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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 4 April 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Environmental Shelf American History Shelf World History Shelf
Science Shelf Board Book Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music CD Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Math Shelf
Gardening Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf ABC Shelf Fiction Shelf
Holiday Shelf Activity Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Christian Shelf Sports Shelf Education Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Mom, Dad, Our Books, And Me
Danielle Marcotte, author
Josee Bisaillon, illustrator
Owlkids Books Inc.
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771472012, $16.95,

"Mom, Dad, Our Books, And Me" has been described as a joyous ode to reading of all kinds. It more than lives up to this description. Illuminated with colorful, stunningly artistic whimsies on every sort of reading topic, the pages of "Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me" are an invitation to explore the pleasures of all kinds of reading at all different ages of life. A neighbor enjoys pirate fantasies in a hammock, while an uncle peruses favorite recipes in a fragrant kitchen. An aunt reads music and plays her cello soulfully. Other types of reading experiences are also celebrated: reading palms, reading the weather, reading train schedules, and more. The final pages bring this all encompassing joy of reading book to a heartfelt conclusion: "Thanks to books, I find balance, I climb high, I follow new roads, and I move forward. But as far as my books may take me, I will never lose my way, Because books also bring us together. Mom, Dad, our friends, and me." This is a beautiful and inspiring book about the lifelong benefits of reading, written just for kids age 3-7. What amazing odysseys will be begun by learning to read this book?

The Love of Simon Fox
Jonathan Schopk
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781523660698, $18.95, PB, 182pp,

Simon Fox is a very peculiar fox: her lives alone in Elmwood Foxhall on the edge of an enchanted wood, wears a scarlet waistcoat and top hat, and visits with his friends Edgar Owl, Alexander Raven, and others on the veranda at Arthur Bear's cave, discussing the weather and whether or not the elusive "human being" is real. Penelope the girl lives with her father on a croft on the downs far from other people. when they discover each other one day quite by accident, they each become the other seeks, and the rest of the animals of the wood become the family the little girl has never had. In a forest full of magic, they explore their world together and discover that love, loyalty, and courage know no bounds. Enhanced for young readers with 24 full-size illustrations and a map, "The Love of Simon Fox" is unique, original, exceptionally well written, and highly recommended for personal, family, school, and community library collections of books for children.

Wild About Shapes
Jeremie Fischer
Flying Eye Books
c/o Nobrow Press
62 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3QR, England
9781909263383, $16.99,

Wild About Shapes is a delightful spiral-bound presentation for ages 3-7 and uses animals and shapes interchangeably, in a caravan of colorful shapes. Alternating pages of paper and acetate encourage youngsters to look carefully at the evolution of shapes and colors and while simple words encourage different ways of perceiving changing shapes, parents as well as kids will find the acetate pages provide satisfying examples of how colors and shapes can be transformed through a simple change in perspective. Animals appear from virtually nowhere in a lovely production that will invite all age ranges to take a second or closer look at how shapes evolve and change.

The Poo Poo Fairy
Mary Harper Dick, author
Joseph Cowman, illustrator
WB Publishing LLC
19 South Passaic Avenue, #327, Chatham, NJ 07928
9780578144795, $17.99,

"The Poo Poo Fairy" is a delightful new approach to the dreaded subject of toilet training, or leaning to eliminate liquid and solid waste like grownups. Written especially to encourage fearful or reluctant toddlers and their equally fearful and baffled parents, "The Poo Poo Fairy" spells out its charm in exciting narrative with enchanting earthy colored illustrations of the fairies of Helper's Hollow Academy. Paulina was determined to become a graduate of Helper's Hollow despite her peculiar abilities. Her big plus was she loved to hear children's laughter and see the twinkle in their eyes. Just when Paulina was getting very discouraged about finding her special helping fairy gift, she noticed a very sad little boy who couldn't figure out how to be successful in a big boy potty. Paulina knew just what to do to help the little boy. She clapped and cheered for him when he tried to go pee pee and poo poo in the potty, and when he succeeded, she gave him magical prizes. Paulina loved the little boy and he called her his Poo Poo Fairy. Paulina became a true helper fairy after that, and left to find more children who needed her encouragement to succeed in their potty efforts. Charming illustrations and a companion plush doll complete "The Poo Poo Fairy," a delightful take on an age old conundrum for children and parents.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The Young Adult's Guide to Flawless Writing
Lindsey Carman
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781601389817, $14.95, PB, 383pp,

One of the most important communication skills that anyone can have is the ability to express themselves with eloquence and confidence in writing. "The Young Adult's Guide to Flawless Writing" is an instructional guide for taking the writing skills that the reader currently has and learn how to apply them to real world tasks through the use of essential explanations, examples, and writing exercises. Deftly organized and presented in three major sections (Grammar Basics; Writing Mechanics; The Writing Process), "The Young Adult's Guide to Flawless Writing" is enhanced with the inclusion of a six page Glossary of Terms; an eight page Vocabulary Terms; a two page listing of Additional Resources; a two page Bibliography; and a three page Index. Very highly recommended for personal, school, and community library collections, "The Young Adult's Guide to Flawless Writing" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, making it an ideal instructional reference for any and all aspiring writers seeking to perfect their craft and communication skills.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

A Beaver Tale
Gerald Wykes
Wayne State University Press
The Leonard N. Simons Building
4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309
9780814341810 $18.99

A Beaver Tale: The Castors of Conners Creek is a children's picturebook about the amazing, true-life reappearance of beavers in Detroit after 150 years. Realistic color artwork (including industrious adult beavers and adorable baby beavers) brings to life the story of how beavers reappeared at the Conner Creek Power Plant on the city's east side, cutting down trees, building dams and raising families. A Beaver Tale also touches on the history of the beaver in Michigan, including how Native Americans viewed it, and how its fur was once an immensely valuable trade item. A Beaver Tale is a choice pick for public and school library children's collections.

My Book of Birds
Geraldo Valerio
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554988006 $24.95

My Book of Birds is a children's picturebook showcasing an amazing diversity of birds. Fascinating facts are listed in brief thumbnails beneath stylized, dynamic, and colorful illustrations of a great many species. Educational as well as entertaining, My Book of Birds is a treat for young bird lovers!

The Environmental Shelf

23 Ways to be an Eco Hero
Isabel Thomas, author, illustrator
QEB Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781609929213, $14.95,

"23 Ways to be an Eco Hero: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creative Ways You Can Save the World" offers a wide range of kid-friendly eco-favorable activities to help save a planet in peril. Projects are grouped into three categories: the Wildlife Warrior projects, which create outdoor wildlife havens, the Waste Zapper, which encourages reuse and recycling in everyday living, and the Green Machine projects, which aim to reduce waste and use less energy at home or in the community. The goal is to inspire young readers to find ways to begin to save the world safely. Icons that say "Ask an adult" tell readers which steps require adult supervision for safety. Some examples of project include: making a super stool from a large cardboard box, making a waterproof bike pouch, comic book farming, recycling rags into woven rugs, and making an action grabber from a metal clothes hanger to pick up litter. Zingy, colorful illustrations add to the fun of "23 Ways to be an Eco Hero," and the fun is compounded by the addition of Web Warrior resources and a cool Glossary of terms. "23 Ways to be an Eco Hero" makes saving the earth that much more enjoyable in 64 action and fun filled activity pages. Activities are suitable for kids age 8-12, with some adult supervision as indicated.

The American History Shelf

50 Things You Should Know About American Presidents
Tracey Kelly
QEB Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781609929367, $15.95, Flexibound, 80pp,

Everything you should know about US presidents is broken down into 50 bite-sized chunks in Tracey Kelly's "50 Things You Should Know About American Presidents". Every American president is covered, from the first person to take office, George Washington, to the current US president, Barack Obama. Fascinating facts are included on each page, for example, Franklin D Roosevelt is the longest serving president? "50 Things You Should Know About American Presidents" also features details on the US political system that clearly indicate the changes that have occurred with respect to the office of the Presidency from the beginnings in the 18th century to its current state. As informed and informative as it is thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation from first page to last, "50 Things You Should Know About American Presidents" is very highly recommended for young readers ages 8 to 12 and in grades 3 to 7. Simply stated, not school or community library should be without a copy of "50 Things You Should Know About American Presidents" in their American History collections.

World History Shelf

The Tomb of Tutankhamun
Stella Caldwell, author
Somchith Vongprachanh, illustrator
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9780764168215 $18.99

Part of the "Explore 360 Degrees" series, The Tomb of Tutankhamun is a nonfiction picturebook offering an astonishing tour of the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun. Full-color photography of historical and cultural treasures are paired with amazing historical anecdotes about the tomb's discovery, and what archaeologists have learned of ancient Egyptian civilization from it. Like other books in the series, The Tomb of Tutankhamun comes with a free downloadable 3-D app, usable on Apple or Android devices (Intel based devices are unfortunately not supported). which takes the viewer on an astonishing you-are-there journey. An educational treasury that will entice adults to explore and learn as surely as children, The Tomb of Tutankhamun is highly recommended for gift-giving or public library collections.

The Science Shelf

Last of the Giants
Jeff Campbell
Zest Books
35 Stillman Street, Suite 121, San Francisco, CA, 94107
9781942186045, $13.99, PB, 272pp,

Thanks to archaeology and paleontology, an ancient world of giant animals which long ago vanished from the earth has been rediscovered. Over 40,000 years ago, the earth was ruled by megafauna: mammoths and mastodons, saber-toothed tigers and giant sloths. Of course, those creatures no longer exist, due to the evolution and arrival of the wildly adaptive human species, among other factors. Many more of the world's biggest and baddest creatures, including the black rhino, the dodo, giant tortoises, the sabretooth tiger, and the great auk, have vanished since our world became truly global. "Last of the Giants: The Rise and Fall of Earth's Most Dominant Species" by Jeff Campbell expertly chronicles those giant animals and apex predators who have been pushed to extinction in the modern era. Very highly recommended for school and community library children's books collections for young readers ages 12 and older, or who are in grades 7 through 12, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Last of the Giants: The Rise and Fall of Earth's Most Dominant Species" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

Newly Discovered Planets
Corona Brezina, author
Rosen Publishing
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781499462951, $35.60,

"Newly Discovered Planets: Is There Potential for Life?" is a nonfiction educational title for young adults about newly discovered, earth-like planets that might have potential to support life. Exciting discoveries have enabled scientists to theorize about searching for exoplanets, or planets existing outside the solar system, which resemble Earth and might be capable of supporting intelligent life. Using the Drake equation, first theorized in 1961, such planets were intuited and later proven to actually exist. Scientists are now optimistic about the prospect of detecting signs of alien life. A stunning space photo representation in the introduction shows four possible "New Earths" arranged in size from the largest to the smallest, Kepler- 22b, Kepler-69c, Kepler -452b, Kepler- 62f, and Kepler 186f. Scientists continue to search for ways to identify planets that might contain habitats for life far from Earth. "Newly Discovered Planets" covers exciting developments in this field in four condensed chapters: Chapter 1, Searching for a Place Like Home, Chapter 2, Identifying the First Exoplanets, Chapter 3, the Planet Hunting Mission, and Chapter 4, Continuing the Search. This last chapter details exciting plans to launch the huge James Webb Space Telescope, which is supposed to be a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, in 2018. The JWST will be the largest space telescope ever to be constructed, as big as a tennis court and as tall as a four story building. It will hopefully add to existing information about earth-like exoplanets and other information about far away exoplanets and systems. Although human space travel outside the solar system seems unlikely, other ways of sending out explorative missions may be employed in this exciting quest. "Newly Discovered Planets" contains a Glossary, For More Information section, For Further Reading section, and a complete bibliography. Many graphs, charts, and informative representations add to the accurate accumulation of exciting data in the story of the search for other earths. Other titles in this innovative 'The Search for Other Earths' series include "Aliens At Home," "The Goldilocks Zone," "How We Find Other Earths," "Is There Life Out There?" and "A New Frontier."

