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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 2 February 2009 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Audiobook Shelf Holiday Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf DVD Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Music Shelf Business Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Preschool Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Political Science Shelf Biography Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

Nature Fold-Along Stories
Christine Petrell Kallevig
Storytime Ink International
PO Box 470505, Cleveland, Ohio 44147
9780962876929, $11.99

Nature Fold-Along Stories: Quick and Easy Origami Tales About Plants and Animals is a unique book that teaches the reader how to use origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, to craft paper models of natural creatures and objects while simultaneously telling a story. Black-and-white photography and line diagrams to illustrate the paper folds step-by-step. Lists of optional follow-up activities to each of the twelve fold-along stories round out this wonderful hands-on book, especially ideal for anyone who teaches, entertains, or works with children.

Famous Figures of Ancient Times
Cathy Diez-Luckie
Figures in Motion
6278 Clive Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
9780981856605, $19.95

Famous Figures of Ancient Times is a consumable book of colorful, movable paper figures that any parent or child can put together with inexpensive fasteners and the use of a simple hole punch (available at any stationery or craft store). The simple figures depict twenty emperors, conquerors, and philosophers who shaped ancient history, from Hammurabi and Moses to Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Jesus, and Constantine. A one-paragraph text summary at the beginning of Famous Figures of Ancient Times tells about each figure's contribution to ancient history. A wonderful supplement for any ancient history curriculum, as well as a simple source of rainy day fun, Famous Figures of Ancient Times is highly recommended.

Eye Like Stickers: Seasons
Play Bac Publishing
c/o Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
151 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781602140509, $6.95,

Stickers are perennially popular with young children ages four through eight as both a pastime activity and as a motivational tool. Play Back Publishing's "Eye Like Stickers: Seasons" provides both large and small colorful stickers of animals and plants organized seasonally into Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. This compilation of more than four hundred brightly colored, reusable, high-quality photographic image stickers are appropriate for classroom, home schooling, and family fun time activities. Also very highly recommended is Play Back Publishing's companion sticker book collection, "Eye Like Stickers: Letters" (9781602140530, $6.95).

Learning Props, LLC
PO Box 774, Racine, WI 53401
$9.95 each

Featuring beautiful color photographs on every page, three inexpensive hardcover books from Learning Props are perfect for parents to teach very young children basic concepts. "Letters Aa to Zz" (9781935292005) is one step beyond a simple alphabet book - most pages show letters from the entire alphabet on one page, and encourage young readers to perform a simple activity with the letters, like "Name the letter on each block. Touch the blocks to spell your name." "Critters / Criaturas De La Naturaleza" (9781935292043) is a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook that teaches young people the names of common animals, birds, insects, and fish. "Which Way?" (9781935292036) has pictures that illustrate basic directions and opposite concepts like "open" and "close" or "above" and "below". Furthermore "Which Way?" is a bilingual English/Chinese book, perfect for giving young people a head start on the language spoken by well over a billion people! All are enthusiastically recommended for parents to share with young children and help instill the joy of reading.

The Audiobook Shelf

Plain Tales series
Retold by Melody Warnick
Read by Tavia Gilbert & Stephen McLaughlin
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc. (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
CD, $14.95 each,

The "Plain Tales" series consists of brief audiobooks, each on a single CD, that retell classic stories suitable for all ages. "The Gingerbread Boy & Other First Tales" (9780982028223, 48 min.) offers five classic children's fairy tales, "Gingerbread Boy," "Billy Goats Gruff", "Frog Prince", "Little Red Hen", and "Bremen Town Musicians". "Paul Bunyan & Other American Tall Tales" (9780982028230, 60 min.) brings to life amazing legends from the American frontier, about such memorable figures as Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and Davy Crockett. "Animal Tales: Raccoon, Bear & Coyote" (9780982028247, 48 min.) has three stories about the titular creatures, from a coyote struggling to survive a bleak winter to a young raccoon searching for shelter from predators to a brown bear who seeks to build the perfect winter den. "Johnny Appleseed & Other American Legends" (9780982028254, 67 min.) tells the true stories of legendary pioneers in America, from Johnny Appleseed to Sacagawea to Lewis & Clark and defender of nature John Muir. All are highly recommended especially for long car trips or rainy day listening fun, and excellent additions to public library audiobook collections for children.

