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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 3 March 2005 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Archaeology Shelf Poetry Shelf
Books in Series Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Music Shelf
Preschool Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Fiction Shelf Biography Shelf Railroading Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

The Great North American Prairie
Sara St. Antoine, editor
Milkweed Editions
1011 Washington Avenue South, #300, Minneapolis, MN 55415-1246
1571316450 $10.95 1-800-520-6455

Expertly compiled, organized and edited by Sara St. Antoine, The Great North American Prairie: A Literary Field Guide is an anthology of stories, poems, and essays by various authors all concerning the plants, animals, and grasslands, rivers, and marshes that comprise the eco-region of the Great North American Prairie. Black-and-white illustrations enhance this entertaining and educational collection, which promotes respect for the glory, diversity, and resiliance of nature. The Great North American Prairie is an especially recommended addition to grade school and community library Nature Studies collections for young readers ages 9 and up.

Debra Doesn't Take The Dare
Lawrence E. Shapiro & Steve Harpster
CTC Publishing
10400 Eaton Pl., #140, Fairfax, VA 22030
0974778931 $17.95 1-800-440-4003

One of the "The Emotional Literacy Series" titles from CTC Publishing, Debra Doesn't Take The Dare is about a little girl named Debra who withstands the pressure from her friends and peers to conform by drinking a bottle of beer as part of her initiation into the Cool Girls Club. Instead, Debra stands up for herself and what she knows is right. "The Emotional Literacy Series' is specifically designed to help children understand their emotions and behaviors so that they will perform better in school, make more friends, and have fewer problems as they grow up. Author Lawrence E. Shapiro is a leading expert on emotional intelligence in children. Illustrator Steve Harpster has been a children's book illustrator for the past nine years. Together they have collaborated to produce an engaging story that young readers will be able to use in dealing with all kinds of peer pressure situations with self-confidence and a positive attitude. Debra Doesn't Take The Dare is an invaluable addition to school and community library collections, and should especially be drawn to the attention of parents with elementary school age children who are having to learn how to deal with their friends and classmates.

Toni Morrison
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116
061839740X $18.00

On May 17, 1954 the US Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional, sending the nation on a path of integration whose ramifications are being felt today. In Remember: The Journey To School Integration, author Toni Morrison presents archival photos depicting the events surrounding school integration processes, accompanying photos with a fictional text recounting the dialogue and emotions of students of the times. A fitting tribute to a volatile period in history which should never be forgotten.

Finding Courage
J. M. Bedell
Beyond Words Publishing
20827 NW Cornell Road, Suite 500, Hillsboro, Oregon 97124
1582701105 $9.95 1-503-531-8700

Finding Courage: History's Young Heroes And Their Amazing Deeds is an anthology especially for young adults about 27 young people throughout world history who accomplished brave and outstanding feats. From Fa Mu Lan, the famous woman warrior of China who disguised herself to defend her people when she was still a young girl, to Levi Coffin, president of the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape to freedom in America, to Ebba Lund, a savoir of Danish Jews during World War II, these true stories are a source of inspiration and the capability to achieve greatness. Recommended reading for young adults and a welcome contribution to community and school libraries.

The New Big Book Of U.S. Presidents
Marc Frey & Todd Davis
Courage Books/Running Press
125 S. 22nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
076242029-4 $9.98

President's Day is the annual holiday in which we honor all the men who have served in the highest political office our country has -- the Presidency of the United States of America. Now in a fully revised and updated edition to include George W. Bush, and with new artwork to enhance an informative text identifying each president in our country's history, young readers will encounter fun facts such as Thomas Jefferson's personal library of approximately 6,000 books was donated by him to create the Library of Congress. Ulysses S. Grant once received a speeding ticket on his horse! Rutherford B. Hayes' wife was the first "First Lady" to graduate from college. Franklin Roosevelt was the first president to appoint a woman (Frances Perkins) to serve in the cabinet. Featuring a timeline detailing the great inventions, literature, wars, and other historical contributions that shaped the lives and offices of these men, The New Big Book Of U.S. Presidents is an ideal introduction for young readers to the lives and accomplishments of these great men.

The Archaeology Shelf

The Usborne Introduction To Archaeology: Internet-Linked
Abigail Wheatley & Struan Reid
Usborne/EDC Publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 470663
0794508065 $19.95 1-800-475-4522

Expertly edited by Jane Chisholm, The Usborne Introduction To Archaeology: Internet-Linked is co-authored by Abigail Wheatley and Struan Reid with the assistance of archaeology consultants Timothy Taylor and Norah Moloney. Beautifully illustrated throughout by John Woodcock and Ian McNee, The Usborne Introduction To Archaeology: Internet-Linked ably provides young readers with an ideal introduction into all aspects of archaeology including techniques, sites and finds. With the provision of numerous and thematically appropriate links to websites, children can enjoy and learn from virtual activities and tours. From unwrapping a virtual mummy, to deciphering ancient writings, to reconstructions of ancient buildings and artifacts, young readers will find The Usborne Introduction To Archaeology: Internet-Linked to be fun, informative, and provide hours upon hours of educational experiences. It should be noted that a computer or having computer access is not essential because as a reference resource on the subject of archaeology, this book is complete and self-contained. Ideal as a classroom curriculum supplement, homeschooling, or just as an afternoon's pastime, The Usborne Introduction To Archaeology: Internet-Linked should be a part of every school and community library Archaeology Studies collection

The Poetry Shelf

Wicked Poems
Roger McGough, editor
Bloomsbury UK/Trafalgar Square
PO Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053-0257
0747561958 $15.00 1-800-423-4525

Simply dreadful poems by poets from Kipling and Nash to Eliot and Shakespeare are packed into a delightful collection and paired with black and white drawings in Roger McGough's Wicked Poems. Kids will delight in 'My Furry Feet', 'The Boyhood of Dracula' and more, and many a parent will want to use Wicked Poems for read-aloud pleasure: This little anthology is both interesting and fun!

