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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 6 June 2012 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Law/Justice Shelf Political Science Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Environmental Shelf Fiction Shelf
Counting Shelf Health Shelf Biography Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Art Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christian Shelf
Judaic Shelf Native American Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Science Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Hunting/Fishing Shelf Bilingual Shelf American History Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Leave Me Alone
Kes Gray, author
Lee Wildish, illustrator
Barron's Educational Series
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppage, NY 11788
9780764147364 $8.99

"Leave Me Alone: A Tale of What Happens When You Stand Up to a Bully" is a sensitively illustrated children's story about a boy who is frightened and scared by a mysterious, giant enemy. When the fly, cat rabbit, pig, magpie, and cow see how unhappy the boy is, they try to offer comfort, but he tells each of them "Leave me alone!" Finally they learn about the "giant full of nasty words, ... huge and strong, so big he blocks the sun, Who teases me and bullies me every day for fun." When the boy hears the giant coming, he despairs, but amazingly, his animal friends stand together and say to the giant, "Leave him alone!" This incredibly moving, simply narrated tale is beautifully illustrated with great imagination, in a way that unforgettably reinforces the anti-bullying message. Children age 5 and over will enjoy "Leave Me Alone."

Maybe: A Little Zen for Little Ones
Sanjay Nambiar
Umiya Publishing
9780983824305 $15.99

Winner of the Mom's Choice award, Maybe: A Little Zen for Little Ones is a children's picturebook based on an ancient Zen parable. When different things happen to a little girl, they seem to be good or bad luck, but are they really? Her bike disappears, and this seems to be bad luck, but she was outgrowing it anyway and she enjoys riding the new one her parents buy. The new bike seems to be good luck, but then she has an accident on it. The accident appears to be bad luck, but she enjoys a wonderful day staying home reading books while she recovers... and so on. Like the Zen parable it's based on, Maybe offers the lesson that life's turns can change for better or worse in unexpected ways; the girl herself never gets too caught up in either celebration or despair, but simply accepts the good and the bad, and responds with a smile and the word "Maybe" when others tell her how lucky or unlucky she is. Maybe: A Little Zen for Little Ones is an excellent read-aloud storybook to share with young people, especially when teaching them about the unpredictable nature of life itself. Highly recommended.

Seriously, Just Go to Sleep
Adam Mansbach, author
Ricardo Cortes, illustrator
Akashic Books
PO Box 1456
New York, NY 10009
9781617750786 $15.95

Seriously, Just Go to Sleep is the children's version of author (and sleep-deprived father) Adam Mansbach's tongue-in-cheek, curse-word picturebook for adults, "Go the **** to Sleep" (9781617750250, $14.95). Although Seriously, Just Go to Sleep uses the same artwork and draws upon the same, humorous wellspring of parental frustration, it's completely child-friendly and quite suitable for reading aloud to recalcitrant young ones at bedtime! "Bleary and dazed I awaken / To find your eyes shut, so I keep / My fingers crossed tight as I tiptoe away / And pray that you're really asleep."

The Law/Justice Shelf

What Are My Rights?
Judge Tom Jacobs
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781575423807, $15.99,

Everyone has rights, even if they don't know about them. "What Are My Rights?: Q&A About Teens and the Law" is a legal advisory for teenagers as Judge Tom Jacobs tells teenagers about what they can do when they feel their laws are being violated, including stories of teenagers who stood up to the law and made a difference. Focusing on a teen's rights when dealing with privacy, workplaces, schools, internet concerns, and much more, "What Are My Rights?" is a strong reference that covers the many laws regarding teens with details on state to state differences, very much worth considering for the thoughtful teenager. Also for Teenagers from Free Spirit Publishing is "The Gifted Teen Survival Guide; Smart, Sharp, and Ready for Almost Anything" (9781575423814, $15.99), discussing how to deal with the common concerns teens face as they enter the complex world of adulthood.

The Political Science Shelf

Grace for President
Kelly DiPucchio, author
LeUyen Pham, illustrator
c/o Hyperion Books for Children
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor
New York, NY 10011
9781423139997 $15.99

Grace for President is more than an upbeat children's picturebook - it's also a subtle educational lesson designed to teach young people ages 5-9 about how our electoral system works. When Grace learns in school that America has never had a female president, she decides that she is going to become the first! But does she have what it takes? She decides to run in the school's mock presidential election, in which groups of students take on the role of various states in the electoral college. She faces stiff competition from her opponent, who claims to be the "best man for the job" - so Grace decides that she will be the best person for the job, and prove it with her actions! A fun and lively read, Grace for President is worthy of the highest recommendation for both school and public library children's collections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Lift, A Gosling's First Flight
Robin Lynne Gordon, author
Julie Leiman Weaver, illustrator
Peaceful Thoughts Press
598 Straton Chase SE, Marietta, GA 30067
9780972511810 $20.00

"Lift, A Gosling's First Flight" is a beautifully illustrated story about a gosling's growth to his first flight experience. Carefully describing the real teamwork strategies of adult geese, "Lift: A Gosling's First Flight" follows the birds' fantastic instinctive reactions to the novice flyer's first attempts and limitations, tiring during flight. With colorful artistic illustrations and deftly versed descriptive narrative, "Lift: A Gosling's First Flight" offers combined education in independence, community, and growth to children ages 4-10. In addition, several final pages contain many interesting facts about geese plus references and interesting related web sites for further study. "Lift: A Gosling's First Flight" is both an inspirational and an educational work of literature and art, designed to encourage wonder.

The Blue Lobster
Robin Taylor-Chiarello, author
Lisa Bohart, illustrator
Peppertree Press
1269 First Street, Suite 7
Sarasota, FL 34236
9781936343843 $15.95

"The Blue Lobster" is a darling, colorfully illustrated children's fable about a real phenomenon, the rare blue lobster occasionally found off the coast of Maine. The cheery versed narrative teaches children that differences are meant to be cherished and celebrated, not feared and shunned. Just because an individual is a surprising color doesn't mean he isn't a special new friend! Learning that every millionth lobster is blue, not red, can be a surprising way to enter a world of more enlightened awareness of diversity. "The Blue Lobster" is a charming, memorable book with a positive message of acceptance of differences that will appeal to children age 4 and up.

City Chickens
Christine Heppermann
Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547518305, $16.99,

CITY CHICKENS provides a fun story of Chicken Run Rescue in Minneapolis, a refuge for chickens that have been found on the city streets, and is a fun account that will earn a place in the animal section of any young reader's library. It tells of how the authors have given hundreds of homeless birds a safe place to rest until adoption and provides fine details on the finer art of chicken rescue. Kids will need good reading skills to absorb this story so grades 3-5 will be the best audience.

The Environmental Shelf

Power Up to Fight Pollution
Lisa Bullard, author
Wes Thomas, illustrator
Millbrook Press
c/o Lerner Publishing
1251 Washington Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761385158 $6.95

"Power Up to Fight Pollution" is a pollution solution fact book from the Planet Protectors series, part of the Cloverleaf Books collection of illustrated nonfiction picture books designed to make environmental education accessible and fun for kids. With colorful illustrations and easy ideas for implementing earth cleanup at the kid/family level, "Power Up to Fight Pollution" presents lots of easy ideas for kids to take action in helping to reduce pollution and help clean the earth and environment. For example, the three R's of the environment are reduce, reuse, and recycle. Kids can use less of their drawing paper by drawing on the back, they can also use a relative's hand-me down clothing instead of buying new, plus they can help sort bottles, cans, and paper to recycle them. Lots more neat ideas follow, like planting trees, recycling e-waste, and being a super power saver. Also included in "Power Up to Fight Pollution" is a Follow the Pollution Path activity, a glossary, and a brief bibliography which includes relevant websites. "Power Up to Fight Pollution" is perfect for teaching environmental protection to children age 6 and up.

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World
Laurie Lawlor, author
Laura Beingessner, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
9780823423705 $16.95

Wonderfully illustrated in gentle color by Laura Beingessner, Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World is the true life story of the woman who wrote "Silent Spring", a book about how the prevalence of insecticides and other chemicals combined with a lack of regulation was poisoning the environment, killing off natural wildlife and ultimately harming people. "Silent Spring" became a well-known title worldwide, won multiple awards and honors, and inspired grassroots ecological and environmental movements that began to change the world - positive efforts that would likely have been at least delayed if not for Carson's insight and skill with prose. Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World reveals that her life was fraught with financial difficulty; she worked to support multiple family members, yet amid her greatest hardships, she found solace in the beauty of the outdoors. An epilogue describes at length the fierce corporate opposition to "Silent Spring", and the harsh accusations made against Carson for publishing it. Carson died at age fifty-six from breast cancer; she would not live to see the sweeping positive changes that her book inspired, but her legacy lives on in the form of cleaner water and air than we would have had without her.

National Parks
Erin McHugh
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
151 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
9781579128845, $19.95,

NATIONAL PARKS: A KID'S GUIDE TO AMERICA'S PARKS, MONUMENTS, AND LANDMARKS provides a handy reference and consideration of our national park system and packs in illustrations, photos, and discussions of the history of parks, landmarks, natural wonders and more. From the ages of natural wonders and facts about the national park system's evolution to sidebars of illustrated facts and trivia, this is designed as a leisure-reading reference perfect for both browsing and reports.

The Fiction Shelf

Secrets of a Summer Village
Saskia E Akyil
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463740115, $14.00,

In "Secrets of a Summer Village", 17 year old Rachel Guo finds herself spending part of a once-in-a-lifetime summer with a Turkish family in a village situated on the West Coast of Turkey. This will also be the village where she will begin by not knowing her own mind, and conclude with an unexpected romance and her own coming of age as a young woman. Author Saska Akyil has a natural talent for bringing her characters to life and providing the reader with a true 'mind's eye' experience in a pleasant read which will prove a perfect summer pastime! "Secrets of a Summer Village" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library contemporary fiction and young adult fiction collections.

The Girl Who Discovered America
Luis Fabio Miranda
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467947459, $16.00,

For those who have never been, America can be quite the terrifying place. "The Girl Who Discovered America" is a novel from Luis Fabio Miranda, telling of a young Brazilian girl with two opportunities, to enter a secret pagan order and a shot at life in America. When she comes to New York City, she finders her follow order members with her, and finds that American life wasn't as perfect as she envisioned it, as she learns what must be done for her new life. "The Girl Who Discovered America" is a strong addition to young adult fiction collections.

Stella Batts: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Courtney Sheinmel, author
Jennifer A. Bell, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
350 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585361915 $5.99

"Stella Batts: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow" is a chapter book with immense appeal for kids age 7 and up, second in a series. Life starts out positive for Stella, child of candy store owners who gets to be an Official Batts Confections Taste-Tester. But after she goes to sleep testing magic, glow in the dark bubble gum, all that results is gum in her hair and a disastrous haircut that makes her look like a boy! To make things worse, she finds her best friend will be moving far across the country and her sister Penny loses her favorite stuffed animal named Belinda. Stella Batts is not a quitter, however, and her spunk comes to her rescue in more ways than one, even when problems baffle her. The good humor and resilience of character in this book bounces off the pages. Fast moving narrative is spiked with quirky black and white illustrations and real life frustrations and activities occur to these quite believable characters. Kids, especially girls will love Stella Batts as an unlikely heroine who cheerfully makes lemonade when life gives her lemons.

