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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 9 September 2005 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Audiobook Shelf Video/DVD Shelf
Science Shelf World History Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Freddy And The French Fries
David Baldacci
Little, Brown
1271 Ave. of America, NY, NY 10020
0316159980 $12.99

Kids ages 8-12 will find an easy - and attractive - reader in David Baldacci's latest Freddy story, Freddy And The French Fries: Fries Alive!. Here a plan to win new business for the family Burgle castle results in a secret invention gone awry when Freddy's crazy creations wreck havoc. Another enthusiastically recommended Freddy story that presents zany easy reading adventures for children.

That Crazy Eddie And The Science Project Of Doom
Judy Cox
Holiday House
425 Madison, New York NY 10017
0823419312 $15.95

Blanche Sims provides the funny drawings for Judy Cox's latest chapter book, That Crazy Eddie And The Science Project Of Doom, telling of a third grader who will do anything to win first place at the school science fair - even if it means losing his best friend. Black and white drawings throughout illustrate Eddie's genius and downfall.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Susan Wojciechowski's Beany And The Meany (0763626309, $15.99) is peppered with black and white drawings by Susanna Natti as it tells of a science project which sticks Beany with the class bully Kevin. How can Beany save her project and work with the meanest boy in school? A realistic dilemma will attract readers in elementary grades 3-5. Megan McDonald's Judy Moody Declares Independence (0763623-61X, $15.99) tells of a heroine rebelling against parental restrictions and a pesky little brother. Her plain to declare independence with all the pomp of patriotism brings her special challenges. More fun stories of the zany Judy emerge.

Color, Color, Where Are You, Color?
Mary Koski
Trellis Publishing
PO Box 16141, Duluth, MN 66816
1930650345 $7.95 1-800-513-0115

Mary Koski's Color, Color, Where Are You, Color? looks like a typical easy-reader board book but holds so much more, in the way of vivid color drawings by Janeen Mason and five-line rhyming verse lending well to read-alouds and early reader attention. The theme, of course, is color: verses relate color to the natural world and pages are packed with vivid animal drawings. Quite a lovely board book which will reach readers and parents beyond the usual board book age range!

Knopf/Random House
1745 Broadway, NY, NY 10019

Wendelin Van Draanen's new Shredderman title #4, Enemy Spy (0375823549, $12.95) tells of the cyber-hero's struggle to protect his secret identity. Nolan's parents think he should lie low, but he's in pursuit of a real spy ring, and can't hide from the reporters. Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (0375834-605, 14.95) holds a centerfold of color photos from the movie as it appears in a sparkling new edition to reflect the motion picture's release. When Charlie finds the last of Mr. Willy Wonka's tickets inside his chocolate bar, he's won a fabulous key to a rare treat in this classic tale. Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Treehouse #4: Season Of The Sandstorms (0375830316, $11.95) presents an adventure in which Jack and Annie go back 1,200 years to the Golden Age of Baghdad, where a desert mission to protect a strange box results in a struggle for survival. History, mystery and thrills evolve. Marion Dane Bauer's The Blue Ghost (0375831797, $11.95) tells of a mysterious voice which calls Liz's name in the middle of the night. Who is the blue ghost, and can Liz discover what's haunting her? A satisfying ghost tale of a girl who discovers her family history while investigating a mystery.

Wacky Word Problems
Lynette Long
John Wiley & Sons
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
0471210617 $12.95

Part of the outstanding "Magical Math" series from John Wiley & Sons, Wacky Word Problems: Games And Activities That Make Math Easy And Fun by Lynette Long is specifically designed and presented to appeal to children ages 8 to 12 and provide them with a fun and engaging way to grasp the basics of standard word problems. Kids will learn how to answer computation problems, percentile problems, distance problems, and so much more through dozens of age-appropriate activities and entertaining examples. Wacky Word Problems is especially recommended as a homeschool curriculum supplement, and would be an appropriate acquisition for traditional grade school math curriculums and library reference collections as well.

Kane/Miller Book Publishers
PO Box 8515, La Jolla, CA 92038-8515

Kane/Miller's "The Little Princess" series of 28-page paperback books by Tony Ross is written and illustrated for preschoolers ages 18 months to 4 years and features an imperious little girl who wants things her own way! In I Want My Pacifier (1929-132654, $4.95) we find that the Royal pacifier has mysteriously disappeared --again! It always turns up in some very strange places. Will the Little Princess ever give it up? I Don't Want To Go To Bed (192913-2662, $4.95) finds that the Little Princess is having trouble accepting a bedtime curfew, but the King and Queen know best, despite spiders, monsters, and the need for still another glass of water! I Want My Potty (0916291146, $6.95) is also available as in a boardbook format (1929132-123, $7.95), while Wash Your Hands! (1929132018, $6.95 is ideal for helping children ages 2 to 6 to understand the importance of washing their hands after playing and before eating. Clever, entertaining, and "kid friendly", "The Little Princess" series is ideal for family, preschool, daycare, nursery school, kindergarten, and community library collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

Look Both Ways: A Cautionary Tale
Diane Z. Shore & Jessica Alexander
175 -5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1582349681 $15.95

Filbert the squirrel loves to play soccer with his friends, and he likes to run around the neighborhood on errands, too. In fact, he's having so much fun he forgets to look both ways when dashing across the street. Rollicking rhymes and fun drawings liven up and lighten up this "cautionary tale".

