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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 25, Number 7 July 2015 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Money Shelf
Sports Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Holiday Shelf Native American Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Poetry Shelf Christian Shelf Buddhism Shelf
Islamic Shelf Self-Help Shelf Fiction Shelf
Math Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Autism Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf African-American Shelf Books in Series
Donovan's Bookshelf    

Reviewer's Choice

When Lyla Got Lost (and found)
Based on the screenplay by Ruby Vanderzee
Abbie Schiller and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, authors
Kaori Onishi, illustrator
The Mother Company
11759 San Vicente Blvd #2, Los Angeles, CA 90049
c/o Godfrey Sanders Public Relations
9780988282773 $12.95

When Lyla Got Lost (and found) is a simple picturebook that also serves as a teaching tool and a starter for a conversation that every parent should have with children who are old enough to talk. When six-year-old Lyla gets separated from her mother at a department store, she has to figure out what to do. She calls for her mom, and when that doesn't work, she approaches another mother with children for help. Together they visit a store clerk who makes an announcement over the loudspeakers, and Lyla and her mother are reunited. When Lyla Got Lost is invaluable for helping children understand the best actions to take in a bad situation. The final page offers tips for children if they are ever lost: 1) Stop right where you are and yell. 2) Ask a mom with kids for help. 3) Remember your safe adult's name and phone number. 4) Get help from a person at a cast register (if you are at a store). 5) Always stay close to your safe adult. A final note to parents and teachers round out this invaluable and potentially lifesaving storybook.

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy
Sam Maggs
Quirk Books
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106
9781594747892 $15.95

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks gathers different aspects of 'girl geek culture' and will appeal to a wide age range, offering profiles of fangirls of all types from tumblr and more. This will appeal to teen to adult readers, offering a lively compendium of social and cultural considerations that range from discussions of modern feminist beliefs and 'geek' psychology to whimsical computer-speak and discussions of what it means to be a 'fangirl'. A 'must' for any interested in the culture and incarnation of the fangirl universe.

But It's Not My Fault
Julia Cook, author
Anita Dufalla, illustrator
Boys Town Press
14100 Crawford St., Boys Town, NE 69010
9781934490808, $10.95 pbk,

"But It's Not My Fault" is a cheery, quirky, color illustrated story about Noodle, a boy who gets into trouble but has so many excuses he can't take responsibility for his own behavior. Written in peppy verse and powered by active pictures of children of different racial backgrounds in everyday situations, "But It's Not My Fault" deals with the blame game especially as played by kids. There are many moments of humor, some times of thinking, and lots of careful reflecting in the pages of "But It's Not My Fault." Parents and teachers will appreciate the nine points listed on the last page, Tips for Parents and Educators. "But It's Not My Fault" is all about turning the blame game into the responsibility challenge for kids.

Rani in Search of a Rainbow
Shaila Abdullah, author
Bijan Samaddar, illustrator
Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615992416, $14.95 pbk,

"Rani in Search of a Rainbow: A Natural Disaster Survival Tale" is a sensitively illustrated story of the victims of the 2010 Pakistan flood disasters, with a special message of hope for children caught in a natural disaster survival effort. Rani lives in a relief camp with her family after the flood has destroyed their home, along with many hundreds of other families and children. Rani wonders if there will be an Eid celebration this year, with so many people homeless, living in tent cities, dependent on disaster assistance for daily needs. Rami helps her mother, who delivers babies, and plays with her friend Juju in the relief camp. It is the time of Ramadan, ending the daily fast with a feast and celebration of Eid. But this year is so different. There have been neither fasts nor feasts, and no special treats either. Still the children are excited and happy because of the sunshine, and they ask adults what they can do to help. Rani's father tells her, "Try to help in a way that only children can." Later, small portions of Haleem, a lentil stew, and popsicle treats are served in celebration of Eid. Rani and Juju laugh at a rainbow in a water bucket, only to see a real rainbow in the sky. In the whirl of daily activities, Rani is puzzled about finding what she can do to help. Finally she thinks of a special way. Her friend Juju suffers from fever and chills, and needs a comfortable blanket. Rani had torn a blanket in half with Juju earlier, struggling for supplies. She decides to repair the torn blanket by sewing both halves together, as her grandmother has taught her. She later presents the mended blanket to the crying, feverish Juju. He realizes what she has done and is very grateful. Rani returns to her parents' tent, full of happiness at finally being able to help in a way only a child can. "Rani in Search of a Rainbow" ends with further discussion of the 2010 floods in Pakistan and the challenging process of providing disaster relief and assistance to 20 million people afterwards. In "Rani in Search of a Rainbow," special attention is paid to the mental state of children affected by the disaster. Children feel fear and anxiety keenly, and benefit from finding small roles of helpfulness that can help focus their minds on being part of the solution to the problem of homelessness.

Astrotwins: Project Blastoff
Mark Kelly
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781481415453 $16.99

Astrotwins: Project Blastoff tells of Scott and Mark, who are in trouble for dismantling their father's calculator, and are banned to their grandfather's house where there is no TV. Grandpa is strict, too - and suggests the two bickering twins work together. But what he hasn't anticipated is their big plan to build a rocket - and their ability to put together one which will orbit the earth. But which twin will get to be the astronaut? A NASA astronaut with four space flights to his name pens this fun saga of twins determined to reach for the stars.

Proud To Be An American
Lee Greenwood, author
Amanda Sekulow, illustrator
Clovercroft Publishing
307 Verde Meadow Drive, Franklin, TN 37067
9781940262963 $12.99 hc / $5.99 Kindle

Also available in a Kindle edition, Proud To Be An American is a children's picturebook celebrating the lyrics of the patriotic song "God Bless the USA", and includes a free download of the classic song as performed by its creator, country music star Lee Greenwood himself. Each page has a simple, colorful illustration relevant to a specific verse of the song, and the final page has all of the lyrics. Like the song itself, Proud To Be An American is a celebration of all that makes the United States great!

The Social Issues Shelf

Tilt Your Head, Rosie the Red
Rosemary McCarney, author
Yvonne Cathcart, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781927583593 $15.95

Tilt Your Head, Rosie the Red is a children's picturebook about compassion, tolerance, and learning to see the world from a different point of view. Rosie is upset because her friend Fadimata is bullied at school for wearing a headscarf. But Rosie has learned that by tilting one's head just a little, one can learn to see the world through another person's eyes. Rosie asks Fadimata to help arrange Rosie's read cape like a headscarf. The other children see what they are doing, and want to join the fun; the next day, they ask Fadimata to make them headscarves as well. Rosie's irrepressible gift for reaching out to a bullied child and making bullies rethink their harsh words carries a strong moral message about respect for others. Highly recommended.

Monday Morning Leadership
Evelyn Addis & David Cottrell, authors
Matt Loughmiller, illustrator
CornerStone Leadership Institute
PO Box 764087, Dallas, TX 75376
9780982124604 $19.95

Also available as an ebook, Monday Morning Leadership is a children's picturebook about how to build and improve one's character. Baxter, a young anthropomorphic bear learns more about how to be a good, reliable person from his wise Paw-Paw. "...You want to have friends who help you be a better person. We must be kind and show respect to everyone, but who you hang out with is very important! And to have good friends, you must be a good friend." Monday Morning Leadership is highly recommended for ages 4 and up, but is best shared with parents and children or teachers and children as a lead-in to an educational conversation about respect and responsibility.

The Money Shelf

The Yoyo and the Piggy Bank
Susan Werner Thoresen, author
Keith Eveland, illustrator
Peter E. Randall Publisher
5 Greenleaf Woods Drive, Suite 102
PO Box 4726
Portsmouth, NH 03802-4726
9781942155058 $16.95

The Yoyo and the Piggy Bank is an educational picturebook designed to teach children about the basics of earning, counting, and saving money in a piggy bank. Young Anna wants to buy a special purple yoyo from Mr. Jones' store, but she doesn't have the money; what to do? Her mother shows her that she can earn money to buy the things she wants! Anna does simple jobs like walking the neighbor's dog, raking Grandpa's lawn, and helping her mother clean the kitchen. In the process, she learns how much the different types of coins in her piggy bank (penny, dime, nickel, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coin) are worth. The Yoyo and the Piggy Bank has a fair amount of text for a picturebook; it's recommended that parents or teachers read aloud and share the story with little ones, as an excellent "penny wise" lesson!

The Sports Shelf

Game-Day Youth: Learning Football's Lingo
Suzy Beamer Bohnert
B&B Publishing
9781495150982 $13.00

Winner of the Mom's Choice Award, Game-Day Youth: Learning Football's Lingo is a practical guide to learning enough about American football to watch a game and know what's going on, chat about it with friends. There are a few tips about the forms and practice of gameplay, but Game-Day Youth is not specifically a tutorial for physically playing the game, but rather for mentally understanding the game - even if the reader doesn't know the first thing about it. Accessible to young people and adults alike, Game-Day Youth includes a rundown of football's rules, player positions, common offensive and defensive formations (with black-and-white diagrams), official NFHS football signals and player gear (also illustrated), and more. The majority of Game-Day Youth is devoted to an extensive, thorough glossary of football terms from "angle block" ("Using your body to push a defensive player from the side, getting him out of the play") to "zebra" ("Fun name for the officials, who all wear a shirt with black-and-white stripes as part of their uniform.") An index rounds out this excellent educational and self-teaching resource!

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Invasion of the Overworld
Mark Cheverton
Sky Pony Press
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781632207111 $9.99

Book One of the Gameknight999 series, Invasion of the Overworld: An Unofficial Minecrafter's Adventure is a fantasy adventure inspired by and set in the wildly popular video game Minecraft, in which players create and share elaborate, pixellated buildings. Gameknight999 is a video game player with a penchant for "griefing" - that is, going out of his way to ruin the game experience of other players, just for kicks. His life turns upside down when one of his father's inventions transports him into the digital world of his game! If he's killed in the game, will he die in real life? Gameknight999 must use his wits to survive against bloodthirsty zombies and spiders, but he can't last long on his own - his only chance is to learn how to make friends and cooperate as part of a team! Although Invasion of the Overworld is not authorized by the makers of Minecraft, anyone who has ever loved the game will immediately identify with Gameknight999's plight. Invasion of the Overworld is suitable for readers ages 9 to 99, and is highly recommended for computer game fans everywhere!

The Sin Eater's Daughter
Melinda Salisbury
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545810623 $17.99

The Sin Eater's Daughter tells of seventeen-year-old Twylla, who lives in a castle, is engaged to a price, but isn't a court member: she's the executioner. Twylla kills anyone she touches, and each month she's forced to kill those accused of treason - so everyone avoids her company; then those who are of royal blood and supposedly immune to her touch. But when a new guard arrives, Twylla finds in him someone who can see her for what she is - yet Twylla's been promised to the prince. Add a kingdom in chaos and plots at the highest political levels and you have an engrossing saga that's hard to put down, filled with complexity that makes it an appropriate recommendation for mature fantasy readers.

The Whisperer
Fiona McIntosh
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553498271 $16.99

The Whisperer is for ages 8-12 and tells of Griff and Lute. One is a prince on the fast track to inherit the throne; the other is a poor carnival worker with the ability to hear the thoughts of everyone around him. And, he can connect with Lute's mind - even though they are strangers and miles apart. So when Lute's uncle overthrows his father and sends Lute on the run, it's up to Griff to rise to the occasion and help him, even though he's facing his own life-changing challenges. An engrossing saga of change and courage evolves.

Helena Loveland
Chevalia Publications
2334 South Falcon Way, Huntsville, UT 84317
Piece of Cake PR
9780991196609, $22.50, 424pp,

Darkness is spreading across the Realm of Elsvanische, seeking to destroy the Fae. Arkan, Fae prince of the Kingdom of Ylsnavan, finds himself thrust into a war he thought he would never have to face, against an enemy he never knew could exist. Dragons, winged serpents, and other creatures of the Realm clash in the sky as Arkan leads his warriors to defend the Fae Kingdoms against the goblins ensnared by the darkness. As the attacks rise, Arkan finds a mysterious Fae named Chrysella, with gifts beyond her knowledge. Arkan feels his heart begin to love her, yet is unable to shield her from the shadows of the dark entity. Arkan knows he must protect his Kingdom and his young sister Ismachestra from the true enemy to Ylsnavan, but fears he may not have the power to defeat the darkness that is upon them. Secrets and suspicions surround an unlikely alliance with the Goblin Empire. Bewitching Lord Brookford and entrancing Lady Chansein hide past lives that intertwine with the siblings' destiny. War plunges Arkan's adopted sister Aramishka into the dark entity's grasp, who discovers her path is linked to his. Arkan knows time is running out, but can he save his Kingdom before it is too late? Or will Ylsnavan's fate rest upon the innocent sister he has strived to shield from the dark force, whose purpose may determine the destiny of the Fae and Elsvanische forever? Enter Ylsnavan and discover the doorway that leads to the mystical Realm of the Fae, where dragons soar, Nature speaks, and destiny commands the soul. Hear the whispers of truth that bridge their world to ours. The destiny of both worlds may be closer than ever. "Ylsnavan" is the first of a planned 'Realms of Elsvanische' trilogy and is a wonderfully entertaining, deftly crafted saga replete with unexpected twists and surprising turns. Very highly recommended for high school and community library YA Fiction and Fantasy collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ylsnavan" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Wall People: In Search of a Home, revised edition
Joseph J. Di Certo
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426331, $14.00, 128pp,

Zort W. Calabash is the patriarch of a clan of Wall People, five-inch-tall humans who live behind the walls in the older apartment buildings on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Forced out of their home because their building is being demolished, the Calabash clan must find a new place to live. Yet for these tiny folks, danger lurks in every corner and crevice. Will they all survive the perilous move? "The Wall People: In Search of a Home" by Joseph J. Di Certo is a deftly crafted and imaginative novel specifically written for young readers ages 10 to 16 -- but would prove to be a wonderfully entertaining read for all ages. Originally published in 1985, this revised edition of "The Wall People" is very highly recommended for personal, school, and community library fantasy fiction collections.

