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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 30, Number 8 August 2020 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Halloween Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Science Shelf Gardening Shelf
Board Book Shelf Picturebook Shelf General Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf Christian Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Hurricane Vacation
Dr. Heather L. Beal, author
Jasmine Mills, illustrator
Train 4 Safety Press
9781947690110, $9.99 PB; $2.99 Kindle
9781947690127, $17.99, HC, 36pp,

Niko and Emma are on vacation with their aunt and uncle and family in a tropical beach area. When they receive warning of a hurricane watch, the children ask Aunt Sarah and Uncle Brian many questions. They explain that a hurricane forms over tropical waters and is like a huge storm, covering hundreds of miles.

The children help Sarah and Brian to prepare for the hurricane. As they get ready to evacuate, Aunt Sara prepares to help at the hospital during the hurricane. The children learn a song about hurricane preparedness that they can sing to a familiar tune as they prepare to evacuate to a shelter.

Thinking they have packed everything they need, the children discover that Niko has forgotten his stuffed frog, Dino. Tears begin to flow, but everyone helps search quickly and they find Dino in time to leave safely for the shelter.

"Hurricane Vacation" ends with a list of questions and activities for children to help them learn and understand hurricane preparedness. There is also a list of sites for further resources and web pages that help teach ways to keep children safe during hurricanes.

Laced with cheerful colored illustrations, "Hurricane Vacation" is a calmly informative hurricane preparedness manual for children age 3-8 years and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Empress of Coils
Lynn Graham, author
Kavion Robinson, illustrator
9780578705026, $21.50, HC, 54pp,

Kendolyn loved everything about herself except her hair. "It's too coarse, too big, too hard to comb, too coily." It's just too much! 10-year-old Kendolyn has decided that the perfect birthday gift would be a relaxer for her hair. Her mother and hair stylist agree, but under one condition, Kendolyn has to finish reading a book of their choice.

After tossing the book to the side in favor of zoning out in front of the television, Kendolyn quickly realizes this is no ordinary book. The wordless, pictureless book presents her with a magic comb, and an unforgettable journey into knowledge, self-discovery, and confidence begins.

In the pages of author and storyteller Lynn Graham's "Empress of Coils", young girls will particularly enjoy joining Kendolyn on an exciting adventure as she learns that her hair is her history. Will Kendolyn still decide to perm her hair or not?

As fully entertaining as it is thought-provoking, and deftly enhanced with charming illustrations by Kavion Robinson, "Empress of Coils" is especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library collections. An ideal gift for any little girl of color, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Empress of Coils" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9798645894047, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Girl and the Cathedral
Nicolas Jeter, author
Sara Ugolotti, illustrator
Bushel & Peck Books
9781733633550, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

On an island in the Seine, a little girl plants a garden -- but it's not a garden of flowers. It will be a garden of people, she says: Paris. And in the center of that garden will stand its guardian, a grand cathedral carved from stone and roofed with light: the majestic Notre Dame de Paris.

Alas, the garden will change, as people must. The girl sees kings and revolutions, empires and democracies, wars and tragedies. The are the best of times, and there are the worst. Through it all, the light of Notre Dame keeps hope bright. But when fire strikes Notre Dame itself, the little girl is grief stricken. It seems all light has gone out -- until her beloved people discover what she has planted within them all along.

"The Girl and the Cathedral" is a moving story about life, freedom, love, loss, and the glory of new beginnings. It is a story about Notre Dame, but much deeper, it is a story about all that Notre Dame stands for. Of special note is the inclusion of a fold-out timeline of Notre Dame's history with period paintings and photographs. The front cover has built-in plastic windows that shine when help up to the light!

A stunningly beautiful, wonderfully entertaining, thoroughly heartwarming, and unique tribute to the cathedral of Notre Dame, "The Girl and the Cathedral: The Story of Notre Dame de Paris" by the team of author/storyteller Nicolas Jeter and artist/illustrator Sara Ugolotti is an especially, unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Story Of Babushka
Catherine Flores, author
Ana Beatriz Marques, illustrator
ACL Creative Studio
9781527260290, $19.99, HC, 120pp,

The babushka doll, also known as a matryoshka or Russian nesting doll, is a traditional Russian toy first made over 100 years ago. The doll has come to symbolise Russian folk culture, as well as the complex and beautiful layers of women. There are some babushka dolls with as many as fifty dolls nested inside.

"The Story Of Babushka" is the story of one very special babushka doll and her five bodies. There was the outermost body, Antonia. She was pure beauty. Everyone who saw her admired her good looks.

Beneath that body of beauty hid Loretta, who was richly adorned. She wore gold ornaments, and her green robe was decorated with many different gems that glittered like the ocean on a sunny day

Hidden within the rich body was Paula, the body that held all Babushka's talents. Whatever Paula did, she was sure to succeed. She knew how to work and always did so with joy and determination.

Within the talented body was Viola, the body of wisdom. Viola knew a lot about the world and learned very quickly. She was always full of brilliant ideas and had clever solutions for every problem.

The last body, the smallest of all, was Mary, the embodiment of love. Mary had a warm and compassionate heart and was very helpful. She could dry tears and mend broken hearts.

Together, these bodies formed the complete Babushka.

A unique, original, and thoroughly entertaining read for children ages 6-12, and featuring beautifully colorful illustrations by Ana Beatriz Marques, "The Story Of Babushka" by author/storyteller Catherine Flores will prove to be an extraordinary and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Story Of Babushka" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781838022327, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

The Social Issues Shelf

Parker Plum and the Intergalactic Space Detective
Billie Pavicic, author
Madeline Timm, illustrator
Boys Town Press
13603 Flanagan Blvd., Boys Town, NE 68010
9781944882525, $10.95, PB, 32pp,

When Parker Plum's favorite comic arrives and as he reads about the adventures of Max Mayhem, Intergalactic Space Detective, he starts to think about some of the curious behaviors that he sees at Fish Creek Elementary, and wonders if he can use his own detective skills to figure out a way to help.

Unfortunately, when Parker starts playing detective, his curiosity gets the best of him. He ends up snooping into things that are none of his business and misunderstanding the motive and behavior of others. Fortunately, his comic hero Max comes to life to offer guidance and teach Parker that sometimes the best way to help others is to understand them, not change them.

Young readers ages 5-8 will enjoy following Parker as he learns a better way to help others and why he doesn't always need to know everything about everyone. Of special note is the inclusion of tips for parents, caregivers, counselors and educators that are included in the back of the picture book to help teach children the social skills of compassion, empathy and kindness.

While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Parker Plum and the Intergalactic Space Detective: A Story about Acceptance, Compassion, and Uncommon Behaviors" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95).

The Halloween Shelf

Poopshkin and Nobody's Candy
Iraida Henderson, Kristina Nokes, & Rob Nokes, authors
Liliya Chagay, illustrator
Team Poopshkin Books, producer
Kim Farnell and Paul Virostek, editors
9780999692585, $12.95 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 36pp,

"Poopshkin and Nobody's Candy" is a creative children's fantasy work based loosely on Halloween habits and customs. Part of an exciting new series of eleven children's books, "Poopshkin and Nobody's Candy" traces the daring adventure of Poopshkin and his friends as they climb scary Santa Monica Mountain to "save Halloween from a scary... evil Witch who has taken all of the candies except for one, a Purple candy."

Illustrated as comic, adorable animals costumed for Halloween, Poopshkin and his friends, Pepin, Zaza, and Freddie tackle the scary mission because they wish to save the candies for the celebration of Halloween for children. However, a troubling truth emerges when the team confronts the scary witch (who somehow looks rather familiar with her Beagle's face).

In answer to the question, Whose candy is it? Poopshkin remembers he made a mistake. He had secretly picked up a precious purple candy dropped by his friend Zaza and kept it for himself. he confesses all to Zaza, who kindly forgives him. Confession of candy theft is followed by a Hurricandy, a deluge of Halloween candy. All friends return home and next morning, Poopshkin notices some telltale resemblances between his caretaker/parent, Lori, and the scary evil witch on the mountain the night before.

