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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 5 May 2008 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Fiction Shelf American History Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf DVD Shelf Poetry Shelf
Music Shelf Science Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Dinosaur Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Preschool Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Books in Series Art Shelf Gardening Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Rica
Debbie Glade
Smart Poodle Publishing
PO Box 817468, Hollywood, FL 33081
9780980030792, $22.95

The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Rica is a children's book with accompanying audio CD following the adventures of a tiny millipede with a talent for playing the piano. Along with her grandparents, the plucky millipede goes on a wondrous journey deep into the Costa Rican rainforest! The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly features a number of catchy songs sung by various creatures; these songs are played with music on the audio CD, making for a most enjoyable reading and listening experience. Simple yet colorful illustrations round out this surprisingly long and involved picturebook adventure. Highly recommended.

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

Elaine Landau's THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION: WOULD YOU DO WHAT LINCOLN DID? (0766028992, $23.95) offers students in grades 3-4 an outstanding opportunity to not just read abut Lincoln's decisions, but involves students in the process. In a 'what would you choose' setting, kids are invited to review the politics and impact of the Emancipation Proclamation for themselves - and in the process to learn and understand more about its creation and ideas. Nancy Bentley's DON'T BE A COPYCAT! WRITE A GREAT REPORT WITHOUT PLAGIARIZING (0766028607, $27.93) is for grades 3-4 and not only defines plagiarism and copying, but tells students how to do research. Take notes and write great reports without stealing copy. Since the fine lines between plagiarism and originality are often shady, it's nice to have a reference for this age group that teaches the basics of originality early on. Suzanne Lieurance's THE LOCKET: SURVIVING THE TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FIRE (076602928X, $27.93) tells of Galena, who lives in New York and works at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory with her sister - until a horrible fire changes her life. The fictionalization of a real historical event and the dramatization of early labor issues involves reader in a fast-paced, gripping story hard to put down.

The Most Special Bear
Bonita Mason, author
Sandy Hendricks, illustrator
Peach Bandana Studios
PO Box 117, Stoughton, WI 53589
9780979871801, $19.95 1-800-514-0155

Novelist and mother Bonita Mason presents The Most Special Bear, a children's picturebook created to help children accept and cope with the loss of a loved one. The Most Special Bear does not talk down to adults or children; it is a faith-neutral story meant to offer solace to children of any and all religious backgrounds, The Most Special Bear tells of a young boy and the teddy bear his grandfather gave him. The boy meets the Teddy Bear Lady at the hospice where his great-grandfather is spending his last days; she helps him dress up the teddy bear in a manner that reflects his Papa's tastes and personality. The boy is sad when his Papa passes on, but the teddy bear and his own memories of Papa are a comfort. An accompanying psychologist's note for adults reading The Most Special Bear to a child, as well as questions for discussion, round out this respectful and highly recommended children's book.

On Those Runaway Days
Alison Feigh, author
Laura Logan, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781575422862, $14.95 1-866-703-7322

On Those Runaway Days is a children's picturebook created especially to help teach children to see running away for what it truly is: a dangerous means of avoiding problems rather than learning how to confront and fix them. The straightforward text offers young readers simple means with which to constructively deal with problems instead. "When I feel scared or upset, that 'uh-oh' feeling starts inside me. It's a signal that reminds me to get out of the situation right away and find an adult I trust. My 'uh-oh' feeling is telling me this is one of those times. I need to stop running away and talk about how I feel." The simple color illustrations add a comforting touch to this highly recommended picturebook, ideal for parents (or teachers) to read aloud to children as a lead-in to talking about tough issues, and as a preventative to teach children about better options than running away before a crisis happens.

Learn Good Habits with Jessica
Learn Good Manners with Charles
Dominique Agnew, English versions
Jacqueline East, illustrator
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 870, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
1594961638, $6.95 (Learn Good Habits)
159496162X, $6.95 (Learn Good Manners)

Learn Good Habits with Jessica and Learn Good Manners with Charles are two delightful picturebooks ideal for teaching young people he basics of proper self-care and social interaction. In Learn Good Habits with Jessica, charming pictures and simple narration show an anthropomorphic kitten named Jessica as she goes through her daily routine: Going to bed early at night to wake up early in the morning, eating what's on her plate instead of playing with her food, washing her hands before each meal, conserving electricity and water, being thoughtful to others, and more. Jessica's unhelpful cousin Zoe, who is always picking fights and sometimes spends the whole day in front of the television, is also shown as an example of how not to behave! Similarly, Learn Good Manners with Charles has young Charles the bear teach the readers lessons in basic politeness, such as the importance of using the words "thank you" and "please", waiting patiently in line, listening without interrupting, and more, while Charles' cousin Trevor is the very embodiment of rudeness! Both picturebooks are superb teaching tools, ideal for parents to read aloud and share with young people. Highly recommended.

Forest Fairies
Katherine A. Harris & Steven Mach
W.J. Fantasy Inc.
955 Connecticut Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06607-1222
1560214732, $15.00, 1-800-222-7529

The use of shadows on a wall to tell a story is as old as storytelling itself. Author Katerine A. Harris and illustrator Steven Mach have collaborated to bring a new twist to an ancient storytelling tradition in "Forest Fairies: An Enchanted Forest Shadow Story". This unique storybook invites children ages 3 and older into an enchanted forest where each animal is watched over by its very own protective fairy. This 8" by 8", 26-page storybook, with its accompanying flashlight, is designed with die-cut fairies that project the shadow of the animal associated with them when the light shines through in a specially crafted 'shadow theatre'. "Forest Fairies" is wonderfully entertaining and a uniquely popular addition to any family library. Also very highly recommended are two other 'shadow story' titles from W. J. Fantasy Inc. which are written by the team of Lisa Allen and Julie Sharp, as well as featuring the lively artwork of Vickie Johnson: "Camping Out: A Shadow Story" (1560213876, $15.00) and "Time For Bed: The Secret Of Shadows" (1560213558, $15.00).

Silver Dolphin Books
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 1-800-788-3123

Activity kits that combine education with entertainment are one of the most effective ways to engage children and stimulate their creativity while enhancing their knowledge base. Silver Dolphin is a premier publisher of just such activity kits -- especially with their 'History in Action' series that features spectacular fold-out 3-models, collectible figures, press-out models, step-by-step instructions, and accompanying illustrated books packed with fascinating historical details and 'infobits'. "Medieval Castle" ($18.95), comes in an outer case that creates a realistic 3-D when opened, and is specifically designed for children ages 8 and older. Thoroughly 'kid friendly', children learn about serving as a young page in a medieval court, training to be the squire of a knight, even taking part in a jousting tournament. Using the interaction qualities of the kit, children can recreate scenes such as a bloody castle siege, a magnificent court banquet, even the medieval trial of a prisoner. "Pirate Ship" ($18.95) is also designed for children ages 8 and up and has the theme of an 18th century pirate ship complete with tying knots, swabbing decks, mending sails, battling ships on the high seas, being shipwrecked by a violent storm, and more! Both of these superbly designed and colorful activity kits are especially appropriate gifts for adventurous children -- and perfect for rainy day activities as well.