K. E. Boyer
Publicity Department
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
Word Slinger Publicity
9781508408796, $12.99, 222pp,

One morning, twelve-year-old Jamie Collins hears strange sounds coming from the attic. Being the son of a wizard and capable of magic himself, this doesn't seem too odd. But when he goes upstairs to explore, he discovers something totally unexpected: Minkel, a delightful, elfish creature, who intends to take him, his sister, and his friends to Ninelands, a place Jamie never knew existed. Meanwhile Zard (the future head of the Ketch clan of wizards, who are at odds with the Council of Elves) wants to get hold of Jamie for his own dark purposes. Suddenly Jamie finds himself caught in a dangerous web of magic and he must choose whether or not he will train to be a wizard and join his father in the fight against evil. The first title in author K. E. Boyer's new 'Jamie Collins' Mystical Adventures" series, "Ninelands" will prove to be an enduringly popular fantasy novel for young readers ages 8 to 14. Very highly recommended for school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ninelands" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

The Growing Up of Princess Eva
Rhoda Feuer, author
Gopinath Rangala, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd, North Charleston, SC 29406
9781490901794, $11.99 PB, $9.59 Kindle,

"The Growing Up of Princess Eva" is an inspired chapter fantasy story that will appeal to young readers ages 10 and up. Described as a beautiful coming of age quest story, "The Growing Up of Princess Eva" combines fairy tale settings with a darker forces, including a plotting evil villain, a talking bird, and a feisty royal heroine who dares to seek a wider, natural view and life full of happiness. The narrative pace is fast moving and intriguing, and many whimsical touches of fair and fantasy enrich the quest experience of Princess Eva and her friends. Seeking values of sharing and caring for others, self exploration, and uplifting visions of peace and better life for all, Princess Eva manages to discover allies, penetrate thorny problems, and attain a level of enlightenment, with the help of her feathered flying mentor and teacher, Harry. Other allies assist the troupe in solving the biggest problems facing the realm of Brooklands, and in routing the evil Baron Gustav, while Eva's most astonishing feat is learning to fly! True love between Eva and Adamos, prince of the neighboring kingdom of Warmania, flowers and eventually is affirmed, after many trials and obstacles. "The Growing Up of Princess Eva" is great reading for tweens, or young readers approaching adolescence, providing nourishing material to encourage the work of self exploration, growth, and responsibility in caring for self and others. A colorful cover and black and white drawings illustrate the short chapters of "The Growing Up of Princess Eva."

Tallulah: Mermaid of the Great Lakes
Denise Brennan-Nelson, author
Susan Kathleen Hartung, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
2395 South Huron Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
9781585369096, $16.99,

"Tallulah: Mermaid of the Great Lakes:" is an enchanting fantasy quest tale that takes the reader all through the Great Lakes with Tallulah the mermaid in search of her special gemstone. In this original folktale, every mermaid has a special gemstone hidden in the sea that will help her achieve and acquire her magical powers, to be "used to help fishermen and freighters during storms, safeguard treasures in sunken ships, maintain lighthouses, and awaken imaginations with enchanting melodies." Tallulah longs to find her special gemstone, which will change the color of her dull gray tail to match it's brilliant hue and transform her within and without. All Tallulah's mermaid friends have found their magic gemstones and transformed their lively tails, but Tallulah is in despair. No ocean, she believes, holds the gemstone meant for her. But the old Sea Turtle encourages her to search for her gemstone in the Great Lakes, helping to guide her through a tour of these mysterious bodies of water. Tallulah makes her underwater way through Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and huge, cold, Lake Superior. Many beautiful sights and wonderful experiences fill her search, but no gemstone appears and she is again discouraged. The Sea Turtle guides her to the last Great Lake, Lake Michigan, and Tallulah rediscovers how much fun it is to be a mermaid. Even more exciting, she glimpses a beautiful sunburst patterned Petoskey stone which she recognizes as her special gemstone! Thus Tallulah becomes the mermaid of the Great Lakes! The unfolding sea journey undertaken by Tallulah and Sea Turtle is shown a large map of the Great Lakes inside the back book cover, with the inscription by Pablo Picasso: "Everything you can imagine is real." Magical sea colored illustrations enhance Tallulah's quest with undulating washes of shimmering grays, blues, greens and aquas throughout "Tallulah: Mermaid of the Great Lakes."

The Wizard and the Quient
T.J. Lemmer
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781412056861 $21.48

The Wizard and the Quient is an original fantasy novel following fifteen-year-old Thomas Wisby, who is unexpectedly transported into a mysterious world of wizards, dinosaurs, and more. Thomas' father went suddenly missing five years ago; could his this unpredictable land be hiding the key to what happened, and why? Thomas must master his innate talent for magic not only to survive, but also to learn the whole truth - and to determine his own destiny. Although The Wizard and the Quient is accessible to grade-school students, fantasy lovers of all ages will thoroughly enjoy its evocative characters and rich worldbuilding.

The Picturebook Shelf

Edmond: The Moonlit Party
Astrid Desbordes and Marc Boutavant
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701742 $17.95

Edmond: The Moonlit Party is a children's picturebook about learning to step outside one's house and befriend others. Edmond is a shy, lonely little squirrel who loves to create nut jam. He's too nervous to even think of introducing himself to his neighbors in the tree. But when they throw a party, the gregarious owl smells Edmond's delicious nut jam, which leads him to invite the little squirrel to share in the adventure and company! Charming, stylized artwork enriches this gentle story.

William & the Missing Masterpiece
Helen Hancocks
Templar Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763675967 $16.99

A Junior Library Guild selection, William & the Missing Masterpiece is a children's picturebook about an anthropomorphic cat detective. When the cherished "Mona Cheesa" is stolen from a museum in Paris, William, international black-and-white cat of mystery, is hot on the trail! Can his feline deductive skills solve the mystery before the painting is lost forever? Boldly colorful illustrations add the perfect touch to this playful adventure.

Space Boy and His Dog
Dian Curtis Regan, author
Robert Neubecker, illustrator
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590789551 $16.95

Space Boy and His Dog is a children's picturebook about the boundless capabilities of imagination. Young Niko's mentally transforms a search for a neighbor's lost cat and a willful little sister into a fantastic spaceship voyage to the moon! But what if his sister wants to keep the cat? And what if Niko doesn't want to bring his sister home from the moon? The importance of learning compassion and caring for family members, despite everyday frustrations, forms a moral undertone to this playful adventure.

Mr. Squirrel and the Moon
Sebastian Meschenmoser
NorthSouth Books
600 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016
9780735841567 $18.95

Mr. Squirrel and the Moon is an imaginative children's picturebook with an adventure in the tall-tale style of folklore. When Mr. Squirrel suddenly discovers that the moon (a bright, yellow, disc-like thing) has fallen onto his tree, his imagination runs amok. What if the moon had been stolen? Would Mr. Squirrel be mistaken for the thief and sent to prison? More of Mr. Squirrel's animal friends get tangled up with the moon; how can they put it back in its proper place in the sky? The beautifully surreal artwork perfectly complements this whimsical, original fairy tale - especially the striking prison images from the animals' imaginations, as they dream what it would be like to while away one's hours behind bars!

Hudson in Provence
Jackie Clark Mancuso
La Librairie Parisienne
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780988605848 $17.95

The curious and lovable young dog Hudson returns in Hudson in Provence: A Paris-Chien Adventure, a children's picturebook about Hudson's grand vacation in southern France. Hudson roams Paris in August, and witnesses the beauty of Provence. But how can Hudson fit in? He's terrible at herding sheep, has no nose for truffles, and can't effectively pedal a bike in the Tour de France. Only when Hudson stops copying the other dogs does he find his own special talent! The playful color illustrations and snippets of French culture make Hudson in Provence an excellent pick for children's multicultural picturebook shelves. Although Hudson in Provence is in Englis, a brief list of short French phrases referred to in the story is listed on the inside back cover, with definitions and a pronunciation guide. Also highly recommended is the first picturebook in the series, "Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog".

Monster Needs a Party
Paul Czajak, author
Wndy Grieb, illustrator
Mighty Media Press
1201 Currie Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
9781938063558 $16.95

The fourth book of the acclaimed "Monster & Me" rhyming picturebook series about a young boy and his blue-furred monster friend, Monster Needs a Party is set during Monster's birthday. When none of Monster's other friends can attend his birthday party, it's up to the boy to help him celebrate! Together they go to the Pirate Land amusement park, and have a ball with rides, games and root beer. Could a special surprise be waiting for Monster when he gets home? Playful, charming, and featuring exuberant, colorful illustrations, Monster Needs a Party is pure fun to read aloud and share.

The Thing About Spring
Daniel Kirk
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
9781419714924 $16.95

The Thing About Spring is a heartwarming children's picturebook featuring charming, anthropomorphic animal characters. The seasons are changing and spring is in the air; Bear, Bird, and Mouse welcome the turning seasons, but their new friend Rabbit loves winter and thinks spring is nothing but trouble. His friends try to explain to him why changing seasons and the arrival of spring is something to celebrate; will the be able to persuade Rabbit to give spring a chance? Bright colors and bold outlines illustrate this upbeat story.

Daredevil Duck
Charlie Alder
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762454563 $16.95

Daredevil Duck is a children's picturebook about a perpetually nervous little duck, who dreams of being brave. His opportunity comes when a mole asks him to rescue a balloon stuck high in a tree. Can Daredevil Duck overcome his own fears and achieve a rescue? The simple color artwork is enhanced by large flaps the child can lift, such as a flap that shows two sides of Daredevil Duck's reflection in a mirror - the duck he yearns to be on one side of the flap, and the duck he actually is on the other side. Daredevil Duck is a charming story, ideal for young people ages 3-6.

The Ground Squirrels Take Glacier, Maybe...
Sandra Johnson, author/illustrator
c/o Farcountry Books
PO Box 5630, Helena, Montana 59604
9781591521570, $12.95,

"The Ground Squirrels Take Glacier, Maybe...." is an educational animal fantasy about a mischievous band of Columbian Ground Squirrels who once ate all the flowers they could reach at Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park. The jolly hero, presented in eclectic crayoned underground splendor, is Gopher Joe, and ambitious, eccentric character. If Gopher Joe had his way, things would turn around in Glacier Park. Instead of humans being in charge and driving red tour buses about, the Ground Squirrels would take over and charge admission in delectable flowers, whish Ground Squirrels love to eat. However, a determined lady Gardener is the instrument to foil the dreams of Gopher Joe and all his family. The Ground Squirrels meet and plot together to scare the Gardener, make mean faces, eat lots of flowers, show their teeth and even scream! However, some of the Ground Squirrels were not persuaded to cooperate with this be-mean-to-the-Gardener approach. They enjoyed eating human snacks like potato chips and cookies. Even Rex the raven was asked to help the Ground Squirrels to help scare the Gardener, but she only enjoyed the sound and sight of the raven and his mate. When Gopher Joe asked Spermanidas, the Spartan Squirrel to help in their anti Gardener campaign, he regretfully refused also, because it was time to celebrate the Hibernation Moon Festival, giving thanks to the Earth for food and asking to be kept safe in their burrows for another winter. After the Ground Squirrels finally went into their August hibernation, the Gardener replanted pansies and marigolds to please the guests of the lodge. But she missed the squirrels, even though they were a nuisance, pesky varmints eating all her flowers. As the Ground Squirrels went to sleep, the end of the story seems near, or maybe not? The Gardener, who was also the author, added some pages of wonderful information about the real habits and antics of the Ground Squirrels of Glacier Park which she observed from 1998 to 2013 at Lake McDonald. A handy list of related source books completes the exciting story of "The Ground Squirrels Take Glacier, Maybe....." Kids age 8 and up will enjoy this story and its real context.

What Is Love?
Shane Smith, author/illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781500584900, $12.00,

"What Is Love?" is a vivid story told in verse by three animal characters: Pedro (a dog), Kee (a cat), and Dolly (another dog). Filled with vibrant, active color illustrations, "What Is Love?" presents a series of imagined answers to the title question, in each of the character's experiences. Thus, for Pedro, love is imagined as a scrap from the table, a run through the park, or a chase of a squirrel. For Kee, love is "a stretch and a clawing on my Cat Tree, a clean Litter Box that is there, just for me!" and more cat experiences of what love is, ending with "(Love is...) living with Pedro and Dolly in my Beautiful House!" Every page features brilliant color images of happy animals enjoying their lives, fun, food, rest, and play, plus lots of affectionate touching, petting scratching, etc. "What Is Love?" can be used to teach children how to imagine experiences from even an animal's point of view. It is also a great read for young readers. In keeping with the book's title theme, a percentage of sales from each book will be donated to TAILS Animal Humane Society in Dekalb, Illinois.

Mae and the Moon
Jami Gigot, author/artist
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 86740, Portland, OR 97286
9780991386628, $16.99, www.RippleGrovePress

"Mae and the Moon" is a new sort of bedtime story that encourages children to explore mysteries and enjoy darkness, whether lit by moonlight or shadowed. Velvety backgrounds abound in the delicate, fanciful illustrations, while few choice words tell the exciting tale of Mae's friendship with the moon. They play games together in the friendly night, and their favorite game was hide-and-seek. One night Mae could not find the moon in the sky. Pages of blackness lit only by tiny white twinkling's emphasize this loss poignantly, while Mae and her dog look out the somberly lit window, bereft. Mae is a girl who takes action when faced with a mystery, so the next day she commenced building a mighty cardboard rocket ship named Moon Chaser, with the help of her black and white dog. Many hours of seeking in the day and the night end with a miraculous finish, under the benevolent care of Mae's Papa and Mama. Mae is delighted when her friend the Moon returns, and not surprised at all when the Moon smiles at her. "Mae and the Moon" is a magical book, with all the mystery and magic of a moonlit night.

Good Dragon, Bad Dragon
Christine Nostlinger, author
Jens Rassmus, illustrator
David Henry Wilson, translator
NorthSouth Books, Inc.
600 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10016
9780735841819, $18.95,

"Good Dragon, Bad Dragon" is a charming story about a boy's two best friends, a green, good dragon who blows soap bubbles from soap, and a red, bad dragon who blows flames and smoke from coal. Finn, the boy, relies on both dragons to help him cope with daily emergencies such as a mean playmate, or needing to make a friend. Finn allows his dragon friends inside his house when they shrink themselves, but this is somewhat hard on them. When Finn's mother plans to take him on a seaside vacation, he plans to take both dragons along, shrunk in a suitcase. They decline this offer, fearful of the water at the seaside. Finn's mother does not understand. Finn runs away to sleep at the park with the dragons and is brought back to his mother the next day in a wheelbarrow. Finally Finn's mother listens to his dragon concerns. A way is found to include the dragons on the vacation trip. Who knew dragons could swim safely in the sea with dragon waterwings? Who knew they could pack dragon water to drink? All in all the dragons and Finn have a wonderful time on the vacation and agree that together they can do anything! Whimsical ink and water color illustrations add humor, joy and expressiveness to this delightful book about inner potential.