What Julianna Could See
Paul Margulies & Famke Zonneveld
Bell Pond Books/Steiner Books
One Union Square West, Suite 201, New York, NY 10003-3303
0880105151 $11.95 1-800-856-8664

What Julianna Could See is a gorgeous picturebook, originally written for Julianna Margulies (film actor and former star of the popular television series "ER") by her father Paul Margulies when Julianna was only six years old. A simple poem in What Julianna Could See presents the limitless boundaries of imagination, and brilliant watercolor-style illustrations by Famke Zonneveld enhance the gentle simplicity of the original composition. A heartwarming treasure to share about the power and wonder of a child's creativity. Things shinging with light... / A voice singing sweetly / She felt in her soul / But soon she felt sleepy. // Then using her sweet little hands / For a pillow / She slept with the angels / Beneath a cool willow.

Lilies On The Moon
Robert W. Kurkela & Cassidy S. Kurkela
Kidzpoetz Publishing
PO Box 621, New City, NY 10956
0976022001 $16.95

Although written from a child's perspective, the poetry is by Robert W. Kurkela, an adult, wonderfully and uniquely enhanced with the illustrations of his preschool daughter Cassidy. Lilies On The Moon is a collection of poetry as highly recommended for parents as it is for children. Bugs: Bugs abound in bed/Bugs are in my head/I shall not sleep then,/I'll stay up late again.//Mom and Dad show dismay/They've had a long day/They haven't any smiles/I'll make them stay awhile.//They won't watch the time/As I talk and I rhyme/Soon they'll laugh with me/In nighttime harmony.//Bugs about in bed/So I've already said/They don't stop biting/Until I stop writing.

Books in Series

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

Two excellent new series collections are highly recommended picks for elementary-level libraries, promising steady and lasting reference materials suitable for reports. Rebecca Stefoff's 'World Historical Atlases' series ($18.95 each) are outstanding: each offers almost fifty pages packed with facts and including an index, bibliography, glossary, and just the right blend of maps and color illustrations and information per page. Exploration (0761416404), Ancient Mediterranean (0761416412), Medieval World (0761416420), Ancient Near East (0761416390) and Asian Empires (0761416439) each excel in inviting younger than usual audiences for their subjects, using large print, attractive illustrations, and a 3-chapter breakup easy for both browsing and study. Chronological timelines and highlights of key events and people make these easy studies. Benchmark's 'Health Alert' series titles ($19.95 each) are also highly recommended picks for elementary grade levels 3-5: each book holds a little over sixty pages of health information, including an index, glossary, and bibliography of both web sites and books. Different writers author each book: Ruth Bjorklund for Asthma (0761418-032), Marlene Targ Brill for Lung Cancer (0761418024), Heart Disease by Johannah Haney (0761418016), Depression by ennifer Rozines Roy (0761418008), Marlene Targ Brill also provides Alzheimer's Disease (0761417990) and Haney also Juvenile Diabetes (0761417982). Each book includes a history of the disease, treatment options, physiology, and the latest research. Don't miss Stephanie True Peters' 'Epidemic!' series ($20.95 each): lesser-known historical facts for grades 6 and older provide medical and social history under one cover. The Black Death (0761416331), Smallpox In The New World (0761416374), The 1918 Influenza Pandemic (0761416366), The Battle Against Polio (0761416358) and Cholera: Curse Of The 19th Century (0761416-34X) each receive almost seventy pages of facts both medical and social, offset by color photos and illustrations throughout. Essenial for research.

World Almanac Library
330 West Olive St., Milwaukee, WI 53212

The strong atlas-based "Atlas of Earth and Its Resources" series provides recommended reference picks for elementary-level libraries, each holding 80 pages of detail and specialized topics. The Environment (0836856163), Food And Nutrition (0836856171) and People And Their Quality Of Life (083685618X) each take a strong visual and map approach to geographic topics, blending maps with charts, color photos, and text descriptions. Discussions of social, economic and cultural issues make for strong report and classroom material. 'The History of Space Exploration' ($22.50 each) provides 48-page books of the latest research and events in space discovery, and will make fine references for elementary-level reporters. New arrivals include Space Shuttle (0836857-097), Space Probe (0836857089), Space Pioneers (0836857079), Space Stations (0836857100), Moon Missions (083685-7062) and Dawn Of The Space Age (083-6857054). Eye-catching photos and charts throughout, a lively writing style, and the latest reach promise browser attention. 21st Century Issues ($22.50 each) each provide 48 pages of discussion on issues unique to the 21st century, with contemporary color photos enhancing surveys of social issues and impacts. AIDS (0836856416), Terrorism (0836856457), World Hunger (0836856465), Genetic Engineering (0836856430), Animal Rights (0836856422) and Immigrants And Refugees (0836856449) each provide surveys of issues, trends, movements, and major social impacts of the issue.

Ron Miller
21st Century Books
2 Old New Milford Road, Brookfield, CT 06824
0761323600 $27.90 1-800-462-4703

Joining other astronomy titles in the 21st Century Books 'Worlds Beyond' series is a colorful 80-page winner detailing the history of discoveries relating to Saturn and present-day science. Black and white and color photos - some full-page - accompany an excellent history suitable for reports for grades 4-6.

