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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 27, Number 8 August 2017 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Pets/Wildlife Shelf Math Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Board Book Shelf ABC Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Multicultural Shelf Fiction Shelf Environmental Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Autism Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Activity Shelf LGBT Studies Shelf Geography Shelf
Holocaust Studies ShelfBooks in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Princess Amber
Margaret Wright, author
Kristin Close, illustrator
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781524519650, $24.19 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 24pp,

"Princess Amber" is an inspirational, warm, true story about the courage, charm and determination of a girl born with a terminal illness. Written in narrative verse by her former teacher, "Princess Amber" presents highlights and triumphs of the short life of a brave, beloved girl who, with the help of friends and family, overcame life threatening handicaps in order to achieve her short life's goals and dreams. Princess Amber is a charming individual who enchants all who meet her. Strong and determined despite many physical obstacles, Amber is determined to make the most of her opportunities. One of her dreams is to dance upon the stage. This is described in the following passage: "It is the heart of a true princess, to dance upon the stage, With lights and music, tutus and ballet shoes but first to amaze, The walking stick (her old faithful friend) simply had to go, For a princess ballerina works upon her toes. From far and wide the audience came to see the princess wonder, In the beautiful lights and friend at side it really made you ponder, Was this a dance or was it a performance of heavenly grandeur, Not a dry eye or a life untouched by the display of this beautiful dancer." Portraits of Princess Amber and her friends and family are delicately rendered in pastel crayon illustrations of great tenderness. The international following of Princess Amber is documented in the Lions Club of Australia plus the Lions Club of California, which is also named after her. Even the governor general was proud to be a friend of Amber, inviting her and her friends to the Admiralty House for a special Christmas party. From her loving parents and family to her friends and teachers and nurses and medical staff, to the Governor General of Australia, Amber conquered them all with her indomitable heart and her ability to savor the moment of living. Amber learned of God and Jesus from her friend Mr. Walsh, and she was especially blessed by the bishop before she passed on to her heavenly home. The story of "Princess Amber" concludes with these lines: "Princess Amber's story is one of never ending, She waits in her heavenly home for the time that is pending. When you will come to join her in her mansion in the sky, She will say 'I love you all, will see you bye and bye.'" "Princess Amber" is a tribute and a celebration of the amazing life of a girl who knew enough to always be grateful for the experiences life has to offer. It is a story of great love and encouragement, telling readers of every age of the importance of love.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival
Janet Wyman Coleman, author
Yan Nascimbene, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544932616, $8.99, PB, 40pp,

Including a photo-illustrated exclusive trainer's scrapbook, "Eight Dolphins of Katrina" is the amazing story of the survival and rescue of eight dolphins from the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi after the disastrous strike of Hurricane Katrina, on August 29, 2005. All eight dolphins, Jackie, Toni, Shelley, Elijah, Kelly, Tamra, Noah, and Jill, were swept out to sea in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, because they were left behind in the Oceanarium after a relocation effort saved all the other dolphins by moving them to temporary pools in the area. There wasn't room or time to move these last eight dolphins. What happened after the tidal wave crushed the roof of the Oceanarium and washed them out to sea? A team of the dolphins trainers decided to mount a rescue effort to see if they could find and return the eight dolphins from the surrounding Gulf waters. These dolphins were tamed in captivity, so they would have forgotten how to feed themselves in the wild, plus they might have been injured. Overcoming many obstacles, the trainers set out to sea with a motorboat and a helicopter. Expecting to find only some of the original eight dolphins, imagine the trainers' joy when they were found by each of the eight individual dolphins! The following rescue and treatment effort was fascinating, and the dolphins cooperated fully, in many amazing ways. The story was followed by the media, and a tired but happy team of trainers settled down to sleep near the eight dolphins after they had been successfully moved to a new home, a tank at the U. S. Navy base in Gulfport, Mississippi. "Eight Dolphins of Katrina" is completed by a series of historic stories about other dolphin rescues, in which the dolphins played the part of the rescuers, and also an eight dolphins scrapbook with color photos from The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. "Eight Dolphins of Katrina" is a fascinating true story about a heroic rescue of eight brave dolphins following the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

The Island and the Bear
Louise Greig & Vanya Nastanlieva, author & illustrator
Picture Kelpies
c/o Floris Books
9781772503682, $11.95,

Originally inspired by a true story from the Scottish Hebrides, "The Island and the Bear" is a poetic tribute to the beautiful nature of a bear who once was really lost on an island in the Scottish Hebrides. Sensitive, pastel paintings of a gentle brown bear lost on a lonely Atlantic island underline the simple poetic narrative. The strange story begins and ends with the same three lines: " Anything can happen anywhere./ Anywhere was an island./ Anything was a bear." Although the bear is large and strange, inspiring fear in the hearts of the islanders, his nature is shown as sweet and gentle. The bear is bewildered, lost, and hungry, but he dances on the shores of the island and becomes one with it. When the bear becomes hungry, he discovers apples and food that others have left out. The bear gratefully accepts the gifts of food from the islanders, whether intended or not. Only one small girl sees and understands the lost bear's true nature. She touches the bear gently and tells him she understands, and that she has found someone who misses him. The girl helps the bear reunite with two people and a boat who are a part of the bear's family. When the bear finally is taken away from the island with his friends, a beautiful starry constellation of a bear is seen in the night sky. "The Island and the Bear" is a true animal fable that has a message of overcoming fear with love at its core. It is a great gift from an area celebrated for its isolated, wild, sea -framed beauty, poetry, and music. Also highly recommended from the same publisher is "Ollie and the Otter, A Scottish Osprey Story (9781782503699, $11.95)," by Emily Dodd, illustrated by Kirsteen Harris-Jones.

The Math Shelf

Times Tables Fun with Naughty Katie
Lorraine Reed, author
Troubador Publishing Ltd.
9781785891670, $9.97 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 64pp,

Written in funky rhyme, "Times Table Fun with Naughty Katie" is a great method to teach multiplication tables to kids at home. Filled with black and white photos of the author's daughters, Katie and Misty, these twelve brief chapters recite in rhyme the multiplication tables interspersed with fun anecdotes about naught Katie and her sister. Here is an example: " The three times table with naughty Katie up to tricks: The girls went to the seaside to paddle in the sea./ Because 1 x 3 is 3/ They splashed each other with jumps and kicks./ Because 2 x 3 is 6./ Then a dirty trick entered Katie's mind!/ Because 3 x 3 is 9/ She pretended that she was drowning and couldn't save herself./ Because 4 x 3 is 12./ She thrashed around, creating waves which were bouncing and shifting./ Because 5 x 3 is 15/ A passing boat noticed the panicked scene that Katie was creating./ Because 6 x 3 is 18/ The captain couldn't shoot a flare because he had an empty gun./ Because 7 x 3 is 21/ So he jumped into the sea and pulled Katie up to the Kent seashore./ Because 8 x 3 is 24/ This was not the day trip the captain had planned on a peaceful Kent sea Heaven./ Because 9 x 3 is 27/ He pulled Katie to safety in his smart new suit now soaking, sandy and dirty./ Because 10 x 3 is 30/ Mum could see the captain crawling up the sand on dirty knees./ because 11 x 3 is 33/ She apologized to the captain for Katie's naughty, dirty tricks./ Because 12 x 3 is 36" The fun of every multiplication table rhyme interspersed with tales of Katie's naughty tricks keeps students' interest snagged and learning occurs effortlessly and with fun! " Times Table Fun with Naughty Katie" is a boon to parents, caretakers, and teachers of irrepressible young students of mathematics and verse!

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Defender of the Realm
Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545936668 $17.99

Defender of the Realm tells of Alfie, who is heir to Great Britain and who is slated to become a terrible king. The problem is: he who is king is privy to a secret and is charged with being not just a king, but a superhero. Hayley, on the other hand, is an ordinary girl who doesn't believe in superheroes. Two different lives coalesce in a powerful story recommended for middle grade to high school readers.

