Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Children's Bookwatch

Children's Bookwatch

Volume 30, Number 7 July 2020 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Board Book Shelf Picturebook Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Biography Shelf YA Fiction Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Environmental Shelf Science Shelf
Humor Shelf Activity Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf LGBT Shelf Books in Series
Story Monsters Ink Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Can You Be An Artist?
Liesel Soley
Book Publishers Network
9781935359692, $16.95, 28pp

The warmly charming and little reader engaging picture book story by storyteller and illustrator Liesel Soley, "Can You Be An Artist?", is about three ordinary young people that include a boy named Freddie and his family and the people he meets, a young girl named Honey and her family and friends, as well as another boy named Bae Cho whose family was originally from Korea and his life in New York City. "Can You Be An Artist?" is an entertaining delight that with its message for young readers ages 5-8 that they can and should 'Dare to follow your dreams! Dare to be yourself! Dare to be free!!' That anyone can be an artist if they want to! "Can You Be An Artist" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children.

Great Grandma's Shed
Helen Nickolson, author
Tanya Maneki, illustrator
Adelaide Books LLC
9781950437986, $14.90, HC, 66pp,

While driving her daughter Katherine to daycare about 28 years ago, Helen began telling her "dreams" about Old Red, the kind convertible with magical powers who lived next to them in the country. He also had some adopted buddies -- a Dalmatian called Cutie Pie and a duck named Teepo. These stories were very comforting to Katherine, especially when she didn't want to be separated from her mother. Now these impressively original and whimsically entertaining stories are available to all children and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library storybook collections for young readers.

Sarah Perry
Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682
9781947440050, $16.99, HC, 48pp,

Sarah Perry is a sculptor who lives in California's Tehachapi Mountains. First published in 1995, Sarah Perry's delightful and unique picture book of "surreal possibilities" in which leaves turn into fish, cats fly with wings, humans have tails, frogs eat rainbows, and dreams become visible was the Getty's first children's title. Reissued to celebrate a remarkable book's 25th anniversary it remains a visual feast that children of all ages enjoy. This enhanced edition from Getty Publications includes new illustrations and a reader's guide to the secrets of "If..." and is sure to appeal to a brand-new generation -- making it unreservedly recommended family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8.

Rover Throws A Party
Kristen L. Gray, author
Scott Magoon, illustrator
Knopf Books for Young Readers
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780525646488, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

It's Rover's anniversary on Mars! Time to celebrate by throwing the best party this planet has ever seen. Rover hands out invitations all over town, but it seems like he's the only one around. Will anyone come to the party, or will Rover be all alone on his big day?

In 2013, NASA programmed their Curiosity rover to hum "Happy Birthday to You" in honor of its first year on Mars. Inspired by this anecdote, "Rover Throws A Party" is the picture book tale of a lonely rover and his party, accompanied by fascinating Mars rover facts that help explain the real science behind the story.

This fun birthday tale provides an accessible, kid-friendly look at one of NASA's coolest programs and is very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library science themed picture book collections for children ages 3-7. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rover Throws A Party" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Education Shelf

I Love My Teacher
Giles Andreae, author
Emma Dodd, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
9781368027304, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

The collaborative work of author/storyteller Giles Andreae and artist/illustrator Emma Dodd, "I Love My Teacher" is a colorful, fun-filled picture book for children ages 3-5 that is all about school! "I Love My Teacher" begins with kids put their coat on the hook, then goes on with show and tell, reading and writing, then playtime, making things and singing. Teacher makes sure every school day is the best! This sweet and simple story follows a typical school day, from morning hello's to going home time. Perfect for sharing with a little one so they know just what to expect when they start school, "I Love My Teacher" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school and community library picture book collections.

Aliana Reaches for the Moon
Laura Roettiger, author
Ariel Boroff, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
PO Box 66, Lemont, PA 16851
9781632331977, $14.99, HC, 32pp,

Aliana loves observing everything in nature. When she notices how bright the light of the full moon shines into her room, she spends time learning about the moon and experimenting with light. As she prepares for her brother's birthday, she plans a wonderful surprise to be revealed with the next full moon. A STEAM book for aspiring scientists ages 4-10, "Aliana Reaches for the Moon" is an especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Aliana Reaches for the Moon" is now also readily available in a paperback edition (9781632331960, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Self-Help Shelf

Always Be A Unicorn
Pearl E. Horne, author
Kendra Spanjer, illustrator
Bailiwick Press
9781934649794, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

"Always Be A Unicorn" by the team of author/storyteller Pearl E. Horne and artist/illustrator Kendra Spanjer is a remarkable new unicorn book that celebrates individuality, kindness, family, friendship, and courage. A charmingly entertaining and even inspiring unicorn picture book for kids and grownups alike, "Always Be A Unicorn" urges readers of all ages to believe in their remarkable, singular, imperfect selves. And it's not what's on the outside that makes a unicorn a unicorn. It's what's on the inside. Which means anyone can be a unicorn! Yes, you. And you. And YOU! Very highly recommended, especially for school and community library collections, "Always Be A Unicorn" has the underlying message that we should all 'frolic in every forest. Slide down every rainbow. Swim in every glittery sea. And charge fearlessly in the direction of your most outlandish dreams'! It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Always Be A Unicorn" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Think Outside the Box
Justine Avery & Liuba Syrotiuk
Suteki Creative
9781948124577, $14.95 Hardcover/$7.95 Paper/$1.99 Kindle

'Think outside the box' is a common admonition when one is stymied about life's puzzles, but how many books take the time to explain the process of doing so; much less how a young person should approach this idea at an early age?

Justine Avery & Liuba Syrotiuk's picture book is just the ticket for kids navigating "...a world filled with rules/Where there are so many different options,/When you need to find your own way...". From a solid definition of the concept ("Thinking outside the box is like coloring outside the lines - on purpose.") to the mechanics of how to conduct purposeful creative thinking, young kids are encouraged to visualize and approach problems with a different skill set than logic alone. The lively and fun visuals illustrating this difficult, ethereal concept lend to a story that will best be enjoyed by read-aloud parents and kids together. This picture book proves that creative thinking can begin at an early age, with just a little guidance from an adult and a fun approach like that encouraged by Think Outside the Box.

The Board Book Shelf

Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210

Child's Play has now come out with three large (8.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches) new 26 page board books by author and illustrator Ailie Busby for children ages 0-3 with nursery class themes. "Five Little Ducks: First Book of Nursery Games" (9781786284105, $7.99) showcases well-known games, with a sprinkling of modern variations that provide fun in any young child's day. "Pat-A-Cake: First Book of Nursery Rhymes" (9781786284112, $7.99) features well-known rhymes, with a sprinkling of modern variations, to fit every occasion in a young child's day. "See-Saw!: First Book of Nursery Songs" (9781786284099, $7.99) is comprised of many well-known songs, with a sprinkling of modern variations, suitable for every occasion in a young child's day. Vibrantly colorful and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, this 'Nursery Time' trilogy is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections for children.

