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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 30, Number 1 January 2020 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Self-Help Shelf American History Shelf
World History Shelf Multicultural Shelf Biography Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Board Book Shelf Picturebook Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Activity Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Christian Shelf Mythology Shelf
Sports Shelf Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Noah's New Puppy
Richard Rice, author
Vincent Rice, illustrator
Geri Henderson, contributor
MSI Press
1760-F Airline Hwy, #203, Hollister, CA 950243
9781933455303, $24.95, PB, 40pp,

"Noah's New Puppy" was deftly written from author and veteran Richard Rice's own personal experience of post-war PTSD. The almost miraculous effects of his service dog, Abby, saved him and saved his marriage, bringing him out of hiding. In "Noah's New Puppy" he shares this story in a picture book format with families of small children in order to help them understand the suffering of their parents and the healing effects a dog can bring to the whole family. The Parent's Guide encourages conversations between parents and their children about PTSD, post-deployment issues, or parents and children suffering from depression. Richard's brother, Vincent, another veteran, is the illustrator. Geri Henderson, who contributed to "Noah's New Puppy" is a professor for the University of Maryland Global Campus and has her own service dog which was trained by Richard Rice. With its strong, dedicated, and important message, "Noah's New Puppy" is an extraordinary, unique, impressively entertaining, thoroughly 'kid friendly', and unreservedly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections

M.J. Evans
Dancing Horse Press
9781733020411 $10.95

Pinto! tells of a little horse with big dreams, is accessible by advanced elementary to early middle school grades, and follows the first-person reflections of a 1912 horse who, along with humans George Beck and three others, undertook a 20,000-mile journey over the span of three years with the goal of visiting every state capital in the union. The narrator is the only horse to make it through all three years, and recounts terrible, wonderful explorations in a lively, observational manner that will excite young leisure readers - even those who resist history stories. M.J. Evans recreated this true history from journals written by George Beck and Raymond Rayne which are in the possession of the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, but added fictional embellishments to fill in blanks and enhance the drama. As the young Pinto becomes one of the rare Overland Westerners to experience strange new worlds, he becomes ever more determined to see the journey to its end. Evans has long been a dedicated horse lover, which is why this history is so steeped in the sights, smells, sounds, and perceptions of Pinto. Not only physical challenges of snowstorms and snakes, but the oddities of humans are related from Pinto's unique perspective. If the goal is to capture an impossible journey's daily experiences and couch it in the drama and excitement of a horse-lover's perspective, then Pinto! more than fits the bill. It deserves a spot on the reading lists of not only young, horse-crazy readers, but adults who like horse tales ala Black Beauty and others which are nicely steeped in their times and hard to put down.

The Self-Help Shelf

Take Charge of Anger
Gill Hasson, author
Sarah Jennings, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9781631984570, $13.99, HC, 32pp,

Everyone gets angry, including kids. But when anger strikes, it can often feel overwhelming and hard to control. "Take Charge of Anger" by author Gill Hasson and illustrator Sarah Jennings is picture book in which young readers ages 6-9 will find ways to manage their emotions and feel calmer. Strategies for cooling down and coping with anger are clearly explained, from using breathing exercises and doing an "angry dance" to seeking help from trusted and caring adults. Paired with the text are friendly and reassuring illustrations featuring diverse children in a variety of situations. Children will enjoy seeing kids their own age as they learn how to deal with anger in healthy ways. At the back of the book, kids will find a special section with additional ideas and activities they can use to deal with angry feelings and thoughts. Also included at the end of "Take Charge of Anger is a note to caregivers with advice on helping children understand and use the tools and methods from the book -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school and community library collections.

Smarts! Everybody's Got Them
Thomas Armstrong, author
Tim Palin, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
9781631983665 $14.99

Intended especially for young people ages five to nine, Smarts! Everybody's Got Them is a picturebook about the many different types of human aptitude and intelligence. Smarts! Everybody's Got Them covers "word smarts" to "number smarts", "picture smarts", "people smarts", and much more. A postscript for parents and teachers, with a wealth of recommended activities to encourage young people to develop their innate talents, rounds out this welcome contribution to school and public library picturebook collections.

The American History Shelf

The Fierce 44
Written by the Staff of The Undefeated
Portraits by Robert Ball
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
9781328940629 $17.99 / $9.99 Kindle

The Fierce 44: Black Americans Who Shook Up the World is a children's nonfiction book featuring 44 African-Americans who affected history and culture. Each individual, from Serena Williams and Harriet Tubman to President Barack Obama and lesser-known figures like Robert Abbott and Charles Draw, is profiled with a one-page biography and an accurate, full-color portrait. Educational and inspirational, The Fierce 44 is highly recommended especially for school and public library children's collections.

The World History Shelf

Brave with Beauty
Maxine Rose Schur, author
Art by Patricia Grush, Robin Dewitt, and Golsa Yaghoobi
Yali Books
9781949528978 $19.99 hc / $11.99 pbk

Brave with Beauty: A Story of Afghanistan is children's picturebook relaying the true story of Queen Goharshad (also known as Gawhar Shad), a fifteenth-century monarch and one of the most powerful women in world history. As a ruler of the Timurid artistic and cultural center of Herat in western Afghanistan, Queen Goharshad fostered an era in which poetry, music, calligraphy, painting, and the sciences thrived. Brave with Beauty portrays Queen Goharshad's story with beautiful, detailed artwork, showcasing the true-life efforts of a talented, noble, and compassionate ruler who strived to leave her world a better place than when she found it. Brave with Beauty is educational, inspirational, and highly recommended especially for school and public library nonfiction picturebook collections.

The Multicultural Shelf

This Is My World
Lonely Planet Kids
c/o Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781787012943, $19.99, HC, 164pp,

"This Is My World" is a coffee table style (9.3 x 0.7 x 12.2 inches) book for children ages 6-8 that is comprised of stories and photos from 84 children of diverse backgrounds and from around the world sharing what is unique about their lives from school and hobbies, to local festivals, sports and food. These personal portraits also reveal the many things children have in common -- no matter where they live or where they are from. Profusely illustrated and throughly 'kid friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "This Is My World" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Let's Eat!: Mealtime Around the World
Lynne Marie, author
Parwinder Singh, illustrator
Beaming Books
PO Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440
9781506451947, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written by children's author Lynne Marie and charmingly illustrated by Parwinder Singh for children ages 4-8, "Let's Eat!: Mealtime Around the World" is a remarkable compendium of fun facts and information that explores foods from 13 countries around the world. Young readers will meet characters from countries including Sweden, Peru, Pakistan, Nigeria, and more as they enjoy their breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Impressively informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Let's Eat!: Mealtime Around the World" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Let's Celebrate!: Special Days Around the World
Kate DePalma, author
Martina Peluso, illustrator
Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
9781782858331, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

The collaborative project of author Kate DePalma and illustrator Martina Peluso, in the pages of "Let's Celebrate!: Special Days Around The World", children ages 5-8 can experience 13 special days from cultures around the world! The rhyming text and vibrant illustrations throughout encourages beginning readers, while educational notes at the end brim with facts about the special days for older children to explore. Complete with a calendar to reinforce learning, the featured festivals comprising "Let's Celebrate!" include: Kodomo no Hi (Japan); Spring Festival - Lunar New Year (China); Matariki (New Zealand); Inti Raymi (Peru); Carnival (Brazil); Midsummer (Sweden); Nowruz (Iran); Passover (United States); New Yam Festival (Nigeria); Novy God (Russia); Eid al-Fitr - the end of Ramadan (Egypt); Dia de Muertos (Mexico); and Diwali (India). Also available in a paperback edition (9781782858348, $8.99), "Let's Celebrate is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

The Biography Shelf

Beautiful Shades of Brown
Nancy Churnin, author
Felicia Marshall, illustrator
Creston Books
9781939547651 $18.99

Intended for young readers ages 7-11, especially young black girls, Beautiful Shades of Brown is a picturebook biography of Laura Wheeler Waring (1887-1948), a female African-American artist who skillfully painted portraits of important African-Americans of her day. Many of her portraits became part of the collections of major museums. Informative, inspiring, and enhanced with a timeline as well as reproductions of some of Waring's most beloved portraits, Beautiful Shades of Brown is highly recommended for both school and public library children's collections.

