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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 20, Number 9 September 2010 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Health/Medicine Shelf Preschool Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Picturebook Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Poetry Shelf Holiday Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf
Math Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Folklore/Fairytale Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music Shelf DVD Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Cookbook Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf
Easy Reader/Chapter Book Shelf Art Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Goodnight Book for Moms and Little Ones
Alice Wong and Lena Tabori, editors
Naomi Irie, designer
Welcome Books
6 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781599620848, $17.95,

"Goodnight Book for Moms and Little Ones" is a priceless collection of bedtime songs, poems, stories, prayers, activities and recipes, all orbiting around the theme of beloved children attaining blessed, refreshing sleep. Not restricted to lullabies, "Goodnight Book for Moms and Little Ones" reprises over a hundred favorite mantras or activities that help induce calming sleep for little ones. Filled with pastel, dark and glittering lush vintage illustrations recalling dreamtime-embracing for little ones of many years past, the "Goodnight Book" is a beautiful bedtime sampler of songs, poems, stories, and ideas to help send a little one to sound, refreshing sleep. Some examples include "Goodnight" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, " Moon River" by Henry Mancini, and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" by Jane Taylor, as well as suggested relaxation exercises and star charts for the summer and winter night sky. In addition to bedtime activities and excellent sleep-inducing recipes, there are also a couple of pages of "Sleep" suggestions and tips for Mom to help children learn to go to sleep without excessive attention or delay. "Goodnight Book for Moms and Little Ones" is the perfect gift for new parents everywhere; it contains so many beloved classic excerpts from sleepy time literature for children.

A Day on the Mountain
Kevin Kurtz, author
Erin E. Hunter, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607180845, $8.95,

"A Day on the Mountain" is a followup book to the author's award-winning first book, "A Day in the Salt Marsh." A verse narrative describes a trip from bottom forest land to a snow-covered top of a mountain. During this climb, different animals and habitat are observed. Beautiful illustrations of black bears, bighorn sheep, yellow bellied marmot, great gray owl, garter snake, salamander, mountain goats, and more creatures are displayed. Along with this handy visual and verbal guide, there are suggested learning activities in For Creative Minds, such as match the animals, mountain to Arctic Pole map comparisons and more. There are also free online resources and support for the book at, "A Day on the Mountain" is a great nature activities and environmental studies resource for students in grades K-4.

Your Life in Comics
Bill Zimmerman
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781575423517, $9.99,

Creativity is an impression of one's own experiences. "Your Life in Comics: 100 Things for Guys to Write and Draw" is a book aimed at younger school-age boys to help them gain a grasp on their own world through the avenue of comics. A workbook with blank words to help readers put their own thoughts and creativity into perspective, "Your Life in Comics" may prove to to be quite the motivator for many young comics fans.

The Iron Fairies, Volume 1
A. Sutton, author and designer
D. Burch and S. Wendt, editors
Wildblue Holdings Pty. Ltd.
45 Forsyth Street, O'Connor, Perth, Australia
9780980315509, $25.00,

Enhanced with illustrations by A. Sutton, Whoo Flung Dung, and Willy Flingmore, "The Iron Fairies, volume 1" is a creative venture with piquant appeal for both children (over age 3, please, because of small parts attached) and adults. Part narrative, part poetry, part fantasy, part mysterious quest, and a great part of authentic artistic manuscript (including multiple maps and diagrams and a tiny envelope of "iron fairy dust"), "The Iron Fairies" is an enchanting multi-faceted artistic endeavor. It begins with a poem describing the garden of the iron fairies, and a mysterious introduction claiming that a tiny group of three little books the size of a matchbox containing drawings were discovered by a group of children who played in the special garden, climbing an old gum tree. This introduces the story of the Iron Fairies, which unfolds in both picture and poetry, full of intrigue, innuendo, and fun. Kids will love the drawings, the tiny hidden messages, and the search for Iron Fairies clues and solutions to their mystery. Adults will be enchanted by the same elements. "The Iron Fairies" comes complete with online games and related activities that can enrich the whole experience. There are also two additional volumes and multiple tiny Iron Fairy sculptures with special names, identities and stories. The Iron Fairies are not always heroic or good; they also can be naughty and uncooperative. The beautiful bound volume has a rust-colored, iron-like cover a tiny red ribbon bookmark, and countless shaded pages of beautiful illustrations, diagrams and details. "The Iron Fairies" is a work of art that invites perusal, a world that awaits imaginative exploring. It is special treat reading for children age 6 and up and discerning adults.

Three Little Ghosts
Ruby Cavanaugh Koerper
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 East Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781616632038 $8.99

Three Little Ghosts is not just a spooky children's storybook - included with its purchase is a code granting the right to a free computer download of the book's audio version when visiting Tate Publishing's website. One can then listen to the book through computer speakers, burn it to an audio CD, or save and play it on a portable music device such as an iPod. The flat-spined picturebook itself features lovely, cartoon-style illustrations of three lovable ghosts Sce-e-e, Sco-o-o, and Sca-a-a who just can't figure out how to be scary. When Winny the Witch warns them that they must learn to be scary or they'll have to leave the Ghost House, what can they possibly do? But it turns out that scaring a person under certain circumstances just might be the best thing one can do for them! An especially great read-aloud or listen-live treat for the Halloween season, Three Little Ghosts is highly recommended.

Sharing Our Homeland
Trish Marx, author
Cindy Karp, photographer
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781584302605, $19.95,

"Sharing Our Homeland: Palestinian and Jewish Children at Summer Peace Camp" is a beautiful photographic essay and documentary on a Palestinian and Jewish Children's Peace Camp held at Givat Haviva, in Israel, near where both Alya, a Palestinian girl camper, and Yuval, Jewish boy camper, live. Because of language and cultural differences and because of an ongoing unresolved armed conflict over common territory, Yuval and Alya might never meet or have a chance to get to know each other and perhaps become friends if it were not for experiences such as Peace Camp. Everything at Peace Camp is bilingual, in Arabic and Hebrew. Campers are divided into small groups with counselors who speak their languages. The goal of Peace Camp is to build bridges and understanding among campers. Over several days, Peace campers participate in many ordinary summer camp activities together, playing water games, spending time at the beach, creating arts and crafts, etc. There are lots of fun activities and challenging physical games to participate in. But another day the Peace campers learn from visiting police officers and medics how to use gas masks, sirens, helmets, and bulletproof vests. Bomb removal techniques are demonstrated. During the Peace Camp a bomb goes off in nearby Givat Haviva, killing several people. The emphasis of Peace Camp visitors and staff is on keeping all citizens of Israel safe, not dwelling on violence. field trips to a kibbutz and an Arab village are taken, where more is learned about different customs and practices of each ethnic group. Beautiful photos of Alya and Yuval with their extended families are displayed, showing the family in daily activities such as mealtime or storytelling. A highlight of Peace Camp is a sleepover and talent show, with performing jugglers and fire torch tossing. Finally it is time to say goodbye. One camper wears a T-shirt that says "The unspoken word never does harm." Capoeira dancers perform partly because capoeira "stresses mutual respect, equality, and shared experiences." Peace Camp may be about making small, day-to -day changes and encouraging growing mutual respect for one another. It is from efforts exactly like this that lasting peace can start. "Sharing Our Homeland" is an excellent resource for parents and teachers and children of all backgrounds. It is also a very moving, beautiful story about real people today.

