences which bring Maggie a wonderful mystery. Treasure Hunt is very highly recommended for all young readers (particularly mystery lovers) for its engaging and entertaining story of a smart and quick young girl back in the time of America's Civil War.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Megan McDonald’s Stink And The Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker (07-63621587, $12.99) tells of Stink Moody, who gets a ten-pound box of 23,280 jawbreakers just for writing a letter to the handy company. Inspired, he fires off more such letters – and packages of free stuff keeps on coming, until a small envelope changes his life. A zany story of a boy’s adventure. Kate DiCamillo’s The Miraculous Journey Of Edward Tulane (0763625892, $18.99) tells of a china rabbit named Edward who is owned by a girl who loves him. Then one day he lost, and begins a series of adventures which takes him from loving arms to the depths of the ocean and around the country. A poignant story reminiscent of Velveteen Rabbit – but with far more detail – will immerse advanced elementary to middle school readers in an exploration of love and longevity.

Clarion/Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003

Barbara M. Joosse’s new Wild Willie mystery Dead Guys Talk (0618306668, $15.00) enjoys fun cartoon-like drawings by Abby Carter as it provides kids in grades 4-6 with a story of hot, bored young detectives who receive a map to the town cemetery along with a note pleading for help. Adventure lures them into a graveyard scam in this story of a greedy seller and a mysterious client afraid to show his face. Lois Lowry’s Gossamer (0618685502, $16.00) considers the origins of dreams and imagination as it tells of two people – a lonely woman and a damaged, angry boy – who find new meaning in life through dreams and connections to each other. A touch of fantasy brings connections alive in this gentle story of hope and healing.

1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Pieces Of Georgia by Jen Bryant (037-5832599, $15.95) tells of a girl who can’t seem to get anywhere in life: she’s not popular at school, she can’t do schoolwork even when she knows the answers, and her father rejects her artistic abilities. When a school counselor hands her a red leather journal Georgia thinks she’ll never use it – but a mysterious gift changes her life and finally she begins to heal from her mother’s death. Being Bindy (0385732945, $15.95) by Alyssa Brugman tells of a girl in trouble in a different way. Eighth grade for Bindy is complicated by her best friend’s conversion to her worst enemy, her problems with growing up, and her parents’ divorce. Add her father’s attraction to her new enemy’s mother and you have a searching novel of coming of age – despite it all. Allison Whittenberg’s Sweet Thang (0385732929, $15.95) tells of teen Charmaine, a girl obsessed with justice and leading a life filled with injustice; from having to share a room with a tap-dancing brother to having her dark skin upstaged by the lighter-skinned Dinah. Her efforts to find justice in the world soon lead to a revision of high expectations of the way life should be in this moving young adult coming of age story. Morris Gleitzman’s Toad Away (0375827-668, $14.95) tells of Limpy, who has a vision of a wonderful world where cane toads and humans can play in the mud together. This is Limpy’s third adventure book – but he still holds this dream dear, and is still trying to make his dream come true. But first, he has to take a trip to the Amazon – and Toad Away follows his long journey. Martina Wildner’s Shooting Stars Everywhere (0385732503, $15.95) tells of a serious of anonymous letters which reach victor on his 13th birthday and beyond, giving him a mystery to solve even as he tries to conquer his fear of diving off the high board at the pool, and handing problems between his divorced parents. A fellow diver and detective helps him on all fronts in this warm story of friendship and overcoming obstacles. Blake Nelson’s Gender Blender (038574-6962, $15.95) tells of two friends who are such no longer: it’s middle school, and it’s war. When Emma and Tom switch bodies under a curse, war turns to confusion and uncertain acceptance in a hilarious story of gender switching. Narinder Dhami’s Bhangra Babes (0385733186, $14.95) tells of an interfering auntie who is getting married and moving out, leaving three girls excited about having their house and father back to themselves. The Dhillon sisters find such an event won’t solve all their problems and might even create some new ones in this final story adding to Dhami’s trilogy. Elizabeth Winthrop’s Counting On Grace (038574644X, $15.95) tells of two pre-teens who have to leave school to work in the mill. They both dream of escape – which comes in the form of a reformer with a camera who takes photos of the two working kids and befriends them. Child labor issues come to life in this warm historical novel. Jeff Stone’s The Five Ancestors: Snake (037-5830758, $15.95) returns to the Shaolin Temple, where a young monk seeks answers from She, a master of snake-style kung fu. She’s world is upside down when the temple is destroyed, and his journey with bandits leads him to a lovely woman whose name means ‘cobra’. This is third in the Five Ancestors series – but familiarity with the others is not needed to fully enjoy this addition. Justin Ball and Evan Croker’s Space Dogs (0375832564, $15.95) tells of Laika, the first dog in space whose craft is sucked through a wormhole to a planet inhabited by very intelligent, very tiny people. Years later a disturbance emanating through the wormhole from Earth threatens life on the planet, leading to a mission to Earth to destroy the source of the disturbance – in a craft which looks like Laika. The objective is to blend with the locals – but earth cats have another idea in this hilarious story of encounters between very different races. Christine Fiord’s Scout (0385732341, $14.95) tells of Cecelia, who is the lookout in the woods behind her Texas home. The new kid in school seems to need her too, but as Cecelia finds out more about his lifestyle and rigid father, she wonders about her ability to act as a scout for anyone. Free verse format keeps the story line intriguing.

