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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 5 May 2007 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice DVD Shelf Sports/Athletics Shelf
Biography Shelf Poetry Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Science Shelf Easy Reader/Board Book Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Fiction Shelf Picturebook Shelf World History Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

My Body Is Mine!
Peter Osilaja, author
Gary Phillips, illustrator
KidSafety of America
17647 Buttercup Court, Chino Hills, CA 91709
1884413846, $8.95

My Body Is Mine! is a one-of-a-kind picturebook created especially to help parents teach children what they need to know to protect themselves from child abuse and sexual predators. Told through the eyes of 6-year-old Michael, who is about to attend his first sleep-over party, My Body Is Mine! recounts the wisdom Michael's parents give him about self-defense, Internet dangers, and unacceptable touching. "My dad explains, 'Any part of your body that your underwear or swimsuit covers is private. If anyone should try to touch your private parts or ask you to touch his or hers, say NO or STOP, then run and tell a trusted adult. This kind of behavior is a type of child abuse, and it is very unsafe.' 'Dad, would I be in trouble if someone ever tried to touch me in that way?' 'Absolutely not! It would never be your fault if someone tried to harm you.'" Color photographs illustrate this safety-conscious picturebook, an absolute "must-have" for parents to share with children, who are never too young to learn how to protect themselves from being victimized.

You Can Write a Story!
Lisa Bullard, author
Deborah Haley Melmon, illustrator
Two-Can Publishing
c/o T&N Children's Publishing
11571 K-Tel Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343
1587285878, $16.95 1-888-255-9989

Author Lisa Bullard has taught thousands of students about story-writing as part of a "Writers & Artists in the Schools" program; now, she shares her secrets with young readers everywhere in You Can Write a Story!, a spiral-bound how-to writing guide for novice writers in the style of a cookbook, peppered with useful tips and charming color illustrations by artist Deborah Haley Melmon. "It is a great idea to put a problem into the beginning. Starting with a problem makes the reader pay attention. Here's how my story might start with a problem: 'Pete the polar bear didn't have any friends. The Arctic animals laughed at him because he was purple.'" Step-by-step instructions, and an example story seen through to completion form the heart of this creative guide, enthusiastically recommended for elementary, grade-school, and public libraries.

A Field Guide To The Identification Of Pebbles
Eileen Van der Flier-Keller
Harbour Publishing
PO Box 219, Madeira Park, BC, Canada, V0N 2H0
1550173952, $7.95 1-604-883-2730

"A Field Guide To The Identification Of Pebbles" by geologist Eileen Van der Flier-Keller (Associate Professor in Earth Sciences at the University of Victoria) is a very nicely illustrated laminated fold-out pamphlet specifically and effectively designed to help children identify twenty-eight various rocks and pebbles commonly encountered on beaches and along rivers. "A Field Guide To The Identification Of Pebbles" is an ideal gift and 'kid friendly' reference for youngsters involved in beach and backyard explorations of the rocks, minerals and pebbles they come across.

Abadaba Alphabet
Sheila Moore, author
Carol Holsinger, illustrator
Abadaba Reading LLC
PO Box 80, Charlottesville, VA 22902
0978947304, $19.95

Kindergarten teacher Sheila Moore and her artistically talented daughter Carol Holsinger present Abadaba Alphabet: Learning Letter Sounds, an ABC picturebook that blends funny nonsense sounds and alliteration of words starting with letters help young people learn the alphabet. For example, the page devoted to the letter U reads "Adbadaba alphabet, / upsydaisydoo, / see a letter sound a letter, / U U U / uncles rest in ugly chairs, / umbrella birds unpack upstairs" and features a whimsical drawing of uncles resting and umbrella birds unpacking. An accompanying 11-minute audio CD of award-winning recording artist Jim Weiss narrating the charming alphabet rhymes enhances this creative and just plain fun-to-read introduction to the alphabet.

The Simplest Zoo To Do
Bill Rivard
Vantage Press Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, 18th floor, New York, NY 10016
0533154367, $7.95 1-212-736-1767

"The Simplest Zoo To Do" is a coloring book by Bill Rivard that is quite cleverly designed to engage preschool and kindergarten children in learning the alphabet while completing and coloring in the pages, each one of which is an animal whose name begins with a particular letter of the alphabet. Having to guess from the completed picture what the animal is called will help to reinforce both the meaning of the individual letters and their linear order. An enthusiastically recommended 'consumable' activity book, "The Simplest Zoo To Do" is ideal for rainy day recreation, long car trips, or 'quiet time' recuperation from illness.

Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, New York NY 12901

Ann Love and Jane Drake's SWEET! THE DELICIOUS STORY OF CANDY (0887767524, $19.95) provides a fun history of candy makers and candy-making history, covering both world history and centuries of events to consider how candy evolved. From a map of popular sweets around the world and insights into the chemistry and attraction of chocolate to accounts of prehistoric beekeeping and the invention of caramel in Arabia, which was used as a hair remover, SWEET: THE DELICIOUS STORY OF CANDY will prove an inviting, compelling survey for grades 4-6. Margriet Ruurs' IN MY BACKYARD (0887767753, $18.95) features paper sculptures by Ron Broda as it celebrates backyard animals and nature around the year. The paper-sculpture art of the wildlife artist lends difference and excitement to a seasonal exploration inviting kids to look at, identify and have fun with the creatures which change with the seasons in their own back yards.

The DVD Shelf

Inch By Inch
Leo Lionni
Weston Woods Studios/Scholastic
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
NDVD699 $59.95 1-800-290-7531

to keep from being eaten, a resourceful inchworm measures a robin's tale, a flamingo's neck, a toucan's beak, a heron's legs, and a nightingale's song in Leo Lionni's "Inch By Inch", originally published by HarperCollins and winner of a Caldecott Honor Book award. Skillfully narrated by Ron McLarty, this animated, seven minute DVD production is directed by Gary McGiveny and enhanced with music by Joel Goodman. Designed to entertain young children ages 6 to 8, and very highly recommended for day care center, elementary school and community library video collections for preschool and kindergarten children, "Inch By Inch" provides young viewers with fun information on worms, birds, measuring, and problem solving.