You Call That Brave?
Lorenz Pauli, author
Kathrin Scharer, illustrator
David Henry Wilson, translator
NorthSouth Books
600 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10016
9780735841826, $17.95,

"You Call That Brave?" is a pithy fable about competition. A mouse, a frog, a snail, and a sparrow decide to pass time together by having a bravery competition. The mouse decides to swim all the way across the pond underwater and back without coming up for air. The frog ridicules this as a feat of bravery, because he does it every day. But the mouse points out: "I'm not a frog. What's fun for you is a fearsome feat for me!" Since the frog agrees, the mouse sets off and succeeds in swimming all the way across the pond and back underwater. Everyone cheers. The bravery competition continues with similar unlikely feats, first ridiculed, then applauded by each creature until it is the turn of the sparrow. Everyone wonders what the sparrow will do! After a dramatic delay, the sparrow announces: "I am.....NOT PLAYING THIS GAME." This befuddles the others, until, slowly, they get the idea, and dance together exclaiming, "Yes, that's how to be brave!" Wonderfully comic and expressive paintings of all the animals in their bravery contest feats allow young readers full participation in the contest and joke at the end.

Shelby the Flying Snail
Virginia Hanna, author
Amandine Piu, illustrator
Susan Allen Maurin, translator
Auzou Publishing
24-32 rue des Amandiers, 75020 Paris, France
9782733832370, $14.95,

"Shelby the Flying Snail" is a delightful snail fantasy the explores the concept of independence and exploration, with ominous undertones. Shelby is a tiny snail who yearns to be able to climb high enough to be able to see what is inside the bright red poppies he can see from the ground. His Grandpa Gray is tolerant of his interest, but asks why, as he gives Shelby a fascinating book to study about flowers. Shelby is inspired to create wings for himself out of dropped bird feathers, so he can fly on the wind to see the tops of the poppies. This creative enterprise ends up working but working too well. Shelby is delivered to a poppy top that houses a hungry spider, who sees Shelby as her potential lunch! Luckily Shelby is resourceful and able to tuck himself into his shell and roll down the hill and away from the hungry spider! Finally Shelby is back on the ground with his bug and worm neighbors, happy and secure. Best of all, Shelby realizes he can learn about the insides of flowers by reading books with Grandpa Gray, without risking a dangerous flight, or being confronted with a hungry spider threatening to eat him! All of Shelby's adventures are carefully imagined in fabulous illustrations with little touches of humor and expression on the faces of each creature, bird, or insect, no matter how small. Another theme for "Shelby the Flying Snail" might be something like "Size doesn't limit the snail," or the equivalent. This is a delightful and artistically presented learning fable for young readers.

And What If I Won't?
Maureen Fergus, author
Qin Leng, illustrator
Owlkids Books Inc.
1700 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771470650, $16.95,

"And What If I Won't?" is a jolly look at free range, creative noncompliance in the everyday scheme of things, particularly involving parent and (willful) child interactions. A mother asks her son politely to put his dirty plate in the sink. Intrigued, the boy asks what would happen if he didn't? This is a several step question, with ever increasing proposed misdeeds and noncompliances, growing ever more fantastic and naughty. However the mother continues answering calmly what would happen with equally appropriate consequences to each step of noncompliance. The tone is hilarious, the story ends in a circle tried and true structure, and the form and content are immensely reassuring and creative, with a tinge of the macabre for added fun. The far-out but everyday-appearing illustrations add splashes of color to the fun and the message. Testing four and five year olds will love this story, as will their moms.

Dog and Mouse
Michelle Nelson-Schmidt, author/illustrator
Kane Miller
c/o EDC Publishing
4901 Morena Blvd., Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781610673143, $6.99 (pb), $12.99 (hc),

"Dog and Mouse" is a true tale about friendship. Simply by expressively illustrated with an eager yellow dog and a humble gray mouse, "Dog and Mouse" tells the tale of a search that lasts a year and a day, Dog's search for a very best friend, loyal and true from beginning to end. Mouse gladly helps Dog with his search through all four seasons and days, looking high and low for that very special friend, just because she loved to help. It is not until one day when Mouse did not show up that Dog realized just how much he valued her friendship and help. When she finally arrives, merely late, Dog finally realizes she is the faithful friend for which he had searched: "Sometimes the thing that you just cannot see is right in front of you, clear as can be." The lilting verse and spare, bright illustrations allow the warm core truth in this story to shine.

Baby Lady's Scary Night: A Ladybug Story
Oksana & Marina Davydov, authors
Ginger Triplett, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road - 515. Parker, CO 80134
9781432799656, $15.95,

"Baby Lady's Scary Night" is a charming bedtime story about children's experiences of fear of the dark. Written in reassuring rhyme and expressively illustrated with shadowy pictures of Baby Lady's imagined night creatures, "Baby Lady's Scary Night" is brightly lit with hopeful stars and the kind face and shining eyes of Mama Lady, who comes faithfully stumbling awake when Baby Lady cries because of her fear or strange shapes in the darkness of her room. Mama lady reassures Baby Lady: "Baby Lady, please don't fret, I'm right next door, did you forget? The things you see at night, my dear, are just disguised by your own fear." She then points out that each fearful object has a humble explanation: the spider is a hairball, the snake is a pair of discarded tights, and the white ghost is just s curtain blowing in the wind. She finishes her lullaby verse with a sweet, tactile reassurance: "Feel my heartbeat, touch your chest. Remember, Mama loves you best." "Baby Lady's Scary Night" is a wonderful bedtime story ritual experience that will warm and reassure young children's bedtime fears.

It's a Seashell Day
Dianne Ochiltree, author
Elliot Kreloff, illustrator
Blue Apple Books
515 Valley Street, Suite 180, Maplewood NJ 07040
SoCal Public Relations
9781609055301, $12.99, 32pp,

The sunny-as-a-summer-sky rhymes comprising "It's a Seashell Day" chronicle a mother and son sharing a day of sand digging, seashell collecting, and seashore exploring. Kids will learn about a variety of shells and count along with the boy as he totals up his collection, puts his shells away, and then drifts off into a well-earned bedtime. A spread of seashell facts caps off the story. The perfect picturebook for children ages 3 to 7, "It's a Seashell Day" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Bulldozer's Big Day
Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781481400978 $17.99

Bulldozer's Big Day presents lively illustrations on the nature of the popular movie Cars and tells of Bulldozer, who rolls around the construction site realizing that it's only another busy day for the other trucks. But this day is his birthday - and even though every other vehicle is preoccupied, he believes something special should await him. A fun story of construction and a little bulldozer that could invites youngsters to enjoy a special kind of birthday - no matter how busy the other vehicles get!

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Jeanne Willis and Joel Stewart's The Cow Tripped over the Moon: A Nursery Rhyme Emergency starts up where most fairy tale rhymes leave off: thus youngsters get to learn what happens after Dumpty's great fall, the weasel goes 'pop', and more. The Storyland Ambulance Crew is always on hand to save the day - and assure that 'happily ever after' is the real ending to potentially dangerous situations. Kids already familiar with the classic rhymes will especially appreciate this take-off. Charlotte Voake's Melissa's Octopus and Other Unsuitable Pets (9780763674816, $16.99) tells of three individuals who have very unsuitable pets - and by that definition it's meant octopuses, warthogs, and elephants: animals too large, too messy, or too lively to make good pets. With a rollicking focus on why these exotics are unsuitable as pets, this fun story answers kids' questions of what makes a good pet and what doesn't.

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Cece Bell's I Yam A Donkey! (9780544087200, $16.99) is all about the results of bad grammar and tells of a funny donkey who can't pronounce his words correctly - and, thus, changes their meaning. A feisty English-speaking yam decides to correct him and they go back and forth until a successful lesson leads to unexpected results. The story is hilarious and especially lends to read-aloud. Eve Bunting and Sergio Ruzzier's Whose Shoe? (9780544302105, $16.99) presents a lost shoe and asks about its ownership. A mouse decides to find out who lost it, but the animals he interviews don't fit the bill - or the shoe. Rudimentary reading skills will lend to a fine picture book presentation.

Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Judy Young's Sleepy Snoozy Cozy Coozy (9781585369089, $15.99) features gorgeous color illustrations by Michael Glenn Monroe and explores the bedtime habits of animals using rhymes and questions designed to encourage parent/child read-aloud interactions. It is a lovely bedtime read, spiced by the full-page, full color, realistic wildlife drawings that have gained Monroe recognition even up to the White House level. Stephanie Shaw works with illustrator Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen in The Legend of the Beaver's Tail (9781585368983, $16.99), a fable that tells of Beaver, who once was a chubby guy with a tail that wasn't wide or flat, but thick with fur. Beaver, too vain about his lovely appendage, spends too much time bragging and too much time grooming his tail, and eventually he drives away all his friends - until his pride and joy is flattened in an accident and his friends respond with kindness. Both are top recommendations for any discriminating picture book collection and for parents seeking realistic drawings and nature-oriented tales.

Lemniscaat USA

Four gorgeous new picture books are top recommendations for any seeking superior productions, and should be in any American picture book collection. Marlies Verhelst and Linda Faas's The Feast for the King (978193595446, $17.95) tells of Tarantula, who has created a lovely cake for King Lion's birthday party. Unfortunately, its centerpiece - the best piece of meat - has vanished. Who is to blame? Tarantula must inspect all the jungle animals' mouths to find the culprit in this whimsical story of thievery in high places. Mirjam Enzerink and Peter-Paul Rauwerda's The Day the Sun Did Not Rise and Shine (9781935954439, $17.95) tells of one sleepy owl who makes a wrong turn on his way to bed and finds that the world has changed. Can he help the sun rise and banish perpetual darkness? A lovely, gentle story emerges. Ingrid & Dieter Schubert's There Is a Crocodile Under My Bed! (9781935954088, $17.95) tells what happens when a little girl uncovers a crocodile under her bed. Unafraid, the girl teaches him tricks and enjoys her new playmate; a satisfying change from monster-under-the-bed picture books that focus on overcoming fear. Here, it's all about accepting unexpected invitations without trepidation. Ellie van Lieshout and Erik van Os work with Mies van Hout in Uh-Oh Octopus! (9781935954392, $17.95), which depicts a satisfied octopus who loves his home and life and has no complaints. When a large tail blocks his home, he must consult his friends on what to do: once more, with unexpected results. Is the sea really filled with opportunities, and does change bring them closer? All are excellent, positive approaches to life which will delight and entertain young readers with messages about adaptation, change, and good attitudes.

Owlkids Books
1700 - 4th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710

Two gorgeous picture book presentations are recommended picks for ages 4-7, and pair award-winning authors and illustrators with formats and subjects that lend to fun leisure reads. Maureen Fergus and Qin Leng's And What If I Won't (9781771470650, $17.95) imagines the consequences of increasingly bad behaviors, and begins with a boy's response to his mother's simple request. As Benny keeps on asking 'what if?' questions, his mother joins in on the fun of providing increasingly outrageous answers in this hilarious story. Carrie Snyder's The Candy Conspiracy: A Tale of Sweet Victory (9781771470506, $17.95) is illustrated by Claudia Davila and tells of Candyville, a place where children are ruled by the Juicy Jelly Worm, a tyrant who forces kids to work. Worst of all, they never get to sample the candy they work with - so when they decide on a plot to sweeten the pot, fun results make for an inviting, delightful story line. Both are top recommendations!

Pajama Press Inc.
181 Carlaw Ave., Suite 207
Toronto, Ontario M4M 2S1 Canada

Two lovely new Pajama Press picture books are picks for kids looking for vivid, colorful and fun reads. Stephanie McLellan and Dean Griffiths's Tweezle into Everything (9781927485477, $14.95) tells of a precocious monster who believes he's a big boy and who gets into trouble whenever he tries to help. Tweezle has big ideas, but not enough experience - and the monster family (first introduced in Hoogie in the Middle) has no idea what to do with him. Can they redirect his good intentions into something less destructive? Gorgeous illustrations lend to a fun story. Victoria Allenby and Tara Anderson's Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That (9781927485521, $15.95) tells of Nat, who has a talent for sleeping all day long, on, under, and in many pieces of furniture and household items. But when night falls, Nat is alert and on the prowl. Can a kitten keep up with Nat? An endearing, gentle story of cats at play and evolving friendships emerges. Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson's A Brush Full of Colour: the World of Ted Harrison (9781927485637, $19.95) pairs full-color images of Harrison's bright Yukon settings with a picture book story of his growing up in a mining town in northeast England, discussing how he became known as one of Canada's most famous artists. Good reading skills are required to appreciate this story of Harrison's artistic evolution, which will inspire many a young artist. All are wonderful leisure reading choices.

The Bilingual Shelf

Perla Garcia and the Mystery of La Llorona, "The Weeping Woman"
Rodolfo Alvarado, author
Peter Nowakowski, illustrator
Caballito Children's Books
c/o Caballo Press of Ann Arbor
24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive, P.O. Box 415, Ann Arbor, MI 48106
9780984041886 $6.95 PB, $4.95 Kindle,

"Perla Garcia and the Mystery of La Llorona" is Case #1 of the Perla Garcia bilingual chapter mysteries, written for readers age 6 and up. Perla is an Hispanic girl detective with imagination and determination, unafraid of tackling scary mysteries. Along with her faithful canine companion, Valiente, she is determined to tackle the misterio of La Llorona, which would have scared away a less brave and determined girl. Integrated into the exciting narrative are many Spanish words and expressions, the meaning of which is either implicit or briefly explained. Decorated with mysterious black and white illustrations (with just a tinge of the macabre), "Perla Garcia and the Mystery of La Llorona" proceeds at an exciting pace to a happy solution, with a twist at the ending. Appealing to her readers, Perla Garcia invites fans and young readers to begin solving and sharing mysteries of their own like La Llorona, an exciting challenge that will prove irresistible. We look forward to more Case numbers of the Perla Garcia mystery series, a bilingual approach with a charismatic young Hispanic detective heroine.

