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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 12 December 2006 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christmas Shelf Music Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Books in Series
DVD Shelf Jobs/Careers Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf American History Shelf Biography Shelf
Holiday Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Fiction Shelf
Black Studies Shelf Photography Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf Paperback Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Marvel Super Hero Fact Book
Brighter Minds Media, Inc.
600 Lakeview Plaza Blvd., Suite D, Worthington, OH 43085
1577912985, $9.95

Featuring five large fold-out poster pages, the "Marvel Super Hero Fact Book" will delight young readers with profiles of some of Marvel comic's most famous superhero characters that include Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, Wolverine, Captain America, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. The profusion of 'infobits' about the various and diverse characters range from the Hulk's real name, to how Spiderman gained his superpowers, to a list of Woverine's most dangerous enemies. Enhanced with Marvel's distinctive comic book art and sturdy construction, the "Marvel Super Hero Fact Book" is especially recommended to young superhero fans everywhere!

Children of Alcatraz
Claire Rudolf Murphy
Walker & Company
104 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
0802795773 $17.95

CHILDREN OF ALCATRAZ: GROWING UP ON THE ROCK doesn't focus on the usual prison history of the island, but on how it also served as home to many children, from Native Americans to lighthouse keepers, prison guards and beyond. Photos of generations of such children who grew up there blend with memoirs, interviews with the surviving Alcatraz Kids, and history to provide a fascinating survey adults as well as kids will want to pursue.

Ken Robbins
Roaring Brook Press
143 West Street, New Milford, CT 06776
1596431849 $14.95

An eye-catching cover photo of an odd-sized wagon overflowing with bright orange pumpkins provides a survey and celebration of the pumpkin from seed to fruit and back, pairing bright full pages of such color photos with a very easy text kids in grades 2-5 will relish. There are even directions on carving a jack 'o lantern and close-ups of buds and flowers to delight and inform kids interested in how pumpkins grow.

Liow Kah Joon
Silk Road Networks Inc.
50 Blvd. Taschereau, Pl La Citiere, La Prarie, Quebec, Canada, J5R 5H4
0973349239, $26.95

Enhanced with an accompanying 3D animation DVD, "Shaolin: Legends Of Zen And King Fu" is a unique picturebook written and illustrated by Liow Kah Joon. Shaolin is a 1,500-year-9ld Zen Buddhist temple in China famous for monks who are expert in the kung fu martial arts. This remarkable and entertaining children's book reveals the wonder, compassion and skill that is the essence of Shaolin Kung Fu through traditional Shaolin stories of a courageous young boy who seeks to master those ancient skills, as well as the philosophy and wisdom that underlies them. Young readers will learn about Zen, Kung Fu, the training and weaponry involved, the 'Shaolin Five Annimals", the story of thirteen Shaolin monks, a brief Shaolin timeline, and so much more. "Shaolin" is enthusiastically recommended addition to school and community library collections – and a 'must' for children with an interest in learning about the marital arts in general, and Shaolin Kung Fu in particular!

What Are My Rights?
Judge Tom Jacobs
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
1575420287 $14.95

Now in an updated edition, What Are My Rights? 95 Questions and Answers About Teens and the Law presents Judge Tom Jacobs' matter-of-fact answers to common questions than teenagers have, from "If my parents get a divorce, will I still get to visit my grandparents?" to "What do I do if I'm being abused or neglected?", "What does emancipation mean?" or "Can my juvenile record be destroyed?" Though written especially to help teens stay out of trouble, What Are My Rights offers nothing more or less than plain honest truth, without preaching or moralizing, in simple question-and-answer format. Enthusiastically recommended for public library collections.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

While OWEN & MZEE: THE TRUE STORY OF A REMARKABLE FRIENDSHIP (0439829739, $16.99) by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu could be featured in any elementary-level natural history collection, teachers and educators shouldn't miss the opportunity to use it as an example of unusual friendships either. Peter Greste's photos compliment the story of an orphaned baby hippo and a 130-year-old giant tortoise who form an unusual friendship in Southeast Asia. The authors run the sanctuary where the animals make their home and here provides the complete, authorized story of these devoted friends paired by full-page color photos. Albert Marrin's SAVING THE BUFFALO (0439718546, $18.99) charts the buffalo's near extinction and decline, from its initial position as the most common large land animal in North America to its decline to less than 1,000 creatures. Chapters provide many different explanations to this decline – all of which are based on human activities, both Native and white, and show efforts of early conservationists have saved it for future generations. In a world laden with negatives it's refreshing to find a natural history which shows positive changes CAN be made. Russell Freedman's THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO (043952394X, $17.99) covers all the controversies surrounding the legendary explorer who claimed to have seen rocks burn and met bandits who could conjure up sandstorms. Marco's vivid, often fantastical descriptions of his travels shook Europe: was he a courageous adventurer, or a fake with a vivid imagination? In exploring the rumors surrounding Marco Polo, ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO comes to life more than your usual elementary-level biography. Thomas Fleming's EVERYBODY'S REVOLUTION: A NEW LOOK AT THE PEOPLE WHO WON AMERICA'S FREEDOM (0439634040, $19.99) goes beyond your usual American Revolution history to document the involvement of women, Jews, Native Americans, Hispanics and teens in the struggle for independence from Great Britain. Chapters do an excellent job of covering the participation of these diverse ethnic groups and filling in gaps often evident in more general history titles.

The Christmas Shelf

The Twelve Days Of Christmas
Curtis G. Almquist
Cowley Publications
4 Brattle Street, Suite 309, Cambridge, MA 02138
1561012939, $13.95 1-800-225-1534

The traditional twelve days of Christmas run from December 26 through January 6 and are known as the 'Feast of the epiphany', the date on which Christian tradition recalls the magi's arrival to present gifts to the infant Jesus. "The Twelve Days Of Christmas: Unwrapping The Gifts" by Curtis Almquist, SSJE (the Superior at the Society of Saint John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Massachusetts) invites the readers to avoid the holiday hype and commercial overkill of the season to reflect on the source of all the good gifts of life – love, forgiveness, joy, hope, peace, compassion, and sharing. These are the gifts of the Christmas that last a lifetime and even an eternity. "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" is strongly recommended to the attention of all Christians, regardless of their denominational affiliation, wanting to 'put Christ back in Christmas'.

The Night Before Christmas
Gennady Spirin, Illustrator
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
0761452982 $16.99

Ages 4-8 will relish a new spin on Clement Clarke Moore's classic, which uses Gennady Spirin's lovely, artistic panels to illustrate the simple holiday classic. While the story's been reprinted hundreds of times so undoubtedly you have at least one version in your library, this NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS provides some classic, lovely embellishments perfect for libraries seeking something fresh and appealing.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Cornelia Funke's WHEN SANTA FELL TO EARTH (043978204X, $15.99) provides a lovely holiday story by the author of Inkspell and others. Here Niklas is the last true Santa – but what has happened to Christmas is a crime only Ben hears. Can he rescue Santa when he drops into their neighborhood during a storm two weeks before Christmas? Ann M. Martin also produces a lovely holiday story for advanced elementary to middle school readers: this, ON CHRISTMAS EVE (0439745888, $15.99) telling of Tess, who believes in magic and is determined to view the 'real Santa', not the department-store fake. Her holiday wish is for a friend – and her faith results in a rare holiday indeed in this story of love and magic. All are excellent holiday recommendations – this year, and for years to come.

The Soldiers' Night Before Christmas
Trish Holland & Christine Ford
Golden Books
c/o Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0375837957 $8.99

One Christmas eve in the desert a group of homesick soldiers are visited by the Santa of Soldiers, and in a fine realistic rhyme inspired by the classic 'Night Before Christmas' comes a soldier's observation of this wonder, which will intrigue and comfort military families separated by war. There's a decidedly different holiday atmosphere here: "When what to my thrill and relief should appear, but one of our Blackhawks to give the all clear: more rattles and rumbles! I heard a deep while, then up drove eight Humvees, a jeep close behind…each vehicle painted a bright Christmas green with more lights and gold tinsel than I'd ever seen."

The First Christmas Stocking
Elizabeth Winthrop
Delacorte Press
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0385328044 $15.95

A long time ago a poor girl named Claire learns to knit by her mother's side – and knits her Christmas dreams into the wool. An order for six stockings could save her holiday; but on the way she meets a boy even poorer than herself: how can she share her dreams of warmth? A poignant holiday story benefits from Bagram Ibatouline's warm and lovely drawings.

Chiodo Bros. Alien Xmas
Stephen Chiodo & Jim Strain, authors
Charles Chiodo, illustrator
Baby Tattoo Books
c/o Publicity PR Media
PO Box 2664, Windermere, FL 34786
0972938842, $17.95

Nothing says Christmas like marauding aliens! "X" is a thieving alien who is sent to Earth on a fiendish mission to rob the entire planet. But upon arriving at the North Pole, X mistakes Santa's workshop for a weapons-building facility and thus begins a chain of events that leads to an all-out alien invasion. Can Santa and his trust elf save Christmas (not to mention the human race!). Or will an army of evil aliens learn that is better to give than to steal? Co-authored by Stephen Chiodo and Jim Strain, "Alien Xmas" is expertly illustrated by Charles Chiodo. The resulting collaboration is a unique, original, one-of-a-kind, superbly presented and enthusiastically recommended Christmas picturebooks that combines science fiction with the values of the Christmas season. This is one Christian picturebook that will thoroughly and completely entertain children and adults alike.

The Magic Sceptre: The Legend Of Blue Santa Claus
Joan Klatil creamer
Silver Snowflake Publishing
PO Box 1256, East Greenwich, RI, 02818
0977847632, $16.95

Cleverly written and colorfully illustrated by Joan Klatil Creamer, "The Magic Sceptre: The Legend Of Blue Santa Claus" is story of how a magic scepter and a blue Santa suit enable Santa Claus to do all the magical things he does during the Christmas holidays. This is how Santa can disappear from everyone's sight and learning what all the children's of the world's Christmas wishes. It's also how Santa is able make all of his Christmas Eve deliveries without ever being seen by even the most watchful child! Delightful reading and a welcome addition to any family, school, or community library Christmas picturebook collection, "The Magic Sceptre: The Legend Of Blue Santa Claus" is an imaginative and entertaining edition to the expanding folk lore and mythology of Christmas in general – and Santa Claus in particular!

Gigi, God's Little Princess: The Perfect Christmas Gift
Sheila Walsh & Meredith Johnson
Tommy Nelson
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
1400308011, $12.99 1-800-251-4000

Princess Gigi is a little girl who is waiting impatiently for the arrival of Christmas Day and all the gifts for her that will be under the tree on Christmas morning. Being a princess, Gigi is positive that this is the Christmas that she will be receiving her royal crown. But when Christmas morning finally arrives, there is no crown-sized box or package. That's because there is no crown! Instead, Gigi will be getting a gift more wonderful than any crown she could ever imagine! Children's author and Christian communicator Sheila Walsh has crafted a simply wonderful and inspiring picturebook story for young readers that is delightfully enhanced by the colorful illustrations of Meredith Johnson. "Gigi, God's Little Princess: The perfect Christmas Gift" is the perfect addition to family, elementary school, and community library Christmas season storey books for young children.

An Ornaments' Tale
Chet Spiewak
CWS Studios, Inc.
5414 West Barry Avenue, Chicago, IL 60641
0978582705, $16.95 1-800-462-6420

Author and illustrator Chet Spiewak uses film quality computer-generated 3D graphics to create his unique picturebook story of a colorful cast of Christmas ornaments who go on an adventure to find the perfect holiday tree. Trapped in an attic and all but forgotten, Percy, Stanley, Fiona and the rest of the Christmas ornaments embark upon their quest. Along the way the rather timid Percy gains confidence and the trust of his companions, all while teaching some old Halloween adversaries the real meaning of Christmas. This wonderfully illustrated and delightful Christmas 32-page picturebook is an enthusiastically recommended addition to family, grade school, and community library collections.