The Sports/Athletics Shelf

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308, New York, NY 10118 1-800-387-7650

The Crabtree Publishing Company offer some truly outstanding titles in their 'Sports in Action' series that introduce young readers ages 6 to 9 to the fun and exercise of fishing, yoga, karate and judo. With an informative text (written at a fourth grade reading level) combined with full-color photographs and illustrations by Bobbie Kalman, each individual 32-page title is enhanced for young readers with the further inclusion of a glossary of specialized terms and a useful index. In "Fishing in Action" (0778703436 HC; 0778703630 PB) Hadley Dyer offers kids easy to follow instructions on different styles of fishing including the use of bait, fly fishing, fishing equipment, and hints on how to make a catch. Kelley MacAulay's "Yoga in Action" (0778703444 HC; 0778703649 PB) introduces young readers to the history of yoga, yogic breathing and meditation techniques, and how to safely perform many yoga poses. "Karate in Action" (077870341X HC; 0778703614 PB), also by Kelley MacAualy, demonstrates how to safely perform karate movements, as well as the history of karate, and martial arts karate competitions. "Judo in Action" (0778703428 HC; 0778703622 PB) by John Crossingham introduces children to the history, etiquette, and inventive moves of judo including throws, holds, and locks. The 'Sports in Action' series is very strongly recommended for both school and community library systems with the hardcover editions with reinforced library bindings being $23.92 each and the paperback editions being $6.95 each.

The Biography Shelf

Hiromi's Hands
Lynne Barasch
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
1584302755, $17.95

Award-winning children's author Lynne Barasch presents Hiromi's Handsm a picturebook the true story of Japanese-American Hiromi Suzuki, who became the world's first female sushi chef. Introduced to the taste and the art of sushi preparation by her father. "Papa was demanding and the work was hard. I knew his high standards were meant to teach me to be the best chef I could be. It took three years until I got my own yanagi and began cutting fish." An author's note about Hiromi Suzuki's extraordinary pioneering sushi career, and a glossary and pronunciation guide of Japanese words (especially words for various sushi ingredients) round out this inspirational picturebook, sure to motivate young girls to pursue their dream - or young children everywhere to try sushi!

The Poetry Shelf

Behind the Musem Door
Lee Bennett Hopkins, editor
Stacey Dressen-McQueen
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
081091204X, $16.95 1-800-759-0190

Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums is a hodgepodge of poems written by such diverse and lauded individuals as Jane Yolen, Myra Cohn Livingston, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and illustrated with unforgettable acrylic and oil pastel artwork by award-winning artist Stacey Dessen-McQueen, all celebrating the treasury of knowledge, wisdom and wonder in museums. Each two-page spread features a different poem and theme, in this lovely read-aloud anthology that makes the perfect souvenir for a child's museum visit. "Stirring Art: Beauty / suspended in / suspense. // A breath of air / awakens / lifeless form - // See / it / dance."

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

God Is Always with You
Allia Zobel Nolan, author
Trace Moroney, illustrator
Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
0825455316, $13.99 1-800-733-2607

God Is Always with You is a Christian children's picturebook with a simple yet central message. A little panda bear talks to his mother about all the wild and dangerous places his imagination can take him - sailing the seas, fighting dragons, flying through the sky, and much more. For each place, he asks his Mama, "Would God be with me there?" Mama Panda promises her child that no matter where he goes and no matter what challenging adventure he immerses himself in, God will always be with him. "'You could battle an army of dragons and God would be with you. But, he'd probably want you to wear your boots.' 'So I wouldn't catch cold, Mama?' 'Right,' said Mama. 'God is always with you and he loves you like I do.'" The gentle color illustrations add a heartwarming touch to this simple, lovely book with a profound message of enduring faith.

Alfie's Bark Mitzvah
Shari Cohen, author
Cantor Marcelo Gindlin, songs
Nadia Komorova, illustrator
1589850556, $18.00

Alfie's Bark Mitzvah is a children's picturebook about the Jewish ritual celebration of becoming an adult - only told from an anthropomorphic puppy's point of view! Young Alfie experiences his "Bark Mitzvah" with all his family and friends. The cheery rhyme captures the jubilant spirit of this occasion, and an accompanying audio CD has five children's songs created especially for the book by internationally acclaimed performer Cantor Marcelo Gindlin. "Holding his head high / Alfie shared his heartfelt goal, / 'To be truthful and forgiving, / And to have a loving soul.' // 'To study,' he said 'and / To become knowing and wise / And to try and see the world / Through someone else's eyes.' // The room became quiet / When in a voice rich and fine / Alfie gave the blessing / Over a biscuit and some wine." A wonderful way to introduce the concept of Bar Mitzvah to curious children of all faiths and backgrounds.

More Saints: Lives & Illuminations
Ruth Sanderson
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
0802852726, $20.00 1-800-253-7521

Written and beautifully illustrated in the style of Renaissance art and illuminated manuscripts by Ruth Sanderson, More Saints: Lives & Illuminations is a picturebook anthology offering one-page portraits and biographies of thirty-six male and female Christian saints of the second millennium. Not only are well-known saints such as Francis of Assisi and Anthony of Padua profiled, but also lesser known individuals such as Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Saint Bernardino. A brief introduction about the process of becoming a saint, a list of additional resources and a glossary round out this fascinating and instructional picturebook - though due to its small typeface and relative quantity of text, More Saints is most appropriate for young readers who are almost ready for chapter books. Also highly recommended is Sanderson's first volume in the series, "Saints: Lives and Illuminations".

Compass Point Books
151 Good Counsel Drive, Minneapolis, MN 56002-0669 1-877-371-1536

'Traditional Religious Tales' is a superbly written and wonderfully illustrated six volume series for young readers ages 9 to 12 and students in grades 4 to 6 showcases the six main religions of the world through traditional, original, authentic stories associated with those religions. The titles comprising this remarkable and thoroughly 'kid friendly' series written by Anita Ganeri and illustrated by Tracy Fennell include: Buddhist Stories (140481311X ); Christian Stories 1404813128); Hindu Stories (1404813098); Islamic Stories (1404813136 ); Jewish Stories (1404813101); and Sikh Stories (1404813144). Additionally, each volume is enhanced for young readers with the inclusion of informative sidebars, a table of contents, a glossary, an index, and a listing of relevant websites at Although each of these very highly recommended titles are available individually ($25.26 List; $18.95 Library), school and community libraries should acquire the entire series ($151.56 List; $113.70 Library) for the benefit of their young readers.

