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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 23, Number 3 March 2013 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Health Shelf Science Shelf
American History Shelf World History Shelf Politics Shelf
Sports Shelf Fiction Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Christian Shelf Math Shelf Education Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mythology Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Gardening Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Counting Shelf Board Book Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
Theatre/Cinema Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Activity Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

The Book Boat's In
Cynthia Cotten, author
Frane Lessac, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
9780823425211 $16.95

Set in America during the year 1835, The Book Boat's In is a vibrant children's picturebook about a young boy who looks forward to the books that are brought to his home by boat. The completion of the Erie in 1825 enabled floating library-bookstores to reach people who used to be quite remote, and Jesse dearly looks forward to the amazing knowledge and worlds hidden within the words of books. He has one week to dutifully save up his money so that he can purchase a book of his very own! The Book Boat's In reminds young people that today's public libraries should never be taken for granted, and encourages the love of reading and learning. Highly recommended.

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise
Jan Pinborough, author
Debby Atwell, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547471051, $16.99,

Libraries weren't always the pinnacles of learning as we know them today. "Miss Moore Thought Otherwise" tells the story Annie Caroll Moore, a young girl turned librarian who dared to change the ways how librarians treated kids, and brought children into being vital parts of the educational offerings of a library. Telling of a life lived dedicated to education, "Miss Moore Thought Otherwise" is a charming children's picturebook from Jan Pinborough, deftly illustrated by Debby Atwell, much recommended for its message of daring to change the world.

I'm Like You, You're Like Me
Cindy Gainer
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781575424361, $9.99,

Learning to be friendly with everyone around you starts with accepting them for who they are. "I'm Like You, You're Like Me: A Book About Understanding and Appreciating Each Other" is a children's picturebook with a very powerful and important message of acceptance and building friendship with those who may be different from us, and accepting those differences as something unique and special about us all. Charming with its poignant message, "I'm Like You, You're Like Me" is a must for children's picturebook collections, highly recommended.

Where Do You Look?
Marhte Jocelyn & Nell Jocelyn
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770493766, $15.95,

Homonyms can prove fun and difficult to many youths simultaneously. "Where Do You Look?" is a children's picturebook from mother and daughter team Marthe & Nell Jocelyn who give readers a fun wordplay with the grammar element, with collage-influenced illustrations. With plenty of humor youths will love, "Where Do You Look?" is ideal for educational picturebook collections, highly recommended.

The Health Shelf

A Girl's Guide to Fitting in Fitness
Erin Whitehead and Jennipher Walters
Zest Books
35 Stillman Street, Suite 121
San Francisco, CA 94107
9781936976300 $12.99

A Girl's Guide to Fitting in Fitness is a user-friendly guide for written especially for young adult and teenage girls ages twelve and up. Plain-terms language teaches young people how to work more exercise into their everyday routine, how to eat healthy, the basics of a fitness plan, "stress-busting" techniques, and much more. "To help yourself get regular sleep, go to bed around the same time each night, and get up at the same time every morning. Don't pack in a lot of physical activity right before you go to bed - and don't drink too much H2O either... try turning off all electronic devices an hour or two before bed. Don't fall asleep to the TV or with your Facebook page open. And step away from that cell phone!" In an increasingly sedentary modern world, A Girl's Guide to Fitting in Fitness is more valuable than ever, and highly recommended especially for public and school library young adult collections.

The Science Shelf

One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve With Science!
Eric Yoder & Natalie Yoder
Science, Naturally
627 A Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
9781938492006, $9.95,

Part of the "One Minute Mysteries" series ideal for young people in grades 3-6, One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! consists of dozens of brief, brain-teasing mysteries - and the solution to each one involves basic knowledge about science! An engaging way to encourage young people to think critically and analytically, One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! is as educational as it is entertaining. Highly recommended, especially for public and middle school library children's collections. Also choice picks are the previous solve-it-with-brainpower anthologies in the "One Minute Mysteries" series, One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! (9780967802015, $9.95) and One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Math! (9780967802008, $9.95).

Why is Milk White?
Alexa Coelho & Simon Quellen Field
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
9781613744529, $14.95,

There are countless questions that science seeks to answer, even if they don't explain the universe as we know it. "Why is Milk White? & 200 Other Curious Chemistry Questions" seeks to explain many questions and how chemistry can answer may of these questions and let us gain a more complete understanding of the world around us. Questions explore the many uses of hydrogen peroxide, the history of chemistry, the dangers of toothpaste, and much more. "Why is Milk White?" is an insightful and very much recommended addition to youth science and education collections.

The American History Shelf

New York City History for Kids
Richard Panchyk
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
9781883052935 $16.95

New York City History for Kids: From Amsterdam to the Big Apple is a full-color, softcover history book designed to appeal to young readers ages 9 and up. Black-and-white photography illustrates virtually every page of this chronicle from New York's colonial days to the modern day. Twenty-one suggested activities, such as drawing a "Gibson Girl" like 1890's pop artist Charles Dana Gibson used to create to illustrate New York magazines, or pretending to be an urban planner and lay out a city with construction paper and curling ribbon, pepper New York City History for Kids. An excellent resource for encouraging young people to learn!

The World History Shelf

War Dogs: Churchill & Rufus
Kathryn Selbert
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
9781580894142 $17.95

War Dogs: Churchill & Rufus is an incredible children's picturebook about the true story of a miniature poodle, Rufus, who was the treasured companion of Winston Churchill (colloquially known as the "British Bulldog" due to his appearance and temperament), the prime minister of England during World War II. Rufus loyally weathered the challenges of World War II along with his devoted master, from the bombing of London to the invasion of Normandy to the difficult post-war reconstruction. Color illustrations in a style that blends realism and emotion add life to this portrayal of not only a true dog lover, but the dangerous and turbulent times in which he bore a heavy burden of responsibility. "Rufus and Winston share more walks together. Walls that have crumbled from blasts and fire are rebuilt, and the streets are swept clean. London will never be the same as it was, but it experiences a new beginning." A World War II timeline, historical notes about Churchill and his fondness for poodles, and a list of references and quotation sources round out this excellent balance of history and narrative, highly recommended especially for young dog lovers.

Macedonian Stories About Philip and Alexander
Zan Mitrev
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477238189 $38.14

Illustrated with colorful pictures on almost every page, Macedonian Stories About Philip and Alexander is a narrative collection of eight stories based on the real-life historical events surrounding the Macedonian leaders Philip and Alexander. Though appropriate for all ages, the text is at a sufficient reading level for children who have moved beyond picturebooks to chapter books; Macedonian Stories About Philip and Alexander is over one hundred pages long in total. "One day his father told him: 'Son, you are going to lead the army in the next battle.' From that moment on the youngest prince seemed really to have grown up, feeling the importance and gravity of what he was faced with. And only then, for the first time in his life, did he experience a fear like no fear he had ever felt. He felt his stomach literally cramp with fright." Macedonian Stories About Philip and Alexander is an excellent way to introduce inquisitive young minds to the rich and complex tapestry of world history, highly recommended.

The Politics Shelf

The New Big Book of U. S. Presidents, 2012 edition
Todd Davis and Mark Frey, authors
Running Press
2300 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762448807, $13.95,

Covering all U. S. American presidents from George Washington to president Barack H. Obama, "The New Big Book of U. S. Presidents," 2012 edition is a fact-filled volume of information about the nation's 44 presidents, their influences and impacts on the nation and the world. Every president has a full page divided into sidebars on education, background information, important crises or events during their presidency and a brief narrative summary of the major events of history covered. A color-coded timeline runs along the bottom of every page, highlighting significant events that occurred during the 8 year period of the two presidencies. A glossary of terms, frequent color coded sidebars that contain supplemental information of interest, and color photographs and illustrations make "The New Big Book of U. S. Presidents" an excellent resource for young adult and teen students. This is an excellent addition to any student's home library as well.

The Sports Shelf

201 Small-Sided Sports & Games
Guy Bailey
Educators Press
14005 NE 8th Street, Vancouver, WA 98684
9780966972788, $24.95,

Smaller groups allow bonds to be formed more easily. "201 Small-Sided Sports & Games: Small Group and Partner Games for Maximizing Participation, Fitness and Fun in PE!" is a youth physical education advisory guide for how to encourage good play for students of any pre-high school age student, explaining countless games to be played and how to get the children into, complete with explanations on what skills are worked on with each of these games. "201 Small-Sided Sports & Games" is a strong reference for physical education collections, highly recommended.

The Best Basketball Player EVER
Heather Payer-Smith, author
Charina Tolentin, illustrator
Lily Ruth Publishing
P.O. Box 841, Odem, TX 78370
9780982300985, $8.95,

"The Best Basketball Player EVER" is an inspiring story to share with children ages 4-8, with special appeal and interest for mothers and sons. Tommy Parker is a hero and an everyboy figure, for he loves being the best basketball player ever on video games more than really playing with a basketball. When his mother tries to nudge him towards more outdoor activities, he discovers that really playing basketball can be tough, demanding lots of practice and work. Discouraged and mocked by his peers, Tommy want to give up on real basket ball and just play video games, but his mother won't give up on him. She inspires him by helping him remember that he was not always a great video game basketball player, that he had to practice to get better at it. Then she amazes Tommy by spending time teaching him good basketball techniques and moves, helping him learn and practice dribbling, passing and shooting until he gets more proficient. "The Best Basketball Player EVER" is sure to strike a chord of recognition in its readership, and also will offer some good suggestions and ideas about how to rise above self doubt and fear of failure and take control of your own athletic or other talent development. Values of hard work, repeated efforts, not giving up when a task is challenging, and believing in yourself and an ability to grow and achieve are all underlined and reinforced. "The Best Basketball Player EVER" as an illustrated action story can help teach beyond male/female stereotype roles and encourage kids to accept themselves while digging deep to do their best.

