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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 24, Number 1 January 2014 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Native American Shelf Career Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Activity Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf Christian Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Education Shelf Crafts Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Autism Shelf Self-Help Shelf
International Shelf Holiday Shelf Fiction Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Sports Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Science Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Willow Wonders Why Do I Worry?
Wynne & Kristin Beckstrom Radcliffe, MSW, LCSW, authors
Jeremy Provost, illustrator
Little Creek Press
c/o Kristen Mitchell Design, LLC
5341 Sunny Ridge Road, Mineral Point, WI 53565
9780989643122, $16.95,

"Willow Wonders Why Do I Worry?" is a true story about an eleven year old girl who deals with obsessive compulsive disorder. Written in simple language that children age 5 and up can understand, and brilliantly illustrated with softly shaped, colorful figures and landscapes, "Willow Wonders Why Do I Worry?" explains that Willow experiences her daily life as though she is driving a pink car named Charlotte down a street named Willow Way, her private metaphor. Some days her map is clear and her drive is smooth and uncomplicated, she feels calm and happy. Other days her map is a mess and she hears angry cars honking and encounters endless obstacles and problems that worry her deeply. A special counselor listens to Willow explain her road map difficulties or speed bumps, and she helps Willow to turn down her car alarm so she can calm down her map, locate her toolbox, and find tools such as worry beads or worry dolls to help her cope with high worry days. Other self treatment techniques or metaphors are repairing the road by filling in the potholes, using the toolbox, and clearing the traffic, all mental exercises to help achieve inner serenity, or lessening of OCD symptoms. Also helpful to parents and teachers is the introduction which defines OCD and the list of resources and helpful books at the end. "Willow Wonders Why Do I Worry?" is a creative mother-daughter effort to provide good information and resources to other kids with OCD, as well as their parents and educators.

The Word Burglar
Chris Cander, author
Katherine Tramonte, illustrator
Bright Sky Press
2365 Rice Blvd., #202, Houston, TX 77005
9781936474967, $19.95,

"The Word Burglar" is the story of a younger boy with several older brothers and sisters who really wanted to read, but no one had time to teach him. He was so disappointed that he stopped trying, and even stopped playing, and actually shrunk to the size of a #2 pencil (well-sharpened) because he ate so little. Desperate for words and the ability to read them, he crept into neighboring homes at night to seek beautiful words on books they read before they went to sleep. He used a well sharpened pair of doll scissors to cut out fascinating words in many books. He cared nothing for the holes in stories he left behind, he only cared for his beautiful, unusual words. Using glue and an old math notebook, he cut a pasted all his words into a dictionary, which he still could not read. Hungry, he decided to eat the word "cuisine," and got a little stronger from eating his words. One night he crept into the bedroom of a girl named Sasha. Sasha could see him cutting words out of her book, even though he was as small as a pencil. Sasha asked the Word Burglar why he stole words, why didn't he read them instead? He answered "Nobody ever taught me," and began to cry. Sasha promised to teach him to read words if he would stop stealing other people's words. The boy learned quickly, and Sasha promised to teach him more if he would return every word he had stolen to make his dictionary. Sasha explained, "books are precious and powerful. They can make us stronger - especially when we share them." Finally the Word Burglar, who was a boy named Joshua, learned to read and wrote Sasha his first letter to thank her for teaching him to read. Realistic, sensitive illustrations portray the Word Burglar shrinking and growing in size as he creates his Dictionary from stolen words, and finally reforms from his life of word theft when he learns to read. "The Word Burglar" is an excellent story to underline the power, beauty, adventure and excitement of discovering words and reading books. The wildly fantastic yet realistic illustrations complement the imaginative narrative perfectly.

E: A Tale for Everybody
Paul Harvey, Jr.,author
Bryan C. Butler, illustrator
Paul H. Aurandt II Publishing
9780988777408, $25.00,

"E" is a most unusual children's book about learning to appreciate differences and seeking the meaning of life, all within the exploration of a relationship between a boy and a cicada. Sara is a different kind of cicada, one who questions the meaning of her existence and wants to explore her feelings. She becomes very attached to a 7 year old boy named Sam, despite the warnings of her friend and future mate, Sasha. Her love is returned by Sam, and a heartbreaking realization dawns upon him that their precious time together is very limited, due to the relatively short life span of the cicada. Both Sam and Sara are fortunate in their love choices, for they find friends who become mates and who care about them and their dreams. Reminiscent at times of "Charlotte's Web," "E" is an epic and award winning book for middle grade children and adults. It asks all the hard questions with hope, love, and compassion, and it teaches a wonderful resilience of spirit that comes from following your bliss. Famous author Paul Harvey Jr.'s first children's book is a showstopper, beautifully and sensitively illustrated with poignant charcoal drawings.

Blessed is the Spot
Baha'u'llah, author
Constanze von Kitzing, illustrator
Baha'i Publishing
415 Linden Avenue
Wilmette, IL 60091-2844
9781618510488 $12.00

Blessed is the Spot is a children's picturebook and prayer book, in which warm color illustrations complement Bahai prophet Baha'u'llah's classic prayer to God. The prayer itself is not faith- specific, and simply expresses the reverence held by all of God's followers. "Blessed is the spot / and the house / ... / where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified." The illustrations of every mentioned location, physical or metaphorical, help emphasize the profound majesty of the heartfelt prayer. Highly recommended.

The Native American Shelf

Wild Berries/ Picasi-Minisa
Julie Flett, artist/author
Simply Read Books
c/o Ingram Publisher Services
501-5525 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6M 3W6
9781897476895, $16.95,

"Wild Berries" is a beautiful limited palate illustrated story in English with Swampy Cree vocabulary about a boy named Clarence gathering blueberries in the woods with his grandmother. Clarence sees a spider, an ant, a fox, and birds while picking blueberries. He does not see a bear, because his grandma checked for one first. Clarence and Grandma love to eat all kinds of wild blueberries and they sing as they fill their buckets. When they are done, Clarence leaves an offering of blueberries on a leaf for the birds and animals to say thank you. The poignant spare illustrations in tones of brown, black, tan and red are perfectly balanced by the highlighted narration, with Swampy Cree terms written in red. At the end is a Swampy Cree pronunciation guide and list of vocabulary words along with a delicious recipe for wild blueberry jam, with maple syrup and wild mint in it. "Wild Berries" is a treat for the senses as well as a portrait of hunting for wild blueberries.

The Career Shelf

When I Grow Up I Want To Be.... a Teacher!
Mark Shyres, author/illustrator
Debbie Hefke, illustrator
Wigu Publishing, LLC
c/o Baron Ressler, Publisher
321 Third Street, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
9781939973085, $12.95,

"When I Grow Up I Want To Be a ...Teacher!" is part of a juvenile educational series written for children age 8 and up. Carlee is an elementary grade student whose mom has begun teaching other children her age at her school this year. Carlee is embarrassed about her mother teaching at her school, dreads being teased about it, and she attempts to keep a very low profile her first day back at school. As she goes through her day, she imagines trying out many other vocations, anything but teaching. She considers being a librarian, an astronaut, a politician, an artist, a musician, a scientist, a writer, an inventor, or even, finally, a teacher! The last realization comes after many of her friends who are taught by her mother congratulate her on having a cool teacher for her mother. Carlee begins to realize it is pretty awesome to be a good teacher, and of course, her mother is one! Illustrations that are part cartoon figures and part real photographs build interest and color, and color shaded sidebars present thumbnail biographies of such famous individuals as Benjamin Franklin, Neil Armstrong, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many more. "When I Grow Up I Want To Be a .....Teacher!" is part of a fun, creative vocational series for young readers that offers many positive choices for budding dreamers, the stars of tomorrow.

The Picturebook Shelf

Itty Bitty Bits
Anita Daher, author
Wendy Bailey, illustrator
Peanut Butter Press
9-1060 Dakota Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2N 1P2 Canada
9781927735015, $19.95,

"Itty Bitty Bits" is a vibrant, ebullient children's story with a wonderful message: You can achieve great goals by tackling the job in little pieces, or itty bitty bits! Completely captivating illustrations show a stubborn girl named Molly with a black pony tail who is sure it is not fair for her parents to expect her to clean up her room before she can have her friend come for a sleepover. Molly bounces through the levels of her house asking her sister and brother to help her clean up her room, but they are just too busy with engrossing, difficult projects. She even asks her dad (who is busy picking peas) and her dog, who can't remember where he buried his toy. Discouraged, Molly sits under a weeping willow tree sadly until she watches a worker ant carry a piece of bread crumb by crumb, bit by itty bit. The ant gives Molly an idea for an amazing plan! First she rushes to tell her sister and brother that they CAN finish their model and their homework if they tackle it bit by itty bitty bit. Then she rushes up to her extremely messy room and stacks papers, books, puts away toys, and sweeps industriously, bit by itty bitty bit. The closing caption shows a fantastic portrait of Molly and her friend and her friend Yen enjoying a bowl full of hot buttered pea pods (picked by her father), itty bitty bit by itty bitty bit! The amazing exuberance of the zooming text and overflowing illustrations make "Itty Bitty Bit" a multi-sensory adventure for kids age 5 and up.

