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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 6 June 2008 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice DVD Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Fiction Shelf Sports Shelf Science Shelf
Books in Series Picturebook Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Music Shelf Audiobook Shelf Preschool Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Native American Shelf Humor Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Bilingual Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Art Shelf International Studies Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

We're Going on a Book Hunt
Pat Miller, author
Nadine Bernard Westcott, illustrator
Upstart Books
c/o Highsmith Inc.
PO Box 800, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800
9781602130340, $17.95 1-800-448-4887

We're Going on a Book Hunt is a rhyming children's picturebook designed to teach young people how to use the library, from proper library etiquette to a simple process for choosing a book that's within one's reading level. Friendly color illustrations of a bear family on a library trip enhance this rhyming easy reader. "Here it is - the perfect book. / Can't be rough with it. / Can't be tough with it. / We'll have to treat it kindly." An accompanying "Library Lessons" booklet rounds out We're Going on a Book Hunt with extensive advice for parents, caregivers, and teachers in training young people to make responsible use of library facilities. A tool for teaching the joy of lifelong library patronage, highly recommended.

Hidden Treasures: Frog Fun
Liz Ball
Hidden Pictures
11936 Frost Road, Tipp City, OH 45371
9780967815985, $6.95

The eighth and newest title in Liz Ball's 'Hidden Treasures' series of activity books for children, "Hidden Treasures: Frog Fun" features more than 1,400 hidden items that will keep kids entertained for hours as they color the pictures and look for the 'hidden' items imbedded in them. Children are provided with 56 pages of 'frog themed' fun that is ideal for car trips and rainy day amusements. Of special note for home schooling parents, day care providers, and preschool school/kindergarten classroom teachers is the use of "Hidden Treasures: Frog Fun" as a fun, effective, and highly recommended method of exercising and improving children's spatial skills, eye coordination, and concentration.. Parents and teachers new to this outstanding series would also be interested in the earlier titles including "Holiday Hidden Treasures" and "ABC-What Job Do You See?". Information for all of the 'Hidden Treasure' titles, as well as other books for young children by Liz Ball, is available on the Hidden Pictures website at

Scratch and Sketch: Jurassic & Beyond
Tom Nemmers
Peter Pauper Press, Inc.
202 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601
9781593598044, $12.99

Part of the delightful "Scratch and Sketch" series of consumable creative books for young people age 7 and up, Scratch and Sketch Jurassic & Beyond: An Art Activity Book is packed with educational information about dinosaurs from Allosaurus to Velociraptor. Using the included wooden stylus, young dinosaur enthusiasts can scratch away the black coating to uncover colors, patterns, and even holographic foil. The sketch pages encourage the artistically inclined to copy dinosaur images and hone their drawing skills, or invent mysterious creatures. Highly recommended as an interactive and fun way to enjoy learning, and the perfect giftbook for young dinosaur lovers.

Life to the Max
Robin Reynolds
Nice Creative
4645 South Lakeshore Drive, Suite 16, Tempe, AZ 85282
9780979529405, $24.95

Presented in the style of a children's picturebook, Life to the Max: Maxims for a Great Life by a Dog Named Max is a collection of insights and wisdom drawn from the life of a family's beloved wirehair terrier, Max. Each two-page spread features a valuable nugget of wisdom on one page, such as "Treasure the people who can see you for who you really are," and "Get the most out of life by doing things you enjoy!", and vignettes from Max's life on the other page. Max tells his story, from his adoption at an animal shelter to the natural end of his lifespan, in first-person perspective. Full-color photographs of this hardy wirehair enhance this gentle picturebook perfect for young dog lovers.

I Before E (Except After C)
Judy Parkinson
Reader's Digest Association
Adult Trade Publishing, Reader's Digest Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570-7000
The Rosen Group (publicity)
30 West 26 Street, Third Floor, New York, New York, NY 10010
9780762109173, $14.95,

Little things, little rhymes that make the simple yet essential things in life easy to remember – those little things are collected and compiled in "I Before E (Except After C): Old School Ways to Remember Stuff". Remembering how many days are in each month, simple grammar rules, and other little bits of modern wisdom that comes up so much. A great gift for young children just learning to figure out the world, "I Before E(Except After C): Old School Ways to Remember Stuff" is highly recommended to community library reference collections.

Rising Above Global Warming
BJ DeFrancesco
A-Argus Better Book Publishers, LLC
PO Box 914, Kernersville, NC 27284
9780980155501, $19.95,

Explaining something as complex as global warming to children is no easy task, but "Rising Above Global Warming" is a children's picture book that takes on this daunting task anyway. Explaining that some of humanity is destroying the environment and therefore making it very difficult for many of the animals to continue to live. Hoping that this will inspire the leaders of tomorrow to take the necessary changes, and enhanced with charming illustrations by Shari Lynn Myers, "Rising Above Global Warming" is a highly recommended children's picture book for any whose child is a lover of animals and nature.

Enslow Publishers
Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398

Ana Maria Rodriguez's SECRET OF THE SLEEPLESS WHALES AND MORE (0766029573, $23.95) provides 48 pages of details on scientists' research aquatic animals. From what happens when a killer whale gives birth to why a dolphin is able to dive for long periods of time, SECRET OF THE SLEEPLESS WHALES pairs charts and color photos with plenty of facts suitable for introductory science investigation. Richard Worth's THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE: AN EXPLOSION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURE (0766029077, $23.95) provides a little over a hundred pages of Afro-American cultural exploration, from art and music to how Afro-Americans used these venues to explore their cultural roots. Quotes from source literature make for revealing history taken from experiences of the times.

The DVD Shelf

John Deere Heaven Part 1
James Coffey, singer & songwriter
TM Books & Video
PO Box 279, New Buffalo, MI 49117
9781932291162, $14.95 1-800-892-2822

John Deere Heaven Part 1 is a DVD in which stop-motion animation makes beloved John Deere toys come alive. Ten original songs by singer and songwriter James Coffey spice up the elaborate miniature train layouts and interactions between exquisitely accurate replicas of machines. Young and old toy collectors alike are sure to enjoy watching 1/16, 1/50, and 1/64 scale tractors, cars, and trucks vroom about in this entertaining show, especially recommended for tractor lovers. 45 min., color.

20th Century Fox/Hit Entertainment
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
$14.98 each

Three kids' DVDs from Hit Entertainment are great for entertaining children during rainy weather. "Hi! I'm Riff!" (57 min., English/Spanish) is a special DVD from the beloved television series "Barney & Friends", featuring the beloved purple dinosaur's newest friend - and orange dinosaur named Riff, the first new dino to join the series in thirteen years! Since Riff is new to the neighborhood, he decides to start a "Best Friends Club" and invite everyone. But what kind of club can keep all its members happy? Singing and dancing abound in this cheerful adventure. "The Three Musketrucks" (45 min., English/Spanish/French) is a new DVD in the "Bob the Builder" series that collects the episodes "Dodger the Milktruck", "The Three Musketrucks", "Dodger's Dairy Disaster", "Scrambler the Goat Herder", and "Packer's Big Delivery". The titular Three Musketrucks are Packer, Scrambler, and the newest member of the Can-Do Crew, Dodger! Bonus features include a Fireman Sam episode Joker Soker, as well as a Fifi & the Flowertots Episode Spotty Pip, and a free one-year subscription to "Parents" magazine, in this charming DVD ideal for encouraging young people who love the construction-themed Bob the Builder series. "Summertime Fun!" (57 min., English only) is an anthology of five episodes from a variety of different children's shows, offering a delightful medley of summer fun. The episodes are "The Wind and the Sun" (Barney), "Dizzy Goes Camping" (Bob the Builder), "Thomas and the Rainbow" (Thomas & Friends), "Angelina in the Wings" (Angelina Ballerina), and "Twitchers in Trouble" (Fireman Sam) with bonus episode "Picture Perfect" (Fifi and the Flowertots). All three DVDs are kid-friendly and make wonderful birthday or holiday gifts for young people.

Thomas & Friends: Henry and the Elephant
George Carlin, narrator
Anchor Bay Entertainment/Hit Entertainment
1699 Stutz Drive, Troy, MI 48084
Sayles & Winnikoff Communications (publicity)

Featuring George Carlin as narrator, Thomas & Friends: Henry and the Elephant is a childrens' DVD featuring six fun-filled stories about Thomas the tank engine and his friends on the Island of Sodor. From Bulstrode the Barge, who learns to be useful to others despite his bad temper, to the mischievous Stuart who plays a trick on Duke, to the gigantic gray elephant that throws Henry for a loop, Thomas' friends are sure to entertain and delight young people with their lively adventures. The episodes are "Henry and the Elephant", "You Can't Win", "Special" Attraction", "Passengers and Polish", "Gallant Old Engine", and "Fish"; DVD bonus features include a sing-along song, an activity sheet, and a character gallery. A wonderfully entertaining program. 35 minutes, color.

