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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 12 December 2012 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christmas Shelf Science Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Picturebook Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fiction Shelf Judaic Shelf
Travel Shelf Health Shelf Poetry Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Multicultural Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Board Book Shelf Christian Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Bilingual Shelf American History Shelf
Military Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book
Karen Casale, author
Cecilia Rebora, illustrator
Upstart Books
PO Box 14410
Madison, WI 53708-0410
9781602130616, $17.95,

A book lent from the library is to be shared, and cared for as such. "Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book: Book Care Guidelines from the Library Secret Service" is a humorous children's picturebook discussing how to more appropriately manage a library book and treat it well. With plenty of humor and good advice on book care, "Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book" is a charming and much recommended pick for the future library user.

There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere!
Howard Temperley, author
Michael Kline, illustrator
KWS Publishers
1516 North State Parkway
Chicago, IL 60610
9781937783167 $24.95

There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere! A Rhyming Romp Through Dinosaur History lives up to its title with an impressive collection of catchy, original poems that teach young readers about these amazing reptiles that once dominated the Earth! Colorful, cartoon-like illustrations enliven these ditties about actual, documented dinosaur species, how they evolved, and the great extinction that brought their rule to an end. A perfect blend of educational value and read-aloud fun, There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere! is highly recommended, especially for public and elementary school library children's collections. "How Dinosaurs Learned to Fly": "[...] So growing wings was not a sign / Of any well-thought-out design, / But of the way that creatures strive / From day to day to stay alive: / Flying being a useful way / Of finding food and hunting prey. // But gliding has its uses too / When enemies are after you, / Jumping from branches to get away / Like the flying squirrels of today / Who flit about amongst the trees / And glide great distances with ease. // Wings will also help you bound / More rapidly along the ground. / As ostriches and emus do / And farmyard hens and ducklings too."

The Boy's Guide to Growing Up
Terri Couwenhoven
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Road
Bethesda, MD 20817
9781606130896, $16.95,

Puberty tends to hit us all like a bag of bricks. "The Boy's Guide to Growing Up: Choices & Changes During Puberty" is a practical advice guide for preteens and young teenagers as Terri Couwenhoven advises boys through this time of transition, dealing with all of the changes that barrage one during this time, dealing with everything from acne, hair, strength, and those pesky girl things. "The Boy's Guide to Growing Up" is worth considering for the young future man in one's life.

Animals Don't, So I Won't!
David G. Derrick
PO Box 31836, San Francisco, CA 94131
9781597020299, $15.95,

Animals get away with a lot of things we don't...or do they? "Animals Don't, So I Won't!" is a children's picturebook focusing on personal responsibility as Ben tries to get out of chores by claiming animals don't have to...only for a clever mother to turn the tables. With a cute full color art style, "Animals Don't, So I Won't!" is an enticing and recommended pick for young readers and their parents. Also from Immedium and their children's book collection is "The Year of the Snake: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac" (97815997020381, $15.95) is an entry into the Chinese Zodiac series, exploring Chinese folklore in a way young kids can enjoy. "The Pancake Express" (9781597020350, $15.95) is a picturebook based on the kids Sprout series Justin Time, following Justin and Squidgy as they deliver the pancakes through the Canadian wilderness to the flapjack festival.

The Christmas Shelf

Grandma's Christmas Legacy
Casey Schutrop, author
W. O. W. Ministries
5401 Lakota Lane, Chaska, MN 55318
9780615309965 $19.00

"Grandma's Christmas Legacy: The Testimony of the Tree" is a beautiful story about the meaning of a Christmas tree, as seen through the eyes of a beloved grandmother who passes to her family a trunk full of traditions and messages about the symbols and practice of celebrating Christmas by decorating a simple evergreen tree. Liberally laced with scriptural referents and Christian Advent traditions, "Grandma's Christmas Legacy" is a stepping stone towards an Advent contemplation of the meaning of life and the presence of Christ in our lives. A Family Read-Along Version at the end of "Grandma's Christmas Legacy" lists the gifts, symbols and meanings as the Christmas tree, evergreen, the branches, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, the garland, the star, the lights, the small promising pine, and the pinecones. All combine to present an inspirational message to families about the true significance of Christmas and Advent. "Grandma's Christmas Legacy" is a beautiful Advent gift for adults or children to share.

Christmas Activity Fun
Tim Dowley, author
Candle Books
c/o Kregel
PO Box 2607, rand Rapids, Michigan, 49501
9781859858905 $3.99

Suitable for children ages 4-7, the "Christmas Activity Fun" book has 64 pages of black and white illustrations for coloring, dot to dots, mazes, puzzles, games, and hidden objects all related to the central theme of Advent, the coming of Christ. Here are Christmas related activities to keep an active child busy for many happy hours, while learning more about the original Gift of Christmas. Created by a historian and editor of Bible resources, "Christmas Activity Fun" has multiple embedded learning opportunities about life in early Palestine plus frequent references to New Testament scripture sources for narrative. "Christmas Activity Fun" is a great Advent gift, helpful to while away the endless hours of waiting for the enchanted day of Christmas.

The Moose at the Manger
Lisa A. Tortorello, author
Caleb, Irwin, illustrator
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781618629166 $8.99

"The Moose at the Manger" is a creative version of the Nativity as seen through the eyes of a moose named Muse. Muse was told the Christmas story by her parents while making a cold winter's journey with her brothers under the stars. Dazzled by the story of the gift of the Christ Child and the glittering stars, Muse becomes separated from her parents and lost. Her crying is comforted by a new fine friend, Star Bright, the brightest star in the sky. Star Bright takes Muse on a special journey across many faraway places, which she assures Muse will end restoring her to her parents, enriched and happy with her new experiences. Finally, magically, Muse is brought to the stable and the manger where the Christ Child is born, and she joyfully and respectfully bows her head in adoration. Star Bright then leads Muse back to her father and mother and family, where she shares her wonderful story as moose witness to the birth in the manger of the Christ child. Perfect for young children age 5 and up, "The Moose at the Manger" come with a free audio digital book download, and a complete digital entertainment package.

The Legend of the Candy Cane
Lori Waldburg, author
Richard Cowdrey, illustrator
5300 Patterson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310730125 $15.99

"The Legend of the Candy Cane: The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy" is a brightly illustrated Christmas story about the origin of the red and white striped candy cane as the favored Christmas candy. On a dreary November day, a stranger named Mr. Sonneman rode into a small prairie town and rents a shabby old store. Daily he transforms this setting to something fresh and new, with no help from the curious villagers, except for one little girl named Lucy. Though everyone has had their own special idea about what Mr. Sonneman's store will be, only the children have quietly wished for their very own candy store. Lucy is the first to discover that this wish will come true, as she helps Mr. Sonneman unpack and display his confections on the new shelves. Finally she comes to one special last candy, a red and white striped candy cane. Mr. Sonneman tells Lucy the legend of the significance of the candy cane - how its shape is both like a "J" for Jesus and a shepherd's crook, the red is for the stripes Jesus received when he was tortured and killed for our redemption and the white is for the purity that we were given when Jesus' blood washed away our sins. The quiet narration of the story is gently reinforced by the detailed illustrations, with pet cat, gray mouse, white dog, plus townsfolk and Mr. Sonneman's golden whiskers alongside Lucy's golden curls. All children will love this treasured Christmas legend about their favorite holiday candy, making "The Legend of the Candy Cane" a wonderful gift for generations to come.

The Donkey's First Christmas
S. T. Schroder, author/illustrator
Tilli Publishing
16 Hillside Road
West Kirby, Cheshire, CD48 8BB, England
9781908053022 $9.99

"The Donkey's First Christmas" is a reframing of the Advent story told from an eccentric, lazy, work-shirking little donkey's viewpoint. Although the little donkey had no intention of carrying the heavy load of the lady with a big bump (Mary), she cleverly encourages him to work by producing a pear for a beginning treat, followed by lots of positive verbal encouragement. Before the donkey gives up exhausted, the lady and her burden reach a stable in a special village, and an angel whispers in the donkey's ear, "You see now, little donkey, what a special thing you've done? By helping carry Mary, you helped God's precious Son!" The charming, quirky pastel illustrations and the completely engrossing irregular lettering, with all the "O's" enlarged and tilted, help to deliver the wonderful message of reassurance and peace through God's great gift. One thinks, unconsciously, of the O of the Omega, throughout the story. This children's Christmas book is perfect for ages 2-7, giving inspiration to those who may dance to a different drummer.

The Innkeeper's Wife
Muriel Drake Ryan, Ph.D., author
illustration by Thinkstock
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449762445 (sc) $16.95

"The Innkeeper's Wife" is a Nativity story with a hidden agenda of increased compassion at its heart. Telling the familiar story of the mother, father and baby to be born in a humble stable in a strange town through new perspectives, "The Innkeeper's Wife" introduces the character of Hannah, a Jewish woman who knows the Torah and is predictably overwhelmed with duties at the time of the imminent birth of Jesus. Hannah grumbles at her overwhelming duties as her husband's inn fills up at this very busy time of the Roman tax census. She is not overjoyed at the prospect of meeting the needs of a young couple, the wife heavy with child, who come knocking at their door after all her beds were filled and all her chores were finished. Though tempted to scold her husband Aaron when she finds he did not send them away, but instead offered them the use of the stable, she turns her energy to providing food for their other guests. Later Hannah has a most illuminating conversation with Joseph, Mary's husband to be, about their special circumstances. Although Hannah is slow to recognize it, her heart begins to thaw and she finds herself drawn to the mystery of this special baby who is born in her husband's inn's stable. Gradually Hannah begins to realize that her husband Aaron has helped provide safety and shelter for possibly the future Savior of all people, and she ends by saying, "If it were not for my beloved Aaron, this precious family would have been left in the cold. Aaron's loving, generous heart gave the little king a warm place to be born. Oh Great Jehovah, thank you for forgiving me my hard heart and my disbelief, I must go and see the Baby Jesus." Thus ends another fragment of a very old and special story, precious to all. The gentle narrative tone of "The Innkeeper's Wife" is enhanced and enlightened by the little colored stock characters of the story. All net proceeds from "The Innkeeper's Wife" will go to the work and expansion of Families by Choice, a charity founded by the author and her husband to provide basic needs to people who are (emotionally or geographically) distanced from their families. "The Innkeeper's Wife" is a Christmas gift that is all about the original, core meaning of Christmas.

