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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 7 July 2005 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice World History Shelf Fiction Shelf
Poetry Shelf Music CD Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Other Lands, Other People Biography Shelf
Hobby Shelf Picturebook Shelf Books in Series
Art Shelf Library Video Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

The Loathsome Dragon
David Wiesner & Kim Kahng
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10003
0618543597 $16.00 1-800-225-3362

Take a traditional English fairy tale revolving around dragons, wicked stepmothers, a prince and evil enchantment, add gorgeous paintings by David Wiesner, and retell the package for young readers with rudimentary skills and you have all the elements of a favorite book in The Loathsome Dragon. The story has the same basic structure but is more accessible to the younger audiences, here.

Traction Man
Mini Grey
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0375831916 $15.95 1-800-726-0600

Ages 4-8 will appreciate a fun and original story of an unusual relationship between a child and a toy. "Traction Man" is a small action figure leading the crusade against evil: he guards toast, searches the dishwasher for lost items, and escapes the Poisonous Dishcloth. He's a happy savior - until Granny gives him a hand-knit green suit to wear, which makes him feel stupid. Can Traction Man overcome his silly clothing to remain the hero?

Harcourt Inc.
525 'B' Street, San Diego, CA 92101

Four new easy reader chapter books are recommended picks as lively entertainment for young leisure learners. Elissa Haden Guest's Iris And Walter And The Field Trip (0152050140, $15.00) will reach ages 6-9 with its fun, lively story of a class field trip which revolves round sea life and is lots of fun until someone gets lost. Where's Walter in the aquarium? Not where he should be with his class; and it's up to Iris to help. Keith Baker's Lucky Days With Mr. And Mrs. Green (01321-65002, $16.00) provide a new Green alligator adventure. Big cookies, a gumball galaxy, and two experienced gaters with an eye for investigation provide a series of lively encounters filled with candy. Two Level 2 'Green Light Readers', for readers who still need help, are very easy books pairing fun activities with stories. Lucy Floyd's A Place For Nicholas (0152051-303, $12.95) tells of a youngster who wants his very own hideaway. David McPhail provides fine, realistic drawings. Jeff Newell's Skimper-Scamper (015205-166X, $12.95) tells of pets which make a big mess. Can she stop her pets before her mother finds out and trouble begins? Excellent beginner's books, all.

Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross
Hyperion Books
114 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
078685684X $15.99 1-800-759-0190

Everyone's talking too loud, moving to fast, and not listening enough. Can a shrew change Life with a simple plea for quiet? He has big things to say, but a very small voice can't compete with the world's racket. Kids will relish reading the 'noise words' loudly, from 'thump' to 'bang': be forewarned!

A Book About Design
Mark Gonya
Henry Holt
115 18th St., New York NY 10011
0805075755 $18.95 1-888-330-8477

A Book About Design: Complicated Doesn't Make It Good is one of the few books to address basic design issues for young picturebook readers - and its advice and insights should be considered by many an adult, too. Simple lines, shapes, colors and humor explain why complication doesn't equal a good design - and why that fact matters. Pages of merely one or two sentences are accompanied by easy sample pictures to illustrate such basic design concepts as 'change the size of one (in this case increase it) and you lessen the impact of the other'.

The Lost Candy Bar
Steve Kihm
Goblin Fern Press
3809 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 55705
159598013X $3.95 1-888-670-2665

When Steve Kihm was nine years old he went fishing with his gruff and clumsy grandfather. His mother had packed his lunch box with a very special treat in the form of a candy bar -- something not often seen by his family back in those financially hard pressed times. While they were fishing, his grandfather accidentally capsized the boat and the candy bar (along with the fishing gear and the rest of Steve's lunch) were lost. When Steve's father and uncle went the next day to right the boat, they decided to try and recover the lost fishing gear. They also recovered the lunch box and in it was that prized candy bar -- but the brown chocolate had been washed off by the water leaving only a white candy bar middle behind. Was the bar still good to eat? Artwork by Tom Lowes wonderfully illustrates this very funny and charmingly written little story from the author's own childhood and will be especially entertaining for young readers ages 6 to 9, particularly any young boys who don't particularly care to read books for pleasure!

557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Middle school into high school readers will find Susan Campbell Bartoletti 's Hitler Youth: Growing Up In Hitler's Shadow (0439353793 $19.95) a captivating close-up study of the organized propaganda youth group which helped the Nazis grow. More than seven million children belonged to the Hitler Youth: Bartoletti here supplements the voices of former Youth members with resistance voices to provide an excellent survey of the experience on all sides. Vintage photos and illustrations enhance the end result, making Hitler Youth a 'must' for any serious coverage of Holocaust history for this age group. Barry Denenberg's Shadow Life (0439416787, $16.95) offers yet another, different perspective on the Anne Frank story: this one following the Franks from Frankfurt, Germany to Amsterdam, where they are forced into hiding. A fictional diary presented from Margot Frank's perspective provides a different viewpoint of events and compliments the original Anne Frank Diary quite nicely.

Sisterhood Of Traveling Pants: The Official Scrapbook
Delia Ephron & Elizabeth Chandler
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
0553376071 $9.95 1-800-726-0600

The hottest new movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is at last revitalizing the books which started the story, and Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants: The Official Scrapbook is intended to meld book and movie with the only authorized behind-the-scenes look at the Sisterhood. From the history of Pants to funny anecdotes from the cast and crew and lots of photos, Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants: The Official Scrapbook will be a 'must' for any "Pants" fan.

