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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 8 August 2007 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Audiobook Shelf Biography Shelf
DVD Shelf Preschool Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Music Shelf
Fiction Shelf Paperback Shelf Picturebook Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

My First Ballet Book
Kate Castle
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
9780753460269, $9.95 1-800-225-3362

Expertly written by former Royal Ballet dancer Kate Castle, "My First Ballet Book: From Barres And Ballet Shoes To Plies And Performances" is effectively illustrated throughout with full color photography. This makes it an ideal introduction and guide to ballet for young readers into the wonderful, magical, thrilling world of dance. Along with seeing 'backstage', readers are provided with practical tips, step-by-step illustrations, and engaging background information that will solidly benefit aspiring young ballerinas. Very highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections, "My First Ballet Book" will prove an enduringly popular choice that is as engaging as it is informative.

I Love Our Earth
Bill Martin Jr., Michael Sampson, Don Lipow
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
1580891063, $14.95 1-800-225-3214

Dan Lipow's visually impressive photography combines nicely to illustrate and showcase the informed and informative text co-authored by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson in "I Love Our Earth", a 32-page introductory survey to the wonderful sights, sounds and colors of the earth for children ages 3 to 6. From deep oceans, blue skies, and blowing winds, to the snows of winter, to the sunlight of summer, to the multicolored leafs of autumn, to the palate of colors in the budding blossoms of spring, "I Love Our Earth" offers a cornucopia of celebrations with respect to what the Earth has to offer as experienced through the eyes and imaginations of children. "I Love Our Earth" is an amazing little book that should be a part of every elementary school and community library Nature Shelf for young readers.

Mommy And Daddy Are Always Supposed To Say Yes...Aren't They?
B. Annye Rothenberg & Marion Eldridge
Perfecting Parenting Press
3943 Jefferson Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94062
9780979042003, $9.95

Expertly written by family psychologist B. Annye Rothenberg and colorfully illustrated by Marion Eldridge, "Mommy And Daddy Are Always Supposed To Say Yes...Aren't They?" is a two-section picturebook (one section for preschoolers and one section for parents) that explains just why parents cannot always give in to a child's request. While including a Parents' Guide on when they should say yes, B. Annye Rothenberg also lays out lots of ideas and techniques on how parents can say no to a child's request in a manner that will help the child to constructively and appropriately comply to a denied request. Examples are provided that will clear up parental confusion about dealing with self-centered, disrespectful, or angry children when having to deny a request or refuse a demand. "Mommy And Daddy Are Always Supposed To Say Yes...Aren't They?" would prove a welcome addition to personal, professional, and community library Parenting Skills reference shelves and resource collections.

Wild West Trail Ride Maze
Roxie Munro
Bright Sky Press
340 South Second Street, Albany, TX 76430
193172167X, $16.95 1-866-933-6133

A superbly written 36-page activity book that is impressively illustrated with both water color as well as pen-and-ink drawings, Roxie Munro's "Wild West Trail Ride Maze" will fully engage children ages 5 to 10 as they join the Crooked River cowboys on a trail ride that begins at ranch headquarters, goes out to the cattle pens on the range, lookout for a white horse called Cloud, find the chuck wagon along with Charlie the cook, ford a river, wrangle the herd, count the cattle, and look out for a wily coyote who hides in every maze. Roxie Munro's intricate artwork presents the entertaining opportunity for young readers to trail through aerial mazes, each of which dovetails into the next one, presenting new discovers in every canyon and over each hill. There is also the fun of finding the hidden letter shape on each page and playing 'Alphabet Travel'. There are even answer keys concluding the adventure. Providing children with hours of fun, "Wild West Trial Ride Maze" is especially recommended and appropriate as a rainy day or long cart trip activity book.

Birdcage Press
853 Alma Street, Palo Alto, Ca 94301
Kids Stuff Public Relations
9504 Union Valley Road, Black Earth, WI 53515 1-800-345-2980

Birdcage Press produces an impressive variety of learning games in the form of decks of cards for children that are as fun as they are informative. Among their newest educational card games is "Amazing Places: National Parks" (AP1, $4.98), a pack of 52 cards each of which showcases an amazing national park. Each individual card features fun park facts. In addition to learning about park features including canyons, mountains, caves, deserts, flora and fauna, "Amazing Places: National Parks" is a deck with its standard playing card nomenclature can be used to play virtually any card game a regular card deck would be used for. Other outstanding educational products from Birdcage Press include "Wild Cards" (WC1, $4.98) showcasing forty-seven wild mammals of North America; "Go Fish for Wildlife: Mammals" (WL1, $4.98);"Go Fish for Wildlife: Sea Creatures" (WL2, $4.98); "Go Fish for Wildlife: Reptiles and Amphibians" (WL3); "Art Shark! (G110, $12.48) a card game of collecting original art while avoiding fakes; "Art Ditto" (G111, $12.48); "American Art Ditto" (G112, $12.48); "Hello Rousseau!" (B106, $4.98); "Hello Matisse! (B105, $4.98); "The Museum of Modern Art Close Up" (CU2, $4.98); "The National Gallery of Art Close Up" (CUI, $4.98); "The J. Paul Getty Museum Close Up" (CU3, $4.98); "Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Close Up" (CU4, $4.98); "Detroit Institute of Arts Close Up" (CU5, $4.98); "Impressionist Double Deck Play Cards (P101, $7.48), and a great many more. Parents and teachers should visit the Birdpage Press website for a complete listing of their superbly produced titles which are ideal for gift giving. the Birdpage Press educational card decks are also very highly recommended as a curriculum supplement for the classroom teacher and the homeschooling parent.

Books in Series

Smart Apple Media
c/o Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002
List $156.75; Library $109.75;

A new five volume series for students in grades 8 through 12 from Smart Apple Media, "Voices" provides an informed and informative introduction to major social issues of our time. The individual titles comprising this exceptionally well written series (which is an ideal resource for school papers and essays) includes "Racism" (9781583409831) and "Drugs On The Street" (9781583409862) by Anne Rooney; "Gangs" (9781683409848) and "Violence On The Screen" (9781583409855) by Clive Gifford; and "Religious Extremism" (9781583409879) by Otto James. A strong emphasis on personal accounts provides multiple perspectives on these critically important issues (including their historical roots). These 48-page, fully illustrated titles includes a table of contents, a glossary, and an index. Although each title is available individually (List $31.35; Library $21.95), the clear recommendation for all school and community libraries is to acquire the entire five volume series.