Hip Hop For Kids: School House Hop!
Roger G.
Jumping Fish Productions
66 Compo Mill Cove, Westport, CT 06880
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc. (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
0964982854, $19.50,

Hip Hop music and dance continues to increase in popularity among children ages five through fourteen. Noting that trend, Hip Hop star Roger G. has joined up with dancer/mom Liz Milwe and film director Michel Negroponte to create "Hip Hop For Kids: School House Hop!", a superbly presented, full color, live action DVD showcasing the latest Hip Hop moves broken down into easy-to-follow, step-by-step, thoroughly 'kid friendly' instructions that use repetition along with verbal and visual instruction. Roger G. and his team of young, talented, dancers provide lively demonstrations of the latest Hip Hop moves such as Chicken Noodle Soup; The Snap; Walk It out, and more. Young viewers will learn how to dance freestyle, break and spin. Specifically designed as a beginner's introduction, "Hip Hop For Kids: School House Hop!" will have even the most sedentary youngster up off the couch and bouncing around the floor having fund while benefiting from the exercise. With a total running time of 45 minutes, "Hip Hop For Kids: School House Hop!" is an enthusiastically recommended addition to family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library DVD collections.

Daisy and Her Garden: A Dance Fantasy
V.I.E.W. Video
34 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010
DVD, $19.98,

A DVD production from the award-winning Children's Cultural Collection, Daisy and Her Garden: A Dance Fantasy is an original fairytale performance that blends dance, mime, music, and poetry with beautiful costumes and theatrical sets, to create an emotional performing arts experience. Daisy and Her Garden follows a young girl named Daisey, who enjoys life in her enchanted garden with her flower and animal friends. When the terrible Winter Witch tries to use her power to banish Spring for all time, Daisy and her friends must fight back to save their beloved home from an eternity of snow and ice. A pleasure for the whole family to watch. 38 minutes, color.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Saving Light
Thomas J. Prestopnik
c/o Buy Books On The Web
1094 New Dehaven Street, #100, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2713
9780741440327, $16.95

The third and final book of the Endora Trilogy, The Saving Light is a fantasy-adventure novel written for teenagers and adults alike. The evil spirit of Belthasar has secretly entered the Jordans' world through the mystical timedoor, at first hiding within a mosquito, then settling on the west coast as the formerly reclusive movie star Elvin L. Cooper. When Christopher and Molly learn of this, they go to the magician Artemas to devise a plan to lure Belthasar out of hiding. Yet Belthasar has his own nefarious schemes to thwart the Jordan family, create a more powerful copy of his original self, and carve out his own kingdom! The Saving Light is a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to a wonderfully immersive trilogy. Also highly recommended are the previous two novels in the trilogy, "The Timedoor" and "The Sword and the Crown".

The Candy Shop War
Brandon Mull
Shadow Mountain
c/o MaryAnn Jones (publicity)
9781590387832, $17.95

The Candy Shop War is an exemplary fantasy novel for young adults. When two competing candy shop owners engage in a "war" that is actually a race to find a legendary hidden treasure, a group of friends are unexpectedly caught in the middle. The treasure's value is far greater than mere money; it contains incalculable power, and is far too dangerous to let fall in the wrong hands. But with some aid from magical candy, young Nate and his friends just might be able to save the day! A rollicking adventure, sure to delight young readers - especially those with a sweet tooth.

Norman & The Stinking Space Goo
Michael Wilhelm
Privately Published
1112 Louisedale Drive, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808
9780615151410, $8.50

Accidentally lawn mowing himself into a strange orb from outer space – a pretty typical teenage problem for Norman Flinch. "Norman & The Stinking Space Goo" is Norman's story, as he finds himself incurably toxic in odor; the only person willing to tolerate his stench is the school's stereotypical science nerd. Together, they find something very interesting that may change both of their lives for good. "Norman & The Stinking Space Goo" is an entertaining read from first page to last, and leaves one wanting more. highly recommended as a fine piece of young adult fiction, and a good acquisition for community library collections.

The Fiction Shelf

Orchard Books/Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0545000122, $16.99,

Holly Lisle's MOON & SUN: THE RUBY KEY (0545000122, $16.99) tells of Gemma and her brother Dan, who encounter a nightling slave in an old forest who reveals a dangerous deal made by their village chief and the ruler of the nightlings. The two must make their own dangerous deal with the dark lord to save their families and homes – a deal which takes them on a long and dangerous journey in this satisfying fantasy story for young adults. Ross Collins' MEDUSA JONES (0439901006, $16.99) tells of human/animal crossbreeds and a little girl who is nearly human – except for her snaky hair. Fun black and white drawings compliment a zany plot that revolves around an unusual girl's unusual life. Middle school into high school readers and many an advanced elementary grade level reader will relish CHILDREN OF THE LAMP's 4th book DAY OF THE DJINN WARRIORS (0439932149, $17.99), which has the twins on a journey to save their mother from her destiny as the Blue Djinn of Babylon, and their father from a dangerous curse. A worldwide journey leads to discovery of an evil force which has awakened a new breed of warrior to the world in this find blend of mystery and fantasy.

Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

Adam Selzer's PIRATES OF THE RETAIL WASTELAND (9780385734820, $15.99) tells of a favorite coffee shop about to be put out of business by a corporate chain – and the efforts of a band of wacky gifted patrons to save it. With much tongue-in-cheek the story of a small-time business battling the superstores makes for a zany quest that is hilarious and fun. Many Ly's ROOTS AND WINGS (9780385735001, $15.99) tells of teen Grace and her mother who travel back to the Cambodian community in Florida to busy her grandmother. But Grace is also on a mission to uncover mysteries bout her family roots – and discovers more mystery and realities than she'd expected. An excellent story of Cambodian culture emerges.

The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot
Judy Cox
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761453765, $16.99,

Kids ages 10 and older will appreciate a mystery revolving around brave Frederick and hungry Ishbu, rat brothers who live in a cage in a 5th grade classroom. They learn much with the class, but when a class bully threatens them, the two flee the school to discovery the outside world – and a mysterious statue from a strange new world. A fine animal mystery evolves.

Death in the Air
Shane Peacock
Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887768514, $19.95,

Young Sherlock Holmes commits himself to fighting crime early on and finds himself in another dangerous case when he visits his father at work only to find a trapeze performance turns into an unexplainable death scene. Victorian settings and fast-paced action make DEATH IN THE AIR an absorbing read for advanced teen readers interested in complex mysteries.

The One Right Thing
Bruce Coville
Box 809, Framingham, MA 01701
9781886778726, $25.00,

Heroes come in many forms and THE ONE RIGHT THING surveys these forms, from heroic trolls and humans to little heroes and heroes of all colors. From a stinky princess to a boy's faith in an angel, THE ONE RIGHT THING offers up fun, absorbing tales recommended not just for adults but for advanced fantasy readers at the middle to high school grades.

Trouble on the St. Johns
Jane R. Wood
Florida Kids Press
11802 Magnolia Falls Drive, Jacksonville FL 32258
9780979230448, $8.99,

A pond swamped with disgusting green muck and most of the fish are already dead – certainly puts a damper on any fishing trip. "Trouble on the St. Johns River" is the tale of two brothers whose fishing trip is ruined – and they plan on doing something about it – befriending a manatee, touring a center that treats sea turtles, and more – with tips on things kids can do to help their environment "Trouble on the St. Johns River" is a call to action for young children, and highly recommended for community library children's fiction collections.

Experience Pipeline
Quinn Harber
Casagrande Press
524-L Via de la Valle, Solana Beach, CA 92075
9780976951636, $14.95,

The final heat of the Pipeline surfing contest - "Experience Pipeline" is a choose your own adventure book suggesting readers flip a coin to determine their fate in the novel's story, promoting over 300 possible plot lines and nearly one hundred different endings. Sure to entertain young surfing fans for hours, "Experience Pipeline" is highly recommended for community library fiction collections looking for more of the fading 'choose your own adventure genre.

