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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 3 March 2008 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice DVD Shelf Mythology/Fairytale Shelf
Music Shelf Fiction Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Biography Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

Children Of The U.S.A.
Maya Ajmera, et al.
The Global Fund for Children
1101 Fourteenth Street NW, Suite 420, Washington, DC 20005
9781570916151, $23.95

The collaborative work of Maya Ajmera, Yvonne Wakimk Dennis, Arlene Hirschfelder and Cynthia Pon, "Children Of The U.S.A." offers boys and girls a profusely illustrated celebration of the diverse and ethnically varied cultural and religious backgrounds of kids in this country. Children are featured as the live and play in fifty-one American cities (one for each state) and represent kids from all classes and walks of society, all colors and both genders. A simply wonderful celebration of American diversity in the form of boys and girls from across the country, "Children Of The U.S.A." is a welcome and enthusiastically recommended addition to family, school, and community library collections.

I Wished For You
Marianne Richmond
Marianne Richmond Studios Inc.
3900 Stinson Boulevard NE, Minneapolis, MN 55421
9781934082065, $15.95 1-800-768-9197

Charmingly written and beautifully illustrated picturebook by Marianne Richmond, "I Wished For You" is the lovely little story of a little bear named Barley and his mother who sit in a very nice stuffed chair and talk about how they came to be a family. The simple and engaging text follows the them of adoption and will prove to be an especially nice way for parents to explain adoption and answer the kids of questions that young children have. The ultimate message is that it's not where you were born, but how well you are loved that makes you a member of a family. Also very highly recommended for family and community library collections is Marianne Richmond's companion picturebook, "You Are My Wish Come True" (9781934082256, $15.95). Parents and librarians are encouraged to visit the Marianne Richmond Studies website at for a complete list of all her wonderfully engaging, expertly written, and beautifully illustrated titles.

Willie's Dad
Stanley Williams & Naima Abdul-Haqq
Williams Publishing Conglomerate
c/o Lulu Press
860 Aviation Parkway, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560
9780615191218, $14.95

All to often when a man is sent to prison there are children left behind. Children who are confused, hurt, embarrassed, angry, and self-blaming. In "Willie's Dad", Michigan-based author Stanley Williams has written a realistic story for those young children, illustrated in a kind of American primitive, children's drawing style by Naima Abdul-Haqq, that mostly takes place in a prison visiting room where a young boy is visiting his incarcerated father. The story reflects how fathers and children can still lovingly connect with each other -- even when the father must serve out a sentence of imprisonment that can last for anywhere from a few months, to a few years, to a lifetime. As a correctional officer working in an Illinois medium-security prison for six years during the 1980s, and as an elementary school teacher today, Williams writes simply and with an impressive authority. It should be noted that 10% of any profits from the sale of "Willie's Dad" will be contributed to a college fund for Covert Michigan School District graduates. "Willie's Dad" is an especially appropriate picture book for young children having family members who are incarcerated in municipal jails, state prisons, or federal penitentiaries.

The DVD Shelf

Bob the Builder On Site: Roads & Bridges
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
DVD, $19.98

Bob the Builder On Site: Roads & Bridges is an installment of the popular children's DVD series featuring the cheerful, hardworking, computer-animated host of Bob - and custom footage filmed at real construction sites! Real dirt movers, construction machines, on-site building and are sure to educate as well as entertain parents and kids alike. Bob's crew of computer-animated construction trucks and other helpful, anthropomorphic machines are also along for the ride in this delightful introduction to the marvels of modern construction technology. 60 minutes; English, Spanish, and French audio options.

