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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 8 August 2005 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Video/DVD Shelf Biography Shelf
World History Shelf Audiobook Shelf Folklore/Mythology Shelf
Language Studies Shelf Fiction Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Books in Series Pets/Wildlife Shelf Cookbook Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Artus Against the Demon of the Museum
Hachette Multimedia
c/o Crystal Productions
1812 Johns Dr., Glenview, IL 60025

Artus Against the Demon of the Museum is an educational CD-ROM adventure game for young people, starring an intrepid young mouse. Six grand adventures invite young players to learn more about great works of art firsthand, from painter's colors to philosopher's ideas to the craftsmanship of a fine violin and much more. Designed to spark imagination as well as teach, Artus Against the Demon of the Museum is a delightful alternative to video games and makes learning about and interacting with great icons of human culture fun. Compatible with both Macintosh and PC CD-ROM drives.

Patricia Miller-Schroeder
Weigl Publishers Inc.
350 Fifth Avenue, #3304, NY, NY 10118
1590360249 $26.00 1-866-649-3445

The latest volume in the "International Organizations" series, The ASPCA introduces young readers to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the work this organization does to promote humane treatment of animals nationwide. Filled with facts from the society's founding in 1866 to its landmark victories to its promotion of the "3 R's" where animal testing in biomedical research is concerned (reduce the number of animals used as much as possible; replace research animals with tissue cultures, computer programs and other methods as much as possible; and refine testing techniques to ensure research animals are tested humanely) and much more. Full-color photographs illustrate this informative and enlightening summary of the ASPCA's work, rounded out with suggestions for young people to get involved, from writing letters to school and community newspapers to volunteering time at one's local animal shelter. Highly recommended.

Alexandra Powe Allred
Perfection Learning Corporation
PO Box 500, Logan, Iowa 51546-0500
0756944775 $18.95

Part of the "Reading Essentials in Science: Healty Living" series, Nutrition is a picturebook for grade-school children about the importance of healthy eating habits, how people in America used to eat, what serving sizes are, and what fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fluids do for the body. Offering basic scientific nutritional information in plain terms, with a glossary and index to help beginning readers, Nutrition also combines sound advice with its basic facts, including table rules such as "limit the amount of salt used; experiment with other seasonings" and "think like a rabbit - begin your meals with a small salad." An excellent life lesson book for young people, offering especially vital lessons in a modern era filled with advertising for sugary sweets and unhealthy foods.

Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813

Prufrock Press has newly published two outstanding "how to" manuals for children seeking to write effectively and correctly. Written by Nancy Atlee and nicely embellished with small illustrations by Mary Lou Johnson, these instructionals include The Absolutely Essential Writing Guide For Kids (1593630409, $13.95) and The Absolutely Essential Grammar Guide (1593630417, $13.95). The first is a basic reference manual introducing children to the writing process, including terminology, formatting, and avoiding common errors. The second is a basic reference manual introduction children to the funda-mentals of English grammar including capitalization, parts of speech, punctuation, and sentences. Whether writing prose or poetry, short stories or novels, essays or research papers, The Absolutely Essential Writing Guide For Kids and The Absolutely Essential Grammar Guide For Kids combine to provide a complete introduction to effective writing and good grammar. Ideal as supplemental classroom materials, these two outstanding titles are especially recommended for home schooling curriculum inclusion as well.

Farm Tales
Little Golden
Golden Books/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0375831908 $14.95 1-800-726-0600

Farm Tales is a parent/child reader which gathers together some of the best Little Golden Books for kids and places them under one keepsake hardcover - some twelve titles in all - providing the third in a series of keepsake reprints of childhood classics. Gold-tipped pages accompany full color reprints of such timeless tales as Shy Little Kitten, Baby Farm Animals, Little Red Hen and many more. Perfect for read-aloud pleasure with preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Palms To The Ground
Amy Stolls
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
0374357315 $17.00 1-888-330-8477

An only child, Calman has been seeing a therapist since he was seven, and is now about to travel from his Boston home to Washington to meet his pen pal. His encounters with an unusual cast of very different characters and potential friends will bring him more awareness of his own life and personality than therapy could ever afford him.

Albert Knopf
1745 Broadway, New York N 10019

Three fun stories are fine choices for leisure readers. Maggie Smith's Paisley (03-75821643, $15.95) tells of a paisley elephant toy tired of waiting in the toy shop for his Perfect Match. His journey for love produces an unexpected successful find. Maya Gottfried's poems are supplemented by Robert Rahway Zakanitch's fun and realistic drawings in Good Dog (0375830-499, $15.95). Zany drawings of dogs accompany breed-specific poems of all styles in this whimsical presentation. Maria Polushkin Robbins' Mother, Mother, I Want Another (0375825886, $14.95) receives Jon Goodell's warm and fine drawings as it tells of a baby mouse who 'wants another'. Mom thinks the mouse wishes another mother's help, but baby mouse doesn't want another mother - will Mrs. Mouse figure out what he really wants?

Florida Lighthouses For Kids
Elinor De Wire
Pineapple Press, Inc.
PO Box 3889, Sarasota, FL 34230-3889
1561643238 $8.95 1-800-746-3275

Florida Lighthouses For Kids is a profusely illustrated introduction to the lighthouses of Florida in a form and format that is ideal for young readers. The informed and informative text details the history and lore of Florida's thirty-three lighthouses. Fascinating facts pepper the engaging presentations as children will learn how lighthouses operate and how their original roles (so vital to the safety of ships at sea) gradually evolved into today's maritime museums. Highly recommended and thoroughly fun reading!