Sinat and the Instrument of the Heart
Chath pierSath, author
Vann Nath and Phal Pouriseth, illustrators
353 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851
9781607270874, $16.95,

"Sinat and the Instrument of the Heart: A Story of Cambodia" is the Cambodian true story of a young boy named Sinat who longed to learn to play a very old instrument from Siem Reap called a Kse Diev or "one-string." It is known as the instrument of the heart because the player hugs its gourd body to his heart to make its low, beautiful music. Due to political acts of oppression, there was only one living master who could teach Sinat to play this instrument. This was Ta Sok who lived in Siem Reap. Sinat's family are musicians and dancers, and they believe in his dreams to become a player of the Kse Diev. One day they take him on a long car ride to Siem Reap, stopping to explore temple ruins at Angkor Wat and Prasat Bayon. There Sinat sees images of players of the Kse Diev, "an instrument as old as Cambodia." Eventually, after studying and learning to make the instruments from gourds with Ta Sok, Sinat is given the honor of performing for the king and queen of Cambodia on the Kse Diev, which fills him with pride. "Sinat and the Instrument of the Heart" is a beautiful Cambodian tale of music/arts history. Its loving full color illustrations were created by a famous artist who survived imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970's because he was the best portrait painter of Pol Pot, Khmer Rouge leader. Both author and artist of "Sinat and the Instrument of the Heart" are committed to Cambodian Living Arts, an organization working to support older artists who survived genocide in the 70's. At the end of the book is more information about Cambodia and about the arts in Cambodian history, along with some glossary definitions for common Cambodian words. The reader is referred to, for more information about Cambodian Living Arts. "Sinat and the Instrument of the Heart" is a beautiful historic child's book suitable for children ages 6 and up.

Cory the Popcorn's Big Adventure
Seth Fowler, author/illustrator
BooksBySeth Publishing
6509 Laramie Avenue, Winnetka, CA 91306
9780615242415, $13.99,

"Cory the Popcorn's Big Adventure" is a prodigious achievement of a talented, creative nine year old boy. Currently attending college, the author writes in his forward to "Cory the Popcorn's Big Adventure: "My original intention... was to provide a means of communication, interaction, and quality time between parents and their children... to entertain, educate, and encourage through a story that anyone could dive into." He goes on to recommend that the book be read by a parent with a child in several different sections, perhaps a multi-day bedtime story. "Cory the Popcorn's Big Adventure" certainly contains all the elements of important life lessons, respect for others including elders, manners, and diversity, and more. The importance of helping others comes in the last words of Stale, "There is no greater love than for one to lay down his life for his friends." Adventures and challenges abound in "Cory the Popcorn's Big Adventure," but perhaps the most amazing feature is its boundless spirit of goodness and heart. All young children would benefit from the wonderful experience of sharing "Cory the Popcorn's Big Adventure" with a loved adult. Children aged 4 and up can share in this wonderful odyssey of an innocent popcorn who seeks his home, source, and family.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Girlology's There's Something New About You
Melisa Holmes, M.D. & Trish Hutchison, M.D.
Health Communications, Inc.
3201 S.W. 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-8190
9780757315268 $12.95 1-800-441-5569

Ob-gyn Melisa Holmes, M.D. and pediatrician Trish Hutchison, M.D. (both of whom are also mothers) present Girlology's There's Something New About You: A Girl's Guide to Growing Up, the third book in the Girlology series. There's Something New About You is especially for young girls age 8-12, facing the bodily changes of puberty - not just the development of breasts and the onset of menstruation, but also learning how to manage new and sometimes uncomfortably strong emotions, getting proper nutrition, acne do's and don'ts, and much more. A handful of color illustrations enhance this down-to-earth, user-friendly guide that doesn't talk down to young girls confronting a challenging phase in their lives. Highly recommended, both as a gift to any young girl and for school and public library collections.

The Preschool Shelf

Rainbow Fish Gift of Sharing
Marcus Pfister
455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 37167
9780735823112, $14.95,

"Rainbow Fish Gift of Sharing" is a soft and colorful cloth book for children age 1 and up. A lovely, shiny, soft silver cloth ball is detachable from page to page and can be shared among the rainbow fish. Tiny fingers will love the soft and shiny textures and beautiful colorful illustrations of this vivid cloth book, and the concept of sharing is taught effortlessly and with joy in its pages. "Rainbow Fish Gift of Sharing" is a perfect first book for a baby.

ABC Animal Jamboree
Giles Andreae, author
David Wojtowycz, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589250925 $16.95

ABC Animal Jamboree is a brightly colored children's ABC book. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by an animal and a simple rhyme; the exuberant artwork adds an especially fun-loving touch. "P / Penguin / We waddle around on our icebergs, / Which makes our feet slither and slide. / And when we get close to the water, / We leap with a splash off to the side." ABC Animal Jamboree is a great choice for parents to read aloud to young children. Also highly recommended from publisher Tiger Tales are the picturebooks "Don't Read This Book!" (9781589250949, $15.95) and "Hugless Douglas" (9781589250987, $15.95).

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Desert Song
Tony Johnston, author
Ed Young, illustrations
Sierra Club Books for Children
85 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
9781578051717, $7.99,

"Desert Song" is a magical poetic rendering of the nocturnal stirrings of creatures of the desert as the twilight deepens into night. Bats, owls, snakes, insects, coyotes and more are seen slipping quietly out to feed. The spectacular illustrations are stellar images of desert night scenes and creatures. "Desert Song" is a tribute to all night life in the desert, presented uniquely for the enjoyment of young children.

Bingo's Big Adventure: A Cat's Tale
Julia King
King Publishing
PO Box 961. San Marin CA 95046
9780615345857, $15.99,

"Bingo's Big Adventure" is a brightly lit photo-perfect story about a partly grown gray striped cat named Bingo, otherwise known as "the Might Adventurer!" Told in rhyming lines that describe a young cat's curiosity, "Bingo's Big Adventure" will appeal to children ages 3-8 with all its colored, farm -scene action photos and exciting moments. Cats are creatures that master the art of living in the present at a very young age. "Bingo's Big Adventure" spells this out in story, picture, and verse in an unforgettable reading experience.

Kathy Brodsky, author
Cameron Bennett, illustrator
c/o Enfield Publishing & Distribution
PO Box 699, Enfield, NH 03748
9780578050591, $19.99,

"Pursnikitty" is a delightful rhyming story about a slightly vain cat named Pursnikitty who is adopted by his family from an animal shelter. Told from the cat's point of view (is there any other?), "Pursnikitty presents many recurring themes in tales of pet care and responsible pet ownership. How do pets get along with new adopted family pets? What problems may arise? What favored cat activities may not always be favored owner activities? Most of all, why are pets so much fun, especially cats? Well, and maybe dogs too. "Pursnikitty" is a book that will help elementary age children learn to accept responsibility for pet care and supervision, as well as the ongoing enjoyment of pet ownership. Detailed illustrations of a particular black and white cat and surroundings enhances the charm and appeal of "Pursnikitty," while the story in colored text verse keeps interest high and pages turning.

Champ's Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too
Sherry North, author
Kathleen Rietz
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607180883 $8.95

Medical writer and award-winning children's author Sherry North presents Champ's Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too, a picturebook that will help young people better understand cancer - a disease known to strike animals as well as humans. Young Cody learns to take care of his beloved dog Champ, who undergoes many of the same treatments (with similar reactions) that a human might under the same circumstances. Warm color illustrations add the perfect touch to this powerful and memorable story, enhanced with four extra pages of facts about cancer in the back. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's collections. Additional choice picks from publisher Sylvan Dell include "Astro: The Steller Sea Lion" (9781607180876, $8.95) and "Ready, Set... WAIT! What Animals Do Before a Hurricane" (9781607180838, $8.95).

