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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 23, Number 5 May 2013 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice American History Shelf World History Shelf
Health Shelf Social Issues Shelf Mythology Shelf
Native American Shelf Multicultural Shelf Biography Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Art Shelf Music Shelf
Science Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Board BookShelf
Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf Christian Shelf
Islamic Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Multimedia Shelf Activity Shelf
Theatre/Cinema Shelf Poetry Shelf Holiday Shelf
Sports Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

But I Read It On the Internet!
Toni Buzzeo, author
Sachiko Yoshikawa, illustrator
Upstart Books
4810 Forest Run Road, Madison, WI 53704
9781602130623 $17.95

"But I Read It On the Internet!" is a fun and funny educational book for children in grades 3-5 about verifying information sources, both traditional and online. Fourth in a series involving the librarian, Mrs. Skorupski, "But I Read It On the Internet!" challenges students to a presidential fact-finding contest. Two students present opposing opinions about sources; Hunter prefers to get his facts from books, while Carmen Rosa Pena believes the Internet is a better information source. What a showdown! Luckily Mrs. Skorupski, Liberty School hip Librarian, is equal to the challenge of teaching her students ways to test sources for validity, even internet sources. Students are given fact verification assignments and told to cite their sources, including bringing in URLs for internet sources. But aren't all facts reported on the internet true? Mrs. Skorupski hands out a Website Evaluation Gizmo that helps students to analyze this question logically with questions in categories labeled Informative? Easy to Use? and Accurate? Even more helpful, Mrs. Skorupski directs Hunter to the Public Library to do online research if he is unable to use an internet connection at home. "But I Read It On the Internet!" is excellent educational reading with vivid illustrations and plenty of good common sense recommendations for young researchers.

The ABC's and 123's of Child Safety
Sharon Blacknall, author
Linda Ray, illustrator
Inspiring Voices
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
c/o Child Safety Tips and Programs
PO Box 760458, San Antonio, TX 78245
9781462404377 $17.45 pbk.
9781462404384 $3.99 Kindle

The ABC's and 123's of Child Safety is more than an alphabet and counting picturebook. Its colorful illustrations and simple instructions are meant to be shared between parents (or preschool educators) and children ages 2-5, as a means of teaching basic safety principles. From "K - Kick - If someone you don't know tries to grab you, you should fight back, KICK, scream loudly and try to run away!" to "P - Pool - Samson says, 'Always ask Mom or Dad for permission before getting into a POOL! Do not get in the water without an adult there to watch you.'", drilling these basic tips could quite literally save young child's life. The bright, charming pictures and the friendly faces of the multicultural "All-Star Safety Patrol Kids" make learning safe behavior fun, not frightening. The ABC's and 123's of Child Safety is designed to be a personalized book, encouraging little ones to write their own name, age, grandparents' names, etc. in the counting section. An excellent gift for little ones or their parents, The ABC's and 123's of Child Safety is worthy of the highest recommendation.

I'm Getting Ready for Kindergarten
Annye Rothenberg, Ph.D., author
Bonnie Bright, illustrator
Perfecting Parenting Press
3943 Jefferson Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94062
9780979042058 $9.95

"I'm Getting Ready for Kindergarten" is a children's book about readiness skills and abilities to master to get ready for kindergarten. It also has a guidance section for parents that specifically addresses areas such as teaching your child to listen to adults, reasonable structured schedule components for children ready for kindergarten, accomplished independent life skills, gross and fine motor skills development, emotional and social maturity, speech and language readiness, and academic readiness. Colorful illustrations and brief examples help children learn how they can help prepare themselves for the rigors of kindergarten. "I'm Getting Ready for Kindergarten" is also a resource to help parents decide whether or not their child is ready to begin kindergarten.

Campfire Crisis
Blake Hoena
Lake 7 Creative
398 Goodrich Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102
9780988366251, $6.95,

When danger strikes, one has to make many decisions and the right ones in order to save everyone's lives. "Campfire Crisis" is an interactive adventure book in the "Choice Chapter" series (the reader's decisions determine how the adventure unfolds), about a camping trip, in which the reader is put in the role of the hero who must save their friends when a forest fire strikes. Encouraging campsite safety, "Campfire Crisis" is highly recommended especially for children who enjoy the great outdoors.

Some Days Are Lonely
Young-Ah Kim
Magination Press
PO Box 92984
Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433812873, $14.95,

Loneliness happens, and that's okay. "Some Days Are Lonely" is a children's picturebook aimed at helping young people cope with occasional strong feelings. With notes for parents, about encouraging their children to adjust to loneliness, "Some Days Are Lonely" is a must for children's picturebook collections with a focus on feelings.

The American History Shelf

Revolutionary Friends
Selene Castrovilla, author
Drazen Kozjan, illustrator
Calkins Creek
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, Pennsylvania 18431
9781590788806 $16.95

For children age 8 and up, "Revolutionary Friends, General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette" is an excellent example of English narrative embellished with French expressions to tell the story of the relationship that evolved between American leader George Washington and French nobleman the Marquis de Lafayette during the American Revolutionary War. French expressions are embedded into the text narrative and also included in English translations in sidebars of sayings or writings of the Marquis de Lafayette. Using both paintings, original written sources by both Washington and Lafayette and additional material of interest, "Revolutionary Friends" succeeds in capturing the interest of young readers while tracing the historic relationship between the two great men from different sides of the Atlantic. Each was motivated and driven by an ideal of freedom. Spanning a generation, an ideology, and an ocean, this curious relationship takes on the tone of a father-son exchange. Added interest comes from the two timelines for the Life of Lafayette and the Life of George Washington at the end of the book. The frequent quotations in the voice(s) of Washington and Lafayette add personal texture to this amazing historic Revolutionary relationship.

The World History Shelf

Forced Journey
Rosemary Zibart
Kinkajou Press
c/o Artemesia Publishing
9 Mockingbird Hill Road, Tijeras, NM 87059
9781932926323, $12.95, 188 pp.,

"Forced Journey: The Saga Of Werner Berlinger" by Rosemary Zibart is the story of a twelve-year-old Jewish boy whose family is compelled to leave Germany in 1939 because of the rise of anti-Semitism in the Nazi Germany of 1939. He and his impoverished family arrive in New York City where they must begin new lives as refugees. The second volume in Rosemary Zibart's 'Far and Away' series, "Forced Journey" will give young readers of today a kind of 'window' into what the lives and times of the dispossessed were like in their grandparent's generation. Highly recommended for both school and community library collections, "Forced Journey" is also available in a hardcover edition (9781932926330, $24.95) and a Kindle edition (B00BIQWCPG, $3.99).

The Health Shelf

The Adventures of Oskar: Oskar's New School
Jose A. Saldivar, author
Dorothy Jasnoch, illustrator
Owl About Books Publisher, Inc.
1632 Royalwood Circle
Joshua, TX 76058
9781937752071 $13.99

First in "The Adventures of Oskar" series of softcover picturebooks, Oskar's New School is the story of a charming young anthropomorphic squirrel with a difficult problem. He has epilepsy, a brain disorder which puts those who have it at risk for debilitating and harmful seizures. Oskar is nervous about going to a new school - what if he has a seizure there? What will his friends at the school think? He learns that there are medicines that can help him with his problematic seizures, or even prevent them some of the time, but perhaps the best palliative is the understanding of his new friends. "And so, Oskar the Squirrel agreed with all of the others - that what Hooty was saying was truth-felt indeed! Not anyone was perfect, not any one, no way and no how... Even though they were all different, they were all, in their own way, kind of the same." Oskar's New School is ideal for parents or educators to share with children while teaching them about epilepsy, especially if the child, a family member, or a friend has been diagnosed with the condition. Highly recommended.

The Social Issues Shelf

Rosa Sat...
Lucy Erber
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781482028805 $12.50 print / $5.99 Kindle

Rosa Sat... A True Story About People Who Pressed On is a softcover children's picturebook about African-Americans' struggle for social equality in the twentieth century. The text is not just about Rosa Parks, the strong-willed woman whose refusal to move to the back of the bus sparked a revolutionary boycott, but also nonviolent champion of equal rights Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama, America's first African-American President. "Rosa Parks became well known and admired, not only throughout the United States of America, but also throughout the world. She went on to found the Rosa and Raymond Parks Foundation which mentored and ran programs for young black Americans." Highly recommended.

Sherrill S. Cannon, author
Kalpart, illustrator
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
12620 FM 1960, Suite A4-507
Houston, TX 77065
9781622124787 $12.50

Manners grease the wheels of society, allowing people to get along with one another by showing mutual respect - and that is no small thing! Manner-Man is a brightly illustrated, rhyming softcover children's picturebook by multiple award-winning children's author Sherrill S. Cannon, designed to teach little ones about standing up to bullies who say hurtful things, and about the positive power of polite behavior. "Elisabeth asked to use Manner-Man too / To help teach her friends to say 'please' and 'thank you.'" An upbeat story with a valuable lesson, Manner-Man is a choice pick especially for parents, babysitters, and preschool or grade-school educators to share with children. Also highly recommended are Sherrill S. Cannon's previous kid-friendly picturebooks with positive social messages, including "Gimme-Jimmy" (9781618972675, $13.00), "Magic Word" (9781609769093, $12.50), "Peter and the Whimper-Whineys" (9781609115173, $13.00), and "Santa's Birthday Gift" (9781608608249, $11.50).