Ellie: The Perfect Dress for Me!
C.M. Rubin
Gingham Dog Press/School Specialty
8720 Orion Place, Columbus, OH 43240
0769632998 $15.95

You needn't be a fan of the prior Eleanor, Ellatony, Ellencake, And Me to enjoy this whimsical sequel returning Ellie and her family to old and new fans alike. Christopher Fowler's large, fun cartoon-style drawings bring to life Rubin's story of a special occasion which calls for special planning and the perfect dress. Ellie has a lot of help from her elders but decides to find her own perfect dress for the occasion in a fun shopping expedition for kids ages 3-8.

Mark Of The Wagarl
Lorna Little & Janice Lyndon
Magabala Books/ISBS, dist.
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
1875641971 $20.75 1-800-944-6190

Lorna Little's engaging tale is deftly combined with Janice Lyndon's artwork to tell the picturebook story, Mark Of The Wagarl. Maadjit Wagarl is the sacred water snake and guardian spirit of all the rivers and fresh waters of Nyoongar Country of Western Australia. One defiant young boy refused to listen to his elders and dove in search of the Wagarl. His foolishness almost cost him his life, yet instead of eating him, the Wagarl showed him mercy, and tasked him with a special punishment, a mark, and a sacred responsibility to look after its snake brethren. The rich color illustrations bring an ancient tale to vivid life, in this picturebook written especially to share and promote a better understanding of Nyoongar culture. Highly recommended.

The Witch's Walking Stick
Susan Meddaugh
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116
0618529489 $16.00

Margaret's days are all bad since her parents died and her siblings make her do all the work. When things get bad she runs away into the forest and encounters an old lady stranded: her desire to help may bring her into danger through a wily old witch's plans in the engaging picturebook The Witch's Walking Stick.

Elisa Guttierrez
Simply Read Books
501-5525 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6M 3W6
1894965248 $16.95 1-800-788-3123

Imaginatively written and beautifully illustrated by award-winning designer and artist Elisa Guttierrez, Picturescape is the story of a young boy whose imagination leads him into the wonderful and brilliant worlds of great 20th century paintings. Picturescape tells its story entirely through images; no words distract from the vivid adventures of the mind, played out in a panoply of classic settings. The unique, heavily shaded and abstract-leaning artistic style makes Picturescape a truly unforgettable children's book.

Party Princess
Vanita Braver, M.D. & Cary Pillo
Child & Family Press
440 First Street, NW, 3rd floor, Washington, DC 20001-2085
1587600382 $8.95 1-800-407-6273

Writte specifically for children ages 4 to 8 by practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist Vania Braver and enhanced with the lively and entertaining illustrations of Cary Pillo, Party Princess is the newest addition to the "Teach Your Children Well" series from Child & Family Press. Party Princess is the story of young Madison, who wants to look extra beautiful for her big birthday party. But an accident with nail polish leaves terrible stains on her gorgeous dress! She feels terrible for a while, then finds a way to make herself feel better - by sharing a treasured gift with her best friend. The wisdom that she learns is "Beauty comes from the heart. You should feel good about yourself... especially when you realize that real beauty is what's on the inside of a person, not the outside." A positive and uplifting book with a meaningful and relevant moral, especially in today's appearance and fashion-driven world.

Dear Principal Petunia
Judy Zocchi
Dingles & Company
PO Box 508, Sea Girt, NJ 08750
1891997645 $15.50

Part of the 'Click & Squeak's Computer Basics' course for kids, this coverage of word processing computer use takes the form of a delightful picturebook tale of a big football game at school and friends who find discrimination when they learn football players can get into the game for free, but not cheerleaders. Nikolai Bird's whimsical and fun drawings enhance the story, which is used as an introduction to how word processing is used in everyday language. Here a letter-writing campaign of protest is produced by the mouse and her friends.

Something Special
Terri Cohlene & Doug Keith
Illumination Arts Publishing
PO Box 1865, Bellevue, WA 98009
0974019011 $15.95 1-888-210-8216

Marvelously illustrated by Doug Keith, Something Special is a picturebook book story by Terri Cohlene that tells of a curious little frog who encounters a royal gift outside his home near a castle moat. What is the gift? "It can say hello / and it can say goodbye / It can be small and silent / or big and loud / It can come as a surprise / and warm you to your toes / It can be planted / or blown". The gift is a simple kiss, but each descriptive phrase is vividly illustrated in a whimsical artwork; for example, the phrase "it can be planted" is marvelously illustrated by a picture of huge beanstalk spiraling toward the clouds, with the frog nestled on a leaf. A visually stunning book that is a joy to share by reading aloud to the very young.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Want an unusual piece of cake for summer? Try Mark Sperring's The Fairytale Cake (0439683297, $15.95), decorated by Jonathan Langley and telling of a group of fairytake characters who bake up a special birthday cake. Very simple drawings and one-sentence pages lend to read-aloud enjoyment as kids learn their birthday cakes may not be entirely of parents' making. Greg Tang's Math Potatoes: Mind-stretching Brain Food (0439443903, $16.95) enjoys fun drawings by Harry Briggs as it cooks up new riddles to make math fun. Each riddle embraces a problem and a hint: kids learn how to build problem solving skills while enjoying the riddle format.