The Fiction Shelf

Alice's Birthday Pig
Tim Kennemore, author
Mike Spoor, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853356, $12.00 1-800-253-7521

Alice's Birthday Pig is a chapter book for young readers ages 7-10 about a girl who longs for a pet of her very own, and who gets frustrated over her inability to properly pronounce the world "animal". Her brother teases her by comparing the way she talks to that of their baby sister Rosie, which is completely unfair since Rosie is only three! Alice's dream of having a pet pig eventually comes to pass in a surprising way - when she becomes the proud owner and responsible caretaker of a guinea pig! A handful of charming black-and-white illustrations enhance this upbeat, easy-to-read story.

The Treasure of Amelia Island
M.C. Finotti
Pineapple Press, Inc.
PO Box 3889, Sarasota, FL 34230-3889
9781561644162, $14.95 1-800-746-3275

The Treasure of Amelia Island is a historical fiction novel for young readers with an accompanying reader's guide including chapter prereading questions and predictions, discussion questions, and suggestions for essays and projects. Set in the Spanish territory of Florida during the early 1800s, The Treasure of Amelia Island follows the Kingsley family - Zephaniah, who married the black slave Ana Jai and freed her from slavery along with their children, including young Mary Kingsley. Patriots from the United States of America sought to lay claim to Florida, with the intent of making it into a slave state. The Patriots did not care that Zephaniah had freed his wife and children. Amid this tense political backdrop, Mary Kingsley decides to set out in search of a legendary pirate treasure with her brother George and her half-brother Diego. An exciting adventure ensues, in this captivating story written with close attention to historical detail. The Treasure of Amelia Island is especially recommended for middle school libraries.

The Lost Secret of Fairies
Tiffany Turner
Trafford Publishing
2333 Government Street, Suite 6E, Victoria, BC, Canada V8T 4P4
9781425146719, $12.99,

Book One of Tiffany Turner's Crystal Keeper Chronicles series, "The Lost Secret of Fairies" follows elementary school student Wanda as she discovers that the world of fairies is real and that somehow she has become the Crystal Keeper, the human caretaker of the world of fairies. They grow ill from the pollution that is so plentiful in the human world and now Wanda must find the cure, while answering the assorted questions that have struck her as she falls into this predicament. "The Lost Secret of Fairies" is highly recommended for children's book shelves as the perfect bridge from picturebooks to young adult novels. Children 7-11 will love it.

Maggie and the Chocolate War
Michelle Mulder
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street Ste 401 Toronto ON M5V 2M5
9781897187272, $14.95,

1947 - World War II is done, and Canada's rationing practices put in place for the war should be long over. Not so, as "Maggie and the Chocolate War" states - although technically fiction, it's inspired strongly by real events where kids began to protest a sudden increase in chocolate prices. Driven by desire to buy her best friend Jo a chocolate bar for her birthday and the sudden increase in price to eight cents versus the normal five prevents that. Maggie has a call to action with the other children which has more of an impact than one think. "Maggie and the Chocolate War" is an easy read and a great bridge between picture books and novels for early readers- highly recommended for community library kids historical fiction collections.

Knopf Delacorte Dell Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

William Durbin's THE WINTER WAR (9780385746526, $15.99) tells of Marko, who volunteers as a messenger on Finland's front line when the Soviet Union invades its neighbor in 1939. His contributions will help change the face of conflict in a war where defeat seems initially inevitable. Mary Pope Osborne's 39th addition to her 'Magic Tree House' series, DARK DAY IN THE DEEP SEA (9780375837319, $11.99) tells of Jack and Annie, who have to find one of the four secrets of happiness to help save Merlin the magician. But when they find themselves on a misty island, they wonder how they can find anything - and when a pirate ship turns out to be the world's first floating science lab, an even more exciting expedition results. Isobelle Carmody's LITTLE FUR: A MYSTERY OF WHISKERS (9780375838583, $12.99) features a soft, dark blue velvety cover to add tactile interest to the latest addition to the popular Little Fur series for middle school readers. Little Fur is half troll, half elf: she protects her friends from evil and here searches for her friend Ginger the cat, in the process uncovering an ages-old secret. Allison Whittenberg's LIFE IS FINE (9780385734806, $15.99) tells of loner Samara's struggles with a distant mother and overbearing mother's boyfriend, and her attraction to a new teacher who helps introduce her to larger possibilities in her life. When Mr. Brooks vanishes, she finds that he may not be all he seemed after all - and questions which of her newfound dreams she can hold onto. Michael Harmon's THE LAST EXIT TO NORMAL (9780375840982, $15.99) tells of Ben, whose life has been chaos ever since his father told him he was gay - and pulled him out of a troubled city life to move to a small town in Eastern Montana to live with him and his boyfriend. Ben's investigations of trouble at a house next door reveals a small town secret which is dangerous and challenging to all in this moving story of differences and change.

The American History Shelf

Sacagawea: Shoshone Explorer
Michael T. Crosby
OTTN Publishing
16 Risler Street, Stockton, NJ 08559
9781595560261, $25.95

1805, a lone Shoshone woman guides Lewis and Clark on their historic expedition - a tale almost every American knows. "Sacagawea: Shoshone Explorer" takes this beloved true tale and tells the reader everything they could possibly want to know about the brilliant guide woman who Lewis & Clark would be lost without. Enhanced with over fifty color photos throughout, a bibliography, an index, glossary, and much more; "Sacagawea: Shoshone Explorer" is highly recommended for any history library collection catering to children and young adults as an informed and informative guide to her life and accomplishments.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Smart Brain Train
Nina Anderson & Frances Mesier (authors), Scott Johnstone (illustrator)
Safe Goods Publishing
561 Shunpike Road, Sheffield, MA 01257
9781884820878, $7.95,

Parents encourage children to keep their bodies healthy and fit from childhood, so why not their young and growing brains? "The Smart Brain Train: How to Keep Your Brain Healthy and Wise" encourages children to take care of the only brain they have, explaining little things they can do to improve their brain's condition, such as proper diet, exercises, activities that help and more. Enhanced with an index and a bonus progress chart, "The Smart Brain Train: How to Keep Your Brain Healthy and Wise" is written for all ages and is easy to read for such - highly recommended for community library children's health sections.

Harry Goes to the Hospital
Howard J. Bennett, M.D., author
M.S. Weber, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433803192, $14.95 1-800-374-2721

Harry Goes to the Hospital: A Story for Children About What It's Like to Be in the Hospital is more than an ordinary picturebook. Medical doctor Howard J. Bennett wrote Harry Goes to the Hospital specifically to prepare young people for a hospital stay. Harry Goes to the Hospital addresses many of the difficult things young people can expect: having to stay in bed for hours, funny smells, prickly needles, homesickness, adjusting to the presence of many busy, sick, or worried people, and more. The simple, charming illustrations complement the sympathetic text, which reveals that imagination, reassurance, and just knowing that loved ones are there can all be very helpful during a hospital say. A "Note to Parents" by psychologist Virginia Shiller, Ph.D. rounds out this welcome and needed contribution to public and private children's libraries.