The Board Book Shelf

Ready for Weather
Sarah Jones, author/illustrator
Blue Manatee Press
3054 Madison Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45204
978193669431, $7.99,

"Ready for Weather" is an exciting, educational board book that teaches toddlers to identify and contrast/ compare differences in weather, clothing, activities, and colors. This is done with joy and style in an effortless sturdy pasteboard book that is friendly to handling by little fingers. Every pair of pages explores a weather concept, with matching color weather appropriate accessories, clothing, and activities. For example, "Hot" is written in large letters against a red-orange beach scene, while on the opposite page are sandals, goggles, bathing suits, a sun hat, towel, and sunscreen, all in shades of orange and red predominating. Following pages show "Windy" in shades of brown for fall or early spring, "Rainy" is matched in shades of yellow rain gear, "Sunny" is paired with green T-shirt, hat, shorts, sunglasses, and sneakers with a jump rope, "Snowy" is paired with outdoor winter clothing in shades of blue against a white snowy background, and finally, "Stormy" is paired with items in shades of purple, pajamas, sweater, blanket, book, slippers, book and puzzle. The final picture on two pages shows children of different skin colors dressed in a rainbow of colors, jumping and splashing under a rainbow sky, with the caption: "Now that you're ready for the weather, let's go outside and play together!" "Ready for Weather" is first class, creative, multi-tasking, concept teaching reading for young children ages 0-3. Two additional board books from Blue Manatee Press that are also highly recommended for pre-readers include: "Ball," from Baby Unplugged series, (9781936669424, $7.99), by Dr. John Hutton, illustrated by Sarah Jones, and "I See, You See: Day (9781936669448, $7.99)," by Sandra Gross, author/illustrator.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Boxcar Children: The Mystery of the Grinning Gargoyle
Created by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Read by Aimee Lilly
Oasis Audio
289 Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781613756836 $9.99

Presented in an unabridged audiobook edition smoothly performed by Aimee Lilly, The Boxcar Children: The Mystery of the Grinning Gargoyle is a complete and self-contained story, yet also the 137th installment of an extensive series that re-imagines Gertrude Chandler Warner's independent young adult protagonists for the modern generation. In The Mystery of the Grinning Gargoyle, the children learn about a legendary stone gargoyle determined to protect an old library from being torn down. Just what is going on? A thoroughly engaging mystery-adventure, The Mystery of the Grinning Gargoyle is especially recommended for public and middle grade school library children's audiobook collections. 2 CDs.

The Music CD Shelf

Michael & the Rockness Monsters
Michael Napolitano
$TBA CD / $8.99 MP3

Michael Napolitano, founder of the award-winning "Preschool of Rock" program, presents his debut, self-titled album with a brand new band, Michael & the Rockness Monsters. A wacky collection of musical fun that revels in the joy of seeing the world through a child's eyes, Michael & the Rockness Monsters is a wonderful pick for children from toddlers to middle grade schoolers, as well as the young-at-heart! The tracks are "Pirate Song", "Rock It!", "Fisherman", "Cosmic Vacation", "Dinosaur Haircut", "Pretty Little World", "In A Band", "Single Digits", "Micemaker", "If I Were An Octopus", "Farm Dream", "Mister Zizowe", and "Humming Song".

Life's a Real Dream
Lard Dog & The Band of Shy
Go Records, LLC
$12.99 CD / $8.99 MP3

Life's a Real Dream is the studio album soundtrack to an off-Broadway musical for all ages. Weaving an original story that draws inspiration for Lewis Carroll's adventures, beat poetry, and laugh-out-loud comedy, Life's a Real Dream encapsulates the joy and charm of stretching one's imagination to the limit. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Lard Dog Howl", "Big Fat Red House", "Catch That Pretzel", "Do the Pooky Do", "Lard on Air Fresh", "I Dig Holes", "Go Lard Go", "Belopio", "Life is Like a Noodle", "Stupendous Holiday Finksten", "The Lard Conundrum", "When You're Shy", "Messed Up People Are Beautiful", "He's Plop, Treat Him Nice", "Plop on Ploop", "He's Ploop!", "Yum Yum Head Gear Co.", "Beeples, No Pie", "The Rhododendron Field", "Listen to the Bob Hope", "Belopian Pledge", "Life's a Real Dream", and "The Belopian Code".

Storytime Singalong Volume 1
Emily Arrow
c/o Burnside Distribution
6635 N. Baltimore Ave. #218, Portland, OR 97283
$12.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Intended for young listeners ages 2-10, Storytime Singalong Volume 1 is the debut album of singer-songwriter Emily Arrow, winner of the 2015 John Lennon Songwriting Competition. Each song encourages young people to participate in the sing-along fun, making Storytime Singalong Volume 1 a choice pick for activity time at school or at home. Cheerful, upbeat, and with a silly spark of humor, Storytime Singalong Volume 1 is highly recommended. The tracks are "Books! Book!", "The Dot Song (Album Version)", "Louise Loves Art Song", "The Curious Garden Song", "Are We There, Yeti? Song", "I Am Yoga Song", "One Day, The End Song", "I Wish You More Song", "Poem in Your Pocket", "Peanut To My Butter", and "Follow Your Arrow". 30 min.

Dan Crow
KidzMusic Records
$9.99 CD

Three-time Parent's Choice Gold Award winner Dan Crow presents Concotions, a children's music album celebrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Upbeat, lighthearted songs about each of these subjects, encouraging young people to learn more about these amazing subjects in school. A lively pop-rock techno mix, including karaoke tracks that can be used to sing along (or make up one's own lyrics!), Concoctions is a fun-filled blast for both girls and boys. The tracks are "Science Science Science" (3:02), "Technology" (2:58), "You're An Engineer" (2:49), "Seven" (3:12), "Franklin D. Dime & Abraham Penny" (3:50), Karaoke "Science Science Science" (3:02), Karaoke "Technology" (2:58), Karaoke "You're an Engineer" (2:49), Karaoke "Seven" (3:12), and Karaoke "Franklin D. Dime & Abraham Penny" (3:50).

Every Day's Your Birthday
Miss Nina & The Jumping Jacks
Packaroonus Records
$12.00 CD

Musician, YouTube star, and two-time Parents' Choice award winner Nina Stone (a.k.a. "Miss Nina" ) presents Every Day's Your Birthday, her third album for children and families and her first album produced in conjunction with her band, The Jumping Jacks. Revelling in the spirit of 60's and 70's pop-rock, Every Day's Your Birthday is a original work brimming with creative joy and laugh-out-loud humor. An excellent choice for children's celebrations, or playtime any day, Every Day's Your Birthday is highly recommended. The tracks are "Every Day's Your Birthday", "This Song", "My Freeze Dance", "Colors of You", "Up & Down", "Five Little Pumpkins", "(Silly) Wheels On The Bus", "Sunshine Blue Skies", "Subway", "Every Hero", "Let's Go Home", and "DJ In My PJs". 38 min.

Ora de Despertar
Sarah Aroeste
$11.99 CD / $8.99 MP3

Ora de Despertar is a children's album entirely in Ladino, a language also known as Judeo-Spanish, primarily spoken among Sephardic Jews and also used in Sephardic religious texts, secular literature, and songs. Singer and Ladino speaker Sarah Aroeste created Ora de Despertar when, as an expectant mother, she realized she had no Ladino songs ideal for sharing with her daughter (a lot of Ladino music is intended for an adult audience and entails high drama). The songs of Ora de Despertar include gentle lullabies, a cherished Hanukkah theme, and silly songs with animal sounds. The result is unique and exceptional! Also a choice pick for children's world music collections is "Aquarela" by Paulinho Garcia & Friends ($12.99 CD), a kid-friendly album in Portuguese that celebrates daily life and culture in Brazil.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Love: The Fox
Frederic Brremaud, author
Frederico Bertolucci, artist
Magnetic Press
9781942367062, $17.99, HC, 80pp,

"Love: The Fox" is a wildlife themed and wordless graphic novel by author Frederic Brremaud and artist Federico Bertolucci. "Love: The Fox" is set in a northeastern woodland and follows a single fox through its daily journey through the trees and along the seafront. Only this is not just another day, but one that has a spectacular volcanic eruption throw the area into chaos, sending creatures of all kinds scurrying for safety. But the intrepid little fox surprising decides to run into the danger instead of away! What could send this tiny hunter towards the danger? This wordless, all-ages, graphic title will have special appeal for both children and adults because of its combined breathtaking illustration and gripping adventure drama. A riveting read from beginning to end, "Love: The Fox" is especially recommended for children ages 9 to 12 and in grades 4 to 7. A unique and compelling read for adults as well, "Love: The Fox" is enthusiastically recommended for school and community library collections.

Coral Reefs
Maris Wicks, author/illustrator
First Second
c/o Macmillan
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626721456, $9.99,

"Coral Reefs" is an exciting new nonfiction graphic novel from the Science Comics series for children age 9 and up. Narrated by a friendly gold colored fishy fellow with googly eyes, "Coral Reefs" defines and describes the living organisms which make up coral reefs, in living color comic illustrations. An example is a three-part page picturing the life cycles of three cnidarians (the group of invertebrates coral reefs belong to): the jelly, the anemone, and the coral life cycle. Fascinating details and developments about the formation and habits of coral reefs are clearly illustrated and explained in 117 pages and five chapters. A healthy dose of environmental awareness is delivered along with lots of other sea coral awareness raising. It is certainly amazing just how important coral reefs are to the total health of the sea and creatures who live in it, even the world. This part of the question is answered in chapter 4, How are coral reefs connected to the rest of the planet? After a brief presentation of compressed air and water cleaning information, this chapter concludes that all life depends on the ocean for air, and clean water. In addition to delivering the basic facts on interdependence of life with coral reefs, this Science Comic contains a bibliography with a list of additional resources. Science Comics: Coral Reefs" is a funtastic way to educate preteens with fun art and reading, resulting in an enlightened youth core of future marine scientists. Also highly recommended is another title in the Science Comics series, "Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers (9781626721432, $9.99)," by MK Reed and Joe Flood.

