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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 20, Number 6 June 2010 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Music Shelf DVD Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Cookbook Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Poetry Shelf Science Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Fiction Shelf Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf Literary Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Picturebook Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

Obama: Only in America
Carole Boston Weatherford, author
Robert T. Barrett, illustrator
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761456414, $17.99

"Obama: Only in America" is a stunning, illustrated biographical summary of the life of President Barack Obama. Written in an elegant, cadenced style by a master of literature and poetry, "Obama: Only in America" presents the details of the personal and professional history of an amazing, powerful, intelligent, humane man. Sensitive paintings illustrate the moving story, and especially effective are the relevant quotations from political speeches and keynote addresses given by President Obama during his career that are highlighted and footnoted on each page of text. Thus, the biography of President Obama is punctuated throughout by his statements of his goals, dreams, ideals and plans for the future. "Obama: Only in America" presents a balanced portrait of a real human being with flaws and idiosyncracies, not a perfect idol. Written for children ages 7-10, "Obama: Only in America" is a valuable contribution to a historic presidency with a real nugget at its heart. At the end of the book the reader finds an amazing poem written by the author to commemorate Barack Obama's election to the presidency of the United States, called "American Baptism." Although it cannot do the full poem justice, a partial quotation gives the flavor of its message: "As Lincoln overlooks the reflecting Pool,/ we know that we stand on promises./ Ghosts wade into the Mississippi./ Surely, America has been baptized."

The Yellow Hummer
Ivet Graham-Morgan
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432747848, $19.95

"The Yellow Hummer" is a touching Christmas story about an African-American boy who lives with his mother and grandmother. When he receives a special toy yellow hummer (with cord and control) at his mother's employees' Christmas party, Jordan is overjoyed and takes it to show his grandmother. When he asks for her help in opening and unpacking the yellow hummer, she accidentally snips a crucial cord on the toy (instead of a plastic fastener) with her scissors. She had forgotten to wear her glasses, and Jordan had not noticed. Of course Jordan is devastated and goes to bed crying even though his grandmother promises she will replace the toy for him. But in the morning, Jordan realizes that forgiving his grandmother, who loves him, is more important than his toy yellow hummer. He goes to her lap and tells her his yellow hummer is ok, and she knows he loves her and forgives her. "The Yellow Hummer" is a special children's book because it deals with sacrifice and love. Its powerful message will not be wasted on young readers.

Big Frog Can't Fit In
Mo Willems
114 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011-5690
9781423114369, $19.99

Big Frog Can't Fit In provides a fun oversized, thick pop-up book perfect for parent/child interactions as it tells of an oversized frog who REALLY wants to fit in. But how can she?? This interactive book has sturdy, oversized pop-ups on every page and is a fine pick for parents and kids to view together.

Mr. Bo Finds a New Home and a New Name
Timothy Battle, author
Jeff Elliott, illustrator
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781606969380, $9.99

"Mr. Bo Finds A New Home and A New Name" is a sensitive book about adopting a special cat told from the cat's viewpoint. Written for first and second grade readers, "Mr. Bo Finds a New Home and a New Name" is especially written to help young readers empathize with the experiences of abandoned, lost or stray domestic animals. A very special male brown tabby cat named Linus (not his real name) experiences many ups and downs in his road to adoption and finding his new home and new name. "Mr. Bo Finds a New Home and a New Name" is the beginning title in a series, so watch for more chapters of this story. "Mr. Bo Finds a New Home and a New Name" also comes with a free audio book digital download for listening pleasure.

Elisha Cooper
Orchard Books
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
9780545070751, $17.99

"Farm" is a detailed, delicately illustrated compendium of seasonal farm activities on a (prairie) plains family farm from spring through fall. From spring planting and plowing to summer crop-growing to fall harvest and hauling of crops, "Farm" presents a spectrum of seasonal activities and chores and sights that consume a farm family's year. "Farm" is especially appealing in its use of delicately detailed water color illustrations. Children will love the names of the cats, the listing of the animals, and the quiet repetition of daily rhythms of chores, work, and play. "Farm" documents a way of rural life that is growing harder to sustain, with all its appeal and challenge. "Farm" is suitable for both younger and older children.

Lively Elizabeth! What Happens When You Push
Mara Bergman, author
Cassia Thomas, illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, Illinois 60068
9780807547021, $16.99

"Lively Elizabeth! What Happens When You Push" is a quirky, cautionary tale about a very spirited girl who gets just a bit too carried away. Delightfully embellished with colorful, charming detailed drawings, "Lively Elizabeth!" rhymes its moral into the hearts and souls of its audience. "Lively Elizabeth!" does a first rate job of delivering a sermonette on accountability to young children, then, with a gentle twist, teaches forgiveness.

Cool Down and Work Through Anger
Cheri J. Meiners, M. Ed., author
Meredith Johnson, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575423463, $10.95

"Cool Down and Work Through Anger" is an excellent anger-management toolbook written at reading level 1-2 for kids ages 4-8. Full color illustrations provide examples of kids experiencing anger management problems and solutions. "Cool Down and Work Through Anger" is described as a gentle empowering book that helps kids channel their anger by giving constructive alternatives, rather than focusing on what not to do. "Cool Down and Work Through Anger" is very accessible and kid-friendly without talking down to kids. Its simple, direct language provides real models of better ways to interact and deal with anger. "Cool Down and Work Through Anger" is a paperback book that includes an activity guide for adults with specific suggestions for ways to reinforce helpful ideas and also a number of suggested games and activities to resolve anger. "Cool Down and Work Through Anger" is part of the Learning to Get Along series from Free Spirit Publishing. "Cool Down and Work Through Anger" is highly recommended for kids ages 4-8 who have anger management issues or concerns.

Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink
Victoria Kann
c/o HarperCollins
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780061927324, $3.99

"Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink" is a charming episode in the "Pinkalicious" series which includes "Pinkalicious," Purplicious," "Goldalicious," and more. Pinkalicious, a spunky, resourceful young entrepreneur, decides she will earn money to buy pink bubble gum balls by making and selling pink lemonade, on a hot day. Deciding she needs no help from her mother, Pinkalicious jumbles together her first pitcher of pink lemonade, using some unusual ingredients just because of their color (beets?). When her brother Peter pronounces it "chewy!" she decides to sell some to Mr. Peabody. He is less adventurous than Peter, announcing, "It's definitely missing something...either that or it has too much of something else!" Many little misadventures later, Mommy offers to help make a second batch of pink lemonade and this time the only pink ingredient added to the lemons, sugar and water is strawberries. Guess what? It tastes great! Pinkalicious succeeds in her bubble gum business venture and shares her winnings with Peter, not quite equally, but close. "Pinkalicious" is filled with whimsical, imaginative, nostalgic illustrations and should completely engage young readers ages 3-7. Its upbeat message of positive personal empowerment through creativity and the value of play and learning to share are valuable thought-nuggets.

Ciao, I am Poetino
Josephine Gambini, author
Jordan Stafford, illustrator
J. M. Giusti-Gambini Publishing, LLC
7259 Creeks Bend Court, West Bloomfield, Michigan 48322
9780984330430, $12.95 248-855-0869

"Ciao, I am Poetino" is a book which introduces children to the wonderful world of all things Italian, as presented by chief character and guide, Poetino. Poetino loves to tell all about his life, his friends, his family, his games, school, pastimes, talents, and favorite things. Sometimes Poetino gets into trouble, but he is helped to find way to take responsibility for the things he does or says. "Ciao, I am Poetino" is filled with Italian word and phrases that are embedded in the story and easy to understand. At the end of the book is a Glossary of all Italian terms complete with pronunciations and translations. "Ciao, I am Poetino" celebrates multicultural backgrounds in addition to Italian, joking about being one third Irish and two thirds Italian, and enjoying friends of other ethnic backgrounds as well. All the experiences described in "Ciao, I am Poetino" are brought to life with charming, sensitive, shaded color illustrations. "Ciao, I am Poetino" seems aimed at an audience of children ages 7 or 8 and up.

The Music Shelf

The Kids Are All Id
Randy Kaplan
Yellow Thing Records & Books

The Kids Are All Id is a family-friendly CD by Randy Kaplan, designed to appeal to listeners of all ages. Some of the tracks are timeless classics; others are original storytelling-songs; all blend delightful adventures with playful rhythms and flippant humor. Kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy the clever compositions. The Kids Are All Id is especially fun to listen to on car trips or other excursions with young ones. The tracks are "My Little Laugh" (3:58), "The Hebrew-Speaking Bear (Heave Ho!)" (3:20), "Little Bee" (3:29), "The Kid Is All Id" (3:44), "The Money Song" (3:06), "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin" (4:09), "The Derby Ram" (3:35), "This Guy" (0:46), "Don't You Leave Me Here" (5:18), "Is She a Girl or Is She a Monkey" (1:58), "Whistle For Willie" (4:00), "Dream Hat" (4:16), "I Like Cacti" (3:35), "Papa Ling's Tone" (0:13), "Joe and Finn" (3:34), "Dreamin" (2:09), and "Forever Young" (3:08).

Learning in Two Languages / Aprendiendo en Dos Idiomas
Hap Palmer
Hap-Pal Music
Sugar Mountain PR (publicity)

Learning in Two Languages / Aprendiendo en Dos Idiomas is a CD designed to help teach English and Spanish to young children ages 4 to 9, through music and movement. The songs are designed to help build vocabulary; each song plays first in English, then in Spanish, the better to promote fluency in both languages. Composer Hap Palmer puts his decades of experience in preschool and elementary classrooms to good use, resulting in an album that draws heavily upon audio and kinesthetic senses to seal the absorption of its lessons. An excellent choice for elementary school libraries, and for parents who want to promote the joy of discovering a second language in their households, Learning in Two Languages is highly recommended. The tracks are "What Do The Animals Say?", "Que dicen los animales?", "What Is The Opposite?", "Que es lo contrario?", "What Are You Wearing?", "Que tienes puesto?", "It's A Seven Day Week", "En la semana hay siete dias", "Percival The Parrot", "Lorenzo el loro", "A Song About Slow And Fast", "Despacio y rapido", "What Is This Sound?", "Que es este sonido?", "Walter The Waltzing Worm", "Gustavo el gusano bailarin", "Parade Of Colors", "Desfile de colores", "Witches' Brew", and "El caldo de las brujas".

(I'm Gonna Be) Your Best Friend
Roy Handy & the Moonshot
Gerry Stanek, songwriter

(I'm Gonna Be) Your Best Friend is an exuberant, family-friendly music CD brimming with fast-paced, energetic songs. Emphatic, exciting, creative, and captivating, (I'm Gonna Be) Your Best Friend is a stirring joy to share with young people who love lively tunes. The tracks are "I Am a Dog!!!", "Crayon Man!!!", "That's a Great Idea!!!", "Socks Are Overrated!!!", "Blanket!!!", "Playground!!!", "Hotdog!!!", "Sometimes You Need to Be Cuddled", "Pancakes!!!", "Shopping List!!!", "Space Kitty!!!", and "Moonshot!!!".

Rock & Roll Playground
Putumayo Kids
411 Lafayette, 4th Floor, New York, New York 10003

Rock & Roll Playground is a music CD tribute to rock 'n' roll, meant to appeal to children of all ages. The catchy, popular rock tunes are sung by a wide variety of performers; all of them have a toe-tapping beat that is sure to bring excitement to children's parties or celebrations. A wonderfully lively and engaging album, and an excellent gift for budding young rock lovers. The tracks are "Sleep the Whole Day Through", "Jump Up (It's a Good Day)", "Little Bitty Baby", "Willie and the Hand Jive", "Let's Shake", "Row Row Row Your Boat", "Oh Susanna", "This Little Girl's Gone Rockin'", "Magic Carpet Ride", "At the Bus Stop", "The StarFish Stomp", and "Dream Big!".

