Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Children's Bookwatch

Children's Bookwatch

Volume 28, Number 4 April 2018 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Biography Shelf American History Shelf
World History Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Computer Shelf
Sports Shelf Fiction Shelf Board Book Shelf
ABC Shelf Picturebook Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Christian Shelf Buddhist Shelf Poetry Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Environmental Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Art Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Dear Komodo Dragon
Nancy Kelly Allen, author
Laurie Allen Klein, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607184492, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Lots of children have pen pals but one little girl has a real-life dragon a Komodo dragon for a pen pal! Leslie plans to be a dragon hunter when she grows up. When she and Komodo become pen pals, the wise-cracking dragon adds a generous helping of humor to letters that are chock full of accurate, interesting facts. Leslie learns not only about the world's largest lizard, but also about the dangers they face. As their friendship builds, will Leslie change the way she thinks about dragons? Deftly written by Nancy Kelly Allen and very nicely illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, "Dear Komodo Dragon" is a picture book story that also includes a 4-page 'For Creative Minds' section in the back of the book, as well as a 30-page cross-curricular 'Teaching Activity Guide' online. "Dear Komodo Dragon" is vetted for accuracy by experts and is specifically designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. The Spanish translation supports ELL and dual-language programs. The interactive ebook reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension. A very special, unique, educational and entertaining picture book for children ages 5 to 8, "Dear Komodo Dragon" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Dust Flowers
Lisa Gammon Olson, author
Kyle Olson, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
PO Box 66, Lemont, PA 16851
9781632330772, $14.99, HC, 40pp,

During one of the most trying periods in American history, the Dust Bowl Era, when the dust storms came and scoured the earth, a little girl nurtures a courageous seedling she found trying to survive in the harsh and unforgiving conditions. She knows the blooms would bring a smile to her Mama's tired face, as she has heard stories of the garden she used to keep. What she doesn't know is that the little flower promises something even more precious -- Hope. "Dust Flowers" by the team of author Lisa Gammon Olson and illustrator Kyle Olson is the first book in the new 'Tales from American HerStory' series, in which tidbits of American history are explored from the vantage point of a girl protagonist. Original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, "Dust Flowers" is highly recommended for children ages 5 to 10 and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dust Flowers" is also available in a paperback edition (9781632330765, $9.99).

Yes, I Can!
Hindy Kviat, author
Chaya Leah Lefkowitz, author
Len Epstein, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781945560057, $10.95, HC, 28pp,

Children are so curious and excited about the grown up world. They love to see firefighters, police officers, teachers and doctors at work! They dream of flying like a pilot or using tools like a builder. In a lively new picture book, "Yes, I Can!" a young brother and sister discover what they can learn from everyone, and how to accomplish great things right away. "Yes, I Can!" sends a basic message to children -- I am like a police officer when I keep others safe... I am like a doctor when I make someone feel better. "Yes, I Can!" is specifically designed by co-authors Chaya Leah Lefkowitz and Hindy Kviat to build self esteem and help children's good middos grow. It's warm, encouraging message and colorful, action-packed illustrations by Len Epstein are perfect for toddlers ages 1-4. "Yes, I Can!" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library picture book collections.

Granny's Teeth
Liz Cooper
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480847620, $28.95, HC, 108pp,

Whether looking for a lost shoe, staying awake all night listening to a chatty set of dentures, or watching Grandpas hair fly away, the young characters in the fifteen quirky tales comprising "Granny's Teeth" by Liz Cooper find surprising solutions to life's unexpected events. The storylines are simple and funny, yet the themes are surprisingly complex, providing lots of opportunities for the sharing of ideas. Its fun to talk about a story, but often, its hard to know what to talk about beyond the basic plot and details. In order to encourage critical thinking, there are intriguing kid-friendly questions placed strategically at the end of each tale. This gives readers an immediate opportunity to respond to the story, whether they read it independently or with an adult. Additional questions, discussion starters, and research ideas in the 'Lets Talk About It' section of "Granny's Teeth" provide opportunities for digging deeper. Entertaining, funny, engaging, deftly crafted, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Granny's Teeth" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Granny's Teeth" is also available in a paperback edition (9781480847644, $8.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Essential List: A Letter to the Teacher
Miron C. Izakson
Gefen Publishing House
9789652299192 $14.95

The Essential List: A Letter to the Teacher tells of sixth-grader Avi, whose assignment is to write a little to the teacher about his perceptions, family, and meanings in life. Avi's letter is to be a compendium of important issues and questions; but this rich survey, translated from the Hebrew by Leanne Raday and filled with black and white drawings by Dani Kerman, adds an extra dimension to a young boy's life, considering a young man's observations of and attempts to make sense of the world. Adults and pre-teens who use The Essential List as a focal point for discussion will find much to like and much to ponder as Avi considers his world and puts it on paper for greater insights.

Flying Colors
Robert G. Fresson
Cicada Books Limited
9781908714466 $22.95

Flying Colors: A Guide to Flags from Around the World is designed to be accessible to young adults, but readers of all ages will enjoy learning about the history of each flag. Terms from vexillology (the study of flags) are defined in a handy glossary. Colorful illustrations of flags on practically every page enrich in this compendium of history, symbolism, and national pride around the world. Flying Colors is highly recommended, especially for public and school library collections.

The Biography Shelf

Confucius: Great Teacher of China
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781620141939 $21.00

Confucius: Great Teacher of China is a picturebook biography of Confucius (551 BCE - 479 BCE), one of the most influential thinkers in history, whose teachings and legacy emphasize adherence to the virtues of compassion and honesty. The text is sufficiently detailed to present an accurate summary of Confucius' life, and is ideal for young people who are almost ready ready to transition to chapter books. Beautifully illustrated with full-color artwork in the style of ancient Chinese paintings, Confucius: Great Teacher of China is as engaging as it is educational. Highly recommended, especially for grade school and public library picturebook collections.

Young Lincoln
Jan Jacobi
Reedy Press
PO Box 5131, St. Louis, MO 63139
9781681061122, $16.95, PB, 208pp,

Abe Lincoln is growing up on the American frontier in Indiana. It's cold, usually there isn't enough to eat, there's nothing at all to read, and the one job that awaits him is farmer, like his overbearing father. But a chance to travel down the Mississippi river offers young Abe the opportunity to see and meet people he has never dreamed of. Abe's eyes are opened and he can't go back to being the boy he was before. With the help of his friends, Abe will strike out to find his own path. Obstacles wait around every river bend, and the shadow of death is never far, but nothing will stop him from becoming the man he knows he can be. But this is not the end of his story! Researched and written by Jan Jacobi (who has taught middle school English and humanities in three schools for over 40 year), "Young Lincoln" brings history to life through this biography of a familiar hero. "Young Lincoln" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both school and community library American Biography collections for young readers ages 12-16.

Anthony Rizzo is a Good Italian Boy
Amanda ReCupido and Matt Lynch, authors
Jillian Solarczyk, illustrator
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781684015108, $14.95, HC, 38pp,

Anthony Vincent Rizzo (born August 8, 1989) is an American professional baseball first baseman for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB). He is a three-time All-Star. Rizzo was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2007 MLB draft and became a top minor league prospect in the Red Sox organization. He was traded to the San Diego Padres after the 2010 season along with three other prospects in exchange for All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. After being traded to the Cubs in 2012, he developed into an All-Star player. Written by Amanda ReCupido and Matt Lynch, "Anthony Rizzo is a Good Italian Boy" is a picture book biography for children ages 4 to 8 showcasing his love of big family dinners, hitting home runs, and who is even willing to share the last cannoli -- all of which makes him a "good Italian boy"! Impressively and entertainingly informative and a genuinely fun read, "Anthony Rizzo is a Good Italian Boy" is very highly recommended, especially for family, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections.

The American History Shelf

Marching for Equality
Vanessa Oswald
Lucent Books
c/o Greenhaven Publishing
353 3rd Avenue, Suite 255, New York, NY 10010
9781534562417, $39.40, Library Binding, 104pp,

One of the greatest leaders in American history, Martin Luther King Jr., organized a march from Selma, Alabama, to that states capital, Montgomery, in 1965. He and other activists wanted to call attention to the civil rights violations that plagued Alabama, as well as the struggle many African Americans were going through to exercise their right to vote. Young readers ages 12 to 17 will learn about this important moment in American history through "Marching for Equality: The Journey From Selma To Montgomery" which is comprised of a comprehensive text, quotes from civil rights leaders, and powerful photographs from the historic march to Montgomery. Exceptionally well written, profusely illustrated with period photography, and thoroughly 'reader friendly in organization and presentation, "Marching for Equality" is unreservedly recommended for both school and community library American History collections in general, and 20th Century Black History supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

The World History Shelf

Jonathan Litton, author
Chris Chalik, Dave Shephard, Jon Davis, and Leo Hartas, illustrators
360 Degrees
c/o Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781944530136 $24.99

Journeys: Tales of Travel and Trailblazers is an oversized hardcover book designed to teach young readers about explorers who changed history. From Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and early European voyages to America, to Lope de Aguirre's and Percy Fawcett's ventures into the Amazon jungle, to the expeditions that raced to be the first to the South Pole (resulting in triumph for one team and tragedy for the other), Journeys a fascinating portrayal of human gumption, ingenuity, and bravery. Black-and-white illustrations throughout help enhance the accessibility of this choice pick for school and public library children's nonfiction collections.

They Lost Their Heads!
Carlyn Beccia
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9780802737458, $18.99, HC, 192pp,

From the kidnapping of Einstein's brain to the horrifying end of Louis XIV's heart, the mysteries surrounding some of history's most famous body parts range from medical to macabre. In "They Lost Their Heads!: What Happened to Washington's Teeth, Einstein's Brain, and Other Famous Body Parts", Carlyn Beccia deftly explores the misadventures of noteworthy body parts through history and springboards to exploring STEM topics such as forensics, DNA testing, brain science, organ donation, and cloning. The engaging tone, wonderfully creepy subject matter, and delightfully detailed art are sure to capture even the most reluctant readers. The famous people and their body parts include: Galileo Galilei / Fingers; Louis XIV / Heart; George Washington / Teeth; Franz Joseph Hadyn / Head; Beethoven / Hair; Abraham Lincoln / Body; Chang and Eng Bunker / Liver; Phineas Gage / Skull; John Wilkes Booth / Neck vertebrae; Sarah Bernhardt / Leg; Vincent Van Gogh / Ear; Mata Hari / Head; Albert Einstein / Brain; Elvis Presley / Wart; Thomas Edison / Last Breath. Profusely illustrated with b/w images throughout, "They Lost Their Heads!" is a unique and very highly recommended addition to elementary school and community library collections for young readers ages 10 to 14.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Woodpeckers: Drilling Holes and Bagging Bugs
Sneed B. Collard III
Bucking Horse Books
PO Box 8507, Missoula, Montana, 59807
c/o Mountain Press (dist.)
9780984446094, $17.00, HC, 48pp,

While most woodpeckers live in forests or woodland habitats, there are a few species are known that live in treeless areas, such as rocky hillsides and deserts, (for example, the Gila woodpecker specializing in exploiting cacti). Woodpeckers not only dazzle us with their good looks and personality, they exhibit some of the most interesting behaviors in the animal world. In "Woodpeckers: Drilling Holes and Bagging Bugs", children ages 8 to 12 can explore this dynamic, exciting group of birds with science writer Sneed B. Collard. They will learn what scientists have learned about woodpeckers, why woodpeckers drill into trees, and even the best way to serve ants at their next sleep-over! Spectacular photographs combine with an informative text, making "Woodpeckers: Drilling Holes and Bagging Bugs" an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library Pets/Wildlife collections for young readers.

Somebunny Loves Me
Parry Gripp
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426329753, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Through adorable, uplifting photographs, and sweet, silly text, kids ages 4 to 8 will learn not only how to interact with animals, but also just what makes you a good friend for your fuzzy, feathered, or scaly new bud. "Somebunny Loves Me" by Parry Gripp is fun book will inspire young animal lovers to understand their perfect new pal, giving kids lessons on being gentle with pets, making sure to care and love them, how to be patient, and more. Lyrical text illustrates the fun and companionship that dogs, cats, lizards, fish, rabbits, and all sorts of animal friends can offer. Parents and families considering or who've just gotten a new pet will have fun sharing and learning all about animals together. Plus, turn each page and sing along with Parry with an original song and music video! "Somebunny Loves Me" is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections.

