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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 21, Number 12 December 2011 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christmas Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Humor Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fiction Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Easy Reader Shelf ABC Shelf
Dance Shelf Poetry Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
African-American Shelf Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf
Buddhism Shelf Multicultural Shelf Economics Shelf
Biography Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Activity Shelf Health Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Science Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Art Shelf Native American Shelf Geography Shelf
Fashion Shelf Cookbook Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

My Grandpa's War
David Volk, author
Jason Folkerts, illustrator
Privately Published
9781461146247 $10.00

My Grandpa's War is a softcover children's picturebook about a 9-year-old girl who learns about her grandfather's service in the Vietnam War. When the effects of an old war injury put her grandfather in the hospital, he's tells her tales of the difficulties he faced, when he was drafted to serve his country. "Grandpa told me he was always glad he became a medic because he liked the idea of possibly saving a life in war instead of taking one." Simple color illustrations help bring the true tales, tragedies, and stories of heroism to life. Since My Grandpa's War is relatively verbose and deals with mature issues such as war and death, it is best shared between parents and children. Highly recommended as an educational tool to help teach young people about the Vietnam War and the brave contributions of those who served.

The Doll Maker's Gift
Sashi Fridman, author
Jessica Schiffman, illustrator
Merkos Publications
291 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11213
9780826600400 $14.95

The Doll Maker's Gift is a children's picturebook retelling the true story of how one man's courage and insight saved a little girl's life. When horrible pogroms in Eastern Europe forced little Nora's family to escape to America, they discovered that they didn't have enough money to buy passage for everyone - one member would have to stay behind. Six-year-old Nora was sent to live with a kindly dollmaker, who was a friend of the family, yet her parents and siblings feared for her safety. At the last instant, the dollmaker had an idea that could reunite Nora with her family - but only if she could be a good girl and stay very still for several hours. The soft, color illustrations add a realistic visual touch to this dramatic story of survival and human goodness.

The Cave Monster
Thomas Weck and Peter Weck, authors
Len DiSalvo, illustrator
Lima Bear Press
c/o KSB Promotions
55 Honey Creek NE, Ada, MI 49301
9781933872018, $15.95,

"The Cave Monster" is another Lima Bear and pals adventure with built in lessons in cooperation, the value of teamwork, and building a sense of community. How do we handle scary situations? What can a group of friends do to solve a threatening monster problem and rescue a captured friend, L. Joe Bean? The many forest animals band together and everyone offers a different skill or weapon to the rescue party, who plan a daring exploration of the Black Cave to rescue L. Joe Bean from the Cave Monster. An unlikely assortment of heroes winds up triumphant, in a series of perfectly executed moves, ending with a special poem of celebration and victory, all orchestrated with gently tinted illustrations of kindly, unlikely forest heroes and deep dark caverns. Additional learning activities and thinking questions help complete the messages and ideas explored in "The Cave Monster," a great book for children ages 4-8.

The Wizard Who Saved the World
Jeffrey Bennett, author
Roberta Collier-Morales, illustrator
Big Kid Science
680 Iris Avenue
Boulder, Colorado 80304
9780972181945 $15.00 www.BigKidScience

Despite its title, The Wizard Who Saved the World is not a fantasy story - it's a picturebook with fact-filled sidebars that teach young adults about science, global stewardship, what they can do to help promote sustainable living and a healthy environment, and the importance of following their career dreams through hard work in college. Young Diego daydreams about being a wizard, but as he learns more about the world and the real-life perils that threaten it - especially human pollution and climate change - he also discovers that he doesn't need magic to make a difference. Anyone can help save the world by applying themselves to study and learn more, and by changing their habits to reduce the pressure that humanity's voracious energy demand puts upon the earth. "Work with your parents, friends, and teachers to come up with a list of things you can do to save energy. If everyone does it, our reduced need for energy will make it much easier to solve the problem of global warming." Bright color illustrations fill this inspirational and heavily researched blend of storytelling and call to raise awareness of the science behind the planet's perils. The Wizard Who Saved the World is especially recommended for parents who want to teach their children about global warming.

The Christmas Shelf

Child of Bethlehem
Elena Pasquali, author
Kristina Stephenson, illustrator
Lion Children's
c/o Trafalgar Square Publishing (distribution)
PO Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05033
Kregel Publications (distribution)
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
9780745962665 $14.99

Child of Bethlehem is a cheerful children's picturebook celebrating the birth of Jesus - the very first Christmas. Rounded, gentle caricatures illustrate the chronicle of Mary, destined to be Jesus' mother; her husband Joseph; and the miraculous events heralding baby Jesus' entry into the world, including a visitation by angels that led shepherds and wise men to the infant's side. A wonderful read-aloud story, Child of Bethlehem is an excellent way for parents and children to share the true meaning of Christmas.

Kangaroo For Christmas
James Flora, author/illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592701131, $16.95,

"Kangaroo For Christmas" is a vintage-like, whimsically illustrated children's tale about an unusual Christmas gift, a kangaroo named Adelaide for a girl named Kathryn. Re-issued from the author's career spanning the 1940's and 50's, "Kangaroo For Christmas" is filled with fresh, startling charm and appeal, plus the thrill of recognition from second generation readers will pour out to a new crop of fans in every reading. Adelaide takes Kathryn on some wild rides and they have many adventures together during an unforgettable holiday season. Jump start your own youngster's holiday experience by sharing this wonderful book experience with them, giving them a whole new frame of reference for the concept of what is "antique." The subdued, tinted palette of colors of evergreen, mustard, and cranberry play well against the black, gray and white of pleasantly zany, jagged-edged cartoons, always reminiscent of a more innocent era of time. "Kangaroo For Christmas" is a fabulous experience to give and share with children of today.

The Legend of Peli Claus, Savior of Christmas
Nolan "Joey" Pellerin, author
Stefan Jolet, illustrator
self published by BookMasters, Inc.
30 Amberweed Parkway, Ashland, Ohio 44805
9780615318769, $19.95,

"The Legend of Peli Claus, Savior of Christmas" is a beautiful Christmas legend about how a sad, sick pelican in the swamps of South Louisiana became the special assistant for Santa Claus to help deliver mail and gifts to children of the swamplands after a terrible hurricane had destroyed much of the usual support, supplies, and resources. Santa finds the sick, weeping pelican in the only spot he can find to land his sleigh in the flooded swamps. He rescues the starving pelican, named Peli, with his magic reindeer feed corn. In return, Peli offers to fly to inaccessible homes and areas where he can land but Santa can't, to deliver mail and gifts. Santa accepts Peli's offer to help, determined to deliver the reasonable gift requests of all the children, plus a little something extra,(lagniappe, in Creole). So Peli brings Christmas to the suffering children of the swamps of Louisiana, and he becomes known as Peli Claus, Savior of Christmas. The lagniappe, or something extra for the children, is a little stuffed brown pelican wearing a red stocking cap embroidered with the words "Peli Claus, Savior of Christmas." Charming illustrations with somber hues and hints of brightness convey the message of the story, and the children and families are so happy that Santa has not forgotten them. Blessed with immortality, Peli Claus flies again in later (recent) years to deliver special gifts of good cheer to children in the Gulf Coast region after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The ending is intriguing, "To Be Continued..."

The Christmas Tooth Fairy
Murlie C. Hanson, author
Lauren C. Oliveira, illustrator
OMO Publications
20362 Franciscan Way
Corral de Tierra, California 93908
9780615376783, $19.99,

"The Christmas Tooth Fairy" is an unusually creative, award-winning illustrated story for children ages 3-9 and even older. Written by the former Miss Wyoming, "The Christmas Tooth Fairy" is filled with both magical moments and enthusiastic testimonials including the Mom's Choice Awards honoring excellence. A charming tiny tooth fairy is interviewed by a K-ID TV reporter, revealing a compelling story. Using magical rhymes (which haunt and delight the reader) the Tooth Fairy transforms god dust into coins, to exchange for children's teeth under their pillows. The Tooth Fairy describes first an average day in her life of service and then one particular eventful night when she tore her wing in the extremely messy room of a child. Unable to fly without the help of glue (and perhaps a bit more magic) the Tooth Fairy cannot complete her rounds. guess who ends up coming to her rescue, on his annual rounds? None other than Santa himself. Details and bargains are discussed and sealed, and the Tooth Fairy rides with Santa to exchange coins for teeth at the homes of all good children. A very special wish from Santa changes the future path for future Christmas eve tooth fairy deliveries and pickups. There are many magical moments in "The Christmas Tooth Fairy," all ably assisted by the bubble-like magic verses and the lightly crayoned, delicate, detailed illustrations. Children will be sure to ask questions and grasp some of the delightful hidden messages in "The Christmas Tooth Fairy," which is sure to become a treasured holiday classic.

The Christmas Tree Chip
Carol Crane, author
Chris Ellison, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585362851, $17.95,

"The Christmas Tree Ship" is a tender retelling of a true story about Captain Herman Schuenemann, known as Captain Santa, and his ship the Rouse Simmons, which sank into the Great Lakes on its way to deliver Christmas trees from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Chicago, in a November gale storm of 1912. The author tells the story as she remembers her Swedish grandfather, a Michigan lighthouse keeper, telling it to her as a child. As he tells the story, he sits in his Swedish rocking chair that he brought over from Sweden in pieces, and carves another Christmas tree ornament to hang on the lighthouse tree. Because Captain Santa had promised his wife that his 1912 boat trip to deliver trees to Chicago children would be his last, it seemed especially sad that he did not survive the trip to return to her. But the true miracle of the story comes in the following year when the Captain's wife Barbara and her daughters decided to make another voyage to bring Christmas trees from the north to the shores of Chicago, in honor of the brave heart of her husband, Captain Santa. Softly realistic paintings recreate many beautiful scenes and moments in this northern Lakes story of "The Christmas Tree Ship."

The Thing I Say I Saw Last Night: A Christmas Story
Wendy McKernan, author
Izabela Bzymek, illustrator
Little Dragon Publishing
707-888 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 5W4, Canada
9780986620409, $18.95,

"The Thing I Say I Saw Last Night: A Christmas Story" is a wonderful illustrated book for children ages 3-8. Told in comic rhyme, with darker toned quirky illustrations, the boy telling this tale proclaims its moral: "Things aren't as they seem!" The boy's captive audience is a suspicious sister who begins to uncover the amazing truth behind the pictures painted by the boy's first fantastic telling. for a fresh new slant on the usual story of Saint Nick delivering toy on Christmas Eve, read "The Thing I Saw I Saw Last Night." The surprise ending will feel (at least) twice as good as expected!

A Christmas Legend
Frances M. Schindler, author
Michael LaDuca, illustrator
Action Title Publishing
4615 Mohawk Road, Rockford, IL 61107
9780578058528, $16.95,

"A Christmas Legend: How the Donkey and the Tabby Cat Received Their Markings" is a sensitive reweaving of several Christmas traditions resulting in an inspirational tale of how the donkey and the tabby cat were awarded special markings in return for the special help they offered to the baby Jesus when he was born. The donkey carried Mary safely to the stable in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, and in return received the marking of a cross on his back, to remind the world he helped to bear the Babe who would bear the sins of the world. A small tabby kitten was in the stable, and Joseph shooed it away to make a warm bed for Baby Jesus in the hay. But later the Babe began to cry, and nothing Mary could do seemed to soothe him, so she prayed to God for help. Soon thereafter Mary saw the Babe sleeping peacefully, while curled up next to him was the purring gray striped kitten. In gratitude, Mary touched the kitten's head, and thereafter the mark of "M" for Mary was to be found imprinted on the foreheads of all gray tabby cats. Thus these two humble animals were each given their special mark of distinction for their loving assistance to the newborn Savior of the World. Charming color illustrations, simple narrative style, and real color photos of both a donkey and a tabby cat complete the Christmas appeal of "A Christmas Legend," a perfect holiday selection for children age 3 and up. "A Christmas Legend" also received the Editor's Choice award of Highlighted Title from Independent Publishers, as well as numerous other awards for earlier publication, "An Angel At My Side, Surviving Leukemia Through Love."

Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be
John Harris, author
Adam Gustavson, artist
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561455904, $16.95,

"Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be" tells the story of how the holiday favorite song came to be written by James Lord Pierpont, during a heat wave in Savannah, Georgia. This tale of the creation of the beloved American Christmas song may be partly imagined, but its spirit captures the essence of the life and works the pre-Civil War Unitarian minister who preached in a Unitarian church in the 1850's. Placing the song in a historical context, even if it is partly conjectural, adds so much to the joy and mystery of the song itself. In particular the message of the equality of joy transcending the despair of hateful attackers is one that resonates well in these times. "Jingle Bells - How the Holiday Classic Came to Be" is highly recommended for children age 5 and up.

Duck & Company Christmas
Kathy Caple
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823433295, $15.95,

All is cozy at the Duck & Company Bookstore as holiday preparations are made. A gingerbread house lights up the window display, and rain turns to snow to complete the holiday mood. Even on Christmas Eve, Duck and Rat notice many customers arriving. In this charming illustrated Christmas story, the animals discover once again that the essence of Christmas is something found inside, in tender togetherness with others. An unplanned spontaneous overnight party and feast occur due to a plethora of snow. Everyone cooperates, dances, parties, and has a wonderful time. No one can go anywhere because of the storm. In the morning they find a magical world with a special frosty present from Santa. Little Peep and Weasel it is the best Christmas ever. Compared favorably to the well-known Frog and Toad Together books, "Duck & Company Christmas" is an American Booksellers Association Pick of the List book. Recommended for children age 4 and up.

