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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 4 April 2009 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Picturebook Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Black Studies Shelf Fiction Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Folklore/Mythology Shelf Science Shelf
Audiobook Shelf DVD Shelf Music Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Bilingual Shelf Preschool Shelf
Easy Readers Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Three Cups of Tea: Young Readers' Edition
Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
9780803733923, $16.99,

In 1993 Greg Mortenson tried to climb K2 and stumbled into a poor village on the way down, where the Pakistan village chief and his people nursed him back to health. Their kindness involved him in their lives - and Mortenson built them a school against all odds - and went on to build over sixty schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His adult book THREE CUPS OF TEA has been inspirational, so it's especially notable to find the classic in a form young people can easily absorb. Middle school grade levels must have this.

Usborne Farmyard Tales: Noisy Animals
Stephen Cartwright, illustrator
EDC Publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74146-6515
9780794515515, $18.99,

Combing board book sturdiness with audio animal sounds, the "Usborne Farmyard Tales: Noisy Animals" is colorfully illustrated by Stephen Cartwright and offers preschoolers with a simple text that builds line-by-line and page-by-page into a story written by Felicity Brooks of two children who feed breakfast to seven of barnyard animals who express their appreciation by the distinctive sounds each animal makes. The accompanying 'sound-bar' provides an audio reproduction of those moos, neighs, oinks, etc. -- plus the Apple Tree Farm tractor! A delightful interactive book for preschool children, "Usborne Farmyard Tales: Noisy Animals" is a highly recommended addition for family, daycare center, preschool class, and community library collections.

Sidikiba's Kora Lesson
Ryan Thomas Skinner
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592982424, $25.00 1-952-829-8818

The kora is a harp with twenty-one strings, played by the Mande people of West Africa. It's the instrument featured in Sidikiba's Kora Lesson, a children's picturebook about a young boy who learns not only about the kora, but also about his Mande heritage, culture, and language, all while bonding with his grandfather. Inspired by the real-life learning adventures of Sidiki Diabate, the son of Grammy Award-winning kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate, Sidikiba's Kora Lesson includes a bonus audio CD of seven songs arranged and performed by Sidiki Diabate himself. Highly recommended, especially for multicultural studies shelves.

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies
Howard Binkow, author
Susan F. Cornelison, illustrator
We Do Listen Foundation
4314 Marina City Drive #320, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
9780971539037, $15.00

Part of the Howard B. Wigglebottom series about an anthropomorphic rabbit child, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies is a rhyming children's picturebook with a simple but important, repeatedly restated message about bullies: "Be Brave, be Bold, a teacher must be told." Young Howard is being harassed by bullies; they won't stop picking on him no matter what plans he imagines - the only way to end the bullying is to inform adults who can do something about it! Highly recommended as a picturebook with a valuable lesson that all school-age children need to learn.

No Rouz: Our Persian New Year
E. S. Zameen
Kudakon Publishing
PO Box 2461, Cedar City, UT 84720
9780979398919, $15.85

No Rouz: Our Persian New Year is an educational picturebook that teaches young people about No Rouz, or Persian New Year, a major holiday of the Iranian people. Traditionally beginning on the first day of spring, No Rouz is filled with proud traditions about throwing out the old year, being together with one's family, and celebrating the new year. Full-color photography of a modern Iranian family's festivities enhance this highly enjoyable tour recommended for public library children's collections as a window to other nations and their cultures.

You and Your Military Hero
Sara Jensen-Fritz, et al.
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592982684, $19.95 1-952-829-8818

Written by a team of experts in psychology, counseling, speech/language pathology, and special education, You and Your Military Hero: Building Positive Thinking Skills During Your Hero's Deployment is a consumable activity book created especially for children of military families. Designed to teach young people positive coping skills while a loved one is deployed in service to America, You and Your Military Hero is an excellent resource for family members to share. Some of the offered activities include ways to feel good like talking to someone the child trusts (a space is provided for the child to draw pictures or write names), a cooperative team game with "flipp" cards that can be cut out with scissors, a world map where the child can mark the location of his STAR (Someone To Always Remember) hero, and much more. Black-and-white illustrations of a friendly cartoon dog help endear this invaluable book, highly recommended as a gift for young people with family members in the service.

Mommy's Having a Watermelon
Danny and Kim Alderman, authors
Megan Halsey, illustrator
The Kids at Our House
47 Stoneham Place, Metuchen, NJ 08840
9780970577399, $14.95

Husband-and-wife team Danny and Kim Alderman as well as award-winning artist Megan Halsey present Mommy's Having a Watermelon, a funny children's book about a young girl whose mother is pregnant. The girl thinks her mother might be carrying a watermelon because her mother swallowed a watermelon seed at the family picnic, so she is quite surprised in the end when her parents bring home a new baby sister! The simple color illustrations add the perfect touch to this gentle story, best shared between children and parents who are ready to teach them basic facts about pregnancy.

The Picturebook Shelf

Urso Brunov and the White Emperor
Brian Jacques
Philomel Books
c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
9780399237928, $17.99

Alexi Natchev provides vivid and powerful drawings to accompany the fantasy Urso Brunov and the White Emperor, recommended for young picturebook readers with good reading skills, or parental assistance. Urso Brunov hears a cry for help in the middle of winter, and sets out to help - for even though he's the size of a thumb, he's the Little Father of All Bears. His heroic attitude will carry him through a dangerous mission to return the two lost polar bear cubs to the Land of Rainbow Lights in this vivid story.

Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale
Daniel Kirk
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810989276, $15.95

Sam is a library mouse who lives in a little hold in the kids' reference section. He loves to write and leaves his works on the library shelves - but it's also shy around people, except for Tom, who doesn't really know his new friends' identity. This sequel to LIBRARY MOUSE requires no prior familiarity to prove engrossing.

Mother Goose in California
Doug Hansen
Heyday Books
P. O. Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597141017, $16.95,

Conceived and illustrated by Doug Hansen, "Mother Goose in California" is a beautiful alphabet picture book of nursery rhymes with an authentic California flavor. "Mother Goose in California" is illustrated with colorful, imaginative paintings of famous California destinations and living representative flora and fauna native to California. Whimsical sea otters sell sea shells by the seashore by Morro Bay, while a golden-mantled ground squirrel is dressed as Bobby Shaftoe, shown as a U.S. Navy recruit near the historic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Hearst Castle is the setting for the California version of "Goosey, goosey, gander," while Tricolored Blackbirds are the main characters for "Four and Twenty Blackbirds." All the locations of the alphabet rhymes are shown on a map painting of California on the back cover of the book. The reimagining of some of the alphabet rhymes is fresh and inventive. Added expertise in flora and fauna selection was provided by the artist/author's brother, a field biologist and ornithologist named Rob Hansen. For example, he suggested the Stellar's jays for the thieves who stole the three kittens' mittens, and also the California quail for the "Old woman who lived in a shoe... with so many children she didn't know what to do." All in all, "Mother Goose in California" is a lively, colorful, authentic, western update of a treasured set of nursery rhyme ideas known as "Mother Goose." All children age 4-8 and most adults will find it irresistible.

