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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 20, Number 2 February 2010 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice DVD Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Picturebook Shelf Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf Music Shelf
American History Shelf Preschool Shelf Biography Shelf
Science Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Fiction Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Social Issues Shelf Poetry Shelf
Mythology/Folklore Shelf World History Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Language Studies Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

First Farm in the Valley, Anna's Story
Anne Pellowski
Bethlehem Books
10194 Garfield Street South, Bathgate, ND 58216 1-800-757-6831
9781932350241, $12.95,

"First Farm in the Valley, Anna's Story" is a Latsch Valley Farm book, set in western Wisconsin in the 1870's, when Polish settlers combined with folk from Norway, Germany, and other countries emigrated to begin profitable farming in Wisconsin. At six years of age, Anna is proud that her family was the very first to begin settling in the Latsch Valley, beginning their life there in a small sod house which still stands, used occasionally to shelter pigs. Anna's family has grown and prospered, moving into a fine lumber house that they have build on to as the family grew. Other settlers have come to the valley, and Anna's awareness of her Polish heritage is beginning to merge with the knowledge that she is a citizen of the United States. "First Farm in the Valley" traces many of the beginning adventures faced by Wisconsin's immigrant settlers and will definitely appeal to readers age 8-12. It also would be great material for reading aloud to 5-year-olds and up. Cultural history mixes with agricultural practices and readers will identify with the perceptions of a curious 6-year old girl in a time of great change and growth.

Fairy Flora
Calliope Glass, author
Disney Storybook Artists, illustrators
Disney Press
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423118435, $12.99,

"Fairy Flora: A Garden-Talent's Guide To The Plants Of Pixie Hollow" is a wonderful children's guide to the flowers of Pixie Hollow, written by Iris, the fairy garden expert who writes things down. The wonderful secret surprise inside "Fairy Flora" is three tiny envelopes of flower seed paper with special good wishes written in them to encourage the little flowers to grow! "Fairy Flora" is rife with flower facts, filled with plant lore and history, and bursting with fabulous, cheery illustrations of the favorite garden fairies. A final page of simple instructions tells young readers how they can grow their own fairy garden using the magic seed papers in the book. In no time, young readers will be able to watch their own fairy gardens begin to grow and thrive! "Fairy Flora" is a delicate dream of a book that encourages children to see the beauty around them in the natural world.

The Red Scarf/ L'escharpe rouge
Anne Villeneuve
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901 1-800-788-1074
9780887769894, $17.95,

Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration (French Language), "The Red Scarf" ("L'escharpe rouge") is a fascinating story told in the language of art. Only a few words are used to help set the scene of a gray, ordinary day in the life of Turpin the taxi driver. He finds a red scarf someone has left in his cab. Seeking to return the scarf to its owner, Turpin literally enters a world of circus fantasy, peopled by such fantastical entities as a friendly lizard, a bear, a lion and his tamer, bareback riders, daredevils and a magician! What happens after that can only be discovered by cherishing and perusing the most delicate, wild, wonderful series of fact action paintings and illustrations you can imagine! Young readers will love this beautiful book that leaps across cultural and language barriers. Best of all, they will laugh. "The Red Scarf" is children's literature at its very best.

It's Time to Combine
Stacey Gabel, author
Richard Newman, illustrator
Dog Ear Publishing
4010 West 86th Street, Suite H, Indianapolis, IN 46268
9781608441211, $13.95,

"It's Time to Combine" is a first reader book for kids from the Readin' Machines series. The clear, colorful illustrations and clear text lead young readers to independently explore further levels of literacy and discovery. The combine machine is described and used to demonstrate the harvesting of beans, corn and wheat on a family farm. The detailed illustrations help explain the complex working of the combine and help hold the interest of the budding readers. A final quiz page titled "Nuts and Bolts" helps cement the lessons learned by teaching the young reader further observation and reading skills.

The Earth Has Caught a Cold
Roxane Marie Galliez, author
Sandrine Lhomme, illustrator
c/o Langenscheidt Publishing Group
15 Tyger River Drive, Duncan, SC 29334
9780841671409, $9.99,

"The Earth Has Caught A Cold" is an imaginative tale about a boy who decides he must help the Earth get better somehow, since it has caught a cold. The answers to how he will accomplish this are described, suggested, and beautifully illustrated in the lovely paintings and pages of "The Earth Has Caught A Cold." Its final message of empowerment comes at the end, with a rainbow painted across the sky, and the realization that "It's never too late to start all over again." "The Earth Has Caught A Cold" is written to entice and enchant children ages 4-7.

The Nightmare Navigator
Billy Bonsangue
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064 1-888-3619473
9781607994992, $14.99,

"The Nightmare Navigator: When Shadows Lurk" is a comic-book illustrated nightmare valor manual in verse for kids afraid to nap, dream, or sleep. "The Nightmare Navigator" is filled with memorable suggestions such as smile, pretend you can fly, pray, reverse your direction, and imagine away your worst spooky fears. Best of all, frightened kids are encouraged to "dream valiantly." "The Nightmare Navigator" comes with a special free audio book digital download to enable parents to create their own audio copy of "The Nightmare Navigator" for kids to listen to at naptime or bedtime.

The Little Ant and the Giant Castle
Gene A. Napue Jr., author
Kellee Adams and Nate Mericle, illustrators
RoosterBuggle Pue
P. O. Box 5803, Denver, CO 80217
0615327893, $16.95

"The Little Ant and the Giant Castle: An Elementary Adventure in Cross Curriculum" is designed to stimulate interest and integrate disciplines in High Need based study areas such as math, geography, social studies, science, language arts, and music. Grounded in metaphors from music and art, "The Little Ant and the Giant Castle" is excellent education enhancement material for students in grades K-5. Particularly appealing and helpful to early learners, "The Little Ant and the Giant Castle" is a part of a series that is destined to be popular and practical for home-based or school based curriculums.

Franny, Randy, and the Over-the-Edge Cat Person
Uli Knoepflmacher, author/artist
4926 Southwest Corbett Avenue
Portland, OR 97239
9780982571507, $10.95,

"Franny, Randy, and the Over-the Edge Cat Person" is a unique creation by a talented and award-winning author who models his work in the footprints of E. B. White ("Charlotte's Web") and Rudyard Kipling. A professor and critic of children's literature, Mr. Knoepflmacher brings many diverse abilities and sensitivities to his creation, "Franny, Randy, and the Over-the Edge Cat Person." Like "Charlotte's Web," "Franny and Randy.." can be read by people of widely varied ages, with different layers of levels of meaning and significance. "Franny and Randy.." tells the tale of seven year old twins who must temporarily reside with their aunt while their doctor parents have gone missing on a disease-fighting mission to Asia. They experience rejections and stigma due to their differences, and they mysteriously meet an old man with mystical powers who becomes their friend and ally. As might be expected, lots of hidden meanings and words and ideas emerge in "Franny and Randy..," but perhaps one of its more appealing eccentric characteristics is the old man's love of cats, which he conveys deeply and sympathetically to the children. "Franny and Randy..." is a unique book that will secretly delight and educate all who come into contact with it, from age 6 to age 60.

The Flower Girl/ The Ring Bear, a Flip-Over Book
N. L. Sharp, author
Timothy James Hantula, illustrator
Prairieland Press
P.O. Box 2404, Fremont, NE 68026
9780975982938, $19.95,

"The Flower Girl/The Ring Bear" is a great flip-over book that has vibrant appeal for both boys and girls who participate in family weddings, not to mention everyone else! Chock full of dazzling, comic illustrations and laden with 5-year-old fantasies about being a crucial figure in a large ceremonial event, "The Flower Girl/The Ring Bear" packs tons of fun into just a few pages. "The Flower Girl/The Ring Bear" would make a perfect gift for a child who is invited to participate in a wedding as flower girl or ring bearer, but it also delivers a sound message to kids everywhere about the importance of living up to your responsibilities even when they are not quite what you imagined them to be. "The Flower Girl/The Ring Bear" has added cultural educational value implicit in the clear message of the illustrations that this is a biracial marriage, in addition to the formal bonding of two different families with different views, cultural backgrounds, or lifestyles. In the end, both the flower girl and the ring bear decide to fulfill their promises despite some disappointments and everyone agrees they are "the best flower girl and ring bear they had ever seen!" "The Flower Girl/The Ring Bear" will appeal to children ages 0-9.

Artsy Fartsy
Karla Oceanak, author
Kendra Spanjer, artist
Bailiwick Press
309 E. Mulberry Street, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524
9781934649053, $12.95,

"Artsy Fartsy" is the first book in an alphabetical series, an Aldo Zelnick comic book novel starring a 10 year old Colorado boy who is given a sketchbook by his grandmother to record all his "artsy -fartsy" ideas. What ensues is a funny, appealing cartoon story with lots of opportunities for Aldo's artsy fartsy journaling and doodling. Also incorporated in the story of "Artsy-Fartsy" are lots of fun "A" words that are listed in a glossary in the back and used throughout the book. Even though being "artsy" is uncool, Aldo's arsty Grandma Goosy must have known what she was doing when she gave him the sketchbook. He fills it with funny, flip, zingy drawings and ideas and makes some headway in figuring out just who he really is after all. The wonderful "A" word gallery in the back only makes its audience anticipate the next cool book in the Aldo Zelnick epic series.

