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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 8 August 2006 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Music Shelf ABC Shelf
Folklore Shelf Fiction Shelf Summer Reading Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Books in Series Bilingual Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Library DVD Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Seeing The Blue Between
Paul B. Janeczko
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
076362909X $7.99

Seeing The Blue Between: Advice And Inspiration For Young Poets compiled and edited by Paul B. Janeczko is an intriguing collection of letters of advice and support, poetry, and other writings from thirty-two renowned poets and authors. Captivating and consoling readers with an expansive plethora of content, Seeing The Blue Between is a unique compendium offering a diversity of perspectives on life, wisdom, experiences, beauty, philosophy, and so much more. Seeing The Blue Between is very highly recommended for all young readers and aspiring poets seeking inspiration for their own appreciation of what life has to offer -- and setting down their own thoughts, feelings, discoveries, observations, and insights in rhythmic poetry and lyrical prose.

Let's Get Ready For First Grade!
Linda Desimowich & Stacey Kannenberg
Cedar Valley Publishing
N6854 Cedar Valley Road, Fredonia, WI 53021
1933476109 $19.00 1-920-994-9906

Let's Get Ready For First Grade! by Linda Desimowich and Stacey Kannenberg is enhanced with color illustrations by Joyce Babel-Worth and provides an outstanding introduction and early guide for children preparing for their entry into the first grade of elementary school. Young students will follow along the thoroughly "kid-friendly" description of such first grade curriculum activities including spelling, reading, math, and more, as Let's Get Ready For First Grade! captures their full attention with fun and interesting activities and encouraging presentations of first-grade materials. Let's Get Ready For First Grade! is very highly recommended for all parents and educators for children between ages four and eight for its remarkable compilation and insightful content. Also very highly recommended from the "Let's Get Ready For" series is Let's Get Ready For Kindergarten! (1933476001, $19.00).

Fairy Tale Feasts
Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple
Crocodile Books/Interlink Books
46 Crosby St., Northampton, MA 01060
1566566436 $24.95

Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook For Young Readers & Eaters pairs recipes by Heidi E.Y. Stempled with tales retold by Yolen and illustrations by Philippe Beha. The food focus provides a lively collection pairing sidebars about the stories' creation and food history with recipes and classics. Kids and parents will find it an outstanding collection.

Dropping In On Grant Wood
Pamela Geiger Stephens
Crystal Productions
PO Box 2159, Glenview, IL 60025
1562903489 $15.95 1-800-255-8629

Part of the Crystal Productions "Dropping In On..." series for school and community libraries, Dropping In On Grant Wood by Pamela Geiger Stephens is nicely enhanced with full color illustrations from Jim McNeill and provides young readers with an informative, insightful, and entertaining exploration of the life and work of famed American artist Grant Wood. Following Puffer and Wood through an easy and thoroughly "kid friendly" tour of Wood's most accomplished works and focusing on certain aspects of each painting profiled, Dropping In On Grant Wood deftly captivates the attention young readers with an informed appreciation of this accomplished painter's finest work. Dropping In On Grant Wood is very strongly recommended for all young readers with high interest in art and art history for its deft combination of articulate authorship and wonderful illustrations. Also available and highly recommended is an accompanying VHS (CP-1931-1) and a DVD (CP-1980-1) formatted edition of Dropping In On Grant Wood ($29.95 each).

It's Your Room
Janice Weaver & Frieda Wishinsky
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, Fifth Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 2P9
0887767117 $14.95

Expertly co-authored by Janice Weaver and Frieda Wishinsky, and enhanced with illustrations by Claudia Davila, It's Your Room: A Decorating Guide For Real Kids, is an impressively "kid friendly" collection of basic "how to" information on how children can designing a desirable and attractive room for themselves. Comprehensively guiding readers through the entire process from clearing a room to placing light fixtures, It's Your Room offers a simply brilliant introduction to interior design principles for kids from elementary school through high school. An ideal and popular addition to family, school, and community library collections, It's Your Room is very highly recommended for all young people aspiring to redecorate their room to accord with their own (and changing) tastes and preferences, all presented in practical and creative manner, and is sure to help any child of any age to create their very own "dream room".

The Music Shelf

Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477, Long Branch, NJ 07740
$14.95 each www.

Everyday Play Songs (KIM-9118CD) by William Janiak is a fantastic collection of simple and easy-to-follow songs for everyday use in exercises compiling an active playlist of Jack-In-The-Box; What's There To Explain?; Soul Stomp; Alphabet Notion; March Around The Circle; You Can Feel It, Hear It, See It, followed by a repeat of the afore mentioned songs without lyrics. Basic Skills For Kids (KIM-9117CD) by William Janiak is an enticing collection of fun and educational songs aimed at teaching a child a solid understanding of body part identification, motor development, right-left discrimination, and emotional awareness throughout its six-track playlist, doubled with instrumentals of the first six: I've Got Parts In The Middle Of My Body; The Pencil Song; Today I'm Happy; Moving; I'm A Helper; and Two By Two.