Percy Pull Up Your Pants!
Shari Robertson, author
Dwight Nacaytuna, illustrator
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477136645 $TBA print / $3.99 Kindle

Percy Pull Up Your Pants! is a children's picturebook with an important message - just because older kids do something, doesn't mean it's necessarily fun, practical, or cool. The story is from the point of view of Percy's best friend; both of them are African-American boys about nine years old. Percy longs to be more like the older kids, so he tries to imitate how they dress - by exposing his underwear, and training himself to do a "cowboy walk" that keeps his pants half-on, half-off. Sometimes his pants will fall down completely! Colorful illustrations show Percy in one situation or another (such as jumping rope or shooting a basketball), hindered because his pants are slipping and people reprimand him with, "Percy, pull up your pants!" At last Percy's friend says to him, "Think about it why would anyone want to show everybody their underwear, besides that you have to walk funny like cowboys from the old west just to stop your pants from falling, does that make sense?" Percy realizes that what the older boys are doing just doesn't work for him, and learns that life can be a lot more fun when you don't have to worry that your pants might fall down! Highly recommended, especially for parents and children to share before staring an important conversation about peer pressure.

The Mythology Shelf

Where Did The Sun Go?
Janet Cameron Hoult, author
Julia Andrzejewska, illustrator
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Road - 515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432770800 $19.95

"Where Did The Sun Go?: Myths and Legends of Solar Eclipses Around the World Told with Poetry and Puppetry" is an illustrated collection of 20 global legends derived from solar eclipses around the world. Each legend is presented in a one page poem, then further explored as a potential puppet show, with props, scenery and puppets to be created and performed by children. Stage directions are provided in color for each poem, with background settings, puppets and actions needed, and suggested audience sounds and participation. Here is an excellent multi-media cultural project for middle grade students to showcase their creativity and encourage exploration of broad spectrums of human natural history and prehistory. Solar eclipse stories from North America, Mesopotamia, Japan, China, Rwanda, Scandinavia, Australia, and New Zealand are featured. These sparsely narrated verses tell dramatic tales in condensed formats, filled with excitement and intensity. Children age 8 and up will love taking part in creating a puppet production of "Where Did the Sun Go?" with adult supervision and assistance.

The Native American Shelf

Explore Native American Cultures! With 25 Great Projects
Anita Yasuda, author
Jennifer K. Keller
Nomad Press
2456 Christian St.
White River Junction, VT 05001
Independent Publishers Group (distribution)
814 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610
9781619301603 $12.95

"Explore Native American Cultures!" is an enrichment text and workbook for students of Native American studies ages 6-9. Containing 25 diverse hands on projects to help explore different Native American cultures and contributions, "Explore Native American Cultures!" presents interesting factual information on Native American groups from 6 main areas: The Northeast Woodlands, the Southeast, the Southwest and Mesoamerica, the Great Plains, the Pacific Northwest, and the Arctic. Black and white illustrations and gray highlighted sidebars present additional information in handy formats, such as "Then & Now" or "Words to Know," and "Just For Laughs." Interesting project directions include make your own Katsina doll, Mayan glyphs, bear claw necklace, soft twine bag, and many more. A timeline, introduction, and glossary complete this handy Native American crafts and studies text for elementary age students.

The Multicultural Shelf

Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco
Eileen Wacker, author
Alan M. Low, illustrator
9781467517492 $10.99

"Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco" is the sixth and latest title in the illustrated children's 'Fujimini Adventures' series that provides education about Asian culture and life lessons. The series' action takes place on the mythical island of Fujimini, where many exotic creatures learn to coexist in an unusual, paradisiacal environment. Rainbow Panda is particularly fond of firecrackers, so he plans to throw firecrackers near Dynasty Dragon's feet to keep him awake so he will fly across the sky. He secretly plans to do this despite Black Panda's stern opposition. But when Rainbow Panda actually meets the Dynasty Dragon, he discovers that the dragon is not allowed to play with fireworks because he needs to control his fire (and his mom might get bad). Things escalate until a true firecracker emergency develops, and Mother Dragon is forced to come to the rescue by weeping tears of giant raindrops to help put the fire out. All this catastrophe occurs because Rainbow Panda wanted to be a hero. But playing with matches is not the way to accomplish that. A reparation plan is developed and suitable cleanup actions commence while Rainbow Panda leads the way in making sincere, appropriate apologies. Finally a safe, firecracker -lit New Year's celebration culminates this adventure for Rainbow Panda and his friends. As with all Fujimini Island tales, the book ends with a Glossary of "Chic" Asian Associations which gives further fascinating information about "special aspects of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese culture." This award winning series continues in an excellent tradition of cultural education for readers ages 5-8.

The Biography Shelf

Reporter in Disguise: The Intrepid Vic Steinberg
Christine Welldon
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway
Markham, Ontario Canada L3R 4T8
9781554552337, $19.95,

A hundred years ago, no one would take a female journalist seriously, so a little bit of cunning made it all work. "Reporter in Disguise: The Intrepid Vic Steinberg" is a youth read exploring the work of investigative journalist with a knack for disguises in Vic Steinberg. Daring to break through her social class and what other people wanted of her, she found her own path using acting and good disguise work to get her job done, defying conventions of the time. Youth and adult readers alike will enjoy "Reporter in Disguise", a much recommended biography of a truly remarkable woman.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Un-Common Raven: One Smart Bird
Diane Phelps Budden, author
Loren Haury, photography
Red Rock Mountain Press LLC
560 Schnebly Road
Sedona, AZ 86336
9780615731216 $11.95

Beautifully illustrated with striking, full-color photographs throughout, The Un-Common Raven: One Smart Bird is a softcover, nonfiction picturebook all about the natural life cycle of these extraordinary and intelligent black birds. Ravens are omnivores, and it's theorized that their high intelligence (they rank among the top ten smartest living creatures, after humans, chimpanzees, and dolphins), evolved as a means to secure food when competing with or scavenging from larger and more dangerous predators. They use tools, and can be trained to undertake simple tasks. A brief glossary, an index, and a list of resources young people can investigate to learn more about ravens rounds out this immensely fascinating profile of an oft-misunderstood species. Although The Un-Common Raven is thoroughly accessible, its reading level is particularly appropriate for young people who are preparing to transition from picture books to chapter books, and readers of all ages will find it enlightening and educational. Highly recommended. "Ravens are very sociable birds, starting with fellow fledglings, and continuing as juveniles who live and travel together. Researchers think the social bond formed between mated birds or groups of juveniles provides a way for them to exchange information about location of food so all can survive."

Do You Know a Cat Like That?
Art Garmissie, author
Carol Newsom, illustrator
3131 Bascom Ave., Suite 150
Campbell, Ca 95008
No ISBN $24.95 hc / $17.95 pbk. / $5.95 ebook or pdf

Wonderfully illustrated in full color, Do You Know a Cat Like That? is the softcover picturebook story of Moochee, a cat adopted from an animal shelter. Told from Moochee's point of view, Do You Know a Cat Like That? tells of everything from kitty bath time to feeding, playing with the cat in the mirror, batting at a computer keyboard, and much more. "Once he placed a wind-up mouse on the floor in front of me, and when it started to move, I jumped about a foot in the air. He laughed and I darted for cover. But don't worry, it didn't harm me or my human, and it's now one of my favorite toys." Young cat lovers will adore this heartwarming picturebook about the cherished bond between cat and human.

The Mystery of Darwin's Frog
Marty Crump
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590788646 $16.95

The Mystery of Darwin's Frog enjoys fine illustrations and color photos throughout by Steve Jenkins and Edel Rodriguez as it considers the life of a frog packed with tadpoles: an oddity that stumped scientists in the 1840s when they began studying a tiny frog that Darwin found in Chile. Nobody had seen a frog full of polliwogs before, and the studies revealed more amazing facts. Today scientists are working to save the frog from extinction as a frog-killing fungus sweeps across its habitat - and this latest fact tops a 175-year story of scientific inquiry, related here in an excellent picturebook for kids ages 7-11.

Puppies and Kittens
Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545495660 $7.99

Puppies and Kittens joins Scholastic's 'Discover More' series for young picturebook readers in grades 2-4, offering fun activities and insights into puppies and kittens and how they grow. From how puppies and kittens express needs and emotions to their wild cousins and how they differ, this provides a very basic introductory primer and is a recommended pick for any collection appealing to young animal enthusiasts.

Kari-Lynn Winters
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway
Markham, Ontario Canada L3R 4T8
9781554552023, $19.95,

Bees are vital in more ways than most understand. "Buzz About Bees" is a wildlife guide to these creatures regarded by many as pests, but vital to the food chain and animal kingdom. Discussing the role of bees throughout history, how they affect the natural world, their lives, the role of honey, and some information beekeeping, "Buzz About Bees" is a full color read aimed at curious younger readers, very much recommended reading.

Mr. Bo's Big Heart
Timothy Battle, author
Blythe Skidmore, illustrator
Tate Publishing LLC
127 E. Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781620249024 $9.99

"Mr. Bo's Big Heart" is a gentle, compassionate story about a cat named Mr. Bo who is very frightened because he feels so ill. Although Mr. Bo can't talk, his owner discovers he is not feeling well by observing how quiet and unusual his behavior is, in comparison to his normal behavior. His companion cats Othello and Ashland also sense something is not right with Mr. Bo. They try to comfort him when he is alone and finally he is taken by Tim, his owner to a vet in a pet clinic. Mr. Bo endures many experiences here, but finally he discovers his large heart may have something wrong with it. Mr. Bo wakes up from a medical procedure that reassures everyone that he is recovering from an infection or cold, but that he is strong and will eventually get well. "Mr. Bo's Big Heart" is the second book in a special series for first and second grade students that teaches them to empathize with the cat and pets. Like the first title, "Mr. Bo's Big Heart" is also available as a free audio book digital download.

The Art Shelf

The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook
Shaun Tan
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545465137 $19.99

THE BIRD KING collects Shaun Tan's art under one cover for the first time: the beginnings of stories, illustrations for books and films, sketchbooks and more, and provide a fine collection of black and white, color and two-color works for aspiring artists of all ages. While Tan's drawings are largely of juvenile and young fantasy enthusiast's subjects, they will also move beyond the juvenile audience of their intention to attract collections strong in arts, film, or science fiction.