The Glorkian Warrior and the Mustache of Destiny
James Kochalka
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626722002 $14.99 pbk/ $9.99 Kindle

The Glorkian Warrior and the Mustache of Destiny is a sci-fi graphic novel especially for children and young adults - yet its bright colors and cheerful appeal will bring out the inner child in every reader. The wacky, mostly multi-eyeballed alien team of Gonk and his Junior-Junior Glorkian Warriors set out to prove themselves real heroes, but their self-appointed task is daunting. How can they help the legendary Glorkian Warrior defeat Quackaboodle the Space God? Will they ever grow up and sport giant mustaches? Award-winning cartoonist James Kochalka brings this rollicking, no-holds-barred adventure to life.

John Patrick Green
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626722002 $17.99

Hippopotamister is a full-color, hardcover graphic novel that will charm children and adult readers alike. The story follows two animals from a run-down, dilapidated zoo who decide to go out and get jobs in the human world. The upbeat, ever-adventurous red panda encourages his hippopotamus friend to become Hippotamister - by wearing human clothes, Hippopotamister can pretend to be a person and pursue a career! From construction work to dentistry to banking, Hippopotamister seems to have many hidden talents... but Red Panda's unbridled enthusiasm falls far short of his actual skill! Will the two of them ever find the right jobs? The final few pages show young readers how to draw Hippopotamister and Red Panda by starting with simple geometric shapes. Easy to read without being excessively simple, Hippopotamister is a delightful adventure, and an excellent transition between picturebooks and chapter books. Hippopotamister is also a great read-aloud storytime book that encourages young people to think about what they want to be when they grow up! Highly recommended, especially for public children's and grade school library collections.

The Math Shelf

Teddy Bear Subtraction
Barbara Barbieri McGrath, author
Tim Nihoff, illustrator
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580894265, $17.95,

"Teddy Bear Subtraction" is a delightful math education book from the McGrath Math series, which introduce simple math concepts such as counting, sets, and subtracting for beginners. Delightful rainbow colored sets of identical teddy bears (like gummy bears) are shown in different posings. First the student learns to sort the bears by colors, calling each group a set. Then they count each set, and also total up the sets together. Following simple instructions in catchy verse, young readers learn to discern which sets are less than others, and which sets are greater than others. Then they learn to write a number sentence, or equation, which tells them 6 - 2 = 4 (blue teddy bears). More examples of subtraction follow, and then kids learn to subtract with the big number on top. They also learn that since the opposite of subtraction is addition, you can check your answer in subtraction by adding your answer to the number you took away. This should equal the number you started with if you subtracted correctly. next the concept of subtracting numbers in two digit columns is explained, along with the concept of borrowing from the next column to the left. In the end, "Teddy Bear Subtraction" teaches the following math concepts: sets, more than, less than, single-digit subtraction, and double digit subtraction. Everything is bright, fun, simple and clear, and the math seems effortless with so much enticing encouragement.

Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem
Jennifer Oxley, author
Billy Aronson, illustrator
Candlewick Entertainment
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763675592, $12.99,

Peg and Cat have just opened a Pizza Place, and they have found many math games and skills are helpful in furthering their business. For example, the three cool Teens who came in one day ordered two and one half pizzas one day. Peg had to have help from Ramone and Mac to explain what half a pizza pie was. Peg and Cat danced and sang as they served the two and a half pizza pies, only to find more customers who needed three and a half more pizzas! Then Zebra Guy and Beethoven came in and ordered two half pizzas, which ended up being one whole pizza. Just when Peg and Cat thought they could take a break from singing and dancing, everyone decided to order seconds! The Teens wanted a half pie to share, while the Three Bears wanted another half pie, and Zebra Guy wanted another half pie, and Beethoven wanted a whole pie. To make matters worse, Mac from the kitchen told Peg he only had enough ingredients to make two and a half more pizzas! At first this caused Peg to freak out, but Cat and Mac persuaded her to calm down and count backward from 5. While counting, Peg realized that maybe they actually had enough ingredients to make all the pizzas ordered. So she counts one half a pie (for the Teens), plus one half a pie (for the Bears), plus one half a pie (for Zebra Guy), plus one whole pie for Beethoven. Amazed, Peg realizes she has a total of two and a half pies ordered. " Woo Hoo! Problem solved!" All the jaunty, funny, colorful illustrations on a background of graph paper add to the math fun of "The Pizza Problem," making reading and math and fractions super fun pastimes for kids.

The Gardening Shelf

Timo's Garden
Victoria Allenby, author
Dean Friffith, illustrator
Pajama Press
181 Carlaw Ave. Suite 207, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4M 2S1
9781927485842, $10.95, HC, 48pp,

At first, the Great, Green Garden Tour sounds like a lot of fun. Before long, though, young rabbit Timo starts to find that it's a lot of pressure. Can he really call his garden "great"? Maybe it needs one little change...or a few... or a lot. Anxious to make his garden measure up, Timo forgets to take time out for anyone else. Luckily, his friends know just how to remind him of the value of being there for others: by being there for him when he needs it most. In musical prose filled with word play and whimsy, Victoria Allenby invites young readers to come along as Timo sets to work with a skip and a song, meets trouble with a sniff and a sigh, and triumphs with a smile that's as bright as the sun. Dean Griffiths' charming illustrations are both classic and fresh, infusing each animal character with personality and life. An ideal addition to school and community library collections, and complete with an illustrated glossary of flowers, this beautifully-designed early reader is very highly recommended for children ages 5 to 8, and in grades 1-3.

Green Bean! Green Bean!
Patricia Thomas, author
Trina L. Hunner, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584695431, $16.95,

"Green Bean! Green Bean!" is a delightful nature education poem to the joy of growing tending, harvesting, and eating a magical green bean! Illustrating the growth cycle of a scarlet runner pole bean from seed packet to harvest in both verse and sun-splashed painting, "Green Bean! Green Bean!" celebrates the life cycle of the humble, common, nutritious, exotic vegetable, the green bean. How many predators hunger for this tasty bite, from its first unfurling leaf to its last sunny day on the vine! All the ways to coax a green bean vine to grow, outwit its early predators and grow, are celebrated in "Green Bean! Green Bean!" Celebrating mystery, proclivity, production, and growth, the life cycle of the green bean becomes a metaphor for life. At the end, further fun facts are round under Life Cycle, Grow Your Own Green Bean, Words to Know and Beans and Seasons. As any good gardener knows, there is always more to be learned about plant life cycles, and about telling green bean's story. Appealing to kids age 3-7, "Green Bean! Green Bean!" is a triumph and a tribute to the adaptability and the versatility of the common green bean.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

On the Shoulder of a Giant
Neil Christopher, author
Jim Nelson, illustrator
Inhabit Media
146A Orchard View Blvd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4R1C3
9781772270020, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Inukpak was big, even for a giant. He loved to walk across the tundra, striding over the widest rivers and wading through the deepest lakes. He could walk across the Arctic in just a few days. But being so big, and traveling so far, Inukpak was often alone. Until one day when he came across a little hunter on the tundra. Thinking that the hunter was a little boy alone on the land, Inukpak decided to adopt him. And so, from the shoulder of one of the biggest giants to ever roam the Arctic, this hunter experiences Inukpak's world. Based on a pan-Arctic Inuit traditional story, "On the Shoulder of a Giant" by Neil Christopher continues is a charming picture book story beautifully illustrated by Jim Nelson of a friendly giant that deftly features some uniquely Arctic elements and scenery. Ideal for children ages 5 to 7, and in grades K-2, "On the Shoulder of a Giant" is a truly exceptional and highly recommended addition to family, school, and community library Folklore/Fairytale picture book collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "On the Shoulder of a Giant" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).

The Picturebook Shelf

The Gift of Time
Missy Balusek, author
Natalia Elmore, illustrator
Belle Isle Books
c/o Brandylane Publishers, Inc.
9781939930613 $18.95

The Gift of Time is a colorful picturebook with a positive message for young children. Time is a gift, and so is life; to enjoy and live in the moment is a blessing. "So be happy, rejoice, and live for today! Give yourself the gift of time, in your own special way." Uplifting color illustrations complement the gentle text, in this inspirational read-aloud book. The Gift of Time book works well as either a bedtime story or a motivational story!

The Legend of Sea Glass
Trinka Hakes Noble, author
Doris Ettlinger, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585366118 $17.99

The Legend of Sea Glass is a fantastic picturebook that invents a mythology behind "sea glass", brightly colored pieces of glass commonly found on beaches adjacent to bodies of salt water. In this story, mermaids dedicate themselves to saving the lives of humans lost at sea; but sometimes the tempestuous, raging waters are so cruel that even a mermaid's mercy is not enough. A note of wistful tragedy permeates this thoughtful storybook, brought to life with beautiful color illustrations.

Too Many Tomatoes
Eric Ode, author
Kent Culotta, illustrator
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
4901 Morena Blvd, Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781610674003 $11.99

Too Many Tomatoes is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young boy who helps his grandparents harvest and distribute tomatoes from their garden. The silly, singsong verses lend themselves well to read-aloud storytime! "Bursting from barrels / and buckets and pails, / over the rooftop, / and over the rails. // A holler, a dollar, / a nickel, a penny; / sing me a song of / tomatoes too many." The simple yet charming color artwork adds just the right touch to this exuberantly playful storybook.

Sand Dune Daisy
Lili DeBarbieri, author
M. Fred Barazza, illustrator
Westcliffe Publishers
c/o Big Earth Publishing
3005 Center Green Drive, Suite 225, Boulder, CO 80301
9781565796652, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

"Sand Dune Daisy", is a picturebook collaboration by travel author Lili DeBarbieri and is illustrated throughout by award-winning artist Fred Barraza. Offering young readers a magical blend of art, high adventure, and natural history, "Sand Dune Daisy" is the charming story of Daisy who is a playful, young pocket mouse who must navigate her way through a challenging environment meeting a colorful cast of desert characters and conditions along the way. DeBarbieri's deftly written and engaging narrative takes young readers on an action-packed journey through this dune locale with charismatic desert wildlife and ecology. "Sand Dune Daisy" is inspired by the real but little known wonderland that is the sand dunes of the American Southwest, igniting wonder for the natural world in children of all ages. An attractive, appealing, delightful, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' read from beginning to end, "Sand Dune Daisy" will prove to be an especially popular addition to family, school, and community library collections for children.

The Secret Path
Nancy Gee, author
Kathleen Newman, illustrator
Ampersand, Inc
1030 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois 60610
9780996252546, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

Flying squirrels, Al and Sal, who were first introduced in Nancy Gee's charming tale, "The Secret Drawer", have now decided to return home with their friends to share their special news with Maddie and Kitty. Along the way Sal becomes dangerously trapped and determines that only Kitty can come to her rescue. Written in rhyme, the story ends on a happy note when good news is announced. Very highly recommended for family, school, and community library children's books collections, "The Secret Path" is another wonderfully entertaining story for young readers from the pen of Nancy Gee.

