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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 24, Number 7 July 2014 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Donovan's Bookshelf Education Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Science Shelf Law Shelf Gardening Shelf
Multicultural Shelf Self-Help Shelf American History Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Military Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christian Shelf
Board Book Shelf ABC Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Fiction Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Autism Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Agriculture Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Automotive Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Poetry Shelf Native American Shelf Books in Series

Donovan's Bookshelf

Laura's Journey to the Stars
Klaus Baumgart
Bastei Entertainment
No ISBN $2.99

Young story listeners will find appealing Laura's Journey to the Stars, a semi-animated story of Laura's appreciation of stars and their fantastic potential for adventure, while parents will appreciate having a narration which allows them to listen to the story, as well.

This format features no accompanying words for young readers (it's all narrated) but does include forward, back and pause buttons keyed to one's Android or Apple device, plus the added bonus of mini-games. Over 80 lightly animated scenes are geared to youngsters and include buttons that make it easy for young fingers to scroll through the story.

Laura's decision to build a rocket and fly to the stars to find a dog star for her little brother provides a fun fantasy for young listeners, who will find this adventure whimsical and entertaining.

A 'protect me' dog toy discovers a universe of bone-shaped 'dog stars' while the two children have fun playing. But Tommy wonders how to get back home, and when they fall asleep in their rocket ship on the journey home, Mom finds them in a playbox and thinks they must have just had a beautiful dream when they try to explain their adventure.

"Sometimes mothers really have no clue," Laura comments - and they plan their next trip: a journey to look for a teddy-bear star.

Youngsters ages 2-5 are the perfect choice for this gentle short story, with interactive animations that include sound effects and a story line (available in English, Mandarin and German) that's easy to follow.

This is designed to support the popular picturebook series by Klaus Baumgart and adds a new story that will entice youngsters to turn to the picturebooks for early reading experiences.

It's about friendship, love, exploration, and seeing possibilities in a new way, and this app makes for a perfect beginner's guide to the journeys that Baumgart has created with his Laura picturebook series, promising to attract kids to the adventure of reading.

Jinjer Stanton
Great Bear Press
4316 31st Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55406
9781495402241, 172 pgs, $7.99

Mousenapped comes from a mouse's perspective on life and opens with the fall of darkness: the perfect time for protagonist mouse Roland to embark on his usual insect hunt.

Middle school readers who love animal protagonists will find Mousenapped offers a unique series of encounters between a grasshopper mouse, a house mouse, a devout Christian mother, a relative who's an herbalist, and a child (Sara) who views her world through the lens of both human and mouse experience.

The stage is set for a read which offers many unexpected moments that will engross middle school kids with some surprising descriptions, as with encounters between two very different mice: "Roland bit the head off his cockroach and savored the crunch. "Did I mention there's a smallsized human just outside my mom's nest?" He always talks with his mouth full. I don't know whether it's bad manners or just the way grasshopper mice are. "This makes twelve times tonight. It's not like I can do anything about it." I never eat while Roland does; it spoils my appetite. Cheese and cracker crumbs are more my style. "I thought maybe your human could do something about it," he said, taking another hearty bite. Fluids oozed out."

From a child who sees too much and defies the perceptions and anticipations of adults in her world to mice who have a vested interest in preserving their unusual friendship against all odds, Mousenapped is anything but predictable with its vivid story of protagonists who hold special abilities and form special bonds.

One thing to note about Mousenapped is that it doesn't 'talk down' to young readers. There are some challenging concepts here which aren't sugar-coated for preteen minds: the snap and crunch of insects, quoted above, is just one of these unexpected moments.

Notions of choice and new age thinking also weave into the story: "Maybe it would help if you could think of your mom as a choice you made before you were born. And she chose you too. You chose each other for the lessons you could learn from each other." Sara tilted her head to one side as though thinking. "Do people really do that?" "I believe we do, yes. But we forget on purpose."

So those looking for your usual light adventure story will find far more here, in a format that challenges young minds to think about different worldviews.

Sometimes the changing perspectives (between mouse and human) are confusing with alternating chapters that move back and forth between the two; but any confusion is usually momentary and once the reader absorbs the chapter switch-offs between protagonists (and begins to watch for this device), the reading flows and becomes relatively smooth.

So if it's something different you're looking for in middle school reading - something that incorporates new age philosophy and different perceptions into its story - then Mousenapped is the item of choice. It's highly recommended for its more complex, bigger picture of the world and the beliefs of those who inhabit it... whether they be mouse or woman.

P. J. O'Dwyer
Black Siren Books
9780984899760 (trade cover), $14.99
9780984899777 (e-book), $0.99

Claimed is Book One in the Hunter's Moon series and provides young adult readers with a moving story that brings to life the struggles of homeless children and families.

At the heart of this saga is fourteen-year-old Mackenzie Lynn Stonebreaker who is volunteering on a horse ranch after being in juvenile detention - and who is making plans to steal money.

Her entire life has revolved around moving in and out of Colorado's justice system and a series of failed institutions and children's homes, so her impulse to steal comes from an inherent desire for self-determination and survival fueled by the fact that when she's of age (in a few short years), she will be both independent (a coveted goal) and possibly homeless.

So why steal? It's not for kicks, and not even to run away or make a new start. It's to jumpstart a journey into her past to probe the questions at the heart of why she is unclaimed and unloved.

All of this information is deftly imparted in the first chapter - which also provides the winning setting of a horse ranch and a girl under pressure to make changes in her life - seemingly setting the stage for what is to come.

Life takes an unexpected turn, however, when Mac is called upon not to answer for missing money but to be a "horse whisperer" in a dire emergency - something she's never done before. This is one of many satisfying twists and proof of P. J. O'Dwyer's ability to lead readers down a seemingly predictable road and then change the goal or destination last-minute.

Why Mac? Because apparently her private conversations with the horses she cares about have been overheard - and because she's formed a special bond with them, having always wanted a sense of family and place in a life fraught with chaos and loneliness.

Now, it would have been too easy to build the rest of the story around the evolution of a teen horse whisperer - Claimed is so much more - and when Mac makes her escape into the greater world with the goal of probing her past, it's with a sense of purpose, adventure, and, fear, cemented with a feeling that her goals are unstoppable.

Having built the protagonist's personality and concerns in the first chapter, O'Dwyer then tells of a desperate road trip that promises opportunities, challenges, and changes that will ultimately transform not only Mac's perception of her past but her struggles with her present situation.

Teen readers will be captivated by Mac's strong personality and realistic world as she searches for her place in life and will find she continually comes full-circle to the horses she loves and the blossoming idea of the kind of life she really wants to live.

And while horses are an intrinsic thread of activity throughout the story, to call Claimed a "horse novel" would be to do it an injustice. There's much more going on in this coming-of-age saga that leads Mac to confront her demons with no clear indication of whether they have her best or worst interests in mind: "He'd known who she was all this time and never told her. She was so confused. Was he good or bad?"

As the conflicts continue, threats to Mac's well-being come from many different (often unexpected) places, and Claimed evolves from a horse story to something much more. In the end Mac may reject the very thing she's longed for all her life (family) and opt for something resembling a healthy environment for her future.

There's everything here that a young adult reader could want: a winning, spunky protagonist facing great changes in her world, chase scenes, court appearances, horses...

It's all about finding love and a sense of place. Add equines into the mix and you have a truly different horse of another color in Claimed, which ultimately revolves around the rescue of not only Mac, but the world she comes to cherish.

Breezy Bunnies
Margie Blumberg
MB Publishing, LLC
9722 Whitley Park Place, Bethesda, MD 20814
9780991364619, $11.95, 32 pages

Kids with rudimentary reading skills who have moved beyond reading single words or sentences per page (but are not yet ready for multiple paragraphs) will love the simple structure and plot of Breezy Bunnies, which is set in springtime in Carrot Cake Park, where young bunnies play.

A rollicking rhyme lends to Breezy Bunnies' strength as a read-aloud pick for parents, while June Goulding's simple, appealing rabbit drawings will engage young readers and parents alike.

As rabbit parents sew and mow, the younger bunnies are hopping outdoors to check on what spring brings to the park, which includes ducklings, picnics, and gardening. But spring also brings rain, which threatens all festivities.

Luckily, a savvy sister has the answer even to a stormy day.

The tone of the story is light, sweet, and engaging. Even parents familiar with tales about seasonal change will find Breezy Bunnies moves in some directions that are satisfyingly unexpected.

With its fun drawings and breezy tone, beginning readers will find it a thoroughly engaging, fun picture book read.

Paris Hop
Margie Blumberg
MB Publishing LLC
9722 Whitley Park Place, Bethesda, MD 20814
9780991364695, $11.95, 32 pages

Paris Hop pairs fun drawings (by Renee Andriani) with a story of Paris (will Grandma and her granddaughter make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower in time to see Paris sparkle in the sun?) which mixes French words with a lively rhyme to invite young readers to tour Paris and understand the rudiments of another language.

Now, this is an intriguing change for the picture book format, where bilingual approaches tend to be few and far between. Paris Hop works especially well because it pairs its appealing drawings with words for parents to read aloud, inviting kids to draw connections between very common French phrases and their meaning: "Oui-oui, s'il vous plait,/ Non-non, we can't stay - / We haven't time to putter!"

The introductory glossary of terms includes pronunciations as well as definitions, so parents needn't already know the language. In this way adults completely new to French receive a fine story that will also educate them with a few basic French words.

With its whirlwind tour of the City of Light, Paris Hop succeeds in capturing the culture, scenery, sights and sounds of the city while absorbing the cases where French words (such as 'critique') have become part of the American language.

From art galleries to cafes and puppet shows, adults reading aloud to young learners will find this a lively, accurate portrait of Paris; all packaged in an accessible and involving format perfect for any age of newcomers to the language!

Secret at Haney Field: A Baseball Mystery
R.M. Clark
MB Publishing
9722 Whitley Park Place, Bethesda, MD 20814
Softcover: 9780991364626
Epub: 9780991364633
Kindle: 9780991364640
Paperback: $9.95; Ebook: $4.99; 134 pages

It's summertime and twelve-year-old April O'Day is doing a terrific job as the new bat retriever for the Harpoons, a minor-league baseball team in her small town. She shines in her other roles as well - giving advice to players and coaches alike - but ghosts on the field are pulling her deeper and deeper into a decades-old mystery involving the Negro Leagues.

April is a great bat retriever, and her skills for sleuthing, as it turns out, are just as terrific. But a mystery as important as this one requires teamwork. That's where her best friend and fellow baseball geek, Darren Plummer, comes in. With his assistance, and with the help of the shadow ball that April finds after one of their home games that allows her to visit the games from decades ago, new friends will be made and past wrongs will be made right.

This is a baseball mystery (it's hard to forget: the entire story centers around the game),so naturally, the chapters are filled with enlightening details. A handy glossary introduces the story so that non-baseball fans can easily absorb the jargon used throughout. But even more important than the details and the jargon is the reason for the time-traveling ghost players' existence in the first place.

Told in first person by April, her experiences are an inviting read. The discoveries and the reflections of this feisty protagonist, who loves the sport and whose curiosity leads her to investigate the Negro Leagues, baseball history, and even issues of discrimination, are what makes this story so enjoyable: "...the world of baseball changed forever. It was April 15, 1947, and Jackie Robinson shattered the color barrier by taking the field that day with the Brooklyn Dodgers," he said. "We all figured it would just be a matter of time before the best of us made it in as well." He shook his head. "Some did, but too many didn't. Ten years after Jackie, only a dozen or so other players had joined him: Doby, Thompson, Banks... the other teams were slow to follow. It was a darn shame."

Middle school readers ages 8-12 (especially those with an affection for both baseball and mysteries) will find The Secret at Haney Field an engrossing, involving read. Nothing is predictable, everything is tinged with baseball lore, and middle school readers will be more than drawn in by the combination of alluring storyline and protagonists who are realistic and compelling.

Diane Donovan
Senior Reviewer

The Education Shelf

Decibella and her 6-inch Voice
Julia Cook, author
Anita DuFalla, illustrator
Boys Town Press
14100 Crawford St., Boys Town, NE 68010
9781934490587, $10.95,

"Decibella and her 6-inch Voice" is a fresh story about a young girl who needed to learn to talk softer. After several humorous episodes of inappropriately loud communications, Decibella is taken aside by her teacher. She explains that Decibella, or Isabella, her real name, has five voice volumes to choose from for effective communicating. These can be called Whisper, 6-inch, Table-Talk, Strong Speaker, and Outside. Using the word 'Slurpadoodle,' Isabella practices speaking in all five voice volumes. Most intriguing is the 6-inch voice, which means that a person more than 6 inches away, can't hear or understand what you say in that register. The teacher explains that most of the time in the classroom, Isabella should use her 6-inch voice. Isabella practices her voice volumes in all different settings, and she becomes a voice volume expert, which is much more desirable than being too loud all the time. Most important is the stress on Isabella's ability to control her voice volume, and to choose the correct volume for the correct situation. Additional information about teaching kids proper voice volume is provided in the section titled Tips for Parents and Educators at the end. Humorously exaggerated illustrations of Decibella and her large mouth of teeth help express the Outside Voices or 5th volume level. "Decibella and her 6-inch Voice" is a great tool to help teach young students proper voice volume control in a fun, exciting story.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Children's Book of Healthy Habits
Sophie Giles, author
Kate Davies, illustrator
Award Publications, Ltd.
The Old Riding School, The Welbeck Estate
Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, S80 3LR
c/o Parkwest Publications LLC (distribution)
14332 SW 142 Avenue, Miami, FL 33186
9781841359724, $10.00,

"The Children's Book of Healthy Habits" is a handy self- help manual to reinforce and teach healthy habits to kids. A handy wipe clean Healthy Habits Chart form part of the back cover, and over 50 gold star stickers are included in the book to help reinforce children's practicing healthy habits, such as brushing their teeth twice daily, using a tissue when recovering from a cold, washing hands often, drinking water, exercising, eating healthy foods, and cleaning up after playing, as well as getting plenty of sleep. Part of practicing healthy habits is being considerate of others, which includes flushing the toilet after using it, for example. Brightly colored pictures of children of many ethnicities are shown, practicing healthy habits. Each healthy habit has a "before" and "after" page description with illustration and narration, and a small symbol reminder in the corner of each page. At the end of the book are Quiz Time multiple choice questions, a puzzle and a maze, and the handy reusable Reward Chart to display stickers for practicing healthy habits. "The Children's Book of Healthy Habits" is an excellent guide for children ages 4 and up and adults, helping to teach and reinforce daily practice of healthy habits. Other titles by the same author and artist from this series which are also highly recommended include "The Children's Book of Green Habits (9781841359083, $10.00)," "The Children's Book of Manners" (9780861639113, $10.00) and "The Children's Book of Keeping Safe (9781841359090, $10.00)."