My Tata's Remedies / Los remedios de mi tata
Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford, author
Antonio Castro Lopez, illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781935955894, $ 8.95, pb, $17.95 hb,

"My Tata's Remedies (Los remedios de mi tata)" is a beautiful illustrated bilingual story of the loving, traditional use of special home remedies from healing plants that grow in the American Southwest. Each pair of pages presents a lovely color portrait illustration facing two paragraphs of narrative, first in English, with Spanish expressions, and second in Spanish. A boy asks his Tata to teach him healing remedies that he makes from herbs, flowers, teas and plants. His Tata gladly complies, beginning with a ritual gesture of a healing clap and saying, "Sana, sana colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanaras manana. ("I'll kiss it and rub it and make it go away, now that you're better, you can go out and play.") Different plants offer different remedies, and each is shown in flower illustrations to the side of the page of text. Special healing plants include Arnica Montana, Creosote bush, Cat's Claw, Aloe Vera, Elderberry, Century Plant/Maguey, Eucalyptus leaves, Mullein flowers, Mexican Thistle, Linden tea, whole Cloves, Porter's Lovage, Rue, Aztec Marigold and Hummingbird Flowers. Each remedy is prescribed for a specific complaint, and the preparation and treatment are also explained. Another component of healing is provided in the hot chocolate and empanadas of Nana, the boy's grandmother. A wonderful day of learning about healing plants and their applications is passed, with fun and joy mixed in with discomfort or pain. Each page brings new ways to approach minor illnesses and problems using traditional, natural remedies from the Southwest, Hispanic traditions. "My Tata's Remedies" is a beautiful bicultural book presenting healing herb lore laced with love in an Hispanic tradition, with roots in the American Southwest. A Glossary of Medicinal Herbs and Remedies is included at the end, with colored illustrations of flowers and plants and descriptions in both English and Spanish of their properties and uses.

Beautiful Moon / Bella Luna
Dawn Jeffers, author
Bonnie Leick, illustrator
Raven Tree Press
c/o Delta Systems Co., Inc.
1400 Miller Parkway, McHenry, IL 60050
9781932748871, $16.95,

Beautifully written poetic narratives in English and Spanish explore the dream wish of a girl who asks the enchanting moon to give her a day without end. A wind and a nod and the girl experiences her wish, but is there a reason to retreat from never ending day? Young readers are invited to explore the limits of wishing and imagining in this beautiful book, with each page of text written in both Spanish and English. A girl discovers that there is a place for day and play and work, and also another important place for night, and moonlight, peace and rest. "Beautiful Moon/ Bella Luna" is winner of the Mom's Choice Awards Honoring
Excellence, a stunning bedtime story for all children.

The Holiday Shelf

List for Santa, List for Life
T. E. Corner, author
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
Bohlsen Group
9781483413914, $15.99,

"List for Santa, List for Life!" is a Christmas story about a girl's Christmas wish list that transformed into a list of goals and dreams and hopes for others. Kylie is an ordinary girl who is excited about Santa and Christmas and opening her presents. But her list for Santa stretches to include wishes for others and goals for herself, as well as gifts for herself. Kylie is astonished to realize the importance of making a list, especially a list of her very own goals and dreams. "List for Santa, List for Life" is an unusually inspiring Christmas story that challenges children to look beyond themselves for their wishes, goals and dreams. It ends with two blank pages ready for young readers to fill with their own lists for life.

The Native American Shelf

Red Cloud's War
Paul Goble, author/illustrator
Wisdom Tales
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786380, $16.95,

"Red Cloud's War: Brave Eagle's Account of the Fetterman Fight, December 21, 1866" is a brilliant fictional 'remembering' of Brave Eagle's account of the Fetterman Fight along the Bozeman Trail, December 21, 1866. Marking the 150th anniversary of Red Cloud's War, this stunning work is illuminated by the fantastic, digitally enhanced artwork of Paul Goble, portraying in mind-stunning detail the layout of two opposed forces, the federation of Red Cloud's force of combined Oglala Sioux, Cheyenne, and other plains Indian tribes and the Union Cavalry soldiers under the command of young Captain Fetterman. Using more primitive weapons and very different styles of fighting, the tribes under Red Cloud's leadership were able to utterly defeat the force of nearly 80 soldiers under Captain Fetterman. Amidst the bloody action, many brave accounts are remembered of action on both sides. The conditions and events that led up to this action are also presented, to give solid context for the Fetterman Fight. The narrative of Brave Eagle is moving, authentic, and enhanced by both the fantastic display of painstakingly detailed illustrations and the judicious use of edited extracts of recorded, known speeches by Red Cloud and other important figures. "Red Cloud's War" ends with a soliloquy by Brave Eagle at the foot of the present day monument to that day of bravery, battle, and bloodshed: "I have sent my heart back over the years; the fight has come back as from the dead, but now it has been retold, it will go back to the dead to remain forever. There is no more to say." Additional conclusion remarks are quoted from Doane Robinson, (State Historian of South Dakota_ and an ongoing note of the upshot of Red Cloud's struggle to close and keep closed the Bozeman Trail. A useful list of references on the Fetterman Fight is included, with the introductory statement: "Television, films, and popular novels have given a mainly wrong impression of the Plains Indians, and because the more reliable books may not be so well known to the general reader, this list is included." "Red Cloud's War" is a not- to- be- missed experience of immersion into an authentic retelling of the Fetterman Fight.

The Audiobook Shelf

Nancy Drew Diaries: The Clue at Black Creek Farm
Carolyn Keene, author
Read by Jorjeana Marie
Oasis Audio
289 Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781613757307 $9.99

Nancy Drew Diaries: The Clue at Black Creek Farm is the unabridged audiobook performance of the ninth book in the Nancy Drew Diaries series, which re-imagines the classic young adult mystery heroine in the present day. In The Clue at Black Creek Farm, Nancy meets community farmers Sam and Abby Heyworth. A sudden outbreak of deadly bacteria has been traced back to their farm; the Heyworths swear that someone is purposefully contaminating the food they grow. Why would anyone want to sabotage a family farm? Nancy is determined to find out, in this investigative adventure that both new and old generations of Nancy Drew fans will enjoy!

The Music CD Shelf

The Gap in the Fence
Leslie Vogel
Privately Published
c/o To Market Kids
4136 Lamson Avenue, Spring Hill, FL 34608

The second solo album by family-friendly performer Leslie Vogel, The Gap in the Fence is a wonderful collection of songs drawing upon Irish and English musical traditions. Listeners of all ages will enjoy this musical tour of cherished memories, as well as clever lyrics accompanied by instruments ranging from traditional guitar, drums, piano, and violin to the more flamboyant banjo, trombone, pennywhistle, accordion, bones, doumbec, and djembe. The Gap In the Fence is a superior choice for family car trips! The tracks are "The Gap in the Fence", "Fahey's and Miller's", "Blueberries", "Go Get the Frying Pan", "The Band Keeps on Playing", "The Fountain", "Wildflower Meadow", "Come Dance the Night Away", "One Meatball", "McLenon's Reel/Money in Both Pockets/Trip to Sligo", "Where Did You Come From?", and "Rocking the Planets: Saturn".

We All Shine
Play Date
Fun Fun Records
PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030-5585
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
$14.99 CD / $8.99 MP3

Award-wining children's indie music performers Play Date (husband-and-wife team Greg Attonito, vocalist and singer/songwriter Shanti Wintergate) present We All Shine, their latest album filled with an eclectic variety of tracks. Garage rock, dancehall, pop, and synth flourish vibrantly in this delightful collection - which has a strong recurring theme about the importance of fruits and vegetables in a healthy, balanced diet! The tracks are "Steve the Fox", "L-O-V-E You", "Fruits & Vegetables (Bananas)", "Colors", "Hug Hug Hug", "Fruits & Vegetables (Broccoli)", "Ninja Pajamas (feat. P.O.S.)", "Cardboard Box", "Fruits & Vegetables (Apples)", "Ruin Your Appetite", "We All Shine", "Fruits & Vegetables (Carrots)", "The Owl Song", and "Goodnight".

All Kinds of You and Me
Alastair Moock & Friends
Moockshake Music
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas (publicity)
$14.99 CD / $11.99 digital

Grammy-nominated music artist Alastair Moock presents All Kinds of You and Me, a music album of original songs for kids and families. A strong, positive social message about celebrating individuality, tolerance, and evolving cultural acceptance of diverse gender roles distinguishes these songs. An especially notable example is "I Am Malala", a musical tribute to Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who was shot and nearly killed because she advocated that girls should get an education. Upbeat and forward-thinking, All Kinds of You and Me is highly recommended. The tracks are "It Takes All Kinds" (3:02), "People" with Rani Arbo (2:18), "You Might Be a Girl" with Samirah Evans (2:52), "The Bright Side of Me" (4:12), "Every Day's a Holiday" (3:18), "My Life (is a Lot Like Yours)" with Jennifer Kimball (4:25), "I Am Malala" with Debbie Lan (3:03), "Kenya Imagine?" with Jennifer Kimball (4:56), "Everything's Upside-Down But Me" (4:46), "All in a Day" with Anand Nayak (3:47), "You and Me" (2:53), and "This Land is Your Land" (4:57).

Deep Woods Revival
Red Yarn
Red Yarn Productions
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas
$12.00 CD / $9.00 digital

The second family-friendly album by Red Yarn, Deep Woods Revival explores elements of American folk music canon, bluegrass, blues, and rock. Classic favorites reinvented and adventurous original compositions fill this celebration of the joy of discovery, the wonders of nature, and the most crucial lessons of life, death, and growing up. Highly recommended for all ages! The tracks are "Bile Them Cabbage", "Skip to My Lou", "Jig Along Home", "Old Molly Hare", "Mole in the Ground", "Groundhog", "Ain't Gonna Rain", "Buckeye Jim", "Deep Woods Revival", "Animal Fair", "Crosseyed Gopher", "Grizzly Bear", "Sourwood Mountain", and "The Bullfrog".

All Around This World: Africa
Privately Published
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas (publicity)
$TBA CD / $18.00 digital

Part of the "All Around This World" series of educational, family-friendly, culturally diverse music CDs by authentic artists, All Around This World: Africa is a 2-CD album featuring songs recorded by musicians hailing from ten African nations. One CD showcases music of West, Central and South Africa; the other showcases music from North and East Africa. Each CD is also available digitally for $9.00, or $18.00 or both. A joyous way to experience and learn about other nations and peoples, All Around This World: Africa is highly recommended! The tracks for the "West, Central and South Africa" CD are "We Are Happy - West Africa", "Kikalama", "Bale Ile", "Do Do Ki Do", "Carnaval", "Ghana Guinea Mali", "Awa Yombei", "Diarra Loro Lora", "Opposite People", "Ha Ha Ha", "Sai", "Senzenina", "He Motsoala", "Thinantsha", "Wai Bamba", "Goodbye - West Africa", and "Kora". The tracks for the "North and East Africa" CD are "We Are Happy - East Africa", "A Hiyeni", "Arsomo Baba", "Yo Yo Kilili", "Atas Atas", "Ya Rayah", "Nanu Nanu Ney", "Kavuli Tutu", "Keenene", "Kipenzi Changu", "Nsa We", "Tulo Tulo", "Cibula", "Tsy Akeo", and "Goodbye - East Africa".

Cuddlebug Parade
Michal Karmi
Sweetly Spun Music
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
$12.00 CD / $8.99 MP3

Ideal for little ones ages 0-4, Cuddlebug Parade is a NAPPA award-winning music CD filled with a sense of curiosity, exploration, and wonder. Michal "Peanut" Karmi's singing is easy on the ears, and filled with delight. Ukelele, string bass, trombone, trumpet, clarinet and a smattering of percussion enrich these gentle, cheerful songs. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Intro", "hey Mister Mushroom", "Little Bear Blue", "Six Little Pickles", "Ooey Gooey Mud", "In The Pot", "Oh! What A Beautiful Day", "Stompin' At The Market", "Chew And Swallow (English, Spanish, Hebrew)", "How Are You Feeling?", "Pizzapants", "My Outfit's Not Complete!", "The Big Bug Band", "Abuelita (English, Spanish)", "To The Stars", "Good Night Sweet Pea", "Where's Your Belly Button? (English, Hebrew)", and "I Love You Anyhow" (English, Hebrew).

On the Bright Side
The Bazillions
c/o Waldmania!
$11.99 CD / $9.99 download

Award-winning sleeper hit children's band "The Bazillions" present their third album, On the Bright Side, a lively collection of story-based, guitar-enriched songs blending equal measures of educational content and fun for fun's sake. Ideal for young people ages 3-10, the songs are so enthusiastically catchy that parents and teachers just might find themselves humming to the beat or laughing the lyrics! Highly recommended, especially for children's classroom and library collections. The tracks are "Super Hero Rock Band", "Family Tree", "Use a Contraction", "ed (Been There, Done That)", "My Teacher's an Alien", "Personification", "Water Cycle", "Outside", "Q and U", "Bad Haircut", "Favorite Book", and "Sons and Daughters". 37 min.

The Multimedia Shelf

ASL Tales: Annie's Tails
Stacy Anne Murphy, author
Gina Pierleoni, illustrator
American Sign Language performance by Crystal Schwartz
ASL Tales
P.O. Box 69, Dublin, NH 03444
9780981813929, $15.95,

"Annie's Tails" is a book and DVD (with an American Sign Language performance by Crystal Schwartz) with soft, visually textured brightly colored illustrations show Annie and her tails in dimensions that lift off the pages. Annie is a black skinned girl who loves tails and wants one for every day for her birthday. Her parents give her fox tail for Monday, a bunny tail for Tuesday, a peacock tail for Wednesday, a wiggly dog tail for Thursday, and a cat tail for Friday. Each day Annie wore her tail and became as much like the animal whose tail she wore as she could. This unusual experience inspires her classmates to begin wearing tails to school as well! "Annie's Tails" is a creative multisensory experience that appeals to the imagination of all children. "Annie's Tails" is also available in the following languages: Cantonese, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, Bosnian and Arabic

Hot Air
Recess Monkey
Privately Published
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas
$15.00 CD / $8.99 MP3

The twelfth studio album of wildly popular, family-friendly band Recess Monkey, Hot Air is available both digitally and as a two-disc combo pack; one disc is a CD showcasing 14 new and original songs, while the other is animated storytelling DVD that weaves the songs together into a magical journey. A strong sense of discovery, wonder, and cheer imbues these delightful songs, enriching the fantastic qualities of their overall tale. Listeners of all ages will thoroughly enjoy Hot Air! The tracks are "Hot Air Prelude" (1:04), "Lighter Than Air" (2:15), "Paper Airplane" (2:49), "Penguinese" (2:37), "Head in the Clouds" (2:53), "Thunder and Lightning" (2:12), "Hand Me Downs" (2:13), "My Balloon" (2:09), "First Things First!" (2:34), "Carry a Tune" (2:40), "Get Your Ticket" (2:43), "What Do You See?" (3:52), "Morning Sun" (2:09), "Oh Lando" (3:20), and "Hot Air" (2:46).