I Am A Promise
Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce with Ashley Rousseau
Illustrated by Rachel Moss
Black Sheep
c/o Akashic Books
9781617757648 $15.95 hc / $15.15 Kindle

I Am A Promise is a biography of Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, a six-time Olympic medal winner who also holds multiple national and world athletic titles. She tells of growing up among an impoverished yet loving family, and a close-knit inner-city community in Jamaica. Her determination to become the best she could be is a shining, positive message. Supplemental pages of facts about Pryce teach young readers not only about her amazing athletic achievements, but also about her education and plans for the future - she has completed a degree in child and adolescent psychology, and plans to pursue her master's degree in applied psychology when she retires from athletics. I Am A Promise is a choice pick for school and public library children's collections, highly recommended.

Sisters: Venus & Serena Williams
Jeanette Winter
Beach Lane books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781534431218 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Sisters: Venus & Serena Williams is a picturebook biography for young children about the sisters Venus and Serena Williams, both of whom are black female athletes who have trained hard to become professional tennis players. Although they are enormously successful at earning trophies, they encountered difficulties as well. "Venus gets a disease that makes her weak, too weak to play tennis. She fights to recover and play again. // Serena gets a blood clot in her lungs. She fights to recover and play again." The vibrant, color illustrations add the perfect touch to this simple yet heartwarming biography of sisterhood, and the struggle to be the best one can be. Sisters: Venus & Serena Williams is highly recommended for both personal and public library picturebook collections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Wild in the City
Kate Baker, author
Gianluca Foli, illustrator
Lonely Planet Kids
9781788684910 $18.99 hc / $18.04 Kindle

Wild in the City is a 112-page hardcover volume for young adults, about more than 30 wild animals that co-exist with humans in cities. Showcasing rhesus macaques in Dhaka, Bangladesh to reticulated pythons in Jakarta, Indonesia, alpine swifts in Naples, Italy, and much more, Wild in the City brimming with fascinating facts, sprightly illustrations, and vigilant vignettes. A glossary, index, and brief list of ways people can help wild animals in their own backyard (such as avoiding the use of pesticides) round out this welcome addition to personal and public library children's collections.

Silent Swoop: An Owl, an Egg, and a Warm Shirt Pocket
Michelle Houts, author
Deb Hoeffner, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584696469, $16.95, HC, 32pp, Ages 4-8,
9781584696476, $8.95, PB, $6.99 Kindle,

"Silent Swoop: An Owl, an Egg, and a Warm Shirt Pocket" is the true story of an owl named Coal who was hatched from an egg laid in the dust of a coal yard. The egg was laid under a conveyor belt by a Great Horned Owl in the night, and in the morning, two owl eggs were discovered by coal mine workers. One man named Walter put the two dusty eggs in his shirt pocket and carefully took them home to be sheltered in an incubator until they hatched. Only one of the two eggs hatched, and Walter named the fluffy white owlet Coal. The other egg sadly did not hatch. Walter raised the owlet into a grown Great Horned Owl, giving him calm, relaxed, special care, and helping him understand he was an owl, not a human being. special bird experts helped Coal learn to be a special training owl who could visit schools and nursing homes to help teach people about Great Horned Owls. One day Walter got another call from the coal yard about another owl egg laid near the conveyor belt. he carefully took the egg to the Bird Sanctuary and placed it in the incubator to wait to see if it would hatch. This time, after a waiting period, a little fuzzy white owlet pecked itself out of the shell. Coal had a brother after all! At the end of "Silent Swoop" are more facts and characteristics of Great Horned Owls and their nests, plus a genuine photograph of Walter Crawford and Coal, the owl he saved. "Silent Swoop" is filled with amazing paintings of Coal and his human benefactor, Walter. More exploration is invited in pages for teachers and parents that offer suggestions for writing Coal's story, observing and finding facts, literacy connections, STEM activities, and other activity and learning resources.

Horse Show!: A Donkey-Donk Story
Ellen F. Feld, author
John Cebula, photographer
Willow Bend Publishing
9781733767408, $9.95 PB, $4.95 Kindle, 36pp, Ages 5-6,

"Horse Show!: A Donkey-Donk Story" is the color photo illustrated story of a miniature donkey named Donkey-Donk, or Donk for short. Donk is excited because she participates in a horse show where she takes a trail class to go over, under, or through different objects. She even practices jumping over a flower bed to prepare for the show! She also practices opening a gate and walking around cones. A nice soapy bath helps prepare Donk for the show. Lots of horses are at the show because it is a horse show. Donk has to go through a hoop that confuses her at first, and then she must go under ribbons that tickle. Finally she must climb up on a podium, just the right size for her. Donkey-Donk wins another ribbon in the show! Exciting action color photos and simple narrative style make "Horse Show!: Donkey-Donk Story" a beloved hit with early readers.

The Board Book Shelf

Vehicles ABC
Nosy Crow, author
Jannie Ho, illustrator
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536208153, $6.99, Board Book, 26pp,

The fun illustrations by Jannie Ho make "Vehicles ABC" especially appropriate as an alphabet book for babies and toddlers features lots of familiar vehicles, providing hours of first-word fun. Especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and kindergarten board book collections, children ages 3 to 5 will learn their ABCs with a wide variety of things that go!

All Around Bustletown: Winter
Rotraut Susanne Berner
Prestel Junior
c/o Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791374154, $12.95, Board Book, 14pp,

"All Around Bustletown: Winter" by Rotraut Susanne Berner is a large coffee table style (10.2 x 0.4 x 13.4 inches) and wordless board book that will prove to be an ideal entertainment for children ages 2-5. Unique and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "All Around Bustletown: Winter" is especially and unreservedly recommended as an enduringly popular addition for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Thank You, Mr. Panda
Steve Antony
9781338312768 $6.99

The board book Thank You, Mr. Panda provides the very simple story of a panda who gives gifts to all his friends... gifts which may not be completely appropriate for their recipients. As each creature receives something not exactly right, the small admonition that it's "the thought that counts" creates a running theme to the story that concludes with an unexpectedly fun lesson about gratitude against all odds.

The Picturebook Shelf

Maree Coote
Melbournestyle Books
c/o Trafalgar Square Publishing (dist.)
c/o Independent Publishers Group
9780992491796 $24.99

Animology: The Big Book of Letter Art Alphabeasts is a rhyming children's picturebook filled with colorful, stylized artwork of animals. Every piece of animal art is crafted entirely from the English letters that make up the animal's name. Children are invited to search the artwork for the letters, and the brief rhymes offer a handful of fascinating facts about each creature. Animology is a one-of-a-kind treasure, enthusiastically recommended for personal and public library picturebook collections.

The Girl and the Dinosaur
Hollie Hughes, author
Sarah Massini, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
9781547603220 $17.99 hc / $9.99

The Girl and the Dinosaur is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young girl who wishes on a star for the dinosaur skeleton she discovered to come to life. A beautiful tale filled with magic, wonder, and simple yet sweeping color illustrations, The Girl and the Dinosaur makes for an excellent read-aloud bedtime story. Highly recommended.