The Bilingual Shelf

Hate That Thunder!
William J. Adams, author
Tom Stiglich, illustrator
Mandy and Andy Books, Inc.
124 Meridian Avenue, Poinciana, FL 34759
097727571X, $10.95

First in a planned series of children's picturebooks featuring young twins Mandy and Andy, Hate That Thunder! is a bilingual English/Spanish story about Mandy, a young girl who is startled by the loud noise thunder makes. "They say I shouldn't be afraid, / It's just Mother Nature's sound... / And the noises are a signal, / That the rain is coming down! / Guess I shouldn't be so scared, / Rain makes grass and flowers grow... / I think I'll tell how brave I am, / To everyone I know!" Unlike most bilingual picturebooks, which have text in both languages on the same page, Hate That Thunder! reads like an ordinary English book on one side, and can be flipped over and read as an ordinary Spanish book from the other side. The cartoon-style color illustrations add a gentle and friendly touch to this charming story, especially recommended for sharing with young children who are apprehensive of thunder.

Frog Brings Rain
Patricia Hruby Powell, author
Kendrick Benally, illustrator
Peter A. Thomas, translator
Salina Bookshelf, Inc.
1254 West University Avenue, #130, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
1893354083, $17.95 1-877-527-0070

Written by former dancer, trapeze artist, and librarian Patricia Hruby Powell, and illustrated by Navajo Nation resident Kendrick Benally, Frog Brings Rain is a bilingual English/Navajo picturebook recounting an ancient Navajo folktale. When a terrible fire threatens the village of the First People, First Woman seeks aid, yet every creature she talks to has an excuse - Mockingbird, Snail, and Beaver all refuse to help. Only frog and crane come to the First People's rescue in their hour of need, and out of gratitude, First Woman promises to leave Frog his waters, and leave the springs and pools on the mountain to Crane. "To this day, Frog summons the rain showers by calling, 'Har-ar-umph. Har-ar-umph.'" The vividly stylized art perfectly complements the ancient legend, in this absorbingly beautiful, highly recommended children's picturebook.

The Science Shelf

Science Play
Jill Frankel Hauser
Williamson Books
c/o Ideals Publications
Suite 250, 535 Metroplex Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37211
1885593201 $12.95

Kindergarten teacher Jill Frankel Hauser presents Science Play, a compendium of over 65 safe, age-appropriate activities designed to foster creativity and a sense of discovery in children ages 2 to 6. Step-by-step instructions and simple black-and-white illustrations walk readers through activities such as observing earthworms at work, making puddle prints with food coloring, water, and a simple medicine dropper, or gathering and sorting rocks. Young children will most likely need an adult's help with reading the instructions, but the activities themselves are easy to do and highly inexpensive. Enthusiastically recommended for parents, teachers, and caregivers of young children everywhere.

The Easy Reader/Board Book Shelf

Slide and Find Trucks
Priddy Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312499094 $6.95

Slide and Find Trucks is an easy reader board book for very young children with an interactive twist - every other page has four sliding windows over the pictures of trucks that cover images with related words or concepts. For example, the sliding windows on the first page cover (or uncover) a red garbage truck with the word "red", a blue giant excavator with the word "blue", a green delivery truck with the word "green", and a yellow backhoe loader with the word "yellow". Unlike most books with moving parts, Slide and Find Trucks is extremely durable, and sure to provide educational fun for the littlest inquisitive minds.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Chu Chu Onwuachi-Saunders, MD, MPH & Marie Onwuachi, MS, MPH
OOOPS! Publications
PMB # 2089 11006 Veirs Mill Road, Ste. L15, Silver Springs, MD 20902-5923
0974691208, $9.99

Written by pediatrician Chu Chu Onwuachi-Saunders, MD and public health consultant Marie Onwuachi, MS, OOOPS! is a gentle book for young girls ages 9 to 14 about dealing with the stress of getting their first period and adjusting to the monthly cycle. An easy-to-read story follows two young twins as they learn how to prepare for this change in their life, including putting together an "oops" kit with sanitary napkins and a change of clean underwear, and learning to tie their sweaters around their waist when needed. OOOPS! is not a comprehensive sexual education book, and does not go into detail concerning biological functions of female reproductive organs, let alone sexuality or pregnancy. Instead, OOOPS! gives practical advice for dealing with monthly bleeding, and emphasizes the importance of being good to and pampering oneself during the days of the cycle. A set of "OOOPS!" stickers, simple calendar grids to put the stickers in, and a journal section for young girls to write in round out this wonderful giftbook for pubescent girls.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Fantasy Fair
Barbara Dubrovin
Storycraft Publishing
Po Box 205, Masonville, CO 80541
0963833960, $17.50

Written by award-winning author Barbara Dubrovin, Fantasy Fair: Bright Stories of Imagination is an anthology of delightful fantasy short stories, intended for young adults yet sure to delight purehearted fantasy lovers of all ages. A gamut of wondrous creatures populate the pages, from a dragon who needs to be taught how to fly to witches, trolls, wizards, and fabulous adventures such as the quest for the Lost Key. A handful of black-and-white illustrations grace this enjoyable and imaginative romp.

The Cookbook Shelf

Kids Cook!
Sarah Williamson & Zachary Williamson
Williamson Publishing Company
PO Box 185, Church Hill Road, Charlotte, VT 05445
0913589616, $12.95 1-800-234-8791

"Kids Cook!: Fabulous Food For The Whole Family" by Sarah and Zachary Williamson is a compilation of more than 150 delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes specifically designed to be 'kid friendly' and thereby allowing children to learn the joy of cooking in their family kitchens. From breakfast dishes that include 'Easy French Toast' and 'Breakfast Sundaes', to luncheon favorites like 'Chicken Shirt Pocket' and 'Roast Beef Super Sub', to savory salads including 'A Whale of a Fruit Salad' and 'Veggies and Shells', to snacks like 'Jammed Potato Skins' and 'Nacho Nibbles', to special treats such as 'Easy Hot Fudge' and 'Orange Creamsicle', to dinner entrees like Pizza Originale" and 'Stuffed Burgers', to simply wonderful desserts including 'Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes', and 'Autumn Apple Crisp', "Kids Cook!" offers a wide and savory range of make-it-yourself dishes that would grace any family table. Also very highly recommended for children's cookbook collections is Deanna F. Cook's "The Kids' Multicultural Cookbook: Food & Fund Around The World" (0913589918 , $12.95).

The Fiction Shelf

Thanks Thunderfoot
Dan Bomkamp
The Guest Cottage, Inc,
PO Box 774, St. Germain, WI 54558
1930596588, $12.95 1-800-333-8122

Written by outdoor enthusiast Dan Bomkamp, Thanks Thunderfoot is the latest novel of the Thunderfoot series, following Thunderfoot's adolescence from a sprouting thirteen-year-old to a young man. His adventures and misadventures with his pal Dan Bomkamp, from experiencing lutefisk for the first time (which can at its most generous be called an 'acquired taste') to hunting and being surprised when howling coyotes mistake their plastic decoys for a tasty catch, to saying goodbye when graduation and adulthood cause best friends to go their separate ways. Warmth, wit, and zest for life pepper this engaging coming-of-age novel. Also highly recommended are the previous novels in the series, "Adventures of Thunderfoot" and "More Adventures of Thunderfoot."