Evangeline's Gift From Santa
Emily Ezell, author
Jennifer Logsdon and Kelly O'Neill, illustrators
Bookstand Publishing
6820 Glenview Dr., Gilroy, CA 95020
9781589094376 $8,95

"Evangeline's Gift From Santa" is a sensitive book about a child's first Christmas after a divorce, without both parents living together. Compassionate, simply written, and sincere, "Evangeline's Gift From Santa" helps children understand that although living with parents who are divorced or separated is painful, perhaps especially painful at Christmas, it can be a gift. It can represent a better choice than continued living together in disharmony or conflict. After talking with Santa about her concerns, finally Evangeline begins to realize that her special gift may be that she now has two homes where she can experience care, love, and nurturing instead of one. Reassuring Evangeline, Santa suggests to her that loving can take many different forms. She is free to love both her parents and continue her life after the divorce. "Evangeline's Gift From Santa" is a therapeutic holiday book for children who have experienced divorce and separation close to the holidays. It can be a tool to help children cope and create a new positive outlook.

Santa's Hat
Linda Bleck, author/illustrator
Running Press Kids
c/o Running Press Book Publishers
2300 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762442928 $16.95

"Santa's Hat" is a humorous story about the time Santa misplaced his hat on Christmas Eve. It is a disaster! Luckily his dogs Bell and Bow and Mrs. Claus offer to help him try on a vast assortment of alternate hats, an adventure that leads to lots of fun for Santa. Along with a multitude of alternate hats comes an amazing spectrum of alternate identities! Santa has a wonderful time trying on all of them, until finally the elves making a snowman present him with a surprise gift! Imagine Santa's delight when he finds a hat, all red and white, that is a perfect fit! And of course, Bell and Bow approved. "Santa's Hat" is full of mischievous fun, colorful detailed illustrations studded with jolly jokes and glee, and the story rolls right along at a snappy pace matching the action-packed illustrations. In the end, "Santa's Hat" is about the wonderful world of imagining, nudging young minds to make connections and take leaps to arrive at hilarious conclusions and final fittings. A very satisfying ending leaves the alert reader with a riddle to solve, the perfect conundrum for a friend to Santa.

The Magic Christmas Carpet
K. K. Corner, author
Sharon L. Richert, illustrator
Tex Ware Publishing
138827 51st Dr. SE, Everett, WA 98208
9781478349815 $15.99

"The Magic Christmas Carpet" is a 25th anniversary edition of "The Magic Kriss Karpet" a classic holiday story to be read aloud which was a Christmas feature in the Nordstrom stores of the Pacific Northwest in 1987. Charmingly illustrated with brilliant colored fantastic visions of a midnight Christmas ride, "The Magic Christmas Carpet" tells the story of Brian, a boy who believes in magic and his beloved almost blind old dog, Sir Jeffrey. Brian finds a way to weave leftover magic reindeer hair (left on his roof by Santa's reindeer practicing landings) into his favorite rug on Christmas Eve. The magic begins when the carpet speaks to him in rhyme, telling him that if he speaks nicely in rhyme, the magic carpet will take him anywhere only from Christmas Eve to Christmas Morning. Brian is terribly excited and wants Sir Jeffrey to come along with him. Brian has a wonderful idea; he will take Sir Jeffrey to the Valley of Spectacles and hind him magic glasses that will help him see again! A magnificent adventure ensues, with Brian experience the need to make a painful choice between parting with his pirate gold and buying dog glasses for Sir Jeffrey. All ends well and on time, despite a few cliff hangers, and a new surprise awaits Brian and Sir Jeffrey on the tree at his home on Christmas morning. "The Magic Christmas Carpet" is a K. K. Corner Read Aloud book for children at reading levels K-4. This delightful, nostalgic Christmas story is sure to be rediscovered by a fresh generation with its classic appeal and message of caring joy.

Granny's Christmas Blunder
Scott Murray, author
Brian Rive, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781477209905 $13.00 (pb)

"Granny's Christmas Blunder" is a delightfully refreshing, comic tale about a determined visiting grandmother who makes a couple of holiday judgement mistakes and then takes full charge of the fun task of fixing the results of those errors! Presented in jaunty versed narrative with exceptionally funny colorful illustrations, "Granny's Christmas Blunder" presents a feisty alternative to the traditional gray-haired grandparent role model. When Granny forgets to purchase the ingredients for her beloved snack mix, that is one thing; but a much more dramatic blunder occurs when she bashes Santa with a baseball bat, mistaking him for a Christmas burglar! How can Granny make these mistakes right? A fun-filled, eccentric ride behind the confused reindeer ensues, with a very resourceful old lady in charge! Kids will love "Granny's Christmas Blunder," it has all the elements of a fun holiday tale with some extra spice and twists. What would you do if you were Granny? One thing is certain, Granny has intestinal fortitude!

Midnight on Christmas Eve
Kevin R. O'Malley
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781467071147 $15.95

Midnight on Christmas Eve is a chapter book for young adults in which the ghost of Barrister Thurgood Mistletoe tells how he helped to save Christmas! Centuries in the past, Barrister Mistletoe took a critical case before the court of Father Time on behalf of Santa Claus, who needed more time on Christmas Eve to deliver presents to children all around the world. Father Time's incredible solution to the conundrum made the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve an everlastingly special moment! A handful of black-and-white illustrations enrich this wondrous fable, perfect for encouraging young people to enjoy and appreciate the holiday spirit - and for teaching them that lawyers can indeed do good and valuable things!

Mike Byrne, illustrator
Tim Dowley Associates
Candle Books
c/o Lion Hudson picture books
Wilkinson House, Jordan Hill Road, Oxford OX2 8DR England
9781859859353 $9.99

"Christmas" is a charming, sturdy pasteboard lift-the-flap picture book for children age 3 and up about Advent. Brightly colored figures of many races people the pages of the Advent story, and young children will be stimulated by the interactive play of lifting the colored flap picture tab to answer the simple questions in the narrative. Learning such things as "Who did Mary meet? (an angel) Where did baby Jesus sleep? (in a manger) Who did the shepherds visit? (Baby Jesus) ...etc. is made effortless and fun by this simple format that is so appealing to small children.

Dinosaur Vs. Santa Roar! Roar! Roar!
Bob Shea, author/illustrator
Disney/Hyperion Books
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423168065 $15.99

"Dinosaur Vs. Santa" is the latest Christmas addition to a long list of beloved "Dinosaur Vs." titles for young children. Characterized by sparse verse narrative, zany retro illustrations and tons of "roar, roar, roars," "Dinosaur Vs. Santa" unfolds as the perfect wild child's companion to Christmas activities. Letter to Santa? Done (complete with crayon sketch of the desired gift, a train). Christmas decorations? Done. Christmas gifts? Done (very creatively)! Being good? Done (not without some effort)! Every time the dinosaur wins! In the end, however, the dinosaur risks all by tiptoeing downstairs to peek at Santa leaving gifts, when he should be sleeping. What if he doesn't win this time? Children will giggle and laugh and love the determined dinosaur who really is themselves, after all! What a delightful holiday treasure to share with young monsters everywhere!

The Shepherd Girl of Bethlehem
Carey Morning, author
Alan Marks, illustrator
Lion Children's Book
c/o Trafalgar Square Publishing (USA)
814 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610
9780745963686 $14.99

"The Shepherd Girl of Bethlehem" is an exquisitely sensitive tale about a shepherd's young daughter who helps him tend his sheep. Although she is not allowed to help tend the sheep during the night, one special night comes when the light of a bright star beckons to the young shepherd girl and she goes off in search of her father and his sheep. her search leads her through tangled nightways until she finds her father at last drawing into a small stable where the light is very bright. There she witnesses the miracle of the baby Jesus and his mother, and she feels the great light inside her. Her father tells her the Baby's birth. The beautiful ink and deep watercolor washes used in the tenderly expressive illustrations deeply enhance the central message of "The Shepherd Girl of Bethlehem," a lovely book for children of all ages.

The Christmas Cave
Lisa Demeter
Bookstand Publishing
305 Vineyard Town Center, Suite 302
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
9781618630704 $8.95

The Christmas Cave is a twelve-page holiday storybook ideal for parents and children to share. Simple color illustrations in the style of a child's crayon drawings illustrate this magical tale in which young Ronnie and Sara make an extraordinary discovery near their grandparents' house. Having heard whispers and rumors of the legendary "Christmas Cave", they search the woods and encounter a magical Christmas world, where gingerbread men walk in the streets and playground toys are made of candy. They ask after Santa and Mrs. Claus, but the elusive residents of the Christmas Cave are not forthcoming. Might the answer to the mystery be closer to home than either Ronnie or Sara could ever dream? The Christmas Cave is a delightful read-aloud short story, perfect for celebrating the holidays.

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

Selina Alko's DADDY CHRISTMAS & HANUKKAH MAMA (9780375860935, $16.99) tells of a child of two holiday traditions, and surveys how one mixed family celebrates the holiday season. The blend is satisfying: a first-person story tells how "I help Mama hang stockings by the fireplacer. Daddy makes latkes to leave on the mantel with milk." The result is a lovely exploration of mixed family beliefs and traditions and how both are honored, making for a gentle and lovely account. Eileen Spinelli's COLD SNAP (9780375857003, $17.99) enjoys gentle winter drawings by Marjorie Priceman and tells of a snowy cold winter in the town of Toby Mills. It's a wintertime cold snap, and as each day gets colder, fun pictures accompany insights on how the town adjusts as they wait for the cold snap to lift. A lovely story of wintertime weather challenges evolves.

Blue Sky
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Jane Yolen and Mark Teague have two fine dinosaur titles on the market that are recommended holiday picks for any young dinosaur fan. HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS? (9780545416788, $16.99) provides a whimsical and lively survey of dinosaur antics as they prepare for Christmas. These are some big bad boys indeed: they eat all of Santa's cookies, upend mantle stockings, and lick all the candy canes in a series of late-night escapades that seem to thwart the holiday spirit. Ditto for HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY HAPPY CHANUKAH? (9780545416771, $16.99), which has the same bad boys snatching dreidels, grabbing gelt, and sneaking a peak at wrapped gifts. The result is a hilarious survey of traditional holiday celebrations and dinosaur havoc perfect for any holiday reader.

The Science Shelf

My Little Handbook of Experiments
Denis Pero
Auzou Publishing
24-32, rue des Amandiers
75020, Paris, France
9782733821473 $12.95

Featuring full-color illustrations on every page, My Little Handbook of Experiments: Sciences, Water and Light, Ecology is a step-by-step guide filled with easy-to-perform science experiments that young people can do with everyday household items. From making one's own rainbow with a mirror, a spoonful of oil, a dish, water, and a strong flashlight; to creating a simple kaleidoscope, exploring optical illusions, observing how an egg can float in salty water while sinking in fresh water, and more, these activities teach simple lessons as well as offering hands-on fun for rainy days. Some experiments are marked with a "caution" exclamation point sign, in order to signify the importance of adult supervision (especially the ones that involve electricity, such as creating a very simple electric lightbulb). My Little Handbook of Experiments is a treasury for inquisitive young minds, highly recommended.