Cindy Pon
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481489225, $18.99

Want tells of Jason, who lives in a world where the rich can buy longer lives and are protected from the pollution and illnesses which plague those less wealthy. Jason's mother died as a result of the corruption which as built his world, making him determined to change things; so he enters the lives of the wealthy on a mission to destroy their favored status from within. The only problem is that what he learns and who he encounters reveals a more complex problem than he had imagined. This thought-provoking sci-fi read will find special appeal to audiences interested in social issues tied into futuristic worlds.

The Whizbang Machine: Tunney's Curse
Danielle A. Vann
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall Johnson Road 102-345, Grapevine, TX 76051
9781945174544 $14.95

The Whizbang Machine: Tunney's Curse is Book 2 in The Whizbang Machine series, and opens with a bang that's like entering a story mid-highlight and wondering what transpired before its crescendo. But one of the pleasures of Tunney's Curse is that it doesn't leave newcomers hanging for long, after inviting them in with such a captivating opener, and thus the narrator, who experiences her world falling around her and her initial perceptions of well-being failing, brings newcomers and old fans from middle school to advanced teens along for a rollicking, swift ride that grasps action firmly and doesn't let go. Curses, family secrets, a girl who clings to life after disaster, and a danger that rages out of control, affecting families, destinations, and a detective's investigation, all blend into a story line that is fraught with a power struggle over a machine that can change the world. The result is another powerful story that builds from the first without alienating new readers: highly recommended for fantasy enthusiasts looking for the added attractors of a complex mystery, a supernatural curse, and a family's involvement in saving a sleepy town.

Tales of the Mer Family Onyx
Susan I. Weinstein
112 Harvard Avenue, #65, Claremont, CA 91711
9781938349546, $21.95, PB, 160pp,

"Tales of the Mer Family Onyx: Mermaid Stories on Land and Under the Sea" by Susan I. Weinstein is an 'all in the family' novel for young readers about Neptune, his wife, Glendora, and their pair of Mer twins: the teenagers Emerald and Sapphire, the tweens Rainbow and Bowrain, baby Ruby and Neptune's daughter of the race of mini-mermaids, Pinky. "Tales of the Mer Family Onyx" begins with Glendora's introduction of her family and Neptune's challenge to his children. In the process, the Mer Children escape their father's shadow and make themselves proud. Original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' from beginning to end, "Tales of the Mer Family Onyx" is unreservedly recommended, especially for family, school, and community library General Fiction collections for young readers. It should be noted that "Tales of the Mer Family Onyx" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.95).

The Board Book Shelf

Hickory, Dickory, Dock
Illustrated by Genine Delahaye
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680105254 $9.99

Hickory, Dickory, Dock and Other Favorite Nursery Rhymes is a board book of beloved rhymes, sayings, and songs, illustrated with charming animal characters. The stiff pasteboard pages are easy for little hands to turn, and the classic rhymes include "If You're Happy and You Know It", "I'm a Little Teapot", "Red Sky At Night", "Rock-A-Bye, Baby" and many more. Highly recommended, especially for baby showers and bedtime tuck-ins.

Bathtime for Little Rabbit
Jorg Muhle
Gecko Press
9781776571376, $9.99, Board Book, 20pp,

"Who enjoys having their ears washed? Little Rabbit doesn't like the idea, but it turns out to be not so bad after all. But he does need our help. When the dryer breaks, we have to blow his ears dry. Wfffff! Again! Now wrap him in the towel and bathtime is over. Squeaky clean, Little Rabbit! "Bathtime for Little Rabbit" is a sequel to author/illustrated Jorg Muhle's board book "Tickle My Ears" (9781776570768, $9.99) and is another perfectly simple interactive board book that invites children ages 2 to 4 to take charge of bathtime: turn on the shower, cover Little Rabbit's eyes, wipe the water off his nose, and rub him dry. A simple and thoroughly 'kid friendly' delight, "Bathtime for Little Rabbit" is an especially recommended selection for family, preschool, and community library board book collections.

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

Two 'When Your' board books written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman are highly recommended picks for youngsters and present the dilemmas of different animals in fun silly stories that parents will find perfect for read-aloud laughter. When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles (9781481495042, $7.99) advises how to make a sick elephant feel better and surveys the possible repercussions from failure. Prop him up with pillows, bring him things to make him feel better - but above all, do not let him sneeze! When Your Lion Needs a Bath (9781481495028, $7.99) advises young readers about how to handle a smelly lion. Surprisingly, it involves being a bit sneaky, because lions are cats - and they hate water. A fun story evolves, perfect for both young readers and their read-aloud parents.

The ABC Shelf

F is for Florida
Written by kids, for kids
WestWinds Press
c/o Graphic Arts Books
PO Box 3225, Durango, CO 81302-3225
9781513260495 $14.95

F is for Florida is an ABC picturebook written by children, for children. Kids in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida composed F is for Florida about their favorite symbols of their home state. Full-color photographs illustrate every page and turn of phrase, such as "E is for Everglades - By boat, kayak, or canoe, exploring these waters is fun to do" and "N is for Nesting Turtle - Hatchlings are born up on the beach, then down to the ocean they must reach". A delightful read- aloud book perfect for parents and children to share, F is for Florida is highly recommended.

The Picturebook Shelf

A Truck Named Tony
M. Jane Hawkins, author
David Barrow, illustrator
Doodle and Peck Publishing
PO Box 852105, Yukon, OK 730845
9780997235180, $19.99, HC, 32pp,

Tony the truck longs to go outside because every day on the showroom floor he watches other cars and trucks drive by. He wishes he could have the fun, too, like the purpose truck with the huge tires, shiny bumper with a winch, and yellow, flashing lights. She can go over bumpy roads, up hills and down valleys, and through tall grass. Finally Tony is taken outside for test drives, but each driver returns him to the showroom. Tony is so disappointed, but Mikey the sports car assures Tony his turn will come. Soon a family with a young boy buys Tony and he gets to do a lot of fun things with them such as going out camping and being in a parade. But as time passes, Tony gets old and rusty. His dream of going over bumpy roads, up hills and down valleys, and through tall grass is fading. Then the boy grows up and gives Tony a fresh coat of paint and a tune up. the young driver then takes Tony over bumpy roads and through tall grass -- making Tony's dream come true! Colorfully illustrated by David Barrow, "A Truck Named Tony" is an original and utterly charming picture book story by M. Jane Hawkins that will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted that "A Truck Named Tony" is also available in a paperback edition (9780998930206, $9.99).

Daddy Played the Blues
Michael Garland
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884485889, $17.95, HC, 48pp,

Packing themselves into an old jalopy along side Daddy, Uncle Vern, and Mama in the front seat and Cassie and her two brothers in the back, the family joined the Great Migration from the impoverished Deep South to Chicago, where there was work to be had in the stockyards. Across the kids' laps lay Daddy's prized possession, a six-string guitar. Daddy worked hard to put food on the table, but what he really loved was playing the blues. Deftly written and superbly illustrated by Michael Garland, "Daddy Played the Blues" is an evocative picture book tale of the African-American odyssey in search of a better life is also a homage to the uniquely American music that developed from African music and American spirituals, work songs, and folk ballads. Of special note is Garland own personal story of how he first heard and fell in love with blues music, beginning a lifelong fandom. Featuring portraits and thumbnail biographies of great blues musicians and landmark songs complete this tribute to the great American music and the yearnings that produced it, "Daddy Played the Blues" will prove to be an original and entertaining read for children ages 6 to 10, making it unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Marvin and the Giant Bubble
Karin McCay, author
Vova Kirichenko, illustrator
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall Johnson Road 102-345, Grapevine, TX 76051
9781945176203, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

"Marvin and the Giant Bubble", the collaborative effort of author Karin McCay and illustrator Vova Kirichenko, is the first volume of their 'Magic Mommy' series. "Marvin and the Magic Bubble" will leave kids ages 4 to 8 giggling out loud over a backyard adventure that gets wildly out of control and concludes with a whimsical twist at the end that gives Mommy the ultimate edge! A thoroughly entertaining read from beginning to end, "Marvin and the Giant Bubble" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Fresh Starts For Our Animal Friends
Aviva Hermelin
Mazo Publishers
PO Box 10474, Jacksonville, FL 32247
9781946124104, $18.95, HC, 54pp,

Written and illustrated by Aviva Hermelin, "Fresh Starts For Our Animal Friends" is a picture book story of the lovable Grizzbear family who joins Giveret Deer, the McDucks, MoMo and LuLu Fox and their animal friends to create heartwarming stories with a message. At the end of each chapter comprising "Fresh Starts For Our Animal Friends", there are questions to initiate conversation with children, focused on the importance of living a life based on positive values and good character traits. Whether parents and teachers read these stories aloud or a child who is already a reader is enjoying "Fresh Starts For Our Animal Friends" on their own, this unreservedly recommended and unique picture book will create an ideal atmosphere to introduce themes and concepts for personal growth and development. While an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for parents that "Fresh Starts For Our Animal Friends" is also available in a paperback edition (9781946124098, $12.95).

