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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 27, Number 9 September 2017 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Self-Help Shelf Art Shelf
Education Shelf Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf ABC Shelf Counting Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Music CD Shelf Psychology Shelf
Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Judaic Shelf Language Studies Shelf
Cookbook Shelf World History Shelf Poetry Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Books in Series    


Reviewer's Choice

Children of the Past: Archaeology and the Lives of Kids
Lois Miner Huey
Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
www.lernerbooks.com
9781512413168, $31.99, Library Binding, 56pp, www.amazon.com

Footprints on cave floors. Fingerprints on clay pots. A tiny horse made from lead. These are all clues about the lives of kids long ago. Archaeologist Lois Miner Huey pieces together these clues in "Children of the Past: Archaeology and the Lives of Kids" to show young readers ages 8 to 12 how children's lives differed throughout time. "Children of the Past" examines cave-roaming kids in Western Europe in 18,000 BCE; hunter-gatherer kids in Europe in 6,000 BCE; Iroquois kids in North America in 1,000 CE; colonial kids in Jamestown, Virginia, in the early 1600s; and free African American kids in Fort Mose, Florida, in the mid-1700s. Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, extraordinarily 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Children of the Past" is profusely illustrated throughout, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to both elementary school and community library collections.

Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee!
Andrea J. Loney, author
Keith Mallett, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.leeandlow.com
9781620142608, $18.95, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

James Van Der Zee was just a young boy when he saved enough money to buy his first camera. He took photos of his family, classmates, and anyone who would sit still for a portrait. By the fifth grade, James was the school photographer and unofficial town photographer. Eventually he outgrew his small town and moved to the exciting, fast-paced world of New York City. After being told by his boss that no one would want his or her photo taken by a black man, James opened his own portrait studio in Harlem. He took photographs of legendary figures of the Harlem Renaissance ranging from politicians such as Marcus Garvey, to performers including Florence Mills, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Mamie Smith, as well as ordinary folks in the neighborhood. The effectively collaborative work of author Andrea J. Loney and illustrator Keith Mallett, "Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee!" is a charmingly informative picture book story of a groundbreaking artist who chronicled an important era in Harlem and showed the beauty and pride of its people. A thoroughly 'kid friendly' biographical account for children ages 6 to 9, "Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee!" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Benjamin Franklin's Wise Words
K. M. Kostyal, author
Fred Harper, illustrator
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
www.nationalgeographic.com
9781426326998, $16.99, HC, 128pp, www.amazon.com

With "Benjamin Franklin's Wise Words: How to Work Smart, Play Well, and Make Real Friends", children ages 8 to 12 will discover history through the eyes of one of the smartest, funniest, and coolest figures from America's past. The team of author K. M. Kostyal and illustrator Fred Harper presents fifty of Benjamin Franklin's famous "wise words" drawn from Poor Richard's Almanack, his personal letters, and other writings, with sage advice on everything from good citizenship and manners to friendship and being happy. Each saying is paired with hilarious illustrations and witty translations for modern audiences. A great go-to for inspirational and innovative ways to practice mindfulness, industriousness, and self-improvement, "Benjamin Franklin's Wise Words" is a great entertainment that as both 'real world' relevant as it is thought-provoking. Simply stated, "Benjamin Franklin's Wise Words" is unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library collections for young readers in grades 3 to 7.

Fireball Tim's Big Book of Wacky States!
Fireball Tim Lawrence
www.fireballtim.com
KCL Productions
www.kclproductions.com
9781539791126, $12.99, PB, 60pp, www.amazon.com

Chock full of wacky fun facts from cover to cover, "Fireball Tim's Big Book of Wacky States!" showcases facts and factoids about all 50 States by famous Hollywood car designer and TV host Fireball Tim Lawrence specifically intended educate, entertain, and inspire creativity among all grade school children -- and their parents! While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Fireball Tim's Big Book of Wacky States!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Talking Tales: Puppy's Bubble
Erica Graham, author/illustrator
Skyrai Publishing
9780997855548, $17.95 HC, $9.99 PB, $1.99 Kindle, 36pp, www.amazon.com

"Puppy's Bubble" is a Talking Tales title, written by a speech pathologist to help parent encourage early speech development in their children. Emphasizing the sounds of words including "p", "b", "m", "n", "d", and "h", "Puppy's Bubble" guides the attention of young readers through simple shaded colored pencil drawings and spare prose. Children are encouraged to make the sounds in the story, surprised by a "Boo!" or a bubble-fest. "Puppy's Bubble" has tips for encouraging speech development as well as an appealing, illustrated story that children will love reading and interacting with. "Talking Tales: Puppy's Bubble" is an excellent tool for parents to help promote their children's speech development and sense of play.

Books! Books! Books!
Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763697570 $17.99 www.candlewick.com

Books! Books! Books! Explore the Amazing Collection of the British Library is a nonfiction children's picturebook filled cover to cover with fascinating facts about the treasures of the British Library. Here are books so precious that they are kept in a bombproof storeroom; a prayer book that a queen carried to her own execution; a gigantic atlas that requires six people to lift; and much more. Hand-drawn color illustrations interspersed with photo-realistic representations of the books themselves embellish this extraordinary tour. Adults as well as children will enjoy browsing the pages and learning about the wonders of the British library. Books! Books! Books! is highly recommended.


The Self-Help Shelf

Of Course It's a Big Deal! A Story about Learning to React Calmly and Appropriately
Bryan Smith, author
Lisa M. Griffin, illustrator
Boys Town Press
14100 Crawford Street, Boys Town, NE 68010
www.boystownpress.org
9781944882112, $10.95, PB, 32pp, www.amazon.com

"Of Course It's a Big Deal!" is a Boys Town Press title from a series of kid friendly books that help teach valuable social skills. Braden is a boy who loves doing things he is excited about but who sometimes overreacts when unexpected obstacles or behavioral expectations interrupt his fun. Braden's parents decided to help him learn some better ways of handling his frustration and disappointment. Braden's mom told him about his grandpa's suggestions for reacting calmly told to her when she was a girl. They were in four steps: "1 Calm down. Take deep breaths or count to 10. 2 Think of a way to make the situation better. 3 Try it out. 4 If nothing works, or if you can't figure out what to do, get help." Braden tried to implement the four steps when he encountered problems that made him want to overreact. Some times he was successful, sometimes not, but he kept on trying with his parents' encouragement. "Of Course It's a Big Deal!" is filled with large colored illustrations and highlighted suggestions for kids. It also has practical Tips for Parents and Educators at the end, with resources for more suggestions. Boys and girls will identify with the dilemmas of Braden and receive helpful information about ways to modify their social interactions to more acceptable behavior. Also highly recommended from the Boys Town Press children life skills series is the following title: "The Procrastinator (9781944882099, $10.95)," by Julia Cook, illustrated by Anita DuFalla.


The Art Shelf

Fine Art Adventures
Maja Pitamic, author
Jill Laidlaw, author
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
www.chicagoreviewpress.com
9780912777047, $19.99, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

In "Fine Art Adventures: 36 Creative, Hands-On Projects Inspired by Classic Masterpieces", veteran art teacher Maja Pitamic and experienced children's book author Jill Laidlaw team up to introduce young artists ages 6 and older to classic masterpieces of the art world, as well as the formal techniques artists employed to create them, then lets the children loose to create their own works of art. Each of the eight chapters comprising "Fine Art Adventures" covers a particular technique or subject of fine art: Color, Light & Shade, Shape, Black & White, Portraits, Landscapes, Animals, and Myths & Legends. Projects begin with a story of a famous work (Matisse's The Snail, Modigliani's Portrait of Anna Zborowska, Paul Cezanne's Mont Sainte-Victoire, and Whistler's Nocturne in Blue and Silver) followed by a question-and-answer section. Then it's time to break out the brushes, scissors, and paint. Children create two artworks based on the techniques and visual effects of the piece. The projects cover a wide range of media, from tissue paper mosaics to stencils to mobile sculptures, with a variety of difficulty levels, always encouraging and expanding the child's natural creative abilities. No prior knowledge of fine art is required on the part of the young reader, just enthusiasm for the subject and a willingness to explore, discover, and experiment. Very highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections, "Fine Art Adventures" deftly explore the stories and meanings behind 18 key works of classic art as inspiration for these kid-tested, exciting, and creative projects.

If Picasso Painted a Snowman
Amy Newbold, author
Greg Newbold, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
www.tilburyhouse.com
9780884485933, $17.95, HC, 36pp, www.amazon.com

"If Picasso Painted a Snowman" is a delightful, whimsical, educational picture book that shows how the artist's imagination can summon magic from a prosaic subject. Greg Newbold's chameleon-like artistry shows us Roy Lichtenstein's snow hero saving the day, Georgia O'Keefe's snowman blooming in the desert, Claude Monet's snowmen among haystacks, Grant Wood's American Gothic snowman, Jackson Pollock's snowman in ten thousand splats, Salvador Dali's snowmen dripping like melty cheese, and snowmen as they might have been rendered by J. M. W. Turner, Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee, Marc Chagall, Georges Seurat, Pablita Velarde, Piet Mondrian, Sonia Delaunay, Jacob Lawrence, and Vincent van Gogh. Our guide for this tour is a lively hamster who (also chameleon-like) sports a Dali mustache on one spread, a Van Gogh ear bandage on the next. A truly extraordinary, impressively original, and inherently fascinating picture book for children ages 6 to 10, "If Picasso Painted a Snowman" will prove to be a popular and entertaining addition for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of individual students in grades 1 to 6 that "If Picasso Painted a Snowman" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.05).


The Education Shelf

A Day at the Berns Family Farm: A Book of Phonics
Laura Hudgens, author
Larry Hamby, illustrator
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
http://mascotbooks.com
9781631779060, $14.95, HC, 34pp, www.amazon.com

Featuring a cute and original family farm story by Laura Hudgens that deftly combines the colorful illustrations of Larry Hamby, "A Day at the Berns Family Farm: A Book of Phonics" is an entertaining and educational picture book young readers ages 5 to 9. An ideal curriculum supplement for teaching reading to students in grades K-3, "A Day at the Berns Family Farm: A Book of Phonics" is an especially recommended picture book for elementary schools, community libraries, and homeschooling parents.


