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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 21, Number 8 August 2011 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Art Shelf Crafts Shelf
Educational Shelf Sports Shelf Christian Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Nature/Environment Shelf Health Shelf
Science Shelf Multicultural Shelf Activity Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Bilingual Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
Native American Shelf American History Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Fiction Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Gaming Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Math Shelf
Philosophy Shelf Poetry Shelf Biography Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Shy Spaghetti and Excited Eggs
Marc Nemiroff and Jane Annunziata, authors
Christine Battuz, illustrator
American Psychological Association
P.O. Box 9284, Washington, DC 20090
9781433809569, $15.95,

"Shy Spaghetti and Excited Eggs: A Kid's Menu of Feelings" is a feelings education book for kids and parents, written to help "kids understand what they feel, why they experience an emotion, and what they can do when feelings get too big or hard." This playful book starts with a feelings restaurant menu that stresses 'All feelings are OK! No feeling is right or wrong!' Are you a Happy Hot Dog, a Worried Watermelon, or a Scared Shrimp? Other choices include Sad Spinach, Surprised Strawberries, Lonely Lettuce, and Confused Cupcakes, as well as Angry Apples and Sorry Steak. Handy techniques for handling feelings that get too big are discussed, in a practical, friendly tone. For example, a simple 6 step breathing exercise is offered to deal with overwhelming feelings or being worried. Encouraging words help kids figure out the good side of being scared ("If you're not scared first, you never get the chance to be brave!") "Shy Spaghetti and Excited Eggs" is a wonderful tool and feelings manual to help kids figure out what they're feeling, and what to do if the feelings get too big. A Note To Parents page gives further tips and information about how to help children identify, experience, and manage their feelings. "Shy Spaghetti and Excited Eggs" is a valuable resource for parents and kids with a goal of nurturing healthy emotional growth. "Shy Spaghetti and Excited Eggs" also comes in a paperback edition (9781433809576, $12.95).

Bia Gets a New Baby Brother
Katherine Buerger-Smith, author
Kalpart team, illustrators
Strategic Book Group
845 Third Avenue, 6th Floor, #6016
New York, NY 10022
9781608605460, $ 13.00,

"Bia Gets a New Baby Brother" is a lovely picture book for toddlers who have a new baby sibling to love. Bia is excited about her baby brother, Eli, but sometimes she makes him cry without realizing why, which makes her cover her ears. Gradually Bia gets accustomed to Eli and finds ways to play with him that are fun for both of them. "Bia Gets a New Baby Brother" is a true picture of the awkward pathways to be negotiated when a new baby is born into a family with one or more older siblings. Both the bright illustrations and the large, action-oriented narrative help build appeal for toddlers and young children.

The Adventures of Wabby: The Present, book with CD
Kevin Roth, author
Maggie Anthony, illustrator
My Quiet Times, LLC
9780979339332, $17.95,

"The Adventures of Wabby - The Present" is a children's book and CD from the Tales of Wabby series that teaches children how to make decisions by listening to their heart, with love, patience, and wisdom. Wabby is a stuffed rabbit who lives in Bunny Junction with his friend Hobo Hound. One day Wabby finds himself doing some "stinkin 'thinkin,' a type of negative thought review that made him sad and blue. Hobo offers to cheer Wabby up by finding him a very special present. He carefully asks Wabby to close his eyes, count to 10, and then he presents a blank blue book, with no words in it. Wabby doesn't understand. Hobo explains that the book is empty so Wabby can fill it up with all the wonderful things that make him happy. Puzzled, Wabby goes off to begin a very short list of things that make him happy. First he wrote "Carrots" and drew a big orange carrot. Stumped, he thought a while and finally listened to his heart with love and wisdom, asking "What makes me really happy?" The answer is a charming song, written in illustrated verse, and performed on the accompanying CD. After singing all the silly things he could think of that made him happy, Wabby just couldn't write them down fast enough. later Grandma Bunny tucks Wabby into bed and he tells her all about his happy thoughts written in the book Hobo Hound gave him. Grandma Bunny reminds Wabby he is a very lucky rabbit, and not to forget she loves him, as Wabby falls asleep to his favorite lullaby. The accompanying CD presents Kevin Roth performing three original songs - "The Present," "The Quiet Times,." and "Hush Little Baby." Adorable colorful illustrations bring fluffy Wabby to life for children and help underscore the message of gratitude.

Marilyn is Moving!
Irene Agapion-Palamaris
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452075594 (sc), $19.99,

"Marilyn is Moving!" is a whimsical illustrated kid's viewpoint on the many, scary changes and choices that come with (the adults') decision to sell a home and move. Marilyn is not in favor of the move, needless to say, and she finds many creative ways to express her disapproval and protest. Finally, though even Marilyn must begin to accept the inevitable. Her home has been listed, offered, and sold. She and her parents must find a way to agree on the new home they are seeking. This part of "Marilyn is Moving!" is particularly amusing and accurate. With witty narrative verse, and natty color-crayoned creations depicting the many types of different homes the family considers, a bewildering, even dazzling array of choices is offered for examination. At least Marilyn finally decides to get on board with the search for a new home, almost unnoticed. The real estate broker's reaction to this family's indecisiveness is particularly authentic, perhaps because the author is "a real estate broker who sees life in cartoon-form!" Kids can suspect the happy ending, but not without some real education about architectural differences in homes and the complex process of making choices that impact so much of daily life. "Marilyn is Moving!" is a great book to open up discussion in families who face a move, or just to teach children something about the significance of choices and how to work with (or against) the flow. In addition to having a funny new textbook about different types of houses, readers can be content to know that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of "Marilyn is Moving!" will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.

Wacky Jacky
Jaclyn Stapp, author
Kristine Lucco, illustrator
TriMark Press, Inc.
Deerfield Beach, Florida
The Gab Group (publicity)
95 So. Federal Hwy Ste. #201
Boca Raton, FL 33432
9780981609287, $16.95,

"Wacky Jacky: The True Story of an Unlikely Beauty Queen" is a self-portrait of the author as a child, written for children to inspire those who encounter special treatment because of their differences. Jacky decides to try to enter a beauty contest even though she has crazy hair, skinny knees, and her ethnicity is exotic, she is Jordanian. Encouraged by her friend Mary from the Children's Hospital where Jacky volunteers, they design a special one-of-a-kind dress for her to wear. Her mother, Yuma, helps her realize her creation with careful sewing and many sequins. But what will she do with her wild, wacky hair? She decides to make the best of it and wears her dazzling red sequined dress and dark curly hair and performs a Jordanian belly dance for her talent act. In her question and answer portion, she tells the judges that what she learned from the pageant experience was to choose to be proud of her special origin and unique talents, abilities and attributes, because she has decided to use them to give life her best shot. Although another girl wins the pageant, Jacky wins first runner up, and she wins a special Spirit award for her volunteer work. Because this is "not the end" of the book, readers learn that Wacky Jacky went on to do more philanthropic work and to become Miss Florida in addition to other achievements. "Wacky Jacky" is a great, inspiring story for children of all ages, but especially girls age 7-11. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of "Wacky Jacky" benefit CHARM, the author's national outreach foundation (nonprofit) that aims to heighten awareness of children's issues, empower young women, and enrich the lives of underprivileged youth.

The Art Shelf

Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel: Bringing Matisse to America
Susan Fillion, author/illustrator
David R. Godine
9 Hamilton Place, Boston, MA 02106
9781567924343, $18.95,

"Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel: Bringing Matisse to America" is an amazing story of two daring Jewish women who traveled to Europe and abroad from Baltimore and eventually collected some of the most seminal pieces of early modern art by such famous artists as Matisse, Picasso, and other famous artists of the turn of the century. Many reproductions of the Cone sisters' fabulous art collection are included, as well as wonderful original illustrations by the author taken from photos of the Cone sisters during their many extensive travels abroad. Directed to a youth audience, "Miss Etta And Dr. Claribel" presents an amazing vista of the early development of Contemporary Western art and two unusual women who supported a select few of the artists through an exciting era.

The Crafts Shelf

Teach Yourself Visually: Crafting with Kids
Jennifer Casa
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9780470643709 $21.99

Homemaker and crafter Jennifer Casa presents Teach Yourself Visually: Crafting with Kids, a book offering 75 hands-on, user-friendly, inexpensive crafts that parents and babysitters can enjoy with kids. From floating patchwork lanterns to stained-glass butterflies, snowflake pinwheels, woven woolies, even a tabletop puppet theater, the many possible projects span a wide range of children's possible ages and interests, and are brought to life with not only step-by-step instructions, but also full-color photographs on every page. Highly recommended.

The Educational Shelf

The Worst Day of My Life Ever!
Julia Cook, author
Kesley De Weard, illustrator
Boys Town Press
14100 Crawford Street
Boys Town, NE, 68010
9781934490204, $10.95,

First in a series titled Best Me I Can Be!, "The Worst Day of My Life Ever!: My Story About Listening and Following Instructions (..Or Not!)" follows RJ through the worst day ever, only to find that what RJ can do to make his days better is to listen carefully and follow instructions. How will RJ learn to do this when he finds it not fun and boring? Some steps suggested to RF are: LOOK right at the person who is talking to you. DO NOT SPEAK until she is through. Show that you've HEARD what she's trying to say by NODDING your head and saying 'OKAY.' A similar checklist of ideas helps RJ to follow instructions. Gradually RJ realizes that the way for him to have a really great day is to listen carefully and follow instructions. Taking responsibility for listening and following instructions will give soon RJ the best day ever! "The Worst Day of My Life" ends with a list of helpful tips for parents and educators, plus a reference to the "Activity Guide for Teachers and Poster Set: The Worst Day of My Life Ever!" (ISBN 9781934490235, $19.95), which includes a DVD containing related worksheets and activities. The complete set is recommended for students with attentiveness issues in grades K-5. Particularly compelling are the amusing exaggerated illustrations in vibrant color.

The Sports Shelf

The High-Tech Gooseneck Putter
Samuel DiMatteo & Kristin Johnson
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432764500, $24.95,

To be a champion is the goal of anyone who seeks a sport seriously. "The High-Tech Gooseneck Putter" is a children's book as Samuel DiMatteo brings together a story of Sami DeMani as he writes a story of a golfing gander whose luck goes our and leaves his career ruined. With the help of technology, he might very well be able to play again as he presents a story of perseverance and tenacity in the face of ill fortune. "The High-Tech Gooseneck Putter" is worth considering for reading for any golf lover and their children.

The Christian Shelf

Feed My Sheep: A Collection of Patty Stories
Sharon L. Brown
Stock Imagery by Thinkstock
Crossbooks Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781615076130 (sc), $13.95,

"Feed My Sheep: A Collection of Patty Stories" is a collection of Christian epiphanies with accompanying scripture references and inspirational thoughts and meditations. Whimsical colored cartoon illustrations add dimension to these "Patty stories." Patty is an 'every woman' character who struggles with many issues of daily living. Inspiration is found in Christian beliefs and scripture references. "Feed My Sheep" is one woman's signature on a life lived in hopeful anticipation of Christian grace and forgiveness.

Melody Carlson
PO Box 35001, Colorado, CO 80935
9781600069499, $14.99,

Secrets are powerful things, but too many secrets can be crushing. "Shattered" follows young Cleo Neilson as she tries to face her own secrecy and the pressures of being a teenage girl on top of it. An entry into Melody Carlson's Secrets series, she continues telling stories of teenage girls who are pressured by secrecy with a strong element of faith throughout. "Shattered" is a fine young adult read, perfect for collections that want to touch on faith.