The DVD Shelf

Dooby Dooby Moo
Doreen Cronin & Betsy Lewin
Weston Woods Studios/Scholastic
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
DVD803, $59.95, 1-800-290-7531

Originally published as an Atheneum picturebook, "Dooby Dooby Moo" by children's author Doreen Cronin and children's book illustrator Betsy Lewin has now been adapted as an animated ten-minute DVD. Duck finds out about a talent show. He and the other animals on Farmer Brown's farm start rehearing for the event. Farmer Brown is having trouble figuring out just what's going on! This superbly produced and presented DVD adaption features narration by Randy Travis, music by Schotty Huff and Robert Reynolds, vocal performance by John Carrol, and direction by MaGiK Studios. "Dooby Dooby Moo" is also available from Weston Woods Studios in three other formats: Closed-Captioned Video (MPV803VCC, $60.00); Hardcover Book/CD (HCD803, $29.95); and Hardcover Book/Cassette (HRA803, $24.95). Also very highly recommended for school and community library DVD collections for children are five other outstanding titles from Weston Woods Studios: Max's Words (DVD814, $59.95); "My Senator And Me: A Dog's-Eye View Of Washington, D.C." (DVD804, $59.95); "Rosa" (DVD829, $59.95); "A Very Brave Witch" (DVD828, $59.95); and "Wallace's Lists" (DVD812, $59.95).

Tobacco: What About It?
PO Box 8082, Shawnee Mission, KS 66208
9781559423939, $79.95, 1-800-821-3303

Tobacco is one of the most addictive substances to remain legal in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Those who market tabbaco products know that to insure a life-time addict to what they have to offer, it is necessary to lure children into the habit of tobacco use. This is in despite of governmental regulations and popular outcrys to the contrary. Also available in a VHS format (9781559421775, $69.95), as well as Spanish language VHS and DVD editions, "Tobacco: What About It?" is a thirteen minute program specifically designed for children in grades 4 through 6. The viewers will meet Janet, who is confronting the question of whether to start smoking. Guidance comes from an unexpected source in the form of an interplanetary traveler who is trying to understand human behavior. Because fully half of all smokers try their first cigarette by the age of thirteen, "Tobacco: What About It?" is especially timely, appropriate, and strongly recommended for both school and community library collections because it provides young viewers with compelling, fact-based, health-conscious reasons not to experiment with or smoke tobacco.

The Character Chronicles
Live Wire Media
273 Ninth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
DVD, $69.95 each;, $359.50 series, 1-800-359-KIDS

Qualities of ethics, fairness, compassion, honesty, and all the other qualities of good character must be instilled into children by more than just parental lectures and classroom teacher admonitions. They must be illustrated by example, discussion, pragmatism, wit and wisdom. That's way Live Wire Media has produced "The Character Chronicles", a six volume DVD series specifically designed to use with students in grades 4 through 8. The individual 25-minute full color live action programs focuses upon a specific quality of good character. The six individual programs include: The Respect Connection; The Trust Connection; The Responsibility Connection; The Fairness Connection; The Caring Connection; The Citizenship Connection. Also available in a VHS format, all of the programs are enhanced with a closed-captioned feature, and includes a facilitator's guide with discussion questions, writing assignments, and other activities to provide an effective learning experiences. Superbly produced, "The Character Chronicles" is an effective and highly recommended supplemental addition to public, private, parochial, and home-schooling curriculums.

Trevor Romain Collection
PorchLight Home Entertainment
11050 Santa Monica Blvd., 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Greenleaf & Associates (publicity)
DVD $14.98 each,

Children's motivational speaker and award-winning video personality Trevor Romain presents two new volumes in his educational DVD series for young adults ages six and up. "If You Don't Take Care of Your Body Where Else Are You Going To Live?" ($14.98, 30 min.) follows young Jack, Skye, and Darryl in the aftermath of an abysmal performance during Field Day at James Tovar Middle School. Accepting a 30-day fitness challenge from Coach Trevor Romain, they learn that physical activity and healthy eating habits both invigorating and fun to practice! An upbeat and enlivening antidote to today's sedentary and junk food-saturated culture, "If You Don't Take Care of Your Body" includes the bonus features of a "Trevor Live on Health" segment, an interview with Trevor Romain, and a "Move Everybody" music video with karaoke. In "Bullies are a Pain in the Brain" ($14.98, 30 min.), young Jack is chronically being picked on at school, and nothing seems to work. Just as he decides to stay home from school forever, Trevor and Jack's friend Skye take it upon themselves to teach strategies for becoming bully-proof. The practical, easy-to-follow recommendations include building confidence, staying calm, giving bullies space, telling an adult, and more. "Bullies are a Pain in the Brain" also dispels myths such as the idea that bullying is normal, bullies are always boys, or that the best way to handle bullies is to ignore them or fight back. Both DVDs have the option of Spanish subtitles and are highly recommended for public libraries and home viewing as well as for school classrooms.

The Daydreamer
Anchor Bay Entertainment
1699 Stutz Drive, Troy, MI 48084
Sayles & Winnikoff Communications (publicity)

The Daydreamer is a children's DVD movie filmed through an amazing combination of live-action and stop-motion animation. Adapting some of Hans Christian Andersen's most famous fairytales, The Daydreamer follows a young Andersen as he imagines his fables come to life. The adapted classic Andersen fairytales include "The Little Mermaid", "The Emperor's New Clothes", and "Thumbelina". A commemorative booklet, still gallery, and poster round out this delightful DVD sure to entertain kids and adults alike, starring the voices of such well-known personalities as Boris Karloff, Patty Duke, Robert Goulet and more. 99 minutes, closed-captioned, full frame presentation.

The Poetry Shelf

Some of the Parts
Gerry Rzeppa
Sunray Publishing
25123 22nd Avenue, St. Cloud, MN 56301
9781934478011, $14.00,

Growing up can be a long and confusing process, and "Some of the Parts" is here to give parents something to read their children to explain it. Written in a beautiful lyrical style throughout, and charmingly illustrated throughout with plain, yet full of life silhouettes. "Some of the Parts" tackles various issues throughout its pages, everything from evolution to life after death and so much more than that, to provoke tender moments between parents and children. "Some of the Parts" is highly recommended to children's picture book shelves everywhere.

The Music Shelf

African Dreamland
Putumayo Kids
411 Lafayette Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10003
Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
CD, $14.98,

The latest in the "Dreamland" series of music CDs, African Dreamland is a treat for listeners of all ages, featuring peaceful and relaxing melodies by African singers. Some songs are purely vocal; others are accompanied by traditional instruments such as the kora, mbira, and balafon. All are a wonderful lullaby tunes ideal for helping listeners young or old drift off to sleep. The tracks (representing a diversity of African nations and cultures) are "Nomathemba", "Mimi", "Lonon", "Douyore", "Agalilala", "Usa Cheme", "Ikope Ye Tollo", "Mali Sadio", "Salaman", "Kula Bebe", and "Sao Horas de Dormir"; liner notes in English, Spanish, French, and German are included. A portion of the sales proceeds from "African Dreamland" will be donated to NextAid, a non-profit organization committed to creating and implementing solutions to the difficult challenges confronting African children.

