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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 20, Number 7 July 2010 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Family Issues Shelf Music Shelf
DVD Shelf Picturebook Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Geography Shelf Preschool Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Environmental Studies Shelf Biography Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Folklore/Fairytale Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Science Shelf Poetry Shelf American History Shelf
Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

The Library Pages
Carlene Morton, author
Valeria DoCampo, artist
401 S. Wright Road, Janesville, WI 53547
9781602130456, $17.95 1-800-448-4887

"The Library Pages" is a side-splitting tale of the (purported) misadventures of the Happyland Elementary School Library Pages, students assigned to library duty while Mrs. Heath, their beloved librarian is on maternity leave to care for her twin babies. The Library Pages send Mrs. Heath a DVD of their activities under the (sleepy) substitute librarian, Mrs. Grier. Unfortunately, when Mrs. Heath starts to review the Library Pages in action on the DVD, she is horrified. How can so much go wrong so quickly? Can she possibly entrust her beloved library collection and services to the mischievous Pages? After a long cataloguing of every librarian's worst nightmare come true, the Library Pages take pity on Mrs. Heath and shout "April Fool!" together at the DVD's ending scene. Exaggerated, comical, colorful illustrations carry the impact of the rapidly moving story line. "The Library Pages" is appealing for kids ages 4-9, and guarantees some good laughs in the reading.

Lucas the Traveling Crab
David S. Rawding, author
Mohammad Qovaizi, illustrator
DSR Books
PO Box 262, Dover, NH 03821
9780982625606, $12.95

"Lucas the Traveling Crab" is the story of the odyssey of a European Green Crab named Lucas, who is picked up from his tidal pool on a New England seacoast by a boy and taken far inland by car. Lucas has many adventures and meets many new friends on his search for the way back to the sea. Lucas learns many lessons on his journey about orientation ("The sun rises in the east and sets in the west,"), adaptability, making new friends, and finding home. Luminous, colorful illustrations bring Lucas' experiences to vivid life. Appealing to children ages 4-8, "Lucas the Crab" is an excellent teaching book. A portion of the profits of "Lucas the Traveling Crab" will be donated to non-profit organizations that support at risk youth.

Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change
Garth Sundem
Foreword by Bethany Hamilton
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575423500, $9.99

"Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Courageous Actions Around the World" is an inspirational compendium that profiles thirty different real kids from around the world who used their skills and abilities to make a real difference, improving the world. Divided into five chapters, "Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change" presents stories of kids saving the environment, kids standing up for themselves, kids helping others, kids overcoming challenges, and kids using talents and creativity. Examples include a painter of monkeys from China, a girl from India who climbs mountains, a boy in the USA who protects the habitat of endangered turtles, an orphan boy from Romania who champions the cause of other children who are orphaned and alone, an art prodigy from Japan who uses drawings to help heal the world, and more. "Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change" is the perfect example of the saying, "A brave heart is a powerful weapon (Rudy Garcia-Tolson, p. 123)." "Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change" is written at reading level grade 5, and will have appeal for students ages 9-13.

My Little French Friend
Leslye Jacobs, author
Al Margolis, illustrator
Bridge & Tunnel Communications
c/o Pals Around The World Publishers
9157 Sunset Blvd., Suite 205, West Hollywood, CA 90069
9780578032382, $22.95

"My Little French Friend" is Volume 1 of the Pals Around the World Series, planned to have a total of eight volumes celebrating eight different cultures to be released annually. "My Little French Friend" contains a plethora of information about France, presented by a girl named Veronique. Along with maps, illustrations of famous places, and summaries of typical French customs, pastimes, and activities, "My Little French Friend" has five typical French recipes, complete with instructions and suggestions for serving, and a handy practice pack of French flash cards. Celebrity Pals (with famous profiles) have given a list of ringing endorsement for this series, and it should be noted that, $2.00 from the sale of each Pals book will be donated to help Children International, in support of children around the world. Also endorsed by Global Relief and American Forests, Pals Around the World and Global Printing PSD will plant two trees for each tree used in the manufacture of this book. Charmingly illustrated with pastel water color works, "My Little French Friend" is an ideal choice for educational cultural reading for children age 7 and up.

The Mystery of the Maize
Mark Meierhenry and David Volk, authors
Marty Two Bulls, Sr., illustrator
South Dakota Historical Society Press
900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501
9780982274910, $13.95

"The Mystery of the Maize" is an illustrated story of the beginning cultivation of maize by prehistoric Native Americans, the crop that became corn and now feeds much of the world. Originating in Meso-American cultures, the cultivation of maize spread north and throughout the North American continent thousands of years before European explorers and settlers came. Corn, or maize, was one of the First Americans' great gifts to the rest of the world. "They Mystery of the Maize" traces some of the beginnings of maize in a story about a young girl named Heron and her twin brother Muskrat are told the story of maize by their grandfather, White Bear. Many years later, the white bone necklace carved with four maize symbols on it belonging to Heron is found and worn by another girl named Hannah. The plant known as maize has undergone changes in the years to become the corn we know and eat today. "The Mystery of the Maize" presents some of the interesting aspects of the evolution of this great agricultural legacy, begun by Native American ancestors over 6 thousand years ago. "The Mystery of the Maize" is aimed at an audience of children with first to third grade reading level skills, and can be read to a much younger audience. The haunting illustrations recall some of the Meso-American roots of the history of maize, in addition to the prairie years of history of its development.

The Blueberry Pie Elf
Jane Thayer, author
Seymour Fleishman, illustrator
Purple House Press
PO Box 787, Cynthiana, KY 41031
9781930900387, $18.95

"The Blueberry Pie Elf" is a charming, manners morality fable about an elf named Elmer who loves blueberry pie. How he tries to persuade the family he lives with to make him another blueberry pie occupies a great deal of hard housework task performance, but the humans fail to notice Elmer's efforts until they see his red cherry pi stained footprints on their table. Finally Elmer has found a way to communicate his wish for blueberry pie to his people! Fortunately they take the hint and reward his hard housework duties with a large, luscious blueberry pie. Elmer remembers to leave his sincere thanks in blueberry pie juice letters. The red, white, blue and black ink of the illustrations add to the piquance of "The Blueberry Pie Elf," making this appealing book a winner for children age 4 and up.

Aim High! 101 Tips for Teens
Brad Berger and Kalev Pehme, authors
Privately Published
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E. Marlton Pike, Suite I-46, Cherry Hille, NJ 08003
9780615330228, $9.75

"Aim High! 101 Tips for Teens" is a text-reduced collections of valuable tips for teens that cut to the heart of encouraging maturity and learning to make well-considered choices. Every tip is succinct (under 140 characters), encouraging teen tweeters, texters, and IM-ers to compete reading each page and continue progressing on through the book. Quite a lot of solid ethics and considerations for others as well as respect for oneself and taking responsibility for self health care is packed into these 101 pages. The last 15 pages are blank, labeled "My Thoughts..." and "Think!" "Aim High! 101 Tips for Teens" is a practical guidebook for teens that can claim to be accessible to both teens and adults. It is a valuable resource to parents and teachers and teens everywhere.

The Family Issues Shelf

I Can't Wait to Meet You
Claudia Santorelli-Bates, author
Caleb Sawyer, illustrations
So No Wonder Publishing
533- 21st Place, Santa Monica, CA 90402
9780615319353, $15.99

"I Can't Wait to Meet You: Understanding In Vitro Fertilization" is a children's picture book that provides simple explanations of the process of in vitro fertilization. Sure to be hailed as a valuable tool to aid in educating young children about assisted reproduction. It has been recommended by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine that children who are conceived through IVF method are entitled to be told the full story of their conception, and that it is in their best interest to be told this information. "I Can't Wait To Meet You" gives parents and medical professionals a nonthreatening way to begin explaining this information to very young children, making it easier to accept and give further information at later ages. "I Can't Wait To Meet You" is lighthearted in tone, gentle, and informative.