The World History Shelf

Gareth Stevens
300 W. Olive St., Milwaukee, WI 53212
$18.50 Each

Gareth Stevens' "Historic Civilizations" series offers six 32-page simple introductory coverages to the world's ancient civilizations and will make truly exceptional additions to any budding elementary-grade library building resource material for grades 3-5. Each book includes clearly headed topics, with introduction, color-coded sidebars and boxes of information, bolded words located in a glossary, and plenty of photos and illustrations. Conclude with an index and bibliography and you have guides which are stand-alone references by topic, but lending to further interest and research, with chapters juxtaposing biographies of important people with social, cultural and historical introductions. Ancient Greece by John D. Clare (0836841980), Ancient Mesopotamia by John Malam (0836841999), Ancient Rome by Colin Hynson (0836842-006), The Aztecs by Jeremy Smith and Nicholas Saunders (0836842014), Medieval Europe (0836842022) by Susie Hodge and Ancient Egypt (0836841972) by Anita Ganeri all offer easy access but depth in detail, suitable for reports. Highly recommended both individually and as a unit.

The Fiction Shelf

The Lace Dowry
Andrea Cheng
Front Street
862 Haywood Rd., Asheville, NC 28806
1932425209 $16.95 1-877-512-8366

Twelve-year-old Juli doesn't want a dowry nor the dancing lessons her mother covets for her: Hungarian girls don't need these things anymore, Juli insists, and she dreams of a career over marriage. Her friendship with an unschooled lace maker's daughter immerses her in a controversial friendship, the problems of a very different family life, and eventual defiance of her mother's dreams in The Lace Dowry's provocative story.

Henry Holt
115 W. 18th St., New York NY 10011

Clare B. Dunkle's By These Ten Bones (0805074961, $16.95) will win the attention of any who enjoy castles and eerie stories. A mysterious carver stranger wins the attention of the small Highland town weaver's daughter Maddie, who discovers he's harboring a secret which threatens all she loves. An evil presence in his life is killing townspeople in the spooky By These Ten Bones, which puts her loyalty to the test. Randall Wright's The Silver Penny (0805073914, $16.95) tells of a farm boy frustrated by a broken leg and dreams of travel. His frustrations are only broken by the mysterious appearance and re-appearance of Grandpa's lucky silver penny, which leads Deb on a journey of discovery promising a magic that could change his life.

Hyperion Books
77 West 66th St., NY, NY 10023-6298

Three powerful new titles provide teens with strong leisure choices. Most unusual is Julius Lester's Day Of Tears (0786804-904, $15.99), a novel in dialogue which tells of slavery, family ties, and the costs of owning humans. The series of dialogues, flash-backs and flash-forwards in shifting first-person accounts provides a unusual ability to juxtapose themes and perceptions in Day Of Tears. Ann Rinaldi's The Color Of Fire (0786809388, $15.99) is set in 1741 where America is at war with Spain. Phoebe lives with a family which gives her many privileges and is friends with one charged in a plot of black slaves who set fire to buildings to start an uprising. Should Phoebe set out to rescue her friend, or keep on seeking her own freedom whatever the costs? Roland Smith's Cryptid Hunters (0786851619, $15.99) tells of teens sent to live with an uncle after their parents are lost in an accident. Uncle Wolfe is a vet who seeks legendary cryptid creatures, and the new family is drawn into a plot with his nemesis and a Congo jungle expedition in this fast-paced adventure.