Dinosaurs Galore!
Giles Andreae & David Wojtowycz
Tiger Tales
PO Box 411037, Kansas City, MO 64141
1589250443 $16.95 1-888-454-0097

Especially recommended for school and community library collections, Dinosaurs Galore! combines the colorful and charming illustrations of David Wojtowycz with the rhythmic and rhyming text of Giles Andreae to engage young readers ages 3 to 7 with a picturebook approach to the daily lives of the great dinosaurs. As the sun lights the horizon,/and the mist begins to clear,/what shapes do you begin to see;/what noises do you hear?//Perhaps you'll see a swishing tail,/huge footprints, or a beak./I think I heard a distant roar.../and did you hear that shriek?//Some of them have huge long necks,/and some have giant jaws./So let's go to the swampland,/and meet the dinosaurs!

Sammy The Elephant & Mr. Camel
Jayce C. Mills & Richard J. Crowley
American Psychological Association
750 First St., NE, Washington, DC 20002
1591472474 $14.95 1-800-368-5777

Enhanced with the delightful illustrations by Marcy Ramsey and now in its second edition, Sammy The Elephant & Mr. Camel is the collaboratively written picturebook story by Jayce C. Mills and Richard J. Crowley specifically written to help young children to overcome the problem of bed wetting. In the allegorical story, a young elephant named Sammy has difficulty holding and carrying buckets of water. Mr. Camel offers him guidance: "You just have to trust you can do it. Some things take a little more time to learn than others, Sammy. And you have time to learn that now." As Sammy grows and practices, he learns new abilities that he can put to good use when a fire breaks out and he has to carry and hold water, then use it at just the right spot to put the fire out. The final pages of Sammy The Elephant & Mr. Camel offer detailed information for parents, by children's author and psychologist Jane Annunziata, Psy.D., about when to recognize urinary incontinence as a problem in children, and what can be done about it, including the importance of first ruling out infections or similar problems. Very highly recommended.

Tooth Fairy's First Night
Anne Bowen & Jon Berkeley
CarolRhoda/Lerner Publishing Group
1251 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1036
1575057530 $15.95 1-800-328-4929

Offered at a discount to school and community libraries ($11.96), Anne Bowen's Tooth Fairy's First Night Out is the story of Sally and her longing to be a tooth fairy. As she sets off to retrieve her first tooth she knows that the most important tooth fairy rule is to never waken a sleeping child in the process. But when Sally arrives at her first house she encounters serious complications! Tooth Fairy's First Night is charmingly enhanced with the impressive illustrations of Jon Berkeley and will prove to be a very popular picturebook for young readers.

Penelope And The Monsters
Sheri Radford & Christine Tripp
Lobster Press
1620 Sherbrooke Street West, Stes. C&D, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3H 1C9
1894222946 $15.95

Penelope refuses to go to sleep because she just knows that there are monsters lurking in the dark. That's the only way to explain the dancing drawers, creaking closets, and bouncing bed! Even though her own father won't believe, plucky Penelope takes on gnomes, trolls, and giants! Imaginatively written by Sheri Radford, and featuring the lively illustrations of Christine Tripp, Penelope And The Monsters is a charmingly delightful picturebook which is ideal for family, school, and community library picturebook collections. Also very highly recommended is Radford and Tripp's first title about this unusual and comic little heroine, Penelope And The Humongous Burp (1894222830, $15.95).

115 West 18th Street, NY, NY 10011

Two fun new kids' titles offer bright illustrations and fun stories for young picturebook readers. Carey Armstrong-Ellis' Seymour Slug Starts School (0810957795, $14.95) packs in the author's zany drawings which help kids with visual subplots. Good reading skills will lend to this story of a slug who still believes in the Fairy Slugmother and who learns to feel good about starting school. But Slugmother is proving more of a problem than school itself! Beth Raisner Glass and Susan Lubner's Noises At Night (0810957507, $15.95) presents a rhyming bedtime book teaching kids that going to sleep can be fun. Bruce Whatley provides the whimsical drawings as a young boy, dog and teddy bear by his side, uses his imagination to turn night noises into exciting new activities. An inspirational nap-time book which also offers some unusual career options for kids to think about.

The Sefer Torah Parade
Tzivia Adler & Ito Esther Perez
Hachai Publishing
156 Chester Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218
1929628269 $11.95

Written with a thoroughly "kid friendly" flair by Tzivia Adler and enhanced with the artwork of ito Esther Perez, The Sefer Torah Parade is the story of a young Jewish girl who observes the celebratory parade commemorating the completion of a new Torah scroll and its placement in its home in the shul. After a rousing great celebration, the tired little girl is carried home. The Impressionist-style full color illustrations capture the joy and festivity of this special day. The Sefer Torah Parade spells out fascinating details of the new Torah's creation and journey in a warm and friendly manner, and is a most welcome introduction to this aspect of Jewish tradition for little folks.

Dzani Yazhi Naazbaa'
Evangeline Parsons Yazzie
Salina Bookshelf, Inc.
1254 West University Avenue, #130, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
1893354555 $17.95 1-877-5270070

Superbly illustrated by Irving Toddy, Dzani Yazhi Naazbaa': Little Woman Warrior Who Came Home is a bilingual picturebook written in both Navajo and English by Northern Arizona University professor Evangeline Parsons Yazzie. The story follows a young Navajo girl who was forced upon the Long Walk that attempted to resettle the Navajos in a barren land. Illness, famine, and earth that cannot yield healthy crops causes much suffering and death among the people. Yet amid the hardship, the young girl learns the steadfast significance of the clan system, the prayers and songs of her brethren, and the importance of coming together in dark times to help one another. Though many individuals would be lost and mourned, she and her people would survive the ordeal, and through her courage she would earn the name the Little Woman Warrior Who Came Home. The realistic color illustrations make the story come alive, and the text is sufficiently involved to make Dzani Yazhi Naazbaa' ideal for young readers who are just about ready to make the transition from picturebooks to chapter books.

