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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 9 September 2009 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Counting Shelf Alphabet Shelf
Religion/Spirituality Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf DVD Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Music Shelf Audiobook Shelf
American History Shelf Art Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Holiday Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Poetry Shelf
Science Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Fiction Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide, third edition
Judy Galbraith
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781575423227, $12.99,

Being excluded from some of your peers can be confusing, even for the brightest young mind. Now in a revised, updated, and expanded third edition, "The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide" is a guide for young gifted and talented children who may not think their talents are a gift. With much advice for young people in understanding their gifts and learn that being brainy is not a detriment, "The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide" is the perfect gift for the under-confident and over-skilled young reader.

Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends
Wong Herbert Yee
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547152226, $15.00,

Mouse and Mole are excited: they're going bird watching and are planning to make bird books of their observations. But birds aren't easy to watch - they're actually too easy to scare away. Mouse and Mole must work together to come up with a plan for getting closer to their elusive bird friends in this fun story of an elaborate plan.

Wild Girl
Patricia Reilly Giff
Wendy Lamb Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375838903, $15.99,

WILD GIRL tells of Lidie, who lives in Brazil and dreams of going to live with her father and older brother in New York. When she's twelve she leaves to join her family at their stable job at a famous racetrack - and her story and that of a foal born on a farm and journeying to its new home provides a concurrent saga of facing change.

Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus
Kristen Tracy
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385736879, $16.99,

Camille has low blood sugar so she must carry food on her at al times; she fell under a school bus once, her cat has vanished, and her best friend has moved to Japan. Despite all the challenges Camille is hopeful and positive - even when her parents are fighting about money, and even when her own life is scary. A fine story of how Camille handles her life and its challenges will intrigue advanced elementary to middle school readers.

Kingfisher Knowledge Inventions
James Robinson
Henry Holt
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780753462935, $8.99,

Enhanced with an informative foreword by James Dyson, "KFK Inventions" compiled and written by James Robinson is a stunning new title in the popular Kingfisher Knowledge series for young readers age 7-8 and up. Chapters on communication, technology in the home transportation, and new technology are smashingly illustrated with dozens of color photographs and graphics. Dozens of examples of technology are explained, both in ways it can help, and ways it could damage our environment. Referral to web sites of interest, internet resources, the glossary, and chapter summaries provide useful tools to students of "Inventions," and technology.

Blue Sky Press
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Stewart Ross's MOON: SCIENCE, HISTORY AND MYSTERY (0545127327, $18.99) provides a fine blend of science and history and goes beyond the usual science-oriented look at the moon. Advanced elementary collections will find the vivid black and white and color illustrations and photos eye-capturing and over 100 pages of moon lore, facts, and background fascinating. A fine book for leisure browsers as well as science researchers. Jonah Winter and Richard Egielski's THE FABULOUS FEUD OF GILBERT & SULLIVAN (0439930502, $16.99) tells of a magical kingdom full of pirates and fairies ruled peacefully by the team of Gilbert and Sullivan - until Mr. Sullivan is tired of his fantasy world and wants out. How can the friendship survive their changed interests? A fine story of Gilbert and Sullivan evolves.

The Richest Kids in America
Mark Victor Hansen
Hansen House
PO Box 7665, Newport Beach, CA 92658
9780981970905, $14.99,

Entrepreneur is not a title that is limited by age. "The Richest Kids in America" tells the story of many young kids who took business into their own hands to earn a great deal of money, more than others make in their entire lives before the young age of eighteen. Covering how they found out what they wanted to do, how to get started when one can't even drive, finding support, and how youthful business leads to youthful optimism and philanthropy, "The Richest Kids in America" is an inspiring story to any young reader who has big dreams of their own.

Grandpa, What Was It Like Growing Up Country?
Artwork by Don Zolan
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736926591, $15.99,

"Grandpa, What Was It Like Growing Up Country?: A Memory Book" is a memory book designed to encourage a grandfather to share his memories of being young, growing up, beginning his own family, and enjoying his life. Studded with nostalgic blended artwork of a boy growing up in rural America and related inspirational quotations, the Memory Book poses many pertinent life questions that a grandfather might wish to share with his grandchild. This guided memoir format can provide a way to share and preserve family memories to be treasured for future generations.

Grandma, What Was It Like Growing Up Country?
Artwork by Donald Zolan
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736926584, $15.99,

"Grandma, What Was It Like Growing Up Country?: A Memory Book" is a memory book planned to encourage a grandmother to share memories of a rural life with her grandchild. Questions such as "What kind of a garden did your family have when you grew up in the country?" or "What were some of your country childhood traditions?" are helpful to encourage a flow of recollections and treasured memories to be passed from one generation to the next. Each page is embellished with scrapbook-style photos and meaningful quotations appropriate to the questions asked. This Memory Book will assist families to communicate and share and preserve their rich heritages for future generations.

EDC Publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74146-6515

EDC Publishing's Usborne imprint is one of the most reliable for thoroughly 'kid friendly' books for young readers -- and pre-readers. An classic example of Usborne quality are the three titles that comprise their 'Touchy-Feely Flap Books' trilogy specifically designed for children ages 2 years and up. Offering an enjoyable tactile enhancement to a colorfully illustrated and engaging storyline as the child become involved page-by-page with discoveries, the three titles comprising this outstanding and highly recommended series include "Hide and Seek Bunnies" (9780794515669, $16.99); "Hide and Seek Dragons" (9780794515904, $16.99); and "Hide and Seek Penguins" (9780794523398, $16.99). Providing wholesome fun and an ideal introduction to the pleasures of reading, the Usborne 'Touch-Feely Flap Books' are especially appropriate for providing memorable parent-child bonding experience over a truly fun time read!

Junior Alien Zone
Sharon King
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432711627 $14.95 1-888-672-6657

Junior Alien Zone is a flat-spined book filled with suggestions for fun, alien-themed activities for all ages. An enjoyable entertainment supplement for home, homeroom, camp, day care, or even children's parties, Junior Alien Zone activities range from putting alien designs on T-shirts to creating "U.F.O.-Fly-bys" from simple paper bowls and plates, to crafting alien wind chimes or door hangers, to cooking tasty alien pizza to a fun "attack the aliens" game children can play on sidewalks with a little colored chalk and bottle caps. Highly recommended, especially as an enjoyable alternative to TV. It should be noted that Junior Alien Zone is specifically an activity book filled cover to cover with instructions for inexpensive and wonderful projects, not a consumable activity book of word searches/crosswords/etc.