My Baby Crocodile
Gaetan Doremus
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701926, $18.95, HC, 56pp,

Told from two different perspectives, "My Little Crocodile", a children's picture book deftly written and impressively drawn by Gaetan Doremus, is about a chance meeting between a crocodile and what he believes to be a "baby crocodile". This meeting profoundly changes their lives, which then continue along their own individual paths, though the bonds of love and intimacy remain. This original and entertaining story plays with ideas about the relationship between parent and child as well as with those about how deeply chance and the choices we make affect us throughout our lives. "My Baby Crocodile" is especially recommended for children 4 to 8, as well as for preschool, elementary school and community library picture book collections.

Nut and Bolt
Nicole de Cock
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9781554553648, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Written and illustrated by Nicole de Cock, and translated into English by Margriet Ruurs, "Nut and Bolt" is the story of Nut the mouse and Bolt the donkey who are the very best of friends. And that is why they will do anything for each other. At least, Nut does everything for Bolt. But does Bolt do things for his friend as well? A truly beautifully illustrated and utterly charming tale about a touching friendship in which not everything needs to be in complete balance, "Nut and Bolt" is enthusiastically recommended for children ages 3 to 5. Original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, content, and presentation, "Nut and Bolt" is a strongly commended addition for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Lizbeth Lou Got a Rock in Her Shoe
Troy Howell, author
Kathryn Carr, illustrator
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 86740, Portland, OR 97286
9780991386659, $17.99,

"Lizbeth Lou Got a Rock in Her Shoe" is a charming, singsong verse story that is entirely illuminated by hand-cut paper silhouettes scenes in shades of sepia, brown, and ivory. The dancing lyrical narrative traces the trajectory of a rock, which is flung by Lizbeth Lou, when found in her shoe, where it just would not do, to where it crashed into a cricket's canoe! The exciting odyssey of the stone becomes the exciting matter of the verse song, and the haunting sepia silhouettes chorus and echo the refrains until the ending comes full circle, with a familiar twist that is both surprising and inevitable. "Lizbeth Lou Got a Rock in Her Shoe" is loosely based on the revolutionary notion that what goes around comes around. This message is subtly reinforced by the creative cut paper silhouette scenes in serene sepia shades.

Annie's Plaid Shirt
Stacy B. Davids, author
Rachael Balsaitis, illustrator
Upswing Press
9780692512456, $16.95,

"Annie's Plaid Shirt" is a child's story about individual dressing style choices, and one girl's struggle to be herself. Annie was happiest when she wore her favorite plaid shirt. She felt weird in dresses. When her Mom decided she needed to wear a dress to a wedding, she felt very unhappy. Even her brother Albert took pity on her and asked her Mom why she had to wear a dress. Her answer was, "Little girls always wear dresses to weddings." But Albert and Annie had a different idea. When the time came to dress up for the wedding, Annie appeared in a beautiful white suit, with her red plaid shirt! For four to eight year old readers, the message, it is OK to be yourself, even if it's different! Written by a clinical psychologist, "Annie's Plaid Shirt" deals with cross gender dressing and identification in a positive and creative way, teaching tolerance and celebration of differences.

Go Home Bay
Susan Vande Griek, author
Pascal Milelli, illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781554987016, $18.95,

"Go Home Bay" is an inspirational story of a young girl who is taught to paint by famous Canadian Artist, Tom Thomson. Written in shimmering, lyrical verse, and filled with sunlit paintings of ocean bay scenes in shadow and light, a mix of styles and colors, "Go Home Bay" is a joy to read and absorb visually and audibly. Based on actual events that happened on Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada, the summer of 1914, "Go Home Bay" is a lyric narrative of the summer painting lessons given by famous Canadian artist and naturalist, Tom Thomson, to Helen MacCallum, ten-year-old daughter of Dr. James MacCallum, Toronto ophthalmologist, during a summer guest visit to his cottage at Go Home Bay. Tom Thomson painted many scenes of the Canadian natural world using rich color and thick paint to achieve a vivid painting style. The illustrations of "Go Home Bay" may mirror elements of this distinctive painting style, with slabs of fabulous color and light expressing many beautiful scenes on Go Home Bay. One of the loveliest pages shows a canoeist on a jewel-lit bay at sunset, paddling with a loon. On the facing page are these words: "I look out from the dock at the sun-end of day, as Tom the canoeist paddles out and about, dip, dribble, glide, on a now so-calm bay. He's at home with the call of the loon, alone with the rose-blue sky. " Contrasting with the rainbow colored painting is the small sepia and white sketch of a girl standing out on the dock, watching. This exemplifies the artful, touching treasures of each page of "Go Home Bay," a treat not to be missed by lovers of art, nature, poetry, and beauty of all kinds.

The House That Zack Built
Alison Murray, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover St., Somerville, MA 02144
9780763678449, $16.99,

"The House That Zack Built" is a modern reinterpretation of a favorite old nursery rhyme, with a fun new twist ending. Jauntily decorated with perky pastel images of Zack and all the farm animals and scenes, "The House That Zack Built" has a combo effect of combining the old with the new, with refreshing humor and surprises, shown in slightly retro illustration style. The effect is both soothing and invigorating, like a cup of proper tea. The surprise ending comes after the cat, the fly, and all the farm animals have conspired to make a chaotic mess of the barnyard. It is a case of Zack to the rescue: "But Zack was smart; he knew what to do. He patted the dog who was trusty and true. He collected more cream from Daisy and then...he herded the lambs back into their pen. With the cat in his arms and the farm like new.... he took a deep breath and BLEW! Off buzzed the fly, "Meow" went the cat, "Woof" went the dog, and down they all sat... and gazed amazed at the house that Zack Built". Reading "The House That Zack Built" with a child will be a refreshing blend of the old and the new for both adult and child, reinventing and reanimating a classic story verse form for a new generation of young readers.

The Bear and the Piano
David Litchfield, author/illustrator
Clarion Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
3 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9780544674547, $16.99,

"The Bear and the Piano" is a touching story, beautifully illustrated, of a bear who came to love playing a piano for his bear friends in the woods. Eventually the bear's special talent was discovered by people, and he decided to explore music performance on the great glittering stage in the big city. The bear was a huge success. But finally, he felt something was missing. He returned to his forest, seeking his bear fans and friends, wondering if they had forgotten him, or perhaps not forgiven him for chasing his dream. What he finds in the forest is a joyful surprise that will warm the hearts of all readers young and old. "The Bear and the Piano" is a wonderful life lesson for kids of all ages.

Hammer and Nails
Josh Bledsoe, author
Jessica Warrick, illustrator
Flashlight Press
327 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781936261369, $17.95,

"Hammer and Nails" is a lighthearted bow to Father/Daughter days and lasting memories of fabulous fun with reaching towards each other's worlds. Darcy began her day with grave disappointment because her playdate plans with her best friend were canceled due to illness. Daddy overheard Darcy's disappointment and offered a creative alternative: Why not combine their to-do lists and take turns doing things from each other's lists until everything gets done? Comedy abounds as this loving father and daughter take steps into each other's favorite activities and guess what? Both of them end up having a wonderful day! Kids will laugh at Daddy in a tutu, carefully mowing the lawn to say DARCY. It is her castle, after all. The best thing of all is, both Darcy and Daddy try out each other's ideas and have fun learning together. Doing laundry becomes a brave sock battle, and dancing to celebrate is hilarious for both! Darcy even tackles pounding nails on the board fence, and Daddy actually achieved a classy, fancy manicure and pedicure, with Lime-a-Bean Green for Darcy's nails and Lumberjack Black for Daddy's nails. In the end, Darcy thanks her dad for Darcy-Daddy Day, and they sincerely complement one another on their new found skills! "Hammer and Nails!" is great entertainment and also great modeling for dads and daughters who just might enjoy hanging out together.

Always Remember
Cece Meng, author
Jago Silver, illustrator
Philomel Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399168093, $17.99,

"Always Remember" is a very moving, serene tribute to the quiet passing of Old Turtle, with beautiful pictures of all the animals who knew him and remembered him. The young sea turtles remembered how he taught them to swim, and they would always remember. The humpback whale remembered how Old Turtle had been a good friend and sea companion to her when she became separated from her pod. The humpback whale would always remember. The sea otters remembered how Old Turtle loved to have fun with them, diving and playing. The sea otters would always remember. The dolphins remembered how Old Turtle bravely explored deep dark waters to discover secret jewels to show them. The dolphins would always remember. The starfish too, would always remember how Old Turtle found her after she was torn from her rock in a terrible storm and carried her safely home. The manatee and all his children would always remember how Old Turtle rescued him from a tangled fishing net, snipping and pulling until he was free. Each sea creature's portrait shows a different side to Old Turtle, on his very last day when he swam his last swim and took his last breath. The stunning, moving art work expresses the serene values of this tribute to the life of Old Turtle. The ending returns full circle, in perfect harmony: "He was a wonderful teacher and friend. He loved to laugh and have fun. He explored the unknown and discovered great things. He showed kindness and strength. And he made his world a better place. When he was done, the ocean took him back. But what he left behind was only the beginning." "Always Remember" is a perfect, balanced marriage of art and narrative; both are spectacular and unique.

When You Give an Imp a Penny
Henry, Josh and Harrison Herz
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455621446, $16.99,

When You Give an Imp a Penny is illustrated by Abigail Larson and is a fine recommendation for any young reader who enjoys monsters. With a nod to Laura Numeroff (author of When You Give a Moose a Muffin and others), the story of what happens when an imp is presented with money makes for a whimsical, magic-filled tale of mishap. After all, when a magical imp is involved - what could go wrong?

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Camilla Kuhn's Samira and the Skeletons (9780802854636, $16.00) tells what happens when Samira learns about the skeletal system, begins to imagine everyone around her as a walking skeleton, and begins avoiding her classmates and even her best friend when she can't stop her visions from becoming spooky interferences in her life. What's the problem with a skeleton? Plenty of gruesome thoughts enter Samira's mind, but there's one she just can't escape. Good reading skills will help kids relish this unpredictable story. Danny Parker and Matt Ottley's Parachute (9780802854698, $16.00) tells of a boy who always wears a parachute. It's so handy for so many things, from daily rituals to facing danger - but what happens when the parachute can't solve a problem? Both are unusual and fun stories that stand out from the average picture book leisure reader with unusual stories and fun drawings.

