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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 7 July 2012 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Psychology Shelf Education Shelf
Theatre/Cinema Shelf Health Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Fiction Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
American History Shelf Business Shelf Multicultural Shelf
Christian Shelf Art Shelf Holiday Shelf
ABC Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Biography Shelf
Gardening Shelf Cookbook Shelf Poetry Shelf
Environmental Shelf Political Science Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

A Dog-Gone Tale
Randy Rupert, author
Robert Rath, illustrator
Triple Tale Publishing
Sweetgrass Books
c/o Farcountry Press
P.O. Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604
9781591520849, $16.95,

"A Dog-Gone Tale" is a children's teaching tale about staying safe and the dangers of wandering off or losing contact with your parents. The main characters are three young dog friends: Bernie the St. Bernard, Goldie the Golden Retriever, and Peaches the Poodle. All three young canines love to play in a park next to a beautiful forest under the watchful supervision of their parents (dogs). Although they are explicitly warned not to wander off, especially near the woods, the three pups have so much fun racing and exploring the woods, chasing squirrels, and hiding among trees and bushes that they go farther and farther away from the park into the inviting forest, full of squirrels, rabbits and butterflies. finally Peaches realizes it is getting dark and they have lost track of their parents in the park. The pups spend the long night huddled together beneath a big tree in the forest. The pups find the forest a spooky place full of glowing eyes after dark. After a long night, the pups try to retrace their way back to the park to find their parents. this leads to a long, fruitless exploration and search through the community for their parents. The butcher, sporting goods store manager, and the Grooming Salon worker are unable to help them find their parents. The pups become very sad and lonely. Finally, they decide to return to the park to seek their parents again. this time they are greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Bernard, Mr. and Mrs. Retriever, and Mr. and Mrs. Poodle, who tell them about the importance of listening to rules and making the right choices. The pups promise never to wander away from their parents again. "A Dog-Gone Tale" is a charming story with beautiful, warmly realistic color illustrations that deliver its message with simple clarity and style. Written by a father of two children who created the story to teach safety and caution to his son, "A Dog-Gone Tale" is perfect for bedtime reading with children age 3 and up.

Inside the Books
Toni Buzzeo, author
Jude Daly, illustrator
Upstart Books
4810 Forest Run Road, Madison, WI 53704
9781602130586, $29.98,

"Inside the Books: Readers and Libraries Around the World" is a very special book about the magic appeal of all kinds of books and libraries. Reading a book can take a reader someplace strange, special and new, like Bangladesh, where libraries float in boats to visit communities along the river banks. A reader can learn fascinating new facts about very different libraries in very different places (like Antarctica). Exotic places like Ethiopia in Africa, have donkey mobile libraries to carry books from village to village. Books have information about long past civilizations, and long ago histories. Books can offer fantasy as well as facts, and enriching cultural tales and lore from many lands. A simple versed narrative style repeats the soft refrain, "I love to look inside the books." Filled with detailed, colorful primitive style illustrations of books in or about many different places and things, "Inside the Books" is the perfect young readers' invitational key to libraries and the magic of the written word.

Friend Me!
Francesca Davis DiPiazza
Twenty-First Century Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780761358695 $24.95 hc
9780761388500 $37.95 multi-user access ebook

Long before the modern era of instant messaging, cell phone texting, and Facebook, America had other means of forming social networks. Friend Me! 600 Years of Social Networking in America is a history chronicling social communities since America's inception. Although written for preteen and teen readers, the wealth of detail, vintage photographs, and primary testimony excerpts make Friend Me! a truly fascinating and user-friendly read for curious individuals of all ages. "When printer Benjamin Franklin took notice of Whitefield, the preacher became a media star. Franklin published a newspaper called the Pennsylvania Gazette. He printed many of Whitefield's sermons on the paper's front page. Though Franklin was not a churchgoing man, he approved of the First Great Awakening's message of good works." Friend Me! is a fascinating take on American societal evolution throughout history, and highly recommended especially for high school and public library collections.

So You Want to Be a Rock Star
Audrey Vernick, author
Kirstie Edmunds, illustrator
Walker & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780802720924, $16.99,

"So You Want To Be a Rock Star" is filled with zany, pop, bright, eye-catching images and compositions related to the theme, appealing to the imagination and dreams of young readers who just might want to be the biggest rock star ever! Learning to pretend sing into a fist microphone, play an air guitar, pretend sign a squiggle autograph, these are all useful skills to acquire for young would-be rock stars. Of course, learning to sneer and to sing might also help, but mostly you just have to be loud. Running around, performing stunts on stage, borrowing some awesome clothes and hairdos, these are all steps along the way to fame and glittering fortune. Can you teach your family to be groupie dancers? What about a fan website and a limo and driver? Find a theme song, of course. prepare to be mobbed by fans in public. Why not dream big? "So You Want To Be a Rock Star" encourages kids to pretend, to imagine, and to dream. This can be the single most important first step anyone takes. A tongue in cheek humor tinges the distinctively blocked narrative, setting just the right tone for solid good times.

The Psychology Shelf

Uncle Lightfoot Flip That Switch
Mary F. Coffman, author
D.C. Dusevitch, illustrator
Footpath Press
PO Box 676, West Union, SC 29696
9780615567457 $19.95

Licensed counselor Mary Coffman presents Uncle Lightfoot Flip That Switch: Overcoming Fear of the Dark, a 115-page resource designed especially to help children ages 4-8 who suffer from fear of the dark. Young children may need parental guidance to follow the moderately lengthy story (broken in digestible chapters) about a young boy who gradually learns how to control his sense of terror. An extensive supplemental section teaches parents and children tips, tricks, and techniques for a "game approach" that can make overcoming phobias fun. The story demonstrates some of the techniques that are later explained in specific detail, such as modeling (learning through observation), gradual exposure (densensitization through modest exposure that gradually increases), cognitive behavioral techniques (training one's mind to react differently to fearful situations), and reinforcement (strengthening positive behavior through rewards). Uncle Lightfoot Flip That Switch is an invaluable, user-friendly guide, worthy of the highest recommendation for both family and public library collections.

The Education Shelf

I Want To Make Friends
Annye Rothenberg, PH.D., Child/Parent Psychologist, author
Bonnie Bright, illustrator
Perfect Parenting Press
3943 Jefferson Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94062
9780979042041, $9.95,

"I Want To Make Friends" is the fifth title in a social skills series for preschoolers that teaches both young children and parents what steps to practice and perfect in order to be able to succeed at making and keeping friends. "I Want To Make Friends" is divided into two major parts: The first is a colorfully illustrated story about Zachary, who is having problems making friends at preschool. This can be read to a child by an adult with special attention paid to those examples that seem relevant to the child, or taking time to discuss different parts as the child has reactions or questions. The second part is a detailed Guidance Section for Parents, in three sections. These are titled How to be sure your child has enough contact with other young children, Useful tools for all parents teaching their kids social skills, What you can do when your kids have unfriendly or uncomfortable ways of behaving with peers, which includes five categories of children which are bossy children, annoying children, physically aggressive children, quiet, self-conscious children, and thin-skinned, very sensitive children. Specific suggestions are given for different types of teaching interactions with each type of behavior. In summary, "I Want To Make Friends" is a handy social skills teaching manual for parents of preschool children with practical advice and solid suggestions for interaction patterns to help teach a young child desirable social skills.

Manners Are Free
M. B. Jones, author
Kathy Kerber, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781463413071, $11.95,

"Manners Are Free" is a grandmother's gift to help teach her granddaughter (and others) precious manners and basic courtesy. Written in jaunty verse and carefully illustrated with realistic family figures in bright colors, "Manners Are Free" teaches a young child to say "please" and "thank you," to use a napkin and not talk with a mouth full of food while eating, to say "Please excuse me" when leaving the table, and always to apologize sincerely when you hurt someone. Nana, (Grandma) has many manners to teach her granddaughter, but since she is only two, this charming book called "Manners Are Free" will do nicely for a beginning.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

101 Monologues for Middle School Actors
Rebecca Young
Meriwether Publishing
PO Box 7710
Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7710
9781566081849, $17.95,

The monologue is a good practice in public speaking and in acting in general. "101 Monologues for Middle School Actors: Including Comedy and Dramatic Monologues" is a collection of monologues aimed at the middle school level to help young would be actors embrace their inner charm and bring it out on stage. Blending timeless topics as well as pop culture, "101 Monologues for Middle School Actors" is a strong addition to many theatre and educational collections, recommended.

The Health Shelf

Little Bunny Has Belly Surgery
Teresa Magone, MD
Little Bunny Books
9780615585956 $9.50

Medical doctor Teresa Magone presents Little Bunny Has Belly Surgery, a softcover, rhyming picturebook that uses the story of a little rabbit to walk young readers through what they can expect when they have to undergo abdominal surgery in a hospital. "Then the nurse said I needed to have a tiny tube put into my nose, / And I said, 'But it looks like a garden hose!' / But she insisted, 'It is tiny and doesn't hurt. / It is like a highway to your tummy. / And with just a squirt / I can give you medicine that isn't yummy.'" The minimalist color illustrations, drawn in the style of a child's artwork, show the little bunny at every step of his ordeal, including the long road to getting better after the surgery. Little Bunny Has Belly Surgery is worthy of the highest recommendation for parents and children to share prior to difficult and scary hospital ordeals. Ninety percent of the proceeds of Little Bunny Has Belly Surgery will be donated to children's charities. Another excellent title by the same author is "About Pipi (Pee Pee) and Poo Poo and Beyond" (9780615467344, $12.00) a similar, cartoon-style book intended to help children and parents better understand and deal with bowel and bladder issues.

The Gluten Glitch
Stasie John, author
Kevin Cannon, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane
Edina, MN 55439
9781592984671 $16.95

The Gluten Glitch is a children's picturebook written to help children who are frustrated by food allergies in general, and gluten intolerance in particular. Young Gideon is unhappy that he couldn't have one of the animal-shaped cupcake treats that the rest of his class ate - he could only have a gluten-free cupcake. It simply isn't fair; his mother understands, and to help him, tells him more about why this is so. Gideon's body has been unable to properly digest gluten since he was a baby; it would make his head hurt, his skin turn red, and his tummy bloated. So Gideon has to be extra careful of what he eats, especially at restaurants. He might not ever outgrow the condition, and have to watch his diet for the rest of his life. But Gideon's mother also reminds him of the many delicious foods he can eat, from vanilla ice cream to cotton candy, popsicles, fruit gummies, toasted marshmallows, popcorn, potato chips, corn chip nachos, tacos, and much more! The gentle, cartoon-style illustrations add a gentle touch to this heartwarming book about dealing with the emotional difficulties of coping with gluten intolerance. The Gluten Glitch is highly recommended for children's library collections not only for the sake of children with gluten intolerance or celiac's disease, but also to teach children everywhere why certain friends and classmates can't eat wheat or bread products.

How Maji Gets Mongo Off the Couch!
Dr. J. Renae Norton, author
Steve Hayes, illustrator
Robert D. Reed, publishers
P.O. Box 1992, Bandon, OR 97411
9781934759608, $17.95,

"How Maji Gets Mongo Off the Couch!" is a teaching tale about two adorable dogs of the same breed who have very different living habits. Maji is a friendly, active, happy playful pup who is constantly in motion, while Mongo is described as a "sad couch potato." When Maji knocks on Mongo's door and invites him to play outside, his sedentary lifestyle is gradually transformed. Despite occasional setbacks, Mongo's and Maji's friendship grows, and Mongo is encouraged to continue exploring fun outdoor activities such as stacking rocks into a fort, building a tree house, and rollerblading. With healthier snack choices and more exercise and fresh air, Mongo starts to slim down and he definitely has a whole lot more fun. Written in snappy verse, with perky colorful illustrations, "How Maji Gets Mongo Off the Couch!" is a winning health education book for preschool- elementary age kids.

Poodles, Noodles, and Snickerdoodles
Kathy L. Raunikar, author
Ingrid M. Raunikar, illustrator
Yorkshire Publishing
9731 East 54th Street, Tulsa, OK 74146
9780881442649, $14.99,

Good diets in youth are vital to promoting good health for a lifetime. "Poodles, Noodles, and Snickerdoodles" is a children's picturebook with a strong message about two poodles who enjoy their buttery cheese noodles and snickerdoodles far too much and let their diets get out of control, stopping them from playing. Their parents intervene and promote a healthy return to play and better diet. "Poodles, Noodles, Snickerdoodles" is a strong read-along picturebook for young children and their parents, very much recommended reading.

