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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 9 September 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Pets/Wildlife Shelf Writing/Publishing Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Holiday Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Health Shelf Sports Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf Board Book Shelf
Counting Shelf Fiction Shelf Hobby Shelf
Education Shelf Genealogy Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Science Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Gaming Shelf
Art Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

The 100 Most Influential Technology Leaders of All Time
Bailey Maxim, editor
Britannica Educational Publishing
c/o The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781680482805, $50.90, Library Binding, 336pp,

Technology has existed for as long as humankind has invented items that improve and enhance daily living. The innovators of technology profiled in this comprehensive resource have affected nearly every facet of life, from transportation and communication to science and entertainment. Their developments have built upon one another, each a stepping-stone toward even greater advances in technology. Their names range from the familiar, such as Thomas Edison, to the more obscure, such as Henrietta Swan Leavitt, but their contributions to today's world are all vital. Knowledgeably compiled and deftly edited by Bailey Maxim, "The 100 Most Influential Technology Leaders of All Time" is enhanced with the inclusion of a three page Glossary, a four page bibliography 'For Further Reading', and a four page Index. "The 100 Most Influential Technology Leaders of All Time" is extraordinary and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in content, organization and presentation, making it an ideal and invaluable addition to school and community library reference collections.

Coasting Casey
Shannon Anderson, author
Colleen Madden, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Golden Valley, MN 55427
9781631980893, $9.99,

Told in cheeky narrative verse, illustrated in comic expressive style, "Coasting Casey" tells the story of a boy who only puts out enough effort to get by. Instead of studying for a test, Casey makes lots of creative doodles. Then one day, his teacher inspires him by giving him a huge roll of paper which he illustrates as a huge banner about his school, Sunnyside. After that, Casey catches fire and outdoes himself in school. Casey decides he wants to learn to do his best, and not just be a coaster. He learned that he had the power of making learning fun. At the end of this inspirational story, there are discussion questions and activities to help kids explore the story, plus more suggestions of ways to get kids' creative juices flowing. "Coasting Casey" is an exciting book to help awaken students to their true potential.

Something Very Sad Happened
Bonnie Zuker, author
Kim Fleming, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433822667, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

The collaborative work of author Bonnie Zuker (a licensed psychologist in private practice) and illustrator Kim Fleming, "Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler's Guide to Understanding Death" is specifically created picture book designed to be a useful tool for parents, caregivers, therapists, and teachers to help young children age two to seven to understand the concept of death and begin the process of coping with the loss. "Something Very Sad Happened" deftly and with the utmost sensitivity explains death and loss to a very young child in a simple and age-appropriate way. It also serves as a starting point for discussion when parents or other adults may be grieving. Enhanced with the inclusion of a "Reader's Note" and "Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Therapists" written by Bonnie Zuker, "Something Very Sad Happened" is impressively exceptional and an invaluable addition to family, preschool, elementary school, community library collections.

A Year in Our New Garden
Gerda Muller
Floris Books
9781782502593, $17.95, HC, 36pp,

Gerda Muller was born in 1926 in Holland. She attended the Fine Arts School of Amsterdam and the Ecole Estienne of Paris. She has illustrated numerous books for children. In "A Year in Our New Garden", this 90 year old children's author and artist has created "A Year in Our New Garden", the story of Anna and Benjamin's family who have just moved into their dream house and even though it's in the middle of a busy town, it had a beautiful big garden for them all to enjoy. Soon the family has made plans for their perfect garden -- Mum wants a lawn and a terrace, Dad wants to help the birds and insects, Benjamin wants to plant beautiful flowers and Anna wants to fill the garden with tasty vegetables. Join Anna and Benjamin as, with a little help from their neighbor, they spend a year learning about all the wonderful things you can do in a garden; planting, harvesting, playing, enjoying picnics and spotting wildlife. Alongside the charmingly illustrated and entertaining story, "A Year in Our New Garden" also gives children ages 4 to 7 some real gardening tips and even provides recipes for tasty home-grown snacks to inspire children to get outdoors, be active and learn how nature changes around them throughout the year. This beautifully detailed, seasonal story is a perfect companion to Gerda Muller's "A Year Around the Great Oak" (9780863159466, $17.95) and "How Does My Garden Grow?" (9781782500377, $17.95). Simply stated, no school or community library collection for young readers will be complete without the inclusion of Gerda Mueller's "A Year in Our New Garden".

Cyril Squirrel Finds Out About Love
Jane Evans, author
Izzy Bean, illustrator
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785920806 $15.95

Cyril Squirrel Finds Out About Love is a children's picturebook especially for young readers ages 2-6. Cyril is a young anthropomorphic squirrel who is curious about love. He investigates the matter and talks to other creatures, and learns about the ways that feelings such as kindness and love are expressed. Notes to grown-ups sharing Cyril Squirrel Finds Out About Love with young people, and a list of suggested activities round out this heartwarming storybook, highly recommended to read aloud and share with little ones.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

My First Kitten
Dr. Lisa Chimes, author
Tina Burke, illustrator
Kane Miller
c/o EDC Publishing
4901 Morena Blvd., Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781610675178, $9.99,

"My First Kitten" is a charming, informative, sensitively illustrated children's title that helps kids learn basic requirements for choosing and caring for a healthy pet kitten. Written by a small animal veterinarian who is also a famous TV star pet vet, "My First Kitten" covers what to give your kitten, things a kitten needs, and further information about adopting a kitten from a cat adoption center. Soft colored illustrations show a little girl named Fran learning the basics of care for kittens and then happily adopting a little yellow kitten she names Pumpkin. There are many good health care steps for new kitten and cat owners to follow, and these are shown in special sidebars on the pages of "My First Kitten." Safety precautions, and other recommendations are integrated into the story, such as the recommendation that cats should live indoors, only going outdoors with supervision. "My First Kitten" is an excellent introduction to the responsibilities and rewards of good pet care for the prospective owner of a new kitten. A companion series title by the same author and artist is also highly recommended for child readers ages 5-9, "My First Puppy (9781610675161, $9.99)."

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

How to Write Your Best Story Ever!
Christopher Edge
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9781438009094, $12.99, PB, 127pp,

Children love to dream up stories -- but getting them down on paper may be a challenge. That's where "How to Write Your Best Story Ever!: Top Tips and Trade Secrets from the Experts" by Christopher Edge can help. This is an instructional guide that is simply bursting with creative ways to help young writers ages 7 to 11 in crafted all types of stories. Helpful features include: Hints and tips to create amazing characters and settings; Story Sparks to help young writers come up with exciting plots; Word Webs that offer choices that add flair to stories; Ways to wrap it all up with a brilliant ending; Inspiration along the way from fantastic fiction and advice from bestselling authors; Chapters devoted to writing stories such as Adventure, Romance, Science Fiction, Mash-ups, and more. "How to Write Your Best Story Ever!" is a thoroughly 'user friendly' guide to writing and with a little bit of imagination, enable students in grades 2 to 6 to write their best stories ever! "How to Write Your Best Story Ever!" is enthusiastically recommended for elementary school and community library collections.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The People of the Town
Selected and illustrated by Alan Marks
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580897266 $16.95

The People of the Town: Nursery-Rhyme Friends for You and Me is a children's picturebook of classic nursery rhymes, enhanced with playful color illustrations. Rhymes include popular favorites "Mary Had a Little Lamb", "Peter Piper", and "Little Bo-Peep", as well as lesser-known verses such as "Little Polly Flinders" and "Jerry Hall". "Jerry Hall, / He is so small, / A rat could eat him, / Hat and all." (The illustration of Jerry Hall riding atop a cat adds the perfect touch.) The People of the Town is a delightful read-aloud book for parents and little ones to share.

The Dragon's Hoard
Lari Don, author
Cate James, illustrator
Francis Lincoln Children's Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781847806819 $22.99

The Dragon's Hoard: Stories from the Viking Sagas is a children's picturebook retelling legends from Viking culture and Norse mythology. Award-winning writer Lari Don adapts classic stories, and Cate James contributes colorful, full-page illustrations. There is a fair amount of text, making The Dragon's Hoard ideal for young people who are just about ready to move on to their first chapter books. The Dragon's Hoard is highly recommended, especially for public library children's picturebook collections.

The Mermaid and the Parakeet
Veronique Massenot and Vanessa Hie
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791372655 $14.95

The Mermaid and the Parakeet: A Children's Book Inspired by Henri Matisse is a children's picturebook with a simple, charming original folktale about a lonely mermaid stranded by a storm, who befriends a kindly parakeet. The colorful artwork is inspired by the timeless creations of beloved French artist Henri-Emile-Benoit Matisse. The final two pages offer a little more information to children and parents about who Henri Matisse was, and what made his art style so striking and distinctive. A delightful giftbook for children and families, The Mermaid and the Parakeet is highly recommended.