The Holiday Shelf

A Very Special Christmas with Grandma
Leanne Bush, author
Charlotte Briggs, illustrator
PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705-0151
1424197775, $19.95

A Very Special Christmas with Grandma is a flat-spined children's picturebook about Sarah, a young girl who celebrates Christmas at her grandmother's house. Grandma teaches Sarah about the traditions, morals, and values that make Christmas such an important time of year. Simple color illustrations reflect the hopes, joys and learning experience of a child in this heartwarming story. The text is sufficiently copious and involved that A Very Special Christmas with Grandma is best read aloud by parents to very young children. A Very Special Christmas with Grandma also teaches young readers a little about the origin of Christmas as the birth of the savior Jesus Christ, who loves all people. However, A Very Special Christmas with Grandma is not an overwhelmingly evangelical book; this is at heart a joyful story about connecting with family and embracing the ties that bind in the holidy season.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Sapphire Knight
Michael Sullivan
Publishing Works Inc.
60 Winter Street, Exeter, NH 03833
9781933002842, $12.95 1-800-738-6603

The Sapphire Knight: The Bard Series is a 123-page fantasy novel written especially for young men - a book meant to kindle the joy of reading in boys. A rousing saga of good versus evil, quests, magic, fierce battles and a mysterious beautiful girl, The Sapphire Knight is an adventure sure to excite and enthrall to the very last page. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's collections.

Motogalactic Monsters and the Astro Truck Jam
Lona Mae Shaskan, author
Brian Finlay, illustrator
A Bright Start Press
107 Ridge Lane, #303, Waltham, MA 02452
9780981614304, $6.00 1-518-796-6618

Motogalactic Monsters and the Astro Truck Jam is an exciting novel for young readers about the Motogalactic Monsters who travel in their Monster Truck on adventures throughout the Monster Galaxy. Determined to beat their rivals the Spoilers in the upcoming Astro Truck Jam, the Motogalactic Monsters journey to Junk Planet for rocket parts to give booster power to their Monster Truck. A handful of cartoon-style black-and-white drawings illustrate this fantastic, upbeat adventure of friendship and teamwork.

The DVD Shelf

The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
DVD808, $59.95, 1-800-290-7531

Weston Woods Studio is a premier producer of children's DVDs based on popular children's picture books. An outstanding example is their production of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" that was charmingly written by B. G. Hennessy and beautifully illustrated by Boris Kulikov. This seven minute, full color, DVD edition based on the Simon & Schuster picture book is a co-production of the Weston Woods Studios and Remir Productions and features a narration by Peter Scolari, music by John Jennings, all under the direction of Konstantin Bronzit. Especially appropriate viewing by children ages 3 through 7, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is an ideal addition to school and community library collections. Also highly recommended and available from Weston Woods Studios is the hardcover book/CD edition of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" (HCD808, $29.95).

Princess Katie & Racer Steve Live!
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
RURTRDVD, $22.00,

The Katie in "Princess Katie & Racer Steve Live!: Revved Up & Ready to Rock!" is Katie O'Sullivan, self-proclaimed royalty, a professonal singer-songwriter, and married to Steve Borne who moonlights as the Racer Steve as this husband-and-wife team collaborate to make lively, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' music together. Flawlessly performed and recorded, "Princess Katie & Racer Steve Live!" is their first live concert DVD that along with the help of Crash the Drummer and Space on Bass perform skits and dances. Featuring cartoons and Princess Katie's pet dragon, the "Princess Katie & Racer Steve Live!" DVD is enhanced with several bonus features including Meet the Band; PKRS News; an Animated 'Jeans' Video; and 5.1 surround sound. Terrific fun for kids of all ages, "Princess Katie & Racer Steve Live!" is highly recommended for family, school, and community library Children's DVD musical entertainment collections.

Disney Educational Productions
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-6307
DVD, $49.95 each,

Disney is one of the world's most trusted names when it comes to children's entertainment. What is less well known is the Disney commitment to high quality, kid friendly educational materials. "The Science of Disney Imagineering" is an impressive series of instructional DVDs specifically created for young viewers in grades 5 through 8 with a 30 minute running time. The three DVD productions focus upon a single science concept. "The Science of Disney Imagineering: Gravity" investigates the science and nature of the force behind such thrill rides as roller coasters and other major Disney theme park attractions. "The Science of Disney Imagineering: Levers & Pulleys" focuses on the mechanics of how Disney theme park elements such as Dumbo the Flying Elephant and other remarkable machines work. "The Science of Disney Imagineering: Trajectory" illustrates the role that forces and motion play in creating theme park rides such as the California Adventure's California Scramin' and Toy Story Midway Mania. Each of these superbly produced, informed and informative DVDs are enhanced with 'try it yourself' experiments that children can do to reinforce learning the key principles and concepts presented. All three of the "The Science of Disney Imagineering" titles are enthusiastically recommended for school and community library DVD collections, as well as an ideal supplement for home schooling science studies curricula.

The Cookbook Shelf

Green Princess Cookbook
Barbara Beery
Gibbs Smith, Publisher
PO Box 667, Layton UT 84041
9781423605652, $14.99 1-800-748-5439

Spiral bound to lay flat for ease of use in the kitchen, Green Princess Cookbook is a recipe guide intended for young girls age six and up. The "green" refers to environmentally friendly culinary creations - creating less impact by buying food locally, choosing organic ingredients, eating homegrown vegetables, or even using solar power. The recipes range from Soy-to-the-World Smoothies to Eggs-actly Frittatas, Baby Butterfly Cupcakes, Power-Up Fruit Cup, Sunshine Sorbet and much more. Some recipes have a bonus "Green Cuisine Tip" such as "Instead of serving it in a bowl, serve Sunshine Sorbet in hollowed-out orange, lemon, or lime halves. Then save those rinds to compost in your garden!" A delightful treat highly recommended for fostering an environmentally conscious attitude in young girls.