Once Upon a Time: An Adoption Story
Ashley Hansen Bigler, author
Amy Hintze, illustrator
Cedar Fort
2373 West 700 South, Springville, UT 84663
9781599553108, $12.99

"Once Upon a Time: An Adoption Story" is a gentle picture book about a young girl's beginning, birth, and adoption by her forever family. Realistic, pastel illustrations add depth to the story, and adopted children will identify with the child presented in "Once Upon a Time: An Adoption Story." The making of the scrapbook by the hopeful adoptive parents is a very significant turning point in the story, and can be resonated by other scrapbooks that the parents have to share with the child. "Once Upon a Time: An Adoption Story" is suitable for age 5 and up.

Luke and Morgan Learn a Lesson
Michelle Velky, author
Nicholas Peruzzo, illustrator
Mirror Publishing
6434 West Dixon Street, Milwaukee, WI 53214
9781936046751, $12.99

"Luke and Morgan Learn a Lesson" is a story about a father who works to teach his children that the bond of siblings is of lifelong importance. Luke and Morgan enjoy playing ball together and many other activities. Sometimes they disagree, or have a spat. When that happens, they are encouraged by their father to remember the lesson he taught them about how important it is to protect and appreciate your brother or sister, no matter what. Sometimes it is not easy to have a sibling, but Luke and Morgan learn to remember this lesson in all their times together. Colored illustrations help bring the reality of the valuable lesson in the story to the children's attention.

Grandmother Remembers Holidays
Judith Levy
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781584798415, $19.95

"Grandmother Remembers Holidays: An Album of Memories and Photos for My Grandchild" is the perfect intergenerational gift that can keep on giving, an album ready to be filled with personal remembrances of holidays, special family events, history, and pictures. Four-color illustrations and verses embellish each holiday chapter, and the album is especially adapted to be open for use by those of differing religions or cultures, citing the chapters on Spring Holiday and Winter Holiday as examples of flexibility. Precious information to fill in a family tree, special traditions, and memorable holiday trips or vacations are some of the suggested page headings. "Grandmother Remembers Holidays" is a special way for a grandmother to leave lasting gifts to a beloved grandchild, and will represent hours of pleasure and planning in the making. It is the perfect gift between family generations.

The Music Shelf

Time Out To Rock
The Not-Its
Little Loopy
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $14.00

Time Out To Rock is the latest family-friendly music album by the award-winning band "The Not-Its!". Designed to get young people off the couch and dancing, Time Out To Rock includes fast-tempo music, with upbeat, catchy rhythms, and lyrics that endorse positive activities such as welcoming the new kid at school. Brimming with energy and passion, Time Out To Rock is a great gift for young people and an excellent addition to public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Welcome To Our School", "Time Out To Rock", "First Kid in Outer Space", "Green Light, Go!", "Accidentally", "Say It Loudly", "Cheetah the Buffalo", "Fantastic", "Only Kids Can See", "Change My Luck", and "Hollow Tree". 30 minutes.

The DVD Shelf

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins
Barbara Kerley, author
Brian Selznick, illustrator
Jonathan Pryce, narrator
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545196469 $59.95

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins is a DVD adaptation of a nonfiction Caldecott Honor picturebook, originally intended for young readers ages 7 to 10. Waterhouse Hawkins was an extraordinary craftsman who built life-sized dinosaur models that captivated the world. His amazing creations helped spread public knowledge of and love for these tremendous creatures that once ruled the Earth. The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins is an excellent choice for young viewers in general and young dinosaur lovers in particular, highly recommended especially for public library collections. 20 minutes, closed captioned. Also a choice pick from Weston Woods is the DVD adaptation of the children's picturebook "Splat the Cat" (0545226333, $59.95, 9 minutes).

Phonics Volume 2
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595
9781934312100 $19.99

Intended for young viewers age 6 and up, Phonics Volume 2 continues and builds on the educational series that teaches the basics of reading through phonics. "On screen mouths" let viewers and students check their reading and pronunciation, and simple read-along stories, playful songs, and fluid rhymes also for practice and reinforcement. A superb educational DVD for children's public and school libraries, or for education at home, Phonics Volume 2 is highly recommended. 78 minutes.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Scott Magoon, illustrator
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
054522635X $59.95

Intended for young viewers age 2 to 6, Spoon is the DVD adaptation of a children's picturebook about celebrating our unique qualities and differences. Spoon is, of course, an anthropomorphic utensil; for a long time he's been content with his lot in life, yet now he worries that he might be inferior to Fork, Knife, and Chopsticks. Are they really better off than he is? A behind-the-scenes mini-featurette about creating the music for Spoon rounds out this brief yet delightful presentation. 8 minutes, English subtitles, guided reading level 1.

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!
Mo Willems
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545226341 $59.95 1-800-290-7531

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! is the DVD adaptation of a charming children's picturebook, ideal for young viewers age 2 to 6. When Pigeon finds a hot dog, he is eager to eat it - but a clever little duckling also wants a bite! Both birds match wits in this charming tale, enhanced with a mini-documentary about the making of the film. 7 minutes, optional English subtitles, closed-captioned.

Let's Grow: Safety First
Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distributor)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Let's Grow: Safety First is a children's DVD that blends popular fan-favorite characters with invaluable life lessons. Created by mothers, for mothers, to help teach preschool-aged children, Let's Grow: Safety First covers such basic safety tips as the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street, buckling up when riding in an automobile, wearing one's helmet while on a bicycle, and much more. The episodes are "Home, Safe Home" (featuring Barney the purple dinosaur), "Thomas and the Runaway Car" (with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends), "Slow Down Scrambler" (with Bob the Builder), "High Jinx" (with Fireman Sam), "Skates" (with Kipper), and the bonus episode "Angelina's New School" (with Angelina Ballerina). A wonderfully educational as well as entertaining DVD, highly recommended for public library children's collections.

Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind
Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distributor)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

A delightful, family-friendly stop-motion animated DVD by the creators of the Academy Award-winning "Wallace and Gromit", Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind collects six short films o the plucky sheep's adventures. No dialogue is needed to show the hijinks of Shaun and his barnyard friends Bitzer, Shirley, and Timmy. Freewheeling and fun to the end, Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind includes to the episodes "Shaun Encounters", "The Bull", "Hiccups", "Bitzer Puts His Foot In It", "Save the Tree", and "The Visitor". Bonus features include "Sing-Along with Shaun" and a "Whack-A-Pig" game. 38 minutes. Also highly recommended for young viewers is the 2-disc collection "Thomas & Friends: The Greatest Stories" ($16.98), collecting twenty episodes including the very first Thomas & Friends episode.

The Picturebook Shelf

Eli's Lie-O-Meter
Sandra Levins, author
Jeff Ebbeler, illustrator
Magination Press
750 First Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
American Psychological Association
P.O. Box 92984, Washington, D.C. 20090
9781433807350, $14.95

"Eli's Lie-O-Meter: A Story About Telling the Truth" is a humorous children's book about what can result from stretching the truth to unrecognizable limits. Wonderful, wild, fantastical illustrations reveal the great capacities of the Lie-O-Meter to help bring Eli's dilemmas about appropriate truth-telling into focus. Eli is a great hero for kids to identify with in this self-explanatory tale, and humor is nearly always one of the best teachers. An additional note to parents at the end of "Eli's Lie-O-Meter" by Maria Lamia, clinical psychologist, helps explain how children perceive distinctions between telling truths and untruths, and reinforces the idea that parents are role models in truth-telling, and it is more effective to "stress the importance of being honest rather than focus on their child's dishonesty." "Eli's Lie-O-Meter" is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

Yasmin's Hammer
Ann Malaspina, author
Doug Ghayka, illustrator
Lee & Low Books Inc.
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600603594, $18.95

"Yasmin's Hammer" is an inspirational illustrated story about a girl in Dhaka, Bangladesh who helps her sister in supporting her family by hammering bricks into small pieces all day, while her father operates a rickshaw and her mother works doing housework for rich families in the city. Yasmin dreams of going to school, learning to read and creating a better life for herself and her family, but her parents tell her they need her income from brick chipping to survive and keep a roof over their heads. Yasmin develops a plan to realize her dream and finally she discovers a way to begin to learn and go to school. "Yasmin's Hammer" contains descriptive details about daily life in both rural and urban Bangladesh, and also lists sources for ways to help children like Yasmin in Bangladesh, in addition to a glossary and pronunciation guide and further suggested reading. "Yasmin's Hammer" will appeal to children ages 5 and up.