The Picturebook Shelf

That Dog!
Emma Lazell
Pavilion Books
9781843654476, $16.95, 32pp,

There's a team of dognappers on the loose! They've stolen lots of pooches, but this time they're up against a very clever dog. The cunning Penelope Dognapper is very keen to get her hands on the latest rare breed, the lesser-spotted woofer. Her big mistake is sending Patrick, her accomplice, to do the job. He has great difficulty identifying the right dog (that dog) and in a house that also contains a snake, a tortoise, and a characterful cat, you can imagine the chaos that ensues as he tries to steal the dog. And that dog is a very smart woofer. He's a bit of a detective in his spare time, and he might just have worked out who's behind the dastardly crimes. Will he avoid getting caught himself and rescue his fellow creatures? "That Dog!" is a thoroughly entertaining and 'kid friendly' picture book for children ages 3-5 -- making it an unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Do Not Rake Your Garden in a Party Dress
Aimee Bissonette, author
Kelly Pousette, illustrator
Cameron + Company
9781944903855, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

A tea party in the garden becomes a cautionary tale in the pages of the children's picture book "Do Not Rake Your Garden in a Party Dress". Artist/illustrator Kelly Pousette's elegant, full color, dimensional collage illustrations are a perfect framework of author/storyteller Aimee Bissonette new and original story for children ages 5-7. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.62), "Do Not Rake Your Garden in a Party Dress" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

That's Good, That's Bad
Joan M. Lexau, author
Aliki, illustrator
Prestel Junior
c/o Prestel Publishing
9783791374192, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

A boy is sitting on a rock in the jungle when a tiger approaches him. "Run!" says the tiger, "or I will eat you!" But the boy is too tired to run and in order to avoid being eaten he tells the tiger a story. What follows is a thrilling and original picture tale by author/storyteller Joan M. Lexau and artist/illustrator Aliki that will captivate children ages 3-7 just as thoroughly as it captivated the hungry tiger. Kids will enjoy waiting breathlessly for every flip of the page as the boy tells his story involving a rhinoceros and a crocodile. Originally published in 1963 and out of print for many years, this new edition of "That's Good, That's Bad" showcases fabulous vintage style illustrations preserving the vivid colors of the original book while introducing a new generation of young readers to a skillfully told story-within-a-story with a surprising and satisfying ending. Simply stated, "That's Good, That's Bad" is unreservedly recommended for all family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Welcome Wagon: A Cubby Hill Tale
Caroi Doerrfeld
Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419744174, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

When curious young bear Cooper Cub notices a new family moving to town, he jumps on his scooter and sets off on a journey through Cubby Hill, assembling his best friends to welcome the newcomers. They can't help but wonder what the new family will be like. What if they don't like flowers or play video games? What if they're not like anyone who's ever lived in town? "The Welcome Wagon: A Cubby Hill Tale" by author and illustrator Cori Doerrfeld is a sweet picture book story for children ages 3-7 all about welcoming new people and making new friends. Charmingly entertaining and original, "The Welcome Wagon: A Cubby Hill Tale" is a very highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Welcome Wagon: A Cubby Hill Tale" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Samuel Drew Hasn't a Clue
Gabby Dawnay, author
Alex Barrow, illustrator
Tate Publishing
c/o Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781849766425, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

A young boy named Samuel Drew makes his way through the busy streets pulling a curious package behind him. But what could be inside? As all the animals try to guess, a wonderful parade begins to form, leading to a very special party! The collaborative work of London based author/storyteller Gabby Dawnay and artist/illustrator Alex Barrow is a delightfully whimsical and fully entertaining picture book for children ages 3-6 that is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library collections.

Inner Child
Henry Blackshaw
Cicada Books
9781908714817, $14.95, HC, 36pp,

With Henry Blackshaw's "Inner Child", kids ages 5-6,will learn that all adults have a child inside them! Adults may try to hide them by pretending to be busy and stressed all the time, but as all kids know, it's impossible to keep an adult's 'inner child' fully hidden. Sometimes they just have to come out and PLAY! "Inner Child" is a delightful and thoroughly 'kid friendly' book will appeal to adults and children equally, explaining why adults behave in the strange ways that they do, and how important it is to preserve the place of playfulness and joy inside all of us. Original, entertaining, and charmingly delightful, "Inner Child" is highly recommended for elementary school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Inner Child" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781908714688, $11.81).

Ellie Makes a Friend
Mike Wu, author/illustrator
Disney Hyperion
9781368010009, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

A panda has joined the zoo, and just like Ellie the elephant, she's an artist! Ellie is thrilled to make a new friend, but with everyone so impressed by Ping's distinctive painting skills, Ellie starts to question her own talent. As she learns more about her new friend from China, though, Ellie finds that a fresh perspective can lead to new inspiration -- and maybe something wonderful they can create together! Cheerfully illustrated by a gifted children's storyteller, Mike Wu's new and original picture book for children ages 3-5 is unreservedly recommended as an addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ellie Makes a Friend" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Dudley's Day at Home
Karen Kaufman Orloff, author
Renee Andriani, illustrator
Flash Light Press
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781947277267, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

"What does Dudley do all day while we're away?" Sam wonders. Mom explains that Dudley does ordinary dog things: he eats, naps, guards the house, and plays. But in Sam's mind, Dudley's day at home is anything but ordinary. Delightful digital paintings by Renee Andriani depict the human activities Sam imagines Dudley is doing -- which don't quite match Mom's explanations. "Dudley's Day at Home" is a funny, fetching picture book by author/storyteller Karen Kaufman Orloff that uses minimal text and maximal visual storytelling to share a day in a dog's life. Very highly recommended for the family, daycare, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-5, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dudley's Day at Home" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Welcome To Your World
Smriti Prasadam-Halls, author
Jaime Kim, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536206227, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Featuring lyrical language combined with stunning illustrations, and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, "Welcome to Your World" is a beautifully presented picture book that takes children ages 2-5 from ice-capped mountains to the depths of the sea. Tender scenes between animals and their babies encourage families to join in the loving bond that connects them to one another and to the wonders of our planet. A simply beautiful picture book that is ideal for sharing with new babies, new parents, and children just venturing out in the world "Welcome to Your World" is both a celebration of nature and a gentle reminder to protect it.

The Right Place
Beatrice Masini, author
Simona Mulazzani, illustrator
Barefoot Books
9781782859819, $16.99, HC, 24pp,

The collaborative work of author/storyteller Beatrice Masini and artist/illustrator Simona Mulazzani, "The Right Place" is the picture book story of a squirrel who wakes from hibernation only to feel that something is wrong with his home. After consulting with his forest friends the squirrel realizes that it's their community that is what makes a place right. While certain to be an enduringly welcome, original, thoughtful and entertaining addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Right Place" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781782859826, $8.99).

The Round Box
Lois Wickstrom, author
Francie Mion, illustrator
Gripper Products
c/o Look Under Rocks
9780916176709, $19.99, HC, 26pp,

When Carrie's Grandma moved across town, she left 4 boxes in a closet marked KEEP. Fascinator, Wandas, Feathers and Dowse. The Fascinator box is round. Inside is a boat. The boat is a hat. Carrie puts it on and her world rocks! "The Round Box" is the second book in the Grandma's Closet series by author/storyteller Lois Wickstrom and artist/illustrator Francie Mion. Delightfully charming and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4-8, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Round Box" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780916176716, $11.99).

Molly's Moon Mission
Duncan Beedie
Templar Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536210163, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Molly the moth loves her home and her family, but she yearns for adventure. So by day Molly helps her mother, and by night she prepares for her space mission -- to the moon! But nobody Molly meets believes that a little moth can make it all the way to the moon. It's no easy feat for a moth to fly so far, but luckily Molly has no intention of giving up on her dream! Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie, "Molly's Moon Mission" is an impressively original and charmingly entertaining picture book for children ages 4-6. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Molly's Moon Mission" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781787413405, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Fort
Laura Perdew, author
Adelina Lirius, illustrator
Page Street Kids
c/o Page Street Publishing
9781624149252, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Can a pirate and a prince learn to share? In the fort in the woods, a prince is preparing his castle for a lively feast for the royal kingdom. Unbeknownst to him, a pirate uses the same fort as her ship, planning to venture out to the open seas in search of treasure. But when a treasure map appears on the prince's party invitations, and the pirate finds that her sword has turned into a scepter, they realize there is an intruder in the castle -- no, ship! Soon, a battle over the fort between the adversaries ensues, leading to a humorous showdown. When they make amends, their amazing imaginations come up with a new adventure -- together! Kids ages 4-8 will revel in the spirited and imaginative battle and be thrilled by the turn of events. Dynamic and charismatic illustrations by Adelina Lirius charmingly enhanced this witty, original, and impressively entertaining tale Laura Perdew, making "The Fort" and especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Who Stole the Sun?
Clair Georgelli
Faros Books
c/o Independent Publishers Group
9781913060008, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Clair Georgelli has written and illustrated various books for children, some of which have obtained distinctions as the 'White Ravens' Award of International Youth Library in Munich and EVGE Awards. In 2008 she co-founded Polkadot Design studio that works internationally for Cultural Foundations, Editorial Design and Publishing Houses among others.