Move! Sing! Play Along and Learn!
Margaret La Bella
Privately Published

Music therapist and special educator Margaret La Bella presents Move! Sing! Play Along and Learn!, a set of five music CDs for children of all ages, meant to do more than just entertain. Drawing upon pop, jazz, folk, rap, swing, reggae and more styles from around the world, this series encourages children to participate, promoting their development through interaction. "Sing!" ($18.99) consists of action-packed songs with words and simple sentences that children can voice, promoting speech and auditory skills. "Play!" ($21.49) includes sings about movement, body percussion, and the use of simple rhythm instruments, encouraging children to develop their motor and rhythm skills. "Move!" ($18.99) features plenty of action-driven songs about following directions and learning simple physical and motion concepts. "Mixing It Up!" ($18.99) blends singing, movement, body percussion, and the use of simple rhythm instruments into a joyful, interactive whole. And "Sampler" ($11.99) collects two songs from each of the previous four albums into an eclectic medley. The entire series is a choice pick for elementary school libraries, parents, babysitters, and children's parties.

The DVD Shelf

The North Star
Peter H. Reynolds, author
Tim Curry, narrator
Tony Lechner, original score
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545226376 $59.95

The North Star is the highly recommended DVD adaptation of a cherished children's picturebook, narrated by Tim Curry with an original score by Tony Lechner. An uplifting classic, offering an important message about the value of learning and exploring one's full potential to discover and follow one's dreams, The North Star is a treasure for public library children's DVD shelves as well as private home viewing. A read-along option is included for parents and children to share. 15 minutes, subtitles, closed-captioned.

Disney Book Group
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th fl., NY, NY 10011

Two new additions enhance the educational series, "The Science of Disney Imagineering". "Friction" (1597532495, $29.99) explores the principle of resistance, and how theme park ride designers confront it. From the mechanics of a roller coaster, to the shape of a cruise line ship's hull, friction is so important as to potentially grind a project to a halt if not properly kept in mind and public awareness. "Electricity" (1597532509, $24.99) explores the many functions that this invaluable scientific phenomenon has, from how it lights bulbs to how it can be transmitted through water to how it brings so many Disney rides to life. Both DVDs meet National Science Education standards and are excellent picks for classroom viewing, or even home schooling. Also top picks from Disney are "The American Presidents: 1st - 11th" (1597532479, $29.99) and "The American Presidents: 12th - 25th", both of which conform to National Curriculum Standards for grades 3-8, and include short-form Presidential biographies, era overviews offering historical context, interviews with political figures, and much more to help broaden students' understanding.

Big Bird, Little Bird
Sara Hickman
3005 S. Lamar D-109 #412, Austin, TX 78704
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
DVD, $14.95

Big Bird, Little Bird is a wonderful DVD for little children ages 1-5 and their parents. The heart of the DVD consists of simple songs ideal for toddlers and preschoolers to listen to. A medley of parenting tips rounds out this family-friendly DVD featuring soft pastel colors and loving melodies. The songs are "It's Alright" (a cappella), "A Slice of Heaven", "Goop's In It", "Big Bird, Little Bird", "Lily", "This Heart", "You Are My Sunshine", "The Family Tree (You and Me)", "All Things Bright and Beautiful", "We Are Each Other's Angels", and "It's Alright" (with Strings Attached). Highly recommended.

Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
$59.95 each 1-800-290-7531

The "Sign Language Storytelling" DVD series by Weston Woods brings popular children's books to life for hearing and deaf children alike. In addition to warm narration, read-along text, and vivid images from the books' illustrations, each volume includes a sign-language telling of the story. These brief, heartwarming adaptations are perfect for kindergarten, preschool, and elementary school libraries. The latest installments in this wonderful, kid-friendly series are Don Freeman's "A Pocket for Corduroy" (097709748X, 21 min.), Mercer Mayer's "There's Something In My Attic" (0979237068, 18 min.), Lauren Thompson's "Little Quack" (0979237041, 20 min.), Munro Leaf's "The Story of Ferdinand" (097923705X, 26 min.), Margaret Wise Brown's "Goodnight Moon" (0979237033, 18 min.), and Eileen Christelow's "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" (0977097463, 18 min.). All are highly recommended.

That Book Woman
Heather Henson, author
David Small, illustrator
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545226368 $59.95

That Book Woman is the DVD rendition of an award-winning children's picturebook, with a read-along option. Intended for young people ages 4-8, That Book Woman is about the Pack Horse Librarians, who traveled to bring the wonders of books to rural children across America. The story unfolds from the perspective of a boy Cal, who is not the reading type by nature; nonetheless, "that book woman" continues to cheerfully visit him. Literally placing the humble, expressive artwork of the children's book on the television screen, That Book Woman is a wonderful story to enrich young minds, and is especially recommended for children's libraries and homeroom viewing. 12 minutes, subtitles, closed captioned.