Young readers are left draw their own conclusions about the lesson Poopshkin learned about honest sharing of candy with friends.

"Poopshkin and Nobody's Candy" is filled with vivid, brilliant, touching, bright and dark illustrations of tender young child-animals going costumed on their Halloween adventure. Look for more volumes in this children's series exploring festive months and seasons of the year.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Pets and Their Famous Humans
Ana Gallo, author
Katherine Quinn, illustrator
Prestel Publishing
9783791374253, $17.95, HC, 48pp,

Did you know that Mozart's pet starling was the inspiration for his Piano Concerto No. 17? Or that writer Dorothy Parker loved animals so much she let a pair of alligators swim in her bathtub? These are just a couple of the stories showcased in the pages of "Pets and Their Famous Humans", a delightful and surprising picture book collection by the team of author Ana Gallo and illustrator Katherine Quinn that profiles the strong bond between humans and their pets.

Some of these stories are touching: Frida Kahlo memorialized her pet deer Granizo in her painting The Wounded Deer. Some are a little quirky: Albert Einstein, convinced that his parrot, Bibo, was sad, told bad jokes to cheer the bird up.

Each of these impressively entertaining and deftly presented stories is made even more appealing as they fully capture the humor and poignancy of these pet/human relationships -- making "Pets and Their Famous Humans" an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers ages 7-10.

Melissa Stewart
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426337475, $25.99, HC, 112pp,

Synopsis: "ICK!: Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses" by Melissa Stewart takes children ages 8-12 on one of the grossest journey through the animal world they will ever take. From ants to zebras, kids can get ready to discover some seriously strange animal behaviors including slurping up soupy insides with houseflies, spitting sticky saliva to build nests with birds, and fending off predators with poop-flinging caterpillars and farting snakes. And that's just the tip of the dung pile! These yucky habits may seem surprising to us, but they're totally normal for these animals. In fact, their survival depends on them.

Critique: Featuring a snappy text, incredible photography, and still more cool features, "ICK!: Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses" is thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, making it a highly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "ICK!" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781426337468, $14.99).

See the Sea
Alese & Morton Pechter, authors/photographers
Best Publishing Company
9781947239258, $11.99 PB, $8.99 Kindle, 52pp,

Featuring 52 pages full color photos, "See the Sea" is an enchanting odyssey of incredible undersea images. Aimed at an audience of children ages 4-9 years, here are 30 spectacular marine portraits of sea creatures narrated in descriptive, jaunty verse. The table of contents lists creatures included by miniature photos, names, and numbers. From tube sponge to damselfish, from star coral to cowfish, here are definitive pictures of stunning marine life, further described in white-highlighted narrative verse.

The mission of the photo journalist authors is to inspire reverence for marine environment and life, and to encourage ocean stewardship and protection. To that end, the final pages of "See the Sea" include Saving Our Waters & Fish (things you can do to help save our fish and oceans), Have Some Fun (entertainment ideas plus a warning that plastics harm our fish friends), and The Ocean is Life, a reminder of what roles the oceans play in protecting all life on earth. "See the Sea" is a fantastic, entertaining, educational marine exploration book with a mission to train young readers to become ocean protectors.

The Science Shelf

When Darwin Sailed the Sea
David Long, author
Sam Kalda, illustrator
Wide Eyed Editions
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780711249684, $19.99, HC, 80pp,

At the age of 22, Charles Darwin clambered up the steps of HMS Beagle armed with enough notepads to last him for several years and set sail on a journey of exploration that would change his life and how we view the entire world forever. He later wrote: "The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event of my life and has determined my whole career."

From his fascination with the natural world that began at an early age, to his love of collecting new specimens, and his keen eye for observation to his groundbreaking theory of evolution, "When Darwin Sailed the Sea: Uncover how Darwin's revolutionary ideas helped change the world" by the team of author David Long and illustrator Sam Kalda uncovers the incredible life of Charles Darwin in this fascinating picture book story of his life specifically presented for children ages 8-10.

At the back of "When Darwin Sailed the Sea", young readers can explore a selection of the amazing species he discovered, concise profiles of some of the incredible people who helped Darwin on his path to becoming a groundbreaking scientist, a glossary of terms, and a timeline of Darwin's life and career.

Especially recommended for elementary school and community library picture book Science & Biography collections for children, "When Darwin Sailed the Sea" an extraordinary, informative and fun account of one of the most influential and important men of 19th Century science.

The Gardening Shelf

One Little Lot: The 1-2-3s of an Urban Garden
Diane C. Mullen, author
Oriol Vidal, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580898898, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

In the pages of "One Little Lot: The 1-2-3s of an Urban Garden", children ages 3-7 will thoroughly enjoy counting all the ways (one to ten) that an urban community unites in order to clean up an abandoned lot. From building planter boxes, to pulling weeds, to planting seeds, everyone works together to transform the lot into a bountiful vegetable garden. As the garden grows, strangers become friends, eventually sharing in a special feast with the harvest they grew! A thoroughly charming, entertaining, and inspiring picture book by the team of author/storyteller Diane C. Mullen and artist/illustrator Oriol Vidal, "One Little Lot: The 1-2-3s of an Urban Garden" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book gardening collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "One Little Lot: The 1-2-3s of an Urban Garden" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Board Book Shelf

Yoga Baby
Amanda Flinn, author
Shane Crampton, illustrator
Beaming Books
PO Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440
9781506456997, $7.99, Board Book, 26pp,

Reaching, bending, rocking, and swaying -- these are just a few of the moves a bouncy little baby tries when her mother practices yoga throughout the day in "Yoga Baby", a board book for children ages 2-5 by the team of author Amanda Flinn and illustrator Shane Crampton. In the midst of a busy day, yoga turns out to be a surprising source of connection, fun, and giggles for mother and child. Surprising and silly, "Yoga Baby" proves that it's never too early for parents and children to explore together what their bodies can do -- never too early, in short, for the life-giving practice of yoga! Of special note is a guide in the back of this charmingly entertaining board book that provides tips and tricks for incorporating yoga practice into daily life with a young child. While especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections, it should be noted that "Yoga Baby" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Who Ate My Cakes?
9788418133121, $9.95, Board Book, 16pp,

Cat has four different cakes and is very hungry! When he goes to eat the first cake, he discovers one of his friends already ate it! He soon realizes all of his cake is gone. Lift the flaps to find out who ate all of Cat s cakes. A creative board book to learn numbers and animals, this utterly charming board book for children ages 2-6 and highly recommended for family, daycare center, and preschool collections is also readily available in a Spanish language edition ("Quien se comio mi fruta?", 9788418133091, $9.95, 16pp, Board Book,

Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210

Charmingly illustrated by the team of Annie Kubler and Sarah Dellow, Child's Play has issued four new board books for children ages 1-3. Each of them is based on a popular children's rhyme. This new and wonderfully entertaining 12 page board book series is comprised of: "This Little Piggy" (9781786284051, $5.99); "Pat-A-Cake" (9781786284075, $5.99); "Ten Little Fingers" (9781786284068, $5.99); "Hey Diddle Diddle" (9781786284082, $5.99). Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections, parents and librarians are advised to acquire all four of these throughly 'kid friendly & fun' board books.

Quirk Books
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106

Quirk Books has launched an impressive new series of board books for children ages 2-5 that are based on the popular and long running television series 'Mr. Rogers Neighborhood'. With lyrics by Fred Rogers and illustrations by Luke Flowers, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" (9781683691990, $9.99, BB, 24pp) is based on the instantly recognizable theme song of the television series. "It's You I Like" (9781683692010, $9.99, BB, 24pp) is based on Fred Rogers' heartwarming song that conveys Mister Rogers's singular warmth and belief that every child is special and loved. Unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections, it should be noted that both books are also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Picturebook Shelf

You Can Do It, Noisy Nora!
Rosemary Wells
Viking Children's Books
c/o Penguin Putnam Inc.
9781101999233, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp,

You Can Do It, Noisy Nora! presents the picture book story of a little mouse who is learning to play the violin. Nora is enthusiastic about her newfound ability to play a special song. Usually Nora's tenacity is celebrated, but her newfound fascination with an instrument that only produces awful sounds has her family covering their ears during the initial weeks of scraping, squeaking, screeching sounds. A gentle rhyme illustrates the little mouse's persistence and her family's solution to her grating new passion. Fans of the prior Noisy Nora book will find this gentle story a fine addition to what will likely be a compelling new series.

