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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 6 June 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Math Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Multicultural Shelf Self-Help Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Art Shelf Board Book Shelf ABC Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Sports Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Science Shelf Native American Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Christian Shelf Biography Shelf
Environmental Shelf Jobs/Career Shelf Crafts Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf World History Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Sophie's Squash Go to School
Pat Zietlow Miller, author
Anne Wilsdorf, illustrator
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553509441, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Delightfully written by Pat Miller and charmingly illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf, "Sophie's Squash Go to School" is the perfect antidote to any child's back-to-school jitters. Sophie goes to school for the first time and has no interest in making friends that aren't squash. Here's a gently humorous read-aloud that proves that making friends, just like growing squash, takes time. On Sophie's first day of school, nobody appreciates her two best friends, Bonnie and Baxter, baby squash that she grew in her garden. Even worse, one classmate, Steven Green, won't leave Sophie alone. He sits by her at circle time. He plays near her during recess. And he breathes on her while she paints. Steven just wants to be friends, but Sophie isn't interested. Still, Sophie knows that her squash friends won't last forever. Maybe it would be nice to have some human friends after all. While very highly recommended for children ages 3 to 7 and would prove to be a welcome addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

What Could It Be?
Sally Fawcett
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335026, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

"What Could It Be?: Exploring the Imaginative World of Shapes" by Sally Fawcett (who is also a primary school teacher with a passion for art, creative writing and education) is concept book for kids age 3 to 6 and is all about unleashing creativity, thinking outside the square and opening the mind to possibility! Part picture book, part artistic inspiration, "What Could It Be?" is an interactive adventure for pre-primary and primary school-aged children organized into paired double-page spreads. The first spread in each pair introduces a basic geometric shape (square, circle, triangle, etc.) and then opens the door for creative thinking by posing the question, 'What else could it be?' The following spread provides the answer, with the focus shape transformed into many objects in a glorious artwork. These pages provide a further interactive element as kids are encouraged to find specific objects and count the 'hidden' shapes. The reader is guided through the pages by the character of a young boy, who allows many aspects of his world to be 'discovered' via the detailed illustrations. The last page challenges kids to create their own illustrations inspired by a geometric shape. Original, unique, as educational as it is entertaining, "What Could It Be?" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted that "What Could It Be?" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).

A Year of Borrowed Men
Michelle Barker
Pajama Press
181 Carlaw Ave. Suite 207, Toronto, ON M4M 2S1
97812927485835, $21.95,

A Year of Borrowed Men is illustrated by Renne Benoit and tells of how World War II 'borrows' the men in seven-year-old Gerda's family to use as soldiers. In turn, the German government provides three French prisoners of war who must work the farm in their place. The family is ordered to treat these men as war criminals, but Gerda is not so sure. Can't they be nice to them? A fine story of 'borrowed men' and their effects evolves in a story seldom told for this age range.

The Math Shelf

Painless Algebra, fourth edition
Lynette Long, Ph.D.
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9781438007755 $9.99

Created especially for middle school and high school students, and designed to support state standards, Painless Algebra is an educational guide created to make learning algebra simple and fun. Occasional cartoon doodles add a humorous touch to the step-by-step problem solving guidelines. Sample number puzzles that can be solved with simple algebraic rules, painless techniques for understanding and graphing equations, quizzes, "brain ticklers" and more round out this excellent, reader-friendly resource. Adult readers seeking to refresh their algebra knowledge will also find Painless Algebra a top-notch study guide!

The Social Issues Shelf

Childhood Regained
Jodie Renner
Cobalt Books
9780993700446, $14.95, PB, 274pp,

Compiled and edited by Jodie Renner, "Childhood Regained: Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers" is a collection of 20 eye-opening but hopeful stories and a poem by 19 talented writers from drawn from the US, UK, Canada, Sweden, Malta, Australia, and India. These are stories intended to raise awareness of the plight of millions of Asian children working long hours under very difficult conditions in factories, mines, quarries, brickyards, farms, hotels, and on the streets. Included in "Childhood Regained" are study questions and answers, background research, and many concrete ways readers can help, including a detailed list of respected charities working to free child slaves and provide them with shelter, food, care, and education-- to give them back their childhood. Specifically intended and appropriate for young readers age 12 and up, it should be noted that all net proceeds from the sale of "Childhood Regained" will be donated to SOS Children's Villages, a highly respected charity that works to help abandoned and orphaned children all over the world. While "Childhood Regained" is very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.95).

The Multicultural Shelf

Nothando's Journey
Jill Apperson Manly
Jabu Kids
9780615892351 $16.95

Nothando's Journey is a children's picturebook that draws upon traditional Swazi culture. Young Nothando is a girl in Swaziland who is nervous about the upcoming Reed Festival, where she will be expected to dance. As she journeys with her brother, she observes wild dogs, lions, elephants and other animals, and learns from them. Simple concepts of mindfulness and basic yoga poses are part of Nothando's story about learning to overcome her fears and live in the moment. The bold, striking art perfectly complements this inspirational storybook.

The Self-Help Shelf

What Was I Thinking? Volume 1
Zac Lange
Novel Notions Press
c/o Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9780996849005 $22.95 hc
9780996849012 $9.95 pbk

What Was I Thinking? Volume 1: My Brainy Best Friend is a children's picturebook written especially to help young people make better decisions by tapping into their own brainpower. Celebrating the brain as a friend that all children can rely on in their time of need, What Was I Thinking? offers an easy-to-follow "Learning List" to help prevent mistakes and accidents: "1) Stop and think. 2) Could this hurt? 3) Could this get me in trouble?" By keeping its message simple, What Was I Thinking? Volume 1 is an excellent tutorial in "common sense" rationality, ideal for helping very young children learn the critical thinking skills that will prepare them for the challenges ahead. Highly recommended.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

John S. Hutton, author
Lisa M. Griffin, illustrator
Blue Manatee Press
9781936669516, $17.99, HC, 48pp,

Knowledgeably written by pediatrician and health literacy expert John S. Hutton, and charmingly illustrated by Lisa M. Griffin, "ADH-Me!" is an empathetic journey told from the perspective of a child learning to live and succeed with ADHD. The combination of accessible, rhyming narrative and inviting illustrations will help children ages 5 to 7 know just what to expect from a diagnosis of ADHD as it takes them through stages of treatment, while reminding the reader that love and support are the surest means to a happy ending. While "ADH-ME!" is very highly recommended for elementary school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a paperback edition (9781936669523, $7.99).

