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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 21, Number 10 October 2011 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Halloween Shelf Science Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Dance Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Christian Shelf Mythology Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Native American Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Biography Shelf
Judaic Shelf Fiction Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
ABC Shelf Picturebook Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Activity Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

My Mom and Dad Are Getting a Divorce!
Dr. Florence Bienenfeld, author
Art Scott, illustrator (publicity)
1st Books Library
1663 Liberty Dr., Bloomington IN 47404-5161
9781403349996 $11.95

With the modern divorce rate approaching 50 percent among first marriages, My Mom and Dad Are Getting a Divorce! is an absolutely relevant and invaluable title. Dr. Florence Bienefeld draws upon her experience as a family counselor to create a book that children ages 4-12 can readily grasp. Black-and-white cartoon-like images trace a conversation between three young children as they talk about difficult family situations. "They told me they're sorry about the divorce. They wish we could all live together, but we can't!" My Mom and Dad Are Getting a Divorce! is an absolutely invaluable resource for parents as well as children, because its extensive appendices teach parents how children view custody disputes, guidelines that divorcing parents should follow, how mediation can help, and how to create a closer relationship with one's child. "Mediation encourages the disputants to resolve the issues rather than having the court decide for them. The voluntary choice of both parents to work together is what mediation relies upon. Since both parents actively participate in mediation, the settlement reached is often better suited to meet the family's needs than an order handed down by a judge from the bench." My Mom and Dad Are Getting a Divorce!" tackles tough concepts and problems in a down-to-earth accessible manner, and is highly recommended.

Social Rules for Kids
Susan Diamond
AAPC Publishing
PO Box 23173, Shawnee Mission, KS 66283-0173
9781934575840, $19.95,

The world functions on many complex rules. No one is given a rulebook. "Social Rules for Kids: The Top 100 Social Rules Kids Need to Succeed" is a guide for parents and kids to help them understand the many complexities of social situations and make the most of them accordingly. Offering 100 base pieces of advice ad tricks to avoiding social faux pas, "Social Rules for Kids" is a strong pick for anyone who believes their kid is not embracing social situations as quickly as they should.

The Halloween Shelf

The House in Windward Leaves
Katherine L. Holmes
Couchgrass Books
PO Box 3481, Duluth, MN 55812
9780615507170, $9.95,

When fantasy becomes reality, everything grows quite confusing. "The House in Windward Leaves" tells the story of a mural making a group of children's Halloween costumes turn real. Sadie must assist her friends in this world of fantasy to embrace their dreams yet still somehow get home through it all. "The House in Windward Leaves" is a thrilling tale of young adult fiction, highly recommended.

Maxwell's Ghosts: Campfire Stories for Kids
Gary W. Fehring
North Star Press of St. Cloud
P.O. Box 451, St. Cloud, MN 56302
9780878394432 $9.95

"Maxwell's Ghosts" is a brief book of chapter campfire ghost stories especially for kids. Maxwell is an experienced camper who is not afraid to take a second look at the ghosts he encounters in his camping. Sure enough, most ghost stories which can be enjoyed around a spooky dark campfire can also be illuminated by a little daylight, which tends to take down the fear factor. Maxwell is perfectly willing to talk to ghosts, but he is no unreasonable in refusing to cooperate with their scare tactics. The humor of "Maxwell's Ghosts" is its strongest selling point, along with charming dialogue and trendy drawings. "Maxwell's Ghosts" is sort of a reverse appeal book for kids 10 and older. Instead of reading it to become more scared, kids will find they are interested in being in control of their fear and enjoying the experience. Meanwhile, pull up a marshmallow toasting stick along with a mummy, a dinosaur, a vampire, or what have you, and enjoy a night of "Maxwell's Ghosts."

One Wish for Winifred Witch
Cheri L. Hallwood, author
Patricia M. Rose, illustrator
Forever Young Publishers
PO Box 216, Niles, Michigan 49120
9780977442225 $17.99

The winner of a Mom's Choice award for excellence, One Wish for Winifred Witch is a rhyming children's picturebook about a little witch with a big problem - she's afraid of the dark! Her fear just might keep her from going out on Halloween - what to do? Winnifred asks the wise Aunt Broomhilda for help. "'You see Winifred... / Being afraid of the dark / Doesn't just happen to You. / It happens sometimes / to Big Witches too.' // Then a lantern of Fireflies / She took from a shelf / And told Winifred she used it / Sometimes for herself." A charming, Halloween-themed picturebook, One Wish for Winifred Witch is highly recommended.

Jackula the Vampire Dog
Ian Punnett, author
D.C. Ice
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101
Edina, MN 55439
9781592984251 $16.95

Jackula the Vampire Dog is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young girl who loses her beloved pet puppy when an aggressive cat chased it into traffic and it was hit by a car. In her grief, she stumbles across a new, mysterious pet - Jackula the Vampire Dog! The vet calls him a "Transylvanian Terrier"; he has black wings and can float; and he feeds on the blood of unfortunate squirrels. "I hate to end my story / on something so gory / but remember that cat, / living near? // I'm not saying jack did it - / and I'm not saying he didn't - / but I haven't seen that cat / in a year!" The spooky yet playful atmosphere makes Jackula the Vampire Dog an excellent pick for Halloween-themed picturebook collections!

The Science Shelf

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Strikingly True
Ripley Publishing
7576 Kingspointe Parkway, Suite 188, Orlando, FL 32819
9781609910006 $28.95

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Strikingly True is a vast, fantastic compilation of bizarre, wacky, and amazing facts - from incredible sports records to the innovation showcase that was the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair, to the incredible story with vintage photographs of Clarence C. "Major Mite" Howerton, billed the smallest man in the world since he stood 26 inches tall and weighed scarcely 20 pounds when he was 20 years old. Although ideal for young adults, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Strikingly True will prove irresistibly fascinating to readers of all ages, and is especially recommended to school and public library collections seeking to interest young readers in nonfiction.

The Cookbook Shelf

Barbara Beery's Pink Princess Party Cookbook
Zac Williams, photography
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781442412316 $15.99 1-866-506-1949

"Barbara Beery's Pink Princess Party Cookbook" is an enchanting princess party cookbook for girls age 7 and up that contains specific theme party plans and menus for 6 special pink princess parties, including special recipes for suitable confections, drinks, favors and decorations appropriate to the theme of the party. Included are a Snowflake Princess Party, a Spa Princess party, a Garden Fairy Princess Party, a Mermaid Princess party, an Enchanted Pony Princess Party, and a Pink Princess party. Measurements in recipes are standard, with a metric conversion chart for liquid and dry measures on the final page. Incredible color fairytale photos of each party's table, feast, and accessories are featured prominently. Recipes are simple, with easily accessible ingredients. An example of a great theme recipe is the Tea-By The Sea Sandwiches for the Mermaid Princess Party, with sea -shaped sandwich cutouts and tasteful tuna salad filling with appropriate red, green, and yellow pieces for garnish. This party menu also features charming Magic Wand Starfish Cookies (Molasses starfish shaped cookies on decorated sticks), Tropical Island Pudding Pops, and Mermaid Castle party Punch, made with Berry-Blue Kool-Aid Twists, pineapple coconut juice, lemon-lime soda, and vanilla ice cream. A suggested activity is using Rainbow Fish Face Paints, recipe also included. If a princess features in your circle of friends or family, "Barbara Beery's Pink Princess Party Cookbook" is sure to present a delightful array of fun theme choices. Many recipes can be prepared by children 7 and older with light adult supervision.

