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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 12 December 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christmas Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Science Shelf Picturebook Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Poetry Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Humor Shelf Christian Shelf
Judaic Shelf Bilingual Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf
Activity Shelf Coloring Book Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf Board Book Shelf Fiction Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

We Stood Up: Reflections on the Civil Rights Movement
Lincoln Financial Foundation
c/o Clamorhouse Kids
$TBA CD / $8.99 download

We Stood Up: Reflections on the Civil Rights Movement is an educational audio CD celebrating how the hard-won victories of the Civil Rights Movement transformed America into a more just and equal nation. Original songs created by a diversity of music artists interleave with excerpts from interviews with major proponents of civil rights and social change, including the late Julian Bond and Franklin McCain, former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, and current congressman John Lewis. Enlightening and entertaining, We Stood Up is worthy of the highest recommendation for personal, public, and school library children's collections. It should be noted that We Stood Up is offered to educators, libraries, and community groups for free via, iTunes, and other music services.

Adrift at Sea
Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho, authors
Brian Deines, illustrator
Pajama Press
181 Carlaw Ave., Suite 207, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4M 2S1
9781772780055 $18.95

Adrift at Sea is a nonfiction picturebook about a six-year-old Vietnamese boy named Tuan Ho, one of sixty Vietnamese refugees who, in the year 1981, braved a dangerous sea journey in search of a better life. The a two-page spread at the end place Tuan Ho's journey in historical context, describing the exodus of refugees who fled Vietnam after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. The final page gives the story of Tuan Ho's family members, who were separated by their attempts to escape Vietnam. Adrift at Sea is a heartwarming story that will prompt young people to be grateful for the good things in their lives, and highly recommended.

King Calm: Mindful Gorilla in the City
Susan D. Sweet & Brenda S. Miles, authors
Bryan Langdo, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433822728, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

In "King Calm: Mindful Gorilla in the City", children ages 4 to 7 will be introduced to Marvin, a calm and mindful gorilla living in the Great Big City. Marvin is peaceful and composed and enjoys every minute of his day -- unlike his thumping, roaring, and former Empire State-climbing Grandpa! Young readers are introduced to the concept of living mindfully in a creative, practical, and easy-to-apply way. A particularly special feature is the "Note to Parents and Caregivers" by authors Susan D. Sweet and Brenda S. Miles. Charmingly illustrated by Bryan Langdo, "King Calm: Mindful Gorilla in the City" is expressly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children.

The Young Adult's Guide to Meditation
Michael Cavallaro
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781601389879 $19.95

The Young Adult's Guide to Meditation lives up to its title as a reader-friendly, step-by-step, introduction to the practice of meditation. Written to be thoroughly accessible to teens and pre- teens, The Young Adult's Guide to Meditation discusses how to prepare one's body and consciousness for meditation, how to incorporate meditation into one's everyday life, the qualities of "mindfulness" and "lovingkindness" in meditation, and more. Black-and-white photographs, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index enrich this excellent guide, highly recommended for both high school and public library collections.

Pokemon: Team Rocket to the Rescue!
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338117950 $3.99

Team Rocket to the Rescue! is a "Level 2 Reader" softcover picturebook, designed especially for K-2nd graders, under the supervision of reading experts and education professionals. Illustrated with colorful stills from the popular "Pokemon" cartoon series, the story follows the usually- villainous Team Rocket as they unexpectedly come to the aid of a threatened Pokemon, the Core Zygarde. Tasked by their beloved boss to retrieve the Core Zygarde, Team Rocket tries its best to care for it and defend it from the relentless Team Flare! Pokemon: Team Rocket to the Rescue! is an excellent gift for young Pokemon fans who are just about ready to make the transition from picture books to chapter books. Additional "Level 2 Reader" titles include "Lego Ninjago: Day of the Departed" (9781338113693, $3.99), and Kimberly Weinberger's "Spring is Here: Hello Kitty" (9781338113648, $3.99).

The Christmas Shelf

The Book of Kringle
Derek Velez Partridge & Mary Packard, authors
David Wenzel, illustrator
Vista Clara Productions
9780692467176, $19.95, HC, 32pp,

In a magical land on top of the world, an epic struggle between light and darkness was waged between two brothers. King Kringle ruled with a harsh hand over the elves of the North Pole, allowing no laughter, no play and no Christmas celebration. There was only one, truly kindhearted soul who could make a difference and change the course of the world. Would the elves be able to find Santa and bring joyous laughter to the land? Manusol the Elf knows the answer for it is written in a very special book. "The Book of Kringle: Legend of the North Pole" is the collaboration of Derek Velez Partridge a Mary Packard" whose Christmas themed story is brought wonderfully to life with the simply beautiful artwork of David Wenzel in a picture book that will delight both children and parents alike. While enthusiastically and unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library Christmas picture book collections, it should be noted for personal Christmas holiday reading lists that "The Book of Kringle" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

The Nutcracker
Valeria Docampo, illustrator
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481458290, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite, especially The New York City Ballet production of this classic ballet tale for a modern ballet lover of all ages. While The New York City Ballet is well known for showcasing classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish and modern sensibility, for the first time this beloved holiday story features the artistry of Valeria Docamp in the form of a simply gorgeous children's picture book format that perfectly mimics the choreography of the famous ballet with illustrations that are inspired by the backdrops and scenery from the actual production. Ideal for children ages 4 to 8, this edition of "The Nutcracker" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library Christmas Book collections. It should be noted that Valeria Docampo's "The Nutcracker" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

Mary's Little Donkey
Gunhild Sehlin, author
Helene Muller, illustrator
9781782502944, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

A long time ago in the Holy Land lived a scruffy little donkey who hated hard work. And then he met gentle, kind Mary, and his world changed forever. When Mary and Joseph have to travel the long journey to Bethlehem, who can they rely on to get them there safely? This is a unique version of the traditional nativity story, told from the child-friendly perspective of the little donkey, who grows in confidence and pride as Mary and Joseph place their trust in him. "Mary's Little Donkey" ends with the wonder of the birth of Jesus, and the little donkey's promise to keep looking after his new family. Adapted for younger children from Gunhild Sehlin's classic chapter book, and sumptuously illustrated by Helene Muller, with marvelous details of the Holy Land, "Mary's Little Donkey" is especially recommended for children ages 4 to 7 and is certain to become an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library Christmas picture book collections.

Pip the Gnome and the Christmas Tree
Admar Kwant, author/illustrator
9781782503286, $9.95, Board Book, 12pp, $9.95,

Pip the gnome gets help decorating the Christmas tree from his friends robin, rabbit and mouse. Young children ages 1 to 3 will discover beautiful, natural things such as: a red apple, soft woollen thread, golden straw and a bright, shiny rosehip. Colorful illustrations and simple words in this utterly charming story written and illustrated by Admar Kwant introduce babies and toddlers to the joy of preparing for Christmas. Soft, wintery colors wonderfully illuminate the day from morning to dusk, ending with the candle-lit tree. Perfect for bedtime during Advent, the story ends as we say 'Happy Christmas Pip'. "Pip the Gnome and the Christmas Tree" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, preschool, and community library Board Book collections.

Otto and the Secret Light of Christmas
Nora Surojegin, author
Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin, illustrator
9781782503231, $24.95, HC, 108pp,

One day Otto, an elfin adventurer, finds a postcard on the seashore showing pictures of beautiful sparkling lights in the night sky with the words, 'The light of Christmas!' If this 'Christmas' can brighten even the gloomiest Finnish winter, Otto decides he must find it. So he heads north, trudging through dark forests and skiing towards the fells of Lapland, in search of the secret light of Christmas. On his way he meets the mighty Kekri, king of the forest, Niiu, a beautiful leaf fairy, a hungry badger, a friendly bear and the infamous Ironworm. But will he ever find the mysterious light he's looking for, and will Christmas brighten Otto's winter? In this charming storybook a mother and daughter team have painted a captivating picture of the landscape, wildlife and folklore of Finland. Otto and his friends are brought to life in sensitive, detailed illustrations on every page. Each individual chapter features a short new episode, making "Otto and the Secret Light of Christmas" perfect for bedtime reading for children ages 6 to 10 and an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Peek-Through Picture Book
Britta Teckentrup, illustrator
Doubleday & Company
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9781101940877, $14.99, HC, 32pp,

The classic twelve days of Christmas have never looked so fun as with Britta Teckentrup's "The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Peek-Through Picture Book"! As children ages 3 to 7 turn page after page of this innovative picture book (based on the classic Christmas carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas") and watch as twelve days of gifts appear through clever peek-through holes on each page! Children will especially love anticipating all the presents and seeing them arrive as if by magic. This interactive and lively Christmas book is sure to be a family favorite and is unreservedly recommended, especially for preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story
Kallie George, author
Stephanie Graegin, illustrator
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553524819, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

It's Christmas Eve, and Bird, Rabbit, Deer, and Squirrel are eagerly waiting for Santa to fly overhead. When he does, a gift tumbles out of his sleigh, landing in the woods. The friends find the gift and read the tag: "For the new baby at the farm. Love, Santa." And so, in spite of Squirrel's grumbling "It's not our baby" they all set off on a long journey to deliver it. Sweet, poignant, and starring a cast of truly adorable characters, "The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story" is a thoroughly charming Christmas story sure to be shared year after year after year with children ages 4 to 8. While very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story" is also available for personal reading lists in a Kindle format ($10.99).

Who Is Santa? And How Did He Get to the North Pole?
Stephen W. Bigalow, author
Bill Megenhardt, illustrator
Profit Publishing Company
9780977375738, $19.95, HC, 144pp,

The collaborative effort of author Stephen Bigalow and illustrator Bill Megenhardt, "Who Is Santa? And How Did He Get to the North Pole?" ss a thoroughly delightful, consistently entertaining, impressively detailed history of how Santa started delivering toys, moved to the North Pole, and discovered the elves. Each individual chapter is a particularly whimsical story and ranges from how the reindeer learned to fly, to the discovery of the North Pole itself, just how candy canes were developed, and a great many other amusing North Pole stories. "Who Is Santa?: And How Did He Get to the North Pole?" is a wonderfully entertaining read from cover to cover and very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Christmas theme collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Who Is Santa?: And How Did He Get to the North Pole?" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Artie: The First Artificial Christmas Tree
Dee Maner, author
Delton Gerdes, illustrator
Bright Sky Press
2365 Rice Blvd., Suite 202, Houston, TX 77005
9781942945284, $19.95, HC, 32pp,

"Artie watched the trees. When they saw children misbehave, a fine mist flowed from their branches. When touched by this mist, children stopped bickering, babies stopped crying, and parents started smiling. "What's that coming from your branches?" asked Artie. "That's Christmas Spirit" was the response. Artie is delighted when a family selects him to be their Christmas tree. But, because he's not a real tree, he doubts he has enough Christmas Spirit to bring the children the hope, joy, love and peace they need. Who can help Artie believe in himself? No one knows more about Christmas Spirit than Santa. That jolly old elf soon sets Artie straight. Any tree (just like any person) has an infinite amount of Christmas Spirit to share, if it comes from the heart. "Artie: The First Artificial Christmas Tree" shows young children ages 5 to 10 just how important it is to share the Spirit of Christmas. Artie's struggle to feel worthy of the special work of the evergreens will encourage young readers to face their own obstacles and help them to understand the importance of developing their own special talents. Timeless watercolors by Delton Gerdes capture the enduring magic of the Christmas season in a Christmas story that will inspire the spreading of Christmas cheer throughout the holiday -- and beyond. Artie's utterly charming story shows that with Christmas trees, just like with people, it's what's inside that matters! "Artie: The First Artificial Christmas Tree" is enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men
Isabelle Brent, author/illustrator
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786618, $17.95, HC, 28pp,