Little One
Brenda Davis-Worrles
Vantage Press Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, 18th floor
New York, NY 10016
9780533157938 $7.95

Little One is a Christian children's storybook about the adventures of a naive newborn colt. When the little colt has the misfortune to encounter a hungry bear, he must think quickly to survive - but it is ultimately Jesus and Jehovah that save the day. Black-and-white illustrations on every other page bring this heartwarming story of faith and love to life.

The Self-Help Shelf

Every Kid's Guide to Living Your Best Life
Sara Jensen-Fritz, MS, Psy.S.; Paula Jones-Johnson, BSW, M.Ed.
and Thea L. Zitzow, M.Ed.
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101
Edina, MN 55439
9781592983933 $24.95

Intended to help elementary-age children build up their social and emotional skills, Every Kid's Guide to Living Your Best Life lives up to its title with no-nonsense tips, tricks, and techniques for dealing with strong feelings, making friends, learning the value of a positive outlook, and much more. A cheerful black-and-white cartoon dog guides young readers thorough the invaluable advice. "The good news is that I can change how I feel. The best way to change heavy feelings, like feeling mad or sad or scared, is to stop 'holding on' to them. We hold on to feelings when we think about them over and over. You can learn not to think about bad feelings over and over again By practicing the activities in this book or by talking to an adult you trust, you will discover how to let go of the heavy feelings." Highly recommended for school and public library collections, Every Kid's Guide to Living Your Best Life also makes an excellent gift to help young people get started on the right track in life.

Stuttering Stan Takes a Stand
Artie Knapp, author
Barbara L. Gibson, illustrator
MightyBook Inc.
10924 Grant Road, #225
Houston, TX 77070
9780983135548 $9.95

Written by author Artie Knapp especially for young readers ages 6 to 10, Stuttering Stan Takes a Stand is a storybook about a boy squirrel who loves many of the same things his fellow squirrels do, but has difficulty speaking. Stanley keeps his feelings about being teased bottled inside, until he makes a friend that teaches him an invaluable lesson. Charming woodland creatures and an adventures plot with heart and a solid moral distinguish this excellent book for teaching children about stuttering, whether they personally have a problem with it or not. Also highly recommended is Artie Knapp's anthology "Yak's Corner: Children's Stories" (9780983135524, $9.95), featuring a selection of animal-character stories originally published by the Detroit Free Press' Yak's Corner magazine for students ages 6-13.

The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins
Dorothy A. Lecours, author
Chrisann Zaubi, illustrator
Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310637, $17.95,

"The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins" is a Law of Attraction Book for Children written by an award-winning (former) first grade teacher with a powerful commitment to helping each child unfold all of his/her unique talents and abilities. Dedicated to the Oprah Winfrey New Earth classroom and all its potential outreach capabilities, "The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins" is an inspirational, empowering book for children that teaches the priceless value of positive thoughts, images, and words. The STAR twins, Grace and Jace Star learn to explore and dream very big dreams through use of their S.T.A.R. power words. Through dreams, these words come alive and allow the children's dreams to manifest. Their parents and other special adults help them to learn amazing vocabularies to help dream their very best dreams. Negative words like "don't, not and no" are not allowed in this positive imaging universe. Each twin is encouraged to pursue their own special dreams, thoughts and words. They are also encouraged to make a gratitude list and a gratitude treasure map, because the secret to happiness is to feel gratitude, sending the Universe special positive pictures, and the Universe responds by sending matching magical vibes that help attract more love, beauty and happiness into the children's lives. "The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins" ends with wonderful "I Am" affirmations, a list of empowering resource books and links, some dedications, two poems, a note to parents, and a gratitude journal. Celestial, star-studded illustrations shine throughout "The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins," keeping interest high and focused on aspirations and joy. "The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins" seems right for children age 5 and up.

The Nature/Environment Shelf

Olivia's Birds, Saving the Gulf
Olivia Bouler, artist/author
Sterling Children's Books
387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016
9781402786655, $14.95,

"Olivia's Birds, Saving the Gulf" is a tremendous collection of a young artist's renditions of beautiful birds endangered by the Gulf Oil spill. Created for her Save the Gulf campaign, "Olivia's Birds" celebrates over 50 species in drawings and photos by the eleven year old author. Honored for her inspiring efforts to reclaim the precious Gulf habitat for the endangered birds, Olivia has proved that even kids can make a huge contribution to the problem of ecological cleanup. Olivia is responsible for raising over, $150,000 for Audubon's Gulf oil spill recovery program, sending each donor one of her very own bird paintings. Many of these paintings are reproduced in "Olivia's Birds, for children and adults everywhere to enjoy. Handy inset nametags with proper names and descriptions are featured alongside small reproductions of different bird species. In addition to many fascinating bird facts and descriptions, "Olivia's Birds" contains a list of specific suggestions for kids to work on to help mend and improve bird habitat and the environment. There is also a list of helpful organizations for more information about birds and wildlife conservation, including the National Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Project Puffin, and more. Part of the message in "Olivia's Birds" is her 'if I were President' section. These suggestions are very well thought out and significant: Regulate fishing companies to limit fishing, stop deforestation, encourage pet adoption from animal shelters, and using cleaner energy to help preserve the earth. Olivia says: "I am willing to help, and I want to make a difference for those birds. I want to be their voice." "Olivia's Birds" supports Audubon's mission to protect birds and their habitats, and is printed on FSC eco-friendly paper.

Wow! Ocean!
Robert Neubecker, author/illustrator
Disney Hyperion Books
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423131137, $17.99,

"Wow! Ocean!" is a lovely child's art book with extended illustrations and minimal text. Every color illustration shows such ocean wonders as tide pools, shells, fish, sharks, whales, and much more. Children will love tracing the detailed artistic illustrations. The sharks even have names written on their backs in the sharks illustrations. "Wow! Ocean!" is the latest book in a series using the big, bold, wow format since 20004, beginning with "Wow! City!" "Wow! Ocean!" provides plenty of detail for children to look at for many happy hours. Simply stated, "Wow! Ocean!" is a beautiful child's art book.

Gulf Oil Spill
Lynn Peppas
Crabtree Publishing Co.
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 100118
9780778715924, $26.60,

"Gulf Oil Spill" is a color illustrated summary of the 2010 Gulf oil rig spill which flooded the Gulf with millions of gallons of oil, becoming the largest accidental oil spill in history. Ten succinct chapters detail the chronicle of the disaster, plus the capping efforts and the cleanup work, and effects on wildlife, habitat, and human life. After chapter on recovery, a glossary and index provide additional information and resources. "Gulf Oil Spill" will attract the interest of children in grades 3-6, with excellent disaster reporting.

Living Green: A Turtle's Quest for a Cleaner Planet
Artie Knapp, author
illustrations by M. J. Illustrations
Mighty Book Inc.
10924 Grant Road #225
Houston, TX 77070
9780983135562 (pbk), $12.95,

Thurman Turtle is the new green hero for this creative new children's book that inspires kids everywhere to take part in environmental cleanup and reducing carbon their footprints and learning to live green. Thurman is quite upset at the trash that litters his creek bank home. It even spoils his sister's wedding! However, he is determined to do something about it, although all his turtle friends and relatives tell him nothing can be done to change the destructive, disrespectful behavior of humans. Even though he is just one small angry turtle, Thurman is determined to make a difference. The rest of the story takes Thurman to a confrontation with trash, a group of elementary students who are working to clean the environment, and a daring rescue and release by one of the small humans involved in reclaiming the ecosystem. Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, is the mantra chanted by Miss Thornberry's students. Ultimately the message of "Living Green" is that everyone must do their part to help clean and protect the environment, no matter how small. Kids can be a big help and play a significant role in cleanup and reeducation of all humans. Thurman Turtle may be just one small green character on a crusade, but he starts a mighty movement that will not be stopped. "Living Green" is designed to be enjoyed by children ages 5-10. The cheery, bright illustrations underline the invigorating message of the indefatigable Thurman.

The Health Shelf

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad
Howard Mindow, author
Sue Cornelison, illustrator
Lerner Books
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780982616536, $15.00,

"Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad" is the latest in the imaginative Howard B. Wigglebottom series for children ages 4-8. Howard the inquisitive bunny tackles the issues of overconsumption, include childhood obesity. He learns that in fact it is possible to have too much of a good thing. In the end, Howard tells his mom, "one piece of cake and one hour for TV and games will be enough, thank you." The gentle, fluffy edged illustrations bring the textures of Howard and his world to life for young imaginations.

Oliver McCoy The Vegetable Boy
Richard B. Joelson, author
Annette C. Shumay, illustrator
Justen Stryker, technical editor
SLM Book Publishing
P.O. Box 509, Novi, Michigan 48376
9780983003915, $19.95,

"Oliver McCoy The Vegetable Boy" is the second in a series written to teach children the joy and pleasure of eating vegetables, and fruits. Written in engaging verse and jauntily illustrated, "Oliver McCoy the Vegetable Boy" traces the evolution of a vegetable lover. Oliver begins by eating onions, only onions. Finally his parents persuade him to try other vegetables and a whole new world opens up. His father introduces him to the practice of gardening and growing his own vegetables in his back yard- carrots and cucumbers, lettuce and squash, even green peppers and pumpkins! Finally Oliver dreams of opening his very own vegetable stand, so he can introduce his friends to new, healthful vegetable treats, encouraging them to eat fewer sweets. "Oliver McCoy the Vegetable Boy" has its own accompanying CD for kids and parents to enjoy. "Oliver McCoy the Vegetable Boy" is a great youth health series designed to promote healthy eating by kids, a great investment in our future.

The Science Shelf

Big Book of How
Curtis Slepian, author
Felipe Galindo, illustrator
Jonathan Rosenbloom, editor
Time For Kids Books/ Time Inc.
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
9781603201841, $17.95 1-800-327-6388

"Big Book of How: 501 Facts Kids Want to Know" is an encyclopedia of fascinating facts and information to a variety of curious questions kids frequently ask. Divided into 10 chapters covering questions relating to animals, safety practices, sports, buildings, science, transportation, home tech, food, space, the human body and going green, the "Big Book of How" is a reference treasure for middle school age kids. A handy introductory chapter page gives hints for how to use the book's individualized features, including factoids, information boxes, diagrams and photos, and identifying color borders, plus experiments specific to each chapter's topic. Find the answers to such questions as how do elephants communicate? How do honeybees make hives? How do you do a skateboard trick called an Ollie? Ho was Mount Rushmore built? How are birds cleaned after an oil spill? ...and many more. A glossary and multiple experiment activities complete this attractively packaged fact book for students age 9 and up.

The Multicultural Shelf

I See the Sun in Afghanistan
Dedie King, author
Judith Inglese, illustrator
Satya House Publications
PO Box 122
Hardwick, Massachusetts 01037
9780981872087 $12.95

I See the Sun in Afghanistan is a striking, softcover children's picturebook about a day in the life of Habiba, a young Afghan girl in the village of Bamiyan. Her cousins, aunt and uncle are about to move in with her family; Habiba wonders how everyone can possibly fit into their dwelling. Although the costs and tragedies of the Afghan war form the background of this storybook, it is primarily about simply living and working together as a family. Simple color illustrations enhance I See the Sun in Afghanistan, an exceptional and humanizing work worthy of the highest recommendation for school and public library collections.

