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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 27, Number 4 April 2017 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Biography Shelf Writing/Publishing Shelf
Science Shelf Health Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Religion/Spirituality Shelf Judaic Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Board Book Shelf Counting Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Automotive Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Math Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up
Trevor Romain, author
Steve Mark, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781631980664, $8.95, PB, 80pp,

Brought back into print in a new edition for a new generation of appreciative young readers ages 8 to 13, "How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up" is Trevor Romain's entertaining story of, a boy who knows just how horrible homework can be! All elementary school kids will laugh at the accompanying cartoons by Steve Mark, and fully appreciate Trevor's funny insights. Meanwhile, they'll discover valuable truths and pointers about homework: "People who say homework is a waste of time don't know what they are talking about." "The best way to get your homework done without feeling sick every time you see it is to just do it." As an added bonus, kids will also learn how to make a homework schedule, when to do the hardest homework (first!), the benefits of doing homework, and more other serious suggestions delivered with wit and humor because laughter makes learning fun. Of special note is the section dedicated to learning how to manage electronic devices and avoid the dreaded 'Screen-Homework-Neck Syndrome'! Absolutely and enthusiastically recommended for elementary school and community library collections, it should be noted that "How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.09).

Libraries and Books and Words... Oh My!
Carey Rigby-Wilcox, author/illustrator
See A Book Take a Look
9781927778043 $10.00 pbk / $5.00 ebook

"Libraries and Books and Words... Oh My!" is an inspiring story based upon the author's life experience. The heroine is a mother who is determined to face her fear of books and libraries, based on limited reading skills, and to open up the world of books and libraries for her two children. First she began taking reading lessons from an excellent tutor named Lisa. Then she made the huge commitment of actually taking her two children to visit the local library, despite her paralyzing fear. The children loved the library. The librarian helped the children apply to receive their own library cards, a magical ticket to a wonderful world. While both children discovered many books to borrow and read, their mother was content to sit quietly in a corner and just watch them explore the wonderful library. They knew she was still afraid. Only gradually did their mother over come her fear of libraries and books. Her continued reading with her tutor, Lisa helped her overcome some of her fear. Finally one day, their mommy overcame her fear of libraries and opened up a book to read, "You always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself," also from "The Wizard of Oz." Delicate, pastel self portraits and pictures of magical places, people, and creatures adorn each page of "Libraries and Books and Words...Oh My!" Both illustrations and narrative are the creation of author Carey Rigby-Wilcox, who tells her story simply but with great eloquence ."Libraries and Books and Words... Oh My!" is the winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award.

Even Superheroes Have to Sleep
Sara Crow, author
Adam Record, illustrator
Random House Children's Books, Doubleday Books for Young Readers
c/o Penguin Random House
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780399558061 $22.99

"Even Superheroes Have to Sleep" is a delightful illustrated verse narrative that is created "to help parents achieve bedtime peace" each night with their young children. Cartoon-like, large splashy illustrations depict superheroes and workers in full active mode, with an inset portrait of them sleeping. The message is: everyone needs to rest. Sleep is healthy! The final verse addresses children: "Playing and reading can tire you out, Growing as quickly as a bean sprout. Cuddle up tight, don't make a peep. Even children have to sleep." On the final pages and the inside back cover are a seven day Sleep Reward Chart, with stickers and images for going to the bathroom, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a book, and finally being ready for bed. Pre-sleep activities are categorized and rewarded with a related sticker image, encouraging each young reader to complete a litany of bedtime sleep preparatory activities, leading to a night of successful rest. "Even Superheroes Have To Sleep" is an imminently practical, well designed bedtime activity book that will encourage formation and sustaining of healthy sleep habits in young children, ages 2-5.

The Egg
Britta Teckentrup
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791372945, $16.95, HC, 96pp,

Beautiful, whimsical, and entertaining, "The Egg" is comprised of illustrations by Britta Teckentrup showing all manner of eggs in their fragility, complexity, and variety. Nothing in nature is as simple or as complex as an egg. "The Egg" is gorgeous picture book that portrays eggs through the eyes of an artist with each full page image being accompanied by a kind of free verse commentary. The eggs showcased range from those of hummingbirds to the extinct elephant bird, and include illustrations of the avian world's smallest and largest eggs demonstrate the variety present in nature. Pastel studies explore the rainbow of soft colors and intricate patterns that make eggs of common birds seem incredibly striking. In Teckentrup's hands, a scattering of broken egg shells become abstract art; a nest of unhatched eggs suggest the possibility and promise of life. Her studies of songbirds and nests are themselves beautifully composed works of color and line. A lovely meditation on the diversity of eggs, this is magnificent volume that offers hours of lingering pleasure, and becomes fertile ground for conversation and imagination. With its flawless, elegant, beautifully rendered images, "The Egg" is highly recommended for children ages 5 and older, and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library collections.

The Biography Shelf

Kate Warne, Pinkerton Detective
Marissa Moss, author
April Chu, illustrator
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547330, $18.99, HC, 44pp,

When Kate Warne applied for a job with the Pinkerton Agency, Allan Pinkerton assumed she wanted to cook or clean, but he agreed to try her out as an agent. Assigned to a tough case with high stakes, Warne went undercover and not only found the stolen money, she got almost all of it returned. The Adams Express Case made the reputation of the fledgling Pinkerton Agency, turning it into the biggest, most prestigious detective company in the world. Warne went on to direct an entire women's division of detectives and Pinkerton relied on her for his hardest cases. This is an aspect of American history well worth knowing and author Marissa Moss's inherently fascinating story is wonderfully enhanced with the illustrations of April Chu. The result is a singularly informative and entertaining picture book that is unreservedly recommended for young readers ages 5 to 13 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library American Biography picture book collections.

Noah Webster's Fighting Words
Tracy Nelson Maurer, author
Mircea Catusanu, illustrator
Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781467794107, $19.97, HC, Library Binding, 40pp,

Noah Webster is famous for writing the first dictionary of the English language as spoken in the United States. He was known in his day for his bold ideas and strong opinions about everything. Spelling, politics, laws, you name it and he had something to say about it. He even commented on his own opinions! With a red pencil in hand, Noah often marked up work that he had already published. So who edited "Noah Webster's Fighting Words"? It certainly looks like the ghost of the great American author and patriot picked up a pencil once again to comment on his own biography! A perfect collaboration between author Tracy Nelson Maurer and illustrator Mircea Catusanu, "Noah Webster's Fighting Words" is thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation to entertain children ages 7 to 10 with this picture book story about one of the most influential men to help shape the American approach to the English language. While very highly recommended, especially for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Noah Webster's Fighting Words" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

I Am Jim Henson
Brad Meltzer
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780525428503, $14.99,

I Am Jim Henson is illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos and adds to a fun biography series for ages 5-8. This focuses on individuals who made decisions that changed lives: Jim Henson was always coming up with new and fun perspectives, delivered performances and puppets packed with humor, and always saw the good in people. Good reading skills combined with an affinity for fun cartoon-like full color drawings will lend an appreciation for Henson's life and his many fine creations.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

So You Want to Start a Blog
Rebekah Sack
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781620232170 $19.95 pbk / $18.95 Kindle

Written to be accessible to teenagers and young adults, yet useful and practical for readers of all ages, So You Want to Start a Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Fun & Profitable Blog lives up to its title as an easy-to-use guide to creating and maintaining a successful blog. Chapters cover how to select the blogging platform best suited to one's needs, design an appealing layout, and attract readers. Color illustrations, a glossary, and an index round out this excellent introduction to the world of blogging. "Include a disclaimer on your blog related to privacy, and monitor for criminal behavior and intellectual rights infringements... Clearly indicate that you will release any privacy information (user names, real names, e-mail addresses, contact, or personal information) to law enforcement authorities pursuant to a criminal investigation." So You Want to Start a Blog is highly recommended both for personal perusal and public library collections.

The Science Shelf

Geology Is a Piece of Cake
Katie Coppens
Tumblehome Learning
201 Newbury Street, Suite 201, Boston, MA 02116
9781943431281, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

Katie Coppens lives in Maine with her husband and two children. She is an award-winning middle school language arts and science teacher. She has had a variety of teaching experiences, ranging from a self-contained third-grade classroom to teaching high school English and biology in Tanzania. Katie has multiple publications, including a teacher's guide for the National Science Teachers Association entitled Creative Writing in Science: Activities That Inspire. In "Geology Is a Piece of Cake" she has combined geologic science with kitchen cake baking to explaining basic geology. With a profusion of color photos, combined with easy recipes, and delicious cakes depicting accurate science, "Geology Is a Piece of Cake" provides a fun, unique, effective, and memorable approach to thinking about rock formation, tectonic plate movement, weathering, fossils and more. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation for children ages 7 to 9, "Geology Is a Piece of Cake" is especially recommended for family homeschool, elementary school, and community library picture book Science collections.

Ocean Adventures With Jax
Pamela Jackson, author
Bonnie Bright, illustrator
1001 Avenida Pico, Suite C #624, San Clemente, CA 92673
9780990416944, $19.95, HC, 38pp,

Jax is a young bottlenose dolphin who is excited to introduce children to the ocean's fascinating, underwater world in "Ocean Adventures With Jax". As humans, it can be hard for us to understand marine life, but as Jax quickly explains, he's a mammal, just like us. From cool science facts to good life lessons, his story offers kids ages 4 to 9 more than just a fun adventure! Written from the dolphin's point of view, young readers are transported under the waves. Featuring amazing ocean animals, "Ocean Adventures With Jax" invites children to swim through the beautifully illustrated pages and learn about the intriguing echolocation signals that help dolphins determine what something looks like and how far away it is. Kids can practice their best dolphin click speak and figure out how they would introduce themselves to Jax -- and imagine what exciting creatures they might meet on their next ocean journey with Jax! Deftly written by Pamela Jackson and engagingly illustrated by Bonnie Bright, "Ocean Adventures With Jax" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ocean Adventures With Jax" is also available in a paperback edition (9780990416937, $11.95) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Health Shelf

No, No, No Nuts for Me
Carol Florio
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781631779770, $14.95, HC, 34pp,

Deftly written and charmingly illustrated by Carol Florio, "No, No, No Nuts for Me" is a much-needed children's book specifically designed to help parents and their children deal with nut allergies. Geared for younger children ages 4 to 8, a teddy bear learns about and manages his nut allergy in a non-threatening way and stresses the avoidance of nuts for full protection against a serious allergic reaction. "No, No, No Nuts for Me" starts the learning process for the child and can be a useful tool for families, health practitioners, schools, and all caregivers. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "No, No, No Nuts for Me" is a strongly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library Health/Medicine collections for children.