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Fans of Rachel Cohen's GINGERBREAD and SHRIMP as well as newcomers seeking vividly different leisure fiction will relish the ongoing saga of Cyd Charisse in CUPCAKE (1416912177, $15.99), telling of Cy'd move from San Francisco to New York, in which she leaves behind family and her true love Shrimp. Cyd finds plenty of trouble in the Big Apple, from a broken leg to the problems of sharing an apartment with an older brother. Just when her life seems to be settling down, Shrimp re-enters the picture with complicate results. This is the third book about Cyd and prior fans will find it just as memorable and powerful as the others. Deb Caletti's THE NATURE OF JADE (1416910050, $16.99) tells of Jade, who has been diagnosed with Panic Disorder and who finds it difficult to remain calm in the face of life's many uncertainties. When she becomes involved with a strange boy who stops by to watch the elephants at the nearby zoo – a boy carrying a baby who is raising his son alone – she finds something new and different to focus on in this vivid story of secrets and recovery. Gretchen Moran Laskas's THE MINER'S DAUGHTER (1416912622, $15.99) tells of the backbreaking work of a miner's daughter who feels she'll never win against the family's daily struggles to survive. She longs for a better life and romance against all odds – and suddenly it seems hopeful it'll all come true. THE MINER'S DAUGHTER is a moving story of survival against all odds and will delight any young adult leisure reader looking for stories of courage.

True Talents
David Lubar
Tom Doherty Associates
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0765309777, $17.95

It's been over a year since teen Eddie and his friends from Edgeview Alternative School have discovered their special hidden talents, which involve PSI and other extra-sensory abilities: now they are back with their families and looking for normalcy, when a kidnapping involves the group in both a rescue and a battle against an organization which seeks to use their talents for evil. A dramatic story of confrontation and courage evolves in an excellent, fast-paced story teen leisure readers at the middle to high school grades will relish.

Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Mog Winter and her long-lost brother Nick are sent to an isolated gothic mansion to live with a distant cousin, only to find themselves in the hands of danger in THE GOD OF MISCHIEF by Paul Bajoria (031601091X, $16.99) a dramatic tale packed with exceptional twists and turns of plot and particularly recommended not only for prior fans of THE PRINTER'S DEVIL, but for any who relished the classic Aiken story WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE. The story of evil guardians, helpless twins, and family mysteries and treasure set in the depths of the English countryside comes to life in this sequel to THE PRINTER'S DEVIL. Ellen Yeomans' RUBBER HOUSES (031610647X, $15.99) is presented in lyrical verse: the format may put off readers who want a straight fiction read, but the story will prove moving to any who don't mind the verse structure, telling of teen Kit and her younger brother and a family changed by tragedy. Both are good picks for any teen leisure reading library.

Dancing on the Edge
Han Nolan
Harcourt Inc.
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
0152058842 $6.95 1-800-543-1918

Kids ages 12 an older will find an extraordinary story of survival and mental illness in DANCING ON THE EDGE, which features the life of one Miracle, who finds dancing is the only thing which lends meaning to an isolated life with her grandparents. When her grandmother forbids her to dance, Miracle's desperate act confines her to a mental hospital in this story of a troubled young woman's search for meaning.

The Red Thread
Roderick Townley
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
1416908943, $17.99 1-800-223-2336

How do you avenge or forgive your own murder four hundred years after it happened? A teen's recurring dreams reveals not only an old crime but the linkage of souls through three lifetimes in a repeating drama only Dana might be able to break. Her journey to find the heart of truth and to break the chain of repeated events makes for a gripping time travel/ghost story that is compelling and hard to put down.

N.M. Browning
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1582347808, $16.95

Spellgrinders' apprentices rarely survive long enough to become spellgrinders: most die of an illness before that point – and can't escape from the work. But Tommo refuses to face death and decides to run away to the coast: his journey leads him to a fisherman's daughter and a friendship which will reveal the truths of their lives and, ultimately, change their fates. Fans of fantasy will find a spellbinding drama here.

1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Robyn Schneider's BETTER THAN YESTERDAY (0385733453, $15.99) provides a fun coming-of-age story, telling of a competitive elite preparatory school where Blake has arrived back after an unexplained two-year absence. Skylar thinks Blake's in trouble and Charley doesn't have time for anyone's problems – but Blake's friends become involved anyway when she takes off for New York City and they decide to follow and help her. Humor and insights lend to a fine and moving story of friendship against all odds. Isobelle Carmody's LITTLE FUR: A FOX CALLED SORROW (978037838569, $14.99) provides a fantasy from Australia about a half elf, half troll girl who heals animals in the heart of a major city. Her discovery that her world is threatened leads to an extraordinary journey to the heart of what she fears with a mysterious fox called Sorrow, who believes their journey is doomed to fail. Jane Broskin Zalben's LEAP (0375838716 , $15.99) tells of formerly inseparable friends affected by an accident which leaves one temporarily paralyzed. Daniel and Krista had drifted apart: now Krista might be the link Daniel needs to return to the world of normalcy. LEAP tells of changed friendships, romance, and idealistic visions, and is a moving story of change. All are top picks leisure reading teens will choose.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Brian Selznick
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012-3999
0439813786, $22.99

High-school level leisure readers not put off by the thickness of a book will find an exceptional read in THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, which packs some 500 pages with the story of a busy orphan, clock keeper and thief who lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station and keeps his world secret – until an eccentric girl and a bitter old man undermine his life and secret. An adventure evolves which blends mystery, fantasy and action as a secret notebook and a stolen key draw Hugo into a stunning, frightening investigation. Expect complex plot twists and turns and high drama like no other in an epic journey older teens will relish.

Ben and the Sudden Too-Big Family!
Colby Rodowsky
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003
0374306583, $16.00

It's always been Ben and his father – until they meet Casey and Casey decides to marry his dad. A baby is adopted from China – and pretty soon there's a huge family building. Ben's transition to this large family drives BEN AND THE SUDDEN TOO-BIG FAMILY and makes for a moving, fun story of a boy's ability to adjust. Middle school readers, especially, will find it involving.