The Night Henry Ford Met Santa
Carol Hagen & Matt Faulkner
Sleeping Bear Press
c/o Thomson Gale
15822 Bernardo Center Drive, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92127-2320
1585361321, $17.95 1-800-231-5163

Just before Christmas in 1908, Henry Ford was trying to find a way to make his Model T automobile more affordable for the average family when his little son Edsel suggested that Daddy write to Santa Claus for advice. The notion seemed reasonable to son and father because didn't Santa make toys for millions of children? Therefore he should be in a position to provide practical advice on producing inexpensive cars for ordinary families. Much to the surprise of Henry Ford, Santa replies to the letter with an invitation to visit the North Pole workshop. It's when Henry sees the assembly line arrangement of Santa's elves in the manufacturing of toys that he gets the idea to apply what he's seen and creates the world's first automobile assembly line. Carol Hagen's clever and original picturebook story is nicely illustrated throughout by Matt Faulkner. The result is a wonderfully entertaining and highly recommended addition to family, school, and community library Christmas book collections and reading lists for children.

The Christmas Bus
Robert Inman & Lyle Baskin
Novello Festival press
310 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
0976096366, $19.95 1-800-222-9796

Lyle Baskin's full color artwork wonderfully illustrates novelist, playwright and screenwriter Robert Inman's engaging and entertaining story in "The Christmas Bus". Set at the Peaceful Valley Orphanage, this is the picturebook Christmas tale of Mrs. Frump who is trying to find good homes for the holiday for her gaggle of rowdy kids. But when the local busybodies and a suspicious Sheriff Snodgrass intervene, a simple bus ride turns into a terrifically involved and complicated adventure for this band of orphans! Original, heartwarming, and a truly welcome addition to the growing library of Christmas oriented titles, "The Christmas Bus" is an enthusiastically recommended addition to family, school, and community library holiday season collections and reading lists.

The Music Shelf

David Weinstone
Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
MFATAXI, $14.98

David Weinstone is a talented, multi-faceted, independent children's recording artist whose latest release is "Taxi" showcasing his original music that imaginatively spans and encompasses diverse musical styles. This compilation of songs reflect and celebrate the lives of urban children with images and messages that are thematically appropriate for all children everywhere. The lively and entertaining pieces comprising this enthusiastically recommended album include Hello; Talking on the Phone; Miami Grammy; I Crack Me Up; Big Old Tree; Carousel; Swing Town; Belly Button Song; Big Boom Whacker; Tango; Ruby's Friends; Bagel; Lollipop Doc; have You Seen My Noxe?; Splashing in the Tub; Dirt; Daddy's Snoring; Everyone Up; Goodbye; and the title song, Taxi. Deftly recorded and energetically performed, "Taxi" is an ideal and recommended addition to school library, community library, and family library music collections for children.

Lisa Mathews, et al.
Milkshake Music
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD $14.99

Lisa Mathews is the lead singer and Mikel Gehl is the lead guitarist of the popular children's music group Milkshake, whose debut recording Happy Songs was released in 2002 and garnered two Children's Music Web Awards, an iParenting Media Award, and was selected as one of "Child" magazine's 'Stand Out CDs'. Now Milkshake has released their second children's CD, demonstrating and documenting their continued standards of excellence, originality, imagination, creativity, and mastery of lively children's music that is as entertaining as it is relevant to young lives. The pieces comprising this simply outstanding and confidently recommended album include: We Got A Band; Imagination Nation; Pirates; Superhero; Bowling With You; Home On The Range; Go Wild; Plant A Garden; Parade; Baseball; Magic Ride; and the title song, Play!. The flawlessly recorded CD format allows for the addition of bonus tracks of Milksake performances from ToddWorld (as seen Discovery Kids): Magic Potion, Okay To Be Different; and My Best Friend.

Mr. Stinky Feet's Christmas
Jim Cosgrove
Jack Records/Warner Bros. Records
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
CD $9.98

Featuring the rhythmic and award-winning talent of children's entertainer Jim Cosgrove, "Mr. Stinky Feet's Christmas" features an eclectic mix of upbeat and lively music that consists of both traditional seasonal tunes and Cosgrove's own original music backed up by the Kansas City Children's Chorus. The fifteen numbers comprising this outstanding and highly recommended CD for preschool and kindergarten children ages 2 to 6 includes: Hark! It's Harold the Angel; Have you seen that star?; Prepare the Way; Mary's Little boy; Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer; Deck the Halls; How Many Days 'til Christmas; Phlegmwick the Elf; Santa Claus is Coming to Town; A Day at the Beach; Mele Kaltkimaka; Santa hey Santa; Whatcha gonna call that baby?; Peace on Earth; and Away in a Manager. "Mr. Stinky Feet's Christmas" will prove to be a popular and welcome addition to family, daycare center, community library, and elementary school Christmas music collections.

Lovely Baby Music Presents: The Famous Composer Series
Raimond Lap
Lovely Baby Music
PO Box 1374, Bellmore, NY 11710-0992
LBCD-9100, $31.98

Beautifully produced and flawlessly recorded, "Lovely Baby Music Presents: The Famous Composer Series" showcases the music of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart for preschoolers. International baby music expert Raimond Lap has designed a three CD set that offers music that will engage, entertain and simply delight very young listeners. Perfect for parents wanting to enhance the aesthetic and musical appreciation of their babies, "Lovely Baby Music Presents: The Famous Composer Series" is ideal for enhancing cognitive development in a truly enjoyable format. "Lovely Baby Music Presents: The Famous Composer Series" is enthusiastically recommended for family, daycare, and preschool CD music collections.

The Cookbook Shelf

California Squisine
Malcolm Kushner
Robert D. Reed Publishers
PO Box 1992, Bandon, OR 97411
1931741670 $11.95

"America's Favorite Humor Consultant" Malcolm Kushner presents California Squisine, a unique cookbook consisting entirely of recipes that are healthy, easy-to-make, and squeezable - perfect for introducing kids to the joy of making tasty treats. Best of all, no actual "cooking" is required! Though not specifically a weight-loss cookbook, California Squisine is pediatrician-approved and provides emphasis on salads, vegetables, and other healthy foods make it ideal for building positive attitudes toward good nutrition. Recipes range from Tuna Pate to Peanut Butter Pizza with Everything, Vegetable Kebabs, Pineapple Pudding, and much more. Enthusiastically recommended for harried adults with little time to invest in cooking as well as for kids.

Kids Cook 1-2-3
Rozanne Gold
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1582347352 $17.95

There are other simpler books on kids' cooking on the market, but this may be the first comprehensive beginning child's cookbook, offering not the usual sampler but over a hundred easily-followed, kid-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and beyond. Instructions teach about the value of fresh ingredients as they follow all the basics, from sandwiches to homemade soups and even an easy chocolate mousse cake. No color photos, but the drawings by Sara Pinto are fun embellishments.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Eddie Has Allergies
Judd Lear Silverman
Ernest Silliman Books
834 President Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
1847287115 $12.96

The debut chapter book for children and young adults by playwright, director, and teacher Judd Lear Silverman, Eddie Has Allergies is a short, humorous story about a young boy afflicted with severe allergies. As Eddie copes with the sinus-afflicting hazards of the day, he feels increasingly isolated, as his allergies prevent him from enjoying the activities that kids do and the medicines that suppress his allergies make him so drowsy he falls asleep and dreams bizarre dreams in class. Then a surprisingly magical occurrence helps him discover a bright side to his problems, and the potential for greatness within himself. Threaded with wacky dialogue and rib-tickling puns, Eddie Has Allergies is especially recommended for public and school library collections, as well as young people learning to deal with allergies in themselves, their relatives, or their friends.

Books In Series

Abdo Publishing Company
4940 Viking Drive, Suite 622, Edina, MN 55435

These series titles are top recommended picks for elementary-level readers: they provide 32 pages of biographical sketches which include an index, glossary and color photos throughout and pick figures which haven't been overdone elsewhere for this age group. The 'Comic Book Creators' series by Sue Hamilton ($16.95 Each) is a prime example of biographies which feature memorable contemporary figures – here, from the world of comics. JON BUSCHEMA (9781599282978), JOHN ROMITA SR (0781599283029), JOE SIMON (9781599283005), STAN LEE (9781599283012), JOE SINNOTT (9781599282992), and JACK KIRBY (0781599282985) all drew classic comics: from teen years to notable creations, exciting pages packed with color examples draw kids into the story: especially inspirational for kids who love to draw and dream of drawing comics, themselves. Classic historical figures are presented by Sarah Tieck ($15.95 Each) and uses larger print for grades 2-4 to reveal, in 32 pages each, the lives of major figures in this 'First Biographies' series. The larger type, color illustration and eye-catching facts also lend to 'first reports' and assignments. PAUL REVERE (9781596797871), DIEGO RIVERA (9781596797857), SACAGAWEA (9781596797895), WRIGHT BROTHERS (9781495797901), ROSA PARKS (9781596797888) and FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE (9781596797864) each provide biographical sketches which consider the person's contributions, profession at the times, and historical background surrounding their achievements. All are excellent, top picks elementary-level libraries will want.

The Child's World, Inc.
PO Box 326, Chanhassen, MN 55317-0326 1-800-599-7323

"Inside the NFL" is an eight volume series of football sports team histories deftly written at a third grade reading level and very nicely illustrated creating an interest level that spans across a second through ninth grade readership. Each of these 48-page titles come with the kind of reinforced library binding that will enable the book to have an extended shelf life while accommodating large numbers of young readers. Featuring full-color as well as historical photographs, each informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' volume is provided with a table of contents, sidebars, a time line of key events, a glossary, an index, and suggested sources for further research which includes thematically appropriate website address. The individual titles comprising this outstanding and enthusiastically recommended series (which is especially ideal for inclusion into both grade school and community library Sports/Athletics collections for children) include: AFC East; AFC North; AFC South; AFC West; NFC East; NFC North; NFC South; and NFC West. Although each individual title is available separately ($27.07 List/$18.95 Library), school and community library systems are advised to secure the entire series (1592965059, $16.56 List/$151.60 Library) for their young students and patrons.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Marshall Cavendish's titles are fine additions to elementary-level collections: they offer curriculum-based sets of reference books appropriate for research and reports, and pair these with topics teachers can use for classroom discussions. Steven Otfinoski's DAVID LIVINGSTON: DEEP IN THE HEART OF AFRICA (0761422269, $22.95) joins others in the 'Great Explorations' series reviewed favorably in prior issues, offering some 75 pages packed with biographical and historical details of Livingston's expeditions and impact. Intriguing color illustrations add interest throughout. Cavendish's 'math All Around' titles by Jennifer Rozines Roy and Gregory Roy ($19.95 Each) use large print, color photos, and 30 pages of information – which includes an index, glossary and bibliography of resources – to cover math concepts applied to real life. MONEY AT THE STORE (0761422641), MULTIPLICATION ON THE FORM (0761422684), SHAPES IN TRANSPORTATION (076142265X), DIVISION WITH TOYS (0761422692) MEASURING AT HOME (0761422633), and GRAPHING IN THE DESERT (0761422625) each show kids how to apply math concepts to everyday challenges. Adding to the 'Elements' series ($19.95 Each) are MOLYBDENUM (0761422013), COBALT (0761422005), ARSENIC (076142203X) and LITHIUM (0761421998), each holding some 32 pages covering a selected element's characteristics and importance in everyday life. Kids learning about verbs will find plenty of clarity and simple examples in Danna Meachen Rau's VERBS IN ACTION titles ($15.95 Each): new additions include TURN INTO (0761422935), MOVE ALONG (0761422919), PLAY BALL (0761422927), MAKE A FACE (0761422900), CARRY ON (0761422897), and BLOW OUT (0761422889), perfect for ESL and early readers. Kids who love to ask 'why' will find plenty of answers in the inviting 'Tell Me Why, Tell Me How' series ($19.95), newly including WHY DO THE SEASONS CHANGE? By Melissa Stewart (0761421122), HOW DOES THE WIND BLOW? By Patricia J. Murphy (0761421078), WHY IS THE SKY BLUE? By Wil Mara (0761421084), HOW DO FISH BREATHE UNDERWATER? By Stewart (0761421092), and her HOW DO BIRDS FLY? (0761421106) and HOW DO PLANTS GROW? (0761421114). Each book takes a common question kids ask and adds plenty of science, yet retains a lively tone. Elementary-level kids will also appreciate the simple 'Shape of the World' set by Dana Meachen Rau ($15.95 Each) which includes MANY-SIDED SHAPES (076142279X), CIRCLES (0761422803), SQUARES (0761422846), RECTANGLES (076142282X), OVALS (0761422811) and TRIANGLES (0761422862). Young emergent readers will appreciate the simple one-sentence descriptions. Emergent readers will also enjoy the 'JUST THE OPPOSITE' Spanish/English bilingual titles by Sharon Gordon ($15.95 Each) which lend to ESL pursuits and include DIRTY/CLEAN (0761424466), BIG/SMALL (0761424458), WET/DRY (0761424504), UP/DOWN (0761424490), HARD/SOFT (0761424482), and FAST/SLOW (0761424474). Early readers receive the basics with 'The Inside Story' series by Dana Meachen Rau ($15.95 each), including TEPEE (0761422773), SKYSCRAPER (0761422765), PYRAMID (0761422757), LOG CABIN (0761422749), IGLOO (0761422730), and CASTLE (0761422722), each of which holds 30 pages of interior and exterior shots and a very simple history of each structure. All are fine collection additions.