The Video/DVD Shelf

Tikki Tikki Tembo
Scholastic Video Collection
Beth Blenz-Clucas (publicity)
557 Broadway, NY, NY 10012-3999
NVG-9728 $14.95 1-800-242-7737

Tikki Tikki Tembo And More Favorite Tales showcases three popular and award-winning children's picturebook stories adapted for DVD and enthusiastically recommended for children ages 3 to 9. Include is Arlene Mosel's Tikki Tikki Tembo (illustrated by Blair Lent) about what happened in ancient China when the first son of a Chinese family gave him such a grand, long name that proved to be a bit dangerous for the boy! Hot Hippo written by Mwenye Hadithi and illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway is the story of a hippopotamus that wanted to live in the wter like the fishes instead on the hot dray land. But wouldNgai (the god of Everything and Everywhere) give Hippo permission to do so? Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, and The Tender Tale Of Cinderella Penguin by Janet Perlman offers a new webfooted twist on the classic fairytale of Cinderella. With a total running time of 59 minutes, this DVD features three extra bonus stories: The Happy Lion, The Magic Of Anansi, and Little Red Riding Hood. Children can read along with the stories, access interactive menus, enjoy the DVD story selection and Auto-Play features. Also very highly recommended for family, school, and community library Video/DVD collections for children is the Scholastic Video Collection DVD release The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate The Wash And More Back-to-School Stories (NVG-9727, $14.95, 46 minutes). Both Tikki Tikki Tembo and The Day Jimmy's Boat Ate The Wash are also available in a VHS format ($9.95 each).

The Wind In The Willows
A&E Home Video
c/o Foundry Communications
235 East 45th Street, NY, NY 10017
AAE-71987 $29.95 1-800-423-1212

The Wind In The Willows: The Complete Second Series continues the award-winning, stop-motion animated adventures that take place in the Wild Woods during a summer of timeless adventure based on the classic stories of Kenneth Grahame in a brand-new boxed set ideal for family, school, and community library Video/DVD collections. Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad continue their search for the simple and good things in life; while the mischievous weasels engage in zany meddling hijinks. Charming animal antics are brought to life with an abundance of wit, song, tea, jam, and plain down-to-earth fun, in this delightful collection sure to entertain all ages. 2 DVDs, 4 hrs 20 min, color.

Pecos Bill Cleans Up The West
WGBH Boston Video
c/o SSA Public Relations
16027 Ventura Boulevard., Suite 206, Encino, CA 91436
1593753578 $12.95 818-501-0700

As seen on public television Pecos Bill Cleans Up The West collects three episodes from the educational, Emmy award-winning children's series "Between the Lions": "Pecos Bill Cleans Up the West", in which a storybook tornado makes a terrible mess in the library, "Lionel's Great Escape Trick" in which Lionel ties himself up with ropes and tries to escape without using magic words, and "Touching the Moon", in which Leona won't let her family sleep because she wishes for a queen to touch the moon. Catchy songs, adorable feline puppets, and a magical world in which letters sing, words come alive, and characters pop off the pages abound in this delightful DVD that combines entertainment and a curriculum of key reading skills. Special DVD features include downloadable activities and reader tips, a "Leading the way to Literacy" bonus video, a downloadable activity guide in English and Spanish, and much more. A highly recommended addition to DVD libraries for beginning readers. 90 minutes, color.

The Biography Shelf

Sixteen Years In Sixteen Seconds
Paula Yoo & Dom Lee
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10016
158430247X $16.95

A Lee & Low New Voices Award Winner, Sixteen Years In Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story is a picturebook based on the true story of the Korean American boy Sammy Lee. In 1932, when Sammy Lee was twelve, he wanted to dive at the public pool - but like all persons of color, he was allowed to use the pool only one day a week. But his passion for diving did not cool, and for sixteen years, he struggled to balance his dream of becoming an Olympic diver with following his father's wishes and becoming a doctor. In 1948, Dr. Sammy Lee earned his place in Olympic history and became the first Asian American to win a gold medal. Sammy Lee's remarkable story, elegantly told by Paula Yoo and illustrated by Dom Lee with soft, semi-impressionistic style artwork, is an inspirational testimony for young readers about the infinite potential within oneself, and the opportunities one can reach for in America.

The World History Shelf

Inside The Tomb Of Tutankhamun
Jacqueline Morley & John James
Enchanted Lion Books
45 Main Street, #519, Brooklyn NY 11201
159270042X $19.95 1-888-330-8477

Inside The Tomb Of Tutankhamun is a children's picturebook that tells the true story of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun, the creation of his tomb, and the discovery of the riches within it that would give people of the twentieth century a glimpse of the wonders of ancient Egypt. Straightforward text, color illustrations, and photographs are packed with information throughout concerning the details of Tutankhamun's life as best as can be reconstructed by history, the incomplete ransacking of his tomb in ancient times, and the expedition that revealed the boy pharaoh's resting place as well as the remaining ancient treasures buried with him and the controversy over the so-called "mummy's curse". A highly educational introduction to ancient Egyptian culture.