Princess Penelopea Hates Peas
Susan D. Sweet, PhD, and Brenda S. Miles, PhD, authors
Valeria Docampo, illustrator
Magination Press
American Psychological Association
750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
9781433820465, $14.95, www.apa/org/pubs/magination

"Princess Penelopea Hates Peas: A Tale of Picky Eating and Avoiding Catastropeas" is an inspirational tale to appeal to all picky eaters between the ages of 4 and 8. Untrue to her name, which she dislikes because of the "pea" at the end, Princess Penelopea hates peas. This is a problem because she lives in a nation of pea lovers, even a pea utopia where everyone grows, picks, cooks, and loves peas. "Peas are pea-licious," they would say. But Princess Penelopea hated peas and picked them out of her porridge. Even when promised presents, the princess only pouted. Then her loving parents grew angry and scolded her, ordering her to make her peas disappear. Princess Penelopea craftily hid her peas underneath a stack of mattresses, even in mattresses all over the kingdom. One night a catastropea occurred when everyone jumped into bed. Green pea goo was everywhere! All peas were ordered out of the kingdom! Princess Penelopea found one last lonely pea under her bed that she tossed out the window. Surprisingly, it took root and grew, providing yet more peas! In desperation, Penelopea popped a pea into her mouth to make it disappear. The intriguing taste of the peas was so inviting, Princess Penelope popped another pea into her mouth, then another and another! They were delicious! As she ate peas, her rosy colored dress gradually changed hues until she was dressed in a lovely pea green from head to toe. The love for peas grew and spread throughout her kingdom, and Penelopea loved them most of all. "Princess Penelopea Hates Peas" ends with some starter suggestions for a Parent and Caregiver Menu to help make food adventures such as eating peas fun for kids. Adorable, curvy, colorful illustrations perfectly complement the amusing alliterative language style of "Princess Penelopea Hates Peas." Perfect puns and funny peas adorn these pea-luscious pages of inspiration for pea-challenged cooks, caregivers, and eaters.

The Picturebook Shelf

Painted Skies
Carolyn Mallory
Inhabit Media
146A Orchard View Blvd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4R 1C3
9781772270044, $16.95 9781772270044

Painted Skies is illustrated by Amei Zhao and views the Arctic and its wonders through the eyes of Leslie, who is new to the area. Nobody told her there would be so much snow and so many interesting sights; but the best of all is the magical northern lights. An Inuit legend is revealed along with Leslie's experience while an epilogue covers the science behind the lights. But the real treasure here is the lovely drawings that capture these painted skills and their wonder, which will captivate young readers.

Princess Cupcake Jones and the Queen's Closet
Ylleya Fields, author
Michael LaDuca, illustrator
Belle Publishing
9780990998655 $15.95

The third book in the Princess Cupcake Jones series, Princess Cupcake Jones and the Queen's Closet is a rhyming picturebook about a modern-day girl enraptured by exploring her mother's closet and trying on various shoes. But when she reaches for a special box deep within the closet, she accidentally unleashes a shoe avalanche! Oh, no! Princess Cupcake Jones and the Queen's Closet is a tender story of love between mother and daughter, and a treat to read aloud with little ones.

Leo Timmers
Gecko Press
9781927271933 $16.99

Franky is an easy-reader children's picturebook about an excitable young boy named Sam, who adores robots. Sam is convinced that robots live in outer space, and will one day come to Earth, but no one believes him... until one day, Sam resolves to build a robot who will believe him, and creates Franky from scratch! Grand, colorful, and laugh-out-loud loopy Franky is just plain fun to read aloud and share. Also recommended for picturebook readers enthused by whimsical weirdness is David Barrow's "Have You Seen Elephant?", a picturebook about a boy who plays hide-and-seek with an elephant who is supremely skilled at camouflage (or not...?)

Where I Belong
Linda Kranz
Taylor Trade Publishing
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781630760663 $12.95

Where I Belong is a children's picturebook about a network of colorful snakes who are friends and family. By working together, the snakes find common interests and a place where they can belong. The illustrations of Where I Belong are especially striking; although the snakes appear like brightly colored cartoons at first glace, they are actually beautifully painted sculptures, amid a photographic natural environment. Highly recommended.

R.C. Duck, Private Eye
Written by Kevin White
Illustrated by Rex White
Chimeric Press
9780984712229 $15.95

R.C. Duck, Private Eye is a whimsical children's picturebook about a private investigator duck who must find the culprit behind a rash of broken eggs. Is it the egg-sentric Cow? The yolk-al Rooster? Or the egg-straordinary poacher Fox? The puns come fast and furious in this delightful mystery-adventure, illustrated with a unique mix of colorful anthropomorphic cartoons atop a photographic, real-world background.

Come and Dance, Wicked Witch
Hanna Kraan & Annemarie van Haeringen
P.O. Box 4066, 3006 AB Rotterdam, The Netherlands
9781935954507, $17.95,

Come and Dance, Wicked Witch requires good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance, but provides the fun and whimsical story of animals who plan a forest party where everybody - even the resident wicked witch - is welcome. But she's known for being grouchy and bewitching all around her: can they convince her to attend and behave? One doesn't quite know what will transpire when a witch is involved, as this fun story shows. Lively images accompany quite an involved tale of close encounters with an unpredictable witch.

Blue Boat
Kersten Hamilton, author
Valeria Petrone, illustrator
Viking Children's Books
c/o Penguin Putnam Inc.
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780451471413, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Charmingly written by Kersten Hamilton, and delightfully illustrated by Valeria petrone, "Blue Boat" is the picture book story of a family who, on a sailing outing, gets stuck in a surprise storm. There's only one boat tough enough to handle the rocking waves and howling winds: Blue Boat! A rhyming book about a vehicle who saves the day, "Blue Boat" is very highly recommended for children ages 2 to 5, and will prove to be an enduringly favorite addition to preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for families that "Blue Boat" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99) and in a board book edition ($7.99).