The Secret of Black Rock
Joe Todd-Stanton
Flying Eye Books
c/o Nobrow Ltd.
9781911171256, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Erin is a young girl who loves to lie on the jetty, looking for the weirdest fish in the sea -- the weirder, the better! And she knows the best ones must be further out, where her mum won't let her go. Out there in the deepest sea lies the Black Rock: a huge, dark and spiky mass that is said to destroy any boats that come near it! Can Erin uncover the truth behind this mysterious legend? An original, deftly crafted, and superbly illustrated picture book story for children ages 3 to 7, "The Secret of Black Rock" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Jess Hong
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547378, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely! That is the central message of author/illustrator Jess Hong's charmingly thoughtful and unfailingly entertaining picture book story for children ages 4 to 8. "Lovely" will prove to be an enduringly popular choice and is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Chalk Rainbow
Deborah Kelly, author
Gwynneth Jones, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335453, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Zane is different to other kids. He has his own made-up language. He likes to line things up. And he is frightened of things that don't seem to bother other people -- like the color black. His father gets frustrated and angry with Zane. His mother tries hard to explain things to him. But nothing seems to work. Zane just scrunches himself up into a ball and screams. Things are looking pretty bleak for Zane and his family; that is, until Zane's big sister starts to draw a chalk rainbow at the top of the front steps. a deftly crafted picture book story by Deborah Kelly that is charmingly illustrated by Gwynneth Jones, "The Chalk Rainbow" explores difference and diversity through a family living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It's also a story of unconditional love, of trust and of learning to look at the world through the eyes of others. The story is told by Zane's older sister in a way that young children ages 4 to 7 can easily relate to. The ending is uplifting as all members of the family learn to look at things differently and find a way to move forward together. While very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted by parents that "The Chalk Rainbow" is also available in a digital book format ($4.99).

Sally Loves Horses!
Jody Mackey
Champ Youth Inc.
9780692646991, $19.95, HC, 60pp,

Sally is passionate about horses. She is charming, energetic, ever so determined. Dreaming of competing in a barrel race at the rodeo with her friends, Sally dedicates herself to horses and riding. As the story unfolds in the pages of "Sally Loves Horses", young readers ages 8 to 12 will be treated to valuable lessons about following your dreams. Especially young girls who will be encouraged to get up, start moving and to seek out sports or activities that they love and enjoy. Ably written and illustrated by Jody Mackey, "Sally Loves Horses" is a heart-warming, inspiring picture book story that is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

How It Feels to Be a Boat
James Kwan
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544715332, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

Sometimes being a boat is full of adventures and it's nothing but smooth sailing on the high seas, but sometimes arguing passengers can take you off course. When you run aground, will their teamwork give you the strength to make it through? Offbeat and imaginative, author and illustrator James Kwan gives us a glimpse of what it's like to not only be a boat, but what it is to be human in both gentle and rough waters in "How It Feels to Be a Boat". Perfect for life's transitions, "How It Feels to Be a Boat" tackles taking on change and indecision with grace, humor, and heart. It's a reassuring reminder to stay the course through all kinds of stormy weather. Ahoy, ahoy! An ideal choice for children ages 4 to 7, "How It Feels to Be a Boat" is an especially recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Curiosity Cabinet
Ian Wallace
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554989225, $19.95, HC, 36pp,

Ian Wallace is one of Canada's best-known children's book creators. In "The Curiosity Cabinet" he invites young readers ages 5 to 9 to look inside his cabinet of curiosities, which contains treasures from his decades of traveling the country from sea to sea to sea, sharing stories with young readers. His cabinet of curiosities is an eclectic and personal collection that nonetheless represents and appreciates Canada's rich and varied land. Each double-page illustration shows a shelf in the cabinet dedicated to a province or territory with the gifts or special memories Ian has from that place ranging from tamarack geese made by Cree artists in northern Ontario, to a fishing-stage facade from Newfoundland, to the giant redwoods in Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, and much more. Always experimenting with new techniques, Ian has illustrated the entire book in delicate graphite pencil, achieving stunning light and shadow. This is a beautiful and unusual contribution to Canada's 150th birthday is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Waltz of the Snowflakes
Elly MacKay
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762453382, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

It is a cold and rainy evening when Gran gives her granddaughter something special: tickets to the ballet. Her granddaughter is reluctant to go. The weather is terrible and they have to wear fancy, uncomfortable clothes. But as the curtains rise on The Nutcracker, the girl's eyes light up as she's introduced to the magic of the theater. The bright costumes, the intricate dances, the magical music, and a new friend all combine to captivate the girl and to bring color to an otherwise dreary evening. "Waltz of the Snowflakes" is children's picture book author and illustrator Elly MacKay at her finest, mixing her acclaimed paper-cut artwork with vibrant colors in this whimsical, dreamlike, and inspiring wordless picture book. A must-have for any ballet and theater-obsessed young reader ages 4 to 8, "Waltz of the Snowflakes" is the picture book to be shared during the holidays or any time of year when the world outside needs a little bit of color and vibrancy. While very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Waltz of the Snowflakes" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Found Dogs
Erica Sirotich
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780399186417, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

A picture book specifically written and illustrated by Erica Sirotich for babies and toddlers from ages 2 to 5, "Found Dogs" will delight them as they count up each wriggly, wraggly rescue pup and then count back down as each doggie is adopted. A bright, bouncy rhyme, jubilant art, and scads of adorable dogs will have wee ones giggling for more, "Found Dogs" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Elephant Wind
Heather L. Beal, author
Jubayda Sagor, illustrator
Train 4 Safety Press
9780998791203, $10.99, PB,
9780998791241, $18.99, HC, 28pp,

"Elephant Wind" is a creatively illustrated juvenile story that is designed to teach children (ages three to eight) what to do if a tornado happens. One important aspect of "Elephant Wind" is that it presents the information in a cheery, colorful, nonthreatening format which is appealing and engaging to children. A childcare class of child-animals, including Lily and Niko Rabbit, arrives with their owl teacher, Ms. Mandy on a bus to attend a science fair. A warning siren sounds and the children are asked to follow Ms. Mandy to a tornado shelter. Calmly on their way to the tornado shelter, Ms. Mandy explains what a tornado looks like: a strong, twisty, funnel-shaped cloud. When the young animals do not understand, she explains the tornado shape is like an elephant trunk reaching from the sky to the ground. Further explanations and descriptions of tornado sounds follow, and Ms. Mandy explains the importance of immediately going somewhere safe, like a basement, when they hear a tornado warning. To help the children remember their safety tornado instructions, Ms. Mandy sings a song to them: "Elephant wind coming round, Get to the basement or below ground. Cover your head and before you know, It will blow over and you can go." Soon the school principal ( a wolf) appeared to tell the children the tornado was gone. Although no one was hurt, a neighbor's house was damaged. The animal children began to think of ways they could help the neighbors whose house was damaged to feel better, making treats, and cards, and telling them that they cared. "Elephant Wind" ends with tornado-related questions and activities from Lily and Niko Rabbit. "Elephant Wind" is a fine instruction manual for young children on proper tornado safety procedures, taught in a clear and nonthreatening way.