Gareth Stevens
330 W. Olive St. #100, Milwaukee, WI 53212

The 'Native American Peoples' series ($18.50 each) also will reach grades 2-4, each also with a little over thirty pages of facts supplemented by activities, timelines, index, bibliography and more. Bright color photos and maps invite browsing and study for series titles which include Amy Stone's Creek (0836842170) and Oneida (0836842200), Blackfoot by Mary Stout (0836842162), as well as her Shoshone (0836842219) and Hopi (0836-842189), and Michael Burgan's Inuit (0836842197). Lively text provides both past history and current tribal information using each tribe's own origin stories and descriptions of ints interactions with explorers and Europeans.

Stargazer Books
c/o The Creative Company
PO Box 227, Mankato, MN 56002
$162.60 set 1-800-445-6209

Natural disasters are often in the news with the latest examples being California landslides and a South Pacific tsunamis. The Stargazer Books series "Natural Disasters" reveals for young readers in grades 4 through 6 just how nature can suddenly inflict monumental losses of human life and property damage. Enhanced with colorful illustrations, dramatic pictures, and an informative, accessible text, the six 32-page titles comprising this outstanding and highly recommended series include Avalanches & Landslides; Earthquakes; Famine, Drought & Plagues; Hurricanes & Typhoons; Tidal Waves & Flooding; and Volcanoes. Although each titles is available separately ($18.95) the recommendation for school and community libraries is to acquire the complete set for the benefit of their students and young patrons.

Enslow Publishers
PO Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922

"Nobel Prize-Winning Scientists" is a six volume series of biographies showcasing notable men and women whose professional achievements in their chosen fields won them a Nobel Prize. Written specifically for young readers in grades 6 to 8, each one hundred page title provides personal background information as well as hands-on activities and experiments to bring that scientists work to life. With a list price of $26.60 and a discounted cover price for schools and libraries of $19.95), each title features illustrations with black-and-white photography, line drawings, and diagrams, as well as a chronology, chapter notes, bibliography for further reading, thematically appropriate Internet resources, and an index. This highly recommended series includes Albert Einstein: The Giant Of 20th Century Science (0766021-858); Enrico Fermi: Trailblazer In Nuclear Physics (0766021777); Linus Pauling: Advancing Science, Advocating Peace (0766021300); Guglielmo Marconi: Inventor Of Radio And Wireless Communication (0766022803); James Watson: Solving The Mystery Of DNA (0766-022587); and Marie Curie: Pioneer On The Frontier Of Radioactivity (0766024-407).

Thomson Gale/Gale San Diego
10911 Technology Place, San Diego, CA 92127

Joining others in the 'Revolutionary War' series is Scott Ingram's focus Paul Revere (1567117805, $27.45), which reads like fiction with all the drama involved, yet interweaves and overlaps American history with biography and other 'Triangle Histories' in the series. The coverage stands alone but is especially powerful when paired with others in the 'Revolutionary War' series. New to the 'Exploring Cultural History' series is Tracy Collins' Living Through The Great Depression (073772-0964, $29.95), recommended for grades 4-6 with its 160-page coverage of Depression history. Primary and secondary documents provide examinations of family life, leisure and entertainment, community support systems and popular entertainment of the times, using writings from the era to bring experiences to life. The 'Exploration and Discovery' series expands with Stephen Currie's Australia And The Pacific Islands (1590184963, $28.70), with a little over a hundred pages of detail on early European explorations of the region, early colonization, and the lure and hardship of Australia's outback. Phyllis Corzine contributes to the 'World History Series' with Gail B. Stewart's Life Under The Taliban (159018291X, $28.70) provides a little over a hundred pages capturing people's experiences living under the Taliban in Afghanistan. From women's lives to the destruction of the arts and oppression of all life, Stewart uses source materials and interviews to recreate a chilling period. While The Islamic Empire (1590183711, $28.70), presents important, key events in the social, historic and religious building of the Islam nations. Individual chapters consider key conquests, rulers and the rise of individual nations, with black and white photos throughout.

Raintree Publishers
100 N. Lasalle, #300, Chicago, IL 60602
$29.99 Each

Two new, bright 'Art and Culture' titles from Raintree Publishers for grades 6-8 are lovely picks for any seeking bright introductions to ethnic arts. Each offers 56 pages of details, especially eye-catching covers, and pages packed with representative cultural art reproductions. Elizabeth Lewis' Mexican Art & Culture (0739866-109) reveals Mexican culture through its arts, using artifacts as primary sources to explain cultural differences. Discussions of which ethnic Mexican groups are noted for particular works makes this a real winner. Jane Bingham's African Art & Culture (0739866060) accomplishes the same for African art, discussing the symbolism in art styles, color choices, and special cultural artistic expressions unique to Africa. Gorgeous presentations, both.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Oglin
Dick Richardson & Rio de la Vista
Savanna Press
PO Box 777, Monte Vista, CO 81144
0975944037 $24.95

Enhanced with original pen and ink illustrations by Cathy Feek, The Oglin: A Hero's Journey Across Africa...Towards The Tomorrows by Dick Richardson, with assistance from Rio de la Vista, follows the quest of Baylin and Lafina, who embark together upon an epic journey to discover the cause of, and cure for, the decline of their Oglin ancestral lands. Given the gift of an ability to communicate with the wildlife they meet and to learn the keys to enhancing the health of the land, these two little Oglin emissaries endure hardship and experience danger as they venture across the African continent seeking to meet the Great Spirit and learn how to heal the deterioration of the life and land of their secluded Oglin homelands. The Oglin draws upon the author Dick Richardson's personal knowledge of the ecology, the land, and the culture of his South African homeland, while writer Rio de la Vista draws from her experiences as an environmental activist in land restoration and education in Colorado to collaborate in writing this original and thoroughly entertaining 432-page fantasy tale for young readers.