No Haircut Today!
Elivia Savadier
Roaring Brook Press
2 Old New Milford Road, Brookfield, CT 06804
159643046X $15.95 1-800-462-4703

Recommended for children ages 2 to 6, No Haircut Today! is an entertainingly written and illustrated picturebook by Elivia Savadier, and tells the warm and charming story of a young, scraggly-haired boy who does not like to get his hair cut. When Dominic sees scissors, he screams! His mother is very upset. But she loves him, and even if he does not get a haircut today, he just might tomorrow! The simple story and the striking, free-form illustrations make No Haircut Today! a charming and memorable storybook for beginning readers.

Under Alaska's Midnight Sun
Deb Vanasse & Jeremiah Trammell
Paws IV/Sasquatch Books
119 South Main Street, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98104-2555
1570614512 $15.95 1-800-775-0817

Featuring a skillfully written text in the form of a kind of prose poetry by Deb Vanasse, which is perfectly framed by the full color artwork of Jeremiah Trammell, Under Alaska's Midnight Sun is a picturebook about a young girl living in Alaska who looks forward to the longest day of the year - the solstice. During this time the sun never sets on Alaska, people and animals are reluctant to sleep, and the midnight sun shines brightly. The playfully exuberant illustrations are the perfect complement to this read-aloud storybook that will introduce young readers to how different day and night can be at far northern latitudes.

Mouse In A Meadow
John Himmelman
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
1570915210 $6.95 1-800-225-3214

Informatively written in a simple, accessible, "kid friendly" text, and with detailed nature illustrations, Mouse In A Meadow by John Himmelman is a picturebook that gives young readers a realistic look at what goes on in a meadow daily. Showing a mouse, a weasel, birds, insects, and plants, and even an artist (only the hands of the artist are seen) capturing events on paper, Mouse In A Meadow is unafraid to show predators hunting their daily meals, whether it's spiders or birds trying to catch an insect or a weasel searching for the mouse in a meadow. The back of the book includes pictures of individual animals, insects, and plants for young readers to spot amid the pages of the story, and the final page offers some general information as to how meadows were created and offers reference books from which curious younger and older readers can learn more. An excellent book to stimulate young minds into thinking more about the natural world.

That's What Grandparents Are For
Arlene Uslander & Freddie Levin
Peel Productions, Inc.
PO Box 546, Columbus, NC 28722
0939217600 $15.95

Freddie Levin's excellent illustrations perfectly enhance Arlene Uslander's That's What Grandparents Are For, a picturebook story celebrating the special bonds between grandparents and grandchildren. Written by a grandparent and meant to be read aloud with a child, That's What Grandparents Are For tells in rhyming verse about special days that grandparents and grandchildren treasure together. "I visited your school one day, / when grandparents were invited. / I couldn't wait to see you - / I was so excited. // You took me to the fish tank, / where I met your favorite guppy. / You read a funny poem to me / about a talking puppy." The cheerful color illustrations add an endearing touch to this joyful book meant to be treasured between generations.

Aunt Gussie And Grandfather Tree
Kay Brown Gustafson
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 216, Edina, MN 55439
1592981011 $19.95 1-952-829-8818

Based on a true story, Aunt Gussie And Grandfather Tree is a thoughtful picturebook narrated in free-verse, about a very old tree, home to birds, that meant so much to the heart of a young woman and many children that the people of a city came together and moved the tree to a new home, rather than let it be destroyed when the time came to build a community center where the tree once stood. Aunt Gussie And Grandfather Tree honors the "Wakan Cha Oyate", or "Spirit of the Tree Nation", a Dakota philosophy that embraces the connections between every living thing on earth, plant and animal alike. An environmentally conscious and emotionally moving picturebook, written to promote appreciation for living things that have survived alongside generations of people.

Abuelita's Secret Matzahs
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Emmis Books
1700 Madison Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45206
1578601770 $9.99

Jacobo's grandmother has a secret: she does things differently than his friends, never making his favorite sopaipillas with honey during Holy Week and celebrating some holidays differently. "It's the way of our family," she will only say when Jacobo asks her about the tortillas made without year - until one day she shares a family secret about their real heritage. Good reading skills will lend appreciation to this sensitive story.

The Fiction Shelf

Never Mind The Goldbergs
Matthue Roth
Push/Scholastic, dist.
577 Broadway, New York NY 10022
0439691885 $16.95 1-800-242-7737

Hava is an Orthodox Jew who lives a tough life at an isolated private school - but now she's heading to Hollywood, where she'll be the only Jew on a TV show about a Jewish family. Her willful ways will change her life and make for complicated friendships in this lively, unusual story of a very modern punkish teen.

Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003

Young adults have four striking summer reads from Farrar which are powerful, recommended picks. Valerie Hobbs' Defiance (0374308470, $16.00) tells of a pre-teen who just wants to do normal fun things for his vacation, but finds his cancer treatment shadows his efforts. His determination to keep a new condition secret from his parents so he can enjoy a summer and his involvement with a spunky farm woman helps him discover the meaning of living. Suzanne Fisher Staples' Under The Persimmon Tree (0374380252, $17.00) comes from the author of the award-winning Shabanu and tells of a young Afghan girl who finds her life changed when her father and older brother are conscripted by the Taliban and her mother is killed in an air raid. A friend who is also on her own joins with her an in effort to overcome tragedy in this realistic, moving story of Afghan culture and life. Nina Bernstein's Magic By The Book (0374347182, $17.00) is more than just a tribute to books and a powerful fantasy: it will remind readers of a more modern version of the classic Edward Eager 'magic' books which so thrilled a generation. Can a book cast a spell and make its readers travel through time? A simple library book brings three kids to explore magic in the printed word. Polly Horvath's Vacation (0374380708, $16.00) comes from a Newberry Honor-winning author and presents another story of a family divided. Here Henry's parents are off to Africa, leaving him in care of two aunts who decide to embark on their own dream vacation with Henry in tow. Before long they're crossing the country just as Henry's mother is lost in the jungles of Africa. An intriguing story of family connections from afar.

The Truth-Teller's Tale
Sharon Shinn
Viking Press
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014
0670060003 $16.99

Twin innkeeper's daughters Adele and Eldea find their special talents are mirrors: Adele is entrusted with secrets while Eldea cannot tell a lie if asked a question. A handsome dancing master and his apprentice come to stay at the inn evoking romance, mistaken identity, and many secrets in this wonderful sequel to Sharon Shinn's The Safe-Keeper's Secret, which needs no prior introduction to prove a satisfying stand-alone fantasy.

Worlds Apart
Kathleen Karr
Marshall Cavandish
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown NY 10591
0761451951 $15.95 1-800-821-9881

Worlds Apart is a deftly written novel about European colonists who crossed the dangerous Atlantic to arrive in the strange new world of Carolina. Christopher West is the fifteen-year-old boy who narrates this fascinating story about making friends with Asha-po, a young Native American of his own age. Asha-po teaches Christopher how to hunt, and Christopher teaches Asha-po to play chess. But while the two boys are fast becoming friends, their respective peoples are at increasing odds with each other. Worlds Apart is a thoroughly entertaining and enthusiastically recommended adventure novel for young readers ages 10 and older that author Kathleen Karr has based on records from an actual colony and weaves a tale filled with marauding Spaniards, warring tribes, and colonial family conflict.

Over And Over You
Amy McAuley
Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press
Media Masters Publicity
2 Old New Milford Road, Brookfield, CT 06804
1596430176 $16.95 1-800-462-4703

The engaging novel Over And Over You so deftly and imaginatively written by Amy McAuley is a story of a seventeen-year-old girl, who can barely keep a boy's attention for a five-minute conversation, and the experiences of her past lives haunting the present day. She remembers a boyfriend she has had for a thousand years, in different incarnations - yet it was not only a thousand years of love, but also a thousand years of betrayal and tragedy. Her best friend's life depends on whether she can reshape the future with hope instead of an endless, cyclical repetition in this involving novel that portrays past life regression as an ordinary, skeptical, yet overwhelmed and bewildered teenager might see it.

Simon & Schuster
1230 Ave. of Americas, NY, NY 10020
$9.95 Each

If it's spy stories and intrigue your pre-teen enjoys, the Max Remy 'Spy Force Mission' series by Deborah abela is perfect: it tells of an 11-year-old 'superspy' involved with dangerous missions with international spy agency Spy Force. In Search Of The Time And Space Machine (0689873573) tells of a summer vacation gone awry when a visit to an aunt and uncle brings Max in contact with a time and space machine which can take them anywhere. Should she embark on the adventure of a lifetime - and risk getting lost forever? Spy Force Revealed (0689873-581) offers Max an invite to visit Spy Force Headquarters to meet the world's top spies. Their undercover mission at a candy factor faces them off with the evil Mr. Blue: will this end Max's new career? Both are packed with action.

Knopf/Delacorte/Random/Fickling Bks.
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Random Publishing Group has a host of leisure summer titles which are perfect picks for young adults who seek something different. Kathryn Kenny's Trixie Belden mystery series is being reprinted with attractive new covers for new generation of readers, and Trixie Beldon #12: Mystery Of The Blinking Eye (0375830-529, $6.99) is both affordable and good mystery reading. When a Mexican fortune-seller slips a strange Spanish poem into her purse, Trixie's journey to New York City turns into an encounter with villains and strange antiques. Why are thieves after Trixie? The idol holds the clue. Ann Halam's Siberia (0385746504, $16.95) tells of Rosita, who lives in a prison camp in the wilderness and shares a secret with her mother. Years later she's a hardened, cynical teen attending prison school, her mother gone, and finds herself living her mother's dream of escape to bring a treasure to the world which may prove its salvation. A gripping first-person story of an unusual heroine's struggles. Two from David Fickling books offer older teens avid stories. Another new Edge Chronicles addition by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddel, Last Of The Sky Privates (0385750781, $12.95) joins four other Edge stories and continues the tale of sewers underground which house a bustling city, Edgeworld. Rook dreams of becoming a librarian knight sent to explore his world for secrets - he'll even break the rules to set out on a journey on his own, facing mysteries and adventures in the process. John Dickinson's The Widow And The King (0385750846, $18.95) provides a winning sequel to The Cup Of The World: familiarity with the predecessor is recommended for easy absorption of the ongoing saga. The daughter of a powerful widow and son of a dead, hated king find their worlds controlled by a vengeful spirit and their fates drawn together in the ongoing story of a journey to freedom. Katy Kelly's Lucy Rose: Big On Plans (03857-3204X, $12.95) will appeal to younger teens, who will readily share Lucy Rose's big plans for the summer. Her determinatio to get rid of 78 squirrels eating up the apricot tree and her investigations into how to stop her parents' separation make for realistic yet fun reading. Sue Stauffacher's Harry Sue (0375832742, $15.95) tells of the only child of convicted felons who faces a host of zany challenges before she can begin the life of crime which will reunite her with her mother. But before she can do so, she must save a bunch of little kids from an evil grandmother Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale Of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, And A Very Interesting Boy (037-5831436, $15.95) tells of four close systems and a doting father who head for a summer holiday in a tumbledown cottage only to find a beautiful estate offers magic and discovery. Danger and action permeate an involving story of a unique adventure. Michele Torrey's Voyage Of Plunder (0375823832, $15.95) tells of Daniel, who finds his father's mysterious nighttime visitors are in actuality pirates when his father is shot and orphaned Daniel is trapped and forced to join the pirate crew. He wants to avenge his father's death, but finds pirate life has some unusual advantages and kind men in this adventure of the high seas. J.B. Cheaney's My Friend The Enemy (0375814329, $15.95) is set during World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and tells of one Hazel, who is always on the lookout for enemies of the country. Instead, she discovers a lonely boy hiding from the threat of an internment camp, and must decide if he's really the enemy or a friend. A moving story of Japanese issues on American soil.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Oh, The Pets You Can Get!
Tish Rabe
Golden Books/Random House
1745 Broadway, NY, NY 10019
037582278X $8.99 1-800-726-0600

