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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 20, Number 5 May 2010 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Science Shelf Fiction Shelf
DVD Shelf Music Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Judaic Studies Shelf Biography Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Preschool Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Poetry Shelf Fairytale/Folklore Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf
Archaeology Shelf Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Dinosaurs On The Move
Cathy Diez-Luckie, author/artist
Figures In Motion
6278 Clive Avenue, Oakland, CA94611
9780981856612, $14.95

"Dinosaurs On The Move: Movable Paper Figures To Cut, Color, and Assemble" is a fantastic set of movable paper figures of eleven famous dinosaurs to cut, color and assemble. The first chapter, titled "Dinosauria," presents brief illustrated paragraphs about each of the model dinosaurs that are included for construction. From Brachiosaurus to the dread Tyrannosaurus Rex, here the creative student will find a fascinating series of educational animal activities that will educate and excite all. Designed to be accessible for children age 6-12, "Dinosaurs On the Move" is a sure key to fan creativity while teaching natural history. Clear instructions and letter-sequenced moving dinosaur parts make the assembling easy to understand, while both colored and blank black and white dinosaur specimens allow for further artistic embellishment and coloring activities.

Big Frog Can't Fit In
Mo Williams
114 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011-5690
9781423114369, $19.99

BIG FROG CAN'T FIT IN isn't recommended for lending libraries - it features pop-ups and pull-outs - but is perfect as an interactive study for parents with kids who love pop-ups. Lending to reading aloud together is the fine story of a frog who just doesn't meld with the rest. Highly recommended as a fine beginner's eye-catching book.

Imagination, Hidden Picture Puzzles
Liz Ball
Hidden Pictures Publishing
P.O. Box 63, 119 Frost Rd., Tipp City, Ohio 45371
9780984308804, $6.95

"Imagination" is a fabulous collection of 56 pages of black and white hidden picture puzzles with over 1600 hidden items to pique young readers' and artists' keen observations skills. These fantastically detailed pictures of dogs, frogs, mice, cats, unicorns, dragons and fairies will enhance memory, creativity, concept formation, and exercise children's spatial skills, visual skills and more. "Imagination" is not only educational for children age 4 and up, it is loads of fun. In addition, many pleasant hours can be spent in lovingly coloring in the amazing details. "Imagination" is a winner for parents, teachers, and kids.

Mac King's Campfire Magic
Mac King, author
Bill King, illustrator
Black Dog & Leventhal
151 west 19th Street, New York, NY10014
9781579128296, $12.95

"Mac King's Campfire Magic: 50 Amazing, Easy-to-Learn Tricks and Mind-Blowing Stunts" is a collection of more than 50 incredible magic tricks and illusions that can be performed while camping using "cards, string, pencils, and other stuff from your knapsack!" King's easy instructions are assisted by his comic sidekick, Lewis the Monkey, illustrated by Bill King who draws the syndicated comic strip "Mac King's Magic in a Minute." Many jolly times are promised for all who undertake the implementation of these fun magic tricks. A snappy introduction by famed comedy team Penn & Teller presents the following advice: "If you can find a friend to study this book with, You'll be able to help each other. You can take turns being magician and audience. You can catch each other's mistakes and practice together. Take it from Penn & Teller in their Foreword to "Mac King's Campfire Magic": a magic partner is a good things to have (p. 6)." In ten easily accessible chapters, "Mac King's Campfire Magic" presents the basics of countless simple magic routines that kids can learn and use to entertain. Magic practice can have a good influence on self esteem when used in this way. Like all good scouts, the motto of Mac King and Lewis is "Be prepared!" That includes something like be prepared to have fun!

The Arrival of Grand Princess Leandria
Mister Wilson, author/illustrator
AStoryPlus Children Books
P.O. Box 1174, Pine, Lake GA 30072
0977847756, $15.00

"The Arrival of Grand Princess Leandria" is one of the latest releases from A Story Plus series, dedicated to entertain, educate and inspire elementary school- age children. Filled with colorful panels of bright illustrations and action packed story clips, "The Arrival of Grand Princess Leandria" is a profoundly moral tale, teaching that forgiveness is more valuable than intolerance and hatred. Additional educational activities are incorporated at the end of the book which cover morals of excellence, science and history, reading, coloring, word puzzle to expand vocabulary, and much more. There is even a set of song lyrics which reinforce the key theme of the book set to rhythm. "The Arrival of Grand Princess Leandria" is a submission from the All New Standard of Children Books, which has also included the recent "Arron The Royal Archer" by the same author (097784773X, $12.99).

Annabelle: A Child On the Way
Beti Rozen & Peter Hays, authors
Eliardo Franca, illustrator
Sem Fronteiras Press
1530 Palisades Avenue, Suite 2F, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
9780964233355, $11.95

Annabelle: A Child on the Way" is a tender, sensitive story about a young spirit named Annabelle who wishes to be born into a loving family she has grown attached to. Her wishes do not immediately come into realization, and she learns much about patience and not forcing readiness or other things she cannot control in many discussions with her spiritual guide. She is particularly sure she will be a good sister to young Philippe, whom she enjoys observing. One day Annabelle discovers her existence will emerge and she will experience a profound change of existence through her own birth into this loving family. Delicate, mysterious dark illustrations bring the story of "Annabelle: A Child on the Way" to a full, tangible awareness in the young reader's mind. couched in nonspecific existential terms without religious connotations, "Annabelle: A Child on the Way" is a wonderful book for children age 5 and up who may soon experience (or may have recently experienced) an addition to their families.

Cyclist BikeList, the Book for Every Rider
Laura Robinson, author
Ramon K. Perez, illustrator
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887767845, $17.95

"Cyclist BikeList" is a cartoon-illustrated bicyclist's handbook with nearly everything you need to know about bikes and cycling, clearly catalogued and cleverly presented. There are chapters on the history of cycling, bicycle parts, choosing a bike, bike safety rules, choosing bike clothing, bike maintenance, and the last mile, a bit about the magic of cycling. There are gear inches tables and microbytes of cycling-related trivia and history, and cycling celebrity miniature portraits. All in all, "Cyclist BikeList" fills the bill for a very practical manual for cyclists both young and old.

The Pirate Cruncher
Jonny Duddle
Templar Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763648763, $15.99,

"The Pirate Cruncher" is a sea dog's tale of a map to hidden treasure. Captain Purplebeard and his scurvy, cutthroat crew hear a sea chantey that tells them of a treasure they long to find, hidden on a vanishing island. Oh, and one more thing, "There's also a monster, or so they say,/ That likes to eat pirates who come for the treasure,/ and chew up their ships,/ Just for good measure." But the pirate cruncher does not deter Captain Purplebeard, for he is the Scourge of the Sea! Kids will love the scary, dark colored digital media illustrations of Captain Purplebeard and his ship and crew, the treasure, and the Pirate Cruncher. The pirates' thoughts are often comically pictured in little black and white balloon illustrations that stand out nicely against the macabre backgrounds. "The Pirate Cruncher" has a moral and a surprise ending that will keep kids reading and turning pages. It will appeal to the lusty crew of 5-7 year-old pirates-and-monsters-in-training.

Welcome to the White House
Mara Conlon, author
Jo Gershman and Michelle Waldele-Dick, illustrators
Peter Pauper Press
202 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, NY 10601
9781593597856, $15.99,

"Welcome to the White House: A Book and Paper Doll Fold-Out Play Set" is a fabulous collection of 25 paper dolls of President and Mrs. Obama and family plus staff and wardrobes to use in 3 foldout scenes set in the White House. Accompanied by a companion book which details and chronicles facts about the White House, "Welcome to the White House" is sure to provide hours of entertainment and education and inspiration to the lucky children who receive a copy -set of their very own. Although destined to become a collector's item, "Welcome to the White House" is a very practically constructed paper doll setting and collection, complete with attached cardboard envelopes to store the punched out paper dolls and accessories and an elastic guard to hold the book closed when items are stored properly in it. In addition, the companion book has handy historic details about the White House and Obama's administration, as well as a White House Timeline from the 1700's to the present and a list of the 44 U.S. presidents, culminating with instructions for how to send a letter to President Obama. "Welcome to the White House" is a beautiful, useful, educational gift to any child that documents the historic nature of this 44th presidency.

Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003

Don Brown's A WIZARD FROM THE START: THE INCREDIBLE BOYHOOD & AMAZING INVENTIONS OF THOMAS EDISON (9780547194875, $17.00) tells of a boy with a thirst for knowledge and mischief - who turns his energy into skills and knowledge that resulted in dozens of new inventions. Over a thousand patents later, he was having fun inventing all kinds of things - a hobby that led to his fame and career. This biography reads like fiction and offers fine color drawings throughout. Sy Montgomery's KAKAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD'S STRANGEST PARROT (9780618494170, $18.00) pairs fine color photos by Nic Bishop with a natural history that will attract both grades 4-5 and many an adult reader. It follows the author and illustrator on a 10-day excursion to witness the events in the life of the endangered kakapo on a remote New Zealand island, and provides a lively coverage kids will find engrossing.

The Science Shelf

Hidden Life of the Desert
Thomas Wiewandt
Mountain Press
1301 South Third Street West, PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 05806
9780878425556, $15.00,

Dry, arid, and commonly called a wasteland, the desert proves to be anything but. "Hidden Life of the Desert" is a guide to the vibrant life one can find in the desert. With full color photographs and no shortage of information, Thomas Wiewandt gives readers a full assortment of the creatures who call the stereotypically inhospitable desert their home where they thrive and flourish. "Hidden Life in the Desert" is a core addition to any nature collection geared towards younger readers.

The Fiction Shelf

A Terrible Roar of Water
Penny Draper
Coteau Books for Kids
2517 Victoria Avenue, Regina, SA, Canada, S4P 0T2
9781550504150, $10.95,

The smallest child can the biggest hero. "A Terrible Roar of Water" tells the tale of Murphy, a young man in small fishing village. Sensing a tsunami after an earthquake, Murphy takes on a great burden as he tries to save his loved ones and finds himself growing up faster than he should. "A Terrible Roar of Water" is a choice pick for younger readers.

345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Jandy Nelson's THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE (9780803734951, $17.99) tells of seventeen-year-old Lennie, bookworm and geek, who spends her time in the shadow of her older sister. When her sister dies abruptly, she finds herself facing a changed life and a whole new personality in this fine story of recovery, romance, and self-identity for older teens. Teri Hall's THE LINE (9780803734661, $16.99) tells of Rachel, who lives with her mother far from the city and its oppressive government. Their home is close to the Line - an uncrossable border of the National Border Defense System - and she's forbidden to go near it. When she hears a voice from the other side asking for help, she comes to realize her mother's hiding a dangerous secret in this tense thriller. Kathleen Van Cleve's DRIZZLE (9780803733626, $16.99) tells of preteen Polly, who knows her family's rhubarb farm is unusual. Here the rhubarb tastes like chocolate, diamonds sprout from the ground, and it rains every Monday at 1PM. When the rains suddenly stop, the farm begins to fall apart, and it's up to Polly to restore its magic in this whimsical fantasy. Julia DeVillers' LYNN VISIBLE (9780525476917, $16.99) tells of Lynn, who isn't afraid to flaunt a funky style and original perspective. In her small town being advanced means she's socially backward - and she gets in trouble with the popular girls because of it. A fine fashion story about fitting in evolves.

By the Time You Read This I'll Be Dead
Julie Anne Peters
114 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
9781423116189, $16.99

By the Time You Read This I'll Be Dead tells of a girl who is determined to get her death 'right', and who begins an Internet blog about her life and its history of bullying from childhood on. She's alienated at the private school she attends - until a boy insists on breaking down her barriers. A fine story of survival evolves for older teen readers.

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

Thatcher Heldring's ROY MORRELLI STEPS UP TO THE PLATE (9780385733915, $15.99) tells of an eighth grader who can't wait for baseball season to start so he can take his place as a shortstop for the all-star team. But when his parents find out he's failing history, they make him quit. Stuck on a losing team in a smaller league and spending time with a tutor, Roy finds his attitude needs adjustment in this story of a sports-loving boy who sees no need for school. Swati Avasthi's SPLIT (9780375863400, $16.99) tells of a teen who arrives at his estranged brother's doorstep destitute and with a secret. He tries to make a new home for himself - but his mother is still trapped with his father and he finds he can't walk away from his past. A fine story evolves. Carrie Ryan's THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES (9780385736848, $17.99) tells of Gabry, who lives a quiet life in her town next to the sea, behind the Barrier. But she can't ignore her mother's secrets and when a boy she's known all her life reveals a dangerous mystery, Gabry finds her life changed in this moving fantasy of a future world. Erica S. Perl's VINTAGE VERONICA (9780375859236, $16.99) tells of a vintage clothing place and fashion-minded Veronica Wash, who is fat and has no friends. Her summer job at the clothing store will change her life in more ways than one in this fine story. Andy Behrens' THE FAST AND THE FURRIEST (9780375859229, $15.99) tells of pre-teen Kevin, who hates sports, as does his dog - until the dog sees a dog agility competition on TV. Now Cromwell is beginning to mimic the TV show - and Kevin is being dragged to obstacle courses and even becomes involved on a mission to help his dog achieve its dreams! A fun story evolves.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Coleen Murtagh Paratore's FORGET ME NOT (0545094011, $16.99) tells of a Cape Cod summer where Willa and Joey are enjoying their friendship. But when baseball and a lovely girl begin to pull him away and her best friend begins hanging out with a jerk, Willa must take charge of her life - and finds unexpected comfort in a new pet. A gentle story evolves. Kirsten Boie's THE PRINCESS PLOT (0545032202, $17.99) tells of Jenna, who has just won the starring role in a movie about a princess and is whisked off to a remote kingdom. But suddenly she's being shot at - and the real princess is missing. A tense plot evolves in this thriller for older teens. Michael Northrop's GENTLEMEN (0545097495, $16.99) tells of boys from the wrong side of the tracks who find only one English teacher takes them seriously when one member of their group goes missing. When evidence points to that teacher's involvement, danger affects them all in this fine story. Mark Teague's THE DOOM MACHINE (0545151422, $17.99) tells of an unlikely cast of characters who may be able to unlock the power of the doom machine, from a juvenile delinquent and a law-abiding science student to a sneaky gas station owner. A fine survey of efforts to harness a machine's dangerous powers makes for a fine complex plot older teens will relish. Laini Taylor's LIPS TOUCH THREE TIMES (0545055857, $17.99) tells of a shy girl pursued by an attractive new boy at school - who may be her doom. Three stories provide three very different views of a deadly kiss in this account that blends fantasy with romance. Sara Lewis Holmes' OPERATION YES (0545107954, $16.99) tells of three very different plans by Bo and Gari: to stage a food fight, behave for his new teacher, join a protest, and more. Can two friends work together to meld their very different objectives? A fine story evolves.

The DVD Shelf

The Smart Fitness Workout
Ronno & Liz Jones-Twomey
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477, Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477
1895293012 $19.95 1-800-631-2187

The Smart Fitness Workout: Brain-Based Physical Fitness Routines is a fitness DVD for young people ages 4-11, intended to get them off the couch and moving. Although The Smart Fitness Workout is designed to show parents or teachers how to demonstrate the moves - or even for young people to follow on their own. The routine itself emphasizes the fun and joy of cardio, as well as the value of eating healthy foods, and is adaptable for children with special needs. An excellent addition to the DVD libraries of young people, especially in today's overly sedentary and junk food-saturated society, The Smart Fitness Workout is highly recommended. The routine segments are "Smart Fitness, Smart Foods", "Step It Up!", "Invite A Vitamin To Dinner", "(I'm Not Gonna Be) A Couch Potato!", "Veggie Power", "Mission Nutrition", "Happy To Be Me", and "It's Been A Really Good Day". 44 minutes, 4 seconds.

