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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 21, Number 5 May 2011 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Crafts Shelf Art Shelf
Health Shelf Nature/Environment Shelf ABC Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Education Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Music Shelf Science Shelf
Preschool Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Activities Shelf Social Issues Shelf Fiction Shelf
SciFi/Fantasy Shelf Picturebook Shelf Biography Shelf
Hunting/Fishing Shelf Christian Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Sports Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

My Mom's Deployment
Julie LaBelle, author
Christina Rodriguez, illustrator
Elva Resa Publishing
8362 Tamarack Village, Suite 119-106, St. Paul, MN 55125
9781934617083, $9.95,

"My Mom's Deployment: A Deployment and Reunion Activity Book for Young Children" is an activity book for young children related to the military deployment and reunion of a mother and her child/children. Similar to "My Dad's Deployment," "My Mom's Deployment " is organized to help children find ways to explore their feelings about their parent's deployment. Filled with games, puzzles, activities, and imaginative exercises, "My Mom's Deployment" is invitingly decorated with black and white illustrations, ready for the creative child's coloring attentions. The 112 page activity book is divided into four sections, titled Getting Ready for Deployment, Deployment, Getting Ready for Reunion, and Reunion. Each section has a number of specific crafts and related artistic or literary activities that encourage the child to explore his/her feelings and reactions to the mother's deployment. One of the creative suggested activities is to create a Deployment Time Capsule, with possibly photos, notes, lists, treasured small objects, etc. to be sealed in a jar, or other container Rat the time of deployment and opened later at the reunion. many more creative suggested activities help to manage the hurt and loss experienced by children of deployed mothers. "My Mom's Deployment" is an excellent resource for families of deployed mothers with young children.

A Wish and A Prayer
Beth Bence Reinke, author
Ginger Nielson, illustrator
4 RV Publishing LLC
PO Box 6482, Edmond, OK 73083
9780982642313, $13.99,

"A Wish and a Prayer" is a gentle book about a boy's pet parakeet who accidentally flies out the window and is lost. Jason searches for Sonny, the parakeet in the park and at school he hopefully wishes that Sonny will somehow return to him. Despite Jason's wishes, his birthday arrives on Saturday and still no Sonny. Jason's mom helps him begin to learn the difference between wishing for something and praying to God about it. One night during a thunderstorm, Jason decides to make a special prayer to God to help bring Sonny home. In the morning Jason hears the special twitter-twirp cheep that is part of Sonny's song at his window. He had come back! Jason remembered to thank God for answering his prayer. Delicate paintings illustrate this moving story about finding faith in God. "A Wish and a Prayer" is suitable for children ages 4-8. Also recommended by the same author/illustrator team is "In My Bath (9780982588666, $13.99)," about a boy's adventures with different imaginary animal friends in his bath.

In the Meadow
Yukiko Kato, author
Komako Sakai, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592701087, $14.95,

"In the Meadow" is the first in a collection of Japanese nature books which transports young children to a very special magic spot in nature. A little girl named Yu-chan is near a running river and a grassy meadow with her family. She follows a butterfly into the heart of the deep grass and experiences a moment of being lost in the grass, listening to the sounds around her. Just when she becomes frightened, her mother finds her. Delicate illustrations done with acrylic paints and oil pencils bring the grassy meadow Yu-Chan experiences to full life. "In the Meadow" is a beautiful book that will lead young children to the heart of the natural world. "In the Meadow" can be appreciated by children age 3 and up.

I Can Make a Difference!
Julie & Amanda Sexson, authors
Julie Sexson, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983643, $19.95,

"I Can Make a Difference!: A Sweet Story of Giving" is a creative children's book written by a mother-daughter team that tells the story of an inspired fund-raising project for Healing Haiti (for more information on this non-profit organization go to, Amanda is a girl who wants to make a difference. She decides to help the troubled nation of Haiti by working with her friends to create her favorite treats, peppermint and hot cocoa mixes, and then selling them to raise money to help Haitians rebuild their infrastructure. Dazzlingly illustrated with pastel watercolor illustrations and colorful whimsical written text, "I Can Make a Difference" sings out in vibrant shades of hope and healing on every page. A recipe for the peppermint bark is included, and the last page is embellished with a little mirror to inspire readers to follow their dreams, helping others in need. A true story of Christian compassion, "I Can Make a Difference" is a wonderful inspirational book to give to any child. All proceeds from the sale of "I Can Make a Difference" will be donated to Healing Haiti. To learn more about Amanda's other current projects or to purchase a book, go to,

All About Japan: Stories
Willamarie Moore, author
Kazumi Wilds, illustrator
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759
9784805310779, $16.95,

"All About Japan: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More" is a multi-tasking, cultural exploring educational book for elementary to middle school aged children and their parents. Children learn about daily life from a Japanese boy who lives in a farmhouse and a Japanese girl who lives in a city. Many songs, festivals, and special activities and craft activities are part of the charm of "All About Japan," as are the detailed illustrations and facts about Japan's present and rich historical past. Vocabulary is enhanced by highlighted words in Japanese for special terms and times. A Japanese folktale about the stars in the sky tells a wonderful story about a Weaver Princess and a Cow Herdsman. "All About Japan" is a treasure trove of cultural information about a fascinating country, bringing it to full, vibrant life.

If I Never Forever Endeavor
Holly Meade, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Dover, MA 02144
9780763640712, $ 15.99,

"If I Never Forever Endeavor" is a beautiful illustrated poem about a fledgling bird who dares to learn to fly. Incredibly detailed artwork combining water color painting with linoleum block printing through collage enhances every sensitive line of the inspiring poem, a bird's soliloquy about the pros and cons of attempting to fly. Children and adults will respond to the magical charm of this artistic gem. The incredible wealth of detail in the illustrations is the perfect setting for the inspirational core thought of the poem."If I Never Forever Endeavor" is a treasure written by an award winning author/illustrator, bound to become another medal winner.

Catie The Copycat
Juliana Howard, author
Sophia Heymans, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983681, $17.00,

"Catie the Copycat" is an empowering vision disguised as a child's book about finding herself. Written in calm, spare verse, illustrated with delicate pastel colors, "Catie the Copycat" is a story about finding the courage to search for one's true identity. Catie is a child who always copies others because she wants to fit in. Being a copycat does not work very well for Catie. Then she has a dream of Queen Catherine, with her purple dress and crown of roses, and she is determined to seek for Queen Catherine until she finds her. Through daunting, scary dream experiences, Catie finally sees Queen Catherine in her own reflection in a pool of tears of frustration and fear she has shed. From then on, Catie began to find more and more ways to truly be herself as she was meant to be, Queen Catherine! "Catie the Copycat" is very sensitively written and illustrated, and will appeal to an adult audience as well as children.

The Library Gingerbread Man
Dotti Enderle, author
Colleen M. Madden, illustrator
Upstart Books
401 S. Wright Road
P.O. Box 5207, Janesville, WI 53547
9781602130487, $17.95,

"The Library Gingerbread Man" starts out at his Dewey decimal library address of 398.2, but he doesn't stay there for long! Just as the librarian was reshelving his book, the jolly Gingerbread Man leapt out of the book and dashed off, taunting her with his famous escape chant, "Run, run, as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!" He proceeds to dash through some interesting characters and Dewey decimal addresses who take up the chase with the librarian. Pursued by books about Word Wizards, origami, robots, and giraffes, plus an annoyed librarian, the Gingerbread Man runs on until he encounters a fluffy white Arctic fox at 998. True to the original fairy tale, the fox slyly tricks the Gingerbread Man, but instead of ending up in the fox's mouth, he is caught by the clever librarian, who claps him back into his book. It is wroth noting for future reference that it is particularly hard to outsmart a librarian. And he was returned to his home address at 398.2 where young readers can still find him today. As might be expected, this fabulous little adapted fairy tale ends up educating as well as entertaining, being particularly attractive to student in grades K-3. The bright, fantastic book characters and gingerbread action make "The Library Gingerbread Man" a real page turner that won't be put down.

The Two Brothers
William Jaspersohn, author
Michael A. Donato, illustrator
August House Inc.
3500 Piedmont Road NE, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30305
Independent Publishers' Group (distributor)
814 N. Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780916718169, $14.95,

"The Two Brothers" is a Family Heritage Book Series children's publication from the Vermont Folklife Center for children ages 4 to 8. With muted, expressive oil paintings and a spare narrative, "The Two Brothers" tells the story of Heinrich and Friedrich two brothers from Prussia who emigrated separately to America and ended up working for a farmer in Vermont. At Tucker Hill Farm, Heinrich, or Henry, his American name, helped gather maple sap for syrup, deliver baby lambs, plow and plant crops, and cut trees for firewood and fence mending. In the fall he harvested vegetables and crops. Twice a day he milked cows. He still lacked enough money to send for his brother and mother to come by ship to America. Meanwhile his brother mourned the death of their mother of influenza in the winter. Selling their home and belongings, Friedrich made his way to America on a ship. Strangely enough, he was directed to work for a neighboring farmer in Vermont where his brother already working. For 15 months both brothers worked within 1 mile of each other and did not know it. Then in April, Henry and Fred were each sent to help mend fences between the two farms together. Imagine the joy at their unexpected reunion! Eventually the brothers bought the Tucker farm from Mr. Tucker and Henry married and raised a family in the farmhouse. When asked by his children about his past, he would tell the story of two brothers named Heinrich and Friedrich. "The Two Brothers" is based on a true story about two brothers who emigrated from Prussia to America in the 1880's. This Family Heritage Series preserves precious family history and also encourages young readers to tackle the project of seeking out their own family history and stories. In the last page titled Tell Me a Tale, story approaches and possible questions to ask are suggested, along with creative tips about making an original cover or binding. "The Two Brothers" is excellent reading and especially recommended for community library children's books collections.

This Child, Every Child
David J. Smith, author
Shelagh Armstrong, illustrator
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781554534661, $18.95,

"This Child, Every Child: A Book About the World's Children" presents in illustrated specific components the basic text of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as updated from 1989, rewritten in child friendly language. Approved by all the world's nations except Somalia and the United States, the 54 articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in Child Friendly Language is presented in full on pages 32 and 33 of "This Child, Every Child." The purpose of "This Child, Every Child" is to educate children about the world specifically as it affects them and children in every part of the globe. Some of the rights and the underlying issues presented are uncomfortable to imagine and accept, but there is no denying the importance of studying and raising awareness of the global status of children's rights. For example, Article 32 states "You have the right to protection from work that harms you, and is bad for your health and education. If you work, you have the right to be safe and paid fairly (p. 24)." The example illustrated shows two boys, Nasir and Omar, ages 9 and 10, who work in a rug factory in Pakistan. The work requires the boys to work 6-7 days a week and sit in one position for a long time. Other examples of child labor that is exploitative or prevents children from receiving education are also shown. Articles that relate to children and their families, children's health, children on the move, children treated unequally due to gender, and more are illustrated and presented, with specific examples form around the globe. "This Child, Every Child" closes with some important areas of suggested additional study, plus some great "Take Action" tips with the underlying mantra, "Change is possible." There is also an additional note on sources with related web sites. A portion of the proceeds from every sale of "This Child, Every Child" goes to ONEXONE in support of its education programs, relating to children's fundamental needs for clean water, health care, education, play and adequate food. To learn more about this agency, visit,

My Sitter is a T-Rex!
Paul Orshoki, author
Jeffrey Ebbeler, illustrator
Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9781601152534, $9.95,

"My Sitter is a T-Rex!" is a We Both Read series book written at level 1-2 for students in grades 1-2. "My Sitter is a T-Rex" is from an educational series designed to encourage interactive reading between parent and child, with left-hand pages designed for the parent to read and right hand pages designed for the child to read. Gradually, the child is encouraged to read more and more complex pages and sentences to tell the story. In "My Sitter is a T-Rex!" the child's page is written in rhyme, while gigantic, monstrous color illustrations of the T-Rex babysitter sprawl across both pages. Although at first the prospect is terrifying, Todd, the boy decides he would really like to have Sue, the T-Rex babysitter, back again because he had so much fun with her.

