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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 20, Number 12 December 2010 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Fiction Shelf DVD Shelf
Music Shelf American History Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf
International Studies Shelf Preschool Shelf Science Shelf
Crafts Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Poetry Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Christmas Shelf
Folklore/Fairytale Shelf Islamic Studies Shelf Biography Shelf
Native American Shelf Sports Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Young Adult Shelf Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

My Foodie ABC Placemats
Puck, author
Vilet Lemay, illustrator
Duo Press
2257 Rogene Drive T1, Baltimore, MD 21209
9780982529553, $9.95,

We are all familiar with restaurant placements that feature little games or puzzles to amuse the children. Now there is an entire book devoted to them. This 32-page compendium of tear out placement sheets features activities specifically designed for preschool children ages 3 to 5. Featuring themes of food, art and fun, all that's necessary is a box of crayons or colored pencils. Youngsters will be fully engaged and parents will find them invaluable to use whether dining out or at a party. A novel and original idea, "My Foodie ABC Placemats" is a consumable and therefore not appropriate for libraries -- but parents and grandparents will want one for every child and grandchild, preschool through kindergarten!

Mali Under the Night Sky
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781933693682, $17.95,

Mali Under the Night Sky: A Lao Story of Home is not an ordinary picturebook - it tells the true story of a little girl named Mali, who had to journey with her family from Laos to Thailand when she was five to escape the deadly toll of a war without borders. When they finally come to a different country, they are imprisoned. As heartrending as the story is, it also offers a glimmer of hope in the love people have for their homeland and each other. Mali Under the Night Sky is a soul-stirring picturebook about the difficulties faced by wartime refugees, and deserves the highest recommendation.

Professor Lightfoot's Mushroom Expedition
Laurel Heger
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781617391781, $9.99,

"Professor Lightfoot's Mushroom Expedition: In Search of Woodland Treasures" is an exploration of common forest mushrooms found in North America. Guided by Professor Lightfoot and his companion Truffles the hedgehog, readers encounter fabulous facts of fungi, including identifying Bird's Nest Fungi, Puffballs, Honey Mushrooms, Parasol Mushrooms, Oyster Mushrooms, and more. A handy list of mushroom expedition equipment is presented in the introduction, and children are reminded to "tread lightly and leave only footprints." The housekeeping purposes and life span of most fungi is explained briefly, and Professor Lightfoot's narrative includes characteristics of the many different types of mushrooms that can be found. With regard to mushroom edibility, Professor Lightfoot says "When in doubt, check it out!" Careful instructions for spore print making are included, along with instructions for free audio book digital download. "Professor Lightfoot's Mushroom Expedition" is embellished by earthen-toned illustrations that help young readers identify the different types of fungi. "Professor Lightfoot's Mushroom Expedition" is an illuminating nature study guidebook for children ages 6 and up.

The Book of Chad
Richard Kozar
OTTN Publishing
16 Risler Street, Stockton, NJ 08559
9781595560384, $14,99,

"The Book of Chad" is an inspirational story of a 12 year old Pennsylvania boy's courageous and fatal encounter with brain cancer. Not a typical 12 year old boy, Chad liked to participate in an all girls' jump rope team, make goofy faces, and often showed great thoughtfulness of others. Chad's legacy seems to be his resolute acceptance of his fatal illness. In answer to a friend's question as to how he might react to the experience of dying at a young age, he answered, "If that's what God wants, I would do His will." Shaped by his Christian faith, Chad's strong concern and love for the family and friends whom he would leave behind was clearly foremost. Many black and white photos illustrate the young Chad in memorable moments of his life. His trip to Hawaii, provided by the Make a Wish Foundation," is represented in several pictures, as a re many other special events. Chad's participation in life with his family involved so much more than a slight, small handful of years. A bit of his bright, faithful legacy is preserved in "The Book of Chad" to inspire and/or comfort those who have had to experience the loss of a beloved child.

Where Is My Frog?
Paul Orshoski, author
Meredith Johnson, illustrations
Treasure Bay Books
P.O. Box 2665, San Anselmo, CA 94979
9781601153241, $4.99,

"Where Is My Frog?" is a Level 2 We Read Phonics series book that encourages parent-partnered reading skills development in children in grades K-2. Special games to help young readers spell, identify, and understand vocabulary words are suggested in addition to a Parents Introduction which explains how to use the story to teach a child phonics, vocabulary, and reading and comprehension skills. "Where Is My Frog?" is filled with fun rhymes, colorful illustrations, and easy to follow story action sequences. To teach phonics and reading skills effortlessly and inspire continued reading interest, "Where Is My Frog?' is a perfect tool.

The Duck Song
Bryant Oden, author
Forrest Whaley, illustrator
Flinders Press Inc.
P.O. Box 3975, Burbank, CA 91508-3975
9780984395590, $18.95,

"The Duck Song" is a charming sound book complete with a CD of 12 children's songs, plus a music box component in the cover which can be played by pressing the lemon. "The Duck Song" is inspired by a real duck who was rescued by the author and treated with grapes. Brightly colored, comical illustrations add zing to "The Duck Song," and children age 3 and up will love singing along with the 12 songs on the CD and in the music box. Full of bounce and refreshing impudence, "The Duck Song" tickles young minds and hearts and encourages them to laugh, sing and read.

The Enchanted Rope
David D. Bernstein, author
Sally Taylor, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Toad - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432751753 #13.95,

"The Enchanted Rope" is a magical story of healing for children ages 6-8. Jackie misses his mother who has gone to be with the angels, so he decides to weave her and enchanted rope of one hundred beautiful wildflowers so he can climb up the rope to visit his mother where she lives with the angels. Jackie weaves his enchanted rope of many beautiful wildflowers under an Alaskan sky, and the many wonderful creatures and sights he sees there are included in the magic weavings of the enchanted rope. When Jackie climbs up the rope to see his mother, he is not disappointed, but decides with her encouragement to return to the world of flowers. He finds one red flower missing from his enchanted rope. That is the one his mother kept with the angels, to remind her of him always. "The Enchanted Rope" is a mystical, shimmering tale that delicately laces fact with fancy to create a new healing truth.

Scooter the Little Black Kitty with the White Spot
Sue Baker
Tate Publishing and Enterprises
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064

"Scooter the Little Black Kitty with the White Spot" is the heartwarming story of a little kitten who loses his mother and siblings in the wild woods during a long scary move, but ends up finding a new home with a nice lady named Sue. "Scooter" is the littlest kitten in the litter, so she has trouble keeping up with the rest of her cat family. After many adventures and weary walking, Scooter finally meets Sue when she comes outside to feed the dog and rubs his tummy. Scooter mews loudly and follows Sue everywhere until she notices the little black kitty with the white spot. A happy ending is comfortably achieved and Scooter makes the most of her new home with Sue. "Scooter" is based on the author's experience of finding and adopting a real kitten just like Scooter. Charming, colorful cartoonlike illustrations add to the joy and wonder of "Scooter." "Scooter" is an eLive book, which means there is a special code printed on each copy that can be redeemed for the free download of an audio version of "Scooter."

Where's Home?
Gabrielle Israelievitch, author
Juliana Newfield, illustrator
Triad Publishing Company
P.O. Box 13355, Gainesville, Florida 32604
9780937404720, $15.95,

"Where's Home?" is a story about experiences of neglect, abuse, foster care and adoption. Told with very real-sounding animal characters including cats and kittens, bear social workers, and mice, "Where's Home?' encourages children to identify with the animal characters, while recognizing their human counterparts. "Where's Home?" is a valuable tool to aid understanding, growth, acceptance, and compassion. Though it does not flinch from some of the harsher events and realities and the sadness underlying pain and violence, "Where's Home?' is essentially filled with hope. Just the ability to learn to recognize some of the needed components of normal life - for example, regular, nourishing meals, clean places to sleep and live, manners and showing care and consideration for others- is missing or stunted in the little neglected foster kittens because they had never experienced such things. How Littleprints, the main neglected kitten, becomes "Little Prince" in the home of Pa and Ma Cool is the satisfying burden of "Where's Home?" Tender black and white detailed illustrations are very effective in touching the readers of "Where's Home?", which appeals to an audience of children ages 8-12.

Lizzie Scarlet
Teresa Ascone
Alaskan Portfolio
Artwork by Teresa Ascone
P.O. Box 877706, Wasilla, AK 99687
9780981659220, $12.95,

"Lizzie Scarlet" is Book 2 in the Alaska Berry Fairies series by author/artist Teresa Ascone. "Lizzie Scarlet" is a continued celebration of the beauty and color of parts of the Alaskan landscape, with fanciful embellishments that seem to grow organically out of that wild and rich environment. Filled with dazzling, fanciful water color paintings of many individual Alaskan Berry Fairies and other details of their amazing lives, which include some darker twists and moments of intrigue and unpredictable excitement. Poetry, songs, paintings, dress and costume creations, these are all parts of the amazing narrative of "Lizzie Scarlet." The battle rages between good and evil, and hopeful notes recur as in the ending Legend of the Healing Vessel, which ends with the thought: "Just as the vessel was mended, so wounded hearts can be healed (p.37)." This series is a bit reminiscent of another exotic fairy series titled "The Iron Fairies," also a creative collaboration of different media efforts. It is certain that both adults and children will find much to pore over in "Lizzie Scarlet," a work which strengthens imaginations like vitamin therapy.

Sleigh Bells in Springtime: Frogs Calling
Jessica R. Katz, author
Stephen Adams, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449081386, $17.49,

"Sleigh Bells In Springtime: Frogs Calling" is a delightful nature observation book about a girl who loves walking in the woods with her dad and experiencing the sights and sounds of each season. One spring on a hike she thought she heard sleigh bells. Puzzled as to how this could be, she researched the sounds different frogs or spring peepers make in the spring in the library and on the internet. With the help of her sister she decides to add her observations to a research database to help keep a count of different types of frogs she hears at the same location (a pond). Armed with all needful equipment (pencils, flashlight, tape recorder, rain gear, thermometer and watch) she enters data gathered twice a week online. She and her sister even do a public speech at school about their project and they are honored for their work. As the seasons turned towards cold winter again, the girl looks forward to hearing real sleigh bells, but she is counting the days until the spring peepers bring her another sleigh bell sound just as delightful. "Sleigh Bells in Springtime: Frogs Calling" is ideal reading for elementary school children, 6-10, with its verse narrative and blended artistic and photographs illustrations.

Dear Baby I'm Watching Over You
Carol Casey, author
Mark Braught, illustrator
DearBaby Books
c/o KSB Promotions Visibility Specialists
55 Honey Creek NE, Ada, MI 49301
9780982097236, $16.95,

"Dear Baby I'm Watching Over You:" is a good picture book to explain to very young (ages 2-8) children whose parents are posted to military duty far away. The multi-cultural, multi-racial illustrations of enlisted men and women and their families, along with the tender verse narrative, all help to more fully explain why a beloved parent must be absent from a young child's life for a long time span while on duty tour. Drawing hand prints, reading and writing letters, sending pictures, tying thoughts of the child to routine daily activities like tying shoes, these are all suggestions for ways to help children feel closer to the absent parent, to remember that their parent loves and cares for them even though they are far away. "Dear Baby I'm Watching Over You" is a welcome aid to spouses and parents who need to care for children of absent parents, to help explain why mommy or daddy are gone so far away for so long a time.

