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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 8 August 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Science Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Sports Shelf ABC Shelf Counting Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf Health Shelf
Board Book Shelf Autism Shelf Environmental Shelf
Biography Shelf Christian Shelf Aviation Shelf
Psychology Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Activity Shelf Music CD Shelf
Parenting Shelf Holiday Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf
Writing/Publishing Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

When the Ground Shakes
Irit Almog & Shoshana Wheeler, authors
David R. Aseraf, illustrator
Children 911 Resources
P.O. Box 62, Agoura Hills, CA 91376
9789657680025, $10.99,

"When the Ground Shakes" is a child friendly disaster preparedness manual that teaches children (age 5 and up) ways of managing their fear and emotional reactions to the experience of earthquakes. Designed to be used by educators, parents, and caregivers with children who live in proximity to earthquake prone areas, "When the Ground Shakes" addresses the phenomena of earthquakes in a matter of fact, even entertaining way. It begins by sharing the Shake, Shake, Shake dance exercise for kids, moving through different body parts to shaking the whole body. Then it progresses to an explanation of how the earth also shakes sometimes, when there is an earthquake. Dogs may howl, alarms may go off, or there may be little or no warning before the earthquake. Most important, most earthquakes last only 10-15 seconds, a time passage that can be counted out by even young children. Sometimes earthquakes last longer than 15 seconds. Then children can help keep themselves calm by singing their favorite songs until it is over. Earthquakes always end. Other ways to be safe during an earthquake are also shown, and can be practiced. Colorful, gripping and riveting graphic pictures reinforce the message of "When the Ground Shakes," which can be reduced to three words: Breathe, count, sing! That is what all children can do to remain calm and safe during an earthquake, with the reassurance that soon it will be over. An additional followup note to adults suggests using the followup workbook (for earthquake preparedness) which can be purchased separately. An illustrated list of ten essential items in the even of an earthquake completes "When the Ground Shakes," titled Earthquake Kit For Kids. It includes a whistle, flashlight, water, energy bar, baggie of band-aids, glasses if worn, favorite toy or stuffed animal, crayons or markers, change of clothes, and a "When the Ground Shakes" workbook.

Women in Blue
Cheryl Mullenbach
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613734223, $19.99, HC, 229pp,

Women law enforcement officers were originally called sleuths in skirts, guardian mothers, copettes, and police in petticoats. It would be well over 150 years before women in law enforcement were known simply as police officers. Balancing the stories of trailblazers from the past with those of today's dedicated officers, chiefs, FBI agents, and forensics experts, "Women in Blue: 16 Brave Officers, Forensics Experts, Police Chiefs, and More" by Cheryl Mullenbach is collection of riveting biographies that traces the evolution of women in policing. "Women in Blue" will inspires readers ages 12 to 17 to value those women who broke through barriers (often enduring ridicule and discrimination as they fought for equality) while original interviews shed light on the daily challenges, rewards, and life on the job of various women currently in the trenches of law enforcement. The chronological progression puts hot-button issues like police brutality, race relations, and the treatment of suspects and prisoners into historic context and shows how many women in law enforcement are working to challenge and improve their field. A rich, authoritative history, "Women in Blue" is packed from cover to cover with colorful anecdotes, excerpts from primary sources, and sidebars on related topics. Enhanced with the inclusion of photos, a bibliography, source notes, and a list of organizations interested teens can explore to learn more about the world of law enforcement, "Women in Blue" is an indispensable resource for aspiring sleuths, officers, agents, crime scene investigators, and more. While unreservedly recommended for community and school library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Women in Blue" is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.50).

Clare Turlay Newberry, author/artist
Felis Books
P.O. 28068, Santa Fe, NM 87592
9780692482384, $28.00 HC, $9.13 PB,

"Pandora" is a reissue of a beloved illustrated feline classic first published in 1944. A tribute by the author's talented artist daughter, Felicia Trujillo, "Pandora" is re-issued, bringing the artist's original hauntingly lifelike illustrations of an enchanting but maddening Persian cat to full display. Also new in the re-issued "Pandora" is an explanatory page by Trujillo detailing the author's exhaustive process for creating art about cats, and literature. Also new to this volume are the excerpts at the end from "The Cat Artist," also by Felicia N. Trujillo. The classic tale about a mischievous, beautiful, eccentric feline is exquisitely illustrated with great subtlety and detail in charcoal on velour paper, with added free ink sketches that are amazingly lively. Called "the best cat artist since the Egyptians" by TIME magazine, Newberry was a master of the art of the cat, as well as the art of telling the cat's story. Beloved by generations for over 70 years, "Pandora" will delight new lovers of felines and children and families everywhere. The drawings are extremely sensitive, also characterized as "velvety," and three-dimensional. Anyone who has every loved a cat will relate to the funny story of mischief and mayhem surrounding "Pandora," a genuine five star classic that transcends generations and mediums.

Awesome 8: 50 Picture-Packed top 8 Lists!
Jen Agresta & Sarah Wassner Flynn, authors
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426323379, $12.99, PB,

"Awesome 8" is a fun, fact and picture packed survey of the "coolest, weirdest, and craziest things we could think of. You know, things you totally have to see to believe." From roller coasters to icebergs, from street art to buried treasure, from rock formations to water rides, here are a dazzling assortment of amazing sights and actual places to stretch and defy imaginations! Summer readers, take heed, "Awesome 8" is a kid friendly resource that will fill you with surprise time and again. Two page spreads feature 8 composed color photos of the objects or places listed in each category, with sidebar explanations for even more fun information. A fun page spread is "Eight Delectable Desserts (p.38-39)," featuring ice cream chic, brownie bliss, and cream of the crop, a giant cannoli from Boston, Massachusetts. A plethora of history and information is hidden in many features, such as the eight royally amazing castles, or the eight spectacular space sights. Sure to be popular with kids are the eight playgrounds that bring the fun, and/or the eight slide-scrapers, containing the world's tallest waterslides. For party lovers, there are the eight wild world festivals, featuring festivals in China, Mexico, Scotland, and Spain. There is something for everyone in "Awesome 8," a painless way to educate and entertain kids age 8 and up.

The Science Shelf

Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science
Andrew Schloss
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781631591099, $22.99, flexibound, 160pp,

"Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science: A Family Guide to Fun Experiments in the Kitchen" by food expert Andrew Schloss is the perfect introduction for children to the wonders of science by enabling them to create projects and experiments in the family kitchen. Entertaining to make and spectacular to behold, not only will children ages 7 to 10 learn important scientific principles, but they can even enjoy the delicious final product. Almost everything made in "Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science" is, in fact, edible. Learn and appreciate projects like classic exploding volcano cakes, glow-in-the-dark Jell-O, singing cakes, and bouncy eggs. "Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science" provides parents and their children with practical and humorous projects that include step by step instructions, illustrated with fun full-color photos sure to appeal to kids of all ages. All the recipes and projects in showcased in the pages of "Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science" are non-toxic and safe for consumption; some just to taste (slime, ectoplasm) and many that will become enduring kid favorites, such as molten chocolate cupcakes, disappearing peppermint pillows, and amber maple syrup crystals! Profusely illustrated throughout, "Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science" would make an ideal textbook for elementary school Home Ec classes in grade 2 through 5. While very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted that "Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science" is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

Nefertiti the Spidernaut
Darcy Pattison, author
Valeria Tisnes, illustrator
Mims House
9781629440613, $TBA,

"Nefertiti the Spidernaut: The Jumping Spider Who Learned to Hunt in Space" chronicles the amazing true story of Nefertiti, the jumping spider from Arizona who traveled 41,580,000 miles in space while orbiting the Earth with the International Space Station in 2011. Students and children ages 6 -8 will be fascinated by this true story of a brave jumping spider who adapted to the weightlessness conditions of space and successfully relearned hunting strategies to catch and eat fruit flies while on her amazing journey, spending 100 days in space and circling the Earth 1584 times. Nefertiti successfully survived the dark and cold conditions of space travel, plus she was able to re-learn to hunt and catch her food after returning to earth. "Nefertiti the Spidernaut" is embellished with detailed, accurate color illustrations of the spider and her habitat on both earth and in space. For further learning, there are two final pages with facts about Nefertiti, vocabulary, further resources to read and watch more, and a description of engineering Problem: Spider Habitat for Space. "Nefertiti the Spidernaut" has highest recommendations for nonfiction science and natural environment education reading for elementary ages.

The Cookbook Shelf

The World In My Kitchen
Sally Brown & Kate Morris
c/o Watkins Media Limtied
19 Cecil Court, London, England, WC2N 4EZ
9781848992979, $19.95, PB, 160pp,

One of the most practical and life-long skills a child can learn is the joy and satisfaction of preparing meals and planning menus featuring dishes that are as palate pleasing and appetite satisfying as they are nutritious and nourishing. That's where "The World In My Kitchen: Global Recipes For Kids To Discover And Cook" by the team of Sally Brown and Kate Morris comes into play. This wonderfully illustrated and thoroughly 'kid friendly' culinary compendium is packed with attractive recipes from around the world and from every continent. Starting off with sound, universal advice about the kitchen, what's needed, the importance of cleanliness and orderliness in the preparation of food, and basic 'how to' instructions on cooking, "The World Is My Kitchen" goes on to present illustrated, step-by-step instructions for recipes that range from Rice and Tofu Soup; Cheese and Herb Pasties; Salmon Fish Cakes; and Cornbread; to Kiwi Muffins; Spanish Chicken; Ricotta and Spinach Lasagne; and Beef Kebabs. "The World Is My Kitchen" is unreservedly recommended for family and community library Children's Cookbook collections.