Nick, the No Good, Icky Tick
Karen Gloyer, author
Maryana Kachmar, illustrator
Belle Isle Books
c/o Brandylane Publishers
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781939930835, $19.95, HC,

Abby and her favorite four-footed friend Chowser discover all kinds of creatures while walking in the wild, wild woods one day. What they don't expect to find is Nick, a no good, icky, black-legged tick. Children ages 3 to 12 will find out what happens when Nick the icky tick finds Abby and Chowser -- and the lessons they learn about how to stay safe on future outdoor adventures! A deftly written and charmingly illustrated story with a very strong but thoroughly 'kid friendly' health safety message for children and families the importance of tick prevention and awareness, "Nick, the No Good, Icky Tick" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. Of special note is are the helpful tips and an Afterword by Dr. Kenneth B. Singleton who is a leading U.S. authority on Lyme disease treatment and prevention.

The Picturebook Shelf

Caring Is Sharing
Stacy M. Johnson, author
Gau Family Studio, illustrators
Nevaeh Publishing LLC
9780997418118 $13.99 pbk

"Caring Is Sharing" is a title from the Charli Makenzie series about children learning to play cooperatively together. Charli loves spending time with her school friends Brittany, Malia, Yasmeen, and Katie. She asks her parents if she can invite all four girls to a playdate at her house, since they do not live close to each other. The event is planned and invitations are sent. Charli is so excited to play with her friends in her back yard, jumping rope and taking turns on the tire swing, and inside the house, in her room playing with her dolls, games, and toys. However, disagreements broke out between girls about sharing some of the playthings. All parents present encouraged the girls to respect each other, use indoor voices, and share their toys politely. Charli's mother got a kitchen timer to help the girls with their sharing skills. She told them it was part of a new sharing game, that each girl would play with a toy until the timer rang, then it would be time to trade with another girl for a different toy. Not only were the girls excited to play the new timer-activated sharing game, they each got to play with more toys in the playtime they had together. When all 5 girls returned to school the following Monday, their sharing behavior was noted and praised by their teacher. They shared toys nicely, taking turns even without a time to remind them of playtime limits. All the girls had great news to share with their parents afterwards, for they had learned that caring is sharing. "Caring Is Sharing" is filled with bright, colorful, happy illustrations and play portraits of five very different looking little girls, a lift of celebration of diversity along with the theme of caring is sharing.

Color Blocked
Ashley Sorenson, author
David Miles, illustrator
1254 Commerce Way, Sanger, CA 93657
9781944822828 $18.99

"Color Blocked" is an exciting experience for young children learning their primary colors and also learning more about creating secondary colors through all kinds of fun interactions with books, their best friends. Rainbow colored, elaborate illustrations alternate with intricate black and white drawings drenching and belting single and blended colors. Readers are asked to tip, shake, rub, turn sideways, and shut the book to promote color returning to the pages. Dramatic in its artistic development, "Color Blocked" is a glorious experiment in color imagining and creating, contrasted with black and white backgrounds drained of color. "Color Blocked" is wonderful reading for kids age 4-6 and up.

Monsieur Pierre
Anne Dana, author/illustrator
L O Annie Press
9780998138107 $8.95

"Monsieur Pierre" is a delightful children's travelogue narrated by a talented transplanted octopus named Monsieur Pierre. When Pierre was just a baby octopus, someone fished him out of the ocean and moved him to a Paris fountain decorated with the snooty Mademoiselles Poissons, who would not talk to Pierre. Pierre had many adventures sightseeing in Paris, but he longed to find a friend. One day Pierre met two children who were arguing over what souvenirs to take home, and he convinced them to take himself as the ideal Paris souvenir. Thus began Pierre's transport to California and a whole new life. Pierre liked the swimming pool, his two young friends, seaweed smoothies for breakfast, yoga classes, surfing at the beach, and seeing wonderful new sights in California. The happy ending is completed when Pierre notices a few surprise visitors from Paris, old friends! Color crayon illustrations present the world and life of Pierre in childlike simplicity, with verve and style.

Good Night Tiger
Timothy Knapman, author
Laura Hughes, illustrator
Tiger Tales
5 river Road, Suite 128, Wilton CT 06897
9781680100303 $16.99

"Good Night Tiger" is an enticing bedtime story for children with lively imaginations. Emma is unable to sleep in the middle of the night because of all the animal noises in her room. Nothing outside was making all the animal noises, and nothing under the bed or in the wardrobe, or in her toys and clothes was causing animal noises either. What could it be? Emma discovered it was ..... the animals in her wallpaper! Emma firmly ordered them all (loudly) to go to sleep, but the tiger in the tree said, "We can't!" So Emma made a series of helpful suggestions to help the animals prepare to sleep. Had they bathed? Had they drunk hot chocolate? Could they cuddle with a bear? Could she soothe them with a lullaby? Could she turn off the lights? Every suggestion had a terrible problem that promptly incapacitated its desired soporific effect. Emma had a wonderful idea: What about a bedtime story? The animals were completely entranced. They had never heard a bedtime story before. Finally Emma finished a wonderful story about animals escaping from a zoo, only to find all the animals (except the tiger) were asleep. Emma, however, was awake. "How about a good-night cuddle?" said the tiger. "Yes, please!" said Emma. Any storyteller can guess the delightful ending, but only a child will really believe it. Fantastic, exuberant illustrations portray a wild night's adventure of one small girl calming a fantastic collection of exotic animals, only to be cuddled to sleep at the end by her very own special tiger.

Mayday Mouse
Seb Braun, author/illustrator
Child's Play Inc.
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, Maine 04210
9781846437595 $16.99

"Mayday Mouse" is the charming, creatively illustrated story of a brave little Captain Mouse, who created a boat out of a walnut shell, a toothpick, and a handkerchief. she determined to deliver a birthday present to her brother by sailing on the water in her little walnut shell boat. Cheerful friends wished her bon voyage, instructing her to watch out for big waves and watery perils, and to shout "Mayday!" for help if she needed it. Captain Mouse set off on a balmy, breezy day, with no cares to be seen. However, the wind rose and waves rose with them, and it began to rain. The tiny craft was steered by Captain Mouse to avoid a huge tunnel and some dangerous rocks. Finally Captain Mouse and her boat, mast, and present were shipwrecked on a desert island. Exhausted by the battle with the storm, Captain Mouse slept as her tiny island grew smaller as the water rose. Captain Mouse woke up and took stock. "What I need is a plan!" she decided. Then she shouted, "Mayday!" to ask for help. Help arrived in the form of a swimming frog and dragonfly bringing her a cork, a coin, a toothpick and a leaf, with instructions to make a new boat! What a rescue team! In no time Captain Mouse had followed the accompanying instructions and created herself a new seaworthy little boat. With no further perils, she sailed safely to her brother's bringing him his birthday present. When he asked her to sing him a happy birthday song, all her sea rescue friends joined in the musical good wishes! Delicate realistic paintings of the tiny craft and Captain Mouse make the adventure real. On the last two pages, a large painting shows the actual tiny scale of the puddle of water, the tunnel (a tin can), and Captain Mouse and her boat and friends! Children will adore this exciting adventure of a resourceful, seagoing mouse.

Down in Mississippi
Johnette Downing, author
Katherine Zecca, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053
9781455620982 $16.99 32 pages

"Down in Mississippi" is a beautifully illustrated rendition of a familiar traditional song, lyrics adapted to describe animals, flora and fauna of the southern state of Mississippi. Some of the animals described in the song include the dolphin, the white-tailed deer, a Mockingbird in a magnolia tree, a mother black bass and her children four, a mother wood duck and five ducklings, a swallowtail family in the coreopsis, an alligator family in the swampland, a catfish family in a pond, a red fox family in a forest of pine, and a hive of honeybees. The lyrics fit the traditional song tune, which is notated and printed at the end of the book. "Down in Mississippi in a hive lived a mother honey bee and her honeybees ten. 'Buzz' said the mother. 'We buzz,' said the ten' and they buzzed all day in a hive in a glen." Beautiful paintings illustrate each verse describing a typical Mississippi animal in its natural habitat in a shroud of misty pastels of green, dawn pink, and shadowy greens. The final pages are devoted to Mississippi State Fast Facts, describing the alligator, black bass, bottlenose dolphin, catfish, red fox, spicebush swallowtail, white-tailed deer, and the wood duck. Educational and appealing to a wide range of ages, "Down in Mississippi" is bound to delight audiences of children age 4-10.

Kate Alizadeh, author/illustrator
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
9781846438875 $16.99 hc

"Quiet!" is the brilliantly illustrated description of daily auditory sounds that signal changing activities at different times of day. Focusing young readers' attention on each distinct everyday sound, such as the microwave pinging, the pan bubbling, or the dishes clattering in the sink, the sounds accompanying familiar daily activities are highlighted and depicted with casual, stunning artistry. "Ssssh! Listen, what's that noise?" This phrase introduces each new cluster of sounds moving on to the next set of daily activities. In addition to sounds, senses of touch, texture, taste, and smell are also tantalized with some of the sounds and sights described in "Quiet!" Finally the litany of sounds drifts towards a gentle bedtime ritual, as the curly haired child is bathed, teeth brushed, hair washed and dried, and a gentle voice reads a bedtime story and sings a lullaby as a little girl prepares for sleep. Then there is the click of a light switch, the sound of footsteps going away, and finally (zzzzzzz), quiet reigns. "Quiet!" is a beautiful book to help prepare a child for bedtime and to help focus young minds on the auditory and other daily cues in their daily lives.

Henry and Lola: A Puppy Love Story
Keith Cohen, author
Roberta Paul, illustrator
Three Bean Press
P.O. Box 5, Millis, MA 02054
9780990331544, $16.99, HC, 48pp,

Two puppies make the move from homes to a fancy new Boston hotel only to find that city living takes some getting used to. Lonely and longing for a playmate, the puppies' daily routines only seem to bring missed opportunities. When nature intervenes, the puppies' worlds are turned upside down. In this charming picture book story, young readers will learn that what we search for does not always take us down a straight path. The bumps and obstacles are also part of our journey. Simply stated, "Henry and Lola: A Puppy Love Story" has very special appeal for puppy-loving children (and adults!), making it unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library picture book collections.