The Fiction Shelf

The Scariest Dream Ever
Maria T. DiVencenzo
Winterlake Press
PO Box 1274, Buffalo, NY 14231-1274
9780981600321, $16.99,

The scariest can easily be turned into the best. "The Scariest Dream Ever" is a children's picturebook aimed at facing their scary dreams and how to turn those fears into a powerful force. With humor and a good story, Maria T. DiVencenzo puts together a fine read for younger folks with a good morale. With illustrations with their own unique style from Alixandra Martin, "The Scariest Dream Ever" is a fine read that should be considered for anyone looking for a good children's picturebook.

One Cute Cookie
Johnny Gregory
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533156092, $7.95,

A little fun can quickly turn to a little horror. "One Cute Cookie" tells of two children and their encounters with an evil witch, who they must outsmart to defeat. A charming little book for children with cute hand drawn illustrations and a simple story, "One Cute Cookie" is a choice pick for younger readers.

Cilieyack is Under Attack
Caryn Talty
Leni Books
11036 S. Tripp Ave., Oak Lawn, IL
9780982817308, $11.95,

It can be hard to be a kid without a sweet tooth. "Cilieyack is Under Attack" is a charming book aimed at young readers facing a disease called celiac sprue, which requires him to watch his diet. With plenty of humor and advice for children facing similar conditions, "Cilieyack is Under Attack" is a fine pick for any parent of a young child who needs help coping with their condition.

Belle Boy
Anne Fuller
Fuller Minds
PO Box 391415, Omaha, NE 68139
Concierge Marketing (publicity)
13518 L St., Omaha, NE 68137
9780982743010, $9.95,

In the search for a brother, many will go against society itself. "Belle Boy: A Sister in the Rebel Ranks" is the story of Samantha Anne and her search for her brother Johnny. Johnny goes missing during his fight for the Confederacy, and Sam decides to join up, abandoning being the pristine Southern Belle and joins the ranks as a young boy to find her lost brother. "Belle Boy" weaves in history with Sam's story, making for a both educational and entertaining read throughout for secondary readers.

Frank Cottrell Boyce
Walden Pond Press
c/o Harper Collins
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780061836831, $16.99,

Looking a bit old for your age has its perks. But it can be a bit annoying when you look almost three times your age. "Cosmic" tells the story of Liam, a twelve year old boy who doesn't have to worry about growing up too fast because he already has. Looking like an adult, Liam's life as a kid has its problems, and its advantages. But when he poses as his chaperone on a field trip into space, Liam suddenly thinks he needs an adult, as he spirals deeper into space. "Cosmic" is an exciting read that many younger readers will relish.

Strike One!
Andrea Prostko
Eloquent Books
PO Box 333, Durham, CT 06422
9781609115463, $13.95

Doing nothing is rarely the best solution. "Strike One!" tells the story of Billy, a grade school student who has been doing well in the classroom and on the field. But when Jacob, his best friend, begins mercilessly taunting a new student, Billy is unsure of what he should do. A story of bullying and what other students can do to help, "Strike One!" is a thoughtful read, and very highly recommended for younger readers.

The DVD Shelf

Thomas & Friends Adventure Pack
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Thomas & Friends Adventure Pack is a four-DVD set containing one full season of computer-animated episodes of the popular children's television show "Thomas & Friends", starring Thomas the anthropomorphic tank engine and his vehicle friends. Colorful adventures with character-building social morals distinguish this family-friendly collection. The four DVDs are "Railway Friends", "High Speed Adventures", "Team Up with Thomas", and "Percy and the Bandstand"; bonus features include songs, bonus episodes, read-along sections, and simple DVD games. Thomas & Friends Adventure Pack is a treat for children and for library children's DVD collections. 4 DVDs, 178 minutes. Also highly recommended from Lionsgate is "Animal Tails" ($14.98), a DVD featuring animal-adventure-themed episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine ("Thomas and the Golden Eagle"), Bob the Builder ("Scruffty on Guard"), Barney the Dinosaur ("Pets"), Fireman Sam ("Baa Baa Baby"), and Kipper ("Cakes and Tails").

The Music Shelf

Shih Enterprises Inc.
PO Box 1554, Huntington, NY 11743
$15.00 each,,

Four children's music CD albums by performer Patricia Shih make for excellent gifts to young people. "The Power of One" is a Nappa Gold award winner and a Parent's Choice approved pick, as its songs have an upbeat message of responsibility and the will to make a difference for the better in this world. "Big Ideas!" includes songs about social issues like bullying, and the power of cooperation; the songs promote harmony and better understanding of the world around one, as well as spirited playfulness. "Making Fun!" includes special guest Tom Chapin in the "Cheaters Get Cheated" song, and encourages young people to find joy in life while trying to see things through the eyes of others as well as one's own eyes. "Your Imaginengine!" eared Creative Child Magazine's 2010 Seal of Excellence for its uniquely brilliant inspirational songs designed to stimulate curiosity and creative thinking. A number of special guests help bring Shih's catchy jingles and buoyant music to vivid life. All are first-rate recommendations for public library children's music CD collections.

Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477, Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477
$15.95 each, 1-800-631-2187

Kimbo Educational offers four excellent music CDs for children, each promoting both physical and mental development. "I Like Myself: Songs About Feelings and Fun" lives up to its title with audio activities as well as songs, dedicated to promoting emotional development and language skills. Action songs, games, and creative play fill this delightful album for tykes. Michael Plunkett's "Shakin' the Chute: Fitness With a Parachute" is a kids' CD designed to be played with a simple, colorful parachute for team activities that promote mobility, direction skills, body identification, imagination, and other early learning skills. "Steady, Ready, Jump: Preschool Fitness Fun" is an album of high-energy, movement-based activity especially for young listeners ages 3-8, and a great way to encourage healthy exercise habits at a young age. An activity guide as well as lyrics and literature links are included. Georgiana Stewart's "Activity Songs and Games: Learning Fun for Preschoolers" offers songs that emphasize motor skill development through musical play, rhythms, exercises, and games. All these CDs are choice picks with educational as well as fitness value, and highly recommended for little ones.

Grow It At Home
Peter Alsop
Moose School Productions
Box 960, Topanga, CA 90290

Grow It At Home is an upbeat music CD especially intended for young people and teens. While children help Peter Alsop in his garden, he sings songs about learning to change the world, taking care of oneself and others, and more. A rousing yet heartwarming album, enthusiastically recommended for car trips with young ones or just plain family listening fun. The tracks are "Kids" (0:36), "Peaceful Feet" (1:12), "Wish" (3:51), "Ask Away" (2:42), "Listen To The Beet" (2:53), "Dragon Who Flies By My Window" (4:27), "Stick My Neck Out" (3:35), "Was St. Pat Scared?" (2:11), "Strangers" (2:35), "Sometimes Si, Sometimes No" (2:40), "No, No, No!" (4:45), "I Love My Family" (3:27), "Use It Again" (2:54), "Grow It At Home" (4:01) and "Roots And Wings" (2:02). Also recommended for young adults is Peter Alsop's album "Disciples of Perfection".

The American History Shelf

Ruth and the Green Book
Calvin Alexander Ramsey, author
Floyd Cooper, illustrator
CarolRhoda Books
c/o Lerner Publications
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761352556, $16.95,

"Ruth and the Green Book" tells the historically based story of how African American travelers in the USA avoided persecution, prejudice and danger by following advice about recommended service stations, restaurants, and places to stay called "The Negro Motorist Green Book." Written in 1936, the Green Book was sold at Esso stations, which were about the only stations that sold gas to African Americans until 1964. The story tells of a girl named Ruth who is making a trip with her family from Chicago to Alabama to visit her Grandma. Although the story is fictional, the Green Book and Jim Crow laws were not. "Ruth and the Green Book" is a needed addition to modern African American history that will appeal to children ages 7 and up. "Ruth and the Green Book" includes information about the history of the Green Book and a reference to read it online at,

The Flag Keeper
Stacy Juba, author
Larry Drumtra, illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781453753057, $11.99,

The Flag Keeper is a flat-spined softcover book designed to teach young children about the American flag. Simple color illustrations follow the bear girl Elizabeth, as she learns how to treat a flag with proper respect, and why one should never fly it upside down except in emergency (an upside-down flag is a plea for immediate help from the police or anyone else available!) A handful of flag facts and discussion questions such as "How would you describe 'flag etiquette' to a friend?" round out this excellent educational book filled with information all American children should know.

Cappy Tail's Capitol Tales
Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes
VSP Books
14807 Build America Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22191
9781893622234, $16.95,

Cappy Tail's Capitol Tales is an educational children's picturebook that teaches young people about the United States Capitol, with guidance from the cheerful squirrel Cappy Tail. Young readers will see a brief history of the Capitol and its various rooms, and how it has changed up to the modern day. Though gentle, hand-drawn color illustrations fill most of Cappy Tail's Capitol Tales, a handful of photographs enhance this delightful celebration of America's governmental seat. Highly recommended.

George and Marty's Awesome Adventures
Jeff and Lindsay Wendt
Dog Ear Publishing
4010 W. 86th Street, Ste H, Indianapolis, IN 46268
9781608446315, $14.95,

George and Marty's Awesome Adventures: America's Amazing Birth! is a flat-spined picturebook that takes young readers on an amazing tour of early American history. When three children visit their grandfather, he takes them on a journey through time, to learn how America came to be its own nation. He shows them how America was once ruled by Britain's king, who used taxes to make its people pay extra money for the things they needed to survive. The people's protests eventually led to the not only outbreak of war, but also the Founding Father's Declaration of Independence. "Annaliese asked, 'Did the war end after the Declaration was signed?' Jake said, 'Nope, sis. It actually went on from 1775 to 1783!' 'That's right!' Exclaimed George, 'Many men and women, both young and old, still had to fight a big war to earn our freedom!'" Colorful character drawings in a style reminiscent of the "Annie" comic strip embellish this delightful introduction to how America came to be.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Loui Saves the Earth
Alexandra Gnoske
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452000343, $9.49,

"Loui Saves the Earth" is a hand-colored green book about how Loui and his dog Dusty decide to work to clean up and save planet earth from thoughtless environmental degradation. Simply written and deftly illustrated, "Loui Saves the Earth" is a central workbook in efforts to encourage kids to realize they have the power to make a difference in the health of the planet. Multi-talented author Alexandra Gnoske has degrees in wildlife biology and environmental law and also founded the green business RECYCLE ME, and organic cotton clothing company in Chicago.

Oil Spills
Christine A. Caputo
Capstone Press
PO Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002-0669
9781429666589, $23.99,

Part of the "First Facts" educational series, Oil Spills is a picturebook intended for young people in grades 1-3. Oceanography professor Dr. Ian R. MacDonald served as a consultant to author Christine A. Caputo in order to ensure that "Oil Spills" gives accurate information on how oil spills happen, the effects they have on animals and the environment, and how people clean them up. Full-color photographs on every page illustrate this invaluable educational resource, highly recommended especially for elementary school and public library children's collections. "One way people contain oil spills is with booms. A boom is like a fence that is put into water. Booms stop the oil from spreading. Most booms are filled with air. Others are made from hair, fur, or feathers."

