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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 3 March 2007 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Biography Shelf Sports Shelf
Books in Series Cookbook Shelf Music Shelf
Holiday Shelf Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf


Reviewer's Choice

The Barnyard Read-and-Play Sticker Book
Christina Wald, illustrator
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
1580176402, $7.95 www.storeybooks.com

"The Barnyard Read-and-Play Sticker Book" from Storey Publishing is a delightful, 12-page activity book that includes four sheets of full-color, reusable vinyl stickers depicting barnyard animals that will enable young children to enjoy the full-color illustrated scenes of farm life including a barn interior, a barnyard, a large fenced-in pen, and a chicken coop. From egg stickers to hid around the barnyard for a friend to gather in the basket, to going for a swim in the pond or enjoying a ride on the tractor, "The Barnyard Read-and-Play Sticker Book" will introduce kids to all the elements that comprise a typical day on the farm as well as fun facts about the animals to be encountered there. "The Barnyard Read-and-Play Sticker Book" is especially recommended as a rainy-day activity treat and would work well to entertain children in the back seat of a lengthy car trip!

Children's Stories for Almost Everyone
Robert L. Crowe
The Consortium Publishing Company
PO Box 1535, Jacksonville, IL 62651-1535
0970717385 $12.95 1-800-456-7235

Children's Stories for Almost Everyone is an anthology of very short stories, often only a few pages in length, written especially to be read aloud to or shared with young children, though grown-ups may certainly enjoy the charm and whimsy expressed on their own. A handful of black-and-white and color illustrations intersperse the pages, but Children's Stories for Almost Everyone is primarily a storybook, not a picturebook. Many stories double as parables or have simple morals; subjects covered range from fear of the dark to wanting a unicorn for a pet, dreams of monsters, dealing with others who make fun of oneself, and much more. A delightful addition to any child's personal library, and also recommended for public library children's collections.

Rosa Farm
Liz Wu
Knopf/Delacorte/Dell
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0375836810 $15.95 www.randomhouse.com/kids

When Gallileon's father leaves for the county fair, it's up to Gallileon to wake up the sun by crowing but his first successful attempt becomes a fiasco as some sly geese play trick on him and the sun vanishes at high noon. Can Gallileon discover the truth and save the day? Fun black and white drawings by Matt Phelan accent a funny barnyard drama.

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
www.simonsaysKids.com

Jim Benton's FRANNY K. STEIN: MAD SCIENTIST: THE FRAN WITH FOUR BRAINS (1416902317, $14.95) is an inviting humor title blending black and white cartoons with science drama. Adding to the 'Mad Scientist' series is this exploration of Fran, who has problems with Igor, mummies, and more. Kids will find lots of fun and hilarious moments, here. Margaret Peterson Haddix's DEXTER THE TOUGH (1416911596, $15.99) tells of new kid Dexter, whose defense against being new is to assume a tough exterior confronting principal, janitor, and kids who laugh at him. His determination to handle family and school problems with a tough display will lead to trouble unless he modifies his approach in DEXTER THE TOUGH. Both are excellent leisure choices for advanced elementary into middle school grades.

The Rescue Of Mr. Goldsmith
M. D. Osborne
Wooden Shoe Press
N3566 County GG, Hancock, WI 54943-7306
0976285215, $13.95 www.woodenshoepress.com

Imaginatively written and colorfully illustrated by M.D. Osborne, "The Rescue of Mr. Goldsmith is accompanied by a dramatic recording of the story on CD. "The Rescue Of Mr. Goldsmith" is the story of some neighborhood birds who are busy eating seeds, berries and insects to help them survive the long dark days of a quickly approaching winter. But eating isn't the only thing in a bird life! When a starving golden beetle needs help, a chickadee, a cardinal, a junco, and even a greedy little nuthatch help him out. "The Rescue Of Mr. Goldsmith is a charming, original, and very highly recommended story for children that, in addition to being wonderfully entertaining, also carries an implicit and positive message to young readers about the worthwhileness of helping others.