Family Tree
Frances England
Paper Bird Records
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $14.00,

Frances England is an award-winning children's recording artist whose newest CD release "Family Tree" is a compilation of sixteen lively songs with a kind of independent folk music flair. Superbly produced and recorded, Frances England's vocals perfectly blend her engaging lyrics with melodies and rhythms sure to delight young listeners everywhere. The perfectly crafted songs include Animal Inside You; Best Friends; I Scream, You Scream; Tea Party; Firefly; Fast Train to Grandma's; Giddy Up; spring has Sprung; Don't Fly Away; Up a Tree; Sleepyhead Mommy; free to Be Me; Animal Friends; Tugboat; You & Me; and the title piece, Family Tree. As a pure entertainment, "Family Tree" is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library CD music collections for young children.

The Science Shelf

11 Planets
David A. Aguilar
National Geographic Society
1145 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-4688
Media Masters Publicity (publicity)
9781426302367, $16.95

Recently, modern astronomers came to a new consensus on how to view the solar system: the relatively tiny celestial body Pluto no longer qualifies as a planet, but is rather a "dwarf planet", and at least two more celestial bodies in our solar system (Ceres and Eris) deserve to be called "dwarf planets" as well. 11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System is an up-to-date look at the planets for inquisitive young minds, filled with fun facts about the eight planets, Pluto the dwarf planet, various planetary moons, Ceres and the asteroid belt, the Kuiper belt and Eris, and more. Illustrated with space photography as well as breathtaking artwork, 11 Planets is a simple yet fascinating look at the scientific wonders beyond Earth, highly recommended for children's library collections.

Locusts: Insects on the Move
Sandra Markle
The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780822572985, $27.93 1-800-328-4929

Part of the "Insect World" series, Locusts: Insects on the Move is an extraordinary look at the biology and life cycle of these destructive yet fascinating insects. They can be either solitary or gregarious; when the weather turns dry and grasses die, locusts live closer together and proximity works an amazing biological change. Gregarious locusts become more brightly colored; their eyes grow larger; and they congregate in great swarms that devour food. When they finally run out of food the remaining locusts separate and go back to being solitary. Though locusts are known for being harmful to human farmers' crops, they are also an important food source for animals - and people can eat them too! Locusts: Insects on the Move also covers the reproductive cycle of the locust, and many more curious facts. Illustrated with top-notch photography, Locusts: Insects on the Move is an excellent educational book highly recommended for children's library collections and for young insect lovers.

The Picturebook Shelf

Alfred Knopf

Grace Lin's BRINGING IN THE NEW YEAR (9780375837456, $15.99) tells of a Chinese family who sweeps out the old year and brings spring-happiness poems, lanterns and celebrations in for the New Year. Lively color drawings bring to life the customs of one family's Chinese New Year celebrations. Janet Schulman's PALE MALE: CITIZEN HAWK OF NEW YORK CITY (9780375845581, $16.99) tells of a rare red-tailed hawk's appearance in an oasis in the center of New York City. There he finds a mate and they build a nest atop one of Fifth Avenue's swankiest apartment buildings. Fine watercolors by Meilo So enhance this story of an urban legend in a picturebook requiring good reading skills but promising much.

Great Expectations
Charles Dickens
40 Exchange Place Suite 1308, New York NY 10005
1597070971, $9.95

This first volume of the new 'Classics Illustrated' series provides graphic novelist Rick Geary's adaptation of Dickens' classic novel, using an all-color graphic novel format to reveal politics, morals and virtues. Fans of the comic book series which took literary classics and popularized them will find this approach translates well to book form, providing something new for young readers.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto ON M5A 2P9, Canada

Rick Jacobson's THE MASTER'S APPRENTICE (9780887767838, $18.95) receives Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson's fine drawings and tells of Marco, chosen as a junior apprentice to the young Michaelangelo, who must say goodbye to his home and family. His work for the master is threatened by a jealous older apprentice, and Marco is sent home in disgrace: can he find a way to stay even if he must break promises to do so? A fine story of adversity and courage evolves. Arlene Alda's HERE A FACE, THERE A FACE (9780887768453, $14.95) pairs color photos with one-line observations on how they can be interpreted. As an adjunct to any young person's introductory art library, it provides a set of winning images.

Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

Etienne Delessert's BIG AND BAD (0618889345, $17.00) tells of a wolf on the loose, who grows bigger and bigger the more creatures he gobbles up. The animals worry soon he'll become too big for the planet, so the other animals try to drown him, dig underground pits, and thwart him - to no avail, until a pair of cats enlists three pigs as bait. A fine remake of the traditional tale evolves. Arthur Geisert's HOGWASH (0618773320, $16.00) tells of little piggies who have had lots of fun playing and are now dirty and muddy- but their mother have a machine to wash them down… a vast washing machine. A zany wordless exploration is interesting and fun. Valorie Fisher's WHEN RUBY TRIED TO GROW CANDY (9780375840159, $16.99) tells of Ruby, who finds teacups growing on trees, shoes sprouting from the ground and eggbeaters hanging from branches. So what will happen when she plants jelly beans? Kids who love sweets will relish the tempting, colorful results here. Nancy Shaw's SHEEP BLAST OFF! (061813168X, $15.00) tells of a mysterious spaceship which lands in a pasture, and blundering sheep who get in for a zany space ride - without a knowledge of how to pilot a craft. Rhymes blend with Margot Apple's fun drawings in a survey of 'tinkering rocket sheep' who have a blast at the controls. Laura and Leo Espinosa's OTIS AND RAE AND THE GRUMBLING SPLUNK (061898206X, $12.95) tells of Otis and Rae who wish to go camping for the first time ever. Otis' vision of camping is to set up his tent to eat, but Rae wishes to tell scary stories of a Grumbling Splunk - and there the trouble begins. A zany, fun story evolves.

Harry N. Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011

Sherry North's BECAUSE YOU ARE MY BABY (9780810994829, $15.95) receives Marcellus Hall's lively drawings as it tells of parents who would do anything for their kids. It's a lullaby with a lovely, rollicking rhyme which pairs the verse with a warm, gentle observation perfect for parents and children at bed-time. Boni Ashburn's HUSH, LITTLE DRAGON (9780810994911, $15.95) receives Kelly Murphy's warm drawings and tells of a baby and mother dragon who search for snacks in the nearby village before bedtime. Who will they find? A different take on 'hush little baby' offers up an alternative, fun rhyme about a picky baby dragon. Both are perfect parent's picks for nighttime reading.

Michael Bedard
97803853306973, $16.99

In a yellow house in Massachusetts lives a woman who hasn't left the house and grounds in nearly twenty years. She hides from strangers - and only a young girl who lives across the street has been able to befriend her. Her name? Emily Dickinson… a fine survey of the poet's inner world comes to life in a lovely picturebook form is supplemented by fine color pictures by Barbara Cooney.

Abraham Lincoln and the Forest of Little Pigeon Creek
AmeriTales Entertainment
3525 Del Mar Heights Road, Suite 623, San Diego, Ca 92130
Kern Communication (publicity)
9780979873904, $19.95,

Written and illustrated to appeal to children ages 4 through 9, "Abraham Lincoln and the Forest of Little Pigeon Creek" is a unique picturebook that combines historical fact with entertaining fiction to portray a lively and entertaining tale of young Abraham Lincoln's adventures in the Indiana forested wilderness. Of special note in this superbly crafted and brightly colorful story is how, as a young boy, Abraham Lincoln was able to use his books to solve problems and adversities he encountered with ingenuity and good humor. "Abraham Lincoln and the Forest of Little Pigeon Creek" is a welcome and enthusiastically recommended addition to family, school, and community library collections.