Chelsea House Publishers
c/o Facts On File, Inc.
132 West 31st Street, 17th floor, New York, NY 10001-2006 1-800-322-8755

"Modern World Leaders" (9780791096628, Library $331.50; List $390.00) is a new series from Chelsea House Publishers that showcases two popes, ten presidents/prime ministers, and one royal family that influence and shape their countries and the world of global politics today. Specifically written and nicely illustrated for young readers in grades 6 through 12, this outstanding series showcases the biographies of Ariel Sharon (Israel), George W. Bush (America), Hamid Karzal (Afghanistan), Hosni Mubarak (Egypt), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Jacques Chirac (France), Pervez Musharraf (Pakistan), Pope Benedict XVI (The Vatican), Pope John Paul II (The Vatican), Tony Blair (England), Viktor Yushchenko (Ukraine), Vladimir Putin (Russia), and The Saudi Royal Family (Saudi Arabia). Each of the hardcover titles in this outstanding series of feature full color photography, a chronology, a bibliography, recommendations for further study, and an index. Although each title is available individually ($27.00 Library; $33.00 List), school and community librarians should acquire the entire series for their students and young patrons. This includes acquiring an additional five titles scheduled to be added to the series in Fall 2007 and include "Ali Khamenei" (9780791095171), "Angela Merkel" (9780791094969), "Hu Jintao" (978091095188), "Michelle Bachelet" (9780791095003); and "Thabo Mbeki" (9780791094433).

What Kind Of Animal is It?
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308, New York, NY 10118 1-800-387-7650

'What Kind of Animal Is It?' is a new four volume series of books from the Crabtree Publishing Company that is specifically designed for elementary school students ages 5 to 9. Available in both hardcover and paperback editions, the titles comprising this simply outstanding series include "Dolphins and Other Marines" (HC 9780778721642, $23.92; PB 9780778722229, $6.95) by Kelley MacAulay and Bobbie Kalman; "Koalas and Other Marsupials" (HC 9780778721628, $23.92; PB 9780778722205, $6.95) by Babbie Kalman and Robin Johnson; "Monkeys and Other Primates" (HC 9780778721659, $23.92; PB 9780778722236, $6.95); by Rebecca Sjonger and Bobbie Kalman; and "Guinea Pigs and Other Rodents" (HC 9780778721635, $23.92; PB 9780778722212, $6.95). Featuring an informed and informative text written to a first and second graded reading level, each of these 32-page titles are profusely illustrated with full color photography and illustrations, as well as having a glossary and index. 'What Kind Of Animal Is It?' is a thoroughly 'kid friendly' series that is strongly recommended for family, school, and community library Pets & Wildlife reference collections and reading lists.

Know Your Colors
Picture Window Books
5115 Excelsior Blvd., Suite 232, Minneapolis, MN 55416 1-877-371-1536
9781404835184, List $143.58; Library $107.70

Featuring a lyrical, 'kid friendly' text by Christiana C. Jones combined with full-page, full-color illustrations by Todd Ouren, "Know Your Colors" is a six volume series of 24-page books specifically designed and written for young readers ages 4 to 7 and children in preschool through the first grade. Each book focuses on how a particular color can create different feelings and can seem 'warm' (red, orange, yellow) or 'cool' (blue, green, purple). Primary colors are defined and combining colors is also covered. The individual titles by comprising this very highly recommended series include "Splish, Splash, and Blue"; "Camping in Green"; "Autumn Orange; "Purple Pride"; "Big Red Farm"; and "Hello, Yellow!". Strongly recommended for preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections, each book features a Color Wheel, Activities, Fun Facts, and a Book List. Titles are available individually: List $23.95; Library $17.95.

This Land Is Your Land
Ann Heinrichs
Compass Point Books
151 Good Counsel Drive, Minneapolis, MN 56002-0669 1-877-371-1536
978075650475TK, List $1244.36; Library $933.40

Specifically and expertly written by Ann Heinrichs for children ages 8 to 10 and in elementary school grades 3 to 5, "This Land Is Your Land" is a fifty two volume series that covers every state in the union plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Each 48-page book features topographic and geopolitical maps, photographs, timelines, the State Song, famous people associated with a particular state, places of interest, 'Quick State Facts', a table of contents, a glossary, an index, and relevant websites at -- there are even featured recipes for each state in this remarkable and thoroughly kid friendly series! Informed and informative, 'This Land Is Your Land! should be considered as a basic reference set for elementary school and community library collections for young readers.

Phonics Friends
Cecilia Minden & Joanne Meier
The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003 1-800-599-7323
1592965393, List $213.00; Library $149.50

Education in general, and the teaching of reading skills in particular, have come a long way from the 'Dick & Jane' books of the 1940s. Co-authored by reading instruction experts Cecilia Minden and Joanne Meier, "Phonics Friends" is a ten volume series of 24-page books written specifically to engage beginning readers with fun stories about kids with multicultural names and backgrounds that they can readily identify with, developing and honing their reading skills while engaged in following the storybook adventures of children like themselves. The simple text written at a first grade comprehension and vocabulary level is ideal for beginning readers preschool through second grade. The ten titles comprising this simply outstanding series includes "Akiko, Miss Alice, and the Dance Class: The Sound of Short A; "Amy's Big Race: The Sound of Long A"; "Erin and Her new Pet: The Sound of Short E"; "Eve's Green Garden: The Sound of Long E"; Isaac on the Farm: The Sound of Long I"; "Isabel's Favorite Things: The Sound of Short I"; "Oliver's Box: The Sound of Short O"; "Oliva by the Ocean: The Sound of Long O"; "Umberto's Summer Day: The Sound of Short U"; and "Umeko and the Music Show: The Sound of Long U". While each title is available individually (List $21.36; Library $14.95), both school and community libraries should acquire the complete series as part of their Reading Studies reference and materials collections. It should also be noted that the "Phonics Friends" is also ideal for use in home schooling reading instruction programs as well.

Keystone Books
Stone Arch Books
PO Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002-0669 1-800-421-7731
1598890891, List $418.53; Library $313.95

'Keystone Books' is a series of 'high interest/low vocabulary' books that are designed to appeal to problem readers ages 10 to 14 and in elementary school grades 5 to 9, while written at second to third grade reading level. Each 40-page book in this series features black-and white illustrations and has a reinforced library binding for an extended shelf life. Written by award-wining writers, each action-packed story is presented in short chapters with back matter that includes a glossary, discussion questions, writing prompts, and an author biography. Ranging from action adventure, to science fiction, to historical fiction, to mystery/suspense, to realistic fiction, to fantasy, the individual titles are in full accordance with National Council of Teachers of English standards, as well as state standards for Language Arts, the 'Keystone Books' is confidently recommended for both elementary school and community library high interest/low vocabulary resource collections. It should also be noted that all of the books in this outstanding series are especially appropriate for home schooling programs with reluctant readers.