The First Flute / Whowhoahyayzo Tohkohya
David Bouchard, author
Don Oelze, artist
Jan Michael Looking Wolf, native flutist
Red Deer Press
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, L3R 4T8 Canada
9780889954755, $22.95,

"The First Flute" is a reverent retelling of a Dakota traditional story about the importance of names, and the value of music. Presented in both English and Dakota, each poignant page is accompanied by a stunning realistic painting of majestic, stirring portraits of figures from a Plains Peoples time past. Along with the original source of the story (Standing Elk, late uncle of Jan Michael Looking Wolf), the manner in which the story is to be told is carefully prescribed in the beginning page, titled Protocol. It is the story of Dancing Raven, a young man born "with a hand drum for a heart and the song of the Meadow Lark as his Spirit Guardian." Dancing Raven loved to dance, more than learning to hunt, track, or fight. Although Dancing Raven was known as the best dancer among all the Nations, his request for the hand of a young woman he loved was refused by her father, who said: "What can you offer my daughter?...Dancing will not feed my daughter, nor will it feed my grandchildren." This caused Dancing Raven, in deep sadness, to seek a sacred vision for a path to find love. Through careful prayer and listening, Dancing Raven was granted a great gift from Grandfather Cedar, a magic bough which became the flute and played the song of love. Dancing Raven returned to his beloved's family and village and played his flute song for her. All the people realized what a sacred and valuable gift had been given for the first time in the music of this sacred flute. Never before had a wedding been so blessed and acclaimed among the People. The 40 page volume of "The First Flute" is meant to be enjoyed and savored on its own, or with the music and spoken word in English, French, and Dakota in the accompanying CD performed by Jan Michael Looking Wolf, multiple-award-winning native flutist. Together the book and audio CD create an immersion experience of Native story telling.

The Poetry Shelf

Read, Recite, and Write List Poems
JoAnn Early Macken, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778719656, $27.60,

From The Poet's Workshop Series comes this excellent defining guide to writing list poems for young readers. Appealing to a middle grade or students age 8 and up, "Read, Write, and Recite List Poems" is a direct, descriptive manual that begins with differentiating between prose, drama, and poetry, after giving three examples and a working definition of a list poem. The first chapter proceeds immediately to defining the task of writing your own list poem, offering four sets of information or technical resources with accompanying symbols titled Signature Links, Poetry Pointers, Thinking Aloud, and Now It's Your Turn. This is followed with the Five Steps to Writing, a handy, succinct breakdown for poets and other writers, from pre-writing, drafting, revising and editing, to publishing. Contrasting colored sidebars and media frames help highlight special tips and extra pieces of valuable information. Chapter 2 is titled Writing a Definition List Poem, followed by Chapter 3 (Writing a Rhyming List Poem), Chapter 4 (Writing a Biopoem), Chapter 5 (Writing an Acrostic), Chapter 6 (Writing a Riddle Poem), Chapter 7 (Revising Your List Poem), and Chapter 8 (Performing a Poem). Additional sections on Learning More, with relevant books and web sites, and a Glossary provide the full content for this extremely stimulating creative poetry workbook. Kids will enjoy following these suggestions to begin creating, polishing, and performing their own list poems for educational and recreational purposes. Additional titles (also by JoAnn Early Macken) in this highly stimulating Poet's Workshop Series include the following titles and more: "Read, Recite, and Write Haiku" (9780778719649, $27.60), "Read, Recite, and Write Concrete Poems" (9780778719632, $27.60), and "Read, Recite and Write Cinquains" (9780778719625, $27.60).

The Christian Shelf

The Story of King Jesus
Ben Irwin, author
Nick Lee, illustrator
David C. Cook
c/o Cook Communications
4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
9781434707727, $14.99,

"The Story of King Jesus" is a children's condensation of the leading stories of the Bible, with an emphasis on the importance of doing only good to others as God wills, and as Jesus did. Vivid, expressive but nonthreatening illustrations ring the human element of Biblical stories to life for children. "The Story of King Jesus" is brief but full, written by a man of faith. It can be read to a child in a single sitting, with care. This makes it valuable as a constant youthful Bible companion, to help guide a child in the path of Jesus, which is the author's intent. It makes a wonderful children's confirmation gift.

The Berenstain Bears: The Biggest Brag
Mike Berenstain, author/illustrator
Zonderkidz / Berenstain Publishing Inc.
3900 Sparks Drive S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49546
9780310734796, $3.99,

In "The Biggest Brag" the lovable Berenstain bears tackle the issue of competitive bragging, especially between siblings. Brother and Sister Bear are both very talented, hard working cubs whose parents are proud of them. However, they sometimes get too involved in bragging and competing with each other, despite the cautions of Mama and Papa Bear who quote St. Paul in Corinthians to them about love: "It (love) does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." But the cubs continue their one-up-man-ship game, even in an activity as quietly uplifting as looking at clouds and imagining images in the fluffy white forms. Finally, as their cloud competition becomes ludicrous, Grizzly Gramps Bear intervenes and reminds them that they are behaving foolishly, contrary to the Biblical verse that say "Where there is strife, there is pride." Then he calmly invites Brother and Sister Bear to his house for milk and cookies and a game of checkers, which they gladly accept, after one more reminder that they are not to brag. Following this colorfully illustrated sibling story is a page of Activities and Questions from Brother and Sister Bear for readers and their families to discuss and participate in. The Living Lights series of Christian illustrated juvenile fiction with the Berenstain Bears is an ongoing source of solid Christian teaching for young readers.

Shield of God
Nikki DeLaCruz, author/illustrator
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
Bohlsen Group
9781452520308, $16.95,

"Shield of God" is a Bible based inspirational book for young readers that teaches the power of the word of God can be a shield against evil. Several well known New Testament stories of Jesus' teachings are retold with an interpretation of using the shield of God's Word to vanquish evil. A war between good and evil is portrayed as a dialogue between Jesus and Satan. Original crayon artworks decorate each page with inspirational symbols in this exciting spiritual guide based on the word of God and holy teachings of Jesus. The author ends with the exciting idea that "Jesus Is Our Hero!" A Bible surrounded with fireworks sparkles and a great Amen end this inspirational book for young Christian readers.

The Buddhism Shelf

Born for Greatness
Alice Ray, author
Monica Robers, illustrator
Research Press
2612 North Mattis Ave., Champaign, IL 61822
9780878226887 $16.95

Born for Greatness: Me, You, and the Dalai Lama is a children's picturebook that draws parallels between the life of the Dalai Lama, the widely respected Buddhist world leader, and a (fictional) three-legged service dog named Bouncy. At first the two might seem very different. But Both The Dalai Lama and Bouncy misbehaved when they were very young, both had to learn how to understand the world better in order to help others, were destined for greatness - the calling to serve others to the best of one's ability. Heartwarming color illustrations add just the right touch to this gentle story, created for children of all religious backgrounds to enjoy and learn from.

The Islamic Shelf

Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
Reem Faruqi, author
Lea Lyon, illustrator
Tilbury House Publishers
12 Starr St., Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884484318, $16.95,

"Lailah's Lunchbox" is a beautiful story that explains the Muslim month of fasting known as Ramadan. Lailah is a Muslim girl who had moved to the United States, to the state of Georgia, from Abu Dhabi, continents away in the Middle East. This year was a first year Lailah will be old enough to observe the fast. So her lunchbox will be given a month's rest. Early in the morning she ate the special sunrise meal, then she left for school with a note for the teacher from her mom. Although at first she was happy and excited about her first fasting experience, she became more anxious as she realized none of her friends at Peachtree Elementary School would be fasting with her, or would understand why she was fasting. Escaping from the lunchroom to the library, Lailah found a friend to confide in, Mrs. Carman, the librarian. She understood Lailah's dilemma in sharing the note about her special fast for Ramadan, and encouraged Lailah to write down her thoughts to explain to her teacher, Mrs. Penworth. Later, Mrs. Penworth wrote a note back to Lailah, full of understanding and praise for her special fast and Ramadan poem. She invited Lailah to share her poem with the class, invited her to make new friends, and allowed her to continue going to the library at lunch time for the month of fasting. At the end of the day, Lailah gave thanks as she joined her family for Iftar, the sunset meal shared during the month of Ramadan. Sensitive water color paintings illustrated the many feelings of joy, anticipation, and doubt that are experienced by Lailah in this wonderful story of Ramadan.

The Self-Help Shelf

Sami the Magic Bear: No To Bullying!
Murielle Bourdon, author/illustrator
Murielle Bourdon auteur (publisher)
815, Moquin Street, Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada J3Y 6Y3
9782924526019, $10.99,

Second volume in the Sami series, "Sami the Magic Bear: No To Bullying!" is a story of the magical teddy bear's intervention in the life of Thomas, a nine year old boy who is experiencing ridicule and bullying. Thomas is a shy, insecure child who is picked on by his schoolmates. Sometimes it seems he has no friends. Still, Thomas is a brilliant student, first in French and mathematics. Because his teacher likes him, some other boys gang up on him to pick on him later. Victor, the lead bully, pushes him down, hurts him, and takes his red cap, a treasured birthday present. Thomas is sad, angry, and hurt. Still he cannot explain his hurt face and lost cap to his mother later when she questions him. But because it is his birthday, his grandparents are visiting, and they give him a very special gift. It is Sami, the magic teddy bear. Although Thomas can't believe it at first, he finally confides in Sami when the bear talks to him after hearing him crying about his problems being bullied. Sami listens and encourages Thomas to take action and talk to the Dean at school about what has been happening. A very creative suggestion for a solution by Sami is accepted by Mr. Scott, the Dean. He tells Victor, the leader of the bullies, that he needs to change his habits, and that he is to begin coaching Thomas in basketball and Thomas will begin coaching Victor in French and mathematics. This amazing idea works wonderfully well and the two boys become friends! Exciting color illustrations show Sami, Victor and Thomas in this inviting story about a way to turn bullying around. Kids will get the message of caring concern and creative problem solving in "Sami the Magic Bear: No To Bullying!"

Fast Freddy
Lee Ann Mancini, author
Dan Sharp, illustrator
GLM Publishing
P.O. Box 812633, Boca Raton, Florida 33481
9780578140766, $6.99,

Part of the innovative Adventures of the Sea Kids Series, "Fast Freddy" tackles the issue of being different, as the new kid, Freddy Fish experiences in his first day at the sea school. Purple Freddy is ridiculed for having the head of a shark and the body of an octopus by his classmates at recess. Miss Mermaid, the teacher, notices Freddy's unhappiness and lectures her students about making fun of someone who is different. Everyone in the class is encouraged to identify with feeling different in some way. Fellow fish students begin to accept Freddy and invite him to join their Catfish Cruisers swim team. In an exciting series of races with the Barracudas, Fast Freddy takes on the race challenge with champion Marcus, of the Barracudas. A hard race ensues, but Fast Freddy perseveres and finally wins with cheers from all his teammates and schoolmates. After the celebration at the Bubble Trouble Pizza Parlor, Fast Freddy remembers to thank Jesus for making him different and special, and for all his new friends. "Fast Freddy" is embellished with fabulous, flashy, bright rainbow pictures of Freddy and all the other fish and sea creatures, a special attraction that children will love and respond to. A quotation from Isaiah 43.5 precedes the story of Fast Freddy: "Do Not be afraid for I am with you." Another title from this award winning series that is highly recommended is "What a Bragger! (9780986360404, $6.99)," by Lee Ann Mancini, also illustrated by Dan Sharp.

Just Breathe
Annette Rivlin-Gutman, author
Melissa Bailey, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781511507875, $12.94,

Written by a certified yoga instructor/writer with a deep commitment to enabling children to lead healthy lives, "Just Breathe" is a simply written, warmly illustrated manual that teaches children a way to use deep breathing to calm and center themselves when feeling sad, stressed or anxious. Written in calming verse, one couplet per illustrated page, "Just Breathe" follows a young boy through a day and night of changes and challenges, both positive and negative. Through every moment, he is able to calm, focus and center himself by just breathing, as his parents have taught him. "Just Breathe" is essentially excellent meditation exercises made plain and accessible for children age 6 and up.

Growing Up Without My Daddy
Angel Adley, author
Susan Shorter, illustrator
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781480812611, $20.45 HC,

"Growing Up Without My Daddy" is a self help book written "to remind little girls that they are love, loved, and lovable, even in the absence of their daddy." Expressive, colored illustrations show a girl who is growing up with a loving mother and other family, but with an absent father. Pain and longing are communicated simply in everyday activities like looking for lost toys, bedtime, and going to school, all without the presence of the father, but with a loving mother. "Growing Up Without My Daddy" stresses the importance of accepting help and security from the church and a belief in a Heavenly Father. "Growing Up Without My Daddy" encourages girls to love themselves and accept love from others, and to work to forgive the absent father. The girl portrayed is a member of a multi-racial family, and important images convey a sense of acceptance of differences, self acceptance, and love. "Growing Up Without My Daddy" ends with a series of titled blank pages encouraging the reader to draw a self portrait, and contemplate the idea of God as a true, universal father. Always underlining and supporting the awareness of being loved, lovable, and love, "Growing Up Without Daddy" is an excellent Christian book to help daughters who feel deserted by their fathers to heal their wounds and emerge as whole, happy young women.

The Fiction Shelf

Jessica Khoury
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781595147653 $17.99

Kalahari narrates what happens when an educational safari goes awry, standing five teens in the Kahalari Desert without a guide. Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, is charged with keeping them all alive and leading them to safety; but she's struggling with emotional issues as well s physical challenges of survival - and then it really gets tough, when an attack on the group threatens their lives further. Vivid, fast-paced action and an unusual, engrossing story of desert survival and mystery keep this fast-paced and a fine leisure read for older teens.

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness
Tricia Springstubb
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763658571 $14.99

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness is illustrated by Eliza Wheeler and tells of Cody, who is eagerly facing the first day of summer vacation. But her family is body and it looks like the summer will be wasted - until she bumps into a boy, makes a new friend, and experiences many unexpected adventures. The winning story will prove a fun, entertaining leisure read as advanced elementary-level readers follow Cody's newfound friendship an the adventures it brings.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer
Kelly Jones
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385755528 $16.99

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer may sound like nonfiction, but it's filled with drama, is written entirely in letters, to-do lists and quizzes, blends in some black-and-white drawings, and is the story of a girl's amazing adventure with some unusual chickens after a dead uncle's farm places a family in a different world. Sophie details the actions of these unusual poultry players in a whimsical saga which will appeal to ages 8-12.

