Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Children's Bookwatch

Children's Bookwatch

Volume 24, Number 8 August 2014 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Donovan's Bookshelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf ABC Shelf Fiction Shelf
Sports Shelf Multicultural Shelf Crafts Shelf
Holiday Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Social Issues Shelf Writing/Publishing Shelf
Christian Shelf Poetry Shelf Jobs/Career Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Mythology Shelf Art Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Board Book Shelf Science Shelf
Money/Finance Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Native American Shelf Travel Shelf American History Shelf
Books in Series    

Donovan's Bookshelf

A Simple Idea to Empower Kids: Teen's Edition
Kathleen Boucher
Balboa Press
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452593890, $16.95 softcover, 23 pages
9781452593906, $3.99 ebook =books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402789049&sr=11&keywords=A+Simple+Idea+to+Empower+Kids+ %3ATeen%27s+Edition

Parent Kathleen Boucher wanted one thing for her children, above all: for them to feel empowered in their lives and choices. Now, most parents want their children to be happy and to become achievers: the question lies in how this is translated to teachings that will work.

All this might lead to the expectation that A Simple Idea to Empower Kids: Teen's Edition will be a weighty read: not so! And those who equate a weighty tome with complexity and depth will be pleasantly surprised by this short (23page) guide which fills half its pages with oversized graphics to add appeal to a message that's easy on the eye and psyche.

After all: this is a teen's reader, and as such it works better using graphics and large-size print than it would with pages of dense, daunting material that would appear indigestible (and unappealing) to short attention spans.

The message is clear and stated from the outset: it's based on a combination of love, choice and belief the belief that "From the beginning of time until the end of time there will only be one of you on Earth. Only one! This means you are very special exactly as you are right now."

Concepts such as 'giving permission' to let words and actions hurt (or not), understanding that one's every reaction involves choice as well as impulse, and visualizing dreams to help make them real, viable motivators for living a better life assume the form of admonitions spiced by cartoon graphics throughout.

These are some powerful, self-motivating messages; so they require this format (alternating snippets of admonition and wisdom with reinforcing graphics) to prove effective for teen audiences.

'Believe you can do it.' sounds like such simple advice; but it's surprisingly difficult for teens, especially, to absorb. Parents often impart this message in much more roundabout, general terms and couch it with so much detail and depth that it becomes lost or overwhelming.

It's all about confidence-building strategies: this handbook should be just the first step towards building empowerment in kids of all ages, and offers an easy recipe for success that kids (and parents!) will find appealing, logical and digestible.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Time Inc. Home Entertainment
PO Box 11016, Des Moines, Iowa 50336-1016
c/o Goodman Media International, Inc. (publicity)
750 Seventh Ave., 28th floor, New York, NY 10019
9781603209908 $19.95

Featuring more than 400 full-color photographs, Snakeopedia is a gigantic compendium of fascinating facts about snakes (and a few other reptiles) all over the world! Serpent fans of all ages will enjoy learning how snakes move, hunt their prey, and defend themselves against predators. Some snakes are dangerous or even lethal to humans, but death by snakebite is extremely rare in America (at the same time, snake fatalities are distressingly common in other nations where dense human populations and the habitat of venomous snakes overlap). "Rattlesnakes hunt rodents, birds, and lizards. They don't attack humans unless threatened by them, so the rattle is a great warning to back off." Snakeopedia is especially recommended for public and school library collections for young readers in middle grades through junior high, and is sure to inspire fascination with these complex animals and the natural world that they're a vital part of.

About Parrots: A Guide for Children
Cathryn Sill, author
John Sill, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561457953, $16.95,

"About Parrots" is a lushly illustrated children's guide to 18 and more species of parrots, accompanied by brief, accurate descriptions and commentary. From the famous and award-winning "About...." juvenile nature series, "About Parrots" highlights beautifully detailed paintings of species of parrots found from such widely diverse locations as Africa, the Polynesian Islands, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. Wild parrots are native to all continents except Europe and Antarctica. "About Parrots" follows the "About...." series format, with spare descriptive statements accompanying each colorful painting of one or more parrots in a natural habitat, followed by a section titled the Afterword, which shows miniature reductions of each plate with a paragraph of excellent information about the parrot species and habitat, eating patterns and status. The beauty and diversity of parrots as well as the heightening need to protect parrots' and other birds and animals' habitats are strongly emphasized in this excellent educational nature series.

Matt Found God in an Elephant
Stephanie S. Esla, author
Muhamad Rachman, illustrator
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Road -515, Parker, CO 80134
9780578133553, $25.95,

"Matt Found God in an Elephant" is an unusual story of a boy's discovery of deepest compassion and love for an elephant forced to lead a life of domestic amusement. As a boy, Matt was taken to the circus where he saw a majestic elephant perform, doing a handstand on a stool while wearing a giant tutu. While, everyone else around him seemed to find this an acceptable and enjoyable performance, Matt felt very uncomfortable and sad, feeling that the elephant was not destined to spend his life doing demeaning tricks for raucous circus audiences. Matt became so interested in wild elephants and their African plains habitat that finally his parents took him on a trip and a safari in Botswana. Although Matt loved the trip and anticipated seeing herds of elephants in the wild, he was disappointed to find not one elephant on this guided tour. Asking the old tour guide about what happened to the elephants, Matt was shown a cloud formation in the sky in the shape of an elephant. Again his parents tried to provide him with a good elephant contact experience in Meru, Kenya, where a sad Asian elephant named Ti was forced to give rides to children and tourists. This again made Matt feel very sad, and he refused to ride the elephant, later promising Ti that he would find a way to free her when he could. Matt decided that God meant for him to spend his life finding and freeing captive elephants, returning them to their natural habitats. Thus, Matt found God, and his life's work, in an elephant. This deeply touching story will raise questions and stir compassion in the hearts of young readers. Gentle colored pencil illustrations show a boy with parents of different origins who finds his path following his heart and compassion for the captive elephants he meets. Part of the proceeds from the sale of "Matt Found God in an Elephant" will be contributed to charities helping endangered animals, like elephants.

Western Butterflies for Young Explorers
Sharon Lamar, author/illustrator
Mountain Press Publishing Company
1301 South Third Street West
P.O. Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426140, $14.00,

"Western Butterflies for Young Explorers: An A to Z Guide" is a beautifully illustrated guide to 26 species of butterflies found in western North America, one for each letter of the alphabet. Watercolor portraits and detailed closeups of the stages of life for the butterfly are superb and accurate. Many fascinating facts about butterflies are incorporated, along with introductory sections on the butterfly life cycle, butterfly body parts, butterfly classification and a key to icons used to present specific information about each butterfly. A few of the stunning examples of butterflies include the Hedgerow Hairstreak, the Jutta Arctic, the Tiger Swallowtail, the Xami Hairstreak, and the Zerene Fritillary. Butterflies are painted against a natural habitat, such as flowers, and the backgrounds vary from sunny mid-day to black night. Each butterfly has a narrated description, plus a map showing range, a larva description, preferred habitat, wingspan, and related fun fact under Did You Know? A wealth of information about western butterflies is further enhanced by suggested butterfly activities, technology, science, visual arts, plus a list of other resources, guide books, web sites, and a Glossary. Children age 6 and up can find treasures of butterfly study in this beautiful manual, created with skill, knowledge, and love.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Scout's Campfire Cookbook for Kids
Tim and Christine Conners
Falcon Guides
c/o The Globe Pequot Press
246 Goose Lane, Suite 200
Guilford, CT 06437
9780762797219 $16.95

Illustrated with a handful of color photographs, The Scout's Campfire Cookbook for Kids lives up to its title as a camping cookbook, filled with recipes suitable for young adults - whether they're boy scouts or girl scouts on an educational adventure, or children experiencing the great outdoors with their family. A lengthy introductory section covers the basics of camp cooking safety, and skills and equipment needed, and an index allows for quick reference. "Never use a metal scrub pad when cleaning cast iron. It will destroy the natural black protective coating, known as patina... Use plastic scrub pads and scrapers instead. If tough, stuck-on food remains, pour warm water into the cookware and let soak for about 15 minutes before scrubbing again." Recipes such as Eagle River Sausage Burritos, Fruit Trees with Dip (skewers), Girl Scout Stew, Adventurer's Veggie Soup, and Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin Delight are so appealing that one just might want to make them at home to recall fond camp memories!

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Practice Makes Princess
Time Home Entertainment Inc.
1271 Avenue of the Americas, 6th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781618933751 $12.95

Practice Makes Princess is based on and a companion to the Disney computer-animated television series "Sofia the First", about a young girl in the magical kingdom of Enchancia, who unexpectedly becomes royalty when her mother marries the king. Every single page of Practice Makes Princess is a colorful poster, suitable for display in one's room, locker, on folders, etc. Nine supersized posters form the centerpiece of this charming collection, featuring upbeat, character-building sayings such as "Friends always help each other", and "From riding flying horses to casting spells, there are so many wonderful things to learn." Practice Makes Princess is an excellent giftbook for any little girl who enjoys the television show.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Steve Richardson, author
Fiona Samson, illustrator
Impossible Dreams Publishing
4123 Rancho Grande Pl. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120,
9780978642235, $24.95, 153 pages,

"Canlandia" is an exciting pre-teen fantasy work that is masterfully written and beautifully illustrated. This fast moving narrative, embellished with more than 25 full page paintings of bright, colorful renditions of the scenes of Canlandia, works effortlessly as an amazing adventure/ quest/ journey begins with the hero, Logan, and his guide, the brave girl warrior, Butterbrickle. Logan has entered the magical tiny world of Canlandia through a strange chain of events, only to find that his coming has been foretold and he is destined to save Canlandia from the evil Baron von Jawbreaker (and his army of mad gobstoppers). The many amazing scenes and adventures in Canlandia are captured beautifully in the creative (edible appearing) illustrations of Fiona Sansom. After many desperate close calls, Logan and Butterbrickle attempt the impossible: to steal the magical Sapphire Sugar Crystal from the Baron after crossing the entire continent of Canlandia. Like all truly great magical quests, this one ends on a note to be continued... "Canlandia" has scenes and elements that seem lifted from actual places, and some of these are pictured at the end of the book, proving that fantasy and reality have a desire to mingle, surprising no one. We can only hope for the sequel to come soon.

Monster Hunter's Manual Book 1: Skeletons and Traps
Jessica Penot
Our Street Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach
Alresford, Hants, SO24 9JH, UK
9781780999333 $11.95

Monster Hunter's Manual Book 1: Skeletons and Traps is a novel for young adults about adapting to broad changes. Gabriel is a boy whose life has just been upended; his parents have died, and he's required to move to a new country, France. He doesn't get along with his eccentric aunt or his crybaby little brother, and he doesn't want to learn French. But as he explores his aunt's castle, he starts to stumble upon elements of adventure, including friendly skeletons to storytelling ghosts. An ultimately upbeat story about making the most of what life dishes out, Monster Hunter's Manual is highly recommended.

Alien Dude! Mr. Evil Potato Man and the Food Fight!
E. K. Smith, author
Peter Grosshauser, illustrator
Zip Line Publishing
P.O. Box 78134, Charlotte, NC 28271
9780988379213, $4.99,

"Alien Dude! Mr. Evil Potato Man and the Food Fight!" is an exciting new title in an innovative series designed to promote literacy and reading skills in boys (and girls) ages 6-8. This action-packed 69 page book uses full page black and white cartoon illustrations with brief, expressive narrative lines to advance a fantastic plot that every 7 year old boy (and maybe girl) will adore. It involves the heroic actions and adventures of Alien Dude, who likes to morph into a velociraptor before eating dinner, catch snowballs and air on his snowboard, and use his secret weapon, his armpits! In other words, Alien Dude is Awesome (well, maybe a little disgusting too)! So when Mr. Evil Potato Man put a spell on the school food at lunch, and kids started turning into Food they ate, Alien Dude dove right into the gigantic Food Fight that erupted and morphed into a potato peeler and magically peeled and fried Mr. Evil Potato Man! It was AWESOME! The kids helped by EATING the amazing french fries to break the evil spell and all was cool until next time, thanks to ALIEN DUDE! What a great way to spend your lunch hour, reading this cool little book about Alien Dude! (You rock!) The Alien Dude series may need to post a warning: Reading this book could become addictive!

Mindel and the Misfit Dragons
Xianna Michaels
Alcabal Press LLC
13351 Riverside Drive #605, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
9781941067000, $TBA,

"Mindel and The Mistfit Dragons: A Magical Tale by An Ancient Hand" is a magical, medieval verse fairy tale imaginatively told by Xianna Michaels. This is the story of a brave Jewish girl living in a castle where it is very hard to keep the Sabbath and where unknown villains are defacing sacred scrolls. In her quest to keep her family home, Mindel meets three dragons who are considered misfits by all, but whose very oddities may save Castle Draconmere. Hand-lettered and lushly illustrated, this original, lyrical, entertaining tale will delight readers is specifically written for young readers age 8 to 12. "Mindel and the Misfit Dragons" will inspire readers of all ages all to ask whether misfits even exist, or if everyone has a special, much-needed place in the world. A solid entertainment with a meaningful social message deftly woven into a truly engaging story that is enhanced with the inclusion of 194 illustrated pages, "Mindel and the Misfit Dragons" is scheduled to be released in November 2014 and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections.

Where Is Lonely?
Eva McIntyre
Our Street Books
John Hunt Publishing Limited
National Book Network (distributor)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706,
9781780998688, $9.95,

Chelsea is a feisty, hyperactive little girl who meets an unfriendly ogre called Lonely and steps up to the challenge of changing his grumpy ways. Written and illustrated by storyteller, actor, songwriter, and priest Eva McIntyre "Where Is Lonely?" a 49 page story about friendship, but most of all, it's a story for children to enjoy, participate in and identify with. Imaginative, original, and a pure pleasure to read by or to young children, "Where Is Lonely?" is very highly recommended. It should be noted that "Where Is Lonely?" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.59).

The Thickety: A Path Begins
J.A. White
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062257246, $16.99,

The Thickety: A Path Begins tells of Kara and her little brother, who are shunned by the people of their village when their mother is convicted of witchcraft. There's only one thing more evil than magic, and that's the mysterious forest that nearly coves the island - and which lure Kara despite the village's intense fear of the Thickety and its denizens. Does magic have the power to heal, or is it only about hurting? This lively read is a recommended pick for any interested in stories of magic, danger, and courage.