The Fiction Shelf

Divided Moon
Jill Van Den Eng, author
Solstice Publishing
614 Wal-mart Drive, Suite #209
Farmington, MO 63640
9781481804868, $10.99,

"Divided Moon" is a tender, sensitive, engrossing young adult novel about a 14-year old Hmong girl named Moon who is juggling the daily challenges of keeping up with educational, social and family expectations, while beginning to shape unknown goals of her own for the future. Raised in a traditional Hmong family who emigrated to Kaukona, Wisconsin after the Vietnam/Laos conflict, Moon faces many sometimes conflicting demands from the different parts of her life. This is what makes her "divided Moon." She desperately wants to continue her education, even go on to school, and to invent her own unique, evolved cultural identity. Having two friends from the dominant culture helps, sometimes, but Moon faces a crisis of unimaginable proportions when her father tells her he has selected a husband for her, that she is to be married and go to her new family. By traditional Hmong standards, she is ready to bear children and soon will be considered "old," and possibly unmarriageable. If she cooperates with her family's expectations, they will benefit financially and socially in the Hmong subculture, for her new husband-to-be has his own dry cleaning business, part of a chain established by his father. A good bride price has been agreed upon. The only problem is: Moon! Although it makes her nauseous, she attempts to meet her family's expectations, and to go along with the arranged marriage. This amazing experience unfolds presented through Moon's eyes, and every young reader will empathize with her powerful feelings of helplessness, submerged identity, and ongoing struggle to find a way to somehow avoid disappointing her family when her own intelligent, independent makeup is so clearly against this path. Complicating the scene are her emerging teenaged feelings for a Xiong, a young Hmong man she knows at school. The unfolding of complicated adolescent sexual and other feelings is handled with exquisite sensitivity by debut novelist Van Den Eng, who writes "Divided Moon" set in a town she grew up in, possibly accounting for the beautiful descriptive passages about Kaukona. In the end, the reader is carried along by the incredibly balanced narrative, effortlessly consuming chapter after chapter, hoping for some sort of normal or happy outcome for Moon. Van Den Eng does not disappoint, but only after all the subtle complexities of the situation are blended, colored, and expressed in the kaleidoscopic feelings of Moon, an unforgettable teen heroine who is like a pliant tree, finding her core of strength in her bending to the wishes of her family until she can compromise no more. Central to the story is the young girl's growing awareness of a right to an adolescence, an extended time of growth, a rite of passage not to be rushed into premature adulthood and accompanying responsibilities. It is a new concept to both Moon's family and also to her dominant culture friends, who wonder what might be so bad about an early marriage and exchanging school for the responsibilities of keeping a marriage and raising a family. The intentional focus of "Divided Moon" swings between cultural outlooks and viewings to arrive at a new perspective unique to its sturdy heroine. "Divided Moon" is excellent young adult fiction, and it will be a hit with young readers on its own merits.

Cross Country 101
Dan Martinez
Running Entertainment
1734 N. Edgemont St. #2
Los Angeles, CA 90027
9780985181611, $14.50,

When you're faced with an incredibly long distance run, training can be quite difficult. "Cross Country 101" is a novel following Eric Hunt, a young man who wants to embrace running as his athletic pastime, facing stiff rejection from his father, and the other students. Driven nonetheless, he learns about the team work that can come even in running and how to push himself even further. "Cross Country 101" is a driven read for young adults, recommended.

Millicent Marie Is Not My Name
Karen Pokras Toz
Grand Daisy Press
9780984860852, $7.99,

Hating one's name is common among young people, but a pseudonym may lead Millie to her own minute of fame. "Millicent Marie Is Not My Name" is a young adult novella from Karen Pokras Toz, who tells of the titular girl who hates her given name, goes by Millie, and wishes her name was Amanda. When she publishes her diaries online under her desired name, she begins to gain a reputation as the sixth grade's most respected advice writer. "Millicent Marie Is Not My Name" is a charming read that young people will relish, highly recommended.

Hating Heidi Foster
Jeffrey Blount
Alluvion Press
PO Box 40144
Washington, DC 20016
9780985762704, $11.95,

Hate is a powerful thing, and not an emotion to revel in. "Hating Heidi Foster" is the story of a friendship broken. Mae and Heidi are best friends, until Mae's father sacrifices herself to save Heidi's life, and enrages Mae, who consumed with guilt, begins to utterly hate her friend, and has her life fall apart in her grief of her father. A story of healing friendship and healing lives, "Hating Heidi Foster" is a strong addition to young adult fiction collections, recommended.

Paul Hankins
Word Alive Press
131 Cordite Road
Winnipeg, MB Canada R3W 1S1
9781770695115, $16.99,

Unexpected things can strike and change life as we know it. "Transported: The Adventures of Thomas and Claire" tells the story of the siblings as their world traveling adventure strikes and takes them all over the world and back. With a huge gauntlet of dilemmas thrown at them sending them all around the world, "Transported" is a world roaming adventure that many a reader will enjoy, highly recommended.

No Ordinary Excuse
Michelle Adams
Odyssey Books
9780987232519, $17.95,

Big goals in life can lead to the biggest mistakes. "No Ordinary Excuse" is a novel for young adults from Michelle Adams, who crafts the story of preteen Gemma Martin tries to flourish in school, only to be faced with obstacles that she creates wonderful and creative excuses to get by. As they get more elaborate, she realizes that keeping up the charade proves ever more difficult - at least it's practice for her dreams as an actor. "No Ordinary Excuse" is a fine addition to young adult fiction collections, highly recommended.

A Roller Coaster Down
Mary Lash & Vasant Garcia
Grist Mill Press
2522 West Georgia Road
Piedmont, SC 29673
9780985846503, $10.99,

For some, entering high school is feeling like the world is against them. "A Roller Coaster Down" is a coming of age novel for young adults from Mary Lash & Vasant Garcia as they tell the story of Bernadette O'Brien, a blind fourteen year old who is struggling against her own failings to find something of happiness. Facing the field of drama that surrounds her, "A Roller Coaster Down" is a choice addition to any young adult novel focusing on many serious subjects of life and living in the high school years.

c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

David Lubar's HYDE AND SHRIEK: A MONSTERRIFIC TALE (9780765330819, $14.99) tells of a teacher who accidentally puts a wrong ingredient into her breakfast smoothie, turning her into a monster substitute teacher named Ms. Hyde. The added problem: unless she can figure out how to change back, she will become trapped in the persona of Ms. Hyde forever! Classroom antics blend with a funny supernatural twist in this intriguing saga, perfect for advanced elementary to early middle school grade levels. Laurence Yep's CITY OF DEATH (9780765319265, $17.99) offers Book 3 in the City trilogy and is a recommended pick for prior fans. It's the final volume telling of Scirye and her companions, who have chased the evil Mr. Roland and dragon Badik back to the City of Death - but their battle isn't over yet. Scirye is determined to recover what Roland stole - and to avenge the death of her sister. Preparations for a final battle are overshadowed by a dangerous discovery in this fast-paced conclusion to a gripping saga, recommended for prior readers of the fantasy series.

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

Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City by Wendelin Van Draanen (9780375870538, $16.99) provides another in the Sammy Keyes series of mysteries; this revolving around a crazy weekend in Las Vegas, Sammy's challenges at solving personal mysteries in her own life, and whether her mother is planning on marrying her boyfriend's father. Add challenging friendships and changing associations and you have a solid mystery/detective story perfect for advanced elementary to middle school readers. Patricia Reilly Giff's GINGERSNAP (9780375838910, $15.99) is set during World War II and tells of Jayna, who lives in a small town in upstate New York with her big brother. When he is called for duty she winds up with their difficult landlady - and with a mystery of a possible remaining relative they've never heard about. A warm and winning story tied to her nickname, Gingersnap, evolves in a recommended heartfelt novel for young adults. One Came Home by Amy Timberlake (9780375869259, $16.99) tells of Georgie, known for her aim with a rifle and her habit of pulling no punches in handling people. Her habit has led her older sister to flee - and when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body wearing Agatha's clothes, the worst is assumed by everyone except Georgie. An investigation reveals many clues, much confusion, and a dangerous scenario in this fine Western saga. Alexandra Monir's TIMEKEEPER (9780385738408, $16.99) provides young adult with an intriguing story revolving around Philip, a new student in high school, and Michele's infatuation with him. For they have met before - during her time travels last century - and yet he doesn't remember her at all - or his past life. Michele's struggle to understand lead her to her father's journals telling of his own time travel experiences, and a rift over 120 years in the making which will change time itself. Young adults who appreciate a complex time-travel romance story will find this engrossing. Eve Edwards' THE ROGUE'S PRINCESS (9780385740937, $17.99) tells of Mercy Hart, daughter of one of London's wealthiest cloth merchants who is expected to marry her equal in rank - and not the actor boy she loves, who is an Earl's illegitimate son. She's ready to defy her family and tradition for love - until Kit is accused of treason. Will she stand behind him at the risk of her own world? This continues the Lacey Chronicles, a historical romance series, which has already seen popularity with two other books, and is especially recommended for any who have enjoyed these predecessors.