The Audiobook Shelf

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
J. K. Rowling
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
0307283658 $75.00 1-800-726-0600

At long last, the sixth volume of the Harry Potter series is available both in print and in this complete and unabridged CD audiobook edition (19 hours, 17 CDS), which is also available in an audiocassette format (030728364X, $50.00). Harry is now in his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, when he is once again called upon to battle against evil doers bent upon his destruction. Even as Harry Potter gains closer ties with Professor Dumbledore, Harry's rival Draco Malfoy is assigned a most dangerous challenge by the fearsome tyrant Lord Voldemort! Despite the revulsion Harry feels for Voldemort, Harry must investigate memories tied to his most deadly enemy, in the hope of learning all he can. Fantasy setting aside, the true magic of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince lies in J. K. Rowling's keen insight into all-too-human nature, including the flaws of bullies and braggarts, teenage heartbreak, and the adolescent emotions that can all too easily turn best friend against best friend. These qualities have given the entire Harry Potter series a truly transgenerational appeal, and Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince lives up to the exacting standards of its predecessors. Jim Dale gives another dynamic and nuanced narration as he provides the "voice" for all of the characters as he has in the Listening Library editions of the previous five Harry Potter audiobooks. Highly recommended.

Greathall Productions, Inc.
Box 5061, Charlottesville VA 22905-5061

G. A. Henty is a master story writer whose tales of historical adventure fiction will appeal to listeners from 8 to 88. Greathall Productions offers four of Henty's complete and unabridged novels, plus a collection of his best short stories, all in a CD format for easy listening. Expertly and dramatically narrated by professional storyteller Jim Weiss, these enthusiastically recommended titles include: In The Reign Of Terror (1882513975, $32.95, 9 hours) set during the French Revolution of 1793; The Cat Of Bubastes (1882513940, $32.95, 6 hours) set in ancient Egypt circa 1250 BC; Wulf The Saxon (1882513959, $32.95, 8 hours) a story set during the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 AD; and The Young Carthaginian (1882-513967, $32.95, 9 hours) which plays out in the confrontations of Hannibal in his war against Rome circa 220 BC. Each of these CD audiobooks comes in a sturdy plastic shell which will stack perfectly on any library bookshelf. G.A. Henty Short Story Collection, Volume 1 (1882513983, $14.95, 70 minutes) features "Frontier Girl", the story of a 15-year-old girl on the Ohio frontier during an Indian uprising; and "Surly Joe", the story of an English sailor of the late 1800s who must deal with sacrifice, despair, honor, and who eventual achieves personal redemption. All of these Greathall Production outstanding audiobook titles are characterized by flawless recording standards and will provide listeners with a true "theater of the mind" listening experience.

The Folklore/Mythology Shelf

The Magical Monkey King
Ji-Li Jiang & Youshan Tang
Shen's Books
40951 Fremont Blvd, Freemont CA 94538
1885008252 $6.95

The Magical Monkey King: Mischief In Heaven is an anthology of classic Chinese folk tales, adroitly retold by Ji-Li Jiang and humorously illustrated with a handful of black-and-white Chinese-style brush pictures by Youshan Tang. Surprises always follow the mischievous Monkey in his adventures, from his determination to win the title of "King of the Monkeys" to his quest to learn the secrets of immortality, to his contest against the Buddha himself. A rollicking, enjoyable ride, written in a delightfully upbeat tone, ideal for young readers ready to make the transition from picture books to slightly more elaborate text stories.

Ancient Myths
Picture Window Books
7825 Telegraph Road, Minneapolis,MN 55438
1404809074PG $143.58 1-877-845-8392

Illustrated in a comic book style cartoon format and expertly written to entertain and engage young readers ages 8 to 11, ideal for elementary school students curriculum supplemental reading assignments for grades 3 to 5, Ancient Myths is a set of outstanding storybooks derived from ancient Greek mythology. These 32-page tales are presented in the classic tradition of the master storyteller with the embellishment of ironic humor and the natural excitement that has made these stories of heroes and monsters appealing to generation after generation of readers over the past three thousand years. The six individual titles comprising the Ancient Myths series include: The Adventures of Perseus; Jason and the Argonauts; Theseus and the Minotaur; The Twelve Labors of Hercules; The Voyages of Odysseus; and The Wooden Horse of Troy. Enhanced with maps of ancient Greece, a "who's who" guide to the diverse characters, a pronunciation guide, a glossary, and an index, each of these highly recommended titles can be acquired separately ($23.93), but school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the entire six volume series for their young readers.

Jorinda And Jorindel
Bernadette Watts
North-South Books Inc.
875 Avenue of the Americas, Rm. 1901, New York, NY 10001-3507
0735819874 $15.95

The retelling of a Brothers Grimm fairytale by author and illustrator Bernadette Watts, Jorinda And Jorindel is the gently illustrated story of the power of true love to resist even the mightiest curses. An old witch turns young women into caged birds and freezes young men in their tracks until they are forced to leave, but Jorindel could not leave the witch forever - for one of the birds was a beautiful girl he loved, and he had to brave any challenge to bring her back. The warm, soft illustrations perfectly suit this emotions of hope and steadfast faithfulness that form the core of this cherished fable.

The Language Studies Shelf

The Picture Book Dictionary, English-Spanish Edition
Valerie Laud & Valentin Latushkin
Ekadoo Publishing Group
Andrea Blain (publicist)
Box 2286, North Redondo Beach, CA 90278
0974738700 $12.99

An English/Spanish bilingual reference deftly organized by Valerie Laud and brightly illustrated Valentine Latushkin , The Picture Book Dictionary presents 3,000 words commonly found in children's picturebook stories. Each word is used in a sentence (in both English and Spanish) and demonstrated with a simple, friendly color illustration. For example, the entry for hot/caliente reads "The pie is still very hot"/"El pastel todavia esta muy caliente" and has a picture of a hot pie held in a woman's oven mitts. Especially recommended for bilingual families, The Picture Book Dictionary offers an easy-to-use introduction and beginning self-start education for bright youngsters.