The journey of the Three Wise Men following the star is told from the point of view of the three courageous animals that carried them: Safanad the horse, Gamali the camel, and Simbalo the elephant. Each one comes from a different land and possesses a unique skill. Together there is no challenge they cannot overcome in their quest to find baby Jesus. On a beautifully illustrated journey to meet baby Jesus in "The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men" by author and artist Isabelle Brent, children ages 4 to 8 will enjoy an original tale of animal friends as the three wise men cross snow-capped mountains, swift rivers, and hot deserts to reach the peaceful stable in Bethlehem where baby Jesus lies in a manger. Isabelle Brent's truly stunning illustrations will enhance the children's experience of wonder as the pure-hearted animals and the wise men finally meet their savior and king. Verses from the Gospel help to tell the story. Also included in the illustrations are birds connected through legend with the life and wisdom of Christ. "The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men" is destined to become a Christmas classic and is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Kudzu For Christmas
Emilie Eklin Khair, author
Joan Coleman, illustrator
1264 Old Alpharetta Road, Alpharetta, GA 30005
9781610057134, $12.95, 33pp, PB,

In "Kudzu For Christmas" fantastic leafy creatures hide in the trees, and it's the task of children ages 4 to 6 to spot them! The kudzu game was created during a long drive to school, but now everyone wants to play. Kids can join Sam and Andy and the rest of the gang as they search for cool creatures, friendly beasts, and even their favorite pets in the twisted kudzu vines. And when winter weather takes the green away, maybe the crazy creatures find will end up hiding in the reader's own family Christmas tree! Original, engaging, and charmingly illustrated throughout, "Kudzu For Christmas" is thoroughly 'kid friendly' and highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections and Christmas reading lists.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Rise of the Lioness: Restoring a Habitat and its Pride on the Liuwa Plains
Bradley Hague, author
National Geographic Kids
1145 17th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
9781426325328, $18.99,

"Rise of the Lioness" is the moving story of the destruction and rebuilding of a wondrous habitat for lions and many other species on the Liuwa Plains, and the incredible survival of the last lioness in the area, Lady. Due to the ravages of the Angolan War and related conflicts, the Liuwa plains habitat suffered human related damages and losses of entire systems and species of animals. lady, the last lioness of the Liuwa, was filmed by Herbert Brauer in 2004. What followed was an amazing joint effort among the government of Zambia, the Barotse royal government, and the African Parks, a private group, to restore a habitat and rebuild an ecosystem. This proved a large and challenging undertaking, involving animal reintroductions, sometimes unpopular with the local Lozi people. Tracking devices and other observations were used to monitor animal resettlement and reintroductions. After 10 years of concerted efforts, Lady had a new pride to rule, and fellow lions and lionesses. Many species are beginning to thrive again, and the restoration continues to affect not only the animal world but also the humans who live in the Liuwa plains area. Guided tourism is a new plains business that the Lozi and other natives are helping to rebuild also. Today the Liuwa is a protected wilderness that is preserved for the good of all. "Rise of the Lioness" is filled with exquisite color photographs of the lioness and pride and habitat of the Liuwa Plains. At the end of the book, a key identification of species is presented with thumbnail photos of animals arranged in two groups, predators, and herbivores. There is also a helpful glossary of terms. "Rise of the Lioness" is excellent educational reading for students that is inspirational for all.

Cecil's Pride
Craig Hatkoff,
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338034455, $17.99,

Cecil's Pride: The True Story of a Lion King presents a real-life lion hero in the form of Cecil, who struggled to survive as a young lion, made some unprecedented alliances as an adult, and fell prey to a trap planted by lion hunters. While Cecil's story became a world-wide report, Cecil's Pride isn't about his death, but about his life. Young picture book readers with a prior affection for lions and good reading skills will relish both the in-depth story of why Cecil was extraordinary and the full-page close-up color photos by Brent Stapelkamp, which provide a haunting embellishment to Cecil's life.

The Science Shelf

Science Encyclopedia
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426325427, $24.99, HC, 304pp,

Food chemistry, atom crashing, wave power, food chemistry, and robots! These are just a few of the topics covered in "Science Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More!" a fantastic new science encyclopedia from National Geographic Press, which presents a comprehensive overview of physical and life sciences from A to Z. Super smart and kid-friendly, it's packed with full-color photographs, weird but true facts, amazing statistics, do-it-yourself experiments, plus profiles of scientists and National Geographic's explorers who rock the world of science. Children ages 8 to 12 can keep up with the changes happening all around us with this stellar science reference book. Profusely illustrated and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Science Encyclopedia" is very highly recommended for family, school and community library collections for young readers. Also very highly recommended is a newly published companion volume by National Geographic Kids, "How Things Work" (9781426325557, $19.99, HC, 208pp).

Ultimate Ocean-Pedia: The Most Complete Ocean Reference Ever
Christina Wilsdon, author
Rick Keil, oceanographer
National Geographic Kids
1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
9781426325502, $24.99 272 pages,

With more than 350 color photographs of amazing marine sights and scenes, "Ultimate Ocean-Pedia" is a fascinating, fun, fact-filled kids encyclopedia of oceanography. It is divided into 7 chapters covering oceans, ocean life, the ocean in motion, wild weather, underwater exploration, along the coast, and when oceans and people meet. Fabulous undersea photographs are highlighted by descriptive inserts and sidebars of additional information. An example of dazzling visual layouts common is found on P. 72 and 73, the title page layouts for Life on a Coral Reef, featuring nine photo inserts with descriptive inserts of cleaner shrimp, Bargipant's pygmy seahorse, the elephant ear sponge, orange clownfish, Staghorn corals, golden wentletrap, a Christmas tree worm, the crown of thorns starfish, and the Moray eel. The chapter on wild weather explains the phenomenon of El Nino, and also La Nina, with explanatory diagrams explaining water cycle components. Stunning photography accompanied by incisive narrative and informed oceanography make "Ultimate Ocean-Pedia" the go-to juvenile marine reference book. An emphasis on the importance of oceanography to young people, plus its potential for life careers and positive protective actions are apparent throughout. Competed with a glossary, ample resource list, and recommended places of marine study interest to visit around the world, this attractive oceanography resource is highly recommended for middle grade students.

To Burp or Not to Burp
Dave Williams & Loredana Cunti, authors
Theo Krynauw, illustrator
Annick Press
9781554518548, $22.95, HC, 56pp,

Of all the questions astronauts are asked by kids, the most frequent one is "How do you go to the toilet in space?" Collaboratively written by NASA astronaut Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti, "To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space" is picture book for children ages 7 to 10 that not only answers that question, but many others about the effect of zero gravity on the human body such as: How do you brush your hair in space? What happens when you sweat? What does food taste like? "To Burp or Not to Burp" uses age-appropriate language to explain the different phenomena that astronauts encounter during a mission. The bright, colorful illustrations by Theo Krynauw accompany short blocks of text. The inclusion of photos and humorous illustrations make "To Burp or Not to Burp" a very attractive and enduringly popular choice for families, elementary schools, and community library picture book collections. Also available in a paperback edition (9781554518531, $12.95) The opening message from Dr. Dave in "To Burp of Not to Burp" empowers kids to follow his example by believing in themselves and following their dreams.

The Picturebook Shelf

Charlie The Tramp
Russell Hoban, author
Lillian Hoban, illustrator
Plough Publishing House
151 Bowne Drive, PO Box 398, Walden, NY 12586
9780874867800, $16.00, HC, 48pp,

Charlie the Beaver wants to be a tramp when he grows up. "Tramps don't have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams. Tramps just tramp around and have a good time. Tramps carry sticks with little bundles tied to them. They sleep in a field when the weather is nice, and when it rains they sleep in a barn." Charlie sets off with his bundle. But when he hears water trickling, he can't get to sleep. Will he be able to resist the urge to make it stop? As Grandfather Beaver says, "You never know when a tramp will turn out to be a beaver." An original and charming story that is especially recommended for children ages 3 to 8, "Charlie The Tramp" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Charlie The Tramp" is also available in a paperback edition ($4.93).

Take Heart, My Child: A Mother's Dream
Ainsley Earhardt & Kathryn Cristaldi, authors
Jaime Kim, illustrator
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481466226, $18.99, HC, 32pp,

"Take Heart, My Child" is a lyrical lullaby picture book in which Ainsley shares her own hopes and dreams, and lets her child know that whatever challenges life brings, "Take heart, my child, I will - or, my love will - always be there for you." It's a universal message, one that all children ages 4 to 8 will relate to. In the "Story Behind the Story," Ainsley talks about growing up and how her father would write messages to her and her siblings each morning, leaving notes at the breakfast table, so that his children would know they were loved, empowered, protected, and cherished. Ainsley Earhardt's debut picture book, written with the assistance of Kathryn Cristaldi, and beautifully illustrated by Jaime Kim shares precious life lessons that parents can pass onto their children so that they can follow their own hearts, dreams, and passions. "Take Heart, My Child: A Mother's Dream" is very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular and elegant addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Little Fox, Lost
Nicole Snitselaar, author
Alicia Padron, illustrator
Pajama Press
181 Carlaw Ave., Suite 207, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4M 2S1
9781772780048 $15.95

Little Fox, Lost is a children's picturebook with an important moral about safety. When a young fox strays far from home and becomes lost, what is he to do? Fortunately, he remembers what his mother taught him: "If ever you are lost, my child, / Don't let a stranger guide you. / Be still, and I will search the wild / Until I am beside you." Little Fox, Lost is not only an endearing bedtime storybook; it's also a good starting point for a parent-child discussion about safety. Highly recommended.

Baby Bear's Not Hibernating
Lynn Plourde, author
Teri Weidner, illustrator
Down East Books
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781608936229 $16.95

Baby Bear's Not Hibernating is a delightful children's picturebook about a young bear cub who is having so much fun with his friends Moose, Owl, and Hare that he wants to stay awake all winter like they do. But it's hard for a wide-awake cub to find food or stay warm in winter! Brought to life with playful illustrations, Baby Bear's Not Hibernating is an excellent bedtime storybook, highly recommended.

Topsy Turvy Animals
Wes Magee and Tracey Tucker
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781609929985 $15.95

Topsy Turvy Animals is a whimsical, rhyming picturebook about animals behaving in the most peculiar ways! "Gazelles and gorillas / dress up for high tea / and lemurs lick ice cream / while watching TV." Cartoony illustrations so vibrant they almost leap off the page bring this wacky read-aloud storybook to life! Also highly recommended for young animal lovers who enjoy ludicrous fun is Magee's and Tucker's "Topsy Turvy Ocean" (9781609929992, $15.95).

Once in a Town Called Moth
Trilby Kent
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781101918111, $16.99,

Once in a Town Called Moth tells of Ana, who has spent her entire life in a small Mennonite colony in Bolivia. But now she and her father are running away from their home, to Canada, where Ana is supposed to begin a new life in a strange new world. Isolated and abandoned, Ana finds her life totally changed and everything different from what she's always known and loved. Can a search for a long-lost mother help? A fine story evolves.

The Owl and the Lemming
Roselynn Akulujuk, author
Amanda Sandland, illustrator
Inhabit Media
PO Box 11125, Iqaluit, Nunavut, XOA 1HO, Canada
9781772271201, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

As Owl swoops down and blocks the entrance to a lemming den, he is sure that he has a tasty meal in the little animal he has cornered. But this lemming is not about to be eaten! This smart little rodent will need to appeal to the boastful owl's sense of pride to get away."The Owl and the Lemming" is fun and cheeky tale is accompanied by full-color still photographs of custom-built characters on a hand-built set. Imaginatively written by Roselynn Akuluku and charmingly illustrated by Amanda Sandland, "The Owl and the Lemming" will prove to be an enduringly popular picture book story for children ages 5 to 7 and is especially recommended for family, elementary school and community library collections.