A Cord of Three Strands
Holly Moulder
White Pelican Press
132 Marcella Avenue, Sharpsburg, Georgia, 30277
9780979040511, $8.95, No Web Address Given

An outcast on the trail of tears, a runaway slave, and pre-presidential Abraham Lincoln – a group that does not seem to have a lot in common in one another, but their fates intertwine in "A Cord of Three Strands", a historical fiction novel from experienced author Holly Moulder. A blizzard in Kentucky unites them as they all learn through their travels about how the other sides live – and it changes the three of them and their futures. "A Cord of Three Strands" is a deftly written novella and a good starter book for children just starting on chapter books – highly recommended.

Anna Begins
Jennifer Davenport
Black Heron Press
PO Box 13396, Mill Creek, WA 98082
9780930773830, $21.95,

Teenager – the period where one is no longer a child, yet still is not yet an adult, and in the world, an awkward place to be in. "Anna Begins" follows a few of these teens in a pair of two novellas. The first, the title story, follows Melissa through the pains of trying to deal with her body image, dealing with the first pressures of sex, and facing the fact that her mother and best friend don't seem to be there for her in her time of need. The other, 'A Million Miles' up, looks at Scott who faces a drinking problem, fast on the path to destroying his life despite his young age, and Elly who tries to live a happy life despite the skeletons in her family's closet – which may lead her down a destructive path of her own, as they try to find comfort in one another. "Anna Begins" is a quirky yet brilliantly written set of stories sure to give teens something to connect with and a good pick for community library young adult fiction collections.

Fran, The Second Time Around
Amy L. Bernstein
Publish America
P.O. Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705
160474880X, $16.95,

The harsh start all school age students fear – being a new nobody. "Fran, The Second Time Around" is the story of Fran, who starts anew in the ninth grade, split from her old school and her best friend of over a decade – a long time for a ninth grader – and how she is set to have to cope with the new adventures alone being a complete unknown. How can she possibly hope to cope with it all – a question that everyone asks themselves. Deftly written and something sure for young readers to relate to, "Fran, The Second Time Around" is a Grade A pick for community library young adult fiction collections and for any new student looking for a story with someone in a predicament similar to theirs.

The Youngest Spy
Barry McDivitt
Thistledown Press
633 Main Street, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, S7H 0J8
9781897235171, $10.95,

The American Civil War didn't affect just Americans - "The Youngest Spy" follows George Duguay, a Canadian farm boy as he falls into a job of spying on the Union army as they seeming plot to invade Canada – as he befriends countless people on every side of the conflict and must face the harsh decision of having to betray one of them. A seminal story of Canadian nationalism, "The Youngest Spy" is a deftly composed historical thriller, a great read all the way through.

Wombat Smith: Beijing Breakaway!
Anne Sautel
Lobster Press
1620 Sherbrooke Street, West, Montreal, Quebec, H3H 1C9, Canada
9781897073483, $6.95

The second volume in the delightful "Wombat Smith" series about an anthropomorphic wombat with a strong streak of curiosity, Wombat Smith: Beijing Breakaway! follows young Wombat on a trip to Beijing in order to take part in an international soccer camp. Wombat learns to play soccer, discovers the marvels and majesties of Chinese culture, and prepares to play in a real soccer tournament, all of which are exciting enough. But the real adventure begins when Wombat finds a lost red panda; his heart goes out to the unfortunate animal, and he tries to help it get back to the zoo. But when Wombat is mistaken for a thief trying to steal the panda, he gets caught in a whirlwind of events that threaten to keep him from the big game! An engaging story especially notable for its upbeat attitude and the main character's enthusiasm to thrive amid a strange new land.

The Sports Shelf

The Child's World Encyclopedia of the NFL
The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781592967636, $189.00 (4 vol. set), 1-800-599-7323

Written to appeal to young football lovers in grades 3-8, The Child's World Encyclopedia of the NFL is a four-volume set chronicling the history, evolution, and pioneers of football, as well as the saga of the National Football League, the meaning of football jargon, and profiles of the game's greatest heroes and legends. Entries are listed alphabetically, ranging from "Aikman, Troy" in volume one to "Zone, Blitz" in volume four. Overall, The Child's World Encyclopedia of the NFL is not only an accessible reference for young people eager to hone their knowledge of this wildly popular sport; it is also a thoroughly accessible resource for adults seeking to brush up on their football knowledge before the next Superbowl. Highly recommended.

The Science Shelf

Global Warming Alert!
Dr. Richard Cheel
Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308, New York, NY 10118
9780778715870, $25.20 1-800-387-7650

Global Warming Alert! is a timely title in the "Disaster Alert!" series intended for young adults ages 7-14. Today, the Earth's average temperature is rising, sea levels worldwide are shifting, and increased desertification and crop loss is prompting humanitarian crises. Global Warming Alert! examines the perilous effects of modern technology on the planet as a whole. Chapters cover the "Greenhouse Effect", in which the consumption of fossil fuels in homes and automobiles produce greenhouse gases that become trapped in the Earth's atmosphere; animal species whose survival is endangered because of climate change; islands that are drowning and the loss of coastal living space; what ordinary people can do to reverse climate change; and much more. An invaluable introduction to a very serious issue affecting the planet's immediate and long-term future, highly recommended especially for public and school library collections.

Books in Series

Crabtree Publishing
350 – 5th Avenue Suite 3308, New York NY 10118

Two new sets for intercultural studies, CHINA and RUSSIA, come from Bobbie Kalman (18.95 each) and pack in a little over thirty pages each with bright eye-catching color photos and plenty of facts suitable for reports. CHINA THE CULTURE (077879301X), CHINA THE PEOPLE (0778793001) and CHINA THE LAND (9778792994) each provide excellent overviews of the country, its issues and its people with maps and photos and drawings in full color accompanying facts. RUSSIA THE CULTURE (0778793044), RUSSIA THE PEOPLE (0778793036) and RUSSIA THE LAND (0778793028) all provide similar keys to understanding a diverse nation. All are excellent elementary-level surveys perfect for geography holdings. The 'Lighten Up' series ($19.95 each) comes from the host of a popular musical PBS TV show and explores health issues and health choices at a very basic level which goes beyond the usual physiology review. FAST FOOD: SLOWING US ALL DOWN (0778739155) surveys how fast food affects the body differently from healthier choices, THE SHAPE OF GOOD NUTRITION: THE FOOD PYRAMID (0778739198) surveys calcium, protein, and food interactions, LOOKING AT LABELS: THE INSIDE STORY (0778739171) shows how to read labels and assess them for underlying health information, SNACK ATTACKS: UNHEALTHY TREATS (077873918X) discusses 'slow' snack and beverage choices which have proved healthier than others, BIG FAT LIES: ADVERTISING TRICKS (0778739139) discusses ad strategies, how to analyze ads for truth, and how to assess the healthy impact of choices based on both ads and reality. ENERGY IN, ENERGY OUT: FOOD AS FUEL (0778739147) surveys food as fuel, discussing ways food enters and affects the body and becomes energy. From portion size to food choices and eating disorders, ENERGY IN, ENERGY OUT is an excellent survey. GROCERY SHOPPING: IT'S IN THE BAG (0778739163) covers healthy shopping, food advertising, and more. A MILLION MOVES: KEEPING FIT (0778739120) surveys muscles, exercise, and the life-enhancing results of regular movement. All are perfect additions for any elementary-level health collection. Bobbie Kalman's 'Baby Animals' series for ages 5-8 ($15.95 each) provide 24 pages each of good-sized, eye-catching baby animal photos paired with very basic information suitable for reports. BABY DEER (077873952X), BABY BEARS (077873949X), BABY BIRDS (0778739503), BABY CATS (0778739511), BABY APES (0778739481) and BABY HORSES (0778739538) all pack in explanations of different kinds of baby animals, their habits and habitats, and how they grow. All are fun primers for the young picturebook reader.

The Creative Company
123 South Broad Street, Mankato, MN 56001 1-800-445-6209

Author Jennifer Fandel presents two more volumes in the educational "What in the World?" series for inquisitive young minds. Full-color illustrations and photographs on practically every page combined with informative, easy-to-follow text take youthful readers on an amazing tour of the history behind some of humanity's most important inventions. The Postage Stamp (9781583415542, $22.95) explores the invention of a most economical means for streamlining the process of mail delivery. The ramifications - namely, that anyone could cheaply and reliably send a message to virtually anyone else - literally changed the world. The Atomic Bomb (9781583415559, $22.95) addresses the deadly serious issue of the atomic bomb's creation, and its use against Japan near the end of World War II. Treating the topic of such a costly and devastating weapon with the respect it deserves, The Atomic Bomb is especially recommended for parents to share with their children in order to teach them about this cruel, sad, and frightening aspect of world history, which remains a danger to the present day. Both titles are highly recommended for public library children's collections.