With "Who Stole the Sun?", Clair has created a picture book story about a quiet and peaceful village where everything was fine until the moment that someone took the sun away! But why would someone do such a funny thing? A picture book with playful illustrations, a little bit of mystery, a lot of fun, and simple comprehensive forms for children ages 3-5, "Who Stole the Sun?" is an ideal and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

To the Moon and Back for You
Emilia Bechrakis Serhant, author
E. G. Keller, illustrator
Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780593173886, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Charmingly illustrated throughout by E. G. Keller, "To the Moon and Back for You" author/storyteller Emilia Bechrakis Serhant's debut picture book for children ages 4-8 that poignantly explores her own difficulty conceiving and her life-changing experiences with IVF.

I swam through the deepest ocean.
I climbed the tallest mountain.
Finding you was a journey.
And meeting you was my greatest joy.

Emilia's story reminds children (and their parents) that, despite the challenges and complications often thrown their way, hope will always prevail. "To the Moon and Back for You" combines a timeless feel with a timely subject, and is poised to become a modern classic for years to come.

While an unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "To the Moon and Back for You" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps
Nicola Winstanley, author
John Martz, illustrator
Tundra Books
9780735263543, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

In "How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps" a delightfully entertaining picture book by the team of author/storyteller Nicola Winstanley and artist/illustrator John Martz, a little girl and a know-it-all narrator are thwarted by a cat who refuses to take a bath. Even though the steps to do so are quite straight forward:

Step one: fill the bath
Step two: put the cat in the bath
Step three: put shampoo on the cat
Step four: rinse the cat
Step five: dry the cat

Seems simple, right? One problem: the cat has no intention of doing ANY of these things! Children ages 3-7 will enjoy reading about how, as the steps keep changing, the cat keeps escaping, the girl keeps eating cookies, and the mess keeps escalating. Soon it's not just the cat who needs a bath -- it's the whole house!

"How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
4035 Park East Court SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Four new picture books are beautiful displays that should capture the attention of any discriminating library looking for lasting acquisitions for young readers. Rose Robbins's Me and My Sister (9780802855428, $16.99) follows the issues that arise from growing up with an autistic sibling. As it explores the challenges of dealing with a sister who doesn't use actual words, has dissimilar tastes and interests, and prefers very singular activities, readers gain insights into not only autism, but how very different siblings live together and love one another. The story is a gentle reminder of family ties and love even when personalities and approaches to life are a challenge. Riccardo Guasco's What a Masterpiece! (9780802855398, $17.99) is a wordless picture book best appreciated by young readers and artistic adults who work with them, and uses visuals to explore what it would be like to see the world from each artist's perspective. From van Gogh's bedroom to Escher's stairs and Gustave Eiffel's tower, a key to artwork from different centuries in artists at the back of the book follows the educational and intriguing prior portraits done in the style of each. Jayde Perkin's Mom's Sweater (9780802855442, $17.99) tells of a child's visit to her mother in the hospital, the aftermath of an illness, and the events that evolve from loss. From well-meaning friends and relatives to a funeral, sadness, and handling the comments of others, the young protagonist describes the experience of losing a parent in a warm story recommended as a basic primer for any child facing or experiencing loss. Martin Baltscheit and Marc Boutavant's Vote for Me! (9780802855435, $17.99) will reach young readers with good reading skills and read-aloud parents who will find a fun, educational story revolving around how animals elect a president. From an effort to gain votes and the different perspectives of candidates and voters alike to a lion and a mouse's efforts to gain political strength with very different agendas, this is a fun story that takes the election process and gives it a different twist. All are involving tales libraries will find appealing and long-lasting.

The Bilingual Shelf

Not a Bean
Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, author
Laura Gonzalez, illustrator
85 Main St, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580898157, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp,

"Not a Bean" is an exciting counting story about a fascinating "jumping bean" that is not a bean, told in English with Spanish vocabulary. The bean that is not a bean begins its life as a seedpod on the yerba de la flecha, a desert shrub. One morning the seedpod is entered by a wiggly caterpillar, who lives and grows inside the seedpod until the seedpod dries, hardens, splits, and falls to the ground. When the seedpod gets too hot in the sun, the caterpillar inside moves and helps the "Not a Bean" to move to cooler shade. Young readers ages 3-7 will turn beautifully illustrated pages to count: una oruga (wiggly caterpillar), dos saguaros, tres cascabeles (rattlesnakes), cuatro coyotes, cinco cuervos (crows), seis nubes (clouds), siete amigos (friends), ocho ovales (ovals), nueve saltarines (jumpers), and diez estrellas (stars). But even though the children play a jumping game with the Not a Bean, its story is not over. One day the caterpillar inside the pod finishes spinning a cocoon, and a wonderful polilla (moth) flies away after burrowing out of the seed pod! What a beautiful ending for the Not a Bean! An author's note plus Glossary and Count to Ten notes help readers to understand the beautiful Spanish words for the amazing story of the Not a Bean.

Mei Ling in China City/Mei Ling en la Ciudad China
Icy Smith, author
Gayle Garner Roski, illustrator
East West Discovery Press
9780997394764, $21.95, HC, 47pp,

This English/Spanish edition of "Mei Ling in China City" is based on a true story of events that took place during World War II in Los Angeles' China City community. A 12-year-old Chinese American girl named Mei Ling Lee is separated from her best friend Yayeko Akiyama when she and her family were interned in the Manzanar War Relocation Center.

By writing letters to each other, both young girls recount their painful separation and their lives in China City and Manzanar. The vivid watercolor paintings by Gayle Garner Roski warmly portray the real scenes of the forgotten China City in Los Angeles and Manzanar. This unprecedented bilingual children's book by author Icy Smith depicts the hardships and cross-cultural experiences of Americans of Chinese and Japanese ancestry during the war years. Includes facts about China City, the Manzanar War Relocation Center and historical photographs.

As impressively informative as it is inherently engaging, "Mei Ling in China City/Mei Ling en la Ciudad China" is unreservedly recommended for all bilingual children's picture book collections. It should be noted by elementary school, middle school, and community librarians that there is also an English/Chinese bilingual edition of "Mei Ling in China City" (9780979933950, $19.95, HC, 44pp, Grade Level 3-4,

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Encyclopedia of Insects
Jules Howard, author
Miranda Zimmerman, illustrator
Wide Eyed Editions
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
9780711249158, $22.99, HC, 160pp,

An illustrated guide to more than 300 of nature's most weird and wonderful bugs, the "Encyclopedia of Insects" provides fascinating details by natural history expert Jules Howard. From the cutest and most beautiful, to the deadliest and most disgusting, there's something for everyone in this fully illustrated encyclopedia which highlights and showcases the importance of the insect world. Plus, young readers ages 7-11 will find out what actually makes an insect, an insect. Of special note are the guest entries from the non-insects: centipedes, spiders, woodlice, and snails! Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, the "Encyclopedia of Insects" is an essential and core addition to elementary school and community library encyclopedia reference collections.

Jules Howard, author
Chervelle Fryer, illustrator
Big Picture Press
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536210415, $19.99, HC, 80pp,

The collaborative work of author Jules Howard and illustrator Chervelle Fryer, "Bones: An Inside Look at the Animal Kingdom" takes children age 7-10 on a fascinating and informative journey through the biological history of the skeletal system in the animal kingdom. With sections focusing on different abilities and features ranging from biting and flying, to jaws, tails, and more, "Bones" is an exciting collection that informatively and effectively explains how animals' amazing bodies have adapted to allow them to do so many different things. Exceptionally 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Bones" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library Zoology and Animal Biology collections.

Rhino and Narwhal: Animal Hide and Seek
Corien Oranje, author
Marieke Ten Berce, illustrator
Lion Children's Books
c/o Lion Hudson
9780745978468, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

In the pages of "Rhino and Narwhal: Animal Hide and Seek", children ages 4-10 will discover the wonder of God's creation as they search and find unusual animals (as well as familiar animals) in their natural habitat. "Rhino and Narwhal: Animal Hide and Seek" includes animals that live in the jungle and in the darkness, animals with a smooth skin or a furry coat, animals that are fast and animals that are slow. Of special note is the inclusion of simple questions that challenge young readers to find as many beautiful, funny, and surprising animals as possible. As entertaining as it is informative, "Rhino and Narwhal: Animal Hide and Seek" is an impressive and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections.