Otto's Orange Day
Jay Lynch, author
Frank Cammuso, illustrator
Treasure Bay Inc.
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9780979923883, $4.99,

"Otto's Orange Day" is a new Toon Book available to schools only from Treasure Bay. Written as a cartoon story with lively colored illustrations, "Otto's Orange Day" will tempt the most reluctant early reader. Otto is an imaginative cat who imagines an improved world filled with his favorite color, orange. Except he finally learns that too much orange can be confusing. He can't find the lamp, and he wonders if too much orange is giving him the blues! Kids will love learning with Otto of the need for color and other variety in daily life. Other highly recommended titles in the Toon Book series are "Benny and Penny in Just Pretend," by Geoffrey Hayes (9780979923869, $4.99) and "Stinky," by Eleanor Davis (9781935179061, $4.99). "Stinky" is a Geisl Honor book, a Booklist Notable, and a Bank Street Best selection multiple award winner.

Rule the World
Editors of Klutz
450 Lambert Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306
9781591748496, $16.99,

"Rule the World: 119 Shortcuts to Total World Domination" is creative activity publisher Klutz' editors' latest contribution to 8-year-old humor, make that age 8 and up. It's pretty funny stuff. Presented in 119 easy short cuts that are easy-to-follow, "Rule the World" is the perfect accessory to the lazy despot. And all the steps are fun and creative. For example, #72, "Wear glasses," has a punch out pair of cardboard glasses with instructions to complete your handy disguise. Glasses, when worn, maybe used strategically to look intelligent, be superior, make and excuse, and stall (as in "When you don't know the answer to a questions, buy yourself time by slowly cleaning your glasses with a hanky (p.70)." For the highly industrious, tip #113 may appeal, "Build a Secret Fortress, complete with confusing maze map instructions, illustrations of three types of secret fortresses, and hilarious blueprint instructions (p.104). This reviewer's personal favorite is #118, "Sing Yourself a Love Song," wherein love song lyrics are subtly altered to become self-love songs, such as "I am the Wind beneath my wings," "I Am the Sunshine of my Life," etc. The idea is if you show some leadership in loving yourself, the world will soon follow suit. "Rule the World" is full of silly, fun, ridiculous ideas about inflating self importance and self esteem to whole new dimensions, thereby gaining access to world domination. 8-year olds (and up) will love reading this book, and will spend hours of silly fun activities or just laughing themselves into a new dimension. Definitely not for people without a sense of humor.

Autism Spectrum Disorders
Anna Maria Rodriguez
Lerner Publishing Group
1251 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761358831, $34.60,

"Autism Spectrum Disorders" is a publication from a series from USA Today Health Reports: Diseases and Disorders. Written at a reading level for students age 13 and up, "Autism Spectrum Disorders" presents clear, concise, factually supported and referenced information about ASD, with frequent references to statistics of related study findings and more. Descriptions of symptoms and related behaviors, causes of ASD, testing and diagnosis of ASD, and therapies and coping and living strategies for ASD individuals and their families are all covered in 7 chapters. Many individuals case stories are told to illustrate different problems faced by individuals with ASD. In addition, there is a glossary, list of resources, source notes, bibliography, and further reading and web sites suggested relating to ASD. Color photographs and shaded sidebars present additional information in an eye-catching way. "Autism Spectrum Disorders" is an excellent resource for teachers, older students and families of individuals with ASD. Highly recommended. Also recommended from this series are "Aids," by Carol Sonenklar (9780822585817, $34.60), and "Depression," by Wendy Moragne (9780761358824, $34.60).

The Crafts Shelf

Innovative Art Projects for Children
Nicole Siebert
Crystal Productions
PO Box 2159, Glenview, IL 60025-6159
9781562906696 $19.95 1-800-255-8629

A spiral-bound softcover designed to lay flat or wrap around itself for easy reference, Innovative Art Projects for Children is packed with simple, creative ideas for artistic activities, using inexpensive and easily obtained materials (many of which are likely to be found at home, such as white glue, finger paint or crayons). Suggested age ranges are offered with each activity from "Fantastic Flags" for ages 5-8 (create and color handmade flags on dowel rods) to "Monochromatic Flowers" for ages 8-11 (trace a flower design on a folded piece of paper and cut with scissors to make an unfolding, repeating pattern) to Amate Bark Paintings for ages 9-12 (using charcoal pencil and fluorescent tempera paint to create a vivid scene on brown craft paper). Elementary school art teacher Nicole Siebert walks the reader through each project step- by-step, and full-color photographs on virtually every page make exploring the joy of art a snap. Highly recommended for parents, babysitters, and children's art teacher reference collections!

The Art Shelf

An Arty Adventure
Sherry Linger Kaier
The Artists' Orchard, LLC
PO Box 113317, Pittsburgh, PA 15241
9780984316625 $25.98 hc
9780984316618 $15.98 pbk.

An Arty Adventure: A Young Girl's Journey Toward Abstraction is a picturebook designed to introduce young people to the concepts behind different types of abstract art. Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauve, Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism are all discussed in plain yet precise terms, with accompanying illustrations demonstrating key qualities of each style. "This painting of the young girl has two important qualities of Fauve paintings. First is the use of bright colors. Rather than using colors found in nature, Fauve painters use vibrant, often complementary colors... The other Fauve quality is the decorative patterns on flat surfaces. Before the Fauves, most paintings had depth, making them look like some parts are close to us and some other parts are far away. In this painting, all of its parts appear to be flat; there are no highlights or shadows." The framing story of a young girl who learns to love art through classroom experience adds a personal touch to this educational and thought-provoking tour.

The Health Shelf

Brush Barry Brush
Linda Valderrama R. D. H., author
Sudi Memarzadeh, illustrator
Shirley's Girl Publications
1501 San Elijo Road South, Suite #104-126
San Marcos, CA 92078
9780578066059, $11.95,

"Brush Barry Brush" is a bright, vividly illustrated self-care dental hygiene manual for young children, to motivate them to brush their teeth after eating. Filled with alliterative text about different children eating different foods who brush their teeth afterwards, "Brush Barry Brush" is an innovative appeal to children and parents to make brushing teeth after eating a fun routine. In addition to imaginative, detailed colorful illustrations that emphasize the spectacular "toothy" grin of each child after brushing after eating, "Brush Barry Brush" has a page full of brushing stickers and a weekly and 3x daily brushing chart to use the stickers on. Children can be encouraged to begin brushing their teeth for 2 minutes after every meal by immediate use of the chart and stickers. Plus, reading the book together is fun. Hopefully, kids will decide brushing their teeth and having clean teeth is fun too. "Brush Barry Brush" is great dental hygiene education for kids and parents. Even non-readers will be able to figure out what the message is by simply observing the illustrations!

Good Night Giants
Heinz Janisch, author
Helga Bansch, illustrator
American Psychological Association
P.O. Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090
9781433809507, $14.95,

"Good Night Giants" is a bedtime soother story book for both older and younger children who are reluctant to settle into sleep at night. Filled with hypnotic giant-counting nonsense rhymes and fantastic, whimsical illustrations of kooky giants in quirky settings and poses, "Good Night Giants" has just the right unlikely prescription for wafting into safe, secure sleep patterns, even for wiggly, worried youngsters who don't want to settle. At the end of the story is a song to sing that lulls and relaxes the body and the mind. There is also a Note to Parents from Michael A. Tompkins, PhD. that gives a number of specific, practical, sleep encouraging practices and tips. There is both a hard cover and a soft cover copy of "Good Night Giants" for young sleepy readers ages 4-8. "Good Night Giants" is an excellent book and a handy parent tool to encourage good sleep hygiene practices.

A Mom of Many Hats
Debbie Fink, MA and Lisa Perea Hane, MFA, authors
Caroline Smith Heming, illustrator
Harmony Hearth, LLC
7601 Carter Ct., MD 20817
9780967887135 $9.95

A Mom of Many Hats is a colorful softcover book designed especially to help children understand and cope with the difficult reality of having a parent or loved one fight cancer and undergo chemotherapy. The intent is for parents or other adults to read the story themselves before sharing it with a child. Chapters follow the difficulty of learning about a loved one's illness, experiencing the stages of shock, denial, depression, regression, anger, bargaining, and acceptance; and finding ways to share love and support, such as giving an impromptu party - in the story, the children team up with Grandma and Dad to plan wonderful hat shower for their mother who has lost all her hair. A Mom of Many Hats is especially recommended for doctor's offices and waiting rooms, as well as for any family with children that is making its way through difficult times.

The Nature/Environment Shelf

Rachel and Sammy Visit the Prairie
Jannifer Powelson
Strategic Book Group
PO Box 333, Durham, CT 06422
9781608607051 $15.00

Rachel and Sammy Visit the Prairie is a softcover children's picturebook that offers an introduction to observing the ecology of the prairie lands. As Rachel the raccoon and Sammy the skunk explore the prairie, they see various flowers, grasses, and insects; the full-color illustrations alternate between cartoon-like drawings of the pair and vividly beautiful photographs of prairie flowers. An excellent and educational way to stir young people's interest in the natural world, Rachel and Sammy Visit the Prairie is a choice pick. Also highly recommended is the second book in the "Rachel and Sammy" series, "Rachel and Sammy Visit the Forest" (9781609761684, $15.00).

Around One Log
Anthony D. Fredericks, author
Jennifer DiRubbio, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584691372 $16.95

Around One Log: Chipmunks, Spiders, and Creepy Insiders is a rhyming children's picturebook about the amazing variety of animals that populate a supposedly dead and rotting log. Beautiful, realistic color illustrations show a yellow-and-black salamander that feeds on the termites eating the wood; a garter snake that slithers by; daddy longlegs spiders; a spry chipmunk; and more. The repeating rhythm of the rhyme drives home the point about how interconnected the web of animal life is. "Year after year the log continued to rot, / Then a class on a walk came up to this spot. / One student - she asked, to her teacher she said- / 'Is this log alive? Or is it now dead?'" Around One Log is an excellent read-aloud storybook with a strong environmental theme, highly recommended.

Crush and the Blue Box
Greg & Stephanie Burgin
ABC Book Publishers, Inc.
4940 Blackhawk Drive, St. Johns, FL 32259
9780983154303 $8.99

Part of the preschool-friendly "Smidgens" series, Crush and the Blue Box is a colorful, flat- spined children's picturebook about the importance of recycling and being socially responsible. The "blue box" of the title is a recycle bin with the familiar three-arrow triangle logo; Crush is a "smidgen", a magical aloe drop with a smiling personality who teaches children simple lessons. "It's easy; all you need to do is pick up all the cans and bottles and put them in this blue bin. That way they can be melted down and used to make new cans, bottles and lots of other stuff!" The theme "Every little bit counts!" is a positive message reinforcing environment-friendly behavior in this enjoyable picturebook.

The ABC Shelf

Doodles: Alphabet Coloring Fun
Setria James
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781452090856 $14.49

Doodles: Alphabet Coloring Fun is a consumable coloring book designed to help young children learn the alphabet. Each page is devoted to a letter of the alphabet, with two words that begin with that letter represented by black-and-white drawings for children to color; for example, the letter "I" is accompanied by the words "ice cream" and "igloo" with accompanying drawings. A simple, no-nonsense and child-friendly activity book, highly recommended as a source of educational rainy-day fun.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Maisy's Seasons
Lucy Cousins
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763652227 $8.99

Part of the "Maisy Fun-to-Learn" series, Maisy's Seasons is an educational book designed for toddlers 18 months and up. Ostensibly a large board book at first glance, Maisy's Seasons actually has a strong interactive component - children are encouraged to lift flaps and spin wheels to make the book's simple and playful pictures of Maisy the mouse and friends change. All four seaons are celebrated in this colorful and upbeat book, ideal as a birthday gift to very young children (although probably unsuited for public library collections due to its flaps and moving parts). Also in the "Maisy Fun-to-Learn" series is "Go, Maisy, Go!" (9780763652210, $8.99) which features more than 40 flaps and shows Maisy and friends in a variety of different vehicles.