The Science Shelf

Benjamin's Coral Reefs
Bryce L. Meyer, author/illustrator
Combat-Fishing / Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
9781499253627, $9.99,

"Benjamin's Coral Reefs" is the seventh nonfiction marine studies book in the Fishes and Whales series. Twenty eight pages of brilliantly accurate rainbow illustrations of coral reef fishes and creatures are accompanied by a simple versed narrative that describes and names the 70 plus species painstakingly portrayed. These pages represent examples from coral reefs in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, the Great Barrier Reef, the Hawaiian Islands, the Central American Pacific islands, the Florida Keys, and the Caribbean. At the end of the marine illustrations is a convenient, accurate guide to identify the myriad species of coral fish and life forms. "Benjamin's Coral Reefs" is a breathtaking presentation, compressing volumes of marine education into edited, precise, stunning portraits, totally accessible and appealing to a juvenile audience of children age 8 and up.

The Law Shelf

U. S. Laws of Citizenship
Amie Jane Leavitt, author
Mitchell Lane Publishers
P.O. Box 196, Hockessin, DE 19707
9781612284484, $29.95,

"U.S. Laws of Citizenship" is a part of the juvenile series titled My Guide to US Citizenship written for middle grade and older students at fourth grade reading levels or above. Five succinct chapters include information on who is a U.S. citizen, what are the rights, duties, and responsibilities of US citizens, and a description of the path from immigrant to citizen. Informative sidebars, graphs, maps, photographs, and visual aids enhance the content of each chapter, and additional chapter notes site relevant sources and information sites of value, along with suggestions for further reading, internet sites, and works consulted. A glossary of bold typed terms is also included. "US Laws of Citizenship" is interesting because it presents immigration and citizenship information from the viewpoint of Tania Rowland, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who became a naturalized citizen. Here is her answer to the question, "Do you think they should make it easier or harder to immigrate to the United States? Why? Neither one, the immigration laws need to be changed so that we get more people who want to be part of the American society and fewer people who want to exploit this country or engage in criminal activities (p.40)." This is a balanced example of the information provided in "U.S. Laws of Citizenship," part of the series My Guide to US Citizenship. Other titles in this outstanding series include "US Immigration Services (9781612284477)" by Amie Jane Leavitt, "Your Guide to Becoming a US Citizen (9781612284491)" by Tammy Gagne, and "Immigration in the US (9781612284460)" by Tammy Gagne.

The Gardening Shelf

How Community Gardens Work
Louise Spilsbury, author
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781433995569, $26.60,

"How Community Gardens Work" is a color photo illustrated educational resource book about community gardening and other valuable ecological activities. Green tinted sidebars titled Eco Facts offer related tips and information about gardening activities and benefits. Chapters on gardens for learning, food for the people, sensory gardens, laying out gardens, composting, pest control, watering the plants, growing spaces, sharing benefits and responsibilities, and community gardens in the future cover an array of eco information in a fun and interesting format. A handy glossary and bibliography are included with recommended related web sites. Excellent color photography enhances the power packed narrative of each page in this innovative eco -series. Also highly recommended are the following titles from the EcoWorks series: "How A Solar-Powered Home Works " (9781433995484, $26.60) by Robyn Hardyman, "How Carbon Footprints Work " (9781433995521, $26.60) by Nick Hunter, "How Electric and Hybrid Cars Work " (9781433995606, $26.60) by Nick Hunter, "How Renewable Energy Works " (978143399568, $26.60) by Geoff Barker, and "How Recycling Works " (9781433995644, $26.60) by Geoff Barker.

The Multicultural Shelf

If You Were Me and Lived in ....Russia
Carole P. Roman, author/illustrator
Alexander Luke, assistant
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781493781980, $9.99,

The latest title in an award -winning juvenile globe-trotting, culture sampling series, "If You Were Me and Lived in ....Russia: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World" takes adventurous children on a kids' tour of Russia, with descriptions of typical names for girls and boys and their parents, foods, sports, favorite toys, celebrations, currency, and more. Colorful illustrations show Russian children at work and at play in Russian settings. Landmarks in the capital city of Moscow are described, and a pronunciation guide is listed at the end for Russian or unfamiliar terms "It You Were Me and Lived in......Russia" is a proud example of this very fine educational series, and should be included in libraries, schools, and home collections.

If You Were Me and Lived In.... Turkey
Carole P. Roman, author/illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781481979849, $9.99,

"If You Were Me and Lived In.... Turkey: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World" is the latest title in a world culture educational series for children ages 4-8 by award-winning author Carole P. Roman. Bright colored pictures of children of Turkey, the capital of Ankara, and market food displays decorate the pages. Family names for mother, father, boys and girls, and famous cultural sights such as the Hagia Sophia are also explained. A typical feast with foods such as borek and doner kebabs is shown and explained. Favorite games include soccer or dolls, known as bebeks. Favorite holidays include Children's Day, on April 23, when children pretend to govern the country for a day. Children of Turkey attend okul, or school, for education. A Pronunciation list of Turkish terms, names and places is included at the end of this fun, informative world culture guidebook for children.

The Self-Help Shelf

How Meg Changed Her Mind
Ethel Coffey, author
Betty Schweitzer-Johnson, illustrator
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452483778, $11.95,

"How Meg Changed Her Mind" is a beautiful story about a dog named Meg who lived in the Sonora desert area, with a friend dog named Baylee. Meg enjoyed her friendship with Baylee, a beagle, until Baylee moved into her home with her family. Then Meg began to resent sharing everything with Baylee, and acted mean and grumpy towards her and the two cats as well. Things did not improve until Meg finally had a heart to heart talk with the wise Sabera, a mother quail who lived nearby. Sabera told Meg, "Your thoughts form the way things happen in your life." Thus it follows that if you think happy thoughts, happy things start to happen more often. If you think sad or angry thoughts, bad things seem to follow. Meg decided to try following Sabera's wise counsel, though it was hard for her. Finally one day Baylee actually came to the rescue of the quail family by scaring away a road runner, a predator desert bird who frightened Meg into immobility when her quail family needed her protection. Meg finally appreciated once and for all Baylee's many good qualities and began to enjoy her life again. Expressive, authentic illustrations bring out the emotion and beauty of the Sonoran setting, while the gentle narrative allows an underlying message of empowerment through positive thinking to permeate active young readers' thoughts. This is a wonderful story for children and adults, with a message that is eternally fresh and real. Also highly recommended is author Ethel Coffey's previous book, "The Cloud Watchers".

Buggy and the Blue Frog
Renee Smith, author
DeAnne DeShazo, illustrator
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
Bohlsen Group
9781490717562, $13.54,

"Buggy and the Blue Frog" is a charming children's story with a powerful built in message: "You don't have to change yourself to fit in with your friends. YOU ARE SPECIAL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE (p. 22)!" Buggy was a compassionate, talented little girl who always wanted to fix things to help others. When she meets a very big, blue frog named Wiley who is sad because he is different and rejected by the other green frogs, she resolves to help him feel better about himself by changing his appearance. After changing into a green cape, plus a new artificial tail and wings, Wiley finds he is still not accepted by his smaller, green frog friends. Buggy and Wiley receive wise counsel from the owl, Mr. Weatherby, who suggests that Wiley should tell his friends how their treatment has made him feel sad and lonely. The wonderful result is that the green frog group realize they need to accept Wiley just as he is, differences and all, because he is special just the way he is, big and blue! All the frogs and Buggy decide to have fun creating a band together and making great music. Creative color pencil illustrations of the characters of "Buggy and the Blue Frog" complement the unfolding narrative and secure the attention of an audience of young readers age 7 and up. The positive message of self acceptance plus creative ideas for dealing with unkindness or bullying behavior make "Buggy and the Blue Frog" a good choice for growing readers.

Healthy Mom Healthy Me
Gwen Ratermann, author
Wendy Leach, illustrator
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452590332, $17.99,

"Healthy Mom Healthy Me: Helping Kids When Mom's Sick" is a self help manual for children whose lives are impacted by the serious illness of a parent. The ideas and techniques described were created and used by the author with her own family when her husband suffered from cancer. Children have many fearful reactions when their mother or significant parent is threatened with a serious illness. One way to cope with some of these feelings and channel energy into healing wishes is to visualize the affected person as whole, healthy, and safe, protected. Thus, the children are asked to draw a simple figure of their mother colored in yellow, to create a Healthy Mom picture. Simple colored illustrations demonstrate similar pictures. The child is invited to explore and express his/her feelings in this creative process. Other ideas for kids are to develop and sustain an attitude of gratitude, focusing on things for which they are thankful. This is especially important in times of darkness, worry, and helplessness. Children are also encouraged to begin keeping a journal to help them find ways to begin feeling good about their lives and themselves again. Finally, a chapter on anger reassures kids that it is OK to feel angry, upset, sad, or sorry about the fact of their mother's illness. A list of things that children can learn from "Healthy Mom Healthy Me" as a workbook includes the following: "Recognize and reflect on their feelings./ Express those feelings constructively./ Visualize a good outcome for their mom's health./ Create a journal that can be a safe place to describe what is important to them.? Understand the value of being grateful every day (p. 40)." "Healthy Mom Healthy Me" is a valuable workbook and tool for children ages 6 and up who are struggling with coping with a serious illness of their parent.

The American History Shelf

The White House for Kids
Katherine L. House
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
9781613744611 $16.95

Illustrated with vintage black-and-white historical photographs throughout, The White House for Kids: A History of a Home, Office, and National Symbol is a softcover compendium created to teach young people ages nine and up about what it has been like through the centuries to live and work in the Executive Mansion. Twenty-one hands-on activities (such as "Plant a tabletop herb garden") embellish the true stories of presidents' children, the Residence staff who do everything from carpentry and plumbing to housekeeping and world-class cooking. A list of suggested resources for further study (with websites) and an index round out this fascinating and educational survey, highly recommended for public and school library children's collections.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Never Say A Mean Word Again
Durga Yael Bernhard
Wisdom Tales Press
PO Box 2682
Bloomington, IN 47402
9781937786205 $16.95

Intended Never Say A Mean Word Again is a children's picturebook loosely based on a story from medieval Spain, from the life of Jewish poet Samuel Ha-Nagid (993-1056), a vizier during an era when Spain was ruled by Muslims. The tale from Ha-Nagid's life is subtly altered to be about his child and another child, yet its core moral remains the same - that the best way to stop an antagonist from speaking unkind words is to befriend him! Color illustrations add an adventurous touch to this parable of friendship between children of different faiths (in the picturebook, the vizier's son is a Jewish boy, and his rival is a Muslim). Highly recommended.

The Star Giver
Ginger Nielson, author/illustrator
Ginger Nielson Children's Books
278 Sand Hill Road, Peterborough, NH 03458
9780991309320, $9.95,

"The Star Giver" tells a story from Native American lore of the far north answering Little Bear's question: "Where did the stars come from?" A beautifully illustrated bedtime story, "The Star Giver" depicts a mysterious being from a deep dark cave who carries the lights of all the stars hidden under an enormous cloak. Each evening the Star Giver travels the dark forest pathways to the sea, where he opens his miraculous cloak and tosses the sparkling stars into the sea. The sea tosses the stars on waves to the sky where they twinkle on all creatures below who spend the night in peaceful sleep. The Star Giver waits quietly by the sea until morning, then he opens his cloak and calls the stars home to him. Before dawn's light strike the sandy seashore, he travels home to his dark cave with all the stars under his cloak until the next evening. Nothing can keep the Star Giver from his nightly pilgrimage. After a succession of stunning, darkly swirling, sparkling pictures, the closing page shows Mother Bear with sleeping Little Bear, saying, "Now go to sleep, Little Bear, under this blanket of stars, and wait with the Star Giver for a new day to begin."