New to the Cat in the Hat's Learning Library series is the zany coverage of animal friends, featuring the Cat in Hat illustrations by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu and telling of the Cat in the Hat's visit to a land of pets. Containing nonfiction information but reading with the drama and grace of fiction, Oh, The Pets You Can Get: All About Our Animal Friends is a good picturebook introduction to the world of pet ownership.

Salmon Creek
Annette LeBox & Karen Reczuch
Groundwood Books
720 Bathurst Street, Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 2R4
0888996446 $8.95 1-800-667-6902

Presenting accurate information about the life cycle of the wild Pacific salmon in the format of a beautifully illustrated picturebook, young readers age 4 to 8 will enjoy author Annette LeBox's eloquent and enthusiastically recommended story of Sumi, a coho salmon from her birth and trip down river to the ocean, to her time as a fully mature fish swimming in the great seas, to her determined return up river to her birthplace where she can spawn. Karen Reczuch's artwork is a perfect visual aid in caring forward the informative text, which is enhanced with the inclusion of an afterword presenting the factual basis for the picturebook story and the threats facing wild salmon today. Especially recommended for school and community library collections, Salmon Creek is also available in a hardcover edition (0888994583, $16.95).

Everything Horse
Marty Crisp
Northword Books for Young Readers
11571 K-Tel Dr., Minnetonka, MN 55343
1559719206 $10.95

Also available in an inexpensive paperback edition (1559719214, $7.95) Everything Horse: What Kids Really Want To Know About Horses by Mary Crisp is a superbly illustrated introduction for young readers ages 8 to 11 about a horse's habitat, diet, life cycle, and history. The latest addition to Northword's excellent "Kids FAQs" series, Everything Horse answers such fascinating questions as "Do horses sleep standing up?", "Why do horses wear shoes?", "What was the Pony Express", and more. Packed from cover to cover with useful information and fun trivia about horses, Everything Horse is highly recommended for horse loving and curious youngsters, and would make an popular addition to any school or community library's "Pets & Wildlife" collection.

The Audiobook Shelf

The High King
Lloyd Alexander
Listening Library
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
1400085608 $28.00 1-800-726-0600

James Langton's spirited reading of Alexander's The High King, the fifth and final book in his Prydain Chronicles fantasy series is a recommended listen for teens on up who have prior familiarity with the Prydain setting from previous novels in the series. The unabridged reading makes for a powerful production as actor James brings drama to the concluding story of Taran, who helps lead an army against a powerful lord. His final confrontation is filled with danger and a decision which will affect the rest of his life in this vivid dramatization.

Full Cast Audio
618 Westcott Street, 1st Floor, Syracuse, NY 13210

Full Cast's outstanding audios are recommended picks for both adult and young adult listeners: by offering a full cast reading of each story, the effects of a quality radio show drama are incorporated into the listening experience. Some enjoy an extra treat, as in Wild Magic: The Immorals Book 1 by Tamora Pierce (193207-6832, $39.00), where the author herself joins with the Full Cast dramatists in telling of Daine, who carries a dark secret and a powerful magic which may be able to save her new home from destruction; others, such as Robert Heinlein's The Rolling Stones (1932076808, $39.00), can't enjoy author participation (Heinlein is long dead) and thus enjoys a lively rendition (here, by David Baker and the Cast family of voice actors). Rolling Stones was written with a young adult audience in mind: the story of twins who are trouble - even as they cross the solar system - is fine adventure. Bruce Coville's The Weeping Werewolf (1932076867, $9.95) will reach ages 6-9 with a fun unabridged recording of another Moongobble and Edward adventure. The fantasy leads them into the Forest of Night, to encounter a life-changing magic. Ryan Sparkes and the Full Cast family narrate, accompanied by original music. Coville's The Evil Elves (1933322322, $15.00) presents another strong Moongobble drama narrated by the same cast: here Moongobble is challenged to retrieve "the Queens' Belly Button", an enchanted stone which has already turned an entire village evil. Another powerful fantasy.