Julie Black Belt: The Belt of Fire
Oliver Chin, author
Charlene Chua, illustrator
Immedium, Inc.
PO Box 31846
San Francisco, CA 94131
9781597020794 $15.95

Part of the "Julie Black Belt" series, Julie Black Belt: The Belt of Fire is a picturebook about a young girl who enjoys learning martial arts. In the first book, Julie learned that earning a black belt requires hard work and regular practice; in The Belt of Fire, she actively works to fulfill her dream. She has earned the rank of yellow belt, and is almost ready to take the test for an orange belt. But then she meets a new student in her martial arts class, who just might be better than she is! Appealing, brightly colored illustrations bring to life this story about the values of sportsmanship and being a respectful partner or teammate, in training or any other activity. Highly recommended.

Tuki and Moka
Judy Young, author
Jim Madsen, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585367955 $16.99

Set near and in the lush rainforests of Ecuador Tuki and Moka: A Tale of Two Tamarins is a beautifully illustrated children's picturebook about the tragedy of wildlife trafficking. Young Eduardo and his father earn their living gathering nuts from the rainforest, and Eduardo is amazed by many of the jungle animals, including two playful tamarin (a type of small, orange- furred monkey). Suddenly, Eduardo's animal friends go missing - what could have happened to them? Eduardo confronts danger for the sake of helpless animals in this captivating tale with a strong moral message.

Little Stinker
Stephen Sanzo, author
Mark Mullaney, illustrator
Cranky Pants Publishing
2 Upland Road West
Arlington, MA 02474
9780975962718 $16.95

Successor to the award-finalist picturebook "Cranky Pants", Little Stinker is a picturebook ideal for children ages 3 to 6, about the sometimes rocky relationship between young Cranky Pants (a somewhat sour-tempered boy) and his exuberant little sister, whom he calls "Little Stinker". Little Stinker is always a mess - oatmeal on her hands, grape jelly in her hair, and so on. Some of her habits annoy Cranky Pants; for example, "When I am at school, the Little Stinker steals my G.I. Joe with Kung-Fu Grip, puts him in PINK dresses, and sits him at her tea parties." But when Little Stinker goes missing at the mall, Cranky Pants starts to worry for her well-being, and realizes just how much he misses her! Playful, brightly colored cartoon-style illustrations add just the right touch to this fun read-aloud storybook.

The Sun, the Moon, and the Origami Grammie
Christine Petrell Kallevig
Storytime Ink International
PO Box 470505
Cleveland, OH 44147-0505
9780989737111 $16.99

The Sun, the Moon, and the Origami Grammie is a delightful picturebook about two children staying with their grandmother, who practices origami (the Japanese art of paper folding). At first they are nonplused by the favorite pastime of their "Ori-grammie", but when she shows them a special creation - a paper-folded Moon that can be transformed into the Sun and back again - they begin to take interest. Learning to create beautiful and intricate things with one's hands can be fun! Bright, colorful illustrations of Grammie's house full of papercrafts, as well as step-by-step instructions for folding one's very own transforming Sun-Moon (based on Robert E. Neale's Magic Pinwheel Ring) round out this charming story, ideal for encouraging little ones to experiment with origami for fun.

There Are No Moose On This Island!
Stephanie Calmenson, author
Jennifer Thermes, illustrator
Islandport Press
PO Box 10
Yarmouth, ME 04096
9781934031346 $17.95

Inspired by the author's visit to Isle au Haut of Maine, There Are No Moose On This Island! is a playful children's picturebook about a father-son nature trip. The island they're visiting is so remote that no moose could be found on it... or could they? Moose are very strong swimmers, after all! Singsong, rhyming text and gentle color illustrations spin a charming story about enjoying the beautiful outdoors, enhanced at the end with a handful of fun facts about moose!

I'm the Scariest Thing in the Jungle!
David G. Derrick, Jr.
PO Box 31846
San Francisco, CA 94131
9781597020879 $15.95

I'm the Scariest Thing in the Jungle! is a children's picturebook about baby crocodile and a tiger cub who get into a heated argument about which one of them is the scariest creature of the jungle! Both of them are terrifying predators - invisible underwater crocodiles leave animals too terrified to drink from the river, while tigers blend in the grass and pound with their terrible, rending claws. But in the end, it's the mother tigress and crocodile who can be truly frightening! The exuberant, colorful artwork only slightly anthropomorphizes the India jungle animals in this enjoyable storybook that's just plan fun to read aloud.

Emma in Paris
Claire Frossard, author/illustrator
Christophe Urbain, photographer
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701391 $17.95

Emma in Paris is a striking children's picturebook following a young sparrow on her extraordinary trip to France's capital city. At first she is troubled because most residents do not speak enough English to help her find her relatives in Paris. But she has the generosity to return money that a white cat drops, and soon becomes fast friends with a white cat named Edouard. The charming drawings of anthropomorphic animals embellish the breathtaking, real-life photography of France itself, from streets and bistros to the historic Pont des Arts, where friends such as Emma and Edouard can attach padlocks engraved with their names, to seal their friendship forever. Emma in Paris is a joy to read and share, highly recommended.

Simpson's Sheep Won't Go To Sleep!
Bruce Arant
Peter Pauper Press, Inc.
202 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601
c/o Media Masters Publicity
9781441313591 $16.99

Simpson's Sheep Won't Go to Sleep! is a colorful, rhyming picturebook about a farmer whose twitchy sheep just can't lie still and go to sleep at night. What's a shepherd to do? "Farmer Simpson went to town / to buy his wife a sleeping gown. // And as he chose which gown to buy, / Some other presents caught his eye. 'I'll buy these for my sheep,' he said, 'to give them when it's time for bed.'" Warm, cozy, comfortable blankets turn out to be just the thing to induce drowsiness in every ewe and lamb! Delightfully playful illustrations enhance this excellent read- aloud storybook, ideal for encouraging little ones to snuggle in their blankets and go to bed.

Don't Judge a Bird by its Feathers
Tori Nighthawk
Anne Stone Publishing
468 Camden Drive, 2nd Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
9780985881191 hc $17.99

Also available as an ebook (9780985881139), Don't Judge a Bird by its Feathers is a children's picturebook about the importance of learning to appreciate inner qualities. Author and illustrator Tori Nighthawk is a prodigy at the young age of thirteen, bringing her tale about New Guinea wildlife to alight with bold, simple, aesthetically pleasing color artwork. Phoenix is a dark- feathered bird of paradise, who has fallen in love with the beautiful bird of paradise luminous; but she is unimpressed by his less-than-spectacular plumage and clumsy dancing. The brave and persistent Phoenix resolves to improve himself; he gets valuable advice from the wise Great Turtle, and learns how readily outer appearances can deceive! A handful of pages in the back have full-color photographs of the New Guinea animals and birds mentioned in the book, as well as a smattering of informative text about each. Highly recommended.

The Boy and the Whale
Michael Moniz, author/illustrator
Simply Read Books
c/o Ingram Publisher Services
501-5525 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6M 3W6
9781927018149, $16.95,

"The Boy and the Whale" is a unique illustrated children's story about a boy who lives on a tiny island and loves the ocean and fishing. The boy has no siblings and leads a lonely life on his island, but every day he enjoys boating or fishing or simply watching the ocean and its creatures. One day the boy is out in his boat when he hears a strange cry ... a huge right whale is caught in a gigantic net. The boy bravely uses his small fishing knife to cut the whale free. Freed, the whale leaps over the boat in the water and swims away with no thank you or good bye. Much later the boy is lost at sea on a stormy morning, having been dragged from a cliffside by a swordfish who snagged his fishing hook. Hanging on to his fishing pole, the boy is dragged far away from land and all hope of human rescue. What follows is miraculous: The boy is rescued and carried to dry land by the whale, appearing like an island out of the sea. It is indeed the same whale he had rescued earlier. Each creature regards the other, with curiosity and wonder. Then the boy waved goodbye as the whale swam away into the setting sun. The tale of "The Boy and the Whale" is beautifully emphasized, both by the fantastically delicate, sensitive water color pastel images and the gently rolling lines of text which give the reader the effect of being on a living ocean. "The Boy and the Whale" is sure to be a loved children's story that adults will also treasure.

