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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 6 June 2007 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Bilingual Shelf Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Books in Series DVD Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf Picturebook Shelf
American History Shelf Environmental Shelf Cookbook Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

ABC Safari
Karen Lee
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Boulevard, Suite 3, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
0977742369, $15.95 1-877-958-2600

More than just another 'ABC' book for preschool and kindergarten children, author and illustrator Karen Lee's "ABC Safari" is an animal themed rhyming journey that draws upon diverse animals from around the world, some of whom will be familiar to young readers, others that will prove to be exotic. The carnivorous and herbivorous animals cited and portrayed through museum quality artwork. The animals are backgrounded by their appropriate habitats, biomes, and geographic regions ranging from cold tundras, to hot deserts, to African jungles, to the Himalayan mountains. Young readers are challenged to find the hidden safari boy and his pet parrot in each illustration. Also available in a paperback edition (9780977742363, $8.95) and enhanced with fun facts for each animal, "ABC Safari" is enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, and kindergarten collections for kids ages 3 to 7.

Ann Love & Jane Drake
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, ON M5A 2P9 Canada
0887767524, $19.95

SWEET! THE DELICIOUS STORY OF CANDY provides a fun story of candy through the ages, linked to a time line of events and a survey of the development of sweets. From early Egyptian temple slaves and the first honeycakes to the origins of licorice, marshmallow, and various penny candies, SWEET also includes recipes and tips on candy making, along with fun color illustrations throughout, lending to a survey blending history with culinary adventure. The very bright cover especially lends to leisure browsing and attention-grabbing interest.

Who Put the B in the Ballyhoo?
Carolyn Beccia
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02166
0618717188, $16.00

Many books offer circus insights, but this WHO PUT THE BI N THE BALLYHOO is different: it uses the author's background in graphic design and advertising and pairs this with her interest in vintage circus advertisements to provide a colorful blend of full-page artistic posters describing circus acts with commentary on each circus legend. Kids will find it a colorful, fun survey of the circus atmosphere of yesterday.

Enslow Publishers Inc.
Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398

Bacteria, viruses and fungi microbes are everywhere – many might believe them harmful but in fact most microbes are beneficial, as Sara L. Latta's THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE SLIMY: THE SECRET LIFE OF MICROBES (9780766012943, $31.93) reveals. The author has a B.A. in Microbiology and an M.S. in Immunology, and here provides a lively history of the discovery and science of microbes and their importance. Perfect supplemental reading for advanced elementary-level classrooms. Glenn Scherer and Marty Fletcher's J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER: THE BRAIN BEHIND THE BOMB (1598450506, $33.27) is a '' title: this means that facts are linked to web sites and encourage students in grades 5 and up to link reading with computer work. Oppenheimer's direction of the Manhattan Project changed the world: 128 pages blend color photos with experiments, history, Internet addresses, and a bibliography to support either science or social studies curricula – and makes for excellent biographical report material, as well.

Midsummer Knight
Gregory Rogers
Roaring Brook Press
c/o Holtzbrinck Publishing
143 West Street, New Millford, CT 06776
1596431830, $16.95 1-800-462-4703

Award-winning author and artist Gregory Rogers presents Midsummer Knight, a wordless graphic novel bound in the format of a picturebook. The illustrations show the actions of a bear in an enchanted world, caught up amid treachery and even sent into palace dungeons. His escape and showdown against an usurper make for a rousing adventure in this warm-hearted tale presented with just the right blend of cartoony art style, action, derring-do, and tenderheartedness.

What to Do When Good Enough Isn't Good Enough
Thomas S. Greenspon, Ph.D.
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
1575422344, $9.95

Written by licensed psychologist and family & marriage therapist Thomas S. Greenspon, Ph.D., What to Do When Good Enough Isn't Good Enough: The Real Deal on Perfectionism is a guide written especially for young people, preteens and teenagers about what perfectionism is and learning how to deal with it. What to Do When Good Enough Isn't Good Enough emphasizes that perfectionism isn't just wanting to do well - it's an obsessive fear of performing less-than-perfect in any way, and is always harmful. Perfectionism can and often does interfere with the necessary hard work and learning process involved in undertaking any task; for example, a perfectionist might obsessively worry about a book report so much that he or she turns it in late (or not at all!) because too much time was wasted trying to write it perfectly. A thoughtful, practical, down-to-earth guide, enthusiastically recommended for grade and high school library shelves.

Feelings Only I Know
Susan McKenna
Wayfarer Press, LLC
PO Box 948, Union Lake, MI 48387-0948
097899650X, $14.95

Written by pediatric nurse Susan McKenna, who had difficulty finding appropriate resources when undergoing her own divorce, Feelings Only I Know: Mom and Dad Are Getting Divorced is a picturebook written to help children understand and talk about the difficult changes of a divorce. The pastel-colored illustrations add a gentle, evocative visual touch to the text. "It will be both a happy time and sad time when I go to visit my dad, who doesn't live with us anymore. It is okay for me to feel sad. It is also okay for me to feel happy. I can pack a special bag or suitcase with my pajamas and toothbrush, and a few of my favorite toys. I can bring my pillow, too. It will be fun!" Since mothers are most often the primary custodian in divorce cases, Feelings Only I Know is illustrated primarily from the point of view of a child who lives with his divorced mother, but the text and general purpose of the book is meant to be as accessible as possible no matter which parent the child lives with. An extended message at the close offers advice for divorced and divorcing parents for helping their child through the trauma, including a warning that kids are naturally ego-centric and therefore prone to think they caused the divorce - even when no parent has given them reason to believe this. Highly recommended, an expertly crafted and seriously written resource.

Learning Props, LLC
PO Box 774, Racine, WI 53401 1-877-776-7750

Learning Props is a Wisconsin-based publisher of educational books designed for preschool and kindergarten students for the purpose of helping young children develop and expand their language learning skills and vocabularies. The published books currently comprising the Learning Props list include four English titles and 6 bilingual (English/Spanish) titles. The English Language titles include "Dress Up" (9780976870647, $9.95) showcasing words accompanied by pictures of various items of apparel and accessories; "Patterns" (9780976870630, $9.95) which showcases shapes, lines, and colors illustrated with 'real life' colored photographs of images from which patterns can be derived; "Critters" (9780976870661, $9.95) offering children an opportunity to name and identify a variety of animals; and "Where Will You Find Me? (9780976870654, $9.95) featuring identified items through color photographs and information as to where they would be found. The bilingual titles include: "Count On Me!" (9780974154961, $9.95) using real objects to illustrate numbers 1 through 20; "Shape Land" (9780974154985, $9.95) featuring a variety of shapes and objects; "What Color Is It?" (9780974154978, $9.95) focusing on eleven basic colors via bright colorful objects and word label combinations; "Which Way?" (9780976870623) explaining and illustrating the concept of 'opposite'; "Body Parts" (9780976870609, $9.95) help children to name and identify the various parts of the human body; and "Play Action" (9780976870616, $9.95) illustrating with colorful photos the joy of movement and 'imaginative actions'. Each hardcover 22-page picturebook format features a durable library binding for extended shelf life, and heavy weight pages for durability. The bilingual titles feature a text where English and Spanish words are side-by-side in contrasting colors and are enhanced for children with the inclusion of pronunciation pages. Each of these ten titles are especially recommended for preschool, grade school, home school, and community library collections.

The Bilingual Shelf

Abuelita Full of Life
Amy Costales, author
Martha Aviles, illustrator
Luna Rising
PO Box 1389, Flagstaff, Arizona 86002-1389
0873589149, $14.95

Abuelita Full of Life is a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook about Jose, a young boy who must adjust to the arrival of his grandmother from Mexico. Jose has to change his ways, by making more space for her, speaking Spanish to her, and listening to her music at times. But he discovers that he doesn't mind the changes at all, for his Abuelita is astoundingly full of life! There is never a dull moment as she shows him things he never stopped to look closely at before. "Abuelita says she is too old to keep up with Jose on his bike, but she is quick enough to chase the ice-cream man. When Jose goes to the park with Abuelita, they have to walk. At first he misses his bike, but he likes it when Abuelita holds his hand and he can feel the strength that flows beneath her wrinkly skin. She teaches him the names of the trees and the flowers they see on the way, and Jose is amazed by how much he used to miss by rushing by on his bike." A heartwarming story about bonding with family, highly recommended.