It's Only the Wind
Mindy Dwyer, author/illustrator
WestWinds Press
c/o Graphic Arts Books
P.O. Box 3225, Durango, CO 81302
9781513260747, $22.99, HC, 32pp,

"It's Only the Wind" is an unusual bedtime story that deals with children's fears and queries about the different, haunting sounds made by the wind. Filled with swirling puffs of blue and magical sweeping, musical wind- word sounds, this children's wind story lullaby enchants and fascinates, while it follows flights of fancy inspired by the wind. The award winning author seems to combine color, artistry, poetry, and music in these pages. A mother tries to answer her two children's questions about the sounds made by the wind, gently persuading them to go to sleep. When the children cry, "Mama! The wind is pounding!" she answers, "She's just working hard, rolling big waves onto rocks to make sand for the beaches. Night-night, little ones." The beautiful text is decoratively woven into the swirling illustrations of the blowing wind. The mother's calm answers to her children's questions seems to both calm and feed their curiosity about the wind. For a true multi sensory treat, parents and children will love dipping into "It's Only the Wind" for a good night story on a blustery night. It is further enhanced by a final page of fascinating facts about wind.

Pancakes for Dinner!
Phillip D. Cortez, author/illustrator
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall-Johnson Road, #102-345, Grapevine, Texas 76051
9781945174209, $12.95, PB, 32pp,

"Pancakes for Dinner!" is a lavishly color illustrated, narrative paean in praise of pancakes, in epic style! Every possible permutation and combination of pancake delicacies are featured, plus every possible reason for eating them! Kids will love the large pancake portraits with little boxes of verse: "Add chocolate chips, or berries of blue; Mix in some bananas, It's all up to you! Eat them till you're full (and you start to wobble); But what will you have for breakfast? That's easy.... WAFFLES!" Young readers will delight in the subject, laugh at the pictures, and ask for pancakes for dinner, breakfast, and lunch - or just to celebrate!

Tigger and Jasper's New Home
Cheryl Gillespie, author
Michael LeBlanc, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9780995005617, $6.49 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 24pp,

"Tigger and Jasper's New Home" is a gentle story about the loving adoption of two kittens by a special musician and teacher. Introducing young readers to an awareness of blindness, "Tigger and Jasper's New Home" presents delicate, spunky pastel portraits of two kittens, one orange and one gray, born on a farm near Douglastown, New Brunswick. One day the farmer took the kittens to their new home with a loving lady who made music and taught piano students. The kittens had funny adventures in their new home, tangling yarn balls, getting hidden in the closet, falling into the bathtub water, and getting shut in the refrigerator. Each time the kittens got lost or hidden, Christie, their owner, found them by hearing their plaintive mews. After a day of fun and play, the kittens settled quietly on Christie's lap to snuggle and purr. One of the kittens came to a realization, which he communicated to his sibling: "I think I understand why Christie is so very unique,....Her eyes don't work,.... she can't see." He patted Christie's pale blue eyes with his velvet paws. From then on, the kittens knew that they would look after Christie and she would take care of them. This loving, true story of reciprocal love between felines and a human tells young readers much about ways of perceiving others in the world around us. "Tigger and Jasper's New Home" ends with a lullaby, which can be sung to humans as well as kittens.

Brobot Bedtime
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
c/o Abrams/Amulet
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419722905 $16.95

Brobot Bedtime is illustrated by Scott Campbell and tells of the Brobots, who have had a long day and who need to recharge. Buzz and Crash fall asleep instantly, but Beep's got issues ... actually, a series of them. Can the right button be pressed to get him to calm down? A fun story evolves, perfect for a different, zany form of bedtime story especially recommended for kids who love robots.

Gianna Marino
Penguin Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780451469571 $17.99

Gianna Marino's Splotch will reach ages 4-6 with its wistful story of how a little boy loses his pet goldfish. He's sure the fish has been fish-napped, but his wiser mother knows something he doesn't. There's a new Splotch in the bowl the next day - but the savvy boy knows it's not the real one. What happened? A gentle story of loss ensues.

Pig the Pug
Aaron Blabey
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338112450 $14.99

Pig the Pug tells of a pug dog who is just plain greedy and selfish, and who earns the reputation - and the name - of being a pig. He's never nice to those he lives with, he never wants to share his toys or food - he's just plain mean. And the concept of sharing drives him crazy. What happens next offers kids a strong lesson on friendship, sharing, and caring alike in a whimsical, fun story.

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

Four new picture books provide young readers with a fun set of original, unique stories perfect for leisure reading pursuit. Aaron Reynolds' Sea Monkey & Bob (9781481406765, $17.99) is illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi and tells of Bob the puffer fish and his best friend Sea Monkey, who have a big problem. Sea Monkey is afraid of sinking - but Bob is afraid he'll float to the surface instead of swimming. Heavy things sink and light things float, right? These concepts and the idea of problem-solving together make for a fun, easy story with big/ colorful fish drawings that's hard to put down. Meet Rob Sanders' Rodzilla (9781481457798, $17.99), illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat who brings to larger-than-life size the story of a mighty toddler who considers a city his playpen and who romps up chaos for his parents. Narrated in news report form, this provides a hilarious parent's-eye perspective on the matter of handling a rambunctious toddler. Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann's Bulldozer Helps Out (9781481458948, $17.99) tells of a little bulldozer charged with taking care of kittens, and provides a sequel to Bulldozer's Big Day, which both compliments the prior book by adding a new adventure and requires no prior familiarity in order to stand nicely on its own. Here Little Bulldozer wants to help, but the bigger trucks say he's too small. A special dilemma is posed when a batch of kittens come to his attention in this gentle tale. Benjamin Strouse and Jennifer Phelan's Hey, Boy (9781481471015, $15.99) tells of a boy and a dog who always dream of shared adventures. Boy meets dog, brings him home, and fun is anticipated until the boy gets hurt and his mother deems him too young to have a pet. What happens when Boy loses his beloved friend? A gentle tale evolves, perfect for kids who love animals and dream of a pet of their own.

Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6

Three new picture books provide refreshingly different stories that parents and kids will find attractive and fun. Chihiro Takeuchi's Can You Find My Robot's Arm? (9781101919033, $16.99) presents the author's cut-paper art and story of a robot who awakens to find he's missing his arm. He searches everywhere; but it's nowhere. What's a one-armed robot to do? And what kind of device can serve as a robot arm replacement? A whimsical tale receives black and white cut-paper embellishment. Linda Bailey and Kass Reich's Carson Crosses Canada (9781101918838, $16.99) tells of Annie and her dog Carson who live in British Columbia, and who are crossing Canada via car to visit her sister, Elsie, in Newfoundland. As the two tour the provinces, young readers receive a story with geographic roots and will learn about Canadian's different environments and cultures in the course of a vivid journey. Kyo Maclear's The Fog (9781770494923, $16.99) pairs drawings by Kenard Pak with the engaging tale of a bird who is a human-watcher in Icyland. His hobby is thwarted by fog, one day, which spreads everywhere and hampers his interests. What's a human-watching bird to do when nature takes its course? These are fun picture books recommended for young leisure readers.

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

Four new arrivals from Disney are highly recommended picks for picture book readers seeking original, fun fiction. Ryan T. Higgins' Be Quiet! (9781484731628, $17.99) provides the story of Rupert, who has two friends who are chatterboxes, in opposition to his goal of developing a visual, wordless picture book. How can he craft a wordless book if they won't stop talking? A fun dilemma evolves which young talkers will especially appreciate. Mike Wu's Ellie in Concert (9781484712382, $16.99) tells of too much nose at the zoo, which is keeping poor Lucy the giraffe from sleeping. Can Ellie Elephant turn the noise into something Lucy can sleep with? Nothing seems to work: how can Ellie help Lucy get some peace and quiet? It takes an innovative solution in this tale of adversity and problem-solving. Deborah Underwood's Super Saurus Saves Kindergarten (9781423175681, $16.99) is illustrated with bright, fun cartoon-like drawings by Ned Young and tells of Arnold, a "Super Saurus" who faces an evil genius disguised as a kindergarten teacher. Super Saurus can't be kept down by either evil or kindergarten - but his efforts to avoid the inevitable keep failing. What's a dinosaur superhero to do? Kids will appreciate the whimsical story which is packed with color and action scenes. Anica Mrose Rissi's The Teacher's Pet (9781484743645, $17.99) tells of Mr. Stricter, who always wanted a pet, and who gets one for his science classroom which doesn't seem quite like the other tadpoles in the lot. Fun drawings by Zachariah Ohora contribute to a story which takes the "teacher's pet" notion quite literally and builds a zany story around it. All are excellent choices picture book readers will relish.

Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035

Suzanne Chiew's That's What Friends Are For (9781680100402, $16.99) is illustrated by Caroline Pedler and tells of Badger, Hedgehog, and friends who are busy enjoying a fun hot day when disaster strikes in the form of a water shortage. The stream they love and rely on is drying up - what can they do? Good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will enhance this beautifully illustrated story of friends in action as they problem-solve and support one another. Becky Davies's The Three Little Pugs and the Big, Bad Cat (9781680100433, $16.99) is illustrated by Caroline Attia and pairs fun pug dog photos with illustrations as it tells of three pugs who live with their mother in a kennel in the woods. It's time for them to leave home - but can each little pug build a house well enough to keep out the nasty cat? A different take on the Three Little Pigs story will have kids and adults rolling in laughter.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Secret Coders: Robots & Repeats
Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626726062 $10.99

Part of an educational, black-and-white graphic novel adventure series designed to encourage young people to learn more about computer science, Secret Coders: Robots & Repeats follows the kids as they get to the bottom of a corrupt chemistry class that uses students to make dangerous green soda pop! Basic computer science concepts, such as nested repeats and binary numbers, are woven seamlessly into this thrilling action-adventure, written by talented storyteller and computer science teacher Gene Luen Yang. Secred Coders: Robots & Repeats is a choice pick for grade school and public library children's collections. Also highly recommended are the previous titles in the "Secret Coders" series, "Secret Coders" (9781626720756), "Secret Coders: Secrets & Sequences" (9781626720770), "Secret Coders: Paths & Portals" (9781626720763), and "Secret Coders: Potions & Parameters" (9781626726079).

Duck Avenger: New Adventures
Alesandro Sisti, et al.
IDW Publishing
2765 Truxton Road, San Diego, CA 92106
9781631408649, $24.99, PB, 208pp,

A cartoon character created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions, Donald Duck continues to be an enduringly popular and entertaining character whose comic book exploits are followed by millions of children around the world. Now there is a graphic novel feature Donald in his masked super hero persona as the Duck Avenger in Disney's Duck Avenger: New Adventures. When Donald's wealth uncle Scrooge McDuck buys mysterious, ultra-hi-tech Ducklair Tower, he commandeers his nephew into being the janitor/guard for the as yet unoccupied building. Then Donald, while in his Duck Avenger garb, is accidentally swept into a forgotten floor encounters an amazing AI that becomes his ally and helps him in battle with space aliens, as well as a seemingly super-powered crook from the future. Also involved is a crooked reporter (Angus Fangus), a dashing space-refugee, (Xadhoom), and a mysterious beauty (Lyla Lee). While written specifically for young readers ages 8 to 12, "Duck Adventure: New Adventures" will have immense appeal for Donald Duck fans of all ages from 8 to 88! This superbly written and illustrated volume of Donald Duck adventures is very highly recommended for school and community library graphic novel collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Duck Avenger: New Adventures" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

The Chilly Adventures of Mr. Small
Jo Ann Adinolfi, author/illustrator
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547354, $9.99, PB, 32pp,

"The Chilly Adventures of Mr. Small" is a small but mighty fun-packed graphic novel about a sort of hamster anti-hero, who battles freezing cold in creative ways to keep his dust bunny friends warm and cozy. Discovering that his tiny home is threatened by cold, Mr. Small arms himself with miniature wraps and ventures forth to discover the climate control center, skillfully turning it up to HOT. However, it is still cold in his home, could it be because of an open window and tiny white fluffy things like snowflakes blowing in? Mr. Small actually has a fascinating conversation with a snowflake, who is named chilly, it turns out. Mr. Small and his dust bunny friends are invited by Chilly to meet more snowflakes outside the window. Throwing on extra warm hats, the friends fly forth on fortunate balloon air power from Mr. Small's pocket. Mr. Small loves the look of the snow piles of flakes, but he discovers they are colder than they look. There are too many snowflakes to name, but Mr. Small tries to be polite as Chilly introduces him. Because Mr. Small can't fly, float, or swim, the friends decide he will travel on candy cane skis, and along with his dust bunny friends. Mr. Small is an awesome skier until he crashes into Frosty, the Snowman, and knocks out his eyes of coal. Mr. Small and Chilly make Frosty a pet out of snow, a hamster which names Fluffy. Next Mr. Small and friends engage in a fun snowball fight and ends rolling downhill in a big monster snowball. His next adventure involves skating on thin ice in the pond, falling through, and being rescued by Chilly the snowflake, Howl, the wind, and Spark, the fire. The friends share toasted marshmallows in ingenious ways, and soon it is time for Mr. Small to go home. A squirrel taxi, wearing a checkered scarf, delivers Mr. Small to his window of his house. There Mr. Small is greeted by his dust bunny friends and the cat, and treated to a cup of hot cocoa and a cozy bedtime nap. But wait, is there one more winter adventure left for Mr. Small? A tiny trip to an outdoor outhouse (for hamsters) reminds readers that even hot cups of cocoa may have their down side on cold winter nights. The dialogue and comic pictures of Mr. Small and friends are adorable, comic, erudite, and sweet. Kids and grown ups alike will clamor for more adventures of Mr. Small. This graphic novel will encourage reluctant readers to read, read, and read some more.

Mermin Book 5: Making Waves
Joey Weiser
Oni Press
9781620103944 $19.99

Mermin Book 5: Making Waves provides a full color graphic novel adventure/fantasy story about the battle between Mer and Atlantis. Mermin stands by his father and people, but doesn't want to fight. His friends are trying to help the cause without bloodshed. But can anything prevent the great Mer forces from attack; much less a Mer child? A fun story will especially involve graphic novel readers of all ages with a fantasy that is hard to put down.

The Multimedia Shelf

Henny & Benny Bunyan and the Maple Syrup Adventure: Northwoods Kids Book One
Kitty Donohoe, author
Lori Taylor, illustrator
Gypsie Bird Press
PO Box 3070, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106
9780997046007, $14.95, PB, 40pp,

Henny and Benny reportedly first appeared in a one page story in Kitty Donohoe's collection of Michigan songs and stories, "Bunyan and Banjoe's." Henny and Benny are kid brothers, distantly related to legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan. Benny is the older sensible brother who does his chores and remembers his lunch money. Henny is the dreamer and inventor younger brother, who sometimes loses track of the details of life. Winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award, "Henny & Benny Bunyan and the Maple Syrup Adventure" combines all the fun elements of a kid-centered tall tale with the fantastic shenanigans of Yoopers, or denizens of the Far North. Henny wants to win the Pineville Flapjack Contest to get the first prize of the Whoopie Howdy! Super Supreme Sled, complete with compass, CD player, 2-way radio, and G.P.S., plus a mug holder for hot cocoa. Young readers will love following Henny's comical efforts to mix up a gigantic blueberry flapjack to cook in his step-uncle Paul Bunyan's enormous griddle. What will happen when a cocoa smear hides part of the flapjack recipe he is trying to whip together in vastly larger quantities? Simultaneously, another springtime Northwoods event appears to be going haywire. The maple trees had so much sap and it was so warm, that it was turning into maple syrup as it dripped from the trees, making an enormous maple syrup river! Will the people at the Winter-Go-Away-It's-Time -For-Spring Spree and Flapjack Contest be flooded and washed away, or will Henny's huge, overpuffed blueberry pancake be part of a fantastic solution! Only Henny and Benny can cope with this exciting near disaster, and with a great combined cooperative effort directed and inspired by Henny, the river of maple syrup meets the huge puffy flapjack and gets soaked up. Best of all, after Henny gets declared a hero, everyone received forks from the Mayor and proceeded to eat every bite of the prize winning flapjack soaked in the river of maple syrup. Did Henny win the First Prize of the Whoopie Howdy Super Supreme Sled? And if so, was that enough for him? What adventures will Henny and Benny have next? Topping off the tall tale are illustrated instructions for making maple syrup plus a great CD of five frolicking, rollicking songs by Kitty Donohoe about life in the Northwoods. "Henny & Benny Bunyan and the Maple Syrup Adventure" is delightfully illustrated with comic, colorful portraits of the young heroes in action, making this prizewinning series title a sure bet for sequels.

