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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 2 February 2006 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Fiction Shelf Books in Series
Science Shelf American History Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Music Shelf Audiobook Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Preschool Shelf Mythology/Folklore Shelf Biography Shelf
Video/DVD Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

New York State Of Mind
Billy Joel
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439553822 $16.99

A cd single of the song accompanies musician Billy Joe's book of the same name New York State Of Mind, which receives illustration by Izak and imparts a passion for New York, from the Empire state Building to Central Park. From movie stars to newspapers and ice skating, New York State Of Mind imparts a fun and simple appreciation for the city's many offerings.

The Great Brain Book
H.P. Newquist
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439458951 $18.95

The study of the brain has a long history, from early Egyptian probes to modern-day research into how the brain works. The Great Brain Book: An Inside Look At The Inside Of Your Head explores all facets of the brain's systems, with bright color photos surveying parts of the brain and how they interact and operate physically and psychologically. Students in grades 6-9 studying anatomy will find it a bright, fun book inviting leisure browsing as much as reference consultation.

Red Ridin' In The Hood And Other Cuentos
Patricia Santos Marcantonio
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
0374362416 $16.00

For a contemporary, detailed take on the Red Riding Hood woods saga, choose the urban-oriented Red Ridin' In The Hood And Other Cuentos, pairing realistic and engaging drawings by Renato Alarcao with the story of a barrio Red who decides to brave a dangerous Forest Street to reach her sick grandmother. Eleven such classics receive Latino cultural insights and will delight middle-grade Latino readers.

King Of The Pygmies
Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
0763614181 $16.99

When teen Penn begins to hear voices, they turn out to be the thoughts of those around him; not schizophrenia as his parents think. His mother thinks he needs treatment but his wise uncle Hewitt knows better; for he too has the ability to hear other people's thoughts - and only he can teach his nephew how to survive a gift which seems like a disability. King Of The Pygmies is a lovely story of affliction and positive change evolves.

Enslow Publishers
PO Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922

Two outstanding drugs titles will reach different grade levels with important information. David Aretha's Steroids And Other Performance-Enhancing Drugs (0766-05277X, $18.95) presents almost 50 pages of detail in a '' tile providing both basic information and plenty of Internet links for further reference. There's lots of color and many examples to enjoy in this primer, which even adults might find interesting and easy to understand. Stephanie Maher Palenque's Crack & Cocaine (0766021696, $23.95) will appeal to grades 5-7 with its 104 pages of detail on cocaine use, from the history of the coca plant and the effects cocaine has on the body to addiction and treatment issues. Both are important guides. One of the more powerful ethical issues today revolves around the Internet and copyright, with most debates reaching only adult audiences and not the kids growing up with the Net. That's why Sherri Mabry Gordon's Downloading Copyrighted Stuff From The Internet: Stealing Or Fair Use? (0766021645, $31.95) is so important: a little over a hundred pages will reach grades 4-7 with important details on how peer-to-peer file sharing works, legal and social issues, and how technology may meld with copyright protection to consider artists' rights.

The Great Fuzz Frenzy
Janet Stevens & Susan Stevens Crummel
525 'B' St. #1900, San Diego, CA 92101
0152046267 $17.00

Kids ages 3-7 will relish The Great Fuzz Frenzy, a fun story of prairie dogs in trouble when a really fuzzy, round object tumbles into their town. Fold-out pages may make for less durable library lending, but enhance the fun story of prairie dogs who face the fuzz with courage: parents will find this a winner, especially for read-alouds.

The Fiction Shelf

The Legend Of Big Red
James Roy
University of Queensland Press
International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
0702235288 $16.95 1-800-944-6190

The Legend Of Big Red is a chapter book for children about two kids, Barney and Liam, who are drawn to the true legend of Bailey's Swamp with a great elusive fish - Big Red. Determined to find and catch him, they embark on adventure; yet soon they discover there are more secrets hidden in Bailey's Swamp than a fish. A handful of humorous black-and-white illustrations add charming touch to this upbeat story of challenge, courage, and the joy of fishing.

Hyperion Books
151 W. 26th St., New York NY 10001

Fiona Rosenbloom's You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah! (0786856165, $15.99) is both hilarious and revealing, telling of one Stacy Friedman, getting ready for the highlight of her life, her bat mitzvah. She plans for success, friendships and romance, but when she struggles with her mother's idea of fashion, difficulty with the mitzvahs, and conflicts, her bat mitzvah begins to look like more of a disaster than a success. A wide audience, even non-Jewish readers, will appreciate Stacy's realistic dilemmas. Alan Silberberg's Pond Scum (0786856343, $15.99) tells of pre-teen Oliver, whose family moves to a rundown old house in a small town. When he falls into the attic his discovery of a strange gem with the power to transform him into any creature he touches introduces him to the strange world of Pond, where he befriends animals and faces down evil with a new understanding of the animal world. Melissa Kantor's If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? (0786809604, $15.99) may have a strange title but the plot is indeed absorbing: teen Lucy's father remarries and their move from the West Coast to Long Island. Lucy gains two bratty stepsisters and a stepmother she isn't wild about - plus a new school with romantic complications. Humor and authentic drama blend in her struggle to adjust.