Dianne de Las Casas, author
Stefan Jolet, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Co.
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053
9781455619009, $16.99,

"Cinderellaphant" is a Loxodanta based version of a recognizable children's tale, with a pachyderm heroine named Ellaphant (or Cinderellaphant) and a family of step-hippos who have an exploitative relationship with their poor step-sister. In fact, Cinderellaphant was expected to work so hard and treated so poorly that she often felt irrelephant. Charming, crayon color animal illustrations and imaginary, hip vocabulary make "Cinderellaphant" a truly fun updating of a classic tale. Fortunately Cinderellaphant has a secret fairy godmouse to dress her in finery and change a peanut into a carriage to take her to the ball the Prince is throwing. In keeping with the zoo animals theme, the prince is a zebra who adores having Cinderellaphant step on his toes in their dances together. Children can guess where the metaphor of the tale is heading, when Cinderellaphant leaves a giant sized glass slipper behind at midnight for the prince to find her with. It is a large size foot contest for the step-hippos! All ends well as follows: "Cinderellaphant had found her sole mate! She and the prince were, of course, married. The pachyderm princess and the royal roan honeymooned in the tropics where they tangoed toe to toe. And they lived hoofily ever after." "Cinderellaphant" is a trendy triumph of an updated classic, with many a pun, joke, and double entendre along for the amazing ride. Children ages 5-8 in grades K-3 will be especially enthralled by this very imaginative reinterpretation of a traditional tale.

Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale
Marjuan Canady, author
Nabeeh Bilal, illustrator
Sepia Works
c/o Smith Publicity
9780615951584, $15.99,

"Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale" is a Caribbean influenced folk tale featuring a Caribbean-American boy named Winston and incorporating many rich traditions, cultural references, and words and foods of Caribbean origin. Caribbean culture is enriched by many influences and other cultures - Indian, African, French, Spanish, English, Carib, and more. Thus a rich diversity emerges that is reflected in language, traditional foods, music, and myth. "Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale" is a vivid story that teaches the importance of moderation, the opposite of greed, with a particular Caribbean twist. Winston is a Caribbean-American boy who lives in New York. Winston loved callaloo, a Caribbean spinach dish, so much that he ate all that his auntie had made. She tells him: "Winston! What you got the belly of a goat? You ate all the callaloo! Go down to the roti shop on Flatbush Avenue and pick me up some more dasheen bush (taro plant leaves from Southeast Asia)!" Winston journeys by subway to get the ingredients, but his journey takes a mysterious detour to Tobago, one of the Caribbean Islands. Here Winston met and was instructed by a series of Caribbean traditional folk figures: These include Papa Bois, peace keeper and protector of all the animals in the forest, a Lagahoo (type of werewolf), La Diablesse (a female Caribbean witch-like figure with one cow hoof and one human foot), Soucoyant (another female spirit, part vampire, part old woman), and Mama D'Lo, a female water spirit half woman and half snake. All these dignitaries and other members of the Tobago team work together to teach Winston an unforgettable lesson about the need for moderation in eating and always telling the truth. Partly dark and scary, but also mysterious and appealing, "Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale" is enchanting and exotic, teaching children new viewpoints and ideas about old temptations. Exotic scenes on Caribbean Islands are suggested and illustrated, and the spunky character of Winston is richly painted in the mocha-cream-skinned portrayals.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Dreamworks Dragons: Guide to the Dragons Volume 1
Maggie Testa
Simon Spotlight
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781481419369 $8.99

Also available as an ebook, Dreamworks Dragons: Guide to the Dragons Volume 1 is a tie-in to the popular children's computer-animated movie "How to Train Your Dragon", even offering a sneak peek at the amazing dragons of the newly released "How to Train Your Dragon 2". Ten different dragons each have a two-page profile, listing their strengths and weaknesses, numerical statistics, and special notes about the "most famous" individual dragons befriended by Vikings in the movies! Full-color art from the movie and a detachable, double-sided poster round out this excellent gift for any child who loves the "How to Train Your Dragon" movies and television series.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Green Teen Cookbook
Laurane Marchive & Pam McElroy
Zest Books
35 Stillman Street, Suite 121, San Francisco, CA 94107
9781936976584, $14.99,

Collaboratively compiled and edited by Laurane Marchive and Pam McElroy, "The Green Teen Cookbook" is a profusely illustrated, 144 page compendium comprised of 'user friendly' recipes created by teenagers for the use of teenagers in their family kitchens. Each featured recipe includes the number of servings it would make, along with preparation time, ingredients, and instructions. Of special note are the sections on How to Eat Healthfully; How to Eat Seasonally; Eating Organic; Vegetarianism; How to Eat Locally; and What is Fair Trade?. The recipes themselves range from Healthy Burgers with a Kick; Fried Tofu with Peanut Dipping Sauce; Grilled Fish with Chimichurri Sauce; and Pesto Cherry Tomato Pie; to Huevos Rancheros; Banana Smoothie; Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca; and Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble. One very special touch is that the recipes specifically contributed by teens has their photo at the top of their particular recipe page. "The Green Teen Cookbook" is very highly recommended for personal, family, and community library cookbook collections, as well as a highschool cooking class curriculum supplement.

The Military Shelf

When I Grow Up I Want To the U. S. Navy!
Wigu Publishing, authors
Barron Ressler, Publisher
1278 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651
9781939973023, $12.95,

"When I Grow Up I Want To the U. S. Navy!: Noah Tours An Aircraft Carrier" is an illustrated nonfiction vocational book designed to inform and educate children about potential vocations and careers. Fourth in the series, "When I Grow Up I Want To Be the U.S. Navy" presents information about a navy career choice in the form of an aircraft carrier tour for a boy named Noah and his sister Marina. Noah's Grandpa Ed takes the children on the tour and explains more about what his life was like in the Navy. All kinds of exciting questions about aircraft carriers, ships, captain, and crew from Noah and Marina are answered calmly by Grandpa Ed on this informative tour. Actual photos of the aircraft carrier and its many components are overlaid with cartoon figures of Noah and Marina, reacting to the tour. Additional diagrams and illustrations help to explain the complexity of the insides of an aircraft carrier, plus additional information such as a full description of a Carrier Strike Group, or CSG. "When I Grow Up I Want to Be... In the U.S. Navy" is an entertaining, accurate, and informative guidebook that offers encouragement for women as well as men to seek successful careers in the U.S. Navy.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Wizards, Beavers, and Such, Book One
John Gary Shirley, author/illustrator
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781490722474, $14.93,

"Wizards, Beavers, and Such" is the first volume of a projected three volume series about three fictional characters moving south from the Great Dismal Swamp, seeking a better place to live. Ollie is the wise beaver, leader of the group, a stickler for protocol and integrity. Bud, the sly coyote with slightly more flexible morals, is next in charge, while Hector the alligator is a former general for the Florida Alligator Homeland Security. Conflict arises between the three but creative solutions occur with surprising regularity. Animal characters in "Wizards, Beavers, and Such" possess unusual abilities and adaptive skills which are frequently called forth and demonstrated with excellent results. Thus, some of the desirable qualities examined in "Wizards, Beavers, and Such" include cooperation, construction, compromise, courage, dauntlessness, and many more. Other interesting characters encountered include, Thunder, a python, Papa Boar, and Herman/Mr. Jones, the owl/ human changeling, plus wolves, and other assorted creatures. Children age 7 and up with a sense of adventure will enjoy "Wizards, Beavers, and Such" for its fast action and adventure as well as its character building morals and aphorisms.

Baffin's Desire for Fire
Josephine Young, author
Celandine Publishing
9781479317943, $7.99,

"Baffin's Desire for Fire: Dragonasaurus Tales" is the debut children's fantasy series book for children ages 4-8 about a young dragon, or dragonasaurus, who wants to breathe fire. Originally conceived and told by the author to her young son, this series holds great appeal and promise for a young audience. Written in clever, descriptive verse and illustrated with full page color scenes of a comic little dragonasaurus, "Baffin's Desire for Fire" combines comic adorable charisma with heroic visionquesting for youngsters. Baffin's search for fire may take him into the Trembly Wood, scary home to the hideous Grong, to find the legendary Fire Bird in the Fire Mountain far away. On his journey, young Baffin faces many obstacles and fearsome encounters, but he is determined to reach the remote Firebird and find his fire. The natural outcome of this quest is both a surprise and a recognition of the inevitable process of growing up. Young Baffin is terribly disappointed to learn the Firebird cannot give him fire, but that he must wait for his young dragonasaurus body to grow to create its own fire. However more exciting challenges and dangers await, and Baffin astonishes even himself with his response. "Baffin's Desire for Fire" is the perfect coming of age story for children ages 4-8. For more Dragonasaurus stories, go to There you will find listings for "Bella's Dancing Dilemma," "Izzy's Flying Disaster," "Baffin's Curious Consequence," and "Baffin's Sister Swap Scandal," all promising Dragonasaurus tales of exploration, achievement, and entertainment.

What Every Dragon Needs
Cari Lyn
Lapis Moon Publishing
9076 Sandy Run, Jupiter, Florida 33478
9781937576035 $24.99

Intended to be read aloud like a storytime or bedtime fable, What Every Dragon Needs is a charming picturebook about a young dragon named Percival, on his search to find a proper princess. After all, every dragon needs one! But where are princesses to be found, and what are they like? He asks a unicorn, a griffon, mermaids, fairies, and more for help in his search - but the most valuable piece of advice they give is to remember that princesses are closer than he thinks. After all, isn't every young girl a princess at heart? Delightful color illustrations add the perfect touch to this wonderful story, especially recommended for parents and daughters to share.

My Life as a Third Grade Werewolf
C. M. Longmeyer, author
Dexter Blanding, illustrator
Gallopade Publications
PO Box 2779, Peachtree City, GA 30269
9780635111449, $7.99,

"My Life As a Third Grade Werewolf" is a very funny atypical fantasy monster story that third grade students (and many others) will completely devour, oops, that is, adore. Adorned with zany color illustrations, this story of a musically talented boy named Devon (who happens to be a werewolf) is a classic example of the unfolding of a sheep in wolf's clothing, or how to make cheery lemonade if life hands you an excess of lemons. Devon's hairy face, long claws, and sharp teeth are making his teachers and they ask him repeatedly, "Are you a werewolf?" (Maybe the steak tartar for lunch every day gave it away). But Devon answers with song, "If I were a werewolf...DIDDY DIDDY DIDDY DIDDY DIDDY DIDDY DIDDY DUM... All day long I'd DIDDY DIDDY DUM... If I were a were-were-wolf!" Finally his teachers get the message, and make a joyous announcement that Devon will sing, dance, and star in the new musical, "Werewolf On the Roof," an adaptation of another famous Broadway play. As Devon says, "I just love Broadway shows! I love singing. I love making people happy. Life's too short to be ordinary, my mom always says (p. 15)." Zany, spooky illustrations and tantalizing text narrative work swiftly together to make "My Life As a Third Grade Werewolf " a real hit, with a positive underlying message. Some bonus features at the end of the story to help children fully enjoy and understand the book include a discussion of why do we like monsters, what's a 'wolf in sheep's clothing,' a fascinating glossary of relevant terms that may not be in the story, suggested related activities, and questions for discussion and debate. As always with excellent educational reading, the overall goal seems to be to lead children to examine their knowledge and preconceptions, using humor, action, and good study activities to blaze the way to new enlightenment. Additional titles by the same author and illustrator from this fun, fantastic, creative series for kids include the following: "My Life as a Third Grade Vampire (9780635111432, $7.99)" and "My Life AS A Third Grade Zombie (9780635111319, $7.99)."

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods
Rick Riordan, author
John Rocco, illustrator
Disney - Hyperion
c/o Hyperion Books for Children
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781423183648, $24.99,

Inspired by the successful Percy Jackson fantasy movies, Rick Riordan has written "Percy Jackson's Greek Gods", a 336 page compendium of stories about the Olympians as told by Percy Jackson -- one of their modern age demigod children. Here are tales of Zeus, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon, Hephaestus, Demeter, Apollo, Persephone, Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hermes, hades, Ares, and Dionysus. Beautifully illustrated with the full color artwork of John Rocco, these are stories told with a unique wit and take on these venerable icons of Greek mythology and will prove to be of immense interest and entertainment to young readers ages 8 to 12 (and we adults who love a good mythological story told with verve and fresh imagination!). Of special note are the opening chapters 'The Golden Age of Cannibalism' and 'The Olympians Bash Some Heads'. "Percy Jackson's Greek Gods" is very highly recommended as an enduringly popular addition to school and community library fantasy and mythology collections.

The Christian Shelf

Pop-Up Bible Atlas
Juliet David, author
Paul Nicholls, illustrator
Candle Books
c/o Kregel, Inc.
2450 Oak Industrial Drive NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9781781281000, $16.99,

"Pop-Up Bible Atlas" is a fantastic kids' interactive, 3D pop-up atlas of major Bible events. This attractive, colorful, sturdy, hardbound children's atlas includes large two page map spreads titled Abraham Leaves Home, The Exodus from Egypt, Solomon's Temple, Jesus in Galilee, Jesus' Last Days, and Paul Brings Good News. Authentically researched details such as a proposed model of Solomon's Temple, the ziggurat tower of Ur, a moving map of Lake Galilee with chronicled events depicted, and more are creatively displayed and portrayed, often with moving parts, such as lifting flaps, 3D models, and turn-the-wheel features. Interactive learning encourages beginning reading skills and emerging Bible study for youngsters age 4 and up.

The Temple Curtain
Ruth Moblard DeYoung, author
Dan Drewes, illustrator
West Bow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781490827414, $20.45,

"The Temple Curtain" is a powerful retelling of the story of Jesus healing Nathan, a cripple in first century Jerusalem and some of the historic events of Judeo-Christian history that followed. The temple curtain is torn by a terrible earthquake that occurred when Jesus was crucified, and Nathan's father, a priest named Eli, realizes through a vision that the torn curtain is a message from their God. Caiaphas and other high priests who conspired to bring about the death of Jesus disagree with Eli's vision and life for the earliest Christians in Jerusalem becomes very threatened. Nathan seeks his destiny to share his belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ along with other early disciples in the tumultuous times of the earliest Christians. "The Temple Curtain" is narrated thoroughly and thoughtfully, with exciting full page illustrations depicting turning point events. "The Temple Curtain" will appeal to young adults age 11 and up.