Boys Town Press
14100 Crawford Street, Boys Town, NE 68010

An 'interactive book' is one in which the young reader can customize and personalize for their own participatory enjoyment and sense of involvement. Imaginatively written by K. A. Bye and colorfully illustrated by Earl W. Ridgell Jr., the new 'Interactive Book about Me' series newly published by the Boys Town Press offers four wonderfully delightful titles specifically designed for ages 2 to 8. Each title takes its young reader on a very personalized reading and writing adventure and can be utilized as a shared activity for parent and child together. The four books comprising this outstanding hardcover series include "My Trip To The Zoo" (9781934490006, $13.95); "Visiting My Grandmother" (9781934490013, $13.95); "I Like Birthdays!" (9781934490020, $13.95); and "I Like Holidays!" (9781934490037, $13.95). Ideal for playtime, rainy day, and family night activities, the entire series is enthusiastically recommended to the attention of grandparents, teachers, and care-givers too!

Vassiliki Plomaritou
Outskirts Press
10940 S Parker Road, - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432723361, $11.95,

Dyslexia is more than just stumbling over one's words. "Charlie: A Boy with Reading Difficulties and His Dream" tells the story of Charlie, a dyslexic boy. Although "Charlie" is a work of fiction, author Vassiliki Plomaritou, an elementary school teacher who worked extensively with dyslexic children, hopes to provide her expertise to inspire young readers to combat their problem rather than giving up. "Charlie" is a top pick for children's collections, and especially recommended reading for young people with learning disabilities.

Viva Cisco
Patrick Shannon
Outskirt Press, Inc.
10940 S Parker Road, 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432730376, $17.95,

Some people just can't be held down. Some parrots can't be held down either. "Viva Cisco" is about an undauntable parrot by the name of Cisco. A collection of three short-novel length stories to introduce young readers to the joys of chapter books, "Viva Cisco" does well in entrancing readers with stories of this charming bird. "Viva Cisco" is worth consideration for any young reader ready to make the leap to books without pictures.

The Counting Shelf

Olly and Me 1, 2, 3
Shirley Hughes, author and illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover St., Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763640163, $16.99

"Olly and Me 1, 2, 3" is a charming children's counting book. Filled with nostalgic, gently humorous pen and wash illustrations of children and adults and pets in daily activities, the counting rhyme springs to full life on the page. "Olly and Me 1, 2, 3" will appeal to youngsters age 3 and up. Many a child will trace the delicate pictures with attentive fingers, as the award-winning author scores an excellent choice once more.

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
Jane Cabrera
Holiday House, Inc.
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823422302, $16.95,

Written and illustrated by Jane Cabrera, "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" is a hardback children's counting book suitable for preschool ages and up. Its charming animal antics and bright, imaginative, colorful illustrations make the singing counting rhymes dance right off the pages. An observation game of "find the hidden four baby chicks" makes youngsters look very closely at every page, and the counting rhyme ends with "Party, fun, and food a-plenty, now count the balloons 1 to 20!" "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" is surely destined to become a beloved children's classic.

The Alphabet Shelf

V is for Venus Flytrap: A Plant Alphabet
Eugene Gagliano & Elizabeth Traynor
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chelsea, MI 48118
9781585363506, $17.95,

Written by Eugene Gagliano and illustrated by Elizabeth Traynor, "V is for Venus Flytrap: A Plant Alphabet" is a children's alphabet primer in flora language. Flower and plant-related verses about each letter remind readers of the plant world that enriches their daily lives. In addition, each letter page and full color painting has an informative paragraph or brief chapter explaining the selected topic in more detail. "V is for Venus Flytrap" packs a lot of information and environmental education in this colorful, imaginative children's book. The author's and the illustrator's love of gardening shines through every page. The added text makes "V is for Venus Flytrap" suitable and appealing for elementary age children as well as preschool ages.

J is for Jack-O'-Lantern/ A Halloween Alphabet
Denise Brennan-Nelson & Donald Wu
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chelsea, MI 48118
9781585364435, $14.95,

Written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Donald Wu, "J is for Jack-O'-Lantern" is a spooky Halloween alphabet book for preschool ages and older. Filled with seasonal rhymes, full page colorful illustrations, and informative sidebars with educational commentary to be used for additional learning, "J Is for Jack-O'-Lantern" is just the right combination of spooky and fun to appeal to kids. In addition, significant information about the Celtic history of the Halloween holiday is presented in the sidebars. Ideas for fun Halloween games and recipes for treats such as Deviled egg eyeballs are also included. Also at the end of the book are two pages of Halloween Tricks and Treats, which include some Ghostly riddles. Altogether a fun and imaginative presentation, "J is for jack-O'-Lantern" fills the bill for a fresh takes on both alphabet and Halloween lore.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Saint Thomas Aquinas
Raissa Maritain
Sophia Institute Press
PO Box 5284, Manchester, NH 03108
9781933184470, $12.95,

Being slow to speak does not imply slowness in the head, but perhaps contemplation. "Saint Thomas Aquinas" tells the story of the thirteenth century saint who rose from being viewed as an oaf to one of the most important thinkers of his time. Known as a saint of teaching, Thomas Aquinas' story is one that many a Christian teacher (or aspiring Christian teacher) will relate to. "Saint Thomas Aquinas" is a fine addition to any children's religious collection.

JPS Illustrated Children's Bible
Ellen Frankel & Avi Katz
Jewish Publication Society
2100 Arch Street, 2nd floor, Philadelphia PA 19103-1399
9780827608917, $35.00,

In the "JPS Illustrated Children's Bible", author Ellen Frankel engagingly retells fifty-three biblical stories specifically for the edification of young readers, through the means of a simple and effective narrative story-telling style that translates and adapts the original biblical adult language text and themes that are appropriate for children. The stories themselves are additionally enhanced for young readers with Avi Katz's colorful illustrations. Ideal for gift giving, the "JPS Illustrated Children's Bible" is highly appropriate and recommended for school and community library collections for children.