The Magical Rooster: Stories of the Chinese Zodiac
Li Jian, author/illustrator
Yijin Wert, translator
Better Link Press
9781602209954, $16.95,

Written in English and Chinese, this is an exciting tale of a boy named Tang Yun and his adventures with a magical rooster which his mother embroidered on his clothes for good fortune. Yun's mother supported them with her beautiful hand embroidering, and she made the magical rooster for him when he was old enough to leave home to take the imperial exam in the Capital City, thousands of miles away. Yun's mother worried about him, traveling so far alone, and she worked very hard day and night to embroider his outfit with the magical rooster. When Yun left home wearing the coat with the rooster embroidered on it, his mother insisted that he not take it off during his journey. The first way in which the magical rooster helped Yun was it crowed "Cock A Doodle Doo!" early in the morning to awaken him from a tired sleep in time to catch an early ferry across a wide river. Again, later, the magic rooster helped Yun when he was tired from walking by jumping out of his outfit and growing big enough to carry him on its back, so that he could continue his journey and make it in time to the Capital City for the examination. Another assistance that the rooster gave to Yun was to cover him with its warm feathers for a good night's sleep during a cold snowstorm on his journey. Once in the forest a greedy fox tried to take the magical rooster, but Yun defended him with his umbrella. The rooster took courage and bit the fox's tail, which made him run away. Yun finally arrived in the Capital City and took the exam, ranking No. 3 on the roll. He was honored by the emperor by being sent to be an official in a local country. Yun proved wise and capable as a governor, but he missed his mother, living thousands of miles away. One day he was surprised to see that his magical rooster was gone from his outfit. Wondering where he went, he ran into the courtyard, hearing "cock-a-doodle-doo!" There he found his mother riding on the back of the magical rooster! From that happy reunion forward, Yun and his mother lived together and she went on embroidering beautiful flowers and animals that looked alive. "The Magical Rooster" is filled with artworks in a Chinese style, showing daily scenes, buildings, people, animals and roosters in delicate detail and intricate embroidery stitches. Additional descriptions of the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rooster are given in the ending pages of "The Magical Rooster," a bilingual tale of inspiration and love for children of all places.

The Holiday Shelf

Ornaments of Love
Sharlin Craig, author
Helen Monwuba, illustrator
Harmony Hearts Publishing
9780997106008, $9.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle, 32pp

"Ornaments of Love" is a special Christmas story about a girl named Ayana and her parents. Ayana loved putting up the Christmas tree with special ornaments with clinging memories and associations every year. It was something the family always did together. But this year, her mother and father were just too busy, so Ayana had to put up all the special ornaments on the tree by herself. She longed for a special family time around the tree, but the busy season continued without time for that to happen. Finally one day Ayana's Labrador Rosie brought the Christmas tree down with a crash because she wanted her favorite doggy bone ornament. Ayana had the help of both parents in gathering up all the broken ornament pieces, putting them back together, and rehanging them on the tree. Special memories attached to each ornament of love were recalled, and the perfect finish was a crackling fire in the fireplace and cups of cocoa made specially to please all around. Delicate, watercolor paint illustrations enhance the sweet charm of this Christmas tale of reinvented intimacy and cherished family memories.

Humbug Rabbit
Lorna Balian, author/illustrator
Star Bright Books
13 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
9781595727428, $6.99,

"Humbug Rabbit" is a new take on a traditional Easter fable. The story is told in both words and wonderful above ground and below ground illustrations. Granny lives in her house above ground with her chicken Gracie, rooster Otto, and devilish cat, Barnaby. Father and Mother Rabbit live in their burrow below ground near a neighboring mouse, along with their five bunny children. The mouse told the bunny children that their father was the Easter Bunny, so they are expecting him to lay Easter eggs. Father Bunny said, "Humbug!" But the bunny children believe the mouse. Granny hopes to have eggs laid by Gracie to decorate and hide for Easter, when her grandchildren will visit. A trickster role is played by Barnaby, the devilish black cat. Imagine everyone's surprise when on Easter morning, after mounting suspense, the rabbit children discover painted Easter eggs in their burrow home. (After Granny hid them for the grandchildren to find, Barnaby pushed them down the rabbit hole in the night). Father Bunny was completely flummoxed., but Mother Bunny comforted him with carrot cookies and lettuce juice. To everyone's surprise, the painted Easter eggs, which Gracie had hidden and brooded over, began to hatch into little chicks! Mother Bunny chased the little bunnies and chicks outside to play together. Granny and the children, Gracie and Otto and Barnaby all had a wonderful Easter day. Father Bunny began to wonder if he really was the Easter bunny! Of course, the mouse said, "I told you so!" "Humbug Rabbit" is a delight from start to finish, for children and adults who think Easter bunnies are humbug!

The Bilingual Shelf

The Last Kappa of Old Japan
Sunny Seki
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805313992, $12.95, HC, 32pp,

In Japanese folklore a kappa is a yokai demon or imp. "Deftly written and beautifully illustrated by Sunny Seki, "The Last Kappa of Old Japan" is a bilingual (Japanese/English) children's picture book that introduces many aspects of traditional Japanese culture and folklore, while teaching an important lessons to young readers ages 5 to 14 about environmentalism. The story is about a young Japanese farm boy who develops a friendship with a kappa -- a mythical creature who a messenger of the god of water. The story begins in post-Modern Japan when the boy is young and the kappa is healthy and ends when the kappa, now the last one left on Earth, keeps an important promise to his human friend. "The Last Kappa of Old Japan" is a beautifully scripted and illustrated story of love, friendship, and adventure that includes Japanese text alongside the English translation, making it a great way for kids to lean Japanese. Unique, charming, impressive, "The Last Kappa of Old Japan" is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library bilingual picture book collections for young readers. It should be noted that "The Last Kappa of Old Japan" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.28).

We Are Like the Clouds / Somos Como las Nubes
Jorge Argueta, author
Alfonso Ruano, illustrator
Elisa Amado, translator
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554988501, $18.95,

"We Are Like the Clouds" is a described as "an eloquent and timely plea for understanding refugee seekers." It is a collection of descriptive poems in Spanish and English about children alone or with others who brave the daunting journey north to the United States from Central America to find safety, refuge, a haven, and sometimes a parent or relative. "Somos como las nubes" has many softly illustrated poems like the title one, with a naked child floating in the sky amongst clouds shaped like cattle, horses, elephants, birds, pumpkins, or whales. "We are like the clouds, cornfields in bloom, pumpkins and watermelons, parrots and kites, and the huge San Salvador volcano." Other poems bring fear and the touch of reality, like iPod: "iPod left today for Guatemala. He told me, If I can I will go to Mexico. And if I can to Arizona. And if I can to Washington where my mother is living. iPod, my good friend, I wish you a safe trip. I will take care of your dog. Of your iPod, not so much, since you sold it to buy your bus ticket." Other poems evoke terror, fear, hardship, and lonliness during the dangerous journey. But an inspirational poem goes to the heart of the courage it takes to make this difficult and dangerous journey: "Since we left home we haven't stopped singing. My father says if we keep singing, we'll scare away all the tiredness and the fear and become a song." Delicately illustrated and painstakingly presented, "Somos como las nubes/ We are Like the Clouds" is highly recommended, compassionate reading for children ages 7-12 in grades 2-7.

Captain Mama's Surprise / La Sorpresa de Capitan Mama
Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, author
Linda Lens, illustrator
Gracefully Global Group
9780997309034, $20.99, HC, 42pp.
9780997309003, $15.99, PB,

From Gracefully Global Group's bilingual Captain Mama series, "Captain Mama's Surprise/ La Sorpresa de Capitan Mama" is an exciting new Spanish/English children's title written by former Air Force officer and aviator Graciela Tiscareno-Sato and illustrated by the daughter of an Air Force veteran, Linda Lens. Including a helpful Spanish/ English glossary of terms, list of educational resources, and instructions for an exciting art/engineering STEM project for kids age 6 and up, "Captain Mama's Surprise" is from an award winning bilingual series about mothers and other women who proudly serve in the U. S. Volunteer military air force. Each page of "Captain Mama's Surprise" is written in English and Spanish, with colored illustrations of the characters, a second grade class with their teacher and the airplane crew touring a refueling tanker plane. After a thorough and educational tour of the aircraft, Captain Vicky Castro and her daughter, Mimi, surprise her son Marco and classmates with a wonderful adventure: a ride in the plane! "Captain Mama's Surprise" is an exciting title for children age 6 and up, with many positive messages of empowerment for women, those of Hispanic and multi-cultural backgrounds, and all.

The Health Shelf

The Great Big Body Book
Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
Francis Lincoln Children's Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781847808721 $18.99

The Great Big Body Book is an educational children's picturebook packed with fun facts about the human body, as well as jokes, cartoony illustrations, and tips for good health. "How we look, and maybe even how well our five senses work, depends partly on our parents and grandparents. Some things, like red hair or being good at balancing, run in families. And so do things like being musical or good at drawing or best at math and science." The Great Big Body Book is educational, fun to read aloud, and highly recommended especially for public and school library children's collections.