Finding Audrey
Sophie Kinsella
Delacorte Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780553536515, $18.99, 304pp,

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey's daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother's gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she's never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family. "Finding Audrey" is a blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery the will entertain young readers ages 12 to 16. Highly recommended for school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Finding Audrey" is also available in a paperback edition (9780857534590, $11.75, 288pp), a Kindle edition ($9.78), and in an unabridged audio book format (Random House, 9781846577659, $12.98,

Contract City
Mark Falkin
Bancroft Press
PO Box 65360, Baltimore, MD 21209
9781610881449, $22.95, 280pp,

The year is 2021 and the money is still green. The fully privatized city of Tulsa, OK, is home to Sara Paige Christie, a teenage girl with her heart set on a film career in L.A. and her camera trained on the graffiti-covered walls of the city's outskirts. In pursuit of a documentary subject that might propel her from college hopeful to film school admittee at UCLA, Sara has focused her ambitions on a singularly ubiquitous tag WH2RR?? From the facades of storefronts to the walls of public restrooms, the tag is appearing everywhere. Its stark all-capital letters and demanding question marks have captured Sara's imagination, even as the private security personnel of FreeForceTulsa (FFT) scramble to eliminate the marks with power washers, gray-overs, and full censorship, stripping even photographs of the tags from the locally accessible Internet. Sara has no doubt that there is meaning hidden in plain sight, and she sets off on a mission to find the person behind the mysterious tags while balancing an already full life: her final exams, her wild best friend, a physical fitness test that threatens her GPA, and a family that seems almost oblivious to what's happening just down the street from their suburban home. With the exception, perhaps, of her father. A retired Marine turned FFT investigator, Sara's dad has been on the trail of the graffiti artist for his own professional reasons. And if he knows what s going on, he's not telling Sara. And they're not the only ones on the hunt. Tensions are rising in town and beyond. Between the machinations of the city's home-grown megachurch, Chosen Hill, and the movements of a growing camp of homeless citizens parked just beyond Tulsa's comfort and security, life in Tulsa is about to become very interesting, and Sara just might be in the right place to catch it all on film. Impressively well written and a compellingly entertaining read from beginning to end, "Contract City" is an inherently fascinating dystopian novel that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Contract City" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).

A Nest Of Snakes
Allen Johnson Jr.
Premium Press America
6581 Jocelyn Hollow road, Nashville, TN 37205-3950
9781933725383, $14.99, 190pp,

"A Nest Of Snakes" is the third book in Allen Johnson Jr.'s outstanding Blackwater series for young readers and continues the adventures of Rad and Johnny and their world of the Blackwater Swamp. Now the boys and their community must deal with the violence and racism in an era of Jim Crow and enforced segregation. A cleverly constructed novel of considerable and dramatic suspense, "A Nest Of Snakes" will prove a compelling read and should be a part of school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers grades 5 through 8. Indeed, school and community librarians would be well advised to obtain the entire three volumes that comprise Allen Johnson Jr.'s exceptionally well written Blackwater series.

The Dead House
Allen Johnson Jr.
Premium Press America
6581 Jocelyn Hollow road, Nashville, TN 37205-3950
9781933725345, $14.99, 224pp,

"The Dead House" is the second book in the Blackwater series by Allen Johnson Jr. It's the story of Rad Fox, a boy who lives with his widowed mother on the Blackwater River, and Dr. Jordan Mason, a family friend who is visiting, discovering an evil presence at the old Granger Hhouse. The twins, Will and Johnny, come to visit Linc, and Johnny gets deathly ill. In this multi-layered mystery, once again Linc shows the value of his skills in the Blackwater Swamp. A deftly crafted entertainment enhanced with the occasional inclusion of black-and-white illustrations, "The Dead House" is a compelling novel that will hold the rapt attention of young readers from beginning to end, "The Dead House" is strongly recommended for school and community library fiction collections for children ages 8 to 15.

My Brother's Story
Allen Johnson Jr.
Premium Press America
6581 Jocelyn Hollow road, Nashville, TN 37205-3950
9781933725376, $14.99, 191pp,

The first of the Blackwater series by Allen Johnson Jr., "My Brother's Story" is the story of identical twins Johnny and Will who are orphaned and separated as toddlers. Johnny is adopted by an abusive aunt in Tennessee. Will is adopted by a loving, affluent couple who live in the country near Birmingham, Alabama. When he grows into boyhood, Johnny runs away and is sheltered by Linc, a reclusive black man who lives deep in the Blackwater Swamp. An engaging and entertaining novel for young readers, "My Brother's Story" is enhanced with occasional black-wand-white illustrations and is an ideal read for middle-grade readers or anyone that can enjoy a boyish spirit and adventure. Very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "My Brother's Story" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Mary Christner Borntrager
Herald Press
1251 Virginia Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
9780836135930, $7.99, 165pp,

Amish teenager Reuben Weaver wants to do the right thing; it's just that when he and his friends are together, the temptation to follow their mischievous schemes and try to prove himself can be strong. Reuben treasures his Amish way of life and tries to use good sense, but he tests his parents patience with fights in the schoolyard and dares involving stilts and barbed wire. When Reuben gets his dream horse, Princess, he is the envy of all his friends. When Reuben agrees to a dare to prove how fast his horse can run, tragedy erupts. Pride may go before a fall, but can any good happen when you pick yourself up? The fourth volume in Mary Christner Borntrager's outstanding series 'Little People: An Amish Family Saga', this deftly crafted novel is especially recommended for school and community library collections serving young readers ages 9 to 17. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Reuben" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).

Ink And Ashes
Valynne E. Maetani
Tu Books
c/o Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781620142110, $19.95, 368pp,

Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away ten years ago. But on the anniversary of his death, she finds a letter from her deceased father to her stepfather. Before now, Claire never had a reason to believe they even knew each other. Struggling to understand why her parents kept this surprising history hidden, Claire combs through anything that might give her information about her father -- until she discovers that he was a member of the yakuza, a Japanese organized crime syndicate. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed. The race to outrun her father's legacy reveals secrets of his past that cast ominous shadows, threatening Claire, her friends and family, her newfound love, and ultimately her life. "Ink and Ashes" is a fascinating debut novel packed with romance, intrigue, and heart-stopping action. Particularly recommended for young readers ages 12 to 18, "Ink And Ashes" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Ink And Ashes" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).

A Pig Called Heather
Harry Oulton
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823432905 $16.95

Isla and Heather are best friend: much like Charlotte's Web, one is a farmer's daughter and the other is a pig. Heather has seen her pig pet through many changes; but when a storm forces her father to sell his farm and move them to London, Heather has lost her best friend. In a pig version of Lassie-Come-Home, Heather decides to go to London on the lam and find her beloved friend. Think Babe, Charlotte's Web and Lassie while enjoying this warm leisure read recommended for ages 8-12.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Andrea Cheng's The Year of the Three Sisters (9780544244273, $16.99) is illustrated by Patrice Barton and tells of twelve-year-old Anna Wang and her friend, who decide to invite a pen pal in China to Cincinnati. The new school year offers many challenges as a result in this fourth book in the Anna Wang series, which presents a lively story of international friendships and challenges. Kids will find the story inviting and the illustrations warm and fun. Kate Klise's 43 Old Cemetery Road: The Loch Ness Punster (9780544313378, $15.99) is Book Seven in the series and offers up a pun-filled adventure replete with wordplay and action. Twelve-year-old Seymour has inherited as castle in Loch Ness, Scotland: the perfect place for a summer vacation house. But secrets are being kept and pets, library patrons, and grumpy people, as well as ghosts, are involved. Letters, drawings, instant messages and ghosts tell a lively, unique tale in this fun survey.

The Math Shelf

Fibonacci Zoo
Tom Robinson, author
Christina Wald, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
9781628555330, $17.95,

"Fibonacci Zoo" is an unusual zoo picture book that effortlessly introduces the math concept of number patterns in sequences. The Fibonacci Zoo illustrates the Fibonacci sequence, which begins with the number 1, then continues with each number following being the sum of the two previous numbers. Thus, when Eli makes notes of his visit to the Fibonacci Zoo, he finds the exhibits consist of.... 1 alligator, 1 bison, 2 camels, 3 dolphins, 5 elephants, 8 flamingos, 13 gorillas, 21 hippos... and one more exhibit of possibly chameleons that had how many chameleons? (The reader is invited to guess what 13 + 21 = in chameleons, to complete the Fibonacci sequence). Like other Arbordale teaching books, "Fibonacci Zoo" ends with four additional pages of creative learning games, including Number Patterns, Fibonacci Numbers in Nature, Golden Spiral, and Animal Matching, plus intriguing sidebars of information titled Fibonacci and you. Joyous colored illustrations make the fantastic Fibonacci Zoo a reality for kids to bounce through, making learning about math fun and easy, for grades K-3.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

40 Fun Fables
Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss, authors (Beauty and the Beast storytellers)
Baird Hoffmeier, illustrator
Story Cove
c/o August House
3500 Piedmont Road, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30305
9781939160775, $8.95,

"40 Fun Fables: Tales That Trick, Tickle, and Teach" is a cleverly illustrated collection of traditional teaching tales, many of them attributed to Aesop, presented in short chapters for an audience of mainly third and fourth grade readers, with some selections for younger grades K-2. The famous husband and wife Beauty and the Beast story teller team presents each tale in a condensed, complete narrative, with witty black and white illustrations of story characters and a pithy moral written in bold and italics at the end of the fable. Fables are an ancient entertainment and teaching genre, popular with young audiences. "40 Fun Fables" is divided into four sections: Starter Stories, Next Step Stories, Challenging Stories, and Most Challenging Stories. In addition to some familiar favorites there are additional traditional fables from other countries, such as Two Stubborn Goats (from Cameroon), The Happy Man with Holes in His Bucket (India), and the Oyster and the Heron (China). In addition to the 40 fables, there are suggested activities, story sources, and a discussion of How This Book Can Help Children Meet Common Core State Standards, as well as further suggestions in Common Core State Standards Addressed By Reading, Discussing, Retelling, and Making Up Fables. "40 Fun Fables: Tales That Trick, Tickle, and Teach" is an excellent teaching resource and a fun experience to introduce to children in elementary grades.

When the Animals Saved Earth: An Eco-Fable
Retold by Alexis York Lumbard
Illustrated by Demi
Wisdom Tales Press
PO Box 2682, Bloomington, IN 47402
9781937786373 $16.95

When the Animals Saved Earth: An Eco-Fable is the retelling of a 1,000 year old fable about animals. On an island far away, animals live in peace until the day humans arrive upon the shores. The humans are destructive, putting animals to work, and polluting the land. Only a pure-hearted boy named Adam can her the animals' suffering cries. Adam escapes into the jungle and aids the remaining free animals in their endeavor to appeal to the spirit king Bersaf, and return peace to the land. In his wisdom, Bersaf concludes that humans must learn to empathize with the animals. Stylized color artwork adds a fairy-tale touch to this soulful story. Highly recommended!

The Autism Shelf

'Growing Up' series
Davida Hartan
Illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
P.O. Box 960, Herndon, VA 20172-0960
$16.95 each

Two new 'Growing Up' books are top picks for parents with kids on the autism spectrum, and cover what boys and girls need to know. The Growing Up Guide for Girls (9781849055741) covers puberty and adolescence from periods to bras and acne. It provides tips on friendships, online safety, and offers a foundation of information for girls ages 9-14. The Growing Up Book for Boys (9781849055758) explains puberty for boys and adopts the same approach: candid discussions of health, psychological and self-protection that everyone needs to know. From clothes and body to emotions, each book excels in clear facts and approaches autism spectrum children will readily understand.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue
Robert Burleigh, author
Wendell Minor, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580895583 $17.95

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue is a children's picturebook based on a true-life incident in 2005, when a humpback whale became lodged in a network of strong ropes attached to crab traps. Fishermen spotted the whale and radioed the news to a local marine mammal center, which sent a group of rescuers and whale experts to free it. Sweeping, beautiful paintings illustrate this incredible, heartwarming story. The final few pages of Trapped! A Whale's Rescue have a handful of fascinating facts about whales, and a list of resources and websites for further information. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library picturebook collections.

Doyli to the Rescue
Cathleen Burnham
Crickhollow Books
3147 S. Pennsylvania Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53207
9781933987224 $18.95

Doyli to the Rescue: Saving Baby Monkeys in the Amazon is a true-life picturebook about a young girl and her family who care for orphaned young monkeys, raising them until they are strong enough to live by themselves in the wild. Doyli lives in the Amazon rainforest; she considers herself fortunate that she can take a dugout canoe to school, when some children live in such remote areas that there are no teachers available to educate them. Every morning, her chores include sweeping away anthills, and feeding baby monkeys. The babies are sometimes brought by other local people who discover them orphaned, but unfortunately, some babies are deliberately orphaned by cruel poachers who try to sell them as pets. Monkeys do not make good pets, require special diets that most humans cannot provide, and often die in captivity; trade in monkeys as pets is illegal, yet that does not prevent some criminals from trying. When Doyli encounters an monkey for sale illegally, she tells her father, who in turn tells the police; the poacher is arrested, and the family has a new baby monkey to care for until it can be set free! Full-color photography of Doyli, her family, and baby monkeys in need fills this wonderful true story, which serves as a shining inspiration to readers of all ages that there is something they can do to protect wildlife and the environment. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library children's collections.

Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog
Carol Chiodo Fleischman, author
Stephanie Ford, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455619276 $16.99

Based on the author's real-life experience as a blind person who relies on the help of a faithful guide dog when out and about on her own, Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog is a children's picturebook about the relationship between a blind woman and her loyal, helpful, and trained canine friend. Nadine is playful and mischievous around the house, but when it's time to go outside, she faithfully leads her owner and warns of impending danger. An upbeat, slice-of-life story about enjoying life to the fullest, Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog is especially recommended for public and grade school library picturebook collections.

Ellie's Story
W. Bruce Cameron
TOR Starscape
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765374691 $16.99

Ellie's Story provides a heart-warming story adapted for young reader from the characters introduced in the original novel, and tells of Ellie, who has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog as a puppy. She finds people and saves them - but her real job goes beyond the physical effort of search and rescue and delves into emotional connections between pets and people. Ellie's Story thus offers a lively survey of a dog's meaning to her human friends, all couched in a lovely story directed to young dog-loving readers at the middle to high school grade levels.

