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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 20, Number 4 April 2010 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice DVD Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Preschool Shelf Fiction Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf
Environmental Studies Shelf Poetry Shelf Native American Shelf
Gardening Shelf American History Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Where Do We Go?
James F. Weinsier, author
Cliff Beaman, illustrator
Wondrous Publications LLC
64 Woodstork Lane, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
9780615238050, $12.95

"Where Do We Go?" is a wondering children's book about the question of existence or transformation beyond life as we know it. After asking all kinds of questions such as will we have seasons there? Will we age or stay as we are, or be our favorite age? Will our pets be there? Will it be fun? The answer comes in more rhyming pages and sun-splashed rainbow pictures: " You really, truly never go anywhere,/ no matter what you do,/ Because 'forever you live' here/ in the hearts-of all those who love you!" "Where Do We Go?" is the perfect tribute to wondering for children of all ages.

I Like to Play
Marla Stewart Konrad
Tundra Books of Northern New York
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887769986, $12.95

"I Like to Play" is a part of a series that grew from a collaborative effort between Tundra Books and World Vision Canada to assemble an amazing array of photos from around the globe of young children. The photo essays are designed to encourage comparative discussion of experiences of children growing up in diverse parts of the world. "I Like to Play" is themed around children's efforts to imagine their world and interact with it having fun while learning and growing. The bright engaging pictures of children at creative play in many different settings is both inspirational and invigorating. Sure to stimulate cultural dialogue and comparative thinking, "I Like to Play" is the perfect cultural companion book for kids ages 3-6.

The Chicken Thief
Beatrice Rodriguez, author/illustrator
Enchanted Lion
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592700929, $14.95

"The Chicken Thief" is the latest release in a series of wordless books for children published by Enchanted Lion. Told in a series of detailed, full page illustrated paintings in delicate colors of apricot, brown, white and green, "The Chicken Thief" will enthrall young readers with its tale told in exciting pictures from start to finish. Observers must pay close attention, for the story has more than a few unexpected plot twists and surprises, and the careful viewer may unearth more delight from closer scrutiny of the enchanting paintings. Suitable for ages 4-8, "The Chicken Thief" presents a hidden moral in a surprising reinterpretation of an older fairy tale.

The Book About Tony Chestnut
Laurie Monopoli, author
Wendy Sefcik, artist
The Learning Station
3950 Bristol Court, Melbourne, FL 32904
9780615311395, $19.95

"The Book About Tony Chestnut" is a peppy CD-book combo that brightly illustrates the popular Learning Station song of the same title for kids ages 3-7. The origin of the song is told to be a way for Tony Chestnut to cheer up his sad little sister Eileen and to help both of them make new friends at a new school. Tony Chestnut's song is about cheering, sharing, caring, and joining with others to make new friends and welcome old ones. The unforgettable toe-tapping lyrics are imaginatively displayed and illustrated throughout. Enhanced with the inclusion of a hit song by Don Monopoli, "The Book About Tony Chestnut" will secure many more fans for the Learning Station's educational/musical productions.

Is There a Monster Over There?
Sally O. Lee, author/artist
Sally Lee Books
35 Locust Street, Unit 5, Danvers, MA 01923
9781450531023, $17.99

"Is There a Monster Over There?" is a story about Mabel, a girl who decides to take a second look at her fear of monsters (that hide under her bed). One day Mabel and her cat Tiffany take a revolutionary step and turn to face the monster instead of hiding from him and cowering. What happens next is a beautiful story of the growth of a new friendship that came from facing fear. All the pen and ink-watercolor illustrations for "Is There A Monster Over There?" add expression and depth to the emotions and transformations of Mabel and her monster (and her cat). "Is There A Monster Over There?" is suitable for children age 4 and up.

Boo Boo Bear's Mission
Mary Linda Sather, author
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592982837, $17.95

Illustrated by children from military and civilian families, "Boo Boo Bear's Mission: The True Story of a Teddy Bear's Adventures in Iraq" is a wonderful book to help families and especially children whose parent(s) must be separated from them to serve in the military forces abroad. A real girl named Shea Leigh helped to create "Boo Boo Bear's Mission" when she helped ship her favorite teddy bear, loved for years since she was born, in a care package to be with her dad in Iraq. Shea Leigh's grandmother, Mary Linda Sather, a retired teacher, helped create the story of "Boo Boo Bear's Mission" to help other military families and children who encountered the same heartrending separations and related problems. "Boo Boo Bear's Mission" was created "to be a resource parents and caregivers can use to help support a child's emotional well-being as he or she deals with the stress of a family member's military deployment." "Boo Boo Bear's Mission" is supplemented by sections at the end titled 'How To Use This Book To Support Your Child', Feelings, Family Connections, and Healthy Coping Strategies. In addition there is a listing helpful websites that deal with topics related to military deployment and also the reunion phases of military life. "Boo Boo Bear's Mission" is a positive, uplifting, courageous story that kids will relate to and understand. Its best message is rooted in compassion and caring for a loved one, even when that person is very far away.

The Turtle's Dream and Keys
Benrali, author-illustrator
Only1earth, Inc.
9780976335429, $25.99

"The Turtle's Dream and Keys" is an enchanting, lingering look at the beauty of a very special box turtle named Jupiter and his dreams. The artist lovingly creates the unusually colorful designs of this box turtle, including a very special key design on his shell. Turtle shell designs are partial camouflage, so there is infinite variety of box turtle shell design. Artist-author Benrali imagines his turtle's sleeping dreams as keys to "a place beyond time, a place where he can change from turtle to wings, from reptile to butterfly, from fossil energy to solar energy, a key to a place where anything else can be changed." Gently unfolding visions of the turtle's dreams accompany incredibly intricate illustrations of Jupiter in his natural surroundings. "The Turtle's Dream and Keys" is an ageless book to be treasured by both child and adult.

Blexbolex, author/illustrator
Enchanted Lion Press
20 Jay Street, Studio M 18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592700950, $22.00

"Seasons" is a richly complex, abundant gathering of artistic word and imagery pairings evocative of several cycles of seasons. At first paging through the 180 page book is a trifle confusing, because the seasons keep repeating in their cycles. Then all is explained in the end by the author/artist's note to the reader: "Blexbolex got lost for a while in the pages of his books. He has needed two summers, an autumn, a winter, a spring, several storms and a lot of sunshine to rediscover the seasons for himself." The beautiful book experience that emerges is a true taste of the intense variety of the four seasons. The vintage color prints are both evocative and starkly modern; they freshen our minds to receive impressions of life anew. "Seasons" is an inter-generational treat ready to be shared between parents and children, teachers and students, or just savored alone.