Sometimes Smart Is Good
Dena Fox Luchsinger, author
Karen A. Jerome, illustrator
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
0802852157, $16.00 1-800-253-7521

The debut children's book of Proyecto Down , the founder Dena Fox Luchsinger, Sometimes Smart Is Good is a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook with an important life lesson for young readers, and part of a series of programs designed to help families affected by developmental disabilities in Monterrey, Mexico. Sometimes being smart is good, and so is being strong, or talented, but there is more to goodness, and life, than that. "What is always good? Kind is always good... like helping someone, or visiting a lonely person, or being a friend." The gentle, faintly impressionistic artwork shows a physically and mentally handicapped girl in a chair as the text reads, "This is my friend Daniela. She reminds me that all people are important just because God made them. Sometimes smart is good. Loving other people just because God made them is always good." A profound and meaningful bilingual picturebook with a simple spiritual message, highly recommended.

The Fiction Shelf

Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy
Lila Guzman
Blooming Tree Press
PO Box 140934, Austin, TX 78714-0934
0976941716, $13.95

Award-winning author Lila Guzman presents Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy, a chapter book for young readers ages seven and up about a rare blue Chihuahua and the special bond he forms with a friend. Kichi has lived his life as a pampered but lonely pet, owned by Fortune Teller at the temple of the Mayan city of Chilaan. One day, Fortune Teller's brother captures a new slave, Uxmal, from the rival city - and amazingly, Uxmal can speak Dog! When terrible raiders attack Chilaan and kidnap Uxmal, Kichi sets out into the jungle to save his closest friend. A handful of simple black-and-white drawings illustrate this charming tale of love and loyalty.

The Big One-Oh
Dean Pitchford
G. P. Putnam's Sons
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
Terpin Communications Group (publicity)
4333 Admiralty Way, East Tower, Suite 200, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
0399245472, $15.99 1-800-847-5515

"The Big One-Oh" is award winning songwriter Dean Pitchford's debut novel for young adult readers. Charley Maplewood is friendless and fatherless as he prepares to celebrate his tenth birthday with a party. But disaster after disaster complicates things until Charlie's big day ends up as a full-blown catastrophe. Yet somehow in the end, it all turns out to be Charlie's best birthday ever! A thoroughly charming and original story that is especially recommended for school and community library collections, "The Big One-OH" will hold the rapt attention of young readers from beginning to end.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Salamanda Drake's DRAGONSDALE (0439871735, $16.99) is a winning story of a riding school run by Cara's father – a riding school where dragons are the mounts. It's a stable of longing for Cara, who loves dragons but is forbidden to ride them since her mother's terrible accident – and it's a stable of danger, as she secretly rides anyway, in defiance of her father's wishes. Will Cara ever be able to openly take flight and ride? DRAGONSDALE is your typical horse stable girl story with a twist and will delight grades 6-8 with a fun story of change and courage. Garth Nix's latest ' The Keys to the Kingdom' addition is LADY FRIDAY (0439700884, $17.99), telling of Arthur Penhaligon, whose friends have been captured by the Pipe in a world where the army controls most of the Great Maze. Pitted against the ruthless Lady Friday, Arthur finds himself in a race to win control of the House and assume his role as a rightful heir – or lose everything – in this fifth book of the series, recommended as a top pick for prior fans. Barbara Kerley's GREETINGS FROM PLANET EARTH (0439802032, $16.99) is set in 1977 and tells of Theo and his class who are creating a greeting to be carried into space from Earth. In the course of composing a letter which will address the wider questions of who humans are, Theo must confront his own identity – including family secrets – in this story of war's aftermath and the meaning of humanity. Patricia C. McKissack's A FRIENDSHIP FOR TODAY (043966098X, $16.99) tells of pre-teen Rosemary, one of the first Afro-Americans to enroll in an all-white school. She and her friend are ready – but when her friend is diagnosed with polio before the first day, Rosemary finds herself entering school alone – and facing racism throughout the year, as well as her parents' struggling marriage. A realistic story of courage and black identity emerges in a fine leisure choice middle school readers will relish.

Bravo, Max!
D.J. Lucas aka Sally Grindley
McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
1416903933, $15.99

Max is writing to his favorite author, D.J. Lucas – and he reveals his secrets and worries as his author friend reveals her writing successes and challenges. The series of back-and-forth letters are engaging, easy reads and kids ages 6-9 will find BRAVO, MAX! a lively and personable presentation as a result, perfect for leisure reading.

The Chestnut Soldier
Jenny Nimmo
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439846773, $9.99

Book three in the Magician Trilogy continues the saga of magician Gwyn, who faces further challenges to his magical powers when a wicked spirit escapes from a broken toy horse and unleashes havoc on his world. Gwyn's own family is affected and the entire town is in danger: can he summon the forces to fight a final battle? This concludes a trilogy begun in THE SNOW SPIDER; prior familiarity with the other hard-hitting fantasy stories will enhance appreciation of this concluding adventure for advanced elementary to early middle school grades.

A Summer to Die
Lois Lowry
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
0385734204, $7.99 1-800-726-0600

Meg's family moves to a small house in the country so her father can finish his book – and Meg faces many changes: sharing a room with her older sister Molly, making new friends. Her new friendships with an elderly neighbor and a young couple are just introducing her to newfound photography skills when Molly falls ill, and Meg must confront developing her friendships and skills and saying goodbye to her sister. A poignant, warm story evolves.

Jack Jones and the Pirate Curse
Judith Rossell
Walker & Company
104 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
0802796613, $15.95

Jack is a regular kid until his great-uncle passes away and he finds out about a terrible curse from his private relative that leads a band of pirates to his doorstep. Can he become the only family member to successfully thwart the curse, or will he spend his life running from it, as everyone has before him? Kids who love mysteries and pirates with a touch of the supernatural thrown in will love JACK JONES AND THE PIRATE CURSE.

Jeff Stone
Random House
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
0375830774, $15.99

Three companions head down the Yellow River to the underworld of a dangerous city, unaware that their youngest brother is being used as bait in a trap, in this exciting Kung Fu drama which adds to a series with the fourth out of five projected books. Hok has long hidden her identity, but when her old life causes complications in her new world, Hok finds herself allying with other young monks who must use their kung fu skills to survive. Kids who love martial arts will relish this adventure.

When Heaven Fell
Carolyn Marsden
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
0763631752, $15.99

Nine-year-old Binh sells sodas to schoolgirls whose families can afford to give them an education – and returns home to live with her family in a simple one-room home. Her simple life is destined to change when a new aunt comes to visit from America, bringing with her cultural confusion: she's tall, isn't married, and brings no special gifts to the family. Will Di Hai take her to America? A young Vietnamese girl faces another culture and different dreams in WHEN HEAVEN FELL: perfect for collections seeking strong multicultural stories.

Fair Has Nothing to Do With It
Cynthia Cotton
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003
0374399352, $16.00

Michael has made regular summer visits to his grandparents' farm where his grandfather taught him all about nature and country living: when Grandpa dies suddenly, Michael feels very alone. He hardly sees his friends when school begins, his father is always working, and life is hard – until a new girl in town and a retired teacher and artist who is giving Michael private art lessons helps him focus on a new path in life. A gentle story of loss and recovery evolves.

Dog Diaries
Betsy Byers, Betsy Duffey, Laurie Myers
Henry Holt
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0805079572, $15.95

Dogs are gathering for the first annual meeting of the WOOF Society, chaired by an Irish wolfhound, to listen to the secret diaries of dogs from around the world and through history…the result is a hilarious dog's-eye view of the human and animal world in a series of short story vignettes spiced with black and white photos throughout by Erik Brooks. A delightful, fun light read sure to attract leisure readers seeking easier chapter book formats beyond the very basic stage.