The Music Shelf

Flute Sweet & Tickletoon in Green Golly & Her Golden Flute
Keith Torgan & Barbara Siesel
Tugboat Story & Song Publishing
212 East 13th Street, New York, NY 10003
American Music Media
Chrysler Building, 26th Floor, 405 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY 10174
Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Classical performer and teacher Barbara Siesel and children's entertainer Keith Torgan present Flute Sweet & Tickletoon in Green Golly & Her Golden Flute, which is more than just a music CD album for kids age 4-10. It's an introduction to classical music, using a variant of the classic fairy tale of Rapunzel and the magical music of her flute. When Rapunzel is isolated within her tower, her alter ego, Green Golly, applies her musical talents while in search of the big answers. Part fabulous story, part sampling of legendary works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Gossec, Elgar, Bizet, Chopin, and Copland, Flute Sweet & Tickletoon in Green Golly & Her Golden Flute is highly recommended both as a gift to young music lovers and to public library children's music CD collections. The tracks are "Green Golly and Her Golden Flute... The Story" (29:05), "Spring Song" (2:33), "Intermezzo Sinfonico" (3:03), "Flight of the Bumblebee" (1:13), "Two Guitars"(3:22), "Habanera" (2:48), "Duo" (1:02), "Introduction and Variations on a Theme" (1:30), "Gavotte" (2:43), "Minute Waltz" (2:26), and "Salut D'Amour" (3:29).

Tiny Cool
Princess Katie & Racer Steve
Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Husband-and-wife team Katie O'Sullivan and Steve Borne ("Princess Katie and Racer Steve") present Tiny Cool, a lively music album especially recommended for young folks. The songs overflow with energy and humor, ranging from "Can We Get an Anthem?" (a rock anthem for kids) to "Honest Kid" where 'The Rock Bossa' promotes the values of honesty and helpfulness, to "Japanese Robot", a synthesizer-heavy ditty about a robot that runs on true love. Interspersed between the catchy tunes are playful, voice-acted skits. An exuberantly cheerful and fun CD to play during long car trips or children's parties, Tiny Cool is a great treat for young people. The tracks are "Clelia's Party", "Tube Sox", "Kids Rock!", "Surf Radio - Skit", "Sand In My Sandwich", "Shy", "The Cartoons - Skit", "Tiny Cool", "Honest Kid", "Stick Around", "Can We Get an Anthem?", "Wing it! - Skit", "The Rock Bossa", "Japanese Robot", "The Unenchanted Forest - Skit".

The Final Funktier
Recess Monkey
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Jack Forman, Daron Henry, and Andrew Holloway are three elementary school teachers from Seattle, Washington who have joined together to compose and perform amazingly lively and totally fun music for children. Superbly recorded, "The Final Funktier" is their sixth music CD and showcases fifteen original songs have as their themes a kind of intergalactic voyage. The toe-tapping rhythmic tunes comprising this simply outstanding CD album include Liftoff!; Moon Boots; Jet Pack; Science Fair; Ukulalien; My Brother is a Satellite; Beat-Box-a-Robot; Sunglasses; Space Elevator Music; The Galax Sea; Booster Seat; How Do You Build a Robot?; Constellation Conga; Black Hole in My Room; and One Tiny Light. "The Final Funktier" is a very highly recommended addition to family, school, and community library children's CD music collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

In Mitra Modarressi's TAKING CARE OF MAMA (9780399252167, $16.99), Mama raccoon is feeling sick - so Papa and the kids happily take on household chores. It should be easy - but it's not! A fun survey of household mess evolves in a zany picturebook tale for grades 2-4. Darren Farrell produces words and pictures for DOUG-DENNIS AND THE FLYAWAY FIB (9780803734371, $16.99), telling of what happens when a little fib becomes a bigger and bigger problem. Eventually it carries Doug-Dennis away in this zany story of how a fib can become more destructive as it grows. Lynn Plourde's FIELD TRIP DAY (9780525479949, $16.99) receives Thor Wickstrom's fine drawings as it tells of students who can't wait to get off the school bus and tour Farmer Fandangle's farm. One kid loves exploring - and he finds his skills have unexpected benefit in this sixth story of the silly students in Mrs. Shepherd's class. Anna Dewdney's ROLY POLY PANGOLIN (9780670011605, $16.99) tells of Roly Poly, a little pangolin in a big, frightening world who rolls up in a ball and waits until it's safe. One day he responds this way - and peeks out to see another ball peeking back. He doesn't like new things at all, so can he make a new friend? A fine story evolves.

Random House/Knopf
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Il Sung Na's THE THINGAMABOB (9780375861062, $15.99) tells of a curious elephant who finds a curious red object, and who investigates its origins. None of his friends can decipher the mystery so elephant begins to experiment with it, and finds some unusual results in this fun picture book! Charise Mericle Harper's PINK ME UP (9780375856075, $16.99) tells of the Pink Girls bunnies who go on a Pink-nic. Ages 5-8 will find this celebrates the father-daughter connection when Violet discovers a different side of her father, who has to substitute for her mama at a Tea Party. Kathryn Jackson's PANTALOON (9780375856242, $17.99) receives zany drawings by Steven Salerno as it tells of a poodle with a sweet tooth who adores cookies and pastries. Pantaloon applies for a job as a baker's helper but the baker's worried he'll eat more than he bakes. Pantaloon proves him wrong in a fun series of events.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise write and illustrate LITTLE RABBIT AND THE MEANEST MOTHER ON EARTH (9780152062019, $17.00), a fine story of a little rabbit who wants to see the circus, but can't go unless he cleans his messy playroom. Little Rabbit thinks his mother's insistence is mean - so he runs off and joins the show. His intention to prove that he has the meanest mother on Earth backfires in this zany, fun tale. Shelley Jackson's MIMI'S DADA CATIFESTO (9780547126814, $17.00) tells of an artistic cat who is owned by Mr. Dada, who is not like the other humans who treat the cat mean. Mr. Dada is a Dadaist who believes art can be anything - but does he want a cat in his life? Picturebook readers with good reading skills will relish this story.

Bedtime for Mommy
Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Bloomsbury USA
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9781599903415, $16.99

BEDTIME FOR MOMMY receives LeUyen Pham's drawings and offers a flip on the normal parent/child relationship when it tells what happens when kids put parents to bed. Now it's Mommy who's asking about staying up five more minutes or asking for help in choosing tomorrow's outfit in this gentle story of role reversal.

114 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011-5690

Deborah Underwood writes the engaging GRANNY GOMEZ & JIGSAW (9780786852161, $16.99), the story of how Granny comes to live with a pig in her house. Baby pig Jigsaw is the perfect companion - but when he grows up too quickly, Granny has problems in this fun story of how friends grow apart then together again. Jef Czekaj's HIP & HOP, DON'T STOP! (9781423116646, $16.99) tells of a turtle who raps very slowly and a bunny who raps very quickly. They become friends during a rap-off when the whole county turns out to see if slow or fast will win the prize. A fun tale offers a new take on the old tortoise and hare routine, with fun raps and easy narration throughout.

Anh's Anger
Gail Silver, author
Christiane Kromer, illustrator
Parallax Press, Plum Blossom Books
46 Development Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420
9781888375947, $16.95

"Anh's Anger" is a vivid morality fable about a five year old boy named Anh who learns to sit and breathe with his anger, after a wise grandfather helps him by telling him to do this. Brightly textured illustrations bring Anh's anger to full life on the large pages. Then Anh decides to dance with his anger, talk with his anger, and breather with his anger. Finally his anger becomes smaller and quieter and eventually goes away. His grandfather lovingly thanks him for his kinds words when he opens the door to rejoin Anh and invite him to supper. "Anh's Anger" is a special book published by Plum Blossom Books to encourage young people to learn more of the ways of mindfulness and Buddhism. "Anh's Anger" will have appeal for children age 4 and up.

The Andersuns: Jarrell's Sweet Tooth
E. Diann Cook, author/artist/composer
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449049973, $16.99

"The Andersuns: Jarrell's Sweet Tooth" is a vibrantly illustrated book about a boy who preferred sweets to healthy food choices. How does his mother encourage him to expand his diet? By unexpectedly indulging him in his sweet tooth preferences until he actually gets sick of them! When Jarrell finally asks his mother for regular foods again, like eggs sausage, orange juice and toast, she rewards him with a wonderful song about veggies and fruit! Readers can download Jarrell's song at if they too want to stay strong and healthy. With special appeal for African- American children and families, "Jarrell's Sweet Tooth" is sure to please children age 5 and up with varied tastes and palates!