The Christmas Village
Jeffrey P. Hice, author
Heather Worley, illustrator
Mirror Publishing
6434 W Dixon St - Milwaukee, WI 53214
9781612250625, $15.99,

"The Christmas Village" is an imaginative, child-friendly story of the origin of many traditional Christmas customs and legends. Filled with festive, crayoned, colorful illustrations in a childlike style, "The Christmas Village" reweaves many familiar elements such as ornaments, sweets and treats, flying reindeer, toy-making elves, a village at the North Pole, candles, snowmen, cardinals, and evergreens into a believable web of Christmas fantasy and magic in its beginning stages. Exactly what is it that makes Christmas so special? "The Christmas Village" is an inviting way to explore the meaning and origin of the celebration of Christmas with young children. The theme of giving, especially to good girls and boys, is especially well integrated. Why do we give gifts? This is a fun way to explore and re-imagine all the magic and wonder of Christmas with children and loved ones, to find all that is fresh and new in it yet again.

The Bilingual Shelf

Michael Smith, author
Octavio Oliva, illustrator
East West Discovery Press
425 15th Street, #3585, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
9780983227830, $16.95,

"Relativity/ Relatividad" is a bilingual illustrated children's book that teaches young children to begin thinking comparatively and analytically. Spunky, rhyming text in English and in Spanish interface with color photo-illustration collages to entice children to make simple comparisons, such as "The sky is high/ the trees are low/ El cielo es alto, los arboles son bajos. (pp. 2-3)." Written simply enough to be understood by children age 4 and up, "Relativity/ Relatividad" is an intriguing invitation to young thinkers to use their skills. English text is lettered in white, while Spanish text is lettered in yellow, against dark colored illustration backdrops. A charming little boy in a red jacket wends his way through the comparisons presented to a stunning conclusion: "As you can see, it is all about Relativity/ Las cosas son asi, con toda seguridad. Todo tiene que ver con la Relatividad (pp. 20-21)." "Relativity" is a Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall, 2011.

Fishscale Girl / La Chiquita Escamosa
Ann Hailey, author /photographer
Allen Bertsche, Ph.D. translator
Cochiy Press
1035 Lincoln Road, Suite 304
Bettendorf, IA 52722
9780983281832, $17.95,

"Fishscale Girl / La Chiquita Escamosa" is a bilingual picture book about a doll whose body is made from a single scale of an Amazon fish. Fishscale Girl tells how she was made by a member of the Yagua people, of shells, seeds, fibers, and a fishscale. Color photographs illustrate the complex process of making Fishscale Girl step by step, while bilingual narration explains the process of making the doll and creating her identity and heart. Fishscale Girl takes a long journey from her familiar friends in the Amazon to a place far north along the Mississippi River. Fishscale Girl learns how to read, and how to drive a truck (a toy, miniature Pizza truck). The photographs of Fishscale girl in her changing environments are bright, fun, and creative. Of course, sometimes Fishscale Girl pines for her friends in the Amazon, but finding new friends helps her to feel happy again. "Fishscale Girl" is a multicultural book for children "written in the spirit of 'Conservation de la Naturaleza Amazonica del Peru,' or CONAPAC, a non-profit organization in Peru whose mission is to promote conservation of the rainforest through education of its stewards, the people living along the Amazon and Napo Rivers." Accordingly, proceeds from the sale of "Fishscale Girl" benefit CONAPAC's Adopt-A-School program, "saving the rainforest one child at a time."

Amadito and the Hero Children
Enrique R. Lamadrid, author
Amy Cordova, illustrations
University of New Mexico Press
MSCO5, 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
9780826349798, $19.95,

"Amadito and the Hero Children / Amadito y los Ninos Heroes" is a beautiful bilingual illustrated narration of the bravery of young children during two epidemics of smallpox and influenza. Using fiction based on fact, "Amadito and the Hero Children" presents a fascinating version of the battle fought by Hispanic families against the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918. The only relief from deadly symptoms found in home remedies comes from wild celery root, gray sage, and purple onion, and Amadito Dominguez's Mama Virginia fears she will not find enough of the wild plants to protect her family. She tells Amadito a story bout the Ninos Heroes, young children who carried smallpox vaccine from Mexico to New Mexico 100 years earlier during a smallpox epidemic. She shares a hope that a similar vaccine can help Amadito and all the families. Amadito goes on to play a crucial role in helping to protect the other children in the family by assisting his Mama Virginia in making similar vaccinations of the children. Amadito is very helpful in calming the children during the process, and Mama Virginia later tells the story of Nana Maria Peregrina, the family's great grandmother, a girl who helped to save the village of Chamisal during the earlier smallpox epidemic. Both stories intertwine, because the book of the brave Nana Maria Peregrina runs in the veins of Amadito and all his family, and they continue in her footsteps, working to deliver life-saving treatments for all. "Amadito and the Hero Children" is an opportunity for children fluent in either or both English and Spanish to explore Southwest history, large scale deadly sickness, the use of native plants for traditional folk remedies, and medicines, and many more valuable lessons in culture, history, health, and hope. An epilogue explains that the part of the story about Amadito is true, while the earlier story about his great grandmother Nan Maria Peregrina is undocumented, though she did live and was his ancestor. An extended Afterword by Michael Leon Trujillo explains further facts about the history of pandemics in New Mexico, further amplified with suggested readings sources, and a glossary in Spanish and English. Exotic earth- and sepia-influenced, colorful illustrations and side-by-side narratives make "Amadito and the Hero Children" an appealing, complex tale within a tale that educates while it entertains, suitable for children age 9 and up.

The Humor Shelf

You Might Be a Monster & Other Stories I Made Up!
By A Worm Named Attaboy, author/illustrator
Immedium, Inc.
P.O. Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94131
9781597020251, $15.95,

"You Might Be A Monster & Other Stories I Made Up!" is a fantastic creative children's illustrated story book with a whole new twist. Described as a combination of Shel Silverstein, Tim Burton, and Dr. Seuss, pop artist author Attaboy presents a "visual cornucopia" of fantastic neon, three-dimensional, fictitious monsters created by the Worm, Attaboy. His message in the beginning of the book contains many interesting caveats, including the following: "Originally, there was a story in this book about a cute kitten that liked to hug everyone, eat all his vegetables, and carry his toys in a briefcase. But those types of stories are for baby sisters and school teachers who wear ugly shoes, so we removed it! This book is filled with not-so-scary monsters who refuse to write love poems, not-so-smart children, very mean flowers, cactus hugs, and a boy who is often mistaken as a hamster. You may not like thee stories, bu what did you expect from a book written by a worm?" Further disclaimers assure readers that "This book tastes like trees!" and "This entire book is printed using Scratch-N-Sniff! If you scratch a picture, it smells like paper and ink!" All of this prepares the readership, children or adults, for a roller-coaster ride of rollicking fun, with rhyming nonsense, wacky, crazy, compelling and funny illustrations, and surprises within surprises. The cover story is among the best! Did you know you might be a monster if you chew with both your mouths open? Or if all your friends are the villains from dusty fairy books? Attaboy the Worm will be glad to teach you this and more. Best of all, "You Might Be a Monster" has a wonderful hidden agenda, to motivate unmannerly children to mend their monsterly ways. Truly inspired touches include the "business cards" on the back cover ("Expert's Monster Identification and Removal"), and the inside secret cover illustration which can be turned out so that parents and others won't realize you are reading the book again! Naturally the hidden cover is for "The Extremely Boring Story of The Very Cute Kitten Who Liked to Hug Everyone, Eat All His Vegetables, and Who Carried His Toys in a Briefcase." Highly recommended for children ages 4-8 and up, especially those who have or would like to have a highly developed sense of humor.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Mythical Voyage
Robin Ymer
Savant Books and Publications, LLC
2630 Kapiolani Blvd #1601
Honolulu, HI 96826
9780984117567 $12.95

Mythical Voyage: The Tale of the White Ponca is a trade-sized paperback fantasy novel for young adults, chronicling the adventures of a white ponca (more colloquially known as a unicorn). Black-and-white line drawings are scattered throughout the story, ideal for readers to color in with coloring pencils. A strong sense of discovery and adventure characterizes this wonderful story told through the eyes of a mythical beast, highly recommended for any child with a love of imaginary creatures and worlds.

Bat Rider
Anthony Barton
Bulmer Press
9780986903830 $9.99

Intended for young readers ages 6-12, Bat Rider is a fantastic novel set on a faraway planet, where only the luckiest and most talented boys and girls earn the privilege of riding bats amid the mile-high Yumi trees in order to harvest their succulent fruit. Young Matthew John wants to care fore and fly upon bats more than anything, but in order to be considered worthy, he must brave a perilous test, and confront Oomba the lion in its own lair. A handful of simple black-and-white drawings enliven this original tale of courage, adventure, and ultimately compassion for all living things. Highly recommended.

Cosmic Storm
Dom Testa
TOR Books
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780765321114, $16.99,

Life on Earth is over and only 251 teens sent into space can save mankind. COSMIC STORM provides the fifth installment of a series that began with THE COMET'S CURSE and tells of the disappearance of Council Leader Triana, who has piloted a shuttle into a wormhole and vanished. The crew must replace her, and personal and political struggles join their overall struggle to survive space's challenges in this science fiction thriller, recommended especially for prior readers of the series who will appreciate the return of protagonists and conflicts.

The Lost Fountain
Peter Andrew Sacco
Inkwater Press
6750 SW Franklin Street, Suite A
Portland, OR 97223-2542
9781592996131, $13.95,

When it's life or death, finding legend becomes all the more important. "The Lost Fountain" is a youth fiction novel from Peter Andrew Sacco as Noah, a preteen with a brother facing Progeria, premature aging. With the help of legends past, he is on the hunt for the Fountain of Youth, but those who would use such a thing for greed stand in their way. "The Lost Fountain" is a fine pick for younger readers, much recommended.

Six Weeks to Yehidah
Melissa Studdard
All Things That Matter Press
9780984651702, $16.99,

In our journey through the world, we find many questions that we struggle to answer. "Six Weeks to Yehidah" is an inspired story for youths, following young Annalise and her wondersheep as they face their unique world and talk to and see many people. With humor and wonder, "Six Weeks to Yehidah" is a read that is worth considering for young adult fiction readers.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Elliot Stone and the Mystery of the Summer Vacation Sea Monster
LP Chase, author
Carl DiRocco, illustrator
Blue Marlin Publications
823 Aberdeen Rd.
W Bay Shore NY 11706
9780979291876 $8.99

Elliot Stone and the Mystery of the Summer Vacation Sea Monster is a whimsical novel for middle-school aged children, about a young boy whose summer vacation seems ruined - his family sends him far away from his best friend Jake, not to mention Cassie's exciting graduation party. At first Elliot's stay at a Vermont cabin on Lake Bomoseen seems boring, but then his father tells him about the legend of the Loch Ness monster. Elliot then makes a strange sighting on the lake - could it be an equally fierce and fantastic monster? Marley, a young girl with gumption who lives next door, is glad to help Elliot in a surprising adventure to learn the truth once and for all! A fun and heartwarming story, especially recommended for middle school and public children's library collections.

Hangman's Gold
Sneed B. Collard III
Bucking Horse Books
PO Box 8507, Missoula, MT 59807
9780984446025, $16.00,

In the ruins of the past, one will find the treasures of the past. "Hangman's Gold" is the second entry of the mystery series following Slate Stephens and Daphne McSweeney as they face down the ghost town of Bannack in Montana, with their geologist fathers, finding that the town holds more of their interest than a ghost town should. As they dig deeper, they find evidence of gold, and soon realize they alone aren't hunting that gold. "Hangman's Gold" is an insightful and much recommended mystery for younger readers.

The Dragon Turn
Shane Peacock
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770492318, $19.95,

THE DRAGON TURN presents the young Sherlock Holmes' fifth case and tells of Sherlock and his friend Irene's celebration of her sixteenth birthday when Alistair produces a deadly dragon before their eyes. This illusion makes the magician a star, only to be arrested for murder. It's up to Sherlock and his sidekick to find out the truth in this winning supernatural fantasy mystery for teens.

Dial/Dutton/Viking Penguin
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Two new Wilma Tenderfoot stories by Emma Kennedy are top picks for any collection strong in fiction for middle schools. THE CASE OF THE FROZEN HEARTS (9780803735408, $16.99) tells of a pre-teen orphan who dreams of using clues to uncover the truth about her parents. Her new neighbor is a legendary detective who has a new case, and it's up to Wilma to help him locate a stone and solve a mystery. Her second case, THE CASE OF THE PUTRID POISON (9780803735415, $16.99) presents Wilma as an apprentice to the famous Theodore Goodman and their latest case involves members of a theatre who are being poisoned one by one. Another fine investigative/sleuth story will appeal to Wilma fans and any who like spy accounts and mysteries. Beth Bernobich's FOX & PHOENIX (9780670012787, $17.99) tells of a dying king and an order to travel cross-country to help a princess escape and return to Long City. Magic and deadly dangers will result in a perilous trip in this engrossing saga. Richard Peck's SECRETS AT SEA (9780803734555, $16.99) is a pick for fans of Miss Bianca or any mouse-protagonist story line and here tells of Helena, big-sister mouse to three younger siblings who face changes when their humans decide to sail away to England. Stowing away, the mice experience a world-altering trip in this fine adventure. Meg Wolitzer's THE FINGERTIPS OF DUNCAN DORFMAN (9780525423041, $16.99) tells of three very different teens challenged by personal powers and challenges. When they come together at the national Youth Scrabble Tournament, each with different reasons for wanting to win, surprises will evolve in this fine and different saga.