Beebs Cooks a Turkey!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Billy Barron, illustrator
Zaccheus Entertainment
9780996996433, $12.95, PB, 52pp,

What happens when Beebs, the bumbling, fumbling grandpa, tries to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner? Does he even know how to cook? Whose idea was it to allow Beebs in the kitchen in the first place? Does he even know how to turn on the oven? And what about that crazy turkey? He's not about to let Beebs or anyone else serve him up as Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, no. Not this turkey! This turkey has been around the block and all throughout the house -- like a turkey tornado! If Beebs thinks he going to cook this turkey, he had better think again! And then there are Grandma's three hungry and naughty cats, all of whom try to seize the moment for a turkey dinner. But things go terribly wrong when their plans for feasting on fillet of turkey are intercepted by Beebs. What a ruckus! What a fiasco! Will there even be a house left when the tussle is over? And what about that turkey? Did he survive to see another Thanksgiving? Children ages 4 to 9 will be delighted as they follow the encounters of Beebs in yet another hilarious misadventure by author Donald Kruse! Thoroughly 'kid friendly' and unfailingly entertaining from cover to cover, "Beebs Cooks a Turkey!" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Town Is by the Sea
Joanne Schwartz, author
Sydney Smith, illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554988716, $19.95, HC, 52pp,

In "Town Is by the Sea", Joanne Schwartz's exceptional picture book for children ages 5 to 9, a young boy wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather's grave after lunch and comes home to a simple family dinner, but all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea. Stunning illustrations by Sydney Smith show the striking contrast between a sparkling seaside day and the darkness underground where the miners dig. With curriculum connections to communities and the history of mining, this beautifully understated and hauntingly presented story brings a piece of genuine history to life for children and adults alike. Very highly recommended, "Town Is by the Sea" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Kelly DiPucchio, author
Christian Robinson, illustrator
Atheneum Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481457835, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Gaston's friend Antoinette is a very special poodle who learns to follow her heart and be herself in this charming companion to Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson's beloved picture book "Gaston". Antoinette's three burly brothers each have a special talent. Rocky is clever. Ricky is fast! Bruno is strong. Mrs. Bulldog reassures Antoinette that there is something extra special about her -- but Antoinette is not so sure. Then one day, while Antoinette plays in the park with her friend Gaston, Gaston's sister Ooh-La-La goes missing. Antoinette feels a tug in her heart and a twitch in her nose. She must find Ooh-La-La. She will not give up! Can Antoinette rescue the puppy in peril and discover what makes her extra special along the way? Young readers ages 4 to 8 will be enthralled with this latest picture book collaboration between author DiPuchhio and illustrator Robinson. A pure delight from cover to cover, "Antoinette" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Antoinette" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

The Secret Project
Jonah Winter, author
Jeanette Winter, illustrator
Beach Lane Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481469135, $17.99, 40pp,

The mother-son team of author Jonah Winter and illustrator Jeanette Winter bring to life one of the most secretive scientific projects in history, the creation of the atomic bomb, in their powerful and moving picture book "The Secret Project". At a former boy's school in the remote desert of New Mexico, the world's greatest scientists have gathered to work on the "Gadget," an invention so dangerous and classified they cannot even call it by its real name. They work hard, surrounded by top security and sworn to secrecy, until finally they take their creation far out into the desert to test it, and afterward the world will never be the same. This true life story is impressively presented for young readers ages 5 to 8 and is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Secret Project" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

Carrot and Pea: An Unlikely Friendship
Morag Hood
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544868427, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Colin is tall. He's orange. He's a carrot! He's nothing like Lee, a round green pea. He can't do any of the things Lee and his pea pals can do. How can Colin and Lee ever be friends? "Carrot and Pea: An Unlikely Friendship" is a simply charming celebration of embracing differences and standing out in a crowd that will entertain and delight children ages 4 to 7. Revealing a natural flair for illustrated storytelling by Morag Hood, "Carrot and Pea: An Unlikely Friendship" is unreservedly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Gertrude and Toby Save the Gingerbread Man
Shari Tharp, author
Jim Heath, illustrator
Atlas Publishing
9780996967945, $16.99, HC, 48pp,

Farmer Sam and his son Ryan are taking their prize pig to the county fair. That's when Gertrude the Goat and Toby the Turtle decide they have plenty of time to sneak off the farm for an extra adventure. But Gertrude and Toby soon discover that a giant has captured their friend, the Gingerbread Man! Gertrude and Toby must come up with a plan to save him. But the giant, who is sleeping nearby, wakes up during their daring rescue! Another delightful and thoroughly 'kid friendly' action/adventure picture book story by the team of author Shari Tharp and artist Jim Heath, "Gertrude and Toby Save the Gingerbread Man" is especially recommended for children ages 5 to 9 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Gertrude and Toby Save the Gingerbread Man" is also available in a paperback edition (9780996967990, $7.99).

Nosey's Wild Ride on the Belle of Louisville
Martha Driscoll, author
Susan Andra Lion, illustrator
Driscoll Publishing
9780692648483, $17.95, HC, 34pp,

Zip, Zoom, Whoosh -- Nosey the cat is having fun! The antics of this adventurous cat take young readers ages 6 to 10 on an action-packed journey through the Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating river steamboat in the United States. An additional Seek and Find activity helps young readers to learn about the Belle while following the antics of Nosey and his four youthful companions as they chase him from bow to stern. Delightfully illustrated by Susan Andra Lion, and engagingly told by author and former educator Martha Driscoll, "Nosey's Wild Ride on the Belle of Louisville" is a simply beautiful book that will be enjoyed and remembered for years. Unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended, "Nosey's Wild Ride on the Belle of Louisville" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Our Dog Benji
Pete Carter, author
James Henderson, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335330, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

We all know that dogs will eat anything. We also know that kids' tastes generally aren't so wide-ranging. While ice cream and pizza might be devoured in the blink of an eye, the dreaded 'green stuff' (vegetables to the adults) is often pushed to one side of the plate. Author Pete Carter understands this phenomenon well, as he shows in the adventures of "Our Dog Benji". In delightful duotone illustrations by James Henderson supporting Carter's 'kid friendly' and engaging text, children ages 4 to 7 will see how Benji's willingness to eat anything ranging from from daffodils and brussels sprouts, to ice cream and avocados, to sandwiches and bones, gradually inspires his child owner to be a little more adventurous at mealtimes. Although dogs and kids do have standards and it seems there's one thing neither of them will touch! "Our Dog Benji" is the perfect picture book to encourage fussy eaters to try a few more vegetables! Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Our Dog Benji" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

A Different Kind of Safari
Helen C. Hipp, author
Hilary Ann Love Glass, illustrator
Paula Tedford Diaco, editor
A Different Kind of Safari, LLC
9780989013406, $17.95, HC, 28pp,

What do you need to feel happy about being different? Based loosely on real life experiences, deftly written by Helen C. Hipp and charmingly illustrated by Hilary Ann Love Glass, "A Different Kind of Safari" is a heartwarming and powerful picture book for children 6 to 10 that illustrates how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are. Feeling "different and lonely" Raymond befriends a hippo while on Safari in Africa. Unlike other grey hippos, this hippo is pink! Ray is soon carried into a world beyond labels and challenging assumptions. Young readers will never guess what happens next! Exceptional, original, entertaining, and thoughtful, "A Different Kind of Safari" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Different Kind of Safari" is also available in a Kindle format ($2.99).

Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog
Carol Chiodo Fleischman, author
Stephanie Ford, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455619276, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

A sight-impaired young woman describes how her service dog, Nadine, loves to play tricks around the house. From hiding dirty laundry to avoiding her harness, Nadine is quite mischievous! Their first day together as a team is the focus of "Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog". Through the struggles to get ready, the sheer enjoyment of the winter day, and the scary moments along the way, Nadine proves herself trustworthy and reliable-that is, until they return home and she gets into mischief again! Illustrated with crisp, humorous drawings in wintery colors, "Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog" provides a fascinating glimpse into life with a guide dog. "Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog" by the team of author Carol Fleischyman and illustrator Stephanie Ford is a delightfully charming and true picture book story that is told through a first-person narrative. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, "Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog" is especially recommended for children ages 8 to 12.

Do Fairies Bring the Spring?
Liza Gardner Walsh, author
Hazel Mitchell, illustrator
Down East Books
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781608936335, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Everyone knows fairies love spring flowers and summer sun, but is it the fairies who wake up the earth as the snow melts? Do they entice the trees to turn green and the flowers to grow? "Do Fairies Bring the Spring?" by the team of author Liza Walsh and illustrator Hazel Mitchell is charming follow up to their "Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows", and explores the matter in a children's picture book of beautifully illustrated rhyming questions. Whimsical, engaging, entertaining, "Do Fairies Bring the Spring?" will help children discover the wonderful world of fairies while they learn to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors. While enthusiastically recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists of children ages 4 to 7 that "Do Fairies Bring the Spring?" is also available in a Kindle format ($7.99).

The Day I Ran Away
Holly L. Niner, author
Isabella Ongaro, illustrator
Flash Light Press
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781936261895, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

While Dad tucks her in, a little girl named Grace calmly recounts her day -- which was anything but calm. She had a tantrum (because of some injustices involving a purple shirt and breakfast cereal) and was banished to her bedroom before deciding to run away. Understanding that kids have ups and downs, Grace's mom wisely gave her daughter the space and time she needed to reach her own decision to return home to the open arms of her parents. In "The Day I Ran Away", author and speech therapist Holly Niner amusingly captures Grace's mutable moods and childlike logic. Enhanced with the warm, humorous digital paintings of Isabella Ongaro that offer fun details to keep little listeners busy, "The Day I Ran Away" will allow children ages 5 to 7 to compare the bedtime and daytime scenes and try to figure out how Grace got that purple paw-print on her cheek -- and when it got washed away. They can mimic Grace's facial expressions or copy her poses for some soothing bedtime yoga. And of course, they can create a safe place to run away to when the injustices of Pre-K existence become too much to bear. A pop-up tent in the yard and the haven beneath the dining room table are excellent run-away destinations, as long as they come home for dinner! Original, deftly crafted, beautifully illustrated, and utterly charming from beginning to end, "The Day I Ran Away" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Day I Ran Away" is also available in a Kindle format ($7.99).

There's a Bug on My Book!
John Himmelman
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584695875, $16.95, HC,

Beetles fly, frogs hop, and slugs slide over the pages of this unique and original picture book by John Himmelman and is made to be read by a child while lying on the grass. Children ages 4 to 7 will interact with "There's a Bug on My Book!", with a tip, tap, and turn of the book, moving the critters along. The critters even interact with each other in surprising ways. In "There's a Bug on My Book!" Himmelman deftly applies his expertise as both a naturalist and an artist to successfully encourage children to explore nature in their own backyard. While unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "There's a Bug on My Book!" is also available in a paperback edition (9781584695882, $8.95) and in a Kindle format ($6.99).

For the Beauty of the Earth
Folliot S. Pierpoint, author
Lucy Fleming, illustrator
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Ave. 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
9781506421834, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written by Folliot Pierpoint and charmingly illustrated Lucy Fleming for children ages 4 to 8, the poetry comprising "For the Beauty of the Earth" is, collectively, a classic hymn combining with beautiful imagery of words and visuals to create a picture book that children and adults alike will cherish. The lyrics of "For the Beauty of the Earth" were originally written in 1864 as a celebration of creation, family, music, and community. The engaging illustrations bring those words to life, capturing the rich imagery of the song. While very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, "For the Beauty of the Earth" includes the written music and lyrics so families can sing the song together.

