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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 21, Number 6 June 2011 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Picturebook Shelf Education Shelf
Math Shelf Geography Shelf Multicultural Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf World History Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Fiction Shelf
Poetry Shelf Crafts Shelf Nature/Environment Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christian Shelf Holiday Shelf
Counting Shelf Sports Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Audiobook Shelf Biography Shelf
Theatre/Cinema Shelf Health Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

Sara Sue Learns to Yell & Tell
Debi Pearl
No Greater Joy Ministries
1000 Pearl Road, Pleasantville, TN 37033
9781616440176 $9.95

"Sara Sue Learns to Yell & Tell: A Warning for Children Against Sexual Predators" is a guide to children's (girls') self protection against sexual predators. Written in simple language, with cheerful colors and illustrations, "Sara Sue Learns to Yell & Tell" lists and teaches the significance of seven clues that will help even young children to protect themselves from the abusive attention of sexual predators. Here are the seven clues: 1. Knowing things will protect you. 2. What's yours, is yours, no one should touch or see. 3. You never know who's watching you. 4. You'll know someone is bad by what they do. 5. You should run and tell your mama. 6. Others will be safer if you tell who is bad. 7. Those prepared are usually spared. The advice is forthright and clear, and even as small a thing as wearing protective pantaloons under dresses for girls can be a significant deterrent to pedophiles' unwanted attentions. "Sara Sue Learns to Yell & Tell" is a practical defensive manual for parents and young children which balances positive proactive approaches with known harmful influences and dangers. Also recommended in this series by the same author is "Samuel Learns to Yell & Tell (9781616440169, $9.95)."

Big Questions
Matthew Morrison
Wizard Books
c/o Penguin Books Canada
90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, ON M4P 2Y3
9781840466706, $7.95,

Good questions never stop being asked. "Big Questions: Incredible Adventures in Thinking" is a collection of writings from Matthew Morrison as he encourages critical thinking in younger readers. Morrison presents some thoughts to get started on the big questions like the basis of debate and discussion, the existence of God, the ethics of science, and much more. "Big Questions" is worth reading for any age, although aimed at younger critical thinkers.

How To Talk To an Autistic Kid
Daniel Stefanski
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575423654, $12.99,

"How To Talk To an Autistic Kid" is a helpful, bridging book specifically organized to encourage kids to include and interact with kids with autism diagnoses. Written by an autistic kid, this book answers practical questions like Why won't he look at me? Why does he stand too close? Why does he talk about the same things over and over again? Why is it hard for him to share? How can I get to know him better? All these and many more practical questions are answered in the frank dialogues and questions and approaches in "How To Talk to An Autistic Kid." Aimed at readers age 8 and up, this book goes a long way towards demystifying autism and its attributes for a young audience.

Too Much Noise In the Library
Susan Margaret Chapman, author
Abby Carter, illustrator
Upstart Books
401 S. Wright Road, Janesville, WI 53547
9781602130265, $17.95,

"Too Much Noise in the Library" is a humorous illustrated story about a library with a special librarian, Mrs. Reade, and a visiting mayor who comes in search of peace and quiet. Unfortunately the mayor decides that the ordinary sounds of the library's working - computer keys tapping, printers humming, DVDs playing, pages turning, etc. - plus the annoying kids like Adam who ask a million questions - need to be silenced. Finally the mayor locks up all the books, sends the teachers out for coffee, and sends the children back to class. When Mrs. Reade returns to her library, she is shocked! "What has happened to the library?" she asks. When the mayor answers justifying his decisions, she asks him, "Mr. Mayor, do you really like the library like this?" The answer is of course not, and the library gradually returns to its busy bustle and humming, and the mayor declares, "I love libraries, they're so busy and lively!" Delicate illustrations gently underline the lesson taught so well in "Too Much Noise in the Library."

Military Life: Stories and Poems for Children
Julie LaBelle, et. al.
Quinette Cook, illustrator
Elva Resa Publishing
8362 Tamarack Vlg. Ste. 119-106, St. Paul, MN 55125
9781934617090, $12.95,

"Military Life: Stories and Poems" is an illustrated compilation of 13 stories and poems about children's experiences of the military deployment or return of a beloved parent. Sensitively illustrated with water colors, stories and poems help bring to life the essentials of a child's perceptions of the consequences of military deployment. Focusing on the ability of children to create and affect their own day-to-day reactions and actions, "Military Life" is a special empowering tool to help military families cope with and survive separation and reunion. A powerful example is the poem, Holding Mom's Kite, by Jennifer Jesseph: "Dear Mom,/ When you deployed,/ I imagined you as a kite, flying/ so high and far away we lost sight,/ but we feel you tug the string. Do you/ feel us tug too?/ Dad, Danny,/ and I/ hold/ the/ string. Every day we wind one reel and you are one day closer. We are here pulling you home with our LOVE!!!"

You Asked?
Owlkids Books Inc.
10 Lower Spadina Avenue, Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Publishers Group West (distributor)
1700 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94710
9781926818146, $14.95,

Celebrating 35 years of educating curious kids about science, nature, and the world around them, "You Asked?: Over 300 Great Questions and Astounding Answers" contains a stunning collection of more than 300 of the best questions asked by generations of kids, and the amazing answers to the questions. An introduction by OWL magazine founder Annabel Slaight, pages of brightly colored photos and illustrations, and over 100 pages of questions and answers about science, the world, nature, and thousands of fascinating details help make "You Asked?" a hit with inquiring readers age 9 and up. Also very highly recommended for family, school, and community library children's books collections is "You Just Can't Help It!: Your Guide to the Wild and Wacky World of Human Behavior" written by Jeff Szpirglas and illustrated by Josh Holinaty (9781926818078, $10.95).

Dead Men Do Tell Tales
Sherban Young
Dover Publications
31 East Second St., Mineola NY 11501
9780486478937, $6.95,

Sherlock Holmes and other detectives of pop culture have spurred would be sleuths from all over to take up the magnifying glass. "Dead Men Do Tell Tales: 60 Mini-Mysteries to Test Your Detective Prowess" is a book filled with logic puzzles to tax reader's minds and challenge them to find the solutions. With a bit of humor and plenty of fun, "Dead Men Do Tell Tales" is a gift for any young sleuth, and will be sure to challenge even adult readers.

The Picturebook Shelf

Vive La Differance!
C. J. Connolly & Lisa Adams
Crosswinds Press
PO Box 683, Mystic CT 06355
9780982555996, $16.95,

The fifth and newest title in a charmingly written series by C. J. Connolly, "Vive La Differance!" is the story of Wil, a young boy and his dog looking for friends to play with -- even if the canine ones come equipped with fleas! A thoroughly engaging story for young readers, C. J. Connolly's rhyming text is deftly augmented by the impressive illustrations of Lisa Adams throughout. The result is a highly recommended children's picture book that entertains even as it underscores a positive message about how differences are often the foundation of successful friendships. "Vive La Differance!" is appropriate and recommended for family, school, and community library picture book collections.

No Fair Science Fair
Nancy Poydar
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10017
9780823422692 $14.95,

Otis needs a science project in a hurry: how can he decide on a winning contribution? Ages 4-8 will relish this story of a boy rushed to produce a winning project - then facing the ridicule of classmates who believe they have easier, better projects on the table. Kids with good reading skills will find this a whimsical, appealing picturebook story!

Donovan's Big Day
Leslea Newman, author
Mike Dutton, illustrator
Tricycle Books
c/o Random House
6001 Shellmound St., 4th Floor, Emeryville, CA 94608
9781582463926 $15.99

DONOVAN'S BIG DAY receives fine drawings by Mike Dutton. The gentle illustrations spice up the story of Donovan's two moms, who are getting married. Donovan can't wait for the festivities and he has the important job of ring bearer in this fine tale of a same-sex marriage and the traditions a child follows with enthusiasm and joy.

Little Duckie's Day
D. L. Skandle, author/ illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449097059, $15.99,

"Little Duckie's Day" is a light-hearted illustrated book about an enthusiastic baby duckling who is being carefully reared by a weary wolf mom. Told from the cheery viewpoint of baby Duckie, "Little Duckie's Day" has definite chortle-provoking powers. New parents will surely identify with the patient, sleep-deprived wolf mom who tries so gallantly to keep up with her demanding little Duckie. All drawings of the helpful actions of Little Duckie has hilarious double messages. "Little Duckie's Day" is a preschool children's book that just might encourage weary toddler parents to make it through another wearing, joyous day of parenting.