The Fiction Shelf

Kali and the Geekettes
Ellie Greene
Jupiter Gardens Press
PO Box 191, Grimes, IA 50111
9780983589204, $13.95,

Geek isn't just for guys anymore. "Kali and the Geekettes" is a story of Kali, Roxanne, and Phillippa, three girls who care more about science and mathematics than the average would be cover girl. But even with a unique extracurricular, boys are still on the menu and it can still lead to heartbreak and the confusing game of love. "Kali and the Geekettes" is a fun read for young adult readers, very much recommended.

Dear America: The Diary of Dawnie Rae Johnson
Andrea David Pinkney
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
9780545297059, $12.99,

Dear America: The Diary of Dawnie Rae Johnson provides a fine historical novel as it tells of pre-teen Dawnie Rae, whose life is changed after the Supreme Court rules in favor of desegregation. Her parents decide she'll attend a previously all-white school - but she'll be the only one of her friends to enroll. A fine story evolves!

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Scholastic publishes powerful teen reads every month, and these new arrivals represent some of the best choices from their latest, recommended for any leisure browser. Lin Oliver and Theo Baker's SOUND BENDER (9780545196925, $16.99) tells of siblings sent to live with a sinister antique dealer uncle when their parents are killed, when Leo receives a mysterious package that awakens a power he never knew he had. His exploration of this power puts him at dangerous odds with his uncle in this thriller. Cecil Castellucci's FIRST DAY ON EARTH (9780545060820, $17.99) tells of Mel, who vanished for three days years ago - and who thinks it was an alien abduction. His desire to leave his world and be taken away may just be coming true in this story of a teen's adjustment and changes. Philip Webb's SIX DAYS (9780545317672, $17.99) tells of a future in which children rummage for survival in what's left of London after a Russian invasion. They're in search of a powerful relic; but unless they locate it in six days their world will end. Roland Smith's STORM RUNNERS (9780545081757, $16.99) tells of Chase and his father, who pursue hurricanes and bad weather across the country. He's learning more about weather than any school could teach him, but when a super hurricane hits he will also learn about survival. Patrick Carman's FLOORS (9780545255196, $16.99) tells of a strange hotel where each flow holds a strange design and unique mysteries and secrets. Leo is the janitor's son and should know all of the hotel's secrets, but when he discovers four puzzling boxes that lead to hidden floors he'll find further mystery and danger waits. Jeff Hirsch's THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE (9780545290142, $17.99) presents an American devastated by a war, where a deadly strain of flu has killed two-thirds of the population. Teen Stephen was born after the war and only knows a hard life of scavenging. His family roamed the country in search of material to trade. When he finds himself the only one standing, he discovers a community of survivors that will change his world - and his ability to adapt. Philip Reeve's A WEB OF AIR (9780545222167, $17.99) provides a satisfying sequel to the Fever Crumb fantasy and is recommended for any enthusiast of the story. Fever is now sixteen and caring for orphans, is a member of a traveling barge-theater, and meets a brilliant boy who is perfecting the lot secrets of flight. Their pursuits are gaining them powerful enemies in this engrossing story. Lucy Christopher's FLYAWAY (978054517719, $16.99) tells of a father's fall in the wilderness and Isla's encounter with Harry, a boy who doesn't laugh when she tells him of her love of birds. As she struggles with her father's frailty she forms new goals and an unexpected new friendship in this fine novel. Matthew J. Kirby's ICEFALL (9780545274241, $17.99) tells of Solveig, who awaits news of her father's battle victory and faces a traitor in her kingdom as winter seems endless and dangerous. What began as a fortress against winter turns into a prison that's turning its inhabitants against one another in this riveting story of king's children who must face an enemy in their midst.

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

Edward Bloor's A PLAGUE YEAR (9780375856815, $15.99) tells of a ninth-grade student who dreams of ditching town and going away to college - until people begin vanishing, odd things turn up missing, and zombies begin appearing. Now it's evident that an epidemic is affecting Tom's town, changing all his definitions of goals, friends, family, and how to survive. There seems to be no cure, and Tom must navigate a vastly changed world in this gripping thriller. Annika Thor's THE LILY POND (9780385740395, $16.99) is set a year after Stephie and her younger sister fled Nazi-occupied Vienna to a Swedish island. Now her foster parents have allowed her to enroll in a school on the mainland, where she meets the dazzling Sven, whose anti-Hitler sentiments captivate her. Romance and attraction make this a powerful saga especially recommended for readers of A FARAWAY ISLAND. Rose Cooper's RUMORS FROM THE BOYS' ROOM (9780385740865, $12.99) presents Sophia, her secret notebook, and a blend of journal and graphic novel that offers a fun visual adventure as it tells of observations that bring to mind HARRIET THE SPY and other fine reads. Susannah Applebaum's THE POISONS OF CAUX: THE SHEPHERD OF WEEDS (9780375851759, $16.99) provides Book III in the series and is a pick for prior readers and advanced young adult audiences. Here pre-teen Ivy awakens to an orphanage, the victim of an evil plot, along with her friend Rue. The two girls escape and plot a battle in this fine fantasy of revenge. Caroline B. Cooney's THE LOST SONGS (9780385739665, $17.99) provides an engrossing story of a Southern community and a group of teens facing unexpected connections and changes. Themes of faith and family entwine in sudden ways, along with choice and decisions that place different protagonists in conflict with the adults around them - and in contact with one another. Stewart Lewis' YOU HAVE SEVEN MESSAGES (9780385740289, $17.99) tells of a family still struggling with grief a year after a mother's accidental death. When Luna goes to clean out her mother's old studio she find her mom's cell phone holding seven unheard messages - and learns an unexpected truth about her mother's secret life and death. A fine story evolves. Joe R. Lansdale's ALL THE EARTH, THROWN TO THE SKY (97803857639313, $16.99) tells of Jack, who just lost both of his parents and is on his own with no food or money. He just wants to leave Oklahoma, so when a former classmate proposes escape he's on his way - until an encounter with a notorious band of gangsters changes their plans and leads to a road trip from hell. Advanced teen readers will find this packed with adventure.

Random House/Knopf
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Mary Pope Osborne's DOGS IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT (9780375868245, $12.99) is number 46 in the Magic Tree House series and tells of Jack and Annie's new mission: to find a rare flower to save one of their best friends. The magic tree house takes them back to the Swiss Alps - but how can they locate a flower in the ice and snow? Add in a dog training endeavor and a quest to find a missing dog and you have plenty of drama and action for kids in grades 3-5. The same audience will relish LEXIE by Audrey Couloumbis (978037584527, $15.99), the story of a ten-year-old who has spent every summer at the shore with her parents. This summer her parents are divorced and Daddy has a new girlfriend - complete with her two sons who will also come to stay with them. Where does Lexie fit in? Marion Dane Bauer's THE VERY LITTLE PRINCESS: ROSE'S STORY (9780375856921, $12.99) tells of Regina, a princess with golden hair who is a three-inch doll. Rose is not a princess or a doll, but a girl who is clumsy and often thoughtless. When Regina comes to life and begins to boss Rose, concerns about fragility arise in the course of their friendship. Patricia Reilly Giff's ZIGZAG KIDS: STAR TIME (9780385738880, $12.99) is a fine chapter book with illustrations by Alasdair Bright and is set in the Zigzag Afternoon Center, which is putting on a play. Gina's told everyone she'll be its star - but her friend wants to be a tar, too. Can everyone be satisfied? Giff's ZIGZAG KIDS 3: FLYING FEET (9780385738873, $12.99) offers another fine adventure: this revolving around Charlie's idea for a new invention. Charlie's ideas tend to backfire, but if he can produce something awesome the kids will think he's as special as his big brother. A fine saga evolves. Claudia Mills' MASON DIXON: PET DISASTERS (9780375869733, $12.99) tells of a nine-year-old who dislikes pets and drying new things. He isn't sure, yet about dogs, though - and his involvement with one Dog is certain to change the balance of things in this fun adventure. Emily Jenkins' TOYS COME HOME (9780375862007, $16.99) tells of an intelligent stingray, a brave buffalo and a small plastic toy who join forces and have adventures. Black and white drawings by Paul O. Zelinsky accompany this story of StingRay, who is new to the Little Girl's home, very lonely, and who finds adventure as she runs away and meets with other toys and their personalities. It's a companion to TOYS GO OUT and TOY DANCE PARTY and readers ages 6-10 will relish this!

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Laddertop V. One
Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card
Seven Seas
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765324603, $10.99,

Laddertop V. One is a graphic novel illustrated in black and white by Honoel A. Ibardolaza and telling of alien Givers who came to Earth over twenty years ago and gave it great technology: four giant towers known as Ladders that rise 36,000 miles into space and provide space stations that power the planet. Then the Givers vanished. Skilled children must perform maintenance on the Laddertop stations, graduate from Laddertop Academy, and therein enters best friends Robbi and Azure, candidates and friends who become involved in solving the mystery of the Givers. Fine action makes this graphic novel a fast-paced read.

The Social Issues Shelf

We Want You to Know
Deborah Ellis
Coteau Books
2517 Victoria Avenue
Regina, SK, Canada, S4P 0T2
9781550504637, $14.95,

Bullying can lead to fear of school, and countless other problems. "We Want You to Know: Kids Talk About Bullying" is many kids coming forward to discuss their experiences with bullying and the damage that is done through it. Cliques, changing the way kids live their lives, violence, and much more goes into children's lives and leads to depression and anxiety. "We Want You to Know" is a thoughtful discussion of what has long been a serious problem.

My Uncle Martin's Words for America
Angela Farris Watkins, Ph.D., author
Eric Velasquez, illustrator
Jason M. Wells
115 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
9781419700224 $19.95

Written by Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece Angela Watkins, My Uncle Martin's Words for America is a picturbook about the inspirational message that Martin Luther King Jr. had for America, and his drive to promote justice and equality through nonviolent protests against discriminatory practices such as segregation. "Uncle Martin worked hard to change Jim Crow laws. He stood up and spoke out against them. He said, to crowds of hundreds and thousands of people, that new laws should be created that would give African Americans their civil rights." Illustrated with striking, realistic color artwork accurately portraying people of the era in their efforts to peacefully rally, march, and promote change, My Uncle Martin's Words for America is an excellent introduction to a critical turning point in America's history and the man whose conviction and courage helped drive change for the better. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library children's collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

Library Lily
Gillian Shields, author
Francesca Chessa, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802854018 $16.00

Library Lily is a heartwarming children's picturebook about a young girl who shares her love of reading with a friend. Lily is often nicknamed "Library Lily" because she can spend her whole summer getting lost in the joys of reading books. She befriends Milly, an adventurous girl who doesn't like to read at all. Over time, Milly shows Lily how much fun it is to go outside and explore, while Lily shows Milly how much fun it can be to explore the myriad worlds within books! Eventually the two write a book of their own to share their wonderful adventures together. Sprightly color illustrations add a playful touch to this upbeat and cheerful story.

Felix Salten, author
Katja Alves, reteller
Kristy Koth, translator
Maja Dusikova, illustrator
350 Seventh Avenue Suite 1400, NY, NY 10001
Myrick Marketing & Media (publicity)
PMB 248, 455 Sam Ridley Parkway West
Smyrna, TN 37167
9780735840119, $16.95,

"Bambi" is a gentle, softly illustrated retelling of the well-known original novel for children age 4 and up. All the key moments in the original book are retold in simple language, while the delicately detailed paintings perfectly recreate the world of Bambi, the fawn who will grow into a Prince. Bambi's relationship with his mother, the other deer, the other forest animals, and most significantly, the Old Prince, his father, are all accurately portrayed in these pages. All adult lovers of "Bambi" will enjoy sharing this faithful new retelling of the story with the children in their lives.

Susan Vande Griek, author
Karen Reczuch, illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554980772 $18.95

Loon is a children's picturebook pairing poetic descriptions with absolutely captivating, realistic artwork of wild loons foraging for food, raising chicks, taking flight, and more. "They fly, / leaving their young / to fish, dive and doze, / to grow strong / a short while longer, / until they too take flight, / before the lake water freezes / and turns to hard winter ice." Loons is a treasure that marvelously portrays these majestic birds, and an excellent choice for parents to read aloud to children.

The Great Tree Eating Monster
Steve Weinstein, author
Tim Casey, illustrator
Imagination Children's Books Publishers
150 West End Avenue, Apt. 29F
New York, NY 10023-5744
9780578066660 $17.00

"The Great Tree Eating Monster" is a fantasy legend about a huge monster that eats his way across the forests of Eastern North America, much to the dismay of the forest dwelling animals, who band together to build a barricade to stop the great tree eating monster. This was an amazing feat, but it only stopped the monster long enough to eat it as an appetizer! The animals flee in terror from the monster until they reach the Great Plains, where the Great Tree Eating Monster lay down for a nap. Time went by, and he continues to nap to this day, covered by drifting dust and rolling rocks, but careful forest animals (and humans) can still hear him snoring sometimes, when the ground shakes. Perhaps an eco-tale in disguise, perhaps a fable about the need for moderation and conservation, "The Great Tree Eating Monster" should find its audience in children age 4 and up. Humorous, eccentric illustrations poke fun at the scary greed of the monster.

Pretty Dolls
Kimberly Dana, author
Kurt Jones, illustrator
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781613464168, $8.99,

"Pretty Dolls" is an award winning children's book, as a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary contest in 2011 in the children's picture book category. Tasha is a girl who has many pretty dolls, but she loves shabby Gracie best, and goes to sleep with her every night, even though she has lost an arm due to the antics of Victor the dog. Unfortunately, another pretty doll, Emily-Nicole is jealous of Gracie, and she tells mean lies about her after Tasha is asleep. However, Gracie the doll has a lesson to teach even Emily-Nicole when she encounters an unexpected danger from Victor the dog. Gracie and Emily-Nicole become best friends as a surprise ending, teaching children to value friendship more than fear. Colorful cartoon illustrations enhance "Pretty Dolls," and a free digital audio book download code is included.