The Audiobook Shelf

Good Wives
Louisa May Alcott, author
Read by Liza Ross
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28, Franklin, TN 37064
9781781980774 $22.98

Good Wives is an abridged audiobook rendition of Louisa May Alcott's timeless classic, and the direct sequel to "Little Women". Continuing where "Little Women" concluded, Good Wives traces the lives of its resolute female protagonists. Meg marries John; Jo must resolve her own romantic dilemma; Amy ventures to Europe; and Beth suffers from an increasingly debilitating illness. Intelligently written, and superbly performed by award-winning audiobook reader Liza Ross, Good Wives is a literary treasure that will appeal to listeners of all ages, and is highly recommended especially for public and school library audiobook collections. 3 CDs, 3 hours 10 min 6 sec.

The Music CD Shelf

Gustafer Yellowgold's Brighter Side
Morgan Taylor
Apple Eye Productions

Gustafer Yellowgold's Brighter Side is a charming children's music album about a friendly alien who grew up in the Sun and now makes his home in Minnesota. Unlike previous albums in the series, Brighter Side is a music-only release (instead of a mix of songs and storytelling), consisting half of "Earth Songs" and half of "Sun Songs". The lyrics are upbeat, engaging, and at times wistful. A delight for all ages, Gustafer Yellowgold's Brighter Side is an excellent choice for family listening and public library children's music collections, highly recommended. The tracks are "Brighter Side", "Ride a Line O'Stars", "Lucky Day", "Meet Me By the Fun", "Hot Nights", "Window", "Ellen Lemon", "Baconstein", "The Carvery", "King of the Sun", "I Love the Night", and bonus track "I Love the Night".

Rufus the Unicorn and Other Upside-Down Fairytale Songs
Auntie Kayte
Privately Published
$14.97 CD / $9.99 download

Auntie Kayte presents Rufus the Unicorn and Other Upside-Down Fairytale Songs is a charming, family-friendly music CD with a twist on classic fables. The songs feature intelligent princesses, hardworking cowboys, pirates with kinfolk, and a unicorn who has to work out his own identity. Lyrics are provided with physical CDs, or available to download on the website. Rufus the Unicorn is just plain fun family listening, highly recommended for both personal and public library children's music collections! The tracks are "Get Up, It's Morning!", "The Right Side of the Bed", "The Cowboy Song", "The Cowgirl Song", "I'm a Little Teapot", "Sunshine in My Pocket", "Pirates Are People Too", "I'm Sorry", "A Princess Can Be Smart", "Rufus the Unicorn", "Blow Away the Rain", "Blow Away the Rain (Round)", "Giggly You and Me", and "Good Old Words".

Life on a Trampoline
Randy & Dave
Song Wizard Records
$14.98 CD / $9.99 download

Award-winning duo Randy & Dave present Life on a Trampoline, an original children's music CD filled with clever, sassy, jubilant, and just plain silly songs. A booklet with lyrics and chord charts is included with the physical CD. Creative and whimsical lyrics distinguish Life on a Trampoline, and make it a choice pick for family car trips or public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Enjoy It While You Can" (2:43), "Last Time I Was Here" (2:43), "Semolina" (2:57), "That Thing" (2:48), "Squadoosh" (3:56), "Not About" (3:07), "Life on a Trampoline" (2:59), "A Weird Thing Happened" (3:39), "So What If I Do?" (3:41), "Betty Mumbles" (4:21), "Happy to Help" (2:29), and "We Don't Share" (3:02).

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Akilak's Adventure
Deborah Kigjugalik Webster, author
Charlene Chua, illustrator
Inhabit Media, Inc. / Iqaluit
9781772271232, $10.95, PB, 32pp,

"Akilak's Adventure" is a beautiful Inuit story about the courage of a young girl who must make a long journey alone to bring food for her injured grandmother. Akilak was an orphaned girl who lived alone in an isolated Arctic area with her grandmother. When Akilak's grandmother injured her ankle, she had to stay home and rest while Akilak made the long journey to her uncle's camp to get food. When Akilak felt fearful about her ability to walk so far and find her way safely, her grandmother said, "Yes, granddaughter, you will walk a great distance, but keep in mind, your destination is not running away, it will be reached eventually." Along the way, Akilak met a friendly caribou who spoke kindly to her and offered to accompany her on her journey. Akilak accepted the caribou's offer gladly, although he was a stranger to her. On the long trip, the wise Caribou listened to Akilak's chatter about fears of the journey, and stories her grandmother had told her about people turning into animals and animals turning into people. The Caribou listens to Akilak's different wishes to become like a fish, a wolf, or a goose so she could make her journey more quickly and easily using their special gifts of swimming, flying, and running. The wise Caribou asked Akilak if she really would rather be an animal than a person, and Akilak answered slowly, after consideration: "Animals are my companions, and they understand me, but as much as I would like to turn into an animal and be with many others, I am grateful to be a person so I can be with my grandmother." Soon it neared dark, and Akilak began to see that she was near her uncle's camp. The Caribou thanked her for her stories and took his leave, saying, "Your destination did not run away; you will reach it soon." it was just as her Grandmother had said. The Caribou helped Akilak to understand that her long journey was more than a fearful challenge, it was an exciting adventure! "Akilak's Adventure" is charmingly illustrated with expressive faces both human and animal, and blended flows of animal images from nature in soft, earth-linked hues of the Arctic tundra in summer. "Akilak's Adventure" will appeal to children of all ages with its underlying message of having faith in your destination and enjoying the adventures of life on the way.

The Multicultural Shelf

If You Were Me and Lived in... Cuba: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World
Carole P. Roman, author
Kelsea Wierenga, illustrator
Chelshire, Inc.
9781545100769, $11.99 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 26 pages
9781947118881, $22.99, HC, 34pp,

"If You Were Me and Lived in..... Cuba" is the latest addition to the award winning child's Introduction to Culture Around the World series by Carole P. Roman. Beginning with a small map of the island nation of Cuba and a world map with Cuba's position indicated, the story addresses young readers by describing daily life of a child in Havana, Cuba. Common names for Cuban girls and boys such as Zamira, Aymee, or Ernesto, Jose, or Luis are suggested. Colorful illustrations highlight scenes familiar to Cubans such as markets, schools, and old buildings such as the Castillo del Morro, an old Spanish fort built in the 17th century. Festivals, beaches, favorite foods, sports, and popular sayings are all explained. Completed with a glossary and the signature illustration of a circle of children from many nations holding hands surrounding the earth, "If You Were Me and Lived in......Cuba" is a fantastic addition to this popular and successful juvenile world culture introductory series.

The Fiction Shelf

Mount St. Helens 1980: Fiery Eruption
Gare Thompson
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9781438009728 $7.99

Part of the "Great Escapes" series of historical fiction novels in which young people must work together to escape deadly natural or man-made situations, Mount St. Helens 1980: Fiery Eruption follows young Alex and Wendy amidst a devastating volcanic eruption. Like all novels in the series, Mount St. Helens 1980 seamlessly weaves real-life historical figures into its action- adventure narrative. An enthralling adventure from cover to cover, Mount St. Helens 1980: Fiery Eruption is a choice pick for grade school and public library children's collections. Also forthcoming is another title in the "Great Escapes" series, "Underground Railroad 1854: Perilous Journey" (9781438009735, $7.99).

The Bonaventure Adventures
Rachelle Delaney
Penguin Canada
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780143198505 $16.99

The Bonaventure Adventures tells of Seb, who attends the Bonaventure Circus School in Montreal when children around the world are trained to be performers. He expects something different than he gets when he discovers the prestigious school is suffering, and his mission becomes more than training as he embarks on an adventure that moves beyond the usual scenarios of boarding school experience and delves into a mystery with a circus backdrop. Teens will find it an involving, different read.