Rain Forests Today
Ted O'Hare
Rourke Publishing Group
PO Box 3328, Vero Beach, FL 32964 1-800-394-7055
1595151508, List $123.86; Library $580.70

A specialist in writing non-fiction curriculum books for children, Ted O'Hare has employed his considerable experience and expertise in creating 'Rain Forests Today', a six volume series of 24-page books showcasing all aspects of rain forests around the world, including the issues involved with their rapid depletion due to human activity and climate change. The individual titles comprising this simply outstanding series include "amazing Rain Forest"; "Animals in the Rain Forest"; "People of the Rain Forest"; "Plants in the Rain Forest"; "Rain Forest at Night"; and "Vanishing Rain Forest". The informed and informative text is written at a third grade comprehension level, and designed to appeal to young readers in elementary school grades 1 through 4. Profusely illustrated with full-color photography that includes photo captions, each individual title also features bolded glossary terms to strengthen vocabulary development and hone reading skills, as we as a 'Further Reader/Websites to Visit' section, and an index to support research assignments and report writing. Although each title is available individually (List $20.64; Library $14.45), elementary school and community libraries should acquire the entire set for their Environmental Studies reference collections for young readers.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Greeblies
Robert Greenberg
Bolinda Publishing, Inc.
48 Oxford Woods, Falmouth, ME 04105-3401
9781740939829, $24.00 1-888-235-2019

"The Greeblies" by Robert Greenberg is a delightfully funny story about itchy little creatures that live directly under our noses and in our hair. Bobby, Georgia, their parents, and their pet dog Rory live together in an ordinary house. But in their home dwells a microscopic world that is going on without their noticing -- the world of the greeblies! This is a story about five of them: Hami the bedbug, Spritzer the dust mite, Darren the blowfly, and Nick the tick. This audiobook edition of a thoroughly original and 'kid friendly' story is flawlessly recorded, superbly narrated by Stig Wemyss, and has a total running time of 1 hour, 55 minutes on two CDs. Guaranteed to entertain young listeners ages 8 and older, "The Greeblies" is an especially recommended addition to family, school, and community audiobook collections for young listeners.

The Biography Shelf

Tortured Noble
Neil Heims
Morgan Reynolds, Inc.
620 South Elm Street, Suite 223, Greensboro, NC 27406
9781599350660, $27.95 1-800-535-1504

Count Leo Tolstoy was the most famous Russian writer of his day, and a man whose literary works have been the subject of major motion pictures and are still studied in university literature courses today. Perhaps best known to the general reading public are his acclaimed novels 'Anna Karenina' and 'War and Peace'. As an author, Tolstoy was able to infuse the lives of his aristocratic characters with qualities and quirks that are readily identified with by ordinary men and women. "Tortured Noble: The Story Of Leo Tolstoy" by freelance writer and literary critic Neil Heims is the biography of an outstanding talent who led a troubled personal live. Tolstoy was orphaned as a child, the brunt of competing ambitions by others, aspired to an ascetic life while sometimes crippled with self contempt. Somehow he was able to use all of his life experiences to create some of the most memorable fiction to ever come out of Russia and be acclaimed world wide. "Tortured Noble" is specifically recommended for highschool and community library Biography collections, and can be confidently recommended for college level supplemental reading lists for students of Tolstoy's literary works.

The DVD Shelf

The Little Drummer Boy
Katherine Davis, et al.
Weston Woods Studios/Scholastic
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
NMPV124VCC, $49.95

The collaborative work of Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati and harry Simeone, "The Little Drummer Boy" is delightful retelling of a classic Christmas story and song wonderfully combined with the glowing, full-color illustrations of Ezra Jack Keats and the iconic music and vocals of John Jennings in superbly produced, flawlessly recorded, six-minute DVD format. A very highly recommended addition to family, school, and community library Christmas DVD collections, "The Little Drummer Boy" is also available from Weston Woods in a Paperback/CD format (NPCD124, $18.95) and a Paperback/Cassette format (NPRA124, $14.95).

The Preschool Shelf

I Heard A Little Baa
Elizabeth MacLeod & Louise Phillips
Kids Can Press
29 Birch Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4V 1E2
Raab Associates (publicity)
345 Millwood Road, Chappaqua, NY 10514
9781554531790, $.95 1-800-265-0884

Board books are an indispensable part of every family, daycare center, and family preschool collection for children from ages 1 to 4. The collaborative work of author Elizabeth MacLeod and illustrator Louise Phillips, "I Heard A Little Baa" is a gentle, charming, and very highly recommended story told in simple, engaging and entertaining verse. Presenting a colorful menagerie of animal sounds, rhymes, and guessing games, the board book format is ideal for entertaining infants and introducing preschoolers to the delights of reading. 'I heard a little growl; / I peeked behind a chair. / First I saw a shaggy paw, / And then I saw a bear.

The Easy Reader Shelf

The Friskative Dog
Susan Straight
Knopf Delacorte Dell
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375837777, $14.99

A young girl must learn to accept that families are very different – and she does – in THE FRISKATIVE DOG, which uses a delicate story to emphasize the importance of hope, patience and forgiveness. Sharon is five when her father gives her the Friskative Dog – now she's nine, her father is missing, and she needs it more than ever. Can her father find his way home? A gentle tale of change and acceptance evolves.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Kate DiCamillo's MERCY WATSON: PRINCESS IN DISGUISE (9780763630140, $12.99) is the fourth pig tale in the best-selling series: this centered around Halloween on Deckawoo Drive, and the perfect costume for Mercy. Full-page color drawings by Chris Van Dusen are hilarious accompaniments to the story of a pink pig who tries to become a princess on Halloween. Johanna Hurwitz's MOSTLY MONTY (9780763628314, $15.99) receives Anik McGrory's fun drawings as it tells of Montgomery Morris, a first-grader who has asthma, so can't always play like the other kids. Monty wants a pet and new friends, and MOSTLY MONTY reveals his search for both in a fine story suitable for chapter book readers.

Mokie & Bik
Wendy Orr
Henry Holt & Company
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0805079793, $15.95

Mokie and Bik live on a boat called BULLFROG: they live on it and around it and are twins whose parents are busy, so they have a nanny, Ruby. Black and white drawings by Jonathan Bean accompany a fun story of two siblings who love boats: perfect for elementary-level chapter book readers who like the water.

