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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 11 November 2009 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christmas Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Bilingual Shelf DVD Shelf Music Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Language Studies Shelf Fiction Shelf
Preschool Shelf Travel Shelf Biography Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Religion/Spirituality Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf Astronomy Shelf
Science Shelf Picturebook Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

One Dragon's Dream, A Counting Book
Peter Pavey, author and illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA, 02144
9780763644703, $17.99,

"One Dragon's Dream" is the kind of children's counting book that is rife with a treasure trove of fabulous ideas and hidden, clever, jokes and riddles in the spectacular illustrations. Every child lucky enough to have a copy of "One Dragon's Dream" will experience countless hours of pleasure in sifting through each detailed full page, or two-page picture. The fantastic animals and ideas are just outrageous enough to be gripping and funny, with a friendly underbite of testy reality that makes it all so very believable. Don't waste time reading this review. Order a copy of "One Dragon's Dream" for every child in your life immediately plus one or maybe two for yourself. You won't regret it. The author has reportedly retired from writing and illustrating and works on a walnut farm in Australia. We can only hope that he will resume his creative efforts one happy day. Meantime, get "One Dragon's Dream" for every child you love immediately!

Sunday in Kyoto
Songs by Gilles Vigneault
Stephanie Jorisch, illustrator
The Secret Mountain
c/o Sacks & Company
427 West Fourteenth Street, NY, NY 10014
9782923163567, $16.95,

"Sunday in Kyoto" is a beautiful collection of children's songs by famed Canadian singer-songwriter Gilles Vigneault. The title song is illustrated with a fantastic and delicate series of whimsical paintings that exactly capture the tone of Vigneault's wonderful song lyrics and music. "Sunday in Kyoto" is a storybook/music CD with as much emphasis on the audio portion of the package as the written and visualized text. In addition to the title song, there are another 14 song-poems performed by Vigneault along with Patrick Watson, Coral Egan, Thomas Hellman, Ndidi O, and Jessica Vigneault. "Sunday in Kyoto" is issued in English beginning October 27. It will enhance the already prestigious reputation of the songwriter Gilles Vigneault, sometimes known as the Pete Seegar of Canada. The Secret Mountain, a publishing company with offices in Montreal and Paris, currently has 11 releases in English, 18 in French, and about half of its releases are available in both languages. All titles are available in two formats; a storybook-music CD, and a digipak CD, a 12 song CD with printable files of original lyrics, illustrations, and music charts. "Sunday in Kyoto" promises to be a great attraction for the age 13 and under crowd and their parents and teachers. A strong multicultural set of influences can be traced in "Sunday in Kyoto" and in other releases of The Secret Mountain, which ultimately multiply its vastly positive teaching impact. Some other titles from The Secret Mountain in this series include "Dream Songs Night Songs ... From Mali to Louisiana," by Patrick Lacoursiere, also "Dream Songs Night Songs... From China to Senegal" by the same author, and "A Duck in New York City" and "A Poodle in Paris" by Connie Kaldor.

Danny the Dragon "Meets Jimmy"
Tina Marie Turbin, author
Aija Jasuna, illustrator
Imagine Publishing Group
P. O. Box 1304, Dunedin, FL 34697
9780980072105, $8.95,

"Danny the Dragon 'Meets Jimmy'" is a delightful, uplifting book about a boy named Jimmy who finds a very special sea shell on the ocean beach that talks to him. All his family agree it is a very special shell, even though they do not hear it talk. Jimmy is allowed to take the lovely green and white shell home with him, and there the discovery begins. Wonder of wonders, Jimmy finds his incredible shell is home to an even more incredible green dragon named Danny, who crawls out of his shell complete with red tennis shoes and yellow backpack! Last but not least, Danny the Dragon is accompanied by a smaller green creature he introduces as Skipper, his navigator. Jimmy and his family are amazed, but they happily invite Danny and Skipper to stay for supper (vegetable soup!) and to play afterwards and then to spend the night. Danny tells Jimmy he and Skipper can shrink to crawl back inside the shell if they are sprayed with water, so they sleep beside Jimmy's bed in their shell. Most wonderful of all, Danny tells Jimmy in answer to his question, "Where did you and skipper come from and where have you been in all your travels inside your shell?" "I will tell you some other time. For now it is bedtime. Goodnight - pleasant dreams." So clearly there will be a sequel or maybe several to this charming tale. Page-full colored illustrations and brief story paragraphs make this totally kid friendly book even more so. Many healthy ideas are interwoven in the story, for example all the children help clear up the table and wash the dishes after dinner without being asked by their parents. "Danny the Dragon 'Meets Jimmy'" has definite attraction and value for children age 4-8, all of whom will undoubtedly beg for the sequel and more tales of Danny the Dragon.

Reporting for Duty
H. K. Gilbert, author and illustrator
1663 Liberty Dr., Bloomington, IN 47403
9781440156861, $9.95,

"Reporting for Duty: A Day at the White House" is a great children's educational interactive book about the White House, home of America's historic President Barack Obama and family. Kids are taken for a guided tour of the White House by Barkley, a special secret service dog for the president who reports for duty every day. Inviting black and white illustrations of some of the more famous rooms in the White House encourage young readers to color and draw special items in each beautiful room. "Reporting for Duty" helps children learn important historical information about the White House and the office of the President, all accomplished in a fun, compact package that promotes children's literacy and informed citizenship. "Reporting for Duty" is sure to be a hit with children ages 5-9.

Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories
Audrey Penn, author
Barbara Gibson, illustrator
Tanglewood Press
P. O. Box 3009, Terre Haute, IN 47803
9781933718293, $16.95,

"Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories" is a book to help children explore and accept, and integrate the incomprehensible experience of losing a friend forever. Chester's mother helps him and his friends work on combining their memories of their friend, Skiddel Squirrel, who has suffered an accident and will not be returning to play with them again. Chester and his brother Ronny and all their friends make a little ceremony at the pond, bringing back the acorn full of memories to help them remember their friend Skiddel. "Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories" uses quiet conversations and gentle illustrations and natural images to deliver a very comforting message of acceptance and faith that children age 4-8 will respond to.

Call Me Hero
Claire Boudreaux Bateman, author
Kym W. Garraway, illustrator
Claire Bateman Books
c/o Shell Beach Publishing
6010 Perkins Road, Suite A, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
9780970673244, $29.95,

"Call Me Hero" is a children's book based on true tales of hero(s) during Hurricane Katrina, written to commemorate the sacrifices and efforts of all the wonderful community volunteers and supporters who reached out to help others during the aftermath of the hurricane. The author has established a website,, where others can post rescue stories and photos. In addition, 10% of the cost of each book copy will be donated to nonprofit organizations that aid in disaster relief. "Call Me Hero" is written from the viewpoint of an ordinary dog who survives the hurricane and assists in the rescue efforts in many ways. Though his name was Hero, he never reconnects with his original owner, and he is renamed Santos by his new adoptive owners. Calm, descriptive narrative and accurate, colored illustrations help bring the disaster experience into focus for students. Accompanied by a lovely plush toy, "Call Me Hero" is a touching story that will appeal to children age 8 and older and is a noble memorial to the animals and people who became everyday heroes by helping their neighbors at this very difficult time.

The Handy Answer Book for Kids, second edition
Gina Misiroglu
Visible Ink Press
43311 Joy Road #414, Canton, MI 48187-2075
9781578592197, $21.95,

When you don't know much, then you are the most curious. Now in an updated and expanded second edition, "The Handy Answer Book for Kids(and Parents)" is a collection of questions and answers aimed at younger readers to help them better understand the world around them. Filled cover to cover with common questions that young one ponder about, the book is aimed at the young inquisitive mind and covers everything from the peculiar behavior of animals to the many nuances of the human being. "The Handy Answer Book for Kids(and Parents)" is of strong interest for any parent who wants to arm their child with general knowledge and for community libraries catering to younger readers.

S is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet
Esther Hershenhorn, author
Zachary Pullen, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chelsea, MI 48118
9781585364398, $17.95,

"S is for Story" is Esther Hershenhorn's imaginative, alphabetic appeal to young would-be authors everywhere who only need a bit of encouragement or even just permission to begin their writing careers. Here you will find succinct, clear definitions of the basic tools and terms of writers, from "G is for genre" to "R is for revision." Brightly bouncing illustrations of Zachary Pullen enliven each paragraph and letter. Sho knew that writing could be so accessible even for the young? Who knew how much fun writing and reading could be? "S is for Story" may be read either as a preschooler's alphabet book or an elementary school age child's introduction to writing terms and techniques. "S is for Story" is sure to boost literacy scores and library usage everywhere.

U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids
Debra J. Slover
Leader Garden Press
PO Box 841, Albany, OR 97321
9780978679859, $18.95,

Adapted from "U.N.I.Q.U.E.: Growing The Leader Within", her previous published self-help book for adults, leadership expert Debra J. Slover has adapted her work to the needs of children 8 to 12 years of age in "U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids: Growing My Leadership Garden". With a thoroughly 'kid friendly' text embellished with full-color illustrations by Darlene Warner, "U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids" teaches young readers how to develop positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors while avoiding any negative influences that would erode their self-esteem, abilities or desires to be leaders in their peer group, or in their community. U.N.I.Q.U.E. stands for Understanding, Nurturing, Inventive, Quality, Unstoppable, Expression. Parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors, and care-givers can utilize "U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids" as a learning aid and facilitator in developing leadership qualities and attitudes within the hearts and minds of their young charges. "U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids" is especially recommended for family, school, and community Self-Help/Self-Improvement reference and resource collections for children.