Alexander and the Great Berry Patch
Linda J. Hawkins, author
Donna Eaves, illustrator
Heart to Heart Publishing, Inc.
528 Mud Creek Road
Morgantown, KY 42261
9780980248685 $12.99 sc
9780980248661 $19.99 hc

Alexander and the Great Berry Patch is a softcover educational children's picturebook designed to teach young ones about the flavorful taste and nourishing qualities of berries. In the story, young Alexander meets a talking blueberry that tells him why berries are a healthy food to eat - they're low in calories, but high in phytochemicals (healthy compounds found in all fruits and vegetables) and antioxidants (vitamins). A glossary and a recipe for a "Very Berry Slushy" round out this excellent book for steering children towards a healthy snack that is far better for them than candy! Highly recommended.

The Picturebook Shelf

Drops of Life
Esko-Pekka Tiitinen, author
Nikolai Tiitinen, illustrator
Fleur Jeremiah, translator
Tammi Publishers
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
9788415241317 $14.95

Striking, painted illustrations using a simplified style and a soothing, dark-hued palette distinguish Drops of Life, the picturebook adaptation of a children's play meant to encourage young people to think of the environment. Originally in Finnish, Drops of Life has been skillfully translated into English, and tells the story of an owl and a dove traveling to Africa on the back of a friendly whale. They are dismayed to discover that Africa has become a desert! It takes the cooperation and aid of many other animals, a human, and the very forces of nature (the sun, the water, and the wind) to bring seeds of life to Africa once more. The narrative is sufficiently lengthy and involved to be ideal for young readers who are almost ready to move on from picturebooks to chapter books. A heartwarming story of teamwork for a greater good, Drops of Life is highly recommended.

The Rumor
Anushka Ravishankar, author
Kanyika Kini, illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770492806, $17.95,

"The Rumor" is a delightful Indian children's tale that seems closely related to a game once known as "telephone." A remote village called Braddbaddpur has provided a setting where people like to tell tales 'so tall that if you put them one on top of the other, they would reach the stars.' Grim, dour, unpopular Pandurang (whose face can sour milk) is surprised one day when he coughs up a feather. From that strange experience and its retellings by curious villagers grows a vast and hilarious mythic tale. Brilliant, bright and funny illustrations picture every fantastic embroidery, and the final result ultimately become simply too large to support. Children will love the easy familiarity and cozy village style of this Indian version of a game of 'telephone.' All the Indian names are quite beautiful and fun to learn to say together, adding to the exotic aura of "The Rumor." In the end, everyone learns a little more about the progress of rumors. Humor is a great solvent, and perhaps the best teacher.

Grace Saves the Princess
Matt Balson
Berwick Court Publishing Co.
1562 Willow Road
Northfield, IL 60093
9780983884613 $12.95 pbk. / $2.99 Kindle

Illustrated with cartoon-like characters on a background of stunningly beautiful lithographs of the Welsh countryside, Grace Saves the Princess is an empowering softcover picturebook (also available in a Kindle edition) for young people ages 3 to 10, especially girls. The story, told in simple sentences accessible to beginning readers, follows a prideful princess who is used to having everything done for her. When she becomes lost in the countryside, instead of trying to save herself, she waits for Prince Charming to rescue her. Instead, she meets Grace, a girl who loves the wilderness and has learned the skills she needs to survive. Grace asks questions that prompts the princess how she has lived her life, and leads her on a long hike to save herself and journey home. "The two girls set off toward the castle. 'Grace, do you know how to tie your own shoes?' the Princess asked. 'Sure I do,' Grace said. 'Want me to teach you?' "Yes!' The Princess said and then giggled." With its positive, can-do message about learning to take care of oneself and make new friends, Grace Saves the Princess is a choice read-aloud pick and highly recommended.

House Held Up By Trees
Ted Kooser, author
Jon Klassen, illustrated
Candlewick Press
99 Dover St.
Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763651077, $16.99,

"House Held Up By Trees" is a poignant, true story about a deserted house that gradually became surrounded and uplifted by young trees, over the years after it was no longer lived in. Haunting, spare paintings show the house first as it was built, with the father clearing out all the little trees from the yard, and then later as it gradually changed after the father and his children have grown up and left. The presence of the surrounding trees is a mystical theme in "House Held Up By Trees." The children, when they are young, are attracted to the shadowy depths and mystery of the surrounding trees. But their father just kept working on his lawn and digging up all the little tree sprouts that planted themselves. Finally the father grows to old to work so hard on the lawn. He puts the house up for sale and moves to the city to an apartment, where he will be closer to his son and daughter, and possibly less lonely. But the house is never sold. Instead the little trees come to surround it and grow up around it. What might have been a sad tale becomes a kind of celebration of nature and the patient, persistence of the gentle trees. "House Held Up By Trees" is a story for children age 5 and up, and for the adults who will read it to them.

The Crowded Backyard
P.T. Custard and Jeffrey Duckworth
Black Plume Books
9780978531737 $16.95

Colorful, cartoon-style illustrations distinguish The Crowded Backyard, a children's picturebook by a dog named Dill who is disturbed by all the noise and activity that the wildlife in his backyard engage in. He tries barking and chasing the birds, squirrels, rabbits, and butterflies, but at last gives up to take a nap. When he wakes up, though, he begins to see his backyard differently - the "noisy" birds are singing beautiful songs, and the rabbits and squirrels are fun to watch as they go about their day. Dill learns an important lesson, one that parents can share with young people by reading the book aloud - happiness is as much a product of one's attitude on the inside as it is of events happening outside! Highly recommended.

Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream!
Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D., author
Jo Gershman, illustrator
Smart Love Press
400 East Randolph Street, Suite 205
Chicago, IL 60601
9780983866404 $18.99

Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream! is a read-aloud children's picturebook about an anthropomorphic joey (young kangaroo) who is plagued by terrible dreams. At first he runs to his parents, who teach him more about dreams and what causes them. "Dreams are stories we tell ourselves for a reason. We just have to understand the reason. Are you upset about something that happened today?" Eventually the joey learns to identify the causes of his own dreams, and no longer feels the need to run to Mom and Dad every time a nightmare wakes him up. A number of other anthropomorphic Australian animals also appear in this heartwarming and highly recommended bedtime story with a valuable lesson for little ones.

It's a Big World, Little Pig!
Kristi Yamaguchi, author
Tim Bowers, illustrator
Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139
Naperville, IL 60563
9781402266447 $16.99

It's a Big World, Little Pig! is an upbeat children's picturebook following an anthropomorphic porcine girl dedicated to her dream! Poppy has worked so hard as a figure skater that she has earned the chance to travel to Paris for a special competition. Although she is nervous about venturing far from home, the journey is also filled with exciting opportunities to meet new friends with dreams of their own - Li the panda snowboarder from China, Gianna the canine skier from Italy, Kiyomi the crane ice skater from Japan, and Zoe the kangaroo speed skater from Australia. It's a Big World, Little Pig! is an inspirational adventure especially ideal for young girls. Also highly recommended is the previous book featuring Poppy and her drive to become the best figure skater she can be, "Dream Big, Little Pig!" (1402252757, $16.99).

Grandma Drove the Lobsterboat
Katie Clark, author
Amy Huntington, illustrator
Down East Books
PO Box 679
Camden, ME 04843
9781608930043 $16.95

Grandma Drove the Lobsterboat is a children's picturebook about a north coast family's adventures preparing for the Labor Day Lobster Bake. Normally, the grandmother's sons handle driving the lobster boat, but trouble crops up this time, and it's up to the plucky old women and her helpful grandchildren to navigate the boat together! The uproarious coastal adventure concludes with delicious lobster for all, in this high-spirited story ideal for young readers who are almost ready to advance to chapter books.

Olive and Snowflake
Tammie Lyon, author/illustrator
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
99 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, New York 10591
9780761460695, $16.99,

"Olive and Snowflake" is a charming children's picture book about a mischievous girl and her white pet dog whose troublesome antics result in the parents sending Snowflake to obedience school. Part of the problem is that Snowflake misbehaves to keep up with Olive, who also needs to learn more about good manners and courtesy. Unfortunately, Olive is afraid she can't learn everything at obedience school, and she is afraid she will be sent away from her family along with Snowflake. The amusing conclusion is both warmly satisfying and firmly directed so that children (ages 4-8) will receive an unmistakable lesson about practicing good manners and unconditional love. Colorful illustrations of little red-haired Olivia and frisky Snowflake adorn every page of this delightful children's story.

The Klampie Mystery
Luis Rodriguez
Mascot Books
c/o KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek, NE
Ada, MI 49301
9781620860311 $14.95

The Klampie Mystery is a charming picturebook with inviting, earth-toned illustrations, about an Australian koala mix-up. A young girl adores her medium-sized, clamp-on plush koala that she names Klampie. While she is visiting Australia, a real koala becomes lost, mistakes Klampie for a fellow koala, and effectively takes Klampie's place - prompting a shocking revelation on the plane trip home. No one can quite figure out how on earth Klampie suddenly "became" a real, live koala! The reading level of the story is best suited for young people who are almost ready to move on to chapter books. The Klampie Mystery is especially recommended to youthful koala fans.

Catty Jane Who Hated the Rain
Valeri Gorbachev
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590787007 $16.95

Catty Jane Who Hated the Rain is an exuberant children's picturebook about an anthropomorphic cat who doesn't like rainy days at all; thunder and lightning startle her, which is even worse. But then her animal friends get together to show her that rainy days can be fun - by throwing a rainy day party, with dancing and singing! Lively color illustrations with soft outlines add the perfect touch to this lovely story of friendship and fun.

Big Birthday
Kate Hosford, author
Holly Clifton-Brown, illustrator
Carolrhoda Books
c/o Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761354109, $16.95,

"Big Birthday" is the highly impractical story of a girl named Annabelle who decides she needs to have her birthday party on the moon, because she's tired of the usual zoos, clowns, magicians, and pizza. she even builds an extraordinary shiny purple rocket ship (out of leftover bits and pieces), which unfortunately does not lift off the ground. Annabelle's parents try to help her put together a special moon party, but many obstacles and problems arise, leading to an amazing realization (by Annabelle): "My birthday," she cried, "Has become a big mess. I'm not having any fun, and neither are my guests!" A quick return trip zooming by Mercury, Jupiter, and Mars, lands Annabelle, her guests, and her parents on friendly earth. Her next birthday party will be a great success, on a purple pirate ship! "Big Birthday" has a charming verse narrative and wacky, inspired illustrations that underline the humor of the tale. Children age 5 and up will love "Big Birthday."

Saving Up Smiles for a Rainy Day
Sheila Andreana Sewall, author
Hector Curriel, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane
Edina, MN 55439
9781592984008 $16.95

Saving Up Smiles for a Rainy Day is a gentle picturebook that works very well as a read-aloud bedtime story. A mother teaches her child about the importance of "saving up smiles" - storing happy and treasured memories of family, friends, and pets, the better to lighten one's mood on a gloomy day. Soft-hued color illustrations help convey the story's heartwarming and emotional message.

Why the Wind Loves Children
Fred Schlissel, author
Tetyana Snezhyk, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432786212 $22.95

Why the Wind Loves Children is a softcover children's book written in the style of folklore. Grandfather and storyteller Fred Schlissel spins a parable about how the land used to have fewer colors and no wind. Then children came; bright, inquisitive, and laughing. The energy of their love and the air from their laughter brought about the wind, which loves children to this day. "What a wonderful thing had happened. There were leaves on the trees and the wind made them move. A person could even hear the sound of the leaves rustle as the wind gently moved them one way and another." Simplistic color illustrations reminiscent of a child's artwork add a compassionate touch to this gentle and heartwarming fable.

Zoo Ah-choooo
Peter Mandel, author
Elwood Smith, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
9780823423170 $16.95

Zoo Ah-choooo is a lighthearted children's book about a contagious sneeze - once the zoo's Snow Leopard sneezes, almost every other zoo creature seems to catch it and pass it on! Wild, lively color art adds this perfect touch to a read-aloud story that doubles as a great lead-in to teaching little ones to turn their heads and cover their mouths when they have to sneeze. Also, pictures of the zoo before and after the sneezing epidemic are designed especially so that young people can compare them and spot the differences.

Susan M. Maithya, author
Lowell Hildebrandt, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781467041317 $17.99

Struffel is a softcover children's picturebook featuring two original stories: "Struffel's Walk" and "Struffel's New Bed". The titular Struffel is a young anthropomorphic bear, and the stories are both brief, lighthearted excursions - one follows Struffel as he enjoys a fine spring day, and another is about his joy when his parents get him a new bed (shaped like a red racecar!) to replace the old bed that he has outgrown. "'It is so squishy, cuddly, soft, and warm!' he said. 'Now, I can stretch out and sleep in my new bed... with all my teddy friends!'" Struffel is a delightfully pleasant little book, and its sentences are simple enough to be accessible to beginning readers.