What Will I Be When I Grow Up?
Susan Snyder & Valeria Cis
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736924368, $15.99,

Written by Susan Snyder and illustrated by Valeria Cis, "What Will I Be When I Grow Up?: How God Made Me Somebody Special" is a charming Christian children's book about exploring ideas of what to be while remembering that the most important thing to do is "Whatever you do, work at it with your whole heart as working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23)." Different professions are considered and shown, with appropriate accompanying biblical text quotes. The beautiful illustrations show many colors of skin, and a vast diversity of choices available to all. "What Will I Be When I Grow Up?" is suitable for children ages 3 and up, with Christian references and roots.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Dragon Fire Ocean Mist
Yvonne Palka
HeartRock Press
PO Box 135, Langley, WA 98260
9780981766805 $12.95

Set in Shi Shi Beach on the coast of Washington State, Dragon Fire Ocean Mist is a fantasy novel for young adults about two children, Jaxon and Allie, who befriend the a peaceful family of Shi Shi dragons. But when the shadow of the thieving, ill-tempered dragon Zorg and his brood falls upon the beach, it's up to Allie, Jaxon, and the dragon foundling Niji to fight back with all the cunning and courage they can muster! An engaging adventure, sure to please young dragon fans with developed reading skills.

The DVD Shelf

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

Schlessinger Media is a premier produce of instructional and informational DVDs for children. One of their best and most relevant to an pressing issue of medical health for children and young adults is their four volume series 'Smokin': Somebody Stop Me!' in which young people speak candidly about their personal experiences with the consequences in their lives from smoking. This outstanding series of 23-minute DVDs include "The Dangers of Smoking" (Grades 4-6, $29.95); "Why Kids Smoke (Grades 4-6, $29.95); "Teen Smoking" (Grades 7-12, $39.95); and "Quitting Smoking" (Grade 7-12, $39.95). Enhanced with candid interviews, debates, documentary footage, animation, and original music, the "Smokin': Somebody Stop Me!' should be a part of every school curriculum resource collection and community library DVD section for their young patrons and their families.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Little Black Fish
Samad Beh-Rang
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781438913995, $13.25,

Ruby Emam uses his translation skills to bring young readers a treat with "The Little Black Fish". Originally written by Samad Beh-Rang, an Iranian writer, "The Little Black Fish" brings children a different sort of youthful fairy tale, but the lessons ring true no matter the culture. The parent trying to expand the horizons of their child should consider "The Little Black Fish".

The Music Shelf

Great Day
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Dr, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $14.99,

Launched in 2002, Milkshake has become a groundbreaking independent children's recording group that has produced three multi-award winning CDs, a DVD, and a profusion of music videos for 'kid friendly' television networks and the internet. Their fourth and newest CD album is called "Great Day" and not only features twelve original songs, but is further enhanced with guest appearances by two-time Grammy award winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. Livey and energetic, toe-tapping and thoroughly 'kid friendly', the pieces comprising "Great Day" include Shake It Up; Happy Place; Statue of Me; You did It!; Enemies; When I'm Old; I want it Recipe; Travel Far; Recipe; Dance to the Sun; I Love Your; and the title piece, Great Day. With superb production values and a total running time of 37 minutes, "Great Day" will have special appeal for children ages 6 to 10 and make a popular addition to family, school, and community library CD music collections for young listeners.

High Roller
PO Box 636, Del Mar, CA 92014
Kindie Rock PR (publicity)

High Roller is the latest album of family-friendly kid-folk music by Hullabaloo, blending folk musical influences with inspiration from beloved figures such as Woody Guthrie and Johnny Cash to create a collection of classical tunes redone with a new pizzazz. The result is listening experience that produces smiles from young and old alike! High Roller is particularly recommended for playing on family car trips, children's parties, or plain old rainy day fun. The tracks are "High Roller" (2:07), "Princess Bluejean" (2:19), "Ants in My Pants" (2:17), "Oh, Susanna!" (2:41), "How About You?" (3:01), "Choo Choo Choo" (2:21), "London Bridge" (2:00), "400 Cupcakes" (2:25), "Dinosaur in My Backyard" (2:21), "Old Dan Tucker" (1:49), "Beans and Rice" (1:24), "This Land is Your Land" (2:33).

The Audiobook Shelf

Piper Reed Gets a Job
Kimberly Willis Holt, author
Emily Janice Card, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780739361870 $26.00 1-800-726-0600

Award-winning novelist Kimberly Willis Holt presents Piper Reed Gets a Job, the unabridged audiobook adaptation of one of the latest installments in the series following high-spirited fifth-grader Piper Reed. When Piper and her fellow Gypsy Club members decide they need a clubhouse, they set out to raise the money to build one. Piper embarks on a party-planning business; her very first job is to throw a birthday celebration for young Brady. But the day of the birthday bash doesn't quite go as planned! An upbeat story perfect for long car trips with kids, Piper Reed Gets a Job is recommended to families and library collections alike. 2 CDs, 1 hour 52 minutes.

The American History Shelf

African-American Soldiers in the Revolutionary War
Raatma, Lucia
Compass Point Books
c/o Capstone Press
PO Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002-0669
9780756538484, $19.99,

While most school children are aware of such historical figures associated with colonial era America's war for independence from England as George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, it is not commonly known by them that thousand of African-Americans (most of them slaves) also fought in the American Revolution. Some of them fought alongside the American patriots while others were engaged with those colonists who were loyal to the British crown. At first only blacks who were not slaves could enlist with the patriots. But as the Revolution dragged on, even the slaves took up arms, either along side the American slave holders or in specially recruited all-black units. This colonial era African-fought at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, and Brandywine. Although they took the same risks as their white counterparts, no black man, slave or free, was ever permitted to rise above the rank of private. Superbly written, informed and informative, "African-American Soldiers in the Revolutionary War" is a welcome and much needed addition to both school and community library American History collection for young readers.

If America Were a Village
David J. Smith & Shelagh Armstrong
Kids Can Press
29 Birch Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4V 1E2
9781554533442, $18.95,

Written by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong, "If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United States" is an educational book for children ages 8-12, grades 3-7, that portrays America as if it were a village of 100 people. It shows exactly the sharp contrasts between the "haves" and "have nots" of America. In this village of 100 souls, five people have over half the wealth, 60 of the poorest people have about 4 %, and 14 people live below the poverty line. Thirteen people are under age 9, while interestingly enough, 74 people have television. "If America Were a Village" is part of an award-winning collection called CitizenKid, which is designed to deal with complicated world issues and to inspire young people to become good global citizens. Acrylic artwork by Shelagh Armstrong makes colorful splashes to illustrate the text. Another interesting area racial grouping represented and languages spoken. If America were a village (of 100 people), 82 people would speak English as their first language, 10 would speak Spanish, I speaks Chinese, 1 French and 1 German. 75 people would be white, 12 would be black, 1 is Native American and 4 are Asian, while the 8 remaining are of other races or mixtures of races. Many more fascinating details unfold to teach students more about America as a global country.