Going Blue
Cathryn Berger Kaye & Philippe Cousteau
EarthEcho International
c/o Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Ave. North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575423487, $14.99,

"Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Saving Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands" is a manual stuffed with helpful information to help teens and tweens to organize to help save our oceans, lakes, rivers and wetlands. Geared for readers age 11 and up, "Going Blue" is an exciting challenge to kids to analyze the issues about water purity, investigate our dependency on clean water supplies, prepare with further understanding of the immensity of the issues and problems, suggested ways to take effective action, a chance to step back and reflect, and finally a chapter on publicity, or demonstration by sharing your stories of going blue. "Going Blue" is a mini treasure trove of information and well documented research and action stories about communities which have made positive choices to help clean up water resources. An example of some of the sound bytes embedded in "Going Blue" is Philippe Cousteau's elevator speech on page 113, highlighted with a gold background: "Did you know that water is the single most important substance on the planet (1st floor)? Water connects every being to one another - from drinking to energy production (2nd floor). Water is quickly becoming the cause of the greatest crises of our century (3rd floor). I run a nonprofit called EarthEcho International, and we just launched the Water Planet Challenge (4th floor). This Challenge empowers teens to bring about global change in our oceans and waterways (5th floor). With cutting-edge technology, we can reach more than 25 million teens and keep track of the collective impact of all of their environmental projects (6th floor). Are you ready to help? Her's what you can do... (Hint: Always have an idea about how the person you're talking to can get involved) (7th floor)." Further suggestions and information about possible initiatives and actions teens and others can take follow in colorful, varied, photo-illustrated profusion. Lists of blue books and web sites plus suggested techniques to use "Going Blue" in educational or private settings follow, along with a list of Sources for Blue Facts. To close, here is the definition on page 136 of the mission of "Going Blue:" "Earth Echo International's Water Planet Challenge is a call-to-action that engages young people to protect and restores our water planet through service learning. Log onto, for tools and resources that you can use to stand up for a healthy future now. Joining the Water Planet Challenge will help you go blue and stay blue! (p.136)."

The International Studies Shelf

Passport to the World
Craig Froman
Master Books
c/o New Leaf Publishing Group
PO Box 726, Green Forest, AR 72638
9780890515952, $15.99,

Illustrated with color photographs on practically every page, Passport to the World: Your A to Z Guided Language Tour is an amazing survey of different languages and cultures worldwide. Each two-page spread offers a summary of a different nation, with fast facts, a few phrases from its language, a "Did You Know?" section, and more. Passport to the World is a great way to introduce young people to the myriad of cultures outside our own borders, and highly recommended especially for public library children's collections.

The Preschool Shelf

Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet
David LaRochelle, author
Joe Rossi, photographer
Minnesota Historical Society Press
345 Kellogg Boulevard, West, St. Paul, MN 55102-1906
9780873518086, $16.95, 1-800-647-7827

Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet is a unique ABC book for children, featuring wonderful photographs of Minnesota's wilderness and creatures that also happen to resemble letters of the alphabet. From the "V" in a hare's ears, to the "D" in a shelf fungus, to the "X" in the crossed blades of young wild rice plants, Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet is filled with breathtaking images. The brief, alliterative text reinforces familiarity with the alphabet, and is peppered with fun facts about the photographs. An excellent read-aloud ABC book for young nature lovers!

Yellowstone National Park: An ABC Adventure
K.C. Glastetter and Jeremie Hollman
Mountain Press Publishing Company
1301 South Third Street West, P.O. Box 2399, Missoula, Montana 59806
9780878425723, $12.00,

"Yellowstone National Park: An ABC Adventure" is a wonderful photo-illustrated alphabet guide to many of the wonders of Yellowstone National Park. From coyote to grizzly, from quaking aspen to Old Faithful, over a hundred sights and species familiar to park visitors are presented here. Some of the creatures and places are a surprise, for example who knew about the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout? Or how about Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the U.S.? What about Arrowleaf Balsamroot, a bright yellow flowering plant with seeds which the Nez Perce Indians used to harvest, grind, and eat Beautiful color photos of many Yellowstone scenes adorn each page, and a map of the park showing all the locations mentioned in the book is in the introduction. "Yellowstone National Park, an ABC Adventure" is a great educational and fun learning tool for young children and the whole family.

S is for Scientists, A Discovery Alphabet
Larry Verstraete, author
David Geister, artist
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364701, $16.95,

"S is for Scientists: A Discovery Alphabet" is a two pronged approach to presenting a scientific discovery history through the alphabet for children ages 6-10. Each letter of the alphabet is illustrated with a poem whose science-related subject is further explained in a sidebar text of history-related fact and foundation. Colorful paintings illustrate the cavalcade of science facts and letters, and many levels of learning are encouraged to grow. From Archimedes' "Eureka!" moment in the bath to the Wright brothers' development of a super flying machine, "S is for Scientists" celebrates the incredible history of scientific thought. From Machu Picchu to the jungles of Tanzania, from microwaves to the concept of zero, "S is for Scientists" will lead a child on an unforgettable, enriching voyage of discovery.

Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch
Mary Peterson and Jennifer Rofe
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781570914614, $7.95,

"Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch" is a catchy rhyming tale of mischievous piggies who adventurously crash and dash through clover fields, muddy, matted grass, bee swarms, geese and a bull's pen in a helter skelter odyssey that ends up safe in a peaceful pumpkin patch, where they fall deep asleep. The orange and gold, black and white illustrations of the zany piggies' twisty trail are vivid and arresting. Learning about prepositions is fun and easy with the silly pictures of "Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch," while the sing-song verse will appeal to preschool children ages 2 and up.

The Science Shelf

Catherine Ripley, author
Scot Ritchie, illustrator
Owlkids Books
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Ste. 400, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2Z2
9781926818009, $19.95,

Now in a special tenth anniversary edition, Why? is a children's question-and-answer book about nature, science, and how the world really works. From "How does all this food get here?" explaining the basics of supermarket distribution, to "What makes that toy glow in the dark?" ("Glow in the dark toys include electrons that get excited by light."), to "Why are peaches fuzzy?" ("Peach fuzz stops a sickness called brown rot from touching the peach skin and rotting the fruit"), Why? lives up to its title. Cheery, simple color illustrations fill this wonderfully informative and entertaining book, enthusiastically recommended to parents and children's library collections alike, in order to kindle a passion for learning in inquisitive young minds.

The Crafts Shelf

Charm Chains - Create Simple Wire Jewelry
Anne Akers Johnson
450 Lambert Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306
9781591748403, $19.99,

"Charm Chains" is a colorful how-to book for girls/children age 10 and up that teaches readers how to create charm necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Enclosed in separate plastic packaging attached to the book cover are pretty plastic charms, sparkling beads, spools of fine wire, earring clasps, a ruler, and a crochet hook to create a fine wire chain for different jewelry pieces. Additional supplies that are needed include a pair of nail clippers and a piece of felt or a non-terry cloth dishtowel. Readers will learn how to make charms, crochet and braid chains, design personalized or special jewelry, create earrings, and more. Colorful photos and illustrations make simple instructions easy to follow step by step. Additional supplies may be ordered from Klutz as well as a catalog which may be requested from "Charm Chains" is the perfect gift for that creative 10-year old whose birthday is due, or also makes the ideal holiday gift.

The Little Hands Art Book
Judy Press
Williamson Books
c/o Ideals Publications
2630 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 100, Nashville, TN 37214
9780824968199, $16.99,

The Little Hands Art Book is a compendium of arts and crafts projects for children ages 2-6. From autumn leaf prints, to paper plate masks, crayon fabric, cardboard tube puppets, and more, these imaginative and creative projects are an excellent, hands-on alternative to the television and video games that saturate modern culture. A superb resource for educators, babysitters, and parents, The Little Hands Art Book is highly recommended.

Creative Kitchen Crafts
Kathy Ross, author
Nicole in den Bosch, illustrator
Millbrook Press
c/o Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780882592174, $7.95,

"Creative Kitchen Crafts" is a wonderful sampler book of 25 easy kitchen craft projects that can be assembled by young cooks and artists. Simple, clear instructions with color illustrations direct the achild in the creation of low cost, fun alternative kitchen gifts and utensils. Included are directions for making a recipe box with decorated recipe cards, a kitchen coverup that a boy would like, a scrubbie bag dispenser, party plates, bird holders, and more. Each project has a list of needed supplies and tools followed by clearly spaced step by step instructions. "Creative Kitchen Crafts" is a practical crafts manual with tons of refreshing ideas for hobbies, gifts, and crafts badges and activities. Every parent should keep a copy to pull out on the inevitable rainy or snowy day when other interests pall.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

The Miracles of Chanukah Then & Now
Genendel Krohn, author
Tova Katz, illustrator
Feldheim Publishers
208 Airport Executive Park, Nanuet, NY 10954
Stuart Schnee (publicity)
9781598266450, $14.99

The Miracles of Chanukah Then & Now is an anthology of true stories retold to capture the spirit of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. Some stories relate the historical events of Chanukah from Midrashim and other sources; others are stories from recent times connected to the holiday. From the tale of a mother's seven sons who all refused to bow down before an idol and were executed for their loyalty to G-d, to a tale of Jewish concentration camp prisoners during World War II who dared to improvise a Chanukah menorah in spite of the risks, the stories often tell of persecution and violence against the Jewish people - but also of solidarity, faith in Hashem, and the holiness of pledging one's life to serve Him. The text is sufficiently detailed that younger children may need some help in reading these inspirational stories. The Miracles of Chanukah Then & Now lives up to its title and is an excellent supplement for teaching Jewish people more about this holiday, their faith, their heritage, and that one's freedom to worship should never be taken for granted. Also highly recommended from Feldheim Publishers is "The Family Chanukah Book" (9781598266542, $27.99), a compendium of stories, games, brain-teasing puzzles and activities in the spirit of the Chanukah holiday.

Maccabee! the Story of Hanukkah
Tilda Balsley, author
David Harrington, illustrator
Kar-Ben Publishing
c/o Lerner Publications
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761345077, $7.95,

"Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah" is an illustrated child's story of the events that led to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, told in jaunty verse. Simon's son Judah, nicknamed "Maccabee" because he organized Jewish resistance to religious intolerance, was like a hammer of God to the Jews fighting against King Antiochus and his enforced oppressions. Although Jerusalem suffered great damage during this war, Judah was determined that the Jews would clean up the desecrated temple and restore a holy set of lights called a menorah. Although the Jews were certain they did not have enough oil to keep the menorah lit, they used what oil they had in faith and hope. The miracle occurred over eight days of light, while the menorah kept burning long past the time they thought it would. Although this all happened very long ago, but the message remains for today: "Sometimes it only takes a few, Who know what's right, and do it too." "Maccabee!" is the perfect Hanukkah gift for children age 5 and up.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade
Lori Calabrese, author
Chet Taylor, illustrator
Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.
9781936381050, $11.99,

"The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade" is a handy health guide and fun manual that teaches kids ages 4-8 what they can do to prevent or slow the spread of disease and virus, or "bugs." Unfortunately Matt has a virus and is ill, with coughs and sniffles, but he has also caught a real bug that he desperately wants to enter in the school Bug-A-Fair. Despite his symptoms, his mother lets him go to school, where he learns both how to trap and find a real rare bug and how to be responsible for not spreading his very own illness bug. Of course he needs to stay home, rest, eat chicken soup, and not spread his germs, as well as wash his hands and cover his mouth when coughing and sneezing. "The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade" is written in jaunty verse, illustrated with bright, cheerful colors, and packs a definite punch in the general area of child health care and disease prevention.

We Like to Help Cook
Marcus Allsop, author
Diane Iverson, illustrator
Hohm Press
P.O. Box 2501, Prescott, AZ 86302
9781890772703, $9.95,

"We Like to Help Cook" is an illustrated paperback health and nutrition-oriented guide book for children ages 2-6. Pictures of healthy foods including beans, vegetables, fruit, pasta, rice, greens, etc. are shown with helpful suggestions for washing or cleaning foods for preparation and eating. Multi-racial children and adults in illustrations make "We Like to Help Cook" a diversity-celebration of cooperative food preparation. "We Like to Help Cook" encourages children to work with adults in preparing and eating a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat milk and products, lean meats, poultry and fish, and beans, as well as healthy fats and oils.