Treasure At Turtle Lake
Peggy Dymond Leavey
Napoleon Publishing
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M2N 4Y8
1894917499, $7.95 1-877-730-9052

Joel Osler is 12 years old and decides to leave his mother's home in Toronto to live with his father and stepmother in Turtle Narrows in order to avoid the consequences of having been caught shoplifting. On the way, Joel meets a map who shows him a map with three clues. When the man shows up again in Turtle Narrows, Joel acquires an unlikely companion in his new classmate Paige Duggan.. Joel shows Paige the drawings he made from memory about the map and together they match wits with the man seeking to discover what the map is leading to. But things are complicated when a silver compass disappears from a teacher's desk and Joel is suspect. When the man traps Joel and Paige in a shed on the wharf, their quest becomes so much more than a race against time! "Treasure At Turtle Lake" is a superbly crafted mystery by the award winning author Peggy Dymond Leavey that is confidently recommended from beginning to end as a terrific summer book for young readers.

Ride the Desperate Trail
Mike Kearby
Trails End Books
PO Box 201385, Austin, TX 78720-1385
Stephanie Barko Literary Publicist
16100 Crystal Hills, Austin, TX 78737
0978842278, $20.00

The sequel "The Road to a Hanging" and second in a trilogy, Ride the Desperate Trail continues the saga of Free Anderson in the Old West. Written for young adults and adults alike, Ride the Desperate Trail portrays the fast bond between two friends from the Union Army, one black and one white, as they work together to battle frontier violence and establish homesteads in Texas. When Anderson's wife is kidnapped by an outlaw, the search to rescue her stretches from the Sand Hills of Texas to the Guadalupe Mountains, culminating in a life or death showdown at the Apache winter camp in the canyons of Big Bend country. A rousing, action-packed saga of rough justice in an untamed land, highly recommended.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Mystery of the Crying Ghost
Rita Hsu Syers
Bronwen Publishing
4 Colchester Place, Suite 4A, Newton, PA 18940
0977926710, $9.95

The debut novel of author Rita Hsu Syers, Mystery of the Crying Ghost is a novel written for young adults ages 8-12, about a young fifth-grade girl named Chloe who has a hard time adjusting to her new home. Settling into a new school and making new friends is rough, her grandfather is terribly overworked, and strange noises come from her house at night - noises that no one else notices except her beloved dog and cat. When Chloe glimpses a child peering at her from the window of an empty room, she discovers that her house is haunted by spirits who suffered a terrible tragedy fifty years ago. Chloe seeks to uncover the mystery behind the tragedy, but she needs help; grown-ups don't believe her, so she turns to two classmates, a sharp-minded genius boy and a courageous girl who studies karate, ready and willing to discover her house's hidden secret. Highly recommended for public and middle school library shelves.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Quest for Qosquo
Hayley Hamilton
Lulu Press
860 Aviation Parkway, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560
1430302631, $15.06

Written by flight attendant Hayley Hamilton, The Quest for Qosquo Book 1: The Race for the Red Ruby is a fantasy novel for preteens and young adults about three siblings drawn into the mysterious Land of Qosquo. Guided by angels, they must unravel secrets, face off against terrible beasts, and do everything in their power to protect magical jewels in the hands of goodness. A classic good-versus-evil adventure, sure to enthrall and entertain.

Zertelo and the Quest for CastleOak
D.S. Arnauld
Heroes & Leaders Publishing
121 Darcie Drive, Forney, TX 75126
1568705786, $9.95

Zertelo and the Quest CastleOak is a charming fantasy novel for ages nine to ninety, featuring a young lizard tasked with a magical quest to end the tyranny of the evil hawk Bailfar, and his many bats and spiders. With the aid of a wizard frog and a tortoise friend, the young lizard must overcome his fears and rise to his full potential. An adventure of chivalry, courage, magic, and wonder, sure to entertain and delight anyone who has wondered about the secret lives of lizards. Highly recommended.

The Adventures of Hopper and Other Children's Stories
Jo-Lynn M. Ward-O'Brien
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
0533147875, $7.95 1-212-736-1767

Freelance writer and anthologized poet Jo-Lynn M. Ward-O'Brien presents The Adventures of Hopper and Other Children's Stories, a trim, softcover collection of delightful short stories especially for young readers ready to make the transition from picturebooks to their very first chapter books. Black-and-white illustrations every few pages, and a minimum of text on each page help make The Adventures of Hopper and Other Children's Stories easy for young people to read. The stories in this forty-one page anthology are "The Adventures of Hopper", "A Gusty Tale", and "The Littlest Puppy"; all three feature whimsical animal characters and fast friendships. Highly recommended.

Runt the Hunted
Daniel Schwabauer, M.A.
Clear Water Press
PO Box 62, Olathe, KS 66051
0974297232, $17.99

The wondrous sequel to "Runt the Brave", Runt the Hunted continues the anthropomorphic adventures of a courageous young mouse in a world beset by dangers. The sly rat warrior Kreeg and his alliance of cutthroats is poised to destroy the underground mouse city of Tira-Nor, yet JaRed son of ReDemee, "Runt", cannot deliver warning of the danger because the mad king has thrust him into exile. Runt's former friends are under orders to kill him on sight - what can one mouse do to save the civilization he loves? Award-winning novelist Daniel Schwabauer, M.A., has penned another winning forest fantasy for readers of all ages. Highly recommended.

The Call to Shakabaz
Amy Wachspress
Woza Books
PO Box 635, Talmage, CA 95481
0978835026, $15.50

Head Start administrator Amy Wachspress presents The Call to Shakabaz, a fantasy novel for ages eight to eighty following four newly orphaned children who discover a surprising secret about their family. Accompanied by a pestering parrot, they travel to the faraway land of Faracadar, and seek the immensely powerful Staff of Shakabaz in hope of using it to end the tyranny of the evil enchanter Sissrath. Their adventure carries them over land and sea, into the dungeonlike depths of the Final Fortress, and each of them must discover their own talents and gifts in order to have any hope of survival, let alone success in their mission. Highly recommended.

Runt the Hunted
Daniel Schwabauer, M.A.
Clear Water Press
PO Box 62, Olathe, KS 66051
0974297232, $17.99

The wondrous sequel to "Runt the Brave", Runt the Hunted continues the anthropomorphic adventures of a courageous young mouse in a world beset by dangers. The sly rat warrior Kreeg and his alliance of cutthroats is poised to destroy the underground mouse city of Tira-Nor, yet JaRed son of ReDemee, "Runt", cannot deliver warning of the danger because the mad king has thrust him into exile. Runt's former friends are under orders to kill him on sight - what can one mouse do to save the civilization he loves? Award-winning novelist Daniel Schwabauer, M.A., has penned another winning forest fantasy for readers of all ages. Highly recommended.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The World of Penguins
Evelyne Daigle
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, ON M5A 2P9 Canada
0887767990, $18.95

Daniel Grenier's fine color illustrations pair well with this oversized book on penguins, which goes beyond most penguin surveys to discuss some seventeen different types of penguins and their different environments around the world. The history begins with early 18th century sightings and explores how each species has adapted and changed within its environment. Maps, large-sized realistic color drawings, and plenty of easy facts make for an inviting discussion perfect for kids interested in penguins.

Fun Facts About Snakes
Carmen Bredeson
Enslow Publishers Inc.
Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398
0766027872, $21.26

Elementary grades K-4 will find appealing and bright the simple 24-page primer Fun Facts About Snakes, which offers exciting facts about snakes and support the National Science Education standards for life sciences for this grade range. Full-page, dramatic color photos juxtapose easy facts suitable for first investigations and reports.