Julia Groves
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
9781846439360, $16.99, HC, 36pp,

In "Rainforest" by author and illustrator Julia Groves, children ages 3 to 6 will travel deep into the forest and learn what elusive and fascinating creatures will they will find there. Delicate, colorful and distinctive, the illustrations introduce children many of the animals that live in this precious and endangered habitat. Young wildlife fans will be thrilled to encounter all kinds of rainforest creatures, ranging from familiar species to the more obscure. Informative, educational, engaging, and entertaining, "Rainforest" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Rodent Rascals
Roxie Munro
Holiday House
9780823438600 $17.95

Rodent Rascals: From Tiny to Tremendous - 21 Clever Creatures at Their Actual Size pairs drawings of guinea pigs, rats, gerbils, flying squirrels and other rodents with a host of facts covering their natural history and interactions with humans. The lovely drawings are eye-catching compliments to facts that deftly capture rodents and their differences, making for an excellent introduction elementary-level readers will relish.

The Computer Shelf

Project Code: Create an Animation with Scratch
Kevin Wood
The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541524361 $29.32 hc / $4.99 Kindle

Project Code: Create an Animation with Scratch is a hardcover children's picturebook designed to guide young readers to use Scratch to design animation. Scratch is a programming language designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; using it requires downloading files from the website. Pages outline the basics of coding, with helpful illustrations and the addition of a glossary and index. Project Code: Create an Animation with Scratch is an excellent activity and resource, ideal for encouraging young people to learn more about programming. Also highly recommended are other titles in the Project Code series: "Create Computer Games with Scratch", "Create Music with Scratch", and "Create Your Own Story with Scratch".

The Sports Shelf

Ralph Squirrels Plays Golf
Raleigh Squires, author
Ron Noble, illustrator
Old Hickory Press
PO Box 2, Versailles, KY 40383
9780999622810 $9.95 pbk / $7.99 Kindle

"Ralph Squirrels Plays Golf" is a funny, cheerfully illustrated children's story of Ralph Squirrels' first real golf game with his friends Dinker the duck, Rab the rabbit, Toby the Turtle, Crabby the Crab, Stinker the Skunk, and Cackle the Crow. Ralph was excited to have his chance on the green, having practiced with sticks and acorns for many weeks. Ralph was a bit distracted by the inappropriate golfing behavior of all his friends, but he learned to concentrate on his shot, closing out the outside noise, and maintaining his poise. he helped his friend Dinker the Duck to make a second shot and then went on to take his own amazing first shot. For Ralph Squirrels found he hit a hole in one, not only with his golf ball, but also with his practice acorn first shot! Written in cheery verse, "Ralph Squirrels Plays Golf" is a tribute to the successful enjoyment of a sportsmanlike game of golf, even if you are a squirrel. Here is a memorable passage describing Ralph's concentration on his famous shot: "Ralph put an acorn on top of the tee/ Stepped back closed his eyes and in his mind he could see/ Exactly where he wanted his shot to land/ Then he looked down at a real golf club in his hand, and the acorn on the tee became a real golf ball/ And Ralph didn't hear any of the noise at all./ As he addressed the ball and took his stance; It felt like he was in some sort of a trance./ Then he made his shot with a smooth easy swing/ And he flew with the ball all the way to the green./ it was straight at the flag and with a bounce and a roll,/ Like it had its own eyes plunked right in the hole./" "Ralph Squirrels Plays Golf" is an exciting educational book teaching courtesy and manners for young children age 2-3 and up.

The Fiction Shelf

Camp Not Allowed
KJ Williams, author
Dorothy Shaw, illustrated
Doodle and Peck Publishing
PO Box 852105, Yukon, OK 73085
9780998930220 $8.99

"Camp NOT Allowed" is a short chapter book with black and white illustrations for young readers ages 8-10 years. It is a classic story about two sisters, Tanya and Kat, who decide they want to play with the boys next door in their Indian tent. However, Chief Randy, along with minions Luke and Steve, decide that their camp does not allow females to participate in play. Some of the boys are part Cherokee, and one of them questions the rules of exclusion, saying, "What if the girls are part Indian?" But he was told that it was a native boys only club, no girls allowed. But the girls persist in their quest, and eventually the boys grant them some initiation tests to pass before they can be a part of the group. Other challenging adventures occur over the summer, and eventually both girls and boys are faced with circumstances in which each gets chances to prove their bravery and resourcefulness. Best of all, the entire group learns how to act and interact as a team, making "Camp NOT Allowed" a winning entry for summer or other recreational reading for kids.

Island Games
Caleb J. Boyer
Lasting Press
c/o Read-Write, LLC
9780986103629, $9.99, PB, 198pp,

Matthew and Ryan have no idea where they are. After waking up on a sandy beach with no clue how they got there, they realize they have no supplies, no shelter, and no way of escaping the creepy island. Their only chance of surviving the terrors of the night requires counting on each other. As Matthew and Ryan explore their new surroundings, they discover there's more to the island than meets the eye. The boys must face off against a series of challenges that test their strength, their smarts, and their friendship. When the pressure to make it through each obstacle threatens to tear them apart, Matthew and Ryan must fight to keep their friendship and their lives. "Island Games" by Caleb J. Boyer is the first book in the author's 'Mystery of the Four Quadrants' series of fast-paced Young Adult adventures. Replete with shocking twists and turns, "Island Games" is a deftly crafted action/adventure novel that is especially and unreservedly recommended for school and community library YA fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Island Games" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

At the Buzzer
Max Elliot Anderson
Elk Lake Publishing
9781944430382, $5.99, PB, 152pp,

Sam Cooper had rehearsed a thousand times in the back yard how he would win the big game with a three-point shot and be a hero. Still, he wondered what would happen in a real game. Sam's friends all played on the basketball team at school. Sam was concerned about his best friend, Perry, for a couple of reasons, and he was going to do his best to help his friend. On the way home from a survival church camp weekend, the boys' van is nearly involved in a fatal accident with an eighteen-wheeler on a rain slick road. The boys have to confront life and death for the first time in their lives. Later, while they practiced basketball at Sam's house, Perry fell, resulting in a severe injury. Instantly his plans to use basketball as the ticket to his future were changed. Perry was the big man in the middle. Without him, the team had to change the way they played. Would they be able to win the championship? Would Chris take the final shot like he'd practiced his whole life? Did it go in...or didn't it? "At the Buzzer" is another deftly crafted gem of a YA novel by Max Elliot Anderson and very highly recommended for both school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists it should be noted that "At the Buzzer" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Secret of Carlos Romanus
Esther Kosofsky, author
Chana Min Hahar, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781945560088, $10.95, PB, 158pp,

Moshe Levi is full of hope and excitement as he sets sail from Amsterdam on his very first business trip. His father is gone, and it's up to this hardworking boy to support his mother and his two younger siblings. When Moshe unexpectedly finds himself in Spain, a country in which Jews must pretend to be like everyone else, the young boy must rely on his wits and his bravery. Will he find a Pesach Seder in this dangerous place? Is the wealthiest landowner in town, Carlos Romanus, a friend or an enemy... and will Moshe discover his secret? Set in old Amsterdam and Spain back in 1650, "The Secret of Carlos Romanus" by Esther Kosofsky is filled with unexpected plot twists and highly adventure that will keep young readers fully engaged from cover to cover -- making it an especially and highly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as school and community library collections.

Thief of Happy Endings
Kristen Chandler
Viking Children's Books
c/o Penguin Putnam Inc.
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780425290477, $18.99, HC, 416pp,

Ever since her father moved out, Cassidy feels like her life has been falling apart. So a summer of riding horses at a ranch camp in Wyoming sounds like just what she needs -- never mind the fact that she has a paralyzing fear of horses. She's determined to move past her fear, even if that means taking lessons from the insufferable (yet irresistible) junior wrangler Justin and embarrassing herself in front of the other campers. What follows is a summer of rodeos, complicated friendships, and a wild mustang thief on the loose. Kristen Chandler's "Thief of Happy Endings" is an impressively entertaining and engaging young adult novel by an exceptionally gifted author with a special knack for deftly crafted characters and a memorably original story. While very highly recommended for high school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Thief of Happy Endings" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Board Book Shelf

My Daddy
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338228786, $7.99, Board Book, 16pp,

In the pages of "My Daddy" and featuring the illustrative artwork of Eone, children ages 3 to 5 can read all the things Peppa loves about Daddy Pig. From cuddling up for bedtime stories to playing in the sand at the beach, Peppa and George love spending time with Daddy Pig no matter where they are! A wonderfully charming board book, "My Daddy" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Discovering Nature's Alphabet
Krystina Castella, author
Brian Boyl, author
Heyday Books
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597143530, $8.99, Board Book, 26pp,

If you stand in just the right place, at just the right time, you are going to see some pretty amazing things. Like three branches leaning against one another, creating the letter A. Or the spines of a cactus forming the letter F. "Discovering Nature's Alphabet", Heyday's best-selling ABC title by the team of Krystina Castella and Brian Boyl, is now available as a board book so that babies and toddlers ages 5 to 6 can enjoy letterforms in nature. Full of colorful photos and imagination, this board book edition of "Discovering Nature's Alphabet" takes children on a kind of armchair adventure outdoors to let them see nature in a new light. Fun and informative, "Discovering Nature's Alphabet" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, and community library board book collections.

Skip to the Loo! A Potty Book
Sally Lloyd-Jones, author
Anita Jeram, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763699772, $8.99, Board Book, 30pp,

Sally Lloyd-Jones's rollicking, rhythmic narration gets the party going in "Skip to the Loo! A Potty Book", an utterly charming board book for children ages 2 to 5 that simply rejoices in the call of nature. Everyone is invited to celebrate -- from a lonely dodo to a wibbly woo, from Lord and Lady Huff Puff to an elephant in a tutu. But when the party is in full swing and everyone's on their potty, Bunny sees that someone very important is missing. Of special note is a little mirror at the end! "Skip to the Loo! A Potty Book" is wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections!

The ABC Shelf

Beginning With Xs and Os: The Evolution of the Alphabet
Etta Zasloff, author
Sam White, illustrator
Stillwater River Publications
9780999086414 $16.95

"Beginning With Xs and Os" is a new and different approach to the traditional alphabet story book. Written in amusing narrative verse to charm young readers ages 6-9 years and older, "Beginning With Xs and Os" invents and develops a whole new background story for every letter of the 26 letter alphabet. Stories begin with the Rounds and the First Straights, letters evolved from the Xs and Os, then quickly move on to New Straight Babies Have Humps, Straights With Style, and The Belly Bunch. A final dialogue debates the order of the letters, demanding a new leader be chosen, and the letter A was formed to lead the way. Amazing coincidences and letter family histories will have kids laughing and guessing throughout the book, while examples of every single letter in action bespatter pages of alphabet fun for all. Exciting, enthusiastic letter pictures suggest the lively play of letter shaping and evolving, while the comic verse and story line injects notes of the fantastic, even the ridiculous, to the tale. Perhaps no one should take "The Evolution of the Alphabet" literally, but there is no doubt that it is an intriguing and amusing proposition from A to Z. Could you make up a better story?

The Picturebook Shelf

Trio: The Tale of a Three-legged Cat
Andrea Wisnewski
David R. Godine, Publisher
Fifteen Court Square, Suite 320, Boston, MA 02108-2536
9781567926088 $17.95

Based on a true-life three-legged cat adopted by the author (and shown in a photograph in the afterword) Trio: The Tale of a Three-legged Cat is a children's picturebook about a playful cat that happens to have only three legs - but gets around just fine! The bold-lined, color illustrations add a heartwarming touch to this delightful storybook. Highly recommended, especially for young cat lovers.

Bird Builds a Nest
Martin Jenkins, author
Richard Jones, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763693466 $16.99

Bird Builds a Nest is a picturebook for young readers. The simple story and charming illustrations feature a bird as she catches a worm to eat, then sets about the hard work of gathering, pushing, and pulling materials into a nest. But what could the nest be waiting for? Part of the "First Science Storybook" series, Bird Builds a Nest is faithful to how real-life birds prepare for a family, and is highly recommended especially for school and public library children's picturebook collections.

Kathy Smart, author
Janet Lynn Johnson, illustrator
From the Prairie Publications, Inc.
9780997281705 $10.95

"Melvin" is a lovely, inspirational children's story about a little lame sandpiper who bravely copes with his handicap and works hard to develop all his abilities regardless. Melvin is lame because one of his legs was damaged by being caught in a fisherman's net. However, he has learned to hold his head under water longer than any of his sandpiper friends. Melvin suffered from bullying by another sandpiper, Jonathan, who teased him and called him names because of his handicap. One day Jonathan made a bad decision to show off and got caught in an underwater trap going after bait . Of all the young sandpipers, Melvin knew he was the only one who could hold his breath underwater long enough to have a chance of rescuing Jonathan. Should he risk his life to rescue a bird who was never kind to him? The answer is beautifully portrayed, and the ending pairs a heartwarming portrait of Melvin, the little lame sandpiper, with a human friend, a little boy in a wheelchair. All the delicate watercolor artworks in "Melvin" add to the story and help build the empathy for Melvin and his heroic choice. "Melvin"is a fantastic pick for a children's anti bullying story with a true humanitarian theme.