Maggie McNair Has Spiders in Her Hair
Sheila Booth-Alberstadt, author
Norris Hall, illustrator
SBA Books
PO Box 3019, Daphne, AL 36526
9780971140455, $14.95

"Maggie McNair Has Spiders in Her Hair" is a book about a girl who did not want to brush her hair. Guess what happened? Hundreds of spiders lived in her hair! She still didn't care! Her mother despaired! Maggie, beware of those hundreds of spiders in your hair! What finally opens her eyes is not parental despair, tantrums not rare (unfortunately), or sleeping with spiders in hair, it's the ITCHING that's there, because of the spiders in her hair! Now Maggie the fair has learned the wisdom of brushing her hair, no spiders live there! Taking care of yourself and brushing your hair is the best possible repair! So parents of kids with aversions to care (specifically brushing hair), take heed and take heart. Maggie McNair will be there to help teach your daughter or son their own special part of self-care! "Maggie McNair Has Spiders in Her Hair" is appropriate for all ages who need hair care skills review and improvement! The humorous rhyming text and wonderful colored illustrations of spiders living cozily help to keep the laughter coming and the pages turning. Also recommended by Sheila Booth-Alberstadt is "An Angel in the Sky," (ISBN 9780971140448, $14.95), illustrated by Terry Moss, a comforting book to help children deal with pain, loss, or hardship.

Cecil Learns To Smile
Charlotte Bucher, author/illustrator
Outskirts Press
2253 South Alton Way, Denver, Colorado 80231
9781432749927, $19.95

"Cecil Learns To Smile" is a heartwarming picture book story about a lonely little chartreuse tree frog named Cecil who finds happiness among other frogs after he learns to smile for a photographer. Aimed at children ages 4-8, "Cecil learns To Smile" is the perfect Ugly Duckling story interpreted into Frogs. Kids will identify with Cecil's loneliness and fear of teasing and rejection. When Cecil finally learns to smile and becomes famous because of the photographer, his frog rendezvous celebration is a sight to be savored! "Cecil Learns To Smile" provides both inspiration and education, opening the eyes and minds of kids and others who turn its rainbow pages with joy and anticipation.

The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party
Leslie Patricelli
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763632434, $14.99

"The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party" is a story about Petra, Andy, Penelope and Zack and the midnight monster. Petra can't sleep because she is afraid of the monster, in spite of her siblings' various offers of help for courage. Finally someone suggests they make cookies for the monster and Petra agrees. At bedtime, no one can sleep until Papa declares a quiet contest; soon all are slumbering. Not much later they awaken to behold the monster, not eating their cookies! In fact, Petra decides the Monster is scared (she is holding 16 stuffed animals in her four hands), and decides to offer her a cookie. First thing you know, all the puppies including Petra are enjoying a party with the monster! There is dancing, music, drums, noise, laughing, and cookie crumbs! Finally Mama and Papa wake up and decide the four little puppies can clean up the mess first thing in the morning! Everyone goes back to bed including Petra, and everyone goes right to sleep, including Petra! "The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party" is a charming picture book for 2-7 year old children that teaches kids how to tame and conquer some of their fears through laughter and humor and joy. The darkly colorful illustrations add to the punch and pizzazz of the story.

Daydreams of a Solitary Hamster
Astrid Desbordes, author
Pauline Martin, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592700936, $17.95

"Daydreams of a Solitary Hamster" is an unusual children's picture book, containing pages of colored comic-strip illustrations filled with imaginative, (egotistical) hamster musings and interactions with friends, Mole, Hedgehog, Rabbit, Squirrel, Snail and more. "Daydreams of a Solitary Hamster" is more than kiddie lit with literary pretensions. It manages to get to the true essence of existence, even the existence of a solitary (slightly self-important) hamster. What can be more important than sharing laughter, music, and good times with friends? Kids of all ages will love "Daydreams of a Solitary Hamster," if they can get it away from their parents long enough to read it themselves.

Garmann's Street
Stian Hole, author/illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapid, MI 49505
9780802853578, $16.99

"Garmann's Street" is a poignant picture book about a boy who faces a bully and scary, dark situations but emerges stronger, and with a new friend. Filled with intensely realistic, sensitive illustrations, "Garmann's Street" is a book that takes its readers to some of the darker, scary places in childhood settings, then shows some positive results that can occur when you face your fear and keep working with it or in spite of it. Multiple award -winning author/illustrator Stian Hole has written and illustrated a Norwegian classic successor to "Garmann's Summer" which has been translated to English for more children ages 6-10 to enjoy.

The Weber Street Wonder Work Crew
Maxwell Newhouse, author/illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, Canada M5A 2P9
9780887769139, $17.95

"The Weber Street Wonder Work Crew" is an illustrated children's book about how a neighborhood group of different kids can find chores to help neighbors while earning spending money for themselves and their families. From taking out the recycling and garbage, to babysitting cranky toddlers, to providing online webmistress assistance, the Weber Street Wonder Work Crew adds a lot of quality to the lives of neighbors on the block. The folk-art style illustrations help deliver a message of cooperation and togetherness that underline the message of "The Weber Street Wonder Work Crew." It is also clear from the illustrations that differently abled people can still make valuable contributions to the life of the community. "The Weber Street Wonder Work Crew" is an uplifting book for children ages 4-7 to read with their parents or on their own.

My Friend Maya Loves to Dance
Cheryl Willis Hudson, author
Eric Velasquez, illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810983281, $16.95

"My Friend Maya Loves to Dance" is a beautiful picture book about a young dancer named Maya who dances in many styles, from classical ballet to reggae, blues or jazz. Maya dances in kente cloth with cowrie shells or in leotards and tutus. Maya loves to dance, tap, jazz, blues, or rap. "My Friend Maya Loves to Dance" is a celebration of a wonderful art form that transcends cultures, histories, and generations. Young readers ages 4-8 will love the vibrant illustrations that bring the varied dancing skills of Maya to each page.

A Bird in a Bathing Suit
Dawn Mitchell, author
Josh Will, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432754044, $12.95

"A Bird in a Bathing Suit" is a curious little story about children's reaction to a funny little blue bird who wears a bathing suit. At first they laugh and tease the little bird because it looks so silly and different. Then, when the bird flies away, they begin to realize they may have hurt its feelings and lost the opportunity to make friends. Luckily one girl is able to persuade the bird to return by promising not to laugh, and the story ends with the girl saying "Actually, I think the bird in the bathing suit is pretty cool!" Colorful, funny illustrations help to show the feelings of the characters of "A Bird in a Bathing Suit" to young readers, and its message of acceptance and celebration of diversity is succinctly and kindly delivered.

Whissie the Not -So-Pretty Ragdoll
Barbara Bonnell, author
Michaelin Otis, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983254, $17.95

"Whissie the Not-So-Pretty Ragdoll" is a child's picture book about a resourceful rag doll who endures the toystore owner's rejection because of her torn leg and not pretty clothes. Along with other second best or damaged toys, she decides to take fate by the hands and dances her way into a playground near a flowered backpack belonging to a girl named Bethie. When Bethie discovers all the second best toys with Whissie by her backpack, she is overjoyed! After taking appropriate actions to determine if the toys belonged to someone else, Bethie joyfully adopts them all. Best of all, at her birthday party, she receives a special gift, Whissie's old friend, the clown named Piney H. "Whissie the Not-So-Pretty Ragdoll" is a lovely "Ugly Duckling" type of story, sure to appeal to children age 5 and up. The delicate, whimsical watercolor illustrations bring Whissie and her friends to life, adding soft touches of mingled fantasy and reality in a wash of sensitive nuances that enhance the text.