The Fiction Shelf

The Mysterious Circus
Jane Langson
1350 Ave. of Americas, NY, NY 10019
0060094869 $15.99 1-800-242-7737

Fans of the prior Diamond In The Window and other stories will find a new adventure revolving around Eleanor, Eddie and Georgie and their new friend Andy. And Uncle Krishna is back, too, adding his magic to the appearance of a mysterious circus with strange people and events. Langton is at her best in exploring the peculiar forms of magic Eleanor and her sibling are particularly vulnerable to, and The Mysterious Circus doesn't disappoint.

Delacorte/Knopf Press
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

These summer leisure read choices offer different, absorbing stories for teens. Leslea Newman's Jailbait (0385731981, $15.95) tells of a teen who has no friends, and whose only goal is to get through school without rocking the boat - until she meets Frank, a special, older man who seduces her while convincing her to keep him a secret. People wouldn't understand their special relationship, Frank maintains - and Andi believes him. Amy Kathleen Ryan's young adult novel Shadowfalls (0385731329, $15.95) is set in Wyoming and tells of teen Annie, who always spends happy summers in the wilderness valley with her older brother Cody and her grandfather. One summer a phone call changes her life - and introduces a grief which never seems to end, affecting her relationship not just with her grandfather, but with everyone. Can Wyoming provide her an opportunity to heal? Leah Komaiko's Malibu Carmie (0385731728, $15.95) is recommended for older teens, telling of one Carmie, who wants to become beautiful, lose weight, and stop worrying about her depressed, embarrassing mother. When a visit to Malibu Beach turns her mother into a surfer, revealing a formerly dynamic past, Carmie develops a desire to move to Malibu and form a group where she becomes a surf goddess with unexpected consequences. Michael Cart edits the third modern journal Rush Hour (0385730322, $9.95): FACE, offering insights into the personalities beneath the masts we wear in public. This isn't just a short story collection: poetry and a graphic story are included to mix genres in stories, essays and art in a bold journal of literary voices tailored for a wide age range of readers. David Levithan's Are We There Yet? (037582846X, $15.95) tells of very different brothers who can't stand each other - until their parents trick them into taking a trip to Italy together. It's there that they not only find a new world and romance, but learn to come to grips with what it means to be siblings - through falling for the same girl. Older teens will relish these novels.

Catherine MacPhail
175 - 5th Ave., New York NY 10010
1582349975 $16.95

Five young cavers who hate each other at school become trapped when a field trip to a desolate island injures their teacher and traps them underground. Now they find themselves struggling for survival: a struggle which forces them to confront their fears and get along, if they're to survive. Catherine MacPhail's Underworld is high adventure and interpersonal struggle at its best.

My Brother's Keeper
Patricia McCormick
114 - 5th Avenue, NY NY 10011-5690
0786851732 $15.99 1-800-759-0190

Tony's love for his older brother, the cool personality, is affected by his father's departure from the family as Toby observe his family falling apart. Jake is slipping into drug use, and Toby tries to save face by covering it up - until tensions between the two brothers escalate. My Brother's Keeper is a moving story of love and family grief evolves.

Orchard Books/Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Older teens will find compelling two readers packed with action and drama. Michael Molloy's Peter Raven Under Fire (0439724546, $17.95) is set in 1800 and tells of Peter, the new officer on a Navy ship warring with the French forces of Napoleon. Can a 13-year-old bound to a British spy affect the outcome of a war? Political intrigue and social unrest permeate a plot strong in historical background and insights. Jenny Nimmo's Charlie Bone And The Castle Of Mirrors (0439545285, $9.95) provides a sequel to Charlie Bone And The Invisible Boy, adding a new complexity to Charlie'' powers at Bloor's Academy. Fans of Harry Potter will find Charlie an admirable fan: here he's unlocking the secret of the Castle of Mirrors with his uncle, undertaking new quest in the face of danger and swift action. Another winning Charlie Bone!

Spy Mice: The Black Paw
Heather Vogel Frederick
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, NY NY 10020
0689877536 $9.95 1-800-223-2336

At the Spy Museum creatures of all sizes are always about, battling for power: mice vs. rats, kids vs. bullies - and all the power lies in a paw. The skateboarding mouse Glory and double-o detective Oz Levinson may seem unlikely heroes, but their investigations are fair and their activities intrepid in this fun detective work for advanced elementary through middle school kids.

The Last Universe
William Sleator
Amulet/Harry Abrams
100 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
0810958589 $16.95 1-800-759-0190

Susan has been afraid of the garden even before her brother became ill: now she must push his wheelchair into the garden daily to satisfy his sense of impending action there, and the strange formal gardens seem to reach out for them with its mazes and mysteries. Can they survive the impossible choices the mazes bring? Once again Sleator has provided older young adult readers with the unexpected, satisfying fantasy he's so noted for. Not one of William Sleator's many novels are 'alike' in theme, aside from the overall fantasy genre: all offer unexpected twists - and The Last Universe is no exception. A top winner, highly recommended.