Super Shark Encyclopedia
DK Publishing, Inc.
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9781465435842, $24.99, 208pp,

Profusely and beautifully illustrated on every page, "Super Shark Encyclopedia" showcases the secrets of the oceans by exploring a remarkable array of 80 sharks and other sea creatures ranging from Barrel Shrimp to Blue Sharks, Starfish to Bat Fish, and Hammerhead Sharks to Sandtiger Sharks, plus surfing penguins, deep-sea monsters, rays, eels and more. Packed with jaw-dropping facts about animal behavior and anatomy, new x-ray artworks utilize cross-sections and strip layers away to show key anatomical features in detail. "Super Shark Encyclopedia" wonderfully showcases record-breaking animals, such as the deadliest predators and the most venomous creatures, and explains how and why their bodies work the way they do. With its combination of spectacular photography and clear yet authoritative text, "Super Shark Encyclopedia" is the ultimate visual guide to the oceans' most incredible stories making it an ideal and enduringly popular addition to school and community library collections for young readers ages 8 to 12 and students in grades 3 to 7.

Inhabit Media Inc.
146A Orchard View Blvd.. Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4R1C3

Mia Pelletier's A Children's Guide to Arctic Birds (9781927095676, $16.95) covers twelve bird species in the North American Arctic and represents the first volume in a set. Youngsters with rudimentary reading skills will learn about twelve selected birds through fun facts about where birds nest in the Arctic and how they raise their young. It's a fine introduction for any young birder who also wants to know more about Arctic wildlife. Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley's The Walrus Who Escaped (9781927095683, $16.95) relates a gentle fable of a walrus who once had lovely, spiraled tusks rather than modern straight ones. Raven's jealousy over Walrus's clam-hunting skills lead to a dangerous spell that changes Walrus forever. The result is a lovely story for any child interested in fables.

The African-American Shelf

Chasing Freedom
Nikki Grimes
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780439793384 $18.99

Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony Inspired by Historical Facts contrasts the lives of the two women in a picture book story that considers what each would recall as they fought for civil rights in different eras and for different purposes. A work of historical fiction based on fact, Chasing Freedom surveys the lives of these two American women, pairing lovely drawings by Michele Wood with a contrasting examination of Tubman and Anthony. Good reading skills are required for this consideration, as well as the ability to understand the comparative experience and the different historical approaches. The contrast will intrigue many an adult reader as well.

Books in Series

Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to a Friend
Reverend Ana Howard Binkow and David A. Cutting
Thunderbolt Publishing
c/o We Do Listen Foundation
9780991077748 $15.00

The fifteenth book in the entertaining and educational Howard B. Wigglebottom picturebook series intended for young people ages 4 to 7, Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to a Friend is designed to help children understand what to expect and how to help friends and loved ones who have experienced a loss. Howard B. Wigglebottom (a friendly anthropomorphic rabbit) wants to help his friend Kiki feel better when he realizes she is miserable about the death of her beloved puppy. But helping a grieving friend is not always simple or easy. When Kiki tells Howard she wants to have some quiet time in her room, "Howard and his friends listened to her wishes and left her alone. They made a nice card telling her they loved and missed her and were ready to help and to play whenever she was." The final two pages address young readers directly with straight talk about death, strong emotions such as sadness or anger, and things one can do to feel better. "Does everyone die? Yes, everyone will die. It's one of life's rules. We feel very sad when it happens and we will have many bad days, but with time we all will feel better." Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to a Friend is a choice pick for public and school library picturebook collections, and the entire series is highly recommended; each Howard B. Wigglebottom picturebook is a stand-alone story with and important, embedded lesson.

Remember When...
Dana Lehman, author
Judy Lehman, illustrator
Lehman Publishing
9780979268649 $16.95

Part of the "Adventures at Walnut Grove" series featuring anthropomorphic animals, Remember When... is a children's picturebook about coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. (There are deliberately no references to religion, so that Remember When... can speak to children of all faiths). In the story, Bucky feels sad because his beloved pet frog, Whopper, went missing months ago; Bucky and his friends could not find Whopper no matter how hard they searched. Bucky's friend Sammy wants to help Bucky cheer up; this is no easy task, but together they engage in ice fishing and shared memories. Gentle and compassionate, with a possible twist ending (as one of Bucky's friends remembers that frogs hibernate for the winter!), Remember When is a heartwarming treasure. Also highly recommended are the previous books in the series, including "Adventures at Walnute Grove: A Lesson about Teasing", "I DOUBLE Dare You!", and "I CAN DO IT".

How and Why Do People Copy Animals?
Bobbie Kalman, author and editor in chief
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778714651, $22.60,

"How and Why Do People Copy Animals?" is an exciting look at similarities and references in patterns of behavior and appearance of animals and human beings. Written as a part of the All About Animals Close-Up series for elementary to middle grade students, "How and Why Do People Copy Animals?" uses clear narrative, spotlighted sidebars, and bright colored photographs to explore many interesting ways in which human beings copy animal appearance and behavior. Exciting chapters on copying movements, copying coverings, animal communities, and even a chapter on animals copying people present examples of mimicry across species and back again. The "What do you think?" sidebar feature asks relevant questions that young readers may ponder, given the wealth of informative detail relating to human/animal mimicry. An interesting example is the following comment in the chapter on Spider Silk and Webs: "If you could use spider silk, list three ways you would use it. Draw some spiderweb designs or a costume or decorations." Even more interesting questions are posed in the chapter, Following the Group, such as: "How and when do you follow the crowd? How can following the crowd sometimes hurt others?" "How and Why Do People Copy Animals?" is a fun and challenging book that encourages kids to learn more about the wonderful world of biomimicry. A list of resources including books and websites on related subjects is included at the end, along with a glossary of words to know. "All About Animals Close-Up" is an excellent educational series that encourages young readers to consider animal/human similarities and differences, to be creative, and to learn more. Also highly recommended are the following titles included in the outstanding "All About Animals Close-Up" juvenile series: "How and What Do Animals Learn?" (9780778714620, $22.60), "How and Why Do Animals Adapt?" (9780778714637, $22.60), "Why and Where Are Animals Endangered?" (9780778714699, $22.60), "How and Why Do Animals Communicate?" (9780778714644, $22.60), and "What Kinds of Coverings Do Animals Have?" (97807787146680, $22.60) -- all by author Bobbie Kalman.

Warren the Honking Cat Saves the Day
Virginia K. White, author
Rosauro Ugang, illustrator
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781633061514, $10.99,

"Warren the Honking Cat Saves the Day" is a charming story about a little Siamese kitten who did not look or sound like his brothers and sisters. Warren's four brothers and sisters were all Siamese seal point white kittens with musical mews, while Warren was more of a sandy colored Siamese, with fluffy fur, and instead of mewing, Warren honked. Bernice and Bernard, both his parents did not know what to think of him, but when Warren was feeling different, left out, and lonely, his mother cheered him by telling him that things would improve, and he would be very important someday. That day came on the first spring outing to the back yard for all the kittens and their parents. There were many wonderful sights, smells, and textures, but Warren loved trying to chase butterflies and birds. All of a sudden Warren spied a striped creature who seemed strange and threatening to his family. Warren did what he did best: He honked loudly to warn all his family that potential danger was near. Warren honked so loud that all the kittens and his parents were able to run back into the house, after which he turned and followed them. Then Warren found out from his parents that the striped visitor was a skunk, and could have caused a great deal of trouble by spreading a very bad smell if he got near the kittens. Warren was honored as a hero for using his very special gift to warn his family. Charming detailed color illustrations show Warren and all his family as they grow and explore their surroundings. Warren's is a story of the wonderful miracle of acceptances of differences or "Be true to yourself." Children will want to read more of the Warren adventures, which include a free audio download with each book.

Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go to School
Ylleya Fields, author
Michael LaDuca, illustrator
Belle Publishing
5247 Wilson Mills Rd. #324, Cleveland, OH 44143
9780578113043, $15.95,

From the enchanting Princess Cupcake Jones series comes this new title in which immovable stubbornness meets implacable determination, and melts with charm in the experience. Princess Cupcake Jones is getting ready for her first day of school and she is determined not to cooperate with this scary experience. What if she doesn't like school? What if no one likes her? What if her tutu's not cool? Trying a list of obstacles behaviors does not work, Cupake's mom the Queen is sure that school will not be as scary as Cupcake fears. Finally Cupcake exhausts stall tactics and emerges into her first encounter with school, only to find that it isn't scary at all! It is even fun! A new friend named Violet greets her wearing another tut similar to hers. And her teacher, Ms. Bass, seems very nice. Finally, "Cupcake turned to the Queen and hugged her goodbye. And whispered in her ear, "I'll give school a try." The narrative in playful verse and the upbeat, expressive colorful illustrations tell Cupcake's story in joyous, memorable detail. Children ages 4-8 will love "Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go to School," and will want to read the rest of the series.

Allison Lassieur, author
Amicus High Interest
P.O. Box 1329, Mankato, MN 56002
9781607534952, $19.95,

Lavishly illustrated with delicious color photographs, "Fruits" is a volume from the level K-3 Amicus High Interest series, Where Does Our Food Come From. Narrative is simple, informative, and compact, with starred Q and A sidebars to highlight information of interest about fruits. Five brief sections cover the definition of fruits, where fruits grow, fruits that travel, fruits around the world, and healthy fruits as part of a daily diet. A Glossary, Read More, and Websites section add enriched sources of information on fruits. A highly appealing, well packaged nonfiction resource book, "Fruits" offers kids ages 5 and up quick, accurate information about the role of fruits in our diet and in the world. Additional titles in this outstanding series that are also highly recommended for young readers K-3 include the following: "Grains" (9781607534976, $19.95), by Allison Lassieur, and "Meats and Proteins" (9781607534983, $19.95), by Allison Lassieur.

Kids Top 10 Pet Cats
Dana Meachen Rau, author
Enslow Publishers
40 Industrial Road, Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766066304, $25.27,

"Kids Top 10 Pet Cats" discusses characteristics, appearances, typical behavior, and special needs of 10 top breeds of pet cats for kids. These include the Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Maine Coon, Manx, Mixed Breed, Persian, Ragdoll, Russian Blue, Siamese, and Tonkinese. Beautiful color photographs of each breed are featured, along with helpful suggestions for choosing and caring for a healthy cat, plus helping your cat adjust to its new home. Regular daily care such as providing appropriate food and water, brushing as needed, and veterinary care as needed are recommended. A glossary of terms and bibliography for further reading is included. "Kids Top 10 Pet Cats" is an excellent pet reference resource for children K-3, from the series Top 10 Pets for Kids. Another volume in this impressive series that is also highly recommended is "Kids Top 10 Pet Birds" (9780766066250, $25.27), by Wendy Mead.

The Return
Ridley K. Pearson
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781423184317 $17.99

The Return is Book One of the 'Disney Lands' series and provides an introduction to the 'Kingdom Keepers' which tells of five young Disney workers who graduate from high school and find themselves off to college, until something goes awry at a Disney convention. A mysterious message threatens their friendships and brings with it both a riddle and danger, while other Keeper members states away find themselves facing a school in an old hotel and a guarded secret. As fast as puzzles are solved, new ones emerge; and as chaos and connections are made, the group finds themselves facing far more than life's usual transitions. The Return sets the stage for a vivid Disney series and is a fine leisure choice for young adults.

The Maze Runner Collector's Edition: The Scorch Trials
James Dashner
Delacorte Press
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780553538243 $19.99

The Maze Runner Collector's Edition: The Scorch Trials provides the first two books in Dashner's series under one cover, and includes bonus content in a collector's editions designed to preface the second film in the franchise which will release this September. This edition includes the "Maze Runner Files", originally published as an eBook short, and a fan sticker, among other things. Bonus content will provide prior, avid fans with plenty of new material, while new readers won't be left behind.

'Tadpoles Fairytale Twists' series
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
$26.60 each

Laura North and Scoular Anderson's The Pied Piper and the Wrong Song (9780778719342) provides a fun 32-page story of a piper whose Hamlin hire just can't go right. As everything but the rats follows his tune, he faces all kinds of unusual challenges to his art. Daniel Postgate's Rumpled Stilton Skin (9780778719304) tells of a funny little man and a young cheese shop owner who needs his help. The only trouble is: his help comes with a hefty price tag. Karen Wallace and Andy Rowland's Snow White Sees the Light (9780778719311) tells of what happens when she's sick of the dwarves bossing her around. She decides to play a trick on them - but the poisoned apple backfires. Adam and Charlotte Guillain and Phil Littler's The Three Frilly Goats Fluff (9780778719359) tells of three playful goats who love getting dressed up: the only problem is, they need new clothes at the mall - and that's across a bridge guarded by a troll. How they pass their challenge makes for a fun saga. Evelyn Foster and Claudia Venturini's The Elves and the Trendy Shoes (9780778719328) tells of elves who run the shoe store in Fairytale land - but nobody wants their old boring shoes. When they awake one morning to a shop packed with trendy shoes, it's a mystery! Maureen Haselhurst and Kelly Kennedy's The Emperor's New Uniform (9780778719335) presents soccer star Enrico, known as "the Emperor" of his team, who receives an unusual gift of a special soccer uniform only the best players can see. And who would that be? Laura North and Chris Jevans' Hansel and Gretel and the Green Witch (9780778719281) tells of two children who consume a lot of junk food and sit around. Their father sends them into the woods for exercise, but when they stumble on a hungry but health-conscious witch, an unusual trouble begins. Karyn Gorman and Laura Ellen Anderson's Rapunzel and the Prince of Pop (9780778719298) tells of a Prince of Pop who is enchanted by Rapunzel's singing in the first. But can he find a way to liberate her from her tower so she can be a star? And what if she has other plans? These are vivid, colorful and fun chapter book re-tellings of classic fairy tales, perfect for readers familiar with the original, who want something zany.