So, You Be Keon and I'll Be Mahovlich
Oksanna Crawley, author/illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403 1-800-839-8640
9781449002435, $13.99,

"So, You Be Keon and I'll Be Mahovlich" is a partly fictionalized story about a boy named Niall who dreams of overcoming his fears and playing ice hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs. A mysterious friend called Bill becomes Niall's mentor and coach, encouraging him to keep trying, keep working, remember to use his stick, and work with his team. Bill also gives Niall a special magic hockey stick to inspire him and tells him to never give up, never quit. Eventually Niall find out that his special friend is really the ghost of Canadian hockey hero Bill Barilko, winner of the Stanley cup who died in a plane crash in 1951. "So, You Be Keon and I'll Be Mahovlich" is an inspirational story that will keep elementary to middle-school age children riveted to their seats.

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10003

Elaine Greenstein's THE GOOSE MAN: THE STORY OF KONRAD LORENZ (9780547084596, $16.00) tells the true story of a boy who loved animals and grew up to be a man who loved to learn about them. His passion would lead to him becoming a scientist and sharing his knowledge with the world - and THE GOOSE MAN gently recounts his experience. Stuart Stotts' WE SHALL OVERCOME: A SONG THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (9780547182100, $18.00) comes with a CD performance by Pete Seger and provides the powerful, detailed story of the song packed with black and white archival images and graphic drawings. From music history to civil rights issues, this provides a lively, powerful account especially good for home listening and discussion. Rebecca Bond's IN THE BELLY OF AN OX: THE UNEXPECTED PHOTOGRAPHIC ADVENTURES OF RICHARD AND CHERRY KEARTON (9780547076751, $16.00) tells the true story of how two brothers form Yorkshire become known as the most innovative bird photographers of all time. It reads like fiction packed with drama and action but provides a powerful biography survey perfect for any picturebook collection.

The DVD Shelf

The Best of Bob the Builder
HiT Entertainment
2700 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404
H180998, $14.98,

Bob the Builder's indomitable can-do attitude has inspired countless young viewers. "The Best of Bob the Builder" is a compilation of some of the best adventures of Bob and his machines, which serve as both his tools and his best friends. With bonus features of never before seen stories, and DVD games, "The Best of Bob the Builder" is a fine pick for any young viewer who can't get enough of Bob. Also from HiT Entertainment and Lionsgate are "Barney's Please and Thank You" (H180995, $14.98), and "Lending a Helping Hand"(H180997, $14.98), a compilation of episodes that young viewers will love with the likes of Bob, Barney, and Thomas the Tank Engine.

The Audiobook Shelf

Old Yeller
Fred Gipson, author
Peter Francis James, narrator
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780061960765 $22.99

Peter Francis James lends his narrative talent to an unabridged audiobook production of Old Yeller, the classic, award-winning young adult novel about the bond between a boy and his beloved dog. Set in Texas hill country, Old Yeller remains as emotionally powerful today as when it was first published in 1956. Though created for a young adult and teenage audience, Old Yeller remains a dramatic story of sacrifice that resonates in adult readers as well, and is highly recommended especially for public library audiobook collections. 3 CDs, 4 hours.

The Cookbook Shelf

Cooking Around the Country with Kids
Amy Houts
Snaptail Books
c/o Images Unlimited
P.O. Box 305, Maryville, MO 64468
9780930643201, $19.95,

"Cooking Around the Country With Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities" is a great kids' touring cookbook full of tasty regional recipes and special added bonus facts, games or activities. Some of the recipes include Sour Dough Pancakes from the Mountain states, Salmon Canapes from the Pacific Coast Region, Shrimp Creole from the Southeast, and Cream of Peanut Soup from the Appalachian Highlands and many more. Chapters of recipes are organized by region, including Cooking in New England, the Mid-Atlantic States, the Appalachian Highlands, the Southeast, the Great Lakes, the Heartland, the Southwest, the Mountain region, the Pacific Coastal region, and Hawaii. Each chapter presents suggestions for special activities and geographic description and food growing practices in addition to recipes to try. Recipes are clear and concise, with helpful suggestions for ease of preparation. In addition to the delicious recipes, the regional descriptions and added material are quite educational and fascinating. "Cooking Around the Country With Kids" is a companion to another cookbook by the same author, "Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun." This pair of cookbooks are good components to an elementary or middle school classroom curriculum for cooking, geography, science, math, or American history. "Cooking Around the Country with Kids" makes learning fun!

Camelot's Kitchen
Shorah and Rane Sevin, authors
Kings of Jupiter Press
9780615216225, $19.95,

"Camelot's Kitchen: Real Salads Inspired By A Real Rabbit!" is both a happy ending story of a sadly abused rabbit who finds a happy home with a chef and a fabulous collection of vegan/vegetarian salad recipes that require no cooking! Presenting 64 pages of delicious and unusual salad recipes from Wobbly Walnut Salad to the Infamously Famous Fig Salad, "Camelot's Kitchen" is sure to delight compassionate salad and animal lovers everywhere. Lushly illustrated with star photos of Camelot himself, "Camelot's Kitchen" belongs in every healthy or aspiring-to-be-healthy person's library of cookbooks. Other works about Camelot include "Camelot's Wedding," and "A Day in the Life of Camelot," available with more live video of Camelot at

Covered in Chocolate
Lizzie Lou
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064 888-361-9473
9781607994404, $10.99,

"Covered in Chocolate: Child-Centered Recipes, Chocolate-Inspired Curriculum" is a scrumptious chocolate cookbook just for kids that has lots of hidden educational touches that are easy and effortless to absorb. Divided into five main chapters, "Covered in Chocolate" offers 33 or more delicious recipes for all things chocolate that are coded with a "B" for beginner level or "E" for expert. Recipes are clearly laid out, divided into three sections labeled Ingredients, Directions, and Did you know?, an educational addenda that keeps kids coming back with more questions. "Covered in Chocolate" has safety tips, a glossary, and a special section titled "Appetite for Learning" that is full of great educational enrichment activities centered around guess what, chocolate! All in all, "Covered in Chocolate" meets the ticket for fun, fabulous, fantastic cooking and learning activities with chocolate! Kids will love "Covered in Chocolate!"

The Picturebook Shelf

Guess How Much I Love You All Year Round
Sam McBratney, author
Anita Jeram, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover St., Somerville, MA 02144
9780763646547, $16.99,

"Guess How Much I Love You All Year Round: Four Seasons, Four Stories" is a beautiful children's four seasons story book from the "Guess How Much I Love You" series by the same author/illustrator team. The wonders of each season are explored and experienced by Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare, with special appeals to all the senses. Focusing on feelings and developing sensitivities, "Guess How Much I Love You" is a charming child's classic, enhanced by beautiful delicate pastel paintings and illustrations. It will appeal to children ages 3-8.

A Griffin In Her Desk
Zee Ann Poerio & James R. Clifford, authors
Monica Getty, illustrator
Nummulus Books Publishing
3017 Ashburton Way, Mount Pleasant, SC 29466 888-288-9248
9781439255728, $10.99,

"A Griffin in Her Desk" is the first book in the Mrs. Moneta Coin Story Series, which presents numismatics, ancient history, culture and mythology in the form of a dashing mystery which can be tackled by students and their canny teacher, Mrs. Moneta. The book includes a small reproduction of an actual coin stamped with a griffin springing left off of Ionic capital, attributed to Thrace, Abdera, circa 386/5-375 B. C. "A Griffin in Her Desk" is the perfect way to teach Classic history to kids painlessly. Using the jumping off point of an ancient coin, a tangible link to ancient civilizations, the authors create a typical middle school classroom situation with a few unexpected quirks. Mrs. Moneta uses a toss of a special ancient griffin coin to lead her students to another world where they encounter the creatures and fantastical beings of an ancient civilization. their guide turns out to be the griffin named Gryphon from the coin, who leads them in to an adventure of rescuing Zeus' stolen gold from the one-eyed Arimaspians. Many creative group adventures ensue, a little thrill and chill and lots of humor interlaced throughout, and finally Mrs. Moneta and her students are magically returned to their everyday classroom world forever changed and enriched by their experience. "A Griffin in Her Desk" is creative education at its best.

Philomel Books/Putnam
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Patricia Polacco's JANUARY'S SPARROW (9780399250774, $22.99) is a pick for grades 3-5, telling of the Crosswhites, who flee the Kentucky plantation they slave on leaving everything behind. Their slow journey to Michigan seems to lead to freedom - but slave catchers still threaten their lives. How the family and a small town face these slave catchers and stand up for themselves makes for and absorbing, riveting story of nearly 100 pages paired with fine color drawings throughout. Joan Holub's GROUNDHOG WEATHER SCHOOL (9780399246593, $16.99) receives Kristin Sorra's drawings and provides the appealing story of a groundhog professor who wants to accurately predict weather. He opens the Groundhog Weather School to help young groundhogs be more accurate - and in the process teaches about weather prediction in this fun blend of story and weather science.

The Hiccupotamus
Aaron Zenz
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761456223, $12.99,

THE HICCUPOTAMUS provides a rollicking rhyme based upon a hiccuping hippo, whose bad case of hiccups becomes a calamity. An easy, rollicking rhyme and a lively set of color drawings lends to a fine leisure reading choice for both libraries and parents interested in unusual read-alouds.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Using her own childhood experiences, Lois Lowry provides a gentle story illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline in CROW CALL (9780545030359, $16.99), telling of one girl's connection with her father, who has just returned from war. A special gift from a father at war returns to link them in a story of love and warmth. Also warm and loving is Tanja Askani's A FRIEND LIKE YOU (9780545058513, $16.99) using a variety of full-page color animal photos to explore animal connections and friendships. The simple, single-line accompanying sayings about friendships are wonderful gentle pairings. Ursula K. LeGuin's CAT DREAMS (9780545042161, $16.99) receives fine drawings by S.D. Schindler as it tells of a cat's dream of mice rain and a place where all the dogs have run away.