Flying Lessons
Gilbert Ford, author/illustrator
c/o Hyperion Books
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011-5690
9781423119975, $16.99

"Flying Lessons" is a wonderful picture book for children ages 3-7 about a flying "ugly duckling" that is in fact a plane. No matter how hard the plane tries to fit in with his friends the doves, he is just too different from them, and they send him away. However, one day his differences allow him to rescue the doves from an unexpected predicament: They can't fly south before an Arctic wave of cold hits their path and traps them for the cold season! "Flying Lessons" is a wonderful morality lesson and also an invitation to stretch to see things differently. Widen your world and your child's world to include "Flying Lessons" and see where it takes you. Whimsical illustrations add just the right touch of reality fused with fantasy to this sturdy child's tale.

The Bear With Sticky Paws Won't Go To Bed
Clara Vulliamy
Tiger Tales
202 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589250871, $15.95 203-834-0005

"The Bear With the Sticky Paws Won't Go To Bed" is another fantastic adventure picture book for sleepy children who are reality challenged about their sleepiness. Lily is such a child ("I won't lie down, I won't shut my eyes, I want to play NOW,") and she meets her partytime equal in bedtime denial in the bear with sticky paws. What an exciting time they have together! Dancing, fun-filled illustrations whirl by in dazzling succession until Lily realizes she has become sleepier and sleepier, and sleepier... You can guess the ending, but even the children (ages 3-7) who know every page and picture in the story will love to have it repeated to them as a bedtime ritual, savoring all the fun of life before you have to shut down for a while to recharge for more the next day. The Bear with the Sticky Paws is an irrepressible force for random fun in a child's world, using the ridiculous to teach a lesson unforgettably.

Bella The Witch and Her Worries
Skye Toggles, author
Irene Joslin, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449068035, $16.99

"Bella the Witch and Her Worries" is a delightful morality fable to teaches youngsters that even witches can worry too much, and suffer very strange consequences when they do! What happens to Bella impels her to seek help from the Witch Doctor of Townend, and her recommended treatment assignment when she does is quite revealing. Bella is suffering from Worry Warts, and she needs to finish her worrying so that the worry warts can go away. Bella's solution to her dilemma is both amusing and effective: she writes a list of all her worries and then worries even more about how to remove her worry warts! By morning her crisis has passed and she is ready to proceed with her normal (for her) life again, worry-wart free! "Bella the Witch" is deliciously decorated with lively, darkly colorful illustrations that are full of buoyant humor. "Bella the Witch" is a great book for children ages 4 and older. Humor is a great solvent for worry and other negative thoughts, as the writer of Henry the V knew well.

Moose Power! Muskeg Saves the Day
Susan Williams Beckhorn, author
Amy Huntington, illustrator
Down East Enterprise, Inc.
P.O. Box 679, Camdfen, Maine 04843
9780892727629, $16.95

"Moose Power! Muskeg Saves the Day" is a children's picture book about the life of a rescued baby Maine moose named Muskeg. Muskeg was found by retired Quebecoix logger Jean du Bois because his faithful horse Kate refused to budge until the orphan moose fawn was discovered. Muskeg and Kate became best friends, but Kate was old and ready to retire, while Muskeg was big and strong and young. Jean encouraged Muskeg to leave and return to the wild, but Muskeg would not leave his friends. Finally, one Christmas when Kate was too old to pull any more, Jean du Bois and his grandson Ti'Jean decide to hitch Muskeg to the sleigh like Santa's reindeer and let him pull a balsam fir home through the deep snow for their Christmas tree. Then Muskeg learned from that day forth to wear harness and pull heavy loads like Kate used to do. "Moose Power" has beautiful paintings illustrating Muskeg's daily life, and there is a glossary of French Canadian names and words with translations and pronunciations at the end of the book. "Moose Power! Muskeg Saves the Day" is a first class children's historical storybook, suitable for children age 4 and up.

Bond and the Big Green Hill
Bridget Kendall, author
Pablo Niz, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449014582, $8.99

"Bond and the Big Green Hill" is a child's picture book about a brave, adorable, little Tuxedo kitten who tackles the vast task of exploring a big green hill in his home one day when his Daddy is out chopping for cat food. fortunately he survives his adventures and learns to be careful to explore big areas like the Big Green Couch-Hill only when his parents are home. Bond dreams wonderful, delicious kitten dreams of goldfish, cat food, and milk when he naps purring on Daddy's lap. Brightly shadowed illustrations show Bond at his handsome best on his adventures. "Bond and the Big Green Hill" is appropriate for children ages 3-5 and will quickly become a favorite with feline-o-philes of all ages.

Ella Kazoo Will NOT Brush Her Hair
Lee Fox, author
Jennifer Plecas, illustrator
Walker & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780802788368, $15.99,

"Ella Kazoo Will NOT Brush Her Hair" is a delightful morality tale told in rhyme, illustrated with vibrant humor and imaginative charm. Children age three and up will delight in the refusal of Ella Kazoo to bow to convention and brush her unruly hair. When Ella's hair begins to take on a growth and a life of its own, however, it's time to review stubborn decisions. The portrayal of the harried mother of Ella Kazoo is particularly appealing. What eventually transpires as the amazing conclusion is a victory for both Ella and her long-suffering mom. Laughter is the best teacher after all.

Windows With Birds
Karen Ritz, author/illustrator
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590786567, $16.95,

"Windows With Birds" is a beautifully illustrated children's book about a cat whose boy and family move him from a house he loves and knows, that has windows with birds, to a strange new apartment in a city that is completely different. The story is movingly told from the cat's point of view. For a while in the new apartment the cat is so terrified he just hides in the laundry basket and won't come out even for treats and water the boy tries to tempt him with. Eventually, though, the cat learns that his new home also has windows with birds and other aspects that can be made into a good home for him and the boy. Beautiful water color paintings of the cat with haunting eyes watching birds through a window are highlights of this exquisite story book for 5-7 year-old children.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Time for Torah
Devorah Schwebel, author
Tova Katz, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628551, $10.95

"Time for Torah" is a vibrant picture book of a rhyming story about a young Jewish boy who learns by watching many grownups that every day he can make time to study Torah and show his love for Hashem. Reading Hebrew may not be easy to learn, but taken in little lessons and bits every day, it can be easy and fun. The moral value and ethical reasons for studying Torah are both implicit and underlined in "Time for Torah." If busy Mr. Berk, quiet Dr. Wassergold, and learned Rabbi Rhett can make time to study Torah, so can you! "Time for Torah" is an excellent learning book for preschool audiences ages 3 and up.

The Tot Shabbat Handbook
Paula Feldstein, editor
Foreword by Eric H. Yoffie
URJ Press
P.O. Box 933364, Atlanta, GA 31193
9780807411414, $29.95,

"The Tot Shabbat Handbook: A Practical Guide for Engagling Young Families in Congregational Life" is a collection of working ideas and creative suggestions for constructing positive worship experiences for young Jewish children and their families. Edited by the experienced Reform Rabbi Paula Feldstein, "Tot Shabbat" includes many expressive channels to help connect young children and families to prayer and to Torah, and the nurturing and growth of Jewish spirituality in young children. A vast array of learned authors contribute chapters on the why, how and who of "Tot Shabbat." The use of songs and stories features prominently in chapters in Parts IV and V, and "Tot Shabbat" includes a handy CD with written lyrics in Hebrew and English for 39 songs appropriate for "Tot Shabbat" worship experiences. "The Tot Shabbat Handbook" is a classic teacher's tool and will continue to be a welcome resource to Reform Jewish youth worship leaders and coordinators.