Superhero Healthy Henry Discovers Planet Earth
Angela B. Lamb
Artistic Soup LLC
9780692698167, $12.99, PB, 26pp,

In the pages of "Superhero Healthy Henry Discovers Planet Earth" by Angela B. Lamb, children ages 6 to 12 and young students in grades 1 to 6 are introduced to a healthy living role model and superhero! Superhero Healthy Henry shows his unhealthy Earth friend Dan why it is important to eat nutritious food and exercise. As a result, Dan becomes much healthier and helps others do the same. "Superhero Healthy Henry Discovers Planet Earth" is an entertaining and effective way to promote the importance of eating "real food" that comes from nature and avoiding excessive amounts of junk food, fast food and processed food. "Superhero Healthy Henry Discovers Planet Earth" also includes fun, kid friendly jokes. Healthy habits begin early and "Superhero Healthy Henry Discovers Planet Earth" encourages children to be on the right path to life long health. Enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that "Superhero Healthy Henry Discovers Planet Earth" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.65).

Riding the Potty Train
Jeni Donatelli Ihm and Missy Lavender, authors
Jan Dolby, illustrator
Women's Health Foundation, publisher
9781501042850, $9.95, PB, 32pp,

"Riding the Potty Train: Better Bathroom Behaviors for Little Girls on the Go!" is a creative, fun, informative self care manual for girls who are learning to manage their peeing and pooping independently even in situations away from home. It is published by the Women's Health Foundation to inspire parents to begin a healthy dialogue with daughters early on, encouraging young girls to learn proper and healthy bathroom behaviors, and not to be embarrassed about pooping and peeing as they grow up. An important part of "Riding the Potty Train" is the Potty Pledge, quoted at the end: "I will wipe Front to Back. I will sit all the way down on the potty. (Even if that means building a nest) I will practice the 'rock and Roll.' I will stop 'Just-in-Case' peeing. I will drink water. I will treasure, honor and love my pelvis and most of all, love Myself." Each part of the Potty Pledge is explained in the Potty Pledge Pointers, along with the reason for recommending it for good pelvic health habits for girls and women. The narrative of "Riding the Potty Train" is refreshing, directive, and written in bouncy verse, humorously illustrated with color comic moving pictures of the little girl and friends plus an animated animal character named Miss Aethra who acts as a camel like conductor on the Potty Train ride. Miss Aethra teaches her potty train rider to make a nest of toilet paper on the toilet seat if it is not too clean, then to sit all the way down, relax and take time to pee. Everyone's pee is known as urine, which flows through the urethra. The girl is taught to rock and roll her body front to back and side to side when she is done peeing to help empty the bladder. Careful wiping from front to back is taught for cleanup especially after bowel movements, because "Germs from poop can be mean!" (and cause urinary tract infections). Children are taught not to go potty "just in case," because this can shrink the bladder's ability to hold urine effectively. Finally, girls taking the Potty Pledge are asked to promise to love their pelvis because it will help improve women's pelvic health, decreasing pelvic issues that occur to one in three adult women. An illustrated glossary at the end helps cement the positive self care message of "Riding the Potty Train," a lighthearted but practical self care training manual for little girls that illustrates the Women's Health Foundation's little saying: "We say 'poo-poo' to taboo."

The Sports Shelf

The Little Linebacker: A Story of Determination
Stephen Tulloch and Maria Dismonday, authors
Heather Heyworth, illustrator
Cardinal Rule Press
9780984855841, $10.95, PB,

"The Little Linebacker" is an inspiring illustrated juvenile sports biography of NFL linebacker, Stephen Tulloch. The author, a multi award winning successful linebacker for the Tennessee Titans and the Detroit Lions, created "The Little Linebacker" especially to inspire and empower youth to pursue their dreams despite many challenges. Jaunty illustrations depict a small African American boy who dreams of being a professional football player. His mother encourages him to dream bigger dreams and starts him at Little league Football practice. Inspired by his mother and his coach, little Stephen drafted neighborhood friends to play practice football games when his coached football sessions happened only once a week. It was hard for Stephen to focus on his math when his football dreams were so big, but his mother and an older man in the nursing home where Mrs. Tully worked encouraged him to study harder. With extra coaching for studying and memorizing lessons, Stephen did better in tests at school. When Stephen got to high school, he was discouraged because he was chosen last for the football team, although he had been playing for 10 years. His best friend John encouraged him to keep playing and be a good team member, and he did. Later in college, Stephen heard football scouts talking about him saying, "He's undersized and won't make it in the pros." But Stephen focused on a poster that said, " You can. You will. End of story." Stephen kept playing and improving until his football dreams came true. "He worked hard. He studied hard. He was part of the team. And he never stopped believing in himself." Today Stephen is thanking his mom, his coach, and many friends and supporters along the way by being an inspiration to other children and families, encouraging them to "dream bigger dreams." At the end of "The Little Linebacker" is a list of Tully's Tips for Kids: 1. Always listen to your parents. 2. Eat your fruits and veggies. 3. Study hard in school. 4. Be a good teammate. 5. Never give up. 6. Hard work pays off. Additional information about the Stephen Tulloch Foundation and Operation 55 is provided for further inspiration and service. A free reader's guide to "The Little Linebacker" consisting of printable worksheets is available online at

The Picturebook Shelf

Don't Let the Dead Bugs Bite!
Stephen Zmina
All About Kids Publishing
PO Box 159, Gilroy, CA 95021
9780980146813 $16.95

Don't Let the Dead Bugs Bite! is a spooky children's picturebook ideal for the Halloween season; also, it has a moral about compassion for even the smallest of creatures. The colorful, cartoony illustrations bring to life a story about kids who make a game out of killing bugs with the sun's heat focused through a magnifying glass. But then ghostly bugs come back to haunt the children that slew them! Can anything stop the undead insect rampage? Would a sincere apology help...? "Over the years I've warned kids to behave, / or bugs they've killed will return form the grave. // Stepping on bugs is not very nice, / so next time you may want to think twice." Highly recommended.

Who Wants a Tortoise?
Dave Keane, author
K.G. Campbell, illustrator
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385754170 $17.99

Who Wants a Tortoise? is a children's picturebook about a sulky young girl who gets a pet tortoise for her birthday, instead of the puppy she always wanted, because her father is allergic to dogs. At first she pouts about her new pet, but in time she learns how to care for it, and paint its toenails, and even do turtle-snail races. But when the tortoise goes missing, she realizes how much she misses her new companion! Colorful illustrations add just the right touch to this charming picturebook about learning to accept what life brings your way.

Emily the Astronaut
Colette Omans Nicoletta
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane, Edina, MN 55439
9781592989447 $17.95

Emily the Astronaut: The Space Case is a children's picturebook about a young girl who dreams of one day becoming an astronaut. To prepare, she learns amazing things about outer space, and she is fortunate enough to observe a space shuttle launch. "Sooooo... Dad, the moon is NOT made of cheese. On the outside, the moon is like a rocky desert. Its center is made of iron, and it's hot inside, like Earth." The simple drawings overlay real photographs, in this excellent picturebook ideal for encouraging young people, especially girls, to take an interest in science.

Dragon Masters: Flight of the Moon Dragon
Tracey West
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545913928 $4.99

Sixth in its series, The Dragon Masters: Flight of the Moon Dragon is a fantasy novel especially for young readers in the first to third grade. In Flight of the Moon Dragon, the prime Dragon Stone is at risk, and if it is lost, all of the young Dragon Masters could have the bonds with their dragons permanently severed! Heru must work with the other Dragon Masters to track down the Pyramid of the Seven Dragons, and combine the abilities of their dragons to reach the mysterious stone before time runs out. Black-and-white illustrations embellish virtually every page of this delightful fantasy-adventure especially recommended for young dragon fans!

Mika the Bear is Afraid of the Dark
Yann Walcker & Nicolas Duffaut
Auzou Publishing
24 - 32 rue des Amandiers, 75020 Paris, France
9782733843253 $14.95

Mika the Bear is Afraid of the Dark is a children's picturebook about a young polar bear whose fear of the dark is a real problem - especially since the longest night of the years is fast approaching! Can Mika's cousin Vanilla teach him to master his own night terrors? Simple, colorful artwork enhances this heartwarming children's story, ideal for gift-giving and public library picturebook collections. Also highly recommended are the children's books "The Wolf Who Wanted to Be a Superhero" (9782733843239) and "The Wizard of Oz" (9782733839249).

Ferocious Fluffity: A Mighty Bite-y Class Pet
Erica S. Peral, author
Henry Cole, illustrated
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419721823, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Mr. Drake's second grade class has a new class pet. Fluffity appears to be a cute and docile hamster. Soon the kids soon discover that she is not the cuddly pet they expected. From the moment her cage door opens, Fluffity becomes truly ferocious -- biting and chasing everyone down the hall and into the library! Will the class be able to tame this beast and bring peace back to their school? While very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picturebook collections for kids ages 5 to 7, teachers and parents should note that author Erica Perl's pitch-perfect rhymes, enhanced with Henry Cole's colorful animal character artwork make for the perfect read-aloud story time. It should be noted that "Ferocious Fluffity: A Mighty Bite-y Class Pet" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

The Big Monster Snorey Book
Leigh Hodgkinson
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763686604, $16.99, HC,

The sleeping monsters are making an awful lot of noise -- snoring and grumbling, tapping and chattering. After such a long sleep, what happens if they wake up feeling hungry? Any little monsters around better watch out! With masses of monsters to spot and an awesome onomatopoeic text, children will ask for this hilarious, inventive book over and over again. While the text by Leigh Hodgkinson introduces young children ages 3 to 7 to a cast of curious characters, including knobbly-kneed Norris, Flora the fussy fidget, and snotty Stanley. The colorful illustrations suggest that something pretty monstrous might be going on. But sometimes the smallest monsters of all are the ones to watch out for! Original, fun, and wonderfully entertaining from first page to last, "The Big Monster Snorey Book" is especially commended as a selection for preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Simon James
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763672942, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

Once upon about 65 million years ago, a terrifying tyrannosaurus roams the earth. He spends his days raging through the jungle, scaring every other dinosaur in sight with his fierce roar. Then, one night while he is sleeping, an abandoned egg cracks open and out pops a tiny dinosaur who decides right then and there that this scary tyrannosaurus is his father. And so begins the touching story of a little dino and his search for a dad -- an original and engaging picture book story written and drawn by Simon James that is certain to resonate with young children ages 2 to 5. Highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, "Rex" is ideal for 'read aloud' story times with preschoolers and kindergarten students.