Pegasus: A Dragon's Tale
Gina LoBiondo, author
Stephanie Zuppo, illustrator
Nephthys Publications
9780982264829 $10.00

Pegasus: A Dragon's Tale is a softcover fantasy picturebook, featuring a pair of anthropomorphic bear cubs who are the prince and princess of a faraway kingdom, and the dragon they befriend. When Prince Dayshawn and Princess Kameela discover an abandoned egg, they take it home, keep it warm, and are delighted when it hatches into a lovable dragon! They name the dragon Pegasus, and raise him for a little while, but their father the king decides that Pegasus should be set free once he is old enough to survive on his own. Dayshawn and Kameela are sad to see Pegasus go, but they are destined to meet him again when their need is greatest! The playful color illustrations add a heartwarming touch to this gentle parable of loyalty and friendship.

The Little Boy Who Lived in Only Green Land
George Nixon, author
Rachael D. Williams, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781449066925 $10.49

The Little Boy Who Lived in Only Green Land is a softcover children's book that teaches young people about colors while spinning a fantastic story in the style of a parable. A young boy feels overwhelmed by all the colors in the world; the only color he trusts is green. He lives in "only green land" for a time, but eventually comes to miss all the good things about the other colors, and is delighted when they all return. "The reds were exciting and made him want to splash both hands in them. The blues soothed him and rocked him. The purples made him feel special and important. The blacks helped him to see things in sharper focus. The yellows made him laugh and want to dance. The oranges whispered of fullness and smelled of spices. The greens, of course, seemed safe." Vibrantly illustrated, The Little Boy Who Lived in Only Green Land is a wonderful and imaginative read-aloud picturebook, highly recommended.

The Waterslide
Brett A. Bodway, author
Dennis Krull, illustrator
Contributions by Karen Duerre Bodway
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781469926056 $12.49

The Waterslide is a softcover children's picturebook about a young boy who is consistently picked last for sports teams. Worse, he dreads an upcoming waterslide competition because he is afraid of the waterslide. But there is value to be found in mustering up the courage to face one's fears! The bright, simple color illustrations complement this character-building story. Ten percent of the author proceeds from The Waterslide will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Village Family Service Center, and a final page in the picturebook encourages readers of all ages to consider contributing to or becoming part of the life-changing Big Brothers Big Sisters project.

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?
Mo Willems
Hyperion Books for Children
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor
New York, NY 10011
9781423151289 $15.99

Three-time Caldecott Honor and two-time Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal winning children's author Mo Willems presents The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?, the seventh in his popular "Pigeon" series of picturebooks featuring a most temperamental avian. The minimalistic art style complements the simple, dialogue-driven narrative: when the duckling politely asks for a cookie, he gets one. The pigeon doesn't understand why the duckling gets a cookie, while the pigeon demands things all the time and doesn't get them! Since the pigeon is oblivious to his own rudeness, will he ever get a cookie? With nuts? The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? has a subtle yet valuable moral about the importance of being polite and respectful, and is just plain fun to read aloud to young ones. Highly recommended.

Butterfly Dreams: Milo's Adventure
Trudy Davis
Choices Lifestyle Publications
9278-216th St.
Langley, B.C. Canada V1M 0A3
9780986636516 $11.99

Illustrated with captivated, emotional paintings, Butterfly Dreams: Milo's Adventure is a softcover picturebook about an amazing, dreamlike journey undertaken by young Milo and his friends, a blue butterfly and an intrepid bald eagle. The story text is advanced and lengthy enough to be suitable for youngsters who are almost ready for chapter books, but the ethereal beauty of the dream-journey itself has a timeless quality. Butterfly Dreams: Milo's adventure is a wonderful storybook for parents and children to share.

Bronto & the Pterodactyl Eggs
Charlotte Vivian Rodenberg
Craigmore Creations
2900 SE Stark St., Suite 1A
Portland, OR 97214
9780984442249 $14.99

The debut children's book of author Charlotte Vivian Rodenberg, Bronto & the Pterodactyl Eggs is a charming and colorful story about Bronto, a kindly Apatosaurus who happens across a nest of pterodactyl eggs in need of protection. He keeps the eggs warm, fruitlessly searches for their mother, and when a volcano erupts, delays long enough to bury them in a safe place before running for his life! Even though lava scorches the land, the little pterodactyls survive underground, hatch, and fly away, in this inspirational (if not terribly scientific) parable.

The Carrot King
Sally Lee, author/illustrator
Sally Lee Books
35 Locust Street, Unit 5, Danvers, MA 01923
9781466469839, $12.99,

"The Carrot King" is an incredibly illustrated tale of a rich, playful boy king (who loved carrots) who met a friend who was poor. Although the boy king had been much more interested in playing with his toys and riding his bike than in being a king, he likes his new friend and shares a meal with him in his home, after offering him his carrot. It is new to the boy king to meet anyone who has no shoes and only potatoes and beans to eat. It is new to the poor boy to be invited to a wonderful dinner at the carrot king's palace. Both friends enjoy their time and their meals together. "The Carrot King" is a lovely parable about the joy of sharing between the haves and the have-nots. Fantastically detailed, colorful illustrations express the differences in both boys' environments. "The Carrot King" is a classic tale for this generation and those to come.

Jo Ann Kairys and Daniel Kairys, M.D., authors
Jo Ann Kairys and Frank Thompson, illustrators
Storyquest Publishing
1070 Highway 34, #124
Matawan, New Jersey 07747
9780982699829 $15.95

Winner of a Mom's Choice Award, Sunbelievable is a captivating children's picturebook distinguished by striking illustrations that consist of a blend of photography (of the young girls in the story) and brilliantly colored artwork. The extravagant YaYa enjoys telling stories about all the wild and woolly thinks the sun does, from riding roller coasters to taking bubble baths, but skeptical Leen challenges YaYa's imagination - and invents silly story twists of her own! The final page has a few real-life, astronomical facts about the Sun that powers all life on earth. Sunbelievable is a treat and a joy to share with young people ages 4-8.

Red Redmond and the Great Plane Adventure
Earl M. Furfine, author
Marija Miletic Dail, illustrator
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E. Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781105098802, $19.95,

"Red Redmond and the Great Plane Adventure" is a great entertaining story about a young boy's first plane flight along with his dog, Pilot. Red learns a great deal about the different parts of a plane that help it to fly. he also experiences flying on the plane while sharing his dog's flight cage, in an unplanned rescue move to secure the cage door. Children will love the peppy, spontaneous colored drawings and the breezy, brave attitude of young Red. Adults may want to add some cautionary information to correctly prepare children for real flight experiences. But there is no doubt that reading "Red Redmond and the Great Plane Adventure" will spark young fliers' interest and attention in all things to do with aviation.

The Tale of Strawberry Snow
P. L. Caudle, author
Frank H. Simmonds, IV, illustrator
Schiffer Publishing
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
97880764340765, $16.99,

"The Tale of Strawberry Snow" is a wonderful illustrated story about a little white foal with red freckles born on Chincoteague Island, near Chesapeake Bay. Strawberry Snow loves to explore her barn and snowy field under her mother's watchful eye. Her favorite friend is a spider named Oliver Mortimer Miles, who weaves a lovely web on the outside wood bin. Too soon Strawberry Snow's mother calls her in from the bitter cold, for her strawberry freckles were turning blue! "The Tale of Strawberry Snow" is a tender, sensitively narrated and illustrated presentation of the life of a young foal emerging into an exciting new world. This book will appeal to children age 3 and up.

The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas
Tony Wilson & Sue deGennaro
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561456352, $16.95,

Sometimes the classics need a bit of updating. "The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas" is a children's picturebook which twists the old Princess and Pea fairy tale to a new prince who wants a princess who isn't sensitive at all, because they complain too much. Prince Henrik comes up with a new way to find a wife, and finds an ideal wife where she never expected. With a unique and offbeat dose of humor, "The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas" is a fine pick for any parent looking for a story of friendship for their young ones, highly recommended.

Mole's Babies
David Bedford, author
Rosalind Beardshaw, illustrator
Tiger Tales
5 River Road, Suite 128, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589251083, $12.95,

Morris and Mini Mole are expecting mole babies and Morris is determined to be a good father, to do whatever he can to make his babies happy. He watches baby bunnies, baby birds, and baby ducklings to find out how to make his babies happy. But hopping, flapping, and splashing, which make baby bunnies, birds, and ducklings happy, are not what Morris the mole is good at. Finally when Morris is most discouraged, Mini tells him, "Our babies don't need any of those things! Our babies need love!" And Morris is so happy, because he knew he and Mini could give their babies all the love they would ever need. Hilarious illustrations add to the gentle narrative which encourages young children to explore and appreciate their unique individuality. "Mole's Babies" is perfect for children ages 3-7, and will make a repeat hit with its humorous message of unconditional mutual love.

The Lion and the Mouse
Gabre Medhin
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781456743598, $17.97,

Friendship can be found even if there seems to be no common ground. "The Lion and the Mouse Come Together as Friends" is a children's picturebook from Gabre Medhin as he presents a fine fable of the rough road to friendship of neighbors of Mouse and Lion, and how in the end, only friendship matters. "The Lion and the Mouse Come Together as Friends" is a fine full color and poetic picturebook, highly recommended.

Not a Buzz To Be Found
Linda Glaser
Millbrook Press
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761356448, $25.26,

Where do many things go when the snow covers the ground? "Not a Buzz To Be Found: Insects in Winter" is a children's picturebook from author Linda Glaser and illustrator Jaime Zollars as they explore what many insects do in the winter when it's far too cold to try to forage for food up above ground, telling of each of the insects way of dealing with the harshness of winter. "Not a Buzz To Be Found" is a much recommended pick for children's picturebook collections, especially those with a curiosity of the bugs, and want to turn that curiosity into a love of science.

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey
Mini Grey
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375869525 $16.99

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey tells of Traction Man and his loyal pet Scrubbing Brush, who are headed to the beach for adventure. From a Squid-Proof Scuba Suit to defending a picnic against hungry Truffles, cartoon drawings accompany a zany, fun plot filled with twists and turns of language and phrase.

Rocket Writes a Story
Tad Hills
Schwartz Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375870866 $17.99

Rocket Writes a Story returns the popular Rocket dog to a new adventure: having learned to read in the prior book, he's now learning to write a story. He collects words for his word tree, searches out inspiration, and writes and rewrites until he has a story to share in this gentle tale of a literary dog's efforts. Grades 1-3 will find this a fine story.

I Bought a Little Kitty
Evelyn Sue Sondag
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781469983394 $6.99 pbk. / $0.99 Kindle

Based on a poem that grandmother Evelyn Sue Sondag wrote for her grandchildren, I Bought a Little Kitty is a delightful, softcover children's picturebook about a young girl who meticulously saves her allowance for months so that she can afford to buy a black-and-white kitten from the pet shop. But her new pet turns out to be quite the rambunctious handful, getting tangled in yarn, knocking over her mother's candy jar, and climbing the curtains! The stylized photo-realistic illustrations bring the entire heartwarming adventure to life. I Bought a Little Kitty is a read-aloud treat for parents to share with their children; families that don't yet have a pet kitten are likely to want one after finishing the book!

The Fiction Shelf

Twice Around the Mulberry Bush
Gerald Helland
Gold Leaf Press
9781886769854 $12.95

Twice Around the Mulberry Bush is a novel for young adults about tragedy, and the struggle for redemption. Set in 1970, Twice Around the Mulberry Bush tells the story of Wesley McFaddon in his own words. When Wesley and his best friend Richard are horsing around with an army handgun they discovered in Richard's attic, the gun goes off, killing Richard on the spot. Wesley panics and runs away, but he can't outrun his problems - a gang of other boys steal his money, beat him unconscious, and throw him into a river to drown. But when Wesley is saved from the river, he learns that there is an alternative path to running away from one's terrible mistakes, whether through physical flight or through death. Life is worth living, even when it means facing the consequences of one's misdeeds; new friends and new discoveries help show him the way to hope. Twice Around the Mulberry Bush is a powerful story with an invaluable lesson, ideal for teen and tween readers.

Before We Go
Amy Bright
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
311 Washington Street
Brighton, MA 02135
9780889954717, $12.95,

New Year's Eve is a benchmark for many, and for Emily, it will be perhaps one of the most major in her life. "Before We Go" is a novel of a new chapter in young Emily's life, as she faces a grandmother in struggling health and perhaps a new chance at romance. But the pressures of family may derail her hopes and dreams, as she tries to get her head straight. Sure to resonate with the lives of many modern women, Amy Bright's writing makes "Before We Go" is a strong addition to contemporary fiction collections, not to be missed.

Kevin's Point of View
Del Shannon
Flatiron View Books
9780615401232, $13.99,

The imagination of small child has a lot of power behind it. "Kevin's Point of View" follows twelve year old Kevin who lets his imagination run wild while coping with the loss of his father. As his imagination grows into something much more, he finds himself embroiled in a battle over time and space, drafting his siblings and pizza deliverymen as allies in his epic battle. "Kevin's Point of View" is a fun and much recommended pick for youth fiction collections, highly recommended.