Too Purpley!
Jean Reidy, author
Genevieve Leloup, illustrator
Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781599903071, $11.99

"Too Purpley!" is a picture book for fussy young dressers whose parents have wearied and despaired of the search for appropriate cajolery magic to persuade said child into clothes of any color. Sure to enchant a fussy toddler with its zany, colorful, exaggerated illustrations, "Too Purpley!" is just the ticket to tickle a truculent toddler into giggles that then lead to clothing decisions that are wearable. The sing-song rhymes of "Too Purpley!" help keep pages turning, and the expressive little turtle companion serves as a good little mirror to reflect young mistress' reactions to a wide variety of clothing choices. "Too Purpley!" is sure to be a hit with children ages 2 and up (and also with their parents and caretakers and dressers)!

Magpie's Missing Spoon
Michael Bradley, author/illustrator
Pipsqueak Publishing
c/o Thomas & Tina Wuehr
1558 Stafford Third Line, Cobden, ON K0J 1K0, Canada
9780973996258, $12.95

"Magpie's Missing Spoon" is a charming child's picture book fable, written and illustrated by a talented aspiring juvenile author. Magpie is desolate to find she has dropped her favorite shiny spoon in the cold running brook. Can her friend Jackdaw help her get it out again? The friends decide to ask for help from the water swimming animals. First Bullfrog, then Otter, Gosling, Crayfish, Toad, and Newt give the search a try. All are unsuccessful, for different reasons. Finally Magpie and Jackdaw ask Water Rat if he can help find the spoon underwater. Though the task is tiring and challenging for him, Water Rat finally returns with the spoon from the brook's bottom. Magpie thanks Water Rat with a big hug, and takes her treasure home for a nap, determined to be more careful with it in the future. "Magpie's Missing Spoon" is never short of visual and story line interest, and the colorful, comical illustrations continue to direct the action by introducing the next animal helper at the bottom right page corner, a technique that will keep youngsters turning pages and anticipating the next animal's adventures with the spoon search. "Magpie's Missing Spoon" is a delightful fable with a strong emphasis on the value of friendship, sure to appeal to children ages 3-7.

Elephant Soup
Ingrid & Dieter Schubert
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590788073, $17.95

"Elephant Soup" is a clever child's picture book about a fantastic adventure involving hundreds of mice, a large pot of water, simmering gently over a fire, assorted vegetables, and a volunteer elephant (to flavor the soup). Outrageous, funny, appealing and slightly daft, "Elephant Soup" is sure to entice a smile out of young readers age 2-6. Amazing cull color illustrations bring "Elephant Soup" to vibrant life, while cheery, cooperative, friendly mice by the hundreds troop to create their own special brand of cheer. There is a trace of Lewis Carroll-like influence in "Elephant Soup," sure to be appreciated by children everywhere.

The Best Ever Ring Bearer
Linda Hill Griffith, illustrator
Sourcebooks, Inc.
P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567
9781402238185, $10.99

"The Best Ever Ring Bearer: All the Best Things About Being in a Wedding" is a lovely gift book for a boy who is chosen to be a wedding ring bearer. David isn't quite sure what to expect from the job, but though being a ring bearer is different from his vision (teddy bears in wedding dress), he manfully goes along with all the wedding plans and arrangements, including being fitted for new shoes and his first ever grown up suit. He meets the bride's niece Sophie, who will be the flower girl for the wedding. Finally the big day arrives. David is glad he has practiced his slow walk down the aisle carrying the ring pillow with the rings tied to it, so they won't get lost. At the last moment there is a crisis involving a frog in Sophie's flower bouquet! It's David to the rescue of both frog and Sophie, as he carefully returns the frog to its fountain pond. Finally the wedding ceremony is done and everyone gets to eat cake. Uncle Andrew thanks his ring bearer, and David responds, "I had fun... but next time do you think we could go to the zoo instead?"

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Miles of Smiles
Heather Hill Worthington, author
Bill Farnsworth, illustrator
Blue Marlin Publications
823 Aberdeen Rd., W. Bay Shore, NY 11706
9780979291845, $17.95

"Miles of Smiles: The Story of Roxey, the Long Island Rail Road Dog" is the true story of a plucky dog named Roxey who rode the Long Island Rail Road as official mascot from 1901 to 1915. From homeless stray dog caught in a thunderstorm to station dog to rail road mascot, "Miles of Smiles" is a great canine (and human) interest story. Even President Theodore Roosevelt met Roxey when he insisted on sleeping on the bed in his special car. "Bully for Roxey!" said President Roosevelt, who believed in even dogs standing up for their rights. "Miles of Smiles will appeal to railroad history fans, animal lovers, and kids everywhere. The story is enhanced by many painted illustrations that show muted colorings of life at the turn of the century on the Long Island Rails. "Miles of Smiles" is great reading for children ages 6-10.

Goliath, Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire
Claudia Friddell, author
Troy, Howell, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364558, $17.95

"Goliath, Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire" is an illustrated children's historical book about a brave, larger-than-life fire horse named Goliath who pulled the Fire Engine 15 to help put out the 1904 great Baltimore fire. Facing 3 days of continuous fire fighting with Engine Co. 15, Goliath is badly injured by an explosion in the fire. He is steady and brave despite his injuries, and the fire is finally controlled, after doing much damage. Goliath survives his injuries and goes on to lead many honorary parades for his acts of heroism. Goliath continues his service career as a fire engine horse, finally dying at the age of 20. He is buried at Stoneleigh Villa in Towson, Maryland. "Goliath" is a great historical experience book for readers ages 6-12. Additional information about Goliath and the Great Fire of Baltimore are found in the Afterward and the list of Fire Terms at the end of the book.

Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden
Kathy M. Miller, author/ photographer
Celtic Sunrise,
PO Box 174, New Ringgold, PA 17960
KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301
9780984089307, $19.95

"Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden" is a fabulous photo-essay about a little Eastern Chipmunk named Chippy who lives in the author's garden. All 86 photographs, taken over a 2 year period, show Chippy at many daily activities, often with a humorous spin. Chippy's favorite thing to do is go to a Peanut Party! Chippy can carry almost anything in his little pocket cheeks, from a peanut to a small stone. In fact, chipmunk cheeks can hold 6 acorns or over 30 sunflower seeds! Incredible details and expressive antics stud the beautiful full color photographs. Chippy has a few enemies he is wary of, including hawks, snakes, cats, and foxes. "Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden" is one of 12 books named to the 2010-2011 keystone to Reading Book Award List for primary grades. Written to appeal to children age 4 and up and "the young at heart," "Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden" is both informative and entertaining.

Bug Zoo
Nick Baker
DK Publishing
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780756661663, $12.99

"Bug Zoo: How to Capture, Keep, and Care for Creepy Crawlies " is a fun instructional guidebook to studying and safely keeping bugs and creepy crawlies by Smithsonian channel naturalist Nick Baker, TV host of "Weird Creatures." "Bug Zoo" is packed with magnificent color photos and tons of fascinating information about bugs and how to build and keep your very own bug zoo out of easily available materials. There are photo-packed chapters on wood lice, slugs and snails, aphids, caterpillars, worms, earwigs, ladybugs, spiders, crickets & katydids, pseudoscorpions, mosquito larvae, dragonfly larvae, and backswimmers. Kids will learn how to build an ant farm, spider house, bee box, wormery, and other habitats for bugs. After the introductions there is a handy section titled Zoo Tools with photos and descriptions of tools and equipment bug zookeepers will need to manage their collections. "Bug Zoo" is dedicated to curious children of all ages (5 and up). Here is the author's invitation to his readers: "Building a zoo means you can become an explorer, a hunter, a collector of fine zoological specimens and, of course, a zookeeper. You don't need much to get started - just a table and a few jars will do. And you can capture your exhibits anywhere. Tune into their world and I can promise you this: You will never, ever be bored again. Happy hunting (p. 4)!"