Magic Words
Julie Rebboah, author
Loryn Brantz, illustrator
Lightning Bug Learning Press
16869 SW 65th Ave., #271, Lake Oswego, OR 97035
9780981782690, $15.95, 1-877-695-7312

"Magic Words: Discovering the Adventure of Reading" is a learning -to-read book for children entering kindergarten or first grade. Filled with colorful, playful illustrations and rhyming, easy word-recognition text, "Magic Words" will enable teachers and parents to encourage children to become avid readers. The imaginative short tales will keep them turning pages and telling the story to themselves even before they can read it. A partner book in the Catch the Reading Bug ! series by the same author is "Magic Letters, the Keys to the World of Words." "Magic Letters" is an alphabet story book aimed at K-1 children learning to enjoy reading.

Mister Rabbit's Wish
Colleen Monroe, author
Michael Glenn Monroe, illustrator
Mitten Press
2500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 877-722-2264
9781587265259, $17.95,

"Mister Rabbit's Wish" is a beautiful story about the power of hope. Once a year, deep in the winter, old Mister Rabbit makes the long journey to the Wishing Tree once a year, and this may very well be his last year to do this. All the forest animals see Mister Rabbit making his slow journey and ask if they can come along to make wishes too. When they finally arrive, at first the forest animals are certain the Wishing Tree must be a tall, beautiful, snow-covered spruce and they stop to gaze at it in wonder. But old Mister Rabbit trudges on to the true Wishing Tree, a scarred old oak tree with broken branches and a kindly face. The tree speaks to the animals, both welcoming and warning them and saying,"I can only grant wishes that are kind and are true,/ So make sure that your wishes aren't centered on you." Each animal steps forward to touch the tree and speak its wish in turn, for more food, a better home, and other comforts. When old Mister Rabbit speaks to the Wishing Tree, only the Tree can hear his wish. Later the animals discover that Old Mister Rabbit is the only one who made a selfless wish; he wished for Peace on Earth, as he did once each year of his rabbit life. When all the animals hear this, they react in confusion, telling Mister Rabbit he has wasted his wish each year for nothing, and wondering why. Mister Rabbit answers them,"The Wishing Tree has given me the gift of hope. The Wishing Tree has told me that one year, when more than just one old bunny wishes for peace, then he will have the strength to grant my wish." "Mister Rabbit's Wish" is a beautiful book for children and adults to share.

The Further Adventures of Ociee Nash
Milam McGraw Propst
c/o Bell Bridge Books
P. O. Box 300921, Memphis, TN 38130
9780984125807, $14.95,

"The Further Adventures of Ociee Nash" is Book Three of a wonderful series about an eleven-year-old girl's life in Tennessee and Mississippi circa 1900, based on the real life biography of the author's grandmother, Ociee Nash Whitman. Plunging right in with a near death daredevil leap off of a moving train, "The Further Adventures of Ociee Nash" is mesmerizing to readers young and old from start to finish. Aimed at readers age 7-12, the Ociee Nash is a delightful invitation to experience real history from a child's point of view.

The Christmas Shelf

The First Christmas Present
Marilyn Sommerer, author
Johanna van der Sterre, illustrator
Concordia Publishing House
3558 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, MO 63118 1-800-325-3040
9780758616630, $14.99,

"The First Christmas Present" is a sensitive retelling of the Christmas story that focuses on the first gift of the baby Jesus and the sure certainty of love and peace that this gift includes for all of us in our hearts. Children are encouraged to think about their best gifts for Jesus, not anything they can buy in a store, but instead, perhaps a song, a prayer, and the act of doing something good and kind for another. "The First Christmas Present" draws upon many Christmas traditions and the lovely illustrations incorporate these elements into the story.

Santa's God
Neale Donald Walsch, author
Em Claire, illustrator
Hampton Roads Publishing Co.
P. O. Box 8107, Charlottesville, VA 22906
9781571745965, $17.95,

"Santa's God: A Children's Fable about the Biggest Question Ever" is a tender and touching story that explains the biggest question of all to the full satisfaction of seven-year-old Melinda," the girl who got to interview Santa and ask him any question she desired on Christmas eve. Sure to appeal to both children and parents from many diverse backgrounds, "Santa's God" helps young minds access the idea that there are different guises for greatness and holiness. Just as important to believe that all children are deserving and good at heart is the notion that all names and concepts of God are valid, and worthy of respect and worship. "Santa's God" tackles a huge question and answers it simply and tastefully, in a way a seven year old child can understand. The delicately tinted paintings illustrating all the different Pipka Santa figurines are especially moving and effective in conveying the story's message and impact. "Santa's God" will be appreciated by parents, teachers, and children everywhere.

Santa Claus and the Molokai Mules
Jeffrey Garcia, authro
Jamie Meckel, illustrator
Sunbelt Publications
1250 Fayette Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
9780984094202, $17.95,

"Santa Claus and the Molokai Mules: A Hawaiian Island Surfing Adventure" is a Hawaiian Christmas story about a young surfer boy named Kala, who faces the threat of destruction of the holiday on Molokai by a terrible storm. Afraid Santa will be unable to deliver Christmas toys and presents to the children of Hawaii because of the storm, Kala decides on a daring plan to save Hawaii's Christmas with the help of his father and his favorite mule, Leap. He will climb to the top of Kimo's Peak in the storm, followed by his father and Leap, then jump out and surprise Leap, who always brayed "heehaw!" loudly when Kala surprised him with a visit. many hazards are on his path, but Kala is careful in his climbing and he manages to achieve his goal, and Leap's loud response is all it takes to reroute Santa in his sleigh to the Hawaiian islands where all the children are eagerly awaiting their special holiday gifts. Santa even cheers to Kala, "Mele Kalimaka!" "Santa Claus and the Molokai Mules" is beautifully told and illustrated by no fewer than 25 two- page watercolor on canvas illustrations. There are many cultural details about Hawaiian family life and surf culture in addition to beautiful descriptions of natural scenes on Molokai. "Santa Claus and the Molokai Mules" is perfect for children ages 4-8, and offers a new take on an old beloved holiday.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

A Tale of Two Guinea Pigs
Lisa Maddock
Dog Ear Publishing
4010 W. 86th Street, Ste H, Indianapolis, IN 46268
9781598589603, $11.95,

Some pets are so devoted to their masters that there is no distance too far to travel. "A Tale of Two Guinea Pigs" is a charming story of two guinea pigs, left under the care of a cruel relative, who break out to find their beloved Amelia. With the help of a nine year old detective, they travel far and wide to where ever they need to find their owner. "A Tale of Two Guinea Pigs" is an entertaining read that will delight the young animal lover.

Baby Owl's Rescue
Jennifer Keats Curtis, author
Laura Jacques, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781934359952, $16.95,

"Baby Owl's Rescue" is an educational book about experiences young Maddie and Max have when they discover a baby Great Horned Owl in their backyard. Fortunately their mother is a trained naturalist who has experience in helping lost or injured fledglings be restored to their parent(s). She teaches them the proper ways to go about helping restore the young "brancher" owl to a nest in the tree he fell from. "Baby Owl's Rescue" has extra fun facts for creative minds and matching activities plus more educational material in the last 8 pages of the book to make it a multi-sensory learning experience. Most helpful of all is the page with suggestions listed for what to do if you find an injured bird. All the shaded illustrations add to the wonder of "Baby Owl's Rescue," a book which will strongly appeal to an audience aged 4-8.

Rattlesnake Rules
Conrad J. Storad, author
Nathaniel P. Jensen, illustrator
Five Star Publications, Inc.
P.O. Box 6698, Chandler, AZ 85246
9781589851610, $16.95,

"Rattlesnake Rules" is a handy explanatory book for children age 8-12 teaching all about rattlesnakes. Written by award-winning children's author and science editor Conrad J. Storad, "Rattlesnake Rules" comes fully illustrated with humorous paintings and also contains a fact list, glossary, and full curriculum guide written by Jean Kilker, a national Board Certified teacher and librarian in Litchfield Park, Arizona. "Rattlesnake Rules" is an excellent guide for young students to promote healthy understanding and respect for the reality of rattlesnakes and techniques and ways to help keep both rattlesnakes and humans safe.

The Bilingual Shelf

Moon Over The Mountain/Luna Sobre La Montana
Keith Polette, author
Michael Kress-Russick, illustrator
Raven Tree Press
1400 Miller Parkway, McHenry, IL 60050
9781932748857, $16.95,

"Moon Over The Mountain" is a bilingual children's book telling the story of Aigipito, a hard-working stonecutter who hews stone blocks to build houses and churches with out of the mountainside. "Moon Over the Mountain" is actually based upon a traditional Asian children's tale, retold in a "vivid southwestern (American) landscape." Agipito wishes for many things to ease his hard life as a stonecutter, but when every wish comes true, he finds he is not ever satisfied. Finally Agipito transforms into the traditional desert trickster character, the coyote, and disappears into the desert. His final wish is granted by the spirit of the Desert and he is muy contento. "Moon Over The Mountain" presents embedded Spanish words written in red in the text of the story, leading the reader to seek the meaning of the Spanish word in the handy vocabulary list in the back of the book and adding to the bilingual vocabulary. "Moon Over The Mountain" is filled with huge color illustrations which make the scenes and characters loom larger than life against the stark desert landscape. "Moon Over The Mountain" is aimed at students from pre-kindergarten to third grade.