The Music Shelf

The Cat's Baton is Gone: A Musical CAT-astrophe
Scott Hennesy, author
Joe Lanzisero, illustrator and conceptualizer
Hyperion Books/ Disney
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423145837 $16.99

"The Cat's Baton Is Gone: A Musical CAT-atrosphe" is a side-splitting comically illustrated tale (pun) about a musical conductor of an orcatstra, one Leopold von Kittenkatt, who loses his baton just before the performance of his Global Orcatstra. What will Meowstro do? What will his Mewsicians do? Meowstro Kittenkatt interviews all nationalities and types of mewsicians in search of a solution. This part of the book is a fascinating tour of feline ethnicities and exotic mewsical instruments, including a pungi from India and a didgeridoo from Australia, among others. Finally confabulates a fantastic solution for a purrfect concert - he leads the orcatstra with his tail! At the end of "The Cat's Baton Is Gone" is a wonderful illustrated Glossary which describes all the exotic instruments and also defines many musical terms. "The Cat's Baton Is Gone" is a great way to enrich musical education while recharging everyone's funny bones.

The Science Shelf

Planet Earth
John Richards and Ed Simkins
Owlkids Books Inc.
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2Z2
9781926973753m $15.95,

There's countless things to learn about the world around us. "Planet Earth: The World in Infographics" is a colorful and informative exploration of what the world around us can teach, with facts on everything from the deepest points on the planet to the highest mountains and plenty of things in between. "Planet Earth: The World in Infographics" is a must for youth science collections, not to be missed. Also from Owlkids for science oriented youths, "The Natural World" (9781926973746, $15.95), exploring the countless critters and plant life throughout the world.

Minnesota Bug Hunt
Bruce Giebink, author, Bill Johnson, photography
Minnesota Historical Society Press
345 Kellogg Boulevard, West
St. Paul, MN 55102-1906
9780873518659, $16.95,

Strange creatures look all around for those who dare to see them. "Minnesota Bug Hunt" is a children's science picturebook as Bruce Giebink and photographer Bill Johnson let readers explore the many bugs that lurk throughout Minnesota in all of their colors and special qualities, and how to find these bugs for themselves. For any youth with a love for these creepy crawlers, "Minnesota Bug Hunt" is a must for youth science collections, recommended.

Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806

Two fine new titles will reach ages 6 and older with excellent geology discussions that invite youngsters to explore their worlds. Michele Corriel's WEIRD ROCKS (9780878425976, $12.00) receives drawings by Dan Bilyeu and considers the many amazing things rocks can do, from those that travel through space or glow to rocks that float and burn. Sixteen unusual rocks are profiled, along with the science and history explaining their properties and abilities. Readers will find this much more accessible than the usual geology title. T.Scott Bryan's ARIZONA ROCKS! A GUIDE TO GEOLOGIC SITES IN THE GRAND CANYON STATE (9780878425983, $18.00) is recommended for grades 6 to adults, offering a detailed discussion of the spectacular rocks to be found in Arizona. From forests and a meteorite crater to lesser-known Indian sites, mesas and a limestone sinkhole, this blends a travelogue with geology in a fine pick for everything from travel to science collections and Arizona young readers who want to find out more about their state's geologic heritage. Both are excellent picks for any collection strong in geology studies.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Johnny Kaw: A Tall Tale
Devin Scillian, author
Brad Sneed, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585367917 $15.95

"Johnny Kaw: A Tall Tale" is a legendary folk hero creation tale from the plains and valleys of Kansas. In the tradition of Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan, Johnny Kaw is a young giant of a lad born to ordinary parents who finds his best landscape in the great Kansas landscape. Gentle rhyming narrative and drifting, dreamy paintings of an impossibly tall blonde boy tell the story of this folk hero who picks up rocks to form mountains, and carves valleys and prairies with his bare hands. Poetic license is granted without request for sheer enjoyment of this delightful tall tale of impossibilities. Children ages 6-10 will find whole hearted pleasure in its pages, along with a resounding definition of prairie pioneer identity.

Grumbles from the Forest
Jane Yolen & Rebecca Kai Dotlich
c/o Highlights
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590788677, $16.95,

The fairy tales we all know stay with us, and continue to inspire us for so long. "Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist" is a combination of poetry and artistry. Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich come together and offer their poetic stylings as Matt Mahurin accompanies them with illustrations. Poetry is arranged by fairy tale and should prove an enticing read for anyone with a spot in their heart for old fairy tales or newer readers. "Grumbles from the Forest" is a strongly recommended addition for picturebook collections, not to be missed.

The Board Book Shelf

Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again
Ginger Pate, author
Rhett Ransom Pennell, illustrator
Greene Bark Press Inc.
c/o Children's Book Publishing
2966 Mosser Drive, Allentown, PA 18103
978188051302 $8.50

Wally Waddlewater wants to learn to cross a street safely so he can mail a birthday card to his grandmother. After rescuing him from some potential street crossing disasters, his mother reassures him that he can learn to cross the street safely, he just needs lots of practice. Wally learns he needs to look left, look right, and then look left again before crossing the street, because cars go fast. Wally learns not to be distracted while crossing a street, to listen and look, to wait for trucks, buses, and traffic signals, and to wait for obstacles (like an elephant blocking the view) to move out of the way before crossing. Wally even learns how to cross train tracks safely. After many practice crossing with his mother, Wally if finally ready to cross a street safely by himself. "Look Left, Look Right," Look Left Again" is an excellent preschool safety instruction book for children ages 4-8, and for their parents and guardians.

Jerry Pallotta, author
Shennen Bersani, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
9781570918995, $5.95,

Butterflies float through our world in countless colors and shapes. "Butterfly: Colors and Counting" is an early reader board book from Jerry Pallotta and illustrator Shennen Bersani as they present ten butterflies and counting up to 10 with their colors. Using real butterfly breeds to illustrate the counting exercise, "Butterfly" is well worth considering for those learning to count and the colors.

The Picturebook Shelf

Nalah and the Pink Tiger
Anne Sawyer-Aitch, author/illustrator
Scarletta Kids
c/o Scarletta Press
10 South Fifth Street, Suite 1105
Minneapolis, MN 55402
9781938063008 $13.95

"Nalah and the Pink Tiger" is the incredibly creative children's story about a girl who sees mischievous imaginary animal companions. Nalah's parents don't see her animal friends and hold her accountable for many of the incredible messes Nalah's animal friends make. Nalah discovers a rambunctious pink tiger named Tico on a trip to the zoo who follows her home and changes her life. "Nalah and the Pink Tiger" is filled with incredible specially created artworks covering each page with colorful details of these colorful imaginary animals and Nalah. Artist/ author Anne Sawyer-Aitch creates a style of art called illuminated illustration that combines elements reminiscent of shadow puppetry with layered, cutaway designs. The result is fresh, invigorating, and inspiring. Who can wait to read a story where a pink tiger gets scared by a blue mouse named Mad Tooth? "Nalah and the Pink Tiger" is available in book format, Nook and eBook.

Princess Onyx Precious Gems
Clarissa Burton, author
Jason Brooks, illustrator
7290 Investment Drive, Suite B
North Charleston, SC 29418
9781479224890 $12.97

"Princess Onyx Precious Gems" is a lovely illustrated story about a little girl named Jaydah. Jaydah is hurt and upset because a boy called her ugly because her skin is dark. Her grandmother helps her to see that she is not ugly, but beautiful and precious, like a gem. To comfort and convince Jaydah, her grandmother Tata tells her a story about Princess Onyx, daughter of King Stygian and Queen Sable. Princess Onyx, whose skin is dark and beautiful, loves playing with beautiful gem-colored flowers. She asks her parents if she can play with other children she sees. Feeling protective, her parents allow her to join the other children for the first time under the supervision of a companion, Ruby. Princess Onyx discovers that although the other children are respectful and welcoming to her, they are harsh and unkind to a poor ragged little girl named Ebony. Ebony becomes a good friend to Onyx, and together they wonder why the other children are so cruel with their words. On hearing the story, Jaydah realizes that cruelty and prejudice against dark skin coloring exists even in the fantasy world. Even more important, she learns that being kind is the most important thing of all. Jaydah is empowered by her grandmother's wise words, and she decides to make dark chocolate brownies for a treat. "Princess Onyx Precious Gems" is the second book in a juvenile series about learning acceptance of diversity for children age 6 and up.

Nana's Summer Surprise
Heather Hartt-Sussman, author
Georgia Graham, illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770493247, $19.99,

Every summer, things change a little more. "Nana's Summer Surprise" is a children's picturebook following a young boy as he copes with his cousin growing up faster than he and dealing with the changes in her family's summer lake house, and how to arrange a special surprise for their Nana. "Nana's Summer Surprise is a wonderfully illustrated children's picturebook, an excellent collaboration from Heather Hartt-Sussman and artist Georgia Graham, a strong addition to children's collections everywhere. Also from Tundra Book's Children's selection is "Mister Dash and the Cupcake Calamity" (9781770493964, $19.99), following the adventure of a creative canine, a collaboration of author Monica Kulling and illustrator Esperanca Melo.

Grammy Goes Green
Shelli Smith
Inspiring Voices
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
c/o Bohlsen Group (publicity)
9781462401048 $12.45

Grammy Goes Green is a softcover children's picturebook that celebrates being a grandmother. The titular Grammy feels "green envy" of people can grow beautiful flowers and greenery, yet she has a "brown thumb", and feels "green envy" of people who. She tries to find things she's good at - bull riding? Raspberry pie eating? Then her grandchildren tell her what she's really great at - being a wonderful grandma! Colorful illustrations pepper this cheerful and warm-hearted story.

