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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 7 July 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Science Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Board Book Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Biography Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf American History Shelf
Native American Shelf Activity Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf Holiday Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
LGBT Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

100 Things to Know Before You Grow Up
Lisa M. Gerry, author
National Geographic Kids
1145 17th St. NW, Washington D. C. 20036
97814263164, $12.99,

"100 Things To Know Before You Grow Up" is a zippy factbook full of "tips, tricks, how-to's, helpful hints and more." From how to tie-dye a T-shirt to how to remember someone's name, from how to say "no" to how to do laundry, here are a hundred cool facts and approaches to life's common conundrums that will entertain and inform kids age 8 and up. Some of the interesting ideas are how to start a petition, how to check out books in your local library, and how to quiet your mind (tip # 92). One tip that will be quite popular is #94, how to take a great yearbook photo! "100 Things to Know Before You Grow Up" is a handy paperback resource and tool for exploring kids who want to learn more about the world they live in.

Nibbles: The Book Monster
Emma Yarlett
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
4901 Morena Blvd, Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781610674676, $16.99, HC, 20pp

Beware all book lovers! Nibbles is on the loose, and he's chomping through all of your favorite fairy tales! With books within the book, Emma Yarlett's extraordinary and original story with its utterly appealing artwork, and lots and lots of nibbled holes, this laugh-out-loud funny and ferocious charmer's unstoppable appetite for the printed page will nibble a hole right through your heart. Specifically written, illustrated, and designed to entertain young readers ages 6 to 8, "Nibbles: The Book Monster" is a wonderfully entertaining and very highly recommended.

A New Leash on Life
Kara Hamilton, author
Alexandria Gold, illustrator
Nothing But The Truth, LLC
9780996899925, $24.50, HC, 50pp,

Smokey is a miniature apricot poodle and feels blessed. But can it last? With the arrival of a new baby, Smokey struggles to adjust to his new place in the family. After several failed tactics, he ingeniously teaches the baby how to behave around him so they may co-exist peacefully. Smokey realizes that there's enough love for everyone in the family, and also gains a new best friend. Enhanced with Alexandria Gold's charming and colorful illustrations, author Kara Hamilton's original and entertaining story is especially commended for children young children and their parents who have canine companions in their homes. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, storyline, and presentation, "A New Leash on Life" is unreservedly recommended and will probe to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted that "A New Leash on Life" is also available in a paperback edition (9780996899918, $11.99) and in a Kindle format ($4.99).

Their Great Gift
John Coy, author
Photographs by Wing Young Huie
Carolrhoda Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781467780544 $19.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Their Great Gift is an easy-to-read children's picturebook about immigrants to America in the twenty-first century. Filled cover to cover with both black-and-white and color photography of real-life immigrants from all over the world, each determined to work hard and forge a great future, Their Great Gift celebrates the American values of diversity, inclusiveness, egalitarianism, and the will to better oneself. Their Great Gift also focuses on the perspective of the children of American immigrants, and the gratitude they feel toward their parents: "They kept going day after day so we'd have choices they didn't have. And now, we're all here together with our own arrival stories, but one question keeps rising: What will we do with their great gift?" Striking, inspirational, and highly recommended, Their Great Gift is an excellent choice for public and school library picturebook collections.

The Education Shelf

The Survival Guide for Kids with LD, third edition
Rhoda Cummings, Ed.D
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781631980312 $13.99

Now in an updated third edition, The Survival Guide for Kids with LD is a resource written especially for young adults with learning differences (LD). Some types of LD include innate problems with reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), math (dyscalculia), problems understanding what one hears (auditory processing disorder) and more, and some children have to deal with more than one type of LD. Although written at a grade 5 reading level and meant to be accessible to children ages 9-14, The Survival Guide for Kids with LD works well as a resource to share with parents, teachers, or friends. Chapters cover different kinds of LD, ways technology can help kids with LD learn, tips for making friends and getting along better at school and at home, how to respond to bullying, stories from kids with LD, checklists, quizzes, and more. "Kids who bully can be strong-willed. They will often keep trying to bully you - even if you stand up for yourself. But keep standing up for yourself. Keep reporting the bullying... There are also things you should not do. You should not ignore the bullying. It will likely get worse if you ignore it." The Survival Guide for Kids with LD is highly recommended, and deserves a place in every school and public library collection.

The Science Shelf

A Journey Through Space
Steve Parker, author
John Haslam, illustrator
QEB Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781609928285 $16.95

Award-winning science author Steve Parker presents A Journey Through Space, a children's picturebook about the amazing celestial bodies in the solar system and beyond. Packed with eye-opening, jaw-dropping facts, A Journey Through Space is sure to inspire curiosity about the wonders beyond our home planet. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library picturebook nonfiction shelves. "More than one million Earths could fit inside the Sun. At the surface it is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 25 times hotter than a home oven. Massive flames leap up from the Sun's surface, curl around and back in. Slightly darker, cooler patches are known as sunspots. Most last only a few days."

Burn: Michael Faraday's Candle
Darcy Pattison, author
Peter Willis, illustrator
Mims House Publishing
9781629440446, $22.99 HC
9781629440453, $11.99 PB
B017RYI60C, $3.99 Kindle

"Burn: Michael Faraday's Candle" is an exciting adaptation of Michael Faraday's (1791-1867) original special Christmas lecture, "The Chemical History of a Candle." Condensed from 6000 words to about 650 words for modern elementary education students, "Burn: Michael Faraday's Candle" is enhanced by dashing, colorful, quirky illustrations bring to life the original author's scientific lecture for juveniles, first delivered on December 28, 1848, at the Royal Institution in London, England. Mr. Faraday demonstrated several kinds of candles, including stearin, made of ox fat, a sperm candle made from the purified oil of the sperm whale, a bees-wax candle, and a paraffin candle, made from Irish peat bogs. Mr. Faraday taught everyone to observe experiments and ask, "What is the cause, why does it occur?" Mr. Faraday explains that capillary action explains who the flame in a candle gets hold of the fuel. Faraday continues to explain the oblong shape of the flame of the candle and the current of hot air draws out the flame, supplies it with air, and cools the sides of the cup of melted fuel. "Burn" is a brilliant reduction of a very famous British science lecturer that presents the information in a format appealing to children today.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Toad
Elsie Gravel
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770496675 $10.99

The Toad at first glance appears to be a fictional easy reader; but it's a cartoon exploration of the creature that is actually nonfiction in disguise. Comedy permeates a story of the toad that covers toad anatomy, parenting, and warts. The factual information is presented amid a fun story line that is amusing. No color photos here: the delightfully whimsical cartoon-style drawings don't need them.

Mary's Clover: A Story About Medication Safety
Nila E. Sturlin, author/photographer
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478773115, $19.95 HC, $13.95 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 38pp

"Mary's Clover: A Story About Medication Safety" is a wise lesson in a story about a girl and her beloved pet rabbit. Mary Stephens loved playing with and caring for her pet rabbit, Clover. When Clover became ill, Mary's mother took both of them to see the veterinarian and the pharmacist, to diagnose and treat the rabbit with the proper medication. Dr. Pestle, the pharmacist, explained to Mrs. Stephens and Mary the importance of "Right time, right dose." Clover was to get only two droppers full or doses of medicine per day for seven days. Right time, right dose would help Clover to get better. But more medication than that could be very dangerous for Clover. Mrs. Stephens took the medicine and Mary and Clover home and gave her the medicine as prescribed. Clover began to get better before 7 days passed. Unfortunately, Mary decided to try to help Clover recover faster by giving her more medication. Clover became very ill indeed. Fortunately, Mrs. Stephens was able to return Clover to the Dr. Clover would recover with careful care and treatment. Dr. Pestle helped Mary to understand the importance of "right time, right dose" for giving medication by using a calendar to track and check the doses of medicine for Clover's treatment. Mary did not mean to hurt Clover by giving her too much medicine. She learned to be responsible for her pet's excellent medical care by obeying "right time, right dose." Color shaded photos of Mary and Clover add empathy to this touching story about a girl and her pet.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Leo Can Swim
Anna McQuinn, author
Ruth Hearson, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580897259, $9.95, HC, 24pp,

Leo, Lola's little brother from Leo Loves Baby Time, is back in "Leo Can Swim", a new adventure at the community swimming pool. Leo and Daddy go to swim class where they kick, bounce, and dive like little fish. Joining other babies and their caretakers in the pool is a guarantee for unforgettable fun. Ruth Hearson's delightfully charming illustrations transform author Anna McQuinn's simple and elegantly entertaining story into a 'must' for young children ages 1 to 3. Simply stated, "Leo Can Swim" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, and community library collections.