The Hijab Boutique
Michelle Khan, author
Fatima D'Oyen, editor
Eman Salem, illustrator
Kube Publishers
9780860374688, $13.95,

"The Hijab Boutique" is a creative story about a Muslim girl named Farah who fearfully tackles the problem of presenting a project about her mother on International Women's Day. The problem is her mother is so ordinary! But surprises abound in "The Hijab Boutique," and the best surprise is the creativity of both Farah and her mother in solving some very real life issues. Educating her classmates and others in the Muslim women's ways of wearing fabric known as hijab becomes part of an amazing and beautiful solution. "The Hijab Boutique" is a wonderful book that will appeal to young readers age 10 and up. Black and white illustrations add to the message's impact. One of the striking attributes of "The Hijab Boutique" is its sensitive treatment of the topic of respecting cultural differences, and rethinking automatic responses.

Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs & Blood Sausage
Andrew Zimmern
Delacorte Press/Random
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385740036, $15.99,

Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs & Blood Sausage comes from an author who has consumed smoked puffin, giant fruit bats, worm cheese, and more, and provides a lively survey of the cultural and social situations around the world which have lent to his surprising eating habits. Discussions of exotic travel and food around the world normally aren't tailored to the young adult audience - which makes Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs & Blood Sausage even more exciting for any young adult reader looking for something startlingly different.

The Activity Shelf

The Kids' Summer Fun Book
Claire Gillman & Sam Martin
250 Wireless Boulevard
Hauppauge, NY 11788
9780764145810 $12.99

The Kids' Summer Fun Book lives up to its title with well over one hundred fun and inexpensive activities young people can do to enjoy summertime to its fullest. Suggested activities appropriate for car travel, the beach, the woodlands, one's own backyard, or even rainy day fun pack this excellent resource for parents and babysitters as well as children. From learning the basics of body surfing, to making a model of the solar system markers, tape and simple toilet paper, to creating a terrarium, rubbing leaves, pressing flowers, and even croquet, The Kids' Summer Fun Book is a treasury of both time-tested and inventive activities. Highly recommended.

The Picturebook Shelf

Nobody Likes Me
Cynthia Dekel, author
Aki Fukuoka, illustrator
KB Publishing
1400 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Suite 134, #123
Mableton, GA 30126
9780578069173 $15.95

Named "Most Outstanding Children's Book" by the well-known Mom's Choice Awards, Nobody Likes Me is a picturebook about a young girl who is frustrated because she feels that people are ignoring and neglecting her. But her parents eventually show her the truth: "Sometimes people we love have things that they must do. / That doesn't mean they don't think the world of you! / 'Nobody likes me?' It simply isn't true! / My sweet little girl, everybody loves you!" Charmingly illustrated by Aki Fukuoka, Nobody Likes Me is a heartwarming story that especially lends itself to being read aloud at storytime or bedtime.

Marcie's Daffodil
Autumn Stanley, author
Ji Young Lee, illustrator
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781453575772 $21.99

Author Autumn Stanley originally wrote Marcie's Daffodil for her own children. The result is a poignant picturebook story about a serious family occurrence rarely dealt with in children's literature - when a miscarriage happens in the family. Young Marcie has been taking care of a beautiful daffodil; when she learns that her mother won't be coming home from the hospital with a baby, she resolves to have the beautiful flower ready to present to her when she comes home. Also available in a softcover edition (9781453575765, $19.79), Marcie's Daffodil is emotionally moving and an exceptional pick for public library children's picturbook collections.

The Quite Contrary Man
Patricia Rush Hyatt, author
Kathryn Brown, illustrator
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810940659, $16.95,

"The Quite Contrary Man: A True American Tale" is a curious true American story about a man named Joseph Palmer who rebelled against the rigid expectations of his society and times by wearing a long flowing mustache and beard. Palmer was a friend to Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Alcotts. Once his starchy New England neighbors actually tried to shave his beard, but he only fought them off, but ended being fined and imprisoned for being unruly! He actually ended spending a whole year in jail, writing letters to his family complaining about miserable prison conditions. Beard Palmer's family supported him and believed in him, agreeing that it was his right to wear his beard as he chose. Finally Beard Palmer was released from jail, but even that event had some curious twists and turns! Ultimately, styles of men's facial hair changed, and by the 1860's it was so accepted to have a beard that a little girl wrote to President Lincoln encouraging him to grow one, to improve his presidential appearance. "The Quite Contrary Man" is a quirky story that illustrates an important American principle: The individual's right to freedom of expression and nonconformity. Humorous illustrations detail the intriguing incidents in the life of "The Quite Contrary Man," and a painless but important history lesson is delivered in a charming package of smiles.

The Magic Word
Sherrill S. Cannon, author
Kalpart team, illustrations and cover art
Strategic Book Group
P.O. Box 333, Durham, CT 06422
9781609769093, $12.50,

"The Magic Word" is a versed tale about a rude little girl named Elizabeth Keys, who never said "please." Sharing, taking turns, cooperating in play, these were not for Elizabeth. But when her mother suggests they plan a birthday party, with invitations, how many friends would come to Elizabeth's party? After a few tears and some disappointment, Elizabeth learns about the magic word, "please," from her wise mother. Changing her manners is not always easy, but Elizabeth tries. She discovers the Golden Rule is good for me and you. Brightly illustrated and jauntily presented, "The Magic Word" is a clever presentation of a wise lesson for children 5 and up.

Bug and Bear, A Story of True Friendship
Ann Bonwill, author
Layn Marlow, illustrator
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761459026, $17.99,

"Bug and Bear" is a delightful illustrated story about two friends who were very different, Bug and Bear. Bug wants to play but Bear wants to nap, so Bug buzzes around while Bear seeks ways to hide quietly. Bear wants Bug to leave her alone, but Bug says "We can be alone together!" "That's impossible!" grumbles Bear. Many amusing interactions later, Bear decides she has not been a kind friend to Bug and decides to go looking for her. Fortunately she rescues Bug just in time, floating on a lily pad in the lake. Finally Bear and Bug are together, Bear apologizes to Bug, and both friends take a nap together! The story of Bug and Bear is enhanced by whirling lines of text from Bug and gentle pastel illustrations of Bug and Bear and friends. "Bug and Bear" is a fine book to teach acceptance and celebration of differences to children ages 4-8.

Hannah, Gran's Treasure Box
Heather Rhodes, author
Burcu Arat Sup, illustrator
Kreative Kids
P.O. Box 7118, Brendale
QLD, 4500 Australia

"Hannah, Gran's Treasure Box" is a story of a special girl whose name is a palindrome, which means her name is spelt the same from both ends. Once Hannah woke up from a bad dream and went to her Grandmother to be comforted. When the bad thoughts won't go away, Gran teaches Hannah a special, easy way to follow her very first butterfly dream, so that she will never have bad dreams again. Gran shows Hannah her special treasure box and carefully read her a rhyme: "When I'm in bed, I close my eyes/ Then think of happy things/ So when I sleep, I know I'm safe/ and fly like a butterfly - with wings!" She teaches Hannah to imagine many beautiful, happy things and soon Hannah is only thinking happy thoughts. Hannah learns to think strong positive thoughts and to create restful and beautiful dreams for herself and has no more bad dreams.

Allie's Elephants
Kathy Morgan, author
Julie Smith, illustrator
Bookstand Publishing
9781589098657, $15.95,

"Allie's Elephants" is a delightful children's picture book about a girl who loves her elephant collection (large, but of small elephants that can fit in a room). Allie is surprised one day when her mother and father say they will take her to see some big, new elephants. She has a magical trip to a zoo where she got to see real live elephants bathing, eating, and drinking, and even playing. She could not believe how huge they were. Though she hated to leave the zoo, she was very thankful in her prayers for the fun trip to the zoo to see real live elephants! "Allie's Elephants" is imaginatively illustrated with pastel drawings and even contains a favorite recipe for Nana's Peanut Butter Cookies, which Allie loves because elephants love peanuts! "Allie's Elephants" will appeal to children age 3 and up.

Jack and the Toddler
Sindy McKay, author
Jennifer Zivoin, illustrator
Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119
Novato, CA 94948
9781601152497 $9.95

Intended for parents and caregivers to read aloud with children at a kindergarten or first grade reading level, Jack and the Toddler is part of the excellent "We Both Read" series. Like the rest of the series, every two-page spread of Jack and the Toddler features a more complex page for parents to read on the left, and a simpler page for children to read on the right. The story follows young Jack, frustrated at having to play with a much younger toddler - yet he soon learns that spending time with younger children can be fun, too! A gentle and joyful picturebook, Jack and the Toddler is a treasure to share.

Seven Days of Daisy
Jamie Hogan, author/illustrator
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
9780892729197, $14.95,

"Seven Days of Daisy" is a charming week of adventures in the life of Daisy, a seven -year - old girl who lives on an island, a big rock in a blue bay. She is waiting for 7 days to pass before her Nana comes to visit. Every day has special beach and island activities described and illustrated in wonderful crayon, charcoal and pastel on construction paper medias. Finally Daisy crosses off the seventh day and resolves to tell Nana all about her week tomorrow. "Seven Days of Daisy" is a delightful book for children age 4 and up.

What a Disaster
Mary Doran
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781617773952 $8.99

What a Disaster: A Quinton Quarter Adventure is a softcover, rhyming children's picturebook about an anthropomorphic quarter who is tremendously dismayed when a little girl decides to paint his face red with nail polish. Eventually the girl's mother saves the day with discipline - by requiring the girl to clean her room thoroughly, and take the nail polish off the quarter too! Colorful illustrations bring this cheery story about the importance of taking responsibility for one's actions to life, and Tate Publishing offers those who buy the book a free online audiobook digital download (via coupon code) on the website.

The Megasaurus, from the Lima Bear Stories
Thomas Week and Peter Week, authors
Len DiSalvo, illustrator
Lima Bear Press
c/o KSB Promotions
55 Honey Creek NE, Ada MI 49301
9781933872124, $15.95,

"The Megasaurus" is an unusual creative book about some bean-shaped bears that face a problem. They have a resident monster Megasaurus whose favorite food is beans! The King (Limalot) of Beandom follows his wisest advisor and tries to give the Megasaurus pancakes instead of beans, despite a warning from L. Joe Bean that this is not a good plan. When this plan doesn't work, another plan is suggested by an owl named Towel, to drive the Megasaurus off with bows and arrows. This plan also is doomed to failure, as predicted by L. Joe Bean. Just when things are looking truly dim for the bean bears, L. Joe Bean confronts the Megasaurus with a newly invented plan of his own. The planned teamwork of the bean bears is carefully exploited, and the terrible Megasaurus is actually frightened away by an imaginary monster that is simply himself with a mask, reflected in a mirror. The end is that King Limalot decides to replace his former wise owl advisors with L. Joe Bean, the Bear who thought the problem through and came up with a creative, cooperative solution that worked. There are many good lessons to be learned by children reading "The Megasaurus," and some of these are extended or amplified by further learning activities labeled Extend the Learning and Activities page ( Additional books in the Lima Bear Press series include ("Lima Bear's Halloween," and "How Back-Back Got His Name." "The Megasaurus" is recommended for children ages 4-8. Three new titles in this series are also forthcoming.