Sara Claus and the Flying Christmas Pigs
Dr. Robert T. Spalding Jr., DPM
Chattanooga Fu Fu Factory
Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377
9780971106857, $15.95 423-756-3668

"Sara Claus and the Flying Christmas Pigs" is a new take on a holiday adventure theme that is only 273 days away from the next Advent calendar dateline! You can never start preparing for the holidays too soon, and "Sara Claus and the Flying Christmas Pigs" is sure to tickle a giggle out of every youngster and even more than a few oldsters. Inspired by the holiday purchase of an actual pink flying pig decoration for Christmas ("did I mention it was huge?"), author Dr. Spalding decided to take a fresh focus on the traditional heroes of the day and concocted a miraculous fable of Mrs. Claus, (Sara Claus) to the rescue when multiple Christmas crises occur. As it says in the book, "The North Pole is melting; Santa is sick; the polar elves can't make toys in their water-logged work stations; the reindeer have deer mites and are too itchy to fly." Fortunately the resourceful Sara Claus is equal to the challenge, as are the fabulous pink flying Christmas pigs! Young adults and even teenagers will enjoy "Sara Claus and the Flying Christmas Pigs," with its funny black and white illustrations by Anirban Ghosh.

Sneasy the Greasy Babysits Abigail
Michelle Birdsong & Robin Birdsong, authors
T. J. Robshaw, illustrator
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781412072052, $7.32,

"Sneasy the Greasy Babysits Abigail" is a morality manners primer in rhyme with a delightful twist. In this case, the role model for courtesy is a child, Abigail, who teaches her greasy Sneasy babysitter some of the more polite and correct forms and conduct rules of social interaction. Kids of all ages will love "Sneasy the Greasy Babysits Abigail" and they will recognize some of the characters in it. Incredible twisted, contrasting comic illustrations help establish the larger than life, humorous tone. "Sneasy the Greasy Babysits Abigail" was written by a talented mother daughter team and a portion of the sale proceeds for it are donated to a foundation called the Kraizberg Foundation of Luxembourg which helps disabled individuals learn a trade and become employable along with others like themselves.

The DVD Shelf

Phonics Volume 1
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595
9781934312094 $19.99 1-800-348-8445

Intended for ages 6 & up, Phonics Volume 1 is an energized and educational DVD designed to help young people learn the basics of reading and pronouncing words. Coaching rules of phonics in the form of songs and rhymes, Phonics Volume 1 uses an "on-screen mouth" to help students check their own pronunciation as well as engaging animated sequences to spark interest. Phonics Volume 1 is a superb supplement for classroom DVD libraries, home schoolers, or parents interested in giving their kids an early start on the joy of reading. 70 minutes. Also highly recommended is Phonics Volume 2 ($19.99).

John Deere Earth Mover Action
TM Books & Video
PO Box 279, New Buffalo, MI 49117
$14.95 1-800-892-2822

John Deere Earth Mover Action is a DVD children are sure to enjoy. Featuring live-action footage of actual John Deere construction vehicles, John Deere Earth Mover Action includes a "let's pretend" game that puts the viewer in the shoes of one who operates earthmoving machines, and lively, humorous tunes by award-winning singer and songwriter James Coffey. A treat for anyone who loves to watch earth-moving vehicles skillfully operate, regardless of age. 40 minutes.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Allergy Buddy Club
Cindy Rice Andrea, author
Stan Jaskiel, illustrator
Dining in the Light Publications
70 Christina Drive, Brainfree, MA 02184
9780984271764, $8.99,

"The Allergy Buddy Club", from Green Apple Tales, is a kids' food safety handbook that teaches an excellent lesson on food allergen safety. Ollie the elephant has a serious food allergen that isolates him from other little elephants at lunchtime; he can't eat or tolerate peanuts. How does he cope with this problem? He finds other friends who have other food allergies and they found the Allergy Buddy Club, to meet weekly and talk about ways to avoid foods they are allergic to. The Allergy Buddy Club is a big success, and all the animal friends discover ways they can practice food safety choices and protect themselves from serious food allergy reactions. The Allergy Buddy Club ends with a celebration dinner with a special food all three ABC buddies can eat, complete with a recipe for spaghetti and meatballs that is made with no peanuts, cheese, or fish. All the ABC buddies have a great time! "The Allergy Buddy Club" is a part of a series of food safety booklets with teachable moments and easy recipes in every tale. Two other books in this series are "Tony the Pony's Big Dream," (which teaches preventing cross-contamination, ISBN 9780984271733), and "Pansy's Garden Party," (which teaches temperature control for foods, ISBN 9780984271719). More information on this Food Safety Comes to Life series can be found at

My Organ Buddies
Lee Downing and Felice Downing, authors
Mike Lombardo, illustrator
Organ Buddies Inc., dist. by BookMasters Inc. #M6934
110 Blue Ribbon Dr., North Wales, Pennsylvania 19454
9780615329406, $9.95

"My Organ Buddies" is an inspiration project to 'pay it forward' in honor of the donor and family who saved the life of author Lee Downing, who survived a liver transplant in 1988. "My Organ Buddies" is an educational, illustrated child's book specially designed to help a child understand their body organs by personalizing and introducing the five major body organs, Sidney the kidney (twins, brother and sister), Oliver the liver, Bart the Heart, Pat the pancreas, and Louie and Louise the lungs. The location and functions of each organ are succinctly presented in cheery rhymes and colorful diagrams and drawings. Additional learning is reinforced through the Vocabulary Word Search, Body of Knowledge and additional word games at the end of "My Organ Buddies." This book is the perfect classroom health education tool and parents' assist in explaining many health questions and concerns of children. "My Organ Buddies" makes learning about internal organ functioning fun and easy and appealing for elementary age children.

The Preschool Shelf

S is for Smithsonian: America's Museum Alphabet
Marie and Roland Smith, authors
Gijsvert van Frankenhuyzen, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585363148, $17.95 800-487-2323 x8767

"S is for Smithsonian" is America's marvelous museum alphabet. From "A is for Amelia Earhart" to "Z is for Zoo," "S is for Smithsonian" is a magnificent educational sampling of the wonders of the Smithsonian Museum, a treasure trove of knowledge for kids of all ages. Beautifully illustrated with magnificent, colorful paintings, "S is for Smithsonian" will challenge young learners to seek out this amazing fount of history and knowledge housed in a museum campus. The final pages include a map of the Smithsonian Museums and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. that clarify just how extensive this conglomeration has become. Aimed at students ages 6-10, "S is for Smithsonian" will become a favorite of teachers, librarians, parents, and children everywhere.

I Love Bugs!
Emma Dodd, author/illustrator
Holiday House, Inc.
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823422807, $16.95

"I Love Bugs!" is a delightful, brightly colored, rhyming preschoolers' primer of the wonderful world of bugs. The textured, angled, imaginative illustrations interact with the charming text to surprise and delight the very young reader. Not a scientific anthology, "I Love Bugs!" is a descriptive, imaginative impression of a vast array of insect life including spiders (which adults are aware are not insects but arachnids). "I Love Bugs!" seems to speak from a true child's perspective, laved with wonder. "I Love Bugs!" is sure to delight any child age 0-4 or more, and will help stimulate a love of reading and exploration.