The Education Shelf

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids
Christine Fonseca
Prufrock Press
5926 Balcones Drive, Suite 220, Austin, TX 78731
9781593635442, $14.95,

When you have a talent, you have to nurture it or it's worthless. "101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids: The Ultimate Handbook" is a guide for gifted and talented students who may find their label to be a burden at times and the challenges before them daunting. Encouraging these students how to find friends, dealing with bullies, the wisdom here is good for any kid, but is specifically tailored for those overachievers. "101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids" is a choice pick for any gifted and talented kid who wants school to be the enriching activity it should be.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Even Higher! A Rosh Hashanah Story
I. L. Peretz, author
Eric A. Kimmel, adapter
Jill Weber, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823420209, $16.95,

The village of Nemirov is visited by a skeptical Litvak, which means a scoffer or doubter possibly from Lithuania, one who disbelieves in miracles. The rabbi of Nemirov disappears every Rosh Hashanah and all the villagers believe their good rabbi goes to heaven to beg and plead for forgiveness for so many lost and erring souls, to save them by Yom Kippur. But the Litvak doubts this miracle and resolves to hide himself under the rabbi's bed on the night before Rosh Hashanah to follow him and find out where he really goes. The incredible story that follows not only makes a believer out of the Litvak, it exemplifies one of the holiest of duties; to bring unrewarded aid and comfort to the suffering on earth. children will laugh at the disguised rabbi and the dancing grandmother, so delightfully presented in the colorful illustrations. The helpful cats and goat who assist the rabbi in donning his humble peasant disguise linger long in the mind of a child. The shocking tale of where the rabbi really spends his Rosh Hashanah is vividly depicted and described. In the end, even the Litvak becomes a believer and a follower of the rabbi of Nemirov. When villagers say that in the days before Rosh Hashanah the good rabbi flew up to heaven to pray for their souls, the Litvak would say, "Who knows? Maybe even higher!" This delightful Rosh Hashanah story will appeal to children ages 4 and up.

Around the World in One Shabbat
Durga Yael Bernhard, author/illustrator
Jewish Lights
P.O. Box 237, Sunset Farm Offices,
RT. 4, Woodstock, VT 05901
9781580234337, $18.99,

"Around the World in One Shabbat: Jewish People Celebrate the Sabbath Together" is a fabulous Sabbath adventure that begins in Jerusalem on a Friday morning with Avi, his sister Rachel, and his grandmother Savta as they choose the food for their Sabbath meal in the market, called the Machane Yehudah market. From there the young reader travels to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Alicia and her family are also busy preparing for the Sabbath, making a special loaf of bread. The traveler moves next to Melbourne, Australia where another Jewish child and family are preparing for Shabbat. The Sabbath odyssey continues until many different countries and cities are visited, on all the continents except Antarctica. In each new location, the family places special significance on the Shabbat, or holy day of rest and contemplation, a day to celebrate the goodness of life. Often the special Sabbath meal is prepared the day before, so no work need be done on the Shabbat. From Jerusalem to India, Jewish families everywhere make special preparations to celebrate the Shabbat. A glossary is provided at the end of "Around the World in One Shabbat" to remember all the special Hebrew and Yiddish terms that are encountered in the amazing journey. Inside the cover of "Around the World in One Shabbat" is a colorful world map with pinpointed locations for all the children who are visited as they prepare and celebrate their many Shabbats. The colorful illustrations help make the story of "Around the World in One Shabbat" even more immediate and exciting. "Around the World in One Shabbat" is written especially for children ages 3-6.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Best In Show
Karen LeFrak, author
Andrew Day, illustrator
Walker & Company
c/o Bloomsbury
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780802720641, $16.99,

"Best In Show" is an informative illustrated children's book about raising and showing Standard Poodles. Abby, a nine-year -old daughter of two Standard Poodle breeders and showers, chooses Gem as her favorite puppy of a poodle litter to be Best in Show. Illustrations and narrative describe the maturation and training and grooming processes that a show poodle must go through to be able to be shown successfully. When Abby's father, Wendell, accidentally hurts his ankle during a show, her chance to work and perform with Gem in the ring is secured. Everyone cheers when Abby and Gem perform flawlessly and Gem is indeed awarded Best in Show. "Best in Show" has helpful additional information about dog showing listed at the end of the book. "Best In Show" is sure to appeal to dog-loving children ages 7 and up.

Ariana Leaves San Francisco
Martha Morales, author
Bessie Chiu, illustrator
Robertson Publishing
59 N. Santa Cruz Avenue, Suite B, Los Gatos, CA 95030
9781611700176, $8.50,

"Ariana Leaves San Francisco" is the illustrated true story of a young sea lion who leaves her Pier 39 home location with her pack and journeys north to Florence, Oregon along with her parent sea lions to visit and help care for some sea lion and walrus relatives. Ariana is apprehensive about the move, but despite obstacles, loneliness, and fear, she eventually embraces her new home with her mother (who is pregnant) and family. Based on an actual recorded event in December of 2009, "Ariana Leaves San Francisco" is a gentle children's teaching tale that encourages kids to work through their difficult feelings about large events in their lives, such as major moves, that they cannot control. Eventually Ariana discovers her new home near family in Florence, Oregon is not so bad, and her new life has unexpected promise and potential she had not foreseen. Charming, sentimental illustrations of human-like seals in their beach homes help deliver and enhance the universal message of "Ariana Leaves San Francisco." "Ariana Leaves San Francisco" is appropriate for 4-8 year old children to enjoy.

Amazing Animals
Margriet Ruurs
Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887769733, $17.95,

AMAZING ANIMALS; THE REMARKABLE THINGS THAT CREATURES DO uses gorgeous art and fine natural history text to produce a children's introduction to amazing animals past and present. From the oldest insect that lived over 350 million years ago - before dinosaurs - to the largest and strongest snake in the world, this packs in realistic illustrations and eye-catching facts leisure browsers will enjoy.

Nutter the Survivor
Jeannine Thomas, author
Rebecca Riffey, illustrator
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781616639273, $9.99,

"Nutter the Survivor" is a fresh, inspiring adventure tale about an unusual white puppy named Nutter Butter Muncher Wutter Pupper who desires to escape from her cramped, caged life to a world of freedom and dreams of a loving home. Nutter is a determined and doughty hero pup who survives harsh treatment and neglect to pursue his dreams. After he manages to escape the ogre's cage, he encounters many different animals who comment on his strange appearance (no teeth, crooked ears) due in part to his very poor treatment in the ogre's cage. Ultimately Nutter is taken to an animal rescue shelter where he is treated considerately and eventually adopted by a loving family. "Nutter the Survivor" is a teaching tale that explores values of humane care and treatment of animals as well as the importance of developing and maintaining self esteem even in difficult circumstances. "Nutter the Survivor" is colorfully illustrated with perky pictures for children ages 4-8 and is available as an audio book digital download.

The Blues Go Extreme Birding
Carol L. Malnor and Sandy F. Fuller, authors
Louise Schroeder, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584691334, $16.95,

"The Blues Go Extreme Birding" is another epic adventure in birdwatching with the five cartoon bluebirds, Bing, Lulu, Uno, Eggbert, and Sammi. This time the Blues decide to go extreme birding, trying to discover record-setting birds around the globe. "The Blues Go Extreme Birdwatching" is designed to appeal to children ages 5-9, and is a wonderful invitation to explore the wonders of nature. As the Blues undertake their adventure tour, pertinent facts and data are presented in sidebar paragraphs, embedded in the fantastic and accurate illustrations. Each Blue has a different personality and specific interests and skills that help direct the successful birdwatching expedition. At the end of the book is an artist's illustration of a global map with pictures of the unusual species of birds they saw and where they saw them. Further suggestions for interested young birdwatchers are presented at the end of the book. "The Blues Go Extreme Birding" presents many fascinating facts about the numerous species of birds encountered during the trip, providing excellent additional natural science education opportunities.

Wings and Tales
Jennifer L. Kroll
Libraries Unlimited
PO Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911
9781598845976 $30.00

Wings and Tales: Learning About Birds Through Folklore, Facts, and Fun Activities lives up to its title with a wealth of educational materials that parents and teachers can share with young people of all ages. The projects focus on common birds blue jays and cardinals to hummingbirds and loons to swans and turkey vultures. Realistic black-and-white illustrations pepper the retellings of ancient myths, suggestions for sharing the story and encouraging young people to write their own, "backyard birder" tips, and simple activities like using Venn diagrams to represent the role of scavengers in nature or using measuring paper and measuring tools to compare the estimated average sizes of different bird species. Highly recommended as a useful supplementary resource, and a font of rainy-day fun for young bird lovers!

Dorje's Stripes
Anshumani Ruddra, author
Gwangjo & Jung-a Park, illustrators
Kane Miller, EDC Publishing
4901 Morena Blvd., Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781935279983, $15.99,

"Dorje's Stripes" is a book written about the Royal Bengal Tiger, the largest Asian cat, which is vulnerable and endangered as a species. It tells the story of Dorje, a Royal Bengal tiger without stripes who is sheltered by a monastery in the Himalayas. When Dorje first came to the monastery, he had been very badly treated by humans, and he had lost his stripes. A monk witnesses Dorje's anguish and decides to try to understand, help, and comfort him by entering his dreams. He learns that Dorje is gradually witnessing the dying out of his species. Every time a tiger dies, Dorje loses a stripe. This is what has driven him all the way from Bengal to Tibet. But one day a monk notices a new stripe on Dorje. He has met a female tiger and mated, and there is hope that the Royal Bengal tiger clan may once again thrive. Beautiful watercolor, delicately tinted paintings help tell the story of Dorje's Stripes" in an unforgettable way. Surely "Dorje's Stripes" will help to sensitize the world to the plight of the threatened Royal Bengal Tiger and help motivate action towards its protection as a species.

The Audiobook Shelf

Bless This Mouse
Lois Lowry, author
Bernadette Dunne, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780307916273 $22.00 1-800-726-0600

Bless This Mouse is the unabridged audiobook adaptation of a children's story by two-time Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry. Stage performer Bernadette Dunne brings to life this gentle tale of a Hildegarde, the church mouse whose responsibility is to keep her flock of fellow church mice of St. Bartholemew's safe and hidden. When parishoners begin to report mouse sightings, the church mouse population is threatened - and the Blessing of Animals is quickly approaching, meaning that St. Bartholemew's will be filled housing plenty of pets - including cats! A delightful and heartwarming adventure, Bless This Mouse will prove enjoyable to listeners of all ages and is especially recommended for children's library audiobook collections. 2 CDs, 2 1/2 hours.

The Music CD Shelf

Oh, Lucky Day!
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Rainy Day Dimes Music
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221

Oh, Lucky Day! is the debut full-length children's music album of Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Blending sing-along style and the excitement-pumping drive of rock 'n' roll, Oh, Lucky Day! offers warmth and heart in its songs inspired by treasured parent-child relationships. The result is a kid-friendly album that has adult appeal as well, perfect for rainy-day fun and family car trips. The tracks are "Say What" (1:37), "Like Never Before" (3:21), "Smiling" (2:26), "Pretty Princess" (2:48), "Light Beams" (2:51), "ABC is the Place To B" (3:00), "Vacation" (2:20), "Here Comes The Sun (Wake Up My Love)" (2:56), "Quite Like You" (2:44), "Race Car" (3:12), "Gato Astronauto" (2:01), "Let's Dance" (2:48), and "Dreamland" (3:18).

Kids World Party
Putumayo Kids
411 Lafayette St., 4th floor, NY, NY 10003
SKG Publicity
55 Hiawatha Trail, Highland Park, IL 60035

Kids World Party is a children's music CD featuring upbeat, catchy tunes sung by performers from around the world. From the smooth stylings of Indian pop and Bollywood singer Lucky Ali, to the harmonies of South Africa's Sharon Katz and the Peace Train, to calypso-inspired Trinidadian children's musician Asheba, Kids World Party lives up to its title as a multicultural celebration. Highly recommended, especially for children's library music CD collections. The tracks are "Preparons-nous pour Faire la Fete" by Pakita of France, "Oompa Loompa" by Solanna of Hawaii, "Mambo Saana" by Famara of Switzerland, "Quimbombo" by Palo of Cuba and America, "Recess Time" by Asheba of Trinidad, "Sanalwami" by Sharon Katz & The Peace Train of South Africa, "Freezedance" by Tom Freund and Friends of America, "Kitni Haseen Zindagi" by Lucky Ali of India, "Le Boogie a Velo" by Will Stroet of Canada, "Nadie" by Monedita de Oro of Mexico, "Cixiri" by Balentes of Italy, and "Higher and Higher" by Eric Bibb of America.