50 Reasons to Love Animals
Catherine Barr, author
Hanako Clulow, illustrator
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
9780711252462, $18.99, 40pp,

"50 Reasons to Love Animals" by the team of author Catherine Barr and illustrator Hanako Clulow showcase for children ages 3-6 fifty different reasons to love animals! Lions have magnificent shaggy manes, penguins go tobogganing on their tummies, bears wiggle and dance as they scratch, whales sing songs, and elephants can feel sadness. But all the animals in this picture book style presentation especially need our love and support -- now more than ever. Children will learn about their habitats, what makes them special, and simple activities any child can do at home to protect them. While an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets & Wildlife collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "50 Reasons to Love Animals" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.14).

Animal Exploration Lab for Kids
Maggie Reinbold
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
9781631597329, $22.99, PB, 144pp,

Maggie Reinbold is Director of Community Engagement at San Diego Zoo Global, heading up a dynamic team dedicated to designing and implementing programs that connect communities to conservation for the benefit of wildlife and habitats. She is also an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Department of Biology at Miami University, where she teaches the Earth Expedition to the Big Island of Hawaii.

"Animal Exploration Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Activities for Learning about the Amazing Animal Kingdom" by Maggie Reinbold is a family-friendly animal reference guide features fun activities designed to enhance the understanding of, and love for, the animal kingdom it enables children ages 8-12 to: Explore the techniques that researchers use to study animals; Investigate the adaptations and behaviors that make animals so unique; Study how animals sense and respond to the world around them; Discover new ways to support and conserve your amazing animal neighbors.

Each lab in the book is specifically designed to a child build new knowledge and skills around animal science and are broken into the following sections: Safety Tips & Helpful Hints provides additional guidelines and insights for successfully conducting each lab: Procedure provides details about the individual steps in each lab so you'll know just what to do; Creative Enrichment helps you think about how to take your experiment even further; The Science Behind the Fun provides a simple description of the science that supports the lab and other background information.

During the restrictions imposed by the current pandemic" and very highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections, the "Animal Exploration Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Activities for Learning about the Amazing Animal Kingdom" fun, informative, and the next best thing to a trip to the zoo!

The Biography Shelf

Portrait of an Artist: Claude Monet
Lucy Brownridge, author
Caroline Bonne Muller, illustrator
Wide Eyed Editions
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
9780711248762, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Claude Monet is one of the best loved artists of all time. In "Portrait of an Artist: Claude Monet", young readers will find out how this special young painter strove to capture light and feeling in his paintings and how (together with a group of talented friends), he came to start the most famous art movement of all time called Impressionism.

In his long life he experienced war and heartbreak, love and the joy of family. Young readers will see how his life shaped each piece of art he made and that throughout it all he never stopped trying to paint the ever changing light and glimmering water. In the end he built himself a garden filled with both, with waterlilies floating on dappled ponds setting the scene for his last, infamous masterpieces.

Impressively informative and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Portrait of an Artist: Claude Monet" will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, community library picture book Biography collections.

The YA Fiction Shelf

Winter of the Wolf
Martha Hunt Handler
Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
9781626347182, $16.95, HC, 264pp,

Synopsis: An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, "Winter of the Wolf" by Martha Hunt Handler follows Bean, an empathic and spiritually evolved fifteen-year-old, who is determined to unravel the mystery of her brother Sam's death. Though all evidence points to a suicide, her heart and intuition compel her to dig deeper. With help from her friend Julie, they retrace Sam's steps, delve into his Inuit beliefs, and reconnect with their spiritual beliefs to uncover clues beyond material understanding.

Both tragic and heartwarming, this twisting novel draws you into Bean's world as she struggles with grief, navigates high school dramas, and learns to open her heart in order to see the true nature of the people around her. "Winter of the Wolf" is about seeking the truth (no matter how painful) in order to see the full picture.

Critique: Original, deftly scripted, compelling, "Winter of the Wolf" as an entertainingly thoughtful novel that will engage the readers total attention from first page to last. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to high school and community library General Fiction collections for teens and young adults, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Winter of the Wolf" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: In her novel, "Winter of the Wolf", environmentalist and award-winning author, Martha Handler, brings together two important pieces of her life (the death of her best friend's son and her work as president of the Wolf Conservation Center) to tell an empathetic and powerful story with undeniable messages.

This Boy
Lauren Myracle
Walker Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
Brilliance Audio
9781536206050, $18.99, HC, 288pp,

Synopsis: Paul Walden is not an alpha lobster, the hypermasculine crustacean king who intimidates the other male lobsters, beds all the lady lobsters, and "wins" at life. At least not according to the ego-bursting feedback he's given in his freshman seminar. But Paul finds a funny, faithful friend in Roby Smalls, and maybe (oh god, please!) he's beginning to catch the interest of smart, beautiful Natalia Gutierrez. Cruising through high school as a sauced-out, rap-loving beta lobster suits Paul fine, and if life ever gets him down? Smoke a little weed, crunch a few pills... it's all good. But in the treacherous currents of teenage culture, it's easy to get pulled under. With perfect frankness, Lauren Myracle lays bare the life of one boy as he navigates friendship, love, loss, and addiction. It's life at its most ordinary and most unforgettable.

Critique: With a particularly effective and narrative driven storytelling style, author Lauren Myracle has deftly crafted an entertaining and compelling novel that will have a particular and enduring appeal for young adult readers ages 16-20. While especially recommended for highschool and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "This Boy" is readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.00) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance, 9781978665675, $20.00, MP3 CD).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Welcome to Superhero School
Gracie Dix
Toast Industries
9781734510614, $13.99, PB, 296pp,

Young readers ages 8-12 will enjoy being welcomed to Superhero School as they join Oliver, Jess, and all their friends on a mission to destroy the power-hungry, evil villains of Vork. From subterranean sewers to lush jungle, from dinosaurs to dragons, our heroes will be pushed to their limits in ways they'd never imagined. Will their collective Powers (Flight, Morphing, Invisibility, Mind Reading, and more) be enough for them to overcome the malevolence of Vork? Or will they stumble over their own doubts and painful histories? Launching author Gracie Dix's 'The Vork Chronicles' series, "Welcome To Superhero School" is an action-packed journey of friendship, hardship, and humor will take our young heroes to thrilling new heights and a deeper understanding of their own place in the world. But will that be enough -- or will Vork always be one step ahead? As original as it is entertaining, "Welcome To Superhero School" will be welcome and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library Science Fiction collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Welcome To Superhero School" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Artemis Fowl: Guide to the World of Fairies
Andrew Donkin
Disney Press
9781368040778, $16.99, HC, 192pp,

Synopsis: "Artemis Fowl: Guide to the World of Fairies" is a beautifully illustrated novel that is a compendium of Artemis Fowl's knowledge gleaned from The Book of the People and from his encounters with magical creatures and the LEP. Compiling notes from the sacred fairy tome and Artemis's eventual plans to take down the LEP forces that stand in the way of his ultimate goal, Artemis Fowl's Guide to the World of Fairies is a must-have for fans who are itching to dig deeper into the world of Artemis Fowl.

Disney's character, "Artemis Fowl" is based on the beloved book by Eoin Colfer, and a fantastical, spellbinding adventure that follows the journey of 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl, a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, as he seeks to find his father who has mysteriously disappeared.

With the help of his loyal protector Butler, Artemis sets out to find him, and in doing so uncovers an ancient, underground civilization-the amazingly advanced world of fairies. Deducing that his father's disappearance is somehow connected to the secretive, reclusive fairy world, cunning Artemis concocts a dangerous plan-so dangerous that he ultimately finds himself in a perilous war of wits with the all-powerful fairies.

Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections for young readers ages 8-12, "Artemis Fowl: Guide to the World of Fairies" is a nicely illustrated and unreservedly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Artemis Fowl: Guide to the World of Fairies" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Explorer Academy: The Star Dunes
Trudi Truett
Under the Stars
9781426336812, $16.99, HC, 216pp,

Synopsis: A major discovery forces the Explorer Academy into the limelight in The Star Dunes, but Cruz has much more on his mind than 15 minutes of fame. A new face on board the ship brings Cruz's worlds colliding, just as a major close call tears them apart. En route to Africa, Team Cousteau is now down a major player, and Cruz can't help but be preoccupied by the hole in his life. The discovery of his mom's next clue leads him to the most exotic location yet (a vast desert) with no other information to lead the way, while an unlikely ally helps Cruz pursue another piece of the puzzle. Just as things seem like they might turn out alright, Dr. Fanchon Quills has a technological breakthrough which gives Cruz a glimpse into the past and reveals more about his future than he may really want to know.

Critique: The fourth volume in Trudi Truett's original, superbly crafted, and thoroughly entertaining science fiction series for children ages 8-12, "Explorer Academy: The Star Dunes" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all science fiction fans in grades 3-7 that "Explorer Academy: The Star Dunes" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781426371691, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Environmental Shelf

The Woods of Wicomico, second edition
Nuala C. Galbari, author
Buttons Boggs, illustrator
Nancy Taylor Atkins, illustrator
Brandylane Publishers
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781951565176, $30.95, HC, 166pp,

During the hot, lazy days of summer, life in the woods of Wicomico is peaceful. Mukki the muskrat makes herbal teas, Cornelius the crow fruitlessly tries to take a midday nap, and young Timothy Trumble the tortoise marvels at the world around him. But when humans plan to build a new development in their woodland, the community of animals springs into action to save their homes.

In the pages of "The Woods of Wicomico" children ages 10-12 will enjoy joining a host of loveable characters as they work together to stop the destruction of the Wicomico woodland and preserve their way of life. Young readers will travel with them on the Chesapeake Bay, where they will meet new friends and find a bright world outside the Wicomico woods. After an ample share of excitement, Mukki and his friends learn that small animals can make a difference and discover that plenty of wisdom can be found right at home.

Enhanced with additional illustrations by Nancy Taylor Atkins, this second edition of "The Woods of Wicomico" by author Nuala C. Galbari and the original illustrator Buttons Boggs, has songs, vocabulary, and fun facts about the history and wildlife of the Chesapeake Bay. "The Woods of Wicomico" is a delightful educational experience with to discover, enjoy and preserve the natural world around us. Very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, this new and expanded second edition (that features a new cove, a new foreword, and a new character), it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Woods of Wicomico" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781951565268, $19.95).

The Science Shelf

Galileo! Galileo!
Holly Trechter & Jane Donovan
Sky Candle Press
9781939360083, $13.99, PB, 96pp,

For centuries, looking up into the sky people have viewed Jupiter as the king of the planets. But even now in the 21st century the trip across the solar system feels like it is so long and dangerous that it seems almost impossible. In the form of a graphic novel, "Galileo! Galileo! by the team of Holly Trechter and Jane Donovan presents the incredible but true story of NASA's Galileo Mission to survey and study the planet Jupiter. It's narrated by the medieval genius Galileo, who connects with middle-grade readers in a humorous way with an epic adventure of imagination, brilliance, and plain old grit! As informative as it is entertaining in organization and presentation, "Galileo! Galileo!" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to school and community library Science collections for young readers.

Stress-Free Science
Laurie E. Westphal
Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813
9781646320165, $16.95, PB, 150pp,

Synopsis: "Stress-Free Science: A Visual Guide to Acing Science in Grades 4-8" by Laurie Westphal is a well-organized and easy-to-follow quick reference guide that includes illustrated, concise explanations of the most common terms used in elementary school general science classes. Packed with strategies to help young students get better grades and master science concepts without any headaches, this science study guide also includes a handy reference section, complete with commonly used formulas, measurement conversions, charts detailing household chemicals and acids and bases, instructions for using science equipment safely, tips on following the scientific process, and information on graphing results and data.

Critique: "Stress-Free Science: A Visual Guide to Acing Science in Grades 4-8" is a choice pick to help kids (and their parents) learn a basic science curriculum. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Stress-Free Science: A Visual Guide to Acing Science in Grades 4-8" is an ideal addition to school district, college and university library Teacher Education collections, and Elementary School Science Class curriculum textbook resources. It should be noted for home schooling parents that "Stress-Free Science: A Visual Guide to Acing Science in Grades 4-8" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: After teaching science for more than 15 years, Laurie E. Westphal now works as a gifted education and science consultant. She enjoys developing and presenting staff development on low-stress differentiation strategies and using menus, working with teachers to assist them in developing lessons to meet the needs of their advanced students.

The Humor Shelf

This Book Wants to Make You Laugh
Justine Avery and Daria Yudina
Suteki Creative
9781948124539, $.99 Kindle/$14.95 Hardcover/$7.95 Paperback

This Book Wants to Make You Laugh is Book 2 of the 'Living Book' series of picture books that features the perspective of a book that interacts with young readers in a personal way. It's filled with jokes and fun, like many children's humor books - but this book has a "super secret plan" for its young readers. As the book admonishes this audience to turn pages and keep reading and chuckling, any adults along for the read-aloud experience will find these encounters refreshingly original and delightful...certainly more so than the usual children's joke book. Youngsters embark on some creative guesswork to uncover the purpose of the book's secret promise. What's this book's intention? Shhh - it's a secret which keeps youngsters engaged to the end. The interactions with 'the book' create a whimsical opportunity to laugh and enjoy. These, and the lovely, whimsical, fun-filled drawings by Russian artist Daria Yudina, provide the perfect visual accompaniment to a lively tale of laughter perfect for adult and child interactions.

The Activity Shelf

The Print Penmanship Workbook for Kids
Crystal Radke
Rockridge Press
c/o Callisto Media
9781646119219, $8.99, PB, 90pp,

Synopsis: Handwriting activates a different part of your brain than typing. Handwriting is an essential skill for academic achievement that all kids should learn -- regardless of computer and digital technologies. "The Print Penmanship Workbook for Kids: Improve Your Handwriting with Fun Animal Facts" will help young writers ages 6-90 to develop early writing and reading skills while you have fun with something everyone loves -- animals!

In this workbook, kids will start by tracing and copying the alphabet in uppercase and lowercase letters. Then they will move on to words and eventually, full sentences -- all while learning interesting and cool animal facts.

Kids can even take 'mental breaks' along the way with fun coloring activities as they strengthen motor skills and memory while developing a lifetime of perfect print penmanship skills.

Critique: Expertly organized and thoroughly 'user friendly' in presentation, "The Print Penmanship Workbook for Kids: Improve Your Handwriting with Fun Animal Facts" is an ideal curriculum tool for classroom instruction and home-schooling studies. It should be noted that "The Print Penmanship Workbook for Kids: Improve Your Handwriting with Fun Animal Facts" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: Crystal Radke is an educational leader, speaker, and writer who runs her own consulting business, where she mentors educators by providing inspirational keynotes and powerful professional development. Her degrees in education and experience as a foster and adoptive mother have made helping children learn and grow a personal mission.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Knights Club: The Alliance of Dragons
Shuky, author
Waltch and Novy, illustrators
Quirk Books
9781683691952 $9.99 pbk / $5.99 Kindle

The seventh book of the Comic Quests series, Knights Club: The Alliance of Dragons isn't just a full-color graphic novel; it's also game book, that the reader can play like a fantasy-adventure. The reader selects one of four characters and uses a "quest tracker" to keep a record of their items, statistics, and abilities as they progress their quest. It's possible to print out copies of the quest tracker from online to avoid writing in the book, or to replay the adventure multiple times! Knights Club: The Alliance of Dragons is a creative experience that encourages young adults to engage their imagination and problem-solving skills, and also makes an excellent gift! Highly recommended.

The Music CD Shelf

I Am Kind
Lindsay Munroe, with special guest Raffi
Shoreline Records
$10.98 CD / $9.49 MP3

I Am Kind is a family-friendly music album by Lindsay Munroe, with a vocal contribution from special guest Raffi. Warm-hearted and lively, I Am Kind includes classic children's songs as well as performances of Raffi's signature tunes. A strong, positive mood encompasses the entire album. I Am Kind is highly recommended for parents, teachers, school library children's music collections, and just plain fun. The tracks are "I Am Kind", "Little Red Caboose", "I Can Try New Things", "The More We Get Together", "This Little Light", "De Colores", "Something Good", "Waiting Nicely", "Peace Like a River", "Ask for Help", "OK To Make Mistakes", "Frere Jacques", "Bluebird Bluebird", "Every One Of Us Belongs", "Problem Solvers", and "I Can Dream". 30 min. 49 sec.