The Art Shelf

Children's Book Of Art
DK Publishing, Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780756655112, $24.00,

Specifically designed and published for the benefit of children ages 10 and older, the "Children's Book Of Art" from DK Publishing is a 144-page compendium of information that offers a historical survey of art down through time and around the world. Significant and influential artists and sculptors are profiled with examples of their work. Young readers will learn about the processes of how different forms of art are created from paintings to frescoes to statuaries. Of special note are the profuse examples of how different artists in different cultures represent in their work similar subject matter. Superbly and profusely illustrated throughout, there is a timeline provided with respect to changing styles in art down through history such as Chinese art, Impressionism, and more. DK Publishing has one of the best art departments in children's book publishing. This is particularly demonstrated in the pages of their "Children's Book Of Art" which is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

Surf War!
Margaret Read MacDonald & Geraldo Valerio
August House, Inc.
3500 Piedmont Road, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30305
9780874838893, $15.95,

Written by Margaret Read MacDonald and illustrated by Geraldo Valerio, "Surf War!" is a re-purposed version of a nature tale of Micronesia that teaches children how to use conflict resolution and ecological stewardship to tackle problems that arise from a failure to understand that all creatures (including humans) are related in ecology. In fact, the food chain relationship makes it very much in everyone's best interest to learn the very best ways to take care of our natural environment, earth and seas. When Whale and Sandpiper learn that they must learn to share and care for their beautiful ocean bay area together, a contented child can sigh and safely drift off to sleep.

Cinnamon & the April Shower
Amy Crane Johnson & Robb Mommaerts
Raven Tree Press
1400 Miller Parkway, McHenry, IL 60050-7030
9781934960547, $16.95,

Written by Amy Crane Johnson and illustrated by Robb Mommaerts, "Cinnamon & the April Shower" is a hardbound children's book (also available in paperback) in a series titled Solomon Raven that features animals as dominoes or teachers about seasons and environmental issues. Playful paintings illustrate the story of Solomon Raven who warns the forest, including Cinnamon the bear and her cub that a spring rainstorm is approaching. The perils and advantages of rainstorms in spring are explained to Cinnamon's cub by the wise Solomon Raven. "Cinnamon & the April Shower" seems appropriate for children ages 4-10 and should be a hit with young naturalists and environmentalists.

Blue Sky Press
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Lovely rhyming words and gorgeous paintings from the impressive Leo and DianeDillon team paired with Rob D. Walker make for a powerful picturebook in Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons (0439932084, $16.99), exploring the bond between mothers and sons. Here's a 'family values' book extraordinaire, perfect for parent/child read-alouds and even including reflections in different languages. A powerful, recommended pick. Alicia Potter provides the fun FRITZ DANCED THE FANDANGO (0545075548, $16.99), telling of a mountain goat who loves to dance the fandango. Determined to find other open-minded goats, he journeys across the mountains to discover others looking for a unique place in the world. The only problem is - they are sheep. Will Fritz ever find his own herd? Ethan Long's drawings are fun and zany. Tony Mitton's FARMER JOE AND THE MUSIC SHOW (054512493X, $16.99) is also a fun story with exceptionally fine drawings by Guy Parker-Rees. Farmer Joe realizes that his farm animals are bored - and decides to use his guitar to stimulate them to lay eggs and to grow crops. Add to the farmer on guitar a fox on the fiddle, a bear on a bass and more and you have a lively barnyard jamboree! Daniel Postgate's THE SNAGGLEGROLLOP (054510470X, $16.99) receives Nick Price's fun drawings as it tells of a fantasy monster called a snagglegrollop. Sam's family won't even let him have a dog or cat, so how will they let him keep a monster? But the snagglegrollop endears himself in this zany story of friendship. Margie Palatini's GONE WITH THE WAND (0439727685, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Brian Ajhar and tells of a fairy godmother put out of business by her success. It's up to Edith the tooth fairy to help Bernice find new magical powers and new meaning in life in this gentle story of friendship and magic. Keith Baker's JUST HOW LONG CAN A STRING BE? (0545086612, $16.99) tells of Ant and his friend Bird who face a big ball of string - a ball too big to handle. Only by breaking it down can they solve problems and have fun. Rebecca, Adrian and Ed Emberley's THERE WAS AN OLD MONSTER! (054510145X, $16.99) is a whimsical rhyme with a downloadable sing-along song telling of an old monster who swallows a tick and begins to feel sick. He also swallows some ants and dances in his pants, and more . Perfect for read-aloud sound effects!

c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019

Tom Pohrt provides the moving drawings for Sandra Day O'Connor's FINDING SUSIE (9780375841033, $16.99), a fine survey drawn from Justice Sandra O'Connor's own life experiences. Sandra is surrounded by all kinds of animals on her desert cattle ranch home - but she really wants a best friend pet. Can wild animals make good pets, though? A fine story of the perfect pet and animal best friends makes for a winning picturebook! Barbara Jean Hicks' MONSTERS DON'T EAT BROCCOLI! (9780375856860, $16.99) receives Sue Hendra's simple yet fun drawings as it tells of monsters who insist they don't like broccoli. They'd rather eat tractors or a rocket ship - so how can they adjust to eating their vegetables like good monsters? A hilarious story evolves.

Roaring Brook Press
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

Johanna Wright's THE SECRET CIRCUS (1596434031, $16.95) tells of a circus so small and so secret that only mice know how to find it. Ages 2-6 years will delight in a fine, easy small tale of a small secret little folks can appreciate. Ed Briant's DON'T LOOK NOW (1596433450, $16.95) will reach ages 4-8 years with a fun story of a simple childhood prank that turns into a battle between two brothers who can't keep their hands off each other's property. The battle escalates into war - but what results introduces the brothers to other worlds and options. Amy Schwartz's TINY & HERCULES (1596432535, $16.95) reaches ages 4-8 with the story of Tiny the elephant and Hercules the mouse who are great friends. Five simple stories explore their fun and challenges. All are fine recommendations for picturebook collections.

The Holiday Shelf

The Magic Sceptre: Reginald the Rabbit
Joan Klatil Creamer
Silver Snowflake Publishing
P. O. Box 1256, East Greenwich, RI 02818
9780977847655, $16.95,

"The Magic Sceptre: Reginald the Rabbit" is the latest in the series to tell the story of how Reginald Rabbit, the wisest bunny in Carrotville uses the Magic Sceptre to save Easter. With the help of the Hare family and Santa Claus, the custodian of the Magic Sceptre, Reginald is able to rescue jelly beans, chocolate rabbit treats, and colored Easter eggs, just by saying the magic words, "Let every child believe in the Easter Bunny and the magic that happens at Easter!" Miraculous deeds and events abound, and once again, the Magic Sceptre saves a well-loved holiday. The detailed, whimsical and colorful illustrations add great charm to this Easter fable.