Erin Lee & Marci
Gotta Play Publishing
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Snowdance is a "calendar" collection of twelve original songs (one for each month of the year), each one of which is presented from the viewpoint of a strong, observant, self-assured child who gives an honest, and sometimes comical, appraisal of the world through a child's perspective. The themes and images are drawn from common childhood experiences including the first day of school, snow days, interminable traffic, cranky neighbors, splashing in springtime puddles, playing neighborhood baseball games, trying to make it to the "Grownup Table" at Thanksgiving, and more! Lively original music combines with equally lively and original lyrics to produce a wonderful musical experience that will delight and entertain young children of all ages. Snowdance would make an especially popular addition to family, school, and community library CD music collections for young listeners.

The ABC Shelf

A Swim Through The Sea
Kristin Joy Pratt
Dawn Publications
12402 Britney Springs Road, Nevada City, CA 95959
1584690801 $7.95

Written and illustrated by sixteen year old Kristin Joy Pratt, A Swim Through The Sea is the creative and imaginative ABC board book the features Seamore the Seahorse as he explores the wonderful underwater ocean life with each depicted creature also representing a letter of the alphabet. Carrying preschoolers and kindergarteners from A to Z, Kristin's A Swim Through The Sea offers a delightful presentation of twenty-four interesting and beautifully drawn aquatic life forms and is a thoroughly fun approach to learning. An ideal addition to family, day care center, and kindergarten library collections, A Swim Through The Sea is very highly recommended for all children ages 3 to 5 for its unique, original, colorful, and educational format showcasing an alphabetically arranged variety of fish and other water-life forms.

"L" Is For Library
Sonya Terry
Upstart Books
PO Box 800, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
193214644X $16.95

Featuring charming illustrations by Nicole Wong, "L" Is For Library by Sonya Terry is an unusual alphabet book designed for children preschool through the second grade and has as the setting, a local community library. The "guide" is an orange tabby cat and children will follow the kitty through the whole A to Z alphabet, all within in the context of what boys and girls have commonly encountered in library visits of their own. "L" Is For Library fully engages young readers as they have fun throughout the learning process. "L" Is For Library is very highly recommended for all beginning and young readers interested in their library, as well as for parents, teachers, and librarians as effective and fun learning tool for their young charges.

The Folklore Shelf

Ram The Demon Slayer
Vatsala Sperling
Bear and Company/Inner Traditions
PO Box 388, Rochester, VT 05767-0388
1591430577 $15.95

With remarkably impressive artwork from Pieter Welteverde, Ram The Demon Slayer by Vatsala Sperling tells the epic tale of Ramayana drawn from the timeless historical mythology of the Hindu culture of India. Creatively authored and with sensational paintings created in the traditional Indian wash technique, Ram The Demon Slayer carries its young readers through the mesmerizing tale of Vishnu's incarnation as the human prince Ram in combat of the evil ten-headed demon king, Ravana. A welcome and popular addition to any school or community library Folklore & Mythology picturebook collection, Ram The Demon Slayer is very highly recommended and entertaining reading for all children age 6 to 9.

Chinese Fables Remembered
Miwa Kurita
PO Box 8208, Berkley, CA 94707
0893469459 $16.95

A perfect choice for school and community library Folklore & Mythology picturebook collections for children, Asian Folktales Retold: Chinese Fables Remembered by Miwa Kurita, with illustrations from Saoko Mitsukuri, and edited by Miyoko Matsutani, is a colorfully informative guide through the history of China's folklore. Captivating young readers with evocative art and inspiring authorship, Chinese Fables Remembered showcases two remarkable tales: The Brothers And The Birds and The Two Rooster Friends. Chinese Fables Remembered is very highly recommended for all young readers searching for a creative and illustrious introduction to the Chinese culture and its intriguing historical myth and folklore. Also very highly recommended from the "Asian Folktales Retold" series is China Tells How The World Began! (0893-469440, $16.95).

The Honey Jar
Rigoberta Menchu
Groundwood Books
1700 4th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
0888996705 $16.95 1-800-893-5777

Written by Noble Peace Prize winner and Mayan activist Rigoberta Menchu with the assistance Dante Liano and enhanced with full color artwork by Domi, The Honey Jar is an entertaining collection of short stories and encouraging tales drawn from the author's childhood growing up in a Mayan culture. These are tales and stories her grandparents told during her childhood, collected under one cover and offering a new generation of children a special insights into a Native American culture's captivating and imaginative folklore offering explanations of certain natural phenomena, magical twins, the sky, the sun and the moon, animals, plants, and the gods. Especially suitable for school and community library Folklore/Mythology collections for children, The Honey Jar is a very highly recommended read as a high interest for any young reader for its entertaining, imaginative, and vibrant tales, fables, and mysteries.

The Little Platypus And The Fire Spirit
Mundara Koorang
Aboriginal Studies Press/ISBS
920 NE 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213-3786
085575494X $24.95

Authored and illustrated by Australian aboriginal artist, actor and writer Mundara Koorang, The Little Platypus And The Fire Spirit is a "Dream Time" story of the duck-billed, web-footed, paddle-tailed, fur covered platypus and how such a peculiar creature came to be of such a curiously featured shape. Following the platypus through its creative aboriginal folklore storytelling elements, The Little Platypus And The Fire Spirit carries young readers through the adventure of a little platypus who dreams of becoming a duck and swimming in circles as he saw ducklings do, then goes on to acquire (with the Fire Spirit's help) a tail, webbed feet, a beautiful fur coat, and a distinctive beak. A superb selection choice for school and community library Folklore/Mythology collections for young readers, The Little Platypus And The Fire Spirit is very highly recommended as the remarkable aboriginal folktale story of allegorical self-discovery and how the platypus came to look the way it does.