Danny Is Done With Diapers, A Potty ABC
Rebecca O'Connell, author
Amanda Gulliver, illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company
250 W. Northwest Hwy, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
9780807514665, $16.99

Starting with "A is for Accident," "Danny Is Done With Diapers, A Potty ABC" covers the basics of potty training from A-Z. Charming and humorous illustrations in rainbow colors help reinforce a toddler's sense of achievement for this important learning milestone. From "Tyler tinkles in the toilet" in "T is for toilet" to "Paul is proud he poops in his potty" in "P is for potty," "Danny Is Done With Diapers" strikes just the right compromise of celebration for achievement and drumming in the details for completion. Appealing to kids ages 2-5, "Danny Is Done With Diapers" can help young children through a tough challenge while keeping their love of fun and play intact.

My First Picture Book of Boating Words
Nicholas J. Agro
Little Harbor Publishing
1000 Main Street, Port Jefferson, NY 11777
9780980151206, $9.95

"My First Picture Book of Boating Words" is a child's picture dictionary of common boating terms, filled with large print and bright color photos of boats and boat related equipment. Aimed at audience of 5-8 year-olds, nevertheless some of the simple definitive pictures in "My First Picture book of Boating Words" will communicate very well to the older or non-English speaking child. With an emphasis on sea-going practicality, "My First Picture Book of Boating Words" presents clear images of common objects and sights in the young mariner's world.

Pantaloon (picture book for ages 2-5)
Kathryn Jackson, author
Steven Salerno, artist
Golden Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780375856242, $17.99

"Pantaloon" is a reissued Golden Books classic for children ages 2-5, much loved since its original incarnation in 1951, renewed in 1979 and updated for reissue 2010. "Pantaloon" re-emerges packed with all the fun and fabulous colorful paintings of French poodle Pantaloon on his shiny red bicycle, unlikely baker's assistant and prompt delivery dog. A whole new generation of young readers will learn to love the antics and unlikely successes and popularity of the fabulous Pantaloon. Just the image of Pantaloon in the Baker's shop rolling out dough and icing cakes with delicious pink frosting is enough to brighten up anyone's gray day. "Pantaloon" is surely a classic work about the power of optimism, positive thinking, and joy that overcomes adversity.

The Fiction Shelf

1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

Matthew Skelton's THE STORY OF CIRRUS FLUX (9780385733816, $17.99) is set in 1783 London, where orphan Cirrus Flux is being watched by villains who believe he's inherited a divine power. His journey through city back streets involves encounters with sinister characters in this story of power, survival and a showdown for world power. Varian Johnson's SAVING MADDIE (9780385738040, $16.99) tells of Joshua, a preacher's son who chooses abstinence and religious retreats over wild partying. When Maddie returns to town to find the community condemns her for her dress and rumors about her past, Joshua discovers new meaning in his life - and much controversy. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' TOKEN OF DARKNESS (9780385737500, $16.99) tells of Cooper, who wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious girl by his side - a girl who's a ghost. Nobody understands his dilemma - and the secrets that are being kept. A chilling mystery evolves. Josh Berk's THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN (9780375856990, $16.99) tells of a gloomy class field trip in a coal mine, murder, and the troubles of a deaf student who is the new boy in school. Add a mystery and intrigue to the mix and you have an outstanding story. Polly Horvath's NORTHWARD TO THE MOON (9780375861109, $17.99) tells of Jane's stepfather Ned, who is fired from his job as a French teacher and who thrills Jane with stories of adventures on the road. She's ready for her whole family to hit the road - and their choice will lead them to many adventures with relatives and strangers alike. Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's BARNABY GRIMES: LEGION OF THE DEAD (9780385751315, $16.99) tells of corpses, a delivery boy who runs all over the city, and another Barnaby Grimes mystery revolving around zombies from the dead. Fast action and intrigue abound.

345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Kathryn Lasky's ASHES (9780670011575, $16.99) provides a powerful saga of 1932 Berlin, where teen Gabriella lives a charmed life with loving parents and a nice school - until Hitler begins his rise to power and her freedoms become challenged. Soon Gaby is losing trust in everyone - and even her beloved books are vanishing. Betty G. Birney's SUMMER ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY (9780399247323, $14.99) provides another Humphrey hamster saga, this revolving around the end of school for a classroom hamster. What will happen to Humphrey? Turns out Mrs. Brisbane has planned something thrilling for Humphrey and Og the frog: they're going to camp! Another fun Humphrey story! Brian Jacques' THE SABLE QUEAN (9780399251641, $23.99) provides another fine Redwall fantasy for older teen readers. Here the evil Zwilt the Shade and his evil ruler Vilaya the Sable Quean threaten the kingdom - and have a plan to conquer Redwall Abbey. When the Dibbuns go missing terrible things happen in this captivating Redwall novel, recommended for collections seeing Redwall reader fans from prior books.

This World We Live In
Susan Beth Pfeffer
9780547248042 $17.00

THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN is a recommended pick for fans of the prior two LIFE AS WE KNEW IT and THE DEAD & THE GONE, and continues the story of survivors a year after a meteor collides with the moon, drastically changing Earth's climate. Miranda faces a world where food is increasingly scarce and nearly everyone she knows is dead or vanished. Her days are spent scavenging with her brothers and struggling with rations - and when her father and step-mother arrive with a new baby and some strangers, the struggles increase. A fine story of survival against all odds.

The Monkey King's Daughter, Volume 2
T. A. DeBonis
Privately Published
9780967809427, $9.95

"The Monkey King's Daughter: The Many Adventures of Meilin #2" is the second action-adventure novel for 8-13 year old readers about a teenage girl whose mystical origin leads her to myriad adventures in both ancient mythical China the present-day USA. Meilin is the plucky heroine who must fight to overcome or right an ancient act of betrayal in her distant past, learning to find and use her secret powers and identity, all while leading a normal high school life complete with distractingly handsome boys. Meilin fights an unknown evil foe and makes a dangerous choice that may determine the rise or fall of the Demon Monkey Kingdom. "The Monkey King's Daughter" is excellent reading for young people and reinforces ideas of loyalty, honoring cultural authenticity, respectful development and use of special talents, and the virtue of planing ahead (for all events). "The Monkey King's Daughter" is exciting reading with a core of solid values.

Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation
Pat Sherman, author
Floyd Cooper, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853196, $16.99

"Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation" is an illustrated historical fiction work for readers age 8-12 based on the true life story of Benjamin Holmes. Ben is a young slave apprenticed to a tailor in Charleston in the early 1860's when the Emancipation Proclamation was written and the Civil War began. Due to his mother's early help and encouragement and his own determination, Ben manages to teach himself to read even though it is against the law for a slave to read. Ben lives through many hardships including being sent to slave prison in Charleston during the war, but his shining contribution to freedom everywhere comes when he is able to read in the Charleston Mercury a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation to his fellow slave prisoners. "Ben and The Emancipation Proclamation" is a wonderful recreating of a few harsh months and years of experience by a talented young slave who lived to achieve his freedom and further education. With its accurate, detailed, sensitive illustrations, "Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation" provides inspirational reading for older elementary students. Additional sources on Benjamin Holmes and his world are recommended at the end of the book, including several fascinating works on the Jubilee singers, a touring school's chorus from Fisk University with which Ben performed. His contribution as a teacher in Tennessee is also highlighted.

The Picturebook Shelf

Our Farm
Maya Gottfried
Alfred Knopf/Random
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375861185 $17.99,

OUR FARM: BY THE ANIMALS OF FARM SANCTUARY pairs Maya Gottfried's fine photos with paintings by Robert Rahway Zakanitch to provide a lovely farm collection perfect for spring. The water-and-ink drawings accompanying each poem are packed with animal personality and lots of fun!

The Best Cat
Valeri Gorbachev
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763636753, $15.99

"The Best Cat" is a tale of a brother and sister's love and esteem for their beloved cat, Bootsy, who is "the best cat" and the best at everything, according to her loyal family members. Colorfully illustrated by whimsical, feline-oriented fantasy montages, "The Best Cat" concludes that even though siblings may not agree about the occupations and specific talents of their beloved Bootsy, they agree that she is the best cat in the world. "The Best Cat" is ideal for children age 3 and up.

Penguin Putnam/Knopf
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

It's springtime, and time for the rabbits to decorate eggs for the Easter Bunny in Jan Brett's THE EASTER EGG (9780399252389, $17.99). Hoppi is finally old enough to join in - and if he wins the egg competition he can help the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. But how can he make an egg wonderful enough to win? Jan Brett's gorgeous drawings mark a lovely Easter celebration perfect for year-round reading. Rebecca Janni's EVERY COWGIRL NEEDS A HORSE (9780525421641, $16.99) tells of Nellie Sue, a real cowgirl with lots of chores to do - even on her birthday. ALL her chores would be much easier if she had a horse - but when her parents give her a new bike for her birthday instead of a horse, she takes matters into her own hands. Lynne Avril's winning drawings spice a fun story. Hannah Shaw's ERROLL (9780375861055, $15.99) tells of a talking squirrel Bob finds in a package of nuts. Erroll leaves peanut butter paw prints everywhere, uses the toothpaste tube like a fire horse, and is way too mischievous for Bob's mother. How can the two be friends? Lisa Campbell Ernst's SYLVIA JEAN, SCOUT SUPREME (9780525478737, $16.99) tells of a fine Pig Scout who has memorized every rule and regulation and who loves Fridays, when her Pig Scout Troop meets. Sylvia has the perfect plan to earn a Good-Deed Badge: take care of her injured neighbor. When her plans go awry, trouble evolves in this story of a good intention gone bad.

Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Aidan Potts' THE SMASH! SMASH! TRUCK (9780385751438, $16.99) blends fiction and nonfiction as it tells of Professor Pots' wonderful discoveries of how recyclables can be reused. When the recycling truck drives down the street, driver Professor Potts covers a fun history of recycling that actually began when the universe began. A fine introduction to recycling concepts. Jonah Winter's HERE COMES THE GARBAGE BARGE! (9780375852183, $17.99) tells of a town that had over 3,000 tons of garbage and no place to put it. Ages 4-8 will relish the story of a tugboat barge that saves the day in this fun survey with its fine art creations by Red Nose Studio.

The One And Only Sam
Aileen Stalker
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Box 960, Herndon, VA 20172-0960
9781849050401 $16.95

The One And Only Sam is more than a picturebook story - it tells of a boy who struggles to understand non-literal expressions and it covers definitions of these expressions in the course of the story line. Kids ages 5-8 will learn about idioms in an easy manner and provides simple guidelines kids can use whenever they cover new idioms not covered here. A fine pick for a range of libraries.

Chicken Butt!
Erica S. Perl
Harry Abrams
115 West 18th St., New York NY 10011
9780810983250 $12.95

A child's enthusiasm and a father's exhaustion blend in a fun read-aloud guide to zany rhymes. Henry Cole provides the winning drawings in this simple story of a child whose whimsical riddles drive his father to distraction - and beyond. Kids will choose the book for its title and enjoy its special brand of humor.

557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Claudia Rueda's MY LITTLE POLAR BEAR (0545146003, $16.99) tells of a small polar bear cub new to his Arctic world who finds love in a parent's guidance through a harsh wilderness. His growing independence and his mother's loving attention makes for a sweet story of parental help and connections in this gentle tale for early readers. LEAF TROUBLE by Jonathan Emmett (0545160707, $16.99) receives fine drawings by Caroline Jayne Church as it tells of Pip Squirrel, who wakes up one morning to find his home tree falling to pieces. He tries to save it by gathering its falling leaves - but they refuse to re-stick to their branches! A fine story of fall weather and survival make this a year-round pick.

Julia's Words
Judith L. Roth, author
Brooke Rothshank, illustrator
Mennonite Publishing Network
616 Walnut Avenue, Scottdale, PA 15683
9780836194173, $12.99

"Julia's Words" tells the story of a friendship between a deaf girl named Julia and a hearing girl named Christina who meet and become friends at a coastal campground. Both girls learn new depths of communication in their friendship. Christina learns some of the signs she needs to communicate with Julia and she learns to continue struggling with the challenge of communication with someone who is differently abled. "Julia's Words" is a touching, teaching book for children ages 6-10 that will profoundly influence perceptions. "Julia's Words" is gently enhanced with full page paintings and it ends with a two page glossary of some of the signs used in the story.

Mama's Bayou
Dianne de Las Casas, author
Holly Stone-Barker, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster St., Gretna, LA 70053
9781589807877, $16.99

"Mama's Bayou" is a Cajun lullaby of creature sounds embedded in darkly colorful collages that carefully catalog each creature of Mama's bayou whose night sounds lull baby to sleep. Even the Cajun fiddle (played by a playful big bayou bear) is included in the sounds of baby's lullabayou. Called a symphony of words, "Mama's Bayou" educates the child about bayou wildlife and vegetation while calmly rocking her/him to sleep. "Mama's Bayou" is a tribute to "the sweet symphonic sounds" of Mother Nature on the bayou, and is perfect for children from birth to age 4 or even older.