Weigl Publishers Inc.
Suite 3304, PMB 6G, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10118-0069 1-866-649-3445
9781590367858 $24.45 hc / $6.95 pbk / $97.80 4-vol. set

"Learning to Write" is an educational series designed to teach the fundamentals of paragraph writing to young people in grades 4-6. Drawing upon key people, places, and objects in American history and folklore for engaging idea sources, the "Learning to Write" series focuses upon honing writing skills through hands-on activities. The four volumes of the series are "Descriptive Paragraphs", "Narrative Paragraphs", "Expository Paragraphs" and "Persuasive Paragraphs"; each one lives up to its title, enhancing its solid core instruction with photographs, illustrations, a glossary, index, and list of additional resources. Especially recommended for grade school libraries, and home schooling curriculums.

Pomegranate Communications, Inc.
Box 808022, Petaluma, CA 94975 1-800-227-1428

The "Women Who Dare" series honors women throughout history whose determination, talent, hard work, and courage, have made a lasting difference. Some volumes of the series focus on individuals such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and Amelia Earhart; others examine the lives of women who collectively changed the world, such as women of the suffrage movement and women of the civil rights movement. All titles offer a commendable portrayal of brave heroines and activists, illustrated throughout with color and black-and-white images. Readily accessible to readers of all ages, the "Women Who Dare" series is highly recommended especially for school and public library collections. The individual titles are Eleanor Roosevelt (0764935437, $12.95), Helen Keller (0764935445, $12.95), Amelia Earhart (0764935453, $12.95), Women of the Suffrage Movement (076493547X), Women of the Civil Rights Movement (0764935488, $12.95), Margaret Mead (9780764938757, $12.95), Marian Anderson (9780764938917, $12.95), Women Explorers (9780764938924, $12.95), and Women for Change (9780764938764, $12.95).

The Picturebook Shelf

c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

Mary Morgan's DRAGON PIZZERIA (9780375823091, $16.99) tells of two dragon friends who decide to open a pizza shop together. But the delivery and culinary venture are anything but ordinary as the dragon friends face unusual customer requests and devise some unusual culinary responses. Roger Duvoisin's VERONICA ON PETUNIA'S FARM (9780375852114, $16.99) tells of a large, happy hippo who can't wait to make friends in her new barnyard home. But the farm animals think she's strange and don't like her, and she hides from them until they all get to know each other. An engaging tale of friendship. Leslie Kimmelman's EVERYBODY BONJOURS! (9780375844430, $16.99) offers up a set of basic French words and fun, uplifting stories to go with them as an easy introduction to French culture and language. From a guided tour to a Parisian crowd, bonjour is the word of the moment in this very simple and fun picturebook exploration.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Barbara Diamond Goldin's THE BEST HANUKKAH EVER (0761453555, $16.99) will reach ages 5-8 with a fine story illustrated by Avi Katz and telling of the Knoodle family, about to celebrate Hanukkah. From a set of mismatched gifts and family strife to a wise rabbi's help, the 'best' Hanukkah proves to be something different than ceremony alone. Eric A. Kimmel's THE GREAT TEXAS HAMSTER DRIVE: AN ORIGINAL TALL TALE (9780761453574, $16.95) tells of Pecos Bill's daughter Sal, who wants a pet hamster. But the hamsters breed madly, and soon thousands are running around the range causing chaos. What to do? Why not drive them to Chicago to become city pets? Thus the great Hamster Drive begins…with Bruce Whatley's drawings fueling excitement. Tim Myers' THE OUTFOXED FOX (9780761453567, $16.99) tells of a Japanese hunter who has trapped many foxes, ignoring warnings they could contain magic. When the foxes get together to stop the hunting, a clever plan evolves. Ariel Ya-Wen Pang's drawings are engaging additions to this story of a simple workable plan. John Olander's FIELD GUIDE TO MONSTERS (9780761453598, $14.99) discusses monster habitats, habits, historical evidence and more, offering over twenty 'undocumented' monsters for casual thought. From the Dark Ooze to a household Snouted Grabber, a fun visual and written description evolves.

The Big Tidy-Up
Norah Smaridge
Golden Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
9780375848216, $8.99, 1-800-726-0600

The classic Golden Book story is back in print in a new presentation for new generations telling of one Jennifer, who just doesn't care that she's a slob. Les Gray provides fun drawings for a rollicking rhyme about a too-messy little girl.

Angelina Ballerina
Katharine Holabird
c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
9780670060269, $13.99,

Angelina is a pretty mouse who just wants to be a ballerina, and dances all the time – but she's so busy dancing she forgets about everyday things like cleaning her room or eating, and her parents don't know what to do with her. Their decision to bring her down to earth will change her life in this engaging classic story for ages 3 and older.

The House That Max Built
Maxwell Newhouse
Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887767756, $18.95,

From drawing the plans to excavating the site, Maxwell Newhouse spent years working in construction and here offers very young readers an easy step-by-step guide on how a house is built, complete with insights on tradesmen and installers alike. It's a warm survey of a house's construction.

Someday When My Cat Can Talk
Caroline Lazo and Krysten Brooker
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375837548, $16.99, 1-800-726-0600

In a little girl's fantasy her cat leads a secret life only she knows about – from visiting distant lands in Europe to winning an art award for an artistic mousetrap rewiring job or visiting the seashore. Whimsical drawings illustrate a gentle geography guide following a cat's many lives.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Barbara Kerley's WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE? (0439922313, $16.99) receives Edwin Fotheringham's fun and large drawings as it tells of Theodore Roosevelt's child Alice, who is always causing trouble in the White House as she seeks adventure. The biography celebrates an unusual American heroine and offers a fun look at behind-the-scenes Presidential life. Kelly DiPucchio's lyrics in SIPPING SPIDERS THROUGH A STRAW: CAMPFIRE SONGS FOR MONSTERS (0439584019, $15.99) tells of monster sing-alongs with new, fun songs set to old tunes, such as '99 Bottles of Blood on the Wall' and 'A-Camping We Will Go'. Gris Grimly's zany drawings enhance a fun set of sing-along modifications. Paeony Lewis' NO MORE YAWNING! (0545029570, $16.99) tells of Florence and her plush animal who are supposed to go to bed – but the girl and her toy monkey can't possibly go to bed now – there's simply too much to do, what with bedtime stories, lullabies and sheep to count. A fine tale of bedtime rituals emerges. Eve Bunting and Karen Barbour's YOU WERE LOVED BEFORE YOU WERE BORN (0439040612, $16.99) tells of a family eagerly awaiting a new baby in the house, and all the preparations which go into it. Rosemary Wells' OTTO RUNS FOR PRESIDENT (0545037220, $15.99) tells of election time at Barkadelphia School, where popular Tiffany is running for president based on her beauty, Charles is running because he's a star athlete, and Otto has different plans. Can Otto really win against popularity? A fine treatise on voting emerges. Mark Teague's LARUE FOR MAYOR: LETTERS FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL (0439783151, $16.99) tells of a dog determined to uphold the laws of Snort City – and determined to gain the votes from Intelligent Voters. His efforts take the form of whimsical, fun letters and communications with his potential voters in this hilarious story of a dog's bid for public office.

Little Vampire
Joann Sfar
First Second
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1596432330, $13.95,

This paperback vampire story is actually three stories in one – and is presented in full-color, graphic novel format to appeal to young readers and collections strong in high-interest graphic novel presentations. The stories LITTLE VAMPIRE GOES TO SCHOOL, LITTLE VAMPIRE DOES KUNG FU and LITTLE VAMPIRE AND THE CANINE DEFENDERS CLUB are whimsical, fun tales sure to draw in even reluctant readers.

The Curious Child
Donni Floyd, author
Grethel Peralta, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781598000467, $11.95 1-888-672-6657

The Curious Child is a flat-spined, softcover children's picturebook about a young island boy who asks so many questions it drives his fellow villagers crazy. Finally they tell him to seek wisdom from the mighty old dragon - but the dragon happens to be hungry, and with a taste for young boys! The dragon challenges the boy to ask it three questions; if it can answer all three, it gets to eat people for lunch! Only the boy's ingenuity and curiosity can save himself and the village. Black-and-white illustrations enhance this charming picturebook about the positive side of having a curious and inquisitive mind.