The Magic Goggles: Discovering the Secrets of the Lake
Lynn Markham, author
Anne Horjus, illustrator
UW Extension, College of Natural Resources
800 Reserve Street, Stevens Point, WI 54481
9780615323572, $5.00

"The Magic Goggles" is a beautifully illustrated children's book about exploring the wonders of a northern lake and its surrounding woodland environment. Maggie and her brother Tate find two pairs of magic goggles while they are visiting at there grandparents' cabin on the lake. The note attached tells them "These goggles have special powers if you believe in them. They will help you discover the secrets of the lake - Pass them on. Margaret, 1954" So Maggie and Tate decide to wear the old leather trimmed goggles and a wondrous world within the lake unfolds to them. They are magically able to walk on the lake's lily pads and surface, and they see many darting fish, insects, frogs and birds. A Mama Duck talks to them and offers to take them on a bird's eye tour of the lake that allows them to see the lake and all its surrounding trees and vegetation. Many adventures await them in their exploration of the lake made possible by the magic goggles, and finally, when Maggie grows up to high school age, she discovers the goggles no longer fit her. She carefully attaches another note explaining what the magic goggles can do, and passes them on. "The Magic Goggles" is a beautiful educational book that will teach children to love,
understand and appreciate the northern lake country and environment.

Always My Brother
Jean Reagan, author
Phyllis Pollema-Cahill, illustrator
Tillbury House Publishers
102 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, ME 04345 800-582-1899
9780884483137, $16.95,

"Always My Brother" is a sensitive, compassionate book about an ordinary, soccer -playing girl who misses her brother, John after his death. With her parents' love and support and her beloved dog Toby, she gradually returns to a semblance of enjoying her life. When she feels bad about this because she still misses John and does not wish to betray his memory by returning to life as normal without him, her parents remind her that he is always her brother, that he will always be with her, and that he would want her to be happy and have a normal life again. "Always My Brother" is enhanced with delicate water color illustrations that clearly portray both the everyday life before and after the death of a much-loved brother. "Always My Brother" is well crafted to appeal to children in grades 3-6.

Mama, Won't You Play With Me?
Meg Walsh, author
Aga Korfanty, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449014247, $13.99,

"Mama, Won't You Play With Me?" is a gentle child's book about a duckling named Dudley whose Mama cannot play with him because she has a broken wing. Dudley sets off to explore playing with other mothers and he meets and makes many friends, including Mama Frog, Mama Rabbit, and Mama Dog. But even thought they all play with him, he still is sad and unhappy. Finally he realizes that what he needs most of all is not friends to play with but his mother's love. Even thought Mama Duck has a broken wing and cannot play with Dudley, she hugs him and tells him she loves him when he comes home, and this makes him happy. Knowing his mother can never be replaced helps Dudley to realize the precious gift of life and love that his mother keeps giving him. Tender pastel illustrations lend to the touching message of "Mama, Won't You Play With Me?" This is a book dedicated to help bring comfort and understanding to a child with a disabled parent. The author will donate a portion of the proceeds for each book sold in May, 2010, to tahe Lupus Foundation of America. Subsequently, another charity will be the beneficiary of a portion of the proceeds, changing every few months. Readers are welcome to contact the author, a nurse and parent who is diagnosed with Lupus, at her website, "Mama, Won't You Play With Me?" is perfect for children age 3 and up.

Here Comes the Bride
Beatrice Manni, author
Anna Laura Cantone, illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 2P9 1-800-788-1074
9780887768989, $17.95,

"Here Comes the Bride" is a wonderful story about eccentric true love and the joy and freedom that come when a person is true to her/himself. Filomena is a skilled, imaginative wedding dress designer who is loved by a mechanic named Rusty. Although she has made many beautiful wedding dresses for other brides, Filomena had despaired of ever getting the chance to make her own. She is overjoyed when Rusty proposes, but then the troubles begin. Filomena can't edit her wonderful ideas for her own wedding dress. She doesn't have time to go riding in the hills on Rusty's scooter with him. Finally the wedding day arrives. Although Rusty imagines Filomena in a "white cloud of a dress," this is what he sees: "It was more than a cloud. It was a blizzard of white. Her veil was more than a veil. It was a sail. Her flowers were an overgrown garden of hearts and butterflies... Filomena was buried in a mountain of silk and satin and lace, rosettes and bows. Her feet, in shiny shoes, peeped out from underneath the swathes of fabric, but nothing else could be seen of Filomena and all Filomena could see was the inside of her veil." What happens next is hilariously predictable, but the final solution is a wonderful surprise. "Here Comes the Bride" is further embellished by incredible, fabric collage-textured illustrations that dance joyously across the pages. "Here Comes the Bride" is a fabulous, unforgettable choice for kids of both genders ages 4-7.

That Cat Can't Stay
Thad Krasnesky, author
David Parkins, artist
Flash Light
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9780979974656, $16.95,

"That Cat Can't Stay" is a funny, rollicking rhyming tale of a man who is losing his battle with his wife and family to stop adopting adorable stray cats who clearly love him and are happy and comfortable staying in his home. His clever wife manages to agree completely with his every objection to each new cat and by the time she has finished agreeing, he has somehow allowed the cat to move in and make himself at home! The finale is cute and hides a good surprise. "That Cat Can't Stay" will become a favorite of any family that includes cat lovers, cat haters, dog lovers, and 4-8-year old kids.

Cinco De Mouse-o!
Judy Cox, author
Jeffrey Ebbeler, illustrator
Holiday House, Inc.
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823421947, $16.95,

"Cinco de Mouse-o!" is a fun-filled adventure tale of a daring mouse who is determined to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo with his neighbors, even if he has to elude a very persistent yellow-striped cat. Even a little history of the Mexican independence holiday is included in this partially bilingual children's cultural. festival/holiday book. "Cinco de Mouse-o" is sure to be a winner with its imaginative, cartwheeling illustrations and its fast moving action and chase. Kids of all ages will enjoy it con mucho gusto.

The Hiccupotamus
Aaron Zenz, author/illustrator
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, New York, NY 10591
9780761456223, $12.99,

"The Hiccupotamus" is a delightful, quirky, funny tale told in ridiculous rhyme for children age 3-7. Filled with outrageously funny rhymes, "The Hiccupotamus" is further embellished by fantastical amazing beasts of rainbow pastel hues. The gist of the story centers on a hapless hippopotamus who catches horrendous hiccups and spreads amazing disasters wherever he encounters other helpful animals hoping to help him not to hiccup. Alas! Instead we get hilarity! Kids and adults of all ages will love "The Hiccupotamus," and frequent re-readings may safely be predicted. Particularly engaging are the clever cast bios on the last page, example quoted: "The part of the buffalo was played by a ground squirrel named Arlo. It took 14 hours in the make-up chair to get him ready each day. Unfortunately, that continually made for a very short window of opportunity to use him in costume."

Kiki's Hats
Warren Hanson, author/illustrator
Tristan Publishing
2355 Louisiana Avenue North, Golden Valley, MN 55427
9780931674945, $16.95,

"Kiki's Hats: Our Gifts Live On and On" is a story about going through life creating and giving tangible cheer and comfort to others. Kiki is a wonderful knitter of hats, but her hats have a special mission: they must be given away, and the giver must return to tell her the story of the gift giving. Kiki gives many beautiful hats away and her recipients spread her hat-gifts even further until she knits herself a hat-tree to heaven. Every story of the hat gifts returns to comfort both Kiki and the second giver, because, "Our gifts live on and on. And that's the miracle of Kiki's hats." "Kiki's Hats" is written in rhyme, and illustrated in bright warm colors like her hats. Kids of all ages will love the positive imperative message of "Kiki's Hats."

The Adventures of Footenbarn Hot Seat
Jeff Gibson and Shahrook Oomer, authors
Michael Gorospe, illustrator
Paper Press Books 818-426-5327
9780615325170, $9.99,

"The Adventures of Footenbarn Hotseat" is a highly imaginative amplified answer to the ageless question of seers, "What happened to the other sock?" Footenbarn is only one of many sock characters who come to life in a world of lost socks and other missing garments "through a worm hole in the dryer." Meet Footenbarn, Francipants, Toe-Meekah, Simbu, Mrs. Pigsnockle, Smackberry, and many more characters in the cast. Wildly colorful illustrations and contrasting background-highlighted text make "The Adventures of Footenbarn Hot Seat" a dazzler, full of joyous shock and punch. The adventures wind on and eventually Footenbarn prevails in his stated goals, which alter with dizzying speed. "The Adventures of Footenbarn" is sure to appeal to elementary age students. "The Adventures of Footenbarn" is a children's book series (of five books) and is currently being developed into an animated TV series.

Din-o-mite in Aaron's Closet
Richard Wrate, author
Roberto Casale, illustrator
30 Amberwood Parkway, Ashland, OH 44805 800-537-6727
9780615192109, $14.99,

"Din-o-mite in Aaron's Closet" is a boy's story of dreams about his favorite dinosaur, an iguanodon named Din-o-mite. One night Aaron goes to sleep disappointed because he can't find his favorite toy dinosaur. He dreams a marvelous dream that his iguanodon, Din-o-mite is in his closet, and when he releases him he finds five other wonderful dinosaur friends! Aaron sings a song and sails off for adventures with his dinosaurs in a magical Viking ship, but says a happy goodbye when his mother calls him to wake up to another day. "Din-o-mite in Aaron's Closet" closes with a beautiful fold-out poster of all of Aaron's friends, Stegosaurus (Steg-o), Pterodactyl (Doc), Triceratops (Tops), Brachiosaurus (Soar-o), and Tyrannosaurus rex (T-rex). "Din-o-mite in Aaron's Closet" was inspired by a real seven year old boy who loved dinosaurs, and is appealing for children ages 2-8.