The Picturebook Shelf

Mister Got To Go, Where Are You?
Lois Simmie, author
Cynthia Nugent, illustrator
Red Deer Press
311 Washington St., Brighton, Massachusetts 02135
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd.
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, L3R 4T8
9780889954908, $19.95,

"Mister Got To Go, Where Are You?" is the story of a lost cat named Harry who lived at the Sylvia Hotel. Got To Go came to the hotel in a rainstorm and Mister Foster, the hotel manager named him, saying, "My work, is that cat still here? As soon as it stops raining, that cat's got to go." But all the other staff loved Got To Go and fed him treats. Got To Go accidentally left the Sylvia Hotel by jumping on a truck piled with leaves. When the truck stopped, Got To Go was lost, but he found food and shelter in a cardboard box with a homeless man named Jim. Meanwhile, everyone at the Sylvia Hotel missed Got To Go. But Got To Go did not know how to find the Sylvia Hotel again, or how to defend himself against nasty street fighting attack cats. Finally, with a wounded paw and battle scars, Got To Go found his way back to the hotel . Everyone was so happy to see him. He was fed the finest food and taken to see the cat doctor. Finally, back on Mister Foster's windowsill, Got To Go quietly rested and licked all his worries and wounds and fears away, and curled up in his favorite place in all the world and slept. And although next morning Mister Foster said, "As soon as it stops raining that cat's got to go," life at the Sylvia Hotel was very, very good. "Mister Got To Go, Where Are You?" is told in gently expressive narrative form, with charming realistic paintings of the gray cat in all his adventures. The hypnotic cadenced repetitions and narrative style makes this a lovely, lulling story for older children's bedtimes or nap times.

The Adventures of Kitt the Kid
Debra Pagano, author/illustrator
LifeRich Publishers
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
Bohlsen Group
9781489701169, $16.99,

"The Adventures of Kitt the Kid" is an inspiring book about adventures using your imagination. Illustrated with bright, exciting images of children playing fun games with toys and art implements, "The Adventures of Kitt the Kid" narrates in action-packed fast-moving verse the creative odysseys and adventures of Kitt, the hero who turns a cardboard box into a rocket ship that takes him through sun wind and rain to a big mud puddle! Kitt's exciting day had only just begun, and would expand and balloon to include visiting the toy store, playing with friends (23), sampling at the candy store, hitchhiking a ride and a free popsicle on the ice cream truck, watching cartoons, decorating the house with pink markers, and much more. Finally the day gets dark and Kitt, who has gotten a bit tired of all the wild play with friends, sees a neon sign on a car that says, "All little children playing here must get right home to bed!" Kit is grateful for his quiet jammies and his bed, counting stars in his head, planning a wonderful space adventure for tomorrow. "The Adventures of Kitt the Kid" is a great experience in reading for young readers, providing lots of stimulating verse and images of creative play ideas, all crafted into a soothing stencil or sampler for more fun-filled adventures in play and reading.

Half Past Winter
Ginger Nielson, author/illustrator
Ginger Nielson's Children's Books
9780991309306, $18.95,

"Half Past Winter" is a story of the world of romping bear cubs having their last taste of snow before settling down to sleep in the den with their mother until ten minutes before spring. Clarence and Alexander can't believe it's winter and they want to see snow. Along with a cheery red bird friend they go out of their den one still fall day in search of snow. Their adventures bring them to experience snow in the most fun, imaginative ways. However, they miss their Mother Bear and can't remember how to find home. Along with the faithful red bird companion, the rascal cubs fall from a tree and roll through the snow to the door to their own home den. There with their mother, "covered in leaves and soft pine branches... they slept until ten minutes before spring." The softly expressive, portrait paintings of the cubs with their mother evoke a woodsy charm and natural beary essence. This is an ideal bedtime story for young children.

Mr. Frank
Irene Luxbacher, author/illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781554984367, $16.95,

"Mr. Frank" is a lovely, era-evocative story about an elderly tailor who is thrilled to begin his most exciting creation ever. In the delicately composed illustrations, mood and decade are summoned through textile prints and textures and subdued, deliberately softened outlines, all adding to the reminiscences of Mr. Frank over his many years of tailoring. "Mr. Frank" is actually a story celebrating the many nuances of clothing and costume creation, and creative use of fabric, imagination, and color. The gentle narrative also reinforces the portrait of a gentle old man who has loved and honored his work all his life, from the neatly patched uniforms of his youth 60 years ago to the delicate ballet costumes and patched jeans of perhaps 25 years ago. But this one commission is the most exciting outfit he has ever made. Everything is carefully chosen, the fabric and the pattern and the stitching. When Mr. Frank is done, it is perfect. He may never tailor again. After a lifetime's gift of creating clothing, the final pages present Mr. Frank's final, most wonderful creation.... and it is a surprise! It may continue happening even longer as the pages turn...... "Mr. Frank" is a beautiful intergenerational book that speaks about sharing the riches and legacies of past and present in a warm, intimate gesture of love.

Mom's the Word
Timothy Knapman, author
Jamie Littler, illustrator
Tiger Tales
P.O. Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035 920-387-2333
9781589251571, $15.99,

"Mom's the Word: The Perfect Book For Moms Everywhere" is a vivacious, spunky, sparkling verse story with bouncy illustrations about a word that describes all the good, happy things in a puppy's life. After much joyous deliberation, the puppy decides "I know the word....the word is Mom!" Children will love the perky illustrations of puppy fun and mother love that accompany the sprightly narrative verse that sings through the pages. "Mom's the Word" is a tribute to Moms everywhere, as seen through a little dog's eyes.

Tania Sohn, author/illustrator
Kane Miller EDC Publishing
P.O. Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74147
9781610672443, $9.99,

"Socks!" is a delightful, rainbow-hued, socks-oriented picture book that stars a beautiful young Korean girl and a beloved gray and white cat. The discovery and exploration of the many varied residents of a sock drawer provide pairs of pages of celebration socks portraits, including a very special pair of Beoseon, traditional Korean socks from Grandma. Creative, different textured colored illustrations pair up fun contrasts in socks, while the descriptive, minimalist narrative appeals to young readers ages 3-7. A faithful domestic feline friend accompanies the tiny girl who loves socks of all kinds through every pair and every page. "Socks!" is multi-cultural, kid friendly, encourages global awareness, and offers encouragement for forming early math concepts. "Socks!" is also just fun and an excellent early readers experience.

Jimmy Osmond's Awesome Possum Family Band
Jimmy Osmond, author
Bob Ostrum, illustrator
Bob Ostrum and Jimmy Osmond, character design
Regnery Publishing
300 New jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D. C. 20001
9781621572114, $16.99,

"Jimmy Osmond's Awesome Possum Family Band" is an inspiring animal characters story about seeking your secret talent, based on the real life experiences of Jimmy Osmond and the award-winning Osmond family band. Mother and Father Possum believe in the talents and best efforts of all nine of their possum children, each of whom plays a part in the Awesome Possum Family Band. But the youngest Possum Number Nine had a problem figuring out what his contribution and talent could be. He tried many different tasks to discover his talent, with less than spectacular results. Mother Possum always encouraged him, saying, "Don't be sad my Number Nine. Don't worry you little head. Your talent soon will come to you." Finally Number Nine decided to try doing what he loved best, inspired by Father Possum. He would sing. Mother Possum gave him great advice: "Go practice, practice, practice. Success comes with a price." So Number Nine did just that, practicing his high notes and song until he was ready. On the day of the debut of Number Nine in the Awesome Possum Family Band, despite a case of pre performance jitters, Number Nine sang his possum heart out, and the Awesome Possum Family Band became tops across the nation. The narration of "Jimmy Osmond's Awesome Possum Family Band" is in lilting rhyme, like song lyrics, and the colorful, spunky animal characters drawn in creative illustrations keep everyone riveted to the page. Designed to appeal to children K-2nd grade, "Jimmy Osmond's Awesome Possum Family Band" delivers an exciting, inspiring moral about the value of being true to yourself and working towards a goal and a vision. Kids will also love searching for little hamster Nibbles who appears on every possum -filled page. Concepts of math, counting, working together, fitting in, and believing in yourself despite setbacks are all part of the party-ready package that is "Jimmy Osmond's Awesome Possum Family Band," based on the life experiences of author Jimmy Osmond, the original Possum Number Nine.

The Spider in My Den
Rebecca Crosdale, author
SherryRose Anderson, illustrator
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
Bohlsen Group
9781483406117, $14.99,

"The Spider in My Den" teaches children a new way of looking at the reaction of Miss Muffet to the spider who sat down beside her. Written in narrative verse, with bright, primary colors in clear comic style illustrations (of a spider with definite personality), "The Spider in My Den" tells a story of a girl who was not frightened but rather intrigued by the spider who visited her. Curious as to why the spider chose her home to visit, the girl offered her cheese, even an apple, only to learn this was not what spiders like to eat. When she listens, very carefully, the girl can hear quiet answers from the spider to her questions. This process of getting acquainted is a valuable experience for children to share. As the author suggests, it teaches mindfulness, rather than being judgmental. The humble lesson of "The Spider in My Den" is carefully and clearly delivered in a unique, inquiring style, and will find a good reception from young readers age 6-8.

Oh My, Oh No!
Lisa Charrier, author
William Rodarmor, translator
Agnes Domergue, illustrator
Running Press Kids
c/o Running Press Publishers
2300 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762454099, $15.95,

"Oh My, Oh No!" is a delightful, delicately illustrated story about a little girl who wants to do things her mother does, with resulting funny messes and situations and an inevitable gentle reprimand from her mother. Charming whimsical illustrations in perky pastel tones depict a pigtailed girl always accompanied with her yellow striped cat in her imitative explorations. Why can't she drink coffee like her mother? Decorate with toilet paper? Paint the wall for decoration? Mop the floor? Feed cake to her cat? Bake a big white flour cake? Wear her mother's makeup and jewelry? Read books upside down? And so on. But even though her mother is very big and tall, and she is very small and short, she does understand the most important thing of all: a hug, and love brimming over. "Oh My, Oh No!" is a wonderfully imaginative book, with story -telling illustrations and a narrative full of color and font contrasts just for fun. Children will adore its whimsical tone and humor.

Winter Candle
Jeron Ashford, author
Stacy Schuett, illustrator
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley CA 94709
9781939547101, $16.95,

"Winter Candle" is an inspiring winter story about one candle that spread light and hope through five different families of different faiths or origins in a single apartment building. The candle is humble and stubby, not special looking at all, but because it is shared, as a gift in need, it burns brightly for all the families at Juniper Court. Thus, Nana Clover has a Thanksgiving centerpiece, the Danziger family has a havdalah candle to bless the ending of Sabbath, the Erickson's have a Santa Lucia candle for Kirsten's crown to celebrate Santa Lucia Day, Donte's family has a Faith candle for the kinara, and finally Nasreen and Faruq have a candle to help guide their father to their new apartment home when the power goes out. "Winter Candle" is a gentle story of hope and sharing, illuminated with loving illustrations that gleam like a beacon in darkness. For children who wish to learn more about the different holiday celebrations, there is a referral in the Author's Note to, for curriculum guides and activities. "Winter Candle" has an inspiring message for all: Faith and light and love are meant to be shared.

Julia, Child
Kyo Maclear, author
Julie Morstad, illustrations
Tundra Books
1 Toronto Street, Suite 300, Toronto, ON, Canada M5C 2V6
9781774094497, $17.99,

"Julia, Child" is a refreshing children's book that focuses on the savoring of every morsel, by a child in love with French cuisine named Julia. Julia and her friend Simca loved to shop for food at the market, collect new recipe ideas, and to experiment with cooking. Even though their results were not always what they expected, they kept learning and trying and practicing their cooking. Although Julia and Simca were not always in agreement, they did agree on the most important things: "Some friends are like sisters. You can never use too much butter. It is best to be a child forever!" Growing up was not an inviting goal, instead, Julia and Simca tried to fix recipes for foods and tastes that helped people grow young. They carefully set a marvelous table and prepared perfectly delectable food, which attracted many grown up samplers and nibblers. At first the guests appeared to be having a wonderful experience, but then things started to degrade. Julia and Simca decided that too many grownups did not have the proper ingredients. So the girls adjusted their dessert recipes for little chocolate almond cupcakes and served smaller portions with flair and style, announcing that there was plenty for all. This helped the grownups to behave a little better, but Julia and Simca still needed to finish writing a cookbook titled "Mastering the Art of Childhood" to help them remember how to behave graciously, and to remember to share. "Julia, Child" is a magnificent story with French flavored illustrations and style, that conveys a timeless moral: To savor the moments of life, remember to become a child again, and to always share the best bites and bits with kindness. The whimsical illustrations convey a wonderful sense of French essence of taste and style in this masterful children's book.

Higgledy Piggledy: A Tale of Four Little Pigs
B. Seymour Rabinovitch with Rebecca S. Treger, authors
Mari Gayatri Stein, illustrator
Ruth A. Rabinovitch, editor
Roxy Ann Press
9780988747401, $14.95,

"Higgledy Piggledy: A Tale of Four Little Pigs" is an original family fable created by Dr. B. Seymour Rabinovitch to encourage his four children to embrace a funny sounding name for good and unusual reasons. A winner of the Children's Creative Magazine Award and 2 Purple Dragon Awards, "Higgledy Piggledy: A Tale of Four Little Pigs" continues to reap well deserved awards in children's literature. Loosely inspired by the old tale of the Three Little Pigs, "Higgledy Piggledy" tells the story of Curly, Twirly, Whirly, and Higgledy Piggledy, four little pigs who were very happy with their life, baking apple pies, playing with butterflies in the garden, and taking long naps. One problem was that the first three pigs teased their brother, because he had a funny, long different name, that did not rhyme or roll of the tongue easily. However one day, the four little pigs encountered a hazardous situation including a hungry Wolf and a shortened life expectancy. Fortunately, the fourth little pig was very wise and wily; he knew how to use his funny name to change the outcome of a very dangerous situation for pigs in the custody of a hungry wolf. "Higgledy Piggledy" is a wonderful, creative family fable that has a powerful message for all, while poking gentle fun at those predictable easily named little pigs. Delicately stunning fanciful illustrations play up all the drama and excitement of the tale of "Higgledy Piggledy: A Tale of Four Little Pigs," while adding to the total fun package. This children's book is quite sturdy, with thick pages and hard covers, so it will withstand lots of loving repetitions in young readers' hands.