The Cherry On Top
Chaya Feigy Grossman
Feldheim Publishers
c/o Stuart Schnee PR
POB 46163, Jerusalem, Israel
9781583303108, $16.99,

One of the best ways to avoid picky eaters is to teach children the joys of cooking in the kitchen by providing them with the skills and information about cooking that will last them a life time. That's the reason why "The Cherry On Top: A Kosher Junior Cookbook" by Chaya Feigny Grossman is such a unique treasure for families that seek to impart kosher cooking skills to their children. Hallmarked with clear, methodical instructions, practical safety precautions for baking and cooking in a kitchen environment, combined with a series of thoroughly 'kid friendly' recipes drawn from the Binah Bunch Magazine cooking column for children, "The Cherry On Top" is a welcome addition to any kosher kitchen cookbook collection. Superbly illustrated throughout, the recipes comprising this outstanding cookbook range from Brownies, Chocolate Chip cookies; and Raisin Oatmeal Crispies; to Pizza, Potato Salad; and Ice Cream Crunch. "The Cherry On Top" is an enthusiastically recommended addition to any family, school, or community library cookbook collection for children.

The Music Shelf

Come On, Get Happy
John Boydston
Boyd's Tone Records
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $11.99,

Specifically composed and performed for young listeners, "Come On, Get Happy" is a CD anthology of tunes by master music maker John Boydston whose previous six music albums have delighted boys and girls with a lively rock-and-roll rhythm and lyrics. Subtitled 'The Best of Daddy A Go Go, Volume 1' this flawlessly recorded collection is comprised of fifteen toe-tapping, hand-clapping, get-up-and-move-around numbers as the Birday Song (2:07); Brush Your Teeth (1:41); and A Dog Named Boomer(2:23); to Nana Nana Boo Boo (2:50); Daddy's Diaper Blues (2:32); It's A Kid's World (3:40); and the title piece, Come On, Get Happy (2:09). Original, lyrical, rhythmical, and a whole lot of listening fun, "Come Get Happy" is an enthusiastically recommended addition to family, school, and community library CD music collections for kids.

Mama Doni Sings "I Love Herring"
Doni Zasloff Thomas
Mama Doni Productions
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $14.99,

Chanukah music for children is always welcome as part of the seasonal celebration -- and when Mama Doni is performing, that music is entertaining and appropriate for kids all year 'round! Such is the case with her new CD album, "Mama Doni Sings 'I Love Herring'" which features four new Mama Doni originals for this collection, along with twelve toe-tapping songs that are pure Jewish entertainment for young listeners. The individual pieces comprising this flawlessly recorded, 41 minute, 10 second performance include Bubbie's Tupperware; Shofar Blowin' Band; Past in Pasta; Oy Veh!; Sportin' My Kippah; Jewperheroes; Shpilkes; Bubbie's Big Bluff; Oy Yoy Yodel; Mensch Appeal; Bagel Time; Jewish Cowgirl; Fahklempt; Shivtzin'; Kvellin', and the title piece, I Love Herring. Superbly performed throughout, "Mama Doni Sings "I Love Herring" is very highly recommended for both family and community library children's music collections.

The Business Shelf

Entrepreneur Extraordinaire
J. M. Seymour
DynaMinds Publishing
6119 Nottingham, Suite One, Johnston, IA 50131
9780971290020, $19.95,

It's never too early to inspire sound fundamentals of business. "Entrepreneur Extraordinaire... Grandpa Helps Emily Build a Business" is a charming children's picturebook detailing the fundamentals of business as a dialogue between Emily and her grandfather, as Emily tries to start her own cookie making business. "Entrepreneur Extraordinaire" is a must for any young child who displays entrepreneurial spirit in the form of a lemonade stand or anything else.

The Bilingual Shelf

Tim and Kim
Kay Linda Nord
GM Books
PO Box 5310, Beverly Hills, CA 90209
1882383451, $8.95,

Good bilingual educational materials for beginning readers are not easy to find. So it's a very pleasant surprise when one simply shows up in the Midwest Book Review mail room. Such is the case with Kay Linda Nord's "Tim and Kim/Tim y Kim", an American English/Mexican Spanish bilingual easy reader picture book that uses brightly colored images by Nicole Armitage combined with an entertaining line text story by Kay Linda Nord (who grew up in a bilingual home with a Mexican mother and an American father) to teach young children simple words in both languages. As a young child's first bilingual educational story book, "Tim and Kim/Tim y Kim" is a superbly crafted and thoroughly 'kid friendly' chap book that would be an ideal addition to any ESL grade school class or home schooling bilingual curriculum supplement.