When Stella Was Very, Very, Small
Marie-Louise Gay, author/illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2K4
Publishers Group West (distributor)
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 800-893-5777
9780888999061, $16.95,

"When Stella Was Very, Very Small" is the latest in the author's series of Stella books, exploring the growing imaginative world view of a little girl. When Stella was very, very small, the world seems immense, magical, and filled with mysterious events and creatures. Words on a page are like ants to her because she cannot understand or read them, but she can hear and understand the stories of trees at night as she is going to bed. so much in Stella's world has changed, or become more understandable as she has grown, but she retains her curiosity and her unique ability to imagine herself and her world differently. She has the lucky chance to be able to teach some of her thoughts and stories to her little brother, Sam, because a part os her still remembers and values the time and experiences "When Stella Was Very, Very Small." Beautiful, delicate water color illustrations lend depth to the fantasy and whimsical elements of "When Stella Was Very, Very Small." This book will appeal to children age 3 and up.

The Very Greedy Bee
Steve Smallman, author
Jack Tickle, illustrator
Tiger Tales
202 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589254220, $7.95,

"The Very Greedy Bee" is a vividly illustrated children's morality fable about a greedy bee who overslurped on pollen and nectar and found he was too roly poly to fly his way home after dark. After quite a few moments of fear and trepidation, the greedy bee finds help from two kind fireflies who light his way (walking) home, and some tiny ants help him cross a stream by finding a leaf to ride like a boat. All ends well and the greedy bee introduces his new friends to his fellow bees and invites them to a hive party where the main course is honey. Thus the greedy bee learns the virtues and joy of sharing and the dangers of being greedy and overslurping! Aimed at children ages 3-7, "The Very Greedy Bee" is sure to delight and enchant while it instructs kids in valuable lessons of life.

The Tortoise and the Hairpiece
Don M. Winn, author
Toby Hefflin, illustrator
Yorkshire Publishing
9731 East Fifty-Fourth St., Tulsa, OK 74146
9780881444520, $7.99,

"The Tortoise and the Hairpiece" is a kid's version of what to try when you think you don't fit in. Jake the tortoise feels unhappy because he is different; he has no hair like other animals. So he makes himself a fancy hairpiece of bright feathers and finds to his dismay that his friends are amused at his transformation. Fortunately, Jake discovers that true friends not only don't care if he is different, because "how you look doesn't change who you are." So he abandons his hairpiece of feathers and learns to feel good about accepting himself just the way he is. Written in verse with bright, highlighted text and humorous illustrations whose shades and hues match the emotions of the characters, "The Tortoise and the Hairpiece" is just the ticket for young children who are just exploring their own identities and discovering differences.

Over the Rainbow
Judy Collins, author/performer
Eric Puybaret, artist
Imagine Publishing
300 East 34th Street, Suite 21K, New York, NY 10016
9781936140008, $17.95,

"Over the Rainbow" is a beautifully produced book of dreamy paintings by Eric Puybaret who was the artist for the "Puff the Magic Dragon", flawlessly set to the beloved lyrics of "Over the Rainbow," music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg. Sung by internationally acclaimed vocalist Judy Collins, "Over the Rainbow" is a classic to bestow upon a whole new generation of fortunate, beloved children. "Over the Rainbow" is the perfect pre-naptime, pre-bedtime storybook, with all the elements of magic and imagination to inspire sleepy young dreamers. An added bonus is the inclusion of two other songs sung by Judy Collins on the enclosed CD, "White Choral Bells" and "I See the Moon."

The Coconut Monk
Thich Nhat Hanh, author
Vo-Dinh Mai, illustrator
Plum Blossom Books
c/o Parallax Press
P.O. Box 7355, Berkeley, CA 94707
9781888375978, $10.95,

"The Coconut Monk" is a children's story about a real person named Dao Dua (?-1990), a Buddhist monk of Viet Nam who established a religious community on Phoenix Island in the Mekong River in the 1960's centered on a multicultural tradition of pacifism. Called the Coconut monk because his vegetarian diet was mainly coconuts, Dao Dua built a sanctuary which became a haven for many of the population who were fleeing the ravages of the war in Vietnam. The Coconut Monk and his two companions a cat and a mouse tries to go to the president of Viet Nam and ask him to stop the war. But soldiers throw him in prison and his cat and mouse friends come with him. Though there is little food in prison, all three share what they have, and the cat does not eat the mouse. Eventually people find out about the Coconut Monk's imprisonment and they visit him and write letters and the guards of the prison finally release him. His question to the President remains, "If a cat and a mouse can live together in peace, don't you think we humans can too?" "The Coconut Monk" is beautifully illustrated in delicate cool shades and tints that visually reinforce the central message of peaceful solutions and mindfulness that permeates the story. "The Coconut Monk" is suitable for children of all ages.

The Adventures of Dean & Jake
Eddie and Karla Ritz, authors
Dean Frasier and Eddie Ritz, illustrators
Design Revolutions Media
4607 Shasta Lane, Billings, MT 59101
9780981722412, $12.99

"The Adventures of Dean & Jake" is a great children's book about the imaginative play of a boy and his dog, Dean and Jake. Written in child-friendly rhyme and bursting with exciting colorful illustrations, "The Adventures of Dean & Jake" open up the limitless span of ideas for fun and play activities possible for a little boy and his favorite furry friend. They play tug of war, run with balloons, pretend stuffed animals are alive, look at cloud pictures, the list is endless. Tucked into the borders and also central to the theme of the book is an abiding awareness of God and the great gift he has bestowed upon each of us. "The Adventures of Dean & Jake" is a great book to explore with any 3-7 year old. It will become a favorite.

The Heroes of Googley Woogley
Dalton James
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd.- 515, Parker, CO 80134 888-672-6657
9781432727826, $10.95,

Written and illustrated by a talented seven year old with minor assistance from his father, Space Man James a.k.a. Mad Scientist James, "The Heroes of Googley Woogley" is a fanciful successor to "The Sneakiest Pirates," an earlier work by Dalton James. Space Boy Pete and his dad, Space Man James decide to adventure into deep space to rescue the SooDos from the SooDonts, with the heroic results that the SooDonts are overcome by a secret weapon made of bubble gum and are suitably channeled into community service in order to repay the SooDos for their crimes. "The Heroes of Googley" is a hilarious romp that will charm children and parents alike. A similar work by the same author is "The Mudhogs," (9781432745608, $13.95) is available also and shows interesting development in humorous story-telling and illustration skills. Dalton James fans can only wait and hope for more!

The Mitten Tree
Candace Christiansen, author
Elaine Greenstein, illustrator
Fulcrum Press
4690 Table Mountain Dr., Suite 100, Golden, CO 80403
9781555917333, $7.95,

"The Mitten Tree" is a beautiful book about a woman named Sarah who notices a little boy in need of mittens waiting for the bus. She decides to knit him warm mittens so he can participate in the fun and joy of winter. This leads to a branching out of mitten projects which uses up all her colorful yarn, but leaves her "with a full heart." The miracle of "The Mitten Tree" comes when Sarah's gift returns to her in the form of a wonderful basket of new colored yarn balls. Illustrations for "The Mitten Tree" are soft, delicate, textured treasures that greatly enhance this lovely, charming tale of goodwill.

How Emma Stopped the World
Gene & Iris Rotberg, authors
Macarena Vejar, illustrator
7290-B Investment Dr, Charleston, SC 29418
9781439255742, $12.95,

"How Emma Stopped the World" is a children's parable tale about connectedness and chain reactions. A six-years old girl named Emma is riding in the car with her grandmother and she decides to begin an adventurous search for her lost blanket that stops first traffic and eventually the world. How one girl's emergency can spiral into world impact event status is a fascinating study of interconnectedness of events, but the best part of the book comes at the end in the epilogue, when the reader is asked "What do you think Emma will do when she grows up?" Seven plausible and humorous answers are suggested but everyone knows they are only a wink and a nod at the vast truth of the story. "How Emma Stopped the World" is a cool story that will have hyperbolic appeal to both kids and grandparents.

Mailboxes in Our Neighborhood
Kay Dube
Vantage Press, Inc.
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533162079, $7.95,

"Mailboxes in Our Neighborhood" is a fact and fun-filled book that takes readers for a ride with a mailman who tells the story of each unique mailbox and family on his delivery route. The experience of mailboxes as expressive art is underlined by the whimsical black and white illustrations, while the mail delivery route speeds the story line along. Children will guess at the identity and contents of different homes and mailboxes and be amused at story details. "Mailboxes in Our Neighborhood" is a fresh take on a unique feature of daily life that can tell volumes about its inhabitants.

Flowers for Pudding Street
Christine Mannone Carolan, author and illustrator
Shenanigan Books
84 River Road, Summit, NJ 007901
9781934860021, $15.95,

"Flowers for Pudding Street" is a lovely children's book about amazing ways that flowers and trees are planted and grow. Mis Violet from the garden club presents the residents of Pudding Street with an award for "Prettiest Flowers," but little does she guess that a special dog named Dakota and his bird friend are the real secret gardeners who plant the prettiest flowers! "Flowers for Pudding Street" is filled with charm and whimsical illustrations help the story flow to its obvious and gently hilarious conclusion. "Flowers for Pudding Street" will appeal to children ages 4-8.

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

Just Grace and the Snack Attack
Charise Mericle Harper
Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
9780547152233, $15.00

Grades 3-5 will appreciate Just Grace and the Snack Attack, a fun book of lists from Grace that tells everything from assessments of ethnic food desirability to 'what I know about potato chips now'. In blending lists, dialogue, and black and white cartoon type drawings, a fine diary-like format evolves involving kids in Grace's life and ideas.