Billy the Goat's Big Breakfast
Jez Alborough, author/illustrator
Kane Miller
c/o EDC Publishing
P.O. Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74147
9781610671903, $12.99,

"Billy the Goat's Big Breakfast" is accompanied with written music for 'Billy's Breakfast Song' which is downloadable with sheet music at This is a Read the Story Sing the Song book! Nat the cat started to make some special homemade bread for a breakfast treat with Billy Goat and Hugo Hare. Billy arrived early for the breakfast and Nat told him he could help lay the table while they waited for Hugo Hare, since the breakfast was not ready yet. Unfortunately Billy was hungry and impatient, so first he set the table, then he drank the juice, then he...... ate a bite of the raw bread dough? Nat the Cat fixed the unbaked loaf and popped it in the oven, excusing himself to Billy and Hugo. However, Billy's tummy began to rumble and grumble and gurgle with the unrisen yeasty bread dough inside, and the little goat soon felt quite overcome, with a big bloated tummy. Billy soon confessed to all his greedy gobbling, and Nat explained he should never eat unbaked bread, after offering all his freshly baked bread and store bought juice and muffins. Then the three friends sang Billy's Breakfast Song together. The lilting verse and charming large nursery portraits of Billy the Goat, Hugo the Hare, and Nat the Cat are sweet and memorable, like a silky bun hot out of the oven. A little moral about waiting to eat until everyone is ready is implied, but surely it is the fun of "Billy the Goat's Big Breakfast" that children (ages 3-7) will remember.

The Hula-Hoopin' Queen
Thelma Lynne Godin, author
Vanessa Brantley-Newton, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600608469, $18.95,

"The Hula-Hoopin' Queen" is positively described as a "lively intergenerational picture book," in a starred Kirkus review of this Junior Library Guild Selection. "The Hula-Hoopin' Queen" is a delight to read, showcasing active girls who compete for hula-hoopin' championships in a city neighborhood where everyone who is anyone attends the birthday party of Miz Adeline, who is like a Grandmama to Kameeka, the 139th St. Hula-Hoopin' Queen pretender. Kameeka reluctantly helps her mother prepare the birthday cake and feast while she is dying to attend a hula hoop contest with Jameera, the de facto queen. This distracted state of mind leads Kameeka to set the oven wrong, and the chocolate birthday cake is ruined! Kameeka must run to the store for more sugar to bake another cake, when of course she meets Jameera and the other girls with their hula hoops, who entice her to another hoopin' contest, which leads to ..... no chocolate cake for Miz Adeline's birthday party. Fortunately everyone in the neighbor hood attends with other goodies in tow, and Kameeka arrive at an inspired chocolate cake-like creations on the spur of the moment, just in time to watch a real hula hoopin' contest between...... Miz Adeline? And Miss Evelyn? Obviously there is only one result when people of all ages start to remember what to do when they get the Hula-Hoopin' itch..... "Her fingers start snappin', and her feet start tappin'. Her hips start swingin', and before we know it that hoop is swishin' right around Adeline's waist." The illustrations of Miz Adeline remembering her days of glory as a Hula Hoopin' Queen are absolutely inspired, so vibrant and happy. "The Hula Hoopin' Queen" is a bouncy, swingy, swish, swiggle, swish, rainbow ride of a read, and children of all ages, but especially girls of African American descent will love it.

Alex the Ant Goes to the Beach
Eric Wayne Dickey, author
Abbey Paccia, illustrator
Craigmore Creations
2900 SE Stark St, Suite 1A, Portland, OR 97214
9781940052083, $17.99,

"Alex the Ant Goes to the Beach" is an exciting story about a young scout ant named Alex and his first trip to the beach, acting as a junior scout by order of Queen Aziza of Underwood anthill. Alex is eager to prove his mettle, and he is only slightly slowed by the warnings of aging sea captain Aloysius ant to "Beware the waves!" A very exciting adventure unfolds as Alex marches with the work crew to the beach. In fact, Alex is given a chance to prove his value as a trusty and observant scout before the beach outing is over. Just as he was warned, he needed to be very careful of the waves, not only because of their strength and size, but also because they could wipe out his scent trail that he followed to find the other ants. Alex manages to overcome dangerous obstacles and also to stay alert and warn the ant expedition of approaching danger in time. "Alex the Ant Goes to the Beach" is filled with fascinating facts and details about the living habits of ants, and the exquisitely delicate illustrations portray both the tiny details and the heroic courtesy of the everyday ants' behavior. At the end of the day, a very small ant (named Alex) is cheered by all the ants for saving the day, and everyone goes home from their day at the beach. "Alex the Ant Goes to the Beach" is a fine story to read with children age 6 and up. The author's exciting narrative and tasteful delivery make this an excellent nature/fantasy adventure in literature.

A Bird On My Hand
Mary Bevis, author
Consie Powell, illustrator
Raven Productions, Inc.
c/o Johnnie Hyde
P.O. Box 188, Ely, MN 55731
9789780988350892, $17.95,

"A Bird On My Hand" is the heartwarming story of a Grandmother who taught a boy how to feed birds, chickadees, from his hand. Taking time to slowly describe the process of earning the bird's trust and building up the routine of eating the seeds from a mitten in the feeder, accustoming the bird to quiet sounds of voices and still hands with no sudden movements or loud noises, all these steps lead up to the experience of feeding a bird from your hand. The boy persists and learns the way to earn the chickadees trust when he is visiting his Grandmother up north. But will he be able to tame and feed a city chickadee from his hand? "A Bird On My Hand" is a charming but real story about intergenerational sharing and learning to appreciate the beauty of each individual bird. A map of North America shows seven kinds of chickadees and their ranges, so that young readers can find which chickadees live nearby. A page with Additional Chickadee Tidbits are fun facts about chickadees, who are very adaptable little birds. "A Bird On My Hand" is written for children, ages 3-8, but it will surely appeal to adults as well.

No-Matter-What Friend
Kari-Lynn Winters, author
Pierre Pratt, illustrator
Tradewind Books
c/o Orca Book Publishers
P.O. Box 468, Custer, WA 98240
9781896580838, $16.95,

Written in simple, sparse moving verse for the understanding of children ages 3-6, "No-Matter-What Friend" explores the depth and comfort of a relationship between a growing boy and his old dog, who has been his faithful friend, protector, and companion since babyhood. The dog is old and tired, while the boy is still growing and moving. Although the dog cannot run and play so easily now in his twilight years, the boy remembers all their happy times together. Change can be difficult to accept, especially in an aging loved one. But the boy knows his no-matter-what friend deserves the same loyalty from him, no matter what. Masterful illustrations map out the emotional content of every nuance of interaction, evoking warmth, sensitivity, and all the feelings of joy and sadness a heart's love can feel.

Two Tiny Bears Tomorrow
Ms. Ceci (Cynthia Cecile Phillips), author
Scott Foster, illustrator
Warren Publishing, Inc.
3440 Toringdon Way, Suite 205, Charlotte NC 28277
9780996050685, $20.00,

"Two Tiny Bears Tomorrow" is a delightful children's fantasy about two tiny bears, named Keekee and Buggy, who like to plan exciting activities for each day tomorrow. On Monday, Kee and Buggy enjoyed indoor fun, reading and playing card games, drawing pictures and having tea. What would they do tomorrow? "Explore!" Buggy declares. Every day brings new adventures and new exciting activities, growing out of today. On Wednesday, the two tiny bears go dancing, on Thursday the two tiny bears bake bear bread, on Friday, the two tiny bears paint, and on Saturday the two tiny bears bathe! Finally, all the days of the week are done except Sunday, when the two tiny bears decide to rest, snuggling on Mama Bear's lap and listening to stories about two tiny bears who are always thinking of things to do tomorrow. Sensitive, delicate pastel- colored illustrations of detailed pencil and watercolor convey the fairylike atmosphere of "Two Tiny Bears," while lulling story lines convey the images of daily fun and play in nature. At the end of "Two Tiny Bears Tomorrow" is a wonderful recipe for Ms. Ceci's Bear Bread for Boys and Girls to make with a Grownup, just like the funny bear bread made by the two tiny bears on Thursday. "Two Tiny Bears Tomorrow" is ideal story and bed- time reading for toddlers and older children, with its cycle of weekdays and pleasing rainbow of activities to plan for each day. The narrative pattern of "Two Tiny Bears Tomorrow" contains both the essential elements of both stability and predictability and the joy of surprise, or serendipity. Children will love this series, if that is what is begun here.

Penguin/Dial Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014

Erin Eitter Kono's CATERINA AND THE LEMONADE STAND (9780803739031, $16.99) tells of Caterina, who loves big projects and who envisions a profitable summer lemonade stand. The only problem is - so do others. So how can she make a lemonade stand that truly stands apart? A fun story provides answers in this light, engaging account of budding entrepreneurship and creativity. Anna Dewdney's NELLY GNU AND DADDY TOO (9780670012275, $17.99) tells of a young gnu who loves to do things with her father. It's Father's Day, and special plans have been made that involve father and daughter in a construction project. Family togetherness is promoted in this simple tale of working together. David Soman's THREE BEARS IN A BOAT (9780803739932, $17.99) tells of three bears who break their mother's favorite seashell, and who decide to sail away to find her a new one. Their adventures bring them to new lands and dangerous new experiences that serve to emphasize the important of returning home safely. The large, full-page drawings and whimsical tales make for a fine picturebook read perfect for read-aloud or beginners alike.

The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
Helen Lester
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544233003, $8.99,

The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing receives fine drawings by Lynn Munsinger as it tells of a sheep named Ewetopia who hides her wool under expensive clothes and doesn't believe in her own attributes. It takes an outrageous outfit and a hungry wolf to invite her to believe in herself to save herself, in this memorable and fun story!

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas
Lynne Cox
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375858888, $17.99,

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas receives simple drawings by Brian Floca and returns the Caldecott-winning illustrator and author to young reader attention with the story of a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the river in the city of Christchurch, new Zealand. When the elephant seal, Elizabeth, decides to stretch out across a road, everyone worries she'll get hurt. Volunteers take her back to sea, but Elizabeth insists on returning to the town time and again, like Lassie Come-Home. A fun, inspirational story evolves, perfect for picturebook readers who love fiction based on real-life animals.

World Wisdom
1501 East Hillside Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401

Two new 'Wisdom Tales' are recommended for kids ages 4-8 and provide tales that require good reading skills and an interest in folklore. Jacqueline Jules' NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN: A TALE FROM MEDIEVAL SPAIN (9781937786205, $16.95) tells of the wisest man in the kingdom who orders Samuel to be sure Hamza never says a mean world to his son again. Two boys, one Jewish and one Muslim, work at settling their differences in this compelling tale of a boy given the power to punish his enemy. Paul Goble's HORSE RAID: THE MAKING OF A WARRIOR (9781937786250, $16.95) tells of young Lone Bull, who has always dreamed of being a warrior and proving his bravery in battle through being a horse raider. But his father won't let him join the raid: how can he prove himself? His decision to sneak off and follow the warriors results in danger and newfound wisdom. Both books are powerful recommendations for youngsters looking for folktales about bravery, ethics and heroism.

Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Bonnie Verburg and Mark Teague's THE TREE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (978043853385, $17.99) tells of a boy who builds an amazingly elaborate tree house: one where animals love to play. As a host of animals join in the fun of testing Jack's new tree house, a delightful saga of adventure emerges, perfect for kids who love large-size color photos and a new take-off on the 'house that Jack built' theme. Adam Stower's NAUGHTY KITTY! (9780545576048, $16.99) tells of all the problems that take place when Lily leaves Kitty alone. Kitty's bad behavior is proving a challenge: not only does he excel in being cute but fail at obedience, but he soon proves to be one naughty kitty. Any household with a pet cat will find this engaging and fun. Tedd Arnold's A PET FOR FLY GUY (9780545316156, $16.99) continues the 'fly guy' series of stories revolving around a boy's unusual pet fly. Fly Guy is the smartest pet in the world - but apparently he needs a pet of his own. A hilarious series of efforts evolves. Joan Holub's MIGHTY DADS (9780545609685, $16.99) provides a very simple rhyme to accompany the story of how mighty Dads help their young children. A crew of kids works with their fathers to build something new in a delightful read-aloud filled with the sounds of heavy machinery and the fun of parent-child projects. Shaun Tan's RULES OF SUMMER (9780545639125, $18.99) tells of rules and how one summer an older brother gets to make them up. When darkness comes, the older brother's methods and purposes become clear in this purposeful story that provides a very simple story line and an engaging story with no predictable conclusion.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Wee LuLu Come Inside! Book 2
Candace Carson, author/illustrator
Sigi and LuLu Productions
7338 Regina Royale Blvd., Sarasota, Florida 34238
9781973339111, $16.99,

"Wee Lulu Come Inside!" is the second title in the Wee LuLu series of young children's picture books. "Wee LuLu Come Inside!" teaches about location describers, like inside, under, on top of, up and down, front and back, etc. The darling puppy portraits are filled with fun and mischief as LuLu romps through her fun-filled day. This series book teaches concepts of direction, position, and also color, size and shape awareness to young readers age 4 and up. "Wee LuLu Come Inside!" is a perfect example of teaching concepts to children while reading for pleasure. In other words, reading and learning are fun!

The ABC Shelf

Work: An Occupational ABC
Kellen Hatanaka, author/illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781554984091, $16.95,

"Work: An Occupational ABC" is an inventive, unusual alphabet sampler for young children that features huge block, colored letters within the landscape of each two page illustration for each letter and occupation. Both the occupations and the artistic style are striking and unique: Brilliant colored silhouettes feature in a format described as "created digitally, using hand-drawn patterns and textures." Some sample occupations are: aviator, butcher, cyclist, detective, forest ranger, grocer (the title portrait), horticulturalist, and ice cream vendor. Some of the more unique occupations are naval architect (with a female worker pictured), K-9 officer, ringmaster, skateboarder, vibraphonist (featuring a black performer), wedding singer and xenologist. This delightful alphabet occupation book blurs and leaps traditional stereotypes with funny, witty portrayals in simple colored forms full of vibrant life. "Work: An Occupational ABC" is a wonderful teaching book for children ages 3-7 that will leave them full of smiles of delight.

Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari
Dana Sullivan, author/illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Ste. 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48106
9781585369058, $15.99,

"Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari" is a beautiful children's animal-illustrated alphabet book that is based on a true story of an artist (who also was a taxi driver) in Kenya who decided to help decorate the walls of the Star of Hope School with fantastic painted pictures of familiar animals from A to Z. Kay is inspired by the animal friends he meets during his search for just the right animals to represent each letter from A to Zed (Kenyan for "Z"). Thus, Kay meets an Ant, then Baboon, Crocodile, Dragonfly, Elephant, Fox, Giraffe and gradually realizes these are the animal portraits he must portray for each letter of the alphabet. The wonderful thing about "Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari" is: Kay collects the entire train of animals before the realization dawns on him that he has found everything he needs for his alphabet safari portraits! All the animals together shout "Jambo, Kay!" to tell him hello, before he realizes his search is over. Kay set to work painting the animal portraits on the wall, but the K animal simply eludes him. Once again, all the animals help him: "Kay, stop! An answer might come if you sit still." And it does. Written in jaunty verse and illustrated with colorful love, "Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari" tops up with a list of Swahili terms and an Author's Note with pictures of the real Star of Hope school near Bungoma, Kenya with 100 students, founder Leonard Muyalele, and Kay featured. A map of Africa with Kenya and the Village of Bungoma outlined helps set the locale for this vibrant, unforgettable alphabet safari book, which brings joy and support to the Star of Hope School.

Adventures with Barefoot Critters
Teagan White
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770496248, $17.99,

Adventures with Barefoot Critters provides a fine ABC book that centers upon a cast of animal characters who explore the alphabet through the seasons. 'I', for example, tells of how 'In May we're inventors who imagine rockets to the moon, 'K' tells of how, in June, all the kites are 'knotted or break', and 'Q' tells of how they 'use quilts to build a tall fort for the queen.' Simple, fun drawings accompany the scenes and creations of the Barefoot Critters.

The Fiction Shelf

Connah Brecon, author/illustrator
Running Press
2300 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762454235, $16.95,

"Frank!" is an exciting new storybook for children ages 3-7 about a little bear named Frank who is chronically late (for really good reasons). This extremely funny, attractive story has its own unique punch and charm, appealing strongly to children. The author looks like a kid, if his bio picture is accurate (possibly it is a few years out of date), and he certainly thinks like a kid. He can be visited online at, and he lives in Melbourne, Australia. "Frank!" is the author's U.S. debut. The fresh, quirky style of "Frank!" is reflected in its exaggerated story embellishments (think tall tales in any language), hilarious caricature-oriented colored illustrations, and its fresh, funny narrative, also embellished with very funny signs and dialogue balloons. Frank is a bear who is always late for a very good reason - he likes to help out. When Frank begins school, his lateness is a targeted problem area. The first day of school, Frank did not arrive until late, after school was over. The second day, Frank arrived after lunchtime, due to helping a cat stuck in a tree. Every day for five days, Frank arrived late but just a bit earlier each day. On the fifth day, when Frank arrived just a few minutes after the bell rang, something truly terrible and unique happened. The school was threatened by a giant zombie blue lizard king! Frank's desire to help now turned towards his class, who clearly needed all the help he could offer! Just when all seemed lost, Frank made an earth shattering suggestion: They would all work together to create a Dance-Off! with the giant blue lizard king! "And from then on Frank was right on time (regardless of the town being hit by tone-deaf vampire kittens)! "Frank!" is definitely a hoot, sure to be treasured and reread by young children ages 3-7, who may know a thing or two about good excuses for being late.

A Holiday From Time
John Mero, author
Ros Mero, Bonnie Mero, & Cal Mero, co-authors
Monika Maddock, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478721178, $7.95,

"A Holiday From Time" is a juvenile fantasy chapter book that was co-authored by four members of a talented family, under the leadership of author/father John Mero. Turtle, Hare, and Frog are main characters in this fantasy fable of time. Turtle, who had been carrying the clock that keeps time for the whole world on his shell, needed a vacation. Hare, whose task was to keep the world clock clean and running smoothly, reluctantly agrees. The friends need to find a worker to fill in for Turtle, and they end choosing Frog, who may not be the most practical or reliable choice, but who is friendly and agreeable and liked to please others. With much work and help from friends, they were able to lift and remove the World Clock from Turtle's back, but Frog began to have strong second thoughts about his commitment to hold Time for Turtle. Things eventually went from bad to worse, when Frog caught a cold and began to sneeze. Time got mixed up, and jumped every time Frog sneezed. Hare tried to find a cure for Frog's cold, and meantime the humans nearby were having a seriously challenging time dealing with the hiccups of Time. Finally Turtle returned from his undersea holiday, to find Frog still quite ill with his cold and Hare wearing three pairs of glasses because of the confusion of Time. Finally the friends were able to re-settle the World Clock back on Turtle's sturdy, stable shell and Turtle reset Time to midnight so everyone who had been confused would just think it had all been a bad dream. "A Holiday from Time" is a charming time fable that underlines both the need for stability and predictability, and for the occasional change or switch in routine. Above all, "A Holiday from Time" tells a story about friends helping friends, even when the going gets difficult. The colorful, humorous illustrations punctuate the short chapters and fast moving story, making this an appealing choice for young readers age 7 and up.

Soccer on Sunday
Mary Pope Osborne
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780307980533, $12.99,

SOCCER ON SUNDAY represents Book #52 in the 'Magic Tree House' best-selling series; this one revolving around a soccer game that moves from sport into magical realms. Jack and Annie's magic tree house has, this time, brought them back in time to Mexico City for the 1970 World Cup, where they are sure a famous soccer player holds a secret they can pass on to their friend Merlin the magician. But how can they find Pele in a crowd of 100,000 fans? A fine story of another vivid mission evolves, which will prove especially appealing to soccer fans and Magic Tree House enthusiasts alike!

Natale Ghent
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770496392, $19.99,

MILLHOUSE tells of an unusual guinea pig who is raised in theater and who longs to achieve fame and romance. Unfortunately Millhouse is abandoned in a neglected pet shop and finds himself an outcast even among the residents there, far from his dreams of either romance or fame. How can Millhouse make his dreams come true under these conditions? Kids in grades 3-4 with good reading skills will find this a lively, fun story.

Cartboy Goes to Camp
L.A. Campbell
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765333278, $12.99,

Cartboy Goes to Camp tells of Hal, a.k.a. Cartboy, who is off to summer camp: a history camp, where nothing has changed in four hundred years. Campers there are learning the old ways; but more evolves when Cartboy becomes involved in an unexpected treasure hunt and preparations for Pioneer Day. A fun camp experience blends with a lively, engrossing story recommended for grades 3-5; especially for those with a prior affection for Cartboy and his adventures.

The Giver Quartet
Lois Lowry
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544340978, $29.99,

It's a pleasure to see Lois Lowry's award-winning titles under one cover, just in time for a new motion picture slated for the story. This collection includes unabridged versions of The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son and the effect is wonderful, offering a unified story line of connected characters and settings under one cover. Perhaps it's because of the rising popularity of dystopian young adult novels; but Lowry's award-winning works have evolved over time and have been around for some time now, so it's a real treat to see them conveniently packaged under one cover!

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Mike Maihack's CLEOPATRA IN SPACE (9780545528429, $22.99) is Book One in the 'Target Practice' series, and provides a fine graphic novel format that pairs full-color images on every page with dialogue balloons and the story of Cleopatra, who discovers a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far future, where she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she will save the galaxy from an evil force. It takes new friends, a leadership course, and many changes before Cleo will come into her own as a real heroine in this inviting graphic novel packed with adventure. Patricia Reilly Giff's THE GARDEN MONSTER (9780545433792, $16.99) is illustrated by Diane Palmisciano and tells of best friends who struggle to keep the bugs and slugs away from their vegetable garden so they can march in the Vegetable Parade at summer's end. But what giant strange plant is growing in the middle of the garden - and is it related to the garden monster? A very easy chapter book reader evolves. If it's a very early graphic novel-type format that is of interest, featuring large-size color cartoon-like drawings on every page, then RICKY RICOTTA'S MIGHTY ROBOT by Dav Pilkey (art by Dan Santat, $15.99 each) series is for you. Start with RICKY RICOTTA'S MIGHTY ROBOT (9780545631068) which outlines the little mouse's difficulties making friends. Ricky's struggles with bullies seems small when a mad scientist who has created a Mighty Robot becomes involved with Ricky. When the mouse rescues the robot, an unusual bond forms. Being able to flip the pages to produce rudimentary animation is also a fun feature - and also incorporated into the next two books. RICKY RICOTTA'S MIGHTY ROBOT VS. THE VOODOO VULTURES FROM VENUS (9780545631112) tells of Ricky and his Robot's struggle to be on time for dinner. A parental punishment of no TV actually works in their favor and keeps from falling under the spell of a Venus villain who has invaded Earth with his Voodoo Vultures and a plan to steel food. Only Ricky and his Robot can save the day. RICKY RICOTTA'S MIGHTY ROBOT VS. THE MUTANT MOSQUITOES FROM MERCURY (9780545631082) tells of a Mercury meanie who invades earth with his Mutant Mosquitoes. Once more it's Ricky and his Robot to the rescue in this fine semi-animated graphic adventure, especially recommended for reluctant readers.

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

Martyn Bedford's NEVER ENDING (9780385739917, $16.99) tells of Shiv, whose brother Declan is dead - and who becomes an inpatient at a clinic trying to recover from his death. Thanks to their treatments she is haunted by flashbacks and nightmares of their last family vacation in Greece - and of an attractive man on a tour boat who may hold the key to what really happened. The result is a powerful, compelling saga that holds mystery and involvement right up to its conclusion. Page Morgan's THE LOVELY AND THE LOST (9780385743136, $18.99) tells of Ingrid and Gabby Waverly, who move from France to escape London gossip, only to find Paris plagued by demons who all want something from the sisters. They are still being hunted and haunted; but this time it's because of a hidden ability to control gargoyles that no other human has. The Alliance is trying to protect them, but nobody can watch them all the time, and danger is relentless stalking them in this supernatural thriller recommended for mature teen readers. Michelle Krys' HEXED (9780385743372, $17.99) tells Indigo Blackwood, who enjoys being a popular cheerleader at school and running in a powerful social circle - until a guy dies before her eyes and a family heirloom is stolen. Slowly Indigo comes to realize that their family's loss is a treasure that deserves to be regained, lest every witch on the planet dies. And when she discovers her own powers, her world of popularity and attraction seems small in comparison to the larger mission ahead. A fine story of the supernatural will interest any mature reader. Jane Nickerson's THE MIRK AND MIDNIGHT HOUR (9780385752862, $16.99) tells of seventeen-year-old Violet, who has been left at home in Mississippi with an addict stepmother and an in-love stepsister while her father fights in the war that has already claimed her twin brother. When she discovers an injured Union soldier in an abandoned house in the woods, he's one of the enemy yet she feels drawn to him. Someone else is helping him and as it becomes more evident that the other person has his own agenda, Violet finds herself in a desperate struggle both with her own values and conscience and against possible voodoo influences. A fine, multi-faceted novel emerges, perfect for advanced young adult leisure readers.

Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014

Padima Venkatraman's A TIME TO DANCE (9780399257100, $17.99, Nancy Paulsen Books) tells of a danger who refuses to give up - even when she loses her leg. She's an Indian girl who lives to dance, so when she becomes an amputee, her dreams are destroyed. Her adjustment to disability and change would usually lead to new dreams, but Veda is determined to pursue dancing - even if she has to start all over again. A powerful story of love and dance emerges. Anna Schumacher's END TIMES: THE PROPHET EMERGES (9781595147486, $17.99, Razorbill) follows Daphne as she flees to her uncle's home in search of childhood peace. But when she arrives at his town, she's greeted with the sound of trumpets and the conviction of townsfolk who believe that the End Times have arrived - and soon amazing signs begin to point in this direction. Mystery and danger blend in a gripping saga for young adults. Walter Jury and Sarah Fine's SCAN (9780399160653, $17.99) tells of the conflict between Tate and his father which comes to a head when Tate steals one of his father's odd tech inventions only to find mercenaries ambush his school and kill his father - and prove the existence of aliens who look like humans. It's all about a secret interspecies conflict that's been going on for centuries - and it all boils down to Tate to solve the puzzle of his father's invention and its compelling importance to human and alien alike. A fine and dramatic saga emerges.

High Noon Books
c/o Academic Therapy Publications
20 Leveroni Court, Novato, CA 94949-5746

High Noon Books are high interest, low-vocabulary works of fiction and non-fiction that are ideal for teaching reading skills to the reading impaired. Three of their latest non-fiction "It's All True" series additions are Set 1 (9781571288813, $26.00) that includes Scary Jobs by Susan Blackaby, and Lisa Benjamin's Wild Places, Dying Times, This is Huge, and We Made It; Set 2 (9781571288875, $26.00) that is comprised of Lisa Benjamin's Weird Jobs, Earth Gets Weird, Final Resting Places, Weird Science, and Invented by Mistake; Set 3 (9781571288936, $26.00) the consists of Allison Lassieur's Ready for the Worst, Healers and Killers, Robots, and Paul Demko's Deadly Nature and Turning Points. Each 44 page paperback book is specifically designed for students age 9 to 14, and are appropriate and very highly recommended for remedial reading class curriculums for grades 9 through 12.

The Sports Shelf

A Magical Racquet Ride
Marissa Irvin Gould, author
Mark Brayer, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
Smith Publicity
9781492177081, $12.99,

"A Magical Racquet Ride: Journey to the Four Grand Slam Tournaments of Tennis" is a great children's treat of a tennis tour, with exciting descriptions in jaunty verse of geographic and specific tennis court features of every one of the Four Grand Slam Tournaments of Tennis in the U. K., France, Australia, and the U. S. Nick and Molly are twins who dream of a magical racquet ride to all the Four Grand Slam Tournaments, where they actually get to experience playing on the varied courts of the four continents. Fresh, pastel portraits of Nick and Molly flying on their tennis racquets to the four tournament locations decorate every action-filled page, as the twins dream of wearing red berets in Paris, France, feeling the squishy blue court at Melbourne Park in the Australian Open, and playing and walking on grass in the courts of Wimbledon in England, after being introduced to the great championship game at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center, U.S. All tour moves are made on their magical flying tennis racquets, and at the end, they wake up to their mother's call to breakfast. Imagine their delight when they discover two dashing red berets, and two magical racquets by their pillows! It was more than a dream, or, even better, a dream to build a life on. "A Magical Racquet Ride" was written by a former professional tennis player, educator, and mom, who wishes to share her love of tennis with kids everywhere.