The Magic Sceptre: Beeula the Witch
Joan Klatil Creamer
Silver Snowflake Publishing
P. O. Box 1256, East Greenwich, RI 02818
9780977847679, $16.95,

Written and illustrated by Joan Klatil Creamer, "The Magic Sceptre/Beeula the Witch" is another Magic Sceptre series that deals with Halloween, a holiday that scares even Beeula the witch. So Beeula decides to consult with Santa Claus, the keeper of the Magic Sceptre, and he tells her she may borrow it to learn to enjoy Halloween. Lo and behold, Beeula taps the Magic Sceptre three times and says the magic words,"Let everyone know the magic of Halloween" and magic dust brings along candy corn, rose colored glasses, a black cat costume for Pumpkin-Puss, Beeula's Halloween-challenged cat, pumpkin flashlights, trick or treat bags, and a huge black owl named Hootie! Wonderful solutions to Halloween scariness problems occur, and Beeula safely provides and enjoys the best Halloween ever!

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Houdini's Gift
Jeanne Gehret & Michael LaDuca
Verbal Images Press
46 Duncott Road, Fairport, NY 14450
9780982198223, $17.95,

Written by Jeanne Gehret and illustrated by Michael LaDuca, "Houdini's Gift" is a hardcover children's book about learning to take responsibility, particularly in tasks relating to pet care. Ben is a young boy who has difficulty paying attention to the task at hand if something more interesting distracts him. When he loses his hamster Houdini because of an attention gap, his parents decide to help him learn about responsibility by having him use a chore chart to check off daily chores. A week of 14 checks rates a star, and when Ben has earned 4 stars, the parents will talk with him about getting a new pet. Ben applies himself and finally earns the trip to the pet store where he finds a new kitty to adopt. He understands that one of his new chores will be to feed his kitty every day. "Houdini's Gift" is masterfully illustrated by large colorful cartoon-like paintings that will appeal to children. "Houdini's Gift" is a useful tool for parents who are trying to encourage a child to take responsibility to organize and remind himself of daily tasks and chores needing to be done. The value of charts and check systems to reward a child for completing desired tasks on time independently is emphasized. parents of children or a child with ADD will particularly relate to the dilemmas of Ben.

Just the Right Size
By Nicola Davies, illustrated by Neal Layton
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763639242, $14.99,

Written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Neal Layton, "Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals Are Big and Little Animals Are Little" is more than a witty, appealing children's bestiary with fascinating details about both tiny spiders and huge blue whales. It provides information and education about evolution and physics of zoology, plus a vital piece of data called the BTLT rule. Briefly stated, the Big Thing Little Thing Rule is: If you double the length of something, its surface area and cross section go up four times, while its volume and weight go up eight times! What this means in terms of living creatures is that some (humongous) monsters actually can't evolve or exist. This is because clearly while Big Things are going to need lots more (approximately 8 times as mich) air, water, food, space, etc. than Little Things, they are actually only 4 times stronger than the Little Things that they are 8 times bigger than! So the BTLT rule imposes a natural limit on the size bodies can be in the known universe. It also explains why, for example humans can't fly (with their arms or muscles) but birds can. "Just the Right Size" ends with a fascinating summary of why there is diversity of life. "To Obey the BTLT rule, living things evolved that weren't just different sizes ; but different shapes and patterns too. This has resulted in all sorts of bodies: bodies with one cell or millions, with bones or shells, with gills or lungs, with legs or no legs; bodies that can be 'superheroes' and bodies that can think about why they can't be. An ever-changing kaleidoscope of life, a glorious diversity of species, from the very tiniest to the most enormous - and all of them JUST THE RIGHT SIZE! (P. 58)." "Just the Right Size" is especially suitable and recommended for children ages 6-11. Its humorous cartoon illustrations and handy glossary make it a very user-friendly book!

Whose Nest Is This?
Heidi Bee Roemer & Connie McLennan
NorthWord/Taylor Trade Publishing
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
5360 Manhattan Circle, #101, Boulder, CO 80303
9781589793866, $16.95,

Written by Heidi Bee Roemer and illustrated by Connie McLennan, "Whose Nest Is This?" is a lavishly illustrated 32 -page hardcover children's book about identifying different birds' and animals' nests, suitable for ages 9-12. Some of the nests shown are for hummingbirds, sea turtles, Caribbean flamingos, a harvest mouse, a Baltimore oriole, a three-spined stickleback (fish), a paper wasp and an elf owl. The amazing variety and diversity of both nests and animals and bird who create them will amaze, educate, and entertain young readers.

The Poetry Shelf

Barnyard Slam
Dian Curtis Regan & Paul Meisel
Holiday House, Inc.
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823419074, $16.95,

Delicate pencil and watercolor artworks by Paul Meisel wonderfully embellish Dian Curtis Regan's festive interpretation of poetic/rap barnyard animal antics. "Barnyard Slam" is hosted by Yo Mama Goose, who organizes and announces a series of barnyard poems. Charley Horse volunteers his poem on, what else, "Hay," after Duck informs Yo Mama Goose that the hostess never performs first, a rule she grumbles about. Cow delivers "The Truth About Cows," a revelation that may stun and amaze. The Hog responds with "Hogwash," a heavenly specialty peculiar to pigs. On and on the animals declaim from Rooster to Lamb, until the Watch-Mouse squeaks an alarm that Farmer and Son are on their way in! What do they find? Only Yo Mama Goose with ruffled feathers, having just declaimed her piece: "Behold the graceful goose in flight./ Winging silent through the night./Feathers glow by light of moon./ Fly south in winter, north in June." Suitable for ages 4 and up, "Barnyard Slam" will delight and enchant while educating its readers as to the etiquette of "Poetry Slams!"