Joining Forces with Glory
Lisa Mallen, author
Shannon Sinwell, illustrator
Bookstand Publishing
305 Vineyard Town Center, Suite 302
Morgan Hill, CA 95307
9781618630025 $9.95

"Joining Forces with Glory" is a packed chapter book about a girl from a military family (named Glory) that is written especially to appeal to kids ages 7-10. Glory, the spunky 'Army brat' encounters lots of difficulties in her third move to a new school in the middle of the school year. Luckily her understanding teacher helps her to reflect to some of her classmates (civilians especially) some of the differences between military and civilian family lifestyles. One particular student, Hank, presents great obstruction to Glory's acceptance. She rises to the challenge he presents and manages to extend understanding and compassion to him in a most amazing way. "Joining Forces with Glory" is written in a clear, fast moving, simple style that will appeal to young readers. Included at the end of the book is a brief history of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and also a list of organizations, companies, and institutions that can provide more information about resources for military families. "Joining Forces with Glory" is a fantastic kids' book whose time is now.

Best Friend Thief
Laurel-Ann Dooley, author
WordWorks Publishing, LLC
P.O. Box 8351, Atlanta, GA 31106
9780983155720 $4.99

"Best Friend Thief: A Between Best Friends Book" is a tween-oriented book about changing close friendships between girls of middle school grades. Nathalie and Reagan have been best friends forever embedded in a comfortable group of 4 different female personalities. What happens when Queen Blair, a high status classmate, decides she wants to be best friends with Reagan? The process of dealing with confusion, hurt feelings, misunderstanding, rejection, loss and growth is very well described in "Best Friend Thief." Emphasizing the potential for cultivating a compassionate response to painful awareness is the key component that sets "Best Friend Thief" apart from many similar books. "Best Friend Thief" is an ideal chapter book for girls of the appropriate age to enjoy and help them understand different ways of coping with this difficult problem area at times of transition.

Hay Fever
D. K. Akers, author
Bill Farnsworth, illustrator
High Noon Books
c/o Academic Therapy Publications
20 Commercial Boulevard
Novato, CA 94949
9781571285942, $22.00 per series of five

"Hay Fever" is one of a series by D. K. Akers of 5 titles at reading level one called Copper Canyon, written to appeal to girls age 11 and up (struggling readers high interest series). Best friends Sara and Amber enjoy riding their horses and attending middle school together in small town Copper Canyon. But they are concerned when horses in Copper Canyon begin to sicken and even die. How do Amber and Sara determine the mysterious cause of the horses' illness? Is it a deliberate poisoning or a terrible accident? "Hay Fever" will hold readers' interest as it quickly progresses through this intriguing animal (and human) centered mystery. Black and white drawings add to the story's detail and interest. Other Copper Canyon books in the set include "Bobcat Trail," Down the Stream," "Getting Away," and "Party Girl." Also recommended by the same author from this publisher are titles included in the Fixers series, "Hit and Run"; "Missing"; "Looking for a Home"; "Trapped"; and "Throwing the Game".

Gypsy McPhee: The New Kid in Town
Kathryn & Patricia Palmiere
Bookstand Publishing
305 Vineyard Town Center, Suite 302
Morgan Hill CA 95037
9781589097506 $12.95

"Gypsy McPhee: The New Kid in Town" is a short chapter book about an 8-year old girl who adjusts to many changes with her family, including the loss of her father, a move to stay with her grandmother, her mother's loss of employment, and many other common problems and issues faced by children of today with their families. Gypsy Marie McPhee is no quitter, but instead she's a resilient heroine who takes action to help when she perceives an issue or problem. Kids of today will relate to this spunky third-grader, and lessons of helping others, not focusing on selfish issues, growing food to consume, and more are presented in forthright and creative style. Chapters move quickly and reader interest is always piqued,. At the end are some added interest features, including Gypsy McPhee's Quotables ("When you work together, you make life so much better!"), and Language Lesson 101 which covers idioms used in the book. "Gypsy McPhee, the New Kid in Town" was written by a mother-daughter team and grew from some of their shared experiences. "Gypsy McPhee, the New Kid in Town" will appeal to students ages 8 and up, especially girls.

Secrets of a Summer Village
Saskia E. Akyil
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463740115, $14.00,

One chance to see a new view of the world leads to a lot of growing up. "Secrets of a Summer Village" follows young Rachel Guo as she joins a Turkish family for a month at the end of the summer. Learning much through her experiences and the world that she finds with new friends, the brushes with romance will give Rachel something she'll never forget. "Secrets of a Summer Village" is a fine pick for fiction collections aimed at teenagers.

Three Dreams Deep
D. F. Lamont
Jetpack Media
318 Wentworth Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3M 2V6
9780987783127, $TBA pbk. / $2.99 Kindle

How far can the concept of dreaming go? "Three Dreams Deep" is a young adult novel from D. F. Lamont, as he places readers with thirteen year old Willis Newman as he runs into a girl in his dreams, who claims to be a former best friend, and he must help her find her brother, deep into the dreams and within. With psychological elements, "Three Dreams Deep" is a strong pick for youth readers, very much recommended.

Lucy in the Sky
Simon and Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781442451872, $17.99,

LUCY IN THE SKY is much like the decades-old GO ASK ALICE: the cover art even looks similar, the author is 'Anonymous', and the story tells of Lucy, a good girl living a good life who attends a bad party and finds her life changed. Much in the way of GO ASK ALICE, this is the diary she leaves behind, and offers a pointed and poignant journal of her downfall. Any collection seeing strong continued interest in the now-old GO ASK ALICE will find this equally compelling.

Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1
New York, NY 10019

Andrew Norriss' I DON'T BELIEVE IT, ARCHIE! (9780385752503, $12.99) offers black and white drawings by Hannatt Shaw and tells of odd things that happen to Archie's new friend Cyd one Monday morning. First a piano rolls down the hill and traps her in the car, then a truck tips a load of graven on it. These are things that happen to Archie every day - and the next day he finds a dead small dog in his pocket, so real trouble begins. A fine account for any in grades 3-4. Graham Salisbury's CALVIN COCONUT: MAN TRIP (9780385739641, $12.99) receives fine drawings by Jacqueline Rogers as it tells of Calvin Coconut and his mom's boyfriend, who are good buddies. Ledward invites Calvin to fly to Hawaii to go deep-sea fishing, where Calvin catches his first big fish and struggles with a huge marlin that rushes the boat. Adventures teach Calvin important lessons about nature in a fine leisure read for grades 3-4.

43 Old Cemetery Road: The Phantom of the Post Office
Kate Klise
Harcourt Books
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547519746, $15.99,

43 Old Cemetery Road: The Phantom of the Post Office receives fine black and white drawings by M. Sarah Klise and tells of the Ghastly Post Office, which is preparing to close and which will make it hard to delivery future ghost stories from 43 Old Cemetery Road. The new technology VEXT-mail is threatening to replace not just letters but books and even machinery: can anyone save the post office? There's a host of fun spooky mysteries in this fine story of a phantom fan.

Obi: Gerbil on a Mission!
M.C. Delaney
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor
New York, NY 10014
9780803737273, $16.99,

Obi: Gerbil on a Mission provides the delightful story of Obi the gerbil whose human mother loves her and keeps her protected in a cage. Obi knows how to escape her home, however - and when a new pet comes to live at Obi's house and commands her mistress's attention, Obi is happy when he escapes and runs away. But Rachel is heartbroken - so it's up to Obi to escape and bring him back in this fine story of a courageous gerbil's efforts to make her mistress happy.

c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019

Tanita S. Davis' HAPPY FAMILIES (9780375869662, $16.99) tells of teen twins who are lucky: Ysabel's jewelry designs have caught on in the art world while Justin is looking to get into a fine college. They are well-adjusted and even like their parents - until they learn their father has been keeping a big secret from them. This is the year they will be forced to come to terms with his new life and a vastly changed family reality in a fine story recommended for any leisure reader from grades 4-6. Bryan Perro's AMOS DARAGON: THE KEY OF BRAHA (9780385739047, $16.99) tells of Amos, who survives his first mission as Mask Wearer but encounters a girl who ends his life and sends him to Braha, where souls await judgment. Spirit Amos boards a boat and journeys to a world overcrowded with spirits, where a key can unlock the doors to heaven and hell. His mission is to find it and restore order in Braha - or fall victim to those who would use this world for their own means. A fine supernatural saga evolves. Kristen Tracy's BESSICA LEFTER BITES BACK (9780385740692, $16.99) tells of Bessica, named half mascot along with Alice, who is the other half. Alice hates her - and Bessica's becoming too familiar with hurt between old friends. The ups and downs of school relationships and middle school angst are documented in a fun story recommended for grades 5-7. Donna Gephart's OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN (9780385740524, $16.99) tells of Olivia, who knows trivia and is a Jeopardy TV show expert, beating at least one contestant nightly. Only her lack of geography knowledge is keeping her from becoming a star; so when her nemesis Tucker offers help, Olivia finds a host of others involves in making her 'the best'. A fine tale of evolving talent emerges.

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

Kami Kinard's THE BOY PROJECT (NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS OF KARA MCALLISTER) (9780545345156, $12.99) uses a fine journal format and tells of Kara, who is intent on changing her image before the end of the school year - by getting a boyfriend. Her determination leads to 'The Boy Project', and her journal uses charts, graphs and observations designed to uncover the 'mystery of boys'. A fine leisure tale evolves with many light-hearted moments. Coleen Murtagh Paratore's DREAMSLEEVES (9780545310208, $16.99) takes place in the summer before eighth grade and tells of Aislinn, who has so many dreams she's filled an entire book with them. But she's charged with watching her younger siblings while her parents work, is not allowed to talk to boys, and barely gets out of the house: how can this environment lend to dreams come true? A brilliant idea to help her family turns into something truly amazing in this fine story. Pete Hautman's WHAT BOYS REALLY WANT (9780545113151, $17.99) tells of Lita and Adam, who are sometimes-friends with unwritten rules. They have many understandings this way - but very different perspectives on life and its challenges, covered here in a fine story of boy/girl conflicts. The McKissacks' THE VISITORS (9780439929875, $16.99) offers Book Three in the Clone Codes series and is a pick for collections that own and have seen popularity with the other two books. It continues the story of the Topas Corporation, where clones are produced, and tells of the world's largest cloning company and how boy genius Carlos enters a strange alternate reality to change the world. This concludes the trilogy and so is a 'must' for any who've been left hanging. Susan Patron's DEAR AMERICA: THE DIARY OF ANGELINE REDDY: BEHIND THE MASKS (9780545304375, $12.99) is set in 1880 Bodie, California during the gold rush and tells of Angie, who lives in a wild Western town where her lawyer father is murdered. Angie believes he's not really dead, and takes it upon herself to solve the riddle of what happened to him. When a ghost appears and she faces a gang of vigilantes, Angie struggles to handle social change and her father's disappearance in this realistic, fast-paced Western saga. Pat Walsh's THE CROWFIELD DEMON (9780545317696, $16.99) provides a satisfying sequel to the prior CROWFIELD CURSE and is a recommendation for collections that have seen popularity with this predecessor. Here monk apprentice Will is gifted with the Sight and protected by a warrior as he comes into his powers - but Crowfield Abbey has begun to crumble and Will struggles to salvage the chapel as dark forces awaken to challenge his blossoming powers. A complex, fast-paced story of the supernatural emerges, recommended for grades 5-7. Emma Clayton's THE WHISPER (9780545317726, $17.99) offers a fine sequel to THE ROAR and is also a recommended pick for collections that have enjoyed THE ROAR. Telepathic twins Mika and Ellie are together but not free, and if they have any hope of being free, the must play along with a tyrant's plan to control a brainwashed army of children. Mika and Ellie have their own plan; they can hear the Whisper, and it's advising them to build their own army of mutants to revolt against evil in this winning, powerful saga. All are top picks for any leisure collection!