Rice & Rocks
Sandra L. Richards, author
Megan Kayleigh Sullivan, illustrated
Wise Ink Creative Publishing
837 Glenwood Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405
9781940014739, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Giovanni's friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed he does not like 'rice and rocks' and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni's pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. Deftly written by Sandra L. Richards and beautifully illustrated by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan, "Rice & Rocks" is an exciting picture book story that celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together. Especially recommended for young readers ages 6 to 12, "Rice & Rocks" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rice & Rocks" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

A Book of Bridges: Here To There and Me To You
Cheryl Keely, author
Celia Krampien, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369966, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Bridges are some of the most fascinating structures in our landscape, and they come in all forms. From towering suspension bridges to humble stone crossings, "A Book of Bridges: Here To There and Me To You" visits them all in sweet, bouncing text with expository sidebars. But while bridges can be quite grand, this reminds us that their main purpose is bringing people together. Deftly written by Cheryl Keely and impressively illustrated by Celia Krampien, "A Book of Bridges: Here To There and Me To You" is perfect for budding architects, as well as young readers ages 5 to 8 who can relate to having loved ones who live far away. Informative, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "A Book of Bridges: Here To There and Me To You" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Book of Bridges: Here To There and Me To You" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.22).

Gus's Garage
Leo Timmers
Gecko Press
9781776570928, $16.99,

Gus's Garage is a fun, easy reader about Gus, who loves to collect all kinds of 'useless' things - 'bits and bobs', and pieces that seem to make no sense until somebody needs them. A rhino, giraffe, penguin and other creatures know that Gus's garage holds a wealth of valuable things that can remedy all their auto and personal problems in this fun picture book story of how a handy pig repurposes even the most impossible 'junk' and helps his friends in the process.

Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Two books provide fun stories for picture book and easy reader audiences, offering topics and approaches that are satisfyingly different and appealing. Maria Nilsson Thore's Stay-at-Home Sammy and the Runaway Spot (9780823436774, $15.95) tells of spotted Sammy who awakens one day to find one of her five hundred spots has gone missing. Out of sorts and sore, she finds her spot - only to find that it won't stay with the others. Four hundred ninety-nine spots are happy to live on her fur, but the one renegade bothers her immensely. What can she do to make him stay? Good reading skills will enhance reading this fun tale. Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss' Noodleheads See the Future (9780823436736, $15.95) looks like a hardcover comic book, presents bright and large-size illustrations by Tedd Arnold, and tells of 'noodleheads' who don't have much between the ears in the way of intelligence. These noodleheads take everything literally - which often lands them in trouble. Kids with good reading skills and an attraction to comic book art will find these noodlehead scenarios hilarious reading, inviting even reluctant readers to partake.

If I Had a Little Dream
Nina Laden and Melissa Castrillon
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781481439244, $17.99,

If I Had a Little Dream is written by Nina Laden, illustrated by Melissa Castrillon, and celebrates the boy and beauty of the world through gentle rhymes paired with colorful and fun drawings. From musings about having a little garden to love to a little boat named Treasure that would bring much joy, the enthusiastic young protagonist embraces the possibilities in the world and brings all these to life in a positive, fun picture book perfect for read-aloud.

Little Blue Chair
Cary Fagan
Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6
9781770497559, $16.99,

Little Blue Chair features drawings by Madeline Kloepper and features little Boo's favorite chair, which is blue. It's good for reading, it can become a tent - but Boo outgrows it one day, and thus it begins its journeys and various uses. As the chair makes it rounds and becomes an unusual piece of furniture, kids discover that even a used little chair can have adventures with unusual conclusions in this gentle story.

Paws McGraw
Connah Brecon
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680100358, $16.99,

Paws McGraw: the Fastest Doodler in the West tells of a genius doodler who uses his pencils to escape danger, from runaway trains to mean cupcake rustling raccoons. Paws faces much adversity with only his pencils - but can he win against tenacious enemies through magic? Cupcakes, magic words, and a far different Western adventure that lends new meaning to the term 'quick draw' makes for a hilarious and lovely original story packed with gorgeous full-page color drawings throughout. Very highly recommended!

Drew Sheneman
Viking Penguin
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781101997314, $17.99,

Nope! A Tale of First Flight comes from an award-winning syndicated cartoonist and provides a warm humorous story for ages 3-5 of a small bird who hesitates to leave his nest. His understanding mother tries to help him face his fears, but when Little Bird contemplates flight, he imagines all kinds of impossible obstacles. How can a caring mother encourage her child to enter a dangerous world? Nope! is a lovely story that combines very simple and limited wording with beautiful large-sized cartoon drawings, and will appeal to the very young.

Pajama Press

Catherine Buquet and Marion Arbona's Under the Umbrella (9781772780161, $16.95) pairs a rhyme with the story of a stormy day, a man's bad mood because of the poor weather, and a child whose eyes are on pastries in a bakery. Artistic, unusual drawings of this sullen man perfectly capture his dark mood and the dark day, until a little boy changes his perspective in an unexpected way. Victoria Allenby and Tara Anderson's Rhino Rumpus (9781927485965, $14.95) is a very simple and fun book featuring a padded hard cover and a counting story centered upon rhinos are act rude, fight, butt heads and make faces. The rhino siblings push, stomp, snap, and make noise. Can their mother control them, even at bedtime? The fun story is replete with lovely, large-size drawings of young rhinos at play: the very young picture book readers will relish these lively images and the very easy read.

In the Land of the Elves
Daniela Drescher
Floris Books
9781782502425, $15.95,

In the Land of the Elves reside animal companions and a queen of the elves, who lives in a crystal cave attended to by elves. The colorful parts of her world range from jewels to butterflies and flowers, but it's the bright world of nature that keeps her perspective and world light and beautiful. While kids anticipating a fantasy may find too little magic in the story, its real attraction lies in its lovely depictions of nature and the elves who live in this world. Kids will find the story light and enchanting.

The Owl and the Lemming
Roselynn Akulukjuk
Inhabit Media
9781772271201, $16.95,

The Owl and the Lemming receives fun drawings by Amanda Sandland as it tells of Owl, who swoops down on a lemming for a nice meal. The only problem is: the lemming is determined not to become his dinner; but in order to save herself, she must apply a little psychology about the owl. Good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will lend to a young picture book reader's ability to appreciate this gentle story of survival and clever problem-solving. Can the lemming trick the owl? Only if she can keep answering his retorts until she finds a way of thwarting his purposes. Kids will appreciate the engrossing tale of a clever lemming who must find a way of being better than her hungry opponent.

Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Dav Pilkey's God Bless the Gargoyles (9780545935142, $17.99) comes from a Caldecott Honor artist who here shows how gargoyles actually have warm souls. Angels can see the good inside them - and on this night they will led their gargoyle friends on a journey that belays the distain and fear people tend to display upon seeing gargoyles. Good reading skills or parental assistance will lend appreciation to this story of angels who love even the ugly, feared gargoyle. Stephen R. Swinburne's Safe in a Storm (9780545867924, $10.99) provides parents with a fine read-aloud choice exploring how various animals find refuge from storms. Jennifer A. Bell's drawings are simple and warm accompaniments as Swinburne journeys through savannah, ponds, forests, and meadows displaying how parents protect their little sheep, bobcats, giraffes, monkeys, bears and more from the weather and harsh world. Calvin Trillin's poems are illustrated by zany, hilarious drawings by Roz Chast in No Fair! No Fair! And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood (9780545825788, $17.99). Trillin's first collection of poems pairs cartoons with such fun subjects as 'How Many Stuffed Animals', 'The Grandpa Rule is in Effect', 'Four School Complaints' and more. Any child (or adult read-aloud participant) who thinks poetry is dull should look at this whimsical collection of daily dilemmas described in verse.

Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210

Two new titles from this publisher provide fun stories highly recommended for picture book readers looking for something different. Richard O'Neill and Katharine Quarmby's Yokki and the Parno Gry (9781846439278, $16.99) will appeal to ages 4-9 with its traditional Romani tale told by a Romani storyteller. When a Traveler family experiences bad luck, boy Yokki devises stories of a mythical white horse to raise their spirits. Kids with good reading skills and parents seeking a different kind of read-aloud will find this filled with Romani culture and lore as the images of the Parno Gry provide them with hope for better times. Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar's That's Not How You Do It! (9781846439292, $16.99) will appeal to ages 3-8, offering a little over thirty pages to the story of cat Lucy, who knows how to do everything! She can play xylophone, she can construct towers, and everyone comes to her for help because she's so knowledgeable. When neighbor Toshi enters her world, he doesn't seem to know anything about the most basic things in life, from eating to music - or, does he? As Toshi brings Lucy to question her own knowledge base, kids receive a gentle, fun story of differences and abilities that will cause them to think about other cultures and possible sources of knowledge.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

God Always Loves You
Mara Laird
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480839090, $16.95, HC, 19pp,

The message of "God Always Loves You" for children ages 4 to 8 is that God loves you no matter what! Through rain or shine and through the ups and downs in life, God will be there to shower you with all the love you could ever need or want. And even when you may not expect it or know it, God is always standing with you -- hand in hand -- to show you how special you are to Him. In "God Always Loves You", children and parents alike will learn about the value and joy of knowing about God's unconditional love for all His children. With fully illustrated pages of charming pictures and simple rhymes by author and illustrator Mara Laird, "God Always Loves You" offers parents and children a chance to see how in all our everyday situations -- from running and playing to kneeling and praying -- God is there to show us His amazing, endless, unconditional love. Simple, elegant, inspired and inspiring, "God Always Loves You" is a thoughtful and charming picture book that is very highly recommended for families, as well as preschool, elementary school, and community library Religion/Spirituality collections for children.

Mary and the Little Shepherds of Fatima
Marlyn Monge & Jaymie Stuart Wolfe, authors
Joao Lopes Maria, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
9780819849595, $14.95, HC,

Children ages 5 to 8 can now celebrate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, Portugal with "Mary and the Little Shepherds of Fatima", a charming and true story specifically written by the team of Marlyn Monge and Jaymie Stuart Wolfe to delight and educate young readers. Answering the Blessed Mothers call to pray the Rosary and make small sacrifices to help bring an end to WW I, Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia faced persecution and doubt with unwavering faith and confidence. Children will read how their courage and desire to spread the Rosary helped thousands witness Our Lady's Miracle of the Sun! Beautifully illustrated by Joao Lopes Maria, "Mary and the Little Shepherds of Fatima" is enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library Religion/Spirituality collections for children.

Early Sunday Morning
Denene Millner, author
Vanessa Brantley-Newton, illustrator
Agate Bolden
c/o Agate Publishing
1328 Greenleaf Street, Evanston, IL 60202
9781572842113, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

Love and family. These are the things that a little girl finds most special about Sunday mornings. Deftly written by Denene Millner and charmingly illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, "Early Sunday Morning" follows June, Mommy, Daddy, and brother Troy through their weekend routine as June prepares for a special performance leading the children's choir at church on Sunday morning. Young readers ages 4 to 9 will spend the weekend with June as she collects helpful pieces of advice on how to be less nervous about her big solo. Along the way, she visits the barbershop with Mommy and Troy, gets her hair done by Mommy, receives a special dress from her aunt, and shares her family ritual of getting ready for Sunday morning service. As her special moment approaches, June leans on the support of her whole family, as well as advice from her father, to conquer her fear of singing in front of the congregation. "Early Sunday Morning" is a heartwarming celebration of the special time a young girl and her family share together as she learns how to lift her mighty voice. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Early Sunday Morning" is as entertaining as it is inspiring and very highly recommended for family, church, preschool, elementary school, and community library Religion/Spirituality collections for children. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Early Sunday Morning" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.41).