Hip-Pocket Papa
Sandra Markle, author
Alan Marks, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Waertown, MA 02472
9781570917080, $15.95

"Hip-Pocket Papa" is an amazing, visually rich journey through the birth process of the tiny, Australian hip-pocket frog. After the female produces her jelly-like egg clutch, both parents tend the clutch in the leaf litter of the Australian temperate rainforest through a dry summer. Eventually the little eggs hatch and 12 tiny tadpoles crawl into their father's hip-pockets for protection while they develop into independent little froglets, capable of surviving on their own. For an eventful 30 days the hip-pocket papa frog carries his brood of 12 tadpoles to be and tries to remain moist and fed, surviving the hot, dry Australian summer. Finally the tadpoles are reader to breathe air, catch their own food, and live on their own, having used up their natal egg yolks for nourishment during the 30 days. During the hip-pocket frog papa's time of nurturing his brood, he encounters many natural predators and dangers, which he survives bravely. At the end of "Hip-Pocket Papa" is an Animal Glossary to give more information about the amazing creatures described and illustrated in the story. "Hip-Pocket Papa" is a Junior Library Guild Selection that will intrigue young readers from 6-10.

The Geography Shelf

A Child's Introduction to the World
Heather Alexander, author
Meredith Hamilton, illustrator
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
151 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781579128326, $19.95

"A Child's Introduction to the World: Geography, Cultures, and People - From the Grand Canyon to the Great Wall of China" is a treasure trove of explorations of world geography and culture, complete with engaging illustrations, activities, and even a build-it-yourself paper globe with reusable stickers to help kids imagine and find the places they are studying on the globe map. Written by an award-winning, globe-trotting author, "A Child's Introduction to the World" is divided into two parts. Part One: Where Am I? teaches young explorers basic facts of geography and map-reading skills, and why any of this information is important as well as interesting. In addition to earth's global nature and history, there are detailed illustrations and cool factoid infobytes and always important, notes on human history and cultures. Part two: Welcome to the World his sections on the continents, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica and the Arctic regions. Each section is subdivided with more specific information about different areas of the continent. Additional resources and knowledge centers are listed at the end in Read More About It. "A Child's Introduction to the World" is a one volume invitation to wonder at the myriad diversity of geographies and cultures in the world for children grades 4-8 (roughly estimated).

The Preschool Shelf

Carol Thompson, author/illustrator
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, Maine 04210
9781846431876, $8.99

"Noo-Noos" is a charming, vivid, reinforced card paperback book for tiny readers who will love its bright colors and rhymes about "Noo-Noos." Little toddlers of many races explore their way through a vast field of "noo-noos" only to conclude that "Noo-noo is my very best thing!" "Noo-Noos" is a perfect first book for a child, and is sure to be treasured and loved to bits.

My Foodie ABC: A Little Gourmet's Guide
Puck, author
Violet Lemay, illustrator
Duo Press
9780982529522, $8.95

"My Foodie ABC: A Little Gourmet's Guide" is a luscious looking, illustrated pasteboard alphabet of special foods that any child could learn to love with proper exposure. Written by famous gourmet chef Puck, "My Foodie ABC" covers delicious unusual foods from chantarelles to weisswurst, from jicama and opah to xuxu and yucca and nopales. Foods representing alphabet letters are accompanied by pictures, definitions, pronunciations, descriptions, and other miscellaneous facts. Additional foodie terms are also used, such as locavore, farmers' market, and vegetarian. All in all, "My Foodie ABC" is a first class effort to educate young taste buds while promoting literacy. "My Foodie ABC" is fun for both preschoolers and adults.

The Christian Studies Shelf

A Girl After God's Own Heart
Elizabeth George
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736917681, $9.99

"A Girl After God's Own Heart" is a tween girl's workbook about how to define herself more clearly through her relationship with God, and Jesus. It is a fun workbook with exercises that will help in a search for growth, in wisdom, maturity, love, grace, and joy. "A Girl After God's Heart" has fun activities, meditations, and exercises, plus prayers and special moments to treasure the gift of life from God. "A Girl After God's Own Heart" is the perfect core book for a tween girls' Christian group curriculum. It offers bits of scripture, quotations and ideas for how to integrate love for Jesus and God into daily life activities and concerns, even problems. Having this book will help a young girl learn that spending time examining what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus is very valuable. It will also provide help in learning to distinguish between true caring friendship and the reverse. "A Girl After God's Own Heart" can be a useful step on the way to growing maturity for an adolescent, Christian girl.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Green Wise Kids
Jean A. Clausen
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983339, $17.95

With the contributions of contributing authors, Michel C. Tigan & Lawrence E. Clausen, "Green Wise Kids" written and illustrated by Jean A. Clausen is an inspired collection of topics and projects pioneered by kids' ideas that contribute to the green health of the earth and environment. Written in verse, each special section offers a rhyming song about a special idea from a real green wise kid that can help the earth. For example, Energetic Emelia from Hudson, Wisconsin has the idea to protect the homes and habitats of frogs. Outstanding Olivia from Marco Island, Florida has the idea to protect ocean habitat from plastic litter by dropping plastic bags and bottles in recycling containers. Scientific Sam from Highland Park, Minnesota, suggests a way to reduce air pollution is "Whether going to work, school, or play it's best to use your leg-fuel every day. So ride your bike or walk each way. Show your friends the Earth-friendly way." All the suggestions are from real kids, and more interesting information on each topic or suggestion is presented at the end of the book, along with a glossary and list of further resources. Finally, kids are encouraged to share their Earth-changing ideas at Green Wise Kids, PO Box #934, Hudson, WI 54016, along with a return address for a Green Wise T-shirt if their ideas are used. "Green Wise Kids" is a delightful, inventive creative approach to teaching kids and adults ways to care for our home. The charming, whimsical, colorful illustrations add to the multicultural, universal appeal and attractiveness of "Green Wise Kids."

Who Will Plant a Tree?
Jerry Palotta, author
Tom Leonard, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585365029, $15.95

"Who Will Plant a Tree?" is a beautifully illustrated book about nature's many mysterious ways of using animal helpers to plant seeds that grow into trees. How does a bear plant an apple tree? What can an owl have to do with planting an elm tree? Even a moose can end up planting a pear tree, carrying a branch with fruit away in its antlers and brushing them off in its path. What can a pacu fish do to help plant a fruit tree? What can a dolphin do? Even camels can help plant date trees. I wonder what trees elephants can plant? "Who Will Plant a Tree?" is a gently wondering book that teaches children something about the miraculous complexity of interdependence of species. Children can plant trees too. "Who Will Plant a Tree?" comes with a free downloadable teacher guide to assist in planning a tree-planting activity as an added educational experience. "Who Will Plant a Tree" is great fun and great learning combined for kids of all ages.

The Biography Shelf

Seeds of Change
Jen Cullerton Johnson, author
Sonia Lynn Sadler, illustrator
Lee & Low Books Inc.
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600603679, $18.95

"Seeds of Change" is a children's picture book biography of Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace prize-winning feminist and environmentalist from Kenya. Stunningly illustrated with brilliantly colored artworks, "Seeds of Change" is an unforgettable, inspirational true story of the woman who started the Green Belt Movement in Kenya by teaching people the need to plant trees to replace those which are cut down by developers and builders. Wangari was persecuted as a woman, jailed for planting trees, and ridiculed by profiteers with no real thought for the land or people. Wangari received help from other people in Kenya and other countries, and with help, she fought for her release from prison and also for the rights of other women prisoners. Once released, Wangari traveled and spread her message of hope to people all over the world. She planted seedlings and talked of women's rights, sharing the seeds of change.