The Dance Shelf

Carla and Leo's World of Dance
Agatha Relota, author
Thierry Perez, illustrator
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500515600 $19.95

Following ten-year-old Carla and Leo as they discover a magical dance school, Carla and Leo's World of Dance introduces young people to an eclectic variety of beautiful dances created around the world, from America to the Caribbean, Brazil, Argentina and more. Basic information on the history of each dance as well basics for trying them fill the pages of this upbeat guide with stark, sweeping illustrations. "The merengue is one of the easiest Latin dances to learn. You move your knees left, right, left, right while taking side-steps. This will make your hips move left and right. Let's put on some music." A superb choice for school and library collections seeking to broaden their range of their source material, Carla and Leo's World of Dance is highly recommended.

The Bilingual Shelf

Jazz Fly 2, The Jungle Pachanga, book and audio CD
Matthew Gollub, author, performer
Karen Henke, illustrator
Tortuga Press
2777 Yulupa Avenue, Suite 181
Santa Rosa, CA 95405
9781889910444 $17.95

A dazzling, award-winning, bilingual celebration of Spanish, English, Latin rhythms, and jazz is what summarizes the double whammy impact of the book CD combo by Matthew Golub and Karen Henke, "Jazz Fly 2." The accompanying CD of Intro, Jazz Fly 2, and Outro, performed by Matthew Gollub on drums, with John Santos, percussion, Steve Webber, bass, Cliff Zyskowski, piano, and Ylonda Nickell, saxophone, is a hot jazz combo production with irresistible beat and lively Latin tunes and lines. The accompanying book is vibrantly illustrated with funny insect and animal characters and American jazz text in green and Spanish text in pink to highlight for learning. Children will adore this sound and this book. Even the inside of front and back covers are filled with green fly-illustrated pink Spanish vocabulary words or expressions with English translations. The song and story are both exciting and the ending is surprising! Hooray for Tortuga Press for producing this creative cultural collaboration of talented artists to jumpstart multicultural celebration and learning for kids of all ages.

I See the Sun in Afghanistan
Dedie King, author
Judith Inglese, illustrator
Satya House Publications
P.O. Box 122, Hardwick, Massachusetts 01037
9780981872087 $12.95

"I See the Sun in Afghanistan" is the third book in an award-winning series titled "I See the Sun," written especially to inform children age 5 and up about life for children in other countries. Written in English and Dari, also known as Afghan Farsi, "I See the Sun in Afghanistan" is a story about an ordinary day in the life of Habiba, a girl whose loving family lives in Bamiyan, a relatively safe location in central Afghanistan. Habiba wakes up, fetches water, eats breakfast, and goes to school in the morning. In the afternoon she watches sheep for her younger brother, Muhammad while he goes to school. Habiba's uncle is a retired soldier who must use a wheelchair because of the loss of his legs. Her father and mother decide to take in her cousins and their family to heir small house because their house has been destroyed by the war. Habiba's day reflects a life that has experiences of both fear and loss as well as hope and goodness. "I See the Sun in Afghanistan" is enhanced by creative colorful collage illustrations that combine photo snips and fabrics with drawn and painted art. "I See the Sun in Afghanistan" is a masterful culture-introduction book, with carefully researched details and vocabulary glossary as well as authentically translated Farsi text, which reads from right to left.

The Christian Shelf

The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect
Jan & Mike Berenstain
5300 Patterson Avenue SE, Grand Rapid, MI 49530
9780310720867 $3.99 (616) 698-3439

"The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect" is a recent release in the Living Lights series which aims to help children (age 16 and under) learn how God wants them to live every day. A homily on Exodus 20:12, "Show Some Respect" follows the telling misadventures of Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear along with Grizzly Gramps and Gran. The family decides to go on a picnic together, but Brother and Sister Bear seem to be determined to display rude, discourteous behavior to the elder Bears. The interesting twist is, both the younger and the middle generation need to learn to show some respect for their elders. When Gramps calls Papa Bear "Sonny" both Brother and Sister Bear need to do some rethinking to picture their adult father as a child. After a few relevant Bible quotations about respecting your elders by Gramps, everyone decides to work on their manners together, and Gramps is allowed to pick the picnic spot. At the end of the book is a list of learning questions and related activities. The colorful cartoon Berenstain Bears are the ideal medium to convey a faithful lesson about learning to show respect for one another, regardless of our age.

The Mythology Shelf

Greek Mythology for Teens
Zachary Hamby
Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813
Waco, TX 76714-8813
9781593637170 $19.95

Greek Mythology for Teens is an educational resource to help instructors teach young adults about the ancient stories of Greece, and the connections between Greek mythology and modern culture. Greek Mythology for Teens includes not only summaries of classic fables, but also means for students to become engaged with the material: brief read-aloud sketches acting out the myths, activities, discussion questions, exercises, and more. Black-and-white illustrations enhance this excellent and highly recommended learning tool.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Sir Seth Thistlewaite and the Kingdom of the Caves, Book Two
Richard Thake, author
Vince Chui, illustrator
Publishers Group West, Raincoast Books
Owlkids Books Inc.
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Suite 400, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 2Z2
9781926818955 $7.95 (paperback) 800-663-5714

"Sir Seth Thistlewaite and the Kingdom of the Caves" is a rocketing, riveting, rollicking middle grade adventure novelette with great appeal for young men. Second in a series, "Kingdom of Caves" continues the tongue twisting adventures of 10 year old knights and buddies, Seth Thistlewaite and Ollie Everghettz. Sir Seth and Sir Ollie are investigating the mysterious source of a lowering of the pond water level when they discover a plot masterminded by the evil Ooz and his dino Grek to take hostage (or worse) the underground Queendom of Claire. Many examples of sidesplitting double entendres, puns, alliterations, and other forms of creative, wacky wordcraft stud this magical adventure series, along with undying humor. Suspense is sharpened by decorative, fashionable black and white comic illustrations, in recognizable video game character style. Will the mighty Knights of Right and Honor prevail? Only the readers will know for sure, and as we all know, readers are winners.

Taking Control
Jo Ramsey
Jupiter Storm
PO Box 191, Grimes, IA 50111
9780983419990, $13.95,

The call of a healer cannot be simply silenced. "Taking Control" follows Jonah, a young man with a passion for yoga and its disciplines, both mundane and fantastic. As a girl at his school is constantly abused from sources she will not admit, Jonah tries to reach out while facing an entity that has ill intents for the universe. As he tries to heal and play his hand in stopping the entity, he also has to deal with high school which can be all the more difficult. "Taking Control" is a fine blend of young adult and new age fantasy, highly recommended.

The Death of the Good Wizard
Wim Coleman & Pat Perrin
Red Monocle 2
9902 Crystal Ct. #107, Laredo, TX 78045-6378
9781935178040, $6.95,

A dragon might be out of the league of people who can't even get their driver's licenses yet. "The Death of the Good Wizard" follows middle school students Gregory and Yolanda as they find the tasks of maintaining reality between their own world and the world of Arthurian legend in their hands. With this daunting task ahead of them, they must act fast and act effectively for the good of both worlds, but avoiding being charbroiled by a dragon will prove very difficult. "The Death of the Good Wizard" is a riveting young adult fantasy read, very much recommended.

Rex Riders
J. P. Carlson, author
Jim Calafiore, illustrator
Monstrosities Inc.
PO Box 592, N. Bellmore, NY 11710-0592
9780982579633, $16.95,

Cowboys are equipped to deal with horses, not dinosaurs. "Rex Riders" follows young Zeke, a fourteen year old living on his uncle's ranch. Expecting a rustic upbringing, he gets a whole world thrown at him, a prehistoric world with an unusual stranger with it. Blending the genres of western and prehistoric, "Rex Riders" proves highly entertaining for readers of any age with a love for either, highly recommended.

The Wayfaring Dolphin
E. J. Stewart
Leaf and Vine Books
387 Ivy Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
9780557337019, $16.95,

Taking up the ancient duty, King Herald has his work cut out for him. "The Wayfaring Dolphin" is a fantasy adventure for younger readers by E. J. Stewart. As Herald faces many dangers with his knights, he finds the greatest of challenges lie in him alone. "The Wayfaring Dolphin" is a fun and hard to put down read of adventure.