A Day with Dad
Bo R. Holmberg, author
Eva Eriksson, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763632212, $15.99 1-800-526-0275

Written by teacher Bo R. Holmberg, A Day with Dad is a simple children's picturebook about a boy named Tim who shares the day with his dad. Tim lives with his mom and his dad lives in another town, but today Tim's dad has come to spend the day with him. They eat hot dogs together, go to see a cartoon movie, and visit the library. Tim is proud and happy to introduce his dad to everyone he meets. At last it is time for Tim's dad to take the train home. "'Excuse me,' Dad announces to the people in the train car. 'Can I say something?' Everyone stops and stares at him. 'Well,' Dad says, 'this is Tim. He is my son. He is the best son anyone could have.'" The simple, gentle illustrations add the perfect touch in this ideal book for helping a child get accustomed to the unfortunate necessity of seeing a separated parent only on certain days.

Our Favorite Time of the Year
Imre, Sandy, Kaitlyn, Zachary and Samuel Vitez
Sand Dreams Press, LLC
PO Box 24, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889-0024
9780979865602, $17.95

Our Favorite Time of the Year is a children's picturebook featuring gorgeous color photography of a family's fun-filled vacation on Long Beach Island. From gathering on the sandy beach to feeding seagulls to playing in tide pools and going rock climbing on the jetties, Our Favorite Time of the Year is a storybook wonderful book filled with heady memories of summer. "Our favorite time of year is when we go on vacation to Long Beach Island. When we arrive, the first thing we do is say hello to the lighthouse at Barnegat Light."

The Bugguzz: Let There Be Light
Angi Mari Yangas
Binx Books
1400 Citation Dr., Orland Park, IL 60467
9780980179606, $19.99

Artist and art teacher Angi Mari Yangas presents The Bugguzz: Let There Be Light, the first in a projected series of children's picturebooks inspired by her son. Despite the title, the Bugguzz are not bugs at all - they're microscopic heroes with super powers that live in Los Nostriles, city of boogers, also known as your nose! It's their job to protect you from diseases: colds, sore throat, runny nose, or the flu! The text is detailed enough to be ideal for young people almost ready to graduate to chapter books, or for parents to read aloud to children while teaching them about the wonders of their immune system. In spite of (or perhaps because of) being prone to bodily function gross-out humor, The Bugguzz: Let There Be Light is sure to appeal to inquisitive young readers, and is especially recommended to cheer up young people recovering from illness.

Piping Plover Summer
Janet Riegle
Raven Productions, Inc.
PO Box 188, Ely, MN 55731
9780980104547, $12.95

Piping Plover Summer is children's picturebook featuring singularly beautiful, colored pencil-style illustrations. A mated pair of endangered piping plover birds seek to build a nest and raise chicks in a dangerous natural environment. They are startled when biologists approach build an exclosure about their nest on the ground, yet the exclosure protects their vulnerable eggs from predators when their decoy routines to lead threats away prove insufficient. Eventually four piping plover chicks hatch! A final page shows the distribution of various piping plover species across North America. An environmentally conscious storybook that shows the beauty of animals in the natural world without a trace of anthropomorphization, highly recommended especially for young bird lovers.

The Hand that Scared Jenny
Beverly Rosas, author
Jeff Davis, illustrator
PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705-0151
1424191386, $19.95

Written by special education teacher Beverly Rosas, The Hand that Scared Jenny is a flat-spined children's picturebook about a young girl who is startled by a horrible green hand she sees crawling over the top of a fence! Jenny immediately begins an investigation, questioning an alleged wicked witch and a suspicious neighbor. But the true mastermind of the prank is none other than Jenny's naughty little brother! An imaginative picturebook, with bright, cartoony illustrations and fairly detailed text, suitable for young readers who are just about ready to make the transition to chapter books.

Sparkie Wyk
Dayette J. Zampolin, author
Kevin Scott Collier, illustrator
Xlibris Corporation
International Plaza II, Suite 340, Philadelphia, PA 19113
9781425782658, $21.99

Sparkie Wyk is a charming, softcover children's picturebook about small kingdom beset by terribly cold weather. All of their wood is too wet to burn; their only hope of survival is to ask the local Wyk family of dragons for help! Little Elfbert takes it upon himself to visit the Wyks and befriend the newly hatched Sparkie Wyk; together, Little Elfbert and Sparkie Wyk bring fire and warmth back to the kingdom. The simple, colorful pictures convey pure enthusiasm in this gentle, read-aloud storybook perfect for young dragon lovers.

Penny & Rio
Jennifer Swanson, author
Rosita Schandy & Neal Wooten, illustrators
Mirror Publishing
6434 W. Dixon Street, Milwaukee, WI 53214
9780981590417, $18.99

Penny & Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting is a softcover children's book featuring two canine friends who are diametric opposites. Penny is curious and adventurous, while her sister Rio likes to sleep most of the day. When Penny discovers that a cat, a groundhog, a squirrel, and an owl are using her backyard as a meeting place, she is determined to learn more about what is going on - while Rio is convinced that sleep is more important. The narrative story is detailed enough to make Penny & Rio ideal for young people who are almost ready to graduate to chapter books, and an important underlying theme - that one should be responsible for one's current pets and not abandon them to the city pound for a new pet - is also present in the cat's tale. Highly recommended, especially for young dog lovers.

Mommy's Love
Nikki Nia
Global Press
2083 Ridge Point Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
9780979215100, $16.95

Mommy's Love is a simple picturebook celebrating the special relationship between mothers and their children. The warmhearted illustrations show mothers and children of all colors and ethnic backgrounds together in play, while the simple words are easy for beginning readers to sound out for themselves. "Every ear loves to hear / & Mommy's ears love to hear you // Every nose loves to smell / & Mommy's nose loves to smell you." A treasure for mothers and children to share together, especially right before quiet time, naptime or bedtime.

Catch that Crocodile!
Anushka Ravishankar and Pulak Biswas
Tara Publishing
9788186211632, $16.95

Created by the award-winning children's book team Anushka Ravishankar and Pulak Biswas, Catch that Crocodile! is a rhyming tale of a crocodile on the loose and a village up in arms about it. But does the crocodile really have to be caught? Finally, a level-headed young girl calms down the villagers and solves the problem by setting out a trail of fish for the crocodile to follow to the river. The starkly frantic, two-color illustrations add an enthusiastic touch to this delightful picturebook steeped in East Indian culture.

Free Fall
David Wiesner
HarperCollins Children's Books
1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019
9780061567414, $17.99 1-800-242-7737

Created by three-time Caldecott Medal winner David Wiesner, Free Fall is a Caldecott Honor picturebook that tells its story entirely through colorful, wordless, full-page and two-page spread illustrations. When a young boy drifts off into dreamland, spectacular adventures await him - from confronting the lurking dragon that threatens a chess-piece castle, to flying on leaves that transform into swans. Graceful, surreal, and sure to stimulate the imagination, Free Fall is a joy to page through for fantasy lovers young and old.