Blessing Baby and the Heart as Big as the Sky
Jennifer Czarnota, author
David Butler, illustrator
Archway Publishing
Bohlsen Group (publicity)
9781480802407, $ 16.99,

"Blessing Baby and the Heart as Big as the Sky" is an innovative, richly illustrated exuberant story about a very special adoption. Blessing Baby is a very special baby born to follow God's vast plan to heal many broken hearts. Following the loving direction of Aunt Essie, Blessing Baby is allowed to be shared between two broken hearted families: The first a natural mother who is sad because she is unable to care for Blessing Baby, and the second a loving couple who are sad because they cannot have a baby of their own. Aunt Essie, who has a heart as big as the sky, sees a wonderful way to enact God's magnificent plan and helps to arrange a special shared adoption for Blessing Baby that helps to heal the hearts of both families. Minimal, fast moving narrative unites with ebullient, joyous comic pictures in this magnificent children's adoption explanation story. "Blessing Baby and the Heart as Big as the Sky" has God's laughter at its center, it is surely meant to delight and to teach young hearts new joys.

The Board Book Shelf

Spoonful of Sweetness
Maria Dismondy, author
Ronnie Rooney, illustrator
Privately Published
c/o 411 Video Information (publicity)
PO Box 1223, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
9780984855827 $6.99

Retired teacher Maria Dismondy presents Spoonful of Sweetness and Other Delicious Manners, a board book about simple ways in which even babies and toddlers can share positive virtues and feelings. Charming, color illustrations show very young children acting out words and phrases as "Baby waves Hello. Friendship / Baby cleans up. Responsibility". An excellent book for newborns to three-year-olds, Spoonful of Sweetness is especially recommended as a gift for baby showers and children's very first, second, or third birthday parties.

Animal Fun for Everyone!
Marjorie W. Pitzer
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Road
Bethesda, MD 20817
9781606131886 $11.95

Animal Fun for Everyone! is a board book featuring short, easy-to-read phrases, and full-color photography of children with Down syndrome going about their everyday life as they interact with animals, particularly pets and livestock. From a boy feeding a chicken, to a girl giggling at a guinea pig in an exercise wheel, to a toddler touching a turtle, Animal Fun for Everyone lives up to its title! Highly recommended for beginning readers everywhere.

The ABC Shelf

Woodland Litter Critters ABC
Patience Mason, author and critter creator
Robert Mason, illustrator
Patience Press
P.O. Box 2757, High Springs, Florida 32655
9781892220103 $16.99

Woodland Litter Critters is a distinctive children's ABC picturebook. It is important to note that Woodland Litter Critters does not condone actual littering; instead, the title refers to whimsical sculptures of imaginary animals, crafted with loving care from acorns, twigs, pine cones, etc. collected from the forest floor. Each letter of the alphabet is paired with the names of some insect-like crafted creations, displayed in full-color photographs and poses. "Hieronymus and Harriet Hickorynut showed up together. / The Jessamine boys [Jock Jake Jack] flew to a stump." A unique and captivating work of art in more ways than one, Woodland Litter Critters is a wonderful ABC book for parents and children to share - and perhaps inspiration to create one's own critter art projects from ordinary woodland litter!

The Picturebook Shelf

This Book Does Not Have Words
Ryan T. Higgins, author/illustrator
Cocklebury Books
4 Lyndon Way, Kittery, ME 03904
9780981500720, $16.99

"This Book Does Not Have Words" is a wonderful enigma appealing to kids (ages 3-8), an illustrated book about the absence of words that has mouse characters (named Thistle and Nibbs) who keep using words to tell about the book without words, which a mouse character named Rupert is in charge of. It's a wordy book about a book with no words! In other words, it is a wordy, hurdy-gurdy stitch to read, words and pictures both. Poor Rupert keeps trying to make Thistle and Nibbs be quiet while he tells about his book with no words. In the argument a lot of words are used to explain the conundrum: "We're making a book that doesn't have words...but I've promised not to say anything, so I can't tell you about it." The reason for having no words is to win tons of awards (readers are encouraged to follow Rupert's convoluted descriptive thinking in dialogue to understand this concept). The fun continues with Thistle and Nibbs providing very amusing straight mouse responses to grumpy Rupert's seriously grave no-word book plan. They cheerily debate the use of style, illustrations, action, even a superhero (named Captain Quiet, who fights words) in this wordless book. Rupert grumpily uses a very big word to stop the action word exclamations (onomatopoeia). Of course Thistle and Nibbs once again steal the show by wondering if that really big word might mean that Rupert should have used the bathroom before the book started. Finally after enduring the antics of his two helpful, wordy friends, Rupert loses his temper, yells (using very large letters) and spends a whole page of complaining about how his friends are talking too much and that will keep his silent classic wordless book from winning any awards! Of course, Thistle very kindly tells Rupert to be quiet (shhhh) because the book does not have any words. A couple of page portraits of a confused, puzzled, quiet mouse (Thistle) end this delightful book that pokes fun at all, especially those who use words. The expressive, mood changing illustrations do their part, but in the end, the words in this book definitely tell the story!

My Fingerpaint Masterpiece
Sherrill S. Cannon, author
Kalpart, illustrator
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
12620 FM 1960, Suite A4-507, Houston, TX 77065,
9781628572889, $12.50,

"My Fingerpaint Masterpiece" is a delightful rhyming story about honesty, character, and creativity, with lots of jokes and hidden surprises in the illustrations and text. One day in art class a child creates an unfinished finger painting while thinking of a scene of his pet dog on the lawn. The unfinished, unsigned painting begins travels of its own on the way home with the child when a wind blows it into the Rainbow Connection Art Gallery where it is framed and hung with other paintings by mistake. Many complications multiply, and finally the unknown fingerpaint masterpiece is awarded first place! The child finally speaks up and tries to take credit for the misunderstood finger painting, no one will believe her/him. This typical reaction is accepted by both child and parents, and the upshot of the story is, a fingerpaint masterpiece by an unnamed artist hangs in the Museum Art Gallery with First Prize award ribbon pinned to it. "My Fingerpaint Masterpiece" is beautifully illustrated and delivered with style. Hidden throughout the illustration pages are images of the author's other popular children's books, a witty hello to fans of Ms. Cannon's juvenile works. An audience of middle elementary students will appreciate "My Fingerpaint Masterpiece" and benefit from its positive message for creative minds of all ages.

Jasper Has Returned!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Joyce DeWitt, Foreword
Donny Crank, illustrator
James Rock & Company Publishers
c/o Castle Keep
1937 West Palmetto Street, #6, Florence, South Carolina 29501
9781596638686, $12.95,

"Jasper Has Returned!" is the fast -moving, witty sequel in verse to "Jasper Has Left the Building!" - a humorous adventure story about a dog whose dinosaur bone-stealing antics landed him first in jail and later in a job as a museum guard! Jasper has learned from his mistakes in "Jasper Has Left the Building!" His letter of repentance to the Governor was well received, and after his release, he pleaded for a home with the Mayor, which he would earn by not stealing, mowing the grass, and filling the bird bath, with the added promise requested by the Mayor: "Do you promise to be good/ and never be bad, / and get a good job / and always be glad (p. 10)?" The enterprising, reformed Jasper trotted to the Museum and applied for a job with Mr. Paddle as a security guard assistant. Unfortunately in the days that followed, as Jasper continued his education by reading books about cops and robbers, there were a series of mysterious robberies at the Museum! Jasper the Great was immediately under suspicion, though he protested his innocence. Who could be responsible for these mysterious Museum robberies, the ancient pirate treasure chest, the guard's chair, and the Museum doors! When even more wooden items disappear in the town, gossip, innuendo and rumor rise to blame poor Jasper the Great because of his prior theft of dinosaur bones. Finally Jasper proclaims his innocence again and makes a brilliant deduction that helps to solve the mystery of the disappearing wooden items. The faith of the Mayor and Paddles, whose support for Jasper never wavered, was exonerated and justified at last! "Jasper Has Returned!" is a charming sequel with a powerful moral message: We are all compassionate, caring beings at heart as our best, true selves, and everyone deserves a second chance to do good instead of wrong. "Jasper Has Returned!" is comic, creative, exciting, and imaginatively written, with bright, cheery illustrations and messages interwoven. It is excellent reading for children age 5-6 and up.

Pounce de Leon
Tim Wynne-Jones, author
Alfredo Tapia, artist
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario L3R 4T8 Canada
9780889955103, $9.95,

Fresh from an award-winning Canadian author and a talented Mexican artist comes the delightful kitten adventure story of "Pounce de Leon." Pounce is a resourceful kitty who found his owner, Mrs. B., on a dark stormy night and decided to take on the job of looking after her. He entertained, amused, and comforted her when she was sad with his playful antics. One day Pounce decided to seek the fountain of youth, pictured on Mrs. B.'s mantel, to cheer her more. Many wild jungle yard explorations later, Pounce discovered the fountain of youth, and was rescued from it by Mrs. B., who learned she could still laugh because of Pounce de Leon. "Pounce de Leon" is a tender, touching story, beautifully amplified by the expressive paintings of Alfredo Tapia.

That Dog!
Gillian Shields, author
Cally Johnson-Isaacs, illustrator
Tiger Tales
5 River Road, Suite 128, Wilton, CT 06897
P.O. Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589251373, $15.99,

Written to entrance young children ages 3-7 years, "That Dog!" is an amazing, inspirational story about a dog who is unappreciated by his family. Living with the mean Jones family is quite disheartening to a wonderful dog who has many hidden talents, for all they can do is criticize him and refer to him as "that dog!" Exuberant, playful colored illustrations show 'that dog' hard at work doing household chores, circus tricks, and being most gracious and helpful, while all the Jones family calls him bad names and tells lies about how lazy and dirty he is. One day, that dog had enough. He decides to leave and seek a better life! What ensues are many adventures for that dog, who never fails to rise to the challenges. That dog is successful at everything he turns his paws to: washing dishes, driving taxi, sweeping stable, and picking up park litter. That dog becomes a helper to others, a firefighter, a nurse, a helicopter rescue pilot, a car mechanic, a farmer, and more. That dog reads every single book in the library and makes new friends by entering a talent show and performing. Finally the grumpy Jones family notices That Dog on TV, but they still grumble. Luckily, That Dog did not have to return to the mean Jones family, but chose instead to be with his friends, people who appreciated him. "That Dog!" is a wonderful children's tale all about making lemonade when life gives you lemons.

My Pet Rattlesnake
Joe Hayes, author
Antonio Castro L., illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901
9781935955610, $16.95,

"My Pet Rattlesnake" is an illustrated tall tale from the Southwest that takes some getting used to, but ends with a giant chortle. Told from a boy's viewpoint, the story depicts a desert rattlesnake who follows him home from his day in the desert and applies for family adoption. Some unlikely everyday situations are humorously described and illustrated. A key to the trickster element of the tale smiles out from the rattlesnake's laughing fanged expression: Comic relief and gallows humor combine effortlessly. "My Pet Rattlesnake" ends with a bang or a rattle, and like all tall tales, grows taller with the telling.

The Stick
Clay Rice, author/illustrator
Familius Publisher
9781939629289, $16.95,

"The Stick" is a story told in stunning artistic silhouette artworks, about a sad, rejected boy's magical experience with a stick he found inscribed as follows: "Imagination lives in you. It's the fire in all you do. Use it well, and you can be anything you want to be." The boy took the stick everywhere and used it to become everything he wanted to be. Many years later, having succeeded at all his life's work, the old many returned to the tree where he found the stick as a boy. He left the stick leaning against the tree and watched and waited. A girl who passed discovered the stick, and picked it up... and used it to become... a princess, a fencer, a surfer,...and anything she wanted to be. Seeing this, the old man smiled and walked home. "The Stick" is poignantly narrated in its masterful silhouettes against dark and light contrasting backgrounds. It is an experience to be savored by young and old alike, perhaps together.

Elephants At the Airport: Once Upon A Time in Zimbabwe
Steve Wolfson, author
Heleen Brulot, illustrator
Argami Productions
P.O. Box 267702, Weston, Florida 33326
9780979832451, $11.95,

"Elephants At the Airport" is an original collaboration story about a girl whose trip to Zimbabwe is punctuated by a friendly elephant at the airport, in green, yellow, and red camouflage colors. Since Nikki, who is traveling to Zimbabwe to stay for several months with her parents while her mother teaches people how to use computers, she tries to convince them her airport elephant is real. In fact, the elephant took her suitcase! Naturally neither of her parents see the airport elephant, nor do they see the many other fantastic animals that Nikki visualizes so clearly in the yard of their pleasant house. Although these animals are a bit scary to Nikki, she enjoys watching them, never understanding how they manage to disappear whenever her parents come near enough to see them. Finally one day Nikki's suitcase is returned, and she sees again her familiar airport elephant in all his camouflage colors. Her airport elephant is very friendly to her, and she gives him peanuts to thank him for his many services, while in return, he scatters away the scary visiting animals that only Nikki can see. Although Nikki's parents are certain to warn her that there are no elephants at the airport, she is certain of her friend and guide. Eventually Nikki makes friends with a Zimbabwe boy named Tanda, and she enjoys many more experiences while staying there with her parents. "Elephants At the Airport" is a wonderful fantasy experience that helps children create an imaginary protective surrounding environment, helping to make an unfamiliar experience gradually feel safer. The marriage of creative narrative with delicious, illusion/reality layered, funny illustrations make "Elephants At the Airport" a huge success. Children age 7 and up will enjoy the funny twists and turns of "Elephants At the Airport."