Fred and Ted Like to Fly
Peter Eastman
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375840647, $8.99 1-800-726-0600

Fred and Ted are canine stars of BIG DOG…LITTLE DOG: here they return to take off to a tropical island. With one in a green airplane, one in a red one, the two friends have a ball in this gentle story of dogs who take to the air: perfect for either read-aloud or for beginning reader attempts.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Miki Falls: Summer
Mark Crilley
Harper Teen
c/o HarperCollins
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780060846176, $7.99

Award-winning author and illustrator Mark Crilley presents Miki Falls: Summer, the second in a series of original English-language, manga-style graphic novels for readers of all ages. Miki Falls: Summer is friendly to new readers; one doesn't have to have read the previous volume to jump right in. Young Miki is a rather ordinary schoolgirl with an extraordinary secret - she has formed a fast friendship with the Deliverer Hiro Sakurai, a spiritual being whose solemn duty is to observe the dying love between couples who are breaking up, and collect the last fragments of the fading love before it is destroyed forever. But when one of Miki's closest girlfriends becomes the subject of Hiro's observation, Miki is tempted to get involved despite Hiro's express warnings not to. And when another Deliverer appears - a female Deliverer, whom Hiro has never spoken of before - Miki learns more about the taboos surrounding Deliverers and that humans are not supposed to get involved with them! The soft black-and-white illustrations perfectly complement this gentle, at times hopeful, and at times heartbreaking story about young love. Highly recommended, as is the first graphic novel "Miki Falls: Spring".

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

A Guide to Wizards of the World
Dugald A. Steer and A. J. Wood, editors
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140
9780763637101, $14.99

A Guide to Wizards of the World: Being a True Account of Wizards in the Known World is a recent addition to the beautifully illustrated "Wizardology" series of documentary-style picturebooks for fantasy readers of all ages. As if narrated by Master Merlin himself, A Guide to Wizards of the World introduces readers to an eclectic variety of different masters of wizarding styles, from the South and North American Shamans to Indian Fakirs, Arabian Sages, Eastern Masters, Lapp and African Shamans, and Wizards of the West. Each wizard type's strengths and weaknesses, distinguishing characteristics, and preferred familiars are also discussed. The heart of A Guide to Wizards of the World lies in its stunning black-and-white and color illustrations, and its charmingly archaic Renaissance-style presentation. A simple accompanying card game rounds out this affordable yet high-quality addition to the casual browsing shelves of fantasy lovers everywhere. Also highly recommended for pleasurable leisure reading are the other volumes in the series, including "Wizardology", "Dragonology", and "Egyptology".

The Music Shelf

Educated Kid
The Hipwaders
Hip Kid Music
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $11.97

The Hipwaders is a kids' music group comprised of two paramedic partners and a high school teacher. "Educated Kid" is their third CD album release and features fourteen original pieces reflecting a wide range of musical styles that includes 1950s rock, 1960s pop melodies, and 1980s techno tunes -- all of which highlight guitars, crisp harmonies, strong melodies, kid-friendly lyrics, and a deft sense of humor. The individual pieces include: Turn Up The Radio; Little Baby Brother; The History Of Declan Rae; Dewey Decimal System; Song of The Paled Pirates; Geometry; Aidan's Train; Art Car; You've Got To Move; Speed of Love; Cat In A Bathysphere; Stuffed Animal Boy; Turn Up The Radio (Reprise); and the title piece, Educated Kid. Flawlessly recorded and superbly performed, "Educated Kid' is an enthusiastically recommended addition for family, elementary school, and community library CD music collections for young children.

Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477T, Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477 1-800-631-2187

Kimbo Educational offers lively, educational, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' music CDs that are perfect for helping young children exercise, learn, and enjoy themselves. Especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool program, kindergarten, elementary school, and community library CD collections for children are Georgiana Stewart's "Rhythm Sticks Rock" (KIM 9185CD) with seventeen pieces ranging from original numbers like 'Dinosaur Tap' to such cultural classics as 'When The Saints Come Marching In'. "Get Fit Aerobics" (KIM 9186CD) offers lively workouts for kids ages 7 to 12 with the first eight numbers combining vocal instructions with music, while numbers 9 through 16 are instrumental only. Pam Schiller's award winning "Start Smart Songs" offers 'brain-building activities' with five pieces enhancing language development, five numbers promoting motor development, four musical compositions focusing on thinking skills, and concluding with another five songs dedicated to social-emotional development. Georgiana Stewart's "Choo Choo To The Zoo" (KIM 9187CD) offers nineteen wonderful compositions that engage young listeners in creative movement and play. Bing Bingham's "We've Got Harmony! is a superbly performed compendium of twelve delightful songs about children and their world that includes 'The Clapping Song', 'Count Your Money', 'In Grandma's Garden', and 'On A Rainy Day'. All five of these simply outstanding CDs are brightly packaged with great 'kid appeal' and would make extraordinarily popular musical accompaniment resources for parents, care givers, and teachers working with young children of all ages.

The Fiction Shelf

Where Trouble Leads
Brenda Chapman
Napoleon Publishing
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M2N 4Y8
9781894917445, $8.95 1-877-730-9052

When Jennifer Bannon, age 15, agrees to spend her summer as a camp counselor at White Pine Camp along with her younger sister Leslie and her best friend Ambie, her summer in the isolated wilderness on Georgian Bay descends into danger and suspense. There are strange people and mysterious activities taking place at the camp after 'lights out', including someone lurking in the woods past curfew. Upon investigation, Jennifer discovers that drug smugglers are using the camp as a cover-up! It's a race against time in Jennifer's attempt to solve the mystery of White Pine before tragedy strikes the camp and the girls for whom she is responsible. Very highly recommended and entertaining reading, "Where Trouble Leads" by Brenda Chapman is a superbly crafted mystery for adolescent readers that will hold their rapt attention from first page to last.