The DVD Shelf

SciQ Volumes 1 & 2
Smithsonian Networks
c/o Infinity Entertainment Group
$14.98 (Volume 1) $9.98 (Volume 2)

SciQ is a DVD series for young people that makes learning about science and technology fun. Each is packed with episodes in which teen hosts Paula, Andrew, and Pemma turn learning into an exciting adventure. Volume 1 (105 min.) has the episodes "CSI" (where the trio learn about crime scene investigations as they try to catch bad guys), "Spies" (where Andrew learns that there's more to being a spy than TV would have one believe), "Movie Magic" (where the three learn about the science behind seemingly magical special effects) and "Sound" (where the Blue Man Group teach the hosts about voice and singing). Volume 2 (79 min.) has the episodes "Underwater" (where the teens learn about whether it could ever be possible for humans to live underwater), "Snow" (which explores the science behind snow and ice as well as the fun that can be had with both), and "Flight" (which teaches young people how humans dared to challenge gravity itself). Both are top picks as curriculum supplements, additions to public library children's DVD shelves, gifts for inquisitive young minds, or simply as tools to show young people and teens that learning can be fun. Highly recommended.

We Love Our Family
Hit Entertainment
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

We Love Our Family is the latest children's DVD featuring the loveable, gentle purple dinosaur Barney and his playful friends, as they celebrate the joys of family togetherness. A wholesome viewing experience that reminds young people about the importance of moms, dads, grandparents, and cousins, We Love Our Family is an especially appropriate gift for youngsters as the traditional Thanksgiving season approaches (though the program itself is not meant to be seasonal, but rather enjoyed year-round). Bonus features include a "Dino Dress-Up" game and a "Welcome, Cousin Riff" featurette. An excellent choice for parents and public library children's DVD collections.

Art House Volume 1: Basic Shapes and Animals
Art House
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
9780615208183 $14.95

Art House Volume 1: Basic Shapes and Animals is a DVD for viewers age 3 and up, in which teacher Emily and the Art House show young people the most basic fundamentals of art - how to put together simple shapes into pictures of animals ranging from fish and birds to dogs, monkeys, and dinosaurs. A delightful and fun way to learn the basics of drawing, Art House Volume 1 is great a great choice for preschools, babysitters, and parents looking to stimulate their children's creativity. Highly recommended. 35 minutes, color.

If the World Were a Village
Master Communications
c/o Culture for Kids
4480 Lake Forest Dr., Suite #302, Cincinnati, OH 45242-3753
9781604800784 $59.95

Based on the award-winning book, If the World Were a Village is a children's DVD that postulates: what if we imagined the whole world as a village of 100 people? Drawing young viewers on a journey of discovery through the lives of each of the 100 villagers, If the World Were a Village educates about the diversity of languages we speak, foods we eat, where we live, the religions we follow, and more. A delightful exposure to different cultures across the globe, highly recommended especially for public library children's DVD shelves. If the World Were a Village has English, French, and Spanish language options, as well as English subtitles. 25 minutes, closed-captioned, teacher's guide available at Also of interest to pique young people's curiosity about other cultures is the "Families of the World" DVD series, including the recently released "Families of Guatemala" (9781604800500, $29.95).

Disney Educational Productions
500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-6307

Three more installments in "The Science of Disney Imagineering" DVD series continue to blend educational value and fun into a classroom-friendly (or home school friendly) package. Magnetism (159753241X, $49.95) explores how magnetism is put to use in Disney theme parks, from magnetic connectors that direct guests to playing back sound in popular attractions. the basics of attraction and repulsion of opposite poles, magnetic fields and domains, and electromagnets are also covered. Animal Adaptations: Communication (1597532436, $49.95) explores the manner in which a variety of amazing creatures connect with one another - from how naked mole rats identify family members, to how meerkats let one another know it's safe to forage for food, to how dolphins recognize one another even if their water has low visibility. Newton's 3 Laws of Motion (1597532428, $49.95) introduces young people to the solid basic principles that the great mathematical master deduced, and how they affect the motion of objects ranging from theme park rides to activities in everyday life. All three DVDs include a bonus "Try It Yourself" experiment, an interactive assessment to help reinforce key learning points, correlation to educational standards, public performance rights (for classroom/educational use only), and a downloadable educator's guide with additional activities and resources. All are a great, highly recommended way to help get kids excited about science. Two excellent, educational Disney DVDs help make basic algebra accessible to young people. Both are "classroom edition" DVDs particularly ideal for use in public or private schools (or home schooling). Bill Nye's Solving For X: Pre-Algebra, Volume 1 (1597532444, $29.95) covers infinite fractions, exponents, signed numbers & proportional reasoning. Bill Nye's Solving For X: Algebra I, Volume 1 (1597532452, $29.95) covers variables, balancing equations, dimensional analysis, and linear equations. Enhancing the colorful presentation featuring ways in which mathematics is directly useful in real life, the Solving for X DVDs also includes an interactive whiteboard assessment game that students can play independently, in teams, or as an entire class, as well as a downloadable educator's guide with additional resources and activities, and correlations to National Curriculum Standards. Due to their step-by-step, user-friendly format, both DVDs are also useful for teens and adults who need a refresher in algebra basics! Highly recommended.

The Music Shelf

Cradle Songs
1201 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, CA 94612
Rock Paper Scissors
511 West 4th Street, Suite 2, Bloomington, IN 47404

Eastern European vocal ensemble Kitka presents Cradle Songs, an album offering a tour of the beloved lullabies and children's songs shared throughout the edges of Europe. From the fluid poetry of Armenian lullabies, to the beauty that shines through the dark tone of Greek lullabies, to the Georgian chorus originally created to be sung as a baby is laid in the cradle for the first time, Cradle Songs embraces a wondrous pastiche of traditions celebrating parents' love for their children. Children and adults alike will enjoy this soothing and mellifluous album. The tracks are Cradle Song (3:42), Megruli Nana (2:28), Haidi Nani (2:39), Nanourisma (2:20), Butterfly Songs (1:09), Three Armenian Lullabies (5:14), Dzurk, Dzurk (1:42), Bedtime Story (3:28), Kakhuri Nana (4:16), Slow to the Dawn (6:57), Sun Sunuvah, Sun Bulnuvah (2:20), Kenge Djepi (3:01), Es Ak'vani (1:38), Oj Jano, Jano (3:47), Lale Li Si, Zjumbjul Li Si, Gjul Li Si (6:02), Aylye, Lyulye, Lyulye (2:41), Sednala E Majka Kraj More (4:12), and Nani, Nani, Kitka Mou (2:37).

Lovely Baby Music
PO Box 1374, Bellmore, NY 11710-0992

Two delightful new music CDs specifically for very young children are superbly produced and highly recommended for family, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections. Lovely Sleepy Baby & The Sea (LBCD-4304, $15.98) is a perfect choice for bedtime listing as it features the relaxing sounds of the sea along with lullaby songs that include Sleepy Baby and the Sea; Sea Sounds and Sleepy Babies; Fall Asleep (Ocean Sounds); Relaxing Seaside, Baby Tired; Waves, Music, Waves Sleep; Baby's Moment of Meditation; Ocean, Baby, Sleep; Baby Cools Down; Waves of Harmony; and Baby Loves the Sounds of the Sea. On a more lively note are the holiday songs comprising "Baby Christmas 2" (LBCD-4343, $15.98) showcasing eleven seasonal songs: Jingle Bells; Dreaming of Christmas; Joy to the World; Friendly Christmas; O Christmas Tree; A touch of Magic; When Christ was Born of Mary; Sounds of Peace; O Come All Ye Faithful; A Baby's First Christmas; and Silent Night. The production values of both these outstanding CDs are flawless, making them perfect choices to entertain children ages 1 through 5.

Rockin', Rollin' and Ridin' with Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck
Rebecca Frezza
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Recommended especially for young people ages 4-8, Rockin', Rollin' and Ridin' with Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck is an exciting, toe-tapping music CD that both young people and adults will enjoy. Featuring six brand new original Rebecca Frezza songs, two specially remixed audio tracks, and a bonus video (the disc is an "enhanced CD"), Rockin', Rollin' and Ridin' is high energy and high fun all the way through. Roscoe Orman lends his talents as a special guest artist, know to his legions of young and old fans as "Gordon" on the educational TV show "Sesame Street". An excellent choice for children's music CD collections! The tracks are "Big Truck" (Remix), "Rock Like This", "Hey-O" (featuring Roscoe Orman), "Motorcycle Boy", "Robot Dancer", "Rocketship", "Smiling Moon", "Bonus Track: Superman" (Remix), and "Bonus Video: Big Truck" (Remix). 23 minutes.

Something Sweet
King Pajama

Something Sweet is the award-winning children's music album, centered around piano music and delightful whimsy. From the joy of eating ice cream to a fable about the origins of sleepwear, Something Sweet is an upbeat, catchy, and joyful collection. Highly recommended especially for playing at children's birthday parties (or during long car trips with kids in tow)! The tracks are Outer space Boogie, some Pieces, Doormat, Time Goes, Guacamole Time, Trip Around the World, What's Going On?, Heavy Coat, King Pajama, and Chocolate Ice Cream.