Friend or Foe?
John Sobol, author
Dasha Tolstikova, illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554984077, $18.95, HC, 32pp,

Each night the mouse gazes up at the cat in the palace tower. Is the cat my friend? he wonders. Determined to find out, he bravely makes his way into the palace through a tiny hole and climbs all the way up to the tower, where the cat sits on the windowsill. "Hello, are you friend or foe?" he squeaks. "Friend or Foe? " is simple and utterly charming story by John Sobol that has a surprising outcome, giving children ages 4 to 7 a chance to draw their own conclusions. Sobol's original and engaging story is perfectly complemented by Dasha Tolstikova's subtle yet striking illustrations. Beautifully produced, exceptionally entertaining, "Friend or Foe?" is especially commended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young children.

Still a Gorilla!
Kim Norman, author
Chad Geran, illustrator
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545757911, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 32pp,

In this fun, zany picture book deftly written by Kim Norman and with lively illustrations by Chad Geran, "Still a Gorilla!" is the story of Willy the Gorilla who imitates other animals at the zoo, including a lion, a walrus, a billy goat, an alligator, and a kangaroo. But pretending to be something he is not never works out. What if he just tried to be himself? In the end, Willy is still a gorilla -- and that's something everyone can appreciate! "Still a Gorilla!" is a non-stop entertaining, rhyming picture book with an underlying message that teaches children ages 3 to 5 about the importance of being themselves. Original, clever, delightful, "Still a Gorilla!" is a truly exceptional and highly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

The Big Adventures of Mr. Small
JoAnn Adinolfi
Creston Publishers
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547262, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written and colorfully illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi, "The Big Adventures of Mr. Small" is the picturebook story of Mr. Small who is a hamster with a big hunger for adventure. When he leaves his cozy cage and meets Dusty Bunny, he then faces the biggest adventure of all - fighting the Dust Sucker 3000! Will Mr. Small defeat the evil vacuum cleaner or will he lose his friend to its voracious appetite? An original and entertaining tale that will have special appeal for children ages 6 to 10, "The Big Adventures of Mr. Small" is especially and enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Billings and Jingle
Janet Muirhead Hill, author
Herb Leonhard, illustrator
Raven Publishing
PO Box 2866, Norris, MT 59745
9781937849962, $21.00, HC
9781937849979, $12.00, PB, 32pp,

An original and entertaining picturebook, "Billings and Jingle" is the story of Billings, who is a little mouse that ventures outside his snug apartment inside the wall of a big house on Thanksgiving day. With his father, he finds the remains of a holiday feast. Engrossed in the flavors of food never before tasted, Billings pays no heed to his father's warning or the warning bell of a very large cat named Jingles. A narrow escape from danger teaches Billings the importance of listening. The impressive artwork of Herb Leonhard vividly brings Janet Muirhead Hill's original story to life and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

A Most Mysterious Mouse
Giovanna Zoboli, author
Lisa D'Andrea, illustrator
Antony Shugaar, translator
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592702138, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

It seems fair to say that there have never been as many mice in any picture book for children ages 3 to 9 as there are in "A Most Mysterious Mouse". This may well be because the protagonist, a singular and most ambitious cat, has promised himself that by the age of eighteen he will have imagined one million mice! Every stripe of mouse is imagined here, except for one -- the most mysterious mouse! An original and ingenious story for children ages 3 to 9 by Giovanna Zoboli that is elegantly illustrated throughout by Lisa D'Andrea, and ably translated into English by Antony Shugaar, "A Most Mysterious Mouse" is enthusiastically recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Who Sees Your Scrunchy Face?
Christine Conlin, author
Melissa Marroquin, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane, Edina, MN 55439
9781592986583, $18.95, HC, 32pp,

"Who Sees Your Scrunchy Face?" is an original picture book story by Christine Conlin that is inspired by her childhood memories. Charmingly illustrated by Melissa Marroquin, "Who Sees Your Scrunchy Face?" is about an expressive seven-year-old named Jack. Life is pretty good for Jack, but sometimes things don't go his way and he shows his ''scrunchy face". Who sees Jack's scrunchy face, and who never, ever sees it? Parents and grandparents will enjoy reading this book aloud to children and grandchildren ages 4 to 8 -- and exploring scrunchy and happy faces in the mirrors on the cover and back of the book! "Who Sees Your Scrunchy Face?" will prove to be a unique and enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

I Just Met a Dinosaur!
Helen L. Williamson, author
Nancy Taylor Atkins, illustrator
Belle Isle Books
c/o Brandylane Publishers
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781939930675, $18.95, HC, 32pp,

If you met a dinosaur, what would you do? Play hide-and-seek or go to the zoo? Who knows if their skin was pink, purple, or blue? Or if they squawked, roared, or mooed? Did they polish their nails and feathers and scales, and sharpen their teeth with the ends of their tails? Deftly written by Helen L. Williamson and enhanced with the colorful artwork of Nancy Taylor Atkins, "I Just Met a Dinosaur!" is a wonderfully entertaining compendium of dinosaur rhymes with which young readers will encounter some of those fabulous creatures from long-ago times! An original, charming, and thoroughly enjoyable, "I Just Met a Dinosaur!" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Alice & Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds
Jaime Temairik
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484708163, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

The little bear sisters Alice and Lucy love sharing everything -- well, almost everything. Lucy is tired of sharing a bed with Alice. The sisters need bunk beds as soon as possible! They have no money, so they get jobs at a bakery. But Alice likes to do things carefully, and Lucy likes to do things fun! Will they be able to work together long enough to earn their new bunks? Written and illustrated by Jaime Temairik, "Alice & Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds" is an original and utterly charming picture book story for children ages 4 to 8. A wonderfully entertaining read from first page to last, "Alice & Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

I Love You More and More
Nicky Benson, author
Jonny Lambert, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680100228, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Beautifully illustrated by Jonny Lambert, "I Love You More and More" is an original and charming picture book story by author Nicky Benson about a mother bear and her cub. The deftly written rhyming text artfully combines with the superbly crafted visual imagery to make "I Love You More and More" a simply outstanding entertainment for young children ages 2 to 5. Ideal for story hour reading, "I Love You More and More" is especially commended for family, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections.

When I Am With Dad
Kimball Crossley, author
Katie Gamb, illustrator
Two Little Birds Books
9780991293575, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Elizabeth is a little girl who likes things just so. But when she spends the day with Dad, sometimes things are a little bit different. She and her little sister, Lulu, take young children ages 4 to 8 through a day with Dad; and while everything may not be to Elizabeth's taste, it's about being with the person who loves you more than anything in the world. Learning to accept each other's differences is all part of being in a family! As compelling as it is charming, Kimball Crossley original story combined with Katie Gamb's entertaining illustrations is certain to be an enduringly popular and beloved addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections!

Peppa Pig and the Little Train
Neville Astley and Mark Baker, author/illustrator
Candlewick Entertainment
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763690441, $12.99,

Another title from the series based on the award winning Peppa Pig TV series, "Peppa Pig and the Little Train" is a delightful adventure in which Peppa and George have a wonderful surprise while visiting Granny and Grandpa Pig. The surprise appears to be a wonderful toy train, but Grandpa Pig quickly corrects this idea: "It's not a toy, ...this is Gertrude. She's a miniature locomotive." Peppa and George have a joyous ride on the miniature locomotive and learn to sing a song about Grandpa's little train. They meet other friends in other vehicles whose child passengers eagerly accept the invitation to ride on Gertrude. Soon Grandpa's miniature locomotive is filled up with many animal friends. In the course of their train ride, Gertrude and her passengers meet Mrs. Rabbit's bus and Grandpa Dog's truck, and rescues them both from being stuck in the mud. Gertrude, the miniature locomotive is a hero! Everyone decides to have fun jumping in the large mud puddle left behind. Peppa Pig shouts, "Thank you Grandpa Pig!" Inside the cover of "Peppa Pig and the Little Train" is a black and white poster of Grandpa Pig's train with all the friends riding on it. "Peppa Pig and the Little Train" is a delightful book for children ages 3-6 and will serve as a lively introduction to the series of books based on the award-winning TV program.