The Heart Of The Beast
Nancy Roe Pimm
Darby Creek Publishing
7858 Industrial Parkway, Plain City, OH 43064
1581960549, $18.95 1-800-328-4929

"The Heart Of The Beast: Eight Great Gorilla Stories" by animal enthusiast Nancy Roe Pimm (who once worked as a docent at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio, giving tours of the zoo and eventually serving as an animal handler at local school assemblies) has compiled eight true stories featuring well-known gorillas that reveal the ability of these powerful animals to be caring, communicating, protecting, and grieving. Mostly docile animals that like to spend their days caring for and playing with their young, foraging for plants, and even 'singing', children will learn about the history, behaviors and nature of these largest members of the ape family. Replete with facts and anecdotes, expertly illustrated with color photography, "The Heart Of The Beast" is a fun and informative addition recommended for inclusion into family, elementary school, and community library Pets & Wildlife collections.

Animals in the House
Sheila Keenan
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439692865, $17.99

ANIMALS IN THE HOUSE: A HISTORY OF PETS AND PEOPLE isn't your usual survey of a single kind of pet, but a wide-ranging history of pets through the ages and the famous personalities who kept them. Chapters begin with a history of the animal in the wild and consider its domestication and the points of its popularity as a pet, blending history with fun anecdotes and even superstitions. Kids who own pets – and those who would keep them – will find this a lively, fascinating leisure choice.

Books in Series

Rourke Publishing Group
PO Box 3328, Vero Beach, FL 32964 1-800-394-7055

The fighter jets of the United States Airforce have a great attraction for young readers (especially boys) with respect to their glamour, speed, firepower, and state-of-the-art technology. 'Fighting Forces in the Air' (159515177X, List $228.00; Library $151.60) is a new 8 volume series from the Rourke Publishing Group specifically designed to supplement science and social studies curricula for students in grades 3 to 8. With a fourth grade reading level, the high-interest, 32-page titles comprising this superbly illustrated and informative series include: "A-10 Thunderbolt II" designed to provide close combat support of ground forces; "B-1B Lancer" which is the mainstay of the American long-range bomber force; "F-15 Eagle", a twin-tailed fighter jet designed for accomplishing air superiority; "F-16 Fighting Falcon", a swift, lightweight, multi-role fighter aircraft; "F-117A Nighthawk" which is the world's first combat-ready stealth aircraft; "F/A-22 Raptor" which is the first new fighter of the 21st Century; F/A-18E/F Super Hornet", the navy's newest and best multi-role fighter aircraft; and the "HH-60 Pave Hawk" primarily used for search-and-rescue operations under combat conditions. Although each title is available individually (List $28.50; Library $19.95), both school and community libraries should acquire the complete set for the benefit of their young students and patrons.

August House
3500 Piedmont Road NE, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30305 1-800-284-8784

'Story Cove' is a series of very highly recommended stories and folk tales from around the world for beginning readers that combines charming and colorful artwork with simple, easy-reader texts ideal for children ages 4 to 8. Priced very inexpensively at $3.95 each, these 32-page picturebooks emphasizes different character traits and values such as courage, sharing, citizenship, fairness, and resourcefulness, and are further enhanced with a Story Cove website at offering series related movies, games, and more. The individual titles comprising this entertaining and 'kid friendly' series include: "Roster's Night Out" (0874838266) a Cuban tale written by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss with illustrations by Baird Hoffmire; "The Magic Pot" (0874838274) a Chinese tale told by Pleasant Despain and illustrated by Tom Wrenn; "The Clever Monkey Rides Again" (0874838282) which is a West African story and "The Drum" (0874838029), a folk tale from India, both of which are told by Rob Cleveland and illustrated by Tom Wrenn; "Anansi And The Tug Of War" (0874838258) and "Anansi And The Pot Of Beans" (0874838118) which are two African folktales told by Bobby and Sherry Norfolk which is nicely illustrated by Baird Hoffmire; "A Tale Of Two Frogs" (0874838126), a story from Russia retold by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, illustrated by Tom Wrenn; "The Bear, The Bat, And The Dove" featuring three stories from Aesop and "The Clever Monkey" a folktale from West Africa, both being retold by Rob Cleveland and illustrated by Baird Hoffmire; "The Magic Apple" (0874838002), a Middle Eastern folk tale and "How The tiger Got His Stripes", a folk tale from Vietnam, each of which are told by Rob Cleveland and illustrated by Baird Hoffmire. The 'Story Cove' series titles would make particular good choices as school and community library reading program incentive prizes.

Richard C. Owen Publishers Inc.
PO Box 585, Katonah, NY 10536

Three new 'kid friendly' additions to the Robert C. Owen 'Meet the Author' series offer a little over thirty pages each to appeal to kids in grades 3-5. JIM ARNOSKY: WHOLE DAYS OUTDOORS: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM (1572748591, $14.95) tells of the children's writer's lifelong fascination with the outdoors, from fishing to motorcycle riding. GEORGE ANCONA: SELF PORTRAIT (1572748605, $14.95) tells of the author's move from New York to New Mexico, his studio there, and his photography and design work, and how they fit into books. Kids will learn about the entire process as well as Ancona's contributions. JANET S. WONG: BEFORE IT WRIGGLES AWAY (1572748613, $14.95) tells of the author's involvement in writing children's poetry books. From a life that made her unhappy, serving as a lawyer, to her evolution into children's book writing, JANET S. WONG's transitions will inspire aspiring young writers.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 – 5th Avenue #3308, New York NY 10118

Crabtree's series titles are excellent picks: they are curriculum-oriented, make for excellent supplemental research and assignment titles, and hold eye-catching covers and contemporary photos certain to attract leisure reader interest as well. New to its 'Energy Revolution' series is Niki Walker's HYDROGEN: RUNNING ON WATER (077872915X), her HARNESSING POWER FROM THE SUN (077872125), GENERATING WIND POWER (0778729133) and BIOMASS FUELING CHANGE (0778729141): each holding some thirty pages of detail for grades 3-5 reviewing energy history, each alternative energy source's pros and cons, challenges of conversion to alternate energy, and more. The 'Biography of' series takes a given commodity and traces its rise in importance: new titles include Carrie Gleason's TOBACCO (0778724891) and SILK (0778724875), Adrianna Morganelli's COFFEE (0778724883) and Julie Karner's VANILLA (0778724905). From defining each commodity, its history, and its world importance to understanding the changes affecting its distribution and harvesting, this series is an excellent pick for kids who would research and report on commodities. Adding to David Jefferis' 'Robozones' series is ROBOT WORKERS: ALL ABOUT MACHINES THAT THINK (0778728854), which focuses on robotic worker advancements. From precision robotic workers and farming workers to cleaning equipment, bright color photos pack every page and make for a vivid presentation sure to capture young reader interest.

The DVD Shelf

Get a Life Cool Careers
Paula Haffner and Kipp Lightburn
Janson Media
88 Semmens Road, Harrington Park, NJ 07640
9781568392915, $24.95

Get a Life Cool Careers is an award-winning career guide DVD targeted toward young people and teenagers contemplating the path they want for their future. Savvy hosts Paula Haffner and Kipp Lightburn offers a fast-paced overview of the smorgasbord of options available, from musician to graphic designer, website developer, tv director, magazine publisher, hotel manager, clothing designers, special ed teacher, interior decorator and many more. Produced in a jazzy and exciting style sure to appeal to the MTV generation, Get A Life Cool Careers is especially recommended for public school and library DVD collections. 70 minutes, color.

Learn Magic with Lyn
Lyn Dillies
Starlight Home Entertainment (dist.)
6222 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc. (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Hosted by Lyn Dillies, dubbed "America's Premier Female Illusionist" by the Society of American Magicians, Learn Magic with Lyn is a DVD for children and young adults that teaches how to do basic magic tricks with everyday items. Each trick is first performed by Dillies with full flair and showmanship; then the secrets behind the tricks are revealed, while calling upon the magician's general rules of magic to safeguard the craft. An award-winning introduction to the joy of sleight-of-hand for entertainment, Learn Magic with Lyn is highly recommended for viewers of all ages interested in learning the basics of illusion and having fun while doing it.

Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World
Apple Eye Productions
Little Monster Records

Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World is a charming DVD/CD set of tunes for kids age three and up, featuring cartoon-like character Gustafer Yellowgold, who leaves his home on the Sun to experience life on Earth. He meets a wide range of friends including Slim the Eel, Asparagus the Dragon, and Forrest Applecrumbie the Pterodactyl, and engages in his joyful hobby of smashing desserts! Minimally animated, Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World relies upon its fun and fancy free songs to entertain and delight, such as "Tiny Purple Moon", "Pterodactyl Tuxedo", "I Jump on Cake" and "New Blue Star". All videos are playable in normal or sing-along karaoke versions, and the text can be displayed in English or Spanish, in this enchanting addition to young children's video and audio collections. 50 minutes, color.

Curious George Rocket Ride and Other Adventures
William H. Macy, narrator
c/o WGBH / SSA Public Relations
148 Madison Avenue, 16th floor PH-1, New York, NY 10016
$16.98 1-877-807-2622

The second DVD release of the "Curious George" television series, Curious George Rocket Ride and Other Adventures is a collection of eight animated episodes of the classic, lovable monkey's adventures, ideal for preschool viewers. Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor William H. Macy (known for his starring role on E.R., among others), Curious George Rocket Ride and Other Adventures includes the episodes "Rocket Ride", "The Dam Builders", "Flies a Kite", "Finds His Way", "Station Master", "Goes Up the River", "In the Dark", and "Roller Monkey." Bonus features include two simple DVD games and printable coloring pages, in this highly recommended, family-friendly compilation of wholesome animated entertainment. 1 hour 48 minutes, color.

The Audiobook Shelf

The One and Only Shrek! Plus 5 Other Stories
William Steig, author
Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci, narrators
Audio Renaissance
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
1427201528, $14.95 1-800-221-7945

The One and Only Shrek! Plus 5 Other Stories is an unabridged audiobook on CD of the original children's fantasy short story that inspired the wildly popular "Shrek" movies. The five additional stories include tales about a boy so annoyed by his family that he decides he has no need for the human race, a brave girl's battle with a merciless blizzard, and more. Read aloud by award-winning actor and actress Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep, these brief yet delightful modern children's classics are sure to entertain, and is especially recommended for fans of the "Shrek" movie. 1 CD, 1 hour.

Bloody Jack
L.A. Meyer, author
Katherine Kellgren, narrator
Listen & Live Audio
PO Box 817, Roseland, NJ 07068
1593160941, $29.95 1-800-653-9400

The debut novel of L.A. Meyer, Bloody Jack is an award-winning audiobook for ages twelve and up about Jacky, a young person hailing from eighteenth-century London who finds a dream job of serving with a crew that pursues pirates. There's just one little problem: Jacky is a girl, and it will take quick thinking to keep her secret hidden from the crew! A rollicking, high-seas adventure, ideal for high school and public library collections, flawlessly narrated by award-winning audio talent Katherine Kellgren. 6 CDs, 8 hours, unabridged.

The Music Shelf

Animal Playground
Putumayo Kids
c/o Putumayo World Music
411 Lafayette St., 4th floor, NY, NY 10003
9781587592010, $15.98 1-800-995-9588

The latest in the award-winning Playground music CD series, Animal Playground: Playful Music Tracks from Around the World is an album offering a multilingual collection of animal-themed songs from around the world. Filled with hootin', hollerin', family-friendly musical fun, the songs are by a wide variety of artists and include call-and-response music, folklore from around the globe, and energizing beats young people will want to jump, hop, and sing to. The tracks are Animal Crackers, No More Monkeys, Nella Vecchia Fattoria, Aves, The Littlest Birds, The Three Bears, Cantiga do Sapo, L'Otorhinoceros, Bigi Kaiman, Don't Ever Step on a Snake, Eagles, If a Dinosaur Was My Friend, and Mbube. Drawing on musical traditions from nations as diverse as Trinidad, France, Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa, and much more, Animal Playground is sure to delight young animal lovers and is the perfect souvenir of a trip to the zoo.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Children's Illustrated Bible
Eve B. MacMaster
Herald Press
616 Walnut Avenue, Scottsdale, PA 15683-1999
083619344X, $22.99 1-800-759-4447

Simply wonderful and thoroughly 'kid friendly' illustrations by Jerry Dillingham and the entire 'Children's Illustrated Bible' team combine beautifully with Eve MacMaster's text which is adapted from 'The Story Bible Series' in the 498-page "Children's Illustrated Bible" from Herald Press. Beginning with the Genesis 1:1-2, 4 account of 'The Creation of the heavens and the Earth', to the conclusion of Revelation 21-21 and 'The City of God', the "Children's Illustrated Bible" chronologically and faithfully follows the Old and New Testaments narratives. With the biblical language retold in contemporary English for the benefit of young readers, and suitable for personal, family, school, and community libraries, the "Children's Illustrated Bible" is both confidently and enthusiastically recommended reading for children of all denominational backgrounds and affiliations.

The Picturebook Shelf

Sky Painters
Kaycee Clancy, author
Summer Clancy, illustrator
Legacy Publishing Services
602 N. Wymore Rd., Winter Park, FL 32789
0977677788, $11.95

Written by Sunday school teacher Kaycee Clancy, Sky Painters is a fanciful softcover children's picturebook about horses Matty and Joy that live in the clouds and earn their wings from the great hands of "the Master". As Matty and Joy learn to fly, they also discover the talents within themselves. They become the first Sky Painters, winged horses tasked with pushing and rearranging clouds into beautiful and imaginative shapes. The endearing color illustrations - which show only the vast hand and foot of the omnipresent Master - add just the right touch to this charming and imaginative children's story.

Grumpy Mr. Grady
Scott Stroud, author
Jim Hunt, illustrator
Big Tent Books
6066 Shingle Creek Parkway, PMB #186, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
1601310013, $12.95

Grumpy Mr. Grady is a children's picturebook about home schooling and learning to accept one another. When a father with four children moves in next door to cranky, limping old Mr. Grady and his fierce-looking dog, Mr. Grady is brusque, and scoffs when he learns that the children are home-schooled. But when a heavy snowfall blocks Mr. Grady indoors, his new neighbors extend a helping hand (with shovel) to clear a path. "'Come on boys,' said Dad. 'We have a trapped neighbor.' 'But Dad, he told us to never go near his house!' 'I know, son, but sometimes God wants you to reach out your hand even though it might get bit.'" The humorous color illustrations add the perfect balance to this heartwarming story, and its invaluable, positive portrayal of homeschooled children.

Once Upon A Full Moon
Elizabeth Quan
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
088776813X, $19.95 1-800-788-1074

Watercolorist Elizabeth Quan presents Once Upon A Full Moon, a picturebook set in the 1920's and following the family of Chinese-American Lee King, who has found success in the New World but longs for his home in China. Together, he and the family take a trip to introduce their children to the grandmother for the very first time. Based on a true story, Once Upon A Full Moon is a picturebook featuring sketchy, colorful, down-to-earth art and text involved enough to be suitable for young readers who are just about ready to move on to chapter books. Highly recommended, especially for children's library collections.

Black Bear, Loon & Walleye
Sara Button, author
P.A. Lewis, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 216, Edina, MN 55439
1592981631, $23.00 1-952-829-8818

Black Bear, Loon & Walleye: A Fable from the Northwoods is a children's picturebook with an accompanying audio CD featuring a dramatic reading and guitar music. Black Bear, Loon & Walleye tells the story of three friends - one furry, one feathered, one sporting fish scales - and each wishes for the gifts of another. Black Bear longs for shiny scales to look flashy and impress his friends; Loon wants to sport and enviable fur coat; and Walleye wants to fly. But when their wishes mysteriously come true, each realizes a disadvantage: Bear's scales can't keep him warm, Loon can't fly with fur weighing her down, and Walleye has bad eyesight and is no good at flying even with feathers. "The friends learned a valuable lesson that day. Trying new things is important, because you might find something that you really enjoy. But if it doesn't work out, you still get to know yourself better. From that day on, the three friends agreed to always appreciate each other's gifts, but most of all to value their own." A charming story, whimsically illustrated by cartoonist and magazine art professional P.A. Lewis, recommended for sharing with young people.