The Audiobook Shelf

A Season of Gifts
Richard Peck, author
Ron McLarty, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780739385463 $25.00 1-800-726-0600

Award-winning actor and playwright Ron McLarty reads aloud A Season of Gifts, the unabridged audiobook adaptation of Richard Peck's latest chronicle of the unforgettable Grandma Dowdel, strong of will and stronger of heart. Set in 1958, A Season of Gifts follows Mrs. Dowdel and the new family that has moved in next door and needs her help (whether they know it or not) - twelve-year-old Bob struggling to deal with bullies; his Elvis-obsessed older sister Phyllis; Bob's little sister Ruth Ann (in need of role model); and of course Bob's loving parents, the young minister and his wife. As Christmas time comes, the whole family will learn more about the spirit of the season, from a neighbor who shares the most remarkable gifts of all. A wonderful listening experience for all ages, highly recommended. Also a joy for young people and adults alike are the previous chronicles of Grandma Dowdel, "A Year Down Yonder" and the Newberry Honor-winning "A Long Way from Chicago". 3 CDs, 3 hours 50 minutes.

The Language Studies Shelf

Teach Me Tapes
6016 Blue Circle Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343
$19.95 each,

The "Teach Me... Everyday" series of educational children's book-and-CD combos instructs young people in the basics of popular foreign languages. Written by Judy Mahoney and peppered with upbeat, friendly color illustrations by Patrick Girouard, each of these volumes is designed to appeal to youngster's innate curiosity and willingness to learn. Volume 2 of these series focuses upon celebrating the series, and the text offers lyrics to catchy songs both in English and in the language to be learned (of course, the songs are sung on the CD)! "Teach Me... Everyday Spanish, Volume 2" (9781599722023), "Teach Me... Everyday Italian, Volume 2" (9781599722078), and "Teach Me... Everyday French, Volume 2" (9781599722016) all contain the same text and illustrations - only the languages are different. All are excellent resources for school curriculums, home schooling, or even the gifted youngster interested in developing foreign language skills on his or her own.

The Fiction Shelf

Have Dragon, Will Travel
Barbara Brooks Wallace
Scofield O'Leary
6251 Old Dominion Dr., McLean, VA 22101
9780982312902 $8.95

A delightful fantasy for young adults ages seven to eleven, Have Dragon, Will Travel is the story of an unusual dragon named Bob, who prefers cornflakes to horrible things, and wants to do good deeds with his life instead of spreading menace and terror like most dragons and the tyrannical dragon leader Old Phew. A boy named Oliver Twister finds Bob in his garage, and tries to help Bob by placing an advertisement in the "Wooster Withy Bugle". Will this ad be enough to help Bob find good deeds that need doing? Perhaps Bob is merely a figment of Oliver's imagination - but that can't be, because Oliver by nature has no imagination whatsoever! A lighthearted, upbeat novel sure to please young dragon lovers, highly recommended.

Ariion Kathleen Brindley
Privately Published
9781448604159, $7.95,

When Vincent Fusilier discovers a young girl sleeping in his parents' barn, he assumes she's a Gypsy and orders her to leave. Her name is Raji and she doesn't understand English or even knows where she is. But over the next few months the two teenagers strive to understand each other, their languages, and their cultures. A deftly written novel for teen readers and a highly recommended addition to community library collections and personal reading lists, "Raji" is an engaging story from first page to last and once again documents Arrion Kathleen Brindley as a gifted storyteller.

The Little General and the Giant Snowflake
Matthea Harvey
TinHouse Books
2601 NW Thurman Street, Portland, OR 97210
9780982053911, $10.95,

The smallest... well, biggest things can change one's world. "The Little General and the Giant Snowflake" tells the story of the General of the Realists as a gigantic snowflake finds itself plaguing his life. In a world divided by realists and dreamers, this imaginary snowflake does well to torment the realist general who doesn't believe in imagination. "The Little General and the Giant Snowflake" is a fun read that teaches about imagination and how having an overactive one isn't a bad thing.

Medina Hill
Trilby Kent
Tundra Books
PO Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887768880, $21.99,

When you have no voice, it's hard to get answers. "Medina Hill" is the story of young Dominic Walker, an eleven year old growing up in Depression era America. When he visits his Uncle in a place where it seems to be a vacation of sorts for the summer. But paradise is short lived when the mute boy learns there is something worth speaking up for. A touching story of growing up, "Median Hill" is quite the fascinating and literary read, enthusiastically recommended.

We're All Special
Joyce Taylor Dennis
7290-B Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
9781439247501, $15.99,

Being special is nothing special. "We're All Special" is a children's story about how peaceful woodland creatures butt heads with a new neighbor who feels more entitled to his place in their community. A story of facing bullies, "We're All Special" is a fine read with colorful illustrations and large text for easy reading, making for a solidly recommended read that should not be ignored.

Penny & Rio: The Locked Doghouse Mystery
Jennifer Swanson, author
Swapan Debnath, illustrator
Nirror Publishing
6434 Dixon Street, Milwaukee, WI 53214
9781936046102, $11.99,

"Penny & Rio: The Locked Doghouse Mystery" is a sequel to "Penny & Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting," 2009 Mom's Choice Award winner and 2008 Royal Palm Literary Award winner. Penny and Rio are crime-fighting pair of doggy detectives, and they must solve the case of the Locked Doghouse Mystery. They are trying to help Squeaky the mouse who has belongings locked in the doghouse next door. Squeaky is afraid to get his things because Hobbes, a Great Dane, lives in the yard and may object to her passing freely through. Penny and io find that as usual, it takes lots of thinking and teamwork to solve problems and mysteries and help clients, but that is what they do best of all. "Penny & Rio" is colorfully illustrated and written in brief chapters that keep interest high and pages turning. "Penny & Rio" should appeal to children age 8 and up.

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

Esther Friesner's SPHINX'S PRINCESS (9780375856549, $17.99) provides a novel bringing the world and events of Nefertiti's Egypt to life. A docile Egyptian royal child finds her education introduces her into a world most women of her times don't know. As Nefertiti grows older she finds her life consumed by intrigue, powered by an ambitious queen mother, and decides to take control of her own kingdom and life. History comes to life in a riveting tale. John Dickinson's THE FATAL CHILD (9780385751100, $17.99) provides a sequel to CUP OF THE WORLD and THE WIDOW AND THE KING, and tells of Ambrose, Prince Under the Sky, haunted by the prophetic doom words of his ancestor. His search for the secret that will lift the curse of his life brings him into contact with a gorgeous young princess who will force him to confront his past in this vivid fantasy for older teens. Edith M. Hemingway's ROAD TO TATER HILL (9780385736770, $16.99) tells of Annie Winters and a family always on the move due to the Air Force. Her father's leaving for his latest assignment and he gives Annie a journal for happy summer memories of her new sibling's birth - memories that turn tragic when her newborn sister dies. Her friendship with a mysterious mountain woman and the mystery surrounding her gives Annie the strength to heal. The moving story comes to life. Julie Anne Peters' RAGE: A LOVE STORY (9780375852091, $16.99) tells of a lesbian teen who falls for a troubled, dangerous girl as her first love. Johanna is reliable on the outside but on the inside longs for a little adventure - especially with Reeve, a beautiful damaged girl abusive to those around her. Soon she is sacrificing her friendships, job and more for Reeve. A fine saga of abuse and love emerges in a sensitive story for older teens. Frank Portman's ANDROMEDA KLEIN (9780385735254, $17.99) tells of a girl with problems: her hair is horrible, her occult partner Daisy is dead, and her older forbidden boyfriend has gone AWOL. When tarot readings predict bizarre events, Andromeda finds omens everywhere in this story of a girl's involvement with other worlds. Reade Scott Whinnem's THE PRICKER BOY (9780375857195, $16.99) tells of a strange boy lurking in the woods who is covered head to toe in thorns. But the pricker boy is more than a lurker, and soon Stucks Cumberland finds the people around him are changing in this vivid supernatural story. Arthur Slade's THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS (9780385737845, $15.99) tells of Modo's life in a traveling freak show, which changes when he's rescued by a mysterious gentleman and trained to be a secret agent. As a teen he's involved in investigating the disappearance of several street children - and finds his ability to shape-shift lends to danger and discovery in this first projected novel of a series. Book two of 'The Last Descendants Trilogy' is Catherine Banner's VOICES IN THE DARK (9780375838774, $16.99) telling of teen Anselm Andros who has played different roles in his family - a family of growing magical abilities and secrets. When politics affect their lives, Anselm finds his choices and talents are linked to both past and future of Maldonia and its parallel world England in this fine fantasy. Joaquin Dorfman's THE LONG WAIT FOR TOMORROW (9780375846946, $16.99) tells of a car crash that brings together the only two survivors: football star Kelly and Patrick. When the two terrorize the school science nerd, the unexpected happens in a change of personality and a visit from the future in this engrossing story. Alan Armstrong's LOOKING FOR MARCO POLO (9780375833212, $16.99) tells of pre-teen Mark, whose anthropologist father has vanished in the Gobi Desert. He and his mother must travel to Venice to gain help - and Mark finds his father's friend's story immerses him in many dangerous possibilities and brings him to travel the same road his father vanished on. Libba Bray's GOING BOVINE (9780385733977, $17.99) tells of a teen looking to get through high school and life with a minimum of effort - until he finds out he's sick and going to due. A punk angel appears to tell him there is a cure - but he must undertake a strange journey to find it in this different tale.