Tess And The Star Traveller
Jane McKay
Fremantle Arts Centre Press/ISBS, dist.
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
1920731431 $8.95 1-800-944-6190

Tess And The Star Traveller is a fantastic short storybook especially for young children who are just about ready to make the transition from picturebooks to slightly more text-heavy fare. Whimsical black-and-white illustrations add a fun touch to the tale of a young girl's partnership with a Star Traveler, who collects wishes made on the first stars and works to see that they come true. This seemingly innocuous job is made difficult by the mean-spirited Triloboids, and Tess And The Star Traveller must work together to confront one particularly vicious rogue! A light, joyful, and exciting adventure.

The Music Shelf

Rappin', Clappin', Singing 'Bout Art
School Art Theatre Productions
c/o Crystal Productions
Box 2159, Glenview, IL 60025-6159
CD2685-W $19.95 1-800-255-8629

Helping children learn about famous artists Vincent van Gogh and Michelangelo, as well as introducing the elements and principles of art design, Rappin', Clappin', Singing 'bout Art with Mrs. Hues is a compilation of lively songs that informs young listeners about important art concepts in a thoroughly fun and memorably informative way. Enhanced with a teacher's guide (making this outstanding CD an invaluable art class curriculum supplement), Rappin', Clappin', Singing 'bout Art utilizes song stylings that range from rap, to country, to jazz, to rock, to "kid pop". The twenty-two selections comprising this outstanding and highly recommended CD include a rap introduction; "Artists Draw the Pictures" (song); a rap and a song version of "Basic Shapes" and "Elements of Art"; a rap, jazz, rock, and two country versions of "The Principles of Design"; a rap and song version of "Primary and Secondary Colors"; "Art and Music Relate"; "The Ribbon Dance"; rap and song versions of "Vincent Van Gogh" and "Michelangelo"; a rap "Review"; and a song-rap rendition of "Art, Art, We Love Art!".

The Preschool Shelf

A Touch Of Passover
Ari Sollish & Boruch Becker
Merkos Publications
291 Kingston Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11213
0826600212 $8.00

Merkos Publications has just released a delightful new board book in their "A Touch and Feel Book" series for preschoolers that will prove especially popular. With a simple and appealing text by Ari Sollish wonderfully framed with colorful artwork by Boruch Becker, A Touch Of Passover is a "mini-guide" to the springtime jewish holiday which celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. There is a bumpy "matzah" that's authentic looking right down to the browned bubbles, a wine illustration that comes alive with a shiny Bordeaux patch that's also sticky like real wine, a "leather" "Haggadah" seder-book cover, a crinkled leaf of bitter herbs, and a silky "matzah" bag, all of which combine to provide a true "touch me" experience in this toddler-proof board book. A Touch Of Passover is also available in a Spanish language edition (0826600222, $8.00).

Random House/Knopf
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

Two excellent collections are recommended picks for parents seeking read-aloud choices the entire family can enjoy. The Helen Oxenbury Nursery Collection (037582992X, $19.95) is the perfect choice for parents seeking tried-and-true nursery stories and rhymes, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. From 'Tiny Tim' to 'Goldilocks' to the less familiar but also classic 'The Turnip', Helen Oxenbury Nursery Collection's blend of rhymes and tales offers satisfying diversity. Janet Schulman and Cathy Goldsmith's Your Favorite Seuss (0375810617, $34.95) offers up a weighty 'baker's dozen' by Dr. Seuss, celebrating his hundredth birthday by gathering thirteen of his best-loved classics under one cover, from his first book And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street to his last Oh, The Places You'll Go!, plus the Cat and old favorites. Brief essays by fans of Seuss offer additional inspiration along the way, while the compilation by Dr. Seuss' editor and art director, respectively, at Random House for the last eleven years of his life adds authority and experience to the choices and presentation. Two new 'Little Golden' collections are anything but the slim picturebooks of childhood: presented under thick hardcovers ($14.95 each) are two launches representing a new line of deluxe editions with gold edged pages, sturdy binding, and a wealth of original illustrations and stories. Animal Tales (0375831282) gathers and reprints twelve classic stories from Tawny Scrawny Lion to Saggy Baggy Elephant, with the classic works by Margaret Wise Brown and others enjoying their original illustrators. Sleepytime Tales (0375831274) is a bedside companion packing in all those classics of early childhood, from 'The Sleepy Book' to 'Good Night, Little Bear'. The artwork's feature in keepsake editions makes for highly recommended pieces.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Watch Me Grow: Bear
Lisa Magloff
DK Publishing
375 Hudson, New York NY 10014
0756601940 $7.99

For a very simple, fun and informative picturebook introduction to bears for children grades 1-2, choose Lisa Magloff's Watch Me Grow Bear, a basic primer for early readers. 24 pages packed with color photos present a first-person text from the 'bear's viewpoint' along with growth cycle details.