It's About a Little Bird
Jessica Lange, author/photographer
P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, IL 60567
9781402285264, $16.99,

"It's About a Little Bird" is a sensitive, delicately presented story about treasuring and passing memories of love and beauty from one generation to another. Fully illustrated with incredible hand-tinted photos of two lovely sisters, Adah and Ilse, playing happily on their grandmother's farm, "It's About a Little Bird" gently retraces the story of a champion Italian songbird named Uccello who came to live with Grandma Mem long ago in Rome. Adah and Ilse come upon his intricate gilded cage while exploring in an old barn, and ask their grandmother for his full story. As Mem shares the story of her beloved champion singer Uccello, the sisters realize that their grandmother had a rich life before they were born, and that as life goes on, beloved family members and pets pass away. Although this thought is saddening for them, their Mem tells them, "We are each here for our own season. So let us rejoice and be glad in it. Like Uccellino did and sing, sing, sing!" As this realization dawns, the two sisters run outside and dance through the wet clover to the pond, singing every step of the way. Fantastic, expressive hand- tinted photographs capture so many nuances of mood and thought in the sisters' faces and bodies. "It's About a Little Bird" is a fine intergenerational story with international nuances, written by an award winning actress and photographer. It is destined to be a classic "that will be treasured (and shared) for generations to come. "

Big Little Mother
Kevin Kling, author
Chris Monroe, illustrator
Borealis Books
c/o Minnesota Historical Society Press
345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul, MN 55102
9780873519113, $17.95,

"Big Little Mother" is a delightful, zany, heartfelt tribute from a patient younger brother to a gifted, didactic (read "bossy" or even dictatorial) older sister with amazing specific ideas about her world of admirers, emulators and students. The sister and brother also share a long suffering cat named Kittywumpus, whom the sister decides to make over, with great discomfort to Kittywumpus. After this project, Kittywumpus runs away and big sister turns to her brother for her next makeover project. This has its ups and downs, ending with the brother refusing to cooperate with imposed activities, saying (in speech balloon caps) "I AM NOT A CAT!" Nevertheless, the siblings enjoy viewing and renaming stars, and attending dance class, where big sister gets a gold star for being a great teacher to her brother (who is invited to attend dance class when he is older. In all, Big Little Mother is a sister never to be forgotten, and to be fittingly commemorated in this charming illustrated story for children ages 3-8. The quirky, retro cartoon like illustrations and wildly varying typed texts frame this warm, real collection of poignant memories like a mini 60's sitcom. "Big Little Mother" is a hit, and it describes real children who really learned to love each other. The happy ending caps all when Kittywumpus finally comes home, having grown tired of the good life with the lady down the street.

The Best Gifts
Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, author
Elly MacKay, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street, Brighton, Massachusetts 02135
9781554552832, $18.95,

"The Best Gifts" is a lovely book about precious gifts of love and life from loving parents to each other and to their child. Filled with golden-tinted, faintly exotic portraits of a loving family and friends, "The Best Gifts" begins with the birth of a special baby girl, Sara, who receives many gifts to celebrate her birth. But the best gift comes after everyone leaves, having been thanked for their thoughtfulness, and the new family cuddles quietly together while the baby feeds at her mother's breast, surrounded by swirls of fragrant sandalwood scent and love. The story continues with the little girl growing up, leaving and beginning a loved family of her own. The best gift her parents give her to celebrate the birth of her son, Sam, is a love-worn story book filled with precious memories of the best times of her childhood. Again the young family retires after putting all the thoughtful gifts away thankfully, and cuddle while baby Sam drinks his mother's milk and falls into a happy sleep, surrounded by a light scent of sandalwood. "And Sara knew, as she always had... that the best gifts can never be bought." "The Best Gifts" is a lovely book that celebrates life and love and supports a precious beginning of life nurturing through breastfeeding.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9

Tim Beiser's LITTLE CHICKEN DUCK (9781770493926, $17.95) provides a fun story illustrated by Bill Slavin and tells of a little Chicken Duck who is happy with her simple life - until Froggie invites her to jump in and enjoy water. The only problem is, Duck is afraid to swim. It's up to friend Froggie to come up with a plan to help her face her fears in this engaging picturebook tale! Danny Appleby's ELLA AND THE BALLOONS IN THE SKY (9781770495289, $17.99) tells of Ella, who finds her pets have vanished overnight and are floating away on balloons in the sky. She can't get them to come back; but what she can do is remember them well. A gentle rhyming story of separation and remembering is recommended for youngsters struggling with grief.

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

Kelly DiPucchio's CRAFTY CHLOE (9781442421240, $16.99) provides fine illustrations by Heather Ross and tells of Chloe, to whom dress-up and mess-up live too closely together. Given the chance to show off her costume-making talents, Chloe wants to dress up like a monster. But when her other friend Emma wants her to be a fairy, trouble begins. How can she please two very different friends - and remain true to herself? A quirky, fun tale evolves. Heather & Ethan Long's MAX & MILO: THE MIXED-UP MESSAGE (9781442451407, $14.99) provides the story of two beaver brothers, Max and Milo, and tells what happens when Max wins the girl of his dreams - with the help of his brother. Forget writing love letters: Milo entices Max to do something amazing in this fun story of two brothers and romance. John Lithgow's NEVER PLAY MUSIC RIGHT NEXT TO THE ZOO (9781442467439, $17.99) receives lovely drawings by Leeza Hernandez and comes with a cd of music as it appeals to ages 2-6 with the story of animals who go wild when they hear music, desperate to play the fine music they've heard. An outdoor concert evokes chaos among nearby zoo animals, who join in the fun in this fine introduction to musical instruments for new music learners. William Joyce's THE MISCHIEVIANS (9781422473478, $17.99) represents a fictional scientific partnership between an award-winning filmmaker and a scientist, and points to a hitherto-unknown ancient race of global mischief-makers, The Mischievians, who are responsible for numerous conundrums that have irritated mankind for millennia. This ancient race is responsible for: lost car keys, belly button lint, and more. Enticing visuals of Mischievians caught in the act of creating chaos makes for a fun and zany tale!

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

Helen Lester's HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TACKY! (9780547912288, $16.99) receives fine illustrations by Lynn Munsinger as it tells of weeks of planning culminating in a surprise Birdday Party for Tacky the Penguin. Everything's perfect - until one small trouble leads to a cascade of party mishaps. What could possibly go wrong? A variety of fun problems is explored in a zany coverage. Eve Bunting's BIG BEAR'S BIG BOAT (9780618585373, $12.99) receives fine drawings by Nancy Carpenter and tells of a big bear who had a boat when he was little, and is now building himself a big boat to row around Huckleberry Lake. His friends want to help - but too many cooks cause a boat mishap. How can Big Bear fix his new boat? This sequel to Little Bear's Little Boat is charming for any with rudimentary reading skills. Eve Bunting and Sergio Ruzzier's HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEW BLUE SOCKS? (9780547752679, $16.99) tells of young Duck, who can't find his socks. They're new and blue - so where are they? Readers are invited on a treasure hunt to find out in this zany and easy reader! Lori Mortensen's COWPOKE CLYDE AND DIRTY DAWG (9780547239934, $16.99) tells of Cowpoke Clyde, whose house is clean and chores are done. His day's nearly perfect - until he finds Dawg caked with mud and in dire need of a bath. An escaped Dawg soon changes everything in this fun adventure, especially noted for the zany and unique color drawings of Michael Allen Austin.

The Activity Shelf

Pantone: Color Puzzles
Meagan Bennett, book designer
Tad Carpenter, artist
Abrams Appleseed
115 West 18th St., New York, NY 10011
9781419709395, $16.95,

"Pantone: Color Puzzles" is a fascinating book of six color puzzles in yellow, orange, red, blue, green and purple, with sharp artwork and color shapes by artist Tad Carpenter and colors by Pantone. Young children will enjoy exploring shapes and colors and learn to match individual puzzle pieces by shape on each pair of pages for each color puzzle. Each puzzle has four removable puzzle pieces in the featured color. This engaging book helps preschoolers exercise their fine motor and visual skills by puzzle piece manipulation, providing a satisfying learning activity for the preliterate child. "Pantone: Color Puzzles" is not meant for the very young, as puzzle pieces could easily be put in the mouth. "Pantone: Color Puzzles" is a great tool for increasing preliterate skills and visual and fine motor coordination in children aged 3-4 and up.