375 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Liza Ketchum's NEWSGIRL (9780670011193, $17.99) tells of Amelia's family, newly arrived in San Francisco in 1851 hoping for a new life but nearly penniless. Amelia discovers newsboys are making an income - because of the ban on girls she cuts her hair and dresses herself as a boy - and experiences new freedom in this fine story of adventure, news, and women's rights at the turn of the century. Berkeley Breathed's FLAWED DOGS (9780399252181, $16.99) provides a winning novel about a famous dog show that's about to be attacked. Sam the dachshund wants revenge on a jealous poodle that wrecked his life - and he decides to sabotage the poodle's chances at winning at Westminster in this fine, hilarious novel of dogs at odds. Richard Peck's A SEASON OF GIFTS (9780803730823, $16.99) provides a companion to A YEAR DOWN YONDER and is set in 1958, when a new family has moved next door to Grandma Dowdel - a family in need of her help. At Christmas the newcomers discover they have a real home - and a neighbor with real gifts to share in this fine holiday tale. Gennifer Choldenko's AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES (9780803734609, $17.99) tells of Moose's family, moved to Alcatraz so his father could work as a guard and his sister could attend a special school in San Francisco. His life on an island with only convicts provides challenges to Moose, who is keeping a secret that could get his family kicked off the island.

10 E. 53rd St., New York NY 10022

Avi's POPPY AND ERETH (9780061119699, $15.99) tells of a deer mouse and a porcupine who have been best friends for as long as the animals of Dimwood Forest can recall. When Poppy's husband Rye dies suddenly, all Poppy wants if privacy - and Ereth fears he's lost his friend. Spring brings new hope in this gentle story. Tad Williams and Deborah Beale's THE DRAGONS OF ORDINARY FARM (9780061543456, $16.99) provides a riveting fantasy about Tyler and Lucinda, who have to spend their summer vacation with an old uncle. They expect weeks of rural animals - but their arrival at a deserted valley farm leads them to discover Ordinary Farm is in fact extraordinary - and houses a dragon in the barn and a herd of unicorns. Dangers and secrets emerge in this riveting, different saga.

The Preschool Shelf

Meadowbrook Press
5451 Smetana Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343
$5.99 each

Meadowbrook's "Baby Genius" series of inexpensive infant- and toddler-friendly board books are designed to delight, entertain and educate the youngest of minds. "1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Elephants" (9780881665758) is a simple counting book featuring a fun song (which one can listen to at the website punctuated by friendly questions and pictures of loveable elephants practicing the art of ballet. "5 Little Monkeys Jumpin' on the Bed" (9780881665482) is also a children's counting book, but in reverse - instead of counting from 1 to 10, children follow numbers decreasing from 5 to 1 in a whimsical nursery song about monkeys that hop on the bed (but fall off and bump their head). "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" (9780881665499) uses the classic children's tune to teach young people about the sounds farm animals make. "The Wheels on the Bus" (9780881665512) is a "Sing 'n Move" book that combines the popularly beloved tune with suggested physical actions - such as "roll your arms over each other like the wheels on the bus". All are top picks for day care providers, babysitters, and parents interested in harnessing the power of music to make learning fun for their children.

The Travel Shelf

Junior Jetsetters Guide to Vancouver
Junior Jetsetters Inc.
3044 Bloor St., W., Suite 550, Toronto, ON M8X 2Y8 Canada
9780978460150, $15.95,

Vancouver, British Columbia isn't just a tourist spot for adults, there's much to appeal to the kid as well. "Junior Jetsetters Guide to Vancouver" is a unique travel manual that caters to the young traveler. Focusing on Vancouver, it points out many things a young traveler will enjoy in the city of Vancouver, making ideal for a child traveling with their parents to the city, who wants something of their own to do. "Junior Jetsetters Guide to Vancover" is a fine gift to any child who wants to help plan their family vacations.

The Biography Shelf

Out of Slavery
Linda Granfield
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor, Toronto ON M5A 2P9 Canada
9780887769153, $15.95

OUT OF SLAVERY: THE JOURNEY TO AMAZING GRACE tells of seafaring trader John Newton, who traded in human beings in the 1700s. On one voyage a raging storm threatened his ship and he prayed for salvation and promised to leave slave trading if his life was spared. Saved, he turned his back on the slave trade and became an abolitionist. This survey of Newton's achievements provides a fine little-known history of the man and his times in a riveting, lively picture book style biography and history.

In Her Hands
Alan Schroeder, author
JaeMe Bereal, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600603327, $19.95,

"In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage" is a compelling children's biography of Harlem Renaissance sculptor Augusta Savage (1892-1962), gracefully unfolded by Alan Schroder and richly imaged in realistic paintings by JaeMe Bereal. Described as an enigmatic figure in American art, Augusta began her career as a young girl creating clay animals in Florida, despite her preacher father's stern disapproval. Augusta faced and persevered through many difficult obstacles but she became proficient at her chosen field of art through continued scholarship-sponsored education in New York City. Suffering from illness and depression in her later life, Augusta's reputation flagged, after some very famous works were achieved, including "The Harp" and "Gamin," a bronze bust of a jaunty boy made in 1929. Because some of her work has been lost or destroyed, Augusta Savage is not as well-remembered today as she deserves to be. In the 1930's, however, "she was a guiding light of the Harlem Renaissance." "In Her Hands" will appeal to an audience ages 7-13 and should be an inspiration to young artists today.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Seven Spirals: A Chakra Sutra for Kids
Deena Haiber, author
Aimee MacDonald, illustrator
Mushroom Hollow Press
23654 Oakside Blvd., Lutz, FL 33559
9780615241852, $15.95,

"Seven Spirals: A Chakra Sutra for Kids" is a kid-oriented explanatory book about the seven chakras and what they pertain to in daily life experiences. To illustrate each chakra, a different child describes experiences that reflect that chakra and its color. There are simple chakra explanations also at the end, and there is both the English and the Sanskirt term for each chakra on its page, with its accompanying color. Finally, there are simple suggestions for simple meditation exercises that kids can easily perform, general or specific to each chakra. Gently calming and positive in its message and outlook,"Seven Spirals" may be a key component to aid and assist children diagnosed with ADHD in learning and dealing with daily life stresses that interfere with learning and getting along with others. "Seven Spirals" is beautifully illustrated with mixed media works that enhance the tranquil effect of the chakra teaching and the meditational directions. "Seven Spirals" will be effective with a wide age range of young readers because of the depth of its content, combined with its simplicity in presentation.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

The Waiting Wall
Leah Braunstein Levy, author
Avi Katz, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628490, $12.95,

"The Waiting Wall" is a beautiful book about a young brother and sister who walk through the Old City of Yerushalayim to the Kosel HaMaaroavi, the Western Wall of Jerusalem. They see people waiting along the wall, some with tears in their eyes, swaying in tefillah, or prayer, "like trees in the wind." What do the many little papers stuffed between the cracks mean and why does no one touch or read them? What do the doves see who nest in some of the hollows of the stone wall? What are they waiting for? "The Waiting Wall" is a beautiful and mystical experience that will enrich the life of every child and adult who experience it together. Infused with the spirit of hope, "The Waiting Wall" is a spiritual gift to be cherished. Children age 7 and older will respond to it well.

Chicken Man, third edition
Michelle Edwards
Junebug Books
PO Box 1588, Montgomery, AL 36102
9781588382375, $10.95,

Imaginatively written and delightfully illustrated by Michelle Edwards, "Chicken Man" is a third edition release of a classic children's tale about a chronically cheerful kibbutz worker in Israel named Rody who became known to all as Chicken Man. Rody sang to the chickens and brought them special vegetable and flower treats. He loved the chickens and they lay extra eggs when he worked with them. In those days, perhaps 30 or more years ago, all the kibbutz workers rotated through the jobs, so that no one stayed assigned on any one job for long. Because Rody is so cheerful and sings happily wherever he works, other workers ask to be assigned to his jobs because he seems to enjoy his work so much. But Rody will always love his chickens the best. So Rody works in the laundry, in the garden, and in Baal-a-gan, the wildest children's cottage in the whole kibbutz! He keeps visiting his chickens when he can, and he notices they do not seem as happy. In fact, they finally stop laying eggs and precipitate a crisis. The result is, Rody is permanently reassigned to care for the chickens, because only Chicken Man can keep the chickens truly happy, and only truly contented chickens will keep producing lots of eggs! Humorous colored illustrations add to the bouncing tale telling of "Chicken Man," a national Jewish Book Awards Winner from the Jewish Book Council that will continue to appeal to children age 6-11 everywhere.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Spirits, Fairies, and Merpeople
C J. Taylor, author & illustrator
Tundra Books
P. O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY, 12901
9780887768729, $19.95,

"Spirits, Fairies, and Merpeople: Native Stories of Other Worlds" is a graceful, reverent retelling of seven separate First Nation tales involving elements of the supernatural. The hypnotic and compelling voice of the storyteller is integral to the complex messages of the myths. First comes a heartbreaking and heroic Mi'kmaq tale of love between a human being, Lone Star, and a mermaid, Minnow. Followed by a Coos tale of Water Lily and her brothers, the Cree story "Souls in the Fog," and the Ojibway "Fairy Village" and the Dakota legend of "The Lodge Eater," the collection traces a First Nations trail across the North American continent. C. J. Taylor also chooses a tale of "The Little People" from her own Mohawk heritage and history in southern Quebec. Each tale is carefully presented, sometimes the actual setting of the scene with the storyteller, an old, wise woman of the People, is described. Beautiful color-filled paintings illustrate each tale. These tales deal with issues of the struggle between good and evil, explaining and understanding the stories behind the stars mapping the night sky, and as always, the story of love both human and other. "Spirits, Fairies, and Merpeople" is recommended for a list of special awards, and completes a trilogy of similar works including "All the Stars in the Sky" and "Peace Walker," by the same distinctive author. "Spirits, Fairies, and Merpeople" will appeal to children age 8 and up, enriching their cultural awareness while teaching ancient values and ways of viewing the world.