Lerner Publications
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
$27.93 Each

Each book in this series offers up nearly 60 pages of facts, blending history, culture, and political insights to cover early to modern-day events affecting individual tribes. Anthropological consultants work with authors on each book, along with tribal leaders – another factor which makes for a unique presentation assuring historical accuracy based on research and observations from both natives and non-natives. New additions include Charlotte Wilcox's THE SEMINOLES (0822528487) and IROQUOIS (0822526379), Alison Blake's THE APACHES (0822559153), Michelle Levine's THE OJIBWE (0822559102), DELAWARE (0822559145), CHEROKEES (0822524430) and SIOUX (0822528649), Liz Sonneborn's THE CHOCTAWS (0822559110) and NAVAJOS (0822524457), SHOSHONES (0822528495), CHUMASH (0822559129) and CREEK (0822559137). Each book holds larger print and color photos to explain legends, history, culture, artifacts, and major issues. All are excellent surveys that should be considered 'must have foundation references' for any serious elementary-level collection.

Lerner Publications
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Various authors have contributed individual volumes to the extensive and in-depth 'Presidential Leaders' titles for elementary grades 5-7: with each book holding a little over a hundred pages of information, this age range receives an invaluable reference set perfect for report choices. Other books have covered these presidents in past: what makes the set unique is its blend of biography, political insight, American history injections, and black and white photos which lend an especially well-rounded understanding. Each book also adds source notes, a conclusion, timeline of events, bibliography (including websites) and index, making it easy to look up issues or the names of others who interacted with each president. The lively tone of each volume assures kids will find easy reading here, while the overviews of both pros and cons of dark and bright moments in each leader's role lend to a deeper understanding of each President's regime. We've seen many other books covering individual Presidents: by creating a uniform approach to biographical and political sketches, pairing early years with later achievements, and adding the source notes for further research, this set in its entirety (covering all Presidents) earns our recommendation as a top, lasting collection pick which is especially outstanding when purchased as a set rather than individually.

OTTN Publishing
16 Risler Street, Stockton, NJ 08559

'Forgotten Heroes of the American Revolution' is a new five volume series from OTTN Publishing that highlights and showcases the life and contributions of key men in the American war for independence from Great Britain. "Nathanael Greene: The General Who Saved The Revolution" (1595560122, $23.95) tells the story of the commander of the Continental Army in the South who forged a successful strategy against a superior British force, resulting in the critically important American victory at Yorktown. "Henry Knox: Washington's Artilleryman" (1595560130, $23.95) details the extraordinary task of moving cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Dorchester heights near Boston for an important American victory early in the war. "Francis Marion: Swamp Fox Of South Carolina" (1595560149, $23.95) depicts the American master of guerilla-style warfare of hit and run which salvaged fading American hopes with respect to eventually defeating British forces. "Daniel Morgan: Fighting Frontiersman" (1595560157, $23.95) reveals one of America's greatest battlefield tacticians and illustrates Morgan's vital contributions to the two American victories: Saratoga in 1777 and Cowpens in 1781. "John Stark: Live Free Or Die" (1595560165, $23.95) focuses on General Stark's victory at Bennington in August 1777 which allowed American forces to capture an entire British army at Saratoga and which proved to be the turning point in the war for American independence. Each sturdily bound individual title is illustrated superbly illustrated with color maps and illustrations, while featuring quotations from primary historical sources. 'Forgotten heroes of the American Revolutions' is a simply outstanding series and strongly recommended for elementary school and community library American History collections.

Morgan Reynolds, Inc.
620 South Elm Street, Suite 223, Greensboro, NC 27406 1-800-535-1504

Two new biographies for young readers from Morgan Reynolds are perfect additions to school and community library collections. Rosalind Franklin And The Structure Of Life (159935022X, $27.95) by Jane Polcovar is the personal story of the woman upon whose unpublished research work the structure and discovery of DNA was made by James Watson and Francis Crick. Rosalind Franklin was a shy, sometimes misunderstood figure who joined the staff of researchers at King's college, London, where her pioneering work as a skilled experimentalist and X-ray crystallographer enabled Watson and Crick to make their breakthrough work. She died at a relatively young age in 1959 with her contributions largely unknown and unacknowledged. "Rosalind Franklin And The Structure Of Life" is highly recommended for young readers with an interest in the science of genetics. "Savage Satire: The Story Of Jonathan Swift" (1599350270, $27.95) by Clarissa Aykroyd is an informative biography of Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift whose satires and parodies about the social issues and concerns of his time were as popular as they were shocking. An ordained minister, Swift is best known today as the author of "Gulliver's Travels", published in 1726. His ability to challenge the complacency of his era with the power of the written word served as an example to be enjoyed and emulated by new generations of writers down to the present day. "Savage Satire; The Story of Jonathan Swift" is an excellent read and a highly recommended addition to school and community library Biography collections for young readers.

The Creative Company
c/o Black Rabbit Books
123 South Broad Street, Mankato, MN 56001

"Natural Wonders of the World" is an outstanding series of six books expertly written and illustrated for young readers showcasing such amazing natural phenomena as the 'Amazon River' (1583413227); the 'Grand Canyon' (1583413235); the 'Great Barrier Reef' (1583413243); 'Mount Everest' (1583413251); the 'Northern Lights' (158341326X); and the 'Victoria Falls' (1583413278). Each individual book includes a succinct and 'kid friendly' explanation of the featured wonder's origins, the environment of which it is a part, human interaction with the phenomena under study, and information about visiting the showcased wonder today. Visually impressive, engaging, and highly recommended for school and community libraries, each individual title is available in a hardcover edition ($27.10 List/$18.95 School/Library). The complete series is priced at $162.60 List and at $113.70 with the School/Library discount.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308, New York, NY 10118 1-800-387-7650

Available in both hardcover and paperback editions, 'In The Footsteps Of Explorers' is an outstanding series of illustrated 32-page biographies for young readers ages 8 to 14 from Crabtree Publishing showcasing men who material helped expand our knowledge of the world. This superbly presented series features "Daniel Boon: Woodsman of Kentucky"; "Robert Peary and Mathew Henson: The Race to the North Pole"; Radisson and des Groseilliers: Fur Traders of the North"; "Sir Walter Raleigh: Founding the Virginia Colony"; "Ponce de Leon: Exploring Florida and Puerto Rico"; "James Cook: The Pacific Coast and Beyond"; La Salle: New World Adventurer"; "Samuel de Champlain: From New France to Cape Cod"; "Marco Polo: Overland to China"; and Ferdinand Magellan: Circumnavigating the World". Each individual book is expertly written at a fourth to fifth grade reading level, is enhanced with full-color photography and illustrations, a glossary, and an index. As entertaining as they are informative, community librarians, classroom teachers, and home schooling parents are well advised to visit the Crabtree Publishing Company website and take advantage of the two-tier level pricing structure – one a List price for the general public, the other a discounted School & Library pricing.

Traditional Religious Tales
Picture Window Books
151 Good Counsel Drive, Minneapolis, MN 556001 1-877-371-1536
140481717-PI $151.56 List/$113.70 Schools/Libraries

"Traditional Religious Tales" is an outstanding six-volume picturebook series that explores the six main religious of the world through their traditional stories that are used to teach ordinary people about a particular faith in a way that makes complicated or difficult messages easier to understand. Especially appropriate for young readers ages 9 to 12, and students in grades 4 to 6, each of these color illustrated, 32-page books are enhanced with Side Bars, a Glossary, an Index, a Book List. As entertaining as they are informative, the six title set consists of: "Buddhist Stories (140481331X-PI); "Christian Stories" (1404813128-PI); "Hindu Stories" (1404813098-PI); "Islamic Stories" (1404813136-PI); "Jewish Stories" (1404813101-PI); and "Sikh Stories" (1404813144-PI). Although each title is available individually ($25.26 List; $18.95 Schools & Libraries), both school and community libraries should acquire the entire series for their Multicultural Studies and World Religions reference collections for children.

The DVD Shelf

Knuffle Bunny
Mo Willems
Weston Woods Studios/Scholastic
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
NDVD685, $59.95 1-800-290-7531

When Trixie, Daddy and Knuffle Bunny take a trip to the neighborhood laundromat, their adventure takes an unexpected turn when Trixie realizes something is missing. A Caldecott Honor Book, a Parenting Media Award Winner, and winner of the BCCB Blue Ribbon Picture Book Award, "Knuffle Bunny" is expertly narrated by its author, Mo Willems, and his real-life daughter Trixie in this animate, 9 minute, DVD edition. Enhanced with music by Robert Reynolds and Scotty Huff, "Knuffle Bunny" will delight young viewers ages 2 to 7 and make a wonderfully popular addition to any preschool, day-care center, elementary school, or community library DVD collection for children. "Knuffle Bunny" is also available from Weston Woods in a Closed-Caption Video edition (NMPV685VCC, $60.00); in a Hardcover/CD edition (NHCD685, $29.95); and in a Hardcover Book/Cassette combination (NHRA685, $24.95).

Money & Making Change
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595
RL928 $19.99 1-800-348-8445

The animated characters of Penny and Bill will show children ages 6 through 8 just how they can count money and make change in the lively, colorful, entertaining and instructive Rock 'N Learn DVD "Money & Making Change". This 57-minute DVD teaches how coins relate to each other, the technique of 'skip counting', how to express money in written terms, strategies for making change, and more! From 'The Coin Song', to the 'Count the Coins Game', to 'Penny & Bill Live in Concert', "Money & Making Change" is as entertaining as it is informative. A perfect addition to home schooling curriculums, this is one 'kid friendly' educational DVD that truly deserves to be a part of every school and community collection.

