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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 8 August 2012 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Multicultural Shelf Native American Shelf
Science Shelf Health Shelf Fiction Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf ABC Shelf Counting Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Poetry Shelf Activity Shelf American History Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Art Shelf Travel Shelf
Environmental Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Education Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Memoir Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

Sherrill S. Cannon, author
Kalpart, illustrations
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
12620 FM 1960, Suite A4-507
Houston, TX 77065
9781618972675, $13.00,

"Gimme-Jimmy" is a colorfully illustrated rhyming book about a greedy bully boy who never said "please" or "thank you" and consequently had no friends. Jimmy's father was so concerned he finally tells Jimmy his hand will grow bigger every time he says "Gimme!" This leads to a most awkward and astonishing situation for Jimmy, for his hand soon grows so large it is an impediment and a painful burden to him! Lo and behold, there is a way Jimmy can help his hand to shrink. He only has to practice pleasant manners, like saying, "please," "thank you," and being generally polite and courteous to others. Jimmy tries this and sure enough, his hand begins to shrink! Finally it is the same size as his other hand, and wonder of wonders, he has friends to play with again! "Gimme-Jimmy" is a marvelous morality tale that teaches children the value of being kind and courteous to others.

I'm Like You, You're Like Me
Cindy Gainer, author
Miki Sakamoto, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575423838, $14.99,

"I'm Like You, You're Like Me: A Book About Understanding and Appreciating Each Other" is a book about teaching tolerance and respect to children. A simple narrative uses six concepts to develop acceptance of diversity: comparing, acceptance, listening, understanding of self and others, kindness, and cooperation. Filled with charming, cheerful, colorful illustrations that detail children of many different races, skin colors, cultures, and backgrounds, playing cooperatively together, "I'm Like You, You're Like Me" stresses the fundamental underlying principle of respect for others, our common humanity. "I'm Like You, You're Like Me" can be used to spark discussion of differences, feelings about being respected, and a variety of reactions to the concepts discussed. "I'm Like You, You're Like Me" can be a powerful tool to help teach children both to respect and to celebrate their differences. Recommended for children at reading levels of grades 1-2, or above.

The Bears and the Baby
P. J. McLean, author
C. S. Jenkins, illustrator
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466913356, $17.44,

"The Bears and the Baby" is a sensitively crafted children's picture book about the arrival of a new member of the family and how this affects the menagerie of adorable teddy bears who live in the new baby's sunny bedroom. Embellished with expressive, delicately colored pencil sketches of a wonderful assortment of imaginative an talkative teddy bears, "The Bears and the Baby" is a great introduction to the topic of how to prepare for a new baby in the family. Binkley and Chocolate Truffles are two of the bears who are most talkative, but all the bears play a part. Some voice concern or fearfulness about the planned new arrival and how it may affect all the bears. Will they have to share their lovely sunny room? Will they be discarded to make room for the baby? What are babies like, anyway? The story ends with an introduction and a gentle acceptance of the new arrival by all bears in the nursery. "The Bears and the Baby" makes a wonderful gift for a preschool child who is about to become a big brother or sister.

The Race to First
Juli-Ann Ruben, author
Norma Ruben, illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781470127510, $1.99,

"The Race to First" is a story about a girl, Rachel, who always needs to be first. However, getting new glasses, which she needs, is not something she wants to be first at. Rachel does not want to be the first 7 year old in her class to wear glasses. Her parents explain to her that they too wore glasses when children, and they have passed this gene for vision in need of correction on to her. Rachel is allowed to choose which glasses she wants to wear, but she really doesn't want to wear them to school. Eventually she gets used to wearing them and even notices other students her age and older who also wear glasses. Although she tries to negotiate with her mother for glasses-free times, her mother and father are adamant: "You wear your glasses all the time!" "The Race to First" becomes a story of acceptance through trial of a hardship that becomes a trusted advantage and an ordinary daily event. Enhanced by pastel, charming illustrations, "The Race to First" is a charming story about a very real-seeming girl with a very real problem which she eventually deals with successfully. It will be excellent reading for children age 7 and up.

Victricia Malicia: Book Loving Buccaneer
Carrie Clickard, author
Mark Meyers, illustrator
Flashlight Press
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781936261123, $16.95,

"Victricia Malicia: Book Loving Buccaneer" is preceded by a warning on its inside cover illustration: "This rollicking, frolicking, seafaring rhyme might tangle your tongue into knots the first time!" Accompanied by a careful diagram of the pirate ship where Victricia Malicia meets her destiny, what could be more enticing than a map to buried treasure in the form of books? A stirring tale enthralling 4-8 year old children begins: Victricia Malicia Calamity Barrett comes of a pirate family, but she is sick of the sea! Instead, she loves reading books and dry land! Things come to a crisis when Victricia loses their treasured plunder overboard and the pirates and crew decide to demote her to landlubber status to teach her proper buccaneer ethics. On the way to this destination, Victricia packs her treasured books in a trunk and (quite heroically) manages to deliver a thunk to the head of Scylla the sea serpent who threatens the ship! Finally the pirates decide to leave Victricia on the original island where the Barrett clan buried their treasure, a decision which Victricia embraces joyfully! her new dream will be embodied there, at Landlubber Books, her very own seafaring library/bookstore! Kids will love the rhymes and comic, colorful, swashbuckling detailed illustrations of "Victricia Malicia, Book Loving Buccaneer," and they may even be tempted to become bookstore/library patrons themselves.

The Multicultural Shelf

Manuel's Murals
Jeaninne Escallier Koto, author
Rachel Smith, illustrator
3L Publishing
9780615575438, $14.95,

"Manuel's Murals" is a bicultural, bilingual children's book about a wonderfully talented Mexican boy artist named Manuel who dreams of painting large, beautiful murals like those of his hero, Diego Rivera. Hoping to protect his father and mother and family from begin evicted from their run-down apartment building, Manuel takes a secret bus trip to see the famous murals of Mexican history of Diego Rivera, in Mexico City. Once there he truly sees amazing sights and the beautiful murals tell him of the vast, bloody, and wonderful history of the people of Mexico, from the Aztecs to the conquistadors to the present day. Upon Manuel's return, he realizes it is up to him to memorialize the people and animals he sees every day in a great and colorful mural on the wall of his apartment building. His mother and father are very happy to see him again, they have been grieving during his absence. The family's landlord, Senor Gomez threatens to evict them because of Manuel's painted mural, but all the people of the neighborhood plead and persuade Senor Gomez to allow the family to stay, because Manuel's colorful painting has made the rundown building into a grand work of art, one they can all be proud of. Rainbow illustrations help bring the story of "Manuel's Murals" to vivid life, and the embedding of Spanish terms in the context of the story provides effortless linguistic and cultural enrichment. "Manuel's Murals" is an inspired bicultural story that celebrates the true corazon of the spirit of Mexico.

I See the Sun in Russia
Dedie King, author
Judith Inglese, illustrator
Satya House Publications
PO Box 122, Hardwick, MA 01037
9781935874089, $12.95,

Halfway across the world, life isn't all that different. "I See the Sun in Russia" is a bilingual children's picturebook from Dedie King and illustrated by Judith Inglese. Presented in both English and Russian Cyrillic, it tells the story of a young boy growing up in the historic city of Saint Petersberg and his love for music. "I See the Sun in Russia" is a choice pick for any multicultural children's picturebook collection, highly recommended.

Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon
Eileen Wacker, author
Alan M. Low, illustrator
Once Kids
119 Maono Place, Honolulu, Hawaii 96821
c/o Lissy Peace & Associates (publicity)
9781467517416 $10.99

Book five in the Fujimini Adventure Series, Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon is a children's picturebook that spins a marvelous tale of colorful animal characters while introducing young readers to elements of Asian culture. In Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon, a young dragon has been sent to Fujimini Island for his own protection, where he befriends Orange Bunny and other companions. Then Black Tortoise comes looking for Dynasty Dragon - but what purpose could the samurai armor-clad tortoise warrior have in mind? A supplementary section teaches young people about the elements of Asian culture in the tale, from Chinese myths about dragons to peaches (which originated in China in the 10th century BC and were a favored food of Emperors), to bonsai trees ("The art of the bonsai tree is really telling a story and capturing the spirit of beautiful, living things and has roots in Zen Buddhism".) Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon is a joyful, eye-opening read-aloud story, especially recommended for early grade school and public library children's collections. Also highly recommended are the previous books in the series, "Green Hamster and the Quest for Fun", "Red Penguin and the Missing Sushi", "Silent Samurai and the Magnificent Rescue", and "Pink Hamster and the Big Birthday Surprise!"

The Native American Shelf

Kunu's Baske
Lee DeCora Francis, author
Susan Drucker, illustrator
Tilbury House Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, Maine 04345
9780884483304, $16.95,

"Kunu's Basket: A Story from Indian Island" is a gently encouraging story about a modern Penobscot boy who encounters difficulty in learning to make his first basket, a traditional men's task in his family and tribe. Kunu is quite impatient with his first efforts to make a basket and gives up, fearing he will never be able to make beautiful baskets like those of his father and grandfather. Kunu wants to make his basket alone, without help. His grandfather appreciates his efforts and asks for his help in many of the separate steps required to prepare to make the ash baskets. Kunu willingly helps, pounding the ash strips, pulling the ash strips, and starting a basket bottom. His grandfather Muhmum encourages him and gives him only the minimum helpful suggestions needed, showing him an old basket in the corner which was his first basket. He tells Kunu it took him 7 attempts to make this basket. Each step of the basket making procedure is beautifully illustrated in gentle pastel colors, with discerning attention to details. In the end, Kunu learns many valuable lessons about patience, repetition, listening, valuing his elders and his family heritage and more. As with other books by this publisher, there are Teachers Take Note suggestions for using the book in the classroom at, Written by a teacher who is both Penobscot and Ho-Chunk, "Kunu's Basket" is a beautiful book that teaches about the lives of modern Penobscot Indians on Indian Island, very appropriate for both children and adults interested in Native American traditions and history.

The Science Shelf

Butty and the Mosquito
Bassey Ubong
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466913875, $20.57 hc
9781466913851, $10.57 pbk

Human beings alone aren't the only curious things. "Butty and the Mosquito" is read for youthful readers surrounding the adventures of a Butty, a curious butterfly who silently observes many of Mother Nature's creatures, and in this volume, Mosquitoes. Basic concepts of biology and science are seamlessly woven into the engaging story, which gives a comprehensive perspective on the purpose of mosquitoes in our world. "Butty and the Mosquito" is a fine addition to youth nature and education shelves, and a choice pick for public library children's collections.