This Is Our Baby, Born Today
Varsha Bajaj, author
Eliza Wheeler, illustrator
Nancy Paulsen Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399166846, $16.99, 32pp,

"This is Our Baby, Born Today" is a gentle celebration of the birth of a beautiful baby Indian elephant, born in lush wild forest scenes such as those near Mumbai, India, where the author once lived. An award-winning author/illustrator team combines their fertile talents to create the lovely paean/lullaby that is "This is Our Baby, Born Today." Poetic narrative and sensitive scenes in shades of gold, gray and green create the world of the new baby elephant, greeted and celebrated by Mother, Aunts, Sisters, Cousins, the Herd, the Lagoon, the Banyan tree, the Neighbors (monkeys), Friends (peacocks), Earth, Stars, the Moon, and all creation. Amidst the glory of nature and creation, all are reminded what a precious life is given in one new Baby elephant. "This is the Baby, wrinkled and gray, who warms the hearts of the world today." "This is Our Baby, Born Today" also reminds human children of the need to protect and defend endangered baby elephants born to today's dwindling herd population. Perfect as a bedtime story for small child ages 3-5, "This is Our Baby, Born Today" is a toast to future generations with a deep nod and bow to the past.

There's a Bear on My Chair
Ross Collins, author/illustrator
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763689421, $16.99,

"There's a Bear on My Chair" is a charming, comic narrative verse about a mouse and a bear who do not want to share. Despite many creative, desperate efforts (all described in clever rhyme) to dislodge the bear, he remains on the mouse's chair, which is not fair. Finally the mouse loses all patience: "That's it! I'm done! I do declare! This bear has led me to despair! It is not fair! It is not fair! I'm going now. I don't know where..." After an unlikely, wandering iceberg search to an igloo home (of a polar bear?), the bear makes a starling discovery: "HEY! There's a mouse in my house." Thus surprisingly ends the tale of an angry mouse and an oblivious bear. Children ages 3-5 will love the singsong rhyme, creative craft, and turnaround dilemma conveyed in "There's a Bear on My Chair." Perhaps one message conveyed is even the small can be mighty, or for sure, mighty resourceful!

Gorilla Loves Vanilla
Chae Strathie, author
Nicola O'Byrne, illustrator
Barron's Educational Series
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppage, New York 11788
9780764168536, $11.99,

"Gorilla Loves Vanilla" is a fabulously fun story for young readers, told in ebullient verse and enhanced with amazing colorful, page-straining illustrations filled with joy and delight. The story begins with a stroll down Jelly Bean Street to Little Sam Sundae's, the king of cones and wafers and flavors that zing. One day Sam opened his store to five hungry animals whose fancy for ice cream varied wildly, to put it mildly. First a mouse wanted a sundae of blue cheese, of all things. Sam complied in a wink. Then a cat requested fish finger ice cream in a dish, while the hen wanted a cone of worms! The cow ordered daisies and grass flavors, and the hippo wanted mountains of mud (to wash in, not to eat)! Everything Sam sundae supplied in a blink, but who was last? A blue gorilla who ordered vanilla! The redoubtable Sam outdid himself, with scoops, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and fudge sauce! Best of all, when everyone else desired a taste, the big blue gorilla invited them in! (Because gorillas love sharing). "Gorilla Loves Vanilla" is excessive, imaginative, extreme, and outrageous, just what kids adore in ice cream and in stories.

Normal Nina and the Magic Box
Ian Sadler, author
Adrienne Brown, illustrator
Gelos Publications
9780996415705, $15.95 HC, 34pp,
9780996415743, $10.95, 29pp,

"Normal Nina and the Magic Box" is a creative and fun book in narrative verse that helps young readers explore all kinds of gifts and attributes about themselves, through a magical gift granting genie experience such as that which happened to Normal Nina. Filled with whimsical, zany, unusual color illustrations "Normal Nina and the Magic Box" tells a tale slightly similar to that of "Alice in Wonderland." Normal Nina has a nice, plain normal life, with normal friends, play clothes, fun, and food. Nina decides she is bored with her normal life, and seizes the chance to explore a giant red 500 Spin -Well box found in her garden one day. Inside she finds an amazing room and a suspiciously familiar Genie called Jack the Amazing, masked in blue, Grade Two. The Genie offers to grant Nina three wishes, so she wishes first, to be tall, then to be noticed for the strange food in her lunch, and finally to be noticed by her classmates for saying funny things. Needless to say, all her wishes come true, but in a fashion that backfires spectacularly. In hilarious comic over-exaggerated verse and scenes, Nina gradually learns that being normal may not be so bad after all. Realizing that her shifting Grade Two Genie is her brother Jack in disguise, not very adept at casting accurate spells, Nina says: "What I am is what counts, and not what I lack! Adventures are great but, That's enough for one day, I'm Normal Nina and, I'm happy that way!" "Normal Nina and the Magic Box" finishes with suggested Normal Nina group and individual activities, for teachers and parents to try with children to expand their imagination and positive self images. "Normal Nina and the Magic Box" is a delightful book for children age 5 and up to learn how to laugh, and more about themselves.

Andrew's Big Move
Roberta Harman Ford, author
Laura Funderburgh, illustrator
Milne Library
9781942341291, $11.99, HC, 34pp
9781942341239, $ 6.99 PB,

"Andrew's Big Move" is from a series for children called Old Elbows Books. Andrew is a small boy who is very worried because all the things in his room have been packed in boxes or taken apart to be loaded on a moving truck. He is afraid of the big move, so he calls his grandmother. She reassures him that everything in his room will be safely moved to his new room in the family's new house. Grandmother promises Andrew that all his boxes of things will be taken to his new house, saying "Absolutely, rootly, tootly, kazootly!" The next day Andrew and his parents followed the moving van to the new home and then the unloading and unpacking began. After everything had been unpacked and put together, all Andrew's toys, bed, and computer were in his room just as his Grandmother had promised. Andrew called his Grandmother again just to tell her, and he was not worried any more. Softly touching colored illustrations show Andrew, his toys, and a friendly little mouse who travels with the movers to the best new room. "Andrew's Big Move" is a reassuring story for children who are anxious about change or a move. Simple narrative and spaced pages with spare illustrations help children to focus on their feelings about the subject.

The Christian Shelf

Where Are You From?
Karine-Marie Amiot and Lucie Minne
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Ave. 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
9781506418643 $14.99

Where Are You From? The Wonderful Story of Your Birth is a simple picturebook written especially for young Christian children. The text is appropriate for toddlers or even infants. Where Are You From? is not really a sex-education book; rather, it describes in broad terms how children start out as very small, and are a blessing from God to their loving parents. "You were saving your strength to be born, because you were starting to feel cramped and were eager to meet the world. / You had been growing there, patiently, for nine months. // You were looking forward to seeing the sky, the sun, the trees, the flowers, the moon, the stars, and your parents' faces. / One morning, after a long night, you finally arrived. / And God smiled." Also highly recommended is Uwe Natus' and Dagmar Geisler's "The Creation of the World" (9781506408835, $14.99), a colorful picturebook about the Biblical story about God's creation of the world in six days.

Fireflies: Sharing God's Light in the Time of Loss
Ginger Sanders, author
Tracy Applewhite Broome, illustrator
Xulon Press
2301 Lucien Way, Suite 415, Maitland, FL 32751
9781498469791, $9.99, PB, 40pp,

"Fireflies: Sharing God's Light in the Time of Loss" is a beautiful children's book about a child's experience of loss and death in a close family member. Tyler is a happy boy who likes to play with his brother Trevor, catching fireflies in the dark to keep glowing in a lidded jar until they decide to release them. One bright day Tyler's brother Trevor want to the hospital in an ambulance. Later Tyler learned that Trevor was not coming home from the hospital. Tyler and his parents and grandparents prayed and cried a lot that day. Tyler had difficulty understanding what had happened. His mother and father told him Trevor had gone to be with Jesus. Tyler wondered why would Trevor want to go away? A lady came to visit and explained to Tyler that he and his brother were like the jar they used to catch beautiful glowing fireflies. When the master of the jar decides to open the lid and let the fireflies fly away, the jar is empty. But because we love God, our spirit goes to Him up in Heaven when we die, to live forever in with God in heaven. Tyler understood that in believing and loving God, he could know that he would have the promise of seeing Trevor again one day with Jesus in heaven. When Tyler saw the sun set that day, and they fireflies begin to come out in the darkness, he felt it like a sign from God that He was with them even in this difficult time. Charming paintings and rainbow illustrations make the message of the story of "Fireflies" even more poignant and touching. Bible quotations are woven into the story and the illustrations, and the final page has suggestions for ways of helping to lead a child to Christ, with a sample prayer, and New Testament quotations from romans 10:13, John 6:47, and Romans 8:16. "Fireflies" is a beautiful Christian faith based book for children to help them deal with loss and death.

The Judaic Shelf

Glad to be Me
Sara Blau, author
Len Ebert, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628889 $10.95

Featuring laminated pages that are easier for little hands to turn, Glad to be Me is a picturebook especially for Jewish children. The story follows a Jewish boy and a girl who engage in a variety of playful actions, which children reading the book can act out in tandem. "I can flap like birds up high, / Soaring, flying, in the sky! // But most of all, I'm glad to be / Just the way Hashem made me!" Colorful illustrations and brief notes to parents and teachers round out this simple yet charming story.