Animal Hide & Seek
Dahlov Ipcar, author/illustrator
Islandport Press
P.O. Box 10, Yarmouth, ME 04096
9781934031803, $17.95,

"Animal Hide & Seek" is a reissued classic collection of three colored portraits of woodland animals, camouflaged in their natural habitats, with gentle lilting narrative including color highlighted animal names. All paintings are done in shades of sage green, browns, rust/orange, black and white. The limited palate produces a clarity and serenity in each page of woodland scenes. The animal(s) are presented on one page portrait, and then they are shown on a facing page hiding in the forest. Young readers are invited to find chipmunks, tree frogs, turtles, birds, rabbits, squirrels, snakes, salamanders, caterpillars, robins, moths, ducks, and deer, all presented in natural woodland settings with ferns, trees, leaves, branches, and grasses. The idea of animals using their coloring to hide themselves in their habitat is explored in page after page of lovingly detailed painting. Children will be encouraged to explore every detail on every page. First published in 1947, "Animal Hide & Seek" is a beautiful classic brought back to life for a new generation.

The Multimedia Shelf

Angel Heart
Story by Cornelia Funke
Narrated by Jeremy Irons
Music by Luna Pearl Woolf
Oxingale Records
c/o Goldberg McDuffie Communications, Inc.
250 Park Ave., 7th Floor, NY, NY 10177
c/o 21C Media Group (publicity)
162 West 56th St., Suite 506, NY, NY 10019

Also available as an digital MP3 ($8.99), Angel Heart: A Music Storybook is a beautiful blend of song, fairytale, and picturebook. A blend of original and traditional songs featuring the Children's Choir of St. Martin De Porres School in West Oakland tell the story of a girl whose heart has shattered into a thousand pieces. An angel strives to gather the pieces of her heart and mend them anew, with the aid of the noble spirits of the East, North, West, and South. Though Angel Heart is a family-friendly story, the beauty of its will appeal to listeners of all ages and backgrounds. Highly recommended, especially for gift-giving! The songs (interwoven with narrative storytelling) are "All Through the Night", "Mother Nature's Son", "O Waly Waly", "Je Porte Ma Lanterne Jolie", "Danny Boy", "The Adventurer", "14 Angels", "O Absalom", "Unter Beymer", "Russian Lullaby", "Ho Ho Watanay", "Sleep Baby Sleep", and "Tiefer und Tiefer". 67 min. 02 sec.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet
Tom Angleberger
Recorded Books, LLC
270 Skip Jack Road
Prince Frederick, MD 20678
9781470382636 $30.75

Also available in an eAudio edition ($28.00), The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet: An Origami Yoda Book is an unabridged audiobook adventure by award-nominated author Tom Angleberger, for listeners ages 8 and up. Origami Yoda is a dispenser of advice worthy of a Jedi for the kids at McQuarrie Middle School. But now friends Dwight, Tommy, Sara, and others must confront a "Fun Time Education System" designed specifically to raise standardized test scores. Videos of Professor FunTime and his singing calculator are driving everyone bonkers, and even worse, all electives (including drama, art, and band) have been cancelled! Even Origami Yoda cannot confront this disaster alone; the kids must work together in a Rebel Alliance to take back their favorite electives. Will the FunTime menace prove too strong? A seven-person cast brings this enjoyable audio adventure to life! 3 CDs, 3 1/2 hours, with tracks every 3 minutes for easy bookmarking.

Oddly Enough
Bruce Coville
Full Cast Audio
101 Clark Street, 1st floor
Syracuse, NY 13210
9781936223350 $38.00

Oddly Enough is the unabrdiged audiobook rendition of nine of the most beloved and widely- published of author Bruce Coville's family-friendly short stories for young adult and adult listeners alike. In the Full Cast Audio tradition, each story has as many different voices as needed to come alive; there are six solo-voiced stories (including three read by Coville himself), one duet, and three full-cast reads. Vampires, angels, werewolves, brownies, unicorns, laughter and fear fill this eclectic and unforgettable anthology, highly recommended especially for public library YA audiobook collections. The stories are "The Box", "Duffy's Jacket", "Homeward Bound", "With His Head Tucked Under His Arm", "Clean As A Whistle", "The Language of Blood", "Old Glory", "The Passing of the Pack", and "A Blaze of Glory." 4 CDs, 4 hours.

Madeleine Takes Command
Ethel C. Brill
Bethlehem Books
10194 Garfield Street South
Bathgate, ND 58216
9781883937942 $19.95

Based on a real-life Iroquois attack on a colonial outpost in French Canada during the 1690's, Madeline Takes Command is a thrilling audiobook for young listeners ages 10 and up. The story of a 14-year-old colonial girl responsible for taking care of her younger brothers, and her leadership talents in a time of crisis, is as inspirational as it is exciting. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's collections. 4 CDs, 240 min., unabridged.

The Music CD Shelf

Pacha's Pajamas: A Story Written By Nature, Vol. 1 & 2
Balance Edutainment
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue
Skokie, IL 60076
$19.99 CD / $15.99 download,

Inspired by Aaron Ableman's book, Pacha's Pajamas: A Story Written By Nature, Vol. 1 & 2 is a double CD children's album of positive, inspirational music for children and young adults. Mos Def, Cheech Marin and youth rapper Bentley Green are among the contributors to this eclectic blend of pop culture fun, education, and character-building, created not only to entertain but also to encourage young people to make the world a better place than they found it! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Pacha's Theme" (2:17), "Magical Pajamas" (1:48), "Into the Dream" (4:17), "All Things Can Change" (3:58), "Greatest Festival Ever" (4:07), "Welcome to PACHA JAMMA" (3:15), "BBCanemones" (0:55), "Nature Superhero" (3:56), "Occupy PACHA JAMMA" (1:39), "Wake Up Everybody" (4:27), "Butterfly Life" (2:52), "Coyote News Network" (0:56), "Horses Don't See Colors" (3:19), "I Found My Music" (3:38), "Faux News" (1:11), "Stormy Weather" (2:42), "Jungle Work" (3:36), "Hip-Hop-Opotomus" (1:55), "Use What You Got/Platypus" (2:57), "Frog Talk" (2:38), "Water Baby" (2:51), "Sir Elephant" (2:40), "We Are All Connected" (4:07), "Pacha Jammin'" (3:06), "Rock Nation" (3:16), "It's All Love" (3:31), "Les Flamingos" (2:37), and "Pacha's Dance" (3:50).

Variety Show
Debbie and Friends
Privately Published
c/o Sugar Mountain PR
$10.93 CD / $8.99 MP3

Award-winning music team Debbie and Friends present Variety Show, their latest album of kid- friendly songs. Some are based on classic fairy tales; some are completely original; all have Debbie's signature style of energetic pop-rock that's just plain fun to listen to and share! "Variety Show" makes a great gift for children's birthdays or parties. The tracks are "Cinderella", "I've Got a Song", "Pinocchio", "Purple People Eater", "Santa and Baby", "When You Were 1", "Becca Plays the Bass", "Snow White", "Walk Away", "Band Practice Skit", and "Wimoweh".

In Stillness
Heidi Siegell
Privately Published
c/o To Market Kids (publicity)
4136 Lamson Ave., Spring Hill, FL 34608

In Stillness: Lullabies and Meditations for All Ages is a soothing music CD created to help kids and adults relax. Musician Heidi Seigell reveals her talent for creating quiet, meditative melodies drawing upon the gentle elements found within jazz, blues, new age, and folk. The beautiful vocals add the perfect touch to the warm reverie of peace and contemplation. In Stillness is highly recommended, especially to help soothe fussy sleepers. The tracks are "Drip Drop Ripple", "Almost Home", "I Was Once", "Baby Blue", "Deep in the Depths", "Dream", "Tiny Girl", "Sleepy Little One", "Sleep, My Darlin'", and "In Stillness".

In a Heartbeat
Laura Doherty
Privatley Published
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

In a Heartbeat is a delightful music CD especially for children ages 0-6. Performer Laura Doherty (who co-produced the Parent's Choice Gold-winning album "Wiggleworms Love You") pours all her energy into the upbeat vocals of her original songs, complemented with breezy jazz and rockin' electric guitar. A brief but delightful and friendly album, highly recommended for little ones! The tracks are "I'm a Little Fish", "Bicycle", "Jazzasaurus", "Heartbeat", "Butterfly", "Drum Kit", "Domingo the Flamingo", "It's Ok To Be Shy", "Breakfast Gives Me Energy", "Electric Guitar", "Woolly Woolly Bear", "Paper Moon", and "See Ya Later Alligator". 34 min.