The Cookbook Shelf

Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen
Carol Odell, author
Anna Pignataro, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585365180, $12.95,

Have you ever wondered what your favorite (child's) story's characters' favorite foods would taste like? The answer to your wonderings can be found in "Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from Classic Children's Stories", an imaginative collection of recipes and tales from classic children's stories. Here we have a recipe for Shortbread Stars from Hans Christian Anderson's "The Fir Tree." How delicious they will smell, reminding children of the trembling feelings of the fir tree when it was decorated goodies, candles, toys and a shining star on the very top. How beautiful it was. Or maybe you would prefer some Huckleberry Corn Rafts, delicious reminders of the corn dodgers eaten on a raft in Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." then there's Mowgli Magnificent Muesli, a wonderful natural breakfast food recipe suggested by Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book." All recipes list ingredients first, then give simple step-by-step directions. Alongside each recipe on the facing page is an excerpt from the children's classic which inspired it. Thus, "Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen" directly inspires young chefs to create edible masterpieces and then to read about their source of inspiration. Some recipes will require more care and adult supervision than others, but most are accessible to children age 9 and up. Delightful illustrations of both literary pages and recipes help to embellish and embed the wonderful thoughts of delightful foods for mind and body.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Lost Secret of the Green Man
Tiffany Turner, author
Rich Wallace, cover art and illustrations
Trafford Publishing
3507 La Terrace Circle, San Jose, CA 95123
9781426921568, $12.99

"The Lost Secret of the Green Man" is the second teen fantasy novel in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles, following "The Lost Secret of the Fairies." Wanda is a tween-aged Crystal Keeper who needs to find a new friend to help her solve a problem of missing fairies and dying bees. Luckily she meets Edina, another Crystal keeper, and the two of them discover hidden clues about the Green Man in a crystal store. The two girls end up journeying on fairy paths to Ireland in search of Castromatas, a master sorcerer cat who may be able to help. Magical adventures and enchanted dangers lurk, and Wanda faces a true friendship dilemma in her search to free the fairies. Magic and mystery entwine with challenges of everyday life in "The Lost Secret of the Green Man," and tween-agers everywhere will want to devour this latest installment of the Crystal Keepers Chronicles. Watch for the next volume, "The Lost Secret of Dragonfire."

The Folklore/Fairytale Shelf

Many Hands, A Penobscot Indian Story
Angeli Perrow, author
Heather Austin, illustrator
Down East
P.O. Box 679, Camden, Maine 04843
9780892727827, $15.95

"Many Hands" is a beautiful Penobscot Indian tale about a girl named Lily who tries to understand why all the members of her family do not give her full credit for her wonderful accomplishment of making a beautiful Lily Basket, just as she dreamed her grandmother told her to. Delicate water-color illustrations show all the members of Lily's family pounding brown ash into splints, scraping and gauging the grown ash, braiding the sweet grass, and dyeing the strips into colors, all of which provided Lily with the materials for her Lily Basket which she designed and wove according to her dream of her grandmother. The meaning of the Penobscot saying "Many hands make the basket," finally comes to Lily, and she humbly thanks each of her family members for their contribution to her basket. "Many Hands" teaches children of all ages important concepts of community and caring in addition to rich cultural traditions and words of the Penobscot language. The author, a descendant of Penobscot heritage, thanks the master basket maker Pamela Cunningham for her assistance in writing about the Lily Basket in "Many Hands."

The Sourdough Man, An Alaska Folktale
Cherie B. Stihler, author
Barbara Lavallee, illustrator
Sasquatch Books
119 South Main St., Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98104
9781570615948, $10.95

"The Sourdough Man, An Alaska Folktale" is a charming Alaskan revisiting of the children's classic tale of the Gingerbread Man. Meet Grandmother, who makes the Sourdough Man as a sweet treat for Qujhaaq, who has gone to catch some fish for dinner. The Sourdough Man is made of all things Alaskan, from sourdough to bearberries, blueberries, and cloudberries. The Sourdough Man is dressed in an atikluq (or coat) and tiny mukluks, or boots for his feet. He truly is an Alaskan sweet treat, complete with cinnamon and sugar! Of course he comes to life and runs away when Grandma pulls him out of the oven, he is just so delicious looking and smelling. Guess who chases him? A string of Alaskan animals, including a musk ox, a lemming, a raven and ptarmigan, a hare, a caribou, a marmot, a golden eagle, and last but not least, a clever Arctic fox with serious ulterior motives. We can guess the ending, or can we? A little surprise Alaskan twist comes through even at the satisfying end. Children age 4 and up will love "The Sourdough Man," not only for its unusual adaptation of a familiar fable, but also for the lively, colorful original illustrations of the many Alaskan creatures would love to eat the Sourdough Man.

The Bilingual Shelf

Juanito Counts to Ten / Johnny Cuenta Hasta Diez
Lee Merrill Byrd, author
Francisco Delgado, illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901
9781933693125, $6.95

"Juanito Counts to Ten/ Johnny Cuenta Hasta Diez" is a bilingual counting book filled with charm, verve, and love. Juanito counts out kisses for everyone from his bossy sister to stray gray cat to his dream friend Beatriz who won't kiss him back. Juanito never runs out of kisses! But he gives the most kisses of all to his Grandmother, who says, "Very delicious!" (to al his ten kisses). Brilliantly colorful illustrations bring the sweetness factor right up off the page. "Juanito Counts to Ten" is a beautiful bilingual counting book that takes its job of counting kisses (and never running out) very, very seriously. "Juanito Counts to Ten" will appeal to preschoolers age 2-4 and up.

The Secret of Your Name/ Kiimooch Ka Shinikashooyen
David Bouchard, author
Dennis Weber, artist
John Arcand, musician
Red Deer Press
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, ON, Canada, L3R 4T8
9780889954397, $23.95

A bilingual, multicultural creation, "The Secret of Your Name/ Kiimooch Ka Shinikashooyen" is a heartfelt, artistic contribution to the world, telling in word, images, music, and poetry what it is like to be born Metis. Descended from Anishinaabe, Cree, Innu or Montagnais, Algonquin, Ojibwe, Menominee, Chippewa, (mothers and grandmothers) and European grandfathers, the Metis of Canada are the only mixed -blood peoples to be recognized as being a nation. The author, David Bouchard, writes "The Secret of Your Name/ Kiimooch Ka Shinikashooyen" to honor his grandmother, Kokums or Nokum. The artist, Dennis Weber, also wishes to dedicate the beautiful paintings to his mother, who he feels was made to feel ashamed of her culture and identity. Denis is a descendant of Louis Riel, now called the father of Manitoba, once martyred for attempting to defend the Metis way of life and sustain a Metis provisional government at Batchoe, Saskatchewan. David Bouchard has been named to the Order of Canada, as has master Metis fiddler John Arcand, who performs songs with flutes on the accompanying CD. The contributions of al three men make "The Secret of Your Name/ Kiimooch Ka Shinakashooyen" a magnificent statement, unforgettable in its impact. Accessible to a large audience including children age 5 an up, "The Secret of Your Name/ Kiimooch Ka Shinakashooyen" addresses directly the repression and loss of whole cultural heritages and identities felt by the Metis and others. A famous quotations of Metis champion, martyr, and ancestor Louis Riel is stated: "Our People will sleep for a hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who bring back their culture." "The Secret of Your Name" is the latest vibrant effort in that restorative, healing wave of sacred memory. There is a blessing to be felt in simply experiencing the beauty of book, poetry, music pictures, and language. In addition to the sensitively illustrated text, "The Secret of Your Name" includes a brief summary of the history of the Metis Nation, including the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816. the Red River Rebellion of 1869, and the Resistance of 1885.

The Science Shelf

Mystery Science: The Case of the Missing Lunch
Connie Gatlin, author
Michael Arnold, illustrator
Prufrock Press Inc.
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714
9781593634193, $14.95

"Mystery Science: The Case of the Missing Lunch" is an inquiry-based learning exercise for elementary students in grades 3-4 that provides opportunities for students to learn scientific and critical analysis problem-solving skills while having fun working cooperatively in a classroom setting. "Mystery Science: The Case of The Missing Lunch" provides about 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours of class activity time to complete all the experiments, examine the evidence, and solve the case. The content can be done in one day or divided into 2 class sessions. It is recommended that the activities be done in the specific order presented. Five chapters are presented on preparing for the investigation, observing the crime scene, evaluating the crime scene, examining the evidence, and solving the crime, with appendices on crime scene footprints, optional vocabulary handout, answer key for mystery science detective notebooks, and rubric, or evaluation format for student participation. "Mystery Science: The Case of the Missing Lunch" is an excellent example of a fun, hands-on curriculum idea to teach students critical thinking and evaluation skills, along with teamwork, communication, and cooperation.