The Horse Race
Zhang Qiu, illustrator
Wang Lifu, calligraphy
J.M. Entrikin Publishing
1770 Front Street #309, Lynden, WA 98264
9789740513841, $16.95

The Horse Race is a bilingual English/Chinese picturebook based on the ancient Chinese classic story, "Tian Ji's Horse Race". In the Chinese Kingdom of Qi between 356 and 320 BC, the King of Qi competed in a horse race against one of his subordinates, Tian Ji. The king's horses were overall better than Tian Ji's... but Tian Ji employed a strategy of having his stronger horses compete against king's weaker horses, all the better to earn his victory! Beautiful paintings in the style of traditional Chinese art illustrate this timeless parable, and the text is presented in English, Chinese characters, and the romanized pronunciations of the characters. The Horse Race is a wonderful way to introduce any young person to the Chinese language and culture.

The Preschool Shelf

Have You Ever?
P.S. Cantor
On the Grow
935 Blue Gentian Road, Eagan, MN 55121
9780979909115, $7.95

Have You Ever? is a delightful board book suited for young children ages zero to three. The gentle, softly colored illustrations provide a perfect fit to the simple text. A wonderful read-aloud book for parents and little ones to share while preparing for preschool. "Have you ever picked an apple from a tree in the Fall? / Or found an orange pumpkin round like a ball? / Have you ever cleaned the dishes with lots of bubbles in the sink? Or colored eggs blue, purple and pink?"

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Why Do Horses Have Manes?
Elizabeth MacLeod
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781554533121, $14.95 1-800-265-0884

Illustrated with captivating color photography on almost every page, Why Do Horses Have Manes? is an educational book for young readers filled with amazing true facts about the horse. Presented in a question-and-answer format, Why Do Horses Have Manes? covers everything from the horse's life cycle and natural history to the names of famous fictional horses and various evolutionary relatives to the equine. Sure to please any young reader who loves horses, Why Do Horses Have Manes? is especially recommended for public library children's collections. "A horse's mane protects the animal's neck from bites - by bugs, other horses or predators. Along with the forelock (the hair between a horse's ears), the mane may also help direct rain off the horse."

The Christian Studies Shelf

Jesus From A to Z
Kevin Graham, author
Jennifer Yoswa, illustrator
Wisdom Publishing
PO Box 102225, Denver, CO 80250
9780970032317, $17.95

Jesus From A to Z is an alphabet book for Christian children age five to ten. Each letter of the alphabet is connected to a word that represents a concept important to Jesus Christ's life and teachings. The thoughtful color illustrations are reminiscent of a simplified style of Renaissance art, and the text reinforces basic lessons about the Christian faith. "[A is for] Angels - Angels are God's helpers who appear at special times. An angel named Gabriel came to tell Mary that she would have a baby and become the mother of Jesus. Other angels told the shepherds to go to the town of Bethlehem to see Jesus the night he was born. Angels appeared at different times in Jesus' life. They helped bring God's word to everyone."

Conciliar Press
PO Box 76, Ben Lomond, CA 95005-0076

One of the primary duties of parents and all members of the Christian community is to pass along to new generations of children those Biblical stories that help to illustrate and inspire faith in God. Two Old Testament Stories in the form of picturebook paperbacks for young children and featuring events in the life of Moses have been engagingly written by Mother Melania (a member of the community of St. Barbara orthodox Monastery in Santa Paula, California) and beautifully illustrated by iconographer and artist Bonnie Gillis. "Baby Moses" (9781888212976, $8.95) is the story of how Moses came to be adopted by a princess of Egypt. "Moses' Flight From Egypt" (9781888212983, $8.95) continues the Biblical story of how Moses had to flee his aristocratic life as an Egyptian prince, meet the woman who would become his wife, and eventually became a prophet of God and the leader of the Israelites. Both of these charming and inspiring little books are highly recommended for preschool children and older.

The Political Science Shelf

Barack Obama 101
Brad Epstein
Michaelson Entertainment
1134 Euclid Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403
9781607300441, $10.95, 1-310-899-3739

The election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States has already had a profound cultural impact as well as a political one. "Barack Obama 101" is a newly published board book for very young children that is replete with full color photos of Barack Obama's family, children, education, early career, and his election to the highest office of the country. Informed and informative, "Barack Obama 101" offers specific details about the presidency, explains the powers of the commander in chief, highlights the White House, identifies Air Force One, and features a final page into which an adult can slide a photo of a child making "Barack Obama 101" a truly personalized memento and family heirloom -- perhaps inspiring a child to one day become President themselves. Well conceived and expertly published, "Barack Obama 101" is enthusiastically recommended as a gift for any preschool aged child.