Library Mouse, A Friend's Tale
Daniel Kirk, author/illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
c/o Harry Abrams
115 West 18th St., New York, NY 10011
9780810989276, $17.95,

Sam is a shy library mouse who is a secret author. Tom is a boy with a library writing project who discovers the secret of Sam and manages to become his faithful friend and collaborator. "Library Mouse" is a beautifully illustrated book about friendship and the love of writing and reading. It would lend itself beautifully to children's writing project teaching, as well as library discovery units. Suited for readers ages 6-9, "Library Mouse" is a wonderful reading experience as well as an excellent teaching tool. Imaginative, full color illustrations help to enhance the experience for the young reader. Highest recommendations.

Inside the Slidy Diner
Laurel Snyder, author
Jaime Zollars, illustrator
Tricycle Press
PO Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707
9781582461878, $15.99 1-800-481-2665

The debut children's book of author Laurel Snyder, Inside the Slidy Diner is an exuberant, rhyming picturebook about a young girl's adventures in the Slidy Diner, a restaurant filled with most unusual characters. The Slidy Diner has unusual rules and isn't always quite up to health code regulations, to say the least - but how much of the weirdness could be real, and how much is from a young girl's imagination? The carefree illustrations perfectly complement the story's wild and off-the-wall sense of fun. "My mother said that before my time at The Slidy Diner, there were gigantic ginger cookies here. But the cookies got smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller and... The same thing might happen to you."

Spring Goes Squish!
Marty Kelley
Zeno Press Children's Books
PO Box 52, Madison, WI 53701
1559333154, $14.95

Spring Goes Squish! is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young girl's noisy experiences with the season of spring. From the Bang! and Bonk! and Crash! of a bumpy bus ride due to potholes and frost heaves, to the Crash! of her baseball accidentally shattering a window, to the Boom! of roaring thunder that scares her brother, spring is symphony of sound effects to remember! The cheery color illustrations add the perfect touch to this delightful story celebrating the ups and downs of a beloved season.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
Miriam Cohen, author
Ronald Himler, illustrator
Star Bright Books
The Star Building, 30-19 48th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781595720788, $5.95 1-800-788-4439

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! is a children's picturebook about learning to interact positively with one's peers. Young Alex is the new boy in first grade; he tries to gain attention by boasting about his possessions, but his attempts backfire and the other first graders shun him. On the day of the class holiday party, Alex helps out Jim, and makes his first friend at school. Alex learns that boasting is not the way to make friends; the best thing to do is to be a friend worth having. The gentle color illustrations of children learning and playing together are the perfect complement to this excellent gift book, also suitable as an addition to public library collections.

I'm Really Not Tired
Lori Sunshine, author
Jeffrey Ebbeler, illustrator
Flashlight Press
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
c/o Independent Publishers Group (distributor)
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780979974618, $16.95 1-800-888-4741

I'm Really Not Tired is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young biracial boy named Sam (he has an African-American mother and a white father - the story does not dwell on this; it's simply apparent in the color illustrations), who likes to sneak out of bed with his trusted teddy Petey Bear, to discover what really goes on within his house at night. What are Mom and Dad up to after Sam's bedtime? Sam wants to discover them in the den, if only he can avoid the squeaky stair. "Oooh, maybe a T. rex is out on the lawn. In just a few seconds, Pete, I'm sure we'll see, the best fun goes on here without you and me!" But could the truth be that Mom and Dad are up to nothing special at all? A wonderfully playful storybook, brought to life with warm and gentle color artwork.

Late for School!
Stephanie Calmenson, author
Sachiko Yoshikawa, illustrator
Carolrhoda Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781575059358, $16.95 1-800-328-4929

Late for School! is a children's picturebook about a strict teacher who oversleeps and is late for school! Mr. Bungles forgot to set his clock, and his desperate dash to be on time becomes increasingly surreal, as he misses the bus, catches the wrong van, and even flies on a hot air balloon. In the end, Mr. Bungles must admit that humans sometimes make mistakes, and change his policy from "Never, ever, ever be late for school!" to "Please try your best to be on time for school!!" Mr. Bungles' sense of urgency is perfectly captured by the cartoony, stylized, and enthusiastic illustrations, in this delightful story.

Olly the Oyster Cleans the Bay
Elaine Ann Allen, author
Kelli Nash, illustrator
Tidewater Publishers
c/o Cornell Maritime Press
101 Water Way, Centreville, MD 21617
9780870336034, $13.95 1-800-638-7641

Olly the Oyster Cleans the Bay is a children's picturebook with a valuable underlying message about the importance of all creatures in an ecosystem. Little Olly the Oyster encounters a variety of amazing creatures in Chesapeake Bay - a blue crab, who cleans the bay by eating carrion; a sea cucumber, who cleans the bay by eating animal waste sifted from the dirt; a barnacle, that cleans the bay by eating floating detritus; and a sea urchin, who cleans the bay by eating algae. When Olly meets a community of oysters like himself, he learns that he, too can help clean the bay, by eating particles he can filter from its cloudy water! Charming, anthropomorphic illustrations enhance this simple and enjoyable story.

Not All Animals Are Blue
Beatrice Boutignon
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
PO Box 8515, La Jolla, CA 92038-8515
9781933605968, $15.95 1-800-968-1930

Not All Animals Are Blue: A Big Book of Little Differences is a picturebook designed to get little ones thinking about basic concepts. The simple color illustrations show five creatures on every other page, while the text on the opposite page has five sentences, each of which refers to a different animal. For example, one picture shows "Five Monkeys Hanging Around" on vines, while the five sentences read "Look, no hands! / Whose tail is wrapped around? / Who is using both hands and both feet? / One hand and one foot? / One hand?" Young children can point to the appropriate picture while adults read aloud the sentences - and key words in the sentences are often highlighted with larger font and a special color. An excellent read-aloud book highly recommended for stimulating young minds.

Hush Little Polar Bear
Jeff Mack
Roaring Brook Press
33 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003
9781596433687, $16.95 1-800-462-4703

Hush Little Polar Bear is whimsical, rhyming picturebook following the imagination of a young girl as she dreams about the magical adventures worldwide of her plush polar bear toy. "Land on the beach, / and then follow a trail. // Wade through a marsh / where the tall grasses grow, / where butterflies flutter / and warm breezes blow." The soft, vibrant color illustrations add the perfect touch to this gentle storybook, excellent for reading aloud to little ones before bedtime.

I Need My Monster
Amanda Noll, author
Howard McWilliam, illustrator
Flash Light Press
3709 - 13th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218
9780979974625, $16.95 1-800-888-4741

I Need My Monster is a children's picturebook that turns a common trope about the a monster under the bed completely around. Young Ethan needs his monster ("Gabe") under the bed to fall asleep! Substitute monsters appear, but they just won't do; Herbert's teeth aren't sharp enough, and Mack's slobbering certainly isn't scary - it makes one giggle. Striking, illustrations of cinema-quality cartoon art add just the right touch to this bedtime book perfect for parents to share with young people savvy enough to enjoy the irony of the premise!