Leprechaun in Late Winter
Mary Pope Osborne
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375856501, $12.99

Book #43 in the 'Magic Tree House' series tells how the tree house whisks Jack and Annie off to a rainy winter in Ireland long ago. Their mission is to find girl Augusta and inspire her to share her talents with the world - but when they locate her, they find she's the dullest girl ever. A magic whistle changes all their worlds in this fine survey.

Nikki & Deja: The Newsy News Newsletter
Karen English
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547222479, $15.00 1-800-225-3362

Karen English's Nikki & Deja: The Newsy News Newsletter receives fine drawings by Laura Freeman as it tells of two friends interested in creating 'newsy news' - interesting, exciting local news of happenings on their block and at school. Their plans to become famous journalists may backfire upon their first issue in this fun and easy chapter book story.

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Ave, Suite 3308, New York NY 10118
$15.95 Each,

Two new 'Tadpoles' titles from Crabtree Publishing offers very easy readers pairing large-sized color drawings with high-frequency words and phrases reinforcing ideas. These are fine for read-alone and adult help alike. Mick Gowar and Rory Walker's DAD'S VAN (9780778738664) tells of holiday time and a van that won't start. Can Dad solve the dilemma? Hilary Robinson and Melanie Sharp's TED'S PARTY BUS (9780778738701) tells of a party bus driver who has no idea who the party is for. Excellent surveys, both.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Today I Was Baptized
Dianne Ahern, author
Bill Shurtliff, illustrator
Aunt Dee's Attic, Inc.
415 Detroit Street, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 1-800-352-6797
9780967943756, $19.95,

"Today I Was Baptized" tells the story of a baby's Christian baptism from the infant's perspective, a surprise twist. following the beautifully told and illustrated story are six short essays on the sacrament of baptism, including Why We Baptize, Why and How We use Water In Baptism, the Baptism of Jesus Christ, How Jesus Conferred the Right to Baptize to the Apostles, Anointing With Oil, and The Baptismal Gown. There are also designated pages and spaces at the end of the book for My Baptism Memories, for "Today I was Baptized" is a keepsake book, with room for messages, photographs, and souvenirs of the baptism. "Today I Was Baptized" carries the imprimatur and rescript of the Catholic Church. The book would make a lovely gift to a Christian family with a baby.

My Best Friend: Based on a True Story
Kim Doyle, author
Lori Vanslett, illustrator
Beans & Novels LLC
c/o Ron Sonntag Public Relations, Inc.
9406 N. 107th St., Milwaukee, WI 53224
9780615328713, $19.99

"My Best Friend" is a book of faith about a boy named Matthew and his best friend, a very special Boston Terrier named Boots. Each page of "My Best Friend" is embellished by a small cloud-circular Bible quotation that pertains to that page's story part. Matthew and Boots come to their family at about the same time and grow up together. They even slept together. Boots loved parties, playing with balls, long walks, car rides, and friends. Boots showed only a bit of tiredness to Matthew, but one day after riding through a miraculous car wash experience, Boots could not respond ;to the request to come out of the car. Matthew's parents took him to the vet, but it was too late to help him and he died. It was very hard for Matthew to accept Boots' death. His sister Taylor tried to comfort him by letting him sleep with her favorite teddy bear, Snugs. Matthew was very sad and lonely. at church his pastor comforts him for the loss of his best friend, saying,"I want you to know that Jesus is your best friend too. He is always with you." One day Matthew goes for a walk with his mother and sees a picture of Jesus in a bookstore. He likes the picture. Later he finds a surprise present at home, which is the picture of Jesus, Matthew's best friend, saying, "Do not be afraid, I am with you (Isaiah 41:10)." "My Best Friend" ends with a simple prayer to Jesus and a list of the scriptures quoted throughout the story. "My Best Friend" is an inspirational Christian children's book that will comfort children of all ages.

Inside Out
Marilyn E. Randall
Lulu Publishing
9780557156993, $18.95,

Author and illustrator's Marilyn E. Randall's "Inside Out" is a wise children's fable written in verse that teaches the value of self acceptance and the joy of celebrating our uniquely created individuality. Filled with pages of both verse and whimsical illustrations, "Inside Out" reaches out to encourage children to become aware of the love of God and others and to make lemonade out of life's lemons. A strong foundation of Christian faith and values sustains the work of this wise and talented author.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Sammy & Sue Go Green Too!
Suzanne Corso
Beaufort Books
27 W. 20th St., Suite 1102, NY, NY 10011
9780825305177, $16.95,

"Sammy & Sue Go Green Too!" is a handy eco-educational book for kids ages 5-9 that contains plenty of earth-friendly tips and ideas and references for kids concerned with saving the environment and learning to live green. Winningly written in rhyme and filled with colorful illustrations of the eco-detecting mother and daughter team, "Sammy & Sue Go Green Too!" is part of a series that includes "Sammy & Sue's Green World," an "eco-friendly online Virtual World for Kids," as well as many other Sammy & Sue books. Plenty of helpful suggestions about ways to "go green" and improve our environmental caretaking are contained in "Sammy & Sue Go Green Too!" The book series is endorsed by a hefty list of eco-friendly companies, including Burt's Bees, Celestial Seasonings, Wild Zoofari, and more. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from every book is donated to Eco-Libris, "a green business that works with book readers, publishers, authors, bookstores, and others in the book industry to balance out the paper used for books by planting trees." Readers are referred to to find out more about how everyone can help with this great effort. "Sammy & Sue Go Green Too!" is the perfect tool to start a parent child dialogue on a great project, saving our planet!

The Music Shelf

Jazz Playground
Putumayo Kids
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221

Jazz Playground is an exciting album of jazz songs by a diversity of performers, composed to entice children. Offering an eclectic medley of styles ranging from bebop to swing to Latin and African jazz, Jazz Playground celebrates the many evolutions of jazz worldwide (some of the songs trace their origins from places as far away as Japan, Israel, or the Netherlands). Though a family-friendly album, Jazz Playground will also get parents, babysitters, and other adults tapping their feet and snapping their fingers to the lively, rollicking music! Especially recommended for parents who love jazz and want to show their children how much joy it can bring. The tracks are "Stomp, Stomp", "Spider-man", "Cumbamba", "Sur Le Pont D'Avignon", "Little Lamb Jam", "Gazooba", "Sing a Song of Sixpence", "Zuignapje", "Shortnin' Bread", "Agree & Disagree", "Dois Meninos", "Oyatsu no Jikan", and "This Little Light of Mine".

I'm A Rock Star
Joanie Leeds
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Dr., San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $15.00,

Toe-tapping music that appeals to children for all occasions is the hallmark of composer performer Joanie Leeds. With the backup support of the Nightlights, Joanie's newest CD for kids ages 2 through 9 is "I'm A Rock Star" offering a total 29 minutes of original music set out in thirteen lively songs that range from classic rock to hip-hop, from folk to jazz, and from R & B to 'cartoon'. Superbly recorded with flawless production standards, the individual pieces comprising this very special musical CD treat for young listeners which is enthusiastically recommended for family and community library CD music collections for kids includes Sunglasses; More Cowbell; I Wanna Be Green; Give Me A Hug; Jump, Jump; I Like Jazz; Popcorn; en Espanol; It Was The Elf; Joanie Says; Put A Little Smile On your Face; Goodbye, Goodbye; and the title piece, I'm A Rock Star. Also highly recommended is visiting Joanie Leeds' website at for more background information on this remarkable performer, her concert dates, future releases, and a great deal more.

The American History Shelf

Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Paula Young Shelton & Raul Colon
Random House
9780375843143, $17.99

What was it like to grow up in the South when Jim Crow laws were everywhere? The author is a daughter of civil rights leader Andrew Young, and Raul Colon follows her family experiences and memories in this lively account, a perfect addition to any library strong in civil rights history and experiences.

The American Revolution from A to Z
Laura Crawford, author
Judith Hierstein, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053
9781589805156, $15.95,

"The American Revolution from A to Z" is a fabulously illustrated thumbnail sketch of the major talking points of the American Revolution 'from A to Z.' Covering both the well -known events (such as "F is for Franklin," and "Q is for Quincy, Massachusetts,") and persons association with the War for Independence and also some lesser known heroes and heroines, such as "Z is for Betty Zane," a 16 year old girl in Fort Henry, Virginia, who ran back to her cabin for gunpowder to help the patriots fight and risked hostile gunfire by the British troops and Shawnee Indians. "The American Revolution from A to Z" includes significant coverage of the role played by women in the Revolutionary War. The brief, biographical and historical paragraphs and sketches are tantalizing snapshots of information that will intrigue elementary and middle school age students to learn more about the American Revolution and American history.

The Preschool Shelf

Who Loves the Little Lamb?
Lezlie Evans, author
David McPhail, illustrator
Disney/ Hyperion Books
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423116592, $15.99,

"Who Loves the Little Lamb?" is a rhyming tale about young animals who are fussy, messy, careless, dirty, noisy, noisy, sleepy, hungry, prickly, naughty or pouting. The question, who loves them when they are all these things and more? The answer is Mama, whether lamb or kangaroo, porcupine or wildebeast. Then can a little boy, who may also be hungry, naughty, fussy, noisy, sleepy, etc. find love from his Mama the whole day through, just the same as the baby animals? The warm answer is of course, yes. Tender detailed paintings help young readers envision the quality of maternal love promised in this enchanting book which is perfect for young children from infancy to 6 years.