The Sports Shelf

Weird But True Sports
National Geographic Kids
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426324673, $7.99, PB, 208pp,

Just in time for the 2016 Olympic Games, "Weird But True Sports: 300 Wacky Facts About Awesome Athletics" is a compendium of wacky stats, facts, and stories specifically written and illustrated for children ages 8 to 12 and students in grades 3 to 7. An impressive compilation of trivia, this new 'slam-dunk addition' to the very popular National Geographic Kids 'Weird but True' series is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to persona, school, and community library Sports/Athletics collections. Young readers will discover "Weird But True Sports" to offer a wealth of unusual information focused totally on the subject of sports! School and community librarians should noted that "Weird But True Sports" is also available in a Library Binding edition (9781426324680, $17.90).

The ABC Shelf

A-Z of Being the Best Leader You Can Be
Yvonne Bleam
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785927089, $19.95,

Ages 8-11 don't usually receive primers on leadership and character; but this audience will be surprised and educated by reading this excellent pairing of the alphabet with leadership discussions. The idea here is to build leadership skills early, and this book will reach an age group not normally privy to leadership collections. From discussions of bullying and control to examples of leadership choices, different child leadership abilities are explored through a combination of case history, definitions of leadership qualities, discussion questions and leadership learning activities, and more. The result is a top recommendation for any collection that would include moral and ethical surveys to this age group, and for educators who would use it as a teaching tool.

The Counting Shelf

Counting With Barefoot Critters
Teagan White
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781101917718 $16.99

Counting With Barefoot Critters provides young readers with simple, fun drawings of animal creatures who explore, play, and learn about numbers, letters, pirates and more. Teagan White's drawings of flora and fauna and her illustrated typography pairs animal facts with a fun survey in a second book featuring the Barefoot Critters in a fun title that invites kids to learn and play.

The Picturebook Shelf

Ishi: Simple Tips from a Solid Friend
Akiko Yabuki
POW! / powerHouse Books
9781576878163 $12.95 hc

Ishi: Simple Tips from a Solid Friend is a simple children's picturebook that just might also appeal to readers of all ages in search of a little mirth. The full-color photographs showcase rocks with painted-on smiley face expressions arranged amid various objects, paired with gentle tips for lifting one's spirits out of the doldrums. For example, one two-page spread says "When I feel bottled up," with a picture of a despondent-looking rock in a jar, followed by "I move my body. Run, swim, climb a tree!" with a picture of a smiling rock resting on a tree knot. A delight to simply page through, Ishi: Simple Tips from a Solid Friend is highly recommended.

Elliot Gets Lost
David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks, authors
Benjamin Lowery, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484750292 $16.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Elliot Gets Lost is a children's picturebook recounting a tale directly from the Walt Disney Studios live-action film "Pete's Dragon". The story is about a happy, excitable puppy named Elliot, who becomes separated from his loving family in the wilderness. Can Elliot find his way back to the human family who loves him? Fortunately, there are animals in the woods who are willing to help! The gentle, minimalist artwork adds a heartwarming touch to this gentle tale, perfect for storytime or bedtime.

The King of the Birds
Acree Graham Macam, author
Natalie Nelson, illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554988518, $17.95,

"The King of the Birds" is a charming whimsical story inspired by the childhood of Flannery O"Connor, famed Georgian novelist. Self described as a "pigeon-toed child with a receding chin and a you-leave-me-alone-or-I'll-bite-you complex," Flannery loved her chickens and all kinds of birds. But something was missing. She had to have a peacock! Finally her king of birds arrived on a train. Flannery and her flock did everything she could imagine to entertain King peacock, and to persuade him to spread his beautiful tail feathers. However, although the peacock enjoyed all the attention, he did not display his magnificent tail feathers. Flannery finally decided to introduce him to a lovely little peahen, the perfect solution! After that, things went from too quiet to very full of little peacocks and little peahens. Delightful illustrations lend humor and charm to an already wonderful story.

Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess
Janet Hill
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781101917930, $17.99,

Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess tells of Miss Moon, who cares for over sixty different dogs on a small island off the coast of France. How does one bring up such a pack? With a few zany animal helpers and a series of life lessons that are, at once, playful, hilarious, thought-provoking, and as filled with insights for the animals as for their teacher. Lovely drawings contribute to a fine collection of tail-wagging delights that will pique the interest of young readers and adults alike.

Carole P. Roman, author
Mateya Arkova, illustrator
Chelshire, Inc.
c/o CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781530243372, $12.99 PB, $2.99 Kindle,

"Rocket-Bye" is a beautiful space travel lullaby from the author to her grandchildren, Alexander and Zachary. Magical, swirling star travel illustrations splash pages with curving lines of verse, inviting two sleepy travelers on the bedtime adventure tour of the stars and more. A dazzling, hypnotic recounting of familiar heavenly planets and constellations, "Rocket-Bye" does all the dream directing, orchestration, and space narration that sleepyheads can imagine. The enchanting illustrations dreamily point the way to a fabulous space odyssey that returns where it began, finding two children safe at home, asleep in bed. Also very highly recommended is another children's title by the same author and artist, "Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? (9781530361847)."

Do Dogs Pray?
Kimberling Galeti Kennedy, author
Lucent Ouano, illustrator
Tate Publishing, Children's Division
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, Oklahoma 73064
9781682933831, $10.99 PB, $7.99 Kindle,

"Do Dogs Pray?" is a gentle little story about a beloved Black Labrador puppy named Lefty. Lefty's owner noticed one day that Lefty was not her usual cheery self. So they made a trip to the nearby dog park to play at their favorite spot under the willow tree by the lake. All Lefty's favorite toys had been brought along as usual, but one toy, her most favorite, was missing. She played fetch and catch with her other toys half heartedly, but it was plain her heart was not in it. Lefty and her owner went back home for a little prayer time and a nap. Just when Lefty was done dreaming, she awoke happily and persuaded her owner to come with her. Lefty ran to another room and looked under her owner's bed, and surprise of surprises, there was her favorite rubber squeaky toy! The joyous finding left her owner wondering, do dogs pray? Do dogs dream? How did Lefty remember how to find her toy? Charming color illustrations add to the story's core sense of wonder and delight.

Zora and the Greyhounds
Mark AJ Guilliatt, author, illustrator
Bemis Park Publishing
9780997500219, $10.95,

"Zora and the Greyhounds" is a chapter story about a speedy little black mixed breed dog who was affectionately titled an American Squirrel Hound by her owner. Zora and her companion dog, Jackie, loved racing in the park with other dogs of different breeds. Everyone was surprised when Zora won a race with Speedy, a purebred Greyhound, retired from racing. However, Speedy hurt Zora's feelings by calling her a mutt and making her feel worthless, encouraging other dogs to laugh at her. Zora is inspired by her faithful pal Jackie and by her owner to train for racing, and to help her owner in his paper delivery job, in all kinds of weather. One day Zora was in good enough condition to ask to race with the Greyhounds at the races. Special permission had to be obtained, and there were other obstacles because of Zora's mixed breed status. But everyone persevered, and finally, in the end, Zora was allowed to race. Chapter 7 of "Zora and the Greyhounds" ends as Zora is happily racing with the big dogs, having overcome many obstacles of fear and shame and doubt. Kids who read "Zora and the Greyhounds" will be immediately hooked by the direct, action-packed narrative, the sensitive black and white pencil portraits of Zora and her friends, and the powerful feelings of empathy with a mixed breed American Squirrel Hound. The suspense is unbearable, but "Zora and the Greyhounds" ends on a high note, with Zora triumphantly achieving her goal of racking with the big dogs. Now if we can all just wait for the sequel...

Lady Lucy's Quest
Karen Gross, author
Ji Woo Jasmine Shin and So Young Jang, illustrators
Shires Press
P.O. Box 2200, Manchester, VT 05255
9781605712994, $15.00,

"Lady Lucy's Quest" is an inspirational book for young women (especially, plus young men) about a the dreams and goals of a real person, lady Lucy Duff-Gordon. Filled with fantastic, fairy-like images in illuminating portraits of a brave girl with a vision and a dream. Lucy wanted to be a Knight, but her parents and the rulemakers of the Kingdom told her she could not because it was against the Kingdom's Book of Rules. Lucy questioned the practice of excluding girls, challenging Sir Winston by asking him to show her where in the book of Rules it said a girl cannot become a Knight. Lucy eventually persuaded the rule supporters that she should at least be allowed to take the three tests of knighthood: to prove endurance, strength, and courage. This she is allowed to do. Lucy proves amazingly resourceful and imaginative in her response to the difficult tests. In the end, Lady Lucy was actually knighted and "lived a long and happy life as a Knight, doing good deeds and helping hundreds of others with both courage and grace." "Lady Lucy's Quest" is an inspirational book for today's young dreamers of both sexes.

The Pennydale Zoo Great Talent Contest
Ian Sadler, author
Adrienne Brown, illustrator
Gelos Publications
9780996415750, $10.95,

"The Pennydale Zoo Great Talent Contest" is a hilarious and well delivered verse tale about a zoo talent contest and one humble entrant, Juniper Mouse, who practiced and practiced his song and dance number, unlike some other funny entrants. The judges were pleased: "And Juniper the mouse, Scores a top mark of ten, And wins the gold trophy," Squawked Rockhopper Gwen. "How on earth," asked the host, "Did you manage top score?" "I practiced and practiced, Then practiced some more!" Amusing, quirky colorful illustrations of zoo participants in the Great Talent Contest make the triumph of Juniper the mouse even more amazing in the end. At the end of "The Pennydale Zoo Great Talent Contest" are suggestions for group and individual activities related to the story, including a fun game of matching tracks with the zoo animals in the story and a map showing where in the world the animals come from and what is their primary food. Additional activities are offered at, "The Pennydale Zoo Great Talent Contest" is first rate educational reading for children ages 4-8, with its message of empowerment and can-do inspiration.