The Picturebook Shelf

Tigger And Jasper's New Home
Cheryl Louise Gillespie, author
Michael A. LeBlanc, illustrator
Privately Published
9780995005617, $6.49 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 24pp, www.amazon.com

Charmingly written by Cheryl Gillespie and appealing illustrated by Michael LeBlanc, "Tigger And Jasper's New Home" is the heart warming picture book story of two kittens who through amusing happenings in their new home soon learn that Christie, their guardian, is blind. Sharing her true experiences of Tigger and Jasper, Cheryl Gillespie, (who is blind from her early childhood) gently acquaints children to the character of Christie -- a young blind woman. A deftly crafted and thoroughly 'kid friendly' story of humor and the human condition "Tigger And Jasper's New Home" will prove to be an enduringly popular and entertaining addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Safe & Sound
Jean Roussen, author
Loris Lora, illustrator
Flying Eye Books
c/o Nowbrow Ltd.
http://nobrow.net
www.flyingeyebooks.com
9781911171287, $17.95, PB, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Young chipmunks live underground, while kangaroo joeys need a pouch, and crocodile hatchlings hide in their mother's mouths. And so baby animals are safe and sound with their grown-ups close around! "Safe & Sound" features a simple rhyming text by Jean Roussen that is accompanied by Loris Lora's stunning illustrations. Children from ages 1 to 5 are introduced to a whole host of baby animals and their homes. Wonderfully entertaining and ideal for parent/child bonding 'read aloud' times, "Safe & Sound" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Amir's Big Catch
Sheila Jones and Charis Haines, authors
Kevin Cannon, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane, Edina, MN 55439
www.BeaversPondPress.com
9781592986378, $18.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Charmingly written by Sheila Jones and Charis Haines, and cheerfully illustrated by Kevin Cannon, "Amir's Big Catch" is the children's picture book story of a little boy named Amir who lives by a lake. His big dream is to catch a fish -- but he can't do it on his own! Young readers can join Amir in this thoroughly 'kid friendly' adventure as Amir meets friends who can help him along the way. A warmly entertaining read from cover to cover, "Amir's Big Catch" is very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Around the World in a Bathtub
Wade Bradford, author
Micha Archer, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
www.charlesbridge.com
9781580895446, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

From a hammam in Turkey to a maqii on the Alaskan tundra, "Around the World in a Bathtub" is an original and colorful picture book by the team of author Wade Bradord and illustrator Micha Archer shares the bath-time battle that happens every night, around the world. "Yes, yes!" say the grown-ups, "No, no!" say the children, and the chase is on! A wonderfully entertaining story of the universal experience of bath time, "Around the World in a Bathtub" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 7. It should be noted that "Around the World in a Bathtub" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Fatima and the Clementine Thieves
Mireille Messier, author
Gabrielle Grimard, illustrator
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada, L3R 4T8
www.reddeerpress.com
9780889955295, $18.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

One morning, a little girl named Fatima and her grandfather wake up to find their clementine orchard savagely ransacked. Who could be doing this? How can the culprits be stopped? It's clear that Fatima faces an enormous problem. Luckily she has some very powerful friends: the spiders! Beautifully illustrated with the artwork of Gabrielle Grimard bringing author Mireille Messier's wonderfully original and entertaining story to life for children ages 4 to 8, "Fatima and the Clementine Thieves" is highly recommended, and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Dear Dinosaur
Chae Strathie, author
Nicola O'Byrne, illustrator
Barron's
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
www.barronseduc.com
9780764168987, $11.99, HC, 28pp, www.amazon.com

When Max visits a local museum, he wishes he could ask the dinosaurs a bunch of questions. Since the museum is about to close, the curator (Dinosaur Dora) says, "Why don't you write our T. Rex a letter? He might even write back." And so begins a pen pal relationship unlike all others. At first, T. Rex's letters make him seem like a big, toothy tough guy who's too busy to write friendly letters to tasty little humans. But once Max and T. Rex start trading letters, they share funny jokes, silly facts, a baby tooth, rubber duckies, and more. This unlikely duo soon embark on an unusual friendship that spans the ages -- and even includes very real cards and letters to open. An impressively original and thoroughly entertaining picture book for children ages 3 to 7 by the team of author Chae Strathie and illustrator Nicola O'Byrne, "Dear Dinosaur" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted that "Dear Dinosaur" is also available in a paperback edition (9781407159294, $6.29, www.Amazon.com) and in a digital book format ($6.54).

Feather
Remi Courgeon
Enchanted Lion Books
67 West Street, Studio 317A, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11222
www.enchantedlionbooks.com
9781592702107, $17.95, HC, 36pp, www.amazon.com

A simply delightfully entertaining picture book story for children ages 6 to 9 by French artist and storyteller Remi Courgeon, "Feather" is about a musical girl who is also tenacious, tough, and a real fighter. Living in a household consisting of her father and three brothers, Feather often gets the short end of the stick, meaning the laundry, cooking, and grocery shopping. One afternoon, she gets a black eye and all her plans change. Very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, "Feather" is a great story, especially for young girls about being a girl, taking charge, and realizing their dreams!

Found Dogs
Erica Sirotich
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
http://us.penguingroup.com
9780399186417, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Babies and toddlers ages 2 to 5 will delight in counting up each wriggly, wraggly rescue pup and then counting back down as each doggie is adopted. A bright, bouncy rhyme, jubilant art, and scads of adorable dogs will have wee ones giggling for more in Erica Sirotich's impressively original and wonderfully entertaining picture book. While unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Found Dogs" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Henry and Boo!
Megan Brewis
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
www.childs-play.com
9781846439995, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Henry isn't happy when an uninvited guest suddenly interrupts his tea break. And he is less than thrilled when the little creature decides to stay - along with its annoying habit. With the unwelcome visitor getting under his feet all day, it's easy for Henry to miss the signs that a dangerous and hungry bear has been seen in the area. How can he avoid being the next victim? Written with originality and charmingly illustrated throughout by Megan Brewis, "Henry and Boo!" is a thoroughly charming story about friendship, tolerance and unexpected consequences, with a compelling refrain that all children ages 3 to 7 will want to join in with. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Henry and Boo!" is also available in a paperback edition (9781846439988, $7.99).

Marigold Bakes a Cake
Mike Malbrough
Philomel
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
http://us.penguingroup.com
9781524737382, $17.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Marigold the cat loves Mondays, for that is when he bakes cakes! With his favorite recipe in front of him, he rolls up his sleeves and gets down to it. He whips up egg whites . . . Easy. He adds a cup of milk . . . Peasy. Then he sprinkles in just a pinch of . . . of finch?! That's not right at all! Neither are the smidgeons of pigeons or the spoonsfull of loons. Clearly a chase is in order! Yet all that leads to is a spectacularly messy kitchen. And no cake. With a recipe comprised of equal parts humor and charm, author and illustrator Mike Malbrough has cooked up a scrumptious laugh-out-loud addition to the great tradition of interruption books with "Marigold Bakes a Cake". A wonderfully original and entertaining picture book for children ages 3 to 7, "Marigold Bakes a Cake" will prove to be an especially popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted that "Marigold Bakes a Cake" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

My Little Half-Moon
Douglas Todd Jennerich, author
Kate Berube, illustrator
Putnam
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
www.penguin.com
9780399169014, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Written with an original flair by Douglas Todd Jennerich and charmingly illustrated by artistry of Kate Berube, "My Little Half-Moon" is specifically recommended for children ages 5 to 8 who have ever looked up at the half-moon hiding in the night sky and thought it looked just the littlest bit lonely without its other half? Imagine . . . / having no one to glow with / no one to play with / no one to share / how much you like puppies and big, fuzzy bears. While enthusiastically recommended for both elementary school and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for families that "My Little Half-Moon" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Toad on the Road: A Cautionary Tale
Stephen Shaskan
HarperCollins
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
www.harpercollinschildrens.com
9780062393470, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

With bouncy call-and-response text and vivid illustrations, "Toad on the Road: A Cautionary Tale" is lively and entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 8 from author and illustrator Stephen Shaskan that is certain to have them giggling along with Toad's silly antics. A perfect read-aloud picture book (Who's that coming down the road? / Oh yikes! Oh yikes! / It's a bear on a bike.) "Toad on the Road: A Cautionary Tale" will is unreservedly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands
Tamara Levitt
Wisdom Publications
199 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.wisdompubs.org
9781614294054, $15.95, HC, 38pp, www.amazon.com

Tamara Levitt is an author, illustrator, producer, speaker, and mindfulness educator. In "Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands" she has created an original and entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 8 that explores the themes of acceptance, resilience, and self-compassion and offers the message that just because we may experience a failure does not mean that we are a failure. Written is a story about a girl named Leela who tries her best, but still falls down. Through the process she learns that happiness is not determined by external achievement. Through accepting our limitations and celebrating our efforts, even in the face of failure, peace can be found. While unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Odd One Out
Danielle Chaperon, author
Iris, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
www.auzou.biz
9782733850664, $12.95, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Danielle Chaperon is an author from Quebec. A storyteller from a young age, she learned to read from the back of children's cereal boxes, and later moved on to comics! Iris is a graphic novel artist and this is her first children's picture book. "Odd One Out" is their picture book story of a three young girls. Two of whom were inseparable best friends who did everything together. That is, until the horrible, terrible day when the new girl arrived. Now she is Annabelle's best friend, the original 'best friend' seems to be the odd one out. What can be done? Young readers ages 4 and up will find "Odd One Out" to be based a recognizable and all-to-familiar situation. Simply stated, "Odd One Out" is a uniquely entertaining and very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Pikiq
Yayo
Tradewind Books
202-1807 Maritime Mews, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6H 3W7
www.tradewindbooks.com
Orca Book Publishers (distributors)
PO Box 468, Custer, WA 98240-0468
www.orcabook.com
9781926890050, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