At Home with the Gopher Tortoise
Madeline Dunphy, author
Michael Rothman, illustrator
Web Of Life Children's Books
P.O. Box 2726, Berkeley, CA 94702
9780977753956, $9.95,

"At Home With the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species" is an illustrated nature/conservation book for children featuring a unique "keystone" species. With 360 different species of animals dependent on it for survival, the gopher tortoise presents a fascinating study of ecological interdependency. Because the gopher tortoise digs burrows for its dens in parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and other Southeastern states of the US, many other species including skunks, birds, frogs, mice and snakes depend on the burrows for their own protection and survival of their young. Even burrowing owls use the gopher tortoise's burrows to shelter their fledgling owlets. Other insects use the burrows and other birds eat the insects that thrive in the burrows, completing yet more circles of interdependency. Even a bobcat may use a large burrow to hide and cool itself, while birds such as bobwhites, rabbits and lizards also find refuge in the burrows. In the soil loosened by the gopher tortoise's digging grow plants such as the scrub mint which provides a pleasant fragrance. In this way the life activities of the gopher tortoise provide protective, favorable habitat for a whole spectrum of living creatures who depend upon the continued survival of the gopher tortoise species for survival. "At Home with the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species" shows how one humble species can be at the center of a vast web of creatures' lives. The beautiful detailed illustrations show many of the different animals in their natural settings, enhancing appeal to an audience of children ages 5-9.

Fur and Feathers
Janet Halfmann, author
Laurie Allen Klein, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607180869, $8.95,

"Fur and Feathers" is a creative picture book with a hands-on educational approach to the scientific classification of animals. Sophia is counting animals with her mother to help her go to sleep while the wind is blowing loudly. In her dreams she meets many wonderful animals shivering in their bare skin and decides to try to make coats for each of them, using her Grandmother's sewing basket and supplies. Each animal receives the special type of coat it needs with a little extra imaginative touch, like the little red heart behind the polar bear's ear. Sophia even manages to find a jar of green slime for the frog and prickly pins and needles for the porcupine! At the end Sophia wakes up and gets a surprise visit to the zoo with her Grandmother where she sees her polar bear in the coat with the special red heart she made for him! The story of "Fur and Feathers" is perfectly enhanced by the gently comical painting and illustrations which are guaranteed to tickle kids' fancies. "Fur and Feathers" is part of an educational series that uses multi-sensory stimulating ideas for crafts and related activities to teach basic concepts introduced in the story. At the end of "Fur and Feathers" are additional pages on scientific classification, types of animals and categories, plus descriptions of skin coverings and examples of animal classification found in the story. Additional teaching activities that supplement the story are available on the Sylvan Dell website free, plus a Spanish and English version of the "For Creative Minds" section in the book. Additional titles available in this exciting, creative series are "Astro the Stellar Sea Lion," "Champ's Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!," "A Day On the Mountain," and "Ready, Set... WAIT!" "Fur and Feathers" is suitable for children ages 4-9, with a Lexile count of 750.

The Picturebook Shelf

Nibbles, A Green Tale
Charlotte Middleton, author/illustrator
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761457916, $17.99,

"Nibbles, A Green Tale" is a delightful child's picture book about a curious little gardening guinea pig named Nibbles. Nibbles loves eating dandelions. He also loves soccer. But he loves munching dandelions even more than soccer. Nibbles is an enterprising guinea pig, unlike some. When he discovers on the internet that only a few dandelion leaves that are left can be bought for a HUGE amount of money, a crisis occurs. But Nibbles discovers a gardener's solution to the problem. The wonderful picture of Nibbles blowing the dandelion seeds is priceless. It is also very hard for Nibbles to wait patiently and not eat the dandelion leaves of his little plant (the last dandelion plant in Dandeville). But thanks to his careful library research, Nibbles' patience pays off. He discovers he likes growing dandelions as much as eating them! "Nibbles, A Green Tale" is a fabulous book for kids age 4-8 to learn about creating green solutions to shortages.

Anthony Best
Davene Fahy, author
Carol Inouye, illustrator
Limerock Books
15 Mechanic Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780974658957, $14.95

"Anthony Best" is a child's picture book about a preschool boy with Asperger's Syndrome. Anthony is described by his friend and neighbor, Hannah. He is a boy who sometimes does strange things, but who can also learn to be a friend. Hannah learns to work with Anthony on activities and games that he enjoys and she notes that they teach each other. One day Anthony surprises Hannah by playing beautiful music on a piano. She is excited to see that Anthony really is "Anthony Best" when it comes to playing the piano. "Anthony Best" is a special resource book for children ages 4-8, compassionately teaching that differently abled children may also have special gifts.

Three Scoops and a Fig
Sara Laux Akin, author
Susan Kathleen Hartung, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Ave., Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561455225, $15.95,

"Three Scoops and a Fig" is a delightful child's picture book about an Italian girl named Sofia who is determined to cook something special for her Nonno and Nonna (grandparents) who are coming to visit. Unfortunately Sofia has more enthusiasm than skill, and she is quite messy too. All turns out well when Sofia hides in her special fig tree with her cat Figaro, for she is inspired to create a memorable gelato (Italian ice cream) fig desert that is scrumptious. "Three Scoops and a Fig" has an Italian glossary and a special recipe for Sofia's dessert. Warmly fragrant, colorful illustrations make "Three Scoops and a Fig" an appealing educational book for children ages 4-8.

Snowflake Comes to Stay
Karel Hayes
Down East
P.O. Box 679, Camden, Maine 04843
9780892728503, $16.95,

"Snowflake Comes to Stay" is a delightful illustrated story of a small Bichon Frise puppy who comes to stay for just one week with a story-writing lady who does not need a dog. The antics of Snowflake, the charming little white dog, charm and warm the heart of her hostess, and eventually two friends come to realize they need and enjoy each other's company very much (despite a few inconveniences). "Snowflake Comes to Stay" is a love story that will appeal to children of all ages. The storytelling pictures and illustrations are poignant and quietly inspirational.

Jackson, Josie, & The (almost) Free Lunch
Andrea McAllister O'Connell, author/illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983001, $16.95,

"Jackson, Josie, and the (almost) Free Lunch" is a fun fable for kids that underlines a very important lesson: There is no free lunch. Jackson and Josie are beautiful gold and green fish that swim in the water with their usual school. When Jackson spies a juicy worm attached to something curved and shiny, he tells Josie it is her choice to follow him to a delicious free lunch, even though they both know it is against the rules. What happens next is predictable but good story -teaching. Because this is a children's fable and because Jackson is a fairly little fish, he does not meet a disastrous end, but the message(s) to both fish are clear. It's wrong to want a free lunch without any work and "it's silly to take bad advice or do something dangerous just to be nice!" The wonderful, flowing illustrations are softly three-dimensional in their effect, enhancing the tale and its moral with gaiety and style. Children ages 4-K will enjoy "Jackson, Josie, and the (almost) Free Lunch." Parents, teachers and caretakers will be delighted to know that a sequel is in progress where a frog named Ali will learn another important life lesson. To find out more, go to,

The Sundancer
Ben Joy, author
Heather Payer-Smith, illustrator
Lily Ruth Publishing
P.O. Box 2067, Jacksonville, Texas 75766
9780982300923, $11.95,

"The Sundancer" is an illustrated story about a unique boy, in ancient times, who dances to make the sun rise every day. The pencil illustrations progress gradually from black and white to luscious color as the sun, becoming curious to see this amazingly energetic dancing boy, peeks through morning clouds. Finally the sun smiles at the boy to thank him for his entertainment and gives him a standing ovation. The boy bows, knowing his work is done to start off another good day for everyone. "The Sundancer" will be a hit with its intended audience of children ages 4-8, and its basic premise, that everyone has special gifts and talents and can make a unique, valuable contribution, is extended to children of all ages.