Golden Spark
John Royce
Micron Press
71 Prince Street, Suite #35, Boston, MA 02113
9780972412162, $12.95,

Trapped in time, all she has is her will and her equine knowledge to try to guide her home. "The Golden Spark: The Legend of the Great Horse" is the second book in John Royce's series following a young teenage girl is lost in the Renaissance and tries to put it all together to find her way home. With a good focus on history and horses, "The Golden Spark" is a fun and enjoyable read, highly recommended.

The Native American Shelf

Lucy's Dance
Deb Vanasse, author
Nancy E. Slagle, illustrator
Snowy Owl Books
University of Alaska Press
P.O. Box 756240, Fairbanks, AK 99775
9781602231269 $10.95

"Lucy's Dance" is a beautiful Yup'ik illustrated story about a girl who decides to honor her grandfather, or Ap'a, with a beginner's version of a traditional dance. Everyone else is giving more modern or useful gifts, and Lucy worries that her tiny package of memories in the form of a tuft of fur, from Grandpa's favorite dog, a bit of tundra cotton from the bluffs where Ap'a had taken the family camping, and a tip of moose antler, from a moose provided by Ap'a to feed the family one winter. Out of these symbols of appreciation for past love and caring, Lucy follows in the traditional dance movements begun by her grandfather, restoring a long lost sacred tradition to both Ap'a and the whole village. Based on the Yup'ik dance traditions of a village called Tapraq, or Stebbins, along the Alaskan coast of Norton's Sound, "Lucy's Dance" celebrates the revival and reintegration of traditional Yup'ik dancing customs, practice and traditions. What was thought to be irretrievably lost is being restored, both to a culture, a nation, and the larger spirit world. "Lucy's Dance" is impeccably researched and beautifully illustrated with colored paintings of Yup'ik village life.

Creek History and Culture
Native American Library Series
Helen Dwyer and Amy M. Stone
Gareth Stevens
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781433959622 $31.95

"Creek History and Culture" is a middle school level resource book on the Creek Nation, in the Native American Library Series. Color photos illustrate chapters on land and origins, history, traditional way of life, Muscogee life today, and a living culture are presented along with accompanying maps, charts, timeline, glossary, and list of resources, plus suggested activities under Things to Think About and Do. An excellent Native American history resource, "Creek History and Culture" includes relevant information about the original Native American immigrants in North America, the ancestors of the Muscogee, the Muscogee language, and history of their removal and land loss, the Trail of Tears, and the Muscogee Civil War of 1813-1814. Other fascinating details of Creek/Muscogee history fill these concise but informative pages that will educate and inform students age 10 and up. Also recommended from this series are the following titles ($31.95 each): "Blackfoot History and Culture (ISBN 9781433959547)" by Helen Dwyer and Mary Stout, "Cherokee History and Culture (ISBN 9781433959585)" by Helen Dwyer and D. L. Birchfield, "Shoshone History and Culture (ISBN 9781433959745)" by Helen Dwyer and Mary Stout, "Inuit History and culture (ISBN 9781433959707)" by Helen Dwyer and Michael Burgan, and "Hopi History and Culture (ISBN 9781433959660)" by Helen Dwyer and Mary Stout.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Undersea Creatures
Kingfisher Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
9780753465691 $16.99

Astonishing, full-color photography illustrates Undersea Creatures, an educational book designed to teach young people in middle school and up about the amazing fish, mammals, invertebrates and much more. Two-page spreads of fascinating facts about creatures ranging from horseshoe crabs to great white sharks, flying fish, killer whales and much more fill this eye-opening book that even categorizes animals with bar graph ratings for their intelligence, strength, speed, etc. Undersea Creatures is a great way to stimulate young people's interest in the wonders of the natural world, and highly recommended especially for school and public library children's collections.

Elizabeth W. Davidson, author
Michael Hagelberg, illustrator
Five Star Publications Inc.
PO Box 6698
Chandler, AZ 85246-6698
9781589850255 $15.95

Cheery: The True Adventures of a Chiricahua Leopard Frog is more than a colorful children's picturebook; it tells the story of a Chiricahua Leopard Frog, a species threatened with extinction, in its own words. These frogs have suffered a severe population decline due to loss of habitat, diseases, and invasive predators such as crayfish or bullfrogs. A detailed author's note gives more background on these animals and human efforts to save them from extinction: "The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the US Department of the Interior have developed a recovery plan for these frogs that includes encouraging landowners to maintain ponds where they live, removal of introduced predators, and - as told in the story - captive breeding at zoos and parks with the goal of returning the frogs to safe habitats in the future." The bright illustrations enhance this heartwarming story, ideal for getting young people interested in the plight of vanishing amphibians.

The Biography Shelf

J.R.R. Tolkien
Alexandra Wallner, author
John Wallner, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
9780823419517 $17.95

J.R.R. Tolkien is a captivating picturebook biography of one of the most widely beloved fantasy authors of all time. The text, which is sufficiently advanced to be suitable for young people who are just about ready to start reading chapter books, details the major events of Tolkien's life including the wars he he survived and his efforts to put food on the table for his family. His creation of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" was a long, involved process that entailed a great deal of help from his loved ones. Warm, color illustrations add just the right touch to a wonderful picturebook perfect for not only entertaining young people, but also teaching them about one of the greatest creative minds to create a timeless story.

The Judaic Shelf

I Go to the Ohel
Levi Hodakov, author
Rikki Benenfeld, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628612 $10.95

Brightly illustrated with cheerful, colorful artwork, I Go to the Ohel is a picturebook designed especially to teach young Jewish children (or children of any other faith!) how to properly behave in the holy place and interact with the Rebbe. "Tatty, Mommy, Mendel, and I go into the tent behind the Chabad House. We each take a clean white sheet of paper and a pen. I picture the Rebbe in my mind, and sit down to write him a letter. Tatty's letter has a lot of words. He is writing about a mitzva he will do even better than before, and the brochos he wants for our family." A brief glossary gives definitions for the Hebrew words used (for example, "Tatty" means father, a "Chabad House" is Lubavitch center of prayer and learning, and "brochos" are blessings). A final note to parents and teaches helps clarify the customs for visiting an Ohel. I Go to the Ohel is an excellent teaching aid, ideal for parents to read aloud to their children, and highly recommended especially for Jewish families.

The Fiction Shelf

A Conspiracy of Kings
Megan Whalen Turner
Greenwillow Books, an imprint of Harper Collins
10 East 53rd. St., New York, NY 10022
9780061870958 $7.99

"A Conspiracy of Kings" is a fast-paced, action-packed combination adventure/historical novelette that will enchant, absorb, and bedazzle both a young audience and a more mature audience. Rife with sudden plot twists, character reversals, and all sorts of embedded surprises, "A Conspiracy of Kings" keeps its readers on the edge of the chair and guessing about outcomes to the very end. "A Conspiracy of Kings" is part of an award-winning series about the adventures of Eugenides, Sophos,(kings or kings in waiting) and the Queens of Attolia and Eddis and their attempts to avoid a complete coup/takeover of their respective small kingdoms by the Medes. Other titles in the series include "The Thief," The Queen of Attolia," and "The King of Attolia." Although part of the series and a larger ongoing story, "Conspiracy of Kings" can be read and enjoyed on its own. The labyrinthine plot reversals and espionage components analysis are challenging to the point of being dizzying. A paradoxical flawed hero is presented Sophos, bookish but physically battle- honed heir to the throne of Sounis, who is kidnapped, sold as a slave, survives incredibly brutal conditions, and eventually manages to use all his talents, skill and wits to overcome overwhelming odds and win a kingdom and a chance at happiness with the love of his life. None of these outcomes are ever certain, and the reader becomes quite immersed in the unpredictability of unfolding events, political and personal. "A Conspiracy of Kings" is also appealing because despite the presence of male action-driven hero figures, some very real and very wise, perhaps even dangerous female characters are also first class players on the stage. To up your gamesmanship and enjoy a thoroughly satisfying, sophisticated, historical-based adventure novel, read "A Conspiracy of Kings." It delivers all it promises and much more.