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

For summer leisure reading, Random House's group holds an impressive list indeed, packing in everything from mysteries to historical fiction and more. The modern covers of the reissued Trixie Beldon series will attract new audiences to books such as Trixie Beldon: The Msytery At Bob-White Cave by Kathryn Kenny (0375830510, $6.99), while the affordable price for a hardcover encourages library acquisition. Trixie and her Bob-White group find themselves deep in an Ozark cave searching for rare fish and even a real ghost. Jeff Stone's Tiger (0375830715, $15.95) is the first book in a projected 'Five Ancestors' series, so be forewarned. Kung-fu fans will find a welcome hero in young Fu, a pre-teen kung-fu master and one of five orphan monk brothers searching out the secrets of their past and a vanished scroll. Andreas Steinhofel's The Center Of The World (038572943X, $16.95) presents mature teens with the story of seventeen-year-old Phil, who has never known his own father and who is gay. Love, uncertain family ties and pressures, and betrayal are strong themes. Julie Shumacher's The Chain Letter (0385731-698, $15.95) tells of a girl who tears up a chain letter only to find her life faced with a series of disasters, from humiliation to the unwelcome new boyfriend of her mother. Her determination to break her run of sudden bad luck leads Livvie to investigate the originator of the chain letter in this absorbing story. Fans of fantasy will welcome the companion to Victoria Hanley's prior The Seer And The Sword and The Healer's Keep in her latest The Light Of The Oracle (0385750862, $15.95), which requires no prior familiarity with the others to prove satisfying. Bryn, a stonecutter's daughter, has visions nobody else can see: she enters a famous temple only to find her gifts make her a threat to those who abuse the Temple's purposes. A complex fantasy of good versus evil evolves. Lurlene McDaniel's Angels In Pink: Raina's Story (0385731674, $10.95) tells of friends who volunteer at a hospital and face changes in romanc and family ties as a result. Health issues blend more naturally with coming-of-age and life issues in McDaniel's latest. Melissa Lion's Upstream (0385746431, $15.95) tells of a small-town Alaska girl who must begin senior high by herself when something happens to her boyfriend Steven. A town secret threatens to explode in this riveting tale. Robert Newton Peck's Weeds In Bloom: Autobiography Of An Ordinary Man (037582801X, $15.95) will appeal to a vast audience of young adults who have enjoyed Peck's novels over the years and want to know more about the writer himself. Peck grew up on a small Vermont farm: his autobiography tells of his journey from Vermont to fighting in World War II, then to Florida where he searched out plain people and a simpler life. Joining others in the Edge Chronicles and recommended for prior fans if Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's latest Curse Of The Gloamglozer (0385750765, $12.95). Fantasy fans are introduced to Quint, son of a sky pirate captain who finds himself involved in his own adventure thriller. A fast-paced journey of discovery evolves as quickly as in the other Edge Chronicles adventures. Mark Peter Hughes' I Am The Wallpaper (0385732-414, $15.95) presents the frumpy younger sister of a very popular girl. Floey has always been in the background, but when her sister is suddenly married and out of the house, Floey decides a makeover is in order, seeking to change her personality and appearance - until problems arise. Hailey Abbott's The Bridesmaid (038573-2201, $7.95) also tells of marriage: this time it's the family's wedding planning business, and Abby wants no part of it until her sister Carol announces her marriage and wants Abby to be maid of Honor. Can Abby handle it? Iain Lawrence's The Convicts (038573087X, $15.95) is set in London's underworld and tells of a father in debtor's prison and a teen who sets out for revenge. Tom falls into bad ways and is accused of a murder he didn't commit in this engrossing story of London's dark past. Adele Geras' Other Echoes (0385750544, $15.95) comes from one Flora, convalescing in her English boarding school and writing of her childhood years in North Borneo. Her memories of an exotic place brings to life an unusual world and helps Flora come to terms with her new world. Julie Gonzalez's Wings (0385-732279, $15.95) tells of a teen who has always been convinced someday he'll fly. He can feel his wings wanting out - but when will they emerge? His faith in his flying abilities brings him into conflict with his family and the world.

Danger Boy: Trail of Bones
Mark London Williams
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
0763621544 $9.99

Eli Sands and his friends are trapped in 19th century America after an accident with their time-travel vessel, stranded in different times. Separated, the group must not only make contact with each other again; they must assure their accident doesn't change history itself.

Deadly Drive
David Patneaude
Albert Whitman
6340 Oakton St., Morton Grove, IL 60053
0807508446 $15.95 1-800-255-7675

Casey is driven to succeed: not only on her new basketball team, but to find the hit-and-run driver who killed her mother nine years ago and changed their lives forever. Every year on the anniversary of her mother's death, someone sends Casey a valuable gift: can the perp be someone Casey loves? A moving story of discovery and revenge.

The Callahan Cousins: Summer Begins
Elizabeth Doyle Carey
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, NY NY 10020
0316736902 $10.99

Perfect for summer leisure reading is this spirited adventure of the twelve-year-old Callahan cousins who anticipate fun at their grandmother's seaside estate for the whole summer without parents in Callahan Cousins: Summer Begins. Add a mystery revolving around legend and an old rivalry on the island and you have a fast-paced story warm with family interactions and discovery.

Naomi Kinsman
1026 West Isola Avenue, #1
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
1420810782 $11.50

Oriali feels responsible for the troubles in Luconeth, and the arrival of new girl Sara seems no health, even in aiding one Olivia, another girl who has stumbled into Luconeth on her own. Should Sara and Oriali help Olivia, or are the mysteries of Luconeth alone more than they all can solve? A penetrating fantasy of three unusual friends seeking to understand and change their world.

Fourth World
Kate Thompson
175 - 5th Ave., New York NY 10010
158234650X $16.95

Part of the 'Missing Link' trilogy by Kate Thompson, Fourth World introduces one Danny, slower than other kids his age, and prone to violent outbursts. His journey to locate his biological mother brings him to a strange group of wanderers who come to discovery Danny's mother is involved in a dangerous set of experiments at her Fourth World lab which have already changed the world.

Jeannette Winterson
15 E. 26th St., New York NY 10010
0151011176 $23.00

An orphan taken in by a blind lighthouse keeper finds his stories provide keys to find the way out of her own past's darkness. Lighthousekeeping is a moving, poetic story of journeys into light and the power of storytelling, recommended for older teens who will relish the lyrical language.

Penguin Putnam Group
345 Hudson, New York NY 10014

The appearance of Julia L. Sauer's Fog Magic in paperback (0140321632, $4.99) promises new audiences will enjoy this Newbery Honor book. Greta has loved the fog all her life, but the mysterious appearance of a stone house in the fog and a woman who beckons her to another world brings with it new promises and dangers. Livi Michael's The Whispering Road (03992-43577, $17.99) tells of siblings who escape an abusive master and must travel a dangerous road in search of their mother. Add the uncertain gift of Annie, who can contact spirits to help them, and you have a magical story set in England and packed with fantasy. Susan Gates' Dusk (03992343437, $16.99) tells of a DNA military experiment gone wrong: a girl whose DNA is fused with hawk genes as a test for giving soldiers night vision provides Dusk, who lives in a government lab until it turns down. Her escape to a world of other lab survivors introduces her to another world in this captivating science fiction tale. Neal Shusterman's Dark Fusion: Dread Locks (0525475540, $15.99) tells of a new neighbor with strange habits who begins to embroil her classmates in strange behaviors. As Parker sees the results of her friendship on his classmates, he becomes more certain of her danger and his own role in stopping her in this compelling new Shusterman drama. Hetron Cove by Ruth Wallace-Brodeur (0525473939, $15.99) tells of a flighty mother who sends her daughter to Maine, alone, to live with two great-aunts who are near strangers. Sage finds an unusual kindness and family in Heron Cove which provides a stability she's never known. Suzi Wizowaty's A Tour Of Evil (0399242511, $10.99) tells of a group of missing children, of which Alma has become one. Her new home suits her: a giant cathedral, perfect for a girl who loves secrets. Her attraction to the place might ultimately condemn her to the fate of the other missing children in this riveting adventure.