Tessa On Her Own
Alyssa Chase & Itoko Maeno
MarshMedia
PO Box 8082, Shawnee Mission, KS 66208
#9478KA, $99.50 www.marshmedia.com 1-800-821-3303

The setting for this story is the coastal mountains and the Ojai Valley of Southern California where we met Tessa, a young red fox who is rather lazy. Instead of learning how to hunt for herself, Tessa relies on her brother Rex to share his meals with her. It's when Tessa tries to strike out on her own that she learns the importance of work and being able to take care of herself as well as others who depend on her. "Tessa On Her Own" is a highly recommended and brilliantly produced package for school libraries and homestudy curriculums that includes a DVD (with a 14:23 running time and is available in English or Spanish); a 32-page hardcover picturebook; includes a 36-page teaching guide; and with the purchase of this kit, also includes an evaluation guide and 'Home Ties'. Young viewers and readers will find themselves encouraged in age-appropriate ways to be responsible for their own care, develop a positive attitude toward work, become introduced to the world of red foxes and other wildlife, as well as information on California in general and the Ojai Valley in particular.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
www.marshallcavendish.us

The gorgeous 'World and Its Peoples' (0761475710, $499.95) set is a top, recommended pick for any library seeking a comprehensive reference for the middle to high school grade level. Each book in the set covers a region such as Arabian Peninsula and offers an eye-catching, bright cover to pair with maps, contemporary photos, and plenty of detail on governments, history, politics, economics and geography. Maps, chronological charts, and more offer detailed and in-depth information perfect for any library seeking a contemporary reference profiling world peoples. Lower grades from elementary to middle school level will appreciate 'Peoples of Western Asia (0761476776, $359.95), an excellent survey for the lower grade levels which focuses on Western Asian countries and peoples. Each country in this A-Z coverage, from Uzbekistan to Yemen, receives chapters covering history, peoples, religion and economy, industry, arts and crafts and more: perfect for reports and reference and certain to be a popular reference.

Kingfisher
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
www.hmco.com 1-800-225-3362

The 'Kingfisher Knowledge' titles are a series of four bright, beautiful, vividly colored and illustrated books for young readers on subjects of great interest to young readers. Simon Adams' "Castles & Forts" (978-0753461198, $8.95) combines an informative and 'kid friendly' text with a profusion of illustrations and pictures that surveys defensive castles and forts from their early Iron Age beginnings through the Medieval Era (including the Crusader castles), down to the forts of the American Revolution. Angela Wilkes' "Dangerous Creatures" (978-0753461204, $8.95) showcases some of the most dangerous animals humans have ever had to deal with from the big cat carnivore, to the disease bearing mosquito, to poisonous spiders, to combative chimpanzees! Richard Walker's "Genes & DNA" helps young readers to explore and understand the basics of genetics, DNA, investigative forensics, gene therapy, cloning, and genetic engineering. John Malam's "Mummies" (978-0753461228, $8.95) reveals the ancient Egyptian processes of mummification; the Chinchorro mummies found in the high desert of Atacama, Chile; the Soviet Union's preservation of Lenin and other Kremlin leaders; the natural preservation of bodies in crypts, bogs, frozen wastelands, and deserts. In addition to combining informative texts with outstanding illustrations, each of these enthusiastically recommended titles in the 'Kingfisher Knowledge' series for family, school, and community library collections includes web sites, book lists, and further places to explore the highlighted subjects.


The Biography Shelf

June Callwood
Anne Dublin
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 2M5
1897187149 $14.95 www.secondstorypress.ca

Teacher, librarian, and award-winning author Anne Dublin presents June Callwood: A Life of Action, a biography for young adults about the remarkable life of June Callwood, one of Canada's greatest journalists and activists. Callwood grew up poor during the Great Depression, in farm communities and small towns of Southern Ontario, yet through compassion, hard work and sheer grit she made a difference in thousands of lives around her. She founded more than 50 activist groups, including Jessie's, a center that gives housing and support for teen parents; Nellie's, a shelter that protects abused women and children from violence; and Casey House, the world's first special-care hospice for people with AIDS. Her journalism career included an interview with a young Elvis Presley, and for a time she even hosted her own television show. Black-and-white photographs illustrate this inspirational tale of an exemplary life, highly recommended for school libraries.

Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 South Elm Street Suite 223, Greensboro, NC 27406
www.morganreynolds.com

Advanced elementary through middle school grade levels will appreciate Emily Keller's Frances Perkins: First Woman Cabinet Member (1931798915 $27.95): a 160-page biographical survey of Frances Perkins, one of the earliest women's movement social reformers in American history who, at the start of the Depression, joined Roosevelt's cabinet as secretary of labor. Her contributions helped form plans to revive the American economy, and FRANCES PERKINS details her life, rise to power, and many achievements in a survey perfect for middle school students of biographical achievement. Bradley Steffens' IBN AL-HAYTHAM: FIRST SCIENTIST (1599350246, $27.95) will reach into the advanced elementary grade levels with an unusual survey of a scientific pioneer who lived from 950 to 1040 and whose work fostered several scientific and mathematical fields from physics to astronomy and geometry. Chapters consider his life, achievements, and experimental processes in this fine blend of history and science biography.

The Doggy Dung Disaster & Other True Stories
Garth Sundem
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
1575422166 $9.95 www.freespirit.com

Written by social studies teacher Garth Sundem, The Doggy Dung Disaster & Other True Stories: Regular Kids Doing Heroic Things Around the World is a compilation of inspirational true-life stories about the heroism, inventiveness, and compassion of kids worldwide. From 12-year-old Haruka, who invented an environmentally friendly paper dog-poop scooper that allowed the waste to decompose (unlike plastic bags, which sealed the waste and prevented it from decomposing in landfills), to 11-year-old Tilly, who spotted the warning signs of a tsunami in Thailand and helped save 100 people, to Izidor, a maltreated Romanian orphan adopted by an American couple who devoted his young adult and adult life to bringing international attention to the plight of fellow orphans and improving their living conditions. A one-of-a-kind book that uses real-life examples to teach young people everywhere that they can make a positive difference.


The Sports Shelf

Behind The Plate
The Child's World, Inc.
PO Box 326, Chanhassen, MN 55317-0326
$162.42 list; $113.70 library www.childsworld.com 1-800-599-7323

"Behind The Plate" is a six volume series of 48-page baseball books specifically written and illustrated to appeal to young readers in grades 2 through 9 and features a third grade reading level in terms of vocabulary and text. Enhanced with full-color and historical photography, each individual volume features a table of contents, informative sidebars, a timeline of key events, a glossary of key words and phrases, bibliographic sources for further reading as well as thematically appropriate websites, and a comprehensive index. The volumes comprising this outstanding series include: "American League Central" by David Fischer; "American League East" by James Buckley Jr.; "American League West" by John Clendening; "National League Central" by John Silbaugh; "National League East" by Michael Teitelbaum; and "National League West" by Jim Gigliotti. Although each title is available individually ($27.07 list; $18.95 library), both school and community libraries will want to acquire the entire set for which will prove very popular especially for boys with an interest in baseball, baseball teams, and baseball players.


Books in Series

Chelsea House Publishers
c/o Facts On File, Inc.
132 West 31st Street, 17th floor, New York, NY 10001-2006
$210.00 list; $178-50 library www.factsonfile.com 1-800-322-8755

"Life In The Sea" is a six volume series specifically written for young readers in grades 5 through 8 by Pam Walker and Elaine Wood, showcasing the various forms of living things in different parts of the sea. The individual, titles showcases the marine biology and ecology of: 'The Coast' (978-0816057018); 'The Continental Shelf' (978-0816057047); 'The Coral Reef' (978-0816057030); 'The Open Ocean' (978-0816057054); 'The Saltwater Wetland' (978-0816057023); and 'People and the Sea' (978-0816057061). Strongly recommended for school and community library collections for young readers, each title's informative and 'kid friendly' text also features both color and black-and-white photographs and line illustrations, as well as appendices, a bibliography, a glossary, and an index.