In the far, far north, Pikiq finds paint, paintbrushes and a book with pictures of tropical animals and faraway places, abandoned in the deep snow. Inspired, he draws fantastic creatures everywhere, and color bursts onto the white landscape. An award winning artist, Yayo has illustrated many children's books of which "Pikiq" is the latest and arguably his best work yet. An ideal picture book for children ages 3 to 7, "Pikiq" is a unique, inherently entertaining, and very highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Super Manny Stands Up!
Kelly DiPucchio, author
Stephanie Graegin, illustrator
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781481459600, $17.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

The collaborative effort of author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Stephanie Graegin, "Super Manny Stands Up!" brings a lionhearted new hero to life in a tender, sparkling story about standing up for what's right -- and finding your inner superpowers. Every day after school, Manny saves the world from formidable foes including Zombie bears, evil cloud monsters, and alien robots with laser beam eyes. None of them are a match for Super Manny. But when Manny encounters a real-life nemesis in the school cafeteria, will he be able to summon his superhero strength to save the day? An original and delightfully entertaining story from beginning to end, "Super Manny Stands Up!" is especially recommended for children ages 4 to 8. While highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Super Manny Stands Up!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Pattan's Pumpkin: An Indian Flood Story
Chitra Soundar, author
Frane Lessac, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9780763692742, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

When Pattan finds a yellow-flower vine wilting in his valley, he replants and cares for it, watching as a pumpkin appears and grows taller than the goats, taller than the elephants, as tall as the very mountains. When a terrible storm rages across the valley, Pattan wonders if perhaps his pumpkin can save the seeds and grains and saplings, the goats and birds and bison, and protect them all as the storm clouds burst and the waters rise. Frane Lessac's brilliantly hued artwork throughout "Pattan's Pumpkin: An Indian Flood Story" is a feast for the eyes, while Chitra Soundar's thoughtful retelling is a fascinating example of the kinds of stories told the world over -- and the differences that make each version unique. A true classic in the making that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections, "Pattan's Pumpkin: An Indian Flood Story" is an impressively entertaining picture book from beginning to end and especially recommended for children ages 4 to 8.

Pigeon P.I.
Meg McLaren
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9781328715616, $16.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

A pigeon private investigator emerges from retirement to track down a birdnapper with the help of his feathered friends. A cute chick reports the crime and makes herself useful enough to become a partner in the detective agency, which by the end of the this original and consistently entertaining story is back in business."Pigeon P.I." by author/artist Meg McLaren is a very clever and impressively engaging picture book is a delightful and witty first look at the "noir" detective genre for young children ages 4 to 7 that includes comical directions for doing detective work. While unreservedly recommended, especially for family, elementary, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Pigeon P.I." is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Federica
Scot Ritchie
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
www.groundwoodbooks.com
www.houseofanansi.com
9781554989683, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Federica's busy family can't keep their house clean! To get away from the buzzy, buggy mess, she escapes to the peaceful park where she can spend time with her animal friends -- which gives her an idea. She brings home sheep and goats, spiders and dragonflies, a toad, an owl, and some raccoons. Then she takes her family to the park for a picnic, and while they're gone, the animals chomp the overgrown grass in the backyard, eat the garbage and catch the pesky bugs overrunning the house. After a peaceful afternoon at the park, Federica's family comes home to a clean house -- and raccoons doing the dishes! Artist and author Scot Ritchie's warm illustrations and charmingly original story bring a fresh perspective to the busy-family challenge of keeping the house clean, while featuring a clever and resourceful young girl who knows that, sometimes, letting nature back into our lives is the best answer. Written for children ages 4 to 7, "Federica" is unreservedly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Piece By Piece
Stephanie Shaw, author
Sylvie Daigneault, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
www.sleepingbearpress.com
9781585369997, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Drawing inspiration from the natural world around her, a weaver woman with a magical touch crafts exquisite fabrics. And from the fabric she fashions a wondrous dress, with a bodice that sparkles of starlight and lace like the foam of an ocean wave. The weaver envisions the food and clothing she will be able to buy for her children from the sale of the dress. But when she takes the dress to a local shopkeeper, the weaver is told her work is not saleable. And so she starts over again. Harkening back to the magic and lessons learned from classic fairy tales, "Piece By Piece" imaginative tale reminds readers of all ages of the importance of pursuing one's dreams and following one's heart. The exquisite artwork of Sylvie Daigneault combines beautifully with the deftly crafted storytelling of Stephanie Shaw. The result is an ideal and entertaining picture book for children ages 6 to 9. While very highly recommended, especially for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Piece By Piece" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

The Fable of the Snake Named Slim
Douglas Snelson, author
Renee Snelson, illustrator
Petalous Publishing, LLC
PO Box 285, Farmingdale, NJ 07727
www.dougsnelson.com
9780977781119, $15.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Deftly written in a rhythmic text by Douglas Snelson and charmingly illustrated by Renee Snelson, "The Fable of the Snake Named Slim" is poignant picture book tale told in the style of a fable featuring animals and entertainingly conveying a moral for children. Young readers will meet Slim, a snake that wobbles instead of wiggles and they will discover that being different can make the difference that matters most. "The Fable of the Snake Named Slim" is a memorable tale of courage and individuality, of self-discovery and self-worth. Young readers can relate to and will be captivated by as they learn that it's what makes you different that makes you special. "The Fable of the Snake Named Slim" supports social awareness, social emotional learning, interpersonal skills, and character education programs, including anti-bullying, to establish and maintain positive relationships. While strongly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "The Fable of the Snake Named Slim" is also available in a paperback edition (9781681857541, $7.99).

Sparkle Boy
Leslea Newman, author
Maria Mola, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.leeandlow.com
9781620142851, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Casey is a little boy who loves to play with his blocks, puzzles, and dump truck, but he also loves things that sparkle, shimmer, and glitter. When his older sister, Jessie, shows off her new shimmery skirt, Casey wants to wear a shimmery skirt too. When Jessie comes home from a party with glittery nails, Casey wants glittery nails too. And when Abuelita visits wearing an armful of sparkly bracelets, Casey gets one to wear, just like Jessie. The adults in Casey's life embrace his interests, but Jessie isn't so sure. Boys aren't supposed to wear sparkly, shimmery, glittery things. Then, when older boys at the library tease Casey for wearing "girl" things, Jessie realizes that Casey has the right to be himself and wear whatever he wants. Why can't both she and Casey love all things shimmery, glittery, and sparkly? "Sparkle Boy" is a sweet, heartwarming story about acceptance, respect, and the freedom to be yourself in a world where any gender expression should be celebrated. Sparkly things are for everyone to enjoy! While very highly recommended for children ages 4 to 7, "Sparkle Boy" will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Not Friends
Rebecca Bender
Pajama Press
http://pajamapress.ca
9781772780260, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Giraffe and Bird are not friends. Not even a little bit. The bird pesters the giraffe with his face-making, feather-pruning, and disgusting eating habits. The giraffe annoys the bird with his bad breath, ear-swatting, and lack of respect for personal space. Of course they are always fighting. Of course they would be better off without each other. Except, it turns out, maybe they wouldn't be. "Not Friends" is a brilliantly executed picture book specifically designed by author/artist Rebecca Bender for children ages 3 to 5. Whimsically funny and thoroughly entertaining from cover to cover, "Not Friends" is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Leon the Raccoon Explores the Arctic
Lucie Papineau, author
Tommy Doyle, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
www.auzou.biz
9782733850459, $14.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

After discovering the joys of the countryside, former city raccoon Leon decides to explore the world. "Leon the Raccoon Explores the Arctic" is new adventure will take him to the Arctic to help open a school. That's how Leon learns just how essential teamwork is! An original and thoroughly charming story by Lucie Papineau that is loveably illustrated by Tommy Doyle, and very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, "Leon the Raccoon Explores the Arctic" is a delightfully entertaining picture book for children ages 3 to 8.

Three Balls of Wool
Henriqueta Cristina, author
Yara Kono, illustrator
Lyn Miller-Lachmann, translator
Enchanted Lion Books
67 West Street, Studio 317A, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11222
www.enchantedlionbooks.com
9781592702206, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

In search of a freer place where every child can go to school, a family moves from Fascist Portugal to Communist Czechoslovakia. Different as this new country is, however, it is far from ideal. In this new, gray world, the lack of freedom is felt in the simplest things, such as the colors one can and cannot wear. A unique and inherently fascinating read, Henriqueta Cristina's original story for children ages 3 to 9 is deftly translated into English by Lyn Miller-Lachmann. The illustrations of Yara Kono are distinctively memorable throughout in "Three Balls of Wool" -- and very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton
Sherri Duskey Rinker, author
John Rocco, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9780544715578, $17.99, HC, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Everyone in Folly Cove knows Virginia Lee as "Jinnee." With her magical wands she can draw whatever she imagines, but for her sons Aris and Michael, she draws the most wonderful characters of all: Big Machines with friendly names like Mary Anne, Maybelle, and Katy. Her marvelous magical wands can make anything move - even a cheerful Little House. The collaborative work of author Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrator John Rocco, "Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton" is a loving tribute to Virginia Lee Burton in homage to the storied life of one of the most beloved creators in children's literature. A thoroughly charming picture book for children ages 4 to 7, it should be noted that "Big Machines" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

What's My Superpower?
Aviaq Johnston, author
Tim Mack, illustrator
Inhabit Media
191 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 301, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4P 1K1
www.inhabitmedia.com
9781772271409, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Nalvana feels like all of her friends have some type of superpower. She has friends with super speed (who always beat her in races), friends with super strength (who can dangle from the monkey bars for hours), and friends who are better than her at a million other things. Nalvana thinks she must be the only kid in town without a superpower. But then her mom shows Nalvana that she is unique and special -- and that her superpower was right in front of her all along! An original and deftly crafted story by Aviaq Johnston that is engagingly illustrated throughout by Tim Mack, "What's My Superpower?" is an extraordinarily entertaining and thoughtful picture book for young children ages 3 to 5. "What's My Superpower?" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Girl Who Loved Pots
Rosilyn Seay
PicBooks Publishing
http://picbookspub.com
9780998557601, $16.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

May is a young girl who loves pots! She uses her imagination to create infinite adventures with regular kitchen pots and pans. For May, an ordinary pot can become anything from a musical instrument to a table for tea parties. When she gets a new babysitter, May risks getting into trouble as she sneaks off to play with her pots. What happens next surprises them both. And an unexpected bond is formed between May and her new babysitter. "The Girl Who Loved Pots" is an inherently entertaining and charmingly illustrated tale for children ages 5 to 9 about a young girl with endless imagination. It shows how anyone, at any age, can learn new lessons in friendship and flexibility. While especially recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "The Girl Who Loved Pots" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Elmer and the Tune
David McKee
Andersen Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
www.lernerbooks.com
9781512481242, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Ever heard a tune you just can't get out of your head? An infectious tune is spreading to every animal in the jungle! Can Elmer help everyone get rid of it? "Elmer and the Tune" by author and artist David McKee is an absolutely delightful picture book for children ages 4 to 9. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Elmer and the Tune" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Bear's House of Books
Poppy Bishop
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680100389, $16.99, www.tigertalesbooks.com

Bear's House of Books tells of three animal best friends who love to read books together. They love books so much that when they find a book abandoned in the woods, they decide to return it to its owner, Bear. But when they get to his house, they find nobody home - just a house packed with beloved stories. What else can they do but make themselves at home and read while they wait? Kids with good reading skills and parents who enjoy bibliophile read-alouds will thrill to a story illustrated by Alison Edgson, filled with cunning animal characters.