The Picturebook Shelf

The Lonely Shadow
Clay Rice, artist and author
PO Box 204, Huntsville, UT 84317
9781938301087, $19,95,

"The Lonely Shadow" is an award-winning children's book of incredible, detailed silhouette illustrations enhanced by a lyrical, song-filled narrative. Recipient of the Moonbeam Children's Book award, "The Lonely Shadow" is the creation of a professional multi-generational silhouette artist who is also a singer-songwriter. Drawing on over 30 years of experience creating live silhouette portraits of children and adults. The stunning silhouette art in "The Lonely Shadow" takes center stage, and is perfectly complemented by the lyrical narrative explaining the search of a lonely shadow for its mate. As the shadow searches, he sings: "I have no you/you have no me,/ you and me/ we have no we,/ but if I find you/ and you find me,/ happy we will always be." This becomes the theme as the shadow searches for his soul mate and companion in many strange places. Finally he finds his perfect match, a boy, and they entertain and complement each other in great joy and happiness. Suggestions of connection with animals, nature, older generations, and friends are woven into the sensitive story line. "The Lonely Shadow" is a treat for the eyes, the ears, the senses and the heart. It will be greatly enjoyed by children ages 4-8 and of all ages.

White Fang
Arsene Lutin, author
Adapted from the novel by Jack London
Antoine Guilloppe, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
9782733821459 $14.95

Suitable for young readers of all ages, White Fang is the picturebook adaptation of American author Jack London's classic novel about the life of a wolf-dog crossbreed. Bold color illustrations bring the story of White Fang's survival against the cruelties of both nature and man to life (violent moments, such as when White Fang is forced by a cruel master to fight other dogs for blood sport, are pictured in silhouette). As White Fang passes from master to master, some are abusive and others are kind; White Fang must fight not only to survive, but also to protect. The story does not use text directly from Jack London's works, instead summarizing the novel's plot in short sentences that will be readily accessible to young readers. "One evening, while White Fang is asleep in front of his master's bedroom, he is woken by a sound coming from the floor below. Alert and attentive, White Fang slinks downstairs to find a criminal has broken into the house! White Fang, a loyal protector to his family, springs at the intruder!" An excellent way to introduce young people to Jack London's iconic work of literature, White Fang is highly recommended, especially for public library children's collections.

Amelia Bedelia
Peggy Parish, author
Fritz Siebel, illustrator
Greenwillow Books
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
9780062209696 $14.99

Now in a commemorative fiftieth anniversary edition, Amelia Bedelia is a timeless, classic children's picturebook about a housekeeper who strives to do her job well, but has a very literal-minded way of interpreting instructions. She "dresses the chicken" by putting the plucked chicken in socks and suspenders; she "dusts the furniture" by covering them with dusting powder; she "trims the meat" by ornamenting steak with lace and ribbons, and more! Fortunately, she is quite good at making lemon-meringue, and it's her employer who ultimately learns to give her very precise instructions such as "undust the furniture". Charming, two-color illustrations bring to life this delightful storybook with charm transcending generations. Highly recommended.

Oliver's Tantrums
Boriana and Vladimir Todorov
Simply Read Books
74 Pease Avenue
Verona, NJ 07044
9781897476673 $16.95

Brilliantly illustrated in an almost photo-realistic style that brings its fantastic elements to vivid life, Oliver's Tantrums is a metaphorical picturebook story about a young boy who is cross that his mother pays so much attention to his baby sister. He meets three bizarre beings in the attic who call themselves Tantrums, and whisper that they can bring him anything he wants. Oliver's tantrums produce results - but then his mother starts to resist. When Oliver learns to empathize with his mother, he realizes that it is time to seal away the tantrums where no one can find them and abuse his power... unaware that his little sister may one day do exactly that! Oliver's Tantrums is not only a wild and whimsical read-aloud story; it's also a great starting point for parents to have a serious conversation with their children about sibling rivalry and learning to control their jealousy and other negative emotions.

One Little Owl
Nancy Meyers, illustrator
Music Together LLC
66 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
9780985571948 $12.95

Part of the "Music Together Singalong Storybook" series, One Little Owl is a picturebook that encourages young people to read and sing along with the simple, repetitive lyrics and colorful animals. "One little cat said, meow meow / Two little cats said, meow meow / Three little cats said, meow meow as they sat in the old oak tree." Colorful illustrations bring the playful antics of animals to life, and a simple, music-note rendition of One Little Owl's melody is on the penultimate page. One Little Owl does not itself come with a music CD, but its titular song is available on Music Together's "Family Favorites" CD, sold separately in select stores or on their website.

Forest, What Would You Like?
Irene O'Garden, author
Pat Schories, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
9780823423224 $16.95

Forest, What Would You Like? is a children's picturebook based on a poem by author Irene O'Garden, who as part of a celebration to honor the Garrison School Forest, asked a great gathering of children their answers to the titular question. The result is a beautiful, singsong verse paired with sweeping color illustrations of the forest's glory in all its seasons. "Forest, what would you like? // I would like soaring hawks and the harvest moon. / I would like open spaces for people to lie down to look at the stars at night. / Peace. Peace. Peace." A central theme of observing and appreciating the wonders of nature flows through this jubilant picturebook, highly recommended for storytime sharing.

Amazing Rescue
Solomon G. Kitaw
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781479756322 $31.99

Amazing Rescue is a fascinating picturebook based on a dramatic true story about Duti, a twelve-year-old Ethiopian girl who was kidnapped and cruelly beaten by men who wanted to force her into marriage. Three lions chased off her captors and guarded her for half a day, until the police could find her. Amazing Rescue brings this incredible tale to vivid life with simple color illustrations, portraying the lions as wise and benevolent. The storytelling is suitable for readers of all ages, although the text is at a reading level suitable for young ones who are just about ready to make the transition to chapter books. "In no time the kidnappers heard the loud growling of the lions Then they saw the three fierce lions coming towards them. 'Attack, attack, chase!' All the three lions said as they chased the kidnappers away from Duti. The kidnappers were frightened and cried, 'Oh, no, no, Help! Help! We are finished!' They fled as fast as they could."

That's What Bears Are For
Marilyn Helmer, author
Sonia Nadeau, illustrator
Peanut Butter Press
9-1060 Dakota Street
Winnipeg, MB Canada R2N 1P2
9780986532924 $19.95

That's What Bears Are For is a heart-touching picturebook about a stuffed teddy bear who longs to be hugged, cuddled, and loved by a child - because that's what (teddy) bears are for! When a young girl discovers him in the family attic, he's delighted - but how is he to share quality time with her when he's put away on a high shelf? Repeating its theme through the teddy bear's conversations with various different toys, That's What Bears Are For is a wonderful picturebook that invites comparison to "The Velveteen Rabbit". Also highly recommended is the Peanut Butter Press picturebook "I Know My Grandma Loves Me" (9780986532962, $17.95) by Kathleen Ward and Rosemary Ellis, about the hearty, activity-filled bond shared between grandmother and granddaughter.

Whose Trees Are These?
Erna Michalow
Peanut Butter Press
9-1060 Dakota Street
Winnipeg, MB Canada R2N 1P2
9780986532979 $17.95

Whose Trees Are These? is a children's picturebook with an underlying message of conservation and sharing. Many elements interact with the tall, beautiful, oxygen-giving trees and claim possession of them: the Sun, the Air, the Earth and other elements all play their roles in nurturing trees, while animals call the forest home and people depend on them for lumber. But the trees have a different point of view: "We belong to no one and to everyone. We are touched by all - The Sun, The Rock, The Earth, The Water, The Air, The Fire, The Animals, The People... We are connected in this world, to ALL THAT IS." Soft-hued color illustrations of leafy trees enliven this gentle, heartwarming story.

The Pepperoni Palm Tree
Aidan Patrick Meath & Jason Killian Meath
Fuze Publishing
PO Box 3128, Ashland, OR 97520
9780984990887, $21.99,

One different thing in a sea of the same can make all the difference. "The Pepperoni Palm Tree" is a children's picturebook following the story of one particular tree that dared to grow pepperonis instead of coconuts! Ostracized by the other trees, the pepperoni tree feels alone, until a boy shows up and befriends it due to its uniqueness. He eventually comes to bring the pepperoni tree worldwide acclaim for its talents, as the other trees soon realize their mistake. "The Pepperoni Palm Tree" has a powerful message with excellent full color art from Kirk Parrish, very much recommended reading.

Beast Friends Forever!
Robert L. Forbes
The Overlook Press
141 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10012
9781590208083, $19.95,

Friendship and love go together so well. "Beast Friends Forever!" is a collection of illustration and rhymes surrounding friendly cartoon animals, with a strong touch of humor. The verse of Robert L. Forbes and the art of Ronald Searle pair together well to make for a choice collection of thought and humor all throughout, making "Beast Friends Forever!" a treasure trove of fun, highly recommended.

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?
Eve Bunting & Sergio Ruzzier
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547752679, $16.99,

A new pair of socks isn't to be taken for granted. "Have You Seen my New Blue Socks?" is a children's picturebook following young Duck as he looks everywhere for his new blue socks, asking his friends along the way. A perfect easy reader to help youths learn simple words and rhymes, "Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?" is a choice pick for those seeking a stepping stone book for younger readers, much recommended.