The Health Shelf

Eating Isn't Always Easy
Nancy S. Rotter & Qian Yuan, authors
Phoebe Rotter, illustrator
Massachusetts General Hospital
Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
175 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114
9781466440739, $14.95,

"Eating Isn't Always Easy: Ben's Story About His Eosinophilic Esophagitis" is a sensitively written children's medical information book that explains how a child named Ben is diagnosed and treated and trained to learn to live with his chronic gastrointestinal disorder, eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE. Carefully illustrated with precise but child-friendly colored illustrations, "Eating Isn't Always Easy" describes the daily life and presenting symptoms of EoE for a child like Ben. The extremely positive message conveyed is that EoE is a treatable disorder that children can learn to tolerate and cope with, with support and careful diagnostic testing. Ben is presented as an ordinary kid who has to learn what foods his body is unable to tolerate comfortably, so that he can lead a normal life. Clear diagrams of a normal GI tract compared to a GI tract with EoE help children to visualize what is happening inside their bodies that is making them uncomfortable. Because Ben has to have an endoscopy, this procedure is described and demystified, presented in a way that a child can understand how to cooperate with it without undue fear and discomfort. Repeated endoscopies help to show Ben what foods he is able to tolerate eating without flare ups, as he is carefully taken from a very restricted diet to a more varied one, food by food. The detective aspect of the process is emphasized in a helpful and appealing way. Also, Ben is pictured as a normal boy, who likes to hold his stuffed dinosaur when he has to undergo medical procedures. Finally, a good treatment and dietary plan emerge, and Ben discovers he can lead a happy life with dietary restrictions and adjustments. He also finds other friends that have similar food intolerance problems, who also have to be careful about their diets. The book ends with a list of EoE-related resources for families in North America. "Eating Isn't Always Easy" is an excellent children's medical book to help explain EoE in simple language that children can understand.

Elephant On My Chest
David Christenson, author
Mark Haagenson, illustrator guide
Clara Loss, Ethan Loss, & Maxwell Christenson, junior illustrators
Peebles Publishing Unlimited
9780972827751, $6.95

"Elephant On My Chest: A Children's Book on Asthma" is a children's medical book that explains how it feels to be a kid who lives with asthma. Illustrated with colorful child-created artwork, "Elephant On My Chest" tells the story of an ordinary boy who is learning to live with asthma. Because he has trouble using his lungs to breathe, it feels like he sometimes has an elephant on his chest. Although the boy does not like the limitations of not being able to breathe well, he decides to name his elephant Chester. He learns what he can do and choices he can make that will help relieve or improve his asthma symptoms. His Dr. gave him medicine and an inhaler to help him when his symptoms are bad, and sometimes he goes to the hospital for oxygen and treatments, and sometimes he has to stay home and rest and recover from asthma attacks. There are good and bad aspects to these experiences, and the boy chooses to remember some of the good things, like having his grandma read him stories and playing his favorite games with his father when he is home resting. "Elephant On My Chest" is an excellent children's explanatory book about diagnosing and treating childhood asthma. It ends with an inspirational list of famous people, past and present, who had/have asthma and still lead normal, productive lives. The blue-framed small pages and sparse text of "Elephant On My Chest" has a calming effect on the reader, enabling him/her to progress comfortably through the maze of helpful information about living with the chronic disease of asthma.

They Call Me Fat Zoe
Dr. Don Martin & collaborators
New Horizon Press
PO Box 669
Far Hills, NJ 07931
9780882823775, $9.95,

Obesity is a growing problem among our youths and it will quickly become a massive problem among adults as well. "They Call Me Fat Zoe: Helping Children and Families Overcome Obesity" is a youthful read dealing with childhood obesity and the health concerns that come with it. Focusing on Zoe, a puppy with a weight problem. Her owner Kate is faced with her own weight problems, and the two of them face the task of getting healthier together. "They Call Me Fat Zoe" is a fine read with plenty to inspire readers, highly recommended.

The Fiction Shelf

Ivy: The Blossoming of a Rose
S.L.S. Oborowsky
Inkwater Press
c/o First Books
6750 SW Franklin Street, Suite A
Portland, Oregon 97223-2542
9781592997695 $10.95

The sequel to "Ivy: The Stem of a Rose", Ivy: The Blossoming of a Rose continues the saga of a teen girl struggling with difficulties in her life. Her relationship is turning sour, and her academic difficulties might force her to repeat Grade 12... and then her mother receives a telephone call of truly dire news. An empathetic human story, Ivy: The Blossoming of a Rose is accessible to readers of all ages, but especially recommended for young women.

Such a Rush
Jennifer Echols
Gallery Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781451658019, $16.99,

Teens in grades 6-8 will find this a fine romantic story of a young daredevil pilot who has long been the adult in her family, and who has become a good enough pilot by the time she's a high school teen to be offered a job flying a banner plane. When her sponsor Mr. Hall dies suddenly, he leaves everything to two teen sons determined to keep his banner plane business flying - and it's then that romance gets in the way. A fine, lively story of love and passion on many levels evolves for teen readers.

Max and Madison, Bedtime Stories for Youngsters
Grandma Bette
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452504322, $42.95,

"Max and Madison" is a wonderful collection of chapter adventure stories about two Australian children living near Canberra, Australia. Written by a loving grandmother, "Max and Madison" celebrates the joy of discovery of the wonders of nature and everyday living in a beautiful "down under" farm/wild parklands environment. Max is 5 and Madison is 4, just starting kindergarten. They have fascinating adventures with their farmer friends and cousins, as well as exploring the beautiful native Australian forest nearby. Illustrated with color photos of Australian fauna and flora as well as clowns, circuses, etc. "Max and Madison" is a delightful vignette of absorbing children's adventures with an emphasis on positive interaction patterns rather than electronic or assisted technology. "Max and Madison" has a special Australian flavor that makes it uniquely fascinating for children and adults everywhere.

Short Stories of Raymon
Carlotta Anpadu-Johnson, author
1663 Liberty Dr., Bloomington, IN 47403
9781467884433, $17.99,

"Short Stories of Raymon" is a collection of 4 short chapter stories about a boy (named Raymon) who is learning life lessons. Raymon is a curious boy who encounters difficulties along the way in the area of making new friends. Raymon needs to make new friends who will be supportive and kind to him, not using him to just further their own ends. How does he learn to tell the difference? Raymon also makes new friends at school. But what happens when he does not get to school? A confusing succession of adults in Raymon's life compound his obstacles, but he manages to learn to walk a good path and attend school regularly. Finally, Raymon and Matthew is a story about friendship tainted by freed and guile. Will Raymon realize eating excess forbidden candy is very bad for him, and not a sign of a good friendship? Colorful, caricature-like crayon illustrations and sketches help keep the tone light and humorous and the pages turning. These short prose teaching stories will appeal to children ages 7 and up, who are facing similar choices in their lives.

The Adventures of Ralph Ribbit
Louise T. Constantinople, author
Terry Pond, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432788537, $8.95,

"The Adventures of Ralph Ribbit" is an exciting, illustrated chapter book for readers age 8 and up. The story traces an exciting journey upstream for Ralph Ribbit, a frog father who is attempting to pick up shirts for the Muddyville Middle School track team, which his son Reggie is a part of. Unfortunately, Ralph has lost the map to locate the shirts upstream at a store called Leaps and Bounds, and he is in a dreadful hurry! Kids will trace Ralph's journey and adventures along the way, which include meeting not one but two rattlesnakes, who normally consider frog a delicious meal. How Ralph survives this and other interesting dilemmas and delays is highly entertaining reading, and the comical black and white illustrations keep imaginations involved and interest high. "The Adventures of Ralph Ribbit" contains lots of gentle humor, caring attentions from adults and children (frogs), and lots of parallels for creative ways to tackle unlikely but predictable daily problems and dilemmas.

Sarah's Secret, Civil War Deserter at Fredericksburg
Shawneen Orzechowski, author
White Mane Publishing Co.
73 West Burd Street
P.O. Box 708, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9781572494008, $8.95,

"Sarah's Secret" is a young adults' chapter book novel about the Civil War from an exciting historical series. Based on real records of the 145th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment and other Civil War historical sources, "Sarah's Secret" presents a (fictional) young person's viewpoint of events preceding and following the Battle at Fredericksburg. Sarah is a young girl of a Confederate family who has lost two brother in the war. Her experience of the hardships of the war, such as limited food, are real. She discovers a Yankee deserter named Matthew in her father's hayloft when feeding the horses. A real dilemma and a very convincing adventure ensues that crosses sides of the Civil War and takes both sides suffering into account. Young people will find the pace of action challenging and satisfying in this exciting and educational work of historical fiction. In addition, at the end of the book are suggested educational resources including an addendum on the 145th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, a glossary, discussion topics, classroom activities, lesson plans, and a selected bibliography. Other highly recommended historical works of fiction for young readers by this publisher include "The Mystery of the Moat, Civil War Sightings at Fort Monroe (9781572494053, $8.95)" by Sydney A. Minter, and "Between the Lines, A Revolutionary War Slave's Journey to Freedom (9781572494091, $8.95)," by Phyllis Hall Haislip.

The Amazing Adventures of Paddy Platypus
Tom de Paolo, author
Tom Swimm, illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781469904153, $15.99,

"The Amazing Adventures of Paddy Platypus" is a color illustrated chapter book for kids age 7-8 and up about a talented speed swimmer from Tasmania, Australia named Paddy. Paddy is a very fast swimming platypus from Down Under whom is discovered by an important man from Tasmania, Sir Hugh. When Sir Hugh realizes Paddy's potentially record breaking speed, he decides to enter him in an international championship series of swimming races in America. All this is quite a new idea to Paddy and his parents, for he is basically a shy little platypus who does not like crowds or too much noise. Unfortunately Sir Hugh does like attention, crowds, noise and glory, so he persuades Paddy to make the long trip from Tasmania to America and to enter the contest. Once there, things do not go entirely according to plan, but Paddy learns to think for himself and find a way out of his unhappy experiences in the crowded swimming and racing arena of California. Kids will love the sensitive shaded color illustrations and they will identify with the shy but swift and resourceful Paddy. There is even a villain to boo and undesirable crowd and individual behavior to cheer or discourage. "The Amazing Adventures of Paddy" combines a geography lesson with a biology lesson and an environmental impact lesson relating to human behavior, all in a neat and kid friendly entertaining package. What a great little book about a truly brave little hero!

A Cappella
Tanya Jennings Keenan
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781460963548, $14.00,

A good tune can lighten even the heaviest load. "A Cappella" is a story of the end of high school, as four friends try to get by in this trying time of transition, aiming to get by. As graduation approaches, they gain an appreciation of the song of their lives. "A Cappella" is a fine read for young adult readers who are facing their own trying times of transition.

Melissa Mahle & Kathryn Dennis
Spygirls Press
PO Box 1537, Fairfax, VA 22030
9780985227302, $8.99,

Many parents have secrets they keep from their kids, but Anatolia is going to find those secrets are more secret than she ever thought. "Lost-in-Petra" is a novel from Melissa Mahle & Kathryn Dennis aimed at younger readers as she tells the story of Anatolia Steppe, daughter of a world traveling archeologist. On her mother's tail of secrecy, she finds herself stumbling into the past behind her. "Lost-in-Petra" is a riveting read that will prove very difficult to put down for younger readers, highly recommended.

Soul of the Band
K. L. Brady
LadyLit Press
10114 Garden Valley Ct.
Cheltenham, MD 20623
9780983920212, $12.95,

Tossed off by her mother, Brandy finds that growing into a young woman will prove all the more complicated. "Soul of the Band" follows schizophrenic troubled teenager Brandy Jackson, as she moves to Ohio under a kind aunt after her mother spurns her. A new chance at life, she tries to find her place in the local school band, but realizes she can't run from what she left behind forever. "Soul of the Band" is a strongly recommended pick for young readers, highly recommended.