First Rain
Charlotte Herman, author
Kathryn Mitter, illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company
250 S. Northwest Hwy, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
9780807524534, $16.99

"First Rain" is a heartwarming story about the love between a girl and her grandmother. Abby and her parents decide to move to Israel, participating in their own aliyah. Though the move is a good plan, Abby misses her grandmother after she says goodbye at the airport, leaving Abby a plane letter to read. Abby and her grandmother keep in touch by letter and telephone as Abby learns to enjoy her new home in Israel. Abby learns wonderful new Hebrew words and sees historic ancient places and eats exciting new/old food. The computer helps Abby and her grandmother keep in touch. Abby thinks of her grandmother in the rain, which they used to enjoy together. Summer is long, hot and dry in Israel, and Abby looks forward to the first rain of fall. But more than the rain will come as a surprise for Abby in the beautifully pictured ending of the story. "First Rain" has many Hebrew words defined and used to describe the experience of moving to Israel, and provides much information about day to day life in Israel. "First Rain" is for children ages 6-9 in grades 1-4.

The Biography Shelf

The Bill Gates Story
Great Hero Series #3
Dasanbooks/ Joyful Stories Press
120 Sylvan Avenue, #301, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632
9780981954226, $14.95

"The Bill Gates Story: The Computer Genius Who Changed the World" is the third book in the Great Heroes series of educational comic books that focus on popular role models for successful elementary school students. This popular and accessible format of paperback comic book story-telling delivers an effective thumbnail biography complete with motivating and enlightening human wisdom bytes. The best part is "The Bill Gates Story" is a win-win proposition for both education and entertainment. Published in ten countries, Joyful Stories Press has already released a number of similar books including "The Obama Story (9780981954202, $14.95), "The Martin Luther King Story" (9780981954240, $14.95)," and more. One of the helpful techniques in "The Bill Gates Story" is the use of a page long summary at the end of chapters titled "Key to (Bill Gates' Success 8, for example)." At the end of the book is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation description and a Bill Gates Timeline that give further information organized in helpful formats. "The Bill Gates Story" will be a popular publication with comic-readers of all ages.

Frank Lloyd Wright and His New American Architecture
Badger Biographies Series
Bob Kann
Wisconsin Historical Society Press
c/o Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State St., Madison, WI 53706
9780870204418, $12.95

"Frank Lloyd Wright and His New American Architecture" is a young readers' biography of the famous architect in the Badger Biographies Series. Storyteller-author Bob Kann presents the fascinating details of Wisconsin's most famous architect in thirteen succinct chapters that are copiously illustrated with black and white photographs of Wright, his family, and his creations. In addition to the well told story of his life, "Frank Lloyd Wright and His New American Architecture" includes a glossary, reading group guide and activities, and a list of special resources for those who want to learn more Frank Lloyd Wright and Architecture. Wright's gifts were great and his life was colorful. This biography is framed for young readers and also includes pertinent information about the architect's eccentric career and contributions.

Patrick's Wish
Karen Mitchell & Rebecca Upjohn
Photographs by Patrick4Life
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Canada M5V 2M5
9781897187708, $7.95,

"Patrick's Wish" is a special biography with photos of a young man born with hemophilia who contracted HIV from a tainted blood transfusion at the age of seven. In an era when people were frightened and misinformed about the nature and communicability of HIV, Patrick lived until he was 23, leading an active life, loved by family and loyal friends. Because of the prejudice and ignorance about his fatal disease, Patrick and his family kept his HIV diagnosis secret for some time, choosing carefully when and whom to inform of his condition. "Patrick's Wish" is told from the viewpoint of his younger sister, Lyanne. After 10 years, Patrick and his family decided to disclose his HIV status in hopes of educating the public and helping to raise awareness of the need for finding a cure for Aids as well as helping, not judging AIDS victims. "Patrick's Wish" is simply written for children ages 7-10, filled with beautiful photos of Patrick taken throughout his life. "Patrick's Wish" ends with a list of 9 important things Patrick would want the reader to know about HIV and AIDS. These 9 simple statements constitute the most effective AIDS-HIV awareness education effort for elementary age children to date. "Patrick's Wish" will help Patrick's wish, to find a cure for HIV/AIDS, come true.

The Oprah Winfrey Story
Lisa Maria & Sindy McKay, authors
Marc Scott, illustrator
Treasure Bay Inc.
P.O. Box 2665, San Anselmo, CA 94979
9781601152411, $9.95,

"The Oprah Winfrey Story" is a Level 3 We Both Read series biography which is designed to be read together with a parent or other adult. The left hand page with a yellow dot, is geared for the adult reader and the right hand page, with a blue dot, is designed for the level 3 learning reader. The inspirational biography of world-famous Oprah Winfrey is perfect material to entice young readers to learn and read more. Embellished with colorful paintings of Oprah in many different phases of her life, "The Oprah Winfrey Story" presents a model of how a woman of very modest, humble beginnings can build a successful life for herself "through determination, perseverance, and the kindness of a helping hand." Quotations from Oprah at the end include the following: "Insight, escape, information, knowledge, inspiration, power: All that and more can come through a good book."

The Christian Studies Shelf

Jesus from A to Z
Kevin Graham, author
Jennifer Yoswa, illustrator
Windom Publishing
P.O. Box 102225, Denver, CO 80250
9780970032317, $17.95,

"Jesus From A To Z" is a children's alphabet book with stories and symbols pertaining to the life of Jesus as the subject matter for each letter of the alphabet. Beautiful, darkly shaded illustrations accompany the well-known stories such as E for Empty Tomb, F for Fish, and H for Healing. Even more brilliantly illustrated ones such as S for the Sign of the Fish and Y for Yahweh are breathtaking in their impact, with stained glass-effect pictures. "Jesus From A to Z" is an excellent beginning primer for Christian preschool teachers and parents.

Bible Miracles for Bedtime
Jane Landreth, author
Joni Walker, illustrator
Barbour Publishing
301 E. McCauley Drive, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
9781602606920, $5.99,

"Bible Miracles for Bedtime" is an illustrated retelling of more than 60 of the Bible's favorite miracles for kids. Each illustrated chapter begins with a quotation from Holy Bible New International Version, or New International Readers' Version, then continues with a gentle discussion and questions kids might ask, ending with a simple prayer of thanks with a full color picture of a child whose prayer it might be. "Bible Miracles for Bedtime" is multi-racial, kid-friendly, and Christian-centered. Parents and church-school teachers will find it a handy reference for children's Bible study.

The Preschool Shelf

Alan James Brown, author
Francesca Chessa, illustrator
Holiday House Inc.
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823422630, $16.95

"Love-a-Duck" is a beautiful preschool picture book about a bright yellow rubber bathtub ducky named Love-a-Duck who belongs to Jane. One day Love-a-Duck falls out the window and begins a day of adventures that totally transform his squeak (and his outlook on life). Will his family find him in time, and will Jane still love him with his transformed squeak? Even if you guess the answer, "Love-A Duck" is first rate entertainment from start to finish. Bright, breezy illustrations help convey a sense of fun and unpredictability to this charming toddler's tale.

Duck Goes Potty
Michael Dahl, author
Oriol Vidal, illustrator
Picture Window Books
c/o Capstone Publishers
151 Good Counsel Drive, Mankato, MN56002
9781404857261, $7.99

"Duck Goes Potty" is a pasteboard pages book for preschoolers from the Hello Genius series that stimulates self-care skills, animal recognition, speech, and first words. In addition, "Duck Goes Potty" is a sure fun source for parent and child while negotiating the areas of self care initiation and toilet training. Splashy, funny illustrations of little Duck and his mommy will hold young gazes while spending waiting time on the dreaded potty chair. "Duck Goes Potty" is a great solution to a common issue in developmental days, fitting in with "Bunny Eats Lunch," "Pig Takes a Bath," and "Pony Brushes His Teeth," also in the Hello Genius series from Picture Window Books.

Hooray for Summer!
Kazuo Iwamura
North-South Books Inc.
New York, NY 10001
c/o Myrick Marketing & Media
PMB 248, 455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 37167
9780735822856, $16.95

"Hooray for Summer!" is a delicately illustrated preschoolers' tale of how three little squirrel children manage to survive a summer storm by hiding in a little cave with some other creatures who become their Summer Storm Friends. The gently-hued, story -telling illustrations complement the sensitive tones of the text. "Hooray for Summer!" is a tale that little ones will engage in and enjoy, with moments of drama, uncertainty, sadness, and rejoicing.