P is for Police
Dori Hillestad Butler, author
Joan C. Waites, illustrator
Pelican Publishing
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053 1-800-843-1724
9781589806528, $15.95,

"P is for Police" is an alphabet book about all things pertaining to police and police work. Appealing to both preschool and early elementary school students, "P is for Police" offers a significant byte of police information on each full color-illustrated, while presenting all information in simple, clear language understandable to kids. A device to increase attentiveness to visual detail is an almost hidden picture of a small, lost cat named Jasper present in half or more of the pictures. The good news is that the subtext story about the lost Jasper has a happy ending after many tiny, secret, Jasper sightings. From "A is for Academy" to "Z is for Zoom Lens," "P is for Police" is a classic teaching alphabet primer with a law enforcement setting that will have special appeal to children in the process of mastering the alphabet.

The Biography Shelf

Michelle Obama
Susan Kesselring
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003 800-599-READ
9781602533431, $22.79 hc / $15.95 pbk each,

"Michelle Obama" is a 'Basic Biographies' selection from Child's World that showcases the First Lady of the United States. Filled with full page color photos and simple descriptive paragraphs and captions, "Michelle Obama" is carefully crafted to connect with an elementary school age audience. The biography emphasizes her background and achievements in addition to her focus on the importance of her husband and family. Michelle Obama's profile as a compassionate, committed First Lady with a vision of equality and justice for all emerges clearly. As the first black American First Lady, Michelle Obama will automatically make history, but this brief biography clarifies the true heart of her amazing contribution. Also in this outstanding Basic Biographies series (8 volumes, $182.32/$127.60) from The Child's World and very highly recommended for school and community library American Biography collections are, Barack Obama (9781602533394); Albert Einstein (9781602533387); Charles Schultz (9781602533400); Helen Keller (978160253314); Jackie Robinson (9781602533424); Rosa Parks (9781602533448); and Thomas Edison (9781602533455).

Remember Me
Donald Soctomah & Jean Flahive, authors
Mary Beth Owens, illustrator
Tilbury House Publishers
103 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner, ME 04345 800-582-1899
9780884483007, $16.95,

"Remember Me: Tomah Joseph's Gift To Franklin Roosevelt" is a beautiful thumbnail biography of Passamaquoddy chief Tomah Joseph (1837-1914) focused on his relationship with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom he taught many things from how to paddle a canoe to how to listen to the sounds of nature and discover the message of a spirit helper. Tomah Joseph spent summers on Campobello Island near where young Franklin and his family had their vacation cottage. The friendship that unfolded between the Passamaquoddy chief and guide and the boy who would be president of the United States was very special. Tomah Joseph taught young Roosevelt many things about Passamaquoddy history, lore, arts, and culture. A beautiful birchbark canoe that he made especially for Franklin is still on display at the Visitor Center at Roosevelt Campobello International Park. Because Tomah Joseph's spirit helper was the owl, ko-ko-gus, he carefully inscribed one on the side of the canoe. Tomah Joseph was known for his fine artistic work with birchbark, and he often inscribed the words Mikwid hamin (always remember me) on the etched scenes of his birchbark artworks. "Remember Me" is a stunning book with lovely illustrations of beautiful scenes where Tomah Joseph and Franklin Roosevelt walked and canoed. Winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award, "Remember Me" is a fine educational resource and a beautiful gift for any student of Native American cultures, especially suitable for grades 3-6.

The Science Shelf

Science Sleuths
Howard Schindler & Dennis J. Mucenski
Prufrock Press
P.O. Box 8813, Waco, Texas 76714 800-998-2208
9781593633974, $19.95,

"Science Sleuths: Solving Mysteries Using Scientific Inquiry" is a paperback curriculum for gifted forensics students in grades 6-9, presenting three fictional murder cases with evidence, clues, interview and other data and lab results to be processed by a team of student sleuths who analyze the information logically and scientifically; then write up their formulated hypothesis to determine which suspect should be charged with the crime. "Science Sleuths" suggests teachers determine whether students should work alone to solve mysteries or in small groups of not more than three. Each mystery can take up to 5 40-minute class periods to solve, stimulating students to engage and use their scientific inquiry skills. "Science Sleuths" is a creative learning operation that integrates and sharpens science and literary abilities while promoting a process experience of cooperative teamwork and communication. "Science Sleuths" would work well in either a standard education setting such as a Middle or High School or an alternative education setting such as home-schooling.

The Secret Life of a Snowflake
Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht, author and photographer
Voyageur Press
c/o Quayside Publishing Group
400 First Avenue North, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780760336762, $17.00,

"The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art & Science of Snowflakes" is a stunning collection of microscopic images of beautiful, perfect snowflakes. Filled with visual enchantment, "The Secret Life of a Snowflake" traces the life cycle of a snowflake, and gives many visual examples of comparable objects (such as a penny, or a needle) along with a snowflake to show its actual size. Surprisingly, there are many ways to make a snowflake, as well as different ways a snowflake can grow. Dr. Libbrecht confirms from his fascinating observations that indeed, no two six-sided snowflakes are alike, and indeed, all snowflakes are hexagonal. "The Secret Life of a Snowflake" is a glossary of incredible snowflake shapes and facts that will delight and educate juvenile readers ages 9-10 everywhere.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Dear Tree
Doba Rivka Weber, author
Phyllis Saroff, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225 718-633-0100
9781929628483, $10.95,

"Dear Tree" is a boy's beautiful prayer-poem for his favorite tree, wishing the tree a "Year filled with sunlight,...delicious rain,...beautiful blossoms, Shiny green leaves,/ And sweet fruit with many seeds inside." The boy promises to do all he can to guard, protect and care for the tree in the coming year. "Dear Tree" focuses on the time of year for growth and blossoming, and is a perfect gift for Tu B'Shavat or the Hebrew New Year for Trees, or any time of year. Tender paintings illustrate the boy's care and love for the tree. "Dear Tree" ends with a note About Tu B'Shvat and the following inspirational words:"Tu B'Shvat inspires us with the idea that, 'Man is like a tree of the field (Dvorim 20:19).' Just as trees need roots to remain strong, faith keeps us connected to our Torah heritage. And just as trees benefit others with the fruit they provide, we strive to reach out and benefit others with our positive example and good deeds."

The Fiction Shelf

Ghosts on the Coast
Jane R. Wood
Florida Kids Press, Inc.
11802 Magnolia Falls Drive, Jacksonville, FL 42258
9780979230462, $8.99

When you deal with the remnants of the dead, you never know what to expect. "Ghosts on the Coast" tell the story of the Johnson family as they deal with the supernatural and the unusual in the southern cities of Savannah and Charleston, learning about the history of the city and facing its ghosts. Joey, Bobby, and Katy all embark on a unique adventure that many kids have read and will relish, making "Ghosts on the Coast" a worthy pick for children's library collections.

The Ever Breath
Julianna Baggott
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, NY, NY 10019
9780385737616, $21.00,

Middle-grade readers will find fantastic and revealing the fantasy THE EVER BREATH, telling of twins whose father has vanished. Sent to stay with their grandmother in her mysterious big old house, they hear about the Ever Breath, an amber orb that maintains the balance between the real world and that of evil only to find the fairy tale is all too real. A fine fantasy evolves.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Paula Morris' RUINED (0545042151, $16.99) tells of Rebecca, who feels out of place in New Orleans where she's come to live while her father's away on business. She's staying in an old house with an aunt who reads tarot cards for a living - and goes to a snooty prep school with rich girls who dislike her. So when she makes friends with Lisette at a cemetery, it's only to discover further complications in this revealing, moving ghost story for teens. Guillaume Prevost's THE CIRCLE OF GOLD (0439883776, $17.99) tells of Sam, who survives a Viking attack, threats from Chicago gangsters, and more to rescue his father. The Book of Time III continues his adventures, for even though he's returned with his father to the present, the enemy waits to capture them again - and Sam must take a last series of steps through time to confront not only the past, but the future. Collections with the other series books will welcome this. Suzanne Collins' CATCHING FIRE (0439023491, $17.99) tells of Katniss, who has won the Hunger Games against the odds and who still faces problems. For she's begun an unrest she can't stop - and the stakes are even higher for her decisions. The second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy is a pick where any library saw popular interest in the first installment. TENTACLES by Roland Smith (0545166888, $16.99) provides an exciting story telling of Wolfe's quest to be the first to capture a giant squid alive. A sail to the South pacific with a few dinosaur eggs incubating below deck leads to dangers including a possible ghost and a saboteur in this tense thriller.

Beyond Freedom
Patricia Q. Wall
Fall Rose Books
P.O. Box 39, Kittery Point, ME 03905
0974218510, $12.00,

"Beyond Freedom" is a young adults' historical fiction novel about a 15-year -old young black woman named Matty Warren Smith who moved to North Slope Village on Beacon Hill in 1812. This pre-Civil War sequel to "Child Out of Place" provides a gripping story context for the real issues and history of slavery in New England. It also enlarges understanding and appreciation of the strength, courage, and perseverance of black people and slaves in New England who fought for freedom and a life free of racial prejudice and bigotry. though "Beyond Freedom" is fictional, it is very carefully researched and meticulously accurate with known historical details. A helpful addition to "Beyond Freedom" is the Notation Pages (pp.161-168), which contain additional enlightening information about historical background and other respected sources on New England's Black History of the era. A bibliography lists additional resources for students. Young adults age 10 and older will enjoy the action adventure and character development in "Beyond Freedom," while simultaneously receiving a great Black History upgrade of background information and lore.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Girl From Atlantis
Richard Schenkman, author
Humberto Braga, artist
GMI Books, Inc.
7250 Franklin Avenue, Suite 1407, Hollywood, CA 90046
9780984180905, $16.99,

"The Girl From Atlantis" is a fabulously illustrated chapter adventure book of mingled fact and fantasy for readers aged 7-12. Set partially in the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, "The Girl from Atlantis" takes readers on a fateful journey from the known world of sea and ocean creatures to the imagined realm of King Triton in Atlantis, beneath the sea. Guided by a sea turtle named Archibald and dolphin and merpeople friends, Athena survives a fascinating journey and visit to return safely to her human father after discovering her own mysterious undersea origin. "The Girl from Atlantis" is YA fantasy of the highest quality which will leave readers longing for a sequel.