The Pied Piper of Austin
Salima Alikahn, author/illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster St., Gretna, LA 70053-2246 1-800-843-1724
9781589806290, $15.95,

"The Pied Piper of Austin" is a fabulous retelling of the old European fairy tale about the children and the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Instead of Hamlin, the location is Austin, Texas, and instead of rats, the plague is bats who live under the Congress Avenue Bridge! The rest of the story can be followed through the imaginative text and beautiful color illustrations of talented author/artist Salima Alikahn. Aimed at children ages 5-9, "The Pied Piper of Austin" will reach a new generation of Southwesterners with its special brand of piquant charm. The earthy moral remains true to the original tale, with a little less tragedy in the outcome.

Hailey and the Castle
Jozette Lucero, author
Sydelle Burke, illustrator
Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.
701 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
9781434902344, $7.00,

"Hailey and the Castle" is a delicate tale about a girl named Hailey who longed for different experiences that the castle she could see in the distance represented to her. Though Hailey is poor, her parents love her and she lives a life close to nature, picking berries for her mother to make into her favorite muffins. One day Hailey meets a stranger, a young man named Alex. She finds he lives in the castle she admires so much. However, he is not happy there because he is alone so much, and not close to nature or his parents. Hailey and Alex find they have much to offer each other as friends, and Hailey learns to be grateful for the simple gifts she has been given rather than longing for another life. Delicate black and white drawings illustrate this modern fairy tale and bring another dimension to its simplicity and charm. "Hailey and the Castle" will appeal to children age 6-10.

The Journey of Odysseus
Ed Horatius, author
Brian Delandro Hardison, illustrator
Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc.
1570 Baskin Road, Mundelein, IL 60060
9780865167100, $12.00,

"The Journey of Odysseus" (presented by Follow Your Fates) is a reprisal of the ancient Homeric Odyssey as a choose-your-own-adventure role playing game in which the reader is faced with the same choices Odysseus faced. Ultimate, canny survival depends upon the guile of the reader, as it did for Odysseus. Sometimes the choices faced will seem too harsh or the reprisals too severe, but in forcing the reader to experience these differences between modern day sensibilities and the mores of ancient Greek times, a fresh experiencing of the mythic events begins, in full contrast and comparison. "The Journey of Odysseus" will appeal to young adults and juvenile readers ages 12-18 or older. Also in this outstanding series, "The Wrath of Achilles" (97808656-16708, $12.00) is very highly recommended as well.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

God Gave Us Love
Lisa Tawn Bergren, author
Laura J. Bryant, illustrator
WaterBrook Press
12265 Oracle Boulevard, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
9781400074471, $10.99,

"God Gave Us Love" is the latest Christian children's book in the Little Cub series, which includes "God Gave Us You," "God Gave Us Two," "God Gave Us Heaven," and more. Using biblical scriptural referents/simplifications, Grandpa Bear tells Little Cub about being loving, gentle, patient, and kind to others even when she does not feel loving, patient, or kind. Gently playful colored illustrations act out the message perfectly. "God Gave Us Love" is perfect for children age 4-9.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Get Out!
Judy Molland
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781575423357, $10.99,

"Get Out!: 150 Easy Ways for Kids and Grown-Ups to Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future" is a creative listing of "green" activities to partake in as families, community groups, or individuals to pursue the goals of green living, supporting earth and nature, and green consumerism. "Get Out!" is written on the basic supposition that building an ongoing solid relationship with nature is fundamentally crucial for children. It also begins their developing awareness as environmental stewards of the future. "Get Out!" can help youth of today to battle inactivity, boredom, disconnectedness, and disease as well as teach them healthy ways to cope with stress, tension, and ennui. "Get Out!" has many suggested educational activities and web links and additional resources to contact for further information, and is suitable for parents and teachers as well as kids age 7-13 and up.

The Astronomy Shelf

The Lives of Stars
Ken Croswell
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590785829, $19.95,

"The Lives of Stars" is a beautiful coffee-table book that will appeal to both students of astronomy age 10 and up and adults. There are multiple incredible photographs of lives and stages of stars and galaxies and a whole page of photography credits. Simply written in expository prose, "The Lives of Stars" has chapters that define how a star is born, the H-R diagram (a way of measuring the intensity of stars that reveals the star's projected life story), descriptions of many different types of stars, star clusters, the origin of the elements, and what to considre about the possibility of life in space, to name just a few. A full 8-page photo-illustrated glossary and index help to clarify astronomic terminology. "The Lives of Stars" is an experience not to be missed for all lovers of galactic theory and knowledge of stars.

Crabtree Publishers
350 - 5th Ave #3308, New York NY 10118
$26.60 each

The lively and lovely 'Exploring Our Solar System' titles by David Jefferis are top picks for introductions for elementary grades 2-4. Each 32-page survey offers lively, contemporary color photos paired with the latest facts for a powerful presentation. GALAXIES (9780778737230), SPACE PROBES (9780778737247), THE STARS (9780778737261) and STAR SPOTTERS (9780778737254) each pack in solid explorations and science and make for eye-catching picks for students and leisure browsers alike.

The Science Shelf

What Came First?
Sandro Natalini
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St, 5th Floor, Toronto ON M5A 2P9 Canada
9780887769108, $15.95

WHAT CAME FIRST offers a scientific guide to evolution, considering the science behind life's creation from the Big Bang to how organisms evolve. Colorful drawings accompany time-lines, charts, and resources for kids seeking a very simple introduction.

The Picturebook Shelf

Jack's Dreams Come To Life
Sara Jackson
7290-B Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
9781439242810, $12.99,

"Jack's Dreams Come To Life" is a glowing book about the amazing scary toy farm animal dreams of Jack the dog. Jack is a grown up dog who does not play with puppies any more. Still, he rushes back into the house and checks his toy box after he wakes up from a dream in which all his toys become giant sized and seem to try to trap him. Delicate paintings of Jack and his dreams bring the story's sensitivities to life for little children "Jack's Dreams Come To Life" will appeal to children ages 3-7.

Big Wolf & Little Wolf
Nadine Brun-Cosme, author
Olivier Tallec, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay St, Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592700882, $16.95,

"Big Wolf & Little Wolf: The Little Leaf That Wouldn't Fall" is a sensitive, beautifully illustrated children's book that uses pure poetry and delicate imagery to convey a difficult concept, the human longing to experience the sublime. Little Wolf sees a leaf that will not fall from its tree, and he longs for the leaf, to see, touch, and taste it. Big Wolf counsels patience, telling Little Wolf the leaf will fall in time. When winter comes, with big thick, fluffy snowflakes, the little leaf still does not fall. Finally Big Wolf decides to climb the impossible tree to get the leaf "just to see Little Wolf's eyes sparkle." After many risks and dangerous moments, big Wolf is able to reach the leaf, which disintegrates at his touch and falls towards Little Wolf as a "rain of gentle stars." Finally Little Wolf is able to touch the piece of the leaf, to taste its sweetness, feel its gentleness, and see its brightness. In these fleeting experiences, obtained at great risk and hazard by Big Wolf, Little Wolf is able to appreciate and experience beauty. "Big Wolf & Little Wolf" is a story that will stay with its young readers, presenting the perfect union between text and image to appeal to growing minds. Very appropriate for age 4 and up.

Do Trees Nap?
Trish McKinney
Clay Bridges Communications
300 South Ridge Avenue, Troy, OH 45373
9780981980713, $19.99,

Imaginatively written and deftly illustrated by Trish McKinney, "Do Trees Nap?" is a delightful children's picturebook about a little girl who just does not want to take her nap. So her mother poses a question to her: 'Do trees nap?". To answer her mother's question Talitah Koum goes on a journey where she encounters Wise Tree and receives an answer. A superbly presented and artfully revealed allegory, "Do Trees Nap?" is a unique and charmingly told tale that is thoroughly 'kid friendly' and highly recommended for family, school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

The Earth Shook
Donna Jo Napoli, author
Gabi Swiatkowska, illustrator
Hyperion Books
114 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY 10011-5690
9781423104483, $15.99,

"The Earth Shook: A Persian Tale" is a beautiful modern children's fable inspired by events connected to the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran. Parisa, a Persian girl whose name means "like an angel," is left to explore what remains of her town after the earth shakes and collapses homes all around her. She embarks on a mystical quest to discover, or to remember what it means to be human. She knocks on different doors and encounters many mystical beasts who threaten her because some part of her reminds them of bad experiences with humans. She meets Boar, snapping turtle, Bear, Owl, Snake, Wolf, and Lion. In fearful response to the animals warnings, she tries to conceal parts of herself with veils, but finally she decides to stop hiding and to do what humans do. she takes off her veil, gloves, and leg coverings and walks as a human child under the sun. Then she decides to dig a pool for water to give to thirsty flowers. Boar digs another pool and Snapping Turtle basks in it. Parisa decides to make a drum and dance, and Bear and Owl join her. Because she needs to laugh, she tells herself jokes and rolls on the ground laughing. Snake and Wolf roll and laugh too. Lion, who did not speak but only roared, is aloof. Finally Parisa makes a fragrant pot of rice with cranberries and pistachio nuts. She takes courage from the air, sand, water, and sun. Then she puts the rice in a big wide bowl in the ground because humans share, "and everyone ate, passing the bowl." Beautiful expressive oil paintings adorn each page of "The Earth Shook," making it an unforgettable experience for all the children lucky enough to read or have it read to them.