A Fast and Brutal Wing
Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson
Roaring Brook Press
2 Old New Milford Road, Brookfield, CT 06804
1596430133, $16.95 1-800-462-4703

A brother and sister are bonded not just by the usual sibling relationship but by the fact they can change from human to animal and back… or is it a lie? A broken family, a series of bizarre encounters, and seemingly supernatural abilities lend a swift and unique action to a fast-paced story highly recommended as a leisure read for high school teens.

The Picturebook Shelf

The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians
Carla Morris, author
Brad Sneed, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
1561453919, $16.95 1-800-241-0113

Written by children's librarian Carla Morris, The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians is a joyful picturebook about Melvin, a young boy who grows up with three librarians as some of his most cherished friends - not only do they help him find information, but when he needs it the most, they help him find his motivation and achieve as much as he can. "In fourth grade, Melvin entered The Complete and Unabridged A-to-Z Spelling Bee. Marge suggested he read the 100th edition of 'Words to Know' every day after school. Not surprisingly, he won first place." But when Melvin grows up and goes off to college, he has to leave the library and his friends behind - forever? Or not! He keeps in touch with his librarian friends through letters, and years later, new librarian comes to work - Melvin himself! The humorously exaggerated yet playful color illustrations add the perfect touch to this warmhearted and upbeat children's story.

Mommy Has A Tattoo
Phil Padwe
Atlas Books
c/o BookMasters, Inc.
30 Amberwood parkway, Ashland, OH 44805
0977023273, $16.95

James is a little boy who is afraid of his tattooed neighbor until he discovers that his own mother has a tattoo as well. "Mommy Has A Tattoo" is a delightful picturebook written and illustrated by Phil Padwe to familiarize young children with tattoos and show that people who have them can be every bit as nice as people who don't. Children will learn that there are a lot of Mommies that have tattoos and that body art in the form of tattoos can be very interesting and not scary at all! "Mommy Has A Tattoo" is especially recommended reading for children with an interest or concern about tattoos and would make an excellent addition to both school and community library picturebook collections for young readers.

Rock 'n' Roll Dogs
David Davis, author
Chuck Galey, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
1589803493, $15.95 1-800-843-1724

The companion book to the award-nominated "Jazz Cats", Rock 'n' Roll Dogs is a rhyming children's picturebook about a rockin' band of dogs who love to play their music. "The Blues Dogs Fountain is the scene to make. / They serve sausage sodas and liver shakes. / They're all doggies (so it isn't rude) / For slick Dalmatians to wolf down fast food. / You're all welcome, so trot up the path. / Kids can visit - but don't say, 'Bath!' / To Rock 'n' Roll Memphis Blues Dogs." Jubilant color illustrations by award-winning artist Chuck Galey add the perfect touch to this charming book for young canine and rock-'n'-roll lovers.

Fiona's Luck
Teresa Bateman, author
Kelly Murphy, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
1570916519, $15.95 1-800-225-3214

Irish-American author Teresa Bateman presents Fiona's Luck, a delightful children's picturebook weaving a fantastic fable of cleverness. When luck vanishes from Ireland - hens give no eggs, cows give no milk, and potatoes rot in the ground - young Fiona deduces that leprechauns have stolen the luck of the Irish, and improvises a plan to get their attention and restore luck to the people, using her own knowledge of leprechaun law. Though Fiona acknowledges the value of luck, she chooses to depend upon her wits first and foremost, in this charming original story, beautifully illustrated by artist Kelly Murphy.

Gray Wolf's Search
Bruce Swanson, author
Gary Peterson, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
0977918319, $18.95

Author Bruce Swanson has more than thirty year's experience teaching history, often with a focus on Native American culture; Gray Wolf's Search is his picturebook about a young Native American told by his uncle, a shaman, that his future role in the clan depends upon locating a very important person. Gray Wolf goes on a journey to find and get to know this person - yet returns with unparalleled wisdom: "The very important person is you, and you, and you... Through all my travels, I found that no one is more important than another. Each one of us is a very important person." Artist Gary Peterson draws upon the primal vibrance of indigenous culture and reverence for the natural world in the captivating color illustrations of this recommended storybook.

Joy is the Greatest Gift
Lisa Rey Marks, author
Eris Klein, illustrator
Focus Friends, LLC
PO Box 271757, Fort Collins, Colorado 80527
0978602803, $16.99

The debut children's book of wife, mother, and entrepreneur Lisa Rey Marks, Joy is the Greatest Gift is a vibrant and charming children's picturebook about the greatest present children can enjoy and share - the gift of infectious good emotion. The exuberant color illustrations by award-winning artist Eris Klein perfectly complement the happy moral of this meaningful book about finding happiness within oneself, rather than by craving candy, toys, or video games. "The gift of joy is spending time with people you love. For that time, giving thanks with all your heart. Hugs and kisses each day with mom and dad. A phone call to Grandma makes her so glad." Highly recommended.

Just Imagine
John M. Thompson & George M. Schultz, authors
Wodin, illustrator
Illumination Arts Publishing
PO Box 1865, Bellevue, WA 98009
0974019062, $16.95 1-888-210-8216

Just Imagine is a rhyming children's picturebook about the incredible power of imagination unleashed, which can transport one and one's friends to swamps, the seas, the depths of space, or the top of a rainbow. The extravagant illustrations show young children embarking upon one dream journey after another, yet always held in great, metaphorical safe hands. "Imagine / Exploring the mighty / Ocean, / Sails billowing tight / Into the wind and spray. / Land is out of sight. // We're free!" A delightful adventure to warm young hearts and lift up the spirit.

Kittens! Kittens! Kittens!
Susan Meyers, author
David Walker, illustrator
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
081091218X, $15.95 1-800-759-0190

Cat lover Susan Meyers presents Kittens! Kittens! Kittens!, a jubilant, rhyming picturebook about the mischief, variety, and passion for life found among kittens everywhere. Kitten-inspired illustrator David Walker graces the bouncing rhyme with roly-poly illustrations of kittens of all colors. "Kittens growing into cats / Strong and nimble acrobats / Chasing mice and rats away, / Taking catnaps through the day." A wonderful read-aloud book for young cat lovers. Also highly recommended is Meyer's previous children's picturebook, "Puppies! Puppies! Puppies!"