Tiny Pie
Mark Bailey & Michael Oatman
Running Press
2300 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-4371
9780762444823, $15.95,

You don't need to be big to enjoy the best out of life. "Tiny Pie" is a children's book from Mark Bailey & Michael Oatman as they follow little Ellie the elephant as she's the only kid as a big people's party where everything is too big for her to reach. When she befriends a tiny mouse, she finds that size doesn't matter as much as friendship and good food. "Tiny Pie" also includes a tiny apple pie recipe, making it a treasure for children's picturebook collections seeking something with a little more than a fun read along story. Also from Running Press Kids is "If You Hold a Seed" (9780762447213, $16.95), telling the story of what happens when one plants a seed and cares for it.

Finnegan and Fox
Helen L. Wilbur, author, John Manders, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200
315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585367849, $16.95,

Police work can be tiresome yet rewarding. "Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop" is a children's picturebook telling of day in the life of Finnegan the horse and his policeman rider TJ Fox as they go about a day working for the New York Police Department. An adventurous and fun story deftly illustrated by John Manders, making "Finnegan and Fox" a must for youth picturebook collections, recommended.

Bug Patrol
Denise Dowling Mortensen
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780618790241, $16.99,

Cece Bell provides fun illustrations for Bug Patrol, which follows Captain Bob the bug as he's on the beat getting bugs out of trouble in a busy world. His first job, a donut attack by rude urban ants, is quickly solved by enforcing manners - and beetle bumping at the mall is treated with admonishments to be more patient with fellow bugs. A whimsical dialogue and fun encounters make this a winning pick for beginning readers.

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

Linda Elovitz Marshall's THE PASSOVER LAMB: BASED ON A TRUE STORY (9780307931771, $17.99) receives warm drawings by Tatjana Mai-Wyss and tells of young farm girl Miriam, who is worried when Spring lambing season is almost over and her favorite sheep begins acting strangely. When triplets are born and the mother can only care for two, it's up to Miriam to provide special care - but it's nearly time for her family to leave to join up others for Passover Seder. How can she do both? A whimsical and fun account evolves. Devon Kinch's PRETTY PENNY MAKES ENDS MEET (9780375867378, $16.99) tells of Pretty Penny and her pet pig who want to help their grandmother when her basement floods. Grandma is broke, and it's up to Penny to come up with a sale to help raise money... but can she raise money without spending too much? A fun saga of earning evolves. Carin Bramsen's HEY, DUCK! (9780375869907, $17.99) tells of a duckling who thinks he's found a new duck to play with - even if the duck turns out to be something else. Can a grumpy cat become friends with a very different animal? A very simple format lends to an engaging story of unusual friends.

The Christian Shelf

My First Book of Saints
Kathleen M. Muldoon & Susan Helen Wallace, FSP, authors
Tom Kinarney & Patricia R. Mattozzi, illustrators
Pauline Books & Media
50 Saint Pauls Avenue
Boston, MA 02130-3491
0819849170 $12.95

Designed to help teach children about the great people through history who have shown others how to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, My First Book of Saints features brief profiles of over sixty saints. Each saint has a two-page spread dedicated to him or her - the left page offers a short biography along with the birthdate and birthplace of the saint, and the right page has a simple, colorful picture of him or her. My First Book of Saints is a wonderful, read-aloud primer for parents and children to share.

The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible
Jan & Mike Berenstain
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310727217 $16.99

Intended for little ones ages 4-7, The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible retells twenty-three stories from the Old and New Testaments, with bright, colorful artwork and simple sentences. As the popular Berenstain Bear parents read aloud Bible stories to their children at bedtime, the tales are brought to life with cartoon-bear renditions of biblical figures. The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible is an excellent choice for Christian families to read aloud and share at storytime or bedtime. "When Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem, it was very crowded. The only place they could find to stay was the stable at an inn. It was warm and dry and that is where Mary had her baby. She wrapped him in cloths laid him in the manger where the animals ate."

Bear Country Blessings
Jan & Mike Berenstain
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310735038, $7.99,

Good faith and values should carry us through all of life. "Bear County Blessings" is a collection of three Berenstain bears books focusing on good faith and values for everyday life. Compiling these three recent volumes with a religious focus under one cover, "Bear County Blessings" presents all three in full color, making for quite the value for Christian parents who seek an uplifting series for read-alongs with their children, much recommended.

The Math Shelf

Albert's Bigger Than Big Idea
Eleanor May
Kane Press, Inc.
350 Fifth Ave., Ste. 7206
New York, NY 10118
9781575655284, $7.95,

Numbers lurk everywhere we turn. "Albert's Bigger Than Big Idea" is a children's picturebook entry into Eleanor May's Mouse Math series, following Albert as he faces off against trying to compare numbers and measure them versus one another, as he tries to get the biggest piece of fruit he can despite the cat weighting down on him. "Albert's Bigger Than Big Idea" is a strong addition to educational picturebook collections, recommended. Also from the Mouse Math series is "Count Off, Squeak Scouts!" (9781575655253, $7.95) with a focus on counting, and "Mice on Ice" (9781575655284, $7.95), focusing on shapes.

The Education Shelf

A Little Book About Feelings
The Mother Company
11759 San Vicente Blvd #2
Los Angeles, CA 90049
9780615533735, $12.95,

We all have feelings and cope with them differently. "A Little Book About Feelings" is a children's picturebook dedicated to helping young people learn to express themselves more completely in their lives to those around them, through words, expressions, and much more. With charming photographs of diorama and stuffed crochet, "A Little Book About Feelings" is a strong pick for children's collections, recommended. Also from The Mother Company is the "My Feelings: Activity Book" (9780615549002, $12.95), a workbook to help young people understand further.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Case of the Video Game Smugglers & 9 Other Mysteries
M. Masters, author
Bruce Lansky, creator
Meadowbrook Press
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781442469013, $4.99,

"The Case of the Video Game Smugglers" is a collection of 10 short chapter mystery/suspense short (chapter) stories in the Hawkeye Collins & Amy Adams partnership in this popular Can You Solve the Mystery juvenile series. In the title mystery, Hawkeye and Amy help Sergeant Treadwell catch video game crooks who are smuggling flash drives to steal a video game called Electric created by Hawkeye. How do the pair collaborate to combat digital thievery and can the reader solve the mystery along with Hawkeye and Amy? Reader interest and attention are kept high in fast moving action prose, while plot development proceeds at a breakneck pace. Black and white illustrations help with the solution, but if readers tire of sleuthing, the clues/solution to the mystery is presented in the back of the book, appropriately written backward in mirror script code. Juvenile readers age 9 and up will love "The Case of the Video Game Smugglers" and accompanying chapter mysteries, honing their reading and observation skills while they attempt to tease out solutions from author-embedded clues.

Domino 29
Axel Avian
Arundel Publishing
36 Crystal Farm Rd., Warwick, NY 10990
9781933608525, $9.95,

The smallest of forces can give way to the biggest of changes. "Domino 29" is a young adult novel as author Axel Avian writes of young Colt Shore, as he comes along his new duty as member of the secret agent dynasty F.A.L.C.O.N., rising through the ranks and learning all the tricks of the trade, realizing that lives may be on the line for his actions. "Domino 29" is a fun thriller that young adult readers will relish, very much recommended.

Paula Morris
Scholastic Point
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545416412, $17.99,

UNBROKEN is set in New Orleans and tells of Rebecca Brown, who years ago escaped death in a cemetery and who is back, hoping to see a handsome boy. Instead she sees a ghost boy who insists only Rebecca can help him - and she finds herself involved in a murder mystery from over a century ago as she becomes more involved in the new ghost's life and issues. In the process of handling the danger she discovers a bigger issue that may put herself and her friends in new trouble. UNBROKEN is a satisfying addition to the series attracting readers of RUINED, and is especially recommended for these prior fans.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Steam Mole
David Freer
59 John Glenn Drive
Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616146924, $16.95,

The Steam Mole is a recommendation for ages 12 and older and is steampunk science fiction at its best. Tim is a submariner from the coal-fired submarine Cuttlefish, and together with Clara, daughter of a scientist in possession of a secret formula, they have journeyed to Australia, a land where people are nocturnal and live underground due to the stifling heat. Clara's rebel father is imprisoned there, and Clara and Tim are on a mission to free him when they run into an invading force in the desert. Many complex twists and turns of plot overlay a fine science fiction setting that teens will relish.

The Moon Coin
Richard Due
Gibbering Gnome Press
2296 Potts Point Road, Huntingtown, MD 20639
9780983886730, $12.99,

A good story almost comes alive in our imagination, and it may do just that. "The Moon Coin" begins Richard Due's Moon Realm series, following young Lily and Jasper, who learn much about the place from their uncle. But when he goes missing, the kids will learn there was more to his stories than just stories, and the secrets behind them will prove dangerous as they are enticing. "The Moon Coin" is a fine and adventurous read for young adults, highly recommended.

The Broken Circle
Cheryl Potter
Cherry Tree Hill
100 Cherry Tree Hill Lane, Barton, VT 05822
9780985635008, $19.99,

To weave and knit is to create, an act with its own weight behind it. "The Broken Circle: Yarns of the Knitting Witches" is a twist of fantasy and needlework from Cheryl Potter, who provides an original twist of the battle between good and evil, weaving some magic and telling the legends of the Middlelands and the strike against the nastiness that lurks under it. "The Broken Circle" is a strong addition to fantasy collections for young adults, much recommended.