The DVD Shelf

The Lion & the Mouse
Jerry Pinkney, art
Sazi Dlamini, music
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545296293 $59.95

Intended for viewers ages 4-8, The Lion & the Mouse is the nonverbal, DVD rendition of Jerry Pinkney's picturebook of Aesop's classic fable about the value of kindness repaid. Featuring beautiful drawings, haunting sounds of the African Serengeti, and original music by Sazi Dlamini, The Lion & the Mouse is extraordinarily beautiful and enthusiastically recommended especially for public library children's DVD collections. A bonus interview with Jerry Pinkney and a behind-the-scenes featurette about the music's creation round out this excellent DVD.

Shalom Sesame series
SISU Home Entertainment Inc.
340 W. 39th St., 6th fl., New York, NY 10018
$14.95 each

Two more installments in the Shalom Sesame DVD series further enhance this excellent, educational introduction to Hebrew culture for young people ages 3-8, featuring beloved puppet characters from Sesame Street. In volume 8, "Grover Learns Hebrew" (1560867086, 23 min. plus 27 min. extras), Grover learns new words in Hebrew and befriends the Rechov Sumsum family. An Aleph-Bet song is the highlight of this program designed to show viewers that learning a new language can be fun! In volume 9, "Countdown to Shavuot" (1560867094, 26 min. plus 26 min. extras), viewers learn all about the Hebrew celebration of Shavuot, which commemorates receiving the Torah. Counting down the weeks between Passover and Shavuot can be a fun family activity! Both DVDs, and the entire Shalom Sesame series, is worthy of the highest recommendation for its positive, informative content and their flair for making learning about a different culture into pure fun.

The Music Shelf

Waking Up is Hard To Do
Neil Sedaka, author/ singer
Daniel Miyares, illustrator
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781936140138, $17.95,

"Waking Up Is Hard To Do" is a colorful children's book and CD combo that features fresh lyrics for the award-wining rock 'n' roll singer's original song titled "Breaking Up is Hard To Do." Written especially for the author's grandchildren, "Waking Up is Hard To Do" features cheerful lyrics and bright, incandescent humorous illustrations of a sleepy alligator and his tiny mouse friend struggling through facing another morning aroused from sleep. The CD enclosed with the book contains two other songs with lyrics and music written by Neil Sedaka: "Lightnin' Jim" and "Sing." "Waking Up Is Hard To Do" is a wonderful gift to a whole new generation to experience and cherish, ideal for children ages 3-8.

The Animal Bop Won't Stop!
Jan Ormerod, author
Lindsey Gardiner, illustrator
Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppage, NY 11788
9781438071008, $9.99,

Comprised of a book and CD, "The Animal Bop Won't Stop!" is a fantastic and superbly illustrated song-poem about the dance-like movements of animals, as imitated by kids to music. "The Animal Bop Won't Stop!" is full of bright, flowing pastels and text the wiggles all over every page just like the animals. The CD provides the story with music and sound effects and the story with audible page-turn signals. Toddlers who are just approaching reading readiness will love "The Animal Bop Won't Stop!" Older preschool children will delight in performing movements to the music and verse. Brilliantly colored giraffes, meerkats, and even koala bears join in the dance and will entice even the most reluctant story time listener into rapt attention.

The Science Shelf

If You Were Raised By A Dinosaur
Isabella Brooklyn, author
Haude Levesque, Ph.D., illustrator
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781936140176, $19.95,

"If You Were Raised By A Dinosaur" is an informative, imaginative introduction to the prehistoric, recreated nativity of many species of dinosaurs, designed to appeal to children age 6 and up. From juvenile Tyrannosaurs Rexes to little Stegosauruses, "If You Were A Dinosaur" uses modern medical technology to make informed guesses about the nature of daily life for the young dinosaurs. Packed with vivid colored illustrations, "If You Were Raised By A Dinosaur" uses cutting-edge technology to research and present exciting information about growing baby dinosaurs. Complete with a vocabulary and pronunciation guide, "If You Were Raised By A Dinosaur" helps present the most recent advances in dinosaur paleontology in creative, informative formats that appeal to young students.

The Preschool Shelf

T is for Taj Mahal, An India Alphabet
Varsha Bajaj, author
Robert Crawford, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585365043, $17.95,

"T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet" is a magnificent, double -delivery color- illustrated alphabet book that can captivate children ages 6-10. Each letter is embedded into a versed description of the related word, illuminated with an arresting one or two page color illustration and amplified by an educational sidebar containing additional historical, cultural, or geographic information. Thus there is ample appeal for both younger and older readers. A good example is "B is for Bollywood," with its colorful choreography illustration and sidebar of four paragraphs about Bollywood, the Hindu language cinema industry based in Mumbai. From "A is for Aryan" to "Z is for zero," "T is for Taj Mahal" is a magnificent alphabetical homage to Indian culture and history. Further related activities can be found at,, an interactive website for students, teachers, and families. Also a free downloadable Teacher's Guide is available at,

Bring On the Birds
Susan Stockdale, author/illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561455607, $15.95,

"Bring On the Birds" is a gorgeously illustrated children's book of fantastic birds for children ages 2-6. Delicately detailed and textured illustrations of acrylic on paper display 19 separate species of birds, with accompanying, poetic, descriptive text. "Bring On the Birds" is a fantastic work of art, a celebration of feathers. For older children, additional information is presented in the final two pages of the book, with species names and descriptions of the next to miniatures of the illustration in the book. There is also a partial bibliography of books used by the artist/author to create the text and illustrations of "Bring On the Birds." From the Broad-tailed Hummingbird to the flightless Ostrich, "Bring On the Birds" is a natural wonder winner, an ornithological gala celebrating all exotic things bird-like.

Rumble in the Jungle
Giles Andreae, author
David Wojtowycz, illustrator
Tiger Tales
5 River Road, Suite 128, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589258648, $9.95,

"Rumble in the Jungle" is a sturdy, pasteboard, rounded page, rhyming jungle safari adventure for two to five year olds. Chock full of brilliant, rainbow -hued jungle scenes and cheerful animals, "Rumble in the Jungle" is sure to enchant young literary explorers, with its hypnotic storytelling rhymes and curving texts to fit the animal being described. From the elephant to the gazelle, from the rhinoceros to the tiger, "Rumble in the Jungle" has something to appeal to every aspect of the young imagination. Picture details encourage careful observation by rapt readers, from following trails and trains of ants to finding fleas on chimpanzees. Also recommended by this same talented author/illustrator team is "Commotion in the Ocean" (9781589258631, $9.95), another rhyming voyage through deeper waters, describing creatures of the sea.

Valentine ABCs
Patricia Reeder Eubank, author/illustrator
Ideals Children's Books
Ideals Publications/ Guideposts
Nashville, Tennessee
9780824955977, $9.99,

"Valentine ABCs" is an imaginative, alphabetical creation of alliterative, valentine verses made by Little Dragon to send to each of his friends and family. Ably assisted by his charming pet calico cat and wooly white sheep dog, Little Dragon fearlessly creates his fantastic valentines for all to enjoy. Embellished with narrative-laced, detailed color illustrations that are slightly reminiscent of Mary Englebreits' work (with dragons), "Valentine ABCs" has something delightful for everyone on every page. A sample rhyme is for Valentine P: "P is for Princess Penelope,/ who's partial to pizza/ and puppies./ Although she loves stomping/ through puddles,/ she's pretty and proper/ to see." The fantastic illustrations must be seen to be believed, filled with loving, intricate detail and warm color. "Valentine ABCs" is sure to enchant readers age 3 and up.

The Christian Studies Shelf

The Lord's Prayer
Richard Jesse Watson, illustrator
commentary by Rick Warren
5300 Patterson Avenue SE
Grand Rapids MI 49530
9780310710868, $16.99,

"The Lord's Prayer" is a magnificently illuminated child's version of the famous Christian prayer with new vibrancy and life through text and image enhancement. Further gratitude prayers and meditations for children are suggested alongside miniatures of the illustrations at the end of the book, along with commentary by Rick Warren. The amazing illustrations are filled with a love of life, trust in God, and delight in the rich abundance of the physical world. children of all races, colors and nationalities are included in the portraits, as are many animals and birds. The darker themes of the prayer, forgiveness of trespasses and deliverance from evil, are portrayed in pictures any child will relate to and understand. "The Lord's Prayer" is a magnificent child's view and rendering of a beautiful, heartfelt prayer. This would make an excellent child's gift or special donation to any church library in honor of a beloved child.

Little Colt's Palm Sunday
Michelle Medlock Adams, author
Wayne Parmenter, illustrator
Ideals Publications
2636 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 120, Nashville, TN 37214
9780824956301, $7.99,

"Little Colt's Palm Sunday" is a children's illustrated verse text that tells the story of Little Colt, the great-great grandson colt of the donkey that carried Mary and Baby Jesus from Nazareth to Bethlehem and back. Little Colt asks his mother to tell him the story when he learns that he will be expected to carry Jesus through Jerusalem for Palm Sunday's last majestic ride before the Passover. The Easter story is hinted at through illustrations and the memories of the humble animals who have served the Lord. "Little Colt's Palm Sunday" brings the significance of this Christian celebration to a child's level of understanding. Adorable illustrations of Little Colt and mother are very sweet and appealing. "Little Colt's Palm Sunday" could be read to children ages 4 and up, but age 6 and up would have better understanding of this Christian tale.

The Bilingual Shelf

Soap Soap Soap / Jabon Jabon Jabon
Elizabeth O. Dulemba, author/illustrator
Raven Tree Press
1400 Miller Parkway, McHenry, IL 60050
9781934960622, $16.95,

"Soap Soap Soap/ Jabon Jabon Jabon" is an illustrated bilingual children's book with embedded Spanish text in roja, or red. In this rollicking book, a Hispanic Jack fable variant, a lovable rascal named Hugo is sent to the store by his Mama to buy soap (jabon), but on his adventurous path to the store he encounters many distracting, messy distractions. He keeps forgetting what his Mama sent him to buy, but something (could it be the muddy mess?) keeps reminding him. "Soap Soap Soap/Jabon Jabon Jabon" has appealing characters, story and bright, vivid artwork. At the end of the book is a list of twenty-two vocabulary words or expressions in Spanish and English. Further free activities relating to "Soap Soap Soap/Jabon Jabon Jabon" are available at, There are also more free coloring pages and more at, the author/artist's website. The reading level is pre-K to 3rd grade.

The Activities Shelf

Glitter Spa Lab
Becker & Mayer
11120 NE 33rd Place, Suite 101
Bellevue, WA 98004
9781603801188, $19.99,

"Glitter Spa Lab" is a special spa kit for girls age 7 and up that contains pampering instructions with a how-to booklet, two lidded pots, mixing spoon, glitter spoon, fabric and ribbon for a powder puff, and packets of pink and green glitter. Kids are given instructions to use natural ingredients to make a glitter dust powder puff and mix up flavored lip balm and glitter gel. To unleash some serious fun, kids can create the Glitter Spa Lab concoctions and use them as natural cosmetics. "Glitter Spa Lab" is a fun crafts and makeup activity packet. Minor parental supervision advised.

The Social Issues Shelf

Where Do Recyclable Materials Go?
Sabbithry Persad
Firewater Media Group
P.O. Box 65001, RPO Chester,
Toronto, ON, Canada, M4K 3Z2
9780981243900, $8.95,

In "Where Do Recyclable Materials Go?: A Garbology Kids Ecoadventure" Tiana follows the trail of her lost dog, Bubbles, to the Murf, or Materials Recovery Facility that recyclables are sent to. Through clear and colorful diagrams, charts, and illustrations and catchy narrative with humorous asides, the story of why, when, where, how, and what to recycle is told in full. Designed to appeal to elementary-middle school age students, "Where Do Recyclable Materials Go?" presents a lot of new and old information about the benefits of recycling. Many interesting related, fun facts are presented in the Fun Recycling Facts page, and additional questions fro reflection, experiments and activities and additional garbology resources are included at the end of the book, along with helpful diagram of the Materials Recycling Loop and the Waste Management Hierarchy. "Where Do Recyclable Materials Go?" is an Ecoadventures Garbology Kids Series publication, which seek to educate kids and adults on the principles of waste management, diversion, and disposal: the chief Recycling Concepts (the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), Transform, Treatment, and Disposal. It is a fun, educational series dedicated to the goal of the "greening" of the planet.