Butterfly's Treasure
Schim Schimmel
Schimmel Smith Publishing
7575 San Fernando Road, Burbank, CA 91505
9780615295091, $15.95,

"Butterfly's Treasure" by author and illustrator Schim Schimmel is an exquisitely illustrated children's fable about a magic Monarch butterfly's enchanted journey. The oldest of last year's butterflies, or "Monarch" decides to tell a tale of his quest for treasure and magical journey to the youngest of the caterpillars, and the last to go to sleep. What follows is a beautiful series of wondrous images of a vast variety of living creatures all over the globe we call earth. At the end, as young caterpillar is preparing to go to sleep, he asks "...Old Monarch, you never told me where you found your treasure." Old Monarch answers, "...This entire world is your treasure, and all its living creatures are its jewels." As young Caterpillar thinks about this and prepares to sleep in his cocoon, the words sink into his dreams. "This world is your treasure..." "Butterfly's Treasure" is a beautiful book that carries a powerful message of global harmony and species interdependence. It is aimed at children age 5-10, and lovers of the planet everywhere.

Moonshadow's Journey
Gillian Lobel, author
Karin Littlewood, illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton St., Morton Grove, IL 60053
9780807552735, $16.99,

"Moonshadow's Journey" is a beautiful children's book about the demanding migration of an immature swan named Moonshadow with his father and grandfather and all his flock. Delicately orchestrated by the tender and touching water color illustrations, "Moonshadow's Journey" is a book to inspire children and others who must experience a demanding, even grueling challenge, and who cope with personal loss along the way. "Moonshadow's Journey" is a testament to a courageous spirit and will appeal to children age 5-10.

Tania Duprey Stehlik, author
Vanja Vuleta Jovanovic, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V2M5
9781897187609, $14.95,

"Violet" is a sensitive and memorable story about a girl named Violet who also is violet, a different color from either of her parents, one of whom is red and the other blue. She attends her first day at a new school with some misgivings, but remembers what her mother tells her: "Just be yourself. People should like you for who you are, not what color you are." At school she meets all sorts of other children. There are red children, yellow children, and blue children. When a classmate asks her why her dad is blue, she is unsure what to say. She talks further to her mother and discovers she is of mixed heritage and that this is a good thing. the next time a classmate asks her if her mother is red, she answers "Yep! ...My mom is red, my dad is blue, and I... am Violet!" The celebrations of differences message is very clear in "Violet," which is additionally enriched by a plethora of spicy, imaginative, full page color illustrations. "Violet" is aimed at the elementary ages 6-10.

The Looking Book
P. K. Hallinan, author
Patrice Barton, illustrator
Ideals Children's Books
2636 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 120, Nashville, TN 37214
9780824956073, $16.99,

"The Looking Book" is a wonderful book about two brothers named Kenny and Mikey whose mother decided to give them a strange surprise; it was "lookers" to help them look and see what they could see if they went outside! Now the "lookers" just looked like big funny glasses, but when Kenny and Mikey went outside and looked through them, what amazing sights they saw! From the wide, tall, green-leaved tree to the twig things and rock things and dirt things and bug -things, even a rose on a rose bush, a butterfly, and a yellow striped cat! They become so engrossed in looking that they forget to go inside until it is almost suppertime! They rush to tell their mother everything they saw plus one more observation: "You don't need the lookers - don't need them at all!" They decide there is so much to look at outside that first thing tomorrow they're going back out. Charming, whimsical illustrations help deliver the delightful message of "The Looking Book," which should appeal to children ages 4-8.

The Royal Yacht
Kathleen Elizabeth Salimena, author
Simona Bucan, illustrator
Royal Imprint Press, Inc.
PO Box 342403, Austin, TX, 78734
9780979862403, $15.95,

When Katiana Ferrari is invited to join her friend Princess Carolina aboard the family's royal yacht for a vacation tour sailing the Adriatic Sea, she accepts with all the enthusiasm of youth for a grand adventure. Author Kathleen Elizabeth Salimena's engaging story is replete with illustrator Simona Bucan's superb artwork drawing the beauty of what the girls see and encounter. Enhanced for the delight of young readers ages 6 and older with unexpected surprises, a map, and even a song, "The Royal Yacht" is a superbly produced picturebook experience that is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library collections with its underlying theme achievement through persistent effort and engaged dedication!

The Jungle Grapevine
Alex Beard, author and illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810980013, $16.95,

"The Jungle Grapevine" is an African savannah-based reinterpretation of the classic telephone game which will delight young readers everywhere. It all starts when Turtle casually says to Bird "The Watering Hole is always good for a laugh... but lately the humor has been drying up." Naturally Bird flies away and retells the remark with a more disastrous slant and the African animal kingdom quickly experiences mushrooming panic that finally returns to Turtle only to be retold and reshaped once again by the marvelous animal rumor mill at the water hole. "The Jungle Grapevine" is embellished with exquisite whimsical illustrations that are rife with dry humor. "The Jungle Grapevine" will appeal to readers from pre-kindergarten to 8 and their parents and teachers.

Gingerbread Man Superhero!
Dottie Enderle, author
Joe Kulka, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster St., Gretna, LA 70053
9781589805217, $15.95,

"Gingerbread Man Superhero!" is an energized retelling of the familiar gingerbread man nursery tale. The wonderful Gingerbread Man comes to life leaping out of the oven, tying on a dishtowel cape and shouting "Flour power!" Instead of running away to escape being eaten, the new Gingerbread Man seeks to save the world, or to rescue a few brownies from a mad macaroon's captivity! the imaginative full page color illustrations of "Gingerbread Man Superhero!" leap off the page and right into the reader's heart. "Gingerbread Man Superhero! will captivate a whole new generation of young readers and their parents and teachers. Appropriate for ages 3-8.

Gregory Turner-Rahman
Diversion Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 39277, Clarksville, TN 37040
9781935290094, $12.95,

"Ellabug" is a jaunty tale of an unusual ladybug girl from an unusual family who longs for a more conventional appearing life, she thinks. She is so surrounded by uniqueness that she longs for conformity, which she finds among the hard-working ants. Although she admires them very much, she quickly determines that their overpowering work ethic is not all she wants in her life, and she becomes afraid her parents, quirky, eclectic creatures that they are, may lose her and forget about her forever. However, they call her (loudly, in huge-lettered name-words) and their call is music to her ears. She is reunited with her eclectic, non-traditional family, and discovers that celebrating differences has something to be said for it. The wonderful illustrations by author and artist Gregory Turner-Rahman in "Ellabug" add great depth to the story.

Tony and the Pizza Champions
Tony Gemignani
Chronicle Books
680 - 2nd St., San Francisco CA 94107
9780811861625, $16.99

Matthew Trueman provides fine and zany drawings for TONY AND THE PIZZA CHAMPIONS, a fine survey of a pizza king who can make pizza dough fly, flip and whirl in all kinds of wild ways. He's been invited to Italy to compete against teams of pizza tossers from around the world: can he win? This is based on the true story of the author and his champion pizza-tossing team and provides a fun story along with recipes and dough-tossing directions.

Mother Goose in California
Doug Hansen
Heyday Books
Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597141017, $16.95

MOTHER GOOSE IN CALIFORNIA offers a state-specific Mother Goose collection using the traditional Goose stanzas set against California landmarks. Any California picturebook collection will relish the intricate full-color pages accompanying each ABC rhyme, which lend particularly well to identifying California landmarks and culture.

10 E. 53rd St., New York NY 10022

Arnold Lobel's THE FROGS AND TOADS ALL SANG (9780061800221, $16.99) receives fine color drawings by Adrianne Lobel as it tells of singing frogs and toads in rhyming stories. A silly book celebrates the singing of the amphibians, with warm color drawings throughout. Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's CRAZY HAIR (9780060579081, $18.99) offers a zany, artistic set of illustrations telling of a man's crazy hairdo and a girl's comments. It's a fun, different and zany picturebook choice!

375 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Martin Waddell's THE SUPER HUNGRY DINOSAUR (9780803734463, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Leonie Lord as it tells of a hungry dinosaur who has come to eat Hal's parents and his dog. But Hal loves them too much to let them get eaten: can he calm the dinosaur before disaster strikes? Nancy Carlson's START SAVING HENRY! (9780670011476, $15.99) tells of seven-year-old Henry, who gets an allowance every week for his chores - and runs out to spend it. When he begins saving for the toy of his dreams he realizes he has to cultivate new saving habits in this fine tale of a mouse who lacks willpower. Mircea Catusanu's THE STRANGE CASE OF THE MISSING SHEEP (9780670011315, $16.99) is inspired by true events and tells of ten sheep last seen entering a mysterious dark woods. Doug, the Super Sheep Dog, is on the case in this fun mystery for ages 3 and up that blends in basic counting. Judy Schachner's SKIPPYJON JONES: LOST IN SPICE (9780525479659, $16.99) tells of a Siamese kitty boy who thinks he's a Chihuahua and who knows Mars is red because it's covered in spicy red pepper. His investigation leads to some new friendships and some new revelations in this fine adventure for young readers. Loren Long's OTIS (9780399252488, $17.99) tells of a tractor that loves his farm and farmer and becomes friends with a calf in the next stall. When a big yellow tractor comes to the farm to replace Otis, he begins to rust away until his calf friend needs help only Otis can provide. A fine story evolves. Keiko Kasza's READY FOR ANYTHING! (9780399252358, $16.99) tells of Duck, who can't imagine what could go wrong on a picnic. Raccoon has plenty of ideas: they could be chased by bees, or it could rain! But when they finally overcome angst to find the perfect picnic spot, more problems ensue in this fine survey. Robert J. Blake's LITTLE DEVILS (9780399243226, $16.99) tells of Burnie, Winnie and Big Stanley, three Tasmanian devil pups that growl and wrestle with each other. When one day Mum doesn't return the pups must search for her - and only stand to rescue her if they use their combined strengths together. A fine story of cooperative strength evolves. Jay O'Callahan and Will Moses's RASPBERRIES! (9780399251818, $17.99) tells of Simon, who was born to bake and whose treats are famous. When his bakery closes Simon loses his touch - until a young girl gives him some raspberry seeds to begin a new venture. A fine, warm story evolves.