Elephant in the Bathtub
Kristina Andres
c/o Myrick Marketing & Media
PMB 248, 455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 37167
9780735822917, $12.95 615-287-0105

"Elephant in the Bathtub" is a delicate, funny, amazingly sophisticated, illustrated bathtub story book that will grip young readers age 3 and up with a sense of adventure and whimsey. The etching-like, detailed illustrations tell stories within stories in "Elephant in the Bathtub." Indeed a sly sense of presence permeates both the story and the marvelous pictures. Children will love this book, they will seek and trace and retrace each comic animal figure as they join Elephant in his bathtub. Everyone's sense of the ridiculous is stretched to the max, but all ends well, if mysteriously dry (?). "Elephant in the Bathtub" is a preschool classic, destined to be beloved by generations.

Little Binky Bear
Roberto Casale, story & drawings
Richard Write & Royal L. Craig, words & rhymes
Atlas Books
30 Amberwood Parkway, Ashland, OH 44805
9780982570005, $7.99

"Little Binky Bear" is an earth-friendly-made toddlers' board page book, filled with brightly colored illustrations made with soy-based inks. "Little Binky Bear" tells the story of a hungry little bear cub who wakes from winter hibernation and discovers many furred and feathered friends who help him find and reach yummy peaches in a tall tree to eat. .Written in verse, "Little Binky Bear" presents novel learning experiences to the beginning reader, including full page detailed illustrations with each animal's favorite food written alongside its thumbnail portrait. "Little Binky Bear" will delight the preschool reader, and would make a fine first primer.

Jackson, Josie & The (Almost) Free Lunch
Andrea McAllister O'Connell, author/illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983001, $16.95

"Jackson, Josie, & the (almost) Free Lunch" is a delicately painted book about two fish named Jackson and Josie. The free lunch they seek is a worm on a (guess?) hook and line. Though Jackson tempts Josie to go against the rules and leave the safety of their school, they both discover he is trapped by his attempt to collect his free lunch. Fortunately Jackson is too small to keep, and is tossed back to survive to be caught another time. "Jackson, Josie, and the (almost) Free Lunch is a fish morality fable for preschool and older children (ages 2-3). The luminous paintings of fish in motion are hypnotic and lovely.

Vegetables of India
Jill Hartley
Tara Books
c/o Consortioum Book Sales & Distribution
34 13th Avenue NE, Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55413
9788190754699, $6.95,

"Vegetables of India" is a child's board book of beautiful color photos of gorgeous exotic vegetables grown in India, with a color printed list of names of 22 varieties of vegetables shown (in English). "Vegetables of India" is stunningly photographed and will help to educate children age 5 and up about the vast world of vegetables to be explored. Also highly recommended in this series are "Fruits of India (9788190754682, $6.95)," and "Flowers of India (9788190754675, $6.95)." Children will love the beautiful photographs.

Fiona Watt, author
Victoria Ball, illustrator
Erica Harrison, designer
EDC Publishing
10302 E. 55th Place,Tulsa, OK 74146
9780794525866, $15.99,

Designed and released as an Usborne Touchy-Feely book for toddlers and pre-readers, "Penguins" is a beautiful board book filled with text and textured illustrations of and about penguins. The soft feel of plush for penguins' yellow feathers, harder foam for their white bellies, and grey plush (shag) for the little chicks' fluffy bellies will tempt tiny fingers to test and touch each page. "Penguins" is a delightful, educational book that will reach young readers through multi-sensory approaches. While parents or child care staff read the pages of facts about penguins and their lives, children will love to feel the variety of textures cleverly embedded in the pages' illustrations. "Penguins" is an icy classic composed of sight, sound, and touch that is sure to enchant young learners.

Monkey Photo
Gita Wolf, author
Swarna Chitrakar, artist
Tara Publishing
c/o Consortium Book Sales & Distribution
34 Thirteenth Avenue NE, Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55413
9788190754620, $16.95

"Monkey Photo" is a vibrantly colorful, funny rhyming picture book for children age 3 and up about an enterprising Indian monkey freelance photographer in an Indian jungle animal preserve. Monkey has had many pictures taken by tourists and he decides to take a turn with a camera. Pose, tigers! Snakes, attention! Elephants, smile! Everyone wants their picture taken except a strange yellow bird who would prefer to eat her fish dinner un-photographed. The sly, witty tale of verse is brilliantly complemented by the beautiful illustrations by Swarna Chitrakar in the vivid Patua folk style. "Monkey Photo" will delight children of all ages and enrich their libraries and best-loved selections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

A Place For Frogs
Melissa Stewart, author
Higgins Bond, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561455218, $16.95,

"A Place For Frogs" is a beautiful frog primer introducing children ages 6-10 to the myriad varieties of frogs, their lifestyles and habitats, their beneficial nature, and their complex role as an index species. Detailed paintings and illustrations of many different frogs and toads add depth to "A Place For Frogs." In addition to many fascinating frog facts, "A Place For Frogs" makes many suggestions for ways that we can help frogs to thrive and survive today.

Happy About Animals, second edition
Duncan Levy
Happy About
20660 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 210, Cupertino, CA 95014
9781600051777, $14.95

"Happy About Animals: An 8-Year Olds View (Now 11) On Sharing the Earth" is a boy's presentation of information about 18 land animals and 14 sea creatures who deserve continued protected existence on earth, in his opinion. Illustrated by photos taken by the author's father and grandfather. "Happy About Animals" is a second edition of a funny, informative, creative book that is "An Inspiration to Kids Everywhere on Sharing the Earth." Duncan's comments about the species presented are fresh, priceless and genuine. They convey a sense of wonder and amazement that is to be cherished. "Happy About Animals" continues to be an excellent choice for kids age 7 and up and parents, teachers and libraries who educate them and are in turn enlightened by them.

Darby's Story, The Life of an Adopted Dog
Martha Steward
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449027759, $15.95

"Darby's Story" is the tale of an adopted dog, called a rescue dog, named Darby. His family spends 15 happy years with him after adoption and his history is heartwarming and inspirational. The story of Darby may increase a compassionate outlook for animals in need of a permanent home. There are certainly many rewards for both participants and rescue animals. Vibrant color photos of Darby spice up the pages of anecdotes about Darby. The story ends with a particularly moving account of Darby's passing after suffering with cancer. "Darby's presence is still in the house. I am not a firm believer in ghosts; however I do believe in the spirit. When you look into the eyes of a pet, there is a personality, a character, and a spirit. You see, God makes all things, and I do believe each pet has his own gift to share with us. When a pet passes away, the spirit goes back to God. Animals know who God is. They are not separated from God, and they did not fall from God's grace. They are in tune and know a sense of peace that we still struggle to find. (pp.27-27)." "Darby's Story" was written by his adoptive family mother, but the reading level of this gentle chapter book is easily accessible for children age 10 and up. "Darby's Story" touches hearts of all ages.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Library Kids Mystery of the Blue Mounds
Rita Jean Moran
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9780557306350, $12.99

"The Library Kids Mystery of the Blue Mounds" is a juvenile chapter mystery written for the enjoyment of middle grade students everywhere. First in a series of seven Library Kids Mysteries, "Mystery of the Blue Mounds" promises to entertain and educate readers, who will be intrigued by the enigma of curious Katie O'Conner's discovery of a vast secret library in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin which allows visitors to travel to any time or place on Earth, past, present or future. Katie and three friends meet the mysterious guardian of the library, an entity named Emily. They learn they must battle the seven Enemies of the Library as part of their initiation into the Library. They also must imprison or contain the non-human Dark Master of the Enemies, or he will destroy the human race and take over the planet. The children conduct a search throughout the series for 12 crystals at ancient archaeological sites that can (together) contain the Dark Master. "The Library Kids Mystery of the Blue Mounds" is a great beginning to entice young readers to learn more about ancient mythologies and cultures and solving mysteries, and not coincidentally, the role of libraries in pursuing this knowledge.