Too Clever III, Curious Mary and Esme the Bunny
Julia Antoine, author/illustrator
Envision Business & Computer School Publishing
23 Kimberly Avenue, West Haven, CT 06516
9780983602903 $16.99

Third installment in the "Too Clever Kids" series, "Too Clever III" the farm visit of Mary to her cousins on the island of St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands. 10 year old Mary lives in the crowded capitol but she loves visiting the farm and her special friend, Esme the Bunny. Although there are few conveniences telephones, electricity and running water in the country, Mary likes the quiet, the beautiful flowers and peaceful settings, and the clean air, easier for her to breathe than city air with her asthma. Although it tires her, Mary also enjoys the walk to her cousins' farm. Many things, such as bread and candy, are considered a luxury in the country. Mary learns that in the country, doing daily chores promptly is a priority. Mary also learns her favorite bunny Esme has had two baby kit rabbits. Her aunt no longer gives Mary permission to play with Esme or to bring her in the house, since she is a mature rabbit. Mary eventually learns that Esme is slated for the family's Easter dinner table, and the realization shocks her. Curious Mary becomes very sad about Esme's bleak future. How Mary manages to rescue Esme and also enjoy her visit to the country with there Aunt, uncle, and cousins make an intriguing tale that will appeal to children's sense of excitement and adventure. Color photos of the characters and Esme, the bunny are prominently featured in this charming book. A lesson about maturity, planning, responsibility, and growth is safely delivered and delicious alternatives to an Easter Esme rabbit dinner are served up in fine Island style.

The Curse of Yama: The C. Walker Adventures, Book 1
KF Ridley, author
Lauren Ray Holterman and Ellen C. Maze, illustrators
TreasureLine Books
9781617520518 $9.95

"The Curse of Yama" is the first of a series of middle grade adventure books featuring 12 year old Chloe Walker, spunky sleuth in the style of a young, female Indiana Jones. Determined to rescue her father, a famous archeologist stricken with a mysterious illness after opening an ancient, cursed tome, Chloe leaps into jungle search action after her father fails to respond to conventional medical helps. Along with sidekick Indian orphan boy Sotol, Chloe faces danger in a myriad of exotic forms. Kids will love the thrilling pace and exciting challenges encountered by Chloe and Sotol in this front-row winner. Spooky black and white illustrations, a solid dollop of essential core humor, and a race to an exciting, positive finish line flesh out "The Curse of Yama," with a promise of more adventures to follow in the end. "The Curse of Yama" can be safely predicted to be the first of many middle-graders' favorite reads.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat
Carmen Agra Deedy & Randall Wright
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue,
Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561455959, $16.95,

A cat desires comfort above all else. When things threaten that comfort, it's oh so very annoying. "The Cheshire Cheese Cat" is a unique tale set in Victorian England as alley cat Skilley wants to set himself up as a mouser for a local inn. As things continue to threaten his good gig, he makes alliances with mice and finds it may be not enough to deal with the other threats to the inn and most importantly his comfortable life. "The Cheshire Cheese Cat" is a fun read at any age, but quite the pick for cat lovers with a crossover into historical fiction.

The Weirder the Better
Stasia Decker-Ahmed
Black Heron Press
PO Box 13396, Mill Creek, WA 98082
9780930773977, $8.99,

Some do everything to conform. Jamie sought to defy all tradition. "The Weirder the Better" is a solid novel for young readers. Jamie Smyth, chronic school changer, makes her stand at Lark Middle School, where she creates a club on embracing the weirdness and abnormality of life, collecting many individuals under her wing. But such a club does not come without its price, as she clashes with both students and staff for her club members. "The Weirder the Better" is a riveting and unique read, very much recommended reading for young adult readers.

Dancing On the Inside
Glen C. Strathy
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781462018710, $15.95,

Drive allows you to overcome a great deal. "Dancing On the Inside" follows young Jenny Spark as she faces her plight of stage fright. Loving to dance, she faces much crisis in this contrast. With the help of a friend, she will learn to value friendship and make the best of it, and how to pursue her dreams. "Dancing On the Inside" is a fine and very much recommended read for younger readers who may be facing stage fright themselves.

Dael and the Painted People
Allan Richard Shickman
Earthshaker Books
400 Melville, St. Louis, MO 63130
9780979035760, $9.95,

When you are met with something new, you learn much and much quickly. "Dael and the Painted People" is a read for younger readers set in prehistoric times. The conflicted Dael travels far and wide to meet the painted people; their traditions ultimately show them even despite a bit of strangeness, we're all not that different. "Dael and the Painted People" is a fine read, not to be overlooked.

My Beginning
Melissa Kline
Lucky Press
PO Box 754, Athens, OH 45701-0754
9780984631759, $14.95,

When you experience the world for the first time at the age of 16, it's a volatile mix of everything and being a teenager at once. "My Beginning" follows Ivory, as she emerges after be locked in an institution for much of the first two decades of her life. When she finds Aidan, the discovery of the world becomes all the more joyous and all the more confusing. "My Beginning" is a fine coming of age novel, highly recommended.

Amy Kathleen Ryan
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312590567, $17.99,

Two young lovers on a ship bound for New Earth are attacked and separated - and must find a way back to each other not only for romance, but to save the future of the human race. Mature teens and many an adult reader will appreciate this engrossing story of a couple that grow up on a spaceship and become involved in a culture that kidnaps girls and is run by a female leader willing to do anything to populate New Earth with her followers. This is the first installment of the Sky Chasers series, and is a fine pick for any advanced teen or adult science fiction library.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor
Toronto ONT M5A 2P9 Canada

Pam Withers's FIRST DESCENT (9781770492578, $17.95) provides teens ages 12 and older with a fast-paced novel telling of Rex, an outdoors boy who has an opportunity to face his greatest challenge: kayaking a river in Columbia. His anticipation of nature's challenges turns into a struggle with human challenges as he becomes involved with a local woman and faces a clash between military interests and those charged with protecting the poor. Mature teens will find this a compelling story of clashing cultures and social challenge. Ellen Schwartz's THE CASE OF THE MISSING DEED (9780887769597, $17.99) provides a fine Teaspoon Detectives story telling of five cousins and a summer vacation that goes awry when a mining company threatens the community and environment of the island. Their family home is threatened as Grandma has forgotten where the deed to their land is hidden - and it's up to the cousins to decode the message their grandfather has left as clues to the deed's location. Any collection strong in sleuth stories will find this a satisfying read for elementary-level to middle school students.

Jon Skovron
Amulet Books
c/o Abrams
115 W. 18th St., New York NY 10011
9781419700217, $16.95,

Jael Thompson is a high school student with a dangerous secret: she's only half human. The other half is demon. Her mortal father explains her past and has long protected their family's secret, but one Jael uncovers the truth she also faces a deadly fight against the Duke of Hell, who will stop at nothing to have her. Should she run or fight? A fine survival story evolves for teens interested in fantasy and science fiction.

Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781416990499, $17.99,

EVERFOUND is Book 3 of the Skinjacker Trilogy and closes the adventure, telling of Mary Hightower who sleeps in a glass coffin and waits to be reborn back into Everlost while her allies carry out her terrible mission. Different protagonists meanwhile are trying to rescue friends, fight against world-changing monsters, and provide a scenario that will determine the fate of both Everlost and the living world. Prior fans of the series will appreciate this complex conclusion to an engrossing saga!