The Counting Shelf

Soup for One
Ethan Long, author, illustrator
Running Press Kids
2300 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762445110 $14.95

"Soup for One" is a delightful illustrated children's counting book. Narrated in witty verse, "Soup for One" regales its audience of a tale of an ever increasing attendance of colorful flying insects who are attracted by a steaming bowl of lovely tomato soup. The lucky lizard discovers many slurping flies in his bowl of soup and decides to pursue them for his dessert! A comical surprise ending will delight young readers and sharpen their interest and observation skills. Who knew that spider was waiting?

The Health Shelf

DietMinder Junior, Food & Exercise Journal for Kids 6 & Up
F. E. Wilkins
MemoryMinder Journals, Inc.
P.O. Box 23108, Eugene, OR 97402
9780963796882 $10.95

"DietMinder Junior" is a spiral-bound food intake and exercise journal for kids ages 6 and up that incorporates helpful information about food groups, serving sizes, daily exercise goals, and more into a cheerfully illustrated daily log format. Easy to understand, compact, convenient, and inspirational, "DietMinder Junior" can be a great tool for school age children who are working on a healthy lifestyle. Including journal pages for 28 days in addition to helpful information for parents and teachers about good nutrition and healthy exercise habits, "DietMinder Junior" is a step along the path to reducing childhood obesity.

There's a Goof on My Roof!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Donny Crank, illustrator
Castle Keep Press
c/o James A. Rock & Company Publishers
900 South Irby Street, #508
Florence, South Carolina 29501
9781596638556 $12.95

Donald W. Kruse presents There's A Goof on My Roof!, a softcover, rhyming children's picturebook with a much-needed positive message about the benefits of avoiding tooth-rotting sugary foods, and eating a balanced diet of healthy foods to make one look and feel better all day. When a young boy wakes up in the middle of the night, he discovers a green-skinned Goof on his roof! The Goof invites him to eat sugary taffy, but the boy realizes that the Goof's nonstop diet of candy has rotted his teeth and made him hyperactive! The boy tries to help the Goof by teaching him about nutritious foods: "You have to eat peaches, cherries and plums. 'Cause sugar and candy will just make you dumb." In addition to giving the Goof nutritious food to take to his home planet, the boy also gives him a brush, floss, and toothpaste before going to back to bed. Donny Crank's exuberant, colorful illustrations add the perfect wacky touch to this excellent read-aloud books that parents can share with young ones, while teaching them good dietary habits! Also highly recommended is Kruse and Crank's picturebook "Cluck, Cluck, Cluck... SPLASH!" (9781596638563, $12.95), about a timid pet chicken struggling to overcome his fear while learning how to dive - it's hard, and he suffers from multiple belly flop failures, but with encouragement from the boy who owns him as well as from friends and the pool lifeguard, he finally learns a brand new skill!

The Princess and the Peanut
Sue Ganz-Schmitt, author
Micah Chambers-Goldberg, illustrator
Wild Indigo
c/o Raab Associates, Inc.
345 Millwood Rd., Chappaqua, NY 10514
9780983148708 $15.95

"The Princess and the Peanut: Royally Allergic Fairytale" is a delightful original rendering of a beloved fairytale with an allergy-educational twist. The colorful tale proceeds along roughly traditional lines, except the queen's attendant decides to use a peanut instead of a pea to test the validity and royalty of the bedraggled, storm-tossed Princess who comes to the palace after the end of the Royal Harvest Ball. Unfortunately the Princess has a violent allergic reaction to the culprit peanut in her bed, but fortunately the palace doctor gives her an epinephrine injection to allay her disturbing allergy symptoms. The prince falls in love with the real but allergic princess, and a peanut and tree-nut free life style is built to assure a long life and happiness for the royal couple. Not just a zany fairytale for entertainment, "The Princess and the Peanut" has a mission to educate children and adults about the realities of food allergies and reactions. To that end, a two page guide titled Illuminating Food Allergies and Allergy Definitions for One and All! is included at the end of this very charmingly illustrated and presented allergic fairytale.

When Billy Went Bald
Julie C. Morse, Greg Mikrut, authors
Alexandra Higgins, illustrator
Windy City Publishers
1930 Plum Grove Road, Palatine, IL 60067
9781935766377 $17.99

"When Billy Went Bald" is a children's book about a boy who has cancer. It is cheerful, upbeat, honest, and factual. The author writes from her experience as a parent of a boy who survived his childhood cancer diagnosis and treatment. "When Billy Went Bald" encourages children to look beyond surface differences and find a compassionate way to reach understanding and acceptance of others who may be suffering. "When Billy Went Bald" is an exceptional contribution to the field of children's health and education.

Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens
Jodie Shield & Mary Catherine Mullen
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
9780983725503, $21.95,

Good eating habits start early, and can last a lifetime. "Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens" is a parenting and health guide from dieticians and mothers Jodie Shield and Mary Catherine Mullen as they advise parents on how to help prepare their children for long, healthy lives and stop obesity before it can be a serious issues. With advice for children of any age, even teenagers, "Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens" is a strong pick for parent's health reference collections, highly recommended.

The Biography Shelf

Sybil's Ride of Courage
Jade S. Miller, author
Glori Alexander, illustrator
Tate Publishing, Children's Division
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781618627339 $9.99

"Sybil's Ride of Courage" is an exciting account of the historical ride of 16 year old Sybil Ludington through Putnam and Dutchess counties in Connecticut on April 18, 1775, to warn the 7th Regiment of the Dutchess County Militia (Colonialists) that the British troops were burning Danbury. Sybil was the daughter of Colonel Henry and Abigail Ludington, and she was a brave and skilled young horsewoman. Her midnight ride took her through dangerous wild wooded territory and it was an exhausting 40 mile ride through rain and treacherous ways. This exciting and true story is perfectly presented by 12 year old author Jade Miller in a format sure to appeal to young women age 8 and up. Colorful, scary illustrations add to the suspense and exciting narrative of young Sybil's heroic ride. Although some of the historical details of her ride are lost, the author carefully recounts the documented details about young Sylvia in a section titled What Happened Afterward? and What Happened After the War? A bibliography and instructions for an audio book download are included with "Sybil's Ride of Courage," a splendid contribution to the field of heroic juvenile literature for girls and women.

Twice as Good
Richard Michelson, author
Eric Velasquez, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364664 $16.95

Award-winning author/illustrator team Richard Michelson and Eric Velasquez present Twice as Good, a children's picturebook rendition of the true story of William Powell, the only African-American to design, build, and own a golf course - Clearview, a historic sports site that Powell deliberately opened to people of all colors. When Powell was a boy, he was told "If you are going to get ahead in the world, you can't be as good as the white children; you have to be twice as good." He buckled down in pursuit of his dream to become a professional golf player, despite often being denied the opportunity because of his race. At last he decided to build his own course that wouldn't discriminate against anyone! The warm, realistic color artwork adds the perfect touch to this inspirational true-life story.

The Cookbook Shelf

Quickly's Magical Pancake Adventure
Miriam Kronish & Jeryl Abelmann, authors
Chason Matthams, illustrator
FastPencil, Inc.
3131 Bascom Ave., Suite 150
Campbell, CA 95008
9781607465508 $14.95

Award-winning authors Miriam Kronish & Jeryl Abelmann present Quickly's Magical Pancake Adventure, a colorful children's picturebook about Quickly the anthropomorphic spatula, who loves to make pancakes. Two-thirds of the book is a playful story-adventure; the remaining third is a treasury pancake recipes that parents and children can cook together, from Banana Butterscotch Pancakes to Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Huckleberry Pancakes, Paradise Pumpkin Pie Pancakes, and much more! A simple glossary rounds out this delightful story and recipe treasury for pancake-loving families everywhere.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Too Princessy!
Jean Reidy, author
Genevieve Leloup, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor
New York, NY 10010-7728
9781599907222 $12.99

Too Princessy! is a simple, easy reader picturebook for very young children, about a girl who's stuck inside on a rainy day. There must be something in the toy box to play with, but every toy she picks up doesn't fit her mood! "Too jolly, too jumpy!" she thinks of a Jack-in-the-Box"; "Too diggy, too dumpy!" she thinks of toy construction trucks. What could possibly be just right - maybe the cardboard toybox itself? The bright, colorful illustrations fit the silly mood of Too Princessy! perfectly. Also ideal for beginning readers are Reidy's other, similar picturebooks, "Too Purpley!" and "Too Pickley!".

Bugs Galore
Peter Stein, author
Bob Staake, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street
Somerville, MA 02144
9780763647544 $15.99

Bugs Galore is a children's picturebook brimming with colorful, stylized pictures and singsong rhymes about all sorts of creepy-cawly bugs! "Silly limb bug. / Swimming skim bug. / Frumpy plump bug. / Lumpy jump bug!" The vibrant illustrations of a playful boy and girl encountering every style of bug imaginable add a wacky touch to this delightful picturebook that is just plain fun for kids and adults to read aloud at storytime.

The Picturebook Shelf

Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons
Howard Binkow & Susan F. Cornelison
Thunderbolt Publishing
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780982616550 $15.00

Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons: A Fable About Belonging is a children's picturebook with a valuable lesson that parents or teachers can talk over with young ones. Howard's class has a new student, Joey, a precocious young tiger who doesn't get along well with others. He fidgets restlessly, doesn't share, and doesn't wait for his turn - and his inability to socialize makes him feel like there's something wrong with him. Howard befriends Joey, in part because he feels sorry for him, but when Joey brings live chameleons to school and they accidentally escape, Howard has a burst of insight. "Let's do like the chameleons: They match whatever they land on. When you want to be on the same team as everyone else you do just like them. If everyone in class is paying attention and following rules, you match that. If no one brings pets, you match it. Get it?" A "Suggested Lessons and Reflections" section at the end offers important points that parents and children can discuss, such as how some children like Joey find it easier to learn in different ways, as well as the importance respecting social rules like "look people in the eyes" and "don't interrupt people when they are speaking". Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons: A Fable About Belonging is an excellent starting point for teaching young ones about basic etiquette, and highly recommended.

Otto the Book Bear
Katie Cleminson, author/illustrator
Disney Hyperion Books
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423145622 $16.99

"Otto the Book Bear" is a charming picturebook about a bear who lives in a book but secretly comes to life when no one is looking. One day Otto walks out of his book pages to explore the house and finds his book is gone when he tries to return! His family had packed up and moved away! Undaunted, Otto decides to pack a bag and go outside into the city to search for another comfortable place to live. Being only a rather small book bear, he was somewhat lonely and overlooked by crowds of people in the city, but finally, just when he was feeling cold, tired, and discouraged, he comes to a place of light and hope. It has many, many books in it! It is a library! What do you suppose Otto encounters on the shelves and shelves of books in the huge, wonderful library? Another book bear, named Ernest! Ernest introduces himself and shows Otto many other exciting small book creatures just like him and Ernest. Once again Otto was able to practice his writing (very important), and best of all, he now had many, many readers. This made him happiest of all! The combination of charming, three dimensional bear drawings and gently moving narrative pages make "Otto the Book Bear" a perfect choice for young children age 2 and up.