How the Leopard Got His Claws
Chinua Achebe with John Iroaganachi, authors
Mary Grandpre, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street
Somerville, MA 02144
9780763648053 $16.99

Award-winning author Chinua Achebe, perhaps best known for his classic "Things Fall Apart", presents How the Leopard Got His Claws, a children's picturebook telling a story in the style of an African fable. Strikingly illustrated in shaded tones, How the Leopard Got His Claws is a dark story of conflict and violence between the animals, that ultimately drives the leopard to great anger, and the dog to serve the hunter in his efforts to kill all the other animals. How the Leopard Got His Claws is a vivid and unforgettable storybook, highly recommended.

Come and Eat!
George Ancona
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
9781580893664 $16.95

Come and Eat! is a children's picturebook celebrating how different people enjoy their unique cultural foods all around the world. Color photography on every page paired with simple text teaches young readers about a diversity of culinary traditions. "After a prayer Tibetans eat delicious meat dumplings called momos. Tibetans use their fingers to dip each momo into a spicy sauce before eating it." A simple yet delightful read-aloud book, Come and Eat! is a great way to introduce young people to multicultural variety.

Bone Dog
Eric Rohmann
Roaring Brook Press
33 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003
9781596431508 $16.99

Caldecott Medal winner Eric Rohmann presents Bone Dog, a spooky children's picturebook about the eternal bonds that connect people with the pets they love. Young Gus' dog Ella was very old, but before she passed away she promised him under the full moon that she would always be with him. After he lost Ella, Gus found it hard to go about his ordinary routine, but went trick-or-treating anyway. Then, undead skeletons ambushed Gus and threatened to eat his entrails! Fortunately, Ella came to his rescue, and with a little quick thinking Gus and Ella routed their ghastly attackers! Bone Dog is especially recommended for parents to read aloud to children when consoling them over the loss of a beloved pet.

Don't Worry, Douglas!
David Melling
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70
Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589251069 $12.95

The follow-up to "Hugless Douglass", Don't Worry, Douglas! is a colorful children's picturebook about a young bear who treasures the knitted cap his father gave him. But when an accident reduces the cap to red threads, what is he to do? Whimsical illustrations add the perfect touch to this playful and heartwarming story.

My Purple Kisses
Blair Hahn, author
Tate Nation, illustrator
My Purple Toes, LLC
c/o Emerald Book Company (distributor)
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
SoCal Public Relations (publicity)
8130 La Mesa Blvd., Ste. 137, La Mesa, CA 91942
9780983477815 $15.95

The follow-up to the award-winning picturebook/board book "My Purple Toes" (9780983477808, $15.95) about a loving father who dares to simply be himself and paints his toenails purple, My Purple Kisses is about the mother's unconditional love for her children. The mother likes to bestow her purple-lipstick kisses on flowers, pets, or simply blow her kisses on the wind - but family kisses are what she loves the most! "Family kisses are fun, and full of love too!" My Purple Kisses is gentle, somewhat silly but ultimately heartwarming storybook, excellent for reading aloud to little ones before giving them a kiss goodnight.

You Be You
Linda Kranz
Taylor Trade Publishing
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200
Lanham, MD 20706
9781589796669 $12.95

You Be You is an uplifting children's picturebook that uses color illustrations of fanciful fish to drive home its point about taking pride in one's own uniqueness. "Some fish are colorful / Some fish are plain. / Some fish look different. / Some fish look the same." With its strong positive message, You Be You is an ideal choice for parents to read to young children at storytime or bedtime.

The Vole Brothers
Roslyn Schwartz
Owlkids Books
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 2Z2
9781926818832, $16.95,

"The Vole Brothers" by Roslyn Schwartz, (creator of The Mole Sisters), is a charming illustrated story about two ravenous rodents who pursue many adventures to find a fabulous free feast (of pepperoni pizza) only to discover that other creatures are hungry and willing to share their feast with them! The Vole brothers are so hungry they could eat a cat! But instead, they almost end up being eaten by a cat, oh no! fortunately a kind fate intervenes, and the vole brothers end by contentedly chomping on a healthy meal of berries, tulips, and leaves. "The Vole Brothers" is written by Vicky Metcalf Award winner author of "The Mole Sisters," and is most appealing for children ages 2-5.

The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister
Linda Ravin Lodding, author
Suzanne Beaky, illustrator
Flashlight Press/IPG
527 Empire Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9780979974694, $16.95,

"The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmesiter" is a paean to play, especially for kids. Well-meaning adults end up pressuring children to fulfill busy schedules of performance expectations without realizing that one of the most precious experiences only children will have is free time to play, experiment, imagine, and just be. Ernestine's busy life should be fully satisfying, with sculpting, water ballet, knitting, tuba lessons, yodeling, karate lessons, an yoga. But something is missing, even though the Buckmeisters hire Nanny O'Dear to help keep Ernestine on schedule. Ernestine begins to look pale and tired. What Ernestine would really like to do is just spend some time playing ball outdoors with Hugo, her neighbor. finally Ernestine decides to schedule something new for herself. This alarms her parents, who are unable to find her at any of her exhausting, scheduled activities. Finally they find her on top of a big hill, just looking at clouds and inhaling, enjoying the view, with Nanny O'Dear. All adults gradually see the light, and though Ernestine continues to do some of her scheduled activities, sometimes she just plays! The vibrant, colorful illustrations help lift each page of spunky narration. "The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister" will appeal to overachieving kids of all ages, or 4-8.

Daddy's Little Girl
Peter Wilson, author
Carol Matsuyama, illustrator
Privately Published
9780981182308, $15.00,

A Will to Discover Book, "Daddy's Little Girl" is the touching illustrated story of the love and growing relationship between a father and his daughter, from her birth to the day of her wedding. Nostalgic softly textured illustrations orchestrate the versed message of unending love between a devoted father and his daughter. Scenes from the nursery, the girl's room, her first teenage boyfriend, leaving for college, and the daughter's engagement and marriage are each capped with the signature rhyme: "It's alright, it's okay./ Save your tears for another day./ Things may change in this big, crazy world,/ But I will always be Daddy's little girl." "Daddy's Little Girl" will be loved and treasured by fathers and daughters everywhere as a very special gift.

A Little Princess In the Making
Emilie Barnes, author
Michal Sparks, illustrator
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North
Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736918558, $14.99,

"A Little Princess In the Making: A Royal Guide to Becoming a Girl of Grace" is a lovely handbook that shapes and encourages all would-be princesses to learn to be at their best. Gentle pastel paintings illustrate chapters with specific advice for princesses, including caring for my castle, being a good friend, traveling through my kingdom, making myself pretty, dining at my fancy table, and having a grateful heart. All chapters have excellent manners tips and courtesy coachings. At the end are two pages of a paper doll princess with five royal outfits and suitable accessories, a plum that is sure to please all budding princesses. "A Little Princess in the Making" is an inspired book to teach young girls how to be thoughtful, considerate, kind princesses.

Lights Out, Night's Out
William Boniface, author
Milena Kirkova, illustrator
Accord Publishing
c/o Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106
9781449402365, $6.99,

"Lights Out, Night's Out" is a brilliantly illustrated children's book about what creatures of the night can do while little readers sleep peacefully. Presented in paperback format with glow-in-the-dark ink, "Lights Out, Night's Out" presents a magical view of nocturnal creatures, where the jaguar's eyes glow, the spider's web sparkles with droplets, the wolf howls at a luminescent crescent moon, and even the hamster's wheel has a glowing life of its own. A gentle rhyming narrative tells the sleepy child what each nocturnal creature is doing in the dark, while the rest of the world sleeps and rests. The deep dark marine hues contrast beautifully with bright flashes of reds, greens and yellows in the inspired illustrations of "Lights Out, Night's Out," a study of mysterious contrasts to appeal to young readers while adding to their awareness of the natural world.

Martin Mixed-Up! At the Beach
Jess Golden Linehan, author/ illustrator
Salty Pond Publishers
East Sandwich, MA 02537
9780615457055, $15.95,

"Martin Mixed-Up! At the Beach" is a witty illustrated story of Martin mouse and his little sister at the beach. Martin is reading a book at the beach, but his little sister won't stop crying. She always cried when he sat down to read his book. Martin tries to figure out why she is crying and what to do to get her to stop. He tries various things to distract or comfort her - playing, singing, snuggling, rocking, even scratching? But all to no avail. No tickling, no bottle, no cracker, no water, no dancing, no Bunny, nothing Martin could try to do to amuse her was what she wanted. Finally, Martin discovers that what his little sister wants is to read his book. He tries to read it with her, but is so tired, he goes to sleep! The charming illustrations in light, beach-oriented shades, make "Martin Mixed-Up at the Beach!" a perfect companion reader for little readers ages 3-6.

The Pirate Who Couldn't Say Arrr!
Angie Neal, M.S. CCC-SLP, author
Jason Hutton, illustrations
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781617777264, $9.99 (paperback),

"The Pirate Who Couldn't Say Arrr!" is an interactive story written by a speech pathologist that teaches children how to "talk like a pirate." Red Legs Lamar seeks wise pirate counsel to learn how to say "Arrr!" because all good pirates do this. Rhyming instructions about tongue and teeth placement help augment the practice secrets Red Legs learns from a wise old tutor, Barnacle Joe. Cheery colorful cartoon illustrations add to interest and appeal to this feisty pirate speech tutorial on "Arrr," and final pages repeating speech instructions ("Your mouth open wide, Tongue back and inside, touching sides of the teeth on back row...) and special pirate "Arrr!" words you can practice. "The Pirate Who Couldn't Say Arrr!" comes with free audio book download code and instructions and is appropriate for kids age 5 and up.

Horace the Hopper
Grant E. Fetters, author/illustrator
Privately Published
9781452869803, $9.97,

"Horace the Hopper: A Grasshopper's Attempt To See The World" is a creatively illustrated children's fable about a grasshopper with wanderlust, and the urge to explore the unknown. Horace the Grasshopper asks all his friends for ways that he can get to the city, see people and children, and cars. All of them caution him about danger in such an adventure. Finally he listens to the wisdom of Owl and catches a passing breeze to take him to the city. Despite Owl's warnings, Horace has many close calls and eventually becomes imprisoned in a glass jar by some children. How he escapes his captivity and finds his way back to his friends Bert the Beetle, Lois the Ladybug, Steve the Spider, and Fred the Fly makes a good teaching tale for elementary age children. There may be an underlying moral about being kind to all of nature's creatures, big and small, in addition to the notion that adventures can be fun, but home with friends is best.

Making a Friend
Alison McGhee
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781416989981, $16.99,

MAKING A FRIEND is a fine winter story that surveys a boy's good friend in a Snowman and what happens when warm weather arrives to change him. A very simple story with illustrations by Marc Rosenthal accompanies a child's exploration of making a snowman and handling seasonal and friendship changes, making for a touching story for picturebook readers.

A Poor Excuse for a Dragon
Geoffrey Hayes
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375871801, $12.99,

A Poor Excuse for a Dragon tells of Fred, whose parents give him a list of easy directions on how to be a good dragon. Unfortunately he has none of a dragon's talents: his fire-breathing skills are pitiful, he can't roar or inspire fear, and he gets indigestion when he eats people. An easy, fun tale evolves for any picturebook collection.

c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Lisa Campbell Ernst's THE GINGERBREAD GIRL GOES ANIMAL CRACKERS (9780525422594, $16.99) tells of a smart gingerbread girl who has outfoxed the fox and is ready to race again: this time with her new friends, the wild Animal Crackers. The trouble is they may have run afoul of the fox - and it's up to the smartest cookie to save the day in this winning tale. Jonathan London's FROGGY BUILDS A TREE HOUSE (9780670012220, $16.99) receives Frank Remkiewicz's fun drawings as it tells of Froggy and friends, who are building a tree house with help from their father. But it's for their club - which doesn't include girls. Frogilina doesn't intend to be left out and she comes up with an innovative solution in this fun story. Peter Bently & Helen Oxenbury's KING JACK AND THE DRAGON (9780803736986, $17.99) tells of brave King Jack and his band of faithful knights who are still protecting the castle from fierce dragons and terrible beasts. The thing is - King Jack and his knights are whimsical game players - until trouble steps in. A fine tale evolves around fantasy and action.

Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Bonnie Verburg and Henry Cole's THE KISS BOX (9780545112840, $16.99) tells of a mother bear who's always home to care for Little Bear - and what happens when she needs to go away for a while. Mama Bear keeps love alive by sending her baby kisses every moment they're apart - and kids learn about love, separation and reunion. Tedd Arnold's FLY GUY VS. THE FLYSWATTER! (9780545312868, $6.99) provides another fine Fly Guy tale: thus telling of the fly's greatest enemy: the flyswatter. Fly is the friend of Buzz and he gets a ride to school when the class is going on a field trip. But the field trip is to a flyswatter museum - complete with free swatters - and Fly Guy is in danger in this fun story. Walter Wick's CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? TOYLAND EXPRESS (9780545244831, $13.99) provides picture puzzles to search and solve and is a fine pick for newcomers as well as prior fans of the puzzle series. A very simple story line invites kids to look closely at the large-sized colorful pages to find the puzzles. Michael Garland's OH, WHAT A CHRISTMAS! (9780545242103, $16.99) questions who will guide Santa's sleigh and save Christmas when all the reindeer fly away, leaving Santa and his gifts stuck in a tiny barn. Santa has a creative solution: but how well can cows, sheep and others fly? Harry Bliss's BAILEY (9780545233446, $16.99) tells of a champion dog at his elementary school. Bailey loves reading and his best subject is math: he'd be the top dog if he could only remember not to eat his homework. Ana Juan's THE PET SHOP REVOLUTION (9780545128100, $17.99) tells of Mina, who feels sorry for the animals in Mr. Walnut's prąt shop. They all look so sad and their cages are small - and Mr. Walnut is mean. When Mina's pet rabbit vanishes she embarks on a mission to find her friend - one that involves Mr. Walnut and his shop! Rand Burkert and Nancy Elkholm Burkert's MOUSE & LION (9780545101479, $17.95) tells of a napping lion and a mouse who startles him awake. Lion takes pity on Mouse and sets him free - and a gentle, unusual friendship evolves in this warm story. Amy Gibson's AROUND THE WORLD ON EIGHTY LEGS (9780439587556, $18.99) receives fine drawings by Daniel Salmieri and offers a fine key to adventure as it describes the sounds and actions of different animals around the world. From the Arctic to the Antarctic where caribou reside, to a raiding pirate bird called the skua and an ugly warthog, this offers fun rhymes paired with fine animal nature insights.

Viking Penguin
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

David A. Adler's CAM JANSEN AND THE GRADUATION DAY MYSTERY (9780670012565, $14.99) receives drawings by Joy Allen and tells of a family gathering in which a special surprise gift goes missing. It's up to Cam Jansen to use her photographic memory to get to the bottom of the disappearance in this chapter book for beginners, recommended for newcomers to Cam and those who have read prior books. Sally Warner's ELLRAY JAKES IS A ROCK STAR! (9780670011582, $14.99) receives drawings by Jamie Harper and tells of a third-grader whose father is anything but interesting, compared to other fathers in his class. His father is a geologist with a boring rock collection - but when EllRay brings them to school everyone's so impressed the rocks vanish. Now he must locate and rescue them in this fun, whimsical story.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor
Toronto ON M5A 2P9 Canada

Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson's HARNESS HORSES, BUCKING BRONCOS & PIT PONIES: A HISTORY OF HORSE BREEDS (9780887769863, $21.99) is a 'must' for any collection strong in horse books. It comes from an author-illustrator team who feature all kinds of horses in a fact-filled book exploring history, breeds, and memorable individual horses. Kids who own or dream of owning a horse will find this filled with insights, with color illustrations accompanying a history of breeds around the world. Monica Kulling's IN THE BAG! MARGARET KNIGHT WRAPS IT UP (9781770492394, $19.99) receives fine drawings by David Parkins and tells of Margaret Knight, who loved to work with tools and fashion things with wood - back in 1850. By the age of twelve she was working in a cotton mill when an accident prompted her to invent a stop-motion device to help: the first of many of her inventions. This joins others in Tundra's 'Great Ideas' series, providing a lively biography that reads with the drama of fiction but presents a real girl's life and achievements. Tundra's 'Body Works' series by Liza Fromer and Francine Gerstein, MD ($12.95 each) receives fine drawings by Joe Weissmann and is recommended for kids in grades 2-4. Each book covers a topic on how the body works and provides some 30 pages of facts exploring the body's various systems and how children experience them. MY ACHY BODY (9781770492042), MY MESSY BODY (9781770492028), MY NOISY BODY (9781770492011) and MY STRETCHY BODY (9781770492035) each offer detailed explanations that gear physiology insights to a child's personal experiences. All are fine picks for any elementary-level collection.

The Easy Reader Shelf

My Sitter Is a T-Rex!
Paul Orshoski, author
Jeffrey Ebbeler, Illustrator
Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9781601152534, $9.95,

"My Sitter Is a T-Rex" is a level 1-2 We Both Read series book for child-adult companion reading. In this interactive format, the adult reads the left-hand page (with more complex language and narrative) and the child reads the right hand page, with simpler, grade-leveled vocabulary and story line. Thus even reluctant readers are stimulated to keep developing their reading skills. "My Sitter Is a T-Rex" uses outrageous humor and exaggerated plot details to hook the young reader and encourage their continued interest. Versed text and wacky, colorful illustrations add impact and smiles. What kid wouldn't have an intrigued reaction to being left with a T-Rex (named Sue) for a babysitter! "My Sitter Is a T-Rex" is perfect for beginning readers to educate their adults (parents). Additional titles in the We Both Read series that are highly recommended are "Jack and the Toddler," by Sindy McKay, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin (ISBN 9781601152497, $9.95), and "Amazing Eggs," by Fran Hodgkins, illustrated by Wendy Smith (ISBN 9781601152510, $9.95).

Boy, Bird, and Dog
David McPhail
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
978082342346, $14.95,

An I Like To Read book for beginning readers, "Boy, Bird, and Dog" is a heartwarming adventure story with a creative message about problem solving. The pictures enhance the simple narrative text and Boy Bird and Dog have a very good time eating cookies together in their secret tree house (accessible by a pot tied to a rope). The delicate pastel illustrations in ink and watercolor will appeal to young children, as will the boy's creative thinking. Recommended for children age 4 and up.

Small Medium Large
Emily Jenkins, author
Tomek Bogacki, illustrator
Star Bright Books
30-19 48th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781595722782, $19.95,

"Small Medium Large" is a creative concept-teaching picture book with brilliant graphics and colorful characters named (and sized appropriately) Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, Huge, Enormous and Teeny Weeny, Itty-bitty, Minuscule, and more. Tackling relative size concepts and basic adding (math) skills, "Small Medium Large" uses color, size, even print and page size to convey fun combined with comparisons and math to equal a fabulous teaching book for children age 3 and up! The final double gatefold illustration adds excitement and action to this fun package, making it irresistible.

Uh Oh!
Mary Newell DePalma, author/illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr vie NE, Grand Graphics, MI 49505
9780802853721, $14.00,

"Uh-Oh!" is a hilarious children's book that tells a tale of young dinosaur mischief and mishaps in careening cartoons in disastrous, hysterical sequence. The only text required is, of course, "Uh Oh!" Young children will adore the incredible messes the young dinosaurs manage to create, while trying to clean up yet more "uh oh's!" The charming little green child-dinos are both divinely deft and awfully accident prone, in recognizable standard suburban households. Perfect for young pre-readers to encourage reading skills, "Uh Oh!" is designed to appeal to children ages 3-7, but adults will get a charge out it too!

Oliver and the Spinning Cats
Tanya Kasim, author/illustrator
Vantage Press
419 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016
9780533163816, $8.95,

"Oliver and the Spinning Cats" is a black and white illustrated, piquant picture-tale. One cold, sunny January day in Jordan, a dog named Oliver meets two cats, Dusty and Laurel, who invite him to play tag with them. A little uncertain about the rules of the game, Oliver asks how to play. Reassured by the spinning cats' description of a game of playing tag, Oliver joyously chases the spinning cats and is chased and tagged in turn. The spinning of the cats and Oliver does a little damage to the living room furniture, but the friends decide to play Tag again the next morning, because they have so much fun. Expressive, whimsical drawings of Oliver and the cats make this sparsely worded tale an action hit for young children age 4 and up.

The ABC Shelf

The Fairy Alphabet
Fanny Y. Cory
Riverbend Publishing
PO Box 5833
Helena, MT 59604
9781606390276 $14.95

The Fairy Alphabet is a picturebook that teaches children about the alphabet with rhymes about fairies and magical creatures. Delightfully detailed color artwork illustrates The Fairy Alphabet, and the singsong rhymes are a treat for parents to read aloud to young children. "E is for Echo / Who lives in the rocks. / Whatever you holler, / She laughingly mocks."

The Dance Shelf

The White Ballets
Rajka Kupesic
Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887769238, $19.95,

THE WHITE BALLETS covers the three ballets Giselle, La Bayadere and Swan Lake and comes from an author who was classically trained as a ballerina and danced in Europe - and who became a painter. Good reading skills will make this retelling a fine recommendation for any child interested in classic ballet tales.

The Poetry Shelf

Love Waves
Rosemary Wells, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763649890, $15.99,

"Love Waves" is a sensitive, warm illustrated poem that conveys a deep sense of secure love and care to a young child. Written in part to explain why adults need to be gone to work, while a child is cared for at home, "Love Waves" conveys the concept of deep enfolding love and care over space and time. A crucial part of the book comes in the final page, with a definition of "love wave:" "The externalized product of affection so vibrant and ample that it cannot be contained by a single heart alone and can, therefore, be shared with a loved one anywhere through the medium of thought, will, or wish. Similar to radio waves,; invisible and capable of being transmitted over great distances and through any obstacle." The warm-toned illustrations of a young gray bunny and his father and mother bunnies are delicately embellished by swirling sweeps of gleaming blue waves, which briefly embed themselves in hidden parts of pictures that children will love discovering. "Love Waves" is the perfect match of artistry and poetry, fashioned into a Cupid's dart that aims straight and true for the heart. This reviewer regrets that "Love Waves" was not written in time to read in an earlier time, but young parents of today can rejoice and use this wonderful book to convey love over distance and time to their children when they must leave them in others' care to work.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Wild Life of Elk
Donna Love, author
Christina Wald, illustrator
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
5705 Grant Creek Rd.
Missoula, MT 59808
9780878425792 $12.00

The Wild Life of Elk is a softcover picturebook packed cover to cover with amazing true facts about wild elk, from how and why they fight, to their life cycle, the science behind their anatomy, how Native Americans traditionally used elk to survive, and much more. Realistic color illustrations on every page add a striking visual touch this educational and highly engaging resource. An engagingly written, fact-filled profile of a hardy and enduring species, The Wild Life of Elk is highly recommended especially for school and public library collections.

Flight of the Golden Plover
Debbie S. Miller, author
Daniel Van Zyle, illustrator
Snowy Owl Books
c/o University of Alaska Press
PO Box 756240
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6240
9781602231511 $11.95

Flight of the Golden Plover: The Amazing Migration Between Hawaii and Alaska is a softcover children's book that teaches young readers about the amazing life cycle of the Pacific golden plover, a shorebird who flies 6,000 or more miles every year during its annual migration from Alaska to Hawaii. Beautiful, realistic artwork illustrates this dramatic story, which focuses on a plover family that struggles to raise its children in spite of natural predators, harsh weather conditions, and more. Highly recommended especially for public and grade school children's library collections.

Curious Critters
David FitzSimmons
Wild Iris Publishing
c/o Beagle Bay, Inc. (distribution)
9781936607693 $19.95

Intended for young readers age 4-8, Curious Critters is a picturebook introducing inquisitive minds to real-life animals. Each page has a striking, full-color, full-page photograph of an animal, along with a little bit of educational text from the animal's point of view. From a brown bat to a blue jay, an eastern box turtle, a black swallowtail butterfly, and many more, Curious Critters lives up to its title and is highly recommended for children's library picturebook collections. "Ha! I scared you with my hawk call, didn't I? You thought I was coming to get you. Actually, I'm just a jabbering jay, but I love to imitate hawks and other birds."

Gobble Gobble
Cathryn Falwell, author/illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584691488, $16.95, 800-545-7475

"Gobble Gobble" is a creative illustrated children's nature journal about discovering and observing the amazing American wild turkey. The first part of the book is a beautifully illustrated rhyming narrative, with observations of wild turkeys through the four seasons, described as glimpsed by a girl named Jenny and her dog, Max. At the end of the book are turkey information pages titled Jenny's Journal, with many interesting facts and creative pictures to illustrate turkey lore. There are several suggested related activities, such as Make a nature journal, Make cut-paper pictures, and Go outside and see what animals you can find! There are colored pictures of different tracks for kids to guess what animals made which tracks. An adorable strip of colored paper shows turkey poults, or baby turkeys, as represented artistically using cut pieces of a brown paper bag. The artwork throughout is unique and creative, combining block prints and collages, plus many items from nature, such as bark, leaves, feathers, etc. "Gobble Gobble" is an American treasure trove of turkey lore for kids age 3-8 all around the year, including (especially) Thanksgiving.

Quincy Moves to the Desert
Camille Matthews, author
Michelle Black, illustrations
Pathfinder Equine Publications
243 N. Garfield Road, Mohrsville, PA 19541
9780981924014, $15.95,

"Quincy Moves to the Desert" is the second book in the Quincy the Horse series, which traces the journey of Quincy the horse and his friend Beau from New York state to Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, stopping a special motels for horses along the way. Quincy and Beau are American Quarterhorses, and a good Quarterhorse can do anything! After Quincy and Beau make the long journey by truck, they meet their owner, Cam on the desert sands of New Mexico. The conversations between Quincy and Beau and the illustrations of the horses' scenic travels make this a stellar book for kids who love animals and want to learn more about them.

Buster Tells It All
Carolyn Berry, author
Eric Cash, illustrator
Brown Books Publishing Group
16200 N. Dallas Parkway, Suite 170
Dallas, TX 75248
9781934812853 $16.99

Buster Tells It All is a children's picturebook packed with true tales about the creatures rescued and raised on Pony Creek Ranch, a wildlife safe haven for animals from around the world. Told through the eyes of faithful head dog Buster, who dutifully protects the ranch's animals, Buster Tells It All features stories about Baby, a hand-raised white-tail deer, and April, a Nubian ibex. Realistic, gently muted color illustrations on every page distinguish this captivating chronicle sure to prompt fascination in young animals lovers everywhere. "Now, over here, this little white-tailed deer is mighty special, too. Her name is Baby. This one's a Texas gal, herself. You wouldn't believe how scared she was the night she was rescued by the Humane Society. She wanted her mother. But with a little bottle feeding and my doggie baths, she turned out just fine."