Wild Horse Scientists
Kay Frydenborg
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547518312, $18.99,

Horses were unleashed onto the American continent and have found their own niche, flourishing for centuries. "Wild Horse Scientists" discusses the work of Dr. Ron Keiper and Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick as they analyze one particular stretch of wild horses that roam the plains and beaches of Maryland and Virginia, and how scientific analysis saw a potential problem in the Assateague ecosystem and remedied potential problems. A scholarly and scientific read, for anyone interested in animal biology and their place in our society, "Wild Horse Scientists" is worth considering for well read youths and any lover of horses, highly recommended.

Albert Einstein & Relativity for Kids
Jerome Pohlen
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
9781613740286, $16.95,

Einstein was a brilliant mind, and he revolutionized science - it's never too early to touch on his discoveries. "Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities and Thought Experiments" is a guide for teachers and students as Jerome Pohlen uses his expertise as a teacher to help readers know how to learn Einstein's concepts in the classroom and around the house. With plenty of models and activity ideas, history, and full color photography all throughout, "Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids" is a must for science education collections, highly recommended.

Artie Bennett
Blue Apple Books
9781609051907 $16.99

POOPENDOUS! THE INSIDE SCOOP ON EVERY TYPE AND USE OF POOP receives fun illustrations by Mike Moran and provides whimsical accounts of poop, from different names for poop to different animal poop - even names from around the world. It's a fun investigation of poop from many different sides of the picture, conveying everything from what poop is used for to different cultural perspectives. The fun cartoons and information makes for a fine crossover between fiction and nonfiction, imparting basic physiology facts using fun and whimsical twists.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Herman Melville's Moby Dick
Jack & Holman Wang
Simply Read Books
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E. Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781927018118 $9.95

Cozy Classics presents the famous American novel "Moby Dick" in the following challenging kid-friendly format: A complete condensation of the work into 12 single simple words, accompanied by 12 highly original, expressive, needle-felted figures in full storytelling photo-op poses. This is high culture children's literature condensation at its most ambitious and brilliant. Created by Chinese Canadian twin brothers who clearly have a penchant for creating the unusual, Cozy Classic's "Moby Dick" has all the elements of the great novel in miniature, presented visually and verbally, accessible to children age 3 and up. With such an ambitious creative goal, Cozy Classics as a series has a lot to fulfill, but it seems to be doing this with great flair and apparent ease! If you are intrigued by "Moby Dick," you will also want to read the Cozy Classics version of "Pride and Prejudice," by Jane Austen, "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo, and "War and Peace," by Leo Tolstoy. Part of the success of this succinct literary condensation juvenile series is the complex, clear artistry of the needle -felted figures, photographed and spaced so evocatively. This series is receiving rave reviews from all sorts of sources for good reason: It aptly demonstrates that great literature, like great art, is also for the very young, with appropriate, respectful reworking and presenting of the elements.

Big Girl Panties
Fran Manushkin
Robin Corey Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780307931528 $7.99

Valeria Petrone provides whimsical, fun drawings for BIG GIRL PANTIES, which tells of a young girl proud of her ability to wear colorful panties. Page after page celebrates a child's growing older - and her appreciation of the clothes that go with it. BIG GIRL PANTIES is a special recommendation for any girl growing into her own.

The Picturebook Shelf

Being Frank
Donna Earnhardt, author
Andrea Castellani, illustrator
Flashlight Press
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781936261192 $16.95

"Being Frank" is an engaging story about a young man who lives up to his name, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. Perky, colorful retro-reminiscent illustrations add to this spunky story of a boy named Frank who is just that; frank. Unfortunately, being frank can make being Frank difficult at times, especially when people do not appreciate unpalatable truths being ruthlessly reflected back to them. To sum it up, Frank ultimately discovers that although honesty may be the best policy, "but now I know it's best served with more sugar..." All morality fables are best delivered with a bit of appealing humor, and "Being Frank" excels in visual, verbal, and embedded fun. "Being Frank" is a great read for parents and children age 5 and up. Somehow I suspect it may appeal to many young boys.

The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever
Rebecca Rule, author
Jennifer Thermes, illustrator
Islandport Press
P.O. Box 10, Yarmouth, Maine 04096
9781934031889 $17.95

"The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever!" is a fantastically detailed children's story about a winter adventure involving a thick February ice crust, steep mountainsides, a long old travis sled for many riders, and seven daredevil children (plus one faithful dog) anxious to test the best snow ice crust ever. Charming pastel illustrations show the entrancing winter scene in loving detail, especially the unexpected slips and the PIG PILE! of kids at the end of the downhill slide. True to its title, "The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever" builds suspense from beginning to end, and the visual aspect of a startling swift downhill sled streak is well described and presented. Kids and adults will love reading "The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever!" Even better, the girl who steers the sled happily decides to take the risk again, joined by her 6 companions and dog, when they finally reach the bottom of Old Mountain Road! Breathless with thrilling fun and scary slides, "The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever!" achieves mythic status and takes its willing readers along for the fast, furious, and fabulous sledding fun. You will love how it makes you feel.

Jake, The Puppy and Emma, The Cat
Krista Ralston Oakes, author
Rafael Scott Fuhriman, illustrator
Higher Ground Press, LLC
425 Shady Valley Dr.
Allen, TX 75002
9780983832126 $19.99

Jake, The Puppy and Emma, The Cat is a rhyming children's picturebook featuring a timeless parable about the importance of being true to oneself. The puppy dog Jake and the chocolate brown kitten Emma have both been adopted into a loving home, but the two are so very different from each other! At first, each one thinks that emulating the other's traits is the best way to earn love and affection, but attempting to be contrary to their own nature just doesn't work - Jake gets bored when he tries to preen and sit like a cat, while Emma's heart isn't in it when she tries to be endlessly exuberant like a dog. Eventually Jake and Emma realize the importance of being themselves; their unique differences are what make them special, and their family loves them both unconditionally. The original poem of Jake, The Puppy and Emma, The Cat was written by mother Krista Ralston Oakes for her adopted children, and its simple, invaluable message is brought to beautiful life with the colorful illustrations of Rafael Scott Fuhriman. Highly recommended.

Melissa's Halloween Wish
Dona Ross Pratt
Little Creek Press
5341 Sunny Ridge Road, Mineal Point, WI 53565
9780984924578, $17.95,

Even witches have to beware the witches. "Melissa's Halloween Wish" follows Melissa Witch around the witch's favorite holiday - Halloween. Learning to fly on their brooms for the first time, they look for a lost charm, but they Melissa and her friends may have to evade the Grumpy Gretchen Witch in the process. A fun holiday themed adventure not to be overlooked, "Melissa's Halloween Wish" is much recommended.

Big City Bees
Maggie DeVries, author, Renne Benoit, illustrator
Greystone Books
c/o Douglas & McIntyre Publishing Group
2323 Quebeck Street, Suite 201
Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5T 4S7
9781553659068, $19.95,

Bees are far more than the annoying bugs who sting you sometimes. "Big City Bees" is a children's picturebook telling of young Sophie and Matthew trying to help their pumpkins grow....and it looks like they need bees. In the process of finding the bees, they learn much about the critters and their role in making gardens grow and flourish. "Big City Bees" is a fun and riveting read for young and curious readers, highly recommended.

One Frozen Lake
Deborah Jo Larson
Minnesota Historical Society Press
345 Kellogg Boulevard, West
St. Paul, MN 55102-1906
9780873518666, $16.95,

As the lakes freeze over, the fishing does not stop. "One Frozen Lake" is a children's picturebook telling of the ice fishing communities through the eyes of a grandchild and grandfather who set up camp and wait for the fish to come, if they ever do...and whether it matters if they do or not. "One Frozen Lake" is an enticing pick for children's picturebook collections shedding light on the activities.

The Stamp Collector
Jennifer Lanthier, author
Francois Thisdale, illustration
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway
Markham, Ontario Canada L3R 4T8
9781554552184, $18.95,

There are things we share in our lives, no matter where we come from. "The Stamp Collector" is a children's picturebook with a powerful message that resonates to adults as well, as Jennifer Lanthier tells a story that empowers the notion of our life's stories and how they forge our lives. With a darkly beautiful art style from Francois Thisdale, "The Stamp Collector" is a fine pick for children's picturebook collections, for parents seeking something different for story time.

Toodles & Teeny
Jill Neimark & Marcella Bakur Weiner
Magination Press
PO Box 92984
Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433811982, $14.95,

Friendship is something wonderful we should all seek. "Toodles & Teeny" tells of the friendship formed by the titular characters, and the jealousy they face from the others in the barnyard. With a positive message sure to help many a kid, "Toodles & Teeny" is a charming pick not to be missed by those seeking stories of friendship and relationships. Also from Magination Press is "The Magic Clothesline" telling the story of of two brothers and the adventures they have surrounding the clothesline that holds a gift from their father.

You Are Stardust
Elin Kelsey
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Ste. 400
Toronto, ON Canada M5V 2Z2
9781926973357, $18.95,

We are our own planets in life's galaxy. "You Are Stardust" is a poetic children's picturebook from Elin Kelsey, who explores the aspects of our connection to the natural world, with a unique diorama-inspired art style from Soyeon Kim, capturing a surreal but intriguing work of art in words and visual. "You Are Stardust" is an intriguing picturebook, not to be overlooked for those seeking something special. Also from Owlkids is "Really and Truly" (9781926973401, $15.95), telling of the attempts of Charlie to cheer up Grandpa and get him to tell those old stories again.

Everyone's Birthday
Marisa Antonello, author
Victoria Laidley & Marisa Antonello, illustrators
Me to We
225 Carlton Street
Toronto, ON Canada M5A 2L2
9780978437572, $19.95,

A party should bring everyone together, and in Thailand some kids do just that. "Everyone's Birthday: A Kid's Adventure in Thailand" is a blend of memoir and picturebook as Marc Kielburger tells his troy of traveling the Thailand to try to make a difference in the world, and the group of children he met who celebrate all of their birthdays at once each year because they don't know their true birthdate. "Everyone's Birthday" is charmingly illustrated with a strong message of making a difference where one can, much recommended for youth readers.