Sir Kaye
Don M. Winn
Cardboard Box Adventures
1508 Egger Ave., Round Rock, TX 78664
9781937615192, $8.95,

Heroism doesn't require adulthood. "Sir Kaye the Boy Knight: The Knighting of Sir Kaye" is a novel for young readers from Don M. Winn as he tells of the dreams of young Kaye, who wants nothing more than to take on the mantle of heroic knight for the good of the land of Knox, and along with his friend Reggie, they have to face down the evil that lurks in their land. "Sir Kaye the Boy Knight" is a choice pick for the young fantasy fan, much recommended.

Purgatory Reign
LM Preston
Phenomenal One Press
30 Amberwood Pkwy, Ashland OH 44805
9780985025137, $12.99,

As the world crumbles around you, there are few things we can hold onto. "Purgatory Reign" follows young Peter, whose family falls apart around him and leaves him struggling to protect what he has left against the weight and influences of the heavens that start to weigh down upon him. "Purgatory Reign" is an enticing fantasy for young adult readers, very much recommended reading.

The Ice Castle
Pendred Noyce
Scarletta Press
10 South Fifth Street, Suite 1105
Minneapolis, MN 55402
9780983021964, $13.95,

A magical world where singing is everything. "The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music" tells the story of Daphne and Ivan, two cousins who hold the secret of the Land of Winter between them. When their younger cousin finds out about the secret, they have to pursue her and rescue her from the land, where the value of a good singing voice is by far the most important thing. "The Ice Castle" is a must for young adult fiction collections, highly recommended.

The Mythology Shelf

Greek Mythology's Adventures of Perseus
Blake Hoena
Lake7 Creative
9780982118795, $8.95,

Greek mythology is filled with tricky creatures with ill intent. "Greek Mythology's Adventures of Perseus" is a choose-your-own-adventure book from Blake Hoena who presents an adventure of survival for young readers as they are faced with the nasty creatures of Greek mythology and what they can to survive and finish their arduous quest. "Greek Mythology's Adventures of Perseus" is a choice pick for those seeking interactive fiction.

The Social Issues Shelf

I Dreamt...
Gabriela Olmos
c/o Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554983308, $18.95,

Dreams should be a place where our hopes can come true. "I Dreamt..." is a charming and dedicated volume from Gabriela Olmos as she leads twelve of Mexico's finest artists to create a volume of hopes and dreams for young children, in dedication to the many children who have to live under the threat of violence and chaos throughout the troubled nation of Mexico. "I Dreamt..." is a moving picturebook that has much to consider, highly recommended.

The Gardening Shelf

What's In the Garden?
Marianne Berkes, author
Cris Arbo, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way
Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584691891, $16.95 hc
9781584691907, $8.95 pbk

Gardens hold the basis for many of our foods. "What's In the Garden?" is a children's picturebook from Marianne Berkes, charmingly illustrated by Cris Arbo exploring the things that reside in the garden, form the fruits and vegetables that blossom there to the critters who call them home. "What's in the Garden?" includes some recipes for parents to make with their kid to explore the joys the garden can bring us, highly recommended. Also for children's picturebook collections from Dawn Publications is John Himmelman's "Noisy Bug Sing-Along" (9781584691914, $16.95 hc; 9781584691921, $8.95 pbk), exploring the sounds of the musical bugs of the night and day.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Mystery at the Birdfeeder
Wayne L. Brillhart, author, photographer
HMSI Publishing L.L.C.
50768 Van Buren Drive, Suite 3B
Plymouth, MI 48170
9780984266227, $18.95,

"The Mystery at the Birdfeeder: A Photographic Adventure" is a true nature story evolved out of actual photos taken by the author of his birdfeeder in his yard, where the birdfeeder is guarded by trusty English Setter Purdy. One day the birdfeeder is found knocked off its tree perch, on the snowy ground. No one can decide who could have done this. All the visiting birds try to help Purdy find the mystery visitor by looking for clues. Stunning photographs show scenes featuring a Northern Cardinal, slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco, a Red Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, White Breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Wild Turkey, and finally, the mystery visitor, a doe deer! Beautiful photography will allow readers to easily identify all featured species of birds and animals, and encourage further nature observation and study. First in a series, including a glossary of bird visitors with descriptions and also bibliography sources suggested, "The Mystery at the Birdfeeder" is a great nature project book for elementary school children.

Look Up!
Annette LeBlanc Cate
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street
Somerville, MA 02144
9780763645618, $15.99,

Birds are everywhere, and for those with an interest about them, they can start watching even when they can't travel far from home. "Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard" is a children's picturebook encouraging children to appreciate nature and the birds up in the trees, with advice on seeing the many birds and identifying their countless colors, their songs, habits, and much more. "Look Up!" is a must for any youth with a blossoming interest in nature, highly recommended.

The Counting Shelf

My First Lift and Learn First Numbers
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589256309, $7.99,

"My First Lift and Learn First Numbers" is a study, charming, pasteboard counting book with page flaps for each number to lift and reveal the number and more bright objects to count. Perfect for children from birth to 3 years old, "My First Lift and Learn" promotes language development, enhances eye hand coordination, and develops numeracy by presenting 10 pages of brightly colored objects to count from 1 to 10. Bright primary colors and pictures of kittens, candy, socks, flowers, buttons, and balloons appeal to young readers. "My First Lift and Learn First Numbers" is part of a pre-literacy series that is certain to appeal to young children while beginning their early education with books. Another title in this series that is also visually stunning and practically appealing is "My First Lift and Learn First Colors (9781589256330, $7.99)."

123 Zoo, A Cool Counting Book
Puck, author
R. D. Rojas, artist
c/o Independent Publishers Group
9781938093081, $7.95,

"123 Zoo" is a cool, pasteboard counting book for preschoolers that includes 10 suggested conversation starters in addition to the numbers 1 through 10, accompanied by brilliant, brightly colored images of one elephant, two hippos, 3 different kinds of bears, etc. all the way to 10 different colorful species of birds. The artist's use of bold color contrast emphasizes both the numeral and the illustrated animals. For example, four "retro" orange lions are displayed in light orange against a black background surrounding a white number 4. Each number picture up to 9 is displayed in 3 or 4 colors at most, causing a limited color palate sharpness of focus. Then, in contrast, number 10 is illustrated by 10 vivid multi- colored birds against a bright red background, creating a rainbow color explosions effect that is quite dramatic and attention getting. Of course, preschoolers will love the games and further learning activities are available at,, including free coloring pages. "123 Zoo" is indeed a cool counting book out of the Cool Counting Series many other titles, including "123 Chicago," "123 Hawaii," "123 Minnesota," and 15 additional counting books, all excellent preschool learning resources.

The Board Book Shelf

My First Book Of...
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70
Iron Ridge, WI 53035

Tiger Tales' "My First Book Of" series features durable board books illustrated with bright color photographs, and features bright tabs that young hands can easily use to turn the stiff pages. "My First Book Of Things To Learn" (9781589256354) is a vocabulary-building board book that reinforces words for colors, animal sounds, shapes, numbers one through ten, and more. "My First Book Of Things To See" (9781589256293) encourages little ones to learn words associates with a variety of venues - at the beach, at preschool, or at a party. Each word is paired with a vivid photograph, making this a great teaching tool that parents can share with very young children. Both books highly recommended especially as a gift to new parents, or even for a baby shower!

Kitten's Summer
Eugenie Fernandes, author/illustrator
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781554537211, $7.95,

"Kitten's Summer" is a charming small children's pasteboard pages book filled with colorfully illustrated poetic verses about a kitten's summer adventure in the rain. When the kitten feels raindrops, it dashes through the woods and farm seeing many other animals and birds in the rain, including rabbit, turtle, chipmunk, fox, mouse, beaver, frog, loon family, duck, caterpillar, and even cow, pig, sheep, and chicken in the barn. Finally, the kitten races into the house, through the open door, and snuggles to sleep on a pillow, safe and dry, purring. The brightly colored pasteboard pages are sturdy for young fingers to hold and explore, while chanting the lilting, singsong, text conveying the feeling of the rain. Preschool children will adore this book and will help their parents and teachers read it aloud again and again. it also can help to reassure young children that rumbling thunderstorms in spring are a normal, necessary weather phenomena, not to be afraid of.

Jo MacDonald Had a Garden
Mary Quattlebaum, author
Laura J. Bryant, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Road
Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584692256, $7.95,

"Jo MacDonald Had a Garden" is from the Simply Nature Board Books series from Dawn Publications. Appealing to readers ages 3-8, "Jo MacDonald Had a Garden" teaches children about growing a garden, showing lovely detailed pastel illustrations (on sturdy pasteboard pages) of children preparing a garden for an appreciative audience of birds and trees. Fitted to the familiar song of "Old MacDonald," "Jo MacDonald Had a Garden" is easily read, sung, absorbed, and remembered by young readers. A garden drama ensues, with charming detailed illustrations in which children will love uncovering garden secrets. "Jo MacDonald Had a Garden" shows children how to grow healthy food in a garden while providing pleasant habitat for birds, insects, and other animals. It also traces the garden's transformations through the cycle of seasons. This is an excellent nature education series for young children. A second new title from this series (by the same author and illustrator) that is also highly recommended is "Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond (9781584692249)."

