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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 10 October 2009 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Fantasy/SciFi Shelf DVD Shelf
Computer Shelf Music Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Poetry Shelf Sports Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Folklore/Fairytale Shelf Bilingual Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Dinosaur Shelf Biography Shelf Fiction Shelf
Photography Shelf American History Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Lucas and His Long Loopy Laces
Krystal Russell, author
Cody Frusher, illustrator
Talltails Publishing House
20865 Highway 16, Okmulgee, OK 74447
9780982351901, $10.95

"Lucas and His Long Loopy Laces" is a delightful, creative paperback book for children ages 3-8. The surprising illustrations are almost all black and white except for the rainbow colored long, loopy laces that entangle and entwine everything and everywhere from the gnomes in the garden to a whale in the sea and robots on the moon. The teasing, rhyming text and fantastic pen and ink drawings are completely mesmerizing. what will Lucas and his long, loopy laces get tangled up in next? The suspense builds and stretches young minds to a satisfying conclusion with a moral to boot ("Tie your shoes before pedaling your bike!").

First Come the Zebra
Lynne Barasch
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600603655, $18.95

"First Come the Zebra" is a beautiful, sensitively illustrated book about two young boys of Kenya from rival tribes. Albaani is a young Maasai boy who herds cattle every day. Haki is a Kikuyu boy who sells vegetables planted and tended by Kikuyu farmers. The two tribes are historic rivals for the resources of land, grass, and water. Despite their differences, Haki and Albaani find a way to cooperate in a crisis and gradually they become friends, even sharing joy in a game of mancala. Just as the animals who graze the grasslands share the wealth and resources of the land, Haki and Albaani begin to think of ways they can share their resources and work together rather than struggling uselessly against each other. "First Come the Zebra" is a hopeful fable of cooperative prosperity, and its precious text is brought to full realization by the delicate ink and watercolor illustrations. "First Come the Zebras" will appeal to children age 5 and up.

Would You Invite a Skunk to Your Wedding?
Ginger Pate & Maribeth Blonski
Greene Bark Press, Inc.
c/o Children's Book Publishing
2966 Mosser Drive, Allentown, PA 18103
9781880851739, $16.95

"Would You Invite a Skunk to Your Wedding?" is a delightful children's storybook about Louie Phewie, a young skunk whose sprayer sometimes gets stuck in "on" when he gets nervous or excited. Nevertheless, two friends invite Louie to be ring bearer at their wedding and as might be expected, a jolly mayhem ensues. The good news is at the end of the day, the main goals are achieved, although in a slightly different setting and style than originally planned: Sammy and Susie are married. The guests had a good time with unexpected entertainment. and Louie made it down the aisle! Maribeth Blonski's delightful color illustrations help tell the tale of Louie Phewie the unforgettable skunk ring bearer at a woodland wedding. for ages 3-8.

Thanksgiving Rules
Laurie Friedman & Teresa Murfin
Carolrhoda Books
Lerner Publishing Group Inc.
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780822579830, $16.95

"Thanksgiving Rules" is a rhyming guide by Laurie Friedman specifically designed to help a kid endure the rituals of a feast like Thanksgiving. Decorated with wacky, whimsical, cartoon-bright illustrations by Teresa Murfin, "Thanksgiving Rules" is at heart a decree issued by Percy Isaac, veteran of Thanksgiving feasts. First, expect to dress up however your mother wants you, clean, get involved (in preparation), greet (Percy tells how to keep it short and sweet), and finally the main event, eat the Thanksgiving Buffet! Every possible side dish and featured course is presented and described, and whatever is put on your plate, Percy's rules state "Eat Every Single Bit!" Then, go back for seconds and have dessert! finally, to show appreciation, Percy likes to give everyone around him the Percy Isaac Special, which is a Thanksgiving Hug. Although popularly received, Percy has modified this approach to include the Overeaters' Special, "a simple light peck on the cheek." Although Percy's Thanksgiving Rules may seem a little light on giving thanks, the humor and jolly intent carry him through in impish style. "Thanksgiving Rules" is written to appeal to children ages 5-9.

Love, Lizzie: Letters to a Military Mom
Lisa Tucker McElroy, author
Diane Paterson, Illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton Street, Morton, Grove, IL 60053
9780807547786, $6.99

"Love, Lizzie: Letters to a Military Mom" is an illustrated paperback about a nine year old girl whose mom has been deployed as a soldier abroad. Lizzie writes letters and draws maps of her room, home, community, state, nation and world. Although she misses her mom, her dad helps her cope with the long absence in different ways. "Love, Lizzie" will be a helpful handbook for children whose parents have had to be accept overseas postings far away from their families. She is a good role model for children in the questions she asks as well, like "How long does defending freedom take? Why can't you come home to my soccer game? When will I see you again?" At the end of the book are a list of helpful suggestions to parents and children who have to endure separation like Lizzie and her mom. With its bright, punchy illustrations and endearing childish maps of world and country, "Love, Lizzie" is a therapeutic and cheerful addition to libraries for parents and children affected by long separations.

Do Spiders Need Leggins When It's Cold Outside?
Terri Sebastian & Buttons Boggs
Brandylane Publishers
c/o Robert H. Pruett Publisher
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781883911836, $19.95

"Do Spiders Need Leggins When It's Cold Outside?" is a bedtime book full of wonderful silly ideas, stories, sayings, pictures, and questions. It was inspired by questions asked by author Terri Sebastian's son Ryan as he was growing up. Sadly, Ryan died before he reached age 16, but his incredible spirit lives in this memorable children's book. In addition, Ryan's legacy survives in the five individuals who received his organ donations. "Do Spiders Need Leggins When It's Cold Outside?" has an irrepressible spirit that is fully expressed by the whimsical, colorful illustrations. Perhaps the best part of the book is at the end, when the author writes "When you look up at the night sky, remember Ryan's gifts." Last of all, in her Afterword, she writes, "Tell your children you love them every day."

Larry Gets Lost in Los Angeles
Michael Mullin & John Skewes
John Skewes, illustrator
Sasquatch Books
119 South Main Street, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98104
9781570615689, $16.95,

"Larry Gets Lost in Los Angeles" is a child's and dog's perspective tour of the magical city of Los Angeles. Pete and Larry are eager to discover all the wonders of this fabulous place. But things take an unexpected turn when Larry the dog gets lost around the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Both Larry and Pete wander through the sights of L. A. separately until they achieve a happy reunion through the kind help of a Venice Beach habitant who finds and feeds Larry and reads his collar and texts his owner. All of which goes to reinforce the message that for Pete and Larry, an adventure is never scary, and Los Angeles is a pretty nice place to visit after all. Whimsical, retro-style color cartoon like illustrations bring L. A. to movie picture focus. "Larry Gets Lost in Los Angeles" is an educational travel book for children age 3 and up.

Batty Malgoony's Mystic Carnivale
K. Michael Crawford
Happy Ever Art Publishing
7534 Cherry Tree Drive, Fulton, MD 20759
9780981794013, $18.95,

"Batty Malgoony's Mystic Carnivale: A Magical Drawing Escapade" is a wonderful drawing and art experience book for children age 7 and up. All the different sections of the Mystic Carnivale are presented with strategic blank spaces for the reader to draw suggested creatures or props to complete Batty Malgoony's Mystic Carnivale. Readers/artists may draw in the spaces in the book, or may use colored pencils and markers, erasers and paper to create their own scenes with backgrounds too. Artists/readers must agree to the Straight Up which requires the artists to use no drawings of weapons in any of their pictures. Artists are asked to be creative and clever instead, and find something that will fit with the theme of the drawing page instead. "Batty Malgoony's Mystic Carnivale" is a great boost to the creative spirit and besides that, it is full of fun.

The Land of Expression
David & Mutiya Vision, author
Ignacio Alcantara, illustrator
Vision Works Publishing
1025 President Street, Brooklyn, NY 11225 888-789-6757
9780981625409, $17.00,

"The Land of Expression" is a wonderful book that deals with teaching values of respect, compassion, and celebrating differences. Suitable for children age 5-10, "The Land of Expression" creates a world where colors are in control of everything. Unfortunately the colors have a problem accepting and celebrating one of their own. They fail to recognize the value and place of Black, and decide to exclude Black and say and do hateful, hurtful things about Black. Their narrowness of mind rebounds back on them, and they are forced to endure in a world without Black. Then they discover the true nature and value of Black, through their own painful experiences of lack. The solution comes about through the compassion of Black and the Mother Father Creator of the Universe. No one will be disappointed by the impact of "The Land of Expression." No one who reads and experiences it can fail to be enriched deeply. The beautiful dark-rainbowed paintings that illustrate "The Land of Expression" lend the perfect vivifying touch, bringing the story to life. A helpful Glossary of New Words at the end of "The Land of Expression" helps young readers enrich their vocabularies to deal with deeper learning. "The Land of Expression" is the most recent work in a values-teaching series by David and Mutiya Vision. They are the parents of seven children who live what they write about.

Tree House in a Storm
Rachelle Burk, author
Rex Schneider, illustrator
Stemmer House
4 White Brook Road, Gilsum, NH 03448 800-345-6665
9780916144234, $16.95,

"Tree House in a Storm" is a nonfiction children's book that tells the actual story of 9-year old Kenny and his sister Allison's tree house built in a huge oak tree that did not survive the path of Hurricane Betsy in September, 1965. Kenny and Allison loved their tree house and had many happy memories of playing in it. Though Kenny especially is devastated when Hurricane Betsy destroys his beloved tree house, he is grateful that their home was spared, and he plants an acorn to grow into another oak that will one day hold a tree house for his children. The experience of preparing for and surviving a hurricane is accurately pictured in the sensitive illustrations of Rex Schneider. Author Rachelle Burk also lived to experience the loss of her childhood home to Hurricane Katrina, in recent times. "Tree House in a Storm" is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and will be a helpful tool for children to explain how natural disasters can be endured and survived. "Tree House in a Storm" can be read to children age 6 and up.