Quentin's Problem
Misty Baker, author
K. A. King, illustrator
Gypsy Publications
9781938768644, $8.99,

"Quentin's Problem" is a humor-laced comic illustrated story of a young pirate with all the requisite talents but one - the ability to say "Arrrrrrr!" Quentin wore his eye patch and peg leg with pride, said "Ahoy Matey," and "Batten down the hatches," but he could not manage "Arrrr," because Quentin could not say the letter R. Instead he said something like, "Awwww." How humiliating! On the day of Quentin's dreaded Piratish exam, Quentin passed everything else with flying colors. When the dreaded "Arrr" test came, Quentin made a brilliant suggestion: Why not change it to Q? But Captain Crook bows to tradition and sentences Quentin to walk the plank, most dreaded of pirate tortures! However, fearful of the hungry sharks, Quentin decided to come clean to the Captain. "I can't say Awww," he confessed, honestly. Oddly enough, Quentin's courage inspired all the other pirates, each of whom had at least one thing they were afraid of. He was reprieved! Captain Crook decreed, "Starting today, we will be honest when we have problems, and we'll work on 'em together." This new cooperative approach helped all the mates and pirates to pass their Piratish exams and they celebrated with a "grand party with streamers, confetti, and silly string galore." Of course, that meant that the next day they had to Clean UP! "Quentin's Problem" is a wonderful, invigorating story that encourages youngsters to face up to truths, admit their difficulties, and to accept help through cooperation.

Secret, Secret
Daisy Law
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785920424 $15.95

Secret, Secret is an easy picture book reader that invites kids to consider different kinds of secrets; from ones which may be kept under certain circumstances to happy secrets, sad secrets, and secrets of heart and mind. A fine discussion invites adults to talk with young readers about different kinds of secrets and their impacts.

Sam and the Construction Site
Tjibbe Veldkamp & Alice Hoogstad
9781935954491 $17.95

Sam and the Construction Site tells of a construction site, an interested boy, and men who run machines. Usually Sam is good about staying away from too much action; but when he enters the construction site on a dare and tests his own hand at the machinery, he attracts the police and causes some problems. Can Sam really play with the big boys? A fun story evolves, perfect for little boys who like big trucks.

The Five Rollatinis
Jan B. Balet
Ammo Books
PO Box 412402, Los Angeles, CA 90041
9781623260538, $17.95, HC,

The Five Rollatinis requires good reading skills or read-aloud assistance, but provides a fun story of a bareback act of the five Rollatinis and their horse Ammonia. Now there's a young sixth addition to the Rollatinis who also wants to participate - but there may be no room for Bambino. What can be done - and will he have to leave his circus to get a job away from his family? A numbers-driven dialogue and fun exploration of events makes for a winning story that's perfect for both read-aloud and youngsters just beginning to learn their numbers.

Bad Pirate
Kari-Lynn Winters
Pajama Press
9781927485712 $17.95 US / $19.95 Canada

Bad Pirate features lovely color drawings by Dean Griffiths as it tells of Barnacle Garrick, a bold pirate captain who has a shy daughter who likes being helpful. Augusta doesn't fit in with the crew and her helpful ways are a problem... or are they? Maybe politeness and kindness are more valuable than a pirate can imagine! Dog characters who form the crew and the dilemma of one who doesn't fit in makes for a lively discourse on the possibilities of courage and difference in a pirate's set ways.

Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023

Greg Pizzoli's Good Night Owl (9781484712757, $16.99) tells of an owl who is all ready for bed when he hears a small sound. Is it the wind outside, or something in the cupboard? No matter how hard he searches, owl can't find its source in this compelling story of a owl seeking sleep. Cale Atkinson's Explorers of the Wild (9781484723401, $16.99) tells of two friends who are explorers who share a big discovery. How can they safely explore the wild, and what will they do with what they find? Winning images tell of friends who discover new things to touch, see, hear, taste - and possibly fear. A lovely story with exceptional color images throughout invites kids to consider their own explorations.

Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023

Audrey Vernick's Unlike Other Monsters (9781423199595, $16.99) is illustrated by Colin Jack and provides the gentle story of a monster named Zander and a bird who happen to spend some time together. But, what's the meaning of this time and their relationship? As a monster, Zander doesn't have friends - unlike his fairy sister, who happily collects many of them. But Zander doesn't care about friends. He likes to scare people. When a bird begins watching him, Zander is puzzled. His usual habits are challenged until something changes. A fun story of an uncertain beginning will help young readers think about the nature of unusual relationships. Tammi Sauer's Ginny Louise and the School Field Day (9782484730447, $16.99) receives warm drawings by Lynn Munsinger as it tells of Ginny Louise, who loves elementary school until some troublemakers interfere with her fun. Can Ginny Louise impart some of her love for school to these mischief makers - and can she turn a threatened Field Day into a fun event? A fine story evolves.

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

Dav Pilkey's The Paperboy (9780545871860, $17.99) pairs stories and paintings by the author in a Caldecott-winning book that tells of how a boy and his dog leave their bed to deliver newspapers, enjoying the different kind of world that exists before everyone gets up. The characteristics of a paper boy who is good at his route are also covered in a warm story of an early rise. Elizabeth Upton's Maxi the Little Taxi (9780545798600, $17.99) follows a taxi who is rushing off for his first day of work. He begins the day clean and shiny, but as he faces mud puddles, ice cream drips and more, Maxi becomes so dirty that nobody wants to ride with him. Who will help him? A fun 'first day' story emerges. Nicholas John Frith's Hector and Hummingbird (9780545857017, $17.99) tells of a bear whose best friend is a nosy bird. Even worse, Hummingbird is a copycat, and mimics everything Hector does in a big way. How can Hector find peace with a friend who is noisy and nosy? The trials of a challenging friendship come to life in a fun, easy read. Thelma Lynne Godin's How to Dress a Dragon (9780545678469, $16.99) gives advice for any faced with dressing a dragon and all the challenges that involves, and follows a little boy who tries to dress a feisty, unwilling dragon. Dragons don't like shirt and refuse to wear them... but they do like capes. They are ticklish, silly, and have definite clothing preferences. A fun series of encounters evolves in a winning story.

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020

Long ago the Kingdom of Morocco formed in the desert, holding water to bring people together and stories to bind them. As Morocco grew, these ties became vague and forgotten - until one young boy rediscovers the lures of the past that brought them all together. Evan Turk's folk story for ages 4-8, The Storyteller (9781481435185, $18.99) features gorgeous illustrations and a set of cultural insights that will attract young readers and parents interested in read-alouds about other lands. Mike Boldt's A Tiger Tail (Or What Happened to Anya On Her First Day of School) (9781481448857, $17.99) tells of a girl who wakes up to discover she's grown a striped tiger's tail. It's bad enough going back to school; but can she survive being a laughing stock? As Anya dreams up all kinds of solutions to her unique problem, her parents remain surprisingly unconcerned. But it's a disaster - isn't it? Anya's in for a surprise beyond her new tail in this hilarious story of an exceptional first day at school. Ben Clanton's It Came in the Mail (9781481403603, $17.99) tells of Liam, who really wants to receive some mail - no matter what kind of mail it may be. It seems that he can't get enough: no matter what he gets; he wants more - and the magic mailbox obliges in an unusual way. Can there be too much of a good thing? A fun story evolves as Liam makes some discovers about the nature of magic and more.

The Fiction Shelf

Click Here To Start
Denis Markell
Delacorte Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9781101931875 $16.95 / $10.99 Kindle

The debut novel of award-winning playwright Denis Markell, Click Here To Start: A Novel is a story especially for young adults, but will also appeal to readers of all ages who enjoy puzzles (and video games). The story follows twelve-year-old Ted, who enjoys video games, particularly ones with escape-the-room puzzles. When Ted unexpectedly inherits his great-uncle's apartment, he discovers that his uncle created a real-life puzzle by hiding a treasure from his days in the Nisai brigade during World War II. At first Ted enjoys the search, but things turn serious when he learns that someone else is hunting for the treasure! Click Here To Start naturally incorporates genuine, solve-along-with-Ted puzzles (inspired by video games) to engage the reader's mind. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library YA fiction collections!

Joey Visits Grandpa
Patricia Nichvolodoff, author
Shannen Marie Paradero, illustrator
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781490759104, $13.54,

"Joey Visits Grandpa" is a loving tribute to a warm relationship between a child and a grandparent. It is also a fun story about team problem solving across generations. Joey loves visiting his Grandpa. His experiences include making pancakes, feeding fish, going shopping, and going fishing. But his most important contribution is his ability to help Grandpa find his continually lost glasses. Young readers will enjoy finding the hidden glasses in every detailed illustration, thus helping Joey to help Grandpa. Another interactive element in the story piques the upbeat ending: Grandpa has lost something else crucial that everyone will be able to help him find. Joey's solution to Grandpa's lost glasses are unique, creative, and in the nick of time. "Joey Visits Grandpa" is a positive experience for young readers and their caretakers.