Put Yourself in My Shoes
Susanna Isern, author
Mylene Rigaudie, illustrator
9788417673376, $15.95, HC, 40pp,

When Cricket goes for a walk, he finds Ladybug searching for something in her garden. She's lost one of her spots! Since Cricket doesn't have any spots, he doesn't think they're important. Bee has a problem too: her wing is all tangled up! Spider is running low on silk and Centipede doesn't have enough shoes! But Cricket doesn't think any of those things are that important. But what will Cricket do when he faces a problem? "Put Yourself in My Shoes" is a charmingly entertaining picture book for children ages 4-8 years on the importance and value of empathy for others. Extraordinary and original, "Put Yourself in My Shoes" is very highly recommended, especially for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Vote for Me!
Martin Baltscheit and Marc Boutavant
Eerdmans Books
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
4035 Park East Court SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
9780802855435, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Vote for Me! is a fine picture book exploration of the election process that is particularly suitable to the 2020 year as it explores a lion who loves winning elections - until he confronts a mouse who decides to be a mighty contender.

At first the lion isn't worried about such a small candidate, but as each animal offers their own alternate in a big election, too many options muddle the process. How can the animal kingdom vote on the best animal for the job? Marc Boutavant's lovely drawings accompany a fine, fun story that excels in both humor and easy, pointed messages about winning, politics, and representation.

Like Best Friends
Bob Raczka, author
Merrilee Liddiard, illustrator
Cameron Books
c/o Cameron + Company
149 Kentucky Street, Suite 7, Petaluma, CA 94952
9781944903886, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Summer drags, like a book that starts out good, then isn't. The boy is bored, like a frog waiting for a fly to buzz by. So the boy hops on his bike and heads for the playground, where he finds a girl on a swing who beckons him to join her. At first, the boy is reluctant, but soon they are having fun like best friends, like characters in a book with a happy ending.

"Like Best Friends" is a thoroughly charming and impressively entertaining picture book for children ages 5-7 by the team of author/storyteller Bob Raczka and artist/illustrator Merrilee Liddiard that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Like Best Friends" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.10).

Lucy Dancer
Eva Zimet, author/illustrator
Rootstock Publishing
9781578690121, $13.95, PB, 32pp,

Lucy is an imaginative young girl who loved to run and jump at the beach and pretend to fly, holding a feather in each hand. Lucy sometimes wanted to fly away from her older sister, who made fun of her.

When her mother took her to a ballet class for the first time, she was reluctant and refused to wear the pink tights and pink shoes her mother got for her. Instead she wore black. Lucy was surprised by ballet, and by Miss Gabriela, her Russian teacher. Ballet was hard. All the words for the positions were in French. it was hard, sweaty work, but Lucy liked it. She went back.

Gabriela taught her the Russian word for heart, "dusha." She explained, "The arabesque does not come from the legs,..... It comes from the heart. You must open your heart."

The swirling, leaping images by Eva Zimet portray Lucy's growing skill and excitement as she learns to dance, always practicing to be better. When Lucy dances, she imagines light coming from her fingertips. All the young dancers practice very hard for their first performance together.

When Lucy's sister asks her if she was afraid of falling, she answered, "No.... I felt like I was flying." "Lucy Dancer" is a fabulous introduction to classical dance, which deserves to be a cherished addition to every budding artist's shelf.

Highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, "Lucy Dancer" is a a beautiful picture book about classic ballet for young readers age 4-10 years.

Dear Mr. Wasn't Me
Laura Jensen-Kimball, author
Peter Mahr, illustrator
9780996364638, $19.99, HC, 32 pages,

Colorfully illustrated by artist/illustrator Peter Mahr, "Dear Mr. Wasn't Me" by author/storyteller Laura Jensen-Kimball is a rollicking, hilarious, picture book tale of family subterfuge that pits wily children and pets against a beleaguered parent in a mounting pile of chaotic, dirty disordered deeds.

A witty, verse narrative is contrasted against pages of illustrations overflowing with spilled toys, dirty footprints, camouflaged pets, and one captive sibling flanked by two perpetrators, not to mentions piles of disordered laundry, food, and other distasteful remnants of daily living.

Beginning with a sleepy, overworked mom awakening to mounting evidence of deed after deed of home cluttering, the narrative traces her reaction to her unconvincing guilty children as a letter addressed to "Dear Mr. Wasn't Me."

Addressed to an audience of young readers ages 2-10 years and their parents, "Dear Mr. Wasn't Me" navigates the tricky trail between being tasked with maintaining reasonable order and safety in a life with kids and surrendering to a reaction of alternating outrage and volcanic laughter at the daily antics of kids.

"Dear Mr. Wasn't Me" uses hyperbole to bring the reader to helpless laughter, and also a slight hint of the revenge of the parent in the end. All kids and parents will enjoy reading "Dear Mr. Wasn't Me," and it should be required reading for all prospective parents with romantic notions of having and raising children!

While especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dear Mr. Wasn't Me" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Stop That Lion
Lois Wickstrom, author
Timna Green, illustrator
Look Under Rocks
9780916176648, $TBA, HC, 21pp

The Kingdom of Sher and the Kingdom of Mir were good neighbors. But the Kingdom of Sher had a lion. And the farmers in the Kingdom of Sher raised sheep. Every night, the lion from the Kingdom of Sher sneaked into the Kingdom of Mir and ate sheep that belonged to families who lived there.

The King proclaimed a contest to Stop the Lion. The servants announced the rules: The winning solution must be fair!; The winner will be the King's Royal Advisor.; Losers must give the King their most precious possession.

But nothing the grown-ups try works! Now it's up to a young girl named Wynnie -- but she always asks too many questions!

A thoroughly charming picture book story for children ages 4-8, "Stop That Lion" is an especially entertaining and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stop That Lion" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Three excellent new picture books are highly recommended new arrivals for libraries seeking lasting lends for elementary-level readers.

Paul Fleischman's Alpha Maniacs: Builders of 26 Wonders of the World (9780763690663, $19.99 HC, $0.99 Kindle, 160, Ages 12-16) features art by Melissa Sweet and pairs language, sounds, and words with art, using an adventure focus that encourages kids to appreciate word obsessives and their connection to the art world. From how artists solve problems and variations on letters to designers of calligraphy and speed writing with the goal of writing more books than anyone else, this blend of biographical profiles, art, wordsmiths, and their lasting impact on language will appeal to advanced elementary to adult readers with its lively, unique celebration of the language of adventure.

If You Take Away the Otter by Susannah Buhrman-Deever (9780763689346, $16.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 5-8) receives lovely, large-size drawings by Matthew Trueman as it explores the world of otters and marine life on the Pacific coast of North America. It traces the history of human interactions with otters, strategies for their protection, and their natural history in a lively, beautifully illustrated blend of pictures and word that requires only basic reading skills and an interest in ocean life to prove inviting.

Tricia Springstubb's Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures (9781536203066, $16.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 5-8) receives appealing drawings by Elaheh Taherian as it surveys the very different approaches to life between Khalil, who lives in an upstairs apartment with a big, noisy family, and Mr. Hagerty, the downstairs resident who is quiet. A hot summer day brings the two outdoors and encountering each other as Mr. Hagerty gardens and Khalil looks for buried treasure in the backyard. The roots of a friendship which crosses age barriers and cultures makes for an engaging story of understanding. All are excellent picture book choices that young readers will appreciate.