What Are You Doing?
Elisa Amado, author
Manuel Monroy, illustrator
Goundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2K4
c/o Publisher's Group West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781554980703, $16.95,

"What Are You Doing?" is a wonderful story about Chepito's experiences on his way to his first day of school. When he sees many different people reading, he asks first "What are you doing?" and second, "Why, why, why?" There are a wide variety of answers to his second question, from wanting to fix a broken car to finding a new fancy hairdo, to reading a map to get oriented. Even an archeologist is using a manual to read inscriptions on the side of an ancient temple to discover ancient Mayan histories of old wars. At first, Chepito doesn't want to go to school very much. But after meeting so many people reading for so many different reasons, he decides it might be fun to have a book to read himself. "What Are You Doing?" is the perfect book for a busy little boy who doesn't quite get the charm of story time versus active playtime. Even for Chepito, reading is addicting.

The Summer Visitors
Karel Hayes, artist/author
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
9780892729180, $16.95,

"The Summer Visitors" is a delightful sequel to "The Winter Visitors," featuring a family of bears who carefully co-inhabit a summer cottage and forest setting with a human family for the summer. Minimal narrative and story-telling watercolors present a gently amusing tale. Little do the members of the human family guess or suspect who shares their wonderful summer cottage experiences. The bear family, on the other hand, happily explore strange new experiences such as swimsuits and life jackets on a boat ride while the human family sleeps. The parallel narratives occasionally cross or mingle, and hidden smiles come out like the sun from clouds. "The Summer Visitors" is a delightful summer vacation book experience for children of all ages.

The Ballad of Nessie
Kieran Lachlan, author
Andy Harkness, illustrator
Disney Press
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423122180, $14.99,

Based on the Disney short of the same name, "The Ballad of Nessie" tells the story of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, and her friend MacQuack in gently humorous verse. Nessie and MacQuack are forced to seek a new home when Tycoon MacFroogle decides to turn their former home into a tourist-attracting golf links monstrosity. Nessie is encouraged by a friend with the words, "Chin up, now, pip-pip!" But she searches high and low with MacQuack and finally gives in to despair, weeping copiously for days. Finally she recovers herself and notices, wonder of wonder, she has created her new home with her tears! Nessie and MacQuack settle in to the beautiful Loch Ness, with the newfound certainly that sometimes wonderful new solutions can arise from fears and tears. Filled with plaid-tinged Disney illustrations, "The Ballad of Nessie" will soundly appeal to children of all ages.

The Grand Festive Picnic
Natalie May Bolger, author illustrator
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781617394157, $19.99,

"The Grand Festive Picnic" (a Kids Love Life book) is a charming child's adventure story written with tongue twisting alliterative names and colorful animal characters who love to have happy times together. Lulu the Lioness cub, Pink Lucy Goosey, and Albert and Alex alligators decide to have a grand festive picnic together. The menu includes spinach quiche, tamales, chocolate dipped strawberries, cheese tortellini, shrimp brochette, garlic mashed potatoes, and key lime pie. Luckily, Albert and Alex are excellent chefs and enjoy entertaining guests. After a fabulous feast and a grand festive picnic, the two friends embrace and thank each other for the gift of friendship and spending good times together. "The Grand Festive Picnic" ends with some talk time blanks, for sharing stories of the reader's special times of friendship and celebration, and some thoughts about the importance of friendship and celebration, plus more blank pages for additional notes and thoughts. "The Grand Festive Picnic comes with free audio book digital download, perfect for young children ages 4-8.

The Ugly Duckling Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Tale
Cheryl Bardoe
115 West 18th St., New York NY 10011
9780810997394, $16.95,

The Ugly Duckling Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Tale receives Doug Kennedy's engaging drawings as it tells of the ancestor of the modern day duck who awaits the hatching of her eggs. The last egg to hatch holds a surprise: it has no feathers, no waddle - and is a dinosaur. He's teased that he's ugly and tries to be on his own, but every potential friend just runs away, and he can't find his place in his world. A fun, different folk story emerges.

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet
Leslie McGuirk
Tricycle Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9781582463704, $15.99,

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet offers 48 pages of fun alphabet images created from rocks the author discovered on a Florida beach. She discovered rocks in the shape of each letter of the alphabet - and began collecting rocks resembling objects that begin with each letter. This different ABC book will amaze and delight a wide audience, from adults to kids, with its fun 'discovered alphabet' images.

Chocolate Moose
Maggie Kneen
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014
9780525422020, $16.99,

CHOCOLATE MOOSE revels what could happen when a big moose squeezes into a little bakery, challenging baker Mrs. Mouse who wanted a helper not quite so large. Moose is determined to lend a hand - and he does know his chocolate. A fun story of a moose that gets covered in trouble makes for a fine tale especially recommended for its fun, whimsical drawings.

Monkey Mind
Phoebe Lee, author
Pamela Boullier Ross, designer, illustrator
Inspire You Books LLC
1200 N. Ashland Avenue, Suite 600
Chicago, IL 60622
9780615404950, $16.99

"Monkey Mind: A Captivating Bedtime Story for Children" presents an imaginative solution to children's restlessness, leading to difficulties in focusing, relaxing, and getting to sleep. Using concepts from ancient philosophies and modern parenting practices, "Monkey Mind" suggests that the child try to imagine listening to the sounds deep in a rainforest, where the distracting "monkey mind" may jump about, then the child imagines raindrops hitting the ground and finding a quiet mind, along with the sound of the rainfall into a river bed. While gently closing his eyes, the child smiles and hears other jungle sounds, including monkeys. Breathing quietly, with every breath, the child drifts closer to his quiet self, and is able to say goodbye to his monkey mind. Delicate, dark-to-pastel colored illustrations foreshadow the way to this inner journey in visual portrayals. The audio version of "Monkey Mind" is available on the Monkey-Fish Dragon CD or Mp3 download. Other stories in the Monkey-Fish Dragon Series include "Wu Wei: A Catchy Fish Tale for Children," and "Kalpana: An Imaginary Story for Children." A beautiful book as well as a parent's trusted retraining tool, "Monkey Mind" is recommended for children age 4 and up.

The Bilingual Shelf

Germs Are Not For Sharing
Elizabeth Verdick, author
Marieka Heinlen, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575423685, $11.95,

"Germs Are Not For Sharing/ Los germenes no son para compartir" is a bilingual illustrated health teaching manual for young children that teaches good health habits when sneezing or coughing, because germs are not for sharing! Kids also learn 10 good times to wash their hands, one for each finger. Large, black outlined, brightly colored illustrations decorate each page, and Spanish text is presented beneath the English text. At the end are a few more pages of key information about germs to be read by adults and kids together. "Germs Are Not For Sharing" is aimed at an audience of children ages 4-7.

When Your School Bus Goes to Mexico
M. S. Holm, author
Hermelinda Vargas, illustrator
Sentry Books
P.O. Box 31361, Tuscon, AZ 85751
9780979619953, $17.95,

"When Your School Bus Goes to Mexico/ Cuando Tu Damion Escolar Se Va a Mexico" is a bilingual children's story about an old school bus that was sold for many new lives of service in Mexico. The bus is painted many times, is used to carry musicians, city travelers, tuna fish cannery workers, and tomato pickers going to fields to work. Finally the bus got old and rusty and stopped working. Left at the edge of a field, tall weeds grew around it and animals made homes around and inside it. The bus was forgotten until a terrible hurricane struck doing much damage and leaving many families homeless. One homeless family received permission to use the bus for a temporary shelter, so they scrubbed it and moved into it. They fixed it up like a little home, with whitewashing and curtains and a kitchen, and flowers growing by the door. The story of the bus is told by a bus driver to entertain children on a school bus who are waiting for repairs to come. He remembers the story's details because he and many members of his family were passengers on the bus that went to Mexico, in one of its many reincarnations. large, brightly colored illustrations fill the pages of "When Your School Bus Goes To Mexico," and the text in English is at the top of the page while the Spanish text is at the bottom of the page. Winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award, "When Your School Bus Goes to Mexico" is a cultural discovery book with many positive messages for young readers about the life and settings for the repurposed school bus in Mexico. It encourages cultural curiosity and celebration of differences, as well as bilingual reading skills.

Colores de la Vida
Cynthia Weill, author
folk art by artisans from Oaxaca
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas
El Paso, Texas 79901
9781933693828 $14.95

Colores de la Vida: Mexican Folk Art Colors in English and Spanish is a simple yet beautiful bilingual picturebook designed to teach young readers the basic colors in English and Spanish. Each two-page spread has the name of a color in both languages, and a captivating photograph of an Oaxacan folk art animal sculpture featuring that color. All the colors of the rainbow plus silver are featured in this beautiful gateway to the Spanish language and Mexican culture.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Little America
Helen Foster James, author
Jeannie Brett, Michael Glenn Monroe, and Helle Urban, illustrators
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200
315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585361793 $7.95

Little America is a board book for beginning readers, written in the format of ten rhyming riddles about American treasures. For example, riddle five is "Baked in the oven, round and sweet, try a slice for a tasty treat," and the answer is "Apple Pie", naturally. Bright, colorful illustrations add the perfect touch to this delightful addition to the "Little" board book series for the very young.

Every Day By the Bay
Gail Gompper, author/illustrator
Puddle Jump Press
763 Rt. 9W, Nyack, NY 10960
9780972648776, $9.95,

"Every Day By the Bay" is a delightful illustrated board book for youngsters age 0-5 years with jolly tales of outings and pictures of beach life activities for children. Two young families and 6 children enjoy vacation days by the bay in all kinds of weather, rainy, chilly, sunny, and windy. Cheerful, brightly colored illustrations show specific treasures for children to identify and seek at the bay, and outdoor activities in all weather is positively featured. "Every Day By the Bay" is a great children's vacation story that can help youngsters anticipate or remember pleasant outdoor times at the bay.

Get Happy
Malachy Doyle, author
Caroline Uff, illustrator
Walker & Co.
c/o Bloomsbury Publishing.
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780802722713, $15.99,

"Get Happy" is a delightful preschool-age illustrated book with text in verse and soft, colorful pictures of children finding happy ways to play through their day. The style of verse is simple two-word commands that promise ways to be happy to any young child "Sniffle less. Snuggle more!" For simplicity, the message of "Get Happy" could not be more efficient or effective. Parents and young children will enjoy poring over each page of illustrations that embellish the pungent verses.

The Native American Shelf

Tales of Little Bear and Little Buffalo
Roy Naquin, author
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Road
515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432766276, $9.95,

"Tales of Little Bear and Little Buffalo" is a collection of authentic family stories about two Choctaw-Chitimacha Indian boys who lived on Isle de Jean Charles near Houma, Louisiana, during the early 1900's, when traditional life was changing rapidly. Little Bear and Little Buffalo are descended from a chief of the Choctaw-Chitimacha Indian tribe who chose to settle on the Isle de Jean Charles, close neighbors of the Cajun French speaking community. Little Bear and Little Buffalo face many challenges and adventures in their daily lives. Just walking to school is a great danger as certain hungry swamp predators are hunting early in the morning when the boys need to be going to school. So it was safer to go to school by boat, if possible, in the cypress swamp. Little Bear and Little Buffalo manage to accomplish a deed of great value to the tribe in trapping, roping and catching a huge alligator who had been eating calves and livestock. Even though he tries to keep his deed secret, Little Bear is awarded with his own dugout by his father as a sign of respect and acknowledgement that he had done something for the good of the tribe. Other tales of Little Bear and Little Buffalo are filled with many more examples of adventures, near misses, escapes, and also values and lessons learned. Loyalty, friendship, and courtesy and respect for elders, and responsibility for the good of the family and the tribe are recurring themes. The "Tales of Little Bear and Little Buffalo" originated as family stories and verbal histories, and their sharing and retelling enriches a wide audience. Young readers age 8 and up will enjoy these exciting tales of a different time, an exotic place and a life that was very close to nature.

