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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 23, Number 2 February 2013 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Money/Finance Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Multicultural Shelf Biography Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Environmental Shelf Poetry Shelf Fiction Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Activity Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Self-Help Shelf Holiday Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Jack the Husky Dog
Gina Maria Sanfilippo, author
Nicholas Peruzzo, illustrator
Mirror Publishing
9781612251226 $9.99

"Jack the Husky Dog: When Your Friend's Parents Get Divorced," is a self help book dealing with the issue of divorce designed for children ages 4-12 years. Partly told from the viewpoint of the Husky dog, Jack who belongs to a boy named Frankie, "Jack the Husky Dog, When Your Friend's Parents Get Divorced" observes and explores the confusing feelings and experiences of a boy whose parents separate and then divorce. Frankie has to get used to many changes, such as living in two homes, keeping a different schedule, and having different toothbrushes, meals, and routines during the weeks while he is with his mother from the alternate weeks when he is with his father. In all this change, Jack is a constant, steady, reassuring presence to Frankie. Although he cannot bring his parents back together again, the important things in Frankie's life will be taken care of. When he prays with Jack at night, his request is eventually the same: "Dear God and all those in heaven above, Bless my mom and dad and all others we love. Amen" Frankie learns that although divorce is change and an ending of the marriage, it is not an ending of the family. Best of all, Frankie learns that he can talk to Jack about anything that worries him and Jack will always lend a paw to help.

Not Your Mother's Book: On Being a Stupid Kid
Dahlynn and Ken McKowen
Publishing Syndicate LLC
P.O. Box 607, Orangevale CA 95662
9781938778025 $16.95

Not Your Mother's Book: On Being a Stupid Kid offers a different kind of anthology: a book about dares, adventures, and fun escapades. The authors have created an anthology series packed with daring, fun stories with no sad or sappy stories about death, dying or negativity. This collection of adventures has been written by authors 18 years or older, are geared to mature audiences, and provide insights and adventures perfect for any looking for a different read.

The Money/Finance Shelf

Money and Teens
Wes Karchut, M.B.A. and Darby Karchut, M.Ed.
Copper Square Studios
9780974114538 $14.95

Money and Teens: Savvy Money Skills lives up to its title with plain-spoken wisdom about what teenagers need-to-know about debt, banking (including electric banking!), credit scores, keeping a budget, tax time tips, student loans (which cannot be discharged through bankruptcy!), and much more. Although written to be accessible to young adults, Money and Teens is of immense value to reader of all ages and backgrounds who might want to review the basic money management, a sound undertaking in these tough economic times. "There are almost no protections for the consumer with prepaid debit cards as provided with bank-issued debit and credit cards. Unscrupulous, prepaid-debit-card issuers can tack on fees for most anything and set the amounts for as much as they like. Should you use a prepaid debit card? Definitely not if you already have a checking account at a bank." Highly recommended, and a "must-read" for any young person on the cusp of facing the financial challenges of attending college.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Saving Lives & Changing Hearts
Rob Laidlaw
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway
Markham, Ontario Canada L3R 4T8
9781554552122 $19.95

Ideal for young people ages eight and up, Saving Lives & Changing Hearts explores how zoos and the entertainment industry (such as circuses) often treat animals poorly. A positive alternative exists in animal sanctuaries, from a donkey sanctuary in Canada to a bear rescue operation in China. Saving Lives & Changing Hearts reveals what wild animals truly need to live healthy, fulfilling lives; how to distinguish false sanctuaries that mistreat animals despite their masquerade; incredible animal rescue operations worldwide; positive ways to make a difference; and a list of the websites of respected animal sanctuaries for further reference. "Since any bad zoo or animal facility can call itself a sanctuary, it can be hard for members of the public to tell which is legitimate and which isn't. The best way to make that determination is to find out if the sanctuary is an accredited member of a professional sanctuary association. If it is, it means its operators adhere to the principles of true sanctuaries, have been subject to an inspection, and meet or exceed the minimum standards of the association." Full-color photography on almost every page illustrates this prime educational pick, highly recommended especially for public and school library children's collections.

The Multicultural Shelf

Finders Keepers?
Robert Arnett, author
Smita Turakhia, illustrator
Atman Press
2104 Cherokee Ave.
Columbus, GA 31906
9780965290081 $14.95

Featuring Smita Turakhia's striking, stylized color artwork throughout, Finders Keepers? A True Story in India is a picturebook filled cover to cover with scenes from daily life in India. Finders Keepers? enriches its educational value with a glossary, pronunciations of Indian words, facts about India, and a step-by-step craft activity to make a paper toran (meant to be hung over a doorway in order welcome guests). One anecdote in particular stands out as a strong indication of a virtuous cultural tenet: "I offered the boy a reward for returning my wallet, but he would not accept it... A man passing by stopped to watch us. I asked him if he could speak English and if he could help me... the man turned to me and said, 'This boy does not understand why you should give him any money for returning to you what is yours. The idea of accepting a reward for doing the right thing makes no sense to him.' Finders keepers? No way!" Finders Keepers? is highly recommended as a wonderful addition to children's multicultural picturebook shelves, whether as a personal gift or part of a public library collection.

The Biography Shelf

Business Leaders: Steve Jobs
Jim Corrigan
Morgan Reynolds Inc.
620 S. Elm St., Suite 223
Greensboro, NC 27406
9781599350769 $28.95

Part of the "Business Leaders" series of library-bound biographies written for young adults, Business Leaders: Steve Jobs chronicles the life of this intelligent, visionary leader destined to help shape the Digital Revolution. Tracing his accomplishments from the Apple computer company's beginnings in the 1970's, to his reveal of the easy-to-use iPad that would herald a new era of portable computing, Business Leaders: Steve Jobs features a wealth of full-color photographs embellishing the amazing story of a truly remarkable man. Highly recommended, especially for junior high school and public library children's collections.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Annie's Ordeal
Marcia Schwartz, author
Amanda Pankonin & PJ Steinman, illustrators
Max Q Enterprises
9780984878024, $12.95,

"Annie's Ordeal" is a junior fiction work that is based on an actual event in the growing up life experience of the author as a girl in rural Kansas. Annie Affleck is only an eleven-year-old Kansas farm girl when a masked robber invades her home one March night and threatens the family with a gun, shooting at Annie's father. In the confusion, a beloved pony named Pansy is let out of her barn and lost. Annie leads a quest to find Pansy, her lost pony, and identify the mysterious robber. The action leads her to many dangerous adventures, and she finds help and assistance from a very unlikely person. "Annie's Ordeal" is partly a coming of age story, but its main appeal will be for teens and pre-teens who thrive on unusual heroism combined with action mysteries. "Annie's Ordeal" has a very convincing tang of realism, and is not exactly a typical happy ending juvenile mystery, but therein lies its unique rural flavor and genuine appeal. Hard won character development and untangling problematic quests through clues keep the readers guessing and involved in this genuine work of juvenile fiction.

The Environmental Shelf

Three Green Rats
Linda Mason Hunter & Suzanne Summersgill
9780988139305, $18.00,

There's a cost to being reckless with some things and we all might end up paying it. "Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale" is a bridge between picturebooks and full length novels for intermediate elementary school students set among the rats of Tintown. The last patch of forest in town is under attack, and it's up to the three green rats to convince the town that getting rid of them for another big store is a bad idea. "Three Green Rats" is an excellent pick for younger readers, highly recommended.