Toba's Passage
Libby Herz, author
Dena Akerman, illustrated
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781935882022, $10.95, PB, 190pp,

Toba is a lively girl who is excited about leaving Poland to join Papa in America! She will travel with her younger brother and her aunt, while Mama and Baby Luba wait for Papa to earn more money and send for them, too. The sea voyage is an adventure in itself, and life on the Lower East Side turns out to be so different from what Toba imagined. She soon learns that the streets of New York are not paved with gold, but are rich in opportunities to help others. "Toba's Passage" is a consistently engaging immigrant story that effectively portrays a family committed to keeping Shabbos, Torah, and mitzvos no matter where they are. Entertaining inspiring, of special and particular interest to the Jewish community, "Toba's Passage" is truly exceptional and very highly recommended for family and community library collections for young readers.

The Board Book Shelf

Peekaboo Pals: Opposites
Gareth Lucas, illustrations
Becky Davies, author
Silver Dolphin Books
9781626865228, $14.95, Board Book,

"Peekaboo Pals: Opposites" is a delightful interactive light pasteboard book for children age 3 and up which illustrates the concept of opposites through a creative series of lift-the-flap illustrations, featuring incredibly adorable animals engaged in human-like pursuits. Humor is foremost, always the best teacher's tool. A zebra on the back cover describes the contents of "Opposites" as follows: "It's a roller coaster of highs and lows!" Early readers and pre-readers will lifting the sturdy cardboard flaps to see what the opposite drawing portrays beneath. "Opposites" wraps up with a flashy foldout page finish, labeled "Quiet," (with a table of birthday cake treats and no guests) while the zebra character wondering why no one is coming to his birthday party. Of course there are many silent clues of hidden guests under the table cloth, which spring to full party mode with the unfolded page and more flaps of opposites to reveal "under/over" and "wrapped/unwrapped!" "Peekaboo Pals: Opposites" is a highly entertaining Lift the Flap book whose talented illustrator teaches early reading skills effortlessly, bathed in fun, color, and creativity. Other titles in this creative Peekaboo Pals series by the same artist/author duo that are also highly recommended include: "Peekaboo Pals: 1 2 3" (9781626865211, $14.95, Board Book), and "Peekaboo Pals: A to Z" (9781626865204, $14.95, Board Book).

The Counting Shelf

Counting with Barefoot Critters
Teagan White
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781101917718, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Clever and original, "Counting with Barefoot Critters" by children's author and design artist Teagan White is an inherently fascinating and thoroughly entertaining picture book showcasing a deftly crafted rhyming text combined with wonderfully whimsical animals engaged in a variety of activities. Children ages 4 to 8 can count along as the animals engage in Reading; Making pancakes; Helping friends; Go exploring; Swimming; Playing pirates, and more. A fun and effective way for children to learn about numbers, "Counting with Barefoot Critters" offers a simply adorable cast of animal characters as the 'critters' explore numbers and counting over the course of a day while having fun at all stops along the way. "Counting with Barefoot Critters" is enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Fiction Shelf

The Magic Hat
Mrs. Seebo's Classics
Donna Seebo, author
C. A. Johnson, illustrator
Delphi Vision International, Inc.
P.O. Box 97272, Lakewood, WA 98497
9781883164294, $9.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle,

"The Magic Hat" is a beautiful, inspirational book from the series called Mrs. Seebo's Classics for children. Warmly told in full detail and lavishly illustrated, "The Magic Hat" tells a story of a fantastic old hat, which became the inspiration for a great healing miracle of love and imagination, with the help of a kind, compassionate nurse who persisted in her own vision of miraculous healing and joyful living, even for a badly injured child who had lost the will to live. The mysterious, colorful old hat was found by Annie, an imaginative pediatrics nurse, in an antique shop. She saw its true value immediately, despite its age, style, and color. Although her sister, Maggie, a less imaginative person, objected to her wearing the hat, Annie was determined to let its mysterious healing powers be released through imagination. The story unfolds as Annie is given the task of caring for a young girl who is badly burned in an auto accident, with only one surviving parent, and a long, painful process of burn treatments expected after the initial healing. This girl, named Julie, seemed to have lost the will to live. Annie set to work to let the hat help her spin a magical, empowering story to help Julie find her way back to joyful living. This lovely fairy tale is sensitively described and told, embellished with fanciful art work and illustrations. In the end, Julie kept the wonderful hat and a special princess doll gifted to her by Annie, promising to return one day with the doll and hat to tell her of her life. In an epilogue dated fifteen years later, Annie experienced the wonderful return visit of a grown up Julie, who assured her that she did indeed become a real princess, found her special prince, named William, and had immediate plans for marriage and a long and happy future. "The Magic Hat" ends with an unknown inspirational quotation: "Love cannot be wasted. It makes no difference where it is bestowed, it always brings in big returns". "The Magic Hat" is a modern classic treasure that testifies to the real enduring value of faith, imagination, and love. Children of all ages will be vastly enriched by sharing this magnificent story.

The Hobby Shelf

Tiny LEGO Wonders
Mattia Zamboni
No Starch Press
245 - 8th Street, San Francisco, CO 94103-3910
9781593277352, $24.95, HC, 208pp,

Mattia Zamboni is a fan of computer graphics, photography, and LEGO. He is the co-author of the LEGO Build-It Book series (No Starch Press), has contributed to several other LEGO books, and has been a LEGO Ambassador since 2015. In "Tiny LEGO Wonders: Build 40 Surprisingly Realistic Mini-Models!", Mattia draws upon his impressive expertise to create a thoroughly 'user friendly' compendium of wonderfully entertaining LEGO projects for ages 9 to 99. Profusely and beautifully illustrated with clear do-it-yourself step-by-step instructions for each individual project from start to finish, "Tiny LEGO Wonders" offers hours and hours of entertaining LEGO based entertainment. While enthusiastically recommended for elementary school, junior high, high school, community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted that "Tiny LEGO Wonders" is also available in a Kindle format ($16.41).

Build It!
Jennifer Kemmeter
Brick Books
c/o Graphic Arts Books
PO Box 56118, Portland, OR 97238-6118
9781513260426, $28.99 HC, $15.99 PB, 80pp,

Enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, "Build It!: Make Supercool Models with Your Lego Classic Set" by Jennifer Kemmeter is the first volume of a new series of visually rich instruction books for Lego creations and is perfect for children ages 5 and up. Inside kids will find a range of creative models to put together with Lego blocks ranging from animals and airplanes, to street scenes and seascapes, and so much more. Each project can be created by using the Lego Classic set 10693, or Lego bricks families may already have at home. "Build It!: Make Supercool Models with Your Lego Classic Set" launching this entertaining and interactive series contains "dioramas" featuring a diverse range of models. Full color, step-by-step diagrams guide kids through the process, thereby enhancing their fun.

The Education Shelf

First Grade, Here I Come!
D. J. Steinberg, author
Tracy Bishop, illustrator
Grossett & Dunlap
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780448489216, $8.46, HC, 32pp,

First grade for children ages 5 to 6 it's the big time! After all, it's a real honest to goodness grade. In verses that are both funny and full of heart, D.J. Steinberg's "First Grade, Here I Come!" celebrates big and small moments, ones that all young "scholars" will relate to including baby teeth that won't fall out, choosing the perfect library book, celebrating Pajama Day, and wrangling with the mysteries of spelling. From the first day of school to the last, this engaging anthology is essential reading for all soon-to-be first graders. Charmingly illustrated throughout by Tracy Bishop, "First Grade, Here I Come!" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for the parents of preschool children that "First Grade, Here I Come!" is also available in a paperback edition (9780448489209, $3.37) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Genealogy Shelf

Roots for Kids, second edition
Susan Provost Beller
Genealogical Publishing Company
3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211
9780806317779, $22.00, PB, 104pp,

Now in an updated and revised second edition, "Roots for Kids: A Genealogy Guide for Young People" by Susan Provost Beller provides young readers with an informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' introduction to genealogy, complete with instructions on how to use sources at home, as well as doing genealogical research at local, state, and national levels. Of special note are the chapters on 'Finding Local Records on the Internet': 'Online Searching in Genealogy Databases'; and 'Research Around the World on Your Computer'. Enhanced with the inclusion of Blank Forms; a list of Resources for Researching Your Family; and an Index, "Roots for Kids" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended for use by teens as a means for interesting them in the genealogy and history of their own families.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Bride of Lucky Luke
Morris and Guy Vidal
Cinebook Ltd.
56 Beech Ave., Canterbury, Kent, CT4 7TA, UK
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706

Bride of Lucky Luke is a cartoon-style, colorful graphic novel, number 59 in the "Lucky Luke Adventure" series about the adventures of a sharpshooting cowboy, his wisecracking horse, and their efforts to keep the criminal Dalton gang under control. Lucky Luke has been content as a solo stag for a long time, but in Bride of Lucky Luke, he crosses paths with a kindly woman who just might be interested in settling down! Bride of Lucky Luke is a self-contained story, and a choice pick for encouraging young people to read. Also highly recommended for young adults is Yoko Tsuno: The Three Suns of Vinea (9781849183024, $11.95), the eleventh graphic novel in a spacefaring science fiction adventure of a strong-willed, independent young girl and her friends.