Hush, Little Dragon
Boni Ashburn, author
Kelly Murphy, illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810994911, $15.95 1-800-759-0190

Hush, Little Dragon is a humorous children's picturebook that turns a traditional child's lullaby on its head. A doting mother dragon soothes her hatchling by singing him a rhyme - and bringing him human snacks! The whimsical color illustrations add just the right touch to this tongue-in-cheek bedtime storybook. "Hush, little dragon, don't make a sound. / Mama's gonna bring you a princess she found. // If that princess runs from you, / Mama's gonna bring you a knight or two. // And if those knights should try to flee, / Mama's gonna get a bit fiery. // When you want more goodies to munch, / Mama's gonna bring you a king for lunch."

We Both Read: Thumbelina
Hans Christian Andersen, author
Sindy McKay, adaptor
Quentin Greban, illustrator
Treasure Bay
40 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo, CA 94960
9781601150073, $14.95 1-800-476-6416

We Both Read: Thumbelina is a picturebook adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fable. Like all picturebooks in the "We Both Read" series, Thumbelina is designed to be read by parents and children together; longer, more complex passages are marked with one symbol for parents, and simple sentences are marked with a symbol for children. The colorful illustrations perfectly suit this timeless fairy tale about an extraordinarily tiny girl and the many adventures she has before finally meeting the prince of the flower kingdom. A wonderful picturebook perfect for sharing storytime with young people who are just learning to sound out words.

Bambi's First Day
Felix Salten, author
Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
c/o Thomson Gale
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535
9781585364220, $15.95 1-800-231-5163

Bambi's First Day is a picturebook rendition of a portion of Felix Salten's timeless work of literature about the life of a deer: his birth, his first feeding, and his mother's boundless love. Strikingly illustrated in a realistic style with just a hint of softness, Bambi's First Day is a wondrous means by which to introduce children to Salten's classic "Bambi"; even adults who have read the novel are sure to enjoy simply paging through the captivating paintings. Highly recommended.

The Dinosaur Shelf

Sylvia Funston
Maple Tree Press
c/o Publishers Group West (distributor)
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781897349250, $10.95

Illustrated with artwork and photographs throughout, Dino-Why? The Dinosaur Question and Answer Book is a fascinating repository for young readers ages 7-12 who are eager to learn more about this amazing yet extinct animals. Originally published as "The Dinosaur Question and Answer Book", and now in an extensively updated edition reflecting the latest dinosaur discoveries, Dino-Why? teaches young readers how dinosaur bones are extracted from rock, how fast dinosaurs are believed to have once moved, whether dinosaur cloning featured in movies such as "Jurassic Park" is feasible, and much more. Highly recommended, especially for public library collections and as a giftbook for young dinosaur enthusiasts.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Rina's Rainy Day
Chani Altein, author
Jerry Blackman, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628391, $10.95

Rina's Rainy Day is a picturebook written especially for young Jewish readers. Little Rina plans to enjoy a sunny day with her friend, but when rain preempts her plan, she says "Gam zu l'tova; I trust this is good," deciding to cook lunch and invite her friend to play indoors instead. But that plan also falls through. She says "Gam zu l'tova" again, despite her disappointment. However, we cannot always know why something is truly good; the rainy day was ultimately all part of Hashem's plan. The simple color illustrations enhance this heartfelt, spiritual picturebook story.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Best Nest
Doris L. Mueller & Sherry Neidigh
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464 1-877-958-2600
9781934359259, $8.95 (PB); 978193435909, $15.95 (HC)

Both as pets and in the wild, children are attracted to birds. Engagingly written by Doris L. Mueller and beautifully enhanced with the full color art work of Sherry Neidigh, "The Best Nest" is the retelling of an old English folktale about how long ago magpies built nests that were the envy of all the other birds. To help those other birds, Maggie Magpie patiently explained how to build a nest. But some birds were impatient and flew off without listening to all the directions. that is why today birds' nests come in all different shapes and sizes! Of special note is the addition to this highly recommended picturebook for children a very special educational section, 'For Creative Minds', that provides children with fun facts about birds, 'bird math', bird injuries, and a 'Match the Nest' activity with nest information for Magpies, Killdeer, Robins, Screech-Owls, Starlings, Brewer's Blackbird; the Common Grackle, Meadowlarks, Whip-poor-wills, Mourning Doves, and the Northern Oriole. Also from Sylvan Dell Publishing and very highly recommended for family, school and community library collections for children ages 2 to 6 is "Animals Are Sleeping" (9781934359266, $8.95 PB; 9781934359099, $15.95 HC) by author Suzanne Slade and illustrator Gary Phillips.

The Complete Cat Owner's Manual
Susie Page
Fog City Press
814 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
9781740893121, $4.99

Now in a compact paperback edition, The Complete Cat Owner's Manual: How to Raise a Happy, Healthy Cat is an excellent guide written for cat lovers, cat caretakers, and prospective cat owners of all ages and backgrounds. Chapters discuss how to care for one's cat, the basics of good feline health care, what one needs to know if considering breeding or showing one's cat, and an extensive summary of cat breeds. Featuring beautiful full-color photographs on every page of man's favorite feline friends, The Complete Cat Owner's Manual is a joy for cat lovers simply to page through as well as a jam-packed repository of invaluable information. For example, The Complete Cat Owner's Manual warns that the following foods should never be fed to cats: chocolate (poisonous to cats and dogs), onions (can cause a blood disorder called Heinz-body anemia), raw fish/poultry/eggs (often carry bacteria or parasites, and can destroy important vitamins), bones (may splinter and cause choking or gastrointestinal perforations) or dog food (which is not nutritionally formulated for cats). Highly recommended.

Little Lions, Bull Baiters & Hunting Hounds
Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto ON M5A 2P9, Canada
9780887768156, $19.95

Little Lions, Bull Baiters & Hunting Hounds: A History of Dog Breeds is an excellent survey for any interested in the evolution of work dogs and different breeds of dogs. From cocker spaniels to Welsh corgis, all kinds of dogs are reviewed for their history and breeding.

The Bilingual Shelf

Even the Dead Get Up for Milk / Hasta Los Muertos Se Levantan Por Leche
Chris Holaves (author); John Goomas (illustrator)
Astakos Publishing
P.O. Box 227, Roscoe, Illinois, 61073
9780979299100, $15.95,

Turning a funeral home into a just plain home does have its consequences, as young readers of "Even the Dead Get Up For Milk" will soon find out, following a young boy as he sees a family that is not his own and not apparently of the living sitting at his kitchen table drinking warm milk. Written in both English and Spanish, it will not only entertain young readers, it will educate them as they pick up the words from the language right under their own on every page, even the front and back covers. Beautifully illustrated in pen and ink, "Even the Dead Get Up For Milk" is highly recommended for children's picture book shelves everywhere.

Goin' To The Zoo
William J. Adams & Tom Stiglich
Mandy and Andy Books, Inc.
124 Meridian avenue, Poinciana, FL 34759
9780977275724, $10.95

Engagingly written by William J. Adams and illustrated in a 'kid-friendly' cartoon style by Tom Stiglich, "Goin' To The Zoo" is a bilingual picturebook for young readers that is a thoroughly entertaining story about a brother and sister who visit their local zoo and encounter all manner of interesting animals. Published in a 'flip book' style has an English dialogue on one side, then turn it over and there is a second version with a Spanish text. Of special note is the Glossary/Glosario in the center of the flip book. "Goin' To The Zoo is ideal for preschool and kindergarten ESL students and is and excellent addition to daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library bilingual storybook collections. Also very highly recommended is the "Goin' To The Zoo/Vamos al Zoologico" coloring book (97809772756731, $3.95) which would be ideal as a rainy day activity book or to keep children occupied on long car trips.