The Poetry Shelf

Eye Rhymes
John de Cuevas, author
Sara Ferguson and Janet Young, illustrators
Smith Publicity (publicity)
9781469929767 $9.95

"Eye Rhymes" is a witty collection of 47 short verses, of the humorous genre, that feature English words that look as though they should rhyme but don't, or, contrarily, words which don't look as thought they would rhyme but do. Labeled "Dr. Seuss for adults," "Eye Rhymes" is a vast, erudite jumble of plays on words and plays on plays on words, featuring the incredible elasticity and unpredictability of the English language. ye Rhymes" is educational, amusing, witty, and entertaining all at once, appealing to young and old. The delicate, precise, pastel illustrations present further delightful opportunities to enjoy the interplay of word, image, and meaning in eccentric English. Even further interpretations are available in on-line soundtrack readings of poems by Alec Baldwin and Blythe Danner. An example of an "Eye Rhyme" with humor intact is XLVI. Afterthought: "The Mouse and the Louse,/ Respectively, Produce Mice and Lice/ Effectively./ The Mice are Mousy,/ But the Lice are Lousy./ Go figure." Shades of Ogden Nash and Jack Benny? Whatever the comparison, readers are sure to enjoy and learn a new appreciation of the English language from reading "Eye Rhymes."

The Fiction Shelf

Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors
Kris Yankee, author
Ferne Press
c/o Nelson Publishing & Marketing
366 Welch Road, Northville, MI 48167
978193826073 $8.95

"Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors" is a pre-teen fiction social issues chapter book about a boy named Toby Karlson, known as TK, who finds facing life after sixth grade orientation more than complicated, even threatening his cool kid status from fifth grade memories. TK would rather be playing hockey. But right now TK needs to upturn his chances at fifth grade camp The great thing about TK's approach to life's problems is he uses hockey metaphors to tackle and solve them (like hip-checking). Who would believe a game as challenging and exciting as hockey could provide a kid with life tools for further development? "Cracking the Code" is definitely written in kidspeak, and should appeal to active readers age 10 and up. If nothing else, one of life's most important lessons seeps through the pages: A sense of humor always helps, no matter what the crisis.

Who's In That Shell?
Anita Amdahl Elco, author
Katherine Weikert Stelmach, author
Michael Patch, illustrator
Inkwell Productions
10869 N. Scottsdale Rd., #103-128
Scottsdale, AZ 85254-5280
9780988356801 $13.50

'Who's In That Shell?" is the first title in a great nature educational juvenile fiction series titled The Crabitat Colony Series, about a unique group of crabs who live in an aquarium in Mrs. Davis' elementary school classroom. The first hermit crab who is adopted for Mrs. Davis' Life Sciences class is called Merman, who is soon joined by Mama Jazz, Purple Pincher, Bleu, and Mura who also come to live in the crabitat. Together these four crab characters create a social hierarchy that includes reliance on the differing skills and traits of the four very different hermit crabs. Many fascinating crab facts and lots of fun black and white illustrations of crab's special properties and appearances add to the interest of "Who's In That Shell?" "Who's In That Shell?" is a short chapter book written for emergent and independent readers ages 7-10. The feature of interactive decision making by young readers add to the excitement and interest of the story, which is part character development study, part nature study and crab-tastic education, and part entertainment and fun. A multi media website for "Who's In That Shell?" features added interactive components, games, activities, crab cooking suggestions, and additional information about hermit crabs. More information about "Who's In That Shell?" can be found at, along with supplemental activities and educational material.

Charlie Purple Turnipseed
Jerry Brown Schwartz
Ivy House Publishing Group
5122 Bur Oak circle, Raleigh, NC 27612
9781571975164, $14.95,

A love for the creatures of nature makes us go on a very unusual adventure through life. "Charlie Purple Turnipseed: & The Dixie Brood" is a unique tale telling of the many animals who have fallen under Charlie's care. And when their beloved friend goes missing, they leap into action to find his whereabouts and help him where they can. "Charlie Purple Turnipseed" is an original bridge between picturebook and full chapter book with plenty of intriguing characters and colorful art work, recommended.

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon
Grant Overstake
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781478296874, $9.99,

When someone tells you that you can't do something, it's human nature to try to do it anyway. "Maggie Vaults Over the Moon" is an inspirational tale following Maggie as she enters the sport of pole vaulting, and is constantly told that she can't pull off certain heights. Driven to prove them wrong, and with the backing of her loved ones, she succeeds beyond her wildest dreams. "Maggie Vaults Over the Moon" is an inspirational pick for young adult fiction collections.

Sam's Top Secret Journal
Dr. Sean Adelman
Raise Expectations
c/o News & Experts (publicity)
3478 Turman Loop, Suite 101
Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
9781468126624, $6.95,

To see what you should not could get you the answers to find the truth. "Sam's Top Secret Journal" is a children's novel from Dr. Sean Adelman, who follows young Sam, a middle school girl with Downs Syndrome. Trying to find whose behind stealing from the school bake sale, she works with her brother to find the ones responsible, and makes for an enticing read for young readers with a positive portrayal of Autism. "Sam's Top Secret Journal" is a must for kids collections, highly recommended.

King Biscuit
Michael Lloyd Gray
Tempest Books
c/o Sol Books
398 Goodrich Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102
9781938237041, $9.95,

With a drive for stardom, we grow up and learn so much so fast in the process. "King Biscuit" is a coming of age novel from Michael Loyd Gray as he tells of the ambitious Billy Ray Fleener, who grows up in the tiny town of Argus, Illinois and finds many lessons of growing up the hard way. "King Biscuit" is a choice addition to general fiction collections focusing on stories set in the 1960s and during the Vietnam War. Also from Michael Lloyd Gray in his unique takes on stardom is "Not Famous Anymore" (978159581578, $14.00), following an actor as he tries to shove off his fame for good after growing sick of it.

Belle's Challenge
Connie Gotsch
Artemesia Publishing
9 Mockingbird Hill Rd, Tijeras, NM 87059
9781932926224, $12.95,

Changing paths in one's life can be quite daunting, even for a dog. "Belle's Challenge" is a charming young adult novel of dogs and their keepers, telling of Darcy Simmons and her dog Belle, and the new friends and dogs they meet in New Mexico. Learning to train in new ways, "Belle's Challenge" is a heartwarming read of canine conflict and love, very much recommended for dog lovers of any age.

Falling Out of Place
M. G. Higgins
9781622500215, $9.95,

What we want out of ourselves is not always what others want out of us. "Falling Out of Place" is a novel following Gabby Herrera, as the pressures on her from her family to follow in her sister's footsteps of excellency. Unable to live up to their standards, she struggles with life, and just fitting in with her own family. A story of facing heavy scrutiny from loved ones, "Falling Out of Place" will resound with many a young reader.

Susan Larson
Savvy Press
PO Box 63, Salem, NY 12865
9780982606995, $12.95,

To control a horse, you have to gain an understanding of it, and teach it an understanding of you. "Sam" is an inspirational novel for young adults, following Ruthie and her sister Evvie as they form a bond with their big and reckless Horse Sam. They learn much from their time with the roughneck horse, and as family problems close in, Ruthie grows up and experiences much of life's challenges and woes. "Sam" is a fine coming of age tale, very much worth considering.

The Adventures of a South Pole Pig
Chris Kurtz
Harcourt Books
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547634555 $16.99

The Adventures of a South Pole Pig provides a fine novel of snow and courage surrounding one Flora, a pig determined to become a sled pig. Before she can achieve her goals Flora must make the dangerous sea journey to Antarctica, avoid a bacon-loving cook and faces a shipwreck. Can she survive in the face of crew that views her as a solution to hunger? A hilarious saga makes for a different and fun read recommended for grades 3-6.