Bob Raczka, author
Larry Day, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580896832, $15.99, HC, 32pp,

Abe and Bree aren't supposed to get along. When they meet, they panic. Abe swats! Bree stings! Now they're both hurt. Together they figure out how to find friendship despite differences and preconceived notions. "Beware!" is a rare-bear, wee-bee tale that helps children ages 3-7 to create a web of understanding with unique language and a clever structure. "Beware!" is an entertaining and cautionary tale using words made up of only the five letters in the title (B, E, W, A, and R). Can a bear and a bee become friends? While "Beware!" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Kate Stempel, author
Kurt Hershey, illustrator
9781525535543, $24.99, HC, 56pp,

Sky, an extraordinary young baker who is selling her famous cupcakes to raise money for the local animal shelter where she found her beloved dog, Cocoa. Everyone is crazy about Sky's cupcakes. Everyone, that is, except Mr. Conway. Can Sky and Cocoa help a lonely elderly man find a reason to smile again? Young readers ages 7-11 will join Sky and Cocoa as they explore how the smallest gestures in life can sometimes have the greatest impact and how friendship comes in all shapes and sizes. Mini cupcakes, mini trees, and mini moments combine to form the perfect recipe for life lessons as Sky and Cocoa learn about the power of friendship, responsibility, and what it means to give back to the community. The collaborative work of author Kate Stempel and illustrator Kurt Hershey, "Sprinkles" is especially recommended for elementary school and community library picture book collections and will be an enduring delight girls and boys by teaching them to imagine, smile, and show compassion! It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sprinkles" is also available in a paperback edition (9781525535550, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

When the Squirrel Sings
Shana Hollowell, author
Jennifer Finch, illustrator
Independently Published
9780997878523, $18.99 HC, $8.99 PB, 44pp, Ages 5-8,

"When the Squirrel Sings" is a beautiful story in verse about a beautiful little gray-brown squirrel. The squirrel loves to climb up and down trees, collect acorns, smell flowers and play hide and seek in the leaves. But best of all, the squirrel loves to watch children at happy play. Watching a child's play outside, the squirrel sings a secret song just for that child, even singing the child's name. The squirrel's chattering and song reaches the butterflies, beetles, frogs, birds and even a turtle. Even the trees and flowers and earthworms hear the song of the squirrel. "The worms laugh loud and are the last friends to join in. "Together, we sing, laugh, dance, flutter, stomp, jump, and spin. My song is a grand, backyard symphony. A true musical show! All in honor of you. Oh, how I love see you play and watch you grow." All the pages are covered with watercolor paintings of the squirrel and friends, and in each painting is a hidden heart that children will love to find. Reading "When the Squirrel Sings" is a magically enchanting experience for young children.

Thunder Trucks
Cheryl Klein, author
Katy Beebe, author
Mike Boldt, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
9781368024600, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

As Bulldozer piles up clouds and Tanker Truck hauls the rain, the whole Thunder Truck gang works together to build a tremendous storm. Brimming with energy and fun, "Thunder Trucks" is a cheerful and fun bedtime picture book story by authors Cheryl Klein and Katy Beebe, and cheerfully illustrated by Mike Boldt making it perfect for snuggling, no matter the weather. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99), "Thunder Trucks" is especially and enthusiastically recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-5.

Happy Hair
Mechal Renee Roe, author/illustrator
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9781984895547, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

African American girls will love seeing strong, happy reflections of themselves in the pages of author and illustrator Mechal Renee Roe's "Happy Hair", a vibrant, rhythmic picture book celebrating the diversity of beautiful black hair. From a cute crop to pom-pom puffs, adorable illustrations of girls with gorgeous braids, blowouts, and bantus grace each page, side by side with a call-and-response affirmation that will make girls cheer. It's a great read-aloud to promote self-esteem for girls of all ages, building and growing the foundation of self-love (and hair love!) and letting every girl know "You are made beautiful!" Inherently entertaining with a positive message for children ages 3-7, "Happy Hair" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Happy Hair" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Jeannie's Crab Lake Winter Tales
David Mulford, author
Christine Cathers Donohue, illustrator
Brown Books Kids
c/o Brown Books Publishing Group
16250 Knoll Trail Drive, Suite 205, Dallas, TX 75248
9781612542782, $19.99, HC, 64pp,

Engagingly written by David Mulford and charmingly illustrated by Christine Cathers Donohue, "Jeannie's Crab Lake Winter Tales" is comprised of five sweet, fun, and thrilling stories featuring the lovable animals of Crab Lake, Wisconsin. Jeannie is in Wisconsin for the winter to play, catch up, and share the joy of the holidays with some of her woodland friends, like Pudgey Bear, Belknap Beaver, and Mr. O'Possum. From making Christmas dinner, helping escaped polar bears, and battling a snowstorm, these tales will have children ages 5-6 entertained from beginning to end as Jeannie and all the animals of Crab Lake teach children that friendship and coming together to help others is what leads to the greatest of adventures -- making it an unreservedly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Randall and Randall
Nadine Poper, author
Polina Gortman, illustrator
Blue Whale Press
9780981493879, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Randall, the pistol shrimp, is a master at excavation. Randall, the goby fish, is his skittish, yet happy-go-lucky watchman. The problem is that both have quirks that drive each other bananas until one day their relationship is driven to the breaking point. Engagingly written by Nadine Poper and charmingly illustrated by Polina Gortman, "Randall and Randall"is a very funny informational-fiction picture book story about one of the sea's naturally-existent odd couples and illustrates how certain species depend upon their symbiotic relationship for survival. "Randall and Randall" also shows children ages 4-8 how two very different beings can embrace each other's peculiarities and become best of friends. Of special note is the informative Foreword written by Dr. John E. Randall, senior ichthyologist emeritus, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. Also available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9780981493886, $10.99), "Randall and Randall" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

High Wire Act
Kathy Brodsky, author
Cameron Bennett, illustrator
9780982852965, $19.99, HC, 42pp,

Traffic lights all to be found in every village, town and city in the country. They are so common they are often unnoticed -- but they fulfill their function to control and facilitate the flow of traffic while keeping everyone safe. Engagingly written by children's author Kathy Brodsky and charmingly illustrated by Cameron Bennet, "High Wire Act" is the unique and fun picture book story of how one traffic light got blown off its corner and falls into a series of fun and entertaining adventures. "High Wire Act" is unreservedly recommended for the family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers ages 5-8.


Three new picture book stories are recommended reading for young readers and parents looking for something fun and different. Rebecca Grabill and Rebecca Green's A Year With Mama Earth (9780802855053, $17.99) follows the seasons through the year from the perspective of Mama Earth, who looks after plants and animals with her life-affirming weather ways. Kids with good reading skills will appreciate descriptions of animals, plants, weather, and outdoors affirmations which invite human children to join in fun. As each month unfolds ("May perfumes Mama Earth with violet and honeysuckle."), lovely drawings capture the fun. Sylvain Alzial's Pan Thera Tigris (9780802855299, $17.99) also requires good reading skills from advanced elementary-level picture book readers as it explore a small scholar whose head is stuffed with much knowledge, but who finds he knows nothing about Bengal tigers. Only a personal expedition to fill in the blanks will do - with some surprising results. William Miniver's Driftwood Days (9780802853707, $17.99) is illustrated by Charles Vess and provides a gentle story of nature, changing childhood, and the course of driftwood which moves through the seasons and finds itself coming full circle. The very simple story with lovely drawings is an excellent survey of not just nature's course, but life's changes.

Tundra Books

These two new picture books provide fun tales that will delight read-aloud adults and their young charges with some fresh, inviting approaches. Genevieve Godbout's What's Up, Maloo? (9780735266643, $17.99) excels in lovely pastel drawings which bring to life a story of friendship, sadness, adversity, and problem-solving prowess. Maloo is a little kangaroo with a big hop, until one day his hop goes away. Can his friends help him bounce back? With great effort, they effect change. Vikki VanSickle's Teddy Bear of the Year (9780735263925, $17.99) receives lovely, warm, good-sized drawings by Sydney Hanson, who brings to life the story of Ollie, a bear tasked with listening to his girl's stories about her days. Ollie is happy with his role in life, but when she takes him to a teddy bears' picnic, he no longer feels special, important, or relevant. How can he compete with bigger, better bears? A moving dilemma comes to life in a magical story of transformation.