The American History Shelf

The Adventures of Sasha and Malia at the White House
Carol Francois and P. Segal, authors
Jay Mazhar, illustrator
New Vision Works
1085 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
9780983193159, $24.99 hc
9780983193104, $14.99 pbk,

"The Adventures of Sasha and Malia at the White House" is a creative children's book about the history of Black Americans from slavery to emancipation to the election of our first Black President, Barack Obama, in November of 2008. Sasha and Malia, daughters of President Obama and Michele Obama, find history relived and revealed in their explorations of the White House Library. The girls meet an imaginary guide, a black man named Hosiah, in their adventures. Hosiah helps them understand the story of how their father could come to be president of the United States of America. In the process, they meet Charles Douglas, son of Frederick Douglas, who wrote down ideas that inspired proposed legislation that was destined to become Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the black slaves in America. If this had not happened, Sasha and Malia's father could not have become president over 100 years later. Sash and Malia have many more harrowing adventures and interactions in their mystical trip back in time, but they finally return to the present with a firmer understanding of the men and women who helped shape history for Black Americans. "The Adventures of Sasha and Malia at the White House" uses both imaginary or fictitious and real characters to tell the story of emancipation of Black Americans. At the end of the book, questions and answers cover some of the issues faced by the first Black Americans who worked so hard for Emancipation. "The Adventures of Sasha and Malia" is written to be enjoyed by children age 7-10.

Cowboys and the Wild West
Hilarie N. Staton
c/o Macmillan
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780753465103, $19.89,

"Cowboys and the Wild West" is from Kingfisher's 'All About America' series written and illustrated expressly for children ages 9-12 featuring the exciting frontier history of the south and western United States. Focused on the era between the early 1800's and 1890, "Cowboys and the Wild West" presents exciting pieces of historical information as two page articles with lots of period photographs, drawings and illustrations, and handy historical note sidebars. There are articles on vaqueros, the cattle business, being on the trail, stampede, guns and rifles, outlaws and lawmen, and dividing up the open range, which led to range war and the end of an era. In addition to many exciting pages of articles, notes, and engravings, "Cowboys and the Wild West" is completed with a glossary, timeline, and additional information including both websites and bibliography. Meticulously researched and presented, "Cowboys and the Wild West" is a fabulous resource that will both entertain and accurately educate students in grades 4-6. Other titles recommended in this outstanding series include: "All About America: Colonists and Independence," by Sally Senzall Isaacs (ISBN 978-753465134), "All About America: Wagon Trains and Settlers," by Ellen H. Todras (ISBN 9780753465110), and All About America: Gold Rush and Riches," by Paul Robert Walker (ISBN 9780753465127). All titles are also available in a paperback edition for $9.99 each.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Pixie Tales: 5 Read-To-Me Fantasy Stories
Francine L. Trevens, author
Maggie Cousins, illustrator
T'n'T Classic Books
360 West 36St., #2NW
New York, NY 10018
9781886586154, $9.95,

"Pixie Tales" is a pithy little collection of fantasy tales for children ages 4-9. Color illustrations add interest and spark. The pixies and fantastic being play helpful roles in solving real problems like how do you deal with bad kids who try to destroy natural settings and creatures. Designed to be read by older children to younger children, "Pixie Tales" offers some unexpected perspectives on issues children are becoming aware of, such as how to keep hope and magic alive as we age. "Pixie Tales" is filled with charm, surprises, and magical spunk. Children will enjoy sharing is with their favorite adult.

Billie the Unicorn
Brianne Drouhard
P.O. Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94127
9781597020244, $15.95,

"Billie the Unicorn" is a delicious adventure/fable by the acclaimed creator of The Powerpuff Girls and many other animated works. Billie wishes to grow beautiful flowers and plants like her forest friends, Rhubarb and Smudge, skilled unicorn/gardeners. Although her first attempts are slight (blue cornflowers and corn), she is determined to accomplish greater garden miracles. She follows her dream out of the forest to a garden of the Queen but this turns out to be a disastrous move. Thanks to the kindness of her friends, Rhubarb and Smudge, Billie is rescued from a dreary life of chained unicorn servitude. Billie discovers that you can't grow flowers when you are not happy, and the best recipe for happiness and success is to be true to yourself. "Billie the Unicorn" is sure to appeal to children ages 4-8, and their parents will enjoy reading it with their children.

Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon
Lindsay Ward, author illustrator
Kane Miller
c/o EDC
P.O. Box 470663, Tulsa OK 74147
9781935279778, $15.99,

"Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon" is a whimsical illustrated fantasy about space travel by bathtub, with adventures. Pelly and her spotted dog, Mr. Harrison notice there is a rocket engine attached to their bathtub. They excitedly decide to go to the moon! They meet a friendly green alien who invites them home for dinner - moon pies, of course! Then they go gravity leaping, which MR. Harrison excels at. After many more moon adventures (including making s'moons, Pelly's personal favorite), Pelly and Mr. Harrison say goodbye to their moon friend and sail back to earth in their rocket powered bathtub. A familiar voice asks Pelly if she's done brushing her teeth, and the pair retire to dream of moon pies. But wait! Up on the moon, a little green alien child notices something strange about his bathtub -------! All kids of any age (but especially 4-8) will adore "Pelly and Mr. Harrison visit the Moon" for its vitality, imaginative whimsy, and sense of fun. The unusual labeled illustrations and choice of purple/green color combos bring delightful detail to a wonderful fantasy.

Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny, second edition
Brittney Cassity
Privately Published
9780615406534 $5.49

Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny is a children's novel following intrepid fourth grader Dr. Wei Smart (the preferred nomenclature of the young protagonist and Future Man of Science) as he discovers a mysterious new life form under his dresser. Or is the Dust Bunny truly alive at all? As our curious-minded hero studies his new discovery, the revelations threaten to transform his latest find into a big problem! An enjoyable read cover-to-cover, Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny is especially notable for featuring an intelligent young hero who loves science.

c/o TOR/Forge
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10110

Laurence Yep's CITY OF ICE (9780765319258, $17.99) provides Book 2 of the City Trilogy and is a 'must' for any collection seeing excitement over the prior book. Set in an alternate version of our world in 1941, a place packed with magic and mystical beings such as dragons - this provides the continuing story of Scirye and her companions who are pursing an evil dragon and a villain - all the way to the Arctic Circle. A prince trader and his daughter help them chase their enemies, but the real goal is the prevention of evil's ability to alter the universe itself. A spirit friend could either help or hurt in this involving saga. David Lubar's ATTACK OF THE VAMPIRE WEENIES AND OTHER WARPED AND CREEPY TALES (9780765323453, $15.99) tells of a middle school boy up against a free-for-all when a party is invaded by some surprise guest. It's the vampire weenie - and this offers a new Weenies short-story collection perfect for middle-school readers who prefer to absorb short tales of humor and fantasy.

The Fiction Shelf

Sammy Squirrel & Rodney Raccoon To The Rescue
Duane Lawrence, author
Gordon Clover, illustrator
Granville Island Publishing
212-1656 Duranleau
Vancouver, BC Canada V6H 3S4
9781894694988 $12.95

The second book in the Stanley Park series, Sammy Squirrel & Rodney Raccoon To The Rescue is a brief novel intended for young adults ages 7 to 12 following animal friends Sammy Squirrel and Rodney Raccoon, in their search to find and rescue their captured crow friend Judy. Their quest takes them from their cozy park home to the hustle and bustle of the big Canadian city of Vancouver, and the mysterious underground Animal Inn. New friends Ferdinand Fox and Mortimer Mole lend their aid in this exciting adventure of bravery, friendship, and daring to challenge the unknown! A handful of black-and-white illustrations enhance this engaging story.

The Case of the Purple Diamonds
Illustrated by Tim Davis
TAG Publishers
2618 Lipscomb, Amarillo, TX 79109
c/o HK Gilbert (publicity)
9781934606070 $9.95

The Case of the Purple Diamonds is the first book of the "Barkley, Secret Service Dog" chapter book series for young readers ages 8-12. Featuring the titular sunglasses-wearing protective pooch and girl who starts out on his bad side but works with him to crack the mystery, The Case of the Purple Diamonds is a free-spirited adventure brought to life with full-color, cartoon-style illustrations on almost every page. Highly recommended as a great way to foster a love of reading in young people, The Case of the Purple Diamonds is an excellent giftbook as well as a choice pick for school and public library fiction collections.

Clover, the Plover, and Muffin, the Puffin and the Oil Spill
Simplyleslie, author
Deb Stafford, illustrator
Vantage Press Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, 18th floor
New York, NY 10016
9780533158584 $7.95

Clover, the Plover, and Muffin, the Puffin and the Oil Spill is not an ordinary children's storybook - the tale of two avian families that come together in the wake of tragedy is a solid metaphor for the existence of blended and foster families today. Uncomplicated black-and-white illustrations add a visual touch to the immersive tale of feathered friends trying to survive and thrive in the wake of a terrible event. Highly recommended.

I've Got an Idea
Eric Walters
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street
Brighton, MA 02135-3303
9781554551194 $9.95

Social worker, former teacher, and award-winning author Eric Walters presents I've Got an Idea, a novel for young adults following two young men, Alex and Sam, gifted with above-average intelligence, if not necessarily a corresponding sense of caution! When they befriend and unusual fellow sixth-grader named Twilight Stevens, she talks them into a surprisingly dangerous undertaking - they plan to sneak off to New York City to see a rock concert! Their journey becomes an order of magnitude more convoluted as they find themselves hiding in her father's apartment and desperately trying to dodge a menacing gang of brutes. A rollicking adventure ensues!

Latasha and the Little Red Tornado
Michael Scotto, author
Evette Gabriel, illustrator
Midlandia Press
c/o NNDS Corp.
1000 3rd Street
Beaver, PA 15009
9780983724308 $10.99

Latasha and the Little Red Tornado is an engaging novel for young adults following eight-year-old Latasha Gandy and her mischievous puppy Ella Fitzgerald. Ella's puppy antics are almost completely out of control; Latasha must work hard to train Ella to be an obedient dog, even as she deals with the daily pressures of school and the repercussions of her mother's difficult new job. A handful of black-and-white illustrations enhance this heartwarming story about an African-American girl and her canine friend learning what it means to grow up and be responsible, together.

Nicholasa Mohr
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico
452 Cullen Performance Hall
Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558856967, $12.95,

Racism is not something that will be defeated easily. "Nilda" is a novel following young Puerto Rican girl Nilda, as she faces oppression growing up in New York City as an immigrant. Through it all, she faces everything and learns much about the world, faith, family, and much more on the backdrop of the rapidly changing era of World War II. "Nilda" is a coming of age novel, very much recommended.

Dragonfly Landing
Helen L. O'Reilly
Bug Print Press
346 Irwin Lane, Lillington, NC 27546
9780982964101, $12.99,

When it all rides on one thing to survive, the strength shown in its pursuit can be amazing. "Dragonfly Landing" is a young adult fiction novel following a pair of insect friends charged with preventing the destruction of their home. It won't be easy for them to go against the insurmountable, but failure is not an option; they will stop at nothing to succeed. "Dragonfly Landing" is a fun read for young adults who want to embrace imagination.