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Nicola Davies' I Don't Like Snakes (9780763678319, $15.99) receives fun drawings by Luciano Lozano as it explores a little girl's fear of snakes. There are many reasons why she doesn't like snakes - even though her family has snakes and loves them. As the story evolves, the little girl's reasons for disliking snakes ("Because they slither!") turns into a gentle natural history education about the nature of snakes and their activities. But can her mind be changed, even with a little more knowledge? A fun series of encounters stretches her imagination and confronts her fears. Jane Yolen's The Stranded Whale (9780763669539, $15.99) receives gorgeous drawings by Melanie Cataldo as it explores a Maine family who comes upon a giant whale stranded on the beach. How can they rescue it? Good reading skills or parental assistance will lend a special appreciation to the story of a family and a whale's dilemmas. Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson's Owl Babies (9780763679613, $6.99) is a board book pick for ages 0-3 and deserves ongoing recommendation as a classic bedtime read-aloud choice for the very young. The story of three baby owls who find themselves alone makes for a special story of fear and love as the owlets contemplate a life without their mother and huddle together for comfort, awaiting her return. The illustrations are simply gorgeous, with bright colors and engaging owl drawings. Anthony Browne's Willy's Stories (9780763677619, $16.99) tells of a young monkey named Willy who uncovers a new adventure every time he goes through new doors. From being shipwrecked on an island and coming across a mysterious footprint in the sand to an encounter with Friar Tuck in the countryside, kids are invited to consider 'what happens next' in a series of one-page adventures that require good reading skills and encourage much contemplation. The result is a fun read that does more than dish out stories: it encourages kids to think about possibilities as they read. Penny Dale's Dinosaur Rocket! (9780763679996, $15.99) presents a group of prehistoric friends who decide to board a dinosaur rocket to journey into space and visit the moon. The fun drawings accompany a zany, appealing story line as the dinos whiz around in dinosaur buggies and countdown to a launch, and each easy episode is accompanied by sound effects kids can emulate as parents read the fun story aloud. Shirley Parenteau's Bears in a Band (97807636811470, $15.99) enjoys fun drawings by David Walker as it provides the simple story of music making little bears who enjoy noisy music. They don't care about accuracy, and they even don't care about making too much noise and waking the sleeping bear. A fun story evolves, perfect for noise-making read-alouds. Mark and Rwan Sommerset's Baa Baa Smart Sheep (9780763680664, $14.00) tells of a bored little sheep who can't resist the lure of Quirky Turkey, who offers up a peck of trouble and too much fun. When ubiquitous 'smarty tablets' enter the picture, a discussion questions whether they can really improve life in this hilarious story. Sue Whiting's Platypus (9780763680985, $16.99) adopts the storytelling form of fiction but includes all the facts about the platypus, enjoying lovely realistic drawings by Mark Jackson as it explores the nature and habitat of the platypus. From what threatens him to how he navigates his environment, kids will relish the fine story of a platypus exploring his world. Martin Jenkins' Fabulous Frogs (9780763681005, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Tim Hopgood as it surveys the stranger frogs of the world. A lively narrative embraces the dramatic nuances of fiction as it presents a series of lively, fun frog facts kids will love. These are exceptional picture books, highly recommended for any interested in animal and nature stores.

Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Susan Ross' Kiki and Jacques (9780823434275, $16.95) tells of a preteen's difficult life: after his mother dies, his father is jobless and drinking again and an older boy is pressuring him to do something illegal and dangerous. Jacques looks forward to the start of soccer season, but when Somali refugees change everything in his world, including his beloved soccer team, Jacques finds little to hold on to. Add a touch of romance into his middle school adventures and you have a story that is winningly unpredictable, telling of what happens when two very different cultures collide and when two lonely individuals discover they might have something in common. Madelyn Rosenberg's Nanny Returns (9780823435333, $16.95) provides middle grade readers with a fun story of one Nanny X, an agent for Nanny Action Patrol who takes three young charges on a whirlwind of action when she investigates a threat to the national treasures of the United States. Add pacifier stink bombs and ruses that involve the children in fun subterfuge and escapades for a hilariously funny middle grade read that will intrigue any fascinated by Encyclopedia Brown, Mary Poppins, and other whimsical investigators.

Simon and Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020

Doreen Cronin and David Small's Bloom (9781462406209, $17.99) comes from a best-selling author and a Caldecott Medal-winner who tell of an ordinary girl who saves a kingdom with few resources. Ages 3-6 will appreciate a saga in which an endangered castle is saved under the most unlikely of efforts. Good reading skills or parental assistance will lend to enjoyment of this warm story of courage and achievement. The Fan Brothers' The Night Gardener (9781481439787, $17.99) presents events that take place in Grimloch Lane, where William looks out his window to an amazing discovery: a transformation that has taken place overnight. What will happen the following morning? As wonders expand, the mystery of their origins remains in this easy reader. Both are fine stories with unusual twists young readers won't quickly anticipate.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Battle for the Throne
E. J. Willis
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781515243199, $12.99, PB, 248pp,

The sword quivers in Alaina's hand. With one final stroke she can slay the gladiator, win back her freedom ... and lose the trust of her people forever. The Kingdom of Falyncia is caught in a war between a guardian spirit and a powerful demon. Alaina barely escapes with her life, yet she vows to one day claim the throne. When she finally returns home, the enemy has her in his grasp. Now she must choose between freedom and staying true to her people. If she fails to kill the gladiator, torture awaits. Can she find the courage to face it? Or will the demon triumph again? The first volume of the new 'Tales from Falyncia' series by E. J. Willis, "Battle for the Throne " is a deftly written and impressively, consistently entertaining read that will leave its readers looking eagerly toward the next volume in this outstanding series. Very highly recommended for community library YA Fiction fantasy fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Battle for the Throne" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Worlds Traveler
M. L. Roble
Privately Published
PO Box 165, La Fox, IL 60147
9780988421349, $13.99, PB, 260pp,

Life on the run from madman Martin Reimer gets in the way of everything for 14 year old Phillip. It has meant having to stay hidden, unable to use Phillip's gift of moving through maps to search for his missing father. But the arrival of a stranger named Delroy brings unexpected opportunity, for Delroy is a man with the ability to travel worlds hidden within our own, and he was sent by Phillip's father. Now Phillip will do everything he can to find his dad, even if it means tricking Delroy into helping him, or a quest through those hidden worlds. Even if leaving home means Martin can now find him. "The Worlds Traveler" is the sequel to author M. L. Roble's outstanding and award-winning novel "The Magician's Doll". (9780988421318, $13.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle, 318pp). Very highly recommended for school and community library Science Fiction collections for young readers, it should be noted that like the first volume in M. L. Roble's series 'The Hidden Gifted', "The Worlds Traveler" is also available for personal reading lists in a Kindle format ($3.99).

Gifts of the Crysnix
Lisa G. Shore
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781504339674, $33.95, HC, 226pp,

Beautiful creatures from a parallel universe watch over the humans in a small seaside town. A breathtaking new world-so perfect, so enchanting that we want to believe-unfolds as we witness the journey of new friends, who lead us toward our own personal triumphs. They have harnessed the power to bend time and grant wishes. "Elixir will do just fine," Marsuveus said with conviction. "He doesn't know it yet but he has tremendous power behind him. He is fulfilling his destiny." At that moment, the storm hit full force, and the animals and Crysnix cowered for cover. The hurricane whipped and tore at Galvin Cove and shredded the young trees of Castle Forest. It seemed it was only a matter of time before the Dark Prince Onyx would win. The king flew above them all on the back of Marsuveus and shouted to the expectant faces below. "Take heart! Remember our strategy! Fight the fear! Fight the fear!" All it takes is the will to believe. "Gifts of the Crysnix" is a wonderfully entertaining and original story that will have for young readers an immense appeal to their imagination and sense of wonder. Very highly recommended for school and community library fantasy collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Gifts of the Crysnix" is also available in a paperback edition (9781504339650, $16.99) and in a Kindle format ($4.99).

The Vampire Book of the Month Club
Rusty Fischer
Medallion Press, Inc.
c/o Medallion Media Group
100 South Rivers Street, Aurora, IL 60506
9781942546382, $9.99, PB, 312pp,

At the age of seventeen, Nora Falcon is already a best-selling author of vampire lit, with fans lining up around the block to read the next installment of her Better off Bled series. So it might seem like she's something special. But at the Nightshade Preparatory Academy for Exemplary Boys and Girls in Beverly Hills, Nora is just another student. One day a handsome stranger shows up at one of Nora's book signings. Reece Rothchild is not only tall, dark, and handsome -- he's downright irresistible, and he has recently transferred to Nightshade Academy. But Reece is not just eye candy: he's an actual vampire who wants Nora to write a book specifically for vampires -- and he's very persistent. So persistent that he kidnaps Nora's friends to get her to comply. Nora is torn. If she does what Reece wants, thousands of vampires will converge on an unsuspecting town and use its inhabitants as a human snack bar. If she doesn't, her friends will die. Now Nora must find a way to defeat Reece and save her friends -- all while juggling a full course load! A terrifically entertaining and deftly crafted read from beginning to end, "The Vampire Book of the Month Club" once again demonstrates author Rusty Fischer's total mastery of the fantasy genre for teenage readers who appreciate an original and superbly written vampire fantasy. Very highly recommended for school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers ages 12 to 17, it should be noted that "The Vampire Book of the Month Club" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).

Future Shock
Elizabeth Briggs
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
9780807526828, $16.99, HC, 272pp,

Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life -- or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporation selects her for a top-secret project, she can't say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future to bring back data, and she'll be set for life. Elena joins a team of four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy with his own reason for being there. But when the time travelers arrive in the future, something goes wrong and they break the only rule they were given: do not look into their own fates. Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future from unfolding. With time running out and deadly secrets uncovered, Elena must use her eidetic memory, street smarts, and a growing trust in Adam to save her new friends and herself. A riveting page-turner of a read from beginning to end, "Future Shock" clearly establishes author Elizabeth Briggs as an impressively gifted writer who will leave her readers looking eagerly toward her next novel. While "Future Shock" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to high school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

The Secret of the Kelpie
Lari Don, author
Philip Longson, illustrator
Picture Kelpies
c/o Floris Books
2a Robertson Avenue, Edinburgh EH11 1PZ, UK
9781782502531, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

In Scotland, a young girl named Flora is playing with her brothers and sisters by the loch when she notices a stunning white horse. While her siblings clamor for a chance to ride the beautiful animal, Flora is worried. Where has this strange horse come from? Why are its hoof prints wet? Too late Flora realizes this is no horse! It's a kelpie: a shape-shifting water horse from Scottish folklore known to steal children. Can Flora reveal the secret of the kelpie in time to save her family? "The Secret of the Kelpie" is a classic tale of the kelpie that is wonderfully and beautifully retold for children ages 4-7 in this gripping adaptation by renowned Scottish children's author and storyteller Lari Don, and enhanced with the breathtaking illustrations by artist Philip Longson. Very highly recommended for school and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Secret of the Kelpie" is also available in a paperback edition (9781782502524, $5.05).