The Social Issues Shelf

What Did Abuela Say?
Karen Valentin, author
Michelle Dorenkamp, illustrator
Marimba Books
c/o Hudson Publishing Group
356 Glenwood Avenue, East Orange, NJ 07017
9781603490160, $8.95,

"What Did Abuela Say?" is a book from an 'Allie's World' series that teaches children about the importance of learning to understand the languages spoken at home by grandparents and others. Allie loves to hear her Abuela tell funny stories in Spanish at the dinner table, but she doesn't always get the joke. Facing a challenge of breaking down a language barrier and gradually enlarging on learning small bits of vocabulary to attain a goal of full bilingual fluency, Allie learns there is even more of value in reclaiming a part of her full heritage and family's history. Cheerful illustrations and highlighted text in Spanish help make "What Did Abuela Say?" a direct hit with readers age 3-7.

I'm A Big Sister
Joanna Cole, author
Rosalinda Kightley, illustrator
Harper Collins
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780061900624, $6.99,

"I'm A Big Sister" is the perfect book for a child who has welcomed a new baby brother or sister recently. Cheerful text and illustrations explain how babies come, and what to expect when you are the older sister. Most important, "I'm A Big Sister" reinforces the positive self image of the older sibling who may feel occasionally eclipsed by the newcomer who needs so much care and attention. Also helpful to parents is the Note to Parents about What a Big Sister Needs at the end of the book. It is always good to be reminded that "A caring family has plenty of love to go around!" A companion book by the same author/illustrator team is "I'm A Big Brother," (9780061900655), priced at $6.95, also directed towards children ages 2-5.

The Forever Friends Club
Sue Gainor and Sarah P. Gibson, authors
Miranda R. Mueller, illustrator
DRT Press
P.O. Box 427, Pittsboro, NC 27312
9781933084022, $12.95,

"The Forever Friends Club" is the third book on adoption for kids and adults. Addressing the issue of "feeling different" in a unique fashion, "The Forever Friends Club" creates new rules for acceptance and friendship in a special group of kids. Written by two adoptive mothers, "The Forever Friends Club" tells the story of four young friends who create their own understanding of the rules of acceptance/exclusion and in so doing, enrich each others lives forever.

Rudy's Memory Walk
Gloria L. Velasquez
Arte Publico Press
452 Cullen Performance Hall, Houston, TX 77204
9781558855939, $9.95,

"Rudy's Memory Walk" is the eighth novel in the author's 'Roosevelt High School' series, which features a multi-cultural group of teenagers who encounter modern social issues and concerns. Rudy shares his home with his Abuela, or grandmother, who displays strange and forgetful behavior that leads the family to take her to the Dr. to determine what is wrong with her and what they should do to care for her. They find that Rudy's Abuela has Alzheimer's disease. Many adjustments and roles are explored and problems are encountered as Rudy and his family reintegrate their lives around this new meaning and experience. Rudy learns to feel compassion for his Abuela and to reap a hard won reward of family support when he tries to assist her with her daily memory refresher activities. Written for the teenaged reader, "Rudy's Memory Walk" will inspire dialogue and exchange between teenagers and adults about the challenge of responsibility and caring for special needs of elderly family members.

Austin's Best Idea Ever
Lauren Washer-Whitman, author
David Guillemette, illustrator
P.O. Box 524, Manchester, ME 04351
9780981984803, $16.95

"Austin's Best Idea Ever" is a book about helping kids learn to understand and cope with cancer in a close family member. Austin is a ten year old boy who discovers the scary news that his mom is suffering from breast cancer. Though the news disappoint, frightens, and mystifies him, Austin works to find ways to continue to show love and support for his mom and the rest of his family. The author begins "Austin's Best Idea Ever" with a specific list of three ideas that are very empowering to any child. When life deals out difficult trials and problems and pain, kids like Austin can have a chance to grow and show their best sides. "Austin's Best Idea Ever" is a sensitive, compassionate, understanding book that promises to be a real resource to families dealing with serious illness such as breast cancer.

The One and Only Sam
Aileen Stalker, author
Bob Spencer, illustrator
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849050401, $16.95,

"The One and Only Sam: A Story Explaining Idioms for Children with Asperger Syndrome and Other Communication Difficulties" is book designed to help children with communication challenges such as Asperger's Syndrome understand common English idioms,; how they are used and what they really mean. As a helping guide, the book provides a story and pictures which show what the idioms (common expressions) look like and what they sound like. It also includes a written explanation of the meaning with "any feeling aspect of the meaning written clearly in capital letters." The parent or teacher is asked to cover up the picture of the real meaning of the idiom while the child look at the picture of what it sounds like and discuss its possible different meanings. Thus the text and its exploration provides "opportunities for children to develop perspective-taking skills and talk about the feelings and social interactions of other children." "The One and Only Sam" is a valuable resource for children with Asperger's or other special communication needs and their parents and teachers.

The Poetry Shelf

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
T.S. Eliot & Axel Scheffler
c/o Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780547248271, $16.00

T.S. Eliot's fine cat poems appear in a gorgeous, illustrated new edition from Axel Scheffler, a fine children's book illustrator, and makes for an excellent library acquisition or gift idea for all ages. Celebrations of cats odd and ordinary are presented in Eliot's unique verse and benefit from Scheffler's whimsical, fun color drawings throughout. Perfect for read-aloud, family reading, and libraries alike.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation
Bruce Lansky, editor
Stephen Carpenter, illustrator
Meadowbrook Press
5430 Smetana Dr., Minnetonka, MN 55343
9780881665390, $8.95,

An anthology of kids' poetry from Giggle Poetry books, "What I Did on My Summer Vacation: Kids' Favorite Funny Summer Vacation Poems" is full of hilarious verse especially created by children about summer vacation experiences. There are so many funny lines and telling details, complemented by the black and white cartoon illustrations of outrageous examples of summer fun. Perhaps because all the poems are written by kids, they seem to pack a special punch read collectively or singly. A favorite humorous example is "Diving for Lincoln," by Matthew Frederick: 'We dive for pennies in our pool./ It's all we do since we left school./ I throw them in and say, "Here goes -/ I hope Abe Lincoln holds his nose!"' If you are in need of a laugh or several, or are running out of things to suggest for your kids on summer vacation, read "What I Did on My Summer Vacation;" you won't be sorry!

The Mythology/Folklore Shelf

Lost Worlds
John Howe
Kingfisher Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780753461075, $22.99,

LOST WORLDS is a gorgeous illustrated presentation covering a range of lost worlds of myth and legend, from Atlantis and Troy to Avalon and more. Tolkien illustrator John Howe's visions offer 24 worlds blending lovely full-page drawings with historic and mythic descriptions on facing pages. All ages will find this a powerful presentation.

Princesses of the World
Katell Goyer, author
Misstigri, artist
Hammond World Atlas
c/o Langenscheidt Publishing Group
36-36 33rd Street, Long Island City, NY 11106
9780843714456, $17.99,

"Princesses of the World" is a beautiful collection of fourteen tales of foreign princesses from locations varied around the globe, from Egypt to South America, from China to Tahiti, from Africa to Arabia, including even one tale of a Native American Plains nation princess named Ozalee. Each princess possesses beauty, charm, skill, and intelligence. Each princess uses her gifts to choose the best mate or life choice for herself and/or her people. The beginning of "Princesses of the World" has a two-page global map spread with tiny circular portraits of each princess in the land of her origin, with a pathway round the world to travel from princess to princess, and place to place. "Princesses of the World" is beautifully illustrated with fully two page- portraits and foldout flaps that enhance the joy of discovery of each different type of beauty and culture. "Princesses of the World" is sure to appeal to young readers from 8-12 and will add greatly to a learning of world cultures and geography.

Retold by Adrian Mitchell
Illustrated by Alan Lee
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
4 Torriano Mews, Torriano Avenue, London, UK, NW5 2RZ
9781845075361, $22.95,

"Shapeshifters: Tales From Ovid's Metamorphoses" is a stunning new retelling of the fabulous tales from Ovid's "Metamorphoses," beautifully bound and illustrated by the award winning Alan Lee, who was awarded an Oscar in 2004 for Art Direction of "The Lord of The Rings," peter Jackson's famous film trilogy. "Shapeshifters" retells in modern prose and poetry some of the most famous of the Metamorphoses tales from Ovid. The spider woman Arachne, Actaeon the hunter become a stag, Midas and the Golden Touch, Theseus and the Minotaur, Orpheus and Eurydice, Jupiter and Io, Baucis and Philemon, the tales of Persephone, Bacchus, and Tiresias, all these mythic tales and more are retold in language both as fresh, ancient, and rich as its original creator could ever wish. "Shapeshifters" is the modern reinterpretation of something like Hawthorne's "Tanglewood Tales," another, older retelling of these wonderful stories. Fortunate is the child who receives such a precious gift and rich is the soil in which its heady visions have been implanted. "Shapeshifters" will appeal to adolescents and young adults as well as adults.