Tales from the Monstrosity Scrolls
Rainbow Beast & The Rock Band Land Rockers
Privately Published
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Intended espeically for young listeners ages 5-11, Tales from the Monstrosity Scrolls is a family- friendly music collaboration between the band Rainbow Beast and the youthful Rock Band Land Rockers. Filled with excitement, fast-paced upbeat music, creatively outrageous fantasy tales, and positive outpourings of warmth, Tales from the Monstrosity Scrolls had an adventure in every tune, and is especially recommended for captivating children's (and also adults') interest during car trips or celebration events. The tracks are "Happy Clouds", "Remblin Race", "Ice Girl", "The Little Big Easy", "Pool of Light", "Fish Wife", "The Truth About Polar Bears", "The Doldies", "Cracking Up at the Goat Joint", "Hornfly", "Oliver in the Wrong Cast", "Hot Air Balloons Over Tapalio", "567 Arms", "The Ballad of Annebelle and Sam", "Lola vs The Giant Shrimp", "Party Killer", "Alone at Home with a Bus", and "Rooster Skull".

The Christian Shelf

Bedtime Prayers That End With a Hug!
Stephen Elkins, author
Ruth Zeglin, illustrator
Tyndale Kids
c/o Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781414383545, $14.99,

"Bedtime Prayers That End With a Hug!" is a charming collection of illustrated simple bedtime prayers for very young children. These special bedtime prayers are Bible -sourced and carefully symbol coded to help lead young children through an evening prayer ritual that can build a lifetime prayer foundation. Each prayer chapter has a special bedtime Bible thought, coded with an open book symbol, a hug-a-bye prayer in shaded sidebars with clasped hands code symbol, and last, a nighty night ending with crescent moon symbol. A final suggestion is called snuggle time, with gentle positive thoughts, coded by a teddy bear symbol. Here are presented 52 separate bedtime prayers simply stated for young children, each one framed with a Bible-sourced quotation. Bedtime prayers are illustrated with a gentle palette of soft pastel colors and images of cuddly small animals, children, and stuffed toys. Some of the prayer titles are "The Worried Fisherman: A Prayer About Casting Cares," "God Never Changes: A Prayer about Loving God," "Remember the Little Birds: A Prayer about Worrying," "God is Light: A Prayer about Being Afraid of the Dark," "Meltdown Moments: A Prayer for Self-Control," and "Two Powerful Words: A Prayer about Saying 'I'm Sorry." There are many more lovely bedtime prayers that are each specially connected to a verse or chapter in the Bible, condensed and explained simply for children to understand. "Bedtime Prayers That End With a Hug!" is a beautiful Christian gift for young children and families that will encourage lifetime habits of good, nourishing conversations with God.

Love From a Star
Katherine Cutchin Gazzetta, author/illustrator
Frog House Press, LLC
9780989206716, $14.99,

"Love From a Star" is a beautiful, delicately illustrated book of verse that tells a reassuring story to all children. Using the light of a special star, God's love shines down on each child and teddy bear at night to remind him he is never alone and never without love. The cuddly teddy bear, his precious stuffed rabbit, and secret little green frog friend dance and charm their way through this charming bedtime story. The pastel water color illustrations present an effect of wistful warmth and charm, with playful flourishes, always lapped in the secret of God's endless, watchful love, shone down in a star. A special gift from Frog is enclosed in the book, a tiny envelope of glow in the dark stars to decorate a child's ceiling or bedroom. The quiet cadences of the rhyming narrative are a soothing prayer for the child's protection. "Love From a Star" is a special gift of security, certainty, and love to young children everywhere.

Audrey Bunny
Angie Smith, author
Breezy Brookshire, illustrator
BH Kids
c/o B&H Publishing Group
127 Ninth Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37234-0143
9781433680458, $14.99,

"Audrey Bunny" is a charming story from B & H Kids Parent Connection feature that has a wondrous connection to Psalm 119:73 and 139:14 "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my souls knows it very well." Audrey Bunny is a stuffed animal who fears no child will love and adopt her because she is different, with a smudge mark over her heart. She believes she is unlovable because she is imperfect. Much to her surprise she is adopted and loved by a girl named Caroline and her life becomes filled with the richness of happy experiences of life. Audrey Bunny still fears that one day Caroline will return her to the toy store barrel when she discovers her imperfection. One day she realizes that Caroline knows about the smudge and loves her because of it. That is a joyful day for both Audrey Bunny and Caroline. Sensitive paintings express and explore poignant emotions aroused by this teaching story. At the end of the book is a Parent Connection page of suggested readings, questions, and related activities that a child can do to enrich their understanding of God's miraculous love. "Audrey Bunny" is ideal thoughtful reading for children ages 4-8.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Grandmother Ptarmigan
Elder Qaunaq Mikkigak, storyteller/author
Joanne Schwartz, author
Qin Leng, illustrator
Inhabit Media, Inc.
Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 1H0 Canada
9781927095522, $13.95,

"Grandmother Ptarmigan" is a tender retelling of a traditional Inuit tale about a little ptarmigan who couldn't go to sleep. He begged his grandmother ptarmigan for a story, and at first she said, "I don't have a story to tell. Tuck in and go to sleep." The little ptarmigan continued to beg for a story until Grandma ptarmigan relented and told him a slightly scary story about little lemmings with no hair who wanted to crawl "up your back, under your armpits, around your neck. They want to crawl inside." to get warm. "Oh, no, here they come!" and the grandmother tickled her little ptarmigan here, there, and everywhere. However, the story and the tickling frightened and startled the little ptarmigan so much that he jumped up and flew away, even though he had never flown before. This made the grandmother ptarmigan wail and cry, "Oh, my poor, frightened little grandson has flown away, nauk, nauk, nauk." And this is why today baby ptarmigans fly so young and female ptarmigans cry nauk, nauk. "Grandmother Ptarmigan" is a tenderly told tale, with nursery rhyme cadences, beautifully illustrated with expressive, sensitive paintings in whites, browns, and background shimmering's of aqua ice, and also a deep velvety black background sprinkled with tiny snowflakes. "Grandmother Ptarmigan" is a master nursery tale, retold by an award winning team, and is ideal for very young readers.

Surf War!
Margaret Read MacDonald, author
Geraldo Valerio, illustrator
Little Folk
c/o August House
3500 Piedmont Road, NE, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30305
9780874838893, $16.95,

"Surf War!" is a fantastically realized, rainbow imaged retelling of a traditional folktale from the Marshall Islands. An argument about sea ownership between a whale and a sandpiper escalates into a huge clan war between all whales and all birds. Crazy destructive behavior of both the birds and the whales finally begins to threaten the very substance of the island, sea and tiny sea creatures like crabs and minnows. Realizing they must work together to create a protective vision for both sea and island, all whales and birds agree to stop fighting and competing and to both take care of the beach, the island and the sea, so all can survive together. A tradition about this tale is that grandparents used to tell it as a bedtime story. They would just keep calling in more and more birds and sea creatures into the story until the child fell asleep. "Surf War!" is a beautiful modern rendition of an island tale of traditional wisdom.

Anna Carries Water
Olive Senior, author
Laura James, illustrator
Tradewind Books
202-1807 Maritime Mews, Vancouver, BC Canada V6H 3W7
Orca Book Publishers, distributor
P.O. Box 468, Custer, WA 98240
9781896580609, $18.95,

"Anna Carries Water" is a fabulous, vividly illustrated Jamaican folktale about a little water carrier girl who wants to learn to carry water on her head like the older children. All her family's water for washing, drinking, and cleaning must be carried to the house daily from the well at the spring across Mr. Johnson's field. When Anna is older, she will be strong enough to learn to carry a container of water on her head. But it is hard for Anna to wait and to have to carry her small coffee can of water with her hands because she is little. One day Anna was behind the other children carrying her can of water back and she was alone with the cows, who frightened her. Quickly she placed the can of water on her head and ran to meet her family who was looking for her. She was amazed to find that she did not spill a drop! Plus, she realized that the cows were not at all threatening to her. Because she was so happy to achieve her goal, Anna turned cartwheels in front of everyone to celebrate. "Anna Carries Water" is a great empowerment tale for children of all nationalities, ages 4-8. The creative canvas artwork in bright blues, browns, reds and yellows is especially arresting and effective in this charming Jamaican teaching tale.