The Board Book Shelf

Baby Animals Day & Night
Phyllis Limbacher Tildes, author
Charlesbridge Publishing Inc.
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580896092, $6.95, Board Book,

"Baby Animals Day & Night" is a child's board book filled with black and white illustrations/portraits of four animals awake (black against white background) and asleep (white against black background). Two animals are nocturnal (bobcat and skunk), and two are diurnal (chipmunk and otter). The delicate black and white animal portraits end with two full color pages showing a charming boy baby with brown curly hair, awake in the daytime, and asleep in the night. On his lavender pajamas are images of the daytime animals during the day, and the nocturnal animals during the night. It has been suggested that bold black and white images stimulate eyesight and brain development, which adds to the impact and value of the board book, "Baby Animals Day & Night." The message is: "Some animals sleep during the day. Some sleep at night. But everyone needs a good rest!"

It's Nice to Be a Pika
Molly Woodward, author
Tom and Pat Leeson, photographers
Heyday Books
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597143363, $8.99, Board Book, 20pp,

Filled with stunning color photographs of pikas in their natural, mountainous habitat, "It's Nice to Be a Pika" is an educational board book for very young readers that conveys the features of the exciting daily life of a pika. Complementing the excellent color photographs is the sparse descriptive text, supplemented with yellow sidebars of related data and facts about pikas. Some of the portraits show the pika camouflaged against a rocky background, challenging the reader to find the pika in the picture! "It's Nice to Be a Pika" is an excellent nonfiction nature board book for early or pre readers, with dual communication in both photo and text complementing each other and stimulating observation in the readers.

The Picturebook Shelf

Pea Soup and the Seafood Feast
Anna Burger, author
Laura Craig, illustrator
Belle Isle Books
c/o Brandylane Publishers
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781939930460, $19.95, HC, 30pp,

When his mother tells him they're having pea soup for dinner, Jack wonders how he'll survive. Then he comes up with a plan: he'll catch his own seafood feast instead! Relying on skills learned from his grandfather, the resourceful boy embarks on a seaside adventure, casting for fish, digging for clams, and setting traps for blue crabs. In the process he learns that the only thing better than a basket full of crabs or a bucket full of clams is a heart full of appreciation for the natural wonders of the bay. With playful prose and vivid watercolor illustrations, Pea Soup and the Seafood Feast teaches readers to value and sustain their environment with gratitude for life's little gifts. Featuring the elegant watercolor artwork of Laura Craig, "Pea Soup and the Seafood Feast" is an absolutely charming picturebook story that will thoroughly delight young readers and prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Turn On The Night
Geraldo Valerio
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554988419, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

In "Turn On The Night" by Geraldo Valerio, a little girl falls asleep and in her dream becomes a huge gray wolf, like the one in her bedtime story. Out the window she leaps, and a marvelous nighttime adventure unfolds. She visits the rooster in his coop, and invites him to hop upon her back and together they run through the night. A reindeer joins in the fun, until the three are suddenly stopped in their tracks by a giant dazzling star. The reindeer climbs upon the wolf, and the rooster upon the reindeer to reach the star, then they carry it home, where it brings all kinds of light to the little girl's world. Very highly recommended for young readers ages 4 to 8, "Turn On The Night" is a vibrantly illustrated wordless picture book and a joyous celebration of the inspiration and freedom to be found in stories, dreams and the imagination. Simply stated, "Turn On The Night" will prove to be an enduringly popular and welcome addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Memoirs of a Parrot
Devin Scillian, author
Tim Bowers, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369621, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

In "Memoirs of a Parrot", young readers ages 5 to 8 will join a brilliant, but stubborn, parrot as he endures the banality of the pet store before being purchased by an equally insufferable young man. But while things between parrot and owner get off to a rocky start, the delights of having a pet (or human) bring them both around in the end. Author Devin Scillian original and charmingly entertaining story is wonderfully illustrated with the comedically cheery artwork of Tim Bowers. The result is an unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections! It should be noted that "Memoirs of a Parrot" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

It's Just So
Brenda Faatz, author
Peter Trimarco, illustrator
Notable Kids Publishing
c/o Midpoint
9780997085105, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

It's Lizzy's first day in a brand new school! At first things feel "just so" scary and "just so" hard, but in the end, they're "just so".... not what she thought they would be! From waking up early and boarding the bus for the very first time to meeting new friends and painting outside the lines, it's a day of discovery and perspective for a little girl named Lizzy. With "It's Just So..." featuring a combination of Brenda Faatz's thoroughly engaging and charming story and the colorfully comedic artwork of Peter Trimarco, the result is a thoroughly entertaining read for children ages 4 to 8, and a highly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Sleepy Solar System
John Hutton, author
Doug Cenko, illustrator
Blue Manatee Press
9781936669493, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

"It's been a long, busy day in the starry Milky Way. Sleepy, setting Sun calls out, 'Bedtime, everyone...'" The rhyming text of author John Hutton and the whimsical illustrations by Doug Cenko provide children ages 3 to 5 an enchanting celebration of the wonders of outer space, including a map and facts at the end. Very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's books collections, and perfect as a 'read aloud' nap-time or bed-time book, "Sleepy Solar System" is certain to send the imagination soaring!

Monday Is Wash Day
MaryAnn Sundby, author
Tessa Blackham, illustrator
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 86740, Portland, OR 97286
9780991386666, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

An original and deftly crafted story by MaryAnn Sundby that is charmingly illustrated by Tessa Blackham, "Monday Is Wash Day" is a wonderfully engaging and entertaining story from a time not so long ago. Annie and her sister help Mama with washing the clothes on Monday morning. From gathering and sorting the clothes, to washing and hanging them outside to dry, to folding and putting them away, the family works together to get the job done. "First we work and then we play." Mama smiles but walks with purpose to the porch. It's interesting to note that this is the debut artwork of Tessa Blackham whose warm, hand-painted cut-paper collages bring the reader to a time in the Midwest when doing the laundry was an all-day family chore. Unreservedly recommended for children ages 6 to 7, "Monday Is Wash Day" will prove to be a unique and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Hey, That's MY Monster!
Amanda Noll, author
Howard McWilliam, illustrator
Flash Light Press
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781936261376, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

When Ethan looks under the bed for his monster, he finds this note instead: "So long, kid. Gotta go. Someone needs me more than you do. - Gabe" How will Ethan ever get to sleep without his monster's familiar, comforting snorts? And who could need Gabe more than Ethan does? Gabe must have gone to Ethan's little sister's room! She has been climbing out of bed every night to play, and obviously needs a monster to help her get to sleep - but not HIS monster! Ethan tries to help his sister find her own monster, but none are the perfect blend of cute and creepy. Just when it seems that Ethan will lose his monster forever, an uninvited, tutu-toting little monster full of frightening fun appears. With author Amanda Noll's charmingly crafted and original story wonderfully supported by the truly impressive artwork of Howard McWilliam, "Hey, That's MY Monster!" is an irresistible monster-under-the-bed story with the perfect balance of giggles and shivers. Unreservedly recommended for children ages 5 to 7, " Hey, That's MY Monster!" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Let Me Finish!
Minh Le, author
Isabel Roxas, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484721735, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

When our young hero settles in to read, the last thing he wants is for some noisy animals to ruin the ending of the story. But ruin it they do. And as it turns out, the boy is quickly approaching a surprise ending of his own! Maybe he should have listened to the animals after all! The wonderfully entertaining artwork of Isabel Roxas wonderfully augments author Minh Le's original and impressively entertaining picture book story. Especially recommended for children ages 2 to 5, "Let Me Finish" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Gator, Gator, Second Grader
Conrad J. Storad, author
Alex Lopez, illustrator
Great Books For Growing Minds
Five Star Publications
PO Box 6698, Chandler, Arizona 85246
9781589852716, $9.95,