Twinkle, Star of the Week
Joan Holub, author
Paul Nichols, illustrator
Albert Whitman & company
6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053
9780807581315, $16.99

"Twinkle, Star of the Week" is a children's picture book about the power of wishing, or ways to invent new solutions to old problems. Twinkle is a star in Sky School, and she looks forward to her day that she will be the Star of the Week. But what if another little star uses her idea before she gets to be star of the week (sharing her favorite song)? Although Twinkle is the sparkliest star in Ms. Sun's class, she is stumped for a new idea of what to share for her special Star of the Week day. A wonderful thing happens to Twinkle when she feels someone send her a wish from far away! Suddenly she knows just what to do! Children ages 6-8 will love "Twinkle, Star of the Week" and its positive message of individual creativity and generosity. Actual glitter embellishes the cover and the whimsical star illustrations are sure to catch young eyes and make them shine.

Newton and Me
Lynne Mayer, author
Sherry Rogers, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607180678, $16.95

"Newton and Me" is a great story about a boy and his dog named Newton who discover the laws of physics (force and motion) in his everyday play activities. Narrated in verse, "Newton and Me" demonstrates all the major laws of force and motion in terms any kid will understand and relate to. Following up the story is a section titled For Creative Minds that includes a listing of the related concepts and questions in colored paragraph boxes. Further learning activities pages include Matching Forces, Who was Newton? and Newton's Laws of Motion. Bright, cheery clearly detailed illustrations flesh out the educational appeal of "Newton and Me" for children ages 4-8. Further resources are available in Related Websites, Interactive Math, Reading, and Comprehension Quizzes, and Teaching Activities on Sylvan Dell Publishing's website, listed above.

The Can Man
Laura E. Williams, author
Craig Orback, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600602665, $18.95,

"The Can Man" is a heartwarming story of a boy who wants to earn a skateboard and a homeless man who collects cans for cash. Tim's birthday is approaching and he desperately wants a new skateboard, but money is tight and his family cannot spare the extra cost to buy one for him. He gets the ides of collecting aluminum cans from the Can Man, a homeless man in his neighborhood who collects aluminum cans from the trash for cash. What transpires after Tim begins to enact his idea is heartwarming and faith -inspiring. "The Can Man" is written for children ages 5-10, and it encourages a full perception of other human conditions.

Waiting Out the Storm
Joann Early Macken, author
Susan Gaber, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763633783, $15.99

"Waiting Out the Storm" is a lovely rhyming picture book for young children that reassures a child about what happens when it rains. Soft, grey-lavender tints in the delicate illustrations convey the atmosphere of an approaching rainstorm, and a young mother answers her daughter's questions and fears about the sounds, sights and experiences of a spring-summer rainstorm. The concept of security, safety, shelter from the storm for both humans and animals is gently taught and underlined. "Waiting Out the Storm" is a book that can help young children deal with fearful feelings not only about storms and natural events but also about other experiences. "Waiting Out the Storm" is a sensitive, compassionate gift to parents and children everywhere.

Too Much Noise In the Library
Susan Margaret Chapman, author
Abby Carter, illustrator
Upstart Books
401 South Wright Road, Janesville, WI 53547
9781602130265, $17.95

"Too Much Noise In the Library" is a wonderful zany tale about a much beloved library and librarian named Ms. Reade who encounters a well-meaning mayor on tour who decides there is "too much noise in the library." His ultimate solution quiets the library sounds down to a deafening silence, and empties the library of adults and children in the process. What is the ultimate solution? Read it with Ms. Reade to find out, she is a very wise librarian. "Too Much Noise In the Library" is filled with illustrations in whimsical light colors that lead the reader to incredibly clear conclusions about what libraries are really for. "Too Much Noise in the Library" uses humor and tactful charm to appeal to children in grades K-3.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?
Nancy White Carlstrom, author
Lori McElrath-Eslick, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853660, $7.99 800-253-7521

"Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?" is a beautiful board book for young children with poetic text based on Psalms and other Biblical sources and bright impressionistic illustrations of the subject, a walk though the countryside taken by Katrina and her parents that leads to her questions about God. Suitable for 1-4 year old children, "Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?" is a lovely, inspirational picture book that will gently lead young children through their first explorations of faith.

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

Lynn Pappas's EASTER (9780778742890, $19.95) joins others in the 'Celebrations in My World' series to explain the traditions of Easter, both religious and secular. From how Easter bunnies and eggs were brought into the mix to the basic beliefs of the holiday and how it's celebrated around the world, contemporary color photos of kids celebrating the day accompany easy facts about the holiday's evolution. Any library covering holiday history will find this an eye-catching acquisition. Also highly recommended is Frances Hawker and Noemi Paz's CHRISTIANITY IN MEXICO (9780778750079, $19.95), a survey adding to the 'Families and Their Faiths' series covering Christianity in Mexico through the eyes of a young girl who shows how her village celebrates the festival of their patron Saint Anthony. Her personal, chatty voice is inviting.

Roman Catholicism
Steven Otfinoski
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, New York 10591
076142119X $27.95

Roman Catholicism joins others in the 'World Religions' series, providing grades 5-8 with a solid survey of history and religion related to Roman Catholics around the world. Over a hundred pages of color photos and details pack an examination of traditions, customs, literature and spiritual writings from around the world. Very highly recommended.

Make That a Table for Seven
Angie and Storm Davis, authors
Dan Drewes, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449072735, $11.49 1-800-839-8640

"Make That a Table for Seven: A Grizzly Family Story: Ferbie & Peppie Find a Home" is a Christian children's book of loving family choices including interracial foster care or adoption. Based on a true story of rescue and redemption, "Make That a Table for Seven" tells of a Grizzly family of bears who decide to include two homeless sibling black bears named Ferbie and Peppie in their family unit, cemented with love. Some specific adjustment issues that are addressed are new family members' differences ("we're not grizzlies," fear of rejection, and new foster children's difficulty with sleeping based on previous experiences. Sensitively told and gently but vividly illustrated, "Make That a Table for Seven" gets to the heart of all abandonment issues with its core belief that "People just need to be loved." "Make That a Table for Seven" is very appropriate for children 5 and older, both those who may experience abandonment or adoption related issues and others who may learn to love and include them in their blended families.