Room for One More
Mathew Price & Ian P. Benfold Haywood
Mathew Price Limited
5013 Golden Circle, Denton TX 76208
9781935021018, $13.95

Room for One More is more than an ordinary children's picturebook - it has small paper flaps that children can lift, creating a simple memory game. A family outing leads them to take in a lost frog in a jar, a kitten in a basket, a canary in a cage, a hungry mouse in Daddy's pocket, and a box with a puppy. There's always room for one more - unless the one more is an elephant! Delightful color illustrations add a whimsical story ideal for parents and children to share at storytime or bedtime.

Rabbit's Song
S.J. Tucker and Trudy Herring, authors
W. Lyon Martin, illustrator
Magical Child Books
301 Tenth Avenue, Crystal City, MO 63019
9780979683473, $16.95

Rabbit's Song is an imaginative children's book written in the style of a folktale. In the time before time, Trickster searched the animal kingdom for a suitable animal to teach humankind. Bear, Cat, Tiger, Dog, and Wolf were all too fearsome; only the humble Rabbit and his friends Coyote, Raven, and Crow were suitable for the teaching people about the way of laughter. Vivid color illustrations (of a bright green rabbit, a red coyote, and their brown and deep blue avian friends) help draw young readers into this adventurous, magical fable.

Berkeley's Barn Owl Dance
Tera Johnson, author
Tania Howells, illustrator
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781554532636, $16.95 1-800-265-0884

The debut children's book of author Tera Johnson, Berkeley's Barn Owl Dance is a charming children's picturebook about an owlet who loves to dance more than anything. As Leave the Nest Fall Fest fast approaches, young Berkeley must learn to overcome her stage fright and fly and dance her way out into the great wide world. A happy story about learning new things and making new friends, Berkeley's Barn Owl Dance is filled with simplistic yet delightfully minimalist pictures throughout.

The Year of the Ox
Oliver Chin, author
Miah Alcorn, illustrator
PO Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94127
9781597020152, $15.95

Part of a picturebook series about the animals that represent the cycles of twelve years in Chinese culture, The Year of the Ox: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac is an engaging story featuring colorful, cartoony illustrations of Olivia the Ox, a young cow eager to earn her place in the world. Growing up and learning how to be helpful to other people can be real challenges, however - when Olivia's human friend Mei runs into trouble, can Olivia come to her aid in time? A dam threatens to burst and flood the village, and only the determination of Olivia the Ox can stave off doom! A wonderful story in its own right, The Year of the Ox deserves especial mention as a fun way to introduce children to the zodiac traditions of another culture.

Colonel Trash Truck
Kathleen Crawley, author
Manuel Conde, illustrator
Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310330, $14.95 1-888-300-1961

Colonel Trash Truck: Keeping the Planet Clean and Green is a rhyming picturebook designed to promote an environmentally conscious message to young readers ages three to six. Colonel Trash Truck is the titular hero; he helps keep the planet green by adhering to his mission to win the garbage war. He believes that everyone needs to help clean up trash and recycle! "And don't forget / To never let / Your paper and bottles be mixed. / Save our trees; / Recycle please, / Especially when it's plastic." An excellent storybook to help get young people (especially young truck lovers!) enthusiastic about recycling and keeping America beautiful, highly recommended.

Water Buffalo's Reward
Qin Yi, author
Li Dan, illustrator
Autumn Wonders
c/o Select Publishing
9789814022477, $10.95

Part of the "Asian Values Series" of picturebooks created to introduce children to principles cherished by Asian peoples, Water Buffalo's Reward is tells of Water Buffalo, who is responsible for a farm. But he becomes dissatisfied with having to work when he sees that Owl sleeps all day and Sheepdog runs about the pasture all day. Water Buffalo neglects his work and his farm loses his beauty. When the other animals confront him, he learns that Owl sleeps all day because he works hard catching rodents at night, and Sheepdog runs about the pasture all day because he works hard protecting the sheep from wolves. Water Buffalo learns to appreciate the value of diligence and hard work, as well as the bountiful harvest that comes from giving one's all. The last few pages offer some simple activities to help young readers think about the moral of the story, and real-life facts about water buffalo, which many Asian farmers still rely on for labor today. A fine storybook especially recommended to help teach young people about the value of Diligence - a trait that deserves to be held in high esteem worldwide.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Alligators and Crocodiles! Strange and Wonderful
Laurence Pringle, author
Meryl Henderson, illustrator
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590782569, $16.95 1-877-512-8366

Alligators and Crocodiles! Strange and Wonderful is an amazing nonfiction children's book packed cover to cover with information about alligators and crocodiles - ancient reptiles that once preyed upon, and have now outlived the dinosaurs. From how baby alligators call to their mother from inside their eggs, to fierce full-grown crocodiles known to ambush swimmers or attack small boats, Alligators and Crocodiles! Strange and Wonderful reveals astonishing facts about each stage of these creatures' lives. Realistic color illustrations add the perfect touch to this excellent giftbook for young adult reptile lovers. Highly recommended for public library young adult nonfiction shelves as well.

Reptiles and Amphibians
Christophe Lambert and Jane Herve, authors
Gaetan Doremus, illustrator
Treasure Bay
40 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo, CA 94960
9781601152138, $9.95 1-800-476-6416

Part of the "Half and Half" series, Reptiles and Amphibians blends a brief, imaginative fictional story about a newly hatched sea turtle's struggle to survive with amazing educational facts about reptiles and amphibians. A "level 3" book for intended for advanced elementary and middle school readers, Reptiles and Amphibians covers how snakes, turtles, chameleons, crocodiles, and more see, hear, find their prey, defend against predators, and thrive. Filled cover to cover with full-color photography and trivia tidbits, Reptiles and Amphibians is an excellent addition to children's school and public library collections, as well as a good giftbook for any youngster curious about these fascinating creatures.

Skipingo Home
Jane Lyon and Karen Bailey
Eclipse Press
3102 Beaumont Centre Circle, Lexington, KY 40591-9003
9781581502053, $16.95 1-800-866-2361

Skipingo Home: A Thoroughbred's Second Chance is the true story of a real-life, modern-day race horse. Skipingo was the brother of a famous champion horse, but didn't quite achieve the same greatness on the racetrack. With only two wins over the course of his career, it seemed he was destined for a sad fate - but the commercial breeder who raised him had a soft spot for him. She re-acquired him and trained him for the show ring, where he shined as a champion. Realistic color illustrations balance the simple yet moving text, told in first-person from Skipingo's perspective. The result is a story sure to delight young horse lovers.