The Lake Where Loon Lives
Brenda Reeves Sturgis, author
Brooke Carlton, illustrator
Islandport Press
P.O. Box 10, Yarmouth, Maine 04096
9781939017246, $17.95,

"The Lake Where Loon Lives" is a complete adaptation of the old story poem "This Is the House Where Jack Lives." Instead of Jack, the main character is a fearless, sedate Mama loon and her two baby chicks. The rest of the story concerns, a fly a fish a boy, a lake, a struggle, and a peaceful resolution on a lovely, moonlit lake. Spectacular, original, wacky water color paintings fully express all the drama contained in "The Lake Where Loon Lives." Whoever heard of annoying flies that practice a trumpet, or a Mama Loon who wears a flowered hat and has tea from a camp stove, or a pair of loon chicks who water ski? If you can imagine it, the loony pictures of "The Lake Where Loon Lives" will evoke it, hilariously! Exciting vocabulary melds with familiar verse patterns and tell the highly unlikely story filled with splashy adventures of "The Lake Where Loon Lives." The scenery of rural Maine informs and pervades this charming book by two very talented, creative individuals.

The Zoo Is Closed Today!
Evelyn Bielenson, author
Anne Kennedy, illustrator
Peter Pauper Press, Inc.
202 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601
Media Masters Publicity
225 Erskine Road, Tryon, NC 28782
9781441315267, $16.99, 32pp,

"The Zoo Is Closed Today!" is a delightful, expressively illustrated humorous narrative verse story about children, friendship, and animals having a sick day at the zoo. One bright sunny day Sue and John decided to walk to the Kalama Zoo, where they discovered the zoo was closed because the animals were all ill. They found a friend, Pete the zookeeper, to ask what was making the animals ill. The worried Pete described different symptoms for many animals: Edward the elephant had a cold in his nose, Beth the bunny had an earache, Freddy fox got a sunburn from playing in the sun without lotion, Marcel the monkey had a broken tail in a sling, Helen the Hippo had tummy cramps from eating a bad apple, Zeke the zebra had the flu, Carlos the camel had hives on his humps (with red, itchy bumps), Larry the lion had a sore mouth from a pulled tooth, and finally Fran the flamingo had a sore throat. All the animals were receiving the best care (or sometimes well-meaning care, poor Beth the bunny is pictured laying sadly on the ground wither earache while several of her children try to cheer her with a noisy, drum, bugle and cymbal get well song), and there was nothing to do but go home and wait for them all to get well. The next day Sue and John got a letter from zookeeper Pete, saying the animals were all feeling better and could be visited again. Although this news cheered the children, they then began to sniffle and sneeze and had to stay home sick with nothing to do. Fortunately their animal friends from the zoo have a get well surprise in store for them, with the help of zookeeper Pete. "The Zoo Is Closed Today!" is a delightful, imaginative animal tale that teaches children the value of friends who truly care about you, even when you are sick. It is ideal for audiences age 5 and up.

Spud The Couch Potato
Sean Jackson, author/artist
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
c/o Smith Publicity
9781494904609, $8.99,

"Spud the Couch Potato" is an invigorating, amusing story about a young potato who likes being on his couch, watching TV. Told in funny verse, with simple cartoon-like illustrations, "Spud the Couch Potato" tells of a potato who only liked to watch funny shows on channel 3 TV. But one day his TV went black, catastrophe! Spud was forced to go outside in search of something different to do. Although he did not know how to bat or play ball, friends helped him to learn, and Spud discovered a wonderful truth: Playing outside with friends is fun! "Spud the Couch Potato" is an inspirational, humor- laced book for kids who need to try new activities and games that are not couch-contained.

The Troublemaker
Lauren Castillo
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547729916 $16.99

The Troublemaker is a charming children's picturebook about a young boy perplexed by an unknown thief! The boy gets into trouble when he plays pirates with his sister's toy bunny, sending it "out to sea". He apologizes for his misbehavior, but when his sister's bunny goes missing again, it isn't his doing! Then the boy's own playthings begin to disappear! Who could be the troublemaker? It's a sneaky little masked raccoon! Playful color illustrations add a jovial touch to this lighthearted and adventurous children's story.

My New Friend Is So Fun!
Mo Willems
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue
New York, NY 10023
9781423179580 $8.99

Acclaimed and bestselling children's writer Mo Willems presents My New Friend Is So Fun!, an easy reader children's picturebook with a valuable underlying message. Part of the "Elephant & Piggie" series about two animal best buds (a series that has earned two Theodor Seuss Geisel Medals and three Geisel Honors), My New Friend Is So Fun! shows Elephant talking to Snake. Elephant's best friend Piggie and Snake's best friend Brian Bat are playing together for the first time. Could they be having too much fun? What if they become best friends with each other, and stop being Elephant's and Snake's best friends? Elephant's and Snake's fears culminate in a dramatic climax that shows it's possible to make new friends and cherish old friends at the same time! With its positive outlook on friendship and sharing, My New Friend Is So Fun! makes a choice giftbook or contribution to public library children's collections. Also highly recommended is Greg Pizzoli's "Number One Sam" (9781423171119, $16.99), a children's picturebook about a racecar-driving dog who learns that being "number one" is not always about winning - especially when he spots tiny chicks on the racetrack! "Sam could steer around the chicks, but would the other racers see them in time?"

Piko, the Dog with No Tail
Tom Gillaspy, author
Larry Underkoffler, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane
Edina, MN 55439
9781592989430 $14.95

Piko, the Dog with No Tail is a children's picturebook with a heartwarming moral. Piko is a dog adopted from a shelter (a photograph of the real-life Piko is on the back of the book); she has no tail, just a stub. One day, Piko goes in search of her missing tail, hoping that she will be beautiful when she finds and wags it. She searches high and low, and runs into an extraordinary variety of other animals, but the most important thing she discovers is that she does not need her tail to be truly beautiful! The simple, playful color artwork adds just the right touch to this wonderful, read-aloud story that young dog lovers will especially enjoy.

The Adventures of Spunky and Dunky and Buddy Bear: Rescued at Last
Gary C. Newton
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478701200 $19.95

The Adventures of Spunky and Dunky and Buddy Bear: Rescued at Last is a hardcover storybook for young readers, about two little monkeys taken from their African jungle home by poachers. Fortunately, a kindly yellow bear rescues them and takes them in. Living with Buddy Bear, the monkeys learn more about his philosophy about the importance of doing things to help people every day. Even though The Adventures of Spunky and Dunky and Buddy Bear is shaped like a picturebook and features charming full-color, full-page illustrations throughout, the text is modestly involved - almost to the level of a simple novella - and ideal for young readers who are just about ready to try their first chapter books. Highly recommended!

There's Something Wild in There
Maryam Keeley, Samantha Stewart, and Cleta Ullom, authors
Don Saint Denis, illustrator
Cold Run Books
PO Box 651, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
BCH Fulfillment & Distribution
33 Oakland Avenue, Harrison, NY 100528
9780979080807 $16.99

Intended for young people ages 2-10 There's Something Wild in There is a picturebook of eight original poems about the mysteries and wonders of wildlife hidden deep within the forest. The deep green, leafy illustrations show dark, tall, dense vegetation, with a hint of animal eyes here and there. The verses foster a sense of respect and wonder for natural ecosystems, and the creatures that dwell within them, in this unforgettable read-aloud treasure. "Tiny masked faces looking / Between trees. / Bright yellow leaves soon to fall / Into a flowing blue stream / As tiny families scramble along, / Undaunted by the tall trees. / Some are closer than you think. / There's something wild / in there."

The Goodnight Book
Lori Joy Smith
Simply Read Books
74 Pease Avenue
Verona, NJ 07044
9781927018422 $12.95

The Goodnight Book is a charming children's picturebook about different ways to say goodnight. It begins with "Goodnight" in English, French ("Bonne Nuit") and Spanish ("Buenas Noches"), but then progresses to all sorts fantastic phrases uttered by mysterious, exotic creatures, such as "Gloobit" by a squirrel up a tree! Simple, gentle color illustrations add the perfect touch to this whimsical read-aloud bedtime book.

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur
Linda Bailey & Colin Jack
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770495685 $19.99

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur is a whimsical children's picuturebook imagining what could be done with a dinosaur around the house. Would it be put to work deterring burglars? Would its horn make a good can opener? Could it plow snow in the winter, or be a good babysitter? The outlandish, carefree illustrations add the perfect touch to this silly story. Also highly recommended is Dan Bar-el's "Nine Words Max" (9781770495623, $17.99), a picturebook (with a dash of implied criticism about the limits of modern social media) about a talkative young prince put under a curse by his jealous older brothers. The curse limits Max to speaking nine words at a time, but then a diplomatic crisis requiring Max's skilled eloquence arises!

Show Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie
Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland, authors
Shelagh McNicholas, illustrator
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545631358 $17.99

Show Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie is a picturebook based on two talented young girls, who live in Britain but have at times appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show". Sophia Gracie and Rosie McClelland are cousins and best friends; in the story, they have to decide what act they'll do when they sign up for a talent show. Their inspirational idea reaches out to all their classmates, and brings out everyone's talent for display! The soft pencil and watercolor artwork adds just the right touch of glamor to the showstopper cousins and their classmates. An uplifting, age-appropriate story especially recommended for little girls, Show Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie is highly recommended.

Big Bad Bubble
Adam Rubin, author
Daniel Salmieri
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780544045491 $16.99

Big Bad Bubble is a playful children's picturebook about learning to confront one's fears. "You may not know this, but when a bubble pops, it doesn't just disappear. It reappears in La La Land... where the monsters live." Yellow, orange, and reddish monsters with horns, fangs, and claws are all deathly afraid bubbles - but they shouldn't be! One by one, the monsters learn to be brave and pop the bubbles they are facing down. (But butterflies are REALLY scary!) Exuberant illustrations of fantastic monsters in a land of always-night add an unforgettable touch to this wildly charming story.

Camp Rex
Molly Idle
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780670785735 $16.99

CAMP REX tells of a T. Rex who goes on a camping trip with his friend - and who gets into trouble by not following basic rules of the wilderness. A very simple text follows Rex as he gets off-trail, faces down poison ivy, and nearly swamps his pals when he goes swimming. All in all it's a zany, fun read for any who enjoy light leisure reading with large-size color drawings and one-sentence descriptions.

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

Pat Mora and Libby Martinez's I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE (9780307931818, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Patrice Barton and tells of Libby's great-aunt Lobo, who emigrated from Mexico when she was young and has long called the U.S. her home. She's just taken her citizenship test and will say the Pledge of Allegiance at a special ceremony - just as Libby is also learning the Pledge. A gentle story of family sharing, immigrant experience and patriotic sentiment makes for a lovely, inviting read kids will appreciate. Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie's THE WORST PRINCESS (9780385371254, $16.99) tells of Princess Sue, who dreams of finding her prince - only to discover he's too traditional for her tastes. Determined to find the perfect man, Princess Sue embarks on a journey that will lead her into unexpected places - and in contact with many men who think they are Prince Charming - in a fun reader that will delight any used to the traditional story. Jarrett J. Krosczka's PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLYFISH (9780375870361, $16.99) tells of a seahorse and an octopus who are best friends, and Crabby, who is not their friend. When Crabby gets into trouble, will Peanut Butter and Jellyfish help him out? A warm tale of friendships and understanding emerges. Aimee Reid's MAMA'S DAY WITH LITTLE GRAY (9780449710835, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Laura J. Bryant as it tells of a little gray elephant who wonders how he'd interact with his mother differently if their roles were reversed. Little Gray wants to grow up - but will he achieve his goals? A fun story evolves. It's fun to see a reissue of a Dr. Seuss classic, OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO! (9780679847366, $25.00) in a quality slipcased hardcover format. Seuss's ever-present positive tone will reach new generations with this lovely survey, highly recommended for libraries with worn copies and parents who want a keepsake edition.

The Loch Mess Monster
Helen Lester
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544099906 $16.99

The Loch Mess Monster receives fun drawings by Lynn Munsinger to accompany the story of not one, but three Loch Ness monsters at the bottom of the Loch. One of them is laddie Angus, who never wants to follow the Five Basic Monster Rules. And this holds dire consequences for him as Angus discovers increasingly messy problems from his habits. A fun story of monsters, messes and resolution evolves, perfect for young picturebook enthusiasts!

The Troublemaker
Lauren Castillo
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547729916 $16.99

THE TROUBLEMAKER tells of a little boy who steals his sister's bunny and sends it off the sea - only to feel the pain when his own possessions begin to vanish. When a favorite stuffed animal vanishes, he must get at the root of the trouble - and discovers its source in an unexpected place. THE TROUBLEMAKER is a lovely survey, recommended for any young picturebook reader looking for lively reading.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Kurt, Gert, Jazmine, and Bagel
Irene Dolnick, author
Richa Kinra, illustrator
Outskirts Press
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478709664, $25.95,

"Kurt, Gert, Jazmine, and Bagel" is a phonetic easy reader beagle story that reinforces ideas about the value of friendship. Written for beginning or struggling readers, this book contains color highlighting for phonetic clarity, review of high frequency words, phonograms, and pronunciation incorporated within the narrative. Jealous of home-secure friend beagles Kurt and Gert, Jazmine is a cold, hungry homeless beagle dog who meets Bagel, another street dog who offers her friendship and survival through food. Courageously, Jazmine decides to be brave and explore visiting a warmer state with her friend Bagel, saying an emotional goodbye to her homebound beagle friends, Kurt and Gert. "Kurt, Gert, Jazmine, and Bagel" is a delightful dog story that really focuses on feelings all children can relate to. Charming artistic illustrations create images and portraits of the canine protagonists in various situations.