Holiday House
425 Madison Ave., New York NY 10017

Three delightful, reads are picks for teens seeking something different. Masry Amato's The Naked Mole-Rat Letters (0823-419274, $16.95) tells of a father who begins a long-distance romance, and a pre-teen who sends fabricated emails to the zookeeper lover in an attempt to sabotage their relationship. When the zookeeper responds unexpectedly with witty letters and advice, Frankie learns about honestly, evolving friendships, and maturity. Michael J. Daly's Space Station Rat (08234-18669, $15.95) joins Miss Frisby and other rat-and-mouse fantasies in presenting a Modified lavender rat who escapes from a special lab and stows away on a space station. A lonely young boy attracts her attention, and soon Jeff thinks he has a new email friend even though the topics always seem to be about food. An unusual friendship evolves between two misfits in this fun fantasy. Leslie J. Wyatt's Poor Is Just A Starting Place (0823418847, $16.95) tells of a teen during the Great Depression who is tired of being poor and living with her family. She's determined to escape her family's farm, and her life of poverty - but finishing school is her first vow. A realistic story of poverty and Depression survival.

The Picturebook Shelf

Katie Morag And The Birthdays
Mairi Hedderwick
Bodley Head/Trafalgar Square
PO Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053-0257
0370328507 $20.00 1-800-423-4525

Birthday celebrations on the Isle of Struay are always fun, but Katie's birthday is especially exciting to her. She's desperate for her special day to happen, but there are others' birthdays before it, each to be celebrated with a special theme or event. Kids with basic reading skills will find the bright drawings and whimsical birthday events of Katie Morag And The Birthdays to be a fun and engaging read.

Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, NY NY 10003

Four new Clarion picks are highly recommended stories for young leisure browsers. First, Andrew Clements' Because Your Daddy Loves You (0618003614, $16.00) presents a warm exploration of the ways a father demonstrates his love for his child. A day trip to the beach serves as an adventure for both in a warm account illustrated by R.W. Alley. Carl Norac's My Daddy Is A Giant (0618443991, $16.00) receives Ingrid Godon's simple drawings as it tells of a father who's like a child's own personal giant'. A warm view of a large man. Kristine O'Connell George's Up! (0618064893, $15.00) tells of an energetic toddler who sees her father as a key to being lifted up to see different views of her world. Very simple text accompanies drawings by Hiroe Nakata. Linda Sue Park's Bee-Bim Bop! (061826-5112, $15.00) presents a whimsical recipe for a traditional Korean dish which uses a fun verse to explore cooking an exotic dish. Cooking directions and the real recipe included at book's end.

Sweet Dreams
Nancy Willard
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10020
0316940008 $16.99 1-800-759-0190

Mary GrandPre illustrates an unusual, fun story of a man and a broom who fall in love. Once he whisks her home from the supermarket, the graceful broom enchants him with her ability to dance, sweep and even sleepwalk. When she's kidnapped by a greedy strange, trouble enters the world. An unusual tale with no equal, Sweet Dreams is a delight.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Andre Amstutz and Allan Ahlberg's original picturebook The Shopping Expedition (0763625868, $16.99) pairs the noted British illustrator with the zany story of a shopping expedition which turns into a jungle exploration. The pictures are somewhat dark-toned but they enhance the adventure line, which is filled with unexpected moments. Tres Seymour's Auction! (0763612421, $16.99) tells of an excited aunt who hears of a country auction and faces her greatest auction rival, Miss Logsdon. Can anyone outbid the two contenders? A zany, realistic story of auction high drama is enlivened by Cat Bowman Smith's whimsical illustrations.

77 West 66th St., NY, NY 10023-6298 1-800-759-0190

These three fun titles stand out from the leisure picturebook crowd with engaging plots and drawings. Milton Glaser provides the whimsical drawings for Shirley Glas'ers The Big Race (0786818212, $16.99), a tale which goes one step beyond the typical Tortoise and Hare race. Here they agree to race - all around the world. Volcanoes, pyramids, and more are observed in the course of their long journey. Rosemary Wells and Susan Jeffers' McDuff's Wild Romp (0786819308, $9.99) joins other McDuff easy readers presenting the little dog's antics. His experience visiting a nasty cat results in a fun contest for a fallen Turkey Tidbit in an event all ages will relish. Penelope Stowell's The Greatest Potatoes (0786851139, $15.99) covers all kinds of potatoes, from chips and fries to the fry cook who invented the 'world's worst potato' as a joke, coming up with unexpected winners. A zany celebration of potato history.

The Cat In The Candle Factory
Barbara L. Johns & Carolyn R. Stich
Steeple Ridge Publications
7220 Hillside Drive, Clarkston, MI 48346-1474
0976286203 $15.00

Based on a true story in the life of the author, The Cat In The Candle Factory is a children's picturebook written by Barbara L. Johns and illustrated by Carolyn R. Stich about a clever black cat, Midnight. Midnight watches the candle-making machine and signals the owner if something isn't working properly, but both of them are working too hard - and when poor Midnight slips and falls, her tail becomes dipped in orange wax! Midnight needs a break from her work to rest and recover, but how is the factory to keep running? Midnight's owner decides the only way is to find Midnight some help, in this heartwarming story especially for young cat lovers.