Bertyl: I Just Want To Belong
Sandra Dobozi, author
Egle Bartolini, illustrator
Outskirts Press
9781478784975 $14.95

"Bertyl: I Just Want To Belong" is a lovely children's story about accepting and celebrating individual differences. Written in refreshing narrative verse, the story of Bertyl turtle Summer Breeze, the air-colored turtle, is inspiring and intriguing. Bertyl is a beautiful, perfect, healthy young turtle who is born without any coloring of green. Instead "Bertyl Turtle Summer Breeze was the color of a sneeze/ Bright and shiny as window glass/ See-through clear as a jellyfish mass." Although Bertyl was healthy and had happy proud turtle parents, he was unhappy because he did not look green like his Mama and Pappy. They thought about painting him green, but that would make him sick. He could not wear green clothes because turtles did not wear clothes. The word went out to a multitude of Bertyl's rainbow friends, birds and beasts. To Bertyl's question "Why do I look so very plain/ Like morning dew and summer rain?" The answer was beautiful and surprising."We all were born to a greater good/In clearest waters and thickest woods/ And so you see, our dearest friend, The circle of life will never end./ Be brave and proud and strong of mind/ And who you are can't be defined; Bertyl Turtle, you're one of a kind." In answer, reflected in the incredibly sensitive, expressive rainbow splashed illustrations, Bertyl became joyously acceptant of his different clear color, saying "I'm so blessed to be alive./ How we look is never wrong/ We always fit/ WE ALL BELONG." "Bertyl: I Just Want To Belong" delivers a complex and delicate inspirational message while fascinating readers with the rainbow diversity of all creation.

Sal the Seagull Stole My Lunch
Mary Anderson & Joseph Santonastaso, authors
Erika Millholland, illustrator
TJ Media Group LLC
9781973995456 $12.95 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

"Sal the Seagull Stole My Lunch" is the beginning title of a series that champions kids in creative problem solving roles. Joe and Mary are enjoying the beginning of a summer vacation with Grandpa at his beach house. When they took sandwich lunches to have a picnic on the beach, Grandpa warned them to be careful, watch the lifeguards, and watch their lunches. They understood the lifeguard part and the being careful part, but they did not understand why they should watch their lunch. Then both Mary and Joe had their sandwiches stolen by Sal the Seagull, who they were told by the lifeguard, was the Boss of the beach. So for a while Joe and Mary ate their lunch indoors at Grandpa's beach house. Eventually Joe and Mary found a way to help release Sal the Seagull when he was tangled up in a balloon string. After that, they found that Sal would come to their rescue in different situations by swooping down and stealing other troublesome persons' lunches. Together they decided to help Sal again, saying "We're Sal's friends now. We need to find a way to stop him from taking people's lunches." The next day, Joe and Mary packed an extra special sandwich for Sal the Seagull when they packed their lunches. All three friends enjoyed their sandwiches together! Attractive, color pencil illustrations show the fascinating story of Sal the Seagull, sandwich thief and Beach Boss!

S. E. Hume, author
Jessica Bromley Bartram, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9781554554164, $19.95, HC, 32pp,

A young girl finds a lost baby crow and brings him home to recover and grow stronger. She names him Charles after the sounds that he makes when they are together. Throughout the beautiful summer days they share breakfasts of cooked cereal or eggs every morning before heading out to see the world outside. And they especially enjoy when it is time to pick the fresh, sweet strawberries from the garden - with a few sweet bites to share before heading home again. And then one day Charles starts to take flight to the tree at the edge of the property. The girl and her family know that it will only be a matter of time before Charles goes back to his true home amongst the trees and birds in the forest. But memories of their summer friendship - and especially of those sweet delicious strawberries - will remain. An utterly charming and beautifully illustrated picture book entertainment for children ages 8 to 12, "Charles" by the team of author S. E. Hume and illustrator Jessica Bromley Bartram is an especially commended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Be A Good Dragon
Kurt Cyrus
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585363834 $16.99

Be A Good Dragon is a delightful children's picturebook about Enzo, a young dragon whose sniffles pose a big problem! Whenever Enzo sneezes, he sets fields aflame and barns on fire. What's a sick dragon to do? Fortunately, a royal magician has just the right trick up his sleeve! Featuring whimsical color illustrations and rollicking, rhyming text, Be A Good Dragon is highly recommended parents and children to read aloud and share, especially right before bedtime.

Lily Pond
Shelley Daniels Lekven
Claytown Press
9780998866604, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Costumed frogs in an enchanting world, all delicately crafted from colored modeling clay, populate the illustrations in the "Lily Pond" picture book by Shelley Daniels Lekven. The story follows the vivid imagination of a little frog named Lily Pond, as she lies in bed one night daydreaming about her future with all its possibilities and promise of adventure. She considers travels to distant lands, saving lives, fame, acclaim, and several possible careers from the safety of her cozy bedroom. "Lily Pond" creates a world of harmony and hope, where anticipating all the wonders and possibilities in life are the birthright of every child. Very highly recommended for children ages 5 to 6, "Lily Pond" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lily Pond" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Lucky Me
Lora Rozler, author
Jan Dolby, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9781554554102, $18.95, HC, 36pp,

In her picture book story "Lucky Me", author Lora Rozler celebrates the concepts of luck and thanks as she explores the world with a series of evocative, one-line descriptions of situations where a child (or adult) might be inclined to thank one's lucky star; for the ocean's calming lull a-dunk (Yiddish, pronounced a-dunk); for concerts in the kitchen mamnumam (Persian, pronounced mam-noon-am); for my sidekicks when I need them cam on (Vietnamese, pronounced gahm-uhn); for a mustache just like grandpa's salamat (Tagalog, pronounced sa-la-maht); for moving pictures in the sky ay ay (Cree, pronounced hay-hay). Lucky Me shares 36 of these celebrations, each exquisitely illustrated by the distinctively joyous artwork of Jan Dolby. "Lucky Me" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

Claire's Hair: A Tale of Hair, Heart, and Humor
Mary Evanson Bleckwehl, author
Sara J. Weingartner, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane, Edina, MN 55439
9781592988006, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Claire's hair is red, long, and fantastically hilarious. Her best friend Albert thinks so too. They use it to jump rope; they swing through the jungle on it; they even use it to tie up the neighborhood ''robbers'' -- and you can bet there are a lot of those! The result is fun, frolicking laughter for the two BFFs. But Claire's hair is also wild, tangled, dirty (she hasn't washed it since June!), and just plain crazy. Mothers don't care for that and Claire's is no exception. When Albert gets sick and goes to the hospital, Claire misses him and the laughter. Once he comes home, he looks sad. Claire performs ''hair tricks'' to cheer him but nothing works. When she discovers he lost his hair from medicine he had to take, Claire gets a BIG hairy idea. She knows about donating hair for those who need it and heads to the salon to have hers cut. She donates half of it and brings the other half to Albert, who uses it in ways that make him laugh again. So it's true. Laughter is the best medicine! Delightfully entertaining and with a warm and charming message about true friendship, "Claire's Hair: A Tale of Hair, Heart, and Humor" is unreservedly recommended for both elementary school and community library picture book collections for children ages 5-6.

The Manic Panic
Richa Jha, author
Mithila Ananth, illustrator
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547439, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Some grown-ups have so much screen time that they just can't cope when the wifi goes out. Luckily the grown-ups in Manic Panic live with a smart kid who loves to read and an adventurous grandma who knows how to have fun without the internet. Manic Panic is a wry look at the value of unplugged family time, even when someone is resistant to the real world. The illustrations add depth to the story, helping us to see all the small things we can miss when we're glued to our phones. A unique and utterly charming picture book for children ages 5 to 8, "The Manic Panic" by author Richa Jha and illustrator Mithila Ananth will prove to be a particularly popular and appreciated addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

A Day with Yayah
Nicola I. Campbell, author
Julie Flett, illustrator
Crocodile Books
c/o Interlink Publishing Group
46 Crosby Street, Northampton, MA 01060-1804
9781566560412, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Set in the Nicola Valley, British Columbia, in Canada's westernmost province, a First Nations family goes on an outing to forage for herbs and mushrooms. A grandmother passes down her knowledge of plant life and the natural world to her young grandchildren. An inherently fascinating and entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 8, "A Day with Yayah" by Canadian author Nicola I. Campbell in tandem with Canadian artist Julie Flett, is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Song on the Wind
Caroline Everson, author
Anne Marie Bourgeois, illustrator
Fifth House Publishings
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9781927083307, $18.95, HC, 32pp,

"Song on the Wind" by the team of author Caroline Everson and artist Anne Marie Bourgeois is a poetic picture book story for children 3 to 7 that has universal appeal and spans time and distance with eloquent simplicity. In fourteen gentle stanzas, sleepy-eyed children throughout history draw comfort from bedtime tales and tender lullabies. Here, their innate curiosity about the world around them is satisfied by timeless music that drifts through centuries on the wind. Loving parents sing of white polar bears, northern lights, sea creatures, and woodland animals that dance under the stars and visit each child on the edge of sleep. Evocative rhyming text and vivid images will call little ones back time and again to hear the song that drifts into their own special dreams and links them to past and future generations. A beautifully crafted and charmingly entertainment from beginning to end, "Song on the Wind" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Let's Go to the Farm!
Caryl Hart, author
Lauren Tobia, illustrator
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
4901 Morena Blvd, Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781406361933, $11.99, HC, 32pp.

Red boots, green boots, swishing through the hay, Bee and Billy are so excited. They're on the farm today! In the pages of "Let's Go to the Farm!", children ages 2 to 4 will join friends Billy and Bee in the second installment of a brand-new "First Experiences" series set in the urban city centre. Today let's go to ... the farm! Billy and Bee are so excited to meet the animals. It's boots on quick, as there are lambs to be fed, piglets to be played with and hen's eggs to be hatched! An introduction to first animals and a lively celebration of a toddler's first farmyard experience, and offering delightfully rhythmical read-aloud text for the very youngest of readers that is effectively paired with gorgeously fresh artwork from Lauren Tobia, "Let's Go to the Farm!" is a delightfully entertaining picture book that is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections.

If You Look Up to the Sky
Angela Dalton, author
Margarita Sikorskaia, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane, Edina, MN 55439
9781592988280, $17.95, HC, 24pp,

There are times when a full moon will guide you, a storm will excite you, and a big, blue sky will inspire you to believe anything is possible. These are a few of the many gifts we receive from the sky and universe when life feels scary and confusing. Told by a grandmother to her grandchild, "If You Look Up to the Sky" is charming picture book story for children ages 5 - 6 by author Angela Dalton and illustrator Margarita Sikorskaia about the power of everlasting love and the ways the sky connects us through good times and bad. "If You Look Up to the Sky" offers a child comfort in knowing that you never need to be afraid, not if you can look up to the sky. "If You Look Up to the Sky" is a beautifully crafted and highly recommended addition for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

How to Grow a Dinosaur
Jill Esbaum, author
Mike Boldt, illustrator
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780399539107, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

The good news is that mom is hatching a baby! The bad news is that babies take their own sweet time. And when they finally do hatch? They're too little to play! They don't even know how to be a dinosaur. That's where you come in. You can teach your baby everything - from peek-a-boo to roaring to table manners to bedtime. Growing a dinosaur is a big job, but you're perfect for it. Because one thing the baby wants more than anything? It's to be just like you. Silly humor and sincere, moving moments, make "How to Grow a Dinosaur" an hilarious, reassuring, and useful "guide" a must for existing big brothers and sisters and for every big brother and big sister to-be. Great fun for family reading too, "How to Grow a Dinosaur" is a unique, entertaining, and very highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections for children ages 2 - 5.