The Biggest Thing in the World
Kenneth Steven, author
Melanie Mitchell, illustrator
Kregel Publications
P.O. Box 2607 Grand Rapids, MI 49501
9780745962047, $14.99,

"The Biggest Thing in the World" is a lovingly illustrated picture book for children ages 3-5 about a little polar bear cub just newly exploring the wide world with his mother bear's guidance. Little Snow Bear sees many wonderful animals and sights, each bigger than the last, but when he asks his mother if that is the biggest thing in the world, she always answers no. Finally after a cold, sleepy ride through a snowstorm on his mother's back, Little Snow Bear opens his eyes in amazement at the clear night sky full of stars. But even that, his mother answers him softly, is not the biggest thing in the world. A final foldout page opens into a beautiful three- page illustration that gleams with starlight, moonlight, snow, and love, while the mother bear tells her cub in their den, "It's how much I love you." The textures and quiet colors of the illustrations of "The Biggest Thing in the World" are delicate and descriptive, almost a narrative of imagery that entwines with the story. Children will love "The Biggest Thing in the World," and their parents will love reading it to them.

The Tree House
Marije Tolman & Ronald Tolman
c/o Boyds Mills Press, Inc.
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590788066, $17.95,

"The Tree House" is a beautiful story told completely in wondrous pictures. A polar bear swims to a miraculous tree house. He is joined by a whale, a brown bear, and other animals. The bears like to read their books in the magical tree house. Flamingos, pandas, hippos, and other creatures come to visit. When they fly away, the brown bear catches magical snowflakes in a net, while the polar bear contemplates the moon. A mystical experience, "The Tree House" is a book that unfolds in images, transcending verbal language. Children of all ages will love its special spirit and vision.

The Fox in the Dark
Alison Green, author
Deborah Allwright, illustrator
Tiger Tales
202 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589250918, $15.95,

"The Fox in the Dark" is a delightful versed narrative, picture- book bedtime story about many animals who are afraid of the fox in the dark. Everyone comes knocking at Rabbit's door because they are afraid of a fox in the dark. Soon with Mouse, Squirrel, Lamb and Duck, Rabbit's bed begins to feel crowded. Guess who knocks on the door next? A very little, very unscary fox who is crying and lost in the dark. All turns out for the best even when Mama Fox comes knocking looking for her little lost baby fox and everyone cuddles up for a good night's sleep. "The Fox in the Dark" will charm children ages 3-7 with its bouncy rhyming story and soft, colorful illustrations.

Holly's Best Friend
Kathy Davenport, author
Rebecca Matthews & Dana Parker, illustrators
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452020655, $ tba,

"Holly's Best Friend" is a charming illustrated story about a five-year-old girl who hopes her best friend will come to her December birthday party. Although December is his busy season, Santa tells Holly he will do his best to attend her party if she is good. Other years, Santa has sent Holly a gift with a letter explaining that he can't come to her party but wishing her a Happy Birthday. This year Holly is especially excited all day. Friends from her preschool class come to her party and her mom brings out the birthday cake with candles lit. You know what Holly wished for when she blew them out, don't you? Sure enough, Santa arrived at the party and collected Christmas gift wishes from every party guest including his special best friend, Holly. Warmly illustrated with appealing anime-influenced colored pencil works specially designed by two high school seniors, "Holly's Best Friend" is a lovely gift for children aged 4-6 . A share of the profits from the sales of "Holly's Best Friend" will go to elementary schools across the U.S.

Coco-Chan's Kimono
Kumiko Sudo
Breckling Press
283 N. Michigan Street, Elmhurst, IL 60126
9781933308265, $16.95,

"Coco-Chan's Kimono" is a delicately illustrated, Japanese-influenced story about a little girl's adventures with dragonflies and flowers while she is anticipating the beautiful kimono her mother is making for her. From a snake to a ladybug, Coco-Chan finds that she has friends in the garden whenever she chooses to use her senses to imagine herself tiny enough to examine them. Finally Coco-Chan awakens from her dream to find her mother has finished her beautiful new kimono, and when she wears it, she sees herself in a garden of flowers and friendship. "Coco-Chan's Kimono" contains a pattern for a paper kimono that can be made by a child with some adult assistance. The beautiful textures and colors of "Coco-Chan's Kimono" are gently stimulating to the imagination, making this a wonderful reading experience for children ages 3 and up.

Lulu's Piano Lesson
Arlene Alda, author
Lisa Desimini, illustrator
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887769306, $16.95,

"Lulu's Piano Lesson" is a charming picture book for children ages 4-7 about a little girl who interacts creatively with her music learning, thanks to her excellent music teacher, Mr. Sharp. Lulu hears many interesting sounds in her everyday life that she manages to incorporate into her piano piece (which she didn't practice), "Old MacDonald." The way to learning music is not so hard after all, Mr. Sharp encourages Lulu to keep trying and she succeeds, with practice! All children who have experienced conflicting desires (practice, or play outside?) with learning music and piano skills will love "Lulu's Piano Lesson." Adults will enjoy the effortless incorporation of fun and learning that Mr. Sharp presents and encourages in Lulu. The bright, swirling colorful illustrations leave a child's vision dancing with light. Can't all learning be made fun, a little step at a time?

Ol' Bloo's Boogie- Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble
Jan Huling, author
Henri Sorensen, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561454365, $16.95,

"Ol' Bloo's Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble" is an illustrated Southern tale for children ages 6-10 about an old donkey whose dreams of retirement are interrupted by the threatening musings of Farmer Brown, who had decided to put the "poor beast outta his misery." A change of career is just what he needs, he decides, maybe a life in music. Off Bloo goes, hee-hawin' all the way. Soon he finds another rustic musician and eventually his troupe is filled out with Ol' Gnarly Dog, a hound, One-Eyed Lemony Cat, Rusty Red Rooster "whose voice sounded like a player piano bein' hit with an ax." Naturally their first volunteer gig is an unqualified success, scaring off a group of three thieves from a cabin with their melodious sounds. These unlikely heroes, the Deep South Bremen Musicians are quite clever in using their musical talents to defend their gains, and they retire to the comfy cabin in the woods the thieves relinquished to them. Even though they never quite make it to the big time, or honky-tonk in New Orleans, They have the perfect retirement. "Them big city folks never knew what they missed!" "Ol' Bloo's Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble" is a handstanding hoot and a half for youngsters to hear and to read, and the luscious shadowy paintings in russet hues add just the right tinge of Old South vibrancy and color.

Along Came Ziro
Stephen "Townie" Townsend
18 Grey Media
9780615325163 $14.99

Along Came Ziro is a brightly colored, rhyming children's picturebook about a little alien who suddenly arrives on Earth, and makes unexpected friends with the farm animals - who agree to accompany him on his continued journey to wonders unknown! The distinctive artwork, which models all living creatures around spheres or ellipses, lends a unique touch to this charming read-aloud story. A wonderful book to share with little ones just before bedtime.

The Homework Monster
Karen E. Culpepper
Culpepper Publishing
c/o Atlas Books (distribution)
30 Amberwood Parkway, Ashland, OH 44805
9780976564126 $23.95

The Homework Monster is a children's picturebook about the importance of confronting the responsibility of one's own homework. Bernie is a young boy who loves to draw more than anything; he enjoys drawing and even picturing himself as a mighty superhero. But his beloved drawing cuts into his homework time; how is his superhero persona to vanquish the dreaded "Homework Monster"? Only dedication and elbow grease can save the day, in this playful storybook with an important message, highly recommended for parents to read aloud to young children.

Not So Tall for Six
Dianna Hutts Aston, author
Frank W. Dormer, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781570917066 $6.95 1-800-225-3214

Not So Tall for Six is a lighthearted, softcover children's picturebook about Kylie Bell, a young girl who is small for her age of six - but she doesn't need size or physical strength to deal with bully-boy Rusty Jacks! Kylie has other qualities - she's fast on her feet, she's polite, she has a sensible head on her shoulders, and she knows the value of not holding a grudge after a bully is beaten! The exuberant illustrations reinforce the fun and playful tone of this happy-go-lucky story.