The Marvelous Toy
Tom Paxton, composer and author
Steve Cox, illustrator
Imagine Publishing.
25 Whitman Road, Morganville, NJ 07751
9780982293928, $17.95,

"The Marvelous Toy" is poetry, art and music, all three, aimed at the hearts of the young and the once young. Most adults over the age of 21 will be familiar with the popular folk song about a boy whose father brought him the marvelous toy that went "zip when it moved, bop! when it stopped, and whirr! when it stood still." Tom Paxton's beloved song has now been cunningly illustrated and brought to life again as a wonderful children's book and CD, containing three other songs as well ("Let the Wild Wind Blow, All the Children," and an instrumental arrangement of "The Marvelous Toy" in addition to the vocal rendition of the same song, all performed by Tom Paxton). "The Marvelous Toy," book, art, and CD, should appeal to children preschool age and older, and will always have a special place in the hearts of the young at heart, no matter what their age.

The Power of the Penny
Elaina Redmond, author
Scott Stewart, illustrator
Spencer Publishing
1217 Orange Grove Avenue, Suite 6, Los Angeles, CA 90019
9780981551500, $18.09,

"The Power of the Penny: Abraham Lincoln Inspires a Nation" begins with a poem inspired by the Abraham Lincoln penny, which ultimately reaches out to guide readers to search deep within themselves to become heroes and heroines like Lincoln, showing the values of kindness to others, practicing spirituality with humble honesty, remembering we are not alone, and using liberty to choose to live our lives to help create a better tomorrow. All this penny philosophy also suggests specific activities to promote growth, consideration and kindness towards others, acceptance of differences, honesty with yourself, accepting your pain and passion, and more. "The Power of the Penny" teaches more than Lincoln hero worship; it points to a whole way of living and growing into your best possible incarnation. Colorful pencil and ink illustrations keep the energy and the vision of "The Power of the Penny" overflowing. In an age of multimedia stimulation and distraction, "The Power of the Penny" works toward building good moral character, a powerful goal. "The Power of the Penny" is appropriate for elementary age children such as 6-11. Another side benefit of the promotion of "The Power of the Penny" is that Penny Wish Boxes are being placed in local establishments such as BOOK SOUP bookstore in Los Angeles as a tool for helping others. Patrons make a wish and put a penny in the box and the boxes are donated to charities or religious organizations of choice to bring hope for a better tomorrow.

Bored Games
Lee Silber & Mike Metz
Capital Books, Inc.
22841 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166
9781933102832, $9.95,

You don't need video games or TV to find entertainment in life. "Bored Games: Simple Fun from Your Pocket or Purse Anywhere, Anytime" is a guide for both parents and children to find the simple entertainment in life. With plenty of interesting games for parents to play with their child using the most minimal of tools, there should be no excuse to be purely bored again. "Bored Games" is a treasure trove of ideas, a must for anyone with the daunting task of entertaining small children.

Half Spoon of Rice
Icy Smith, author
Sopaul Nhem, illustrator
East West Discovery Press
PO Box 3585, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
9780982167588, $19.95,

"Half Spoon of Rice: A Survival Story of the Cambodian Genocide" is the historical interpretation of a surviving boy of 9 who endures the Cambodian Genocide events perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge in response to the American war in Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia from 1975 - 1979. Forced to work at rice farming more than 12 hours a day with barely a half spoonful of rice rationed to survive on, 9-year old Nat and his friend Malis endure many horrors and deprivations. Separated from his parents, Nat is forced to scrounge for frogs or anything that can sustain him during this harsh enforced agricultural slavery. After many sufferings and moments of terror and sadness, Nat and Malis are allowed to leave and escape into Thailand, where they manage to find Nat's parents at a Refugee Camp. In October of 1979, Nat and Malis, who is adopted by Nat's parents when she cannot find her own, are brought to San Francisco, California. The story told in "Half Spoon of Rice" is not a pretty one, but it needs telling. Sensitive illustrations show conditions and details experienced by the Cambodians in their time of trial and death. It is a good teaching book for children ages 7-12.

Day Is Done
Peter Yarrow, author, composer
Melissa Sweet, illustrator
Sterling Children's Books
c/o Sterling Publishing
387 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10015-8610
9781402748066, $16.95,

"Day Is Done" is a sensitively illustrated children's book and three-song CD of the famous song by the same title written by Peter Yarrow. Poignant lyrics, soothing paintings of animal parent and child figures and nighttime scenes make "Day Is Done" a beautiful, classic bedtime book to share between parent and child. In addition to the title song as sung originally by Peter, Paul, and Mary in the 60's, the accompanying CD includes the songs "I know Where I'm Going" and "Dona Dona Dona" recorded by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary, folk singers trio of 60's and more recent fame) and his daughter, Bethany Yarrow, a combination American/African/Caribbean style folk singer who performs with Rufus Cappadocia as Bethany and Rufus. This past month saw the death of Mary Travers, performer in the original trio. It is wonderful to see the continuing legacy of this creative group in this new format. "Day Is Done" will be beloved by a whole new generation of parents and children, fathers and sons, and is appropriate for children age 3-7.

Lights On Broadway
Harriet Ziefert & Brian Stokes Mitchell
Elliot Kreloff, illustrator & designer
Blue Apple Books
515 Valley Street, Maplewood, NJ 07040
9781934706688, $19.99,

Using an alphabetic approach, "Lights On Broadway: A Theatrical Tour From A To Z" by children's author Harriet Ziefert and Tony Award winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, provides young readers with an informed and informative introduction and overview of what goes on 'behind the scenes' of a theatre production. From 'A' is for audition to 'Z' is for zing, "Lights On Broadway" is colorfully illustrated by the energetic artwork of Elliot Kreloff. Enhanced with the accompany CD of 'I Was here' by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (and performed by Brian Stokes Mitchell), "Lights On Broadway" is as fun and entertaining as it is educational, making it enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Curse of the Shamra
Barry Hoffman
Edge Books
c/o Gauntlet Press
5307 Arroyo Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80922
9781887368681 $12.95

Tall orders are common in life, but few ever get so tall. "Curse of the Shamra" is the first book of the Shamra Chronicles following young Dara as she witnesses her people being conquered and enslaved by an evil army. As one of the few able to resist, she becomes one of the first woman leaders of her society to try to lead her people to freedom. A fine fantasy that will inspire may young women, "Curse of the Shamra" is a top pick and is highly recommended for those looking for new fantasy series.

The DVD Shelf

Human Body
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595
9781934312070 $19.99 1-800-348-8445

Intended for viewers in grades 4 through 8, Human Body is a DVD by Rock 'n' Learn, correlated to National Science Education Standards. that teaches young people about how the human body works. The virtual tour, enhanced by computer animation, covers the skeletal, nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, urinary, respiratory, and digestive systems, as well as the alimentary canal and the nature of the five senses. Bonus material includes tips for doing well on a science test, and good nutrition pointers with "My Pyramid" for kids. Free study materials that go along with the DVD are available online. An entertaining and thoroughly educational resource that makes learning fun, ideal for public school libraries and classroom viewing. 52 minutes. Also highly recommended is Rock 'n' Learn's "Addition & Subtraction Rap" (9781878489234, $19.99, 55 minutes).

The Computer Shelf

Windows Vista And Internet For Children
Visual Steps Publishing
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60610
KT Public Relations & Literary Services
1905 Cricklewood Cove, Fogelsville, PA 18051
9789059050563, $19.95,

The computer and the Internet are integral parts of the lives of our children. To be computer literate is an important and relevant to being literate in the skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. That's why "Windows Vista And Internet For Children" is such a highly recommended and effective instruction manual for children ages 9 and older. Profusely illustrated throughout, "Windows Vista And Internet For Children" offers a wealth of practical and 'kid friendly' tips for searching the Internet, tips for utilizing Windows Vista, photo editing with Windows Photo Gallery, and instant messaging as part of social networking. Children will learn such basics as how to create and open folders, move, search and delete files, customize their computer desktop, add a gadget to a Windows Sidebar, participate in a video chat, deal with email, and so much more. "Windows Vista And Internet For Children" is very highly recommended and ideal for personal, school, and community library computer science reference collections for students.

The Music Shelf

Chanukah Fever
Mama Doni
Mama Doni Productions
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Dr, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $15.00,

Funky, lively, and thoroughly entertaining, "Chanukah Fever showcases ten original songs by Mama Doni, plus four favorites taken from her earlier collection 'I Love Chanukah!'. All in celebration of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Chanukah and featuring blends of reggae, rock, disco, Latin, klezmer, and 'Jewgrass' in an eclectic, colorful, and distinctive style that only the Mama Doni Band could pull off. Comprised of an Intro; Latke Man; Honey, This Ain't Money!; The Legend of Sour Cream vs. Applesauce; The Funky gold Menorah; Bubbie's Mi Yimalet; Eight; A Land Called Sufaniyot; Dear Hanukah Harry; Mac A. Bee; I Say Chanukah, You Say Hanukah; La Vida Dreidel; Ma-oz Tzur Finale; and the title piece, Chanukah Fever, this flawlessly recorded CD has a total running time of 36 minutes and is highly recommended for children of all ages.