There Was an Old Giant Who Swallowed a Clock
Becky Davies, author
Elina Ellis, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680100761, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

There once was a giant who swallowed a clock. So he swallowed some knitting to muffle the ticking of the clock. Then he swallowed a moth to munch through the knitting, and then some honey to trap the moth! A wonderfully entertaining picture book story with the imaginative and rhythmic text of Becky Davies perfectly and artfully illustrated by Elina Ellis, "There Was an Old Giant Who Swallowed a Clock" is a thoroughly charming and purely entertaining picture book ideal for children ages 3 to 7, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Tiptoeing Tiger
Philippa Leathers
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763688431, $14.00, HC, 32pp,

Everyone knows that tigers are sleek, silent, and totally terrifying . . . most tigers, that is. But no one is afraid of Little Tiger. He's just too small and clumsy to frighten anyone. Determined to prove that he is terrifying, Little Tiger sets out on tiptoe, creeping through the forest to find someone to scare. He gets yawned at and laughed at, but Little Tiger won't give up. Is there any animal in the forest who will find him just as sleek, silent, and totally terrifying as the bigger tigers? A loveably charming, sweetly attractive picture book for children ages 3 to 7, "The Tiptoeing Tiger" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Wolf Who Didn't Like to Read
Orianne Lallemand, author
Eleonore Thuillier, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
9782733856192, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

There once was a wolf whose appetite for books was insatiable. Big, small, fairy tales, dictionaries? He devoured them all! His taste for paper was only matched by his great aversion for reading. Reading was so boring! That is until Wolf found himself in the Country of Books where he had to help the librarian find 10 missing books. "The Wolf Who Didn't Like to Read" is delightfully entertaining picture book story by author Orianne Lallemand and illustrator Eleonore Thuillier for kids ages 3 to 7 that will help parents, teachers, and caregivers to address children's dislike for reading. Also a fun and novel way to be introduced to 10 great classic works in a fun entertaining way for children who are starting to turn pages rather than eat them, "The Wolf Who Didn't Like to Read" is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Maisy Goes to the Local Bookstore
Lucy Cousins
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763692551, $12.99, HC, 32pp,

Today Maisy the Mouse is going to the bookstore to buy a new book, but there are so many to choose from! There's a big brown book about bears, a long blue book about fish, a noisy book about trucks, and a book about things to draw and paint. Just as Maisy finds a beautiful book of rhymes that her friend Tallulah will love, out pops Charley from behind the shelves. "Ahoy, Maisy!" he says, holding a book about pirates. Now what kind of books will Cyril and Eddie choose? The latest addition to Lucy Cousins' outstanding 'A Maisy First Experience Book' series, "Maisy Goes to the Local Bookstore" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections for children ages 2 to 5. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Maisy Goes to the Local Bookstore" is also available in a paperback edition (9781536200850, $6.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Perfect Pillow
Eric Pinder, author
Chris Sheban, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484746462, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

In his strange new room on his big new bed, Brody is a young boy who tosses and turns, holding his stuffed dragon named Horst. His parents can't help him fall asleep, so he has no choice to go out and search for a better bed. Is it a squirrel's nest? A cloud? A rowboat on a pond? No, the moon is too bright, and the croaking frogs are too loud, so there's nothing for it but to go back home and jump into his big new bed, where a friendly dragon makes a perfect pillow. Children ages 3 to 6 will enjoy floating along with Brody and Horst in this friendly nocturnal adventure with all the makings of a bedtime classic. While an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "The Perfect Pillow" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Don't Feed the Elephant
Sherry Ellis, author
Md. Anwar, illustrator
9781974426645 $12.99

"Don't Feed the Elephant" is a hilarious alphabet elephant feast poem, with specific images of exactly what might happen if you do feed an elephant animal crackers, brownies, cotton candy, donuts, eggs, gum balls, ...... and so on through the alphabet all the way to xigua melon, yogurt, and zebra cakes. The incredible messes that result from feeding an elephant any or all of these alphabet treats are only too explicitly explained and comically illustrated. It is like a comical, absurd elephant feast alphabet. An example of the comic vision and the verse is on the page for H, I, J: "You might think it would be okay to feed the elephant hamburgers, ice cream, and jelly. But it's not. If you do, he'll take the hamburgers and throw them like Frisbees. Then he'll make himself an ice cream cone hat." Brightly colored portraits of comical elephants circus animals, messy food, and a boy and his companion pet squirrel frolic through every page of "Don't Feed the Elephant," to the final solution on the last two pages, which state: "So what do you do if you happen to meet an elephant who asks for a snack? Smile politely and tell him, "NO!" "Don't Feed the Elephant" educates young readers effortlessly while completely entertaining them.

Catalina and the King's Wall
Patty Costello, author
Diane Cojocaru, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
PO Box 66, Lemons, PA 16851
9781632331014 $9.99

"Catalina and the King's Wall" is a delightful new/old tale about a creative solution to fear of differences. "In a not so faraway kingdom," Catalina was a skilled baker for the King who loved all her cookies. The King was childish and very whimsical, and difficult to please. He decided for no reason to build a wall between his kingdom and the nearby kingdom, which frightened Catalina, because her family lived there. Catalina decided to suggest to the King to have the wall built of her favorite icing. Of course, it melted when the rain came. When the king ordered a new wall to be built, Catalina suggested a wall built of her father's favorite sprinkles, (which blew away in the wind). Ordered to build another wall, Catalina came up with her best idea so far: A gigantic wall of cookie dough! This wall did not melt in the rain or blow away in the wind. But Catalina, knowing the king's weakness for her cookies, slyly suggested that he take a nibble of the wall. Because of his gluttony, the king could not stop himself until he had eaten every single bite of the giant cookie dough wall. He lay down and burped a giant burp, while Catalina happily met her family with hugs and a fresh batch of her favorite cookies, saying "That's the way the cookie crumbles!" Delicious, edible looking illustrations with sly images of little Russian nesting dolls decorate the pages of this modern fable of "Catalina and the King's Wall," a homily warning against greed and separatism that speaks to today's children and adults as well.

The Littlest Acorn
Lisa Lentino, author
Connie Lovett, illustrator
Grow Beyond Your Mind LL
9781640796195 $13.95

"The Littlest Acorn" is a beautifully illustrated story about an acorn that slowly grows into an oak tree with nourishment and encouragement from sun, rain, earth, and creatures of the earth. When the oak tree was a sapling 6 feet tall, it could see other trees over the hill with different red leaves, or pine needles that stayed on the branch in winter. The oak sapling became discouraged because she wanted to be like these other trees, but she could not change her leaves, branches, or herself. Then one spring the sapling felt a robin building a nest of twigs in her branches. How excited and proud the oak tree was to help make a safe, secure home for the baby birds that hatched from the eggs the mother bird laid. Finally the oak tree felt gratefulness, and smiled. "She knew her shape, color, size and spirit were all good gifts, and they were always there for her to share." Inspiring, detailed paintings of the oak tree and all her companions add to the poignant beauty of this lovely children's story.

Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest
Steve Richardson, author
Chris Dunn, illustrator
Impossible Dreams Publishing
9780978642211, $17.95, HC, 38pp,

Can a lone girl rabbit with the odds stacked against her surprise Jimmy and the other animals to win the big treehouse construction contest? When the school year starts out, Jimmy Squirrel, whose dad owns the biggest construction company in the city, challenges a close group of friends to a treehouse contest. To everyone's surprise, Paisley Rabbit, who has never touched a hammer or a nail and has no one to help her, joins the contest as a long shot to win. But as things heat up, Paisley shows she has some tricks up her sleeve. Deftly written by Steve Richardson and charmingly illustrated by Chris Dunn, "Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest" is a simply delightful picture book story for children ages 6 to 10 about defying the odds and believing in yourself. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and a wonderfully entertaining read from beginning to end, "Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

With Your Paw in Mine
Jane Chapman
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680100846, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Miki, an otter pup, loves to snuggle on her mama's tummy. And Mama holds Miki's paws while she teaches her how to swim. One day while Mama is out gathering food, Miki meets another otter pup named Amak, and the two become best friends. Then one day, a terrible storm rages in the ocean, and Miki and Amak hold each other's paws tightly. Will it be enough to keep them safe? Deftly written and distinctively illustrated by Jane Chapman, "With Your Paw in Mine" is an extraordinary and unfailingly entertaining picture book tale for children ages 3 to 7. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, "With Your Paw in Mine" is unreservedly recommended.

I Am the Rain
John Patterson
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584696155, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

"Because of me the land is green. I'm why the sky is blue. All of life depends on me. I'm even part of you." A simply outstanding picture book for children ages 4 to 8, author and illustrator John Patterson's lyrical verses present water in its many colors, shapes, and forms as it follows its natural cycle through the seasons. From rain to rivers, from fog to thunderheads, from snowflakes to ocean waves - water is always changing. Along the way, water speaks for itself, connecting deeply with readers. The evocative illustrations highlight water's many moods. "I can show you rainbows/ in mist or morning dew/ I can be a muddy flood/or a pool of aqua blue." Teachers and parents will appreciate the Explore More section in the back of this entertaining as well as informative picture book that includes "The Science Behind the Poetry," STEM activities, water conservation tips, and more. Simply stated, "I Am the Rain" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young children. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Am the Rain" is also available in a paperback edition (9781584696162, $8.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

The Sea Hunt
Anna Burger, author
Laura Craig, illustrator
Brandylane Publishers
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781939930897, $20.95, HC, 22pp,

Posing such questions as: What's the weirdest sea creature you've ever seen?; Did it have fins, or tentacles, or a shell?; Did it wriggle, or skitter, or stay still as a rock?; Did it sting, or cling, or hide? Young readers ages 5 to 8 will join young explorers Jack and Jenny as they hunt for strangeness in the Chesapeake Bay in "The Sea Hunt". Deftly written by Anna Burger and artfully illustrated by Laura Craig, "The Sea Hunt" is a delightfully entertaining picture book in which young readers will discover just how weird, wild, and wonderful a saltwater world can be! Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections, "The Sea Hunt" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended.

When the World Is Full of Friends
Gillian Shields, author
Anna Currey, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9781681196268, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Albert, Tom, Flossie, and Pipkin are young rabbits who love to play. And while they have fun inventing games together, their biggest wish is to have friends to share them with. One day, something magical happens. A family of squirrels moves in across the stream! They could be the perfect friends -- but how will they cross the stream? With a little help from Father Rabbit, Albert, Tom, Flossie, and Pipkin will discover just how wonderful it is when the world is full of friends. "When the World Is Full of Friends" is touching picture book story from the revered team of author Gillian Shields and illustrator Anna Currey, whose previous two picture books, "When the World Is Ready for Bed" and "When the World Was Waiting for You" were especially appreciated by children ages 3 to 6. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "When the World Is Full of Friends" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.80).

The Art Garden
Penelope Pratley, illustrator
Penny Harrison, author
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335590, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Sadie is a young girl who wants to be a painter, just like her best friend, Tom. She loves playing with color and finding shapes in unlikely places. But whenever Sadie picks up a paintbrush she makes a big mess. She spends her time working in the garden or playing with Tom, but, one day, Sadie gets a look at things from a different perspective -- and makes a big discovery about herself and her own creativity. Deftly written by Penny Harrison and charmingly illustrated by Penelope Pratley, "The Art Garden: Sowing the Seeds of Creativity" is a whimsical picture book story for children ages 4 to 7 about friendship and finding our creative flair. It encourages children to explore different ways of expressing themselves and celebrates the importance of individuality and self-acceptance. Engagingly entertaining from first page to last, "The Art Garden" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young children.

Dino Moon
Morgane de Cadier, author
Etienne Gerin, illustrator
StarBerry Books
c/o Kane Press, Inc.
225 East 46th St., #4D, New York, NY 10017-2924
c/o Lerner (dist.)
9781575659664, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

What if dinosaurs were born on the moon? They could have held races on shooting stars, cooked barbecue close to the sun, or piled up comets to build castles in the night sky. Just imagine! With simple, vivid text by Morgane de Cadier and bright, bold illustrations by Etienne Gerin, the imagination of children ages 3 to 6 will be fully engaged from beginning to end. Engaging, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' from cover to cover, "Dino Moon" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community picture book collections.

The Tiny Tree
Norman Whaler, author
Polina Hrytskova, illustrator
Beneath Another Sky Books
9781948131117, $17.99, HC, 20pp,

The Tiny Tree was brand new to the forest and wanted to be friends with everyone! But, why didn't the Big Trees like her? All the trees find out that being different can sometimes be a GOOD thing! Charmingly written by Norman Whaler and colorfully illustrated by Polina Hrytskova, "The Tiny Tree" is a wonderfully entertaining picture book with a positive underlying message for children ages 3 to 6 and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

I Want My Dad!
Tony Ross
Andersen Press
9781783446032, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

The Little Princess is jealous -- all her friends' dads can do amazing things. The Cook bakes delicious cakes, but her father the King burns buns. The Gardener takes his daughter on adventure-walks through the forest, but her father the King gets lost on his way to bed. When the Maid volunteers to do these things with the Little Princess, it looks like her problems are over. But what if she has more in common with her dad than she realizes? Written and illustrated by Tony Ross, "I Want My Dad!" will be available for an American readership in June, 2018. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 2 to 5, it should be noted that "I Want My Dad" is currently available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Seed Man
Aiko Ikegami
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585363797, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

When a mysterious stranger carrying a bag of seeds comes to town, magical things start to happen. After Seed Man plants the seeds, a wonderful tree grows, bearing special "fruit" such as toys, musical instruments, and even a puppy! With assistance from some helpful fairies, Seed Man's gifts are delivered all over town. Each gift perfectly suited to its recipient. And even if someone didn't know they needed a special gift, Seed Man and the fairies knew. But not all the gifts are welcome at first, especially to someone whose heart has been broken. Beautifully illustrated and charmingly written by children's author Aiko Ikegami, "Seed Man" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school and community library picture book collections for children ages 5 to 8. It should be noted that "Seed Man" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.14).