The Video/DVD Shelf

Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595

Rock 'N Learn is a premier source for educational videos and DVDs specifically designed for children preschool through early grade school. Four new superbly produced releases are especially appropriate and recommended for preschool and kindergarten aged children needing to acquire an introductory grasp of the alphabet, preparing for school enrollment, and taking their first steps towards literacy. In Alphabet Circus (DVD RL952, $19.99; VHS RL998, $14.99), kids ages 2 through 5 are taken on an exciting trip to the circus where Alphabet Al shows how easy it is to learn about letters with the help of clowns, acrobats, dancing dogs and more. In Nursery Rhymes (DVD RL982, $19.99; VHS RL994, $14.99) Mother Goose introduces children ages 2 through 7 to 43 favorite nursery rhymes in fun songs with the help of Brother and Sister Goose. The characters use humor to teach lessons about safety, manners, and responsibility accompanied by a pop-style music utilizing both traditional and new melodies. Getting Ready For Kindergarten (DVD RL952, $19.99; VHS RL998, $14.99) has Joey and Jill getting ready to start kindergarten. Children ages 5 and 5 will join them on a musical adventure as Joey and Jill learn about getting dressed, tying shoelaces, sorting by colors and shapes, using scissors, counting, letters, listening skills, polite behavior, left/right, and so much more! With Phonics Easy Readers (DVD RL954, $19.99) children ages 6 and up can teach themselves to read with a self-paced, "kid friendly" program that has twelve entertaining stories that employ fun characters and build in sequence from the simple to the more complex. Kids have time to read each screen before hearing a voice read the highlighted words. In addition to community library children's multimedia collections, all four of these educational titles are very highly recommended supplements for preschool, daycare, homeschooling, and traditional curriculums.

Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851

Weston Woods Studios is a premier producer of multimedia adaptations of picturebooks for children. Each of their selected titles are available as closed-captioned videos, DVDs, hardcover books/cassette, and hardcover book/CD editions. Their latest offerings reviewed in their DVD formats include Laurie Keller's Arnie The Doughnut (DVD666, $59.95, 17 minutes), an average doughnut made by one of the best bakeries in town, and will be consumed by Mr. Bing unless Arnie can persuade him that a doughnut can be more than just a snack! Ntozake Shange's Ellington (DVD672, $59.95, 12 minutes) is based on the author's having grown up when many of the great figures in 20th Century African-American history gathered in her family home to talk and share ideas, and even sing. Karma Wilson's Bear Snores On (DVD666, $59.95, 8 minutes) has Bear sleeping in his cozy cave in the woods. Surprise guests show up to brew tea and pop corn while Bear snores on. When the smells and the fun finally disturb his slumber, Bear wakes up to find his den full of celebrating critters! Jane Yolen's How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? (DVD651, $59.95, 8 minutes) is narrated by the author with animation by MaGik Studio has enormous sneezes to gigantic wails, of mischievous but ailing dinosaurs carry on! The collaboration of authors Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson, enhanced with the illustrations of Lois Ehlert, Chicka Chicka 1-2-3 (DVD-669, $59.95, 6 minutes) has one hundred and one numbers racing each other up an apple tree. As the numerals pile up, bad bumblebees come a-buzzing round. Which number will save the day? Fun-filled music and vocals by Crystal Taliefero will have children singing about numbers long after those bumblebees have gone! Mordicai Gerstein's The Man Who Walked Between The Towers (DVD670, $59.95, 10 minutes) is inspired by the daredevil feat of French aerialist Philippe Petit's 1974 high wire walk between the World Trade Center towers. Jean Fritz's Will You Sign Here John Hancock? (DVD480, $59.95, 20 minutes) introduces one of the ost famous signers of the Declaration of Independence. These titles are excellent choices for any school or library collection.

I Love Toy Trains: The Final Show
McComas/Stachler Production
TM Books & Video
PO Box 279, New Buffalo, MI 49117
1932291296 $14.95 1-800-892-2822

I Love Toy Trains: The Final Show is a superbly produced, 55 minute DVD showcase of live action enhanced by the music of Jim Coffey as young viewers are taken on an informed and entertaining tour of fabulous toy trains and their settings. I Love Toy Trains: The Final Show features Dick Kughn's "Caraill, TM's studio layouts, a sensational Lego layout, and the original Freedom Train. This highly recommended addition to any personal, school, or community library Video/DVD collection for children is the latest addition to the acclaimed "I Love Toy Trains" series which now boasts of 15 titles. If you and your kids enjoy the entertainment and excitement of toy trains, then this is the video for you!

Schlessinger Media
7 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096-0580

"Weather for Children" is an informed and informative four volume DVD series designed and produced specifically for children in grades K thru 4 and introduces young viewers to a variety of basic weather concepts and terms. Each title is 23 minutes long and has a closed-captioned feature for the hearing impaired. Additional features include English and Spanish language tracks, chapter selects, as well as discussion questions and activities. A Teacher's Guide accompanies each title and provides additional information including vocabulary words, and additional questions and activities that can be used for assessment or class projects. The four ably produced titles ($29.95 each) making up this outstanding and enthusiastically recommended series for school and community library collections include: All About Climate & Seasons; All About Meteorology; All About Winds & Clouds; and All About Rain, Snow, Sleet & Hail.