The Social Issues Shelf

Letters from Grampy
Lawrence Grey
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781449972455 $12.50

Letters from Grampy: Advice to Make the Most of Your Teen Years is a helpful set of letters addressed to teenagers, from a successful business owner, husband, parent, and grandparent who wishes to pass along his wisdom. Written in a down-to-earth friendly tone that informs without patronizing, Letters from Grampy covers everything from dating and relationships to making the most of one's education to getting involved in the community and more. Packed with practical, user-friendly wisdom, Letters from Grampy is especially recommended for young people ages 12 to 15. "Having the reputation of always being late is not a good reputation to have. In business, it is particularly important to be on time, and the boss and all the other workers who are on time notice those who aren't. In the military, being on time is essential, and not being on time is not tolerated. There is no such thing as being fashionably late in the military."

The Anxiety Workbook for Girls
Erin A. Munroe, LMHC
Fairview Press
2450 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454
9781577492320, $14.95,

"The Anxiety Workbook for Girls: Proven Tips to Help You Go From Freakin' Out to Chillin' Out" is an excellent resource for psychological self-help approaches to quelling anxiety in teenage girls. Chapters focus on defining anxiety, symptoms of anxiety and describing a multitude of easy practical approaches to conquering or harnessing anxiety. Counseling, alternative therapies, and medication are addressed in summary chapters, but the main focus of "The Anxiety Workbook for Girls" is to assist girls in providing a roadmap or ways to tame anxious tendencies. From eating a healthy diet and getting adequate exercise to developing a range of pleasurable hobbies/ crafts/activities, "The Anxiety Workbook" is all about finding out what it takes to go from "freakin' out to chillin' out." Meditation practices, positive self-talk, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques are just some of the many approaches suggested and described to help deal with anxiety. "The Anxiety Workbook for Girls" is an excellent resource for teenage girls and the parents and professionals who live and work with them.

My New Baby
illustrated by Rachel Fuller
Child's Play Ltd.
64 Wellington Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
9781846432767, $4.99,

"My New Baby" is part of an award-winning series of books for toddlers about welcoming a baby sibling to the family. The delightful pasteboard pages of colorful pictures reveal a cheerful toddler asking questions about the newest family member and happily making adjustments to daily routines that having a new baby entails for a family. The conversational tone encourages youngsters to learn more about themselves and the new baby, learning to share a parent and a family with a new sibling with joy. Also highly recommended in this series is "Look at Me!" (ISBN 97818466432781), "Waiting for Baby," and "You and Me" (ISBN 97818446432774).

Confessions of a Former Bully
Tracy Ludwig, author
Beth Adams, illustrator
Tricycle Press
PO Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707
9781582463094 $15.99 1-800-481-2665

Confessions of a Former Bully is a children's book about bullying from the viewpoint of a former aggressor - revealing how one's nasty words or exclusionary acts can have hurtful effects on others. Though written in a kid-friendly, informal tone, Confessions of a Former Bully is packed cover to cover with invaluable information for children dealing with the problem of bullying on all fronts. "If you get a hurtful email, text message, or anything like that, don't get even by sending a mean message back. If you do, you'll be cyber-bullying too! ... It's much better to save the message, print it out if you can, and show it to a grown-up you trust." An absolute "must-have" for elementary, middle school, and public library collections, and an invaluable resource for parents to share with children, the better to prepare them to deal with the difficult side of peer relations.

Super-Dren the De-Victimizer
Idea by Izzy & Lola Kalman
Script & Art by Chair Pere
Bullies to Buddies
65 Fraser St., Staten Island, NY 10314
9780970648259, $10.00,

"Super-Dren The De-Victimizer: The Super-Fun Way to Stop Being Bullied" is a comic book solution to bullying featuring the one and only kid super-hero nerd Super-Dren. Super-Dren takes his bullying victims to Weetopia and makes crazy but useful suggestions to defuse bullying talk such as "Use Humor! Say the unexpected! Get them off guard and maybe they will even start to laugh at themselves!" By playing out different scenarios where the victim returns the teasers' verbal abuse with unusual responses, a whole new interaction pattern possibility evolves. This is the idea at the heart of "Super-Dren the De-victimizer." Another key concept is, "Treating your enemies like friends gives you so much power. It turns them into your friends (p. 14)." And the Welcome to Weetopia sign reads the secret weapon of Super-Dren: "Treat others as you would like to be treated." At the end of "Super-Dren the De-Victimizer" is a list of 8 rules that can help turn bullies into buddies, with accompanying cartoons and examples. "Super-Dren the De-Victimizer" is a great kid-friendly guide and tool to defuse bullying behaviors. It is especially appealing to middle school students aged 7-12.

The Big Fib
Melissa Anderson, author
Casey Nelson, illustrator
Shadow Mountain Publishing
PO Box 30178, Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0178
9781606416716, $17.99,

"The Big Fib" is a colorful, creative treatment of a serious moral lesson especially presented to appeal to children age 3 and up. Bright rainbow-splashed illustrations and brilliant, oversized emphatic text tell the story of an adorable red-pigtailed little girl who accidentally broke her mother's cookie jar while reaching for forbidden cookies. How does she explain this to her mother? At first, even though she knows it won't quite work, she tries to tell a fib, but it just keeps growing bigger, and bigger! Finally she knows her mother is not deceived and manages to tell her the truth. Some yard, cleanup chores help her remember her lesson ("Always tell the truth!").

Pearls for Girls
Minister Nishaline L. Hines
Girls Plan
c/o Outskirts Press
P.O. Box 1402, Paramus, NJ 07653
9781432758677, $14.95,

"Pearls for Girls: Insights and Tips for Teens and Parents" is an inspiring travelers' guide to navigating the stormy and confusing teen years for young women and their parents. Filled with compassionate insights, tips and examples of communication between generations and peers, "Pearls for Girls" offers Christian -grounded outlooks and suggestions for good ways to promote self health, good decision-making, and security of young women. Each chapter ends with a Girls' Corner and a Just for Parents workbook exercise that encourages readers to explore issues they face similar to those described. "Pearls for Girls" is brief, heartfelt, practical, and sincere in its outreach. Many teenaged girls and their parents will be thankful for this little jewel of a book.

The Poetry Shelf

Ivy in Bloom
Vanita Oelschlager, author
Kristin Blackwood, illustrator
Vanita Books, LLC
9780980016277, $17.95,

"Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers of the Past" is a vividly illustrated sampler of famous bits of great writings about the wonderful phenomena experienced in Spring. Spring is awaited impatiently by Ivy Van Allsberg as she tires of the dreary chilling end of winter. Cheering her on in her discovery of the unfolding of spring are memorable quotations chosen from works by Whitman, Dickinson, St. Vincent Millay, Frost, Nashe, Wordsworth, Shelley and Browning, only to name a few. Each selected spring-related quotation is stunningly illustrated in a blending of techniques beginning with linoleum block prints and ending with digital format conversion and adding layers of watercolor. At the bibliography at the end of the book, referenced poems are quoted in fuller form, with the selected lines presented in green text. Each selection is accompanied by a miniature of the accompanying illustration, enabling "Ivy in Bloom" to be used with young children in several ways, at different levels. In all, "Ivy in Bloom" exposes young children to classic poetic musings in small sips and samples that can be easily digested, leaving little minds stimulated and refreshed, asking for more. All net profits from "Ivy in Bloom" are to be donated to charitable organizations "with a gentle preference towards serving people with (the author's) husband's disease - multiple sclerosis."

Humpty Dumpty and Friends
Oleg Lipchenko, editor and illustrator
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9781770492059, $19.99,

"Humpty Dumpty and Friends: Nursery Rhymes for the Young at Heart" is a delightful collection of 20 whimsical songs and rhymes that are quite perfect for bedtime reading. Some of the rhymes are beloved and well-known and some are lesser known but memorable. All are instilled with just the right twist of sweet nonsense that make childhood unforgettable. The glowing, eccentric, extremely detailed retro-colored illustrations shed a gentle patina of their own on beloved rhymes such as "Rock-a-bye, baby," and "Tweedledum and Tweedledee." "Humpty Dumpty and Friends" will share its charm with children and adults who love and care for them and bring new life to beloved old rhymes for coming generations.