The Wolf Who Wanted to Be An Artist
Orianne Lallermand and Eleonor Thuillier
Auzou Publishing
www.auzou.biz
9782733848227, $14.95

The Wolf Who Wanted to Be An Artist tells of a Wolf with big dreams: he wants to be some kind of artist. Any time. It matters not whether he's to be a painter or an actor - he's open to everything artistic. The trick lies in finding his true calling, and as Wolf is helped by friends who want to encourage him, he tests a range of vocations before finding something unexpected that really resonates. As each failed attempt leads him to contemplate the next possibility, kids with good reading skills and parents interested in unique read-alouds will find the story compelling and fun.

My Beautiful Birds
Suzanne Del Rizzo
Pajama Press
9781772780109, $17.95, www.pajamapress.com

My Beautiful Birds provides kids with good reading skills a gentle story set in Syria of a boy and his neighbors who become refugees after their home is bombed. Even though they've all managed to escape and are safe for now, Sami wonders about the pets left behind - and everything else. Will there ever be peace and a quiet home for he and his refugee family? It's unusual to find stories about the Syrian civil war geared to picture book readers; but young audiences with adult assistance will find this an excellent introduction of the experience of refugees through the eyes of a young boy who dreams for something better.

Dr. Potts, My Pets Have Spots!
Rod Hull and Miriam Latimer
Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
9781782853190, $16.99 HC, $8.99 PB, www.barefootbooks.com

Dr. Potts, My Pets Have Spots! tells of a pet owner whose animals have spots - all of them. From a spotty cat and snake to a spotty rabbit and frog, the spots appear whether bird or beast is involved. Can Dr. Potts solve the problem of too-spotty animals? Parental read-aloud assistance is recommended for this complex story of how potions go awry and how spots may not be the worst part of the situation, creating a zany tale which is fun and unexpected.

There, There
Tim Beiser and Bill Slavin
Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6
9781770497528, $16.99, www.penguinrandomhouse.ca

There, There tells of a grouchy rabbit who whines about everything in the world, putting a patient bear to the test and stretching his every effort to make things right. When Rabbit is crabby because of a rainy day, he takes out his feelings on his good friend. Can the bear teach him a lesson about making the most of life and being in good cheer? A fun story evolves about friendship, empathy, and attitudes towards adversity.

My Little Half-Moon
Douglas Todd Jennerich
Putnam
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399169014, $16.99, www.penguin.com

My Little Half-Moon is illustrated by Kate Berube and tells of a lonely half-moon and a little girl who tries to fill in for its missing other half. Ages 5-8 will relish a story that tells of empathy and a helpful girl whose friendship with a moon changes them both. Parents looking for good read-aloud tales and stories that hold a poignant lesson about the power of goodness in the world will find this a simple, compelling tale.

Billy Bloo Is Stuck in Goo
Jennifer Hamburg and Ross Burach
Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545880152, $16.99, www.scholastic.com

Billy Bloo Is Stuck in Goo provides a rollicking rhyme to accompany a zany story of poor Billy Bloo, who is not only stuck in goo, but whose dilemma attracts and lures others to the same fate. As problems multiply and a cast of characters, from an octopus to a wizard, a pirate, and a cowgirl, find themselves in dire circumstances, a building poem offers fun moments perfect for both read-aloud and individual pursuit, spiced by funny and engaging drawings.

Floris Books
www.florisbooks.co.uk

Two fine new picture book reads are inviting, well done stories that parents and school collections will want to consider. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and Maja Dusikova's Rapunzel (9781782503828, $17.95) retells a classic fairy tale and adds lovely, soft-edged drawings by Maja Dusikova. Good reading skills or parental assistance will lend to the beautiful story of a braided beauty with a beautiful voice and a brave prince who breaks her isolation. Ulf Nilsson and Eva Eriksson's Little Sister Rabbit Gets Lost (9781782503774, $17.95) tells of a rabbit who sets off into the world on her own adventure, only to get more than she bargained for when she gets lost. Is Little Sister Rabbit really ready for true adventure, and how can she find her way back home? A beautiful, warm story evolves, perfect for gentle read-aloud.

Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
www.disneyhyperionbooks.com

Three new books from this publisher are recommended reading for youngsters who enjoy different picture book approaches. Matthew Cordell's Dream (9781484773406, $16.99) presents unusual characters in the form of ape parents who present a first-person story of how their lives changed when their child was born. The language is complex yet accessible, especially for read-aloud purposes ("We looked upon you, impossible you, and we felt everything. Who would you be? Who would we be?"), and contains both love and psychological inspection all in one. Benson Shum's Holly's Day at the Pool (9781484709382, $16.99) tells of Holly the Hippo who imagines the worst about her first day in the water. Holly decides she will hate the pool, and everything seems impossibly difficult until her parents offer advice that may help her get over her fears. A fun story evolves. Cynthia Rylant's Sleeping Beauty (9781423121084, $16.99) retells a classic story and pairs it with gorgeous colorful drawings by Erin McGuire as she recreates the story of an unexpected fairy godmother's arrival, curse, and the dilemma of a sleeping beauty who might never awaken. The drawings and story assume new life in this picture book presentation.


The Fiction Shelf

Sonya Sahni and the First Grade: It's International Day!
Soma Mandal, author
Tim Williams, illustrator
Mindstir Media, LLC
45 Lafayette Rd., Suite 181, North Hampton, NH 03862
9780999069899, $12.99 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 44pp, www.mindstirmedia.com

"Sonya Sahni and the First Grade" is a wonderful story about a girl with parents from India who lived and sent to school in the United States. Sonya had a rich heritage, but she was trying her best to fit into the world of her classmates at school. She just wanted to be American! Unfortunately, sometimes her classmates teased her and said hurtful things to her about her ethnicity. She felt very bad and one day she came home from school crying. Her parents discussed her reaction with her teacher, Mrs. Abdul, and a plan was made to create an International Day celebration, to help kids celebrate diversity. Sonya was surprised to take two flags to school, one for India, and one for the United States. She also took samosas, other treats, and sweet tea that her mother made. A great day was in store for her. Everyone celebrated their background by sharing flags from their country of origin, traditional costumes, plus offerings of wonderful foods specific to their homelands. There were miso soup, sushi, mangos, empanadas, schnitzel, spiced lentils, paella, and more in this spectacular global buffet. Sonya began to accept her life of dual heritage, American and Indian, and she began to feel accepted by her friends. "Sonya Sahni and the First Grade" is written in verse, with striking colorful illustrations that highlight differences in children's clothing and skin color. This is an inspiring book, with a powerful anti bullying message for kids, for International Day celebrations and for children who feel they don't fit in.

Molly's Story
W. Bruce Cameron
Starscape
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765394934, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, www.tor-forge.com

Molly's Story is a Dog's Purpose novel for younger readers than his original best-selling book for adults, which turned into a movie and hit the bestseller list, and provides an adaptation telling of a lovely dog whose purpose is to take care of her girl. C.J. is neglected by her mother and facing many problems, so it's up to Molly to stay hidden in her room and protect her even when her mother wants to separate them. Black and white illustrations by Richard Cowdrey throughout add to a lovely story, while a concluding discussion guide encourages classroom and family dialogue about the story.

Braced
Alyson Gerber
Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545902144, $16.99, www.scholastic.com

Braced tells of a teen who seems to have everything: best friends, a boy who likes her, a place on the soccer time. Everything seems perfect until a visit with her scoliosis doctor leads to a back brace of hard plastic which not only keeps her from doing her favorite things, but changes how everyone views her. Rachel now has problems her parents can't fix - problems with how she views herself, her world, and her future. Braced is a fine story of self-image, adversity and how a seventh grader deals with a devastating blow to everything she values about herself and her future, and will attract middle to high school students with a compelling read.