The Audiobook Shelf

J&P Voelkel, author
Scott Brick, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780307711977 $44.00

Middleworld is the unabridged adaptation of an adventure sure to enthrall listeners of all ages. When fourteen-year-old video game player Max Murphy is forcibly dragged to a Central American dig with his archaeologist parents, he is suddenly beset by a mystery when his parents disappear. Ancient secrets are unfolding, and could possibly even doom the world - with the help of Lola, a quick-witted Maya girl, Max must brave the terrible Maya Underworld and oppose the ruthless Lords of Death! An exciting saga from beginning to end, Middleworld is superbly performed by actor Scott Brick. Highly recommended. 9 CDs, 11 hours 4 min.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Children's Baking Book
Denise Smart, recipes and styling
Howard Shooter, photography
DK Publishing
375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014
9780756657888, $17.99

"The Children's Baking Book: More than 50 Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes" is a treasure trove of yummy recipes that can be baked by young chefs and cooks. Suitable for children age 10 and up, "The Children's Baking Book" presents simple-to-more-complex recipes in color-photo-illustrated steps with ingredients listed first and measurements given in both metric and Imperial versions. Tools are listed after ingredients at the top of the page, and servings amount, prep, cooking, and extra time is listed at the beginning of the recipe, along with a rating of "easy, medium or hard" for the difficulty of the recipe. Young chefs demonstrate steps in each recipe, and there are several categories of baked or prepared foods to choose from, including cookies and baked goods, doughs (breads), cakes, and pastry. All recipes look scrumptious. The introduction includes tips for safety and cleanliness as well as info on how to use the spreads, or recipe formats. From Simple Sponge Cake to Basic Bread and Scones and Cookies, "The Children's Baking Book" is a classic instruction manual for beginning to intermediate bakers.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Titus and Atreus
Meridi Myers
Hero Publishing
P.O. Box 137, West Sand Lake, NY 12196
9780615320724, $12.95

"Titus and Atreus" is a fast-moving, heroic fantasy for young adults that features twins from separate worlds and a desperate plot that centers on the mysterious unraveling of an ancient prophecy. Laced with intrigue, rife with action, filled with plot twists, "Titus and Atreus" is solid intellectual fare that will keep readers spellbound until the end. It all begins when teenaged Titus Attwater, traumatized by the death of his parents and neglected by his older sister, gets a surprise visit from young Atreus Stark, his exact twin from another world. Titus finds himself kidnapped, transported and embroiled in political machinations that only enhance the impenetrableness of the prophecy he is (supposedly) destined to interpret and help fulfill. "Titus and Atreus" does not spare the reader any down time, a feature that will make the book even more appealing to its audience. Knife-wielding angels and unknown assassins add to the plot intrigue, and the reader follows the twisting tale ever more and more careening. "Titus and Atreus" is a great re imagining of a mythic setting, with heroic figures as human as its readers, and great attention to gritty detail. Underlying moral messages will emerge, but only after the dust finally clears. The reader is left breathless, contemplating. "Titus and Atreus" promises much, a great success of a fully constructed fantasy universe.

The Daykeeper's Grimoire
Christy Raedeke
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738715766, $11.50

"Prophecy of Days, Book I : The Daykeeper's Grimoire" is a young adult fantasy release that promises to be eagerly read by its targeted audience. The heroine is young Caity Mac Fireland finds herself ensconced in a Scottish Island castle, commissioned to uncover the coded mystery of suppressed revelations of the Mayan calendar and a prophecy that predicts that she, Caity, will play a crucial role in unfolding events of December 21, 2012 and the ultimate destiny of all humanity. Embellished with iridescent details such as secret codes and symbols, a pet monkey named Mr. Papers (academically appropriate), a feng shui master, and a gorgeous next -door boyfriend, "Prophecy of Days" can't miss gathering the totality of its audience's attention. The unraveling of its prophecy and mystery is bound to continue through the next volumes of the series and perhaps its timely conclusion will occur on or about the appointed date on the world calendar. A perfect global mystery with timely implications completely fills the bill for the slogan of Flux (publisher), "where young adult is a point of view, not a reading level."

Avatars of Gaia, Escape from Hazard Hollow, Book One
Professor Heart, author
Alex Barker, illustrator
Charlotte M. Purin, Publisher
307 Market St., Venice, CA 90291
9780578040554, $TBA

Have you ever seen or read an adolescent chapter book that is a mystical realism work, as opposed to some sort of high fantasy? Better yet, an eco-fiction book that incorporates consciousness, sustainability, and healthier eating habits into an adventure fantasy tale? If not, welcome to "Avatars of Gaia," a first effort of its kind, called "mystical realism." Imaginative characters, plot -directed action, and above all total eco-awareness and individual responsibility are the chief characteristics of "Avatars of Gaia." Students will be much too busy responding to its message and appeal to suspect they might not like the extra mile or sacrifice this eco-adventure might require of them. Put another way, "Avatars of Gaia" easily hooks its intended audience (students age 10-14) and holds their attention . "Avatars of Gaia" is an inspirational, educational undertaking that holds the secret element of fun and mystery at its core. To motivate students to understand, explore, and protect their environment is a noble goal, easily facilitated by the very likeable characters of "Avatars of Gaia." It ends with a special "Avatars of Gaia" earth pledge, a special glossary, and suggestions for games and groovy things to do to help the earth, plus a select list of individuals and organizations that the author gives high honors to in the efforts to preserve the living earth. "Avatars of Gaia" is highly recommended for students at a fourth grade reading level and up.

The Poetry Shelf

A Southern Child's Garden of Verses
David Davis, author
Herb Leonhard, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Co.
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053
9781589807648, $16.99

"A Southern Child's Garden of Verses" is an absolute joy to page through and read with a child. Verses about spending time under the magnolia tree, fishing, Alabama hot dogs, armadillo radio, Carolina north and south, rocking on the porch, the cabin near the sky, and Davy Crockett's Tennessee are fully sampled along with the poignant, sensitive, racially inclusive illustrations, leaving the reader wholly infused with awareness and longing for the sights, sounds and smells of the Southern parts of the United States of America. Of course there is a poem about kudzu, watermelon, and a Georgia peach (at a Georgia beach). It is also nice to know definitively "What Are Southern Boys Made Of?" and of course "What Are Southern Girls Made Of?" "A Southern Child's Garden of Verses" is a classic very much in tune with the Robert Louis Stevenson original prototype, and is highly recommended for children of all ages and addresses.