The Tzedakah Pennies
Joni Klein-Higger & Tova Leff
Hachai Publishing
156 Chester Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218
1929628196 $10.95

The Tzedakah Pennies is a children's picturebook by Joni Klein-Higger celebrating the Jewish cornerstone practice of tzedakah (charity), one of the most important mitzvahs for children to learn. Colorful illustrations by Tova Leff follow a little boy with ten pennies and a large tzedakah box; throughout the busy day, he gives each of his family members a turn to give tzedakah by putting one penny in the box, leaving one penny fewer than before. "Ten tzedakah pennies all in a line / Along came my father, and now there are nine." Happy rhymes chronicle the journey to the very last penny, in this simple and cheerfully upbeat as well as enlightening picturbook that, though especially intended for Jewish children and families, embraces a great virtue for readers of all faiths.

In God's Kitchen
James Kavanagh & John Belisle
Waterford Press, Inc.
446 North Austin Drive, Suite 2D, Chandler, AZ 85226
1583552413 $15.95 1-800-434-2555

In God's Kitchen is a simple Christian picturebook for children, that whimsically celebrates God as the creator of all living things, from petunias and puppies to mothers and you (represented by a mirror on the last page). John Belisle's bold, modern-style full-color illustrations of God's kitchen add a vibrant touch to this picturebook, which emphasizes the grand diversity of God's creations with sidebars depicting all sorts of plants and animals. In God's Kitchen does not quote the Bible directly, but rather simply praises God and his power of creation in singsong verse by James Kavanagh. A delightful picturebook for young Christian readers, In God's Kitchen is highly recommended for family and Sunday School library collections.

My Mom's Having a Baby!
Dori Hillestad Butler & Carol Thompson
Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton St, Morton Grove, IL 60053
0807553441 $15.95 1-800-255-7675

My Mom's Having A Baby! is a children's picturebook designed to answer basic childhood questions about where babies come from. Told from the point of view of a young girl, it describes how babies are made in plain terms. Anatomically correct illustrations by Carol Thompson and Dori Butler's straightforward narration offer simple descriptions of how reproductive organs work, what it is like for a woman to be pregnant, and the steps of childbirth, all culminating in the arrival of a new baby brother at home. A superb giftbook or introduction to the facts of life, especially for a child who may be anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new sibling.

Norbert Nipkin
Robert McConnell & Steve Pilcher
Napoleon Publishing
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M2N 4Y8
1894917294 $7.95 1-877-730-9052

Charmingly written by Robert McConnell and whimsically illustrated by Steve Pilcher, the art director for "Shrek 2", Norbert Nipkin is an enchanting, brilliant picturebook following the adventures of little Norbert Nipkin through a fantasy world. Rhyming verse tells of little Norbert's meeting with a terrifying, Nipkin-eating Zlog. Yet when Norbert cries out an appeal just before being devoured, the Zlog is startled; he knew that Nipkins tasted good, but he never knew they could talk. A fast bond of friendship develops between two very different creatures, and the Zlog hides young Norbert from a bigger hungry Zlog, in this story about the common qualities that bind big and small individuals, in this classic tale since its original publication in 1978. Also highly recommended is the sequel, Norbert Nipkin And The Magic Riddle Stone.

The Live Bale Of Hay
Carol Shorey Dean & Sandra Dunn
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
0892726741 $15.95 1-800-685-7962

The Live Bale Of Hay: A Real Maine Adventure is a picturebook adventure by Carol Shorey Dean about two young farm girls who spot a moving bale of hay - which turns out to be a black bear! Thanks to help from family and a brave farm dog, the bear is chased away, leaving the girls with an exciting adventure story to share with all their friends. Gentle watercolor-style illustrations by Sandra Dunn bring to life this the daily routine of a Maine farm girl, from barn fires and lemonade stands to mowing machines and balers, in this charming story of courage.

Borya And The Burps
Joan McNamara & Dawn W. Majewski
Perspectives Press, Inc.
Box 90318, Indianapolis, IN 46290-0318
0944934315 $18.00

Written by adoptive parent, advocate, and activist Joan McNamara, Borya And The Burps: An Eastern European Adoption Story is a children's picturebook that tells of the experience of international adoption from a very young child's point of view. Bright colorful illustrations by Dawn W. Majewski enhance the simple narration about little Borya, a boy still in diapers, and the bond he felt with other children at the orphanage, until one day a strange couple came to adopt him. Borya And The Burps gently reflects on the great and sometimes traumatic change of making the transition from orphanage to adoptive family, but is ultimately a positive story about forming new bonds and adapting to change. Highly recommended, especially as a means to help young people understand about international adoption, and the special challenges that being adopted across national borders brings.

Penguin Young Reader's Group
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

If you haven't seen Fay Robinson's Faucet Fish (0525471669, $15.99), now's the time: a desire for a guppy turns into much more as Elizabeth finds her boring single guppy leads to a trout in the kitchen faucet - and a host of faucet fish, which her too-busy parents ignore until the Whale Incident Wayne Anderson provides lively, creative drawings to embellish the action. Valeri Gorbachev's That's What Friends Are For (0399239669, $15.99) tells of a crying pig and a frustrated Friend Goat who wants to help. After all, that's what friends are for only how can he help? Lovely watercolors bring depth to his solutions.