Mavericks
Jack Schaefer
University of New Mexico Press
1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
www.unmpress.com
9780826358592, $19.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

"Old Jake Hanlon sits on the edge of the mesa and looks out over miles of southwestern plain" starts western novelist Jack Schaefer's novel "Mavericks". Old Jake Hanlon is "ancient and craglike, weathered and withered . . . something like a worn rocky butte himself". Living in his memories, Hanlon prefers to reflect on his youth, when he lived every cowboy's dream, rather than think about the old man he has become, now labeled "a decrepit old nuisance" by the folks in town. Ultimately, it is Old Jake's recollection of the tales of his past (stories of endurance, strength, compassion, and cunning) that helps prepare him for death. While very highly recommended for elementary school and community library collections for young readers ages 8 to 12, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mavericks" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Penguin Putnam
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
http://us.penguingroup.com

Two fine new easier readers are recommended picks for advanced elementary to middle grade students. Betty G. Birney's Humphrey's Treasure Hunt Trouble (9780399172311, $14.99) presents another 'tiny tale' about the adventures of classroom pet Humphrey the hamster, who is supposed to guard the treasure chest prize for his room's treasure hunt. But when it's stolen in the night, can Humphrey find out what happened? Priscilla Burris' engaging black and white drawings add attraction to this simple story. Cary Fagan's Mort Ziff Is Not Dead (9780143198475, $15.99) is set in 1960s Florida and provides readers with a coming-of-age story about a boy battling annoying siblings, the results of his winning a contest, and a prize he shares with his family with dubious results. As adventure brings adversity and challenges, Norman begins to wonder if his prize is more trouble than its worth. Both are engaging, involving stories.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Penguin Random House
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
http://us.penguingroup.com

MacKenzie Common's The Lives of Desperate Girls (9780143198710, $16.99) tells of teen Helen, who is found dead after another girl, Chloe, vanishes. The two girls are very different - all that ties them together is they were from the same small town. When Jenny begins to probe Helen's murder, she's led straight into danger revolving around a rigid, secretive town and a deadly truth that could prove wider than either girl. Justin Sayre's Pretty (9780448484174, $16.99) tells of Sophie, the prettiest girl in her class who hides a dark secret about her home life and mother's alcoholism. Sophie is also biracial, and this adds to her challenges as she encounters racial prejudice and struggles that go beyond her home world. The result is an engrossing story that's realistic and hard to put down, recommended for middle school teens and older.


The ABC Shelf

K is for Kindergarten
Erin Dealey, author
Joseph Cowman, illustrated
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
www.sleepingbearpress.com
9781585369959, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Here comes kindergarten! Whether a child ages 4 to 6 is gearing up for the first day or making their way through the school year, "K is for Kindergarten" will help guide them with silly rhymes and fun activities from A to Z! Written with a charming originality by Erin Dealey in combination with the artistry of illustrator Joseph Cowman, "K is for Kindergarten" is an absolute 'must have' addition to both preschool, elementary school and community library picture book collections. It should be noted, especially for families that "K is for Kindergarten" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Counting Shelf

The Pickwicks' Picnic: A Counting Adventure
Carol Brendler, author
Renee Kurilla, illustrator
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9780544839588, $16.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Community cooperation turns a traffic jam into an opportunity for fun in this inventive counting book starring a pair of clever canine siblings in "The Pickwicks' Picnic: A Counting Adventure". In a highly original counting tale, the Pickwicks (Pip and Peach, Mom and Daddy) leave the hot hazy city for a picnic by the shore. Along the way, they are passed by 2 scooters, 3 jeeps, and more -- until they hit a sudden roadblock of 10 cruisers. Traffic stops and drivers grow grumpy, but Pip and Peach know exactly how to turn an unexpected glitch into a festive occasion for everyone! Engaging rhythm and detail-filled art reward repeated readings of Carol Brendler and Renee Kurilla's countable account of a very special picnic. A thoroughly charming and wonderfully entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 7, "The Pickwicks' Picnic: A Counting Adventure" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted that "The Pickwicks' Picnic: A Counting Adventure" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).


The Graphic Novel Shelf

The Dam Keeper
Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi
Macmillan
c/o Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.macmillan.com
9781626724266, $19.99, HC, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Life in Sunrise Valley is tranquil, but beyond its borders lies certain death. A dangerous black fog looms outside the village, but its inhabitants are kept safe by an ingenious machine known as the dam. Pig's father built the dam and taught him how to maintain it. And then this brilliant inventor did the unthinkable: he walked into the fog and was never seen again. Now Pig is the dam keeper. Except for his best friend, Fox, and the town bully, Hippo, few are aware of his tireless efforts. But a new threat is on the horizon a tidal wave of black fog is descending on Sunrise Valley. Now Pig, Fox, and Hippo must face the greatest danger imaginable: the world on the other side of the dam. Based on the Oscar-nominated animated short film of the same name, "The Dam Keeper" is a lush, vibrantly drawn graphic novel by Tonko House cofounders Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi. Certain to be an enduringly popular and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library graphic novel readers from ages 7 to 11.

Boat of Dreams
Rogerio Coelho
Tilbury House Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884485285, $22.95, www.tilburyhouse.com

Boat of Dreams doesn't look like a picture book presentation at first because it's twice as thick as most picture books; but further examination shows it's a wordless picture story that features full-page, large-size color drawings throughout as it tells of an old man who lives on a desert island with a seagull and a boy and his cat who live in an empty city. This gorgeous presentation definitely requires an adult perspective - and enjoyment - because the surreal pictures and wordless format lends to much speculation about space, time, and the relationship of boy to man. Lovely fantasy images invite speculation and thought as they explore the dual lives of these two, inviting young and old alike to stretch their imaginations based on wondrous and vivid drawings.


The Music CD Shelf

Time Machine Guitar
Ralph's World
www.ralphsworld.com
$TBA CD / $7.99 MP3 amazon.com

Grammy nominated songwriter, performer, and author Ralph's World presents Time Machine Guitar, an all-ages album of original story-songs. From a musical portrait of the boy King Tut, to an imagined conversation between Mozart and Haydn (who were real life friends), to a song about Christopher Columbus' historic voyage, Time Machine Guitar is a mind-expanding trip through history. Highly recommended, especially for personal and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Time Machine Guitar", "Ben Franklin's Mole", "Young Tut", "Christopher Columbus Sailed", "The Cat's Meow", "Toymasters of War", "Blue Airplane", "Beethoven's Horse", "Hummingbird Tree", "Gato Negro", "Color Outside the Lines", and "Time Machine Guitar Reprise".

Rock-n-Roll Yearbook
The Bazillions
TheBazillions.com
$11.97 CD / $9.99 download cdbaby.com

Rock-n-Roll Yearbook is a family-friendly pop rock album with positive and educational messages. From "Keep Your Identity Safe", a vital lesson for 21st century children in musical form, to "Back at School" and more songs celebrating the joys of learning, Rock-n-Roll Yearbook is a choice pick for encouraging young people to go to school with a smile! Highly recommended, especially for public and grade school library children's music collections. The tracks are "Back at School" (3:06), "Take Turns" (2:12), "New Pair of Shoes" (3:03), "You Could Be the One" (3:11), "That's My Style" (2:16), "Just Another Monday" (2:39), "Who What When Where Why" (2:25), "Queen Ellen of the Spelling Bee" (3:17), "Wide Open World of Adjectives" (2:14), "More To Be Done" (3:11), "Keep Your Identity Safe" (3:57), and "Summer's Here" (3:29).

Totally Osome!
Danny Weinkauf
dannyweinkauf.com
Red Pants Music
$9.99 CD / $9.99 download cdbaby.com

Grammy winner and longtime bassist for "They Might Be Giants" Danny Weinkauf presents Totally Osome!, his third music album for children and families. Featuring sixteen original songs that run a gamut of different styles and genres, Totally Osome! is brimming with energy, vigor, and educational topics ranging from geology to transportation to how to sing the alphabet backwards. Totally Osome! is just plain fun, and highly recommended for family time and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Sunshine Sunny Sun Sunshine Day", "N Then We Danced", "Super Powered Mindy (Album Version)", "Osome", "Rock Inside My Shoe", "A Song About Anything (w/ Kai Weinkauf)", "Your Love", "Transportation", "Ray Scott Thanks a lot", "I'm A Girl (Step Aside)", "Put Down That Smartphone (Let's start a band)", "AlphabeT TebahplA", "It's Your Birthday", "Smartphone (New Wave)", "Bah Bah Song", and "So Nice to See You".

Imagination
Jess Penner
jesspenner.com
Position Music
$TBA CD / $5.99 MP3 amazon.com

Imagination is an EP of eight family-friendly, folk-rock songs by independent songwriter Jess Penner, who cites raising her own two children as inspiration. An upbeat album of inspirational, original songs, Imagination lives up to its title and encourages young listeners to nurture their dreams. The tracks are "I've Got No Strings" (2:28), "I Don't Want To Live On The Moon" (1:58), "Imagination" (2:36), "Mr. Sun" (1:57), "You Are My Sunshine" (2:34), "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (2:25), "Thank You For Being a Friend" (2:48), and "Forever in My Heart" (2:44).

Mundo Verde / Green World
Mister G
www.mistergsongs.com
Coil Records
$14.99 CD / $9.99 download amazon.com

Mundo Verde / Green World is a bilingual English/Spanish children's music CD by Latin Grammy winner Mister G. The songs carry a strong environmental message, revelling in the beauty of the natural world, and urging listeners of all ages to support global conservation. Uplifting and energizing, Mundo Verde / Green World is highly recommended for both personal and public library children's collections. The tracks are "Mundo Verde / Green World", "Agua / Water", "Patas en el Aire / Paws in the Air", "Reciclando / Recycling", "El Coqui / The Frog", "Cuantos Peces / How Many Fish", "Las Abejas / The Bees", "Gozar / Enjoy", "Si Se Puede / Yes We Can", "Pachamana / Mother Earth", and "Las Estrellas / The Stars". 27 min.

Laurie Berkner: The Dance Remixes
Laurie Berkner
www.laurieberkner.com
Two Tomatoes Records
$12.98 CD / $9.99 download amazon.com

Laurie Berkner: The Dance Remixes is an all-ages music album that remixes and transforms 14 of The Laurie Berkner Band's most popular children's songs into electronic dance pieces. Lively and engrossing, Laurie Berkner: The Dance Remixes has an irresistible groove! The dance remix tracks are "We Are The Dinosaurs" (2:56), "Drive My Car" (3:09), "I Really Love To Dance" (3:06), "Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)" (3:11), "Monster Boogie" (2:53), "Where is the Cake?" (3:30), "I'm Gonna Catch You" (3:30), "The Cat Came Back" (3:44), "Telephone" (3:41), "BOOTS" (3:08), "Rocketship Run" (2:48), "Shake Your Body Down" (3:14), "Victor Vita" (3:32), and "My Family" (3:51).