"Gator, Gator, Second Grader" is subtitled "Classroom Pet.... Or Not? ...As told By a Gerbil Named Snoozer, Translated from Gerblish to English!" It is a hilarious recounting of a highly unusual classroom visitor in the second grade. The wonderful twist is the narrator is the present classroom pet, a gerbil named Snoozer, or Sue. Snoozer likes her cage in the second grade classroom, she enjoys the active students and admires the in-charge teacher. Somehow, Gerbilese translates in English in narrative verse; "When the subject is science, Teacher's words are to the point. She leaves no room for doubt. It's not just facts and figures. Respect for nature is what it's about!" When students brought a cardboard box to class with a tiny little alligator in it, the Teacher used the example of an alligator for a classroom pet to make a point. "A baby gator is NOT a good classroom pet...Even though, today, it seems kind of sweet, this gator will grow a foot longer each year. Soon, to it, YOU might look a treat!" Then the children were encouraged to learn to classify animals as follows: "A goldfish is a good classroom pet. A great white shark is NOT!" Other fun comparisons teach kids to grasp respect for nature and wild animals and to differentiate between safe and unsafe classroom pets. This educational book ends with a pet owner's list of smart, safe practices, like always wash your hands! There is also a page about the narrator, a gerbil named Sue, and fun, fast facts about American Alligators. In addition there are pages describing a Curriculum & Activity Guide fro teachers and parents who are using "Gator, Gator, Second Grader" as a learning experience. For a fun but informative classroom pet study and guide, "Gator, Gator, Second Grader" serves an excellent nature study with tons of humor and good instruction and information. Intriguing, expressive illustrations help hold interest and rivet the readers to the story line.

Little Peach Pit
Grace Neva, author/illustrator
Media for Life Corporation
PO Box 1214, Little Falls, NJ 07424
9781515220862, $10.95, PB,

"Little Peach Pit" is a creative fable about perseverance for children ages 5-8. It tells the exciting story of a little peach pit whose task it is to be planted and to be patient, to persevere through the important job of overcoming obstacles and growing into the best peach tree ever. At first, Little Peach Pit is ridiculed by its peers, Watermelon seed and Apple Seed for being ugly, big and wrinkled. Little Peach Pit is encouraged by a small voice of conscience inside to persevere, which means to keep on trying until you reach your goal. Many experiences befall Little Peach Pit in its journey to become a big peach tree bearing sweet fruit. The repeated lesson is always to continue to persevere. The value of forgiveness is also a lesson experienced by the little peach tree. Finally the Little Peach Tree achieved its goal, and became the heart of a wonderful orchard of peach trees. Little Peach Tree has a message for young readers: "When you have a hard time, remember my story, and persevere. Listen to your inner voice, telling you right from wrong. And, no matter what anybody says, believe in yourself, and be a good friend."

Jenny & Her Dog Both Fight Cancer
Jewel Kats, author
Claudia Marie Lenart, artist
Loving Healing Press
9781615992799, $15.95,

"Jenny & Her Dog Both Fight Cancer: A Tale of Chemotherapy and Caring" is a tender, touching story about a girl and her dog who both battle cancer with chemotherapy, giving love and support to each other. Told in sparse prose with lovely fiber art representations of Jenny and Dolly, "Jewel & Her Dog Both Fight Cancer" is a very moving story with extra impact from the sensitive collaboration between artist and author, who has since passed on. Upon being told of her dog's cancer, Jenny's feelings vary from anger to disbelief, and sadness. However, Jenny decides to be there for all of Dolly's chemotherapy appointments because Dolly has been there for her during her chemotherapy. Feeling sick and weak and sad, Jenny still decides to do her best for Dolly, to be strong, and to be there for her. The two friends progress through their chemotherapy with different results. Jenny gradually improves and one day is pronounced free of cancer. Dolly gradually gets weaker and finally one day she stops breathing while she is in Jenny's arms. A beautiful tribute is presented on the last two pages, with a sensitive fiber art portrait of Jenny and her parents burying Dolly. "We hold a funeral for Dolly. A burial spot is dug. I put my floral handkerchief into the ground, I know she will be alright, and so will I. The important thing is: we were there for each other (p. 32)."

Choose Your Days
Paula S. Wallace, author/illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781941941026380, $8.95,

"Choose Your Days" is a deeply touching catalog of paintings, outlining a tender story about a girl named Corky, who was "given calendars for all of her days by Old Bear, keeper of time and keys." Corky was also given a list, "to dream and to do - to mark each day and to name each line." Corky was given the joyous opportunity to choose her days, to make them sunny or gray. Lovely paintings illustrate Corky as she grows through her sunny days as a child, then as a grown up woman, and finally as an old woman. As the end of Corky's calendar drew near, she offered Old Bear a small purse of coins for a few more days, "For work undone. For play postponed. For music unsung." Old Bear leaned close to hear her request, reminding her "You hold the key." The ending of Corky's beautiful story comes in spare, poetic words and expressive, sensitive paintings that evoke the lobe of beauty and the transitory nature of life. Together paintings and poetic text tells a mystic tale that is unforgettable. "And when the play is played, and the songs are sung, when the seas are sailed, and the work is done. Go into the dark cottage. Unlock the door - the door to wonder. Do not be afraid. I will wait for you there." "Choose Your Days" is a book for all ages, about cherishing and releasing life with joy.

The I-Wants and the Gimmies
Taylor Overbey, author/illustrator
Crimson Dragon Publishing
PO Box 460147, Aurora, CO 80046
9781944644000, $15.95, PB,

"The I-Wants and the Gimmies" is a highly unusual comic illustrated allegory fable for children about the value of sharing vs the limitations of greed and selfishness. Written in witty rhyming couplets, and starkly but brilliantly illustrated in tones from dark shades of gray to bright rainbow assortments of shades, "The I-Wants and the Gimmies" tell the tale of a greedy battle between two covetous clan members who both desire to possess a lonely free kitten. When a natural catastrophe falls from the sky in the form of plummeting bird poop, both the I-Want and the Gimmie decide simultaneously to cooperate to save the kitten from bird poop splashing. This act of charity leads them to realize there is a better way to act and to live. "Never before could this story be told, For an I-Want and Gimmie broke their self-centered mold. It happened this way in that "Mine, my, me" land, when an I-Want and a Gimmie lent another a hand." The impulse to give help and share soon spread and: "Giving is better now reigns in that land, and all live for sharing, not what they demand." The inspiring moral message is joyously underlined by the creative comic illustrations to deliver a most uniquely inspiring impetus to growth and sharing. Kids of all ages will enjoy the saga of "The I-Wants and the Gimmies."

Mies Van Hout
9781935954514 $17.95

Two children travel through different environments, from trees and sand dunes to rivers and clouds, on their way to a playground, and young beginning readers get to follow along with them in a fun format that pairs watercolor drawings with simple one-line explanations of the journey's progress. As the kids problem-solve through a myriad of obstacles, young readers receive a fun adventure story perfect for read-aloud or new reader exploration.

Who Broke the Teapot?
Bill Slavin
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770497334 $16.99

Who Broke the Teapot? provides a fun picture book story of a mother's favorite teapot, which is broken. Nobody will admit to being the perp who broke it - it could be Dad, Cat, Baby, or something else. It's up to Mom to solve the mystery, but another lesson is important which is non-investigative in nature and delightfully thought-provoking, making this a recommended read-aloud as well as a fun picture book story filled with color.

The Midsummer Tomte and the Little Rabbits
Ulf Stark and Eva Eriksson
Floris Books
9781782502449 $24.95

The Midsummer Tomte and the Little Rabbits offers a series of adventures particularly well suited to adult read-aloud in much the way the original classic Uncle Wiggily was as it explores summer in a big forest and a Midsummer party hosted by the animals. Midsummer is a time for fun and dancing - but when a sudden storm flattens the forest and sends the animal friends fleeing for shelter, the party is in jeopardy. Simple drawings and many words make for an involved but fun read-aloud that holds enough adventure and interest to last for a number of nights.