The Ugly Dumpling
Stephanie Campisi, author
Shahar Kober, illustrator
Mighty Media Kids
9781938063671, $15.95, HC, 32pp,

It's not easy being the ugliest dumpling in a dim sum restaurant. Uneaten and ignored, the ugly dumpling is down in the dumps. But when an encouraging cockroach sees the dumpling's inner beauty, this unlikely duo embarks on an eye-opening adventure, leading the ugly dumpling to discover its true identity and realize that being different is beautiful after all. Imaginatively written by Sephanie Campisi and charmingly illustrated by Shahar Kober, "The Ugly Dumpling" is a kind of modern picturebook fairytale for children ages 2 to8 retelling with a timeless moral: There's a little ugly dumpling in all of us! With an underlying message of valuing diversity and anti-bullying, "The Ugly Dumpling" is very highly recommended for preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. For parents it should be noted that "The Ugly Dumpling" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Little One
Jo Weaver
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561459247, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Spring is here and new life is stirring. There is so much for Big Bear to teach her new cub as they step out into the forest. Together they eat, swim, fish, and play as one season becomes the next. With Big Bear's help, Little One grows more and more confident, until winter comes once more and it's time to head home. With her gentle text and stunning black and white illustrations, Jo Weaver reveals the wonder of nature, the first steps of independence, and the strength of parental love in the pages of "Little One". Original, imaginative, and entertaining from first page to last, "Little One" is especially recommended for ages 3 to 6, and for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picturebook collections.

Holly Sterling
Francis Lincoln Children's Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781847807861, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Written and illustrated by Holly Sterling, "Hiccups!" is an utterly charming picture book about a small child and her pet dog. When the dog gets hiccups the child tries everything to cure them, but nothing works until she brings out her favorite cat costume. And that does the trick. Or does it? Turn the page and . . . HIC! Now the child has hiccups. There are lots of fun noises to make and say in this perfect book to share with a toddler from a talented young artist. An ideal and highly recommended as an enduringly popular picturebook for children ages 2 to 5, "Hiccups" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Spinach Dip Pancakes
Kevin Kammeraad
Cooperfly Creative Arts
3148 Plainfield Avenue NE, PMB 248, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
9780997047608, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

"Spinach Dip Pancakes" by Kevin Kammeraad is a book of whimsical wordplay, playful poetry, and mixed-media art. From cover to cover, the young reader's imagination is captured, ideas abound, and creativity can't help but be sparked. "Spinach Dip Pancakes is a quirky, simple, and diverse collection of thoughts enveloped in art begs to be read again and again, uncovering new ideas upon each return. An impressively original collection of original poems, lively songs and engaging possibilities, "Spinach Dip Pancakes" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Strong As A Bear
Katrin Stangl
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701988, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Consisting of idioms, including a few made-up ones, "Strong As A Bear by German author, illustrator, graphic designer, and artist Katrin Stangl presents illustrations that are sweet, funny, thoughtful and beautifully composed. The pictures tell a story about the relationships and emotions that run between and connect humans to other animals. Forceful in language, concept, and color, "Strong As A Bear" is also big-hearted in how it renders children, animals, their feelings and expressions. Exceptionally well written and drawn from first page to last, "Strong As A Bear" is very highly recommended for kids ages 4 to 8 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picturebook collections.

What a Beautiful Morning
Arthur A. Levine, author
Katie Kath, illustrator
Running Press Kids
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762459063, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Every morning is beautiful when Noah visits his Grandparents. When Grandpa and Noah wake up, they take off singing and hardly stop: walking the dog, splashing through puddles, and eating French toast with cinnamon. But one summer Grandpa seems to have forgotten how to do the things they love. Does he even know who Noah is? Grandma steps in energetically, filling in as best she can. But it is Noah who finds the way back to something he can share with Grandpa. Something musical. Something that makes the morning beautiful again. "What a Beautiful Morning" is a perfect picture book story about how love helps us find even what we think is lost. While "What a Beautiful Morning" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8, it should be noted for parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that "What a Beautiful Morning" is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

The Riddlemaster
Kevin Crossley-Holland, author
Stephane Jorisch, illustrator
Tradewind Books
202-1807 Martime Mews, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6H 3W7
Orca Book Publishers (distributor)
PO Box 468, Custer, WA 98240-0468
9781926890111, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Anouk, Ben and Cara dream of a fabulous treasure buried on the golden island across the harbor. A mysterious and grizzled old man offers them passage on his boat, but only if they can solve seven vexing riddles. If they succeed, a strange and magical prize awaits them. Enchanting illustrations by Stephane Jorisch illuminate this original story by one of Britain's best-loved children's authors. "The Riddlemaster" is especially commended and thoroughly entertaining for children ages 4 to 8, and certain to be an enduringly popular addition for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Leon the Raccoon
Lucie Papineau, author
Tommy Doyle, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
24 - 32 rue des Amandiers, 75020 Paris, France
9782733841822, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

Leon's family has decided to spend their holiday visiting their relatives in the country side. But Leon is a city raccoon and this change scares him. As he meets his cousin, will he learn to adapt to his new surroundings? And will this experience leave him unchanged? "Leon the Racoon" is a deftly crafted and original children's picture book that is especially recommended for children ages 3 to 6. An original and consistently entertaining read from first page to last, "Leon the Racoon" will prove to be an ideal and enduringly popular acquisition for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

Being Me
Rosemary McCarney, author
Yvonne Cathcart, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781927583937, $15.95, HC, 24pp,

Rosie doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. But she knows she wants to do something right now. With the help of her dad and the kids at school, she discovers she can be proactive with lots of things, including learning that she doesn't have to wait until she's a grown up to be able to make a difference for others when she volunteers at a food bank. An utterly charming and deftly crafted story by Rosemary McCarney that is exceptionally well illustrated by Yvonne Cathcart, "Being Me" is especially and enthusiastically recommended for children ages 4 to 7, and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Ten Hungry Pigs
Derek Anderson
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545168489, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

Charmingly written and lively illustrated by Derek Anderson, "Ten Hungry Pigs" is a funny up-and-down counting story. "Ten Hungry Pigs" brings more piggy counting fun for children ages 3 to 5! One pig sets out to make a perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Ten more pigs soon come along, adding all kinds of food -- from pancakes and peas to macaroni and cheese. But wait! There aren't eleven pigs -- are there? "Ten Hungry Pigs" is a fun counting book with a twist that would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. For parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents it should be noted that "Ten Hungry Pigs" is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

The Other Rabbit
Maranke Rinck & Martijin van der Linden
Lemniscaat USA
c/o Boyds Mills
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781935954460, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

In a world where everyone has a counterpart, Rabbit is searching for the Other Rabbit. He flies through the air, walks across the land, travels across the sea but still he cannot find him. Finally, he learns that the Other Rabbit is on another island and that the dragon who lives there won't let him leave because he is afraid of being lonely. Rabbit comes up with the perfect solution and no one is lonely again. Ably translated into English by Laura Watkinson, "The Other Rabbit" is especially recommended for children ages 3 to 6, and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Catch a Kiss
Deborah Diesen, author
Kris Aro McLeod, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369614, $15.99, HC, 32pp,