Horrible Harry And The Goog
Suzy Kline
Viking Press
345 Hudson, New York NY 10014
0670059927 $13.99 1-800-847-5515

Elementary-grade readers moving into chapter books will find Suzy Kline's latest a funny mystery filled with intrigue and zany clues. A secret teacher party's happening in the library - but who is it for? A pet cat's involvement complicates matters and promises trouble for his owner investigators.

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, NY NY 10020

Summer's here, and with it a host of wonderful summer leisure reads for teens and pre-teens. Julie Hearn's The Minister's Daughter (0689876904, $16.95) tells of an unusual association between a 'wild child' and a Puritan minister's daughter. Grace is sweet, beautiful, and hiding a shameful secret from her family; Nell is a healer, wild child and herbalist - and perhaps a witch. Their lives join during the English Civil War when witchcraft fear is at its height in an engrossing drama of a bygone era. Pete Hautman's Invisible (06-89868006, $15.95) also focuses on unusual friendship connections: this taking a contemporary setting in telling of a school freak and model train hobbyist and his best friend, a popular football star. A secret also connects them - and threatens them - in this story of buried demons. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice On Her Way (0689870906, $15.95) presents another maturing Alice story: here Alice and her pals are headed to New York City, sans parents, for the weekend on a school trip. Their plans include escaping their teacher chaperones in this provocative new Alice adventure, especially recommended for prior and maturing Alice teen readers. Jane Louise Curry's The Black Canary (0689864787, $16.95) presents an unusual setting: biracial pre-teen James has grown up in a musical family, yet he wants to do something different. His visit to London leads to a portal to the past, trapping him in a world where the musical talents he has denied are pushed to their limits. Only by acknowledging and using these talents will he be able to return to his own time. Joyce Maynard's The Cloud Chamber (068987152X, $16.95) tells of a family broken when a father is wounded by a gunshot, taken away by police, and the truth buried. Underlying family worries is the big science fair, and Nate has a plan: by winning with his cloud chamber project, he can get to the state finals and visit the hospital where his father has been locked away - if he can overcome his project partner, an unpopular girl with crazy ideas.Hilary McKay's Permanent Rose (1416903720, $15.95) is a recommended pick for prior fans of McKay's family stories about an offbeat, zany set of siblings. Continuing the saga, Permanent Rose focuses on Rose, who enters a life of petty shoplifting as she remains determined to locate Tom. A set of changing family conflicts and relationships keeps prior fans of Saffy's Angel and Indigo's Star on their toes. T. Diterlizzi and H. Black's The Spiderwick Chronicles: Note Book For Fantastical Observations (1416903453, $9.95) is also a recommended pick for prior fans of Spiderwick adventures who relish good fantasy. Here's something different, though: a set of interactive stories featuring fourteen mini-adventures with pages for reads to add their own stories, maps, charts and lists. These blank encouragements will unfortunately make this title less recommendable to library lending situations as for home use, but parents will surely want to add this to the young Spiderwick enthusiast's home library.

Clarion Books
115 Park Avenue S., NY NY 10003

Nancy Price Graff's Taking Wing (06185-35918, $15.00) tells of a thirteen-year-old who finds himself caring for orphaned ducklings on his grandparent's Vermont farm as his father fights World War II and his mother lies seriously ill. Gus is kept busy not only by ducks but by a new friendship in this warm story of survival. Linda Sue Park's Project Mulberry (0618-478861, $16.00) tells of Julia and her friend Patrick who aim to wind some blue ribbons at the state fair. They lack a project, until a decision to raise silkworms offers a non-traditional project from Korea which may either win or alienate their friends.

Lessons From The Gypsy Camp
Elizabeth Appell
Scribes Valley Publishing
National Book Network, dist.
6824 Drybrook Lane Knoxville TN 37921
0974265217 $20.95 1-800-462-6420

Ten-year-old Lolly Candolin finds herself having to deal with an alcoholic father and a mother who uses medication to avoid having to deal with family issues. There is a gypsy camp outside of Lolly's down where she is welcomed by friendly, colorful people whom who father, in his role as county prosecutor, has sworn to destroy. When the town sheriff is murdered and the evidence implicates the gypsy camp leader, Lolly discovers who the real killer is. Now she must decide whether to expose the murderer (which would destroy her father's professional reputation and end any chance at securing his approval) or say nothing and let an innocent man die. Deftly embedded in a riveting story for your readers ages 8 to 14, is an engaging exploration of such issues as individualism and family obligation, the complexities of discerning right from wrong, and the consequences of pursuing truth and justice. Elizabeth Appell's Lessons From The Gypsy Camp is an especially recommended addition to school and community library fiction shelves!