The General Fiction Shelf

Gabriel Arquilevich
Regal House Publishing
9781947548619, $24.95, HC, 185pp,

Grape is a boy who is in trouble again! He punched Miss Roof in the arm! Now he's suspended for two weeks, and Principal Clarkson has threatened to send him to Riverwash, a school for problem kids. But he has one last chance. Grape must spend an hour a day writing about his history of trouble, and there's a lot of trouble to choose from! Grape's best friend Lou is by his side, and even though Grape drives his parents crazy, they're pulling for him all the way. But will Grape make sense of it all? Will it be enough to keep him out of Riverwash? An original and thoroughly entertaining novel by an author with a genuine flair for a deftly crafted and impressively reader engaging narrative storytelling style, "Grape!" by Gabriel Arquilevich is unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library general fiction collections for young readers ages 9-12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Grape!" is also available in a paperback edition (9781947548596, $13.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Cooper Clark and the Dragon Lady
Valerie Sherrard, author
David Jardine, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
9781554554621, $9.95, PB, 144pp,

Written as a simple chapter book for younger readers ages 8-11 and featuring black/white illustrations by David Jardine, "Cooper Clark and the Dragon Lady" by Valerie Sherrard is an original and entertaining novel that focuses on the tribulations of a boy named Cooper Clark, who needs a baby sitter after school every day until his parents come home from work. All is fine as long as that babysitter is Cooper's favorite, Linda. But when Linda gets a new job, Cooper's parents must find a new sitter. The only person available is old Mrs. Mulligan, who lives two streets away. Every kid in the neighborhood calls her The Dragon Lady because they know she keeps a dragon in her cellar. And Cooper is deathly afraid of dragons, even though he does not want his parents or friends to know about his terrible fear. If Cooper cannot figure out a way to get out of going to Mrs Mulligan's house what horrible things is he going to have to confront? "Cooper Clark and the Dragon Lady" will prove to be a delightful original, enjoyably compelling, and enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library general fiction collections.

I, Cosmo
Carlie Sorosiak
Walker Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536207699, $16.99, HC, 192pp,

Ever since a dog named Cosmo became a big brother to a boy named Max ten years ago, he's known what his job was: to protect his boy and make him happy. Through many good years marked by tennis balls and pilfered turkey, torn-up toilet paper and fragrant goose poop, Cosmo has doggedly kept his vow. Until recently, his biggest problems were the evil tutu-wearing sheepdog he met on Halloween and the arthritis in his own joints. But now, with Dad-scented blankets appearing on the couch and arguing voices getting louder, Cosmo senses a tougher challenge ahead. When Max gets a crazy idea to teach them both a dance routine for a contest, how can Cosmo refuse, stiff hips or no? Max wants to remind his folks of all the great times they've had together dancing -- and make them forget about the "d" word that's making them all cry. Told in the open, optimistic, unintentionally humorous voice of a golden retriever, "I, Cosmo" is a deftly crafted novel that will engage readers from cover to cover -- and remind them that love and loyalty transcend whatever difficulties life imposes upon them. While unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library general fiction collections for young readers ages 8-12, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "I, Cosmo" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Pippa Park Raises Her Game
Erin Yun
Fabled Films Press
9781944020262, $15.99, HC, 288pp,

Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. It seems like everyone, from her family to the other kids at school, has a plan for how her life should look. So when Pippa gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself by following the "Rules of Cool." At Lakeview, Pippa juggles old and new friends, an unrequited crush, and the pressure to perform academically and athletically while keeping her past and her family's laundromat a secret from her elite new classmates. But when Pippa begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media, her carefully built persona is threatened. As things begin to spiral out of control, Pippa discovers the real reason she was admitted to Lakeview and wonders if she can keep her old and new lives separate, or if she should even try. Original, entertaining, and especially recommended for both school and community collections for young readers ages 10-12, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pippa Park Raises Her Game" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle,$8.49).

The Starless Girl
Liz Delton
Limitless Publishing
9781640345829, $14.99, PB, 349pp,

Kira Savage thought she was just a normal girl living a normal life. Until the day her mother dies and everything changes. Kira's 'normal' shifts, and nothing makes sense anymore. Suddenly she is seeing this glowing light in everything around her. She can't explain it. It's just there. But when a dog made of darkness chases Kira, she somehow end up in a different world. A world of magic. Now Kira needs to learn how to survive in this world, how to use her own light to protect herself and those around her. But when more creatures made of darkness start appearing, Kira is caught in the middle of a war that has been raging within the realm for decades. Mysterious forces are tearing this world apart, and no matter how hard Kira tries to convince herself that this is not her fight she finds that she just cannot walk away from it. "The Starless Girl" is the first volume in author and novelist Liz Delton's new "Realm of Camillia' series for young readers. While unreservedly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Starless Girl" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Scholastic Press

Three new young adult fiction reads are recommended picks that stand out from others, offering talented writers and leisure stories that are hard to put down. Louise O'Neill's The Surface Breaks (9781338332605, $18.99) tells of young mermaid Gaia, who dreams of getting away from her domineering father. She swims to the surface where she encounters a human boy and learns of new possibilities, but they come with a heavy price. It's unusual to see mermaid tales for older readers, but this story is a fine fantasy that is compellingly original. Carolyn Mackler's Not If I Can Help It (9780545709484, $16.99) tells of Willa, who has all kinds of requirements from life in order to be comfortable, from clothes texture to sounds. Willa faces even more important challenges to her comfort zone, from a mother who lives two hours away with her new husband and a best friend who seems more distant than she'd like. When she discovers her father, too, harbors a secret that could additionally challenge her life, Willa decides to stop playing the victim and take charge in a fine story of flexibility and control. Lisa Schroeder's Wish on All the Stars (9781338195774, $16.99) tells of Juliet, a new member of the Starry Beach Club, whose focus is to grant wishes around town. Finally, she's starting to feel like her new friends and focus is making this town a home. But their local bookmobile hangout is threatened, her new friend's family faces deportation, and Juliet discovers that her own talents need to be displayed and promoted if she is to help her new friends. A fine story of courage and friendship evolves.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Far Shore
Glenn Damato
Ninth Circle Press
9780985816223 $14.95 Paper/$3.99 Kindle

Teens looking for engrossing sci-fi reading should add The Far Shore to their list of hard sci-fi featuring strong characters and dystopian societies, especially if a feisty, outspoken female protagonist is of interest. In a society where behavior is rated and freedoms are granted based on that rating, Cristina finds her personality and ambitions at odds with everything around her. Matters only worsen when she joins up (perhaps inevitably) with a fellow band of renegades headed for a new life on Mars, only to discover that adjusting to newfound freedom after having grown up under an authoritarian government is a significant challenge in and of itself. The typical teen dystopian novel tends to be one-dimensional, focusing on survival strategies and quests. The Far Shore is far more developed and complex, driven by a personable protagonist who promotes incentive, creative thinking and problem-solving, involvement, and often revolutionary thoughts in a society that discourages all of the above. While The Far Shore is directed to young adult audiences, with its teen characters, it's also highly recommended for adult sci-fi fans who enjoy exceptionally well-developed plots, characters, and hard sci-fi (a rarity in modern sci-fi writing, which tends to focus on dystopian challenges and fantasy quests). This audience will relish Cristina's provocative nature and will find her an inspiration and a delight as her survival evolves to mean something more than overcoming environmental challenges, but embraces triumphing over the obstacles of human nature itself.