Do Re Mi
Susan L. Roth
Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618465723, $17.00

If you can read musical notes you can sing or play any piece – but there was a time when songs had to be memorized lest they be forgotten. It was Guido d'Arezzo whose efforts lead to the sheet music records we have today, and his biography and challenges are here presented in a lively fictional form backed by solid facts. Kids in grades 2-4 will appreciate the fun, lively chatty format of DO RE ME: IF YOU CAN READ MUSIC, THANK GUIDO D'AREZZO: a fun survey which will reach fiction and nonfiction readers alike.

I.Q. Gets Fit
Mary Ann Fraser
Walker & Company
104 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
0802795587, $15.95

It's Heath Month in I.Q.'s classroom, but I.Q. is worried that because he can't run as long or jump as far as the other students, he won't win a ribbon at the fitness test. I.Q. the mouse is challenged to do his best – and still he doesn't seem to be able to compete. His efforts will eventually win him something different in this warm survey of a student who wants to achieve the most.

The Three Swingin' Pigs
Vicky Rubin
Henry Holt & Company
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0805073353, $16.95

Satch, Mo and Ella are cool pigs, so when Wolfie shows up for the Big pig Gig ready to eat meat, they can smell him coming – and they have a plan. The wolf is the 'baddest cat to walk the land' and also has the baddest breath and no friends: can the swinging pigs teach him something? Large, colorful drawings by Rhode Montijo enhance a colorful tale.

Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy
Jane O'Connor
HarperCollins Publishers
1350 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10019
0060542136, $16.99

When Fancy Nancy's family decides to get a dog, she's certain she can be fancier than ever with a small fancy dog as an accessory. But her family wants a large, plain dog – can she convince them that for appearance's sake a fancy dog is better? A lively, fun first-person discussion pairs with different drawings by Robin Preiss Glasser to make for a warm story.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

What would you do if your parents lost everything, from borrowed items from the neighbors to the family dog and the time they promised they'd spend with Josey Flores? Josey uses her swing to try to figure things out when this happens in Joe Cepeda's The Swing (0439142601, $15.99 ) – and her avenue of escape allows her to find things in an unexpected place. A gentle story of discovery and loss evolves. Nancy Willard's THE FLYING BED (0590256106, $16.99) features warm paintings by John Thompson, 2006 Hamilton King award winner, as it surveys the end of summer in Florence and a magic shop crammed with beds. A woman's offer to show off the best bed of all results in some surprises in this fun fantasy for grades 2-3. Sara Pennypacker's PIERRE IN LOVE (0439517400, $16.99) features pictures by Petra Mathers as it tells of an ordinary fisherman and a ballet teacher he secretly loves. Pierre can't get the courage to tell her how he really feels – and PIERRE IN LOVE involves kids in a gentle romance and friendship between a mouse and a bunny. Myla Goldberg's CATCHING THE MOON (0439576865, $16.99) tells of an old woman who fishes with rod, reel and mouse every time the moon comes out. Nobody would fish in the dark – what can she catch with a mouse? One day the Man in the Moon puts on his traveling hat and pays a visit in this fun whimsical tale. Nikki Grimes and Shane Evans' WHEN GORILLA GOES WALKING (0439317703, $16.99) tells of an odd but loveable cat who has a proud air, and who gets into trouble with her young owner. Large-size, colorful drawings accompany a rollicking rhyme about a mischievous cat and an equally delightful owner.

Polo: The Runaway Book
Regis Faller
Roaring Brook Press
143 West Street, New Milford, CT 06776
159643189X, $16.95 1-800-462-4703

Polo is thrilled with his present, a new book – but after reading it he sets it aside, and an animal makes off with it. When the dog follows, a new series of adventures lead him into the sky, desert, and jungle in this second adventure about Polo, a wordless picture book kids will find engrossing.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Randy Cecil's GATOR (9780763629526, $15.99) tells of a carousel animal who loves his job – but fewer and fewer people come to the amusement park, and one day Gator must leave his familiar home and journey to a place with real alligators. His journey will take him to a world very different than his artificial park home and will even lead him to become a hero in this smooth story of a carousel animal's search for a new occupation and home. Shirley Parenteau's ONE FROG SANG (9780763623944, $15.99) tells of a chorus of frogs from one to ten who each contribute a unique sound to the chorus – until a car hushes them all. Kids receive a fun counting-up and counting-down story with plenty of sound effects built in.

Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

Lois Lowery's GOONEY THE FABULOUS (061876691x, $15.00) presents grades 2-5 with a fine easy reader telling of Mrs. Pidgeon, who has been reading fables to her second grade class. But Gooney Greene isn't content with hearing fables: what if each child creates his or her own fable and tells it to the class? Her idea sparks interest and new challenges in this latest Gooney story of a win-win girl's ideas. Peggy Perry Anderson's JOE ON THE GO (0618773312, $16.00) tells of the Frog family reunion and relatives who all seem to have fun together – except for Joe, who always wants to move quicker than everyone else. Nobody wants to play with him: is there anyone who will not say "no" to all his ideas? Wong Herbert Yee's DETECTIVE SMALL IN THE AMAZING BANANA CAPER (0618472851, $15.00) tells of a real dilemma: all the bananas are missing in town, and the police are stumped. It's Detective Small to the rescue, but after he discovers a suspect he then has his hands full capturing the suspect in this rollicking, rhyming adventure. Scott Magoon's HUGO & MILES IN I'VE PAINTED EVERYTHING! (0618646388, $16.00) tells of a creative artist elephant who can't find anything further to paint. A whirlwind trip to Paris seems to offer few solutions – until Hugo discovers he has plenty to paint if only he begins to see things in a different light. Tim Egan's THE PINK REFRIGERATOR (0618631542, $16.00) tells of Dodsworth, who tries to get by with doing as little as possible in life – until he uncovers a pink refrigerator in a junk yard which holds one simple note, "paint pictures". And so Dodsworth did – and the next day a new note appears on the pink refrigerator asking something more of him – until finally he comes to realize the refrigerator has plans for him. A fun, unusual story of motivation evolves. Brian Lies illustrates and writes the whimsical, appealing BATS AT THE BEACH (061855744X, $16.00), a fun celebration of bats who spend the night at their favorite beach. A rollicking, fun rhyme blends with fun drawings and appealing bat-inspired facts to create a winning tale. Daniel Pinkwater writes BAD BEARS GO VISITING (0618431268, $16.00), a story of one Irving and Muktuk, who are cheating each other at cards when polar friend Larry drops by to visit. But the Bad Bears can't resist getting into trouble when they sneak into the zoo to pay their own visit to friends in this hilarious story of bad bear antics.

Alfred Knopf
c/o Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Jack Prelutsky and Chris Raschka's GOOD SPORTS (9780375837005, $16.99) is by the nation's first poet laureate and provides a fun series of rhymes about jumping, running, and other sports. From Frisbee to volleyball, first-person accounts pair with vivid watercolors to capture the joy of sports. Lynn Rowe Reed's PLEASE DON'T UPSET P.U. ZORILLA! (0375836543, $15.95) tells of a talented skunk who needs a job and who only has one problem: when he becomes rattled, he can't control his spray. So everyone has to watch out not to upset him – but that's a hard idea. Is there any job for a hardworking but sensitive sprayer? A hilarious tale evolves.

A Box Full of Kittens
Sonia Manzano
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
0689830890, $16.99 1-800-223-2336

Ages 3-7 will relish this story of one Ruthie, who loves Superman and wants to be him – and who decides her desire to help her pregnant aunt will led her to become a hero. Thwarted in her efforts by an appealing box of kittens, Ruthie finds herself facing some hard facts about her real desires in this fun, realistic story of a Bronx child who longs to be a heroine.

Henry Holt and Company
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

Peter McCarty's FABIAN ESCAPES (0805077138, $16.95) tells of Fabian the cat, who escapes out the window to leave his friend Hondo at home for the day. Who will have more fun? A series of mis-adventures keeps the two friends nearly equal in their day's excitement in this easy, gentle reader. Cindy Neuschwander's PATTERNS IN PERU: AN ADVENTURE IN PATTERNING (0805079548, $16.95) tells of the Zills family, visiting Peru to study an ancient woven tunic that is connected to a mysterious lost city. Matt and Bini would love to find the Lost City, but they have their hands full when they're separated from their parents. Only an understanding of patterns and sequences can help them get back to their parents in this whimsical, educational adventure read.