Legend of the Ghost Dog
Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545391276 $16.99

LEGEND OF THE GHOST DOG is set in the Alaskan wilderness where a phantom haunts the local woods, appealing again and again far beyond any normal animal's lifespan. Pre-teen Tee doesn't believe in ghosts - until a walk in these woods in her new home changes her mind. She's being stalked by a spooky wolf-like shadow - and becomes convinced there's not only something out there, but that it needs its mystery solved. Chapters provide a powerful story suitable for any elementary-level leisure reader interested in ghost tales.

The Call of the Bully
Scott Starkey
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781442456747 $15.99

THE CALL OF THE BULLY tells of one Rodney Rathbone, who has a summer break from the tough-boy persona he's accidentally earned at his new school. He's actually a coward under his tough exterior - but when he learns he'll be spending his summer at a camp, he faces a new batch of bullies that test his wits and result in friendships in unexpected places. The result is a fun, different book from a 'bully's' side of the mirror, and makes for a fine recommendation for any leisure collection for grades 4-6.

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

Kate Saunders' MAGICALAMITY (9780385740777, $16.99) tells of one Tom, an average pre-teen who awakens one day to find a plump older fairy searching through his refrigerator. Her mission is to help Tom save his mother and father from a family of vengeful fairies. Tom's fairy father (surprise!) has been charged with murder and the fairies want their family dead: it's up to him to enter the fairy realm to prove his father's innocence in this riveting saga of magic and change. Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe's PEANUT (9780375865909, $15.99) provides a graphic novel with a different: black and white with some red peppered throughout tell the story of a new school and Sadie's plan to make an impression by pretending to have a peanut allergy. The problem is: starting a new life with a big lie only leads to more - and Sadie soon finds she's facing a host of other issues surrounding it which threaten to define her new persona and effect her new life. Graphic novel readers who don't need color illustration to feel satisfied will find this a winner. Patricia Reilly Giff's GINGERSNAP (9780375838910, $15.99) is set during World War II in upstate New York where Jayna is living with her big brother, her only family. When Rob is called for duty he leaves Jayna in the hands of their difficult landlady - and also leaves her with a mystery to solve: that of a grandmother they've never heard about. Jayna's search for what might possibly prove her last relative leads to an involving journey with unexpected twists in this fine story. Clara Bourreau's ON THE RUN (9780385742764, $14.99) tells of Anthony, who hasn't seen his dad in years. His father supposedly is traveling the world as a wildlife photographer - but in reality is a fugitive from the law, now in jail. Anthony's discovery of the truth changes his life, leads to a visit with his father, and facing the fact that the trial is a lead story in their town. When his dad escapes, Anthony has a difficult choice to make in this involving saga. Jane Smiley's PIE IN THE SKY (9780375869886, $16.99) tells of Abby, who faces the challenge of riding Pie in the Sky, the most expensive horse she's ever ridden - and the most irritable. Her involvement with this challenge takes her attention away from the mystery surrounding her own horse and the project of finding new friends in high school, and brings her many changes that will transform her horse and human relationships in this moving story, recommended for any young adult horse enthusiast. Natalie Kinsey-Warnock's TRUE COLORS (9780375860997, $15.99) tells of an unusual baby left on Hannah's doorstep on the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor: a baby with blue skin and eyes. Hannah names her Blue and raises her - but Blue feels something is missing from her life, and longs to know who her mother is. Her search for the truth will reveal some striking insights on her background and family in this saga of self-discovery. Helen Phillips' HERE WHERE THE SUNBEAMS ARE GREEN (9780385742368, $17.99) tells of Mad's dad Bird Guy, who will go anywhere to study birds. When he's offered a bird-tracking job in Central America he's all ready to go - but when he disappears and a strange letter arrives in his absence, Mad decides her father's in danger, while her younger sister thinks the message holds a code. There's only one solution: travel to the last place he visited and find their father. A fine adventure saga evolves in this engrossing story of intrigue.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Door in the Sky
Sandy Kelin Bernstein
Dog Ear Publishing
4010 W. 86th Street, Ste H, Indianapolis, IN 46268
9781457511110, $12.95,

The wonders that lie in the sky captivate us on many levels. "The Door in the Sky" is a young adult adventure as Ricky and Allie enter the sky kingdom of Galdoren and the Winter-loving Queen Glacidia. Gaining her ire, the siblings face many threats along the way as they become charged with battling the queen and learning the ways of magic. "The Door in the Sky" is a fine read for young adult readers who enjoy fantasy in its many forms.

Spinosaur Island
Donald W. Kruse
Castle Keep Press
9710 Traville Gateway Drive, #305
Rockville, MD 20850
9781596635814, $$12.95,

Beneath the earth, undisturbed for thousands of years, lies ancient predators. "Spinosaur Island" is a young adult adventure novel as young Troy is faced with protecting his friends and family form the emergence of a prehistoric threat that has come from beneath the island they have called their home for generations. "Spinosaur Island" is a must for young adult fantasy collections, much recommended.

Udi Aharoni
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
c/o Marissa DeCuir (publicity)
9781477683309, $7.99,

Some viruses are more mischievous than outright malicious. "Zuto: The Adventures of a Computer Virus" is a young adult tale that seeks to teach technical terms to young readers through the story of tricky minor virus Zuto who senses a much more evil and destructive virus on the loose inside the computer. With other outdated programs that are to be deleted, he has to mount a strike to save the computer before it's utterly wrecked. "Zuto" is a much recommended pick for young adult fiction collections.

The Activity Shelf

Chicken Games & Puzzles
Patrick Merrell & Helene Hovanec, authors
Storey Publishing
210 MASS MoCA Way
North Adams, MA 01247
9781612120874 $9.95

"Chicken Games & Puzzles" is a fun assortment of 100 word games, picture puzzles, fun mazes, silly jokes, codes and special activities for kids age 6 and up, all having to do with chickens! This hoot of a collection is the answer to a need for fun indoor (and outdoor) activities for kids who like chickens. There are even answers to the puzzles and quizzes in the back pages in case students get stuck, but no fair peeking ahead, of course. An amazing assortment of different facts and data about chickens is presented in this fun format, which will allow for hours of amusement and activity that combines effortlessly with learning. "Chicken Games & Puzzles" is the perfect gift for parents and teachers as well as kids, encouraging literary and artistic interaction beyond the cyber media activities.

Many Worlds: Native Life Along the Anza Trail
Katherine Brumage, author
Mona Caron, Illustrator
Heyday Books
P.O. Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 04709
9781507141673 $7.95

"Many Worlds: Life Along the Anza Trail" is an educational activity book about California Indian life along the Anza trail, including native American tribes such as the Ohlone, Chumash, Cahuilla, Quechan, Yavapai, Western Apache, Tohono O'odham, and many more. Here are stickers, illustrations, puzzles, games, mazes. and pictures of desert memories to color, and much more. Through many intriguing educational activities, students learn about the diet, language, hunting practices, traditional tales, and lifestyles of the many Native American tribes who lived along the Anza Trail in 1775, at the time of the Spanish Anza Expedition. "Native Life Along the Anza Trail" seems aimed at a middle school age group, perhaps students age 7-11. It is an effortless and effective tool for education, combining interactive learning with fun.