Presidents & U.S. Government
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595
$12.99 1-800-348-8445

Presidents & U.S. Government is an audio CD with an accompanying 32-page flat-spined book that makes learning about American Presidents fun. Engaging rap songs help students memorize the names America's Presidents and basics about the American government in this dynamic CD. For example, one song begins "The Legislative Branch is Congress / They make the laws in the U.S. // There are many things / that Congress can do / like regulate commerce / and take taxes from you." Presidents & the U.S. Government is a wonderful addition to children's audio libraries, public and private. The songs are "The Presidents of the U.S.A.", "Presidents by Number", "Presidents by Last Name Only", "The Executive Branch", "The Legislative Branch", "The Judicial Branch", "Talkin' About George Washington", "Abraham Lincoln Song", "Fun Rap About Each President", and "Fun Rap About Each President - Instrumental Version".

The Biography Shelf

Michelle Obama
Jeff C. Young
Morgan Reynolds Inc.
620 S. Elm St., Suite 223, Greensboro, NC 27406
9781599350905, $28.95,

With the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, his wife Michelle ascends the social, cultural, and political ladder to become the official 'First Lady' of the nation. As the newest title added to the outstanding Morgan Reynolds' 'Political Profiles' series, "Michelle Obama" by Jeff C. Young provides young readers with a succinct and illustrated biography of the woman born Michelle Obama to a working class black family from an impoverished section of Chicago, who through hard work ultimately succeeded in graduating from the Harvard Law School. Meeting and marrying Barack Obama, Michelle focused on her children and family while working for the University of Chicago. During this time her husband pursued his political career that began as a community organizer, then a state legislator, then a member of the Senate, and ultimately becoming a successful candidate for the nation's highest political office. This is the insightful story of 'the woman behind the man' and reveals an intelligent, no-nonsense, loving wife, mother, and career woman. "Michelle Obama" should be a part of every school and community library collection of American biographies for young readers.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Dear Toni
Cyndi Sand-Eveland
Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887768767, $16.99

Sixth-grader Gene Tucks moves Up North to become the new kid at school and finds a great challenge in a journal-writing assignment her teacher's given the class. Initial reluctance turns into attraction as she decides to write to Toni, a good listener and best friend who unlocks Gene's seemingly-dull life in a series of journal entries and drawings perfect for ages 8-11.

Bad to the Bone
Lucy Nolan
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761454397, $14.99

Kids ages 6-9 will appreciate BAD TO THE BONE, the story of one Down Girl and Sit who work hard at training their masters. There are so many lessons about keeping pets that their owners need to learn: how can two dogs train them adequately when they won't go to Obedience School? A fine story evolves, from a very different perspective.

The Picturebook Shelf

Mr. McSymphony's The Life of a Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Battaglia, author
Paul Muckenfuss, illustrator
Booksurge LLC
7290-B Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
9781419668937, $9.99

Mr. McSymphony's The Life of a Symphony Orchestra is the latest in the Mr. McSymphony (tm) series of softcover picturebooks intended for young children ages 6 to 11. Simple black-and-white line sketches of charming anthropomorphic animals illustrate the text, which teaches young people about what makes up a symphonic orchestra, and what to expect if one attends a symphony. "Sometimes a symphony orchestra has a very special instrument on stage, the piano. It is always located near the front of the stage on the left hand side of the conductor. The location of the piano lets the piano player see the conductor." A charming and educational nonfiction book perfect for sharing with children before taking them to see a symphony in person (or watching one on DVD), highly recommended for public library children's collections. Also highly recommended are the other informative and instructional books in the Mr. McSymphony series, "Mr. McSymphony's It's All About Jazz" (9781419680861), "Mr. McSymphony's It's All About Classical Music" (9781419680854), "Mr. McSymphony's It's All About Opera" (9781419680915), and "Mr. McSymphony's Musicians and Their Instruments" (9781419680779).

The Dirtiest Hair In The World
Bob McAllen & Tom McClure
Maren Green Publishing
5525 Memorial Avenue North, Suite 6, Oak Park Heights, MN 55082
9781934277249, $17.99,

When a talented children's story teller teams up with a gifted artist, the resulting picturebook is sure to be something as original as it is entertaining for young readers. Such is the case with author Bob McAllen and artist Tom McClure in "The Dirtiest Hair In The World". It's a beautifully told and illustrated story of a young girl named Claire and her long, beautiful hair. One day Claire decides she is not going to wash her hair. At first everything seems okay, but as the weeks go by her hair tangles grow into brambles! Eventually Clair cannot even get out of her bedroom and public health officials declare her room to be a Toxic Zone. Clair finally decides enough is enough and she washes her hair. What crawls, creeps, walks, flutters and flies from her tangled tresses is astonishing! With its rhyming text and art gallery quality full color images, "The Dirtiest Hair In The World" is highly recommended for family, school, and community library children's picturebook collections.