The Fiction Shelf

Hiding In Hawk's Creek
Brenda Chapman
Napoleon Publishing
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2N 4Y8
1894917243 $8.95 1-877-730-9052

Hiding In Hawk's Creek by Brenda Chapman is the story of one young girl's search for contentment and escape from the troubles of her family and home life. Following fourteen-year-old Jennifer Bannon through her decision to spend the summer with her grandmother in a place called Hawk's Creek (and her plans never to return home), Hiding In Hawk's Creek carries its readers through an original and entertaining story of friendship, darkness and pain, racial intolerance, love, and considerable suspense. A welcome addition to the reading list of children ages 10 and older, Hiding In Hawk's Creek is very highly recommended as a creative and well crafted "coming of age" tale of one teen girl's life and times.

The Riddle Of The Missing Puppies
Carole Marsh
Gallopade International
PO Box 2779, Peachtree City, GA 30269
0635061708 $3.99 1-800-536-2438

The Riddle Of The Missing Puppies from the "Criss Cross Applesauce" series by Carole Marsh is the fun and amazing story of Leah, Sara, and Aimee in their hot pursuit of missing puppies. Following the trio of young sleuths as they make their progressive discoveries and ultimately unravel the mystery of the absent canines. The Riddle Of The Missing Puppies is a thoroughly entertaining read as Leah, Sara and Aimee find a dog named Pest and swiftly uncover everything they can to solve the case. The Riddle Of The Missing Puppies is very highly recommended for all young mystery lovers, particularly those already following the "Criss Cross Applesauce" series. Also very highly recommended by Carole Marsh from her "Three Amigos" series from Gallopade International is the delightful story The Riddle Of The Ooglie Booglie (0635061678, $3.99).

Stay With Me
Garrett Freymann-Weyr
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618605711 $16.00

A girl's dyslexia, relationships with a father and stepmother, and determination to investigate romance, cheating and death makes for a vivid multi-faceted story in Stay With Me, which follows her evolving sense of self in the face of disability and changes. Stay With Me is a recommended pick for mature teens who will find plenty of interest in a story of love which keeps on changing.

A Small Boat At The Bottom Of The Sea
John Thomson
Milkweed Editions
1011 Washington Ave. S. #300, Minneapolis, MN 55415
1571316566 $6.95

Deserving of ongoing mention is John Thomson's novel Small Boat At The Bottom Of The Sea, a vivid story of a pre-teen sent to spend summer with an ex-con uncle and an aunt who's dying from lung cancer. His summer will involve not only helping his uncle, but getting to know his aunt, coming to terms with her death, and maybe even accepting his uncle hasn't quite left his past behind in this moving story of discovery.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Ann Turner's novel Hard Hit (0439296-803, $16.99) presents Mark, who has an enviable life as the star pitcher in school, with a new girlfriend, best friend and decent family. When his father is diagnosed with cancer, Mark's world is shattered and everything he takes for granted or believes in is questioned. Hard Hit tackles the tough questions of coping with death and life's changes. Kevin Brooks' The Road Of The Dead (0439786231, $16.99) tells of a teen who can sense things nobody else can. After his sister's death, he and his brother leave their London home for the moors of Devon, where they are determined to uncover the truth behind her murder. The Road Of The Dead is a recommended pick for mature teens: a dark tale of discovery and unusual talents set against a backdrop of murder. Brian James' Dirty Liar (0439796237, $16.99) tells of a boy who runs away from his mother's boyfriend and his home to go live with his father and stepmother in Oregon, only to face his father's mistrust and his new stepmother's questionable personality. A riveting story of a teen adjusting to a new world emerges.

Inside The Mind Of Gideon Rayburn
Sarah Miller
St. Martin's Press
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0312333757 $16.95

What would happen if you could see inside the mind of a boyfriend? A mystery girl who sees in Gideon's mind can – and she tells of a clueless boy who flunks his way into a fancy prep school in New England, only to face cute, feisty girls who vie for his attention. The focus on his thoughts throughout provides an unusual, compelling story.

Delacorte Press/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Brittany is supposed to spend the first few weeks of her summer vacation with her elderly grandmother while her parents are in Alaska – but her grandmother has other plans, and nothing will prevent her from attending her 65th college reunion in Maine. But Nannie needs Brit to drive, and Brit's only had her license eleven days. Their unusual roadtrip in Caroline B. Cooney's Hit The Road (0395729448 $15.95) will uncover new talents, changing attitudes, and more as Brit embarks on an adventure her parents never planned. Frank Portman's King Dork (0385732910, $16.95) tells of one Tom Henderson aka King Dork, a typical American high school teen with no special life or athletic skills, but many dreams. When Tom discovers The Catcher In The Rye, it's not Salinger's writing which will change his world, but a secret code, a funeral card, and a receipt which will lead him into a series of conspiracies, otherworldly encounters, and clues which will help him with his father's death. Two new issues of Trixie Belden are just in time for summer leisure pursuit. The Mystery Of The Emeralds (0375803545, $6.99) tells of a hidden necklace and an old plantation house. Trixie thinks the necklace is buried in a secret passageway there, but thwarting her search are ruins and a possible old curse. Mystery On The Mississippi (0375830553, $6.99) has Trixie traveling down the Mississippi River by boat. Someone's trying to steal the papers she found in a trash can in her Memphis hotel room: mystery and intrigue play cat-and-mouse down the river.