Izzie just loves when her mama blows her kisses to catch. Smooch kisses, zig-zag kisses, and even triple decker kisses! But even though she runs and leaps for it, Izzie misses a kiss! Her heart sinks as she watches it zip higher and higher into the sky. When Mama lets Izzie in on a sweet secret she realizes that her mama's love will always come to find her, no matter what! Affably written by Deborah Diesen and charmingly illustrated by Kris Aro McLeod, "Catch a Kiss" is a silly and tender universal story one of a parent's love for her daughter. Very highly recommended for children 5 to 7, "Catch a Kiss" would prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, that "Catch a Kiss" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Cat in the Night
Madeleine Dunphy, author
Joshua S. Brunet, illustrator
Web of Life Children's Books
PO Box 2726, Berkeley, CA 94702
9780988330368, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written by Madeleine Dunphy and charmingly illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet, "Cat in the Night" is an impressively entertaining story about a little girl falls asleep just as her cat wakes up. Children ages 5 to 9 who have ever wondered what their cat does at night will experience the night-time world through the cat's eyes, ears, nose, whiskers, and feet as he travels the neighborhood, meeting up with other denizens of the night. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' and wonderfully entertaining from first page to last, "Cat in the Night" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Good Night Owl
Greg Pizzoli
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484712757, $16.99, HC, 48pp,

Owl is ready for bed. But as soon as he settles in, he hears a strange noise. He'll never get to sleep unless he can figure out what's going on! Written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, "Good Night Owl" is a thoroughly charming and 'kid friendly' picture book story that is especially recommended for children ages 8 to 12. Very highly recommended, "Good Night Owl" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

Trunk to Trunklet
Jorge Lujan, author
Mandana Sadat, illustrator
John Oliver Simon, translator from Spanish
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701940, $16.95,

"Trunk to Trunklet" is a creative exploration into mother/baby relationships in many different animals, conveyed in terse verse and amazing limited palette illustrations created by frottage, hand drawing, and computer techniques. The stunning black, cream and red or black cream and blue artwork represents many sides of a mother's affectionate love and care for her young progeny. Some animal twosomes include tiger, monkeys, owls, seals, bears, and cats and kittens. Mommy elephant calls her calf by trumpeting, and they play "trunk to trunklet." This expressive, delicate and intimate series of portraits of mothers and babies creates a chain of images of love that envelopes and nurtures young readers age two and up.

Philippe the Black Sheep
Jean Dupont, author
Ellen Shire, illustrator
Filsinger & Company, Ltd.
288 West 12th Street, 2R, New York, NY 10014
9780916754457, $25.00, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written by Jean Dupont and charmingly illustrated by Ellen Shire, "Philippe the Black Sheep" is the story of Philippe, of France, a Salt Marsh Lamb with artistic ambitions. After an arduous journey, he ends up in a Mont Saint-Michel kitchen with a cruel chef -- until he's freed to do his art. The underlying message is to follow your star. It's interesting to note the blurbs provided by chef Jacques Pepin, model Carmen Dell'Orefice, librarian Katharine Branning of the French Institute in New York, and ballerina Karin von Aroldingen. "Philippe the Black Sheep" is especially commended to the notice of parents, caregivers, and teachers eager to explore France, food, and dreams of the arts with their children and students. "Philippe the Black Sheep" is very highly recommended for children ages 5 to 8, and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

Hound Dawg
Patricia Vermillion, author
Cheryl Pilgrim, illustrator
TCU Press
Texas Christian University
TCU Box 298300, Fort Worth, TX 76129
9780875656151, $21.95, HC, 40pp,

Deftly written by Patricia Vermillion and charmingly illustrated by Cheryl Pilgrim, "Hound Dawg" is a basically a picture book retelling of The Little Red Hen tale -- southern style. Bessie, Calico, and Penny work their fingers to the bone down on the cotton farm. But Hound Dawg is dedicated a couch potato -- lazy, lazy, lazy. Hold on now, something seems to have caught Hound Dawg's eye. That something just might change his life forever! A classic in the making in its own right, "Hound Dawg" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 5 to 7.

Pocketmouse at Crystal Cove
Marian Parks, author
Melinda Beavers, illustrator
Nature Tale Books
4300 Black Avenue, #695, Pleasanton, CA 94566
9781943172009, $15.95, HC, 32pp,

Pocketmouse is friendly, spunky, and absolutely determined to learn why he's the only Pacific pocket mouse living at Crystal Cove. He asks lots of questions. He snoops and explores. Then he encounters more trouble than he's prepared for! Imaginatively written by Marian Parks and wonderfully embellished with the artwork of Melina Beavers, "Pocketmouse at Crystal Cove" is a delightful read--aloud picture book for parents and teachers who value early environmental awareness, and a must-read for child (or parent!) who wants to nose around and explore California's coastal wonders. Simply stated, "Pocketmouse at Crystal Cove" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Grandma Is a Slowpoke
Janet Halfmann, author
Michele Coxon, illustrator
Star Bright Books
13 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
9781595727107, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

A little girl is happy to go on a walk with Grandma, but Grandma is such a slowpoke! She stops to point out, listen or observe the different creatures they meet, sharing her knowledge with the child. At the river, it is the little girl who spots a muskrat Grandma didn't see. "Grandma Is a Slowpoke" is a simple yet elegant story that delivers a powerful and joyous message to young readers ages 3 to 6 -- let us pause, stop and be present with the creatures around us, because there is no hurry. A deftly crafted nature story by Janet Halfmann that is impressively embellished by Michele Coxon's beautiful fine color brush bringing life to the creatures on each page, and makes the animals so endearing, "Grandma Is a Slowpoke" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Grandma Is a Slowpoke" is also available in a paperback edition (9781595727114, $6.99).

The Sweet Dreams Book
Laurie Parker
Quail Ridge Press
PO Box 123, Brandon, MS 39043
9781938879210, $18.50, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written and beautifully illustrated by Laurie Parker, "The Sweet Dreams Book" is ideal for parents wanting to make bedtime for their young children a truly magical event with its dreamy imagery and enchanting lyrical wishes with hints for beautiful dreams and restful sleep. A true classic in the making, "The Sweet Dreams Book" is very highly recommend for family and community library picture book collections.