The Fiction Shelf

Archibald Rutledge
University of South Carolina Press
718 Devine Street
Columbia, SC 29208
9781611174229 $24.95

Originally published in an early twentieth-century boy's magazine, and first gathered into a single volume in 1913 (in an edition that is now out-of-print and highly sought-after by collectors) Claws is a brief, high-tension story about a young boy who loses his way in Spencer's Swamp. Also inhabiting the swamp is the ferocious bobcat Claws, whose cunning and evasion is tested to the limit by the hounds and hunters on his trail. A chance encounter between the young man and the canny bobcat is the centerpiece of this masterwork of outdoors storytelling, timeless in its appeal to readers of all backgrounds. This new, hardcover University of South Carolina Press edition is the size of a picturebook, the better to display the black-and-white, charcoal-style artwork that ranges from half-page sketches to captivating two-page spreads. Claws is notably more text-heavy than a picturebook however, and makes a welcome addition to fiction or light novella collections for all ages. Highly recommended.

The New Old Truck
Jennifer Somervell, author
Margery Fern, illustrator
Tales From the Farm Publications
23 Burnett St., Oxford, 7430, New Zealand
9780473271251, $12.95,

"The New Old Truck" is a magnificent children's book about a real truck on a real farm in New Zealand in the 1960's. Written by two sisters who grew up on the farm, "The New Old Truck" tells the story of an amazing 1921 Republic Model 10 truck that was repurposed as Old Truck on a farm in New Zealand. After many years of faithful, if flawed, service, Old Truck was retired and replaced by the dairy farmer, over the objections of his many children. Old Truck was hidden away, covered with spider webs, rust and dust. One day John, the farmer's son, decided he would restore Old Truck and make it as good as new. All the family celebrated this difficult, challenging project. With many people from far away places helping supply ancient engine parts and other resources, Old Truck was finally restored and became New Old Truck, the only restored truck of his kind left in the world. A big celebration at the Vintage Rally ensured New Old Truck would be remembered and honored as the last Republic 1921 model 10 in the world. The authors and family did extensive research about the background history of New Old Truck, and discovered that it came originally from Alma, Michigan, where the Republic Motor Truck Company flourished between 1913 and 1918. Historical background of the New Old Truck is presented with color photographs at the end of the book, and the latest edition of "The New Old Truck" will celebrate its US re-release on June 7, 2014, in Alma, Michigan, the home of Republic Trucks, with the assistance of the Alma Public Library. Written and creatively illustrated by a team of sisters, Jennifer and Margery, daughters of the New Zealand farmer/owner of the Old Truck, this award winning collaboration combines family history with international travels and times. A handy glossary defines special terms used to tell the story of the New Old Truck.

The World Outside
Eva Wiseman
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9780887769818 $19.99

The World Outside tells of seventeen-year-old Chanie Altman, a Hasidic girl in Brooklyn who lives a protected life in 1991. Religion is central to her life and she's expected to attend a seminary and marry as soon as she graduates from high school - but she dreams of becoming an opera singer. When she meets a non-Hasidic Jewish boy who introduces her to a very different world, Chanie faces a difficult choice: to remain in her fundamentalist community or break free to realize her dreams. A powerful story of tradition and change emerges.

Expiration Day
William Campbell Powell
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780785338280 $17.99

It's 2049 and humanity teeters on the edge of extinction. In this world one Tania is a rare human child: most children are actually androids or human copies called 'teknoids'. When she discovers her best friend may be one, she begins to question what's real - and everything centers around year eighteen when teknoids must be returned to Oxted. Expiration Day is narrated using a diary format, which succeeds in getting readers into the heart and mind of Tania and her choices. Mature teens will find this a compelling read!

Hidden Like Anne Frank
Marcel Prins & Peter Henk Steenhuis
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545543620 $16.99

HIDDEN LIKE ANNE FRANK: 14 TRUE STORIES OF SURVIVAL gathers a number of short stories about children who also hid from the Nazis, and provides a series of powerful first-person accounts of World War II experiences. Each story is different: some kids were only three or four years old when they were hidden; others were teens. All describe those who helped keep them alive, and the network of support that helped them get through the war. It's a powerful account, highly recommended for any who loved Diary of Anne Frank and who want similar stories.

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

Michele Weber Hurwitz's THE SUMMER I SAVED THE WORLD IN 65 DAYS (9780385371063, $16.99) tells of young teen Nina, whose family is preoccupied and her best friend changed. Nina isn't interested in boys, shopping or much of anything - but this summer she needs to change her live. How she does so, by incorporating random acts of kindness into her routines, makes for a fine story. Esther Friesner's DECEPTION'S PRINCESS (9780449818633, $17.99) tells of Maeve, princess of Connacht, who has spirit, courage, and too much spunk for most men. She's beautiful, she's rich - and she's determined to run her own life, independent of the efforts of court politics to tie her own. Her unlikely friendship will test her loyalty to her family and, ultimately, the future of her country in this engrossing saga. Dana Reinhardt's WE ARE THE GOLDENS (9780385742573, $16.99) tells of two sisters. Nell worships her older sister Layla, and Nell looks forward to being in high school with her but Layla is withdrawing and is hiding something and when Nell discovers her secret, it will test their bonds in this gentle story of change. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' BLOODWITCH (9780385743037, $17.99) tells of Vance, raised in a house of luxury. Vampires are the only guardians he's known since he was abandoned by his shapeshifter family as a baby quetzal, but when violence forces him from his home to meet a fellow shapeshifter with very different ideas of its importance, he discovers a new world in which he'll have to make life-changing decisions. A fine vampire story for mature teens emerges. Dandi Daley Mackall's THE SECRETS OF TREE TAYLOR (9780375868979, $16.99) tells of young teen Tree, whose goals for her summer in 1963 are to experience her first kiss and become a famous writer. When she stumbles upon a story right at home and goes digging for more information, she'll uncover secrets that challenge her ability to tell the truth - and which may also gain her the romance she desires. A fine story of a young teen's evolution emerges.

Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, NY, NY 10020

Moira Young's DUST LANDS: RAGING STAR (97814424390020, $17.99) adds the third book to an evolving series recommended for mature young adult readers, and continues the story of Saba, who is ready to defeat DeMalo until she meets him and becomes involved in his vision of a healed world. He wants her to join him to build a stable and sustainable world a few can enjoy - under his control. But Saba finds herself leading the a band of fighters against something new and impossible - and DeMalo offers her perhaps the one chance she can't turn down. An involving story concludes a series, and is recommended for prior fans familiar with the story and ready for its final chapter. Tony DiTerlizzi's THE BATTLE FOR WONDLA (9781416983149, $17.99) also concludes a trilogy, is also recommended for mature young adults familiar with the setting and characters of the prior books, and tells of how Eva Nine and her friends are on the run from failure and war. Eva remains the only one who can save Orbona from being destroyed - and her latest confrontation involves not just her circle but the entire world. An engrossing drama unfolds with plenty of satisfying, unpredictable twists and turns.

The Multimedia Shelf

Bubble Tubbie
Epiphany Schwarz, author/illustrator
Black Catapult Publishing
1408 Romanesca Drive, Henderson, NV 89052
9780985292058, $19.95,

"Bubble Tubbie" is a multiple award-winning, multisensory bathtub bubble adventure story in sprightly verse, fantastically illustrated with rainbow pages of striking bubble shaped collages. Picturing and suggesting a whole spectrum of sensory, multi-textured experiences. The basic concept is bathtime is a fun opportunity for an exciting journey to anywhere you can imagine ...especially if you are a child. Designed to entrance children ages one to six years, "Bubble Tubbie" involves stimulating especially the senses of touch, hearing sound, sight, smell, and even taste for young children, all through the magic of fantastic bubble collage pictures and musical, rhythmic narrative verse that might as well be song. New vocabulary words are defined in colored sidebars on each set of two pages, to encourage language growth. Bubble Tubbie even has two pages of bathtub stickers, bubble shaped portraits, of course, at the end of the book. All these features guarantee the multiple award winning title will continue to appeal to children age 6 and under, or over. This book is a real treat to read and experience.

Wages Creek
Jeffrey Hickey, author
Karen Kiser, artist/illustrator
Big-N-Boo Productions
PO Box 922, Inverness, CA 94937
9780991257508, $9.49,

"Wages Creek" is the story of a unique camping trip experienced by the author with his wife and two sons. Written by an award winning writer, "Wages Creek" is a duck-centered story about camping with a cold in a unique fresh and salt water camp setting. Camping with his family, Jeff has caught a killer cold with accompanying grumpiness and is left in solitude for recovery while his wife and sons explore elsewhere for the day. What follows is a mysterious adventure involving three ducks named Esmerelda, Shlomo and Gilbert, who are destined to become related by marriage. The issue presented is universal: lack of acceptance of the newcomer son-in-law Shlomo by father Gilbert, who seems determined to obstruct his daughter Esmerelda's happiness. Enter the horseshoe contest, with duck vs human, outcome to determine the fate of young (duck) lovers. Such is the challenge flung down by the cold-afflicted Jeffrey, when he is insulted by Gilbert, a self proclaimed horseshoe champion. The outcome is hilarious and preposterous, but happy. Soft, dark-toned, fuzzy-edged paintings of the duck lovers adorn the pages of "Wages Creek" along with black and white woodcut stamp portraits. Authentic duck voices quack convincingly on the accompanying CD narrated by the author. "Wages Creek" is a very funny story, artistically and convincingly told, with aspects of the Tall Tale suggested. Kids of all ages will love it along with their parents.

The Rocket's Red Glare
Peter Alderman, author
Bea Moritz, illustrator
CD sung by Jo Dee Messina
Flowerpot Press
2160 South Service Road
Oakville, ON L6L 5N1 Canada
9781486702305 $16.99

The Rocket's Red Glare is a nonfiction children's picturebook about the origin of America's national anthem. It dates back to the Revolutionary War, and the fierce defense of an American fort against a British naval onslaught. When Francis Scott Key, a young Baltimore lawyer, witnessed the fort's endurance and the proud American flag flying even as the British failed to achieve their military objective, his profound feelings of awe and patriotism prompted him to write the lyrics that would become an indissoluble expression of American independence and identity. Vivid color illustrations enhance the straightforward, no-nonsense text ideal for teaching young readers of all ages about this cherished moment in American history, and an accompanying CD features Grammy nominee Jo Dee Messina reading the book aloud, and singing the entire classic, "The Star Spangled Banner". The final page of The Rocket's Red Glare lists the song's entire text, the better to encourage readers of all ages to sing along with the CD! Highly recommended.

The Autism Shelf

What Is A Buhdeedoo?
Dorothy Champion Smaniotto, author
Alex Smaniotto, creator/illustrator
Hunk Squared Publishers
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9780985407100, $12.95,

"What Is A Buhdeedoo?" is a collaborative creation begun by a 10 year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome, Alex Smaniotto, who also made all the illustrations. A Buhdeedoo is an enticing imaginary creature with unusual specific powers and talents who lives on Buhdeedoo Island. There are 15 types, all described in narrative verse and carefully illustrated in primary colors. This is the introductory book of the Buhdeedoo series, and it exemplifies the philosophy of its creator: "I embrace my Asperger's rather than look at it as a disability." The funny, appealing Buhdeedoo types are each described as follows: Standard Buhdeedoo is standard, and always a good friend. Contagious Buhdeedoo likes to tickle and get you to laugh. Hungry Buhdeedoo likes to eat plants and fruits mostly. Water Buhdeedoo has the power to control water. Fire Buhdeedoo controls fire on land and in the air. Earth Buhdeedoo controls rocks and earth. Air Buhdeedoo controls the air and flies. Plant Buhdeedoo is green and grounded. Ice Buhdeedoo deals with ice and cold, a winter friend. Dark Buhdeedoo controls the dark of night. Light Buhdeedoo is bright yellow and controls the light of day. Brain Buhdeedoo is the smartest of the smart. Color Buhdeedoo is a rainbow colored friend, while Singing Buhdeedoo makes pleasant music to listen to. Time Buhdeedoo controls time and speed, and is the favorite of creator Alex. The last one is King Buhdeedoo, who wears a special jeweled crown and can use the power of the Mystic Gem to protect Buhdeedoo Island and keep all its inhabitants safe. Each Buhdeedoo exists to greet you as a friend, wishing you safe travels and imaginative minds. Subsequent Buhdeedoo stories will be forthcoming to tell you more about Buhdeedoo adventures. "What is a Buhdeedoo?" is an imaginative, unique creation that will appeal to both children and adults, communicating a lasting regard for celebrating differences in others.