Just Dance
Twinkle
Twinkle Time Records
twinkleandfriends.com
$10.00 CD / $10.00 download cdbaby.com

Just Dance is a music CD created especially for young people ages 4-10 by award-winning Peruvian-American music artist Twinkle. Her lively music shades pop with a variety of other inspirational sources to create an upbeat, collection of songs about math-time, fun-time, sailing through the solar system, and much more. Brimming with charm and excitement, Just Dance is a joy to listen to, and highly recommended. The tracks are "Just Dance", "Better Than You Know", "Twinklematics", "Solar System", "Music", "Life is Beautiful", "We Got Good Manners Too", "Kidz Rock featuring Mista Cookie Jar (remix)", and "Kidz Rock featuring Mista Cookie Jar (original version)". 31 min.

Rise Shine #Woke
Alphabet Rockers
School Time Music LLC
$TBA www.alphabetrockers.com

Rise Shine #Woke is the latest music album from kid-friendly hip hop group Alphabet Rockers. The dance-tastic singles speak to the concept of social justice, encouraging young people to think for themselves, stand up for others, and stay true to their conscience. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Don't Wait (Interlude)", "The Nitro", "Turn On The Lights", "Rise", "Questions (Interlude)", "I'm Proud", "My Light", "Power (Interlude)", "Shine", "On The Corner (Interlude)", "What Are You?", "Walls", "Different (Interlude)", "Stand Up For You", "Sway", "Woke (Interlude)", and "Rise (Teeko Remix)".

Songs from the Whirly House!
K.B. Whirly
www.kbwhirly.com
Privately Published
$4.99 CD / $4.99 download cdbaby.com

Songs from the Whirly House! is a budget-friendly, all-ages music EP by K.B. Whirley, drawn from his road tour with the "Magical Musical Moveable House", a one-of-a-kind combination of mobile "pop up" theater and interactive music sculpture. The music pieces in Songs from the Whirly House are arrangements designed to be played as a one-man band, tapping into the richness of multiple instruments. Upbeat and incredibly unique, Songs from the Whirly House! is highly recommended. The tracks are "Gather Round" (2:33), "Cool Man Cool" (3:10), "Every Little Thing" (3:20), "Cinnamon Jam" (3:11), and "Wandering Child" (2:51).


The Psychology Shelf

Where Did My Friend Go?
Azmaira H. Maker
Aspiring Families Press
http://aspiringfamilies.com/aspiring-families-press
9780996194112, $9.99, PB, 30pp, www.amazon.com

Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma, loss, child development, and parenting. In "Where Did My Friend Go?: Helping Children Cope With A Traumatic Death" she draws upon her more than thirty years of experience and expertise to help parents and counselors discuss a traumatic death and bereavement with children ages three to eight years old. Children can read along as the protagonist talks about the sudden loss of a friend and asks adults important questions about dying, grief, and safety. Unique, sensitive, informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Where Did My Friend Go?" is a unique and thoroughly 'kid friendly' tool to help children understand and cope with loss and bereavement due to the death of a loved one be it a family member or a friend.

Blossom Plays Possum
Birdy Jones, author
Janet McDonnell, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
www.maginationpress.com
9781433827358, $15.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Blossom is bashful and "plays possum" so she won't be noticed. She wants to talk and play with other kids, but simply does not know how. But soon with some courage and support from her friends, she learns how to connect with others, take risks, and be more confident with herself. "Blossom Plays Possum: (Because She's Shy)" aims to show kids and parents that there is nothing wrong with being shy and will helps boost a shy child's self-esteem. Of special interest is the inclusion of a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" with more information and resources about overcoming shyness. Thoroughly and warmly entertaining from beginning to end, "Blossom Plays Possum: (Because She's Shy)" is unreservedly recommended for children ages 4 to 8 and will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.


The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird
Kim Smith, illustrator
Quirk Books
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106
www.quirkbooks.com
9781594749797, $18.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Based on characters created by Chris Carter for the successful television series 'The X-Files', best pals Dana (Scully) and Fox (Mulder) have pitched a tent in the backyard for a sleepover. But the night is full of strange sounds, lights, and shadows. Surely there's a rational, scientific explanation for everything -- or is there? With beautiful illustrations by Kim Smith of pint-sized Dana and Fox, this humorous and not-scary-at-all story will introduce the cult TV show to an entire new generation of young fans ages 4 to 8. While very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).


The Judaic Shelf

It Only Takes A Minute
Bracha Goetz, author
Bill Bolton, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
www.hachai.com
9781945560026, $10.95, HC, 20pp, www.amazon.com

Young children can be so eager and excited to move along with their day. That's why even when it's important it can be so hard for them to stop and take an extra minute. Featuring an original story by Bracha Goetz and charming illustrations by Bill Boltaon, "It Only Takes A Minute" is a lively picture book for kids ages 4 to 8 in which a young Jewish boy happily shares his biggest discovery: One little minute can make a big difference! How wonderful to realize that it only takes a minute to help, to smile, to notice, to practice, and to listen. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization, presentation, and message, "It Only Takes A Minute" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.


The Language Studies Shelf

My First Book of Vietnamese Words
Tran Thi Minh Phuoc, author
Nguyen Thi Hop, illustrator
Nguyen Dong, illustrator
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9780804849074, $10.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

"My First Book of Vietnamese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book of Vietnamese Language and Culture" is a Vietnamese children's book that teaches the alphabet in a playful and cultural way by combining the familiar ABC rhyming structure with vivid illustrations to encourage young children's natural language learning abilities. Words kids use every day in English are joined by words unique to Vietnamese culture to give kids a glimpse of Vietnamese life and to show how, despite cultural differences, children all over the world have a lot in common. Linguistic and cultural notes are added to enhance the kids' adventure in a land that's modern yet filled with wonderful traditions.


The Cookbook Shelf

Mummy Dogs and Other Horrifying Snacks
Ali Vega
Lerner Publications
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
www.lernerbooks.com
9781512425758, $26.65, Library Binding, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Kids ages 7 to 10 will love to make snacks that are as hideous as they are delicious! All of the recipes comprising Ali Vega's Mummy Dogs and Other Horrifying Snacks" provide step-by-step 'kid friendly' instructions on how to create a variety of snack foods that are both repulsive and tasty ranging from dripping zombie skin, to booger sticks, and to bulging cake eyeballs. Profusely illustrated throughout, "Mummy Dogs and Other Horrifying Snacks" makes creating 'Halloween' style snacks anytime of the year. "Mummy Dogs and Other Horrifying Snacks" is guaranteed to be an enduringly favorite addition to family, school, and community library cookbook collections for children. It should be noted that "Mummy Dogs and Other Horrifying Snacks" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).


The World History Shelf

From Here to There
H. P. Newquist
Viking Press
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
http://us.penguingroup.com
9780451476456, $18.99, HC, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Since humans first stood upright, we've been on the move. Need food? Water? Land? A place to live? Survival depends upon motion. For thousands of years, people have devised ways to move faster, farther, and more comfortably. Their inventions (shoes, skis, the rudder, the wheel, engines, rockets) have had an enormous impact on how and where human beings live and thrive. When human beings get a move on, change happens: The wheel, probably first used in the Middle East around 6,000 years ago, meant building and trading supplies could be moved more easily and whole civilizations rolled out; The Vikings sailed far and wide because they used a keel on their longships; Horse-and-carriage gridlock gave rise to subways; The bicycle changed the world for women in terms of freedom and fashion; Drones and driverless cars are the future -- coming sooner than we think. In the profusely illustrated pages of "From Here to There: The Story of How We Transport Ourselves and Everything Else" by H.P. Newquist informative explores the transportation inventions and technologies that have transformed the way we experience the world around us. "From Here to There" a fascinating read for children ages 10 to 14 and is very highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "From Here to There" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).


The Poetry Shelf

Timeless Tales: Poems of Childhood
E. V. Eklund
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall Johnson Road 102-345, Grapevine, TX 76051
www.waldorfpublishing.com
9781684192649, $14.95, HC, 112pp, www.amazon.com

E. V. Eklund is a blooming author and illustrator, best known for her classical inspired poetry and vintage styled illustrations. With "Timeless Tales: Poems of Childhood" she draws upon her years of experience and expertise to present a compilation of over seventy poems complete with colorful illustrations dedicated to the age-old classics. Four categories make up this simply outstanding collection: Grandmother Fox Rhymes - A homage to Mother Goose, incorporating stories that are their own; The World Outside - Engages its readers to explore the outdoor wonders; Learning - A series of fun poems on teachings, good values and moral lessons; Imagination - Stretch your imagination with magical characters and fantastical tales. Children ages 4 to 8 will embark on a poetic journey into a world of adventure and imagination in the form of a wealth of beloved poems every child will connect with. Whether reliving old memories or building new ones, "Timeless Tales" will be cherished by families for generations and will prove to be an enduringly popular and beloved addition to both school and community library poetry collections for children.


The Bilingual Shelf

Baby Talk / Hablando con bebe
Stella Blackstone, author
Maria Perez, translator
Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
www.barefootbooks.com
9781782853503, $6.99, Board Book, 14pp, www.amazon.com

Babies talk in all kinds of ways and the people who love them talk back! Now in a new bilingual English/Spanish edition, "Baby Talk / Hablando con bebe" written by Stella Blackstone and translated by Maria Perez is unique board book has been specially created for parents and older children to share with new babies, helping to lay the foundations for secure attachment and early language skills. Very highly recommended for use with children ages 1 to 3, "Baby Talk / Hablando con bebe" will prove to be a wonderfully entertaining addition to family and community library children's bilingual board book collections.


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Wild Animals of the South
Dieter Braun
Flying Eye Books
c/o Nowbrow Ltd.
http://nobrow.net
www.flyingeyebooks.com
9781909263970, $35.00, HC, 152pp, www.amazon.com

Dieter Braun is a freelance illustrator and children's book author from Hamburg, Germany. He studied Communication Design at the Folkwangschule in Essen. In "Wild Animals of the South" he offers children ages 5 to 8 an accurate representation of animals from the southern hemisphere in this gorgeously illustrated and informative volume. Through his beautiful and colorful illustrations, children will be dazzled by the giraffes and elephants in Africa, koalas and kangaroos in Australia, huge blue whales in the open oceans, and many more! Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections, "Wild Animals of the South" is unreservedly recommended. Librarians should note that there is a simply outstanding companion volume by Dieter Braun called "Wild Animals of the North" (Flying Eye Books, 9781909263963, $35.00, HC, 1140pp).