Bartholomew Quill
Thor Hanson, author
Dana Arnim, illustrator
Sasquatch Books
1904 Third Ave, Suite 710, Seattle, WA 98101
9781632170460, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Exceptionally well written by biologist and nature author Thor Hanson, "Bartholomew Quill" is his first children's book and is the charming story of a crow who is trying to figure out what he is. Rather than just a creation myth, it's a legend about biodiversity and the clever and loveable crow. Tour the animal kingdom from a crow's point of view in this whimsical mix of science and poetry. Hanson's rhyming story is wonderfully embellished with the beautiful illustrations of Pacific Northwest wildlife by Dana Arnim. The resulting collaboration of writer and artist make "Bartholomew Quill" a fun read-aloud experience for the whole family and an enduringly popular addition to preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

Full of Empty
Tim J. Myers, author
Priscilla Myers, author
Rebecca Sorge, illustratory
1254 Commerce Way, Sanger, CA 93657
978 1942934356, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Every child gets bored or lonely and "Full of Empty" is a warm-hearted story that teaches parents and children that a parent's time and full attention are the best remedy. "Full of Empty" reminds parents that playing with their children is an important form of love. The collaborative work of Tim J. Myers and Priscilla Myers, this beautifully illustrated book featuring the artwork of Rebecca Sorge will bring home the power of quality time in the lives of children. Superbly crafted and impressively presented, "Full of Empty" is very highly recommended for children ages 4 to 8 and would prove to be an enduringly welcome addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Gertrude and Toby's Friday Adventure
Shari Tharp, author
Jim Heath, illustrator
Atlas Publishing
42072 - 5th Street, Suite 103, Temecula, CA 92590
9780996967907, $18.99, HC, 48pp,

Gertrude the goat and her best friend Toby the tortoise are adventurers. No sitting around on the boring farm for them! They love to explore, and every Friday they sneak off the farm for some extra fun. One Friday, Gertrude and Toby decide to visit the local candy store in town. They discover yummy goodies and treats, but soon find that the treats are not free!? Uh oh! The market owner grabs Toby. He demands money for the candy that Gertrude and Toby have taken by mistake. Gertrude must find a way to save her friend and get back home before Farmer Sam returns. All the more impressive as "Gertrude and Toby's Friday Adventure" is Shari Tharp's debut as a children's picture book author. This delightful and entertaining volume is Book 1 in the Gertrude and Toby fairy tale adventure book series and will leave its young readers ages 6 to 9 looking eagerly toward the next installment of the daring duo's adventures. While very highly recommended for elementary school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Gertrude and Toby's Friday Adventure" is also available in a paperback edition (9780996967914, $8.09) and in a Kindle format ($4.99).

Eli Brown's Big Surprise
Deanna Cox
Belle Isle Books
c/o Brandylane Publishers
5 South First Street, Richmnd, VA 23219
9781939930538, $17.95, HC, 30pp,

For as long as Eli Brown can remember, he's wanted to be a race car driver like his dad. His dad tells Eli he can drive race cars when he's older. But that's an awful long time for a creative little boy to wait. So Eli comes up with a plan to make his race car dreams come true! Skillfully written and charmingly illustrated by master story teller Deanna Cox, "Eli Brown's Big Surprise" is very highly recommended for young readers and would prove to be a popular addition to any elementary school and community library picture book collection.

Albert's Almost Amazing Adventure
Marty Kelley
Islandport Press
PO Box 10, Yarmouth, ME 04096
9781939017697, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Albert's vacation was amazing or so he thought. To friends, his time in Maine was boring. Dull. Lame. They ve got a more vivid and exciting idea of what Albert could and should have done on his trip. But Albert might just have a surprise for his friends, after all. Author and illustrator Marty Kelley tells a wonderful read-aloud picture book story in a fresh and imaginative way, contrasting panels of black-and-white charcoal drawings of dull old Albert with wonderful color spreads of what Albert's friends imagine for his summer adventures. Did Albert really tussle with ninjas and parlay with pirates? Or did he spend his time in Maine in the most boring ways imaginable? What really made his amazing summer vacation so amazing? As unique as it is entertaining, "Albert's Almost Amazing Adventure" is very highly recommended for children ages 5 to 8 and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library picture book collections.

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

Julie Kraulis's An Armadillo in New York (9781770498914, $16.99) tells of Arlo the armadillo, who harbors a thirst for adventure inherited from his wandering armadillo family. His grandfather wrote special travel journals from him to use when he was old enough to explore on his own, and because he reads about New York, he decides to go there. Kids with good reading skills receive a fun exploration of the City from a star-struck armadillo's impressions of the sights, sounds, and amazing features of the Big Apple in a fun story filled with engaging armadillo drawings. Vikki Vansickle and Cale Atkinson's If I Had a Gryphon (9781770499099, $16.99) tells of Sam, who gets a very boring hamster for a pet. Her dreams are much larger, and while her pet snoozes and eats, she longs for something far more exciting - until some arrives at some hard truths about the special challenges of magical amazing creatures. This very funny story, this will appeal to any youngster who has longed for an exciting pet.

Good Night, Baddies
Deborah Underwood and Juli Kangas
Simon and Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481409841, $17.99,

Good Night, Baddies is a fun tale of witches, trolls, dragons and all manner of bad beasts who have poor reputations in the world. What else are bad beasts to do than gather together as friends - and what happens to their badness when they do so? Good Night, Baddies is a fun take-off on fairy tale denizens and does an excellent job of showing how even those with bad reputations can be good friends. The color drawings are especially vivid and fun illustrations of a different kind of friendship book.

The Cat's Pajamas
Daniel Wallace
114 Linden Street, Oakland, CA 94607
9781941758007, $18.00,

The Cat's Pajamas is written and illustrated by Daniel Wallace, whose fun color cartoon-like drawings accent the story of a cat who lives in an era when cats wore clothes, worked in cities, and dressed the same. But Louis isn't one of the crowd: he wants to be an individual. And so he embarks on a program to not only be himself, but find himself. It's not easy to stand out from a crowd of copy cats, but Louis discovers how to truly be the cat's pajamas in this excellent story of individuality and its cultivation.