The Science Shelf

Wacky Science
Phil Parratore, author
Ellen Connor, illustrator
Prufrock Press
5926 Balcones Drive, Suite 220, Austin, TX 78731
9781593634117, $17.95

"Wacky Science: Fun and Exciting Hands-On Activities for the Classroom" is a creative collection of science project suggestions for students in grades 5-8. Complete with lab sheets, integrated field trip proposals, science safety contract forms, even musical lyrics for Science Holiday Songs (my favorite is "I'm Dreaming of a White Precipitate") are part of the fun and multi-sensory-stimulating approach characteristic of "Wacky Science." Science activities in botany, entomology, paleontology, physics, zoology, and mineral sciences are just the tip of the glacier offered in "Wacky Science." Practical, succinct project outlines are complete with suggestions for how multiple intelligences can be used through different approaches. Some of the categories of multiple intelligences suggested are verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematic, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical rhythmic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Each intelligence type can respond to learning activities tailored to their skill area. "Wacky Science" is a concerted, creative effort to bring science education into the light and make it accessible to all different types of minds and intelligences. Who knew science and learning could be so much fun?

The Christian Studies Shelf

He Knows You
Jill S. Lash, author
Shari Darley Griffiths & Heidi Darlley, illustrators
CFI, Cedar Fort Inc.
2373 W. 700 S., Springville, UT 84663
9781599550893, $15.99

"He Knows You" is a beautiful illustrated children's book about God's understanding love. Told in simple sentences with expressive illustrations, "He Knows You" addresses the child directly, telling him/her that God knows and understands each of their feelings and thoughts, and God , or Heavenly Father loves them. "He Knows You" is simple, direct, transparent, convincing and reassuring in its spiritual certainty. "He Knows You" is appropriate for children ages 3 and up.

The Fiction Shelf

T. Katz
Blue Works
7419 Ebbert Dr. SE, Port Orchard, WA 98367
9781590924969, $10.99

Music has more value than simply entertainment. "Pythagoras" tells the story of Pricilla and her friendless with a musical ghost she encounters during music practice. T. Katz crafts a story encouraging young readers that music has far more applications than something to practice or to entertain, and can be applied to many studies and other things in life. A charming and uplifting read, "Pythagoras" is a fine pick and a solidly recommended one.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Rachel Ward's NUMBERS (9780545142991, $17.99) tells of Jem, who always sees numbers when she looks into someone's eyes: dates predicting each person's death. She avoids relationships because of this curse - until she meets Spider, another outsider, and hopes to enjoy love with him - until her next vision goes far beyond individual demise and into the realm of apocalypse. A riveting story evolves. Alice Hoffman's GREEN WITCH (9780545141956, $17.99) tells of Green, whose family is gone and her world changed by tragedy. Her journey away from her home gathering the stories of women who've been branded as witches makes for an involving sequel to GREEN ANGEL. The McKissacks' THE CLONE CODES (9780439929837, $16.99) is set in Earth's future, when the Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has prospered in peace for over a hundred pears. In 2170 cyborgs and clones are treated as slaves - and an underground movement fights for their freedom and involves teen Leanna into chaos when she discovers her mother's role in the movement. Kate Cann's POSSESSED (9780545128124, $16.99) tells of Rayne, who can't wait to get away from London and a controlling older boyfriend. Her job at a secluded country estate fails to resolve her problems in this moving saga of possession and danger. Garth Nix TO THE KINGDOM: LORD SUNDAY (9780439700900, $17.99) tells of a house's demise, which will take the world with it unless Arthur and his friends can defeat the enemies attacking them. Lord Sunday's magic is the most powerful of all in this thriller. Kathryn Lasky's WOLVES OF THE BEYOND: LONE WOLF (9780545093101, $16.99) tells of a wolf mother who hides when her pup is born disfigured. Her pup must be abandoned - but instead Faolan survives and grows to become a creature that will change his world. Advanced teen readers who have appreciated the prior books in the best-selling Tunnels series will appreciate Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams' FREEFALL (9780545138772, $18.99), picking up where DEEPER left off in telling of Will and Chester's hitting bottom, where they find near-zero gravity atop a fungus. Danger spreads in this fine, complex ongoing saga. Coleen Murtagh Paratore's SWEET AND SUNNY (9780545075824, $16.99) tells of Sunny Holiday, junior Deputy Mayor of Riverton, New York who advises the mayor on how to make her hometown a better place. Her goal is to make Kids Day a national holiday - but everything seems to turn sour on her. A sunny novel evolves. Alexandra Bullen's WISH (9780545139052, $17.99) tells of a vanished twin and a mysterious, beautiful gown's arrival. The dress is magical, and can grant Olivia the one thing she wants most - to have her sister back. Two more dresses bring more options in this warm novel of family relationships and magic.

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

Rhonda Hayter's The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams (9780803734685, $16.99) tells of Abbie and her family, who come from a long line of witches. Abbie's having a hard time keeping her heritage a secret from her best friend and the school - and a new pet offers greater challenges when Abbie finds her affection for it leads to a special problem. Middle school readers will find this engrossing. Carolyn Keene's THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK (9780448455303, $6.99) appears in a fine 80th anniversary limited edition to celebrate the ongoing interest in a heroine whose books have been published in 25 languages. Nancy Drew's ongoing appeal is celebrated in an edition with a new cover for ages 8 and up.

Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Janice Shefelman's ANNA MARIA'S GIFT (9780375858819, $12.99) comes with black and white illustrations by Robert Papp and tells the story of a young orphan's search to find her place in the world and her musical gifts. Recently orphaned Anna Maria is brought to Venice to live at an orphanage - and there hopes to achieve the musical success her father wanted for her. Her violin is her key to a better future in this winning story. R.C. Alexander's UNFAMILIAR MAGIC (9780375858543, $17.99) tells of a witch who knows she could be a GREAT witch if her mother would only teach her spells. But her mother is devoted to appearing as normal as possible - so when she leaves Desi alone with her familiar, it seems a good time to practice. Trouble evolves in this fun story.