The Self-Help Shelf

My Anxious Mind
Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D.
Katherine Martinez, PsyD.
Michael Sloan, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984 1-800-374-2721
9781433804502 $14.95,

For some teens, there is just way too much on the plate. "My Anxious Mind: A Teen's Guide to Managin Anxiety and Panic" is a teen's guide to overcoming anxiety. Anxiety can be the root cause of so many of a teen's problems, and if they can overcome it, it can make a world of difference. "My Anxious Mind" is a worthwhile gift for any teen whose anxiety seems to be controlling their life.

The Poetry Shelf

Every Second Something Happens
Christine San Jose and Bill Johnson
Melanie Hall, illustrator
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590786222, $17.95,

Selected by Christine San Jose and Bill Johnson, with illustrations by Melanie Hall, "Every Second Something Happens: Poems for the Mind and Senses" is a sampler collection of poems for children, many of them written by children. The children's anthology is divided in sections titled Tell me, Listen to This, Look at This, Imagine That, Wiggle Waggle Shimmy Shake, Love to Share, and That's Me! Playful, brightly colored illustrations help stamp this a child-friendly poetry collection. The introduction contains a helpful section called "Enjoying Poetry Together with Your Child" and emphasizes that reading poetry to children can inspire them to write poems of their own. "Every Second Something Happens" is rightly described as 'poetry in the service of children's intellectual development,' or conversely, 'helping children use all their native wits and sensitivities to discover the myriad delights of poetry.(p. 5)' "Every Second Something Happens" is directed at children ages 5-7.

The House
J. Patrick Lewis, author
Roberto Innocenti, illustrator
The Creative Company
2140 Howard Drive West, North Mankato, MN 56003
9781568462011, $22.95,

"The House" is a beautifully illustrated poem that tells the story of a house made of stone and wood in 1656 and pictures moments in its rich history up to the 1990's when its crumbling remains are replowed and reborn anew in 1999 to become another incarnation of home. The illustrations complement the sensitive quatrains of verse perfectly. Children will examine each two page painting in minute detail, delighting in the wonders displayed in the loving history of "The House." Children age 5 and up will enjoy this magnificent, sensitive book and so will their parents and teachers.

The Sports Shelf

Full Count: A Baseball Number Book
Brad Herzog, author
Bruce Langton, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
310 N. Main St., #300, Chelsea, MI 48118
9781585364299, $17.95,

"Full Count: A Baseball Number Book" is a baseball fact and history-filled book following a number format, written for children ages 6-10. Filled with informative baseball stories of famous games, plays, and players, "Full Count" is sure to add to the count of young baseball fans with its fun-filled facts and lifelike paintings for illustrations. Who knew baseball contained so many numbers or that Yogi Berra said, "Nobody goes there any more. It's too crowded."?

The Picturebook Shelf

Harry Abrams
115 W. 18th St., New York NY 10011

Margaret Wild's PIGLET AND GRANNY (9780810940635, $15.95) receives warm drawings by Stephen Michael King and tells of a piglet who loves her granny and has been waiting all day for her to visit. What's taking her so long - and how can Piglet develop patience? A fine tale teaches kids about how to wait. Laura Numeroff's WOULD I TRADE MY PARENTS? (9780810906372, $16.95) receives fine drawings by James Bernardin as it tells of a little boy who wonders why his friends' parents are so special and why he can't trade. When he really thinks about his own parents, though, he comes up with some redeeming attributes. Both are excellent, fun stories teaching kids values.

Zero is the Leaves on the Tree
Betsy Frango
Tricycle Press
Box 7123, Berkeley, Ca 94707
9781582462493, $15.99

Shino Arihara's drawings accompany the fine counting book pairing math concepts with encouragement for kids to find numbers in their world - specifically, zero - in everything from tree branches to stars. How do you count zero, a number defined by what isn't there? ZERO IS THE LEAVES ON THE TREE is a poetic account of how.

Clarion Books/Houghton
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003

Eve Bunting's THE BANSHEE (9780618821624, $16.00) receives fine appealing drawings by Caldecott medalist Emily Arnold McCully as it tells of Terry, who is half asleep when he hears the wailing and falling of the banshee. He wonders why the Irish legend would come to his house, and decides to confront her. A fine scary story evolves. Cynthia von Buhler's BUT WHO WILL BELL THE CAT? (9780618997183, $16.00) offers a solution to Aesop's classic question, telling of Mouse and his friend Brown Bat who want to join the fun in the banquet hall. But the cats are blocking their escape from the basement: how can they win? A story of bravery and determination results, paired with outstanding and appealing drawings.

Floramel and Esteban
Emilie Buchwald, author
Charles Robinson, illustrator
Milkweed Editions
1011 Washington Avenue South, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55415
9781571316882, $16.95

"Floramel and Esteban" is a fabulous modern animal fable about the power of friendship and cooperation between very different entities, laced with the joy and mystery of music. Floramel is an island cow, curious beyond her confining ocean bound life and world. She becomes attached to a lazy cattle egret named Esteban, who helps her understand how birds like cattle egrets can help cows who suffer from insects and their stings and bites. As the relationship develops, Floramel explores her affinity with the world of music, partly due to Esteban's encouragement. Most encouraging of all, when Floramel becomes famous for her cow shell music concerts, Esteban is not jealous, because he knows he wonderful, without needing to be told. "Floramel and Esteban" is enriched by the nostalgic-toned black and white illustrations of Charles Robinson. Its text will appeal to the middle grades of children ages 8-11.

The Last Wild Witch
Starhawk, author
Linda Kehoe, illustrator
Mother Tongue Ink Publishing
4815 NE 47th Ave., Portland, Oregon 97218
9781890931599, $18,95

"The Last Wild Witch: An Eco-Fable for Kids and Other Free Spirits " is a fantastically presented, earth-based eco-fable for children ages 6-9 and interested adults. The wonderful text is presented as a delightful children's story in which children are the saviors of something wonderful and wild, the last wild witch in the forest, who stirs her magic brew in her cauldron and practices her songs and plays her drum. The secret seems to be that everyone needs a little bit of "wildness" inside them to be complete and happy. So in the end, things "were not so perfect in the no-longer perfect town. But they were better!" "The Last Wild Witch" is a wonderful way to teach tolerance, respect for nature, and valuing differences. The incredible surrealistic colored paintings are the ideal palate to complement this imaginative teaching tale.

Millie's Marvelous Hat
Satosha Kitamura, author and illustrator
Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761351535, $16.95

"Millie's Marvelous Hat" is a delightful fable about a girl who wants a hat with fancy feathers that she finds she cannot afford. Fortunately she is served by a thoughtful and imaginative hat salesman who gives her exactly the hat she can afford, which is an imaginary hat. The wonderful thing that Millie finds about her marvelous hat is that it changes continually to suit her mood. She has a peacock hat, a flower hat, a fountain hat, a cake hat, and countless more. She finds that everyone has imaginary hats they are wearing all the time. She even helps some mystical hat intervention when she has the birds and fish from her park hat leap onto the empty murky pond hat she sees an old lady wearing, leaving the grim-faced old lady with a rusty smile. Millie is thoroughly delighted with her marvelous hat. She can't wait to share it with her parents! When her mother says she wishes she had one too, Millie tells her, "But you do have one. You only have to imagine it!" Author/illustrator Satosha Kitamura's charming and whimsical paintings in lovely pastel tones embellish the evolution of the marvelous hat of Millie. Recommended for children age 5 and up.

Big Bear Hug
Nicholas Oldland
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781554534647, $16.95

Written and illustrated by Nicholas Oldland, "Big Bear Hug" is a joyous romp of a story about a bear who loves everything and everyone so much that he gives them all big bear hugs. he even hugs snakes! His favorite thing to hug is trees, all kinds. When he finds a lumberman starting to chop down the largest, most beautiful tree in the forest, he feels something very different from love for the man. Try as he might, he cannot bring himself to attack the man. Instead, he does what he does best: he HUGS him. So ends the fantastical tale of a bear who loves trees (and everyone). All the original colorful illustrations are artwork that was rendered in Photoshop. They are very effective in delivering the message between the lines of text, which is set in Animated Gothic. All in all, "Big Bear Hug" is a book sure to appeal to kids age 5 and up.

Flying Eagle
Sudipta Barchan-Quallen, author
Deborah Kogan Ray, illustrator
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781570916717, $15.95

"Flying Eagle" is a majestic tale in rhyme about a tawny eagle who lives in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. Father Eagle must fly through dusk and into darkness to find live food for his chicks. He sees many possible dinners for prey, including a cobra, a hare and a dik-dik, but it is a humble little weaver bird that falls to his talons and if taken home to feed his chick and mate. The dusky, mystical paintings illustrate the flight of the tawny eagle over the Serengeti twilight with shadowed elegance. Suitable for ages 4 and up.

Piglet and Granny
Margaret Wild & Stephen Michael King
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810940635, $15.95

"Piglet and Granny" is a charming book by Margaret Wild about a patient little Piglet who encounters several other barnyard creatures while she is waiting for her Granny to come and visit. Each animal admires and reassure Piglet that Granny will surely be along soon. Piglet explains again and again that whatever she is doing, "My granny taught me." Finally, after running, balancing, somersaulting, playing hide and seek, and swinging on the gate, Piglet hears a familiar voice. It's Granny, and she has a surprise for Piglet! The wonderful ideas Piglet imagines are overwhelmed by the incredible surprise, which involves sliding and splashing in mud! Stephen Michael King's pastel pen and ink artworks punctuate the tale of "Piglet and Granny" with grace and style. Suitable for ages 4 and up.