QEB Publishing
23062 La Cadena Drive, Irving Hills, CA 92653

Very young would-be pet owners are often unable to decipher the more in-depth approach of titles for older readers: enter QEB's 'You and Your Pet' series, focusing on the likely first pet to be owned by the very young child. Each book provides 32 pages with many large photos and large-size print. Mouse (1595660569, $27.10) and Rabbit (1595660534, $27.10) are perfect beginner's guides. But QEB isn't just about pets: their 'Animal Lives' series uses the same approach to provide the very young with other introductory titles, as in Sally Morgan's Elephants (159-5660321, $27.10), discussing elephant types, habits, and habitats. The superbly published titles are wonderful starting places for the new reader who loves animals.

Twig C. George
Millbrook Press
2 Old New Milford Rd., Brookfield, CT 06804
0761328696 $24.90 1-800-462-4703

Seahorses are usually thrown into more general sea life books for kids and only rarely do they receive a book of their own, which makes Twig C. George's Seahorses a fine addition and recommendation for any library strong in sea life picturebooks. 32 pages of facts rely on full-page color photos and brief natural history statements to draw youngsters into the world of the seahorse.

The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55401

The "Early Bird Nature Books" series published by Lerner is now up to 54 titles. These 48-page pets and wildlife books for young readers with a reading level of Grade 3 hold an interest level for children grades 2 to 4. The informative text for each title is enhanced with beautiful color photography and features a glossary, a simple index, a table of contents, activities, "Be a Word Detective", maps, and a note for adults. The newest additions to this impressive and very highly recommended series for elementary school, community library, and home-school collections are Leeches (0822530546, $25.26); Octopuses (082250068X, $25.26); Zebras (0822530430, $25.26); White-Tailed Deer (082253052X, $25.26); Chimpanzees (08-2252418X, $25.26); and . Although all of the titles in this superbly presented series are available individually, for those schools and community libraries wanting to substantially reconstitute their wildlife and nature collections are encouraged to acquire intact the entire 54 volume series (022500044, $1,023.30).

Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431

Meryl Henderson's realistic bat drawings are an integral part of Laurence Pringle's coverage Bats! Strange And Wonderful (1563973278, $15.95): pages are packed with eye-catching drawings throughout, drawing attention to colorful pages packed with easy facts. Pringle studied wildlife conservation at Cornell and has written nearly ninety books for kids and adults on a variety of natural history topics: he's the perfect choice for a simple, attractive introduction on the topic. Pringle and Henderson also form a fine team for Whales! Strange And Wonderful (1563974398, $15.95), detailing the world's largest mammals and its many varieties. Issues of extinction are also addressed in this excellent companion.

Those Funny Flamingos
Jan Lee Wicker & Steve Weaver
Pineapple Press
PO Box 3889, Sarasota, FL 34230
1561642959 $8.95 1-800-746-3275

With lively cartoon-style illustrations by Steve Weaver and featuring beautiful full color photographs that very nicely enhanced Jan Lee Wicker's simple and informative text, Those Funny Flamingos answers twenty basic questions about those big pink birds that became popular lawn ornaments back in the 1950s. Young readers will learn why flamingos characteristically stand on one leg and eat upside down, how flamingos stay dry, if flamingos can salute, how flamingos can bend their knees backwards, why they have webbed feet, how many eggs they lay, whether or not baby flamingos are pink, and more. Those Funny Flamingos is highly recommended for curious kids and any adult who has ever wondered about those distinctive pink birds!

Kidhaven Press
c/o Thomson/Gale Group
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535

These wonderful new picturebooks are highly recommended library additions for the very young, with their eye-catching covers and approaches to animals. Kris Hirschmann's Lobsters (0737723432, $23.70) joins others in the 'Creatures of the Sea' series, providing 48 pages of easy reading for grades 2-4 on lobsters. Color photos compliment life cycle details, a glossary, bibliography, and sources for further exploration. Toney Allman's Spiders (0737726016, $23.70) joins others in the dramatic 'Animals Attack!' series, providing 48 pages of dramatic spider facts and photos. The focus here is on poisonous spiders and how to survive a bite, discussing venom and spider habits. John E. Becker's The Northern Elephant Seal (0737722916, $23.70) adds to the 'Returning Wildlife' series, telling of the near-extinction of the elephant seal and it's amazing return. Good reading skills will enhance a primer recommended for grades 3-4. Adding to 'Nature Close-Up' is Elaine Pascoe's Ant Lions And Lacewings (1410303101, $23.70), with Dwight Kuhn's bright color photos providing lovely and startlingly colorful close-ups of ant lions and lacewings. From searching out lacewings to keeping them as 'pets' and studying them, Ant Lions And Lacewings encourages young investigators. Black Widow by Heather L. Miller (0737717653, $22.45) joins others in the 'Bugs' series and provides 32 pages of simple information on the spider. From spider physiology to natural history, color photos pack in and highlight facts.

Read, Stick & Learn about Animals
Andre Boos, illustrator
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 870, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
KSB Promotions (publicity)
159496002X $6.99 1-800-431-1579

Read, Stick & Learn About Animals is an activity book with reusable stickers that teaches young people about different kinds of animals - including ones with scaly skin, fur, spines, feathers, and more. The realistic full-color illustrations catch the eye, and the stickers are easily matched by shape and appearance to gray images throughout the book. A very simple but stimulating introduction to the wide variety of beasts, birds, and insects, Read, Stick & Learn About Animals is a fun way to spend a rainy or snowed-in afternoon and a plant a seed of appreciation for nature's beauty within exuberant young minds.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, #308, NY, NY 10118

The collaborative effort of Kelley MacAulay and Bobbie Kalman, "Pet Care" is a new four title series from Crabtree Publishing designed for young readers grades 1 through 7 with a reading level of Grades 2-3. Rabbits (0778717569, $22.60) uses simple language and clear images to teach children how to handle, feed, house, and protect a new pet rabbit. Parakeets (0778717577, $22.60) enhances a concise text with bright photographs of parakeet budgies and teaches children how to keep their pet parakeets safe and healthy. Ponies (0778717585, $22.60) introduces kids to the joys and responsibilities of proper pony care. Goldfish (0778717593, $22.60) offers an easy-to-understand text laced with vivid photographs to help ensure that pet goldfish have long, healthy lives. While each of these 32-page title is also available in a paperback format ($8.95), school and community libraries should opt for the reinforced library binding editions (whose ISBN numbers are cited above) for the extra durability and longer shelf life this format provides.