McElderry/Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10020

Kimberly K. Jones' Sand Dollar Summer (1416903623, $15.95) tells of a daughter facing changes when her independent mother is injured in a car accident and their family goes to live in a small house in Maine for the summer. Her mother may have grown up there, but to Lise there are many new terrors: a big ocean, a series of strange sea changes her family is experiencing. In the course of connecting with the past, Lise discovers some new meanings of family connections in a series of revelations. Susan Cooper's Victory (141-6914773, $16.95) is a time slip novel featuring the genre at its best. Molly is an English girl transplanted to the US when her mother moves from her beloved London, and is having struggles coping with her new step-family and home; so when she has the opportunity to visit her beloved grandparents in London, she jumps at it. Her discovery of an old book about the Battle of Trafalgar links her with powder monkey Sam Robbins who has been kidnapped to work aboard a ship, and soon a strange set of time-defying interconnections links the two against all odds. Rachel Cohn's Two Steps Forward (0689866143, $15.95) tells of four stepsiblings on opposite sides of the world who share a summer together in Los Angeles. Annabel is determined to hate LA where her father and his family have moved – but romance enters her life to change this, even as Australian Lucy adjusts to a new family, and her brother gets to know a new sister. A vivid story of stepsibling development and changes evolves. Andrew Clements' novel Room One: A Mystery Or Two (068-9866860, $15.95) tells of a mysterious face in the window of an abandoned old farmhouse, and of a young investigator's dual struggle with the problems of a dying school in a little town in Nebraska. Ted's efforts to solve one mystery may lead to unexpected solutions to the other problem in this blend of mystery and social issues. Hilary McKay's Caddy Ever After (1416-909404, $15.95) continues the story of sisters named after paints who live in a most unconventional family Caddy, Rose, Indigo, and Saffy each tell intertwining stories in this latest, from young Rose's special Valentine Day card for Tim to Saffy's unusual graveyard date. The focus on romance makes for a fun set of insights.

375 Hudson St., NY, NY 10014

An Na's novel Wait For Me (03992-42759, $15.99) comes from the Printz Award Winning writer of A Step From Heaven, and tells of perfect daughter Mina, bound for Harvard and a dutiful daughter. She seems the ideal child, but inside Mina feels her life is a lie – and the summer before her senior year her encounter with migrant worker Ysrael and his dreams will change her life. Neal Shusterman's latest ‘Dark Fusion' fantasy Duckling Ugly (0525475850, $15.99) continues his series which takes a classic fairy tale's fantasy and provides a contemporary twist. Cara is ugly – even her own parents can't deny it – and her schoolmates are cruel. When she receives a mysterious note suggesting she's destined for greater things, even the wise woman of the town warns her destiny may be extraordinary. Does it have anything to do with the handsome boy she's been dreaming of? These are both fine leisure choices.

The Summer Reading Shelf

Almost Eden
Anita Horrocks
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
0887767427 $9.95

Elsie is twelve, convinced her mother's mental illness is her fault, finds herself at odds with everyone, from family to friends. To top it off, she horrifies her Mennonite family by losing faith in God. Her mother's breakdown will change her life and lead her full circle in Almost Eden, a young girl's journey of self-discovery.

Laurel Leaf Dell/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Milly is an ordinary Vermont teen affected by immigrant Pablo's arrival in her high school in Julia Alvarez's Finding Miracles (0553494066, $6.50): as she comes to know him she's also forced to confront her own identity as an adopted girl from his native country, building a relationship which will bring her full circle back to her homeland – and the story of her birth. An excellent story of a girl's realization and changes evolves. Ann Brashares' Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants (0440229-707, $6.99) offers new readers a vivid story of an ordinary pair of jeans and four friends who find themselves on the road to high adventure. Back the movie up with the adventure-filled novel and you'll create a reader for the summer.

1350 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY 10019

You may recall Beverly Cleary's winning titles about Ramona and her family from your own childhood: well, these reissues in paper with contemporary new covers will interest new generations with Ramona's antics. Ramona The Pest (0380709-546, $5.99) introduces her to kindergarten, where she loves a boy and tests the girls. Her teacher likes her – so how does she keep getting into trouble? Beezus And Ramona (038070918X, $5.99) presents a stormy relationship between siblings. Big sister Beezus has to be patient with her little sister, but Ramona keeps getting into trouble which involves the whole family. A warm story of stormy sisters evolves. Ramona Forever (0380709600, $5.99) tells of a mysterious uncle from overseas, which affects the entire family and causes secrets among most. Ramona is determined to be helpful – and causes fun chaos as a result. All are excellent summer leisure choices.