It's You I Like
Kari Thomas Kovick
Heart of the Child Music

It's You I Like is an emotional children's music album filled with positive-minded songs. Some are the original compositions of music artist Kari Thomas Kovick; some are traditional tunes or popular favorites by other creators. All are jubilantly, timelessly delightful. It's You I Like is highly recommended especially for personal and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Howdjadoo", "I Can Listen to Myself", "The Bear Missed the Train", "I'm Not Scared", "I Wish My Daddy Was Here", "Red, Yellow, Orange and Brown", "Two Little Blackbirds", "My Body", "What a Mess", "On and On", "It's Not My Fault!", "It's You I Like", "Walkin' in the Woods", "When I Feel Mad", "I Did It Myself", "So Many Ways To Be Smart", "Breathing and Counting", and "Calm Down".

Giggle and Burp Ballet
Randy & Dave
Song Wizard Records

Giggle and Burp Ballet is an original children's music CD filled with spry, clever, catchy songs. The physical CD comes with a complete lyric booklet to encourage singing along. Whimsical, carefree, and tongue-twisting, Giggle and Burp Ballet just plain fun, and a choice pick for personal and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Red Jalopy", "Other Than That", "Cranky Children", "Scratch", "Screen Door", "What Kind of Animal", "Giggle and Burp Ballet", "For a Buscuit", "Grunge Babies", "Gubble Bum", "Quiero Queso", and "nobody". 33 min. 55 sec.

Rolie Polie Guacamole
RPG Records
$15.00 CD / $15.00 download

Award-winning indie music artists Frank Gallo and Andrew Tuzhilin, also known as Rolie Polie Guacamole, present their seventh studio album Avocado. Intended for young listeners ages 2-5, Avocado brims with madcap enthusiasm and lighthearted whimsy. Highly recommended for both personal and public library children's music collections! The tracks are "Avocado", "Ay Batta Batta", "Basketball Jane", "Firetruck", "Dancing on the Sun", "A Very Quiet Song", "Aguacate", "Pizza Pie", "iScream", "Persevering Penguins and Pals", "Sammi the Cat", "Jingle Bells", and "Avocado" (Outro). 47 min.

Create My Own World
Greg Lato
Greg Lato Music
$9.99 CD / $9.99 download

Intended for young listeners ages 2-9, Create My Own World is a children's music album influenced by 70's and 80's pop. Upbeat and lively, Create My Own World captures a sense of adventure in its delightfully creative songs, interspersed with a handful of witty spoken tracks. Create My Own World is highly recommended for both family and public library children's collections. The tracks are "I Like Sprinkles", "Imaginary Friend" (spoken), "Hi Gene", "I Can't Find My Sock!", "Snow Day" (spoken), "Create My Own World", "Try", "Exploring Nature" (spoken), "Two Slow Snails", "Share My Stuff", "You Weren't a Kid, You're a Dad!" (spoken), and "What Daddies Do (I Will Be With You)". 24 min.

The LGBT Shelf

Pride 1 2 3
Michael Joosten, author
Wednesday Holmes, illustrator
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534464995, $7.99, Board Book, 22pp,

The collaborative work of author Michael Joosten and illustrator Wednesday Holmes, "Pride 1 2 3" will teach children ages 1-5 about the Pride Parade in the form and format of a colorful, energetic counting board book! Featuring a diverse cast of characters and families, this board book highlights and celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community, love, and standing up for who you are while counting to ten. Fun and informative, "Pride 1 2 3" is a counting based board book should be shared and read with pride -- and a part of every family, daycare center, preschool, and kindergarten board book collection!

Books in Series

Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

Three new additions to series books are recommended reading for elementary-level students of history, natural history, and ecology. Grades 6 will find the new addition to the 'Hidden History' series, Ellen Rodger's Women Explorers (9780778772965, $23.49), provides an outstanding survey of women who traveled around the world, but who often never got the acclaim of their male traveler counterparts. From Viking women who crossed the ocean to a traveler who crossed the Algerian desert dressed as a man, these are vivid stories that will serve as excellent starting points for young reader biographical research. Tim Cooke's The Impact of Buildings and Cities (9780778774341, $27.60) will reach Grade 5 readers, adding to the 'Impact on Earth' series with a review of the problems of buildings and cities and their impact on the environment. The focus on green solutions being adopted by man urban areas and the efforts of scientists, builders, and urban planners to make cities more sustainable is nicely done. Joanna Brundle's The Scale of Animals (9780778776536, $23.50) adds to the 'Scale of Things' series for Grade 2 readers, presenting 24 pages of detail comparing animals of different sizes and including measurements of length, weight, or height. This comparison method crosses between natural history and math, providing a blend of fun drawings and visual emphasis that kids will find attractive for leisure pursuit and study alike. All are excellent, attractive, contemporary surveys elementary-level collections will find worthy of acquisition.

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence through our marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, opportunities for connecting with schools, and the award-winning Story Monsters Ink(R) magazine.

The Sasquatch and the Lumberjack: Family
Crix Sheridan
Little Bigfoot
c/o Sasquatch Books
9781632172709 $12.99

Christine Irvin

With just 10 words in the entire text, author/illustrator Crix Sheridan tells the story of how Sasquatch and the lumberjacks become like one big, happy family. They start out as friends, but through a series of visual adventures (in the Pacific Northwest), Sasquatch endears himself to the lumberjacks who welcome them as one of their own. A companion book to Crix Sheridan's The Sasquatch and the Lumberjack. (Ages 2+)

What Matters Most
Emma Dodd
9781536210170 $14.99

Christine Irvin

A mother horse teaches her colt about the power of unconditional love. Even though we are different in many ways, love connects us. Short, gentle rhymes and simple illustrations are the perfect combination for young audiences. (Ages 2-5)

Dressed in the Best!
Katie Pye, author
Rodrigo Paulo, illustrator
Headstart Thinking
9780473516345 $8.49

Darleen Wohlfeil

Anyone ever caught in the awkwardness of a personal stubbornness should find a chuckle in this story. Sometimes, we can be led astray by a false assurance, and deaf to correction. The king wearing his invisible clothes was put to shame by his own vanity and pride. It is a very important lesson to learn, and the younger we get it, the better! Insights, questions, and discussions are also included for your children to take away from the story a clear and direct understanding of the story, and how it can apply to our own personal lives. (Ages 2-12)

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse
Jane Godwin, author
Blanca Gomez, illustrator
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers
9780525553816 $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This fun-paced book of color recognition makes for a great rhyming read-aloud experience. Readers are engaged as they follow the little mouse and interact with the pages. Simple fun for the young. (Ages 3-5)

A Tiger Like Me
Michael Engler, author
Joelle Tourlonias, illustrator
Amazon Crossing Kids
9781542044561 $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a translation of a delightful German tale, and a tribute to the wide world of imagination. Children seem to have a free pass to its magical kingdom. With ease they can transform and teleport beyond the mind and into the vastness of the heart. There, granted to the young are the true treasures of life. A true fountain of youth that keeps one forever young, ever hopeful. Imagination that dares to believe anything is possible! Inspiring wonder. (Ages 3-6)

What I Like Most
Mary Murphy, author
Zhu Cheng-Liang, illustrator
9781536209402 $16.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

A little girl takes note of what makes her happy during her day. It begins with apricot jam, her light-up shoes, and a sparkling river. This is a wonderful book to help educate your child on being aware of what makes them happy in their daily life. You can create activities each day with your child making notes on what big and little things bring happiness to them. Is it a colored crayon or a funny book, or maybe a kiss from grandma? I recommend this book for classrooms and homes to begin an exploration of our surroundings and appreciation of what we have. (Ages 3-7)