In the Forest
Art Collins
A&J Publishing
c/o Strauss Consultants
355 Lexington Avenue, 8th floor, NY, NY 10017
9781943346066, $19.99 HC, $7.99 PB, $7.95 Kindle, 150pp,

When two young brothers, Archibald and Jockabeb, find and old leather map hidden in the forest just beyond their backyard, they can't help but sneak out one night to follow its path. So begins the first of the boys' amazing adventures. After a terrifying encounter with supernatural creatures, the boys meet a young Indian brave, Haktu, who shares with them the tragic story of how he was separated from his tribe and placed under an evil spell. The saga leads the two boys into Haktu's secret world behind the forest mist, the power of the blue feather, and teaches them the importance of friendship and loyalty in the face of untold evil. Very highly recommended for school and community library fiction collections for children, "In The Forest" is the first of a nine-volume series relating the adventures of Archibald and Jockabeb and will leave young readers looking eagerly toward the next two titles: "In The Mountains" (9781943346073, $18.99 HC, $7.99 PB, $7.95 Kindle) and "In The Amazon" (9781943346088, $18.99 HC, $7.99 PB, $7.95 Kindle).

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Jo Franklin's I'm an Alien and I Want to Go Home (9780544442955, $16.99) tells of Daniel Kendal, who knows his an alien because he doesn't look like anyone else in his family, and his sister has made an accusation. In fact, he has nothing in common with the human world, it seems - only a few friends, and proof of his otherworldly origins in a news clipping his mother saved about a meteor that landed nearby when he was born. All he has to do is identify his home planet and get back home. All? A fun story of aliens, differences, and fitting in emerges. Linda Urban's Millo Speck: Accidental Agent (9780544419513, $16.99) follows Millo's Ogregon adventure where he faces ogres, giant turkeys, kidnappings, and worlds where it doesn't pay to be small. Milo is a tiny boy in a big world filled with danger, and it doesn't look like he's getting any bigger - so what can he do about it? A fun and zany story emerges to delight advanced elementary readers with more than a touch of magic.

Crown/Knopf/Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019

Jordan Stratford's The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency (9780385754446, $16.99) continues with Book Two in the series, The Case of the Girl in Grey, and outlines what happens when a terrible hospital, a missing will, and a ghostly girl come together to link two very different cases under one deadly umbrella. Kelly Murphy's black and white art peppers a riveting mystery recommended for advanced elementary to middle school readers in a story line that is hard to predict and filled with intriguing moments. Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder's A Dragon's Guide to Making Your Human Smarter (9780385392327, $16.99) tells of a three-thousand-year-old dragon who has arranged to send her pet Winnie to a special school to learn about magic. Winnie is excited about magic class and is making new friends, but when a plot emerges to threaten her world, it's up to dragon Miss Drake to come to the rescue, even though they are both already work as an important team. Kids who relish dragon stories will love this hilarious and intriguing adventure. Raymond Arroyo's Will Wilder: The Relic of Perilous Falls (9780553539592, $16.99) tells of a boy's special gift, a dangerous decision that leads him to fall into an old prophecy, and the lure of ancient relics holding their own deadly powers. Will's decision to borrow a relic leads to disaster and releases powers that threaten everything: can he put the genie back into the bottle, or will evil take over his world? An engrossing story of a pre-teen empowered with talents he can't quite control makes for an engrossing fantasy saga.

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

Crime Biters! My Dog is Better Than Your Dog (9780545773324, $12.99) by Tommy Greenwald seems to cover all the bases by blending crime fighting, vampires, dogs, uncertain friendships with girls, and evil masterminds, pairing all with more than a light dose of humor throughout. Kids who enjoy detective and crime-busting stories will relish this saga, which holds all the elements for a rollicking good read. Laura Resau's The Lightning Queen (9780545800846, $16.99) is set in the remote mountains of Mexico where there is no plumbing, electricity, cars, or civilization. Without his family around him, pre-teen Teo feels even more isolated, until a mysterious colorful girl Esma rolls into town and predicts that they will become friends. Together the two embark on a journey that involves family relationships and discoveries, introducing a magical new form of adventure to Teo's life and opening his world. Middle school teens and older will find this a captivating dance of discovery. Sarah Mlkynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins' Upside Down Magic (9780545800457, $14.99) tells of a magic academy and what happens when magic becomes turned upside down in public school. Magic gone awry can be unpredictable and unconventional lesson plans involve students in the worst of magical blunders in this hilarious story about magical misfits who search for new ways of making magic work for them. Jaleigh Johnson's The Secrets of Solace (9780385376488, $16.99) takes place in the same setting as the authors previous The Mark of the Dragonfly, but requires no prior familiarity in order to prove appealing. Lina lives in the mountains of Solace as an apprentice to the wise men and women dedicated to cataloging and studying the mysterious objects that fall from the sky into the towns. Slated to be a scholar, Linda finds her life changed by the Iron War, which has made her mountain home a refuge, and she spends her time exploring her home where she discovers a long-forgotten secret that could change all their lives, and a mysterious boy who has an even more dangerous secret. This powerful story is compelling and hard to put down and highly recommended for advanced teen readers.

The ABC Shelf

Can You Find? An ABC Book
Sindy McKay, author
Matt Loveridge, illustrator
Treasure Bay Books
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9781601152794, $9.95, 44pp,

"Can You Find?" is an exciting new early literacy ABC book from the We Both Read popular educational series. As with all books of this series, "Can You Find?" encourages shared, interactive reading between parent/adult and child. Each letter of the alphabet is demonstrated in an alliterative sentence using words beginning with the letter. For example, "Alvin admires acting," is displayed beneath a two page illustration of an alligator with antlers accompanied by an astronaut juggling apples and an aardvark playing an accordion, beneath an anchor, while a shadowy audience watches. In the stage foreground, a parade of ants argue and carry an injured ant on a stretcher to an Ant Ambulance. Big and little letter Aa's abound and the child is asked to find things in the picture that have the same beginning sound as Alvin, as well as to identify letter A's hidden in the picture. The amusing antics of the A page characters make it an irresistible task to examine the page and discover all the words beginning with "A." "Can You Find?" is a joyous ABC adventure to be shared between parent and level K reader children. Of course this reviewer's favorite page and letter were N: "Nancy needs napkins," with a very funny illustration of a newt nurse cracking nuts, while another newt naps, dozing over the Nantucket Times, a third newt eats noodles and a fourth newt messily eats nachos, ignoring napkins, underneath a portrait of a nose, a nest, and a nickel. "Can You Find?" is a delightful ABC adventure for parents and young children, that makes learning literacy activities fun and memorable. Another highly recommended book in the 'We Both Read Pre-K level series is "How Many? A Counting Book " (9781601152916, $9.95).

The Fiction Shelf

Character Driven
David Lubar
Tor Teen
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765316332, $17.99,

Character Driven tells of Cliff Sparks, who has only one more year left of high school and who wants to make the most of it by finding a girlfriend - even if it's a new girl he's too shy to approach. But there are more decisions looming than romance: he's on the cusp of becoming a young adult and leaving home but still has to make decisions about what he wants to do with his life. How can he be ready to enter the world when he has no clue how to live? A powerful coming of age story melds many themes and choices in an engrossing read highly recommended for teens.

Primeval Origins: Light of Honor
Brett Vonsik
Celestial Fury Publishing
9780578172569, $33.95, HC, 292pp,

"Primeval Origins" is an epic series telling of mankind's origins and heroic struggles in a world of good and evil. The second volume in this outstanding series, "Primeval Origins: Light of Honor" is the story of a young warrior named Rogaan, the paleontologist Nikki, and their companions, as they all come of age in hostile lands surviving ancient beasts and tyrannical forces. In richly detailed worlds both past and "Primeval Origins: Light of Honor" is a story with richly detailed characters who intersect with modern day mankind in their final days of the fifth civilization which is our own not so distant future. An absorbing read throughout, "Primeval Origins: Light of Honor" is an original science fiction story that is highly recommended for highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. Loaded with news, the Primeval Origins Encyclopedia and Lexicon (all the background elements that you just can't stuff into the books) enthusiastic readers will want to visit the Primeval Origins website at, and For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Primeval Origins: Light of Honor" is also available in a paperback edition (9780578172552, $18.95) and in a Kindle format ($9.99).

May's Moon
S. Y. Palmer
Our Street Books
John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach, Alresford, Hants, SO24 9JH, UK
9781782797807, $11.95, PB, 184pp,

Beating thousands of others, the geeky boy they call 'Micky Moon' at home, is one of ten children from around the world accepted onto the 'Children's Moon Program' in Florida. If he can survive the g-force of a space-shuttle launch, overcome his secret fear of water and pass the other battery of tests, he could win a place on the next mission to the moon! "May's Moon" by experienced children's author S. Y. Palmer is a terrifically entertaining read that will have a special attraction for young boys ages 9 to 12. Very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "May's Moon" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).

250 Hours
Colleen Nelson
Coteau Books
2517 Victoria Avenue, Regina, SK, Canada, S4P 0T2
9781550506419, $12.95, PB, 200pp,

Jess and Sara Jean couldn't be more different. He's a loner with a criminal record, a Metis raised on the reserve, the son of a residential-school survivor. She's from nearby Edelburg, a conservative small town. Abandoned by her mother, Sara Jean cares for her obese grandmother and writes to escape. When Jess is found guilty of arson, he's ordered to complete 250 hours of community service, starting with Sara Jean's neglected garage. Sorting through boxes left by her grandfather, they discover that the secrets keeping their communities apart are the very things that will bring them together. "250 Houses" is an inherently absorbing and fully entertaining read from beginning to end. Showcasing author Colleen Nelson's substantial skills as a novelist, "250 Hours" is very highly recommended for highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "250 Hours" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.23).

Beatrice Bunson's Guide to Romeo and Juliet
Paula Marantz Cohen
Paul Dry Books
1700 Sansom Street, Suite 700, Philadelphia, PA 19103-5214
9781589881051, $11.95, PB, 200pp,

High school begins, and to Beatrice Bunson nothing is the same, not even her best friend, Nan. The "new" Nan doesn't hang out with Bea; she's running for Student Council and going to parties and avoiding Bea at lunchtime. The boys who were gross in middle school have become surprisingly polite, while the "cool" kids are still a mystery. Bea's older sister, meanwhile, acts like she's living in a soap opera. On the bright side, there's English class with Mr. Martin, where Beatrice discovers that Shakespeare has something to say about almost everything -- and that nothing in life is as dramatic as Romeo and Juliet. But when Nan gets in over her head in her new social life, it's up to Beatrice to restore her reputation - and she may need to make a few new friends to pull it off. One of them, the slightly brainy guy that Beatrice meets at her grandmother's retirement home, is definitely kind of cute, and probably dateable. (Fortunately, nothing is the same in high school.) As Beatrice and her classmates tackle Romeo and Juliet, they unveil the subtleties of the play as well as broader lessons of love, family, honor, and misunderstandings. Guided by Mr. Martin, these ninth-graders help us to understand Shakespeare, as Shakespeare helps them begin to understand themselves. A deftly crafted novel that will prove to be a riveting read from beginning to end, "Beatrice Bunson's Guide to Romeo and Juliet" by Paula Marantz Cohen is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to both high school and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Beatrice Bunson's Guide to Romeo and Juliet" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.52).