Back to Front and Upside Down!
Claire Alexander
Eerdman Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802854148, $16.00,

Writing is invaluable...but learning seems impossible when you first start. "Back to Front and Upside Down!" follows young Stan, who finds out that today's class project is making birthday cards for the activity that requires writing. With the help of friends, Stan overcomes his fears and helps him start his writing and getting the letters right. "Back to Front and Upside Down!" is a fine addition to children's picturebook collections, with full color illustrations from author Claire Alexander. Also from Eerdman's Books for Young Reader is Mary Newell DePalma's "Bow-Wow Wiggle-Waggle" (9780802854087, $16.00) telling of how a game of fetch goes terribly wrong.

Journey of the Sea Glass
Nicole Fazio
Down East Books
PO Box 679
Camden, ME 04843
9781608931774, $16.95,

Nothing vanishes forever. "Journey of the Sea Glass" is a wordless children's picturebook as Nicole Fazio captures the journey of a lost fragment as it floats through the ocean, seeing the countless sea critters and creatures throughout the ocean before finally washing up on the beaches once more. "Journey of the Sea Glass" is a beautifully drawn color journey, very much recommended reading.

Bear in Love
Daniel Pinkwater
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street
Somerville, MA 02144
9780763645694, $15.99,

A gift can leave us feeling gracious, and when we're not sure who to be gracious to, some will hunt them down. "Bear in Love" follows a young bear as he discovers a gift of the carrots outside his cave. Trying to find who is leaving them and where he should direct his thanks, Daniel Pinkwater and illustrator Will Hillenbrand but together a charming and fun read that has much to enjoy for readers. "Bear in Love" is a strong pick for youth picturebook collections, highly recommended.

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

Lisa Moser's RAILROAD HANK (9780375868498, $16.99) tells of Railroad Hank and his train, who go up the mountain to visit Granny Bett. He's on a mission to cheer her up - but he has no idea what to bring to achieve his goal. When his friends prove too full of ideas, Hank finds his train overloaded with oddities designed to cheer - and wonders if his cargo will work. Whimsical, fun farm drawings by Benji Davies lend to a fine, fun story perfect for kids who like funny farm tales. Rebecca Kai Dotlich's WHAT CAN A CRANE PICK UP? (9780375867262, $16.99) pairs an award-winning poet and artist Mike Lowery's efforts, creating a rollicking rhyme and playful drawings to describe what a crane can do. Fun, cartoon-like characters illustrate all the possibilities in a very easy rhyming reader. Deborah Hopkinson and Raul Colon's ANNIE AND HELEN (9780375857065, $17.99) requires good reading skills from ages 4-8 but provides a simple reader telling the story of blind-deaf-mute Helen Keller and the teacher who unlocked her world, Annie Sullivan. It reads like fiction and captures drama and events, but is a fine story of Helen's introduction to the world. Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas' LEMONADE IN WINTER: A BOOK ABOUT TWO KIDS COUNTING MONEY (9780375858833, $16.99) tells of two enterprising kids who decide to start a lemonade stand in a snowstorm. But nobody will be on the street - and nobody will buy cold drinks from them. Ages 3-7 with good reading skills will find this a powerful survey of determined young entrepreneurs. Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson's THE CHICKEN PROBLEM (9780375869891, $16.99) tells of Peg, who loves pie and solving problems, and Cat, who shares her interests. They're about to have a picnic with a pig on a farm - only one thing leads to another and trouble ensues, challenging their combined problem-solving abilities. Fun drawings and a zany set of circumstances make for a real winner. David Levinthal and John Nickle's WHO PUSHED HUMPTY DUMPTY? AND OTHER NOTORIOS NURSERY TALE MYSTERIES (9780375841958, $17.99) considers everything from a missing wicked witch who vanishes from a candied cottage to whether Humpty really fell off the wall - or was pushed. Clues, leads, confessions and all the elements of good detective writing are woven into a story ages 4-8 will delight in. Renee Watson's HARLEM'S LITTLE BLACKBIRD: THE STORY OF FLORENCE MILLS (9780375869730, $17.99) tells of a Harlem girl blessed with a lovely singing voice - and cursed with being born in a racist era. Florence's move to New York City will not only make her a star: it will allow her to choose shows that help promote other black performers. Christian Robinson's mixed-media art accompanies a fine story of a little-known yet acclaimed musician whose talents and choices helped change her world. Stephanie Spinner's ALEX THE PARROT: NO ORDINARY BIRD - A TRUE STORY (9780375868467, $17.99) requires good reading skills from kids but provides the engaging true tale of a year-old African gray parrot who was purchased for study but who startled the world with his intelligence and abilities. Alex learned to count, recognize shapes and colors, and to speak and understand hundreds of words. Meilo So's colorful, realistic drawings offer fun embellishments to a vivid tale.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

David Shannon's JANGLES: A BIG FISH STORY (9780545143127, $17.99) comes from a humorist and artist who offers an original story about a boy who catches one Jangles, the biggest and most elusive fish anyone has ever seen. Lovely, colorful oil paintings accompany a fish tale that's a whale of an adventure and turns a simple fish story into the account of a big catch that holds unbelievable implications. Jangles tells his own outrageous stories based on a long, adventurous life - and kids with good reading skills will find this a whimsical, unexpected variation on the 'one that got away.' Jon Agee's THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN (9780545162043, $17.95) tells of a busy taxi driver in New York who picks up a man in a strange suit who wants to go to 'the other side of town'. The only problem is - the other side isn't in New York, but is in an alternate pink/green world where everything's different. It's one thing to get there - but how does one return? A zany story of a ride out of this world evolves, holding appeal to young fantasy picturebook readers with rudimentary skills.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Treehouse Heroes & the Forgotten Beast
Phil Amara, author
Alina Chau, illustrator
Immedium, Inc.
P.O. Box 31846, San Francisco, Ca 94131
9781597020343 $15.95

"The Treehouse Heroes & the Forgotten Beast" is an innovative story about a mystical creature named Zez who found the treehouse home of the Treehouse Heroes when in need of shelter from a storm. Every hero has a very special magical ability, such as strength, shape-changin, speed, even the ability to vanish and speak like the wind. Their Teacher recognizes the magical Zez beast and told a tale of days when the Zez were common. The Zez, you see has a special magic..."A wild Zez in a village means the air is cool, and the river is clean. Her presence... her magic... helps in ways we cannot imagine." A wonderful adventure unfolds with the Treehouse Heroes helping the Zez to defeat the inimical General Moon and to free the magnificent Zez to help villagers in wonderful ways they cannot even begin to imagine. The most important thing to remember is what the Teacher told the Heroes..."Her magic is only one part...the rest is up to you!" "The Treehouse Heroes & the Forgotten Beast" will appeal greatly to children ages 4-8 with its fantastic tales of heroes and beasts with special powers, enhanced with delicate, rainbow illustrations of this imaginary world that is so like to one we know.

Emlyn Chand
Blue Crown Press
c/o Novel Publicity
9780983930822 $19.95

Farsighted is a novel for teens and young adults about Alex Kosmitoras, a blind teenager who has to struggle with one problem after another in a small Midwestern town. His parents are impoverished and overprotective, and he has no friends at school (although the school bully makes time to harass him!). When Simmi, a new girl from India comes to town, he hopes for the chance to be friends with her - she's intelligent, kind, and smells quite pleasant. But then visions of the future begin to assault him, warning him that her life could be in dire peril. With the unexpected aid of a mysterious psychic, among others, Alex must confront the source of the ominous future threat before it's too late! An excellent adventure with high emphasis on character development, Farsighted is highly recommended. Also a choice pick is the award-winning second book in the "Farsighted" series, "Open Heart" (9780983930846, $22.95), which confronts the terrible toll of eating disorders, and the problems involved in troubled relationships.

The Sound & The Echoes
Dew Pellucid
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781478305187, $19.58,

On the other side of the coin, a world is the same, yet different. "The Sound & The Echoes" is a youth fantasy following preteen Will Cleary as he finds himself the target of the Echoes, who seek to silence both his sound and echo. Racing against time and trying to find the mysteries of this world, he finds he must return a prince to the throne to restore the world to peace. "The Sound & The Echoes" is a riveting pick for middle grade and young adult fans of high adventure, recommended.

Mattie Spyglass
Shoba Sreenivasan
Holymoly Press
9780985360405, $14.95,

Curiosity is dangerous, it might charge you with saving a world. "Mattie Spyglass: And the 8 Magic Stones" follows the young fifth grader find a mystical spyglass that throws her through time with her friends as she finds herself pit against an evil witch and races against her to find the stones before she does. "Mattie Spyglass" is a strong pick for lovers of young adventure fantasy, not to be missed.

The Toadhouse Trilogy
Jess Lourey
Toadhouse Books
9780615644578, $14.99,

To find out you're living in a literal fantasy world is quite the wake up call. "The Toadhouse Trilogy" is the first book in Jess Lourey's trilogy, following teenager Aine as she finds that she and her brother have been kept locked in a fantasy book for the past five years, and time runs short for the two to escape else face the wrath of the monster Biblos. Riveting reading with a fascinating concept, "The Toadhouse Trilogy" is not to be missed.

Legend of Zandora
Karen Wilson
Wolf Publishing
c/o Jenkins Group
9780977952205, $33.98,

To embark out into the world on one's own, many things change from when you're a simple child. "Legend of Zandora" follows young Paige as she breaks free of her home and seeks out the world, only to discover it is much harsher than she ever knew. Finding friends in strange places and many more enemies, Karen Wilson presents a riveting and beautifully illustrated tale of growing up and adventure, making "Legend of Zandora" a fun read that should be hard to put down.

The Gemstone
Sarena and Sasha Nanua
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781475911619, $18.95,

A simple gem can change everything you know about life. "The Gemstone" follows young Arica Miller, a sophomore at the Hill Valley Private Arts Academy. Coming across a gemstone necklace that gives her visions of the past, she learns much about the academy, and that the Headmistress is hiding more than she lets on, she sees Halloween on the horizon, and there is something very much magical going on. "The Gemstone" is a strong addition to general fiction collections, not to be missed.

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

POISON PRINCESS: THE ARCANA CHRONICLES by Kresley Cole (9781442436640, $18.99) tells of teen Evangeline Greene, who leads a charmed life until she begins experiencing hallucinations that soon prove to be actual visions of the future. When her Louisiana town is destroyed, she finds her visions still continue - and lead her on a quest that involves bad boy Jack, her only companion. Evie's search leads her to others who have also changed - and to an ancient prophecy that will make or destroy her world. A riveting story evolves. Polly Horvath's ONE YEAR IN COAL HARBOR (9780373869709, $16.99) offers a companion to the Newbery Honor title EVERYONE ON A WAFFLE and will reach ages 9-12 with its story of Primrose Squarp, whose parents are home safe at last. The trouble is other people and places Primrose loves are in dangerous circumstances, and she faces turmoil as she tries to figure out how to save everything and everyone she loves. A fine sequel!