The Dump Man's Treasures
Lynn Plourde, author
Mary Beth Owens, illustrator
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
9780892727254, $15.95 1-800-685-7962

Award-winning children's book author Lynn Plourde presents The Dump Man's Treasures, a children's picturebook with a strong positive message about literacy. Mr. Pottle, who oversees the town dump, can't stand to see perfectly good books thrown away or destroyed. He reuses and recycles them for everyone to enjoy. When Mr. Pottle falls one day and suffers an injury, the community and especially the children come to his aid. When they bring books for him to read, they are shocked to discover that Mr. Pottle, who loves books so much, can't read! Together, the many townspeople who have shared Mr. Pottle's treasures teach him how to fully enjoy them for himself. A wonderful story about the joy of learning to read, featuring heartwarming and colorful artwork by award-winning illustrator Mary Beth Owens.

Too Many Zucchini for Zachary Beany
Tina Dozauer-Ray, author
Bonnie Lemaire, illustrator
Lifevest Publishing
4901 E. Dry Creek Rd., #170, Centennial, CO 80122
9781598795660, $17.99

Too Many Zucchini for Zachary Beany is a softcover children's picturebook about a young boy, his grandmother, and their passion for gardening. They lovingly grow a bumper crop of zucchini from a handful of zucchini seeds. At first not even their neighbors know what to do with all the zucchini - but then Zachary and his grandmother bake loaves of tasty zucchini bread that everyone is delighted to share! Friendly color illustrations, a delicious recipe for zucchini bread, and a free packet of organic zucchini seeds round out this lovely picturebook especially recommended for sharing with young gardening enthusiasts.

Mermaid Sister
Mary Ann Fraser
Walker & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780802797469, $15.95 1-800-289-2553

Mermaid Sister is a delightful children's picturebook about Shelly, a young girl tired of her little brother, who befriends a little mermaid named Coral. It's great to have a mermaid sister instead of an annoying little brother! But there are down sides to having a sister - Shelly and Coral experience their first fight, and Coral is lonely for the ocean. But when they return to the beach, it's not goodbye forever - just the opposite, as Coral has a little mer-brother of her own to introduce. A cheery story about the joys of friendship and siblinghood.

Rules are Rules
Julie Scandora
Book Publishers Network
PO Box 2256, Bothell, WA 98041
9781887542647, $17.95

Rules are Rules is a children's picturebook about a young girl who is frustrated by rules - such as the family rule that she has to give her Aunt Trudy a kiss, when Aunt Trudy smells of a horribly strong perfume. She sits in the wilderness under a cedar tree to think about the problem; refreshed after spending quiet time in her sit-spot, tells Mrs. Morales how she feels. Mrs. Morales helps her consider the situation from another point of view. "Come on, Maya. Think. Why would your mom want you to do this? She wouldn't just make up a rule to make life hard for you. I'm sure she has a reason. What do you think it could be?" After thinking carefully about the problem, Maya is ready to talk to her Mama and Papa about an alternative - creating a special handmade card to show her love to Aunt Trudy, instead of a kiss. Rules are Rules has slightly more complicated text than a typical children's picturebook, and is suitable for young people who are grown up enough to learn how to think about problems, consider the other person's point of view, and come up with alternative solutions. Highly recommended.

The Magic Flute
Mozart, author
Kyra Teis, adaptor
Star Bright Books
The Star Building, 30-19 48th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781595720580, $17.95 1-800-788-4439

The Magic Flute is a children's picturebook adaptation of the classic opera by Mozart. In this timeless fairy-tale, Prince Tamino must save Princess Pamina from her evil mother, the Queen of the Night; fortunately, he has a magic flute and the aid of his trusted friend Papageno. Deftly retold and brought to vibrant life with colorful illustrations, The Magic Flute is a wonderful children's introduction to the majesty of opera and especially recommended for children's public library collections.

Garmann's Summer
Stian Hole
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853394, $17.50 1-800-253-7521

Winner of the 2007 Bologna Ragazzi Award for excellence in international children's book publishing, Garmann's Summer is a children's picturebook about a young boy who is nervous because summer is ending and school is about to start. His old aunts have come to visit; they share and help him to understand that everyone is afraid of something. But sometimes there is wonder hidden beneath the fear, even when dealing with such transcendental mysteries as life and death. Strikingly illustrated with stylized, colorful collages blending photography with artwork, Garmann's Summer is surprisingly philosophical for a children's story and warmly recommended.

The House That Max Built
Maxwell Newhouse
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9780887767746, $22.99 1-800-788-1074

The House That Max Built is a children's picturebook that takes young readers on a step-by-step tour of the construction of a house. Specialized tradesmen and contractors help Max build his dream home from the ground up, including wires and pipes for electricity and water, insulation, drywall and more. Max's little dog excitedly watches the whole thing, in this charming introduction to the passion of creating a home of one's own.

Rabbit and the Well
Deborah L. Duvall, author
Murv Jacob, illustrator
University of New Mexico Press
MSC04 2820, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
9780826343314, $18.95 1-800-249-7737

Award-winning children's book creators Deborah L. Duvall and Murv Jacob present Rabbit and the Well, the latest in a series of picturebooks based on a Cherokee cycle of animal tales. In Rabbit and the Well, Ji-Stu the trickster rabbit persuades his animal friends to dig a well so that they will have enough to drink in times of drought. But Ji-Stu is too lazy to participate in creating the well! When Ji-Stu plies his tricks to steal well water anyway, the animals get together and hatch a plan to teach the selfish rabbit a lesson. The stylized illustrations add the perfect touch to this gentle story about the importance of responsibility and community.

Little Zizi
Thierry Lenain, author
Sephane Poulin, illustrator
Daniel Zolinsky, translator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781933693057, $16.95 1-800-566-9072

Little Zizi is a unique children's picturebook that dares to address a part of growing up that virtually no other children's literature will touch. "Zizi" is a euphemism for "penis" in this simple and charming tale about an ordinary boy, named Martin. Martin wonders whether one day his little zizi will become the size of his dad's zizi; it's normal for young boys to wonder that. But then a locker room bully named Adrian makes fun of Martin's little zizi in front of all the other boys. To make matters worse, both Martin and Adrian are sweet on Anais, the prettiest girl in school. Adrian challenges Martin to the contest - whoever can pee the farthest wins! When Martin can't perform in the contest despite his practice, Adrian is victorious; yet the next day, Anais repudiates Adrian's affections. She prefers the kindly Martin, "Because love isn't a question of a zizi - large or small." Enthusiastically recommended, especially for mothers and fathers to share with their sons when teaching them about the facts of life.

Little Red Bird
Nick Bruel
Roaring Brook Press
33 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003
9781596433397, $16.95 1-800-462-4703

Little Red Bird is a rhyming children's picturebook about a caged red bird who wonders about the world outside her cage. One day the door to her cage is left open, as is the window, and she flies out to experience the wide, wonderful world. But what should she do next? She can still see the way back to her former cage, where she was fed and provided for. "Have you ever heard / Of the Little Red Bird / Who had some thinking to do? // Should she stay? / Should she go? / She just didn't know... // I wonder what YOU would do?" The lovely scene on the back cover, drawn with the same bright colors and lovely aplomb as the rest of the picture, shows the Little Red Bird sharing a meal with her new friend, a little yellow bird. A lovely read-aloud storybook for parents and children to share.

The Red Shoes
Eleri Glass, author
Ashley Spires, illustrator
Simply Read Books
74 Pease Avenue, Verona, NJ 07044
Publishers Group West (distribution)
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781894965781, $16.95

Set in the 1960s, The Red Shoes is a rhyming children's picturebook written by Eleri Glass and illustrated by award-winning book artist Ashley Spires, about a young girl drawn to the vibrant splash of color that is the only pair of red shoes in the shoe store. The shoes are a wonderful apple red, just waiting to be picked! The illustrations enhance the contrast between the bright red shoes and the muted grey of the world they enliven. The little girl even goes to bed wearing her wonderful new shoes. A charming, singsong story.

Nana Star and the Moonman
Elizabeth Sills and Elena Patrice, authors
Linda Saker, illustrator
EE Publishing & Productions
PO Box 7006, Fairfax Station, VA 22039
9780975384367, $15.95

Nana Star and the Moonman is a delightful children's picturebook about Nana Star, who has taken it upon herself to return a homesick baby star to the heavens where he belongs. With the help of the Moonman, who is always watching over her and guiding her even when she can't see him, she comforts the baby star as she returns him to his rightful place in the sky. An accompanying read-aloud CD with a bonus "Nana Star and the Moonman Song" enhance this wonderful children's picturebook with simplistic color illustrations, ideal for bedtime reading. Also highly recommended is "Nana Star" (9780975384350, $15.95), the first book in the series.