The Poetry Shelf

Still Her Spirit Sings
Robert W. Kurkela, author
Janice Phelps Williams, illustrator
Kidzpoetz Publishing
P.O. Box 621, New City, NY 10956
9780976022015, $16.95

"Still Her Spirit Sings: One Dog's Love, Lessons, Life and Legacy" is a father's verse tribute to his beloved dog Spirit, whose unexpected illness and death imprints deeply on the family, including two small children. To answer hard questions truthfully, and to pay proper full tribute to a faithful furry companion is the stated goal of "Still Her Spirit Sings." But perhaps even more important is the offering of compassion and comfort in the whimsical verse portrait of Spirit. In answer to the questions often asked, "Do dogs (animals) have souls? Will they go to heaven? Will we see them again?" Kurkela writes the following: "Oh yes, believe with all of your heart/ That our dogs are still on their guard! They inspire out honest acts/ Brightly move us to compassion/ Their loyalty lives on after death/ As lessons learned in our every breath,/ Though this tale has now been told/ Words, like souls, know no end? May they comfort you through your days/ Long, long after you turn this page." The title of "Still Her Spirit Sings" was taken from a poem written by the author in memory of his mother, in "Lilies on the Moon." "I find it just amazing/ When daily I stop and think,/ That she's no longer with us,/ Yet still her spirit sings." "Still Her Spirit Sings" is lovingly embellished with spare, haunting portraits of daily details of the life of Spirit. "Still Her Spirit Sings" will be especially treasured by parents and children who have experienced the loss of a beloved pet.

The Fairytale/Folklore Shelf

Jeremy McGuire
Outskirts Press
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432745370, $26.95,

The world of fairies is one that younger readers will always relish. "O'Shaughnessey: The Faerie Circle" is another entry into Jeremy McGuire's series, as he creates his own world of skillful mortals and their ventures into the world of faeries and its royalties. Young readers who can't get enough of the fae will find much to enjoy in "O'Shaughnessey", highly recommended.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Emma Chichester Clark, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763646806, $14.99

"Goldilocks and the Three Bears" is a lively reimaging of the beloved Grimm's fairy tale, beautifully illustrated by the multiple award -winning artist Emma Chichester Clark. Never has Goldilocks appeared so fresh and curious, or the bears so furry and friendly/ferocious, or the beds, porridge bowls and chairs so tempting and just right. Light humor lightens the dark tones of the original fairy tale in the bears' hilarious response to Goldilocks' invasion of their home, but the underlying message is soundly underlined and delivered just the same. "Goldilocks and the Three Bear" is destined to become the new classic interpretation of an old favorite for young children everywhere.

The Mud Fairy
Amy Young
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781599901046, $16.99

Children will love the story of Emmalina, the rebel fairy who loves to play in the swamp with frogs, unlike her dainty flower fairy peers. Will Emmelina be able to earn her fairy wings? Does her protective care of the frogs' baby tadpoles constitute a valuable skill, something that could earn her wings? Despite Emmalina's unusual interest in frogs, she is encouraged by the fairy queen to find what she is good at and pursue it, so she does. Emmalina becomes the Mud Fairy! "The Mud Fairy" is a wonderful tale for all children who have fears of never fitting in, always being messy and different and last to finish, etc. The dainty illustrations underline the tale's poignant moral: Be true to yourself.

Stickfiguratively Speaking: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Retold and illustrated by Jamison Odone
PublishingWorks, Inc.
151 Epping Road, Exeter, NH 03833
9781935557616 $14.95

"Stickfiguratively Speaking: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" is a sophisticated, delightful retelling of the classic children's tale by Jamison Odone. The quirky, black and white illustrations of Stickfiguratively Speaking bring the familiar characters encountered in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" to new life. Sparseness is all in this reworking of a familiar classic, there is much paring away of excess verbiage and all artworks are fully expected to do just that, work! In addition, Jamison Odone has created a special drawing of his Alice stick figure without hair to publicize fundraising efforts of 46 Mommas who are mothers of children with cancer working to raise funds and awareness of children cancer victims and their needs. PublishingWorks, Inc. has set up a special code (46MOMMAS) on their website with 20% of the book's proceeds going to 46 Mommas. "Stickfiguratively Speaking: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" presents a new challenge and interpretation of a much beloved classic in children's literature, infusing new life into an old familiar. Children age 7 and up and parents will enjoy this revisiting of the Lewis Carroll original.

The Fantastic Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Heinz Janisch, author
Aljoscha Blau, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592700912, $17.95

"The Fantastic Adventures of Baron Munchausen" is a masterful retelling or reinventing of "Traditional and Newly Discovered Tales of Karl Friedrich Hieronymus von Munchausen," translated by Belinda Cooper and illustrated by Aljoscha Blau. These lighthearted, fantastical tales are greatly magnified in their imaginative impact by the delicate, mysterious illustrations, all with more than a touch of whimsey. Perhaps a favorite tale might be The Ride on the Seahorse, or the Concert in the Whale, along with the ever popular Battle of the White Feathers. "The Fantastic Adventures of Baron Munchausen" is a collection sure to delight and mystify children of all ages, along with their parents and teachers.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Not Your Typical Book About the Environment
Elin Kelsey, author
Clayton Hanmer, illustrator
Owl Kids, Maple Tree Press
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Ste. 400, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2Z2
9781897349793, $22.95 1-800-788-3123

"Not Your Typical Book About the Environment" is a chapter book for kids ages 9-12 that addresses some of the nonspecific eco-anxieties that dis of today may be suffering from as a result of heightened environmental awareness. Focusing on positive impacts and steps that kids can take to help "green" the world, each chapter takes a familiar object to launch specific "green" tactics that kids can employ to diminish negative environmental impacts. For example, in the chapter on t-shirts, no fewer than five choices are suggested for green t-shirt options for kids. Another interesting comic-book strip section explains How Video Games and Cell Phones Are Connected to Gorillas, concluding that recycling video games and cell phones helps control the demand for coltane, a rare mineral found in lands that are prime gorilla habitat. "Not Your Typical Book About the Environment" ends with an upbeat but honest note from author Elin Kelsey that concludes:" There are endless choices about how you and I and everyone else can create a happy life for ourselves and millions of other species. Ride a bike. Share stuff. Play outside. Eat less meat. Be silly. Play more. Choose an issue and commit to changing it, even if it's just a little. Recycle cell phones. Keep playing. Reduce. Reimagine. Rejoice (p.63)."

Green Mama
Tracey Bianchi
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310320364, $12.99

"Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet" is a helpful handbook for committed parents who want to work realistically towards an eco-friendly life style, involving their families and loved ones in the long term goal. "Green Mama" gets to the heart of so many dilemmas that confront all good parents in this daily battle. Frequently the best advice is to choose a simple strategy and adapt it to your family. Sometimes the "green" thing to do is to use what you have and just make do. Many inspirational Bible quotations stud the pages of "Green Mama," helping the struggling reader find center and focus and hope in the midst of discouragement and chaos. Humor helps, as always. "Green Mama": is written by a nonjudgmental mother who has experienced the crucible of daily parenting and is still willing to talk about it. The author takes to heart her lifelong responsibility to raise a family who care enough to learn to act as stewards of earth instead of mindless consumers and users. In addition, each chapter of "Green Mama" has a review section at the end called "your eco-examen for chapter __" which asks two questions, what green ideas suggested will work for you and which ones won't? Other resources are organized and presented in the Green Mama Resource Guide at the end of the book. "Green Mama" is a truly useful eco-educational tool that does more than preach to the choir; it gets to the heart of commitment and the reality of daily deeds of faith and preservation for the planet we are given.