Epossumondas Plays Possum
Coleen Salley
Harcourt Books
215 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10003
9780152064204, $16.00

Epossumondas Plays Possum tells of a funny yet dumb possum who becomes lost in the dark Louisiana swamp even after his mother warns him about a wolf there. Janet Stevens provides the cunning, appealing illustrations telling of Epossumondas' unique talent that winds up saving his day.

Black Beauty
Sharon Lerner
Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375858925, $16.99

BLACK BEAUTY receives Sharon Jeffers' warm and fun drawings as it tells of a fine horse born into a fine stable who moves from home to home only to be rescued in the end by a kind groom. The story's recounted from the horse's point of view, and Sharon Lerner's easy retelling brings the winning book down to picturebook level for those with only basic reading skills.

The Easy Reader Shelf

The Big Green Book of Beginner Books
Dr. Seuss
Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375858079, $15.99

This color compendium of some six Dr. Seuss beginner books features GREAT DAY FOR UP, WOULD YOU RATHER BE A BULLFROG?, WACKY WEDNESDAY and others, with complete text and art and original illustrations. This compliments CAT IN THE CAT and other readers for ages 5-8 and packages six Suess classics under one cover. A lovely gift for any beginning reader.

Dial M for Mongoose
Bruce Hale
Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780152054946, $15.00

This new Chet Gecko mystery provides a fine pick for any young reader interested in private eye mysteries. Chet is here investigating a deadly stink bomb and missing money - and someone is also trying to get his mongoose janitor pal fired. A series of stories provides an easy reader packed with fun.

c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Graham Salisbury's CALVIN COCONUT: THE ZIPPY FIX (9780385737029, $12.99) receives Jacqueline Rogers' fine drawings and tells of a fourth grader who lives near the beach in Hawaii. His babysitter teases him all the time and he decides to stop it - with disastrous effects. A fun story of zany encounters accompanies a story of growing up in Hawaii. ROLAND WRIGHT, FUTURE KNIGHT by Tony Davis (9780385738002, $12.99) tells of Roland, who wants to be a knight in armor. The problem is: his dad's a blacksmith and only boys from noble families can dream of becoming a knight. When he becomes involved in a contest to become a page, he faces a daunting opponent in this fine story of competition and winning. Donald J. Sobol's ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN: SUPER SLEUTH (9780525421009, $15.99) offers clues and a crafty sleuth boy in the form of Encyclopedia Brown whose antics are picks for advanced elementary to middle school grades. Various mysterious cases pique his skills in a Sherlock Holmes-type presentation of short stories. Adam Selzer's ANDREW NORTH BLOWS UP THE WORLD (9780385736480, $15.99) tells of a third grader whose father and brother are spies - or so he thinks. When he mistakes his brother's graphing calculator with a communication device to the secret spy society, trouble emerges when he punches in a code to blow up the world. Crazy dangers make for a fast-paced, fun plot!

Books in Series

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Kathryn Hinds' EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE RENAISSANCE (9780761444831, $29.95) packs in over three hundred pages of color illustration and reference information and is a top pick for any library strong in Renaissance studies. Chapters cover court and countryside, cities and churches and examine religious and community life as well, making this an outstanding history. Her EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE (9780761444848, $29.95) offers the same format and attention to eye-catching color, using a lively tone and presentation to pack in pages of social and cultural commentary. Both are picks for advanced middle to high school collections. Steven Otfinoski's ROMAN CATHOLICISM (076142119X, $27.95) joins others in the 'World Religions' set to provide an excellent overview of the history and concepts of Roman Catholicism. From basic beliefs to different offshoots, ROMAN CATHOLICISM is a key to understanding recommended for any library including the history of religions.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761478027, $499.95/set

'The World And Its Peoples: The Americas' is a superbly produced eleven-book set examines fifty-seven counties, territories and islands in the western hemisphere, and while it's noted for high school libraries, many a middle school will find each volume - some 144 pages in each book - very accessible. Packed with contemporary color photos, these volumes cover cultures, social issues, economics, history and government and come packed with geography information many an adult can easily reference too. Individual volumes reference: MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA, CANADA AND GREENLAND, THE U.S. PARTS 1 AND II, COLUMBIA ECUADOR PANAMA AND VENEZUELA, BRAZIL AND THE GUIANA COAST, ARGENTINA PARAGUAY AND URUGUAY, BOLIVIA CHILE AND PERU, and even NORTHERN and SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN, making these 'musts' for any serious lending library.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Young picturebook readers will relish a fine Benchmark Reader series in Trudi Strain Trueit's 'Creepy Critters' set ($15.95 each). Each book hold some 22 pages of large print, bright large color photos, and easy introductions. WORMS (9780761439660), CATERPILLARS (9780761439639), SPIDERS (9780761439653), BEETLES (9780761439622), ANTS (9780761439615) and GRASSHOPPERS (9780761439640) offer very basic visually-oriented introductions to each creature. The 'Rockets' series ($16.95 each) will reach the next reader group in grades 1-3, each offering some 24 pages of basic natural history. LIONS (9780761443445), ELEPHANTS (9780761443438), BEARS (9780761438205), CHIMPANZEES (9780761443414), TIGERS (9780761443452) and WHALES (9780761443469) each offer color sidebars of information and pack in basic facts suitable for reports and leisure browsers. Also part of the 'Rockets' series is 'Drug Facts' ($19.95) each, holding some 32 pages of information on drugs and their issues. INHALANTS (9780761443506), MARIJUANA (9780761443513), ALCOHOL (9780761443483), ECSTASY (9780761443490), and STEROIDS (9780761443520) each provide excellent introductions to a younger age group (grades 2-4) than usually have access to detailed information. The 'Food and You' series (, $19.95 each) includes WEIGHING IN (9780761443674), FOOD AS FOE (9780761443643), BODY FUEL (9780761443629), and PEAK PERFORMANCE (9780761443667), each offering 32 pages of basics on physiology, health and foods. 'History's Mysteries' ($19.95 each) offers 32 lively pages of focus on a different legend or mystery. LEGENDS OR LIES? (9780761443599), DEBATABLE DEATHS (9780761443551), ENIGMATIC EVENTS (9780761443582) and PERPLEXING PEOPLE (9780761443605) each come from Gary L. Blackwood with Susan Martins Miller and provide a survey of particularly intriguing outstanding historical questions. Dana Meachen Rau's 'Nature's Cycles' series ($15.95 each) provides grades 2-4 with a very simple introduction. Each reader offers a little under 30 pages of large print and basic science facts. Included in the set are FOOD CHAINS (9780761440956), WATER (9780761440994), PLANTS (9780761440970), DAY AND NIGHT (9780761440949), and SEASONS (9780761440987) in an outstanding series. Also highly recommended is the 'New Americans' set ($24.95 each). Each set packs in a focus on a specific ethnic group from abroad and considers their history, group motivations for immigration, contributions to American culture, and more. Additions include KOREAN AMERICANS (9780761443063), CHINESE AMERICANS (9780761443032), Mexican AMERICANS (9780761443070), SOUTHEAST ASIAN AMERICANS (9780761443124), AMERICANS FROM THE CARIBBEAN AND CENTRAL AMERICA (9780761443025), AMERICANS FROM INDIA AND OTHER SOUTH ASIAN COUNTRIES (9780761443056), WEST AFRICAN AMERICANS (9780761443131) and AMERICANS FROM RUSSIA AND EASTERN EUROPE (9780761443100). Together, the set is an extraordinary presentation.

Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002

Children are generally aware of the diverse environmental problems that are threats to their future welfare. Now that awareness can be informed and informative thanks to a new six volumes 'Global Issues' series from Smart Apple Media that focuses on six specific areas of world-wide environmental interest. Written at a fifth grade reading level with a fourth through sixth grade interest level, this outstanding series of superbly illustrated, 32-page environmental issues titles by Cheryl Jakob includes Global Warming; Protecting The Natural Environments; Renewable Energy; Sustainable Cities; Toxic Waste; and Water Supplies. Each individual title is available separately ($28.50 List/$19.95 Library), but schools and community libraries would do well to acquire a complete six volume set ($171.00 List/$119.70 Library) for their young students and patrons.

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

Every child is familiar with the songs that mothers sing to them as infants and toddlers. Now The Child's World has published a splendidly illustrated series of brightly colored, 16-page, hardcover picture books based on eight of the most popular and well-known of this childhood tunes. Enhanced with a reinforced library binding for an extended shelf life, a section specifically describing movements and gestures, and featuring simple 'child friendly' text written at a first grade level with a preschool through second grade interest level, the individual titles comprising this outstanding and highly recommended series for family, school, and community library collections includes Grey Squirrel; I'm a Little Teapot; The Itsy Bitsy Spider; Knock at the Door; Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake; Round and Round the Garden; The Wheels on the Bus; and Where is Thumbkin?. Although each title is available individually ($21.36 List/$14.95 Library), the highest recommendation is for acquisition of the complete set ($170.88 List/$119.60 Library).

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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