I Wonder Why Baby Animals
Hannah Wilson and Nicki Palin
Kingfisher Books
c/o Macmillan
33 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003
9780753462201, $7.99 1-800-225-3362

I Wonder Why Baby Animals is a simple children's picturebook filled with endearing, realistic color illustrations and amazing facts about baby animals in the wild. A "Flip the Flaps" book, I Wonder Why Baby Animals features questions such as "Why does a tiger lick her baby?" on the flap and "A tiger licks her baby to clean its fur. A baby tiger is called a cub," under the flap. It should be noted that the "flaps" in I Wonder Why Baby Animals are actually pages that are half the size of a normal page (with illustrations that blend into the larger two-page spread), and fully bound to the book's spine. The result is a thoroughly durable flap book that, unlike most other flap books, is completely suitable for the rigorous wear and tear of a children's public library collection! Highly recommended.

Homes That They Share
Dawn Tanner, Nancy Leasman, and Jim Perry
Leatherwood Publishing
20395 County Road 86, Long Prairie, MN 56347
0974172545, $9.95

Presented in the format of a softcover picturebook, Homes That They Share tells of a young person's experience learning about wild creatures at the zoo. An educational book written to foster awareness of wildlife and the need for conservation, Homes That They Share informs young readers about the difficult lives that wild animals have. "Very few Siberian tigers are left in the world today. Tigers are killed because their bones, ground up in medicines, are used to treat human illnesses. Humans also hunt the roe and sika deer that tigers need to survive. Tigers need vast, healthy forests. If we protect the forests for tigers, we also protect lynx, black storks and blooming hillsides of rhododendron that are found in the home that they share." Highly recommended, especially as an inexpensive souvenir book for young animal lovers after a trip to the zoo.

The Black Studies Shelf

Alec's Primer
Mildred Pitts Walter, author
Larry Johnson, illustrator
The Vermont Folklife Center
c/o August House Inc.
3500 Piedmont Road NE, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30305
0916718204, $15.95 1-800-284-8784

A Carter G. Woodson Honor Book (and award given by the National Council for the Social Studies), Alec's Primer is a children's picturebook based on the true-life story of Alec Turner (1845-1923), a boy born into slavery in Virginia. Alec's strong will kept getting him into trouble, and he was sent to work in the plantation fields for it. But his life changed forever when the granddaughter of his owner, Zephie, offered to teach him how to read. At the time slaves were forbidden to read, but Zephie told Alec that if he learned to read, he could become a free man. Just as Zephie predicted, Alec was eventually able to travel to Vermont and become a respected landowner; for the rest of his life, he kept the cherished reading primer that helped to transform his life. Beautiful color paintings by Larry Johnson illustrate this captivating story about the power of literacy to transform lives. Highly recommended especially for public and school children's library collections.

Sweet Land of Liberty
Deborah Hopkinson, author
Leonard Jenkins, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561453955, $16.95 1-800-241-0113

Sweet Land of Liberty is the story of a groundbreaking 1939 Easter Sunday concert, when Marian Anderson performed before the Lincoln Memorial to over 75,000 people - and the story of the man responsible for the concert, Oscar Chapman, Assistant Secretary of the Interior under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Oscar Chapman witnessed racial injustice during his childhood, and resisted such un-American discrimination throughout his life. "A concert at the Lincoln Memorial would be free and open to everyone. It would show that Americans could come together for justice." The text of Sweet Land of Liberty is sufficiently involved to be a good choice for young people who are almost ready to make the transition to chapter books. Vividly illustrated with full color, mural-style artwork, Sweet Land of Liberty is a true story of patriotism and love for the qualities that make America a land of opportunity.

The Fiction Shelf

The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies
David Lubar
TOR Starscape
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0765320991, $15.95

Warped, creepy stories for advanced elementary to middle school readers make for a satisfying collection in David Lubar's latest The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies And Other Warped and Creepy Tales. Fans of the previous Weenies collections enjoy a fine pairing of short stories and author insights on inspirations behind them.

The Black Stallion and the Shape-Shifter
Steven Farley
Random House
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375845314, $15.99

Walter Farley's son is taking up the reigns of his father's famous horse stories in producing a new addition to the old series, The Black Stallion and the Shape-Shifter. Here the Black and Alec Ramsey are heading to Ireland to recuperate from a racing injury, only to find a girl who loves horses is eager to learn to ride. When she vanishes after Alec agrees to teach her, villagers say she's been taken by a kelpie and is gone forever. Can there be such a thing as magic? A fine horse story and mystery evolves.

Dirkle Smat And The Viking Shield
Lynn D. Garthwaite
Castle Keep Press
c/o James A Rock & Company Publishers
9710 Traville Gateway Drive, #305, Rockville, MD 20850
9781596636507, $9.95,

Enhanced with occasional black-and-white illustrations by Craig Howarth, "Dirkle Smat And The Viking Shield" by author Lynn D. Garthwaite is the story of a group of young friends who discover a mysterious box hidden in the roots of an old tree where it had been placed some 300 years ago. A 44-page 'chap book' specifically written for young readers ages 6 to 10, "Dirkle Smat And The Viking Shield" is enhanced with bonus pages for children to form their own Explorer's Club similar to that of the young protagonists Dirkle, his little brother Quid Smat, and friends Toonie Oobles, Fiddy Bublob, and Bean Lumley. Entertaining and engaging, "Dirkle Smat And The Viking Shield" is recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for early readers.

Curse of the Bone Pirates
B.T. Hope
PO Box 364, Santa Monica, CA 90406
9780981738802, $11.95,

Legends are just suppose to be stories that never really happened, right? "Curse of the Bone Pirates" is an adventure novel aimed at younger readers who are just starting to embrace the world of the novel. Big B's grandfather is ill, and it seems what's ailing him has root in the legend of B's home island. Saddled with solving these mysteries, Big B embarks on quite the journey and adventure. "Curse of the Bone Pirates" is a consideration for those looking for something for the student just leaving primary school.

Once Upon a Halloween Night
Steven Lee Climer
Sugar Buzz Books
c/o Team Climer
33029 Franklin, Wayne, MI 48184
9781607254379, $19.99,

Curses are rough things to spend eternity with. "Once Upon a Halloween Night" is the story of Vernon Boggs, a man cursed to experience the rest of his existence on his family's land. A young witch named Lucy however, can help break his curse. Lucy isn't free of her own problems, and through the companionship of witch and ghost, the two must face the problems that affect their lives and unlives. "Once Upon a Halloween Night" is a freshly written novel sure to entice younger readers just getting started with chapter books.

Ring Dragonz
Mister Rengerz
Helm Publishing
3923 Seward Avenue, Rockford, IL 61108
9780980178074, $12.95,

Fifth grade is supposed to be so much more simple than this. "Ring Dragonz" follows a group fo friends who entered into the Junior International Robotics Competition. Instead of friendly competition, they must deal with zombies larger than their school, poorly disguised monsters, or even dragons. "Ring Dragonz" is a fine fantasy adventure for young readers that will encourage them to keep reading.

Skunk-Guy The Sensational Slime Saga
Michael Wilhelm
Privately Published
9780615255002, $8.94

When your power is smelling terrible, fighting crime is a challenging endeavor. "Skunk Guy: The Sensational Slime Saga" is another tale in the Skunk Guy adventures, following fourteen year old Norman Flinch who bears the power of odor. Faced with a slime creature rising out of the sewer, it seems that Norman and the monster may share something more in common than odor. "Skunk Guy: The Sensational Slime Saga" is a charming young adult adventure, sure to please.