Shout Factory LLC
2042-A Armacost Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025

Two high-rated children's programming DVDs bring the whimsical world of Maggie and her friends, the affable Ferocious Beast and Hamilton Hocks the pig, to family living rooms. Maggie and the Ferocious Beast: Recipes for Trouble ($14.99, 90 min.) includes episodes where Hamilton the chef needs an extra-large pumpkin for one of his favorite recipes; a Jelly Bean Express train is introduced to Nowhere Land; a contest is held to see who can shout the loudest; and much more. Maggie and the Ferocious Beast: Rain Showers & Spring Flowers ($14.99, 90 min.) has episodes with a springtime theme, including episodes where Maggie and Hamilton argue over which color of Jelly Bean is the best, a rainy day flood washes away Hamilton's box, a journey in search of the rainbow's end, and many more adventures. Both DVDs feature English and Spanish audio and are recommended for public library children's DVD collections as well as for youngsters' home viewing.

Courage to Tell
Disney Educational Productions
500 S. Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-6307
DVD $49.95 Each

Elementary-level kids facing child abuse issues and educators who want to help them handle the subject now have a DVD which offers two dramas for kids in grades K-6. RACHEL AND MARLA tells of new friends, and what happens when Rachel discovers the reasons behind Marla's troubled life. Her encounters with her parents and Marla's mother reveals more than a casual glance at the roots of abuse - and its elimination. NOW I CAN TELL YOU MY SECRET tells of Andrew, a young student who is shamed and afraid when he's inappropriately touched by an adult authority figure. What adult can he confide in? This DVD encourages both understanding and solutions to common conundrums kids face.

The Mythology/Fairytale Shelf

Usborne Illustrated Fairy Tales
Sarah Courtauld, et al.
EDC Publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74146-6515
9780794517175, $19.99 1-800-475-4522

Expertly designed by the team of Nancy Leschnifoff and Helen Wood, the "Usborne Illustrated Fairy Tales" is co-edited by Sarah Courtauld and Rosie Dickins to provide young readers with 352 pages of classic fairytales drawn from such popular sources as Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm, and others. Enhanced throughout with color illustrations, the tend individual stories comprising this outstanding volume include Sleeping Beauty; the Emperor and the Nightingale; Beauty and the Beast; The Dragon Painter; The Frog Prince; The Elves and the Shoemaker; Little Red Riding Hood; Cinderella; The Swan Princess; The Emperor's New Clothes. An entertaining and handsome volume, the "Usborne Illustrated Fairy Tales" would make a welcome addition to any child's reading list and community library's fairytale/folklore collection for young readers.

The Music Shelf

Special Kind Of Day
Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck
Big Truck Music
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $15.00

The fourth children's music CD album by Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck, "Special Kind Of Day" offers thirteen brand new songs, each of which is attractively characterized by the unique vocal stylings of Rebecca Frezza, backed up by the singers and instrumentalists of Big Truck in unique pieces that alternative lively and complex orchestrations with songs of lovely simple styles. Superbly recorded, the individual numbers include Come on Out; Clack-Ity-Clack; Butterfly; So Nice to Meet Your; Sidewalk Chalk; Summer Sunshine; Carnival Ride; Birthday Song; Spooky Dance; Leaves are Falling; Snow Day; Snow She Shuffle; and Magic. "Special Kind Of Day" offers a special kind of music that is thoroughly 'kid friendly' and a welcome, recommended addition to personal, family, school, and community library CD music collections for children.