The Poetry Shelf

City Kids, Street & Skyscraper Rhymes
X. J. Kennedy, author
Philippe Beha, illustrator
Tradewind Books
202-1807 Maritime Mews, Vancouver, BC Canada V6H 3W7
9781896580449, $17.95

"City Kids" is an eclectic collection of poems about life for kids in a vibrant city. From "Leaflet Man" (a poem about a man who passes out inspirational, informational, sensational leaflets) to "How to Watch Statues," ("All you do is stand/In front of a statue/ Till, ready to talk,/ It looks right at you."), here is a variety of vivid reflections of what it means to be a kid growing up in an exciting city. Portraying compassion and caring in "Neighbors," reality checks on tire thieves in "Tires," Kennedy's brief, telling verses describe aspects of life as it is experienced by kids in the city. Jovial, whimsical rainbow illustrations and zany printed titles add to the bounce and verve of "City Kids." Here we have a tribute to fireman Anthony Farrell, dead in the World Trade Center fire, in "Fireman." There is also "Walking in the Sky," a tribute to the Iroquois skywalkers who weld and build skyscraper's bones of steel. Other poemscapes include "Hoop Haiku," "Subway Trip," "The Man With Tan Hands," "Graffiti," and "Diversity." Each of the poems zeroes in on a specific aspect of life in a specific urban setting, in an unforgettable turn of phrase. "City Kids" is poems not just for kids, but for everyone who loves being alive. It will certainly reach its target audience of children ages 8-11.

The American History Shelf

The Cowgirl Way
Holly George-Warren
Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780618737383, $18.00

The Cowgirl Way: Hats off to America's Women of the West provides an outstanding history of the 1840s, when women became pioneers and even cowgirls. This offers a survey of women who were outlaws, rebels, and skilled horse riders - and comes packed with vintage black and white photos throughout. Any elementary-level library strong in women's history and American history will find this packed with visual appeal and historical facts perfect for grades 3-5.

Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog
Adrienne Sylver
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014
9780525478973, $16.99

Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog pairs food facts with American history to provide a lively, often hilarious picture book survey of how the hot dog became a part of American culture. From regional differences between hot dogs to a 'hot dog farm' and beyond, this is a fine, lively survey for any elementary-level reader!

A Feast of Freedom
Walter Staib and Jennifer Fox, authors
Renando Juarez, artist
Running Press
2300 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762435982, $15.95

"A Feast of Freedom: Tasty Tidbits from the City Tavern" is a lush, illustrated history of the Philadelphia City Tavern from 1773 to the present day, emphasizing its role as the setting for many of the activities of the Founding Fathers during the birthing of the United States of America. Led by a friendly tour guide disguised as a Colonial mouse, readers will trace historic events from the vantage of the City Tavern, particularly from 1773 to 1789. A wonderful authentic recipe for corn bread is included, as well as an updated page on "the Tavern Today," explaining that thought the original City Tavern building was burned in 1834 and destroyed in 1854, it was rebuilt by the National Park Service in 1975 and reopened for business in 1976. Under the direction of Chef Walter Staib, the City Tavern continues to offer an authentic taste of Colonial Tavern fare, playing host to such dignitaries as Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell and President Barack Obama. "A Feast of Freedom" is a great slice of illustrated American history for students ages 4-8.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Garth Nix's THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: LORD SUNDAY (9780439700900, $17.99) tells of a house falling apart: a house tied to all reality. Arthur and his friends are caught in the chaos of its demise, struggling to survive and defeat enemies attacking them - most especially Lord Sunday, whose magic may be stronger than Arthur's talents. Prior readers of Garth Nix will find this an ongoing, powerful attraction. Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams' FREEFALL (9780545138772, $18.99) provides a sequel to DEEPER and is recommended for any collection that saw excitement over the popular story. Here Will and Chester hit bottom in their freefall through subterranean realms and find themselves in a world of near-zero gravity and carnivorous creatures. Additional dangers keep the two running in this passionate story of inner and outer worlds. Wendy Mass' 12 FINALLY (9780545052429, $16.99) tells of Rory, who has been waiting her whole life to turn twelve, making lists of what she will do and be. Her parents always have told her when she's twelve, life will begin... but now that she's twelve, will life really be better? A fun story of growing up that will appeal to any advanced elementary to middle school reader!

Knopf/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Alyssa B. Sheinmel's THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN (9780375861826, $16.99) tells of a high school girl who has kept secrets about her family, and a high school boy who is son of a rich New York family. When the two get together, they discover their shared secrets evolves a special friendship - one which may involve sharing their secrets. A fine story of friendship evolves. Anjali Banerjee's SEAGLASS SUMMER (9780385735674, $15.99) tells of Poppy, who longs to be a vet even though she's never had a pet due to her mother's allergies. Her summer with an uncle who owns an animal clinic is filled with surprises as she finds her love of animals may not equip her to handle their quirky owners. Eileen Spinelli's THE DANCING PANCAKE (9780375858703, $12.99) receives fun drawings by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff as it tells of a new family restaurant's grand opening and Bindi's encounter with new friends in a new apartment. Her changing family situation leads to some surprises in this inviting, fun story. Older teens will relish Regina McBride's THE FIRE OPAL (9780385737814, $16.99), a powerful survey of Maeve, whose life changes when her sister is born and her mother sinks into a trance for years. When her sister succumbs to the same mysterious ailment as her mother, Maeve must set off on a quest through a dangerous world to retrieve a stone that may save more than just her family. All are top picks for young adult collections!

The Boneshaker
Kate Milford
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
9780547241876, $17.00

Kate Milford's The Boneshaker tells of teen Natalie, who grew up hearing her mother tell mysterious tales about her small town. But when Dr. Limberleg's Nostrium Fair and Technological Medicine rolls into town with its unusual machines, Natalie is particularly fascinated. She loves machines - but these are dangerous and different in this fine fantasy recommended for young adult readers.

Jeri Smith-Ready
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
9781416994060, $17.99

Teen Aura is born after the Shift, an event that enables youngsters to communicate with the dead, and spirits are thus constantly haunting her. But these spirits have a purpose in mind: they are persistent, angry, and are on the verge of becoming Shades - dark vortexes of energy. A class project researching The Shift places Aura in a precarious, unique position of being able to reverse it, in this fine fantasy thriller.

345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

FRIENDS FOR KEEPS: MY BEST FRENEMY by Julie Bowe (9780803735019, $16.99) tells of Ida May, who has the perfect best friend in Stacey - actually the only friend in Stacey. But when a game turns too serious, Ida must face the fact Stacey may not be the kind of friend she needs. A fine story evolves for advanced elementary-level readers. Suzanne Supplee's SOMEBODY EVERYBODY LISTENS TO (9780525422426, $16.99) tells of Retta Lee Jones, who graduates high school armed with dreams of being a country music singing star. But her search for her musical career conflicts with her values in this fine story of a teen's search for her path in life. Pat Brisson's THE BEST AND HARDEST THING (9780670011667, $16.99) tells of teen Molly, who has always been studious and dependable - until she evolves a plan to become someone new, who will attract mysterious handsome Grady's attention. Her plan works too well and when she winds up pregnant, she has few options. The story is told in a series of poems in this fine story of bad choices and recovery options. Joelle Anthony's RESTORING HARMONY (9780399252815, $17.99) tells of teen Molly, whose family has been entirely self-sufficient since the Collapse of 2031, when they've been forced to survive on their isolated farming island in Canada. When further catastrophe strikes in 2041, it's up to Molly to leave the island to embark on an impossible rescue mission in the U.S. in this fine science fiction thriller of survival. Ginny Rorby's THE OUTSIDE OF A HORSE (9780803734784, $16.99) tells of Hannah Gale, whose father has told her of breaking wild horses in Nevada. She's grown up with the tales and come to love the horses, so when she gets a job at a nearby stable during her father's absence in Iraq, she comes to feel closer to him. Her father returns from war - but changed - and Hannah must confront both his nightmares and the possibility that her involvement with horses can heal him. Robin Epstein's GOD IS IN THE PANCAKES (9780803733824, $16.99) tells of Grace, who is an optimistic person in a family which is facing special challenges. Her after-school job in a nursing home is the one thing keeping her happy - until her favorite resident asks her to help him die. A powerful novel of changes will appeal to mature teen readers.