The Poetry Shelf

It's Time For Nana's Stories
Veronica E. Cooper
Vantage Press, Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10016
0533149061 $7.95 1-212-736-1767

A mother of eight, grandmother of twenty, and great-grandmother of ten, Veronica Cooper is a veteran expert at telling stories and answering children's questions. Now for the benefit of other families, she has compiled thirteen of her story poems, each told in lively verse and nicely enhanced with a simple line drawn illustration, that will delight and charm children and adults of all ages. Two Grandpas/Two Grandmas: Two Grandpas, Two Grandmas/Make a circle with me in the middle/Each skin color is different/But, there is no difference/When I feel their arms around me/No difference when they hold me close/No difference when they whisper:/"I love you" in my ear/I love them all/And am so truly blessed/With being in the circle/Of two Grandpas and two Grandmas/It's like being encircled in a rainbow.

The Music CD Shelf

Don't Blink
Parachute Express
Trio Lane Records
Box 251598, Glendale, CA 91225-1598
#10192 $14.98 1-818-548-9246

Parachute Express (Donny Becker, Janice Hubbard, and Stephen Michael Schwartz) has been entertaining the public for the past twenty years. Don't Blink is their tenth album and clearly documents them as still going strong with the presentation of fourteen new and original songs. Playing to a diverse range of musical styles that goest from rock to folk to R&B to jazz, cajun, calypso, and more, the compositions comprising this enthusiastically recommended CD album for children of all ages (and their families!) include: Something 'Bout A Circle; Right Foot, Left Foot; Let's Go; Razz-Ma-Tazz; I Like Trucks; Chicken Pox Party; I'm Making Breakfast; Giving Tree; Sailing; Gotta Lotta Love; Clean Up Crew; Dress Up Queen; Pioneer Baby; and the title song, Don't Blink.

The Audiobook Shelf

Jake And Pete
Gillian Rubinstein
Bolinda Publishing, Inc.
2 Trap Falls Road, Suite 113, Shelton, CT 06484
1740932153 $24.00 1-888-235-2019

Jake And Pete is an audiobook collection of four stories that children of all ages will truly enjoy: "Jake and Pete", "Jake and Pete and the Magpie's Wedding", "Jake and Pete and the Catcrowbat", and "Jake and Pete and the Stray Dogs". In these sagas, two young cats venture out into a wide world full of dogs, cars, brooms, boots, snakes, and occasionally, a friend. Their search for a "mice" home (with a well-stocked refrigerator) will lead them into one exciting adventure and harrowing close call after another, in this upbeat and delightful narrative. Read aloud by television, theatre and film professional Alan King, Jake And Pete is perfect listening on car trips with young ones. 2 cassettes, approximately 2 hours, unabridged. Send for the complete listing of Bolinda audiobooks for young listeners.

Time Pieces: The Book of Times
Virginia Hamilton
Blackstone Audiobooks
PO Box 969, Ashland, OR 97520
0786182415 $36.00 1-800-729-2665

Deftly written by the talented author Virginia Hamilton (whose Children's Literature awards include the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the Newberry Medal, and the Coretta Scott King Award), Time Pieces: The Book Of Times is an audiobook coming-of-age story for young people. An eleven-year-old African-American girl named Valena lives with her family in rural Ohio; as she deals with daily events, the threat of a tornado, the excitement of going to a circus, and the oppressive pallor of racism, she also listens to her mother's tales of her family's proud history. A remarkable story of the importance of family ties and taking pride in one's heritage, skillfully narrated by Lisa Renee Pitts. 3 CDs, unabridged, tracks every 3 minutes for easy bookmarking.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Monkey Business
Shirley Climo
Henry Holt
115 W. 18th St., New York, NY 10011
0805063927 $18.95 1-888-330-8477

Both young adults and younger audiences with parents who like to read aloud will appreciate the lovely new Shirley Climo story collection Monkey Business: Stories From Around The World, featuring color drawings peppered throughout by Eric Brooks, and monkey-focussed stories from Africa, the Americas and Asia. This isn't a picturebook, nor is it entirely fiction: 118 pages blend folktales with facts and provide fables, proverbs, legends, and introductory facts. A unique, gorgeous coverage suitable for any elementary-level animal book collection.

The Creative Company
123 South Broad Street, Mankato, MN 56001
5 Volumes $136.50 1-800-445-6209

"Amazing Bugs" is a series of five books by Anna Claybourne that takes a uniquely informative survey at insects and other invertebrates. Hallmarked with visually impressive artwork, the text is replete with amazing facts and enhanced with "zoom-in" boxes for a closer look at each creature. There are even quizzes at the end of each book to help young readers that, along with fact panels, Q&A boxes, a glossary and an index, make the series ideal as a curriculum supplement for grades 1-3, as well as for home schooled children ages 6 through 8. The individual titles comprising this outstanding series include Ants & Termites (1932799575); Bees & Wasps (1932799567); Beetles & Other Bugs (1932799540); Butterflies & Moths (1932799559); and Spiders & Scorpions (1932799532). Although each volume can be individually acquired ($18.95), school and community libraries would be best advised to obtain the complete set.

One Night In The Coral Sea
Sneed B. Collard & Robin Brickman
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
1570913897 $15.95 1-800-225-3214

Superbly pictured in marvelous and colorful detail by Robin Brickman's cut-paper illustrations, One Night In The Coral Sea by science writer Sneed B. Collard III brings Australia's Great Barrier Reef to life for young readers ages 6 to 11. It is a night in the late spring just after the full moon and something is occurring that only happens once a year. Dozens of coral species simultaneously release thousands, millions, trillions of eggs and sperm into the sea. These then form new coral polyps that will settle onto the coral reef and form new colonies, extending the reach of the reef along the Australian coast. Enthusiastically recommended for both school and community library collections, One Night In The Coral Sea is an entertaining as it is informative.