Jonathan Friesen
c/o HarperCollins
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780310748335, $16.99, HC, 288pp,

Jonah wishes he could get the girl, but he's an outcast and she's the most perfect girl he knows. And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah's physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town. When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known -- including his growing relationship with Stormi herself. "Unfolding" by author Jonathan Friesen is a consistently compelling novel from beginning to end and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Unfolding" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

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

Sarah Mlynowski's Whatever After: Once Upon a Frog (9780545746601, $14.99) joins others in a bestselling series and provides advanced elementary to middle grade readers with the easy story of a magic mirror and kids who wind up entering another fairy tale through it. This time it's The Frog Prince, and the problems that Jonah and Abby face when they confront a legend will keep them hopping. Kids will enjoy a fun fantasy involving tiaras, frogs, murder, and mayhem. Chris Hill's Lucky (9780545839778, $16.99) tells of a lost red squirrel who faces danger when he finds himself in a park where the native squirrels are bigger than him - and bullies. There two grey clans battle each other, and Lucky is not only in the middle; but he doesn't fit in with either. A fun story of differences and survival, Lucky is particularly recommended for young readers of Rabbit Hill and other animal character stories. Adele Griffin and artist Mike Wu work together on The Oodlethunks: Oona Finds An Egg (9780545732796, $12.99) tells how cavegirl Oona will do anything to protect her egg find until it hatches - but she faces seemingly insurmountable odds in the form of brothers, dinosaurs, and parents. Mike Wu's engaging and whimsical artwork brings to life a wonderful easy reader grades 4-7 will relish.

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

Sara B. Larson's Endure (9780545644907, $17.99) tells of Alexa and King Damian, slated to be married even as their kingdom is under siege and Alexa battles an evil force who can control her mind. It would seem marriage should be last on the list of things to do; but Alexa is determined to rescue a prisoner of the enemy, battle mind control, and marry even in the fact of a terrible evil set to destroy the world. Will love prevail, or will evil take over? A powerful finale to the Defy trilogy makes for a powerfully compelling story. K.E. Rocha's Secrets of Bearhaven (9780545813037, $14.99) tells of Spencer, who has been surrounded by bears all his life because his parents are bear activists. His familiarity with them leads to trouble one day when his uncle tells him his parents have vanished, he and Spender are in danger, and they need to journey to Bearhaven, a secret city created by his parents where bears talk, play video games, and lead lives in secret safety. Spencer's friendship with a bear cub leads to the discovery of a plot that could destroy everything in this compelling fantasy, recommended for advanced elementary into early middle school grades.

c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020

Frances O'Roark Dowell's Trouble the Water (9781481424639, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle) tells of a friendship between a black girl and a white boy in segregated Kentucky as the two come together over a dog. Pre-teen Callie is stubborn and determined to find the stray dog's owner, but when her investigations lead her to a white boy who also wants to help, trouble begins. Add a third boy who is in hiding and needs his dog for a powerful saga of unusual friendships and trying times. Nora Raleigh Baskin's Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story (9781442485068, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle) tells of a perfect day until a plane strikes the World Trade Center. But that's in the future: the story begins a few days earlier when four kids in different parts of the country are leading very different lives that are about to be changed in different ways by the events of 9/11. A powerful saga of courage, change, and disaster will attract young readers in middle school to high school grades.

The Health Shelf

Sloth the Lazy Dragon
Regan W. H. Macaulay, author
Alex Zgud, illustrator
Guardian Angel Publishing
9781616337612, $19.95 HC,
9781616337629, $10. 95 PB,

"Sloth the Lazy Dragon" is a delightful health fable that teaches children the value of eating a balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise. It also teaches something about the value of trust, giving without expecting compensation, and respecting differences. Sloth was a lazy dragon who had stopped leaving his cave of treasures because it was too much trouble. He survived on eating stray goats who wandered into his cave. He became heavy and weak, unable to fly like a proper dragon. Sloth's secret was guessed by an unlikely ally, Radish the dwarf. Despite Sloth's fearful appearance, Radish confronted him with his poor health despite Sloth's ineffective threats . Sloth mistrusted Radish, whose brothers and sisters in the mountain feared Sloth. But Radish convinced him to allow him to help by bringing him healthy fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and lean fish to eat. Radish also taught the dragon simple strengthening exercises, gradually increasing their intensity. Finally one fine day the dragon was ready to fly again. Radish told Sloth: "You must continue with your diet and keep up your exercise, but you are a proper dragon again!" "I am forever grateful," Sloth replied with a bow.' In the end, Sloth decided to leave his gold and hoard of treasures to Radish and the other dwarves, from whom he had originally stolen them. "Sloth the Lazy Dragon" is enhanced by joyous, pastel, comic images of the dragon and his struggle to return to good dragon health. Children will adore the extreme indulgence of Sloth and the spunkiness of Radish. "Sloth the Lazy Dragon" is excellent health motivational reading for children ages 4-7.

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses
Michelle Nott, author
Robert Lee Beer, illustrator
Guardian Angel Publishing
9781616337339, $9.95,

A trip to the eye doctor for a vision checkup is the central experience in a funny reality encounter for kids ages 6-9 titled "Freddy, Hoppie, and the Eyeglasses." Freddy takes his frog friend Hoppie to school with him but the two of them have difficulty reading the numbers and letters for his assignments. Fortunately the vision test by the eye doctor provided needed information and new glasses to Freddy and a new career focus for Hoppie, who liked the vision magnification goggles on the equipment. "Freddy, Hoppie, and the Eyeglasses" is a jaunty short story that will reassure children who need vision testing and glasses. It takes the reader from a bewildering experience of vision-blurred mistakes and experiences to the beauty of clear, clarified visual viewpoint through the assistance of prescribed eyeglasses.

Hey! Don't Forget the Sunscreen!
Kimberling Galeti Kennedy, author
J.Z. Sagario, illustrator
Tate Publishing, Children's Division
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, Oklahoma 73064
9781622956401, $9.99 PB, $7.99 Kindle,

"Hey! Don't Forget the Sunscreen!" is a health educational fun book for kids that teaches the value of using sunscreen to protect skin from burns. In the story, a child named Stacey meets her friend John's Aunt Donna, who has a bandage on her nose to protect a sore that will not heal, a result of overexposure to ultraviolet sun rays. Stacey asks Aunt Donna questions about skin cancer and sun protection. She learns there are three types of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Of these, melanoma is the most dangerous if not treated. Aunt Donna tells Stacey there are many things she can do to be proactive, to protect her skin in the sun. First, she should never smoke, because smoking makes skin age quickly and heal slowly. Second, she should always apply water resistant SPF (sun protection factor) 30 before going out in the sun, and then remember to reapply it every two hours. For vitamin D, Stacy should drink enriched orange juice, and milk, and eat salmon, and take a one a day multivitamin. The message was shared between Stacey and Aunt Donna to be passed on to young readers everywhere, "Hey! Don't Forget the Sunscreen!" Cheery color illustrations lighten up the message and reinforce the text.

The Board Book Shelf

Follow the Yarn: A Book of Colors
Emily Sper, author
Jump Press
P.O. Box 600743, Newtonville, MA 02460
9780975490280, $7.99,

"Follow the Yarn" is a delightful board book of colors, featuring playful cat silhouettes playing with balls of colored yarn against a dramatic white background. Each two page layout has the word name for the color of the ball of yarn spelled out in the named color, so the effect is dual and dramatic. A playful black cat tangles with increasing strands from balls of colored yarn, and the scene grows, embellished by the tangling colored skeins of yarn, adding red, yellow, blue, green, purple, orange, pink, brown, gray, and black. Then the final two page illustration reverses the background color to black, to highlight the last ball of yarn which is white. A delightful, dramatic, effective presentation of all the colors under the playful paws of a mischievous black cat make "Follow the Yarn" an especially riveting color sampler for preschool age children.

Do Princesses Boogie? A Read-And-Dance Book
Carmela LaVigna Coyle, author
Mike Gordon, illustrator
Taylor Trade Publishing
c/o Rowman & Littlefield
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706
9781630761592, $7.95,

Written in snappy, action rhyme, "Do Princesses Boogie?" is a lovely, funny cartoon illustrated read-and-dance board book that is sure to set the toes of young readers to twinkling and twirling. A series of dancing pictures show a blonde girl and her friend, a boy dancing and playing through their sunny day. In between dance steps ("Tap-tap-tap. Twist-twist twist. Clap-clap-clap. Boogie-boogies-boogie.") are interwoven other fun activities like ride a bike, take a hike, kick a ball stand up tall, even pet a dog and kiss a frog! The answer to the question in the title is of course a resounding YES! Future fun titles by the same author and illustrator from the "Do Princesses...?" series will include "Do Princesses Make Happy Campers? ($15.95)," and "Do Princesses and Super Heroes Hit the Trails? ($15.95)."

The Autism Shelf

The Incredible Cam Man!
Natalie Chase, author
Maegan Penley, illustrator
Brandylane Publishers, Inc.
Belle Isle Books
5 South First Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219
9781939930583, $13.95,

"The Incredible Cam Man!" is a cleverly illustrated verse portrait of an amazing boy who has autism. Told in the first person, the boy presents himself as the Incredible Cam Man, a person with unique gifts and abilities as well as other attributes of autism. The heart of the message is that persons with autism are people too, very special people. "I'm a sweet, sweet boy with a happy, happy heart. I'm unique, determined, and incredibly smart! I'm a person with autism, It's just a part of who I am. I'm not just anybody. I'm the Incredible Cam Man!" The illustrations are sometimes key to the message of some of these pages, such as use of a picture or an illustration to explain a concept such as cookie, or playing a game of ball, or traffic safety rules, to an autistic person. "The Incredible Cam Man!" is especially sensitively written to help children understand others with autism. For example this final quotation says it all: "The world is like a puzzle, and acceptance is the key, for we're all different pieces of the puzzle's mystery. I am my own person. I think and learn a certain way. And I'm proud of who I am every single day! I am capable of so much, please try to understand. Look out, world, here I come! It's the Incredible Cam Man!"