Fix by Force
Jason Warne
Westbow Press
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781449739386, $13.99,

The temptation of the easy way out is often too great to avoid. "Fix by Force" is the story of Spencer, a young man who has the whole town against him for the sins of his father. Tempted by the use of steroids to help to give him the confidence he needs to stand up for himself and make a difference in his own life. But can they truly give him the tools he needs to make a difference? "Fix by Force" is a strong pick for youth fiction collections.

Karla Oceanak, author
Kendra Spanjer, illustrator
Bailiwick Press
309 E. Mulberry Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524
9781934649176, $12.95,

Who knew a Halloween costume could get him in so much trouble? "Egghead" is a novel for young readers, in which young Aldo Zelnick chooses to dress as Albert Einsten for Halloween, a choice which puts him on the outs with his best friend. With plenty of humor and plenty of youthful enthusiasm, "Egghead" is filled with fun illustration and an excellent choice for younger readers trying to graduate from picture books, very much recommended.

Ferocity Summer
Alissa Grosso
2143 Woodale Drive
Woodbury, MN 55125-2989
9780738730707, $9.95,

A day of judgment is always to be feared. "Ferocity Summer" is a young adult novel from Alissa Grosso, exploring the dread of teenager Scilla Davis, who through is faced with a manslaughter charge as a passenger, coasting along with her best friend Willow who is delving into a world of drugs where Scilla isn't sure she wants to follow. With a psychological tale woven in, "Ferocity Summer" is an enticing and much recommended pick for general fiction collections.

The Traveling Restaurant
Barbara Else
Gecko Press
c/o Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781877579035 $17.95

THE TRAVELING RESTAURANT: JASPER'S VOYAGE IN THREE PARTS tells of two gypsies and a preteen boy who embark on high adventure amidst controversy and strife. From a ship called the Restaurant and pirates and spies to magic, descriptions are whimsical and bright: "The Restaurant continued to slip downstream in its shell of mist. How strange and terrible it was to be with his baby sister, possibly the promise of a good new world, while on the same ship traveled possibly the last creature of deep magic." A glorious voyage evolves, suitable for middle to high school readers and packed with action and changing story lines!

Philippa Gregory
Simon Pulse
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781442453449 $18.99

CHANGELING is Book One in the 'Order of Darkness' series and will appeal to high school readers with its story of seventeen-year-old Luca Vero, accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery. Sent to travel the lands, he meets teen Isolde, a lady Abbess trapped in a nunnery, and together the two embark on a journey for truth and their own destinies - even romance - as they travel in search of a historical figure who holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness. Ages 14 and older will find this a compelling read.

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

Barbara Park's JUNIE B. JONES AND THE STUPID SMELLY BUS (9780375868412, $14.99) offers a funny story of a precocious kindergartner and appears in a 20th-anniversary full color edition for newcomers as it tells of Junie and her problems with the school bus. Ages 6-9 will appreciate this fun take on life, which introduced a range of Junie B. Jones adventures. The color format assures new generations will find this appealing. Patricia Reilly Giff's BEARS BEWARE (9780385738897, $12.99) receives black and white drawings by Alasdair Bright in 67 easy pages of adventure that tells of Mitchell, who is afraid to sleep in the woods with wild animals and bugs all around him. But his best friend is going camping, and Mitchell doesn't want to miss out on the fun in this delightful story. Kids in grades 3-5 will find Jacqueline Harvey's ALICE-MIRANDA ON VACATION (9780385739955, $14.99) continues the story of a girl who has survived her first semester at boarding school and is now headed for a break - with the school's second-best tantrum thrower. The two girls are looking forward to a get-away - but romance, a scheme, and a mischievous boy conspire to turn their get-away into high adventure in this fun sequel especially recommended for prior Alice-Miranda fans.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway
New York NY 10012

Jennifer A. Nielsen's THE FALSE PRINCE (9780545284134, $17.99) provides a powerful novel revolving around four boys and a dangerous plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son. Four orphans are forced to compete for the role or die - and only Sage has the wits to devise his own dangerous counter-plan in this moving, complex story of intrigue and politics. Elizabeth Eulberg's TAKE A BOW (9780545334747, $17.99) tells of Emme, a songwriter who has always taken second place to her star-seeking singer friend Sophie. It also tells of a circle of friends with different issues who are attending a performing arts school packed with talent - and intense competition for the spotlight. A fine story of relationships and fame evolves. Siobhan Vivian's THE LIST (9780545169172, $17.99) tells of a year list posed all over school before homecoming where two girls are picked from each grade; the prettiest and the ugliest. All others are forgotten. This tells of eight pretty/ugly girls chosen and how they handle their definitions, struggling with issues of identity and beauty in a thoughtful reflection for any middle school reader.

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

Marilyn Sue Shank's CHILD OF THE MOUNTAINS (9780385740791, $16.99) tells of Lydia Hawkins, who is growing up poor in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia with a close-knit family. When her wise grandmother and ill younger brother die and her mother is jailed unjustly, Lydia finds her family torn apart - and moves to a coal camp to live with relatives where she's ridiculed at her new school and facing difficult family changes. A warm story of changing family connections makes this a winner. Carl Hiaasen's CHOMP (9780375868429, $16.99) tells of the mixed life of Wahoo Cray, whose father is a professional animal wrangler. He's grown up with animals all his life, but when his father takes on a new job with a reality-TV show, changes lead Wahoo to an Everglades adventure and possible danger. TV fame and controversy swirls in this vivid story, perfect for any who like intrigue, animals, and family relationships! R.J. Palacio's WONDER (9780375869020, $15.99) tells of August Pullman, born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school. He's about to enter fifth grade as a new kid - and faces many struggles with family and new relationships in this powerful saga of new encounters and change. Nathan Bransford's JACOB WONDERBAR FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE (9780803735385, $15.99) provides a fine survey of Jacob Wonderbar, who rules the school with his pranks and who has now been nominated for President of the Universe. He's facing a space pirate, Prince Mick Cracken, and some heavy campaign strategies and dangerous new laws that even embrace the salvation of Planet Earth in this powerful second book in a hilarious, whimsical series highly recommended for middle grade readers looking for something different. Julie Schumacher's THE UNBEARABLE BOOK CLUB FOR UNSINKABLE GIRLS (9780385737739, $16.99) tells of Adrienne Haus, survivor of a mother-daughter book club where membership for the daughters isn't voluntary. Adrienne's mother signed her up because she was stuck at home with her knee in a brace, and other daughters have been forced to join due to misbehaviors. The book club between them can best be described as one for 'literary prisoners' - one that holds a surprising message filled with whimsy and fun. Esther Friesner's SPIRIT'S PRINCESS (9780375869075, $17.99) tells of Himiko, a pampered princess and daughter of the most powerful man in her clan. Himiko doesn't want to be a princess however - she'd rather learn the skills taught to the clan's boys - and her adventures are designed to prove her prowess. This fine account of her entry into shaman lessons offers a new perspective as Himiki learns her place in her world. Mythology and historical fiction combine into a captivating whole.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Bremen Town Musicians
Retold and illustrated by Brian Wildsmith
Star Bright Books
The Star Building
30-19 48th Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
9781595723451 $16.95

Award-winning children's book illustrator Brian Wildsmith (who has a museum dedicated to his work in Japan) presents The Bremen Town Musicians, a reimagining of a classic folktale about four animal friends. An old donkey, dog, cat, and rooster are each deemed unfit and useless by their respective owners, but together, they can join their cacophonous voices into a great band! Or can they? When the Bremen Town Musicians stumble across robbers stealing from a house, it's time for them to put on their grandest performance yet! The colorful, stylized illustrations add just the right amount of charm to this widely beloved fable.

The Wind That Wanted To Rest
Sheldon Oberman, author
Neil Waldman, illustrator
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590788585 $17.95

The Wind That Wanted To Rest is a children's picturebook adaptation of a story that author Sheldon Oberman believed was a Jewish folktale from Soviet Russia. There is insufficient evidence to confirm this claim, but the personification of the wind is indeed a recurring myth in both Jewish and Lithuanian folklore. Beautifully illustrated with soft, sweeping colors, The Wind That Wanted To Rest tells of a tired old winter wind searching for a place where he could be at peace. But the trees, the mountaintop, and people all turn him away because he brings cold and ice wherever he goes. Distraught and miserable because no one seems to care for him, the wind wreaks havoc - until a young girl recognizes how tired he is, and offers him a place to sleep under her house. Mollified and grateful, the wind accepts her kindness, and when spring comes he leaves her family with a special farewell gift. The Wind That Wanted To Rest is a heartwarming story about the value of compassion, and highly recommended.

Fairy Tales of Our Grandmothers
Karel Hlobil
Privately Published
9780987671202, $TBA

Fairy tales transcend generations and beliefs. "Fairy Tales of Our Grandmothers" is an entry into Karel Hlobil's Forest Friends Series is a collection of fairy tale styled stories that blend fantasy and the divine as she tells fun stories with a good message about price and princesses through it all. "Fairy Tales of Our Grandmothers" is a fine pick for those looking for an ideal read-along storybook.

The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs
Paul Goble
Wisdom Tales
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington IN 47401
9781937786007 $14.95

The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs & Other Stories from the Tipi packs in nearly fifty pages of folklore, is illustrated by author Paul Goble, and offers the third collection of stories from Caldecott-medal winner Goble, who brings to life over twenty traditional Plains Indians stories. This is a lovely presentation with color drawings supporting lively fables perfect for grades 4-6, and for any library strong in Native American fables.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Jericho River
David Carthage
Winifred Press
9780985451707 sc $TBA
9780985451714 ebook $TBA

The Jericho River: A Magical Novel About the History of Western Civilization lives up to its title. Ideal for teen and preteen readers, this epic follows young Jason Gallo on a quest to rescue his historian father - and the journey leads him through chronological epochs of Western history, from its origins in Sumer and Babylonia to the rise of ancient Greece, the evolution of Medieval Europe, Napoleon's nascent empire, and more. The genesis of myths, legends, and cultural relics flow through this adventure that is as educational as it is entertaining! Highly recommended.

In the Land of Twilight
Astrid Lindgren
Floris Books
15 Harrison Gardens, Edinburgh EH11 1SH UK
9780863158865 $22.95

In the Land of Twilight tells of Goran, who has a bad leg and is bored spending so much time in bed. But when darkness falls Mr. Lilyvale takes him to the Land of Twilight, where Goran drives a bus, eats candy from trees, and even visits royalty. Good reading skills from grades 2-3 will lend to an appreciation of this imaginative survey of a magical land of imagination where illness and disability are changed to wonder and amazement.

Echo's Revenge
Sean Austin
Reality Game
11693 San Vicente Boulevard, Suite 498
Los Angeles, CA 90049
9780983726401, $11.99,

Realism is sought after by many games, but there's a limit to how real it should become. "Echo's Revenge" follows Reggie King and his young brother Jeremy, hardcore gamers who are fleeing the tyranny of their mother's boyfriend. They follow the road to their father's home, a thousand miles away. Video games drove a wedge between them and their potential step-father, and video games may soon be a major problem in their lives. "Echo's Revenge" is a blend of familial and near-future science fiction that should resonate well with many young readers.

Tools of Prophecy
Michael A. Rothman
M&S Publishing
11905 183rd Street East
Puyallup, WA 98374
9780985169749, $23.99,

Charged with preserving the world as they know it, two brothers have much to learn before they can even dream of it. "Tools of Prophecy" follows the young Riverton brothers as they seek to learn what they need to fulfill the weight of the prophecy levied against them. Faced with a long road and a likely death, "Tools of Prophecy" proves to be an exciting blend of adventurous reading, recommended.

Quest to Telos
Rachel Albert
New Icon Books
c/o News & Experts (publicity)
3478 Turman Loop, Suite 101
Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
9780615446288, $13.99 pbk. / $4.99 Kindle,

The center of the earth has been a curiosity for much of man's existence. "Quest to Telos" is a science fiction novel that follows young Adam Mason as he embarks on a journey to the center of the world, and find the ancient and highly advanced civilization of Telos possibly lying in wait for him. A novel of adventure and wonder that should prove hard to put down, "Quest to Telos" is a choice and much recommended read for science fiction and fantasy collections.

Night Buddies
Sands Hetherington
Dune Buggy Press
3 Deerwood Court
Greensboro, NC 27410
9780984741717, $7.99,

When pineapple cheesecakes start to go missing, it's up to red crocodiles to set it right. "Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare" is a young adult fantasy with a good dose of humor, as youth John Degraffenreidt is charged with helping crocodile with finding the root of the cheesecake disappearances and save the world's pineapple cheesecakes. A strong pick for juvenile fiction collections, "Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare" is highly recommended.