The Canterbury Tales
Schlessinger Media
7 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096-0580
DVD, 3 volumes, $39.95 each, 1-800-843-3620

A true classic of medieval English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" has commanded the attention and respect of generations of readers from his day to ours. Now high school students in grades 9 through 12 can be engagingly introduced to Chaucer's stories of a motley group of pilgrims and the cautionary tales they tell one another as they traveled together toward their Canterbury destination. Offering a Modern English adaptation that utilizes a combination of model animation and traditional sketch work, enhanced with the dramatic voices of actors drawn from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the three volumes in this superbly crafted and presented series of 30-minute presentations of "The Canterbury Tales" will engage young minds and imaginations with respect to all of the core literary themes the stories embodied in the individual stories including greed, deception, betrayal, and lust. Ideal for traditional classrooms and highly recommended for home schooling curriculums, free Teacher Guides for "The Canterbury Tales" are available from Schlessinger Media online at

CK: Cooking For Kids
Desiree Dorwart
Title Set
1618 Central Avenue, NE, Suite 22, Minneapolis, MN 55413
411 Video Information (publicity)
PO Box 1223, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
0972694587, $39.95

With a total running time of 6 hours, "CK: Cooking For Kids" presents six distinctive cooking lessons for children ages 10 and older by Desiree Dorwart who is an instructor of the Culinary Arts at The Institute International Minnesota in Minneapolis. 'Treats: Cookies, Muffins & Truffles' (46 minutes) shows kids how to prepare and bake fun treats that range from chocolate cookies and walnut cookies, to blueberry muffins and delicious truffles. 'Breakfast: Waffles, Eggs & Sausages' (41 minutes) is about the importance of a good morning meal and what the kids can do in the family kitchen to make waffles, omelets, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and poached eggs. 'Asian Dinner: Sushi & Stir Fry (45 minutes) covers the preparation of Asian Maki rolls, stir frying, making rice, as well as the use of dipping sauces. 'Cooking Methods: Braising, Frying & Searing (45 minutes) covers the preparation of a number of different entrees including Grandma Bread, searing fish without overcooking it, deep frying chicken wings, and the making of a nutritious stew by braising beef and vegetables. "Lunch: Chicken Soup & Egg Salad' (34 minutes) is dedicated to the noon meal and features egg salad with homemade mayonnaise accompanied by freshly baked bread, and the making of chicken soup with dumplings from scratch. 'Italian Dinner: Ravioli, Sauce & Meat Balls' (43 minutes) focuses on making ravioli dough, fresh tomato sauce, perfectly seasoned meatballs, and a Caesar Salad. The DVD format allows for the addition of a special 50 minute segment on 'Kitchen Safety: Equipment & Knife Skills'. Enhanced for young chefs with the inclusion of a 'booklet of Recipes' with explanatory cooking terms listed, "CK: Cooking For Kids" is a welcome and confidently recommended addition to family and community library cookbook collections for children.

The Happy Cricket
Clever Image Studios
311 Fairview Avenue, Fairview, NJ 07022
Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
NTSC, $19.95

"The Happy Cricket" is a delightfully entertaining 82-minute DVD production designed for young viewers ages 3 to 8. It's the story of a cricket named Christopher who lived a happy cricket life playing and singing for his forest friends until the Warlord (a mean spirited lizard) arrives and demands that music cease and to make certain that it does, kidnaps Christopher's muse, the Night Star. To defend nature and reestablish their freedom, Christopher and his forest friends must rescue the muse and defeat the terrible lizard. "The Happy Cricket" is enhanced with colorful and engaging animation, cheerful music, and memorable characters. Enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, grade school, and community library collections, the DVD format allows for the addition of bonus features which include 'The Solar Eclipse" short animation, language tracks in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, subtitles, captioning for the hearing impaired, and a widescreen format.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

Young Person's Guide to Getting and Keeping a Good Job
Michaela Farr & Marie A. Pavlicko, Ed.D
Jist Works
8902 Otis Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46216-1033
1593570856 $12.95

Career development experts Michaela Farr and Marie A. Pavlicko, Ed.D. present the updated third edition to Young Person's Guide to Getting and Keeping a Good Job, a guide written especially for young people seeking part-time, summer, full-time, or volunteer work. A consumable self-teaching course that has been successfully applied by more than 100,000 students, Young Person's Guide to Getting and Keeping a Good Job covers how to identify one's skills, document work experience, write an effective resume, improve interview skills, organize one's job search, and get ahead while on the job. The "hands-on" interactive format helps beginning job seekers absorb the crucial lessons, skills, and tips needed to earn a living in this enthusiastically recommended go-getter guide.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

In the Days of Sand and Stars
Marlee Pinsker
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
0887767249 $26.99

Francois Thisdale adds lovely drawings to these Biblical Midrashic stories of famous women from Eve to Rebecca, whose lives were affected by miracles, possibilities, and change. Midrashic tales are 'what if' stories built around Biblical tales, and here come to life pairing gorgeous images with tales perfect for read-aloud.

365 Bible Stories for Young Hearts
Crossway Books
1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
158134807X, $17.99 1-800-323-3890

As told in biblical scripture, God's great story of creation and the human race begins with 'A long time ago, God made the world'. "365 Bible Stories for Young Hearts" distills this and other biblical stories covering key events and basic truths taken from both the Old and New Testaments. Specifically written for children ages 5 to 8, "365 Bible Stories for Young Hearts" is enhanced with lovely full-color illustrations throughout. Ideal for parents wanting to establish foundational biblical truths into the hearts and minds of their children, these brief 'easy reader' level stories are ideal for bedtime storytelling. Also very highly recommended titles for young Christians are two other titles from Crossway Books: "The Big Picture Story Bible" (1581342772, $19.99) and the "ESV Children's Bible" (1581347472, $24.99).

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Creatures Great and Small
Karen Patkau
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887767548 $17.95

Kids ages 6-9 will find this a gentle, fun story which pairs an illustrator's talents with an exploration of insects, mammals, birds, and reptiles. Large and small creatures alike are contrasted and compared in a lovely, enchanting picture book designed to pick out the most unusual of species to applaud. Parents will find it an excellent way of introducing youngsters to the wonders of natural history.

Frog Heaven
Doug Wechsler
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590782538 $17.95

FROG HEAVEN: ECOLOGY OF A VERNAL POOL offers a fine pairing of photos and text by author Doug Wechsler, a naturalist and wildlife photographer whose focus on a vernal pool in a forest demonstrates how wood frogs and others survive. Ages 8-12 will appreciate the lovely pairing of unusual forest photos with the frog and animal views and discussions of small wildlife natural history.

Maria Angeles Julivert
Enchanted Lion Books
45 Main Street, Suite 519, Brooklyn, NY 11201
1592700586 $16.95 www.enchantedlionbooks

Color photos, drawings, and a 'handwritten notebook' approach turn BIRDS into something special: a field guide kids can use to easily learn about birds and their identification. The emphasis on observation goes beyond identification, though, to cover the science of bird flight, natural history, and physiology. A lovely, different kind of children's guide.

The American History Shelf

Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
$17.00 Each

Two fine 'A New Look At America's Story' titles by Susan Buckley & Elspeth Leacock pack in hundreds of visual and verbal facts to appeal to readers in grades 4-6. JOURNEYS FOR FREEDOM (0618223231) tells of real people pursing freedom in this country, from those who journeyed across the country to George Washington's road to New York to be sworn in as President. In expanding the concept of different kinds of roads to freedom, this book teaches how freedom receives different interpretations and efforts. KIDS MAKE HISTORY (0618223290) surveys real kids, from the real Pocahontas and one Susie, a volunteer with the first regiment of black soldiers in the Civil War to Peter Williamson's kidnapping to a life at sea. History comes alive with young heroes and heroines at the helm of change. The lively presentation of real facts will encourage kids to learn.

The Biography Shelf

Gregor Mendel
Cheryl Bardoe
Abrams Publishers
115 W. 18th Street, New York NY 10011
0810954753 $18.95

GREGOR MENDEL: THE FRIAR WHO GREW PEAS tells of the world's first geneticist – and it's refreshing to see such a coverage directed to grades 3-5, rather than the usual adult audience. Bright color drawings by Jos. A. Smith accent the survey of a man who overcame poverty to discover some of the basics of genetics and inherited traits. A lovely, intriguing biography kids will use for assigned reports – and will turn to for leisure reading.

The Holiday Shelf

Alfred Knopf/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

It's a shame Janet Schulman's 10 Trick-or-Treaters (0375832254 $8.95 ) arrived too late for more timely October Halloween mention: all we can say is, it's sure to maintain interest over the next year and beyond, offering a blend of zany, bright drawings by Linda Davick paired with a Halloween-theme counting book based on the adventures of ten little trick-or-treaters. Truman Capote's classic A CHRISTMAS MEMORY (0375837892, $17.95) receives Beth Peck's warm holiday drawings, a cd narrated by Celeste Holm and returns the 50th anniversary of a classic holiday story to print. A Christmas ritual of baking fruitcakes symbolizes the story of Buddy and his eccentric, elderly cousin. It first appeared in 1956 as a memoir of Capote's childhood but makes a simply love story for new generations.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Bardin the Superrealist
Fantagraphics Books
7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
1560977590 $19.95

The Bardin strips – presented here in full color throughout – are unique, presenting a shape-shifting protagonist of a kid between Peanuts, Dali, and with a dash of everything in between. While it's the sophisticated pre-teen who would gain the most from these, any kid who regularly pursues graphic novels and who likes art will find BARDIN THE SUPERREALIST an intriguing read – as will their parents.

The Life of Pope John Paul II in Comics
Alessandro Mainardi
Papercutz/Holzbrinck, Distributors
40 Exchange Place Suite 1308, New York NY 10005
1597070394 $16.95

John Paul II was one of the most beloved popes of modern times, but rarely are his achievements surveyed for elementary-level readers, much less in graphic novel form. These elements – the attraction of color comics and the survey of a religious figure little mentioned for younger grades – make The Life of Pope John Paul II in Comics a treat for any collection gathering graphic novels for ages 8-14. Striking color images follow his life from youth to involvements in the Polish church, politics, and his rise to become Pope. A fine, different pick for any collection of graphic novel holdings.

Smart Feller Fart Smeller, And Other Spoonerisms
Jon Agee
Hyperion Books
078683692X $14.95

Black and white drawings throughout accompany a zany collection of 'spoonerisms' – words that happen by accident when talking too fast. Kids will find many of the wordplay results hilarious – and familiar – and will also find the riddle format intriguing and fun: a fine language challenge.

Goosebumps: Creepy Creatures
R.L. Stine
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439841240 $16.99

Three comic artists adapt the R.L. Stine 'Goosebumps' stories to graphic novel format for young readers – and promise to attract even reluctant readers with its black and white visual embellishments. Here are excellent, eerie drawings to illustrate a girl's dangerous visit to her grandparents, and a case of curious siblings unleashing a monster in Southern California. While color might have worked even better, Goosebumps: Creepy Creatures is still a top pick for elementary-level readers who appreciate the thrill of the chill.

The Fiction Shelf

Stella Brite And The Dark Matter Mystery
Sara Latta & Meredith Johnson
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
1570918848, $6.95 1-800-225-3214

Stella Brite is a young and curious girl who, along with her brother Max, find themselves embarking on an astrophysics detective adventure as they search for mysterious dark matter that holds the universe together. Just what is dark matter and how does it work are the questions they seek answers to. An expert science writer for children, Sara Latta has developed a superb approach to teaching young readers ages 7 to 10 about an astronomical phenomena is a way that is every bit as entertaining as it is informed and informative. Young readers will, by using Max's handy notes, understand the clues about dark matter's identity, along with WIMPS, MACHOs, gravity, and so much more! 'Backmatter' includes a history of the scientific hunt for dark matter along with suggested websites for children to pursue for further study. Also available in a hardcover edition (157091883X, $16.95) and a strongly recommended addition to school and community library collections, Meredith Johnson's full-color illustrations are ideally suited to Sara Latta's engaging story of two children setting out to solve one of the mysteries of the universe.