The Bathing Costume
Charlotte Moundlic & Oliver Tallec
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
97815922701414, $15.95,

Small things can seem to turn the best of trips bad. "The Bathing Costume: Or the Worst Vacation of My Life" is a children's picturebook following young Ronnie as he goes off to visit his grandmother and has his summer vacation, enjoying himself...until his grandmother forces a weird bathing suit on him that she calls a bathing costume. "The Bathing Costume" is enticing and humorous reading that youths will relish with a charming art style, recommended.

My Father Flies
Jennifer Ginn, author
David Kramer, illustrator
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road
Atglen, PA 19310
9780764343858, $16.99,

All of the world we may go, and bring back a little bit of it for our loved ones. "My Father Flies" is a children's picturebook in which son looks to his fathers and his world travels and what he learns from him when he comes back with little bits of culture. Charming and adventurous, "My Father Flies" is strongly recommended for young readers' picturbeook collections, not to be missed.

Memoirs of a Hamster
Devin Scillian, author
Tim Bowers, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200
315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585368310, $15.99,

Everything can be perfect until someone else shows up and ruins it all for us. "Memoirs of a Hamster" children's picturebook following the unusual adventures of Seymour the hamster who tries to escape the arrival of a new cat in his home to screw up in his perfect life. When his escape goes awry, he learns to appreciate what he has in spite of rude neighbors. "Memoirs of a Hamster" is a charming and much recommended addition to children's picturebook collections, not to be missed.

That's Not a Pickle! Part 5
Donald W. Kruse
Castle Keep Press
c/o James A. Rock & Company, Publishers
900 South Irby Street, #508
Florence, South Carolina 29501
9781596638358 $12.95

Fifth in a seven-book series, That's Not a Pickle! Part 5 is a brightly colored, softcover picturbook for little ones ages five and up. Told in playful, rhyming verse, the story follows a young boy whose neighbor Betsy-Sue is proud of her homemade pickles. The boy and a group of his friends buy the pickles, but oh no - these pickles taste terrible! Demanding a refund might hurt Betsy-Sue's feelings, so what are they to do with pickles they can't eat? The problem grows so big that a little help from the planet Mars is what's needed to save the day! That's Not a Pickle! is uproarious fun to read aloud and share, highly recommended.

Who's Hiding
Sebastien Braun
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street
Somerville, MA 02144
9780763659325, $6.99,

What's hiding from us in the plainest of places? "Who's Hiding?" is a children's picturebook that encourages kids to look around. Asking what's hiding in common places with pull away flaps to reveal that's hiding from readers, this board book is ideal for very young readers just starting to gain a better understanding for the world around them and early literacy. "Who's Hiding?" is a strong addition to picturebook collections, much recommended.

Chu's Day
Neil Gaiman
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062017819 $17.99

CHU'S DAY receives a fine set of drawings by Adam Rex as it tells of little panda Shu, who has a big sneeze that causes all kinds of problems. Ages 4-8 will relish the story of a panda that keeps trying to hold back his sneeze all day - until at one point he just can't stop, and chaos emerges. The funny and quite simple story is engaging with an unexpected ending, and will reach children and their parents with a whimsical tale that's hard to put down.

Ryan Higgins
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780803737327 $16.99

Wilfred is a large, hairy giant who will do anything to have a friend - even math homework. But when greedy townspeople discover how generous Wilfred is, they hatch a nasty plan! A small boy has to stand up to them, in order to teach them about fairness and kindness. This is a pointed yet gentle story about kindness, cruelty, and bravery: it's a tale parents will find involving and pleasing, and it's a top pick for any picturebook collection looking to teach values at an early age yet include a book with an unpredictable story line in the process.

Pirates vs. Cowboys
Aaron Reynolds
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375858741 $16.99

Pirates vs. Cowboys is illustrated by David Barneda and tells of Burnt Beard the Pirate and his crew, who are seeking a place to bury their treasure. All their usual places are filled up, so they decide to take the booty inland - where they encounter a gang of rustlers intent on protecting their own territory. The cowboys and pirates can't understand each other, either - and given their many issues, trouble soon erupts in this zany story where the protagonists are animals in more ways than one.

Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Ann Bonwill and Stephen Gammell's THE FRAZZEL FAMILY FINDS A WAY (9780823424054, $16.95) tells of a forgetful, frazzled family who forgets all the basics, from putting on pants and combing hair to dressing properly. The entire family is a mess and needs help, fast - even the dog forgets where he buried his bone. Can a visiting relative help? A delightful picture book tale evolves with a zany story. Lucia Panzieri's THE KINDHEARTED CROCODILE (9780823427673, $16.95) tells of a crocodile whose kind heart is hidden in a fearsome body. This crocodile longs to love and be loved and wants to be part of a family: can his attitude overcome his looks? AntonGionata Ferrari's illustrations are whimsical and fun. David L. Harrison's A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY (9780823423385, $16.95) tells of twins born to raccoon parents, who live in crowded accommodations. It's time to move - but can they find the perfect, peaceful home for a growing family? A fun story of the search for a new home evolves. These are gentle and appealing picture book stories, perfect for any collection seeking something different.

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020

Tricia Tusa illustrates Warren Hanson's IT'S MONDAY, MRS. JOLLY BONES! (9781442412293, $16.99), a fun tale of Mrs. Jolly Bones, who has so many chores that she might never finish them all. But she has a plan for success that involves tackling one chore a day - and her plan seems to be working. Tuesday is gardening day, Wednesday it's time to clean the house... each day holds a different kind of task, allowing Mrs. Jolly Bones to tackle all the chores by spreading them out and assigning them different days. The result is a whimsical and fun overview of how to get through daily tasks. Lita Judge's RED HAT (9781442442320, $16.99) tells of a red hand-knit hat hung outside to dry, when a group of baby animals get into mischief. A mostly-wordless picture book includes action words and zany pictures as the hat embarks on a journey that may challenge its ultimate use. A fine addition to any wordless picture book collection! Scott Magoon's THE BOY WHO CRIED BIGFOOT! (9781422412576, $16.99) tells of one Ben, who likes to tell stories and is always crying "Bigfoot" when there is none. He even uses props to cement his sightings, even though many claim Bigfoot isn't real. So one day when the unexpected happens, who will believe Ben? And will Bigfoot succeed in teaching his new friend, "Littlefoot" something important? These are vivid, fun stories perfect for any picturebook collection.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999

Sharon Dennis Wyeth's THE GRANDDAUGHTER NECKLACE (9780545081252, $16.99) receives fine illustration by Bagram Ibatoulline, and tells of a precious circle of beads worn by the women in Sharon's family. Sharon can trace back the heritage necklace and recount the names of the women who cared for their children and brought them to the present: this picturebook recounts their stories and is a recommended pick for any with good reading skills and an affinity for family heritage. Walter Wick's CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? OUT OF THIS WORLD (9780545244688, $13.99) provides picture puzzles to search and solve, providing full-page color layouts to accompany pictures packed with detail inviting kids to 'see what I see' by finding the objects in each. A gorgeous presentation makes for a winning set of picture puzzles all ages will enjoy. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's THE HIGHWAY RAT (9780545477581, $16.99) tells of the Highway Rat, who likes to steal snacks and others' belongings, even taking milk from the cat and a bitter leaf from ants. If it belongs to another, The Highway Rat wants it: can nothing teach him a lesson? A fun story tells of his come-uppance. These are fine additions to any picturebook collection!

The Fiction Shelf

Charlie Sparrow and the Secret of Flight
David Anderson, author/illustrator
Underdog Books
Ingram Publishers, distributor
9780991800322 $7.95

"Charlie Sparrow and the Secret of Flight" is an unusual illustrated chapter book for children ages 6-9. Charlie Sparrow lives in Tree City, an unusual place where none of the other birds, including his parents, realize they can fly. Charlie is determined to discover the purpose of his feathers, no matter what the opposition or popular wisdom. Spare, charming black and white illustrations decorate the pages describing Charlie's home. An intriguing, imaginative tale emerges, with plenty of fun, eccentric reality, and pluck. Charlie is an inspiring underdog hero. It is easy to imagine that this story has comforted children who have experienced the cruelty of bullying. Chapter pages turn swiftly and Charlie works himself out of many curious conundrums and obstacles before he realizes his dream and discovers he can fly. What an exciting realization! Children will love "Charlie Sparrow and the Secret of Flight," opening to its not too secret message of widening one's horizons and remaining open to new developments.

Horatio's One Wish
Joshua Kriesberg, author
James Bernardin, illustrator
Blue Bog Press
1510 North 55th Street, Seattle, WA 98103
9780988696709 $11.95

"Horatio's One Wish" is a touching tale about a small but heroic hedgehog who faithfully tries to find a friend, who travels up the river and vanishes. Written to appeal to middle grade children, "Horatio's One Wish offers values such as loyalty, kindness, empathy, and courage for scrutiny and acceptance. Charming black and white illustrations and gently inspiring prose narrative make this curious and delightful chapter book a must for tweens and up. Surprising plot twists and new action challenges encourage reader interest and stimulate young minds to enlarge perspectives and grow. "Horatio's One Wish" is in the style and genre of "Charlotte's Web," and unforgettable childhood turning point.

Cartboy and the Time Capsule
L.A. Campbell
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765333179 $12.99

Cartboy and the Time Capsule features an easy reader for grades 4-6, adds drawings throughout, and is written as six-grader Hal's assignment for his most hated subject, history. Photos, drawings and timelines accompany a 'journal' detailing in year in the life of one Cartbody, who hates history but must get a good grade in it to win perks from his parents. From his thwarted good intentions of volunteering for Youth History Night at the local museum to handling a mother's new 'no meat' rule in the house - a move that united Hal and his father - this is a hilarious set of encounters.
Joe Lawlor
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802854131, $8.00,

No one likes being wrongfully accused. "" is a novel following young Jun Li, who is accused of cyberbullying, and charged by his principal to find out whose responsible if not for him. Using his youth cleverness and know how, he tries to stick up for those who have been bullied, and finds a complicated web out on the web. "" is an enticing read for young adult readers, very much recommended reading.