The Eyes of the Enemy
Robert Black
Royal Fireworks Press
First Avenue, PO Box 399, Unionville, NY 10988
9780898242654, $9.99, PB, 224pp,

It is 1944, and the war between the United States and Japan is raging across the Pacific ocean. Back in Nebraska, Kathy Syverson has been having some very unusual dreams. She sees her brother Danny in a foreign land, living as a Marine. But Kathy doesn't just see him; she is there. In "The Eyes of the Enemy", young readers will join Kathy as her life in America is disturbed by vivid glimpses into her brother's struggle overseas. Through these dreams she is afforded a unique perspective on those living on both sides of the front line. An original, deftly crafted, inherently absorbing and thoroughly entertaining read for children ages 11 to 15, "The Eyes of the Enemy" by Robert Black is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library Historical Fiction collections for young readers.

Indiana Bamboo
Meira Rosenberg
Iris Press
c/o The Iris Publishing Group
969 Oak Ridge Turnpike, # 328, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
9781604542455, $12.00, PB,

Two days before Indiana Bamboo's eleventh birthday, Paradise Pets, her favorite store in the small town of River Creek, is robbed. All the animals are missing, from her beloved Maurice the Brown Bear to Princess Penelope, the puppy she's been coveting, and Indiana is on the case! She teams up with her best friend, Jamie, and her new friend, Tom, to search for clues. The kids tangle with the petnappers all over town, but all is nearly lost when Indiana suspects that Tom is a no-good double-crosser who's in cahoots with the bad guys. Just when things couldn't get worse, Indiana overhears the petnappers at Stefano Stefano's Ice Cream Parlor plotting to make the animals disappear forever. There's no time to lose, but how can Indiana foil their evil plan and rescue the animals before it's too late? All the more impressive when considering that "Indiana Bamboo" is author Meira Rosenberg's debut as a novelist. An impressively well written and unfailingly entertaining read from beginning to end, "Indiana Bamboo" is especially recommended for young readers ages 9 to 11, and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both elementary school and community library General Fiction collections.

The Lion's Paw
Carlos Torres
Talking Donkey Press
c/o All About Kids Publishing
PO Box 159, Gilroy, CA 95021
9780996375672, $11.95, PB, 170pp,

"The Lion's Paw" by Carols Torres is the story of twelve-year-old Keela, an African boy who aspires to be like Zun, the ultimate warrior-hunter, village leader and holder of the lion's paw. Kella's journey to become a warrior-hunter is a difficult one, filled with emotion and danger. Against all odds Keela finally overcomes a daunting series of tests, trials, and difficulties, only to find that his admiration for the lion's paw dims as he learns about what's really important. All the more impressive considering that this is Carols Toress debut as an author,"The Lion's Paw" is an original and deftly crafted novel that will prove to be and enduringly popular and appreciated addition to elementary school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers ages 8 to 12.

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting
Joe Ballarini
Katherine Tegen Books
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062437839, $13.99, HC, 352pp,

When middle schooler Kelly Ferguson's Halloween plans switch from party-going to babysitting, she thinks the scariest part of her night will be the death of her social life. But then Baby Jacob gets kidnapped by the Boogeyman's minions and Kelly learns there's a whole lot more to childcare than free snacks and Netflix. Like chasing shadow monsters, drop-kicking Toadies, and mastering monster-fighting moves like the Naptime Headlock and Playground Punch. Now, with the help of an ancient handbook and a secret society of butt-kicking babysitters, Kelly sets out to destroy the Boogeyman before he brings Jacob's nightmares to life. But when the monsters' trail leads to her school's big Halloween bash, Kelly will have to prove she can save the world -- without totally embarrassing herself in front of her friends. Packed with black-and-white illustrations and insider secrets from the world of monster hunting, "A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting" is full of tricks, treats, and terrifying twists! Especially recommended for young readers ages 8-12, "A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting" will prove to be a truly riveting read from cover to cover. While highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Jelly Bean Summer
Joyce Magnin
Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139, Naperville, IL 60563
9781492646723, $16.99, HC, 272pp,

Joyce is desperate to get out of the room she shares with her older sister. All she wants is some peace and quiet, not the kind that fills the space left by her missing brother and tastes like butterscotch gone sour, the kind where you can breathe deep and see the stars. So she moves to the roof. Up there it's nothing but blue sky. Blue sky and....another roof dweller? Joyce soon discovers she's not the only one who's been driven to rooftop living. With the help of a pair of binoculars, a sketch pad, and a pen, Joyce makes an unexpected friend and sets in motion a summer she'll never forget. "Jelly Bean Summer" is a thoroughly delightful and entertaining read that is especially recommended for children ages 8 to 12. An original and deftly crafted novel from beginning to end, "Jelly Bean Summer" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition for both school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Jelly Bean Summer" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers: The Spring Tales
C. F. Crawford, author
L. H. Crawford, illustrator
Lauco Press
9780997642216, $11.00, PB, 168pp,

Hallie and Cory are determined to figure out Mr. Snuggywhiskers's connection to their family, but adventures keep getting in the way. Slowly they unravel the mysterious past of Mr. Snuggywhiskers, the dapper, well-spoken mouse who lives in the tallest tree in their backyard. They are confronted with surprises along the way, from meeting a leprechaun to finding out that mice really can surf! Ideal for homeschooling and early grade school students with advanced reading levels, "Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers: The Spring Tales" is te third volume in the award-winning 'Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers' series. A wonderfully entertaining read from beginning to end, "Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers: The Spring Tales" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library fiction collections for young readers ages 5 to 11.

Music Time
Gwendolyn Hooks, author
Shirley Ng-Benitez, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781620143438, $14.95 HC, $5.95 PB, 32pp,

"Music Time" is a chapter book from the Dive Into Reading! series which encourages literary skills with entertaining, illustrated stories about kids set in racially diverse neighborhoods. Illustrated with active, cheery water color paintings of Henry and his friends exploring freeze dancing, being a rock star, and having a quiet dance party with just Henry and his mom. Henry wants to be a rock star drummer, but his drumming is very loud and his mother requests him to play his drums quietly. Henry finds a compromise, offering to play his drum outside with his friends instead. While Henry drums, Lily, Mei, Pablo, and Padma dance silly, funny dances until the drumming stops, then they must freeze. Everyone has a fun time until time to go home for dinner. Home with his mom after dinner, Henry finds quiet pastimes such as drawing a picture. His mom decides she is through with work, and asks henry if he would like to play with her. They decide to turn on some music and dance silly dances, having music fun until it is bedtime. "Music Time" ends with a suggested related activity, a craft of making a drum out of an oatmeal box or coffee container. Kids who are early emergent, emergent, early fluent, or fluent readers can enjoy sharpening their reading skills with color coded headings on the Dive Into Reading! book series for young readers.

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

J.C. Geiger's Wildman (9781484749579 $17.99) tells what happens when a scholarship winner and success-oriented student's car breaks down in a small town where he is a stranger. One wouldn't think a successful student would be interested in re-inventing his image; but when he faces suspicion and is deemed 'Wildman', he suddenly discovers a new persona which leads him to change his set course in life. A powerful coming-of-age story offers a different perspective on success, failure, and uncharted territories. Margaret Dilloway's Momotaro: Xander and the Dream Thief (9781484724880, $16.99) offers the sequel to Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters and tells of a biracial boy who abuses his Momotaro powers and loses his family's dreams in the process. He goes from feeling powerful with the recent knowledge of his special abilities to realizing that they can be used to adversely affect everything he loves in this powerful sequel that stands well on its own for newcomers.