Pigeon and Pigeonette
Dirk Derom, illustrated by Sarah Verroken
Enchanted Lion Books
201 Richards Street, Studio 4, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592700875, $16.95

Charmingly written by Dirk Derom, "Pigeon and Pigeonette" is the touching tale of the friendship between two pigeons. One is small and flightless and the other is large and blind, and both have been left behind for the winter. What shall they do? They pool resources and work out amazing strategies together to experience flying, that's what they do! Based on the New Zealand Pigeon, a large, clumsy pigeon, "Pigeon and Pigeonette" is a story to tug heartstrings and turn heads. Amazing, colorful mixed media illustrations by Sarah Verroken bring the characters to life and cap the book's certain appeal to children age 4 and up.

Congratulations, Miss Malarkey!
Judy Finchler & Kevin O'Malley, authors
Kevin O'Malley, illustrator
Walker & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780802798350, $16.99

"Congratulations, Miss Malarkey!" is a humorous children's picture book about a favorite teacher who has been acting unusual in class. There are rumors that she may actually quit teaching, an imminent disaster to her students. Then she teaches her class a unit on marriage customs with special verve and enthusiasm. What can all this weirdness mean? When Miss Malarkey starts singing "The hills are alive/ with the sound of music!" her students decide things have gotten out of hand. Lo and behold, in the fullness of time Miss Malarkey reveals her secret to the students: She is getting married on Saturday and they are all invited to her wedding! There is a righteous celebration, but best of all, after a honeymoon and a the infliction of a substitute teacher who painted her fingernails while the students did worksheets, Miss Malarkey comes back to her class. Only now she is Mrs. Malarkey! "Congratulations, Miss Malarkey!" is a wonderful book suitable for elementary age children. The zany illustrations by co-author Kevin O'Malley add to the joyfulness of the story.

Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers
Gloria Whelan, & Yan Nascimbene
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chelsea, MI 48118
9781585363520, $17.95,

Deftly written by Gloria Whelan and beautifully illustrated by Yan Nascimbene, "Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers" is a children's picture book about a girl in 17th century Japan who is required with her family to make a 300 mile journey along the Tokaido Road from Kyoto to Edo. One thousand carriers men go with her to carry all that the family needs in baskets and chests. Along the trip, which will take many weeks Yuki's teacher has asked her to write a haiku each day. Yuki's father is the governor of the province, so ordinary people must show respect to him and his family. There are also many samurai warriors to protect the entourage of the governor. Yuki is apprehensive about the journey, but she packs her favorite umbrellas, kimonos, and fans, and tucks in her pet dog, Kita. On the journey, Yuki stays at 53 inns with her Mother and Father. For supper, she eats bean curd soup, sushi, shrimp, dumplings, pickled ginger, and carp. Kita eats too. Yuki's daily Haiku reflect her experiences on the journey. The journey goes through mountains, where snow has forgotten that it is spring. Sometimes the room Yuki shares with her mother at the inn is small and not clean. Then her mother scolds the innkeeper. In a fisherman's village, Yuki has broiled eel, shark and octopus for dinner. At Suruga Bay, Yuki spies Mt. Fuji, a sacred mountain forbidden to women and girls. Yuki's haiku says, "When the darkness comes/ and the spirits are fast asleep/ Yuki will climb Fuji." When Yuki grows tired of riding in the palanquin, her mother allows her to walk a little way with Kita, and they enjoy feeling the grass and plum blossoms under their feet. Finally the 1000 carriers and Yuki reach the Nihonbashi Bridge and Edo. Yuki writes "Everywhere I see/ something to delight my eyes/ I stop looking back." "Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers" is poignantly enhanced by delicate water color illustrations of the long journey. Memorable moments are captured both visually and in the poetry of Yuki's wonderful haiku. The author was inspired to write the tale of "Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers" by beautiful woodcuts of Japanese printmaker Hiroshige.

Waiting for Winter
Sebastian Meschenmoser
Kane Miller Books
P. O. Box 8515, La Jolla, CA 92038
9781935279044, $15.99

"Waiting For Winter" is a charming children's picture book about Squirrel's not so patient approach to waiting for winter and snow. Joined by friends Hedgehog, Bear, and Deer, Squirrel tries a variety of methods to pass the time or to distinguish that wet, cold white stuff called snow from a variety of other comical media. Just when the animals' efforts grow wearisome, the amazing event of first snowflake touchdown occurs! In a series of wonderful, poignant artistic illustrations, the animals celebrate the marvelous event of winter, and then curl up to sleep through the rest of it. "Waiting For Winter" will appeal to children age 4 and up. The author/illustrator's sense of humor is a great enhancer of the impact of the book!

John Denver's For Baby (For Bobbie)
Adapted and Illustrated by Janeen Mason
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584691204, $8.95

"John Denver's For Baby (For Bobbie)" is a beautiful adaptation/interpretation of a famous love song that has been interpreted as reflecting either parent/child or romantic young love. A Sharing Nature with Children book, "For Baby" contains wonderful brightly colored paintings of animals and people all around the world. At the end of the book, which contains the text of the song, is a world map and guide to all the animals shown in the illustrations, plus a copy of the song and more background information about John Denver's experiences writing the song. "John Denver's For Baby (For Bobbie)" is a touching encasing of a beloved classic love song that will delight parents and children alike. It is suitable for ages 3 and up.

Davey Bighead, Dream Big
Peter J. Hayden
7290-B Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
9781439229729, $12.99,

"Davey Bighead, Dream Big" is a fresh, fun story about a boy whose difference, an enormous head that can't fit through bus doors or shirt necks, at first causes him rejection and discomfort, but who plunges ahead with a plan to make lemonade when given lemons by Life. Davey dreams big and decides to become the best soccer team headblocker the school has ever seen! Everyone cheers for Davey, and he can't wait to come back to school the next day and do it all again! Full-page, bright colored illustrations carry the tale to its triumphant conclusion. Davey Bighead, Dream Big" will appeal to beginning and intermediate readers, and it is the first of a series, so watch for more episodes to come of Davey Bighead.

Aurora of the Northern Lights
Holly Hardin, illustrated by Donald Vanderbleek
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432724399, $18.95

"Aurora of the Northern Lights" is a Christmas tale of an orphan girl born of a mixed marriage of human father, William, and a Northern Fey mother, Mistletoe. Though Aurora is rejected by the townsfolk after her parents die of illness, a witch gives her a beautiful crystal charm to protect her, and tells her to seek her home and destiny in the forest. In the forest Aurora meets the Woodland Fey, who also reject her as not like them, but their queen directs Aurora to the far north and gives her a warm woolen cloak and an oaken staff. Aurora trudges northward into the frozen cold white and she finds a miraculous castle. Inside she is welcomed by Santa Claus to the Great Elf Hall, where she finds a woman with dazzling white hair who remembers her mother, Mistletoe. The great white elf lady is Aurora's grandmother, and she welcomes Aurora to a whole new world and a new life. The touching story of Aurora is told in extended verse, and the lush, contrasting dark and light paintings illustrate the story perfectly. Themes of prejudice, intolerance of difference, and courage and strength in adversity are explored. A paperback also available in ebook form, "Aurora of the Northern Lights" has extended appeal to elementary age children (8-13).

The Turkey's Treat
Marie Sanderlin Metroke, author
Victor Guiza, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432733247, $9.95,

"The Turkey's Treat" is a great holiday paperback tale that teaches young Jeff a new definition of Christmas dinner. Humorous illustrations impel each page turn through the end, which has a few unexpected twists and turns. A fine way to learn about respectfulness for others and the true underlying meaning of a winter holiday, "The Turkey's Treat" will be a hit with readers age 6 and up.

A is for Arrr! A Pirate Alphabet
Laura Purdie Salas
Capstone Press
PO Box 669, Dept. R, Mankato, MN 56002
9781429632911, $17.99,

"A is for Arrr!" is a pirate's alphabet book for children of preschool age through second grade. Wonderful full page color photographs and illustrations enliven the Pirate's Alphabet, where Q is for Quartermaster, and W is for "walk the plank!" Ancient map scraps frame definitions of each letter's word, and it is a guarantee that "A is for Arrr!" will entertain lively youngsters everywhere with plenty of information to help them remember their ABC's in pirate style.

Aunt Matilda's Almost-Boring Party
Jane Morris Udovic, author
David Udovic, illustrator
Front Street
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590786536, $16.95,

"Aunt Matilda's Almost-Boring Party" is a delightful preschoolers' picturebook about a little boy who falls asleep at his aunt's "oh-so-perfect" party, where he dreams of wonderful games with flying cream pies and delectable dancers and other fantastic ways to liven up an oh-so-boring party. The full page, action-packed color illustrations keep story interest high. Perfect for age 3!

Every Second Something Happens
Naughty Norton
Bernadette Kelly, author
Liz Alger, illustrator
Picture Window Books
c/o Capstone Press
P. O. Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002
9781404855045, $14.99,

"Naughty Norton" is the latest in the Pony Tales Series from Picture Window for young (level 2) readers. Short chapters and comical black and white cartoon illustrations help unfold the tale of an unkempt, rebel pony whose owner, Molly, thinks he is wonderful. Luckily she is patient and crafty and willing to work with all his little tricky tendencies because she is his trainer and she takes her responsibilities seriously. "Naughty Norton" will appeal to the emerging reader age 7-9.