A Hero for Wondla
Tony DiTerlizzi
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781416983125 $17.99

A Hero for Wondla is recommended for ages 10 and older and presents a fine fantasy revolving around a boy pilot of a battered airship who flies a pre-teen to the human city of New Attica. Eva is certain this will begin a good new life after the loss of her beloved robotic caretaker Muthr - but the people she encounters in New Attica hold secrets, dangers, and ultimately cause her to question her very world. This continues an adventure series and is especially recommended for prior fans.

What the Dog Said
Randi Reisfeld with HB Gilmour
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9781599907024 $16.99

WHAT THE DOG SAID tells of a rescue dog and Grace, who can't believe it's possible when her dog begins to talk. She's the only one who can hear him, and perhaps that's due to her many problems: her police-officer father has been killed, and her grades are diving. Still, she wonders what a dog can reveal that could help her life - and the fact that it does will change her world in this whimsical fantasy.

The American History Shelf

Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence
Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes
Little Patriot Press
c/o Regnery Publishing, Inc.
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
9781596987920 $16.95

Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence is a rhyming children's picturebook designed to teach young people about how The United States of America became its own nation. An anthropomorphic mouse guides the reader through a playful but essentially authentic retelling of key events and people in early American history. "Fifty-six patriots signed right below / The powerful words they decided would show / That these United States would forever be / One nation, under God, independent and free! // They pledged all they had to this cause, without fear - / Their lives, sacred honor, and fortunes so dear. / They declared they would fight and would die for this cause! / Please turn the page now to read the first clause." A final, supplemental section is packed with straight facts and resources for parents and teachers. Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence is a great way to get little ones to start thinking about history and the sacrifices our forefathers made. Also highly recommended is "Woodrow for President" (9781596987869, $16.95) by the same authors, a rhyming storybook about a mouse who runs for President of the United Mice of America, designed to instruct young people about presidential campaigns, and featuring a similar fact-filled supplemental section.

The Adventures of Little Leroy
Pamela Jarmon Wade, author
Brandon Coleman, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781468525670, $13.99,

"The Adventures of Little Leroy: The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr." is a wonderful teaching book that tells about the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Using the appealing character of Little Leroy, a young African American boy based on the deceased brother of the author, historical details about the life, works and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. emerge. Little Leroy is excited to share an educational DVD with his friends James and Clyde who come from different races and ethnicities, and to visit the MLK monument in Atlanta, GA with his parents. A helpful point that is made in the story is that Little Leroy asks his parents to share the MLK DVD with the parents of his friends, so they can all learn about the message and legacy of Dr. King together. The King Philosophy is explained by little Leroy by choosing three different colored marbles, black, white and brown, to represent three different human races, Black White and Hispanic. Little Leroy shows that they are all equal, both the different colored marbles and the different races of people. He learned more about love and about unity from Dr. King's speeches and history. To help keep Martin Luther King's dream alive, Little Leroy's parents decide to take him to the MLK Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, GA on next year's vacation. "The Adventures of Little Leroy" ends with inspiring photos of the author in front of King Center Campus' Ebenezer Baptist Church and other famous MLK historic places. Also, a Dr. King Quick Query list of questions and answers provides condensed facts about the life and teachings of Dr. King. "The Adventures of Little Leroy" is a touching book with a strong message for children of all races.

Celebrate Arizona!
Joan Sandin
Rio Nuevo
PO Box 5250
Tucson, Arizona 85703
9781933855721, $15.95,

The last state to join the union in the continental United States, Arizona held its centennial this year. "Celebrate Arizona!" is filled with history surrounding the state of Arizona and its admission into the union on February 14th, 1912. Packed with trivia and fun facts, as well as excellent colored-pencil style art throughout, "Celebrate Arizona!" is an excellent pick for history and children's picturebook collections.

Sailors, Keepers, Shipwrecks, and the Maid
Steve Benson
Great Lakes Seaway Trail
401 W. Main St., PO Box 660
Sackets Harbor, NY 13685
9780943689036, $9.95,

The Great Lakes proves to be an epicenter for many of history's events. "Sailors, Keepers, Shipwrecks, and the Maid: Maritime and other history shorts along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail" is a fun and educational picturebook of history from Steve Benson as he guides readers through the intriguing events of history that the Great Lakes Seaway Trail has called its own. With plenty of full color photographs and maps throughout, "Sailors, Keepers, Shipwrecks, and the Maid" is a must for any American history collection focusing on picks for younger readers.

The Business Shelf

Success 101 for Teens
Mark Hansen
Paragon House
1925 Oakcrest Avenue, Suite 7
St. Paul, MN 55113-2619
9781557789013, $12.95,

Good financial sense can last a life time. "Success 101 for Teens: Dollars and Sense for a Winning Financial Life" is a guide to good financial planning for young people to help them attain a more firm grasp of their own potential to keep themselves in the black wherever possible and not fall into the rough pit of credit card debt. "Success 101 for Teens" is a strong gift idea for teenagers who are entering the world of personal finance, highly recommended.

The Multicultural Shelf

On the Zwieback Trail
Lisa Weaver, Julie Kauffman, & Judith Rempel Smucker
CMU Press
500 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Winnipeg, MB Canada R3P 2N2
9780920718926 $25.00

On the Zwieback Trail: A Russian Mennonite Alphabet of Stories, Recipes and Historic Events more than lives up to its title; it is packed cover to cover with countless fascinating facts about Ukrainian Mennonite culture. Despite the alphabet motif, On the Zwieback Trail is primarily meant to teach young adults about history and the Mennonite people, rather than the alphabet itself. Black-and-white and color photographs, many of them vintage, fill almost every page along with informative sidebars. "Mennonites have a long history of conscientious objection to war, searching instead for ways to be a peaceful witness to the world. Often Mennonites have done alternative service instead of serving in the military. Alternative service has included many assignments, such as building roads, planting trees, working in mental health hospitals, or serving with Mennonite Central Committee overseas in teaching, medical or agricultural fields." An invaluable and captivating educational survey, On the Zwieback Trail is highly recommended especially for middle school, junior high, and public library children's collections.

Mooshka, A Quilt Story
Julie Paschkis, author/illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561456208, $16.95,

"Mooshka, a Quilt Story" is a beautiful illustrated children's tale about a fantastic quilt named Mooshka. Mooshka is very special. Not only does the quilt warm, cuddle, and cheer her owner, little Karla, but also, it talks to her. The quilt is made of many scraps of old fabric by Karla's grandmother, who told Karla stories as she sewed the pieces of fabric together. Each different piece of fabric, called a schnitz, has its own special story. The yellow schnitz tells a story of being a tabelcloth and a child fortune teller's tent. The blue schnitz tells a story of being a kerchief around the neck of young Grandpa Will when he went to propose to Grandma Lily Jane. The red schnitz was once a cape for Karla's mother that she hoped could help her fly. And many more stories are told by the quilt, Mooshka. One day Karla's baby sister Hannah is moved in to share her room in her little white crib. Karla resents this. Mooshka stops talking. Hannah cries at night. Finally, to comfort her sister, Karla drapes Mooshka over her, and begins to tell her a story about the green schnitz and herself as a tiny girl. Beautifully illustrated with colorful calico swatches and large, clear figures, "Mooshka, a Quilt Story" is a beautiful intergenerational, multicultural children's story about sharing family traditions, history, and love. Who knew quilts could share so much?

I is for Ireland
Viki Pidgeon, author, Heather Drury, illustrator
Pidgeon's Press
140 Hunters Lane, Simpsonville, KY 40067
9780615491912, $17.95,

The Irish culture is certainly an old one. "I is for Ireland: An Alphabetic Tour" is a children's picturebook surrounding Irish culture as Viki Pidgeon writes of the many things of Ireland, and Heather Drury presents down to earth color artwork accompanying them. Touching on everything from Irish music, to its role in the tragic journey of the Titanic, it proves highly educational. For parents who want their children to learn of Irish culture, "I is for Ireland" is not a pick to be overlooked, recommended.

Bintu's Dance
Samuel Hinton, author
Denis Proulx, illustrator
Privately Published
9780578088952 $8.95

Bintu's Dance is a softcover children's picturebook about an African girl who dreams of becoming a dancer, like her talented dance-champion grandmother. She trains hard to be the best, with the support of her mother, but will her father ever accept that she wants to become a dancer rather than a teacher or a principal? The brightly colored, cartoon-style illustrations add an upbeat touch to this heartwarming story steeped in elements of traditional African culture. Although written to be accessible to young readers, Bintu's Dance features a fair amount of text, and is an excellent pick for children who are almost ready for chapter books. Highly recommended.

The Christian Shelf

Tales of the Not Forgotten
Beth Guckenberger
Standard Publishing
8805 Governor's Hill Drive, Suite 400
Cincinnati, OH 45249
c/o Litfuse Publicity Group
19011 8th Ave. NE
Seattle, WA 98155
9780784735282 $8.99

The first book in the Storyweaver series, Tales of the Not Forgotten is intended especially for Christian readers ages 8 and up. Gathering four true-life stories of children who lived in poverty, Tales of the Not Forgotten shows how God helped to transform each child's life for the better. Author Beth Guckenberger, co-founder of Back2Back Ministries (an international organization designed to aid Christian orphans and children living in poverty), Tales of the Not Forgotten is profound, emotionally moving, and inspirational reading for adults as well as for children. A separate "Tales of the Not Forgotten Leader's Guide" CD-ROM (9780784735275, $7.99) is packed with editable and customizable resources for family and Sunday school use, encouraging children to engage in educational activities and beneficial service projects.

Princess Faith's Mysterious Garden
Jeanna Young & Jacqueline Johnson, authors
Omar Aranda, illustrator
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9789780310727033, $12.99,

"Princess Faith's Mysterious Garden" is an enchanting reframing of the parable told in Matthew 13: 3-9, 18-23 (NIrV). Beautifully illustrated with glitter-embellished colorful portraits of Princess Faith and her sisters Grace, Hope, Joy, and Charity, "Princess Faith's Mysterious Garden" tells the story of Princess Faith's discovery and planting and tending of a beautiful abandoned garden. With the permission of her royal father, the king, Princess Faith tackles the rehabilitation and planting of the abandoned garden with her sisters' help, as well as her bunny companion, Buttercup, who discovered the garden door in the first place. The task is daunting, to say the least. The girls must approach the garden through a dark, mysterious tunnel and a creaky door, which is guarded by a stern king's guard. Once inside the garden the girls are confronted by an array of obstacles, from pesky black birds who eat their seeds to shallow, rocky soil, to thorny black weeds that choke the new growth of planted flower seeds. But finally one day Princess Faith discovers, surviving a storm, one glorious blooming rose and she is inspired to work even harder planting the fourth and final section of the garden. This time the reward for all the princesses' hard work is spectacular, and they see magnificent blooming flowers with birds and butterflies in their last planted garden. At the end of the parable story is a page titled Parable Thoughts that explains some of the parallels between "Princess Faith's Mysterious Garden" and Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23. It is a beautiful retelling of an ancient parable teaching the planting and harvesting of faith. "Princess Faith's Mysterious Garden" is designed to appeal to children ages 4-8. Other children's books in the Princess Parables series by the same authors include "Princess Hope and the Hidden Treasure (978031072699, $12.99), and "Princess Charity's Courageous Heart (9780310727019, $12.99).

Silent Sally: A Story About Being a DOER
Eric Walls
Horizon Light Media
PO Box 602, La Mirada, CA 90637-0602
9780984683307 $14.99

Intended for young readers age 4 and up, Silent Sally: A Story About Being a DOER is a rhyming picturebook with a strong positive and moral. Silent Sally is a young girl who doesn't talk, but devotes herself to helping others in need. She shows her compassion not with words, but with actions; at first the other children at school think she's odd, but they gradually realize the value of her example. Bright, cartoony illustrations lend a vivid punch to this memorable story, intended to help teach children about the Christian virtue of taking action - that God wants us to not only hear His word, but also carry it out.

Wake Up! To All You Are
Winifred Rich
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452534602 $16.95

Wake Up! To All You Are is a rhyming, softcover Christian children's book that offers faith-based answers to the big questions - who are we? Why are we here? Retired teacher and artist Winifred Rich has created expressive, colorful illustrations of children in thought and at play, which perfectly complement the loving and reverent verse. "'I look down at my body / and think that this is 'me', // But part of me I CAN'T see / Is such a mystery!' // Then Gigi hears God answer, / 'You are a part of Me, // My Spirit lives inside you, / And gives you 'Life', you see.'" A heartwarming spiritual read-aloud book, Wake Up! To All You Are is a joy for parents and children to share.