The Button Book
Sally Nicholls, author
Bethan Woollvin, illustrator
Tundra Books
9780735267152 $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Have you ever looked at a button and felt that uncontrollable urge to push it? Having no idea what it is for, curiosity takes the lead, and the imagination runs headlong. Well, this friendly bunch of animals weaves their way through the pages of this book pushing and playing with many colorful buttons. Join them in all the activities they find behind each button. (Ages 3-7)

What's that Noise?
Naomi Howarth
9781536213522 $16.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

Magnus the Arctic Seal wakes up and hears this strange, rumbling sound. He asks all his friends in the arctic, such as the hare, owl, and polar bear to help him figure out what that loud sound is. Could it be the wind or the sea? This delightfully illustrated book will help your child learn about Arctic animals, as there is a definitions page in the back. You can keep them engaged by trying to figure out what the rumbling noise is as you read this beautiful book together. I've read this book several times to my students and they enjoyed it immensely. (Ages 3-7)

The Same But Different Too
Karl Newson
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick
9781536212013 $16.99

Christine Irvin

These children and animals are all very different from each other. Some are big, some are small. Some are gentle, some are rough. Everyone is playful, but who's the best at hiding? One thing's certain: They all love a good bedtime story! The rhyming text and colorful, expressive illustrations in this book help children explore the idea that we can share common traits, but still we are all unique. (Ages 3-8)

That's Life!
Ame Dyckman, Cori Doerrfeld
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
9780316485487 $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This cute and fun tongue-in-cheek tale looks at all the expressions of life. An unexpected knock at the door, and the wild ride begins. The visuals add such a lasting impression to each idiom and saying. My favorite, "Where will life take you?" (Ages 4-8)

Sorry (Really Sorry)
Joanna Cotler, author
Harry Bliss, illustrator
Philomel Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers
9781984812476 $17.99

Christine Irvin

On the farm, when Cow gets grumpy because of his muddy hooves, he kicks some of the muck into Duck's face. Duck is, of course, upset and wants to know why Cow would do such a thing. Her response: "I felt like it ... and I'm not sorry." Then Duck becomes grumpy and upset and picks on Frog, who turns on Bird. The grumpiness and irritability continue throughout the whole barnyard, until everyone is out of sorts. How will these barnyard friends make amends? This simple story illustrates how easy it can be to upset someone, even if you don't mean to, something children will be able to relate to. (Ages 4-8)

Love, Sophia on the Moon
Anica Mrose Rissi, author
Mika Song, illustrator
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
9781368022859 $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Life on Earth isn't always fair, so Sophia runs off to the moon, where there are no bedtimes, no time-outs, and no Mom. The mental and emotional imagery summoned by this story will provide a permanent warmth in the heart. This enjoyable exercise of processing conflict, resolving anger, and coming back into harmony is sure to leave a lasting mark. (Ages 4-8)

My Grandma and Me
Mina Javaherbin, author
Lindsey Yankey, author
9780763694944 $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

The memories of youth form our lasting identity. Roots are important. In many houses and customs, grandparents hold an honored position. The extended family dwell harmoniously and children benefit greatly by the extension. The author recollects her childhood past, and the undying love and memories she shared growing up with her grandmother. (Ages 4-8)

Pippa's Night Parade
Lisa Robinson, author
Lucy Fleming, illustrator
Two Lions
9781542093002 $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

The illustrations in this story are as delightful as Pippa herself. Every good thing has a line and when crossed, it can be more than we can handle. Pippa's wild and fun imagination during the day can become a wild and fearsome thing at night. Can she find a way to tame those imaginings? Can her imagination outwit itself, and bring peace once again? Let's have a read and see! Truly a fun book. (Ages 4-8)

The Magical Yet
Angela DiTerlizzi, author
Lorena Alvarez, illustrator
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
9781368025621 $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Each of us, from the day we're born, is accompanied by a special companion - the Yet. Can't tie your shoes, yet? Can't ride a bike, yet? Can't play the bassoon? Don't worry, Yet is there to help you out. This lighthearted poetical beat is sure to encourage and inspire its young readers. Every colorful page is filled with hope, setting solid steps for lifelong success. (Ages 4-8)

Where'd My Jo Go?
Jill Esbaum, author
Scott Brundage, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781534110441 $16.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

Have you ever been lost? This doggy AL finds himself left at a truck stop while taking a potty break. He finds many new adventures like digging in the dirt, meeting a baby to share a lollipop with, and rolling around in the flowers. Uh oh, where did his truck go with Jo in it? Jo is going to miss him terribly. How will he find her? Told in both Jo's and Big Al's voices, this heartwarming story of separation and joyful reunion is based on a true event. (Ages 5-7)

The Tiny Giant
Barbara Ciletti, author
Cathy Morrison, illustrator
Schiffer Kids
9780764360299 $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Have you ever taken a walk just to look at the trees in your neighborhood? They are as different and beautiful as each one of us. But have you ever thought about how important they are to us? They help us breathe! Transforming carbon into oxygen, every tree supplies enough oxygen for four people. This rhythmic story of the life cycle of a mighty oak from a tiny acorn is sure to fill you with awe and appreciation. Your surroundings will surely awaken. (Ages 5-8)

Mae the Mayfly
Denise Brennan-Nelson, author
Florence Weiser, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781534110519 $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

We've all heard, live like it's your last day. Beckoning us to fill our lives to their fullest. But, what if you were a Mayfly? The vast sum of their lives spans but a day, two at the most. Mae, a delicate little mayfly, knows from her beginning that her time is short, and she determines to make it count. Her sweet story leaves the reader with the wide eyed secret that one selfless act not only satisfies, but can live on beyond our time. (Ages 5-8)

The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity
Amy Alznauer, author
Daniel Miyares, illustrator
9780763690489 $17.99

Christine Irvin

Ramanujan was born in India in 1887. He had a passion for numbers. Everywhere he went, everything he did, reminded him of numbers. He wrote mathematical questions and equations in the sand and filled notebooks with them. He was brilliant, but he struggled in an ordinary classroom because he was always daydreaming about numbers. His ideas led to what we know as modern mathematics, including the meaning of infinity. Author Amy Alznauer brings the Ramanujan's story to life with this detailed, colorful picture book. Included in the back matter are the author's notes about how she came to write this remarkable story, as well as a bibliography of sources she consulted while doing so. (Ages 5-9)

The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie (Latinographix)
Frederick Luis Aldama, author
Chris Escobar, illustrator
Mad Creek Books
9780814255865 $9.95

Christine Irvin

A chupacabra is a legendary creature from south of the border, part of the culture and folklore of the region. Author Frederick Luis Aldama and illustrator Chris Escobar introduce readers to this creature. In this version, Chaupacabra Charlie is looking for adventure. He's hanging out near the border of Mexico and the United States. There, he meets a young human, Lupe. Together, they encounter strange people and are put in mortal danger, but Charlie is always there to keep both of them safe. The author combines realism, allegory, and folklore in a subtle and unusual look at the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. (Ages 6-10)

Jasmine Green Rescues series
Helen Peters, author
Ellie Snowdon, illustrator
Walker Books US
$14.99 hc / $6.99 pbk each

Kerri Lukasavitz

Jasmine Green and her best friend, Tom, want to run an animal rescue when they grow up. Each of the four books in the series adds to her experience about adopting new pets that are rescued from less-than-perfect environments: Button the duckling is hatched in an incubator (9781536210255), Truffle the piglet is saved from its runt status (9781536210248), Sky the collie puppy is found near-death from neglect (9781536210262), and Holly the kitten is taken in because she's a stray (9781536210279). What I loved about the stories is the realness of each animal's situation. Children have the opportunity to get a sense of what's involved with raising a pet, especially if it becomes sick or injured, and the responsibilities and dedication that are required to maintain the animal's health. Ellie Snowdon's charming illustrations are a delightful addition to the stories. Kids will want to read the whole series. (Ages 7-9)

Catwad: Me, Three!
Jim Benton
c/o Scholastic
9781338616286 $8.99

Matthew Voils, age 12

This book reminded me of my dad's Garfield comic books, but I like Catwad better. It was funny and in some parts really cute, too. It was easy to start at any part of the book and still understand the story. (Ages 8-12)