Madagascar: The Essential Guide
Stephen Cole
DK Publishing, Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
075661175X $12.99

Madagascar: The Essential Guide is a picturebook offering backstory information pertaining to the popular and entertaining CGI motion picture "Madagascar", about four animal friends - a hippo, a lion, a giraffe, and a zebra - who desire to escape their zoo and live in the wild. Madagascar is not narrated in the traditional storybook style, but rather devotes each two-page spread to a closer look behind the scenes of the movie and within the personalities of the characters, along with fun and true facts about the island of Madagascar and its wildlife. As a movie for all ages, Madagascar especially to be commended in that it does not pretend that predator/prey relationships do not exist, even in a movie that features predator and prey animals as friends, and Madagascar: The Essential Guide makes a note of this. A delightful movie tie-in sure entertain young readers, and designed to mix in a little education, too!

Silver Threads
Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, author
Michael Martchenko, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
121 Harvard Ave., #2, Allston, MA 02134
1550419013 $16.95

Written by the grandchild of one of many interned individuals, Silver Threads is a children's picturebook based on true events of history. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Anna and Ivan, a young married couple from the Ukraine began a new life on a homestead on the Canadian frontier. When World War I erupts, Ivan volunteers to fight for his new country, yet Canadian authorities seize him and send him to an internment camp solely because he is from the Ukraine. Anna must continue struggling to provide for herself and keep her homestead's land cleared for years in spite of her husband's absence. Yet she never gives up hope, and on Christmas Day, a miracle occurs. Silver Threads is a story based on Canada's internment of "enemy aliens" - Ukrainian, European, and Japanese citizens who had committed no crime but were hated solely because of where they came from - during and after World War I. The Canadian government has not acknowledged the injustice nor returned the confiscated belongings to this day. Though Silver Threads is ultimately a heartwarming tale, illustrated in beautiful color, it is also a profound introduction to acts of injustice that humans commit against one another.

The Magic Of Color
Tracy Kane
Light-Beams Publishing
10 Toon Lane, Lee, NH 03824
0976628902 $17.95

The Magic Of Color is a wondrous picturebook that imagines what the discovery of color would be like, and its profound impact on the world. On a black-and-white Earth, two tribes of a donkey-like species - the Tinters and the Shaders - live unaware of each other. A brilliant eruption dyes the Tinters red and the Shaders blue; both tribes spot a brilliant, magical yellow lake and race to reach it. Conflict ensues when both reach the yellow lake at the same time, but when one Shader gets in trouble a Tinter rushes to his aid without thinking about it, and both tribes learn the values of cooperation and sharing. They discover there is a whole wide range of possible colors beyond red and blue, each with its own beauty, in this heartwarming tale. An enchanting storybook especially for reading aloud to young ones during storytime or bedtime. Also highly recommended is author Tracy Kane's award-winning "Fairy Houses" series.

Stacy A. Nyikos & Shawn Sisneros
Stonehorse Publishing
10632 South Memorial Avenue, #245, Tulsa, OK 74133
0976419904 $15.95

Imaginatively written by Stacy Nyikos and charmingly illustrated by Shawn Sisneros, Squirt is a rhyming picturebook story about a young squid who loves sea horse rides, sand castles, and games of ink and hide. When he becomes very attached to a cartoon on his "holoclam", he withdraws from his usual outside activities, preferring to watch TV all day. Even when his "holoclam" disappears, he can't break away from his desire to do nothing but watch TV... until his inky tantrum prompts a sudden discovery of the wonders of the world outside, and the possibility of finding his most beloved cartoon hero inside of himself. A page of true facts about squid offers a fascinating wrap-up to this uplifting tale with a message about hidden qualities inside oneself and beyond rote passivity.

Georgia's Bones
Jen Bryant & Bethanne Andersen
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
255 Jefferson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49503
0802852173 $16.00 1-800-253-7521

Georgia's Bones by Jen Bryant is a children's picturebook based on the life of artist Georgia O'Keeffe. Introducing young readers the world of a talented female artist, who sees the natural of beauty of New Mexico, even in such mundane things as bones, Georgia's Bones blends lyrical rhyme with sweeping color illustrations by Bethanne Andersen, and introduces the reader to the soul-stirring natural world, that can be summoned to mind and memory even when far away.

Books in Series

Capstone Press
7825 Telegraph Road, Bloomington, MN 55438

Two new non-fiction books in series from Capstone Press are especially recommended for school and community library Biography, Black Studies, Geography, and International Studies collections for young readers in grades 2 and 3. The "Fact Finder" biography series (22.60 list/$16.95 library) offers six, 32-page, biographies of African-Americans who made significant contributions to the music, athletics, and civil rights: Duke Ellington: Jazz Composer (0736837418MG); Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady Of Jazz (073683742MG), Harriet Tubman: Conductor Of Freedom (0736837434MG), Jesse Owens: Track-and-field Champion (0736837442MG), Langston Hughes: Great American Writer (0736837450MG), and Rosa Parks: Civil Rights Pioneer (0736837469MG). The "Fact Finder" geography series offers sixteen titles ($22.60 list/$16.95 library) showcasing the people and countries of Australia (0736837477MG), Chile (0736-837485MG), Cuba (0736837493MG), El Salvador (0736837507MG), India (0733-6837515MG), Iran (0736837523MG), Israel (0736837531MG), Italy (07368375-4XMG), Liberia (0736837558MG), North Korea (0736837566MG), Pakistan (9736-837574MG), Peru (0736837582), Rwanda (0736837590MG), Saudi Arabia (073-6837604MG), South Korea (073683761-2MG), and Turkey (0736837620MG). The text for both of these superbly written and illustrated series are thoroughly "kid friendly" and would make informed and informative additions to any school, community, or homeschooling library.