Indian Boyhood
Charles Eastman (Ohyyesa)
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786564 $17.95

Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing is adapted by Michael Oren Fitzgerald and illustrated by Heidi M. Rasch as it provides the first-person story of a childhood filled with adventure, where American Indian author Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa) experienced life as an orphan at the age of six. From his encounters with soldiers and his poverty to the values in a Sioux upbringing, customs and habits of his tribe and others are explored using a personal touch that young readers will find engrossing and revealing.

Leo Timmers
Gecko Press
9781927271933 $16.99

Franks tells of young Sam, who loves robots and is certain they live in outer space. Unfortunately, his family doesn't understand him or share his beliefs, and nobody seems to care. Nobody fur Franky, who is a friend Sam has to build himself. Sam doesn't tell his parents about his new friend, who shares his beliefs - but what's wrong with Franky? The answer will change lives in this fun story of determination and extraterrestrial encounters.

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Yuval Zommer's One Hundred Bones (9780763681838, $16.99) tells of Scruff, a dog who loves to dig. One day his efforts surpass even his wildest beliefs when he and his friends uncover a hundred bones. Since nobody has been impressed by Scruff's passion before, maybe they will be amazed now? The results surprise and amaze not only Scruff's doubting dog friends, but the humans who have previously viewed Scruff's passion as a nuisance. Fun color photos accent a fine story of determination and discovery. Alison Murray's Hare and Tortoise (9780763687212, $16.99) takes place on a farm where Hare is the fastest animal and Tortoise the slowest. The inevitable takes place during a competition - or is it inevitable? Murray's twist on the Aesop classic will especially delight young and old alike, who may think they well know where the story's heading, only to find it takes a different direction.

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020

Two wonderfully different picture books are top picks that stand out, in whimsy and topic, from the rest. Sam apple's The Saddest Toilet in the World (9781481451222, $17.99) is illustrated by Sam Ricks and tells of Danny, who will sit everywhere but on the toilet. The sad toilet feels rejected and decides to leave home in such of a more appreciate audience - and so begins a zany story of fear, rejection, and a boy's realization that his own phobias can impact others. Hilarious and zany, many a parent will want to "read aloud" this engaging tale even if their child already has reading skills! Also appealing to a wide audience is David Gordon's Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery (9781416924418, $17.99), a fun tale of how very cute animals face mean bullies with heavy machinery. But "cute" doesn't necessarily lend to "talented" - or to the ability to run heavy machines - as this whimsical tale shows. Or, does it? A delightful story evolves with some unexpected twists.

Disney Press/Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023

Kent Redeker and Bob Stakke's Don't Splash the Sasquatch! (9781423152330, $16.99) tells what happens when a friendly but huge sasquatch who hates getting his fur wet sits by a pool after announcing his phobia. Unfortunately this creates trouble despite the lifeguard's best intentions. How can a water-phobic monster enjoy sunning himself poolside when wetness is the inevitable side effect? An engaging tale of tolerance and problems evolves. Minh Le's Let Me Finish! (9781484721735, $16.99) is illustrated by Isabel Roxas and tells of a young reader who is beset upon by nosy animals intent on ruining the end of the story. What kind of insensitive creature would do such a thing? Among the perps are prior fans of the tale who can't wait to 'reveal', gossips who can't keep their mouths shut, and more. How can a good book be enjoyed if all the prior readers are intent on disturbing the peace and spilling the beans? A fun story evolves. James Burks' Pigs and a Blanket (9781484725239, $16.99) tells of Henry and Henrietta, who love their soft green blanket, which makes life seem so much nicer. It's inconceivable that such an asset could present difficulties, but as the two sibling pigs discover trouble, it's up to them to solve it in a winning story of getting along. Jaime Temairik's Alice & Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds (9781484708163, $16.99) tells of sisters who love sharing everything but a bed. The obvious solution seems to be bunk beds; but that costs money. They'll have to get jobs. And will their different ways of doing things help them achieve their goals? A gentle story offers many lessons as the two create goals and attempt to reach them through different means.

The Fiction Shelf

Mis-Adventures of a Boy Named "Popcorn"
M.L. Cooper
Privately Published
9781532713989 $8.50 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

Mis-Adventures of a Boy Named "Popcorn" is a brief, adventurous novella written especially for "reluctant readers". The story follows four 5th-grade boys who are best friends. One weekend, they set out together to explore an abandoned building, dreaming of the treasure and excitement to be found within. But a tremendous, raging storm appears... and could someone or something sinister already be using the building? Mis-Adventures of a Boy Named "Popcorn" is a self-contained adventure, and the first book in an ongoing series ideal for young boys.

Bailey's Story
W. Bruce Cameron
TOR Starscape
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765388407 $16.99

Bailey's Story: A Dog's Purpose Novel is a gentle story of a boy and his dog and comes from a dog's perspective as he meets eight-year-old Ethan and discovers his purpose in his new young master's life, and will appeal to middle grade readers with a special affection for dog stories. This novel was adapted from the bestselling A Dog's Purpose, soon to become a film, and pairs fine black and white drawings by Richard Cowdrey with a reader's activity guide perfect for young readers and classroom teachers who would apply Bailey's story to life experiences and lessons.

Here's Hank: You Can't Drink a Meatball Through a Straw
Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver
Grosset & Dunlap
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780448486598 $14.99

Here's Hank: You Can't Drink a Meatball Through a Straw adds the seventh book to a fun series about a second grader who is inadvertently funny. He's nothing like his accomplished cousin who is a great chef - his primary skill seems to like in making people around him laugh, even though it's not intended - and so when a competitor drops out of Judith Ann's cooking competition, Hank sees it as a chance to prove himself. But can a non-cook make an impact on a neo-professional contest? Readers will find the story delightfully whimsical, with black and white drawings peppering the tale.

The Thank You Book
Mo Willems
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781423178286 $9.99

The Thank You Book presents two fun characters: Gerald, who is careful, and Piggie - who is not. They seem like very different creatures with different approaches to life - but they are best friends. In this book Piggie tries to thank everyone - but Gerald worries she'll forget someone important in this process. The point Gerald wishes to make is: you just can't thank everyone. Or, can you? A fun story with large print dialogue and simple drawings offers a fun saga of two different friends.

Brooklyn Bat Boy
Geoff Griffin
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781530482672, $8.00, PB, 152pp,

Bobby Kelly is a 12-year-old Brooklyn boy who loves playing stickball in the street with his friends and cheering for the Dodgers. Bobby's dream of being part of the Dodgers comes true in 1947 when he lands the job of bat boy for the team. There's just one thing Bobby's not sure about. The Dodgers are planning to do something that has never been done before. An African-American named Jackie Robinson will be playing for Brooklyn. Bobby isn't sure how to feel about it, especially since members of his family and kids in his neighborhood don't like the idea. In order to truly become part of the Dodgers, Bobby will have to learn to accept Robinson as a member of the team and learn from his example. "Brooklyn Bat Boy: A Story of the 1947 Season that Changed Baseball Forever" is based on an important point in baseball history and told from a young boy's perspective, highlighting the time period and includes the accurate use popular slang from the East Coast in the 1940s. "Brooklyn Bat Boy" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library collections -- especially for young readers with an interest in African American and baseball history. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Brooklyn Bat Boy" is also available in an inexpensive Kindle edition ($0.99).