Lucky for Good
Susan Patron
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781416990581, $16.99,

Erin McGuire provides the drawings for LUCKY FOR GOOD, a fine story for ages 8-12 revolving around a beloved restaurant's threatened demise, a fight that changes everything, and Lucky's punishment, that leads her to a long lost aunt and family secrets. Eleven-year-old Lucky finds answers to many questions and faces many changes in this fine novel of change and courage.

Maggie Stiefvatr
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
9780545259088, $17.99,

FOREVER tells of an unusual relationship between Sam, a wolf, and Grace, a girl - and what happens when Sam finds a way to become a boy. They become closer - but now Grace has changed to become a wolf, at a time when the wolves of Mercy Fall are about to be hunted to extinction. Can Sam save her? A fine fantasy romance evolves, perfect for middle school readers interested in fantasy.

R My Name is Rachel
Patricia Reilly Giff
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375838897, $15.99,

Set in 1933, R My Name is Rachel takes place during the Depression and tells of twelve-year-old Rachel and her family who are struggling to get by. Rachel's family is forced to move from the familiar city to a country town when a job change leads the family to a run-down farm, where Rachel faces poverty conditions, a runaway family pet, and the closure of her school and beloved library. An avid chronicle of the Depression's evolving effects on one family makes for an engrossing read.

c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Brian Jacques' THE ROGUE CREW: A TALE OF REDWALL (9780399254161, $23.99) tells of Razzid Warat, captain of a ship with wheels that can sail through water and forest that terrorizes both land and sea. Fans of the prior Redwall series will find this a fine survey of an evil villain who seeks to conquer Redwall Abbey, prompting a band of courageous hares and fearless sea otters of the Rogue Crew to defend the Abbey from evil forces. Any collection seeing strong, ongoing popularity with the Redwall series will relish this! Amy Ackley's SIGN LANGUAGE (9780670013180, $16.99) tells of a pre-teen facing her father's cancer and how it's changing her life. Previously only concerned with a crush and an annoying brother, Abby's facing her family's wrenching breakdown in the face of illness and death. Afterwards, she can't even cry: how can life go on? A fine novel of recovery evolves. Eva Ibbotson's THE OGRE OF OGLEFORT (9780525423829, $16.99) arrives just in time for Halloween and will appeal to grades 4-6 with its story of an unusual ogre who is not really an ogre, and a princess who is not perfect. It's up to the unlikely group of a troll, a hag, an orphan and a wizard to rescue a young princess from a dreaded Ogre - only to find nothing is as it seems in this fun fantasy. Janice Repka's THE CLUELESS GIRL'S GUIDE TO BEING A GENIUS (9780525423331, $16.99) tells of a teen math prodigy, Aphrodite, who has graduated from Harvard and is back at her middle school to prove her idea that the right instruction can help others become math geniuses too. All except for Mindy, a ditzy baton twirler who is the world's worst math student. An unusual friendship evolves, teaching both a thing or two about talent. Nathan Bransford's JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW (9780803735378, $15.99) receives black and white illustrations by C.S. Jennings and provides a fun read for grades 4-6 in telling of Jacob's strange day when he and his friends discover a spaceship near their houses. The alien trades the ship for a corn dog which seems like a fine trade until Jacob's spin results in a broken universe. A whimsical, fun space story evolves. Jennifer Allison's GILDA JOYCE PSYCHIC INVESTIGATOR: THE BONES OF THE HOLY (9780525422129, $16.99) tells of a girl's mother's engagement to a Florida man. St. Augustine is filled with satisfying ghost stories - but when strange things begin happening right in Gilda's own home, it's time for an investigation in this fine sleuthing story.

The Easy Reader Shelf

The Great Hamster Massacre
Katie Davies
Beach Lane
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781442420625, $12.99,

The Great Hamster Massacre is a fine pick for ages 8-12 and receives fine black and white drawings throughout by Hannah Shaw as it provides a fun story about Anna and her brother, who have always wanted a pet, have received a pair of hamsters at last, and who find the hamsters tragically dead in their cage. Their investigation leads to a surprising summer project in this excellent pick for kids seeking easier readers with larger print and vivid adventures.

Star Time
Patricia Reilly Giff
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385738880, $12.99,

STAR TIME receives excellent black and white drawings by Alasdair Bright and an easy chapter book for grades 2-3 as it provides Book 4 in the Zigzag series. Here Gina has told everyone she'll be the star of a play about spaceships, robots and a princess - but there's only one problem: her friend wants to be the star, too. Can there be two stars - and is friendship worth the price of fame? A fine tale evolves!

c/o Penguin Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th fl., NY, NY 10014

David A. Adler's YOUNG CAM JANSEN AND THE CIRCUS MYSTERY (9780670012428, $14.99) provides a fine Level 2 mystery illustrated by Susanna Natti and telling of circus fun. But when their box of caramel popcorn goes missing, it's up to Cam to figure out the thief in this fine easy reader filled with a simple plot, brief sentences, and visual cues within fun drawings. Sally Warner's ELLRAY JAKES IS NOT A CHICKEN! (9780670062430, $14.99) receives Jamie Harper's black and white line drawings and tells of the smallest kid in Ms. Sanchez's third-grade class. He may be small, but he's not about to let anybody call him a chicken or keep him from journeying to Disneyland: all he has to do is stay out of trouble for a week to make the journey. But can he? Boys and reluctant readers will appreciate this tale of a boy's struggle to be good. Betty G. Birney's SCHOOL DAYS ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY (9780399254130, $14.99) tells of a fun summer at camp and a hamster who can't wait to get back to school to see his classmates. But Humphrey's pleasure changes when new kids come into Mrs. Birsbane's room: how can Humphrey get to know newcomers, and what happened to his old friends? Another fine easy reader evolves!

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Andreas Steinhofel's THE SPAGHETTI DETECTIVES (9780545289757, $16.99) provides a noodle-cooking, crime-solving story revolving around Oscar, a prodigy, and Rico, who is great at noticing little details. The two together form a great team and tackle mysteriously missing schoolmates and the few clues that could save them. A fine account will appeal to any interested in stories about young sleuths. Peter Hannan's MY BIG MOUTH: 10 SONGS I WROTE THAT ALMOST GOT ME KILLED (9780545162104, $16.99) tells of a new school, a shy boy who wants to doodle in his notebook, and a new band that changes his world - and attracts the attention of the school bully. Black and white drawings abound in a funny, involving tale. Kathryn Lasky's THE DEADLIES: SPIDERS ON THE CASE (9780545116824, $15.99) tells of The Deadlines, a spider family that just wants a cozy place for a home. But they're toxic so everyone's afraid of them - until the head librarian welcomes them at the Boston Public Library. They're home - until thieves target the library and require the Deadlies to organize to save their new home. A fine fun survey evolves, perfect for elementary-level readers.

The ABC Shelf

A Cat's Alphabet Book
Sally O. Lee
Sally Lee Books
35 Locust St., Unit 5, Danvers, MA 01923
9781456469085 $12.99

"A Cat's Alphabet Book" is a quirky, zany, color illustrated book of alphabet words as featured in a single anonymous gray cat's world. A kaleidoscope of colors festoons the cover in patches, and the serenely unnamed gray cat parades and poses through an illustrated, three dimensional word for every letter in the alphabet. From a yawn (demonstrated by Gray cat), to a cat with zebra stripes, "A Cat's Alphabet Book" conveys the perfectly orderly world of alphabet words as imagined by a cat. Kids and adults will adore "A Cat's Alphabet Book" for its endearing unpredictability and fresh humor.