Seagull By the Shore
Vanessa Giancamilli Birch, author
Alton Langford, illustrator
353 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851
9781607271605, $8.95,

From Smithsonian Oceanic Collection, "Seagull By the Shore: The Story of a Herring Gull" (with easy to download audiobook) is a beautifully illustrated young naturalist's book that tells all about the life of a herring gull of the Atlantic seashore. Complete with a free downloadable audio book, "Seagull By The Shore" describes in detail mating and courtship patterns, nest building and egg hatching as well as rearing the young fledgling chicks until they are able to fly and find food for themselves. In addition to the large print life cycle story with detailed, accurate illustrations of herring gulls and other creatures of the Atlantic seashore, a paragraph of added information about the herring gull, plus a brief glossary and list of other inhabitants of the Atlantic seashore and ocean found in the illustrations is given. "Seagull By the Shore" is perfect for increasing interest and expanding nature education of children age 3-7. Also highly recommended in this Smithsonian/Soundprints nature education series by the same publisher are the following titles: "Garter Snake at Willow Creek Lane," by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Anne Wertheim (ISBN 9781607272083, $8.95), "Iguanodon's Escape," by Laura Gates Galvin, illustrated by Thomas Buchs (ISBN 9781607271673, $8.95), and "Down By the Bay," by Laura Gates Galvin, illustrated by Sue Cornelison (ISBN 9781607272007, $8.95).

My Dog, My Cat
Ashlee Fletcher, author/illustrator
4400 Hulman Street, Terre Haute, IN 47803
9781933718224, $13.95,

"My Dog, My Cat" is a vibrant, rainbow-packed, illustrated song-like book that explores the classic differences between feline and canine personal pets. Told in spare prose from a child's viewpoint, "My Dog, My Cat" presents many contrasts and a couple of surprising similarities between two favorite pets. The bright, black outlined, linoleum-style block illustrations literally pull the pages along, with a tug of warm imagination. A perfectly delightful book, "My Dog, My Cat" is sure to appeal to all children age 2 and up who have personal experience with dogs and cats.

The African-American Shelf

White Water, Inspired By a True Story
Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, authors
Shadra Strickland, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763636784, $16.99,

"White Water" is an excellent lesson in Black American history, based on the author's own experiences as a boy growing up in the early 60's in segregated Southern America. A black boy makes a trip to town on a bus with his grandmother on a hot day. He sees a white boy his age and his mother, traveling on the same bus. He and his grandmother have to give up their bench seats to the white boy and his mother. They also have to sit in the back of the bus after they pay. It is just how things are done. No one thinks to question the everyday practices of segregation. The white boy is friendly and waves back to the black boy. When they get to town, he is so hot and thirsty he goes to the fountain for a drink. The black boy must drink from a fountain labeled "colored," while the white boy drinks from a fountain labeled "white." Because the water tastes muddy and gritty after the first few sips, the black boy wonders how it would be to taste the white water, imagining it to be clean, and fine, and better. This leads to a wild adventure and daring experiment which teaches the black boy to question all that he has been taught. Instead of accepting unfair rules without question, he will forge ahead and remember that he does not need to let anything stand in his way - he can do anything. Inspirational text and sensitive, expressive, colored illustrations reinforce the powerful message of "White Water" to instill both memory and resolve in present day descendants of the 1960's Segregationist protesters.

Walking Home to Rosie Lee
A. LaFaye, author
Keith D. Shepherd, illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781933693972, $16.95,

"Walking Home to Rosie Lee" is the post-Civil War story of Gabe, a boy slave freed after the war who seeks to find his mother, Rosie Lee, sold before the end of the war. Gabe walks with a group of freed slaves across Alabama and farther in search of Rosie Lee, his Mama. He meets other slaves who help him search, and he finds a Freedmans Bureau where they help folks find their kin. Gabe is chased and treed by dogs in his journey, then fed and helped by a sharecropper. He leaves to seek a woman they tell him about in Tennessee, hoping she may be his mother. this time he is disappointed and hungry, but he continues to search for a fine-cooking woman named Rosie Lee, heading for Cleveland. finally, after Gabe has about given up, he sees a woman with a white scarf around her neck, like his mother used to wear to hide the rope scars from when she was dragged back by her owner after a dash for freedom. This time Gabe really does find his mother, and the mother and child reunion is glorious. "Walking Home to Rosie Lee" is written in a naturally cadenced, musical prose style that is both spiritual, Black, and authentic in its sound. Magnificent color illustrations display the vast array of faces and places encountered by young Gabe on his quest to find his mother. "Walking Home to Rosie Lee" is must-read literature for kids age 7 and up. In addition, ten percent of the proceeds from the sale of "Walking Home to Rosie Lee" will be donated to the Children's Defense Fund.

The Christian Shelf

Frances Woke Up Early
Josephine Nobisso, author
Maureen Hyde, illuminations
Gingerbread House
Independent Publishers Group (dist.)
602 Montauk Highway
Westhampton Beach, New York 11978
9780940112209, $17.95,

"Frances Woke Up Early": is an astonishing, beautifully illuminated book about an imagined episode in the childhood of St. Frances of Assisi. No one knows for sure what this boy's life may have been like, but this is a very believable rendering of the boy Francis' meeting and relationship with the Wolf of Gubbo, and other birds and animals. The author has inhabited both the outward space and the child-saint's mind to come up with an ordinary, extraordinary tale of a moment of connection between Francis and the Wolf. The narrative and the delicate, honey-shadowed, soft-hued illustrations complement each other seamlessly. Both the hunger of the wolf and the hunger of the boy are very real experiences. Do they lead to a hunger for grace and compassion? A light is shed over all of "Frances Woke Up Early" that all children will perceive completely, with all their senses. This is a stunning book meant to be shared with beloved children and treasured all their lives like a nugget of faith and hope.

The Judaic Shelf

I Go to the Dentist
Rikki Benenfeld
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628605 $10.95

Although intended especially for young Jewish children, I Go to the Dentist is an excellent picturebook for preparing little ones of all faiths and backgrounds for a visit to the dentist. I Go to the Dentist uses simplified yet realistic color illustrations and plain language to walk children through the steps of having their teeth checked, and even getting a filling. "He drills, then washes off my tooth / With water from a spray. / A funny straw that's in my mouth / Slurps all the drops away!" The only expressly religious passage encourages children to keep their teeth healthy as a mitzva (good deed), because their teeth are a wonderful gift from Hashem (God). I Go to the Dentist is an excellent book for parents to share with children, and also a choice pick choice for dentist's waiting rooms!

The Story of Hanukkah Howie
Jan Dalrymple, author
Bob Dalrymple, illustrator
Peanut Butter Publishing
c/o KSB Promotions
55 Honey Creek NE, Ada, MI 49301
9781598491081, $18.00,

"The Story of Hanukkah Howie" is a bouncy Hanukkah tale written in verse punctuated with delightfully comic color illustrations. Proud parents Hannah and jasper have a beautiful baby boy to be proud of named Howie. They are somewhat alarmed to discover that Howie has a unique characteristic: His hair stands up in stubborn spikes, unsubdueable, nine total in the end. Hannah is quite alarmed about her son's unusual spikes until a friend points out to her that Howie's hair spikes are a natural menorah, a special candelabra with nine candles to honor Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Oddly enough, Howie's special spikes disappear after Hanukkah is over, only to reappear the following December for Hanukkah again. The story continues as Howie grows up to become a delivery boy for holiday goods, earning extra money for college. Here he discovers his true mission, which is to provide holiday cheer through gifts and special blessings for families and children on Hanukkah. He is Hanukkah Howie, a follower in a proud tradition of loving support for children and families at this very special holiday time. "The Story of Hanukkah Howie" is a wonderful book for children 4-12, celebrating the special Festival of Lights.

The Mitzvah Project Book
Liz Suneby & Diane Heiman
Jewish Lights Publishing
PO Box 237
Woodstock, VT 05091
9781580234580, $16.99,

Like many holidays in today's world, the Barmitzvah has begun to lost its meaning. "The Mitzvah Project Book: Making Mitzvah Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah.. and Your Life" is a guide for young Jews who want to better understand the importance of the Barmitzvah and what is asked of them as responsible people in the community. With a strong and powerful message and plenty of notes on Jewish heritage, "The Mitzvah Project Book" is a worthy gift for any young Jew coming of age.

The Buddhism Shelf

Prince Siddhartha
Jonathan Landaw and Janet Brooke
Wisdom Publications
199 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144
9780861716531 $19.95

Prince Siddhartha: The Story of Buddha is a lengthy biography of the founder of Buddhism, written to be accessible to young adults and illustrated with color pictures on virtually every other page. Buddha's life and wisdom is divided into a multitude of very short chapters, tracing his birth, his boyhood, his personal dilemmas as a crown prince burdened by fear of suffering and death, his long ascetic journey in search of truth, his enlightenment, and his efforts to spread the truth about the value of love and the root causes of suffering to all. Although Prince Siddhartha is too long to be read all at once to a child, parents and young children can share the discrete stories over the days, while older children can learn and contemplate the chronicles of Siddhartha's life on their own. Highly recommended.

The Multicultural Shelf

Lessons From a Street Kid
Craig Kielburger, author
Marisa Antonello & Victoria Laidley, illustrators
Me to We Books
225 Carlton Street, Toronto, ON Canada M5A 2L2
9781553658658, $19.95,

"Lessons From a Street Kid" is an example of a lesson on sharing a gift of grace. A 12-year old boy named Craig travels to El Salvadore, Brazil to meet children that his organization called Free the Children was helping. Underwritten by a group of kids helping kids, Craig encounters a boy named Jose who lives with other street children in a bus shelter. After some initial adventures, Craig shares a meal of hot dogs with Jose, who invites him to meet his friends, whom he calls his family. An unusual game of street soccer culminates an adventurous afternoon, in which Craig learns much about the life of Jose and his friends. Bright, vivid ebullient illustrations underscore the vivid yet dangerous life in exotic Brazil. Based on a real life experience and event, "Lessons From a Street Kid" can change the reader's outlook, and inspire further compassion and understanding. "Lessons From a Street Kids" is part of the Buy a Book Give a Book program at Me to We, which promises that for every Me to We book purchased, a notebook will be given to a child in a developing country. "Lessons From a Street Kid" is recommended for children age 8 and up.

Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth
Joan Schoettler, author
Jessica Lanan, author
Shen's Books
1547 Palos Verdes Mall #291
Walnut Creek, CA 94597
9781885008404, $17.95,

"Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth" is story about a Korean girl named Ji-su who lived many years ago. Ji-su's mother, Eomma is honored by being chosen by the Korean king, Yongjo, to come and be a seamstress at the royal palace in Hanyang where she will sew wrapping cloths, or bojagi. Ji-su is heartbroken at her mother's leaving, for she will not get to see her again. Realizing that the only way to be reunited with her mother is to become an equally gifted and accomplished seamstress, Ji-su makes up her mind to do just that, despite many obstacles. Eomma's parting gift to Ji-su is a bok wrapped in a bojagi, or a sewing box. In it Ji-su finds the tools of her mother's trade: a needle, thread, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a small iron called an indoo, and an iron with a bowl to hold charcoal called a darimi. Ji-su wipes her tears and asks her aunt, Gomo, if she can teach her to stitch bojagi now that her mother is gone. Her aunt begins to teach her the very next day. From then on Ji-su works very hard to become an artist as well as a seamstress, for that is the only way she will be reunited with her mother. Ji-su carefully stitches a bojangi full of good luck fabric bats she has made to send her mother a message of good fortune, cheer, safety and happiness. The story continues, and despite disappointments and setbacks, Ji-su eventually achieves her goal of being chosen to sew for the king and being reunited with her mother, although she sacrifices many hours of normal childhood pursuits to achieve her goal. Beautiful pastel paintings of delicate scenes in Korea accompany every page of "Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth," and examples of creative bojagi or wrapping cloths from the San Francisco Asian Art Museum are shown, after a Glossary of Korean terms used in the story. "Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth" is a beautiful multicultural studies book for children ages 4-8, filled with many lovely teaching moments.

Megan's Year, An Irish Traveler's Story
Gloria Whelan, author
Beth Peck, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364497, $16.95,

"Megan's Year: An Irish Traveler's Story" is a volume in the Tales of the World Series from Sleeping Bear Press, which partners with another series titled Discover the World to make fictional stories from exotic lands available to young readers. "Megan's Year" is about a girl in a family of Irish Travelers, whose parents migrate through parts of Ireland, seeking seasonal and other work during the summer months. There is a Summer Megan and a Winter Megan. The Summer Megan travels in the caravan with her family moving from job to job and living off the land with other Travelers. The Winter Megan returns to government housing in apartments in Dublin, and attends St. John's National School. Sometimes other girls are unkind to Megan at school, calling her a dirty tinker. The Sisters (teachers) try to teach all children to show charity. Megan misses her summer life in the winter school days. Megan's family are descended from Irish farm folk who were forced off their land by English landlords and the potato famines. Today about 25 thousand Travelers, or Travellers, as they are called in Ireland and England, lead an itinerant life style seeking seasonal employment and moving about. They have their own culture and a unique secret language called Gammon. "Megan's Year" introduces students to a different life style and some of the expressions of Gammon, while describing a year in the life of a young girl. "Megan's Year" is both compassionate and honest in its representation of the life of the Irish Travelers today. "Megan's Year" is highly recommended for students ages 6-10.