Ordinary Beauty
Laura Wiess
Gallery Books
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781439193969, $13.00,

ORDINARY BEAUTY tells of Sayre, who grew up knowing she was unplanned and unwanted. She's been cursed and used her whole short life, but she's stuck by her mother anyway and tried to be important to her even as her mother slipped further into addiction. Now her mother is near death - and all Sayre wishes is to be assured of her love. ORDINARY BEAUTY is a moving saga of family relationships and love which is a pick for any mature teen reader.

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

PASSION by Lauren Kate (9780385739160, $17.99) provides a new Fallen novel, the third in the series, and is a recommendation for readers who have loved the prior books. Here Luce revisits her past incarnations to understand her fate, seeking to rid herself of the curse that makes her love with Daniel impossible. Luce has died for Daniel - over and over again. But she's sure something in her past life can break this pattern - and her journey to witness past romances with Daniel may change her life once and for all in this fine fantasy for high school teens. Barrie Summy's I SO DON'T DO FAMOUS (9780385737906, $16.99) provides the first-person story of a girl who has a boyfriend who's in eighth grade, and who is known for solving cases thanks to the help of her ghost mother in the spirit world. Her discovery of a mystery on Hollywood Boulevard, where someone's stealing from the homes of celebrities, makes for an intriguing and zany story kids will find different. Kirby Larson's THE FRIENDSHIP DOLL (9780385737456, $15.99) is written from the viewpoint of a doll who in 1927 joins fifty-seven doll 'sisters' to journey to another country as Ambassadors of Friendship. Based on the true story the Friendship Dolls, this provides a satisfying fictional tale of the dolls and how they achieved the goal of bringing friendship and cross-cultural connections to a range of lives.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Animals Alive
Lee Wilson, et. al., editors
DK Publishing, Inc.
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
9780756672133 $15.99

Beautifully illustrated with stunning, full-color photographs on every page Animals Alive: The Fight for Survival in the Wild introduces young adults to the difficult and dangerous natural world that animals must face every day in their battle to survive. Chapters describe the many threats that menace endangered species today (many of which are instigated or exacerbated by humans): habitat loss, climate change, hunting, dwindling food supplies, pollution, disease, and natural hazards. From the feisty Tasmanian devil to the brilliant golden toad to the captivating jaguar and more, Animals Alive superbly showcases the rigors that wildlife must face and is highly recommended for young nature lovers and public library collections. Also a choice pick from DK Publishing is Jane Bull's "Make It!" (9780756682286, $12.99), an amazingly practical crafting book filled with creative project ideas from leftover scraps and recyclable materials.

Big Cat, Little Kitty
Scotti Cohn, author
Susan Detwiler, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A-2
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607181248, $16.95,

"Big Cat, Little Kitty" presents a stunningly illustrated set of pairs of cats to show the relatedness of big cat species to the more familiar and much smaller domestic cat breeds. Big cat species depicted include the lion, tiger, jaguar, bobcat, cheetah, snow leopard and cougar. Many examples of domestic felines are shown in contrast, though they have similar characteristics. At the end of "Big Cat, Little Kitty" there are fun facts for creative minds, plus a map and matching activity for the 7 cats of the world featured, plus Cat True False Questions and Cat Senses and Adaptations. Further teaching activities are available at, for children age 5 and up. "Big Cat, Little Kitty" is also available in eBooks with auto-flip and auto-read, and in both English and Spanish.

Baby Kitten Wants a Friend
Michael Teitelbaum
Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9781601152893, $9.95 hardcover, $4.99 paperback

"Baby Kitten Wants a Friend" is a new publication from the Photo Adventure Books series for children pre-K to grade 2. The action-packed narrative is perfectly illustrated by full page color photos of a kitten exploring her world in search of a friend. Fun facts are highlighted in insets called fact stops, with further photo illustrations of the fun facts. "Baby Kitten Wants a Friend" is designed to be used in three possible ways: independent reading of the text by early readers, shared reading with a parent or other adult, or shared reading buddy style in a school or home setting. Questions at the Look Back section at the end of the book encourage the students to remember what they learned from each Fact Stop and other reading. Also recommended in this series is "Baby Tiger Wants to Explore," by Alice Green (ISBN 9781601152879, $9.95 hardback).

A Friend for Einstein
Charlie Cantrell and Dr. Rachel Wagner
c/o Hyperion Books
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423145639, $16.99,

"A Friend for Einstein: The Smallest Stallion" tells the story of the smallest miniature hose ever born, a mini-miniature horse named Einstein. Einstein's hooves were about the size of quarters, but he was still a real horse, just very small. Who could be a friend for Einstein? This beautiful photo essay explores Einstein's search for a friend. Will it be a kitten, a tortoise, a bunny, or a duck? Or none of the above? Finally Einstein meets a loving dog named Lily. They play together happily in the sunny meadow. Children of all ages will enjoy this tender story of a celebrity horse, the smallest stallion. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of "A Friend for Einstein" goes to the ASPCA Equine Fund.

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could
Sandy Nathan
Vilasa Press
P. O. Box 1316, Santa Ynez, CA 93460
9780976280996, $14.95,

"Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could" is a beautiful photo-illustrated true story about a foal born prematurely who finds a happy life despite extreme odds against him. Tecolote, a tiny Peruvian Paso buckskin colt, is born 10 days early, on a freezing night. His mother, Rosie, is so protective of him that she bites the arm of her human owner. They are unable to rescue the baby colt the night he is born and after calling the vet, they return the next day. With extra special handling, the ranch family and helper Tony are able to persuade Tecolote's mother, Rosie, to come into the shelter with her colt, and he receives the special care he needs to grow strong enough to survive. Happy days were to follow, but also sadness, for Rosie the mother of Tecolote, who was an aged and ill mare, died when he was only 5 months old. The problem became who would help Tecolote to finish his growing up and learning how to be an adult horse. Fortunately, the ranch family who owned Tecolote found a creative solution to the little boy horse's loneliness in another special needs horse, Tio Eddie. Tio Eddie needed a job to do and Tecolote needed a mentor. With careful introductions, the two became best buddies and proceeded to help each other. The rest of the story of "Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could" goes on to explore another horse friendship that enriched both horses' lives as well as the lives of the humans who cared for them. "Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could" is a warm inspirational true story about a magnificent animal whose kind heart is only a reflection of the love and joy of his kind owners. This story will appeal to both children and adults.

The Mountain Pine Beetle
Kay Turnbaugh
Pruett Publishing Company
PO Box 2140, Boulder, CO 80306-2140
9780871089588, $14.95,

THE MOUNTAIN PINE BEETLE: TINY BUT MIGHTY offers fun drawings by artist David Brooks to accompany over 40 photos as it considers the life and natural history of a tiny beetle that is killing entire forests in the Rocky Mountains. From the nature of the beetle to how trees are fighting back, this tells how the beetle survives winter, chooses trees to attack, and how it is an epidemic in the forest. Kids in grades 3-4 with good reading skills will find this an involving survey.

The Gaming Shelf

Chess Openings for Kids
John Watson and Graham Burgess
Gambit Publications
9781906454265 $16.95

Chess Openings for Kids features no fewer than 50 excellent opening plays for the game of chess. Each opening is featured in a two-page spread and illustrated with black-and-white diagrams. Chess Openings for Kids does not shy away from chess shorthand in its explanations, and is in fact an excellent beginner's guide for chess players of all ages and backgrounds. Highly recommended, especially as a resource for school chess clubs.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

How Kwaku Ananse, Master Hairstylist, Saved the Animal Kingdom
Megan Muthupandiyan, author
Brian A. Keepers, illustrator
Songbird Books
P.O. Box 13734, Wauwautosa, WI 53213
9780615372037, $19.99,

"How Kwaku Ananse, Master Hairstylist, Saved the Animal Kingdom, An Ashanti Folktale" is a modern interpretation of an ancient Ashanti tale about a creative response to bullying tactics. Kwaku Ananse is a special spider, a wise and crafty trickster character in Ashanti traditions who teaches many things. Kwaku Ananse is the wisest and bravest of all creatures. When all the animals are suffering because of Lion's bullying and destructive behavior, they come to Kwaku Ananse, who is a hairstylist for all the animals, relates a plan. All the animals cooperate, and in showing off their new, creative hairstyles, they touch the vanity of Lion, who roars to demand an even more beautiful hairstyle. The cleverness with which Kwaku Ananse traps Lion and then confronts him with his own rude and thoughtless behavior is truly admirable. Beautiful, exotic illustrations bring the animal but human-like characters to life, and children will delight in the adeptness of Kwaku Ananse and indeed all the animals. Finally the animals decide to seek different places to live where they will be safe from the bullying of Lion. At the end of the book, there are concept review and reflection questions to help children identify possible wise strategies to respond to bullying behavior. "How Kwaku Ananse, Master Hairstylist, Saved the Animal Kingdom" is a beautiful retelling of a mythic tale with modern applications, written for children age 6 and up.

The Enchanted Flounder
Susan Meredith
Rocking Chair Publications, Inc.
90 Edgewater Drive, Suite 817
Coral Gables, FL 33133
9780984286669, $7.99,

"The Enchanted Flounder" is a Gram's Fairy Tales re imagining of the original Grimm's fairy tales without the scary elements, including violence. The emphasis in this Grandparent Approved series is on tickles and giggles, not violence and scary stuff. "The Enchanted Flounder" is a true classic revisited, laced with lyrical humor and piquant vision. Charming illustrations show the progression of the wishes granted by a small green-eyed princess transformed into a flounder to a poor humble fisherman with a greedy wife. In the end, everyone gets exactly what they wish for, even if it doesn't quite turn out as they imagined. And yes, there is a happily ever after, quite satisfying for both children and adults.

Princess to the Rescue
Claudia Souza, author
Christelle Ammirati, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street Ste. 401
Toronto, ON M5V 2M5 Canada
9781897187937, $15.95,

"Princess to the Rescue" is an alternative take on traditional fairytales and story telling. Rather than being helpless and in need of rescue, the (female) princess is spunky, resourceful, and brave, and saves the prince. Adults and kids will chuckle their way through "Princess to the Rescue," and savor extra enjoyment when child-like crayoned illustrations adorn the larger, humorous sketches in color. Teaching that gender is not a requirement for brave, courageous action, "Princess to the Rescue" will wind its way into the heart even as it topples cherished old stereotypes dissolved in laughter.

The Pirate and the Penguin
Patricia Storms
c/o Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781897349670, $16.95,

"The Pirate and the Penguin" is a delightful illustrated fable about two unlikely friends who meet seeking different dreams. Penguin has itchy feet and wants adventure and sunshine, and Pirate is tired of voyaging, treasure-hunting, and scratchy sunburns, and wants to find inner peace. The meeting of Pirate and Penguin is predictably chaotic, and ultimately, the two decide to trade places to seek their dreams. This highly enterprising pair find unusual happiness in their exchange, and one pirate's tired tour becomes one penguin's life fulfillment, while a very despairing, bored pirate, finds cool inner peace and contentment on an Antarctic ice shelf. "The Pirate and the Penguin" is an imaginative interpretation of the "Prince and the Pauper" theme that will appeal to kids age 4 and up. Spunky, wacky, cartoon-like color illustrations add to the story appeal and impact.