How Santa Knows
Grampa Ralph
PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705-0151
1424122848, $12.95

Written by devoted great-grandfather Grampa Ralph, How Santa Knows is an enchanting picturebook about the secret tools of Santa's legendary trade. When Santa's elves question how his tools work, they learn that Santa's Viewer is missing. Should the Viewer fall into the wrong hands, Santa's Valley and Christmas itself could be in danger! Together, the elves search outside of Santa's Valley, doing extensive detective work to find the Viewer, save Christmas, and perpetuate the holiday spirit. A delightful, brief chapter book, ideal for celebrating the holidays and for children whose reading skills have just developed beyond picture books.

To Market! To Market!
Anushka Ravishankar & Emanuele Scanziani
Tara Publishing, Ltd.
No. 38GA, Shoreham, V Avenue, Besant Nagar, Chennai -600 090 India
8186211993, $16.95

Written by East Indian children's poet Anushka Ravishankar and illustrated with stunning paintings award-winning artist Emanuele Scanziani, To Market! To Market! is a picturebook following an Indian young girl's shopping trip - looking at and thinking of all the dazzling goods in the Indian marketplace, she wonders what she is possibly going to buy. Presented and bound in an unusual format (the spine needs to be held horizontally instead of vertically while savoring the story), To Market! To Market! superbly blends singsong nonsense verse with amazing illustrative attention to detail. "Jangle Jangle Jangle I'm a bangle-holding stand / Nosy nosy nosy I'm a posy, I smell grand / Faster Faster Faster I'm a rooster, I can fly / Creeping creeping creeping I am peeping, I'm a spy"

The Summer of the Marco Polo
Lynn Manuel, author
Kasia Charko, illustrator
Orca Book Publishers
PO Box 468, Custer, WA 98240-0468
1551433303, $17.95 www.orcabook'.com 1-800-210-5277

Beautifully illustrated in watercolor and colored pencil by Kasia Charko, The Summer of the Marco Polo is a charming historical picturebook set in the summer of 1883, when a a famous clipper ship ran aground off the coast of Prince Edward Island, near the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery, a young girl who would grow up to become one of Canada's most cherished writers and the author of the classic "Anne of Green Gables". The amazing event transformed both Lucy and her hometown of Cavendish. Author Lynn Manuel has adapted remembrances from Montgomery's journal to recreate the enthralling story, in this picturebook adaptation ideal for children who are almost ready to start reading chapter books.

The Christmas Westie
Patricia A. Bremmer
Windcall Publishing
75345 Road 317, Venango, NE 69168
9780974588452, $17.99

The Christmas Westie is a holiday picturebook especially for puppy lovers. When a little girl named Sharon wishes for a Westie puppy, her parents sneak two white furry bundles of joy into the house - but then the puppies slip out of their secret pen and go on adventures! They're always one step ahead of Sharon's parents until Santa himself discovers them hiding beneath a tree. Gorgeously illustrated with masterful photographs of people and puppies getting into Christmas trouble, The Christmas Westie is sure to bring a smile to kids and adults alike.

The Leaping Grasshopper
Jeanne Archambault & Dwight Smith
Jitterbug Books
25 Whale Rock Road, Jamestown, RI 02835
0976303124, $15.95 401-423-2823

The Leaping Grasshopper is a simple, rhyming children's picturebook with a moral about the importance of being considerate to other people. A grasshopper leaps playfully from place to place, passing by many other creatures but never paying much attention to them. When he sees a big black cat, he suddenly realizes he's in trouble, but since he never stayed around any other creature long enough to introduce himself, none of them are present to help him - he must figure out how to survive on his own! "I will still leap up high and come down low, / but not too fast and not too slow. / Now I will try very hard to be / a friend to everyone I see." The crayon-like coloration to the simply drawn illustrations adds a charming, child-friendly touch to this meaningful parable.

Tyger! Tyger!
Elizabeth Stanley
Enchanted Lion Books
45 Main Street, Suite 519, Brooklyn, NY 11201
1592700683, $16.95 1-888-330-8477

Award-winning children's book creator Elizabeth Stanley presents Tyger! Tyger!, a gorgeous picturebook based on a real-life Buddhist monastery in Thailand that has given sanctuary to one of the world's most endangered animals, the Indo-Chinese tiger. Hauntingly illustrated in glorious full color, Tyger! Tyger! tells of the poaching that is slaughtering these animals - a particularly beautiful yet sad picture shows a murdered tiger shot in the forehead - and the mysterious guidance that led the monks take in tiger cubs and create a moat protecting the tigers in their monastery. A one-page afterword offers more facts about this amazing animal sanctuary, in this one-of-a-kind picturebook for anyone who has ever admired the tiger.

Grandpa for Sale
Dotti Enderle and Vicki Sansum, authors
T. Kyle Gentry, illustrator
Flashlight Press
3709 13th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218
097292258X, $15.95

Co-authored by Vicki Sansum and Golden Spur Award nominee Dotti Enderle, Grandpa for Sale is a charming children's picturebook about qualities worth far more than money. When young Lizzie minds the family antique store, an imperious older woman named Mrs. Larchmont demands to buy the one antique not on sale - Lizzie's slumbering grandpa! As the women offers more and more money - five hundred, five thousand, ten thousand dollars - Lizzie dreams of all the wonderful and fun things the money could buy, but also remembers how valueless those things would be without Grandpa to share them. "Lizzie took a deep breath and leaned in. 'Mrs. Larchmont,' she announced, 'not everyone has a price and not everything is for sale.'" The exuberant color illustrations perfectly complement this extravagant tale with a heartwarming moral.

Snowff & the Rowdy-Cloudy Bunch
Carolyn M. White
AARO Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 1281, Palisade, CO 81526
1893563057, $24.95

Book two in the Snowff series, Snowff & the Rowdy-Cloudy Bunch is an adventurous picturebook set in the land of Snowff. Written to educate as well as entertain, Snowff & the Rowdy-Cloudy Bunch includes wild full-color illustrations and an accompanying audio CD to enliven its story about weather phenomena including rain, snow, and thunder. A glossary of meteorological terms rounds out this playful narrative adventure designed to make learning about the weather science painless and fun.

Emma Chichester Clark
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
0802853145, $17.00 1-800-253-7521

Award-winning author and illustrator Emma Chichester Clark presents Piper, a picturebook about a gentle black dog taught by his mother to help others in trouble. Yet when his grim new master treats him badly for refusing to chase away rabbits, Piper runs away and searches the big city for a place where he can be appreciated. Piper rescues an old lady from being run over by a car, triggering a city-wide search to find the heroic and compassionate canine. A gentle and heartwarming story about the importance of being true to oneself.

The Lizard Gang
Kirra Somerville, author; Grace Fielding, illustrator
Magabala Books
c/o International Specialized Book Services, dist. (ISBS)
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
1875641890, $17.95 1-800-944-6190

The Lizard Gang is a remarkable picturebook in that its author, Kirra Somerville, was only nine years old when she wrote it; yet it won a prize from the 2004 WA Children's Book Council of Australia. Now in a softcover edition with simple yet bright, desert-colored illustrations, The Lizard Gang the exploits of monitor lizards Zed, Boo, Eliza and Zorro, who sometimes argue which one of them is best at different things. "Tired of the arguing, Boo, the smallest lizard of the gang, asked, 'Why can't we all be the best?' The other lizards thought Boo's idea was very funny and they just laughed." But when floodwaters and hard times threaten the lizard's survival, they learn that what is most important is not which of them is best at what, but how well they work together as a team. A charming story with a valuable moral.