The Video/DVD Shelf

Team: Bravo Bears
Sam L. Siragusa
Electric Bear Studios
c/o 411 Video Information
PO Box 1223, Pebble Beach, CA 93953 $14.95

Produced, directed, and written by Sam L. Siragusa, Team: Bravo Bears - Mission One, is a 32-minute, full color, DVD formatted and wonderfully entertaining story of a team of" environmentalist soldier bears" intent protecting our world and its endangered environment. Creatively captivating its young viewers, Team: Bravo Bears offers a fun introduction to the world of the Extraterrestrial Intelligence Agency's Major and his glorious team of Ace, Ice Blok, Wrench, and Safari Sam as they battle against the Gonkian Empire and the evil Dr. Xevious. Team: Bravo Bears is a very strongly recommended science fiction animated action/adventure story introducing the Bravo Bears for young viewers with an original story that is highly entertaining, and will leave them looking forward to future episodes of the Bravo Bears.

Nursery Tap Hip To Toe
Nursery Tap, LLC
c/o Andrea Blain (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
837101143721 19.95

Produced to entertain young viewers ages 2 to 7, Nursery Tap Hip To Toe: Volume Two showcases tap dancing to the rhythm and influence of a wonderful compendium of nursery rhymes. Creatively presenting a multitude of entertaining and highly active nursery rhymes, Nursery Tap Hip To Toe features such taps dancing numbers as My Father Had Garden Gay; Betty Botter, When Lord Biron Wants To Dance; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Mary Had A Little Lamb; Buddha Poem; Pretty Rosina; Hush Little Baby Ballet; Little Polly Flinders, and more. Expertly produced and superbly performed, Nursery Tap Hip To Toe: Volume Two has a running time of 33 minutes and is enthusiastically recommended for preschool, kindergarten, family, and community library DVD collections.

Lon Po Po
Ed Young
Weston Woods/Scholastic
143 Main St, Norwalk, CT 06851
0439873711 DVD690

Translated and illustrated by Ed Young and narrated by B. D. Wong, this flawlessly produced ten-minute DVD of Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China, is the remarkable story of three young children and their encounter with a terrifying wolf pretending to be their grand mother, or Po Po. Creatively directed and presented by Cha-Pow and featuring music by Ernest V. Troost, Lon Po Po captivates its young readers through the active and beautifully illustrated tale of the children's swift intelligence, bravery, and trust. Lon Po Po is very highly recommended for all young viewers and readers between four and eight for its wonderful creativity and intriguing story. Also very highly recommended for school and community library DVD collections for young viewers are the Weston Woods visual editions of Cinderella (0439848768, DVD-671, 12 minutes), Hondo And Fabian (0439849098, DVD688, 6 minutes), That New Animal (0439849233, DVD687, 6 minutes), and Emily's First One-Hundred Days Of School (0439848962, DVD654, 36 minutes, animated).