Jonah's Whale
Eileen Spinelli, author
Giuliano Ferri, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853820 $16.00

Jonah's Whale is a children's picturebook that retells the classic Biblical parable of Jonah - from the whale's point of view! In the story, the whale is one of God's faithful creations, and one day God gives the whale an important job to do. The whale was instructed to swallow Jonah alive and keep Jonah in his belly! "By the third night Whale was feeling very discouraged. He thought the man Jonah must be feeling discouraged too. And so Whale started to sing the song God had given him. The song lightened his heart. He hoped it would also lighten the heart of the man Jonah." The soft, blue-tinged artwork adds a heartwarming touch to this interpretive story, which resonates with a reminder of God's eternal love.

Fun with the Holy Family
Virginia Helen Richards, FSP and D. Thomas Halpin, FSP
Pauline Books & Media
50 Saint Pauls Avenue
Boston, MA 02130-3491
0819826979 $4.95

Ideal for young Christian children ages 7-12, Fun with the Holy Family is a consumable coloring and activity book packed with 64 pages of content about Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. Simple, prayerful passages (such as "Free from sin, Immaculate Mother. Help us love God and each other!) intersperse word games, picture hunts, and many more activities. Fun with the Holy Family is an excellent, creative, and interactive tool for helping young ones discover the joy of honoring Jesus Christ and his family. Also a choice pick is the related Christian activity book by the same authors, "Fun with Saints Coloring and Activity Book" (0819826847, $4.95).

The Art Shelf

Georgia in Hawaii
Amy Novesky, author
Yuyi Morales, illustrator
Harcourt Children's Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780152054205, $16.99,

"Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O'Keefe painted What She Pleased" is a lush, gorgeous, fantastically illustrated biographical portrait of the great artist Georgia O'Keefe during her time working, painting, and living in Hawaii. Georgia sailed to Hawaii in February, 1939, invited by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company to create two paintings promoting pineapple juice. Georgia ran into obstacles with the Pineapple Company when she wanted to live near the pineapple fields to study the fruit as it grew. The company would not allow her permission to do this.. Despite this difference of opinion, Georgia toured Oahu and then Maui, where she painted what she wanted; waterfalls, green mountains made from lava, feathered fishhooks and the blue, blue sea. Then she went to the big island of Hawaii to see volcanoes, black sand beaches, rare red coral, and paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboys, and their gardens. Georgia also painted beautiful flowers; plumeria, torch ginger, lotus, hibiscus, bird of paradise, and nana honua, which reminded her of jimsonweed, her favorite desert flower. Georgia's painting made her very happy. She visited fields of wild sugar cane near Koloa, Kauai, where she visited local artists. Too soon Georgia had to return to the mainland. Although she created almost 20 paintings in Hawaii, none were of pineapple. Georgia gave the Hawaiian Pineapple Company paintings of a helicnia flower and a papaya tree. The Company was not happy, but Georgia was not going to be told what she could or could not paint. Finally a Hawaiian pineapple was shipped to Georgia's penthouse in New York, but she did not need it. She painted a pineapple from her memories of Hawaii. Aside from her artistic differences with the Pineapple Company, Georgia enjoyed her trip to Hawaii very much. She later wrote: "If my painting is what I have to give back to the world for what the world has given to me... these paintings are what I have to give... for what three months in Hawaii gave to me." Fabulous paintings in a style reminiscent of Gaugin ornament and illustrate every page of this amazing children's art biographical book.

The Holiday Shelf

Snowy and Felix Find Christmas
Barbara Marie, author/illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781438973920, $11.49,

"Snowy and Felix Find Christmas" is a charming Advent children's story with an especially appealing introduction. Snowy and Felix are two young forest friends, a rabbit and a deer, who grow together as friends through the seasons. They are happiest when they are allowed by their parents to play together, and when they remember to be caring and considerate of each other. The heart of the story emerges when Felix and Snowy discover, deep in the winter woods, the presence of the Holy Family, and the Baby Jesus. Even the Bear, Rafael, and the wolf and other animals come to rejoice at the birth of little Jesus. The expressive illustrations bring the animal friends to life, along with their precious discovery. "Snowy and Felix Find Christmas" is a delicate exploration of the meaning of Advent, suited for children ages 4-8. Part of a series, the characters of Snowy and Felix can be further followed in "Snowy and Felix and the Unforgettable Visit," and "Snowy and Felix Travel Far Away."

The ABC Shelf

Alphabet Animals All Around
Natalie Cohen
9782970075103 $14.99

Alphabet Animals All Around is a softcover children's picturebook with rhyme and alliteration, about a magician who summons animals from around the world - even from the realms of fantasy! For example, the entry for the letter U is "Unseen Unicorn Using a Ukulele" (how does the unicorn strum the ukulele with its hooves?) The stylized, color illustrations add an energetic touch to this wonderful read-aloud book ideal for parents to share with young children while familiarizing them with their ABC's.

C is for Colorado
WestWinds Press
c/o Graphic Arts Books
PO Box 56118, Portland, OR 97238-6118
Angie Zbornik Marketing (publicity)
9780882407760 $13.95

C is for Colorado: Written by Kids, for Kids is an alphabet book themed around the state of Colorado - and the entries feature brief poems written by Colorado kids! "Y is for Yule Marble. Yule marble is found far and wide. / Look closely, there's a sculpture / waiting inside." Vivid, full-color photography illustrates each entry, in this delightful ABC book that's just plain fun to read aloud.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Beach Feet
Kiyomi Konagaya, author
Masamitsu Saito, illustrator
Yuki Kaneko, translator
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18
Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592701216 $14.95

Award-winning poet Kiyomi Konagaya presents Beach Feet, an exuberant picturebook about a young boy's joyful day at the beach. The boy connects to the beach especially through the feelings of his bare feet - from the hot sand when he kicks off his sandals, to the cool water, to the sensation of stepping on a shell. The crayon-like style of the brightly colored illustrations add the perfect touch to this charming, easy-to-read story.

Frolicking Friends
Karen Leis Welsh, author
Floyd Ryan Yamyamin, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781468564228 $21.99

Elementary schoolteacher Karen Leis Welsh presents Frolicking Friends, a playful, easy-to-read picturebook about a young boy and the creatures he befriends. One morning, the boy discovers that the many critters about his home, from the bug under the rug and mouse in the house to the skunk in the tree trunk and more, are missing - where did they go? When he discovers them playing in a puddle, he has the brief opportunity to make and share a treasured memory before a rainstorm threatens to put a damper on the fun! Vibrant, cartoony illustrations add an energetic touch to the simple, rhyming story that begs to be read aloud. "Tree, tree / where is your bee? // Nest, nest / Where is your guest?"

What's Looking at You, Kid?
J. Patrick Lewis, author
Renee Graef, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585367931, $14.95,

"What's Looking at You, Kid?" is a color-filled, singing riddle of hidden creatures of nature told in curving script, versed narrative. From honey bees to dragonflies, from robins, to field mice, butterflies, and cats, here are many miraculous surprises for kids to unravel from the teasing story verse and pictures. For a book that makes learning about nature and all animals a whole carload of fun, read "What's Looking at You, Kid?' to a preschool child and watch the magic unfold.

Miles Van Hout
Lemniscaat Publishers
P.O. Box 4066, 3006 AB Rotterdam, The Netherlands
9781935954149 $17.95

HAPPY provides very young readers with a fun picturebook survey that uses single words of feeling and a facing page of a bright fish to illustrate that word. Happiness, sadness, surprise, curiosity - all are translated into fish facial expressions for an easy, bright, yet fun read for any young child just beginning to survey the world of emotions.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Moo Kitty Finds a Home
Valerie Lee Veltre
Squidgy Press / LifeReloaded Specialty Publishing
c/o KSB Promotions
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301
9781608000104 $16.95

Moo Kitty Finds a Home is a children's picturebook from the perspective of an adult pet cat left on his own after his owner passes away. Moo Kitty is a beautiful black-and-white cat with green eyes; he is stricken with grief over the loss of his owner, and confused about where to go or what to do. In his dreams, feline guardian angels comfort and guide him. He is taken to an animal shelter, a place of hope for hungry and homeless animals, but becomes worried when it seems as though no one wants to adopt a grown-up kitty. At last, he is fortunate enough to encounter a special family who loves him for who he is! In addition to its powerful moral about never giving up hope, Moo Kitty Finds a Home offers an invaluable lesson about the joys of adopting a pet from an animal shelter rather than buying one from a breeder. A final aside for both parents and children lists the benefits of adopting an adult pet - the cost is usually lower, the animal almost always has all its vaccinations and health care, adult animals are typically housebroken and more sedate, etc. Additional tips for settling in with one's newly adopted family member round out this excellent storybook ideal for sharing with young ones when preparing to add a new pet to the family.

Puffling Patrol
Ted and Betsy Lewin
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
9781600604249 $19.95

Puffling Patrol is a children's picturebook about attempts to rescue and protect Atlantic Puffins on the Westman Islands off the coast of Iceland. A pair of children and their father join the Puffling Patrol, which searches for pufflings (young puffins) who have gotten lost in their efforts to reach the sea, with the goal of transporting and releasing any healthy young birds that they find. Warm, photogenic color illustrations add the perfect touch to this delightful story based on true-life human efforts. Written at a reading level ideal for children who are almost ready for chapter books, Puffling Patrol is also excellent for parents to read aloud to children in order to teach them more about the challenges that animals face as they struggle to survive in a world dominated by humans. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children's collections.

Going Ape!
Eduardo Bustos, author
Lucho Rodriguez, illustrator
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, New York 12901
9781770492820, $9.95,

"Going Ape!" is a spectacular artistic mini encyclopedia of apes. Featuring 10 different primate species, "Going Ape!" presents a striking two page spread on each separate species, with the name, narrative and written description on the left page and a striking artistic presentation of the face of the primate and further illustrations of the ape in its home environment. Species presented include the baboon, chimpanzee, gibbon, gorilla, Japanese macaque, mangabey, Allen's swamp monkey, De Brazza's monkey, the sacred baboon, and the orangutan. Locations where these species are found range from Central Africa to East Asia and Japan. The beautifully accurate illustrations are portraits of interest in themselves. Additional fascinating facts about primates are presented at the end of the book. "Going Ape!" will intrigue the youngest nature and primate students, from age 2-3 and up.

I Spy Under the Sea
Edward Gibbs
Templar Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763659523, $14.99,

"I Spy Under the Sea" is a young children's nature education picture book with clever round peephole cutouts to frame colorful details about each sea creature. Stimulating youthful curiosity and embedding the pleasure of page-turning suspense, "I Spy Under the Sea" is a delightful teaching tale with verse narrative, counting skills, and observation skills encouragement for little ones. Children learn to identify seahorses, clownfish, dolphins, swordfish, sharks, and more, along with special characteristics of each. Recommended for children age 3 and up.

Feed Your Fish!
Michael Madlener, author
Patrick Reeves, illustrator
PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705-0151
9781456008956, $14.95,

"Feed Your Fish!" is a wonderful award-winning illustrated morality fable verse story for young children. The hero, young Winston, is responsible to feed two fish in a bowl in his room. Although his mother reminds him clearly to do this (at once), he dawdles and plays with other things in his room instead. He even thinks to himself: "I have no fins and I breath air, I'm not a fish, why should I care?" Fortunately Winston is guided on a dream journey to an underwater world by a wise turtle, where he learns much about the ways of fish. Most especially he learns from the Ocean King (a shark of course) that 'It's mean to treat your fish that way!' Fortunately Winston is awakened by his chat with the toothy Ocean King to his sense of responsibility to his fish and all creatures of the earth. "He promised to treat all things on Earth/ With all the kindness that they're worth." This charming, witty narrative is meant to be read aloud, and humorous illustrations will keep young readers' attention engaged and entertained. "Feed Your Fish!" was awarded the 2011 Picture Book Preschool Gold Medal Award and is a new door opening to humane visions for young readers.

Sam the Snake: Refuge at Bureau Creek
Henry Morgan Anderson & Sarah B. Anderson
Eve Funnell, illustrator
Adventures of Henry LLC
P.O. Box 2121, Oshkosh, WI 54903
9781936813032, $14.99,

Fourth in the Adventures of Henry series, using the popular catch phrase "Be good to the animals," "Sam the Snake, Refuge at Bureau Creek" is another nature rescue adventure story about how Henry finds and rescues a green garden snake from bullies who have injured it. Carefully, Henry safely transports Sam the garden snake to another habitat, teaching him safety rules about crossing railroad tracks along the way. When Henry and Sam reach Bureau Creek and the covered wooden bridge, they soon find a group of similar green snakes who in fact are Sam's own family. Sam and Henry remain good friends ever after, and children can sometimes spy him or one of his descendants under the red covered bridge across Bureau Creek. Colorful, cartoon-like illustrations help children follow Henry's and Sam's adventure path, and a section on Teachable Topics at the end of the book help parents and teachers to encourage further learning and exploration and education for young readers. Henry Morgan Anderson was a real boy who died November 2, 2009 of SCID (Severe Combined Immune Deficiency). The Adventures of Henry series is devoted to education of all.