The Archaeology Shelf

The Archaeology Book
David Down
Master Books
P.O. Box 726, Green Forest, AR 72638
9780890515730, $16.99

"The Archaeology Book" is a publication of the Wonders of Creation multi-age format series, which allow the book to be used to teach at three different levels differentiated by color. Level One, on yellow background, is for 5th-6th grades and focuses on the who, what, where, why, and how questions of important archaeological and historical information. Level Two, text on blue-gray background, aims at grades 7-8 and digs deeper into historical/archaeological issues and discoveries, with added sections titled Words to Know and Reflections. Level Three, on white background, is suitable for 9th-11th grades and presents all previous material plus a section called Dig Deeper that "takes the reader into controversial and critical issues pertaining to historical accounts, chronologies, dating methods, and more." "The Archaeology Book" is a great introduction to archaeology and ancient history of the Middle Eastern lands of biblical times, including Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Jordan. As an introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls, findings of modern archaeologists in Jerusalem and Palestine, and much more information, "The Archaeology Book " is a valuable resource for teachers and students ages 10 and up. "The Archaeology Book" contains a glossary, free downloadable study guide at, and countless full color photographs of famous sites and digs and relics.

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

Tumbleweed Skies
Valerie Sherrard
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135
9781554551132, $11.95

"Tumbleweed Skies" is a paperback chapter book written for children ages 8-12 about a girl named Ellie who spends a long summer visiting her grandmother on a prairie farm while her unemployed father seeks better paying employment. What makes the visit even harder is Ellie's grandmother does not particularly want her to be there. However her Uncle Roger is more gently welcoming and Ellie learns to do the hard work that is expected of her on the farm and she makes a strange friend of a magpie she names Sammie. "Tumbleweed Skies" is an appealing book about a tough heroine who learns to struggle and to find joy in odd places. The crusty teaching that life can deliver hard knocks is gently molded into a dawning realization that things are actually about as good as you can make them, with a little help. "Tumbleweed Skies" is today's generation's version of dust bowl depression stories from decades past. The story gently "hooks" the young reader and carries them through to new rainbows and experiences.

Tommy Brown Misbehaving
Deborah Elum
All That Productions, Inc.
P.O. Box 1594, Humble, TX 77347
9780967944180, $8.99

"Tommy Brown Misbehaving" is a comedic chapter book written for kids age 8 and up about an adopted kitten named Tommy Brown who encounters many adventures in adapting to his family which includes 6 year old Marcus and Baby Linda and Mama and Daddy Brown. Told from the viewpoint of Tommy the kitten, "Tommy Brown Misbehaving" is a ton of chuckles from start to rollicking finish. Kids will identify with the young cat's assessment of curious or problematic situations and enjoy the funny conclusions. "Tommy Brown Misbehaving" is a juvenile chapter book that will be lead to effortless reading as kids laugh their way through the 65 pages. "Tommy Brown Misbehaving" is a whimsical, original romp of a book that will incidentally teach some valuable lessons about pet and other responsibilities to children who enjoy it.

Katie In The Kitchen
Fran Manushkin, author
Tammie Lyon, illustrator
Picture Window Books
c/o Capstone Press
151 Good Counsel Drive, P.O. Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002
9781404857247, $19.99

"Katie in the Kitchen" is the latest offering in the Katie Woo series of imaginative early chapter books for children in grades K-2. Colorfully illustrated by the famous creator of the Eloise series, "Katie in the Kitchen" presents an engrossing three chapter story about little Hurricane Katie, who wants to help in the kitchen but doesn't always understand all the safety guidelines and rules for cooking and other complex activities. Fortunately her injuries are slight and her parents are forgiving and flexible and willing to teach her in steps she can manage to make healthy snacks independently, with a little supervision. "Katie in the Kitchen" is complete with a glossary, discussion questions, writing prompts, and further references for games and puzzles, heroes and villains, and authors and illustrators at Kids will love Katie and her culinary and other adventures, and they will learn while having fun reading.

Random House/Knopf
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Marion Dane Bauer's THE VERY LITTLE PRINCESS (9780375856914, $12.99) tells of Zoey, who has always dreamed of bringing a magical doll to life and who finds trouble when her dream comes true and she has a mean doll who bosses her around. Zoey's new doll is a spoiled princess - and Zoey can't control her! A fine reader for grades 2-4 evolves an unexpected plot. Gary Paulsen's LAWN BOY RETURNS (9780385746625, $12.99) continues the quirky story of Lawn Boy, whose story goes public and leads to a too-hectic life. From a lost relative who parks his trailer outside of his home in search of Lawn Boy's fortune to Lawn Boy's plots with his faithful stockbroker Arnold, this makes for a fine ongoing story recommended for collections where Lawn Boy was a prior hit.

Abigail Iris: The Pet Project
Lisa Glatt and Suzanne Greenberg
Walker & Company
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780802786579, $14.99

Abigail Iris: The Pet Project tells of an eight-and-a-half year old determined to get a kitten - especially if it's Spot, a new kitty she's just met. Her mother says 'maybe' - and Abigail decides to turn this into a certainty in this fun story for grades 3-5, with fine black and white drawings by Joy Allen.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Head-to-Toe Health titles
Elaine Landau
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown, NY 10591
$19.95 each

These fine 'Head to Toe Health' titles are top picks for any elementary-level health library, each featuring 32 pages of information including an index, glossary, bibliography and more. Contemporary color photos accompany CHICKENPOX (9780761434986) and FOOD ALLERGIES (9780761435006), each offering definitions, reviews of symptoms and treatments, and how to live with illness. Any library where health studies is included will find these winners.

Books in Series

Wil, Fitz and a Flea Named T
CJ Connolly, author
Lisa Adams, illustrator
Crosswinds Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 683, Mystic, CT 06355
9780982555903, $16.95

First in a series titled "The Adventures of Wil and T", "Wil, Fitz and a Flea Named T" is a rhyming morality tale for children ages 3-8 that was conceived and inspired by the author's desire to leave her 6 grandchildren generations of accumulated wisdom in friendly formats they could, keep, treasure, and use as good growth fodder. Motivated by the (ultimately terminal) diagnosis of scleroderma, Dr. C. J. Connolly has created an amazing collection of instructional stories in verse for her grandchildren to enjoy. The rest of the juvenile literature audience benefits greatly from this undertaking, not coincidentally. "Wil, Fitz and a Flea Named T" begin the series with an apple-seeking adventure derailed, that is safely rerouted to productive apple-gathering through the amazing wise counsel of the flea on Wil's dog Fitz's ear named Mr. T. Beginning with cheerful, bright illustrations of the distractions of a boy and his dog and ending with a wise proverb, "Wil, Fitz and a Flea Named T" is filled with just the right mix of brisk expectation and forgiving whimsey: "Wil had learned something special that day from Mr. T.../ That wisdom comes from making errors, it is never ever free." Children will love the adventures of Mr. T and Fitz and Wil, along with the central idea that good counsel can come from a very tiny, true source deep inside each of us. Also highly recommended in this superb series of children's picture books by C. J. Connolly are "The Bad Enchilada," (9780982555927, $16.95) and "The Boomerang," (9780982555910, $16.95), available from the same publisher, Crosswinds Press, Inc.

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

Marina Cohen's GENETIC ENGINEERING (9780778749509, $29.27) provides 48 pages of facts for elementary grades on the basics of genetic engineering, surveying cells, DNA, and the latest research into genetic engineering. As an early introduction, this offers fine insights for any young scientist. Bobbie Kalman's 'INDIA' books offer excellent geographic surveys suitable for libraries where country studies are done. Each 32-page book pairs contemporary photos with plenty of facts. INDIA THE CULTURE (9780778792871, $26.60) surveys the religious and cultural influences on India, while INDIA THE PEOPLE (9780778792864, $26.60) covers family life, homes, village life, rural and urban living, and social issues. Both are fine picks for any library strong in India culture. The titles in 'A Class of Their Own' series provide excellent surveys for libraries interested in the six major classifications of living organisms based on the latest scientific data. Judy Wearing's BACTERIA (9780778753742, $29.27) surveys staph, strep and other bacteria while her FUNGI (9780778753759, $29.27) covers mushrooms, toadstools, molds and others, Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone's ANIMALS (9780778753728, $29.27) surveys mammals, birds, reptiles and other animals and their PLANTS (9780778753766, $29.27) surveys flowering plants, ferns and other plants; David M. Barker's ARCHAEA (9780778753735, $29.27) covers salt-lovers and other types of archaeans, and Rona Arato's PROTISTS (9780778753773, $29.27) tells of algae and amoebas and other protists. All are perfect for elementary reports.

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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