The Education Shelf

The Boy Who Learned Upside Down
Christy Scattarella, author
Winky Wheeler, illustrator
Black Heron Press
P.O. Box 13396, Mill Creek, WA 98082
9781936364046, $18.99,

"The Boy Who Learned Upside Down" is a true life adventure that is a salute to courage in learning for a real boy named Alex. Alex is struggling to be just like everyone else in school, but when he tries to understand letters and words on a page, they wiggle and slide away from him. To his shame, he must report to a special resources room for help because of learning differences. But the special class room with Mrs. Sandy holds a pleasant surprise for Alex - a tree full of stuffed animals topped by an adorable stuffed rat! Alex can earn or win this rat by being a courageous student, not giving up when something is hard, helping someone else, and believing in himself. Alex is more than willing to try, and with the help of his dog Shadow he eventually succeeds! Alex thinks of a great way to remember the way to spell "comb" and wins his beloved rat. Future victories await Alex and Shadow in his quest for learning, because he had learned the most important lesson of all: Believe in yourself and you turn "I can't" into "I can!" Gorgeous, rainbow, whimsical illustrations express Alex's perception of the challenges of being different while learning things. "The Boy Who Learned Upside Down" is a terrific true story about coping with learning challenges and accepting differences. It is appropriate to read to children ages 3-8 and even older.

The Crafts Shelf

Glam My Watch
Megan Parkin, author
Barron's Educational Series
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppage, NY 11788
9781438003528, $14.99,

"Glam My Watch" is a cool craft book for kids age 8 and up who want to design their own watch straps. Complete with an assortment of buttons, elastic cord, and watch face to create their first project, "Glam My Watch" takes off into 12 "supercute" watch strap design instructions, complete with clear illustrations, photographs, and simple step by step instructions. Projects are graded from one to three stars to gauge difficulty. A list of supplies and tools needed is at the beginning of each project, along with a lovely colored photo of a finished watch band project. Special tips and caveats are sidebar -displayed in the instructions, while alternate ideas or variations on the main theme are also suggested in sidebars. Projects feature woven and braided strap designs, bangle style straps made from polymer clay, charm bracelet style straps, and more. "Glam My Watch" is a great craft book kit gift to tweens with time to fill constructively and creatively. Because of the craft materials included, the book contains a warning of a choking hazard: Small parts, not for children under 3 years.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

How To Be a Cat
Nikki McClure, artist/author
Abrams Appleseed
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419705281, $16.95,

"How To Be A Cat" is a loving collection of art prints made of cut black paper on a white background, with some digitally added color. Every page presents a balanced composition of a big cat teaching a kitten all prerequisite cat skills, including stalk, chase, hunt, explore, listen, find, lick, scratch, feast, and dream. There are incredibly sensitive, detailed pictures of cat and kitten play and work, all done in shapes of black on white with small dabs of blue. "How To Be A Cat" presents the essential nature of felinity in art, with minimal language, for cat-loving children and adults to enjoy.

Top Dogs: Babe Ruff and the Legendary Canines of Sports
John Ueland, photo illustrator
Hairy Growling, author
Time Home Entertainment
135 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10020
Sports Illustrated Kids
P.O. Box 11016, Des Moines, IA 50336
9781618930514, $11.99,

"Top Dogs" is a sidesplitting funny photo-doctored collection of famous sports dogs and their even more famous sports star owners! These spoof dog/human combo photos are funny and on the spot. At the end of the book is a key that pairs star owners with their furry mascots, appropriately named (with dollops of canine humor). Including categories of Best in Show, Underdogs, and Hot Dogs, "Top Dogs" combines dogs with sports for a fun show tour parade of American history's famous athletes. Some big names included are LeBron James of basketball fame, Kirby Puckett of baseball, Barry Sanders of football, Landon Donovan of soccer, Michael Phelps of swimming, and Evgeni Malkin of hockey. "Top Dog" is sure to be enjoyed by sports fans young and old with its funny, fabulous tribute to beloved pets of the stars.

Wilson, Do You See It?
Diane Van Wart, author
Monika Hansen, illustrator
Peanut Butter Press
9-1060 Dakota Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2N 1P2 Canada
9781927735039, $19.95,

Filled with beautiful, delicate paintings of Little Hare in a winter forest world, "Wilson, Do You See It?" is a gentle exploration of the birds and animals of the winter forest of Manitoba. Little Hare asks his friend Wilson to help him identify different forest creatures that he encounters and describes. Thus he encounters a deer, an owl, a squirrel, a chickadee, a blue jay, a little mouse, a red fox, and finally a child. A charming group painting reveals who Little Hare's special friend, Wilson is, a trusty black and white dog, friend to the human child. At the end, Little Hare calls to his friend, "Hey Wilson! Are you coming? There's so much more to see!" Inviting snow trails decorated with animal tracks going deep into the winter woods convey the hushed magic of a northern forest in winter. "Wilson, Do You See It?" is a magical team effort that will enchant young readers everywhere.

The Autism Shelf

Babies Are Noisy
Anne-Marie Harrison, author
Beth Byrne, illustrator
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market St., Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849054591, $15.95,

"Babies Are Noisy: A Book for Big Brothers and Sisters Including Those on the Autism Spectrum" is a special book for expectant families written from the viewpoint of an older sibling with autism spectrum tendencies. Many special tips and adaptive techniques are simply described or referred to in "Babies Are Noisy," such as carrying a tissue with a favorite scent into a strange or clinical environment, using a picture diary to explain the sequence of events in an office visit, or taking along a calming toy such as a familiar soft ball. Noise, change of routine, strange environments sights and smells are difficult for autistic spectrum children to integrate and handle. Many extra helpful suggestions are embedded into the narrative of "Babies Are Noisy" to enable families with such a child to help them cope and adapt to the demands of being a big brother or sister to a new baby. Gentle pastel drawings present non threatening pictures of the subject, Andre, and his Mummy and Daddy and Baby. "Babies Are Noisy" is written by an expert in autism spectrum children and is a very helpful tool for expectant families.

The Self-Help Shelf

When Miles Got Mad
Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, author
Based on screenplay by Ruby Vanderzee
Abbie Schiller & Samantha Kurtzman-Counter
The Mother Company
11759 San Vicente Blvd #2, Los Angeles, CA 90049
9780615699653, $12.95,

"When Miles Got Mad" is a great story about young children learning to deal with feelings of anger. Based on screenplay from the award winning "Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show," "When Miles Got Mad" traces events of a normal pre-breakfast Sunday morning when Miles and his younger brother Max played together. Accidentally, little Max broke one of Miles' favorite toys, and Miles Got Mad! Miles was about to hurl the toy plane against the wall when he saw himself in the mirror. He had become an unrecognizable Furry Red Monster! Miles yelled at the monster to go away, but the monster told him he couldn't, until Miles stopped yelling and got control of his feelings. The monster encouraged Miles to tell him more about why he was so mad, first telling him that it is not all right to hit or hurt anyone because he is mad. The monster is a friend who helps Miles ride through the tide of his anger until it becomes a manageable feeling. Then the monster became very small, and finally disappeared altogether. Miles' mother helped him apologize to Max and they resumed their play together quietly. Fabulous, cartoon-like illustrations and boxed, ballooned color capped spoken dialogue help make "When Miles Got Mad" vivid, immediate and real to young children struggling to cope with scary feelings.

The International Shelf

The Real Wonders of the World
Moira Butterfield,
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781743217344, $19.99,

Kids in grades 5-7 will appreciate this 'Not-for-Parents' guide to the world's wonders, which offers a kids-eye perspective on strange world wonders from Paris underground to a robot restaurant in China. Lovely photos and cutaway illustrations accompany discussions of strange, spooky, high-tech and hidden places around the world, offering a very different kind of geography and world travel title directed to kids. That's not to say that many a parent won't want to take a peek: full-page color photos accompany descriptions, lively dialogue, web links and much more, making for a lovely and spirited discussion.

The Holiday Shelf

A Very Klingon Khristmas
Paul Ruditis and Patrick Faricy
Gallery Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781476746807, $16.99,

A Very Klingon Khristmas arrived too late for more timely holiday mention but since Trekkies operate year-round, what better gift to give outside of the holidays than this? Patrick Faricy's take on "The Night Before Christmas" is nothing short of hilarious: Star Trek fans will appreciate not only the 'realistic' drawings throughout, but the appropriate mention of Klingon sentiments that permeate their holiday celebrations with something different. It's rare that a holiday title holds appeal after the season is past; but this is an exception: young Trekkies with good reading skills and all ages will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek approach!