On the Other Side of the Bridge
Ray Villareal
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558858022, $11.95, PB, 256pp,

Lon Chaney Rodriguez is a typical thirteen-year-old boy. He loves horror movies. His bedroom is a mess. He doesn't like to read boring books. And he likes to skip church and hang out at Catfish Creek during services. But his life changes completely when his mother is shot and killed at the apartment complex where she worked as a security guard. Life without her is unimaginable, and he's haunted by the feeling that he let his mom down. He didn't prioritize his schoolwork, so he's on the brink of failing. And worse, he lied to her. Why didn't he tell her the truth? Why didn't he make better grades and help her more? Lonnie's life is turned upside down, both at school and home. The school counselor is determined to get him to talk about his mom, and the preacher's daughter is insistent that he read scriptures to bring him comfort. His unemployed father turns to drinking excessively. He struggles to pay the bills and put food on the table. It doesn't seem possible, but... will they really end up on the street like the homeless guy that panhandles at the freeway underpass? With its central underlying theme being the consequences of bad choices such as homelessness and the loss of life, "On the Other Side of the Bridge" is a consistently compelling read that is written by author Ray Villareal for young readers ages 12 to 15. While very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "On the Other Side of the Bridge" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Don't Tell, Don't Tell, Don't Tell
Liane Shaw
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781927583951 $12.95 pbk / $8.99 Kindle

Frederick has a lot of rules for himself -- like if someone calls him Freddy, he doesn't have to answer them, and he only wears shirts with buttons. But when his friend Angel (who is his only friend) goes missing and he is questioned by the police, he doesn't have a rule for that. Friendship is a new concept for Frederick, so when Angel asked him to keep a secret no matter what, he agreed. But do the rules of friendship apply when your friend is missing? A consistently compelling novel by an imaginative and skilled storyteller, "Don't Tell, Don't Tell, Don't Tell" is an especially recommended addition to high school and community library YA Fiction collections. With the unusual underlying themes of sexual assault and Asperger's Syndrome, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Don't Tell, Don't Tell, Don't Tell" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

Max and Annabel: The First Patrol
Catelyn Kronfeld, author
Jennifer Brandon, illustrator
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781480824263, $16.95,

"Max and Annabel: The First Patrol" is a beautifully illustrated first title of Catelyn Kronfeld's series about two Clydesdale horses who become Central Park patrol mounts together in New York City. Annabel, a five year old dapple gray, arrives to find her new job and partner on a cold January day. Officer Michael introduces Annabel to Max and her new home in the Central Park horse barn. After settling in and meeting new friends, max and Annabel set out for their first patrol together the next day, with Officer Michael and Officer Francis. The job of the two Clydesdales is very important: they help to keep Central Park a safe and happy place. On her first day of patrol, Annabel encounters excitement in the form of an electrical fire at the Tennis Center. Both Max and Annabel help to keep people and animals calm while the fire department is called and gets the fire under control. Next, Annabel heard the sound of music and laughter at the Wollman Ice Rink, where there was an after school ice skating program. After a long a busy day, max and Annabel were glad to make their way back home to the Barn. They would be well cared for by officer Michael and Officer Francis there. At the end of "Max and Annabel: The First Patrol" are some interesting facts about the Clydesdale Horse, and also information about two upcoming titles in the same series: "Monkey Business" and "Rosa and the Red Tail Hawk". "Max and Annabel: The First Patrol" is a beautifully presented book about a proud breed of service horse, inspiring for children to look at and read.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9

Paula Wilson's Burn (9781770498518, $9.99) tells of Gabby, who has spent the last year believing she was someone she wasn't, recovering from an accident that killed her twin brother. When Rafa discover her, she uncovers her true identity as a half angel/half human warrior attracted to him - and also faces a showdown between heaven and Earth in which she's to be a major player. Book 4 of The Seraphim really requires prior familiarity with the others in the series to prove satisfying, as it's a clear continuation of a theme flushed out in prior books; but advanced young adult audiences with this familiarity will find it just as compelling as the others. Shane Peacock's The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim (9781770496989, $17.99) tells of a boy exposed to horror stories since childhood who has long suffered from nightmares as a result. When his father dies, Brim is sent to a dark Scottish school where his nightmares become even more powerful, fueled by the teasing of his classmates. Years later, now a teen, Brim uncovers his father's journal and a revelation that will rock his world. A compelling story for mature YA readers evolves with a dark vision of horror that remains elusive and satisfyingly complex throughout the story line.

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020

Heather Vogel Frederick's The Mother-Daughter Book Club (9781442471832, $16.99) tells of five girls who read classic books for their book club and who spend a last summer at camp in this conclusion to the series. Here they are reading Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and their reading plus their bittersweet acknowledgement that this is the last summer to be spent this way contributes to a satisfying story about book readers and changing connections. Jessica Lawson's Waiting for Augusta (9781481448390, $16.99) provides middle school readers with a historical fiction piece set in the South, and follows pre-teen Benjamin who believes he's receiving messages from his recently deceased father. Tasked with taking his father's ashes back to Georgia from his Alabama home, he encounters another runaway and both make new discoveries about themselves and each other in the process of running away and towards something different. Both are fine leisure choices.

The Self-Help Shelf

Mad to Glad
Angie Harris, author
Stacy Heller Budnick, illustrator
Mindful Aromatherapy, LLC
9780996658508, $9.99, PB,

"Mad to Glad: Mindfulness Lessons to Help Children Cope with Changing Emotions" was written in part to help children become aware of emotions while they are experiencing them. This heightened awareness then builds a foundation making it possible for the child to establish insulating space between the "challenging experience and their emotional and physical reaction." It is natural for children and all to experience many emotions, such as frustration, sadness, anger, etc. Mindfulness practice can help children develop their abilities to cope with these emotions and move the energy into positive growth experiences. "Mad to Glad" presents five different experiences of emotions from a child's viewpoint, exploring experiences of mad, sad, frustrated, fear, and lonely relating to a child's specific situation. In each instance, the feeling is described and presented in the present. Then a suggested calming or centering response is demonstrated, such as breathing in deeply through the nose and then releasing air through the mouth, with eyes open and then closed. Deep breathing can accompany healing thoughts such as imagining you are blowing all the lonely feelings away. After the mindfulness exercise, the child is able to move through the experience in a positive way and go on growing. Each exercise ends with the instruction to repeat aloud, "I am Happy again. I am Good always." A portrait of the child's smiling face accompanies this affirmation. Cheery, inclusive pictures of children of different sexes, ages, and races help to make the mindfulness approach universal. A final page includes a mindfulness diary page, with name and date and blanks to fill in experiences. "Mad to Glad" is an excellent meditation tool for children age 3-7.

The Biography Shelf

Zap! Nikola Tesla Takes Charge
Monica Kulling, author
Bill Slavin, illustrator
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770495227, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Growing up in Smiljan, Croatia, Nikola Tesla dreamed about harnessing the power of Niagara Falls. In 1884, he walked down the gangplank into the New York Harbor with four cents in his pocket, a book of poems, a drawing of a flying machine, and a letter of introduction to Thomas Edison, the "electrical wizard" of America. Upon meeting, Edison sent Tesla to fix the SS Oregon as a test and was so astounded that he offered Tesla a job at his factory. Tesla and Edison had different views about electricity; Tesla wanted to develop an alternate current while Edison wanted to stick to the direct current system. Edison offered Tesla a large sum to make his direct current system more efficient, but when the work was done, Edison refused to pay. Tesla quit and when things were looking bleak, he met George Westinghouse, who also thought that alternating current was the way to light up America. He gave Tesla a job and in 1896, Tesla and Westinghouse built a generator at Niagara Falls that was able to send power as far as Buffalo, New York. Written specifically for young readers ages 5 to 8, "Zap! Nikola Tesla Takes Charge" is part of the truly outstanding 'Great Idea Series' and unreservedly recommended for elementary school and community library biographical picture book collections.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Teeny-Tiny Woman
Paul Galdone
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544641051, $8.99, HC, 40pp,

When a teeny-tiny woman finds a teeny-tiny bone in the teeny-tiny village churchyard, she takes it home to boil for her teeny-tiny supper. She never expects the bone will object. "The Teeny-Tiny woman" is an old English ghost story, retold and illustrated for children ages 4 to 7 with singular wit by Paul Galdone. Simply stated, "The Teeny-Tiny Woman" is spine-tingling, funny bone-tickling fun. With hidden details to discover in the illustrations and plenty of repetition in the text, children will enjoy joining in on this as a read-aloud event. Now part of the Folk Tale Classics series from HMH Books, with gold foil stamping on the cover, and unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, "The Teeny-Tiny Woman" is one is certain to become a story time favorite at Halloween or any time of year! It should be noted that "The Teeny-Tiny Woman" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).

The Wolf Who Visited The Land Of Fairy Tales
Orianne Lallemand, author
Eleonore Thuillier, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
24 - 32 rue des Amandiers, 75020 Paris, France
9782733839232, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

This year for the Spring Picnic, the Wolf wants to prepare an apple pie. The problem is that he isn't a very good cook! So he goes into the forest trying to look for someone who could help him. It is while he is in the forest that the Wolf meets the real characters from the most famous fairy tales! What will happen to him? Only the truly unexpected! Eleonore Thuillier's charming illustrations are perfectly suited to author Orianne Lallemand's original and entertaining story for children ages 3 to 5, making "The Wolf Who Visited The Land Of Fairy Tales" and ideal and enthusiastically recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections!