The Mischievous Monkeys
Bonnie Nickel, author
Steve Weaver, illustrator
Pineapple Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 3889, Sarasota, Florida 34230
9781561645107, $9.95,

"The Mischievous Monkeys" is a bright photo-illustrated monkey fact book for kids ages 6-9. Learning about monkeys is enhanced by use of a questions and answer format, with twenty probing monkey questions such a: Are monkeys pirates? Are monkeys lazy? What is a troop of monkeys? How is a monkey like a duck? What do monkeys eat? etc. In addition there are monkey-related activities, such as make a monkey, feed a monkey, and save a monkey, plus suggested further reading and related web sites, a glossary, and a list of 13 monkey names with correct pronunciations. Kids will love learning about different kinds of monkeys and their lifestyles and needs in this educational and entertaining book.

A Lamb and a Llama
Ashley Bustamante, author/illustrator
WindRiver Publishing, Inc.
72 N. WindRiver Rd.
Silverton, ID 83867
9781600650116, $9.95

"A Lamb and a Llama" is a delightful illustrated teaching tale based on a true story. Picasso is a "guard" llama who watches over the animals of the farm, including ten chickens, five ducks, and two sheep and one lamb. A baby lamb named Nola wants to make friends with Picasso, and makes quite a nuisance of herself. Although Picasso is sometimes annoyed by Nola's frolicsome behavior, he eventually agrees that they are a lot alike. One day when Picasso is counting the animals, he discovers Nola is missing. The heartwarming story of what happens next is sure to both enchant and educate young readers. The lovely book of "A Lamb and a Llama" contains many fun facts and related activities about llamas and sheep in black boxes at the bottoms of pages throughout the story. Children will love this dominie-centered story with its delightful, crisp and colorful illustrations. "A Lamb and a Llama" is also available in paperback (9781600650123, $5.95), without the black box additions on the pages.

Stay Close to Mama
Tony Buzzeo, author
Mike Wohnoutka, illustrator
c/o Hyperion Books
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9781423134824, $15.99,

"Stay Close to Mama" is a magnificent illustrated story about a young giraffe on the African Savannah named Twiga. Twiga is excited to explore many things that take him away from his protective, tall mama, who tells him "no, little Twiga. Stay close, stay safe." There are many hidden animals and dangers that little Twiga is unaware of, but his tall, tall mama encourages and protects him in his explorations. "Stay Close to Mama" is warmly written and beautifully illuminated by its golden-hued illustrations. Preschoolers and children of all ages will love learning about the dangerous, beautiful, exciting world of young Twiga.

The Beetle Book
Steve Jenkins
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547680842 $16.99

THE BEETLE BOOK is a gorgeous survey packing color illustrations of beetles with handwritten descriptions of their nature, and will prove a captivating pick for any elementary-level reader interested in beetles. Good reading skills will help grades 2-3 absorb the many natural history facts which accompany oversized, fun drawings in full color. A 'must' for any collection where kids are interested in insects and bugs.

The Music CD Shelf

Sing Loud! Music for Families
Melissa Green
Privatley Published
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Nursery school teacher and children's musician Melissa Green presents Sing Loud! Music for Families, a joyful music CD that will especially appeal to little ones from infancy through age 9. Melissa's love of music shines through, in a wonderful album that reflects the amazement of discovery that young people themselves feel as they learn more about the world around them. The tracks are "Baby, I Love You", "Sing Loud!", "4 Nickels and a Dime" (featuring Brooke Shields), "The Playdate", "Get Up", "Aboard That Train", "Free To Be... You And Me", "Two Birds", "Heyo", "We Got the Beat" (featuring Brooke Shields), "My Love", and "Will I Dream in Colors?". 34 min.

Someone Else's Shoes
Recess Music
Big Round Records
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Part of the "Best Foot Forward" series, Someone Else's Shoes is a family-friendly music CD designed to help teach young people ages 4-11 about empathy, kindness, social skills, and good moral habits. From a strong anti-bullying message to the importance of being respectful to one's elders, Someone Else's Shoes is an invaluable positive contribution to children's music shelves, especially recommended for public library collections. The tracks are "Take a Walk in Someone Else's Shoes" (3:47), "Team Work" (2:56), "You Hurt My Feelings" (3:44), "Give a Little Love Away" (2:36), "Everyone Can See a Different Me" (3:58), "There's No Place For Bullies In Our School" (3:24), "What A Difference" (2:19), "Say Something Nice About Someone" (3:21), "Be Nice To Old People" (3:36), "Being With You" (2:57), "Just the Way You Are" (2:50), "Please Stop Hurting My Feelings" (3:00), "There's No Such Thing As Normal!" (2:58), "Value You" (2:18) and "Feel the World Dancing" (4:15). 46 min.

Backseat Driver
Cat's Pajamas
Howlin' Records
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Although intended especially for young people ages 2-8, the music album Backseat Driver by Cat's Pajamas is family-friendly listening for older siblings and parents, too! Cat's Pajamas have earned multiple awards an honors for their quality children's music, and the catchy, character-building tunes in Backseat Driver are no exception to their consistently high standards. Backseat Driver is an excellent choice for playing during car trips with young children, and highly recommended. The tracks are "Driving in my Car", "How Many People in a Family", "Funky Bears", "Shovelin'", "Humpty Dumpty", "Take Time Out", "I Love My Toes", "Five Little Buns", "Building a Better World", "Alphabet Soup", and "Just an Old Jalopy".

Science Fair
Spare the Rock
Spare the Rock Records LLC
c/o Stephanie Mayers (publicity)
$14.92 CD / $TBA download

Science Fair is a children's music CD created especially to promote an interest in science among girls; each song is the original creation of a different performer or band. The catchy, upbeat tunes touch upon venues of science from archaeology to physics to biology, chemistry, and more, all in a fun, positive mindset that encourages young women to brave the joy of learning about how the world works. Science Fair is especially recommended as a superb gift for inquisitive girls everywhere - and will likely stir an interest in science in boys too! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Surfin' Minnesota", "H2O", "Time Machine", "Goldilocks Zone", "Butterfly", "Little Black Rock", "Phytoplankton", "I Am a Scientist", "Rainbow", "Constellation Bound", "To Be a Fossil", "Rocket Science", "(I Wanna Be Like) Madam Curie", "Oh Girl", "Deja Vu", "Heisenberg's Aha!", "I Wonder", and "The Science Fair".

The DVD Shelf

Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct
Mo Willems, author & illustrator
Cher Willems, narrator
Pete List, director
Scotty Huff, music
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545374146 $59.95

Ideal for young viewers ages 4-7 Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct is the DVD adaptation of a delightful children's picturebook by Mo Willims. Edwina is a demure, friendly dinosaur with a purse and a hat, beloved by everyone at school - except the class know-it-all, who tries to convince everyone that dinosaurs are extinct! How is Edwina to react to this shocking truth? A read-aloud option plus a bonus interview with Mo Willems and a lesson on how to bake cookies enhance this short but funny story, great for children's library DVD collections or homeroom viewing. 7 min., subtitles, closed-captioned. Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct is also available in hardcover picturebook format with a read-aloud audio CD (9780545448130, $29.95) featuring two audio tracks, one with page turn indicators and one without.

Knuffle Bunny Free
Mo Willems, author
Trixie, Cher, and Mo Willems, narrators
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street
Norwalk, CT 06851
0545447534 $59.95

Enhanced with a "read-along" option, Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion is the DVD adaptation of Mo Willems' delightful picturebook intended for little ones ages 3-7. The third and final book of the Knuffle Bunny trilogy, Knuffle Bunny Free follows Trixie on an international trip to visit her grandparents in Holland - but Trixie's beloved Knuffle Bunny has a different destiny in store! Music by Scotty Huff and Robert Reynolds enhances this captivating rendition of an excellent, character-building story about family life, growing up, and adapting to changes. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children's DVD collections. Optional English subtitles, closed-captioned, 13 min.

Angelina Ballerina: Musical Moves
Hit Entertainment
c/o Lionsgate (distributor)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue
Skokie, IL 60076
$14.98 DVD / $TBA download

Angelina Ballerina: Musical Moves is a computer-animated, five-episode collection of everyone's favorite dancing mouse and her friends on DVD. Together, Angelina and her friends discover the joy of dancing to different styles of music - from disco to jazz, hip-hop, and even modern dance. The bonus feature "A Dance A Day Dance Club" rounds out this delightful viewing experience. Angelina Ballerina: Musical Moves doubles as a playful introduction to multiple music styles, and is a choice pick for young girls ages 2-7. The episodes are "Angelina and the Disco Dance Craze", "Angelina and the Tummy Butterflies", "Angelina and the Magician", "Angelina and Ms. Mimi's Dance", and "Angelina, AZ and Cheezy Z". 61 min.

Awesome Adventures Vol. Two
Hit Entertainment
c/o Lionsgate (distributor)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue
Skokie, IL 60076
$14.98 / $TBA download

"Awesome Adventures Vol. Two: Races, Chases & Fun" ($14.98) is a computer-animated anthology featuring six high-energy escapades about the value of teamwork - two from "Thomas & Friends", two from "Fireman Sam", and two from "Bob the Builder". Each cartoon is action-packed, in this lively and wholesome selection ideal for children ages 2-5. The episodes are "Play Time", "Hiro Helps Out", "Floating Cart", "When Fools Rush In", "Roley's Rovers" and "Lofty and the Monster". 62 min.

The Biography Shelf

Night Running
Elisa Carbone, author
E. B. Lewis, illustrator
Dragonfly Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553112849, $7.99,

"Night Running: How James Escaped with the Help of His Faithful Dog" is an exciting, beautifully produced children's book about the true story of the escape of a slave named James Smith who was aided in his flight from the slave state of (West) Virginia to Ohio by his faithful hunting dog, Zeus. Although James tried and tried to leave Zeus behind, he always managed to rejoin his master and to help him through some very dangerous situations. "Night Running" is told in narrative, Southern dialect, and incredible expressive paintings. Its pace and story are exciting, and compelling. This multiple award-winning title is a thrilling retelling of a true story that will inspire admiration and awe as well as a deep respect for survivors of a tumultuous history.

The Gardening Shelf

Jo MacDonald Had a Garden
Mary Quattlebaum, author
Laura J. Bryant, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Road
Nevada City, CA 95959
978158469, $8.95,

"Jo MacDonald Had a Garden" is a lovely nature awareness picture book from a series based loosely on a familiar nursery song ("Old MacDonald"). This traditional song is used to teach children all about the steps and stages of planting and growing a garden, surrounded with other plants, animals and birds. Successive pictures and song verses help young readers ages 3-8 to identify different plants, birds, animals, and the steps to creating a healthy garden. An excellent nature/gardening educational book, "Jo MacDonald Had a Garden" shows seven different types of creatures and seven types of plants in the cheery seasonally unfolding illustrations. Also, at the end of the story there is more information about the plants and animals pictured, plus suggestions for further indoor activities and ways to learn to be a gardener like Jo. "Jo MacDonald had a Garden" is preceded by another book by the same author, "Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond" (9781584691501, $16.95).

The Cookbook Shelf

The Flavors of Wisconsin for Kids
Terese Allen and Bobbie Malone
Wisconsin Historical Society Press
816 State Street, Madison, WI 53706
9780870204937, $18.95,

Chock full of historical photos, food and ethnic origin notes, and inspiring but practical recipes for foods that are part of the long history of Wisconsin's many cultural groups and heritages, "The Flavors of Wisconsin for Kids" is described as "a feast of history, with stories and recipes celebrating the land and people of our state." A colorful title spreads out with each letter of the state filled with illustrations of a particularly significant food source that was grown, harvested, hunted, prepared, and eaten in Wisconsin. The recipes are designed to be made by children and adults working together, and two pages of Before You Start tips and information make the recipe preparation process more enjoyable, clear, and safe. Six chapters organized by flavors follow, with background information and history of the food as well as tasty, easy to prepare recipes to try. There are Flavors from Forests (such as morels, and maple syrup), Flavors from Waters and Wetlands (includes fish, wild rice and cranberries), Flavors from Fields and Orchards, Flavors from Meat and Dairy Farms, Flavors from Backyards and Gardens, and Flavors from Families and Communities (includes recipes for hull corn soup, Norwegian meatballs, Cornish pasties, Rugelach, sweet potato pie, and Southeast Asian spring rolls). What a vast assortment of widely varied foods! Each chapter has many historical explanations and photos and footnotes, and recipes are clearly explained and laid out, with directions divided into steps and ingredients and equipment needed listed in two columns and outlined. There is even a recipe for making butter, and Spider johnnycake! One of my favorite recipes is Wild Rice Pudding with Dried Cherries (p. 55, from Flavors of Waters and Wetlands). "The Flavors of Wisconsin For Kids" is an excellent choice for teaching kids hands-on history of good eating in Wisconsin over the decades.