The Environmental Shelf

What's Under That Rock Papa?
Dave Bauer, author
Tia Canonico, illustrator
Belle Isle Books
c/o Brandylane Publishers, Inc.
5 South First Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219
9781939930668, $19.95,

"What's Under That Rock Papa?" is a fascinating series of nature exploration adventures enjoyed by a grandfather and his two grandchildren. There are also story reading and indoor activities with the grandmother and grandchildren who are named Serea and Kai. Based on the actual experiences of the author with his own grandchildren, "What's Under That Rock Papa?" teaches patient, quiet observation of nature to children. The children call their grandfather "Papa," and their grandmother "Grammy." Darkening clouds indicating an oncoming thunderstorm, bugs and insects under a rock, worms crawling in the grass, all these things are examples of nature studies that Papa loves to explain to Serea and Kai. To help them learn to relax and focus in nature, the children's mom likes to train them to find peaceful spots in nature, sit quietly, and relax their breathing. Kai and Serea enjoy many learning experiences in nature with their Papa, and their mother and Grammy also help them to continue learning from books and daily activities. Enchanting illustrations help depict the mystical nature adventures of Kai and Serea in a whimsical, fun, natural style. At the end of the book is a helpful list of fun suggestions for nature activities and adventures, including visiting a creek, lifting big stones or a log to see what is underneath, making "worm" pancakes, looking for spider webs, fireflies, or frogs or toads, and more. "What's Under That Rock Papa?" is a great way to begun family nature studies with children.

The Biography Shelf

Tiny Stitches
Gwendolyn Hooks, author
Colin Bootman, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781620141564 $17.95 hc

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas is a children's picturebook biography of Vivien Thomas (1910-1985), an African-American surgeon who, despite prejudice and the crippling economic press of the Great Depression, became an expert surgeon. His research led him to pioneer a technique for operating on newborn babies with a life-threatening heart condition known as Blue Baby Syndrome. He taught the technique to hundreds of surgeons worldwide, yet was not publically recognized for his work until twenty-six years later. An extraordinary true story about a medical genius, Tiny Stitches is highly recommended especially for public and elementary school children's library collections.

Dian Fossey: Animal Rights Activist and Protector of Mountain Gorillas
Diane Dakers, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB16A, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308, New York, NY 10118
9780778725633, $33.27 HC, $12.95 PB,

"Dian Fossey: Animal Rights Activist and Protector of Mountain Gorillas" is a condensed biography of the famous animal rights activist. Covering her life from January 16, 1932 to December 27, 1984, this Groundbreaker Biography title pays tribute to a famous lover of the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Filled with black and white original photos of Fossey and gorilla and human friends, the exciting story of a defender of the mountain gorillas emerges. Fossey was originally selected by Louis Leakey, archaeologist, to head research and a long term study of mountain gorillas. Fossey accepted the post with great enthusiasm. Dian Fossey was inspired by American Zoologist George Schaller, who conducted an early behavioral study of mountain gorillas on the slopes of Mount Mikeno in what would become Virunga national Park. Both Schaller's and Fossey's studies were cut short because of severe political unrest in the area. In her career, Fossey fought poachers, wrote the famous "Gorillas in the Mist," and did not flinch from every danger and controversy in her mission to protect the lives and habitat of the mountain gorillas. After a life of activism, Fossey was brutally murdered in her cabin at Karisoke in December of 1985. The murder has never been resolved. A chronology of Fossey and her life's events and achievements concludes the exciting biography. Also highly recommended from the Groundbreaker Biographies series is "Amelia Earhart, Pioneering Aviator and Force for Women's Rights (9780778725626, $33.27 HC, $12.95 PB)," by Diane Dakers.

The Christian Shelf

The Great Carp Escape
Irish Beth Maddock, author
Lucent Ouana, illustrator
c/o Word Alive Pres
9781486605088, $12.99 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 24pp,

"The Great Carp Escape" is a Christian-based fish tale based on memories of the author's childhood experiences, living on a lake. Dark -toned realistic illustrations reveal scenes of a young family living near the shores of a large lake in this Christian allegory based on a true story. Beth and Paul enjoy growing up near the sandy shores of a huge lake surrounded by mountains. The children splash and play and enjoy exploring the depths of the lake, but they avoid the muddy, weedy edges of the lake because they once found the dead body of an ugly fish, which their father identified as a carp. He reminded the children that even though they thought the carp was ugly, God made it and he thought it was wonderful. One spring the lake overflowed with water and a large pond in the children's back yard became separated from the Lake. The children played there, and found that many carp had been isolated in the pond as the water dried up. What would happen to the trapped carp as the water evaporated? They asked their father for help. He suggested they try to dig a trench from the pond to the lake, to encourage the carp to rejoin their friends in the lake. The trench digging became a huge community project, and both children celebrated the final day when the trench was finished and the carp were shepherded down the mini-creek back to the lake. Everyone cheered, "Hurray!" The ugly carp were restored to their full lives in the lake, as they were created to be. "The Great Carp Escape" ends with a quotation of the first verse from "All Things Bright and Beautiful," by William Henry Monk (1823-1889). The underlying message of Christian love and acceptance of all beings regardless of outer appearance is joyous and clear.

The Aviation Shelf

Milestones of Flight
Tim Grove
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, 6th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781419720031, $21.95, HC, 112pp,

Profusely illustrated throughout, "Milestones of Flight: From Hot-Air Balloons to Space Ship One" by Tim Grove (who is Chief of Museum Learning at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum) takes young readers ages 10 to 14 soaring through the high points of American aviation: from the Wright brothers and their competitors to the military pilots who first circumnavigated the globe, from the initial space rocket to the moon walk, from the earliest manmade satellite to today's spy drones. "Milestones of Flight" also describes what inventions (such as rocket propulsion, the wind tunnel, and the silicon chip) have helped to move flight upward and beyond. Profusely illustrated with objects from the Smithsonian's collection, "Milestones of Flight" provides a truly inspiring survey of America's contributions to aviation. Enhanced with the inclusion of a bibliography, author notes, and index, "Milestones of Flight" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library collections. For the personal reading lists of young aviation and aeronautic enthusiasts it should be noted that "Milestones of Flight" is also available in a Kindle edition.

The Psychology Shelf

101 Ways to Conquer Teen Anxiety
Dr. Thomas McDonagh & Jon Patrick Hatcher
Ulysses Press
PO Box 3440, Berkeley CA 94703-3440
9781612435633 $14.95 pbk / $10.14 Kindle

101 Ways to Conquer Teen Anxiety: Simple Tips, Techniques and Strategies for Overcoming Anxiety, Worry and Panic Attacks lives up to its title as a straightforward psychological guide firmly grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy (the most commonly used anxiety therapy among clinicians). Licensed clinical psychologist Thomas McDonagh and former curriculum developer Jon Patrick Hatcher talks about tough topics ranging from bullying to school anxiety, dating, sex, and popularity. Twenty-first century technology, including social media and texting, are also covered at length. Chapters further emphasize skills useful for preventing anxiety attacks, the importance of redirecting risky behavior, and overcoming spike-and-relapse cycles common to those with anxiety. Although 101 Ways to Conquer Teen Anxiety is written especially for teens, adults with anxiety disorders will also find its insights and recommendations invaluable. A "must" for public and high school library collections.

Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Two fine picture books offer insights about emotional health and growth and are recommended as leisure fiction choices for any young reader who would gain psychological perspectives from pointed stories. Liza Stevens' Not Today, Celeste! (9781783920080, $17.95) tells about happy dog Celeste, who one day notices her human is different - and her life changes thereafter. Rupert doesn't want to take her for a walk, he won't eat his dinner, and he chases her away. What can Celeste do? How can she help Rupert and, most of all, how can she handle her own loneliness and sadness at his changes? A powerful story helps kids feel empowered about personality changes in those around them. Alison Knowles' Ollie and His Super Powers (9781785920493, $15.95) is illustrated by Sophie Wiltshire and is recommended for picture book chapter book readers with good reading skills who receive the story of Ollie who is seven when he realizes he has superpowers. Ollie isn't the only one, however; and when he discovers Mr. Wilcox and his guidance and revelation about Ollie's abilities, he receives valuable lessons in handling bullies, his powers, and life. Both are excellent picture book surveys highly recommended for kids and parents interested in picture stories about handling life.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Last of the Firedrakes
Farah Oomerbhoy
Wise Ink Creative Publishing
9781940014708 $17.99 hc / $0.99 Kindle

The Last of the Firedrakes is a fantasy novel that will entrance young adult and adult readers alike. Aurora Darlington is sixteen years old, an orphan, and living an unhappy life, mistreated at both home and school. Things go from bad to worse when she is kidnapped and forced through a portal to the dangerous magical world of Avalonia, which is dominated by a megalomaniac queen who seeks to conquer all seven kingdoms. Aurora finds companionship in a young fae, a mysterious pegasus, and an attractive mage; together, they set out on a journey to discover the powers she has sealed within. Political intrigue, danger, and deep characterization make for an interconnected epic, enthusiastically recommended for high fantasy connoisseurs.