An Angry Drum Echoed
Pamela Bauer Mueller
Pinata Publishing
12 Dunbarton Drive, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
Integrated Book Marketing (publicity)
PO Box 321, Kings Park, NY 17754
0968509770 $18.95

Written by Pamela Bauer Mueller (2006 Georgia Author of the Year Winner for YA/Children's books), An Angry Drum Echoed: Mary Musgrove, Queen of the Creeks is a historical fiction novel written from the first-person perspective of a real-life legendary figure - Mary Musgrove, daughter of a Creek mother and an English father, who successfully bridged the two worlds of Indian heritage and the English way of life. A lynchpin figure of the burgeoning Georgia colony during the 1700s, Mary Musgrove applied her influence with Indian tribes to encourage the chiefs to meet with General Oglethorpe in the Savannah, leading to the peaceful establishment of an English colony in Indian territory. Yet despite being held in high regard by English settlers as surely as Native Americans, she became an antagonist of the newly formed colonial government. After ten years of serving as an unpaid diplomat and interpreter, she led her Creek tribesmen in a march through the streets of Savannah in search of justice. A fascinating dramatization of a truly remarkable and strong-willed woman's life, recommended for readers of all ages.

Marin And The Dragon's Golden Treasure
E. W. Bonadio
iUniverse, Inc.
2021 Pine Lake Road, #100, Lincoln, NE 68512
1415 North Vicent Circle, Mesa, AZ 85207 (author)
0595396569, $8.95

Marin is a young man whose village is being held for ransom and only a dragon's fabled gold can prvent the village from being destroyed. When he ventures up into the mountain to the dragon's lair, he is confronted by the fearsome beast. Marin offers to make a trade – the gold for something the dragon simply cannot refuse. Written and illustrated for middle grade school readers, "Marin And The Dragon's Golden Treasure" is an original and engaging story that carries the implicit message about the importance of ethics and fair trade, courage and family values. Of special note is the section on dragon lore and the dragon mythology of many diverse cultures. "Marin And The Dragon's Golden Treasure" is a delightful read and highly recommended for both school and community library fiction and fantasy collections for young readers.

1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Jeanne DuPrau's THE PROPHET OF YONWOOD (0375875263, $15.95) represents the third 'Book of Ember', and familiarity with the others is recommended for maximum appreciation and understanding, here. Pre-teen Nickie sees many possibilities for her trip to Yonwood, North Carolina where her family's just inherited an old mansion from her great-grandfather – and she's ready to get away from the city. But it's not a haven, it's a disaster: a local woman's vision of doom and confusion among the people of Yonwood draw her into problems she can't control – including a possible war. Graham Salisbury's HOUSE OF THE RED FISH (0385731213, $16.95) provides a companion novel to UNDER THE BLOOD-RED SUN, so familiarity with the prior story will lend uniformity and smooth transition to this ongoing tale of Tomi Nakaji. Here it's a year after his father and grandfather were arrested after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and everyone's waiting for another attack. Japanese American Tomi and his family discover new enemies among old friends as they face new challenges. John Feinstein's VANISHING ACT (037583592X, $16.95) is set in new York City, where a hundred athletes are competing for millions in prizes – and where a kidnapping changes the nature of the game. Everyone's looking for Nadia – but two eighth-grade rookies have the best chance of finding her – if they're in time. A satisfying mystery evolves. Geraldine McCaughrean's SMILE! (0375836403, $14.95) tells of a boy who survives a plane crash in the wilderness to find himself alone with only a camera. His visit to a remote village, where people have never met a photographer or seen a photo, changes not only his life, but those he encounters in this gentle story of survival and change. Mary Pope Osborne's BLIZZARD OF THE BLUE MOON (0375830375, $11.95) provides a Magic Tree House #36 addition, with Jack and Annie off on another Merlin Mission. Here they are to rescue a beautiful magical unicorn -in New York City during the Depression of the 1930s nonetheless. Where will they find a unicorn in the big city? Another fine Magic Tree House tale. E. Lockhart's THE BOY BOOK: A STUDY OF HABITS NAD BEHAVIORS, PLUS TECHNIQUES FOR TAMING THEM (0385732082, $15.95) tells of Seattle teen Ruby Oliver, who appeared in the prior THE BOYFRIEND LIST: this time Ruby's junior year marks the past loss of best friends, her boyfriend, and new friendships. Ruby has a job and a new driver's license: neither of which seem to be helping her decipher her boyfriend's psyches in this funny analysis of boy problems. Brian Meehl's OUT OF PATIENCE (0385732996, $15.95) tells of pre-teen Jake's father's dream of opening the American Toilet Museum. The town they are in is cursed with obscurity and bad history and Jake's tired of waiting for it to dry up and blow away – he wants out. When his father brings home a relic to fulfill the town curse's last prophecy, trouble and mystery begins in this fun story of baseball and intrigue. Lee Weatherly's BREAKFAST AT SADIE'S (0385750943, $15.95) tells of Sadie who can't seem to get anything to go right. School is too hard, her mother's in the hospital and may not come out, and Sadie's aunt vanishes, leaving Sadie to run the family business by herself. Can things get any worse? A fine story of courage and change evolves. John Boyne's THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS (0385751060, $15.95) provides the moving, memorable story of a boy whose life is changed by his father's new job. His longing for his Berlin home will only be changed by new responsibilities and challenges. Kirby Larson's HATTIE BIG SKY (0385733135, $15.95) provides a fine historical novel set on a homestead in rural Montana and telling of an orphan coming of age during World War I. Hattie's life is unstable and she longs for a permanent home, so when she learns she's inherited her uncle's claim in Montana, she leaves Iowa to fulfill her dreams, only to discover she can't escape the world turmoil. Niguel Richardson's THE WRONG HANDS (0375834591, $15.95) tells of a teen with big hands and a big secret. It's setting is modern England and Graham keeps his talents hidden until an emailer seems to have learned it. An excellent mystery evolves. Joaquin Dorfman's PLAYING IT COOL (0375836411, $15.95) presents one Sebastian, a problem solver who gets in over his head when he's asked to track down a friend's birth mother – by switching identities. A dangerous series of events evolves from his idea in this fast-paced thriller. Edward Bloor's LONDON CALLING (0375836357, $16.95) comes from the best-selling author of TANGERINE and provides a satisfying blend of time travel, ghosts, and mystery. Martin's meeting with a young British boy who magically appears in his bedroom will lead him to London on the adventure of his life – which may or may not be the product of a dream. Catherine Ryan Hyde's BECOMING CHLOE (0375832580, $15.95) tells of two street teens who meet when sleeping in the same cellar in New York. Jordy is a gay 17-year-old, Chloe is 18 and a runaway from the public welfare system. Their very different reactions to abuses of the past may change their futures in this delicate story mature teens will appreciate. Cat Weatherhill's BARKBELLY (0375833277, $15.95) tells of a wooden boy, an accident, and a race for his life which leads Barkbelly into confrontation with a circus, a pirate ship, and more. The world is filled with dangers for a wooden boy – but his dreams may ultimately rescue him in this engaging tale. Caroline B. Cooney is well known for her compelling young adult sagas and in A FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT (0385733267, $15.95) she's created another winning leisure read for grades 6-9. Lily hates her father: her brother went to live with him after the divorce and came back with a secret only Lily knows. Part of her wants to honor her father; part of her wishes to judge him in this poignant, realistic story. Lurlene McDaniel's BRIANA'S GIFT (0385731604, $10.95) tells of an older sister who runs away with an older boy, then returns home alone and pregnant. When Briana becomes ill, Sissy sees her mother's choice as wrong – but can she advocate a different course at the holidays? Another warm McDaniel story of life-threatening problems and new beginnings. Patricia Reilly Giff's WATER STREET (0385730683, $15.95) is set in 1875 Brooklyn: Bird Mallon wishes to be a healer like her mother, and longs for a friend to move in the empty apartment upstairs; but neither of her dreams seem to come true; especially when Thomas and his father move in. Fans of Giff's prior 'Nory Ryan's Song will welcome a new generation in Bird, daughter of Nory and Sean. Iain Lawrence's GEMINI SUMMER (0385730896, $15.95) tells of a family filled with dreams: a father builds a fallout shelter in event of the 'end of everything', his wife is writing her own version of 'Gone with the Wind', an older son aspires to be an astronaut, and Danny wants a dog. In 1965 tragedy will change all their agendas and will introduce new directions into set paths - some for better, some for worse. Young adult leisure readers will find this a satisfying, very different kind of story of a family's struggles.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Ginny is certain the new girl in her second-grade class will be her best friend – they're both Chinese – but finds her new companion is very different. She hates Chinese food and her straight hair – and her parents aren't even Chinese. How can Ginny be a best friend to somebody who seems so like her, but so different? Carolyn Marsden & Virginia Shin-Mui Loh's The Jade Dragon (0763630128 $15.99) is a warm story of friendship based on the author's own experiences. Rebecca Rupp's JOURNEY TO THE BLUE MOON (0763625442, $15.99) tells of a confusing heirloom watch which gives Alex a mysterious message – and then vanishes. His chance encounter with an old lady leads to a ride on a rickety spaceship journeying to the full Blue Moon in this zany fantasy packed with unexpected twists and turns of plot. Laura Amy Schlitz's A DROWNED MAIDEN'S HAIR: A MELODRAMA (0763629308, $15.99) tells of Maud, a 'plain, clever and bad' girl living at an orphanage, who is adopted into a real family headed by elderly sisters who think she's perfect. Here's where the usual story ends 'happily ever after', but here's where A DROWNED MAIDEN'S HAIR really begins, moving from an orphan's fantasy fulfilled to a darker tale of affection, needs, and a family secret which offers danger as well as love. A riveting story.

A Very Fine Line
Julie Johnston
Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
088776746X $18.95

Rosalind is the youngest in a family of sisters and lives in a small Ontario town. She's artistic and fun-loving – and she has second sight. Her attempts to come to terms with a unique talent offers an involving, fun story teens will find engrossing.

Bloomsbury Press
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

Art and his annoying sister live in a huge house, Larklight, which is traveling through space on an orbit beyond the moon – so they rarely have visitors in Phillip Reeve's Larklight (1599900203 $16.95). But visitors are expected -and the space pirates they encounter will teach them about a wider universe and more dangerous possibilities than they imagined in this fine Victorian space fantasy adventure kids in grades 4-6 will relish. The black and white illustrations throughout by David Wyatt add excitement to an already different, wonderful plot. Lisa Klein's OPHELIA (1582348014, $16.95) recreates the Shakespeare classic for young adults, pairing the classic story with contemporary bent and focus on Ophelia, a rowdy, motherless girl waiting to become the queen's lady-in-waiting when she captures the attention of Prince Hamlet. Ultimately she'll have to choose between romance and life itself in this absorbing story that holds none of the confusing language of Shakespeare's original. P.R. Morrison's WIND TAMER (1582347816, $16.95) tells of Archie, who is sure the wind speaks to him. As his tenth birthday approaches the wind seems more a part of his life than ever, and supernatural touches enter the picture – all confusing until his long-lost uncle unexpectedly returns to tell him of the family curse. A satisfyingly involving tale of the supernatural emerges with a plot which offers plenty of fine twists and turns.

Minerva Clark Goes to the Dogs
Karen Karbo
Bloomsbury Press
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
158234678X $16.95

When Minerva was almost electrocuted by her older brother her insecurities fled and were replaced by a self-confidence rare in a 13-year-old, so when a rich girl pleads with her to help her find a missing diamond, she turns into a sleuth with an affection for trouble. Minerva's plucky personality once again drives a fine detective story filled with adventure and humor alike.

Walker & Company
104 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011

Holly's older sister is fighting anorexia and Holly herself is trying to cope with her sister's deterioration and change from a top medical student and role model to a sick person in Ibi Kaslik's Skinny (0802796087 $16.95). How can she affect her sister's life and how can she consider positive changes in the face of such consuming hungers? SKINNY is a passionate look at anorexia in the family and its effects on the entire family, differing from similar titles that focus on the sufferer alone. Janette Rallison's IT'S A MALL WORLD AFTER ALL (080278853X, $16.95) provides the twists and turns of romance and shopping as it tells of best friends, evil boyfriends, and a teen who develops savvy about boys and malls alike.