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Ted Kooser's The Bell in the Bridge (9780763664817, $16.99), illustrated by Barry Root, tells of Charlie's loneliness when he visits grandparents who always are working and leaving him alone. His favorite activity is to play by a stream and drop rocks off the old iron bridge, but when he hits the bridge with a big rock and it rings for miles, he gets an idea. Can the ringing bridge be a key to something greater and more mysterious? Kids who like the unexpected story will love the unusual associations Charlie makes, here. Greenling by Levi Pinfold (9780763675981, $17.99) tells how Mr. and Mrs. Barleycorn live quiet lives alone, forgotten by the world, until something mysterious begins to grow on their land. When Mr. Barleycorn decides to bring this unusual growth into the house, new truths emerge about its meaning in this excellent, involving story of a couple's lives transformed by a miracle. Both are solid, appealing and unusual picture book stories especially recommended for parents seeking different themes and fine drawings.

The Fiction Shelf

The Dream of Dancing
Z.W. Mohr & Aaron Damon Porter
Desdemona's Dreams LLC
9780996887403 $24.99 hc / $4.99 Kindle

Volume 1 of the "Desdemona's Dreams" series, The Dream of Dancing has the lavish color illustrations of a picturebook, yet its story is fairly extensive and detailed (60 pages), and suitable for young readers who are just about ready for their first chapter books. Desdemona is a young girl who dreams of becoming a dancer, perhaps a graceful ballerina. But the world around her is filled with endless demands that seek to slowly bleed away the creativity and dreams of children like her. The Mad Maestro, a dream-world metaphor turned shockingly real, imprisons Desdemona's dream of dancing and makes a dire challenge - if Desemona cannot finish the Maestro's musical masterpiece in an hour, then she will lose her dream forever! A wondrous allegory about holding fast to great expectations, The Dream of Dancing is highly recommended.

How to be Famous
Michal Shalev
Gecko Press
PO Box 9335, Marion Square, Wellington, 6141, New Zealand
9781778570294, $16.99,

When one desires to be famous, how hard could it be? Any youngster who thinks this endeavor will be simple will relish How to be Famous, the story of a self-centered, superior bird who thinks being famous is mostly a combination of chutzpah and pushiness. In fact, the bird's family has been famous for generations - and everyone in the family is special. As the story unwinds, tracing attitudes and mistaken perceptions of fame, kids and adults alike will laugh out loud at the increasingly obvious reasons why true fame might be a state of mind, here, in a fun exploration of the elements of fame and some of the possibilities of attitude.

Trish's Team
Dawn Brotherton
Blue Dragon Publishing
9781939696120, $5.99, PB, 128pp,

Being part of the Lady Tigers is about more than playing fastpitch softball. It's about being part of a team. Trish learns what that really means when she tries to pull a fast one to get what she wants without thinking through the consequences. Her decision could affect the game, but more importantly it could effect her friends. Through the Lady Tigers' series, young readers will learn about softball, but also about friendship, consequences, disappointment, bullying, and other modern-day issues that are confronted during the tween and teen years. The first volume in what promises to be a truly outstanding 'Lady Tigers' series from the pen of Dawn Brotherton, "Trish's Team" is very highly recommended for both school and community library collections for young readers. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Trish's Team" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).

How It All Began
Clare Jaget
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781504967372, $10.99, PB, 66pp,

Emily is staying with her cousin Thomas for the holidays. Today it is pouring with rain and a violent storm's a-raging. When all calms down, the children notice that the big old oak tree at the bottom of their garden has blown right over, so with their dog Henry, they go out to investigate. What a surprise when they peep down the hole to see a tiny spiral staircase leading deep underground! Of course they have to climb down it, but what they find at the end is not what they imagined. An exciting world of adventures lies within reach as they make new friends and experience the magic of the enchanted tree. Oh, and by the way, watch out for an unexpected guest who appears out of nowhere. He just might get it right one of these days! Enhanced with the inclusion of a bibliography of sources used by author Clare Jaget, "How It All Began" is a delightful and consistently entertaining read that is very highly recommended for both school and community library fiction collections for kids. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "How It All Began" is also available to young readers in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Of Better Blood
Susan Moger
AW Teen
c/o Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
9780807547748, $16.99, HC, 304pp,

Teenage polio survivor Rowan Collier is caught in the crossfire of a secret war against "the unfit". It's 1922, and eugenics (the movement dedicated to racial purity and good breeding) has taken hold in America. State laws allow institutions to sterilize minorities, the "feeble-minded," and the poor, while local eugenics councils set up exhibits at county fairs with "fitter family" contests and propaganda. After years of being confined to hospitals, Rowan is recruited at sixteen to play a born cripple in a county fair eugenics exhibit. But gutsy, outspoken Dorchy befriends Rowan and helps her realize her own inner strength and bravery. The two escape the fair and end up at a summer camp on a desolate island run by the New England Eugenics Council. There they discover something is happening to the children. Rowan must find a way to stop the horrors on the island -- if she can escape them herself. "Of Better Blood" is a deftly crafted and riveting novel from beginning to end. While very highly recommended for highschool and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Of Better Blood" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.49).

Blitz and Blatz!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Billey Barron, illustrator
Zaccheus Entertainment
9780996996419, $12.95, PB, 60pp,

Life was good for brothers Blitz and Blatz. Born of royalty, living in an elegant palace, feasting on plentiful, delicious food, they had no worries, no concerns. Their extravagant and decadent lifestyle excluded any thought or concern for the poor or the hungry. They had no idea how the other half lived, nor did they care. Until one day, they were evicted suddenly and unexpectedly from their lap of luxury, and found themselves living in a dumpster, scrounging for scraps of food in a dilapidated alley. Now the two brothers constantly fought misery and hunger. Convinced that there was no end to their misery, they gave up hope. But then one day, they met a stranger in that alley -- a stranger who delivered a message to them that would change their whole lives! But who or what was that stranger? And what was the message that would transform the lives of two very selfish brothers? Charmingly enhanced with black-and-white illustrations by Billy Barron, "Blizt and Blatz!" by Donald W. Kruse is an ideal and entertaining story specifically for young children ages 5 to 10 and in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. Original, entertaining, and with an underlying life lesson, "Blitz and Blatz!" is very highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections for very young readers.