Night of the Ninth Dragon
Mary Pope Osborne
Random House
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780553510898 $12.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

The latest fantasy-adventure in the "Magic Tree House" series for young adults, Night of the Ninth Dragon has Jack and Annie answer a call for help from Camelot, the legendary dwelling of King Arthur. The castle has been attacked and the King severely wounded. To save the land, Jack and Annie must confront riddles, robbers, and more on their quest to find a missing dragon - and time is running out fast! Can Jack and Annie solve the mystery in less than one day? Also highly recommended is the nonfiction companion paperback, "Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Dragons and Mythical Creatures" (9781101936368, $5.99), which is packed with black-and-white photographs and artwork, as well as famous legends about dragons and mythical beasts from around the world.

Super Happy Magic Forest
Matty Long
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545860598, $17.99,

Super Happy Magic Forest tells of five would-be heroes who decide to go on a quest to save a magic forest from evil. The Magic Forest is a place where everyone is happy all year long because of the Mystical Crystals of Life, but can the heroes show courage in the face of terrible danger, and can their efforts make a difference? Pages packed with strange beasts, monster dangers, and a host of characters lend a 'Where's Waldo?' feel to a story that is zany, compelling, and fun.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Crow Smarts
Pamela S. Turner, author
Photographs by Andy Comins
Art by Guido de Filippo
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544416192 $18.99

Award-winning author Pamela S. Turner presents Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World's Brightest Bird, a 73-page nonfiction book and part of the "Scientists in the Field" educational series intended for young people ages 10-14. Illustrated with striking, full-color photography on almost every page, Crow Smarts is about the extraordinary intelligence of crows, particularly the crows of New Caledonia, who are well-known for making and using simple tools to catch grubs for food. Scientists study these crows carefully by capturing them, monitoring them in various experiments to test what the crow's intellect is capable of, and releasing them back into the wild. Packed with fascinating facts about crows and scientific experiments, Crow Smarts is highly recommended for public and school library collections, as well as for bird lovers of all ages!

Oh Look! Baby Loons!
F.C. West
Sweetgrass Books
c/o Farcountry Press
PO Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604
9780977667130 $18.95

Featuring striking color photography of young loons and their watchful parents, Oh Look! Baby Loons! is a gorgeous, educational picturebook following a loon family as its adorable chicks grow up. Early in life, the little loons get cold in the water, and sometimes snuggle on a parent's back for a nap. They eat fish caught by their parents, and imitate their parents' behavior to exercise their developing wings. In a few months, juvenile loons have to be ready to take their first flight! Bird lovers of all ages and backgrounds will enjoy Oh Look! Baby Loons! just as much as children. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library picturebook collections.

Every Day Birds
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545699808, $17.99,

Every Day Birds features lovely color paper cut illustrations by Dylan Metrano to accompany an easy reader designed for youngsters who love birds and have limited reading skills. Each page helps kids identify and learn about common backyard birds, using poems and descriptions to accompany paper cut illustrations. Some twenty North American birds are profiled in a fun, revealing book kids will relish.

Who Pooped in Central Park? Scat and Tracks for Kids
Gary D. Robson, author
Robert Rath, illustrator
Farcountry press
P.O. Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604
9781560376545, $11.95,

Newest title in the Who Pooped in the Park series, "Who Pooped in Central Park?" teaches kids to identify scat or poop from many more than 10 species, including muskrat, Norway rat, Eastern gray squirrel, groundhog, horse, red-tailed hawk, raccoon, Canada goose, and domestic dog. Additional species identified and studied include several species of bats, insects, moths and butterflies, multiple birds including hermit thrush, scarlet tanager, northern cardinal, blue jay, European Starling, red-bellied woodpecker, and Eastern screech owl. Central Park also contains evidence of at least three species of turtles, frogs, and dragonflies. Other creatures in the park include a number of fish, such as bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, goldfish, and brown bullhead catfish. The story traces the pathway explored through central park by a group of students and a nature hike guide, with many pages of realistic colored illustrations of scenes in Central park featuring some of the many living creatures who live there. Every set of two pages includes a different scat analysis sidebar titled the Straight Poop. Even the rare sighting of a coyote in Central Park is documented in a Straight Poop sidebar, along with other interesting facts and trivia about animal scat. A final chart of Tracks & Notes shows animal or bird profiles, with track outlines and scat patterns of the ten main species encountered in Central Park. In the end, all the students are reunited with their families, and they reminisce about their day of finding out "Who Pooped in Central Park?" On the final page are thumbnail bios of the author Gary Robson and artist Robert Rath, plus a map of the USA showing locations of the other 21 books in the Who Pooped in the Park series.

The Multimedia Shelf

Country Store
Tim Noah
Privately Published
9780996515702 $17.95

Country Store is a rhyming, story-song children's picturebook with an accompanying CD. The story follows a carefree young boy with a nickel as he sets off for the Country Store, followed by his faithful dog. Two of the boy's friends show up for the trek, and together the group learns that sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination! A playful, exuberant quality to the artwork adds just the right touch to this lighthearted adventure.

The Activity Shelf

Under the Sea: A Seashell Meditation for Children Coloring & Activity Book
Patricia May & Kristina M. Mangan, authors
Don- Freelanz Samson, illustrator
Seashell Publications
9780692716168, $7.95,

Part of the Seashell Meditation Collection, "Under the Sea" is a meditation based coloring and activity book for children. This imaginative activity book begins by suggesting a meditation technique involving holding a shell to the ear, closing the eyes, breathing quietly, and listening to the sound of the ocean. Then the story unfolds in large letters which cry out for sea colors and fantastic illustrations of sea creatures, fish, mermaids, starfish, and more. As a coloring activity book, "Under the Sea" is correctly described as a tool to awaken children to their own body awareness of inner peace. Although an actual seashell is not included, a found sea treasure may be substituted, or a representation of a shell. The shell is a symbol to suggest inner listening, to quiet the mind and body. Children's imaginations will be stimulated by the partially blank black and white illustrations which invite them to explore their own visions of an undersea world. "Under the Sea" is a wonderful meditation coloring activity book for children age 5 and up.

The Music CD Shelf

Bucket of Wow!
Stephen Michael Schwartz
S-Team Productions

Bucket of Wow! is an upbeat children's music CD filled with playful songs about life's wonderful moments, big and small. Award-winning music artist Stephen Michael Schwartz has created a charming delight from start to finish. A full lyric booklet is included with the physical CD, inviting sing-along sessions! The tracks are "Bucket of Wow!" (3:52), "Take a Hike" (3:50), "I'm Being Followed by the Moon" (3:16), "Losing Tooth" (2:52), "One Rainbow" (2:43), "Going There With You" (2:51), "My Baby Tree" (2:44), "The Panda Bear" (3:15), "The Boo-Boo Song" (3:06), and "Sanctuary" (3:10). 34 min., 49 sec.

Infinity Plus One
Secret Agent Skidoo
$11.99 CD / $7.99 MP3

Infinity Plus One is a brand-new album by Grammy-nominated family-music artist Secret Agent Skidoo. Intended for listeners of all ages, Infinity Plus One features rousing intergalactic rap to tell a science-y story with electric hip hop, southern funk, New Orleans brass and more. Infinity Plus One is a rousing, universal good time! The tracks are "My First Multiverse", "Secret Superhero", "Young Soul", "Tastes Like Space", "Glimmer", "Smardi Gras", "Monsters", "Lucktricity", "Say Word", and "Long Days & Short Years".

We're Here!
Don Jordan and the Nutshell Playhouse Band
$9.99 CD / download

We're Here! is a children's music CD by circus and theater director Don Jordan, and the Nutshell Playhouse Band. The carefree, exuberant music and wacky lyrics are sure to delight little ones! A choice pick for children's parties, car trips, or just plain funtime. The tracks are "Taco Caramba", "We're Here", "Ukulele Lulu", "Catch the Wind", "The Ductionary Am I", "The Ballad of Crabclaw Charlie", "The Me Song", "The Snoof", "The Pirate's Lullaby", "Breakfast", "Shiver Me Timbers", and "Dance With a Clown".

You've Got Me
Sara Lovell
Zero Gravity Music

Intended for young listeners ages 3-8, You've Got Me is a playful music album, filled with songs that tell delightful stories and draw on wide range of styles from '70's pop to reggae, klezmer, lounge, and more. Music artist Sara Lovell showcases her talent in singing, composition, piano, ukulele, with aid from additional musicians for background vocals, drums, creative percussion, etc. Fanciful, carefree, and a joy to share, You've Got Me is highly recommended. The tracks are "We Get Up in the Morning", "Furry Alligator Puppy", "I Can't Wait", "Oh I'm Bored", "Dance Like There's Music in Your Pants", "I Can Tell We're Gonna Be Friends", "Run Fast Little Rabbit", "Don't Play the Piano With Your Nose", "Everybody Has a Body", "The Midnight Secret Sock Party", "Tell Me Who's the Monster", "An Unbreakable Cord", "You've Got Me", "Pajama Party", "Off to Bed We Go", "Look at the Stars", "The Skeleton Band", and "Night Night Golden Sun". 55 min.