Viva Zapata
Emilie Smith and Margarita Kenefic Tejada
Stefan Czernecki, illustrator
Tradewind Books
202-1807 Maritime Mews, Vancouver, BC Canada V6H 3W7
Orca books (distributor)
P.O. Box 468, Custer, WA 98240-0468
9781896580555, $14.95,

"Viva Zapata" is a wonderful children's book about a childhood episode in the life of Mexican revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata. Though he is only ten years old, Emiliano decides to try to rescue his horse, Sombra, who has been stolen with all the other horses of his father by a gang of bandidos. He has to ride old Lucita because she was so old the bandidos did not bother to steal her. His father refuses to take him on the hunt for the bandidos, so Emiliano sets off alone and rides Lucita late into the night up the foothills of the Popocatepetl volcano, when he discovers the bandidos asleep and his beloved Sombra, along with the other horses. A harrowing night's adventure transpires before young Emiliano slips away with Sombra and the horses, but the thought of the hungry bandidos who must steal horses for a living stays in the mind, both of young Emiliano and the reader. Beautiful, dramatic black and white illustrations wrap the story in a fabulous aura. It is a hard world where a life can be decided on whether or not you can make a rough bandido laugh. Emiliano is more than up to the task. "Viva Zapata" is aimed at readers ages 4 to 8.

Snail Tails "Let's Play Ball!"
Teresa Rinne, author
Preston Dillon, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781438970769, $16.98,

'Snail Tails "Let's Play Ball!" is an imaginative story about Sanford the snail and his family who live in two worlds, outside (their shells) and inside. Strong family values of teamwork, honesty, and fair play are reinforced, along with a healthy emphasis on fun, action, and baseball. Colorful pictures of the snails' world and lives enhance the impact. 'Snail Tails "Let's Play Ball!"' is a paperback designed for children age 9-12.

Dewey There's a Cat in the Library!
Vicki Myron & Bret Witter
Steve James, illustrator
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316068741, $16.99,

"Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library" is a wonderful story about a kitten who was found in the library in Spencer, Iowa, who became Dewey Readmore Books. Dewey explores the library and plays, and tolerates the library's smaller visitors who don't always pet him in the right direction. But his real mission as a library cat is to help people, he decides. Dewey is determined to be helpful, but one little sad girl seems quite hard to reach. Fortunately Dewey is up to the challenge and he ends up being silly to cheer her up, which works quite well indeed. "Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library" is a gentle tribute to both the cat, and libraries everywhere. The large page realistic illustrations warm the tale to its happy conclusion. "Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library" is suitable for children age 4 and up.

Wanda's Freckles
Barbara Azore, author
Georgia Graham, illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, ON M5A 2P9
9780887768620, $19.95,

"Wanda's Freckles" is the latest book in the Wanda series for elementary school age children. Illuminated by the wildly creative chalk pastel illustrations of Georgia Graham, "Wanda's Freckles" deals with a common childhood crisis that arises in learning to accept and embrace one's differences. Wanda never thought her freckles were a drawback until some boys decided to tease her about them. Her reaction takes her to extremes of attempting to paint out, color out, or bleach out her freckles, all to no avail. Finally Wanda determines the best reaction is to continue liking herself the way she is, freckles and all. It helps to dream of your enemies covered with big red spots, incidentally. "Wanda's Freckles" will charm and appeal to kids everywhere who have felt the sting of peer rejection for personal differences.

Give Me the Moon
Roxane Marie Galliez, author
Cathy Delanssay, illustrator
Hammond World Atlas Corp.
c/o Langenscheidt Publishing Group
36-36 33rd Street, Long Island City, NY 11106
9780841671386, $14.99,

"Give Me the Moon" is an exquisite children's tale rediscovered and interpreted through the astonishing sensitivities of author Roxane Marie Galliez and artist Cathy Delanssay. "Give Me the Moon" tells a love story of Ava and two loves, Marcello the violin player, and Vincent, the man who gives her the moon to show his love. Exploring the themes of testing true love and following your bliss, "Give Me the Moon" comes to some magical transitions that eventuate in the wonderful music of the violoncello. Citizens of Venice are so enraptured by the incredible deep tones of this rich new stringed instrument that they get into their boats and drift toward the sounds of the music. Finally, Vincent realizes that to keep your love, sometimes you must give it away and he allows Ava to explore her full feelings for this strange musician who plays so enchantingly. The conclusion of "Give Me the Moon" is a slight lilt of surprise, but the enduring gift of it is the wonderful impression left of the hauntingly beautiful music of the cello. "Give Me the Moon" will entrance children 6-11 and adults of all ages.

Edgar, Allan, and Poe and the Tell-Tale Beets
Natalie Rompella, author
Francois Ruyer, illustrator
Lobster Press
1620 Sherbrooke Street West, Suites C & D, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3H 1C9
9781897550175, $19.95,

"Edgar, Allan, and Poe and the Tell-Tale Beets" is the fabulous tale of three boys who had to eat (yuck) beets, Brussels sprouts, squishy squash, and liver before they could have their scrumptious desserts. Edgar, Allan and Poe live in a rickety old house which reeks from the meals (odd) their mother has made for them. The boys develop a fiendish plan to hide the beets and disgusting foods under a loose floorboard so they can get to eat dessert without the pain of biting beets. The boys skillfully distract their loving parents by seeing dragons, aliens in clown suits, and giants wearing Elvis wigs, so they can quickly slip the yucky foods under the loose floorboard and proceed to the fabulous desserts! All goes well until a funky smell becomes a little too noticeable and finally, there erupts from the floor a horrible blobby mixture of all the boys' dumped meals, red with beets and talking about liver, Brussels sprouts, squash and soup! In the end, the boys are found out, and they pay the price by eating all their meals for quite some time, with no desserts either! Their father fixes the loose floorboard except for a small one where he hides someone's peas! All the details of the Tell-Tale Beets are horrifically displayed in lively, grotesque, darkly colorful, imaginative illustrations. "Edgar, Allan, and Poe and the Tell-Tale Beets" will appeal to children ages 4-7 with just the right combination of whimsey and (light) gloom.

The Messiest Desk
Marty Kelley, author & illustrator
Zino Press Children's Books
PO Box 52, Madison, WI 53701
9781559333191, $15.95,

"The Messiest Desk" is a zany, fun-filled story about the child-eating messy desk of Benjamin Putt, or how the whole school and Julie Lemire were finally able to rescue Benjamin from the slimy Mess inside his desk. Author/illustrator Marty Kelley hides humor in every sly detail. Pencil and transparent water color illustrations ("with some collage of my kids' homework ripped up and glued in the desk") bring the cleverly versed saga of Benjamin's Messy Desk to full reality. An added note in the introduction reassures readers that "No children or teachers were harmed in the making of this book." "The Messiest Desk" will entrance and engross messy and neat children of all ages, but primarily 7-11. Warning: Do not forget your "grossness" filter lenses! (Of course, for kids, that will only add to the appeal.) Seriously, "The Messiest Desk" is good, funny, and creatively messy.

Davy Crockett Gets Hitched
Bobbi Miller, author
Megan Lloyd, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823418374, $16.95,

"Davy Crockett Gets Hitched" is a splendiferous tall tale of the star-crossed meeting of Davy Crockett and his true love, Miss Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, a sweetly gal so special she can "run like a shooting star, jump rainbow high, and out whistle the wind," not to mention out dance every suitor in the big woods of the frontier. Fortunately her eye is caught and dazzled by the high-jinks of our hero, who outdoes himself in his dancing thanks to a burr in his behind that inspires him to new heights! "Davy Crockett Gets Hitched" takes tall tales to a whole new plane. The oil painted illustrations are full of vim and vinegar and just plain high spirits! Children ages 7-11 will love "Davy Crockett Gets Hitched" and will be inspired to read other books in the genre and in the series.

The Folklore/Fairytale Shelf

Land of the Left Sock
B. P. James & Dale James
CreateSpace 1st edition
9781448612000, $10.95,

B. P. James' "Land of the Left Sock" is an imaginative modern children's fairy tale written in verse/rhythmic prose. Colorfully illustrated by Dale James with nostalgic prints, "Land of the Left Sock" will appeal to children ages 4-8 with its magical journey of siblings Dezmund Doo and Dezerea to where all left socks go. The vocabulary is rich and resonant, and the poetry paints pictures of a fanciful place where "every sock goes/ when it no longer wants to live with our toes." Dezmund and Dezerea meet the Mama Dove, the wise old owl, the sock band, and finally the wonderful elephant Ollie who paints the stars and their light on the sea with a brush held in his trunk. It is a wonderful bedtime fable, with just the right mix of security and excitement, predictability and mystery. It surely will encourage trust and growth in the children who are lucky enough to read it with their parents.

Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales
Lucy Cousins, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763644741, $18.99,

"Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales" is a fresh interpretation of eight classic children's tales by talented author/illustrator Lucy Cousins. Tales include Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, The Musicians of Bremen, and more. The vivid gouache illustrations fairly leap off the page, enlivening the trusty hobbyhorse tales to a whole new level. "Yummy" is delicious, true to its name, and will appeal to children age 3 and up, or children of all ages.