Sophie Gets Curtains
Adelene Keeler Smith, author
Floyd Ryan Yamyamin, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452089430, $10.99,

"Sophie Gets Curtains" is the charming story of a growing wire fox terrier whose family surprises her with a new dog house to reward her for passing her 2-year-old puppy test. Sophies's dog house is styled on the outside as a British Colonial, to match the large house belonging to her family. Sophie has a dream team of designers to decorate her new home. Sophie even gets new curtains! The day of the new doghouse housewarming arrives, and Sophie sends out her invitation list. A fabulous weekend of food and fun with her canine friends is Sophie's West Palm Beach party plan. A special glossary of terms at the end of the book helps young readers understand some of the many decorator's terms and other language used in "Sophie Gets Curtains." This is the beginning of the "Sophie" series, which teaches values of home, family, friendship, and a sense of community." Look for the next book in the series, "Sophie Goes to Scotland."

Pip, A Very Special Little Caterpillar
Rebecca L. Macri, author
Bonita Feeney, character illustrator
Warren Publishing, Inc.
9781886057616, $16.95,

"Pip, A Very special Little Caterpillar" is a wonderful book of transformations through love. Pip is a fuzzy caterpillar whose legs don't work together well. His mother reassures him that he will learn and grow and develop in time just fine, if he just works hard, is honest, loves deeply, and believes in himself. Mama Butterfly's most important message to Pip is that the important thing to remember is love never dies. One morning when Pip wakes up and looks for Mama, Papa tells him sadly she has gone to the wind and will not be back. Although Pip is very sad, he remembers what she told him, and that same day he discovered his own mew butterfly wings and began to fly. "Pip, A Very Special Little Caterpillar" is an inspirational book about faith and works, with lovely colorful detailed water-based paintings and illustrations. Children age 5 and up will benefit from its gentle message.

Noodle & Lou
Liz Garton Scanlon, author
Arthur Howard, illustrator
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781442402881, $15.99,

"Noodle & Lou" is a charming story about a depressed little worm (named Noodle) who depends on his best friend, a bird named Lou, to cheer him up. Lou always points out the bright side to Noodle, no matter how tough it is to find. Gradually, Noodle responds to Lou's peppy returns and recovers some good positive attitude. Written in sing-song verse with brightly colored, cheerful illustrations, "Noodle and Lou" is sure to delight children age 4 and up, especially the grumpy ones who need to be cheered up.

Olly's Treasure
Elaine Ann Allen, author
Kelli Nash, illustrator
Schiffer Publishing Co.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764337727, $16.99,

"Olly's Treasure" is the creative story of an oyster named Olly who loves cleaning the water in Chesapeake Bay with his oyster friends. One day Olly discovers a sunken ship beyond the oyster reef, and he wonders if he will find treasure aboard the wrecked ship. At first, Olly can't understand that there may also be treasure in his oyster reef home. On his way to the sunken ship he meet several sea friends who make requests of him for specific treasures if he finds them, to help them in their daily lives. Olly promises to do his best. Indeed, once on the sunken ship, Olly finds many treasures including gold coins, silver vases, and shiny gemstones. But he is cold and lonely and has no friends present to share the treasure with. After a while, Olly decides to return home to the oyster reef, forgetting to take items of treasure for his friends. However, when he sees Mrs. Skillet Fish, Mr. Mud Crab, and Mrs. Sea Worm, he finds that each of them has found other, better treasures right on the oyster reef that meet their needs. Finally Olly realizes that the real treasure is not on the sunken ship, but right around him on the everyday oyster reef. Charming colored illustrations give faces and personalities to Olly and his friends, making "Olly's Treasure" even more appealing to young readers preschool to grade 2. "Olly's Treasure" is the second book in a series that targets maritime education for children, following "Olly the Oyster Cleans the Bay (9780870336034, $13.95)."

Cynthia Platt, author
Veronica Vasylenko, illustrator
Tiger Tales
5 River Road, Suite 128, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589250932 $15.95

"Panda-Monium!" is a delightful illustrated story in verse about Beckett, a hungry little panda in search of a delightful sweet, crunchy snack of bamboo! Beckett takes a happy stroll through meadows, woods and flower-strewn fields with misty, dreaming mountains painted in the background, looking for his favorite snack, bamboo, but guess what? Beckett is not alone! First two pandas, then three pandas, and even four more pandas find and follow Beckett in his quest for sweet, crunchy, delicious bamboo. Beckett is unaware he is their little leader and the pandas play and skip in their adventurous search, meanwhile growing hungrier and hungrier for sweet, crunchy bamboo. As the pandas and the fun and mystery inexplicably multiply, the search intensifies until Beckett decides to climb a gingko tree to look for bamboo. Naturally all the multiple pandas follow Beckett into the tree, which results in PANDA-MONIUM! However, tumbling out of the tree, a serendipitous snack appears to little Beckett, BAMBOO! "So, all alone, he took a seat -/ to have some sweet bamboo to eat!" Children aces 3 to 7 years will love the sensitive illustrations and action-enhanced text of "Panda-Monium!"

Carolyn and Her Tiny Red House
Cindy Ruvolo Lurie, author
Jessica Thompson, illustrator
Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310750 $12.95

"Carolyn and Her Tiny Red House" is a delightful illustrated story in rhyme that traces the feelings of a girl who compares life with a family of 5 brothers and two parents in a tiny red house to life in a spacious mansion all alone with one friend. Oddly enough, Carolyn concludes that something is missing in her new, miles deep mansion home, even though she brings her beloved cat (named Mouse) along. Poignant, imaginative illustrations mirror Carolyn's uneasy feelings as she explores the huge alternate house in an unending, floating tour. The certainty of Carolyn's reaction will delight young readers as she discovers: "I know what's missing./ I know it! I DO!/ It lies deep within me, my loveliest part./ It holds all my secrets, my feelings, my heart./ It's what makes me, ME; someone special and kind./ What's missing is family, the one left behind." "Carolyn and Her Tiny Red House" is recommended reading for readers ages 3 to 8.

Fergus Finds a Friend
Kenneth Stevens, author
Louise Crowe, illustrator
Floris Books
c/o Myrick Marketing and Media
455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 37167
9780863157783 $11.95

"Fergus Finds a Friend" is a delightful picture book nature story about a Scottish otter named Fergus who searches for a friend and a new home. Sensitively illustrated with detailed paintings of Scottish wild country and animals that inhabit it, "Fergus Finds a Friend" is an adventure tale with a happy ending that will appeal to children age 3 and up. "Fergus Finds a Friend" is part of a series of Scottish picture books for young children called Picture Kelpies. Also recommended in this series is "Hungry Hettie (9780863157790, $11.95)," written by Polly Lawson and illustrated by Jo Allan. For more information and more original Scottish picture books, go to

c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

Ying Chang Compestine's THE RUNAWAY WOK (9780525420682, $16.99) receives Sebastia Serra's warm drawings to accompany the story of Ming, who goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an empty old wok instead. It's not a losing proposition, for the wok is magic and returns food for the family with enough to share. Can the magic wok bring a happy Chinese New Year not only to Ming's family, but to all the poor families of Beijing? A fine Chinese folk story evolves! David Soman and Jacky Davis' LADYBUG GIRL AND THE BUG SQUAD (9780803734197, $16.99) offers a companion to LADYBUG GIRL and is a recommended pick for collections that have seen popularity with the prior story. It tells of Lulu's Bug Squad which is coming over to play at intrigue - and how Lulu handles hurt feelings within the Squad. Kids with good reading skills will find this appealing. John Segal's PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS (9780399254253, $16.99) tells of a little pirate pig who refuses to bathe. Astronauts don't take baths, cowboys don't - and everyone knows pirates certainly don't bathe. His refusal is thwarted by a clever mother in this fine easy read, a top pick for any picturebook collection.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., Toronto Ontario Canada M5A 2P9

Monica Kulling's MERCI MISTER DASH! (9780887769641, $19.99) tells of the charming Mister Dash, a loving dog companion to his owner. Both live a comfortable life - until a granddaughter's visit brings chaos and loudness to their lives. Mister Dash is miserable - but he proves a brave dog when she gets into trouble and needs help. Esperanca Melo's color drawings are fun. Rina Singh's NEARLY NONSENSE; HOJA TALES FROM TURKEY (9780887769740, $19.99) is a read-aloud pick for parents, teachers and others providing ethnic folktales to kids, and tells of busy man Nasrudin Hoja, whose light approach to life's challenges is both witty and wise. He finds the bright side to any encounter in a series of fun fables illustrated in color by Farida Zaman and perfect for read-alouds.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