Mother Goose Other Goose
Vanita Oelschlager, author
Robin Hegan, illustrator
Vanita Books
9780980016260 $17.95

Mother Goose Other Goose offers wonderfully original twists on classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Each two-page spread features the original beloved rhyme or saying on the left, and an inventive new rhyme using the same rhythm patterns on the right, enhanced with humorous, caricature illustrations. For example author Vanita Oelschlager's counterpoint to "This Little Pig Went to Market" is "'Alley cat' kitty went to New York. / 'Home Body' kitty stayed home. / 'High Class' kitty to London, / 'Adventure' kitty to Rome. / Momma kitty cried, 'Meow, Meow, Meow,' / And all the kitties came home." Young people are even encouraged to invent their own "Other Goose" rhymes! Highly recommended.

The Holiday Shelf

A Farm Country Thanksgiving
Gordon W. Fredrickson, author
Michaelin Otis, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983438 $17.95

A Farm Country Thanksgiving is an enjoyable picturebook about a family's Thanksgiving celebration. As delicious smells for the anticipated noontime meal drift from the kitchen, the family's children must tend to their chores. When guests arrive early, the kids make new friends and take joy in sledding down snowy hills. Soft, gentle color illustrations add a heartwarming touch to this exuberant celebration of family togetherness and holiday goodwill.

A Tree's Christmas
James Andrew Bowen
Clearview Communications
1731 Watrous Ave., Suite 101, Tampa, FL 33606
9780979359316, $9.95,

"A Tree's Christmas: A Talking Tree's Story of its Christmas Adventures" is an inspirational children's chapter book with heartwarming appeal for all ages. Narration begins and ends in the words of a 13 year old girl who may or may not have dreamed part of the story. The Christmas tree itself is the gentle story's star, and even though other bigger trees in the forest have ridiculed or belittled the tree, it is true to its own story and attests to the virtue of perseverance and fidelity in the face of hardship. "A Tree's Christmas" deals with many relevant themes; the circle of life and death, family love and support, and enduring hard times to remember joy in the end. "A Tree's Christmas" will be a treasured gift to share with a loved one, child or adult. Its lessons of a brief life fully lived in gratitude for the wonder of creation are to be respectfully passed on to new generations.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Sara Finds a Mitzva
Rebeka Simhaee, author
Michael Weber, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628469 $10.95

Sara Finds a Mitzva is a delightful picturebook especially for Jewish children, about a young girl who discovers a lost toy duck. She wants to perform the mitzva (good deed) of returning the toy to its owner, but how is she to find the right person? Sara must use her head to track down clues in order to perform the great mitzva of Hashavas Aveida, returning lost things! Gentle, colorful illustrations add the perfect touch to this heartwarming storybook with a strong moral lesson.

The Math Shelf

Draw Plus Math
Freddie Levin
Peel Productions
North Light Books/F&W (distribution)
4700 East Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236
KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301
9780939217908 $8.99

Draw Plus Math: Enhance Math Learning Through Art Activities is an excellent educational resource for parents, babysitters, caregivers or teachers to share with children ages six and up. All the child needs is a pencil, an eraser, paper, and colored pencils to add finishing touches, and he or she is ready to create drawings of foods, objects, and animals that reinforce basic mathematical concepts. From simple counting, to the concept of symmetry, to identifying patterns, very basic fractions (dividing a pie into halves, thirds, or fourths) and more, the exercises in Draw Plus Math are a fun way to reinforce lessons through hands-on experience. Highly recommend.

Guinea Pigs Add Up
Margery Cuyler, author
Tracey Campbell Pearson, illustrator
Walker & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780802797957, $16.99,

"Guinea Pigs Add Up" is a delightful illustrated math and animal tale about how one guinea pig, adopted by a teacher named Mr. Gilbert and his class, multiplied with another guinea pig to five guinea pigs, and then to twenty eight weeks later! The guinea pigs have multiplied beyond the classroom's ability to contain them! So adoptions are arranged, and "Guinea Pigs Subtract" to zero. Then Mr. Gilbert finds the empty cage is making students sad, so he brings another classroom pet, a rabbit sweet as honey. What will happen when the teacher finds that his Mr. Whiskers is a female, getting bigger and rounder! "Guinea Pigs Add Up" is a great math story for elementary students, with charming, humorous pen and ink and water color illustrations that underline the teaching themes and joy of the story.

The Christian Studies Shelf

A for Angels
Laurie Parker
Quail Ridge Press
PO Box 123, Brandon, MS 39043
9781934193488 $18.50

A for Angels: A Bible Alphabet is more than an ABC book - it is a beautifully illustrated, educational picturebook for Christian children and adults to read and share together. Lyrical summaries of classic biblical tales are side by side with breathtakingly beautiful collage art. The combined experience is simply stunning, even humbling. A for Angels is a wonderful, read-aloud treasury, and an absolute "must-have" for Sunday School libraries.

Saints and Their Stories
Maria Loretta Giraldo, author
Nicoletta Bertelle, illustrator
Pauline Books and Media
50 Saint Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780919871343, $19.95,

"Saints and Their Stories" is a collection of brief biographies of 18 popular saints especially written and illustrated for readers ages 7-10. Both historical biographical information and cultural/traditional twists are incorporated, embroidered with a sprinkling of famous legendary lore. Some of the saints whose lives are featured are St. John the Baptist, St. Cecilia, St. Ambrose, St. Catherine, and St. Bernadette. Even Archangel Gabriel has a chapter devoted to him. "Saints and Their Stories" is a wonderful gift for young readers that will teach, entertain, and inspire.

The Folklore/Fairytale Shelf

Too Many Fairies, A Celtic Tale
Margaret Read McDonald, author
Susan Mitchell, illustrator
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761456049, $17.99,

"Too Many Fairies" is based on an old Celtic fairy tale told in Scotland and Ireland. Beautifully illustrated with brightly painted mischievous fairies and cozy cottage settings, "Too Many Fairies" is told in a lilting narrative style that is song-like and effervescent with gay rhythms. A little old lady learns that if she wants to stop too many fairies from helping her with her housework, she must learn to stop complaining. Children ages 4 and up will love "Too Many Fairies."

Staarabu was Wise, Anana was Gentle
Dan Haugen, author
Shawn McCann, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983353, $16.95,

"Staarabu was Wise, Anana was Gentle" is a versed Swahili tale of two animal friends who bravely tackle the problem of a drought and dwindling water from the River Endurance. Staarabu the mouse, whose name means wise, and Anana the elephant, whose name means gentle, bring their particular strengths and talents to work together to solve the life threatening problem of the dried up river. Although they face homelessness, drought, and even death, these two friends do not give up in the face of great obstacles. Beautifully vivid illustrations orchestrate this inspiring modern fable of perseverance and love. Children will love reading this book with an adult companion. Profits from the sale of this book will be dedicated to a homeless shelter in Minneapolis, Minnesota called Simpson Housing Services.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Best Candy in the Whole World
Bill Harley
Round River Music
301 Jacob Street, Seekonk, MA 02771
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
9781878126559 $14.99

The Best Candy in the Whole World is an audio CD anthology of short, family-friendly stories composed and performed by Grammy award-winning artist Bill Harley. A smattering of catchy music enhances these amusing and delightful tales (with important life lessons)! The stories are "The Best Candy in the Whole World" (it's important to be nice; you never know who or what might be right next to you in the supermarket), "A Walk Around the Block" (there's a whole world outside one's own house, even on one's own block), "The Boy Who Hid in a Peanut" (based on a traditional story from Africa), "Sillier than You" (based on a folktale from the British Isles and Appalachia), and "Jack and the Singing Leaves" (a tale from the late, magnificent Scottish storyteller Duncan Williamson). Listeners of all ages will relish the twists and turns brief yet surprisingly insightful stories. Highly recommended, especially for children's and public library audiobook collections. 67 minutes, 54 seconds.