Harcourt Books
525 "B" St., #1900, San Diego, CA 92101

Any who have not enjoyed Alan Garner's long-time classic Elidor (0132056246, $6.95) are in for a treat: four ordinary siblings looking for fun find themselves transported back in time to Elidor, a magical world newly overtaken by evil. They are given four treasures to guard in their own world – but just as they're starting to wonder if Elidor ever existed, they find the forces of evil have crossed over to gain access to the treasures. It's a pleasure to see Garner's story of enchantment, short-listed for the Carnegie Medal, in a eye-catching new format for new generations. Vivian Vande Velde's Now You See It (0152054618, $6.95) will reach the same age group with its story of Wendy, blind as a bat without her glasses, who is grateful she finds a pair when her new glasses break. These aren't any glasses, though: they reveal portals to other worlds and unusual creates – and even people are changed by them. When she comes to realize they've also brought danger, swift action results. Velde's A Well-Timed Enchantment (0152049193, $6.95) will reach ages 10 and up with its story of a difficult summer of Deanna, who faces her parents' divorce and a journey to the French countryside to stay with relatives she's never met. Her itinerary includes an unexpected trip back in time that involves her in medieval French mystery in this fine fantasy.

The Picturebook Shelf

Felix And The Blue Dragon
Angela McAllister
Trafalgar Square Publishing
PO Box 257, N. Pomfret, VT 05053
1842551825 $16.99

Felix is a lonely prince who has only his shadow to play with – until his encounter with a mysterious blue dragon. His evolving unlikely friendship with the monster will lead to not only changes in his own life, but solve the secrets in his kingdom in this gentle fantasy of change.

My Daddy And Me
Jerry Spinelli
Alfred Knopf
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0375706067 $15.95

Fathers and sons are celebrated in Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli's latest, joining with graphic designer Seymour Chwast to celebrate the time of day when Daddy comes home to be with his kids. Dogs are the characters representing father and son in this whimsical survey which arrived too late for Father's Day mention, but which deserves a place on any school or community library picturebook shelf.

Wake Up, Henry Rooster!
Margriet Ruurs, author
Sean Cassidy, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
121 Harvard Avenue, Suite 2, Allston, MA 02134
1550419528 $16.95

Wake Up, Henry Rooster! by Margriet Ruurs artfully combines an original story with illustrations from Sean Cassidy to create the fun and entertaining picturebook story of Henry the Rooster's late-night escapades. Following Henry through an original and creative tale as Henry's father leaves for a week to be in a Rooster's Union Convention, leaving poor Henry with carrying out a rooster's responsibility to make the sun come up on time, Wake Up, Henry Rooster! engages its young readers as his late hours activities and lifestyle prove the little rooster unfit for a job requiring him to get up so early in the morning. A welcome addition to any school or community picturebook collection, Wake Up, Henry Rooster! is recommended for children ages 5 to 8 as an inspiring and entertaining tale of a young rooster's ultimate acceptance of his required tasks and responsibilities.

Hippo! No, Rhino!
Jeff Newman
Little, Brown
1271 Ave. of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
031615573X $15.99

Rhino is content with his zoo life, until one day the zookeeper gives Rhino a new – and wrong – sign. Now everyone expects him to be a hippo – and nobody will fix the sign-o. What's a rhino to do? Rhino needs a solution, fast in this zany and fun story which uses a minimum of words and plenty of color pictures to get the message across.

Evan Early
Rebecca Hogue Wojahn
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Rd, Bethseda, MD 20817
1890627712 $15.95

Evan Early is written by Rebecca Hogue Wojahn and features illustrations from Ned Gannon. An outstanding picturebook for children ages 4 to 8, Even Early is the story of a little girl, Natalie, and the pre-mature birth of her little brother Evan. A charming story of Natalie's patience, Evan Early offers children a remarkable insight and understanding of what being an older sibling really means. A prized addition to any school or community library picturebook collection, Evan Early is especially recommended to the attention of parents anticipating the birth of a little sibling for their older child who will no longer be an only child when their little sibling arrive.

Cat Balloon
Palo Morgan
Simply Read Books
501-5525 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6M 3W6
1894965353 $16.95

Authored and illustrated by Palo Morgan, Cat Balloon is the picturebook tale of a young and ambitious kitty. Following the adventurous of a determined kitty through his persistent desire to fly, Cat Balloon thoroughly engages its young readers ages 3 and older as they discover Cat Balloon's undaunted spirit and aspiration as, eventually, he does find himself afloat the air on his way to the moon. An excellent addition to school and community library picturebook collections, Cat Balloon is strongly recommended for all beginning readers and parents searching for an inventive, entertaining and colorful story with the underlying theme of wholeheartedly pursuing a personal goal.

The Best Winds
Laura E. Williams
Boyds Mills Press
862 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806
1590782747 $16.95

Eujin Kim Neilan illustrates this classic Korean folk story of a grandfather who follows the old customs and practices the ancient art of kite-making. He tries to show his reluctant grandson how to make a kite, but Jinho is more interested in video games or skateboarding – still, he participates. But will he await the arrival of the ‘best winds' to fly it?

Snow Princess
Susan Paradis
Front Street Books/Boyds Mills Press
862 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806
1932425314 $16.95

Beautifully illustrated and imaginatively authored by Susan Paradis, Snow Princess, is a magical story of a young girl and her remarkable imagination. Following her day outdoors as it comes to a close and she awaits the arrival of her daddy, Snow Princess will captivate the total attention of young readers with its full page "gallery quality" pictures taking children through an incredible winter kingdom of beauty and majesty so expertly illustrated. and combined with the simple story line. A popular addition to any family, school, or community library picturebook collection, Snow Princess is especially recommended for all beginning readers as well as parents searching for a good bedtime story which is both descriptively imaginative and thoroughly entertaining.