The Science Shelf

Thomas K. Adamson
Bridgestone Books/Capstone Press
7825 Telegraph Road, Bloomington, MN 55438
0736852484 $21.26 1-800-747-4992

A very timely addition to any school or community library Earth Science collection for young readers grades 2 to 5, Thomas Adamson's Tsunamis is an informative and "kid friendly" introduction to the kind of tidal waves that inundated the coastal areas of the countries of the Indian Ocean. Tsunamis teaches young readers how tsunamis form, how they move and reach the store, the damage they can create, warning systems used to alert people, and the aftermath of the terrible devastation caused by the December 26, 2004 tsunami. The simple, clear language and the full-color diagrams and photographs offer clear and readily grasped facts and science. Note that Tsunamis is available to school and public libraries at the library rate ($15.95), and all proceeds from 2005 sales are being donated to the United Nations Children's Fund to help children affected by the 2004 tsunami.

Books in Series

Ottn Publishing
16 Risler Street, Stockton, NJ 08559

"Road to War: Causes of Conflict" is a new five volume series from Ottn Publishers that provides young readers in grades four through six with an informed, informative, and thoroughly "kid friendly" introduction into events that led up to the American Revolution, the American Civil War, America's involvement in World Wars I and II, and our current participation in the on-going Iraqi conflict. Each 64-page book is profusely illustrated with color photography, maps, and illustrations. Available in either a hardcover ($22.95 each) or a paperback ($11.95) edition, each volume is specifically and professionally written to engage even the most "reader reluctant" student as it provides a focused survey and explanation of the underlying reasons for how each of these major conflicts got started -- including the personalities and events associated with each specific military conflict. Especially recommended for grade school and home schooling curriculum supplemental American History reading lists for children, the five volumes comprising this outstanding series include Causes Of The American Revolution (1595560017); Causes Of The Civil War (1595560025); Causes Of World War I (1595560017); Causes Of World War II (1595560041); and Causes Of The Iraq War (1595560092).

The Child's World
PO Box 326, Chanhassen, MN 55317

"Our Galaxy And Beyond" (1592961401, list price $270.70; library price $189.50) is a superbly produced series of ten books focused on the planets of our solar system. These visually impressive titles are superbly illustrated with astronomical photography illuminating a text featuring the most recent information science has to offer. Young elementary school readers are provided with a history of spaces as seen through the efforts of early astronomers, as well as the experiences of contemporary NASA missions. A thoroughly "kid friendly" text nicely lays out current theories on the formation of the solar system, the composition of the Sun, and identifying features of each of the nine planets that comprise our astronomical neighborhood. The ten titles include Earth; Jupiter; Mars; Mercury; Neptune; Pluto; Saturn; Uranus; Venus, and The Sun. Each of these 32-page titles feature a reinforced library binding, a table of contents, informative sidebars, a glossary of key words and phrases, an index, sources for further research (including websites) and "fast facts" for reference. The "Our Galaxy And Beyond" series is an important, core addition to any school or community library Science & Astronomy reference section -- and ideal as as curriculum supplement material for homeschooling as well!

Lerner Publishing Group
1251 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1036

"On My Own Holidays" (1575050171, list price $335.02; library price $251.30) is a delightfully presented, informative and entertaining fourteen book series for young readers that showcases individual cultural and ethnic holidays around the world. The four newest additions to this outstanding series which is ideal for both school and community library collections are Chinese New Year (1575056534); Cinco De Mayo (1575056542); Easter Around The World (1575056550); and Veterans Day (15750-56992). Each of these 48-page titles feature full color illustrations and are enhanced for children with maps, a "New Words Section", recipes, a timeline, and a "Note to Adults" section.

Picture Window Books
7825 Telegraph Road, Minneapolis, MN 55438

Children ages 4 to 9 will appreciate the lively storytelling which is expertly enhanced by the inclusion of original, full-color illustrations in the new "Read-it! Readers: Folk Tales" series (1040480999-6PF, $130.20 list price, $97.65 library price). This thoroughly enjoyable series of seven, 32-page, hardcover books showcases the classic stories of Chicken Little, The Gingerbread Man, How Many Spots Does A Leopard Have, How The Camel Got Its Hump, The Little Red Hen, The Pied Piper, and Stone Soup (each individual title is available separately for $18.60 list price, $13.95 library price). Ideal for the beginning reader, as well as for parent "read aloud" activities with their children, the "Read-it! Readers: Folk Tales" series will prove to be popular additions to preschool, day-care center, and community library "beginning reader" collections.

The World History Shelf

Inside The Beagle With Charles Darwin
Fiona Macdonald & Mark Bergin
Enchanted Lion Books
45 Main Street, #519, Brooklyn NY 11201
1592700411 $19.95 1-888-330-8477

This 48-page history of Charles Darwin's famous sea voyage that was to ultimately result in his publishing a book introducing the concept of evolution to the general public is expertly told for young readers by Mark Bergin and perfectly complemented by the outstanding full color artwork and illustrations by Mark Bergin. Beginning with an informative and concise introduction of the life of Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882), Inside The Beagle With Charles Darwin presents the ship "Beagle" being outfitted for the multi-year voyage, life on board ship, Darwin's exploration of the rainforest, finding fossils, returning home after visiting New Zealand and Australia, and then how Darwin arranged what he'd found, the deductions he made from his findings, and the basic concept that became known as the theory of evolution. Enhanced with a timeline of the voyage, a chronological list of Darwin's life and works, a glossary, and an index, Inside The Beagle With Charles Darwin is a seminal and strongly recommended addition to all grade school and community library Science History collections for children.

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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