How Do You Feel?
Rebecca Bender, author/illustrator
Pajama Press
181 Carlaw Ave. Suite 207, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4M 2S1
9781772780130, $15.95, HC, 32pp,

The toad feels bumpy, like a gnarly tree. The snake feels smooth, like a stone polished by the sea. One by one the hedgehog discovers the textures of his animal friends. But how does the hedgehog feel himself? Award-winning author/illustrator Rebecca Bender's "How Do You Feel?" will utterly charm children ages 2 to 5 with its lyrical text, endearing animals, and surprise ending. The small trim size and padded hardcover format make it perfect for little ones, who may even be inspired to find new ways of expressing how they feel in every sense of the phrase. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in presentation, "How Do You Feel?" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Melena's Jubilee
Zetta Elliott, author
Aaron Boyd, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884484431, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

After being sent to bed early the previous night, Melena wakes up to a new day with a song in her heart. At breakfast she learns she has been given a "fresh start", and she decides to celebrate by doing things differently for the rest of the day. Melena chooses not to fight with her brother, and shares the money she has rather than demanding to be repaid by a less fortunate friend. "Melena's Jubilee" is story that deftly introduces children ages 4 to 7 to the Biblical concept of jubilee, which stresses the important principles of debt relief, generosity, and forgiveness. Aaron Boyd's mixed-media illustrations are as bright and vivid as a sun-washed day, doing perfect justice to Zetta Elliott's consistently engaging story. While especially and enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Melna's Jubilee" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.95).

The Very Tall Tale of Ranger, the Great Pyrenees and his Adorable Friend, Miss Keys
Danielle A. Vann
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall Johnson Road 102-345, Grapevine, TX 76051
9781943846832, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Ranger, the Great Pyrenees, and the adorable skunk, Miss Keys meet on Miss Darlene's sweet twenty-two acre farm. Keys finds a new home on the farm after her momma, Daffodil, the real stinker, heard that a circus train had pulled into town. Just like that, she trades a skunks life for the bright lights of being a superstar. The unlikely duo of doggie and skunk grow quite well, but dream of their own adventurous tale. The two pack a bag and set off to see the world. Soon the news of their travels spreads far and wide, and the best friends take in some amazing sights. That is until one night when the snow sets in, and the pair starts yelping for help. A ranchhand comes to their rescue and sees the pair home. Along the way, Ranger and Keys learn that home is the best place to be as long as you have your best friend by your side. Charmingly written and delightfully illustrated by Danielle A. Vann, "The Very Tall Tale of Ranger, the Great Pyrenees and his Adorable Friend, Miss Keys" is especially recommended for children ages 2 to 7 and would make an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted that "The Very Tall Tale of Ranger, the Great Pyrenees and his Adorable Friend, Miss Keys" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.95).

Buddy's Bedtime Battery
Christina Geist, author
Tim Bowers, illustrator
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553513394, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

It's Buddy's bedtime, but there's just one problem -- he's decided that he's a robot! His accommodating parents must now "power down" their little machine step by step, from his toes to his tushy. Tim Bowers's bubbly illustrations capture author Christina Geist's delightful story of Buddy's energy and imagination. Parents and children ages 3 to 7 will enjoy adopting this new bedtime ritual into their own routines! "Buddy's Bedtime Battery" is expressly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Three Musketeers
Alexandre Dumas, author
Benedicte Riviere, adaptor
Camille Andre, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
9782733843260, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Young readers ages 8 to 11 will enter a world of friendship, honor, and duty to the King in 17th-century France this picture book edition of "Three Musketeers" -- a beautifully illustrated adaptation of the classic French novel by Alexandre Dumas. This cloak-and-dagger tale follows the adventures of the three musketeers and their new friend D'Artagnan. As they seek to protect the King against the attempts to overthrow him by the Cardinal and his associates, they will learn that loyalty and friendship are the most important values. With original and modern illustrations breathing new life into this classically epic tale, "The Three Musketeers" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Animals Spell Love
David Cundy
David R. Godine, Publisher
Fifteen Court Square, Suite 320, Boston, MA 02108-2536
9781567925869, $15.95, HC, 40pp,

The expression of love has occurred throughout the ages in innumerable fashions. Sonnets, soliloquies, songs; 'countless ways' is the true answer to Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem 'How do I love thee?'. Often, the simplest method is best, using the word itself: Love. In "Animals Spell Love", a gorgeously written and designed picture book for children ages 8 to 11 by David Cundy, sixteen critters from the farthest reaches of the animal kingdom help readers of all ages learn how to express the word love in sixteen languages from around the globe. From Czech to Amharic to Korean, and even including American Sign Language, children and adults will be delighted by the way Cundy shapes the letters into animals, and his brief primers, complete with pronunciation guide for every incarnation will help readers indulge in the languages of love. Unique and special, "Animals Spell Love" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Bella's Fall Coat
Lynn Plourde, author
Susan Gal, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484726976, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Bella is a little girl who loves the sights and sounds of fall -- the crinkle-crackle of fallen leaves, the crunch of crisp, red apples, the honking and flapping of migrating geese. Bella wants the season to last forever. She also wants her fall coat (the one her Grams made especially for her) to last forever. But the coat is worn-out and too small! With a snip and a whir, Grams makes sure Bella will be warm when the first snowflakes fall. And Bella finds a perfect use for her old favorite coat -- on the first snowman of the season. An utterly charming story for children ages 3 to 6 by Lynn Plourde that is beautifully illustrated throughout with the artwork of Susan Gal, "Bella's Fall Coat" is expressly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

It's Hard to be Good
K. J. Hales, author
Serene Wyatt, illustrator
Open Door Press, Inc.
9781942264026, $17.95, HC, 36pp,

Ellie tries, really tries, to be good as she faces temptation over and over again. But how can a wiener dog resist? There are sandwiches and trash baskets and freshly baked ham sending heavenly smells straight to her wriggly nose. Ellie so wants to please because she loves to hear "What a good dog!" but she is also taunted by naughtiness because she thinks with her nose. She smells and sniffs and it's hard for her to be good when she gets a whiff! What will she do when put to the ultimate test? Children ages 3 to 5 will find Ellie's picture book story hilariously relatable. Ellie's irresistible charm radiates from every colorful, energetic page as she struggles in her desire to do the right thing. Her expressions tell the story, making Ellie the Wienerdog a pup kids will come to know and love. With playful text by Kim Hales and the equally boisterous artwork of Serene Wyatt, "It's Hard to be Good" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted that "It's Hard to be Good", the first volume in the Open Door Press 'Life's Little Lessons' series, is also available in a Kindle format ($8.99).

The Blue Songbird
Vern Kousky
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762460663, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

In Vern Kousky's "The Blue Songbird" it is springtime and a young songbird hears the joyous songs of her siblings and desperately wants to sing along -- only she doesn't yet know what special tune she can add to their chorus. Encouraged by her mother to leave the nest, the songbird flies off on a quest to find the song that only she can sing. With courage and tenacity, she travels far beyond her golden island home, seeking advice from a crane, an owl, and a mean-looking crow until she finally discovers her own unique voice. Told in author/artist Vern Kousky's gentle, lyrical prose and with bright, beautiful watercolor illustrations that are rich in detail, "The Blue Songbird" is certain to become a perennial favorite as an empowering story for children ages 4 to 8 and is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Octopus Escapes Again!
Laurie Ellen Angus, author/illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584695776, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

While searching for a meal, a hungry octopus encounters hazards and opportunities, and displays a dazzling array of defensive devices including jet propulsion, clouds of ink, extreme camouflage and mimicry, even sacrificing a limb if necessary in author/illustrator Laurie Ellen Angus' wonderfully informative and entertaining picture book "Octopus Escapes Again!". Of special note are the"Explore More" sections for children ages 4 to 8 that offer information and activities on the adaptive behavior of these very intelligent creatures. While "Octopus Escapes Again!" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a paperback edition (9781584695783, $8.95) and in a Kindle format ($6.99).

The Growing Sweater
Jason J. Marchi, author
Ben Quesnel, illustrator
Fahrenheit Books
c/o Omicron World Entertainment LLC
800 Village Walk, Suite 281, Guilford, CT 06437-2762
9780983094524, $16.00, HC, 32pp,

Granny Quiley has knitted a very unique sweater. To her surprise, every time she washes and dries the purple sweater with the white lace collar it grows one size larger! What can she possibly do with a sweater that keeps growing? And will it ever stop growing? Ashley and Morgan, Granny's granddaughters, take charge of the situation in attempt to solve Granny's dilemma. The three of them travel the countryside together looking for a home for the growing sweater. As the sweater grows unexpectedly for each new owner, Ashley and Morgan are more and more determined to find a proper home for such an unusual article of clothing. The surprise solution vibrantly and beautifully illustrated by Ben Quesnel ends up a delight to young readers ages 7 to 10, making this award-winning fantasy tale by Jason J. Marchi an instant classic. "The Growing Sweater" is expressly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children.

Never Follow a Dinosaur
Alex Latimer, author/illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561457045, $16.91, HC, 32pp,

Sally and Joe are convinced that the mysterious footprints they have discovered must belong to a dinosaur! Could it be? Children ages 5 to 8 can join them as they follow the clues to find out. But wait, what if Sally and Joe are right? What if it really is a dinosaur? Deftly written and charmingly illustrated by Alex Latimer, "Never Follow a Dinosaur" is a clever, cumulative caper that is both quirky and hilarious -- a joy to read aloud! Wonderfully entertaining from first page to last, "Never Follow a Dinosaur" is wholeheartedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Do Princesses and Super Heroes Hit the Trails?
Carmela LaVigna Coyle, author
Mike Gordon, illustrator
Muddy Boots
c/o The Globe Pequot Press
246 Goose Lane, Suite 200, Guilford, CT 06437
9781630762445, $15.95, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written by Carmela Coyle and colorfully illustrated by Mike Gordon, "Do Princesses and Super Heroes Hit the Trails?" is another entertaining inspiring picture book for children ages 3 to 7 in the Muddy Books 'Do Princesses...?' series! Children will once again join their favorite princess and her super hero companion as this time they explore the national parks and discover that the Great Outdoors hold a bounty of excitement and adventure! Delightful, fun and informative throughout, "Do Princesses and Super Heroes Hit the Trails?" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

It's Me, Achilles B
Michelle A. Bravo
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478755258, $16.95, PB, 28pp,

Achilles B is a little dog who is new in town. He is friendly, sweet, and up for just about any adventure. His adventures as portrayed in author and illustrator Michelle Bravo's "It's Me, Achilles B: It's Time to Say Hello" will delight and inspire children ages 4 to 6 as he navigates a range of challenges such as making new friends and starting school. Achilles B also gives fun, positive examples of how to make healthy decisions and keep an upbeat, kind outlook on life. Achilles B is a little dog of an impressive intelligence and charm that will endear him to everyone he meets. Wonderfully entertaining and inspiring, "It's Me, Achilles B" is enthusiastically recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo
Marie-Yolaine Williams, author
Richa Kinra, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478776918, $29.95, HC, 52pp,

Are black cats really bad luck? Are black dogs scarier than other dogs? When Baggins, a champion racing dog, is injured during a race, his owner callously dumps him in a wooded area. There, Baggins meets Evader, a black cat, and the two become fast friends. When the duo are captured by County Animal Services, Baggins discovers they have little chance of being adopted because of their black fur. When the shelter's manager takes a special interest in them, it looks like their luck may finally change for the better. Will Baggins and Evader find their forever home? Another outstanding collaboration by author Marie-Yolaine Williams and illustrator Richa Kinra, "Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo - Rescued Is the New Black" is another in their outstanding 'Shelter Dog Series' and very highly recommended for the picture book collections of families, elementary schools, and community libraries. For personal reading lists it should also be noted that "Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo - Rescued Is the New Black" is available in a paperback edition as well (9781478771579, $9.95).