Cuphead: Carnival Chaos
Ron Bates, author
Studio MDHR, illustrator
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
9780316456548 $14.99

Christine Irvin

Cuphead and his friends are drawn to the carnival when it comes to town. Elder Kettle has warned them that places like carnivals are filled with liars and thieves, and that they should stay away. As you might expect, they run into all kinds of trouble while at the carnival, not the least of which is that they spend all the money they collected to buy Elder Kettle a birthday present. Now they have to find their way safely out of the carnival while also figuring out a way to get a present for Elder Kettle so his special day won't be ruined. This illustrated middle-grade novel is based on the Cuphead video game. Those familiar with the game will certainly enjoy the adventures of the game characters. (Ages 8-12)

The Paris Project
Donna Gephart
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
9781534440869 $17.99

Diana Perry

Cleveland Rosebud Potts has a plan. If she can check off the six items on her trs important Paris Project List, she will make it out of the small-minded and scorching town of Sassafras, Florida, to a rich and cultured life at The American School of Paris. Unfortunately, everything seems to conspire against Cleveland reaching her goal. Young readers will learn facts of life in this story as well as perseverance and determination to reach their dreams. Any child who either has a parent who is incarcerated or has a friend in this situation should find this book informative, helpful, encouraging, and comforting. (Ages 8-12)

The Edge of Everywhen
A.S. Mackey
B&H Kids
9781535992619 $14.99

Christine Irvin

Piper's father disappeared two years ago when he was on a trip and her mother just died. So she and her younger brother, Phoenix, are sent to live with their Aunt Beryl. The first thing she does when the children arrive at her house is lay down the law: They are not allowed in her bedroom or her study, and the library is off-limits. One of the most precious things in the world to Piper is a book. Her brother, who is autistic, also loves books. Of course, being forbidden to stay out of the library doesn't stop either of them from going in there. And there is one book in particular, that seems like it is calling to them.... The book is intended for a Christian audience, but its religious message is not overtly so. The author uses the narrative to address many subjects, such as autism, orphans, religion, magic, coming of age, love, and family. (Ages 8-14)

The Adventures of Bubba Jones: Grand Canyon
Jeff Alt, author
Hannah Tuohy, illustrator
Beaufort Books
9780825309274 $9.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

The fourth book in this great award-winning National Park series brings yet more of the excitement, adventure, and history we've come to enjoy. Time travel, secret codes, passwords, and discoveries are unraveled first hand by Bubba Jones and his sister Hug-a-Bug. Traveling through time, they experience the wonders, dangers, and people that forged the world as we know it today. Truly a great story that will teach with enthusiasm. Sure to hold interest with it's easy conversational tone. It draws and engages the reader. (Ages 9-12)

More than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear
Rosanne Tolin
Chicago Review Press
9781641603140 $18.99

Jennifer L. Grybowski

This is an illuminating biography of Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear. The story follows him from his childhood and through death in an easily-digestible narrative. Through this book the reader is shown a first-hand account of the immigration culture prevalent in London in the 1950s and how it shaped Bond's life for years to come. Well-researched while also being fun to read, the reader learns about Bonds life and influences, how the Paddington Bear character came to be, and the celebrations and struggles Bond faced throughout his career. (Ages 9-12)

Roll with It
Jamie Sumner
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781534442559 $17.99

Diana Perry

Ellie has big dreams. She might be eating Stouffer's for dinner, but one day she's going to be a professional baker. But when Ellie and her mom move so they can help take care of her ailing grandpa, Ellie has to start all over again in a new town at a new school. Except she's not just the new kid - she's the new kid in the wheelchair who lives in the trailer park on the wrong side of town. It all feels like one challenge too many, until Ellie starts to make her first-ever friends. Now she just has to convince her mom that this town might just be the best thing that ever happened to them! Young readers will cheer Ellie as they follow her story through hardships, pain, and hopelessness. I found this story to be uplifting and inspiring to any young reader - with any kind of challenge facing them. (Ages 10+)

Enchanted Everglades: Friends for Life
G. A. Kowatch
Great Rays, LLC
9781733518420 $11.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

I search for words of praise for this novel for young readers, but they've all been spoken. Friendship, disappointment, heartache, all weaving into a tapestry of adventure. Strong life lessons fall like heavy steps through the emotions as well as the Everglades. The merging of two often opposing systems into a workable and harmonious union creates a fresh awareness, and an interesting storyline. Insightful and encouraging! (Ages 10-12)

Mary Underwater
Shannon Doleski
Harry N. Abrams
9781419740800 $16.99

Jane Ruby

Shannon Doleski creates an emotional story set on the Chesapeake Bay full of growth, love, and the importance of facing your fears. Mary's story is full of both lighthearted themes of romance and comedy while also facing the complexities of abuse and self-esteem. Set in a fishing town on the island of Bournes, Mary's life comes to a halt when her abusive father returns home from prison. Facing failing grades and avoiding nosy nuns, she knows two things: She needs to keep her scholarship at Our Lady of the Sea, and she needs to build a submarine. With head-over-heels support from Kip Dwyer, class clown, they search out the eccentric ex-Navy scientist, Ford Wallace. Together they embark on a long journey of building her dream submarine and escaping her island and her family. This story is a great read for junior-high readers and up, as the story involves light reference to poverty, violence, the legal system, and choosing between friends and family. (Ages 10-14)

The Stitchers (Fright Watch #1)
Lorien Lawrence
Amulet Books
c/o Harry N. Abrams
9781419746925 $16.99

Jane Ruby

Middle school is awkward enough for Quinn Parker, but it doesn't help having strange, old-as-dinosaur neighbors watch her walk to school every day. Luckily her faithful classmate, Mike, accompanies her. They share theories about their ancient, creepy neighbors, who always dress as if walking the red carpet and at times wear bandages on different body parts, which appear brand new when the bandages are removed. The two classmates do some research to figure out if their neighbors are really zombies, vampires, aliens, witches, or maybe all of the above! But the more information Quinn and Mike learn, the closer danger looms, especially from a nearby slimy and gooky pond that sometimes emits eerie glows drawing Quinn toward it. The Stitchers has enough suspense to keep middle-grade readers glued to Mike and Quinn's process of exposing the identity and purpose of their "oldie" neighbors. (Ages 10-14)

The Boy who Dreamt the World
Jethro Punter
Independently Published
9781976960826 $6.76 pbk / $0.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Adam is living the dream, literally. You would think being able to control your dreams would be fun. But in a place where those dreams can take on a life of their own and nightmares stalk the streets, just making it through the night is hard enough. Then there is the mystery surrounding the odd new girl in his class, detentions to avoid, and the small matter of saving the world. I found this book to be a fast, fun, and easy read with imaginative characters. Kids will love it! (Ages 12+)

Cycles of Norse Mythology
Glenn Searfoss
Acorn Books
9781789820829 $34.99 hc
9781789820713 $24.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Emily P. Cary

This is an enormous collection of folk tales from Scandinavia. Cycles of Norse Mythology captures the passion, cruelty, and heroism of an ancient world. Encompassing Odin's relentless pursuit of wisdom across the nine worlds, Gullveig's malicious death at the hands of the Aesir that sparks a brutal war with the Vanir, Thor's battles against the giants of Jotunheim, the tragedy of Volund, the many devious machinations of Loki, and the inescapable events of Ragnarok, this lyrical reimagining of the Norse myths presents the gripping adventures of the Norse gods and their foes in a style to delight modern readers of all ages. A detailed glossary provides a quick reference to the meaning behind names and terms used in the book. (Ages 12+)

Red Mantle: The Red Abbey Chronicles
Maria Turtschaninoff
Amulet Books
c/o Harry N. Abrams
9781419731358 $17.99

Jane Ruby

In the third installment of The Red Abbey Chronicles, Marisi leaves her convent home after several years of training. She travels to her family's village of Rovas to build a school and educate the village's children. But the people of Rovas don't share Marisi's enthusiasm since they can barely farm their fields and feed themselves due to a military ruler and recent droughts. Marisi finds that establishing the school is only the beginning of her mission when her village's sacred burial grounds are threatened by the military ruler. It will take more than academics to succeed in her mission. (Ages 13+)

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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design