The Fiction Shelf

The Starry Bird: An Easter Tale
Reg Down, author/illustrator
Lightly Press
4033 San Juan Ave., #219, Fair Oaks, CA 95628
9781456586331, $14.95,

"The Starry Bird" is an uplifting Easter tale written especially for children. Weaving in themes of new life, death and rebirth, wrapped in gentle touches of fantasy and humor, laced with graceful black and white pen and ink drawings, "The Starry Bird" is a chapter book that will appeal to children ages 8 and up. For children age 7 and under, the author has presented an alternate version of the fantastical Easter tale in the alternate chapter 32 at the end, The Little Starry Bird. It can be read from asterisk to asterisk in a single sitting to younger children. Beautiful images of the starry bird and the tale of how he got his red breast are presented in engaging succession. The Easter Tale is presented viewed through a new lens, with the themes of redemption and rebirth freshly imagined. "The Starry Bird" is full of imaginative, mischievous elves, creatures of nature like Jeremy Mouse, the fairy Tiptoes Lightly, and the two children of Farmer John, Tom and June. The miracle of new life unfolding is celebrated anew. Parents and children will enjoy "The Starry Bird," the perfect book to send along with a favorite young person on their spring vacation or in their Easter basket.

Diego the Tornado
Joachim Masannek, author
Jan Birck, illustrator
Sole Books
c/o Wild Soccer USA, INC.
P.O. Box 10445, Beverly Hills, CA 90213
9780984425716, $16.95,

"Diego the Tornado" is the second volume of 'The Wild Soccer Bunch' series, originally written in German, and wildly popular in Europe, South America and the USA. "The Wild Soccer Bunch" series is described as 'the perfect series for the reluctant reader.' An illustrated chapter book with fast moving action and soccer teammate conundrums aplenty, "Diego the Tornado" will transfix soccer and sports loving boys and girls ages 8-12. Originally created by author/soccer coach Joachim Masannek to encourage youth participation in that most inclusive of all team sports (soccer), "The Wild Soccer Bunch: Diego the Tornado" follow the gripping story of Fabio, son of a famous Brazilian soccer player. Fabio wants to join the Wild Soccer Bunch, but his father wants him to play for the Furies, a competitive youth club team. Diego and his buddies refuse to give up their dream, and they ultimately decide to transform The Wild Soccer Bunch into a club team and challenge the Furies to a game. There are many choices and crises of heart and souls in "Diego the Tornado," leading to the ultimate question, will the Wild Soccer bunch continue as a team melded by their friendships and loyalties? Or will they fragment and splinter before competitive, social, and professional pressures. "The Wild Soccer Bunch Book 2, Diego the Tornado" is a popular book from a popular series that deserves its reputation and a place on every middle school's bookshelf.

Sea Horse, Run!
Tammy Carter Bronson, author/illustrator
Bookaroos Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 8518, Fayetteville, AR 72703
9780967816777, $ 17.00,

"Sea Horse, Run!" is an early readers' illustrated story with an environmental awareness theme. many large, dangerous and colorful sea creatures warn Sea Horse to run far away from the Sea Dragon, while Sea Horse is warned by his home friend, Coral to beware these harbingers of doom. Sea Horse refuses to run or swim away, and he remains to discover that he is actually related to the sea dragon, who looks a lot like seaweed.. Lo and behold there are even more sea dragons to meet and discover, including the weedy sea dragon and the ribboned sea dragon. Amazing color illustrations accurately portray many of the dwellers of the sea and coral reef, and "Sea Horse, Run!" ends with some excellent illustrated factual information about sea horses. "Sea Horse, Run!" is appropriate for students in grades K-3.

Maya and the Cotton Candy Boy
Joan Davies Okimoto
Endicott and Hugh Books
P.O. Box 13305, Burton, WA 98013
9780982316740, $16.99,

"Maya and the Cotton Candy Boy" is a middle school chapter book about a girl who has emigrated to the U.S. from Kazakhstan with her parent and younger brother. Maya Alazova begins to make transitions when she is moved out of her English Language Learner program to mainstream classes in her seventh grade classes. Soon the attentions of a desirable boy begin first heart flutterings and then other social complications including a protective family. Who would imagine there would be a positive role for a nuisance younger brother to play in this drama? Middle grade readers ages 9-14 will identify with Maya's struggles, losses and victories in the intensely competitive world of preteen society. When Maya's hard working (and sometimes critical) mother has an accident and sprains her ankle, Maya must do her cleaning jobs for her after school each day, as well as cook dinner for the family. Though her father grumbles about her cooking, to her surprise, her mother is supportive of her, and also her brother. "Maya and the Cotton Candy Boy" is a sensitive, adventurous novelette about a down to earth heroine with real issues and problems that she tackles bravely, making the book a fun and inspirational read for its audience.

Kickers Book 4: Game-Day Jitters
Rich Wallace
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375857577, $12.99,

Kickers Book 4: Game-Day Jitters receives fine black and white illustrations by Jimmy Holder and joins others in the Kickers series with its sports story. The fourth-grade Bobcats return, headed to the Kickers' semifinals where they'll play the toughest teams in the league to move up in the ranks. Ben has always been a strong player - but his feeling of jitters may throw the game in this easy reader for elementary readers in grades 2-3.

Animal Rescue Team: Show Time
Sue Stauffacher
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375858505, $12.99,

It's show time and an annual jump rope competition has Keisha nervous and Razi excited about his tap dancing performance. Kids ages 8-10 will find much to like in this collection of humorous stories about Keisha and the gang as they work hard to control a squirrel invasion. Problem-solving story lines for the classroom make for a fine easy reader.

Jodi Lundgren
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Ste 401, Toronto, ON M5V 2M5
9781897187852, $11.95,

An escape only works temporarily, as reality can't be fled from forever. "Leap" is a novel of Natalie, a fifteen year old girl coming to terms with the cruelty of adulthood. As her friendships, crushes, and family falls apart, she tries to dance to get herself through the problems, but it may not be enough. A story of coming to age and facing the problems in one's life, "Leap" is a thoughtful and very highly recommended read, not to be overlooked.

A Colonial Adventure
Lea Ann Knight
Fitch Tavern Tales
12 Great Road, Bedford, MA 01730
9780982835708, $9.99

Being a ten year old in 1775 doesn't look like it's going to be the best thing for young Skip Conway. "A Colonial Adventure" follows young Skip who falls through time in her old home to when it wasn't such an old home before the American Revolution. Put to work by the then owners, she finds that threats to the revolution just may be in her hands to stop. A fun read for elementary school readers trying to jump to standard novels, "A Colonial Adventure" is an ideal bridge, and quite entertaining while doing so.

Yuri's Brush with Magic
Maureen Crane Wartski
Sleepy Hollow Books
5314 Cole Mill Road, Durham, NC 27705
9780982454251, $9.95,

It can be hard to deal with a sick mother and new authority. "Yuri's Brush with Magic" is a novel aimed at young people. Tammy and Ken cope with their mother sick in the hospital with no certainty that she'll return. When their Aunt Yuri comes to take care of them, adapting isn't easy. But Yuri has something to encourage family among them, and the kids are rushing to find a secret behind the little magic their Aunt has for them. "Yuri's Brush with Magic" is a fun and thoughtful read, very highly recommended for young readers with an interest in Asian-influenced fiction.

My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln
Robert L. Bloch, author
John W. Ewing, illustrator
Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310743, $13.95,

"My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln: A Tale of Two Boys From Indiana" is a juvenile book of historical fiction about the young Abe Lincoln. Written by the great-great grandson of a man who met and supported Abraham Lincoln, "My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln" is a both a tribute to a national hero and a personal exploration, dedicated to connecting the respected and revered historical president to the minds, hearts and imaginations of young readers today. Illustrated by the famous Disney artist who helped create Winnie the Pooh and other famous cartoon characters, the pages of "My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln" are colorfully composed into substantial story bytes that kids ages 4-8 will find appealing and attractive. The author has created a mythical childhood best friend for the 16th president named Sam Harding. The fictional story contains researched details known to be true of the life of Abraham Lincoln. "My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln" is bound to help make the gift of America's 16th president more accessible to young readers of today. The book's website has more information and a fun puzzle game that children will enjoy.

Lauren Destefano
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
9781442409057, $17.99,

WITHER offers the first book of The Chemical Garden trilogy and comes from a first-time novelist who provides a stunning debut revolving around a genetic time bomb and a botched effort to create a perfect race that has left all females with a lifespan of 20 years. At age 16 Rhine has four years to live - and is kidnapped and sold as a bride to a husband who is hopelessly in love with her. His wealth changes her world and an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote is challenging her world in this stunning saga.

Shooting Two
Jeanne Foley
Peppermint Books
PO Box 16512, Minneapolis, MN 55416
9780982885215, $14.99,

Friendship can be a very useful tool in trying to succeed in the world. "Shooting Two: A Story of Basketball and Friendship" follows Jamie & Barb as they set their eyes on the Torrington Thunderbirds team and work towards making the team. But competition arises and set backs seem to be all around them. Jeanne Foley puts forth a riveting read that will inspire other young girl athletes to succeed. "Shooting Two" is a top pick for any fiction collection with a focus on sports.

Stones for My Father
Trilby Kent
Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9781770492523, $21.99,

Stones for My Father offers a fine story of war and loss in recounting the Boer War and its aftermath. Corlie's life growing up on a farm in South Africa isn't easy, and when her father dies she's left in the care of a stern mother who favors her younger brothers. Corlie loves her African home; but it's about to vanish as the British are invading and driving Boers from their farms. Her experience in an internment camp and her strength will aid in her survival in this moving saga!

Dogtag Summer
Lizabeth Partridge
Bloomsbury Publishing
175 - 5th Ave., New York NY 10110
9781599901831, $16.99,

Dogtag Summer tells of Tracy, scorned in her native Vietnamese village because her father was an American GI. And she doesn't seem to fit in with her new California family, either. But when Tracy and her best friend find a soldier's dogtag, new memories from her life in Vietnam come forth and lead her on a journey to understand the nature of the war and its lasting effects in this moving story of a child of war caught between two very different cultures.

North Woods Poachers
Max Elliot Anderson
Comfort Publishing
296 Church St., North, PO Box 6265, Concord, NC 28027
9781936695058, $13.99

The curiosity of youth can all too easily lead you into trouble. "North Woods Poachers" follows Andy and CJ as they turn their annual fishing trip into something more dangerous than any fish could ever bring them. Quickly approaching the teenage year, they find adventure as they brush up against those who neglect the law, and soon find their curiosity will send them against more truth than they've ever wanted. "North Woods Poachers" is a fun read, highly recommended.