North-South Books Inc.
PMB 248
455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 37167

Udo Weigelt's BECKY THE BORROWER (9780735822054, $16.95) provides a story of a girl who loves everything about kindergarten - especially everyone ELSE's toys. She loves to borrow and always plans on giving them back in a few days - but plans go awry and Becky finds her room packed with toys that aren't hers. How can she return them when she can't recall their owners? A fine story evolves that many kinds will readily recognize from their own experiences. Kristina Andres' GOOD LITTLE WOLF (9780735822108, $12.95) tells of a wolf born to be 'big and bad' but who just can't help being a good wolf. He's clean, likes to tell bedtime stories - and just for fun, occasionally dresses up as a big, bad wolf! A gentle easy reader casts a different light on the 'mean wolf' persona. Marie Sellier, Catherine Louis and Wang Fei's WHAT THE RAT TOLD ME: A LEGEND OF THE CHINESE ZODIAC (9780735822207, $16.95) tells of a Great Emperor who invites all the animals to visit him on the Jade Mountain. Twelve come and become the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac - but what really happened, and why is the cat not part of the zodiac? The rat knows the true story and this one's adapted from a Chinese Buddhist legend dating from the Han Dynasty.

Rhyming Dust Bunnies
Jan Thomas
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
9781416979760, $12.99

Dust bunnies Ed, Ned, Ted and Bob rhyme all the time - and RHYMING DUST BUNNIES presents a zany portrait of their abilities. Only Bob seems to have trouble understanding the basic concept of 'rhyme' in this fun, zany tale.

The Rain Stomper
Addie Boswell, author
Eric Velasquez, illustrator
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761453932, $16.99

Eric Velasquez provides fun drawings to accompany the story of a girl who is faced with an unwelcome change in plans. Ages 4-8 will find it a lively story of a girl looking forward to her first big parade - until the rain begins. Can Jazmin use her energy and spirit to save the day not just for herself, but for others? A fine story of positive problem-solving emerges.

The Fiction Shelf

Travelers Market
Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Idylls Press
PO Box 3219, Ashland, OR 97520
9781595970121, $16.95,

Maureen McQuerry is the talented author of "Wolfproof", a juvenile fantasy novel that received very high marks when reviewed for the Midwest Book Review publication "Children's Bookwatch". Now McQuerry has followed up her initial success with "Traveler's Market", a sequel to her first novel. Timothy James Maxwell, his sister Sarah, and their best friend Jessica once again find themselves plunged into an alternate universe. This time they are in search of an antidote for timothy's mother who has been bitten by a poisonous paranormal rat. And once again they find themselves having to deal with their old enemy, Balor-the-one-eyed. It seems that the only way Timothy's mother can be saved is if the kids first bring back peace and harmony to the beautiful, exotic, and troubled world known as the 'Traveler's Market'. McQuerry's specialty is bringing into her novels a mingling and mixture of mythological sources and elements as textural enrichment for her high adventure, reader engaging fantasy stories making "Traveler's Market" one of those rare literary works -- a sequel that is every bit as entertaining and 'kid friendly' as its prequel!

Streams of Babel
Carol Plum-Ucci
Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780152165567, $17.00

When Cora's mother dies, Cora assumes her mother overdosed on painkillers taken for years - and is shocked to learn a neighbor also died of a brain aneurysm the same night. And when Cora and her friends become ill with a mysterious flu thereafter and officials arrive in her small town, a terrorist attack is suspected in this fine story of biological suspense.

Charlotte Agell
Henry Holt
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
080507810X, $16.95

In fifteen-year-old Adrian's world, Homestate rules all aspects of society: identity cards need to be carried at all times and discussions and debates are strictly controlled. When an end-of-the-world threat emerges, Adrian refuses to accept it and sets out on a trip that could change the outcome of the universe. A fine story of survival emerges.

Suzanne Weyn
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0545013232, $17.99

What if love is stronger than time or death? A young man and a young woman in prehistoric times fight over a precious jewel: generations and centuries pass but fate keeps drawing them together, creating a strange attraction every time. The saga of love haunted by history makes for an outstanding and compelling, different love story.