Random House/Knopf/Delacorte
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Erica Verrillo's ELISSA'S QUEST (9780375839467, $16.99) tells of a girl who leads a lonely solitary life, knows nothing of her family, and hides her magical gift from the world. He's a healer's apprentice, but dreams of excitement and adventure – until a guest changes her life. This is Book One of the Phoenix Rising trilogy and provides a powerful fantasy indeed. Rene Saldana Jr.'s THE WHOLE SKY FULL OF STARS (9780385730532, $15.99) tells of best friends since the first grade – but one Barry's father dies, times are tough. Meanwhile his friend has gotten into trouble with a cardsharp and his thugs – and the two find themselves facing new challenges that affect old friendships, too. Sonia Levitin's STRANGE RELATIONS (9780375837517, $15.99) tells of a summer in paradise in Hawaii with an aunt – but Marne realizes her Hawaii stay will be filled with challenges when she confronts a much-changed aunt and the foreign culture of a Chasidic rabbi. An outstanding story of romance and change evolves for older readers. Rebecca Stead's FIRST LIGHT (9780375840173, $15.99) tells of Peter, who is to join his parents on an expedition to Greenland to study global warming when a series of visions frightens him. Thea has never seen the sun, and her people have retreated to a world inside the arctic ice. The two find their lives entwined by Peter's search for the truth. Barry Jonsberg's AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT? (9780375836374, $15.99) tells of Calma, who is in love and facing many changes in her life: an absent father who returns to her world and wants to talk, a mother with a secret second life, and even a new crush. Calma's investigations into secrets will bring her face to face with the meaning of conviction in this warm story. Laura and Tom McNeal's THE DECODING OF LANA MORRIS (9780375831065, $15.99) tells of teen Lana, who lives with a frosty foster mother and has to deal with a close-knit clique by the only other teens around. When she enters an antique shop and trades for a set of blank paper, Lana finds mysterious events began to occur. Lesley M.M. Blume's THE RISING STAR OF RUSTY NAIL (9780375835247, $15.99) tells of piano prodigy Franny, living in a sleepy farm town watching her talents go to waste – until a mysterious Russian woman awakens the town's fears. But Franny sees her as a ticket out of town: can she defy the town's prejudices to see a way out? Pamela F. Service's TOMORROW'S MAGIC (9780375840876, $15.99) is set five hundred years since a nuclear holocaust decimated the Earth's population, in Britain where mutants seem to be taking over. Wellington and Heather are concerned about trying to keep up school when their classmate discovers he's Merlin the wizard – and thus begins another Arthurian fantasy, this set in a future struggling for humanity and survival. Lee Weatherby's KAT GOT YOUR TONGUE (9780385751179, $15.99) tells of a girl with amnesia – and the troubles she faces in not even knowing who her old friends were. Kathy feels she's a stranger in her own life – and feels there's a secret being kept which endangers her. KAT GOT YOUR TONGUE is a wonderful story of survival and mystery. Lyn Gardner's INTO THE WOODS (9780385751155, $16.99) tells of Storm Eden, whose dying mother gives her a warning she ignores – until a small musical pipe and a strange man with a passion for rats threatens her world. Storm and her sisters have to escape him, and their journey through the woods will bring new dangers into her life. Lurlene McDaniel's HIT AND RUN (9780385731614, $10.99) tells of an accident which involves a circle of secrecy – and becomes a crime as a result. Four young people who are strangers find an accident will change all their lives in this moving story of consequences, maturity, and hard choices. Patricia MacLachlan's two classics BABY and JOURNEY appear under one cover (9780385734233, $16.99), providing two shorter stories of family ties for reader who enjoy warm, caring tales. An abandoned baby involves Larkin and her parents in a new world of hope and lets them heal from loss, while pre-teen Journey is abandoned by his mother and searches for family photos to explain why she left. Jessica Wollman's SWITCHED (9780385733960, $15.99) presents a different kind of rags-to-riches story. Laura's tired of cleaning houses for the rich, while Willa can't enjoy being an heiress. When the two form an unusual friendship and decide to switch roles, problems evolve and new challenges are confronted. Catherine Ryan Hyde's THE YEAR OF MY MIRACULOUS REAPPEARANCE (9780375832574, $15.99) tells of Cynnie, whose mother is drunk all the time. She's gotten good at caring for her little brother, and she's proud of being the 'real mother' of the house – but can't handle the adult-sized problems which come with such responsibility. An excellent story of recovery evolves. All are fine leisure choices for teen readers and libraries catering to them.

Scholastic/Orchard Books
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Caroline Cooney's ENTER THREE WITCHES (0439711568, $16.99) tells of teen Lady Mary, a ward of the Macbeths whose life is changed when her father betrays the king and is hanged as a traitor. Mary's sent off the become a maid, but when King Duncan is murdered, Mary finds her new world is again threatened by court politics and intrigue. The fine representation of Shakespearian drama is well done and realistic here. Randa Abdel-Fattah's DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? (0439919479, $16.99) tells of an Australian-Palestinian girl who decides to wear her Muslim head scarf full-time. She's prepared for criticism from peers at her snobby prep school – or so she thinks. A poignant story of faith and adjustment evolves.

Before, After, and Somebody in Between
Jeannine Garsee
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
159990022X, $16.95

An hour into her first day of tenth grade, Martha knows she's in trouble: the school bully has threatened her life and her home life is in shambles. She wants to play cello – but even music is dangerous, until a wealthy lawyer provides a possible key to moving away from her dangerous life. A poignant story of a girl's struggles to be someday and escape dangers evolves in a complex plot highly recommended for older teens.

Harper Children's Books
1350 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10019

Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman's SUMMER INTERN (9780061153754, $16.99) tells of a 'fashion junkie' slated to work as an intern at Skirt, a fine fashion magazine. All seems well, until showdown with the boss' daughter evolves, and suddenly the dream summer in New York City sans parents turns into a nightmare. Maureen Johnson's GIRL AT SEA (9780060541446, $16.99) tells of Clio, a teen who wants to spend the summer evolving a romance, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. Add to the mix her father's scary girlfriend and an arrogant research assistant and you have a satisfyingly complex novel which many unexpected twists and turns of plot, perfect for leisure reading.

Evil Genius
Catherine Jinks
Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780152059880, $17.00

Gadel is a genius fascinated by systems and computers: he's fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes from a criminal mastermind – but he's lonely, and when romance revolves from a classmate, he begins questioning the morality of his choices for the first time. Can he stop his teacher from carrying out his legal plan? A tense thriller combines powerful characterization with a moving story line that won't quit.

Jerry Spinelli
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
0316166464, $15.99

David and Primrose are from broken homes, and fragile and lonely when they meet. Despite their differences and fears they form an uncertain friendship – and face a quest for the truth that will change them both. EGGS is a delicate tale which will appeal to both preteen and teen leisure readers interested in tales of evolving friendships.

Not Like You
Deborah Davis
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618720936, $16.00

Kayla's mother has moved them five times in the past two years due to her drinking and problems – and Kayla's been in foster care once, so this time she'll do what she can to keep her mother's life in control. They've just moved to New Mexico, where Kayla is putting down roots and developing friendships. Can she really create her own life – even if it means leaving her mother behind? A sensitive story of alcoholism and stability evolves.