These picturebook presentations each offer something special to discriminating collections, providing absorbing stories and fine illustrations to stand out among the picturebooks on the market. Recommended for any general picturebook collection are some of Cavendish's latest, finest releases. Patricia Hubbell's CHIECK IT OUT! READING, FINDING, HELPING (9780761458036, $16.99) receives Nancy Speir's fine drawings as it provides a simple, lively discussion of how a librarian helps kids. Ages 3-8 will find librarians don't just read - she plans book parties and helps with schoolwork, too. Lucine Kasbarian's THE GREEDY SPARROW: AN ARMENIAN TALE (9780761458210, $17.99) receives Maria Zaikina's drawings and will appeal to ages 4-8 as it tells of a sparrow who tricks all the new people he meets. The sparrow moves up in the world through his trickery, but is he happier for all his riches? Eve Bunting's MY DOG JACK IS FAT (9780761458098, $16.99) receives Michael Rex's fine drawings and tells of a dog who has major problems losing weight - especially while eyeing a master who seems to have no limits in his diet. How Jack finally succeeds against all odds makes for a warm, funny survey. Pam Calvert's PRINCESS PEEPERS PICKS A PET (9780761458159, $16.99) receives Tuesday Mourning's fine drawing and will reach ages 5-9 with the story of the Royal Academy for Perfect Princesses, excited about a pet show. But Princess Peppers doesn't how a pet: can she use a bug from her collection, or a frog from the royal pond? Another fine Princess Peepers story! Nancy Loewen's THE LAST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN (9780761458074, $16.99) receives fine drawings by Sachiko Yoshikawa for ages 4-5 and tells of a little girl who is sad kindergarten is coming to an end. She wishes it was the first day again - but eventually finds a positive viewpoint about her changing school world. Susan Pearson's HOW TO TEACH A SLUG TO READ (9780761458050, $16.99) receives excellent drawings by David Slonim and tells of a little boy who explains to mama Slug how to teach Little Slug to read. some of his reading rules are standard to learning to read in this gentle story of patience and perseverance. Will Hillenbrand's MOTHER GOOSE PICTURE PUZZLES (9780761458081, $17.99) will appeal to ages 5-8 and provides visual keys to guessing some of the words in 20 Mother Goose rhymes. Clues on every page offer fun art paired with words from the classic for ages 5-8. Margery Williams' classic THE VELVETEEN RABBIT (9780761458487, $17.99) appears here in a picturebook story format illustrated by Gennady Spirin and makes for a lovely read-aloud book for parents and kids, or a read-alone book for ages 8-12. On Christmas morning a boy discovers a Velveteen rabbit poking out of his stocking - and the rabbit wonders what is 'real' as he encounters other nursery toys. Discussions of love, reality, and more bring to life magic and pathos from the original book and make this an exceptional addition to any picture book collection!

The Education Shelf

Too Clever
Julia Antoine, author
Frankniell Concepcion, illustrator
Privately Published
9781452864815, $16.99,

"Too Clever" is an illustrated collection of 10 short stories about inquisitive children and their adventures in learning. All sorts of subjects are introduced and explored by the curious kids who star in these short stories. Each of them has a lesson to share, making "Too Clever" an ideal learning companion for kids age 9 and up. From Cleo's Tomato Sandwich to Timothy's Man in the Moon, each story deals with a challenge and a passion for the child to tackle and master, both learning and teaching. "Too Clever" tackles a multitude of subjects and interest areas, from taming wild eagles to learning correct grammar rules for difficult pronouns. And let's not forget the subject of math, or how many Johnny cakes will be enough to feed a family of four. Bright, cheery illustrations in comic style enliven the pages of "Too Clever," while peppy heroes and heroines dominate the stories illustrating active learning. Also recommended by the same author is "Too Clever II - A Tropical Christmas" (9781456444570, $16.99), a story of a boy's eco-friendly celebrations of Christmas and special customs on a Caribbean island.

The Math Shelf

You Can Count on Monsters
Richard Evan Schwartz
CRC Press
c/o Taylor & Francis
270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781568815787, $24.95,

Throw a textbook at a kid, and it's easy to understand why so few kids get excited about math. "You Can Count on Monsters" is a combination of art and mathematics from Richard Evan Schwartz as he seeks to teach young readers about mathematics through quirky illustrations of monsters. Focusing on multiplication and prime numbers and the principles behind them, Schwartz comes at readers in a simple to follow method that is as humorous and unique as it is educational. "You Can Count on Monsters" is a strong pick for any educational mathematics collection that focus on the fundamental of math.

Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps
Maureen Stearns
Enrichment Books
9848 Pine Lake Trail, St. Petersburg, FL 33708
9780972690850 $14.95

"Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps: Teach this Easy Method in Just 5 Minutes" teaches a special method to help struggling students learn how to multiply or divide in just 5 minutes. Using clear illustrations of sticks and steps, the author employs a multi-sensory system of teaching and learning that is superior to the rote memory so often expected of children learning to multiply and divide. With touching, auditory, and verbal prompts, students are learning concepts with a concrete rather than an abstract model. Plus this new system of learning multiplication and division is fun! Confidence soars with success and each set of problems ends with a boxed inset of concept rein forcer, plus an inspiring quotation or proverb about learning and living each day. "Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps" is a teaching text intended for adults and educators and older students.

The Geography Shelf

The Seven Seas
Ellen Jackson, author
Bill Slavin & Esperanca Melo, illustrators
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853417 $15.99

"The Seven Seas" is a humorous children's picture book in verse about fascinating facts and fictions about the oceans of the world. The fantasy-filled pictures show a Yellow Sea of lemonade, a Green Sea filled with broccoli and caterpillars, and a Red Sea of ketchup and pizza sauce! There is also a Brown Sea of chocolate, of course, and a Black Sea of licorice, but the Purple Sea serves royalty .There is even a Pink Sea of flamingos, but reality strikes when the daydreaming bunny student discovers, looking at a map, that everyone of the world's seven seas is blue! The book goes on to carefully delineate differences between the seven imaginary seas and the "real" seven seas based on the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Black Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. "The Seven Seas" finishes with a definition of a sea, the world's map and 10 of the world's largest oceans and seas, fun facts about seas and oceans, and additional resources. "The Seven Seas" is sure to enchant and amuse young readers age 4-8 while it also educates them about the world's many oceans and seas.

The Multicultural Shelf

Silent Samurai and the Magnificent Rescue
Eileen Wacker, author
Alan M. Low, illustrator
Once Kids, LLC
119 Maono Place, Honolulu, HA 96821
9780984420759, $10.99,

"Silent Samurai and the Magnificent Rescue" is the third title in the Fujimini Adventure series for preschool through first grade-aged children, studying different aspects of Asian culture. Some exciting visitors are coming to Fujimini Island, home to hamsters, bunnies, penguins, and pandas. The strangers are tortoise samurai, known as the silent samurai. Some of the animals on the island are fearful of their new visitors, wondering if they are coming to fight, for they are famous warriors. All changes quickly when the samurai's raft of special equipment is about to sink into the ocean in a storm. All the island animals organize a rescue using their special skills. Afterwards, upon discovering the tortoise samurai have come not to fight but to search for something very special for the Emperor, the animals share a celebratory feast. More installments are coming in the Fujimini Adventure series for kids to enjoy. The first two titles in the series are "Green Hamster and the Quest for Fun," and "Red Penguin and the Missing Sushi." Also recommended is an additional series title, "Pink Hamster and the Big Birthday Surprise."

Nearly Nonsense, Hoja Tales from Turkey
Rina Singh, author editor
Farida Zaman, illustrator
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, New York 12901
9780887769740 $17.95

"Nearly Nonsense" is a collection of 10 traditional teaching tales of Nasrudin Hoja, a mullah, or teacher in Turkey. The Hoja tales are famed for both their humor and wit and their hidden teachings of wise ways of living. Sufi teachers use the Hoja tales to teach children in Asia and now a new North American readership can access them also, with equal delight. A favorite tale is The Three Questions, in which Hoja manages to confound three pretentious, supposedly wise visitors with his imaginative answers to their unanswerable questions, all the while carefully calculating how long it will be until he is invited to a feast at the expense of the mayor! Children will love the sly wit and scarcely concealed craft and cunning of the wise but humble Hoja. "Nearly Nonsense" is recommended reading for children ages 5-8 and their parents and teachers.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs
Willy Claflin, author
James Stimson, illustrator
August House Little Folk
c/o National Book Network
P.O. Box 62188, Baltimore, MD 21264
9780874839142, $18.95,

"Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs: A Maynard Moose Tale" (book and CD) is a Maynard Moose tale as told to Willy Clafin, a part of a vast collection of Mother Moose Tales. To assist the reader, a Glossary and Hoofnotes introduces "Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs," with suitable explanations and parental warnings. "Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs" is written as told by storyteller Maynard Moose, on a full moon night, to all the listening woodland creatures, in the great Northern Piney Woods. The story narrative is embellished with hoofnotes when special moose language and vocabulary is used. A hilarious version of the familiar fairy tale emerges, complete with eccentric, vivid, wild illustrations. In an unprecedented plot twist, the seven dwarfs, of whom there are 8 or 9, come along to witness Punzel in the duck pond where she has been pulled by the prince, who is a bit chubbified, at 512 pounds. The dwarfs try to help Punzel escape the witch safely, so they shave off her long goldie hair. Nevertheless a strangely disguised witch manages to find Punzel alone with a barrow full of poisoned watermelons, which Punzel samples and promptly falls into sleep. The dwarfs decide to exhibit Punzel in a glass box and charge all the forest animals 25 cents a peek. Finally the handsome prince comes riding along on a snow white moose, who trips over the glass case and smashes it to smithereens! Punzel wakes up, coughs out the piece of watermelon, kisses the noble, handsome, kindly moose and goes off with him to live happily ever afterwards. The handsome prince marries the witch in the tall tower and the dwarfs go back to digging gold in the mountain. And the moral of the story is... there ain't no moral to some stories at all! Children will love this hilarious compilation of fairy tales retold by a moose, with hoofprints, and the CD will help befuddled adults with their moose-pronunciation.