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

Love Lessons on Bird Beach
Cora Kerr, author
Kalpart team, illustrations
Strategic Book Publishing
P.O. Box 333, Durham, CT 06422
9781608607136, $26.50 1-888-808-6190

"Love Lessons On Bird Beach" is a coming-of age chapter book with a deeply compassionate twist. Two fifteen-year-old girls named Franny and Beth become best friends spending the summer together at a Mexican beach resort. In the course of events, they begin to be involved in rescuing injured seabirds, one of whom is a pelican they name Baby. Politics, eco-damages, hard realities, and differing ideals of wildlife treatment enter the equation, and the girls experience despair, courage, success, and even the death of their beloved rescued Baby. The result is growth for each. "Love Lessons on Bird Beach" is a beautiful book for girls on the brink of young adulthood and boys too. The message of life consisting of all things and being intertwined is to the heart.

Extraordinary Ernie & Marvelous Maud
Frances Watts, author
Judy Watson, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr., NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853639, $5.99

"Extraordinary Ernie and Marvelous Maud" is a humorous chapter paperback about a dynamic duo of unlikely superheroes, a boy and his favorite sheep. They found the Baxter Branch of the Superheroes Society and find costumes and spend their days rescuing the world from Mischief, Havoc, and Chaos. When there is no heroic intervention required, Ernie and Maud enjoy cucumber sandwiches together, as Maud is a vegetarian. When bullies arrive, Ernie and Maud pair up and manage to be heroic quite nicely despite the odds. So Pascal's Rascals bite the dust and the Baxter Branch of the Superheroes Society records the full story, complete with celebration and honoring speech. "Extraordinary Ernie and Marvelous Maud" contains just the right combination of humor and action and reality plus a spunky, lovable pair of do-gooders that anyone can identify with. Sure to appeal to kids ages 7-10, Extraordinary Ernie and Marvelous Maud" is the start of something great, a series about Superheroes Ernie and Maud! Watch for "The Middle Sheep" and "The Greatest Sheep in History," coming soon!

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Chris D'Lacey's THE DRAGONS OF WAYWARD CRESCENT (9780545168311, $9.99) provides a fun story of a town council that wants to demolish an old clock and replace it with a modern one - earning the wrath of Lucy's mother and a timing dragon called Gauge. Black and white drawings pepper a fun story of a dragon intent on saving an icon. Tedd Arnold's FLY GUY MEETS FLY GIRL! (9780545110297, $5.99) provides another fun Fly Guy story. This time Fly Guy has a new friend: Fly Girl, who is every bit as good at doing tricks and eating gross things! Ages 7 and up will relish two easy reads with eye-catching changing covers: POISON! (9780545202893, $8.99) which covers all kinds of creatures that have poison as part of their defense, and FANGS! (9780545202947, $8.99), drawing connections between snakes, spiders, and a dog. Photos of all these animals appear in large size on every page of an appealing, attractive 3-D covered book to attract even the most reluctant young reader.

The Literary Shelf

Speeches, Essays & Conversations
Virginia Hamilton
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
9780439271936, $29.99

Speeches, Essays & Conversations is an outstanding collection, edited by Arnold Adoff and Kacy Cook, exploring the many types of stories and writings Virginia Hamilton achieved. Widely known for her novels, she pioneered new literary writings for all ages and also wrote slave histories, biographies, picture books, and more. Her speeches, essays and discussions here offers a wide survey of her life, perspectives, and more. Young adult collections already popular in Virginia Hamilton writings will appreciate this.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Alligators and Crocodiles
Gail Gibbons
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823422340, $17.95

"Alligators and Crocodiles" is a fun, fact-filled, color-illustrated guide to North American alligators and crocodiles for children ages 6-10. Complete with maps of alligator/crocodile habitat, detailed labeled artistic illustrations, and references to additional related web sites, "Alligators and Crocodiles" is filled with fascinating material that kids will devour eagerly.

How to Clean a Hippopotamus
Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547245157, $16.00

How to Clean a Hippopotamus offers a focus on animal symbiosis and provides readers with a captivating introduction and step-by-step view of animal partnerships. Color drawings appear in cartoon-like panels to describe these partnerships in this outstanding survey geared to grades 2-4.

Eldorado Ink
PO Box 100097, Pittsburgh, PA 15233
$34.95 List / $27.95 School/Library

'Our Best Friends' is an outstanding series designed for young readers ages 14 and older, and dedicated to some very special pets, The newest additions to this superbly produced and presented series includes six specific dog breeds, one on diverse cat breeds, and one focusing on training a canine companion to do a wide and diverse variety of tricks. Each individual, profusely illustrated, 112-page title features a reinforced library binding for an extended shelf life, and is enhanced with the inclusion of a list of thematically appropriate organizations that children can contact; a bibliography for further studies, internet resources, and an index. The titles comprising the 'Our Best Friends" series include "Beagle" (9781932904574); "Bulldog" (9781932904581); "Dachshund" (9781932904598); "Fetch This Book" (9781932904604); "Miniature Schnauzer (9781932904611); "Mixed Breed Cats" (9781932904628); "Pug" (9781932904635); and "Rottweiler" (9781932904642). Informed and informative, Especially recommended as an enduringly for both school and community library Pets/Wildlife collections. Librarians would be well advised to visit the Eldorado Ink web site at for a complete listing of all twenty-four volumes comprising the 'Our Best Friends' series.