Princess So-Wise
Kathleen Dorantes
Aventine Press
1023 4th Ave, #102, San Diego CA 92101
1593303300 $11.50

Using a cow brain to outwit her very nasty step-aunt, Princess So-Wise embarks on a journey in which she must cope with a tall tower, seven dirty dwarves, an episode of vomiting near a haystack, some very delicious cooking, foolish scarecrows, difficult maps, a guilt-ridden queen, an "inzy craventor", and a great many more troubles along her way. Fortunately, she finds friends who it all worthwhile in the end. Imaginatively written by Kathleen Dorantes and very highly recommended, especially for young readers ages 8 to 13, Princess So-Wise puts new twists on the traditional fairy tale princess stories.

Dream World Tales
Capital Publishers
6331 10th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219
0977301605 $9.99

Dream World Tales is the first in a series featuring 14-year-old Jerome Thomas, also known as Happy Jack. A young boy who adventurously travels through time experiencing ghosts, goblins, and a creepy woodlands; discovers the true meaning of Christmas in another dimension where he is given a dog named Toby, and meets Caesar and Cleopatra while he and Toby try to stop a crime. Nicely illustrated, these original and imaginatively written time-travel stories will engage the attention of young readers from beginning to end -- and leave them looking eagerly toward the next Happy Jack adventure!

Books in Series

Rourke Publishing Group
PO Box 3328, Vero Beach, FL 32964
1595155163 $125.70 1-800-394-7055

Enthusiastically recommended as classroom sociology and history supplementary references, and ideal for home schooling curriculum development, "Discovering The Arts" is a six volume series of books that provide young readers in grades 4 through 8 with an informed and informative overview of painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and the literature of six distinctive cultures both ancient and contemporary. The individual titles comprising this outstanding series includes African American Culture; Ancient Egyptian Culture; Early American Culture; Hispanic Culture; Islamic Culture; and Native American Culture. Each 48-page volume is written at a fifth grade reading level and includes superb full-color illustrations, fascinating side bars, timelines, photo captions; lists of print and internet resources, as well as a glossary of terms to strengthen vocabulary skills. While each individual title can be acquired separately ($20.95 each), school libraries and community libraries are encouraged to obtain the entire set for the long term benefit of their students and patrons.

Chelsea House Publishers
132 W. 31st St, 17th fl, NY, NY 10001
$35.00 each 1-800-322-8755

The "Biotechnology In The 21st Century" series (Bernice Zeldin Schacter, series editor) focuses upon the issues and controversies arising from advances in biotechnology including the science behind them, how they affect business and medicine, and the potential ramifications for society. The series consists of Biotechnology On The Farm And In The Factory: Agricultural And Industrial Applications (079108518X) by Brian Shmaefsky and covering the fundamental principles of genetically modifying animals and plants for agricultural and industrial use; The Ethics Of Biotechnology (0791085201) by Jonathan Morris offering a glimpse of the future of biotechnology in both American and global societies; Biotechnology And Your Health: Pharmaceutical Applications (0791085198) by Bernice Zeldin Schacter and focusing upon how drugs are being used to treat diseases and genetic disorders; and Bioinformatics, Genomics And Proteomics: Getting The Big Picture (0791085171) by Ann Batiza and provide readers with the "big picture" of how biotechnology works from the scientific study of DNA and protein function, to the use of computer technology. Each volume features full-color photographs and illustrations, a bibliography, "Further Readings", a glossary, sidebars, chapter summaries, discussion questions, and thematically appropriate websites for additional study resources. Ideal introductions, the "Biotechnology In The 21st Century" series will prove a welcome and popular addition to both school and community Science & Technology as well as Contemporary Social Issues reference collections.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown NY 10591

Marshall Cavendish's series titles provide libraries with solid, attractive references which are sure to see avid lending interest - and they don't become outdated quickly, either. Vivid color covers mark the "Science Adventures" series by Sneed B. Collard III ($17.95 Each) for grades 4 and up: each book holds 43 pages of information paired with dramatic photos to attract both leisure audiences and students seeking information for reports. In The Deep Sea (0761419527), In The Wild (0761419-551), In The Rainforest Canopy (076141-9543) and On The Coral Reefs (0761419-535) each hold small color photos on almost every page, complimenting detailed information. The "Math All Around" series by Jennifer Rozines Roy and Gregory Roy ($17.95 Each) starts kinds in grades 2 and up early, pairing fun themes with math problems to help youngsters associate math with everyday interests. The emphasis is made with Holiday Fractions (0761420010), Sorting At The Ocean (0761419985), Subtraction At School (0761420037), Numbers On The Street (0761420029), Addition In The Forest (0761420002) and Patterns In Nature (0761419993): each holds 30 pages including an index, and each page pairs a color photo with a simple math observation. The "Animals Animals" series ($17.95 Each) will reach kids in grades 3-6 with nearly 50 pages each of animal facts: and to its credit, the series focuses on animals often not treated to an entire coverage. Thus young report givers seeking less common animals will be intrigued by Judith Jango-Cohen's Porcupines (0761418687) and Kangaroos (0761418-695), Phyllis Perry's Buffalo (0761418-660), David King's Jellyfish (0761418-679), Katherine Noble-Goodman's Zebras (0761418717), and Diana Estigarribia's Moose (0761418709). Each holds plenty of facts for reports, and also many dramatic photos to retain interest created initially by the vivid cover color. There are already so many dinosaur books on the market that a librarian might sigh at the sight of yet still one more - but the "Prehistoric World" ($17.95 Each) by Irginia Shomp is a series to watch for. It will reach a wider audience than the usual dinosaur title - grades 2-6 - with vivid covers and color art and themes which are somewhat out of the ordinary, despite the focus on individual dinosaurs. Iguanodon And Other Spiky-thumbed Plant-eaters (0761420-053) places Iguanodon in a class with others and comments on its predatory methods; Ornithomimus And Other Speedy 'Ostrich Dinosaurs' (0761420061) discusses dinos built for running; Therizinosaurus And Other Colossal-Clawed Plant-Eaters (076142007X) gives a dramatic focus on giant dino claws - something barely mentioned in other titles; Plateosaurus And Other Early Long-Necked Plant-Eaters (0761420088) focuses on dino long necks and their ability to eat tall plants; and Geratosaurus And Other Horned Meat-Eaters (0761420096) will delight kids who enjoy fierce dinos. The "Verbs in Action" series by Dana Meachen Rau ($14.95 each) provides thirty pages each of fun photos paired with examples of verbs. Each verb is linked with explanations of familiar activities: Dig In (0761419373), Grow Up (0761419322), Spring Out (0761419357), Spin Around (0761419330), On The Run (0761419-349) and Fall Down (0761419365) each provide color photos of kids in action. All are highly recommended: they stand out from the crowd.