Siljeea Magic
Judith Pratt
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
9781684333578, $17.95, PB, 183pp,

Where most people see nothing but trees and grass in the woodlands lining superhighways, 13- year-old Andrea sees small people, who call themselves the Bokaaj. Erau, who is close to her age and about four feet tall (with seven toes), teaches Andrea to hunt, scramble up trees, and sense the approach of angry Bokaaj elders who wish her dead. Despite this, she must save the Bokaaj, and their shaman the Siljeea, from the bulldozers of development. But it's hard to be a hero while going to school, caring for your younger brother, and trying not to worry your over-protective parents. Andrea is tossed into a series of adventures that wreck her grades, mess up her health, and almost tear her family apart. "Siljeea Magic" by Judith Pratt ( is a superbly crafted fantasy novel for young readers that pits affluent 21stCentury culture against a world of spells, wisdom, and power struggles. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both school and community library YA Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Siljeea Magic" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Forgotten Palace
Luke Aylen
Lion Hudson
9781782642794, $12.95, PB, 240pp,

Deep in the heart of Presadia's Great Forest lie many secrets, including the ancient ruins of a once-magnificent palace. A chance encounter with a bedraggled stranger and the discovery of broken shards of a magical mirror lead Antimony, an unusually tall dwarf, on a journey of discovery. Amazingly, he soon finds himself in charge of a growing community, which is determined to bring restoration to the palace. Can Antimony juggle the responsibilities and disagreements that have suddenly been thrust upon him, while also confronting shocking truths about his own complicated past? This unexpected adventure brings the oversized dwarf face to face with a mysterious elf known as the Usurper, a violent opponent of the exiled king. Antimony and his unlikely group must overcome tremendous odds if they are to restore what was broken and bring peace back to Presadia. Will they succeed, and will the king ever return to his rightful place? In the pages of author Luke Aylen's "The Forgotten Palace", children ages 8 to 16 can once again revisit the magical world of Presidia, which is full of elves, dwarves and dragons in this exciting sequel to "The Mirror and the Mountain". While unreservedly recommended for both school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections of young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Forgotten Palace" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.30).

The Activity Shelf

My Parents Are Getting a Divorce... I Wonder What Will Happen to Me
Karen Kaye, LMHC & Hara Wachholder, LMHC
Inkwater Press
9781629016320 $19.95 pbk

Therapists Karen Kaye, LMHC and Hara Wachholder, LMHC present My Parents Are Getting a Divorce... I Wonder What Will Happen to Me, an interactive workbook designed to help children ages 4-12 understand the difficult feelings created by the divorce of their parents. For example, one page offers blank space for the child to write down their own answers in response to "The things I know that will stay the same are:", "My feelings about the things that will stay the same are:", and "My other questions for mom and dad are:". A core theme repeated throughout is "All I know is... I'm still me!" Simple color illustrations of boys and girls enhance this invaluable book, highly encouraged especially for divorcing or separating parents to share with their children.

The Multimedia Shelf

Jazz Fly 3: The Caribbean Sea
Written and performed by Matthew Gollub
Illustrated by Karen Hanke
Tortuga Press
c/o Independent Publishers Group (dist.)
9781889910543 $18.95

Jazz Fly 3: The Caribbean Sea is a forty-page picturebook and audio CD combo pack; a code for a free audio download of the CD's "musical narration" contents is also included. The story is about musical fly and his band who perform jazz chants with French and Spanish words aboard an international cruise ship. But when the lovesick Captain Cockroach abandons the helm to write poetry, only the band's Caribbean jazz can prevent a full-scale panic - and then a thunderstorm makes matters even worse! Music educators will find that Jazz Fly 3 incorporates rare time signatures when the fly counts to three, five, and seven in French. An author's note and a glossary of French and Spanish words round out this delightful multimedia showcase, highly recommended especially for music-loving children. Jazz Fly 3: The Caribbean Sea also makes a great family gift!

Felicia and the Rat
Mauro Magellan
Eifrig Publishing
PO Box 66, Lemont, PA 16851
9781632331649, $15.99, HC, 32pp,

Louie lives high up on a rooftop. Sometimes he feels lonely. He likes to play the drums, but he doesn't have anybody to play with. Down on the street however, it's a different story. When the moon is high in the sky, the cats come out to play. Louie plays along from his rooftop home. He dreams of one night going down there and playing along with those cats, but they might not want to play with him. You see, Louie, well...he's a rat. Now, this wouldn't be a story if he hadn't gone down and asked Felicia, who sings and plays guitar, if he could play with them...would it? "Felicia and the Rat" is a picture book story about a rat who finally found some friends to play with and includes 11 original soundtracks for instant listening! Children can just scan the codes and enjoy a musical rendition of the story! Mauro Magellan is an illustrator, graphic artist, and musician who has written and illustrated adult and children's books. He is a songwriter and drummer, currently traveling all over the world with the popular Nashville-based band, Dan Baird and Homemade Sin. While "Felicia and the Rat" is unreservedly recommended for both elementary school and community library collections for musically minded young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a paperback edition (9781632331632, $12.99).

The Christian Shelf

Treasury of Bible Stories
Donna Jo Napoli, author
Christina Balit, illustrator
National Geographic Children's books
9781426335389 $24.99 hc / $12.99 Kindle

Treasury of Bible Stories is a 208-page omnibus of tales from the Christian Bible, brought to life with stunning, full-color illustrations that often cover the whole page or two-page spread. In addition to the accessible text adapting scripture, there are sections that discuss the stories' history, culture, and geography. A supplemental "people of the Bible" section, a bibliography, and an index round out superb addition to Christian family and church library collections. Highly recommended.

North Star: St. Herman of Alaska
Dorrie Papademetriou
SVS Press
575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707-1659
9780881412239 $20.00

North Star: St. Herman of Alaska is a Christian children's picturebook based on the true-life story of Father Herman, affectionately known as "Apa" or "grandfather", the sole survivor of a group of Russian Orthodox missionaries who traveled to Alaska in 1794 with intent to preach the Gospel. Saint Herman lived with the Alaskan native people, caring for their physical and spiritual needs for more than forty years. The striking color illustrations add a vivid touch to the detailed text. North Star: St. Herman of Alaska is ideal for young Christian readers who are almost ready to graduate to chapter books, or for parents to read aloud and share the biographical saga of this devoted and kind-hearted missionary. Highly recommended.

Frog's Rainy-Day Story and Other Fables
Michael James Dowling, author
Sarah Buell Dowling, illustrator
Carpenter's Son Publishing
9781949572469 $19.95 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Frog's Rainy-Day Story and Other Fables is a hardcover Christian picturebook of eight, engaging animal parables, each of which shares an invaluable life lesson based upon God's Word. For example, one fable leads to the moral "True happiness can't be found / as a goal we must achieve; / When we know God's love for us, / it's a gift that we receive." Additional "Wisdom of the World" and "Wisdom of the Word" passages offer insights from notable human beings and passages of the Bible, respectively. A glossary rounds out this wonderful storybook, highly recommended for Christian families to read aloud and share.

The Mythology Shelf

Lila Prap
Firefly Books
9780228102076 $16.95

Dragons?! is a children's picturebook about how dragons have been depicted in mythology around the world. The simple yet stunning illustrations are paired with brief sidebars about dragon legends and folktales, supplemented by amusing wisecracks from a scattering of chickens. "The Aztecs believed in dragons that resembled large snakes with horns. The dragons were worshipped as gods who had created the world and were masters of nature and life." Dragons?! is a welcome contribution to personal and public library children's picturebook collections, and makes an excellent gift for young dragon fans.