Solita and the Purple Moon
Miriam Isabel Elliot, author
Carlos E. Elliott, illustrator
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781434349323, $11.49 1-800-280-7715

Dedicated to the children of men and women in uniform, Solita and the Purple Moon is a flat-spined, bilingual English/Spanish children's picturebook about a young girl whose mother is deployed for military service. The lonely little girl strikes up an imaginary friendship with a purple moon. Simple, two-color artwork by the author's husband illustrate this poet, wistful, and comforting story. "Tired from her travels with her best friend, / over the sea and across the land, / the little girl slept and slept, / day and night, night and day, / holding her favorite book close to her chest."`

Joey Gonzalez, Great American
Tony Robles, author
Jim Pryor, illustrator
Kids Ahead Books/WND Books
c/o Midpoint Trade Books (distributor)
27 West 20th Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10011
9780976726937, $15.95

Joey Gonzalez, Great American is a bilingual English/Spanish book for young readers with an important message about good citizenship, and what it really means to be a great American. Young Joey Gonzalez dreams of growing up to become a great American, and to fulfill that dream he studies hard in school. But one day in class, his teacher Mrs. Glass tells him that Gonzalez isn't an "American name", and that because he is a "minority", he needs to rely on something called "affirmative action" to make his dream come true. Mrs. Glass' words have Joey and his friends questioning each other and even getting into arguments over something they've heard of called the "race card". "'This is awful,' Joey said to Andy. 'We got along fine before old Mrs. Glass told us we're different. Now Leon and Sandy are fighting over some stupid card and some uncle named Tom.'" Joey talks to his mother at home; she explains to him what being a great American is really all about: the determination to work hard, stand up, and speak the truth. Joey and his friends confront his teacher with a renewed sense of pride in themselves and their willingness to succeed: "I want to be a great American. And I don't need affirmative action or any of that stuff like race cards. I can succeed on my own like my ancestors." The soft color illustrations on every other page bring to life this simple yet culturally relevant moral tale, highly recommended for public, school, and children's libraries.

The Preschool Shelf

One Watermelon Seed
Celia Barker Lottridge, author
Karen Patkau, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135-3303
9781554550340, $17.95 1-800-387-9776

First published in 1986, One Watermelon Seed is a children's counting book that teaches young people about the numbers one through ten - followed by the numbers ten through one hundred! Two children Max and Josephine count the many seeds, plants, and harvested crops in their garden; their efforts are brought to brilliant life with vibrant color illustrations and easy-to-follow text. Each two-page spread perfectly illustrates the number being taught in this wonderful staple children's book, especially recommended for public library collections.

Counting in the Crazy Garden
Margarette Burnette, author
Brooke Henson, illustrator
JenPrint Publications
12195 Highway 92, Suite 114-162, Woodstock, GA 30188
9780965379137, $15.95

The first of the "Chipper Kids" series, Counting in the Crazy Garden is a children's picturebook that teaches young readers about the numbers one through ten. Unlike most counting books, Counting in the Crazy Garden also tells a story, about a young bear named Arnold Chipper who loves to make "food" from his garden but can't persuade his little brother Albert and friend Maria to eat any of his questionable meals like tumbleweed soup, or hairy, scary, spider cookies. But then Arnold discovers that when delicious food like fresh strawberries are grown in the garden, everyone loves to eat it! Bright, cheerful illustrations add the perfect touch to this delightful children's book.

An A to Z Walk in the Park
R. M. Smith
Clarence Henry Books
4135 Teton Place, Alexandria, VA 22312
9780615195728, $7.95

An A to Z Walk in the Park is a charming, softcover children's alphabet picturebook featuring colorful illustrations of over 200 zoo animals. The result is a fun way for young animal lovers to learn their ABCs! Especially recommended for parents to read aloud with children, as some of the alliterative verses are virtual tongue-twisters in their own right. "Ambling about the park for the letter Aa approaches an Alligator allying with an Aye-aye and a host of affable walk-alongs."

The Christian Studies Shelf

Drita: An Albanian Girl Discovers Her Ancestors' Faith...
Renee Ritsi, author
Cameron Thorp, illustrator
Conciliar Press
PO Box 76, Ben Lomond, CA 95005-0076
9781888212945, $10.95 1-800-967-7377

Written by former long-term Orthodox Christian missionary Renee Ritsi and illustrated by award-winning artist Cameron Thorp, Drita: An Albanian Girl Discovers Her Ancestors' Faith... is a flat-spined, Christian children's picturebook about a young Albanian girl who learns about the worship her ancestors practiced after the end of communism in the 1990's enabled the populace to practice their religion more freely. The shaded color illustrations reveal moments in her day-to-day life as well as illuminating the joy she feels through discovering God's love, concluding in her bapitization at the end of the story. "When Drita greeted Papa Kristo, she reverently kissed his right hand as she remembered her grandparents doing every summer. Drita's joy seemed to fill her whole heart. She was thankful for the people who had secretly kept the faith during the years when it had been illegal to be Christian in Albania. She was thankful for Archbishop Anastasios, who was leading the Orthodox Church in Albania into a new time of religious freedom." An especial treasure for Sunday School children's libraries.

Books in Series

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761425458, $22.95 each

The 4-book 'Life in Elizabethan England' set by Kathryn Hinds is wonderful for students in grades 4-6, offering up some 80 pages each of historical detail about the times and creating individual books to focus specifically on different aspects of Elizabethan times. THE CHURCH (9780761425458) examines the evolution and role of the Church and its beliefs, THE CITY (9780761425441) surveys men, women and children and the role of work, ELIZABETH AND HER COURT (9780761425427) focuses on the court life and world of Queen Elizabeth, and THE COUNTRYSIDE (9780761425434) considers the evolution of rural communities. All are outstanding surveys packed with colorful illustrations, plenty of information suitable for reports, a glossary, bibliography and more.

The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003 1-800-599-7323

Children around the world have as much in common as their cultures have diversity in custom. 'Welcome to the World' is a superbly written and illustrated series specifically designed for students in grades 2 through 6, and features a text written at a third grade reading level. Each of twelve titles comprising this globe-spanning, 32-page, fully illustrated (full color as well as historic photographs) series showcases how children live in a variety of different countries. Each book addresses what these countries are like, how the people live, the languages that are spoken, and what the children do for fun. There are recipes, key native -language phrases, words to national anthems, informative sidebars, detailed maps, a glossary of key words and phrases, websites and other research resources, and more. The countries comprising the 'Welcome to the World' series include Egypt, England, France, Iran, new Zealand, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, and Switzerland. Although each book is individually available ($27.07 List; $18.95 Library), both school and community library systems should acquire the entire set (9781602531109, $324.84 List; $227.40 Library) for the benefit of their young students and patrons.