The Science Shelf

Where Did Dinosaurs Come From?
John Bonnet Wexo & John Sibbick
Riverbend Publishing
P.O. Box 5833, Helena, MT 59604-5833
9781931832991, $12.95,

Written by John Bonnet Wexo and superbly illustrated with dinosaur art by John Sibbick, "Where Did Dinosaurs Come From?" is the latest in the wildly popular Zoobooks series about animals created by John Bonnet Wexo. It poses and answers some of the toughest classic questions about the existence and extinction of dinosaurs. Among these are "Where did dinosaurs get 'suits' of armor? Why Could dinosaurs run so fast? Where did dinosaurs get such strong teeth? Why did dinosaurs get so big?" Answers to these questions and many more can be found in the colorfully illustrated chapters of "Where Did Dinosaurs Come From?" Incredible detail is present in the wonderful illustrations, dinosaur art by John Sibbick. Further explanations abound in the fast moving text. "Where Did Dinosaurs Come From?" will appeal to ages 8 and older.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Scholastic/Blue Sky Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Stephanie Tolan's WISHWORKS INC (0545031540, $15.99) tells of an unusual wishing place where every wish is guaranteed for fun and adventure. Max's simple wish for a dog brings all of the above in a fun, surprising story illustrated by Amy June Bates with black and white line drawings throughout. Jeff Smith's BONE: ROSE (0545135435, $10.99) provides another fine Bone graphic novel and a prequel to the Bone saga. When a dragon attacks small towns, it's up to Princess Rose to defeat the evil beast even as her sister follows a dangerous evil path. Full color throughout adds to the epic's interest. Lynda B. Comerford's RISSA BARTHOLOMEW'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (0545050588, $16.99) tells of an eleven-year-old who has had the same friends all her life. But when these friends become obsessed with boys, ballet and dressup, Rissa thinks it's time she become her own person - at the confusion of all. A fine story of growing up and change makes for a lively account. Alison McGhee's JULIA GILLIAN AND THE QUEST FOR JOY (0545033500, $16.99) tells of a new school year and a best friend who no longer wishes to be best friends. Julia finds life in general harder, and a new lunch monitor is overly strict to top it all off. Black and white illustrations by Drazen Kozjan enhance the story of a girl's tumultuous year. All are fine picks for libraries seeking easier stories for elementary-level readers past the picturebook age.

The Fiction Shelf

Dead Fred, Flying Lunchboxes, and the Good Luck Circle
Frank McKinney
Health Communications
3201 S. W. 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-8190
9780757313820, $18.95,

Freedom from tyranny is something that drives many beings, even fish. "Dead Fred, Flying Lunchboxes, and the Good Luck Circle" tells the story of young Ppeekk (pronounced "Peekie"), a young human girl who is faced with the challenge of saving the underwater world known as High Voltage from the emergence of a vicious prehistoric monster. A unique children's adventure of standing up for the happiness of others, "Dead Fred, Flying Lunchboxes, and the Good Luck Circle" is a story any aquatic-loving kid will relish.

Johanna Spyri & Maza Dusikova
North-South Books Inc.
455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 37167
9780735822276, $16.95,

Illustrated by Maza Dusikova, "Heidi" is a 32-page hardcover adaptation by Johanna Spyri of the original beloved book first published in 1880. Designed for children ages 3 and up, "Heidi" is beautifully interpreted both in its text and its softly luminous artwork. The well-known story makes fresh new fans with its charming retelling of the wonderful story of the little Swiss girl and her Grandfather. "Heidi" is a classic, needless to say, but this latest adaptation will give it fresh life and appeal to a new generation.

Pony Tales
Debra L. Hall
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781434346032, $13.99,

Young girls love ponies -- always have, always will. That's why "Pony Tales", a collection of short stories about girls and their ponies will prove to be a welcome and popular addition to school and community library collections for young female readers. Compiled by Debra L. Hall (who wrote one of the short stories herself), "Pony Tales" is a compilation of stories written by girls between the ages of 5 and 12. Enhanced with very nice black-and-white illustrations, these are stories of undeniable charm that will raptly engage young readers from beginning to end. Of special note is an introductory poem to this outstanding and unique anthology by author and grandmother Debra L. Hall: 'You and Me': How I love the light you share / The gentle color of your hair / The Softness of your pretty face / The way you smile with such tender grace / You chatter, you sing, you look at me / You're all that I hoped you would be / I see myself / I see you, too / I'm glad that I belong to you

Speedway Summer
Larry Mellott
Start-Living Homes
514 E. Circle Dr., Dover, PA 17315
9780982416105, $12.95

Certain things drive people further, and competition is one of those things. "Speedway Summer" is the story of Brent Lockeman and his summer spent in the world of go-kart racing with his uncle. He learns much about the sport and finds strong rivalry with the champion of the competition he's entering. "Speedway Summer" is an entertaining read for younger readers, especially those with an interest in go-kart racing.

Ashley Hopgood
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533160471, $17.95,

New experiences mean new opportunities. "Wilddancer" tells the story of a young Native American girl who is taken to learn the ways of the white man, or what white people simply know as formal education. Sharing her experiences, the young girl gains an appreciation for knowledge that will inspire other young readers further. "Wilddancer"is a fine and recommended addition for children's library collections.

Matt Goldman
Jabberwocky Books
212 3rd Avenue North, Suite 290, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781935204008, $12.95,

An outcast for being too tall and an outcast for being too short. "Dingletrot: And the People of the Mill" is the story of one Dingletrot, the tallest boy of his people at a towering fourteen inches tall. His people live in the shadows of the big people world. Seemingly charged with reuniting the world of the big and small, Dingletrot bridges the gap and tells a charming story for young readers. "Dingletrot" is a fine and entertaining read, recommended.

Pink Locker Society
Debra Moffitt
c/o The Nemours Foundation
1600 Rockland Road, Wilmington, DE 19803
9780615238265, $6.99,

It isn't easy being in a secret society. "Pink Locker Society" tells the story of how a group of four girls are charged with answering questions from the other girls at their school about the natural changes that come with a young girl coming of age. School just got a lot more difficult and confusing... "Pink Locker Society" is a charming read for young pre-teen girls, sure to entertain them as well as educate them about matters picking at their minds.

Knopf/Random House/David Fickling Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019

Tim Binding's SYLVIE AND THE SONGMAN (9780385751575, $15.99) tells of a world where music and sound are changing: Sylvie's dog has lost his bark, the birds have stopped singing, and her music-making father has vanished. Sylvie and her best friend, tone deaf George, are thus drawn into the dangerous world of a Songman haunted by Woodpecker Man in his swan-powered balloon - a world where nobody can speak and nothing can sing - in this vivid fantasy of change. Sandra Forrester's LEO AND THE LESSER LION (9780375856167, $16.99) tells of the Depression and a girl who is used to having to go without. Her older brother helps her face poverty - but one day a terrible accident changes her place in the family and nothing will ever be the same. A fine, unusual story of a family in flux makes for an involving and different Depression-era tale. S. Jones Rogan's THE CURSE OF THE ROMANY WOLVES (9780375856020, $16.99) receives black and white line drawings by Christian Slade, peppered throughout a fun story of Wolf fever and one Penhaligon Brush, determined to find a cure before all his friends die off. His search takes him to a haunted land where he sets sail and battles sea serpents and time alike. A fine fantasy adventure will involve advanced elementary to middle-grade students.