The Fiction Shelf

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

Christopher Paul Curtis's fast-paced sequel to MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY, Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission (9780385327756, $ 15.99) needs no prior familiarity to prove a fun adventure, and stands well alone for any elementary-level collection catering to grades 3-5. Here Steve, Russell and Richelle are in a different universe with Mr. Chickee when their dog Rodney Rodent vanishes and they try to find him before the Oops-a-Daisy clock hits zero. Zany characters and events pack a fun leisure read. Beverly Donofrio's THANK YOU, LUCKY STARS (9780375839641, $ 16.99) will appeal to grades 5-6 as it presents one Ally, who is excited about her first day of fifth grade and who has made plans with her only friend Betsy to sing in the annual talent show together. When Betsy begins spending all her spare time with their supposed rival Mona and a new kid enters the picture, Ally finds her perceptions about friendship are challenged. Lesley M.N. Blume's TENNYSON (9780375847035, $ 15.99) is set in 1932 in the Depression era in the South, and tells of Tennyson Fontqaine and her sister Hattie, who live in a rickety shack with their family and dogs. When their mother vanishes one day and their father leaves home to find her, the girls find themselves in a relative's Louisiana mansion - now a ruin - and it's up to Tennyson to uncover the secrets beyond the mansion's history - and perhaps save her family. N.D. Wilson's 100 CUPBOARDS (9780375838811, $ 16.99) is the first book in a projected trilogy about Henry York's journey through some of the 100 cupboard doors hidden in a wall of his attic bedroom. Each cupboard leads to other realms, and when sister Henrietta is lost in one, it's up to Henry to save her - and up to them both to face the evil which their journeys has awakened. RUNEMARKS by Joanne Harris is a weighty fantasy recommended for kids in grades 7-9 - and many an adult. It builds upon the gods of Norse mythology and a prophesied end of the world, all centered upon one girl Maddy, hated in her small village for her ability to talk to goblins and dubious magical talents. When she befriends the mysterious One-Eye, her chance to discover her true heritage - and the meaning of her rune magic abilities - finally emerges. A complex plot blends in fast-paced action. David Levithan's HOW THEY MET AND OTHER STORIES (9780375848865, $ 16.95) provides short stories for teens which tell of different kinds of love, meetings, loss and teen longing ("I desperately wanted to have something to lose."), capturing teen sentiments about romance and providing middle school readers with much food for thought. Patricia Martin's LULU ATLANTIS AND THE QUEST FOR TRUE BLUE LOVE (9780375840166, $ 15.99) will reach kids ages 7-11 with the story of Lulu Atlantis, whose best friend is a spider, and whose little brother gives up what he loves for a cat. Four interwoven adventures explore the meaning of different kinds of love.

Hot Sour Salty Sweet
Sherri L. Smith
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385734172, $ 15.99

Ana Shen's biracial family - a Chinese-American father and an Afro-American mother - brings two grandparents in town at the same time - which results in a host of new problems and a confusing blend of cultures for Ana. How best can she honor both her very different grandparents - at a meal during which each expects something different? Add the usual conflicts over friendships and coming of age and you have a sweet mix of dilemmas and encounters.

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

Elementary libraries with grades 3-6 readers seeking solid historical fiction with vivid plots based on real-world action will appreciate Bonnie Pryor's Hannah Pritchard: Pirate of the Revolution (9780766028517, $ 27.93), a true story of a girl who entered the world of swashbuckling piracy and whose actions affected her world, and Tom McGown's JESSE BOWMAN: A UNION BOY'S WAR STORY (9780766029293, $ 27.93), offering up a vivid story of a young Union boy's participation in battle. Each book includes not only a vivid story line based on facts, but a summary, discussion questions, activities and bibliography geared to Internet research. Both are very highly recommended picks.

The Audiobook Shelf

Jim Weiss Recording
Greathall Productions Inc.
P.O. Box 5061, Charlottesville, VA 22905-5061
CD $14.95 Each

Jim Weiss creates and tells two fine audio CDs for kids, recommended for elementary-level collections and parents alike. GOOD LUCK DUCK (1882513894) is for ages 5 and older and returns an old classic 1950s story by Meindert Dejong to popular circles, telling of young Timothy who wins a duck at a fair - and finds it is full of personality and zany friends. Kids 7 years and older will appreciate A TREASURY OF WISDOM: STORIES OF HOPE AND INSPIRATION (1882513908), offering true stories of philosophy, spirituality and value from both Biblical and world history ranging from the story of Jesus as the good Samaritan to Michaelangelo, Beatrix Potter, and more. These are excellent audio listens.