Dancing With Tex
Lynn Sanders, author
Sergio Drumond, illustrator
Difference Makers Media
www.DifferenceMakersMedia.com
www.DancingWithTex.com
9780997592122, $18.99, HC, www.amazon.com

Based upon the true story of George Archibald and Tex, a rare whooping crane, "Dancing With Tex: The Remarkable Friendship To Save the Whooping Cranes" is the exciting environmental rescue story of an amazing rare whooping crane by student/scientist George Archibald, and a string of other involved, crane -loving humans. the story unfolds with realistic illustrations of Tex as a baby chick, being raised by humans and then moved to different crane shelters until she arrived in Wisconsin on April 15, 1076. The amazing part of the story is the deep tie between Tex and George and several other committed crane preservers. The only way that whooping cranes can reproduce is if they first do an exhausting mating dance together, and because Tex was imprinted on humans, she did not know enough to trust another whooping crane mate to dance with him at first. So George stepped in and tried dancing with Tex to encourage her to lay her egg. Many difficulties and obstacles arose, but George and other scientists, Yoshi, and Mike, danced repeatedly with Tex to encourage her to lay a healthy, fertile egg with a crane embryo inside. Finally, on June 1, 1982, a baby whooping crane chick was hatched from Tex's egg, to become Gee Whiz, a male chick who would eventually father 15 chicks and 44 grand chicks! All this and a crane sanctuary in Baraboo, Wisconsin, became reality because of the friendship between George and Tex, an inspiring environmental story that encourages everyone to follow their dreams. "Dancing With Tex" is completed by a series of related, important questions and answers, a miniature portrait series of 15 different crane species, helpful vocabulary words, and a discussion guide. "Dancing With Tex" is an important environmental history book entertainingly and informatively written by Lynn Sanders and charmingly illustrated by Sergio Drumond for children ages 6 to 10. Unreservedly recommended, "Dancing with Tex" belongs on every school and library's shelves for young readers. It should be noted for families and the personal reading lists of children in grades K-3 that "Dancing with Tex" is also available in a paperback edition (9780997592115, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Wings of Fire Legends: Darkstalker
Tui T. Sutherland
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9781338053616 $17.99 hc
9781338053623 $7.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle amazon.com

Part of the Wings of Fire Legends series (which takes place prior to the SandWing War, and generations before the Dragonet Prophecy), Darkstalker is a fantastic novel intended especially for young readers in grades 4-7, set in a world ruled by civilizations of dragons. A NightWing dragonet blessed (or cursed!) with the gift of prophecy foresees the coming of the most powerful dragon ever to take wing - and myriad paths of death and destruction for the future! Exciting and engaging, Wings of Fire Legends: Darkstalker is a choice pick for school and public library collections, as an excellent title to encourage young dragon fans to experience the joy of reading. Highly recommended.

The Wildcat's Claw
Varian Johnson
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9781338116670 $12.99 hc / $7.99 Kindle amazon.com

Volume 6 of the Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts series, The Wildcat's Claw continues the saga of the Heroes of Erdas - who have become wanted fugitives in spite of saving their world from one threat after another. Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan each hail from different corners of the globe, connected by their bonds with their legendary spirit animals. But now they have been framed for a crime they didn't commit, with a sizeable reward offered for their capture. When Conor returns home to Trunswick, he finds the city completely changed, the castle burned to the ground, and the townspeople impoverished and living on the edge. Is there anyone left whom they can trust? An engaging fantasy-adventure ideal for young adults, The Wildcat's Claw is highly recommended for school and public library collections. The Wildcat's Claw is further enhanced with an included code for an online game (the free "Spirit Animals" app for tablet or phone), where the player is one of the chosen few with the power to summon a unique spirit animal.

The Whizbang Machine: Tunney's Curse
Danielle A. Vann
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall Johnson Road 102-345, Grapevine, TX 76051
9781945174544, $14.95, www.WaldorfPublishing.com

As an old-fashioned, formerly quiet Netherlands town faces a curse that moves relentlessly through time and space, Elizabeth, her grandfather, and other characters struggle with themselves and their impossible odds of success in a fantasy that blends time travel, supernatural influences, and mystery into a solidly engrossing read packed with twists, turns, and well-drawn characters. While all these facets may sound complicated, Danielle A. Vann draws them all together by imbibing her protagonists with realistic concerns and personalities, weaving the setting and premises of the prior book into a new adventure accessible to all readers. The result is another powerful story that builds from the first without alienating new readers: highly recommended for fantasy enthusiasts looking for the added attractors of a complex mystery, a supernatural curse, and a family's involvement in saving a sleepy town.

Ruhna and the Realms
Meredith Folley
Privately Published
https://www.amazon.com/Meredith-Folley/e/B0721KDZLX
9781521574300, $9.00, PB, 379pp, www.amazon.com

Ruhna is a splendid being of light who accidentally falls from her idyllic realm into grim Snapcatchit Wood. Terrified at first by the "filafees" who rescue her, she slowly befriends them and learns of their own perils: of snatchers who lurk near; of the Great Ones who may return; and of the forces of nature they must constantly confront. Yet, to her aid come a mysterious lantern, a dazzling ice-fellow, and signs that she is part of a far-greater scheme of things. Friendship, loneliness, loss, courage, and community building are only a few of the themes that weave through this epic tale that reveals author Meredith Folley for having a genuine flair for originality and consistently entertaining storytelling. While unreservedly recommended as an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ruhna and the Realms" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


Books in Series

It Doesn't Grow on Trees: Sources of Income
Diane Dakers, author
Christopher A. Fons, educational consultant
Shutterstock, photography
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
www.crabtreebooks.com
9780778730965, $31.32 HC, $9.33 PB, 48pp, www.amazon.com

"It Doesn't Grow on Trees: Sources of Income" is a title from the financial Literacy for Life series for young readers in middle grades and up. Enhanced with multiple color photographs, educational sidebars, and appealing color contrasting subject headings, "It Doesn't Grow On Trees" presents bouquets of information about money, sources of income, and possible ways of earning and conserving income. Four chapters present succinct, vivid data bytes with chapter titles of Being Careful with Your Cash, Working Hard for the Money, It Takes Money to Make Money, and Reality Checks. The last chapter, Reality Checks, deals with hard facts about deductions from an individual's take-home pay, including various forms of taxes. The importance of financial planning is emphasized, with several sidebars labeled Be Careful Out There warning against Get Rich Quick schemes, and borrowing, or buying and selling money. The lessons covered in the book include learning about three different types of income: active money (earned money), passive money (such as royalties), and portfolio money, or money earned later on investments. the importance of learning to get beyond living paycheck-to paycheck is based on learning money management skills early. "It Doesn't Grow on Trees" is an excellent introduction to the world of finances for mid grade and older readers. Additional titles from this series that are also highly recommended include: "Money for Your Life: Invest in Your Financial Future" (9780778730989, $31.32 HC, $9.33 PB), "Getting Your Money's Worth: Making Smart Financial Choices" (9780778730972, $31.32 HC, $9.33 PB), and "The Bottom Line: Money Basics " (9780778730958, $31.32 HC, $9.33 PB), all by Diane Dakers.

Clive Is a Librarian
Jessica Spanyol, author/illustrator
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
9781846439896 $4.99, Board Book, www.childs-play.com

"Clive Is a Librarian" is a creative, inclusive, gender-stereotype-defying vocational book for young children ages 1 to 3 years. Humorous, colorful portraits of children of different racial backgrounds play with books, telling stories, making library cards, and sharing favorite books with each other and with a cat named Moshi. Clive loves books, and he loves playing at being a helpful librarian. A caring, gender stereotype- free environment is presented in these sturdy board book pages which will inspire young children to imagine pursuing their own interests and roles free of prejudice or stigma. "Clive Is a Librarian" is from the hugely popular and successful All About Clive series. Additional titles from this simply outstanding new board book series for preschoolers that are also highly recommended include: "Clive Is a Waiter" (9781846439926, $4.99)"; "Clive Is a Teacher" (9781846439902, $4.99)"; and "Clive Is a Nurse" (9781846439919, $4.99)" all of which are deftly written and charmingly illustrated by the impressively talented Jessica Spanyol.

Vintage Fashion
Laura Helweg, author
Eldorado Ink
P.O. Box 100097, Pittsburgh, PA 15233
www.eldoradoink.com
9781619001121, $31.95 list, $23.95 school library, 48pp

"Vintage Fashion" presents a condensed guide for young readers age 10 and up to women's fashion styles from the 1910s to the 1980s. Four chapters describe styles of the different eras titled as follows: Style Unbound: The 1910s and 1920s, Style Simplified: The 1930s and 1940s, Style Energized: The 1950s and 1960s, and Style Magnified: the 1970s and 1980s. Color photos of styles and vintage era photos add to info in sidebars such as the 1930s Shopping List (one for each era). In addition to helping identify key components of the different styles, there are quizzes and questions to help a reader discover what her vintage style might be, as well as tips for caring for vintage clothes, suggestions for where to find vintage clothes, and suggestions for where or when it might be suitable to wear a vintage outfit. Added on are valuable descriptions and suggestions for vintage era accessories for the different eras, always an important element. "Vintage Fashion" is completed by a Glossary, Further Reading, and Internet Resources, comprising an excellent vintage fashion resource for interested fashionistas. Other titles in this simply outstanding A Girl's Guide series that are also highly recommended include: "Take Better Selfies (9781619001114)," by Alysa Salzberg, "Social Media: Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter (9781619001107)," by Xina M. Uhi, "Nail Care and Design (9781619001091)," by JoEllen Wankel, "Makeup and Skin Care (9781619001084)," by Caroline Curvan, "High/Low Fashion (9781619001077)," Cherie Burbach, "Hair Care and Styling (9781619001060)," by Joel Foster, and "Fashion on a Budget (9781619001053)," by Karen M. Smith.