The Multicultural Shelf

If You Were Me and Lived In... Australia
Carole P. Roman, author/illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781490522395, $9.99,

"If You Were Me and Lived In... Australia" is the latest title of this acclaimed children's global cultures tour series. Beginning with a map of the country and continent of Australia, with a star at Canberra, the capitol, the dark green pages with colorful illustrations explore Australian names for children, words for naming parents, common foods, the Great Barrier Reef under ocean feature, and favorite expressions such as "barbie" (barbecue) or "down under." A national holiday is January 26th, or Australia Day, when the British came to live and work in Australia in 1788 . Since Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are reversed, January 26 is the middle of summer. At primary school children learn that Australia's many human cultures have endured there for over 40,000 years, remaining more or less unchanged until the 1700's due to Australia's ocean isolated location. A list of Australian terms with pronunciation and meanings concludes this latest exploration of world cultures for kids.

The Crafts Shelf

Hooked on Rubber Band Jewelry
Elizabeth Kollmar, author
Design Originals
c/o Fox Chapel Publishing
1970 Broad St., East Petersburg, PA 17520
9781574219159, $9.99,

Written by an eleven year old girl who loves crafting with rubber bands, "Hooked on Rubber Band Jewelry: 12 Off-the-Loom Designs for Bracelets, Necklaces, and Other Accessories" presents easy, self-explanatory instructions for crafting 12 off the loom design projects for original rubber band accessories. Beginning with an introduction Meet the Author, and a color photo Idea Gallery of favorite projects completed, the manual continues with instructions for how to use the book, lists of materials and supplies needed, a code key or simple explanation of codes used in instructions, diagram explanations, and suggested construction and variations. The index page displays striking model photos of projects using patterns named Baby Leaf, Rainy Day, Rolling Waves, Vining Leaves, Half Shell, Strawberries, Palm Leaf, Embellishment Border, Pom-Pom, and Feather . Each project has a coded difficulty level, a gauge (size) description, plus a list of materials sidebarred in green and a list of techniques and abbreviations sidebarred in blue. These are followed by instructions, variations, and tips, accompanied by a stunning color photo of one or more finished projects. Due to the complexity of instructions and fine motor skills desired, "Hooked on Rubber Band Jewelry" is recommended for eager-to-craft children age 8 and up. This popular craft activity is well demonstrated in this manual of exciting craft project ideas.

The Holiday Shelf

Let's Celebrate Columbus Day
Barbara deRubertis, author
Thomas Sperling, illustrator
The Kane Press, Inc.
225 E. 46th St., #4D, New York, NY 10017
9781575657257, $25.26,

As its title suggests, "Let's Celebrate Columbus Day" is all about the preamble to and aftermath of the famous trip made by Christopher Columbus, the navigator son of a Genoan weaver who dreamed of discovering an ocean path to the East or the Indies by sailing West. Columbus persevered through many obstacles and delays to secure funding and backing for his project from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. He thought he would be discovering a way to harvest gold and spices from India, to bring them back to Spain. Instead, what he ended up achieving was the discovery a whole new land consisting of two continents, which stood between Europe and the continents of Asia and Australia. Unfortunately, Columbus did not treat the Native Americans he met in the Bahamas islands, and eventually he was removed from his honored place as governor of the new colony of Spain. Many Native Americans were injured, killed, or died of strange new diseases from the Spaniards to which they had no resistance. So today some Americans celebrate Columbus Day and some Americans prefer to celebrate Native American Heritage Day. The book concludes with this sentence: "On Columbus Day, we can remember to respect and protect all the lands, waters, and people we encounter as we explore our world (p. 32)." The Holidays & Heroes Series is recommended for children ages 6-10. Additional recommended titles from this popular and successful series include: "Let's Celebrate Presidents' Day (9781575656496)," and "Let's Celebrate Veterans Day (9781575656533)."

Santa's (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right) Night Before Christmas
DK Simoneau & David Radman, authors
Brad Cornelius, illustrator
AC Publications Group
P.O. Box 260543, Lakewood, CO 80226
9781933302188, $18.95,

"Santa's (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right) Night Before Christmas" is a funny Christmas story with a new twist: everything is just a little bit off on this particular (dark, stormy) Christmas Eve for Santa. To begin with, Santa had to do his own laundry because Mrs. Claus was sick. Due to a comedy of errors, Santa ended up with a suit of a different color: purple! There follows a tangled trail of hilarious examples of odd changes that ensued because of the unexpected purple hue of Santa's suit. The elves became trolls, growing to 7 feet tall! The Christmas tree became brown and orange instead of green and brown, the milk and cookies became tea and honey! Everything was just a bit off! Even the reindeer turned a sickly blueberry blue and had extremely strange, funny changed names! The snow fell pink and the candy canes were black and white! Everything was just not right! Santa cried, "Christmas is ruined and it's all of my fault! This new purple suit brought it all to a halt! " Just when things seemed most bleak, Santa heard the snowman alarm go off by his bed, and guess what? It was all a very strange dream! How reassuringly normal everything was, from his clean red suit, washed by Mrs. Claus, to the elves, the sleigh and the darling brown reindeer. As Santa prepared to go off with joy to deliver his toys, he kissed Mrs. Claus and whispered, "From now on, dear, you wash the clothes." The moral, of course, is, to keep Christmas merry and dear, Santa should stick to the things that he knows, and should not be allowed to wash his own clothes!" "Santa's (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right) Night Before Christmas" is a delightful children's story about learning to appreciate the usual things properly by experiencing them with strange alterations. Humor abounds in this good natured Christmas tale, which also has a hidden moral: Even making mistakes can have a golden lining. The wacky verse with color highlighted text and silly illustrations will delight and intrigue young readers age 5 and up.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Mahavira the Hero of Nonviolence
Manoj Jain, author
Demi, illustrator
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786212, $17.95,

"Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence" is a gorgeous, gold framed illustrated wisdom tale of the Jainism hero of nonviolence, Mahavira. Mahavira was born in a high mountain kingdom of India over 2,600 years ago to Queen Trishala and King Siddhartha. At first he was named Vardhaman, or ever-increasing, because he was born in a time of happiness and plenty. Vardhaman learned the 64 arts and sciences, but he wanted spiritual direction. He practiced the Jain way of life, believing in nonviolence, respect and compassion for all living creatures, plants and animals, and practicing vegetarianism. Once the prince climbed a tree, playing a forest game with friends, and he saw a large, deadly snake ready to bite him. The prince picked up the snake but did not hurt it, taking it to safety instead, because of his love and respect for all living things. Thus the prince became known as Mahavira, which means "very brave." Later in his life, after donating much gold to the needy, Mahavira asked permission of his brother to leave the worldly life and become a monk, beginning his spiritual journey. He gave up his worldly wealth and sought the three spiritual jewels of Jainism, called right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct. For 12 years Mahavira traveled and meditated in the forest, gaining pure knowledge of the soul. One day Mahavira prayed and slept on a riverbank haunted by a terrible demon who appeared in the form of a mad elephant. Mahavira was unafraid and unhurt, though the demon tried to kill him. Then the demon mad elephant was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. Mahavira told the demon that anger can only be defeated by forgiveness and love, ending violence and bringing peace. To honor this concept, Jains celebrate Forgiveness Day each year. Mahavira traveled many years, teaching all the three main beliefs of Jainism: nonviolence or love for all living things, non-absolutism or pluralism, or tolerating and accepting another's viewpoint, avoiding pride and keeping humble, and non-possessiveness or detachment, including avoiding greed and practicing charity. While Mahavira taught Jainism, Buddha lived and taught Buddhism which spread throughout East Asia. At the age of 72, Mahavira gave his last sermon and his souls reached moksha, where there is only knowledge, happiness, and bliss. To celebrate this day, Jains have the festival of Diwali, when they eat delicious sweets, sing religious songs, visit family and friends and exchange gifts. The gift of Mahavira and Jainism that is still being explored today is expressed through nonviolence bringing justice, equality, and peace to all. "Mahavira the Hero of Nonviolence" is a deeply religious wisdom tale from Jainism that empowers children and adults everywhere to imagine a better world for all. The brilliant gold framed illustrations convey the exotic Indian background to the teachings and life story of "Mahavira the Hero of Nonviolence," a book to be enjoyed by children age 6 and up.

Winter Moon Song
Martha Brooks, author
Leticia Ruifernandez, illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801
Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554983209 $18.95

Intended for young readers ages 4-7, Winter Moon Song is a beautiful picturebook offering a unique take on multiple cultures' folklore about the shadowy, rabbit-shaped image that can be seen in the full moon. Winter Moon Song is from the perspective of the rabbits themselves, who prepare every year to honor the rabbit in the moon through song. Soft, minimalist color illustrations enrich the gentle, thought-provoking story in this delightfully timeless fairytale.

The Self-Help Shelf

Guardian of Dreams, second edition
Wendy Torrel, author
Kendall Klingbeil, illustrator
White Tulip Publishing
PO Box 645, Brewster, NY 10509
9780974689029 $14.95

Now in a revised second edition celebrating the tenth anniversary of publisher White Tulip, Guardian of Dreams: A Bedtime Story is a children's picturebook with an important lesson - it's possible to make bad thoughts and dreams disappear, and recover from them for a good night's sleep. Gentle color artwork shows a lop-eared bunny rabbit who has trouble sleeping, but then the Night Mare (a kindly brown chestnut mare). She stares down the bad dream and makes it disappear into smoke, so the bunny can sleep well at night and have the energy to play the next morning! A supplemental resource page suggests ways for parents to use Guardian of Dreams as a tool to help children control negative thoughts: "Replace the negative image with a positive image. - Visualize something positive; create a picture in your mind in detail, with colors." Highly recommended!

A Simple Idea to Empower Kids
Kathleen Boucher, author
Valda of ValdaDesigns, cover illustrator
greenproject on,, illustrations
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomingon, IN 47403
9781452591421, $13.95,

"A Simple Idea to Empower Kids" is a creative self help manual for kids that uses the power of love, choice, and belief to help teach the Law of Attraction. Because of its simplicity and its positive approach, "A Simple Idea to Empower Kids" provides strong medicine for children suffering from bullying of poor self esteem. The basic goal of the book is to "inspire and motivate kids to follow their dreams and live their lives authentically." Its appeal is made more potent by its wholly convincing sincerity. Children are encouraged to center themselves, feel their uniqueness, and realize their power to choose their thoughts. No matter what the obstacle, children are encouraged to follow their own big dreams, and to know with certainty in their hearts that they can be what they want to be. Soft -edged, rainbow- hued illustrations deliver the message of self empowering belief. The meditational component of the Law of Attraction is implicit rather than explicit. "A Simple Idea to Empower Kids" is meant to be inspirational to all sorts of children, ending with a vision of world happiness: "Send this happiness around the World three times. Laugh out loud! Tell your best friend. Smile. Dream big. You are perfect just the way you are! The World needs you (p. 23)."

The Elephant and the Stake
Joanne Belvedere, author/illustrator
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452589169, $16.95,

"The Elephant and the Stake" is a children's teaching fable similar to Aesop's animal fables. Large, clear, bright colored illustrations depict the daily life of Erin the elephant, living far away in the island of Sri Lanka near a lake and a forest. The tale of Erin is told with repeated key phrases in alternate fonts and colors, all tools to encourage emerging readers to broaden their skills. Erin was unhappy because she was chained to a stake and was forced to give rides to tourists at her master's commands. Since she was first chained as a young elephant, she did not realize that her growth, size, and strength could allow her to escape her imprisonment and unhappy life. Erin was very sad but she was encouraged by a series of animal friends who tell her repeatedly, "You are a strong creature. You can free yourself if you try!" Erin would like to believe this, saying "I can do it if I try!" But her master and family scared her by running and shouting when she tried to escape, and she subsided in her efforts. Erin was visited and encouraged by Ollie the owl, Melvin the monkey, Gezza the giraffe, and Samuel the snake, each in turn, each with a special message of encouragement. Finally, Erin became angry when her master threatened her animal friends with a torch, and she pulled and broke her chain. After throwing her master into the cold lake, Erin escaped and ran to the forest, cheered by her animal friends who believed in her all along. "The Elephant and the Stake" is an imaginative teaching tale about self empowerment for children with wide appeal, which has the added attraction of encouraging young readers.

When Charlie Made a Wish...
Megan Green, author
Alex Green, illustrator
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452586649, $20.95,

Using the theory of Broadband Consciousness, "When Charlie Made a Wish..." is a self-directed personal adjustment and growth manual for kids. Teaching in questions and answer narrative verse, "When Charlie Made a Wish..." helps kids tackle problems of analyzing limiting life scripts and learning to choose more authentic responses to problems. Charlie and Mae are twins who learn from a beloved toy brought to life, a stuffed blue bunny named Wilkins. They are amazed to discover the following breaking news..... "Your script is not real!! Your script is not who you are!! You are more than just a script...." The twins are amazed to learn that they have choices they can make in every situation, and that they can learn how to spot scripts and step away from them to make the best choices they can. The important empowering realization is summed up as follows: "You - the script = the Real You." Mae and Charlie continue to learn ways to deal with difficult adults like Miss Terse, their conflicted teacher and other confusing problems. Finally their Grandma and mother call them for tea and they begin the process of becoming the superheroes they really are meant to be. Quirky portraits of the twins add color and zip to this child's enlightenment manual, which will appeal to both grownups and children who desire to find their real selves. This is a wonderful example of juvenile empowerment thinking.

Figler My Imaginary Friend
Erica Taylor, author
Mr. Piecrust, illustrator
Parkhurst Brothers Publishers
110 West Main Street, Marion, Michigan 49665 800-621-2736
9781624910210, $9.95,

"Figler My Imaginary Friend" is a sensitive exploration of the relationship between a child and his imagined perceptions of his better self. Gentle soft colored illustrations express a growing wonder with the abilities and exploits of Figler, the narrator's "imaginary friend," while a quiet, cadenced verse narrative describes the child's growing belief in the reality of his friend Figler, and also in himself. This story is most appealing to children and adults will want to allow them the full experience, helping with the accompanying lesson plan (Concepts of Self in Society), vocabulary, suggested activities, and comprehension questions as appropriate. Written by a third grade elementary teacher, "Figler My Imaginary Friend" is an enjoyable invitation to young readers to discover the best within themselves.