Wizarday When Our Stuff Went Away
Sarah Itzhaki, author
Dave Hill, artist
Steven E. Tobias, PsyD., consultant
211 Greenwood Ave., Suite 191, Bethel, CT 06801
9789657435014, $14.50,

"Wizarday" is an educational story/game book that teaches preadolescents ages 8-12 and their families the importance of establishing and tweaking a healthy daily routine. "Wizarday" is filled with fun characters, silly names and games and charts to track schedules and routines for all members of the family. Even more important, reading "Wizarday" teaches kids that creating, maintaining and tweaking a daily routine can make life more fun as well as more healthy. Scheduled around a ghostly holiday (Halloween), the events of "Wizarday" lead to fun-filled games and routine -related deals that somehow lead to smooth operations of daily routines and increased family harmony. How does all this work? It really is best to read the book, besides, it's more fun that way! For readers who question how such a fun book can deal with complicated issues like daily schedules for families of preadolescent kids, page 80 sums the importance of routine and the unique approach of "Wizarday" to the issues relating to routine. It's all about dynamic learning through imaginative multi sensory input such as fun board games and playful two-way communication. Parents of preadolescents will love "Wizarday" but they may have to wait their turn to read it.

The Poetry Shelf

Would You Still Love Me If...
Wendy LaGuardia, author
Patricia A. Keeler, illustrator
Summit Capital Publishing
P.O. Box 221, Mt. Freedom, NJ 07970
9780984457113, $7.99,

"Would You Still Love Me If..." is a lively picture book of lilting verse that reassures and promises a very special boy from his mother, "One day you will see just how special you are to me." "Would You Still Love Me If..." is a book for young children about unconditional love. Unconditional love cannot be taught, it can only be given, experienced, and then one day, given away again. "Would You Still Love Me If.." catches that priceless turning point moment when the child becomes the man and realizes the true value of all he has received. Reminiscent of "I'll Love You Forever," "Would You Still Love Me If..." reaches out to an audience of children ages 2-8 with heartwarming, enduring appeal and warmth.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Today I Found God
Greg Long, author
Nathan Wondrak, artist
Laugh-A-Long Books
c/o Halo Publishing International
P.O. Box 1918, Thousand Oaks, CA 91358
9781935268239, $15.95,

"Today I Found God" is a versed story that answers the question, "Where is God?" A real boy gets angry with God for letting bad things happen when he has a rough day, filled with traumas and frustrations. Encouraged by his pastor to search for God a little closer to home, the boy finally decides to sit quietly and think about God, to hear his voice inside. What answer does he find there? God says to him," I am here; I have always been here./ I am always with you; I am always near./ I'm sorry your day has been bad, but please know/ I let these bad things happen so you will grow./ In every misfortune there hides something great./ Sometimes it comes quickly; sometimes you must wait./ So trust in Me always - we're never apart./ Whenever you need Me, I'm here in your heart." "Today I Found God" is an inspirational, prayerful, and humorous look at a very ancient question. The hilarious, imaginative, and action-packed illustrations are also filled with details that contain seeds of answers to this and other difficult conundrums. "Today I Found God" will have special appeal to children age 4-12.

Angie Avard Turner
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781616633127, $8.99,

"U R My BFF" is a girls' handbook about survival as a bilingual FIT (Fashionista in Training) who loves God and is very happy that God loves her. Tippi, the heroine, speaks English and fluent TXT-ese, and fortunately God also understands her. "U R My BFF" is a great way to reach girls ages 9-12 who need the security of knowing they are loved by God and parents while making normal headway with their lives. Charming color illustrations and frequent TXT-ese insertions help to keep the interest and appeal current and high. "U R My BFF" is a young girl's book laced with traditional values whose time is now.

The Christmas Shelf

A First Christmas
Sean Noonan
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432760892, $13.95,

"A First Christmas: Friends and Festivity" is the second book in the series titled the "Everlasting and Fantastical Adventures of Elannah and Sam," by Sean Noonan. Elannah and Sam are a daring pair of siblings who have amazing adventures with fantastic, magical friends and creatures while they appear to be asleep (to their parents). In "A First Christmas" the children learn that the Twelve Toed Ugly Troll whom they hoped to visit and surprise with some festive Christmas celebrations has never really celebrated Christmas. What? This must be rectified, they decide! After that it is on with the planning and staging of the best Christmas party ever, with hilarious and sometimes alarming complications! Elannah, Sam and their dream world friends are more or less up to the challenge, fortunately, and every child will enjoy rollicking through their adventures to prepare for the best Christmas party ever for their friend the Troll. "A First Christmas: Friends and Festivity" is a chapter book with creative black and white illustrations (possibly by Elannah and Sam?) that could either be read aloud by parents/adults in chapter installments to younger children or independently read by elementary-middle school age children. It is a study in keeping alive the spirit of fun and creativity for all ages. Fans of the series can look forward to another installment soon, "Salty Seadog's and Oceans of Fun."

Santa Christina and Her Sled Dogs
George William Kelly, author
Amy Cameron, artist
McRoy & Blackburn, Publishers
P.O. Box 276, Ester, Alaska 99725
9780982031940, $14.95,

"Santa Christina and Her Sled Dogs" is a new twist on a familiar winter holiday theme. Santa Christina is the wife of Santa Claus, who makes toys, knits mittens, bakes cookies, and helps read Christmas wish lists sent by boys and girls. Santa Christina's favorite sport is to "mush," riding behind her sled dogs. She has seven strong sled dogs from far northern countries around the world and a beautiful sled given to her by Santa as a special gift. She names her dogs Ginger, Strudel, Cocoa, Marzipan, Stollen, Nutmeg and Haark, the lead dog who is clever and always able to find the trail in a blizzard. Santa Christina likes to race her sled dogs in the Alaskan Iditarod sled dog race, in memory of a famous dog named Balto who delivered medicine through winter blizzards to save the sick people of Nome Alaska. One year Santa invited Santa Christina and her sled dogs to the Macy's parade in New York City, to open the Christmas season. The sled dogs were excited to see the statue of Balto, the famous sled dog leader of the Iditarod. When they return home, both Santas decide it would be fun to race the reindeer against the sled dogs. It is a wonderful race around the Arctic circle of the earth. Amazingly, the race is a tie! Santa asks Santa Christina and her sled dogs to help deliver presents on Christmas eve. Santa Christina agrees, but she decides she will need a new outfit, which the elves stitch together for her in green trimmed with white. The reindeer team pulls toys to the west and the sled dog team pulls toys and gifts eastward from the North Pole. All the toys are delivered and both teams arrive back home for an early morning breakfast. Then Santa Claus thanks Santa Christina for helping deliver all the toys, and the two teams decide to do it together every year henceforward! "Santa Christina and Her Sled Dogs" is a wonderful, realistic addition to the traditional Christmas story that will be enjoyed and treasured by children ages 3 and up for many years to come.

Gingerbread From the Heart
Janice K. Mineer, author
Misty Z. Danyo, illustrator
Blue Meadow Books
P.O. Box 58, Lolo, MT 59847
9781591520641, $9.95,

"Gingerbread From the Heart" is a story about three devoted grandchildren who compete to cheer their convalescing grandmother with their gingerbread house creations at Christmastime. Kristin secretly hopes her carefully planned gingerbread house with its perfect attention to detail will be her grandmother's favorite, but Grandma also appreciates Brandon's whimsical grass shack gingerbread house and little Maggie's crooked graham cracker house, which makes her smile. Although Kristin has some adjusting to do with her grandmother's loving response, she realizes that Grandma is wise in telling her, "Each of your little houses is different but they are special in their own way. Just like each of you are special and wonderful to me." "Gingerbread From the Heart" comes complete with a gingerbread cookie dough recipe and instructions for making a gingerbread cookie house. Mouth-watering colored illustrations complete the charm of this Christmas special edition for children ages 4 and up.

Little Fairy's Christmas
Daniela Drescher, author /illustrator
Floris Books
c/o Myrick Marketing & Media
PMB 248, 455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 37167
9780863157738, $16.95,

"Little Fairy's Christmas" is a beautiful color-illustrated storybook for children age 3 and up about a fairy named Faith is lost in a snowstorm in the woods, before Christmastime. Because her wings are frozen, she must walk barefoot on the frozen snowy ground to find shelter and aid. Faith meets a series of woodland creatures who offer her assistance in the form of a rose hip (for food) from a robin, warm socks and shoes from an owl, and finally Faith meets a shivering tiny elf boy who also is lost looking for Father Christmas. Together they press on, sharing their resources with each other and another woodland creature (a raccoon), until they find glowing in the dark by lantern light, Father Christmas! He kindly takes Faith and the elf boy on his donkey to the elf family's warm house, trudging under the moonlight until dawn. Father Christmas gives each child a perfect present, then leaves to deliver his other gifts. Afterwards, what a party Raith and the elf family had! What was her perfect present from Father Christmas? A soft blue hot water bottle to keep her nice and warm! The magical tinted illustrations show moonlight on snowy forest scenes with wild creatures and fantasy characters side by side, beautifully matched and paired. "Little Fairy's Christmas, " translated from German into English, is one of a series of children's books by the same author, including "In the Land of Fairies," "In the Land of Elves," "In the Land of Merfolk," "The Elves' Big Adventure," "What's Hiding in There?" and "Merlina and the Magic Spell."

The Folklore/Fairytale Shelf

Brave Donatella and the Jasmine Thief
Caroline McAlister, author
Donald Hendricks, illustrator
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781570917295, $16.95,

"Brave Donatella and the Jasmine Thief" is a tale woven from Italian tradition and history of a daring gardener of the house of Duke Cosimo de' Medici of Florence, a ruthless, jealous collector of rare plants and flowers in addition to other beautiful things. Duke Cosima especially prized his jasmine, a fragrant flowering plant from India that smelled of all the aromas of India's best spices. Duke Cosimo threatened to kill or imprison anyone who took even a sprig of his rare flowering jasmine plant from India. However, Anotonio the Gardner was in love with the lovely Donatella, and he tried to prove his love for her by stealing her a sprig of the rare jasmine. Unfortunately he is caught by the Duke and imprisoned in a dark tower at Volterra, three days' journey away. The tale continues with the resourcefulness of brave Donatella, who follows Antonio to Volterra and manages to trick his guards into letting her cook for them. She puts poppy in their drink and frees Antonio and they escape from Volterra, eventually sending for Antonio's mother who brings the stolen jasmine plant and they build a good life for themselves, marrying and raising and selling the beautiful, exotic jasmine flowers and plants they raise. Enriched with detailed pastel illustrations of 16th century Italy and daily life, "Brave Donatella and the Jasmine Thief" contains added biographical background about Renaissance Florence and the Medici family. It is an enchanting window to history for children ages 5-8, explaining the Italian tradition of brides wearing jasmine flowers in their hair, with the lovely fragrance of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and orange peel.