Nursery Rhymes: A Treasure Chest of Rhymes
Mark Macleod, author
Peter Sullivan, music
Performed by Andrea Lees & Louie Lee Feltrin
186 S Long Swamp Rd, Jackson, ME 04921
9781742147161 $39.95

Nursery Rhymes: A Treasure Chest of Rhymes is an unabridged, engaging collection of original Australian nursery rhymes and poems by award-winning children's publisher Mark Macleod, performed by Andrea Lees and Louie Lee Feltrin to music by Peter Sullivan. An irreverently silly sense of humor permeates this delightful and charming verse collection. A treat to play while taking little ones on short car trips or while relaxing at home, Nursery Rhymes: A Treasure Chest of Rhymes is highly recommended. 1 CD, 30 minutes.

The Music Shelf

Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti
Spare the Rock Records, LLC
12 Pine St., Florence, MA 01062

Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti is a family-friendly anthology of songs, most of them previously unreleased, from diversity of performers; proceeds from Many Hands are designated to aid the Haitian People's Support Project and its efforts to help the citizens of Haiti. An uplifting and delightful collection that kids, teens, and adults can all enjoy together, Many Hands is a joy to play especially during celebrations or long car trips, and is highly recommended. The tracks are "We Belong" (2:53) by Emily Curtis; "Here We Go, Zudio" (2:51) by Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem; "Activity" (3:04) by Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti; "Tonight Tonight" (3:16) by Dan Zanes; "Fiddlehead Fern" (2:21) by Recess Monkey; "Sing About the Sun" (2:10) by Dog on Fleas; "Bright Morning Stars" (2:22) by Elizabeth Mitchell; "Check it Out" (2:19) by Caspar Babypants; "Noise" (3:27) by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo; "The Princess Who Saved Herself" (2:44) by Jonathan Coulton; "My Name Is Kingof Socks" (2:15) by They Might Be Giants; "You Are Here" (3:01) by Lunch Money; "Penguin Day" (2:43) by Gustafer Yellowgold; "Quite Early Morning" (4:09) by Pete Seeger; "Little by Little" (2:35) by Dean Jones; "Arabella Angelique" (2:04) by Grenadilla; "Never Swat a Fly" (2:45) by Baby Gramps; "Mama Don't Allow" (2:49) by Randy Kaplan; "Zora" (2:04) by The Deedle Deedle Dees; "Shadow Dance" (2:54) by Uncle Rock; "That's What Friends Are For" (1:59) by Frances England; and "Many Hands" (1:49) by Jerrice Baptiste.

This Is Fun!
Caspar Babypants
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $12.00,

Simple tunes, lively performance, flawless recording values all combine in "This Is Fun!" to provide young children with a total entertainment experience that they will enjoy again and again and again. The twenty original songs composed and performed by Caspar Babypants (Chris Ballew) include All You Pretty Babies; Speedy Centipede; The Legend of the Bone; Baby's Getting Up; Where Do You Go?; Googly Eyes; Shoo Fly; Tiger Through The Trees; Bounce Your Baby; Baby and the Animals; Sliver; The Cuckoo; It's Gonna Rain; The Frogs; Mister Rabbit; Little Ditty; Buckeye Jim; Look at All These Elephants; Tumble; and Dark of Night. Inexpensive and 'family friendly', "This Is Fun!" is an ideal addition to family and community library CD Music collections for children.

The New Explorers Club
Flannery Brothers
Flantastic! Productions
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $15.00,

Comprised of thirteen original songs specifically composed and performed for young listeners ages 2 through 8, "The New Explorers" showcases the musical talents of the Dan and Mike Flannery. With a total running time of 45 minutes, "The New Explorers" features Big Kite; Swallowed A Bug; Hi 5 Dance; In The Middle; Pirate Or Parrot?; Green Submarine; Sea Glass; Quiet Place; Kitchen Floor; Boots; Let's Go!; The Elements; and Best Adventures. Thoroughly 'kid friendly', these wonderfully rhythmic tunes are superbly recorded, making "The New Explorers Club" an enthusiastically recommended addition to family, school, and community library CD music collections for young listeners (and their families!).

The DVD Shelf

Love to Dance
Hit Entertainment/Lionsgate
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Love to Dance is a wonderful, computer-animated children's DVD of "Angelina Ballerina" cartoon episodes, featuring a young girl mouse learning all about dance at Camembert Academy. Her discoveries in the world of dance include exposure to not only classic ballet, but also jazz, tap, and even hip-hop. Bonus features include an "Angelina Says" game, a "Get Up and Dance" music video, and an "I Will Be a Star" karaoke video. "Love to Dance" is recommended as a gift to young girls age 2-7, as well as for public library children's collections. 62 minutes, widescreen.

Thomas & Friends: Misty Island Rescue
Lionsgate (distributor)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
$19.98 DVD / $24.98 Blu-ray with DVD combo pack

Available as a single DVD or as a Blu-ray with DVD combo pack, Thomas & Friends: Misty Island Rescue is an all-new, computer-animated movie for young people, featuring the beloved Thomas the Tank Engine. As Thomas helps to build the new Sodor Search and Rescue Center, a mishap at sea brings him to Misty Island, where he discovers new friends in Bash, Dash and Ferdinand. The three of them try to help Thomas find his way home, while Sir Topham Hatt mounts a search party for the missing yet loyal tank engine. Bonus features include "The Search for Thomas" game, and two karaoke music videos. Thomas & Friends: Misty Island Rescue is a delightfully entertaining adventure, and an excellent gift for young viewers. 58 minutes, closed-captioned, widescreen.

The Bilingual Shelf

Shoes for the Santo Nino/ Zapatitos para el Santo Nino
Peggy Pond Church, author
Corina Santisteven, Yolanda Romero, translators
Charles M. Carrillo, illustrator
Rio Grande Books
925 Salamanca NW, Los Ranchos, NM 87107
9781890689643, $19.95,

"Shoes for the Santo Nino/ Zapatitos para el Santo Nino: A Bilingual Tale" is am illustrated bilingual tale in Spanish and English for children ages 5-7. This charming tale about a holy Santo Nino (Christ Child) who heals children and receives shoes to continue his missions was originally published in the 1930's by famed new Mexican author Peggy Pond and is now being re-issued with new translations and illustrations so whole new generations of both cultures may continue to enjoy the story. Julianita, last of eleven children and spoiled and mothered by all her 11 siblings, decides she will make a new pair of shoes for the Christ Child, el Santo Nino, because the ones he is given wear out at least 2 or 3 times per year. Is the Santo Nino cavorting around the country side at night, or going on errands of mercy to help heal children everywhere? Julianita is determined to make her special shoes for the image of the Christ Child, hide, and watch to find out what happens. "He grows tired, I am sure," she says, (of having no one to play with." Scheming to decorate her special shoes with Indian silver buttons, Julianita, the spoiled, lazy hijita works hard to create special shoes for the Santo Nino. Perhaps she is growing up, her parents wonder, noting her unusual industriousness. Carefully Julianita makes her plans and steals to the church at night with her fine gift of shoes for el Santo Nino. Though she is afraid, she is delighted and surprised by what awaits her in the church. For the Christ Child has become a living boy who is delighted with her special gift, a boy even smaller than she is. The Santo Nino companions Julianita in his night odyssey and they see many marvels together. El Santo Nino speaks to the horse and the burro, asking after their welfare, and they answer him in wonderful words. The burro consents to carry both the little Christ Child and Julianita on their way. Amazingly, Julianita sees each of the creatures of the night communicating with the Christ Child, so gentle and so wise, even the tiny mouse and the humble jack-rabbit. Each creature addresses the Christ Child with reverence and respect. Gradually Julianita comes to realize the precious miracle that el Santo Nino has chosen to reveal to her: It is her own faith and belief. "Shoes for the Santo Nino" is a bicultural treasure tale that has been reborn to be fully enjoyed and appreciated by all who are lucky enough to share in it. The Spanish translations on each page and the colorful illustrations by award-winning artist Charles M. Carrillo enhance perfectly this beautiful tale of faith and reverence.