The Sports Shelf

Nitro Circus
Ripley's Believe It Or Not
9781609912826 $24.95 hc / $18.79 Kindle

Intended for young adult readers ages 10 and up, and illustrated with vibrant, full-color photography on every page, Nitro Circus: Legends, Stories, and Epic Stunts is a striking, hardcover showcase of one of the most amazing action-sports companies in the world - Nitro Circus. Here are astonishing athletes, stunning stunts, staggering statistics, and much more. "[Ethen] Roberts has many world's firsts on a mountain bike. He was one of the first to land a triple backflip on a mountain bike and also one of the youngest people to backflip a motorbike, at age 14." Nitro Circus makes an excellent giftbook for sports and stunt connoisseurs of all ages! Highly recommended.

Books in Series

The Dyno Dinosaur Family Presents: Waves of Kindness
Sharida McKenzie, author
Tatiana Minina, illustrator
Independently Published
9780960055357, $21.99 HC, 36pp, Ages 2-6
9780960055326, $12.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle,

"Waves of Kindness" is the second title in the Dyno Dinosaur series for children, following the highly praised "Dyno Dinosaur Family Christmas Adventures." Sister Dino does not realize she can cause waves of kindness to begin by choosing to make small acts of kindness towards others in her daily life. Her parents ask her each night what she did to make the world a better place. There are many examples of small acts of kindness that Sister Dino can achieve. She can make new friends in the neighborhood feel welcome by inviting their kids to play together in the park. She can write thank you notes to her teacher. she can report to the teacher if a student is being bullied or teased. She can share her treats or crayons with others. She can help lonely or new students feel like they belong and are accepted. The charming illustrations of Sister Dino and her family and friends are cheery, smiling, rainbow colored dinosaurs, lizards and reptiles. The motif of pulsating golden hearts symbolizes the power of small acts of kindness throughout the book's pages. "Waves of Kindness" is a wonderfully inspirational story that empowers kids to find new ways to make the world better.

Black Bear Saves Christmas
Denise Lawson
Brown & Lowe Books
9781732230330 $17.99

Part of the Black Bear Sled Dog series, Black Bear Saves Christmas: Another Black Bear Sled Dog Adventure is a rhyming picturebook about a hard-working, dark-furred Alaskan sled dog lead named Black Bear. Striking, colorfully painted illustrations bring to life this celebration of hard-working, four-footed sled dogs. "Don't worry, Santa, / even though I am old, / My fur coat is made for the / harsh bitter cold." A final page of dog sledding facts and special terms rounds out this excellent, read-aloud picturebook for storytime or bedtime. Also highly recommended are the previous two books in the series, "Black Bear Goes to Washington" and "Black Bear Goes to San Francisco".

Cavendish Square
243 5th Avenue, Suite 136, New York, NY 10016

"Discovering America: An Exceptional Nation" is a new seven volume series for young readers from Cavendish Square that is deftly written, effectively illustrated, and specifically designed to align with AP United States History learning objectives; provide a holistic view of how events impact governance and US history; promote college and career readiness by preparing highschool students for courses in upper-level STEM topics, political science and economics. This impressively presented series is comprised of: American and National Identity; American Culture and Society; American Geography and Environment; American Migration and Settlement; Power and Politics in the United States; The United States' Role in the World; Work, Exchange, and Technology in the United States. Each 112 page volume includes Biographies, a Further Information Section, Glossary, Sidebars, Websites, and an Index. Although each titles is available individually ($42.79 List/$29.95 S&L), highschool and community libraries are recommended to acquire the entire series (9781502642684, $299.53 List/$209.65 S&L) for the benefit of their students and patrons respectively.

PowerKids Press
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010

"Jobs Kids Want" is a new eight volume series from PowerKids Press for young readers preschool through third grade that showcases eight specific occupations. The individual titles comprising this exceptional series include: What's It Really Like to Be a Carpenter?; What's It Really Like to Be a Coder?; What's It Really Like to Be a Doctor?; What's It Really Like to Be a Firefighter?; What's It Like to Be a Mechanic?; What's It Really Like to Be a Teacher?; What's It Really Like to Be a Veterinarian?; What's It Really Like to Be an Electrician?. Each 24 page book introduces children to the concept of 'community helpers' and has full color illustrations throughout in the support of an informative and thoroughly kid friendly text. Each individual book also features a detailed Table of Contents, a Glossary, thematically appropriate Websites, and an Index. While all eight titles are available individually (Library Binding and Kindle, $23.60 List/$17.70 S&L), for the benefit of their students and patrons, school and community libraries should acquire the entire set intact (9781725301788, List $188.80; S&L $141.60).

The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010

"Managing Your Money and Finances" is a six volume series from The Rosen Publishing Group specifically designed to educate young readers ages 12 to 16 in the use, management, and value of money and credit in the modern economy. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, the six titles comprising this unreservedly recommended series for both school and community library collections is comprised of: Buying Your First Car; Getting a Credit Card; Getting Your First Job; Making a Budget; Managing Bank Accounts and investments; Managing Finances and Shopping Online. Young readers are provided with math examples that illustrate specific points -- and keep the information accessible for struggling readers. Each volume also includes 'Myths and Facts' sections designed to dispel common misconceptions; '10 ?Great Questions to Ask a Financial Adviser' sections encouraging young readers to apply this guidence to their own lives; and meet the requirements of the Economics dimensions of the C3 Social Studies Framework. While each 64 page title comprising this superbly designed series is available individually (HC $34.45/$25.85; Kindle $34.45/$25.85), school and community libraries are best advised to acquire the entire six volume set (9781499467765, $206.70/$155.10).

Greenhaven Publishing
353 3rd Avenue, Suite 255, New York, NY 10010

"The Music Library" is a six volume series for young readers from Greenhaven Publishing that showcases different music genres. The titles in this superbly presented series includes: Country Music: A uniquely American Sound; Indie Rock: Finding an Independent Voice; Metal Music: A History for headbangers; Hip-Hop: A Cultural and Musical Revolution; Latin Music: The Evolution of an International Sound; Pop Music: Chart-Toppers Throughout History. Key features of each individual book includes recommended listing lists that give young readers a sense of the most influential albums in each genre; Historical and cultural background information giving young readers a clear sense of the world events and social movements that inspire musicians, encouraging young readers to think critically about the music they listen to; The comprehensive collection of topics introduces readers to musical genres they may be unfamiliar with, enriching their cultural education. Although each title comprising "The Music Library" collection is available individually (HC $39.40; PB $19.99/$16.99; Kindle $39.40/$31.52), the recommendation for school and community libraries is to acquire the complete six volume set (9781534566033, $236.40/$189.12).

Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003

"Time to Celebrate!" is a new six volume series for children from Gareth Stevens Publishing ages 4-6 and would be ideal and unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, and community library collections. A very simple reading level for informational text by Benjamin Proudfit is deftly combined with full color illustrations throughout. This simply outstanding series is comprised of Let's Go to a Birthday Party!; Let's Go to a Carnival; Let's Go to a Cookout!; Let's Go to a Halloween party!; Let's Go to a Parade!; Let's Go to the Fair! While each 24 page title is available individually ($22.60/$16.95), school and community libraries would be best advised to acquire the entire series intact (9781538241554, $135.60/$101.70).

Crabtree Publishers

Five new books for early readers in the "Full Steam Ahead!" series support the STEAM objectives (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math) with activities that connect STEAM topics and reinforce learning in all these disciplines. Cynthia O'Brien's Robots at Work (9780778764069) defines the nature of a robot, identifies how robots operate in communities, and surveys their different skills in the workplace. Adrianna Marganelli's I See 3-D (9780778764373) features two friends who identify 3-D shapes at a carnival and learn how they are constructed from 2-D shapes, and what differentiates them. Robin Johnson's Testing with Models (9780778764083) demonstrates basic engineering processes by focusing on how engineers use small-sized models to test concepts and designs before creating bigger models. The focus on problem-solving routines is well done. Johnson also presents Creating Art Together (9780778764359), which focuses on the collaborative process in the art world. Art is all around us, and can be best enjoyed through interacting to create and appreciate it with others. Crystal Sikkens' The Right Material for the Job (9780778763987) is a basic primer about different materials and their properties, and provides an introduction not just to materials, but how different uses apply to different jobs. All excel in bright, contemporary photos which bring their subjects to life, and all draw important connections between these subjects and what young people observe around them.