What the Moon Saw
Laura Resau
Delacorte Press
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0385733437 $15.95

One Mexican American family decides to cross the border, leaving behind friends and family in the search for a better life: their experiences are told through the eyes of teen Clara, who has never met her father's parents and doesn't know much about her Mexican heritage. An invitation to visit them introduces her to a new world – and new decisions – in this story of the aftermath of a journey.

Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

Charlotte is a Yankee, Maggie Irish: their 1850s friendship will rock their worlds as politics create an anti-Irish atmosphere and upsets their friendship in Carol Otis Hurst's Torchlight (0618276017 $16.00). 1850s issues and culture comes to life in this moving story of change. Barry Lyga's THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL (0618723927, $16.95) tells of Fanboy, whose sophomore year is being made miserable by bullies, the pending arrival of a new baby in the family, and the increasing distance between him and his former best friend. Will the graphic novel that Fanboy is so devoted to creating lead him to fame? Or will his newfound friendship with the new Goth Girl change his life? Gerald Morris' THE QUEST OF THE FAIR UNKNOWN (0618631526, $16.00) provides a fine fantasy telling of a boy's quest to find his father, a knight of King Arthur's court. Beaufils leaves his isolated forest home in search of a man he knows only as 'Father' and finds himself on a mission to seek the Holy Grail in this fine story of adventure and exploration. Joseph Helgerson's HORNS & WRINKLES (0618616799, $16.00) tells of a river possibly under a spell: Claire's uncertain of the rumors until her cousin takes a swim in it and sprouts a long horn. Can she solve the riddle of the changing waters and help him? An excellent fantasy adventure powered by strong characterization evolves.

Farrar, Straus, Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003

Watt Key's ALABAMA MOON (0374301840, $16.00) tells of a ten-year-old whose father dies: unlike other kids in such a situation, he and his father have been in hiding from the government in the forest in Alabama all his life, and he knows how to survive in the wilderness. Only problem is – his father's final request is that he journey to Alaska to find others living off the land – and avoid being a ward of the state. A fine story of survival both psychological and physical evolves. David Klass' FIRESTORM (0374323070, $17.00) is Book 1 in the 'Caretaker Trilogy' and tells of a boy who breaks a high school record, gets in the news – and finds himself on a strange journey through space and time as a result of his talents and heritage. Jack lives in a dangerous world which is dying, and his powers may be the only thing standing between survival and disaster in this fine introductory story of change.

Bread and Roses, Too
Katherine Paterson
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618654798 $16.00

Rosa's mother seems happy again after recording from the mining death of Rosa's father – but she's out in the streets singing union songs, and Rosa's frightened of the corrupt mill owners. When she's sent away to live with strangers in Vermont until the strike is over, she worries she'll never see her family again. Her adoption of a younger boy will help protect them both in this moving story of a mine strike's politics and dangers.

Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Bob Krech's REBOUND (0761453199, $16.99) tells of basketball dreams, a Polish boy's determination to fight prejudice to make the team, and a new coach who allows him to compete. As Ray's game improves he uncovers truths about prejudice and appearances which will change his life in this satisfying story of sports interactions and change. Dia Calhoun's AVIELLE OF RHIA (0761453202, $16.99) tells of a teen princess of Rhia who resembles a grandmother who practiced evil magic. Everyone expects Avielle to turn evil as well – and Avielle is shunned by others even as she fears for her kingdom which may go to war with Dredonia, a kingdom under the rule of evil wizard-priests. When Avielle escapes her family's murder, she finds herself assuming a secret identity, learning a new gift, and at last coming to terms with the possibility of evil within herself in this fast-paced fantasy adventure, recommended for older teens. Susan Rosson Spain's THE DEEP CUT (0761453164, $16.99) tells of a teen who is somewhat slow compared to his brothers, and who is facing a war in Virginia. His father sends him to live with an aunt while Lonzo's best friend secretly enlists in the Confederate army: Lonzo's struggle is not only with the war affecting his life, but with his own skills and courage in this fine story of the Civil War. Pamela Lowell's RETURNABLE GIRL (0761453172, $16.99) tells of Ronnie, whose mother to Alaska when after becoming involved with a good-for-nothing boyfriend. Ronnie has been 'returned' from numerous foster homes due to her lying and stealing and her last chance is Alison, a new foster mother. While she really longs to be popular, she longs for a real home even more: when given the choice between living with her mother or her last chance at a normal home, which should she choose? A poignant story of abandonment and acceptance evolves.

The Forest in the Hallway
Gordon Smith
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618688471 $16.00

Fourteen-year-old Beatriz comes home from school to find her parents have vanished, and she's sent to stay with an uncle only to find a strange invitation to visit the 19th floor of his apartment building – a place she's never seen. Her discovery of a strange forest to another world leads her on a journey which will hopefully result in finding her parents – or saving the world – in this excellent fantasy of a girl's journey to find family. Leisure readers who loved O'Brien's classic THE SILVER CROWN will find much to love here.

Margaret McElderry /Atheneum/Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

In 1929 Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie gave his book's copyright to the Special Trustees of Great Ormond street Children's hospital: to celebrate the book's centenary it authorized the creation of a sequel to Peter Pan, Peter Pan in Scarlet. Return to Neverland after World War I as nightmares are leaking into the world wrecking havoc with Geraldine McCaughrean's Peter Pan in Scarlet (1416918086 $17.99), where Wendy and the Lost Boys find themselves struggling to stop it in this powerful story that fans of the original Peter Pan won't want to miss. Karen Wallace's THE UNRIVALED SPANGLES (1416015036, $16.95) tells of sisters raised to be star performers in their father's famous circus. Lucy loves the spotlight, but Ellen's drive for more has led her to continue her studies against her family's wishes and in private. She's just beginning to assess another avenue of escape when disaster strikes – and it falls to her to maintain a family business she only wanted to escape. A fine survey of 19th century circus life in London offers up a riveting plot.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

The eighth Captain Underpants novel by Dav Pilkey is out, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE PREPOSTEROUS PLIGHT OF THE PURPLE POTTY PEOPLE, and it returns George, Harold and one Sulu the Bionic Hamster back to an alternate universe where the principal has a sense of humor and the librarian recommends great books. In fact, all seems wonderful – until George and Harold accidentally inject some of that reality into their own world, bringing an Evil George, Evil Harold and Evil Captain Blunderpants to life in another hilarious adventure recommended for elementary-grade readers – even the most reluctant. Michael Cadnum's NIGHTSONG: THE LEGEND OF ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE (0439545358, $16.99) is adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses and rewrites the love story with young audiences in advanced elementary to early middle school grades. Orpheus the musician-poet has fallen in love with the princess Eurydice, who agrees to marry him but is killed on their wedding day. Can Orpheus journey into the Underworld and find her? Many an adult will find this retelling poignant and accessible. Jenny Nimmo's CHARLIE BONE AND THE HIDDEN KING (0439545307, $9.95) presents another wonderful thriller: here Charlie faces the shadow from the Red King's portrait, which is causing strong things to happen at Bloor's Academy. It's the next installment in the Charlie Bone series of adventures: familiarity with the prior books will lend a smooth transition to this ongoing adventure spiced with plenty of supernatural elements. Ulysses Moore: The Long-Lost Map by Pierdemonico Baccalario (043977439X, $12.99) tells of three kids who journey back in time into ancient Egypt – but an accident returns Julie to home, with the boys trapped in the past. They must find a long-lost map hidden somewhere in Egypt to return – and in the process, solve more puzzles left by one Ulysses Moore. A rollicking, involving time travel story emerges with delightful twists and turns of plot. Samantha Schutz's I DON'T WANT TO BE CRAZY (043980518X, $16.99) tells of Samantha, who leaves home for college filled with expectations and excitement. As she revels in change, new pressures evolve and she begins to suffer anxiety attacks that threaten her newfound independence. Few stories are written to explore older teens leaving home and the pressures they face: I DON'T WANT TO BE CRAZY is an excellent commentary on pitfalls and stress. Natasha Friend's LUSH (043985346X, $16.99) tells of a teen whose father is a drunk: a fact that affects her world. She's almost used to it – but it keeps getting worse: how can she make the problems stop, and how can she keep her family from falling apart? A powerful story of a girl's choices. Anthony Horowitz's EVIL STAR (0439679966, $17.99) provides Book 2 of 'The Gatekeepers': while familiarity with the prior story is recommended, it's not essential and newcomers can nearly as easily step into the continuing story here. Matt has closed Raven's Gate – but evil forces are still afield and his fate is tied to four other kids around the world – who have never met. A science fiction thriller offers fast-paced action. Sharon Robinson's SAFE AT HOME (0439671973, $16.99) tells of Jumper, still reeling from his father's sudden death when his mother decides they should move back to her childhood home – in New York's Harlem. Jumper doesn't know anything about living in a city, and his mother signs him up for a city baseball camp, further complicating his life. He quickly makes an enemy of the team's bullying captain: can life get any worse, or can he make something of his problems? A fine story of handling bad odds. Chris Wooding's STORM THIEF (0439865131, $16.99) tells of thieves living in a city affected by probability storms which change reality wherever they hit. Rail and Moa's lives have long been affected by these storms; but when they uncover a strange artifact it seems they will wield power themselves – if they can unlock its secret. Intrigue and science fiction blend well in this outstanding story.

525 'B' Street Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495

Grace's parents say she's out of control and her old friends don't like her – but Grace thinks she's a whole new chic person and is happy with her new friends in Katherine Spencer's SAVING GRACE (0152057404, $15.00), an excellent story for ages 12 and older about change, self-image, and coming to grips with a brother's death. Susan Beth Pfeffer's LIFE AS WE KNEW IT (0152058265, $17.00) tells of a world changed when a meteor on a collision path with the moon changes the world's climate overnight. Suddenly Miranda's everyday concerns are superceded by a world-wide struggle to preserve civilization – and Miranda's diary entries fuel a powerful account of her family's search for hope in dark times. Readers of apocalyptic fiction will relish this different viewpoint of a changed future. Carol Plum-Ucci's THE NIGHT MY SISTER WENT MISSING (0152047581, $17.00) will also reach ages 12 and older with a riveting story: this about playing with a gun, a vanished sister, and a brother's investigation of what really happened that night. The first-person story is realistic and compelling.

Home and Other Big, Fat Lies
Jill Wolfson
Henry Holt
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0805076700 $16.95

Whitney has been in so many foster homes she considers herself an expert on their connected qualities, from happy ones to purely evil foster parents – but she doesn't know anything about trees, and her next foster home is located in them. She's convinced she won't be any more welcome in the middle of nowhere than anywhere urban – or is there a place in the country for a hyper, loudmouthed kid to fit in? A fine story of a spunky personality seeking a place to fit in.

Roaring Brook Press
143 West Street, New Milford, CT 06776

Deborah Lynn Jacobs' POWERS (1596431121, $16.95) tells of a girl who has [psychic dreams and a boy who reads her mind: the two are drawn together by their powers – but they can't stand each other and don't trust one another. Written in Gwen and Adrian's contrasting voices, POWERS surveys events from different perspectives and draws readers into a compelling leisure read which probes the nature of cooperative relationships and struggle. Carolyn MacCullough's DRAWING THE OCEAN (1596430923, $16.95) tells of Sadie, a gifted young painter trying to fit in at a new school, but who instead catches the eye of the school loner – as well as the school dreamboat. Which can help her achieve her dreams – and why does her dead twin brother keep appearing in her life? A haunting story on many fronts emerges.

Tomorrow, The River
Dianne E. Gray
Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618563296 $16.00

Teen Megan is bound for the Mississippi River via train – and headed for an encounter with strangers that will change her life during the journey. Ignoring her mother's 'dos and don'ts' may affect her life in ways she can't predict in this excellent story of encounters and growing up.