Compass Point Books
151 Good Counsel Drive, Minneapolis, MN 56002-0669
$191.58 list; $143.70 school/library; www.compasspointbooks.com 1-877-371-1536

"Write Your Own" is a five volume series of superbly written, profusely illustrated, 'how to' books for children ages 10 to 12, and in grades 5 through 7, on writing their own imaginative stories. Each of these wonderfully crafted and presented individual titles authored by Tish Farrel focuses upon a different genre of writing and includes: Write Your Own Adventure Story" (978-0756516383TK); "Write Your Own Fantasy Story" (978-0756516390TK); "Write Your Own Historical Fiction Story" (978-0756516406TK); "Write Your Own Mystery Story" (978-0756516413TK); "Write Your Own Realistic Fiction Story (978-0756516420TK); and "Write Your Own Science Fiction Story" (978-0756516437TK). Each title features 'kid friendly' exercises for writing, brainstorming and creativity; a writer's 'Timeline'; case study examples; story writing tips and techniques; writing excerpts; research activities; a book list, a glossary, table of contents, index, and the addresses of thematically appropriate websites. Meeting the standards of the National Council of Teachers of English, "Write Your Own" is an informative, entertaining, child-motivating, and enthusiastically recommended addition to school curriculum resource collections and ideal for use in home schooling creative writing lesson plans.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 5th Avenue, Suite 3308, New York NY 10118
www.crabtreebooks.com

The 'In the Footsteps of Explorers' series for grades 4-5 ($18.90/each) expands with the addition of six new titles, which will reach ages 9-10 with captivating, inviting exploration biographies some of lesser-covered explorers, too. Anders Knudsen's ANTOINE DE LA MOTHE CADILLAC: FRENCH SETTLEMENTS AT DETROIT AND LOUISIANA (0778724298) covers the explorer's plans to expand the lands of New France through a colony Detroit; Jennifer Lackey's JACQUES CARTIER: EXPLORING THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER (0778724301) surveys the 1500s explorer who tried to find the Northwest Passage, failed, and in the process set up new French colonies in the New World; Alexander Zelenyj's MARQUETTE AND JOLLIET: QUEST FOR THE MISSISSIPPI (077872431X) covers a 1600s partnership between a Jesuit missionary and a coureur, which resulted in the first French expedition down the Mississippi, Julie Karner's ROALD AMUNDSEN: CONQUEST OF THE SOUTH POLE (0778724689) tells of his secret race for the Pole in 1910, where years of arctic training and dog-handling skills allowed him to reach the Pole more than a month before his rival; Lisa Ariganello's HENRY THE NAVIGATOR: PRINCE OF PORTUGUESE EXPLORATION (0778724336) tells of the beginnings of the European Age of Exploration and voyages made by Prince Henry of Portugal, and John Zronik's HERNANDO CORTES: SPANISH INVADER OF MEXICO (0778724344) follows Cortes' interactions with the Aztec natives and their demise. All provide lively illustrations solid information suitable for reports, references and more to lend to student research. Crabtree is the publisher to turn to for two new habitat and food chain titles geared to curriculum assignments. The 'Habitats' series ($18.90 Each) is for grade 2, age levels 7-8 and will make excellent supplements to classroom research assignments, with bright vivid color covers accompanying surveys of a range of habitats and wildlife. Bobbie Kalman, former teacher, co-authors the set: each book holds 32 pages of larger-print information paired with vivid color photos to explore A SAVANNAH HABITAT (0778729524), A RAINFOREST HABITAT (0778729583), UNDERGROUND HABITATS (0778729540), A GRASSLAND HABITAT (0778729591), BACKYARD HABITATS (0778729578), A FOREST HABITAT (0778729516), LAND HABITATS (0778729486), WATER HABITATS (0778729494), DESERT HABITAT (0778729508), THE ANTARCTIC HABITAT (0778729567), and THE ARCTIC HABITAT (0778729532). The 'Food Chains Series' ($18.90 each) will appeal to the same grade level: each book holds a narrowed focus on a food chain or geographical area, holding some 30 pages of facts paired with bright color photos. From habitat preservation to natural history and animals, 'Food Chains' is perfect for research and special titles co-authored by Bobbie Kalman include SAVANNA FOOD CHAINS (0778719529), WETLAND FOOD CHAINS (0778719537), RAINFOREST FOOD CHAINS (0778719510), and AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK FOOD CHAINS (0778719502). Each is packed with color and interest. 'The Life Cycle' set for grades 2-3, ages 8-9 ($18.90 each) will reach a younger crowd with colorful stories, natural history, and eye-catching covers and photos throughout. CRAYFISH (077870629X), SALMON (0778706311) and EMPEROR PENGUIN (0778706303) each pack in colorful habitat and natural history facts. All are top picks as standard, ongoing references elementary-level students will find perfect for reports and leisure browsing alike.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
$20.95 each www.marshallcavendish.us