Other Lands, Other People

The Usborne Internet-Linked Introduction To Asia
Elizabeth Dalby
Usborne Publishing/EDC Publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74146-6515
079450941X $17.95 1-800-475-4522

The internet links to websites that offer virtual tours and similar exciting things are all routed through, a site that is closely maintained to avoid dead links. An introductory warning emphasizes the importance of supervising young children's access to the internet, with basic rules for personal safety. Yet no computer or internet access is required to enjoy or learn from The Usborne Internet-Linked Introduction To Asia; it is a fully self- contained reference and introduction to the varied lands and peoples of Asia, and the many interlinks it features are simply extra embellishments. Intended for young adults, The Usborne Internet-Linked Introduction To Asia is illustrated with full-color photographs on every page depicting nations from Siberia to China to East India and many more. In addition to maps and basic statistics concerning various Asian countries, snippets of life daily life, religion, and art compel one's full attention - from a glimpse of a Japanese Shinto shrine to the technique of leg-rowing that allows Burmese fishermen to move their boats and keep one hand free to handle their bamboo trap, to a reindeer herder hard at work. A highly recommended resource for school and public libraries as well as private collections, educational, enjoyable, and stimulating for young minds.

The Biography Shelf

Read About Martin Luther King Jr.
Stephen Feinstein
Enslow Publishers
PO Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
0766023001 $16.95 1-800-398-2504

Ages 6-8 will find Read About Martin Luther King Jr. to be a basic primer offering 24 large-print pages of facts about Martin Luther King Jr. Each page offers a paragraph of information offset by a large color photo, and each focuses on King's ideas as much as his life. A timeline, bibliography and index concludes this excellent introduction for the young.

The Hobby Shelf

The Ultimate Guide To Collecting
Frances Karnes & Kristen Stephens
Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813
1593630115 $12.95 1-800-998-2208

Professional educators Frances Karnes and Kristen Stephens present The Ultimate Guide To Collecting: A Hands-On Guide for Young People, a straightforward introduction to adopting a hobby intended for young adults. Chapters cover the basics of collecting, including how to keep a collection journal or safely display one's collection. Common types of collections discussed are sports cards and postcards (collectible card games are not discussed though), stamps, coins, fossils, dolls, memorabilia, insects and more. Individual kids who enjoy their collections speak about their hobbies in their own words, adding a personal touch to this fun introduction to a satisfying and productive hobby.

The Picturebook Shelf

Just For Today
Jan Phillips & Alison Bonds Shapiro
H.J. Kramer
PO Box 1082, Tiburon, CA 94920
1932073078 $15.95

Alison Bonds Shapiro illustrates the radical story of a Bear family who decides to defy an increasingly busy world by turning off phones, faxes, and more. Beginning with parents promising a day free of nagging to bear cubs who decide to hide all the clocks, Just For Today by Jan Phillips evolves into a fun and thought-provoking picturebook story.

Bedtime In The Southwest
Mona Hodgson & Renee Graef
Rising Moon
PO Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002
0873588711 $14.95 1-800-346-3257

Renee Graef provides the beautiful Southwest influenced drawings to accompany Mona Hodgson's Bedtime In The Southwest, a story of a Southwest critter who balks at bedtime. A rhyming lullaby helps kids make the transition to a restful night in this fun survey of animal reactions to bedtime.

Andy Mills & Becky Osborn
Gurze Books
PO Box 2238, Carlsbad, CA 92018
0936077476 $14.95

Erica Neitz illustrates an engaging story by Andy Mills and Becky Osborn of a small town where five very different friends of different shapes, sizes, colors and talents. The rhyming verse of Shapesville lends to the celebration of characteristics which make them unique in a fun story line which celebrates unusual friendships and individual attributes.

Golden Books
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Two wonderful picturebook titles are recommended picks for elementary libraries. Dan Yaccarino's Mother Goose (037582-8494, $14.95) brings Yaccarino's original style to the Motehr Goose favorites, using new urban approaches to bring Mother Goose to modern times, as in a piper's son who's really a hip jazz player. Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel's My Big Dog (0375832971, $12.95) tells of a special cat who finds his home invaded by a big dog. Will Merl be forced out of her own comfortable house? The zany drawings and unusual story line make for a particularly memorable tale.

Where Are You Going? To See My Friend!
Eric Carle & Kazuo Iwamura
Orchard Books
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439416590 $19.95 1-800-242-7737

In Where Are You Going? To See My Friend!, Eric Carle and Japanese artist Kazuo Iwamura combine their considerable talents to present an engaging artistic story of a dog, cat, rooster and child who embark on a journey to see their friends. A bilingual presentation of Japanese and English enhances this engaging and entertaining story of diverse creatures and unusual friendships.

Piggy And Dad Go Fishing
David Martin
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
076362506X $14.99 1-800-526-0275

Frank Remkiewicz's drawings comes from an artist who has loved pigs since childhood and been a long-time fan of Freddy the Pig: his fun drawings in Piggy And Dad Go Fishing hold a hint of Freddy with but a life all their own. From being unable to attach a happy worm to a hook to becoming too restless to catch a fish, Piggy doesn't seem to be cultivating the right skills! Highly recommended!