The American History Shelf

Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team
Daniel O'Brien
Crown Books for Young Readers
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553537482, $16.99, Library Binding, 272pp,

What if a zombie apocalypse or a robot uprising threatened the nation and you had the power to recruit some of the nation's finest presidents to help save the day? By studying the most successful squads in history, Daniel O'Brien has identified the perfect ingredients for a victorious team. Which president would you choose for: the Brain, the Brawn, the Moral Compass, the Loose Cannon, and the Roosevelt? Choose wisely young reader, the fate of the world is in your hands! "Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team" is a unique and inherently fascinating read from first page to last. Especially recommended for young readers ages 10 to 14, "Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team" is unreservedly recommended for school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team" is also available in a paperback edition (9780553537475, $13.99) and in a Kindle format ($9.99).

The Native American Shelf

I Am Hapa
Crystal Smith, author
Michael Satoshi Garcia, photographer
East West Discovery Press
P.O. Box 3585, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
9780997394702, $16.95, HC, 24pp,

'Hapa' is an Hawaii term used to describe a personal of partial Asian or Pacific islander descent. The multiracial population in American demographics is growing faster than at any previous time in our country's history with as many as seventeen million Americans identifying themselves as being of more than one race. "I Am Hapa" was specifically written by author Crystal Smith for the benefit of children ages 4 to 5 who are confronted with their identities -- especially when they are questioned about their being or looking 'different'. Featuring a trilingual text (English, Spanish, Chinese), "I Am Hapa" is wonderfully illustrated with the full color photography of Michael Satoshi Garcia. "I Am Hapa" is an extraordinary and very highly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Activity Shelf

Wolf Tales
Oldrich Ruzicka & Klara Kolcavova, authors
Maria Neradova, illustrator
Walter Foster Jr., Publisher
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781633220584, $14.95, Board Books, 20pp,

The Read & Play Puppet Theater format of "Wolf Tales" not only allows young children to not only read their favorite fairy tales, but also act them out on stage. The box containing the board book comprising "Wolf Tales" can be used as a stage and contains puppets, set pieces, and a book of three fairy tales: Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf and the Young Kids, and The Three Little Pigs. Each individual tale includes a shortened script and will capture the attention of event he youngest children. Just set up the pieces, get the puppets ready, and let the performance begin! The boxed set contains: a foldout puppet theatre, a book of three fairy tales with shortened scripts and prompts, 5 colorful set backdrops, and 9 double-sided paper puppets. Enormously friendly fun, "Wolf Tales" is unreservedly recommended for preschool, elementary school, family, and community library collections.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Bera the One-Headed Troll
Eric Orchard
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626721067 $17.99

Bera the One-Headed Troll is a full-color graphic novel for all ages, about a humble, one-headed troll content with tending her island pumpkin patch, until she unexpectedly rescues a human baby. An evil witch is in hot pursuit of the baby. Can Bera successfully escape the witch and return the baby to its human homeland? Perhaps the local troll hero will help; then again, perhaps will Bera will have to rely on her own wits to save the day! A whimsical, heartwarming adventure from cover to cover, Bera the One-Headed Troll is highly recommended, especially for public library graphic novel collections.

Ogres Awake!
James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781596436534 $14.99

Ogres Awake! is hardcover graphic novel for all ages about the valiant Knight and his trusty horse Edward as they race against time to prepare for an ogre invasion! When the Knight spots ogres asleep near the castle, he rushes to warn the King and the castle gnomes at once, since everyone knows that when ogres wake up they smash and destroy everything in sight! Of course, the valiant and loyal Knight is ready to serve his King and country... but just what is the King's plan, and why is the King handing him a vegetable peeler? Bright colors and a cheerful moral about the wisdom of using one's head rather than one's sword to solve problems distinguish this delightful storybook.

Compass South
Hope Larson
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780374300432, $17.99, HC, 290pp,

It's 1860 in New York City. When 12-year-old twins Alexander and Cleopatra's father disappears, they join the Black Hook Gang and are caught by the police pulling off a heist. They agree to reveal the identity of the gang in exchange for tickets to New Orleans. But once there, Alex is shanghaied to work on a ship that is heading for San Francisco via Cape Horn. Cleo stows away on a steamer to New Granada where she hopes to catch a train to San Francisco to find her brother. Neither Alexander nor Cleo realizes the real danger they are in-they are being followed by pirates who think they hold the key to treasure. How they outwit the pirates and find each other makes for a fast-paced, breathtaking adventure. A riveting read by an impressively skilled storyteller, Hope Larson's "Compass South" is an extraordinary graphic novel superbly illustrated by Rebecca Mock. Very highly recommended for young readers age 10 to 12, "Compass South" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library Graphic Novel collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Compass South" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Cinebook Ltd.
56 Beech Ave., Canterbury, Kent, CT4 7TA, UK
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706

Two colorful graphic novels from Cinebook will appeal to readers of all ages. "Spirou & Fantasio 10: Virus" (9781849182973, $11.95) by Tome and Janry features the scoop-chasing reporters Spirou, Fantasio, and their squirrel associate Spip as they investigate disturbing rumors behind a cargo ship from Antarctica. But a deathly ill man has escaped quarantine, setting the duo on a race against time to obtain components for a cure! In "Lucky Luke 58: The Dalton's Stash" (9781849182980, $11.95) by Morris and Vicq, legendary sharpshooter Lucky Luke has more problems than he can shake a cigarette at; not only have the villainous Dalton brothers escaped, but corruption is afoot in the Old West - and just why are the Dalton brothers so eager to dig their way in to a different penitentiary? What could they possibly be searching for? Both graphic novels have self-contained stories and make great "jumping-on" points for their respective series!

The Music CD Shelf

Preschool Basic Skills
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477, Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477

Preschool Basic Skills: Literacy, Math, Colors & More! is an educational music CD created especially for preschool-age children, at school or at home. The songs encourage physical actions and are designed to help build foundational skills that aid in success at school. Topics covered include alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, simple counting/addition/subtraction, and colors/shapes. Preschool Basic Skills is an excellent enrichment for preschool library music collections, homeroom activity, or just plan family fun with little ones! The tracks are "Alphabet Stretch", "The Alphabet Rock", "Nursery Rhyme Tap", "Rhyming Word Shuffle", "Say and Rhyme", "Peter Piper", "Good Together", "Diggin' Up Dinosaur Bones", "Echo Sticks", "Hickory Dickory Count", "One Dinosaur", "Five Little Frogs", "Five Little Monkeys", "The Color Game", "Monster Color Game", "One Blue Square", and "Shapes in Action". Also highly recommended for young people in preschool through middle grades is "Best Multicultural Songs for Kids" ($15.95).

To Follow Apollo
Jim Thorne
Privately Published
$9.99 CD / $6.99 download

To Follow Apollo: Songs About Kids in Space is a themed children's music album, featuring seven story-songs about two young explorers of the solar system named Tommy and Laura. They discover the original Apollo landing sites on the moon, travel to three more places that were planned for Apollo yet cancelled, land on Mercury, find animal constellations in the sky, and even visit another star! An awe-inspiring educational adventure, To Follow Apollo is highly recommended especially for children's public library and personal music collections.

Post Folk Absurdist
$13.99 CD / $10.99 download

Post Folk Absurdist is a family-friendly music CD by Funkinships, a band whose core members include Iraq veteran Derek McGee and professional musician Charlie Chamberlain. Together, they have created an idyllic, laugh-out-loud fun collection of songs brimming with the energy of an all-night jam session. Post Folk Absurdist is pure whimsical delight with a touch of nautical theme, highly recommended! The tracks are "Sea Legs", "The Platypus and the Stevesuscemi", "A Dragon Tale", "If you Can't Sing Well, Sing Loud", "Kid Van Winkle", "Chicken Flap Fly", "The Shad and the Eel", "Nightmare on the Kid's Menu", "Left Foot Right Foot", and "The Great White Ball".