The Black Studies Shelf

Porch Lies
Patricia McKissack
Schwartz & Wade Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
0375836195 $18.95

Parents and teachers interested in read-alouds will find PORCH LIES: TALES OF SLICKSTERS, TRICKSTERS AND OTHER WILY CHARACTERS to be top-notch. Andre Carrilho provides appealing black and white drawings to spice a series of fun stories revolving around exaggeration and humor, from a little old lady who outwits Jesse James to a professional liar. Any building a strong African American collection should have PORCH LIES.

The Photography Shelf

Quincy the Hobby Photographer
J. Otto Seibold
15 E. 26th Street, New York NY 10010
0151014949 $14.95

A wide grade range, from 4-7 and perhaps beyond, will find much to delight in the beginning photographer's guide Quincy the Hobby Photographer: the Complete Guide to Do-It-Yourself Dog Photography. Black and white and color photos offer helpful tips on taking photos and operating a camera, blending humor with plenty of clear examples on everything from picking a subject to working with a canine who won't sit still.

The Picturebook Shelf

Mitt, the Michigan Mouse
Kathy-jo Wargin & Karen Busch Holman
Mitten Press
2500 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
1587263033 $14.95 877-722-2264

Written by Kathy-jo Wargin and illustrated by Karen Busch Holman, Mitt, the Michigan Mouse is the first book in the Mitt & Minn series. Mitt is a young white-footed mouse, who lives in his happy home of a wool mitten deep within a forest. One day, a boy and his dog come by, and the dog carries away Mitt's beloved mitten home! Anxious to find his warm mitten, Mitt sets out on a journey to find the home he lost, encountering adventures and surprises along the way. A delightful novel of questing and discovery for young readers.

Tam And Cam
Minh Quoc & Mai Long
East West Discovery Press
818 West 144th Street, Gardena, CA 90247
978-0-970165442, $16.95

"Tam And Came: The Ancient Vietnamese Cinderella Story" is a bilingual Vietnamese folktale deftly written by Minh Quoc and beautifully illustrated by Mail Long. Tam is a young girl who bears the brunt of her stepmother and stepsister's jealously through several incarnations. Tam ultimately achieves the position of bridge to the king who has loved her as a bird, a tree, and as herself. Also very strongly recommended as English/Vietnamese bi-lingual picturebooks for family, school, and community library collections are two other simply wonderful titles for children ages 6 and older from East West Discovery Press: "Indebted As Lord Chom: The Legend Of The Forbidden Street (978-0-9701654-6-6, $16.95) written by Song Ha and illustrated by Ly Thu Ha, and "The Tet Pole: The Story Of The TET Festival" (978-0-9701654-5-9, $16.95) written by Tran Quoc and illustrated by Nguyen Bich.

Andrew Lueck
Lueck Studios
8353 - 11th Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98117
0977454703, $16.95

Chicabee is a very special word that Andrew Lueck coined for his daughter and means 'to be a girl". It started out as a simple nickname and became a series of short impromptu stories that eventually combined to become a remarkable and unique children's picturebook. Chicabee is a girl who uses her confidence, wit, savvy and imagination to make the most of every day. She's joined by her younger sister, Little O, who follows her every where she goes. There's also Sparkle, a pretentious cat who loves all things shiny and bright, as well as Yappy, a dog who is always willing to join in with what every is going on. Brightly illustrated and well as engagingly written by Andrew Lueck, "Chicabee" is a delightful picturebook for family, school, and community libraries, and is most especially recommended for children ages 3 to 8.

Winter's First Snowflake
Cheri L. Hallwood & Patricia M. Rose
Forever Young Publishers
PO Box 216, Niles, MI 49120
0977442209, $15.99

The simple but elegant text for "Winter's First Snowflake" is a succinct, lyrical poem written by Cheri Hallwood one sill and chilly November night in 2003. Her inspiration was the first falling snowflake of the season. Wonderfully illustrated by the gentle art of Patricia Rose, "Winter's First Snowflake" is a truly delightful and enthusiastically recommended picturebook that would grace the collections of any school or community library, as well as proving ideal for family storybook time for young children as being one of those original picturebooks that are as engaging to the child as they are entertaining to their parents!

Dooby Dooby Moo
Doreen Cronin & Betsy Lewin
Atheneum Publishers
0689845073 $16.95

Fans of COWS THAT TYPE will find an equally engaging story in this new tale of Duck and his farm friends, here pooling their talents to win a talent contest – and a coveted trampoline. The cows want to sing, the sheep want to sing…and duck just wants to win. It's a different kind of county fair here, spiced with fun drawings – and you're invited.

The 39 Apartments of Ludwig Van Beethoven
Jonah Winter & Barry Blitt
Schwartz & Wade/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375836022 $15.95

It's hard to easily categorize this: based on a little-known fact about Beethoven's habit of moving frequently, it offers up a fun story of how he not only moved, but moved all five of his pianos from place to place. The hilarious tale of and why he moved, followed by all those pianos, creates a very different kind of story youngsters will relish.

It's a Bad Day
Mary Ellen Friday
Rising Moon Books
P.O. Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002-1389
0873589041 $15.95

It's a bad day when the tree eats your airplane, snowmen melt, and gum gets stuck in your hair – but the ability to laugh at events can turn a bad day into a good one. That's the message of a fun picturebook story that uses large-size drawings and both fun and familiar situations to explore a typical kid's bad day.

Atheneum/McElderry/Simon & Schuster

It's Mouse's first fall season in Lauren Thompson's MOUSE'S FIRST FALL (068985837X, $12.95), and Mouse is pleased: falling leaves are different colors, fun to play in, and encourage him in new simple play activities. Buket Erdogan provides fun, easy drawings to accent this simple tale of a little mouse's playful Fall encounters. Alan Katz and David Catrow's ARE YOU QUITE POLITE? (0689869703, $15.95) tells of silly manners and creates a rollicking, fun story of manners kids might actually like to follow. Here are common rhymes with uncommon lyrics that are crazy and fun comments on a different kind of etiquette indeed. Judy Sierra's THE SECRET SCIENCE PROJECT THAT ALMOST ATE THE SCHOOL (1416911758, $16.95) enjoys lively drawings by Stephen Gammell as it tells of mutant slime which nearly proves the downfall of a young scientist. A strange box of Super Slime for the science fair consumes cats, ants, and grows way too big: disaster is in the making in this hilarious tale. SMASH! MASH! CRASH! THERE GOES THE TRASH! By Barbara Odanaka (068985160X, $15.95) will prove a delight for any child, urban or rural, familiar with the early wake-up call of the garbage truck. A rhythmic and noisy text filled with appealing sounds follows two garbage trucks on their route – and dogs, pigs, and more who can't wait for them to arrive! Perfect for read-alouds. Derek Anderson's BLUE BURT AND WIGGLES (1416905936, $14.95) presents an unusual friendship between a bird and a worm. If a kid thinks opposites don't make good pals, BLUE BURT AND WIGGLES maintains otherwise, showing how common concerns lead to unusual friendships: a good teaching guide for parents who wish to promote togetherness.

Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

John and Ann Hassett's CAN'T CATCH ME (0618704906, $16.00) offers up a funny spoof on the classic gingerbread boy runaway: here a mother makes her thirty boy an ice cube for his lemonade – but it escapes and runs out the kitchen door with plans to grow into an iceberg so he can bump into boats. A series of encounters thwarts his big plans in this fun tale. Chris Van Allsburgh's PROBUDITI! (0618755020, $18.95) tells of two enterprising boys who decide to make their own hypnotizing machine after they go see a hypnotist on stage. Problem is, they are too successful, and turn Calvin's little sister into a zombie. How can they return her to normal, and what will their mother say when she sees her daughter acting like a dog? A vivid, funny tale. Arthur Geisert's OOPS (0618609040, $16.00) provides another wordless picture book story: this revolving around a little milk spill at breakfast, which leads to a series of misadventure chain reactions that eventually disrupt everything. Cause and effect usually doesn't create such disasters from a little drop of milk…or can it? Gordon Morrison's A DROP OF WATER (0618585575, $16.00) also tells of a big journey begun with a small event. A drop of water falls from a child's fingertip to eventually journey back to the sky, flowing down a mountain, collecting in a bog, seeping through a beaver's dam and more in the process. Large, lovely drawings illustrate the process. These are all lovely, unique acquisitions.

525 'B' Street, Suite 1900
San Diego, CA 92101-4495

Coleen Salley's EPOSSUMONDAS SAVES THE DAY (0152057013, $16.00) will reach ages 3-7, pairing Janet Stevens' lovely, fun drawings with the unique and lively tale of Epossumondas' birthday. Mama's whipping up his favorite biscuits – but she's out of sody sallyraytus (baking soda), leading Epossumondas on a chase to find the missing ingredient – facing a huge, ugly Louisiana snapping turtle in the process. A zany tale evolves. Leslea Newman and Valeri Gorbachev's SKUNK'S SPRING SURPRISE (0152056831, $16.00) will reach ages 2-5 with a lovely adventure perfect for year-around reading. Skunk just woke up from her long winter nap and looks forward to seeing all her friends -–but they seem to be missing. Where did they go? A surprise is in order as Skunk investigates the case of the missing pals. Both are fun leisure reads parents and kids alike will appreciate. Audrey and Don Wood's PIGGIES (015205667X, $17.95) re-appears for ages 3-7 and here even includes a music cd with seven original songs. Piggies romp from fingers to toes, this time accompanied by the beat of the cd's songs in a very simple rhyme book perfect for parent/child read-alouds.

Harry Abrams Publishers
115 W. 18th Street, New York NY 10011

Andrea Beaty's WHEN GIANTS COME TO PLAY (0810957590, $16.95) receives Kevin Hawkes' oversized, fun drawing as it portrays a fun summer and a celebration of friendship no matter what the size differences. Giants like to pick peaches, jump rope, and sing: are their activities really any different from humans? Laura Numeroff's WHEN SHEEP SLEEP (0810954699, $15.95) asks what a non-sleepy child's to do when the sheep she counts are already fast asleep. David McPhail's lovely drawings accent a simple dilemma in which a child must locate other things to count to achieve sleep.

Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003

Yangsook Choi's BEHIND THE MASK (0374305226, $16.00) tells of a different kind of Halloween in which Kimin says he's going as his grandfather – not a fun prospect to the other kids. But Kimin is Korean and his father was a Korean mask dancer, holding some surprises for his grandchild's choice. Kids in grades 2-3 will find it a revealing, unusual take on Halloween fun. Mary Quattlebaum retells SPARKS FLY HIGH: THE LEGEND OF DANCING POINT (0374344523, $16.00), telling of one Colonel Lightfoot whose fancy dancing leads him to boast about his talents and his land. So much so that the Devil himself comes out to compete in this fun story based on a Virginia legend. Both are unique, fun tales.

The Mouse Who Braved Bedtime
Louis Baum
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1582346917 $16.95

Every night Milo Mouse dreams about a big monster, so he's afraid of bedtime. His family tries to help keep his dreams away with milk and exercise: nothing works until he decides to face his fears and discovers something about them. Kids will learn from this gentle tale of a brave little mouse.

Mickey Moonbeam
Mike Brownlow
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1582347042 $16.95

When an emergency call comes to Mickey Moonbeam from the asteroids he jumps into his rocket and blasts off to help – until he discovers that a stranded traveler isn't what he expected. Can he help another when size matters? A fun space story encourages kids in grades 2-3 to learn about problem-solving and unusual solutions.

Slugs in Love
Susan Pearson
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
0761453113 $16.99

Ages 4-8 will find this a fun story of love despite slime: slug Marylou loves everything about Herbie – but she's a shy slug and can't get him to notice her. Her poetic attempts simply wash away: is their romance doomed? Kevin O'Malley's lovely drawings accent the simple tale of affection and miscommunication.

Melissa Parkington's Beautiful, Beautiful Hair
Pat Brisson
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590784099 $15.95

Everyone seems to love Melissa's long, thick shiny hair: it's her best attribute. But Melissa wants to be known for more than her hair: she wants to be known for real talent. Problem is, she can't seem to come up with anything original or notable. Suzanne Bloom illustrates the fun story of how a little creativity turns a natural asset into a talent.