The Adventures of Minnie Lee and Her Underwater Friends
Margo A. Beehler, author
Draya Madú, artist
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781480940116, $23.00, HC, 32pp,

"The Adventures of Minnie Lee and Her Underwater Friends" is a heartwarming picture book tale that dives into the underwater world of turtles, lobsters and sharks! While meeting friends along the way, Minnie's turtle, Timmy, learns the importance of friendship and kindness on his journey through the sea's great wonderment. An original and utterly charming picture book for children ages 5 to 6, "The Adventures of Minnie Lee and Her Underwater Friends" by author Margo A. Beehler and artist Draya Madú is very highly recommended, especially for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

This Is the Nest That Robin Built
Denise Fleming
Beach Lane Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481430838, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Robin is building a nest, and her friends are ready to help! The squirrel trims the twigs. The dog brings the string. The horse shares his straw. And then a surprise gatefold spread reveals how Robin knits them all together to make a safe and cozy home for her babies. Another gem of child friendly and original storytelling by author and illustrator Denise Fleming, "This Is the Nest That Robin Built" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 2 to 8. It should be noted that "This Is the Nest That Robin Built" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Norman and the Nom Nom Factory
Bridgette Zou
Kane Press, Inc.
225 East 46th St., #4D, New York, NY 10017-2924
c/o Lerner (dist.)
9781635920321, $18.99, HC, 32pp,

Norman happily lives alone on Planet Gerp, spending every day making Nom Noms in his Nom Nom factory and eating only Nom Noms for every meal. It's perfectly nice and quiet on Gerp, until a loud, strange creature arrives bringing even stranger foods -- and worse, a taste for adventure! What will Norman do? All the more impressive when considering that "Norman and the Nom Nom Factory" is the debut picture book by writer and illustrator Bridgette Zou, "Norman and the Nom Nom Factory" is a delightfully entertaining and original story for children ages 4 to 9, and especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Lots More Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing
Judi Barrett, author
Ron Barrett, illustator
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481488662, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

"Lots More Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing" is the sequel to author Judi Barrett and illustrator Ron Barrett's "Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing" and shows children ages 4 to 8 an hilarious new group of animals that shouldn't, ever ever ever, dress like humans! Everyone knows that snakes and billy goats and walruses should definitely not wear clothing, but there are actually lots more animals that should definitely not wear clothing -- Because a frog might jump out of it, Because a crab might tear it up, And because a penguin is already formally dressed! Reminding young readers once again why animals are better off just the way they are, "Lots More Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Ana and the Sea Star
R. Lynne Roelfs, author
Jamie Hogan, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884485223, $17.95, HC, 36pp,

A young girl finds a starfish on the beach and wants to show it to her mother at home, but doesn't want to take it from its home. With encouragement from her dad and a little imagination, Ana is able to let the sea star go and yet keep it with her at the same time. Deftly written by R. Lynne Roelfs and elegantly illustrated by Jamie Hogan, "Ana and the Sea Star" is beautiful picture book for children ages 5 to 6 celebrates the power of imagination and an appreciation of the natural world. Back matter invites children into the lives and experiences of a jellyfish, stingray, loggerhead turtle and other sea creatures. While unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Ana and the Sea Star" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.95).

Codey's Song
J. A. Eaton, author
Ana Sebastian Pueyo, illustrator
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781684012954, $14.95, HC, 38pp,

Codey the Cricket is happy as can be, except for one little thing. He can't sing! And a cricket who cannot sing? Well, he just doesn't fit in! With one leg shorter than the other, Codey is off to find his own special talent. A delightfully original and charmingly entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 8, "Codey's Song" showcases the colorful illustrations of Ana Sebastian Pueyo, in perfect synch to J. A. Eaton's original and appealing story. While unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Codey's Song" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Stories in a Seashell
Alex Nogues Otero, author
Silvia Cabestany, illustrator
Kane Press, Inc.
225 East 46th St., #4D, New York, NY 10017-2924
c/o Lerner (dist.)
9781575659688, $13.99, HC, 32pp,

They say that if you hold a seashell to your ear, you will hear the sea. Is it true? Charmingly written by Alex Nogues Otero and deftly illustrated by Silvia Cabestany, "Stories in a Seashell" is the picture book story of a young child who walks on the beach tries it out -- and discovers a whole world inside. Capture the imagination of children ages 4 to 8, "Stories in a Seashell" features imaginative tales of mermaids, pirates, submarines, whales, and other magical sights and sounds of the sea. An impressively original and entertaining tale, "Stories in a Seashell" is very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Tilly & Tank
Jay Fleck
9781101917862 $17.99

Tilly & Tank is a fine story for ages 3-7 and provides a different survey of friendship when Tilly the elephant mistakes a new arrival for a curious green elephant. Tank, in turn, notices something akin to himself; but different. A gentle story about a tank and an elephant who form an unexpected bond after a tumultuous beginning and lots of misunderstandings. Parents will delight in this fun tale, which offers quite a different story of friendship than anticipated.

Get on Your Bike
Joukje Akveld & Philip Hopman
9780802854896 $18.00

Get on Your Bike opens with an argument between friends, during which one is invited to "Just get on your bike and leave!" So that's just what Bobby does - only in his anger and desire to ride swiftly away from "pudding-headed William" he opens doors to new possibilities. Good reading skills will lend to a story more complex than anticipated for a picture book reader: one in which Bobby makes some important discoveries of all kinds of options than the path he's chosen. Parents will also relish the detailed images and a story line that moves in unexpected directions.

Disney/Hyperion Books

Three new picture book titles are delightful stories all ages will relish. Paul Briggs writes and illustrates the Walt Disney Animation Studios artist showcase story Catch My Breath (9781484728376, $16.99), featuring the works of studio artist Briggs, who enhances the fantasy of a young boy's breath which races away from him into the world, returning at an unexpected moment. The drawings are a fun embellishment to this whimsical tale. A.N. Kang's Papillon Goes to the Vet (9781484728819, $16.99) tells of a fluffy kitty who doesn't feel quite himself, and who needs to go to the vet. Papillon is so fluffy, he can float in the sky. He loves to play with his friend and usually has plenty of energy; but when he gets the hiccups and loses his ability to float, something needs to be done. Any kid with a cat will relish this simple tale. Mo Willems presents Sam the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World (9781368002141, $17.99), the story of a boy who is afraid of everything except for his friend Leonardo the monster. Kerry is another frightened kid who also has a monster friend to ally her fears. When these two uniquely frightened kids get together, an even scarier discovery ensues in this unusual tale of acceptance and change.

Holiday House

Douglas Florian's Pig and Cat Are Pals (9780823438587, $14.95) tells of a pig in the middle because Pig and Cat are pals, but Pig likes Dog, too. This story for Guided Reading Level C features crayon-coloring images with its simple tale of a friendship changed when Pig sees Dog and finds a new playmate, leaving Cat alone. Laurie Lawlor's Big Tree Down! (9780823436613, $17.95) tells of a favorite local landmark which has been split by lightning. City workers, neighbors, and community members must join forces to solve the problems caused by this emergency in a fine story that captures the demise of a landmark and how people work together to solve problems.

Knopf/Crown/Random House

Three fine new picture book leisure readers are recommended picks for parents and educators looking for fun stories and engaging drawings. Mike Bender's The Book About Nothing (9780399551093, $17.99) maintains that even nothing is sometimes something, and illustrates the key ideas about nothing by using fun descriptions and drawings. But how can an entire book be about nothing? A fun, whimsical story emerges. Vanessa Brantley-Newton's Grandma's Purse (9781524714314, $17.99) shows kids ages 3-5 how a visit from Grandma can bring all kinds of treasures. Grandma Mimi's purse always holds something special. In fact, it's magic. A fun story about different kinds of magic and adventure emerges. Kersacoet's I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness (9781524769550, $17.99) will reach ages 4-8 with the story of a young girl whose decisions to react to a bully eventually involve her community in change. Vanessa is new to the school, a boy is cruel to her, and a girl helps her stand out to him. Vanessa's feelings and decisions are presented in a wordless picture book that clearly explores events and options.

The Bilingual Shelf

Spring Is Coming!
Chris Helene Bridge
Bright Sky Press
2365 Rice Blvd., Suite 202, Houston, TX 77005
9781942945482, $19.95, HC, 32pp,

No matter how long and cold winter can be, it can't stop spring from coming! With hope-filled rhymes and joy-filled children's art, "Spring Is Coming!" by Chris Helene Bridge is colorful picture book that brings a promise that hidden life is stirring in the midst of winter and there is an unstoppable, bright and beautiful season soon to come! This delightful, bilingual picture book features text in English and Spanish. It also includes questions on each page to further engage the reader and help them grow in their comprehension while having fun! Children ages 2 to 6 can't help but read along as the message of this bilingual picture book unfolds like the flowers, right before their eyes -- spring is coming! Certain to be an enduringly popular and unfailingly entertaining addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections, "Spring Is Coming!" is wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommended.

The Christian Shelf

When God Made Light
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
9781601429209, $11.99, HC, 48pp,

'Let there be light!' that's what God said. And light began shining and then started to spread." Wild and creative illustrations from top children's illustrator David Catrow pair, combined with Matthew Paul Turner's lyrical verse in this message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers. This light radiates, chasing away the shadows, providing the wonder and fun of stargazing or firefly chasing. Most important, this light appears in each child -- an inner God-given spark that grows and will be used to change the world. Inspired and inspiring, "When God Made Light" is ideal for children ages 3 to 7 and very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Buddhist Shelf

Little Sid
Ian Lendler, author
Xanthe Bouma, illustrator
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626726369, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

"Little Sid: The Tiny Prince Who Became Buddha" is a charming and accessible picture book for children ages 4 to 8 by author Ian Lendler and illustrator Xanthe Bouma who offer a heart-warming account of the childhood of the Buddha. A spoiled young prince, Siddhartha got everything he ever asked for, until he asked for what couldn't be given -- happiness. Children will join Little Sid as he sets off on a journey of discovery and encounters mysterious wise-folk, terrifying tigers, and one very annoying mouse. With Lendler's delightful prose and Bouma's lyrical artwork, "Little Sid" weaves traditional Buddhist fables into a classic new tale of mindfulness, the meaning of life, and an awakening that is as profound today as it was 2,500 years ago. A thoroughly entertaining blend of historical biography and storytelling for children, "Little Sid: The Tiny Prince Who Became Buddha" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Poetry Shelf

Stories in Verses for the Child You Love
Mary Alice Sutherland, author/illustrator
9781535540322 $11.95 pbk / $7.99 Kindle

"Stories In Verse for the Child You Love" is a collection of fifteen poems written especially for beloved children and the young at heart. Filled with whimsey, silliness, unexpected rhymes and alphabets of animals, as well as litanies of luscious months, "Stories in Verse for the Child You Love" is a modern classic successor to "A Child's Garden of Verses," by Robert Louis Stevenson. Charming paintings in color fill out the poems' visual palate, while enchanting, amusing images and sounds arise and fill the pages with color and sound and joy. An example is "What There Is to Know About Sheep: What have we to say about sheep?/ For meadows, they are mowers./ For woolens, they are growers./ Sheltered in barns and shepherded by dogs,/ They're sated in glens and steered clear of fogs./ At night their soft, distant bleating/ Lulls the countryside into dreaming./ So what we absolutely know for sure about sheep/ Is that people count them to go to sleep." Do not miss the opportunity to share these enchanting verses with the child or children you love.