The General Fiction Shelf

Quest of the Tibetan Bloodline
Naomi C. Rose
Dancing Dakini Press
9780983633365, $12.25, PB, 173pp,

"Quest of the Tibetan Bloodline" by Naomi C. Rose is a an original and deftly penned novel for children ages 8-12 that features a mystical culture, an ancient myth, an angry demoness, and a young Tibetan-American boy by the name of Pasang who travels back in time to 12th century Tibet. With great consequences at stake, Pasang faces dangers and his own inner demons in this deftly penned adventure. Along the way, he meets a Tibetan mystic, a yeti, and other helpers to overcome obstacles in Tibet as well in his own life. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library action/adventures collections for young readers, "Quest of the Tibetan Bloodline" is an especially recommended addition.

The Melody of the Mulberries
Tonya Jewel Blessing
Capture Books
9781732753686 $24.99, HC, 248pp,

"The Melody of the Mulberries" is sequel to author Tonya Jewel Blessing's YA novel "The Whispering of the Willows" and is set in the late 1920s' Appalachia, where granny witches and spiritualism often show the path for wanderers to take, especially in matters of the heart.

Coral sat in contemplation under a mulberry tree. It was spring, and the fragrant female blossoms promised the mid-summer arrival of first white, then pink, then crimson, and finally deep purple berries. The white berries were hard and tart and enjoyed by the quail, wild turkeys, mocking birds, and blue jays. The blackish purple berries were soft and sweet - perfect for pies and jams.

When the berries turned white, Coral would thank the good Lord for providing food for the birds, and when the berries ripened she would thank the good Lord for the sweetness savored in her mouth and curse the birds for wanting more than their share.

Like the changing mulberries, Appalachian siblings Coral and Ernest Ashby, navigate their lives and loves through the Spanish Flu epidemic, poverty, and various as sundry prejudices. Coral is determined to visit the family nemesis, Charlie, who now stews in prison.

When Ernest's previous love interest, Mercy, returns to the holler of Big Creek, she discovers that Ernest has a new romantic attraction. He is singing a melody for Charlotte, the older Ashby brother's widow. No matter, Mercy has brought along her own spiritual tools to circumvent the inconvenience and a special friend who guides her way.

Accompanied by friends and foes, matters of the heart complicate life for Coral and Ernest. Relationships must be journeyed carefully.

An exceptionally well written and entertaining work of historical romance for young adult readers that is unreservedly recommended for both highschool and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Melody of the Mulberries" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781951084004, $16.99).

All's Happy That Ends Happy
Rose Lagercrantz, author
Eve Eriksson, illustrator
Gecko Press
9781776572922, $18.99, HC, 224pp,

It's spring and Dani is going to Rome for her father's wedding. But Ella is not invited; Dad said no. What will Ella think when she learns she hasn't been invited to her best friend's dad's wedding? The road between Dani and Ella is getting longer and longer. Dani must make sure their story ends happily! Delightfully entertaining from first page to last, and enhanced with the inclusion of black-and-white line drawings by artist/illustrator Eve Eriksson, "All's Happy That Ends Happy" is the concluding book in the acclaimed 'My Happy Life' series by Rose Lagercrantz. and will prove to be a welcome addition to elementary school and community library general fiction collections for young readers ages 5-9. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "All's Happy That Ends Happy" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781776572939, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Lost City: The Omte Origins
Amanda Hocking
Wednesday Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
9781250204264, $10.99, PB, 400pp,

Twenty years ago, a woman sought safety from the spinning ice and darkness that descended upon a small village. She was given shelter for the night by the local innkeepers but in the morning, she disappeared - leaving behind an infant. Now nineteen, Ulla Tulin is ready to find who abandoned her as a baby or why.

Ulla knows the answers to her identity and heritage may be found at the Mimirin where scholars dedicate themselves to chronicling troll history. Granted an internship translating old documents, Ulla starts researching her own family lineage with help from her handsome and charming colleague Pan Soriano.

But then Ulla meets Eliana, a young girl who no memory of who she is but who possesses otherworldly abilities. When Eliana is pursued and captured by bounty hunters, Ulla and Pan find themselves wrapped up in a dangerous game where folklore and myth become very real and very deadly -- but one that could lead Ulla to the answers she's been looking for.

Critique: A deftly crafted and impressively original fantasy novel for young readers ages 12-18, "The Lost City" by Amanda Hocking will prove to be a particularly welcome and greatly appreciated addition to middle school, high school, and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fans that "The Lost City" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.80).

Court of Lions
Somaiya Daud
Flatiron Books
9781250126450, $18.99, HC, 320pp,

On a planet on the brink of revolution, Amani has been forced into isolation. She's been torn from the boy she loves and has given up contact with her fellow rebels to protect her family. In taking risks for the rebel cause, Amani may have lost Maram's trust forever. But the princess is more complex than she seems, and now Amani is once more at her capricious nature. One wrong move could see her executed for high treason.

On the eve of Maram's marriage to Idris comes an unexpected proposal: in exchange for taking her place in the festivities, Maram will keep Amani's rebel associations a secret. Alone and desperate, Amani is thrust into the center of the court, navigating the dangerous factions on the princess's behalf. But the court is not what she expects. As a risky plan grows in her mind, and with the rebels poised to make their stand, Amani begins to believe her world might have a future. But every choice she makes comes with a cost. Can Amani risk the ones she loves the most for a war she's not sure she can win?

The second volume in author Somaiya Daud's 'Mirage' series, "Court of Lions" is an inherently entertaining read from first page to last -- and will leave teen and young adult readers looking eagerly toward the next entry into the 'Mirage' saga. While very highly recommended for high school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Court of Lions" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Macmillan Audio, 9781250220790, $44.99, CD).

Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112

Two leisure reads for middle grades stand out from the myriad of publications this Spring, and are recommended picks for discriminating elementary-grade collections.

Alison Hart's Finder: Coal Mine Dog (9781682631638, $12.95 HC; 9781682631638, $7.99 PB; $6.12 Kindle, 192pp, Ages 7-10) tells of Thomas, who is forced to work in the mines with his hunting dog Finder. The mines are dangerous and include the threat of fire as well as cave-ins, and when Thomas and Finder become trapped, they must rely on ingenuity and each other to survive. Middle grade readers are in for a treat with this historical piece, which combines a dog story with real-life history.

Alex T. Smith's Mr. Penguin: The Lost Treasure (9781682631201, $16.95 HC; 9781682631706, $9.99 PB; $8.45 Kindle, 208pp, Ages 8-12) tells of a penguin adventurer who is excited about his first adventure, which falls into his lap when Boudicca Bones, from the museum, asks for his help in locating a missing treasure. Advanced elementary to early middle grades will appreciate the two-color illustrations throughout as Mr. Penguin faces hungry alligators and waterfalls, secret passages, and certain death, discovering that adventuring may not be all it's cracked up to be.

Both Finder: Coal Mine Dog and Mr. Penguin: The Lost Treasure are fun leisure choices that offer strong writing and fun story lines to draw even reluctant readers into action-packed tales.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Shadow in the Dark
Antony Barone Kolenc
Loyola Press
3441 North Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657
9780829448108, $14.95, PB, 144pp,

An attack by bandits in the middle of the night leaves a young boy with no memory of who he is or where he is from. Nursed back to health by the devoted monks in a Benedictine abbey, he takes the name Alexander, or Xan for short. Aided by the kindly Brother Andrew, Xan commits himself to finding out who he really is. Does he have a family? Are they still alive? And who (or what) is the shadowy figure creeping around the abbey in the dead of night? An impressively entertaining read with elements of mystery and suspense that will keep young readers ages 10-13 simply riveted from beginning to end, "Shadow in the Dark" by Antony Barone Kolenc is the first volume in the author's Harwood Mysteries series and an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Shadow in the Dark" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Desert Dwellers Earth and Water
Sarah Bergstrom
Lodestone Books
John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
9781785357459, $12.95, PB, 352pp,