Sir Gillygad and the Gruesome Egg
Reg Down
Lightly Press
6187 Greenhaven Dr.
Sacramento, CA 95831
9781475060591, $16.50,

What we don't understand constantly eludes us. "Sir Gillygad and the Gruesome Egg" is a read for those in late primary school who want to advance to a more advanced read. A Story following Sir Gillygad, a mouse knight with his Frog mount Gorf. Trying to find the gruesome egg of rumor, they rush to find it and stop any problems that may come. "Sir Gillygad and the Gruesome Egg" is well worth considering for the elementary - middle school bridge.

The Turn-Around Bird
Lucinda Wingard
Plicata Press
PO Box 32, Gig Harbor, WA 98335
9780984840014, $16.00,

The spell of the Sahara is powerful. "The Turn-Around Bird" is a novel from Lucinda Wingard as she tells of sisters Aimee and Zoe as they follow their Father's journey through Africa. Drawing much on African legend and history, "The Turn-Around Bird" should prove an exciting read for young adult fiction fans who enjoy a bit of history in their adventures.

Little Wolf's Adventure
Nona Burroughs Babcock
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9780595460724, $14.95,

Being different in any way is a harsh sentence for many youths. "Little Wolf's Adventure: A Medicine Dream and Warrior Ghosts" is a novel followers young Blackfeet Johnny Bear Child as he turns to his family's traditions and tries to see if there is a mystical method to dealing with his school yard problems. But the realities of his problems and his family's advice will set him in a very different direction. "Little Wolf's Adventure" is a fine story of youth and Native American culture, highly recommended.

Friends for Life
Billi Tiner
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781477435717, $7.99,

A good friend is something that never gets enough credit in one's life. "Friends for Life" is a charming youth novel telling of Bo and Rico, two dogs who through their friendship must escape to a harsh world that doesn't like them very much and how that bond will give them what they need to succeed. "Friends for Life" is a strong pick for youth readers who enjoy a dog-driven tale.

Lucy and CeCees
Kimberly Dana
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781462039661, $17.95,

Middle school is a major shift from elementary school. "Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School" explores the challenges middle school shenanigans of Lucy and CeCee as they try to apply their expertise with dealing with bullies, life, and everything else, sharing their adventures of middle school drama. With plenty of humor and adventure, "Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School" is a strongly recommended addition to young adult fiction collections, not to be missed.

Silent Fortune
Janet Carafa
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432779290, $12.95,

The rules are guide lines for the drive of those who want to follow it. "Silent Fortune" is a children's novella from Janet Carafa as she channels her career as a mime artist as she tells of the Silent Land, a land of mimes, where vocalization is forbidden. But Fortune wants to sing, and that is something that just can't happen by the rules, but Fortune's will won't be broken. "Silent Fortune" is a strong pick for youth fiction collections, recommended.

Priscilla the Great
Sybil Nelson
Little Prince Publishing
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E. Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781475062656, $16.41,

Twenty five years is a mighty long time when you're only a teenager. "Priscilla the Great: The Time Traveling Bullet" follows the titular character as she deals with waking up one morning twenty five years in the future. Facing a totally different world, she's trying to find out why this happened and there may be something far more nefarious than a kink in time. "Priscilla the Great" is a strongly recommended pick for teenage readers, not to be overlooked.

Beware the Ninja Weenies
David Lubar
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765332134, $15.99,

Beware the Ninja Weenies offers the 6th collection and 32 strange mini-tales that provides a fun food-based set of adventures, including putting the Gorgon back into Gorgonzola and the challenge of handling hot bread in the woods that made Little Bread Riding Hood vulnerable to danger's attentions. Food, fantasy and short stories that offer fun, interesting takes make this a fine pick for grades 5-6 that seek something different and lively.

Freaky Fast Joe
Lutricia Clifton
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823423675, $16.95,

Freaky Fast Joe tells of pre-teen Frankie Joe Huckaby, who must spend the next ten months living with a father he barely knows and four half brothers intent on making his life miserable. His mother is in jail so he has no options - but his plan to ride his old bicycle 1,400 miles back to his home in Texas results in a new business opportunity that not only makes money, but brings him new challenges and new insights about his new family. This fun story will delight readers in grades 4-5.

Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019

Lauren Henderson's FLIRTING IN ITALIAN (9780385741354, $17.99) tells of four girls, an Italian summer, family mysteries and romance, and is a fine pick for any interested in light romance reading. Violet has convinced her mother to send her on a study program to Italy, but Violet has more in mind than education - she wants to solve the mystery of her connection to a mysterious portrait. Her experiences are just beginning when she teams up with other girls to encounter mystery and Italian guys. Anne Greenwood Brown's LIES BENEATH (9780385742016, $17.99) tells of Calder, a merman who lives in the cold waters of Lake Superior. He and his sisters must prey on humans to survive, but this time is different: the clan wants to target their mother's murderer for revenge, and Calder's job is to gain Hancock's trust by getting close to his family. The only problem is: Calder is falling in love with daughter Lily - and must make some hard choices between survival and romance in this fine intriguing fantasy. Laura Powell's THE MASTER OF MISRULE (9780375865886, $16.99) tells of Cat and her friends who have ended the dangerous Game of Triumphs, only to find they have only begun to battle a dangerous monster. The Master of Misrule is free, and he betrays them - and the power of the Game is leaking out into the real world. This powerful fantasy is recommended for prior fans of THE GAME OF TRIUMPH. Sarah Zettel's DUST GIRL (9780375859389, $17.99) provides Book One of 'The American Fairy Trilogy' and tells of Callie, who faces some harsh realities in the dust storm town of Slow Run, Kansas. Stuck in a dangerous hotel by a half-mad mother who insists on awaiting a long-absent father, Callie finds herself alone when her mother vanishes during a storm - and enters a new reality where her friendship with a hobo boy may be the only thing that saves her - and her world. Fantasy and magic keep this a fast-paced thriller teens in grades 5-7 will appreciate.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Drake's Story Stone
T. F. Pumphrey
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781468183641, $14.95,

The task of facing down evil is not a task so quickly embraced. "Drake's Story Stone" is a youthful fantasy from T. F. Pumphrey, who presents a story of Drake Hanson, a young man with the fate of his world leaning on him. Trying to find his own hope among it all, he journey will be long and epic in the process. "Drake's Story Stone" is a strongly recommended addition to youth fantasy collections.

A Hero for WondLa
Tony DiTerlizzi
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781416983125, $17.99,

A Hero for WondLa tells of one Eva Nine, who has never seen another human until human Hailey rescues her and brings her and her friends to a new colony where all kinds of people live in peace. However, something sinister is going on in her new paradise, and soon Eva comes to recognize that her new home will be history if she doesn't stop it. Three illustrations offer a 3-D flying game that mimics the novel's action while two-color illustrations and art enhance a story of friendship and courage.

Samurai Awakening
Benjamin Martin
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive
North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805312285, $17.99,

Look for Samurai Awakening to appear in October, and be sure to consider it for young adults in grades 6-9. It tells of a teen who moves to Japan as an exchange student, barely able to speak the language, who finds himself possessed by a Japanese god. Suddenly he can speak fluent Japanese, has new powers, and is forced to confront some terrifying creatures of Japanese legend. Called upon to save his host sister from a hoard of Japanese monsters, David finds himself fighting a larger evil in this riveting saga.

Fredric Neuman
Privately Published
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E. Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781461170167, $13.95,

One superpower is being presented with one very difficult choice. "Superpowers" is a youth novel about the asthmatic Skipper, who is presented with the opportunity of choosing a single super power for himself. This choice proves hard as his family seems to be falling apart and he has to weigh what's most important to him in life. "Superpowers" is a strong addition to any youth fiction collection, recommended.

A. G. Cushman
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781468532829, $23.95,

Escapism is fine, until one finds that the Escape isn't escape for everyone. "Kron: The Metamorphosis" follows skinny dweeb Ted Tuscoma as his embrace of a book of Barbarian fantasy one day forces him into being one of his heroes, and he has to learn the ways of the warrior quickly to get by through it all. "Kron" is a fun read for younger teenage readers who often ponder 'What If...".

Dark Companion
Marta Acosta
Tor Teen
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765329646, $17.99,

Dark Companion blends fantasy and romance in an engrossing read recommended for grades 5-7, and tells of an orphaned girl who is given the chance to attend an elite private school with a dangerous secret. It seems a miracle to a teen orphan who has grown up in a series of foster homes - until she learns about the dangerous secrets which involve vanished students, a teacher's wife's death, and more. A fine, involving read for any teen who would enjoy gothic romance.

The ABC Shelf

Art A to Z
Laura Gates Galvin, author
Steve Tabbutt, illustrator
Palm Publishing
c/o Soundprints
353 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851-1552
9781607271963, $9.95,

"Art A to Z" is a guided reading level N paperback illustrated alphabet book all about art. Featuring stunning color illustrations of art-related objects and media paired with witty versed text explaining each alphabet letter's art vocabulary word, "Art A to Z" is a stunning multi media educational resource. Including a free audiobook and printable activities plus a free poster, "Art A to Z" is a multi-component package exposure to a great variety of art experiences for children. Subjects chosen for presentation include Realism, Impressionism, origami, sculpture, quilting, and kinetic art. Part of a series of 12 Alphabet titles, "Art A to Z" also includes a complete glossary and a foldout poster showing each alphabet letter in both cases beside a miniature identifying illustration. "Art A to Z" is a fabulous art educational resource for children sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. Other titles in this recommended series include "Dogs A to Z" by Barbie Heit, illustrated by Wendy Edelson (9781607271987), and "Human Body A to Z" by Laura Gates Galvin, illustrated by Judy MacDonald (9781607272960).

The Counting Shelf

Count to 10 with a Mouse
Margaret Wise Brown
440 Park Avenue South, 13th floor
New York, NY 10016
9781445462998, $7.99,

'Goodnight Moon' is a revered Children's classic, and its author brings young readers another treat with "Count to 10 with a Mouse" is a fun children's book from famed children's author Margaret Wise Brown as she brings readers the story of a curious mouse who chewed a whole through the book and his problem of not being able to count his toes, counting the things around him. "Count to 10 With a Mouse" features excellent artwork from Kristen Richards, and is an exceptional addition to any community library children picturebook collection, highly recommended.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Beautiful Wild Rose Girl
B. Magnolia a.k.a. William K. Hugel, author
Jamila Deba, illustrator
Mystic World Press
115 San Jose Avenue, #2, San Francisco, CA 94110
9780985428921, $24.00,

"Beautiful Wild Rose Girl" is a B. Magnolia bedtime story, a beautiful handmade edition of a special fairy tale for children. "Beautiful Wild Rose Girl" is produced by Mystic World press, whose mission statement includes the following: "Children need stories that are as Beautiful, Profound and Magical as Childhood itself. In short, we believe Children deserve nothing less than Literature." "Beautiful Wild Rose Girl" is certainly a feast for the senses as well as an example of children's literature that is as beautiful, profound, and magical as childhood itself. "Beautiful Wild Rose Girl" tells a tale of mystery and gradual self enlightenment, through a simple but embellished fairy tale guise. A beautiful but sad girl lives in a smelly swamp with frogs, selling wild roses for gold coins for her living. She misunderstands the song of the frogs and believes them to telling her she is stupid and ugly. But a lovelorn shepherd boy and many suitors come to try to attain her hand in marriage. At first she cannot believe this, but her eyes are eventually opened with the help of the pure-hearted shepherd and a very mysterious moth. Delicate black and white illustrations and fantastic, ornamental, capitalized text details add substance and believability to this deceptively fragile story. In the end, a wonderful vision of plenty and happiness and joy triumphs as the beautiful wild rose girl and the faithful shepherd boy find and celebrate their love together. "Beautiful Wild Rose Girl" is a treasure to be shared with all precious children, with a hidden message that the bitter pains of life can lead to great joy for those who will open their hearts and believe.