The Guardians of Lake Michigan
Johnnie Tuitel and Sharon Lamson
Cedar Tree Publishing
201 Matilda NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
9780965807562, $5.99

Book 7 in "The Gun Lake Adventure Series", The Guardians of Lake Michigan follows Johnnie and his friends and family as they enjoy the annual Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven, Michigan. Johnnie's friends look forward to playing beach volleyball and swimming in Lake Michigan; meanwhile, Johnnie wants to look for adventure on the boardwalk. What he finds is destined to change his life and that of one of his friends forever. The entire Gun Lake Adventure Series deserves special mention because Johnnie was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around - but this doesn't stop him from following his dreams in a life filled with learning and discovery. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library young adult fiction collections.

Alice's World Record
Tim Kennemore, author
Mike Spoor, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853363, $12.00 1-800-253-7521

Intended for young readers age seven to ten, Alice's World Record is a novel about a young girl caught between Rosie, her mischief-making little sister, and Oliver, an older brother who seems to never be wrong about anything. But one day on a family trip to her grandparents' house, she soundly beats her know-it-all brother at the Alphabet Game, setting a world record (for her family). Oliver sulks over his loss, while Rosie is uncharacteristically well-behaved - what is she hiding? It's about to be a most unusual day for Alice's family! Also highly recommended for inquisitive young readers the previous Alice adventure by author and mother of two Tim Kennemore, "Alice's Birthday Pig".

Autumn Journey
Priscilla Cummings
Cornell Maritime Press
Tidewater Publishers
P.O. Box 456, Centreville MD 21617
9780870336065, $12.95 1-800-638-7641

First published in 1997, Autumn Journey is a novel for young adults about Will Newcomb, a boy whose family is forced to move to his grandfather's farm after Will's father loses his job. Tough times make even the slightest difficulty between family members hard to reconcile, but Will's grandfather is a supportive man, and an unlikely encounter with a Canada goose brings an invaluable lesson for the family to learn. A story about learning to adapt in hard times, Autumn Journey is highly recommended and particularly relevant in today's climate of economic uncertainty.

The Kids at Latimar High
Deborah J. Copeland
Whirlabout Publishers
PO Box 5055, Oceanside, CA 92052
9780981660202, $9.95

The Kids at Latimar High is a novel for young adults following African-American high school student Lauren O'Neil, whose passions include earning her continuing place on the honor roll and tracking down the biggest scoops for the school paper. When she gets a hot assignment to interview Kevin Johnson, Latimar High's star quarterback and one of the handsomest young men in the Bronx, she suddenly in competition with just about every girl in the school for his attention, including her best friend Rosalyn. But will vying for a cute boy cause her to transgress her "girlfriend do's and don't codes to live by", or even cost her all her female friends? A thoughtful novel about learning to balance complex social situations, especially recommended for school or public libraries that serve African-American communities.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Happy Happy Clover, Volume 1
Sayuri Tatsuyama
Viz Communications Inc.
295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
9781421526560, $7.99 1-800-394-3042

The first volume of Happy Happy Clover is a family-friendly black-and-white manga (Japanese comics) graphic novel about the delightful adventures of Clover, a young female bunny rabbit, and her forest friends - the demure lop rabbit Mallow, the loquacious owl teacher Hoot, the trickster Cinnamon Fox, the easygoing flying squirrel Hickory, the wandering rabbit Rambler, and more. From gathering mushrooms to celebrating spring with a song to panicking about bad test grades, every day brings a new surprise or discovery. (Interestingly enough, predator-prey relationships between rabbits and other animals are never touched upon - the only being that tries to eat poor Clover is a human!) A wonderful graphic novel anthology especially recommended for young rabbit lovers.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Galaxy Boys and the Sphere
Andrew Steele
Janus Publishing Company
PO Box 7155, Tacoma, WA 98417
9781857566871, $18.00,

Orphans one day, intergalactic space travelers the next. "The Galaxy Boys and the Sphere" follows four young brothers as they come across this exciting new lifestyle of racing across the galaxy. It'd be cooler if they weren't being chased and fleeing from their lives, though. An offbeat and original science fiction adventure for younger-adult readers, "The Galaxy Boys" is a read that many young readers will relish.

Monkey Magic
Grant S. Clark
Monsoon Books
52 Telok Blangah Road, #03-05 Telok Blangah House, Singapore 098829
Amrose Communications (publicity)
9789810810771, $7.95

A handful of black-and-white pictures illustrate Monkey Magic: The Curse of Mukada is a fantastic novel for young adults about a mysterious curse that is causing the orangutans of Mukada Nature Reserve to fall sick and journey toward the coast. Eleven-year-old Romy Alexander, visiting Borneo along with her father, remains skeptical of the park warden's explanation that the orangutans are overcrowded. Romy's own extraordinary powers come to light, and soon she realizes that she is the only hope of breaking a malevolent curse upon the orangutans. A dangerous yet engaging adventure evolves. It should be noted that the authors of Monkey Magic prove their respect for orangutans by donating ten percent of their royalties for Monkey Magic to orangutan conservation charities.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

All About Us
Dina Rosenfeld
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628452, $10.95,

How did people come to be? "All About Us" is a young, Jewish children's picturebook that shows young children what metaphorically humans are. Full of faith sure to inspire reverence for G-d in young readers, it's complete with a glossary for non-Jewish readers and for young Jews just learning their faith. "All About Us" is an ideal choice for Jewish parents to bestow upon their children.

Around the Shabbos Table
Seryl Berman, author
Ari Binus, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628445, $10.95

Around the Shabbos Table is a picturebook about a Jewish family, and how one of its daughters knows how to see the bright side of any situation. One Friday night, young Tova Leiba changes places with her brother at the Shabbos table. Then her other siblings want to switch with her. Tova finds something to enjoy about each and every seat. "In any seat, no matter where, in any spot, in any chair, Whether it is here or there, I'll be happy anywhere!" A delightfully festive story with a positive underlying moral worth teaching to young people of all faiths.