The Self-Help Shelf

Ziji: The Puppy Who Learned to Meditate
Youngey Mingyur Rinpoche, author
Torey Hayden, author
Charity Larrison, illustrator
Wisdom Publications
199 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781614294719, $16.95, HC, 56pp,

Ziji is a noisy, bouncy puppy who lives with the Anderson family: Mom, Dad, Jenny, and Baby Jack. He loves to bark and play and - most of all - chase pigeons in the park. Then one day, Ziji sees a new boy from Jenny's school, Nico, sitting in the park. What is Nico doing? Why does he look so calm and happy? Ziji can't wait to find out. Co-written by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, who is one of the new generation of Tibetan Buddhist masters, and Torey Hayden (who provides counseling and advice services for several child-oriented charities), and illustrated by Charity Larrison, "Ziji: The Puppy Who Learned to Meditate" will teach children ages 6 to 9 the basics of meditation in a fun and engaging way. Included after the story is a guide for parents and teachers with more information on what meditation is and how it can be helpful as well as suggestions on how children can continue to practice meditation on their own. While unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that "Ziji: The Puppy Who Learned to Meditate" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Thomas Holland in the Realm of the Ogres
K. M. Doherty
Wizard Mark Press
9780991572052, $14.99, PB, 327pp,

In "Thomas Holland in the Realm of the Ogres", Tom and his friends must deal with dragons, a shape-shifting demon, a demented fairy queen, and a bungling troll and ogre. As if that weren't enough, they've got to solve the riddle of the Cave of Dreams, cross Demon Forest and the raging Icebain River, climb an active volcano past scalding geysers, boiling mudpots, and super-headed pools. Tom and his dog Max take a hair raising ride down an ice-slide from Hades, nearly being devoured by giant ice-worms along the way. Next they're forced to sneak into the very heart of the ogre city of Ogmoonder to try and rescue their friends. And that's just on their way to find the artifact! The second volume of author K. M. Doherty's magical fantasy Thomas Holland series for young readers, (as well as the First Place Winner of the 2017 Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards) "Thomas Holland in the Realm of the Ogres" is a deftly crafted, impressively original, consistently entertaining, highly recommended addition to school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Thomas Holland in the Realm of the Ogres" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Between the Blade and the Heart
Amanda Hocking
Wednesday Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250084798, $10.99, PB, 336pp,

As one of Odin's Valkyries, Malin's greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk -- to the world and her heart. "Between the Blade and the Heart" is the first book in 'Valkyrie, a brilliant new YA fantasy duology by Amanda Hocking which is inspired by Norse Mythology and certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fantasy fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Between the Blade and the Heart" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.80).

A Wrinkle in Time: A Guide to the Universe
Kari Sutherland
Disney Press
9781368022965 $12.99

A Wrinkle in Time: A Guide to the Universe arrives just before the appearance of a new Disney movie that adds different twists to the L'Engle classic story, and provides a fine recap of the original as it adds Vivien Wu's color drawings to the story of the eccentric Murray family, a talented and beloved father who has gone missing, and elemental creatures of the universe who operate in worlds Meg and her brother could never have dreamed of. This companion to the original story adds new insights and food for thought into the classic tale and is recommended as supplementary reading for any middle grade student with a fascination and affection for Wrinkle in Time.

The Environmental Shelf

Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail: What Will You Find?
Editorial Staff
Storey Kids
c/o Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612129013, $14.95, Spiral Bound, 48pp,

Developed by the editorial staff of Storey Publishing, "Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail: What Will You Find?" will jump-start curiosity in the form of a take-along field guide for children ages 4 to 8. From worms, birds, and spiders to trees, flowers, and clouds, the young explorers will learn what to look and listen for wherever they are -- whether in a nature preserve, an urban park, or a suburban backyard. "Backpack Explorer" is comprised of: Seek-and-find lists, on-the-trail art projects, and discovery games get kids engaged in hands-on learning about nature, and a real pull-out magnifying glass helps them get a close-up glimpse of leaf veins, seed pods, and tiny insects. Filled with activities, checklists, and stickers, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Backpack Explorer" is interactive nature guide that belongs in every kid's backpack and will provide hours and hours of educational fun!

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Science Comics: Robots and Drones Past, Present, and Future
Mairghread Scott and Jacob Chabot
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626727922 $12.99

Part of the excellent and educational "Science Comics" graphic novel series, Science Comics: Robots and Drones Past, Present, and Future uses full-color artwork to make learning more accessible to young adults and adults alike. From small robots that can vacuum a house, to search-and-rescue robots designed to aid earthquake survivors, to forest-fighting drones and more, Science Comics: Robots and Drones Past, Present, and Future is an amazing tour of what autonomous machines have accomplished and their potential uses in the future. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library graphic novel collections.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Magic Misfits
Neil Patrick Harris
Little, Brown Young Readers
c/o Hachette Book Group USA
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9781478976783, $25.00, CD,

When street magician orphaned young Carter runs away from his nefarious and criminal uncle, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on. After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other young and like-minded illusionists. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they all set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso's villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series. Written and narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, "The Magic Misfits" is the first volume of an exciting new adventure series for young listeners ages 8 to 12. An absorbing and entertaining story from beginning to end, it should be noted that periodically throughout, Harris provides 'kid friendly' instructions on how to provide specific magic tricks. This complete and unabridged CD audio book edition is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, elementary school, and community library audio book collections. (4 Hours, 4 CDs).

The Music CD Shelf

Camp Andyland
Andy Z
Privately Published

Camp Andyland is an album of pop songs for kids, and part of the delightful Andyland music series. The songs tell stories of fantastic adventure, in camp with pirate ships, dinosaurs, dragons, quirky squirrels and more. Infectiously catchy, wacky fun is the order of the day in this choice pick for car trips, birthday parties, and public library children's music collections. Also highly recommended are previous CDs in the Andyland series, "Welcome to Andyland", "Return to Andyland", and "Summer in Andyland." The tracks are "Welcome To Andyland", "Pirate Song", "I Went to a Party with Dinosaurs", "Drink More Water", "Cecil (The Serpentine Dragon)", "Sticky Bubble Gum", "Camping Song", "Row Your Boat", "Spring Has Sprung", "Squirrely Squirrel", "La Atana Pequenita", "Bizzy Bee", "Butterfly", "I Love You Because You're You", and "Farewell To Andyland".

Tu Eres Mi Flor
Elizabeth Mitchell and Suni Paz
Smithsonian Folkways
$16.98 CD / $9.49 MP3

Tu Eres Mi Flor is a music CD of children's songs sung in Spanish. Many of the selections and classic American folk songs that have been adapted for both Spanish-speaking and English- speaking children. A 40-page booklet with bilingual notes and lyrics in both English and Spanish enhances this jubilant collection, highly recommended especially for school library collections and Spanish classrooms. The tracks are "Gracias mil / Thanks a Lot", "Hola / Hello", "Es un mundo grande / It's a Big World", "Tu eres mi sol / You Are My Sunshine", "Bajo el fuerte arbol de la nuez / Under the Big Chestnut Tree", "Paz como un rio / Peace Like a River", "Abecedario / A B C Song", "Mantra Nocturna / Night Mantra", "Rema rema, rema el bote / Row, Row, Row Your Boat", "Canta conmigo / Sing with Me", "A Todos en el mundo entero / To Everyone in all the World", "Cantaras una cancion / You'll Sing a Song and I'll Sing a Song", "Con los animals se gentil / Be Kind to Animals", "Juan el conejo / John the Rabbit", "Amor y corazon / Love and Care", "Tres pajaritos / Three Little Birds", and "Nubes azules / Blue Clouds".

Hand in Hand
Suzi Shelton

Hand in Hand is the fourth solo album for children and families by independent musician Suzi Shelton. Playful, upbeat, and consisting of a mixture of Suzi's original compositions and her arrangements of beloved traditional songs, Hand in Hand is a jubilant delight. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Put Your Hands in the Air", "Ladybugs", "Can You Feel the Power?", "Never Let You Go", "The Grass Is Always Greener" (with Tim Kubart), "Raindrop", "River Come Down", "Blue Fin", and "We Shall Walk".

The DVD Shelf

Nanette's Baguette
Mo Willems
Weston Woods
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
9781338243246 $59.95

Ideal for young viewers ages 4-8, Nanette's Baguette (9 min.) adapts a children's picturebook by author Mo Willems to DVD format, with narration by Trixie Willems, Mo Willems, and Cher Willems, as well as music by Scotty Huff. In the story, Nanette goes on her first ever solo trip to the bakery! But can Nanette get the baguette from baker Juliette, or will she soon be beset with regret? The tongue-twisting prose comes with a read-along option, and a descriptive video option is included for the visually impaired. A bonus interview, "Nanette's Baguette's Featurette avec Mo Willems" rounds out this delightful DVD, perfect for elementary school collections or homeroom viewing.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Kookaburra's Laugh
Kim Taylor, author
Thinkstock, illustrations
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
9781504310437 $26.99

"The Kookaburra's Laugh" is a charming Australian wisdom tale about a trickster bird named Kenny Kookaburra who ultimately joins in when the laugh is finally on him. Kenny was hungry for a big fat juicy Giant Australian Earthworm one day when he saw Kylie, another Kookaburra, about to devour her own earthworm. Thinking himself quite clever, Kenny charmed and tricked Kylie with a story about a another secret place near the Billabong with many huge, juicy earthworms. She was to hide her present worm in a hole under the tree while he took her to the earthworm haven at the Billabong. Of course he turned back mid flight, directing Kylie to fly on without him, and returned to eat Kylie's buried earthworm. Still congratulating himself, he flew to catch up with Kylie only to be surprised by an amazing sight. There at the Billabong was Kylie, tossing big fat juicy earthworms into the air and catching them with her beak gleefully. Kenny missed the best of the earthworm feast! what was his reaction? He made a strange sound, half cry and half laugh, the distinctive sound that became a hallmark of the Australian bush. This became a story of how the Kookaburra learned to laugh, and it also taught Kenny Kookaburra a valuable lesson. "He learned not to tell lies or deceive his friends, because the last laugh would be on himself." Decorated by colorful black, white and green Kookaburras and other creatures of the Australian bush, "The Kookaburra's Laugh" is an ideal children's wisdom tale from the vast lands of down under.

The Art Shelf

The Secret Kingdom
Barb Rosenstock, author
Claire A. Nivola, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763674755, $16.99, HC, 48pp,

After the partition of India in 1947, Nek Chand Saini settled in the city of Chandigarh, with nothing but stories brought from his homeland. Dismayed at his stark new surroundings, Nek began collecting river rocks, broken glass, and cracked water pots found on the roadside. He cleared a section of jungle and for seven years he stockpiled odds and ends. They were castoffs and rubbish to everyone else, but to Nek, they were treasures. He began to build a labyrinth of curving paths, mosaics, and repeating patterns: his very own tribute to the winding village of his youth, a hidden land of stories. Nek kept his kingdom secret for fifteen years, until a government crew stumbled upon it and sought to destroy it. But local fans agreed in awe: the Rock Garden had to be protected. In the picture book pages of "The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art", author Barb Rosenstock introduces young readers ages 7 to 10 to the outsider artist's stunning creation, while Claire A. Nivola's superbly crafted illustrations bring to life the land's natural beauty and the surreal world Nek coaxed from his wild landscape. "The Secret Kingdom" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Lady in White
Donald Willerton
Terra Nova Books
33 Alondra Road, Santa Fe, NM 87508
9781938288432, $14.95, PB, 154pp,

Mogi Franklin is a typical eighth-grader -- except for the mysterious things that keep happening in his life. And the adventures they lead to as he and his sister, Jennifer, follow Mogi's unique problem-solving skills (along with dangerous clues from history and the world around them) to unearth a treasure of unexpected secrets. In "The Lady in White", Mogi is working as a cowboy over the summer vacation on one of the largest ranches in New Mexico when hundreds of cattle start mysteriously dying there. Trying to understand the cause, he finds himself embroiled in the life of a boy who was kidnaped by Comanche Indians in 1871. In this seventh book of the exciting Mogi Franklin Mysteries by Donald Willerton, Mogi comes face-to-face with the ghost of the boy's mother, and must face the reality of the past to save the ranch from the enemies of the present. Having special appeal for young readers ages 10 to 14, "The Lady in White" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as elementary school and community library Mystery/Suspense collections. For a complete listing of all the Mogi Franklin mysteries go to the author's web site at

Books in Series

Global Conflict
Louise Spilsbury, author
Hanane Kai, illustrator
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9781438050218, $9.99, HC, 32pp,

With our 24/7 news cycle and constant access to the latest headlines, the world can be a scary place. Now imagine you're a child trying to make sense of it all! That's where books from the Children in Our World series can help. Each individual book uses relatable comparisons, carefully researched text, and striking illustrations to help kids understand the many difficulties that children just like them face in the world today. In "Global Conflict" written by prolific children's book author Louise Spilsbury, children can get answers to questions like: what is global conflict? And how does it affect people in countries all over the world? Children will begin to understand the way others struggle with these issues and discover ways they can help. Award-winning illustrator Hanane Kai uses a deft hand to create powerful illustrations that help children visualize the people impacted by poverty, hunger, war, racism, and more. All of the images are sensitively rendered and perfectly suited for younger children. These books are an excellent cross-curricular resource -- use them to explore important issues and tie them into discussions about food, wealth, compassion, empathy, and current affairs. Ideal for both elementary school and community library collections for young readers ages 6 to 9, the other very highly recommended titles in the Children in Our World series include: Poverty and Hunger (9781438050195, $9.99); Refugees and Migrants (9781438050201, $9.99); Racism and Intolerance (9781438050225, $9.99).