Sivu's Six Wishes
Jude Daly, author/illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853691, $ 16.99,

"Sivu's Six Wishes" is an illustrated children's book of an ancient Taoist tale for children ages 6-10, retold and illustrated with South African influences by Jude Daly, an award -winning children's author who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Sivu is a simple stonemason who carves wonderful life-like sculptures from stone. Because Sivu worked hard and made little money, he was discontented with his life. He is somehow magically granted a number of wishes to improve his life, and his choices for wishes are very interesting. The sequence of wishes takes Sivu higher and higher up what may be imagined as the divine chain of command in creation, until finally he wishes to be the great stone mountain, solid rock. Then he feels something banging, pounding, and altering his great stone shape. What is it? A stonemason! Other versions of the tale have Sivu wish to return to his life as a stonemason, and he is thereafter content with his life despite its hardships. "Sivu's Six Wishes" stops short of this final wish, perhaps honoring other traditions and choices. Either way, "Sivu's Six Wishes" is a fine teaching tale that communicates much about the three jewels of Taoism, which are compassion, moderation, and humility. The vivid South African colors and images in the illustrations also breathe new life into this ancient teaching tale.

The Islamic Studies Shelf

Moon Watchers
Reza Jalali, author
Anne Sibley O'Brien, illustrator
Tilbury House Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, ME 04345
9780884483212, $16.95,

"Moon Watchers: Shirin's Ramadan Miracle" is a Ramadan story that teaches children about the Muslim customs surrounding Ramadan and the hopes of a young girl to grow into celebrating these traditions. At 9, Shirin would like to join her parents and her older brother in the custom of fasting from dawn till dusk for the cycle of Ramadan, eating only in the early or late dark hours. The family are excited to begin Ramadan when the new moon tells them Ramadan commences. Shirin's father is sympathetic to her wish to fast, but he reminds her there is more to Ramadan, and that she can help celebrate the spirit of Ramadan by performing some small good deeds such as quietly helping care for Pishi or weeding in the garden. Of course Shirin joins her family in special Ramadan prayers, using her special beaded scarf for a prayer mat. The family makes changes in their daily routine to observe the fast during daylight hours, and they ask "May Allah feed whoever is hungry," before they begin iftar, or to break their fast. The family does not have as much daytime energy during Ramadan, but they try to focus their energy and prayers on thoughts of kind, selfless offerings and sharings. Shirin's grandmother tells her a story of a boy who decides to offer Allah his best effort which is a part-time fast because that too is a beautiful and precious gift. Shirin decides to make a quilt while she works on her part time fast. Shirin's older brother Ali is fasting, but it is hard for him. Shirin sees him break his fast during daylight hours. Should she tell? it is a long wait for the new moon, when Ramadan will be over, and it will be Eid, with presents for Ali and Shirin. Shirin decides the kind thing to do is to help Ali by quietly concealing his daytime snacks. Ali is suspicious, but grateful. Finally the moon watchers sight the new moon and Eid ul-Fitr, the time of festivity is come, the end of Ramadan. Shirin's mother decorates her hands with henna, making beautiful swirling patterns with a matchstick on her hands. Treats are prepared and gifts are wrapped and brought out of hiding. Shirin's Ramadan miracle is that Ali, her teasing big brother, has decided to give her a special gift all by himself. "Moon Watchers" is a beautifully illustrated story of one of the most sacred customs of Muslims, Ramadan.

The Biography Shelf

Cathy Williams: Buffalo Soldier
Sharon Solomon, author
Doreen Lorenzetti, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053
9781589808010, $16.99,

"Cathy Williams: Buffalo Soldier" is a children's book about the first documented woman to enlist in the United States Army. After the Civil War, Cathy Williams disguised herself as a man and joined the Buffalo Soldiers, African American soldiers who protected the Western states .Cathy joined the soldiers as a man to find a way to support herself in a harsh world. Cathy was born to a slave mother and a free father in 1844. She was sold with her mother to William Johnson in 1848 near Jefferson City, Missouri. Although Cathy and her mother were freed during the Civil War, she was conscripted by the Union Army as contraband and forced to work as military support for very low wages. Cathy was assigned to do laundry for officers of the Eighth Indiana Volunteer Infantry when she was 17 years old, and she walked with them hundreds of miles across the South for three and a half years. Cathy witnessed battles in Arkansas, and was eventually sent to Little Rock to learn how to cook for her regiment. Cathy sang and prayed through many dark times of the Civil War. She traveled over much of the south with her regiment, even going by steamboat to Washington D.C. She was transferred to General Philip Sheridan's headquarters in Middletown, Virginia, away from her Indiana regiment .Eventually the war was done, and Cathy learned she could earn, $13 a month as a buffalo soldier. Then she made her plan to enlist as a man, in order to support herself. She succeeded in her disguise for several years, until illness caused her to reveal her sex. In 1868, she was discharged from the army. She had saved enough of her military earnings to begin her own business as a laundress and seamstress, eventually settling in Trinidad, Colorado. She made several more moves in western states, but remained independent. In April of 1891, Cathy applied for disability from the U. S. Army and was denied. She may or may not have lived to her 80's in Trinidad or Pueblo, Colorado. A timeline of the significant events in Cathy Williams' life is included as the last page of the book. The story of "Miss Kate," as Cathy was called later in her life is an inspiration to women everywhere, especially African American women. vivid painted illustrations enhance this true story of a Civil War heroine with great courage, determination, intelligence, and skill.

Dazzling Women Designers
Jill Bryant
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781897187821, $10.95,

"Dazzling Women Designers" is number 17 in the Second Story Press' Women Hall of Fame Series. presenting 10 fascinating profiles of women designers in architecture, fashion, robotics, furniture, landscape, cars, stage and screen design, and even cities. Some of the women are famous names and familiar to young readers, but some are more interesting and obscure. Designed to appeal to readers ages 9-13, "Dazzling Women Designers" has a strong core message for young girls: If you are persistent in working with your talent and vision, your design career potential is unlimited. To illustrate that ideal and to inspire new design potential, brief biographical profiles are presented of Eileen Gray, Jane Jacobs, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, Suzanne E. Vanderbilt, Eiko Ishioka, Ritu Kumar, Vera Wang, Zaha Hadid, Aissa Dione, and Cynthia Breazeal. The last woman is a talented social robotics designer, from the United States of America. The first woman (Eileen Gray, 1878-1976) was a landscape architect born in an upper class family in Ireland, later living abroad. The women designers in between come such varied locations as Canada, Germany, Japan, India, Iraq, Senegal, and New York. Each designer has a particular calling, a personal signature imprint expressed through her designs. To further inform and update young readers, quotations and relevant bits of history or fact are presented in gray-shaded cut-out paragraphs in the text. "Dazzling Women Designers" is an inspirational collection that presents a broad array of design career success stories for young readers to savor.

The Native American Shelf

The Woman Who Lived with Wolves & Other Stories from the Tipi
Paul Goble, author/illustrator
Foreword by Vivian Arviso Deloria
World Wisdom
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781935493204, $14.95,

"The Woman Who Lived with Wolves & Other Stories from the Tipi" is another classic amalgamation of traditional story and art by Caldecott medal winning author/illustrator Paul Goble. Featuring treasured tales from Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Arapaho, Pawnee, Kiowa, Ojibwa, Mandan, and Lakota traditions, this collection is stunningly enhanced with 45 color paintings of unusual imagination, channeling many Native traditions and designs. "The Woman Who Lived With Wolves" presents a dazzling array of traditional wisdom tales from many Native cultures, each with its particular message, hero or heroine. Each story teaches something important and valuable about the interrelatedness of animals, nature, and human beings. Each must seek to understand and respect the sacred threads that bind them in life together. There are many teaching tales from many Buffalo days tribes and nations. Here "The Woman Who Lived with Wolves" we are fortunate to be given a treasured look into a living past fraught with danger, hunger, hope and courage. "The Woman Who Lived with Wolves" is suitable for children ages 8 and up, as well as caring adults close to them.

The Sports Shelf

The Secretous Sign
Craig Vroom
Mother's House Publishing
2814 East Woodmen Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
9781935086321, $16.95

Ball games often come to down to a single inning, and it ma be on Andrew and his dragon buddy to win the day. "The Secretous Sign" is a ball-game picturebook where the Home Team Sox is leading their rivals the Buffaloes, but their lead may be endangered by the heavy hitter Rocko Burista. As Andrew and Feelo the dragon take the field, it's all on them. Charmingly illustrated by Linn Trochim, "The Secretous Sign" is a fine pick for any baseball loving young reader.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

My Sparkling Misfortune
Laura Lond
Dream Books, LLC
37506 Plantain Lane, Palmdale, CA 93551
9781616580834, $9.99

A villain is not always 100% pure evil. "My Sparkling Misfortune" is an original take on the balance of good and evil from Laura Lond who uses Arkus, Lord of Blackriver Castle and antagonist to Prince Kellemar. When a summoning goes awry, he finds a power of good under his command, Arkus's plans of villainy seem to be ever so harder to execute. "My Sparkling Misfortune" is a humorous and entertaining take on the villain.

The Young Adult Shelf

Catching Santa
Marc Franco
Pants on Fire Press
13750 West Colonial Dr. Ste 350, Winter Garden, FL 34787
9780982727157, $19.99,

A fat guy in a bright red suit shouldn't be so elusive..."Catching Santa" is a unique story. Living snowmen appear and threaten Jakob's Christmas. Facing a bully, Jakob learns that these unusual yuletide happenings come with an unusual order. Jakob must capture Santa Claus, something easier said than done. "Catching Santa" is a fun and seasonal read, not to be missed for young adult fiction collections.

Otherworld Tales
C. T. Markee
Moonview Press
PO Box 455, Fulton, CA 95439-0455
9780982898703, $11.95,

Waking up to one's duty often comes in having to learn it quick. "Otherworld Tales: Irish the Demon Slayer" tells the story of Pete Kehoe, a boy tasked with defending the Otherworld against the King of Demons. Shunning his duty, he finds it's a bad decision when his sister Kathy is kidnapped, and it's on inexperienced Pete and his two best friends to battle against the demons and monsters of Celtic mythology to save her. "Otherworld Tales" is a riveting read that young readers will relish for hours.