Old Dog, New Tricks
Marie-Yolaine Williams, author
Richa Kinra, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478763376, $19.95, HC, 28pp,

Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks? Deftly written by Marie-Yolaine Williams and charmingly illustrated by Richa Kinra, "Old Dog, New Tricks: The Story of an Old Shelter Dog Who Got a Second Chance" is the story of Boscoe, an 11-year-old dog who suddenly finds himself at a shelter competing with puppies for potential adopters. When a family finally comes in looking for an older dog, Boscoe can't believe his ears! Will he find his forever home? Highly recommended, especially for children ages 6 to 9, "Old Dog, New Tricks" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Old Dog, New Tricks" is also available in a paperback edition (9781478761631, $14.95).

Walter and the Wallet
Billy Bloom, author
Tanya Leonello, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
PO Box 66, Lemont, PA 16851
9781632331151, $9.99, 36pp,

Deftly written by Billy Bloom and charmingly illustrated by Tanya Leonello, "Walter and the Wallet" is the picture book story of Walter Whippingdale -- who is having the worst day of his life. The girl he likes is making googly eyes at another boy in his class. He struck out during recess. He broke his favorite watch. A giant pimple appeared on his nose. And to top it off, he somehow managed to get mustard in his eye at lunch! Walking home from school, his head is hanging low. Which is precisely how Walter spots a wallet lying in the street -- and that wallet is simply bursting with cash. Suddenly, his terrible day is about to change. But how? "Walter and the Wallet" is a lovely and lyrical tale full of life lessons and childhood morality. As entertaining as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Walter and the Wallet" is highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Judgmental Flower
Julia Cook, author
Anita DuFalla, illustrator
Boys Town Press
14100 Crawford Street, Boys Town, NE 68010
9781944882051, $10.95, PB, 32pp,

The flower patch has always been the same. Purples hang with other Purples. Blues hang with Blues. Talls hang with Talls. Shorts hang with Shorts. But when Purple moves into the Blue Patch, Blue just isn't sure how he feels about that! Fortunately, Blue's Mom is around to point out how much Blue and his friends can learn from the wind, the rain, and the bees, who treat all flowers the same. Will Blue start to see things from a different lens? Author Julia Cook and illustrator Anita DuFalla deftly collaborated to produce a picture book story that is a timely and important tale teaching the skill of valuing the differences of others to children ages 4 to 7. "The Judgmental Flower" is unreservedly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. Also highly recommended is Julia Cook and Anita DuFalla's "That Rule Doesn't Apply To Me" (9781934490983, $10.95, 32pp), a picture book for young children ages 5 to 8 on the importance of following the rules.

Fishing Cousins
Richard D. Kelley, author
Eric Ray, illustrator
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480830004, $10.62, 20pp,

Drew and Bret are cousins, and they love to compete. Their biggest competition revolves around Miller's Creek near Drew's house where they fight to catch the biggest fish. So far, Bret has always won, but this time around, Drew has a secret weapon that's going to catch him the biggest fish in creek history! As soon as Bret arrives for a weekend away from the city, the boys set off on their adventure, fishing poles in hand. They go their separate ways at the creek, which is when Drew takes out the silver box that contains a treasure--a gift from his grandfather for Christmas. This gift is going to help him beat his cousin, once and for all. With the help of his grandpa's present, Drew does get the attention of a huge fish, but will he be able to pull this monster in on his own? Will he be able to finally beat Bret in their fishing competition? Soon, Drew learns that his cousin's spirited fishing has less to do with fish and more to do with friendship and the support of family. A thoroughly engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, Richard Kelley's deftly crafted story is nicely supported by Eric Ray's full color illustrations, the result is a very highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Fishing Cousins" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

Just Like Gulliver
Janet Squires
MindStir Media
c/o Janet Squires Books
9780997357585, $14.99, PB, 26pp,

Charmingly written and delightfully illustrated by Janet Squires, "Just Like Gulliver" is a picture book for young readers ages 4 to 7 that shares the adventure of a young groundhog who is frightened of his shadow until a fun-filled journey through the woods and farms surrounding his burrow allows him to discover his courage on Groundhog Day. Thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end, "Just Like Gulliver" is especially recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Tyler the Fish Saves Lake Erie
Meaghan Fisher, author
Sandra Burns, illustrator
Gypsy Publications
9781938768392, $8.99, PB, 24pp,

Tyler is a young bass who lives in Lake Erie and loves playing and exploring with his friends. One day, a game of Fish Tag takes him and his friend Jimmy into some unfamiliar waters. They're a long way from home, and even worse, the water is brown! When Tyler and Jimmy find out what's wrong with the water, they need to come up with a plan to save it before the lake where they live is poisoned! With a strong ecological message that is deftly crafted for children 4 to 7, "Tyler the Fish Saves Lake Erie" is consistently entertaining and concludes with a strong moral message. Highly recommended, "Tyler the Fish Saves Lake Erie" is unreservedly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

One of Us
Peggy Moss, author
Penny Weber, author
Tilbury House Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, Maine 04345
9780884483229, $16.95,

Roberta James attends her new school for the first time after moving, and she is welcomed by several different groups of students based on her appearance (updo hairstyle), her play preferences (monkeybars), her lunchbox decorations (flowers), and her unusual lunch (coconut raison pita roll-ups), and her running shoes. Gradually members of every different group begins to understand that not everyone in any group needs to do the same things, or like the same things. Finally Roberta makes a friend who understands that every member of any group is not the same, and that is OK. Ebullient, colorful illustrations of happy, confident children of different races, wearing different clothing, and having different mobility levels are seen playing and interacting happily all together. "One of Us" is a wonderful lesson for children that is effortlessly taught and accepted.

Read To Me!
Chris Helene Bridge, author/illustrator
Bright Sky Press
2365 Rice Blvd., Suite 202, Houston, TX 77005
978931721127, $19.95,

"Read To Me!" is an amazing, vibrant, verse and collage enticement to the joy of reading books to children. Winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award, "Read To Me!" is characterized by lilting, lifting rhyming scenarios that beg an adult to "Read to me! Read to me!" again and again in widely contrasting situations, at work, at play, indoors, outdoors, at bedtime, in daytime, and anytime. Charming bright colorful collages illustrate the many places where reading can be shared and enjoyed. The collages are made of cut out scraps of fabric made by kindergartners and 6th graders who paired in a collaborative art project. They are completely creative, ebullient, and delightful. "Read To Me!" is created from a heartfelt desire to empower children to enjoy richer, fuller, safer lives by cultivating early literacy skills. At the end of "Read To Me!" are some important tips and helpful things that an adult can do to help their child gets ready to read. But the most important message of "Read To Me!" is that every child loves to be read to because it is fun, and a tangible way of communicating parental love and support.

Magnetic Magic
Terry Catasus Jennings, author
Andrea Gabriel, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628558616, $17.95,

"Magnetic Magic" is an entertaining physical science story that teaches children ages 4-8 about magnetism. Dena is a girl who loves using magnets to perform tricks for younger children at the pool, which she likes to pretend is magic. But when Enrique comes to town, he questions Dena fooling the younger children with her magnetic magic tricks. He decides to show Dena how it feels to be tricked. He offers her a treasure map, over 100 years old, and challenges her to find the tree on the map where the treasure is. Dena uses all her compass and magnet reading skills to determine the location of the tree and the treasure, but it is not there. Finding the true answer and location of the treasure helps Dena understand the value of honest teaching through magnets or magic tricks. Dena also learns from Enrique that the earth itself is full of surprises, in its own slowly shifting magnetic poles. At the end of "Magnetic Magic," additional sections such as For creative Minds, magnets, map skills, and making magnetic magic projects offer more learning opportunities. Poignant color illustrations underline the excitement and twists of the narrative, while conveying a firm theme of integrity and acceptance of diversity.

Meet Mardi: Mardi's New Home
Linda Dembo, author
Romney Vasquez, illustrator
Mascot Books
560 Herndon Parkway #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781631774423, $14.95,

"Mardi's New Home" is a fascinating new title from the "Meet Mardi" series. Mardi's life begins as puppy #4, a baby apricot Shih-Tzu/poodle who is the runt of her litter, a family of 5 puppies born and raised in Louisiana. After many days and weeks of growing up and playing with her littermates, Puppy #4 was taken out of her cage and given to the care of one of her owners, who transported her to an airport and airplane, to be flown to her new owner and new home. Although some of the plane flight experience is scary for the little puppy, what awaits her at the end of the journey is truly exciting. Her new owner lifted her from the case and happily named her "Mardi," because of the fellow plane passengers wearing Mardi Gras t-shirts and beads. So because Mardi was born during Mardi Gras, and because she found a new owner at the end of a long plane flight, Mardi's new life as a happy puppy and growing therapy dog had begun. "Mardi's New Home" teaches children that even though change can be scary, it can lead to wonderful new surprises and good things. Exciting, expressive illustrations convey the emotions of joy, surprise, delight, and dismay in the pages of "Mardi's New Home."

You Are Two
Sara O'Leary, author
Karen Klassen, illustrator
Owlkids Books
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771470735, $14.95,

"You Are Two" is a lovely, carefully written book from a loving parent addressed to the two year old, listing the many achievements and changes and other evidence of growth that the toddler has experienced since birth. Filled with sensitive, layered and textured portraits of children of different races and sexes, sharing the magical age of two years and all the experiences that includes. All the changes described in the narrative are presented as positive achievements and steps to be celebrated by all. The last line of the story underlines the parental message to the two year old: "You are two, and everything is changing so quickly, but what will never, ever change is our love for you." "You Are Two" is a paean to growth and development and the emerging identity of the child of two years.

Patch and Ruby
Anouska Jones, author
Gwynneth Jones, illustrator
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335224, $17.99,

"Patch and Ruby" is a lovely tale of finding friendship and the place where you belong. Charmingly illustrated in warm earth colors, "Patch and Ruby" describes the pleasant daily farm life of a horse named Patch. Everyday Patch would visit with his friends Beryl and the girls (hens), Lily and friends (ladybugs) in the garden, and Ernie and Edith (mouse family) and all their brood, and also his special girl, Sam. Although Patch enjoyed his friends, he couldn't help but feel somehow he did not fit in, that he was different from his friends. One day a surprise trailer rolled up the road, a surprise planned by Sam, his special girl. Patch was intrigued to say the least, when out stepped Ruby, a pale buckskin horse with a pretty, dark tale and mane. After a few introductory explorations, Patch and Ruby sniffed noses together, and then began a comfortable, lifelong relationship. All the underlying emotion and sensitivity of "Patch and Ruby" is gently expressed in the narrative and then humorously underlined in the sweet, comical illustrations. Kids will identify with the feelings of not belonging, and the joy of finding one's place, with a friend. "Patch and Ruby" is also sold as part of a boxed set of three books called the Sugar and Spice Collection, for, $34.99. "Patch and Ruby" is an ideal book for beginning readers.

Faraway Fox
Jolene Thompson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544707115, $17.99,

Faraway Fox is illustrated by Justin K. Thompson and pairs a very simple picture book of relatively few words, perfect for new readers, with beautiful luminous drawings of nature and foxes. Fox is far from the forest he grew up in: his home has been taken over by unfamiliar changes. Can he find the wild green world he longs for; or is it gone forever? Kids will find the drawings especially haunting and the story line a lovely commentary on change.