The Island of Beyond
Elizabeth Atkinson
Carolrhoda Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781467781169, $17.99, HC, 288pp,

Eleven-year-old Martin can hardly imagine a worse summer. Martin's dad wants him to like "normal" boy things, such as playing sports and exploring the outdoors, so he sends Martin to his great-aunt Lenore, who lives on a tiny island called Beyond. Nothing about Beyond is what Martin expects, certainly not the strange, local boy who unexpectedly befriends Martin. Solo can canoe and climb trees and survive on his own in the wilderness, and Martin's drawn to him in a way he doesn't quite understand. But he's not sure he can trust Solo. In fact, can he trust anything about this strange island, where everyone seems to be keeping secrets? A deftly constructed and consistently compelling read from cover to cover, "The Island of Beyond" is especially commended for young readers ages 8 to 12, and for kids in grades 3 to 7. While very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Island of Beyond" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Valthea: I Read People
C. K. Mallick
Canterbury House Publishing
4535Ottawa Trail, Sarasota, FL 34233
9780990841661, $15.95, PB, 258pp,

Valthea Sarosi, reads people's pasts. The determination to find her birth parents, headline a circus, and experience true love, lead her to perform at festivals throughout Romania with a Gypsy troupe and an Eastern Europe, Cirque du Soleil-style circus. In her rise to stardom, empathetic Valthea, falls in love with Sorin Dobra the Gypsy troupe's fire juggler with med-school ambition. Along the way, she encounters jealousy, obsession, and bullying. But when Valthea's loved-ones are threatened, will she be able to access her paranormal prowess or be forced to rely solely on heart and wit? Original, compelling, and a consistently entertaining read from first page to last, "Valthea: I Read People" is the first volume of author C. K. Mallick's 'Daughters' series and very highly recommended for the personal reading lists of fantasy romance enthusiasts, and would make an enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections.

Do You Have an Auntie Mae?
Laurie A. Radford, author
Richa Kinra, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478727118, $31.95,

"Do You Have an Auntie Mae?" is an homage in verse to a beloved, special aunt who treasured every moment of discovery, play, and fun with her beloved nieces and nephews. Adorned with fresh paintings of joyous adventures with Auntie Mae, such as going to the circus, riding a horse, making a cake, playing in the water or at the beach, or going to the zoo. Aunts can come in many colors, shapes and sizes, and the reader is invited to seek his or her own specially beloved Auntie Mae (or Sara, or Molly, or Jane) and enjoy being treasured and loved, playing games and having adventures and fun. This touching book ends with a wonderful idea: "Aunts are so wonderful, no matter their name. We love them. They love us all just the same. So look out your window on one special day, for you just might see your Auntie Mae!" The sun-splashed illustrations of happy faced children playing with their loving aunt add to the joy and pleasure and security of the feeling of being loved in this very special book, "Do You Have an Auntie Mae?"

The Seven Princesses
Smiljana Coh, author/illustrator
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
2300 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762455874, $16.95,

"The Seven Princesses" is a delightfully fresh, rainbow-themed illustrated story about themes of celebrating differences, or diversity. Seven different princesses born to a handsome king and queen (with non matching skin colors) have very different appearances, interests and skills. It is often suggested that the seven princesses are each reminiscent of the seven colors of the rainbow. Sometimes the princesses did not get along smoothly. In fact they had terrible fights. After one especially awful battle, each sister decided: "Rosamund never wanted to SEE her sisters again. Orellia never watered to HEAR her sisters again. Amaryllis wanted DIFFERENT sisters. Hazel wished she just had her GARDEN. Azzurra wished she just had her ANIMALS. Indigo wished she could swim AWAY. Violet wished she was ALONE." So each princess had her own tower built and each princess stayed inside alone. At first each was happy playing alone. But then, each princess began to dread the silence, and to forget the good times they had had together. Then something magical began to happen. Each sister began to remember something happy about times spent with her sisters, and they began to share these memories by passing pictures of memories to each other. Finally, through a complex system of interconnected catwalks, tunnels, and bridges invented and designed by Rosamund, the princesses became reconnected, celebrating in colorful harmony and joy. The king and the queen were quietly delighted with their princesses' renewed love and joy in one another. "The Seven Princesses" is an artistic, sensitively interpreted rendition of a tale of sibling love celebration that will delight current audiences from ages 4-8.

The Race
Robin Rekittke, author
Al Margolis, illustrator
Bookstand Publishing
305 Vineyard Town Center, #302, Morgan Hill, CA 95037
9781634982849, $12.95, PB,

"The Race" is an action story with a message of inclusiveness written just for kids. Filled with brightly colored, peppy action illustrations of children with different skin colors playing active, happy games together, "The Race" presents a situation where interactive physical play between ordinary kids expands joyously to include a new kid named Bradley who is different. Bradley gets around in a wheelchair because he has only one leg. But he still can catch the big orange ball. So when Russ invites him to play catch with the ball, Bradley decides to accept. He has fun playing catch with Sam and Russ! Later, Suzy and Drina join the playgroup, and a race is proposed. Bradley is afraid his missing leg and wheelchair will preclude him from joining the race, but Suzie points out to him he still has four wheels, so all the children decide to race together. Even Bradley pushed his wheels as fast as he could, and all the children cheered for him. The children recite a poem they like: "I have two feet, I'm as happy as can be, I know someone loves and takes good care of me." After realizing this song does not exactly apply to Bradley, one of the children apologized to him. He thought a moment and then recited his own versions of the poem: "I have one foot/ I'm as happy as can be/ I know someone loves/ and takes good care of me." "The Race" is a delightful story with an empowering message of inclusiveness that will be clearly understood by young readers age 7 and up.

The Lasting Life Lesson of Rupert Tea Rex
Kaptain Seeg, author
Casey Davis, illustrator
Up Close & Personal Publishing
P.O. Box 1362, Plainfield, IL 60544
9780997186406, $15.95,

"The Lasting Life Lesson of Rupert Tea Rex" is a fascinating illustrated political allegory story in verse about how not accepting change can doom your future as a species. Rupert Tea Rex was a bully and a loudmouth, he was the biggest baddest reptile in the land, in the entire history of the land. He feared nothing, not even Man, in fact, he devoured Man for dinner on occasion. He was greedy, a bully, and too rigid to accept change. Other animals, like Paul P. Pterodactyl and Woolly Ruff Rider Mammoth and Saber Supreme Tooth Tiger noticed a chilling change coming to the land, and chose to cooperate and work with the species of Man to learn to adapt to the coming change. Not Rupert Tea Rex, he thought working together and sharing was for "pathetic weaklings." Eventually the expected climate change came and some of the animal species managed to adapt and survive because they chose to be flexible and share and to cooperate with a wiser, weaker human species. The story follows the lives of the creatures' descendants, telling the story in comic style illustrations and sharp, witty verse. While some species changed, adapted and thrived, Rupert Tea Rex dwindled to a humble shadow of his former self, morphing into a familiar looking bird domesticated and harvested for food by humans... the chicken! In case the moral is not plain enough, there are followup questions for further thought and a glossary of terms for young readers. The comparison to a certain political figure is obvious and inevitable. "The Lasting Life Lesson of Rupert Tea Rex" is an excellent educational adventure that kids of all ages will enjoy and devour.