Bilby and the Bushfire
Joanne Crawford, author
Grace Fielding, illustrator
Magabala Books
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
9781921248306, $17.00 1-800-944-6190

Written by primary school teacher and Australian native Joanne Crawford, Bilby and the Bushfire is the picturebook sequel to the award-winning "A Home for Bilby". When a bushfire ravages the Australian wilderness that is the burrowing Bilby's home, Bilby and each of his friends must find ways to survive and cope, both during the blaze and after it is extinguished. Some run; some seek shelter in the cool water; while Bilby waits underground. At last the fire passes, and some of Bilby's friends come home while others must search for food elsewhere. Grace Fielding's stylized color illustrations add the perfect touch to this rewarding story about adapting to drastic change in the natural world.

A Visitor for Bear
Bonny Becker, author
Kady MacDonald Denton, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763628079, $16.99 1-800-526-0275

A Visitor for Bear is a children's picturebook about the genesis of a most unlikely friendship. Bear is very grumpy and prefers his privacy; his "No Visitors Allowed" sign makes that clear. But then a little grey mouse comes to call - and won't take no for an answer! No matter how much Bear forbids it, the little grey mouse keeps turning up. At last Bear capitulates and agrees to spend some time with the mouse in exchange for the mouse's agreement to leave afterwards. It turns out that sharing jokes and tea with a new friend can be fun after all! A gentle story about the pleasure of meeting and becoming friendly with new people.

Mary Had a Little Lamp
Jack Lechner, author
Bob Staake, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
104 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781599901695, $15.95 1-800-289-2553

Mary Had a Little Lamp is a rhyming children's picturebook that subverts the popular nursery rhyme "Mary had a little lamb." Instead of being about a girl and her beloved lamb, Mary Had a Little Lamp is about a girl and her beloved... lamp. Everywhere that Mary goes, the lamp goes too; she is attached to it despite her parents' fussing, and is never embarrassed about it. Then one summer, things change: "She spent the summer swimming / and canoeing, and she found / That she could have a lot of fun / Without the lamp around." Mary learns to leave the lamp at home, and gains a new attachment - to her toaster! The exuberant bordering on silly illustrations add the right tone of exaggerated humor to this playful picturebook.

I Don't Want to Go
Addie Meyer Sanders, author
Andrew Rowland, illustrator
Lobster Press
1620 Sherbrooke Street, West, Montreal, Quebec, H3H 1C9, Canada
9781897073803, $16.95

I Don't Want to Go is a children's picturebook about Joey, a young boy visiting his grandparents on his own for the first time ever. Joey is uncertain about traveling so far from home, sleeping in a strange bedroom, trying new foods, and leaving all his favorite things behind. He's convinced this will be the worst trip ever, and he doesn't want to go. But when he meets his grandma and grandpa, he learns that new things can be fun when he works up the courage to try them! Cheery, colorful illustrations and a bonus recipe card for "Grandpa and Joey's Super-Duper Secret Sauce" enhance this ideal picturebook to share with young people, especially before they travel to visit relatives.

Loving Marley
Donald & Sara Hassler, authors
Carol Newson, illustrator
PugTale Publishing
1601 West Main Street, Suite 90, #403, Willimantic, CT 06226
9780976639077, $14.99,

Children and puppy dogs are a natural combination for fun and mischief! Co-authored by Donald and Sara Hassler, "Loving Marley" is an informative and entertaining picturebook designed to introduce children ages 4 through 8 to the concept of pet ownership as a lifelong commitment to care for and love their animal companion. Gifted artist Carol Newson's illustrations are a superb storytelling enhancement throughout. The debut title of an anticipated series of adventures featuring Marley the pug dog, "Loving Marley" is an especially recommended picturebook for introducing children to the responsibilities and possibilities of an animal companion whether it is furred, finned, or feathered. Of special not is the associated website at where children can learn more. Simply stated, "Loving Marley" will prove to be a popular acquisition choice for family, school, and community library picturebook collections and personal reading lists.

In Grandpa's Hands
Marlena E. Uhrik
White Stag Press
c/o Publishers Design Group
PO Box 37, Roseville, CA 95678
9780979258350, $13.95,

The relationship with one's Grandparents – a child's link to a time long past. "In Grandpa's Hands: A Child's Celebration of Family", touchingly illustrated by Barbara Cervone, is heartwarming children's picture book sure to help children how to read as it gives them a warm feeling and appreciation for their grandparents. "In Grandpa's Hands: A Child's Celebration of Family" is highly recommended to children's picture book shelves.

Norman The Little Red Sedan
Richard A. Levesque
No Waste Publishing
1568 Fencorp Drive, Fenton, MO 63026
9781605852768, $TBA,

The torment and pain of every day life is so often under rated by so many. "Norman The Red Sedan", author and artist Richard A. Levesque wants to teach children that feeling down at times in their life is perfectly normal and that there is plenty of joy to be had in their life no matter how down they feel, and more can be had if one learns from their mistakes and that everything will be alright in life ultimately. "Norman and the Red Sedan" is an inspirational children's picturebook, a top pick for community library collections featuring them.

Angels at My Door
Deborah Jung
Gemini World, LLC
3720 Bellaire Drive North, Fort Worth, TX 76109
Shafer Communications (publicity)
9781606431221, $12.95,

HIV and AIDS have affected the lives of millions of children – not just because some have the virus (some do) – but because it affects the ones they learn to love. "Angels At My Door" is a collection of stories and drawings from various children for whom the HIV virus has had a massive impact in their lives. Charming, inspirational, and poignant all at the same time, "Angels at My Door" is a top pick for children's picture book collections and a good buy for any child whose life has been torn apart by this disease.

Circle of Three
Elizabeth Brokamp
Magination Press
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
9781433803215, $8.95,

The more the merrier, right? Then why is the world so designed for the number two? "Circle of Three: Enough Friendship to Go Around?" is the story of Lindsey, Bella, and Kate and how they deal with having more than one best friend – with common childhood dilemmas of class partners, one-friend sleepovers, two on one arguments, among others – and how they deal with each of these problems while still maintaining their friendship. "Circle of Three: Enough Friendship to Go Around" is enhanced with cute, charming drawings by Joni Stringfield, and a perfect addition to children's picturebook collections.

Lucius and the Storm
Kent Knowles
Red Cygnet Press
11858 Stoney Peak Drive, #525, San Diego, CA 92128
9781601080059, $15.95

Lucius and the Storm is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young boy who dares to stand up to the threatening black cloud with the potential to ruin his summer vacation. Though Lucius is beaten into a puddle, he rises again, and with help from the flame in the Smoking Stack, he attains victory over the cloud's oppression. The exuberantly fantastic color illustrations add the perfect touch to this whimsical adventure, told in the spirit of larger-than-life legends.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Medical Imaging
Victoria Sherrow
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
0761422315, $27.95

While this addition to the 'Great Inventions' series is intended for middle to high school readers, it's also a very highly recommended pick for non-specialist readers of any age through providing a little over a hundred pages of informative introduction on the science and nature of medical imaging. From different kinds of medical imaging to the ethical and social dilemmas imaging brings, MEDICAL IMAGING is an excellent addition not just for school grades, but for any library strong in medical science.

HIV/AIDS Treatment Drugs
Brigid M. Kane, editor
David J. Triggle, Ph.D., consulting editor
Chelsea House Publishers
c/o Infobase Publishing
132 West 31st Street, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10001
9780791085523, $30.00 1-800-322-8755

Part of the excellent Drugs: The Straight Facts series, HIV/AIDS Treatment Drugs teaches young adult readers the most up-to-date information about the drugs used to fight the AIDS epidemic today. Chapters give a basic history of how these drugs were developed during the battle against AIDS and discuss different types of drugs in depth, as well as how they work, and how doctors create specific combinations to improve their effectiveness. Social and political issues relating to AIDS as well as possible options for the future of AIDS treatment are also mentioned, including the hope of one day creating a vaccine. Charts, diagrams, and a user-friendly glossary enhance this timely and relevant book, enthusiastically recommended for public and school library collections.