1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

A number of new young adult readers offer unique, recommended picks for any leisure reading collection at the middle to high school grade levels. Bryan Perro's AMOS DARAGON: THE MASK WEARER (9780385739030, $16.99) tells of Amos, whose life changes the day a mermaid gives him a mask capable of harnessing the strength of the wind, and appoints him the new Mask Wearer. His task is to find the masks for the other elements, which will enable him to battle the evil forces that threaten the world. His journey involves complexity, an evil sorcerer, and new challenges in this fine fantasy for advanced elementary to middle-school readers. Caitlin Kittredge's THE IRON THORN (9780385738293, $17.99) is a pick for middle to high school leisure readers and tells of the Proctors, who role the city of Lovecraft with an iron fist. An epidemic of madness is blamed on a virus - as is an evolving belief in magic and witchcraft among the people. Aoife's family is affected by the madness virus - and Aoife is threatened by the same until a letter - and a quest - changes her life. Her quest may change her world in this riveting fantasy. C.C. Humphreys' THE HUNT OF THE UNICORN (9780375858727, $16.99) tells of a New York City dweller who has grown up with a strange family legend about a unicorn and who holds no beliefs - until she sees her initials woven into the fabric of a unicorn tapestry at the museum and hears a unicorn calling to her. Her involvement in a world of fantasy will lead her on a dangerous quest in this adventure. ORCHARDS by Holly Thompson (9780385739771, $17.99) tells of a classmate's suicide and Kana's guilt as she realizes her membership in a clique could have led to death. Her parents send her to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer, when she tends the orange groves, faces her mixed heritage, and acknowledges her responsibilities in life in this fine coming-of-age tale. Cynthia Voigt's YOUNG FREDLE (9780375864575, $16.99) receives some fun black and white illustrations by Louise Yates and will appeal to advanced elementary school readers who will enjoy this story of a young mouse who breaks an important long-standing mouse role and finds himself thrown to the outside, where new dangers await. From owls to raccoons, Fredle longs for his family and searches for a place in a dangerous new world in this journey for self-discovery and family. Kimberly Marcus' EXPOSED (9780375866937, $16.99) tells of teen Liz who is a Photogirl - focused on her camera and friendship with Kate. But suddenly things change, Kate is avoiding her, and an accusation changes her concerns and pursuits. A stunning story of exposure and courage evolves. Kirsten Hubbard's LIKE MANDARIN (9780385739351, $17.99) tells of an uncertain friendship between very different people: a wild girl and a studious girl. United for a school project, their explosive friendship may turn the town upside down when they run away in this fine account. Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango's THE QUEEN OF WATER (9780385738972, $16.99) tells of Virginia, born in an Andean village in Ecuador who lives with her large family in a small dwelling. When she's taken from her village to be a servant to a couple at the age of seven, she grows familiar with luxury even as she looses her freedom and is beaten. A haunting story of servitude is revealed. Rosanne Parry's SECOND FIDDLE (9780375861963, $16.99) is set in 1990 when the Berlin Wall has come down. For Jody this means moving back to the States with her dad and leaving her best friends - but not before they plan a trip to Paris to compete in a classical music contest. When they witness a terrible crime before their journey they are forced to make difficult decisions in this fine story of friendship and responsibility. Steve Cotler's CHEESIE MACK IS NOT A GENIUS OR ANYTHING (9780375864377, $15.99) tells of a boy who remembers everything that happened before, during and after fifth-grade graduation - and who has written it down to accompany lists and drawings. His story of his ongoing struggle with an evil older sister and a best friend's coin discovery makes for a whimsical, fun read. Maria Padian's JERSEY TOMATOES ARE THE BEST (9780375865794, $16.99) is a fine story of different summer camps and two best friends who are separated for the first time. Henry plays tennis, Eva goes to New York for ballet camp - and when Eva's beloved dancing becomes impossible, Henry decides to do something about it in this fine story of long-distance romance and change. Carrie Ryan's THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES (9780385738590, $17.99) provides advanced teens with a fine dark fantasy read centered around Annah's long wait for a vanished sister and a changed family. The dead roam around the wasted city around her and Annah is lost waiting for her loved ones - until she encounters Catcher, who has secrets that challenge the darkness in her world. Michelle Cooper's THE FITZOSBORNES IN EXILE (9780375858659, $17.99) offers Book II in The Montmaray Journals and continues the saga of the isolated kingdom of Montmaray, where Sophie and the rest of her royal family are forced to flee to England. Living with an aunt, Sophie makes her debut into society - but faces an uncertain future in exile in this vivid story of political changes and social challenges.

The SciFi/Fantasy Shelf

Zombies Don't Cry
Rusty Fischer
Medallion Press
1020 Cedar Ave., Suite 216, Saint Charles, IL 60174
9781605423821, $9.95,

If only undeath was so easy as to be an unquenchable hunger for brains. "Zombies Don't Cry" is a novel following Maddy Swift as she copes with her status as the living dead, as a lightning strike more than kills her. But it turns out unlife is as confusing as life, and the rising zombie apocalypse just makes it all even more confusing. "Zombies Don't Cry" is a fun read for young adult readers, highly recommended.

Geek Fantasy Novel
E. Archer
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
9780545160407, $17.99,

Geek Fantasy Novel tells of Ralph, who has been asked to spend the summer with his strange British relatives at their old manor house to help them set up their Wi-Fi network. But there's more to the invitation than meets the eye, and soon Ralph finds himself in a dangerous fantasy world complete with killer bunny rabbits, evil aunts, and more in this dynamic fantasy for older teens, packed with unexpected twists and turns of plot.

The Weaver
Kai Strand
Guardian Angel Publishing
12430 Tesson Ferry Road #186, Saint Louis, MO 63128
9781616331221, $9.95,

No wave of the hand will solve life's problems. "The Weaver" tells of Mary, a future Word Weaver, who meets a gnome-elf who offers her help with her struggling education. What she finds is that no magic is going to help her, but good old fashioned hard work may help her yet. "The Weaver" is a fun read for younger readers with a good message.

Too Far
Rich Shapero
Outside Reading
PO Box 1565, San Mateo, CA 94401
9780971880139, $1.95,

When reality seems too cruel to be true, fantasy seems all too tempted. "Too Far" tells the tale of Robbie and Fristeen, two best friends who in the face of a terrifying home life retreat into their own worlds. But as reality catches up and their hideaway in the forests becomes a bit too real as well, the two are forced into a choice that has serious implications either way they go. "Too Far" is a riveting blend of fantasy and coming of age, highly recommended.

Fairy Handbook
Monica Carretero
Cuento de Luz SL
c/o Pigtail Public Relations (publicity)
32 Hazelton Street, Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660
9788493781491 $14.95

Monica Carretero presents Fairy Handbook, a charming children's picturebook about modern-day fairies, brimming with whimsy and colorful illustrations of brightly dressed, big-winged magical fairies. "There are fairies all around us, but not everyone can see them. In the city, there's so much hustle and bustle that there's hardly any time to look at what's going on around us. Can you find eleven fairies in this street?" A larger-than-life delight sure to trigger appreciation for the fantastic, Fairy Handbook is especially recommended for parents to read aloud and share with young children. Monica Carretero also lends her unique and distinctive illustration talents to the picturebook "Little Cloud Lamb" (9788493824020, $14.95) by Ana A. de Eulate, a touching story about coping with the loss of a loved one.

The Picturebook Shelf

Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear
Tomi Ungerer
Phaidon Press
180 Varick Street, 14th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780714857664 $16.95

Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear is a picturebook that deals with serious themes, from the perspective of a child's stuffed toy. The teddy bear Otto begins as a favored plaything of two young boys in World War II-era Germany; one child is Jewish, and the other is German. The Jewish child and his family are forced to wear a yellow star by the government; when they are taken away to a concentration camp, Otto is given to the German boy, until a bombing run rips Otto from the house. Otto happens to save an African-American soldier's life by absorbing a bullet that would otherwise have been lethal, and becomes a toy for the soldier's daughter before being stolen and mistreated by bullies. A surprising and touching reunion concludes this heartfelt tale of life's most gentle moments as well as the harshness of cruel and violent times. Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear is best shared between parents and children, especially since it can be helpful for an adult to explain the history behind the events in the story. Highly recommended.

When a Dragon Moves In
Jodi Moore, author
Howard McWilliam, illustrator
Flash Light Press
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780979974670 $16.95 1-800-888-4741

When a Dragon Moves In is a playful children's picturebook about a mischievous, fire-breathing red dragon who takes up residence in a child's sand castle at the beach. Told in second person, When a Dragon Moves In brings its wacky story to life with exuberant color artwork. Young dragon fans are sure to enjoy this! "'Whose fingerprints are in the brownies?' your Dad will ask. 'Not fingerprints,' you'll try to explain. 'Dragon prints.' 'There's no such thing as a dragon,' your sister will say. Then your dragon will snicker again, heh-heh-heh..."

Now It Is Summer
Eileen Spinelli, author
Mary Newell DePalma, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853400 $16.00 1-800-253-7521

Now It Is Summer is a gentle children's picturebook about the joys of summer - even if it isn't one's favorite season! A young mouse and his family enjoy summer pastimes such as dining on fresh peaches, wearing flip-flops and beach robes, blowing soap bubbles, and more. The little mouse is eagerly anticipating autumn, a time when all his favorite things come to pass - but for now his parents entreat him to relish the moment, as summer days fly by all too quickly. Warm, colorful illustrations enhance this lovely and cheerful picturebook. Also by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers is the highly recommended "Good Night, Chickie" (9780802853783, $13.99), a heartwarming easy-reader bedtime story by Emile Jadoul.

Snow Day
Pamela Greenhalgh Hamilton, author
Bobbi Switzer, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432757434 $18.95

Snow Day is a cheerful, softcover children's picturebook about three children who enjoy spending a "snow day" at their grandparents' home. Grandparents and grandchildren play together outside in the snow, shooting down the hill on sleds, making snow angels, building snowmen and much more. They make a scrapbook from scratch to treasure the memories of an unforgettable day in the snow, in this lovely tale brought to life with simple color illustrations.

The Animazings
Bruce Lawley
Butterfly Books
9780956634504 $9.95

The Animazings: A Mighty, Fantastic Adventure is a rhyming, softcover children's picturebook featuring anthropomorphic superhero safari animals (in superhero-costume capes and tights, no less). Abracazebra, Acrobat, Elephantastic, Girrific, and Hippofabulous all team up to save a rhino in danger. Then the grateful rhino takes the name Rhonocerpub and joins the Animazings' noble cause! Bold color illustrations add just the right touch to this whimsical and upbeat story.

Book of Big Brothers
Cary Fagan, author
Luc Melanson, artist
Groundwood Books
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801
Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 2K4
9780888999771, $17.95,

"Book of Big Brothers" is a zany, retro-style illustrated children's book about growing as the youngest of three brothers. Although there are drawbacks to being the youngest brother, there are also advantages, one of which is protection. Also, when you are sick with the measles, your older brothers surprise you by making up a play about a pirate baby to amuse you. Sometimes there are sad times or bad times between the brothers, but they don't seem to last long. Two older brothers are very kind an helpful when it becomes necessary to bury a beloved pet lizard that accidentally died. There are many interesting rituals of passage observed in the older two brothers when you are the youngest, like the questions and answers of their parents about where babies come from. All in all, big brothers are more of an asset than liability, in this fast paced adventurous book about growing up together and learning to get along. Humor is a great binding and healing solvent, as is love.

Tell Me the Day Backwards
Albert Lamb, author
David McPhail, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763650551, $15.99,

"Tell Me the Day Backwards" is a charming bedtime story about Timmy the bear who likes to play Tell Me the Day Backwards with his mother before he goes to sleep. Delicately tinted water color and sepia ink illustrations illumine the nostalgic-flavored narrative. Timmy and Mama Bear remember all the important activities of the day backwards, opposite to the sequence in which they happened. From brushing his teeth at the stream all the way back to early in the morning to waking up and stepping out of the cave to see a bush full of purple butterflies, Timmy remembers his day backwards with Mama Bear's help. "Tell Me the Day Backwards" is both a reassuring bedtime ritual story for young children and a teaching experience. Children will love tracking the events of the day backwards first in the story, and perhaps next in their own day. "Tell Me the Day Backwards" is sensitively narrated and illustrated with just the right tone of comfort spiced with slightly remote adventure and excitement. Young children and parents will want to read it again and again.

Mini Racer
Kristy Dempsey, author
Bridget Strevens-Marzo, illustrator
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781599901701, $16.99,

"Mini Racer" is a vibrant children's picture book about 12 unusual mini-racers, unique creatures in unique vehicles who race in rhyme to a surprising, rollicking finish. Children will love tracing the fantastic colorful detail in the illustrations of the crazily cobbled vehicles and the funny animal racers. Speed is part of the fun, but so is rhyming text and hilarious rambling racers. Obstacles won't stop these intrepid animal racers, who are guided out of tricks and traps by friendly frog racer guides. Tracing the trails is only another part of the fun as page after page of startling racetracks tumble on, while the busy little frog pit stop helpers and fixers help fuzzy motorists get on their way again after patch-up pit stops. Altogether the surprises are multiple and the biggest surprise of all is who crosses the finish line first! "Mini Racer" is sure to appeal to fun-loving children ages 3 and up.