Sarah Gibb
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320
Park Ridge, IL 60068
9780807568040, $16.99,

"Rapunzel" is a beautiful retelling of a familiar fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, filled with enchanting color and black and white illustrations featuring delicate, intricate silhouettes. Children will recognize the evil witch, the beautiful heroine, locked in an enchanted tower, and the inquisitive, handsome prince who eventually discovers her secret existence by listening to her singing. The forest animals play a significant role in this version of the tale, and they are also given many charming illustrations and last page mention. In fact, the ultimate rescue of the prince by Rapunzel is only made possible through the kindly intervention of the forest animals. "Rapunzel" is a beautiful story book that will be treasured by children age 6 and up.

Compassionate Fairy Tales
Lois Einhorn, author
Debby Gwaltney, illustrator
Robert D. Reed Publishers
P.O. Box 1992, Bandon, OR 97411
9781934759219, $16.95,

"Compassionate Fairy Tales: A Mother Einhorn Collection" is the answer to the problem of teaching new, nonviolent, peaceful solutions to old problems to the next generation. Based on the four step process outlined by the Center for Nonviolent Communication (observations, feelings, needs and requests), each fairytale is adapted to promote compassionate interactions and ultimately world peace. Tales that are rewritten according to Mother Einhorn include The Tortoise and the Hare, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Ugly Duckling, Snow White and Rose-Red, and two versions of Little Red Riding Hood and three versions of Rumplestiltskin, in addition to many more. Tales are kid and mom-tested, and the end notes on And They Lived Happily Ever After includes an original poem entitled "Goodbye Friends," a final joke, and a list of feelings we all have plus some worksheet space to further nonviolent learning. Colorful illustrations with black outlining help amplify the new messages of the compassionate tales, and children will love the twists of humor that are present in every tale. "Compassionate Fairy Tales" are great for kids age 8 and up, and the adults who nurture them.

The World History Shelf

Buried Treasures, Uncovering Secrets of the Past
Stephane Compoint, author/ photographer
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810997813, $19.95,

"Buried Treasures" takes young readers on a visually compelling odyssey of archaeological missions around the world. Chapters on Alexandria, with photos of drowned wonders, Easter Island, mummies in the desert of Egypt, Cahuachi, Peru, an open air museum, and many more exciting archaeological adventures are featured, with stunning photographs. A map of the world with pinpointed locations of each featured site and location is helpful in the first pages. The purpose of "Buried Treasures" is to excite and enlighten young readers regarding the modern scientific investigations of great mysteries and cultures and creatures of the past. "Buried Treasures" is appealing to middle elementary students age 9 and older. The stunning collection of photographs of incredible sites is sure to be a fascinating, poring read for students of archaeology and human and natural history.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Seabird in the Forest
Joan Dunning
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590787151 $17.95

Seabird in the Forest will reach ages 5-9 with a warm story of the marbled murrelet bird, who perplexed scientists for nearly two hundred years. The little bird lived most of its life on the ocean - so where did it lay its eggs? Only decades ago the answer was found, and this lovely picturebook provides a natural history of a nesting pair of murrelets as they nurture their baby chick hundreds of feet above the ground. Lovely drawings make for a warm, outstanding presentation!

Roxie Munro
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761458821 $17.99

Roxie Munro's HATCH! will reach ages 5-11 and offers a fun survey of different kinds of birds' eggs and what the birds inside will look like. An oversized presentation and clear explanations provide plenty of natural history suitable for reports and include facts not only on eggs, but on different birds and where and how they live. A fine introduction, this offers a lively format and approach to birds.

The Adventures of Emmy & Endy and Alfie Duffy, Too!
James E. Duffy, author
Bobbie Marsh, illustrator
The Peppertree Press
1269 First St., Suite 7, Sarasota, FLA 34236
9781936343140, $15.95,

"The Adventures of Emmy & Endy and Alfie Duffy, Too!: Tales of My Fun-Loving Jack Russell Terriers" is a charming children's illustrated verse story celebrating the special love between three Jack Russell terriers and their owner, the proud author. From beginning to end, these are lovable, playful, loyal dogs, beloved by their owner. They are also good little guard dogs. Each major event in the dogs' life is presented in a small verse chapter with a special illustration. From Visiting the Veterinarian, to the New Cat to holiday Parties and Time to Say Goodbye, the events are celebrated from a dog's imagined point of view. Actual photos of the dogs are interspersed with the nostalgic illustrations. Emmy and Endy were real companion dogs who traveled extensively with "the Boss," even by air, over their 15 year life spans. They died within three weeks of each other, after leading well-beloved, healthy lives. Alfie is a new Jack Russell terrier who has taken up residence to look after "The Boss," and his story is seen as a loving continuation of theirs. "The Adventures of Emmy & Endy and Alfie Duffy Too" is a warm book for children age 8 and up that celebrates the relationships between a man and his dogs.

Wolves, Amazing Animal Hunters
Jen Green, author
Amicus Publishing
P.O. Box 1329, Mankato, MN 56002
9781607530503, $19.95,

"Wolves" is the eighth book in the series "Amazing Animal Hunters." An arresting focus on the predatory habits and social patterns exhibited by wolves makes this a riveting book for students at reading level 4. Excellent color photography shows all kinds of wolves in their natural environments, plus exciting information is featured on each pair of page in a shaded sidebar paragraph. Complete with facts and records, a glossary, index, and web finder, "Wolves" is sure to be a natural sciences selection favored by elementary students and teachers.

The Bilingual Shelf

The Land of Lost Things/ El Pais De Las Cosas Perditas
Dina Bursztyn, author/illustrator
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
452 Cullen performance Hall, Houston, TX 77203
9781558856905 $16.95

"The Land of Lost Things" is a bilingual picture book for children ages 4-8. Looking for her lost blue pencil, a girl follows a mysterious crack in a pencil box to the Land of Lost Things. The fabulous illustrations reveal many hidden objects in the Land of Lost Things, from the Blue Pencil Forest to the lost scissors on a butterfly of many colors and a green centipede that is a lost green comb. Each pair of pages has text in English on the left and text in Spanish on the right, with a full two page illustration over both paragraphs. Young readers will enjoy the flock of lost socks, the Garden of Lost Umbrellas, and the Mountain of Lost Mittens. After many adventures, the girl finds her way back through a hole in a sock to her pencil ox. Since she still is missing her blue pencil, she begins drawing her adventures and experiences with her brown pencil, wondering where it will take her. "The Land of Lost Things" is a magnificent creative stimulus for bright young minds, encouraging resourcefulness, adventure, and fun activities for learning in three languages - English, Spanish, and art.

I Kick the Ball/ Pateo el balon
Gwendolyn Zepeda, author
Pablo Torrecilla, illustrator
Gabriella Baeza Ventura, Spanish translator
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
452 Cullen Performance Hall, Houston, TX 77204
9781558856882 $16.95

"I Kick the Ball" is a bilingual illustrated children's book about a young soccer player named Tonito. Tonito loves to kick the ball and play wild, crazy soccer. Bam! Boom! Pow! Tonito has many creative moves and ways of getting the ball to go where he wants it. The action illustrations match the poetry-like action text. This book is organized with two levels of text in English and Spanish on the left page, divided by an illustration, and a large illustration on the right page. Tonito goes through his routine daily activities after he plays his beloved soccer. He eats supper with his family, helps clean up, does his homework, and watches T. V. until time for bed, when he dreams of beating a magnificent red robot at soccer! Did you know you grow while you are sleeping? Tonito dreams of getting bigger, stronger, faster, and better, and because he dreams it, he knows he can do it. "I dream what I'll do. I'll do what I dream. I'll kick the ball tomorrow. BAM! BOOM! POW!" "I Kick The Ball" is an inspirational book for young English and Spanish speaking readers ages 4-8.