Fairy Hunters, Ink.
Sheila A. Dane & Rose Csorba
Dane & Co., LLC
PO Box 285, Earlysville, VA 22936
9780982095607, $25.95,

Imaginatively written by Sheila A. Dane and superbly illustrated by Rose Csorba, "Fairy Hunters, Ink.: A Book of Fairies for Children and (Not So) Grown Ups" is a wonderful collection of fairy sightings and escapades by a resourceful and diligent, experienced fairy hunter. Tales abound of Basket Fairies, Button Fairies, Teacup Fairies, Sock Fairies, Soup Tureen fairies, even Mud Puddle Fairies! Embedded with magical illustrations of darkly fantastical Fairies and Other Creatures, "Fairy Hunters Ink." is dedicated to the spirit of mischievous adventure that is the birthright of all children. All of twenty one tales or adventures are enhanced by twenty lovely illustrations in this charming paperback book suitable for ages 6 and up.

Rabbit and the Fingerbone Necklace
Deborah L. Duvall, author
Murv Jacob, artist
University of New Mexico Press
MSCO4 2820, 1 University New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001 800-249-7737
9780826347237, $19.95,

"Rabbit and the Fingerbone Necklace" is a beautifully illustrated rendering of the Cherokee teaching tale of the Rabbit Ji-Stu, who learned about the power of the bones in his fingerbone necklace from Little Raven and his relatives. At first Ji-Stu wants to keep the fingerbone necklace for himself, but when he learns the secret history of the fingerbone necklace, he finally discovers a path to wisdom with the help of Little Raven and his relatives. "Rabbit and the Fingerbone Necklace" contains kernels of ancient Native American history and lore in its parts. "Rabbit and the Fingerbone Necklace" is also a teaching tale about the value of respect, self-knowledge, and caring for others. "Rabbit and the Fingerbone Necklace" is for children ages 6 and up.

The Bilingual Shelf

Rattling Chains and Other Stories for Children / Tuido De Cadenas y Otros Cuentos Para Ninos
Nasario Garcia, author
Giovanni Mora, illustrator
Arte Publico Press
452 Cullen Performance Hall, Houston, TX 77204
9781558855441, $9.95,

"Rattling Chains and Other Stories for Children" is a bilingual collection of scary stories from new Mexican folklore that author Nasario Garcia first heard as a child growing up on his family's ranch in New Mexico. The stories are wonderful, scary, spooky, with cultural anecdotes and additions that point to a deep experience and awareness of history and affinity with New Mexico's exotic past blend of cultures. These are stories meant to be read or shared, or even secretly explored by flashlight by an adventurous 9 year old under the bed covers or in a tent! The paperback copy is written in both Spanish and English, and sparse, deft black and white illustrations embellish each of the five tales. Watch out for brujas disguised as small owls, or coquimbos, and on no account should you enter into a bargain with any entity suspected of being a bruja, or witch! Rich in oral tradition and southwest folklore, "Rattling Chains and Other Stories for Children" is sure to provide painless cultural education for children ages 8-13.

The Dog Who Loved Tortillas / La Perrita Que Le Encantaban Las Tortillas
Benjamin Alire Saenz, author
Geronimo Garcia, illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781933693545, $17.95,

"The Dog Who Loved Tortillas/La Perrita Que Le Encantaban Las Tortillas" is a bilingual Little Diego series book written completely in Spanish and English. Each pair of pages is written in English and Spanish, so "The Dog Who Loved Tortillas/La Perrita Que Le Encantaban Las Tortillas" is an excellent teaching book for elementary age children learning a second language. The illustrations are wonderful pictures of vibrant clay artwork that enhance the Mexican ethnicity and warmth of the story. Gabriela and little Diego Dominguez want to have a dog, but they don't want to share it. Papa and Mama decide they can have a dog, but they must learn to share her. So the Dominguez family adopts Sofie from an animal shelter and the children begin to learn how to house-train a puppy. It is more work then they had realized, and they don't really quite understand the meaning of sharing responsibility for Sofie. But then Sofie becomes ill and the family has to take her to the vet for a shot. It is touch and go, just when little Sofie had learned her favorite food was tortillas (before she got sick). Diego and Gabriela finally realize having a pet together means caring for her and feeling love for her in their hearts, even hurting when that pet is in pain. finally Sofie turns the corner and the Dominguez family can celebrate by letting her have her favorite treat, a bit of tortilla! "The Dog Who Loved Tortillas/La Perrita Que Le Encantaban Las Tortillas" is a wonderful addition to the Little Diego series. Children age 7-12 will love the series of stories.

Fiesta! A Celebration of Latino Festivals
Sherry Shahan, author
Paula Barragan, illustrator
August House Inc.
3500 Piedmont Road NE, Suite 310, Atlanta, Georgia 30305
9780874838619, $16.95,

"Fiesta!" is a bilingual book of Latino celebrations throughout the year. Each month of the year is highlighted with a special fiesta or celebration. A short poetic description of the holiday suitable for younger readers is followed by an explanatory paragraph appropriate for older students on the following page. Splashed across all the pages are the vibrant, joyous illustrations of each fiesta. Months and fiesta names are given in Spanish and English, along with other vocabulary words that pertain to the feat or festival. "Fiesta!" will appeal to students of Latino cultures and others age 3 and up.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Wild Animals of the United States (We Both Read Level 2)
Dev Ross, illustrated by the Hautmann Brothers
Treasure Bay
40 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA 94960
9781601152343, $4.99

"Wild Animals of the United States" is a We Both Read Level 2 reading adventure for parent and child. Designed to encourage developing reading skills through a shared reading experience, the parent and child take turns reading pages specifically marked for each. The text has more difficult or key words introduced in bold lettering to make it more distinguishable to the child. "Wild Animals of the United States" includes pictures and text telling about wild deer, turkeys, raccoons, black bear, bison, cardinals, hummingbirds, cougars, bald eagles, chipmunks, mallards, red fox, bobcats, gray wolves, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, moose, and great horned owls. The illustrations are colorful, authentic, and appealing. "Wild Animals of the United States" is sure to stimulate further reading interest in the elementary school-age child, and will provide a valuable tool in the arsenal of parents and teachers alike.

Under the Snow
Melissa Stewart & Constance R. Bergum
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561454938, $16.95

Under the Snow is a quietly beautiful description of the winter existence of animals and fish, including ladybugs, snakes, voles and carp. While children get ready to go sledding and skating and make snowballs, animals, reptiles and insects prepare to wait out the winter in their own ways. Softly glowing watercolor illustrations add texture and depth to this soothing and educational book suitable for ages 4 and up.

Rainforest Romp
Tony Mitton & Ant Parker
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780753462980, $9.99,

Deftly written by Tony Mitton, "Rainforest Romp" is the latest children's book in the Amazing Animals Series. Filled with delightful rainbow illustrations by Ant Parker of appropriately costumed animal jungle explorers Rabbit, Mouse and Bird, "Rainforest Romp" delivers the punch of a megabite of information about South American Rainforest creatures and their habitat, all deliciously presented in simple rhyming couplets, memorable in themselves. children are encouraged to be extra observant by the last page, which shows and lists 9 extra rain forest animals and birds that were "hidden" in the jungle illustrations of the featured animals and birds. some of these include the emerald tree boa, the silky anteater, the golden cock-of-the-rock, the golden lion tamarin, and the hoatzin. These are in addition to the featured animals which include the jaguar, tapir, giant armadillo, toucans (they like to be in pairs), the sloth, an anaconda, howler monkeys and poisonous tree frogs. "Rainforest Romp" is a delightful, educational habitat book that will appeal to children age 4 and up.

The Dinosaur Shelf

The Pebble First Guide to Dinosaurs
Sally Lee
Capstone Press
PO Box 669, Mankato, Minnesota 56002
9781429632997, $13.99,

"The Pebble First Guide to Dinosaurs" is the latest addition to an educational series aimed at children of reading levels K-1. Designed in sturdy hardback, with each pair of pages picturing and briefly describing and illustrating a known dinosaur, along with world map models to show the dinosaur's range, "The Pebble First Guide to Dinosaurs" is sure to intrigue young palaeontologists and their parents, teachers, and librarians. Fourteen species of dinosaur are covered, with additional information in the short glossary, bibliography, and web site referral. "The Pebble First Guide to Dinosaurs" will whet the appetite of young researchers to learn more about this fascinating era of prehistory.

Dinosaurs ROAR, Butterflies SOAR!
Bob Barner, author and illustrator
Chronicle Books
680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
9780811856638, $16.99

"Dinosaurs ROAR, Butterflies SOAR!" is a colorful children's picture book that is all about prehistoric dinosaurs and butterflies and other plants and animals that existed up to 248 million years ago. The simple text is embedded in wildly bright, imaginative paper collage and pastel illustrations, which greatly enhance the story. "Dinosaurs ROAR, Butterflies SOAR!" is also full of fascinating facts about the age of dinosaurs. For example, dinosaurs are presented as "accidental farmers," who helped plants grow by walking on the soil, opening it up, and adding droppings that fertilized seeds to grow into new plants. There is also a collage-illustrated time line that shows the era of dinosaurs, 248 million years ago, the time of the first butterflies 130 million years ago, dinosaur extinction due to (perhaps) earth's collision with a large asteroid 65 million years ago, and the more recent appearance of the first whales (45 million years ago), cats (35 million years ago), dogs (25 million years ago), and humans (1.8 million years ago). "Dinosaurs ROAR, Butterflies SOAR!" also carefully describes the interdependence of a multitude of species of flora and fauna in ways a preschooler can grasp. The creative collages cement the knowledge into visible data attractive to small emerging and developing human brains. "Dinosaurs ROAR, Butterflies SOAR!" is an excellent choice for any child.