Little White Lies
Brianna Baker & F. Bowman Hastie III
Soho Teen
c/o Soho Press
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
9781616955151, $18.99, HC, 272pp,

Seventeen-year-old honors student Coretta White's Tumblr: Little White Lies (her witty thoughts on pretty much everything) has gone viral. She's got hundreds of thousands of followers; she's even been offered a TV deal. But Coretta has a secret. She hasn't been writing all her own posts. Stressed from the demands of the sudden attention, she hired an expert ghostwriter, forty-one-year-old Karl Ristoff, to keep the Tumblr going. Now consumed with guilt, she confesses. Almost instantly, she suffers a public humiliation. The TV deal disappears. Her boyfriend breaks up with her. Then Karl is thrust into the limelight, only to suffer a dramatic fall himself. Together, they vow to find out who is responsible for ruining both of their lives, and why. But in order to exact justice and a wicked revenge, they must first come clean with each other. "Little White Lies" is a compelling read based on an all too real possibility in today's teen world of social media. The collaborative work of Brianna Baker and Bowman Hastie, "Little White Lies" is very highly recommended for highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Little White Lies" is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

A Single Bead
Stephanie Engelman
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
9780819890542, $19.95, PB, 208pp,

On the anniversary of the plane crash that took the life of her beloved grandmother and threw her own mother into a deep depression, 16-year-old Katelyn Marie Roberts discovers a single bead from her grandmothers rosary-a rosary lost in the crash. A chance encounter with a stranger, who tells Katelyn that a similar bead saved her friends life, launches Katelyn and her family on a mysterious journey filled with glimmers of hope, mystical events and unexplained graces. "A Single Bead" by Stephanie Engelman is an absorbing, deftly crafted and wonderfully entertaining read from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for both highschool and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Single Bead" is also available in a Kindle edition ($12.30).

Girl Last Seen
Heather Anastasiu & Anne Greenwood Brown
AW Teen
c/o Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
9780807581407, $16.99, HC, 272pp,

Kadence Mulligan's star was rising. She and her best friend, Lauren DeSanto, watched their songs go viral on YouTube, then she launched a solo career when a nasty throat infection paralyzed Lauren's vocal chords. Everyone knows Lauren and Kadence had a major falling-out over Kady's boyfriend. But Lauren knows how deceptive Kadence could be sometimes. And nobody believes Lauren when she claims she had nothing to do with the disappearance. Or the blood evidence... As the town and local media condemns Lauren, she realizes the only way to clear her name is to discover the truth herself. Lauren slowly unravels the twisted life of Kadence Mulligan and sees that there was more to her than she ever knew. But will she realize she's unknowingly playing a part in an elaborate game to cover up a crime before it's too late? "Girl Last Seen" is a terrifically riveting read from beginning to end and very highly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Girl Last Seen" is also available in a paperback edition (9780807581414, $9.99) and in a Kindle format ($7.99).

The Holiday Shelf

The Midsummer Tomte and the Little Rabbits
Ulf Stark & Eva Eriksson
Floris Books
2a Robertson Avenue, Edinburgh EH11 1PZ, UK
9781782502449, $24.95, HC, 120pp,

It's summer in the forest and the rabbit children are looking forward to their first Midsummer party. Owl, who knows everything, says Midsummer is a time for dancing, love and magic. What a fun time they will have! Then a terrible storm sweeps through the forest and the woodland animals must find shelter at Grump the Tomte's cottage. With the forest turned upside down, will the little rabbits still be able to arrange the famous Midsummer party? This follow-up to Ulf Stark & Eva Eriksson" previous collaboration, "The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits: A Christmas Story for Advent" (9781782501367, $24.95, HC, 104pp) is an enchanting story told in twenty-one succinct chapters, which can be read through June to conclude on Midsummer's Day. Ulf Stark once again masterfully weaves together drama and comedy to create a heartfelt and truly magical story. Award-winning illustrator Eva Eriksson continues to bring charming characters to life with delightful seasonal artwork. Simply stated, "The Midsummer Tomte and the Little Rabbits: A Day-by-day Summer Story in Twenty-one Short Chapters" will prove to be an enduringly popular and highly prized addition to family, school, and community library collections for children ages 5 to 8, and in grades K-3.

The Activity Shelf

Party In A Book: Spots, Dots, and Stripes
Rebecca Emberley
Two Little Birds
9780991293544, $24.95, PB, 96pp,

Created by Rebecca Emberley, "Party In A Book: Spots, Dots, and Stripes" has everything needed for children ages 8 to 12 and in grades 4 to 7 to throw a party at home or at school! This 'do-it-yourself' compendium features hundreds of perforated paper pieces that are easy and fun to assemble in dozens of ways to create the perfect party. Simply punch out the shapes desired, add some glue and string and children can make garlands, cupcake toppers, tray covers, chains, gift wrap, invitations, labels, tags, boxes, and so much more. Assemble crowns instead of garlands with the same simple pieces. Children (as well as adults) will delight in the chic colorful accessories. "Party In A Book: Spots, Dots, and Stripes" even includes a few 'party friendly' food and drink recipes! While a consumable and therefore inappropriate for community library collections, "Party In A Book: Spots, Dots, and Stripes" is an ideal and highly recommended resource for families and elementary school classroom party events.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

When God Made You
Jane G. Meyer, author
Megan Elizabeth Gilbert, illustrator
Ancient Faith Publishing
PO Box 748, Chesterton, IN 46304-0748
9781936270231 $18.95

When God Made You is a spiritual picturebook that speaks to children of all faiths. The full color illustrations show children from a wide variety of backgrounds, each of whom God created with a special purpose and calling. "When God made Theodoor, He fed him spoonfuls of horizon lines and shifting shapes in every shade of blue. Then in his mind God layered light and dark with love and lazy afternoons. Blessing the young boy, God said, Theodoor, PAINT." Gentle and extraordinary, When God Made You encourages young people to find their own special destiny.

The Christian Shelf

The Purpose Driven Life Devotional for Kids
Rick Warren
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310750468, $15.99, HC, 384pp,

Dr. Rick Warren is pastor, author, global strategist, theologian, and philanthropist. In "The Purpose Driven Life Devotional for Kids" he includes 365 devotions that tie to the themes and ideas found in his bestselling Christian self-help book for adults, "The Purpose Driven Life". Written at a third to fourth grade level for young readers ages 8 to 12, each devotion includes a Scripture, short message, and prayer or thought for the day to help kids discover who they are in God's eyes. Capturing the hearts of the new generation means ensuring they know their purpose and grow up confident of their value in God and their relationship to Christ. God created each of his children with a purpose in mind and the time is now to thoughtfully and prayerfully start the incredible journey to finding that divine reason. Exceptionally well written, organized, presented, and 'kid friendly' from beginning to end, "The Purpose Driven Life Devotional for Kids" is very highly recommended for family and church collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "The Purpose Driven Life Devotional for Kids" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99) and in an MP3 CD format ($13.99).

The Sports Shelf

You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?!
Jonah Winter & Barry Blitt
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375870132, $17.99,

You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?! provides a lively biographical coverage of a colorful baseball manager who managed DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, among others, and whose efforts helped the New York Yankees to win seven world series games in twelve years. Good reading skills or parental assistance will help with a fun true story about an eccentric genius baseball manager whose efforts helped individuals and times to unprecedented success.

The Education Shelf

HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish
Judy Martialay
9780991132409, $19.99, PB, 36pp,

"HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish Visit New Places and Make New Friends!" introduces children ages 6 through 10 to the Spanish language and provides an enjoyable experience learning the language as well as to teach them a useful skill. "HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish" begins with an introduction, where Pete the Pilot invites children aboard his magic plane for an imaginary trip to Mexico. On board, children are given some basic words and expressions to learn. It is thoroughly 'user friendly' in content, organization and presentation, making it especially useful for parents who are home schooling their children, as well as an ideal language studies elementary school classroom curriculum text. Very highly recommended for school and community library Spanish Language Studies instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

The Bilingual Shelf

Monster Slayer / Exterminadora de Monstruos
Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri, author
Lina Safar, illustrator
Chuchos Books
9781601310781 $16.95

Intended for young readers ages 4-8, Monster Slayer / Exterminadora de Monstruos is a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook about sibling rivalry. A young girl harbors frustration with her pesky younger sister, even going so far as to say out loud, "I wish I didn't have a little sister." She is chastised severely by her mother, and at night terrible green monsters disturb her sleep! Can anyone slay these nightmarish embodiments of envy? Gentle and heartwarming, Monster Slayer is highly recommended.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Improve Your Reading with The Dan and Sam Reader
Paul A. Delvaux
Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency, LLC
9781681812618, $10.00, PB, 96pp,

"Improve Your Reading with The Dan and Sam Reader" by Paul A. Delvaux is a carefully constructed series of 60 illustrated short stories that make reading easy and fun for children, especially those who are still learning to read. The stories begin using a few basic words in repetitive sentences and slowly build to more naturally worded text. The stories introduce the world to Dan and Sam, two best friends growing up in search of everyday adventure, food, and fun. They play football. They eat. They go fishing. They eat. Sometimes they just sit around ... and eat. Their biggest problems include the wrath of Kim, the mean neighborhood girl, and of course, running out of food. In the end, they make peace with Kim and solve a mystery so their good times can roll on. Appropriate for both school and community library Early Reading Skills Development collections, "Improve Your Reading with The Dan and Sam Reader" is very highly recommended for use by teachers and home-schooling parents.

The Self-Help Shelf

Emily Grace and the What-Ifs
Lisa B. Gehring, author
Regina Flath, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433821066 $14.95

Emily Grace and the What-Ifs: A Story for Children About Nighttime Fears is a picturebook that helps show children a simple way to soothe their own anxieties at bedtime. Emily Grace is a young girl whose rest disturbed when her own imagination runs wild, prompting her to wonder things such as "What if a big rhinoceros charges out through my closet door and pulls all my covers off and I get cold and catch pamonia?" But when she takes a good look at her surroundings, she realizes that she can focus her own mind on much more pleasant thoughts, such as "What if I imagine I am in my favorite place, the beach, where I build oodles of sandcastles?" Two pages of notes to parents and caregivers round out this superb storybook, perfect for introducing one's child to basic relaxation techniques, and encouraging them to be more independent at bedtime instead of crying or calling for an adult. Highly recommended.