The Audiobook Shelf

My First Comedy Album
Billy Kelly
Privately Published
$14.00 CD
$9.99 digital

My First Comedy Album is an uproarious stand-up comedy act on audio CD. There is no cursing, and all jokes are family-friendly, making My First Comedy Album a choice pick for entertaining listeners of all ages, including children. Billy Kelly's witty performance is uproarious and highly recommended, especially for gift-giving! The tracks are "Introduction", "For Sale Sign", "You're Welcome, Kids!", "So, I'm Billy Kelly", "Various Jokes I", "Autobiography/Birdwatching", "Interesting Facts #72 & 96", "Various Jokes II", "The Dictionary", "Auditordium", "Several Tattoo Jokes", "Self-Improvement Kick", "Toddler News", "Applause Is Weird", "You Guys Like Impressions?", "Elvisham Lincoln", "Interesting Facts #s 4, 218, & 1", "Various Jokes III", and "Are You Finding Everything OK Today, Sir?". 45 min.

The Music CD Shelf

Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast
Andrew & Polly
Privately Published
$12.00 CD or digital download

Award-winning musicians Andrew & Polly, hosts of the kid-friendly podcast "Ear Snacks", present Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast, an album of delightfully creative and original songs for children and families. No premise is too out-of-this-world for this exuberant album, perfect for stimulating young imaginations! Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast is highly recommended, as is the educational, entertaining, and free podcast itself. The tracks are "Dancing Pants feat. Mista Cookie Jar" (3:22), "What Is A Podcast?" (0:04), "Ballphabet" (1:49), "Grapes" (2:47), "Tiny Dino" (2:18), "Ear Snaaaaaacks" (0:04), "Thank You For the Box" (2:24), "Mail" (3:13), "How Can You Tell If It's Going To Rain?" (3:47), "Everybody Hat Hat" (3:19), "Podcast?" (0:04), "I Wanna Be a Giraffe" (2:53), "Expo Line" (2:13), "Hey Hat" (3:54), "Thank You For The Podcast" (0:04), and "Why Is Fruit Fruit?" (2:40). 38 min.

Wonderful YOU
Vanessa Trien & the Jumping Monkeys
Produced by Adam M. Rothberg
Privately Published

Three-time Parents' Choice Award-winner Vanessa Trien and her band The Jumping Monkeys present Wonderful YOU, a music album for children, parents, and families. Featuring peppy, original songs that are easy to sing along with, Wonderful YOU is brimming with sunshine cheer. Highly recommended, especially for family car trips or children's parties! The tracks are "One Foot in Front of the Other" (3:06), "Shine" (3:16), "Wonderful YOU" (2:55), "Fireworks" (2:32), "Magic Wand" (3:58), "Monkey Jump" (3:00), "Round and Round We Go" (3:29), "Chi Chi Bom Bom" (2:51), "Willie and the Hand Jive" (3:38), "Feeling Thankful" (3:11), "All Together Now" (2:14), and "Circle of Friends" (2:48). 38 min.

Make A Circle
Jennifer Paskow
Privately Published

Make a Circle is a music CD for young children and families, bubbling with original folk-pop songs about love, joy, and admiring nature. Trained music therapist and children's Yoga teacher Jennifer Paskow sings beautifully in this album of pure, breezy delight. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Make a Circle" (2:38), "The I Love You Song" (3:04), "On the Inside" (3:07), "I Am" (2:58), "Listen To Your Heart" (2:54), "I Am A Tree" (3:14), "Celebrate This Day" (2:36), "This Little Light of Mine" (2:42), "Hello Moon" (3:21), "Long Time Sun" (3:32, and "The I Love You Song [acoustic]" (3:04). 32 min.

The DVD Shelf

The Story of Christmas
Directed by Josh Stifter
Spark House Family
9781506418278 $14.99

The Story of Christmas is an animated children's DVD about the story of Jesus' birth. Based ont he award-winning "Spark Story Bible", The Story of Christmas portrays a classic tale with humor, heart, and the help of Squiggles, a charming little storyteller caterpillar. Four sing-along music videos of beloved Christmas carols and behind-the-scenes production footage round out this wonderful holiday story, ideal for family viewing during the holiday season. 40 min., English and Spanish languages, English and Spanish captions.

The Science Shelf

Hopping Ahead of Climate Change
Sneed B. Collard III
Bucking Horse Books
PO Box 8507, Missoula, MT 59807
9780984446087, $18.00, 64pp,

A snowshoe hare nibbles on spruce and fir buds high in a Rocky Mountain forest. The hare isn't overly worried about predators because its white fur blends in perfectly with snow. There's only one problem. This year, there isn't any snow. As the hare forages, a great horned owl notices. The result? A disaster for the hare one that is happening more and more frequently across its range. Profusely illustrated with color photography, "Hopping Ahead of Climate Change" accurately describes for young readers (and their parents) one of the most intriguing and important studies of our time the work of biologist Scott Mills, who is trying to answer the critical question: Can animals that change their coat colors with the seasons survive shorter winters caused by climate change? Working with an international team of colleagues and students, Professor Mills has been conducting a range of studies that explore the impacts of a hotter world on animals. In "Hopping Ahead of Climate Change", readers of all ages will learn how Professor Mills studies snowshoe hares, which questions he seeks to answer, and most importantly, what he has discovered. The results are both fascinating and surprising and have vital implications for the future of our planet. Impressively well written, organized and presented, "Hopping Ahead of Climate Change" is unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library Environmental Studies and Wildlife Studies collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Seven-Day Magic
Edward Eager
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544671652 $6.99

Seven-Day Magic is a fantasy novel in which a young girl named Susan and her friends discover a magical world inside a mysterious library book. The blank pages of the book respond to their adventurous wishes - but when Fredericka asks for wizards and beasties, a dragon snatches her away! Can Susan brave the world of Half Magic and find her friend before the book is due back at the library? A handful of black-and-white illustrations enhance this wondrous adventure, ideal for middle-grade readers.

The Gaming Shelf

Gaming Live!
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338032734 $8.99

Featuring full-color photography and screenshots on virtually every page, Gaming Live! is a reader-friendly guide to video game livestreaming created especially for teens, but also useful for adults. Video game livestreaming is the practice of using a streaming service to share playing games with a worldwide audience online. While one person plays the video game, potentially dozens, hundreds, or more viewers can watch and interact through live, real-time chat. Twitch is by far the most popular video game streaming service in America, and if one simply wants to watch or talk to streamers playing games, it's as easy as opening Twitch in a web browser and making a free account. Becoming a video game streamer, particularly one who is popular enough to earn monetary donations for the provided entertainment, is a bit more complex. Gaming Live! covers the basics with a strong emphasis on staying safe and protecting one's privacy. Drawing upon interviews and tips from professional streamers, Gaming Live! features both general advice and spotlights on some of the hottest games currently streamed. Highly recommended for anyone interested in sharing their love of video games!

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Three paperbacks from Scholastic encourage young people who enjoy popular video games and cartoons to engage in reading and learn more about their favorite characters. (It should "Official Guide to Legendary and Mythical Pokemon" (9781338112917, $7.99) features stickers, a small fold-out poster (spotlighting the legendary pokemon Xerneas and Yveltal), artwork of the strongest and most mysterious pokemon, brief descriptions of what little is known about them, and short stories based on encounters that pokemon trainer Ash and his friends have had with them. "Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Handbook" (9780545940757, $8.99) showcases artwork and descriptions of the major characters and fantastic, summonable monsters of the Yu-Gi-Oh! video game, card game, and cartoon series. "Ratchet & Clank Official Guide" (9781338045499, $7.99) has a small fold-out poster, bright screenshots of the video game characters, and highlights from their spacefaring adventures. All three books feature vivid, full-color illustrations on virtually every page, and will have lasting appeal to video game collectors and fans as well.

The Art Shelf

Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World
Laurence Anholt
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9780764168376 $16.99

Part of the "Anholt's Artists" series by award-winning author and illustrator Laurence Anholt, Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World is a children's picturebook about artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). The story is from the perspective of a young girl named Mariana, who is sent to have Frida paint her portrait. Mariana learns about Frida's life while sitting for her portrait, and begins to understand just how brave Frida is. Frida suffered a devastating accident that left her bedridden for a long time while she healed; but because she was confined, her father set up the materials for her paint, and she discovered her gift for art. Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World has a fair amount of text, and is more accessible to older children who are almost ready to move on to chapter books. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's collections.