The Biography Shelf

The Great and Only Barnum
Candace Fleming
Schwartz Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, NY, NY 10019
9780375841972, $18.99,

THE GREAT AND ONLY BARNUM: THE TREMENDOUS, STUPENDOUS LIFE OF SHOWMAN P.T. BARNUM offers ages 8-12 a fine blend of black and white photos throughout and a survey of showman and founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus's life and times. Old circus posters, memorabilia, playbills and more accompany an exciting biography and history of a man with high goals and vision: over 140 pages packed with biography and insights.

The Boy Who Invented TV
Kathleen Krull
Alfred Knopf
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, NY, NY 10019
9780375845611, $16.99,

A teenage plowing a potato field in 1920 had an idea of a way to 'make pictures fly through the air' - and eight years later he made his idea a reality and invented television. THE BOY WHO INVENTED TV: THE STORY OF PHILO FARNSWORTH offers large print and color drawings to explore the little-known story of Philo Farnsworth's childhood obsession with machines and electricity in a vivid guide perfect for young picturebook enthusiasts.

Out of Slavery: The Journey to Amazing Grace
Linda Granfield & Janet Wilson
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, ON Canada M5A 2P9
9780887769153, $15.95

Deftly written by Linda Granfield, "Out of Slavery: The Journey to Amazing Grace" is the true story of John Newton, former slave trader and ship's captain who found redemption during a storm in 1748, when his slave ship, the Greyhound, was threatened with destruction. John Newton prayed for salvation and he promised that if spared, he would renounce the lucrative business of slave trade forever. When his prayers were answered he went on to fight slavery, becoming an Abolitionist, and finally, he wrote the beautiful song, "Amazing Grace." "Out of Slavery" is a meticulously researched nonfiction account of an amazing man's experiences during a time of great change and social upheaval. It is tastefully illustrated by the paintings Janet Wilson in full color depicting some of the historical events described. One of the most moving parts of the book comes at the end in quoting his epitaph: "John Newton, Clerk,/ Once an infidel and libertine,/ A servant of slaves in Africa,? Was by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour/ Jesus Christ,/ Preserved, restored, pardoned,/ And appointed to preach the faith he/ Had long laboured to destroy..." "Out of Slavery" is recommended for all ages above 6.

The Secret of Saint Nicholas
Ellen Nibali, author
Lon Eric Craven, illustrator
Fairland Books
PO Box 63, West Friendship, Maryland 21794
9780981815404, $16.95 410-531-5038

"The Secret of St. Nicholas" is a children's biography of the famous St. Nicholas, 4th century Christian adventurer and canonized saint, once bishop of Myra (now part of Turkey). The intriguing tale of the Nicholas' daring and anonymous effort to rescue three young women from being sold into slavery by their greedy, wastrel father is carefully retold, based on reliable 10th century resources. The character of Nicholas emerges strong and fine, contrasting against his quiet fisherman beginnings of occupation. Full color illustrations help children to envision the long-ago life and hardships that Nicholas knew and endured. "The Secret of St. Nicholas" will teach children ages 7 and up about the historical beginnings of today's Santa Claus in a way that will enchant as well as educate.

The Fiction Shelf

Welcome to La Beaux Plantation
Ami D'nae
Treble Heart Books
1284 Overlook Drive, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635
9781932695977 $11.95

When you have a fresh start, friendship comes from the oddest places. "Welcome to the La Beaux Plantation" is a young adult novel that tells the story of Elizabeth Hausman as her life falls apart and she is forced to piece it back together. New to a Louisiana plantation, she struggles to find her place, and the other person she can call a friend seems to be a young girl called Kasi, who seems to come from nowhere. "Welcome to the La Beaux Plantation" is a charming read that'll please many young readers.
Liane Shaw
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781897187623 $11.95,

'There's no such thing as too thin' is the dogma that many young girls unfortunately believe. "" is a story that many teenage girls face. Maddie believes that in order to be truly beautiful, she must lose more weight. When her family tries to intervene, she's baffled as she doesn't understand it as a problem. A book aimed at young adults with a positive message, "" will hopefully get through the heads of troubled young women.

Running with Angels
Robbie Haden with Jennifer Farmer
Ladybug Press
16964 Columbia River Drive, Sonora, CA 95370-9111
1889409413 $12.95

What causes a child to run away from home? "Running with Angels" is a fictional account of one Haley-Jo Bodine, a teenager troubled like many as she leaves home. Why did she do such drastic action? What does she do to survive? Will she ever return home? "Running with Angels" is a fine exploration of the problem of teenage runaways, done in a moral fable style, highly recommended.

Growing Up
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533161324, $8.95,

Temporary doesn't mean it's not worth paying attention to. "Growing Up" is a story aimed at young readers who are living with relatives or friends on a temporary basis and seeks to encourage them not to think of themselves as a liability or just someone who's going to be gone soon, but instead a family member or friend that can have an impact just as any other. With a simple and profound message for readers, "Growing Up" is a treasure that many young readers will be inspired by.

Bait for Lunch
K. A. Okagaki, author
Ryan Shaw, illustrator
4RV publishing
2324 PO Box 6482, Edmond, OK 73083
9780981868585, $11.99,

"Bait for Lunch" is an amusing story about a boy named Gilroy whose visiting grandfather wants him to eat octopus for dinner! And miso soup with tofu for breakfast! And squid for lunch! Not to mention the embarrassment of bringing fried fish eyeballs to school for snack! Gilroy decides to take matters into his own hands. With his savings, he orders breakfast pizza, with huevos, bacon, and salsa. As his grandfather said to him, he encourages, "You have to try new foods now and then. You have to keep an open mind. It's good for you." "Bait for Lunch" has delectable, droll illustrations. It will be devoured by second-graders everywhere.

557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Em is an intellectual in the body of a supermodel and she can't imagine anything worse - until her mother goes missing, her brother demands answers, and a British heartthrob writes a winning song about her. Add the complexities of school and you have a winning, complex story of a beautiful, intelligent girl perfect for young adult leisure reading audiences, and deserving of ongoing recommendation in Meg Cabot's BEING NIKKI (0545040566, $16.99). Lois Duncan's NEWS FOR DOGS (0545108535, $16.99) comes from the author of HOTEL FOR DOGS and continues the story of Andi and her brother, whose new project - publishing a newspaper for dogs - is a neighborhood hit. When they post it online, a dognapper challenges their lives in this winning, fun sequel. Book 4 of the 39 Clues, BEYOND THE GRAVE (0545060443, $12.99), tells of teen siblings who rush off to Egypt on the hunt for 39 Clues that lead to power - but when they arrive they find a message from their dead grandmother. This joins others in the series of treasure hunt/supernatural blends that come with game cards inside - perhaps not a good library lend, but excellent for a leisure reading home choice. Blake Nelson's DESTROY ALL CARS (0545104742, $17.99) tells of James, who likes to rail against America's consumer culture and his ex-girlfriend who wants to just build more bike paths. It's as much about James' evolving, controversial choices with his girlfriend as it is about his environmental concerns in this moving saga. Nahoko Uehashi's MORIBITO II: GUARDIAN OF THE DARKNESS (0545102952, $17.99) tells of an evil King Rogsam who tries to kill Balsa as a young child. She's escaped eight assassins and her own land: now she returns to her native country of Kanbal to become further immersed in politics that threatens the life of her closest friend. Mystery and danger mark a novel packed with twists and turns. Aimee Friedman's SEA CHANGE (0439922283, $16.99) tells of teen Miranda Merchant, who escapes a hot summer in New York City to go to an island steeped in legend and more. When she discovers a mysterious boy who is hiding a unique secret, she finds her life changed by romance and intrigue in this satisfying fantasy. Fans of the prior 'Icemark Chronicles' will relish Stuart Hill's LAST BATTLE OF THE ICEMARK (0545093295, $18.99), an excellent survey of Medea's exile to Darkness and a period of peace for the land of Icemark - until Medea returns anew, allied with an evil partner and determined to exact revenge upon the land. Thirrin must focus her military powers on further threats to her kingdom in this conclusion to the Icemark trilogy, recommended for prior owners of the series. Holly Lisle's MOON & SUN: THE SILVER DOOR (0545000149, $17.99) tells of the Sunrider who is prophesied to unite the magics of Sun and Moon for the good of all. Genna is the chosen Sunrider and must learn the old magics to she can end the war between slaves and masters - but it's not until she crosses both worlds, that she finds the power and courage to harness her real potential in this fine fantasy adventure.

Knopf/Random House

Many accounts of 9/11 have been written from adult experience and perspective: David Levithan's Love is the Higher Law (9780375834684, $15.99) comes from a teen's view and provides the lives of three teens altered forever by events of that day. A gripping, realistic account comes to life in a title highly recommended for any contemporary teen collection. Gary Paulsen's NOTES FROM THE DOG (9780385738453, $15.99) tells of teen Finn, a loner living with his father and his dog Dylan. His growing friendship with a 20-year-old girl next door and his involvement with her struggles with breast cancer make for an unusual coming of age story: poignant, funny and different. Catherine Ryan Hyde's DIARY OF A WITNESS (9780375856846, $16.99) provides a fine saga in telling of Will and his group of friends, who are always in conflict with the jocks of the school. Will is the protagonist's only friend - until one day when everything changes. A fine coming of age story. John Feinstein's CHANGE-UP: MYSTERY AT THE WORLD SERIES (9780375856365, $16.99) tells of one Norbert, a late call-up for an underdog team in the World Series who is a success. Teen reporters Stevie and Susan have scored their first in-depth interview with him - and find themselves charmed by Doyle. When the conflicting stories begin their interview becomes an investigation into the World Series events that reveals some dangerous truths from behind the scenes. Susannah Appelbaum's THE POISONS OF CAUX: THE HOLLOW BETTLE (9780375851735, $16.99) tells of eleven-year-old ivy Manx, who lives in the kingdom of Caux where evil King Nightshade rules and the land is poison or be poisoned. Ivy's beloved uncle and protector has vanished leaving her with a crow and an inept taster who sleeps - it's time for her to find him in a dangerous journey across a deadly land. A powerful fantasy evolves. Young adult fantasy enthusiasts with sold reading skills will also relish Victoria Laurie's ORACLES OF DELPHI KEEP (9780385735728, $16.99), telling of a castle's old keep which is an orphanage for lost and parentless children. Delphi Keep has seen many kids come and go and Ian and sister Theodosia are happy to be there - until one day their explorations uncover a mysterious silver box containing a three-thousand-year-old prophecy that their world will change. Overnight Delphi Keep changes and it's up to Ian and Theo to find the clues to thwarting evil in this fine fantasy. Donny Bailey Seagraves' GONE FROM THESE WOODS (9780385736299, $15.99) tells of pre-teen Daniel whose uncle dies during a rabbit hunting trip in the woods. Daniel tries to survive the loss of his role model and best friend - and must find a way to go on in this poignant saga.