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

Four recent titles from Scholastic provide young picture book readers with leisure reads that are appealing and fun, and are highly recommended picks for any parent or picture book collection. Steve Metzger's That is the House That Monsters Built (9780545611121, $9.99) provides a spooky alternative to the House That Jack Built, and though it requires good reading skills or parental assistance, it's quite a fun story of construction and monster interactions. A jolly rhyme takes any spooky sting and makes the story fun ("This is the spider who started to crawl, That shocked the mummy who raised the wall..."). Bethanie Deeney Murguia's Princess! Fairy! Ballerina! (9780545732406, $17.99) tells of three friends who decide to play dress-up together on a rainy day. The only problem is: they can't decide which dress-up game to p-lay. It becomes a contest: but which girl will win? Which idea is the best? A fun series of fantasy insights take a different turn when something enters the scene to change the equation. Mark Teague's The Pirate Jamboree (9780545632218, $17.99) tells of a swashbuckling pirate jamboree where a meetup by Blackbeard, Peg Leg, and others enters the party realm, setting aside the more serious objectives of looting and sailing. It's a fun free-for-all melee until a serious pirate enemy enters the scene. What formidable enemy can leave all the pirates quaking in their boots? A delightfully unexpected encounter makes for a fun and original read.

Tundra Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014

Johanna Skibsrud and Sarah Blacker's Sometimes We Think You Are a Monkey (9780670067121, $19.99) features illustrations by Julie Morstad and a story line that celebrates a new baby in the family. As new proud parents observe their new child, an animal theme runs through the story line and provides a fun, easy text reflecting parental pride in their new child. Hawksley Workman's Almost a Full Moon (9781770498716, $16.99) receives lovely drawings by Jensine Eckwall and is based on the lyrics of the author's song from his holiday album: a song that celebrates winter. A joint effort involved in making a warming soup and creating a warmth-filled home makes for a lovely seasonal survey. Monica Kulling's Zap! Nikola Tesla Takes Charge (9781770495227, $17.99) is illustrated by Bill Slavin and requires good reading skills from its young audience, but provides the biography of inventor Nikola Tesla, who dreams of harnessing the power in Niagara Falls. Arriving in New York in 1884 as an immigrant with four cents to his name. Tesla's dreams seem unlikely to evolve; but when Thomas Edison helps him, the two inventors form different theories that ultimately will dictate the course of their lives. The result is a detailed, compelling introduction to Telsa, his world, and his science.

Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017

David McPhail's Crash! The Cat (9780823436491, $16.95) tells of a rambunctious cat who breaks dolls, drums, cakes and household goods with abandon. Crash is just destructive, and his presence in the house is fostering chaos. Can he have a place in their household? A very simple story tells of how a family learns to leave with their crash-oriented kitty. Aram Kim's Cat on the Bus (9780823436477, $16.95) tells of a cat who searches the city for food and shelter and is successful and foraging a life, until one day she finds a place for herself in an unexpected way. Nearly wordless in content, Cat on the Bus is an easy reader filled with large-size, fun cat drawings.

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

Sue Lowell Gallion and Joyce Wan's Pug Meets Pig (9781481420662, $17.99) tells of Pug, who is happy at home with all the comforts he could want - until Pig arrives. Suddenly wherever Pug is, Pig is there as well, interrupting his fun or his duties and making life difficult. Pug isn't happy at home any more: should he leave? A fine story of change and adversity makes for a fine easy reader. Jim LaMarche's Pond (9781481447355, $17.99) requires good reading skills or parental assistance, but provides ages 4-8 with a lovely story of Matt, who dreams of building a lovely pond where a deserted, junky pit exists. He knows it once was a fine pond, but it will 'take a village' to bring the abandoned waterway back to life. Seasonal wonders and natural beauty come to life in this fine story. Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliott's Naughty Mabel Sees it All (9781481430241, $17.99) receives fun, oversized drawings by Dan Krall as it tells of a slumber party gone awry. Naughty Mabel's best friends have invited her over for a sleepover, but there's only one problem: monsters. Good reading skills will lend to an appreciation of this lively problem and its solution.

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

Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm's Little Babymouse and the Christmas Cupcakes (9781101937433, $17.99) tells of Christmas eve at the Babymouse house, where there are plenty of cookies for Santa, a sleeping house, and even dragons. All is not as it should be in a house preparing for the holidays, and a mouse who dreams of Christmas largess finds he'd better think about giving Santa something in return if he wants his dreams - even if he does want to forego cookies in favor of something better. A hilarious story, engagingly illustrated with colorful cartoon-like drawings, caps an unexpected story that offers a different take on Christmas and Santa's cookie habit. Cynthia Rylant's Little Penguins (9780553507706, $17.99) receives simple but fun drawings by Caldecott honor winner Christian Robinson as it tells of little penguins who must prepare for the cold of outdoors. Very simple language and short sentences make this a winner for the young beginning reader. Christina Geist's Buddy's Bedtime Battery (9780553513394, $16.99) is illustrated by Tm Bowers and tells of a bedtime marred by too much play fun. Buddy's busy playing robot, but his parents are tasked with turning down his 'power' button so he can sleep. Parental read-aloud assistance will lend to the power of this tutorial on how to 'power down' for bedtime. Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin's The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep (9780388554230, $16.99) is illustrated by Sydney Hanson and offers a different method for inviting children to prepare for bedtime, but it requires parental assistance because it's unusual dense in verbiage for a picture-book format. A little elephant tasked with finding the 'sleepy things' around her that will help her go to sleep reflects real-world new, child-tested, parent-approved techniques to lull a child to sleep with a story. The result is a fun approach to bedtime that involves parents and children in the process. Brittsa Teckentrup illustrates The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Peek-Through Picture Book (9781101940877, $14.99), a fun opportunity to interact with youngsters on a holiday classic theme. Beautiful art brings the carol to life and illustrates twelve days of magic gifts, which can be seen through holes on each page. Kallie George and Stephanie Graegin's The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story (9780553524819, $17.99) takes place on Christmas eye when a host of animals await Santa's sleigh's appearance. When a gift falls from his sleigh and into the woods, the animal friends learn it's not really for them, and begin a journey to find its owner. Lovely drawings make this a fine read-aloud.

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Constance Orbeck-Nilssen and Akin Duzakin's Why Am I Here? (9780802854773, $16.00) tells of a young girl who wonders what life would be like if she lived somewhere else - like in a city of a million people, or in a country plagued by war. These might seem heady themes for a picture book format, but a blend of colorful illustrations and a 'suppose' winning style that invites kids to think about how life would be under a different circumstance lends to a story that is intriguingly thought-provoking; especially when adults assist in the process. Jean Leroy's A Well-Mannered Young Wolf (9780802854797) tells of a young wolf's first hunting trip, and his conversation with prey. Matthieu Maudet's whimsical and fun cartoons lend to a lively story of a too-polite wolf's ability to converse with his next meal, and the devastation that causes to the dinner table when he believes every word that his captives say.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Fairy Godmother Babysits
Amy L. Stark, author
Marvin Alonso, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781523987849, $9.99, PB, 62pp,

"The Fairy Godmother Babysits" by Amy Stark (who is a clinical child psychologist based in California) is the magical story of a young girl living next door to a fairy godmother who continues as a part time babysitter when with there is an addition of the girl's little sister to the family. The fairy godmother is invited to babysit both the girls, setting up an evening of wonder along with the fairy godmother's two dogs. It is an enchanting night of caring for and about others. The thoroughly charming 'cartoon style' artwork of Marvin Alonso is a perfect visual medium for Amy Stark's thoroughly entertaining and original story. The result is an enthusiastically recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collection. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Fairy Godmother Babysits" is also available in a Kindle format ($2.99).

The Social Issues Shelf

Libby Liberty: In Search of Super Citizens
Liberty's Legacy, author
Alice Sullivan, editor
Daniel Pagan, illustrator
Clovercroft Publishing
9781942557500, $14.48, HC, 32pp,

"Libby Liberty: In Search of Super Citizens", young readers ages 6 to 9 will embark upon a journey as the Statue of Liberty steps down from her pedestal to take them on a search for Super Citizens across America. The children will meet the President, doctors, veterans, and more as they all point to one shocking conclusion: Our next Super Citizen can be found by taking a good look in the mirror. "Libby Liberty" introduces children to heroes of character, as well as people of all ages and accomplishments. In doing so, she shows us that the real heart of America lies in our own hearts. It should be noted that The Libby Liberty series from Clovercroft Publishing parallels the Liberty Learning Foundation's unprecedented, real-world bus tour that presents Statue of Liberty actresses on elementary school stages to kick off the transformative Super Citizen Program as the kids learn about civics, character, financial literacy, and our Great American Story through educational theater, songs, videos, and project-based learning. A portion of Libby Liberty book sales helps sustain the movement that is teaching, inspiring, and empowering our Next Great Americans. "Libby Liberty: In Search of Super Citizens" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Judgmental Flower
Julia Cook, author
Anita DuFalla, illustrator
Boys Town Press
14100 Crawford St., Boys Town, NE 68010
9781944882051, $10.95, PB,

"The Judgmental Flower" is an invitation to kids to examine their hearts, think about how they are growing, and open their eyes and minds to the beauty of individual differences. Blue is a flower child who always grew in a patch of blue flowers. He had lots of family and friends who were blue. One day he told his mother he didn't want a purple flower to grow near him because he was different, and he didn't belong there. The blue flower did not like the purple flower because he was different. Blue child's mother listened to him and spent some time questioning some of his ideas. She showed him that water, wind, and sun shared themselves with all colors of flowers, because they were flower respectful. Even bees are color respectful of all flowers. Then she pointed out that if the purple flower shared all these good things, he must be a lot like the blue flower. Warning him of the danger of growing in the wrong direction, she encouraged him to see that "There are differences in all of us... on the inside and the out, learning how to be Flower Respectful is what the world should be about. Knowledge is the key to learning to celebrate how every flower is unique, and that is what makes a garden great! The value of opening your heart, building trust and communication, and building relationships is implanted. In the end, the blue flower child decided to get to know the purple flower child and they became good friends. The conclusion : "Prejudice is learned and hurtful, but ending it starts with ME!" "The Judgmental Flower ends with further tips and suggestions for parents and teachers to practice talking to children about being judgmental, encouraging a better model.

Say Something, 10th anniversary edition
Peggy Moss, author
Lea Lyon, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884482611 $16.95 hc / $7.55 Kindle

Now in a 10th anniversary edition with updated anti-bullying and anti-discrimination resources, Say Something is a classic children's picturebook. Told in first-person, the story follows a seventh-grade school students who sees her classmates being bullied, shunned, and harassed at school. Then the bullies turn their hurtful teasing and mean jokes against the speaker. What's a young woman to do? After her brother helps her put the incident in perspective, she resolves to make friends with another girl who often sits by herself. The final two-page spread encourages young people not to passively tolerate bullying and teasing, but rather to speak up and be heard! "Tell an adult - a parent, teacher, principal school nurse, or someone else you trust. When teasing changes to pushing or feels scary, it's important for you to let someone know, before anyone gets hurt." Say Something is highly recommended for school and public library picturebook collections, and is also available in a convenient Kindle edition ($7.55).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Nightsiders: Vault of Shadows
Jonathan Maberry
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481415781, $16.99,

The Nightsiders: Vault of Shadows tells of Milo, who joins forces with the magical Nightsiders and survives much in the magic universe he operates in, which exists alongside the human world. Book 2 of the series offers ongoing adventures and challenges as Milo faces a dangerous adversary who has avowed revenge for Milo's actions, and as he continues a journey to save both human and magical realms despite the likelihood that the sacrifice he's requested to make will prove too great. A powerful fantasy read, this series is recommended for older teens who will delight in the nuances and action that contribute to an unpredictable plot and steady action.