The Parenting Shelf

Chiquita's Children: Teaching Children about Foster Families
Jan Wolff and Cheryl Hanson, RN, LP
Lorraine Dey, illustrator
New Horizon Press
P.O. Box 669, Far Hills, NJ 07931
9780882825168, $9.95 PB, $8.90 Kindle,

"Chiquita's Children" is a cheerfully illustrated animal story that teaches children about foster family love. Chiquita is a chicken who always dreamed of raising a family. When Chiquita began to lay her eggs, many of the barnyard creatures told her she would not always get to raise her own hatched chicks, for the farmer gathered her eggs. Finally the farmer noticed Chiquita's determination to raise a family, and he brought her some different eggs, white, green, and blue, to sit on. Sitting on the eggs was a lonely, dreary task for Chiquita, but all the barnyard animals gave her a shower to cheer her up, entertaining her with music and dance. Later in the night, Golda the Goose, Farmer Olsen, and Beatrice the Dog protected Chiquita from the sneaky, marauding intent of Wanda the Weasel, who wanted to steal and eat some of Chiquita's precious eggs. Finally Chiquita's assorted brood began to hatch from their eggs. With advice from other animals, Chiquita tried her best to protect and raise her babies, taking them for walks, and sleeping with them tucked close beneath her. Imagine Chiquita's surprise when one day her babies began to swim in the pond! She thought baby chickens could not swim! At first she was very upset because her babies were not chickens like her at all, but ducks. Then wise Tamara Turkey and Sophia Sheep comforted her: "But of course they are family,...You do not have to be blood-related to be family." And Pong the Pig added, "Just look at all of us....We are different shapes, sizes and colors, but we help and love each other. If that is not family, I do not know what is." "Chiquita's Children" ends with tips for children to help them learn to accept differences in others and to understand why other people might act, speak or do things differently. Additional tips for parents are also very helpful, such as reminding them that children tend to adopt their parents' view of diversity. In short, "Chiquita's Children" is a book with a mission: to model and teach respect for all living things.

The Holiday Shelf

Spider's Gift, A Christmas Story
Geraldine Ann Marshall, author
Rebecca Sorge, illustrator
Pauline Kids
c/o House of the Daughters of St. Paul
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819890580, $14.95,

"Spider's Gift, A Christmas Story" is a Christmas legend retold for children ages 4-6. When it came time for the baby Jesus to be born, his mother Mary was sheltered in a stable in Bethlehem, because there was no room in the inn. Although it was a rough place to have a baby, Mary and Joseph trusted God to keep them safe. In the warm stable, the clean hay and the breaths of animals helped keep them all warm. As witness to the miracle of the birth of Jesus, three friends were present also: a field cricket, a honeybee, and an ordinary brown spider. Many others brought special gifts to the baby, shepherds brought blankets, honey was given by the bee, and even the cricket played a lullaby on his legs. But the spider felt sad because she had no special gift for the baby. Soon three splendid wise men came with even more special gifts, and also a warning for the holy family. They must flee and hide from King Herod, who had sent his soldiers to find and kill the child. But too soon the cricket heard sounds through his legs that warned them of soldiers coming. Spider was inspired by god to spin her finest and biggest web across the stable entrance, as a miracle gift of love for baby Jesus. Sure enough, when the soldiers came, the sunlight on the huge spider web blinded them, and they were certain no one could be found within. Spider's web kept the holy family and baby Jesus safe. Spider finally knew "God had used the gift of her ordinary web to keep Jesus safe." Illustrated with charming, colorful pictures of all characters and animals and insects, "Spider's Gift" is a lovely Christmas legend of love.

A Very Special Christmas Tree
Debra Buchanan, author
Nataly Savitskaya, illustrator
Dancing Pen Publishers
9780578170466, $12.99, HC,

"A Very Special Christmas Tree" is a beautiful holiday themed book about the gift of sharing, and the original meaning of Christmas. Originally planned as a stage ballet production, the story of "A Very Special Christmas Tree" teaches patience, self-regard and self worth, kindness to all, and the importance of compassion. Beautifully illustrated with expressive faces on the different Christmas tree characters, each page leads to a new vision of holiday togetherness, celebration, and joy. The little pine tree grew slowly in the forest, watching all it's fellow Christmas trees grow tall and majestic. Each one hoped to be the tallest tree, to be chosen for a magnificent destiny as a very special Christmas tree. But although the little Christmas tree gave what shelter it had to birds and animals, it remained the smallest tree. The woodland fairies flying among the trees teased the little tree and called it "pipsqueak." All the larger trees were selected for regal venues, one for the Nutcracker Ballet, one for Saks for the shoppers to admire, another for the Plaza Hotel, and two large ones for the Radio City Music Hall and the Rockefeller Center. How the little tree wished she were big enough to be chosen! Her furry and feathered friends tried to console her gently. But finally a kind man came and chose the small tree, taking it away in the back of his pickup. Anticipating a grand entrance, the little tree was disappointed to find her new home which was a small, bare house, with homemade decorations. Then she saw the kind man offering thoughtful gifts and holiday food and a warm fire to different poor people who were in definite need of cheer and comfort. The little tree was told by an angel, "you have been taken to a very special home. It is a place where the true spirit of Christmas is shared." The angel went on to say that when the little tree gave shelter to the birds and animals, she was preparing for this, her own very important destiny to help give shelter and care to those who need it most. Finally the little tree understood. She lifted her branches and seemed to glisten in the light. The little tree understood that even though they were humble, the gifts given in her new home were compassion, sharing, and kindness. "I am the very best tree of all!" she thought. "A Very Special Christmas Tree" is a lovely book to teach children more about the true meaning of Christmas. For those interested, further information about the original performance rights and licensing of the ballet production are directed to author Debra Buchanan via the Dancing Pen Publishers website.

Santa's Underwear
Marty Rhodes Figley, author
Marty Kelly, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
2395 South Huron Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
9781585369543, $16.99,

"Santa's Underwear" is a jolly romp in the theme of Christmas (in July, even), specifically in the theme of appropriate Christmas underwear for the chief player, Santa Claus. It is approaching Christmas Eve, and Santa is going through his usual ritual preparation, including bubble bath, healthy dinner, and underwear selection. But wait, there is a serious problem! Santa's favorite worn, holey, red long johns are nowhere to be found. No other underwear will quite do, though Santa tries on some funny ones! All through Santa's pre-show routine, buckets of mischievous elves are sniggering, helping, laughing and kidding him. Santa's valets are a comedy show all their own! There is even a stray reindeer in the underwear closet. But wait, what is the surprise that awaits Santa on his special night? Kids will love this adorably funny Christmas story for all its kooky details and for its underlying message of love. The illustrations add all the joy that can be imagined to this funny holiday tale.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Yo-kai Watch Official Guide
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338054422 $7.99

Yo-kai Watch Official Guide is a paperback guide to the popular cartoon and video game series Yo-kai Watch, about a young boy named Nate who befriends Yo-kai (mischievous spirits) and works to smooth over any trouble they inadvertently cause. Colorful illustrations from the cartoon enhance the explanations of different Yo-kai tribes and the temperaments of individual Yo-kai. A charming pull-out poster is included. Also recommended for young people who enjoy the Yo-kai Watch cartoon are brightly illustrated, two easy reader paperbacks: "Yo-kai Are Real!" (9781338054446, $3.99), which recounts how Nate first discovered that Yo-kai exist, and "The Misadventures of Jibanyan" (981338054620, $4.99), featuring one of Nate's Yo-kai friends who happens to be a spunky spirit feline!

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Murray McCain, author
John Alcorn, illustrator
American Modern Books
PO Box 412402, Los Angeles, CA 90041
9781623260750 $17.95

First published in 1964, Writing! is a classic children's picturebook about the joy and craft of turning one's thoughts into words. Simple illustrations and a handful of suggested exercises encourage young people to express their creativity. "Writing is pictures in words. The words that you choose / The expressions you use / The pains that you take / The patterns you make are (nobody else's) YOURS ALONE / They belong to you." Writing! does not have much information about grammar or sentence structure; it is especially for younger children who are just beginning to express themselves through writing, or possibly still learning how to draw letters of the alphabet. A timeless classic, highly recommended for public or school library children's picturebook collections.

Books in Series

A Party for Clouds: Thunderstorms
Belinda Jensen, author
Renee Kurilla, illustrator
Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781467779593 $25.32

A Party for Clouds: Thunderstorms is a charming children's picturebook enriched with weather science facts. The story follows Bel the Weather Girl and her cousin Dylan, whose slumber party is interrupted by scary thunderstorms! Bel teaches Dylan about how storms work, which helps ease his fears. Additional science facts are tucked into asides at the corners of the pages! "Each second, about one hundred bolts of lightning strike somewhere on Earth." The charming, stylized artwork adds the perfect touch to this educational story. Also highly recommended are other books in the "Bel the Weather Girl" series, including "Raindrops on a Roller Coaster: Hail", "The Sky Stirs Up Trouble: Tornadoes", "A Snowstorm Shows Off: Blizzards", "Spinning Wind and Water: Hurricanes", and "Weather Clues in the Sky: Clouds".

The Adventures of Anna and Andy Hummingbird
Linda P. Young, author
Violeta Honasan, illustrator
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781479716371, $21.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle,

Anna and Andy are two hummingbirds who enjoy meeting four grandchildren of their favorite feeder station at Nice Lady's patio. Story 11, titled the Scavenger Hunt, finds Alyssa, Drew, Reece, and Karsten involved in finding mysterious objects in their grandmother's back yard. Each child collects his or her findings in their own different colored bucket, and they all have fun comparing results at the end of the day. In Story 12, the grandchildren and Anna and Andy meet "Zen" the dragon and have a fun ride on the dragon's back to another lovely land where there is a circus to attend. All children and hummingbirds return safely with their chocolate loving dragon friend just in time to see a KABOOM when Zen disappears. In Story 13, Anna and Andy say a sad goodbye to the four children after spending a fun afternoon with the water filled wading pool and squirt guns for extra refreshing cooling splashes on a hot day. Anna and Andy promise the children to visit Zen the dragon for them while they are gone. Rainbow colored, bright illustrations accompany each of the three stories of "The Adventures of Anna and Andy Hummingbird: Anna and Andy Meet the Grandchildren, Book 3, Stories 11, 12 and 13" for added appeal.