The Music CD Shelf

When the River Ran Backward
Adam Miller
PO Box 951
Drain, OR 97435
$14.97 CD / $9.99 MP3 ($8.99 on

When the River Ran Backward: Adventures in Folksong is an adventurous CD for young adults featuring Adam Miller's renditions of classic cowboy ballads, tall tales, western folksongs, and grand adventures. Miller performs superbly as a baritone lead vocalist and a master of the guitar and autoharp; others support him with mandolin, viola, bass, and harmony vocals. The songs themselves are a smorgasbord of timeless traditional favorites, and adventurous tunes by a medley of different songwriters. A wonderful way to entertain listeners of all ages while experiencing a taste of America's rich folk heritage, When the River Ran Backward is highly recommended especially for public library children's music collections. The tracks are "The New Madrid Earthquake" (3:48), "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" (2:29), "Buffalo Boy" (1:44), "Amelia Earhart's Last Flight" (3:30), "California Is Her Name" (3:08), "Shuha D-Maryam" (0:38), "Man Walks Among Us" (3:17), "One Meatball" (2:09), "Texas 1947" (2:39), "The Black Fly Song" (3:47), "Huckleberry Finn" (2:46), "Riding Round the Castle" (2:12), "Waltz for Debby" (2:37), "The Golden Vanity" (4:32), "The Hills of Manchuria" (1:36), "Ocean Station Bravo" (2:46), "Blue Mountain" (3:56), "The Farmer's Curst Wife" (2:41), "The Galaxy Song" (2:11), "The Kansas Cyclone" (1:00), "I Want To Be a Real Cowboy Girl" (2:50), "When the End Came" (2:42), "Under the Double Eagle" (2:06), "Run, Kate Shelley, Run" (4:31), "The Colorado Trail" (3:42), and "All Through the Night" (2:21). 72 min., 41 sec.

Got a Minute?
Produced by Milkshake, and Dave Nachodsky
Milkshake Music, LLC
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Ideal for young people ages 4-9, Got a Minute? is the latest music album from the Grammy-nominated indie children's band Milkshake. A wonderful collection drawing heavily from the band's own experiences as proud parents, Got a Minute? is filled with songs that dwell upon the nuances of daily life while growing up and learning more about the world. The songs feature Milkshake's lively, signature pop-rock style, and are enjoyable for adults as well as children. Highly recommended! The tracks are "On Hold" (1:25), "Got a Minute?" (1:00), "Baltimore" (1:44), "Lookin out the Window" (1:58), "We Just Wanna Have Fun" (2:22), "Fish" (1:34), "Girls Wanna Dance" (2:18), "Starry, Starry Night" (2:38), "Let 'em Know" (1:42), "Tip Toe Thru the Tulips" (1:31), "Snowy" (1:10), "Workin' Kid Blues" (1:54), "More Than Me" (2:23), "One Day" (1:34), "Seabreeze" (2:07), "Home" (2:25), "One of a Kind" (1:44), "Hiccup" (1:38), "Anyday Waltz" (2:08), "Rainbow" (1:39), "Sally Had a Green Thumb" (1:26), "Washing Machine" (1:22), "What's That Sound?" (1:02), "Try It" (1:01), "Help You" (1:01), "Rainy Day Dance Party" (1:01), "This Is Our Earth" (1:350, "Practice Makes Perfect" (1:00), "It's My Birthday" (1:03), "What Do You Wanna Be?" (1:02), "Lost Toy" (1:01), "Time" (1:00), "Picture This" (1:00), and "L'il Song" (1:51).

Ms. Janis' Music 4 Me! Volume 2 Tumbling Fun
Ms. Janis Music

Experienced teacher Ms. Janis presents Ms. Janis' Music 4 Me! Volume 2 Tumbling Fun, a music CD that encourages preschool children to move, dance, sing, and think about what it's like to travel far and wide. Delightful and engaging, Tumbling Fun blends enthusiasm with practicality; the songs are simple and easy-to-follow so as to encourage shy little ones to chime in with their own hearts and voices. Janis' own farm girl background, and her love of Southern soul music strongly influences this lively album, perfect for entertaining little ones while encouraging them to open their minds to the wider world. The tracks are "Shake a Hand", "Grandpa's Farm", "Fly Butterfly Fly", "Turkey Dance", "Bunny Hop", "Wather Song", "Ways We Travel", "Shake My Egg", "Let's Go", "Choo Choo Train", "Simple Song", "You Get What You Get", "Plant A Seed", and "Give Yourself a Hug".

Cat Doorman Songbook
Julianna Bright
Privately Published
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Illustrator and indie musician Julianna Bright presents Cat Doorman Songbook, a family-friendly album of 14 songs (12 of them original compositions). Bright's sunny vocals and catchy percussion punctuate these cheerful songs, graced by contributions from Chris Funk, Annalisa Tornfelt, and members of Bright's Portland-based indie band Golden Bears. The CD comes with an 18-page booklet of lyrics and Bright's delightful, quirky illustrations. Cat Doorman Songbook features music rich in complexity and diverse in genre, reaching out like a ray of sunshine. Highly recommended especially for parents and babysitters, as a cache of pure delight to share with little ones during car trips or rainy days. The tracks are "Peaceful" (3:05), "Two Old Shoes" (2:44), "Effervescing Elephant" (1:09), "All the Birds" (2:07), "So Many Words" (2:47), "Turn Around" (2:33), "Madame Claire" (2:46), "Inspiration" (2:38), "Yeah!" (2:10), "Let's Get Dressed Up" (2:25), "Lonely Girl" (3:00), "Little Red Wagon" (3:03), "Whistling Song" (2:34), and "With Linked Arms" (2:56).

Get Moving with Ella Jenkins
Ella Jenkins
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
c/o Shore Fire Media (publicity)
$11.99 CD / $8.99 MP3

2004 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winning musician Ella Jenkins presents Get Moving with Ella Jenkins, a high-energy children's album based upon many recordings throughout her career, which encourages little ones to hop, skip, jump, clap, and dance to the lively music. A cheery antidote to the sedentary diet of television and video games, Get Moving with Ella Jenkins is feel-good fun, enthusiastically recommended for indoor recess or children's parties. Highly recommended. The tracks are "Hello" (1:52), "Stop and Go" (3:45), "Teddy Bear" (3:11), "Did You Feed My Cow?" (3:13), "Who Fed the Chickens?" (2:36), "Hop, Skip, and Jump to My Lou" (6:42), "London Bridge Is Falling Down / Moshi Moshi Ano-Ne" (2:13), "Head and Shoulder" (1:12), "Jumping with Variations" (3:49), "And One and Two" (4:18), "One Potato, Two Potato" (1:36), "Play Your Instruments" (4:41), "Follow the Leader" (1:55), "Show Me" (4:58), and "Shake Hands with Friends" (0:39).

The Not-Its!
Little Loopy Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

The fourth kids' music album by popular indie group "The Not-Its!", Kidquake! is a rollocking bundle of high-energy pop especially for youngsters - though parents and babysitters might also find themselves groovin' to the beat. Many of the band members are themselves parents, and their enthusiasm for children's music shines through the blazing guitar, bass, and drums. Kidquake! is a choice pick especially for young children's sleepovers or parties! The tracks are "Kidquake!", "Let's Skateboard", "Busy", "Rock, Paper, Scissors", "Temper Tantrum", "Operation Cooperation", "Full Tilt", "Participation Trophy", "Tarantula Funeral", "Walk or Ride", and "The Not-Its! Love You".