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

Jan Gerardi's THE LITTLE RECYCLER (9780375861727, $6.99) offers a very basic board book helping kids learn about recycling, and uses a series of lift-the-flap boards and sounds to accompany step-by-step keys to recycling bottles, plastic and cans. From what happens to the materials after they leave the house to expanding the recycling idea to include donations of toys and clothes, this is a winning survey highly recommended for any youngster new to reading and recycling. Todd H. Doodler's THE BUS DRIVER (9780307979070, $7.99) appears in a bus-shaped board book and follows the day of a busy bus driver. Counting from one to ten offers kids the opportunity to learn their numbers in the course of following a driver's challenges as eight lively puppies, each with nine fleas, join a crowded bus on the verge of chaos. These are fun and entertaining board books any parent will want to use. Joan Heilbroner's A PET NAMED SNEAKER (9780307975805, $8.99) is a fine beginner book adding to the 'I Can Read it All By Myself' series and benefitting from the colorful cartoon drawings by Pascal Lemaitre. Here a pet snake lives in a pet store and longs for a home - a home provided by Pete, who is one of the rare people to appreciate the fun a snake can provide. From overcoming fear at school to participating in park play time, Sneaker proves an engaging pet and young readers will find many unexpected ideas to keep them reading.

The Easy Reader Shelf

The Five Minibees
Amy Au
The Minibee LLC
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9780984914906 $15.00

The Five Minibees is a cheerful, colorfully illustrated picturebook ideal for little ones who just beginning to learn how to read. Simple sentences about tiny bees who are attracted to yummy pies pepper this delightful story, which is also interspersed with mini-activities such as "Bounce or tap your fingers to the beat of each syllable", or "Pretend to take a bite out of the pie with a fork." Short and charming, The Five Minibees is the debut volume of a prospective series designed to encourage a love of reading in young children.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Romeo & Juliet
Dominique Marion, author
Martina Peluso, illustrator
Susan Allen-Maurin, translator
Auzou Editions
24-32 rue des Amandiers - 75020 Paris, France
9782733821190, $14.95,

"Romeo & Juliet" is a sensuous, beautiful illustrated retelling of Shakespeare's play by the same name, adapted for the pleasure and reading enrichment of children age 8 and up. Stunning modern painted illustrations help complement the powerful reduced narrative of the tragic love story, while moving ribbons of color, line, and light help keep the action element of the narrative vibrant. Carefully translated from the French by Susan Allen-Maurin, "Romeo & Juliet" is a passionate introduction to the story of the star crossed lovers, perhaps the most famous love story in the world. "Romeo & Juliet" would make a spectacular gift or school or library addition and its pleasures can be extended to children of later years as well.

The Music CD Shelf

Today I Was a Cat
Mary Kaye
Mary Kaye Music, BMI
$14.00 CD / $9.99 digital

Award-winning children's musician Mary Kaye presents Today I Was a Cat, a brand new album of her original, creative, and delightful music. The whimsical, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and catchy melodies will appeal to all ages, making Today I Was a Cat an excellent pick for family car trips, gift-giving at children's parties, or babysitting entertainment. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Rolling Down the Hill" (1:19), "Little Ghost" (2:46), "Mr. G.G. Jewel" (2:48), "Underwater Wave Parade" (2:06), "Bus Ride" (3:10), "Bloom" (2:04), "Love Factory" (3:14), "Alligator" (2:59), "Sea Dragon" (2:37), "Today I Was a Cat" (2:10), "Squirrel Footprints" (3:46), and "Statue" (3:04).

Recess Music
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Part of the "Best Foot Forward" series sharing positive messages for little ones, Share! is the latest children's music CD from the Parent's Choice Gold Award-winning creators, Recess Music. Intended for young listeners ages 3-11, the jubilant tracks have a core theme about the values of generosity and gratitude. A great way to teach little ones about the importance of sharing, promoting harmony through encouragement and example, Share! is a wonderful choice for public library children's music collections, and makes an excellent gift. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Something to Share" (2:40), "Green Beans Everywhere" (4:22), "Mi Casa, Su Casa" (3:45), "What You Give is What You Get" (2:14), "New Kid" (2:18), "I Need a Hand" (3:10), "I'll Share My Spinach With You" (3:06), "Taking Turns" (2:23), "Help Each Other" (2:36), "'Give' Said the Little Stream" (4:03), "Happy" (3:12), "Homemade Cookie" (3:00), "Share" (2:47), "Give It Away" (3:34), and "I'm So Proud of You" (2:59).

Sha Doo Be Doop
Nina Stone, performer
Kevin Salem, producer
Little Monster Records
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127
$15.98 CD / $9.99 digital

Sha Doo Be Doop is the joint effort of producer Kevin Salem and Parents' Choice Recommended Award-winning vocalist Nina Stone, a.k.a. "Miss Nina". A strong dance theme permeates the rhythm-heavy clapping and singing, in these catchy ditties that are great for encouraging young ones to get up and exercise. Sha Doo Be Doop is just plain fun for children to move to as well as to listen to! The tracks are "My Hula Hoop", "How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight", "Angry Song", "New Alphabet", "Ba-Rump", "The Brown Bear Rap", "Sing Your Way Home", Ridin' In My Car", "Wild Things", "Wash Our Hands", "Grateful", and "Bye-Bye, Everybody".

Where Do You Want To Go Today?
Francie Kelley
Artsong Music
3940 Laurel Canyon Blvd. #296
Studio City, CA 91604
c/o To Market Kids (publicity)
4136 Lamson Avenue
Spring Hill, FL 34608

Where Do You Want To Go Today? is the second children's music CD by Francie Kelley, showcasing her clear and lovely singing voice. A multinational theme binds the joyous songs together with a sense of exploration and wonder; different tunes draw upon the rhythms and traditions of lands ranging Jamaican drumming to Irish fiddle playing to Argentinean tango, and much more. Jubilantly brimming with the enthusiasm of a grand international vacation, Where Do You Want To Go Today? is an upbeat antidote to the winter doldrums. The tracks are "African Skies" (3:02), "Uku Ukulele" (3:02), "Albondigas" (2:40), "Seeds" (4:07), "Jamaica, Make It Come True" (3:18), "Has Anybody Seen My Kitty?" (2:11), "Irish Dream" (2:13), "I See the Moon" (2:48), "Tarantula Tango" (3:19), "This Land Is Your Land" (2:05), "Heart of the Matter" (3:08), and "Mother's Prayer" (1:19). Also highly recommended is Kelley's first CD, "Wake Up And Go To Sleep", winner of a Parents' Choice Recommended Award among other honors.

The DVD Shelf

H2O Just Add Water: The Complete Season One
Flatiron Film Company
c/o New Video Group
902 Broadway FL 9
New York, NY 10010

H2O Just Add Water: The Complete Season One is a four-DVD set collecting the debut season of the wildly popular centerpiece of Nickelodeon's "Teen Nick" lineup. When three stranded, sixteen-year-old girls embark on the swim of their lives to escape from a mysterious island, a mystic energy gives them wondrous powers! As much as they want to return to a "normal" life, each of them is now connected to an entire underwater world. But when one of the girls rescues local ne'er-do-well Zane Bennett from a sinking boat, they encounter a new threat, as Zane dedicates himself to ferreting out the sea creature who saved him! Magic and mermaids are real in this family-friendly adventure, ideal for public library DVD collections or as a gift for preteen and teen girls. 4 DVDs, 10 hours 50 min. Also highly recommended are the DVD collections "H2O Just Add Water: The Complete Season Two" and "H2O Just Add Water: The Complete Season Three".

The Red Hen... And More Cooking Stories
Narrated by Lily Tomlin, Michael McKean, and others
Weston Woods
c/o Scholastic
90 Old Sherman Turnpike
Danbury, CT 06816
0545560241 $14.95

Ideal for children ages 3-7, The Red Hen... And More Cooking Stories is a DVD gathering four classic children's stories, enhanced with a "Read-Along" ability to encourage young people to exercise their literacy skills. A common theme of cooking and food binds these gentle adventures: "The Red Hen", about a chicken with a yen for baking; "Bread Comes to Life", which explains each step of the breadmaking process from sowing seeds to pulling bread dough in the oven; "How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?" which uses playful young dinosaurs to teach basic table manners; and "Arnie the Doughnut", about a doughnut's efforts to educate the man who buys him for a snack! A step-by-step recipe for "Simply Splendid Cake" rounds out this excellent DVD, featuring stories that have won multiple awards. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's collections. 56 min.

PO Box 8082
Shawnee Mission, KS 66208
$79.95 each

Three educational DVDs from MarshMedia are excellent choices especially for public and grade school children's libraries, or homeroom viewing. "Head Lice: An Itchy Problem" (9781559426374, 12 min.) warns about the pervasive and highly contagious parasites that are head lice. Fortunately, there are means to both prevent and treat infestations - this is one itchy problem that everyone can take steps to counteract! "You're Not a Little Kid Anymore! Personal Hygiene" (9781559426367, 18 min.) is a valuable DVD about the importance of keeping oneself clean. Bathing, hand washing, proper care of one's teeth/nails/hair, and keeping one's clothing in good condition are all covered. "Meet the New You! For Girls" (9781559426350, 18 min.) is a valuable instructional DVD for younger students, designed to help prepare them for the changes of puberty. Topics discussed included when to expect puberty, common physical and emotional changes, menstruation, the importance of good health practices, and the value of self-esteem. All three DVDs are invaluable, age-appropriate teaching aids, highly recommended.