The Chapter Book/Easy Reader Shelf

The Case of the July 4th Jinx
Lewis B. Montgomery, author
Amy Wummer, illustrator
The Kane Press
350 5th Avenue, Suite 7206, NY, NY 100118
9781575653150, $

"The Case of the July 4th Jinx" is the fifth and latest of the Milo & Jazz mysteries, a series of armchair detective stories featuring middle school-aged sleuths Milo and Jazz, assisted by their favorite detective, Dash Marlowe. Quick paced, humorous, kid friendly, "The Case of the July 4th Jinx" will engage and challenge young mystery solvers to flex their analytical skills. As the book crashes along to a satisfying ending through many trendy twists and turns, readers will thrill to the experience of participating in finding the solution to the jinx. As with previous Milo and Jazz mysteries, "The Case of the July 4th Jinx" contains 5 or more pages of super sleuthing puzzles at the conclusion of the book. "The Case of the July 4th Jinx" offers excellent summer reading for kids age 7 to 11, and will help enhance their critical thinking and analytical skills while giving them a pleasurable reading experience.

The Last Superhero
Kristin Butcher
Napoleon & Company
235 - 1173 Dundas Street E., Toronto, ON Canada, M4M 3P1
9781926607016, $9.95

"The Last Superhero" is a young adults (age 10 and up) chapter book about Jas, a seventh grade struggling would-be artist, and Wren, a crusading, vivid character who ends up needing protection from bullies by Jas, a reaction that winds up costing him his comic project and possibly future admission to art school. Filled with fun, humor, fast dialogue and action, "The Last Superhero" is an entertaining values morality tale, very carefully disguised as daily life for seventh graders. "The Last Superhero" will appeal to kids who are in the process of inventing themselves, and will give them new choices and definitions for heroes and heroines.

Guinea Dog
Patrick Jennings, author
Egmont USA
443 Park Avenue South, Suite 806, New York, NY 10016
9781606840535, $15.99

"Guinea Dog" is a hilarious young adults' chapter book about owning a pet with identity problems. Rufus wants a dog, but his dad (and mom) have a long list of reasons why they don't want to get him a dog. The compromise is that they get him a guinea pig named, of course, Fido. The catch is, Fido thinks she is a dog. She doesn't act or think like a guinea pig. So why isn't Rufus happy with Fido? A funny, sidesplitting book with lots of knowing little peeks at real human (and animal) character, complete with flaws, "Guinea Dog" is guaranteed to entertain while it cunningly introduces some of the side concepts that go with owning a pet, such as responsibility, cleanup, planning ahead, providing food, shelter, and medical care when needed etc., etc. Who says a guinea pig can't give companionship? And though bad things can still happen, some very solid good can come from making a few sacrifices to care for a pet that you love and take full responsibility. "Guinea Dog" is a great book for tweenagers and older.

New Car Design
Peter Economy
Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9781601152442 $4.99

New Car Design is a nonfiction book in the "We Both Read" series (reading level 2), created especially for parents and children to read together. Like all books in the "We Both Read" series, every two-page spread of New Car Design features a more complex text passage on the left page for the parent to read, and a simpler passage on the right page for the child to read. Full color photographs illustrate this involving tour of how new cars are designed and created. Reading level 2 allows for a fair amount of complexity in the child's passages - for example, one children's passage reads "Families often want cars that can carry many people. Comfort and safety are also important features. Car companies must think about all of these things when they are creating new cars." An excellent book for parents to help hook young auto lovers on the joys of reading and sharing, New Car Design is highly recommended.

345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

David A. Adler's YOUNG CAM JANSEN AND THE SPEEDY CAR MYSTERY (9780670061433, $14.99) is made for Level 2 readers and receives fine drawings by Susanna Natti as it provides an easy reader of 32 pages revolving around Cam's detective work. Here a missing remote-controlled car for a science project offers brief sentences and visual clues in the drawings to help early readers progress. Dori Chaconas' CORK & FUZZ: THE BABYSITTERS (9780670012008, $13.99) tells of a short muskrat and a tall possum who are friends. Cork is babysitting for a porcupine and needs Fuzz's help - but Fuzz is too busy. When the baby goes missing, it's up to friends to come together in this simple reader for ages 6 and older. Mike Knudson's RAYMOND & GRAHAM: COOL CAMPERS (9780670012060, $14.99) receives Stacy Curtis' inviting drawings and tells of best friends who are slated to be the 'coolest' kids in camp - until they meet up with strange bunkmates who may steal their thunder. Readers in grades 3-5 will find this a fun camping tale packed with hilarious events.

Wolf Pie
Brenda Seabrooke
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
9780547044033, $16.00

Wolf Pie enjoys fine drawings by Liz Callen as it tells of a wolf and three pigs who seek to end animosity and become friends. The Pygg brothers get a visit from a wolf - and everyone's going to learn how to make wolf pie in this quirky tale offering 50 pages of color drawings and easy reading interest.

Animal Rescue Team: Gator on the Loose!
Sue Stauffacher
c/o Random House
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780375858475, $12.99

Animal Rescue Team: Gator on the Loose is for kids with basic chapter book reading skills down, and offers nearly 150 pages of adventure and easy reading based on swimmer Keisha's dilemma a small alligator at the city pool. She has to figure out how to capture it... and it's the Carters to the rescue in this fun, whimsical tale!

Books in Series

Crabtree Publishers
350 - 5th Ave Suite 3308, NY, NY 10118

Three fine 'Mystery of' titles by Kathryn Walker offer 32 pages each, packed with information, pairing eye-catching covers and color photos throughout with facts about unsolved mysteries. THE MYSTERY OF ATLANTIS (9780778741527, $26.60), MYSTERIES OF THE ANCIENTS (9780778741473, $26.60) and MYSTERIES OF THE MIND (9780778741497, $26.60) each provide facts about the mysteries and their history. Bright color photos accompany chapters probing each mystery and why it remains unsolved. Libraries seeking to interest kids in leisure nonfiction choices will find these compelling reads.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

The fine books in the 'Global Hot Spots' series ($12.99 each) are especially notable because they will reach a far younger audience than is usual for the choice of topics. Each book holds 32 pages of information, includes plenty of contemporary color photos, an index, and glossary and bibliography, and provides easy reading stories beyond headlines. Nathaniel Harris' BURMA (MYANMAR) (9780761447580), David Downing's COLOMBIA (9780761447597), Paul Mason's CUBA (9780761447603), Clive Gifford's NORTH KOREA (9780761447610), Yvonne Thorpe's ZIMBABWE (9780761447634) and Joseph Harris' TIBET (9780761447627) all pair real-life experiences with historical insights to offer kids fine, personal examples beyond headline reports or history. The 'Tell Me Why, Tell Me How' series ($20.95 each) will reach grades 3-4 with a little over thirty pages each of nature details. Joining others in the series are Terry Allan Hicks' HOW DO MOUNTAINS FORM? (9780761439929), surveying different types of mountains in the world, and Darice Bailer's HOW DO CATERPILLARS BECOME BUTTERFLIES? (9780761439875), following the evolution of caterpillars to butterfly form. Both are highly recommended picks for any lending library!

Bug's Trip to the Store, Bug's Adventure Series
K. M. Groshek, author/illustrator
Privately Published
9780984352135, $13.95

"Bug's Trip to the Store" is the first book in the Bug's Adventure Series, written for children ages 3-8. Filled with contrasting colored and dark illustrations and white printed verse text, ":Bug's Trip to the Store" is an exciting tale of a little (Volkswagen) bug's quest for fuel, necessitating a trip on the freeway and a close encounter with a semi. Despite fears and moving traffic, Bug manages to achieve his goal, "Aim, purpose, arrive!" A cheer for Bug is his "Tooty! Toot!" as he arrives at his destiny at last. Also recommended in the Bug's Adventure Series is "Bug Meets His Friend (ISBN 9780984352111, $13.95)," and "Bug Goes Through the Maze (ISBN 9780984352128, $13.95)."

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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