It's Not Fair To Me
Bill Harley & Keith Munslow
Round River Records
301 Jacob St., Seekonk, MA 02771
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
9781878126580 $TBA CD / $8.99 MP3,

Award-winning children's musicians Bill Harley and Keith Munslow present It's Not Fair To Me, a high-spirited album named after the chaos that is sibling rivalry. Upbeat, humorous, and just plain fun, It's Not Fair To Me is an exciting blast to listen to, perfect for entertaining little ones during car trips. The tracks are "It's Not Fair to Me" (3:39), "Stinkeye" (3:05), "My Eraser" (3:42), "Everybody's a Baby 'Bout Something" (3:53), "Swinning" (3:57), "Dog Named Bo" (3:37), "Copycat" (2:25), "Give Me Back My Hat" (3:07), "He Got Up Again" (3:23), and "Hideous Sweater" (3:01).

The DVD Shelf

Missy Mila Twisted Tales Volumes 1 & 2
Planet Nemo
c/o Organa Kids (distribution)
2203 Balsam Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
891273002415 $19.95 (Vol. 1)
891273002422 $19.95 (Vol. 2)

Originally produced in France and now available in English, Missy Mila Twisted Tales Volume 1 and Volume 2 (101 min. each) are a pair of DVDs that collect the short episodes of a delightful television series for young children. Missy Mila is an eight-year-old girl (and something of a tomboy) who loves adventures and telling stories, especially by putting her own spin on classic fairy tales. The colorful, simply animated shorts are sure to delight young viewers ages five to eight. Missy Mila Twisted Tales Volumes 1 & 2 are highly recommended for public library children's DVD collections, or as a gift for precocious little ones. Volume 1's epsidoes are "The Hidden Princess", "The Toupouloupou", "Baba Yaga the Witch", "Djoha's Last Lie", "Piboule and the Bear", "Strabiwolf, the Telltale", "The Donkey and the King", "The Houses of the Pig Brothers", "Elvis", "Captain Bloody-Nose, the Pirate", "The Leprechaun's Treasure", "Aurel the Mocker", and "Pancho Pimento's Riddle". Volume 2's episodes are "Toadette, the Frog", "Prince Gabo", "Miss Lazy", "Bigmess the Ogress", "The Mermaid's Secret", "The Ghost Who Couldn't Scare", "Quentin and his Dragon", "Tounde the Ginormous Elephant", "Rodolphe and Carlo", "Chantal and Noemie", "Greedy Liza", "Tinytiny", and "The Two Tinanooks".

Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown, author
Clement Hurd, illustrator
Allison Karman, narrator
Missy Keast, signer
Randy Hale, Music
Weston Woods
c/o Scholastic
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
0979237033 $59.95

Part of the "Sign Language Storytelling Series", Goodnight Moon is a DVD adaptation of a classic bedtime storybook originally published in 1947, created especially to be thoroughly accessible to both hearing and deaf children ages 2-10. Allison Karman narrates the gentle sleepytime tale, while Missy Keast signs the words in American Sign Language on the television screen, and the camera pans over the simple, colorful piturebook images. Bonus features include read-along text, an interactive quiz, an ASL vocabulary, and an activity guide. Highly recommended especially for public library children's DVD collections, especially those that serve deaf children as well as hearing children. 18 min.

Bink & Gollie
Kate DiCamillo & Alison McGhee, authors
Tony Fucile, illustrator
Weston Woods
c/o Scholastic
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
0545447526 $59.95

Bink & Gollie (14 min.) is the DVD rendition of a Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal-winning picturebook ideal for young people ages 4-8, about two girls who are good friends despite having very different personalities. They disagree about socks, goldfish, or venturing to the Andes - but being able to compromise and respect each other's point of view is foundation of their fast friendship! A bonus interview with illustrator Tony Fucile is included. Also highly recommended especially for public library children's DVD collections are Weston Woods' DVD adaptations of Melanie Watt's "Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend" (0545478138, $59.95, 12 min.), about an inquisitive squirrel who wants to make new friends but is afraid of being bitten, and Rebecca and Ed Emberley's "The Red Hen" (0545447550, $59.95, 7 min.) about a plucky Red Hen who sets out to bake the most splendid cake she can. All three DVDs are closed-captioned with optional English subtitles.

Tractor Mac Show
Billy Steers
TM Books & Video
PO Box 9228
Michigan City, IN 46361
9781936890323 $12.99

Tractor Mac Show is a family-friendly DVD all about vintage Farmall tractors and Case IH tractors at work, enhanced with original music and educational insights. As Billy Steers reads his books "Tune-Up" and "Harvest Time", the pages come to life to reveal the main parts of a tractor, the basics of how a gas-powered engine works, and the tasks that a tractor must undertake in the field, such as cutting and hauling hay to horses who need to eat it. A bonus featurette about learning how to draw and paint tractors and farm animals rounds out this appealing DVD, perfect for parents and children to watch together. 45 min.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Sister Rabbit's Tricks
Emmett "Shkeme" Garcia, author
Victoria Pringle, illustrator
University of New Mexico Press
MSC05 3185, 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
9780826352682 $18.95

"Sister Rabbit's Tricks" is a classic Southwestern trickster animal fable, with details drawn from Native American traditional sources. Sister Rabbit plays some definitely mean and destructive tricks on her fellow creatures, such as getting Buzzard to wear a crown of flammable twigs while dancing the Fire Dance as long as she is singing, with the result being Buzzard's head feathers catch fire. Sister Rabbit laughs at this painful trick, which caused Buzzard to have the naked, featherless head he still has today. Then she tricks Bear into hitting the hive of the Bee children, causing them to sting him badly. Finally she tricks hungry Eagle into putting his head into a hole filled with ashes, looking for food. Of course this gave Eagle his white head which he still has today. Angry Eagle decides to teach Rabbit a lesson, deciding that she will be his next meal. This drove Rabbit to burrow into a hole underground for safety, and to hide out instead of playing mean, hurtful tricks and laughing at the other creatures. Finally Rabbit learned her lesson and stopped playing tricks. As a reminder to behave kindly towards others, Sister Rabbit has big ears to help her listen and big feet to help her run away from Buzzard, Bear, and Eagle, who still like to chase her. "Sister Rabbit's Tricks" is a classic Native American teaching tale retold in English with expressive, primitive style color illustrations. It is a wonderful story to share with children age 6 and up.

The Picturebook Shelf

Snow School
Sandra Markle, author
Alan Marks, illustrator
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02474
9781580894104 $16.95

"Snow School" is a fabulous watercolor illustrated children's book about two twin snow leopard cubs, born in the Hindu Kush mountains of Pakistan in the spring. The two snow leopard cubs, a boy and a girl, are taught, trained and cared for by their mother, through their baby growing months. They learn such lessons as 'Outside the den it's a dangerous world, and 'Always leave your scent to claim your favorite hunting places,' and also, 'Be quiet when you go hunting.' These lessons are the cubs. Snow School, teaching them skills they will need to survive independently in a harsh environment. After many harsh lessons, the cubs continue to grow and increase their hunting and survival skills. Having completed their Snow School lessons, eventually the grown cubs will separate from their mother and survive hunting alone in the Hindu Kush mountains. Even more amazing facts about snow leopards are presented at the end of "Snow School," along with additional sources including a video titled Snow Leopard Twins. This beautiful educational book will fascinate and educate children age and up.