Senior Year
Judith P. Foard
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475965520, $16.95,

Trying to forget old loves is always so difficult. "Senior Year" is a novel of youth romance, following Ruth Ainsworth as she struggles to forget Rex Gardner, a star football player. Finding new love, making the leap from a wounded heart is hard when Rex tries to reemerge in her life in spite of dumping her. A coming of age drama, "Senior Year" will speak to many coping with their lives, highly recommended.

The Color of Silence
Liane Shaw
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781926920931, $11.95,

Speech is a wonderful thing. "The Color of Silence" is a young adult novel following two young women struggling with silence. Crushed with guilt, Alex enters into community service, spending time with Joanie, who can't speak. With no words between them, they build a friendship and connection that resonates and lets them express themselves louder than talking. "The Color of Silence" is a strong pick for youth novel collections, highly recommended.

B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy)
Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780525422389 $16.99

B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy) tells of one Sammy Greenburg, who doesn't have a lot of friends and is the tormented loner in school - until new student Skink arrives. Soon they're more than friends: they're in a rock fusion band along with Sammy's crush Julia. But when Skink offends the school's dangerous gang, it's up to Sammy to protect him - and when Sammy's rabbi tells him of golems, mystical Jewish Frankenstein-type monsters, Sammy decides to build protection of his own in this charming, whimsical saga of friendships.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999

Tui T. Sutherland's WINGS OF FIRE: THE LOST HEIR (9780545349192, $16.99) tells of a lost heir to a seawing throne, Tsunami, who is journeying with her fellow dragonets to an underwater kingdom to reunite with her mother. But her return home introduces her to dangerous underwater currents of politics where a mysterious assassin has been killing off the queen's heirs - and Tsuanmi may be next. A satisfying blend of mystery and fantasy evolves. J.J. Howard's THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS (9780545433815, $17.99) tells of one Lexi Ryan, who ran away to join the circus as a vehicle for tracking down her long-lost mother, who apparently works for a traveling circus. Lexi doesn't find her mother, but may find her new calling in life, with the circus - until an ex-best-friend from home shows up. Humor, romance, and adventure permeate an involving story powered by a spunky heroine. Kieran Larwood's FREAKS (9780545474245, $16.99) tells of children who are different: misfits in a traveling sideshow who exhibit strange abilities, and who find themselves at the forefront of a movement to investigate the disappearance of London street urchins. Wolfgirl, Monkeyboy and Moon decide they aren't going to let the vanishings go without a fight - and soon find themselves involved in a powerful struggle for their own safety in this riveting story. Dear America's series presents another diary/journal fiction of a historical event detailed from the eyes of a teen with Judy Blundell's A CITY TOSSED AND BROKEN: THE DIARY OF MINNIE BONNER (9780545310222, $12.99). When her father disappears after losing the family's Philadelphia tavern in a card game, Minnie is forced to work as a maid for its cruel new owners - and moves with them to San Francisco, which changes when a powerful earthquake strikes. Minnie has an opportunity to assume another identity in the chaos - and faces some difficult choices as a result. Kimberley Griffiths Little's WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME (9780545425131, $17.99) tells of Tara, who faces struggles with the death of her beloved grandmother, a depressed mother, and a distant sister. But when butterflies begin to follow her around after her grandmother's funeral, Tara discovers a mystery Grammy has left her to solve. An old house, detailed letters, and a stack of keys lead to family and personal mysteries and revelations which ultimately help Tara transform her own life. Emily Rodda's THE SILVER DOOR (9780545429924, $16.99) tells of Rye, who has only left the walled with of Weld once in his life - through one of three magic Doors that are the only way in and out. He was able to return from his mission - but was unable to locate the enemy sending flying beasts to attack the city. Now he and Sonia must move outside again, through another door - and they can't return unsuccessful. A fine fantasy evolves. Michael Northrop's ROTTEN (9780545495875, $17.99) tells of a troubled teen and a rescued Rottweiler who form an unusual bond. JD renames his new friend Johnny Rotten and they slowly learn to trust one another - until a former friend and a dog bite conspire against them and force JD to realize the secrets he keeps are less important than his new best friend's safety. A fine story evolves documenting friendships on different levels.

Simon and Schuster
Publicity Department
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020

Sharon M. Draper's PANIC (9781442408968, $17.99) tells of Diamond, who has always known not to get in cars with strangers. But this one seems different: well-dressed, perhaps famous - and so Diamond makes a dangerous mistake that leads to her kidnapping while her family and friends agonize over her disappearance. Her story is largely told in changing character profiles of friends who all reflect on their relationship with her and the possibilities of all their futures. William Alexander's GHOULISH SONG (9781442422797, $16.99) tells of Kaile, who lives in an amazing city where goblins roam the streets and witches are part of the world. She wants to be a musician like her grandfather so when a goblin gives her an exotic flute, she's thrilled. But the flute's song separates her from her shadow - and in her world, such separation means she is 'dead' to others. As Kaile and her shadow depart on a journey to find why they've been separated, they encounter dangers and a ghoul who follows them. Ultimately Kaile finds her fate is tied to that of her world in this powerful fantasy.

Delacorte Press/Knopf
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor
New York, NY 10019

Sasha Gould's HEART OF GLASS (9780385741521, $17.99) provides a powerful sequel to her prior CROSS MY HEART and tells of Laura, who has solved her sister's murder and is engaged to her true love Roberto. But when Laura is sent on her first important mission for the Segreta, a society of women who trade protection for secrets, her love is found with the body of a dead woman and implicated in a deadly political game that means either his execution or war. Laura is desperate to save the city and her fiance - but becomes involved in a struggle to understand the truth in this gripping saga. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' PROMISES TO KEEP (9780385741927, $16.99) tells of witch and vampire hunter Jay, who chooses to attend the vampire empress Kendra's famous Heathen Holiday bash - and finds himself in a dangerous setting. His decision to aid an unstable vampire and a shapeshifter leads to complicated interactions between magic and his world as Jay struggles to understand the forces that are shaping his life. A fine novel of fantasy evolves. Daniel Kraus' SCOWLER (9780385743099, $16.99) tells of nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, who is struggling with his family on a dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to take away the memories of his father's abuse - and his wish is granted when a meteor falls to earth bringing with it a ruthless man who wants to destroy the family. A gripping adventure evolves. Anne Greenwood Brown's DEEP BETRAYAL (9780385742030, $17.99) offers a satisfying sequel to Lies Beneath and is a recommendation for readers with familiarity with this prior novel. It's been a month since Calder left Lily - but when he returns, it's far different than Lily imagined. First, she reveals to her father than he, like Calder, is a merman - a revelation which leads him to monopolize Calder's time as they two leave Lily behind to spend all their time in the water. When dead bodies begin washing ashore, Lily fears her father has embraced the merman killer instinct in this gripping saga. Jane Nickerson's STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD (9780307975980, $16.99) retells a fairy tale and recounts the experiences of teen Sophia, whose father dies. She receives an invitation from a mysterious godfather, which she accepts, leaving her home for a lavish house in Mississippi - but as she comes to know more about her godfather's mysterious past, she feels danger all around her. All his former wives had hair as red as her own - and soon she becomes trapped in a dangerous world. A riveting fantasy recommended for older teens emerges.

The Christian Shelf

Nora's Ark
Eileen Spinelli, author
Nora Hilb, illustrator
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310720065, $14.99,

There's a storm coming, and Nora's intents are good, even if her methods can't meet the scale. "Nora's Ark" is a Christian children's picturebook from Eileen Spinelli and illustrator Nora Hilb. The weatherman calls for a storm, and Nora seeks to build an ark just like Noah. However unlike Noah, she's a young girl so her ambitions must be on a much smaller scale to save the few beloved animals she has near. "Nora's Ark" is a fine pick for introducing young readers to the classic Bible story, highly recommended.

Tales of the Defended Ones
Beth Guckenberger
Standard Publishing
c/o Litfuse Publicity
19011 8th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98155
9780784736975, $8.99,

Even when all seems lost, the small bit of hope may carry us through. "Tales of the Defended Ones" is a youthful novel of faith, telling of many people faced with certain demise, and how the smallest bits of hope managed to carry them few when tragedy was overbearing. With a Strong Christian message throughout of looking for a defender when one is defenseless, "Tales of the Defended Ones" is a must for young adult and Christian fiction collections.

The Islamic Shelf

Muslim All-Stars: Helping the Polonskys
Khaleel Muhammad, author
Hilal Nayzaki, illustrator
The Islamic Foundation
c/o Kube Publishing, Ltd.
9780860374541 $8.95

"Muslim All-Stars: Helping the Polonskys" is the first book in a series written for children ages 8-12 to help teach strong positive social values and a sense of ownership and participation in the community. Written by the famous nasheed (Islamic vocal performer) Khaleel Muhammad, "Muslim All-Stars" is a first rate illustrated chapter book with five Muslim children as protagonists. Imran, Leila, Che Amran, Sumaya, and Adam all decide to try to help the irascible Mr. Polonsky clean up his challenging messy house before his wife comes home from the hospital. Colorful cartoon illustrations help keep young readers' interest high as the Muslim All-Stars tackle grumpiness and slovenliness all at once in helping the Polonskys. Humor is paramount, and the All-Stars are determined to make positive headway once they realize the seriousness of Mr. Polonsky's need. Under the inspired direction of Leila, the All-Stars learn to work as a team, after a somewhat rough start. Mr. Polonsky's menagerie of animal friends add to the clutter and confusion, but they too, are managed by the team eventually. some of the best parts of the story come when Mr. Polonsky, an old Polish Jew, discovers he enjoys watching when the team members stop their work to pray in Arabic at 1:30 and 4:15. Eventually the All Stars have the Polonsky place sparkling and ready for Mrs. Polonsky's return from the hospital. Unfortunately their problems don't end with the return of Mrs. Polonsky, whose rude and irrational behavior frightens everyone. Amazingly, the All-Stars continue to think about how they might be able to work together to help others, and ultimately they are rewarded by accolades from some very surprising sources. One of the great strengths of this series is its sensitive treatment of many special features of individual differences, such as old age, disease, Asperger's Syndrome, victims of cultural/racial prejudice etc. Characters like Leila, Adam, and Imran give kids everywhere new models of tolerant, kind and helpful attitudes and behavior. Look for more titles in this creative, health enhancing series for juveniles.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Old Beggar's Two Presents
Arlind Malat
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477235652, $13.66,

From the worst off of us, there is still something to be learned. "The Old Beggar's Two Presents" is a magical novel from twelve year old author Arlind Malat who tells the story of a soldier being captured by three beggars and who must learn an important gift from his captors in order to save himself and do what needs to be done. "The Old Beggar's Two Presents" is a read worth considering, highly recommended.