The Lonely Phone Booth
Peter Ackerman, author
Max Dalton, illustrator
David R. Godine, Publisher
P.O. Box 450, Jaffrey, New Hampshire 03452
9781567924145, $16.95,

"The Lonely Phone Booth" is a child's fantasy tale about a Phone Booth on West End Avenue and 100th Street in New York City. Once the phone booth was used by all kinds of exciting people for many important communications. Sometimes people waited in long lines to use the phone booth. Gradually, however, people stopped using the phone booth, relying on their own cell phones to communicate instead. Sometimes people ducked into the booth just for shelter while they made their own calls, but this just confused the phone booth, who was tired of being obsolete and lonely. Maintenance workers no longer visited the phone booth and it fell into shabby disrepair. It seemed that soon the lonely Phone Booth would be carted away to the dump with other obsolete phone booths. Then one day an electrical storm knocked out the electricity in the city and people could not use their cell phones. Finally the Phone Booth had a long line of customers, who found that the phone inside it still worked if coins were inserted. The Phone Booth began to be visited more often, and the maintenance and repair crew fixed its broken glass and put up a plaque that said, "Hero." Even the Mayor's Grandma decides to come to the Phone booth's rescue when it is still threatened with being demolished and recycled. She declares the Phone Booth a National treasure, and a celebration party for the preservation of the Lonely Phone Booth ensues. "The Lonely Phone Booth" is filled with nostalgic, colorful illustrations that bring back the era of '60's children's book illustrations, which harmonizes well with the story . "The Lonely Phone Booth" is perfect for children age 4 and up, and will help preserve some history of communication technology while amusing and entertaining a young audience.

Samantha Saves a Star
Robert Reece & Todd Gallina
Gold Mountain Ventures
38220 Calle Cipres, Murrieta, CA, 92562
9780970230829, $12.95,

Samantha has a special friend who always listens to her, a tiny, lopsided star. She told the star all her secret dreams, hopes and wishes. One day Samantha couldn't find her star in the sky.She was very lonely and the star was lonely too. The star was so lonely she gave up hope and stopped shining. Samantha did everything she could imagine to find out why her star had vanished, to no avail. Finally Samantha does lots of extra chores around the house to make money for one last venture to find her star. She buys a balloon and writes a special letter to her star, asking it to shine again. Then she attaches the letter to the balloon and releases it into the night sky. She does this again and again, releasing many different colored balloons with messages into the night sky. Children can guess or anticipate the happy ending that comes after the point of despair is reached in the story of "Samantha Saves a Star." Each page of the story is carefully illustrated in a colorful, cartoon-like stile with slightly darkened hues. "Samantha Saves a Star" is a story to teach children ages 4 and up the meaning of belief and empowerment.

Princess Zaara and the Enchanted Forest
Umbren Asghar, author
Dianne Lucas, illustrator
c/o CreateSpace
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781439250754, $9.25,

"Princess Zaara and the Enchanted Forest" is a lushly illustrated children's tale about a curious and daring Spanish princess who decides to explore a mysterious dark forest alone. She encounters mischievous spells by a naughty wood spirit. Luckily a good fairy named Tiffany-Annabel comes to help Zaara, explaining the spells are the work of Mischievo, the trickster elf. Zaara must learn to develop resourcefulness, wit, and courage in her secret explorations of this enchanted forest. In the end, Princess Zaara learns to be a friend as well as to rely on her own resources, courage and determination. "Princess Zaara and the Enchanted Forest" is intended for children ages 7-8 and up.

Althea's Window Box and the Land of Slumber
Jason Britsas, author
Mason Parker, illustrator
Privately Published
ITSAS1202 Productions
9780984399509, $17.95,

Althea is a city girl who dreams of making a journey to a wilderness she has read about in books. In Althea's dream, the flowers in her apartment windowbox are the last thing she saw in her everyday world. In Althea's dream journey she sees beautiful naturescapes and experiences life as a fish, a hawk, and other creatures. Althea is courageous, hard working and determined, willing to risk danger in her dream experiences. Just when Althea is drifting high into the moonlit sky, she hears her grandmother's voice calling her to supper. She awakens from her windowbox dream refreshed and eager to share the dream. "Althea's Window Box and the Land of Slumber" is fantastically illustrated with pen and ink and water color paintings that convey the fabric of the dreams of Althea. The author's intent to foster and encourage imagination, spirit and self esteem in growing young minds is beautifully realized in this appealing book for children ages 3-7.

Lucky Boy
Louis Gino Perri, author
Layna Williams, illustrator
Bella House Publishing
P.O. Box 2233, Dearborn, MI 48123
9780983082132, $19.95 313-909-1608

"Lucky Boy" is an amazing and heartwarming true story about a boy named Louie and his smart pet parakeet, who incidentally is bilingual. One day Lucky Boy, the bilingual parakeet and cherished pet, accidentally gets lost in a bad storm outside. Louie and his family search for Lucky Boy, calling him up and down the streets. They become quite discouraged and fear the worst for Lucky Boy, but Louie keeps on searching and hoping to find Lucky Boy. When he finally is miraculously returned to the family by a kind neighbor who found him, they discover just how smart and special Lucky Boy really is. "Lucky Boy" is a rare treat for kids and adults of all ages. the warm, vibrant colors of the illustrations add to the impact of the true story.

Piggy Nation A Day At Work With Dad
Richard Rosser, author
Shane Sowell, illustrator
Piggy Nation
15332 Antioch Street, Suite 419
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
9780615417097, $14.95,

"Piggy Nation A Day At Work With Dad" is an imaginative illustrated fable that presents a new take on the Golden Rule. A young pig named Sammy spends the day with his dad on Piggy Patrol. Sammy's dad is a particularly zealous piggy patrol officer. As Sammy's day observing his dad at work progresses, he realizes that not all piggy behaviors are the ones his dad spots and tickets. In fact, by the end of the day, Sammy recounts to his dad all the episodes of piggy behavior he has observed, saying, "Sorry, Dad, but you were the biggest piggy." He then adds, "I still love you." Extremely humorous illustrations add to the charm and the message of "Piggy Nation." It's tough to ignore piggy behavior when it's so carefully delineated before your very eyes. "Piggy Nation" will appeal to kids ages 4-7, and has been made into a children's musical that premiered in Theatre Palisades in Pacific Palisades, CA on February 25, 2011. Alec Wells composed the music for "Piggy Nation," and the soundtrack is available on iTunes (search "Piggy Nation the Musical").

Porcupette Finds a Family
Vanita Oelschlager, author
Mike Blanc, illustrator
Vanitabooks, LLC
9780981971476, $15.95,

"Porcupette Finds A Family" is an enchanting illustrated story about an abandoned porcupine baby who finds a new family with a mother bear and her cubs. At first the porcupette pretends to be a baby bear cub, taking milk from the mother bear alongside the other cubs. But eventually Porcupette began to stick the cubs with sharp quills, that had to be pulled out and soothed by Mother Bear. The quills were a way baby Porcupette could protect itself from the pain and fear of losing another loving mother and family. Because Porcupette's mother left her (for unknown reasons) she was afraid that Mother Bear would leave her too. After many difficult experiences and quill injuries inflicted, Porcupette realizes the Mother Bear really does love her after all, and she begins to love her new adopted family right back. Beautiful, sensitive illustrations bring the warm reality of Porcupette and the Bear family close to the young reader, suggested for ages 4-8.

Cedric and the Dragon
Elizabeth Raum, author
Nina Victor Crittenden, illustrator
Alma Little
c/o Elva Resa Publishing
8362 Tamarack Vlg. Ste. 119-106
St. Paul, MN 55125
9781934617052, $16.95,

"Cedric and the Dragon" is an unusual story about a compassionate prince who elects non-dragonslaying techniques to resolve problems and promote peace and good will. Prince Cedric was an unusual, though beloved child. He was slow to develop. His first word was "hug." Though much beloved, Cedric fails miserably at dragon slaying school. One day he meets the dragon all the kingdom is trying to slay. Instead of fighting or hurting the dragon, Cedric tries an understanding approach. He hugs the dragon, who is hurting in his tummy. The dragon feels much better and trots off to the Great Green Wood. Cedric then gather a bouquet of flowers to take home to his mother, the queen. The kingdom learns to live happily ever after with both its not-so-terrible dragons." Gentle pastel illustrations help deliver the peaceful message of "Cedric and the Dragon." It's good to know there are nonviolent solutions to thorny problems even in fairy tales.

There's an Elephant in My Bathtub
Arturo J. Miramontes & Arthur J. Miramontes, authors
Arturo J. Miramontes, illustrator
Author Solutions
c/o Authorhouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452075228, $16.95,

"There's an Elephant in My Bathtub" is the project result of a father-son creative team. Inspired by the overactive imagination of Andres, the youngest sibling in their family The Miramontes team takes charge of a fun cause, encouraging a child's creative imagination. Andres is a boy (with a big imagination) who has been ordered to take a bath before bedtime. Who could predict the jungle animals he encounters in his bathtub adventures? An elephant? An alligator? Monkeys? Luckily Andres has a mom who understands his need for creative imaginings, so the ending is happy for all concerned. Brightly colored black-outlined illustrations add to the charm and appeal of "There's an Elephant in My Bathtub" for young readers age 4 and up.

Mommy Feeds Baby
Christy Jo Hendricks
3B Publishing
123 E. Repplier Rd., Banning, CA 92220
9780983184805, $12.95,

"Mommy Feeds Baby" by author and illustrator Christy Jo Hendricks is a beautiful small child's picture book of portraits of all sorts of (human) mothers breast feeding their babies happily. Frequently older siblings are included in the pictures watching baby breast feed. Some pictures show more than one mother breast feeding both their children and visiting. Pictures are carefully enhanced photo portraits of subjects of multiple ethnicities. Each portrait is captioned with a sentence beginning with "Because ........., Mommy feeds Baby." Thus the multitude of good reasons for breast feeding are suggested in a way young children can grasp and understand. "Mommy Feeds Baby" was created by a creative writer/photographer who also happens to be an internationally board certified lactation consultant and postpartum doula, and is an excellent educational resource for preschool and older children and families expecting a new addition.

Hogg, Hogg & Hog
Margie Palatini
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781442403222, $15.99,

Margie Palatini's HOGG, HOGG & HOG tells of big pig businessmen who have everyone around them oinking with business excitement. From breaking news to a Hogg news conference, this tells of big pigs who leave the farm for fame in the big city - and discusses the pros and cons of success.

The Honeybee Man
Lela Nargi and Krysten Brooker
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1
New York, NY 10019
9780375849800, $17.99,

THE HONEYBEE MAN will reach ages 4-8 with a fine survey of an urban beekeeper, and blends fact and fiction in the fine story of a Brooklyn beekeeper who keeps his hives on a high-rise roof. Collage-style illustrations blend with a fun picture book store especially recommended for kids with good reading skills or parental assistance.

Why Do I Have to Make My Bed?
Wade Bradford
Tricycle Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1
New York, NY 10019
9781582463278, $16.99,

Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? Or, A History of Messy Rooms receives fine illustrations by Johanna van der Sterre and provides a hilarious picture book debut that uses the basic question 'why do I have to make my bed?' to consider household tasks performed over the centuries around the world. Kids' lives have always depended on chores, as this whimsical story shows.

All the Way to America
Dan Yaccarino
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1
New York, NY 10019
9780375866425, $16.99,

ALL THE WAY TO AMERICA: THE STORY OF A BIG ITALIAN FAMILY AND A LITTLE SHOVEL tells of Michele, who journeys from his home in Italy to America searching for a better life. His big dreams and small shovel blends with his parents' advice to always remember family connections in a fine picture book that shows how four generations of an Italian-American family succeeded in keeping their connections.