The Economics Shelf

The Tale of Tortoise Buffett and Trader Hare
Lucas Remmerswaal, author
Annette Lodge, illustrator
13 Habits Publishing
9781461015680, $19.95,

A story inspired by Warren Buffet, "The Tale of Tortoise Buffett and Trader Hare" is an adaptation of the 13 Habits of billionaire Warren Buffet to teach school age children financial literacy. Although copyrighted material by Mr. Buffet is included (with Mr. Buffet's permission) in the book, Warren Buffet has no other association with "The Tale of Tortoise Buffet and Trader Hare." Filled with playful, color-softened illustrations and clear, spare text and narrative, "The Tale of Tortoise Buffet and Trader Hare" encapsulates the principles of financial realities in a familiar tale from Aesop's Fables, easily recognizable to elementary school students. Laced with humor, a strong moral framework, and an ethic that values determination, persistence, patience, being willing to do hard work and unflinching integrity, "The Tale of Tortoise Buffet and Trader Hare" is the author's attempt to enable the coming generation to learn from economic errors of the present generation. An interesting inclusion at the end of the book is a poem titled "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy, a spoof on Bernie Madoff. "The Tale of Tortoise Buffet and Trader Hare" is a modern teaching fable whose hour is come, never forgetting the value of teaching financial literacy to the young.

The Biography Shelf

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets
Kathleen Krull
Random House
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375857218, $16.99,

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets pairs a lively biography with paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher to tell of a teen and his friend who built their own puppets and got their first job on TV. That was the beginning of Jim Henson's Muppets! Good reading skills will lend to an appreciation of Jim's creations, the Muppets and their lasting positive impact on the world.

The Audiobook Shelf

Alan Garner
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28
Franklin, TN 37064
9789626349694, $22.98,

Superbly read by Jonathan Keeble, "Elidor" by Alan Garner is the story of four children living in Manchester, England, and their discovery of a portal in a slum that leads them to a mystical land that was once bright and flourishing but which had come under the domination of Darkness. Only the children, wielding the iconic magical symbols of a sword, a lance, a cauldron, and a stone can free the land of Elidor and keep the forces of the Darkness from ravaging their own world of Earth. A technically flawless recording, this complete, unabridged, three CD edition has a total running time of 3 hours, 57 minutes and is especially recommended for family, school, and community library audiobook collections for children ages 10 through 14.

The Clumsy Ghost and Other Spooky Tales
Alastair Jessiman and others, authors
Sean Barrett, Anne-Marie Piazza, et al. narrators
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28
Franklin, TN 37064
9781843795049 $14.98

The Clumsy Ghost and Other Spooky Tales is an unabridged audiobook anthology of creepy ghost stories, each written by a different author; five different narrators bring the spine-chilling tales to life! From a kind-hearted wraith that is unfortunately terribly accident prone, to the undead of ancient Egypt, to ghosts aboard a pirate ship or inhabiting a swimming pool, The Clumsy Ghost and Other Spooky Tales is an ensemble of brief, eerie, yet still family-friendly stories, great for listening to on car trips or rainy days. Highly recommended. 2 CDs, 2 hours 23 min.

The Music CD Shelf

Little Nut Tree
Dan Zanes and friends
Festival Five Records
323 Dean Street, Suite 2
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Grammy-winning artist Dan Zanes and his friends present Little Nut Tree, a family-friendly music album that draws upon a broad range of musical traditions. Zanes' partners in music vary from song to song, from Sharon Jones to the Sea Rascals to Andrew Bird to the West African group Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars and many more. The result is an eclectic multicultural experience that adults can enjoy just as much as little ones. The tracks are "In the Basement", "Jim Along Josie", "Summer Trains", "Wake Up Baby!", "John Kanakanaka", "Little Nut Tree", "I Don't Need Sunny Skies", "Saro Jane", "La Siren", "Everybody's Going To Be Happy", "The Farmer is the One", "Thank You", "Hill and Gully Rider", "Red Tail Hawk", "Salaam", and "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere".

Music in Motion
Groove Kid Nation
c/o Distribution 13 (distribution)

Parent's Choice Silver Honor Award winners Groove Kid Nation present Music in Motion, a family-friendly music album designed to help young people learn about the real sounds of various musical instruments through exposure to them. The songs draw heavily upon the tradition of soul music with recommendations encouraging young people to perform fun dances, play air guitar, or just feel the beat. Leading the fun are "Kool Katz" feline band members, in this jubilant collection ideal for rainy day fun! The tracks are "Kool Katz" (4:21), "Itch and Scratch" (3:56), "Go Kat Go" (4:40), "Funky Chicken" (4:05), "Fast and Slow" (5:32), "4 Little Kittens" (3:27), "Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose" (5:16), "Humpty Dumpty" (5:36), "I've Been Playing in a Soul Band" (4:03), and "Play on It" (4:21).

The DVD Shelf

The William Booth Story
Vision Video
PO Box 540
Worcester, PA 19490-0540

Part of the "Torchlighters" series of animated DVDs spotlighting the struggles of real-life Christian heroes throughout history, The William Booth Story is a brief biography of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, who incurred the wrath of the alcohol industry (and hired thugs!) when he sought to bring relief to London's suffering poor, and salvation to all. Booth and his followers armed themselves with Bibles, musical instruments, and faith in God against their opposition, and put their lives on the line for not only their Christian beliefs, but also to improve the living conditions of their fellow human beings around the world. A host of special features round out this engaging cartoon, including an abridged documentary from the program "Our People: The Story of William and Catherine Booth", a comprehensive leader's guide with lesson plans, and reproducible student handouts. Highly recommended especially for Church DVD library collections and as a part of Sunday School curriculums. English and Spanish with English subtitles, 30 min. plus extras.

PO Box 8082
Shawnee Mission, KS 66208
$79.95 each

Three excellent, educational DVD programs succinctly teach young viewers the necessary facts of life, and are ideal supplements for school and public library collections. "Straight Talk About Puberty For Boys" (9781559426336, 18 min. 10 sec.) is a straightforward video that focuses on the basic facts young men need to know about the male reproductive system, personal hygiene, the harmful effects of alcohol and tobacco, the emotional and biological changes of puberty, and the value of healthy life habits such as eating well and exercising regularly. "Straight Talk About Puberty For Girls" (9781559426329, 21 min. 16 sec.) offers a similarly compact, no-nonsense source of invaluable information for young women, and "Wash Those Hands!" (9781559426343, 10 min.) stresses why it is critically important to personal and societal health to wash one's hands properly and regularly. All three DVDs are especially recommended for showing during homeroom or health classes.

The Activity Shelf

Arizona: Way Out West & Wacky
Conrad J. Storad & Lynda Exley, authors
Michael Hagelberg, illustrator
Five Star Publications Inc.
PO Box 6698
Chandler, AZ 85246-6698
9781589850477 $11.95

Packing in over 100 pages of fun, Arizona: Way Out West & Wacky is a consumable coloring, puzzle, and trivia book for kids. It's packed cover-to-cover with word finds, mazes, simple projects such as making a corn husk doll, and tons of amazing facts about Arizona history, wildlife, and more! Arizona: Way Out West & Wacky is especially recommended to encourage youngsters to learn more about this great state when the family takes a vacation there.

The Health Shelf

Hunka Chunka Monkey Shapes Up
Sam E. Bromley, author
Kid Ardona, illustrator
Jabberwocky Press
212 3rd Avenue North, Suite 290
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781935204312, $14.95,

"Hunka Chunka Monkey Shapes Up" is an inspiring children's book dedicated to teaching tools and awareness (in a fun, entertaining way) to help kids tackle eliminating or preventing childhood obesity. Unka Chunka Monkey likes to sit in his tree eating his favorite high-calorie snacks, instead of swinging and playing actively like the other young monkeys. One day Hunka Chunka sees Runka Dunka Donkey, a fit and trim young donkey, running and playing basket ball. finally one day Hunka Chunka decides to try to join Runka Dunka in his basketball game, because it looks like so much fun. Runka Dunka Donkey encourages him., despite a weak, wobbly beginning, and Hunka Chunka learns to move faster and even to dunk baskets! One day Hunka Chunka discovers he is strong enough to climb down his tree, swinging from limb to limb, just like the other monkeys. How can this be, he wonders. Runka Dunka tells him it is because he has given up eating too many sweet snacks and has become more active playing basketball, having fun with friends. Hunka Chunka is now fit and trim, just like Runka Dunka! Hunka Chunka learns that he only has to cut back on his snacking, and to keep on with his activities and exercise, and he will stay fit and trim! "Hunka chunka Monkey Shapes Up" is an entertaining and inspirational how-to book that kids will love, with its funny names, animal characters, and colorful illustrations.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Three Silver Coins
Veronica Leo and Tashi Daknewa
Snow Lion Publications
PO Box 6483
Ithaca, NY 14851
9781559393720 $14.95

Illustrated in a soft yet beautifully colored artwork style, The Three Silver Coins: A Story from Tibet is a softcover children's picturebook adaptation of a Tibetan folktale. A young boy is given three silver coins and sent out by his mother to seek his fortune; in the course of his travels, he compassionately saves the lives of a cat, a dog, and a fish that he throws back into the water rather than commit the cruelty of killing and eating it. All three creatures will later be instrumental in helping him find happiness - which he learns does not come from an excess of wealth, but rather from simply having enough to be comfortable and partaking in the joys of daily life with a happy family. Although the basic Buddhist tenets of cultivating compassion for all living things and not being a slave to desire form an undercurrent to the story, The Three Silver Coins is not an explicitly religious book. The Three Silver Coins has a moderate amount of fairly text; very young children may need a parent to read it aloud to them, perhaps over the course of several bedtimes. Highly recommended.

La Llorona: The Crying Woman
Rudolfo Anaya, author
Amy Cordova, illustrator
Enrique Lamadrid, translator
University of New Mexico Press
1312 Basehart Road SE
Albuquerque NM 87106-4363
9780826344601 $19.95

La Llorona: The Crying Woman is a bilingual English/Spanish children's picturebook retelling an ancient Mexican legend about an immortal woman whose children were stolen away by the jealous Father Time. In her grief, she weeps and paces the shores of the lake where her children were lost to this day. Little ones must beware her cries, as they warn against danger, and if she sees them she might mistake them for her own children! Striking color artwork illustrates this tragic and timeless fable.

The Science Shelf

That's Incredible!
Time For Kids Books
c/o Time Inc.
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Goodman Media International (publicity)
9781603201995 $19.95

That's Incredible! The World's Most Unbelievable Facts & Records is a two hundred page compendium of amazing truths about everything from art to archaeology, the wild kingdom, technological feats, and much more. Striking full color photography on every page illustrates this exciting compendium, ideal for sparking young minds' curiosity about science, our environment, human history, any just about anything and everything else. Highly recommended especially for public and school library collections, and also as an educational gift for inquisitive young adults!

Thomas the T. Rex
Michael Smith, author
Gayle Garner Roski, illustrator
East West Discovery Press
425 15th Street, #3585
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
9780983227847 $19.95

Also available in a bilingual English/Spanish version (9780983227823, $19.95), Thomas the T. Rex: The Journey of a Young Dinosaur to Los Angeles is an engaging children's picturebook about the real-life discovery of one of the ten most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur skeletons in the world. The story follows how the bones were carefully unearthed, wrapped, and eventually put on display at the Natural History museum of Los Angeles County. Colorful illustrations add a vibrant touch to this enjoyable storybook ideal for young dinosaur fans and prospective future scientists.

The Self-Help Shelf

How to Feel Good
Tricia Mangan
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433810404, $12.95,

It's all too easy to feel powerless. "How to Feel Good: 20 Things Teens Can Do" is an inspirational read from Tricia Mangan, as she compiles many things teens can do to empower themselves and push themselves to become proactive, happier people in their lives. With twenty very useful skills and elaborating one how to best obtain them, "How to Feel Good" is a powerful emotional guide for teens in a time where the world can seem so confusing to understand.

The Art Shelf

Portrait of a Girl and Her Art
Elena Caravela
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9780578089683 $32.00 hc / $25.50 pbk.

Ideal for young adults ages 7 to 17, Portrait of a Girl and Her Art is filled cover to cover with vivid color photography of young women and the artworks they have made. The text includes the firsthand testimony of female artists and passages designed to stoke readers' imaginations and inspire them to produce their own artwork. "Is there a book or movie that left a lasting impression on you? What ideas did it leave you with? Think of an essential theme or scene. How might you visualize it in a simple, straightforward way?" A motivational resource brimming with peer role models for girls, Portrait of a Girl and Her At is an excellent giftbook for budding young artists.

Maxfield Parrish
Lois V. Harris
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street
Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455614721, $16.99,

Simply stated, Maxfield Parrish was one of the very best of 20th Century America's painters and illustrators. His work adorned magazine covers, books, library walls, commercial advertisements, and the hearts of his countrymen. While Lois V. Harris' 32-page informed and informative picturebook, "Maxfield Parrish: Painter of Magical Make-Believe" is specifically (and beautifully) designed to introduce a new generation of children to one of our country's most beloved illustrators who was, quite literally, a household name among the families of the 1920s. His particular forte was the creation of magical and mythological scenes that seem to glimmer into live in the mind's eye of the beholders. His work still appears every year in calendars we hang on our walls today. "Maxfield Parrish: Painter of Magical Make-Believe" is especially recommended for school and community library American Artist collections, and a pleasure for non-specialist general readers to browse through from beginning to end.