The Environmental Shelf

Dark Matters
Joan Marie Galat
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada, L3R 4T8
9780889955158, $19.95, HC, 72pp,

Told through the eyes of thirteen year old girl named Joan who loves the outdoors, "Dark Matters: Nature's Reaction to Light Pollution" will introduce young readers ages 8 - 10 to the fragile wonders that are covered by our increasingly threatened nighttime skies. "Dark Matters is packed full from cover to cover with fascinating and unexpected facts and illustrations, and even provides tips and suggestions on how young people in the third and fourth grade can help reduce light pollution in their communities in the concluding chapter called 'What You Can Do' -- because to the ecological systems of nature, dark matters. Impressively 'kid friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Dark Matters: Nature's Reaction to Light Pollution" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Nature & The Environment collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Finding Mighty
Sheela Chari
c/o Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419722967, $16.95, HC, 320pp,

Along the train lines north of New York City, twelve-year-old neighbors Myla and Peter search for the link between Myla's necklace and the disappearance of Peter's brother, Randall. Thrown into a world of parkour, graffiti, and diamond-smuggling, Myla and Peter encounter a band of thugs who are after the same thing as Randall. Can Myla and Peter find Randall before it's too late, and their shared family secrets threaten to destroy them all? Drawing on urban art forms and local history, "Finding Mighty" is a deftly crafted mystery by accomplished author Sheela Chari that explores the nature of art and the unbreakable bonds of family. An absorbing and entertaining read from cover to cover, "Finding Mighty" is especially recommended for elementary school and community library Mystery/Suspense collections for young readers. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Finding Mighty" is also available in a digital book format ($9.15).

The Autism Shelf

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

Two fictional stories for young picture book readers successfully impart facts about learning disabilities as Asperger's as they provide characters and situations youngsters can relate to. While adult interaction for discussion purposes will enhance the educational attraction of these books, kids with good reading skills in grades 2-4 will find them enlightening. James Dillon's Okay Kevin: A Story to Help Children Discover How Everyone Learns Differently (9781785927324, $17.95) tells of a boy who never feels comfortable at school. While he's expressive and energetic at home, at school he feels unsafe, until a teacher's assignment helps him realize that he, too, can be successful. Kids ages 5-8 receive a lesson in self-esteem and special abilities. Kathy Hoopmann's Lisa and the Lacemaker (9781785920288, $18.95) is illustrated by Mike Medaglia and uses the graphic novel format (in full color) to tell of Lisa, who discovers a hidden door in a back yard and who uncovers the legend of a Lacemaker. Aunt Hannah has her own secret as well, which is tied into this legend and a growing mystery that leads directly into a better understanding of her own Asperger Syndrome. Kids will learn much about the syndrome and its very real impact as they absorb a mystery filled with colorful picture panels.

The Bilingual Shelf

Todos a Comer! A Mexican Food Alphabet Book
Dr. Ma. Alma Gonzalez Perez
Del Alma Publications, LLC
9780982242223 $7.99

Todos a Comer! A Mexican Food Alphabet Book is a bilingual, softcover English/Spanish alphabet book featuring traditional Mexican cuisine (in mouth-watering, full-color photography!) for each letter of the alphabet. "Uu is for uvas. Grapes are used to prepare salads and desserts. In the Hispanic culture, it is a custom to eat twelve grapes to welcome the new year. Does your family have this custom?" A picture glossary of Mexican cooking utensils rounds out this delightful ABC book, ideal for reading aloud and sharing with young children.

The Activity Shelf

Junk Drawer Engineering
Bobby Mercer
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613737163 $14.99 pbk / $9.97 Kindle

Junk Drawer Engineering is filled cover to cover with simple science projects that kids ages 9 and up can try using inexpensive materials most likely stuffed in a "junk drawer" at home. Black- and-white photographs on virtually every page illustrate projects like building an aluminum foil boat that can hold a maximum cargo load (of pennies), or crafting a homemade roller coaster from pipe wrap. Recommendations for adapting each project for children of different ages and skill levels round out this educational and entertaining repository! Highly recommended.

The LGBT Studies Shelf

When You Look Out the Window
Gayle E. Pitman, author
Christopher Lyles, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433827365, $15.95, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written by Gayle E. Pitman and charmingly illustrated by Christopher Lyles, "When You Look Out the Window" is a picture book about Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, one of San Francisco's most well-known and politically active lesbian couples. In this story, Phyllis and Del point out landmarks through the city that can be seen out their window. The "Reader's Note" describes how Phyllis and Del left their mark on each of these sites. A unique and entertaining way to introduce children ages 4 to 8 to untold stories in history while also being a clever tribute to two notable women, "When You Look Out the Window" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Geography Shelf

National Geographic Kids United States Atlas, fifth edition
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426328312 $12.99

Now in its fifth edition, National Geographic Kids United States Atlas devotes a two-page spread to each state, with a map on the right and a wealth of fun facts on the left. (US Territories are also briefly covered). An accessible educational resource featuring full-color maps and photographs, as well as a glossary and place name index, National Geographic Kids United States Atlas is a choice pick for both grade school and public library children's geography collections. Highly recommended! "Wisconsin leads the country in cheese production and is the second largest producer of milk and butter. Other farmers grow crops ranging from corn and soybeans to potatoes and cranberries. Northern Wisconsin is sparsely populated but heavily forested and is the source of paper and paper products produced by the state."

The Holocaust Studies Shelf

My Sister's Eyes
Joan Arnay Halperin
JMA Press
PO Box 212, Hillsdale, NJ 07642
9780692844892, $19.95, PB, 94pp,

"My Sister's Eyes: A Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II" by Joan Arnay Halperin tells the story of the Polish-Jewish Krakowiak family beginning with their prosperous pre-war life in Poland and Belgium, then suffering the Nazi onslaught and their perilous flight to freedom. Of special note is the reporting of the moral heroism of the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux and then the family's ultimate escape from the holocaust inferno of war and their journey to America. Profusely illustrated and specifically written for young readers, "My Sister's Eyes" is an impressive testament to the human spirit and with it's underlying message of 'Never Forget. Unique, exceptional, informative, emotionally moving, "My Sister's Eyes"' is very highly recommended for family, school and community library Holocaust Studies collections for children.

Books in Series

Mapping in the Modern World series
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

Six new books in the 'Mapping in the Modern World' series from the Crabtree Publishing Company provides insights on modern maps and how they are created and used, providing a blend of map history with support for state Stands for Geography for grades 5 and 6 and C3 Framework for Social Studies-Geography. Included in this series are Tim Cooke's The Changing Face of Maps (9780778732211, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), introducing maps, their uses, and a history of mapmaking; his Mapping Human Activity (9780778732228, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), which shows how maps reflect and predict human activity; Enzo George's Mental maps and Mapping the Mind (9780778732372, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), about the personalities of map makers and how people make maps; Charlie Samuels' Mapping the Physical World (9780778732365, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), about satellite technology and how it relates to mapping; James Bow's Mapping the Future (9780778732389, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), about how GPS has changed mapmaking and enhanced various activities that use maps to make decisions, and his Mapping in a Digital World (9780778732235, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), which considers digital data and how it relates to mapping peoples, places, and various systems. All are highly recommended picks for any elementary-level collection.

Immigrant Experiences series
The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503822849, $159.60, Library Binding, 8 Volume Set; $28.50 each

Aside from Native Americans, the United States is a nation of immigrants and the descendants of immigrants. Now The Child's World has published a new eight volume series showcasing the immigrant experience of people from eight different countries. Each individual volume in this simply outstanding series combines primary source information (quotes, letters, diaries, new stories) into a narrative text enhanced with compelling images and informative infographics. Each volume also features 'fast facts', critical-thinking questions, a phonetic glossary, an index, a timeline of key events, and a listing of sources for further research. Specifically intended for fourth grade students, this series is comprised of: Italian Immigrants; Japanese Immigrants: In Their Shoes; Irish Immigrants: In Their Shoes; Vietnamese Immigrants: In Their Shoes; Mexican Immigrants: In Their Shoes; German Immigrants: In Their Shoes; Somali Immigrants: In Their Shoes; Cuban Immigrants: In Their Shoes.

Go, Popplio!
Adapted by Maria S. Barbo
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338148664 $3.99

Part of an ongoing series of easy reader books based on the Pokemon cartoon (which is in turn based on an enormously popular video game series) Go, Popplio! tells a story about Pokemon trainer Ash, his friend Lana, and Lana's exuberant, balloon-creating pokemon Popplio (a pokemon from the games "Pokemon Sun" and "Pokemon Moon", who resembles a small, cheerful blue seal). But when Team Rocket tries to kidnap pokemon, it's up to Popplio to save the day! Illustrated with full-color images from the original cartoon throughout, Go, Popplio! is a level 2 reader, featuring more vocabulary words and longer sentences, and is ideal for encouraging young people grades 1-2 to develop their reading skills.

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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