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence through our marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, opportunities for connecting with schools, and the award-winning Story Monsters Ink(R) magazine.

Little Red Rhyming Hood
Sue Fliess, author
Petros Bouloubasis, illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company
9780807545973, $16.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Julianne Black DiBlasi

Little Red is introduced to us as a bright, creative, perhaps slightly introverted elementary-school age child, who speaks only in rhyme! This trait sets her apart from her peers and creates abit too much unwanted attention from the playground bully Big Brad Wolf. Author Sue Fliess artfully details a young girl's navigation through childhood fears and insecurities to ultimately triumph over adversity. Red and Wolf find common ground and go on to win a poetry contest creating a celebration of quiet determination, tenacity, and bighearted fun. (Ages 3-5)

A Day for Skating
Sarah Sullivan, author
Madeline Valentine, illustrator
9780763696863, $16.99, hc,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This sweet, simple rhyming text, coupled with warm heartfelt illustrations will engage young readers with joy. Carefully chosen words that carry a plethora of heart and meaning, yet easy enough for little ones to master and feel the empowerment of reading! Truly a successful reading experience. (Ages 3-7)

The Little Snowplow Wishes for Snow
Lora Koehler, author
Jake Parker, illustrator
9781536201178, $16.99, hc, $9.00, Kindle,

Darleen Wohlfeil

It's not work when you love what you do! And this little guy sure does love his job, but when winter is slow in coming, Little Snowplow stays focused and positive. A great message for those troubling times of disappointment. When Little Snowplow's hope and expectations are delayed, he doesn't pout or doubt. He keeps working hard while wishing and waiting for his special day to arrive. A good lesson for us all! (Ages 3-7)

Tomorrow I'll Be Brave
Jessica Hische
Penguin Workshop
9781524787011, $17.99, hc, $10.99, Kindle,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This appealing little board book is filled with hope and encouragement. Its self-forgiving heart beats with anticipation, ever hopeful, always expectant. Its rhythm is in step with the heart and makes a pleasant flow that carries us to its end. Tomorrow, I'll read it again! Great story for young minds. (Ages 3-7)

A Night at the Bookstore: A Barnsie & Noble Adventure
Josh Funk, Jessica Gibson
Sterling Children's Books
9781454935063, $16.95,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Barnsie likes routine. He looks forward every night to when the day winds down, and the customers are all gone. He loves the peace and quiet as he sits in his comfy chair reading late into the night. Until, a very noisy intrusion comes along by the name of Noble. Oh, what a disturbance Noble makes! Can Barnsie and Noble ever work out their differences? Let's all read it and see. We might learn some helpful tips to use if we ever find ourselves in such a pinch. (Ages 3-7)

By the Light of the Moon
Frann Preston-Gannon
c/o Penguin (dist.)
9781536208108, $16.99, hc, $5.41, Kindle,

Christine Irvin

As a little frog sings to himself at night in the swamp, he feels like something is missing. His song just doesn't seem complete. One by one, he invites the other animals and insects in the swamp to join him. The sound keeps getting better and better, but something is still missing, until the tiniest creature in the swamp - a firefly - adds is voice to the chorus, reminding everyone that all voices, even small ones, are important. (Ages 3-7)

Mr. Scruff
Simon James
9781536209358, $16.99,

Christine Irvin

In this book, all the dogs look like their owners and their names even rhyme: Polly belongs to Molly, Eric belongs to Derek, and Berry belongs to Terry. All of them, that is, except Mr. Scruff. Mr. Scruff is by himself at the shelter, looking for a new home. When Jim goes to the shelter to find a dog, his parents try to talk him into getting a little puppy, a dog who is more his size. Instead, he chooses Mr. Scruff, a big, old dog, even though their names don't rhyme. But they seem to belong together anyway. (Ages 3-7)

The Shortest Day
Susan Cooper, author
Carson Ellis, illustrator
9780763686987, $17.99, hc,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Susan Cooper's iconic poem stirs the heart with the warmth of connection. Changing seasons ebb and flow, and life finds its rhythm. We link, and bond with what each offers, creating traditions and celebrations to honor their presence. Winter solstice is truly felt in this tender remembrance of its joys, and its beauties. (Ages 4+)

Little Red Reading Hood and the Misread Wolf
Troy Wilson, author
Ilaria Campana, illustrator
Running Press Kids
9780762492664, $17.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This new face on an old story brings us a twist of interest in the motives of this wily wolf. What is it that stirs his curiosity and promotes his creativity? Could it be literacy? A real longing to hear a good story, to revel in that new book smell? A nice hardback, quality binding, meant-to-last book suitable for any child's bookshelf. (Ages 4-8)

She Loves Me All the Same
Alisha Gaddis, author
Mireia Morante, illustrator
Red Sky Entertainment
9781941015438, $16.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Darleen Wohlfeil

A message every heart yearns to hear. Today, many have to adjust to the emotions that come with extended families. In a time when such phrases as "Stepmonsters" have been coined, children can often be uncertain in their feelings, and question their place and role in the overall whole. This story offers assurance and security with the full warmth of acceptance. (Ages 4-8)

Please Don't Eat Me
Liz Climo
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
9780316315258, $17.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Christine Irvin

A little bunny meets a big bear in the woods. The bunny begs the bear, "Please, don't eat me." The bunny orders a pizza so the bear won't eat him. The bear shares his meal with the bunny. When the pizza is finished, the bear wants is dessert. When the dessert is gone, the bear is still hungry. Will the bunny be able to keep the bear happy, or will the bear finally eat him? Or, is the bear playing tricks on the bunny? (Ages 4-8)

Only You Can Be You!
Nathan and Sally Clarkson, authors
Tim Warnes, illustrator
Thomas Nelson
$16.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Dr. Dawn Menge

We are all uniquely different and special. What makes you special? Are you loud or quiet? Can you build high towers or run faster than others? This cutely illustrated book highlights how special we all are with our differences. The authors did an excellent job of introducing differences in people and showing how unique we all are from each other. They hit the mark with this imaginative book. It is a wonderful way to start a conversation with your child about how we are each unique and for helping them to define what makes them special. (Ages 4-8)

I Want a Dog
Jon Agee
Dial Books
c/o Penguin
9780525555469, $17.99, hc, $10.99, Kindle,

Darleen Wohlfeil

A girl goes to the Copley County Animal Shelter with her heart set on coming home with a dog. She is shown all kinds of animals - a lizard, a goose, an aardvark, and more - but no dog. When she realizes the shelter doesn't have any dogs, will she go away disappointed or will the shelter manager be able to find her a pet anyway? (Ages 5-8)

Frank and Bean
Jamie Michalak, author
Bob Kolar, illustrator
$15.99, 9780763695590

Darleen Wohlfeil

Frank loves peace and quiet. He likes being alone and his routine way of doing things. He can be unsettled when it is disrupted. Bean, on the other hand, loves noise. He loves his trumpet and his drums, and he can be quite intrusive. Now, as camping neighbors, will they clash? Can these two opposites find some common ground on which to bond? Much like life, the characters in this story have to adjust at times. And, when we do, we often stumble upon the very thing we needed. (Ages 5-8)

Lulu & Rocky in Detroit
Barbara Joosse, author
Renee Graef, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781534110182, $16.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