The Picturebook Shelf

Moon Loon
Sandy Ferguson Fuller
Taylor Trade Publishing
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781589794559, $7.95

"Moon Loon" is beautiful children's picture book with rhyming text that tells a tale of a loon and his watcher, a young girl. Softly penciled evocative illustrations are the perfect counterpart to the gentle rhythms of the rhyming text. The girl watches and listens to the loon throughout spring and summer of a year up north in a woodland cabin. "Moon Loon" weaves fascinating facts and observations of loon lore in seamlessly, and the total effect is a natural loon lullaby, the perfect bedtime story.

Scare a Bear
Kathy-jo Wargin, author
John Bendall-Brunello, artist
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor MI 48108
9781585364305, $15.95

"Scare a Bear" is a rollicking, rhyming fanciful tale that deals (hypothetically) with the thorny question "Do you know how to scare a bear?" Through colorful , comical, whimsical illustrations, follow the mad escapades of a camp full of bear-loving and -scaring kids who face their furry visitor in numerous humorous settings and situations, all of which center on dealing with a visiting bear (who won't be scared). Kids of all ages will love "Scare a Bear," and parents may find its rhymes sublime take time to mime. (Sorry, the reviewer has caught the "Scare a Bear" virus, only a loud "Boo!" will stop her!).

A Most Vivid Day
Justin Young, author/illustrator
Golden Tree Press,
c/o Dream Character, Inc.
21143 Hawthorne Boulevard, #453, Torrance, CA 90503
KSB Promotions (publicity)
9780978541811, $16.95

"A Most Vivid Day" is a wonderful, bright fable of learning and sharing and the value of community cooperation. Filled to the brim with bright, sun-drenched watercolor illustrations, "A Most Vivid Day" is a charming teaching story about a bat named Tommy who learns to see and love colors painted by the sun. But when he asks the sun to pain him with colors too, all the colors have been used up and none of the animals are willing to share their colors with him. It takes an angry rain cloud and a crisis of rain-lost colors to help the animals all realize that they hold the solution in their hands and soon there is a rainbow-filled happy ending. "A Most Vivid Day" teaches young children in the very best way, incorporating senses of color, design, taste and smell, while simultaneously showing the immense importance of cooperation and sharing. It is a beautiful, imaginative book for children ages 4-8.

Smoky and the Feast of Mabon, a Magical Child Story
Catherynne M. Valente, author
W. Lyon Martin, artist
Magical Child Books
301 Tenth Avenue, Crystal City, MO 63019
9780979683466, $16.95

"Smoky and the Feast of Mabon" is a story about a little girl's discovery of the Wiccan autumnal equinox Feast of Mabon, a special harvest feast celebrated between the old year and the new. Smoky is upset because it is the fall of the year and all her favorite flowers are dying. She goes deep into the woods where she has always felt safe, and discovers a special feast of pumpkin pie, apples, corn, bread, cookies, cupcakes, and (vegetable) soup. At this magical feast are many animal guests and a beautiful lady who rocks a cradle with a baby in it. The lady is Equinox and the baby is the New Year, sound asleep. Soon Smoky sees a large old figure in white whom she is told is the Old Year. Vixen the fox tells Smoky they call the day the baby wakes up Samhain, and the first day of Autumn is called Mabon. Smoky feasts and dances and parties with her special animal friends and the stars, and when she is tired she returns home to her mother, who is still clearing the garden of dead flowers. "Smoky and the Feast of Mabon" is a lovely book that teaches children to appreciate the gifts of each season, but particularly fall, and not to mourn the passing of beautiful flowers or plants because they give many good gifts in their endings, and in their endings is another beginning. "Smoky and the Feast of Mabon" is enhanced by spectacular illustrations which bring the magical child story new dimensions. "Smoky and the Feast of Mabon" is written particularly for children ages 5-9.

Stolen Spirit
Peter Hays & Beti Rozen, authors
Graca Lima, illustrator
Sem Frontieras Press
1530 Palisade Avenue, Suite 2F, For Lee, NJ 07024
0964233312, $11.95

"Stolen Spirit" is a vividly illustrated story about a Guarani (Brazilian) Indian boy of 14 who dreams of an encounter with a Portuguese explorer during his sacred alone time of initiation into adulthood. Confused by the actions he sees the man take (chopping down a sacred tree without permission and wasting it), the boy goes to his Paje, or spiritual leader. The Paje warns him that the white intruders may try to "steal his spirit." Even though the boy cannot understand this, he knows instinctively that the danger he feels cannot be denied. "Stolen Spirit" is perhaps a first attempt to reconstruct the reaction of the First (South) Americans to the strange white, bearded intruders, from the viewpoint of the Guarani. Fabulous, colorful, primitive-style artwork accompanies the boy's dreamlike visions and experiences. "Stolen Spirit" is written for children ages 8-12, and has now been adapted into a play for students age 8 and older.

Just Like You
Marla Stewart Konrad, author
Lin Wang, illustrator
c/o Zondervan
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
9780310714781, $15.99

"Just Like You" is a mother's celebration lullaby for her baby, telling her child how special the day of its birth was and how all around the world that same day other children were born and welcomed to life in many ways. Every child was precious and unique to its mother and family. "Just Like You" ends with a breath of prayer: "On the day you were born, God wrapped his gentle arms around the whole world. He looked into the eyes of every tiny baby and laid them in their mothers' arms. He counted the hairs on each little head. And he called the angels to sing a lullaby of joy. Under his watchful eye, you and all of the children will grow tall and strong, and the world will never be the same. When I tuck you in tonight, all the stars of the universe will sparkle through your window. I'll close my eyes and thank God for his special gift to me. You were everything I wanted, because I wanted a baby... just like you." "Just Like You" is beautifully enriched with warmly colorful illustrations that celebrate the diversity of human cultures and races. "Just Like You" is perfect for reading to children ages 4-7, and would be a wonderful gift to children who are expecting a new sibling in their family.