The Audiobook Shelf

Roy McMillan, author
Jasper Britton, narrator
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28
Franklin, TN 37064
9781843794844 $17.98

Pirates! is an unabridged audiobook history of feared sea thieves, packed with amazing and extraordinary facts. Though intended especially for young adults, Pirates! will enthrall listeners of all ages with its true tales of legendary pirates, their buried treasure, and even women who dressed as men on pirate ships. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library young adult audiobook collections. 2 CDs, 2 hours 38 min.2 CDs, 2 hours 38 min. Also a choice pick for listeners young and old is Naxos' unabridged audiobook adaptation of David Angus' "The Vikings", read by Joe Marsh (2 CDs, 2 hours 25 min.), an absorbing documentary of the raiders and looters who plundered the coasts of Europe from the 8th to the 11th centuries.

Nate the Great Collected Stories: Volume 3
Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, author
John Lavelle, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
9780307916693 $28.00

Nate the Great Collected Stories: Volume 3 gathers the third collection of classic children's mystery stories featuring Nate the Great and his faithful canine companion Sludge. Enthusiastically performed by Broadway actor John Lavelle, the tales include "The Lost List", "The Sticky Case", "The Fishy Prize", "The Boring Beach Bag", "The Stolen Base", "The Mushy Valentine", "Talks Turkey", and "The Hungry Book Club", a particularly shocking story about a monster that rips pages out of books (how utterly abominable)! A delight for young listeners, Nate the Great Collected Stories: Volume 3 is especially recommended for car trips, rainy day fun, and children's public library audiobook collections. 4 hours.

The Music CD Shelf

Back to the Garden
Ted Jacobs
House At The Corner Music
10061 Riverside Drive #841
Toluca Lake, CA 91602-2560
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Back to the Garden (33 min.) is the third music CD by musician Ted Jacobs, who has a special talent for setting the lyrics of classic children's poems to music. From a waltzing melody to complement Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Swing", to a country jig for "Autumn Fires", to the moody, instrumental strains interspersed in "The Land of Nod". A delightful, family-friendly album sure to appeal to all ages, highly recommended. The tracks are "A Good Play" (1:47), "The Swing" (2:04), "My Ship and I" (2:11), "Farewell to the Farm" (2:28), "Autumn Fires" (2:21), "Picture Books in Winter" (2:51), "Keepsake Mill" (3:09), "The Hayloft" (2:27), "The Land of Nod" (3:17), "To My Name Child" (4:17), "My Kingdom" (3:05), and "Escape at Bedtime" (2:27).

#1 Best Kid's Songs!
The Learning Station
3950 Bristol Court
Melbourne, FL 32904

#1 Best Kid's Songs! lives up to its title with adaptations of classic, family-friendly tunes interspersed with a blast of original music. An accompanying guide offers suggested dances and play-along activities to enhance this upbeat, fan-tested album perfect for recess, children's parties, and rainy day fun. The tracks are "Make New Friends", "Nursery Rhyme Dance", "Boom Chicka Boom", "I Love the Mountains", "Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends", "Fred the Moose", "Ain't it Great to be Crazy", "Day O'Time to Go Home", "Go Bananas", "Wishy Washy Washer Woman", "Baby Shark", "Fill Your Bucket", "Rockin' My Hips", "Stone Soup", and "We Got the Whole World".

Rockin' Aerobics
LeAnn Haggard
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477
Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477

Rockin' Aerobics is more than just a children's music CD - it promotes healthy exercise by encouraging young listeners to get up and move! Easy-to-follow routines and catchy music encourage young people to engage in all different gross motor movements. An interstitial section called "Brain Breaks" consists of short activities encouraging young people to use their brains as well as their bodies! In a modern world increasingly saturated with sedentary activities and video games, Rockin' Aerobics is a breath of fresh air and enthusiastically recommended for families everywhere. The tracks are "Latin Heat" (2:38), "Hip Hoppin' Groove Mooves" (2:29), "In a Mumbai Mood" (2:25), "Country Stroll" (3:38), "Hustle Bustle" (2:47), "Rockin' Aerobics" (3:03), "Bluegrass Stomp" (2:12), "Disco Disco" (3:11), "Bop N' Roll" (2:30), "Rap Zap" (2:55), "Classic Cool Down" (3:12), "Surfin' the Brain Wave" (1:14), "Mariachi Mind Moves" (1:05), "Timeout" (1:12), "Latin Heat Instrumental" (2:38), "Hip Hoppin' Instr." (2:29), "Mumbai Mood Instr." (2:25), "Hustle Bustle Instr." (2:47), "Rockin' Aerobics" (3:03), "Bluegrass Stomp" (2:12).

Making Silly Faces
Nick Deysher, a.k.a. In the Nick of Time
In the Nick of Time Music
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Parents' Choice Gold Award-winning children's musician Nick Deysher, recording under the moniker In the Nick of Time, presents Making Silly Faces, a cheerful children's music album encapsulating a little bit of everything, from rock, pop, and disco to reggae, funk and jazz. The cheerful songs reach out to young people and are sure to bring smiles to their faces. The tracks are "The Sun Is Up", "Making Silly Faces", "Dancing Pants", "Pirates Never Say Please", "High Five Hive", "Abajo/Arriba", "In the Nick of Time", "I Tried It, I Liked It!", "Punk Rocks", "Slumber Party", "It's Easy Being Green", "You've Got To Have Patience", and "Let's Hear It for the Band". 37 min.

Wild Child
Recess Music
Big Round Records
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Fourth in the award-winning "Celebrate Earth" series of music CDs intended especially for children ages 4-12, Wild Child features a panoply of children's musicians performing songs on the common theme of African wildlife. In keeping with the environmental theme, a portion of the profits from Wild Child will benefit Roots and Shoots, the children's branch of the Jane Goodall Institute. A wonderfully catchy and uplifting children's music album, highly recommended. The tracks are "Earthly Lullaby" (4:07), "Serengeti" (3:44), "Rainforest By Morning" (3:48), "Sunrise in the Jungle" (5:09), "Rita The Cheetah" (3:48), "Africa Calling" (3:57), "Mysteries of the Nile" (3:45), "Elephant in the Congo" (3:28), "Drumming With The Animals" (2:50), "Animals" (2:17), "Just Another Day In The Jungle" (2:48), "Mountain Lion" (2:49), "Thula Baba" (1:56), and "Full Moon Over Africa" (3:42).

Beethoven's Wig
Richard Perlmutter
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Piano Classics is a unique, family-friendly pairing of classical piano music and catchy lyrics. Part of an award-winning and Grammy-nominated series, Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Piano Classics is a wonderful introduction to the joys of classical music; half of the tricks are sing-along songs, while the other half simply instrumental classics, beautifully performed. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's music collections. 46 min.

My Name is Handel
Stephen Simon, conductor
Yadu, narrator
Maestro Classics
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127
9781932684100 $16.98

Part of the Great Composer series, My Name is Handel: The Story of Handel's 'Water Music' is a music CD telling the story of Handel, who decides to offer a unique musical gift to King George I during a royal boat trip on the River Thames. The London Philharmonic Orchestra brings the story to life with music from the great classics "Water Music", "Messiah", and "Rinaldo". My Name is Handel is a wonderful way to introduce young people ages seven and up to the majesty of great music, yet its timeless appeal will reach out to family members of all ages. Highly recommended, especially as a gift to families or for public library music CD collections. 48 min. 45 sec.

The DVD Shelf

Sight Words
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595
Conroe, TX 77305-3595
9781934312117 $19.99

Intended for viewers getting ready for kindergarten an early grades, Sight Words is an educational DVD featuring over 60 words taught in context in order to help little ones learn how to read. Each word is colorfully printed on the screen in context of computer-animated characters and songs that help ingrain their meaning. An excellent, family-friendly primer especially recommended for kindergarten, grade school and public library children's DVD collections. The sight words covered are "up, down, come, go, in out, of, the, a, where, is, it, here, there, one, two, three, red, yellow blue, little, big, look, see, find, run, jump, play, away, and, you, I, we, can, make, funny face, get, to, for me, my, give, from came, as, are, no, not, now, said, help, will, he, she, his, her, they, that, was, with, & on." 50 min.

The Animated Kid's Bible
Questar, Inc.
307 North Michigan Ave., Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60601
9781594646584 $29.99

The Animated Kid's Bible is an extraordinary, three-DVD set that brings classic stories of the Bible to life with computer animation! Completely faithful to the religious and spiritual message of the holy book, The Animated Kid's Bible vividly renders six great tales with vibrant and colorful imagery. The programs are "Adam and Eve: The Creation Story", "Noah's Ark: The Voyage", "Tower of Babel: Towering Pride & True Lies", "Sodom & Gomorrah: Rain of Fire", "Abraham & His Sons: Brothers At War", and "Joseph & His Brothers: The Dream Reader". The animated Kid's Bible is as family-friendly as possible, given the historical violence and suffering recounted in these classic Biblical tales, and is strongly recommended especially for Christian family and church DVD collections. 229 min.

All the World
Liz Garton Scanlon, author
Marla Frazee, illustrator
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street
Norwalk, CT 06851
054532579X $59.95

Intended for children ages 3-7, All the World is the DVD adaptation of the Caldecott Honor picturebook written by Liz Garton Scanlon and warmly illustrated by Marla Frazee. A read-along feature enhances the loving story following a circle of family and friends during an ordinary day, emphasizing the wonder and value of even the smallest of joys, especially when momentary treasures - such as experiencing the beauty of the sunset - are shared. An interview with the Marla Frazee rounds out this excellent addition to public and school library children's DVD collections. 8 minutes.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Michael Jackson
Saddleback Educational Publishing
3120 Pullman Street
Cosa Mesa, CA 92626-4564
9781616512651 $7.95

Part of the "Graphic Biography" series by Saddleback Educational Publishing, Michael Jackson is a completely truthful and factual graphic novel biography of the famous pop star singer. Accessible to readers of all ages, this thoughtful retelling does not ignore the dark sides of Michael Jackson's life, including but not limited to allegations of child abuse and drug addiction. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library collections.

The Math Shelf

Math Dictionary for Kids
Theresa A. Fitzgerald
Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813
9781593636449, $12.95,

Math can be fun if you present it right. "Math Dictionary for Kids" is a guide to the many forms of mathematics children will encounter in elementary and secondary schools such as Algebra, Geometry, Fractions, and much more. Designed as a reference to help with homework, Theresa A. Fitzgerald walks students and parents through many lessons, accompanied with sample problems and full color illustrations throughout. For any parent who wants to be prepared in helping their child with their homework, "Math Dictionary for Kids" is an excellent pick, very much recommended.

The Philosophy Shelf

Peculiar Stories
Mora Fields, author
Molly Aurora Koester, illustrator
O Street Publishing
3534 High St., Eugene, OR 97405
9780979141614, $6.95

"Peculiar Stories" is a great collection of philosophical explorations disguised as a young girl's ongoing dialogues and interactions with an eccentric uncle about the vicissitudes of life (as experienced by a 10 year old). Uncle E is in fact a kind and loving human teacher, one of the absolute best. How do you define spaciousness, inside yourself? What do you do with mean girls who try to bully you? What can you learn from your cat? All this and many more questions are dealt with in very peculiar ways, that end up encouraging young (and old) minds to stretch and grow. The author, Mora Fields, has been called the "Mark Twain of spiritual literature." "Peculiar Stories" is inspirational and thought provoking evidence that she really deserves this honorific label. "Peculiar Stories" may be written for kids age 8 and up, but lots of adults will enjoy reading it too, to discover what they used to know when they were kids.