Doctor Who: The American Adventures
Various Authors
Penguin Group UK
9781405928724, $14.99, HC, 192pp,

Young readers ages 9 to 12 will travel through time and space with the Twelfth Doctor in the six brand new and original Doctor Who stories that comprise "Doctor Who: The American Adventures". These tales include an invisible spacecraft turns up at the Battle of New Orleans; an alien presence is detected at the 1944 D-Day landings; and ghosts taking over New York's subway tunnels as they're being dug in the early 1900s. Filled with mystery, excitement and the Doctor's trademark wit, these 'timeywimey' science fiction stories will utterly delight any Doctor Who fan -- of any age! While enthusiastically recommended for both school and community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the legions of Doctor Who fans that "Doctor Who: The American Adventures" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Bertram and His Fabulous Animals
Paul T. Gilbert
Pomegranate Kids
c/o Pomegranate Communications, Inc.
19018 NE Portal Way, Portland, OR 97230
9780764975394, $24.95, HC, 152pp,

What child doesn't dream of bringing home a dragon or hatching a dinosaur from its egg? Lucky for Bertram, fabulous creatures just keep cropping up in his neighborhood. Unlucky for Bertram, the adventures don't always go as planned and sometimes it takes the whole family to unravel the chaos. Illustrations by Minnie H. Rousseff and Barbara Maynard bring to life a dragon, squeazle-weasel, anting-anting, mermaid, miki-miki, and many more, in this timeless tale of childhood and imagination. The brilliantly creative author of "Bertram and His Fabulous Animals, Paul T. Gilbert (1876-1953) was, for the first half of the twentieth century, a career newspaperman, most notably for the Chicago Evening Post. During his years as a columnist and feature writer, Gilbert interviewed many celebrities of the day and, as a lifelong circus enthusiast, took on stints as a circus acrobat, animal trainer, and clown. It was in the early 1930s that he created the Bertram stories, which he modeled after family and friends, including his wife, Ilse, and their two sons, Paul Jr. and Peter. This Pomegranate Kids edition of "Bertram and His Fabulous Animals", originally published in 1937, is a true 'time lost' classic brought back into print for a whole new generation of children ages 4 to 8. "Bertram and His Fabulous Animals" is enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
Susan Elizabeth Hale
Our Street Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
9781785353864, $11.95, PB, 178pp,

Eleven-year-old Emma doesn't know that she comes from generations of tree singers, passed from mother to daughter. She doesn't believe she can sing. Her ailing grandmother has just come to live with the family. Her father is hardly ever at home. Her mother has been acting strange. To add to Emma's troubles, her mother's great uncle from England is coming to stay. Then, a strange old woman wearing a hat full of feathers appears mysteriously in her garden. She gives Emma a white swan feather that emits a haunting melody. Emma's only solace is the oak tree in her garden, which she names Annie Oakley. What she does not yet know is that Annie is part of a network of tree spirits who disguise themselves as old women. These spirits have come to Peachtree City to help Emma remember her mission to sing the Song of Creation and save the Great Mother tree. An original, compelling, thoroughly entertaining from cover to cover, "Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation" is especially recommended for family, school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers ages 7 to 17. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation" is also available in a Kindle format ($5.38).

More Than Magic: Secret Friends to the Rescue
Kathryn Lasky
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553498912, $16.99,

More Than Magic: Secret Friends to the Rescue pairs black and white illustrations peppered throughout with a middle school reader's story of a cartoon character, Rory, who steps into Ryder's life from the TV set. It's been years since Ryder inspired her parents to create this animated hero, who is her age; but she never expected him to come to life. Now the figure is not only part of her family, but the animation studio wants to involve her in his tale. Can human and fantasy realms join in an effort to thwart the forces that would join their worlds? A different kind of magical friendship evolves with an unusual purpose in mind.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Edward Eager's Tales of Magic (9780544617669, $25.99) is a box set of his long-time, winning timeslip tales, and packages The Time Garden, Magic by the Lake, Knight's Castle and Half Magic into a paperback collection slipcased together for perfect gift-giving opportunity. Edward Eager's 'magic' stories of children traveling into the past on various quests appealed to young readers when they first appeared decades ago, and under this new packaging, holds renewed appeal to new generations with its inviting adventures of a group of kids who learn to traverse time and space with various goals in mind. Mary Norton's The Borrowers (9780544842137, $24.99) places The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft and The Borrowers Avenged under a single hardcover book, and though the result might appear a daunting read, it's more than convenient having these five books in one place, one after the other. The escapades of the miniature Clock family who live in a world where they "borrow" all their needs from "human beans" offers a fresh, fun miniature fantasy for all ages. Both are especially recommended for gift-giving either at the holiday season or for birthdays.

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

Anna Woltz's A Hundred Hours of Night (9780545848282, $17.99) tells of Emilia's plan to run away to New York to escape her parents and a scandal in Amsterdam that is her father's fault. Emilia's perfect plans for a new perfect life are well done - but nothing goes to plan, and she finds herself homeless, with strange new friends and questionable families around her that make her own world look safe and stable. What should she do now? A fun story of a runaway's changes evolves. Sarah Mlynowski's Upside Down Magic: Sticks and Stones (9780545800495, $14.99) offers middle school readers the fun story of Dunwiddle Magic School, which is experiencing a series of problems blamed on the Upside-Down Magic Class. Marigold did accidentally shrink a classmate, Nory changed into a strange blend of squid and puppy, and Bax turns to stone at any sign of threat - but that doesn't mean they are evil; nor does it mean that Dunwiddle's magic threats come from them. It's up to them to prove their own innocence in a fun story perfect for pre-Harry Potter readers. Ed Massessa's Wandmaker (9780545861748, $12.99) tells of young Henry Leach the Eighth, descended from a long line of wandmakers who has inherited powers, a mystery, and many problems from a pesky little sister to Henry's evolving magical powers. But said sister becomes something to defend when Henry's actions result in a threat to her, bringing him on a journey to not only make things right, but to come into his own powers. Middle grade fantasy fans will thrill to this involving tale. Trent Reedy's The Last Full Measure (9780545548779, $17.99) tells of Danny Wright, whose actions started the Second American Civil War. In this story he's been left to a peaceful life in Idaho, which has been abandoned by the Feds - but it's a disturbing peace which soon reveals its holes in reality. Can Danny make a new life for himself in a changed, grief-stricken world? An absorbing saga evolves, recommended for older teens who enjoy tales of survival and dystopian futures. Melinda Salisbury's The Sleeping Prince (9780545921275, $17.99) is about Errin, whose older brother Lief has vanished, leaving her to care for her sick mother alone and to raise money for the family by selling illegal herbal cures. This would seem enough for a story line to tackle; but add the image of a vengeful Sleeping Prince which threatens Errin's village and leaves her homeless and you have a powerful story filled with struggle, secrets, and powerful forces: one that mature teens will relish.

The Poetry Shelf

Poetry for Kids: Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson, poet
Susan Snively, editor
Christine Davenier, illustrator
MoonDance Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781633221178, $14.95, HC, 40pp,

As the premier title in the MoonDance Press 'Poetry for Kids' series, "Emily Dickinson" deftly introduces children ages 8 to 12 to the works of poet Emily Dickinson. Poet, professor, and scholar Susan Snively has carefully chosen 35 poems of interest to children and their families. Each individual poem is beautifully illustrated by Christine Davenier and thoroughly explained by an expert. The gentle introduction, which is divided into sections by season of the year, includes commentary, definitions of important words, and a foreword. "Poetry for Kids: Emily Dickinson" is especially recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library poetry collections for young readers. It should be noted that "Poetry for Kids: Emily Dickinson" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.58).

I Like Being Me
Judy Lalli
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781631980923, $9.99, PB, 64pp,

"I Like Being Me" by Judy Lalli is comprised of twenty-five rhyming poems that invite children to believe in themselves, learn from mistakes, cooperate, share, help others, solve problems, be kind, tell the truth, make positive choices, and more. The short poems are quick to read, easy to learn, and fun to recite -- making them ideal for teaching practical and life-long social skills to young children. Children ages 4 to 8 can memorize their favorite poems, talk about them, act them out, and get ideas for creating their own. Accompanying photographs show children from diverse backgrounds in realistic settings, and back matter provides adults with ideas for thought-provoking discussion, activities, and learning. A charming update to a popular volume of poetry for children, this edition of "I Like Being Me" is a book that adults and children will love sharing again and again. "I Like Being Me" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library Children's Poetry collections.

The Self-Help Shelf

Abigail the Whale
Davide Cali, author
Sonja Bougaeva, illustrator
Owlkids Books Inc.
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771471985, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Abigail dreads swimming lessons. Every time she dives into the pool, she makes a big splash, and all the girls in her class shout: "Abigail's a whale!" Abigail can see that she is larger than the other girls. She feels huge, heavy, and out of place. Abigail's swimming teacher takes her aside and points out: we can change how we see ourselves. He offers a creative visualization technique she can use to feel bolder, more confident, and more accepting of herself. Abigail tries it out in challenging situations that week -- walking home in the dark, eating her vegetables, trying to fall asleep. Illustrations in "Abigail the Whale" show her perspective morphing powerfully to match her new thought patterns. Next time she's in swimming class, instead of feeling heavy, Abigail thinks sardine, eel, barracuda, shark! She starts to figure out how to draw on mindfulness, creative thinking, resilience, and positive self-esteem to embrace exactly who she is. This entertaining and inspiring picture book for children ages 5 to 8 fully supports social/emotional learning and serves as a perfect jumping-off point for topics like bullying, empathy, confidence, and creative problem solving. "Abigail the Whale" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture books for young readers.

The Humor Shelf

This Is a Serious Book
Jodie Parachini, author
Daniel Rieley, illustrator
Greenwillow Books
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062470522, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

This is a very serious book. Nothing silly is allowed. There are no funny faces, no clowns, and definitely no shenanigans. A serious book is always respectful, and, of course, is always in black and white. But wait! Who's this? Zebra might be black and white, but he is NOT serious. And he and his friends are ruining the book with their antics, parades, and parties! "This Is a Serious Book" is a funny and irreverent book that pits its narrator against its characters in a hilarious way invites children ages 4 to 8 to participate and encourages the kids to think about writing their own books and stories -- just as donkey does in the end. Deftly written and charmingly illustrated throughout, "This Is a Serious Book" is a joyful page-turner of a picture book that celebrates writing and creativity. "This Is a Serious Book" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Christian Shelf

Good Night Jesus
Angela Isaacs, author
Nicholas Malara, illustrator
Ancient Faith Publishing
PO Box 748, Chesterton, IN 46304-0748
9781944967062, $14.95, Board Book, 24pp,

Ideal for children ages 2 to 4, "Goodnight Jesus" is a sweet, gentle board book that acknowledges all the people we know and love as nighttime draws near and bedtime kisses are given to everyone from saints to siblings. What better way than through a kiss to say goodbye to the day? This 24-page board book, is the collaborative work of iconographer and artist Nicholas Malara and gifted illustrator Nicholas Malara and is sturdy enough for lots of use and is certain to become the favorite of many little ones who want just one last kiss before drifting off to sleep. "Goodnight Jesus" is especially recommended for family, preschool, and community library board book collections.

The Judaic Shelf

There's A Reason Why!
Freidele Galya Soban Biniashvili, author
Glenn Zimmer, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628902 $12.95

Featuring laminated pages that are easy for young people to separate and turn, There's A Reason Why! A Dan L'kaf Zechus Story is a picturebook especially for Jewish children, with an important moral lesson. A young Jewish boy wonders why his friend Shua seems to avoid him all day, but he doesn't rush to judge, and instead gives Shua the benefit of the doubt ("dan l'kaf zechus", the phrase in the subtitle). Shua later explains the family emergencies that kept him so busy all day. "'I'm sorry if what happened made you feel upset today. / You know I'd never, ever want to make you feel that way.' / 'It's really okay,' I answered. 'You'll be happy to find out, / That I trusted you and gave you, the benefit of the doubt.'" Highly recommended.