Wilson Learns Manners!
Susan Castriota, author/illustrator
Castriota Designs, LLC
P.O. Box 12631
Upper St. Clair, PA 15241
9780615534633 $12.95

"Wilson Learns Manners!" is the second volume in the series known as Wilson's Wondrous Tails. The first beloved volume was "Wilson Gets Adopted." Wilson is an adorable small poodle who has learned to love his adopted family which includes other dogs and a cat. In "Wilson Learns Manners!" Wilson is pictured and described as a loving poodle who is learning to be considerate of others, in ways very similar to manners and courtesy learned by young children. For example, Wilson learns how to communicate some very special polite words or responses, including saying "please," "thank you," "excuse me." Wilson also learns more about proper etiquette in matters involving, good sportsmanship, table manners, phone manners, borrowing, sharing, and respecting your elders. Charming color illustrations showing Wilson interacting with other animals in his daily life help make each small essay meaningful to children. "Wilson Learns Manners" is a lovely picturebook to help young children learn how important good manners are for everyone, even a charming little poodle like Wilson.

Hello, Bicycle!
Ella Boyd, author
Daniel Griffo, illustrator
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
99 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, New York 10591
9780761460763 $12.99

Cheery, bright, three-dimensional comic figures leap out of the fantastic page of "Hello, Bicycle!" A brave, daring girl in a pink helmet graduates from an old blue three wheeled vehicle to a bigger, two-wheel bicycle named Red and leaps on to go off exploring her world, under the proud protective eye of her loving father. The daring excitement of a dashing ride on the bicycle is captured in both the brief action-versed text and the bouncy, unrolling, undulating illustrations. Children ages 4-7 will love "Hello Bicycle!" for its vibrancy, its excitement, and its secret core of loving safety.

Baldo's Awesome Adventure
Silvia Beck Speyer, author/illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781456431334 $12.95

"Baldo's Awesome Adventure: A Balloon's Search for a Friend" is a charming, colorfully illustrated story about Baldo, a red balloon who longs to meet a real friend. Blown up for a birthday party, Baldo is disappointed at being tied to a chair and decides to float off to explore in search of true friendship. His encounters with the sun, and the moon are not too welcoming, however. Returning to earth, he sees many exotic places, animals, and people, but none are quite the friend he needs. Finally the West wind carries him to another birthday party, where he finally meets a true friend. "Baldo's Awesome Adventure" is perfect for children age 5 and up, and the imaginative story and rainbow illustrations are sure to appeal and create pleasant memories.

Monkey's Friends
Ruth Brown
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
c/o EDC Publishing
4901 Morena Blvd., Suite 213
San Diego, CA 92117
9781610670456 $14.99

Monkey's Friends is a wonderful, delightfully illustrated lift-the-flap picturebook. As monkey travels about the jungle and greets his animal friends, young readers can lift a flap to reveal a pictures of various animals! But unlike most lift-the-flap books, the lifted "flap" is actually a smaller page sewn into the book's central binding - making Monkey's Friends far more durable than most interactive books. Even children's public libraries (which normally steer clear of fragile interactive kids' books by necessity) will find Monkey's Friends an excellent, sturdy, and long-lasting addition to their collections. Highly recommended.

Sofia's Rainbow
Lina Simoni, author
Laura Furlan, illustrator
Moonleaf Publishing
PO Box 4909, Palm Springs, CA 92263
9781937700003 $14.99

"Sofia's Rainbow" is a charming illustrated children's story about a little girl of Istanbul named Sofia and her very unusual little cat, Incir. Sofia is a lonely daughter of a hardworking shoemaker who dreams about stepping off her apartment's balcony onto a rainbow for a magical ride. When she discovers a tiny hungry kitten who would starve if left with his mother and littermates, she decides to take him home and nurture him. He becomes a most unusual cat. His favorite food is figs! He sleeps on his back with his feet sticking up in the air, or sometimes wrapped around Sofia's neck like a little gray scarf. he is afraid of heights and traveling to new locations. Sofia becomes disappointed in him because he is too frightened to share her favorite thing, watching for rainbows. But little Incir is very brave, and surprises Sofia by rescuing her when she takes too many steps up the rainbow that comes to her balcony. After his brave act, Sofia learns to love and appreciate her unusual cat just the way he is! The charming color illustrations of curly haired Sofia and poor, skinny Incir are wonderful complements to this sensitive tale of love and compassion.

Ambition's Not An Awful Word
Zack Zage, author
Adam Watkins, illustrator
Ivy Court Press
513 Dogleg Dr., Williamsburg, VA 23188
9780983607823 $16.95

"Ambition's Not an Awful Word" is a rollicking ride to the moon and back with a boy named (of course!) Zack. Astoundingly vivid visions and wildly wacky narrative verse depict Zack's incredible dreams of 'what I want to be.' Naturally, he jumps all over his latest boring school assignment and projects himself to the top, front and center of every imaginable stage or arena of action and performance. Though Zack is teased by his classmates for his fantastic (some might say delusional) dreams, his mother tells him the moon left him a message, 'It's OK to dream.' The extremely informative glossary will help kids who never heard of a cummerbund or Jackson Pollock or the Parthenon to enjoy Zack's wild ambitions and dreams even more. "Ambition's Not An Awful Word" should be required reading for all kids who dream of an exciting future.

The Boomerang
C.J. Connolly, author
Lisa Adams, illustrator
Crosswinds Press
PO Box 683
Mystic, Connecticut 06355
9780982555910 $16.95

The Boomerang is a rhyming children's picturebook that used the legendary Australian hunting tool that is the boomerang as a metaphor for the basic concept of karma. A young boy named Wil receives a boomerang as a gift from his adult Australian friend Ted. (And the flea on the boy's beloved dog also receives a visit from a far-flung Australian family flea!) Wil tries to learn how to throw the boomerang and make it fly back in a loop, but nothing seems to work, and he grows more and more frustrated with each attempt. Yet sometimes the boomerang does come back? "'When I try to force flying it falls in the sand. / But if I toss softly and think happy thoughts, / The boomerang goes, then returns to this spot.'... // As Ted had predicted Wil learned quite a lesson, / About how what you do comes on back as a blessin' / Or a curse if that's what you gave out at the start, / Goodness only comes back to a warm, loving heart..." The Boomerang is a wonderful read-aloud storybook that celebrates Australian culture in addition to providing a valuable moral lesson. Also highly recommended are the other picturebooks in "The Adventures of Wil and T" series, "Wil, Fitz and a Flea named 'T'" (9780982555903, $16.95) and "The Bad Enchilada" (9780982555927, $16.95).

My Friend Fred
Hiawyn Oram, author
Rosie Reeve, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70
Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589251052 $15.95

My Friend Fred is a heartwarming children's picturebook with a valuable lesson about friendship and social behavior. A young girl loves her family dog Fred dearly, but she thinks of him as her possession - not as a friend to the whole family and beyond. When she shuts herself and Fred in her room, she soon realizes Fred is unhappy because he doesn't have enough company, and lets him outside to play with everyone. "And now I did understand. It was as clear as could be, and I opened my shut-tight door and we ran outside... 'Friends don't keep their friends to themselves all of the time. So here he is. The family dog. Our friend Fred.'" My Friend Fred is an excellent and highly recommended read-aloud storybook for parents and children to share.

Zachary's Dinnertime
Lara Levinson, author
Cornelius Van Wright, illustrator
Star Bright Books
The Star Building, 30-19 48th Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
9781595723291 $16.95

Zachary's Dinnertime is a children's picturebook written to encourage young people to be more open toward other culinary cultures - and toward helping out with mealtime chores! At first, Zachary finds helping his parents prepare dinner and clean up after dinner a tedious affair. So he goes to eat at a different friend's house each night. As a guest, Zachary is not permitted to help prepare the meals - even though he enjoys the traditional cuisines of his different cultures, he finds that he dearly misses helping out. So he invites all his friends over for dinner, and this time he enjoys helping to prepare the food for everyone! Zachary's Dinnertime is a simple yet enjoyable storybook for parents and children to share, with a strong positive message about how it can feel good to help.

The Gift Box
Rohan Henry
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
9781419701672 $12.95

The Gift Box is a simple, charming children's picturebook about two best friends, Ollie the elephant and Benjamin the dog. When Ollie's mother tells him that he is a "beautiful gift", Ollie is so excited by this term of endearment that he presents a big, giftwrapped box to his canine friend and asks him to guess what the gift is. But Benjamin can't figure the riddle out! The simple line drawings add a gentle touch to this delightful story about discovering the true value of friendship.

Monster at O'Malley's Mansion
Donald W. Kruse, author
Donny Crank, illustrator
Castle Keep Press
c/o James A. Rock & Co., Publishers
900 South Irby, #508, Florence, SC 29501
9781596638549 $12.95

"Monster at O'Malley's Mansion" is an illustrated spooky tale with a twist. One day a brother and sister named Harry and Mary were gathering shiny rocks on the gravel road, and they found themselves near the dark old O'Malley Mansion that was rumored to have a monster! A storm was imminent, and shelter was nowhere else, so guess what? They knocked on the door, crept inside, and eventually discovered the occupant, a frail old man with a cane, not a monster at all! But he does turn out to have an unusual pet, who is not so frightening to Harry and Mary once they peek behind his mask. "Monster at O'Malley's Mansion" has a believable surprise ending that will blend nicely into fall Halloween activities and celebrations. With its sharp descriptions, dramatic illustrations, and pungent narrative, "Monster at O'Malley's Mansion" can be used to teach children to look beneath surface appearances to reach the truth. It is suitable for children age 7 and up.

The Sweet Rot Book 3: The Purple Meltdown
Joe Simko
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road
Atglen, PA 19310
9780764339776 $19.99

Set in town with zanily gothic overtones, and filled with cartoony illustrations in the wildest, craziest, and darkest mixes of color hues (especially black and purple!), The Sweet Rot Book 3: The Purple Meltdown is a wacky, rhyming children's picturebook with a valuable lesson about not letting out-of-control fears take over one's head. When Mystic Miz peers into the future with her crystal ball, she foresees an ominous tide of purple sludge. What could this mean? How are the townspeople to protect themselves from this purple menace? One after another, people speculate about what Miz's warning could be - but when the Purple Menace finally manifests, they learn that sometimes fear of future mishaps can be far more debilitating than the actual disaster! A modern day reworking of the "Chicken Little" parable, The Sweet Rot Book 3: The Purple Meltdown will especially appeal to kids with its wild, outrageous, and utterly unforgettable visual style!

Manners are Free
M.B. Jones
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781463413071 $11.95

Grandmother M.B. Jones presents Manners are Free, a softcover children's picturebook designed to teach little ones about the basics of good etiquette. Written in carefree and rhyming verse, Manners are Free is accessible to beginning readers but is a good choice for parents to read aloud to children as young as two. Highly recommended, especially as a valuable social skills teaching tool! "Sometimes with all that's going on someone will push or shove / Nana says when you hurt someone you must say I'm sorry with sincerity and love / Being kind and courteous is always a necessity / And Nana says once more - manners are free!"