When God Made You
Matthew Paul Turner, author
David Catrow, illustrator
Waterbrook Press
c/o Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group
10807 New Allegiance Drive, Suite 500, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
9781601429186, $11.99, HC, 48pp,

From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. The assurance that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly. Through playful, charming rhyme and vivid, fantastical illustrations, "When God Made You" inspires children ages 3 to 7 to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God's divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin to create for themselves. Deftly written by Matthew Paul Turner and charmingly illustrated by David Catrow, "When God Made You" is unreservedly recommended for family, church, preschool, elementary school, and community library Religion/Spirituality collections for children.

The Judaic Shelf

Little Red Rosie: A Rosh Hashanah Story
Eric A. Kimmel, author
Monica Gutierrez, illustrator
Apples & Honey Press
an imprint of Behrman House and Gefen Publishing House
11 Edison Place, Springfield, NJ 07081
9781681155180 $17.95

"Little Red Rosie" is the delightful retelling of the story of the little red hen, with a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) twist. Rosie is a little red- haired girl who promised to bake a loaf of challah bread for the neighborhood dinner celebrating Rosh Hashanah. Rosie has three bird friends (actually stuffed toys) named Toucan, parrot, and Hornbill. They all promised to help her make the challah bread loaf. Amusing, delightful illustrations portray exactly how helpful the three birds are to Little Red Rosie in making the dough. With flour dusting everything, she decides, "I think I'd better do it myself." Then when the dough is made, Toucan, Parrot and Hornbill offer again to help knead the dough, but find the messy dough sticking to their wings! Little Red Rosie quietly decides, "Maybe I'd better help you." One thing the three bird friends were good at was keeping the dough warm so it could rise. That sat on the dough, covered with a cloth, like it was an egg in a nest! The three bird helpers were even more disastrously funny in their efforts to help shape the dough, brush it with egg, and sprinkle it with poppy seeds. What a mess! Little Red Rosie persevered, however, saying "We can do this, yes we can!" The task of cleanup was eagerly volunteered for by the feathered trio, but again, toppling dirty bowls and utensils threatened kitchen disaster, so Little Red Rosie once again came to the rescue. finally the golden challah was ready and the table was set with challah, apples, honey, and other good things, for the neighborhood Rosh Hashanah. When Little Red Rosie asked who would help her say the blessing for the challah, Toucan, parrot, and Hornbill eagerly volunteered again. Everyone held hands and wings and said: "Praised are You, Ruler of the world, who brings forth bread from the earth." Then it was time to eat the challah. Who do you think helped Little Red Rosie do that? Of course, parrot, Toucan, and Hornbill, without whom, Little Red Rosie told them, she couldn't have done it! "Little Red Rosie" is a beautiful retelling of an old children's tale with a kinder, more inclusive ending. Rosh Hashanah is honored and celebrated by the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim, or welcoming guests. The universality of Rosh Hashanah is emphasized as Rosie and her friends with everyone a good year to come! "Little Red Rosie" is a beautiful Rosh Hashanah story for children ages 3-6 years.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

In the Time of the Drums
Kim L. Siegelson, author
Brian Pinkney, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781620143094 $9.95

"In the Time of the Drums" is a faithful recounting of an oral tradition passed through generations of African-American communities near the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina. The story is sourced among the Gullah people, or the Saltwater Geechee people, black Africans brought to America from Angola. Beautiful illustrations of dark portraits of Mentu and Twi and the other African people are rendered on scratchboard and painted with dyes and acrylic. The traditional tale recounts a history of a ship full of a village of Ibo people from the African kingdom of Benin. Twi is an old conjure woman from an Ibo village who has raised young Mentu as an inheritor of her memories and knowledge of Ibo chants, rhythms, practices, and beliefs. She teaches Mentu to grow to be a strong young man who will outlive her and keep alive her memories of Ibo wisdom and traditions. When the ship arrived at the island, carrying so many Ibo people, communication through drums and rhythm passed between the ship slaves and Twi, with her drumming. A song was sung by Twi to the slaves in an old language from her homeland. The song Twi sang and drummed invited the slaves from the ship to follow her, and that she would take them home. Deep magic was known among the Ibo peoples, and Twi was aware of such magics. Leaving her beloved Mentu behind, protected with a charm bag, Twi rose and went into the water, appearing like a much younger woman. Defying their shipmasters, the Ibo slaves drummed their feet in answering rhythm and rose in their chains to follow Twi into the water until the water rose over their heads. The Ibo people and Twi disappeared beneath the water of the island's bay at Teakettle Creek. Mentu and all the other villagers believed that the Ibo people led by Twi were able to walk all the way back to Africa on the bottom of the ocean, following their magic protection and belief. After that, the island villagers called the place Ibo's Landing. They stopped fishing there in Teakettle Creek and felt haunted when they saw snowy egrets rise from the marsh grass in the evenings. Mentu learned that his special strength, always nurtured and praised and promised by Twi, was to be a strength never to forget his true African heritage. "In the Time of the Drums" is an excellent wisdom tale book of of traditions of African American history.

Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos
Terry Catasus Jennings, author
Glenn Rogers, Clarence John, & Shivwits Band of the Paiute Tribe of Utah, authors
Phyllis Saroff, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628559576 $17.95

"Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos" is a beautiful modern teaching tale of a Paiute Indian girl who needed to relearn some important native customs of respect, manners and gratitude for the gift of the pine cone nuts. Vivian went to collect the pine cones with her grandmother to a sacred place previously inhabited by her Paiute and other ancestors. Huge stone formations called hoodoos were seen near the pine cone trees, and Vivian learned a wonderful legend about the creation of the hoodoos from greedy Old Ones, or To-when-an-ung-wa. During her pine nut gathering outing with her grandmother, Vivian learned much about the history of her people, finding ancient tools and pieces of pottery in the sacred site which they had once used. In the end, Vivian learned to be respectful and to give thanks to the trees for sharing their fruit so that she and her people could live. "Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos" is completed with a section on Paiute culture and history, hoodoo formation from erosion, and more. "Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos" is an excellent resource to teach native American culture and history, as well as respect for the natural and prehistoric sites.

The Wishing Foxes
Margaret Read MacDonald, author
Kitty Harvill, illustrator
Plum Street Publishers
2701 Kavanaugh Blvd., Suite 202, Little Rock, AR 72205
9781945268014, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Bess and Tess are two sisters who are sent by their mother to draw water from the Well-at-the-End-of-the-World. Along the way they meet a bear, a mountain lion, a wild boar, and three little foxes. When Bess greets them with courtesy and respect, the foxes reward her kindness. Tess, greedy for her own bounty, can't be bothered with manners; she bonks the animals with her bucket, kicks them with her boots, and slings the little foxes to the ground. In the end, both sisters get their just deserts. With a storyteller's cadence, Margaret Read MacDonald (with some assistance by Jen and Nat Whitman) wonderfully captures the tale's mountain rhythms, homespun wisdom, and timeless truth. Kitty Harvill's vibrant illustrations, rendered in watercolor and cut-paper collage, beautifully capture the interplay and mountain terrain that has shaped this unique version of a universal folk tale. Wonderfully entertaining with a deftly crafted moral for children ages 3 to 8, "The Wishing Foxes" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Legend of Hobbomock: The Sleeping Giant
Jason J. Marchi, author
Jesse J. Bonelli, illustrator
Fahrenheit Books
c/o Omicron World Entertainment LLC
800 Village Walk, Suite 281, Guilford, CT 06437-2762
9780983094517, $16.00, HC, 32pp,

"The Legend of Hobbomock: The Sleeping Giant" is a compelling picture book story of a young Quinnipiac brave named Blackbird by author Jason Marchi and painter Jesse Bonelli who have effectively teamed up to capture and present the magic and history of a time before our own. Through young Blackbird's eyes children ages 8 to 12 will learn the Quinnipiac tribal legend of how the Sleeping Giant landform in Hamden, Connecticut came to look like a giant man sleeping on his back. This consistently engaging and entertaining story is brought to vividly to life with 14 fine art oil paintings, and gives young readers a renewed appreciation of the natural world and shows them how Native Americans lived close to the earth and respected the land, air, water, and wildlife. "The Legend of Hobbomock: The Sleeping Giant" is most decidedly a story worth imparting to children today that promotes appreciation for the natural world, history, and Native American folklore. While unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students in grades 3 through 5 that "The Legend of Hobbomock: The Sleeping Giant" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

The Rock Maiden
Natasha Yim, author
Pirkko Vainio, illustrator
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786656, $17.95, HC, 36pp,

When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil. "No," she would say, "He will come home soon." Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Heavens, takes pity on her grief and turns Ling Yee and her child into stone so that they would mourn no more. The fisherman eventually finds his way home only to discover that his wife has been transformed into the Rock Maiden. Will the family forever be kept apart? Or will devotion and faithfulness ultimately be rewarded? Children ages 4 to 8 will be enchanted in this re-envisioning of an old Hong Kong legend. Natasha Yim is an American Chinese author of fiction and non-fiction works for children and young adults. Pirkko Vainio was born in Finland and studied at the Academy of Art in Helsinki. Together they have effectively collaborated to produce an impressive and exquisite folklore picture books for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book Folktale/Folklore collections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Wolves Return: A New Beginning for Yellowstone National Park
Celia Godkin, author/illustrator
Pajama Press Inc.
181 Carlaw Avenue, Suite 207, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4M 251
9781772780116 $17.95

"The Wolves Return" is the true story of the successful release of twenty-three Canadian gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park in 1995-96. Before the wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone, the elk herds had grown too large, because they had no natural enemies. There were more unhealthy elk, and there was a great impact on the flora and fauna of the region due to the elk overpopulation. "The Wolves Return" explains in picture and in narrative how the reintroduction of the wolves, a natural predator of the elk, impacted positively on the whole environment. The wolves killed and ate the sick, weak, and unhealthy elk, so the herd became smaller but healthier. Aspen and other tree seedlings, once overeaten by elk, began to thrive and provide extra shelter. Berry bushes, which feed bears and birds, grew back also. Bird varieties increased in number and types. Beavers also increased, building dams and lodges and creating a variety of pond and nest environments that support other species. An increase of ponds caused an increase of insects, eaten by fish and many birds. Songbirds were attracted to the woods. many other animal species also benefitted from the return of the wolves. "The Wolves Return" ends with a map of North America with wolf ranges, both current and pre-European habitat patterns. it is clear that wolves play a vital role in maintaining the health, variety, and balance of many life systems and plant and animal species in nature. The mixed media art work in "The Wolves Return" is especially sensitively done and greatly enhances the exciting environmental health restoration true story.