Princess With a Purpose
Kelly Chapman, author
Tammie Lyon, illustrator
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736924351, $15.99,

"Princess With a Purpose: A Princess Prep School Story" is a girls' guide to the transformation to become a daughter of the King, or a true princess, by learning to love and believe in Jesus. Studded with Biblical quotations and filled with practical visions of what it means to be a "real" princess. Caroline, the princess with a purpose, learns to become a real princess who is a child of Jesus the King, and ultimately she is awarded with the sparkly Truth Tiara. "Princess With a Purpose" addresses some of the real fears and misgivings that young girls wrestle with and directs the inner vision to higher goals. "Princess With a Purpose" is a part of the Princess Prep School series, and will appeal to girls ages 6-10. For more information, the reader is invited to visit

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Bailey's Day
Robert Haggerty, author
Bobbi Switzer, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432745509, $17.95

"Bailey's Day" is a fun, true dog story about a curious pointer dog named Bailey who loves to get out of her yard and explore with her wiener dog friend, Frankie while her mailman Dad is out working. Kids will love to explore with Bailey, chase the lizard, find the swimming pool, and join Pete the Taco Man for lunch. For all dog owners who always suspected their pets lead a secret or double life, "Bailey's Day" is the confirmation book. Brightly outlined illustrations of Bailey are supplemented by actual photographs of the real Bailey (in case any should doubt this story). "Bailey's Day" will be a hit with beginning readers and dog lovers everywhere.

Nina Delmar: The Great Whale Rescue
Carl Safina, author
Dawn E. Navarro, illustrator
Blue Ocean Institute & Manta Publications
P.O. Box 250, East Norwich, NY 1732
9780978541705, $15.00

"Nina Delmar: The Great Whale Rescue" is an exciting adventure story about the rescue of a humpback whale based on a real, true story. filed with exciting facts and details about the habits and profiles of humpback and other whales, "The Great Whale Rescue" tells an exciting story about a whale that got tangled up in crab trap lines, threatening its life. It's a case for diver whale rescue, with Nina's assistance. Young readers will thrill to the background and content of the true story with detailed illustrations to image parts of the mysterious events. Singing a song of sea conservation that will appeal to a wide audience, "The Great Whale Rescue" reaches across species and wider gaps to enlarge our vision and open our hearts. A chapter bok suitable for readers age 8 and up, "The Great Whale Rescue" is the first children's book by the author, who has written many more books on sea conservation themes, including "Eye of the Albatross," Voyage of the Turtle," and "The View From Lazy Point."

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

Wyndano's Cloak
A. R. Silverberry
Tree Tunnel Press
Box 733, Capitola, CA 95010
9780984103768, $21.95

"Wyndano's Cloak" is a young adult fantasy book with adventure, appeal, action, and plot ambiguity. Described as "a tale of madness, friendship, and courage," "Wyndano's Cloak" is a fantasy vehicle that will carry young adults through tests of strength, integrity, and steadfast visions. Dark in tone yet laced with hope and optimism, "Wyndano's Cloak" presents just the right piquant combination of danger, excitement, mystery, and challenge. Suitable for young adults age 11 and up, "Wyndano's Cloak" will attract a following to clamor for sequels to this exciting tome.

Random House

Ellen Weiss and Mel Friedman's Porky and Bess (9780375854583, $12.99) tells of Porky Pig, who is messy all the time, and Bess, who is perfect in every way. These two are good friends nonetheless, sharing many interests: a fine series of adventures makes for an easy reader of fine friendship insights and adventures. Graham Salisbury's CALVIN COCONUT: DOG HEAVEN (9780385737036, $12.99) tells of a writing assignment Calvin's fourth-grade teacher gives to the class. Calvin wants a dog - but his mother refuses. When Calvin meets the dog of his dreams, he must convince his mother he's dog-responsible in this fine story of friendships.

The Secret of the Golden Rings
Nedra Sims Fears, author
Valerie Mann, artist
Precocious Kids Publishing
8161 33rd Avenue, Suite W109, Bloomington, MN 55425
9781606910139, $18.95 866-933-1359

"The Secret of the Golden Rings" is the first of a new 'Delly' series of books written especially for American girls who come from families of non-European descent. "The Secret of the Golden Rings" is an action adventure mystery chapter book whose heroine, Delly, is befriended by four talented girls, Coco, Jade, Maria and Zoe. Each team member plays a valuable part in the group's time-travel odyssey to seek the golden rings and stop Delly's Uncle Taj from traveling back in his Time machine and killing Adaora, an ancestor. All is filled with the spirit of adventure and the quest for total cultural identity, and not a little serious research and history is attractively encased. Notes and a Glossary and frequent highlighted fact and trivia bytes add to the informative appeal of "The Secret of the Golden Rings," aimed at girls ages 8-12.

Gerald Hedberg the Christmas Buffalo
Dahn Lee, author
illustrations by
Black Rose Writing
9780982554272, $12.95,

"Gerald Hedberg the Christmas Buffalo" is a quirky, comedic, enlightening chapter book for young adults and older adults who retain or wish to retain a functioning sense of humor. Gerald is a large, out of shape buffalo who, unlike other buffalo, always dreamed of being a reindeer for Santa. In fact his mother found him dressing up for the part repeatedly as he grew up. One day he caught the right bus out of Oklahoma and headed for the North Pole to join up with Santa's reindeer team. That was the start of a tangle of adventures that the reader will be unable to refrain from reading through once started. Rumors abound that there is a harsh encounter with a Randall, the rude, red-nosed reindeer, and also an over-elf-achiever named Nat-Nat, in addition to the inclusion of a variety of other unusual, not to say unlikely, characters. "Gerald Hedberg the Christmas Buffalo" is an irrepressibly funny book, further heightened in its impact by the black and white illustrations of unlikely characters in unlikely settings wearing unlikely accessories. If there is a grinch in your family, be sure to treat them to a copy of "Gerald Hedberg the Christmas Buffalo." It may not cure them of grinchiness, but it most definitely will give them a new slant on all things jolly and holly-filled. Suitable for both adult and young adult readers, "Gerald Hedberg the Christmas Buffalo" is the perfect out-of-season quirky gift for people who need their fun-glasses renewed.

Emma's River
Alison Hart, author
Paul Bachem, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561455249, $12.95

"Emma's River" is the exciting story of ten -year -old Emma and her pregnant mother and favorite horse, Licorice Twist, who are bound on a steamship journey west on the Missouri River in 1852. Unfortunately the steamboat Sally May has a disastrous boiler explosion and all the passengers must struggle for survival together, regardless of social station, race, or class. "Emma's River" is a fine example of juvenile historical fiction that will interest readers ages 7-10. At the end of the exciting book, a section titled More About Life On the River in the 1880s gives more written and illustrated information about the era of steamboat travel that is the setting for "Emma's River." There is also a description of the real steamboat disaster at Lexington, Missouri that provided inspiration for "Emma's River."

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint
Femida Handy and Carole Carpenter authors
Adrianna Steele, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 2M5
9781897187692, $15.95

"Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint" is a wonderful eco-book that teaches kids and adults a variety of ways in which we all can shrink our footprint on the earth. Aimed at an audience of 5-9 years olds, "Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint" uses a beach encounter with the Garbage Lady to teach Sandy to learn to think of ways to shrink her footprint, like recycling her pop cans, walking or biking instead of taking car rides, growing some of the food we eat, starting a compost heap, etc. The message of the Garbage Lady is not forgotten by Sandy and her family and it arrives in time for Earth Hour (March 27) and Earth Day (April 22) celebrations with families and children everywhere. Brilliantly colorful multi media (recycled materials?) collage illustrations underline the message of "Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint."