Over in the Forest
Marianne Berkes, author
Jill Dubin, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Road
Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584691624, $16.95,

The critters of the forest have their own sights and sounds for those who seek them. "Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek" is a children's picturebook from Marianne Berkes with art from Jill Dubin, as the pair create a rhythmical exploration of the forest and its critters, sure to entertain any young reader with a love of animals. "Over in the Forest" is a must for children's picturebook collections, recommended.

Will Princess Isabel Ever Say Please?
Steve Metzger
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
9780823425231, $16.95,

A little kindness means everything. "Will Princess Isabel Ever Say Please?" is a children's picturebook from Steve Metzger with charming artwork from Amanda Haley, following pretty perfect princess Isabel who has quite the problem with letting out the p-word. After facing the problems of her lack of gratitude, she finally realizes what was missing from her life. "Will Princess Isabel Ever Say Please?" is a humorous fable of humility and kindness, very much recommended.

The Magic Spoon
Richard DeFabio
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781456817732, $21.99,

When you have something wonderful, the worst thing to do is hog it all for yourself. "The Magic Spoon" is a children's picturebook from Richard DeFabio who tells the story of a lost magic spoon, stolen from a Princess long ago. As Lucca and Valentina find the spoon once more, they have fun with its powers, but find that the spoon's guardian has been searching for it ever since it was lost. With a strong moral of sharing, "The Magic Spoon" is a fine children's picturebook, not to be overlooked, highly recommended.

The Dunderheads
Paul Flesichman
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street
Somerville, MA 02144
9780763652395, $6.99,

Kids can only take so much before they push back. "The Dunderheads" is a children's picturebook with a mischievous charm as the titular group made up offbeats with quirky kids with their own skills, as they set their sights on the tyrannical Miss Breakbone, who has earned a visit from the Dunderhead's maniacal plans. Funny and gripping reading for parents and children alike, "The Dunderheads" comes with excellent artwork from David Roberts, and makes for a choice read for children's picturebook collections.

Tootsie and Lulu
Wendy Botts
Privately Published
9780578096414, $12.99,

A dancing partner can come in ways you never expected. "Tootsie and Lulu: Lulu Wears a Tutu" is a children's picturebook following Tootsie as she looks through the house for a dancing partner, finally settling on family dog Lulu. With full color artwork from Julie Weaver, "Tootsie and Lulu" is an excellent and much recommended pick for anyone looking to expand their picturebook collection for young readers.

All for Me and None for All
Helen Lester
Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547688343, $16.99,

ALL FOR ME AND NONE FOR ALL receives fine illustrations by Lynn Munsinger and tells of greedy pig Gruntly, who does not share his toys and even steals toys from others. When greedy Gruntly finds out about a treasure hunt he's determined to hog the clues for himself - but the actual hunt involves far more than treasure and Gruntly soon learns a lesson the hard way about the actual treasure involved in this whimsical, fun and pointed story.

Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Barbara Joosse's OLD ROBERT AND THE SEA-SILLY CATS (9780399254307, $16.99) tells of Old Robert, who sails the sea alone and does everything alone - until he's visited by a dancing cat. The only trouble is, there's no room in his boat for a cat. A fun story of friendship, loneliness, and understanding evolves. Sarah Frances Hardy's PUZZLED BY PINK (9780670013203, $16.99) tells of Izzy's sister Rose, who loves pink and has planned an all-pink birthday party. But Izzy is puzzled by pink and has her own party planned - in the attic. Unlike her sister, her guests will be ghosts and monster dolls. When Rose crashes the party, each learns something about the other's 'odd tastes' in this fine survey. Patricia Polacco's THE ART OF MISS CHEW (9780399257032, $17.99) tells of Trisha, who knows she wants to be an artist even though her school has no real at class. A savvy homeroom teacher sends her to a special art class at the high school where she meets the inspiring Miss Chew, who introduces Trisha to the language of art and seeing, until a substitute teacher tells her she's wasting time. A fine story of art and perceptions evolves.

The Art Shelf

Eye On Art: Leonardo Da Vinci
Don Nardo
Gale Cengage Learning
27500 Drake Rd., Farmington Hills, MI 48331
9781420507355 $34.10

"Eye On Art: Leonardo Da Vinci" is a juvenile art biography volume that provides a carefully researched, condensed thumbnail sketch of one of Western civilization's most famous and revered artists. Complete with color plates of legions of the artist's most famous paintings, sculptures, and drawings, six chapters present the original Renaissance man and his amazing career. Leonardo is described as an inscrutable man of incredible artistic ability who was "centuries ahead of his time" in his ability to conceive and draw designs of futuristic machines and even robots. Described as a "brilliant artist whose mind roamed throughout the massive body of human knowledge," Leonardo certainly achieved notoriety and success in his lifetime and left an enduring legacy that enriches all human achievement in the arts and sciences today immeasurably. A helpful bibliography includes multiple further resources about Da Vinci, plus interesting websites.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Goblinheart, A Fairy Tale
Brett Axel, author
Terra Bidlespacher, illustrator
East Waterfront Press
P.O. Box 220-554, Brooklyn, NY 11222
9780976977124 $15.00

"Goblinheart" is a very sensitive, creative fairy tale about a special younger creature named Julep. In Julep's woodland tribe, all youngsters grew up to be either fairies, with wings, or goblins, with claws. The goblins with claws ate bark and tended the roots of the tribe's special tree while the fairies with wings ate berries and tended the leaves. Julep hopes to grow up as a goblin because that is what she/he feels like inside her/his heart. But she eventually grew wings instead of claws. However, the elders of her tribe allow her to train and work with the goblins instead of the fairies because that is what she wants to do most. With great ingenuity, Julep creates a special vest to protect and camouflage her wings and also builds a pair of special gauntlets with stone claws to help with the hard digging she is expected to do as a goblin. Her special gauntlets are eventually accepted and admired and used by other goblins of the tribe, after an initial period of ignorant ridicule. Julep builds a reputation and enduring respect with her continued ingenuity and contributions as a creative goblin in her tribe. The book ends with an intertribal gathering where Julep trades or sells her special gauntlets at a fair and meets a younger named Tuck who tells her although he is told he will grow claws and become a goblin, he feels like a fairy inside. She tells him kindly, "I hope your tribe will be as understanding of you as my tribe has been of me." A delicate discussion of Tuck's tribal elders results in the idea that perhaps they can work together to make Tuck some wings. The sensitive allegory that is "Goblinheart" is enhanced immeasurably by its sensitive, detailed, black and white drawings of the world of Julep and Tuck. This transgender-explorational tale about individuals who transcend or cross cultural/hierarchical role expectations is perhaps meant for children but will also be appealing to discerning adults.

Hamilton Troll Meets Pink Light Sprite
Kathleen J. Shields, author
Leigh A. Klug, illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467909006 $9.99

"Hamilton Troll Meets Pink Light Sprite" is the latest adventure in the Hamilton Troll series, in which Hamilton (a troll as tiny as a mouse who lives in a hole near a chopped down tree) is flooded out of his home by a scary thunderstorm. Luckily he is befriended by Pink Light Sprite, who teaches him a way to build a safer home for himself, using a plant's sheltering protected from the heavy rainfall. The perky, colorful illustrations and vivid rhyming narrative hold the interest of young readers. Here is an example of the upbeat message of Pink Light Sprite: "Time will continue and the rain will fall near/ But Hamilton, you no know there's nothing to fear./ The earth will still shake and tremble and groan/ And the wind will sweep by and whistle and moan,/ But I will be with you in dreamland my tot./ I never shall leave you when you're caught up in thought./ And when you are frightened think of me in the dew/ And remember my friend that I do love you." This is an exciting, original series to be read by and to young children. A new title in the Hamilton Troll is expected to be released in August.

Og-yre War
Bernard Dukes
Kaldar Books
97809831192947, $11.95,

Book III in 'The Spanish Gatekeeper' series is out, completing the trilogy begun in Empire of the Ulfair and continued in Gwellem's Hitch and offering a fine science fiction fantasy adventure revolving around two cousins ages fifteen and fourteen. Set in the year 1900, this follows Peter and Bonnie's unexpected journey to another world as they probe a family heirloom and a lost relic. Torn apart by a civil war and lead on very different journeys, the two find their destinies affected by a reclusive wizard and adventures that will either reunite them and lead them back home, or keep them from ever meeting again. A range of subplots and twists and turns keeps the concluding saga in Og-yre War unexpected and riveting to the end.

Victoria Greene
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781469778167, $15.95,

The bestial nature of man is brought out with the werewolf. "Cursed" follows Ethan Randall, a teenage boy whose life was thrown into turmoil after a wolf-attack. Coming out of it with powers he can't ignore, especially after the accidental death of a school rival, Ethan begins to suspect he is an irredeemable monster when many others face wolf-oriented deaths. "Cursed" is a fun twist of fantasy for younger readers.

Heirs of Prophecy
Michael A. Rothman
M & S Publishing, LLC
9780985169701, $9.99,

The weight of leadership is something hefty to put on one so young. "Heirs of Prophecy" follows the Riverton Family as they find themselves in Trimoria, with the hefty weight of prophecy thrown at their boys who develop new powers. As an evil wizard and his hordes seem to close in on the peoples of Trimoria, the boys are tasked with uniting them to stand against them, or face annihilation. "Heirs of Prophecy" is worth considering for young adult fantasy collections, recommended.

Eleven Shadow and Light
J. J. Bende & Carisa Holmes
Pensiero Press
PO Box 533, Dublin, OH 43017
9780984730506, $13.99,

We all have something unique about us, and it may be what we never expected. "Eleven Shadow and Light" is a young adult novel from J.J. Bende & Carisa Holmes, following young Mila, a 11-year-old Marylander who after strange events with her home and life begins to go out of her control, she finds her power lies in another world and she must help stand against the pursuits of the dark one. "Eleven Shadow and Light" is a strong pick for youth fiction collections, highly recommended.

Thief's Covenant
Ari Marmell
59 John Glenn Drive
Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616145477, $16.95,

THIEF'S COVENANT tells of Adrienne Satti, an orphan who has managed to become an aristocrat in a rags-to-riches story that seems magical - until human and other forces change her life through murder. Today she is Widdershins, a thief moving through lower society with the aid of a foreign god and questionable forces. Now members of her own Guild want her dead and an ancient, evil force is reaching out for her in a moving fantasy packed with unexpected twists and turns of plot, and highly recommended for any advanced young adult fantasy reader.

Last Rite
Lisa Desrochers
175 - 5th Avenue
New York NY 10010
9780765328106, $9.99,

LAST RITE offers a satisfying conclusion to the young adult fantasy trilogy begun in PERSONAL DEMONS and followed up in ORIGINAL SIN, and provides the final book documenting the finale of the conflict between Heaven and Hell, which places Frannie at the center of conflict. Frannie has thus far stayed a step ahead of the forces of Hell: now it's up to her to go on the run if she wants to keep her family and friends safe. Frannie is still struggling to master her powers - with little success. If she can't learn the result will be the end of the world. It's a powerful, highly recommended saga!