The Poetry Shelf

A Child's Book of Animal Poems and Blessings
Collected by Eliza Blanchard
Illustrated by Joyce Hesselberth
Skinner House
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7
Newburyport, MA 01950-4600
9781558965584 $12.00

A Child's Book of Animal Poems and Blessings is a hardcover collection of classic children's poems with two themes: animal life and respectful spirituality. From a poem by Lewis Carroll to a Cochiti Indian poem about the deer, to a poem by an anonymous African pygmy about fish and much more, A Child's Book of Animal Poems and Blessings is an eclectic and extraordinary collection, perfect for reading aloud at storytime or bedtime, and brought to life with stylized color illustrations.

The Biography Shelf

Mohandas Gandhi, Champion of Freedom
Kem Knapp Sawyer
Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 South Elm Street, Suite 387
Greensboro, NC 27406
9781599351667, $28.95,

"Mohandas Gandhi, Champion of Freedom" is a biography of the great Indian leader and hero, creator of nonviolent protest and father to the self-governed nation of India. Nine chapters condense the complexities of the great figure's life and deeds, illustrated with many black and white photos and illustrations. A feature of "Mohandas Gandhi, Champion of Freedom" is the quiet emphasis placed not only on the life of Gandhi himself, but also the influence of Kasturbai Gandhi, his wife. Determined to create an India for Indians, Gandhi pursues his path with great patience, endurance, and vision. He determines a pathway of peaceful protest for all to follow which is called satyagraha. Gradually, with many adjustments and setbacks, this evolves into nonviolent protest, a tactic for which Gandhi wrote the manual repeatedly. In response to the atomic attack on Nagasaki, Gandhi said, "mankind has to get out of violence only through non-violence. Hatred can be overcome only by love." A devout Hindu and profound believer in India home rule, Gandhi's legacy is vast beyond measure. Impeccably researched and presented, "Mohandas Gandhi, Champion of Freedom" introduces the man and presents salient details of his life for young readers to digest and integrate. A timeline, list of sources, and bibliography plus websites complete this ambitious and well researched biography.

Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis
Jo Ellen Bogart, author
Mark Lang, illustrator
Tundra Books of Northern New York
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9781770492622, $8.95 paperback, 800-788-1074

"Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis" is a beautifully illustrated story of the life of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. Born in South Ohio, Nova Scotia, Maud eventually moved to Yarmouth and then later to Digby and Marshalltown, where she met her husband, Everett Lewis. Maud suffered from physical handicaps and crippling arthritis, but despite severe pain and extreme poverty, she captured joy in her marvelous paintings. Living all her adult life in a tiny house with no plumbing or electricity, she transformed her surroundings with her painted flowers and butterflies and scenes. She sold post cards, Christmas cards, and paintings that she made to help support herself and Everett. Though it was a hard life, her paintings reflect only a simple, natural joy in nature and life. "Capturing Joy" has many charming reproductions of Maud Lewis' paintings, plus many small, poignant black and white pencil drawings of the artist in her daily life, sensitively done by illustrator Mark Lang. "Capturing Joy" is written for children ages 7-10, a truly inspirational story of a transformed life, ending in the bequest of Maud Lewis to future generations, her painting. It is a rich legacy.

Books in Series

Documents of Democracy
Stephen Krensky
Marshall Cavendish Corporation
99 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591
$23.95 each/$95.80 set,

Stephen Krensky's "Documents of Democracy" series teaches young adults in grades eight and up about documents crucial to the birth and history of the United States of America. Colorful illustrations and reader-friendly text examine the history, purposes, and repercussions of each of these nation-changing writings. The result is a superb educational series, highly recommended especially for public and high school library collections. The volumes are "The Declaration of Independence" (9780761449133), "The Constitution" (9780761449171), "The Bill of Rights" (9780761449126), and "The Emancipation Proclamation" (9780761449157).

Our Emotions and Behavior
Sue Graves, author
Desideria Guicciardini, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
$12.99 each,

Former teacher Sue Graves presents the "Our Emotions and Behavior" series, created to help children ages 4 to 8 better understand the connection between their emotions and actions. Exuberant color illustrations bring to life simple stories about ordinary children interacting with their friends at school or at play. The final pages of each book offer suggestions for adults in sharing ways to effective cope and deal with feelings. The "Our Emotions and Behavior" series is enthusiastically recommended for parents as well as school and library children's collections. The titles are "Not Fair, Won't Share: A Book About Sharing" (9781575423753), "Who Feels Scared? A Book About Being Afraid" (9781575423746), "I'm Not Happy: A Book About Feeling Sad" (9781575423739), and "But Why Can't I? A Book About Rules" (9781575423760).

Cooking Healthy series
The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
29 East 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
$27.95 each

The "Cooking Healthy" series for young adults features not only recipes, but a wealth of valuable information about how to select healthy foods and basic techniques for preparing them. Although "Cooking Healthy" is intended for young adults, readers of all ages who are new to the art of cooking will benefit from the straightforward instructions illustrated with full color pictures. Highly recommended for school and public library collections, especially as a countermeasure to the modern-day overabundance of sugary processed foods and widespread obesity. The titles are "Cooking with Fruits and Vegetables" by Claire Llewellyn and Clare O'Shea (9781448848447), "Cooking with Cereals and Grains" by Jillian Powell and Clare O'Shea (9781448848423), "Cooking with Eggs and Dairy" by Powell and O'Shea (9781448848430), and "Cooking with Meat and Fish" by Llewellyn and O'Shea (9781448848454).

District 13 series
Saddleback Publishing Inc.
3120 Pullman Street
Cosa Mesa, CA 92626-4564
$5.50 each

Five new books in the "District 10" series of young adult sports-themed novels are written especially for a 1-2 grade reading level. Reaching out especially to young boys, each book features a different young man struggling with the demands of athletic competition, from the taxing rigors of training to the high tension of playing against a rival team. Highly recommended especially as a means to introduce more boys to the joy of reading. The titles are "Before the Snap" (9781616515812, a football story), "Down and Out" (9781616515829, football), "The Handoff" (9781616515836, track), "Hit Just Right" (9781616515843, baseball), and "A Second Shot" (9781616515805, basketball).

Morgan Reynolds Publishers
620 South Elm St. #387, Greensboro, SC 27406

Morgan Reynolds provides fine picks for advanced elementary to early middle school grade levels, and these new releases are some top recommendations for any collection looking for books suitable for reference and reports. Kem Knapp Sawyer's CHAMPION OF FREEDOM: MOHANDAS GANDHI (1599351668, $28.95) provides over 140 pages packed with biographical detail on Gandhi's life and achievements, telling how the London-trained lawyer left his native India to handle a legal matter for two Indian merchants in South Africa, only to find himself resisting the country's racial laws. Gandhi remained in South Africa for over two years and it was there that he formed his methods for nonviolent resistance, which he then brought back to India. An outstanding account of Gandhi's early influences, this is key to any understanding of his life and times. David Aretha's THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: BLACK POWER (1599351641, $28.95) offers a little over a hundred pages of discussion on the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 70s, offering insights into how it evolved, how it changed American culture and society, and how leaders of the movement successfully advocated a national black agenda. Any middle school collection with a strong focus in Mexican history and culture will find R. Conrad Stein's 'The Story of Mexico' series provides a fine in-depth discussion of the country's key figures and evolution. The account begins with ANCIENT MEXICO (1599351617, $26.95), covering the first Mexicans who traveled in bands and built villages that eventually evolved into cities and societies such as the Olmecs and Aztecs. MODERN MEXICO (1599351625, $26.95) moves into the period after the Mexican Revolution, which marked the start of modern Mexican development. From its evolving politics to its evolving social issues, this covers Mexico's growth into its current power. THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR (1599351609, $26.95), which was fought from 1846 to 1848, is covered in detail here which is a fine achievement given that the war is somewhat overlooked in American history books due to the Civil War's proximity on the timeline. Chapters cover the defeat of the Mexicans and how the war resulted in half their land being taken over by the U.S. EMILIANO ZAPATA AND THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION (1599351633, $26.95) tells how local hero Emiliano Zapata arise from the Revolution to become a leader for his peoples' rights. He lead the landless farmers of southern Mexico in their struggle against oppression and was killed late in the war - but his legacy lives on. All are fine picks for any collection looking for in-depth coverage of Mexican history.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9

Picturebook collections seeking unusual paperbacks for ages 6-9 by Patrice Racine will find these 40-page whimsical adventures comprising the 'The Adventures of Cosmo the Dodo Bird' series to be a fine pick for even the most reluctant reader. Eye-catching covers with dodos and monsters in full color accompany fun stories of the hero Cosmo, which has been a big hit in Quebec and appears here for English reader for the first time. Cosmo is a hero of the environment, and his adventures center around environmental issues and protection. THE MYSTERIOUS SUBSTANCE (9781770492479, $7.95), THE GREAT ILLUSION (9781770492486, $7.95), A FRIENDSHIP BEGINS (9781770492462, $7.95), and IN SEARCH OF THE JEWEL (9781770492455, $7.95) each introduce kids to positive action for planetary gain - but it's the very bright color-filled pages that deliver the effective message couched in an adventure discovery series perfect for all ages.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308
New York, NY 10118

The 'Tadpole' easy reading series expands with 12 new exciting titles, directed to reading Grade K-3 and packed with color illustrations, fun plots, and 24 pages of easy reading detail. Each book includes notes for adults, puzzles, and a fun large-color-illustration format perfect for kids! Andy Blackford and Hannah Wood's BILL'S BIKE (9780778705758, $16.95) is a simple exploration of a boy's bike and training wheels, Alan Blackford works with Gabriele Antonini in THE HUNGRY LITTLE MONKEY (9780778705819, $16.95), about a monkey frustrated by a banana, Pippa Goodhart and Sandra Aguilar's BIG CAT (9780778705741, $16.95) tells of a cat who likes to chase mice ... until he meets volume resistance, Sue Graves and Michael Garton's HARRY AND THE HORSE (9780778705796, $16.95) tells of a special ride at the fair on a horse named Magic, Sue Graves works with Richard Watson on A CAKE FOR DINNER (9780778705727, $16.95), in which a cake planned for Grandma brings a mother and daughter to disaster, Margaret Nash and Lisa Williams' DOG'S NEW COAT (9780778705765, $16.95) tells of a spotty new coat that just wont' go away, Ann Bryant and Garyfallia Leftheri's THE LOST BROOMSTICK (9780778705710, $16.95) tells of a young witch who loses her broomstick and how its finders keep losing it, Ann Bryant and Terry Pastor's HURRY UP! (9780778705802, $16.95) tells of a little tractor who is holding up all the other vehicles on the road, Clare DeMarco and Melanie Sharp's FREDDY'S TEDDY (9780778705772, $16.95) tells of a ripped teddy bear and a mother's attempt at fixing him, Leon Read and Clare Elsom's GEORGE THE KNIGHT (9780778705789, $16.95) tells of George, who needs too much equipment to be the kind of knight he longs to be, Jillian Powell and Beccy Blake's OH, JET! (9780778705826, $16.95) tells of a dog who plays fetch, only to bring back the wrong thing, and Evelyn Foster and Richard Morgan's ALAN AND THE ANIMALS (9780778705734, $16.95) tells of a boy with too many wild animals: where does he keep them all? The vivid color drawings and fun, varied reads will delight very early readers.

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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