The Man Who Put Words On Birds
Julian Borra
Beautiful Books Limited
117 Sugden Road, London SW11 5ED
1905636008, $19.95

The Man Who Put Words On Birds is a whimsically delightful picturebook about a young boy intrigued by the most startling sight - words flying around on birds! He sets out after the birds with words around their necks, and treks across mountains that look like hats, through the dominion of the King of the Sea, past the Old Sock Wood and the Meringue Bridge, all to reach the Man who could answer so much if only the right question could be asked. The colorful illustrations and catchy rhyme are fondly reminiscent of Dr. Seuss' charm in this playful read-aloud story.

Gwynne Fair & Shining
Stephanie Lisa Tara, author
Lee Edward Fodi, illustrator
Brown Books Publishing Group
16200 North Dallas Pkwy., Suite 170, Dallas, TX 75248
1933285621, $16.95

Gwynne Fair & Shining is an upbeat children's picturebook with truly standout illustrations that literally sparkle from the actual glitter from sparkling, golden and reflective material impressed on the page to enhance the cartoony illustrations. The rhyming story tells of a young girl's magical journey and the importance of learning to believe in oneself. Author Stephanie Lisa Tara evokes the power of the fairy tale in this charming read-aloud story especially recommended for young girls.

Alice Schertle, author
Kenneth Addison, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
1584300604, $16.95

Award-winning author Alice Schertle presents We, a singularly amazing picturebook that encapsulates the phenomenon of human evolution. Illustrated with fantastic color collages by the late Kenneth Addison, We traces not only human achievements, but also human curiosity. Highly recommended as a giftbook and for children's library collections. "We wondered what was at the bottom / of the deepest ocean / so we went there / to see // And we peered into our own bodies / to see what it was / we were made of // We looked through instruments and wondered about other worlds // And some of us / returned to the water-carved canyon / to find our bones // But we had forgotten / the river running slow and cool / and the African wind in our hair / in the first place"

Baby Loves You So Much!
Eileen Spinelli, author; David Wenzel, illustrator
Ideals Children's Books
c/o Ideals Publications
535 Metroplex Drive, Suite 250, Nashville, Tennessee 37211
0824955501, $16.99

Baby Loves You So Much! is a charming children's picturebook about the relationship between an older sister and a baby brother. It's rough being a baby's big sister when he throws oatmeal at you and pulls your hair! But Mother explains why Baby does such things: because Baby loves his big sister so much! When Baby goes missing, big sister leaves no stone unturned looking for him, until she discovers him sound asleep next to the curled-up cat. The kindly text and delightful illustrations balance one another perfectly in this gentle story ideal for sharing with young people becoming acclimated to a new brother or sister.

Don't You Feel Well, Sam?
Amy Hest, author
Anita Jeram, illustrator
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140-1338
076362408X, $4.99 1-800-526-0275

Don't You Feel Well, Sam? is an award-winning softcover children's picturebook, about a sick little bear plagued with coughing just as it's time for him to go to bed. When Mrs. Bear tries to give him medicine, the spoon is too big for his throat and Sam can't swallow it. But when Sam thinks about the coming snowfall, his excitement grows so high that he successfully gulps the syrupy medicine down. A tender story about being taken care of when one needs it most, and the special bond between mother and child, ideal for reading aloud to sick children or right before bedtime.

Even Sharks Need Friends
Elaine Pease with Kerry Lee MacLean and Natalie Pease
PeasePod Books LLC
4334 Vinca Court, Boulder, CO 80304
0970227515, $15.95

Even Sharks Need Friends is a charming children's picturebook featuring distinctive illustrations, made by affixing paper shapes and other physical articles against a painted background and photographing the result. Though blocky and simple, the resulting pictures come alive with three-dimensional effect. The story about a lonely shark who befriends a near-sighted little sea urchin is sure to delight young readers, and additional pages offer simple activities for young people - a short message in secret letter-number code, fun facts about sea creatures, instructions for making a gloompa just like the book shows, black-and-white pictures to color, and a fascinating two-page explanation of exactly how the amazing artwork of Even Sharks Need Friends was created. A one-of-a-kind visual experience especially for young people fascinated by creatures under the sea.

The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunit
Werner Holzwarth & Wolf Erlbruch
Abrams Image
c/o Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
081094457X, $9.95 1-800-759-0190

Written by international journalist Werner Holzwarth, The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunit is a most unusual picturebook in that it deals frankly with an oft-avoided topic: fecal matter. When a little mole pokes his head out of his hole one morning, plop! A distinctively shaped turd lands on his head. Discomfited, he marches up to one animal after another, and each demonstrates their innocence by pooping excrement in different shapes and forms. Finally two flies, clue the little mole in, so he can take potty revenge on the real culprit! A one-of-a-kind children's book, and a nice conversation-opener for talking to young children kids about toiletry and responsible (or irresponsible) bathroom hygiene.

Pasta Pazoo
Lp Camozzi, author
Marielle Lorraine Camozzi, illustrator
LP Creative
Box 425, Stn B, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3B 3J7
0973736704, $9.99

Songwriter and father of three Lp Camozzi presents Pasta Pazoo, a rhyming children's picturebook featuring a whimsical story about a girl who loves different styles of Italian pasta more than anything. Whimsical and dreamlike elements pepper this joyful romp, fun to share with young noodle, ravioli, and tortellini lovers everywhere. "We're not quite sure / if Pasta knew / That in her dreams, it would come true. // A pasta world could, / yes, be found / If she would only / look around."

The American History Shelf

America's REAL First Thanksgiving
Robyn Gioia
Pineapple Press, Inc.
PO Box 3889, Sarasota, FL 34230-3889
1561643890, $14.95 1-800-746-3275

America's REAL First Thanksgiving is a picturebook about a feast shared by Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez and the Timucua Indians upon the founding of St. Augustine in what is now Florida. This shared exchange of food and gratitude took place on September 8, 1565, fifty-six years before the landmark Pilgrim celebration. "Why, you may ask, don't the history books record that the first Thanksgiving was in St. Augustine, Florida? Well, for many reasons England grew to be the dominant culture in the United States, and it is from their viewpoint that much of our history is told. But as time passes and unknown facts come to light, a more detailed history emerges from our heritage. And every year, more and more people join in celebrating our country's first Thanksgiving by serving cocido as the honored meal of the day." Full-color photographs and a recipe for cocido round out this fascinating introduction to little-known history for young readers.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

The Charcoal Forest
Beth A. Peluso
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, Montana 59806
0878425322, $12.00 1-800-234-5308

Written by avid birder, day camp counselor, and substitute teacher Beth A. Peluso, The Charcoal Forest: How Fire Helps Animals and Plants is an educational softcover picturebook about the ecology of fire in the Rocky Mountains, and plants and animals that actually depend upon fire to survive. From the black-backed woodpecker that depends on the beetle larvae in burned tree trunks (there's a woodpecker in every beautiful color picture!) to the deer mouse that feasts on seeds exposed by fire, to plants like the huckleberry bush that need space cleared so they can receive more light, and many more, The Charcoal Forest offers an amazing glimpse into species that thrive in the wake of regular or sporadic forest fires. A final section offers more fun facts about the forest species featured, a glossary, an index, and a list of resources that young readers can look up to learn more. Highly recommended, especially for elementary school and public library children's collections.

The Cookbook Shelf

Cooking With Max
Max Nania
Five Star Publications
PO Box 6698, Chandler, AZ 85246-6698
1589850599, $14.95

"Cooking With Max: 45 Really Fun And Kinda Messy Recipes Kids Can Make" is a small, spiral bound, nicely organized and illustrated cookbook for kids by Max Nania that truly lives up to its title. Each of the forty-five featured and thoroughly 'kid friendly' recipes features a clear list of ingredients, utensils, and step-by-step instructions that any boy or girl can accomplish with success in their mother's kitchen. Of special note are the 'Max Says' comment on each recipe that adds a little background and encouragement for that particular dish. From Groovy Green Beans; Cookie Cutter Cheese; Dad's Seasoned Popcorn; and Georgia Lemonade; to Kid's Chocolate Baguette; Breakfast Sundaes; Tie-Dyed Pancakes; and Marshmallow Candy, "Cooking With Max" is an ideal and very highly recommended 'starter cookbook' for aspiring young chefs!

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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