The Bilingual Shelf

Keeping Fit from A to Z / Maintente en forma de la A a la Z
Stephanie Maze, executive editor
Karin Kinney, senior editor
Alexandra Littlehales, art director
Alicia Fuentes-Gargallo, translator
Moonstone Press LLC
4816 Carrington Circle, Sarasota, FL 34243
KSB Promotions
9780983498353, $15.95,

"Keeping Fit from A to Z" is a smashing new bilingual alphabet/activity exercise book that will dazzle kids with the (literary) fun of fitness. Every page presents an alphabet letter in upper and lower case plus 4-6 action photos of kids of all colors engaged in exciting activities described in both English and Spanish, with equal emphasis on English and Spanish activity descriptions. Thus A is for arm-wrestling (prueba echar un pulso) and for amasa el pan (knead the bread), B is for practice basketball (practica el baloncesto) and bucea (snorkel), and so on. Every suggested activity is shown demonstrated by a happy kid, (who is obviously having the time of his/her life). This fun, fantastic sports/alphabet book packs mucho healthy education into every single page and letter for all children, while teaching two languages and cultures through picture and written word. At the end of the alphabet are other activities you can try, and fun things you can also do, plus games you can play. A parent information page teaches parents and caretakers the importance of exercise and play for growing children. "Keeping Fit from A to Z/ Maintente en forma de al A a la Z" is an inclusive, inspiring, vibrant source of learning for children (age 3 and up) and adults, parents, caretakers, and educators.

The Social Issues Shelf

Maddi's Fridge
Lois Brandt, author
Vin Vogel, illustrator
Flash Light Press
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
978193261291, $17.95,

"Maddi's Fridge" is an innovative children's story about two friends who share fun, play, and games together (despite different cultural backgrounds) and then discover that one of them has a secret: Maddi's fridge is empty except for milk, and they have no money to buy more food. Maddi asks Sofia to promise not to tell anyone about her empty fridge. But when Sofia eats a lovely dinner of fish and rice with her family, she can't stop thinking of Maddi, with only milk and bread to eat. Sofia tries to smuggle fish for Maddi in her backpack, but this effort has stinky results. Even more smelly messes result when Sofia tries to pack eggs in her backpack for Maddi. Burritos and beans and tortillas are a bit more successful surviving backpack transport intact. Finally, although Sofia had promised her silence about Maddi's problem, she told her mother. Together the family packed some groceries for Maddi's family, and they went to visit Maddi and her mother and brother. Ryan. Maddi decided she was still friends with Sofia and the friends played and feasted together with their families. "Maddi's Fridge" ends with a list of suggestions about how to help others who do not have enough food. The single greatest achievement of "Maddi's Fridge" is delivers its message directly, through the intriguing story embellished with artful illustrations, without preaching or political commentary. "Maddi's Fridge" is a book that works on a child's awareness level, with no intervening adult judgements to cloud the basic reaction of human compassion. It also tells children exactly what they can do to help. "Maddi's Fridge" is a wonderful book for all kinds of children, whether they are hungry or not.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Any Questions?
Marie-Louise Gay, author/illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781554983827, $19.95,

"Any Questions?" is a fun, thought -provoking kid's book about the amazing process of writing a book. Colorful, zany illustrations of kids, all asking funny questions, narrate the description of writing a story. My personal favorite character commentator is the little gray striped cat who wishes he could fly. The talented author/illustrator describes fascinating parts of her creative process.....: "I draw and Paint. I cut and paste. I let my mind wander.....I shake my ideas around and turn them upside down and look at them flying out the window like a flock of birds. Suddenly, I know who lives in the forest....a giant, a shy young giant with birds nesting in his hair. His story starts here...." The central part of "Any Questions?" presents a wonderful story about a shy giant who tends his forest and confronts a ferocious purple gobbling beast, then finally tames him by.... reading him a story! All the children and forest storybook characters love the story so much they don't want it to end, and that is where the end is in fact, the beginning. At the (actual) end of "Any Questions?" there is a list of real children's questions with the answers of award-winning author/illustrator Marie-Louise Gay. "Any Questions?" is a fabulous way to describe and explore the creative process of writing a story with children ages 6-9.

The Christian Shelf

God's Amazing World!
Eileen Spinelli, author
Melanie Florian, illustrator
Ideals Publications
2630 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 100, Nashville, TN 37214
9780824956615, $15.99,

"God's Amazing World!" is a child-narrated, child-centered version of the Old Testament story of God's creation of the universe in Genesis. Gracie and her younger cousin Bo are spending the day playing together outside, when Bo asks Gracie to explain a painting she is working on. "I'm painting the story of how God made the world," she says. To further explain, Gracie takes Bo around the porch and yard to demonstrate each one of the seven days of creation, from the light and the dark created the first day, to the seventh day, when God rested. Vibrant, sun-splashed illustrations show the two children surrounded by grass, plants, trees, birds and animals (cats), all part of God's amazing creations! The children become very excited and involved with acting out the seven days of creation, ending with, of course, a nap in the hammock on the seventh day. "God's Amazing World!" is a fine example of juvenile Bible story adaptations for young children, with reassuring asides for children who may be frightened by the dark, for example.

Precious Pearl
Joan Hughes, author
Rebecca Gavney Driscoll, illustrator
Little Creek Press
c/o Kristin Mitchell Design, LLC
5341 Sunny Ridge Road, Mineral Point, WI 53565
9780989978057, $12.95,

"Precious Pearl" is a charming children's parable story about a girl named Lucy who had more than one very special gift. Lucy's important gift was the ability to create stories to share, but when her story about a church mouse who mimicked the actions of humans was criticized for not being the truth, she discovered she was given another gift: a friend who believed in her steadfastly. To cheer her up for enduring false criticism and accusations of plagiarism, Lucy's friend Ted gave her a special bracelet with ten charms for the Ten Commandments, including the ninth commandment: ' Thou Shalt Not Lie.' Inspired by her pastor's sermon on the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46) Lucy bowed her head and gave thanks for the precious pearls of story telling ability and friendship that she had been given. The gentle narrative of "Precious Pearl" is complemented by the upbeat, comforting, funny illustrations of Lucy and her mouse (and human) friends.

The Poetry Shelf

Half for You and Half for Me
Katherine Govier, author
Sarah Clement, illustrator
Whitecap Books
#210-314 West Cordova St., Vancouver, BC, Canada V6B 1E8
9781770502123, $22.95,

"Half for You and Half for Me: Best-Loved Nursery Rhymes and the Stories Behind Them" is a lovely collection of illustrated, familiar nursery rhymes accompanied by the author's explanation of the history and significance of each traditional children's verse or song. Although the rhymes and pictures in themselves are perfect for reading with a child of 4 or older, the illuminations and histories of each verse are fascinating reading for any adult, parent, teacher, or caretaker. One fascinating bit of trivia is the origin of Mother Goose. Did you know she was perhaps originally French, portrayed as Goose-Footed Bertha at her spinning wheel with small children listening to her tales. In her foreword, the author states: This collection aims to amuse the adult as well as the toddler (p. 5)." In that aim she succeeds splendidly. Here are all the familiar old nursery rhymes and games, including many that are less well known today, each with their accompanying explication, history or commentary. Rhymes are presented in chapters: First Things, Gentle Games, To Work, To School, Outdoors, Curious Characters, Children's Games, Bad Behavior, Plain Silliness, Wisdom, and Bedtime. Charming, unusual illustrations add zest to each ancient rhyme, and nursery games described add further fun and possibilities for play. "Half for You and Half for Me" is an indulgence to be shared over time with any beloved children lucky enough to partake with a kind and caring adult standing-in for Mother Goose.

The Jobs/Career Shelf

The World Is So Wide
Jessica Rush, author
Kadet Kat, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781496080356, $18.00,

"The World Is So Wide" is a stereotype -surmounting A-Z exploration of exciting occupations for kids that pushes boundaries and widens the scope of vision for young dreamers. Written and illustrated for kids ages 4-8 with flamboyant, bold figures of multiple races and unexpected genders modeling unusual vocations, "The World Is So Wide" invites children to dream big. Some of the choices include environmentalist, organic farmer, jazz musician, nanny, public servant, barista, sous chef, yoga instructor, and more. "The World Is So Wide" presents a full array of positive choices of vocations for children to consider as they dream of their future paths and goals. Bright colors and unusual ideas help punch up the appeal and make "The World Is So Wide" pop.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Saint Nicholas and the Mouse of Myra
Jay Stoeckl, artist/author
Paraclete Press
P.O. Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
9781612614700, $15.99,

"Saint Nicholas and the Mouse of Myra" is a creative artistic rendering of the life of Bishop Nicholas of Myra in graphic novel format with one added fictional character, Cicero the mouse. The real details and early Christian teachings in the life of this third century beloved Saint are interwoven and illuminated with dialogue between Nicholas and Cicero, his faithful mouse companion. Many of the legends of the life of St. Nicholas are presented accompanied by Nicholas' ongoing dialogue with his mouse companion. Thus are many of the early tenets of Christianity explained, such as caring for the poor and needy, and providing dowries for young girls of poor families who would otherwise be sold into slavery under Roman law. Cicero the mouse philosopher and skeptic, questions Nicholas' ideas about caring for the poor and spreading the beliefs of Christianity. Cicero visits Nicholas in prison and accompanies him to his life triumphs as well, becoming Bishop of Myra at a young age. A fantastic dialogue between Nicholas and Emperor Constantine is presented, as well as the miracle of Nicholas calming the storm at sea with God's help on a journey to Myra. Many other historic and legendary miracles from the life of Saint Nicholas are presented in graphic style, and explanatory quotations from scripture abound. "Saint Nicholas and the Mouse of Myra" is an intriguing, graphically embellished hagiographic account that is sure to be enjoyed by a young adult and adult audience. Also highly recommended is a similar graphic novel of an important saint by the same artist/author, "Saint Francis and Brother Duck (9781612611594, $15.99)."

The Mythology Shelf

Play Nice, Hercules!
Joan Holub, author
Leslie Patricelli, illustrator
Abrams Appleseed
c/o Abrams Books
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419709548, $6.95,

"Play Nice, Hercules!" is a toddler distillation of the Greek myth of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, in sturdy pasteboard book format. Hercules is presented as a slightly rambunctious small boy, more interested in proving how strong he is than in getting along nicely with his little sister. When Hercules upsets his little sister by ka-booming her castle of blocks, he feels sorry and vows to fix it. The 12-block castle wall he builds presents a block animal illustration symbol for each of the 12 labors that Hercules completed to achieve forgiveness for accidentally hurting his family. At the end of the simply narrated story is a one page summary of the myth-story of Hercules' Twelve Labors. Simple, dark outlined cartoon-style illustrations are particularly expressive and recognizable, so that toddlers can learn to "read between the lines" of the story. "Play Nice, Hercules!" is a title from the innovative Mini Myths series of board books of classic Greek myths recast as modern teaching tales for toddlers. Another highly recommended title from this series by the same author/illustrator duo is "Be Patient, Pandora! (9781419709517, $6.95)."

The Art Shelf

Vincent, Theo, and the Fox
Ted Macaluso, author
Illustrations are paintings by Vincent Van Gogh
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781495487514, $11.95,

"Vincent, Theo, and the Fox: A Mischievous Adventure Through the Paintings of Vincent Van Gogh" is a fiction story about a real artist and his brother, who chase a fox and discover many enlightenments of the world. The paintings are presented as scenes from the boys' everyday lives, in their pursuit of the wily fox. The fox is young and hungry, and he explores many strange places and eats strange foods (potatoes?) in an effort to find where he belongs. Vincent and Theo follow the fox, trying to catch him. Finally the fox decides to return to the woods and golden fields where he feels most happy and at home. Vincent muses about the many places he may explore, and the possible vocations he might follow, and Theo promises to help him. At the end of "Vincent, Theo, and the Fox," a work of fiction to display some of the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, is an Epilogue of known biographical facts about Vincent Van Gogh. There is also a list of illustrations in order of their presentation, and the date and place where they were painted. Additional resources are listed as related websites, plus the offer of a free list of books about Van Gogh and two authoritative catalogs of all his art. Readers are invited to self submit a review of "Vincent, Theo, and the Fox" to, "Vincent, Theo, and the Fox" is a fine guided tour for children through many fine works of art by the great artist, Vincent Van Gogh. For a virtual tour of the paintings, go to,

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Big Honey Dog Mysteries: Curse of the Scarab
H.Y. Hanna
Wisheart Press
PO Box 1024, Subiaco, WA 6904, Australia
9780992351313 $9.99 pbk.
9780992315306 $4.99 ebook

Big Honey Dog Mysteries: Curse of the Scarab is first in the "Big Honey Dog" series of mystery novels for young adults, featuring Honey, a faithful Great Dane! Honey enjoys her simple life, taking her human for regular walks and checking the daily Peemail at the park. Then neighborhood puppies start disappearing, and dead scarabs regularly turn up after each puppy-abduction! Is an Egyptian curse really at work? And what secrets is Max the Pit Bull hiding - can Honey trust him to help her find and rescue the missing puppies? Dog lovers young and old will love this rip-roaring, bark-serious adventure. Also highly recommended are the successive novels of the "Big Honey Dog" series: "A Secret in Time", "Message in a Bauble", and "Treasure from the Past".

A Sandy Grave
Donna M. McDine, author
Julie Hammond, artist
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
12430 Tesson Ferry Road, #186, Saint Louis, MO 63128
9781616334543, $19.95,

"A Sandy Grave" is a new title by multiple award-winning juvenile author Donna McDine, winner of the Purple Dragonfly First Place book award and the Books Worth Devouring award by Story Monsters. "A Sandy Grave" is a tween chapbook mystery about three young friends' discovery of thieves caught poaching the teeth from a beached whale carcass. The spunky girls, Hayley, Nicole, and Leah suspect the actions and dig up the evidence just in time to be rescued from the poachers by the police. All three girls were later honored for their bravery in exposing the violators of the Endangered Species Act and the Mammal Protection act by the award of free beach passes for the whole summer. "A Sandy Grave" is presented in swift moving, action packed prose narrative embellished with pastel colored illustrations. "A Sandy Grave" is an excellent early chapter reader's book, with plenty of fresh appeal and charm.