Pepita and the Bully/ Pepita y la peleonera
Offelia Dumas Lachtman, author
Alex Pardo DeLange, illustrator
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Publications
University of Houston
452 Cullen Performance Hall, Houston, TX 77204
9781558856899 $16.95

"Pepita and the Bully" is a bilingual illustrated children's book about a plucky heroine named Pepita who has to find ways to deal with a bully girl named Babette. Her family advise her to be kind to Babette, but this is not too effective. Instead, Pepita finds a way to get to the bottom of the problem with Babette, the bully is afraid and has no friends to play with. Both the creative solution and the distress and discomfort leading up to it are beautifully illustrated in the creative illustrations which complement the careful text. Each page is presented in a similar format, with English and Spanish text sometimes divided by an illustration on the left page and an illustration on the right facing page. "Pepita and the Bully" is the 6th book of a series all featuring the same plucky heroine, Pepita. Some of the hurtful things said by the bully Babette are potentially racist in origin, and some of the responses to them (suggested by other adults and individuals Pepita knows) go a long way towards suggesting more healing comebacks to hurtful, hateful insults. "Pepita and the Bully" is written to appeal to children ages 4-8.

Mama and Me
Arthur Dorros, author
Rudy Gutierrez, illustrator
Harper Collins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780060581602, $16.99,

"Mama and Me" is a vividly colorful, bilingual children's book about the intimate relationship between a Spanish/English speaking girl and her mother. With embedded Spanish vocabulary, the colorful story of a day spent making cookies, gardening, shopping, visiting friends and family, and painting the walls with brilliant colors emerges. At the heart of the story is the girl's desire to please her mother with a secret surprise she made by herself, The next day, she tells her mother, "Feliz dia de las madres! Happy Mothers' Day!" as she gives her the beautiful hand painted scarf she has made especially for her. The brilliant, swirling illustrations carry the reader completely into the brightly sunlit world of the girl and her mother, where Spanish is spoken every day of course. "Mama and Me" is suitable for young readers ages 4-8.

She Doesn't Want the Worms / Ella no guiere los gusanos
Karl Beckstrand, author
David Hollenbach, illustrator
Gozo Books LLC
648 W. Wasatch St., Midvale, UT 84047
9780977606528, $6.35,

"She Doesn't Want the Worms" is a hilarious, witty, bilingual book with English/Spanish pronunciation guide for children age 2 and up. Creative multi-media colorful illustrations delight and disgust young readers depending on their reaction to creepy-crawlies. The premise of the book appears to be that an unknown friend is trying to tempt a stalwart young girl with a fine palate of worms, bugs, snakes, lizards, beetles, crickets, toads and more. Although she is not frightened, the girl definitely has other ideas about what makes a suitable gift, or a suitable meal! "She Doesn't Want the Worms" is yucky, funny and challenging. Who is offering all these delectable creatures as tempting food for a girl? And just how plucky can a girl be in the face of such devotion? Kids age 2 and up will love "She Doesn't Want the Worms," and they will have a chance to effortlessly learn Spanish at the same time. No adult reading "She Doesn't Want the Worms" to children will be tempted to go to sleep before the twist ending.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Pinky and Peanut: No Boys Allowed
Deena Cook and Cherie McIntosh, authors
Trina Scruggs, illustrator
P & P Publishing LLC
4957 Lakemont Blvd. SE, Suite C-4, #316
Bellevue, WA 98006
9780979702020, $4.99,

"Pinky and Peanut: No Boys Allowed" is the third book in the Pinky and Peanut series of children's beginner chapter reader books and winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Because of mysterious problems with misplaced gummi bears (and other items), Pinky and Peanut decide to try to make their clubhouse exclusive for girls, off limits to Peanut's brother Scott. The implications and problems arising from that approach are many. Finally parents intervene and the ultimatum is clear, Peanut and Scott must find a way to share the clubhouse and peacefully coexist, or clubhouse privileges will be withdrawn. Suspense builds and the siblings struggle to find solutions separately. In a surprise grand finale, Peanut learns to appreciate her brother Scott, and everyone has a great time with Super Samantha and Amazing Jake (kid super heroes) visit the school because of a prize-winning story submission. As "No Boys Allowed" comes to an end, a new adventure is foreshadowed in the rescuing of a littered, unsafe playground and park. There is nothing like a new worthwhile project adventure to keep Pinky and Peanut on the go, solving problems with their own ingenuity one day at a time. Twenty-five cents from every book sold of "No Boys Allowed" will be donated to the Seattle Ronald McDonald House of Western Washington.

Saving Arm Pit
Natalie Hyde
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135
9781554551514, $9.95,

"Saving Arm Pit" is a delightful middle grade chapter book about dramatic adventures in baseball teams written especially to appeal to readers age 9 and up. The Harmony Point Terriers team hold an emergency meeting to decide strategies and actions to take to preserve the Post Office at Harmony Point, because the Postmaster is their beloved baseball coach Blackmore. Will Clay and the Terriers be able to act to save their post office, coach, and team? Read on for exciting pages of fun and imagination, challenges and adventure, in discovering the power a team of players who work together with a goal can bring to bear. Complete with a special glossary of baseball terms, information about baseball rules at web sites, and interest-piquing forms, letters, publicity advances, and journalism ephemera, "Saving Arm Pit" is an irresistible automatic page turner for kids. It's also just a lot of fun. Additional related games and activities are available at,

Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster
Ursula Vernon
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson St., New York NY 10014
9780803735255 $12.99

It's an elephant, a gorilla - or a giant bat monster. Either way, Danny Dragonbreath and his best friend's exploration of bat caves in the Mexican jungle suddenly got a lot more complicated. Danny is kidnapped by a giant bat monster and it's up to Wendell to hunt down the creature before Danny vanishes forever into the caves. Fans of prior Dragonbreath series titles (those at the advanced elementary to middle school grade levels) will relish this adventure!

Flying Feet
Patricia Reilly Giff
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780385738873 $12.99

FLYING FEET provides Book 3 in the 'Zigzag Kids' series, receives fine black and white drawings by Alasdair Bright, and will reach ages 6-9 with a new chapter book series adventure revolving around Charlie's latest ideas. This time Charlie's flying feet idea involves suction cups on the bottom of sneakers - but many school plans thwart his bright ideas. Humor, sibling rivalry, and bright ideas make this a fun chapter book read!

The Pumpkin Who Almost Missed Halloween
Tracy Penik-Bronzo
RoseDog Books
701 Smithfield St., 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
9781434996022 $18.00

The Pumpkin Who Almost Missed Halloween provides a fun seasonal chapter book with appealing color illustrations on every page and a message to kids to believe in themselves. Jack is not the best-looking pumpkin in the patch, but has good friends and fun all summer long. As Halloween nears he's the only pumpkin left in the patch: can he find someone who will believe in him as he is? An easy read teaches kids the importance of self-belief and inner beauty.

The Fiction Shelf

The Guardian Angel Diary
Grant Schnarr
Swedenborg Foundation Press
320 North Church St., West Chester, PA 19380
9780877853350, $15.95,

There is something out there looking out for you even if you aren't entirely aware of it. "The Guardian Angel Diary" is a young adult novel following young Nicole as she copes with the struggles of becoming an adult with her life falling apart around her. Faced with a life threatening illness, something that resembles normalcy seems to be kept out of reach. But hope shows up in the strangest ways. "The Guardian Angel Diary" is a fun read that many young readers will resonate with.

Anna Mei Escape Artist
Carol A. Grund
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Pauls Ave, Boston, MA 02130
081980794X, $8.95,

Everyone has secrets, and sometimes that secret is all of your family. "Anna Mei: Escape Artist" is an entry into Carol Grund's series following Anna Mei as she faces life and learns many lessons. Anna has many friends, but Danny has proved peculiar to her, as Anna has never met any of his family. Anna fears that Danny is hiding something from her, but the truth comes and Anna learns much. "Anna Mei" is a fine read for young readers who are trying to branch into standard novels, highly recommended.