The Royal Woods
Matt Duggan
Key Porter Books
Six Adelaide Street East, 10th Floor, Toronto Ontario M5C 1H6 Canada
155263826X, $12.95

Twelve-year-old Sydney and her nine-year-old brother Turk find themselves in a subdivision known as The Royal Woods when they head for the farm their aunt and uncle live on to escape their father's grief over their dead mother, only to find it's been turned into a subdivision. Determined to survive anyway, the two discover a strange new world in The Royal Woods – and one which might help them to heal.

Pamela Sargent
TOR Books
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0765314274, $17.95

This fine sequel of EARTHSEED requires no prior familiarity to prove enthralling for newcomers to Sargent's fantasy world. Over twenty years have passed since Ship left its children on an uninhabited, Earth-like planet named Home, and Zoheret and her companions have had their own children. Two groups of old shipmates make separate encampments and soon hostility breaks out and threatens their fragile new world. A fascinating story of survival and struggle evolves, highly recommended for any teen audience interested in solid characterization and involving science fiction.

Daemon Hall
Andrew Nance
Henry Holt and Company
175 Fifth Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10010
0805081712, $16.95 1-888-330-8477

Horror writer Ian Tremblin holds a short story writing contest with an unusual prize: the five finalists will get to spend the evening with him in Daemon Hall, and the winner will be published. Wade and the others find much to fear in the haunted mansion, especially with an evening of horror story-telling planned… is Daemon Hall really alive? A tense thriller evolves.

Second Fiddle
Siobhan Parkinson
Roaring Brook Press
143 West Street, New Milford. CT 06776
1596431229, $16.95

Mags has moved with her mother to a new area after the death of her father and is walking through a strange woods when she comes across a girl practicing the violin. The two become friends and Mags convinces Gillian to help find her absent father to travel to England to audition to a prestigious music school. The friendship evolves even as control issues arise in this moving story of music, loss, and getting along.

The Paperback Shelf

St. Martin's Press
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

Nina knows beauty is only skin deep but she's always wanted to be beautiful; especially since she was born with a birthmark over her eye. Convinced this blemish is the key to success or failure, Nina tires to survive high school with the idea of fitting in despite everything – and will do anything to achieve her goals in Renee Rosen's Every Crooked Pot (0312365438, $9.95). Any who have longed to be pretty or popular will relate to her dilemmas. Alyson Noel's KISS & BLOG (0312355092, $8.95) will find a spot in many a young adult leisure reader's collection: it tells of a freshman's miserable year and her decision to use her online blog to describe the underlying popularity currents of her classmates – and expose their secrets. When her blog becomes widely read and popular, Winter must decide if it's worth continuing in this fresh, realistic story.

Fire Dancer
Colleen Coble
c/o Thomas Nelson
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37124
159554139X, $14.99

A decade ago Tess's parents died in a barn fire; now she's one of the best smoke jumpers in the business – but has yet to face her loss. When the serial arsonist known as Fire Dancer strikes her home town, Tess can no longer run from her past and must face not only past truths, but their impact on her safety and future. FIRE DANCER is an intriguing novel of psychological cat-and-mouse games and intrigue and is a top pick for advanced teen readers.

Berkeley Publishing Company
375 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014

Maryrose Wood's WHY I LET MY HAIR GROW OUT (9780425213803, $9.99) is the fun story of a girl who cuts off her hair and dyes the stubble orange when her boyfriend dumps her – and how her parents send her on a bike tour of Ireland to find herself as a result. A bike accident tosses her into another world, where fairies and adventures result. Megan Stine's PROM NIGHT: ALL THE WAY (9780425213636, $9.99) tells of Carmen, a senior in high school who's just moved to a new school and has no friends. She has no date for the prom the is getting desperate when she attracts the attention of the school jock – for all the wrong reasons. Now she's a laughingstock – and she's out for revenge… Mari Mancusi's STAKE THAT! (0425212106, $9.99) tells of two very different sisters: one a vampire hunter, the other whose boyfriend is a vampire. The focus is on the twin vampire hunter's mission – and a zany undercover adventure through the vampire world that involves readers in a very different kind of romance adventure. These are all fine leisure read choices, promising something different.

Shelley Peterson
Key Porter Books
6 Adelaide Street East, 10th Floor, Toronto Ontario M5C 1H6 Canada
1552638421, $9.95

Thirteen-year-old Bird is fascinated by the regal Sundancer horse, even though he arrives on their farm as touchy, cruel and suspicious horse damaged by this past. But Bird too has been damaged – she cannot speak – and the two form a bond which enters into the psychic mind-reading level of empathy as they discover in each other the courage and love they need to heal and change. SUNDANCER is an involving, moving horse story teens will relish.

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Soon-to-be princess Ella finds her proposed new life difficult, what with a boring prince, a crush on a non-royalty member of the household, and more. Margaret Peterson Haddix's JUST ELLA (9781416936497, $5.99) provides a warm, moving story of an almost-princess facing many changes and is a fun tale highly recommended for young adult leisure readers. Lauren Baratz-Logsted's ANGEL'S CHOICE (9781416925248, $6.99) tells of Angel, who has sex for the first time and is left with an unplanned pregnancy from the first night. She has to make a choice that's right for her and assesses all options in ANGEL'S CHOICE, a realistic story of difficult decisions. Eloise McGraw's THE MOORCHILD (1416927689, $5.99) tells of the half human Moql, who is unable to shape shift or vanish at will, thus endangering her people, who banish her to live among humans as a changeling. She there grows up feared and taunted by villagers and as she grows up, her repressed memories of her real people emerge and threaten her world. Cynthia Kadohata's KIRA-KIRA (9780689856402, $6.99) tells of Katie and her family, who move from a Japanese community in Iowa to Georgia, where younger sister Lynn teaches the family a special way of seeing the world, beyond the immediate future. When Lynn falls ill, only her way of viewing the world may help her family in the moving KIRA-KIRA. These are excellent picks for young adult paperback collections.