The Activity Shelf

The Special Princess
Tara Anne Campasano Malia, author
Nicole Lopusznick
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
Flynn Media (publicity)
9781432776275 $24.95

The Special Princess is more than a fairytale picturebook - blank pages are spaced periodically through the story about an evil witch and the three brave young people who oppose her, encouraging young people to write and draw their own embellishments to the unfolding tale. A fair amount of text tells the core story, making The Special Princess more suitable for children with some reading skills (or the assistance of an adult to read the story out loud), though children of all ages can enjoy adding their own touch of creativity to the charming tale about the kindness and redemption. Highly recommended for parents and children to share, especially as a "family time" activity.

Chicken Games & Puzzles
Patrick Merrell and Helene Hovanec
Storey Kids
c/o Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way
North Adams, MA 01247
9781612120874, $9.95,

Chicken Games & Puzzles is packed with fun activities, joins others in Storey's 'Games and Puzzles' series for kids, and is arranged sequentially with easier puzzles first and harder ones towards the back. Kids ages 6 and older will find this focus blends puzzles with chicken facts and lore, will find many of the activities lend to playing with siblings and friends, and will relish the fun offerings in a game book the entire family can enjoy.

PM Press
PO Box 23912
Oakland, CA 94623

In the world of children's coloring books, there's generally not much new. Plenty of books cover common objects or settings, and the more complicated titles offer geometric forms or eye-catching art projects. Few combine social commentary in the drawing process but two winner catch the eye and impart messages with their coloring options. Most striking is Jacinta Bunnell's SOMETIMES THE SPOON RUNS AWAY WITH ANOTHER SPOON (9781604863291, $10.00), offering a coloring book on family and relationships which uses familiar nursery rhymes and fairy tales with a twist. From princesses who build rocket ships to a boy who doesn't want to be a superhero, this honors gay relationships, gender differences, and alternatives to traditional perceptions. Nathaniel Kusinitz's line drawings are whimsical and fun. Jacinta Bunnell and Julie Novak's GIRLS ARE NOT CHICKS (9781604860764, $10.00) injects a further note of social consciousness into the mix as it offers a coloring book based on women's studies concepts. Twenty-seven pages of feminist thinking blend play with gender stereotypes and expression in a fun and whimsical account perfect for young and old coloring artists alike.

Books in Series

Google and You: Maximizing Your Google Experience
Philip Wolny, author
Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781448855537, $29.25,

"Google and You: Maximizing Your Google Experience" is a teen series cyber information text that helps students become familiar with safe usage of Google and other internet search engines, as well as providing other directions to maximize "Safe Surfing, Safe Searching (the title of the last chapter)." Here are illustrated helpful chapters beginning with Google, Getting Advanced with Google, and Google It: From Start to Finish, in addition to a thorough Glossary, suggested additional resources, and a bibliography. Significant definition and discussion of cyber bullying and the dangers of internet stalking are included, as well as cautions about content of postings and warnings about usage of blogs and social networks. Ideal for school and community libraries, "Google and You" is a handy guide for teens and teachers/adults who care for them in safe practices in internet information accessing. It is one of six titles in a Digital and Information Literacy series. Also highly recommended are the following additional titles from this same Digital and Information Literacy series for teens: "Foursquare and Other Location-Based Services: Checking In, Staying Safe & Being Savvy (9781448855544, $29.25, by Philip Wolny)," "Blogs: Finding Your Voice, Finding Your Audience (9781448855568, $29.25, by Arie Kaplan)," "Wikipedia, 3.5 Million Articles & Counting: Using and Assessing the People's Encyclopedia (9781448855575, $29.25, by Heather Hasan)," "Gaming: Playing Safe and Playing Smart (9781448855520, $29.25, by Colin Wilkinson)," and "Twitter and Microblogging: Instant Communication With 140 Characters or Less (9781448855551, $29.25, by Colin Wilkinson)."

How Do We Know It Is Winter?
Molly Aloian, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor
NY, NY 10118
9780778709626, $22.60,

From the Seasons Close-Up series for children grades K-3, "How Do We Know It Is Winter?" explains information about the coldest season, when parts of the earth get less sunlight and have colder temperatures, and shortened days. Vibrant color photos of plants, scenes and people in winter fill the pages and the narrative highlights important words to learn about winter. Exciting chapters about plants and animals in winter, winter fun and foods, moving snow, and winter around the world are included. Under Learning More, books and websites with more information and ideas about exploring winter are listed. a vocabulary list is under Words to Know, with color coded descriptive terms such as noun, verb, or adjective as well as meanings. "How Do We Know It Is Winter?" is a great resource for seasonal studies with children ages 5-7. Additional titles by the same author in this series that are also recommended include: "How Do We Know It Is Fall? (9780778709619, $22.60)," "How Do We Know It Is Spring? (9780778709596, $22.60)," and "How Do We Know It Is Summer? (9780778709602., $22.60)."

Choosing a Cat
Laura S. Jeffrey, author
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766040793, $23.93 Trade / $17.95 Schools & Libraries

"Choosing a Cat: How to Choose and Care for a Cat" is a hardback nonfiction juvenile title from the American Humane Association pet Care series, for children ages 8-9 in grades 3-4. Dozens of color photographs fill seven chapters of information about the history of cats (domestic), taking care of cats, choosing the right cat for you, cat health care, problem prevention, and relevant facts to assist in lifelong enjoyment of companionship from your cat. Colorful sidebars highlight interesting facts and related information about feline care and habits. An added section lists vocabulary words and where to read more about cats. "Choosing a Cat" is a practical, factual book about caring for cats that will help young cat owners understand how to be responsible for their cat. It also helps find ways to live comfortably with your cat, to enhance their lives, and to deal with small problem areas efficiently and compassionately. Additional titles in this series that are also highly recommended include the following, all by Laura Jeffrey: "Choosing a Bird (9780766040786, $17.95)," "Choosing a Dog (9780766040809, $17.95), "Choosing a Fish (9780766040816, $17.95)" "Choosing a Hamster, Gerbil, Guinea Pig, Rabbit, Ferret, Mouse or Rat (9780766040823, $17.95)," and "Choosing a Horse (9780766040830, $17.95).

Chickens on the Family Farm
Chana Steifel, author
Enslow Publishers
40 Industrial Road, Box 398
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766042049, $21.26,

"Chickens on the Family Farm" is a fun, fact filled, hardbound book from the Family Farm Series about domesticated farm animals. This colorful photo illustrated series will appeal to children age 6 and up. Illustrated sections are included on vocabulary, parts of a chicken, rainbow eggs, rooster warning crows, diet, the chicken coop, dangers, nesting time, hatching chicks, and more facts about different chicken breeds and the life cycle of a chicken. At the end further resources are listed including books and web sites. Portraits of seven different varieties of chickens are shown, with their desirable traits, such as eggs, meat, or both. "Chickens on he Family Farm" is a great introductory book to teach children about raising and caring for chickens on a farm. Also recommended are the following titles from the Animals on the Family Farm Series, by the same author, Chana Stiefel: "Cows on the Family Farm (9780766042056, $21.26)," "Goats on the Family Farm (9780766042063, $21.26)," "Turkeys on the Family Farm (9780766042070, $21.26)," "Pigs on the Family Farm (9780766042087, $21.26)," and "Sheep on the Family Farm (9780766042094, $21.26)."

Examining Wind Energy
Jordan Boyle, author
Clara House Books
c/o The Oliver Press, Inc.
5707 W. 36th St., Minneapolis, MN 55416
9781934545478, $24.95,

"Examining Wind Energy" is an attractive hardbound book from the series Examining Energy, which presents balanced discussion and information about alternative and traditional energy sources. Written for a juvenile audience in grades 7-8, "Examining Wind Energy" presents 9 concisely written chapters on exploring wind energy, illustrated with color photographs, color contrasting informative sidebars, and charts and graphs of related interest. In "Examining Wind Energy," the reader follows Megan Cruz, a student who travels around the world gathering information and interviewing wind energy experts to write an article on alternative energy sources for her school newspaper. Chapters are titled Endless Wind, A Walk in the Park, A Windy History, Inside a Windmill, Today's Turbine, Catching the Wind, All Kinds of Turbines, Wind and Wildlife, and Your Turn, the final chapter which encourages the reader to digest presented energy information and conclude whether or not harvesting cheaper, cleaner wind power is worth the effort and risks it presents. "Examining Wind Energy" packs concentrated current information about wind energy into 47 pages in an entertaining and attractive, study book which closes with selected bibliography and further information about sources. As always, a final paragraph about how to shrink your carbon footprint is included, with suggested questions for ways each reader can contribute to the goal of reducing their carbon footprint. In addition, "Examining Wind Energy" is available as an e-book series (9781934545553). Also recommended in this Examining energy series are the following titles: "Examining Biofuels (9781934545409, $24.95)" by Chase Robinson, "Examining Geothermal Energy (9781934545416, $24.95)," by Jordan Boyle, "Examining Natural Gas (9781934545423, $24.95)" by Sandra Bright, "Examining Nuclear Energy (9781934545430, $24,95)" by Rebecca Cooke, "Examining Oil and Coal (9781934545447, $24.95) by Chase Robertson, "Examining Solar Energy (9781934545454, $24.95)" by Sandra Bright, and "Examining Water Power (9781934545461, $24.95)" by Rebecca Cooke.