The Christian Shelf

Princess Stories
Carolyn Larsen, author
Sergey Eliseev, illustrator
Tyndale Kids
351 Executive Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781414348117 $14.99

Princess Stories is a 120-page anthology of biblical stories about princesses, compiled to teach young Christian girls about the bravery and loyalty of these women, who all loved God and followed His will. The biblical stories of Ruth, Deborah, Esther, Naomi, Hannah, Tabitha, Moses' mother, and more are all chronicled. The concept of "princess" is not always applied in the strictest literal meaning of "daughter of a king or ruler", but rather interpreted as "heroine who strives to be faithful to God", and young girls are encouraged to emulate these noble and self-sacrificing women. Colorful, stylized illustrations of these historic women enhance these educational parables, which are often punctuated with Bible verses and "Princess Ponderings" for further reflection: "'What things did Tabitha do that showed her kindness?' 'What are some things you can do to show kindness to someone else?'" Highly recommended.

All God's Children
Anne E. Neuberger
Twenty Third Publications
PO Box 6015
New London, CT 06320
9781585957972, $14.95,

Children all over the world deserve a chance. "All God's Children: Fun & Informative Stories About Children Around the World" is a Christian oriented book about children from all over the world. Teachers are encouraged to share with the rest of the world about their students, and how to bring a message of faith and grace to go with the story. "All God's Children" is a strong pick for Christian education collections, much recommended.

Star of Babylon
Bethany N. Wallace
Sable Creek Press
PO Box 12217, Glendale, AZ 85318
9780982887578, $9.99,

One must hide their origin to get power, but to save your people, you must let the secrets be known. "Star of Babylon" is a religious novel from Bethany N. Wallace as she tells the story of Esther, a Jewish woman who gains prominence as the Queen of Shushan. Haman, a high official seems to be turning his kingdom's might against the Jews, and Esther finds that stopping him would require her to reveal her Hebrew heritage. "Star of Babylon" is a strong pick for Christian and religious fiction collections intended for young adults.

Mosaic Me
Rebecca L. Macri
Warren Publishing
13420 Reese Blvd. West
Huntersville, NC 28078
9781886057661, $16.95,

We're a mixture of all that cam before us in our own unique ways. "Mosaic Me" is a Christian-driven children's picturebook from Rebecca L. Macri, as she follows young Lindy Lou, as she learns about all the pieces that make up her being and what makes her a unique person. "Mosaic Me" is written and illustrated by Macri, a choice pick for Christian-influenced children's picturebook collections, recommended.

The Judaic Shelf

The Torah Book of Opposites
Nechamy Segal, author
Marc Lumer, artist
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628575 $7.95

The Torah Book of Opposites is an easy reader board book for young Jewish children that teaches the meaning of a few basic opposing words as well as exhorting admiration for the Torah. A rabbi and two young Jewish boys are carrying their own copies of the Torah as they dance about in the playful illustrations. "In Torah, out Torah, // Dance all about, Torah! // Torah, big, Torah, small // Torah, Torah, best of all!" The Torah Book of Opposites is a short but delightful read-aloud book for Jewish parents to share with little children.

The Native American Shelf

The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs & Other Stories from the Tipi
Paul Goble, author/illustrator
Lauren Waukau-Villagomez, foreword author
Wisdom Tales
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786007 $14.95

"The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs & Other Stories from the Tipi" is a collection of 23 traditional stories from traditions of the Blackfoot, Lakota, Assiniboin, Pawnee, Winnebago, Omaha, Hidatsa, and Cheyenne nations. Sensitively retold and magnificently illustrated by Caldecott-medal winner, author/artist Paul Goble, "The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs & Other Stories from the Tipi" continues to create beautiful, authentic renditions of valuable pieces of Native American wisdom in 'perfect attunement with the natural world around them.' A treasure to be shared with all ages, here are 23 traditional stories from multiple Plains Indian tribes, illustrated with 45 brilliant color paintings and a stringent foreword that unequivocally describes Goble's stories and illustrations as "culturally correct and significant," while "His depiction of Native Americans is respectful and fair." Foreword author Lauren Waukau-Villagomez goes on to say that although Paul Goble is no Native American, " he has the heart of a Native American." "The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs & Other Stories from the Tipi" continues this valuable practice in contributing gems and nuggets of preserved Native American stories and teaching tales, with the voice of a careful story teller who shows respect for the authentic voice of Native peoples. An interesting addition to these stories is the italicized asides that the author uses to explain some of the important concepts or beliefs illustrated by the story, or to underline inconsistencies or differences between views held by different tribes and peoples. This beautiful edition is sure to enrich all multi-cultural children's collections in libraries both personal, public and educational.

Loowit's Legend
Erin K. O'Connell, author
Diana Thewlis, illustrator
Parallel45 Publishing
1787 12th Street, #269
Hood River, OR 97031
9780983608509 $20.00

Diana Thewlis' striking watercolor paintings illustrate Loowit's Legend, a children's picturebook retelling an ancient Native American fable about the origin of the Columbia River Gorge, and the gift of fire to humans. Loowit's legend tells of two prideful brothers, Pahtoe and Wy'East. The brothers brought the wondrous gift of fire from the Great Spirit to the people, and lived in harmony for a long time, but then they competed for the affections of the maiden Loowit. Their fierce battles were against the wishes of the Great Spirit, who wanted them to share the land peacefully, and so the Great Spirit transformed the three of them into mountains. An extraordinarily captivating rendition of an ancient parable, Loowit's Legend is a treasure for parents to read aloud to and share with their children, and highly recommended.

The People of Twelve Thousand Winters
Trinka Hakes Noble, author
Jim Madsen, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585365296 $16.95

Part of the "Tales of the World" series, The People of Twelve Thousand Winters is a children's picturebook in which award-winning author Trinka Hakes Noble portrays the life of a Native American boy growing up among his people, the Lenni Lenape, as they once lived before the arrival of European settlers who would eventually name the land "New Jersey". Beautifully illustrated in full color, The People of Twelve Thousand Winters is as much a reflection on humanity's ties and responsibilities to the land as it is a respectful recreation of how one tribe of America's first peoples used to survive. The People of Twelve Thousand Winters is a poignant and thought-provoking picturebook, highly recommended especially for children's public library collections.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Bernadette to the Rescue
Susan Glickman, author
Melanie Allard, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street., Suite 401
Toronto, ON Canada M5V 2M5
9781926920382 $8.95

"Bernadette to the Rescue" is the fourth adventure book of a popular series about a third grade eccentric, lovable girl detective with eco-leanings. Bernadette and her friends Annie, Keisha, and Megan decide to attend day camp together after finishing third grade, and although Bernadette fears she will miss her usual museum camp experiences, she finds challenge and meaning in investigating a mysterious disappearance of a local frog population. Using the scientific method, Bernadette arrives at some surprising findings and enjoys good fellowship and growth in meeting new challenges along the way. "Bernadette to the Rescue" is a chapter book for readers ages 7-9, with appealing characters, quirky black and white drawings by Melanie Allard, and fast action with built in surprises. To instill a healthy sense of self and empowerment especially in young girls along with improving language and reading skills, there is nothing like this charming series. The characters radiate genuine concern for each other and the environment, and the political correctness factor is not annoyingly obsessive, just underlying.

Mystery at the Lake House #1: Monsters Below
Laura S. and William L. B. Wharton
Broad Creek Press
P.O. Box 43, Mt. Airy, NC 27030
9780983714828 $9.99

"Mystery at the Lake House #1 Monsters Below" is the first book in a series for kids ages 7-12 about super sleuth Jock Avery and a strange scary noise in his lakeside community. Jock enjoys a healthy variety of nature and water activities with his friends, but solving a puzzling mystery will always intrigue him. This fun three-dimensional character is destined to get into and out of interesting scrapes as he uses logic and observation skills to help him put together the missing pieces of the mystery of the monsters below. The action is fast moving, the character development is riveting, and the pace is humorous and jolly, plus there are many educational inclusions in the book and story. Kids will love Jock Avery and his pals and will clamor for the next book in the series.

Alexander, Spy Catcher
Diane Stormer
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781469734453, $20.95,

Curiosity leads them onto something so much bigger. "Alexander, Spy Catcher" is a novel following brothers Alexander and Ben as they begin to fear something fishy may be going on surrounding their dear uncle Charlie. As they find things that make the mysterious shack that's highly wired in the middle of the forests suspicious, what they find may make it all the more dangerous for the brothers. "Alexander, Spy Catcher" is a fine read for young adult fiction collections.

The Science Shelf

Lana Frank
Diamond Faceting, Inc.
1287 E. Newport Center Drive #202
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-7706
9780966585483, $6.99,

Beautiful and glamorous, diamonds capture the eye of those who look on them. "Diamonds" is an explanation of diamonds and their origins aimed at younger readers from Lana Frank, filled with full color photographs and plenty of diamond facts all throughout. A fine pick for kids-science collections, "Diamonds" is a gem all its own, highly recommended.

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

Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris' PENGUINS (9780545330244, $12.99) provides a fine guide to penguins and offers the latest natural history about them from penguin experts. Unique images of all species of penguins accompanies colorful facts about their lives and natural history, making for a fine and easy, eye-catching introduction for kids in grades 2-3. The same group will also appreciate PLANETS (9780545330282, $12.99) by the same authors, a fine introduction to the planets and properties of our solar system. Both hold some 80 pages of contemporary color photos, images and more and provide a fine survey for any general lending library. Hugh Brewster and Laurie Coulter's 888 1/2 AMAZING ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TITANIC (0439042968, $9.99) packs in all the answers to questions about the Titanic and offers a fine story of the legendary ship for young readers. From its high-tech discovery and sinking to the making of James Cameron's movie on it and real-life stories of the young people who sailed on the voyage, this is a powerful history paired with dozens of paintings, diagrams, and rare photos. The sidebars of detail and slightly larger font size makes this accessible to grades 2-4.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, Volume 5: The Happy Prince
Illustrated by P. Craig Russell
NBM Publishing Inc .
160 Broadway, Suite 700, East Wing
NY, NY 10038
9781561636266 $16.99

"The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, Volume 5: The Happy Prince" is the latest release of a children's graphic novel series illustrated by P. Craig Russell. Here is the beloved, familiar morality tale of a charming, shallow prince who died young, unaware in his luxurious life of the poverty and suffering of so many of his subjects. His statue overlooking the city is covered with gold, with sapphire eyes and a ruby on his sword. It also contains his heart and soul, and the Happy Prince observes and feels the pain and suffering of his people now when he could not in life. His grieving tears move the faithful swallow, who becomes his friend, messenger, and ambassador to the desperate poor. This beautiful, compassionate morality tale is brought to new life through the skilled artistic imagery of P. Craig Russell. In frame after frame, the sad but beautiful tale emerges. Imbued with nostalgia of an earlier time, but honed to the realities of today, "The Happy Prince" will once again move the hearts of young and old in this lovely new reincarnation.