The new 'First Americans' series by David C. King expands with the addition of a second group of titles, each geared to elementary-grade readers in grades 2-4 and offering nearly 50 pages of facts on Native cultures. From history and daily living to customs and beliefs, each book offers details paired with colorful illustrations. THE HURON (076142251X), THE OJIBWE (0761422528), THE SEMINOLE (0761422536), THE COMANCHE (0761422498), and THE HAIDA (0761422501) each are top picks for any elementary-level collection seeking a strong representation of individual Native cultures for research and reports.


The Cookbook Shelf

The Usborne First Cookbook
Angela Wilkes
EDC Publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74146-6515
0794514790, $18.99 www.edcpub.com 1-800-475-4522

Profusely and colorfully illustrated by Stephen Cartwright, deftly edited by Rebecca Gilpin, and designed by Sally Griffin, "The Usborne First Cookbook" by Angela Wilkes is a thoroughly 'kid friendly' compilation of recipes that are specifically intended to introduce children to the delight and accomplishment of simple but elegant dishes that are sure to please the palate and satisfy the appetite. Beginning with two informative chapters of instructions 'Before You Start' and 'Things to Remember', also includes chapters teaching young chefs 'Handy Hints', 'Preparing Vegetables', 'Kitchen Equipment', and even a glossary of 'Cooking Words'. From Baked Tomatoes; French Toast; Pizza, and "Ice Cream Sundaes; to Bacon and Potato Casserole; Chocolate Brownies; Hamburgers; Easy Breaded Fish; and Marmalade Gingerbread, "The Usborne First Cookbook" is an ideal addition to family, school, and community library cookbook collections for children.


The Music Shelf

Songs For The Coolest Kids
Princess Katie & Racer Steve
RocketNYC
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $15.00 www.princessracer.com

Featuring 'royal rock', pop, country, reggae, and lively dance tunes, the music comprising "Songs For The Coolest Kids" include lyrics that address many common issues facing children everyday at school, on the playground, in the neighborhood, and in their own families. Combining positive messages with attractive music that children and their parents can fully enjoy, the fifteen individual, original, and highly recommended pieces comprising "Songs For The Coolest Kids" include: Tell Them How You Feel; Jeans!; Whiplash - Skit; Sid The Bully; It's Not Mine; Tell The Truth; Worrying is Boring; Tight Tiaras - Skit; Kings & Princesses; Trying is Winning!; Luh Yuh!; Miracle Lullaby; That Was Fast! - Skit; Miracle; and Calling the Band.- Skit.


The Holiday Shelf

Groundhog Day!
Gail Gibbons
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10017
0823420035 $16.95 www.holidayhouse.com

This reissue of a popular holiday title is perfect for celebrating Goundhog Day so if you missed adding it to your collection, here's another chance. Libraries strong in holiday books for grades 2-4 will find GROUNDHOG DAY a fine blend of visual drawings and history surveying the day's origins and facts about the groundhog. A wonderful choice highly recommended for any collection strong in holiday titles.