Child's World Press
PO Box 326, Chanassen, MN 55317

"Mighty Math" (1567663230, $145.26) is a superbly presented, six volume series of instructional books for children grades 1 through 3. The hallmark of these strongly recommended books are their clear design which encompasses everyday examples of the practical application of mathematics set forward in clear, concise, "student friendly" language based on nationally recognized standards for first-grade mathematics. Written by Sara Pistoia (an experienced classroom teacher), each volume is enhanced with full-color photos accessibly illustrating intangible concepts. Of special note is the inclusion of a series mascot -- Math Mutt -- who provides young students with tips and encouragement as they tackle the diverse exercises designed to provide a fundamental understanding of basic applied math. Invaluable as classroom curriculum texts, the titles comprising this series (Counting, Fractions, Graphs, Measurement, Money, and Time) are ideal for homeschooling instructional programs as well.

Carolrhoda Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55401

Don Lessem has earned his nickname of "Dino" Don through having authored more than 30 dinosaur books for children along with a popular dinosaur column in "Highlights" magazine. He was even an adviser for the film "Jurassic Park". Now he has authored six books comprising the Carolrhoda "Meet the Dinosaur" series designed for young readers ages 7 to 10 and detailing the dinosaurs' habitats, daily lives, and eventual extinction. Replete with "reader friendly" fun facts, and eye-catching artwork by John Bindon, along with descriptive photographs, the individual, 32-page titles comprising this outstanding and enthusiastically recommended series are The Deadliest Dinosaurs (0822526190, $6.95), The Fastest Dinosaurs (0822526-204, $6.95), Feathered Dinosaurs (0822-526212, $6.95), Flying Giants Of Dinosaur Time (0822526220, $6.95), Sea Giants Of Dinosaur Time (0822526239, $6.95), The Smartest Dinosaurs (08225-26182, $6.95). Although each title is available separately, community libraries in behalf of their young patrons, and school libraries would be especially well advised to acquire the entire series for the benefit of their young students grades 2 through 4.

PowerKids Press
c/o Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st Street, NY, NY 10010

Written and compiled by Joanne Mattern, the "Technology that Changed the World" series (0823972879, $103.50 list/$74.70 library) presents six 24-page titles which focus on key inventions and their impact in shaping the world as we know it today. The informed and informative text is wonderfully enhanced with illustrative pictures, detailed diagrams, and fascinating facts, as well as a "Resources" section. Young readers in grades three through six will be introduced to the clever and hardworking inventors behind each invention that was to influence and alter how society developed. The complete set includes The Computer: Passport To The Digital Age (032396492), The Printing Press: An Information Revolution (0823964884), The Radio: The World Tunes In (082396-4914), The Steam Engine: Fueling The Industrial Revolution (0823964906), The Telescope: Looking Into Space (082396-4892), and The Television: Window To The World (023964930.

Grolier/Franklin Watts, Inc.
90 Sherman Turnpike, Danbury CT 06816

"Flash Focus" (0717259358, $279.00) is a four volume series of books written and recommended for students in grades 9 through 12 and which focus upon American governmental institutions and politics. The four titles are: Presidential Elections: 1788-2000, Political Parties, The Supreme Court, and Equal Rights Under Law. Each volume features key images to reinforce the text driven story and primary sources to enrich and document offered interpretations. Enhanced with maps, charts, tables, glossaries, as well as explanations for key terms, events, concepts, and more, young readers will learn about the personalities, events, and institutions that have created American democracy as it evolved into what we have today. Of particular note is how specific subjects (such as how slavery affected American politics) are cross referenced between the four books so that a complete picture emerges as to how political issues interweave and mutually influence each other. Adhering to high-school level academic standards, the "Flash Focus" series is particular recommended for curriculum supplementation in the areas of Civics, Social Studies, and American History.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

My First Horse And Pony Book
Judith Draper
Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116
0753458780 $9.96

A thoroughly "kid friendly" introduction and guide to all the basics of horsemanship, My First Horse And Pony Book: From Breeds And Bridles To Jodhpurs And Jumping is ideal for young readers, especially those learning to care for and/or ride a pony or a horse of their own. From distinguishing what horses and ponies are, to what young riders should wear, to feeding and watering their mounts, to stable care, to riding tackle, to maneuvering their mount, My First Horse And Pony Book covers ever issue arising from riding for fun or for show. Enthusiastically recommended!

Shark Life
Peter Benchley
Delacorte Press
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0385731094 $15.95 1-800-726-0600

Though intended for a young adult audience, Shark Life: True Stories About Sharks & The Sea is too good not to recommend for adults, as well - especially given all the news about shark attacks. Benchley, best known for his novel JAWS and the movies which erupted from it, here draws on over four decades of diving experience to explore sharks and other animals he's encountered. From touching encounters to presumptions and near-disastrous mistakes, Shark Life is first-person adventure - and shark science - at its best.

The Cookbook Shelf

Delicious Desserts
Barbara Beery
Gibbs Smith
PO Box 667, Layton, UT 94041
1586853651 $19.95 1-800-748-5439

Barbara Beery's kids' cooking school Batter Up Kids provides the foundation for tested recipes in Delicious Desserts: Sweet Treats From The Premier Children's Cooking School, a fun manual which comes with a chefs' hat for kids along with kid-friendly recipes. The descriptions alone are enticing - Volcano Cupcakes with Buttercream Lava, Can you Fondue? And A Skillet Full of Cookies are more than just delicious and easy to make - they're fun, packed with colorful illustrations throughout.

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

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