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

Four 'Uncovering the Past' titles ($31.32 each) provide grades 5-6 with nearly fifty pages each of historical facts which include an index, glossary, bibliography, internet references and more. The purpose with this series is to analyze primary sources in the course of considering historical events, and each book provides solid analysis and insights young researchers will find suitable for reports. Civil Rights (9780778715498) surveys struggles for civil liberties, The Holocaust (9780778715481) examines evidence from the early 1900s of racism and nationalism in Germany that preceded the Holocaust, The Underground Railroad (9780778715511) examines posters, engravings, photos and first-person accounts to consider efforts that supported slavery or called for its abolition, and Immigration (9780778715504) examines the roots of immigration in the U.S. and Canada from 1820 to modern times, explaining the roots of migrations and the experiences of different immigrant groups. All are solid and inviting references that present source material in a lively, readable manner. The 'All About Animals Close Up' series by Bobbie Kalman provides a lively set of examinations, each book holding 24 pages that includes a simple glossary, index of terms, and large-sized contemporary color photos illustrating their topics. How and Why Do Animals Communicate? (9780778714644), Why and Where Are Animals Endangered? (9780778714699), What Kinds of Coverings Do Animals Have? (9780778714668), How and Why Do Animals Adapt? (9780778714637), How and What Do Animals Learn? (9780778714620) and How and Why Do People Copy Animals? (9780778714651) each excel in attractive formats, easy readers, and bright, contemporary illustrations designed to invite leisure readers as well as young learners. The 'Insects Close Up' series by Megan Kopp also provides 24 pages each of details, with each book focusing on insect behavior and natural history. How Do Insects Work Together? (9780778719724), What Do Insects Eat? (9780778719731), How Do Insects Move? (9780778719700), and How Do Insects Protect Themselves? (9780778719717) excel in lively, contemporary images that invite youngsters to explore.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Michael Northrup's Tombquest Book of the Dead (9780545723381, $12.99) tells of a boy who has a terminal condition and a mother determined to save him - by locating the Lost Spells from the Egyptian Book of the Dead to save her son. The only problem is: when she uses the spells, five Death Walkers also come to life, unleashing evil from dead mummies and threatening New York City with scorpions. Plus, Alex's mother has vanished. Suddenly Alex has more on his mind than survival in this engrossing saga of supernatural forces and survival. Eliot Schrefer's Spirit Animals Book 6: Rise and Fall (9780545522489, $12.99) tells of a broken alliance and a team scattered and devastated by betrayal. The youngsters and their spirit animal guides have struggled for much; but the world is still facing terrible danger. Can they succeed in preventing its destruction against its latest threat, despite their disjointed band? Marie Lu takes over with Spirit Animals Book 7: The Evertree (9780545535212, $12.99) tells of formerly-ordinary kids who discover they have spirit animals and amazing gifts - plus a responsibility that involves a journey and a struggle. In this book that journey is about to end as they confront their enemy one last time and face the world's demise. Prior fans of the series, especially, will find this latest adventure riveting. Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. The Stupid Stinkbugs from Saturn (9780345631211, $15.99) tells of Ricky's family, which is headed for a boring luncheon until Ricky discovers an annoying cousin turns into an invasion of extraterrestrial stinkbugs. There's an advance plan to kidnap a native - and Ricky's young cousin Lucy is the victim. It's up to Ricky and his robot to save the day, once more. Whether read as a stand-alone or in conjunction with the series, this is a wonderfully zany and fun story that kids will love.

Donovan's Bookshelf

The Day No One Was Angry
Toon Tellegen and Marc Boutavant
Gecko Press
Myrick Marketing & Media
9781927271575, $19.95,

The Day No One Was Angry requires good reading skills or parental help and packs in twelve fun, philosophical tales by a storyteller who tackles anger in all its forms.

One doesn't expect some of these tales to be hilarious - but many are. One doesn't expect an arguing elephant or a hyrax who begs the sun not to set - but strange things happen to all the animals, even as a lobster salesman tries to peddle anger.

Why would the animals worry if anger vanished? A fine set of stories explores the value of anger and its place in the world, offering youngsters and their adult readers food for thought and discussion, making for a pointed leisure read and educational tool alike.

Orangutan Houdini
Laurel Neme
Bunker Hill Publishing
285 River Road, Piermont New Hampshire 03779
9781593731533, $17.95,

Orangutan Houdini is based on the true story of a zoo orangutan who defied confinement, and is a recommended picture book read for kids in grades 2-4 who have basic reading skills in place. Kathie Kelleher's engaging, colorful line drawings compliment the story of Fu Manchu, an adult male orangutan who always outsmarts his zookeeper friend by escaping his enclosure to spend time with his animal friends.

Jerry is determined to discover how Fu Manchu is escaping; but this requires special surveillance - and even then, he can't figure out how the beast picks locks with no tools!

The warm, fun story embraces Fu's perspective as well as that of his keeper and will keep kids reading - and wondering - to the end.

The Flying Mouse
Charlotte Otten
Bunker Hill Publishing
285 River Road, Piermont New Hampshire 03779
9781593731526, $17.95,

The Flying Mouse will engage young animal-loving readers in grades 2-4 with its gentle story of a fisherman who ties a tackle in the semblance of a mouse, only to find out that the mouse comes to life nightly and scurries through the house, bragging to other mice that he can fly.

His failure leads to an early retirement from fame in the tackle box, until spring arrives and the fisherman heads out with his gear - including the unused, creatively-made little mouse tackle.

Finally, the mouse learns to fly - but not before adventure is achieved. There are very, very few fly fishing stories geared to young picture book readers. The Flying Mouse thus stands alone and apart for two reasons: its subject, and the fact that a whimsical twist on a theme will keep many an adult read-aloud reader engrossed, as well.

I Do Not Want This On My Plate
Jennifer Bisignano
Laredo Publishing Company
465 Westview Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631
9781564924070, $14.95,

Jennifer Bisignano has taught early childhood education for many years: perhaps this is why I Do Not Want This On My Plate is so engrossing, providing a warm picture book story of a girl who has a spoonful of green beans placed on her lunch plate for the first time, and who rejects them without even sampling them.

Even though her caregiver has produced a delicious lunch, Sally can't adjust to the idea that she must try new things; nor is she dutiful about rules (she "almost always" follows directions.)

The hilarious perceptions of a girl horrified by her lunch's single oddity will delight adults and kids alike ("I started at the wet green beans as its slimy water began to attack my other food. I saved the bread and the nuggets by bringing them safely to my napkin but the applesauce was in trouble.") while Gaston Hauviller's fun color drawings capture the dilemma.

Young picture book readers with rudimentary reading skills will find I Do Not Want This On My Plate an appealing, award-winning story (the 2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Picture Books 6 & Older, Honorable Mention; and the 2015 Florida Book Festival Children's books, Honorable Mention.)

HippoDuck Trouble at the Airport
Sandra Magura
Laredo Publishing Company
465 Westview Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631
9781564924124, $16.95,

HippoDuck Trouble at the Airport tells of an unusual stuffed animal: a hippo and a duck who have been sewn together so that neither will be lost. The only problem is: Hippo loves adventure while shy Duck just wants to stay home: these two very different creatures should not share a destiny!

One morning HippoDuck and their friend travel to the airport, where airport security leads best friend Charlotte to become lost. Will HippoDuck find her before the plane takes off? Their search for their lost friend unites them in an unexpected way with a shared goal.

Bright color photos by Gaston Hauviller bring this adventure to life.

Wide Mouth Frog's Big Birthday
Jerry Barrett
Sunnycrest Press
2206 E. Hazel Dell Rd., Springfield, IL 62703
9780988394865, $15.99,

Wide Mouth Frog's Big Birthday is written and illustrated by Jerry Barrett and adds to the other 'Wide Mouth Frog' titles in the series; but stands well alone for newcomers, as well.

Here Wide Mouth Frog is throwing a big 5th birthday party for himself, and he invites all his animal friends to come help him celebrate, issuing whimsical invitations and arranging games.
Mother Frog's only stipulation is that Wide Mouth Frog and his friends stay on their side of the pond - but the inevitable happens amidst the fun, and danger is encountered. Can Wide Mouth Frog come up with a creative solution before he or his friends become someone's dinner?

The fanciful story is packed with colorful illustrations and fun easy adventure reading that animal-loving kids will appreciate, while the creative problem-solving portion is well done and appealing. It should also be noted that Wide Mouth Frog's Big Birthday was the 2015 Indie Award Winner in the Children's Book category (0-6 years) - with good reason!

She Yelled. I Screamed... She Pulled My Hair!
Tracy Leshay
1920 Hillhurst Avenue #330, Los Angeles, CA 90027
9780989998833, $19.95,

She Yelled. I Screamed... She Pulled My Hair! pairs black and white 35mm photos with a picture book story about sharing, and achieves the unusual goal of creating a book suitable for young readers and adult coffee table display alike.

She Yelled. I Screamed's format and presentation are unique and compelling: each page holds a large-sized black and white image while a rollicking rhyme builds the story of a summer hot spell that leads siblings to angry encounters and much angst.

From a tossed teapot and a tempest between sisters to huge problems caused by the word 'share', characters come to life in a tale narrated by big sister Phoebe. With its back-and-forth summer exploits punctuated by confrontation and then love, there's nothing quite like this on the market, which makes for a refreshingly different pick suitable for read-alouds and adult enjoyment, as well.

The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities
Vicki Marquez
The Rootlets, LLC, Publisher
9780990721604, $12.99,

The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities offers a fun, 37-page easy reader adventure illustrated with art by Jeremy Russnak and revolving around the vegetable 'Rootlets' people, who discover they have magical super powers called 'Rootabilities'. The Rootlets live on an enchanted planet called Planet Planted in a village called Veggie Ville, where everyone sports colorful vegetable hair.

The kids' interest in visiting Planet Earth is only exceeded by their discovery of their special powers - but then, the real question lies in how to uncover and use these abilities.

Good reading skills from grades 2-4 will lend to an enjoyment of an early reading adventure that only goes to show that veggies are anything but boring and predictable - at least, on Planet Planted! During the course of the story, kids learn about plant-based food through funny characters and veggie-themed action that teaches about vegetables through an innovative, fun fantasy that grades 2-3 and their parents will appreciate.

Spare Parts
Marshall Highet
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781480808621, $12.99,

Spare Parts is a teen sci-fi dystopian novel of climate change and its ultimate society-changing results, which creates different social stratas in the A-ones and the Underdwellers, who live in a huge Dome with artificially regulated weather. When A-one free thinker Tesla defies all that she's learned about the Underdwellers in her life through an encounter with Lynx, who puts himself in danger to defend his good friend, she finds herself on a journey that places the Dome and its society in danger.

One might wonder at how one young girl develops the ability to question the status quo in such a strictly regulated world, or how she stumbles upon events that lead her to question her perceptions of her status and the world that gives her a privileged life; but Spare Parts provides an engaging and powerful story that moves beyond any such questions and rests its story line upon relationships and realizations that lead to new truths and insights.

Blend high technology, plague and transformation, and choices that led to stronger friendships and social questions and you have a riveting young adult read that many an adult will find engrossing and different, spiced by the spunky determination of a girl who defies her upbringing, her class, and her predetermined life.

The Defenders: Bully Patrol
William & Monika Carter
Brandylane Publishers, Inc.
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781939930248, $11.95,

The first day of a new school year can set the stage for school atmosphere for the rest of the semester, as Tommy well knows; so he has a vested interest in seeing that his little brother's first day at kindergarten is a success. His plan is thwarted, however, by bullies - and Tommy is just smart enough to realize that Matthew needs a defender in his arena if he's to be successful.

Thus The Defenders Bully Patrol idea is born, with its wider purpose of identifying and thwarting bullying at school.

There's been a lot of media coverage of bullying and its short- and long-term effects, but this thirty-five-page reader isn't directed to adults. Picture book readers to early elementary grades with good reading skills will find The Defenders: Bully Patrol addresses all the components of bullying, from identifying its different incarnations to reviewing what can be done to control bullying at school.

Tad Butler's realistic full-color drawings enhance a story that follows an older brother's thinking and approaches to provide young readers with alternatives to the difficult process of handling bullies. Kids in grades K-5 will find this a thoughtful discussion - the first in a projected series.

Do Spiders Need Leggings When it's Cold Outside?
Terri Sebastian
Brandylane Publishers, Inc.
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781883911836, $19.95,

Do Spiders Need Leggings When it's Cold Outside? is a forty-page bedtime story book that centers upon a child's confusion over a parent's bedtime admonitions and some of the possibilities that can happen in a darkened room ("don't let the bedbugs bite" and "see you later alligator" are two such admonitions, for example; while pirates and monsters are just two things that can happen in a dark room).

As an unsleepy child begins to imagine some fairly fantastic scenarios, young readers and their read-aloud parents will find a number of whimsical scenarios come to life, including an impossibly polka-dotted cat and why spiders might require leggings when it's cold outside.

Whimsical scenarios blend with color drawings by Buttons Boggs to provide a diverse set of 'why?' imaginative examinations in a fun bedtime collection that lends particularly well to read-aloud.

Simon and the Worry Watch
Susan M. Brown
Brandylane Publishers, Inc.
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781939930057, $13.95,

Simon is excited to be starting preschool - at least, he thinks he is; because all the adults around him are certainly excited. But Simon is actually not so sure about it all, and is worried about many possibilities, from finding the bathroom to making friends.

In fact, Simon worries so much that he spends all day imagining the worst about his first venture out into the world and all the things that could happen.

He's not alone, however: other children seem to also be worried - and they loudly express their concerns. Simon is more the strong, silent type; and as his worries are addressed one by one, he begins to find the courage to actually enjoy his experiences.

Simon and the Worry Watch offers a book packed with color drawings by Tara Friel Swinford and does a fine job of presenting a kangaroo child's viewpoint as he makes his way through an unpredictable new environment. Caregivers as well as kids will appreciate this 40-page story, with its warm insights on a child's growth process.

Homer the Little Stray Cat
Pam Laskin
Little Balloon Press
9780984392230, $9.95,

New York-based artist and teacher Kirsi Tuomanen Hill provides the winning color images for Pam Laskin's picture book Homer the Little Stray Cat, recommended for kids and parental read-aloud as it follows the adventures of a stray cat who lives on the streets until he discovers a loving new home.

Homer is furry, frisky, and tiny, and he considers the streets his home and his fellow felines his family. People try to take him in, but they don't like his loud mewing and he's just as happy to be let go to enjoy the freedom of the streets - but really, it's only because he hasn't found anything better.

When Homer is run down by a bicycle and rescued by two caring children, he discovers what it means to enjoy a real, loving home in this fun story with its engaging drawings and message of warmth.

The realistic story line, drawings, and story of a small cat's affection for both freedom and home lends to a tale ages 3-6 will relish.

Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan's Literary Services

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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