Time Out Tot
Ann Brazil
Pausitive Programs
2385 Sherwood Road, San Marino, CA 91108
0977458601 $19.99

Volume One of Ann Brazil's Time Out Tot: The Behavior Coach offers preschool children and their parents wonderfully entertaining and truly exceptional guidance for learning and reinforcing proper behavior. Deftly carrying young viewers through a fun reinforcement of a positive attitudes geared to their age developmental level, Time Out Tot features Tot the Squirrel and his adventurous escapades which address such behavioral issues as whining, tantrums, grabbing, biting, cut-ting in line, and pushing. Time Out Tot is very highly recommended for children at home and in preschool settings as an entertaining and effective introduction to avoiding behavior problems in children ages three to five. Also very highly recommended for use with preschool children is Tot's Tunes ($9.99), a CD featuring nine original tracks that include: Do You Know What You Should Do?, Oops I Goofed!, If You're Angry And You Know It, Cutting In Line, Don't Push, Naughty Nerbert, His Favorite Toy, Little Susie Likes To Whine, and You're Learning. Also available is Tot's Tally ($1.99), a good behavior chart for Tot's pal to color and collect ten acorns -- Tot likes to catch kids doing the "right" thing and give them an acorn sticker. Included are two charts and 24 stickers.

The Toy Castle: Twinkle Twinkle
American Public Television
c/o Questar Inc.
PO Box 11345, Chicago, IL 60611-0345
1594642265 $14.99 1-847-933-9884

The Toy Castle: Twinkle Twinkle is a 90-minute, full color, live action DVD co-production of American Public Television and Sound Venture Productions is an imaginative and engaging collection of twelve ballet stories and present young viewers (ages preschool through eight years) with a superb introduction to the beauty, grace, and storytelling qualities of ballet. Compiling the fun episodes of Twinkle Twinkle, Tooth Fairy, Man In The Moon, Horse Dreams, Again Please, A Soldier's Story, Sleep Dancing, Sky Show, Night Lights, Solo Sleep Out, Starry Night, and Moon Lady, The Toy Castle offers young viewers simply splendid examples the wonderful art of dance as performed by the eclectic cast of Demi Pointe, Tendues, Degagees, Clown Shuffle, and Jack in the Box. The DVD format features an English and French language track, games and activities, video clips, stories, puzzles, a coloring book, "I Spy" -- all of which require a DVD compatible computer. The Toy Castle is very highly recommended for school and community library DVD collections for young viewers. Also very highly recommended from Questar are two other companion DVDs: The Toy Castle: Birthday Bash (QD3640, $14.99) and The Toy Castle: Beautiful Ballerina QD3639, $14.99).

The Crafting Shelf

Grandma's Magic Scissors
Linda S. Day
Day To Day Enterprises
1721 Cabie Creek Rd., Oviedo, FL 32766
1890905682 $14.95

Grandma's Magic Scissors: Paper Cut-ting From A-Z by Linda S. Day (a.k.a. Grandma) is a fun and creative instructional compendium of do-it-yourself projects for creating intricate, beautiful pieces of art with just a sheet of paper, a pencil, and a pair of scissors. Providing young (and not so young!) readers with a "user friendly" introduction to the inexpensive, fun and artistic pastime of fancy paper cutting, Grandma's Magic Scissors carefully guides the reader through cutting out such designs as The Monkeys and the Crocodile; Praying Parents; and Little Red Hen and Chicks, to Mice; Three Billy Goats Gruff; and Hearts with Bunnies. A wonderful resource for rainy days and other homebound occasions (with a bit of judicious adult supervision), Grandma's Magic Scissors is very strongly recommended for all children, but most especially those with an artistic interest searching for an entertaining and creatively inspiring guide through the decorative art of paper cutting and design.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

How Mother Nature Flowered The Fields Of Earth And Mars
Tom Schwartz
Reagent Press
1265 Palm Garden Place, Melbourne, FL 32940
1575451026 $18.95

A welcome addition to family, school and community library collections, How Mother Nature Flowered The Fields Of Earth And Mars by Tom Schwartz is the fun and creative tale of the Supreme Queen Bee Bluefire and her decision to quit working for the almighty mother nature and instead, just have fun and relaxing idleness. As the dilemma of un-pollinated flowers becomes more and more calamitous, How Mother Nature Flowered The Fields Of Earth And Mars carries its young readers through Mother Nature's action against the defiant Queen Bluefire and her followers as trickery and situational innovation make up the fate of them all. Through the format of a fairytale style presentation, young readers are providing with some very "real world" information about environmental issues and Earth's interdependent ecosystems. Ideal for family, preschool, and community library collections, How Mother Nature Flowered The Fields Of Earth And Mars is very highly recommended for its originality, its entertainment value, and its informational content.

A simple library card is the key to an endless treasury of ideas and opportunities.

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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