The Picturebook Shelf

Not Too Small At All
Stephanie Z. Townsend, author
Bill Looney, illustrator
Master Books
PO Box 726, Green Forest, AR 72638
9780890515242, $12.99

Not Too Small At All: A Mouse Tale is a picturebook for young Christian readers who wonder, "What is God's purpose for me?" Seen through the eyes of a little mouse who learns about the amazing story of Grandpa Mouse's youthful journey to the ark, Not Too Small At All transforms the Biblical story of Noah into an engaging story of God's love and renewal. "Often in the evenings Noah would talk to his family about God's plan. He reminded them that God's heart had been grieved because of the sin of the people of the earth, and that God had sent this worldwide flood as punishment for their wickedness. But God had provided a way of escape, a way to be saved from the waters of the flood." Gentle illustrations complement this reinterpretation of one of the Old Testament's most well-known parables.

The Wakame Gatherers
Holly Thompson, author
Kazumi Wilds, illustrator
Shen's Books
40951 Fremont Blvd., Freemont, CA 94538
9781885008336, $16.95

Written by Yokohama City University creative writing teacher Holly Thompson and illustrated by Tokyo-born artist Kazumi Wilds, The Wakame Gatherers is a children's picturebook about a young girl, Nanami, who has two grandmothers on opposite sides of the ocean: Gram in Maine and Baachan in Japan. When Gram visits Japan for the first time, Gram, Baachan, and Nanami go on a seaside trip to gather Wakame, a long, curvy seaweed that floats near the shore. Gram and Baachan share stories about how seaweeds are used in Maine and Japan, and Nanami translates for both. Enthusiastic color paintings illustrate this wonderful tale about family togetherness and forming connections between cultures.

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells
Philip Dray, author
Stephen Alcorn, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561454174, $18.95 1-800-241-0113

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist is an illustrated biography for young readers who are just about ready to make the transition from chapter books to more involved fare. Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells tells of a former slave from Mississippi who became a crusader for justice and the rule of law, who used her position as a journalist to speak out against wrongdoing. After one of her friends was cruelly lynched, she went on a personal crusade to help bring an end to lynching in America. Her noble ideals and tireless dedication would help sow the seeds for the future legacy of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. The expressive, sweeping color illustrations add the perfect touch to this simple yet inspirational biography. Highly recommended, especially for children's library collections.

Mei Ling in China City
Icy Smith, author
Gayle Garner Roski, illustrator
East West Discovery Press
PO Box 3585, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
9780970165480, $18.95

Based on a true story of events during World War II in Los Angeles' "China City", Mei Ling in China City a colorful picturebook about a 12-year-old Chinese American girl who loses her best friend Yayeko Akiyama when she and her family were interned in the Manzanar War Relocation Center. The two girls communicate through letters, sharing what their respective lives are like. Illustrated with watercolor paintings that blend the fine artistry of realism with the subtler emotion of impressionism, and featuring a supplementary section with nearly 50 never-before-published historical black-and-white photographs and paintings, Mei Ling in China City deserves the absolute highest recommendation for public and school children's library collections.

Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival
Icats Nitram, author
Pamela McCarville, illustrator
All Us All the Time Publishing
9275 S. Fox Fire Drive, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129
9780979728501, $16.95

Written for young readers age 4-8, Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival is an exuberantly colorful, rhyming picturebook showcasing an extraordinary carnival. Not only does it have clowns, music, and acrobats, there are werewolves and many more exciting surprises! "Up above, / soaring through the air / on an undying breeze, / swings an / acrobatic family / of zombies / on the trapeze." A fun and friendly read-aloud book, not to be missed even if the Halloween season is several months around the corner!

Jin Jin the Dragon
Grace Chang, author
Chong Chang, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
201 Richards Street, Suite #4, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701025, $16.95 1-888-330-8477

Jin Jin the Dragon is a delightful children's picturebook written by Beijing-born Grace Chang and illustrated by her brother Chong Chang. Jin Jin is a scaly golden creature who hatches and wonders what type of animal he is. He befriends a fish, an eagle, a lion, and many more animals, each of which has something in common with him - but he isn't quite like any of them. On his journey to meet the wise old turtle and crane, he discovers a terrible drought is afflicting the land, and saves the people with his wondrous ability to breathe water; proof that he is really a dragon! A gentle story grounded in ancient Chinese dragon myths, but presented in warm, contemporary terms and sure to be a hit with young dragon lovers everywhere.