Animal Fables from Aesop
Barbara McClintock, adaptor/illustrator
David R. Godine, publisher
P.O. Box 450
Jaffrey, New Hampshire 03452
9781567929138, $9.95,

The new edition of "Animal Fables from Aesop" adapted and illustrated by Barbara McClintock is certain to become a classic revisited for children of all ages. Here are presented nine of the well-known and loved animal fables of Aesop, most curiously illustrated indeed! Smashing long-gowned cranes and peacocks share pages with wily, country squire suited foxes and wolves. The detail and delicate coloring and shading of the illustrations make an effect that is both reassuring retro and decidedly "edgy." There is slyness and wit in every facial quirk. Meanwhile, the wonderful fables of the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, the Crow and the Peacocks, the Fox and the Grapes, and many more are presented in perfect tone. Children will love the detail of the illustrations, while the well-outlined moral of each fable resonates through every decorated and embellished page. "Animal Fable from Aesop" is a classic treasure revisited and re-presented for an entirely new generation.

The Secret in Olivia's Garden
Kaitlin Longo, author/illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, Indiana 47403
9781468552225, $20.99,

"The Secret in Olivia's Garden" is a creative illustrated modern fairy tale that conveys a young girl's beautiful vision of a secret family of colorful fairies who inhabit her very own flower garden. A special relationship blooms between young Olivia and her flower fairy friend, Francesca. Although their ties are delicate, Olivia and Francesca find much happiness together, and eventually Francesca introduces Olivia and her parents to her entire family of vividly colorful flower fairies, all inhabiting special blossoms in Olivia's magical garden. "The Secret in Olivia's Garden" is a wonderful exploration of the world of imagination and expression that all children can enter and enjoy.

The Magic Seeds
Teraab Ankhnu Feaster and Rochelle Campbell, authors
Mary Fragapane, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449007843 (sc), $14.25,

"The Magic Seeds" is a child's magical tale written by a mother-son team. Illustrated with colorful crayon drawings. The story begins when little Johnny helps an elderly lady pick up her spilled belongings in a park and she offers him his choice of two rewards, a silver dollar or a pack of magical seeds, with a diamond on the envelope. Because Johnny's mother is poor and needs money, he thinks very hard about his choice, ending finally with the magic seeds. After much sometimes frustrating experience, Johnny and his mother plant the magic seeds. What happens after that proves to Johnny that his good deed for the unknown lady, who was invisible to his mother, was indeed a special act performed for his own Fairy Godmother. The wonderful way in which Johnny's magic seeds grow into diamonds leads to his dearest dreams coming true. But the best part of "The Magic Seeds" is when Johnny's mother tells him, "You are my best gift." Children will remember this story and treasure it in their hearts.

Animal Jamboree
Judith Ortiz Cofer
Pinata Books
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Fwy,. Bldg. 19, Rm. 100
Houston, TX 77024-2004
9781558857438, $9.95,

A folktale carries resonance across cultures. "Animal Jamboree: Latino Folktales" is a double book that compiles many common Latin folktales in both English and Spanish, presenting these moralistic tales that are perfect for reading along for younger readers and their parents who want a taste of many cultures for all of them. "Animal Jamboree" is a strongly recommended pick for youthful storybook collections, not to be missed.

Never Lie - Ever
Ritu Goyal, author
Dasguptarts, illustrator
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466914407, $20.37,

A lie can spin out of control quickly. "Never Lie - Ever" is a children's picturebook from Ritu Goyal and illustrations from Dasguptarts, inspired by a traditional Indian folktale. The story spins how a dishonest lie can break down into something far worse than what the truth would have wrought. "Never Lie - Ever" is a valuable children's book with an important moral lesson.

The Three Little Pigs
M. J. York, author
Laura Ferraro Close, illustrator
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781614732167, $27.07,

"The Three Little Pigs" is an old children's tale with a valuable moral: When entering independence, be vigilant, plan ahead, build sound defenses, and outthink your adversary! This charming retelling of an old tale is charmingly illustrated with friendly looking pigs and even a mild mannered wolf (who nonetheless ate two of the three pigs, the more unwary). "The Three Little Pigs" is a childhood classic re-imagined, deserving many more reprisals among the young. Other recommended titles from the "Favorite Children's Stories" series ($27.07 each) include "Little Red Hen" (9781614732143), "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" (9781614732150), and "Chicken Little" (9781614732136).

The Easy Reader Shelf

Doggie Doggie Dino
Tim Brandhorst, author/illustrator
Aquitaine Media Corp.
516 W. Barry Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657
9780984696505, $8.99,

"Doggie Doggie Dino" is a delightful, cheery, ebullient illustrated book for toddlers and preschoolers who are just starting to put words, sounds and pictures together. The artfully large printed text is simply the title repeated, plus one surprise word/object, paired with lovely, sensitively drawn dramatic pictures of doggies and dinosaurs for clear contrast and progression of excitement. "Doggie Doggie Dino" is a compact and appealing work of art that will motivate preschoolers to learn to read and to draw.

Pomelo Explores Color
Ramona Badescu, author
Benjamin Chaud, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay St., Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592701261, $15.95,

"Pomelo Explores Color" is a vibrant reintroduction to the enchanted world of Pomelo, a very curious little elephant who loves exploring colors. Colors are described and introduced with extremely creative text, further amplified by wonderful illustrations. Pomelo explores a wide variety of shades of color and feeling, all described with just a few telling words and perfectly presented with brilliant illustrations. Preschool age children will adore "Pomelo Explores Color." It will encourage and stimulate their sensitivity and artistry.

The Picturebook Shelf

Ella the Pink Elephant, Her Life, Love and Fame
Doris Rueger, author/illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781469937564, $9.13,

"Ella the Pink Elephant" is a lovely illustrated story about growth beyond fame, celebration, and the eventual contrasting joy of retirement, living life quietly out of the public eye. Ellla is a special elephant who is protected, petted, love and adored as a baby. Her special keeper is Zeppo, a former clown, and he makes her feel especially beautiful in pink makeup and pink dazzling special costumes and slippers. Ella the pink baby elephant is the delight and joy of all children. But she grows out of this age and into a young lady elephant, which requires a change of costume, makeup and presentation. Still, Ella is bejeweled and painted and she becomes the special marriage ceremony elephant, providing special transport for bridal couples and again shining in the spotlight of glory. Eventually Ella becomes older, like all creatures. She is more tired, and she asks to be taken to a special retirement zoo, to be left in peace and quiet, unadorned. There is a moment of fear, when Ella sees herself in a mirror, old and gray, and unadorned. Will anyone still love her and visit her, she wonders. The turning point in the book comes when her friend and former keeper Zeppo, answers her concerns: "Ella, no matter how old we get, because we love each other, you and I will always be friends; that will never change! You see, Ella, it's not the clothes and jewelry you wear, or your good looks, it's how kind you are to people and how much you give of yourself. Your kindhearted, gentle and fun loving ways are what attracted people to you (p.30)." "Ella the Pink Elephant" is adorned with gently colorful crayoned illustrations to convey a sense of a life of glory gently and humbly surrendered in exchange for a life of quiet contentment and perusal of happy memories, giving many people lasting joy. It is a beautiful book with a beautiful message for children age 6 and up.

Too Much Snow
Laverne Garretson, author
Avery Liell-Kok, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781468547818 (sc), $17.99,

"Too Much Snow" is a charming animal fable about overcoming the opposition of weather and learning to amuse oneself! Little Lamb wants to play outside with his friends, but his mother tells him there is too much snow. He must put on his hat, jacket, and mittens. He visits all his animal friends in turn, but each of them don't want to play outside because there is too much snow. So Little Lamb decides to have fun playing in the snow all by himself. He makes a snow man and snow angels. His mother is very proud of him, learning to have fun in the snow all by himself. Then one by one, his friends decide they would like to join him. He looks like he is having so much fun! As Little Lamb, Freddy Frog, Otto Octopus, Roxy Rabbit, and Domey Donkey play together throwing snowballs and making snow sculptures, Little Lamb smiles at his friends and says, "There's never too much snow!" Adorable color portraits of all the animal friends playing in the snow make "Too Much Snow" perfectly appealing for children age 4 and up.

Little Sprout
Eileen L. Ziesler, poet
Janelle L. Thompson, illustrator
Toad House Publishing
c/o Eileen L. Ziesler
W7425 Old 14 Road, Ladysmith, WI 54848
9780981883151, $19.95,

"Little Sprout: the Story of Your Family Tree" is a beautiful collaboration between poet and artist that results in a lovely illustrated poem about a child's family tree. Comparing the life of a child to the life cycle of a tree's little sprout, this nature-themed book unfolds scene after scene of woodland creatures and trees in seasons of life and growth. The Lullaby for Little Sprout is a the narrative poem set to song at the book's ending, perfect for humming to a little one who is learning to cherish his family's beginnings with his own. The beauty of the natural forest setting for the imagery of "Little Sprout" is that it provides a natural context within which everyone can relate their own particular family memories and traditions. There is also a final picture of a bare family tree, with the suggestion that it is a place to remember all the people who love you, to add their names and pictures to the family tree. Favorably reviewed and celebrated with a spring 2012 public showing of the 25 water colors which illustrate the book, "Little Sprout" is sure to touch the hearts of children and families everywhere, becoming a cherished classic for celebrations of the ongoing heartbeat of life.

Chickadees At Night
Bill O. Smith, author
Charles R. Murphy, illustrator
Sleepytime Press
205 N. Oak St., Traverse City, MI 49684
9780615569727, $18.85,

"Chickadees at Night" is a beautiful bedtime song-poem about the tiny, resilient, cheery bird found year round in most of North America. Illustrated with lush shades of deep purple, green, brown and black, "Chickadees At Night" is the perfect nature-themed bedtime story, complete with built in lullaby. For those who want more exact observations of the hardy seven species of chickadees, there is a page full of Chickadee Nuggets at the end filled with known facts about the chickadees of North America. Written for an audience of youngsters age 4-8, "Chickadees At Night" is sure to become a treasured sleepytime routine, comforting children into lasting, healthful sleep with strong, gentle dreams.