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective, The Big Swat
David Biedrzycki, author/illustrator
85 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472
9781570917479 $16.95

"Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective, the Big Swat" is the third crime cracking bug adventure for Ace and his charming lady friend, Xerces. Full color illustrations keep the witty narrative, studded with detective cliches, puns, and hidden jokes, bug hopping along. Concern surrounds Ace's latest case when the Motham City Stinkbugs find someone has stolen hitter Bugsy Goldwing's lucky bat. From Hoppy Leafhopper to Mickey Mantis, the suspects line up, and Ace Lacewing carefully vets them all. Children age 5-8 will love hunting through every full page color illustration and narrative text to find the elusive clues. But Madame Damselfly is the one who reminds Bugsy at the last moment before bat that "It's not the size of the bat!... It's the size of your heart!" The inside covers of "Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective, the Big Swat" are filled with a detailed, decorative map of Motham City, complete with the Stinkbug Stadium, Li'l Larva Orphanage, and of course Ace's Office next to Cafe Aphid. "Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective, the Big Swat" is a riotous, rollicking read for young readers, whether they are sports fans, bug fans, or just fans of good humor, laced with winks, nods and proverbial puns. Author Biedrzycki carries the double entendre to a whole new level in this wonderful, imaginative series.

Martin McMillan and the Secret of the Ruby Elephant
Elaine Russell
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781475149807, $7.95,

Thieves bag their prizes by being clever, so outsmarting them is key to catching them. "Secret of the Ruby Elephant" is a youth novel from Elaine Russell as Martin and Isabel find themselves investigating stolen Thai artifacts. While in Thailand, they try to piece together their knowledge and solve the puzzles to stop the thieves while trying to avoid making too many mistakes to let it be known they are on to them. "Secret of the Ruby Elephant" is a fun read for young people, not to be overlooked.

The Fiction Shelf

Homer the Racehorse
Linda Baten Johnson and Katherine Loughmiller, authors
Larry Dupuy, illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781477696873 $TBA

Ideal for readers ages 8-12, Homer the Racehorse is a short novel about the trials and tribulations of a thoroughbred racehorse determined to become a champion. Told from the titular racehorse's point of view, Homer the Racehorse chronicles an equine life from playing as a foal, to the grueling training demanded of champions, to the thrill of a neck-and-neck race on the track! A handful of black-and-white illustrations intersperse this enjoyable read, which draws heavily on the history of championship horse racing itself. Highly recommended, especially for young horse enthusiasts!

Latasha and the Kidd on Keys
Michael Scotto
Midlandia Press
1000 Third Street, Beaver, PA 15009
9780983724391, $10.99,

A father seems almost a luxury in many modern families. "Latasha and the Kidd on Keys" is a youth novel from Michael Scotto, telling of Latasha, who is coping with the lack of her absent father, a musician who hasn't been consistently in the young lady's life for years. As she struggles to find a way to keep her father from leaving her life again, "Latasha and the Kidd on Keys" is a strong addition to any youth fiction collection, highly recommended.

The Boarding House
Marcia Melton
Raven Publishing
PO Box 2866, Norris, MT 59745
9781937849030, $12.00,

In turn of the century Montana, life was changing. "The Boarding House" is a young adult novel from Marcia Melton as she tells the story of preteens Emmie and Conrad as they cope with the loss of their father and their mother's acquisition of a boarding house for money to live. Set amongst the sweeping time of women's suffrage and a changing society, "The Boarding House" is a fine addition to historical fiction collections aimed at younger readers.

Diary of a Big Girl
Rebecca Moreno Cuevas
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781475934052, $15.95,

A chance at love is devastating when it may be snatched away as quickly as it comes. "Diary of a Big Girl" tells the story of full figured Madison, who is coping with the pressures of being a teenager as well as her own constant body image issues. When a shot at love appears and then is threatened by cancer, Madison struggles to find something of a life to live on for. "Diary of a Big Girl" is a powerful and much recommended pick for youth fiction collections.

Cadillac Chronicles
Brett Hartman
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas
El Paso, Texas 79901
97819359555412, $16.95,

Someone to show us the way is sometimes all we need to put our lives straight. "Cadillac Chronicles" follows young Alex Riley, a teenager under an ambitious single mother who is trying to put together his teenage life looking for romance and the father that was never there. As his mother takes in an aging black man, he finds someone that'll hear him out, and as his mother forces him out as quickly as invite him in, Alex sees a chance to find what was lost to him, and with a Cadillac and a desire to learn, he and Lester go on a cross country journal that will bring Alex into adulthood. "Cadillac Chronicles" is a fine addition to young adult fiction collections, a solid coming of age story, highly recommended.

The Firestone
Ann Tufariello
Arctic Wolf Publishing
9780984123377, $12.95,

A kid gone missing launches a young man onto a world spanning journey. "The Firestone" is a novel from Ann Tufariello following teenager Jack Barton, as a local kid goes missing. In what is at first a mundane disappearance, it turns into something much more, as Jupiter holds something in the distance threatening earth with dark energy. "The Firestone" is well worth considering for youth fiction collections, much recommended.

Madison Morgan
Pam Torres
Legacy Media Press
9780615610955, $10.99,

The ability to understand dogs doesn't let one understand everything else. "Madison Morgan: When Dogs Blog" is a young adult novel from Pam Torres who tells the story of Madison, who is coping with all the pressures of eleven year olds in the middle grades of school. When she finds she has special talents with them, she tries to juggle her newest friend in terrier Lilly along with everything else in her life. "Madison Morgan" is a choice pick for youth readers entering middle school.

Farm Boy
Michael Morpurgo
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545460064 $14.99

FARM BOY provides a fine sequel to WAR HORSE, which has been made into a play and a major motion picture, and tells of Joey, who was a war horse pulling ambulance carts through battlefields in World War I. Now he's returned home, and decades later his owner's son loves to tell his own grandson stories about the amazing horse's war feats - in the course of it revealing a close-held secret. This is especially recommended for fans of WAR HORSE and provides a satisfying sequel young horse fans will relish.

Dork Diaries
Rachel Renee Russell
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781442449619 $13.99

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All is written and illustrated by the author and provides the fun story of one Nikki Maxwell, who develops a sudden interest in student journalism when mean girl Mackenzie begins a gossip column. Nikki's participation in the school newspaper lands her a job as an advice columnist - and suddenly she's in a pack of trouble. A fun diary-like format with black and white illustrations makes for an easy, involving reader.

London Eye
Tim Lebbon
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616146801 $16.95

LONDON EYE: TOXIC CITY BOOK ONE is a fine pick for teens and tells of a London cut off from the world two years after a devastating terrorist attack. Most of Britain believes the city is a toxic, uninhabited wasteland, but Jack and his friends have been gathering evidence as to what is rally happening in London - where survivors are developing amazing powers and evolving beyond their human abilities. Jack and his friends sneak into London when Jack discovers his mother's still alive - there to find an amazing city and a truth that will change Jack and his friends. An outstanding account of survival, packed with twists and turns, makes this a winner!

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

Katy Kelly's MELONHEAD AND THE VEGALICIOUS DISASTER (9780385741644, $14.99) receives fun drawings by Gillian Johnson and tells of a fifth grader who faces many changes in fifth grade: too much homework right off the bat and a mother intent on making her eat more vegetables. The kids have a plan to make it look as though they've eaten all their veggies - until it backfires and joins everything else in a haze of confusion. A fun story of a tumultuous year evolves. Graham Salisbury's CALVIN COCONUT: ROCKET RIDE (9780385739658, $12.99) tells of Calvin's dad, a famous pop singer who is on his way to the islands on his Rocket Ride tour. Calvin hasn't seen his father since his parents got divorced; but the unexpected largess of too many tickets gets him into trouble that masks his real concern: will his dad still like him after so much time away? A fine story evolves.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999

Jerry Spinelli's THIRD GRADE ANGELS (9780545387729, $15.99) tells of George "Suds" Morton, who has heard that in third grade one's behavior should be better. This involves a competition among students to earn the covered 'halo' for being best-behaved and kindest to others: but Suds finds good behavior stressful. Does he have to be nice to EVERYONE? A fine, whimsical story of being good makes for a winner, here. Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers by Dave Pilkey (9780545175340, $9.99) charts further misadventures of Captain Underpants, starting from where the last book left off and telling of George and Harold, who are pulled from prison by a time-traveling tyrant, Tippy Tinkletrousers. The boys are being taken back in time to the easy days of kindergarten, before they invented Captain Underpants - but different life challenges evolve in this fine story for advanced elementary to early middle school readers, especially recommended for prior fans of the Captain Underpants series.

Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Ann Whitehead Nagda's KEVIN KEEPS UP (9780823426577, $15.95) tells of problems which begin when Kevin's favorite teacher leaves on an extended trip to Africa, and Beezer the Buzzard is subbing for her. Mrs. Beezer doesn't understand Kevin's problems in focusing and controlling his impulses. KEVIN KEEPS UP is a winning story of ADHD and one boy's struggle to get a new teacher to understand his special needs. Martin Kelley's FAME, FORTUNE, AND THE BRAN MUFFINS OF DOOM (9780823426065, $16.95) tells of Simon's scheme to gain fame by winning the school talent show. There's only one problem: he isn't talented... humiliation is sounding more and more like the only result of his participation until something changes in this fun story of a boy determined to persevere against all odds - and against a bunch of bran muffins.