The Immortals
Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell
David Fickling Books
c/o Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375837432, $19.99,

THE IMMORTALS represents the final book in the Edge Chronicles and presents nearly 700 pages for its grand finale. Young lamplighter Nate is forced to flee for his life to a mighty city, there to face turbulent times, potential war, and more. A fine survey evolves in this stormy ending that will change the entire Edge world forever.

c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Kathryn Lasky's WOLVES OF THE BEYOND: SHADOW WOLF (9780545093125, $16.99) offers a new novel in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, and tells of wolf Faolan who has made it back to his clan - only to be the lowest-ranking pack member. His twisted paw marks him as an outsider forever - and when a wolf pup is murdered, he's framed. Faolan must hunt down the real murderer in this fine animal fantasy. Randa Abdel-Fattah's WHERE THE STREETS HAD A NAME (9780545172929, $17.99) tells of teen Hayaat, on a mission to save her beloved Sitti Zeynab's life. But she and her family live on the wrong side of Bethlehem: how can she journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem and make a difference? P.B. Kerr's CHILDREN OF THE LAMP: THE FIVE FAKIRS OF FAIZABAD (9780545126588, $17.99) offers another CHILDREN OF THE LAMP fantasy this telling of the world's fate in the hands of five fakirs, or holy men, who were buried alive holding answers to the universe's mysteries. Can the twins locate one of the fakirs and protect him before a wicked djinn finds him? Another fine fantasy odyssey evolves. Neil Connelly's THE MIRACLE STEALER (9780545131957, $17.99) tells of a six-year-old rumored to have a healing power - even to bring back the dead. Grant doesn't know the truth - all he knows is his brother may be different. And that reporters and miracle-seekers are changing their lives. Can he make a difference in protecting his little brother?

c/o Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Cora Harrison's I WAS JANE AUSTEN'S BEST FRIEND (9780385739405, $17.99) tells of Jenny, cousin to Jane Austen, who discovers a strange new world of lovely dresses, dances, gossip and romance that revolves around Jane. She falls in love with Captain Thomas Williams - but the secret Jenny is keeping from the world will lead to scandal if revealed in this absorbing historical romance. Laurel Snyder's PENNY DREADFUL (9780375861994, $16.99) tells of Penny, who longs for something interesting to happen in her life - and finds challenges when her father quits his job and her family runs out of money. A second wish leads to country living and a new home: can her wishes be coming true? A fine story of upheaval evolves. James Dashner's THE SCORCH TRIALS (9780385738750, $17.99) offers a fine sequel to The Maze Runner and tells of life in The Maze, which is supposed to be easy. The world outside The Maze is a wasteland - but Teresa has brought an end to Maze life. Where can the Gladers go for freedom? A vivid story evolves. Brian Falkner's BRAIN JACK (9780375843662, $17.99) is set in a world where Las Vegas is destroyed in a terrorist attack and online gaming is the most dangerous street drug around. Teen hacker Sam finds danger when he realizes that not only is his computer subject to hacking, but his brain, which is connected to it. A fine novel of change is recommended for any science fiction collection. P.D. Baccalario's STAR OF STONE (9780375858963, $16.99) tells of a mysterious artifact which reunited Harvey, Elettra, Mistral and Sheng from around the world, in an attempt to save the world. A murdered professor has sent them all on a quest in Rome - but their discovery of further clues written on code years ago by the professor leads to a search for the Star of Stone, an ancient object coveted by villains. A fine thriller evolves. Lian Turner's MUSEUM OF THIEVES (9780385739054, $16.99) tells of the city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin. Goldie is forced to obey the Blessed Guardians in this city - but when Separation Day is cancelled, she strikes out on her own for freedom in a world packed with secrets and a mysterious museum's controlling forces. Clare Vanderpool's MOON OVER MANIFEST (9780385738835, $16.99) tells of Abilene, whose father has sent her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works the railroad. Instead Abilene decides to jump off the train in Manifest Kansas, to learn about her father's childhood - and uncovers some old memories and family secrets that lead to new revelations about her past. All are excellent leisure choices for teens.

Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020

Robin Wasserman's WIRED (9781416974543, $15.99) provides a vivid fantasy and revolves around Lia Khn, who died a year ago and awoke a few days later with a new mechanical body - and a new life. In her new world she will last forever - but faces difficult choices on who she can save. A vivid story of a different future of half-humans emerges. Kelly Creagh's NEVERMORE (9781442402003, $17.99) tells of cheerleader Isobel, who is pared with Varen for an English project. Varen would rather not work with her either, but her discoveries about his life will lead her to become more involved than she could ever dream of in this story of a world where Poe's nightmares come to life. Both are satisfying picks for older teen readers.

Island of the Blue Dolphins
Scott O'Dell
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547424835, $22.00,

The 50th anniversary edition of the Newbery-award-winning story ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS is celebrated by the publication of this keepsake gift edition. A new introduction by Newbery medalist Lois Lowry and color panels by Ted Lewin accompanies a hardcover reprint of a classic in an edition suitable for gifting and repeat library lending alike.

Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728

Ivy Devlin's LOW RED MOON (9781599905105, $16.99) tells of Avery Hood, who recalls little about the night her parents died. All she remembers is that she saw silver - and she can recall nothing else about who killed them. A new boy in school seems to hold information and the secret to her parents' demise - for he is a werewolf, and the silver has a connection to him in this fine supernatural thriller. Tonya Bolden's FINDING FAMILY (9781599903187, $15.99) provides the vivid story of Delana, who has been raised by her quiet grandfather and an aunt who isn't always helpful. Aunt Tilley's family stories are wild - but when she dies, Delana decides to investigate their validity - and discovers family secrets hold keys to amazing discoveries.

Rascal: A Dog and His Boy
Ken Wells
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375866524, $16.99,

Rascal: A Dog and His Boy offers the fine story of a beagle who lives with his own boy, Meely, and the fun times they experience exploring the Louisiana bayou. When Meely gets stick in the swamp, it's up to Rascal to save him. A fine coming-of-age tale from a pet dog's perspective makes this a pick for any animal lover's collection.

Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Two classic titles appear in the Looking Glass Library, presenting fine hardcover reprints in editions perfect for library lending. Tattered, much-read volumes of E. Nesbit's THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET (9780375867187, $10.99) can be replaced by this fine edition that includes an introduction by Bruce Coville in a lovely sequel to FIVE CHILDREN AND IT, where the children mistake a magical egg for a firecracker and ignite a golden phoenix instead. Padraic Colum's THE GOLDEN FLEECE AND THE HEROES WHO LIVED BEFORE ACHILLES (9780375867095, $10.99) receives a fine introduction by Rick Riordan in a survey bringing young adults to ancient Greece, where Jason must prove his worth by embarking on a journey for a legendary fleece. These are the last two books in the six-part library reprint of vintage classics.

Night Star
Alyson Noel
St. Martin's Press
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780312590987, $17.99,

NIGHT STAR offers another novel in 'The Immortals' series: this adding to the story begin in the best-seller EVERMORE. Here Haven still blames Ever for the death of her boyfriend in an accident - and is determined to tear Ever and Damen apart. A secret and a dark enemy challenges Ever's dreams and love in this gripping saga, especially recommended for prior fans.

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

The Ghost of Wolverine Forest
Donald W. Kruse, author
Craig Howarth, illustrator
Castle Keep Press
James A. Rock & Co., Publishers
900 South Irby, #508, Florence, SC 29501
9781596636859, $8.95,

"The Ghost of Wolverine Forest" is a scary chapter book for brave young adult readers, written by an intransigent author who was inspired to begin his writing career while convalescing (over a 2 year period) from a devastating case of vasculitis. Illustrated with black and white spooky pictures "The Ghost of Wolverine Forest" is sure to excite, interest, scare and intrigue its young adult readers (ages 10 and up). Brief chapters announced by run-on scary tag introductions and bracketed by regular spooky, scary black and white illustrations help keep reader interest high. Dramatic and action packed, "The Ghost of Wolverine Forest" is sure to rise to the top of the young adult horror/fantasy genre. In addition to its entertainment value, "The Ghost of Wolverine Forest" makes another contribution: 50% of all profits are donated to various children's charities, including particularly The Smile Train, the author's favorite. "The Ghost of Wolverine Forest" makes a lovely Halloween or Thanksgiving/holiday gift for the young adult in your life, one which will contribute to their overall education beyond the immediate scary entertainment function.

Princess and Missy's Magical Adventures, The Crystal Heart
Michelle Nicole Martin, author
Richa Kinra, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432749545, $10.95,

"Princess and Missy's Magical Adventures, The Crystal Heart" is the first in a series of stories about a special little white and brown dog named Princess and her brave adventures with friend Missy the magical butterfly in the enchanted forest, seeking her lost poodle family. Missy and Princess seek to use the Crystal Heart to overcome the evil aims of Jaith the Joy Stealer. This charming illustrated paperback (and ebook) chapter book makes just the right appeal to young readers with developing imaginations. Suspense, fantasy, ingenuity, perseverance, and loyalty all are uppermost in the plot development of "The Crystal Heart." Young readers will find it irresistible.

Penny & Rio: The Diamond Collar Adventure
Jennifer Swanson, author
Swapan Debnath, illustrator
Mirror Publishing
6434 W Dixon St - Milwaukee, WI 53214
9781936352319, $7.99,

"Penny & Rio: The Diamond Collar Adventure" is the latest in a canine sleuth series of light chapter books written to entice and intrigue growing readers. Penny and Rio, the dynamic dog detective duo, come to the rescue of the beautiful show dog Hannah when she loses her diamond collar. More breeds and types of dogs are encountered in their frenetic search for the missing diamond collar. Kids will enjoy watching the determined canines problem solve their way through this challenging mystery, which keeps them guessing right up to the entertaining finish. "Penny & Rio: The Diamond Collar Adventure" makes good beginning mystery reading for kids age 8 and up.

Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

HOW TIA LOLA LEARNED TO READ by Julia Alvarez (9780375864605, $15.99) joins other Tia Lola stories and tells of Tia, who has been invited to teach Spanish at her niece and nephew's elementary school. But Miguel hates living far from Papi. And even though his little sister joins in the fun with her aunt, Miguel isn't sure he wants to try a new life in this fine story, a sequel to HOW TIA LOLA CAME TO STAY. Book 3 of KICKERS, by Rich Wallace, is BENCHED (9780375857560, $12.99) and receives Jimmy Holder's simple and fun drawings as it tells of a nine-year-old's race to the soccer league play-offs. Ben is benched for dangerous moves, and barred from the next game too: how can he help his team from the sidelines? A fine sports story evolves. Audrey Couloumbis' JAKE (9780375856303, $15.99) tells of ten-year-old Jake's interest in Christmas and a new karate class and bike. But when his mother is injured and hospitalized, all dreams take the back burner when a distant grandfather is called upon to care for him. Granddad is nothing like Jake expected: and he brings a nightmare dog, too. His discoveries about his grandfather will change his life in this moving story. Lenore Look's ALVIN HO: ALLERGIC TO BIRTHDAY PARTIES, SCIENCE PROJECTS, AND OTHER MAN-MADE CATASTROPHES (9780375863336, $15.99) provides another Alvin Ho story for prior fans. Alvin is frightened about a lot of things, but parties are high on the list - so when he receives an invitation to a girl's party, he wonders how he will survive the ordeal. A fun story of adaptation and fear evolves.

Dear Hound
Jill Murphy
Walker & Company
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780802721907, $14.99,

DEAR HOUND tells of a curious hound puppy who wants to explore his world and who loves his boy, Charlie. When Charlie goes away and leaves him with a sitter, Alfie runs away - and learn to live in the wild woods. He longs for Charlie - and Charlie is looking for him, too. Will they ever find each other? A tender story of boy and dog evolves for elementary-level readers.

Secret of the Super-Small Superstar
Lin Oliver
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781416909637, $14.99,

Secret of the Super-Small Superstar offers the fun story of Daniel and Pablo, who were discovered by Hollywood when Daniel's miniature twin brother's picture is posted on the Internet. Everyone is wowed by the tiny twin - and Daniel's special-effects skills are overseen in the excitement. This final volume featuring Daniel and his tiny twin blends satisfying humor with adventure in a fun saga.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Beco's Big Year
Linda Stanke
School Street Media
c/o Lerner's
4826 Merrimont Avenue, Springfield, OH 455035
9780984155422, $18.95,

"Beco's Big Year: A Baby Elephant Turns One" is a Columbus Zoo and Aquarium book about a real baby elephant born in the Columbus Zoo. Celebrating Beco's first birthday, "Beco's Big Year" features month-by month chapters with stories and pictures that show early elephant development milestones, and related facts about elephants. Sure to appeal to kids ages 8 and up, "Beco's Big Year" chronicles many significant achievements of the baby elephant. "Beco's Big Year" goes on to educate kids about the need to preserve elephants as an endangered keystone species. "Beco's Big Year" ends with age-appropriate lists of resources for recommended reading, a bibliography, and a mission and information statement about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Also recommended in this series is "Frenemies for Life, Cheetahs and Anatolian Shepherd Dogs," by John E. Becker, Ph.D. (9780984155408, $18.95).