Easy-Peasy Recipes
Karen Berman, author
Doreen M. Marts, illustrator
Running Press Kids
2300 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762444434, $14.94,

"Easy-Peasy Recipes: Snacks & Treats to Make & Eat" is a handy, hardbound cookbook stuffed with fun, creative recipes for delicious snacks and small meals kids can enjoy making for themselves. Every recipe is clearly and joyously illustrated with colorful illustrations and simple descriptions and pictures of ingredients and assembling procedures. Simple, safe young chef's tools include plastic knives, clean children's cutting scissors, paper towels and measuring cups and spoons. Step by step instructions are enlivened by imaginative, expressive illustrations, such as the scissors cutting the rolled up lettuce leaves into thin pieces to make strips. Every recipe lists ingredients, special tools you will need, numbered step by step instructions, and a final alternate suggestion called Do It Another Way. Here are some fantastic imaginative recipes that will be fun for kids to make and to eat, including Captain Tacosalad, Tic-Tac-Toe Open Faced Sandwich, Cold Creepy Crawly Noodles, Princess Fruitsalad, Snowcapped Mountain, Ants in a Log, Scream For Ice Cream, Starry Night Sandwiches, PB 'n' B 'n' H (peanut butter 'n' bananas 'n' honey), Very Veggie Dip, and my personal favorite, The Breakfast Train. The last entree consists of muffins and pretzels for wheels, strawberries for steam engine, bananas for train cars, cereal and melons or fruit and cheese for trim! What a fantastic way to connect kids with the fun of making and eating delicious, healthy snacks and treats they can make themselves! Since there are no hot stoves, ovens, or sharp knives involved in preparation, kids can become amateur chefs with a minimum of adult supervision. Kids of all ages will love "Easy-Peasy Recipes," and their parents will too.

The Poetry Shelf

I Lay My Stitches Down
Cynthia Grady, author
Michele Wood, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853868 $17.00

I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery is a picturebook in which poet Cynthia Grady draws upon American folk, spirituality, music, and quilting traditions to craft brief poems reflecting the hardship that slaves once endured. Dramatic, colorful paintings complement the poems; furthermore, each poem is followed by sober, educational passages about slavery in antebellum America. "In many states, slaves were forbidden to read and write. If a person were caught teaching a slave, both teacher and slave would be severely punished." I Lay My Stitches Down is a profoundly moving reminder of the injustice of history, and worthy of the highest recommendation for public library children's picturebook collections.

John Greenleaf Whittier's The Barefoot Boy
Adapted & Illustrated by Lisa Greenleaf
Apprentice Shop Books
Box 375, Amherst, NH 03031
9780984254941 $17.95

Winner of a Moonbeam Children's Book Award, John Greenleaf Whittier's The Barefoot Boy is the picturebook adaptation of Whittier's classic poem about reveling in the simple joys of youth. The beautiful illustrations bring to life the activities of a barefoot young man with a straw hat, who enjoys fishing, picking berries, and the company of natural creatures during an inviting June summer. The timeless message of enjoying life's carefree moments before confronting the harsh realities of working for a living resonates as strongly today as it did in Whittier's time. The Barefoot Boy is an excellent read-aloud picturebook, highly recommended.

Sally Go Round the Stars
Sarah Webb & Claire Ranson, authors
Steve McCarthy, illustrator
c/o Dufour Editions, Inc.
PO Box 7
Chester Springs, PA 19425-0007
9781847172112 $23.95

Sally Go Round the Stars: Favourite Rhymes from an Irish Childhood is an award-nominated picturebook collection of nursery rhymes and children's songs - especially Irish ones, but also including some traditional favorites such as "Humpty Dumpty". Each verse has its own simply and expressively colored illustration. Packed with 64 pages of nostalgic content, Sally Go Round the Stars is a choice pick for reading aloud to little ones. "Janey Mac, me shirt is black / What'll I do for Sunday? / Go to bed and cover me head / and not get up till Monday."

The Environmental Shelf

Where in the World is Away?
Michael Franti, author
Ben Hodson, illustrator
Stay Human Books
c/o PFA Entertainment Media & Marketing (publicity)
285 W. Broadway, Ste. 630, NY, NY 10013
9780578100869 $19.95

Featuring expressive, kid-friendly cartoony artwork Where in the World is Away? is a rhyming picturebook that teaches young people about the positive values of recycling. A boy and a girl are enjoying a sunny day by the pond, when the boy prepares to throw his empty drink bottle away. "Stop Lou, think! Before we make a mistake! / Where in the world is AWAY? / If we throw it in the lake / it's gone for today, but is that really AWAY? // Not for the frogs who hip hop on the logs / or the fish who jump up in the air. / Or the little tiny things that live off the greens / that grow on the bottom down there." She takes him to a recycling bin where he can dispose of his empty glass bottle, and a friendly crow shows them both what happens to the bottles from there - they are melted down and remade into new glass objects! An accompanying read-along audio CD rounds out this choice, educational pick to help young people get into the virtuous habit of recycling, rather than littering. Also highly recommended is Michael Franti & Ben Hodson's previous children book, "What I Be" (9781424338719, $19.95).

Hole in the Bottom of the Sea
Christine Lavin, author
Betsy Franco Feeney, illustrator
Puddle Jump Press
763 Rte. 9W, Nyack, NY 10960
9780972648783 $18.95

Printed on 100% recycled paper with soy inks, Hole in the Bottom of the Sea is a children's picturebook based on a song (set to the lyrics of a traditional folk tune) about the potential environmental disasters of offshore oil drilling (such as in the recent BP oil leak crisis ), as well as the value of renewable sources of energy. When a crack forms in an oil pipe sticking into a hole at the bottom of the sea, the resulting oil leak fouls the water and covers the local wildlife! Fortunately, some creatures are rescued by human volunteers, and cleaned off with the aid of water heated by wind turbines. "We'll clean the oil off the crab and the turtle / and the bird and the dolphin with the soap / in the water heated by the generator / by the windmill up on the hill." An educational section in the back of the book teaches young readers about how wildlife is cleaned and rehabilitated in the wake of an oil spill, as well as about different types of renewable energy, and even ways to save energy at home (such as "Ride your bike to get somewhere instead of having your parents drive you", and "Wear a sweater in the winter to stay warm instead of turning up the thermostat."). An accompanying music CD features a wonderful performance of the song, in this excellent pick to get young people ages 4-10 thinking about sustainability and the environment. Highly recommended.

One Night in the Everglades
Laurel Larsen, Ph.D., author
Joyce Mihran Turley, illustrator
Moonlight Publishing
c/o Taylor Trade Publishing
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200
Lanham, MD 20706
9780981770048 $15.95

Featuring beautiful, full-color illustrations by Joyce Mihran Turley, One Night in the Everglades is a picturebook is an amazing tour of the living creatures and the ecosystem of the Florida Everglades. The story is told from the perspective of two scientists seeking to learn more about the Everglades by collecting water, photographing wildlife, and gathering data as part of a concerted, long-term effort to protect and restore the marshes in the wake of human settlement. "Some ecosystems that existed before humans began building in the Everglades have now disappeared as the flow, timing, and quality of water has been changed. And that means many birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and plants have disappeared as well." Sidebars of scientific facts and definitions further round out this educational picturebook, ideal for young people who are just about ready to graduate to chapter books. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children's collections.

The Political Science Shelf

The Great Experiment
Jeffrey S. Flier, MD, introduction
Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
85 Devonshire Street, 8th floor
Boston, MA 02109
9780985208608 $19.95

The conservative, libertarian-leaning Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research presents The Great Experiment: The States, The Feds, And Your Healthcare, an anthology of essays by expert authors scrutinizing the intents and forthcoming effects of the Affordable Care Act, as well as the quandary of rising health care costs. In keeping with Pioneer's mission to search for data-driven public policy in line with free market principles, personal responsibility, and limited, accountable government, The Great Experiment sharply criticizes weakness in America's current health care system and Obama's top-down, federal government attempts to change it. Instead, The Great Experiment strongly advocates market-based reforms, and giving greater power to the States, in order to control costs. "Congress and the Medicare program's administrators have tried to hold down Medicare's costs by paying less for each service provided. Those providing services to Medicare patients have responded over time by providing more services, and more intensive treatment, for the same conditions. In most cases, there is no incentive to opt for lower-volume care. Patients generally do not pay more money out of pocket when more services are rendered, and those providing services generate more income with each additional procedure or test. The bill is simply passed on to the Medicare program - and federal taxpayers." Although readers may not necessarily agree with The Great Experiment's recommendations, their close examination of a thorny and problematic topic is absolutely invaluable reading for civic-minded citizens and public policymakers who are concerned about the escalation of America's health care costs. Jeffrey S. Flier, MD, the Dean of Harvard Medical School, provides an introduction to this data-driven critique, highly recommended especially for college library collections.

Books in Series

Who Needs a Swamp?
Karen Patkau, author/illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON, Canada M5A 2P9
9780887769917, $17.95,

"Who Needs a Swamp?: A Wetland Ecosystem" is a beautiful botanical study of the flora and fauna of swamps or wetland ecosystems for children age 8 and up. Filled with incredibly accurate paintings of herons, a water moccasin, a skink, crocodiles an eggs, Spanish moss, bald cypress trees, and many other creatures that thrive in a wetland ecosystem, "Who Needs a Swamp?" answers its title question with both factual explanations and beautiful painted illustrations of wetlands life scenes. The swamp wetlands provide many special services to the health of the living planet, including helping to clean its water. A global map showing wetland areas of the world is included, along with the enlargement showing the wetland descriptions illustrated in the book, which are in southeastern North America. Also included are four pages of miniature closeups of plants and animals of the swamps and wetlands shown in the paintings and illustrations with further identifying information, as well as a glossary of terms. "Who Needs a Swamp?" is part of a nature ecosystem series by the same author/illustrator, which also includes "Who Needs an Iceberg? (9780887769931, $17.95)," and "Who Needs a Jungle? (9780887769924, $17.95)."

Understanding Electricity series
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308
New York, NY 10118
$26.60 each

Full-color photography on every page enhances the "Understanding Electricity" series, an educational set especially ideal for young adults in middle school and junior high. Written in an easygoing tone that makes learning about science fun, "Understanding Electricity" is packed cover- to cover with amazing facts and safety tips. Understanding Electricity enhances its lessons with a glossary, an index, and recommended reading for learning more (including suggested websites). Highly recommended, especially for grade school and public library preteen nonfiction collections. The individual volumes are "What is Electricity?" (Ronald Monroe, 9780778720799), "What are Electrical Circuits?" (Ronald Monroe, 9780778720775), "What is Electromagnetism?" (Lionel Sandner, 9780778720805), and "What are Insulators and Conductors?" (Jessica Pegis, 9780778720782).

Everyday Mysteries series
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349
New York, NY 10003
$22.60 each lib. binding / $8.15 each pbk.

The "Everyday Mysteries" series of hardcover children's books that explain technological marvels of modern society in plain terms for elementary school readers. Full-color photographs and simple language ideal for beginning readers spell out where electricty comes from, where garbage goes, and much more. "Generators use magnets to create, or generate, electricity in wires. Either the magnets or the wires must be spinning. There are many ways to make them spin. One way is to burn fuels. Wind power and water power can also be used." The "Everyday Mysteries" series is an excellent and educational pick for public and early grade school children's libraries. The individual volumes are "Where Does Electricity Come From?" (Angelo Gangemi, 9781433963131), "Where Does Our Food Come From?" (Debra Stilwell, 9781433963179), "Where Does the Bathwater Go?" (Daisy Allyn, 9781433963216), "Where Does the Garbage Go?" (Lincoln James, 9781433963254), "Where Does the Mail Go?" (Koston Meyer, 9781433963292) and "Where Does the Recycling Go?" (Jerry Shea, 9781433963339).

Ben & Elvis: The Bullfrog Story
J. Page & S.T. Rainier
ELV Enterprises Publishing
PO Box 2225
La Jolla, California 92038
9780982966921 $12.99

An Award Finalist for USA Book News, Ben & Elvis: The Bullfrog Story is a flat-spined children's picturebooks continuing the adventures of mouse best buddies. When Ben & Elvis read about the terrors of bullfrogs (who sometimes eat mice), they decide to go out at night and terrorize the bullfrogs instead. But their escapade quickly backfires when the first bullfrog they meet decides that a mouse would make a tasty dinner! The cartoony illustrations add a whimsical touch to this read-aloud storybook. Also recommended for young people are the other books in the Ben & Elvis series ($12.99 each), "A Snakeskin Mischief" (9780982966907), "Birthstone Magic" (9780982966914), and "Curiosity Strikes" (9780982966938).

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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