O'Leary, Kat, and the Fairy from Hell
Audrey McClellan
Amber Skye Publishing
1935 Berkshire Drive, Eagan, MN 55112
9780983183952, $15.95,

Fairies are tricky creatures with little regard for the feelings of others. "O'Leary, Kat, and the Fairy from Hell" is another Kat and O'Leary story from Audrey McClellan following the girl and psychic cat duo as they deal with a mischievous fairy wreaking untold havoc in their home and the pain of getting her to leave. "O'Leary, Kat, and the Fairy From Hell" is a fun blend of fantasy and humor for young adults, much recommended reading.

Merlin's Blade
Robert Treskillard
Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310735076, $9.99,

Fate has its ways of playing its hand. "Merlin's Blade" is a fantasy spinning a new tale of the legend of Arthur. A meteorite strikes fifth century Britain, and proves dangerous to any who come near it, except Merlin, a blind son of a swordsmith. With the druids moving in to tap the power of the strange object, Merlin realizes it is in him to make tough choices to save his village from a growing evil. "Merlin's Blade" is not to be missed for young adult fantasy enthusiasts, highly recommended.

Charlie Bone
Jenny Nimmo
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545174138, $7.99,

A special talent isn't always what it's cracked up to be. "Charlie Bone" is a youth fantasy following young Charlie Bone, who can hear conversations from photographs. Sent off to a special school for people with magical talents, he finds that school with like minded folks won't come as easily as he suspects, with lots of dangers and curiosities lurking around every corner. "Charlie Bone" is an enticing pick for fans of young adult fantasy, highly recommended.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Nothing But Blue
Lisa Jahn-Clough
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780618959617, $16.99,

Why me? A question that is asked by those who seek an answer so intensely. "Nothing But Blue" is a novel following a sole survivor of a train wreck, and has little clue of who she is or how she emerged from it...and questions whether she actually did. Looking for answers and something resembling her only faint memory of parents, "Nothing But Blue" is a resonating young adult novel that shouldn't be missed, highly recommended.

The Bilingual Shelf

The Adventures of Lisbeth
Liesel F. Daisley, author
Illustrated by Omni Illustrations
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
c/o KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek Ave NE
Ada, MI 49301-9768
9781463441470 $13.54

Winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, The Adventures of Lisbeth is a bilingual English/Spanish softcover picturebook about a young South American girl who moved with her family to the English-speaking Caribbean. The story takes place during a family vacation to a sunny beach full of fascinating things, such as a scuttling baby snow crab; Lisbeth also has the opportunity to play with her friend Mark from school and his enthusiastic puppy. They happen across stones shaped like letters, and after a fun-filled day, the letters spell out "Thank you" - just the right message to present their parents for a truly great day! Lovely and playful, yet with an important message about expressing gratitude for joyful occasions, The Adventures of Lisbeth is a delightful read-aloud story, and the first book in a prospective series.

Canta, Rana, Canta/ Sing, Froggie, Sing
Carolyn Dee Flores, illustrator
Pinata Books/ Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Fwy., Bldg. 19, Rm. 100
Houston, TX 77204
9781558857643 $16.95

"Canta, Rana, Canta" is a charming, color illustrated bilingual version of a famous folk song about a little singing frog who is hushed by a delicious looking fly, who was hushed by a spider, who was hushed by a mouse, who is hushed by a cat, who is hushed by a dog, who is hushed by a baby, who is hushed by his mother, who is hushed by the Daddy, who is hushed by the Grandma. Guess who hushes the Grandma? The little singing frog, of course. And again, and again, and so on... Every full page color illustration tells the amusing tale and shows the Spanish lyrics first and the English translation second. "Canta, Rana, Canta" includes the music notation for the song at the end of the book, along with the full Spanish song lyrics. "Canta, Rana, Canta" is ideal for a bilingual cultural arts curriculum for children ages 3-7.

The Patchwork Garden
Diane De Anda, author
Oksana Kemarskaya, illustrator
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Fwy, Bldg 19, Rm 100
Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558857636, $16.95,

Many gardens can come together for something beautiful. "The Patchwork Garden" is a bilingual children's picturebook from Diane DeAnda and illustrator Oksana Kemarskaya, as they tell a story of Tona and her desire to build a fancy and charming garden in her school, but learns to work with the other students to make a diverse and interesting garden for everyone. "The Patchwork Garden" is a must for children's picturebook collections with a focus on English/Spanish selections, highly recommended.

My First Book of Chinese Words
Faye-Lynn Wu
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive
North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9780804843676 $12.95

My First Book of Chinese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book provides a basic primer for preschool children who want to learn Chinese, using the familiar ABC structure to present everyday words that hold special meaning to Chinese culture. Each word is presented in Chinese characters and in Romanized form, with easy cultural and language notes accompanying the story of a Chinese family who helps youngsters learn. An accompanying website page helps kids actually listen to the Chinese words in the book. Lucy Cooke's A LITTLE BOOK OF SLOTH (9781442445574, $16.99) tells of baby sloths and provides an excellent primer packed with full-page color photos. Basic reading skills will help grades 3-4 appreciate this survey of baby sloths in Costa Rica and the evolution of a sloth sanctuary to protect them. It's so appealing that many an adult will find it a fine read - especially since few books focus on sloth natural history alone.

Parents Help in Lots of Ways!
Steve Lonning, author
Diana Ladmirault, photographer
Jose Martinez, translator
Brain Child Press, Inc.
13324 Beckenham Dr. Ste 100
Little Rock, Arkansas 72212-3710
9780977101092 $6.99

Featuring full-color photographs of families (who belong to a diversity of races), Parents Help in Lots of Ways! / Los Padres Ayudan de Muchas Maneras! is a bilingual English/Spanish children's picturebook with a strong theme about how parents help their children learn and do better in school. Simple sentences such as "The library has computers we can use. / La biblioteca tiene computadoras que podemos usar." are paired with multiple images of parents and children having fun reading, studying, or just being together in everyday life. Parents Help in Lots of Ways! is highly recommended for parents to share with their children. Its brevity and positive messages are also ideally suited to places such as dentist or medical clinic waiting rooms - anywhere that parents and children need something to browse together while they pass a little time!

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Iron Man
Rich Thomas, author
Tom Grummett, illustrator
Marvel Press
114 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011-5690
9781423172536, $8.99,

A hero doesn't need to be born, they can flourish through ingenuity. "Iron Man" tells the origin story of Tony Stark and his persona of Iron Man, as a businessman and inventor who created a suit that allowed him to combat the villains around him. Telling the story Stark in Children's picturebook format, "Iron Man" is a fun introduction for younger comic fans to the character, highly recommended.

The Music CD Shelf

Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights
Privately Published
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Intended for young listeners ages 2-9, Bandwagon is the fifth children's music CD by Parent's Choice Gold and NAPPA Gold Award-winning musician Joanie Leeds. The cheerful and energetic tracks range from a song extolling the virtues of healthy eating ("Nutritious") to a loving tribute to the city of New York. Most of the songs are entirely original, although "Nutrition" rewrites to one of Stevie Wonder's classic "Superstition", with the blessing of Stevie Wonder himself. Bandwagon is a cheery, family-friendly delight, and the perfect counter to rainy-day doldrums! The tracks are "Are We There Yet?", "Back To School", "Bandwagon", "I Love New York", "UFO", "Family Tree", "Nutritious", "Helmet", "Use Your Words", "Little Cloud", "Falling", "Let's Go", "Canon Song", "Bed", and "Nightlights". 42 min.

When the World was New
Dean Jones
Privately Published
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

When the World was New is a kids' indie, or "kindie" solo album featuring twelve original songs by Dean Jones, known for his performances with award-winning family band Dog on Fleas and the The Felice Brothers. Parents will enjoy the soulful and nuanced lyrics along with children, in this joyful yet cerebral celebration of the nuances of life. Highly recommended. The tracks are "When the World was New", "Snail Mail", "A Sparrow's Soul", "Human Bean", "Stand with Me", "I Tried to Make a Friend", "Outshining Nomads", "Prehensile Grip", "Join a Rock 'n' Roll Band", "Peace in the Valley", "Absurd", and "I Feel Like I Live in a Dream".

The DVD Shelf

My Garden
Kevin Henkes, author
Cassandra Morris, narrator
Ernest Troost, music
Weston Woods
c/o Scholastic
90 Old Sherman Turnpike
Danbury, CT 06816
0545571294 $59.95

Ideal for young people ages 5-8, My Garden is the DVD adaptation of a wonderful picturebook about a little girl who fantasizes about growing a garden filled with the most amazing things - chocolate rabbits, flowers that shimmer in different colors, even tomatoes so big that only one can fit in a wheelbarrow at a time! A short but delightful story, brought to life through Cassandra Morris' voice and enhanced with music by Ernest Troost, My Garden is excellent for early grade homeroom viewing and children's library DVD collections. 10 minutes, optional English subtitles, closed-captioned.