Real Lives, Incredible Successes: Inspiring People Who Overcame Adversity
Lyn Coutts, author
Barron's Educational Series Inc.
250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppage, NY 11788
9781438050393 $8.99 hardcover 64 pages

"Real Lives, Incredible Successes: Inspiring People Who Overcame Adversity" is an exciting juvenile biography series that presents one page biographies of over 29 famous people who overcame substantial adversity in their lives. Famous people depicted are both living and passed on, including Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Thomas Edison, Frederick Douglas, Harry S. Truman, Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking, Jesse Owens, Albert Einstein, Michael J. Fox, Bethany Hamilton, J. K. Rowling, Harry Houdini, Pele, Haile Gebrselassie, Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin, Leonardo Del Vecchio, and more. Every thumbnail biosketch includes initial background information, difficult or adverse circumstances, and lifetime success highlights, with an inspirational quotation by the subject on the facing page by a photo- adapted portrait. Each inspirational story stresses the power of the individual to overcome or reverse grave obstacles and hardships. At the end of the featured subjects, a list of eight more spectacular success stories are briefly highlighted in shorter, unillustrated paragraphs. "Incredible Successes" is an inspiring collection for young readers to marvel at and be motivated by. Also highly recommended is a second book in the Real Lives stories titled: "Real Lives, Explorers and Pioneers: Intrepid Adventurers Who Achieved the Unthinkable (9781438050386, $8.99)," by Lyn Coutts.

I Can Be Anything!
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781538202401, $135.60 (Trade); $101.70 (School/Library)

"I Can Be Anything!" is a new six volume series for children ages 5 to 8 showcasing six popular occupations: I Can Be a Doctor (9781482463194 HC; 9781482463200 Ebook); I Can Be a Firefighter (9781482463231 HC; 978148246348 Ebook); I Can Be a Police Officer (9781482463279 HC; 9781482463286 Ebook); I Can Be a Scientist (9781482463316 HC; 9781482463323 Ebook); I Can Be a Teacher (9781482763354 HC; 9781482463361 Ebook); I Can Be a Writer (9781482463392 HC; 9781482463408 Ebook). Each individual 24 page book features full color photographs enhancing its low-ATOS level text (below 1.0). Each 24 page title is also available individually ($226.0 Trade/$16.95 School/Library). Thoroughly 'kid friendly' and reader engaging, the "I Can Be Anything" series is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both elementary school and community library books-in-series collections.

Let's Learn About Natural Resources
Enslow Publishing LLC
101 West 23rd Street, Suite #240, New York, NY 10011
9780766092334, $158.20 (Trade); $118.65 (School/Library)

A new seven volume series for children ages 5 to 8 from Enslow Publishing, "Let's Learn About Natural Resources" has a reading level of Grades 1-2, and an interest level of K-4. The individual titles by author Jill Sherman that comprise this simply outstanding series include the subjects of: Animals and Fish; Clean Air; Fertile Land and Soil; Forests and Vegetation, Fossil Fuels; Fresh Water; Minerals and Heavy Metals. Also available individually ($22.60 Trade; $16.95 Schools/Libraries), these 24 page books are illustrated throughout with full color photography, 'Fun Facts' highlighting intriguing and memorable aspects of the subject, and Activity Section that encourages hands-on experiential learning. As engagingly entertaining as it is impressively informative, as well as thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Let's Learn About Natural Resources" is certain to be an immediately and enduringly popular addition to both elementary school and community library books-in-series collections.

Viewpoints On Modern World History
Greenhaven Publishing
353 3rd Avenue, Suite 255, New York, NY 10010
9781534501706, $286.80 Trade; $229.44 Schools/Libraries

With each individual title of this six volume series featuring charts, maps, full color illustrations, sidebars highlighting related topics, a chronology of events, an index, as well as a bibliography of books, periodicals, and websites, "Viewpoints On Modern World History" effectively stimulates critical thinking skills, supports debate assignments, increases global awareness, and enhances a students understanding of international perspectives. Impressively informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, and unreservedly recommended for both school and community library books-in-series collections, the individual 216 page titles comprising this outstanding series includes: AIDS and Other Killer Viruses and Pandemics; The Armenian Genocide; The Arms Race and Nuclear proliferation; Brexit; Peace in the Middle East; U.S.-Iran Relations. Each of these titles are available individually ($47.80/$38.24 Library Binding; $47.80/$38.24 eBook).

Life-the-flap Nature series
Libby Walden, author
Stephanie Fizer Coleman, illustrator
360 Degrees
c/o Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035

Two titles in the Lift-the-flap Nature series encourage young readers to interact with the flaps and build their vocabulary. In "Hidden World Forest" (9781944530143) each flap hides a colorful picture and a fun fact about plants, creatures, and things found in the forest. In "Hidden World Ocean" (9781944530150) each flap is the gateway to learning about sea creatures. Both titles engage young people's attention by combining activity with learning, and are highly recommended.

Where Animals Live
KidHaven Press
c/o Thomson Gale
15822 Bernardo Center Drive, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92127-2320
9781534523814, $147.00 Trade; $118.08 Schools/Libraries

Young children are inherently attracted to and interested in all manner of animals. Now KidHaven Press has a new six volume series showcasing: Animals in the Arctic; Animals in the Desert; Animals in the Forest; Animals in the Mountains; Animals in the Ocean; Animals in the Rain Forest. In each of this profusely illustrated volumes chldren are introduced in a fun and informational manner to essential science curriculum topics, including ecosystems and animal adaptation. Each individual volume offers a straightforward and concise text allowing young learners to better understand scientific concepts. Each topic showcased also enhances young readers' understanding of biodiversity and ecology. It should be noted that each 24 page title is individually available ($24.60/$19.l68 Library Binding; $24.60/$19.68 (eBook). Certain to be immediately and enduringly popular with children ages 5 to 8, "Where Animals Live" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both school and community library Pets/Wildlife collections.

Fighting For Their Country: Minorities At War
Cavendish Square
243 5th Avenue, Suite 136, New York, NY 10016
9781502626479, $256.74, Library Binding,

With an eighth grade reading level and a grades 7-12 interest level, "Fighting For Their Country: Minorities At War" is an impressively informative and reader engaging six volume series of military history books showcasing the role of African-Americans. The series consists of: Minority Soldiers Fighting in the American Revolution; Minority Soldiers Fighting in the Civil War; Minority Soldiers Fighting in World War I; Minority Soldiers Fighting in World War II; Minority Soldiers Fighting in the Korean War; Minority Soldiers Fighting in the Vietnam War. Each volume in this simply outstanding series provides detailed information about battles, strategic and tactical decisions, and individual acts of heroism; biographies of soldiers and descriptions of commands, formations, and units; overviews of geopolitical tensions that led to war; and descriptions of minorities' rights and experiences at home in the time before, during, and after the featured military conflict. Of special note is the inclusion of timelines that contextualize major events in modern history. Each profusely illustrated 112 page volume is available individually ($42.79/$29.95), but all school and community librarians should acquire the entire six volume set for their young students and patrons

Eyewitness To World War I
The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503817234, $228.00 Trade; $159.60 School/Library

New from The Child's World, this eight volume series provides students with impressively informative and profusely illustrated perspectives on one of the most influential and significant events of the 20th century. The titles comprising this outstanding series include: Eyewitness to the Assassination of Archduke Frances Ferdinand; Eyewitness to the Harlem Hellfighters; Eyewitness to the Role of Women in World War I; Eyewitness to the Russian Revolution; Eyewitness to the Sinking of the Lusitania; Eyewitness to the Treaty of Versailles; Eyewitness to the Western Front; Eyewitness to World War I Medicine. With a Grade 5 reading level and a Grades 4 to 7 interest level, each 32 page volume features reinforced library binding for an extended shelf life; full-color and historical photographs; informative captions; a phonetic glossary; a primary-source text; a section on 'Fast Facts'; source notes; suggested websites; a listing of sources for further research; and a 'Think-About-It' section to encourage critical thinking on the part of the reader. While very highly recommended, especially for school and community library collections, it should be noted that each title is also available individually ($28.50/$19.95 Print; $45.64/$31.95 eBook).

The Double-Dog Dare
Tony Penn, author
Brian Martin, illustrator
Boys Town Press
14100 Crawford Street, Boys Town, NE 68010
9781944882211, $7.95, PB, 95pp,

When wealthy new student Zeke moves into the neighborhood, he threatens to steal away Michael's best friend, Kenny. Green with envy, Michael challenges Zeke to crazy double-dog dares just to prove he's still top dog and Kenny's best bro. But when harmless dares escalate into bad jokes that hurt others, Michael has to figure out how to make things right again... or if he even can. A deftly crafted and solidly entertaining read for children ages 6 to 10, "The Double-Dog Dare" is the fourth novel in author Tony Penn's outstanding 'The Misadventures of Michael McMichaels' series. While "The Double-Dog Dare" is an especially and unreservedly recommended for both elementary school and community library collections for young readers, librarians would be well advised to also acquire the previous three titles in this thoroughly 'kid friendly' series: "The Angry Alligator" (9781934490945, $7.95, PB, 96pp); "The Borrowed Bracelet" (9781944882037, $7.95, PB, 91pp); "The Creepy Campers" (9781944882105, $7.95, PB, 88pp).

Our Future in Space series
David Jefferis
Crabtree Publishers
$27.60 each

Four new books in the 'Our Future in Space' series provides vivid images and text that support STEM objectives as they offer insights into humans living and working in space. Space Colonists (9780778735342) examines the latest technology and how current technological advances might contribute to the idea of people living for years outside of Earth. Lovely illustrations capture the potentials of living on Mars, Venus, and other worlds, while science discussions cover how this can happen. Space Explorers (9780778735359) considers modern tools that can be used in exploring space and the kinds of technological advancements due in a few years that could make this happen. Discussions of how crews or individuals can be sent further than our universe make for engrossing considerations. Space Tourists (9780778735366) considers the future of sending ordinary individuals (well, those with money) into space as tourists, examining what planets could be visited, how spaceports and ships could be developed, hotels on other worlds, and more. Space Workers (9780778735373) examines the potentials of making money in space, considering different types of industry and commerce and their roles in space environments. Ages 10-14 will find these accessible, lively considerations that pair the latest scientific advancements with food for thought about future possibilities in space.

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence through our marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, opportunities for connecting with schools, and the award-winning Story Monsters Ink(R) magazine.

Symphony Hollow
Jessica Reino, author
Emma Graham, illustrator
c/o Clear Fork Media Group LLC
9781946101402, $16.99 HC
9781946101471, $10.99 PB, 38pp, Ages 5-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This book is delightful from cover to finish! The characters, theme, illustrations, colors, and fonts all heighten the pleasure of its reading. The book itself is as much a work of art as the symphony it portrays. And the puns will surely delight the adults conducting story time. This is a fun way to introduce music greats to the young.

Bradley and the Dinosaur
Julian Hilton, author
Jacqueline East, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781519111524, $7.49 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 34pp, Ages 5-7,

This fun, rhyming tale will delight young ones as they share in Bradley's grand adventure. The best playmate I found in childhood was my imagination. It could turn the most natural of settings into the most amazing wonderlands, and adventure beckons at every turn.

My Bunny
Justin Davis, author
Claire Adele, illustrator
Blue Falcon Publishing
9781527216914, $7.98 PB,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This sweet, repetitive rhyme will engage children to read along as they search for Millie's elusive little bunny. A great way to encourage little ones to keep their eye on their precious treasures.

The Silas Series: The Adventures of Silas and Opal
Grannie Snow, author
Matthew Gauvin, illustrator
Grannie Snow Productions
5 Volumes, $10.99 each, PB,

Darleen Wohlfeil

No matter which of the five titles you read, (Big Ole Striped Silas; Silas Gets A Sister; Silas And Opal Meet; Silas And Opal's Shelter Visit; Silas And Opal's Outdoor Adventure) you will enjoy the smooth rhyming text, and the delightful illustrations by Matthew Gauvin. Children will eagerly await each new adventure of these two adorable cats, and their loving owner. We're hooked from book one when Grannie Snow meets Silas. Each story builds upon the other, until they all feel like family.

The Adventures of Bubba Jones: National Park Series
Jeff Alt, author
Hannah Tuohy, illustrator
Beaufort Books
27 West 20th Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10011

Darleen Wohlfeil

Two great titles, Time Traveling Through Shenandoah National Park (9780825308314, $9.99 PB; $0.99 Kindle, 200pp, Ages 8 to 12) and Time Traveling Through the Great Smoky Mountains (9780825307867, $9.99; $4.99 Kindle, 190pp, Ages 8 to 12), but one amazing adventure in time. How better to discover the wonders of old, than to step back in time and experience them for yourself. These adventures have it all: history, family, education, excitement, and fun. Truly a great way to learn.