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist Book 1: The Flight of the Phoenix
R.L. LaFevers
Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
9780547238654, $16.00

THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX represents Book 1 of Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, a premise that opens with a ten-year-old whose parents have been lost at sea. He's taken in by a distant cousin who is the last remaining 'beastologist' - and begins his first expedition to Arabia, where the world's only phoenix is preparing to lay its new egg. Can Nathaniel avert disaster? Elementary-level readers will find this a winner.

Jane in Bloom
Deborah Lytton
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780525420781, $16.99,

Jane's big sister Lizzie has always been the center of attention and her eating disorder has always had the family on edge. But when Lizzie's habits become fatal, Jane discovers that the only thing worse than living in her older sister's shadow is living without her. Her efforts to blossom in the midst of tragedy make for an outstanding story.

The Teashop Girls
Laura Schaefer
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
1416967931, $15.99,

Teashop girls are best friends forever, tea is held weekly no matter what, and all tea and scones must be split equally: that's the rules of a group of best friends who have been hanging out since elementary school at the Steeping Leaf Teashop. But with eighth grade ending the girls find themselves going in different directions and Annie feels left out. Her job as a barista at the Leaf leads her to new groups and experiences - until an eviction notice threatens her job. A fine coming of age tale evolves.

The Photography Shelf

It's a Snap!
Monica Kulling
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor, Toronto, ON M5A 2P9
9780887768811, $17.95

IT'S A SNAP! GEORGE EASTMAN'S FIRST PHOTOGRAPH receives illustrations by Bill Slavin as it tells of George's life and new hobby of photography back in 1877, when photography was more difficult and bulky. George changed the nature of photography and invented film the Brownie camera and the foundations of modern photography: this fine easy survey will educate and delight picturebook nonfiction readers in grades 2-3.

The American History Shelf

John Brown
John Hendrix
Harry Abrams
115 W. 18th St., New York NY 10011
9780810937987, $18.95,

JOHN BROWN: HIS FIGHT FOR FREEDOM tells of a man who would stop at nothing to end slavery, backing ideals with actions and taking center stage as one of the most well-known white abolitionists in history. Based on new scholarly findings, JOHN BROWN: HIS FIGHT FOR FREEDOM offers learners in grades 3-4 an excellent survey.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

40 Exchange Place #1308, New York NY 10005

Two full-color graphic novels revolving around rat Geronimo Stilton offer fun fictional adventures especially recommended for reluctant readers who need plenty of excitement and graphic stimulation. THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA (9781597071581, $9.95) has Geronimo facing his worst enemies: the pirate cats, who have discovered how to time travel and change history. THE SECRET OF THE SPHINX (9781597071598, $9.95) continues the saga: here the cats are trying to change the face of the Great Sphinx into a cat's face. Swift action and adventure make for outstanding fun titles.

Books in Series

My School in the Rain Forest:
Margaret Ruurs
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590786017, $17.95,

"My School in the Rain Forest" (part of the Boyds Mills Press 'How Children Attend School Around the World' series) is a nonfiction hardcover book with color photos that teaches students age 7-9 about children going to school all over the world. There are pictures and chapters about children in school in Scotland, Egypt, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia, Guatemala, Kenya, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Australia, and the United States. A handy map in the introduction shows where all these children live on the globe. Each country has an informative insert that gives pertinent data such as the country's capital, estimated population, flag, and description of its past and present, plus languages spoken in the country. children travel in many different ways to attend their schools. Some go by boat, some even attend school on a ship. Others walk, or attend the School of the Air or virtual school on computer. Some go to school in a jungle, or under a tree. All children learn, and learning in different settings and different languages is a fascinating subject. "My School in the Rainforest" will appeal to children age 7-9.

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

Children can be successfully introduced to Renaissance history, accomplishments, discoveries, and influential persons through 'Renaissance World', an outstandingly produced four volume series from the Crabtree Publishing Company for young readers in grades 5 to 8. Superbly produced, the four volumes comprising this informed and informative series includes "The Renaissance in Europe"; "Painting in the Renaissance"; "Exploration in the Renaissance"; and "Science in the Renaissance". Each individual 32-page title is enhanced with full-color photography and illustrations, a glossary, an index, 'Guided Reading Levels', and a reinforced library binding. Although available in a paperback edition (9780778746102, $39.80 List/$34.00 Library), school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the hardback edition (9780778745907, $106.40 List/$79.80 Library) for the benefit of their students and young patrons.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Marshall Cavendish's book sets are top picks for elementary-level libraries and these new releases are especially recommended as staples for any serious collection, promising lasting reference and relevance. Stuart Baker's 'Climate Change' titles ($19.95 each) provide 32 pages each including an index, sidebars of information, modern color photos and graphs, and more. Together the set offers exact regional applications in TEMPERATE ZONES (9780761444411), ANTARCTIC (9780761444381), TROPICS (9780761444404), and THE ARCTIC (9780761444374). Paul Mason's series 'How Big is Your Footprint?' ($19.95 each) provides a solid set of assessments kids can use to determine how their habits and desires affect the greater environment. 32 pages each offer self-assessment tools and colorful photos for ENERGY (9780761444114), TRAVEL (9780761444152), SHOPPING (9780761444145), FOOD (9780761444138), CLOTHING (9780761444107) and WATER (9780761444176). Robin Birch's 'Weather and Climate' guides offer detailed weather insights and analysis with each book holding 32 pages of science and sidebars of 'weather report' information to accompany colorful illustrations. EXTREME WEATHER (9780761444688), HOW WEATHER WORKS (9780761444664), LIVING WITH WEATHER (9780761444657), WATCHING WEATHER (9780761444701), CLIMATE CHANGE (9780761444732) and EARTH'S CLIMATE (9780761444718) all provide excellent detailed and lively insights even lending to leisure browsers attracted to the drama of science. Louise Park and Timothy Love's 'Ancient and Medieval People' ($19.95 each) is a cut above others in providing 32 pages of history for a younger audience than most would reach and in offering a multi-volume focus on different regions of the world. THE SCANDINAVIAN VIKINGS (9780761444459), MEDIEVAL KNIGHTS (9780761444442), PHARAOHS' ARMIES (9780761444510), ROMAN GLADIATORS (9780761444435), SPARTAN HOPLITES (9780761444497) and THE JAPANESE SAMURAI (9780761444480) all profile warriors of history, providing timelines of events, explanations of ancient words, maps and diagrams, and plenty of color. Julie Richards' 'Energy Choices' ($19.95 each) provides a simple set of 32-page books surveying the basics of different energy sources. WIND ENERGY (9780761444305), FOSSIL FUELS (9780761444343), NUCLEAR ENERGY (9780761444336), SOLAR ENERGY (9780761444275), BIOFUELS (9780761444329) and WATER ENERGY (9780761444299) each provide large print and photos for grades 1-3. Melissa Stewart's 'The Gross and Goofy Body' ($20.95 each) enlivens physiology for kids, offering humorous yet scientific surveys of body functions in just under 50 pages each. Kids in grades 2-4 will find appealing and fun such titles as IT'S SPIT-ACULAR! THE SECRETS OF SALIVA (9780761441632), UP YOUR NOSE! THE SECRETS OF SCHNOZES AND SNOUTS (9780761441700), THE EYES HAVE IT: THE SECRETS OF EYES AND SEEING (9780761441670), NOW HEAR THIS! THE SECRETS OF EARS AND HEARING (9780761441618), PUMP IT UP! THE SECRETS OF THE HEART AND BLOOD (9780761441649) and BLASTS OF GAS: SECRETS OF BREATHING, BURPING, AND PASSING GAS (9780761441557). Each blends photos with fun cartoons and photos of kids, along with plenty of basic physiology. Renee C. Rebman's CATS (9780761439752, $20.95) joins others in the 'Animalsanimals' series, offering just under 50 pages of detail about cats. From a history of cat and human involvement to behaviors and life cycles, CATS pairs fine color photos with excellent analysis. Sneed B. Collard III's 'American Heroes' series ($20.95) expands with two new recommendations in biography coverage for grades 2-4: CESAR CHAVEZ: THE FARM WORKER'S' BEST FRIEND (9780761440550) and JACOB LAWRENCE: A PAINTER'S STORY (9780761440581). Each offers a little over 40 pages of biographical information and social insights, including black and white photos. All are top picks.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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