Butterscotch & Me
Cari Lyn, author/illustrator
Lapis Moon Publishing
9076 Sandy Run, Jupiter, Florida 33478
9781937576004 $9.99

"Butterscotch & Me" is a delightful children's bedtime story about a beloved stuffed toy pony (named Butterscotch) who accompanies his mistress on all sorts of nighttime travels and adventures. The soft, deep purple tones and starlit illustrations of pajama clad girl riding her trusty palomino through the cloudy stars lead to gentle dreams and quiet, inner explorations. In a visual ploy, the girl is shown wearing different colored pajamas, red, green, blue, etc. suggesting that one night's dreaming is morphed into many nights' dream experiences. Perhaps the single arresting thought in the beginning of the narrative is on the first page, showing the head of the stuffed toy horse, with the words, "This is Butterscotch......and we have a secret..." What an inviting, calming, yet exciting experience to share this bedtime story with a child of almost any age! " The lilting, narrative verse tales rhythms and rhymes further lull the child's mind towards dreams and safe slumber, while the child experiences the joy of protection by the transcendental object, described by a beloved, familiar voice. "Butterscotch & Me" is undoubtedly a true work of art in its own genre.

Hello, We're the Fuzzwippers
Marilynn Halas, author
Jeremy Provost, illustrator
4 Sunflowers Media
750 Seventh Avenue, 28th Floor, New York, NY 10019
9780615588131 $8.99

"Hello, We're the Fuzzwippers" is a new, empowerment-based children's book that is centered around a message sent by the Fuzzwippers to all children, which is this: "You are loved no matter what." Fuzzwippers are special little fuzzy friends that can travel with a child almost anywhere and speak directly to the child in the language of Imaginarius. Fuzzwippers are quiet and easy to care for, and they can be supportive little friends to help a child feel more comfortable when dealing with uncomfortable or challenging issues. A Fuzzwipper friend can help a child feel more secure in almost any situation. Fuzzwippers are meant to help everyone learn to be their best selves, building stronger relationships and compassionate communities. "Hello, We're the Fuzzwippers" is clearly part of an ongoing series that will soon include another title, "Fuzzwippers Find Good Listeners ($8.99, to be published in Fall 2013). The bright cheery illustrations of children of different ethnic backgrounds and simple language make this child mental health series appealing and accessible to its targeted audience, children ages 3-7.

I Am Happy
Alberto Agraso and Mony Dojeiji, authors
Alberto Agraso, illustrator
Privately Published
9781621416890 $14.99

"I Am Happy" is a beautiful color illustrated book about Angela, a pudgy girl who is so happy she wants to scream "Thank you!" for all the good feelings and experiences in her life. When Angela looks in the mirror, she likes what she sees. She is grateful for her friends, her room, her home, her parents, her meals, her teacher, her neighborhood, her playground, the trees and birds in her yard, and so much more. All these wonderful things make Angela want to say "Thank You!" Angela feels happy and loved when she is with her parents and close friends, and also when she is all alone. "I Am Happy" is a wonderful children's book about the healing powers of gratitude, which it is never too soon to learn to give thanks for. The imaginative illustrations also convey a sense of joyous spiritual enrichment which is hopefully every child's entitlement. "I Am Happy" is wonderful material for children age 3 and up.

You're Never Too Big to Hold
Barbara Bassett, author/illustrator
Roundabout Press
PO Box 7025, Columbia, MO 65205
9780615 397238 $8.99

"You're Never Too Big to Hold" is a wonderful book for children and adults that reassures everyone, that, "No matter how old, or big, or strong - you can be held your whole life long!" Filled with delicate pastel illustrations of fuzzy, magic, shapechanging, supportive beings who hold you safe no matter how big you are, "You're Never Too Big to Hold" is redolent with universal appeal. It addresses fears and doubts of the psyche in all. A beautiful gift, "You're Never Too Big to Hold" has a therapeutic application that rings loud and clear across generational barriers, encouraging intergenerational dialogue and communication.

A Day at the Zoo
Bruce Johnson, author
Meredith Johnson, illustrator
Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119
Novato, CA 94948
9781601153494 $9.95 hc
9781601153500 $4.99 pbk

Part of the "We Read Phonics" picturebook series (a "Level 7" book that introduces vowel combinations such as "ou", "oi", "aw", and "oo"), A Day at the Zoo encourages young people to practice phonics and sound out "sight" words as they follow a simple story about the wondrous and exotic wildlife kept at a zoo. The illustrations pair striking, full-color photographs of live zoo animals with hand-drawn cartoons of smiling children. A couple additional pages of "parent's instructions" as well as suggestions for simple phonics games that parents and children can play round out this excellent resource for helping young ones learn how to read. Also highly recommended for personal, school, and public library children's collections is another "We Read Phonics" Level 7 book, "I Want to Be a Cowboy!" by Sindy McKay (9781601153517, $9.95), about a young boy who goes to a dude ranch and learns that being a cowboy is much more hard work than he ever imagined!

Gorilla Soup!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Donny Crank, illustrator
Castle Keep Press
c/o James A. Rock & Company, Publishers
900 South Irby Street, #508
Florence, SC 29501
9781596638624 $12.95

Gorilla Soup! is a silly, softcover children's picturebook about a ten-year-old boy who receives a most extraordinary birthday present... Floyd the Gorilla! The gigantic Floyd is friendly and cheerful, and he only eats Gorilla Soup, a gigantic concoction of vegetables mixed in a bathtub. But when the well-intentioned boy tweaks the recipe by adding a dash of pepper, it sparks disaster. Floyd starts sneezing harder and harder, and when an (800-pound?) gorilla sneezes, anything can get blown away! A lighthearted, read-aloud tale, Gorilla Soup! is sure to delight children with its wild whimsy and exuberant color illustrations.

Cheer Up, Mouse!
Jed Henry
Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547681078 $12.99

CHEER UP, MOUSE! comes from an award-winning illustrator who charts the course of a group of animals who all try desperately to make a sullen little mouse cheer up. From a bird's efforts to bring the little mouse out of his environment to a mole's determination to introduce Mouse to his underground world, this is a fun story recommended for any beginning reader in grades 2-3.

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

Elise Primavera's Who Needs Love? (9780375855856 $16.99) is illustrated by Laura Park and centers round the tiny town of Pokey March, where Scarlette and her best friend Simon are inseparable. Everyone thinks they will marry someday - but they each also have different goals: to travel, and to become a great singer. They separate to seek their fortunes - only to encounter a grouchy witch who doesn't care for love either. Will the two find their dreams AND love? A fine survey will reach kids in grades 1-2. Pat Mora's THE BEAUTIFUL LADY: OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE (9780375868382, $16.99) provides a fine story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, told by Grandma Lupita to her granddaughter Rose. Award-winning illustrator Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher illustrate this spiritual Mexican saga in a tale recommended for any Christian collection. Maggie Smith's PIGS IN PAJAMAS (9780375848179, $15.99) is a pick for preschoolers just learning the alphabet, and focuses on a pig adventure that emphasizes the letter 'p'. Rhyming text tells of Penelope Pig's sleepover party where everything begins with 'p'. Colors and other basic concepts are introduced in a lively, different read.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Luna and Floyd Visit Their Grandparents
Lauren Levine, author
Eric Ebbeson, illustrator
Jabberwocky Books
212 3rd. Ave. North, Ste. 290
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781935204 $9.95

"Luna and Floyd Visit Their Grandparents" is a fun interactive book for parents to share with young children ages 1-3. Every page comes with a suggested simple action which can be shared by the parent and child who is sitting on the parent's lap. Luna and Floyd are a colorful red dog and yellow cat who share an adventure going to visit their grandparents (who incidentally look just like them, slightly older versions). An example of the interactions is (text) "They walk up a big hill, and down the other side," is paired with suggestions: "Walk your fingers up your child's back," and "Walk your fingers over your child's shoulder and down the arm." The physical interaction can add a tactile learning experience to the story, which is also fun, and helps to engage the child with the parent in the story. Older children or a child without a parent present can act out the story with a stuffed animal. Also suggested for library story hours, "Luna and Floyd Visit Their Grandparents" is a unique opportunity to both educate and bond with a child, while preparing them for future enjoyment of the wonderful world of books.