The Picturebook Shelf

Some Dog!
Mary Casanova & Ard Hoyt
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 300, New York, NY 10010
0374371334, $16.00 www.fsgkids.book.com 1-888-330-8477

Old George is a slow and steady hound dog and the center of his calm household. His chief pleasure is resting his head on his owner's lap and contentedly studying smells on the wind. Then one day a very lively little dog named Zippity arrives in a flurry of activity and barking as he runs around in circles, fetches the paper, and catches fish. All this hullabaloo makes George feel worn out and left out. But when Zippity gets himself lost in a thunderstorm, its up to George and his strong hound dog nose to sniff the pup out. Searching up and down slides, through the valley, and into a murky swamp, George finally finds Zippity firmly stuck in the mud. George pulls him out and brings him back to the homestead where he and Zippity realize they are both unique and beloved dogs in their own right and despite their differences. Energetically illustrated by Ard Hoyt, Mary Casonova's simple and elegant story of George and Zippity in "Some Dog!" is highly recommended for school and community library picturebook collections because of its appeal to dog lovers of all ages, and entertaining message young readers about sibling rivalry and the value of each and every member of a family.

I Saw A Moose Today
Anne Stewart, author
Brent Spink, illustrator
Raven Productions
PO Box 188, Ely, MN 55731
0976626470, $12.95 www.ravenwords.com

Engagingly written by Anne Stewart and featuring Brent Spink's full color, as well as black-and-white, illustrations, "I Saw A Moose Today" is the whimsical, charming, and wonderfully entertaining picturebook story of a young girl who imagines what it would be like to spend the day with a number of different animals in the American northwoods. Entertaining and simply delightful storytelling, "I Saw A Moose Today" is further enhanced by offering young readers factual information about each animal in a separate section at the end of this book, concluding with thematically appropriate websites, a bibliography, a glossary, and biographical notes on the author and illustrator. Also available in a hardcover edition (0976626462, $18.95), "I Saw A Moose Today" is particularly recommended for gradeschool and community library pets/wildlife and picturebook collections for young readers.

Seymour's Masquerade Ball
Sally O. Lee
Lee Publishing
35 Locust Street, Danvers, MA 01923
1419628097, $22.95 www.leepublishing.net

Sally O. Lee is an author, a painter, and an illustrator who has written and illustrated sixteen books for children. Her latest picturebook is "Seymour's Masquerade Ball". The story is a simply but engagingly told story of two rabbits, Lucy and Seymour, who are invited to a masquerade ball and must decide what they will wear and just who will win the masquerade costume contest. The illustrations are also simple, colorful, and equally engaging a perfect vehicle for the story. "Seymour's Masquerade Ball" is a welcome and enthusiastically recommended addition for family, school, and community library picturebook collections for children 4 through 6.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
www.candlewick.com

Monty Molenski's SCOOP! (0763630594, $15.99) tells of a 'mole on a mission' who wants to uncover a scoop for his paper The Daily Roar. He's always on the lookout for news and even tries to follow his coworkers to discover what they do after work...but his spy tactics leave a lot of funny confrontations in this funny story packed with strong visuals by John Kelly and Cathy Tincknell. Bob Graham's DIMITY DUMPTY: THE STORY OF HUMPTY'S LITTLE SISTER (0763630780, $15.99) tells of a brave little egg sister who is shy in the face of her older rascal brother, until she gets a flute and some courage. When her brother takes a great fall her bravery really shines in this satisfying exploration and expansion upon a classic. Kaye Umansky's I DON'T LIKE GLORIA! (9780763632021, $15.99) tells of Calvin, a dog who has to live with the cat Gloria. Nobody asked him permission to have her move in and he hates her for many reasons until another strange circumstance unites them. Margaret Chamberlain's drawings are simple but fun. Marcia Williams' CHAUCER'S CANTERBURY TALES (978-0763631970, $16.99) uses a cartoon-book format and easier language to translate the Middle Ages to grades 3-5. Nine travelers take turns swapping stories in this lively retelling of classics from the Tales: an unusual and perfect literary introduction for the lower grade levels. The story lines on all these lend to something different for elementary-level picture book readers.