The Board Book Shelf

Wild Animal Alphabet
Shutterstock, images
Barron's Educational Series
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppage, NY 11788
9780764167096, $5.99,

"Wild Animal Alphabet" is an alphabet sampler board book for toddlers from the Lumpy Bumpy series. Each page contains three letters of the alphabet with corresponding wild animals beneath each letter, with colored bumps outlining each lower case letter and also each page. The lumpy bumpy feature encourages young children to trace the outlines of the letters of the alphabet, as well as the straight line borders of each page. Pastel colored wild animal images are taken from Shutterstock, and the ending pages contain a matching game for all 26 letters and animal pictures. "Wild Animal Alphabet" is a surprisingly innovative reframing of the sequence of learning alphabet letters by associating each letter with an animal, whose name begins with the featured letter. The sturdy pasteboard presentation is an excellent, practical format for very small children and young readers, highly recommended for the toddler preschool juvenile audience and their caretakers and parents.

The Science Shelf

Is It Natural or Human-Made?
Helen Mason, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118 800-387-7650
9780778705352, $22.60,

"Is It Natural or Human-Made?" is a juvenile educational title from the series "What's the Matter?" focusing on describing the nature and properties of matter for children in Kindergarten to early elementary grades. Large white and colored text against a contrasting green background describes and defines matter for the emerging natural scientist. White outlines help define explanatory snapshots, while simple mathematical diagrams, compare- and- contrast and multiple choice questions help extend understanding of basic concepts. At the end of 23 pages and eleven chapters of narrative is a section titled Notes for Adults which includes objectives, prerequisites, questions to consider before reading the text, and material for discussion and extension. Other highly recommended titles in this series include: "Is It Hard Or Soft " (9780778705383, $22.60) by Helen Mason, "Does It Sink Or Float?" (9780778705369, $22.60) by Susan Hughes, and "Does It Absorb Or Repel Liquid?" (9780778705376, $22.60) by Susan Hughes.

Changing Direction
Natalie Hyde, author
Crabtree Publishing Co.
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10118 800-387-7650
9780778705284, $22.60,

"Changing Direction" is a beginning title in a pre-physics educational series called Motion Close-Up, for children ages 6-7. This bright, photo-illustrated text covers basic principles of motion in easily understood language. Blue background "What do you think?" sidebars showcase questions and encourage logical observations about expected motion in accompanying photos. Topics tackled include comparing forces, change in motion, the concept of faster and slower, forecasting motion direction, and more. Themes of interest to children such as games of soccer or baseball, riding scooters, or rocket takeoffs are used to demonstrate motion principles and properties. Finally, a page listing important words/concepts followed by page numbers relating to them also contains a number of excellent suggested learning activities in Notes for Adults. There are three other book titles for references for learning more about motion, and also suggested websites for kids. "What Is Motion?" presents a clear, concise coverage of the topic of motion for young elementary school children with plenty of color, flair, and style to help encourage further learning. Additional titles in this series by the same author that are also highly recommended include: "What Is Motion?" (9780778705277, $22.60), "Pushing and Pulling " (9780778705291, $22.60), and "Speeding Up, Slowing Down" (978077870530, $22.60).

Weathering and Erosion
Maria Nelson, author
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003 800-542-2595
9781433983290, $22.60,

"Weathering and Erosion" is a new title from the nonfiction juvenile educational series "That Rocks!" for middle grade students age 10 and up. Featuring color photographs of examples of weathering and erosion, plus handy 'Set In Stone' sidebars and definitions, "Weathering and Erosion" covers the two geo-processes in 24 pages and 9 chapters, plus a glossary and For More Information section including books and websites. Concise, clear narrative is enhanced by the many visual aids. One example is an explanatory diagram showing a progression of gray rain clouds surrounding four separate steps explains the process of weathering and erosion (p. 21). "Weathering and Erosion" is an exceptional guide to the complex geo-processes which create soil, sand, and rock formation features. Other titles by the same author in this highly recommended educational earth sciences That Rocks! Series include the following: "Igneous Rocks " (9781433983139, $22.60), "Sedimentary Rocks " (9781433983214, $22.60), "Earth's Minerals " (9781433983092, $22.60), "Metamorphic Rocks " (9781433983177, $22.60), and "The Rock Cycle" (9781433983252, $22.60).

Jake's Bones: World's Youngest Bone Collector
Jake McGowan-Lowe, author
Paolo Viscardi, consultant
Fabio Santomauro, illustrator
Ticktock Books
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781848988521, $12.99,

"Jake's Bones" is an amazing book about animal bone collecting by a real 12 year old boy named Jake who has his own real animal bone collection. Jake started his bone collection in Scotland where he lives when he was 6 years old. Read more at his blog at, "Jake's Bones" is both a great manual for budding bone collectors, it is also filled with Amazing Facts about Amazing Animals and other fascinating sidebars and snippets of bone trivia and information. There are excellent color photos of bones from Jake's collection, including a fox, crocodile, whale, deer, leopard, snake, hedgehog, cat, monkey, and more. Kids will learn how to recognize a bone and how to assemble a bone collecting kit. Jake knows being a great bone collector starts with learning to be a great bone detective. Jake also explains the Seven Golden Rule about bone collecting: Do no harm, Make sure your bone collection is legal, Be considerate, (remember) Nature needs bones too, Treat your collection with respect, Let bones from dead animals teach you about living nature, and Pass on your knowledge of bones to others. A wonderful educational book for kids with pictures of the author to guide exploration of every page, "Jake's Bones" finishes with a complete two page glossary. This is a wonderful way for kids age 10 and up to learn exciting information in a great format.

The Money/Finance Shelf

A Teen Guide to Earning Income
Tammy Gagne, author
Mitchell Lane Publishers
P.O. Box 196, Hockessin, Delaware 19707
9781612284705, $29.95, 48 pages hardbound,

"A Teen Guide to Earning Income" is an educational book from the series Practical Economics for Teens. Five succinct chapters cover evaluating help wanted sources, finding a job, job readiness skills for the hired, taxes on earned income, and making the most of your paycheck. Narrative chapters are studded with color contrasting sidebars of helpful tips and information such as the green -backed Earning Income Tips and Trivia. Purple highlighted sidebars with red and white target logos contain valuable information such as how to craft a resume, or how to read a paycheck stub. Color photos of appropriately dressed teen employees at work abound throughout the pages. Finally, sharpening job skills such as courteous conversation, being clean, neat and on time for shifts, are all discussed and emphasized. "A Teen Guide to Earning Income" ends with chapter notes, suggestions for further reading, works consulted, internet resources, and a glossary. "A Teen Guide to Earning Income" is an excellent resource for young adults and teens seeking employment. Additional titles by the same author from this series that are also very valuable and highly recommended are: "A Teen Guide to Saving and Investing " (9781612284712, $29.95), "A Teen Guide to Buying Goods and Services " (97816122847290, $29.95), and "A Teen Guide to Protecting and Insuring Assets " (9781612284736, $29.95).

Pirates of Financial Freedom
Joey Fehrman
Ludus Media
200 Park Avenue, Suite 1700
New York, NY 10166
9780991547401 $29.99

Written to appeal to all ages, Pirates of Financial Freedom is a unique novel that weaves practical, real-world financial common sense about budgeting and debt management into a high-seas pirate adventure! The story depicts Captain Dailey's perilous predicament, and the steps his son must take to help everyone recover from their fearsome financial problems. In addition to fighting kidnappers, mythical beasts, and gunmen, the crew must also learn about basic financial skills such as responsible investing, improving one's credit score, and saving for retirement. Pirates of Financial Freedom is as entertaining as it is educational, and highly recommended for public library collections, especially since financial literacy is all but required to achieve success in today's world!

The Music CD Shelf

Sea Blue Sea
The Whizpops
Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Parents' Choice and Creative Child Award-winning band The Whizpops present Sea Blue Sea, a delightful, family-friendly album with an ocean theme. Although the creative lyrics are written especially to inspire young children to learn more about sea life, listeners of all ages will enjoy the lighthearted, singsong adventures! The tracks are "Coral Reef", "Manatee", "Dolphin Disco (Super Pod Party)", "Manta Ray", "Sea Turtle", "Anglerfish", "Blue Whale", "Starfish", "Whale Shark", and "Octopus".

Appetite for Construction
The Pop Ups
Kugel Songs
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Grammy-nominated kids' band The Pop Ups present Appetite for Construction, a music album promoting family fun in every sense of the word. An included instruction booklet encourages craft projects, collage, dance, puppet making, and more! Celebrating creative potential in young listeners pre-school age and up, Appetite for Construction is a joy to share and learn from! The tracks "Getting the Job Done", "All These Shapes", "Block House", "Costume Party", "Bug Out", "Pictures Making Pictures", "Craft Night", "Your Own Imagination", "Robot Dance", "Puppet Playground", "Glitter Everywhere", and "Go to Sleep".

Nightlight Daylight
Muriel Anderson
Privately Published
c/o To Market Kids (publicity)

Inspired as a gift for a friend's first baby, Nightlight Daylight by Muriel Anderson is a beautiful children's double album. Parents will also find the lilting, wonder-filled songs perfect for calming the body and mind right before bedtime (first CD) or rousing one's senses first thing in the morning (second CD). A diversity of fellow artists have contributed to Nightlight Daylight including Mark Kibble, Victor Wooten, Phil Keaggy, Danny Gottlieb, Howard Levy, and more. Even the fantastic, photogenic cover captures the imagination - press on the picture of the moon, and starry bright lights flicker before one's eyes! Nightlight Daylight is an excellent gift for parents, little children, or baby showers, highly recommended. The tracks are "Ferryboat Crossing" (2:07), "Night Lights" (2:53), "Lullaby for Leo" (2:42), "The Looking Glass" (2:38), "Prayer Without Ceasing" (2:28), "Dandelions" (2:04), "It Takes a Little Time" (1:46), "Faint of Heart" (2:24), "The Winter Shores" (0:53), "Hawaiian Lullaby" (1:46), "Wait for the Light" (1:50), "Prelude to Joy" (1:27), "Sweet Child" (1:24), "Here Comes the Sun" (1:41), "Train to Amhem", (2:02), "Perfect Ten" (3:15), "Two Shores" (1:23), "Daylight" (1:33), "I'll See You Someday" (1:18), "Continental Breakfast" (1:55), "Close to You" (1:38), "Crystal Horizon" (2:20), "A Bakers Dozen" (1:58), "Tracy's Tune" (1:30), "Bluegrass Melody" (1:41), "Superstition" (2:19), "Liberty Bell" (1:49), "Bells of Lingenfeld" (2:11), and "Pray" (2:14).

If I Could Fly
Riff Rockit
Produced by Bob St. John
Co-Produced by Alex Garcia
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Parents' Choice Award-winning musician Riff Rockit presents If I Could Fly, a family-friendly album created both to raise money for charity (all proceeds are to benefit blood cancer research) and to inspire young people to learn how to sing and play musical instruments. Guitar music is front and center in If I Could Fly, which features high-spirited songs about thinking positive, living a healthy life, and the joy of learning new things. Listeners of all ages will enjoy the uplifting message, purpose, and drive of If I Could Fly! The tracks are "New Shoes", "Backyard", "Guitar Hero", "Food Groups", "Beach", "Mr. Tux", "If I Could Fly", "Rainy Day", "Birthday", and "Wintertime".

The Bossy E
Mister G
Privately Published
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
$18.98 CD / $8.99

Parents' Choice Gold Award-winning artist Mister G presents The Bossy E, a cheerful children's album, encompassing music styles from surf rock and bluegrass to funk and international. The Bossy E is all about celebrating literacy and love of books; the title song refers to an elementary school mnemonic known as the "bossy e", to help young readers remember how adding an "e" transforms the sound and meaning of a word. An unparalleled choice especially for public and elementary school library collections, The Bossy E is highly recommended! The tracks are "Love To Read", "The Bossy E", "What Are Those Animals Doing?", "Aisle 3", "More Books for Me", "Everything's Free at the Library", "Camp", "Video Games", "Daddy's Snoring", "Standing On Top Of My Head", and "Maybellene".

Just Say Hi!
Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could
Bumblin' Bee Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
$12.99 CD / $9.99 digital

Grammy-nominated family music artist Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could present Just Say Hi!, a joyful children's album with a positive message about connecting with others, and the joy of forming new friendships. The dance-happy songs are a great pick for children's parties or get-togethers, in this irrepressibly cheerful collection! The tracks are "Just Say Hi!", "Get This Party Started", "Ice Cream Girl", "Dance 'til I Drop", "Pet Song (We Thank You)", "I Spin", "Red Piano Rag", "My Home", "Gettin' My Ya Ya's Out", "Tomorrow's People", and "Light of Love".

Smart Songs for Active Children
Vincent Nunes
Privately Published
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
9780989874106 $15.00

Award-winning musician and songwriter (and proud father!) Vincent Nunes presents Smart Songs for Active Children, a family-friendly music album with an upbeat, positive message. From simple counting, to basic geography, to a little taste of multiculturalism, and an introduction to contrasting musical styles, Smart Songs for Active Children subtly weaves educational value into its catchy, joyful tunes. Highly recommended! The tracks are "House of Love", "No One's Going to Keep Me Down", "Count by Three", "Mr. Murphy's Most Amazing Super Savings Store", "The Apes, the Monkeys and the Chimpanzees", "If I Could Write One Song", "Manuel the Great", "The Rain Falls on Everyone", "As I Was Walking Home", "Dance the Day Away (band instrument version)", "Wash Your Hands", "Ragtime for Doctor Waller", "More Love", "They Speak Spanish (but in Brazil, they speak Portuguese)", "Lullaby for Lucy (a Portuguese Lullaby)", and "Dance the Day Away (dance version)". 44 min.

Love Bug
Troubadour Music Inc.
c/o Concord Music Group, inc. (distribution)
100 N. Crescent Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
c/o Sugar Mountain PR
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
$10.32 CD / $9.49 MP3

Raffi's first children's music album in twelve years, Love Bug is an expression of joy and delight, mixing Raffi's take on beloved classics with inventive originals, across a broad array of musical styles. Raffi's warm, inviting voice is sure to please listeners of all ages, in this wonderful, family-friendly album invoking thoughts of sunshine and smiles. The tracks are "Love Bug" (2:26), "Doggone Woods" (1:22), "Mama Loves It" (2:19), "Free To Play" (2:08), "In the Real World" (3:17), "Water in the Well" (2:07), "On Hockey Days" (2:35), "Seeing the Heart" (3:30), "Cool Down Reggae" (3:36), "Magic Wand" (2:07), "Wind Chimes" (1:21), "To the Park" (2:46), "Pete S Banjo" (2:14), "This Land Is Your Land" (3:00), "Blue White Planet" (3:11), and "Turn This World Around" (4:46).