Books in Series

The Presidential Election Process
Holly Anderson, author
Eldorado Ink
P.O. Box 100097, Pittsburgh, PA 15233
9781619000940, $33.95 Trade;, $26.95 School Library, 64 pages,

"The Presidential Election Process" is a well researched, brief definitive description of the current election process for U. S. presidents, written for a young adult audience age 14 and up. Using color photos and maps and charts to add interest and clarity, "The Presidential Election Process" covers many related details in six chapters: An Overview of the Election Process, Eligibility Requirements, Primaries and Caucuses, Raising Money and Getting Attention, The General Election, and Inauguration. One of the more interesting issues is raised in Chapter 5, The General Election. It is a description of a proposal to change the electoral college system, with a Proposed National Popular Vote agreement. This is an intriguing plan which would create a way for the Electoral College vote to match the national popular vote without having to change or amend the Constitution, while simultaneously encouraging candidates to campaign seriously in every state, making the election process more inclusive. "The Presidential Election Process" presents current information on the complex workings of presidential elections in the United States today in a fresh, rigorous, balanced approach to political education. Also highly recommended for school and community libraries are the following titles included in the same 'American Politics Today' series, American Politics, Today: "The Modern Democratic Party (97816190019, $26.95)," by John Ziff, "Lobbyists and Special Interest Groups (9781619000902, $26.95)," by Elizabeth Herschbach, "The Modern Republican Party (9781619000926, $26.95)," by John Ziff, "PACS, Super PACs, and Fundraising (9781619000933, $26.95)," by David Petechuk, "Tea Party, Libertarian, and Other Political Parties (9781619000957, $26.95)," by Jim Westcott, "The House of Representatives Today (9781619000896, $26.95)," by Seth H. Pulditor, and "The U. S. Senate Today (9781619000964, $26.95)," by John Ziff.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

Two new series collection additions make for recommended picks for any elementary-grade nonfiction collection, pairing contemporary covers and color illustrations with a focus that lends to both leisure pursuit and study. Felicia Law and Gerry Bailey's 'Science to the Rescue' each contain 32 pages of information for grades 3-5 as they consider how a little science knowledge can help save lives. Trouble in Space (9780778716761, $27.60) tells of two scientists who must apply their knowledge to different astronaut efforts to work and research in space, Lost in the Cave (97807787126778, $27.60) tells how a scary cave adventure challenges the two research scientists, Escape from the Volcano (9780778716754, $27.60) presents the scenarios of volcanic eruptions, geysers, and geothermal activity, and Caught in the Rapids (9780778716747, $27.60) examines waterfalls, lakes, hydro power, and natural history. The two scientist explorers who are fictional heroes in the series enliven these fine tales of applied science. 'Learning About Our Global Community' will appeal to grade 2 with 24 pages each covering topics that support the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards on global communities. Examples of life in different countries comes from various authors who examine and contrast different themes. Schools in Different Places (9780778720133, $23.60), Transportation in Different Places (9780778720140, $23.60), Birthdays in Different Places (9780778720119, $23.60), Clothing in Different Places (9780778720102, $23.60), Homes in Different Places (9780778720126, $23.60) and Foods in Different Places (9780778720096, $23.60) each celebrate and contrast different traditions around the world and use bright contemporary color illustrations throughout. All are top recommendation for elementary-level libraries.

Sonia Sotomayor
Barbara Kramer, author
National Geographic Children's Books
1145 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
9781426322891, $3.99 48pp,

"Sonia Sotomayor" is a level 3 resource book in the National Geographic Kids Readers series. This color photo illustrated condensed account tells the story of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 111th Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, appointed by President Obama in 2009. She is the third woman and the first person of Hispanic descent to become a U. S. Supreme Court Justice. A brief biography traces Justice Sotomayor's early life and achievements, graduating from Cardinal Spellman High School, Princeton University, and Yale Law School. Sotomayor went on to become a Circuit Court judge for the Second Circuit, a Federal judge of district court, and finally a U.S. Supreme Court justice in 2009. Justice Sotomayor's judicial career is visibly traced in a bio-timeline from 1054 to 2009, with many inspiring examples of her judicial decisions and contributions. A Quiz Whiz and Glossary uses thumbprint photos to keynote subject areas. "Sonia Sotomayor" is an excellent resource for elementary students. Also highly recommended in this outstanding biography series from National Geographic Children's Books is: "George Washington Carver" (9781426322853, $3.99), by Kitson Jazynka.

The Story of Kites
Ying Chang Compestine, author
YongSheng Xuan, illustrator
PO Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94131
9781597021227, $15.95,

"The Story of Kites" is an exciting title from the fresh new nonfiction series, Amazing Chinese Inventions. Written to appeal to children in primary grades, the exciting story of the invention of kites is told in both English and Chinese/Mandarin narratives, with exciting, vibrant woodcut-style illustrations and brilliant primary colors. Long ago in China the three Kang brothers were entrusted with the duty of protecting the rice fields from hungry birds. The three boys tried making noise with whistles, banging pots and pans, and shouting to drive away the birds. They decided to try something creative. Imitating predator birds, they made wings for themselves out of paper, woven straw and bamboo chopsticks, and even chicken feathers. The idea was to scare away the birds while trying to "fly" with their wings. Unfortunately the three boys maiden flight effort was unsuccessful, but luckily they survived the fall. Another idea emerged, to try to fly straw hats and paper homework on the winds. The boys used strings to anchor the paper birds, and they did remain in the air. However, after the birds got used to them, they were not afraid of them. The next invention was to add a bamboo flute to the structure of one of the kites, so it would be played by the wind, while dancing in the air. These first kites worked! The boys named them fengzheng, or wind zheng, kites. The Kang brothers later opened the first kite factory in China, making wonderful kites that looked like dragons, phoenixes, fish and flying tigers! "The Story of Kites" ends with a wonderful author's note, and instructions for how to fly a kite and how to make a homemade diamond kite, with additional rules for kite safety. As with all text of "The Story of Kites," these directions are given in both English and Chinese/Mandarin. "The Story of Kites" is a vivid account of the early invention of an incredible air dweller, the kite. Also highly recommended are the following volumes which are also in the Amazing Chinese Inventions series: "The Story of Paper (9781597021234, $15.95)," by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by YongSheng Xuan, "The Story of Noodles (9781597021210, $15.95)," by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by YongSheng Xuan, and "The Story of Chopsticks (9781597021203, $15.95)," by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by YongSheng Xuan.

Conquering Negative Body Image: Conquering Eating Disorders
V. Jones and E. Willett, authors
The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781499462050, $32.95, HC, 64pp,

From the Conquering Eating Disorders series for young adults and teens, "Conquering Negative Body Images" is an excellent library bound resource with questions and definitions of negative body image geared towards students age 12 and up. Five chapters cover comparative self body images, factors influencing negative body issues, myths and facts about body images, the dangers of having a negative body image, ways of learning to accept your body, and finally, ways to change the conversation about your body image, including use of critical thinking, being aware of your buying power, being a health ambassador, and a list of specific creative thought exercises that really work. The last chapter deals strongly with a topic of changing your self talk, becoming more realistic and positive in accepting yourself. A helpful Glossary of terms, and a section listing resources For More Information plus a list of books for further readings are helpful additions to the text of "Conquering Negative Body Images." Realistic color photos of adolescents and teens of both sexes add interest to the chapters of this excellent text on overcoming negative body image. Other titles from the Conquering Eating Disorders series include; "Conquering Anorexia," "Conquering Binge Eating," "Conquering Bulimia," Conquering Diet and Drug Abuse," and "Conquering Fad Diet Fixation."

What Does a Family Look Like?
Christine Burger, author
Frank Endersby, illustrator
Purposeful Goods Press
c/o Bookmasters
99 Almaden Boulevard, Suite 500, San Jose, CA 95113
9780996383622, $12.95,

"What Does a Family Look Like" is a volume about families from the award-winning series, "Your Buddie Boodles." Recipient of the Mom's Choice Award, this series was created to help children everywhere lead happy, cherished lives. The motto of the series, spoken by Boodles the monkey, is: "I will wipe away your tears, chase away your fears and be there with good cheer!" Children all benefit from unconditional love and friendship in endless supply. That is what good parenting conveys. Sometimes children have questions, observe differences, or are confused. "What Does a Family Look Like?" helps children explore some of these questions by pointing out several different kinds of families. Every family is unique. "It is not always who you live with that is important, rather what you do together." Thus, some families have a daddy and a mommy and a child, all the same color, and some are different colored. Some have one adopted child and one natural child. Some have two mommies or two daddies, while some have a child and one or two grandparents, or parents, or even two separated parents who do not all live together. All share a foundation of kindness, sharing, and caring that makes them a strong, loving family. "What Does a Family Look Like?" allows children to wonder about differences in outward appearances while stressing the single most important characteristic of a family: sharing love and support for each other. Boodles, the monkey is the child's friend who dances through all the pages of the book with a message of unconditional love and friendship always present. Charming, warm- hearted, colored illustrations show different families enjoying different activities together. Kids can enjoy a "Find Boodles" game or just page through at leisure and marvel at all the different kinds of families. "What Does a Family Look Like?" is an excellent social skills enhancing book for young children today. Other books from this popular and successful 'Your Buddy Boodles' series that are also highly recommended include: "Being Adopted Is Super-Du per Special! (9780996383618, $12.95)," and "We Are Having a Baby! (9780996383608, $12.95)," both also written by Christine Burger and illustrated by Frank Endersby.

Mammals: A Compare and Contrast Book
Katherine Hall, author
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628557299, $17.95,

"Mammals" is a Compare and Contrast title from the Arbordale Publishing series for early readers that teaches young children all about lots of different kinds of mammals. Filled with stunning action color photos of different mammals to teach common characteristics of mammals, such as a spine that connects all the way from the skull to the tail. Other characteristics are illustrated in other mammalian species as well, such as giving birth to live young, suckling the young on the mother's milk, and having hair or fur on their bodies. Further educational features in the book include the For Creative Minds pages, which have a Dichotomous Key, a Mammal or Not? photo key list, a description of how some mammals are different, and a chain of tracks guide to identify Mammals Near You. Other educational activity suggestions are available in free online resources at Also highly recommended are these other Compare and Contrast Book Titles: "Sharks and Dolphins (9781628557329, $17.95)," by Kevin Kurtz, and "Once Upon an Elephant (9781628557312, $17.95)," by Linda Stanek, illustrated by Shennen Bersani.

Bikers Are Animals 4: Working and Riding
Paul Jamiol
Dog Ear Publishing
4011 Vincennes Road, New Augusta, IN 46268-3005
9781457523236, $14.95, PB, 38pp,

"Bikers Are Animals 4: Working and Riding" by author/cartoonist Paul Jamiol is the fourth title in an outstanding series of children's books that bring young readers into a world of motorcycle-riding animals. In Jamiol's first two books, he introduced his cartoon menagerie on "cool" motorcycles, showing children and parents that those involved in motorcycling are intelligent and caring. In his third, the characters from BAA1 go on a riding adventure. Now in "Bikers Are Animals 4: Working and Riding" Jamiol has created 16 new, young characters who are the sons, daughters, grandkids, nieces, nephews and siblings of his adult characters. These engaging youngsters proudly introduce their adults and explain about their occupations, and then each goes riding with his/her adult, where it's all about bonding and having fun. In what has become his trademark style of vivid illustrations and attention to detail, Jamiol creates a stunning world for the young reader, again bringing a positive message along for the ride. "Bikers Are Animals 4: Working and Riding" is a wonderfully entertaining approach to inform children about motorcycle riding and very highly recommended for family, school, and community library children's books collections.

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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