The fire Reaume, beings from New Earth, won the battle. Qeriya, Lahcen and Khalid discovered the truth about themselves and their powers. They found a family. And now they have a plan. This plan will take them through dangerous territory where they will meet more Reaume and encounter more resistance. But as they learn about their history, they also find more questions. Why does Doctor Michael appear to be a target? Who is this mysterious woman with silver eyes? Are all Reaume trustworthy? What is the meaning of a prophesy they find along this journey to save their parents? And which is the greater threat, their battles with the enemy or with each other? "Desert Dwellers Earth and Water" is the second volume in author and novelist Sarah Bergstrom's 'Paintbrush Saga' series and explores the depths of their origins as they fight to survive and maintain their solidarity in the face of forces that seek to divide them. Unreservedly recommended for all young science fiction and fantasy fans, "Desert Dwellers Earth and Water" is especially recommended for middle school, highschool, and community library collections for readers ages 12-17. "Desert Dwellers Earth and Water" is also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Boon On The Moon
John Huddles
Notable Kids Publishing
c/o Independent Publishers Group (dist.)
9780997085181, $16.95, HC, 216pp,

When ten-year-old Byron "Boon" Barnett boards a rocket-ship for a move to the Moon with his family (and his irritating robot, Jose Ignacio), he's expecting the time of his life in the lunar colony of Cosmopolis. What he's not expecting is a stellar disaster that'll demolish Cosmopolis before lunch. Boon insists he knows how to survive it, but people tend not to believe him about stuff. His parents have been lecturing him on the dividing line between using his imagination for fun and using it as an excuse for bad behavior. Suddenly it's the dividing line between life and death! An original and impressively entertaining science fiction novel for young readers ages 9- 12, "Boon On The Moon" by John Huddles will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library Science Fiction collections for young readers. It should be noted for the personal reading lists that "Boon On The Moon" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Temple of Eternity
R. Scott Boyer
Main Street Reads Publishing
9781499558968, $13.99, PB, 267pp,

Temple of Eternity is the second book in the Bobby Ether series, and provides teen fantasy readers with another fine adventure. Seventeen-year-old Bobby Ether has returned from the Jade Academy, but somehow home is not the same. For one thing, his parents know the truth about the Core: the secret organization which experimented on the academy's students in pursuit of increasing human abilities. They also know how Bobby and his friend Jinx thwarted the devious plot, escaped a secret monastery, and were aided by his grandfather's own supernatural powers.

The adventure is over, and his parents just want everything to go back to normal. But how can it when Bobby still holds connections to the people who helped him escape? Plus, he has natural abilities that could thwart the ongoing efforts of the Core. He needs to do something to help. Then he learns about a Mayan temple hidden in the jungle that could provide both the answers to eternal life, and a threat for those who would use its powers for nefarious purposes.

Think Indiana Jones, but on a level geared to young adult adventure story readers. Add a dash of cultural intrigue, with warrior descents of the Mayans determined to take action as souls are claimed by evil forces. Mix in a riddle that evokes the Fountain of Youth, yet seems to negate the legend behind it. What you end up with is a fast-paced adventure designed to keep young readers engaged and guessing throughout.

Bobby Ether and his friends face a series of impossible circumstances and family connections to the Core, which place in jeopardy not just the lives but the minds of those he loves. His grandparents aren't stay-at-home elders, but active participants in events that swirl around them, offering a refreshing perspective on family interactions and the involvements of the savvy, active elders in Bobby's world. As betrayals and sacrifices coalesce on multiple levels, young adults are treated to a fast-paced series of confrontations which will keep them engaged and engrossed in Bobby's many dilemmas and challenges.

Prior fans of Bobby's escapades will easily pick up the action that begins a few months from his previous adventures. Meanwhile, newcomers can plan on quick access to Bobby's world that requires no familiarity with prior events to prove accessible and inviting. The juxtaposition of a search for a beloved grandmother and a mission to save the world is nicely done and contrasts personal with social objectives.

The blend of a circle of strong characters who each contribute to Bobby's strengths and abilities is another fine feature in a story that revolves around relationships, trials, confrontations, and spiritual components of Bobby's growth.

Temple of Eternity offers an excellent introduction to the underlying social, cultural, and spiritual issues involved in an adventure that changes Bobby's perspective. It is a highly recommended.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn
Melissa Bashardoust
Flatiron Books
9781250196149, $18.99, HC, 336pp,

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it's not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother's wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she's willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn't afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming -- human or demon, princess or monster!

An inherently fascinating, impressively original, deftly penned, and engagingly entertaining novel for young readers ages 12-18, "Girl, Serpent, Thorn" by Melissa Bashardoust will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to middle school, high school, and community library YA Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Girl, Serpent, Thorn" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Macmillan Young Listeners, 9781250751713, $44.99, CD).

Thomas Taylor, author
Tom Booth, illustrator
Walker Books US
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536215151, $7.99, PC, 320pp,

It's winter in the town of Eerie-on-Sea, where the mist is thick and the salt spray is rattling the windows of the Grand Nautilus Hotel. Inside, young Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder for the hotel, has an unexpected visitor: Violet Parma, a fearless girl around his age who lost her parents at the hotel when she was a baby.

Violet is certain that the nervous Herbert is the only person who can help her find her parents. The trouble is, Violet is being pursued by a strange hook-handed man. And the town legend of the Malamander (a part-fish, part-human monster whose egg is said to make dreams come true) is rearing its scaly head.

As various townspeople, some good-hearted, some nefarious, reveal themselves to be monster hunters on the sly, can Herbert and Violet elude them and discover what happened to Violet's kin?

An original blend of fantasy and mystery, "Malamander" by author/storyteller Thomas Taylor is nicely enhanced with black-and-white illustrations by artist Tom Booth. The result is a thoroughly entertaining novel for young readers ages 8-12. While certain to be an immediately popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Malamander" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, $14.99, MP3 CD).

The Graphic Novel Shelf

160 Broadway, Suite 700E, New York, NY 10038
9781545804124, $19.99, HC, 176pp,

Eve spends an idyllic childhood of long summer days with her sweetheart Tom, and together they dream of exploring the world. But that dream is soon shattered as she comes of age. The mysterious Bluebeard is looking for a new bride and has his sights set on Eve, and rumor has it that his former wives have all disappeared. What will Eve find in the castle beyond the enchanted forest? With the publication of their graphic novel "Bluebeard", the talented storytelling duo of Metaphrog transforms a classic folktale into a feminist fairy tale about the blossoming of a young child to womanhood and a young girl striving for independence. While especially recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library graphic novel collections for children ages 7-12, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bluebeard" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Inkberg Enigma
Jonathan King
Gecko Press
9781776572663, $14.99, PB, 128pp,

Miro and Zia live in Aurora, a fishing town nestled in the shadow of an ancient castle. Miro lives in his books; Zia is never without her camera. The day they meet, they uncover a secret. The fishing works, the castle, and the town council are all linked to an ill-fated 1930s Antarctic expedition. But the diary of that journey has been hidden, and the sea is stirring up unusual creatures. Something has a powerful hold over the town. With Zia determined to find out more, Miro finds himself putting aside his books for a real adventure! Written and illustrated by Jonathan King, "The Inkberg Enigma" is an original and impressively interesting graphic novel that will be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library collections for young readers ages 7-11. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Inkberg Enigma" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.24).

The Mannamong
Michael Adam Lengyel
Independently Published
9781732563216, $22.00, PB, 192pp,

"The Mannamong" by Michael Adam Lengyel is an urban fantasy graphic novel about mythical guardian spirits who come to life for one little girl in unexpected ways. Set in a fictional version of earth with its own lists of mythos the mannamong is a frequent topic of ancient folktale discussing Mother Nature as a deity, the world's natural order, and the conditioning of the soul.

While interpreted as a myth to the common man by most people, Kali Teal learns they are indeed real after being cured by them of a severe unexplainable illness that has plagued her for a long time. The source itself came from a mannamong gone rogue with his own mysterious incentives from getting captured by his own kind.

An unsettling relationship unfolds between Kali and her tormentor while she experiences a new awareness of the spiritual realm unseen by mankind. What's one little girl suppose to do? Trust the mannamong or not?

As original as it is fun, "The Mannamong" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library graphic novel collections for young readers ages 8-12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Mannamong" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle & comiXology, $11.99).