The Audiobook Shelf

Dragon Tales
Kenneth Grahame and Edith Nesbit, authors
Bertie Carvel and Emma Gregory, narrators
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28
Franklin, TN 37064
9789626349496 $17.98

Dragon Tales is an audiobook for young adults consisting of four classic tales about dragons with a difference. These dragons aren't the usual fairytale monsters that incinerate kingdoms and capture princesses; they are far more distinctive - from a dragon who just wants to write poetry in his cave, to a dragon who is flummoxed by the strong will of a princess! A delightful ideal for car trips with young ones, Dragon Tales will appeal to parents too, and is highly recommended for gift-giving, as well as for public library children's audiobook collections. The featured stories are "The Reluctant Dragon", "The Island of the Nine Whirlpools", "The Fiery Dragon", and "The Last of the Dragons". 2 CDs, 2 hours 17 min.

Ancient Egypt: The Glory of the Pharaohs
David Angus, author
Nicholas Boulton, narrator
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28
Franklin, TN 37064
9781843795001 $17.98

Ancient Egypt: The Glory of the Pharaohs is the unabridged audiobook rendition of David Angus' classic nonfiction exploration of the incredible ancient civilization of Egypt. Egypt's, grand statues, gigantic tombs, towering obelisks, legendary pyramids, and ineffable Sphinx are all vividly described and explained. Listeners of all ages will thoroughly enjoy this exciting and educational audiobook, smoothly narrated by award-winning radio performer Nicholas Boulton. 2 CDs, 2 hours 26 min.

The Music CD Shelf

Bean Bag Boogie
With The Learning Station
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477
Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477

Bean Bag Boogie is more than a music CD for kids - it's a fitness activity! With an inexpensive bean bag, kids can improve their motor skills and coordination to the rockin' beat. The musical bean bag activities are especially great for children's parties or play - and parents can also join in on the family bean bag fun! Highly recommended, especially as an antidote to today's all-too-sedentary modern culture. The tracks are "Mexican Bean Bag Dance", "Bean Bag Pretend", "Pass That Bean Bag", "Bean Bag Balance", "Bean Bag Disappear", "Bean Bag Hop", "Bean Bag Boogie", "Bean Bag Juggle", "Take That Bean Bag", "Bean Bag Exercising", "Touch Around", and "Bean Bag Toss".

Blues In All Flavors
Gaye Adegbalola
Hot Toddy Music
c/o To Market Kids (publicity)
4136 Lamson Ave., Spring Hill, FL 34608

Blues Music Award-winner and veteran teacher Gaye Adegbalola presents Blues In All Flavors, her first children's music album. Featuring a broad collection of family-friendly blues, from blues-rock to jump blues with boogie-woogie, Chicago blues, New Orleans blues, reggae rhythm, and more, Blues In All Flavors includes a lyrics and activities booklet. Blues In All Flavors is a wonderful way to re-experience blues from the perspective of a young person - and parents with a taste for blues are sure to enjoy it too! The tracks are "The Sunshine Shake", "Blues for the Greens", "The Cleanest Kid", "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah", "Please, Please, Please, Please", "The Thank You Song", "Grandma & Grandpa's House", "Stop That Bully", "It Hurts [The Picked Last Song]", "The Kindness Song", "Don't-Be-Moody-Do-Yo'-Duty Song", "Hand Jivin'", "The Recycle Song", and "What a Wonderful World".

In Tents
Recess Monkey
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Intended for young listeners ages 3-8, In Tents is a fabulous music album from the perennially popular children's band Recess Monkey, with a high-flying central theme of the circus! The wacky songs take the already spectacular aspects of circus life and spin them into singsong stories of pure fun. A 32-page story booklet accompanies this upbeat, joyful CD ideal for shaking away the doldrums and bringing smiles to young faces. The tracks are "In Tents", "Popcorn", "Sit and Spin", "Human Cannonball", "Odditorium", "Bouncy House", "Carousel", "Twins", "I Could See (Magically)", "House of Cards", "Edwina Mae", "The Dancin' Bear", "Lemonade", "Crystal Ball", and "Show on the Road". 47 min.

Party Songs for Kids
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477
Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477

Party Songs for Kids lives up to its title with vibrant, celebratory songs ideal for birthdays, holidays, or just plain weekend fun. Of particular note is the traditional "Happy Birthday" song (with instrumental portions to sing the birthday boy or girl's name), which is rarely on music albums due to its copyrighted status. Blending classic favorites with original takes, Party Songs for Kids is pure audio jubilation! The tracks are "If You're Happy And You Know It", "The Hokey Pokey", "The Name Game", "The Freeze Song", "The Conga", "The Wheels On The Bus", "Macarena", "The Limbo Rock", "Simon Says", "Musical Chairs", "Follow The Leader", "Go In And Out The Window", "Through The Gates Of Town", "Circus Animals", "Pinata Party", "Happy Birthday", "Musical Chairs" (instrumental), and "Circus Animals" (instrumental).

Make Believers
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Underground Playground Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
$17.39 CD / $8.99 MP3

Make Believers is the third studio release album by indie kids' band Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, which blends fanciful storytelling with positive encouragement for young listeners to use their minds, develop their talents, and pursue their dreams. Playful and carefree, Make Believers is an excellent gift for music-loving little ones, and a choice pick for playing during children's parties, for rainy day fun, or entertainment on car trips. The tracks are "Magic Beans", "Space Cadet", "Brainstorm", "Rocketfuel", "Hi-5 for the Hi-Dive", "Hot Sauce", "Nightmares Disappear", "Make the Future", "Snowforts and Sandcastles", "Gotta Be You", and "Back Home".

The DVD Shelf

Sight Words
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595
Conroe, TX 77305-3595
9781934312117 $19.99

Sight Words is an award-winning educational DVD ideal for helping pre-kindergarten and older children learn basic building blocks of reading. Over 60 sight words are taught through song, colorful computer-animated characters, and repetition. Words are presented in context to aid in learning, in this delightful DVD. Highly recommended especially for public library children's DVD collections, and a choice pick for parents looking for tools to prepare their little ones to start school!

Mitsy's Magnificent Makeover
Starring Heather Smith and Eric Smith
BuzzyFunny Productions
411 Video Information (publicity)
PO Box 1223
Pebble Beach, CA 93953

Mitsy's Magnificent Makeover is an independently created, computer-animated children's DVD blending adventure, friendship, and important life lessons. Young Mitsy (whose community appears to be an alien race on another planet, but otherwise is very similar to everyday suburbia) is preparing for a new school year, as well as her upcoming birthday party. But Leelu Belle, the daughter of famous rockstar Ringo Belle, arrives and turns everything upside down. The fashion-obsessed Leelu deems Mitsy unworthy, rejects her birthday invitation, and encourages all of Mitsy's classmates to do the same. But Leelu's haughtiness pales before that of her aging supermodel mother, who has hatched a scheme to enslave the entire town! It's up to Mitsy and her friend Hermie to stop the plot, save the day, and share the true meaning of friendship in this charming, highly recommended family-friendly feature. Bonus features include a "behind the scenes with Hermie", and "Dr. Facade's Freaky Formula Game". 41 min., widescreen and fullscreen options.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Philip C. Stead, author
Erin E. Stead, illustrator
David de Vries, narrator
Cha-Pow!, director
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545447518 $59.95

A Sick Day for Amos McGee is the DVD adaptation of Philip and Erin Stead's Caldecott Medal-winning picturebook for young children ages 2-6. Featuring a read-along option, A Sick Day for Amos McGee is about a zookeeper who loves his animal charges. One day he comes down with sniffles and sneezes - but some unexpected creature guests come to cheer him up! David de Vries narrates this whimsical and charming story, brought to life with soft, gently colored illustrations. Bonus interviews with Philip and Erin Stead round out this choice pick for public and school library children's DVD collections. 10 min., closed-captioned, optional English subtitles.

The Other Side
Jacqueline Woodson, author
E.B. Lewis, illustrator
Toshi Widoff-Woodson, narrator
Toshi Reagon, music
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545447542 $59.95

Intended for young viewers ages 5-9, The Other Side (8 min.) is a DVD adaptation of Jacquelin Woodson's picturebook about a black girl who wonders about the fence that divides the black side and the white side of her town. When she meets a young white girl sitting on the fence, a friendship begins to blossom between the two of them. A heartwarming story championing the virtue of tolerance, The Other Side is smoothly narrated by Toshi Widoff-Woodson, and enhanced with music by Toshi Reagon as well as a bonus interview with Jacqueline Woodson. The Other Side is excellent for playing during grade school homerooms, and a choice pick for public and school library children's DVD collections. A read-along option is also included to use in lieu of narration, and closed-captioning or English subtitles can also be turned on at the viewer's discretion. Also highly recommended is Weston Woods' DVD adaptation of Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley's "The Red Hen" (0545447550, $59.95, 7 min., intended for ages 3 to 7), a lively, colorful story about of a red hen who loves to bake, narrated by Walter Mayes with music by Caleb Miles and animation by Soup2Nuts.

Bink & Gollie
Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, authors
Tony Fucile, illustrator
Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome, narrators
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street
Norwalk, CT 06851
0545447526 $59.95

Ideal for young people ages 4-8, Bink & Gollie is the DVD adaptation of the award-winning children's picturebook about two female friends who don't always agree. They have differences of opinion on topics range from socks to goldfish to traveling to the Andes, yet they remain fast friends. The original picturebook's playful color illustrations and gentle text are brought to life with simple animation and smooth voice acting in this delightful DVD, ideal for school and public library children's collections. 14 min.

Nelly & Caesar, volume 1
c/o Organa Kids (distribution)
2203 Balsam Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
891273002392 $19.95

Intended especially for youngsters ages 2-6, Nelly & Caesar, volume 1 collects twelve episodes (plus bonus) of an educational French cartoon. Masterfully translated into English, these playful stories about best friends Nelly the mouse and Caesar the frog, as well as their many other animal compatriots, feature simple animation and heartfelt warmth. A "learn through play" message encourages young viewers to explore nature, their feelings, their senses, and the treasure of friendship. Nelly & Caesar, volume 1 is highly recommended, especially for public library children's DVD collections. 103 min. Also a choice pick is "Nelly & Caesar, volume 2" (891273002408, $19.95, 103 min.), which continues this delightful series perfect for stimulating young minds as well as entertaining them.

The Multimedia Shelf

Songs in the Shade of the Flamboyant Tree
Chantal Grosleziat, song collector
Paul Mindy, music arranger
Laurent Corvaisier, illustrator
The Secret Mountain
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9782923163826 $16.95

"Songs in the Shade of the Flamboyant Tree: French Creole Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes" (book & CD combination) is a fantastically vibrant collection of French Creole children's nursery rhymes and lullabies from the cultural traditions of Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, and Reunion, islands all. Beautifully illustrated simple song lyrics accompany a complete French Creole and English translation of the song lyrics of 30 traditional children's songs. A joyous CD recording of all the songs with vivid authentic percussion and acoustic instruments make "Songs in the Shade of the Flamboyant Tree" an exciting acquisition for children's multicultural collections.

All On A Sunday Afternoon
The Sugar Free Allstars
Wiser Music
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
$12.99 CD / $9.99 digital

All On A Sunday Afternoon is a family-friendly, rhythm-and-blues album by The Sugar Free Allstars, featuring a smooth-flowing funktastic rhythm great for car trips or weekend fun. In addition to the music CD, All On A Sunday Afternoon includes a bonus DVD of the Sugar Free Allstars in concert - great for playing at children's parties! Highly recommended as a musical pick that both children and adults can enjoy. The tracks are "Gotta Get Up", "Hiccup", "Sunday Afternoon", "Put 'Em Away", "Very Best Friend", "99 Questions", "Stay Up Late", "Love Train", "Ice Cream Truck", and "Ready To Give Up Teddy".