Little Boy With a Big Horn
Jack Bechdolt
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375839030, $ 14.99

Dan Yaccarino provides the moving drawings for an excellent picturebook story for ages 2-5 in LITTLE BOY WITH A BIG HORN, which tells of little Ollie, who loves a loud, noisy tune he plays on his big brass horn. His parents and even the townspeople beg him to find another place to practice, but he creates disturbing noises everywhere she goes - until he finds himself on a boat in the ocean, where his noise is not only appreciated, but lifesaving during a heavy fog. A Golden Books classic returns to life with new illustrations for elementary-level libraries seeking upgrades of popular, old classics.

There's Nothing to Do on Mars
Chris Gill
Little, Brown
237 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
0316166847, $ 16.99

Davey is bored even though his move to Mars from Earth should be exciting. He and his robot dog find adventures easily - until curiosity leads to a big discovery. Large-size drawings provide a read suitable for those moving from picturebooks to the next level, while an adventure-packed space story adds exciting attraction, especially for reluctant readers.

Night Running
Eliza Carbone
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375822476, $ 16.99

E.B. Lewis provides realistic drawings for this picturebook drama set in 1938 and following one James' plan to escape slavery with the help of his faithful dog. This gripping story of escape and freedom comes to life in picturebook format, and makes for an outstanding story.

The Biography Shelf

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

Ages 4-8 will appreciate Jonah Winter & Francois Roca's story Muhammed Ali: Champion of the World (9780375836220, $ 16.99 ), of boxer Muhammed Ali, who was more than a boxer, symbolizing Muslim rights and his people's efforts to succeed. This biography highlights his life using large-sized, vivid lettering to capture the drama of his life and boxing style. Robert Andrew Parker's PIANO STARTS HERE (9780375839658, $ 16.99) tells of Art Tatum, who was playing keyboards on tiptoe at a very young age: first in church, and later in cafes. PIANO STARTS HERE charts his life, the influence of blindness on his musical development, and his world travels in a vivid biography.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ruchir Shah, editor
EZ Comics
12 Pine Top Road, Barrington, RI 02806
9780979588709, $6.95

Using a colorfully illustrated comic book format, "Martin Luther King, Jr." provides young readers with a succinct but informative biographical overview of one of the most important and influential leaders of the American Civil Rights movement. Beginning with an introduction into the institution of slavery, the emancipation of African-Americans at the end of the Civil War, Martin Luther King's parents and the conditions of racial discrimination in the South, this illustrated biography continues from his birth, through his childhood, to his decision to become a Christian minister, to his college years and introduction to the non-violent philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, to his involvement in the Montgomery bus strike, to the struggle to overturn racial discrimination enabling laws and cultural practices, to his activism in the Civil Rights movement, to his stirring 'I Have a Dream' speech, to his martyrdom which ultimate led to the passage of the federal Civil Rights Act and the end of racial segregation in the South. This comic book style illustrated biography is ideal for use with grade school children and should be part of every school and community library's American Biography and Black Studies reference collection for young readers. Also very highly recommended from EZ Comics is their comic book style illustrated biography of Benjamin Franklin (9780979588723, $6.95) and their comic book style history, "The Civil War" (9780979588716, $6.95).