Walker & Company
104 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011

Matthew McElligott's Blackbeard And The Birthday Suit (0802780652, $16.95) tells of the hairiest pirate who ever lived, and a rowdy birthday which leads to his desire for a new suit. Problem is, the local fitter might not have his size in a buccaneer style coat, pirate pants, and more. Will he become a fashion statement or a laughing stock? Judy Finchler and Kevin O'Malley's Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind (0802780849, $16.95) provides another Miss Malarkey tale, this telling of a principal who says he'll dye his toupee purple and sleep on the school's roof if the students read 1,000 books before June. Miss Malarkey is determined to turn her class into readers – including the athletes, artists and video game players. But how? Another fun story evolves.

Ant, Ant, Ant!
April Pulley Sayre
Northword Press
11571 K-Tel Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343
1559719222 $15.95

Ant, Ant, Ant! (An Insect Chant) receives Trip Park's fun drawings as it follows up on the popular Trout, Trout, Trout! (A Fish Chant) to provide a zany set of bug drawings and facts. Yes, insect facts are included within the zany set of insect identification – and Trip Park's large-size and unique color drawings are quite vivid, adding to the excitement of a top pick.

Kali And The Rat Snake
Zai Whitaker & Srividya Natarajan
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
PO Box 8515, La Jolla, CA 92038-8515
1933605103 $15.95 1-800-968-1930

Set in India, Kali And The Rat Snake is the picturebook story of a boy, Kali, who has trouble fitting in at school. He is one of the Irula, an indigenous tribal people who live in Southern India and who have traditionally made a living as snake catchers. As the son of a snake catcher, Kali feels different from the other children, a teacher's pet, and he has trouble making friends. But when a big rat snake threatens the class, only Kali knows what to do! Energetic color illustrations by Srividya Natarajan pepper this delightful children's story from Zai Whitaker about accepting differences and learning to appreciate the talents in oneself and others. Highly recommended.

The Mystery Of The Ancient Pyramid
Carole Marsh
Gallopade International
PO Box 779, Peachtree City, GA 30269
0635034700 $5.95 1-800-536-2438

The Mystery Of The Ancient Pyramid by Carole Marsh is "Passport #4" in the "Around the World in 80 Mysteries" series from Gallopade International. Targeted to a young readership, The Mystery Of The Ancient Pyramid quickly transports children to a world where Papa, Mimi, Christina and Grant continue in their adventure of exploring the world while solving mysteries. A lot of factual Egyptology information is charmingly presented as intrinsic to the plot, which requires the young detectives to solve hieroglyphic clues to escape a Pharaoh's curse -- or worse. The Mystery Of The Ancient Pyramid is a very well crafted 128-page mystery which entertains and teaches young readers effortlessly, as do the other exciting Carole Marsh mysteries including The Mystery At Big Ben; The Mystery At The Eiffel Tower; and The Mystery At The Roman Colosseum. Altogether there are now eighty mysteries in this outstanding series -- each one of them a true gem of original, informative and entertaining storytelling.

Books in Series

Enchanted Lion Books
45 Main St., #519, Brooklyn, NY 11201
159270039X $19.95

A part of the outstanding John D. Clare's "The History Of Medicine" series from Enchanted Lion Books, Medicine In The Industrial World is an impressive compendium providing an historical survey replete with information and insights on the development in field of western medical supplements, health standards, and research during the Industrial Era. Following the fascinating advances in western medical science and technology, Medicine In The Industrial World carries young readers through an evaluation of the major medical issues of the time and how key individuals pushed to provide a greater measure of public health that still prevails today. A choice addition to school and community library collections, Medicine In The Industrial World series is a concise and formative medical history particularly pertaining to the Industrial era. Also very highly recommended are the other titles in this impressive series: Prehistoric And Egyptian Medicine; Greek And Roman Medicine; Medicine In The Middle Ages; Renaissance Medicine; Medicine In The 20th Century & Beyond.

The Kane Press
240 West 35th St., #300, NY, NY 10001
$4.99 (each)

The "Social Studies Connects" series from Kane Press offers readers a wealth of informed perspectives as well as research ideas and projects for children ages 6 to 8 and students in elementary school grades 1 to 3. New Dog In Town (1575651653) by Gail Herman with illustrations from John Nez is the entertaining story of Nick and his dog on their journey around their new neighborhood where they find No Dogs Allowed signs everywhere (teaching children about culture and neighborhoods as well as observational and initiative skills). Palapalooza (1575651637) by Daphne Skinner with illustrations from Jarry Smath is the creative story of five young children who set out to create the perfect holiday with presents, fireworks, desserts, and more (teaching children about culture and holidays as well as an understanding of traditions). Sally's Big Save (1575651-645) by Laura Driscoll with illustrations by Amy Wummer is the story of young Sally and her dream of seeing her favorite pop star, Marcy Mayne when she comes to town for a show, but Sally must save up her money (teaching children about economics, spending, and saving as well as skills for making thoughtful decisions). Check It Out! (1575651661) by Nan Walker with illustrations from Blanche Sims tells of Jamie and her discovery of her grandfather and his interesting stories (teaching children about history and historical evidence as well as resourcefulness). The "Social Studies Connects" series is very strongly recommended as quick and easy educational reads for young children. Also very highly recommended as relative series are the "Math Matters en Espanol" series and the "Science Solves It!" series from The Kane Press.