The DVD Shelf

Money Smart
Learning ZoneXpress
667 East Vine Street
Owatonna, MN 55060

Intended for grade 6 to adult viewers, Money Smart: Making Cents of Your Finances is an educational DVD about money management basics. Topics include saving and investing, managing expenses, borrowing and paying debts, and how to live within one's means. Online printable teaching materials are available to supplement these "need-to-know" lessons that every young person should take to heart! Highly recommended, especially for homeroom viewing and school or public library DVD collections. 25 min., closed captioned.

The Native American Shelf

Hungry Johnny
Cheryl Minnema, author
Wesley Ballinger, illustrator
Minnesota Historical Society Press
345 Kellogg Blvd., West St. Paul, Minnesota 55102
9780873519267, $17.95,

"Hungry Johnny" is an Ojibwe children's story about a boy who learns traditional polite, respectful ways to follow before filling his plate and feasting at a community feast. Embellished with lively, exuberant portraits of Hungry Johnny, an Ojibwe boy and his family, "Hungry Johnny" tells the story of teaching a hungry young boy to be patient and wait quietly for a prayer, and for others to be served first, such as the elders at the community feast. Incorporated into the English narrative are Ojibwe or Anishinaabe words such as Bekaa (wait), Akwe niwii Miigwech (First I'd like to thank...) And Wiisinig! (Eat!) Pictures of Hungry Johnny playing in the snow of the cold north are contrasted with pictures of Johnny's Grandma stirring a nice warm kettle of wild rice on the stove. Hungry Johnny's favorite saying is "I like to eat, eat, eat! But what he learns at the community center feast is to wait patiently and play quietly with a favorite toy while a long traditional prayer is said, and then to wait even more while the elders are served first, out of respect. Johnny's Grandma explains that she is not served first because she is only a baby elder, "too young to be old and too old to be young." Johnny's tummy is so hungry it growls, but his Grandma tells him "Bekaa (wait)." Finally it is Johnny's turn to sit at a place at the table, but he is so disappointed because his favorite sweet rolls have vanished, leaving crumbs. Soon the platter is replaced with an even bigger platter, making Johnny very happy. Then comes a wonderful moment: Although he is very hungry and ready to eat, Johnny observes an elderly friend named Katherine just arriving at the feast. "Katherine, Katherine," he cries, "it's time to eat, eat, eat!" Johnny offers his chair at the table to Katherine, who graciously accepts it and takes Johnny on her lap, asking, "Why do little boys get all the good food?" The answer of course is "Because we like to eat, eat, eat!" "Hungry Johnny" is an award winning (SHABO Award Winner for unpublished manuscripts, 2012, the Literary Loft) book by the prestigious Ojibwe bead and crafting artist, Cheryl Minnema, of Milaca, Minnesota. Its fine details such as the use of Ojibwe language, picture of Ojibwe traditional beading on the elder's vest, and careful teaching of traditional courteous behavior for children make it a first class selection for cross cultural and world studies curriculum. Both the author and the illustrator of "Hungry Johnny" are Ojibwe of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota.

The Travel Shelf

Let's Visit Maui!
Lisa Manzione, author
Kristine Lucco, illustrator
Bella & Harry, LLC
Smith Publicity
9781937616526, $16.95,

Book 12 in the Adventures of Bella & Harry series, "Let's Visit Maui!" takes both traveling chihuahuas on a trip to fabulous Hawaii, on the island of Maui. Bella and Harry take in the many sights, including waterfalls at Wailua Falls, the Haleakala National Park, Honokalani Black Sand Beach, Haleakala Volcano, the Haleakala Crater (where Harry chased Nene, a rare breed of Hawaiian geese), and more. Bella and Harry attend their first luau and see hula dancers at the hotel beach in Wailea. They are served traditional Hawaiian foods such as poi, poke (raw seasoned seafood), lomi lomi salmon, Kalua pork and haupia (coconut pudding), plus pineapples, papyas, mangos, lychees, and coconuts. They finish the night watching Samoan Fire Knife dancers. Another day brings a tour to the big island, Hawaii, where Bella and Harry fly in a helicopter over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and see hot lava pouring into the ocean, plus waterfalls, craters, and the Hawaiian coastline. Harry and Bella have so much fun on Maui they can't wait to go again. "Let's Visit Maui" ends with fun Hawaiian words and phrases and illustrations of snapshots of the chipper chihuahuas learning to surf and visiting a coffee bean farm and pineapple plantation. Fresh, expressive colored illustrations show the black and white chihuahua siblings in typical Maui and Hawaiian scenes, with a two page scale map of the eight main islands of Hawaii to establish the tour location. "The Adventures of Bella & Harry" continue to provide excellent, entertaining education in geography, world cultures, and travel for children ages 5-10.

The American History Shelf

Bold Women in Alaska History
Marjorie Cochrane
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399
Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426171 $12.00

Fourth in a state-by-state series of history books especially for teen readers, Bold Women in Alaska History is filled with biographical profiles of ten courageous women who changed history in the great state of Alaska. From Elizabeth Peratrovich, an early crusader for Native Alaskan civil rights, to Thelma Buchholdt, the first female Filipino-American to serve in the Alaska legislature, and Mary Antisarlook, the "Reindeer Queen" who became one of the wealthiest businesswomen in the state, Bold Women in Alaska History is filled with true stories of daring, and determined female role models! Highly recommended, especially for high school and public library American History collections.

Books in Series

Stan the Timid Turtle
Laura S. Fox, MA, author
Anita DuFalla, illustrator
New Horizon Press
P.O. Box 669, Far Hills, NJ 07931
9780882824666, $9.95,

"Stan the Timid Turtle: Helping Children Cope with Fears About School Violence" is an illustrated juvenile book from the "Let's Talk" series that teaches children coping tools when dealing with crisis, violence in the schools, or other related issues that are frightening to children. Stan is a fearful young turtle who is scared to go out and attend school as normal because someone had hurt several young turtles at a nearby school. Stan felt scared and sick and afraid to go to school. He felt angry and sad, as though his safety had been betrayed. His parents worried about him, encouraging him to be calm and carry on, going back to school and soccer practice. Stan was so afraid that he hid in his shell, the only place he felt safe. Unable to persuade him to come out, his parents took him to the Dr., still inside his shell. Dr. Hope told him it was all right to be afraid, and that she was afraid too sometimes. She reminded Stan that he could help other young turtles feel safer by observing turtle behavior and reporting to teachers and guards if it seemed that something bad was going to happen, or if anyone was threatened. Stan knew he had to watch out for his younger cousin, Lily, so he decided to come out of his shell. Dr. Hope gave him some special words to say to himself when he was scared. They were: "Be brave. Be true. Do not let fear overcome you. Stay strong and carry on." These words encouraged Stan and helped him to feel better. Dr. Hope gave him a poster to remind him so he could practice saying the words every night before going to bed. The next day Stan noticed two strangers at school, a man and woman turtle. He was afraid, but he used his special words to have enough courage to tell Officer Shelly about the strangers. Because of Stan's bravery, other young turtles were safe and the strangers were taken away before anything bad happened. Later Stan was honored before the school turtle assembly for his courage, and awarded with a blue ribbon sash the said Hall Monitor. "Stan became the best hall monitor the Turtlesville School ever had." "Stan the Timid Turtle" is written in appealing prose, with expressive, message -enhancing illustrations of Stan and other young turtles which children will be able to identify with. The choice of a turtle as a hero is inspired, because the turtle carries his own armor with him, which can be both protective and limiting. Ending with a list of special tips for children and another list of tips for parents, and educators, "Stan the Timid Turtle" is an excellent resource for helping children learn to cope with their fears. Also highly recommended is another title in the "Let's Talk" Series is "Siggy's Parade: Helping Kids with Disabilities Find Their Strengths (9780882824697, $9,95)," by Blanche R. Dudley, Ed.D., illustrated by John Hazard and Robert Blankenship.

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns We Can All Get Along
Howard Binkow and Reverend Ana, authors
David A. Cutting and Mike Ferrin, illustrators
Thunderbolt Publishing: We Do Listen Foundation
1750 Ben Franklin Drive, #11 G, Sarasota, FL 34236
9780991077700, $15.00,

"Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns We Can All Get Along" is the 14th title in the well-loved, award-winning series of the same name. Educator and counselor approved, this successful and popular series uses a cast of animal characters to teach children ages 4-8 valuable lessons in promoting harmony with others in all their interactions. Including suggestions for lessons and reflections, plus tips and handy rules for successful harmony in interactions with others, "Howard B. Wiggle bottom Learns We Can All Get Along" offers an excellent reframing of the Golden Rule as it applies to young friends together. Howard is disappointed because he is not invited to a special birthday party. Discussing the problem with his Grandma, he decides there may be some things he could learn to do that might make him more fun to be around. These include learning the following three rules: We all get to be right. We all get a turn. We all get a say. In addition to these three handy rules to help all to get along, there is a fourth rule suggested: Apologize right away whenever you fail to respect your friends. (See the first three rules). A final reminder states: "...for us to be happy and healthy, we need to get along with others and treat everyone the way we like to be treated: with kindness and respect (p. 31)!" As always, the soft-edged, lively portraits of Howard Wigglebottom and his friends add charm and humor to the clearly stated message of the text enhances the message with extra appeal. This excellent series is first rate in life education skills for early elementary age children.

Adventures of Lil' Cub in "Mercy Flight"
Bruce Stratton, author/illustrator
Gary L. Hull, computer graphics & technical support
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781493181544, $21.99,

Originally written as a cartoon series by a father for his daughter, "Adventures of Lil' Cub in 'Mercy Flight'" is a story about a friendly little Piper Cub Airplane who has adventures learning about the wonderful world of flying. In this first story of the series, Lil' Cub is happy to find his friend Bentley, a red helicopter, because he wants to play. But Bentley has news for Lil' Cub from Mr. Dispatcher : There is a very important job for him to do. Lil' Cub hurries to report to Mr. Dispatcher, a larger gray plane, who tells him he is needed to do a very important job, even though he is a small plane and other planes have made fun of him. Lil' Cub must fly through thick fog to Doctor Bowing on the high desert to bring him special medicine to save lives. Lil' Cub decides he can accept the dangerous mission, planning to fly low and slow and follow roads and trails to Dr. Bowings' airstrip in the high desert. Lil' Cub loads up with the medicine and embarks on his dangerous journey. The challenges mount as Lil' Cub flies through blinding fog, nearly hitting a tall tree in his path. Then comes a steep climb up the high mountainside, and though Lil' Cub is very frightened, he keeps flying, up until he is out of the fog, over the mountain, and into the desert. Here he is blasted with sand and wind, but he bravely pushes on until finally he lands near Doc Bowing, a big white medical airplane (with glasses) waiting for him. After thanking him for the medicine, Doc Bowing tells Lil' Cub the medicine he brought will save many lives, and he is a very big hero. Lil' Cub returns to Bentley safely and is once again congratulated, responding "Aw shucks, I didn't do it to be a HERO, I'm just glad I could help someone else. I FEEL WONDERFUL! And I have learned that no matter how BIG you are or how small you are, you can always help someone else." "Mercy Flight" closes with a nice moral ("Always Help others when they need help. You will feel good about yourself and you will make new friends" ) and some fascinating Plane Facts. This charming juvenile series with humanized plane characters is fun, appealing, fresh and educational for kids.

Back to School, Picky Little Witch!
Elizabeth Brokamp, author
Peter J. Welling, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053
9781455618873, $16.99,

A new title from the Picky Little Witch Series, "Back to School, Picky Little Witch!" is a familiar plot in a fresh format, filling out a new school supply list for the student ... witch! Mama Witch needs to help Picky Little Witch select and purchase a whole list of required school supplies, from the witch's cape to the cat! The only problem is Picky Little Witch has her own ideas about what models and designs she prefers, and they are not necessarily traditional or what Mama Witch can afford ! A helpful saleslady notices their dilemma and shows them a basket of darling kittens to choose from. Picky Little Witch is enchanted! By the white kitten with black paws, and the black kitten too! Finally Mama Witch and Picky Little Witch can agree on something, both kittens are selected! The rest of the list is worked through with some compromises on both sides, and Picky Little Witch is finally ready for her return to Scary School (or back to Ghoul). Adorable detailed illustrations featuring green little witches and many other fun features express and complement the bouncy verve and charm of the witty verse narrative of "Back to School, Picky Little Witch!" This is a perfect choice for kids ages 5-8 in grades K-3, at the season of preparation for the looming Back to Ghoul rush.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

Two new series collections offer some exciting books for young readers, pairing inviting covers with detailed information that will mesh well with curriculum objectives. The 'Stone Age Geometry' series ($20.70 each) pairs text by Gerry Bailey and Felicia Law with cartoon illustrations by Mike Phillips and more than a dose of humor to lighten the learning process. Kids ages 10-13 receive basic math concepts in a digestible form that includes history, math, and discussions of math applications in the world. Each book breaks topics into easy segments so kids have an easy way of learning geometry as a whole. CUBES (9780778705076) surveys cube properties and their use in nature and human worlds, CIRCLES (9780778705079) describes rings, half circles and the use of circles in the world, LINES (9780778705093) has Leo teaching his cat Pallas about how points make up lines and segments, SPHERES (9780778705109) considers ancient and modern spheres and their properties, SQUARES (9780778705116) surveys how angles and lines of equal size form squares with different possibilities, and TRIANGLES (9780778705123) uses projects and demonstrations to show how triangles have different edges, angles and names. All use the delightful fictional character of Leo and his pet cat to provide the basics of geometry. Six new additions to Gerry Bailey's 'Science to the Rescue' series ($20.70 each) provide survival stories following one Joe, a scientist and adventurer who finds himself facing different dangers in his travels around the world. In each case Joe must use his science knowledge to save his life, creating an engaging story that kids ages 8-11 will find delightful. ALONE IN THE ARCTIC (9780778704287, $20.70) shows how Joe manages to survive Arctic conditions when he's stranded, DRY IN THE DESERT (9780778704294) considers how Joe can survive the desert and how nomadic tribes both rescue him and teach him basic skills, STRANDED ON AN ISLAND (9780778704300) has Joe probing an island food chain and building a shelter from scratch, SWEPT AWAY BY THE STORM (9780778704317) finds Joe adrift after a hurricane, TRAPPED ON THE ROCK (9780778704331) features Joe the mountain climber in trouble during a rock-scaling adventure, and TANGLED IN THE RAINFOREST (9780778704324) is all about survival in the jungle against all odds. Dramatic stories paired with real-world applications of science make these top picks for any young reader.

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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design