The Music CD Shelf

Imagine That!
Rena Strober and friends
Knighthawk Digital Entertainment Group
$14.99 CD / $9.99 digital

Imagine That! The Sesame Street Music of Joe Raposo & Jeff Moss is a family-friendly album of iconic songs connected to the award-winning educational television show. A positive, upbeat classic, Imagine That! is a choice pick for personal, school, and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Somebody Come and Play", "Sing", "Imagine That!", "Being Green", "I'm Pretty/I'm an Aardvark", "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon", "What Makes Music", "Candy Hearts & Paper Flowers", "Imagination", "What is Braille?", "Believe in Yourself", "To Love a Child", "High Middle Low", and "One Small Voice". 39 min.

Songs Across the Pond
David Gibb & Brady Rymer
Bumblin' Bee Records
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

Songs Across the Pond is a cheerful, lively children's music album with happy themes of music, dance, travel, and friendship. Brimming with lighthearted joy, Songs Across the Pond is a choice pick especially for car trips, children's parties, or stay-at-home fun. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Across the Pond", "Two Towns", "Hey There", "Living in a Beatles Song", "Summertime Soul", "Travelling David", "Roundabouts", "Twisting the Night Away", "You Say This, I Say That", "Get Up With Me And Dance", "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out", and "Happy To Be Going Home".

Backyard Bop
Red Yarn
Red Yarn Productions
$13.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Backyard Bop is a jubilant, family-friendly album of original rockabilly and folk-rock songs themed around the simple pleasures one can experience in one's own backyard and neighborhood. Listeners of all ages will enjoy the cheerful, dance-friendly songs perfect for summertime celebrations and everyday fun. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Backyard Bop", "Jump for Joy", "Mama Bird", "Neighborhood Park", "Outside My Window", "Lazy Tonight", "Critters in My Garden", "Around This Town", "Cats & Dogs", "Town Hall Meeting", "My Own Backyard", and "Someone to Love".

Roger Day
Roger Day Productions, LLC

Invincible! is a charming children's music album with an important message - that one's own imagination and skills are the key to meeting life's challenges head-on, and that these qualities are far more powerful than any fictional super hero! An upbeat collection with a powerful, positive theme, Invincible! is highly recommended for both family and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Invincible!", "No Ordinary Super Hero", "Get a Robot First", "Me & My Jetpack", "I'll Be Your Super Hero", "Little Ants", "Solve the Problem, Save the Day", "Big Picture", "The Everyday Hero Song", and "Love is My Super Power".

Choo Choo Trains, Propeller Planes & Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car!
The Wiggles
$10.99 CD / $11.49 MP3

Choo Choo Trains, Propeller Planes & Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car! is a lighthearted, family-friendly music album brimming with songs about moving and traveling. From walking and swimming to surfing, trains, planes, space travel, and more, the jubilant music is a wonderful way to entertain little ones during car trips! Highly recommended, especially for two songs that are especially relevant to modern times and the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic: "Social Distancing" and "Handwashing Song". The tracks are "Trains, Planes and the Big Red Car", "Trains Rolling Down the Track", "Toot Toot, Chugga Chugga, Big Red Car", "Moose in the Caboose", "Paddlin' Australia", "Big, Big Heart", "Rocket Ship", "Social Distancing", "Old Man Emu", "Watching the Planes", "Emma's Bowmobile, Beep Beep!", "Are We There Yet?", "Zoo Be Doo Dee", "Walk", "Do the Propeller!", "We Fly the Plane to the Outback", "How Good is That?", "Beatrice Bee", "Wiggle at Home", "Wheels on the Wheelchair Go Round and Round", "The Sun, Whose Rays are All Ablaze", "Roll the Acrobats", and "Handwashing Song".

The Christian Shelf

What Did God Make
Heather Henning, author
Alison Atkins, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
9780819882158, $14.95, HC, 24pp,

Beautifully illustrated throughout by Alison Atkins, and a thoroughly "fun" book with "Lift-the-Flap" that author Heather Henning deftly uses to teaches toddlers that God made the world and we are called to care for it, "What Did God Make?" is a delightful and unreservedly recommended addition to family, Sunday School, daycare center, preschool, and kindergarten collections for children ages 2-5.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786830, $17.95, HC, 36pp,

Shiva is the Hindu god of love, righteousness, and more, controlling various forces. Here illustrator and storyteller Demi presents the life of this Hindu god, reflecting Hindu traditions in gorgeous paintings as he follows the life, religious meanings, and appearances of Shiva, who is purported to ride a lovely white bull and fly on a green parrot, among many other fantastic abilities. This introduction to the Hindu god is highly recommended reading for young picture book enthusiasts of mythology in general and Hindu figures in particular, and will also make for an outstanding read-aloud shared experience between adult and child.

Books in Series

PowerKids Press
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010

"Let's Find Out! Religion" (9781538303993, $122.25 List/$104.00 S&L) is a new five volume series from PowerKids Press specifically designed to introduce children ages 8-12 to the world's great religions: Buddhism; Christianity; Hinduism; Islam; Judaism. Each 32 page book features a second to third grade reading level, has a library binding for shelf life durability, is profusely illustrated with full color photography, and includes a Table of Contents, Fact Boxes, a Further Information Section, a Glossary, thematically appropriate Web Sites, and an Index. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Let's Find Out! Religion" is an appropriate and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library World Religion collections.

Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003

Zoo Animals is an ideal twelve volume series from Gareth Stevens Publishing that will have a very special appeal for children ages 4-6. Available in both a Library Binding edition (9781538241684 $271.20 List/$203.40 S&L), and in an eBook format, this impressively informative and attractively illustrated series consists of Monkeys at the Zoo; Otters at the Zoo; Reindeer at the Zoo; Snakes at the Zoo; Tigers at the Zoo; Toucans at the Zoo; Elephants at the Zoo; Giraffes at the Zoo; Gorillas at the Zoo; Ostriches at the Zoo; Penguins at the Zoo; and Polar Bears at the Zoo. Each 24 page volume features an index and a table of contents. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library Pets/Wildlife collections (and the next best thing to an actual visit to a zoo!), the entire Zoo Animal series is especially and unreservedly recommended.

The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010

"The Paranormal Throughout History" (9781725346666, $190.50 List/$143.10 S&L) is a new six volume series from The Rosen Publishing Group specifically written and designed for children ages 10-13.

Inherently fascinating and impressively informative this outstanding series is comprised of Alien Encounters in History; Demonic Possessions in History; ESP Cases in History; Ghosts and Poltergeists in History; Mysterious Disappearances in History; Near-Death Experiences and Reincarnation in History.

Each individual 48 page title is illustrated with full color photography and features a 'Further Information Section, sidebars, a bibliography, a glossary, a table of contents, and an index -- making them ideal as supplemental curriculum studies. Of special note is the inclusion of Timelines. This high interest and thoroughly 'kid friendly' series has a fifth grade reading level and is unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Paranormal collections for young readers.

Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

"Hidden History" is a new six volume series (AD571, List $187.92/$140.94 S&L) for young readers ages 10-14 that showcases important women who are often overlooked or under-reported in our history books.

"Hidden History" is comprised of Women Explorers; Women Rulers; Women Scientists; Women Warriors; and Women Writers. Each 48 page book features full color photography and illustrations, a glossary and an index.

Unique, entertaining, informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, the "Hidden History" series will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library World History collections in general, and Women's History supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Cavendish Square
243 5th Avenue, Suite 136, New York, NY 10016

"Today's Debates" (9781502644992, List $547.68/$383.40 S&L) is an original and informative twelve volume series specifically designed for highschool students and features multiple viewpoints on social, political, cultural and historical controversial issues.