Trafalgar Square Publishing
PO Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053-0257

Simon Puttock and Alison Bartlett's Pig's Prize (1405205385, $17.99) tells of a pig who goes wild over a gardening competition. Pig is good at gardening - but can he really win easily? Joanna Kendrick and Doffy Weir's Moondance (Andersen Press, 1842703242, $19.99) tells of a young tiger who wants to join the others in their moonlit dance - but he isn't old enough. He hates such rules: can he defy them and join anyway? Andrew Murray's On A Tall Tall Cliff (Collins, 0007121-555, $19.99) tells of best friends and neighbors: but one neighbor always borrows everything from his friend. When will he stop borrowing - and can the lid be capped when the entire house is borrowed? Alan Durant's If You Go Walking In Tiger Wood (Collins, 0007103913, $19.99) tells of two children who go walking in the dangerous Tiger Wood, only to encounter some surprises.

The Hero Beowulf
Eric A. Kimmel, author
Leonard Everett Fisher, illustrator
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
0374306710 $16.00 1-888-330-8477

The Hero Beowulf is a children's picturebook retelling the legend of the Nordic hero Beowulf. Narrated in simple prose, it tells of how Beowulf came to the aid of the Danish king Hrothgar, whose men were being devoured nightly by the monster Grendel. Depicting Beowulf's mortal battle with the monster, the story tells how Beowulf bested Grendel by tearing off its arm, as its hide was enchanted and could not be pierced with mortal weapons. Grendel never gave mercy to its victims, and so Beowulf showed no mercy to it. The art is colorful and in a slightly simplistic but realistic style, the better to convey the gut feeling of a classic struggle between good and evil. An excellent introduction to a classic legend, retold faithful to the spirit of the original.

Books in Series

The Child's World
Box 326, Chanhassen, MN 55317-0326

A new and thoroughly "kid friendly" series, "The Timeline Library" (1592963-96X, $162.42) is a very special six volume set dedicated to showing young readers how the society we live in came about as reflected in the invention and use of key technologies. Combining elements of biography, science, history, and even social studies, the individual titles include: The History Of Space Travel; The History Of The Airplane; The History Of The Automobile; The History Of The Clock; The History Of The Telephone; and The History Of The Written Word. Each 32 page book features reinforced library binding for a durable library shelf life, a table of contents, a glossary, a comprehensive index, as well as websites and sources for further research. The thoroughly "kid friendly" text (reading level - 4th grade) is nicely embellished with informative sidebars, a timeline of key events, and a profusion of color photography and black/white illustrations. Even though each title can easily be acquired separately ($27.07), school and community libraries would be very well advised to acquire the entire set so that their young readers will have a particularly thorough grasp of how these inventions have shaped their culture, their society, and the world at large both, now and in their future.

Rourke Publishing Group
PO Box 3328, Vero Beach, FL 32964

Sylvia Goulding's "Healthy Kids" (15951-52008, $171.00) is an ideal series for teaching children in grades 3 through 6 about health and the human body, Sylvia Goulding's six volume series "Healthy Kids" covers Healthy Eating; Illness and Injury; Keeping Fit; Sleeping Well; Taking Care of Your Body; and Taking Care of Your Teeth. Each of these "reader friendly" volumes are profusely illustrated as they present the clear and accessible science relevant to each subject area. With an informed and informative text enhanced with a profusion of colorful diagrams, charts, photographs, illustrations and sidebars, each volume is also provided with application sections and fun "self quizzes" which admirably serve to reinforced what the young reader is learning about human health and physical well being. The "Healthy Kids" series would nicely serve as a classroom curriculum supplement and with the inclusion of a glossary (and bolded glossary terms throughout the text), a list of additional print and Internet resources, along with a detailed index, make the series advisable for home schooling and age appropriate independent research studies as well. No school or community library Health & Hygiene reference collection can be considered complete without the inclusion of Sylvia Goulding's "Healthy Kids" series!

Crabtree Publishing
PMB 16A, 360 - 5th Avenue, #3308, New York NY 10118

The 'Green Bananas' and 'Red Bananas' series of books for guided reading for ages 4-6 (Green) and 6-8 (red) provides kids with targeted readers designed to move them from different levels with stories which keep kids progressing toward chapter books. Three stories in one are presented in the 'Green' books. Tony Bradfman and Emma Carlow's Flora The Fairy (077871022X) tells of a fairy who loves her grandparents but fears their cat pet, though the cat only wants to be friends. Kate Agnew and Lydia Monks' Shout, Show And Tell! (0778710246) tells of three kids with very different concerns about divorce, losing teeth, and showing off. Melissa Balfour and Russell Julian's The Magic Footprints (0778710238) tells of a shy boy whose mysterious birthday gift from a new neighbor leads to a magical adventure, and Pippa Goodhart and Georgie Birkett's Happy Birthday, Jo-Jo! (0778710254) tells of a sad kangaroo who faces the challenges of a new sister and her birthday. The next level up 'Red Bananas' readers includes David Sutherland and David Roberts' Samantha Cardigan And The Ghastly Twirling Sickness (077-8710696), telling of a strange twirling sickness involving a kingdom and young investigators who strive to solve the puzzle, Pippa Goodhart and Martin Ursell's Dragon Boy (0778710718) tells of a dragon boy who always feels like he's the odd one out, Mary Arrigan and Korky Paul's Pa Jingelbob: The Fastest Knitter In The West (0778710726) is a fantastic, funny story of a truly unique town sheriff who hides his strengths behind delicate knitting (recommended for many a parent's enjoyment as well!), Julia Donaldson's The Wrong Kind Of Bark (0778710734) tells of a dreamer who brings his puppy to class and gets in trouble, Tony Bradman and Martin Chatterton's The Surprise Party (0778710688) tells of the Mummy family's party gone awry, and David Sutherland and David Roberts' Samantha Cardigan And The Genie's Revenge (0778710-70X) presents another zany adventure of Cardigan and Rabbit, on a dangerous desert quest to outwit an evil enie. High interest, graded reading levels promising steady upward movement to chapter books: what more could one wish for?