Spaceship Earth: Caring for Our Planet
Music by Bay Song
Keenan Literacy & Learning
$12.97 CD / $12.97 download,

Spaceship Earth: Caring for Our Planet is a children's music CD crafted around the themes of good stewardship, respect for nature, and preservation of the delicate ecological balance. Touching on topics ranging from recycling, to watersheds and the importance of oceans, to the celebration of Earth Day, these educational songs are as heartwarming and educational as they are just plain fun. Spaceship Earth is especially recommended for public and school library children's music collections. The tracks are "Spaceship Earth" (2:42), "Nature's Outside Your Door" (1:33), "The Butterfly Song" (2:41), "A Habitat is Where It's At" (3:48), "Cycle of the Seasons" (2:51), "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" (1:56), "May the River Frun "Free" (3:57), "We Need the Oceans" (2:55), "Care for the Earth" (2:12), "Bio, Bio, Bio, Biodiversity" (2:50), "Web of Life" (3:51), "The Nature Dance" (2:34), "Grain of Sand" (3:11), "Sustainability" (2:41), "Earth Day Celebration" (2:48), "Rachel, Rachel" (3:32), and "Sustain the Earth" (2:49).

Recess Monkey
$12.99 CD / $8.99 MP3

Novelties is a delightful album chock full of original songs by independent family-music performers Recess Monkey. Charming wordplay and catchy rhymes make songs as sweet as the ice cream treats Novelties is named after! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Every Flavor", "Sweaty Yeti", "Show and Tell", "Chasing My Tail", "Snowball", "Piggyback", "Bear with a Bear", "Mustaches of the World", "Smitten for Kitten", "Time to Make the Donuts", "Wind Up Robot", "Lovestruck Unicorn", "The Band Next Door", and "My Guitar". 39 min.

Press Play
Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could
$11.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Two-time Grammy Award nominee Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could present Press Play, an accordion-laced, pop-rock-keyboard-guitar album that the whole family can enjoy. The original songs draw freely from a variety of American music traditions, from piano ballad to New Orleans boogie. Press Play is a vivacious good time, perfect for keeping spirits high during car trips, everyday chores, or just plain any day! The tracks are "Don't Knock It 'Til You Try It", "Me on the Map", "I Surprised Myself", "It's a Beauty", "The Only One", "Hold This Home Together", "Chain Reaction", "Dress in Blue", "Your Love Turns the World Around", "Switcheroo Day", and "One Day by the Riverside".

In My Dreams
Dean Jones
Dog On Fleas
$11.99 CD / $8.99 download

In My Dreams is a family-friendly album that encourages listeners to think about everyday things from a different point of view. Rather than drive home a strict message, the songs ask open-ended questions, such as "Have You Ever Been Real?", or "Who was the first person in the history of the world to snuggle up with a feline?", encouraging the listener to ponder at length. In My Dreams is creative, inspirational, and highly recommended. The tracks are "What Kind of Fruit?" (2:33), "Humans are Still Evolving" (2:43), "Animal Collective" (3:12), "Do You Talk to Yourself?" (2:21), "People Watching" (2:56), "Monkey C. Monkey" (2:14), "In My Dreams I Have a Dog" (2:08), "Feline" (2:23), "Oh Little Baby" (2:37), "Swiss Cheese Angels" (3:16), "Fly Like a Bird" (3:02), "Have You Ever Been Real?" (2:35), and "Night Time" (2:42).

The Playground Zone
Alphabet Rockers
$7.00 CD / $5.00 download

The Playground Zone is a six-song, kid-friendly EP album by Alphabet Rockers, a team devoted to promote learning among children and families through hip hop music. Each lively song is great for dancing, and explores issues of race, ethnicity, and community while celebrating diversity. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Players' Life", "That's Your Name, Wear it Out!", "Wiggle Jiggle", "Oddball", "Gimme Some Skin", and "Change the World".

The Holiday Shelf

Christmas Heart
Joyce Johnson Rouse
Rouse House Music
PO Box 450, Independence, VA 24348
$15.00 CD / $10.00 MP3

Joyce "Earth Mama" Rouse presents Christmas Heart, a holiday-themed music CD for the whole family. Some of the songs have religious themes that celebrate God's love and the birth of Jesus Christ; all are shining with the universal joy and camaraderie of the season. An included lyric booklet makes Christmas Heart ideal for sharing and singing aloud, especially at Christmas caroling or parties. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Christmas Heart" (3:18), "Close To The Earth" (4:26), "Baby Child, Baby King" (2:34), "The Angel Tree" (3:49), "First Christmas Waltz" (3:27), "Christmas Candles" (2:52), "Quaker Christmas Medley" (5:03), "For Christmas" (3:25), "Fear Not (in the Stile Nacht)" (5:20), and "Green Christmas" (4:57).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Jack Death
M. L. Windsor
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547286, $12.99, HC, 165pp,

Jack is an ordinary boy except that his father happens to be Death. Nadine is a perfectly normal girl except that her Mother is - oh well, that's a Secret and not to be carelessly revealed. The important thing is that together, these two incredibly average children discover the lemon-headed villain behind the destruction of the Magical Creature Reserve and piece together his plot to divide the Golden and Black Bloods. They may even save a few lives. An original, entertaining, deftly crafted fantasy novel by M. L. Windsor, "Jack Death" is very highly recommended for school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections, as well as the personal reading lists for children ages 8 to 12 and in grades 2 through 7.

The LGBT Shelf

Lily and Dunkin
Donna Gephart
Delacorte Press
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780553536744 $16.99

Lily and Dunkin is a powerful novel for readers age 10 and up about Lily Jo, a transgender girl. Lily was born Timothy; she has always known she was a girl, but she looks like a boy. She's in the eighth grade, and when she befriends a bipolar boy who also doesn't quite fit in, her life changes. From bullies and adult strife to emerging identities, the two new friends find their very different lives challenged and changed in new ways, with acceptance and kindness the ultimate rewards for being strong enough to face the world in their real identities.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Mystery of the Missing Fox
Written by Tamra Wight
Illustrated by Carl DiRocco
Islandport Press
PO Box 10, Yarmouth ME 04096
9781939017895 $16.95 / $9.99 Kindle

The Mystery of the Missing Fox is a novel for middle grade readers about young Cooper Wilder, who encounters a campground mystery. Cooper has his own problems; his dad suffered an accident and is recovering in the hospital, which in turn forces Cooper to bear new responsibilities. Then Cooper and his friends discover a fox caught in an illegal trap on the campground's land, and kits start to disappear from the fox den. Who would steal baby foxes, and why? Cooper, Packrat, and Roy must work fast to save the wild animals! A handful of black-and-white illustrations intersperse this thoughtful mystery, highly recommended for young adult fiction shelves and public library children's collections.

Books in Series

American Politics Today
Eldorado Ink
PO Box 100097, Pittsburgh, PA 15233
8 Volume Set: S/L $26.95, List $33.95; Individual Titles List $16.95

Just in time for the Fall 2016 presidential election, the eight volume series 'American Politics Today' from Eldorado will give young readers an informed and informative descriptive and current insight into the various elements of American government and it works. From exploring the modern political parties and branches, to fundraising and processes, young readers will be able to develop and deepen their understanding of the functioning of the U.S. government. The individual titles comprising this outstanding series include: The House of Representatives Today (9781619000971); The U.S. Senate Today (9781619001046); Lobbyists and Special Interest Groups (9781619000988); The Modern Democratic Party (9781619000919); The Republican Party (9781619000926); Tea Party, Libertarian and Other Political Parties (9780606382908); Pacs, Super Pacs and Fundraising (9781619000988); The Presidential Election Process (9781619001022). Each library bound, hardcover, 64 page volume is specially written and illustrated to appeal to students in grades 6 to 12. Although individual titles are available separately in paperback, it is very strongly recommended for school and community librarians to acquire the entire hardcover set. A special note: the 'American Politics Today' series is ideal as text book material for school civics classes and home schooling curriculums.