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

Book 3 in Christopher Paolini's 'Inheritance Cycle', BRISINGR (9780375826726, $27.50) is a 'must' for any library seeing the popularity of its predecessors: it continues the saga begun in Eragon and continued in Eldest, which have sold 15.5 million copies worldwide, and continues the story of Eragon, here chafing under restrictions of his powers. Eragon's oath to rescue his cousin and his divided loyalties to others lead to choices that may involve unforgivable sacrifices in this riveting fantasy, a pick for both advanced teen fantasy readers in upper grades and adults who find complex settings and fast paces irresistible. Chris Grabenstein's THE CROSSROADS (9780375846977, $16.99) tells of an average boy with an average life and a unique problem: a killer ghost that's stalking him. His search for peace will take him to some extraordinary places in this satisfying ghost story for older readers. C.K. Kelly Martin's I KNOW IT'S OVER (9780375945666, $16.99) tells of Nick, who finds himself in a quick summer romance with Sasha that ends abruptly, then re-starts when she shows up pregnant. The complexities of love lost/regained make for an outstanding selection for older YA readers. Brian Falkner's THE TOMORROW CODE (9780375843648, $16.99) tells of a series of strange messages that result in a lottery win and then a key to the future. Tane and Rebecca discover something's gone terribly wrong in this future world - and the messenger has an agenda to save it in this gripping suspense story. Kerry Cohen Hoffmann's THE GOOD GIRL (9780385736442, $15.99) tells of a 'good girl' who has always put everyone's needs before her own since her brother's accidental death. Underneath, though, she longs to be a different person - and finds herself stealing to thwart her 'good girl' image. A poignant story of recovery and change evolves. Julie Schumacher's BLACKBOX (9780385735421, $15.99) tells of Elena, quieter than her fun, more outgoing older sister Dora - and of the surprise that changes their relationship when Dora is diagnosed with depression and has to be admitted to the hospital. Dora's hospitalization changes family and friendship dynamics, and Elena assumes personal responsibility for her recovery in this fine story of mental illness and its family impact. Simon Morden's THE LOST ART (9780385751476, $16.99) is set in a future world Dark Age when war machines have changed the face of the planet - a world in which technology is hidden by a Church determined to present a new Armageddon. Benzamir Mahmood, a descendant of tribes that fled the planet during the old wars, pursues enemies from space and returns to earth bringing with him wondrous - and forbidden - technology. A fine science fiction tale for older readers evolves. Michelle Baldini and Lynn Biederman's UNRAVELING (9780385735407, $15.99) tells of teen Amanda, who feels like a total physical and social outcast at home and in school. So when the school's hottest star begins flirting with her, she enjoys a newfound fame - at a big price. A fine coming of age story emerges for mature teens.

c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014

Lewis Barnavelt returns in another John Bellairs mystery, Sign of the Sinister Sorcerer (9780803731516, $16.99) penned by Brad Strickland. Here Lewis is sick of adventure and ready for a relaxing, magic-free summer vacation. But trouble still follows him and a string of bad luck may be more sinister than imagined in SIGN OF THE SINISTER SORCERER, telling of Lewis's ongoing struggle with black magic's ills. A fine novel of mystery and magic evolves, perfect for both prior readers of Lewis' adventures and newcomers. Peg Kehret's STOLEN CHILDREN (9780525478355, $16.99) tells of a babysitter faced with an unlikely situation when two baby-nappers show up. When Amy tries to prevent the kidnapping, they take her too - and she has only a few days to either escape or get help. A fine thriller tells of a spunky girl's resourcefulness against all odds. Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler's JARS OF GLASS (9780525479116, $16.99) tells of Chloe, who wishes everything her mother could come home from the hospital and her father would begin acting like a parent. She's left at home to be responsible for her little brother and like goth sister Shana, only wishes for her life to go back to normal. A poignant story of sisters forced to band together, JARS OF GLASS tells of a different kind of family unit. Andrew Clements' THINGS THAT ARE (9780399246913, $16.99) tells of a totally blind girl who sees how her parents want her to be independent, sees a new relationship possibility, and also senses an invisible force affecting her life. Her choices in dealing with all of these scenarios will ultimately gain her newfound freedom in THINGS THAT ARE. Allegra Goodman's THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND (9781595141958, $16.99) is set in the future and tells of the 18th year of Enclosure, after The Flood, when a young girl moves with her parents to Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea, there to live a peaceful life where all families fit in - except for Honor's. When she stumbles upon a terrible secret to paradise, she faces some unusual choices in this fine science fiction story.

Simon & Schuster/Margaret McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th fl., NY, NY 10020

A mysterious correspondence left for the authors written by three siblings tells of one uncle Arthur Spiderwick and an unfinished book witnessing a world of strange creatures. Thus the Spiderwick Chronicles rose to #1 best-selling status in the New York Times and readers thrilled at the fantasy accounts of siblings battling elves, dwarves and ogres. Prior fans will relish Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black's 'field guide' Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You (1416960953, $24.99), featuring over thirty faerie species and observations accompanying the classic Spiderwick scenarios in a delightful fantasy companion to the hit original. Margaret Peterson Haddix's PALACE OF MIRRORS (1416939156, $16.99) tells of one Cecilia, who knows she's not just another peasant girl, but a true princess hiding until the evil forces that killed her parents are vanquished. She secretly studies palace etiquette at night and leads a peasant's life by day, until she flees the capital city determined to regain her throne. Fans of JUST ELLA will find this a satisfying sequel with plenty of twists and turns of plot. Courtney Sheinmel's MY SO-CALLED FAMILY (1416957855, $15.99) tells of one Leah, who has just moved to New York with a big secret: she doesn't have a father, but is the product of a donor. Despite living with a stepfather and little brother, she keeps feeling something is missing: an opportunity to discovery her real heritage leads her down a dangerous road. Rune Michaels' THE REMINDER (1416941312, $16.99) tells of Daisy, who keeps hearing her dead mother's voice. While she's familiar with the possibilities and reasons, this time it's something different - and holds an opportunity to save her mother's life. A fine tale of loss and survival emerges. Ellen Hopkins' IDENTICAL (1416950052, $17.99) tells of seeming identical twins in a seeming all-American family. A father's misplaced affection and a daughter's choice of drugs and sex makes for twins who are keeping big secrets from both the outside world and themselves in this fine, compelling saga.