27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535

Gale's wonderfully varied series titles for elementary grades promise much interest and reference. Joining their 'Giants of Science' imprint is Kaye Patchett's Robert Goddard: Rocket Pioneer (1567118887, $24.95), a 64-page book revealing the early pioneer's dream of spaceflight and his invention of rocket propulsion, resulting in the world's first liquid-fueled rocket. There's not a whole lot written about Goddard for this age group, making for a refreshing biography change for reports. Dwight Kuhn's lovely close-up photos grace Elaine Pascoe's impressive Nature Close-Up: Carnivorous Plants (1410303-098, $23.70), which provides nearly fifty pages of exploration into hungry plants which attract and consume insects. These plants have been featured elsewhere, of course: the attraction lies in the very close-up action shots, accompanied by clear scientific explanations of different consumption methods. Sheila Wyborny's Parasites: Leeches (0737730501, $22.45) provides a little over thirty pages of detail on leech physiology, showing them to be an efficient parasite with medicinal applications. Heather L. Miller's Bugs: Daddy Longlegs (0737717696, $22.45) introduces the life cycle of a very common spider, providing an index, bibliography and glossary to accompany many close-up photos. All are highly recommended picks.

The Science Shelf

Gareth Stevens
330 West Olive Street, #100, Milwaukee, WI 53212

Isaac Asimov's new 'Past and Present' titles titles substantively add to the growing 'Library of the Universe' books, revising information and providing the latest research and updates to keep young astronomers in step with the latest scientific and historical findings. Astronomy In Ancient Times (0836839781) provides revised information on early astronomers' discoveries and observations, Astronomy Projects (083683979X) provides easy projects kids can do to reinforce astronomical concepts; Global Space Programs (083683982X) considers how nations around the world have contributed to explore the universe; Exploring Outer Space (0836839811) considers how scientists examine the universe through scientific instruments; Astronomy Today (0836839803) discusses computer technology, new telescopes, and new discoveries made with these different techniques, and Space Junk (0836839838) reveals the various spacecraft, satellites and debris in space today - including their dangers. All are excellent books for kids holding the latest scientific information.

Chrysalis Education
c/o The Creative Company
123 S. Broad St, Mankato, MN 56002
$94.75 set, 1-800-445-6209

"The Weather" is a five volume series by Jerry Jennings dedicated to providing children with introductory overviews of the weather. The titles comprising this outstanding "kid friendly" series include Clouds (1593891474); Rain (1593891-431); Snow (1593891458); Sunshine (15-9389144X); and Wind (1593891466). The easy-to-ready and thoroughly "kid friendly" text will enable children to recognize words and phonics for early reading proficiency and provide them with understandable explanations as to the common weather conditions that they will all have experienced in the daily lives. Each individual titles is available separately ($18.95 each), but school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the entire set intact. "The Weather" series is ideal for elementary school science curriculum supplemental reading lists, homeschooling studies, and for community library science reference book collections for young readers.

The American History Shelf

Liberty Rising
Pegi Dietz Shea
Henry Holt
115 W. 18th St., New York NY 10011
0805072209 $17.95

Liberty Rising: The Story Of The Statue Of Liberty receives fine drawings by Wade Zahares as it explores the origins, construction and meaning of America's symbol of liberty. Kids with good reading skills in grades 3-5 will learn of how the idea came to a French law professor, how it was funded, and how it grew in France, to be shipped in pieces to America. Fine color drawings throughout and a vivid writing style bring the facts to life.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Two-Can Publishing
c/o T&N Children's Publishing
11571 K-Tel Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343

Two new titles by Dee Philips would make excellent additions to family, school, and community library "Pets & Wildlife" collections. Bugs And Spiders (1587285-207, $18.95) focuses upon a spectrum of insects. Mammals (1587285193, $18.95) covers diverse categories of animals ranging from anteaters to zebras. The thoroughly "kid friendly" text for each of these big blue books is enhanced with the inclusion of close-up photography and illustrations. Comparative illustrations and life-size photos help to convey the actual size of each featured animal or insects, which are arranged alphabetically and present real facts, essential scientific terms, and basic explanations of life cycles and behavior. Bolded words are defined in the glossary. Enthusiastically recommended for children ages 4 to 7, preschool through second grade, Mammals and Bugs And Spiders are superb introductions that can very well kindle an appreciation for scientific inquiry in general, and animal life in particular.