A Birthday Party for Mother Earth
Laurenn Prater Barker, author/illustrator
Expressions Studio
7040 Avenida Encinas, Ste. 104, Carlsbad, CA 92011
9780982417263, $9.95, PB, 44pp,

The eighth title in the Lae Lae series, "A Birthday Party for Mother Earth: The Adventures of Lae Lae, a Story and Activity Book" reinforces positive values such as respect and love for humans, animals, and the environment, kindness and compassion for others who are less fortunate, respect for people from different backgrounds and cultures, intergenerational caring and respect, and encouraging appreciation of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Lae Lae wants to create a birthday party to celebrate mother Earth. With the help of her friends Amalia, from Colombia, Raj from India, Timmy with family in Italy, Beke from Ethiopia, and Ayako from Japan, Lae Lae helps to plan and enjoy a wonderful celebration with a birthday cake made of mud and decorated with acorns and things from the earth. Each child contributes a special food and a special gift to the gathering. In the end, all the children enjoy a picnic of Lae Lae's Irish stew, Timmy's Italian bread, and wonderful fruit from Colombia and India. Even more intriguing are the activity and story telling pages which follow, including a Hopi story of the power of the hummingbird, a folk tale about the strength of unity from India, a page about the gazelle from Ethiopia, and the Japanese legend of Grandfather Cherry Blossom. Special activities pages teach about the value of trees, plus some fun recipes for making Irish stew and Italian bread. In addition there are puzzle and game pages, plus crafts like making a paper moon, The pages of "A Birthday Party for Mother Earth" are decorated with sensitive colored pencil drawings of all the children enjoying their birthday party celebration for Mother Earth. This excellent story and activity book is filled with positive learning experiences for children age 2 to 6. The Lae Lae collection has been awarded a Family Choice Award for the best in children's and parenting products in April, 2016.

MyaGrace Wants To Make Music
Jo Meserve Mach and Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier, authors
Mary Birdsell, photographer
Jo Mach, Publisher
Finding My Way Books
9780986379208, $19.49 HC, $8.99 PB, 50pp,

"MyaGrace Wants To Make Music" is an exciting new title from a series featuring true stories of inclusion and the development of skills needed for self-determination. Finding My Way Books, the publisher, promotes books about real children who deal with special needs or disabilities. Filled with color photo portraits and brief narrative explanatory text, "MyaGrace Wants To Make Music" appeals to kids who might have reading skills at K-2 or less. MyaGrace is excited because she wants to learn to make music like the other members of her family. Each of her three brothers and both her parents play different musical instruments. MyaGrace is beginning to learn to play piano. A touching visual narrative shows MyaGrace attending her piano lesson with her piano teacher, Cathie. Cathie introduces MyaGrace to the piano keyboard and encourages her to use both hands to play notes on the piano, after practicing. When MyaGrace is distracted by another sound from outside, Cathie redirects her to the lesson and making music on the piano. She even helps MyaGrace to compose her own song and learn to clap the rhythm and play it, also writing it down for her. MyaGrace is happy and proud of her accomplishment and growing ability to make music with her family. "MyaGrace Wants to Make Music" is described as a true story promoting inclusion and self-determination. It is a very inspiring book. In addition to the story, there is a MyaGrace Wants To Make Music index listing specific self-determination skills and more, a Family Guide for Promoting Self-Determination, and Classroom Activities for 'MyaGrace Wants To Make Music.' It is especially effective that the story is written from the viewpoint and in the voice of the child, MyaGrace. Other titles by the same authors from this publisher and series that are also highly recommended include: "MyaGrace Wants To Get Ready (978096835794)," "I Don't Know If I Want a Puppy (9780990354338)," "Marco and I Want To Play Ball (9780990354376)," "I Want To Be Like Poppin' Joe (9780990354321)," and "Kaitlyn Wants To See Ducks (9780990354314)."

Amy Beattie and Sara Coppin, authors
Rosen Publishing
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781499462319, $26.95, Library Binding, 63pp,

"Hiking" is a practical, condensed, color photo-illustrated guide to hikers featuring challenges of such trails as the Appalachian Trail, trails in the Grand Canyon, National Park trails, trails in Australia, Germany, and even the Stairway to heaven trail on Oahu Island in Hawaii. While not claiming to be comprehensive, "Hiking" offers condensed hiking information and wisdom on things to bring, distance and climate considerations, terrain, ideas to help stay safe, hiking traditions and clubs, and other hiking activities such as birdwatching, journaling and self reflection, and geocaching. A practical list of things to bring when hiking and camping overnight includes a large backpack, tent, ground cloth, sleeping bag and pad, any needed medications, water filter or iodine tablets, camping pots, spoons and cups, cleaning supplies, and lightweight food that is resistant to spoilage. In addition to many hiking tips, safety concerns, and planning suggestions, there are added pages containing further reading suggestions, addresses and websites for more information, and a glossary of terms. "Hiking" is an excellent introduction to the challenging and rewarding pastime for readers age 12 and up. Other titles covered in this exciting series include "Bike Trekking," "Camping," "Fishing," "Hunting," "Kayaking," "Snowmobiling," and "Trail Riding."

Go West: First Contact With Native Nations
Cynthia O'Brien, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778723318, $$27.60 HC, $8.95 PB, 32pp,

"Go West: First Contact With Native Nations" is an excellent overview of issues arising from the traveling of White Americans to the western regions during the period from 1800-1890. Headlines and sidebars illustrated with photos and drawings from the era keep interest high, while color coded maps of North America show the original distribution of seven regions of different types of native peoples. A later map dated 1894 titled "A Changed Land" shows how native peoples of the West were forced to relocate or live on small reservations that totally limited and changed their former ways of living. The final chapter, Legacy of Settlement covers the Dawes Act, last resistance of the Sioux at Wounded Knee, the impact of mission schools with intent to erase or wipe out native heritage, and the ongoing struggle, in which native peoples today are fighting for the restoration of rights and land decisions within the legal system. "Go West: First Contact With Native Nations" documents that the conflict between settlers and native peoples often arose from the ignoring of the native peoples' previous settlement of and right to occupy the territory. A Glossary, list of web sites and books, plus a Western expansion timeline from 1803 to 1890 documents many important events in this period of intense change. The Go West series has appeal for students age 10-11 and up with a guided reading level of T, S or I. Other volumes from the Go West series that are also highly recommended include: "Go West With Famous Trailblazers (9780778723240)," by Rachel Stuckey, "Go West With Settlers and Farmers (9780778723301)," by Rachel Stuckey, "Go West With Cowboys and Ranchers (9780778723226)," by Tim Cooke, "Go West With Merchants and Traders (9780778723264)," by Cynthia O'Brien, and "Go West With Miners, Prospectors, and Loggers (9780778723288)," by Cynthia O'Brien.

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

Crabtree's elementary-level series titles are solid acquisitions for any librarian interested in building a nonfiction collection of books that tie into the curriculum with contemporary perspectives and eye-catching color photos which supplements their facts with an approach that will attract both young researchers and leisure readers alike. 'Math on the Job' is one example, offering a set of titles that links math processes to real-world activities. Building a Business (9780778723578), Working in Sports (9780778723622), Serving Your Community (9780778723608), Caring for Marine Animals (9780778723585), Working in Construction (9780778723615) and Keeping People Healthy (9780778723592) all show how math is key to different career goals, presenting problems that can only be solved by math and including exercises and sidebars of information that lend to the process of understanding. Each 32-page book includes an index, glossary, and websites and books for further details. Robin Johnson's 'Severe Weather Close-Up' series of books offers 24 pages each, including an index, glossary, and bibliography, and invites kids to not just read about the properties of severe weather, but think about their science and impact. "What is A?" titles include Flood (9780778723967), Heat Wave (9780778723974), Tornado (9780778724230), Blizzard (9780778723950), Thunderstorm (9780778724001), and Hurricane (9780778723981) and discusses the science behind weather events and how each differently affects mankind. The "No Kidding: Jokes, Riddles and Games!" series uses jokes, riddles and games to impart its information and provides 32 pages each of detail that require good reading skills from picture book elementary readers. Sports! (9780778723905), Monster and Creepy-Crawly (9780778723899), Around the World (9780778723882), and Animal! (9780778723875) each utilize humor to impart information. All these titles will attract discriminating library purchasers who look for curriculum-supporting volumes that not only stand out, but are lasting additions.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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