The Little Esrog
Rochelle Kochin, author
Janice Hechter, illustrator
Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch
c/o Merkos Publications
291 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11213
9780826600448, $14.95, HC, 36pp,

With just days until Sukkos, the Jews of Sislotch wait excitedly for their beautiful esrogim to arrive. But when a snowstorm delays the delivery wagon the nervous driver takes matters into his own hands. Deftly written by Rochelle Kochin and charmingly illustrated by Janice Hechter, "The Little Esrog" is a truly touching picture book tale for children of one modest esrog whose humility saves the holiday for the entire village. "The Little Esrog" is especially recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

The Bilingual Shelf

It Starts with a Raindrop!
Michael Smith, author
Angela Alvarenga & Jonathon E. Goley, illustrators
East West Discovery Press
PO Box 3585, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
9780997394719, $17.95, HC, 33pp,

Young readers ages 5 to 8 will celebrate the beauty and wonder of the water cycle through the lyrical rhyming text and vibrant realistic paintings that comprise "It Starts with a Raindrop!". This beautifully illustrated bilingual (English/Spanish) picture book eloquently presents the story of water in a manner that will consistently engaging children from beginning to end. As informative as it is entertaining, "It Starts with a Raindrop!" is whole heartedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito
Tomson Highway, author
Sue Todd, illustrator
Fifth House Publishers
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9781927083383, $24.95, HC, 72pp,

Tomson Highway's musical cabaret, "The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito" is the story of a wingless little mosquito from Manitoba. Mary Jane Mosquito is a misfit, who finds her voice through song and who learns to make friends by communicating directly with her audience. The entire script of the musical cabaret is here, complete with song lyrics, stage directions, Cree vocabulary, and challenging tongue twisters to delight all ages. Especially commended for children 8 to 14, "The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito" is a timely treat for anyone who has felt like an outsider, dealt with bullying, moved to a new place, or was different from the rest of the pack. "The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito" is a unique picture book that will hold a very special appeal for drama students, teachers, and theatre enthusiasts, and is a beautiful full-color volume that will aptly serve as an interactive read-aloud for the young, or simply a great way to introduce students to the joys of staging a musical production. Highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

The Activity Shelf

See Inside the Dinosaur
Silver Dolphin Books
c/o Printer's Row Publishing Group
9781626865662 $21.95

Recommended for children ages 8 and up (the small parts could be a choking hazard for infants and toddlers), See Inside the Dinosaur is an educational book-and-model designed to teach young people about the Triceratops, T. rex, and other amazing dinosaurs. A 48-page fact book filled with color illustrations and diagrams teaches readers about the environment, anatomy, and ecology of dinosaurs, and a see-through Triceratops model with removable skeleton and snap-in body parts allows kids to get a hands-on feel for how a dinosaur is put together on the inside! A seven-piece cardboard T. rex anatomy model rounds out this excellent gift for young dinosaur fans, highly recommended.

Animal Adventures: Sharks
Silver Dolphin Books
c/o Printer's Row Publishing Group
9781626864870 $21.95

Animal Adventures: Sharks is an educational and entertaining book-and-activity set designed to teach children about these amazing and deadly ocean predators. A 40-page book with colorful illustrations teaches children all about these ferocious marine animals. The other components are a seven-piece diorama, six plastic animals, four 3-D models, 54 reusable stickers, and 20 fact cards, ideal for staging creative and edifying fun. Animal Adventures: Sharks is highly recommended for inquisitive young minds! It should be noted that the small pieces of Animal Adventures: Sharks are a choking hazard for infants and toddlers, and are not intended for children under 3 years of age.

Farm Animals Fun Box
Danielle Patenaude, author
Jonathan Miller, illustrator
CrackBook Books
c/o Chouette Publishing
9782981580726, $7.99, PB, 24pp,

Danielle Patenaude was a preschool and elementary school teacher for 20 years before moving to the literary world. She began as a copy editor and proofreader in academic publishing, and then turned to writing and adapting works for young people. Montreal-based illustrator Jonathan Miller has a passion for illustrating and designing products for kids. His bold, colorful drawings have an appealing simplicity that captivates and delights young readers. Together they have collaborated to create "Farm Animals Fun Box" for children ages 3 to 6 and includes a 36 piece, double-sided, 2-in-1 jigsaw puzzle to color along with a charming story book 'The Little Farm Helper' about a young boy named Victor who gets to be a helper on his grandparents farm for a day. Coming as a boxed set with plastic carrying handles, "Farm Animals Fun Box" is enthusiastically and unreservedly recommended.

Highlights Puzzle Buzz: Young Fun from Puzzlemania
Highlights for Children, Inc.
P.O. Box 18201, Columbus, Ohio 43218
9780875342870, $6.95, 33 pages,

Highlights Puzzle Buzz is a fun, fantastic, colorfully illustrated collection of visual puzzles, mazes, stickers, art activities, matching tests, counting activities, and vocabulary building games and activities. All activities offer skill building in different important areas, such as visual perception, fine motor skills, counting, divergent thinking, general knowledge, object constancy, and more. After trying their best detective skills at puzzle solving, children will find the answers on the back pages. Highlights Puzzle Buzz offers creative learning experiences that are fun and so important for skill building in many areas. Other volumes of Highlights Puzzle Buzz that offer similar games, puzzles, and seasonal activities include Highlights Puzzle Buzz (9780875365277, 9780875342894, and 9780875345253). All are highly recommended for elementary students.

Dragons Love Tacos
Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri
Dial Books for Young Readers
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
345 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780735228238 $17.99

Dragons Love Tacos is a charming picturebook-and-toy set, ideal for little ones ages 3 and up. The hardcover picturebook is a simple story about a red dragon who loves his tacos - but when the tacos have spicy salsa, it really gets a dragon's fiery breath going! An adorable plush toy of the smiling red dragon clutching his beloved taco makes Dragons Love Tacos a delightful gift for young dragon fans. It should be noted that Dragons Love Tacos is also available in hardcover without the plush toy, in paperback, as an audio CD, or in a Kindle edition.

The Coloring Book Shelf

Farm Fun: Hidden Treasures
Liz Ball
Hidden Pictures
PO Box 63, Tipp City, OH 45371
9780984308835, $6.95, PB, 56pp,

The latest addition to Liz Ball's outstanding 'Hidden Pictures' coloring book series, "Farm fun: Hidden Treasures" offers farming scenes of pesky pigs, silly goats, surprised cows, driving tractors, planting corn, stacking hay and so much more. There are some 1,600 'hidden' items for young children to find. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in format, organization and presentation, "Farm Fun: Hidden Treasures" is very highly recommended as a leisure time activity and as a family night fun activity!

The Graphic Novel Shelf

The Ballad of the Daltons
Rene Goscinny, author
Morris, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781849183093, $11.95, PB, 48pp,

The 60th issue in the enduringly popular Lucky Luke series is comprised of short comic book style stories that begin with a lawyer visiting the Dalton brothers in prison to explain that an uncle has bequeathed a fortune to them, but that they will only have access to it after shooting the judge, the prosecutor, and every member of the jury who sentenced that uncle to hang -- and that the killings must take place in front of a very specific witness: Lucky Luke. One prison escape later, the four brothers are riding hard with a list of men to kill - and a more or less captive Lucky Luke intent on making their task impossible. The next tale, Blue Stallion, features Lucky Luke's unhappy horse Jolly Jumper and what it will take to cheer him up. The third yarn is Ruckus in Pancake Creek when Lucky Luke must track down his stolen horse by seeking out the owner of a particular pair of pants. The fourth and final episode is Sheriff's School in which Lucky Luke must train seven seemingly hopeless candidates to become law enforcement officers. "The Ballad of the Daltons" will have a very special appeal to young readers ages 8 to 12.

Boat Of Dreams
Rogerio Coelho
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884485285, $22.95, HC, 80pp,

How does a boy come to live alone in an apparently deserted city? Are they separated by distance or by time? Does the man dream the boy? Does the boy dream the man? Is a blank paper in a floating bottle an invitation to imagine our futures? Is the man's flying boat an encouragement to the boy to dream? Are the man and the boy the same person -- the boy dwelling in the man's memory? Is a message in a bottle the earthbound dreams of the elderly? Is a flying boat the unconstrained dreams of the young? Unique and original, "Boat of Dreams" by Rogerio Coelho is a wordless, many-layered 80-page picture book that invites all these interpretations and more. The intricately detailed illustrations reveal new wonders with each viewing. An inherently fascinating and consistently compelling read from cover to cover, "Boat of Dreams" is an impressive testament to imagination, memory, and dreams. "Boat Of Dreams" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to personal and community library collections.

The Music CD Shelf

Let All the Children Boogie: A Tribute to David Bowie
Spare the Rock Records LLC
$11.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Let All the Children Boogie: A Tribute to David Bowie is an all-ages music album of songs performed by a wide variety of music artists, in honor of legendary musician and actor David Bowie (1947-2016). The songs resonate with Bowie's love of creative freedom, and carry a positive message about forging one's own path. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Oh! You Pretty Things", "Breaking Glass", "The Men Who Sold the World", "Starman", "V-2 Schneider", "The Prettiest Star", "Sound and Vision", "Kooks", "Let's Dance", "Space Oddity", "Heroes", "Fashion", "Life on Mars?", "Modern Love", "Magic Dance", "Golden Tears", "Changes", "Lady Stardust", "I'll Follow You", and "Ziggy Stardust". Proceeds from Let All the Children Boogie will benefit the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit organization created expressly to reduce suicide rates of LGBT youth by communicating the message that life will get better in spite of the homophobia and discrimination they endure while growing up.

Junie B. Jones The Musical Cast Album
Junie B. Jones, performer
Zina Goldrich & Marcy Heisler, songwriters
Next Decade Entertainment, Inc.
$TBA CD / $9.99 download

Junie B. Jones The Musical Cast Album is a children's CD capturing the lively spirit of an original, family-friendly musical. The songs explore the adventures of a new school year, from how glasses help Junie see the world better, to friends and rivals, kickball tournaments, and lunch lady lyrics. Upbeat and charming, Junie B. Jones The Musical Cast Album is pure fun for listeners of all ages, and highly recommended especially for school and public library collections, or as a gift to remind young people that a new school year can be fun! The tracks are "Top Secret Personal Beeswax", "Lucille, Camille, Chenille", "You Can Be My Friend", "Time To Make a Drawing", "You Need Glasses", "Show And Tell", "Now I See", "Lunch Box", "Gladys Gutzman, Queen of Snacks", "Kickball Tournament", "Sheldon Potts' Halftime Show", "When Life Gives You Lemons", "Kickball Tournament (Reprise)", "When Life Gives You Lemons (Reprise)", and "Writing Down the Story of My Life".

The Board Book Shelf

Goodnight, Sleepy Animals
Christine Battuz, illustrator
CrackBook Books
c/o Chouette Publishing
9782897183387, $12.99, Board Book, 14pp,

Charmingly illustrated by Christine Battuz, "Goodnight, Sleepy Animals" is a whimsical board book with a built in nightlight written specifically for children ages 2 to 6 and reveals how various animals sleep under the moon. "Goodnight, Sleepy Animals" is ideal for bedtime snuggles! Children can press on the moon and light up their room. The 'Nightlight' feature closes after 30 seconds. "Goodnight, Sleepy Animals" is very highly recommended as a thoroughly 'kid friendly' bedtime entertainment.

Finding First Animals
Libby Walden, author
Fhiona Galloway, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589252295 $12.99

Finding First Animals is a "Lift-the-Flap Learning" educational board book. Although its pages are made of stiff pasteboard, it is the size of a large picturebook, and every page has multiple thin flaps that can be lifted to reveal a special picture. The bright illustrations are perfect to entice young readers ages 2-5 to expand their vocabulary, teaching not only 100+ animal names but also words like "pond", "burrow", and "hive". Also highly recommended is Hannah Pang's and Jenny Wren's "Wilderness" (9781944530037, $22.99), a pop-up and lift-the-flap book filled with fascinating facts about real-world animals.