The Music Shelf

Brain Boogie Boosters
Becky Bailey
The Learning Station
3950 Bristol Court, Melbourne, FL 32904
LS-1700CD, $15.00, 1-800-789-9990

Combining music with motion is one of the most effective ways to combine physical and cognitive stimulation with young children. That is the conceptual basis for Becky Bailey's "Brain Boogie Boosters", a CD album featuring nineteen interactive songs and activity combinations that will entertain as they enhance attention spans, relieve stress, and enhance impulse control skills. With a total running time of 55 minutes, the individual pieces include Boogie Rock; Greetings; Move and Freeze; Watch me Listen; Calm Your Brain; You Are Heart; Wadlee Atcha; Itsy Ditsy Spider; Peace Lie a River; Skip Count; I Gotta Go; Nutrition Pyramid; Brain Game; Brain Breaks; Friends Connect; Team of Two; It's a Marvelous Day; Safe and Calm; and the title piece, Brain Boogie Boosters. An outstanding presentation with flawless production qualities, and featuring an accompanying twenty page booklet with lyrics, movements and brain boosting activities, "Brain Boogie Boosters" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, daycare, elementary school, home schooling, and community library CD music collections for young children.

Tabby Road
Recess Monkey
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
RM005, $15.00,

Recess Monkey is a successful and independent recording group that has been entertaining children in both live concert performances and through the release of their popular CD albums. "Tabby Road" is the newest of these and another certain hit for preschool kids through early elementary school students. The first eight compositions comprising this flawlessly produced and superbly performed CD include Birthday Bite; Pedal Power; S-L-Double E-P-Over; The Sandbox Song; Kitty Sister, Dr. Wiggle; KC in the Clouds; and Under My Bed. The last nine compositions are a medley of lively toe-tapping tunes that include Green Monster; My yeti's So Cool; Robin (the Sugar Goblin); Messy Nessie; Boogie Monster; Mummy; Little Dragon; Monster Truck; and Wolfman. Altogether, "Tabby Road" showcases a pop-rock style music that is pure entertainment and confidently recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, community library, and elementary school library CD music collections for young children.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Red Necklace
Carrington MacDuffie, narrator
Sally Gardner, author
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780739356487, $50.00 1-800-726-0600

The Red Necklace is an unabridged audiobook production of Sally Gardner's novel for young adult readers age nine and up. Set in Paris in the winter of 1789, The Red Necklace follows a Gypsy boy named Yann Margoza, born with an uncanny gift for knowing what people are thinking as well as the talent to throw his voice; both skills come in quite handy while Yann works for an irresponsible magician. On the night of the magicians final performance, Yann meets Sido, a shy heiress with an aloof father. Yann must brave the wrath of a villain named Count Kalliovski for Sido's sake, and his life tumbles headlong into adventure amidst the stirrings of the French Revolution. Though The Red Necklace is suitable for young adults and teens, listeners of all ages are sure to enjoy this stellar audio performance by recording artist Carrington MacDuffie. 8 CDs, 9 hours 46 min.

The Preschool Shelf

A Caribbean Journey from A to Y
Mario Picayo, author
Earleen Griswold, illustrator
Campanita Books
c/o Editorial Campana
19 West 85th Street, Suite A, New York, NY 10024
9780972561181, $19.95

A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) is an ABC picturebook that leads the reader through the Caribbean islands as well as through the alphabet. From Aruba to Trinidad and alligator to yam, A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is filled with fun facts about life, cuisine, fun, and culture in island nations! "What words begin with Z? Zoo begins with Z, but we'd rather use it for zebra. We don't have zebras in the Caribbean (except at the zoo), but that doesn't matter. We will take our Z to Africa, where zebras are really from, and where they still run free." Simple, color illustrations in the style of a child's drawing enliven this wonderfully educational picturebook.

My Up & Down & All Around Book
Marjorie W. Pitzer, author & photographer
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Road, Bethesda, MD 20817
9781890627904, $10.95 1-800-843-7323

My Up & Down & All Around Book is a simple and delightful board book for very young children that demonstrates simple English prepositional phrases with bright, cheerful photographs. For example, one page says "Behind" and shows a playful child peeking out from behind a tree, while the next page says "In front of" and shows the smiling child standing in front of the tree. The final page is for adults; Libby Kumin, Ph.D., CCC-SLP explains how parents can use the book to teach young children about prepositions. "When your child can use prepositions in speech, ask him questions, such as 'Where do you want to go?' If he answers without a preposition, repeat the question, and then rephrase his answer emphasizing the preposition by making louder and more dramatic: 'Where do you want to go? Under the table.'" A wonderful educational tool for parents, babysitters, and daycare providers.

The Christian Studies Shelf

God's Promise
Maureen Moss, author
Gerald Purnell, illustrator
Illumination Arts Publishing
PO Box 1865, Bellevue, WA 98009
9780974019079, $15.95 1-888-210-8216

Intended for readers age four to adult, God's Promise is a beautiful picturebook with a gentle Christian message. As a new family awaits the birth of their baby girl, God helps little Angelina prepare for life on Earth. "I will be with you as you celebrate each birthday, on your first day of school, when you find your true love, as you hold your first child, and rock your first grandchild. And when your journey on earth is complete, I will bring you home." Award-winning artist Gerald Purnell illustrates this majestic picturebook with colorful scenes of nature's creatures and the cosmos' wonders. Highly recommended especially for Sunday School libraries and reading aloud to young children.

Light for the Sacra Vellum
Cathy O. Idowu, author
Lisa Wright, illustrator
9780980148404, $19.99

Book One of The Graceville Chronicles, Light for the Sacra Vellum is a Christian chapter book for young adults. In the mysterious town of Graceville, the residents have a book of rules to live by called the Sacra Vellum, given to them by the Imortul, their great commander. Yet no one can read the Sacra Vellum's pages; what are they to do? A handful of soft black-and-white illustrations enhance this dramatic allegory of biblical themes created to teach young adults about the value and purpose of God's Grace. Light for the Sacra Vellum is an absorbing, thoughtful, and deeply spiritual read, especially recommended for Sunday School libraries.

The Native American Shelf

Buffalo Song
Joseph Bruchac, author
Bill Farnsworth, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781584302803, $17.95

Buffalo Song is a children's picturebook based on the wondrous true story of the first efforts made to save the buffalo, an animal sacred to Native Americans that was almost hunted to extinction - by the 1870s less than fifteen hundred remained. Individuals such as Walking Coyote stepped forward to rescue buffalo orphans, and bring back the buffalo herds one animal at a time. Superbly brought to life with soft full-color illustrations, Buffalo Song carries a timeless message of conservation and respect, and is highly recommended for public library children's picturebook collections.

Fifth House Publishers
1511-1800 4 Street SW, Calgary, AB Canada
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135-3303 1-800-387-9776

"This Land is Our Storybook" series introduces young readers to the lives, cultures, and traditions of Aboriginal Canadian peoples. In "We Feel Good Out Here" (9781897252338, $16.95) by Julie-Ann Andre and Mindy Willett, readers are invited to follow Julie-Ann Andre and her daughters in the Tsiigehtchic and Inuvik. In addition to being a loving mother, Julie-Ann is a dedicated Canadian Ranger, hunter, trapper, business owner, and student. She shares the story of her land - Khaii Luk, the place of winter fish - and the importance of showing respect for the land and its creatures. "The trapping season ends at the end of February when the mating season begins. The fur is used to make clothing for ourselves or to sell. Some animals we eat. The unused parts are disposed of in different ways. We believe it is not respectful to the animals to just discard their carcasses, so most people will bury them, burn them, or feed them to their dogs." In "The Delta is My Home" (9781897252321, $16.95) by Tom McLeod and Mindy Willett, young readers are introduced to 11-year-old Tom McLeod from Aklavik, who tells of how the Mackenzie Delta floods in the spring, how to make bannock, and how to trap muskrats or hunt black ducks. Featuring beautiful color photography by Tessa Macintosh on almost every page, both titles are a welcome addition to multicultural bookshelves and public library children's collections.