That's NOT A Pickle! Part 7
Donald W. Kruse, author
Josie Shipman, illustrator
James A. Rock & Company Publishers
900 South Irby Street, #508
Florence, SC 29501
9781596638464 $12.95

Featuring a foreword by Phyllis Diller, That's NOT A Pickle! Part 7 is the latest volume in author Donald W. Kruse's delightful, rhyming softcover picturebook series ideal for young people ages 5 and up. At the behest of his sister, a young boy hosts a local beauty contest (with a $10 entrance fee), but compared to the somewhat self-absorbed contestants, the selfless qualities of Ms. Dilless the frog shine brightly! As Ms. Dilless teaches tadpoles to swim, she tells the boy, "'They owe me nothing- / my lessons are free. / And I enjoy it so much, / so why should they pay me?'" The simple, charming color illustrations add just the right touch to this charming, read-aloud book for parents and children to share. That's NOT A Pickle! Part 7 is a stand-alone story; familiarity with the previous That's NOT A Pickle! picturebooks is not required, although parents and children who enjoy this installment are sure to love prior books in the series. Also highly recommended for young people is Kruse's whimsical "Fleas, Please!" (9781596638587, $12.95), a rhyming adventure tale about a young boy who stands up to a bully and the bully's pet gorilla with an itchy surprise!

Great Soybean Picnic
Ginnie Lo, author
Beth Lo, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
9781600604423, $18.95,

Soybeans are more than a common non-meat substitute, they're a traditional part of Chinese cooking. "Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic" is a children's picturebook from Ginnie Lo with artwork from Beth Lo. Focusing on young Jinyi and her sister visiting an aunt and seeing the potential of the soybean in traditional Chinese cuisine, "Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic" is a strongly recommended pick for children's picturebook collections.

The Superheroes Employment Agency
Marilyn Singer
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547435596, $16.99,

The Superheroes Employment Agency pairs a rollicking rhyme with a fun action-packed cartoon easy reader that charts the unusual members of the Superheroes Employment Agency - a gang of misfits with odd powers who adopt a can-do attitude towards live. Noah Z. Jones's hilarious full-color cartoon illustrations accompanies a fun story of a gang that is determined to make their superpowers count in a world that almost doesn't need them.

Giant Peach Yodel
Jan Peck
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street
Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781589809802, $16.99,

Most peaches are meant to be kept in the palm of one's hand. "Giant Peach Yodel!" is a children's picturebook following a young family as they go the Peach Pickin' Festival and find that picking a gigantic peach for the festival will prove very difficult. Drawing from Russian folklore, "Giant Peach Yodel!" is a strongly recommended addition to any children's picturebook collection, beautifully illustrated by Barry Root.

The Man in the Clouds
Koos Meinderts & Annette Fienieg
Lemniscaat USA
9781935954132, $16.95,

There are treasures to us, but how much are they truly worth? "The Man in the Clouds" is a children's picturebook of a man and his painting, a truly marvelous work that he at first shared with the world. But when greed tried to take it from him, he became paranoid and locked himself away from the world...and forgot what beauty he had in the first place. With a thoughtful message that has much to think about, "The Man in the Clouds" is a read that is much worth considering, highly recommended.

The French Fry King
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770493506, $19.99,

All the money in the world can't buy you friendship. "The French Fry King" follows the story of Roger, a sausage dog who wants to see the world. He makes the best French fries ever, and gets to see the world, but he still feels unfulfilled. A charming story with art to match, "The French Fry King" is a strongly recommended pick for those seeking a read-along tale for their children.

Anny Fassler
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466912946, $14.93,

The animals that surround us entice us in many ways. "Imagine: You Were a Hen, a Goat or..." is a children's picturebook by Anny Fassler about the perspectives of animals, and what life would be like as one of them. "Imagine" is well worth considering for young readers and their parents.

The Poetry Shelf

Water Sings Blue
Kate Coombs, author, Meilo So, illustrator
Chronicle Books
680 Second Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
9780811872843, $16.99,

Covering over seventy percent of the planet, there's more to water than just endless globs of liquid. "Water Sings Blue" is a collection of illustrations and poetry from Kate Coombs and Meilo So, respectively. Blending the art around the topic of poetry and the deep nature of the world surrounding it, people seeking a children's picturebook art style with a touch of wondrous poetry. "Water Sings Blue" is a choice addition to any poetry or picturebook collection, recommended. "Octopus Ink": The famous author hesitates to pick his pen up./He is shy. But wait!/He autographs the water with a single word - /good-bye.

The Activity Shelf

Into Great Forest
Shelly Petch, author, Deanna Winter, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781463423322, $24.99,

The animals of the forest have much to teach those willing to learn. "Into Great Forest: A Brain Gym Journey" is a children's picturebook that seeks to educate children about the animals of the forests and encourages them to exercise their bodies as well as their minds. Descriptions of active body motions that emulate animal movements, such as the neck roll or the cross crawl, encourage young people (and perhaps also their parents!) to get into the spirit of sharing the story. "Into Great Forest" is drawn in a down to earth style by Deanne Winter, and is highly recommended as a practically interactive storybook.

The American History Shelf

Hope Somewhere in America
Sydelle Pearl
Twin Lights Publishers
8 Hal Street, Rockport, MA 01966
9781934907108, $16.95,

Iconic art often has very human stories behind it. "Hope Somewhere in America: The Story of a Child, a Painting, and a President" is a children's picturebook from Sydelle Pearl focusing on the girl in the iconic painting 'Somewhere in America'. Illustrator Astrid Sheckels captures the style of original artist Robert Brackman, telling the story of a young black girl and how the painting allowed her to meet with President Roosevelt. "Hope Somewhere in America" is a moving tale, very much recommended for those seeking to choose a children's picturebook with a good dose of history.

The Magic of A. C. Gilbert
Robert Young & Mary Ann Nelson McAlister
Real Writing Unlimited
9780974219615, $7.95,

A love of the simple joys can take a man far. "The Magic of A. C. Gilbert" is a children's picturebook styled look at Alfred Carlton Gilbert, who is known by many as the man who saved Christmas by opposing congress's orders to cease all non-war production in World War I. With realistic full color art work throughout, his life as a magician, athlete, and toymaker is discussed, making for an enticing story for young readers. "The Magic of A. C. Gilbert" is a choice pick for younger readers who want to pick up a bit of history, recommended.

The Social Issues Shelf

Welcome to Wynott
Ray Harris
Curmarian Books
210 West Grant Street
Minneapolis, MN 55403
9780984666904, $9.95,

Some things are simply done because they have always been done. "Welcome to Wynott" is a social exploration of the modern day from Ray Harris, who presents his own ideas on social issues, and how to do something different with them, asking readers to challenge the status quo on many topics to try something new. Speaking as a concerned citizen and teacher, "Welcome to Wynott" is well worth considering for social issues studies collections, highly recommended.

The Christian Shelf

Angel Messages, Stories of Inspiration and Healing for Children
Joan Visser, author
Inspiring Voices
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781462400447 (sc), $10.95,

"Angel Messages" is a collection of healing stories about angels helping and protecting children, leading them on a pathway towards God. There is a cheery story about a lonely boy whose parents are divorced, who finds solace in the companionship of a squirrel in his back yard. Another story tells of a 10 year old girl who decides to give her new birthday coat away to a needy person at Christmas time, having been shown a way to love and compassion by a special angel. The last story tells of a boy with a very serious illness who nearly dies, but, encouraged by an angel, realizes that it is not his time to die, because he has a purpose to teach other children about the wonders of the earth, and the need to love and protect it. All these stories and more help to teach children ways they are loved and looked after when they are unaware. Angel Messages" is a beautiful book to share with children ages 7 and up.

Wish U Well
Judy A. Gill, author
Rebecca Riffey, illustrator
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781613466964, $8.99,

"Wish U Well" is a beautiful illustrated inspirational children's story about the mystical experience of a red-haired 8 year old girl named J. Through a beautiful star in the sky, J discovers a magical well that talks to her and grants her deepest, truest wish, always wrapped in unconditional love. J returns to the mysterious well season after season with deep delight, and she names the well-friend voice Tar. Each good wish in its turn is granted, and J comes to learn a way of faith and prayer to sustain her through frightening or difficult or gloomy times. Finally J grows old and after a long and happy life, returns to her vision of the magical Wish U Well for her final resting wish. All parts of "Wish U Well" are written in softly cadenced narrative verse, and the delicate color illustrations add to the magic of the story. Communicating a sense of hope and faith, a Christian vision of living a loving life, "Wish U Well" is a beautiful inspirational book to share with children of all ages. "Wish U Well" includes a free audio book digital download.

Candy Canes in Bethlehem
Miriam Van Scott, author
Traci Van Wagoner, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
50 Saint Pauls Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
978081981606, $7.95,

"Candy Canes in Bethlehem" is a wonderfully imaginative nativity story that explores many different customs and traditions of celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus. Five year old Daniel wants to help Deacon Matthews with a special project decorating All Saints Parish, but he is too little to help with many of the more exciting tasks. Finally he is given the job of setting up the manger scene near the door. But Daniel is unconvinced that this is other than an ordinary task. However, a friend's comment starts him wondering, what if there were other animals and people at the nativity, what if there are other special ways to show the birth of Jesus is an event celebrated around the world, in many different special ways? This thinking leads to much sharing from many of his friends about their different special Advent customs, such as kangaroos for the sleigh in Australia, or cranes for the tree in Japan, or a green pickle for an ornament in Germany, or a Native American Medicine Man with foxes and bears instead of a wise man with camels and sheep? All these wonderful choices about ways to celebrate Advent inspire Daniel and he rushes off with his sister to gather materials for the best Nativity Scene ever! When he is done, Deacon Matthews praises his unusual choices and asks what is the significance of the candy cane Baby Jesus is holding? Daniel answers that Baby Jesus' gift to all of us is represented by the candy cane -He is the origin of all the Christmas customs and gifts, being the original Gift! Darkly colorful cartoon illustrations give the story of "Candy Canes in Bethlehem" a wintry, mysterious context for joyous tidings delivered to all. "Candy Canes in Bethlehem" is a wonderfully inclusive, multicultural Advent celebration book that should be enjoyed by children everywhere of all ages.

Jesus is Born! The Bethlehem Story
Rev Jim Reimann, author
Julia Filipone Erez, illustrations
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449744601, $7.95,

"Jesus is Born!" is an cheerfully illustrated retelling of the Bethlehem story about the birth of Jesus, with Mary and Joseph and the animals in the stable. Beginning with the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary, "The Lord is going to give you a Son,/ the baby will be God's great Holy One," the Bethlehem story continues in joyous, rhyming narrative verse, embellished with brightly colored, cheerful pictures. Mary and Joseph are married and make the journey to Bethlehem to be counted by Caesar for taxes, where they deliver the baby Jesus in a manger in a stable, because there is no room in the inn. Angels and shepherds come to visit the Baby in the stable and leave rejoicing in the birth of Jesus, God's Son, the Living Word. Based on Luke 1:26-35 and 2:1-20, "Jesus is Born!" is a joyous Christian celebration nativity story that will especially appeal to children age 4 and up.