The Child's World, Inc.
PO Box 326, Chanassen, MN 55317
159296611X $239.44 (list), $167.60 (school/library) 1-800-599-7323

Very highly recommended reading, "The World of Reptiles" is a new eight volume nature set by Sophie Lockwood that has a specific focus upon eight different reptile groups: Chameleons; Cobras; Crocodiles; Desert Tortoises; Gila Monsters; Iguanas; Rattlesnakes; and Sea Turtles. Specifically designed for young readers grades 3 through 8, the informative text is written at a fourth grade proficiency level. Each forty page volume is published with a reinforced library binding for maximum shelf life, is enhanced with impressive full-color photography and illustrations, features a table of contents, information sidebars, detailed maps, a key words and phrases glossary, a comprehensive index, and sources for further research including thematically appropriate websites. Thoroughly "kid friendly", each individual volume is available separately ($29.93 list, $20.95 school/library), but school and community library collections are strongly advised to acquire entire set for the benefit of their young students and patrons.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Ave, Suite 3308, NY, NY 10118
$6.95 pb; 23.92 hc; 1-800-387-7650

Deftly written for young readers ages 6 to 9 and very highly recommended for school and community library collections, "The Life Cycle" is a four volume set that explores the life cycles of ants, bats, sharks, and polar bears. With a reading proficiency level of grades 2 to 3, each individual 32-page title is enhanced with full-color photographs and illustrations, a glossary, and an index. The Life Cycle Of An Ant by co-authors Hadley Dyer and Bobbie Kalman focuses upon an ant's body, its habitat, and its behavior within the colony. The Life Cycle Of A Bat by Rebecca Sjonger and Bobbie Kalman dispels popular myths and answers basic questions about these amazing flying mammals. In The Life Cycle Of A Shark John Crossingham and Bobbie Kalman collaborate to provide children with clear insights into the growth and development of a fish that has survived from prehistoric times to the present day and includes how shark pups are born, the behaviors and feeding habits of juvenile sharks, how adult sharks find one another in order to mate, and how important sharks are to the oceans. The Life Cycle Of A Polar Bear has the team of Rebecca Sjonger and Bobbie Kalman presenting each stage of a polar bear's life from cubhood to adult, as well as the effect of global warming on the polar bear and their habitat. Each titles is available in an expensive paperback format as well as a reinforced library binding hardcover for an extensive shelf life.

The Music Shelf

Every Day Is A Birthday
Brady Rhymer
Bumblin' Bee Records
c/o Waldmania! Publicity
130 Maywood Drive , San Francisco, CA 94127
#8364 $15.00 www.bradyrymer

An award-winning independent children's recording artist, Brady Rhymer has released his fourth and best children's CD to date with Every Day Is A Birthday. Original, "kid friendly" lyrics are backed up by Rhymer's energetic guitar playing and precision backup singers are flawlessly recorded. The numbers comprising this outstanding and highly recommended for family, preschool, kindergarten, and community library children's CD music collection include: Rock 'n' Roll Mother Goose; Dilly Dally Daisy; Keeping Up With You; Instead Of Watching My TV; Every Day Is A Birthday; Full Moon Walk; Little Sacka Sugar; Look In Your Pocket; Mama Hug; Diggin' Up A Dinosaur; Mama Don't Allow; Side By Side: Happy Birthday Around The World; Snippets; and Karaoke Versions.

Rockin' With Roseanne
Rosanne Barr
Anchor Bay Entertainment
1699 Stutz Drive, Troy, MI 48084
DV14239 $14.98 1-248-816-0909

Rockin' With Roseanne: Calling All Kids! is a forty-minute DVD showcasing a musical extravaganza featuring comedienne and actress Rosanne Barr. Packed with twelve fun-filled and lively tunes for children preschool through first grade, nine of the songs are original compositions, and one (Three Little Birds) is a Bob Marley classic. The DVD format allows young viewers to choose whether to watch the videos with on-screen lyrics or without. The performances also blend live-action, colorful animation, funny puppets, costumes, and more. The styles of music range from rock, reggae, and country-western, to boogie-woogie, blues, and beyond. Very highly recommended for day school, preschool, kindergarten, family and community library children's music collections, Rockin' With Roseanne: Calling All Kids! is ideal for kids' parties, rainy day activities, and just anytime that lively, entertaining, "kid friendly" music is called for!

The Audiobook Shelf

Little Fur
Isobelle Carmody
Bolinda Publishing, Inc.
2 Trap Falls Road, Suite 113, Shelton, CT 06484
1740937074 $28.00 1-888-235-2019

Little Fur is a wonderfully narrated, unabridged audiobook story about a half-elf, half-troll named Little Fur, who is far older than she appears. Distressed about the tree-burning that city humans are doing to the patch of wilderness that is her park home, she sets out on a quest to protect what is most dear to her. With help from a shaggy Shetland pony, a crow, and an owl, she hopes to make a difference in hearts, minds, and lives. Written and read aloud by Australian author Isobelle Carmody, Little Fur is delightful and engaging listening for all ages and very highly recommended for family, school, and community library audiobook collections. 3 CDs, 2 hours 50 minutes.

The Picturebook Shelf

The Boat
Helen Ward & Ian Andrew
Simply Read Books
Publishers Group West, dist.
501-5525 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6M 3W6
1894965183 $16.95 1-800-528-3444

In hill country, an old man lives with a strange collection of unwanted animals. Mutual fear and distrust keep the nearby villagers from having anything to do with the old man -- and he with them. But one terribly stormy night as floodwaters threaten to engulf the little hill upon which the old man lives, its seems that he and his menageries are doomed to drown in the rising waters. But then a boat appears. The text by Helen Ward is lyrical to the point of being a prose poem. Ian Andrews' enchanting illustrations are a perfect visual complement to a picturebook story that will engage the total attention of young readers from first back to last. The Boat is a welcome and enthusiastically recommended addition to any family, school, or community library collection.