Eileen Beha
175 - 5th Ave, New York NY 10010
1599902621, $15.99

TANGO: THE TALE OF AN ISLAND DOG tells of a dog used to a good life - but when his owners sail into stormy weather and he's swept overboard, he finds himself far from his Manhattan home with no way of returning - unless he decides to go on his own. His journey with a cat, a fox, and a runaway girl seeking her own home makes for a poignant story for all ages.

The Carbon Diaries 2015
Saci Lloyd
Holiday House
425 Madison, New York NY 10017
0823421902, $17.95

Kids ages 12 and older will relish this edgy story set in near-future London and telling of 2015, and an environment gone crazy. With blackouts, carbon rationing, European fires and a high-category storm headed straight for Britain, the first-person observations of the protagonist in THE CARBON DIARIES 2015 are frighteningly realistic and make for an engrossing story hard to put down. Leisure readers will find it a provocative story juxtaposing a girl's aspirations with the demise of environmental systems.

Pearl North
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0765320967, $17.99

In the future world of LIBYRINTH technology hides behind magic and wars are fought over books. Haly is a Librarian - dedicated to preserving the knowledge passed down from the Ancients. When she's taken prisoner Haly must use her secret abilities to communicate with the written word to not only escape but to heal two warring peoples. An engrossing, riveting story evolves, highly recommended for any young adult collection.

Because I am Furniture
Thalia Chaltas
Viking Children's Books
c/o Penguin Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780670062980, $16.99

Anke's father is abusive to her siblings but not to her - she's thus a witness to his horrors warranting no attention. She's passive and frightened, until she joins the volleyball team at school and learns how to build confidence and her own voice both on the court and at home. A different story of abuse and recovery evolves in a strong young adult tale of courage and exactly how it takes shape.

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385736152, $16.99,

Two Kentucky girls are participating in their schools' seventh-grade student exchange program, leaving home for two weeks to live and attend classes with the other and record experiences in a journal. Two very different worlds - the mountain home of Ivy June and the large, richer house of Catherine - intersect and join the girls with similarities and differences in this rich story of an unusual friendship.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Meg Cabot's BEING NIKKI (0545040566, $16.99) provides a powerful Airhead novel telling of Em, who is an intellectual girl in the body of a teen supermodel. She also has a missing mother, a brother who wants answers, a British romance, and more in this fine story of a runway model's unusual life. Book 1 of 'Frontier Magic' by Patricia C. Wrede, THIRTEENTH CHILD (054503342X, $16.99), is the powerful story of young mage twins who are supposed to possess amazing talents - and doom. Eff's family moves to the frontier where her father will be a magic professor - but the twins find many things challenging their possible talents in this riveting fantasy. Lois Duncan's NEWS FOR DOGS (0545108535, $16.99) offers a companion to HOTEL FOR DOGS, a major film. Now that their hotel has closed Andi and her brother have a new project - publishing the Bow-Wow News for dogs. Their online publication attracts a dangerous dognapper in this absorbing tale. Coleen Murtagh Paratore'' FORGET ME NOT (0545094011, $16.99) tells of Willa and Joey, enjoying their status as a couple during a Cape Cod summer - until a beautiful girl and baseball begin to pull them apart and Willa's best friend begins to hang out with an enemy. Can Willa fix everything suddenly wrong that summer? A fine story of broken connections emerges. Suzanne Weyn's DISTANT WAVES: A NOVEL OF THE TITANIC (0545085721, $17.99) tells of daughters of a famed clairvoyant: five Taylor sisters who search for a home in a small town, each involved in supernatural spirits and dreams of wealth and fame. All the sisters' different paths converge aboard the Titanic, which promises great wonders and deadly results. Jennifer Sturman's AND THEN EVERYTHING UNRAVELED (0545087228, $16.99) tells of Delia, who is enjoying her California summer at the beach until her mother goes missing and she's sent to New York to live with two aunts. A snotty new school and a web of conspiracy involving her mother's vanishing challenges Delia's survival abilities in this fine story. Lisa Ann Sandell's A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD (054506970X, $16.99) tells of Cara Bradley, who dreams of escaping her small town and over-protective parents. She hides grief over her dead brother in art, drawing elaborate maps that lead her to the boy who was in the car with her brother the night he died. Will her maps and art lead her out of the depression and confusion that's taken over her life? All are fine leisure reads for young adults.

Books in Series

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

The 'Drama of African-American History' series, edited by James Haskins, presents five fine new 70-page books are top picks for advanced elementary readers studying Afro-American history. They deserve ongoing mention and recommendation as solid 'foundation pieces' even years after their initial publication. THE RECONSTRUCTION ERA (0761421815, $23.95) covers the move from slavery to free labor, THE SLAVE TRADE AND MIDDLE PASSAGE (0761421769, $23.95) surveys the process by which slavery came to be a popular trade item in the new world, AFRICA: A LOOK BACK (0761421483, $23.95) provides an excellent basis of African history upon which to base the next volumes covering African-American transitions, SLAVERY AND RESISTANCE (0761421785, $23.95) surveys slavery in colonial America and plantation life, and THE CIVIL WAR (0761421793, $23.95) charts events of the war tied to the breaking of slavery and the evolution of civil rights in America. All are powerful, recommended picks.

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Ave #3308, New York NY 10118

Crabtree's elementary-grade titles are geared to curriculum studies and provide some 30 pages of basic facts for young students. Joining others in 'Celebrations in My World' is Molly Aloian's EARTH DAY (9780778742883, $26.60), an examination of the historic roots of Earth Day celebrations and covering events both domestic and international. From symbols to activities, EARTH DAY offers projects and ideas alike. Others in the series include EASTER (9780778742890, $26.60) and HALLOWEEN (9780778742920, $26.60), each offering some 32 pages of facts including a glossary, index, and details perfect for reports. Bobbie Kalman's WHAT IS RELIGION? (9780778746362, $26.60) provides a survey answering the basic question of what makes religion, culture, and differences in the world. 'The Renaissance' series provides 32 pages of theme-oriented surveys of the Renaissance era. Titles here include SCIENCE IN THE RENAISSANCE (9780778745945, $26.60), THE RENAISSANCE IN EUROPE (9780778745914, $26.60), PAINTING IN THE RENAISSANCE (9780778745921, $26.60) and EXPLORATION IN THE RENAISSANCE (9780778745938, $26.60). Although each of the titles in these two series are available individually, school and community library systems will want to acquire each series intact. Both of these outstanding series will prove lasting picks for discriminating libraries.