Zach Makes Mistakes: The Field Trip Fiasco
William Mulcahy, author
Darren McKee, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427
9781631981104, $12.99 HC,

Latest title in the Zach Rules Series, "Zach Makes Mistakes" is a spunky, cheery, comic illustrated story about Zach's experiences making mistakes on his field trip, otherwise referred to as "The Field Trip Fiasco." Zach was so excited about his class field trip to the museum that he forgot to dress in an orange class T-shirt like all the other kids. His teacher, Ms. Rosamond, helped him by letting him borrow a large orange T-shirt which she had. Zach's classmate friend, Sonya cheered him up by telling a story of a time when she mistakenly dressed in a Halloween costume for a birthday party. Once at the museum, the guide explained the exhibits and the rules children must observe. Zach noticed that Ms. Rosamond broke one of the rules by forgetting to turn her cell phone off. He felt embarrassed for her. Then Zach forgot a rule and reached out to touch a stuffed American Bison. When the guide corrected him, he felt awful. Later at lunch Ms. Rosamond explained to Zach the importance of learning to deal with mistakes and move on. She showed Zach a Key to Mistakes, given to her by her father, that said: 1. Detect. 2. Correct. 3. Reflect. It also said Nobody's Perfect on the stem. With further discussion and explanation, Zach felt better about learning what to do when he made mistakes in the future. A final section title Helping Children learn from Mistakes gives further ideas and ways of explaining how to react to mistakes to parents and teachers. This charming, effective juvenile series helps children learn to take responsibility for daily deeds and actions, growing in the experience.

Your Brain
Cyril Bassington, author
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781482444360, $22.60 or, $16.95,

"Your Brain" is an excellent beginner's guide to the amazing control center of the body. Aimed at an audience of reading level grade 1-2 and interest level grade 1-3, "Your Brain" covers the brain function definition, plus how it works, some of the brain's main parts, the importance of continued learning, and how to care for a healthy brain, or how to "eat smart," with lots of fish, fruit, and vegetables, and to be sure to add in exercise. "Your Brain" comes complete with a glossary, bibliography, and list of related websites for further reading. Also highly recommended are the following titles from the Know Your Body Series: "Your Heart (9781482444384, $16.95)," by Cyril Bassington, "Your Lungs (9781482444377, $16.95)," by George Fittleworth, "Your Muscles (9781482444216, $16.95)," by George Fittleworth, and "Your Stomach (9781482444223, $16.95)," by George Fittleworth.

Nurse Vaccine
Justin Noble, author
Ann Bonin, illustrator
Pakiki Waltnell Publishing
9780990858225, $7.99, PB,

Created by Justin and Le-Anne Noble, the My Body Village series has two new titles to teach children the positive value of accepting the temporary discomfort of vaccination shots to protect the body from serious illnesses and viruses that cannot be otherwise cured. Raymond Brain holds an information meeting with all the members of My Body Village to explain that vaccination shots are recommended to help all members of My Body Village to defend themselves against otherwise untreatable diseases and viruses. Betty Bladder, Harry Hamstring, Larry and Rosie Lung, and all the other members of My Body Village listened to Raymond Brain and finally made a decision: "Let's line up to get our shots from Nurse Vaccine!" Although the shots did cause temporary pain or discomfort, it went away quickly. All the members of My Body Village celebrated because now they could defend the Body Village against the list of illnesses for the following years, avoiding symptoms like sever aches and pains, coughing fits, vomiting, and other miserable symptom experiences accompanying serious illness. Large, colorful comic book style illustrations of characters add to the fun message of this and other My Body Village titles for an audience of readers age 5 and up. Also highly recommended in the My Body Village series is the following new title: "Betty Bladder makes a Big Decision (9780990858232, $7.99)," by Justin Noble, illustrated by Ann Bonin.

Lindsay's Lesson
Walt Bayless, author/illustrator
Privately Published
9780997667103, $9.99 PB, $7.99 Kindle,

"Lindsay's Lesson" is the first book of a series by a talented Martial Arts Master who uses both artistic and storytelling mediums to deliver a message of health, empowerment, and self acceptance for children everywhere. Written as a fantastic jungle adventure for a sad and lonely girl named Lindsay, "Lindsay's Lesson" reveals a whole new world of adventure and fun as experienced by baby Apu, a little orangutan who takes an interest in the sad little blonde human, Lindsay Tyler Brown. Noting her obvious distress, Apu swings down and invites Lindsay to play. In expressive rhyme, Lindsay explains to Apu that she cannot focus on play because she is very worried about competing with others, being special, and achieving many impossible, indefinable personal goals before she grows up. Masterfully portrayed in delicate watercolor illustrations, "Lindsay's Lesson" presents the solution to a common personal problem in a blended style of fantasy and reality, tinged with humor and warmth. At first Lindsay is frightened by Baby Apu's huge father, but Baby Apu reassures her. Finally Lindsay gives up on her impossible quest: "With all my heart I've tried and tired, to be important to the world outside! But how and who, I can't decide...." "But you ARE IMPORTANT!" Apu grinned. "You're Lindsay Brown, my newest friend!" As Lindsay began to understand the message of Baby Apu, she smiled and listened again. "Don't you see now?" said Apu. "All you have to be is you! Nothing more to think or do.... But how you feel is up to you." This charming introductory title of a series closes with a smiling portrait of little Lindsay Brown, joyously resting on the jungle floor, having found her happy self swinging in the trees and vines with Baby Apu. Excited fans will await the next title by this artist author, coming in fall of 2016, "The Legend of Tiger Tim."

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

Titles in the Be A Maker! series ($20.70 each) provide 32 pages each of projects kids in Grades 4-5 will love, focusing on creative crafts young makers can easily put together using simple materials and readily-available tools. Music (9780778722526) teaches about different musical instruments and how they're put together as it includes directions for making an air trombone, drum, and pegboard; Animation (9780778722441) considers animation techniques and how animated movies are made as it shows how to create a flip-book, craft a screen script, and make models; Fashion (9780778722465) opens with a history of fashion and changing styles before it delves into sewing, braiding and stenciling for fashion accessories; Games (9780778722489) considers the background and evolution of games past and present before it covers the design process and provides insights into making and testing game prototypes; Graphic Design (9780778722502) considers digital design and how to create different logos and designs, covering typefaces, design styles, and pictographs; and Robotics (9780778722540) tells how to make a robot piece by piece. Sidebars of 'Be a Maker!' information accompany many bright contemporary photos and color panels of information for lively, inspiring reading.

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

Rodman Philbrick's The Big Dark (9780545789752, $17.99) takes place in a remote New Hampshire village which has just lost all power due to a massive solar flare that has taken out America's power grid. Tasked with saving his mother's life under the impossible conditions of no power, communications, or resources, Charlie must embark on a journey through a much-changed land, using every skill at his disposal to survive. This powerful story of post-apocalypse makes for engrossing reading as Charlie finds himself facing difficult odds for preserving everything and anything he loves. Luanne Rice's the Secret Language of Sisters (9780545839556, $18.99) illustrates the dangers of texting and driving as it tells what happens when teen Ruth Ann responds to a text message when she's driving, landing her in a hospital, paralyzed and in a coma. Her sister was the one who texted her, so Tilly struggles with Ruth Ann's condition and her growing affection for her boyfriend. But Ruth Ann isn't really in a coma - just trapped. And Tilly may be the only person to see what's happening and help. Now what? A passionate, moving story of recovery makes for gripping reading. Jon Walter's My Name Is Not Friday (9780545855228, $18.99) tells of Samuel and his younger brother Joshua, freeborn black orphans during the Civil War. One boy is good and the other's bad - but they are close friends until a terrible prank gone wrong leads one to be taken from the orphanage and sold into slavery. That's only the beginning of a powerful journey. Francisco X. Stork's The Memory of Light (9780545474320, $17.99) tells of Vicky, who has tried to kill herself and who finds herself in a hospital where she meets other troubled teens. Despite their different conflicted lives, they manage to give Vicky a sense of peace, until a new crisis splits the group and sends her back to the conditions that promoted her suicide. A powerful story of survival and life values emerges which is more captivating and which adopts a different perspective than most.

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

Young elementary-level math students quite often find math lessons embedded in fiction or presented in books that tell how to calculate; but the "Go Figure" series offers something different: applied math that links math approaches to the real world. Each book takes a segment of this real world and explores its applications, using bright cover illustrations and lively pages that blend formulas and calculations with practical insights. Journey Through Extreme Sports (9780778723134, $27.60 HC, $9.95 PB) teaches decimals, area calculations, coordinates and negative numbers, and mean, median and mode averages as it uses a combination of charts, graphs, maps, and lively photos to show how different extreme sports such as snowboarding or wakeboarding are calculated. Journey Through Computer Games (9780778723110, $27.60 HC, $9.95 PB) demonstrates the basics of 3-D shapes and volume, solving equations, linear graphs and more as it surveys different computer games and math revolving around them, while Journey Under the Ocean (9780778723158) encourages kids to use math skills to measure the decline of coral reefs using percentages and changes, read gages and calculate the speed of submarines, and understanding more about whales through surface area to volume ratios and Journey Around the Wonders of the World (9780778723219, $27.60 HC, $9.95 PB) discusses symmetry in the Taj Mahal, understanding hectares in the Amazon, and considering fractions and percentages in a Mount Everest climb. The result is recommended for grades 3-6, as well as many an adult looking for an easy way of refreshing their basic, elementary math knowledge with some lively applications.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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