The Raven Girl
Kathy Cecala
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781461066378, $12.00,

Set in fifteenth century Ireland on a mythic island off the coast of Connemarra, "The Raven Girl" is a historical novel following a narrative twist on the early explorers of the western Atlantic. Exploring some of the inferred initial contacts between the Old World and the New, "The Raven Girl" winds threads of probability from old observations attributed to Columbus during his trip to Galway in 1477 with other strands of legend about the monk Aidan to create a believable story against a rich and multi-hued tapestry. Laced with superstition, violence, and grisly but accurate observations of daily life in 15th century impoverished sea coastal Ireland, "The Raven Girl" is a gripping read with not a single false note or step. The author's preparatory research and acknowledgements are quite interesting as well in "a historical note from the author" at the end of "The Raven Girl." More volumes and works of historical fiction are eagerly anticipated from this talented author. "The Raven Girl" will appeal to both adult and mature teen audiences.

We'll Always Have Summer
Jenny Han
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
9781416995586 $17.99

We'll Always Have Summer tells of Belly, who has waited for love all her life. Confused over love between two brothers, Belly runs away - only to find the past follows her. Her refuge for the summer turns into a set of choices that feel too much like failure for Belly in this warm story of a trilogy romance between young people, recommended for advanced teen readers interested in locating romances outlining conflict resolution and complex situations.

Penguin Book Group
375 Hudson St., New York NY 10014

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis (Razorbill imprint, 9781595143976, $17.99) tells of Amy, a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard a spaceship who has left her world and friends to join her parents on a journey to a planet three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before the ship's scheduled landing Amy's sleep chamber becomes unplugged and she awakens to an attempted murderer on board. Among the few suspects, whom can she trust? A gripping blend of science fiction and murder mystery evolves. G. Alexander London's AN ACCIDENTAL ADVENTURE: WE ARE NOT EATEN BY YAKS (9780399254871, $12.99) provides advanced elementary to early middle school readers with a fine, fun adventure consisting of two young explorers, a journey into the Himalayas in search of hidden temples, and two lazy children dragged reluctantly into big adventure. It's a fun story with high adventure. Gayle Forman's WHERE SHE WENT (9780525422945, $16.99) is a sequel to the best-selling IF I STAY and is a recommended pick for collections that have seen popularity with IF I STAY. It is set three years after the breakup of Mia and Adam, who have been living on opposite coasts leading separate lives. Chance brings the couple together again - to relive the past and make sense of their different presents. Adam's perspective tells the story of rekindled romance. Gennifer Choldenko's NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT (9780803735347, $16.99) tells of three siblings trapped in Falling Bird - a city without logic - and facing a host of impossible problems as a result. Their efforts to find a way home from a lost city makes for an engrossing saga.

Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

FAERIE WINTER by Janni Lee Simner (9780375866715, $16.99) provides older readers with a fine sequel to her debut novel BONES OF FAERIE and is a recommendation for collections seeing enthusiasm for the prior book. Enter a magic-tinged postapocalyptic world where the war between Faerie and humanity has left both worlds devastated, even though the war's been over for forty years. Liza's town is finally accepting children born with fairy talents - but some faeries have crossed over to continue the fight, and their Queen may be on the rise again. Fine fantasy makes for a charged plot. Martyn Bedford's FLIP (9780385739900, $16.99) considers what happens when a teen wakes up in the body of a stranger. He goes to bed one December and awakes in the middle of June across the country in a boy named Flip's bed. Intrigue and investigations make for a fine plot. Michele Weber Hurwitz's CALLI BE GOLD (9780385739702, $15.99) provides a fine debut novel for ages 8-12 and tells of the youngest child in an overachieving family, struggling to find her talents in life. Callie feels like the only 'quiet' child in a loud family of stars - until she meets a shy second grader works to help draw him out. A fine story of discovering talent emerges. Karen Day's A MILLION MILES FROM BOSTON (9780385738996, $15.99) will appeal to the same age group and tells how Lucy's life changes after her mother's death. She's always found refuge spending summers in Maine with her father and brother: now new visitors might change her familiar routines as her father spends more time with another woman. Her initial grudges against the people who would change her refuge begin to change throughout a difficult summer of growth. Daniel Kraus' ROTTERS (9780385738576, $16.99) is a recommendation for older teens and provides a horror novel based on a father-son relationship and a coming of age saga. A teen is about to embark on grave robbing when he learns his father robs graves for a living. Add his outcast status in a new school and you have a dark thriller that will appeal to teens.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Patricia Hermes's EMMA DILEMMA, THE NANNY, AND THE BEST HORSE EVER (9780761459057 $15.99) will reach ages 8-11 with a fine story of Emma, who has always loved animals. When she falls in love with a horse she rides at a local stable, she thinks of him as her own - until she find he is for sale. Add a best friend's move to the picture and you have a realistic series of dilemmas and mishaps perfect for advanced elementary readers who also love animals and who will relate to the story of a girl's many life challenges. Scott O'Dell's KATHLEEN, PLEASE COME HOME (9780761458845, $16.99) will reach ages 13 and older with the moving story of a teen and a single mom who write in their diaries more than they communicate with each other. Kathleen's growing friendship with new girl Sybil, confident and rebellious, contributes to her growing perception that she doesn't want to always be the good daughter - and when she dates an illegal immigrant and falls in love, Kathleen's life more than veers off course. A runaway to Mexico, she spirals into drug addiction and her journey there and home again is recounted in an engrossing series of diary entries teens will relish.

The Poetry Shelf

Wonder and Whimsy
Cookie Combs
Cookie Combs Publications
PO Box 75432, Seattle, WA 98175-0432
9781935631040 $17.95

Wonder and Whimsy: Poems for Kids is a collection of family-friendly rhyming poems written with humor, heart, and the desire to foster a love of reading and poetry in young people. Playful, sketchy illustrations by the author (enhanced with the occasional dash of color) on almost every other page enhance this playful collection. "There once was a croc / whose behavior seemed silly / he was teased by his cousins / and called 'Crocodilly.' // Instead of patrolling the banks of the Nile, / He posed for photos with his wide, toothy smile. / He posed with cats. / He posed with hats. / He posed with gurus on bamboo mats." Highly recommended.

The Crafts Shelf

LooLeDo: Extraordinary Projects from Ordinary Objects
Jumbo Book #1, Build Your Own Projects
Mark Icanberry
P.O. Box 1202, Alamo, Ca 94507
9781893327122, $12.95, 510-610-3347

"LooLeDo" is a fabulous creative book of crafts and projects that can be constructed from ordinary home objects in the recycling bin. filled with color photographs and simple steps of accompanying instructions, "LooLeDo" is filled with projects that can be either simplified or embellished with extreme artful creativity. Thirty Two colorful projects are outlined, illustrated and described with careful assembly instructions. There are egg carton butterflies, a duck-bill platypus, a PT Racer, a soap bottle fish, and many more. Kids and adults are encouraged to go "green" and use available materials in creative ways, adapting as they go. "LooLeDo" is undoubtedly an aid to classroom art projects and harried parents of kids on a rainy day. Bet of all, inspiration is encouraged to strike and find a willing partner in both creativity and eco-activities. The age ranges for projects is listed as "5 years - 100 years young."

The Nature/Environment Shelf

One Child, One Planet
Bridget McGovern Llewellyn, author
Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick, photographers
Emerald Shamrock Press
PO Box 210704, Auburn Hills, MI 48321
9780984188000 $19.95

Printed on partially recycled paper with vegetable ink, One Child, One Planet: Inspiration for the Young Conservationist is a rhyming picturebook designed to encourage responsible, environmentally friendly habits in young people. Stunning nature photography drives home the positive message about the importance of reducing personal consumption, as well as reusing and recycling as much as possible. "Simplify. Buy less 'stuff' / while shopping at the store. / Buy just what you need. Squash any greed. / Do you really need any more?" A wondrously beautiful book, One Child, One Planet is especially recommended for parents to read aloud and share with their children.

Around One Log
Anthony D. Fredericks, author
Jennifer DiRubbio, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Road, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584691389, $8.95,

"Around One Log: Chipmunks, Spiders, and Creepy Insiders" is a children's nature study book about the creatures who live in the habitat of a fallen, rotting log. Laden with colorful accurate illustrations of flora and fauna tell the story of the log from start to finish, beginning with the standing oak tree which is stricken by lightening in a thunderstorm. Once the ancient tree has fallen, its decay process begins, and it becomes home to many creepy crawly creatures, including ants, worms, millipedes, and beetles. These creatures devour the decaying wood. A salamander hides under the log for shelter and perhaps feeds on some of the insects who inhabit it. Termites, roly-polies, and a garter snake come to the decaying log to find food and shelter. Other creatures that come include red velvet mites, daddy longlegs, and a chipmunk. One day a girl on a nature hike with her class sees the fallen tree and asks the intriguing question, "Is this log alive now, or is it dead?" A host of learning activities, crafts and cool ideas relating to the log habitat are suggested at the end of the book, along with a picture coded list of flora and fauna observed in the Field Notes. There are many fun fantastic facts in the Field Notes section beside each identifying picture. "Around One Log" is ideal nature and environmental educational reading for children age 7-8 and up.