A Day with Dogs
Dorothee de Monfreid, author/illustrator
Gecko Press
9781776570980 $19.99 61 pages

"A Day with Dogs" is a fabulous catalog of all the components of a dog's day, illustrated with great joy, humor, and creativity. Thick cardboard stock pages make this encyclopedia of canine fun a sure winner and survivor of many loving readings by young readers. Each pair of pages contains a title category, with a plethora of detailed mini canine portraits involved in the subject activity. For example, on a page titled the Alphabet, there are twenty-six detailed mini portraits of different dogs with names beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Beagles, poodles, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, and mixed breeds are represented, along with different names drawn from different global sources. In the At Home and At School pages, funny dogs of all kinds and colors are busy engaged in fairly human-friendly daily activities. Each category has its own set of mini stories and dramas, some funny, some sad. The prevailing tone is cheery, with an emphasis on friendly jokes. Young readers will be effortlessly tempted to read and identify words with labeled illustrations of ordinary everyday objects being presented as useful or pertaining to dogs. What, in fact, do dogs do all day? Readers of "a Day with Dogs" will come to their own amazing, hilarious conclusions after much more observation, digestion, and enjoyment.

Beckie Elgin
Inkwater press
6750 SW Franklin Street, Suite A, Portland, OR 97223-2542
9781629013992, $16.95, PB, 114pp,

Children ages 8 to 12 can join the adventures of the famous wolf OR-7, also known as Journey, as he trots across the landscape of the Pacific Northwest into territories that have not seen his kind for nearly a century. Students in grades 2 thorough 6 can follow this remarkable animal as he searches for, and finally finds, what he was seeking during his three-year, 4,000-mile trek. Along the way, kids will discover fascinating facts about wolves and meet the humans that had a role in Journey's quest. While "Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History" by freelance writer Beckie Elgin was specifically created for middle-grade readers but will be appreciated by everyone at any age with an interest in wolves and a desire to better understand these complex and essential canines. "Journey" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections.

Spot: A Sea Pup's Survival Guide
Laura Knight
Friendly Planet Club
9780692805251, $15.00, HC, 34pp, www.FriendlyPlanet.Club

Presenting the simply message that we should all be kind to our mother earth and be kind to each other, "Spot: A Sea Pup's Survival Guide" is the story of a baby sea lion that gets tangled in trash at sea and is rescued by humans. Of special note is the inclusion of a basic teacher/parent guide for encouraging conversations with children about help each other, recycling, and protecting our oceans and the marine life they are home to. Impressive illustrations are combined with underwater ocean photography to support a thoroughly 'kid friendly' and engaging storyline. As informed and informative as it is consistently entertaining and engaging, "Spot: A Sea Pup's Survival Guide" includes activity lessons and is very highly recommended for family home schooling curriculums, as well as school and community library collections.

The Fiction Shelf

Die for You
Amy Fellner Dominy
Delacorte Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9781101936191, $17.99, HC, 304pp,

After Emma Lorde's parents' divorce forces her to move halfway across the state of Arizona to live with her father, Emma must face her senior year in a new school knowing absolutely no one. Then she meets Dillon Hobbs and something just clicks. Dillon introduces Emma to friends she can call her own. He provides a refuge from the chaos of her past and the security of a commitment that he promises will last forever. And because circumstances of her messy life forced Emma to put aside her dream of pursuing archaeology, Dillon creates a blueprint for a future together. He saves her, over and over, by loving her more than she thought anyone ever would. But just when everything seems picture-perfect, Emma is offered an opportunity that will upend the future they've planned. Uncertainty grows, and fear spirals into something darker. Now Dillon is the one who needs saving. But how much do you sacrifice for the one you love? What if saving Dillon means losing herself? A simply compelling read from cover to cover, "Die for You" clearly showcases author Amy Fellner Dominy's impressive flair for originality and storytelling skills. The result is a novel that is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Die for You" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

Chester and Gus
Cammie McGovern
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062330680, $16.99, HC, 272pp,

Chester has always wanted to become a service dog. When he fails his certification test, though, it seems like that dream will never come true - until a family adopts him. They want him to be a companion for their ten-year-old son, Gus, who has autism. But Gus acts so differently than anyone Chester has ever met. He never wants to pet Chester, and sometimes he doesn't even want Chester in the room. Chester's not sure how to help Gus since this isn't exactly the job he trained for - but he's determined to figure it out. Because after all, Gus is now his person. "Chester and Gus" is a heartwarming, reader engaging, thoroughly entertaining read from cover to cover and clearly demonstrates author Cammie McGovern's genuine and original flair for writing stories that will have an enduring appeal for young readers ages 8 to 12. While highly recommended, especially for school and community library children's fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Chester and Gus" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Gecko Press

Megumi Iwasa's Yours Sincerely, Giraffe (9781927271889, $16.99) tells of an African giraffe who decides to write letters across the sea, telling of his life on the other side of the horizon. Simple black and white drawings by Jun Takabatake accompany letters written by a bored giraffe who wants to have friends, and who finds an unusual pen pal in Penguin, whose life is very different. Samples of these correspondences accompany this fun story of blossoming friendship across the ocean, recommended for advanced elementary to early middle school readers. Catharina Valckx and Nicholas Hubesch's Bruno: Some of the More Interesting Days in My Life So Far (9781776571246, $19.99) tells of easy-going Bruno, a cat who takes life as it comes and who follows the world with interest in every event. Six linked stories about Bruno's friendships, adventures and worldview make for a fun story representing an easy-reading chapter book perfect for kids past the picture book stage, but not past the need for colorful illustrations throughout.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Lost Children
Donald Willerton
Terra Nova Books
33 Alondra Road, Santa Fe, NM 87508
9781938288777, $14.95, PB, 174pp,

At a picnic in the mountains in 1891, three children run into the forest to play and are never seen again. More than a hundred years later, Mogi Franklin and his sister, Jennifer, discover a series of clues that bring them to the brink of solving the mystery, only to be thwarted by a resort-building billionaire eager to sacrifice an entire town to build a playground for the rich. The newest addition to author Donald Willerton's 'The Mogi Franklin Mystery Series' featuring a new kind of twenty-first-century hero for Middle-Grade readers as the young adventurer uses his unique problem-solving skills to battle legends of the past while solving the mysteries of today, "The Lost Children" is a consistently entertaining read from cover to cover and highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as both school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers ages 8 to 14.

The Board Book Shelf

Big Brother Peter: A Peter Rabbit Tale
Beatrix Potter, author/illustrators
Frederick Warne
c/o Penguin Random House
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780241293331 $7.99

"Big Brother Peter" is a charming board book edition of a classic Peter Rabbit tale complete with original delicate watercolor illustrations just as in the original tales of Peter Rabbit. The board book format makes this classic tale extra friendly to young readers age 2 years and up. Peter has become a big brother rabbit, and his mother has introduced him to his 3 new baby sisters. One is named Flopsy, another is Mopsy, and the third had yet to be named. peter tried very hard to find entertainment and toys and ways to play with his three new baby sisters. But Flopsy did not like his big noisy drum, and Mopsy did not like his nice, quiet boat. But when Peter's third baby sister was finally ready to be awake and play with him, she was different. She giggled, jiggled, and wiggled her tail. Together she and Peter had so much fun giggling, jiggling, and wiggling, that she got all tired out and had to go back to sleep. Then Peter suggested to his mother, Mrs. Rabbit, a fine name for the third baby sister: Cotton-tail! The new name was approved by Mrs. Rabbit, and Peter looked forward to having lots more fun playing with Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail. He wondered, did they maybe want to play a little too much? This delightful classic lives again for a new generation in this charming new board book edition, the perfect addition to a child's Easter basket.

Chicago Monsters, a Search and Find Book
Carine Laforest, author
Lucile Dorris Drouof, illustrator
City Monsters, an imprint of Chouette Publishing
9782924734018 $9.99 10 pages board book

"Chicago Monsters" is a Search and Find board book about city monsters for young readers age 3 and up. Detailed colorful illustrations of recognized scenes and sites in Chicago, Illinois contain hidden or cleverly disguised local city monsters that children will enjoy discovering. Each pair of pages has highlighted clue that states "6 (or other) monsters to find," to help speed the search and find activities. The sneaky, zany monsters try to blend in, but their bright colors and monster forms and smiles tend to give them away to the careful observer. Scenes of the Windy City that are depicted with monster infestations include the Cloud Gate, the Chicago River, the Michigan Avenue Bridge, the Navy Pier and Centennial Wheel, the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile, the Chicago Water Tower, a typical scene in a deep dish pizza sports bar, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium's Caribbean Reef, and the Oak Street Beach. Youngsters can enjoy perusing the famous sights of Chicago while seeking the elusive city monsters to tease them out of their famous hiding places. All enjoyable pre-reading activities such as the Search and Find features and narrated scenes and sites of Chicago make this sturdy, educational board book a winner for young readers age 3 and up.

I Love You, Little One
Patricia Hegerty
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589252417, $12.99,

I Love You, Little One receives fun colorful drawings by Thomas Elliott as it tells of a bouncy little bear cub who is well loved by his mother at playtime. A touch-and-feel format that includes built-in tactile experiences at each scene offers a fun story of other mothers and animal children, from a bird's baby chick to a tall elephant. The gorgeous, fun read-aloud will provide mothers and children much pleasure.

Little Poems for Tiny Ears
Lin Oliver
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781524737962, $7.99,

Tomie dePaola illustrates an appealing poetry book perfect for read-aloud, and covers topics the very young can relate to. These gentle rhymes tells of strollers, sneezing, dogs, car seats, and more, and each is accompanied by gentle drawings that bring a child's experience to life, presented in full color. Board books seldom hold poetry much less verse relating to a very young child's life: this is a standout.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! ODDphabet
Ripley Publishing
Suite 188, 7576 Kingspointe Parkway, Orlando, FL 32819
9781609911706 $6.95

"Ripley's Believe It or Not ODDphabet" is a magical alphabeticized verse narrative that will enchant young readers age 3 and up. Filled with zany bright portraits and thumbnail sketches of unusual, unlikely animals, "ODDphabet" is a board book that excels in stimulation and surprise. Here are a couple of the examples: "A is for alligator/ But he is not green/ His Friends call him Albino/ All white and so clean! (p. 1)." "Z is for zorse/ The last in our zoo/ He is half horse/ and half zebra, too (p.26)!" For an entertaining, educational toddler's board book, "Ripley's Believe It or Not ODDphabet" is an unforgettable experience! Also highly recommended is a companion publication, "Ripley's Believe It or Not! Wacky 123 (9781609911812, $6.99)."