114 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011-5690

Phoebe is a Goth girl with a crush on a strong, silent dead boy in a world where some teens are coming back to life, but changed in Daniel Waters' GENERATION DEAD (9781423109211, $16.99). They are trying to blend back into society - but the living find them hard to take - except for Phoebe, who has never run with the normal crowd anyway. When she falls for the leader of the dead kids, trouble results. Eoin Colfer's ARTEMIS FOWL: THE TIME PARADOX (97811423108368, $17.99) tells of Artemis, who returns to a life different than the one he had before after a 3-year disappearance. When his mother contracts a life-threatening illness, her only hope for a cure lies with an extinct lemur - sending Artemis on a journey through time, with the help of fairy friends.

Books in Series

Instant Help Books
c/o New Harbinger Press
5674 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609
$7.95 each 1-800-748-6273

Child psychologist Lawrence E. Shapiro presents the "Transition Times" series, a set of hardcover picturebooks colorfully illustrated by Hideko Takahashi that use simple text and cheerful color illustrations to teach young people very basic skills for growing up. In "It's Time To Give Up Your Pacifier" (9781572245853), young people learn that they can talk, eat, sing, and enjoy more activities without their pacifier, in order to help them gently wean themselves from using one. In "It's Time To Sleep In Your Own Bed" (9781572245860), young children learn that it's time to sleep in their own bed like big kids do, insted of in mommy's and daddy's bed. The "Transition Times" series is best when shared between parents and children, as a fun way to prepare for the baby steps toward maturity. Highly recommended.

Crabtree Publishing
360 - 5th Ave Suite 3008, New York NY 10118

Bobbie Kalman's WARM-BLOODED OR COLD-BLOODED? (07787328190) and ANIMALS WITHOUT BACKBONES (0778732797) each are excellent, 32-page surveys of different kinds of animals ($26.60 each hardcover, $8.95 each paperback).WARM BLOODED OR COLD-BLOODED? Surveys how animals get body heat or protect themselves from the elements, while ANIMALS WITHOUT BACKBONES examines worms, sea creatures and a host of animals without backbones. Bright color photos accompany natural history insights throughout. Bobbie Kalman's series of environmental and biome titles ($26.60 each hardcover, $8.95 each paperback) includes EARTH'S MOUNTAINS (077873207X), NATURE'S CLEANERS (0778732800), INSECT EATERS (0778732789), EARTH'S COASTS (0778732061) and EARTH'S RIVERS (0778732086). Each holds 32 pages of natural history and geology detail, holds an index and glossary, and comes packed with contemporary color photos throughout to add excitement. The 'All Over the Map' titles ($26.60 each hardcover, $8.95 each paper) are excellent picks for collections featuring maps and history alike. Four volumes cover the world of maps: MAP PARTS (0778742667) surveys the basic idea of a map, with 32 pages offering connections between different kinds of maps - including a map of a home's interior. MAP TYPES (0778742695) covers everything from street maps and political maps to globes and flat maps. DRAWING MAPS (0778742679) discusses symbols, legends, and how maps are represented, while READING MAPS (0778742709) covers scale, distance, and why it's important to read maps. All are outstanding surveys geography classes will appreciate. The 'Looking After Me' series ($26.60 each hardcover, $8.95 each paper) by Liz Gogerly and Mike Gordon provide six titles using narratives to explore key health issues. EATING WELL (0778741109) surveys junk food and illness, EXERCISE (0778741117) examines different generations and types of exercise and fitness, SAFETY (0778741133) considers Molly, who never listens to her parents' safety lectures until trouble strikes, TAKING MEDICINE (0778741141) considers a boy who must learn that different medicines have different effects, TEETH (077874115X) tells of a girl who worries about her loose tooth after seeing her dog's experiences with a rotten loose tooth, and KEEPING CLEAN (0778741125) is about two little boys who love getting dirty. All are excellent picks for elementary-grade health collections. The 'Green Team' titles by Sally Hewitt ($26.60 hardcover, $8.95 paperback) are for grades 2-6 and cover all kinds of 'green' options and topics. USING WATER (0778740978) offers case studies for water conservation, USING ENERGY (077874096X) surveys alternate energy, WASTE AND RECYCLING (0778740986) considers different methods of recycling, REDUCE AND REUSE (0778740951) tells how to reuse food wrappings and other containers, YOUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT (0778741001) offers insights on wildlife gardens, parks, attracting wildlife and more, and YOUR FOOD (0778740994) provides insights on cooking, school meals, picnics, and more. All are excellent picks.

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

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