The Magical Adventures of Krishna
Vatsala Sperling, author
Pieter Weltevrede, illustrator
Bear Cub Books
c/o Inner Traditions
PO Box 388, Rochester, VT 05767
9781591431107, $15.95,

The seventh titles in the outstanding 'Classical Indian Stories for Children' series "The Magical Adventures of Krishna: How a Mischief Maker Saved the World" is a fabulous retelling of the heroic and comical exploits of the magical semi-divine Krishna, secretly the great God of Preservation, Vishnu, reborn to save the world from destruction. Filled with moving, glowing illustrations done in traditional Indian methods that have enchanted children and adults for ages, "The Magical Adventures of Krishna" keeps its readers enthralled with all of the rollicking exploits of its human, divine, and demonic cast of characters. Fortunately the stories end happily, with Krishna's mother Yashoda giving him the unquestioning love he needs to continue to be strong and brave and ready to save the world again. "The Magical Adventures of Krishna" is number 7 in the Classic Indian Stories for Children series.

The World History Shelf

Uncover History
Olivia Brookes, author
Peter Kent, illustrator
Alphabet Soup
c/o Windmill Books
303 Park Avenue South, #1280, New York, NY 10010
9781607546535, $22.80,

"Uncover History, Hide-and Seek Visual Adventures" is a fact-filled, fun book that presents pages and pages of detailed illustrations to teach kids about such historical happenings as building a pyramid in ancient Egypt, life in a timber hill fort in Europe, more studies about Romans, a galleon, the Wild West of America, a city, and the Titanic. Students are encouraged to examine illustrations very closely to uncover important details. As a game, readers are told to keep a lookout for the boy with the sword who is hidden in each scene. "Uncover History" is a great way to entice and educate elementary age children and encourage them to pursue further research.

Chinese History Stories Volume 1: Stories from the Zhou Dynasty
edited by Renee Ting
Translated by Qian Jifang
Shen's Books
1547 Palos Verdes Mall #291, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
9781885008374, $19.95

"Chinese History Stories Volume 1: Stories from the Zhou Dynasty" is the first volume of Chinese History Stories, a beautiful illustrated set of favorite stories from 4,000 years of Chinese history. More than 11 stories based on Chinese history from 2205 BC to 207 BC are in this first volume of a beautiful two volume set. A simplified timeline of Chinese history begins the volume, along with pinyin pronunciation guides to some common Chinese sounds and spellings. Over 120 pages of colorfully illustrated stories of witchcraft, treachery, thwarted love, wise scholars and foolish rulers are in store for the lucky middle grade reader fortunate enough to have access to this set. Deft end notes direct young readers to areas of further study or highlights at the end of chapters, such as the "Learn More" note about "The Art of War" by Sun Wu on page 43. This collection conveys vivid examples of the intricate and vast cultural history of China.

Chinese History Stories Volume 2: Stories from the Imperial Era
edited by Renee Ting
translated by Qian Jifang
Shen's Books
1547 Palos Verdes Mall #291, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
9781885008381, $19.95

This second volume of Chinese History Stories presents over eight stories from the Imperial Era from the Qin Dynasty era (221-207 BC) to the People's Republic of China (1949-present). Again, middle elementary age readers are treated to beautifully illustrated beloved historical stories of brave generals, marauding pirates, virtuous princesses, faithful martyrs, foolish statesmen, and wise scholars and poets. These beloved historical stories convey a wealth of authentic detail and reflect their status of international treasure troves of cultural history. The stories are exciting and dangerous as well as fascinating. Opportunities to investigate special topics further are presented between stories, labeled "Learn More" sections. "Stories from the Imperial Era" is a stunning achievement, sure to enthrall readers age 9 and up.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Three Dogs, Two Mules, and a Reindeer
Marjorie Cochrane
Mountain Press
1301 South Third Street West, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425648, $12.00,

In the harsh winter north, man must rely on beast to get by. "Three Dogs, Two Mules, and a Reindeer: True Animal Adventures on the Alaskan Frontier" is a story of men and their animal companions who helped them get by. With both beautiful art and historical photos, author Marjorie Cochrane and illustrator Jon Van Zyle give readers and animal lovers quite the picture of the cooperation of man and animal. "Three Dogs, Two Mules, and a Reindeer" is a choice and very highly recommended read for children's nonfiction collections.

Sheila G. Vestri
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533161843, $8.95,

"Rimshot" is a heartfelt true story about the life and death of Rimshot, a beloved boxer dog who lived twelve happy years with his master and best friend, Brian. Written by Brian's sister to commemorate the closeness and love relationship between Rimshot and Brian, "Rimshot" will touch the hearts of anyone who reads it. Black and white family photos document the long love affair between Rimshot and Brian. "Rimshot" is a sensitive tribute to dogs and humans who love and care for them and vice versa. The book finishes with a quotation of the "Rainbow Bridge" poem, author unknown, which has comforted many a bereaved pet owner. "Rimshot" is a thoughtful effort that can reach out to comfort many more.

Blind Tom
Shirley Raye Redmond, author
Lois Bradley, illustrator
Mountain Press Publishing Co.
P.O. Box 2399, Missoula, Montana 59806 1-800-234-5308
9780878425587, $10.00,

"Blind Tom: The Horse Who Helped Build the Great Railroad" is the fascinating true story of the part played by a blind horse named Tom in the completion of the transcontinental railroad, also known as the Great Railroad. History records the golden spike ceremony that took place in Promontory Point, Utah on May 10, 1869, but the part played by Blind Tom in the building of the Great Railroad has perhaps been under reported in recent years. "Blind Tom" uses the question and answer technique to pique continued involvement and interest in young readers. Also effective is the use of sensitivity to sound to describe how Blind Tom must have experienced the world of work he walked through. "Blind Tom" contains added information appeals in the sections at the end including a western map of the Great Railroad, a list of related facts titled Things to Know, an invitation to explore history further in Learn More About the Great Railroad, and a Bibliography. "Blind Tom" is a successful bridge from pioneer history to modern technological advances for kids today.

An Egret's Day
Jane Yolen, poet
Jason Stemple, photographer
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18413 877-512-8366
9781590786505, $17.95,

"An Egret's Day" is a lovely photographic essay interpretation of Jane Yolen's egret-inspired poetry, along with brief factual paragraphs with information about habits and haunts of egrets. "An Egret's Day" is an inspirational book which will appeal to young readers and old(er).

The Language Studies Shelf

Silent Letters Loud and Clear
Robin Pulver
Holiday House
425 Madison Ave, New York NY 10017
0823421279, $16.95

Lynn Rowe Reed illustrates Silent Letters Loud and Clear, a grammar book for new and experienced spellers who struggle with the concept of silent letters. Each letter receives a bright fun illustration and clear explanation in this easy and entertaining reader.

Books in Series

Saddleback Publishing Inc.
Three Watson, Irvine, CA 92618-2767 1-888-735-2225

"Urban Underground" is a ten volume series by Anne Schraff set in contemporary urban America. Drawing from a group of Tubman High teenagers, each individual story focuses upon a different but commonly encountered problem by teens including alcoholism, bullies, dropouts, drugs, unemployment, trust, loyalty, abuse, unemployment, self-esteem, and more. Deftly written at a 3.5 reading level and specifically oriented to teen readers, the titles ($8.95 each) comprising this outstanding series are Outrunning the Darkness (SE0005); Shadows of Guilt (SE0013); A Boy Called Twister (SE0021); If You Really Loved Me (SE003X); One of Us (SE0048); Like a Broken Doll (SE0056); The Quality of Mercy (SE0064); The Fairest (SE0072); To Be a Man (SE0080); and Wildflower (SE0099). Each title is available in both a print and an ebook edition and particularly appropriate for both school and community library collections for young adult readers.

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Ave, Suite 3308, New York NY 10118

The 'Learn About Rural Life' series ($19.95 each) provides an outstanding set of titles for elementary level readers. Each book is 32 pages long, includes an index, glossary, and bibliography including web sites, and is a top pick for any lending library. FARMING COMMUNITY (9780778750710), FISHING COMMUNITY (9780778750727), MINING COMMUNITY (9780778750741) and FOREST COMMUNITY (9780778750734) each provide overviews of what it's like to live in a rural community that depends on different industries. Follow the daily lives of families living in a selected community to see the past, present and future changes affecting that community and its industry. 'Voices for Freedom' ($22.95 each) expands with William D. Thomas' WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON: A RADICAL VOICE AGAINST SLAVERY (9780778748250) and JOHN BROWN: PUTTING ACTIONS ABOVE WORDS (9780778748236) by Geoffrey M. Horn. These 62-page coverages pack in biographical details paired with facts about early civil rights issues, and are top picks for any collection catering to grades 4-6 with civil rights books. Slim Goodbody's Life Skills 101 series expands with CAN WE GET ALONG? DEALING WITH DIFFERENCES (9780778747888, $19.95), offering 32 pages pairing contemporary color photos with facts on how to overcome differences. Goodbody's MAKING GOOD DECISIONS (9780778747918, $19.95) also provides keys to understanding, with this focusing on choices and consequences. The 'Live It' series ($21.95 each) offers character sketches around issues, uses a graphic novel-type format to reach reluctant readers, and offers 32 pages including an index, glossary and bibliography. Arranged around themes, each book offers theme discussions using biographies as the foundation for considerations of values and ethics. Molly Aloian's RESPONSIBILITY (9780778748809), Marina Cohen's COOPERATION (9780778748892), Robert Walker's INTEGRITY (9780778748861) and OPTIMISM (9780778748878) and Natalie Hyde's COURAGE (9780778748854) are a few examples of a strong series likely to appeal to many elementary-level libraries. Bobbie Kalman's PREPARING FOR DISASTERS (9780778715894, $19.95) offers a 32-page coverage of various kinds of disasters, telling how to create an emergency kit, designate a safe shelter, handle floods and more. Two 'National Park' guides by Bobbie Kalman are also recommended picks. YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK (9780778729617) and EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK (9780778729600, $19.95 each) provide 32 pages of detail pairing large-sized color photos with insights on the animals and plants of each area. All will lend to reports and study.

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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