Car's Life 3: The Royal Heist
Featuring the voices of Corinne Orr and Sean Schemmel
Entertainment One Film USA
22 Harbor Park Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050
1417239581 $12.98

Entertainment One presents Car's Life 3: The Royal Heist, the latest in a series of feature-length, computer-animated children's movies featuring the adventures of anthropomorphic automobiles (the "Car's Life" movie series is distinct from Pixar's "Cars" movies, but both will appeal to young auto fans). The "The Royal Heist", a plucky red sportscar hero must mobilize all his deductive skills when the sudden theft of the Queen Limousine's jewels puts the brakes on a charity drag race! Cheerful, adventurous, and with an exciting twist ending, Car's Life 3 is just plain, high-action fun. 85 min., English SDH. Also highly recommended for young people are the previous DVDs in the series, "A Car's Life" ($7.98) and "Car's Life 2" ($9.99).

Marsh Mud Madness
Roger Day
Roger Day Productions, LLC
PO Box 981
Franklin, TN 37065
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Marsh Mud Madness is a kid-friendly educational DVD featuring original songs by two-time Parents' Choice Gold Award winner Roger Day, about the real-life animals and plants of a coastal ecosystem. Performed before a live audience of thousands of children, the catchy music of Marsh Mud Madness makes learning about the environment fun! Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children's DVD collections. The tracks are "I Love to Study Mud!", "The Fiddler Groove", "Mosquito Burrito", "Alligator in My Refrigerator", "Periwinkle Snail", "Dolphins Will Jump Up", "Flushing Out the Estuary", "Ghost Crab", "Turtle Girl", "Blackbeard", "Vulture Vomit", and "Everybody Loves Marsh Mud".

The Multimedia Shelf

Listen to the Birds
Ana Gerhard, author/editor
Cecilia Varela, illustrator
The Secret Mountain
3816 Royal Avenue
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4A 2M2
9782923163895 $16.95

"Listen To the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music" is a fascinating sampler of classical music excerpts inspired by birds, including brief explanations of each of the 20 selections, plus short biographies of the composers, descriptions of the birds featured in the compositions, and a glossary of musical terms. All this is in addition to a CD recording of 26 minutes of famous orchestra performances of the chosen songs. Further enhanced by delicate illustrations in muted color tones, "Listen to the Birds: includes excerpts from "The Lark Ascending," by R. Vaughan Williams, "The Goldfinch," by Vivaldi, "Papageno and Papagena" by W. A. Mozart, "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale," by Handel, and "The Robin," by Olivier Messiaen, plus many more. A handy timeline of composers and periods lists each composer consecutively, listed in shaded color groups showing Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century periods. "Listen to the Birds" is a distinctive introduction to classical music for children that chooses from the best of all the represented periods of Western music.

Joi The Koi Gets A New Home
Devon Anthony, author
Gwen Clifford, illustrator
Diamond AMT Publishing
1098 Winding Pond Dr., Manning, SC 29102
9780983763802 $19.95

Including an audio CD narrated in both English and Spanish "Joi the Koi Gets a New Home" is a sensitively illustrated story about a beautiful Japanese koi fish in the pet store Ark Land who yearns to be adopted by a special loving family. Finally Joi sees a girl who likes her and she charms her by kissing the glass wall of the aquarium. This event-filled fish adoption story is finished by a Biblical quotation: "Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)." "Joi the Koi Gets a New Home" is finished with Fun Fish Facts about Guppies, Bettas, Koi, and Shubunkin or Calico Goldfish. "Joi the Koi Gets a New Home" is the first title in a series, the next title will be "Joi the Koi Meets Matt the Cat."

The Legend of OinkADoodleMoo
Alan St. Jean, author
Libby Carruth Krock, illustrator
Oren Village, Publisher
P.O. Box 1, Battle Creek, Michigan 49016
9780977727292 $19.95

Accompanied by an audio CD of narrated story and song, "The Legend of OinkADoodleMoo" is a tall tale from Texas about the Barnyard Collection of three animals at OinkADoodleMoo; a cow, a pig and a crazy chicken. One day a Grizzly came to call and the farm, and instead of panicking, the three animals stuck up their band to entertain and soothe the wild beast. Although the Grizzly wanted to scare and threaten to eat the animals, they outwitted and overcame fear by dancing and playing piano, banjo, and harmonica, compelling the Grizzly to dance and have fun! He had so much fun he ran away and brought all his friends and family back !for more! The Barnyard band was joined by Farmer Walter and his pet mouse, playing drums that rocked the house (yes, it rhymes)! Finally the sun went down and the farmer ordered pizza for all at OinkADoodleMoo. Would you believe there is a real restaurant named OinkADoodleMoo and a pair of gentlemen named Ralphie G. & Markie P. who dedicated "The Legend of OinkADoodleMoo" to Peggy Peebles? This hilarious, foot-stomping verse, storybook and song are catchily realized with the quirky, dark comical illustrations and rhymes. Its message of the overpowering value of humor, music and song will be well received by children from age 6 to 12.

The Activity Shelf

How Do You Doodle?
Elise Gravel
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433812910 $12.95

Offering nearly a hundred pages in which simple, sketch-cartoon characters encourage young readers to draw, How Do You Doodle? Drawing My Feelings and Emotions is a consumable activity book ideal for children ages 6-10. The emphasis is on using simple drawings to express one's feelings, and spur creativity. For example, one-two page spread shows an angular character who drew a "frustration bug" to express his irritation over being unable to draw a bicycle, and encourages the doodler to draw their own frustration bug. How Do You Doodle? an excellent choice simply as a stand-alone activity book, or as a tool for parents, teachers, or psychologists to use while working with individual children. Highly recommended.

Hidden Treasures: 50 States of Fun
Liz Ball
Hidden Pictures
PO Box 63
Tipp City, OH 45371
9780984308811 $6.95

Hidden Treasures: 50 States of Fun is a softcover children's book filled with 50+ black-and-white hidden picture puzzles, most themed around the celebrated aspects of a state, and populated by cheerful anthropomorphic animals. Young children can enjoy searching for the hidden items or coloring the picture, in this great, "hands-on" way to learn about the states of the USA! (Note that the full-page hidden-picture illustrations may not be reproduced/photocopied/etc. without permission from the publisher). Hidden Treasures: 50 States of Fun makes a good gift, and is a choice pick for entertaining and educating little ones during family car trips!

Pantone Color Cards
Abrams Appleseed
c/o Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, 6th floor
New York, NY 10011
9781419706264 $14.95

Pantone Color Cards is not a book, but rather a set of eighteen oversized, double-sided flash cards featuring vivid, Pantone-quality colors. Designed as an educational tool for use with infants and toddlers from birth through age three, Pantone Color Cards features cards for two tones of each of the nine basic colors. One side of each card has a solid color such as Grasshopper Green; the other side has a delightful color pattern, such as a plethora of happy grasshoppers. An excellent resource to help stimulate young minds, Pantone Color Cards is highly recommended especially as a gift for new parents, or a present to bring to a baby shower!

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

102 Great Monologues
Rebecca Young
Meriwether Publishing
PO Box 7710
Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7710
9781566081719, $16.95,

A monologue encourages aspiring actors to take the stage complete with all the pressure that comes with it. "102 Great Monologues: A Versatile Collection of Monologues and Duologues for Student Actors" is a collection of short scripts for actors to do alone or in pairs, ideal for training, auditions, and much more, these passages are to the point and channel many a situation and emotion to practice. "102 Great Monologues" is a strong addition to acting and theatre collections, highly recommended. Also for young actors from Meriwether Publishing is "100 Duet Scenes for Teens: One Minute Duos for Student Actors" by Michael Moore (9781566081870, $17.95) focusing on two person scenes for simple pairings no matter the actor or gender roles needed. "175 Theatre Games: Warm-Up Exercises for Actors" by Nancy Hurley (9781566081641, $17.95) is a collection of practice games for actors to use to more effectively get in the groove. "33 Short Comedy Plays for Teens: Plays for Small Casts" by Laurie Allen (9781566081818, $17.95) is a collection of short to the point plays for many small casts focused on comedies and plenty of subjects to discuss.

The Poetry Shelf

Nikki & Nick Are Great Friends to Pick
Marina Sergeyeva, author/illustrator
Leo Publishing, LLC
303 Augusta Circle, St. Augustine, FL 32086
9789780983473541 $19.95

Nikki & Nick Are Great Friends to Pick" is a series of illustrated, illuminated poems to be read by parent and child together. Poems' subjects range from the need to cultivate respectful tidiness to unhealthy disputes. Each page has a child's poem and a parent's suggestion and enrichment page with full page illustrations spilling over throughout. Vocabulary is incorporated first into the verse and then into the illustrations, with brief definitions. Charming whimsical pastel illustrations lend a touch of fantasy, while unusual language choices spice up the narrative verse. A poem titled "A-Bun-Done-T Goodies" addresses computer readiness and literacy, for example. Characters Nikki and Nick help open up this strange and inviting world. An example of a witty poem is Detective Duck: "You know what I once noticed/when looking at a masked face of a duck?/ He tried to disguise yet fell flat so hissed./ Then wolf on his beak creaked ajar. (No, no QUACK!)/... But I was painfully kissed. :'(/ (So I guess he won on his luck!)" For an intriguing experience of exploring books and poems together, read "Nikki & Nick Are Great Friends to Pick" with your closest 6 year old.