If Trees Could Talk
Paul Kay, Jr., author
Herve Blondon, artist
Vantage Press
419 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016
9780533163588, $17.95,

"If Trees Could Talk" is a beautifully illustrated poetic narrative that gently teaches the vast variety and significant contributions of all kinds of trees. Presenting environmental education in an appealing format for young children, "If Trees Could Talk" draws clear connections between trees and humans and other life in a way that encourages respect, even awe, for the whole genre of plants known as trees. A theme of eco-interdependence emerges, but the star attraction remains the precious presence of the trees themselves. "If Trees Could Talk" is a thoughtful children's book that will encourage the development of young conservationists.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Cellar Door
Brett Gadbois
Belltown Press
PO Box 4739, Rollingbay, WA 98061-0739
9780615347318, $14.95,

With a unique talent, a bit of cunning is what's needed to beat evil. "The Cellar Door" follows nine year old Sam, who was taught the ability to shapeshift into anything he sees. With only a squirrel friend to support him, he finds himself fleeing evil crowmen who stand between him rescuing his father and trying to find home once more. A fun read for younger readers, "The Cellar Door" is a top pick, highly recommended.

Up and Away With the Little Witch
Lieve Baeten, author/illustrator
NorthSouth Books
c/o Myrick Marketing & Media
455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyrna, TN 37167
9780735840041, $16.95,

"Up and Away with the Little Witch" is a fantastic adventure tale about the little Witch Princess, Trixie, who is visiting Lizzy, the Little Witch for the night. Lizzy conjures up a magic flying carpet that takes both little witches and the cat on a fantastic midnight ride. They visit the Caravan Witch, the Boat Witch, and finally the Balloon Witch with fantastic illustrated results. All illustrations are whimsical, detailed, softly colored, and inviting to the imagination. Finally both Witches return home just in time for the sunrise, which is bedtime for little witches. Fold out and different sized pages with yet more colorful illustrations help dramatize and emphasize the special visits to the three Witches. "Up and Away with Little Witch" is perfect for children age 4 and up.

The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun
Christopher Mahoney
Privately Published
9780979520259, $19.95,

Being one of the youngest astronauts ever sounds cool, until the inevitable evil buts its head into the picture. "The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun" follows Zack Goodspeed as he embraces his wildest dreams becoming part of a new generation of space explorers. But there may be trouble in his voyage to the moon, and it's up to Zack to act fast before his first mission turns into a disaster. "The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun" is a fun entry into a brand new youth science fiction series, highly recommended.

The Christian Shelf

The Gospel for Children
John J. Piantedose, author
Ben Cioffi, illustrator
New City Press
202 Comforter Blvd., Hyde Park, NY 12538
9781565483705, $13.95,

"The Gospel for Children" is a creative poetic rendering of the life and major events of Jesus as taken from the Gospel, especially presented for children's understanding. Beautifully illustrated with primary colors and bold, outlined figures, "The Gospel for Children" presents the major events and stories of Jesus' life in simple, narrative verse. From the annunciation, birth and baptism to the teachings, miracles, and finally the betrayal crucifixion and resurrection, all the major events portrayed in the Gospels are presented in pictures and verse for children's understanding. "The Gospel for Children" is a great Christian educational gift and experience for children ages 6 and up.

That's When I Talk to God
Dan & Ali Morrow, authors
Cory Godbey, illustrator
David C Cook
4050 Lee Vance View
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
c/o The B&B Media Group
9781434700186 $12.99

That's When I Talk to God is a picturebook for Christian children with an invaluable message. A mother teaches her daughter that one can talk to God not only during bedtime prayer, but anytime and anywhere there is need. "'Mom, does God ever talk to us?' She smiled and nodded. 'Yes, He does. He might not use His voice the way you or I would, but He speaks to people in lots of different ways. Sometimes He uses other people, like when your coach asked you to apologize at soccer. Or through our conscience - the feelings we get that make us want to do the right thing - like when you ate the cookie, then knew it was wrong.'" Soft, emotionally comforting color illustrations by talented artist Cory Godbey add just the right touch to this excellent bedtime storybook. Also highly recommended for Christian parents to share with their children is "Ronnie Wilson's Gift" (9780781404778, $12.99), a picturebook about a young boy who learns of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and wants to give Jesus a proper gift in return.

The Holiday Shelf

Santa Needs a Vacation
Gregory Hoffmann, author/ illustrator
Strategic Book Group
P.O. Box 333, Durham, CT 06422
9781609116101 $ 13.00

"Santa Needs a Vacation (On the Day After Christmas)" is a humorous illustrated story in verse for teens and adults to enjoy. Who knew all the frustrations poor has to endure every year on Christmas Eve? Although the jokes are quite funny, there is more than a hint of a moral about changing expectations of the old Father Christmas. For starters, Santa suggests, "No more cookies! On Christmas, leave stamps!" That way Santa can simply mail everyone gift cards and avoid the incredible tangle of muddling expectations and frustrations that are making his spirits sag! Last in the book is a two-page poem entitled "Christmas Memories" that the author wrote especially about experiencing fond holiday memories with a very special grandson, and hoping to pass them on. Another charming touch in "Santa Needs a Vacation" is the three penciled images of the author's children, when they were young, on the dedication page. Adults and mature teens will enjoy "Santa Needs a Vacation," a book that is dedicated to helping prepare young adults for the terrors (and joys) of parenting.

The Counting Shelf

Down East in the Ocean
Peter and Connie Roop, authors
Nicole Fazio, illustrator
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
9780892727094 $16.95

Beautiful, realistic color illustrations of Maine's coastal wildlife enhance Down East in the Ocean: A Maine Counting Book. Crabs, seals, whales, jellyfish and more help teach young readers about the numbers one through ten. "Down East by the ocean, / in a Maine nest of sticks, / lived a mother eagle / and her little eagles six. / 'Eat,' said the mother. / 'We eat!' said the six. / So they ate all day in a / Maine nest of sticks." Down East in the Ocean is a wonderful read-aloud book great for encouraging young people to learn more about wildlife as well as basic counting.

The Sports Shelf

Strings and Grips
Desmond McLennon II, author
Andre Short II, illustrator
PO Box 34021, RPO Hollandview #7
Aurora, Ontario L4G 0G3
9780981211411 $9.99

Strings and Grips is a softcover, flat-spined picturebook designed to introduce children to the fundamentals of tennis. Cheerful, cartoony characters including anthropomorphic pieces of tennis equipment add flair to this delightful easy reader. "They merge their talents to create a fun sport / And call this new home a tennis court. / Nations of the world catch the tennis buzz / And the bouncy little ball takes on some fuzz." The final page lists scoring basics and important things to remember while playing the game. Strings and grips works best not as a stand-alone tutorial manual, but as a springboard by which parents can share their love of the sport (and a generally active lifestyle) with their children.

Umpire in a Skirt
Marilyn Kratz
South Dakota State Historical Society Press
900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501
9780984504121, $9.95,

A love of the game won't let a stupid thing like gender get in the way. "Umpire in a Skirt: The Amanda Clement Story" is a biography aimed at young readers as they tell the story of this driven woman who because she couldn't take the field, she took the role of the official, and served as such for many games. She spun this into success with tennis, and athletics in general. An icon of Feminism in sports, "Umpire in a Skirt" is a fine read that will entertain many a young sports fan, highly recommended.

The Music CD Shelf

#1 Best Kid's Songs!
The Learning Station
3950 Bristol Court, Melbourne, FL 32904

Intended for young listeners ages 3 and up, #1 Best Kid's Songs! is an album that promotes getting up and moving about with energetic dances, sing-and-play activities, and memorable tunes. Lyrics and instructions are included to enhance this excellent choice for recess, children's parties, or just fostering a love of healthy exercise. Highly recommended. The tracks are "Make New Friends", "Nursery Rhyme Dance", "Boom Chicka Boom", "I Love the Mountains", "Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends", "Fred the Moose", "Ain't it Great to be Crazy", "Day O'Time to Go Home", "Go Bananas", "Wishy Washy Washer Woman", "Baby Shark", "Fill Your Bucket", "Rockin' My Hips", "Stone Soup" and "We Got the Whole World".