The Picturebook Shelf

We Are One
Jennifer Black
Illumination Arts Publishing
PO Box 1865
Bellevue, WA 98009
9780982922507 $16.95

We Are One is a captivating children's picturebook with a strong positive message of unity. The rhyming text underscores what people worldwide (and animals too) have in common. "So one thing to remember is... We are all one but different. Different but the same. / Created by the one light, we are each given a name." A heartwarming and thoughtful book brought to life with simple yet striking illustrations, We Are One is a choice pick. Also by Jennifer Black is a companion picturebook with a similarly strong and wholesome theme, "We Are Love" (9780982922514, $16.95), also highly recommended.

But I Don't Wanna Take a Bath!
Mildred Pope
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781456739393 $15.95

Part of the Mike and Tyke series, But I Don't Wanna Take a Bath! is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young African-American named Mike and his spotted dog Tyke. Mike gets dirty playing, but doesn't like having to clean up at the end of the day! Charming, colorful illustrations bring to life this gentle, read-aloud story. "Suddenly, to my surprise, / Mom saw through our disguise! / Even in my Viking clothes, / I can't believe she still knows!"

The Dancing Clock
Steve Metzger, author
John Abbott Nez, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70
Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589251007 $12.95

Inspired by a real and widely popular monument in New York City, The Dancing Clock is a children's picturebook about Milo, a snow monkey in Central Park Zoo who is fascinated by the zoo's dancing clock and its band of mechanical animals that performs every hour. Milo wants to join the musicians more than anything, but a locked gate keeps him away - until he suddenly has the opportunity of his dreams! Lighthearted color illustrations bring this playful picturebook to rollicking life.

Get Out of My Head I Should Go to Bed
Susan Pace-Koch, author
Jeremy Kwan, illustrator
Get Out Books
2020 Bonifacio Street, Concord, California 94520-2208
9780982960806 $16.95

Get Out of My Head I Should Go to Bed is a simple, rhyming picturebook about the difficulty of going to sleep when one's imagination is dancing with lots of exciting things. The simple words have children telling exciting thoughts to "Get out of my head!" so they can rest. "Duckies and Dragons / Little red Wagons / I'm all wound up / I want to wind down." The fanciful color artwork adds the perfect touch to this brief, gentle, read-aloud book perfect for parents and children to share right before bedtime.

Roly Poly Napoleon Discovers Colors
Robin Christianson
Grandfeather Press
9780983235507 $6.99

Beautiful full-color photography illustrates Roly Poly Napoleon Discovers Colors, a softcover child's picturebook featuring a simple story about a roly poly bug named Napoleon and his father in their quest to discover the color blue. "'Very good,' says Papa. / 'I'll give you another clue. / Blue sometimes is a blanket, / high above you." Roly Poly Napoleon Discovers Colors lovely, read-aloud storybook perfect for parents to share with children while teaching them about the primary colors.

The Mouse Who Saved Egypt
Karim Alrawi
Crocodile Books
c/o Interlink Publishing Group
46 Crosby St., Northampton, MA 01060-1804
9781566568562, $16.95,

The Mouse Who Saved Egypt receives Bee Willey's lovely drawings and tells of a young prince who rescues a tiny mouse. When Egypt is threatened by a powerful enemy, the mouse then saves the kingdom. This ancient Egypt folk story requires some reading skills but will provide a satisfying addition to any ethnic folk story collection.

Johanna Wright
Roaring Book Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781596435834, $16.99,

It's a way of life for these night scavengers. "Bandits" is a children's picturebook following the story of a family of raccoons as they sneak through the night and try to claim their nightly bounty. An amusing story to be read aloud to many a family, "Bandits" has creative and charming art work from Johanna Wright as she tells the tale, making it an ideal pick for children's picturebook collections.

Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches
Lisa Broadie Cook
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th fl., NY, NY 10014
9780399245336, $16.99,

Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches tells of Mrs. Payne, who gives mountains of homework to Martin: homework that keeps getting lost, destroyed or involved in disasters. Mrs. Payne isn't happy about his constant excuses, which are real... and Martin hates missing recess daily. Can he come to terms with the mountain of homework and its constant problems?

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Emma Dodd's MEOW SAID THE COW (9780545318617, $16.99) tells of a barnyard full of misguided animals: ducks neigh, sheep bark, chickens oink and all the animals are mixed up. Who is causing all the problems? Kids receive a fine, fun mystery and will enjoy duplicating sound effects of barnyard animals. Steve Metzger's DETECTIVE BLUE (9780545172868, $16.99) receives Tedd Arnold's fine drawings as it tells of a dish running away with a spoon and involving Little Boy Blue, grown-up detective, in the investigation. Color cartoon-like panels trace the adventure in a kid-friendly picturebook format. Richard Egielski's THE SLEEPLESS LITTLE VAMPIRE (9780545145978, $16.99) is a fine Halloween pick and tells of Little Vampire, who is kept awake by many different sounds. Could it be the cackle of a witch, or too much booing by the ghosts? A hilarious story evolves. Brian Sendelbach's THE UNDERPANTS ZOO (9780545249355, $16.99) tells of a wacky zoo where animals wear all kinds of underwear. From stripes and stars to spots and even frozen underwear, animals have different underpants based on personalities in this hilarious account. All are fine picks for picturebook readers.

c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th fl., NY, NY 10014

Lyn Plourde's DINO PETS GO TO SCHOOL (9780525422327, $16.99) receives Gideon Kendall's fun drawing as it tells of a boy's many dinosaur pets. They would be perfect for Pet Day - but each holds a bad habit that makes it a bad classroom choice. Can he find the perfect classroom pet? Michael B. Kaplan's BETTY BUNNY LOVES CHOCOLATE CAKE (9780803734074, $16.99) receives Stephanie Jorisch's fun drawings as it tells of a bunny child who has no patience and is always in trouble. She wants chocolate cake all the time - but her mother would rather she have patience. A fine tale evolves. Carolyn Crimi's ROCK N ROLL MOLE (9780803731660, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Lynn Munsinger and tells of a mole that loves rock n roll music. But can he draws the line at performing - until his best friend Pig needs a backup band and requires Mole's help. Friendship and comedy make for a fine blend. Doreen Cronin and Laura Cornell's M.O.M. (MOM OPERATING MANUAL), (9781416961505, $16.99) provides kids with a guide to helping mothers remain healthy and happy. From regular running and indoor and outdoor use instructions to handling 'mom emergencies', this is a fun take-off on a typical instruction manual. David LaRochelle's THE HAUNTED HAMBURGER (9780525422723, $16.99) provides a set of hilarious ghost stories perfect for Halloween. Paul Meisel illustrates three 'ghost stories' that actually are for ghosts - about people! All are fun leisure reads for picturebook readers.

Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Kelly DiPucchio's ZOMBIE IN LOVE (9781442402706, $12.99) receives fun drawings by Scott Campbell and tells of Mortimer, who is looking everywhere for love. The problem is - he's a zombie. And Mortimer's technique suffers, as well. A fine story of romance evolves. Alan Katz's MOSQUITOES ARE RUINING MY SUMMER AND OTHER SILLY DILLY CAMP SONGS (9781416955689, $16.99) receives zany drawings by David Catrow to accompany new camp lyrics set to familiar songs. 'The Laundry Blues' done to the tune of 'The Mexican Hat Dance' and 'Whose Idea Was This Dumb Hike?' to the tune of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' are only two of the fun camp song originals here. Elise Primavera's LOUISE THE BIG CHEESE AND THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL SMARTY-PANTS (9781442406001, $16.99) tells of a new school year and a girl who wants it to start off right. Louise decides to mimic her sister's plan to get straight As, but faces a strict new teacher who never gives As. A fine story evolves.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor
Toronto ONT M5A 2P9 Canada

Cary Fagan's ELLA MAY AND THE WISHING STONE (9781770492257, $19.99) receives illustrations by Genevieve Cote and tells of Ella's discovery of a smooth stone that looks to be magic. But she comes to realize that keeping magic to herself is one way of losing it - and her friends. Her development of intuition gives her a different kind of magic. Francois Thisdale's NINI (9781770492707, $17.99) is presented from the viewpoint of a baby born to an orphanage life. Her memory of loving parents and a promise of a better future permeate a loving picturebook about adoption and family. All are fine picks for elementary collections.