Delacorte/Dell/Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

Patricia Reilly Giff's WILLOW RUN (9780440238010, $5.99) tells of Margaret, whose life is changed by World War II and the fact that her grandfather is German – and suspected of being a spy despite his love for America. Her family's move to Michigan where her father will build planes in a factory takes her away from her grandfather and all she knows in this poignant story of war and change. Elizabeth Craft's PROM SEASON: THREE NOVELS (9780375840746, $7.99) tells of Jane, Nicole and Christy: three very different girls who are fixated on getting the right guys for the prom. The three very different perspectives on the meaning and challenges of prom night will delight girls intrigued by romances. Carrie Rosten's CHLOE LEIBERMAN (SOMETIMES WRONG) (9780385732482, $8.99) tells of a high school senior whose entire life revolves around her interest in fashion. Chloe is half Jewish and half Chinese, hasn't applied to college yet, and dreams about going to design school in London instead. Her story is fun and whimsical. Mary Wilcox's THE HOLLYWOOD SISTERS ON LOCATION (9780385733557, $7.99) provides the second novel in the 'Hollywood Sisters' series: familiarity with the first will lend a quicker appreciation of plot and focus here. Someone is out to destroy a Hollywood teen's career, so her sister decides to lead an investigation to uncover who and why. An excellent blend of humor and mystery evolves. Patricia Windsor's NIGHTWOOD (0385733127, $7.95) tells of three friends who ditch a senior class trip to Washington, D.C. to camp out in a cabin and hopefully run into some boys on their fishing trip. Only trouble is, the projected romance turns out to be a struggle for survival when murder steps in… Tina Ferraro's TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS (9780385733687, $7.99) tells of Nicolette, dumped two days before prom by the hottest boy at school. But getting past the disappointment of no prom and an unworn dress brings Nicolette to more troubles: a best friend's problem brother, their changing friendship, thwarted romance, and challenges at home. The result's a fine, realistic story perfect for teen leisure readers.

Farrar, Straus, Giroux
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

A strange visitor comes to the Murry house and spirits Meg, her genius younger brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin on a dangerous inter-dimensional journey to fight an evil that has involved the entire universe in struggle in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (0312367546, $6.99). Involved is not only Earth's freedom but Meg's ultimate relationships with her father and younger brother – and her own ability to accept herself and her underlying talents. A WRINKLE IN TIME is a timeless classic: its appearance in paperback promises new audiences excitement. Carolyn Coman's TELL ME EVERYTHING (9780374400057, $6.95) tells of a mother killed on a mountain during a search for a lost teenager, changing preteen Roz's life. Roz's confusion will lead her to the boy her mother died for – and will change both their lives forever. Both books are top picks for young adult leisure readers.

The Highest Tide
Jim Lynch
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1599901161, $7.95

When pre-teen Miles's exploration of the night tidal flats of Puget Sounds uncovers a rare sea creature, he becomes an overnight sensation and finds his newfound fame one more obstacle to happiness as he tries to cope with first romance, parents who might divorce, and a summer of changes. A gentle coming-of-age story evolves in a moving story in THE HIGHEST TIDE.

K.M. Peyton
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618737421, $7.99

Teen Charlotte knows little about the world outside her vicarage childhood, and her grandfather has arranged to have her marry a man who repels her – but she's rebelling, and searching for her freedom. Set in Victorian England, SNOWFALL reveals a girl's struggle for independence and her own life, and is fine reading for any young adult.

Holding Up the Earth
Dianne E. Gray
Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618737472, $6.95

Five teen girls are separated by decades but united by their love of a Nebraska farm: this focal point ties their lives together in this first novel centered around powerful female protagonists who are searching for a powerful place in the world. Letter entries explore their very different worlds and the concerns that connect them and make for gripping reading.

The Picturebook Shelf

Ten Old Men And A Mouse
Cary Fagan & Gary Clement
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9780887767166, $18.95 1-800-788-1074

Only ten old men come to pray at their once bustling and busy synagogue in Cary Fagan's delightful story, "Ten Old Men And A Mouse" which is charmingly illustrated by Gary Clement. A tiny mouse takes up residence among the holy books and despite all the efforts of the old men to evict him, the mouse persists while acquiring a bed, pictures on the wall, and even a little carpet. Then there are all the very nice treats that the men bring. Finally, the mouse and her newly born children are secured and taken out to the country and released. But when fall turns to winter, back at the old synagogue, the ten old men find that they miss their little mice -- until they hear a scritching, scratching sound! "Ten Old Men And A Mouse" is a very highly recommended addition to both school and community library hardcover picturebook collections for young readers ages 4 to 7.

Joy Morgan Dey & Nikki Johnson
Lake Superior Port Cities, Inc.
PO Box 16417, Duluth, MN 55816-0417
9780942235739, $17.95 1-888-244-5253

Agate is a likeable moose who has low self-esteem issues. He is convinced that he is ugly and ordinary when compared to his beautiful friends who are named after birthstone gems. But Agate learns to see and appreciate his inner beauty because it's what's inside that counts when it comes to attractiveness. "Agate: What Good Is A Moose?" is an original and brilliantly written story by Joy Moran Dey that is perfectly showcased by the imaginatively executed watercolor illustrations of Nikki Johnson. Very highly recommended for school and community library picturebook collections, "Agate" is a thoroughly entertaining tale that will appeal to readers from 5 to 50.

The Rainforest Grew All Around
Susan K. Mitchell & Connie McLennan
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
9780976882367, $15.95 1-877-958-2600

Beautifully written by Susan K. Mitchell and superbly illustrated by Connie McLennan, "The Rainforest Grew All Around" is an ideal introduction to rainforest ecology and eco-systems for elementary school and middle school students. Young readers will learn amazing facts about a variety of animals and plants native to rainforest habitats. Kids will enjoy looking for rainforest bugs and butterflies nicely embedded in the detailed and complex illustrations. The text is enriched by the inclusion of 'Animal Sidebar Fun Facts' and 'Plant Sidebar Fun Facts'. Kids will learn abut rainforest animal adaptations, plant adaptations, seed dispersal, as well as what can be obtained from rain forests. There is even a rainforest cookie recipe! A special note for parents and teachers is the Sylvan Dell Publishing website's learning links and teaching activities associated with utilizing "The Rainforest Grew All Around" as an educational resource. As fun as it is informative, "The Rainforest Grew All Around" is a welcome and strongly recommended addition to family, school, and community library Nature Studies and picturebook collections.

Samantha Jane's Missing Smile
Julie Kaplow, Donna Pincus, Beth Spiegel
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781591478089, $14.95 1-800-374-2721

When her father died, young Samantha Jane lost her smile. She feels such sadness because she misses her father so very much. Sammy Jane is also now worried about her mother and whether or not they can ever be happy again. Is it right to feel happy when her father can't be with her to enjoy what life has to offer? Deftly co-authored by Julie Kaplow and Donna Pincus, and very nicely illustrated with the artwork of Beth Spiegel, "Samantha Jane's Missing Smile: A Story About Coping With The Loss Of A Parent" will gently guide young readers and their families through the feelings, thoughts, and wishes that young children aged 4 to 8 experience when a parent dies and provides them with helpful tools for overcoming their natural and inevitable grief associated with such great loss. Simply put, "Samantha Jane's Missing Smile" should be a part of every elementary school and community library collection because every school and every community will, from time to time, have children who have lost a parent and stand in need of what Sammy Jane has to share with them.

Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011

Daniel Kirk's LIBRARY MOUSE (0810993465, $15.95) is the fun story of one Sam, whose home is a little hole in the wall behind the children's reference books – perfect for a mouse who loves to read. Sam reads so much that one day he decides to write a book himself – and becomes a popular author. What will he do when his fans wish to meet him? LIBRARY MOUSE is a whimsical, fun celebration of the joys of reading and comes from an experienced children's book illustrator also capable of spinning a good yarn. Graeme Base's THE DISCOVERY OF DRAGONS: NEW RESEARCH REVEALED (0810959674, $19.95) provides a new, oversized edition of the classic book on Serpentology and pairs full-page color drawings with 'reproductions' of dragon mysteries and papers. While the complexity may not lend to picturebook appreciation by young readers, any adult wishing to partake will find THE DISCOVERY OF DRAGONS an excellent, spirited read. Jerry Smath's SAMMY SALAMI (0810993503, $15.95) tells of Pete, who adopts a stray hungry cat and finds its affection for salami is adding weight. When he decides to leave the cat behind when he goes on vacation, the cat makes other plans – and trouble ensues. Arthur Yorinks' THE WITCH'S CHILD (081099349X, $16.95) receives fan drawings by Jos. A. Smith as it tells of a witch who wants to have a child, and creates one from straw. The only trouble is – the straw child can't be brought to life. When a young girl wanders into the witch's house when she's away, she befriends Rosalie – and through her friendship finds a way to bring life to an object and survive a witch's wrath. An involving, moving story with an unpredictable ending makes for fine reading. Roseanne Thong's GAI SEE: WHAT YOU CAN SEE IN CHINATOWN (0810993376, $16.95) tells of the Cantonese street expression 'gai see', or 'street market' – the place where vendors sell all their goods. A curious little boy explores these uniquely Chinese treasures and brings the reader along, complimented by color drawings by Yangsook Choi. Alex Dorros and Arthur Dorros' NUMERO UNO (0810957647, $16.95) receives Susan Guevara's warm drawings as it tells of a small Mexican village where Hercules is known for strength and Socrates for knowledge. Each is important to the town – but the two bicker about who is the best. It's up to the clever villagers to devise a competition to decide who is 'numero uno' once and for all in this affectionate story of competition and importance. Margaret Wild's PIGLET AND PAPA (081091476X, $14.95) receives Stephen Michael King's fun drawings as it tells of an insecure piglet who has upset her father and thinks he may not love her. A naughty child's relationship with her father is explored in this fun story. All are top picks for picturebook libraries, promising different plots and especially artistic embellishments.

The Cheese
Margie Palatini
HarperCollins Publishers
1350 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 01019
9780060526306, $16.99

Just why does the 'cheese stand alone' in the famous picturebook rhyme? Margie Palatini's THE CHEESE addresses this mystery in a whimsical manner, considering what really happened to the poor cheddar and using a series of zany drawings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher to explore it. Young picturebook readers seeking a taste of something different will find THE CHEESE a zany, fun read.

Romina's Rangoli
Malathi Michelle Iyengar
Shen's Books
1547 Palos Verdes Mall #291, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
1885008325, $16.95

Romina's class is learning about immigrants and she must make a project that represents the culture her family comes from – but her father is from India and her mother is from Mexico. How can just one project blend both cultures? Family members offer up ideas from each culture – but it's her neighbor who inspires Romina to think of the perfect project for both. Kids in grades 4-8 will relish this story of a girl's search for cultural expression, and will appreciate the warm drawings by Jennifer Wanardi.

Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie
Laura Rankin
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9781599900100, $15.95

Ruthie loves little things, so when she finds a tiny toy on the school playground, she can't believe her luck – even though it belongs to someone else. She insists it's hers – but knows it's really not… trouble is, the lie she tells gets bigger and harder to deny all the time. Picturebook readers will find plenty to recognize in this warm story of lies, truth, and sharing.

c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

"How many seeds in a pumpkin?" Mr. Tiffin asks his class… and so begins an inquiry involving bets between three kids. A fun story involves counting and estimating skills in Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas' HOW MANY SEEDS IN A PUMPKIN? (9780375840142, $14.99), which involves an entire class in a seed-counting survey. Until now horse fans have had to wait to develop good reading skills to enjoy the only in-print version of Walter Farley's 'Black Stallion' series, but his BIG BLACK HORSE: A STORYBOOK VERSION OF THE BLACK STALLION (9780375840357, $14.99) is perfect for picturebook readers with basic reading skills. Black and white and color drawings by James Schucker supplement the story of Alec, who finds himself shipwrecked on a desert island with a dangerous, wild horse for company. THE BLACK STALLION was first published in 1941 and received wide acclaim: its appearance as a picture book will involve a wider audience and includes the original art from Farley's 1953 picturebook adaptation of the tale. Hilary Knight's CIRCUS IS COMING (9780375840661, $15.99) first appeared in 1978 and has been unavailable since then: it's here reproduced from original art and includes a new salute to South America. Gorgeous drawings pair with easy invitations inviting kids to count, observe, and enjoy the circus. David Lucas' WHALE (9780375843389, $16.99) tells of a giant whale that washes up on shore – on top of Joe's town. The Mayor declares the town ruined, while the sad whale laments that he's only destined for Fish Pie now – but Joe's determined to save both the town AND the whale in this inviting story. Leo Lionni's NICHOLAS, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? (9780375844508, $16.95) tells of one Nicholas Mouse, who is carried away by a big ugly bird while hunting for sweet red berries. Days later when he returns home his loyal friends decide to begin a war on birds – and Nicholas is still trying to tell his complete story! The moral is that one bard bird doesn't make a flock…and is well done. Meghan McCarthy's THE STORY OF CHARLES ATLAS: STRONG MAN (9780375829406, $15.99) is a picturebook biography which reads with the drama of fiction, telling of a strong man who would make his mark as the 'world's most perfectly developed man'. Fun cartoon-like drawings illustrate his rise to fame and his inspirational achievements. Kevin Hawkes' THE WICKED BIG TODDLAH (9780375824272, $16.99) tells of Toddie, who is like any other baby – except he's way too big. Toddie eats trees, takes baths in the ocean, and is very smelly… his first year of life challenges his small Maine town in this hilarious tale. All are perfect picturebook additions for discriminating libraries.

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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