Kiddish Yiddish
Barbara Feltquate, author
Tom Post, illustrator
Bardolf & Company
5430 Colewood Pl, Sarasota, FL 34232
9780977819935, $18.95 941-232-0113

Kiddish Yiddish: Jewish Traditions & Culture in Rhyme is an educational children's book that uses brief, catchy rhymes to teach young readers the pronunciations and meanings of certain Yiddish and Hebrew words. (The words are written with English letters though, not in the Hebrew alphabet). An excellent gift not only for Jewish children, but also for young people who have observant Jewish friends. "Gelt (Y[iddish]) (gehlt) / Chanukah chocolate money's called gelt. / We eat it quickly before it can melt. / It adds to the spirit of the holiday / If we share and give some of it away." Warm color illustrations of a Jewish family during daily life, at worship, and celebrating the holidays round out this wonderful read-aloud picturebook.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

An Environmental Guide from A to Z
Tim Magner, author
Aubri Vincent-Barwood, illustrator
2200 East Devon Avenue, Ste 340, Des Plaines, IL60018-4503
9780982041765, $19.95

An Environmental Guide from A to Z is more than an alphabet book - it's packed cover to cover with fascinating facts about the natural world. The reading level of its text is high enough that any child just learning his or her letters will definitely need help from a parent, sibling, teacher or the like to understand the paragraphs. Each two-page spread also features gentle color illustrations and "Did you know?" factoids. "E is for Energy. Every living thing needs fuel for life. Food fuel makes us go. Nothing moves without energy and most of the energy on the earth comes from the sun. Green plants capture sunlight and convert it to food energy: fruits, vegetables and grains like wheat and corn." A wonderfully educational picturebook, highly recommended.

The Christian Studies Shelf

What Is God Like?
Beverly Lewis, author
Pamela Querin, illustrator
Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55438
9780764204661, $14.99 1-800-328-6109

What Is God Like? is a children's picturebook designed to teach young people about the all-encompassing power and love of God. "Dad set his suitcase down and told us again about our Father in heaven. 'He's bigger and more powerful than anyone,' Dad began. 'And He loves you even more than I do. Can you imagine that?'" Gentle color illustrations and a brief biblical quote at the bottom of each page add the perfect touch to this wonderful book ideal for opening an educational discussion about God between parents and children. Highly recommended.

Sammy And His Shepherd
Susan Hunt, author
Cory Godbey, illustrator
Reformation Trust Publishing
c/o Ligonier Ministries
400 Technology Park, Lake Mary, FL 32746
9781567691092, $17.00

Sunday school curricula author and grandmother of twelve Susan Hunt presents Sammy And His Shepherd: Seeing Jesus In Psalm 23, a fairly advanced reading-level storybook based on Psalm 23. Told from the perspective of Sammy the sheep, the simple parables expound on the basic meaning of the biblical verses, and correspond to discussion points and questions in the back. In the eleventh chapter, a fellow sheep named Precious tells Sammy, "I've learned to trust our shepherd. He's merciful. He bought me when I was sick and dirty, and he has cared for me so that now I'm strong and healthy. He's good. He always does what is good and right for me. He has forgiven me when I've disobeyed him, comforted me when I've been fearful, and rescued me when I've wandered away. I have finally realized that I'm a precious jewel to him, and that I will dwell in his flock forever." An excellent and worthy addition to church libraries, and a good way for parents (or Sunday School teachers) to introduce children to what it means to be in the loving care of the Lord God and His son Jesus Christ.

The Folklore/Mythology Shelf

Giraffes in the Savannah
Gopal Dorai, author
Amanda Gordon Miller, illustrator
Shooting Star Edition
c/o American Literary Press
8019 Belair Road, Suite 10, Baltimore, MD 21236
9781934696101, $15.95 1-800-873-2003

Giraffes in the Savannah: A Fairy Tale about Harmony in Nature is a picturebook fable with an underlying message about the importance of cooperation and harmony. When a terrible drought strikes the savannah, even the long-necked giraffes run out of leaves to eat. They pray for help from the Tree God, who sympathizes with their plight, but who cannot bring rain by himself. He asks for help from the Mountain God, who needs assistance from yet another, in a long chain of natural forces that need to work together to restore balance to the land. A gentle story, illustrated with simple color drawings, ideal for reading aloud at storytime or bedtime.

The Two-Hearted Numbat
Ambelin & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Fremantle Press
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
9781921361234, $26.95 1-800-944-6190

Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina (who happen to be from the Bailgu and Nyamal peoples of the Pilbara region of Western Australia) present The Two-Hearted Numbat, a children's picturebook told in the style of a folktale. Simple, charming color illustrations bring to life the story of a numbat (a small native Australian marsupial) who is torn between choosing a heart of stone that promotes strength and self-confidence at the expense of caring about others, and a feather-heart that promotes compassion for others at the expense of caring about oneself. The wisest of the numbats sends the two-hearted numbat on a journey to the Thinking Log, to discover the truth for himself. Only his heart of compassion can help him see the distress of a dingo that blocks his path, and only the heart of stone can lend him the courage to leap over a river. The numbat gains wisdom, and becomes a great leader. "'I once thought I had to choose between being as strong as a stone, or as gentle as a feather. But now I know that no one is truly strong who does not also have the softness to care for others. And no one is truly caring of others who does not also have the strength to care for themselves.'" A delightful parable with an important moral, highly recommended.

The Science Shelf

Dinosaurs in Your Backyard
Hugh Brewster
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810970991, $15.95

Alan Barnard provides vivid, engaging drawings to accompany this story of American dinosaurs and trackways found on the North American continent. The descriptions of dinosaurs in North America include a glossary, pronunciation guide and bibliography in this vivid presentation highly recommended for American collections seeking easy American-oriented dinosaur overviews.

Arab Science and Invention in the Golden Age
Anne Blanchard and Emmanuel Cerisier
Enchanted Lion Books
201 Richards Street, Suite #4, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592700806, $19.95 1-888-330-8477

Illustrated with full color artworks and photographs on nearly every page, Arab Science and Invention in the Golden Age is an amazing introduction to the development of science in the Muslim Empire from the 9th to the 14th centuries. Covering the invention of the number zero, Alhazen's observations about the nature of light, Avicenna's contributions to medicine, Al-Idrisi's work on maps of the known world, and Ibn al-Shatir's work to accurately measure time, and more, Arab Science and Invention in the Golden Age is an amazing, educational tour of science and discovery. Highly recommended for public and school library nonfiction collections for young adults.

"Mrs. Riley Bought Five Itchy Aardvarks"
Brian P. Cleary, author
J.P. Sandy, illustrator
Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780822578192, $16.95 1-800-328-4929

Part of the "Adventures in Memory" series, "Mrs. Riley Bought Five Itchy Aardvarks" is a picturebook meant to introduce children to simple mnemonic tools for memorizing scientific facts. The title is an easy way to memorize the six different animal classifications (Mammals, Reptiles, Birds, Fish, Insects, and Amphibian), but the helpful tips and tricks include far more than just catchy phrases. There's a rap about light ("When light reaches somethin' / like a pool or a pumpkin: / reflected, refracted, absorbed"), a mock play about the ecosystem that shows cartoon characters anthropomorphizing the role of different forces ("Here are DeShawn and Denise, two decomposers... Our decomposers are using karate chops to break down everything around them. Decomposers are usually fungi and bacteria."), a very silly song about photosynthesis ("Pho-to-syn-the-sis / helps us all to thrive. / Animals, plants, and people too- / it keeps us all alive!") and much more. An invaluable supplement to elementary and middle school children's libraries, and a useful go-to resource for science teachers (or parents!) who want to make sure the basic facts stick in their kids' heads! Highly recommended.