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

Michael D. Beil's SUMMER AT FORSAKEN LAKE (9780375867422, $16.99) tells of pre-teen Nicholas, who finds out he and his ten-year-old twin sisters will be spending the summer in Ohio with relatives they barely know. But small town life is intriguing, they find their relatives amazing, and Nicholas makes new friends. Most intriguing of all is a mystery surrounding a tower room and a love letter in what proves to be an unforgettable summer. Alan Armstrong's RACING THE MOON (9780375858895, $16.99) receives drawings by Tim Jessell and tells of pre-teens who believe they can build their own rocket, in 1947 when outer space is a mystery. Their efforts and interest in space travel will lead them to meet a scientist and become involved in a secret rocket launch that will change their world in this fine story. Lurline McDaniel's RED HEART TATTOO (9780385734622, $15.99) tells of a school bomb that will change the lives of students at a school, killing some, critically injuring others, and blinding one. All who survive must cope with loss, trauma, and finding new paths in life - and RED HEART TATTOO charts these paths. Cyn Balog's TOUCHED (9780385740326, $17.99) tells of Nick Cross, who always listens to the voice in his head - because when he doesn't, he can doom others in his life. Changing the future with his talents can have disastrous consequences - but when he meets the lovely Taryn, with a family secret that could help him in his own life, he makes new discoveries about his strengths and has new choices to face in this involving story of romance and the supernatural. Jane Smiley's PIE IN THE SKY (9780375869686, $16.99) tells of Abby, who faces changes when she's called upon to ride Pie in the Sky, an expensive horse who is proud and irritable. Add in new friends and problems with high school and a world away from the horses Abby knows and loves so well and you have an involving horse tale teens will relish.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Bobbie Pyron's THE DOGS OF WINTER (9780545399302, $16.99) tells of a small boy abandoned in Moscow, and the dogs who save him through a terrible winter. Ivan's dog pack becomes his family, and Ivan and his new pack roam city and countryside seeking to survive. Can Ivan stay hidden from the world of humans? A fine story of survival with animals evolves. Jeff Hirsch's MAGISTERIUM (9780545290180, $17.99) tells of teen Glenn, who has lived next to the Rift her whole life. On one side is a technological paradise without famine - the other side's a mystery. When her father's work on a mysterious Project leads to his arrest, Glenn receives a simple metal bracelet that will send her and her friend on a mission in this fine story of fantasy and survival. Sharon Cameron's THE DARK UNWINDING (9780545327862, $17.99) tells of Katharine, sent to her uncle's estate to have him committed to an asylum when the family discovers he's squandering away the family fortune. Instead she discovers he's actually a genius inventor, and has developed and is supporting an entire community with his efforts. Katharine's involvement in his new community will change her world in this involving tale. Philip Reeve's SCRIVENER'S MOON (9780545222181, $17.99) is a special recommendation for prior fans of FEVER CRUMB and returns to Fever's world as Fever returns to London, a city she'd known is gone. Her journey brings her into the midst of a nomad tribe where she befriends a warrior girl and finds what may be her true home - until war immerses her in some hard choices. This is the third novel in the Fever Crumb trilogy and is recommended for teens with familiarity with the others. Garth Nix and Sean Williams' TROUBLETWISTERS: THE MONSTER (9780345258982, $16.99) tells of something strange haunting Portland, where twins Jaide and Jack Shield discover their magical powers. In Portland they not only meet some magical marvels - they begin their fight against the Evil - and confront a creature that comes out only at night. A fine story of supernatural danger evolves. Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's LEGEND OF THE GHOST DOG (9780545391276, $16.99) is set in the Alaskan wilderness and tells of a ghostly animal that haunts the woods. Pre-teen Tee doesn't believe in ghosts - until she finds herself stalked by a spooky shadow. Her search for a ghost dog and its origins becomes a struggle to survive in this fine supernatural thriller. Suzanne Weyn's THE BAR CODE PROPHECY (9780545425292, $17.99) tells of Grace, who lives a normal life attending school during the day and working part-time at Global-1 - until she gets a bar-code tattoo at seventeen and finds her life changed. Her family vanishes and Global-1 police swam all over her home, sending her on the run and up against a dark conspiracy and prophecy that will change her world. A fine futuristic thriller for advanced teens evolves. Dan Poblocki's THE GHOST OF GRAYLOCK (9780545402682, $16.99) tells of Graylock Hall - meant to be a place of healing, but which becomes a place of death when several young patients mysteriously die. Eventually the hospital was shut down - but the new kid in town wants to see it for himself and investigate stories of its haunting, and his search for adventure involves him in a deadly struggle in this fine selection teens will relish.

The Judaic Shelf

Tzaki and His Holiday Miracles
Avaraham Feder, author
Lisa Cain, illustrator
Mosaica Press, Inc.
Tzipora Ne'eman, publisher/distributor
9781937887032 $14.99

"Tzaki and His Holiday Miracles" is a special collection of Tzaki stories about a young Jewish boy who is very brave and resourceful, rescuing Israeli soldiers with his magic flying sukkah during perilous times of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Here is presented "Tzaki and his Sukkah," a tale of the beginning of the magic flying sukkah and Tzaki's daring rescue of 12 marooned Israeli soldiers. In addition there is "Tzaki's Sukkah and his Magic Dreidel," telling of a daring rescue of an Israeli gunboat with a modern day Hanukkah miracle. Here Tzaki is joined by his younger sister Yonit in his mission. Finally there is "Tzaki and the Frozen Helicopters," where Tzaki responds to a special request for help to reach grounded helicopters destined for Israel in the Austrian Alps in time for Passover. These exciting stories are based on a real character, a boy who grew up to fly helicopters in the Israeli Air Force in defense of the Jewish people. Embedded into the narrative of each tale are many Hebrew words for special things of significance to the holiday being observed. "Tzaki and His Holiday Miracles" is an excellent and exciting book for children of all ages and backgrounds to learn about Israeli and Jewish history and customs.

Red is my Rimon
Dvorah Glick
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628711, $12.95,

Colors are important parts of our life to see and embrace in all of their forms. "Red is my Rimon: A Jewish Child's Book of Colors" as it explores each of the colors in the eyes of the Jewish faith and color to help young readers learn much about Judaism and the color spectrum. "Red is my Rimon" is a strong pick for anyone looking to teach their children about colors and the Jewish culture and faith.

The Travel Shelf

My Yosemite
Mike Gray, author, Annette Filice, illustrator
Yosemite Conservancy
PO Box 230, El Portal, CA 95318
9781930238305, $12.95,

Yosemite National Park is one of the most well known parks in the world, and for the young nature lover, there's plenty to see and learn. "My Yosemite: A Guide for Young Adventurers" is a guide for youths and thier parents to see everything there is to see and experience surrounding the famous park, with stories surrounding wildlife, park rangers, climbers, and so much more. Presented in full color all throughout, "My Yosemite" is a treasure trove of information and trivia, not to be overlooked.

The Health Shelf

Henry! You're Hungry Again?
Mary Evanson Bleckwehl
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane
Edina, MN 55439
9781592985456, $16.95,

Too much junk food can lead to a very unhappy body. "Henry! You're Hungry Again?" is a children's picturebook following young Henry, as he copes with his poor diet and deals with the consequences, then realizes what's making him fall behind in gym class is his poor diet. With a positive message about eating moderately and healthily, "Henry! You're Hungry Again?" holds powerful and recommended read for young readers just starting to read on their own.

Let's Hear It for Almigal
Wendy Kupfer, author, Tammie Lyon, illustrator
Handfinger Press
833 Eastview Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33483
9780983829409, $16.99,

To have a chance to hear the world is one not to be wasted. "Let's Hear it for Almigal" follows a young hard of hearing girl as she receives her cochlear implant and begins to hear the world clearly and face some of the difficulties that come with the devices. A children's picturebook with a powerful message for young people who may soon have to use these devices, "Let's Hear It for Almigal" is not to be missed for picturebook collections focusing on disabilities.

The Poetry Shelf

The Hunting of the Snark
Lewis Carroll, author, Oleg Lipchenko, illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770494077, $19.99,

The hunt for great glory doesn't stop anyone, even if they aren't certain what they hunt. "The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits" is a children's picturebook adaption of Alice in Wonderland Creator Lewis Caroll's poem, as Oleg Lipchenko brings an expert artistry to the table, illustrating the classic poem, making it pleasing for younger readers. "The Hunting of the Snark" is a strong and core addition to any children's picturebook collection with a focus on literary classics. Also in highly recommended are the Tundra Books titles "Mr. Zinger's Hat" (9781770492530, $19.99), telling of the man and his hat, which holds a story he may not want to let out. "It's Our Nature" (9781770492837, $14.99) discusses our emotions and principles, dropped on a backdrop of the animal kingdom.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Fidget's Folly
Stacey Patterson
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425945 $18.00

Good reading skills for ages 4-8 will lend to appreciating FIDGET'S FOLLY, packed with lovely and realistic drawings by Vadim Gorbatov and telling of two young peregrine falcons who face their first flight to freedom. Both were hatched in an incubator by humans then placed in a box on a cliff. FIDGET'S FREEDOM is first in their two-book story and describes their lives up to Fidget's first flight: this sequel returns to this point to describes how the two learn to hunt for themselves, facing adventures and drama as they grow up. It's a fictional account with the falcons given human emotions, but is biologically accurate based on the experiences and observations of scientists who helped reintroduce peregrine falcons into the wild in North America.

Bamboo and Truman
Rohan A. Baboolal, author
Riaan Marais, illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463598020 $12.99

"Bamboo and Truman" is the true life story of two beautiful golden (or cream) Labrador dogs living in Johannesburg. with their human 'sister,' Jade. Boo and Tru, as the dogs are affectionately called, can hold their own with any Labrador in their favorite daily activities, which include, walking, swimming, eating, running, sleeping (in forbidden places like couches), and greeting friends, canine or human. "Bamboo and Truman" gives some excellent detail as to the healthful lifestyle needs of two large dogs like Boo and Tru. Also, the owners of Boo and Tru are involved in an animal rescue and healing operation that is inspiring to read about. Color illustrated with realistic pictures of daily activities, "Bamboo and Truman" gives a wonderful, detailed thumbnail sketch of ideal daily life with two large, loving canines. "Bamboo and Truman" is ideal for children age 7 and up who are considering owning a large pet dog.

Who's Faster? Animals on the Move
Eileen R. Meyer
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425921 $12.00

Who's Faster? Animals on the Move provides a fun survey of some fourteen animals that operate at arrange of speeds, from a sloth's ponderous movement to the blur of a cheetah. Lyrical text accompanies animal facts when questions who is faster - inviting kids to learn about nature. Watercolors by illustrator Constance Bergum capture the animals on the move in this fun survey for beginning picture book nature lovers.

Fish Do What In the Water?
Caroline Patterson
Farcountry Press
PO Box 5630
Helena, MT 59604
9781560375197, $14.95,

There's more to a fish's life than swimming around mindlessly. "Fish Do What in the Water?: The Secret Lives of Marine Animals" analyzes the lives of fish and their lives, focusing on marine animals as they are born, grow up, live their lives in communities, with plenty of curious facts about the lives of these creatures and their successes. "Fish Do What in the Water?" is a fine addition to any children's science and wildlife collection, sure to intrigue many readers.