Armond Goes to a Party
Nancy Carlson, author/illustrator
Armond Isaak, contributor
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575424675 HC, $15.99 PB$9.99,

"Armond Goes to a Party: A Book About Asperger's and Friendship" is a great illustrated book about how to help a friend with Asperger's feel welcome at a social event like a birthday party. Written at a grade 2 reading level for readers ages 5-9, "Armond Goes to a Party" uses expressive, colorful illustrations and simple, descriptive narrative to explain more about how an individual with Asperger's perceives and experiences the world, especially in an event like a party. Felicia was a good friend to Armond, and she invited him to her birthday party. His mother encourages him to attend, but he has many reservations and objections. Because of his Asperger's Spectrum, Armond is uncomfortable with disorganization, loud noises, bad smells, changes in daily routine, and ordinary social expectations. To help Armond feel comfortable and safe attending the party, Felicia's mom agreed to help him by offering him a quiet area for time away from the party if he felt overwhelmed. Armond decided to try attending the party, and when things became too chaotic for him, he asked Felicia's mom for a break from the party. She took him to a quiet room where he could read, play Legos, and think about dinosaurs, his favorite activities. When he felt ready, he rejoined the party and watched Felicia open his present, sang "Happy Birthday," and had a delicious cupcake. When his mom showed up to take him to his usual basketball game, he said, "The party was hard....(but) I'm glad I was here." "Armond Goes to a Party" was written with the help of Armond Isaak, a young man with Asperger's who wanted to help other children with Asperger's "to realize they are not alone in a world where they often feel lonely and out of place (p.27)." Additional helpful information and positive suggestions for grown-ups about Asperger's Syndrome and friendship are provided at the end of this creative, self help book for children.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley
Jeff Weigel
Amp! Comics for Kids
c/o Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street
Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449441838 $9.99

Although Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley is a black-and-white graphic novel created especially to intrigue middle-grade readers, fantasy fans of all ages will thoroughly enjoy its high-spirited story! Eleven-year-old Alanna and her brother Hamel work hard to make ends meet after the death of their father; Hamel is a blacksmith, while Alanna aids him by cleaning the house, sewing clothing, and gathering fruits and nuts. But when Alanna stumbles across a cave of dragon eggs, both their lives take an exciting turn! Alanna befriends the hatchlings, bringing them food when she learns that the local knight Cedric has killed their mother. In order to prevent the hatchlings from imprinting on her like baby ducks, she sews together a scratch-resistant, flame-proof dragon costume, so that she can feed them while pretending to be one of their own. Alanna's costume is a little too convincing; another mother dragon "kidnaps" her away to a mysterious, volcanic valley filled with gigantic reptiles. Hamel follows to save his sister, and Cedric follows with much darker ideas - for Cedric is a veteran dragonslayer, and his disdain for "peasant children" is surpassed only by his greed for the dragons' silver! High-quality, realistic artwork brings this grand adventure to life. Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley is enthusiastically recommended for public and school library graphic novel collections, as well as for dragon lovers everywhere.

The Music CD Shelf

Lucky #3
Shad Weathersby
Privately Published
c/o Sound Artist Support (publicity)
$12.97 CD / $9.99 download

Lucky #3 is a family-friendly music album celebrating science, learning, and human efforts to learn more about the world from cave paintings to space travel! A "song comments" insert elaborates on the history and science behind the lyrics of each tune. An excellent educational resource in conjunction with lesson plans, Lucky #3 is a fun way to stimulate inquisitive young minds, and highly recommended. The tracks are "Mystery & History", "Atomic Monsters Have Come", "Lucky #3", "1977", "Gravity", "The Great Meteor Crater", "Yellowstone/Henihco'oo'", "The Expanding Man", "Talking To The Rocks", and "Harryhausen".

If We Must We Must
The Good Ms. Padgett
Privately Published

If We Must We Must is the third full-length music album by The Good Ms. Padgett, a preschool teacher, mother, and exuberant children's music performer. Her songs invite parents and children to sing and dance, and touch upon the necessity of doing less-than-fun things ("If we must eat our peas, we eat our peas; if we must scrub our knees, we scrub our knees"), countering bad dreams, and appreciating the wonderful beauty of nature. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Hey there little insect", "If We Must We Must", "Trees Don't Need Sippy Cups", "Lollipop Nightmare", "Mommy's Lips", "Les Petits Poissons", "Black and Yellow Bee", "Beach House", "I Love Your Heart", "Tattle to the Turtle", "Dance Party Pizza Party", "No Such Thing as Monsters", and "Bedtime Castle". 33 min.

Sabor! Spanish Learning Songs
PO Box 363, Glen Echo, MD 20812

Scheduled for release in September, Sabor! Spanish Learning Songs is an educational children's music CD in the Spanish language. Lyrics and translations are included, making Sabor! Spanish Learning Songs an excellent and enjoyable way to commit simple Spanish words and phrases to memory. Highly recommended, especially as an aid for youth Spanish classrooms. The tracks are "Cuando Sea Grande", "Buenos Dios Amiguitos", "Uno, Dos Y Tres", "En El Rancho De MacDonald", "Sabes Tu Sembrar La Col?", "Caminemos En El Bosque", "Juguetes", "Del Suelo Al Cielo", "Den El Puente De Avinon", "No Hay Fiesta Sin Pastel", "La Barbita", "En El Zoologico", "Mi Dia", "Palmas, Palmas Las Dos Manitas", and "Adios". 40 min.

We're All Young Together
Walter Martin
Privately Published
c/o Kindie Rock PR
$14.98 CD / $7.99 MP3

We're All Young Together is the debut solo album of Walter Martin of the Walkmen (although several associates do contribute to the creation of his wonderful songs). A family-friendly collection of laugh-out-loud humor that kids and adults can both enjoy, We're All Young Together is joyful, free-spirited, and just plain fun to listen to. The album's case includes whimsical artwork and a full lyric list, the better to sing along with! The tracks are "We're All Young Together", "We Like the Zoo ('Cause We're Animals Too), "Imagination", "Rattlesnakes", "Sing2Me", "The Beatles (When Ringo Shook His Mop)", "If I Were a Tiger", "Costa Rica", "Hey Sister", and "It's a Dream".

Raise Your Hand
The Not-Its!
Little Loopy Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
c/o Burnside Distribution

Seattle-based all-ages indie rock band The Not-Its! present Raise Your Hand, their latest album of fifteen original songs brimming with lively rhythm, playful wit, and punk riff fun. Raise Your Hand is just as fun and catchy a listening experience for adults, making it a choice pick for family gatherings or car trips! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Funniest Cat Video", "When I Fell (The Scab Song)", "Motorcycle Mom", "Haircut", "Bee's Knees", "Mosquito Eater", "Love Is Love", "Echo", "Raise Your Hand", "Great Day", "Nose In A Book", "We're Gonna Hike", "Flannel Jammies", "Hey 80's", and "Waiting List".

Aqui, Alla
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Rainy Day Dimes Music
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
$9.98 CD / $8.91 MP3

Latin Grammy-winning indie rock group Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band present Aqui, Alla, a Spanish-language album for listeners of all ages. Kicking off the celebration with Chicano rock, indie pop, and Tejano audio, Aqui, Alla blends elements of classic musical tradition and bold creativity into a seamless whole, exemplified in the full orchestrated arrangement of a traditional song in the final track, "De Colores". Highly recommended, especially for connoisseurs of Latin music! The tracks are "Viva la Pachanga (Long Live the Party)", "Orale (Listen Up!)", "La Pequena Arana (The Itsy Bitsy Spider)", "Cantaba La Rana (The Singing Frog)", "El Cucuy (The Bogeyman)", "Tu Eres Mi Amor (You Are My Love)", "Vamos a Contar (Let's Count)", "Aqui, Alla (Here, There)", and "De Colores (Of Colors)".

The DVD Shelf

French for Kids: On Va Jouer
PO Box 363, Glen Echo, MD 20812

Part of the award-winning "French for Kids" DVD series, French for Kids: On Va Jouer is an immersion-style DVD, designed to teach children ages 1-7 and up French words for parts of the body, clothes, numbers, animals, and more. Host Marie, along with Frizi the mouse, Rito the fox, and several young friends, encourage viewers to sing and dance. A parent/teacher translation guide encourages adults to learn along with their children, and the option for French subtitles is included. Highly recommended for use in youth French classrooms or home schooling! 40 min.

The Agriculture Shelf

Before We Eat
Pat Brisson, author
Mary Azarian, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
103 Brunswick Ave.
Gardiner, ME 04345
9780884483526 $16.95

Created with the greatest respect for small farmers everywhere, Before We Eat: From Farm to Table is a rhyming children's picturebook about where nutritious meals come from. Simple text and colorful illustrations show how hard-working men and women plant grain, catch fish, tend to livestock, and transport the food that we all eat every day. "They fished from boats / out on the seas; / raised wheat / and nuts and honeybees." As enlightening as it is entertaining, Before We Eat is highly recommended.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Doggie's Bible
Sir Grinsalot, author
Joel Ray Pellerin, illustrator
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781479795727, $21.99,

"The Doggie's Bible" is a charming children's book written in jaunty verse that reinforces the idea that all creatures belong to the kingdom of God. The pictures and poems are heartwarming and soul enhancing, and the doggie's message in her reading of multiple smells on tires leads to a thorough, complex vision of humanity, as expressed in this excerpt: "I smell struggle to help one another in need,/ Avoiding the loneliness brought on by greed./ To know what's important; what does that require?? Perhaps all you need is a nose and a tire./ Some people think doggies are stupid and dumb/ But God shows His doggies 'thy Kingdom come!'" With thanks to the God of Abraham, Sir Grinsalot imparts a powerful lesson (in canine iambic pentameter) to young readers from the words of a dog with true love in her heart.

Black and White Cat, White and Black Dog
Marlaena Shannon, author/illustrator
Joli Winsett, designer
Muse Direct Publishing
900 Wellington Dr., Clearwater, FL 33764
9780989773201, $16.95 (HC),
9780989773218, $9.95 (PB),

"Black and White Cat/ White and Black Dog" is a unique, creatively crafted and illustrated animal story that celebrates friendships across differences in animals, especially one dog and one cat. Every page is filled with textured, furry-appearing illustrations of black and white cat and white and black dog exploring their world together. The accompanying minimal narrative expresses volumes of feelings through work and image integration. The beautiful message is that one unique pair of beloved pets could gradually learn to accept their differences and enjoy their common interests; in short to become good friends. "Black and White Cat/White and Black Dog" is a wonderful story with a compassionate yin-yang image at its heart, and a message of pleas for support of your local animal shelter, such as the Almost Home Project. Even very young children will catch and enjoy the spontaneous joy in the pages of pictures and paw prints and words of "Black and White Cat/White and Black Dog."

Gigi the Famous Rescue Dog
J. C. Caroline, author
Sean Winburn, illustrator
Answers Learning Publications
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
Bohlsen Group
9781491835388, $21.99,

"Gigi the Famous Rescue Dog: From Skid Row to Embassy Row" is an inspiring story about a black, Flat -Coated Retriever who was abandoned by her owners, left to forage for scraps with other homeless dogs on Skid Row. A starving Gigi was trapped by an evil man who chained her in a dirty basement with many other dogs and treated very badly. Finally she escaped, but this time she was found by kind people who took her to an animal rescue farm. Eventually, Gigi was adopted by a kind family with two children who took her to live with them on Embassy Row in Washington D.C. Gigi was ecstatic, though she still had to recover from some of the bad treatment she had received. "Gigi the Famous Rescue Dog" is an excellent educational story about the need for good shelter homes and trustworthy adoptive families for abandoned or homeless pets. It is partly based on a real dog and her true story. Colorful illustrations and exciting plot developments characterize this appealing story about a rescue dog. The many rewards of caring responsibly for a loved pet are only a part of the humane moral of "Gigi the Rescue Dog," a book appealing to children age 6 and up.

My Name Is Bob
James Bown & Garry Jenkins, authors
Gerald Kelley, illustrator
250 Wireless Boulevard
Hauppauge, NY 11788
9780764167256 $16.99

My Name Is Bob is a picturebook based on the true story of how a homeless street cat became the beloved friend and companion of London author and musician James Bowen, told from the cat's point of view. Bob is an affectionate orange cat, but when the elderly woman who looks after him falls ill, he's out on his own. Bob struggles to find food and survive all winter, and then a fierce enemy animal bites him! But his bad luck finally turns around when street guitar player James Bowen treats Bob's injury and adopts him. "From that day on we've always been together - and we always will be." The last few pages feature colorful photographs of the real-life Bob and James! Young cat lovers will adore this heartwarming tale unexpected friendship.

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas
Lynne Cox, author
Brian Floca, illustrator
Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1
New York, NY 10019
9780375858888 $17.99

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas is a children's picturebook about an extraordinary elephant seal who chose to make the town of Christchurch, New Zealand her home. Dubbed "Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas", she was widely beloved among the populace, even though few could understand why an elephant seal would choose to live away from the open ocean and others of her own kind. Elizabeth was fond of sunbathing on the local two-lane road, and townspeople worried that a vehicle would hit her or cause an accident trying to avoid her. Time after time, volunteers towed her far away from Christchurch - but she always found her way back! The residents eventually marked the road where she loved to sun herself with a warning sign, accepting that Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas considered Christchurch her home. Most of the picturebook is brought to life with light, gentle color artwork; a black-and-white photographic of the real-life elephant seal of Christchurch is on the final page. Highly recommended.

Dozer's Run
Debbie Levy with Rosana Panza, authors
David Opie, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585368969 $16.99

Dozer's Run: A True Story of a Dog and His Race is a children's picturebook based on the true story of a family pet who, excited by an ongoing marathon for charity, escaped his yard to run alongside the two thousand participants. His playful exuberance encouraged thousands of pledges in support of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. But Dozer's family worried about their escaped pet! After running half a thirteen-mile marathon, how will Dozer ever make his way home in time for breakfast? Young dog lovers and track enthusiasts alike will enjoy this upbeat picturebook.