Nearly Nonsense
Rina Singh
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor
Toronto ON M5A 2P9 Canada
9780887769740, $17.95,

NEARLY NONSENSE: HOJA TALES FROM TURKEY receives fine drawings by Farida Zaman and comes from Turkish traditions which present classic stories about Nasrudin Hoja, a Turkish teacher who was a busy man, achieved much, and worked with a light, positive heart. Humor and fun blend in a collection of classic tales much-loved throughout Asia.

Pirate vs. Pirate
Mary Quattlebaum and Alexandra Boiger
Hyperion Disney
c/o Hyperion Books for Children
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor
New York, NY 10011
9781423122012, $16.99,

PIRATE VS. PIRATE: THE TERRIFIC TALE OF A BIG, BLUSTERY MARITIME MATCH tells of a big, burly boy pirate in the Atlantic and a mighty girl pirate in the Pacific who one day meet in a contest of who is the best pirate in the world. It all boils down to treasure - and who will succeed in edging the other off the plank. A fine tale of pirate adventure makes this a winner!

The Biography Shelf

Nurse, Soldier, Spy
Marissa Moss
115 West 18th St., New York NY 10011
9780810997356, $18.95,

Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, A Civil War Hero recognized the 150's anniversary of the Civil War with a book that tells the story of one Sarah, who fought for the freedom of others before women were legally allowed to fight for our country. As a teen, Sarah Emma Edmonds dressed up to become Frank Thompson to participate in battle: she proved to be a good nurse and soldier, was recruited as a spy, and disguised herself as a slave to infiltrate a Confederate camp. John Hendrix's illustrations add depth and color to Marissa Moss' colorful picturebook biography, recommended for picturebook readers with good reading skills.

The Hunting/Fishing Shelf

Getting Involved
Sue Watkins
Safari Press
PO Box 3095, Long Beach, CA 90803
9781571573773, $12.95,

Hunting is not about guns or wanton slaughter - there is a strong conservation message that lies under it that isn't heard enough. "Getting Involved!: A Guide to Hunting and Conservation for Kids" discusses hunting and conservation and how kids can get more involved in the process while explaining how hunting can aid in conservation and environmentalism. With details on how to hunt safely, fishing safely, and good practices that stay with students for life, "Getting Involved" is enhanced with plenty of glossy full color photos, and is a must for anyone who wants to inspire a love of hunting in their children.

The Christian Shelf

Shellie Neumeier
Risen Books
14525 SW Millikan Way #23860, Beaverton, OR
9780984093151, $12.95,

God's challenges come at people in many shapes and forms. "Driven" tells the story of Robyn, who has her eye on a new handsome kid in school. When her prayer team is challenged by the school, she has to stand up for her faith, as she finds herself juggling her religion, her romance, and those out to stop her and make her life miserable. "Driven" is a fine read, aimed well at young adult Christian readers, highly recommended.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Terra Tempo: Ice Age Cataclysm!
David Shapiro, author
Christopher Herndon, illustrator
Erica Melville, color
Craigmore Creations
3945 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214
9780984442218 $14.99

Intended for young readers in grades 4-8, Terra Tempo: Ice Age Cataclysm! is a full-color, educational and entertaining graphic novel about three curious young children who discover the secret of time travel, and journey 15,000 years in the past to witness the legendary Missoula Floods. Naturalist David Shapiro has crafted an unforgettable story, brought to life with vivid portrayals of the landscape and its creatures by Christopher Herndon. Terra Tempo: Ice Age Cataclysm! is an excellent gift for young people and a worthy addition to public library children's graphic novel collections.

The Sports Shelf

Game-Day Youth
Suzy Beamer Bohnert
B&B Publishing
9781450760553, $13.00

Playing the game well is understanding the game. "Game-Day Youth: Learning Basketball's Lingo" is a glossary aimed at kids educating them on the many terms thrown around in basketball with simple and easy to understand language. For any young potential superstar or anyone else trying to learn the game, "Game-Day Youth" fulfills its goals quite well, recommended.

Books in Series

Black Bears
JoAnn Early Macken
Weekly Reader Publishing
c/o Gareth Stevens Publishing
1 Reader's Digest Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570
9781433924026, $22.60,

"Black Bears" is an informational science/nature photo-illustrated text about black bears published through Weekly Reader Publishing. One of a series of six books on 'Animals That Live in the Forest', "JoAnn early Macken's Black Bears presents information on the bears' sleeping, foraging and eating, daily life, and other activities. A 'Fast Facts' table presents information about a black bear's height, weight, length, diet, and average life span (up to 34 years!). Also included at the end is a glossary, bibliography, and list of web sites about black bears suitable for children. "Black Bears" is a great nature education book for early readers, level GR: G. Also recommended in this series are the following titles by the same author: "Moose (9781433924040, $22.60)," "Deer (9781433924033, $22.60)," "Porcupines (9781433924071, $22.60)," "Owls (9781433924064, $22.60)," and "Opossums (9781433924057, $22.60)."

Cahoots: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel
Karla Oceanak, author
Kendra Spanjer, illustrator
Bailiwick Press
309 East Mulberry Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524
9781934649084, $12.95,

Third volume in a zany alphabetical title series, "Cahoots" is an Aldo Zelnick Comic Adventure novel for 7-13 year-olds. If you liked "Artsy-Fartsy" and "Bogus" You'll love "Cahoots," the story of Aldo's disastrous vacation family visit to a technology-free farm in Minnesota. Think of it as a dude ranch with cows and pigs and no electronic amenities. The book is in half comic illustration, half text form which makes it appealing to middle school and younger readers. As in earlier volumes, "Cahoots" ends with a glossary of amazing new vocabulary words beginning with "C" used in the story. "Cahoots" is full of wild and crazy moments and experiences, and Aldo provides his own unique perspective on each hair-raising event. Who would have thought there could be this much excitement on such a remote little Minnesota farm?

If I Were a Farmer, Tommy's Adventure
Gordon Frederickson, author
David H. Jewell, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983902, $11.95,

"If I Were a Farmer, Tommy's Adventure" is the third illustrated children's book in the If I Were a Farmer series. "Tommy's Adventure" describes a boy's imagined adventures as a farmer hero with his dog, Rex, in carefully illustrated, colorful detail. "Tommy's Adventure" includes many descriptions and details of farm tools, tasks, tractors, and implements used in daily work. A sense of farm ethics and courtesy is also conveyed in the story, when Tommy imagines helping stranded, stuck motorists and then later rescuing them from thieves. Although Tommy's daydream strains credulity (can the tractor really catch those runaway bandits?), the information about farm tasks and equipment is historically and experientially grounded and founded. A handy Glossary at the end gives solid, practical definitions of special farm terms and tools used in the story. The "If I Were a Farmer" series has nostalgic appeal for adults as well as educational and entertainment value for children.

Neil Morris
Amicus Publishing
P.O. Box 1329, Mankato, MN 56002
9781607530657, $19.95,

"Glass" is a new release in the educational series titled 'Materials That Matter', written for students at reading level 5, of interest to students from levels 4-6. Lavishly illustrated with colored photographs and explanatory sidebars that reinforce information about creating, preserving, and recycling glass, "Glass" presents an eco-friendly text that aids in understanding the complete life cycle of glass in the context of the global impact of its creation and disposal. Other educational titles in this series that are recommended are "Metals (9781607530664)," "Paper (9781607530671)," "Plastic (9781607530688)," Textiles (9781607530695)," and "Wood (9781607530701)." Also recommended is another title by the same publisher, "Diggers," from the Series "Machines on the Move (9781607530589, $18.95)," written for reading level 2 students, with interest for levels 1-3.

Sensing the World
Philip Morgan
Amicus Publishing
P.O. Box 1329, Mankato, MN 56002
9781607530565, $19.95,

"Sensing the World" is a reading level 5 children's book from the new series "How Your Body Works." Presenting sensory information about the human body in a colorful, photo-illustrated and diagram-documentary format, "Sensing the World" provides excellent descriptions of the inner workings of the human body, using x-ray and MRI images to help young readers visualize many inner body processes. Both what works and what can go wrong are taught, with descriptions of how illness and disease processes can affect the body's systems. "Sensing the World" is an excellent health and science curriculum text of interest to students between levels 4-6. Other titles in this recommended series include "Controlling the Blood (9781607530510)," "Fighting Diseases (9781607530527)," "Moving Your Body (9781607530541)," "Getting Energy (978607530534)," and "Sending Messages (9781607530565)."

Banks and Banking
Sean Connolly
PO Box 1329, Mankato, MN 56002
9781607530770 $23.95

Part of the "World Economy Explained" series designed to teach young readers about economic challenges facing humanity today, Banks and Banking is reveals how modern banks operate, charting their history from small institutions to gigantic multinational organizations. The recent credit crunch is scrutinized in detail, with explanations offered as to why some banks were bailed out while others weren't. Banks and Banking deserves especial notice for its balanced stance on hot-button financial issues, encouraging young readers to form their own conclusions, and is strongly recommended along with the rest of the "World Economy Explained" series for children's public library collections. "Some people believe that big bailouts such as the $787 billion plan for banks such as Fannie Mae and Freddie mac are unfair. They believe that taxpayers should not have to pay for mistakes made by greedy and reckless people in the banking industry. Other people say that although these sums are hard to afford, the alternative - doing nothing and allowing bank after bank to go out of business - would be devastating. What do you think?"

Salty and Sugary Snacks
Adam Furgang
Rosen Central
c/o Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781448812677, $26.50,

"Salty and Sugary Snacks: The Incredibly Disgusting Story" from the 'Incredibly Disgusting Food' series is all about the bad news of unhealthful effects of consuming excess amounts of salty and sugary snacks. Filled with color photos and sidebars of info bytes about obesity and food additives, "Salty and Sugary Snacks" does its best to present good arguments for choosing to eat healthier snacks such as fruits and vegetables and to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. Ending with Ten Great Questions to Ask a Nutritionist, a glossary, more information, web sites, and bibliography, "Salty and Sugary Snacks" is an effective educational resource for middle school age students and up. Also recommended in this series are "Fake Foods: Fried, Fast, And Processed, The Incredibly Disgusting Story," by Paula Johnson (9781448812691, $26.50), "Mystery Meat: Hot Dogs, Sausages, and Lunch Meats the Incredibly Disgusting Story" by Stephanie Watson (9781448812684, $26.50) and "Carbonated Beverages The Incredibly Disgusting Story," by Adam Furgang (9781448812660, $26.50).

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Avenue, 50th Floor, New York NY 10118

Sixteen new titles add to the 'My World' series by Bobbie Kalman ($13.95 each) directed to grades K-2, with each offering simple 16-page introductions packed with eye-catching color photos, a glossary and index, and more. Formats includes questions and answers, inviting activities to reinforce basic ideas, and drawings and photos that attract attention. Among the winners: NIGHT ANIMALS (9780778795582), with vivid photos of bats, owls and insects accompanying discussion of night animal attributes, HOW DO ANIMALS CHANGE? (9780778795681), surveying the life cycles of animals, WHAT IS A FOOD CHAIN? (9780778795674), which begins with plants and moves up to discuss food chain connections, IT LOOKS LIKE A DOG (9780778795469), a whimsical dress-up animal account that emphases animal differences in the process, FARM ANIMALS (9780778795520), telling of farm animal care and maintenance, ANIMAL MOTHERS (9780778795551), telling how various animal mothers care for their broods, WATER CHANGES (9780778795599), surveys clouds, ice, mists, vapor and water cycles, WHAT IS IT? (9780778795476) identifies cats, hats, mouse, house and other similar words, HOW ARE THEY THE SAME? (9780778795568) identifies characteristics similar and different in animals and nature, WHICH SEASON IS IT? (9780778795537) identifies seasons of the year and activities associated with them, WHERE DOES OUR FOOD COME FROM? (9780778795650) identifies grain foods, fruits and how they are cultivated, WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? (9780778795629) identifies binoculars, glass, and other everyday materials and considers their origins, I LIKE TO PLAY (9780778795490) surveys various ball games and provides one-line descriptions to accompany photos of kids playing, and I LIKE RIDING (9780778795506) identifies different kinds of riding, from bikes and cars to horses and trains. All are top picks for any elementary easy reader's collection.

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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