The Audiobook Shelf

Paraworld Zero
Matthew Peterson
Parallel Worlds LLC
20403 N. Lake Pleasant Rd., Ste. 117-125, Peoria AZ 85382
9780981922737 $49.95

Winner of the Flamingnet Top Choice Award, Paraworld Zero is the unabridged audiobook version of Matthew Peterson's debut fantasy novel for young adults. Paraworld Zero the story of a twelve-year-old boy troubled by loneliness and low self-esteem. Suddenly trapped on a parallel world, he gains the ability to perform magic. Over the course of his adventure he makes new friends, discovers his own inner strength and uncovers the solution to an ancient mystery. Over 100 unique character voices are present in this stirring audio adaptation that the whole family can enjoy, perfect for long car trips. Highly recommended. 10 CDs, 12 hours 28 minutes.

The DVD Shelf

Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever
Morgan Taylor
Apple-Eye Productions
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Songwriter and sound engineer Morgan Taylor presents Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever, the third in a series of award-winning, family-friendly DVD/CD sets featuring the cheerful alien Gustafer Yellowgold, who pursues his American Alien dream of a cooler existence while befriending all sorts of wonderful creatures. All of Gustafer's friends, from Slim the eel to Forrest Applecrumble the pterodactyl to Wincey the ferret and Sisson the blue worm, have something valuable to teach or show him. Filled to the brim with catchy sing-along tunes, all of which are playable in normal or karaoke style, Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever is sure to delight young people. Also highly recommended are the previous series installments, "Gustafer Yellowgold's Wild Wild World" and "Gustafer Yellowgold's 'Have You Never Been Yellow?'"

Frances: Bedtime for Frances
Hit Entertainment/Lionsgate/The Jim Henson Company
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Frances: Bedtime for Frances is a book and DVD combination that, for the first time ever, presents a computer animated version of the classic, award-winning children's storybook "Bedtime for Frances". Using the special, proprietary technology of the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio to enable puppeteering of digitally animated characters, Bedtime for Frances presents lovable badger characters in three simple adventures sure to delight preschoolers. Bonus features include an interactive read-along of "Bedtime for Frances", a Frances' Friends and Family character gallery, and a bonus episode "Fifi and the Flowertots - 'Hole Lot of Fun'". An excellent gift for parents and little ones to share.

Multiplication Rap
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595
$19.99 1-800-348-8445

Multiplication Rap is an award-winning children's DVD that uses an energetic, hip-hop theme to teach young people ages eight and up about multiplication. Colorful computer-animated characters lead viewers through songs that help drill facts about multiplication through 12, as well as a new "What is Multiplication?" feature and a "Skip Counting" feature make Multiplication Rap perfect for showing at home or in the classroom. Multiplication Rap is an excellent addition to public library children's DVD collections as well! 50 minutes.

The Music Shelf

Multiplication Mountain
Hap Palmer
Hap-Pal Music
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221

Multiplication Mountain is a children's music CD designed to teach young people basic multiplication in a fun and catchy manner. Starting at the bottom of the "mountain" and learning the easy tables first (multiples of 2, 10, 5, and 11) followed by the next tier (multiples of 3, 9 and 4), the next (multiples of 6 and 8) and the peak (multiples of 7), kids learn about each table through its own song. A complete guide with lyrics and recommended activities rounds out this excellent educational supplement highly recommended for school and public library collections, as well as listening at home to help little ones get on the right math track.

The Cookbook Shelf

Green Princess Cookbook
Barbara Beery
Gibbs Smith, Publisher
PO Box 667, Layton UT 84041
9781423605652, $14.99,

Teaching children how to properly and safely use kitchen appliances and tools to prepare meals is a life-time skill that will serve them throughout all the years of their life. Being able to make and serve meals at home serves to insure delicious, nutriousness dining -- as well as being a great deal more cost effective than dining out! Now parents have a new teaching tool for instructing their daughters (and sons!) in the culinary arts with Barbara Beery's "Green Princess Cookbook: Sweets And Treats To Save The Planet", a compilation of thoroughly 'kid friendly' recipes, these are dishes that are as fun to prepare as they are pleasing to any palate and satisfying to any appetite. From Dig-That-Earth-Day Hummus; So-Good Soba Noodle Nests; Handmade Fiesta Tortillas; and Baby Butterfly Cupcakes; to Cinnamon-Maple Crisps; Nature's Veggie Nachos; Back-To-Nature Fruit-Filled Meringues; and Power-Up Fruit Cup, the "Green Princess Cookbook" is a beautifully illustrated children's cookbook that is enhanced for aspiring young chefs with tips and ideas for environmentally friendly dining. With a hard-cover protected spiral binding allowing it to be laid out flat on a kitchen counter or table, "Green Princess Cookbook" is enthusiastically recommended for family and community library cookbook collections for children ages 6 to 16.

Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607 1-800-328-4929

Stories drawn from mythology and folklore are perennially popular with young readers. Millbrook Press has three new titles that are as beautifully illustrated as they are deftly written and based on ethnic folk tale stories. "The Chocolate Tree" (9780822575450, $25.26) is drawn from a Mayan folktale co-authored for children ages 4 to 8 by Linda Lowery and Richard Keep. Enhanced with colorful illustrations by Janice Lee Porter is the story of Mayan king Kukulkan and his give of a chocolate tree to his people. The problem is that Night Jaguar thinks chocolate is only appropriate for the Gods. Will the Mayan people be able to keep their chocolate tree? "How The Coyote Stole The Summer" (9780822575481, $25.26) is adapted from a Native American folktale by Stephen Krensky and nicely illustrated by Kelly Dupre. Coyote is tired of it being winter all year long and teams up with his friends Raven, Wolf, Moose, Elk, Stage, and Antelope to steal something called summer from Old Woman. Can he succeed? "Bokuden And The Bully" (9780822575474, $25.26) is a Japanese folktale as adapted for young readers by Stephen Krensky and impressively illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll. A famous swordsman, Bokuden was riding on a ferry when a bully started harassing the other passengers. Although the man was armed with a sword, Bokuden challenged him to a fight and vowed not to use his own sword to defeat him. How can Bokuden make good his challenge? Part of the outstanding Millbrook Press 'On My Own Folklore' series, all three of these wonderful stories are highly recommended additions to family, school, and community library Folklore/Folktale collections for young readers.

The Bilingual Shelf

Pajamas And The Days Of The Week
Higina da Guia & John da Guia
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432720551, $18.95,

An ideal addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library bilingual (English/Portuguese) picturebook collections for young children, "Pajamas And The Days Of The Week/O Pimama e os dias da semana" combines a simple and entertaining story by Higina da Guia with the softly colored pastel illustrations of John da Guia to create a gentle story of a young boy named John, his pajamas, and getting a good night's sleep. Original, entertaining, superbly illustrated, with a clearly defined bilingual text, "Pajamas And The Days Of The Week" is ideal as a bedtime read by parents to their children, or for a 'story hour' school or library event.