God Bless Our Home
Jan & Mike Berenstain, authors/illustrators
5300 Patterson Avenue SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310720898, $3.99,

"God Bless Our Home" is a comical children's illustrated tale based on Matthew 7:25, "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." The Berenstain Bear family love their old tree house home, but they have growing space issues. Baby Honey needs a room of her own. Papa Bear has no garage to park his car in the winter. Sister and Brother Bear love their tree house home and think it is a fine place to live in. They do not want to move! In deciding about moving to a bigger house, the family starts to investigate old forgotten areas of the tree house, including the attic and the basement. They find many objects they haven't used in years. Papa Bear comes up with an inspired suggestion: The bears will donate some of their stuff and clean it out, then move the excess from the attic to the basement and refinish the attic for a room for Honey Bear! It quickly becomes a family project and everyone helps. papa Bear even plans to finish a carport roof attached to the tree house to shelter the car from the winter snows. finally the bears have a brand new remodeled old home, just right for everyone! They keep their old framed sampler on the wall that says "God Bless Our Home!" At the end of "God Bless Our Home are listed suggested activities and questions from Brother and Sister Bear to help kids plan ways they can solve similar problems in their homes and lives, finishing with a poster-making idea for a "God Bless Our Home" sampler or poster. Kids will love this delightful lesson book on making the best of your home with God's help. Other titles by this publisher/authors in the same series that are strongly recommended include the following I Can Read level 1 books: "The Berenstain Bears Honey Hunt Helpers (9780310721017, $3.99)," and "The Berenstain Bears Help the Homeless (9780310721024, $3.99)."

Bible Snapshots
Stephen M. Miller
Barbour Publishing
P.O. Box 719
Uhrichsville, OH 44683
9781602606890, $19.99,

The Bible is a lot of words, and can feel at times, a drag to study. "Bible Snapshots" is an illustrated guide to the many books of the Bible, as Stephen M. Miller presents a modernized review of the books of the bible and interpretations of the work throughout, providing many useful facts and history of the Biblical works in the old and new testaments. "Bible Snapshots" is endlessly fascinating and intriguing, a highly recommended read that shouldn't be overlooked for young Christians who wish to learn more about the Bible and what lies within.

Dog Gone
Jim Parrish, author
Mike Duffy, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781468560367, $17.99,

"Dog Gone" is a beautiful illustrated story about two beloved dogs, Max and Kadjo, who have had to leave their earthly family, a couple named Sally and Jim. Max and Kadjo meet in a cloudy, heavenly realm after both have passed on from their earthly lives. having belonged to the same family, they have many happy stories to share. Most wonderful of all, Max and Kadjo learn about their new Master, who will never leave them, always love them, always forgive them, and always be there for them. Although they can't see Him, they feel His wonderful unconditional, perfect love. Although the dogs are two different breeds and have two distinct personalities, they shared a wonderful love for their earthly masters, Jim and Sally. "Dog Gone" is a delicate mirror through which a vision of perfect divine love may be glimpsed in these two faithful dogs' afterlives. Delicate pastel illustrations bring the dogs' personalities and natures to life on the page. "Dog Gone" would be a lovely gift for a child who has lost a beloved pet.

The Judaic Shelf

Halleli Nafshi
Rabbi Amy Bardack & Rabbi Beth Naditch
Solomon Schecter Day School of Greater Boston
60 Stein Circle, Newton, MA 02459
9780983662327, $25.00,

The collaborative effort of Rabbi Amy Bardack and Rabbi Beth Naditch, "Halleli Nafshi- A Weekday Siddur for Children with Gender-Neutral Interpretive Translations" is a bilingual (English/Hebrew) work offering young readers gender-neutral, interpretive translations focusing on central meanings for cited each prayer kavannot (meditations) fostering personal reflection. "Halleli Nafshi" provides explanatory introductions to each section of tefillot child-accessible, poetic language enhanced with full color illustrations by children. Emblished with a glossary of English religious words and symbols of choreography, "Halleli Nafshi" is a welcome and highly recommended addition to personal, family, and synagogue Children's Judaic Studies Literature reference collections.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Case of the Crooked Campaign
Lewis B. Montgomery, author
Amy Wummer, illustrator
The Kane Press
350 5th Ave., Ste. 7206, New York, NY 10118
9781575654355, $6.95,

"The Case of the Crooked Campaign" is the latest Milo & Jazz mystery involving election shenanigans at the student council elections, where Jazz is running for president. Unfortunately, an unethical rival candidate emerges, the evil but cool and popular Zack with sidekick Gordy. A hilarious circus of clues flutters through, and an irascible pet parrot named Floyd plays a significant part in unmasking the tricksters, with the help of Bitsy, Jazz's pet pig. As always, humorous black and white illustrations add to the fun and kids ages 7-11 will have a fantastic time keeping up with the sleuthing action of Milo and Jazz and friends in this very popular series.

The Giggling Ghost Girl Scout Mystery
Carole Marsh
Gallopade International
PO Box 2779, Peachtree City, GA 30269
9780635102300, $7.99,

Friendship and practical skills are major components of the Girl Scouts, and these four young ladies have to use both. "The Giggling Ghost Girl Scout Mystery" is a read for young ladies themselves as they go to Savannah, Georgia for a big Camporee, but find a mystery within a nearby famous birthplace. Four daring girls armed with their scouting skills and friendship vow to get to the bottom of it before the Camporee is over. "The Giggling Ghost Girl Scout Mystery" is a very much recommended pick for those readers who are stepping away from picturebooks and are easing into novel-styled tales.

The Case of the Ruby Slippers
Martha Freeman
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823424092, $16.95,

The Case of the Ruby Slippers provides a satisfying blend of mystery and tells of a surprise party with a Wizard of Oz theme. There will be a Toto dog and ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore in the movie; but when the box arrives from the Smithsonian, the slippers are missing. It's up to White House youngsters Cammie and Tess to get on the case and solve the mystery in this fun, easy kids' read recommended for elementary grades 4-5.

The Art Shelf

Drawing Shape by Shape
Christ Hart
Chris Hart Books
c/o Sixth & Spring Books
161 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
9781936096411, $14.95,

Drawing starts with the basics. "Drawing Shape by Shape: Create Cartoon Characters with Circles, Squares, & Triangles" is a drawing instructional from Chris Hart Books, outlining the lessons of drawing starting with simple shapes and how to turn them into more complex pieces of art in the process. With step by step instructions on turning simple shapes into something more, "Drawing Shape by Shape" is presented in full color, a choice and recommended pick for blossoming young artists.

The Travel Shelf

Lele's Passport
Michelle Ingle, author
Rebecca Riffey, illustrator
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781618626233, $8.99,

"Lele's Passport" is an illustrated children's book about a girl's exciting trip to India with her mother. With a bouncy, rhyming narrative and shaded illustrations of Lele and her mother exploring the strange, ancient land of India, "Lele's Passport" gives a stimulating sensory description of the experiences of journeying and exploring many strange new sights and sounds. although Lele is a bit fearful at first, her mother continually reassures her that she will be with her and help guide the way, helping her to enjoy unusual new places, people and customs. By the end of the trip, Lele finally begins to overcome her nervousness and fear and to enjoy the many beautiful and exotic sights and experiences she has had. The good thing is, there are "more countries to see, More places to add to your life's memory." "Lele's Passport" is a good book for children who will be traveling to exotic places, or for children who stay home and explore through books. "Lele's Passport" is accompanied by a free audio book digital download for extra convenience.

The Environmental Shelf

Nature's Notes, Bite-Sized Learning & Projects for All Ages
Judy Burris & Wayne Richards, authors
Willow Creek Press
P.O. Box 147, Minocqua, WI 54548
9781607554776, $19.95,

"Nature's Notes" is a spiral bound, color photo illustrated guide to nature observations with creative mini project suggestions for children age 7 and up. Organized in manageable small chunks of observations packets and project suggestions, "Nature's Notes" has something for everyone. Both text and fantastic color photos encourage kids to "get your hands on nature" and learn more about your connections to all the rest of the natural world. First there is A Trip to the Park, to get started observing flora and fauna in woods, near water, and under logs! Then there's Fun With Flowers, with a flower pressing project suggestion. Take Your Best Shot teaches more about how to use a camera to uncover reflections of nature, with a project of making a reflection tube. What's Bugging You? covers a variety of insects, with some lovely pages on butterflies. Finally there is a chapter titled This is For the Birds with two fun bird related projects. Wrapping up with Some Final Thoughts such as why should you care about nature? "Nature's Notes" presents an attractive, accessible package, perfect for encouraging kids to begin their own nature observation adventures. Completed with a glossary of terms and several lined blank pages for Your Own nature's Notes, this project book comes complete with loads of stimulation and learning incentive for kids. Written by the talented and award winning sibling team of Judy Burris and Wayne Richards, "Nature's Notes" would make the perfect summer vacation gift for any child.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Tail of Gigi: Gigi Finds a Home
Maureen Skaggs, author/illustrator
Windy City Publishers
c/o Skyscaper Press
1930 Plum Grove Road, Palatine, IL 60067
9781935766346, $10.99,

"The Tail of Gigi" is an engaging and compassionate children's rags-to-riches story about a little stray dog who is found, placed in an animal shelter, and eventually adopted by a loving family. Narrated in simple prose with playful, brightly colored sketches of the little white dog with a tan stripe, "The Tail of Gigi" is based on the author's own pet dog's story. Diagnosed with autism as a child, the author suffered many forms of rejection, but she found endless joy and solace in the love of her dog. Therefore she wrote this charming and inspirational book, hoping that children everywhere would not forget to continue to work for their dreams.

The Education Shelf

Cats Can't Fly
P. J. Neer, Ph.D., author
Benjamin Gazsi, illustrator
New Horizon Press
P.O. Box 669, Far Hills, NJ 07931
9780882823812, $9.95,

"Cats Can't Fly: Teaching Children to Value New Friendships" is a cleverly illustrated teaching tale for children ages 4-9 that will help them learn to make new friends, and to appreciate them. Colorful cartoon illustrations show the world of Matilda, the gray tabby cat and Socks, her black and white reluctant companion. Matilda is new to the magical stable of horses called Meadow Green, and she is unsure of her welcome. Determined to make close friends with Socks by impressing him, Matilda rashly decides to climb to a high beam of the barn rafters, planning to "fly" down and thus impress Socks. Unfortunate, cats can't fly, so Matilda is stuck up in the high rafters and doesn't know how to get down. All the barn's horses work together to find her and help her, and even Socks comes to Matilda's rescue in a most surprising way. Afterwards, Matilda realizes that even though Socks does not show her as much attention as she likes, he does care about her as a friend. At the end of "Cats Can't Fly" are two helpful sections titled Tips for Children and Tips for Parents and Educators. These pages have helpful suggestions and ideas for helping to communicate love and caring friendship to other people. "Cats Can't Fly" is an excellent learning tale for children ages 4-9.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Steve Jobs
Saddleback Publishing Inc.
3120 Pullman Street
Cosa Mesa, CA 92626-4564
9781616518899 $7.95

Part of Saddleback Publishing's excellent "Graphic Biography" series, Steve Jobs is a brief, full-color graphic novel for young adults chronicling the life, insights, and accomplishments of Steve Jobs, the legendary Apple computer guru and mastermind behind the ubiquitous iPod. Although designed to be accessible to young people, the biography of Steve Jobs is sure to fascinate adults as well. The story covers everything from Jobs' adoption as an infant, to the natural brilliance that led him to feel restless and bored in both high school and college, to his search for meaning (that led him to be duped by a fraud holy man, among other escapades), to his dream of making computers small, affordable, and accessible in an era when they were so gigantic they took up entire rooms, to his unrelenting demands for perfection (which alienated some of his employees), to his tragic early death from pancreatic cancer. Saddleback's biography of Steve Jobs is inspirational and highly recommended especially for public and grade school.