The Art Shelf

The Louvre Art For Kids
Gallimard Jeunesse
c/o Crystal Productions
PO Box 2159, Glenview, IL 60025-6159
CP5379 $39.95 1-800-255-8629

Fully compatible with PC and Macintosh computers, The Louvre Art For Kids is an educational, entertaining and exciting introduction to 150 masterpieces of the world's greatest museum. Cartoon characters Mona and Leo guide young people as they can view kings, queens, gods, goddesses, historic artifacts and more. The Louvre Art For Kids is also packed with 300 commentaries read aloud, original musical compositions, 150 fun games, various brief cartoons that reflect upon art in unexpected ways, and much more. The next best thing to taking a trip to show the Louvre to one's children in person, The Louvre Art For Kids is a refreshing alternative to kids' computer and video games, and is recommended for just plain rainy-day fun as well as an enhancement to classroom or home schooling resources.

Rainy Day Art 2
Cherie Lynn
11783 Borman Dr., St. Louis, MO 63146

Art educator Cherie Lynn hosts Rainy Day Art 2, an art adventure for parents and kids brimming with colorful, inexpensive, easy-to-make "kid friendly" projects especially for young people ages 5 and up. From A-B-C books to homemade paper to mosaic picture frames, soven kites, Mardi Gras masks and more, Rainy Day Art 2 walks the view through the creation process step by step in a manner that will inspire and entertain as well as instruct. Printable instructions and material lists round out the 13 presented projects, in this fun-filled compilation perfect for parties, holidays, and just plain rainy day fun.

The Library Video Shelf

Disney's World Of Music Discovery
Disney Educational Productions
500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-6307 1-800-295-5010
1932644725 $59.95 (volume 1)
1932644733 $59.95 (volume 2)

Intended for grade levels K-6, Disney's World Of Music Discovery series is an excellent introduction to the world of music and musical instruments for young people. Volume 1 begins with an overview of basic musical concepts such as rhythm, melody, harmony, and syncopation, the brass family of instruments from their use in ceremonial music and marches to toe-tapping jazz, and the string family, including a nod to the legacies of Antonio Stradivari and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Volume 2 presents a music overview and insight into the voice family, the woodwind family, and the rhythm & percussion family. Presented in a "classroom edition" DVD format, which can be accessed from any DVD-equipped computer or DVD player, Disney's World Of Music Discovery volumes 1 & 2 also feature clips correlated to activities in a printable on-disk Educator's Guide and web links to additional resources. Although intended especially for classroom use, Disney's World Of Music Discovery is also a superb educational resource for children's libraries or home viewing, sure to stimulate a young person's interest in and appreciation of music and the instruments that create it. Approximately 70 minutes long apiece, color, closed-captioned, and available at the reduced price of $99.00 for both volumes.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Anchor Bay Entertainment
1699 Stutz Drive, Troy, MI 48084

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Adventures In Friendship presents two episodes of the widely beloved children's television show, which gently introduces young people to positive attitudes and respectful behaviors. Two full color, 30-minute episodes, "Friends" and "Love", teach young people about life. In "Friends", Henrietta Pussycat and X the Owl have trouble cooperating, until Lady Aberlin helps them work together and realize that friends should not be afraid of being upset with each other. In "Love", Lady Aberlin sees King Friday and Queen Sara have an argument, and learns that people who love each other can also have angry feelings sometimes. Extra features on the DVD include a teddy bear factory tour, a "making friends" read-along, three games, activities, a section about Fred Rogers, and much more. A heartwarming and emotionally uplifting classic program to share with young viewers, highly recommended. 58 minutes, color.

Peep's New Friends
WGBH Boston Video
c/o SSA Public Relations
16027 Ventura Blvd., Suite 206, Encino, CA 91436
1593753330 $12.95 818-501-0700

Narrated by the award-winning actress Joan Cusack, the "Peep and the Big Wide World" series is an educational children's television series originally broadcast on Discovery Kids and TLC. In the DVD Peep's New Friends, Peep, Chirp, and Quack explore the wide world of animals, meeting an eager beaver, three shy bunnies, a frisky cat, a colorful butterfly, and Hoot the Owl. Then young viewers follow real kids as they play in and explore the "big wide world", searching for friendly cats, and building beaver dams of their very own. The episodes in Peep's New Friends are "Peep's New Friend", "Peep in Rabbitland", "Under Duck", "Quack's Stuck Stick", "That's a Cat", and "Birds of a Feather". A delightful viewing experience to share with preschoolers, fostering curiosity and an interest in science. Extra features include downloadable "anywhere science activities" and coloring pages, as well as tips for encouraging kids to take an interest in science. 60 minutes, color, English/Spanish audio tracks.

There should be three libraries in the life of every child. The school library, the community library, and a library in their home that they can call their own.

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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