Enslow Publications
PO Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922

Grades 5 and up have some fine new titles to choose from, which promise to be lasting lending references for school libraries. Debra McArthur's A Student's Guide To Edgar Allan Poe (0766024377) joins others in the ‘Understanding Literature' series, providing 160 pages of detail covering Poe's career, works, and background. Many Poe covers focus on literary topics alone; by having a blend of biography and history included, beginners have exceptional accessibility to all of Poe's influences. Alvin and Virginia Silverstein and Laura Silverstein Nunn's The Asthma Update (0766024822) joins others in the ‘Disease Update' series to provide the latest research and findings on asthma. From causes of asthma to preventing attacks, chapters cover all the basics and add in all the latest details. Wendy Hart Beckman's Dating, Relationships, And Sexuality: What Teens Should Know (0766019489) adds to the ‘Issues in Focus Today' series, discussing how roles and relationship changes affect teen romance. A little over a hundred pages of facts discusses physical attraction, psychology, and gender identity alike. Two new to ‘The American Saga' series are fine choices for middle school collections. R. Conrad Stein's The New Deal: Pulling America Out Of The Great Depression (0766025705) examines the causes of and influences on the Depression years and the changes FDR made to the U.S. to instigate the New Deal. Included are not just the history of FDR and the Depression, but the lasting effects the New Deal has had today. Richard Worth's Colonial America: Building Toward Independence (0766035691) explores the colonists' development from newcomers to founders of a new nation, examining how the colonies were begun, evolved, and grew to need independence. From new settlements and trade options to growing pains, Colonial America: Building Toward Independence is filled with detail on the new world's evolution.

c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
1350 Ave. of the Americas, NY NY 10019
$16.99 each

Award-winning author Seymour Simon and the Smithsonian Institution present a series of science education picturebooks for young readers. Each hardcover book is beautifully illustrated with color photography and presents the most amazing, up-to-date facts about natural wonders in simple terms accessible to grade-school readers ages 5-9. The series should not be overlooked for bedtime reading also, as the wonders described are sure to linger in inquisitive young minds. Titles in the series include Sharks (006087712X), Whales (0060877103), Oceans (0060889985), The Heart (0060877200), The Brain (0060877189), Weather (0060884401), Lightning (006088438X), Earthquakes (0060877146), Volcanoes (0060877162), Destination: Space (0060877227), Stars (0060890002), and The Universe (00608-77243). All of these outstanding science books for young readers are enthusiastically recommended for public and grade school libraries.

The Bilingual Shelf

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow
Amy Lee-Tai
Children's Book Press
2211 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
0892392150 $16.95 1-415-821-3080

A lovely bilingual picturebook (English/Japanese), A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai features illustrations from Felicia Hoshino and is the intimate story of a young girl and her life among thousands of other Japanese American families interned by the government during World War II in the Topaz Relocation Center in Utah. Deftly contributing to a historically ill state of America and their world, A Place Where Sunflowers Grow follows Mari through the beginning of her art classes during the heat of the summer, her discovery of life, her newly found passion for art, and the use of her art to cope with the harsh circumstances of her family's confinement. Inspired by the author's personal life and family history, A Place Where Sunflowers Grow is very highly recommended for all young readers ages 6 to 10, as well school and community librarians seeking to augment their bilingual picturebook collections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Two-Can Publishing
11571 K-Tel Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343
$18.95 each

"Blue Zoo Guides" from Two-Can Publishing is a series of four, full color, 96-page, hardcover books by Dee Phillips (who lives on an English farm) and Allison Howard (a journalist and researcher living in Turnbridge Wells, England) that showcase selected animals while presenting the facts, scientific terms, life cycles, and behavior of each of featured creature. Written and designed for young readers ages 4 to 7, each individual title features comparative illustrations or life-size photos to help to convey the actual size of the animal. A very special feature is the bolding of various words in the text which are defined for young readers in each book's glossary. The four titles comprising this outstanding and highly recommended series for school and community library collections include Ocean Life (1587285-606), Reptiles And Amphibians (15872-85614), Bugs And Spiders (1587285207), and Mammals (1587285193).

A Place For Butterflies
Melissa Stewart & Higgins Bond
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
1561453579 $16.95 1-800-241-0113

Award-winning children's book author Melissa Stewart presents A Place For Butterflies, a picturebook beautifully illustrated by Higgins Bond with realistic, full-color art of butterfly species and the lush natural environments they inhabit. Each two-page spread features a couple sentences about butterflies, a sidebar about a specific butterfly species, and artwork of a typical home for that species ranging from forests to lush open fields. A Place For Butterflies is written to instill love and appreciation for these marvelous insects, and a final section about helping butterflies warns against catching or keeping them, or spraying chemicals that could harm them.