The Holiday Shelf

Merry Birthday
Lise Marinelli, author
Donnell Hagen, illustrator
Windy City Publishers
2118 Plum Grove Rd.
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
9781935766414 $9.99

Featuring eye-popping color artwork that is almost photo-realistic, Merry Birthday is a softcover children's picturebook about Sam, a young boy whose birthday is on December 27th. Sam hates that his birthday and Christmas overlap; he doesn't get to celebrate two separate holidays the way all his friends do, and some of them even give him a "combo" gift that's supposed to cover both occasions! But then he meets a person who is born on an even worse day - December 25th. And then he learns that there are other ways to think of his situation. "...every birthday is a special day, no matter when it is. The trick is finding your happiness in that day." A positive, upbeat message about cherishing the joy of friends and family permeates this excellent book, ideal for young people whose birthdays fall on or near a holiday. Highly recommended.

The Sports Shelf

A Baseball Story
Richard Torrey, author/illustrator
Kane Miller
c/o EDC publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74147
9781610670548 $10.99

"A Baseball Story" is an exciting illustrated book about the fun of playing baseball on a kids' team. Jordan is a boy who loves baseball playing so much that he even prefers it to ice cream. He wears a dandy baseball uniform with a special hat, jersey, leggings, and cleated shoes to help him run faster. Best of all he loves his catcher's mitt. When he plays on his team with Coach Mike, he has to always be ready, so he can't wave at his parents standing with the fans on the sidelines. After daily practice and a great game, Jordan and all his teammates shake hands with members of the opposing team and say "Good game!" Then they race off to be ready for ice cream! "A Baseball Story" is enhanced by descriptive, gently humorous color illustrations of Jordan and friends involved in baseball playing. "A Baseball Story" appeals to both boys and girls age 7 and up.

Books in Series

Magic in Us Book 1: The Power of Imagination
Natalie Tinti
Tintinatic Publishing House
32315 Corte Zamora
Temecula, CA 92592
9780983088417 $24.95

A 2010 "Reader's Favorite" award winner, Magic in Us Book 1: The Power of Imagination is part of the "Sewing a Friendship 2" children's book series by extraordinarily talented ten-year-old author and artist Natalie Tinti. A hybrid of picturebook and chapter book, featuring Natalie's colorful illustrations on almost every page, The Power of Imagination spins an engaging yarn about a secret agent dog and four best friends, who cooperate to help an injured young musician. Although the story spans over a hundred pages, the extra-large font and pages of artworks mean that avid young readers will finish it quickly. A truly wonderful storybook with an emphasis on the positive themes of friendship, compassion, and problem-solving, The Power of Imagination is highly recommended, as is its sequel, "Magic in Us Book 2: The Healing Circle" (9780983088448, $25.95), about a science-loving girl's search to restore the missing element of Fire to the titular Healing Circle.

Yummy Snacks Little Chef Recipes
Mercedes Segarra, author
Rosa M. Curto, illustrator
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766042643 $22.60 General/16.95 for Schools & Libraries

"Yummy Snacks: Little Chef Recipes" is a new title from The Little Chef Series of illustrated cookbooks for children ages 5-8. Filled with charming color illustrations of happy children preparing and enjoying delicious snacks, "Yummy Snacks" delivers the ideal combination of fun food prep instructions, safety precautions, and easy cooking ideas that appeal to kids. What could be better than a chocolate shake, made with milk, chocolate ice cream, and cinnamon and a hand or regular blender? A super easy snack is called Doughnut Cake: you just stack donuts together decoratively to make a "cake!" Some recipes require adult assistance, such as Eggs in a Nest, while others, like the Chicken Sandwich, can be mostly prepared by little chefs with mild supervision. In addition to fun recipes, there are decoration and craft projects to help present the snacks, such as animal napkin rings, or character straw decorations. "Yummy Snacks" has 12 delicious, easy recipes for little chefs to try, plus illustrated vocabulary cooking words, a bibliography and internet addresses. "Yummy Snacks" is a great way to explore food preparation with children. Additional titles in this series by Segarra and Curto that are also highly recommended include: "Fun Party Food (9780766042629, $22.60)," "Pizza and Pasta (9780766042636, $22.60)," and "Tasty Desserts (9780766042612, $22.60)."

Peter Reese Doyle
Powder Springs Press
3150-A Florence Road, Powder Springs, GA 30127
9781887456067, $8.95,

With the struggle for America's independence taking the forefront, some will be forced to grow up quick. "Independence" is the first book in Peter Reese Doyle's Drums of War series following young Nathan Edwards as he enters into adulthood as America struggles against the British up and down the colonies. Offering a riveting young adult read that shows the many events of the conflict in the process, with plenty of intriguing subplots, "Independence" is a must for young adult historical fiction collections. Also recommended are other entries in Doyle's series, "Bunker Hill" (9781938437014, $8.95), "A Captive in Williamsburg" (9781938437021, $8.95) and "Charleston" (9781938437038, $8.95), all must reads for those with a taste for the American revolutionary era.

The Misadventures of Fink the Mink
David Zielinski, author
Kezzie Crossley, illustrator
Privately Published
9780615692142 $12.99 print edition; $2.99 Kindle

"The Misadventures of Fink the Mink: Playground Troubles: is a catchy, spunky tale about a mink with very poor playground manners. First in an illustrated children's series, "Playground Troubles" features a bad boy hero, Fink, who discovers that breaking playground toys and spoiling fun for everyone else at the playground and then lying about it and refusing to take responsibility for destructive deeds is not the way to make and keep friends. Written in jaunty rhyme and cleverly illustrated with color cartoon-like characters, "The Misadventures of Fink the Mink" is an example of a modern fable with a clear moral to aid burdened parents in teaching good playground and other social skills and manners. Written to appeal to children ages 4-8, "The Misadventures of Fink the Mink: Playground Troubles" is dashing, slightly dangerous, and a perfect teaching example to show why the golden rule is always best in playing with others. The funny pictures and the silly rhymes help present the mischievous, devious Fink in an honest, unforgettable way. Here are valuable life lessons presented in zippy energetic style, with lots of spice and dash. Two more Fink the Mink episodes are upcoming: Watch for "The Big Scare at the Fair" and "Bully Breakdown."

Looking for Blackbeard's Treasure
John Perritano, author
Norwood House
P.O. Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
9781599535616 $22.60

"Looking for Blackbeard's Treasure: Measuring the Distance" is an illustrated math instruction book (level B) for children ages 8-10, grades 4-6 approximately. From a series titled iMath Ideas, "Looking For BlackBeard's Treasure" teaches concepts of measuring distance through conversion of customary or metric units of length, taught in a framework of historical data about the famous Caribbean pirate known as Blackbeard. Students also learn other applications of math concepts in tables measuring the distance of cannon fire, reading maps, estimating distance from maps, and learning about navigation tools in Blackbeard's time, such as a compass and a quadrant. a treasure map making project is included, along with a glossary of terms, further reading suggestions, and additional notes with factual answers to quantity questions. Children are encouraged to apply analytic skills to determine answers to other philosophical questions. Use of color photographs, maps, diagrams, and tables enhance the learning accessibility and interest of this creative math education series, which is also available in eBook format. Other titles from the same publisher in this series that are also highly recommended include the following: "Winning the Game: Putting Miles in Their Place (9781599535678, $22.60, Level C for ages 10-2) by Renata Brunner-Jass, "Seeing Halves: Symmetry in Our World (9781599535647, $22.60, Level B for ages 8-10) by John Perritano, "Tending the Tide Pool: The Parts Make a Whole (9781599535555 $22.60, Level A, ages K-8)" by Donna Loughran, "A Year at the Fairgrounds: Finding Volume (9781599535753 $22.60, Level C)" by Renata runner Jass, "On the Playground: How Do You Build Place Value? (9781599535494 $22.60, Level A)" by Donna Loughran, "The Science Olympiad (9781599535760, $22.60 Level C)" by Renata Brunner-Jass, "The Garden Club: Operations with Fractions (9781599535708 $22.60, Level C)" by Renata Brunner-Jass, "Carnival Coins: How Will We Count Our Money? (9781599535524 $22.60, Level A)" by Donna Loughran, and "Mummies in the Library: Divide the Pages (9781599535586 $22.60, Level B)" by John Perritano.

Baffin's Curious Consequence
Josephine Young
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781481017978 $7.49 pbk. / $2.99 Kindle

Part of the "Dragonasaurus Tales" picturebook series for children ages 4-7, Baffin's Curious Consequence is a rhyming story about a dragon-dinosaur and his dragonosaurus friends. Baffin has a problem - a bigger dragonasaurus named Dex likes to sneak up and startle him with a sudden roar! Dex's pranks interrupt Baffin's naps so often that Baffin hatches a clever plan. How can Baffin show Dex that being suddenly scared isn't always fun? Colorful, cartoony illustrations bring this singsong, read-aloud adventure to life! Other "Dragonasaurus Tales" include "Baffin's Desire for Fire", "Bella's Dancing Dilemma", and "Izzy's Flying Disaster".

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

If you want to appeal to budding young scientist in grade 3 (and slightly older), be sure to include the 'Disgusting and Dreadful Science' titles in your collection. Packed with eye-catching titles and contemporary images that pull the heartstrings of imagination, this series promises to attract leisure browsers, reluctant scientists, and those already interested in basic concepts. GUT-WRENCHING GRAVITY AND OTHER FATAL FORCES (9780778709503, $20.70) discusses floating, flying, falling, G-forces and other gravity ideas, EAR-SPLITTING SOUNDS AND OTHER VILE NOISES (9780778709251, $20.70) discusses burps, ultrasound, infrasound and others, ELECTRIC SHOCKS AND OTHER ENERGY EVILS (9780778709268, $20.70) surveys lasers, circuits, lightning and more, and GLARING LIGHT AND OTHER EYE-BURNING RAYS (9780778709459, $20.70) discusses refraction, sun, eyeballs and lenses. All include experiments and plenty of high-action discussions perfect for kids who want drama and interesting ideas.

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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