The Bee Tree
Stephen Buchmann and Diana Cohn, authors
Paul Mirocha, illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901
0938317989, $17.95

Entomologist Stephen Buchmann and award-winning children's book author Diana Cohn present The Bee Tree, a stunning children's picturebook based on the real-life traditions of honey hunters of Malaysia's indigenous people, who use special techniques to collect honey from dangerous, 1-inch long giant honeybees of the rainforest. Though fierce, the giant wild honeybees are also a critical link of the rainforest's ecology, and are deeply respected by the honey hunters. The Bee Tree recounts the legend of Hitam Manis, a servant girl who became transformed into a bee, and tells of the many precautions honey hunters take to avoid being stung (such as collecting honey only on moonless nights, and sending sparks to the ground to lure away guardian bees from the honeycomb), all through the eyes of a young boy being schooled in ancient ways. Illustrator Paul Mirocha made five trips to Malaysia to perfectly capture the color, life, and near-magical wonder of the Malaysian rainforest and its bees in this wonderful picturebook, supplemented at the end with a section of amazing facts about Malaysia's rainforests, bee trees with up to one hundred bee honeycombs, and honey hunters. Highly recommended.

Rudy Rides the Rails
Dandi Daley Mackall, author
Chris Ellison, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
c/o Thomson Gale
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535
1585362867, $17.95 1-800-231-5163

Author and novel-writing teacher Dandi Daley Mackall presents Rudy Rides the Rails: A Depression Era Story, a picturebook featuring dark, softly painted yet realistic paintings by award-winning children's book artist Chris Ellison. Though Rudy Rides the Rails is a work of historical fiction, the story and earthy art tones are meant to capture the spirit of Americans who lived through the hard times of the Great Depression. Young Rudy leaves home in search of work, or at least hoping to give his family one fewer mouth to feed. He rides the rails as a hobo puts in backbreaking effort, and finds that the kindness of strangers goes a long way. A special glossary of Depression-era and hobo terms (such as "Hoover blanket" for newspapers used as blankets, because many blamed then-President Hoover for the bad economy) and hobo signs (such as a smiling cat to represent kindness) rounds out this fascinating and nostalgic picturebook, recommended for children who are just about ready to make the transition to chapter books due to the quantity of story text.

Our Story Magic
Gcina Mhlophe
University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
c/o International Specialized Book Services (ISBS)
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
1869141113, $29.95 1-800-944-6190

Our Story Magic is a collection of fantastic fables and magical fairytales steeped in ancient South African tradition, spun by author Gcina Mhlophe and vividly illustrated by artists from KwaZulu-Natal. Due to its preponderance of text, Our Story Magic is ideal for children who are just about ready to graduate from picturebooks to chapter books, yet still appreciate the beautiful touch of color artwork spreading across the book pages. Each individual magical tale is brief, usually less than ten pages; ten stories in all fill this wonderful collection highly recommended for folklore and children's library shelves.

Do You Know Why Butterflies Fly?
Tom McWhirter
Chupp Road Press
6547 Chupp Road, Lithonia, GA 30058
Bisson & Barcelona (distributor)
PO Box 458, Barrington, New Hampshire 03825
097618530X, $19.99

Do You Know Why Butterflies Fly? is a wonderful children's book about the importance of opening oneself up to new experiences and having the courage to venture in pursuit of one's dreams. A beautiful butterfly speaks to a young boy, and explains to him that the majority of caterpillars never transform in a cocoon and grow wings because they are afraid. But the butterfly who dares to change itself is different. "If the winds carry me, far will I roam. / For how can I be lost when the / world is my home. / I'm not afraid, I have faith in me, / and the courage to change into / all I can be." Gentle color illustrations with anthropomorphic touches add the perfect complement to this uplifting and encouraging storybook.

Nana's Big Surprise
Amada Irma Perez, author
Maya Christina Gonzalez, illustrator
The Children's Press
90 Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
0892391901, $16.95 1-800-621-1115

Award-winning author Amada Irma Perez presents Nana's Big Surprise, a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook about coping with loss. When grandmother Nana's beloved husband passes on and she comes to live with her children and grandchildren, her heart is heavy with sadness. Trying to cheer her up, the family surprises her with a coop of fluffy yellow chicks, just like the ones she used to raise. But the chicks don't lay eggs, and nothing seems to help Nana feel better - until one sunrise, the chicks reveal their secret. The emphatic and colorful illustrations by widely exhibited artist Maya Christina Gonzalez add the perfect visual flair to this heartwarming story of beloved memories.

Penny Love
Lisa Soares Hale, author
Marilee Harald-Pilz, illustrator
Winepress Publishing Group
1730 Railroad Street, Enumclaw, WA 98022
157921844X, $16.95

Hawaiian mother Lisa Soares Hale presents Penny Love, a delightful picturebook about family traditions that span generations. When a little girl spies a lost penny, her grandmother tells her, "Whenever you find a penny, you will know that Grandma loves you." Gradually, the girl fills a jar with pennies at many different moments of her life; each discovery is a reminder of how much her grandmother loves her. One day, when she has grandchildren of her own, her granddaughter spies a penny and the tradition of love, comfort, and sharing continues. An enchanting and warmhearted picturebook, especially meant to be shared between grandparent and grandchild.

The Miracle of the Bears
Wolf Erlbruch, author
Michael Reynolds, translator
Europa Editions
116 East 16th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10003
1933372214, $14.95 1-800-283-3572

Winner of the 2006 Hans Christian Andersen Award, The Miracle of the Bears is a simple children's picturebook about the beginnings of new life, skillfully translated from the original German by Michael Reynolds. When a bear wakes up from his long winter sleep, he finds himself yearning to have and raise a family of his own. But how does he find one? Where do bear cubs come from? He asks advice from animal friends but none of them seem to have the answer. When he asks a stork, she replies, "I go hunting for frogs, and I spend winters in Africa. I don't do anything else!" At last the bear meets a girl bear who may have the answer to his question. While the graphic details of the facts of life are never given in The Miracle of the Bears, it is an excellent way to broach the subject with young children. Also highly recommended is "The Big Question", another illustrated title by award-winning author Wolf Erlbruch.

Goodnight, Sweet Pig
Linda Bailey, author
Josee Masse, illustrated
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
155337844X, $18.95 1-800-265-0884

Award-winning children's book author Linda Bailey and illustrator Josee Masse present Goodnight, Sweet Pig, a rhyming children's picturebook that is part bedtime story, part counting book, and entirely enjoyable cover to cover. A little girl pig is trying to go to sleep, but pigs number two through ten each have other ideas in mind! "Pig number three liked to watch TV / and paint her trotters and drink iced tea. / Four was a boar who juggled with plums. / Five came to bed with a full set of drums." At last the little girl pig has to stand up for herself and demand peace and quiet for her nighttime sleep! The exuberant color illustrations perfectly capture the rhyming whimsy of this delightful story perfect for reading aloud to little ones.