The Audiobook Shelf

Famous Heroes of the American West
William Roberts, author
Adam Sims, narrator
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28
Franklin, TN 37064
9781843795469 $17.98

Brought to life by the narration of veteran film and theater actor Adam Sims, Famous Heroes of the American West offers true tales of extraordinary figures from the American era of the untamed western frontier. Although Famous Heroes of the American West is intended especially for young adults, listeners of all ages will enjoy learning about Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Sitting Bull, Calamity Jane and more. Famous Heroes of the American West is as amazing as it is educational, and highly recommended especially for public and school library youth audiobook collections. 2 CDs, 2 hours 23 min.

The Music CD Shelf

Be Smart series
Ms. Rubee
Senga Music, Inc.
c/o Ms. Rubee Productions (distribution)
$14.99 each

The Be Smart series is a set of five enlightening audio and music CDs designed to stimulate young people's imaginations and promote learning. "Math Songs" encourages little ones to learn basic counting and addition skills through catchy songs; "Alphabet Songs" uses high-energy tunes to emphasize the litters of the alphabet; "Fairy Tales and Stories" lives up to its title with short, classic vignettes (including many of Aesop's timeless fables); "Lullabies & Children's Songs" sets beloved children's nursery rhymes and other popular songs such as "London Bridge is Falling Down" and "Do Your Ears Hang Low" to gentle music; and "Spanish for Children" encourages young people to build their Spanish language vocabulary with lots of English to Spanish words (sorted by group), recited in a child-friendly way. All are highly recommended for preschool and kindergarten classrooms as well as for parents looking to give very young children a leg up on their lifelong learning!

Apple Apple
The Harmonica Pocket
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Apple Apple is the third family-friendly music CD of The Harmonica Pocket, an group of acclaimed "Kindiependant" performers. A hint of educational encouragement is woven into songs about counting or sounding out syllables, but most of the songs are about observing and appreciating the wonderful world all around us. Love for the simple pleasures of daily life reflected in Apple Apple make it a children's music CD that parents can enjoy as well. Highly recommended. The tracks are "I'm Gonna Count", "Diaperman", "Monkey Love", "Apple Apple", "Afraid of Heights", "Little Little Baby", "Turkey in the Straw", "Waiting Always Takes a Long Time", "Happy Mother's Day", "Bare Feet", "Reflections", "Dream a Dream", "Supermoon", and "Apple Eyes".

Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie
Randy Kaplan
myKaZoo Music
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Acclaimed children's music artist Randy Kaplan presents Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie, a kid-friendly album of classic country blues and ragtime songs from the 1920's, 30's, and 40's. Lyrics have be reworked to be family-friendly while retaining the heartfelt message of each song, and the detailed, colorfully illustrated liner notes are designed to teach young people more about the great musicians who contributed to America's cultural heritage. Adults can enjoy these soulful musical treasures along with children, in this excellent album especially recommended for car trips or pure entertainment. The tracks are "The Fathers of the Blues" (1:04), "They're Red Hot" (2:21), "Runaway Blues" (2:53), "In a Timeout Now" (4:43), "Reading Glasses Kaplan" (1:52), "Kindhearted Babysitter Blues" (2:48), "Diddie Wah Diddie" (3:03), "Ice Cream Man Rag" (3:08), "Oh Papa Oh Mama" (1:59), "Kickball Kaplan" (1:56), "Sugar Sweet" (3:25), "You've Been A Good Old Wagon" (4:27), "Gettin' Along" (3:05), "Mayor Kaplan" (1:28), "Shake That Thing" (3:00), "That Will Never Happen No More" (3:22), "Black Mountain Blues" (3:02), "Papa Waffle Kaplan" (1:40), "Move to Kansas City" (2:43), "Way Down in Arkansas" (2:23), "Green Green Rocky Road" (3:22), "Kiwi Kaplan" (2:18), "So Different Blues" (3:53), and "Mr. Diddie Way Diddie" (0:59).

Because I Said So!
Big Bang Boom
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

The third studio CD of family-friendly, power-pop band Big Bang Boom (who is composed of three musically talented dads), Because I Said So! is a freewheeling children's CD brimming with original songs styled with a fast beat and catchy lyrics. Designed to appeal to children and parents alike, Because I Said So! incorporates tongue-in-cheek humor into its rollicking rhythms, Because I Said So! is particularly ideal for family car trips or simple freestyle fun. The songs are "Green Light", "Bicycle", "Hippie Mom", "Make Me", "One", "Are We There Yet", "Because I Said So", "Control", "Counting Song", and "Goodbye". 29 min.

Raise a Ruckus
Hullabaloo Music
PO Box 636, Del Mar, CA 92014
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Parent's Choice award-winning children's band Hullabaloo presents Raise a Ruckus, a free-spirited album in the style of "organic kid folk", blending witty humor, boogie-inducing rhythms, and bubbling enthusiasm into a delightful whole. Hullabaloo members Steve Denyes (guitar, vocals) and Brendan Kremer (drums, vocals) combine their talent with numerous guest musicians, including bass, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, ukulele, organ, and xylophone players, in this upbeat, gung-ho album the whole family can enjoy. The tracks are "My Eyes" (3:15), "Raise a Ruckus" (3:13), "Look at You" (3:27), "Dad Upside Down" (1:47), "Say Yes" (2:33), "Out Standing" (2:41), "Favorite Day" (2:52), "Trash is My Treasure" (2:21), "Green Beans Everywhere" (2:14), "Bit Her" (2:10), "Rocket Shoes" (2:24), and "Song About Nothing" (2:25). 32 min.

Little Seed
Woody Guthrie, composer
Elizabeth Mitchell, performer
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie is an album of classic children's songs by America's widely beloved Woody Guthrie, as performed by the acclaimed and talented Elizabeth Mitchell. Little Seed consists of eight newly recorded tracks and five previously issued favorite songs, and provides a delightful assortment of music that nostalgic parents will enjoy along with their children during car trips or rainy days. An accompanying booklet includes a brief essay by Mitchell and complete lyrics for all the songs. Little Seed is a joy to listen to and share, worthy of the highest recommendation. The tracks are "Riding In My Car" (2:46), "Bling Blang" (1:57), "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8" (1:40), "Why, oh Why?" (3:11), "Sleep Eye" (2:18), "Who's My Pretty Baby?" (1:53), "Rattle My Rattle" (1:24), "This Land is Your Land" (4:12), "Merry-Go-Round" (2:01), "One Day Old" (1:57), "Little Sugar" (1:55), "Grassy Grass Grass" (0:56), and "Little Seed" (3:26).

Catchin' Some Peazzz
Hot Peas 'N Butter
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Parent's Choice Award-winning family-friendly band Hot Peas 'N Butter presents their sixth album, Catchin' Some Peazzz, which is devoted especially to children's lullabyes. The soothing renditions of classic nursery rhymes and other internationally beloved songs are perfect for helping young ones wind down for the night. Hot Peas 'N Butter shows the gentle side of the acoustic guitar and piano playing, in this excellent pick especially for busy families. The tracks are "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Time to Fly", "Everyday Lullaby", "Railroad Bill", "No Worries", "The Dream Is You", "The Stars Are Waiting", "Dream Away", "In Belgian Rain", "Rock-a-Bye Baby", "Nabiya", and "Beautiful Dream".

The DVD Shelf

Kids Get Movin'
Hassan Christopher and Liza Savage-Katz, instructors
The Center for Movement Education & Research
c/o Organa Kids (distribution)
2203 Balsam Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Ideal for ages 7-12, Kids Get Movin' is a family-friendly fitness DVD consisting of two 20-minute workouts designed to show young people that exercise can be fun! Featuring aerobic hip-hop, flexibility-building yoga, and a soundtrack in both English and Spanish, Kids Get Movin' encourages viewers to develop their coordination, breathing skills, endurance, and best of all, incorporate healthy activity into their lifestyle. Instructors Hasson Christopher and Liza Savage-Katz smoothly guide, encourage, and enlighten the viewer, in this excellent program that is especially ideal for time-strapped parents to share with their children, squeezing a good workout for the whole family into a busy day! Highly recommended. 40 min.

Preschooler Learns Colors and Shapes
Galloping Minds

Part of the "Preschooler Learns" educational DVD series designed especially for children ages 18 months to 4 years, Preschooler Learns Colors and Shapes is a bright, toddler-friendly video designed to introduce little ones to a wide variety of shapes, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional. Shapes are brought together to form new objects, and the bright colors help stimulate developing young minds. Instrumental music adds to the video's charm so much that adults might just find themselves humming its tunes! Preschooler Learns Colors and Shapes is an excellent DVD for parents or babysitters to share with children, highly recommended. 30 min.

Hit Entertainment
c/o Lionsgate (distribution)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Three new children's DVDs from Hit Entertainment are packed with colorful fun and a little bit of learning, too! "Barney: All About Opposites" ($14.98, 75 min., features the gentle purple dinosaur teaching Baby Bop and viewers about basic concepts such as up and down, in and out, high and low, big and little, or hot and cold. The "Let's Play with Opposites" DVD game rounds out this delightful edutainment program. "Thomas & Friends: Schoolhouse Delivery" ($14.98, 48 min., carries the positive message that school can be exciting; on the island of Sodor, Diesel earns a hero's welcome by making an important delivery to the schoolhouse, among other adventures - Percy encounters trouble when he tries a little too hard to emulate the bigger engines, Henry gets valuable training in how to react to health and safety emergencies, and more. "Schoolhouse Delivery" is a great way to turn young people's attitude about school around! "Timmy Time: Happy Birthday, Timmy!" ($14.98, 46 min., is a playful, claymation-style DVD from the award-winning creators of "Wallace & Gromit", in which the little sheep Timmy enjoys a splendid birthday bash. "Happy Birthday, Timmy!" features five exciting stories, "Timmy's Birthday", "Count on Timmy", "Timmy's New Friend", "Timmy's Pet Problems", and "Timmy Learns to Fly", along with a bonus Timmy Time Sing Along and a Shaun the Sheep episode, "Timmy in a Tizzy". All three DVDs are wonderful entertainment for preschool and elementary children, and highly recommended.

The Memoir Shelf

The Rack Pack, Darrell's Adventure
D. Rackley, author
Aaron Johnson, illustrator
New Hanover Printing and Publishing Co.
2145 Wrightsville Avenue
Wilmington, NC 28403
9780983061670, $15.00,

"The Rack Pack" is a colorful illustrated story about a 7 year old boy named Darrell who lived with his father and brothers on a military base and liked to play army games with a group named the Rack Pack. Four boys team up with Darrell to take part in planned mock military maneuvers on the playground, culminating in the Rack Pack's dirt clod battle with other kids from the neighborhood. When the Rack Pack triumphs in their first dirt clod war, Darrell and his brothers go home to report to their Army dad their story. He is very proud of them, and after a several baths and a good dinner, he awards medals for heroism to Darrell, Loren and Gerald. They are proud and excited to return to their next Dirt Clod War! "The Rack pack" is based on real memories from the boyhood experiences of the author. It is a vivid retelling that children will relate to, especially 7 year old boys.