Books in Series

What If I Get a Concussion?
Ryan Nagelhout, author
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781482448887, $22.60 Library Binding, $16.95 PB, 24pp,

"What If I Get a Concussion?" is an illustrated title from the juvenile nonfiction series, "Benched: Dealing with Sports Injuries". Written to inform and appeal to youth ages 11 and up, "What If I Get a Concussion?" covers basic symptoms and causes for sports action related concussions or brain injuries. Dramatic gray highlighted sidebars labeled The Game Plan give distilled information on medical evaluation of concussion symptoms and treatment, at the beginning of each chapter. The seriousness of brain injuries and the importance of proper medical evaluation and followup is stressed. An interesting chapter title Sid's Struggle follows the chapter titled Back in the Game. Sid's Struggle is about hockey superstar Sid Crosby who missed more than 11 months after two hits to his head during the 2011 season. A detailed tracker with dates traces Sid's progress from January 1, 2011, to January 13, 2012, when he successfully returned to play hockey. Quote from this chapter sidebar, The Game Plan:" Crosby himself noted that concussions aren't like other injuries. The only way to get better after a hit to the head is giving yourself time to get better, and everyone experiences them differently. No two concussions are alike (p. 20)." In addition to action color photos of sports players and other related interest, the series title includes a glossary, a For More Information section listing books and websites, and an index. "What If I Get a Concussion?" is an excellent resource for juvenile readers involved in contact or other sports activities. Also highly recommended are the following titles included in the "Benched: Dealing with Sports Injuries" series: "What If I Feel Faint?" (9781482448870), by Amy Hayes, "What If I Break a Tooth?" (9781482448863), by Sarah Machajewski, and "What If I Break a Bone?" (9781482448856), by Kristen Rajczak Nelson.

Combatting Internet Shaming
Series title:
Tracy Brown Hamilton
The Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781508171164, $34.45 Trade, (Library Binding), Schools/Libraries, $25.85, 66pp

Highly recommended for highschool library collections and students in grades 7 - 12, "Combatting Internet Shaming" is a compact resource for teens and young adults that deals with internet shaming and cyber bullying prevention. From the Combatting Shaming and Toxic Communities series, this title presents definitions of internet shaming, defining internet shaming as a form of cyber bullying. It discusses and analyzes the effectiveness of the practice of shaming to change behavior. In short, it doesn't change behavior, and it is potentially harmful and even lethal to the individuals who are shamed. Chapter 4 deals with parental shaming practices, titled When Parents Shame Their Children, making it clear that not all internet shaming practices are between juveniles. All internet shaming is destructive and inappropriate, and prevention is key. Finally, Chapter 6, How To Respond to Internet Shaming, deals with recommended ways of dealing with internet shaming. Some recommendations are: Never engage with a bully, React offensively, not defensively, Report instances of internet shaming, and Respond to negative comments with positive messages. "Combatting Internet Shaming" ends with a glossary of terms, list of related resources (For More Information) and websites, and a list of books on internet shaming in For Further Reading. "Combatting Internet Shaming" is an effective resource and self protection guide for teens and young adults today. Also highly recommended are the following titles from this same "Combatting Shaming and Toxic Communities" series include: "Combatting Discrimination Against Women in the Gamer Community" (9781508171188, $225.85), by Marty Gitlin, and "Combatting Body Shaming" (9781508171140, $25.85), by Tamra B. Orr. Additional series titles include "Combatting 'Slut' Shaming" and "Combatting Toxic Online Communities". It should be noted that other information on this outstanding series is available online.

How Elections Work
Jeanne Marie Ford, author
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503809024, $28.50, Library Binding, 24pp,

"How Elections Work" is a succinct guide to the American electoral process in the U.S.A. for young adults and teens. Illuminated with historic black and white and color photos, timelines, and other visual aids, "How Elections Work" covers it's subject matter in three chapters: Voting Rights (including a historic timeline of voting rights changes from 1776 to the present), The Voting Process (including a sidebar history of the U. S. Political parties), and National Elections, including information of voter turnout and a map showing results of the 2012 presidential election. In addition to other information on the electoral process and the history of elections in the U. S., a glossary and additional suggested resources in the library and on the web are included. "How Elections Work" is a fact-based summary of information for young adults that should prove invaluable to students and future voters. Other titles from this same series that are also highly recommended include: "How the Executive Branch Works (9781503809031, $28.50)," by Maddie Spalding, "How the Government Works" (9781503809048, $28.50), by Jeanne Marie Ford, "How the Judicial Branch Works" (9781503809055, $28.50), by Naomi J. Krueger, and "How the Legislative Branch Works" (9781503809062, $28.50), by Maddie Spalding.

Mapping North America
Paul Rockett author
Mark Ruffle, art illustrator
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY
9780778726166, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB, 32pp,

"Mapping North America" is full, colorfully illustrated map of existing countries and kingdom (Denmark for Greenland) of North America. Appealing to young readers age 7 and up, "Mapping North America" uses color coded guide maps to first locate the continent of North America in the world, and second, locate and name the 23 separate countries in North America, each shown with their own flag in color. Fourteen brief chapters with sidebars, color photos, and appropriate but witty artistic illustrations, cover areas of interest including, pre-Columbian history, independent states, climates, wildlife, natural landmarks, man-made landmarks, settlements, industries, sports, culture, food and drink, and more information on the countries of North America. A table of statistics about the countries of North America provides more information in the chapter heading, Further Information. This describes population, size in square miles, the capital city, and main languages of each country. A glossary of terms and handy index complete this valuable geographical and cultural resource title. One interesting fact gleaned by this reader was that the Inuit who lived along the coast of Greenland used carved wooden maps, three dimensional, to depict their rugged coastline of fjords, islands, and glaciers. Further titles in this series that are also highly recommended include: "Mapping South America" (9780778726173, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), "Mapping Australia and Oceania, and Antarctica" (9780778726142, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), "Mapping Europe" (9780778726159, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), "Mapping Africa" (9780778726128, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), and "Mapping Asia" (9780778726135, $27.60 HC, 8.95 PB), all by Paul Rockett and illustrated by Mark Ruffle, with distinctive artwork reminiscent of the old Samurai Jack cartoons.

A New York Year: Twelve Months in the Life of New York's Kids
Tania McCartney author
Tina McCartney, illustrator
EK Books / Exisle Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA (dist.)
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781925335071, $17.99, HC,

"A New York Year" is an whirlwind tour through the 12 months of the year with child guides Fabian, Madison, Jayla, Sofia, and Alexander, each representative of some of the many races and nationalities found in New York. Fabian is of Puerto Rican descent, Madison is of Irish descent, Jayla is African-American, Sofia is Italian, and Alexander, who sits in a wheelchair, is Jewish. Together they explain the many fun events, festivals, sights, and experiences found in New York every month of the year. Colorful, detailed illustrations show all the children enjoying many different events and activities throughout the year. January begins with New Year's Day and winter vacation, with lots of snow, then back to school, which kids attend by bus, subway, walking or hiking. Indoor activities like watching TV, listening to music, and playing games are featured. Holidays include laying flowers at the 9/11 memorial, Martin Luther King Day, and Inauguration Day every four years. Sometimes there is fun playing in the snow and sometimes there are snow days. The other eleven months of the year follow with equally exciting activities, from February through December. "A New York Year" is written to appeal to children ages 4-8, so having each holiday pastime or description highlighted with both bright pictures and colored, expressive text is distinctive and helpful. At the end of a full cycle of 12 months of exciting events and special days, there are two pages of informative facts about the state of New York, plus a map of the state that shows its nearest neighbors, including Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Canada. Many exciting special celebrations happen in twelve months of the year in New York. "A New York Year" reminds young readers what some of these fun facts and festivals are. Earlier books in this series include "An English Year," "An Aussie Year," and "A Scottish Year." Published simultaneously with "A New York Year" is "A Texas Year: Twelve Months in the Life of Texan Kids (8671925335064," also by Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling. Each of these fine titles is of the same high quality and conveys diversity, celebrates differing holidays and celebrations, and communicates respect for all.

What's Your Story, Wilma Rudolph? Cub Reporter Meets Famous Americans series
Krystyna Poray Goddu, author
Lerner Publications
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781467787826, $26.65 Library Binding
9781467796439, $8.99 PB, 32pp,

"What's Your Story, Wilma Rudolph?" is an exciting, inspirational junior biography in a juvenile series titled Cub Reporter Meets Famous Americans. A cartoon character of a bear cub reporter asks biographical questions which Wilma answers with the facts, achievements, and hurdles and successes of her exciting life. Black and white photos from the 50's and 60's show Wilma as she grew up and trained to become a starring American runner in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Wilma had to overcome many obstacles to reach this point in her life. As a child she suffered from pneumonia, scarlet fever, and polio. She was unable to walk, with one leg paralyzed after she survived. She and her mother had to ride 45 miles to Nashville in the back of a bus to get physical therapy so she could get stronger. Segregation required black people to ride in the backs of the buses in the 50's and early 60's. Despite many obstacles, and after years of therapy, Wilma became a star athlete in high school, and eventually she attended the Summer Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, in 1955, winning a bronze medal. Later in 1960, Wilma was the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at the Rome Olympic Games, again overcoming a serious injury and other setbacks to do so. Wilma received the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year award and was honored by President Kennedy and also by a parade of honor in Clarksville, her home town. She insisted that this parade not be segregated, so that black people could attend it, and it became the first public event in Clarksville that wasn't segregated.. Today Wilma Rudolph is a her and an inspiration to all Americans, especially young black women, because her life shows that with hard work and determination you can overcome anything. "What's Your Story, Wilma Rudolph?" ends with a timeline, list of resources and handy index.

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

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