The Changing Colors of Amos
John Kinyon, author
Kay Selvig Flanders, illustrator
Cherished Publications
9780978786618, $14.95 800-949-4416

"The Changing Colors of Amos" is a rollicking, rhyming story about a leprechaun who changes colors every day. Illustrated with delicate original chalk drawings in pastel to deeper shades of rainbow colors, "The Changing Colors of Amos" helps preschool children learn their colors, days of the week and ways to identify or describe their changing moods. All the colors of the days of the week are there for Amos to change to, and not one of them is green. But Sunday is the best of all, because Amos gets to choose a rainbow of hues. "The Changing Colors of Amos" is a delightful book for preschool children, which will encourage vivid young imaginations to develop.

The Sandwich Shop
Queen Rania Alabdullah with Kelly DiPucchio
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor, NY, NY 10011
9781423124849, $16.99

THE SANDWICH SHOP tells of two best friends who always eat together and like all the same things - except food! When a food fight breaks out over a sandwich, the friendship seems threatened. Tricia Tusa's fine drawings lend to a funny presentation many kids will recognize in themselves.

Animal Crackers Fly the Coop
Kevin O'Malley
Walker & Company
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780802798374, $16.99

Animal Crackers Fly the Coop is the hilarious story of Hen, who is tired of the same old farm routines and who decides to fly the coop to open up a comedy club. When she encounters two like-minded comedy fans in Dog, Cat, and Cow, an entire club evolves with unexpected results in this hilarious story where animals test their humor skills.

Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Cynthia Lord's HOT ROD HAMSTER (9780545035309, $16.99) is an especially notable, recommended title spiced with gorgeous eye-catching drawings by Derek Anderson as it tells of a hamster's race to the finish line. "Which would you choose" offers kids interactive choices in the course of a zany story that's a top pick for any picturebook library. Pamela Duncan Edwards' WHILE THE WORLD IS SLEEPING (9780545017565, $16.99) includes fine drawings by Daniel Kirk and provides a gentle story of a young boy's journey atop an owl to check out night life among the animals. What do animals do while the world is sleeping? Quite a bit, actually. Collections strong in graphic novel style illustrations will welcome Barbara Kerley's THE EXTRAORDINARY MARK TWAIN ACCORDING TO SUSY (9780545125086, $17.99), illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. It tells of a teen who writes her own biography of Mark Twain, determined to set the record straight about his life, and offers a fine selection of diary entries, mini-book inserts, and fine drawings. Elisha Cooper's FARM (9780545070751, $17.99) offers insights into the changing rhythms and world of a farm, and provides fine observations of daily farm activities and animals. Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen's THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS AND THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE (9780590108263, $16.99) tells of Ms. Frizzle's students, putting on a play about global warming and in search of facts. The Magic School Bus takes the kids on a worldwide tour observing signs of climate change - and shrinks them to miniature size to get the full scope of problems. Pamela Duncan Edwards' PRINCESS PIGTORIA AND THE PEA (9780545156257, $16.99) receives Henry Cole's fun drawings and tells of a princess' pigsty. Pigtoria's penniless - but if the prince proposes, she could make her palace picturesque again. Mary Newell DePalma's THE PERFECT GIFT (9780545154024, $16.99) tells of Lori, who has the perfect gift - a red strawberry Grandma will love. But when it falls into a river where a crocodile lurks, trouble results and friends are called into action to help.

Books in Series

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

The outstanding 'The Amazing Human Body' series from Marshall Cavendish includes L.H. Colligan's MUSCLES (9780761440383, $23.95) and Lorrie Klosterman's EXCRETORY SYSTEM (9780761440376, $23.95), with each provide a fine survey of 77 pages each for grades 4-6, covering different parts of the human body system. Color photos, diagrams, charts, and facts make this the perfect item of choice for any student learning about the human body. Highly recommended, these promise report-quality facts paired with attention-grabbing illustrations throughout.

Crabtree Publishers
350 - 5th Ave #3308, New York NY 10118

Bobbie Kalman's 32-page country coverages are keys to any elementary-level library where reports are assigned for geography, and CANADA: THE PEOPLE (9780778792833, $26.60) and THE CULTURE (9780778792840, $26.60) are no exception. Covering Canadian myths, legends, holidays, cultural makeup and more, these pair bright, contemporary photos with facts perfect for geography study and perfect for kids in grades 3-5. Joining others in the publisher's 'A Family, A Child, A Celebration' series are three new arrivals: HINDUISM IN BALI (9780778750086, $26.60), ISLAM IN TURKEY (9780778750093, $26.60) and BUDDHISM IN THAILAND (9780778750062, $26.60). Each offers 32 pages including an index, glossary, and color photos of contemporary children and families, and each provides an overview of preparations for celebrations as well as a survey of basic beliefs. The 'Rivers Around the World' series is a fine pick for any library strong in world geography. Each book focuses on a different major world river, discussing history, peoples who depend upon it, travel and commerce, and comparison to other world rivers. THE GANGES: INDIA'S SACRED RIVER (9780778774433, $26.60), THE AMAZON: RIVER IN A RAIN FOREST (9780778774426, $26.60), THE YANGTZE: CHINA'S MAJESTIC RIVER (9780778774495, $26.60), THE TIGRIS AND EUPHRATES: RIVERS OF THE FERTILE CRESCENT (9780778774488, $26.60), THE ST. LAWRENCE: RIVER ROUTE TO THE GREAT LAKES (9780778774471, $26.60), THE NILE: RIVER IN THE SAND (9780778774457, $26.60), THE RHINE: EUROPE'S RIVER HIGHWAY (9780778774464, $26.60) and THE MISSISSIPPI: AMERICA'S MIGHTY RIVER (9780778774440, $26.60) are fine study guides for any general geography library.

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

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