Capstone Press
PO Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002-0669

Capstone Press is a prolific and premier publisher of non-fiction books for young readers. Under their 'Pebble' imprint, they've now published a new sixteen volume series called "Helpers in Our Community" which is specifically designed, written and illustrated for children preschool through second grade. Each individual volume is an entertaining and informative introduction to an occupation that is common to all communities and which children will see at work around them. This simply outstanding series include "We Need Auto Mechanics"; "We Need Child Care Workers"; "We Need Construction Workers"; "We Need Dentists"; "We Need Doctors"; "We Need Farmers"; "We Need Fire Fighters"; "We Need Garbage Collectors"; "We Need Mail Carriers"; "We Need Nurses"; "We Need Pharmacists"; "We Need Plumbers"; "We Need Police Officers"; "We Need School Bus Drivers"; "We Need Veterinarians"; and "We Need Zoo Keepers". Superbly illustrated with color photography which superbly enhances a clear and succinct text, each book clearly identifies the role that particular occupation plays in the life of the community. Although each title can be obtained separately ($17.256 List/$12.95 Library), school and community libraries would be best advised to obtain the entire series ($207.20) for the benefit of their young students and patrons.

The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003

Classic Greek literature that has proved both popular and relevant generation after generation down through the centuries is best exemplified by the collection of stories known as 'Aesop's Fables'. More than being simple entertainments, each anthropomorphic tale carried a special moral that was unique accessible and understanding. Now eight of these timeless tales have been retold by Graham Percy for the delight and edification of children preschool through the third grade. This outstanding series includes "The Ant and the Grasshopper"; "The City Mouse and the Country Mouse"; "The Fox and the Crow"; The Fox and the Stork"; "The Heron and the Fish"; "The Lion and the Mouse"; "The Mice in Council"; and "The Tortoise and the Hare". The individual 32-page titles come with a reinforced library binding, a special section defining the fables and providing cogent explanations of their moral lessons, plus a brief introduction to the author and illustrator. Ideal for both school and community libraries, and although available individually ($27.07 List/$18.95 Library), acquisition of the entire series of "Aesop's Fables" as a set ($216.56 List/$151.60 Library) is especially recommended for the benefit of young readers.

Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002

A premier publisher of nonfiction 'books in series', Black Rabbit Books consistently exhibits high quality production standards for its titles. One of their newest QEB Publishing imprint series is 'QEB Changes In...', written by Steve Parker who provides his informed and informative texts at a fourth grade reading level, making them ideal reading resource materials for children in grades 3 to 5. Each 32-page, library bound title is replete with colorful drawings, diagrams, and illustrations, features a table of contents, a glossary, an index, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' activities. The 'QEB Changes In...' series is comprised of "Changes In Animal Habitats" (9781595667731); "Changes In Climate" (9781595667762); "Changes In Food And Farming" (9781595667755); and "Changes In Population" (9781595667748). Although each title is available independently ($28.50 list/$19.95 library), school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the entire set for their young patrons ($114.00 list/$79.80 library).

c/o Capstone Press
PO Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002-0669

A premier publisher of non-fiction books for young readers, Raintree now has a five volume series that introduces children to the joys and self-expression values of making art. "Action Art" is a series of 24-page, profusely illustrated, library bound books by Isabel Thomas introducing children into "Drawing" (9781403469182); "Making Collage" (9781403469929); "Painting" (9781403469199); "Sculpting" (9781403469212); and "Using Color" (9781403469205). Children will learn what kinds of materials are used in these various forms and categories of art and have a lot of creative fun with participating in the art activities associated with them. Each volume is enhanced throughout with 'Fact Boxes'; side bars, and specific activities. While each of these thoroughly 'kid friendly' titles are available individually ($21.36), school and community libraries should acquire the entire series (9781403469236, $106.79) for the benefit of their students and young patrons.

Greenhaven Press
PO Box 9187, Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187

The 'Opposing Viewpoints Series' from Greenhaven Press is a series of more than ninety volumes that takes social, cultural, and politically controversial issues and provides an honest presentation all sides of current issues for the benefit of young readers. The latest addition to this outstanding series is "Sports and Athletes" (9780737745436, $26.75) in which author Christine Watkins who (in complete compliance with the Greenhaven Press 'Opposing Viewpoints' format presents a 'pro/con' format for the text) addresses the specific issues arising from place, prominence, values, and influence of athletics and athletes in American society. Drawing from a variety of contributors and sources, "Sports and Athletes" addresses the benefits and liabilities of sports for children; athletes as role models, women and athletics, sports and academia, and governmental restrictions with respect to sports. Of special note is the chapter devoted to drug use in sports. Enhanced with the inclusion of a periodical and book bibliographies, a listing of topics for further discussion, and a roster of relevant organizations, "Sports and Athletes" is a highly recommended addition to both school and community library reference collections and supplemental Social Issues supplemental reading list.

Norwood House Press
PO Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631

Our modern world was created, shaped, influenced, and made possible by innovative inventions arising from the minds of their creators. "A Great Idea" is an eleven volume series from Norwood House Press that showcases contemporary advances in technology that make unique contributions to modern life. This outstanding series now has four new additions. "The Bionic Hand" (9781599533414) focuses upon the development and creation of the 'i-limb' which is the first commercially available bionic hand. "The Nexi Robot" (9781599533421) showcases four small humanoid robots with mobility, dexterity, and communication skills. "The Seed Vault" (9781599533438) was created to preserve plant seeds as a way of protecting and insuring the world's food supply against natural disasters and diseases. "Sunscreen For Plants" (9781599533445) is the story of a new SPF 45 spray that can be applied to food crops to insure against sun damage and dehydration. Each of these superbly illustrated, 48-page, library bound titles is enhanced with the inclusion of a glossary, 'places to go' information, and an index. The previously published titles in this impressively produced and highly recommended series include "Home Windmills" (9781599531322); "Hybrid Cars" (9781599531939); "Recycled Tires" (9781599531977); "Water From Air: Water Harvesting Machines" (9781599531960); "The Jaws Of Life" (9781599531915); "Lego Toys" (9781599531946); and "YouTube" (9781599531984). Written and designed for young readers grades 3 to 6, 'The Great Idea' series titles are available individually ($25.27 List/$18.95 Library), but school and community libraries are well advised to acquire the entire eleven volume series ($277.97 List/$208.45 Library).

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

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