The Fiction Shelf

The Darkness After
Scott B. Williams
Ulysses Press
PO Box 3440, Berkeley CA 94703-3440
9781612431840, $10.00,

The Darkness After is a powerful story of two teens who find their modern world ends when a massive solar flare fries every electronic device on earth. Anarchy and chaos strange Mitch in New Orleans and he must escape to the Mississippi woods he knows well, using his survival and hunting skills to stay alive. His journey back to his family farm and younger sister is challenging and when he meets a beautiful girl on a similar journey, both team up in the shared struggle for survival and home. A fine survivalist novel will intrigue any young reader interested in sagas of self-discovery and endurance.

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

Matt De la Pena's THE LIVING (9780385741200, $17.99) is a riveting survival story about one Shy, who takes a summer job on a luxury cruise liner to make money, only to find everything changes with a massive earthquake which hits California. Twenty-four hours later Shy is lot at sea, fighting for his life, and stuck with a blonde rich bimbo adrift in the Pacific Ocean. And there are more challenges to come. Fast-paced, realistic and intriguing, THE LIVING is a survival story at its best and will attract a wide audience of young adult readers. Elana K. Arnold's SPLENDOR (9780385741239, $17.99) provides a fine sequel to her novel Sacred and will especially pleasure mature teen readers who will relish the ongoing saga. Here Scarlett's love has gone back East for college and she's stuck for her senior year on Catalina Island. Between her boyfriend's absence, her parents' separation, and an uncertain best friend, add in a possible new romance and Scarlett finds herself looking to Eastern mysticism as a way of controlling her emotions - and the world. Can she retain her old friends in the face of so many upheavals and changes? A fine story of evolving maturity, this is a fine story. Adele Griffin's LOUD AWAKE AND LOST (9780385752725, $16.99) tells of seventeen-year-old Ember, who is still healing eight months after the car accident that nearly killed her. But does she want her old self, her old relationships, and her old life back - or has she changed completely? Add the attraction to an artist named Kai and evolving memory issues and you have an engrossing story of change, recovery, and dangers perfect for mature teen leisure readers.

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

Kirby Larson's DUKE (9780545416375, $16.99) is set during World War II and tells of a pre-teen who wants to help his country and family, even if it means giving up his dog. His donation of Duke to the Dogs for Defense program, to be used as a patrol dog or mine sniffer, results in Hobie's immediate regret. He will try everything to get Duke back - until his father is taken prisoner by the Germans and Hobie must make some difficult choices. A fine story of courage and a boy's love for his dog emerges. Greg Ruth's THE LOST BOY (9780439823319, $24.99) tells of Nate, who moves into a new house that contains a dark mystery about a boy who vanished years ago. Nate's discovery of an old tape recorder opens the gateway to another world where strange creatures begin to track him, and as he partners with the local sleuth to find out the truth, it's only to uncover some dangerous truths about the lost boy - and the world. A fine fantasy/mystery evolves, perfect for leisure readers who like the unexpected. William Osborne's HITLER'S SECRET (9780545496469, $17.99) tells of Otto and Leni, who barely escaped from war-torn Europe and are living as refugees in England - until the British government taps them to return to Germany as spies. Their top secret mission is to capture someone who can defeat the Nazis. A fine story of political and social challenges makes for a powerful story about two empowered and courageous young adults. Tamora Pierce's BATTLE MAGIC (9780439842976, $17.99) tells of Mages, Rosethorn and Evvy, who are visiting a mystical mountain world when they are called away to see the emperor's garden - and also observe his massive army and cruelty. When they leave it's only to discover his intention of invading Gyongxe - and they are called upon to make some difficult choices as they race against time to warn their friends of the emperor's intentions. Magic and mystery blend in a story of conflict and courage which is perfect for any fantasy reader.

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

Andrew Joyner's BORIS SEES THE LIGHT (9780545484534, $15.99) tells of Boris the boar, who is having a sleepover, camping in the back yard with his friends. Nobody is scared of the dark - until a mysterious light moving outside the tent and some strange noises challenge their night together. Can Boris investigate and find out what's going on? Color cartoons in every page accompany a simple reader of 72 pages that will appeal to early chapter book readers. Troy Cummings' THE NOTEBOOK OF DOOM: DAY OF THE NIGHT CRAWLERS (9780545493246, $15.99) returns Alexander Bopp to a new story. Here he wants to find out more about the monster-filled notebook and its intriguing ideas. What he finds leads him to discover truths about night creatures and their dangers. Black and white drawings throughout enhance a fun, revealing chapter book.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Tim Lebbon
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616148218, $17.99,

CONTAGION is Book Three in the 'Toxic City' series and is set two years after London has struck by a devastating terrorist attack, but off from the rest of the world while the rest of England believes it to be a toxic wasteland. Jack and his friends know differently: the remaining residents of London are developing strange new powers and the ruined city is becoming an experiment. As Jack and his friends find their powers developing, opposing forces are set to wipe out London with a huge nuclear bomb. Can they prevent another disaster? A powerful saga continues and will be enthusiastically received by prior fans, especially.

c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card's LADDERTOP BOOKS 1-2 (97807653241610, $12.99) will appeal to young adults and pre-teens who will find the middle school graphic science fiction comic book format intriguing. Honoel A. Ibardolaza's illustrations contribute to the powerfully charged story of a variety of protagonists faced with challenges when a mysterious alien race comes to Earth. Their gift to the human race - four giant towers known as Ladders that use solar energy to power the whole world - is as sudden and unexpected as their arrival and departure. Only a skilled crew of children can maintain the Ladders and keep them running. Fast forward to twenty-five years in the future on Earth, when Robbi and Azure compete for spots in the coveted Laddertop Academy. Separated by this competition, they will each come to recognize their powers and solve a mystery in this engrossing saga. J.A. Sounders' REVELATIONS (9780765332462, $17.99) tells of Evie, whose ongoing blackouts and violent streaks accompany memory issues that have everyone on the Surface wondering about her past. She has only Gavin to help her, but she doesn't fit in and the few scraps of memory she holds indicate that she has a home in a different place rooted in her murky past. A journey, a separation from Gavin, and dangerous confrontations make for a fast-paced and involving story that teens will find unpredictable and refreshing.

The Sports Shelf

The Top Ten of Everything in Sports
Sports Illustrated Kids
Time Inc. Home Entertainment
PO Box 11016, Des Moines, Iowa 50336-1016
9781618930798, $19.95,

The Top Ten of Everything in Sports is a recommendation for kids in grades 4-6, and provides a fine survey of top sports, presenting fun categories that takes into account all kinds of sporting disciplines. From football and baseball to the Olympics and hockey, these top ten lists include athletes, performances, rivalries and records, and include games, sports movies, amazing moments and much more. Many an adult will find this an intriguing, captivating collection!

The Bilingual Shelf

All The Colors We Are
Katie Kissinger
Redleaf Press
10 Yorkton Court, St. Paul, MN 55117-1065
9781605540795, $15.95,

All The Colors We Are appears in a bilingual Spanish/English format and pairs photos by Chris Bonhoff with lively stories of skin color for ages 3 and older. It celebrates differences, pairing a scientific explanation of ancestry and skin color with lovely colors designed to capture the variety in skin tones. Discussions are easy but will be even more effective when read with an adult, who can gently explain even further the special importance of skin color in a child's life. A lovely introduction to differences and connections, this is a pick for any collection strong in bilingual books.

Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash
Monica Brown, author
Sara Palacios, illustrator
Children's Book Press
c/o Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
9780892392735 $18.95

Successor to the award-winning title "Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match", Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash is a bilingual English/Spanish children's picturebook featuring the return of an exuberant young Latina girl. Marisol is about to turn eight, and she wants to plan the best birthday party ever! There are so many possible choices, but will her beloved grandmother be able to come in time? "'Will Abuelita come to my fiesta?' I ask Mami, and this time she doesn't smile. 'Marisol, it isn't just the money,' Mami explains. 'It's hard to get papeles to come to the United States. Abuelita needs a special document called a visa to visit us, but sometimes it takes a long time for the visa to arrive.'" But in the end, not only is Abuelita able to come - she finds a way that she can talk and visit with her granddaughter more often, with her very first computer and internet connection! The story text is modestly involved in this delightful picturebook, ideal for young people with a little practice reading in either or both languages. Highly recommended.

The Science Shelf

Catch the Sun
Anne Johnson, author
Shawn McCann, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane
Edina, MN 55439
9781592989836 $11.50

Created as a nonprofit effort in conjunction with the Renewable Energy Group at Mortensen Construction (proceeds will be donated to nonprofits that promote the development of renewable energies), Catch the Sun is a colorful children's picturebook about solar energy. A framing narrative following young Nels teaches children how solar energy facilities are built, how the sun's warmth is transformed into electricity, and the positive qualities of solar energy as a clean, renewable resource. "Some solar projects operate in snowy areas of the country. A big snowdrift is very heavy! Engineers have designed support structures that are strong enough to hold not only the solar modules, but also the extra weight of heavy snow." Highly recommended as an educational tool to spread the word about solar power, especially in public library children's collections.