The Library DVD Shelf

3525 Del Mar Heights Road, #290, San Diego, CA 92130
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
DVD $14.95

Also available in combination with a Craft Kit ($19.95), Tot-a-Doodle-Do! is a DVD designed for children ages 3 to 7, and features 6 short, educational mini-programs, each of which is certain to delight, entertain, and educate. The mini-programs comprising Tot-a-Doodle-Do! are "Crafty Kids" which demonstrate how to improve fine motor skills while making Play Dough, "Imagination Station" about the fun and interesting things used at school, "On Our Block" which introduces kids to a friendly kindergarten teacher, "Hop N Bop" featuring energetic songs to sing and dance to, "Super Snack" which shows how to make healthy and tasty pinwheel sandwiches, and "Molly Manners", a quick guide to listening and using one's very best manners at school. Together, the brief segments are ideal entertainment on rainy days and can help prepare young tykes for the transition to school. An excellent interactive resource for teachers, babysitters and parents. 30 minutes total, color.

Kiddie Village
524 San Anselmo Avenue, Suite 107, San Anselmo, CA 94960
411 Video Information (publicity)
PO Box 1223, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
$14.99 each

Three superbly produced DVDs for use with children of all ages from Kiddie Village encourage activity, creativity, and fun for little ones. Mom & Tot Workout (KID-DV-005, 50 minutes) features the exercise and 20 years of expertise of personal fitness trainer Barbara H. Colby. Designed to help mothers and children very young children bond while instilling a beneficial appreciation for healthy exercise, Mom & Tot Workout is a workout program that adheres to the dictates of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and can be safely followed all during pregnancy. Let's Play Music (KID-DV-002, 28 minutes) is a creative experience intended for little ones age 0-36 months, and features puppets, real musical instruments, classical music and jazz created for young children, as well as basic music-related words. A top-quality educational program designed to spark creativity an appreciation for music and the joy it can bring, Let's Play Music is a wonderful experience to share. Fun With Dance (KID-DV-001, 30 minutes) is intended for a slightly older audience of tots 0-5 years, and encourages children to explore simple dance movements, build motor skills, and enjoy the art form of dance. Hosted by professional dancer Shannon Mulcahy DiNota, Fun With Dance is a great way to experience physical activity and build self-confidence in little tykes, and includes loop play as a special feature. All three volumes will prove to be very welcome additions to the DVD libraries of new and expectant parents.

Hitting Drills & Techniques
Marty Schupak
Youth Sports Club
9 Florence Ct., Valley Cottage, NY 10989
0974851795 $24.95 1-800-511-2101

Coach Marty Schupak applies his 16 years of youth baseball coaching experience and expertise in Hitting Drills & Techniques, an instructional DVD filled with drills, tips, tricks, and techniques designed for little league and youth league coaches, as well as the young novice to intermediate baseball player skills including the grip, batting stance, the stride, the inside-out swing, weight transfer, bunting, and more. Useful skills and tactics covered include how to grip the bat, the proper batting stance, the stride, the inside-out swing, weight transfer, bunting, advice from hitting expert Bobby Woods, fun games to sharpen one's talents, and so much more. The drills presented to reinforce training are all fully field-tested, in the very highly recommended instructional resource accessible to baseball players ages 7 and up. 34 minutes, color.

Story Watchers Club: Christmas
Sax Media Group
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
0977034348 $19.95 1-877-786-7996

Story Watchers Club: Christmas is the latest in a DVD "Adventures in Storytelling" series designed especially to stimulate young imaginations through classic fables and original stories. Story Watchers Club: Christmas focuses on holiday season tales, including a German story of Count Otto, the Fairy Queen, and the first Christmas Tree; a story in which Santa declares Christmas cancelled; what happens when a little boy decides to give Santa a gift; and the tale of an immigrant family's first Christmas in America. Special DVD features give viewers an opportunity to meet the storytellers, participate in a StoryWatchers Club sing-along music video, sneak a peek behind the scenes of StoryWatchers Club, and more. A wonderful collection of fantastic, family-friendly tales with positive moral values, recommended for home and grade school libraries alike. 45 minutes, color.

Schlessinger Media
7 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096-0580
$39.95 each

"Inventors Of The World" is a 12 volume DVD series designed and produced for students in grades 4-8 and showcasing the stories of many the great inventors, highlighting their seminal contributions to the advance of science and technology. Each individual program provides young viewers with an in-depth look a the process of invention and the accomplishments of each featured inventor drawing upon archival films, photographs, drawings and other materials to show how those inventions have influenced lives today. This outstanding series of 23 minute DVDs begins with "A History of Invention" and "Inventing in Today's World", and then continues with the stories of Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, Louis Pasteur, James Watt, Eli Whitney, and the Wright Brothers. The "Inventors Of The World" series is a welcome and invaluable addition to school and community library collections, as well as an ideal supplement for home schooling curriculums.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Prisoners Under Glass
R. Patrick
Scroll Press
14300 Allison Crescent, Prince George, BC, Canada, V2N 5B2
0973542225 $17.95

Prisoners Under Glass is a suspenseful young adult fantasy novel about Rachel, a girl who experiences disaster after a Venice vacation with her parents. Her father seems captivated by a bewitching shop owner, buying dozens of souvenirs, and her mother goes missing. Along with her best friend Sam, Rachel must embark on a harrowing quest across and beneath the surface of the world, into the dark realm of sea witches and sinister magic. In the caverns beneath the sea lie a secret with the potential to bestow unimaginable power, or free prisoners hidden under the glass... if Rachel can only survive long enough to discover it. A suspenseful adventure recommended for all ages.

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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