Raising Monarchs for Kids!
Christine Catlin
KidPub Press
433 Smith Street, North Attleboro, MA 02760
9781936184699, $11.95,

"Raising Monarchs for Kids" is a well-researched manual to assist kids to rear Monarch Butterflies in their own back yards. Written by a teenager who spent 3 years working with butterfly expert Dr. Karen Oberhauser, "Raising Monarchs for Kids!" is a concise, practical, organized project-inspiring how-to book. Filled with easy instructions, clear explanations, and beautiful detailed pictures and illustrations (some of them done by the author), "Raising Monarchs for Kids!" answers many fascinating questions about the Monarch Butterfly's existence, life cycle and habits. After an introduction and a list of what is needed to get the project started, four stages of Monarch Butterfly development are explained and illustrated in different sections. Finally the Adult Monarch and the Monarch migrations are explained briefly. Because over -wintering Monarch habitats are reduced, the species suffers serious harm. An addition is a list of frequently asked questions and a glossary of terms. For a wonderful, engrossing, educational activity that can benefit both humans and the ecosystem, try "Raising Monarchs for Kids!"

Busy with Bugs
Toni Albert, author
Margaret Brandt, illustrator
Trickle Creek Books
500 Andersontown Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
9781929432059, $15.95 hc 9781929432066, $11.95 pbk

Busy with Bugs: 160 Extremely Interesting Things to Do with Bugs is packed cover to cover with activities that young people can do to learn more about the insects in their own backyards. From creating bug traps to planting a butterfly garden (or a caterpillar garden), collecting spider webs, creating a soil zoo, or even setting up a "bug Olympics", this entertaining hands-on resource is ideal for stimulating a love of science and nature. An abundance of educational facts about the insect kingdom, a glossary, and an index round out this this amazing and user-friendly interactive resource, especially ideal for teachers but also great for parents and babysitters interested in teaching young people more about the smaller worlds around them.

The Bat Scientists
Mary Kay Carson
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547199566, $18.99,

Tom Uhlman's color photos lend well to THE BAT SCIENTISTS, a fine survey of the work of famed bat scientist Dr. Merlin Tuttle and his colleagues at bat Conservation International. The author and her colleague follow the bat scientists into the caves - and reveal the fight to save bats around the world in this fine pick for any elementary-level science collection!

c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff and Craig Hatkoff's LEO THE SNOW LEOPARD: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMAZING RESCUE (9780545229272, $17.99) tells the true story of an endangered snow leopard who became orphaned in the mountains of Pakistan. Rescued by a goat herder and his family, he eventually found a home in the Bronx Zoo in new work: this tells of his journey and is packed with color photos of his experiences. Nic Bishop's LIZARDS (9780545206341, $17.99) comes from a biologist and photographer who provides a fine close-up look at lizards in a colorful presentation libraries will find popular. Kids in grades 3-5 receive full color, full page photos accompanying basic lizard facts.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

The 'Endangered!' series ($20.95 each) provides 46 pages each of detailed information on each endangered animal, and is a fine pick for elementary libraries profiling endangered animal natural history. Johannah Haney's DOLPHINS (9780761440499) and Haney and Anna Haney-Withrow's SEALS (9780761440536), Karen Haywood's CROCODILES AND ALLIGATORS (9780761440482) and HAWKS AND FALCONS (9780761440512) and Carol Ellis' LEOPARDS (9780761440529) and APES (9780761440468) each include natural history and why each creature is now endangered. Kids in grades 2-4 will find attractive color photos and clear descriptions lend well to reports. NORTH AMERICAN WILDLIFE (9780761479383, $69.95) is a top reference for advanced elementary to middle school collections. It packs in reference information for animals in chapters arranged alphabetically by animal name; each with sidebars of detail and numerous good-quality color photos. The reference information is perfect for reports. Paula Hammond's ATLAS OF THE WORLD'S STRANGEST ANIMALS (9780761479406, $69.95) will reach the name age group, this with an A-Z atlas focusing on oddities around the world. Diagrams and color photos make this a top pick. ANCIENT ROME: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY (9780761479338, $39.95) holds over 164 pages packed with detail for the same age group, with color photos of relics paired with illustrations of the likely ancient Rome settings for maximum impact. All are top recommendations.

The Picturebook Shelf

Otis & Sydney And the Best Birthday Ever
Laura Numeroff, author
Dan Andreasen, illustrator
Abrams Books For Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810989597, $16.95,

"Otis & Sydney and the Best Birthday Ever" is a charming children's illustrated story about two young bears named Otis and Sydney who are best friends. Otis and Sydney enjoy doing many fun things together, and every year they give each other a birthday party. One year Otis decides to surprise Sydney with a special birthday party which will be the best birthday ever. Otis mails invitations, makes preparations for lots of fun activities, and bakes a cake. finally the day of the surprise birthday party comes and all is ready. But something is wrong! No one comes to the party, except Sydney! At the last minute, Otis realizes he mailed out invitations with the wrong date for the party! But when Sydney runs up the stairs, Otis leaps right into the party spirit and jumps out yelling "Surprise!" The two bear friends proceed to have the very best birthday party ever, enjoying every activity Otis has planned for the occasion. When they get to cutting the cake in two large pieces, Sydney realizes something is different about this birthday party. He asks, "Why is there so much cake?" Otis sadly tells him he made a mistake with the invitations' date, so no one else would be coming to the birthday party this day. Instead of being disappointed, Sydney reassures Otis saying, "But this was the best birthday ever...I got to spend it with you." The old-fashioned effect of Andreason's use of mellow tints of green and brown, and pen and ink, digital illustrations is heartwarming and sincere, the perfect complement to this favorite story.

Immi's Gift
Karin Littlewood, author/illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561455454, $15.95,

"Immi's Gift" is a beautiful illustrated story about the surprising gifts a child of the far frozen north receives from her fishing hole in the ice. Though her igloo is lonely and she longs for company, she decorates the ice walls with many small colorful bits of treasure that she finds with her fishing pole in the sea. Thus a little red bird, an orange starfish, a green leaf and a purple feather find their way to her ice igloo's walls. Because her igloo is the brightest in the land, she begins to receive many wondering visitors, attracted by the brightness. Many animals of the Arctic come and stay for supper and fill the long dark nights with stories of faraway lands. The visiting animals make Immi very happy, and they are happy too. One day the ice begins to melt and Immi knows it is time to leave her home on the ice. One last thing remains for her to do. She takes her own little carved white wooden bear and drops it in the ice hole, a gift to the sea which has been so generous to her. Little does Immi know that very far away, in a warmer place, a boy who has been gifting the sea with small bright treasures will find her little white bear on the shore. "Immi's Gift" is a beautiful tale of interconnectedness, perfect for children ages 4-8.

The Raindrop Who Lost His Cloud But Found His Purpose
M. A. Toffle, author
Sommer Toffle, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983537, $16.95,

"The Raindrop Who Lost His Cloud" is a transforming child's story about a raindrop named Stewart who tries to discover the purpose of his existence. When he asks other raindrops his question, "What are you going to do when you fall?" they only answer they will eventually go to the great ocean in a river. Stewart tries other methods of seeking his life's purpose with other friends, including rogue raindrops and hailstones. He finds he is not always comfortable with their lifestyle choices, although he is less bored and sometimes surprised or amused by their actions. he decides they lack purpose, which is meaningful for him. Stewart meets Fleck the snowflake and learns "It's not the destination that matters, it's the journey! To help and teach and care for and love others is what makes it worthwhile. finally Stewart becomes a snowflake and follows his quest to the end which is an fact a new beginning. "The Raindrop Who Lost His Cloud" is an enchanting morality fable for children age 3 and up that teaches tolerance, patience, trust, humility, and faith to overcome obstacles. The delicate blue and white illustrations add to the whimsical charm of the story.

Lauren & the Leaky Pail
Bob Fuller
Paddywhack Lane LLC.
9849 Bluestar Drive, Parker, CO 80138
9781936169009, $15.99,

"Lauren & the Leaky Pail" is a lovely child's illustrated morality fable based on a simple Indian folktale and the New Testament scriptures of Gal 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Lauren is an adorable girl dressed as a ladybug who wants to win first place trophy ribbon for her Brussels sprouts, but she encounters many difficulties in planting and watering the sprouts. Most difficult of all is the leaky pail she has to carry over a long uphill path from the lake to her garden. So much of the water splashes and leaks out on her way that she is only able to give a few drops to her sprouts each time she makes the long trip. Different friends offer ideas to help fix the leaky pail, but nothing seems to work. After some discouragements and tears, Lauren decides to give up on the trophy and help some of her friends with their gardens. Her mother tells her, "My precious little one, it was your job to water the seeds, but it's God's job to make things grow. Let's wait and see what he does with all of your hard work." Sure enough, on the day of the festival award, Lauren is called to see something wonderful and surprising. Although her Brussles did not thrive, beautiful wildflowers had bloomed all along the long path where she had lugged the leaky pail of water every day. Lauren is so happy she realizes she does not need the shiny new trophy because she already has one, her faithful, leaky pail. Filled with gentle pastel illustrations of adorable children in imaginative costumes of animals and plants, "Lauren & the Leaky Pail" is perfect for children age 3 and up. "Lauren & the Leaky Pail" is from the Costume Trunk Adventures series by the same author, from Paddy whack Lane. children will also be intrigued to see how many images of little Amelia the lady bug they can find in the beautiful story scenes of "Lauren & the Leaky Pail."

Fat Rabbit Farm
Nicholas Doan, author
Patty Varibod, illustrator
Jason Pongsam, designer
Fat Rabbit Farm
9100 Lev Ave. North, Hollywood, CA 91331
9781450717748, $17.95,

"Fat Rabbit Farm: Babee and the Valley of the Hungry Ninjas" is a comic-illustrated type adventure in a magical, floating kingdom called Fat Rabbit Farm. Fat Rabbit Farm is full of mysterious surprises, but mostly lots of fluffy bunnies like to play together there, along with an odd pair of friends who are a turtle and a mushroom. One day while Babee (bunny) was teaching Blanket (scared little bunny) the art of cow tipping, the friends discover a hidden map that leads to the golden cupcake in the Valley of the Hungry Ninjas. Blanket is afraid of cupcakes, so the quest has some iffy moments in the beginning, and in the end too. In between are lots of spontaneous fun adventures for the treasure seeking bunnies. "The Valley of the Hungry Ninjas" has a few scary moments, but the chubby, charming characters take most of the worry out of anything scary. Vivid storytelling pictures are supplemented by inlaid "balloon speeches by characters interspersed into regular narrative. "Babee and the Valley of the Hungry Ninjas" is a fine adventure picture book for kids age 6 and up.

Sid the Squid and the Search for the Perfect Job
David G. Derrick, Jr., author/illustrator
P.O. Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94131
9781597020213, $15.95,

"Sid the Squid and the Search for the Perfect Job" is a delightful illustrated children's book about a curious giant sea squid whose goal is to obtain gainful employment! He has some unusual characteristics which may tend to stereotype him, however, such as having 10 arms and being a sea creature. However, with the help of a friend named Alice who believes in him and helps him refine his job search, he ends up in the perfect job - animal rescue at the Sea Aquarium. This happens after many amusing stints in other jobs that don't quite work out. "Sid the Squid" is a great book to help prepare young children for the notion that job- finding is a job in itself, and refining the search is part of what it's all about. "Sid the Squid" is very imaginatively written and illustrated by its talented creator, a veteran artist at DreamWorks Feature Animation. "Sid the Squid" is perfect for children ages 4-8.