Fergus and the Night-Demon
Jim Murphy
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618339558 $16.00

Clever Fergus O'Mara is good at avoiding work – and finding fun. But his attempts to discourage a night demon doesn't work, and Fergus begins to realize his tendency to give excuse and ignore reality will only get him deeper into trouble. John Manders provides the vivid drawings to a fun tale.

Scholastic/Blue Sky/Orchard Books
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Elisha Cooper's BEACH (0439687853, $16.99) captures a day at the beach using a picturebook pairing of lovely poetic text and realistic drawings. From sandcastles and a crab race to covering up, all kinds of fun beach activities are the attraction. Claudia Rueda's LET'S PLAY IN THE FOREST WHILE THE WOLF IS NOT AROUND (0439823234, $16.99) provides a fun tale perfect for read-aloud enjoyment, providing a group of animal friends who frolic fearlessly while asking the wolf if he's around. Wolf is busy dressing – and when he's done, he has plans. Linas Alsenas' MRS. CLAUS TAKES A VACATION (0439779782, $16.99) wonders why Santa's getting all the travel time while she stays at home in the North Pole. Her decision to let Santa prepare for the holidays alone promotes independence and a fun adventure in this different holiday story. Walter Wick's CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? ONCE UPON A TIME (0439617774, $13.99) offers up rhyming clues for each photograph designed to lead readers on a magical quest for treasure. Kids who like puzzles and visuals will relish this addition to Wick's 'Can You See What I See?' series, which comes packed with powerful visuals throughout. Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen's THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS AND THE SCIENCE FAIR EXPEDITION (0590208357, $15.99) is also a fun addition to a series: this returning to the School Bus's original attraction: science. Ms. Frizzle's students need science fair projects fast; and what better place to get them than back in time through a meeting with Galileo, Newton and other famous scientists? A worthy, fun addition to the Magic Schoolbus titles. Margery Cuyler's PLEASE PLAY SAFE: PENGUIN'S GUIDE TO PLAYGROUND SAFETY (0439528321, $15.99) receives Will Hillenbrand's fun drawings as it tells of too-playful playground animals who forget how to play safely. They create all kinds of problems as a result, and kids will get a laugh out of the zany guide to playground safety and fun. Mark Sperring's MERMAID DREAMS (0439796105, $16.99) tells of a girl who loves sea themes – but hates getting ready for bed. Her fantasy about diving for pearls and dancing with octopuses comes to life as she relates her day to an interested mother. But is it really fantasy? The Pope Twins provide engaging drawings to spice a lovely, gentle tale. Carole Boston Weatherford's DEAR MR. ROSENWALD (0439495229, $16.99) receives award-winning artist R. Gregory Christie's fun illustrations as it tells of a one-room school and a Sears president who is donating money to redo it. But how can a poor community match funds with a rich man to make their dream come true? It's based on the true story of the Rosenwald schools of the 1920s and 30s and offers a fine tale of a generous man's lasting impact on the Afro- American community. Maxie Baum's I HAVE A LITTLE DREIDEL (0439649978, $9.99) is a fine story of Hanukkah celebrations, adapting the popular dreidel song for new young audiences. Julie Paschkis provides the folk art perfect for pairing the dreidel song with cultural insights. Anne Isaacs' PANCAKES FOR SUPPER! (0439644836, $15.99) receives Mark Teague's fun and large, colorful illustrations as it tells of Toby, all dressed up in bright new clothes when she's hurled out of her parents' wagon and deep into the forest, there to meet a hungry wolf! A cougar is next – and only her cleverness can keep her from being eaten in this hilarious tale of forest adventure. Audrey Wood and Bruce Wood's ALPHABET RESCUE (0439853168, $15.99) is a pick for elementary-grade schools where kids are learning the alphabet basics. A colorful blend of full-page photos and drawings embellishes the story of little letters from Charley's Alphabet who are disappointed when the capital letters won't let them have fun with the grown-up fire truck. So they decide to build one of their own. Kids receive a basic introduction to phonics games and will have a good time identifying and finding the 'little' letters of the alphabet embedded in a gay story.

The Cat Who Wanted to Go Home
Jill Tomlinson
Egmont Books/Trafalgar Square Publishing
P.O. Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053
1405206004 $17.99

Suzy finds a huge basket in a field, deems it the perfect spot to fall to sleep, and wakes up to find herself in the sky! Only problem is, Suzy is a cat, so she has no way of phoning home for help and finds herself on an adventure in England as she tries to return to her native France. Paul Howard's delightful and fun drawings embellish a fine story for grades 3-4.

Dancing with Katya
Dori Chaconas
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
1561453765 $16.95

Constance R. Bergum's gorgeous drawings lend to the lovely story of Anna and her little sister Katya, who live on a Wisconsin farm and love to dance in the meadow, presenting they're ballerinas. When Katya falls ill with polio her dancing days seem over: her legs are weak and misshapen and Katya must struggle to even walk again – how will she dance with braces on? The sisters put heads together to resolve even a crippling illness in this gentle story of sibling warmth and overcoming adversity which parents and teachers will relish.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02140

Jan Fearnley's THE SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT CHILD (0763632317, $15.99) tells of clever dog detective Fido, whose latest case is a challenge: searching out the perfect child. It seems an impossible mission, but Fido is determined to find one – even if he doesn't really know what he's looking for. A fun tale comes from an illustrator who can inject fun moments even into a potentially serious topic. Phyllis Root's LUCIA AND THE LIGHT (0763622966, $19.99) tells of Lucia and her family, who lead a contented life in a cabin high in the mountains – until one day someone steals the sun away. It's up to Lucia to undertake a journey to find it, even though she's poor and without resources. This folk story comes from Nordic roots and provides a fine inspirational tale paired with gorgeous drawings by Mary Grandpre, making it perfect for read-aloud. Anthony Browne's SILLY BILLY (0763631248, $15.99) tells of Billy, who worries about everything – especially when he spends the night away from home. In fact, on a visit to Grandma's, Bill is so worried he can't sleep. Can Grandma help? This fine story embeds two points: about a Grandmother's loving skills and a boy's ability to conquer his fears – perfect choices for families facing struggles with separation anxiety in any form.

The Costume Copycat
Maryann Macdonald
Dial Books
375 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
0803729294 $10.99

Bernadette always has the best costume on Halloween, so how can her little sister Angela compete? Perhaps by wearing Bernadette's costume from last year? But once again Bernadette seems to preside in popularity with her fabulous new costume leaving Angela's in the dust: can she make changes which will make her the star? Any sibling who's faced Halloween will find the idea familiar in this fine story.

Clever Ali
Nancy Farmer
Orchard Books
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439370140 $17.99

When Ali turns seven he goes to work with his father, who keeps pigeons for the wicked sultan of Cairo, and learns all kinds of rules about their care – which he disobeys. He overfeeds one greedy pigeon who runs a bowl of the Sultan's rare cherries – and is given only three days to replace them or his father will suffer. Kids in grades 2-4 will appreciate Gail De Marcken's lovely ethnic drawings which are perfect pairings for an Arabian story of adventure.

David Lucas
Alfred A. Knopf
0375835199 $16.95

Everything's always the same for Nutmeg and her family: nothing ever changes whether it's a meal or activities – but when she meets a mysterious genie who gives her a magical spoon, the meals change – and so does the boring aspects of life. The spoon whips up not only meals but trouble – and soon their house is whipped into a ship which takes them to something different. A fun followup to HALIBUT JACKSON, NUTMEG stands well alone and requires no previous familiarity with the author to succeed – but any who read NUTMEG will find themselves enchanted, and looking for HALIBUT JACKSON.

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean
Alexander McCall Smith
Bloomsbury Publishers
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1582349770 $9.95

Harriet loves a good mystery, and together she and her aunts are always interested in a new case, so when she discovers lost cowgirl aunt named Formica, she already envisions an addition to their detective force. But cattle rustlers are Aunt Formica's problem – and it may take the entire team to solve the problem. A little under a hundred pages of action paired with black and white drawing by Laura Rankin make this easy reading mystery a treat.

Nate the Great Talks Turkey
Marjorie Weinman Sharmat & Mitchell Sharmat
Delacorte Press
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0385733364 $11.95

Olivia Sharp joins her cousin Nate to solve the case of the giant missing turkey in this latest 'Nate the Great' investigative piece. Here Nate hears of a giant turkey on the loose: despite his reluctance to become involved in a too-popular investigation, inside information lures him to one of his most puzzling cases. A fun story, especially for fans of Encyclopedia Brown and the like.

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Ordinary Basil
Wiley Miller
Blue Sky Press/Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439856655 $14.99

Cartoonist Wiley Miller may be best known for his adult 'Non Sequiter' cartoons but his style lends well to children's stories and here his drawings bring to life the tale of a pre-teen who lives in a lighthouse in Maine. Basil's life is dull – until an eccentric professor who is steering a flying boat enters his world, bringing him to a magic floating city filled with inventions and wonders. Even reluctant readers in grades 4-6 will find the color drawings pair well with chapters of vivid adventure fantasy.

Akimbo and the Snakes
Alexander McCall Smith
Bloomsbury Publishers
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1582347050 $9.95

Akimbo feels lucky when his father allows him to visit his uncle's snake park where he lives in Africa – and when his uncle's called upon to investigate the sighting of a green mamba – the deadliest of all – he's ready for adventure. What he isn't ready for is coming upon the snake himself. Black and white drawings enhance an easy-read action tale kids will relish.

Three Names of Me
Mary Cummings
Albert Whitman
6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723
0807579033 $15.95

Ada has three names: one given her at the Chinese orphanage, one by her American parents, and a third name whispered by her Chinese mother which is unknown to her. An easy first-person story of Ada's world is provided in a series of lovely full-page color drawings by Lin Wang and a scrapbook memoir format inviting kids to gather their own memories.

Mouth Moths: More Classroom Tales
Douglas Evans
Front Street Press/Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
1932425233 $15.95

Paul is admonished to raise his hand to talk in class – but he can't stop himself from blurting out whatever he has to say – until moths begin fluttering each time he does so. He's the only one to see them, so he's the one who has to come up with a solution in this fun story of a mysterious classroom's odd events, spiced with black and white drawings by Larry Di Fiori.

The Paperback Shelf

Kitty Fitzgerald
c/o Hyperion Press
77 West 66th Street, New York NY 10023-6298
1401360106 $12.95

Jack Plum was born disfigured and labeled a monster by an abusive mother – but he's created a haven in his cellar, shared with his beloved pet pigs – and is happy until he meets neighbor Holly, who changes his world for the better until the outside intervenes. A sensitive, moving tale of a sheltered boy's entry into a non-abusive world will attract a wide range of leisure readers.

Berkley Jam Books
375 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014

Three outstanding new Berkley Jam books for older teens will prove very popular leisure picks, with their bright, contemporary covers and emphasis on romance and humor. Megan Stine's MAKING OUT PROM NIGHT (0425211797, $9.99) is an unusual prom-themed adventure which will strike a note with female readers who are enamored with the romance of prom. Best friends determined to make Senior Prom their most memorable find many challenges ahead, from parental restrictions and lack of romance to an ultimate Prom Night unexpected adventure. Mary Kennedy's SECRETS OF A SOUTH BEACH PRINCESS (0425211967, $9.99) tells of a rich blond girl who is Miami's newest 'it girl' find. When a handsome boy checks into her hotel for the summer she anticipates romance – but discovers more complexity than she's ready for. Serena Robar's FANGS FOR FREAKS (0425211959, $9.99) provides a fun, vivid sequel to BRACED2BITE which requires no prior familiarity to prove satisfying – but once readers get into the hilarious story of a Psi Phi House vampire sect, they'll surely want to turn to BRACED2BITE: both are an unusual blend of supernatural and romance themes, and are top picks for later high school leisure readers seeking something different.

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

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