Grace Borgeson
Bright Sky Press
2365 Rice Blvd., Suite 202
Houston, TX 77005
9781936474639, $19.95,

Rhinos face danger from all around themselves. "Douwlina: A Rhino's Danger" tells the plight of the African Rhino, where they are often illegally poached. Telling the story of a rhino facing this cruel word, it presents a colorful and photograph driven story of these animals and the threat they face. "Douwlina" has a powerful message around an important issue, much recommended for environmentally driven children's picturebook collections.

The Multicultural Shelf

The Great Voyages of Zheng He
Shen's Books
1547 Palos Verdes Mall #291, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
9781885008459, $21.95,

Traveling through the world was quite the endeavor in the fifteenth century. "The Great Voyages of Zheng He" is a children's picturebook telling of the Ming dynasty explorer who represented the will of the emperor and embarked on a voyage of friendship all around the known world and promoting China as a superpower in the 1400s. Colorfully illustrated, "The Great Voyages of Zheng He" is a fun read for those who want to inspire interest in world history in youthful readers.

Drummer Boy of John John
Mark Greenwood, author
Frane Lessac, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
9781600606526, $18.95,

A delicious treat may push us to a better dish. "Drummer Boy of John John" is a children's picturebook focused on the Carnival in John John, Trinidad, and young Winston who wants the rotis that the winning band in the parade gets. Pursuing the dream and the prize, he joins the band and learns much of the music. "Drummer Boy of John John" is a colorful and cultural look at celebrations world wide, enthusiastically recommended.

The Self-Help Shelf

Chester the Brave
Audrey Penn
4400 Hulman Street, Terre Haute, IN 47803
9781933718798, $16.95,

We can't let fear control our lives. "Chester the Brave" is a children's picturebook from Audrey Penn who tells the story Chester the Raccoon who struggles with his own anxieties. With the mantra of Think - Tell - Do, if you think you can't, tell yourself you can, and do it, "Chester the Brave" tries to inspire children to conquer their fears for life, a choice pick for picturebook collections.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Raina Telgemeier
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545326988 $23.99

DRAMA tells of Callie, who loves theater even though she really can't sing. She works as a set designer for the drama department and is determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget: but how can she when she faces obstacles ranging from a budget crisis to difficult crew members? Full-color cartoons throughout make this a winning story kids will love.

Upside Down: A Vampire Tale
Jess Smart Smiley
Top Shelf Productions
PO Box 1282
Marietta, GA 30061-1282
9781603090889 $9.95

Upside Down: A Vampire Tale is an off-the-wall graphic novel for children and young adults, colored entirely in black, white, and green, about a young vampire with a severe sweet tooth. Harold has ruined his good fangs with too much gum and candy; after the dentist extracts them, what is he to do? A vampire with no sharp teeth can't hunt! Despondent, he befriends a pair of belligerent bats, and unwittingly stumbles across the machinations of a malevolent witch. Is there any way to stop the wicked Vermillion from stealing the formula for eternal life, transforming vampires into witches, and living eternally as the witch-ruler of the world? Bold, simply drawn artwork brings this adventure full of wacky characters to life. Despite its length (over 130 pages), Upside Down: A Vampire Tale is a quick read; the dialogue consists primarily of simple sentences, ideal for young people who are embarking on the transition from picturebooks to chapter books.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Star Angel
Starring Jerry Robbins, Shana Dirik, & J.T. Turner
Brilliance Audio
PO Box 887
Grand Haven, MI 49417
9781469208640 $9.99

Performed as a full-cast radio-play starring Jerry Robbins, Shana Dirik, J.T. Turner, and The Colonial Radio Players, The Star Angel is a delightful, holiday-themed audiobook for all ages. One Christmas Eve, Sean accidentally breaks one of the tree ornaments, unleashing a mysterious force that shrinks him and his sister Samantha to miniature size! A kindly St. Nicholas ornament informs Sean and Samantha that they must reach the Star Angel nestled atop the Christmas tree by sunrise, or remain ornaments forever. Cookie Dough Man '66, Lighthouse, Sheriff, and Pockets the tramp clown are all glad to help, but the malevolent Scrimshaw, a damaged ornament on the "Empty Side" of the tree, will do everything in his power to block their passage! Original music enlivens this wonderful winter adventure, highly recommended for getting the whole family into the holiday spirit. 2 CDs, 1 hour 39 min.

The Music CD Shelf

Christmas with Mrs. Claus
Judy Pancoast
Privately Published
c/o To Market Kids (publicity)
4136 Lamson Ave.
Spring Hill, FL 34608

Grammy nominee Judy Pancoast presents Christmas with Mrs. Claus (volume II of "The House on Christmas Street"), a family-friendly holiday-themed music CD featuring wonderful renditions of Christmas hits. Mrs. Claus herself introduces songs here and there, tells of Christmas memories and reads from Santa's Book of Good Girls and Boys, while Judy sings the lyrics to classic holiday favorites, both spiritual and secular. An excellent choice for celebration or children's Christmas parties, Christmas with Mrs. Claus is highly recommended. The tracks are "Mrs. Santa Claus" (2:49), "Mrs. Claus Welcomes You" (0:40), "The Little Christmas Village" (3:38), "The house on Christmas Street (ReMix)" (3:50), "I Saw Three Ships" (3:46), "Blessed Be God" (3:31), "Silent Night Meditation" (8:19), "Mrs. Claus Talks About the True Meaning of Christmas" (0:36), "Good King Wenceslas" (5:41), "The Disastrous Toboggan Disaster 1967" (7:02), "Peace To All" (4:11), "Santa Whatcha Got" (4:04), "Mrs. Claus Reads from Santas's Book of Good Girls and Boys" (0:57), "Deck the Halls" (1:25), "Mrs. Claus Invites You to Dance" (0:34), "Where is Santa Claus" (4:13), "Mrs. Claus Says Goodbye" (0:38), and "Mrs. Santa Claus Reprise" (0:48).

Meg Russell
Meg's Melodies

The second children's music album by Meg Russell, Puzzle is filled with upbeat, high-energy songs with a strong positive message. Performed by a medley of talented musicians on instruments ranging from the acoustic guitar to conga drums, trumpet, piano, electric guitar, trombone, fiddle, and more, Puzzle's lively music features Meg's warm singing voice (and a few tracks have children's voices singing too)! A wonderfully optimistic collection, Puzzle is ideal for raising young people's spirits especially during car trips or rainy days. The tracks are "Thumbs Up" 92:34), "12 Months (Happy Birthday)" (2:02), "When I Grow Up" (3:06), "Jump" (2:42), "I'm Winning" (2:29), "Crash Boom Bam!" (2:12), "Fun in the Sun" (2:13), "Lasagna" (1:44), "Puzzle" (3:15), "Trucks" (2:20), "Stand Up" (2:55), "Be Yourself Superstar" (2:35), and "Thank You" (2:46).

I'm So Glad
Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band
Privately Published
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Multiple award-winning children's music group Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band present I'm So Glad, an energetic music CD packed with multicultural rhythms and a central theme revolving about the wonders of the natural world, from wild animals to placid plants to the dinosaurs who once ruled the earth. The dance-friendly music is excellent for maintaining an upbeat mood, and parents may find it just as catchy as little ones do! Highly recommended. The tracks are "I'm So Glad", "The Tongue Song", "Crocodile", "Water Lily", "Kangaroo!", "Dino Dig", "Tyrannosaurus", "Blue Sky Time", "Music", and "Together".

Orangutan Van
Fast Monkey Music
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Orangutan Van is a lively children's music CD featuring catchy original songs, many of which have a subtle lesson tucked within them, from the importance of brushing one's teeth to the wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. Although "Mr. Steve" of PBS Kids is the mastermind behind Orangutan Van, a plethora of talented musicians have contributed their performances to the various songs - which feature multi-instrument recordings rather than the more common practice of recording only a single instrument at a time! Highly recommended, especially for family car trips or children's get-togethers. The tracks are "Recess Rocks" (3:21), "Superhero You" (3:22), "'A' is for Silly" (3:27), "Orangutan Van (and Banana Transit)" (4:39), "Brush, Brush, Brush" (4:22), "All in this Together (MLK)" (3:49), "Bubbles" (3:17), "Flat Stanley" (3:36), "Grumpy Boy" (4:32), "Song Without a Rhyme" (5:13), "Our Tune" (3:22), and "Someday I..." (3:00).

Justin Roberts
Carpet Square
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Grammy nominee Justin Roberts presents Lullaby, a family-friendly album of ten original, soothing nighttime songs. Featuring gentle lyrics and wistful, flowing melodies, Lullaby also draws on the instrumental talents of Liam Davis, as well as several members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for performances on the strings, harp, English horn, oboe, and French horn. A beautifully relaxing collection created to help both kids and adults unwind after a big day, Lullaby is highly recommended. The tracks are "Count Them As They Go", "What the Stork Sent", "Nothing On You", "Heart Of Gold", "All For You", "Polar Bear", "No Matter How Far", "Easier To Do", "A Wild One", and "Lullaby".

The DVD Shelf

Families of Italy
Master Communications
4480 Lake Forest Drive, Suite 302
Cincinnati, OH 45242
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue
Skokie, IL 60076
9781604801552 $29.95

Part of the award-winning "Families of the World" DVD series (which currently consists of 28 titles, with more forthcoming), Families of Italy shows daily life in the nation of Italy through a child's eyes. Narrated by the children of two different households (one urban, one rural), Families of Italy shows viewers daily life on a farm, complete with creating sheep's milk cheese and delivering it to customers; the 2600-year-old city of Paestum; the restored town of Pompeii, once tragically buried by a volcanic eruption; a family olive oil business; and the joy of making pizzas at home for a big family dinner. A more somber tone affects the observance of the traditional Day of the Dead, when the family visits their relatives' graves and shares memories of loved ones who have passed on. A wonderful taste of Italy's vibrant culture, Families of Italy is particularly ideal not only for school or library DVD collections, but also for parents who want enjoy a wholesome, cross-cultural and educational show with their children! 30 minutes, closed-captioned.