The Self-Help Shelf

Daniel P. Gates
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475928969, $12.95,

High school is a time of countless decisions. "Decisionology: A Guiding Compass for High-School Students" is an advisory guide for students who are piecing together their own future and making the decisions that may carry them through a life time. Encouraging wiser decision making with many a thought exercise throughout, "Decisionology" is thoughtful and very much worth considering for youth inspirational and education collections.

The Holiday Shelf

The Easter Story
Juliet David, author
Jo Parry, illustrator
Candle Books
c/o Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
9781859859124 $3.99

"The Easter Story" is a simple retelling of the last week of the life of Jesus as recorded in gospel scriptures. Illustrated with colorful character representations (reminiscent of popular toy figures) of Jesus and all his disciples, "The Easter Story" is simply but completely told, from the Last Supper and the Palm Sunday entrance to Jerusalem to the betrayal, capture, trial and eventual crucifixion of Jesus, ending with the discovery of his resurrection by Mary and the women at the tomb. A celebratory final page shows a large cloud descending to take Jesus away, while the disciples stand by, wondering and rejoicing at the good news. "The Easter Story" is perfect for young children age 5 and up.

Lily's Easter Party
Crystal Bowman, author
Richard Johnson, illustrator
5300 Patterson Avenue SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310725954 $7.99

"Lily's Easter Party: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs" is an the story of an interactive Easter egg hunt that features a search for symbol clues found inside different colored Easter eggs that help to tell the Resurrection story. Lily is excited when her mother offers to help her plan an extra special Easter egg hunt party for her and her friends. There will be a secret surprise at the Easter egg hunt. Lily's father and mother helped to hide all the different colored, specially prepared eggs in their yard Saturday morning, and later Lily's friends arrived for the party and egg hunt. When all the eggs have been found, Lily's mother and father sit with the children and help them understand the different surprise objects in their eggs, which are symbols to help remind everyone of the story of Jesus' death by crucifixion and resurrection. Inside the different colored eggs are a little donkey, silver coins, a cup, praying hands, a little leather whip, a tiny crown of thorns, nails in the cross, a die, a tiny spear, a white linen cloth, a stone, and finally the last white egg is empty, symbolizing the resurrection. All the objects are used to piece together the story of Jesus' sacrifice, death and Easter resurrection, and every child who found an egg participates in this story actively. Finally, everyone is invited to church on Sunday, which is Easter, "and they all said YES!" "Lily's Easter Party" is designed for children ages 4-7. Appropriate scripture references are listed for each Easter symbol found in the egg, to help to frame the story.

The Bilingual Shelf

Taro-San The Fisherman and the Weeping Willow Tree
Richard Hatch, author
Yukishege Kaddya, translator
Andras Balogh, illustrator
The Hatch Academy of Magic & Music
269 W. 1010 S., Logan, UT 84321
9781480274785 $14.95

"Taro-San the Fisherman and the Weeping Willow Tree" is a beautiful, traditionally illustrated, bilingual children's tale written in Japanese and translated into English for children age 8 and up. Taro-San grew up as a boy sitting on a river bank under a weeping willow tree, fishing all day long. He wanted nothing more than to be a professional fisherman. However, when Taro-San is finally able to buy a boat and cast out to sea to fish, his nets come up empty for two weeks in a row! He decides to make a special pilgrimage to a sacred Shinto shrine. When he arrived at the beautiful O-Torii gate to the harbor of the sacred shrine, he enjoyed seeing the beauty of the setting. Taro-San crossed on a bridge to approach a special well, like a wishing well, where he respectfully wrote his wish to become a successful fisherman on a piece of parchment, dropped it into the well, and struck a bell three times to summon his ancestors to hear the request he made of them. A rainbow cheers and heartens him as he leaves the shrine. Soon he meets an old man who is a successful fisherman and asks him for his secrets for success. Here Taro-San discovers he has omitted an important step in his venture: He has not chosen a name for his boat. With the guidance of the old man, Taro-San chooses just the right name and paints it on the boat in Kanji characters. After that, Taro -San is so successful with his fishing that he can barely sail his catch home each day. What was the name he chose, the name that enchanted the fish so they came to the boat willingly to be caught? Of course, it was the Weeping Willow Tree. "Taro-San the Fisherman and the Weeping Willow Tree" is presented in both English and Japanese, beautifully illustrated with a traditional appearing style of delicately tinted paintings by Hungarian artist Andras Balogh. The story of "Taro-San the Fisherman and the Weeping Willow Tree" was inspired by a traditional storytelling art called "Nankin Tamasudare," in which a bamboo mat is used to represent many different figures in the story. For a visually stunning, multi-cultural reading-storytelling experience, "Taro-San the Fisherman and the Weeping Willow Tree" is an exquisite choice for juvenile audiences age 7 and up.

Books in Series

Thompson Twins Call the Cops
Lisa Hammond, author
Garrett Croker, author
Tom Hall, illustrator
Achievement U, Inc.
1547 Palos Verdes Mall, #171
Walnut Creek, CA 94597
9780615665382 $6.95

Second title in the Everyday Role Model Thompson Twins Series, written especially to provide culturally relevant material, including empowering, inspiring role models, "Thompson Twins Call the Cops" is a fast paced, exciting chapter book about the ten year old twins Carlos and Letty Thompson who need help to fin the thieves who stole their mother's car. Living alone with their mother in an apartment in a tough neighborhood of Oakland, CA, the Thompson twins have learned survival skills when there are sounds of neighborhood crimes such as shooting. Still, this is never easy or good feeling for them, when they hear gunshots in the night. In "Thompson Twins Call the Cops", the twins learn that a police person can be a powerful ally as well as an awesome role model, such as Lieutenant Sheryl Boykins, who is based on a real live person described on page 133. Accessible vocabulary, fast paced action, short chapters, and occasional, expressive black and white illustrations add to the attractiveness of this book. There are many twists and turns in the exciting plot development, and the twins find allies and helpers in their friends and friends' parents as well as teachers and Lieutenant Boykins. Peer pressure is an issue to be dealt with, along with multi-racial sensitivity. In all, "Thompson Twins Call the Cops" is an appealing action adventure story with believable characters who face difficult choices in growing up and living in an inner city neighborhood. One of the great things about the Everyday Role Model series is all proceeds help to fund the distribution of books to inner city schools, as a project of Achievement U, Inc. "Thompson Twins Call the Cops" also has broad appeal for all middle school age children because of the many lessons and issues presented in the story. In addition, helpful parent teacher activities and important lessons studied are presented at the end of the book. This series is a great choice for any library or educational collection, or a home resource.