Native American Shelf

Black Hawk, A Boy and His Vision
Carol March McLernon, author
Kay Pleuss Meyer, illustrator
Mirror Publishing
6434 W Dixon St - Milwaukee, WI 53214
9781612250601, $10.99,

"Black Hawk, A Boy and His Vision" is an illustrated book about the childhood of the famous Sauk Native American leader known as Black Hawk, born in 1767. Written especially to interest readers ages 5-10, "Black Hawk" traces many growing up experiences of the young boy who would later be known as Black Hawk. He learned to tend garden plots of corn and squash, to hunt, trap, and fish, and to identify different animals and birds. Spending summers along the shores of the Rock River with his village, the Yellow Earth People, Black Hawk grew up in a time of great change for the migratory Sauk and other native peoples. At the age of 14, Black Hawk left his summer village of Sauk-e-nuk to fast and await his manhood and name-making vision, as was customary among the Sauk. After days of hunger and waiting, he saw a bird flying over the water that hovered in the air. The only bird capable of doing this was the sparrow hawk, but this sparrow hawk was different. Instead of many colors, his feathers were all black. Black Hawk recognized him as his totem creature and his vision, and he was named after the black sparrow hawk that appeared to him on his visionquest. Black Hawk later led his people in an attempt to regain their garden lands along the Rock River, signed away in the Treaty of 1804. Although he was unsuccessful in this attempt, his ability to organize, lead, strategize, and defend his tribe was respected by all who knew him. A further Author's Note explains that Black Hawk misunderstood what he was doing when he signed the Treaty of 1804, believing that land could not be bought, sold, or taken away from his people. The sensitive water color paintings are a fitting backdrop to this boyhood story of the naming of Black Hawk, great warrior and chief from the last Native American tribe to live east of the Mississippi River.

The Geography Shelf

Fifo "50 States"
Hayley Rose, author
Jessie B. Orlet, illustrator
Inkwell Productions
10869 N. Scottsdale Rd., #103-128, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
9780981464824, $23.95,

"Fifo '50 States'" is a handy bear's alphabetical travelogue featuring all 50 of the United States of America as toured by the bear, Fifo. Told in verse, illustrated in quirky color miniature travel posters, "Fifo '50 States'" is the second book in this multi-award winning series. Designed to be memorable and enjoyable, "Fifo '50 States'" packs lots of U.S. history and geography into 100+ pages of illustrated verse. Children age 4-10 will learn lots of fascinating things about all 50 states as they follow Fifo in his dreams of exploring the United States of America.

The Fashion Shelf

Dressing a Nation
Katherine Crohn
Twenty-First Century Books
c/o Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761358909, $31.93,

"Dressing a Nation: The History of U. S. Fashion: Calico Dresses and Buffalo Robes, American West Fashions from the 1840's to the 1890's" is the third book in a series titled "Dressing a Nation: The History of U.S. Fashions. Aimed at a juvenile or young adult audience of readers, "Calico Dresses and Buffalo Robes" uses period photos, imaginative layouts, eye-catching sidebars in contrasting colors, and unusual signage, "Calico Dresses and Buffalo Robes" presents U.S. costume history in exciting documentary format. from Chapter one, "The First Westerners," to Chapter six, "Trendsetters and Rule Breakers," the thrust of the narrative of "Calico Dresses and Buffalo Robes" is tracing cultural patterns of changing dress through functionality of design. Excellent examples of every Western style of dress known between 1840 and 1890 stud every page in sepia or black and white photos shown against colored backgrounds. A great deal of additional valuable information is presented in the Timeline, Glossary, source Notes, Selected Bibliography, and Further Reading and Websites at the end of the book. An additional learning resource complementary to "Calico Dresses and Buffalo Robes" is available for downloading free at the publisher's website, "Calico Dresses and Buffalo Robes" is an excellent fashion research reference for readers age 12 and up.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Early Sprouts Cookbook
Karrie Kalich, Lynn Arnold, Carole Russell
Redleaf Press
10 Yorktown Court, St. Paul, MN 55117
9781605540429, $29.95,

"The Early Sprouts Cookbook" is written in the tradition of encouraging healthy food choices such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, in young children. To that end, "The Early Sprouts Cookbook" is part cookbook, part nutrition re-educator for adults and small children. A plethora of delicious, kid friendly recipes are nonetheless featured, for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and special seasonal celebrations, with an additional chapter on original Early Sprouts recipes, including Cheddar and Chard Quesadillas, English Muffin Pizzas with Homemade Sauce, Green & Orange Pasta Salad, and Butternut Squash Fries. Many excellent food choices are incorporated into recipes that are easy to adapt to helping hands of little ones. Fresh foods and wholes grains and other healthy choices are always featured and encouraged. "The Early Sprouts Cookbook" is a frontline fighter in the national battle against childhood obesity, and as such, it belongs on the shelves of parents, families with young children, preschools, libraries, and consumer health education resources.

Books in Series

Arts and Culture in the Ancient World
Paul Challen, et al.
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778717324, $26.60, 1-800-387-7650

The collaborative work of Paul Challen, Shipa Mehta-Jones, Lynn Peppas, & Hazel Richardson, "Arts and Culture in the Ancient World" is part of a juvenile history series of six volumes titled Life in the Ancient World. Contrasting explorations of similarities and differences among ancient civilizations including Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia, China and more are unfolded through a specific viewing point,; in this case, arts and culture. Filled with color illustrations, photographs, maps and related topics in highlighted insets, "Arts and Culture in the Ancient World" presents a variety of achievements and practices of fourteen different ancient civilizations, plus maps with color-coded locations of the civilizations under study, timelines, and further resources including a glossary, index, websites, and further reading suggestions. Packed with fascinating detail, these amazing chapters on ancient civilizations of the Indus River Valley, Africa, Mesoamerica, South America, Japan, the Celts of Europe, and the Vikings (in addition to the four civilizations listed earlier) help enflesh the accomplishments of ancient peoples and bring their cultures to vibrant life. Described as a 'snapshot' of the arts and cultures, this readers' resource is recommended for students in grades 5-8, with a grade 5 reading level. Other titles in this simply outstanding series form the Crabtree Publishing Company that are also highly recommended include: "Communication in the Ancient World (ISBN 9780778717331, RLB, $26.60)," "Government in the Ancient World (ISBN 9780778717348, RLB, $26.60)," "Religions in the Ancient World (ISBN 9780778717355, RLB, $26.60)," "Technology in the Ancient World (ISBN 9780778717362, RLB, $26.60)," and "Trade and Commerce in the Ancient World (ISBN 978778717379, RLB, $26.60)."

King Arthur's Tale
Anita Ganeri
Crabtree Connections
c/o Crabtree Publishing Co.
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778778509, $21.27,

"King Arthur's Tale" is a Reading Level L retelling of the story of Arthur and Camelot, complete with color photograph illustrations of Arthur enactments and actual sites associated with Arthur. Brief chapters cover the birth of Arthur, the Sword in the Stone, Excalibur, Arthur's marriage to Guinevere, the Knights of the Round Table, adventures, the last fight, and the death of Arthur. A glossary of terms and recommended further reading books and web sites complete the stirring presentation of "King Arthur's Tale," a source book on Arthurian legend/story for early elementary students. Also recommended from the same series in Crabtree Connections are the following titles: "Want To Be a Knight? " by Paul Mason (ISBN 9780778778455, $21.27), and "Knight Survival guide," by Anna Claybourne (ISBN 9780778778554, $21.27). All three titles are also available in a paperback edition at, $6.95 each.

Easy Breakfasts from Around the World
Sheila Griffin Llanas
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 398
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398
9780766037076 $17.95

Part of the Easy Cookbooks for Kids series, Easy Breakfasts from Around the World offers children a variety of nutritious, easy-to-prepare morning meals from cultures all across the globe. Full-color photography on virtually every page illustrates recipes such as La Bouillie (a hot cereal served in the African country of Chad), Kielbasa (a Polish smoked sausage), Ful Medames (a fava bean stew and one of Egypt's national dishes), and much more. Preparation and nutrition tips round out this fun-filled cookbook! Also highly recommended are the rest of the Easy Cookbooks for Kids series: Easy Desserts from Around the World (9780766037656), Easy Lunches from Around the World (9780766037083), Easy Main Dishes from Around the World (9780766037663), Easy Snacks from Around the World (9780766037670), and Easy Vegetarian Foods from Around the World (9780766037649).

The Cooking of Mexico, second edition
Matthew Locricchio, author
Marshall Cavendish Benchmark
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9781608705559, $24.95,

"The Cooking of Mexico" is a second edition of many beloved recipes for Mexican foods from three separate regions of Mexico: the North, Central, and the South of Mexico. Here are presented simple instructions for making tortilla soup (sopa de tortilla), little pork (carnitas), white rice (arroz blanco), red snapper from Veracruz (pescado a la Veracruzana), and more. Ingredients and standard measurements are listed first, then step by step directions divided into sections labeled On your mark... Get set...Cook! Color photos of finished dishes are beautifully presented. Recipes are divided into five main sections labeled Soups, Salsas, Snacks, and Fresh Tortillas, a Taco party! Vegetables, Rice and Beans, Main Dishes, and Desserts and Drinks. Additional information about the different regions of Mexico and related dishes and essential how-to information for cooking in a Mexican kitchen. "The Cooking of Mexico" is part of an 8 book set called Superchef, featuring cooking from eight different countries, written for students in grade 6 and up. Also recommended from this series are the following titles by the same author: "The Cooking of Brazil (ISBN 9781608705481, $24.95)," "The Cooking of China (ISBN 9781608705498, $24.95)," "The Cooking of France (ISBN 9781608705511, $24.95)," "The Cooking of Greece (ISBN 9781608705528, $24.95)," "The Cooking of India (ISBN 9781608705535, $24.95)," "The Cooking of Italy (ISBN 9781608705542, $24.95)," and "The Cooking of Thailand (ISBN 9781608705566, $24.95)."

Cute and Cuddly: Baby Animals: Kittens
Grace Elora
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781433945113, $22.60,

"Kittens" is beginning reader's picture fact book about kittens, from the Cute and Cuddly Baby Animals Series. Charming color photographs of all kinds and colors of kittens are narrated by simple sentences of facts about growing kittens and different characteristics of different breeds of kittens. For example, did you know that Manx kittens have no tails? (said statement accompanied by a photo of a black and white little 7 -8 week old Manx kitten looking adorable)! "Kittens" also teaches some vocabulary and identification skills for two breeds of kittens: Persian (long-hair) and Siamese (short hair). "Kittens" is a great pre-reader's introduction to the wonderful world of baby animals, and will entice young readers to pursue the other volumes in the Cute and Cuddly Baby Animals series. Other titles in this series by the same author that are also recommended are: "Bunnies (ISBN 9781433945038, $22.60)," "Foals (ISBN 9781433945076, $22.60)," "Bear Cubs (ISBN 9781433944994, $22.60)," and "Puppies (ISBN 9781433945199, $22.60)."

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

The 'Bookworms' readers are outstanding selections for grades K-1, and Apple Jordan's new 'Opposites' series ($14.95 each) enhances the series with very easy introductions pairing single sentences with pictures for quick comprehension. OPEN SHUT (9781608704231), NOISY QUIET (9781608704217), HOT COLD (9781608704095), HEAVY LIGHT (9781608704088), EMPTY FULL (9781608704200) and SMOOTH ROUGH (9781608704224) each provide some fifteen pages of simple opposites examples for a very basic introduction. Kids in grades 1-3 will appreciate Kimberley Jane Pryor's 'Discovering Dinosaurs' series ($19.95 each), with each book holding a little over thirty pages of detail including an index, glossary, and charts and color drawings throughout. VELOCIRAPTOR (9781608705405), TYRANNOSAURUS (9781608705399), PROTOCERATOPS (9781608705382), MUTTABURRASAURUS (9781608705375), DIPLODOCUS (9781608705368) and ANKYLOSAURUS (9781608705351) each provide lively surveys of all the natural history known for each dinosaur. Kids in grades 5-7 will appreciate Matthew Locricchio's 8-book 'Super Chef' series ($24.95 each), appearing in their second editions to provide nearly a hundred pages of culinary and social insights for the cooking of each country in the series. Photos packed throughout illustrate classic recipes of each country in a winning set perfect for kids with some prior cooking experience who want to branch out to explore the culinary traditions of selected countries. THE COOKING OF BRAZIL (9781608705498), INDIA (9781608705533), CHINA (9781608705504), THAILAND (9781608705566), ITALY (9781608705542), FRANCE (9781608705511), MEXICO (9781608705559) and GREECE (9781608705528) each offer introductions to the country's culture and geography, then present dishes considered specialty classics for each nation. Wonderful titles for the advanced elementary grades!

Crabtree Publishing
PMB 59051, 350 - 5th Ave, 59th Fl., NY NY 10118

The "How to Tell A" series ($26.60 each) offers some 32 pages each of fine insights that outlines differences between myths, legends, fables and folktales, offers examples from literature, and provides history and literary references. Each book includes a glossary, index, and plenty of eye-catching contemporary color photos to invite leisure browsers and students alike. HOW TO TELL A MYTH (9780778716334), LEGEND (9780778716327), FABLE (9780778716303), and FOLKTALE (9780778716310) are fine picks for any elementary-level collection. Bobbie Kalman's "Baby Animals" series ($18.36 each) provides 24 pages each for grades K-3 and surveys baby animals by types of habitats. Captivating color photos and sidebars of detail make this an exceptional series. IN LAND HABITATS (9780778777311), IN WATER HABITATS (9780778777342), IN SAVANNA HABITATS (9780778777335), and IN RAINFOREST HABITATS (9780778777328) each pack in fine animal details for any young student!

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