Merry Christmas, Splat
Rob Scotton, author
John Keating, narrator
Scotty Huff, music
Weston Woods
c/o Scholastic
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
0545523273 $59.95

Ideal for young people ages 4-7, Merry Christmas, Splat is the delightful DVD adaptation of a children's picturebook about a playful black cat named Splat. Although Splat tries as hard as he can to be good in anticipation of Christmas morning, he keeps messing up! Will his hard work earn him the present he's always dreamed of? Narrated by John Keating, with original music by Scotty Huff and animation by Soup2Nuts, Merry Christmas, Splat is a joyful holiday treasure especially recommended for school and public library children's collections. A "read-along" feature also encourages parents and children to share in Splat's adventures! 8 minutes, optional English subtitles, closed-captioned.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Sherri Duskey Rinker, author
Tom Lichtenheld, illustrator
Dion Graham, narrator
Jon Carroll, music
Weston Woods
c/o Scholastic
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
0545502217 $59.95

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is the narrated DVD adaptation of a popular, ALA Notable children's picturebook, ideal for young people ages 4-8. The story tells of a busy construction site, where strong and sturdy trucks work hard all day long; then darkness falls, and it's time to say goodnight! The charming illustrations of anthropomorphic vehicles, animated by Soup2Nuts and enhanced with original music by Jon Carroll, make Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site a fanciful romp ideal for kindergarten homeroom viewing or children's library DVD collections. 9 minutes (plus bonus interview with author Sherri Duskey Rinker), optional English subtitles, closed captioned.

The Board Book Shelf

Dahlov Ipcar's Maine Alphabet
Dahlov Ipcar
Islandport Press
PO Box 10
Yarmouth, Maine 04096
9781934031872 $10.95

Dahlov Ipcar's Maine Alphabet is an alphabet board book featuring striking, colorful illustrations by award-winning Maine artist Dahlov Ipcar. The pictures are from twelve of Ipcar's previously published children's books, plus one original piece; each features a rendition of Maine's people, places, and wildlife, all connected by an alphabet theme. "I is for islands off the coast. / J is for jays who squabble and boast." Dahlov Ipcar's Maine Alphabet is a joy for parents to read aloud and share with very young children.

The Christian Shelf

My Baptism Bible Catholic Edition
Jan Godfrey, author
Paola Bertolini Grudina, illustrator
Pauline Kids
50 Saint Paul's Avenue
Boston, MA 02130-3433
9780819849076 $16.95

My Baptism Bible Catholic Edition retells dozens of classic stories from the Christian Bible in a manner accessible to young children. Each biblical tale is summarized in a two-page story, illustrated with simple, cartoon-like color illustrations. Suggested prayers and blessings for little ones round out this compendium, which also makes for an excellent repository of read-aloud tales that Christian parents and children can share at storytime or bedtime. My Baptism Bible Catholic Edition can also be personalized, and is a wonderful gift of faith for the child of a Catholic friend or family member.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Wisdom Tales
P.O. Box 2682, Bloomington, Indiana 47402-2682
9781937786045 $19.95

Saint Francis of Assisi receives lovely drawings by Demi and packs in 56 pages of images and description to offer a retelling of the life story of Francis of Assisi. Christian readers will find this includes all stories and legends about Francis, from his youth to his conversion to poverty and his message, with Demi's lovely color drawings adding impact and flavor to the tales. Christian collections will find this a lovely introduction for ages 10 and up.

The Social Issues Shelf

How To Beat Cyberbullying
Judy Monroe Peterson, author
Rosen Central Publishing
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781448868100 $29.25

"How to Beat Cyberbullying" is a young adults' educational resource from the Beating Bullying Series, with up to date information on effective tactics to combat cyberbullying. In a time when legislation is just beginning to rally to protect individuals against the very harmful effects of cyberbullying, teens need all the help and support they can get to make good decisions about their responses to cyberbullying. "How To Beat Cyber Bullying" condenses and explains information about cyberbullying, what it is, how to stand up to it, and how to stop it. In the chapter on Cyberbullying Solutions, there are 10 great questions to ask a guidance counselor about cyberbullying, plus many paragraphs about legal protections available from cyber bullying, including the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, which may become law in the near future. In the meantime, this book contains suggestions for how to react to cyberbullying, listings of cyberbullying resources, hotlines, and web cites, and a bibliography and glossary, plus tips for appropriate responsible responses to cyberbullying. Cruelty has a new techno-aspect for teens and young adults, and it demands careful preparation, support, and consideration for protection of vulnerable adolescents. "How to Beat Cyberbullying" is an excellent resource for all who take part in this battle for health and safety. Other highly recommended titles from the Beating Bullying series include the following: "How To Beat Social Alienation," by Jason Porterfield (9781448868124), "How To Beat Physical Bullying," by Alexandra Hanson-Harding (9781448868087), "How To Beat Psychological Bullying," by Jennifer Landau (9781448868094), and "How To Beat Verbal Bullying," by Liz Sonneborn (9781448868117).

The Bilingual Shelf

What It's Like to Be Selena Gomez/Que se siente al ser Selena Gomez
John Bankston, author
Mitchell Lane Publishers
P. O. Box 196, Hockessin, Delaware 19707
9781612283210 $25.70

"What It's Like to Be Selena Gomez/Que se siente al ser Selena Gomez" is a bilingual English/Spanish title from the Little Jaime Book series for young adults and teens. Filled with color photos and sidebars and blurb descriptions, the text presents English and Spanish translations side by side to encourage and enable increased literacy in Hispanic descent Americans. The inspirational story of the talented young actress/singer is presented in a brief tracing of her meteoric career's progress. In addition to the young actress' performing history, she also supports a network of charity events including Unicef and OfficeMax's "A Day made Better." She is clearly interested in using her talents to help others. "What It's Like to Be Selena Gomez" will appeal to young adults and teens of Hispanic descent and others, inspiring increased education and literacy as well as vocational goals and achievement. Also highly recommended for the young adult audience are the following titles from the same series: "What It's Like to Be...Cameron Diaz," by Tammy Gagne (9781612283234, $25.70), "What It's Like to Be...Oscar De La Hoya," by Tammy Gagne (9781612283227, $25.70), and "What It's Like to Be... Mariano Rivera," by John Bankston (9781612283203, $25.70).

The Rain Forest Party/ Fiesta en el bosque tropical
Lorraine Dey, author/illustrator
Raven Tree Press
1400 Miller Parkway, McHenry, Illinois 60050
9781936299287 $16.95

"The Rain Forest Party/ Fiesta en el bosque tropical" is a beautifully illustrated fable about an armadillo named Hector Armando who is afraid he has no special skill to contribute to the rain forest party. All his friends, lizard, the turtle, the toucan, and the frog have special skills they can use to make a contribution to the party. But all Hector Armando can do is curl up in a little armored ball and roll. But wait, that's a special and unique skill! Hector Armando discovers his special gift consists primarily in being himself, a beautiful message for young readers everywhere. Every page of "The Rain Forest Party" is fully covered with beautiful paintings of rain forest settings and creatures, and the exciting narrative is presented in paragraphs, first in English, second in Spanish. "The Rain Forest Party/Fiesta en el bosque tropical" is a Silver Mom's Choice Award winner, and educates readers in natural science, dual languages and cultures, and the importance of accepting and being yourself.

The American History Shelf

One Times Square
Joe McKendry
David R. Godine, Publisher
PO Box 450, Jaffrey, NH 03452
9781567923643 $19.95

ONE TIMES SQUARE: A CENTURY OF CHANGE AT THE CROSSROADS OF THE WORLD is a pick for ages 10 and up and provides a fine, entertaining history that considers the architecture and development of Times Square over a hundred years of history. Illustrations are drawn from original photos and accompany anecdotes, stories and history packed with scientific information and sketches and paintings charting the evolving urban structures and culture of the area. The result is a lovely, beautifully illustrated and artistic survey that will invite a wide audience to enjoy!

The Military Shelf

The Military Experience: Special Operations: Reconnaissance
Don Nardo
Morgan Reynolds
620 S. Elm St., Suite 223, Greensboro, NC 27406
9781599353661 $27.45

Kids in grades 5-6 who have good reading skills but still enjoy the picturebook format - and who relish military topics - will find The Military Experience: Special Operations: Reconnaissance an excellent read, offering a little over sixty pages of coverage describing the operations and experiences of those serving in special reconnaissance forces. All branches of the military have their own special teams: this provides a winning survey of one such force, pairing full-page color action photos with insights on the military experience.

Books in Series

How Do We Measure Matter?
Lynn Peppas, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, NY, NY 10118
9780778707684 $ 22.60 rlb
9780778707752 $7.95 pb

"How Do We Measure Matter?" is the first title in a level K-3 science series titled Matter Close Up which is written specifically to help teach Full Option Science System, Physical Science: Solids, Liquids, and Measuring Matter modules. Clear narrative writing, exciting approaches, and helpful photos, graphs, and other visual aids make this junior physics text first class. The three states of matter are described and explored, along with specific systems to measure quantities and properties of matter. Lessons are taught on units of measure, measuring volume, mass, and size, and using a graph to display and read data measured. A helpful glossary and index provide further supplemental information about matter and measurement. Other highly recommended titles by the same author in this series include "What is a Solid? (9780778707714)," "What is a Liquid? (9780778707707)," and "What is a Gas? (9780778707691)."

The Moon
Elisa Peters, author
PowerKids Press
c/o The Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781448873869 $22.60 www,

"The Moon" is an early reader's science book about the moon, complete with beautiful color photographs of the moon up close and far away and short, descriptive factual statements about the moon. "The Moon" is part of a PowerKids Readers series titled The Universe. A brief glossary with key pictures and also a website page are helpful to early readers and their caretakers and teachers. "The Moon" presents known facts about the heavenly body closest to the earth, visible daily in the sky. Other highly recommended titles in this innovative series include "Earth (9781558873876, $22.60)," "Stars (9781448873883, $22.60)," "Outer Space (9781448873906, $22.60)," "The Planets (9781448873890, $22.60)," and "The Sun (9781448873852, $22.60)," all by the same author, Elisa Peters.

Who Took the Cookbook?
Paul Orshoski, author
Kelly Light, illustrator
Treasure Bay, Inc.
P.O. Box 119, Novato, Ca 94948
9781601153470 $9.95

"Who Took the Cookbook?" is a title from an imaginative series of phonics readers for parents and children called We Both Read, grade level 1-2, guided reading level 7. Filled with jaunty narrative verse and fun retro color illustrations, "Who Took the Cookbook?" takes kids and parents on an exciting hunt for a lost cookbook and increased literacy. "Who Took the Cookbook?" is a rollicking read that teaches phonetics and reading skills while entertaining to the max. There are also word search games and make a face puzzles suggested at the end of the story to prolong learning fun through other activities. Kids will love this book and this series, and learning phonics will be effortless. Also recommended from this series are the following titles: "A Day at the Zoo (9781601153494)" by Bruce Johnson, illustrated by Meredith Johnson, and "I Want to Be a Cowboy (9781601153517)" by Sindy McKay, illustrated by Tim Raglin.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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phone: 1-608-835-7937

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