Frog Hunt
Sandra Jordan
Roaring Brook Press
2 Old New Milford Rd., Brookfield, CT 06804
0761315926 $15.95 1-800-462-4703

Very, very simple for very, very basic beginning readers, Sandra Jordan's Frog Hunt is a delightfully informative story packing in photos with a minimum of text following a young boy's frog hunt and the other aspects of nature that he encounters along the way. An excellent, very basic primer, Frog Hunt is highly recommended reading and a popular addition to both school and community library collections.

Christyna M. Laubach, Rene Laubach & Charles W.G. Smith
210 MassMoca Way, N. Adams, MA 02147
1580174450 $14.95

Here young readers will be very nicely introduced to raptors: the hawks, eagles, turkey vultures and more who keep our word clean by hunting and scavenging. Raptor! presents a lovely "kid friendly view" guidebook to raptors by the team of Christyna M. Laubach, Rene Laubach, Charles W.G. Smith to birds of prey which packs in activities, observation tips, sidebars of facts, and plenty of color photos to encourage young naturalists in grades 4-6. Suitable for both reports and leisure browsing, Raptors! is very highly recommended for school and community library shelves.

The Picturebook Shelf

Let's Sail Away
September McGee
Wings Publishing
30802 South Coast Highway, #K10, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
0975491407 $19.99

Deftly written and very nicely illustrated by September McGee, Let's Sail Away is an endearing picturebook about a young boy and girl who discover wonders at the beach. They see a starfish, a hermit crab, a sea anemone, and more, in a delightful shared adventure. Black-and-white illustrations with a faint touch of color - akin to old photographs - add a warm touch to this tale of building memories. A special note at the end cautions readers against taking "souvenirs" from the beach - shells, rocks, sea creatures, and plants are all important parts of the environment, and need to be left where they are for nature's sake. Young Toby and Tina do not take any critters with them when they leave, reinforcing a message of conservation and respect for all living things in Let's Sail Away.

Ruby Lee The Bumble Bee
Dawn Matheson & Pamela Barcita
Bumble Bee Publishing
Box 1757, Chesapeake, VA 23327-1757
0975434209 $17.95

Dawn Matheson's Ruby Lee The Bumble Bee: A Bee's Bit Of Wisdom is a thoughtful picturebook about the importance of believing in oneself. A young girl lacks self-confidence and feels she is good at nothing. Yet she learns a lesson from a wise and brightly colored bumble bee. The young girl's neighbor tells her the legend of the bumble bee: "When God made the bumble bee, it shouldn't have been able to fly, but God whispered in its ear, 'You can do it.' The bee trusted Him, and so it flew." Nicely enhanced with illustrations by Pamela Barcita, Ruby Lee The Bumble Bee is an uplifting and positive picturebook story encouraging self-confidence and self-respect.

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

Phil Bildner's picturebook story Twenty-One Elephants (0689870116, $16.95) receivces LeUyen Pham's engaging drawings as it tells of Hannah, a little girl with big dreams, lots of courage, and an association with P.I. Barnum and his parade of twenty-one elephants: all of whom decide to walk the new Brooklyn Bridge together to demonstrate its safety. Good reading skills will lend to this story of a girl's courage. Janet S. Wong's Alex And The Wednesday Chess Club (0689858906, $16.95) tells of Alex, who first learned to play chess at four and who still loves the game - until he loses to an old uncle. He decides to give up the game - but a third grade chess club re-involves him as he plays with friends and finds himself a team player and a winner. Bright drawings by Stacey Schettt are particularly well-done matches for this inviting success story. Margie Palatini and Jack E. Davis' Sweet Tooth (0689851586, $15.95) tells of Stewart, who has the loudest sweet tooth in town - and the most demanding one. It wants what it wants, when it wants - and it won't settle for shyly awaiting sweets. How can Stewart defy his own sweet tooth? An engaging premise. Tomie DePaola's Four Friends In Autumn (0689859805, $14.95) presents the simple seasonal story of four animal friends who have different affections for autumn, from cooking fall foods to enjoying dinner. What's taking Mistress Pig so long in the kitchen? Dinner will arrive with unexpected results in Four Friends In Autumn.

The Crazy Adventure Of Nicholas Mouse
Mary J. Jeswald & Anne M. Trimble
OrangeFoot Publishing Company
PO Box 3694, Pittsburgh, PA 15230-3694
097606510X $14.99

The Crazy Adventure Of Nicholas Mouse is a delightful children's picturebook written by Mary J. Jeswald, about a curious woodland mouse who gets in way over his head! Caught by a cat, he wants to escape and return to his family's birthday party. Help from an unexpected place enables him to remember the experience as a grand adventure! Shaded and slightly fuzzy illustrations by Anne M. Trimble, add a strong dose of realism and a touch of believability to spunky Nicholas' zany escapade. The text narrates in detail, making The Crazy Adventure Of Nicholas Mouse ideal for young readers who are almost ready to make the transition from picture books to chapter books.