This outstanding series includes: Church and State: Is a True Separation Possible?; Health Care: Universal Right or Personal Responsibility?; Identity Theft: Private Battle or Public Crisis?; Illicit Drug Use: Legalization, Treatment, or Punishment?; Immigration: Welcome of Not?; Poversty: Public Crisis or Private Struggle; Genocide: When is Intervention Necessary?; Incarceration: Punishment or Rehabilitation?; Military Might and Global Intervention: Meddling or Peacemaking?; Reproductive Technology: Indispensable or Problematic?; Same-Sex Marriage: Cause for Concern or Celebration?; Torture: Justified or Unacceptable?.

Each 144 page volume is in a Library Binding edition and features full color photographs, a 'Further Information Section, a glossary, sidebars and an index. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, each volume is impressively thoughtful and thought-provoking, making them ideal and unreservedly recommended additions to highschool and community library Contemporary Social Issues collections for young readers.

The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003

As children grow up surrounded by technology, more and more are learning computer coding at younger and younger ages. With the "Simple Coding" series for children ages 7-10, computer coding has never been simpler. Each 24 page book in this eight volume series introduces young coders in grades 2-5 to a different coding concept, explaining what it is and how it works.

This fun and informative series consists of What Is Coding?; All About Coding Statements; All About Coding Variables; All About Coding Functions; All About Coding Selections; All About Debugging Code; All About Coding Loops; All About Coding Sequences.

Illustrative diagrams and real-world examples will connect readers to these concepts and provide a foundation for continued learning. Additional features include a table of contents, a phonetic glossary, a Did You Know section, an index, an introduction to the author, and sources for further research.

Although each individual titles is available separately, elementary schools, community libraries, and home schooling parents should acquire the entire eight volume set (9781503839991, $159.60, Hard Cover) as it covers every aspect of computer coding specifically tailored to young readers.

Red Chair Press
PO Box 333, South Egremont, MA 01258

Helper Hounds is a new two volume series by author Caryn Rivadeneira and illustrator Priscilla Alpaugh for young readers ages 6-9 from Red Chair Press that will be especially appreciated by anyone who has ever had (or wanted to have!) a canine companion of their own.

"Sparky Helps Mary Make Friends" (9781634407748, $12.99 Library Binding, 9781634407779, $6.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 72pp) Mary's new in town. She's worried about starting classes at her new school. That's why her mom calls the Helper Hounds -- and why Sparkplug, the wildly handsome, wickedly smart, card-carrying, world-famous Helper Hound is on the scene. Sparky knows a thing or two about moving. He moved four times as a puppy, and learned to make new friends along the way. Sparky knows he can teach Mary all his best tricks and help her meet new friends, too. At least Sparky thought he could until he met Custard, Mary's persnickety cat. Will Sparky's best tricks be enough to win over Custard and show Mary making friends is nothing to fear?

"Penny Helps Portia Face Her Fears" (9781634407755, $12.99 Library Binding, 9781634407786, $6.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 72pp) Portia has overcome a lot in life. Born with Down syndrome, Portia has been through many surgeries, lots of doctor's appointments, and strange looks from people who want to limit what she can do. Inside herself, Portia knows she can do anything - including getting over her fear of dogs. But when Penny shows up at Portia's house, she isn't so sure. After all, Penny is a pit bull -- the scariest dogs of all, right? Good thing Penny has a few tricks of her own to win Portia's trust!

Enhanced for children, parents, teachers and caregivers, both "Sparky Helps Mary Make Friends" and "Penny Helps Portia Face Her Fears" feature end-of-book tips for emotional support needs and Fun Facts about the different breeds. Thoroughly 'kid friendly', informative and entertaining, the "Helper Hounds" is very highly recommended, especially for elementary school and community library Pets/Wildlife collections for young readers.

Greenhaven Publishing
353 3rd Avenue, Suite 255, New York, NY 10010

Six new titles have been added to the simply outstanding 'Current Controversies' series from Greenhaven Publishing for highschool students in grades 10-12.

"America's Mental Health Crisis" (9781534506145, $46.40 Library Binding, $32.00 PB) Approximately one in five adults in the United States experience mental illness on an annual basis, and emotional, behavioral, or mental disorders are just as prevalent among young people. Issues like homelessness and mass violence have brought mental illness into the spotlight, but have significant strides been made in addressing mental health issues in recent years or are these disorders still widely stigmatized? This volume explores the questions of whether mental health issues stem from uniquely American factors, how accessible treatment is to those who need it, and whether modern technology plays a role in America's mental health.

"The Dark Web" (9781534506077, Library Binding, $46.40, $32.00 PB) Discussions of the dark web often have sinister connotations, as its capacity to enable various crimes is the aspect that most people fixate upon. However, there is nothing fundamentally criminal about the dark web. It is simply an encrypted part of the internet that allows users to remain anonymous. Nonetheless, a considerable amount of illegal activity does occur on it, making the questions of how it can be monitored and the extent to which it should be pressing issues. This volume explores the various issues related to the dark web, giving readers a better understanding of this enigmatic topic.

"Environmental Catastrophe" (9781534506176, $46.40, Library Binding, $32.00 PB) Unlike natural disasters, which happen because of the earth's natural geological processes, environmental catastrophes are devastating events that occur due to humanity's impact on the environment. These can include nuclear bombings, oil spills, and more recently the extreme weather events brought about by climate change. Wildfires, heat waves, flooding, droughts, and numerous other catastrophic scenarios manifest as a result. Use this volume to inform and alert your readers about this essential topic. With the global impact of environmental catastrophes becoming increasingly pronounced, scientists and politicians alike question what the best course of action may be to slow or even reverse the devastation. With this book, readers will form intelligent opinions that can help shape future action about necessary solutions.

"Fair Trade" (9781534506091, $46.40, Library Binding, $32.00 PB) Fair trade is intended to help producers in developing countries achieve better working and trading conditions while maintaining certain environmental standards. This is achieved through arrangements with distributors around the world. With the influx of fair trade goods on grocery store shelves and restaurant menus, one would assume an overall positive trend in trade conditions is occurring. However, numerous concerns continue to surround fair trade, as readers will learn. They will consider whether it benefits all developing countries and markets equally, and analyze the extent to which it is effective at protecting the environment. They will develop intelligent opinions on which conditions will make trade as fair as possible.

"Freedom of the Press" (9781534506053, $46.40 Library Binding, $32.00 PB) The rights protecting journalists and the press in the United States are a defining aspect of the nation's democratic nature. What tends to be discussed less frequently is how today's media environment enables or hinders a free press. Has the internet made the press freer or restricted it in new ways? How do issues like funding, the role of media conglomerates, and legal actions against journalists and publications fit into a free media landscape? These questions will be explored from varying perspectives in this timely volume.

"Medical Use of Illicit Drugs" (9781534506114, $46.40 Library Binding, $32.00 PB) With the legalization of medical marijuana becoming increasingly common in many states, the medicinal potential of formerly illicit drugs has caught the public's attention. However, marijuana is not the only drug being researched and used medicinally: MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine have been found to have therapeutic qualities, which leads some to question whether the medical use of these substances may also be legal in the future. This volume helps readers explore issues like regulation, the ethics of using illicit drugs in medical and scientific research, and its place in the greater history of drug regulation in the United States.

Each of these anthologies present an impressive array informative and representative viewpoint and are thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, making them unreservedly recommended additions to both highschool and community library collections for young readers.

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence through our marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, opportunities for connecting with schools, and the award-winning Story Monsters Ink(R) magazine.