The Counting Shelf

Counting Through The Day
Margaret Hamilton, author
Anna Pignataro, illustrator
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
4901 Morena Blvd, Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781760124526, $8.55, HC, 32pp,

Using rhythmic verse supported by utterly charming artwork, "Counting Through The Day" teaches basic number concepts using illustrative everyday delights that children ages 2 through 5. Starting with 1 teddy bear and progressing up through 12 dry sticks, author Margaret Hamilton then progresses to 20 wise owls, hundreds of books, thousands of raindrops, millions of stars, and then concludes with one silver moon and one loving kiss. It should be noted that "Counting Through The Day" has rounded corners and features heavy cardstock pages. In addition to being an excellent and educational counting book for preschoolers, "Counting Through The Day" is an impressive bed-time reading experience for parents and children. "Counting Through The Day" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, and community library collections.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Darkling Green
Kim Thompson
The Dundurn Group
3 Church Street, Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5E 1M2
9781459736221 $12.99 pbk / $8.74 Kindle

Part of "The Eldritch Manor Series", Darkling Green is a fantasy novel written especially for young adults and teenagers, yet thoroughly accessible and appealing to readers of all ages. Spring has arrived at Eldritch Manor, and the King of the Fairies has caused no end of hustle and bustle. Willa's "unlucky" thirteenth birthday is fast approaching, and she just recently learned evidence that she might be part mermaid! How can a young woman with no tail and a deathly fear of water be mermaid-descended? And why does she keep dreaming about a malevolent Green Man? Part fantastic adventure, part coming-of-age story, Darkling Green is especially recommended for the fantasy collections of public and school libraries.

M.P. Kozlowsky
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545831918, $17.99,

Frost tells of a teen who has spent her whole life hiding in an abandoned apartment building, one of the relics of former civilization, as rogue robots and Eaters roam the streets below. Alone, she's never met another human other than her father - but even he isn't real any longer, and when Frost discovers there might be medicine for her dying pet if she leaves the safety of her home, she embarks on a dangerous journey. Frost takes the theme of a dystopian world and a survival situations and ups the ante with the addition of robots, questions about humanity, and a lone teen girl's struggles. It provides many riveting twists and turns that belay predictability and lend the novel an engrossing feel, making it highly recommended for young adults looking for something refreshingly different.

Flicker and Mist
Mary G. Thompson
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544648401, $17.99,

Flicker and Mist tells of a world in which people can become invisible ("flicker") at will - but this is not considered a desirable trait. An invisible person can be or do anything - even be a deadly threat - and so Flickerkin are disparaged and can be put to death. Myra is part Flickerkin and has kept her power a secret until disturbances caused around New York City by other Flickerkin threaten her family, her romance, and everything she knows. Can Myra solve these big problems, given she has a tangled identity and special purposes and is intent on not choosing sides? A powerful saga emerges in a riveting, different story that's hard to put down.

Rebels of the Lamp: Finders Keepers
Michael M.B. Galvin & Peter Speakman
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781423180401, $16.99

Rebels of the Lamp: Finders Keepers will reach readers age 10-14 years old with its story of Parker and his friends, who have destroyed an evil genie only to awaken Vesiroth, an immortal sorcerer now bent on ruling the world. His goal - to abolish war - is admirable, but not his determination to become a demigod in that effort, and he mist reassemble the scattered bits of an old artifact to gain the powers to win his goal. Parker, his genie, and his gang are charged with the effort of defeating someone who wants to end violence in an odd twist of fate in this intriguing fantasy, highly recommended for all ages.

Tamar and PJ: One Giant Adventure
Mark F. Geatches
World Castle Publishing
9781629895819, $20.36, HC, 307pp,

PJ's weekend began like any other, but his sense of tranquility was mere illusion. Hunted down and poisoned by a wicked humanoid strain, PJ slowly loses his health and sanity as a lone giant races to save him. After centuries of solitude Tamar's decision to save PJ has unforeseen consequences. He unwittingly kills Krell, the vorteh Emperor's son and heir to the throne, placing a mark on his own head. Now Tamar must perform the nearly impossible task of creating an antidote that will save PJ, while avoiding marauding vorteh death squads. With PJ's outcome unknown Tamar makes one final decision. He confronts Emperor Dedac, sacrificing his life to save the lives of PJ and his family. A deftly written and engaging fantasy action/adventure novel for young readers ages 12 to 17, "Tamar and PJ: One Giant Adventure" showcases author Mark Geatches' genuine flair for original and entertaining storytelling. While very highly recommended for school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Tamar and PJ: One Giant Adventure" is also available in a paperback edition 9781629895826, $12.60) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).

Aaden BlueStar: The Awakening
David Gaughan
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781537484662, $9.99, PB, 258pp,

At fifteen, Aaden Greene is imbued with extraordinary powers after a freak incident. Astounded by his powerful abilities he's also confused by the terrifying vision of the monstrous apparition that appears before him at the time of his metaphysical awakening. Struggling to blend his ordinary life with visions of other lifetimes in extraterrestrial realms, he discovers his connection with an ET who has come to save our world. What amazes him most is the connection between the charismatic E.T. with whom he has been closely connected throughout the ages and his father, a Senator running for President on an environmental ticket. With each heart-pounding moment, the ensuing battle between the extraterrestrial BlueStar Beings and the formidable entity of Aaden's earlier vision requires them to join forces to combat that negative energy. With an environmental backlash, the future of Earth and the survival of the human race depend on their success. Exceptionally well written and thoroughly entertaining from cover to cover, "Aaden BlueStar: The Awakening" reveals author David Gaughan as having a genuine flair for originality and compelling storytelling skills. While "Aaden BlueStar: The Awakening" is very highly recommended for both school and community library Science Fiction collections for children, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of young science fiction fans that it is also available in an inexpensive Kindle format ($0.99).

The Land of Mar
Zachary Warren Mohr, author
Aaron Damon Porter, illustrator
Desdemona's Dreams LLC
9780996887427, $24.99, HC, 62pp,

After defeating the mad Maestro, and saving her dream of dancing, Desdemona is once again presented with a challenge. A mysterious figure in her dreams tells her that she must right the wrongs in the Land of Mar. To accomplish this task, Desdemona must stop the dread pirate Moren and his wicked crew from destroying dreams. A jovial faerie by the name of Puck joins her on her adventures in Mar, as they seek out the court of the King. But, as always, nothing is quite as easy as it seems, and Desdemona must use her courage and wit to face the problems that lie ahead. "The Land of Mar" is the second volume in the fully illustrated 'Desdemona's Dreams' series by Zachary Warren Mohr and featuring memorable illustrations by Aaron Damon Porter that reveal the beauty of dreams and explores how imagination may be the key to discovering who we are meant to be. Especially recommended for children ages 6 to 12, "The Land of Mar" will prove to be enduringly popular additions to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020

Two new titles are top recommendations for teens looking for a different kind of read. Kate O'Hearn's The Runaway (9781481447409, $17.99) is second in her series, but requires little pre-knowledge for newcomers as it describes a world where the Valkyries of legend are alive - along with one who has become a friend of humans in the World of Man, and who doesn't want to reap their souls like her peers. Freya's return to the human realm to track down a runaway Valkyrie brings her into conflict with friends, family, and new dangers in this engrossing saga. Martha Freeman's Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question (9781481472647, $16.99) tells of a rich New York City girl whose parents embark on an adventure and leave her behind on her aunt and uncle's farm for the summer, where she expects to be bored and frustrated. As Effie discovers more than a few mysteries, she finds her spare time filled with investigation, with a new bicycle carrying her beyond the farm to places which the adults don't want her to go - and questions she asks that they don't want answered. A funny, vigorous tale emerges that is well spiced with Effie's indefatigable personality.

The Automotive Shelf

Motor Girls
Sue Macy
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426326974, $18.99, HC, 96pp,

Motor Girls, as they were called at the turn of the century, were the daring women who got behind the wheel of the first cars and paved the way for change. The automobile has always symbolized freedom, and in "Motor Girls: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century" by Sue Macy, children ages 10 to 12 meet the first generation of female motorists who drove cars for fun, profit, and to make a statement about the evolving role of women. From the advent of the auto in the 1890s to the 1920s when the breaking down of barriers for women was in full swing, young readers will be especially delighted to see historical photos, art, and artifacts and to discover the many ways these progressive females influenced fashion, the economy, politics, and the world around them. Profusely illustrated from cover to cover, "Motor Girls" is an especially informative and highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library History collections for young readers.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Adele in Sand Land
Claude Ponti, author/illustrator
Skeeter Grant & Francoise Mouly, translators
Toon Books
c/o Raw Junior LLC
27 Greene Street #4, New York, NY 10013
9781943145164 $12.95

"Adele in Sand Land" is a level 1 (first comics for brand new readers) Toon book by famous author/ illustrator Claude Ponti. Translated from French by Skeeter Grant and Francoise Mouly, "Adele in Sand Land" is part of a collection of children's books written by the author for his daughter, who was named Adele. Reading "Adele in Sand Land" with a child of 3-4 or older, it is important to amplify the story by "hamming it up," and to encourage the child to make up ideas about the action of the many fantastically detailed comic illustrations, a succession of panels conveying exciting action and change. The single line of narrative at the bottom of the page only gives a broad outline of all the stories within the pictures. Fantastic, funny, unusual, dream-like changes in the images of the cartoon panels convey unwritten parts of the story. Children will be intrigued by the multiple levels of possibilities within the cartoons, also suggested by the narrative. Characters like the Masked Chickie, Sandy the Sand Man, and the furballs make friends with Adele in her adventures in her imaginary world in the crowded playground sandbox, where she is playing while her mother visits on a park bench with another mother. There are many transformations and magical surprises in Adele's adventures with her friends. She is able to overcome adversity with her own talents, or ear-splitting song. When Adele has problems, her friends come to aid her. After a final harrowing escape from a Dessert Island, and surviving being swallowed by a Snack Man, Adele finds a sand tunnel that takes her back to Mama. When Mama offers Adele a snack, she says, "No, thank you, I'm full." The magical mystery tour of illustrations of Adele and her fantastic adventures offer endless opportunities for imagination, exploration, and creativity. Children of all ages will be fascinated by "Adele in Sand Land."

Cardfight!! Vanguard 7
Akira Itou
Vertical, Inc.
451 Park Avenue South, 7th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781941220146 $10.95

Cardfight!! Vanguard 7 is a black-and-white manga (Japanese graphic novel) continuing the saga of young people whose card-battling game draws them into deeper plots. Set after the events of Asia Circuit, Cardfight!! Vanguard 7 spotlights the return of Tetsu Shinjou of Foo Fighter, who runs the Cardfight Club of a rival school to protagonist Aichi's Miyaji Academy. An energetic story of rivalry and competition suitable for all ages, Cardfight!! Vanguard 7 includes a limited edition PR card with its first printing.

The Music CD Shelf

Funny Faces
Michael & The Rockness Monsters
Privately Published

Award-winning band Michael & the Rockness Monsters presents their second album Funny Faces, a family-friendly odyssey of imagination, from the contemplative to the ludicrous. Carefree and joyful, the songs range from funk and comedy to get-up-and-move dance music, to wistful moral parables. Funny Faces will appeal to both parents and children, and is highly recommended. The tracks are "Cardboard Cutout Man", "Everything Anything", "Elevator Song", "Feet for Hands", "Never Know", "Mr. Pickle", "Rainbows", "Funny Faces", "Squirrel Fight", "Same Side", "Together Forever", "So Happy", "Babies Cry", and "Who I Am".