The Poetry Shelf

Sail Away with Me, Old and New Poems
Jane Collins-Philippe, author
Laura Beingessner, illusrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5A 2P9
9780887768422, $15.95

"Sail Away with Me" is a collection of old and new beloved sailing poems for children ages 3-6. From Eugene Fields' "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" to Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat," "Sail Away with Me" is sure to enchant young readers with a love for the sea and all things maritime. Finishing with a charming series of original poems about sailing and the sea and children's dreams, "Sail Away with Me" is sure to become a naptime, storytime, playtime classic and favorite. Ending with the beautiful "Baby's Boat," laced and lulled with gently rocking, sea -inspired rhythms, "Sail Away with Me" is destined to be a timeworn, well loved children's classic. The poems are illustrated with vintage-reminiscent paintings that are just fragile enough to cross the time gulf to the children of today.

Eileen L. Ziesler, author
Janelle L. Thompson, illustrator
Toad House Publishing
W7425 Old 14 Road, Ladysmith, WI 54848
9780981883106, $16.95

"Toads" is a beautiful poem picture book about toads that young children will love. Lovingly written and illustrated by a uniquely talented team of two close friends, "Toads" is the type of poem/reading experience that calms and centers young children's attention, with quiet rhymes and alliteration that both heighten curiosity and hypnotize the listener, and sensitive, realistic natural portraits that tempt youngsters to look for the toad's special hiding place in each picture. Accompanied with an easy to perform Toad Lullaby with a wooden toad "croaker" rhythm instrument, "Toads" is a first class environmental education, literature, and musical entertainment/participation package for parents and teachers of preschoolers and young children.

Favorite Mother Goose Rhymes
The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003 1-800-599-7323
9781602533301, $170.88 List / $119.60 Library

Mother Goose rhymes are universally popular because of their simple rhyming words coupled with basic rhythms. Now they have been produced in an eight volume series with vibrantly colorful images that make them ideal for use with preschool through second grade children. This simply outstanding series includes Baa, Baa, Black Sheep; Hey Diddle Diddle; Hickory, Dickory, Dock; Little Bo Peep; Little Miss Muffet; Old King Cole; One, Two Buckle My Shoe; and This Little Piggy. Each 16-page title has a reinforced library binding for an extended shelf life, along with an introduction to its author and illustrator, as well as an information section on where to find out more about the featured rhymes. Although each title is available individually ($21.36 List / $14.95 Library), both school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the entire set for their young students and patrons.

The Native American Shelf

The Boy and His Mud Horses & Other Stories from the Tipi
Paul Goble, author/illustrator
Foreword by Albert White Hat, Sr.
World Wisdom
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781935493112, $14.95

"The Boy and His Mud Horses" is the stunning new release of a collection of over 25 traditional stories or songs from Native American tribes including the Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Arapaho, Lakota, Shoshone, Navajo, Mandan, Arikara, Pawnee, Dakota, Assiniboine, Osage, and many nations. Star-studded with over 40 color paintings by Caldecott medal winning artist Paul Goble, "The Boy and His Mud Horses" presents tribal/cultural traditional tales in a tipi, round the campfire, story-telling style. Many different nations' tales are included, each respectfully presented to the reader in its own clear voice. A fascinating foreword by noted Lakota linguist/educator Albert White Hat, Sr. adds to the authenticity of the collection's tone. "The Boy and His Mud Horses" contain many excellent lessons and teaching tales for young readers of all ages and backgrounds.

Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story
S. D. Nelson
Abrams Book for Young Readers
115 West 18th St., New York, NY 10011
9780810983991, $19.95

"Black Elk's Vision" is a masterful picture book retelling of the life and vision of Black Elk, Oglala-Lakota holy man (1863-1950). Told in Black Elk's own words, "Black Elk's Vision" describes the experiences of the young Native American who witnessed the massive influx of the Wha-shi-choos (white men) along with the slaughter of the buffalo and a resulting change of lifestyle for the Lakota, gathered from their vast hunting territories onto much smaller reservations. These were dark days for Black Elk and his people, but his youthful visions remained strong enough for him to imprint a new ideal to help his people and ultimately all people grasp the significance of their part in the vast Circle of Life. black Elk's Vision is further enhanced by the inclusion of classic photograph montages of archetype images of Black Elk and his world, a timeline, a bibliography, an index, and the incredibly beautiful artwork of S. D. Nelson, member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of the Dakotas, equally "fluent in both narrative and illustrations." "Black Elk's Vision" is likely to be more accessible to children age 10 and older, but younger children may be drawn to it also.

The Gardening Shelf

My Friends the Flowers
William Lach, author
Doug Kennedy, artist
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810983977, $16.95

Told from the viewpoint of a friendly bee, "My Friends the Flowers" is a colorful catalog of many varied flowers, including roses, sunflowers, marigolds and more. "My Friends the Flowers" is also a child's first flower gardening instruction manual, with specific instructions for how to plant a bug-scaring garden (of marigolds), a sun-loving garden (of sunflowers), and a fast growing garden (of morning glories). In addition, "My Friends the Flowers" includes a Glossary of Flowers that lists photographs and both common and formal names for 25 different flowers. The friendly bumble bee tells the traits of each beloved flower friend in cheery rhymes illustrated with bright, splashing flower caricatures that capture the essence of each flower's special qualities and personality. "My Friends the Flowers" is a child-friendly book that will forever be a bridge to nature and gardening in a child's life.

The American History Shelf

Lily's Victory Garden
Helen L. Wilbur, author
Robert Gantt Steele, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
c/o Thomson Gale
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535
9781585364503, $16.95 1-800-231-5163

"Lily's Victory Garden" is a recent release in the Tales of Young Americans series, which tells the tale of Lily, who plants and tends a Victory garden in the neglected kitchen garden of her neighbors the Bishops, a family who lost their son Ned early in WW II. Lily lives in an apartment with only a flowerbox for gardening but she wants to do all she can to help the war effort. "Lily's Victory Garden" has moments of hope and despair and eventual growth and triumph over unimagined adversity. To supplement the story, historical background about WW II and the Home Front is provided at the end of the story. Delicately illustrated with spring-colored water colors and illustrations, "Lily's Victory Garden will reach out to children ages 6-10 to tell them of this era of recent history from a child's point of view.