The Fiction Shelf

When Morning Comes
Arushi Raina
Tradewind Books
c/o Orca Book Publishers
PO Box 468, Custer, WA 98240-0468
9781896580692, $18.95, Library Binding, 232pp,

The debut novel of Arushi Raina and written specifically for young readers ages 14 and up, "When Morning comes" is the story of Zanele, who is skipping school and secretly plotting against the apartheid government. The police can't know. Her mother and sister can't know. Her best friend Thabo, schoolboy turned gang member, can tell she's up to something. But he has troubles of his own--a deal gone wrong and some powerful enemies. Across the bridge, in the wealthy white suburbs, Jack plans to spend his last days in Johannesburg burning miles on his beat-up Mustang--until he meets a girl with an unforgettable face from the simmering black township--Soweto. Working in her father's shop, Meena finds a packet of banned pamphlets. They lead to a mysterious black girl with a secret, a dangerous gangster with an expensive taste in clothes, and an engaging white boy who drives a battered red car. A series of chance meetings changes everything. A chain of events is set in motion--a failed plot, a murdered teacher, and a secret movement of students that has spread across the township. And the students will rise. A simply riveting read from cover to cover, "When Morning Comes" is especially recommended for both school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "When Morning Comes" is also available in a paperback edition (9781926890142, $10.95).

Rani Patel In Full Effect
Sonia Patel
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781941026496, $16.76, HC, 224pp,

Almost seventeen, Rani Patel appears to be a kick-ass Indian girl breaking cultural norms as a hip-hop performer in full effect. But in truth, she's a nerdy flat-chested nobody who lives with her Gujarati immigrant parents on the remote Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, isolated from her high school peers by the unsettling norms of Indian culture where "husband is God". Her parents' traditionally arranged marriage is a sham. Her dad turns to her for all his needs --even the intimate ones. When Rani catches him two-timing with a woman barely older than herself, she feels like a widow and, like widows in India are often made to do, she shaves off her hair. Her sexy bald head and hard-driving rhyming skills attract the attention of Mark, the hot older customer who frequents her parents' store and is closer in age to her dad than to her. Mark makes the moves on her and Rani goes with it. He leads Rani into 4eva Flowin', an underground hip hop crew -- and into other things she's never done. Rani ignores the red flags. Her naive choices look like they will undo her but ultimately give her the chance to discover her strengths and restore the things she thought she'd lost, including her mother. "Rani Patel In Full Effect" by child and adolescent psychiatrist Sonia Patel is an extraordinary and deftly crafted novel that will have particular and special appeal to young readers ages 12 to 18. While very highly recommended, especially for high school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rani Patel In Full Effect" is also available in a paperback edition (9781941026502, $11.95) and a Kindle format ($7.44).

Happy Endings
Adele Geras
Paul Dry Books
1700 Sansom Street, Suite 700, Philadelphia, PA 19103-5214
9780152057732, $9.95, PB, 192pp,

When sixteen-year-old Mel lands a role in a summer production of Chekov's Three Sisters, she is immediately caught up in the exciting world of the theater. Mel forms close bonds with the cast and crew, especially Clare, the costume and set designer. And for a while it seems that Mel is having the most blissful time of her life. But she soon learns that the drama is not entirely confined to the stage: Clare's boyfriend, the director of the show, is romancing a conniving actress behind Clare's back, and Mel has her own love life to figure out--with Mike, a sweet. kind, and mysterious fellow actor. Despite setbacks in production and intrigue among the cast members, the show must go on. But after the final curtain call, will there be a happy ending? "Happy Endings" will have special appeal to young readers ages 12 to 18 who have a particular interest in theatre. A deftly crafted and consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "Happy Endings" is very highly recommended, especially for high school and community library YA Fiction collections.

Stealing Indians
John Smelcer
Leapfrog Press
P.O. Box 505, Fredonia, NY 14063
9781935248828, $13.95, PB, 200pp,

"Stealing Indians" by John Smelcer is the story of four Indian teenagers who are kidnaped from different regions of the country and find that their lives are immutably changed by an white man's educational institution specifically designed and intended to eradicate their Native American identity. And no matter what their home, their stories are representative of every story, every stolen life. So far from home, without family to protect them, only their friendship helps them endure. Based upon one of the more shameful chapters of 19th and early 20th Century American history, while "Stealing Indians" is a work of fiction what it reports is all too true. A deftly crafted and compelling read from cover to cover, "Stealing Indians" is very highly recommended, especially for highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Stealing Indians" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.61).

Books in Series

The Tinker & the Fold series
Evan & Scott Gordon
Laguna Lantern Publishing
$9.99 each

Four years ago a father and son collaborated on a fun project to write a science fiction story; an effort that was to blossom into something more than a one-time partnership. The Tinker and the Fold: The Problem with Solaris 3 (9780996357432) and its sequel The Tinker and The Fold Part 2 - The Rise of the Boe (9780996357456) sees their effort brought to full fruition in these first two books of a trilogy, a result of that process; but if readers anticipate a genre read replete with conventional devices, they will immediately realize there's far more happening here than a predictable story line. From an invention that tests his mother's quantum theories and opens the door to strange new worlds to Jett's place not just on Earth, but in the universe, The Problem with Solaris 3 succeeds in going where few other young adult science fiction reads can follow, transporting its readers to a unique universe replete with kidnappings, unexpectedly hilarious alien invasions, and a "must have" list of tools that includes impeccable and funny logic. The Rise of the Boe opens with a foreword that places the story in perspective (for newcomers who have not previously imbibed of Solaris 3) so that all readers enter on an even playing field of prior knowledge. The saga begins where Solaris 3 left off, in a world changed by aliens, Ten Laws, The Fold's miracles and dictates, and a humanity at odds with their newly managed lives. As Jett and his brother face a deadly 'blood mist' and a force that rivals The Fold, they must make some terrible choices and face their consequences in a story line that is satisfyingly complex and an astounding piece for a middle-grade author, even given a father's collaborative participation in the process. It's the stuff of movies (one can only hope a screenplay will come next); but if these two volumes are any indication, Book 3 will be well worth waiting for - especially since the Boe are not done here, despite Jack and Jett's best efforts.

Mapping the Continents series
Paul Rockett
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

Paul Rockett's 'Mapping the Continents' series each hold 32 pages of information specific to a different region, pairing maps and geographic discussions with insights on landmarks, industries, culture, and more. Mark Ruffle's artwork enhances the presentation, adding eye-catching and colorful cartoons to the effort and lending an atmosphere of browsing detail and fun to each book which encourages young readers to choose these books for general interest reading as well as research. Each holds a bibliography, glossary, and index and each is packed with practical facts balanced by colorful illustrations. Mapping Asia (9780778728135, HC, $27.60, PB, $8.95), North America (9780778726166, HC, $27.60, PB, $8.95), South America (9780778726173, HC, $27.60, PB, $8.95), Australia and Oceania, and Antarctica (9780778726142, HC, $27.60, PB, $8.95), Europe (9780778726159, HC, $27.60, PB, $8.95) and Africa (9780778726128, HC, $27.60, PB, $8.95) are each packed with photos and colorful information that kids will find fun and accessible.

Get Into Dioramas and Models
Janice Dyer, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th floor, New York, NY 19118
9780778726401, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB, 32pp,

Part of the Get-Into-It Guides series for elementary readers (guided reading level Q), "Get Into Dioramas and Models" is a handy guide that covers definitions, sources and materials, and designing/planning your diorama, along with further information about creative techniques and tips for building scenes. Color photographs and handy step by step instructions guide readers through a process of designing and creating dioramas. Interesting models are suggested for a nature scene (rainforest diorama), literary scene (Alice in Wonderland diorama), community scene (your favorite dog park model), and a construction scene (dream house model). A Learning More section lists books and websites for additional resources, and a glossary has vocabulary definitions. "Get Into Dioramas and Models" will inspire readers to create the diorama or model of their dreams, for low cost, with creative tips. Also highly recommended are the following titles from the "Get-Into-It Guides" series: "Get Into Knitting" (978077872641, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB,), by Janice Dyer, "Get Into Photography" (9780778726432, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB,)," by Rachel Stuckey, and "Get Into Minecraft (9780778726425, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB,), by Vic Kovacs.

What Do I Want? What Do I Need?
Rachel Eagen, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778726647, $23.60 HC, $7.95 PB, 24pp,

"What Do I Want? What Do I Need?" is part of a series titled "Money Sense," an introduction to financial literacy for elementary education level student (guided reading level M). "What Do I Want? What Do I Need?" helps students target and differentiate between wants and needs, to begin learning to make good choices for smart spending, and budget creation. Illustrated with bright color photographs and filled with handy color contrasting sidebars to focus on key concepts. One handy analytic technique on page 19 is a suggestion to make a chart of pros and cons to help "make 'cents' of it. Finally the reader is encourages to imagine themselves in charge of creating their family's budget, making choices about spending for needs vs. spending for wants, with justification for thinking requested. Finally, a section titled Learning More lists books and websites as resources for readers. There is also a section for vocabulary titled Words to Know, plus an index and an author profile. "What Do I Want? What Do I Need?" is an excellent beginning for teaching concepts of critical thinking about spending available money wisely. Other titles from the "Money Sense" series that are also highly recommended include the following: "Why Does Money Matter?" (9780778726661, $23.60 HC, $7.95 PB), "Learning About Earning" (9780778726654, $23.60 HC, $7.95 PB) and "Why Should I Save for a Rainy Day?" (9780778726630, $23.60 HC, $7.95 PB), all of which are also by Rachel Eagen.

Stuart A. Kallen, author
Norwood House Press
P.O. Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
9781599537566, $20.95 64 pages hardback,

Written for students ages 8-12 years, "Obesity" is a guidebook to current issues involved with obesity, plus causes, treatments, and solutions. Using colorful graphs, fact filled interpretive sidebars, and comparative analysis, "Obesity" examines opinions, cause and effect, and factors such as emotional appeal in rising health issues relating to increased obesity in both adult and children in the United States. "Obesity" questions whether the rising trends of obesity are the fault of the food industry, whether or not government can help prevent obesity, and weighs the effectiveness of dieting as a treatment for obesity. Students are asked to wrap it up and write their own essays after examining the information and opinions. In addition to the chapters of information and guidelines for essay writing, there is a timeline (noting that the percentage of obese kids in the U. S. has increased from 5 percent in 1971 to 33 percent in 2015), notes on each chapter, a glossary, and a bibliography. "Obesity" is an excellent information mine and stimulus to encourage young readers to develop opinions founded on strong research. Other titles in the "Matters of Opinion" series that are also highly recommended include the following: "Bullying (9781599537542)," by Carla Mooney, "Cell Phones (9781599537559)," by Andrea Nakaya, and "School Violence (9781599537573)," by Toney Allman.

Save the Season!
Lisa M. Bolt Simons
Lake 7 Creative, LLC
9781940647227 $8.95 pbk / $7.99 Kindle

Part of the "Choose to Win!" series of interactive novels for young adults, Save the Season! puts the reader in the role of the starting goalie for the local boys' hockey team. The choices the reader makes while turning the pages can award points to upgrade skills, and ultimately lead to a championship - or disaster! Filled with high-energy hockey action, Save the Season! is an excellent choice to encourage young people to read and develop their problem-solving skills. Also highly recommended are the other titles in the "Choose to Win!" series, including the soccer-themed story "Goal-Minded" (9781940647203, $8.95 pbk / $7.99 Kindle) and the baseball-themed story "Out at Home" (9781940647180, $8.95 pbk / $7.99 Kindle).

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

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