Rock & Roll Party
Wayne Potash
Happy House Records

The eighth music CD by award-winning artist Wayne Potash, Rock & Roll Party consists of sixteen kid-tested, rock-and-roll songs. Ten of the songs are original creations; five are family- friendly versions of songs by Aerosmith, The Who, George Thorogood and John Lee Hooker. Brimming with hand-clapping, toe-tapping, get-up-and-move fun, Rock & Roll Party is highly recommended! The tracks are "At the Baseball Game", "Haunted House Party", "Boris the Spider", "Clawzy the Sea Monster", "I'm a Little Princess", "Bobcats", "Don't Say Anything", "Sweet Tooth", "Bad to the Bone", "Train Kept A-Rollin", "Olympic Games", "Boom Boom", "Willy the Woolly Mammoth", "Roadrunner", "Daddy is a Rock and Roll Star", and "Shy Shark".

Trippin' Round the Mitten
Randy Kaplan
Yellow Thing Records & Books
$12.97 CD / $9.99 download

Trippin' Round the Mitten is the sixth family-friendly album by Randy Kaplan, who has recently moved to the suburbs of Detroit and toured (or "tripped" around) the state of Michigan. The music draws upon the sub-genres of rap and hip-hop, including a parody of Maroon 5's hit song "Sugar" (the parody is about a child's craving for actual sugar in cookies and ice cream). Some songs are covers, some are remixes, and some are original creations interspersed with Kaplan's delightful skits and dialogues. Trippin' Round the Mitten is ultimately a jubilant celebration of life and community in Michigan, highly recommended for listeners of all ages! The tracks are "Honk Honk" (5:10), "Trippin' Round the Mitten" (2:59), "Beach Song" (1:58), "Supernude" (4:23), "Mr. Bassman" (2:16), "My Frigerator Broke" (2:14), "Sugar" (3:41), "Every Second Counts" (2:53), "Jungle" (3:22), "Comb Your Ears" (4:25), "Cat & Mice" (3:42), "Tongue Tied" (1:52), "The Komorns" (1:24), "Sleeping Dog" (3:02), "Mr. Spaceman" (4:36), "Bye Bye Baby" (2:570, "On the Phone on the Toilet" (5:48) and "Mommy Love Song" (1:36).

Songs About Us
Kerry Fenster
Muzic School
$9.98 CD / $5.99 download

Although Songs About Us is a music CD created especially for children with special needs or developmental delays, its positive messages about how to take care of oneself and politely interact with others are a valuable lesson for all very young children. Each song has a simple lesson couched in a catchy tune, making Songs About Us an excellent teaching tool, ideal for public or elementary school children's music collections and highly recommended for family listening as well. The songs are "Greeting" (0:27), "Quiet Hands" (3:00), "Use Your Words" (2:25), "Pinball Wizard" (2:54), "Hygiene" (2:10), "Personal Space" (2:40), and "Farewell" (0:39).

Feeling Good
Dave Hamilton
Privately Published
$12.97 CD / $15.00 download

Intended for young people ages 2-8, Feeling Good is the fourth children's music album by Dave Hamilton, or "Mr. Dave". The songs are designed to be catchy and appealing for little ones, yet easy on adult ears. The upbeat energy of Hamilton's music is positively infectious! Feeling Good is a choice pick for family and public library children's music collections, highly recommended. The tracks are "Bamboo the Bear", "Street Smarts", "Captain Brown Beard", "I Will Share", "Song in All of Us", "Pelican Kid", "Two Wheels", "Questions", "Feeling Good", and "Tiny Things". 33 min.

The DVD Shelf

Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass
Story by Dean Robbins
Illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko
Narrated by Dion Graham
Music by Michael Bacon
Weston Woods
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
9781338162004 $59.95

Intended for young viewers ages 4-8, Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass is the DVD adaptation (with voiced narration and music) of a children's picturebook about two historical American figures - Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), champion of woman's rights and women's suffrage, and African-American social reformer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass (1818-1895). Inspired by a statue commemorating both individuals in their hometown of Rochester, New York which shows the pair having tea, Two Friends imagines a get-together in which Anthony and Douglass share similar stories their respective battles for human equality. Gentle and inspiring, Two Friends is highly recommended especially for homeroom viewing and elementary school or public library children's DVD collections. 7 min., optional English subtitles, closed-captioned. It should be noted that Two Friends is also available in hardcover ($17.95), audio CD ($12.95), and hardcover with audio CD ($29.95) editions.

The Story of Easter
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Ave. 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
9781506421933 $14.99

Part of the "Spark Story Bible Adventures" animated DVD series for children ages 3-10, The Story of Easter presents the Biblical story of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the New Testament, a miracle that is commemorated every year with the Easter holiday. Brightly colored animation and a charming, anthropomorphic caterpillar named Squiggles teach young viewers to about God's infinite love, and the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Highly recommended, especially for church library collections and Sunday School viewing. 60 min.

The Math Shelf

Project Popcorn
Laura Driscoll, author
Shirley Ng-Benitez, illustrator
Kane Press
225 East 46th St., #4D, New York, NY 10017-2924
9781575658681 $23.99 hc
9781575658650 $5.95 pb 32 pages

"Project Popcorn" is a fun new title from the Math Matters series, whose goal is "to help children approach math with genuine enthusiasm.... that will stay with them throughout their lives." Cheery color illustrations and a fun story combine to depict the Community Champions' latest Thanksgiving project to raise funds for poor families' Thanksgiving meals by selling tins of popcorn. Assisted by their group leader, Mr. C., the Champs use graphs, averages, and other math techniques and tools to develop the best selling strategy and win the most funds for the Thanksgiving project. Carefully reviewing sales patterns, the team finds they have one preferred flavor of popcorn that sells the most tins. The Champs also used modes and median analysis to determine the best sale price to sell their last tins of popcorn after all the orders had been filled. The group of Champs sold a record number of popcorn tins, which eventually translated into a total gift of 200 Thanksgiving baskets for needy families, a wonderful donation! In addition, each Champ student worker proudly received a new activity badge for their sashes. Pictures of the Champs in action are inclusive, showing children of different skin colors, with different abilities (one girl in a wheelchair assists with sales), and different backgrounds. Children work in teams to tackle math problems such as sales strategies and market analysis, and basket filling and distribution. Math concepts that are applied, explained and used in activities include the mean, the median, the mode, and the range. These are further defined in an appendix on page 32, followed by Activities that Matter, some suggested activities to do with children that support and extend their reading and math skills. "Project Popcorn" has punch, appeal, and practical applicability for middle grade students who are learning to love math and reading. "Project Popcorn:" "Project Popcorn" is suitable for children ages 6-8, in grades 1-3. Also highly recommended are the following titles that are available from the Math Matters series: "Let's Go, Snow! (9781575468070, $5.99)," by Eleanor May, illustrated by Cary Pillo; "Otto and the New Girl (9781575658643, $5.95)," by Nan Walker, illustrated by Amy Wummer; and "A Fishy Mystery (9781575658667, $5.95)," by Lisa Harkrader, illustrated by Cary Pillo.

Books in Series

The U. S. Constitution
Marcia Amidon, author
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503809079 $28.50 24 pages

From the juvenile educational series, "How America Works," "The U. S. Constitution" explains the origin, history, role, contents, and significance of the United States' Constitution. Written in 1787, the U. S. Constitution replaced the much weaker Articles of Confederation, a political predecessor when it was finally ratified by all 13 states in 1790. In succinct, clear descriptive narrative, "The U. S. Constitution" summarizes: "The new document wasn't perfect. But it was clearer than the Articles of Confederation. It also gave the government more powers. Officials needed these powers to unite the states. Over time, the nation would change. The Constitution would remain the law of the land (p. 9)." Revolutionary Period paintings plus illustrations and helpful graphs and sidebars help illuminate the parts and impact of the U. S. Constitution. Chapter two explains the Preamble and Articles of the Constitution, creating the three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Chapter three explains the amendments to the U. S. Constitution, at over 200 years of age, the oldest national constitution still in use. The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, outline the basic freedoms of Americans under the Constitution, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Later amendments accomplished important work such as equal rights for women and black Americans. Amendments can be created and repealed still today, to help protect the rights of all Americans. "The U. S. Constitution" provides a good comprehensive overview of this unique document for mid grade students age 8 and up. Additional titles from the "How America Works " series that are also highly recommended include: "The Declaration of Independence (9781503809017)," by Mary Meinking, and "The Bill of Rights (9781503809000)," by Marcia Amidon Lusted.

Judaism: Global Citizens: World Religions
Katie Marsico, author
Jeff Bane, illustrator
Cherry Lake Publishing
1750 Northway Drive, Suite 101, North Mankato MN 56003
9781634722926 $20.95 hc / $9.95 pbk / $32.95 hosted ebook

"Judaism" is a succinct summary of the history, geography, civics, and economics of Judaism for young readers in grades 4-7. Enriched by color photographs of different denominations of Judaism and more, plus sidebars of summaries of related core information and important questions. "Judaism" is from a series titled Global Citizens: World Religion, also part of the 21st Century Skills Library. It is completed by sections titled Think About It, For More Information, and a Glossary. "Judaism" is highly recommended. Additional titles from this series that are also highly recommended include: "Buddhism," "Christianity," "Hinduism," "Islam," and "Sikhism".

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

Three new series collections are top picks for discriminating elementary-level nonfiction collections looking for books that both fit the curriculum and promise lasting lending value. Shannon Welbourn's 'Step Forward With' series ($23.70 HC, $7.95 PB each) for grade 3 supports the SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) and character education programs, supports CSS for Reading Informational Texts for grade 3, and offers 23 pages each of full-color details backed by a bibliography, glossary of terms, index, and table of contents. The books hold vocabulary definitions, examples, and discussions that directly relate to youth experiences. Integrity (9780778727860), Gratitude (9780778727842), Empathy (9780778727866), Grit (9780778727675), Responsible Decision-Making (9780778727699), Problem Solving (9780778727682), Curiosity (9780778727628) and Optimism (9780778727804) each build confidence, promote positive can-do attitudes, and discuss various ideas and tips that help kids embark on a happier life. Colin Hynson's 'Cutting Edge Careers In STEM: Dream Jobs In...' series ($27.60) for grade 5 each support STEM initiatives and promote skills development and career considerations at an earlier level than one might expect. Engineering (9780778729457), Math (9780778729631), Science (9780778729655) and Technology (9780778729679) each hold some 30 pages of detail capped by a glossary and index, with discussions ranging from ethical concerns in each career area to the mechanics of succeeding in each position. Rita Storey's 'Technology in Motion: How to Build...' series (($27.60 each) for grade 5 support STEM initiatives and 21st Century Skills as it provides projects for young builders and supplements these projects with science facts and details. Cars (9780778733935), Aircraft (9780778733843) and Robots (9780778733942) each use highly colorful combinations of photos, diagrams, and illustrations to explain each step of the project and the concepts behind it. All promise lasting lending library value.

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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