I See the Sun in China
Dedie King, author
Judith Inglese, illustrator
Satya House Publications
c/o KSB Promotions
5 Honey Creek NE, Ada, MI 49301
9780981872056, $12.95,

"I See the Sun in China" is a superbly presented bilingual picture book in English and Mandarin Chinese about a young girl's visit to her aunt in Shanghai. Some of her daily activities include watching her grandfather do Tai Chi, eating conge for breakfast, taking the ferry to Shanghai, taking a walk on the Bund, a pedestrian boulevard on the Huangpu River, having a foot massage, and studying schoolwork at her aunt's apartment. "I See the Sun in China" is part of a cultural educational series published for children by Satya House Publications. The vivid illustrations help to animate the exciting events of a young Chinese (Han) girl's day spent visiting her aunt in Shanghai.

Carmen Learns English
Judy Cox, author
Angela Dominguez, illustrator
Holiday House, Inc.
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823421749, $16.95,

"Carmen Learns English" is a partly bilingual children's picture book about a girl who adjusts successfully to attending English-speaking school from her Spanish background. Carmen is encouraged by her new teacher, Senora Coski's terrible sounding attempts to speak Spanish to her because she figures her teacher will not laugh at her first stumbling attempts to learn and speak English. Gradually Carmen learns many new English words and expressions, even jump rope rhymes. when Carmen recites her numbers in Spanish and is corrected by a peer, Senora Coski encourages the whole class to learn the Spanish counting words, while Carmen learns the English number words. Some interactions with other students are not positive or fun, but Carmen learns to speak up for herself very well in even these situations. Carmen remembers all the things she has learned as she begins helping her sister Lupita prepare for beginning school next fall. She wants her sister to learn to speak English just as well as she can. "Carmen Learns English" has a helpful Spanish-English glossary at the end to illuminate the embedded Spanish expressions used in context in the story. "Carmen Learns English" is suitable for children ages 5 and up, and can be an excellent tool to aid adjustment to new English speakers.

The Cookbook Shelf

Go - Cook Something!
Tiana North and Taliba Holliday
Create Space
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781450574402, $15.95, www.go-cooksomething.comm

"Go - Cook Something!: A Cooking Survival Guide for Active Independent Children" is a tweens' and teens' best friend in the kitchen for those after school hungry times when solid nutrition and practical know how is called for. "Go - Cook Something!" is a great survival guide for active, intelligent kids ages 8-18 who just might benefit from some latchkey hungry filler skills. Over 65 practical hands on recipes are presented laced with humor and healthy suggestions, even shopping tips. There are ideas for soups, stews, dinner, breakfast, appetizers, snacks, and beverages, even complete meals. There are good practical recipes for how to prepare a meal from hamburger and a few extras. Written by a mother-daughter duo with more than a hint of special care, "Go - Cook Something!" is made to order for hungry kids who are dying to start (an finish) dinner before a tired parent gets home from work. In addition to recipes, shopping tips, meal starters and more, there are safety tips and kitchen emergency do's and don'ts, plus a handy list form for emergency contact numbers and notes on home alarm systems and safety equipment. Further precautions include personal cooking protection, timer use, the absolute necessity for clean hands, and cautions about spray oils. "Go - Cook Something!" is a fabulous resource for kids and parents, helping to teach latchkey kids needed survival skills as well as providing constructive independent activity suggestions for kids who are just a little bored.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Global Warming for Young Minds
Flemming Bermann
Strategic Book Group/ Eloquent Books
P.O. Box 333,Durham, CT 06422
9781609114688, $17.50,

"Global Warming for Young Minds: A Global Warming and Sustainability Guide for Children" is a practical guidebook for teaching kids age 6 and up about the fact and impact of global warming, and what can be done by each of us to help keep earth a healthy place to live. There are a number of creative puzzles, keywords, experiments and activities that help to teach concepts of sustainable living and ways of minimizing the human carbon footprint. Dean and Lisa are global characters who help to convey the lessons in a fun and humorous style. Fun breaks, learning checks, and picture puzzles all help to deliver the important message in manageable bites, empowering kids to take responsibility for ways they can help stop or slow global warming. "Global Warming for Young Minds" is an excellent, non-preachy, apolitical resource for teachers and parents who want to enlighten their children in a positive way.

What Are Global Warming and Climate Change?
Chuck McCutcheon
University of New Mexico Press
MSC05 3185, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131
9780826347459, $24.95

"What Are Global Warming and Climate Change?: Answers for Young Readers" presents updated information based on scientific observations about why the temperatures of Earth's atmosphere and oceans are rising. Presented in a question and answer format that parallels findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes, conclusions indicate that global warming trends observed in the past 50 years are due to human impact/activity, and that impact is "significantly negative." Using a variety of resources and filled with hands-on learning activities related to the phenomena of global warming, "What Are Global Warming and Climate Change?" is an empowering educational effort with far-reaching impact, also a distinguished part of the Barbara Guth Worlds of Wonder Science Series for Young Readers.

The Easy Reader/Chapter Book Shelf

The Midnight Ride of Blackwell Station
Mary Peace Finley, author
Judith Hunt, illustrator
Filter Press
P.O. Box 95, Palmer Lake, CO 80133
9780865411067, $8.95,

"The Midnight Ride of Blackwell Station" is a beginners' chapter book about the exciting story of the stealing of a railway station to begin a boom town, Lamar, Colorado. Told through the eyes of nine-year-old Raephy McDowell, the exciting true saga of a family's adventures in the old West enthralls and educates while entertaining. Raephy is the child of a ranch foreman (father) and a telegraph operator (mother), and her curiosity heightens the excitement of the bizarre tale. The family of four children and two adults live in the second story of an isolated prairie railroad station. The plot to move Blackwell Station and 'boom' a town evolves because of ranch owner Amos Black's oppression of his employees and neighbors. An exciting episode from Colorado's colorful history takes on new life retold through the eyes of a girl. Detailed black and white illustrations embellish the narrative and all the splash and color of a Colorado boom town development unfold with style and grace. "The Midnight Ride of Blackwell Station" is a great read for mid-grade readers, holding young readers' attention to the page-turning end.

The Art Shelf

Art with Anything
MaryAnn F. Kohl
Gryphon House
PO Box 207, Beltsville, MD 20704
9780876590850 $19.95 1-800-638-0928

Art with Anything offers user-friendly art projects for each week of the year suitable for young people ages 4-10. Each activity utilizes ordinary materials (address labels, bits of fabric, leaves, rocks, junk mail, masking tape, etc.) and promotes creativity, recycling, and reuse. Each week's art activity is subdivided into five day-by-day projects, with each day's task increasing in complexity. For example, week 41 involves sand as a material, and the daily projects are Sand Playdough, Dandy Sandy Shaker (shaking color sand over glue), Shapes & Sand Design, Sand & Glue Drawing, and Sticky Sand Art (which can involve a stencil or clear contact paper sealing in addition to colored sand and glue). Color photographs illustrate this lively compendium of family-friendly art activities, highly recommended as a resource for parents, babysitters, and caretakers.

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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