Atheneum/McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonsayskids.com 1-800-223-2336

Angela McAllister's MAMA AND LITTLE JOE (1416916318, $15.99) tells of two well-loved toys and the unfriendly welcome they receive in a new home of more expensive toys. But as ages 3-6 will discover, the old loved toys have more compassion and warms than their newer companions in this gentle tale, illustrated by Terry Milne and packed with affectionate understanding perfect for teaching kids about love and caring. Sam Lloyd's MR. PUSSKINS: A LOVE STORY (1416925171, $14.95) tells of a bristly cat who doesn't like to play games, hates having his fur combed, and doesn't like boring bedtime stories. His thirst for adventure leads away from his safe home to the Pesky Cat Gang where he finds action but not love. Mr. Pusskins' search for love in unexpected places makes for a moving story. Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas' TIPPY-TIPPY-TIPPY, HIDE! (0689874790, $16.99) tells of three little bunnies on Mr. McGreely's doorstep who beg to come inside for the winter. But he already shared his carrots with them last summer and is determined not to share his house too. Trouble is, the bunnies are pesky and clever and sneak in. Whether you've seen the bunnies from MUNCHA! MUNCHA! MUNCHA! MUNCHA! Before or not, TIPPY-TIPPY-TIPPY, HIDE is a fun sequel and an equal winner for newcomers and old fans alike: libraries will find it a popular lend.

Schwartz & Wade Books/Random
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
www.randomhouse.com/kids 1-800-726-0600

Tad Hills' DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE (0375840680, $15.99) tells of a couple who are friends forever until new duck Thistle comes along. Thistle impresses Duck but Goose is NOT impressed. Can the three get along, or is somebody destined to be left out? A warm story evolves. Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter's 17 THINGS I'M NOT ALLOWED TO DO ANYMORE (0375835962, $15.99) tells of a kid full of brilliant ideas ideas grown-ups don't seem to understand, such as gluing her brother's bunny slippers to the floor. Nancy Carpenter's hilarious drawings accompany these fun sets of 'disallowed actions' in a fun story perfect for grades 2-5 and many an adult.

There Was A Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea
Jennifer Ward
Rising Moon Books
Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002-1389
0873588983 $15.95 www.risingmoonbooks.com

A rollicking Southwestern rhyme and theme permeate There Was A Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea, about an insatiable coyote who gobbles down chili, a bull and even a cactus. Steve Gray's zany drawings bring to life this funny tale, and while it holds a Southwest theme, its bright colors and fun presentation promise to reach beyond the Southwest into elementary-grade libraries across the country, who will find it an excellent leisure choice and a good way of introducing kids to Southwest flavors.

Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10022
www.scholastic.com

Matt Berry's UP ON DADDY'S SHOULDERS (0439670454, $6.99) tells of a boy who feels taller than anything on his father's shoulders. Rhymes and gentle text blend with warm drawings by Lucy Corvino to capture the warmth of a father-son relationship and a bird's eye view from another level. Parents and kids will find it a fine read-aloud. Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees' THE CHIMPANZEES OF HAPPYTOWN (0439837685, $16.99) tells of Chutney the traveler who plants a tree in the gloomy town of Drabsville a tree which leads to his fellow chimps renewed fun. The rhyme lends to read-aloud at either the parent/child or school library level and provides an inspirational story of hope.