The Scary Train Ride: Book 1 "All Aboard" Series
Marlene Bischoff, author
Blueberry Illustrations, illustrator
MB Creations
www.marlenebischoff.com
9781536844276, $9.95 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 28pp, www.amazon.com

"The Scary Train Ride" is the first title in the "All Aboard" series based on actual railway historical events in western North America in the early 1900's. "The Scary Train Ride, Book 1" is based on the 1910 Big Burn Forest Fire, described as a Northern Pacific short train and hospital evacuation from the town of Wallace, Idaho. The fictional characters of 10 year old Luke and twin sister Summer are based upon the author's grandchildren. The events described in "The Scary Train Ride" did actually happen in Idaho and Montana in 1910 during the Big Burn Forest Fire. Luke was bored waiting for the 10:00 train coming through Wallace carrying silver from the mines, so he told his sister, Summer to tell his mother he was going to the station to watch for the 10:00 train. Summer promised she would let her Mother know later, as she was resting then, awaiting the birth of a baby sister or brother for Luke and Summer. Luke arrived at the Northern Pacific Depot and chewed a grass stem waiting for the train, imagining growing up to become a conductor like his dad. Then he noticed his eyes were irritated by smoke, which started to fill the air, and the train was late. Next he heard a whistle blow 5 times and saw only a short train, consisting of an engine and a caboose, with his father on board. Luke's father, the conductor arrived to tell Luke there was a terrible forest fire headed towards Wallace, and the short steam train was the only safe transport for the people of Wallace to escape the fire. Summer came running and Luke and his father told her the news, including the need to evacuate the town and the hospital of Wallace, where their mother had gone to deliver her baby. Everyone came quickly to the little short train, bringing pets (a dog, cat, and a bird) and sick patients from the hospital. Luke hopped onto the engine and began shoveling coal to help his Daddy keep the train moving fast to escape the fire. The train was short of coal and had to go up Lookout Pass to make it over the "S" Bridge, a wooden train bridge. Luke shoveled the last bit of coal in the furnace and noticed that the wooden S Bridge was on fire. Luke decided to pray to Jesus to help save them. He had no more coal to shovel. In an incredible race with imminent destruction, the train made it over the wooden bridge and crawled up the mountain to Lookout Pass. Finally, it began to descend down the other side, and Luke and Summer celebrated the miracle of the short train's narrow escape in Missoula, Montana. All passengers were saved, and the twins' Mother gave birth to a healthy baby brother named Noah. Luke and Summer danced in celebration and thanked Jesus for saving them on their scary train ride! "The Scary Train Ride" is enhanced with bright colorful illustrations of the events described, and the story is completed with historic photographs and Fun Facts, plus a written train description. The award winning author of the series has been notified by the Oregon Christian Writer's organization that she is a finalist for the 2017 Cascade Writing Contest for two of her books in the All Aboard series.

Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump
Carole P. Roman, author
Mateya Arkovo, illustrator
Chelshire
http://caroleproman.com
9781947188136, $10.99 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 50pp, www.caroleproman.com

"Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump" is an exploration of spooky fears in an early chapter book series, titled "Oh Susannah." Eight-year old Susannah Maya Logan is invited to a sleepover at her best friend, Lola's house, but she is afraid to go because the house seems big and spooky and Lola's brother Kai teases her with scary stories. This leads to some interesting examination of fears, both real and imagined, Susannah's and others. Quickly unfolding chapters with black and white mini chapter heading illustrations keep beginning chapter book readers' attention focused. Sensitivity to characters from different backgrounds, of different ages, and with different fears help keep interest high. Ultimately "Oh Susanna: Things That Go Bump" successfully introduces the concept that surprises can be good, and being scared can be cured by confronting your fear in clear daylight. Carole P. Roman exercises her special magic to an older readership in this fun, inviting series for elementary grade readers.

Billie's Animal Hospital Adventure, fourth edition
Sally Rippin, author
Alisa Coburn, illustrator
Kane Miller
c/o EDC Publishing
4901 Morena Blvd., Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
www.kanemiller.com
9781610676076, $10.99, HC, 24pp, www.amazon.com

The fourth title from a creative series for preschool children age 3 and up, "Billie's Animal Hospital Adventure" is an appealing, colorfully illustrated story about Billie B. Brown's preschool animal hospital adventure. One day Billie arrived at preschool limping, with a colored bandage on a scrape on her knee. Mr. Simon, her teacher sympathized with her small injury and showed her that Teddy also had an accident, causing his ear to nearly come off. Billie and her friend Jack decided to take Teddy to an animal hospital using the toy ambulance with the noisy flashing light. At the Animal Hospital, Doctor Billie found many animal patients in need of comfort and healing. She set right to work with Nurse Jack, and didn't stop until Teddy also was all fixed up. She was so busy tending to her patients that she did not realize her own bandage had fallen off, and the bandage cupboard was empty. Fortunately, Billie was able to come up with a super-duper idea, she could make her own bandage, with a tissue and some star stickers! All ends happily with Billie's wonderful Animal Hospital Adventure, and Billie has learned she has the power to create solutions to many problems that arise. Fans of the Billie B. Brown and Hey Jack preschool series will love "Billie's Animal Hospital Adventure" with its humorous illustrations of toy animals in distress and Dr. Billie and Nurse Jack riding to the rescue in their play ambulance. The two good friends return from their adventure just in time to share a fruit snack with other children at the preschool, integrating the whole adventure safely into a normal preschool day. Also highly recommended is a second title from this series, "Billie's Outer Space Adventure" (9781610676083, $10.99), also written by Sally Rippin and illustrated by Alisa Coburn.

Inhabit Media
191 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 301, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4P 1K1
www.inhabitmedia.com

An outstanding new Animals Illustrated series showcasing the Walrus, the Narwhale, and the Polar Bear from Inhabit Media is unreservedly recommended, especially for elementary school and community library Pets/Wildlife collections. In "Walrus" (9781772271423, $15.95, HC, 24pp) children ages 5 to 7 will learn about how walruses raise their young in the cold Arctic ocean, what they eat and where they can be found, along with other interesting information, like the fascinating uses for their characteristic tusks. In "Narwhale" (9781772270808, $15.95, HC, 24pp) preschool and kindergarten students will learn about how narwhal raise their young in the cold Arctic ocean, what they eat, and where they can be found, along with other interesting information, like the fact that a narwhals long tusk is actually a tooth! In "Polar Bear" (9781772270792, $15.95, HC, 24pp) kids will learn how polar bears raise their babies, what they eat and how they hunt, where they can be found, and other interesting information, like the fact that polar bears actually have transparent fur and black skin! While each title can be obtained individually, it is strong recommended for elementary school and community libraries acquire the complete series as part of the Pets/Wildlife collections for the benefit of their young readers.

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

A premier publisher of non-fiction books for young readers, "The Child's World" has now published a new and highly recommended series for students in grades 2 through 5 called "U.S.A. Travel Guides". There are 52 hardcover volumes, one for each of the 50 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico, with each individual 40 page book featuring an Author/Illustrator biography; Detailed maps, an Index; a Glossary of key words; Suggested websites; Sources for further research; a Table of contents; an Informative sidebars. Although each individual title is also available individually (Reinforced Binding, $19.95 each) as well as in a digital book format (Hosted eBook, $31.95). All of the volumes comprising the "U.S.A. Travel Guides" series follow this basic format: "Wisconsin": Wisconsin; Prairie Du Chien's Prairie Villa Rendezvous; Badger Holes in Mineral Point; Old World Wisconsin Near Eagle; Syttende Mai in Stoughton; The Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward; Summerfest in Milwaukee; Wisconsin Dells and the Leaping Dog; The Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River; Sandhill Wildlife Area Bison; The State Capitol in Madison; A Farm Vacation on Washington Island; Carr Valley Cheese Factory in La Valle; Green Bay's Cheeseheads; The House on the Rock in Spring Green; EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh; Our Trip; State Flag and Seal; State Symbols; State Song; Famous People; Words to Know; To Learn More; Index. Every school and community library in a given state should, at a minimum, acquire their own particular state's title in this outstanding series.

Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
www.garethstevens.com

A part of the outstanding 'A Look At Your Government' series for young readers ages 8 to 12, "What Is the Electoral College? (9781482460650, $26.60 HC; 9781482460636, $10.50 PB, 32pp) by Kathleen Connors explains that when the Constitution was written, some of the Founding Fathers wanted to include a provision that only those in Congress vote for president. Others felt it was important that the former colonists got to vote directly for their president. The creation of an Electoral College was the compromise reached and it is still how the president and vice president are elected today. This often-confusing topic is broken down step by step for students in grades 3 to 7in simple, clear, explanatory language and elaborating fact boxes that target young readers to a complete and comprehensive understanding of how the Electoral College system works in a thorough but succinct and thoroughly 'kid friendly' review. Also very highly recommended for school and community library Political Science instructional reference collections for young readers are: "What Does Congress Do?"; "How Does A Bill Become Law?"; "Why Do We Vote?"; "What Does A President Do?"; What Does The Supreme Court Do?". It should be noted that each of these 32 page volumes comprising the 'A Look At Your Government' series features a Detailed Table of Contents; Fact Boxes; Full-Color Photographs; a Further Information Section; Glossary; Graphic Organizers; and an Index.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
www.crabtreebooks.com

Six books in this outstanding 'Ancient Worlds Inside Out' series provide students in grades 4-5 with some 32 pages of information packed with primary source materials, discussions about different ancient civilizations, and insights into their technologies, daily lives, and how the artifacts of each civilization have imparted clues about long-gone eras. John Malam's Ancient Rome (9780778728825, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) and Ancient Greece (9780778728764, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), Ellen Rodger's Ancient Mesopotamia (9780778729901, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) and Ancient Egypt (9780778728740, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) and Rachel Stuckey's Ancient Maya (9780778728788, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) and Kelly Spence's Ancient China (9780778728689, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB) each excel in bright, contemporary photos, discussions of archaeology, artifacts, and how readers can dig deeper to consider related issues, and offer close-up and wide-ranging discussions that consider both small relics and bigger pictures. Kids learn a blend of history, archaeology, and investigative techniques through bright, appealing books that bring ancient times to life.


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Diane C. Donovan, Editor
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