Moon Child
Nadia Krilanovich, author
Elizabeth Sayles, illustrator
Tricycle Press
6001 Shellmound Street, 4th Floor, Emeryville, CA 94608
9781582463254, $15.99,

Featuring beautiful, full-color illustrations by Elizabeth Sayles, Moon Child is a gentle picturebook following three little animals - an owl, a raccoon, and an otter - who enjoy playing with the shimmering full moon until it's time to go to sleep. "When I stretch out my arms, I circle the moon in a big hug. I snuggle in my cozy bed, soft and warm." Moon Child is the perfect read-aloud bedtime story to help drowsy little ones nod off, highly recommended.

Evangeline! The Dancing Holstein
Cheryl Kirking, author
Jason Jolda, illustrator
Mill House Press
141 Phillips Lane, PO Box 525, Lake Mills, Wisconsin 53551
9780578060552, $15.99,

Award-winning author and songwriter Cheryl Kirking presents Evangeline! The Dancing Holstein, a children's picturebook about how barn animals love to party at night, led by a Holstein cow who lives to dance! Buoyant illustrations by Jason Jolda depict this sassiest of cows at her finest, and an accompanying music CD encourages young people to sing and dance along. Evangeline! The Dancing Holstein is a treat especially for parents and children who would like to share a rousing fun read!

The Year of the Rabbit: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac
Oliver Chin, author
Justin Roth, illustrator
PO Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94127
9781597020237, $15.95,

The Year of the Rabbit: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac is a charming picturebook featuring a story about the Rabbit - the creature of the Chinese Zodiac that represents the upcoming year of 2011. Exuberant color illustrations bring to life the tale of Rosie the Rabbit and her young human friend Jai, as they save one another's hides and escape the more predatory Zodiac animals! Reading aloud The Year of the Rabbit to little ones is a fun, family-friendly way to welcome the new year.

The Pirates of Plagiarism
Kathleen Fox & Lisa Downey
Upstart Books
c/o Highsmith Press
PO Box 5210, Janesville, WI 53547-5210
9781602130531, $17.95, 1-800-558-2110

The Pirates of Plagiarism is a colorful children's picturebook; its fanciful story teaches a deeper lesson about the importance of doing one's own written work with proper research. The buffoon pirate Captain Bumbo and his lazy pirate crew are out to get their greedy hands on the treasure that just might be tucked inside the library. Yet a group of students have come to the library to do research, and enlist the help Captain Bumbo and his crew in their project. Can a pirate ever learn how not to plagiarize? "The captain tapped the boy standing next to him. 'Here mate, just plunder this report from the lass. Shuffle a word or two and put your name right on it - report finished.' The girl's smile faded. The boy narrowed his eyes and stared hard at the pirate, then said slowly: 'That's something only a swab would do.'" The Pirates of Plagiarism is a delightful, fun-filled storybook with an invaluable and practical moral, highly recommended especially for public library children's collections.

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

Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra (9780375856204, $16.99) tells of B.B. Wolf, formerly known as the Big Bad Wolf, who begins to tell his version of what really happened at the homes of three pigs. But his library audience is skeptical. Can a reformed bad guy admit to his shady past? Jotto Seibold's fun drawings contribute to a whimsical approach to the story. Thumb Love by Elise Primavera (9780375844812, $16.99) tells of Lulu, who can't get enough of sucking her thumb. She doesn't believe all she hears about the perils of thumb-sucking, but decides to embark on a 12-step program to quit anyway in this fun story of other uses for a thumb.

Late for School
Steve Martin
Grand Central Publishing
c/o Hachette Publishing Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017-0010
9780446557023, $17.99,

Steve Martin's LATE FOR SCHOOL pairs fun drawings by C.F. Payne with a CD with the song performed by author Steve Martin as it tells of a boy who always finds it a challenge to get to school on time. Fun lyrics receive Payne's equally fun drawings in a multimedia presentation perfect for gift-giving.

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Jackie French's DIARY OF A BABY WOMBAT (9780547430058, $16.99) tells of a baby wombat who begins to keep a story of her daily routine. Her underground diary tells of sleeping, digging and more in a fun survey with drawings by Bruce Whatley enhancing the account of a baby wombat's busy life. Allen Say's THE BOY IN THE GARDEN (9780547214108, $17.99) is set in an old Japanese tale and tells of a boy who sees a crane and sets it free. History repeats itself and Jiro finds himself in a strange fantasy world in this gentle tale. David Weisner's ART & MAX (9780618756636, $17.99) tells of Arthur, who knows how to paint and is ready to share his techniques with Max, who can't wait. Artistic experience blends with a rollicking adventure story in this sensational account of unusual friends who find art carries them to new levels.

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

Alan Katz's STALLING (9781416955672, $16.99) receives Ellwood H. Smith's whimsical, fun drawings as it tells of master staller Dan, who would do anything to avoid going to bed. He has to visit the Nile and more in this blend of rhyme and fun drawings, that create an unusual survey of what happens when a child refuses to sleep. Bruce Eric Kaplan's MONSTERS EAT WHINY CHILDREN (9781416986698, $15.99) tells of Henry and Eve, who are going through a whining phase. Their father warns them about monsters that eat whiny children - but they don't believe him, until one day a monster appears. Very simple drawings accompany a fine story of two kids in trouble. Michael Ian Black and Kevin Hawkes' A PIG PARADE IS A TERRIBLE IDEA (9781416979227, $16.99) presents all kinds of reasons why a pig parade doesn't work: they won't wear majorette uniforms, they don't care about floats, and they hate to march. The whimsical drawings here are simply outstanding, making this a top recommendation.

c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Ruth Krauss and Steven Kellogg's AND I LOVE YOU (9780439024594, $16.99) uses easy rhymes and simple explanations to celebrate love between a child and parent, using a cat and kitten as examples. A gentle account of love emerges for very young readers and parents to share. Warren Hanson's THE SEA OF SLEEP (9780439697354, $16.99) tells of a baby otter who rocks on the waves in the protection of his mother's arms. But the sea holds much life and attraction: how can baby otter sleep with so much going on around him? A gentle bedtime story will delight parents with lovely drawings by Jim LaMarche. Komako Sakai's MAD AT MOMMY (9780545212090, $16.99) tells of a little rabbit with big feelings. He has many reasons for resenting his mother's guidance - but his mother loves him no matter what in this gentle story. Freya Blackwood's IVY LOVES TO GIVE (9780545234672, $15.99) tells of a girl who finds it such fun to give - even if her gifts are a little 'off'. Can she find gifts that are just right for everyone in her family? A fun story evolves, perfect for the gift-giving season!

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Moomin: The Complete Tov Jansson Comic Strip
Drawn & Quarterly
Box 48056, Montreal, Quebec Canada H2V 4S8
9781897299944, $19.95,

Moomin: The Complete Tov Jansson Comic Strip is a fine pick for all ages: from elementary to adult readers. It provides a series of fun little hippo-like 'Moomintrolls' who pike gentle fun at life and happiness. Tov Jansson produced a series of books on the Moomins: this presents fun black and white line drawings on yellow pages to capture basic adventures and the Moomin perspective of enjoying life.

Panda Man to the Rescue!
Sho Makura, author
Haruhi Kato, artist
Viz Media LLC
295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
9781421535203, $7.99,

Intended for young people ages six and up, Panda Man to the Rescue! is a wacky, black-and-white comic book featuring the heroic, oddly bloblike self-proclaimed martial arts expert Panda Man, and his wacky adventures on behalf of his anthropomorphic bovine friends. His antagonists range from leonine thieves to Cuddles the dragon, and his exploits only get wilder, more daring, and perhaps more ludicrous with every page. The simple, charming artwork and the flippantly upbeat story make Panda Man to the Rescue! great light reading, and a handful of solve-it-yourself puzzles will keep youngsters engaged in the riotous adventure!

Books in Series

That's NOT a Pickle!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Craig Howarth, illustrator
James A. Rock & Company Publishers
900 South Irby Street, #508, Florence, South Carolina 29501
9781596635609, $12.95,

"That's NOT a Pickle!" is the first book in a planned series of seven about a boy and his pet frog. Written in catchy verse, with humorous, colorful illustrations throughout, "That's NOT a Pickle!" will keep kids age 3 and up entertained and happy for hours. Meanwhile, of course, they are learning the wonderful joy of reading. Written by a talented author who began the project as a reaction to a seriously disabling disease called vasculitis, "That's NOT a Pickle!" exemplifies the spontaneous joy of living in its kooky versed tale of a boy who meets a frog in his pickle jar and decides to use the friendship to entertain/scare his disagreeable sister (who is frog-a-phobic). All's fair in pickle jars and frog fairs, and "That's NOT a Pickle!" proves you don't have to be a kid to enjoy some fun tricks with a frog and some pickles! Kids and adults will love the rollicking fun rhymes and silly nonsense patter. Also recommended in this series are "That's NOT a Pickle! Part 2 (9781596636866, $12.95)," "That's NOT A Pickle! Part 3 (9781596637467, $12.95)," and "That's NOT a Pickle! Part 4 (9781596638099, $12.95)." The last book deals with childhood obesity and the need for healthy exercise, and includes a foreword by Richard Simmons.

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Avenue, 59th Floor, New York NY 10118

Crabtrees HAIL! Titles ($19.95 each) provide fine 32-page lively coverages of ancient times in a series perfect for reluctant history students. ANCIENT ROMANS by Philip Steele (9780778766247), ANCIENT CHINESE by Paul Challen (9780778766216), AZTECS (9780778766254), ANCIENT EGYPTIANS (9780778766223) and ANCIENT GREEKS (9780778766230) all focus on entertaining history perfect for grades 3-6. Small maps, 'postcards' of information and colorful illustration throughout keeps an adventure-oriented focus on history. Bobbie Kalman's EXPLORE EARTH'S FIVE OCEANS (9780778730774) and EXPLORE EARTH'S SEVEN CONTINENTS (9780778730781) each pack in 32 pages of detail for grades 2-3, using larger print, eye-catching color photos, and photos of kids around the world to cement geography details. The 'Let's Rock' series ($19.95 each) answers basic questions about geology and are fine picks for elementary science collections for grades 3-6. Natalie Hyde's WHAT ARE SEDIMENTARY ROCKS? (9780778772309) and WHAT IS THE ROCK CYCLE? (9780778772316) and Molly Aloian's WHAT ARE IGNEOUS ROCKS? (9780778772286) and WHAT ARE METAMORPHIC ROCKS? (9780778772293) each pack in 32 pages of bright photos, sidebars of information, and fun detail. Three 'Crabtree Connections' titles are also fine picks for grades 1-2, each offering some 24 pages of basic introductory facts. Jill Laidlaw's QUICK EXPERT: ANCIENT EGYPT (9780778799429), Richard Spilsbury's CLIMATE CHANGE (9780778799382) and Catherine Chambers' EGYPTIAN TREASURES (9780778799467) each offer lively, simple historical introductions. The 'My World' series for K-1 is even simpler, each holding 16 pages of very basic facts presented by educator Bobbie Kalman. ARE YOU LIKE ME? (9780778795087), WHEN I AM HAPPY (9780778795032), REPTILE RAP (9780778795124), WHAT IS HATCHING? (9780778795094), CAN IT FLY? (9780778795025) and MY DOG LIKES ME (9780778794996) each provide very basic introductions perfect for beginning learners. All are top picks for libraries seeking titles with lasting, repeat lending value.

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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