The Fiction Shelf

Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
www.scholastic.com

Fans of P.B. Kerr's ongoing fantasy 'Children of the Lamp' will appreciate yet another addition to the saga: THE COBRA KING OF KATHMANDU (0439670233, $16.99), the third in the series and telling of the djinn twins in another magical mystery. This time they're trying to uncover a murderer who uses the king cobra to kill and find themselves caught in a cult of cobra worshipers. Can they stop the leader's deadly plan? Middle school fantasy fans and many an adult will choose this for leisure reading; especially prior fans of the 'Children of the Lamp' saga. Patrick Carman's THE TENTH CITY (0439700957, $11.99) also adds to a series, 'The Land of Elyon', as it presents the final battle between evil Victor and his leader and little Alexa, who must overcome the Lonely Sea and rescue a friend before she can save the world. Elementary to middle school leisure readers who have enjoyed prior books in the Elyon series will relish this gripping conclusion. Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin's SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS: FALL OF THE AMAZING ZALINDAS (0439828368, $16.99) provides another adventure in a loyal gang of homeless boys who assist Mr. Holmes in his crime-solving. Black and white illustrations pepper the tense thriller of the gang's probe into a dangerous mystery involving crown jewels, a fortune-teller's secret, and more. Katherine Roberts' I AM THE GREAT HORSE (0439821630, $16.99) presents the story of the steed of pre-teen Alexander, heir to the throne of Macedonia. As the young prince rises to power his loyal steed observes the politics and conflicts involved in his ascension. Add a dash of romance and you have a fun and lively story punctuated by thrashes from the protagonist's tail as he observes the human world around him.

Ruler of the Realm
Herbie Brennan
Bloomsbury
175 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1582348812 $18.95 www.bloomsburyusa.com

A new 'Faerie Wars Chronicles' title for middle-school fantasy enthusiasts will reach both prior fans of The Faerie Wars and newcomers, who will find most accessible the story of the newly crowned Queen Blue, who is trying to rule her new kingdom. Her visit to the Spicemaster brings a warning and when her brother discovers a secret weapon just when Lord Hairstreak offers peace, trouble ensues, furthered by Blue's disappearance just as Henry returns from the Analogue world. It's the third adventure in the chronicles, but leisure readers will find it quite accessible.

Knopf
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
www.randomhouse.com/teens

Avid fans of fantasy in the advanced middle to high school grade levels will find Christopher Paolini's ELDEST (0375840605, $24.00) both a challenge and a treat. It's a challenge because it's complex and detailed holding over 700 pages of plot and action. This limited edition is Book II in 'The Inheritance Trilogy' and appears in a deluxe edition to tell of dragons who have saved states from a cruel ruler. Now Eragon and his dragon must travel to the land of elves for further training and confrontations in an epic saga reminiscent of 'Lord of the Rings'. Anjoli Banerjee's LOOKING FOR BAPU (0385746571, $15.95) tells of an Indian grandfather who's brought India's culture to grandson Anu who lives in the Pacific Northwest. Anu is lost until he decides to search for his grandfather's spirit and enlists in loyal friends to help bring back his beloved grandfather. A delightful story of cross-cultural interaction evolves. Audrey Couloumbis' MAUDE MARCH ON THE RUN! (0375832467, $15.99) presents another story of the spirited pre-teen determined to see justice is done. It's a sequel to THE MISADVENTURES OF MAUDE MARCH and comes from a Newbery Honor winner who here presents a vivid winning story of orphaned sisters who break jail and run to try to prove innocence in the harsh world of the Old West. Ann Brashares' FOREVER IN BLUE: THE FOURTH SUMMER OF THE SISTERHOOD (0385729367, $18.99) presents the last summer of the Sisterhood: four friends who find themselves facing new challenges in love find very different circumstances and approaches tie them together. Eoin McNamee's THE NAVIGATOR (0375839100, $15.99) tells of Owen's world, which suddenly changes when time flows backward and his family and home vanishes. It's up to him to become involved in a battle between the Resisters and their old enemies the Harsh. A powerful fantasy for middle school leisure readers builds swift action upon strong characterization: this plus vivid cover art makes it a fine pick middle school collections will find popular.


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