Let's Go To The Zoo!/Vamos al zoologico!
Gladys Rosa-Mendoza
Me+Mi Publishing Inc.
400 South Knoll Street, Suite B, Wheaton, IL 60187
9781931398206, $6.95,

Bilingual books are a critically important part of family, school and community urban library collections. The are of immense value for those children for whom English is a second language, as well as those young readers wanting to learn Spanish in addition to their own native born English language. One of the premier publishers of English/Spanish bilingual books for young readers is Me+Mi Publishing. Among their new 20-page board book titles for children ages 4 to 8 is "Let's Go To The Zoo!/Vamos al zoologico!" by Gladys Rosa-Mendoza. Colorfully illustrated, fun and informative this 'teaching book', takes the reader on an engaging tour of the zoo and naming its denizens in both languages. A zoo-wide panorama illustration at the end enables young readers to name all the animals they encountered in the previous pages. Also very highly recommended for in this bilingual board book series by Gladys Rosa-Mendoza are "My Senses/Mis sentidos" (9781931398213, $6.95); "I Take Care of Myself!/Me se cuidar!" (9781931398220, $6.95); "My School/Mi escuela" (9781931398237, $6.95); "Who Lives In The Sea?/Quien vive en el mar?" (9781931398244, $6.95); and "My Week/Mi semana" (9781931398251, $6.95).

The Preschool Shelf

Down On The Farm
Merrily Kutner & Will Hillenbrand
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823421770, $7.95,

Board books are an ideal way to introduce preschoolers to the joys of reading. They also serve as a perfect 'bonding' moment between parents and their young offspring as mothers and fathers read to their children and further reinforce a culture of reading within their homes. One of the newest and enthusiastically recommended board books from Holiday House is "Down On The Farm" that combines Merrily Kutner's simple but entertaining text with Will Hillenbrand's delightfully colorfully illustrations that introduce a very naughty goat's adventures along with the sights and sounds of a busy day on the farm.

The Easy Readers Shelf

The Elephants Tour England
Beverly Eschberger
Artemesia Publishing
9 Mockingbird Hill Rd, Tijeras, NM 87059
9781932926293, $3.99,

When you a family of the world's largest land mammals, life isn't easy. "The Elephants Tour England" is a book aimed at first and second graders just beginning to read things slightly more difficult than picturebooks. Following a family of elephants as they tour England, it tells a story young readers will relish as they learn about the wonders of England and perhaps something of its neighbors. "The Elephants Tour England" is a fine choice for those catering to very young but adept readers.

Viking Press
c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson, New York NY 10014

David A. Adler's BONES AND THE ROLLER COASTER MYSTERY (9780670063406, $13.99) provides an excellent Level 2 easy reader for reading together, including simple dialogue and short sentences. Here detective Jeffrey Bones and Grandpa look for missing tickets at an amusement park. Level 3 readers ages 6-9 who can read alone will relish Dori Chaconas' CORK & FUZZ: FINDERS KEEPERS (9780670011131, $13.99), with lovely drawings by Lisa McCue illustrating the engaging story of a short muskrat who likes to find things and a tall possum who likes to keep them. This fifth Cork & Fuzz easy reader will appeal to new fans and old fans alike.

Books in Series

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

The 'Life in the Medieval Muslim World' series by Kathryn Hinds ($23.95 each) provides an excellent and unusual focus on Muslim peoples and culture in medieval times, making for a refreshing alternative to the many books focusing on European medieval experience. Each book holds nearly a hundred pages of detail including an index, glossary, bibliography both print and online, and more. THE PALACE (9780761430889) focuses on palace life and royal men and women, FAITH (9780761430926) reveals scripture, tradition, and women in Muslim society, THE CITY (9780761430894) surveys centers of power and growing up in the city, and THE COUNTRYSIDE (9780761430919) covers rural living in medieval times. All are wonderful accompaniments to collections featuring the more usual European focus. The 'Digging into History' series ($20.95 each) provides an excellent set of historical surveys using eye-catching covers and topics to invite even reluctant young readers to learn. Each book holds a little over thirty pages of detail. Leon Gray's SOLVING THE MYSTERIES OF STONEHENGE (9780761431107), Fiona MacDonald's SOLVING THE MYSTERIES OF THE PYRAMIDS (9780761431060), Charlie Samuel's SOLVING THE MYSTERIES OF POMPEII (9780761431053), Trudy Hanbury-Murphy's SOLVING THE MYSTERIES OF ANCIENT ROME (9780761431015), Anita Croy's SOLVING THE MYSTERIES OF AZTEC CITIES (9780761431022) and Anita Croy's SOLVING THE MYSTERIES OF MACHU PICCHU (9780761431039) each present archaeology, history and cultural exploration with bright contemporary color photos and lively details perfect for collections seeking nonfiction excitement.

Saddleback Publishing Inc.
Three Watson, Irvine, CA 92618-2767 1-888-735-2225

The utilization of comics and graphic novels as a curriculum supplement has long been established as having immense value -- especially for reluctant readers. Now Saddleback Educational Publishing has created a new "Graphic U.S. History Series" composed of thirteen 56-page, full-color graphic books that combine superb illustrations with an informative text showcasing personalities and events drawn from American history from 1500 down to the present day. Written at a reading level of 4.5 and designed to specifically interest young readers in grades 5 through 12, this simply outstanding series includes: The New World 1500-1750; The Fight for Freedom 1750-1783; The U.S. Emerges 1783-1800; Problems of a new Nation 1800-1830; Americans Move Westward 1800-1850; Before the Civil War 1830-1860; The Civil War 1850-1876; The Industrial Era 1865-1915; America Becomes a World Power 1890-1930; The Roaring Twenties & The Great Depression 1920-1940; World War II & The Cole War 1940-1960; The Civil Rights Movement 7 Vietnam 1960-1796; and Globalization 1977-2008. Thoroughly 'kid friendly', each of these titles has a cover price of $9.95, making them an ideal acquisition selection for both school and community library collections, as well as highly recommended as a curriculum supplement for dedicated home schooling American History studies.

Bearport Publishing
101 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6R, NY, NY 10003

A premier publisher of non-fiction books-in-series for young readers, Bearport Publishing presents "Super Bowl Superstars" (9781597165587) by Michael Sandler, which will have an especial attraction for boys in grades K through 3 and features a text with a second grade reading level. This series of six titles showcases gridiron stars who have played in the Superbowl and are each an MVP. The individual titles comprising this outstanding series include "Tom Brady and the New England Patriots: Super Bowl XXXVIII"; "John Elway and the Denver Broncos: Super Bowl XXXIII"; "Dexter Jackson and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Super Bowl XXXVII"; "Hines Ward and the Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowl XL"; "Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams: Super Bowl XXXIV"; and "Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts: Super Bowl XLI". Each 24-page book is superbly illustrated in full color, and is enhanced with a table of contents, glossary, bibliography, and index. Each title is also available separately ($22.61 List/$16.96 Library), but school and community libraries are advised to acquire the entire set ($135.66 List/$101.76 Library) for their Team Sports and American Biography collections for young readers.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
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