Pete The Sheep-Sheep
Jackie French
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue S., NY, NY 10003
061856862X $14.00

Bruce Whatley provides fun simple drawings to accompany the tale of an Australian sheep shearer who doesn't have a sheep dog, but a sheep named Pete who speaks politely to the others, Pete and shearer Shaun are good partners - but the other shearers have a gripe, especially when Shaun creatively sheers Pete with a whole new look. A fun, zany tale is created.

Puppies Came To Our House
Kathy Rausch
Goblin Fern Press, Inc.
3809 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53705
1595980091 $11.95 1-888-670-2665

Puppies Came To Our House is a picturebook designed especially for beginning readers. Composed almost entirely of "basic sight words" typically learned and used in the first and second grade, the simple sentences correspond to the gorgeous color photography of lovable puppies as they eat, sleep, play, visit the vet, and grow up. A special treat for little dog lovers just learning their first written words.

The Long White Scarf
Maxine Trottier & David Craig
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
121 Harvard Avenue, Suite 2, Allston, MA 02134
1550051474 $17.95

Long before she became the Queen of England, Princess Victoria rode out in an open coach with her mother. Around her neck she proudly wore her new silk scarf which was long, white, and embroidered with her initial. While she is riding, a mischievous breeze tugged at the scarf, uncoiled it from her neck, and then lifted it into the air. The young princess was to grow up, become queen, and rule her people for many years before she would see her scarf again. So deftly written by Maxine Trottier and so elegantly illustrated by David Craig, The Long White Scarf is the story of what happened to that scarf, how long it floated on the breeze, and the succession of owners it had until time and chance brought it back to its original owner who sat upon England's throne. An elegant, original, entertaining, and highly recommended for young readers, The Long White Scarf would make a popular addition to any school, family, or community library picturebook collection.

The Tooth Fairy Is Broke
John Robbins & Rae Owings
Royal Fireworks Printing Company
PO Box 399, Unionville, NY 10988
0880925698 $19.99 1-845-726-4444

The Tooth Fairy is out of money and there are still a great many children to serve! Can she come up with something really creative for the little tykes? Or is she going to be the first Tooth Fairy in the history of fairydom to fail! John Robbins' quite clever and original story is wonderfully enhanced with the bright and energetic artwork of Rae Owings in this enthusiastically recommended picturebook story that is certain to delight preschool through first grade boys and girls.

The Cat Of Strawberry Hill
Fran Hodgkins & Lesia Sochor
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
0892726849 $15.95 1-800-685-7962

Her eyes are "the color of the sea" and her fur is "the brown of the earth in the potato fields of Arroostook county and the white of the snow on Mount Katahdin". Pumpkin reigns supreme as the inn cat at The Strawberry Hill Seaside Inn in Rockport, Maine. Separated from her owners at a roadside rest stop, Pumpkin becomes lost and but is finally rescued after enduring several alarming challenges. Delighting children ages 3 and up, The Cat Of Strawberry Hill is a highly recommended children's picturebook deftly written by Fran Hodgkins and expertly illustrated by Lesia Sochor -- and based upon a real cat and a true story.

Tooth Fairy's First Night
Anne Bowen & Jon Berkeley
Carolrhoda/Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55401
1575057530 $15.95 1-800-328-4929

On her seventh birthday, it's time for Sally to earn her wings as a tooth fairy. She knows that the first rule is to never wake a sleeping child. But when she reachers her first assignment, she's led on a treasure hunt filled with clues and hiding places. A good tooth fairy always gets her tooth -- but will Sally on her novice assignment get hers? A clever modern fairytale by Ann Bowen, Tooth Fairy's First Night is very nicely illustrated throughout with the skilled artwork of Jon Berkeley. The result is a picturebook masterpiece that would grace any family, school, or community library collection!

The Falling Flowers
Jennifer B. Reed & Dick Cole
Shen's Books
40951 Fremont Blvd. Freemont CA 94538
1885008287 $16.95

Ideal for children 4 to 8, The Falling Flowers is the story of a young Japanese girl and her grandmother. Mayumie and her Grandmother take a train ride into the heart of Tokyo, then walk together down a quiet street in the middle of the city and find a grove of Japanese cherry trees all in blossom. The simple, elegant text by Jennifer Reed is perfectly showcased with Dick Cole's watercolors giving this original story a timeless and universal appeal. The Falling Flowers would make a truly fine and appreciated addition to any picturebook collection.

Trosclair And The Alligator
Peter Huggins & Lindsey Gardiner
Star Bright Books
42-26 28th Street, Suite 2C, Long Island City, NY 11101
1932065989 $15.95 1-800-788-4439

Trosclair is a boy who lives on the Louisiana Bayou where he and his dog Ollie can get anywhere they want in the small boat. Trosclair has been warned not to go to Bee Island Swamp because of Gargantua, a huge and ferocious alligator hangs out there. But Bee Island Swamp is where the very best turtle eggs are to be found. So Troslcair disregards the warning and in order to get those eggs must find a way to outwit that alligator! Peter Huggikns' lively text is perfectly laid out in the context of Lindsey Gardiner's colorful illustrations. The result is Trosclair And The Alligator -- a picturebook story that will thoroughly engage and entertain children ages 4 through 8 from beginning to end!