Books in Series

Heartfelt Stories
7585 Fairfield Lakes Drive, Powell, OH 43065

Imaginatively created and deftly written by Denise Bloom and Deana Froelich, colorfully illustrated by Kimo Tenorio, and sturdily published by David Rastoka and Eric Klosky, 'Heartfelt Stories' is a new series of 28-page children's books that seeks to help preschool age kids to appreciate and practice the kind of personal behavior parents can be proud of. The first two titles in this extraordinary series are "More Than A Spoonful" and "Toby Gets The Brush Off". In"More Than A Spoonful" (9780977811304, $12.95) a story about cooperative differences), a little spoon named Spooner learns from his fork friend Spike that each of them has a useful place at the table, and that it takes them both for the necessary work of eating to be done. In "Toby Gets The Brush Off" (9780977811311, $12.95) the subject is brushing and flossing as a molar called Toby wants Ms. Toothbrush to give him more attention. Along the way he has Mr. Dentist and Mr. Cool Mint Toothpaste to help him out. As fun and entertaining as the underlying messages are important, parents, daycare providers, and community libraries will want to acquire the entire Heartfelt Stories series, including "Packed With Love"; "Twice The Spice", "My Patty, Nobody Else's"; "Leaving The Race"; "Marty The Mirror Sees Things Clearer"; "Jen And Chen: Friends To The End"; and "Billy Lives It Up!".

Saddleback Publishing Inc.
Three Watson, Irvine, CA 92618-2767 1-888-735-2225

Simply outstanding in format and content, 'FACTastic Journey' is a six title, 'High Interest-Low Vocabulary' series of colorful 32-page books that provide young readers with a 6.0 reading level, amazing facts in an engaging format that will be of intense interest for students in grades 5 through 12. The series consists of "Castles & Dungeons"; "Ghosts 7 Monsters"; Marvelous Magic"; "Mind-Boggling Science"; "Spies & Detectives"; and "Terror under The Sea". Showcasing unusual infobits ranging from the incredible world of splendid castles, to occult oddities, to the worlds of stage magicians and storybook sorcerers, to fascinating tidbits of science, to the ingenious gadgets of super spies and crime-busting detectives, to the ferocity of creatures under the oceans of the world, "FACTastic Journey" is ideal for use with reading impaired or reading phobic junior and senior high students and is available to schools, libraries, and home schooling parents as a Sample Set (SA3195-B8, $61.00, 1 of each title plus a Teacher's Resource Guide); as a Complete Set (SA3209-B8, $158.00, 3 copies of each titles plus a Teacher's Resource Guide); and as a Library Set (SA3127B8, $249.95, 5 copies of each title plus a Teacher's Resource Guide and Study). The Teacher's Resource Guide is available singly (SA3225-B8, $10.95) and additional copies of any of the six titles can be acquired (SP1695-B8, $4.95).

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 - 5th Avenue #3308, New York NY 10118 1-800-387-7650

24 pages of each book in Bobby Kalman's Looking at Nature series provide large color photos and very basic animal facts for young readers looking for report-quality material. New to the growing series is WHERE IS IT? (0778733211), WHAT COMES NEXT? (077873319X), IS IT THE SAME OR DIFFERENT? (0778733173), WHAT COLOR IS IT? (0778733181), HOW DOES IT FEEL? (0778733149), HOW DOES IT WORK? (0778733157), IS IT BIG OR SMALL? (0778733165), WHAT SHAPE IS IT? (077873203). All teach basic facts on shapes, colors and science, from nature itself. Sally Hewitt's AMAZING SCIENCE series covers all kinds of science and physics facts for kids, each book offering some 30 pages including an index, glossary, and facts. AMAZING MATERIALS (077873613X), PLANTS (0778736148), AMAZING ELECTRICITY (0778736105), AMAZING FORCES & MOVEMENT (0778736113), AMAZING LIGHT (0778736121) all include science words, definitions, and large color photos. Bobbie Kalman's LIVING THINGS NEED WATER (0778732320), PLANTS ARE LIVING THINGS (0778732339), and IS IT A LIVING THING (0778732304) holds large print words and pictures with easy science perfect for classrooms. Kay Barnham's save energy (0778736601) and SAVE WATER (077873661X) joins others in the 'Environmental Action' series, with 32 pages in each book holding photos, definitions and plenty of science facts. All are geared to curriculum needs: all promise to be lasting library references.