The Bilingual Shelf

Mandy and Pandy Visit the Zoo
Chris Lin, author
Jerry Xu, translator
Ingrid Villalta, illustrator
Bear Paw
9780980015690, $12.95

"Mandy and Pandy Visit the Zoo/ man di he pan di can guan dong wu yuan" is a bilingual children's book and CD that teaches Chinese. Thick cardboard pages with colorful illustrations show names of zoo animals and sentences in English and Chinese with phonetic pronunciations spelled in English underneath the Chinese characters. "Mandy and Pandy visit the Zoo" is the latest in a child's series that teaches Chinese to English speaking children. The enclosed CD provides audio examples of Chinese pronunciation and articulation to make learning Chines even more fun. "Mandy and Pandy visit the Zoo" is a fun way to learn a new language and meet new friends. The Mandy and Pandy books are for all ages.

Books in Series

On Your Plate
Smart Apple Media
c/o Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002
$145.50 List / $101.70 Library

To interest and engage young minds into the values of eating proper diets, Smart Apple Media as created 'On Your Plate', an attractive and informative series of six titles showcasing major food groups for children preschool through first grade. The featured titles include Beans and Nuts; Bread; Fruit; Milk, Cheese, and Eggs; Salad; and Vegetables. Each 24-page title is replete with colorful photos and includes 'kid friendly' strategies for making foods interesting. Of special note are the snack ideas for 'latch key' kids. Enhanced with fun activities, a glossary, an index, and available individually ($24.25 List / $16.95 Library), both school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the whole 'On Your Plate' series for their young students and patrons.

A World Of Food
Clara House Books
c/o The Oliver Press, Inc.
5707 West 36th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55416-2510 1-800-865-4837

Every now and then along comes "A World of Food", an informed and informative series of 'how to' books for kids that simply stands out from the crowd. Clara House Books (an imprint of The Oliver Press) has newly published a truly outstanding eight volume series of social studies titles designed specifically for students in grades 4 through 8. Each one of these sturdily bound, 32-page, profusely illustrated compendiums addresses the food, religion, landscape, climate, farming, crops, holidays, festivals, culture, etiquette, and global influences of a particular country, along with three distinctively characteristic recipes. Enhanced with the inclusion of foreign word meanings, country and world maps, glossaries, indexes, and thematically appropriate web sites, the individual titles comprising this impressive series includes The Caribbean (9781934545157, $24.95); China (9781934545096, $24.95); France (9781934545102, $24.95); India (9781934545119, $24.95); Italy (9781934545089, $24.95); Lebanon (9781934545126, $24.95); Mexico (9781934545133, $24.95); and Nigeria (9781934545140, $24.95). Each of these thoroughly up-to-date and thoroughly 'kid friendly' titles is appropriate and highly recommended as a home-schooling curriculum supplement, as well as strongly advised for both school and community library reference collections for young readers.

Ripley's RBI, Fact or Fiction? A Scaly Tale
Ripley Publishing, Ripley's Believe It or Not!
7576 Kingspointe Pkwy, Suite 188, Orlando, FL 32819
9781893951525, $4.99 407-345-8010

"A Scaly Tale" is the first book in a series from Ripley's RBI that is specially aimed at boys and reluctant readers, ages 7-8 and up. A teenage detective team called the RBI team care to seek the answer to mysterious sightings of a strange lizard-like creature seen near Ripley High, in the Florida swamplands. Laced with fast action, hip, smart kids, and surprises around every page-corner, "A Scaly Tale" is sure to win a fast following among young adult readers. Complete with trading cards for some of the notable characters and suspects, "A Scaly Tale" puts a few top talented teens in charge of RBI (short for Ripley's Bureau of Investigation) action to solve the mystery and find the scaly sources and clues. "A Scaly Tale" is succeeded by three more adventure RBI tales of diverse teens who travel on investigations to decipher "fact from fiction." The other three are "The Dragon's Triangle," "Running Wild," and "Secrets of the Deep."

Super Ben Writes a Letter
Shelley Marshall, author
Ben Mahan, illustrator
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398 1-800-398-2504
9780766035164, Trade $21.26 / Library $15.95

"Super Ben Writes a Letter: A Book About Caring" is a book about caring from the 'Christian Education with Super Ben and Molly the Great' series for children ages 5-8. Super Ben is a busy bear who is writing his Nana a special letter to tell her he loves her, as a contribution to his 100 acts of kindness for his first 100 days of school. Super Ben's letter is thoughtful and tailored especially to his "Super-Nana" grandma, and is sure to please the recipient very much. Pastel drawings of animal characters and activities help complement the message of caring for others. "Super Ben Writes a Letter" is another work in the Super Ben and Molly the Great Series which also includes "Super Ben's Brave Bike Ride, a Book About Courage," (ISBN 9780766035157) by the same author/illustrator team.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, New York 10591

New books in Dana Meachen Rau's 'Nature's Cycles' series ($15.95 each) provide fine surveys for grades 2-3. Each book holds large print, bright color photos, some 30 pages and facts and a concluding set of 'challenge words' for fluent readers. ANIMALS (9780761440932), DAY AND NIGHT (9780761440949), FOOD CHAINS (9780761440956), PLANTS (9780761440970), SEASONS (9780761440987) and WATER (9780761440994) each pair simple explanations with a lively presentation. Julie Richards 'Energy Choices' series ($19.95 each) will reach grades 2-4 with their 32-page presentations covering basic energy facts. SOLAR ENERGY (9780761444275), WATER ENERGY (9780761444299), WIND ENERGY (9780761444305), BIOFUELS (9780761444329), NUCLEAR ENERGY (9780761444336) and FOSSIL FUELS (9780761444343) each pack in questions and answers on renewable, sustainable energy and its challenges. Dan Greenberg and Nina Hess' WHALES (9780761443469, $16.95) deserves ongoing recommendation for grades 2-3, offering 24 pages of eye-catching color photos and basic information about whales. From different kinds of whales and their natural history to dangers to whales, the introduction is perfect for young newcomers to the species. Robin Birch's 'Weather and Climate' series ($19.95 each) is a pick for grades 4-5 and offers some 32 pages of detail each. Books focus on climate and weather natural history and issues and pack in vivid, contemporary color photos to accompany scientific insights. LIVING WITH WEATHER (9780761444657), HOW WEATHER WORKS (9780761444664), EXTREME WEATHER (9780761444688), WATCHING WEATHER (9780761444701), EARTH'S CLIMATE (9780761444718) and CLIMATE CHANGE (9780761444732) each provide general discussions around a selected climate topic. For something more geography-specific, consider Stuart Baker's 'Climate Change' series ($19.95 each), which considers climate changes in different areas of the world and how it affects these zones. IN THE ARCTIC (9780761444374), IN THE ANTARCTIC (9780761444381), IN THE TROPICS (9780761444404) and IN TEMPERATE ZONES (9780761444411) each pack in specific insights key to understanding the nature and impact of climate under different conditions.

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

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