ABC Dance! An Animal Alphabet
Sabrina Moyle, author
Eunice Moyle, illustrator
9781523507467, $7.95

Christine Irvin

All the animals are dancing, from the aardvarks to the zebras, as they make their way through the alphabet. You can dance along with them as you slide with the sloths and shake your boots with the newts. The fun illustrations and the lively text will keep young readers' attention and the sturdy construction of the book itself makes it perfect for little hands. (Ages infant-4)

Your Nose!
Sandra Boynton
9781523510214, $7.95

Christine Irvin

Every mama loves her little ones. Mama sings the praises of her little one's nose in this delightful board book for young readers. The silly rhymes and refrains, and the bright illustrations will make this board book a favorite for your little one. (Ages infant-4)

Counting Our Blessings
Emma Dodd
9781536210187, $14.99

Christine Irvin

Well-known children's author, Emma Dodd, brings young readers another book that will surely become a favorite. Two dogs, a big one and a little one, count the things that make them feel blessed: playing together, blue skies, and most importantly, family. (Ages 2-5)

Just So Willow
Sara F. Shacter, author
Stephanie Laberis, illustrator
Sterling Children's Books
9781454927419, $16.95

Christine Irvin

Willow is finicky and particular. Everything in her world has to be "just so." She can't stand disorder or disarray. She's so particular about everything she even has to iron her underwear! When it snows and her backyard is covered in a perfect blanket of snow, she wants to keep it "just so" and not disturb it. But her friends have other ideas. They are making snowballs and snowmen and sledding through the snow, creating a "lumpy, bumpy mess." If Willow can't find a way to make them stop, what will she do? (Ages 3-6)

Where's Baby?
Anne Hunter
Tundra Books
9780735264984, $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

A fun peek into a silly hide-and-seek. Papa Fox looks everywhere for baby - under, over, and all around, but baby seems to be nowhere to be found. Sometimes, the very thing we're searching for is much closer than we think. (Ages 3-7)

Dandelion's Dream
Yoko Tanaka
9781536204537, $16.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

This is a beautifully illustrated book about the adventures of a Dandelion. There's a meadow filled with dandelions and one actually blooms into a real lion! This tiny little dandelion lion ventures into the city on a boat, rides on a sheep, goes to the movies, and rides in an airplane. Dandelion's Dream encourages your child to build their own story based on the illustrations. This amazing book will encourage communication and imagination between parent and child. An inspiring addition to any home library. (Ages 3-7)

Goodnight Songs Treasury: A Collection of Bedtime Poems
Margaret Wise Brown
Sterling Children's Books
9781454934776, $19.95

Christine Irvin

Author Margaret Wise Brown was a prolific author who wrote hundreds of stories and poems that were not published during her lifetime. A stash of them was discovered in her sister's attic, long after she had died. Twenty-four of those poems make up this collection. These poems center on the theme of nighttime and bedtime. Each one has been illustrated by a different award-winning artist, including Sean Qualls, Melissa Sweet, and Peter Brown. A short bio of each artist is included at the end of the book. Singer/Songwriters Tom Proutt and Emily Gary, known as "Tom and Emily" put the poems to music. The hardbound versions of the book come with a bonus CD of all 24 songs. (Ages 3-7)

The Round Box
Lois Wickstrom, author
Francie Mion, illustrator
Look Under Rocks
9780916176709, $19.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

The power of imagination can transform any sad and lonely day. Boredom and imagination are best friends, and can play for hours together without tiring. Grandma knows this well. When she moves away across town, she leaves behind a special box of wonder for such occasions. On just such a day, Carrie discovered its hidden magic. Can you? (Ages 4-8)

Rosie's Rescue: Rosie the Roseate Spoonbill
Edward Ritts, author
Jan Oliver, illustrator
Arbutus Press
9781499645279, $12.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

Rosie is a 6-week-old Roseate Spoonbill. Rousted from her warm nest in a Florida storm, she finds herself cold and wet, and very alone. After bobbing all night in the water, Rosie is rescued come morning. Thanks to the efforts of her rescuers, Rosie returns to the mangroves to fill out her cycle of life! (Ages 5-6)

Stink and the Hairy, Scary Spider
Megan McDonald, author
Peter H. Reynolds, illustrator
9781536209204, $14.99

Christine Irvin

Do you have arachnophobia? Stink does. He's terrified of spiders. So when he finds a big, hairy, pink-toed spider hiding in the weeds in his yard, he freaks out. His friend Web tells him the spider was probably someone's pet and they should find the spider and its owner. Stink doesn't want to do that, because he is afraid of spiders. Web used to be afraid of spiders, too, so he gives Stink some positive steps to take to get over his fears. In the process, Stink, and the reader, learn lots of fun facts. The author has included instructions for folding an origami spider, the words to "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" in Spanish, and much more. (Ages 6-9)

Gidget the Surfing Dog: Catching Waves with a Small but Mighty Pug
Elizabeth Rusch
Little Bigfoot
c/o Sasquatch Books
9781632172716, $18.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

This is a true story about Gidget the Pug. Gidget is an active dog who was getting into all sorts of trouble. "I racked my brain about how to manage this little fireball," her owner Alecia says. Gidget went everywhere with her owner, she learned about ability training, and rode a sled in the snow. Then she learned how to surf. Gidget became so proficient in surfing that she started entering contests. This is a wonderful book filled with real pictures of the activities that Gidget and her friends participated in. (Ages 7-10)

Love Your Body
Jessica Sanders, author
Carol Rossetti, illustrator
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
c/o Quarto
9780711252424, $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

In a time when young girls are surrounded by a broken norm and Hollywood imagery, self-appreciation is lost. Somewhere, someone built an illusion and said this is what must be. And girls trying to become women have been trying to fit into it ever since. Reality became obsolete with all its fine lines and curves, and artificial became desirable. This book takes a breath and steps back from the funhouse mirrors, giving permission to look, feel, and simply be just as we are! (Ages 8-12)

Pages & Co. The Lost Fairy Tales
Anna James, author
Paola Escobar, illustrator
Philomel Books
9781984837295, $16.99

Emily P. Cary

Tilly and her best friend Oskar are bookwanderers: a remarkable group of people who, using the magical power of books, can travel inside any story they choose. But on a wintry visit to Paris, the friends wander inside a book of fairy tales to find that peculiar things are happening: characters are getting lost, stories are all mixed up, and mysterious plot holes are opening without warning. . . . It's up to Tilly and Oskar to figure out what - or - who is behind the chaos. And after the friends come face-to-face with an old foe, they realize that villains can exist outside the pages of books . . . and that sometimes, you don't get to live happily ever after. . . . (Ages 8-12)

The Girl Who Speaks Bear
Sophie Anderson, author
Kathrin Honesta, illustrator
c/o Scholastic
9781338580839, $16.99

Christine Irvin

Yanka was found outside a bear cave when she was just a baby. Now 12 years old, Yanka is forbidden to go into the forest by herself, but her heart keeps telling her that the secrets of her past can be found in the forest. And one day, when she wakes up after taking a fall, she finds that she is half human and half bear; she has the body of a girl but the legs of a bear. She decides to go off on her own and search for answers about who she really is and where she really belongs. Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses, and dragons, Yanka's journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House With Chicken Legs. (Ages 9-12)

Birdie and Me
J. M. M. Nuanez
Kathy Dawson Books
9780399186776, $16.99

Diana Perry

After their mama dies, Jack and Birdie find themselves without a place to call home. And when Mama's two brothers each try to provide one - first sweet Uncle Carl, then gruff Uncle Patrick - the results are funny, tender, and tragic. They're also somehow ... spectacular. With voices and characters that soar off the page, J. M. M. Nuanez's debut novel depicts an unlikely family caught in a situation none of them would have chosen, and the beautiful ways in which they finally come to understand one another. (Ages 10-12)

The Guinevere Deception
Kiersten White
9780525581673, $18.99

Diana Perry

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom's borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution - send in Guinevere to be Arthur's wife... and his protector from those who want to see the young king's idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere's real name - and her true identity - is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot. Readers of all ages will enjoy this book. There is magic, danger, betrayals, and surprises as Guinevere must figure out what side she is on. (Ages 12-17)

The Good Luck Girls
Charlotte Nicole Davis
Tor Teen
9781250299703, $17.99

Diana Perry

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a "welcome house" as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen. When Clementine accidentally kills a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta's most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe. Young adults will find this book engaging, inspiring, and informative in this fast-paced story that never lulls. (Ages 13+)

Mary Cecilia Jackson
Tor Teen
9780765398857, $17.99

Diana Perry

Though Savannah Rose ("Sparrow" to her friends and family) - is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed - "I'm not the kind of girl who tells" - will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. But in the aftermath of an assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past, or lose herself forever... (Ages 14+)

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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