Cousins Jamboree
Hope Harris
Produced by Rob Friedman
Holcomb Rock Road, LLC
PO Box 18022, Richmond, VA 23226
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Cousins Jamboree is an energy-inducing children's music CD by theater veteran Hope Harris. The upbeat songs celebrate the little joys of life, the wildlife in one's own backyard, and even instill positive messages such as the importance of buckling one's seatbelt. A great pick for children's gift baskets, car trips with little ones or just plain old family listening fun, Cousins Jamboree is highly recommended. The tracks are "Howdy Hello", "Cousins Jamboree", "Five Little Monkeys", "Hang On Friend", "Gelbart Dufrain", "Down in the Valley", "I Love Apples", "I Can Do It", "Eddie the Otter", "Good Manners", "I am an Alien", "Seatbelt Buckled", "Babysitter", "A Little Bit Afraid", "Bright Moon, Bright Sun", and "Holcomb Rock Road". 42 min.

Recess Monkey
Produced by Tor Hyams
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Intended for young listeners ages 3-8, Flying! is an enthusiastic music CD inspired by superhero antics, but grounded in the everyday duties of the real-life superheroes that are teachers and parents. An upbeat, friendly and adventurous album, Flying! is filled with jokes, antics, fast-paced tunes and just plain fun. The tracks are "Flying", "Day Job", "Covered in Band Aids", "Sidekick", "My Valentine", "Bravest Kid in the World", "Your Favorite Book", "Toolbox", "Grandmom's House", "Invisible Friend", "Flapjacks", "Bunk Bed", "Super Stuffies", and "Flying (Reprise)". 47 min.

Mister G
Coil Records
c/o Sugar Mountain PR (publicity)
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221

Featuring 13 original songs plus a surprise bonus track, Bugs is a delightful children's music CD by indie rocker and children's music artist Mister G (a.k.a. Ben Gundersheimer) celebrating the insect world. High-energy music characterizes this upbeat album, brimming with songs that borrow elements from traditions ranging from bluegrass to bossa nova, ska, folk, and rock. Two bilingual English/Spanish songs round out this charming presentation, ideal for family car trips or indoor fun. The tracks are "Bugs" (2:11), "Cocodrilo" (2:24), "Gonna Take My Hat" (2:34), "Grilled Cheese" (3:37), "Friends" (3:12), "The Shortest Song" (0:20), "Snow Day" (3:18), "Shark in My Bathtub" (3:00), "Blast Off" (3:03), "Pam the Pug" (1:40), "Brothers and Sisters" (2:52), "Ghosts and Goblins" (2:32), "Vamos a la Playa" (2:27), and "Benny and the Jets" (2:55).

The DVD Shelf

Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms
Julia Rawlinson, author
Tiphanie Beeke, illustrator
Katherine Kellgren, narrator
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545326117 $59.95

Intended for children ages 3-7, Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms is the DVD rendition of a delightful picturebook about a fox named Fletcher who is surprised to see snow in springtime. Gentle music adds the perfect touch to this charming story, warmly narrated by Katherine Kellgren. A read-aloud option and a bonus interview with illustrator Tiphanie Beeke rounds out this brief but lovely DVD, especially recommended for elementary school and public children's library collections as well as for homeroom viewing. 8 min. plus bonus, closed-captioned, English subtitles.

All Aboard!
A McComas/Stachler Production
TM Books & Video
PO Box 279, New Buffalo, MI 49117
9781932291957 $9.99

An episode of the award-winning "I Love Toy Trains" series, All Aboard! is a thoroughly enjoyable children's DVD showcase of model trains, including brand-new special effects ranging from flying saucers to jet airplanes, ghosts, goblins, and even trains unloading popular brands of mouth-watering candy! Adult model train lovers will also enjoy this fun-filled, carefree celebration, enhanced with lively music. Non-commercial public performance rights are included with the inexpensive price in this treat designed to prompt a lifelong love of the model railroad hobby.

The Audiobook Shelf

Noah Barleywater Runs Away
John Boyne, author
Andrew Sachs, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780307916488 $30.00

Noah Barleywater Runs Away is the unabridged audiobook production of a children's novel about an eight-year-old child who runs away from his problems. The path he takes into the forest leads him to an extraordinary toy shop, brimming with magic, and run by a unique toymaker, with his own amazing story of mysterious events and broken dreams. The toymaker brings Noah on a journey that will transform how he views life forever, in this brilliantly woven adventure ideal for young adults, but accessible to readers of all ages. 4 CDs, 5 hours.

The Vikings
David Angus
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28
Franklin, TN 37064
9781843794868, $17.99,

Superbly narrated by Joe Marsh, "The Vikings" by David Angus is specifically appropriate for young listeners as they learn about the history, culture, myths, legends, personalities, explorations, and accomplishments of the Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians that are collectively referred to as the 'Vikings' and who were the scourge of Europe from the 8th through the 11th centuries A.D. Technically flawless, this 2 disc recording features the individual chapters being separated by a thematically appropriate and concise musical interlude. As entertaining as it is informative, "The Vikings" is a very highly recommended listen and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library audio book collections.

The Biography Shelf

Eliza's Cherry Trees
Andrea Zimmerman, author
Ju Hong Chen, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street
Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781589809543 $16.99

Eliza's Cherry Trees: Japan's Gift to America is a picturebook that teaches young readers about the extraordinary life of Eliza Scidmore (1856-1928). Adventurous and strong-willed, Eliza traveled the world and wrote about her experiences in newspapers and magazines; she was the first female writer and photographer for the National Geographic Society magazine. The story lays particular emphasis on Scidmore's admiration of the Japan's beautiful cherry trees, and her fervent wish to bring them to her beloved hometown of Washington, D.C. It would take great patience and persistence to see her dream made real; one park supervisor after another turned her idea down, and years passed until she finally had the opportunity to ask Helen Taft, the president's wife, for help. Her dedication would ultimate make cherry trees and their wonderfully beautiful pink blossoms a part of Washington D.C.'s landscape. An inspirational true story that also celebrates the robust life of a patient and talented woman, Eliza's Cherry Trees is highly recommended.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Comedy Plays and Scenes for Student Actors
Laurie Allen
Meriwether Publishing
PO Box 7710, Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7710
9781566081771, $17.95,

Acting, like any talent, needs to be practiced to be done well. "Comedy Plays and Scenes for Student Actors: Short Sketches for Young Performers" is a collection of simple and humorous plays to be used by hopeful actors who want to learn the many subtle aspects of acting, even in humor. In a quick and simple to follow format, "Comedy Plays and Scenes for Student Actors" is a strong pick for those looking for humorous scripts to follow, a resource to be considered by any theater teacher who works with younger actors.

The Health Shelf

Brush Barry Brush
Linda Valderrama R.D.H., author
Sudi Memarzadeh, illustrator
Shirley's Girl Publications
9780578066059 $11.95

Brush Barry Brush is a colorful, softcover picturebook especially designed to help parents instill a love of good oral hygiene in their preschool children. The child-style color illustration show young people eating a variety of foods and then brushing their teeth, emphasized by the easy reader text. Stickers of young people happily brushing their teeth can be removed and applied to a chart in the last two pages to correspond to regular tooth-brushing times in the child's day. Brush Barry Brush is highly recommended as a lighthearted way to promote positive and healthy habits for a lifetime.

Books in Series

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Avenue, 59th Floor, New York NY 10118

'The Science of Nutrition' series ($29.27 each) provides a fine set of nutrition details to elementary readers. Each book holds 48 pages of nutrition facts and packs in contemporary color photos to accompany sidebars of at-a-glance detail, making these perfect for health collections and for leisure readers alike. Marina Cohen's WHY WE NEED VITAMINS (9780778716907), Angela Royston's WHY WE NEED PROTEINS (9780778716891) and WHY WE NEED WATER AND FIBER (9780778716914), Molly Aloian's WHY WE NEED CARBOHYDRATES (9780778716860) and WHY WE NEED FATS (9780778716877), and James Bow's WHY WE NEED MINERALS (9780778716884) are all top recommendations for any collection seeking basic nutrition facts. The 'Shaping Modern Science' series ($30.60 each) offer 64 pages per book packed with details perfect for advanced elementary collections strong in science. Each book selects a theme then uses scientific discoveries to explore the evolution of the topic and contributions to the development of scientific principles surrounding the genre. Marina Cohen's WHAT IS CELL THEORY? (9780778771999), Adam McLean's WHAT IS ATOMIC THEORY? (9780778771975), Natalie Hyde's WHAT IS GERM THEORY? (9780778772019), Denyse O'Leary's WHAT ARE NEWTON'S LAWS OF MOTION? (9780778772002), Robert Walker's WHAT IS THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION? (9780778771982) and Craig Saunders' WHAT IS THE THEORY OF PLATE TECTONICS? (9780778772026) each describe how theories evolved and changed science. Bright color photos, diagrams, and sidebars of detail make these winning additions to any serious elementary-level science collection!

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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