Josefina Javelina
Susan Lowell & Bruce MacPherson
Rising Moon/Northland Publishing
PO Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002
0873587901 $15.95 1-800-346-3257

Josefina is a javelina pig who loves to dance and yearns to become a ballerina. So she packs up her concertina and leaves for Pasadena to visit her cousin Angelina. So begins an adventure that ranges from the desert to the city as Josefina encounters Coyote with his wily tricks. Josepfina Javelina: A Hairy Tale continues to document the originality and storytelling talents of Susan Lowell that were so evident in her earlier picturebook from Rising Moon, The Three Little Javelinas. Bruce MacPherson's illustrations are lively, energetic, and in perfect syncopation with the adventure story as it plays out from first page to last. Josefina Javelina is a thoroughly "kid friendly" picturebook, entertaining and recommended for school and community library collections.

Off We Go!
Beverley Abramson
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
0887767281 $15.95 1-800-788-1074

Off We Go! by photographer and children's author Beverley Abramson shows children spinning, whirling, running, jumping, climbing, and having outdoor fun through the seasons. From flying a kite to kicking a ball, to riding a tricycle, the photography of Beverley Abramson wonderfully captures kids experiencing the sheer pleasure of exploring the world through movement. Especially recommended for Day Care, Preschool, Kindergarten, and community library picturebook collections, Off We Go! will engage, encourage, and lead children ages 3 through 5 to discover the fun of physical play for themselves.

Great Wolf And The Good Woodsman
Helen Hoover, author
Betsy Bowen, woodcuts
University of Minnesota Press
111 Third Avenue South, Suite 290, Minneapolis, MN 55401-2520
0816644454 $14.95

Illustrated throughout with beautiful and striking woodcuts by Betsy Bowen, Great Wolf And The Good Woodsman is a picturebook about a majestic wolf, feared by all denizens of the forest, who watches a deer, a squirrel, and a chickadee as they wait expectantly for the Good Woodsman to bring them a feast of cedar, corn and seeds for Christmas. When the woodsman injures himself and there is no fire in the stove, the animals fear that he will freeze. Only the Great Wolf can create a plan to save the woodsman, and in return the woodsman invites the wolf to share in Christmas dinner. The text of Great Wolf And The Good Woodsman is slightly more involved than that of most picturebooks, yet entirely suitable for young people who have graduated from easy-reader text but aren't quite ready for chapter books yet. Great Wolf And The Good Woodsman is a Christmas story so eye-catching that it will prove to be treasured picturebook reading all year round.

Mice, Morals & Monkey Business
Christopher Wormell
Running Press
125 South Twenty-Second Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-4399
0762424044 $18.95 1-800-345-5359

A perfect choice for bedtime, playtime, quiet-time, or rainy-day parent-child bonding, Mice, Morals, & Monkey Business: Lively Lessons From Aesop's Fable features twenty-one linoleum block prints illustrating a key moment in each classic fable and highlight the moral printed in Christopher Wormell's hand-cut typeface on the opposite page. An impressive work, Mice, Morals & Monkey Business raises the children's picturebook up to the level of a museum quality artwork that will appeal to adults and children alike. Very highly recommended for family and community library collections.

Our Apple Tree
Gorel Kristina Naslund, author
Kristina Digman, illustrator
Roaring Brook Press
Media Masters Publicity
143 West Street, New Millford, CT 06776
1596430524 $15.95 1-800-462-4703

An apple tree is hard at work all year round. In the winter it is getting ready to make apples. All through the spring, summer, and into the fall, the apples are growing. Throughout the process, from bees drawing nectar and pollinating the apple blossoms, to birds and worms attracted to them as food, to their eventually to being harvested for people to enjoy, apple trees are a constant benefit. Our Apple Tree, engagingly written by Gorel Kristina Naslund and superbly illustrated by Kristina Digman follows one particular apple tree though all the seasons of the year in a wonderfully entertaining picturebook ideal for young readers ages 3 through 7. For parents there is even a very "kitchen cook" friendly recipe for Apple Crisp in the back!
Bubblegum Books
PO Box 94106, Cleveland, OH 44101

Children's author Julie Goulis teams up with artist and illustrator John Ferguson in two outstanding picturebooks for children from Bublegum Books. The Things A String Can Be (0975462105, $14.99) is the story of a little boy named Sam who uses his imagination to turn an ordinary bit of string into a series of extraordinary adventures. Something Shiny, Something Round (0975462113, $14.99) finds Sam and his friends turning an ordinary automobile hubcap into imaginative playtime props in adventures that conclude in a lesson on responsibility. Both of these superbly created picturebooks for young readers ages 3 to 7 are enhanced with a free activity guideline/lessons planner at the end of their stories that are fun and educational complements for a number of scenarios from the books. Things A String Can Be and Something Shiny, Something Round are picturebook springboards for young imaginations long after the books have been read and returned to school and community library shelves.