In this beautifully illustrated book, Lulu and Rocky are taking a three-day trip to Detroit. They visit the Foundation Hotel, Campus Marius, The Fox Theater, and Sports Haven Belle Isle, and they learn all about African American History. If I were to take my grandchildren to Detroit, I would use this book as a guidebook and follow Lulu's and Rocky's adventures. I highly recommend this book for the adventuresome family. (Ages 5-8)

Home in the Woods
Eliza Wheeler
Nancy Paulsen Books
c/o Penguin
9780399162909, $17.99, hc, $10.99, Kindle,

Dr. Dawn Menge

This young family of seven children lost their father and had to find a new home. They looked at the positive side of their home in the woods and as each season unfolded, new treasures were found. They found bright red and blue berries to pick in autumn, warm fires and quilt-making in winter, and spring brings to them the songs of happy birds and beautiful flowers. The incredible watercolor images will capture your child's attention as they follow along with this family learning the meaning of home. (Ages 5-8)

Pavi Sharma's Guide to Going Home
Bridget Farr
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
9780316491068, $16.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Christine Irvin

Twelve-year-old Pavi Sharma has been shuffled around from foster home to foster home ever since she was a small girl and her mother was unable to take care of her. Now she doesn't know where her mother is or if she'll ever get to see her again. In the meantime, she tries to make the best of things. She helps other kids who are new to foster care. When Pavi meets the newest child in the system, little Meridee, and learns that she is going to go live in a foster home where she will not be treated well, Pavi is determined to do everything she can to rescue her from harm. (Ages 8-12)

All the Colors of Magic
Valija Zinck
Chicken House
9781338540611, $17.99, hc, $10.99, Kindle,

Christine Irvin

Penelope has always known that she is different from other children - her hair has been gray as long as she can remember, it rains every year on her birthday, and somehow she seems to know what her mom is going to say before she says it. But Penelope doesn't realize how different she is until the day she wakes up with a mass of sparkling red hair in place of her normal gray locks. She feels different, and she is determined to figure out why. (Ages 8-12)

Mrs. Paddington and the Silver Mousetraps
Gail Skroback Hennessey, author
Steve Cox, illustrator
Red Chair Press
9781634409001, $18.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Ever wonder where some of our old sayings come from? While reading this story, a few may just come to mind. History is filled with tales of colorful characters and odd customs and behaviors. The author shares with us in this comical narrative one very peculiar oddity among the noble women of the 18th century. Referred to as the Pouf, this very large hairdo became quite the ordeal. The means necessary in keeping such an elaborate hairstyle in tact will not only give occasion for gasps, but laughter as well. (Ages 8-12)

Addison Cooke and the Tomb of Khan
Jonathan W. Stokes
Puffin Books
c/o Penguin
9780147515643, $8.99, pbk, $8.99, Kindle,

Diana Perry

Fresh off of a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just can't seem to steer clear of rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves. But it sure beats sitting around in school all day. Addison's aunt and uncle, on the other hand, are none too happy about their habit of attracting kidnappers. When they become pawns in a dangerous gang's plan to steal the most prized possession of Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle. Not only is this story a non-stop exciting adventure, but I almost couldn't keep up with all the secrets revealed and the well-placed clues. There are wonderful author's notes that tell the accurate historical facts of the treasure. The perfect book for lovers of Indiana Jones and Harry Potter. (Ages 8-12)

The Other Side of the Wall
Amy Ephron
Philomel Books
c/o Penguin
9781984813275, $16.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Diana Perry

It's Christmas break and Tess and Max are in London, staying at the posh Sanborn House with their Aunt Evie. As they wait for their parents to arrive, there is an unusual snowstorm that makes the city seem as if it's caught in a snow globe. Perfect weather for an adventure in Hyde Park. But when Max, Tess, and Aunt Evie leave to search for a cab, they find a horse and carriage and driver curiously waiting for them at the curb. And that's just the beginning.... Young readers will love this book, which is fun, mysterious, and intriguing all at the same time. (Ages 8-12)

Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers
Anna James, author
Paola Escobar, illustrator
Philomel Books
c/o Penguin
9781984837127, $16.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Diana Perry

Since her mother's disappearance, 11-year-old Tilly Pages has found comfort in the stories at Pages & Co., her grandparents' bookshop. But when her favorite characters, Anne of Green Gables and Alice from Wonderland start showing up at the shop, Tilly's adventures become very real. Not only can she follow Anne and Alice into their books, she discovers she can bookwander into any story she chooses. Tilly's new ability leads her to fun and exciting adventures, but danger may be lurking on the very next page.... Young readers will thrill over the exciting adventures of this magical story. It will leave them wondering if there really is a secret place where fictional characters live. (Ages 8-12)

Kelly Jones
Knopf Books for Young Readers
9781524765958, $16.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Diana Perry

HD Schenk is a maker - an inventor, someone who builds cool stuff. He's got a plan for the summer: He'll build his own computer and enter it in the county fair. Then everyone will know who he is and what he can do. To earn enough money for the parts he'll need, HD has promised to clear out his uncle's overflowing basement. No big deal, right? But there's more in that basement than HD bargained for. On his first trip down there, a voice only he can hear starts talking to him. About ... sauerkraut? Kids will find this story intriguing, funny, and heartwarming. (Ages 8-12)

The Fresh New Face of Griselda
Jennifer Torres
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
9780316452601, $16.99, hc, $9.99, Kindle,

Diana Perry

When Griselda's dad loses his business, she loses not just her home, but also her confidence and her trust in her unflappable parents. So Griselda dreams up a way to reclaim the life she thinks she lost. If she can sell enough tubes of glistening, glittery Alma lip gloss, she'll win a cash prize that could help jump-start her dad's business. Young readers will share this inspiration because all of us have had circumstances of life forced upon us. This book will make readers feel better. (Ages 9-12)

Gabriel Arquilevich
Regal House Publishing
9781947548619, $23.95, hc
9781947548596, $13.95, pbk, $9.99, Kindle,

Diana Perry

Grape is in trouble again! He punched Miss Roof in the arm! Now he's suspended for two weeks, and Principal Clarkson has threatened to send him to Riverwash, a school for problem kids. But he has one last chance. Grape must spend an hour a day writing about his history of trouble, and there's a lot of trouble to choose from . Will Grape make sense of it all? And will it be enough to keep him out of Riverwash? This is a good book to teach kids that if you want your life to change, the change must begin with you. An uplifting story. (Ages 9-12)

Brave the Page
Rebecca Stern and Grant Faulkner
Viking Books for Young Readers
c/o Penguin
9780451480293, $13.99, hc, $8.99, Kindle,

Diana Perry

This is the perfect textbook to make learning how to write fun for young readers. I found it to be complete in the lessons, which are very easy to understand and fun. It takes a big project, and breaks it down into manageable parts and gets the creative juices flowing in young minds with all kinds of great ideas and suggestions. This book picks up where other learning-to-write books leave off. Schools and parents should get this book for any aspiring young writer. (Ages 10+)

Color Me In
Natasha Diaz
Delacorte Press
c/o Penguin
9780525578239 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, 16-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her lack mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom's family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time. Young adults will find this story intriguing and thought-provoking as Nevaeh learns a secret about her mom that changes everything. (Ages 12+)

Cantville: A Positive and Inspiring Story for All Ages
Joe Borelli
Borelli Direct Publishing
9781732747401, $28.00, hc
9781732747418, $15.99, pbk, $8.99, Kindle,

Darleen Wohlfeil

All good books seem to encounter that dark realm where the battle of good and evil must be fought. Often, those sides are chosen for us. Cantville and Wecando are two very opposite towns at the base of the very same mountain. Cantville follows the hard hand it's been given. While on the other side of the mountain, those same conditions are met with optimism and hope at Wecando. Unaware of each other, the two towns are brought together, and change is imminent. In life, we too, are prodded by circumstances. Which town do you hope to find yourself in? The choice is yours! (Ages 14+)

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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