Enslow Publishers
Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398 1-800-398-2504

Short biographies written for kids in the upper elementary grades usually are few and far between and focus on major political or historical figures, so the appearance of a biography on a contemporary author - JACK CANTOS by Michelle Parker-Rock (9780766027589, $ 23.93) joining others in the 'Authors Kids Love' series for grades 3-4 is something to nite indeed. The focus is on living authors writing currently, with books written at fourth grade level offering plenty of facts, supplemental reading, and more within 48 pages supporting the Language Arts curriculum. Randel McGee's PAPER CRAFTS FOR DAY OF THE DEAD (9780766029514, $ 23.93) provides a fine paper cutting craft book especially recommended for libraries catering to grades 3-4 who regularly look for new craft ideas. An eight-book series based on ethnic holiday celebrations is projected, with students learning about the holidays and cultures while enjoying crafts how-to titles including simple color sidebars of materials and step-by-step illustrated guides for projects supporting the Social Studies, History and Art curricula. The ' Books' titles are recommended picks for grades 6 and up. New additions to Enslow's 'Constitution of the United States' titles are top picks for grades 6 and up who are working on reports on American political science. A LOOK AT THE 2ND AMENDMENT: TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS (9781598450613, $ 24.95), for example, packs in over a hundred pages of color photos, screen shots and details on web-linked books which includes a bibliography and chapter notes. Any studying Constitutional history will find plenty of material for reports and discussion here, and in the other Constitutional references in the growing series. The 'Build-A-Lab! Science Experiments' series for grades 5 and older expands with a new set of titles to include CHEMISTRY PROJECTS WITH A LABORATORY YOU CAN BUILD (9780766028050, $ 31.93). Here are over a hundred pages which include plenty of projects supporting the National Science Education Standards, and which includes an index, Internet addresses and more. Libraries will find these solid references: all are excellent elementary-level guides highly recommended.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591 1-800-831-9881

Cavendish produces a host of series titles with excellent subjects for specific grade and age ranges, and pairs consistently solid topics suitable for reports with bright, appealing covers and basic facts. Young readers in grades 2-3 will appreciate the BOOKWORMS GO, CRITTER, GO! Series ($15.95 each) with 'emergent' material geared to new readers. Each book features large print, big bright photos, and a little over twenty pages of facts. The first group in the new series includes BUZZ, BEE, BUZZ! (9780761426486), CRAWL, LADYBUG, CRAWL! (9780761426523), FLASH, FIREFLY, FLASH! (9780761426516), FLY, BUTTERFLY, FLY! (9780761426493), SPIN, SPIDER, SPIN! (9780761426430), and SQUIRM, EARTHWORM, SQUIRM! (9780761426509). Kids in grades 3-4 will appreciate the new BOOKWORMS WONDERS OF NATURE ($15.95 each) series, which also features large print and holds a little over thirty pages of detail. Each book holds a full page color photo juxtaposing natural history facts. Group 1 in the new series includes CAVES (9780761426655), CORAL REEFS (9780761426660), DESERTS (9780761426677), RAINBOWS (9780761426691), VOLCANOES (9780761426707), and WATERFALLS (9780761426714). Kids in grades 4-5 receive over fifty pages of detail and a bit more description in the ALL KINDS OF series ($19.95 each), which includes lively writing, large color close-up photos and side bars of information for quick scanning. Group 1 of this new series includes EARS (9780761425182), EYES (9780761425199(, FEET (9780761425205), MOUTHS (9780761425212), NOSES (9780761425229) and SKIN (9780761427131). Readers in grades 5-6 will find the 'Family Trees' second group of titles ($22.95 each) an excellent set of references: each holds some 95 pages of facts and detailed information. THE AMPHIBIAN CLASS (9780761426929), THE BIRD CLASS (9780761426936), THE FISH CLASSES (9780761426950), THE FUNGUS KINGDOM (9780761426967) and THE MARSUPIAL ORDER (9780761426974) all are excellent for reports. Middle school and older readers will find the 80-page 'Exploring Mammals' set ($399.95/set) an excellent reference: here extensive details on mammals are paired with high-quality photos, anatomical drawings, and discussions of the life cycles of mammals and threatened habitats. All are outstanding, basic library references.

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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