Tsunami: Helping Each Other
Ann Morris and Heidi Larson
Millbrook Press
2 Old New Milford Road, Brookfield, CT 06804
0761395016 $18.95 1-800-462-4703

Tsunami: Helping Each Other is a picturebook about the real-life tragedy of the tsunami that devastated Asia and killed thousands of people. Author Ann Morris and Unicef's senior communication adviser Heidi Larson asked themselves, what happened to the families that survived? How had the children's lives changed? In search of answers, they traveled to Thailand, which had 5,000 confirmed tsunami deaths and another 2,900 still missing. They visited families and temporary schools, and saw the work that international agencies and relief teams were doing to help people get on with their lives. Illustrated throughout with full-color photographs, Tsunami: Helping Each Other is not about the destruction of a natural tragedy, but rather the positive influence that human beings can have on one another, and the hope they can spread, when they come together to rebuild, help the living, and pay tribute to those who have passed on. Highly recommended.

Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St., Honesdale PA 18431

LeAnn Blankenship's Mr. Tuggle's Troubles (1590781961, $15.95) receives Karen Dugan's hilarious drawings as it tells the story of poor Mr. Tuggle who is having a bad week. Each new day brings more problems - but Mr. Tuggle always tries to make the best of them, coming up with some creative, zany solutions. Susan Taylor Brown's Oliver's Must-Do List (1590781988, $15.95) enjoys Mary Sullivan's whimsical drawings as it tells of a young hippo whose mother is too busy to play with him. Her 'to do' list is simply too busy - so Oliver creates his own solution. Asma Mobin-Uddin's My Name Is Bilal (1590781759, $15.95) tells of a Muslim boy facing a new school with his sister. He's afraid of the problems his origins will bring - maybe it would be better if he hid the fact he is a Muslim - but what about his sister? Realistic drawings by Barbara Kiwak accompany the story of a Muslim boy facing hostility at school.

Nosy Noodles
Susan Purkapile, author
Barbara Ducommun, illustrator
Guest Cottage
PO Box 848, Woodruff, WI 54568
1930596340 $13.95 1-800-333-8122

Based on the head-butt happy antics of a real cow in the illustrator's herd, Nosy Noodles: The Curious Cow is the story of a black cow with white legs who is too nosy for her own good! After causing trouble in the barn, among the chickens, and at feeding time, she gets away from the farm and wanders out on her own - and into trouble! Fortunately, Neighbor Joe and his trusty tractor come to her rescue. After giving him a cow-sized lick of thanks, she resolves to be less nosy and nicer. The gentle color illustrations of a vibrant farmscape add the perfect touch to this humorous tale of four-footed adventure.

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

These lovely, inviting picturebook reads will attract kids with excellent stories and illustrations. Celebrate winter with Mary Quattlebaum's Winter Friends (0385746-261, $15.95) celebrates friendships and frost, providing a story in poems with Hiroe Nakata's illustrations adding appeal throughout. Kids absorb the poetry easily with a running story of seasonal friendship. Julia Alvarez's A Gift Of Gracias (0375824251, $15.95) is based on a Dominican legend and tells of Maria, whose family faces ruin when their olive crop fails. Their only alternative is to abandon their farm - until Maria dreams of a mysterious lady surrounded by trees hung with oranges. Can oranges save their farm? Charles Santore's Three Hungry Pigs And The Wolf Who Came To Dinner (0375829466, $16.95) tells of little Bianca, banished from home with two hungry piglets to feed. She's heard of wolves, but as never met one - until her journey through the woods brings her a hungry wolf. Can she help him develop a taste for truffles instead of pig? Gorgeous illustrations and an unexpected twist make Three Hungry Pigs And The Wolf Who Came To Dinner a real winner. Lynn Rowe Reed's Thelonius Turkey Lives On Felicia Ferguson's Farm (0375831266, $15.95) deserves ongoing mention as a top pick for Thanksgiving collections. Each Thanksgiving a turkey vanishes from Felicia's farm - and this year (gulp!) only Thelonius remains. It's a week before Thanksgiving but Theo is a pro-active turkey and he's not going to the chopping block without a big, fat fight. Truly hilarious. Angela McAllister's Jasmine's Lion (0385605056, $20.00) comes from the UK division and receives Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick's engaging drawings as it tells of a lion in Jasmine's house who is playing with her toys and even baking cookies. He goes too far when he cuddles her bears - but how can she get the lion to go? Big full-page drawings are fun and lively accompaniments to the tale of a little girl's big imagination.

The Preschool Shelf

D Is For Dragon Dance
Ying Chang Compestine, author
Yongsheng Xuan, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10017
0823418871 $16.95

D Is For Dragon Dance is an alphabet picturebook about the theme of Chinese New Year's festivities, from the importance of connecting with family ("G is for Grandma and Grandpa") to New Year's customs ("O is for Oranges" - they are given as a sign of good fortune) to protections against evil spirits ("X is for Xylograph", a wood carving on the door meant to keep evil spirits out). Full-color illustrations by Yongsheng Xuan blend a feel for traditional Chinese art with vibrancy and energy bursting off of the page. A fun way for young readers to learn about Chinese culture and their ABC's at the same time.

An African ABC
Jacqui Taylor
Struik/International Pub. Marketing
814 N. Frnaklin St., Chicago, IL 60610
1868727033 $10.00 1-800-888-4741

Imaginatively written and colorfully illustrated by Jacqui Taylor, An African ABC (featuring Christopher, Lauren, and the Cat) is one of those rare ABC books that can be as enthusiastically recommended for readers preschool through senior citizen! Preschoolers will benefit by learning their alphabet in a poetry style context; older children will improve their vocabularies and the use of the glossary; while adults will enjoy the Africa-based rhymes and illustrations providing information and insights into African flora, fauna, places and customs. Sturdily bound for an extended shelve life, An African ABC would make an original and welcome addition to any family, school, or community library collections.