Capstone Press
7825 Telegraph Road, Bloomington, MN 55438 1-800-747-4992

The current political season has exposed children to television and radio political advertisements, campaign debates and rallys, and dominated local, state, and national news broadcasts. A consistently outstanding publisher of 'books-in-series' titles for young readers, Capstone Press has released their six volume 'Cartoon Nation' series of colorful and fact-filled, 32-page picturebooks. Written and designed to specifically appeal to children ages 9 to 12, they include "Democracy" (9781429617819, $7.95); "Political Parties" (9781429617826, $7.95); "Political Elections" (9781429617802, $7.95); "Citizenship" (9781429617796, $5.95); "The U.S. Congress" (9781429617833, $7.95); and "The American Presidency" (978-1429617789, $5.95). Blending humorous illustrations with a thoroughly 'kid friendly' text, each of these thoroughly 'kid friendly' books are as entertaining as they are informative. The entire 'Cartoon Nation' series is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Avenue, Suite 3308, New York NY 10118

Crabtree's 'Tadpoles' series is directed to emergent readers and offers words and phrases repeated to help build reading skills. Pair this approach with stories about familiar situations, from pets to family members, pirates and high adventure, and you have a bright, lively, high-interest series. New additions include Penny Dolan and Lisa Smith's LITTLE TROLL (0778738566) about a troll always bullied by the Bully Goats, Jilliam Powell and Johanna Boccardo's SAM'S SUNFLOWER (0778738647) about a sunflower-growing school contest, Sue Graves and Maddy McClellan's MOP TOP (0778738574) about a puppy with a shaggy coat, Mick Gowar and Richard Morgan's LEO'S NEW PET (9778738558) about naming a tiny new hamster, Margaret Nash and Anni Axworthy's SAMMY'S SECRET (0778737639) telling of a too-small cat, Jane Clarke and Tomislav Zlatic's RUNNY HONEY (9778738620) telling of a bear who loves honey but finds a competitor, A.H. Benjamin and O'K if's I'M TALLER THAN YOU! (977873854X) following a giraffe who is taller than all other animals - and keeps remind them; Margaret Nash and Beccy Blake's MY BIG, NEW BED (0778738590) about a new bed tested for its limitations; Lynne Benton and Neil Chapman's PIRATE PETE (0778738612) telling of a pirate who sails off in search of treasure, Sheila May Bird and Daniel Postgate's MY AUNTIE SUSAN (0778738582) telling of an aunt who wears a top hat and rides a bike, Anne Adeney and Cathy Shimmen's FIVE TEDDY BEARS (0778738531), a lively counting rhyme about five bears at a picnic; Penny Dolan and Martin Impey's AT THE END OF THE GARDEN (0778738507) telling of things to see at a garden's end, Sue Graves and Lisa Williams' BAD LUCK, LUCY! (0778737515) about a lucky coin and a lucky girl, Sue Graves and Helen Jackson's BEN AND THE BIG BALLOON (9778738604) about a big balloon gift and a windy day, and Sue Graves and Desideria Guicciardini's CRABBY GABBY (0778738523) about a girl who is always cross. All are high-interest titles with bright, zany drawings kids will appreciate.

Schlessinger Media
7 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096-0580 1-800-843-3620

Algebra is a valuable tool for representing, analyzing and generalizing all manner of situations both in mathematics and in life. Available in both a VHS, DVD, and digitally on a SAFARI Montage Video-On-Demand system, 'Algebra for Students' from Schlessinger Media is a ten volume series ($39.95 per volume) for students in grades 7 through 12 that provides basic instruction in the use of algebraic functions including linear, quadratic and exponential expressions. Of special note are the real-world applications of algebra as illustrated in multiple forms through tables, graphs, and equations. Both common errors and misconceptions are highlighted as students learn how to translate verbal expressions to algebraic expressions while considering the reasonableness of solutions within the context of the situation. The individual, 26-minute long titles in this outstanding and thoroughly 'student friendly' series include: Analyzing Inequalities; Exponential Functions; Functions & Relations; Linear Equations & Slope; Patterns 7 Formulas; Polynomials; The Pythagorean Theorem & Right Triangles; Quadratic Functions; Systems of Linear Equations; Variables, Expressions & Equations. The DVD format also features English and Spanish language tracks, chapter select, discussion questions and activities; and an algebra worksheet. A Teacher's Guide accompanies each individual volume and provides additional information such as vocabulary words, as well as discussion questions and activities that can be used for assessment or class projects. Offering a complete course, 'Algebra for Students' is highly recommended as a math class curriculum supplement, and is especially appropriate for home-school math instruction.

The Art Shelf

Baby Animals
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810994577, $14.95

Twenty works of animal art from DaVinci's drawings to Japanese netsuke provide an early learner's set of lessons on art. Even more than a selection of baby animal art pictures, though, this is a very simple primer on small animals. The artworks aren't explained in the main text - which consists of simple one-line descriptors ("baby chickens are called chicks") - but in the back, making this a visual introduction to get kids accustomed to both small animal definitions and different forms of pictorial representation - perfect for elementary-level collections seeking a solid introduction based on a child's early interest in animals, as well as art studies reference collections for children.

The Oliver Press, Inc.
5707 West 36th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55416-2510 1-800-865-4837

'Art Masters' is a superbly illustrated six volume series showcasing some of the best-known and most popular artists in the history of Western Art. Originally published in Italy, this new edition from The Oliver Press features a text that has been newly re-translated from the Italian, enhanced with glossaries and web sites, as well as Time Lines, arr gallery listings, and full-color art reproductions and illustrations, 'Art Masters' is a superb series that is ideal for young readers ages 12 and older. The individual titles comprising this simply outstanding series include: Lucia Corrain's "The Art of the Renaissance" (9781934545041, $24.95); Francesco Salvi's "The Impressionists" (9781934545034, $24.95); Francesca Romei's "Leonardo Da Vinci" (9781934545003, $24.95); Gabriella Di Cagno's "Michelangelo" (9781934545010, $24.95); Claudio Pescio's "Rembrandt" (9781934545027, $24.95); and Enrica Crispino's "Van Gogh" (9781934545058, $24.95). A superbly produced series that is as informative as it is visually stunning, 'Art Masters' is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library reference collections for young (and not so young!) readers.

The Gardening Shelf

Sow And Grow
Tina Davis
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Inc.
c/o Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, 6th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781584796732, $19.95 1-800-759-0190

Children are curious about and fascinated with nature. Couple this curiosity with the experience of gardening and the result will be a child that appreciates the fruits, vegetables, and grains that nature has to offer. "Sow And Grow: A Gardening Book For Children" is specifically designed and written by Tina Davis to provide young readers with a calendar of indoor-gardening and related activities, each of which is linked to seasonal celebrations and changes. Beautifully illustrated throughout, "Sow And Grow" begins with basic explanations of the various parts of plants from seed to flower to fruit. Then addresses what plants need to thrive. Then beginning with January and working through to December, specific and 'kid friendly' projects are provided with step-by-step instructions. January is 'Growing Plants from Seeds', May is 'Window Boxes', September is 'Pressing Flowers and Leaves', December is 'Decorating and Caring for Houseplants'. Enhanced with extensive Gardening Notes, "Sow And Grow" is enthusiastically recommended for both family and community library Gardening reference and instructional guide collections for children.

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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