Books in Series

How a Library Works
Amanda St John, author
Bob Ostrom, illustrator
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781614732471, $28.50 each,

"How a Library Works" is a reading level grade 2 reference book about how to explore and use a library. Stew Rabbit and Opal Owl have fun checking out the O'Hare Library with its self-checkout station, its collection of CDs, DVDs, and video games, and of course, lots of books. There are also special programs for kids! The library has rules for keeping quiet, and has books and material organized according to the Dewey Decimal system. Stew and Opal love the library, and plan to return for many more happy hours of library fun. Including a glossary, web site list, book list, and tips to remember, "How a Library Works" is a great introduction for kids age 7 and up to a lifetime of pleasant, peaceful, productive library usage. Other recommended titles by the same author in this series include "How an e-Book Works (9781614732488)," "How to Check Out a Book (9781614732495)," "How to Find a Book (9781614732501)," "How to find Information Online (9781614732518)," and "How to Treat a Book (9781614732525)," each priced at $28.50.

I Can Write a Book About Culture
Bobbie Kalman
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th floor
New York, NY 10118
9780778779896, $26.60 each,

"I Can Write a Book About Culture" is a great Reading Level P book teaching children how to create a wonderful book about culture. Filled with colorful photo illustrations and handy writing and researching techniques and approaches, "I Can Write a Book about Culture" is inspirational to young authors who are intrigued by the investigation and celebration of a specific culture, possibly their own, or possibly another. The fantastic impact of this book is it makes learning to write about culture fun, a multi-sensory adventure on every level. Children are taught to research, define their writing style, choose formats and fonts and illustrations, design, publish and celebrate their book. What a package! From the I Can Write a Book series, "I Can Write a Book About Culture" opens a child to a world of dazzling cultural diversity and encourages him/her to dive in, explore, analyze, and present the material in a skillful, sensitive, artistic manner. "I Can Write a Book About Culture" will challenge kids to create and learn new things about new places, people and customs. Other titles from this highly recommended series by the same author include "I Can Write a Book About Countries (9780778779889)," "I Can Write a Book About History (9780778779902)," "I Can Write a Book About Butterflies (9780778779872)," and "I Can Write a Book About My Life (9780778779933)."

Teachers Help Us
Aaron R. Murray
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766040458, $21.26 each / $15.95 each for schools & libraries

"Teachers Help Us" is a hardback educational book for pre-K-1 level children interested in learning more about what teachers do. From the All About Community Helpers series, "Teachers Help Us" features a pre-reader friendly format consisting of one large color photo page facing one page of simple explanatory large text. Children will enjoy asking questions about the learning activities shown and discussed. Multi cultural and multi-racial teachers and students are shown in a positive, bright learning environment, promoting awareness of acceptance of diversity. "Teachers Help Us" also encourages young children to imagine themselves as future teachers. The All About Community Helpers Series is an excellent educational experience for the pre-K-1 child. Other titles in this series by the same author that are recommended include: "Dentists Help Us (9780766040434)," "EMTs Help Us (9780766040502)," "Firefighters Help Us (9780766040472)," "Nurses Help Us (9780766040441)," "Police Officers Help Us (9780766040489)," "Sanitation Workers Help Us (9780766040496)," and "Veterinarians Help Us (9780766040465)."

The Legend of Captain McFinn and Friends
Phyllis Cafaro & Esther Buschau, authors
Rob Romain & Sarah Durkee, editors
Mada Design, Inc. Illustrations
McFinn Press
P.0. Box 2266, Youngstown, Ohio 44504
9780979928338, $12.99,

"The Legend of Captain McFinn and Friends" is a great new children's book series that teaches kids ages 4-8 to "Be a Buddy, Not a Bully!" This colorfully illustrated undersea cast of characters takes a major character, Captain McFinn, a black, dangerous sea shark with a tendency to bully other fish from bully to buddy, teaching him better ways to get along with all your fellow fish. Captain McFinn's transformation promotes him to protector of the Sand Dusty Reef, along with all his fellow fish. "The Legend of Captain McFinn and Friends" is vividly appealing to children, and other volumes of the series contain music, CDs, and additional learning activities. Two final pages of Fun Finn Facts and Finn Power give additional information about undersea creatures and their amazing habits and special abilities. "the Legend of Captain McFinn and Friends" is a powerful anti-bullying curriculum that also teaches fun facts about the undersea world. Watch for more books in this creative series. Also recommended from this series are the following titles: "Captain McFinn and Friends Rock! (9780979928383, $17.99)," and "Captain McFinn and Friends Meet Coral Rose (9780979928352, $17.99)."

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

The third updated edition of the 'Cultures of the World' series is a top recommendation for advanced elementary through middle school grades. Each book packs in well over a hundred pages of detail pairing contemporary color photos with maps, geography surveys, and discussions of the political economic and cultural history and lifestyle of each country. Newly updated additions include VENEZUELA (9781608708031, $32.95), PHILIPPINES (9781608709939, $32.95), AUSTRALIA (9781608709908, $32.95), SRI LANKA (9781608709946, $32.95), LIBYA (9781608709922, $32.95), CHINA (9781608709915, $32.95), THAILAND (9781608709953, $32.95), MEXICO (9781608708024, $32.95), CHILE (9781608708000, $32.95), ARGENTINA (9781608707973, $32.95), BRAZIL (9781608707980, $32.95) and COLUMBIA (9781608708017, $32.95). All are top picks for lending libraries seeking fresh and updated facts and figures suitable for in-depth student research and reports, and all feature bright contemporary color covers that will lend to browser interest.

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

Grades K-3 will find intriguing the color illustrated, 24-page 'Tadpole Tales', which has added ten new stories based on popular nursery rhymes and fables. Intended for emergent readers, these offer simple story lines, repetitive words and phrases, and large print designed to build reading skills while maintaining young reader interest. Diane Marwood and Anni Axworthy's THE LION AND THE MOUSE (9780778778936, $21.27) tells of a mouse in danger when he accidentally awakens a lion, Marwood works with Gabriele Antonini in THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER (9780778778899, $21.27), telling of a busy ant and a grasshopper that thinks he should relax even though winter is coming, Marwood works with Barbara Nascimbeni in THE FOX AND THE CROW (9780778778929, $21.27), telling of a crow with food and a clever Fox who campaigns to make him drop it; Robert James and Stefania Colnaghi retell HOW THE CAMEL GOT HIS HUMP (9780778778882, $21.27), about a rude camel who is the laziest in the desert; Elizabeth Adams and Daniel Howarth's THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF (9780778778905, $21.27) retells an Aesop fable about a bored shepherd boy who shouts "Wolf!" one too many times; Brian Moses and Jan Lewis' HUMPTY DUMPTY AT SEA and HUMPTY DUMPTY (9780778778851, $21.27) pair a traditional nursery rhyme with a fun new rhyme telling of a good egg's adventures; Mick Gowar and O'Kif's BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP and BAA, BAA PINK SHEEP (9780778778837, $21.27) provides another fun pairing of a traditional nursery rhyme with a new embellishment; Wes Magee and Tomislav Zlatic's ITSY BITSY SPIDER and ITSY BITSY BEETLE (9780778778868, $21.27) tells of an unusual friendship between insects; Brian Moses and Jill Newton's HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE and HEY DIDDLE DOODLE (9780778778644, $21.27) tells of fun, musical animals and Robert James and Garyfallia Leftheri's HOW THE ELEPHANT GOT ITS TRUNK (9780778778912, $21.27) RETELLS A Kipling classic revolving around dinner plans. All offer new takes on classic stories making for lovely, fun reading!

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

Three sets of picturebooks for young reader offer inviting contemporary covers and outstanding subjects, and are recommended picks for discriminating collections seeking bright, new ideas! Molly Aloian's 'Plants Close Up' series ($15.95 each) for grades K-3 provide 24 pages each packed with color photos and engrossing topics introducing young readers to plant basics. By dividing the overall topic of botany into individual books, kids can easily grasp concepts in bits and pieces easy to absorb. WHAT ARE BULBS AND ROOTS? (9780778742203) introduces readers to seldom-seen plant parts, SEEDS (42210) discusses seeds, STEMS (42227) offers insights into different stems, stem job s, cuttings, underground stems and more, PLANTS ARE ALIVE! (42197) surveys the overall plant life cycle and parts. Lynn Pappas' WHAT ARE CLOUDS series narrows the focus to different types of clouds, identifying their properties, discussing their role in natural history, and more. STRATUS CLOUDS (9780778744764), CIRRUS CLOUDS (9780778744733), CUMULUS CLOUDS (44740) and HOW DO CLOUDS FORM? (44757) each provide specific, fine reviews well suited to young reader learning. The 'Understanding Electricity' series ($19.95 each) will reach grades 4-6 with engaging 32-page readers packed with modern color photos, contemporary written text, and keys to the basic concepts of electricity. Lionel Sandner's WHAT IS ELECTROMAGNETISM? (9780778720805) surveys the basics of electromagnetism and its functions, Jessica Pegis' WHAT ARE INSULATORS AND CONDUCTORS? (20782) discusses everything from lightning and semi and superconductors to insulators, Ronald Moore's WHAT IS ELECTRICITY? (9780778720799) and WHAT ARE ELECTRICAL CIRCUITS? (9780778720775) each provide discussions that connect basic electrical concepts to a child's knowledge of a typical home. Easy experiments accompany charts, diagrams and illustrations perfect for newcomers to electrical concepts and theories, making for a perfect pick for any lending library strong in science.

Enslow Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 398
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398

'Creative Writing in 5 Simple Steps' is a brand new "how to", six title, 'kid friendly' series from Enslow Publishers and specifically designed for young and aspiring authors. Each 48-page, hardcover volume in this outstanding series for children ages 5 and up is hallmarked by clear, concise, 'user friendly' steps to take new writers through the creative process within their chosen category. Of special note are the quotes by established and popular writers making each volume a kind of 'do-it-yourself' workshop. The six titles comprising this impressive series includes: Amy Dunkleberger's "Write A Mystery In 5 Simple Steps" (9780766038356, $23.93); Suzanne Lieurance's "Write A Romance In 5 Simple Steps" (9780766038370, $23.93); Jeffrey Edward Peters' "Write A Graphic Novel In 5 Simple Steps" (9780766038822, $23.93); Michael A. Schuman's "Write Science Fiction In 5 Simple Steps" (9780766038448, $23.93); Laura Lee McKay's "Write Fantasy Fiction In 5 Simple Steps" (9780766038349, $23.93); and Laura Baskes Litwin's "Write Horror Fiction In 5 Simple Steps" (9780766038363, $23.93). Although individuals can acquire specific titles individually according to their thematically intended writing project, school and community libraries are encouraged to acquire the entire six volume series for their students and patrons. Simply stated, these "how to" titles are so good that it can also be enthusiastically recommended to anyone and everyone seeking to write (and have published!) their own novel.

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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