Rocks and Minerals
Dan Green
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545505116, $15.99,

Rocks and Minerals is a pick for grades 4-7 and provides a fine survey of rocks, minerals and gems. Galleries of colorful photos make it easy for youngsters to begin their own collections or identify rocks and minerals, while graphics make science a snap and enhance the pages, which are packed with appealing color photos. From metamorphic rocks to space rocks and shiny minerals, this is an appealing survey kids will love!

Books in Series

Living Green at Home
Molly Aloian, author
Photographs by Dreamstock, Thinkstock, and Shutterstock
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778702740, $17.70,

From The Green Scene juvenile educational series for children ages 5-8, "Living Green at Home" is an attractive book full of ideas about how to live green, or lessen our impact on the earth, at home. Highlighted sidebars offer easy suggestions and tips for ways to accomplish this such as, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, using energy efficient light bulbs, using board games or playing outside instead of using electronic media for entertainment, shopping at second hand stores, repairing toys, limit or control water use, use environmentally friendly cleaning products, making compost, and many more. Additional books, websites, and a glossary are included at the end, plus a handy index. "Living Green At Home" presents many alternative green practices that can be easily implemented at home by kids who read this book. Also highly recommended are the following titles by the same author from the Green Scene series: "Eating Green (9780778702634, $17.70)," "Going Green at School (9780778702641, $17.70)." "Green Energy (9780778702658, $17.70)," "Green Gardening and Composting (9780778702627, $17.70)," and "What Does It Mean To Be Green? (9780778702757, $17.70)."

Professor Cook's Dynamite Dinners
Lorna Brash, author
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766043015, $22.60,

"Professor Cook's Dynamite Dinners" is a bouncy new cookbook from the vibrant Professor Cook's series for children age 9 and up. Here are incredible edible recipes for dinner menus that are easy to prepare and showcased in full color presentations that include step by step instructions, a list of ingredients (or stuff you need), and educational sidebars like the black and white Science Bit. Twelve yummy, nutritious, fun meal entree recipes are offered, such as Tex-Mex Taco Bowl Salad, Finger Lickin' Chicken Satay, Tongue -Tingling Sweet and Sour Noodles, Chili With a Deep, Dark Secret, and more. Additional helpful information for young cooks is found in the first how-to chapter, Professor Cook's Incredible Edibles, the last chapter or Professor Cook's Glossary, and the index and useful web sites. Attractive color photos of finished dishes and cheery young cooks in action complete the package. Kids will love cooking, serving and enjoying their favorite entrees to the family with "Professor Cook's Dynamite Dinners." Also highly recommended from this creative juvenile cooking series by the same author are the following titles: "Professor Cook's Fruity Desserts (9780766043015)," "Professor Cook's Mind-Blowing Baking (9780766043022)," and "Professor Cook's Smashing Snacks (9780766043046)."

Fighter Jets
Michael Portman, author
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781433984624, $26.60,

"Fighter Jets" is a photo-illustrated key to a brief case history of American and other fighter jet aircraft from the Wright brothers' Flyer in 1903 to the F-35 Lightning II or Joint Strike Fighter, which will replace the AV-8B Harrier II used by navy, air force, and marine corps. Included in between are profiles, sidebars, and photos of historic fighter aircraft such as the WW II fighter planes, the P-80 Shooting Star (used in the Korean War), the AIM-9 Smart Sidewinder, the F-15 Eagle (used first in 1972), the F-16 Fighting Falcon (used first in 1979), the F/A-18 Hornet (used by navy and marine corps since 1983), the F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter (retired from service in 2008), plus information and material about jet engines, sonic booms, and G-forces. Text narrative is enriched by shaded sidebars of special information and accessible to students age 9-10 and up, or younger if interest is high. Also included are glossary, resources, books and websites on fighter jets. "Fighter Jets" is an excellent, informative text from the Military Machines series that will hold the interest of many students of aviation and fighter air technology. Also highly recommended from this Military Machines series are the following titles: "Drones (9781433984570, $26.60)" by Ryan Naglehout, "Armored Vehicles (9781433984525, $26.60)" by Drew Nelson, "Military Helicopters (9781433984679, $26.60)" by Mark Harasymiw, "Spy Planes (9781433984723, $26.60)" by Therese Shea, and "Submarines and Submersibles (9781433984778, $26.60)" by Drew Nelson.

Blue Penguin and the Sensational Surf: Fujimini Adventure Series #7
Eileen Wacker, author
Alan M. Low, illustrator
Honolulu, Hawaii 96821
9781938806049, $10.99,

Seventh title in the award-winning Fujimini Adventure Series that introduces children to many aspects of Asian culture, "Blue Penguin and the Sensational Surf" is a fast moving adventure tale that celebrates the opening of the Fujimini Island Swim and Surf School, organized by the colored penguins of the island. A pleasant surfing school introduction changes into a dangerous adventure when a Kappa, a sort of mischeivous monkey-turtle from a river, decides to invade the beginning surfers and tries to take Silver Bunny too deep into the ocean. All the animals of Fujimini Island and the sea work together to rescue Silver Bunny, including Blue Bay Dolphin, Green and Pink Hamsters, and Blue Whale, who swiftly swallow both the Kappa and Silver Bunny. Black Panda helps Blue Whale decide how to rescue Silver Bunny and neutralize the Kappa by spitting them out is blow hole towards land. When the Kappa is on land, he can be drained of his power if he tips the water out of the disk on his head. Because the Kappa is always polite, Purple Penguin offers him a special gift, a stone labeled "Polite" wrapped in a leaf. The Kappa is so pleased he bows, and tips the water out of the disk on top of his head. This weakens him and the animals decidce to offer the Kappa a ride on Blue Whale back to his river, because he plays too rough for them. The hamsters, penguins, bunnies, pandas, and sea animals celebrate their first day of Fujimini Island Swim and Surf School with a big party with orange juice and tea and cakes. At the end of "Blue Penguin and the Sensational Surf" is a helpful glossary of "chic" Asian associations, providing many fascinating details about Asian customs, history, and culture. As always, the Fujimini Series presents a first class combination of creative stories teaching desirable values and behavior, colorful illustrations, color coded narrative character names, and gentle immersion in Asian customs and culture for kids. This multiple award winning series is an excellent choice for cultural exploration for kids.

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

Crabtree's series titles additions are fine books that will appeal with bright, colorful contemporary photos and formats that lend to producing short reports. Each book holds a glossary and index and each provides engaging text to introduce young readers to new nature topics. The 'Insects Close Up' series ($16.95 each) by Molly Aloian for ages 5-8 each focus on a different subject pertaining to insects. HOW ARE INSECTS HELPFUL? (9780778712695) considers how insects help the planet, LIFE CYCLES OF INSECTS (9780778712787) explains how insects grow and change, WHAT IS AN INSECT? (9780778712794) explains what makes up the characteristics and behaviors of an insect, and WHERE DO INSECTS LIVE? (9780778712800) explore where these creatures can be found. Kelley MacAulay's 'Plants Close Up' series titles ($16.95 each) explore the same for plants, with books of some 24 pages each focusing on insect worlds. HOW ARE PLANTS HELPFUL? (9780778700029) examines the importance of plants in providing food and other benefits to the world, HOW DO PLANTS SURVIVE? (9780778712855) considers the very different environments plants may be found in, WHAT ARE FLOWERS? (9780778712862) considers how flowers function and how blossoms contribute to plants and other animals, and WHAT ARE LEAVES? (9780778712879) does the same for leaves, examining their various forms and functions. The 'If These Fossils Could Talk' series by Natalie Hyde for ages 8-11 ($20.79 each) provides 32 pages each of full color, contemporary photos illustrating basic fossil information and the latest research. ANIMAL FOSSILS (9780778712619) explores the basics of different kinds of fossils from insects to prehistoric mammals, DINOSAUR FOSSILS (9780778712626) focuses on how paleontologists recreate dinosaur lives from fossils, HUMAN FOSSILS (9780778712633) focuses on human skeletons and the timeline of discoveries surrounding human remains, and PLANT FOSSILS (9780778712640) considers how plant fossils form and how they are studied by paleobotanists. All are fine reference selections for collections looking for vivid, contemporary discussions.

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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