Night Buddies
Sands Hetherington, author
Jessica Love, illustrator
Dune Buggy Press
3 Deerwood Court, Greensboro, NC 27410
9780984741724 $8.99

"Night Buddies: Imposters and One Far-Out Flying Machine" is Book 2 in the Night Buddies Series, featuring young John Degraffenreidt and his buddy, Crosley the red crocodile. This fast-paced, exciting mystery action series is particularly appealing to tweens because of its imaginative vocabulary (featuring created words like Upgas modulator, HoverLok, and Ladderlower, all parts of the amazing far-out flying machine. It also has immense action appeal and humor, both hidden and open. Crosley, the red crocodile has dialogue words like "Rrrrup!' and "Urrrk!" and "Gupp!" as an example of imaginative expression. John and Crosley are off on another Project (read mystery adventure) when Crosley, the only red crocodile in the world, finds an imposter or multiple imposters is/are committing crimes and making Crosley look guilty. This demands Program action, so the Night Buddies use all their fantastic tools and gear to get to the bottom of the mystery, with the help of Crenwinkle, Crosley's recalcitrant brother crocodile. All the Program adventure actions take place in the time space of one night, thanks to the use of the I-ain't- here-doodad and the time-spreader dingus, useful inventions that freeze his parents in time and render the wearers invisible, while John is on Crosley's back. Thus begins another great Night Buddies epic adventure and mystery, in an incredible, delicious word salad narrative style that absolutely keeps the pages turning. Quirky black and white illustrations add to the high interest and excitement, and language, language, language, complete with expressive, changing type fonts and wonderful made -up words, describe the indescribable. A few introductory helpful pages include Night Buddies Uncommon Words and their meanings, and a note from Crosley further explains the use of eccentric (technically incorrect) spellings explains all. "Night Buddies" is a fantastic series to engage, entertain, and educate young readers (ages 9 and up) effortlessly. Watch for Book 3 in this fun, fantastic series.

The Great Puppy Rescue
Jason Holder, author
Mike Sofka, illustrator
2865 Lenox Road, #302, Atlanta, GA 30324
9780985698027 $12.95

"The Great Puppy Rescue" is the first in a series titled "The Adventures of Kid America," a set of illustrated action/adventure stories about American ideal traits such as courage, creativity, and cooperation. Kid America finds a kidnapped puppy and plan a rescue operation that ends well for nearly all. Appealing to readers ages 4-9, "The Great Puppy Rescue" has enticing smatterings of mystery, sleuthing, and creative action intervention/problem solving working with all team members. Kids will love this gently didactic educational series.

Seminole Chief Osceola
William R. Sanford, author
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 390, 40 Industrial Road
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766041172 $21.26 ($15.95 for schools and libraries)

"Seminole Chief Osceola" is an exciting juvenile biography for middle school students and reluctant readers of a famous Seminole warrior/sometimes chief who led the Seminoles' fight against the U.S. Army in the 1830's, resisting orders to leave their land in Florida and move West. Feared and admired by white soldiers, Osceola received one tribute written as follows: "In Osceola...was combined a nerve, activity, and intelligence which seemed to diffuse itself among all classes (p. 26)." The exciting narrative covers the many battles and strategies of Osceola against the U. S. Army soldiers during this war, with many black and white illustrations. Finally captured by General Jesup under a white flag in an act of treachery, Osceola later died at the age of 33 in prison. Some Seminoles still live in Florida today, never having signed a treaty with the U. S. government. They are living testament to the powerful leadership of Osceola. "Seminole Chief Osceola" includes a glossary, chapter notes, bibliography with additional internet sources and addresses, and an index. This simply written narrative of an exciting Seminole warrior's biography makes Native American history accessible and real to young readers. Also included in this outstanding series titled 'Native American Chiefs and Warriors' are the following and also highly recommended titles by the same author: "Apache Chief Geronimo (97807660409390, $15.95)," "Comanche Chief Quanah Parker (9780766040953, $15.95)," "Hunkpapa Lakota Chief Sitting Bull (9780766040977, $15.95)," "Nez Perce Chief Joseph (9780766040922, $15.95)," Oglala Lakota Chief Red Cloud (9780766040960, $15.95)," and "Oglala Sioux Chief Crazy Horse (9780766040946, $15.95)."

A History of the Democratic Party
Russell Roberts, author
Mitchell Lane Publishers
P.O. Box 196, Hockessin, Delaware 19707
9781612282596 $29.95

"A History of the Democratic Party" is an educational account of the influence of the American Democratic Party from the Vote America series for middle school readers. Studded with colored photo-illustrations, handy maps, charts, and informative sidebars, "A History of the Democratic Party" presents an accurate overview of over 200 years of political history of the Democratic party. An example of its useful reframing of relevant information is the Timeline on page 42 and the chart of Democratic Presidents on page 43, which lists Democratic and Democratic-Republican presidents consecutively, along with their number in order and their dates in office. "A History of the Democratic Party" also contains chapter notes, a bibliography including relevant internet addresses, a glossary and an index. Here is an effortless, readable history of one of the great American political parties to intrigue and further interest students and young readers. Titles from this informative series that are also highly recommended include: "A Kid's Guide to the Voting Process (9781612282602, $29.95, by Tammy Gagne)," "A History of the Republican Party (9781612282619, $29.95, by Amie Jane Leavitt)," and "A History of Voting Rights (9781612282626, $29.95, by Tamra Orr)."

Karate Made Simple
Maiko Nakashima, author, with the Japan Karate Federation
The Oliver Press, Inc.
5707 West 36th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55416
9781934545171 $24.95

"Etiquette, Equipment, and the Dojo" is Volume 1 of 'Karate Made Simple', a four volume educational series about the martial art of karate for children age 8 and up. Beginning with an explanation of the meaning of rei (bowing, showing proper respect) and reisetsu (etiquette or code of conduct), and ending with information about the competition arena, Volume 1 presents basic concepts underlying accepted karate teaching and performance practices. Studded with clear color photos of students of karate in active poses, Volume 1 of the "Karate Made Simple" series is sure to appeal to young students interested in the study of karate and the martial arts. Also highly recommended are the following titles in this series by the same author: "#2 Punching, Kicking, and Blocking (9781934545171, $24.95, $24.95)," "#3 Practice, Sparring, and Competition (9781934545188, $24.95, $24.95)," and "#4 Karate Origins and Expansion (9781934545164, $24.95)."

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue
Suite 3308, NY, NY 10118

The new 'Deserts Around the World' series ($20.70 each) adds six new books of 32 pages each, packed with color and geography facts suitable for grades 5-8, and are recommended for collections strong in world geography specifics for this grade level. Each book focuses on a different desert locale, and each provides basic details that include color maps, contemporary color photos, and fine insights on ecology as well as geography. Lynn Papas' THE ATACAMA DESERT (9780778707097) surveys the Chilean desert that's one of the driest areas in the world - and the coldest. The similarity of this desert to Martian soil samples makes it unique in the world. Pappas' THE GREAT VICTORIA DESERT (9780778707110) describes Australia's great expanse, once used for the testing of atomic bombs and home to indigenous tribes for thousands of years. The blooming desert's life is stunning. Molly Aloian's THE GOBI DESERT (9780778707103) covers a huge expanse that has long affected the history of Mongolia and China, her KALAHARI DESERT (9780778707127) describes the geological history of Africa's vast desert - not a true desert because it receives over ten inches of rain annually, her THE MOJAVE DESERT (9780778707134) surveys a desert that is located in four states and include Death Valley State Park, the hottest place in North America, and her THE SAHARA DESERT (9780778707141) reveals facts about the world's biggest hot desert covering parts of twelve countries. All are solid picks for any geography collection.

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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