The Automotive Shelf

Food Trucks!
Mark Todd
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780544157842 $16.99

Food Trucks! is a wonderfully lighthearted children's picturebooks featuring brief poems and creative illustrations about different types of "food trucks" - that is, trucks devoted to selling a certain type of food, and possibly built to look like that food too! From an (East) Indian Food Truck, to an Ice Cream Truck, a Sushi Truck, a Pretzel Truck, and more, Food Trucks! examines roadside cuisine sales vehicles in a whole new light. Each two-page spread also features a sprinkling to fun facts about the given food or food truck, such as "June 18 is the National Sushi Day in the United States. It is November 1 in Japan."

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Master Davey and The Magic Tea House
Susan Chodakiewitz, author
David De Candia, author
Kent Yoshimura, illustrator
c/o The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
9781492263319, $10.99,

"Master Davey and The Magic Tea House: Legend of the Blue Tiger" is an exciting tea/reading adventure experience for children age 8 and up. Created especially for Coffee Bean's 50th anniversary, "Master Davey and the Magic Tea House" explores a tea-related mystery involving Hopper Smith, a boy with special powers to discover secret stories in Blue Tiger tea, an endangered tea. Children experience the magic of sipping a cup of tea by learning about the special sensory aspects of tea: taste, color and aroma. But Master Davey encourages Hopper Smith to embrace the full experience of the tea in tracing the story in the tea, finding and saving the precious Blue Tiger Tea, and becoming the protector of the tea. All these adventures unfold because Hopper Smith opens to the full experience of appreciating the tea. Beautiful, swirling fantastic pictures full of vibrant colors contain three hidden words that describe the three powers needed to unlock the magic of the tea. Children will love this multi-sensory adventure experience that combines many pleasurable layers for the mind's exploration. "Master Davey and the Magic Tea House" has been nominated for the best tea book of the year by World Tea Expo 2014.

The Social Issues Shelf

Can Dragons and Frogs Be Friends?
Trudi Carter, author
Lowell Hildebrandt, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
Bohlsen Group
9781491840047, $24.99,

"Can Dragons and Frogs Be Friends?" is a delightful illustrated book that uses ideas about creativity to combat and reduce bullying behaviors. Written as a rediscovered series of letters between Forest Squirrel and Beach Bird, these letters tell about problems between Dragons and Frogs, whom the Dragons liked to eat. A catchy dialogue ensues, and soon all the Great Forest is wondering with Forest Squirrel and Beach Bird, is it possible for dragons and frogs to be friends? Chapters gradually unfold, a speckled dragon's egg is produced by a mama Dragon, and plans are made to delay or prevent it from hatching. Eventually Melville the frog shows a true intent to become friends with Throckmorton, the dragon. Will he succeed? The story continues to unfold, letter by letter, with amazing and humorous reactions. Ultimately, the animals create a new answer to the question, can dragons and frogs be friends? They also suggest other new outcomes to other groups that are not getting along, such as seagulls and starfish. In a letter to Beach Bird, Forest Squirrel says: "If the seagulls and starfish want to be friends, they need to help each other and say 'thank you' a lot." "Can Dragons and Frogs Be Friends?" closes with 9 pages of detailed black and white illustrations for young readers to color as they please, encouraging yet more and different types of creativity. "Can Dragons and Frogs Be Friends?" is an engaging story for early to middle grade students with an interesting approach to a very old problem. Why shouldn't dragons and frogs be friends after all? With the powerful ally of wonderful books, only you can help to make it happen.

Little Old Woman With a Wart On Her Nose
Dolly M. Woodell, author
James W. Rogers, illustrator
WestBow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781490810157, $7.95,

"Little Old Woman With A Wart On Her Nose" is an illustrated juvenile fiction book about acceptance of differences, especially different appearances. There is also a strong anti-bullying message integrated into the imaginative fable. A Little Old Woman in the town of Mean, on Sad Street, cries floods of sad tears because the people of Mean, young and old, ridicule her for her appearance. Her tears bring a strange champion to her rescue in the form of a tiny man in pink. Another consequence of the teeny man's intervention seems to be the appearance of ugly pink warts on the noses of all the townspeople of Mean. How to resolve the problem happily and without vengeance or sorrow is the inspired creative solution that is the heart of the story. "Little Old Woman With a Wart On Her Nose" is a book designed to encourage respect and courtesy for others even though they may appear different.

The Poetry Shelf

A Bee Named Bea and Other Poems
Candace A. Dietz, author
Virginia J. Rost, illustrator
Mixed Media Memoirs
c/o KSB Promotions
9781494220822, $14.95,

"A Bee Named Bea and Other Poems" is a delightful collection of whimsical verses about a variety of funny creatures who each have something to share about living a good life. Here we have A Chicken Named Charlie (who learns safety rules the hard way riding his Harley), A Cow Named Sue ( who learned to moo softly, can you?), A Giraffe Named James (who loves to dance disco, always entertaining) and so many more. Each poem describes an animal or child with a peculiar trait who learns to use or modify that trait to live happily with others. Even A Little Girl Named Kempie Pearl, who was a very "no, no" girl, learned how to say "yes" when it really mattered. Fresh, comic, colorful illustrations portray every quirk in the kindest light, unforgettably. Children age 2 and up will chortle happily all the way through the pages of poems of "A Bee named Bea and Other Poems."

The Native American Shelf

Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache
Greg Rodgers, storyteller
Leslie Stall Widener, illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901
9781935955276, $7.95,

"Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale" is a warm and pungent retelling of a treasured trickster tale from Choctaw traditions, rediscovered and retold by talented Native American author Greg Rodgers. Buried in old Choctaw History Archives and interview transcriptions, the story of Chukfi Rabbit's Big Bad Bellyache found its way to the author from Choctaw language records dating to the 1930's or older. Not only is it a delightful, humorous trickster teaching tale for children, it is a living oral expression from an ancient tradition, with Native inflections, traditional Choctaw animal character names, and a wonderful flavor of the Choctaw world view essence. It is good food for the rainbow All-soul. Embellished with carefully crafted illustrations showing animal characters in suggested Choctaw costumes, "Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache" tells a tale that contrasts the positive value of cooperative helping efforts with the sneaky, selfish act of greedy consumption of a communal treat that was meant to be shared by all. Chukfi Rabbit is invited to help Chula Fox, Nita Bear, Luksi Turtle, and Kinta Beaver spend the day building Ms. Shukata Possum a new house. At the end of the day's building work, Ms. Shukata Possum has prepared a special treat of cornbread biscuits, grape dumplings, tanchi labona (Choctaw corn stew), and butter, a special treat. On the building day, the lazy Chukfi tries to avoid working by pretending to be sick. While the other animals are hard at work building Shukata's house, Chukfi devours all the butter from the wooden tub keeping cool in the creek. Not only is Chukfi greedy and deceptive, he also tries to shift the blame for stealing the butter treat to another animal, by planting a patch of butter on Nita Bear's nose. However, Chukfi's greed backfires on his plan, and a loud belch and a big bad bellyache give him away to his friends, who are not fooled by his trickery. The moral of the story is profound and delightful: Everybody felt happy about helping Ms. Shukata build a nice new home, and "helping others is always more joyful than even the best butter ever." The cadences and rhythms of the narration suggest the feel of the original tale, and children of all ages will respond joyously to the trickster antics of Chukfi Rabbit and his animal friends.

Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior
Paul Goble, author/illustrator
Joseph Bruchac, foreword
Wisdom Tales
P.O. Box 2682, Bloomington, Indiana 47402
9781937786250, $16.95,

"Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior" is a beautifully illustrated Lakota tale of a young man's participation in a horse raid upon the Crow, and his subsequent acceptance and initiation as a warrior for his bravery and skill. Using the traditionally influenced artistic style of varied earth tones, from red to browns and blacks in magnificent panoramas of Plains Indians and horses, Goble executes another classic of traditional Lakota stories, laced with incomparable richness and texture, reverently told with traditional Lakota phrases, words and expressions. "Horse Raid: the Making of a Warrior" is another worthy arrow in the gleaming quiver of a treasury of Plains Indians tales.

Books in Series

Keepers of the Wild
Doreen Ingram, author
Josh Green, illustrator
Strategic Book Publishing
12620 FM 1960, Suite A4-507, Houston, TX 77065
9781625162731, $17.50,

"Keepers of the Wild" is a sensitively illustrated informative juvenile series book about big cats, members of endangered species, told from the viewpoint of the animal. The series about endangered animal species, is called "My Sanctuary: A Place I Call Home," and it describes the creation of Keepers of the Wild, a nonprofit sanctuary dedicated to the humane rescue and life habitat for exotic animals such as lions, tigers, cougars, panthers, cheetahs, and more. Told in illustrated narrative chapters, "Keepers of the Wild" tells the life experience of a captured lion cub named Elvis, who goes from cage to trained animal performer, to retired trained performer. Elvis experiences many privations and obstacles in his captive life, and he is exposed to other evidence of cruel, inhumane treatment of wild animals in captivity. "Keepers of the Wild" introduces a middle school audience to a compassionate awareness of the needs of captive or endangered animals for proper care and humane living conditions throughout their life span. Actual torture experiences, being forced to perform when an animal is ill or in pain, these experiences are described from the animal's viewpoint. "Keepers of the Wild" is an excellent educational book that succeeds in instilling empathy for endangered wildlife, encouraging volunteering and conservation practices . Additional titles by the same artist/ author team from this series that are highly also recommended for readers ages 10 and up include: "The Mission (9781612048062, $17.50)," and "My Sanctuary: A Place I Call Home (9781609114800, $17.50)."

The Adventures of Sigi: A Day in the Rub' al Khali
Candace Carson, author/illustrator
Sigi and Lulu Productions
7338 Regina Royale Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238
9781973339128, $16.99,

Sixth in a series of doggy adventures, "The Adventures of Sigi: A Day in the Rub' al Khali" takes Sigi all the way from Florida to visit a cousin, Matar, a Sluki dog who lives in a desert near the Arabian Sea. Every character in the story speaks dialogue in a different, distinctive print color, and pages of illustrations have hidden clues and characters that kids will love to find. Along with Matar, Sigi also meets several desert cats named Eeny, Meany, Mighty, and Mo. Cats in the desert guard their homes against snakes, so Sigi learns to get along, although he must apologize for his first reaction to being introduced to cats, whom he had not considered friends. Sigi meets other animals native to the desert, including camels, a hare, a jerboa, a desert sand fox, a sand cat, and a sand gecko. Sigi is also introduced to Qanas, a falcon, and three oryx, desert deer with pointed horns. Sigi has a wonderful time, though Qanas is scary to him, and he learns lots about life on the desert in the Rub' al Khali. Narrative in witty, descriptive verse tells the enticing tale from several animal viewpoints, while hidden animal clues tease young readers' interest in the colorful mixed photos and illustrations. An informative list of desert animals encountered is found at the end of "A Day in the Rub' Khali." This fascinating animal series appeals to children age 8 and up.

Morgan Reynolds Inc.
620 S. Elm St., Suite 223
Greensboro, NC 27406

The American military is often a subject of the nightly news broadcasts that children watch along with their parents. Now Morgan Reynolds has published an impressive thirteen volume series on 'The Military Experience'. Each of these library bound, 64 page, fully illustrated titles showcases a different aspect of military service and is enhanced with Source Notes; Glossary; Bibliography; Web Sites; and Index. The series consists of Special Operations: Paratroopers (9781599353609, $27.45); Special Operations: Snipers 99781599353685, $27.45); Special Operations: Reconnaissance (9781599353661, $27.45); 9781599353586, $27.45); Special Operations: Amphibious Warfare (9781599353647, $27.45); Special Operations: Search and Rescue (9781599353623, $27.45); Special Operations: Training (9781599353562, $27.45); In The Air: Cargo Planes (9781599353807, $27.45); In The Air: Missiles (9781599353869, $27.45); In The Air: Helicopters (9781599353821, $27.45); In The Air: Drones (9781599353845, $27.45); In The Air: Fighter Jets (9781599353760, $27.45); In The Air: Bombers (9781599353784, $27.45); In The Air: Training (9781599353883, $27.45). Informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly', this outstanding series is very highly recommended for both school and community library collections.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor
New York, NY 10118

Two new series titles are fine, recommended picks for libraries seeking something different, and offer exciting topics and whimsical illustrations. 'The Robotx Get Help from Simple Machines' series ($20.70 each) by Gerry Bailey features two small robot characters who explore the technology of simple machines in titles that are playful yet filled with mechanical information for young readers. Each title provides 32 pages for ages 5-8 filled with explanations of basic mechanics. Thus titles include PRESSING DOWN: THE LEVER (9780778704164), PULLING UP: THE PULLEY (9780778704171), ROLLING ALONG: WHEELS AND AXLES (9780778704188), SPLITTING APART: THE WEDGE (9780778704201), WINDING AROUND: THE SCREW (9780778704218), and SLOPING UP AND DOWN: THE INCLINED PLANE (9780778704195). Each title pairs cartoons with lively contemporary color photos: the result is a powerful recommendation for any young reader just beginning to explore basic physics and mechanics. The 'Travel with Great Explorers' series ($20.70 each) for reading levels 8-11 supports the Common core State Standards for Reading Information Text and Writing Standards for grades 4-5 and covers exciting explorations in a manner that encourages student discussion. A magazine format makes history accessible to reluctant students, while primary source materials and full color throughout lend excitement to the information. Four new titles to the series include Cynthia O'Brien's EXPLORE WITH CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (9780778712459), Tim Cooke's EXPLORE WITH HENRY HUDSON (9780778712466), Rachel Stuckey's EXPLORE WITH LOUIS & CLARK (9780778712473) and Cynthia O'Brien's EXPLORE WITH SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN (9780778712566). Each will prove delightful for any young picturebook reader enthused by exploration history.

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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