Cranky Pants
Stephen Sanzo & Matt Whitlock
Cranky Pants Publishing
PO Box 1091, 2 Upland Road West, Arlington, MA 02474-0020
0975962701 $16.95

Cranky Pants is a simple and charming picturebook about a very young boy who wakes up feeling just plain cranky. Everyone has a "cranky pants" day - a day when nothing feels right and nothing seems to brighten one's mood, but as Cranky Pants shows, even days like that come to an end. The original and boldly outlined drawing style of the color illustrations by Matt Whitlock captivates the eye in this outgoing story by Stephen Sanzo that young people are sure to identify with.

The Fiction Shelf

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Scholastic Press is always a best bet for lasting fiction, and their last set of publications holds some particularly choice leisure reads. Advanced young adults will find Jude Watson's Preminitions (04396-0995X, $6.99) a complex, engrossing read. Gracie has had premonitions for years and has tried to ignore them; but when her best friend Emily disappears, they're the only clue to the mystery. Her premonitions may bring her well into danger, though. Cornelia Funke's Dragon Rider (0439456959, $12.95) is also recommended for older readers: three friends search for a legendary place where dragons can live in peace forever, journeying to magic lands in the process and uncovering friends and an enemy in the process. The same audience will also enjoy Kevin Crossley Holland's Arthur King Of The Middle March (0439266009, $17.95): set in 1202, a newly knighted Arthur becomes involved in the Fourth Crusade, and must decide whose side he is on when factions split. An intriguing King Arthur saga emerges. Pam Munoz Ryan's Becoming Naomi Leon (0439269699, $16.95) tells of a girl who must overcome shyness and strange attire to make friends. Her talent at soap carving doesn't help her achieve normality, and when her mother re-appears after seven years of absence, more trouble results. P.B. Kerr's 'Children of the Lamp' novel The Akhenaten Adventure (04396-70195, $16.95) presents twelve-year-old twins who discover they are descended from a line of djinn: they can grant wishes, make people vanish, and can evoke magical powers. An eccentric uncle helps teach them just in time, for they will journey to locate a dangerous pharaoh named Akhenaten, which may be trapping seventy lost djinn. An intriguing story of cross-cultures and acceptance. Suzanne Collins' Gregor And The Prophecy Of Bane (0439650-755, $16.95) tells of a strange Underland under New York City: once Gregor discovers it, he swears he won't return to New York - until a prophecy requires him to reunite with his bat, a rebellious princess and others in search of the dangeous white rat known as the Bane. A complex, involving dark fantasy emerges for advanced young adult readers of the genre. Susan Vaught's Stormwitch (1582349525, $16.95) is set in 1969 Mississipi, where Ruba has moved from Haiti to live with her grandmother. Ruba is required to do everything differently, from wearing new clothes to obeying white people: can she overcome her old life of beachcombing and learning magic to enter this strange new world? A strange new world is also experienced in Ana Veciana-Suarez's novel, Flight To Freedom (0439381991, $16.95), telling of a middle-class Cuban family who flees Castro but retains strong ties to their homeland even from Florida. Yara's struggles to learn English and understand Americans reflects her entire family's challenges in America. Judith Ortiz Cofer's Call Me Maria (0439385-776, $16.95) also tells of a girl caught between two cultures: native Puerto Rico and New York, where Maria now lives in a basement apartment in the barrio, with her father. Maria's family is separated and her struggles to find a place in her new barrio home are told in letters, poems and prose. Sylvie Weil's My Guardian Angel (0439576814, $16.95) is set in the Jewish community and tells of one Peter the Hermit, whose Crusaders are moving through town - and who are known to hate Jews. Set in 1096 France, as seen through twelve-year-old Elvina's eyes, the period and conflicts come alive. Brian James' deftly written novel Perfect World (0439-67364X, $16.95) presents the conflicts of Lacie, who doesn't fit in because she isn't pretty, perfect, or moving at the same pace as her friends. Despite the encouragement of adults, Lacie realizes her limitations - and needs to escape her life in this poignant novel of change.

Time Of The Eagle
Stephanie Golightly Lowden
Blue Horse Books
c/o Midwest Traditions, Inc.
3147 South Pennsylvania Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53207
1883953340 $12.00

Set in the late 1700s, Time Of The Eagle: A Story Of An Ojibwe Winter by Stephanie Golightly Lowden is the story of a 13-year-old Ojibwe indian girl, Autumn Dawn, who flees into the forest with her little brother when a smallpox epidemic strikes her family's lodge. Together these two Native American children must draw upon their survival skills and learn to tell friend from foe as they travel in search along the shores of Lake Superior of a safe haven. Time Of The Eagle is entertaining reading for children ages 8 to 12, and most especially recommended for school and community library collections for young readers.

Secret Of Abbot's Cave
Max Elliot Anderson
Baker Trittin Press
PO Box 277, Winona Lake, IN 46590
0975288008 $10.95

The latest title in Max Elliot Anderson's "Tweener Press Adventure Series", Secret Of Abbot's Cave finds Randy and his friends have formed a detective club and pooled their resources to buy a police radio scanner. After learning of a bank robbery, they went on a camping trip and while exploring a cave, discover hidden loot from the robbery. Now they must figure out what the right thing to do is -- and deal with powerful temptations to the contrary. Secret Of Abbot's Cave is not only a rollicking good story, it has embedded within it some very good personal values for young readers to absorb.