Play-Time Noah
Karen Williamson, author
Nicola Evans, illustrator
Candle Books
c/o Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
9781859858974 $11.99

"Play-Time Noah" is an educational foam puzzle picture book for preschoolers that tells the story of Noah with before and after picture puzzles that feature removable shapes on every other page which help keep the narrative fresh and intriguing to young minds. Matching shapes and colors weaves into the simple question and answer format that makes "Play-Time Noah" especially endearing for children age 3 and up.

Japanese Nursery Rhymes
Danielle Wright, author
Helen Acraman, illustrator
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive
North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805311882 $16.95

Japanese Nursery Rhymes is a book and audio CD combo, presenting fifteen traditional Japanese rhymes in their original script, in Romanized form, and in English translation. The lilting audio CD encourages parents and children to sing along together, in this wonderful bilingual treasury filled with colorful illustrations. Highly recommended, especially as a way to promote language learning and interest in other cultures.

The Lorax Pop-Up
Dr. Seuss and David A. Carter
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375860355, $29.99,

THE LORAX POP-UP offers lovely pop-ups by David A. Carter and is the perfect accompaniment for parents who have young kids thrilled by The Lorax movie and the Dr. Seuss original book. It comes from a master paper engineer who offers the original Seuss text along with lovely pop-ups, gatefold panels with pop-ups inside, pull tabs and more, and helps parents bring the entire story to three-dimensional life. Not suitable, obviously, for lending libraries - but perfect for families seeking something special for the young Seuss enthusiast in general and The Lorax in particular.

The Hunting/Fishing Shelf

Lucky Luke's Hunting Adventures: The Swamp
Kevin Lovegreen, author
Nathan Boemer, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane
Edina, MN 55439
9781592984411 $16.95

Lucky Luke's Hunting Adventures: The Swamp is fairly lengthy (50+ pages, with every other page featuring a color illustration) picturebook, written at a reading level suitable for young people who are just about ready for the transition to chapter books. The story is about a boy's first deer hunting expedition with his family, and tells of taking the right preparations, learning to quietly stalk one's prey with focus, and much more. (It should be noted Lucky Luke's Hunting Adventures: The Swamp is a hunting storybook, not an instructional manual - especially since it is absolutely vital to teach young hunters about proper safety practices when handling guns). An upbeat and positive-minded tale of responsibly practicing hunting as both recreation and as a family bonding activity, Lucky Luke's Hunting Adventures: The Swamp is an excellent introduction for parents to share with children when preparing them to come on their first deer hunt.

The Bilingual Shelf

Where is Tibet?: A Story in Tibetan and English
Gina Halpern, author/illustrator
Snow Lion Publications
P.O. Box 6483, Ithaca, NY 14851
9781559393836 $14.95

"Where is Tibet?" is a beautifully illustrated children's teaching tale about Tibet. Written in both English and Tibetan, with accompanying English phonetic pronunciation of the Tibetan script, every illuminated page of "Where is Tibet?" teaches mystical, yet factual answers about the country of Tibet. Two Tibetan children, Tashi and Pema, want to find Tibet, so their grandfather tells them a mystical tale about Tibet. He tells them it is most important of all to remember that Tibet, a special place that is home to magical beings, holds the Great Spirit of Peace. Tashi and Pema decide at once to seek and find Tibet. After seeking under a yak, in a cup of water, and on a white horse, even going to the moon, the children encounter a wise holy man, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, who tells them to look into their hearts and minds to find Tibet, where it is growing in the sun, like a flower, like a jewel in the Lotus. Then he blesses them, saying, "May your heart be full of compassion, may your mind be full of wisdom." Complete with a historically accurate introduction describing both the Himalayan location and 20th century history of violent occupation of Tibet by China, "Where is Tibet?" is a book with a mission to keep a dream of freedom and peace for Tibet and the world.

David's Trip to Paraguay
Miriam Rudolph
CMU Press
500 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3P 2N2
9780920718919 $22.00

David's Trip to Paraguay is a bilingual English/German picturebook inspired by the life of author Miriam Rudolph's grandfather, who moved from Canada to Paraguay in the 1920's. Told from the perspective of David, a farm boy from Southern Manitoba, David's Trip to Paraguay recounts his amazement at encountering new places along the way, from the skyscrapers of New York to the vast expanse of the ocean to the incredibly colorful trees and animals of Paraguay. The simple, childlike color drawings add an endearing touch to David's Trip to Paraguay, an excellent read-aloud storybook about the joy of discovery.

Lupita Vital
Liguori Publications
1 Liguori Drive, Liguori, MO 63057-9999
9780764820335, $3.99,

Children are always a strong part of society. "Guadalupe" is collection of inspiration aimed at young Hispanic children as they discuss Catholicism in Latin America and how to enjoy the rich history of those who came before. Presented in a bilingual format with lots of color artwork, "Guadalupe" is a fine choice for younger readers, highly recommended.

The American History Shelf

Bold Women in Colorado History
Phyllis Perry
Mountain Press Publishing
1301 South Third St. West, Box 2399
Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425846, $12.00,

Bold Women in Colorado History is a recommendation for ages 12 and up and provides a fine collection pairing black and white photos with a bibliography and index documenting the lives and experiences of ten women from the Centennial state. These ten women are remarkable for the impact they made on Colorado: each had a vision and mad it a reality. History and biography blend in a recommendation perfect for leisure reads and beginning reports alike.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Folktales from Turkey from Agri to Zelve
Serpil Ural, author
Ginger Sachoglu, translator
Dilara Arin, illustrator
National Book Network
4270 Boston Way, Suite 200
Lanham, MD 20706
9789944424899 $25.99

Illustrated with thumbnail photographs of Turkey, as well as cartoon-style color pictures of fairy tale characters, Folktales from Turkey from Agri to Zelve lives up to its title with twenty-six traditional Turkish folk tales. A treasury of cultural heritage, Folktales from Turkey enhances many of its stories with fact-filled sidebars about life in Turkey's different regions. Although written (and smoothly translated into English by Ginger Sachoglu) especially for young adults, Folktales from Turkey is an extraordinary and enriching treat that will appeal to readers of all ages, and is worthy of the highest recommendation for both personal and public library folktale collections.

Books in Series

Physical Science Projects for Kids
Mitchell Lane Publishers
P.O. Box 196
Hockessin, DE 19707
$29.95 each

Illustrated with full-color photography on almost every page, Physical Science Projects for Kids is a series that lives up to its title with extensively researched, step-by-step walkthroughs of multiple hands-on science projects that kids can undertake - whether as part of a classroom curriculum, or simple summer fun with the opportunity to learn more about science! Adult supervision is expected for some of the projects, but all are great ways to stimulate the minds of young people in grade school through junior high. Highly recommended, particularly for public and school library children's science collections. The titles are Claire O'Neal's "A Project Guide to Matter" (9781584159674) and "A Project Guide to Chemistry" (9781584159681), as well as Colleen Kessler's "A Project Guide to Light and Optics" (9781584159698), "A Project Guide to Sound" (9781584159704), "A Project Guide to Electricity and Magnetism" (9781584159667), and "A Project Guide to Forces and Motion" (9781584159650).

What's the Matter? series
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308
New York, NY 10118
$21.27 each

Illustrated with full color photographs on practically every page, What's the Matter? is an educational picturebook series for kindergarten and early grade readers. The goal of the series is to introduce young children to the basic properties of matter, with simple terms explained and plenty of examples. "The tops of tables are smooth. So are dishes. There are no places for dirt to hide. Smooth things are easy to clean. // The pot scrubber feels rough. When it rubs against a pot, its bumps scrape the pot clean." An excellent series for beginning readers, What's the Matter? is highly recommended especially for public and early grade school children's library collections. The individual titles are Sheila Fletcher's "Is it Flexible or Rigid?" (9780778720478), Heather Rising's "Is it Smooth or Rough?" (9780778720515) and "Is it Magnetic or Nonmagnetic?" (9780778720508), and Susan Hughes' "Is it Heavy or Light?" (9780778720485), "Is it Hot or Cold?" (9780778720492), and "Is it Transparent or Opaque?" (9780778720522).

Animal Watch series
Stephen Savage
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349
New York, NY 10003

Gorgeous, full-color photography on virtually every page enlivens the Animal Watch series, which is packed cover to cover with fun facts about amazing animals. A glossary, index, list of recommended websites, and suggested activities round out each volume this excellent educational series. Ideal for getting early grade and middle school readers interested in nature and wildlife, the Animal Watch is highly recommended for public and school library children's collections. The individual titles are "Focus on Birds" (9781433959813), "Focus on Mammals" (9781433959905), "Focus on Amphibians" (9781433959783), "Focus on Reptiles" (9781433959936), "Focus on Fish" (9781433959844), and "Focus on Insects" (9781433959875).

Board Sports
Isabel Thomas
The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780761377634 $26.60

Part of the "On the Radar" series of educational picturebooks covering hot cultural trends, Board Sports features full-color photographs on every page and fascinating facts about skateboarding and mountainboarding. From the life of skating legend Tony Hawk, to a five-minute interview from professional skater Geoff Else, to important safety requirements anyone interested in boarding needs to follow, to random fun facts (did you know skateboarding was banned in Norway for 12 years for being dangerous?), Board Sports is a captivating and informative resource. Also recommended are the other volumes in the "On the Radar: Sports" series, "Free Running", "Freestyle BMX", and "Street Soccer".

Why Do Animals Become Extinct?
Bobbie Kalman
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308
New York, NY 10118
9780778727743 $26.60

Featuring lush, eye-catching photography on virtually every page, Why Do Animals Become Extinct? teaches young readers about why some animal species have vanished off the face of the Earth forever. From the extinction of the dinosaurs, to how the survival of certain modern animals such as big cats, pandas, and sea turtles are imperiled, Why Do Animals Become Extinct? is both captivating and educational in its discussion of major extinction factors such as climate change and habitat loss. A final section teaching children how they can better preserve the environment and animals that live in it - by drinking tap water instead of liquids in disposable plastic bottles, or using their bike instead of gasoline-consuming cars - rounds out this hardcover volume. Also highly recommended are the many other books in Crabtree's educational "Big Science Ideas" series.

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Avenue, 59th Floor, New York NY 10118

Two new additions to the 'Cultural Traditions' series ($19.95) provide fine books for any collection interested in building cultural country exploration sections. Molly Aloian writes both BRAZIL (9780778775836) and INDIA (9780778775850) and packs each with over thirty pages of detail suitable for grades 2-3. Each focuses on cultural traditions and takes readers through an entire year of holidays and traditions celebrated around the world, exploring history, culture and habits alike. Colorful photos and simple activities highlight each book in a fine survey packed with color and interest. The Journey Through Space series ($15.95 each) pairs exceptional, contemporary color photos with discussions of space fundamentals and is a pick for any elementary-level collection seeking something modern. Jeff Wimbush's THE STARS (9780778753087), Reagan Miller's THE SUN (9780778753094), Miller's THE MOON (9780778753063) and Chelsea Donaldson's THE PLANETS (9780778753070) each provide some 24 pages of detail, including an index, glossary, website links, and more - all geared for a Grade 2 reading level.

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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