The Humor Shelf

Norwood House Press
PO Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631 1-866-565-2900

The "Funny Zone" series are a set of books filled cover to cover with hilarious jokes sure to appeal to young readers in second through fourth grade. In addition to the humor, all three books also have creative writing exercises designed to stimulate youthful imagination. Each book has a different theme: Animal Zone (9781599531397, $19.95), History Zone (9781599531410, $19.95), and Sports Zone (9781599531441, $19.95). All three are delightfully amusing and make ideal gifts or rainy-day entertainment for children.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

EZ Comics
12 Pine Top Road, Barrington, RI 02806

"Education Made Easy" EZ Comics teaches young readers about American history in an engaging and readily accessible format. Three color graphic novels offer a brief yet historically accurate survey of notable American heroes or eras of history. "Benjamin Franklin" (9780979588723, $6.95) is a kid-friendly biography of the titular Founding Father, showcasing his talents in science, politics, diplomacy, and more. Of special note is the attention paid to the trials of Franklin's personal life, such as the dilemma of how he would care for his sick mother, as well as the national deeds for which he is more famous. "The Civil War" (9780979588716, $6.95) introduces young readers to the harrowing true story of the American Civil War and its immediate aftermath. A surprisingly detailed battle-by-battle account of America's deadliest conflict ensues, culminating in the restoration of the Union followed by the tragic assassination of President Lincoln. "Martin Luther King, Jr." (9780979588709, $6.95) is a biography of the charismatic and dedicated civil rights leader, who believed and worked for peaceful protest to bring an end to American injustice. Among the positive changes he helped bring about and lived to see were the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which gave everyone the right to vote regardless of race. At only thirty-nine years of age, he was assassinated, and the nation grieved the loss of one of its most inspirational and principled leaders. All three graphic novels are highly informed and informative, adhering scrupulously to historical facts with no creative license (all words that historical characters say are direct quotes attributed to them), and highly recommended as educational additions to children's bookshelves and library collections.

The Bilingual Shelf

Paco and the Giant Chile Plant
Keith Polette, author
Elizabeth O. Dulemba, illustrator
Raven Tree Press
c/o Delta Publishing Company
1400 Miller Parkway, Mc Henry IL 60050
9780977090624, $16.95 1-877-256-0579

Award-winning author Keith Polette presents Paco and the Giant Chile Plant, a children's picturebook of the traditional "Jack and the Giant Beanstalk" fairy tale, with a distinctly Spanish-American Southwest twist! Told in English with embedded Spanish words (which are written in red instead of black), and enhanced with a Spanish-English vocabulary page, Paco and the Giant Chile Plant is excellent for introducing young people to the fun of learning a new language. The exuberant color artwork by award-winning illustrator Elizabeth O. Dulemba adds the perfect touch to this lively adventure, which has a heartwarming, positive twist on the ending of the original fairy tale.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Stephanie Greene's MOOSE AND HILDY: THE SHOW-OFF (9780761453741, $14.99) blends black and white illustrations by Joe Mathieu with the zany story of a show-off pig who comes to visit poor Moose and his pig friend Hildy. Their visitor is an expert on EVERYTHING – how can Moose and Hildy get a word in? A hilarious story evolves in a simple chapter book for newer readers. Janice M. Del Negro's PASSION AND POISON: TALES OF SHAPE-SHIFTERS, GHOSTS, AND SPIRITED WOMEN (9780761453611, $16.99) provides eight original stories about strong females. From a brave housekeeper to a woman who avenges her sister's death, these tales pair black and white drawings with ghostly encounters satisfying to readers in grades 3-5. Remember the color 'classic comics' series? These appear now in book form featuring full-color graphic novel adaptation of the classics, and Mazan, Cecile Chicault and Philip Petit adapt TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM (1597071013, $17.95), a collection of for classic Grimm stories in graphic novel format: LEARNING HOW TO SHUDDER, THE VALIANT LITTLE TAILOR, THE DEVIL WITH THE THREE GOLDEN HAIRS and HANSEL AND GRETEL. All are excellent picks for beginning readers offering high interest stories.

The Red Ghost
Marian Dane Bauer
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375840814, $11.99,

Peter Fergusen provides the fine drawings for this easy reader ghost story revolving around Jenna, who finds the perfect old doll at a garage sale for free. But when she takes it home, trouble and mystery evolves. This companion to THE BLUE GHOST places the ghost squarely in the doll – and provides a satisfyingly eerie story young readers will relish.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Tedd Arnold's FLY HIGH, FLY GUY! (9545997224, $5.99) tells of a boy with a fly friend and the adventures they have together. More than a very simple chapter book of a boy/fly relationship, it's the zany color drawings which make FLY HIGH, FLY GUY Such fun. Wade Cooper's ON THE ROAD (9545997204, $3.99) is a Level 1 reader for those very new to books. Simple words and sentences combine with photos to attract the newest young reader with pictures of trucks, digging machines and more. Wiley Miller's ORDINARY BASIL: ATTACK OF THE VOLCANO MONKEYS (0439861322, $14.99) tells of two children who sneak off for a fun day on a forbidden island, only to find the deadly Volcano Monkeys attack them and trap them in a cave. Their only way out is to go deeper within – there to encounter even more unexpected dangers. Color drawings throughout make for an outstanding chapter book packed with detail and adventure. Alexander Stadler's JULIAN RODRIGUEZ: TRASH CRISIS ON EARTH (0439919665, $15.99) tells of an alien disguised as eight-year-old boy who fights injustices. But when he's set upon by girl bullies and faced with a day of testing at his school, he rebels. What is more important: world annihilation or personal injustice? Heather Dyer's IBBY'S MAGIC WEEKEND (0545032091, $16.99) tells of a disbeliever in magic – who is forced to believe when her cousin Francis shrinks to the size of her thumb. Two troublemaker cousins, a magic box which is all too real, and a strange professional magician who mysteriously vanished all lead to a dangerous truth. Stephanie Watson's ELVIS & OLIVE (0545031834, $15.99) tells of Natalie, who thinks her summer will be boring – until she meets her quirky new neighbor Annie. Their friendship leads to their development of a spy ring to observe the neighbors – a club which leads to some unusual and unexpected discoveries in this advanced elementary reader. Sarah Weeks' OGGIE COODER (0439927919, $16.99) tells of a boy whose talent is chewing and carving pieces of cheese into any shape he wishes. His talent doesn't seem unexpected – until a TV show comes to town looking for weird talents, making Oggie an unexpected star. A fun tale of an unusual champion evolves. Meg Cabot's ALLIE FINKLE'S RULES FOR GIRLS: MOVING DAY (0545039479, $15.99) reaches advanced elementary grades with the story of nine-year-old Allie, who is moving and not happy about having to give up her lovely room and friends. Suddenly she's the 'new girl': how will she fit in? Kazu Kibuishi's AMULET (0439846803, $21.99) is Book One in 'The Stonekeeper' series, in which a family moves to an old ancestral home to begin a new life after a family tragedy, only to find a monster in the basement lures them to another world of magic and danger. An outstanding blend of fantasy and mystery.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012

Wade Cooper's FARM ANIMALS (0545007216, $3.99) provides a Level 2 survey using simple words and sentences to explore farm animals for new learners. Quizzes, a sample dictionary, and full-page large animal color photos make for a fine, involving introduction. Nic Bishop's FROGS (0439877555, $17.99) provides photos of big frogs and tiny ones as well as nearly fifty pages of frog facts, including a glossary and index. The blend of natural history and colorful frog photos makes for an outstanding presentation perfect for either reports or leisure learners.

Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Jane Drake and Ann Love's ALIEN INVADERS: SPECIES THAT THREATEN OUR WORLD (9780887767982, $19.95) discusses invasive species, from killer toads to brown tree snakes, using the Great Lakes and Lake Victoria regions as examples of how invaders impact ecosystems and change or destroy biodiversity. Over fifty pages pair eye-catching color drawings with examples of species invasion, covering common scenarios and how they happened, making for a top pick for elementary-level students. Karen Patkau's CREATURES YESTERDAY AND TODAY (9780887768330, $22.99) offers a companion to CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL but stands alone as a survey of animals which disappeared in prehistoric times. Maps, time lines, history and first-person animal descriptions make for lively reading about prehistoric animals.

The Art Shelf

What's the Big Idea?
Joyce Raimondo
Watson Guptill
770 Broadway, New York NY 10003
9780823099986, $13.95,

From a mixed-up green face to a mobile that changes, abstract art is explored for kids using a little under fifty pages of full color art blended with questions and ideas for children ages 5-12. From easy art projects supporting art examples to color pictures of works by famous artists, WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA? ACTIVITIES AND ADVENTURES IN ABSTRACT ART is a winning art survey.

The International Studies Shelf

Elephants and Golden Thrones
Trish Marx
Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810994850, $18.95,

For over five hundred years the emperors of China ruled from an enormous palace city of over eight thousand decorated rooms hidden behind thirty-foot walls – a structure which came to be called The Forbidden City. ELEPHANTS AND GOLDEN THRONES: INSIDE CHINA'S FORBIDDEN CITY blends lovely color photos by Ellen B. Senisi with a discussion of life behind this wall, providing kids in grades 4-6 with a fine, lovely blend of color photos and Chinese cultural and political history.

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

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