The Social Issues Shelf

Daddy Needs a Drink
Justin T. Brown, author
Johnny Castro, illustrator
Privately Published
9781936750248, $14.95,

The road to recovery is never easy. "Daddy Needs a Drink" is a children's picturebook about the gauntlet facing a father throughout the day, through the eyes of a child. It's meant to be read along with parent and child to chronicle the many trials of the day before Daddy finally gets that drink... of milk. "Daddy Needs a Drink" is worth considering for helping children understand the struggles of a parent's withdrawal.

The Activity Shelf

Stack-O-Saurus Card Game
150 Essex Street, Suite 301, Millburn, NJ 07041
9781596312524, $6.99,

Specifically and successfully designed to appeal to children ages 5 to 10, the "Stack-O-Saurus Card Game" from Briarpatch is an informative as it is fun! Comprised of 48 colorfully illustrated cards identifying a particular dinosaur, anywhere from two to four players can engage in a card game whose objective is to 'crack the code of stacking dinosaurs'. If only the T-Rex doesn't show up to topple their towers! No reading is required. This delightful leisure time activity will fully engage children's complete attention and enjoyment. Perfect for rainy day activities or anytime fun, "Stack-O-Saurus Card Game" is especially recommended for daycare, preschool, kindergarten, and family leisure time activity resource collections.

The Audiobook Shelf

Here's to You, Rachel Robinson
Judy Blume, author
Mandy Siegfried, author
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
9780307747846 $30.00

Here's to You, Rachel Robinson is the unabridged audiobook adaptation of Judy Blume's novel about the growing pains of a seventh-grade girl. Rachel Robinson is a straight-A student, a talented musician, and treasures her friends. But she finds herself frustrated by her older brother Charles, despite her friends' claims that his antics are funny and she should lighten up. And when Jeremy Dragon, the most captivating boy in ninth grade, appears to notice Rachel for the first time, everything becomes even more complicated and confusing. Could it be that striving for perfection isn't the key to enjoying life? Here's to You, Rachel Robinson is especially recommended for children's public and school library audiobook collections. 4 CDs, 4 1/2 hours.

The Rod Clement Collection
Rod Clement, author
Dino Marnika & Rebecca Macauley, narrators
Bolinda Publishing
186 S Long Swamp Rd
Jackson, ME 04921
9781742853086 $39.95

The Rod Clement Collection is a delightful, unabridged audiobook collection of six stories by beloved children's author Rod Clement, read by theater performer Dino Marnika and award-winning children's narrator Rebecca Macauley. The vibrant personalities of Clement's anthropomorphic avian characters shine through in these lighthearted, warmly humorous, and engaging tales enhanced with sound effects and music. A superb choice for public or grade school children's libraries. The Rod Clement Collection consists of the short stories "Feathers for Phoebe", "Edward the Emu", "Louisa May Pickett - The Most Boring Person in Class", "Olga the Brolga", "Counting on Frank", and "Edwina the Emu". 1 CD, 76 minutes.

The Music CD Shelf

Big Bully
Recess Music
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Part of the "Best Foot Forward" series intended for young people ages 4-11, Big Bully (43 min.) is more than music CD - it's meant to help teach children positive ideas and values. The album's goal is to promote discussion among parents, teachers, and children about addressing the challenges of bullying and bad behavior. Catchy songs explain why bullies do the things they do, and offer practical advice, including the importance of learning to ignore teasing. Big Bully is an excellent choice for school and library children's music shelves, as well as children's personal collections. The tracks are "Bully Bubba" (2:40), "Most Valuable Player" (2:36), "Time In Time Out" (1:37), "Mean Ogre" (1:45), "Me Last Attitude" (3:13), "Enemies" (3:29), "One and Only Me" (4:00), "Vicious Vinnie" (3:27), "I'm Sorry" (2:32), "I Can Make a Difference" (3:56), "No Put Downs" (3:09), "Bad Day Today" (2:17), "Can You Imagine" (3:53), "Don't Bully Me" (2:58), and "Wishing Well" (3:41). Also in the "Best Foot Forward" series is the highly recommended album "U R Some 1" ($11.99, 32 min.), a cheerful music CD promoting self-awareness and self-respect.

Golden Kids Rules
Chip Taylor & the Grandkids
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Singer and songwriter Chip Taylor along with his three granddaughters presents Golden Kids Rules, his album of thirteen original songs for young people. Bright, cheerful, and with a strong positive message, Golden Kids Rules makes for a delightful child's birthday gift or music choice for family car trips. The tracks are "Golden Kids Rules" (2:41), "I'm Just Thinkin' About What I'm Thinkin' About" (2:14), "Quarter Moon Shining" (3:46), "Big Ideas" (3:35), "Magical Horse" (4:02), "Daddy Is a Red Sox Fan / Mommy Is a Yankee Fan" (1:41), "Kids to Save the Planet" (2:39), "Did You Hear What Jennifer Did?" (3:01), "You Can Come & Play with Our Toys" (2:49), "Introduction to Wedding Songs" (0:06), "The Possum Hunter" (3:14), "Happy Wedding" (3:41), and "Now That Kristian and Anna Have Wed" (4:18).

Holy Cow!
Roy Handy & the Moonshot
Bituminous Records

Roy Handy & the Moonshot present Holy Cow! (16 min.), a fast-paced, all-out fun album of rock 'n' roll for kids. Featuring seven tracks of guitar-driven original tuns sure to delight young ones ages five and up - from the title song that ponders whether chocolate milk comes from brown cows, to a heartwarming tune about the loyalty of a beloved canine pal. An exuberantly fanciful delight, Holy Cow! is a brief but joyful album great for short family car trips or just plain musical fun.

These Are My Friends
Alastair Moock, et. al.
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Alastair Moock and a wealth of associates present These Are My Friends, a children's album brimming with 14 energetic songs that kids and parents can sing and dance along to. The occasional classic tune is mixed amid the rousing original ditties offering wryly humorous lyrics and buoyantly dynamic rhythms, resulting in a music album that is first and foremost about fun. The tracks are "These Are My Friends" (3:30), "Feets Up" (3:58), "Ladybugs' Picnic" (2:07), "Mail Myself To You" (2:43), "Didn't Know What I Was Missing" (3:30), "CBAS and a Twinkle Baa" (1:56), "Born To Dance" (3:15), "Three Like Me" (3:28), "Repete" (1:20), "Yes Indeed" (2:34), "A Scary Song" (1:22), "From Me to You" (3:16), "Green Green Rocky Road" (3:52), and "A Twinkle Baa Reprise" (0:44).

Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477
Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477
$15.95 each

Three new children's music CDs from Kimbo Educational are choice picks for young people's listening pleasure. "Rhythm Sticks Rap and Tap" by educator Michael Punkett is a lively CD that encourages youngsters to develop motor skills by engaging in rhythm stick play. Tunes include a set of tracks of vocal instructions with music, as well as instrumental selections. "Nursery Rhymes for Little People" brings to life sixteen classic rhymes such as "Old King Cole", "Three Little Kittens", and "Humpty Dumpty". Musical interludes encourage young people to repeat verses and phrases in this playful collection. "Let's Visit Lullaby Land: Music for Quiet Times" is a superb choice for helping little ones wind down after an active day. Both classic and contemporary lullaby tunes help ease the transition to bedtime, in this soothing and beautiful album. All three are highly recommended especially for public library children's music collections.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Marcella Marino Craver, author
Amerigo Pinelli, illustrator
American Psychological Association
Magination Press
750 First St. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
9781433810374 $9.95

"Chillax: How Ernie Learns to Chill Out, Relax, and Take Charge of His Anger" is a comic-style, black and white illustrated guide to the story of one boy's learning to take control of his angry outbursts. Aimed at middle school aged students, "Chillax" presents typical scenes in a boy (let's call him Ernie) daily life that lead to temper loss and angry outbursts, eventually closing off social contacts, friends, and networks. Although he is against the program at first, through counseling Ernie learns to cultivate techniques and reactions that defuse his anger and give him management tools that help enhance his social skills and standing. Lists of alternative strategies are explained, as well as a key concept called Swift-B, which stands for "swift brain" (switching to using the mind to defuse emotional reactions, also an acronym to remind Ernie of specific techniques). "Swift-B strategies help you swiftly think and switch on your thinking brain." In addition, they stand for: S - Sing a song. W - Walk away. I - Imagine yourself laughing. F - Fake a smile, it is like winter for your brain. T - Take cover! Let people know you need a minute to calm down and think. B - Breathe! together these and other helpful suggestions help Ernie to take control of his anger and make and keep new friends and to mature. "Chillax" is an appealing book that can be a useful tool for kids with anger management issues.

Captain Jack and Her Highness
Ramona Tipton
A Humdinger Press
8519 Ferndale Dallas, TX 75238
9780983062004, $24.95,

Adventure knows no species or limits. "Captain Jack and Her Highness: Magellan's Voyage of Discovery" is a riveting read from Ramona Tipton as she blends art, adventure, and history into a fun read of rodent swashbuckling. Highly entertaining and hard to put down and sure to keep readers glued to the pages, the story continues on well and proves quite difficult to put down. "Captain Jack and Her Highness" is a fine read for younger fiction readers or for anyone who enjoys adventures on the high seas.

Books in Series

The Food of China
Tamra B. Orr
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9781608702343 $21.95

From the Flavors of the World series, "The Food of China" is a collection of studies of Chinese foods and dishes commonly associated with traditional festivals and cultural traditions in different regions of China. A map of the food regions of China features picture symbols to show where certain foods, from chili peppers to wheat, are grown, gathered, or eaten in China. Color photo illustrated chapters on common cooking practices, feasts of festivals, and staying healthy are also included. One set of staples to be found in any Chinese kitchen is rice, noodles, and tea. These staples form the foundation of every Chinese meal. color photos and a glossary, bibliography, and websites listing complete "The Food of China," along with a number of simplified favorite Chinese recipes, including Fried Rice (p. 10), and Chicken and Vegetable Chow Mein (p. 54). the reading level appears to be suitable for students age 10 and up. Titles from the Flavors of the World Series that are also recommended include "The Food of Greece (ISBN 9781608702350)," by Tamra B. Orr, "The Food of Italy (ISBN 9781608702367)," by Sara Louise Kras, "The Food of Mexico (ISBN 9781608702374)," by Byron Augustin, and "The Food of Thailand (ISBN 9781608702381)," by Patricia K. Kummer.

Agrippina "Atrocious and Ferocious," from The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Dastardly Dames Series
Shirin Yim Bridges, author
Peter Malone, illustrator
Goosebottom Books
710 Portofino Lane, Foster City, CA 94404
9780983425618 $18.95

From the fascinating series written for interested students and others age 9-13 titled The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Dastardly Dames, "Agrippina 'Atrocious and Ferocious'" is a brief biographical sketch of the great-granddaughter of Augustus, first Roman emperor, wife to Claudius, mother to Nero, born in 15 AD. The colorful events of Agrippina's life are concisely presented with many color photos and illustrations of artwork from her time and later artistic reconstructions of her time. Agrippina's reported last words are quoted ("Strike the womb that bore Nero!" to her assassin), and a final listing and analysis of the 'dastardly' deeds she was accused of adds interest and focus to this vivid reconstruction of a strong, unusual woman's eventful life. "Agrippina" is bound to entice young readers to learn more about the woman and the times she lived in. Other titles in this series that are also recommended (all illustrated by Peter Malone) include "Marie Antoinette, 'Madame Deficit (ISBN 9780983425649)'" by Liz Hockinson, "Cixi 'The Dragon Empress (ISBN 9780983425656)'" by Natasha Yim, "Catherine De' Medici 'The Black Queen (ISBN 9780983425632)'" by Janie Havemeyer, and "Mary Tudor 'Bloody Mary (ISBN 9780983425625)'" by Gretchen Maurer.

Clothes 100 Years Ago
Allison Lassieur
P.O. Box 1329, Mankato, MN 56002
9781607531630 $16.95

"Clothes 100 Years Ago" is a reading level 2 series book about Western styles of clothing for children, teenagers and adults of the early 1900's. Featuring black and white photos of children and adults dressed in typical clothing of 100 years ago, differences in daily clothing are clearly illustrated especially in the What's Different section. A photo glossary shows fabric swatches in color as well as black and white mini-pictures of stockings and drawers. Clothing customs were also different 100 years ago. Little children, both boys and girls, wore long dresses until they were about 4-5 years old. Boys wore long stockings and knee pants until they were out of their teens. Girls wore knee length dresses until they were grown women; then they wore long dresses. Victorian sailor suits were popular for young children of both ages. "Clothes 100 Years Ago" helps children at reading level 2, grades 1-4, to make contrasts and comparisons between clothing customs of today and long ago. Also recommended from the 100 Years Ago series are the following titles, by the same publisher and author: "School 100 Years Ago (ISBN 9781607531647)," "Food 100 Years Ago (ISBN 9781607531623)," "Phones 100 Years Ago (ISBN 9781607531654)," and "Toys 100 Years Ago (ISBN 9781607531661)."

Wind Instruments, from How the World Makes Music series
Anita Ganeri
Black Rabbit Books
c/o Smart Apple Media
P.O. Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002
9781599204826 $28.50 (list)

"Wind Instruments" is an exploration, overview and brief history of the importance of wind instruments and music performed on them in cultures and locations around the world. Illustrated with color photos and diagrams, "Wind Instruments" presents information on such instruments as pan pies, ancient reeds, Chinese flutes, shawms, and bagpipes as well as more familiar western wind instruments including the saxophone, flute, clarinet, oboe and bassoon. Sidebars with Musical Notes explain details of the instrument's history and importance and creation, and other diagrams present the various parts of different wind instruments. Written for readers at grade 4 level and up, "Wind Instruments" provides a stimulating package of cross-curricular information about music in global cultures. Other titles by the same author in this series also recommended include: "Voices and Singing (ISBN 9781599204819)," "Stringed Instruments (ISBN 9781599204802)," "Pianos and Keyboards (ISBN 9781599204796)," "Drums and Percussion Instruments (ISBN 9781599204789)," and "Brass Instruments (ISBN 9781599204772)."

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

The 'Mighty Minibeasts' series by Debbie and Brendan Gallagher ($19.95 each) provides grades K-1 with a fine set of introductory titles, each 32 pages in length and including an index, glossary, and color photos and maps throughout. Kids will find these titles, with close-up color cover photos, perfect not just for reports but for leisure browsing. ANTS (9781608705429), BEES (9781608705436), BUTTERFLIES (9781608705443), FLIES (9781608705450), LADYBUGS (9781608705467) and SPIDERS (9781608705474) each pack in fine keys to each creature. Greg Pyers' 'Biodiversity' titles ($19.95 each) will appeal to grades 4 and up with each book holding 32 pages of facts about different biodiverse zones. The books cover ecosystems, diversity, geography and physical features and make for fine picks for students just beginning studies about biodiversity. ALPINE ZONES (9781608705283), WETLANDS (9781608705337), TEMPERATE FORESTS (9781608705320), RIVERS (9781608705313), OCEANS AND SEAS (9781608705306) and GRASSLANDS (9781608705290) are perfect picks for any elementary-grade nonfiction collection.

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

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