Shelly's Sweet Tooth
Jessica R. Herrera
Privately Published
9780996720991, $8.99, PB, 38pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

A great story for little minds to discover the danger sweets can present. Poor Shelly was getting sluggish and slow. Without the help of those around him, he could have unexpectedly become lunch for a fit and faster foe. Just as the little snail has to make up its mind, we too have to make wise decisions about what we eat. An audio version is also available.

Thunder: An Elephant's Journey
Erik Daniel Shein and L.M. Reker
World Castle Publishing, LLC
9781629895635, $17.99 HC
9781629895642, $10.99, 190pp, Ages 9-12,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Thunder is a young pygmy forest elephant, forced into an incredible journey when he is separated from his mother by poachers. The characters of our story are broad and diverse, yet together strong and capable. The witty banter entertains, while the strength of heart unites and uplifts. It brings a clear focus of our need for each other, and the realities of a world contrary to it. It's our world, and what happens to it and in it, affects us all. Delightful tales like this awaken, educate, and bring hope to humanity.

I Am Loved
Nikki Giovanni, Ashley Bryan
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534404922, $17.99 HC; $10.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 4 - 8

Darleen Wohlfeil

Newbery Award honoree Ashley Bryan has hand-selected a dozen of National Book Award winner Nikki Giovanni's poems to illustrate with his inimitable flourish. Poetry captures the heart and soothes the mind. Its smooth rhythmic flow arouses the emotions and provokes actions of interest and determination. Even infants seem to follow its melodious continuity with matching coos of delight. The brightly colored illustrations stimulate and carry the sensory impact.

Yellow Kayak
Nina Laden, Melissa Castrillon
Paula Wiseman Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534401945, $17.99 HC; $10.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 4-8

Darleen Wohlfeil

The author uses a rhythmic sequence, or flow of sound in the sharp stops and two word footfalls, to create momentum and exhilaration. The abrupt cadence builds with each new line, bringing stillness, or storm to mounting heights. A child and his friend brave the sea, and tested and tried, they return happily. Illustrations by Melissa Castrillon build a visual force to match the text, bringing its full end to a powerful ovation.

The Trial of Mother Goose
Ricky Kennison
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781524693244, $20.99 PB; $3.99 Kindle,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This fun courtroom drama brings forth a cold case we all remember. Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall. But was he pushed? Eyes of suspicion are directed to Mother Goose. Could she be guilty? A host of notable characters are brought forth as witnesses. How will it end? Is Mother Goose doomed? We'll have to crack the case to find out.

The Word Collector
Peter H. Reynolds
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545865029, $17.99 HC; $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8

Darleen Wohlfeil

I love this kid! If you are anything like me today, you must gasp when in earshot of conversations that no longer hold, or uphold, the beauty of our language. The practice of using language with fluency and aptness appears to be a lost art. Jerome cherishes the wonder of words all around him - short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower. Thank you Peter H. Reynolds, for reminding us of the grace, beauty and wonder of expression, in mere words.

Bunny's Staycation (Mama's Business Trip)
Lori Richmond
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545925891, $17.99 HC
9780545925891, $11.95 PB; $10.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 3-5

Darleen Wohlfeil

Richmond's creative talent seems to spill evenly over all the endeavors of her life. Knowing the fine balance necessary for working parents, she portrays her creative flare in Papa Bunny's imaginative ability to count down the days till Mama returns with great fun and adventure. Clever and endearing!

100 Things I Love to Do with You
Amy Schwartz
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, 6th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781419722882, $16.95 HC: $9.40 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 3-5

Julianne Black

Told in rhyme as snippets of insight featuring the essential nature of closeness between (but not limited to) friends or siblings, this book would be an especially big winner in families where a second child was on the way. Focused on the enjoyment of micromoments in time, Schwartz does an equally amazing job with the illustrations to create an overall feeling of intimacy by celebrating simple acts of mindfulness. A joy to read and share!

When I Grow Up
Tim Minchin, author
Steve Antony, illustrator
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338233841, $8.99 HC; $5.99 Kindle, 34pp, Ages 4-8

Julianne Black

Perfect for fans of Tim Minchin's Tony Award-winning Matilda the Musical! Minchin pairs the fabulously fun lyrics from the song "When I Grow Up" against Steve Antony's gorgeously detailed illustrations to bring to life the fun that comes with anticipating adult life when you are young. From ice cream, candy, and cartoons to climbing trees, each page feels like summer vacation! When I Grow Up makes a great read for school or home, with each page depicting a wonderland of experience! Enjoy!

Maddi's Fridge
Lois Brandt, author
Vin Vogel, illustrator
Flashlight Press
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781936261291, $17.95 HC; $6.15 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 4-8

Julianne Black

A beautiful story of friendship centered around a hardship too many children face today: not having enough food. It's a topic difficult to talk about, especially to this age group, but Brandt spoons in just the right amount of lighthearted humor to make a typical "bringing awareness" style book into a classic feel-good story about the bond between two friends. Perfect for libraries, but better for story time, Maddi's Fridge is a wonderful conversation opener and has the potential for some serious healing. Adorable illustrations by Vin Vogel round out the work and give it an extra dose of approachability. Certainly a keeper and magnificent grade school resource.

Charlie Builds
Bob Bianchini
Abrams Appleseed
c/o Harry N. Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
978141972540, $8.95 Board Book; $8.06 Kindle, 20pp, Ages 4-6

Larissa Juliano

Designing, engineering, building, and creativity are all key components of successful buildings! Luckily, we do not need a lot of fancy tools when we have our imagination, a playful dad, and a great backyard. Charlie and his dad are the perfect team to construct skyscrapers out of blocks, fire stations from boxes, and more creations. This colorful and short rhyming board book will engage readers as they relate to their own special moments with Dad - especially snuggling up to bedtime stories about special hobbies.

Romeo's Big Book of Clever Ideas
Alain Gree
Button Books
c/o The GMC Group
9781908985989, $14.07, HC, 24pp,

Larissa Juliano

We take a brainstorming journey with Romeo to find the perfect way to transport his suitcase on a camping trip. He has so many treasures he'd like to bring, but if he brought them all, he would be able to pick up his suitcase! Should he make it into an airplane? Or perhaps a go-cart? Maybe a rocketship? The adorable ending makes us cheer for Romeo's open-minded ideas and brings up fun discussion with children about problem-solving.

Wanda's Better Way
Laura Pedersen, author
Penny Weber, illustrator
Fulcrum Publishing
4690 Table Mountain Drive, Suite 100, Golden, Colorado 80403
9781682750148, $17.95, HC, 36pp, Ages 5-7

Larissa Juliano

A beautiful, heartwarming, and relatable story about a little girl trying to figure things out her way. Wanda is faced with three different challenges and she needs to figure out how solve them. The adults in Wanda's life wonder if she would rather participate in other hobbies but Wanda is determined to figure out solutions that make activities enjoyable for her! In addition to the relatable storyline, the illustrations in this book are beautiful. I especially love the inclusion of an interracial family and the empowering message for our young girls that giving up (or giving in) should never be an option.

The Slithery Shakedown (The Nocturnals)
Tracey Hecht, author
Josie Lee, illustrator
Fabled Films Press
9781944020170, $12.99 HC
9781944020163, $5.99 PB, 64pp, Ages 5-7

Olivia Amiri

The Slithery Shakedown is a quirky, humorous book great for beginner readers, with fun illustrations. I love how the story takes three completely different types of animals - a pangolin, a sugar glider, and a red fox - and puts them together in a tight friendship. A friendship that even has them all standing up to a bully snake. A great bonus at the end of the book is the fun facts about nocturnal animals. This description of the animals helps you understand what they are and how interesting of a combo they are together.

Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol: Ghosts Don't Ride Bikes, Do They?
Andres Miedoso
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534410411, $5.99 PB; $4.99 Kindle, 128pp, Ages 5-9

Olivia Amiri

If you're expecting a scary ghost story, this isn't one of them. But instead you get a wonderful adventure story filled with helpful, mischievous ghosts. The story takes place in Kerville, a town with a history of ghosts and spirits hanging around. And everyone knows if you see a ghost or spirit, you just call Desmond Cole, Ghost Patrol. In this book Desmond and his best friend and ghost patrol partner, Andres Miedoso, track down a ghost on a bike. Although, Desmond really doubts a ghost can ride a bike because "they float everywhere." This is the second book of the series.

A Problematic Paradox
Eliot Sappingfield
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781524738457, $16.99 HC
9780525516217 $13.99 PB; $10.99 Kindle, 352pp, Ages 5-6

Diana Perry

Nikola Kross feels like she's a weirdo. Maybe she acts and feels that way because her mom left when she was just a toddler and her dad spends all his time on his amateur science experiments. One day her father is kidnapped and she is shocked to learn who her plain old unremarkable dad really is and what's more, she learns a huge secret about herself. This is the ultimate mystery-action-adventure-science- fiction story of them all. I can't wait to read the next one.

The Stone of Integrity
M. J. Evans
Dancing Horse Press
9780996661782, $10.95 PB; $4.99 Kindle, 272pp,

Diana Perry

In this third book of the Centaur Chronicles, Carling, future queen of Crystonia, is summoned by the historian of the Minsheen herd of Centaurs who entrusts her with a secret ancient map. She has proven herself worthy so far by venturing into dangerous situations in many faraway lands to gather the sacred stones. This time, she must go to the feared island of Hy-Basilia to find the stone of Integrity. The settings are so visual and fantastic, reminding me of lands told of in classic fairy tales. The map of Crystonia gives visual guidance as kids read this lively story. The story unravels one sub-plot after another as the dangers keep coming and the adventure never stops.

Treachery and Truth
Katy Huth Jones
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
9780819875358, $10.99 PB, $10.38 Kindle, 176, Ages 12-17

Diana Perry

Immersed in the historical background of the 10th century, this true tale of Good King Wenceslaus, as told by his faithful servant Poidevin, brings the reader into the Dark Ages. Fear grips the land of Bohemia as the faithful face betrayal and persecution under the reign of the pagan Duchess Dragomira. As she struggles for power with the rightful heir, Prince Vaclav, her foes forge alliances in secret despite the risk of discovery. Who will survive? A good-vs-evil tale, it gives readers a peek into history, exposing the laws, weapons, foods, and life from long ago. I loved the cast of characters, the glossary of terms, and the map of Central Europe, giving visuals to all who enjoy this delightful tale.

Baggywrinkles: A Lubber's Guide to Life at Sea
Lucy Bellwood
Toonhound Studios LLC
9780988220294, $19.99, PB, 132pp, Ages 9-12,

Diana Perry

This book is a fast-paced graphic novel about two adventurous lads who learn all about life aboard a ship. Young readers will learn nautical terminology and how to navigate all kinds of waters without the modern equipment we have today. Kids will feel like they're part of the crew as they battle land-lovers, search for treasures, and visit all of Europe as real-life, sword-wielding pirates.

Esme's Wish
Elizabeth Foster
Odyssey Books
9781925652246, $17.95 PB; $4.99 Kindle, 252pp,

Diana Perry

When 15-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father's wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme's mother, so why can't she? But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother's disappearance. Beautifully weaved with magic and adventure, I loved how the ending suggested a future sequel. This book has everything any adventure and fantasy lover could want. This is the ultimate bedtime book to cause dreams of grand fantasies.

The Boggart Fights Back
Susan Cooper
Margaret K. McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534406292, $16.99 HC
9781534420113, $7.99 PB; $7.95 Kindle, 240pp, Ages 8-12

Diana Perry

Once again, there's magic afoot in Scotland when Allie and Jay visit their grandfather and are eagerly greeted by the Boggart, an ancient sprite, and his cousin Nessie, formerly known as the Loch Ness Monster. Things are rarely peaceful with two boggarts around, but this time a real estate developer is the one causing a disturbance. If you've ever wondered if the Loch Ness monster really exists, this is your book. But how does a huge monster like that escape being discovered day after day? And what else is at the muddy bottom of the loch? Kids won't be able to put this one down. A truly fun read.

Hypnotic Dunces
Kate Jaimet
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781978040403, $9.99 PB; $3.99 Kindle, 260pp,

Diana Perry

Four middle-grade kids stuck in a world of pushy parents and clueless teachers. Luckily, they've found a way to fight back against the forces of adulthood: a secret club called Dunces Anonymous! I really had fun reading this book filled with non-stop chaos. Young readers will thrill over this exciting page-turner with relatable characters. This is the third book in Jaimet's award-winning series and it's perfect for a bedtime read!

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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design