It's Great To Be A Ghost!
Lynn B. Schiffhorst
Trafford Publishing
2333 Government Street, Suite 6E, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8T 4P4
1412039991 $13.00 1-888-232-4444

Giggle is a nine-year-old ghost who works magic, plays tricks, rescues animals, and even goes to the moon! She is also friends with two humans, Rusty and Lenore, as well as a six-year-old wind from the North Pole named Gusty. Giggle also has some grown-up neighbors that include a piccolo-playing ghost, a wise ghost from the synagogue, and a motherly lady skeleton. Giggle and her family are happy spirits who live in the bell tower of Father Boyle's church. Illustrated with b/w cartoon drawings, the nine short stories comprising It's Great To Be A Ghost! is an especially recommended and totally fun reader for children grades 3 through 6.

The Biography Shelf

African Princess
Joyce Hansen
Hyperion Books
114 - 5th Ave., NY, NY 10111-5640
0786851163 $16.99 1-800-759-0190

From a female pharaoh in ancient Egypt to an African princess of her people who avoided men, and an empress, African Princess uses words and pictures to recreate the lives of six selected powerful royal women of Africa. Good reading skills in grades 2-4 will lend to an appreciation of early female African leaders.

Mitchell Lane Publishers
PO Box 196, Hockessin, DE 19707

Mitchell Lane's biographies for elementary school students provide an excellent blend of lasting profiles and enough material to make good report fodder in 48 pages of facts. There are three new series to choose from: 'Scientific Advancements of the 19th Century', which blends biography with scientific insights, 'Biography from Ancient Civilizations', which blends biography with folklore and stories of the ancient world, and 'Classic Storytellers', focusing on popular authors for kids and teens. 'Scientific Advancements' coverages include Pierre And Marie Curie And The Discovery Of Radium (1584153105) and Antoine Lavoisier: Father Of Modern Chemistry, each holding an index and plenty of detailed biographical information. 'Ancient Civilizations' includes Life And Times Of Marco Polo (1584152648) and Life And Times Of Confucius (1584-15246X), each offering details about the individuals and their contributions. 'Classic Storytellers' chooses Jack London (158415263X), Mildred Taylor (158415-3113) and Katherine Paterson (158415-2680), each with 48 pages including chapter notes, a glossary, and plenty of facts suitable for reports - and for understanding the works of each writer.

Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 S. Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27406
$24.95 Each

Two excellent biographies are recommended picks for grades 4-6, providing kids with 160 pages packed with facts and history. Calvin Craig Miller's No Easy Answers: Bayard Rustin & The Civil Rights Movement (1931798435) tells of the grandson of a former slave who was drawn to the world of the Harlem Renaissance, there to become an organizer working for civil rights. His passion for nonviolent protest was thwarted when he was prosecuted for a homosexual encounter and many movement leaders deserted him; yet his role in organizing the 1963 March on Washington proved pivotal in changing a nation, and Miller at last returns Rustin's story to the historical attention it deserves. Bruce L. Brager's There He Stands: The Story Of Stonewall Jackson (1931798-443) tells of an orphan who became a determined student, a military officer, and eventually the leader in a war which forced him to choose between two strong beliefs. An engrossing, inviting biography evolves.

George W. Bush
Tom Lansford & Robert P. Watson, Eds.
Greenhaven Press/Gale San Diego
10911 Technology Place, San Diego, CA 92127
0737725974 $34.95 1-800-231-5163

Kids in grades 5-10 will find a solid source of biographical information packed into 240 pages in George W. Bush, part of the 'Presidents and Their Decisions' series. From Bush's response to the September 11th attacks and his 'war on terror' campaign to issues of homeland security, the economy and the environment, George W. Bush covers all the events and decisions of this presidency's first four years.

Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10003

Marian Anderson loved to sing: by the mid-1930s she was famous throughout Europe, had been welcomed at the White House, and yet was denied the opportunity to sing in Washington's finest auditorium because of her race. Her response to this affront led to an involvement in civil rights which made her an inspiration for all black artists. Anderson's writings and other first-person accounts contributes to Russell Freedman's The Voice That Challenged A Nation (0618159762 $18.00), a biography illustrated with modern photos: a recommended pick for grades 4-7. Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin's biography Power Of One (061831-556X, $19.00) provides 178 pages of facts about Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine who bravely entered a formerly segregated high school to test new civil rights liberties. Daisy's stirring story comes to life in a biography which relies on archival material and interviews with Bates' relatives and other members of the Little Rock Nine.

Roald Dahl
Charles J. Shields
Chelsea House Publishers
1974 Sproul Road, Suite 400, Broomall, PA 19008-0914
079106722X $22.95 1-800-848-2665

Roald Dahl's books are of high appeal to kids, with such classics as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory enjoying decades of attraction: it's only logical those same young enthusiasts in grades 3-5 will pick up Roald Dahle, his biography to learn more about their favorite author. A little over a hundred pages of detail cover the former pilot's discovery of his writing talents.

The Railroading Shelf

Hear That Train Whistle Blow!
Milton Meltzer
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
0375815635 $18.95 1-800-726-0600

There are plenty of train histories written for adults, and many a picturebook coverage: now older readers in grades 4-6 have a solid discussion of how trains have changed the transportation world in Milton Meltzer's Hear That Train Whistle Blow! Meltzer specializes in books of history, biography and social issues for young readers: his is a lively story telling of the railroad's development, its impact on lives, and the personalities and events which shaped it.

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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