The Mythology/Folklore Shelf

Beaver Steals Fire
Johnny Arlee & Sam Sandoval
University of Nebraska Press
233 North 8th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68588-0255
0803243235 $14.95 1-800-755-1105

Beaver Steals Fire: A Salish Coyote Story is a picturebook rendition of a story directly from the cultural tradition of the Salish people of Montana. Retold by Salish elder Johnny Arlee, and wonderfully illustrated in full color by tribal artist Sam Sandoval, Beaver Steals Fire recounts how the animals worked together to obtain fire and help prepare the world for inhabitation by human beings. Beaver Steals Fire is presented with the full support of The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Division of Fire; a note to the reader at the beginning asks those who use Beaver Steals Fire in the classroom or others who read it aloud to orally tell or discuss the story only in winter, when snow is on the ground, as this is a strongly ingrained part of tribal seasonal tradition. A beautifully presented legend, highly recommended.

The Biography Shelf

Zebulon Pike: Explorer And Solider
Robin S.Doak
Compass Point Books
3109 West 50th Street, #115, Minneapolis, MN 55410-2102
075650998X $30.60 1-877-371-1536

Zebulon Pike was sent by the American government to explore and report back on the American West which had been rapidly expanding throughout the 1700s and into the 1800s with the acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase and the continuing conflicts with Native Americans, Spain, and Mexico. Zebulon Pike, an American army officer, helped to open up the way for pioneers and settlers who would eventually follow where he led. Highly recommended for school and community library biography collections for young readers, Zebulon Pike: Explorer And Solider is part of the outstanding Compass Point Books "Signature Lives: American Frontier Era" series and provides an excellent introduction into the life and accomplishments ("Pike's Peak" is named after him) of a man who changed American history with his fearless treks leading expeditions along the Mississippi River and as far west as the Rocky Mountains.

The Video/DVD Shelf

Mustard Pancakes
Mustard Pancakes Productions, Inc.
c/o SSA Public Relations
148 Madison Avenue, Suite 1601, New York, NY 10016
HD DVD $19.98

"Mustard Pancakes" is a popular public television children's program designed to entertain, inform, and occasionally inspire children from ages 3 to 6. Now a compilation of three episodes, plus the bonus inclusion of the original pilot episode, are featured together on Mustard Pancakes With Courtney Campbell: See How The Garden Grows. Singer- performer Courtney Campbell heads a fun-loving family of three pupped character dogs (Mo, Oogleberry Ink Dog, and Tiny Tina Ten Toes) and a puppet cat named Mr. D. Under Courtney's thoughtful care and guidance, her pets discover the world around them, grow emotionally, and find solutions to their daily challenges. The DVD format is ideal to display the power of the music, the storytelling, and appealing "kid friendly" characters as the ordinary kinds of challenges that most children must deal with in the context of their own lives are dealt with. Mustard Pancakes With Courtney Campbell: See How The Garden Grows is simply delightful and a confidently recommended addition to preschool, day care, kindergarten, community library, and family DVD collections for very young children.

Science Clips For Students
Schlessinger Media
7 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096-0580

Available on video cassette and in a digital format DVD at $29.95 each, Science Clips For Students is a six-volume series specifically designed for students in grades 5 through 8 and takes them on informative and entertaining introductions to amazing natural environments, diverse forces in action, as well as the chemical and physical laws of the universe. Using a format of brief, concept-driven segments, enhanced with fast-paced visuals and real-life examples demonstrating key science content in ways thoroughly "kid friendly" and accessible, each individual volume can be utilized to explore specific topics or collectively to further a particular theme of scientific inquiry. The titles composing this outstanding series includes: Adaptations & Life Cycles; Chemical Reactions & Electricity; Forces in Action; States of Matter; Using Light Energy; and Health & the Human Body. All are 18 minutes in length except for Health & the Human Body which has a running time of 26 minutes. The DVD format includes English and Spanish language tracks, chapter selects, discussion questions and activities. It should also be noted that A Teacher's Guide accompanies each of the titles providing additional information such as vocabulary words, discussion questions and activities. Science Clips For Students is especially recommended as a classroom instruction supplement and would serve very well to enhance home schooling curriculums.

Pocket Snails
Soaring Star Productions
Andrea Blain (publicity)
PO Box 8538, Surprise, AZ 85374
#00149 $15.95

Enthusiastically recommended for parents and teachers working to introduce the alphabet to preschoolers and kindergarten students, Pocket Snails: Aquaphonic Adventure is an animated adventure in which three clever mollusks work as a team to help their friend Jake (whose pocket they live in) learn the sounds of the letters of the alphabet. Using distinctive and engaging mixes of vibrant colors, original upbeat music, and lively animation, young viewers ages 3 through 5 will enjoy learning the alphabet right along with Jake and his pocket snail buddies. Pocket Snails: Aquaphonic Adventure is also available in a VHS format ($12.95), but the DVD edition also includes interactive "Phonic Pics" Activity to challenge young viewers on what they've learned; a Bonus Scene helping to reinforce the vowel sounds; a Music Player (which includes the Pocket Snails Theme and other fun songs from the 25 minute program); "Meet the Snails" (fun facts about each snail including special features of each snail, their favorite foods, favorite colors, and favorite phrases); useful information about Soaring Stars Productions and a Pocket Snails catalog of other titles in this outstanding series such as the "Pocket Snails & Other Snaily Songs" music CD.

Young minds must be fed with the same care that good parents take in feeding young bodies.

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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