The Old Man and the C
Carole Jean Tremblay, author
Angela Donato, illustrator
Pineapple Press, Inc.
PO Box 3889, Sarasota, FL 34230-3889
1561643548, $15.95 1-800-746-3275

French and English elementary teacher Carole Jean Tremblay presents The Old Man and the C, a children's picturebook about Charlie, an old man who has been fishing for so long he resembles King Neptune more than a little. Entering the annual Fish-or-Cut-Bait Fishing Tournament, Charlie sets out on a quest for the ultimate big fish. But what he actually hooks is a golden letter C - a prize so unique that will change the very rules of next year's tournament! The slightly text-heavy story is ideal for young children who have graduated from easy reader picturebooks and are ready for wordier fare, and the soft color illustrations bring the impression and feel of the open sea to the page. Especially recommended for reading aloud and sharing with young fishing enthusiasts.

Dr. Duncan Dog On Duty!
Lisa Dunn-Dern & Andrea Yomtob
Visikid books
PO Box 641831, Los Angeles, CA 90064
1933156201, $16.99

"Dr. Duncan Dog On Duty!" is the picturebook story of a family where the father, the mother, the daughter, and the family pets all have their jobs to do. When an interracial family adopts a dog from the animal shelter, he is put to work as a therapy dog and visits sick children in the hospital every week, encouraging the kids to get through their hospital stay. Author Lisa Dunn-Dern's simple but engaging story for children ages 4 to 8 is quite nicely enhanced throughout with colorful illustrations by Andrea Yomtob. With its underlying message of service to others, "Dr. Duncan Dog On Duty!" is a pleasant and charming addition to any family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picturebook collection for young readers.

Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Barbara Azore's WANDA AND THE FROGS (0887767613, $18.95) tells of the resourceful Wanda, who is fascinated by tadpoles and who gives them to her class as a gift. But when the tadpoles grow legs, Wanda worries about what will happen when they turn into frogs – and so she decides to move them into her bedroom, with some unexpected consequences. Deborah Hodge's LILY AND THE MIXED-UP LETTERS (0887767575, $18.95) tells of Lily, who has trouble reading and is easily mixed up. A teacher's plan to have the class read in front of their parents leads to adult discovery of her problem – and a method of resolving them. Any elementary-grade reader with problems learning will readily empathize with Lily's learning disorder. Cary Fagan's TEN OLD MEN AND A MOUSE (0887767168, $18.95) tells of ten old men who come to pray and look after the synagogue daily – but when a little mouse arrives, they take extra special care, having something live to care for. One day the mouse provides them with a present – and that's where the trouble begins. This gentle story receives Gary Clement's vivid illustrations and a fine tale with a warm ending.

Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495 1-800-543-1918

Kate and M. Sarah Klise's IMAGINE HARRY (0152057048, $16.00) tells of Little Rabbit's very best friend Harry – who is imaginary. Little Rabbit is too busy having fun with his friend and avoiding baths to care who else sees him. Kids will find a warm, fun and identifiable read in this gentle picturebook store of a very good fantasy pal. David McPhail's BIG BROWN BEAR'S BIRTHDAY SURPRISE (0152060987, $16.00) tells of Rat, who has prepared a fine picnic surprise to celebrate his friend Big Brown Bear's birthday – but a boat on the river provides a very different avenue for exploration. BIG BROWN BEAR'S BIRTHDAY SURPRISE is a fun tale of friendship and discovery. Eve Bunting's HURRY, HURRY! (0152054103, $16.00) tells of a big day in the barnyard, and pairs large, colorful drawings by Jeff Mack with the zany story of animals rushing to view an event. The very young will appreciate the easy reader, which offers several words in big letters, plenty of action, and colorful pictures parents can easily use to help reinforce sounds and words. Libraries will find these are all excellent choices.

The Gulps
Rosemary Wells
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
0316014605, $16.99

The Gulps love junk food and lots of it – but hate anything green. Papa Gulp revs up a big RV, Mama packs it full of snacks, and the kids are off for a fun adventure – but the family's overloaded fat vehicle can't take them very far unless they change their habits. Marc Brown provides oversized, zany drawings to reinforce both a fun story and a realistic message about size and ability: perfect for modern collections.

Front Street Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431

Jamison Odone's HONEY BADGERS (1932425519, $16.95) tells of a boy brought up by mammals considered the most fearless creatures in the world – and so he himself is gentle and fearless as a result. Funny images about a boy's life as an honorary honey badger complete with honey badger father and family provide a gentle story kids will appreciate. Sylvia van Ommen's THE SURPRISE (1932425853, $16.95) tells of Sheep, who wants to make a special gift for her best friend. When her wool is long enough she rides her moped to buy some red dye, ten dyes her wool and shaves it off. But what is she making? A fun wordless picture book invites kids to guess.

The Wonderful Thing About Hiccups
Cece Meng
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618595449, $16.00

A case of hiccups during story time in the library is the worst case scenario – especially if a hippo is involved. Janet Pedersen's rollicking, fun drawings pack a funny story of wet sisters, loud hippos, strange librarians and more which is unpredictable from start to finish – and delightfully different. Teachers and librarians will find this a popular leisure read choice, adding life and a unique approach to a picturebook collection.

The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds
Marisabina Russo
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
0375839615, $15.99 1-800-726-0600

Night has arrived and little bunnies are tucked in bed – but they just can't keep still, and want to play their trains and toys all night. How can a tired mother and father keep their very active little bunnies from playing with their toys all night? THE BUNNIES ARE NOT IN THEIR BEDS is a fun, gentle read-aloud perfect for the very young.

Atheneum Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Andrea Perry and Alan Snow's THE SNACK SMASHER AND OTHER REASONS WHY IT'S NOT MY FAULT (0689854692, $16.99) spins a funny fantasy about a host of mischievous creatures who are out to wreck havoc in kids' lives, from creating hair disasters on school picture day to eating one piece of a puzzle or drinking ink out of pens. Whimsical rhymes survey the extent of these creatures and their influence on daily lives. Brian Floca's LIGHTSHIP (1416924361, $16.99) reads with the drama and action of fiction but is actually a nonfiction account of a 'lightship, which once anchored across America, going where lighthouses couldn't be built to help guide ships to safe waters. Descriptions of the lightship's construction, crew and purposes are accented by excellent drawings throughout to provide young leisure readers with a special interest survey perfect for any who love boats.

Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003

Orel Protopopescu's TWO STICKS (0374380228, $16.00) features whimsical alligator drawings by Anne Wilsdorf as it tells of Maybelle, who wants some drumming noise but only has two sticks to produce a rhythm with. Undaunted, she defies tired parents and runs off to practice her beat in the world, eventually falling into a swamp where alligators pick up the rhythm and action. Mordicai Gerstein's LEAVING THE NEST (0374343691, $16.00) tells about curious young animals who want to leave their safe homes to see the world. All are growing up – and all interact on an unusual level in this warm story of making new discoveries – and new friends.

Christin Ditchfield
Golden Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
0375835407, $14.99 1-800-726-0600

Rosalind Beardshaw provides large-sized, fun pictures to accent a very easy beginner's reader telling of the source of a 'cowlick'. When the moon is high, that's when the giver of the cowlick trods down the hall, A zany, gentle story of a loving cow provides a fun alternative idea of a cowlick's origins.

I've Got An Elephant
Anne Ginkel
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chatahoochee Avenue, Altanta, GA 30318-2112
1561453730, $16.95

A child loves his comforting elephant which seems to him better than the teddy bears the other kids own – until the elephant gets lonely and invites a friend over. Then there are two elephants – until loneliness again sets in . A fun blend of friendship story and easy counting rhyme examines what to do when too many elephants are involved.

The World History Shelf

Adventures of the Treasure Fleet
Ann Bowler, author
Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard, illustrator
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
0804836736, $19.95

If you've dreamed of sailing in a lovely wooden ship around the world and exploring strange new land, be advised one emperor of early China dreamed of just such adventure – and achieved it! Years before European ships rounded the tip of Africa. "Adventures of the Treasure Fleet: China Discovers the World" is a picturebook recounting the true story of Admiral Zheng, who sailed on seven far-reaching expeditions five hundred years ago, at the behest of the Chinese emperor. Zheng's exploits fighting pirates, discovering new lands, and captaining the legendary "Treasure Fleet" make for a rousing adventure. Admiral Zheng He and his fleet of 'treasure ships' embarked on 7 different expeditions that sailed further than any thought possible – and continued the journey for over 28 years. Finely drawn and colorful pencil drawings by Singaporean artist Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard illustrate this amazing story, told in narrative format with additional historical facts mentioned at length on the bottoms of the pages. Highly recommended for public and children's library collections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Road by the Road
Joanne Ryder
Henry Holt and Company
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
080507354X, $16.95

Toads are small and often hidden, but they inhabit rich natural worlds – worlds explored in an unusual blend of verse and realistic drawings by Maggie Keen in ROAD BY THE ROAD: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF THESE AMAZING AMPHIBIANS. Nonfiction natural history at the bottom of each page accompanies the verses and explorations in this multi-faceted account kids will find a solid introduction to both poetry and natural history.

Books in Series

Picture Window Books
5115 Excelsior Blvd., Suite 232, Minneapolis, MN 55416 1-877-371-1536

The collaborative work of accomplished children's author Carrie Finn and gifted illustrator Chris Lensch, 'Way to Be! Manners' is an impressive and very strongly recommended six volume series of books on proper manners and etiquette specifically created for boys and girls ages 4 to 8, preschool through second grade. The 'hows' and 'whys' of being polite and courteous in six different settings is nicely explained in a simple 'kid friendly' text that is superbly augmented by full color and cheerful illustrations. The individual titles comprising this outstanding series includes: Manners at School (1404831517); Manners in the Library (1404831525); Manners in Public (1404831533); Manners on the Playground (1404831541); Manners at the Table (140483155X); and Manners on the Telephone (1404831568). With each book being enhanced for the benefit of young readers with the inclusion of a 'hero profile', a glossary, a book list, and an index, school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the entire six volume set ($143.58 List; $107.70 Library) for their collections, while homeschooling parents and caretakers could acquire the volumes individually ($23.93 List; $17.95 Library).

The Child's World, Inc.
PO Box 326, Chanhassen, MN 55317-0326 1-800-599-7323

With an informative commentary and quite nicely illustrated by Rob Court, 'Doodle Books' is an eight volume series of instructional books specifically designed and enthusiastically recommended for children ages 4 through 7 (preschool through first grade) to instruct them in the art of drawing simple pictures using basic shapes. The titles comprising this fun and 'kid friendly' series includes: How to Draw Airplanes (1592968031); How to Draw Cars and Trucks (159296804X); How to Draw Christmas Things (1592968058); How to Draw Dinosaurs (1592968066); How to Draw Flowers and Trees (1592968074); How to Draw Halloween Things (1592968082); How to Draw People (1592968090); and How to Draw Underwater Animals (1592968104). Each of these instructional manuals for aspiring young artists takes them from a basic simple shape (such as a triangle, square or circle), to a final drawing in just four easy steps. Fun and easy, the individual titles are available separately ($18.50List/$12.95 Library). School and community libraries should acquire the entire 'Doodle Books' series ($148.00 List; $103.60 Library) of hardcover books with reinforced library bindings for their collections.

Chelsea House Publishers
c/o Facts On File, Inc.
132 West 31st Street, 17th floor, New York, NY 10001-2006 1-800-322-8755

'Database Transportation' is an informative and superbly illustrated six volume series by June Loves of high interest books that use a computer screen like format to present a basic introduction for students in grades 5 through 8 to common forms of transportation. Very strongly recommended for both school and community library collections, the titles comprising this impressive series include: Airplanes (978-9-7910-6587-7); Bicycles and Motorcycles (079106591X); Cars (0791065898); Ships (0791065901); Spacecraft (079106588X ); and Trains (0791065863). The history of each of these major areas of transport is presented with full-color photography and illustrations. Each hardcover book is enhanced for young readers with the addition of a chronology, a glossary, and an index. Although each title is available individually ($22.95 List/$20.95 Library), school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the entire series ($137.70 List; $117.05 Library) for their students and young patrons.

Sea-to-Sea Publications
c/o Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002 1-507-388-1609

'Get Dancing' is an outstanding and enthusiastically recommended four volume series by Rita Storey showcasing popular dances that children can engage in for fun and exercise. The four titles comprising this thoroughly 'kid friendly', step-by-step, profusely illustrated, how-to, instruction manual are: Irish Dancing (1597710504); Line Dancing (1597710520); Rock 'n' Roll (1597710512); and Street Jazz (1597710490). Featuring basic background information, as well as tops on costumes, music, and stage performances, these lively dances are presented in full color, with each 32-page title includes a table of contents, a glossary, and an index. Although each titles is available separately ($27.10 List/$18.95 Library); school and community libraries should acquire the complete set ($108.40 List; $75.80 Library) for their collections.

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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