The Birth of the Locomotive (1780s-1820s)
Joanne Mattern, author
Mitchell Lane Publishers
P.O. Box 196, Hockessin, Delaware 19707
9781612282862, $29.95,

"The Birth of the Locomotive (1780s-1820s) is the first book in a juvenile, nonfiction series titled the Railroad in American History. Written to interest middle school students from grades 4-7, this series covers the birth and growth of the American railroad system from the 1780s to the present, in five consecutive titles. First of the series, "The Birth of the Locomotive (1780s-1820s" covers the beginning and early days of railways and beginning steam engines up through the first railways, including the building of the first steam engine locomotive to ride on the rails, the Penydarren in 1804, in Wales, England. Two "fathers of the railway" are featured; George Stephenson of Wylam, England (1741-1848), and William Hedley?) of the same area of Wylam, England. Informative sidebars, color photos of places of interest, a timeline, chapter notes, glossary, and bibliography complete the narrative of this exciting documentary. The series acknowledges Milton C. Halberg, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at Pennsylvania State University for his expert assistance in the history of early rail systems. Internet resources and addresses are included at the end, and this entire series, suitable for educational libraries in hardbound editions, is also available in eBook format. Also highly recommended are the following titles which complete the Railroad in American History series: "The Railroad Comes to America (1820s-1830s)," by Karen Bush Gibson (9781612282879, $29.95), "The Railroad Grows into an Industry (1840s-1850s)," by Kathleen Tracy (9781612282886, $29.95), "The Railroad Fuels Westward Expansion (1870s) by Russell Roberts (9781612282909, $29.95), "The Railroad and the Civil War," by Tamra Orr (978161228293, $29.95), and "Electric Trains and Trolleys (1880-Present)," by John Bankston (9781612282916, $29.95).

Animal Tales 1
G. R. von Wielligh, author
Dale Blankenaar, illustrator
Linda Michell, translator
Protea Book House
P.O. Box 35110, Menlo Park, 0102
1067 Burnett Street, Hatfield, Pretoria
International Publishers Marketing, Inc. (distributor)
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Dulles, VA 20166
9781869194338, $12.00,

"Animal Tales 1" is the first book of a series of animal tales collected by the author (G. R. von Wieligh, 1859-1932) from Khoikhoi storytellers of the African veld. Imaginatively illustrated by artist Dale Blankenaar, these extremely eccentric -looking animals do indeed look as though they could talk amongst themselves, spinning many a tale. The Khoikhoi style of enriched, expanded storytelling is beautifully described in the beginning chapter of "Animal Tales 1," allowing adults who read this book to their avid audience full license and encouragement to act out animal voices, create special animal sound effect, etc. Khoikhoi tale telling is very much a matter of getting into the moment of the tale, it appears. Here are many crafty animal characters; Jackal, Wolf, Owl, Horse, Donkey, and Tinkietinkie, the clever pied crow, with multiple teaching tales woven about their human-like tendencies towards foolishness. The delightful colored illustrations add to the somewhat zany tone of many of the Animal Tales, further piquing children's interest. "Animal Tales 1" would appear to be a storyteller's book, meant to be read and acted out for the pleasure of children. A rich tradition of Khoikhoi lore and wisdom is cleverly packed into every funny line of the Animal Tales. Also highly recommended in this series is "Animal Tales 2 (9781869195045, $12.00)," collected by the same author from Khoikhoi storytelling uncles of the African veld. At the end of "Animal Tales 2," a lovely set of sayings orchestrates the telling of each tale: "Golden pins, my story begins,/ Golden fiddle, we've reached the middle,/ Golden friends, my story ends!"

Sharing With Others
Mattie Reynolds, author
Red Chair Press, LLC
PO Box 333, South Egremont, MA 01258
9781937529444, $17.95,

"Sharing With Others: An Introduction to Financial Literacy" is a juvenile non-fiction book for children ages 6-9 about financial literacy, from the Start Smart: Money series of four books. Enhanced by frequent color photos of children and adults of different ethnicities interacting positively and sharing, "Sharing With Others" presents basic information about the everyone's primary needs and the concept of charitable sharing of resources. Even children who are unable to earn money can find something worthwhile to donate towards the needs of others. They can give the gift of time and attention, sharing experiences with perhaps older adults who have no other children in their lives. Three short chapters titled All People Have Needs, Sharing Goods and Money, and Giving to Others present basic concepts of charitable giving and sharing. A Glossary on sharing and a list of resources, including books and web sites add further information. "Sharing With Others" is an excellent resource for children in grades 1-3 to teach financial literacy and the concept of enlightened giving. Other titles in this outstanding series that are also highly recommended include: "Kids Making Money (9781937529413, $17.95)," "Saving For the Future (9781937529420, $17.95)," and "Super-Smart Shopping (9781937529437, $17.95)," all by Mattie Reynolds.

Hamilton Troll Meets Barney Bee
Kathleen J. Shields, author
Leigh A. Klug and Carol W. Bryant, illustrators
Privately Published
9780988274525, $14.00,

"Hamilton Troll Meets Barney Bee" continues the charmingly illustrated narrative verse series for preschoolers known as the Hamilton Troll series. Hamilton Troll is curious and pleased to meet his first bee friend Barney one sunny day. Although Barney teaches Hamilton a lot about bees and flowers, spreading pollen, and making honey from nectar, Barney Bee is getting tubby from his habit of eating honey, nectar and pollen. This may compromise his ability to fly and meet other bee responsibilities. Hamilton counsels him "..besides eating sweets, you must do other things, hobbies, games, how 'bout friends?" In listening to Barney Bee's answer, Hamilton learns some interesting facts about bees, such as that male drone bees cannot sting. Hamilton also learns that bees are color blind, and see red flowers as grey, which is not appealing to them. Finally Barney is ground-bound for awhile because of his overeating of sweets, and Hamilton encourages him to move about and exercise to wear off some of his excess honey weight, so he can fly again. Thus Barney learns a valuable lesson of moderation in sweets intake, to help him be a better Bee. Barney also shows Hamilton how to identify 6 species of Texas wildflowers that bees love to pollinate. Children age 4 and up will enjoy learning about bees with Hamilton, and games like searching for the Pink Light Sprite in the colorful illustrations will help keep reader interest high. The wildflower illustrations are authentic, while the characters of Hamilton and Barney are imaginatively presented against a natural wild prairie background. "Hamilton Troll Meets Barney Bee" is the third hardback title in the Hamilton Troll series of illustrated educational rhyming stories for children age 4 and up.

Stegosaurus: The Friendliest Dinosaur
Anna Obiols, author
Subi, illustrator
250 Wireless Boulevard
Hauppauge, NY 11788
9781438001074 $6.99

Part of a series of whimsical, softcover children's picturebooks about dinosaurs as buddies, Stegosaurus: The Friendliest Dinosaur is about a young boy who is best buddies with a playful and Stegosaurus dinosaur. From hiding behind the Stegosaurus' plates during a snowball fight, to making a gigantic sand castle atop Stegosaurus at the beach, the two share many fun moments! The final pages are ambiguous about whether the Stegosaurus is drawn from the young boy's imagination as he plays with his favorite toy dinosaur. Supplementary pages include a handful of fun facts about the stegosaurus dinosaur, and dinosaurs in general. Stegosaurus: The Friendliest Dinosaur is highly recommended as a lighthearted way to encourage little dinosaur lovers to read, are the other picturebooks in the series, "Brachiosaurus", "Tyrannosaurus Rex", and "Triceratops".

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308
NY, NY 10118

Two new series additions ($22.95 each) are recommended picks for grades 5-6, and provide information perfect for reports and general-interest leisure browsing alike. Four new additions to the 'Myths Understood' series add to series examining storytelling in different cultures. A brief overview of each culture is followed by discussions of that culture's major myths, beliefs, and social structures. Included in the discussion are how these myths reflect and influence people's lives. The new books are: UNDERSTANDING INDIAN MYTHS (9780778745242) exploring the folk heroes of ancient India, UNDERSTANDING NATIVE AMERICAN MYTHS (9780778745266) which examines the legends of different tribes, retelling these and explaining how the stories helped people in early North America to understand their world; UNDERSTANDING MESOAMERICAN MYTHS (9780778745259) which considers Quetzalcoatal and other myths, and UNDERSTANDING NORSE MYTHS (9780778745273), focusing on Scandinavian cultures and experiences. All offer fine insights perfect for any who would read about myths and their evolution and effects. Four new titles in the 'Chrome' series attracts reluctant, under-confident readers who read several levels below their actual grade, offering vivid topics paired with reading levels geared to Grade 2. Each hold nearly fifty pages including a glossary, index and numerous contemporary color photos, and each provides a fine key to engaging readers. D-DAY (9780778779247) considers the turning point in World War II that gave the Allies a way into Europe, MYSTERIES OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR (9780778779230) follows the evolution of the last known Mayan calendar and its importance to the world, GETTYSBURG (9780778779285) focuses on a key battle of the Civil War that both sides believed would be pivotal to winning, NAVY SEALS (9780778779261) focuses on the process of training to be a Navy seal, and EXTINCTION! (9780778779254) provides a focus on what happened when dinosaurs and four other Earth species died out. With their vivid color photos and easy information, this series is perfect for reluctant readers.

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

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