Little Sally Girl's Greatest Adventure Series
Sally C. Hadley
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478720676, $27.95, HC, 38pp,

Little Sally Girl always finds herself in the most amazing situations. "Little Sally Girl's Greatest Adventure Series" by Sally Hadley is a compilation of short stories are about a girl named "Sally". This girl is a very special kind of girl. There is something about her that makes her different from any other girl. Sally always had very unique adventures as she grew up. Coming across wild animals, sharks, guns and many other adventures that she found herself in. Sally managed to keep herself alive with her very intuitive sense of danger. She dodged the most dangerous of dangers anyone could ever imagine. Perhaps is her guardian angel who is helping her to survive. While "Little Sally Girl's Greatest Adventure Series" is very highly recommended for school and community library collections for children, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

Charlie's Chalk Stick
Renee Wendinger, author
Sharon Grey, illustrator
Legendary Publications
9780991360338, $12.00, HC, 38pp,

One day Charlie, a hobo, hopped off the two o'clock train. After forming a friendship with an injured dog at a hobo village, Charlie meets a group of children at a lemonade stand. Through the use of his chalk stick, Charlie teaches the children a new language - the hobo language. Will the children judge Charlie by his appearance? Or will they have a change of heart? Deftly written by Renee Wendinger and charmingly illustrated by Sharon Grey, "Charlie's Chalk Stick" is a delightfully engaging children's book based on a historic figure born out of America's Great Depression -- the hobo. "Charlie's Chalk Stick" is the kind of story that will give children the opportunity to visit a particular period in America's past while learning something valuable about the human condition at the same time. While very highly recommended for elementary school and community library children's book collections, it should be noted for parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that "Charlie's Chalk Stick" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).

The Audiobook Shelf

The Sign in the Smoke: Nancy Drew Diaries Book 12
Carolyn Keene, author
Read by Jorjeana Marie
Oasis Audio
289 Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781613757338 $9.99

The Sign in the Smoke is the unabridged rendition of the twelfth book in the Nancy Drew Diaries series, each of which are modern, stand-alone mystery-adventures created especially to introduce a new generation to Nancy Drew, a young, courageous, and intelligent heroine. Nancy agrees to become a camp counselor for a week in The Sign in the Smoke. Her job becomes worrisome when something pulls her underwater during a swim lesson, and the sleeping bags of her cabin abruptly disappeared. Could Camp Cedarbark be haunted? Nancy must solve the mystery quickly to protect herself and the campers! Highly recommended, especially for middle grade public or school library audiobook collections. 4 CDs.

The Music CD Shelf

Charity and the JAMband
$14.99 CD / $9.99 download

Earth: Songs for the Earth and All Beings is a family-friendly music CD created to celebrate Earth Day any day. The songs feature an upbeat message about humankind's responsibility to take care of the planet we live on. Love and kindness toward fellow human beings are also central themes of this joyous album. Highly recommended, especially for gift-giving or public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Keep a Green Tree in Your Heart", "Share Your Love", "Earth Day", "We Speak for the Earth", "I Am the Earth", "Shine", "Sing a Summer Song", "We Love Everyone", "Pebble Meditation Song", and "Little One".

Camp Songs
K.B. Whirly
Privately Published

One-man-band K.B. Whirly presents Camp Songs, a family-friendly music CD featuring silly, syncopated lyrics; a free-for-all medley of New Orleans jazz, big band booming, Americana folk; and contributions from special guests including Jazzy Ash, Grammy winner Dean Jones, and the Kindie Chorus. The songs have a common theme about adventures in summer camp. Camp Songs is an excellent choice for car trips, children's parties, or plain and simple fun. The tracks are "Camp Song", "Reveille", "Hello Mudda", "Not Goin' Swimmin'", "The Princess Pat", "Hole in My Bucket" (featuring Jazzy Ash), "The Littlest Worm", "The Bumble-Bee Song", "Scary Gary", "Peter Piper's Pickle Palace", "Theft of the Red Canoe", "Ricky Ticki Toomba", "Taps", and "Say Say My Playmate" (with Alastair Moock and the Kindie Chorus).

Ranger Rick's Trail Mix Vol. 1
The Whizpops
Privately Published
$10.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

The first in a planned series, Ranger Rick's Trail Mix Vol. 1 is a children's music CD of 11 original songs created to celebrate Endangered Species Day (May 20th). These educational songs include amazing facts about imperiled animals of North America, and span genres from pop and rock to country, reggae, and more. A treasure for teaching little ones, Ranger Rick's Trail Mix Vol. 1 is especially recommended for public and elementary school library children's music collections. The tracks are "Swift Fox", "Black Footed Ferret", "Pika", "Everything's Better With a Mustache (Walrus Song)", "California Condor", "Stream That I Call Home (Bull Trout Song), "Gulo Gulo (Wolverine)", "Monarch", "Bison", "Polar Bear", and "Extinction Really Stinks".

We're All In This Together
Two of a Kind
Privately Published
$14.99 CD / $9.99 download

Award-winning children's musicians Two of a Kind present We're All In This Together, a music CD of mostly original songs (plus one cover and a parody) with a strong positive message about the power of cooperation. Upbeat and cheerful, We're All In This Together spans a gamut of musical styles including jazz, pop, Andean style, and more. A zestful touch of humor enlivens the lyrics in this delightful collection! The tracks are "We're All In This Together" (3:53), "Treehugger" (2:53), "I Wanna Be a Superhero" (2:54), "Wild and Free" (3:24), "Even When No One's Watching" (3:09), "I've Gotta Hand It To Mom" (2:34), "Leave It There" (2:55), "I Dig Reading" (2:30), "I Love to Ride on a Train" (2:33), "Oh Guanaco" (2:09), "Out in the Outback" (2:05), "Kelp!" (2:46), "Sing! Bang! Boom! It's a Symphony" (2:26), "The Stick Story / Together We Can Move Mountains" (3:43), and "I'll Be There For You" (2:56).

Lollipop Motel
Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam
Knock-Knock Records
$12.98 CD / $9.99 download

Lollipop Motel is a fast-paced children's music CD that captures the essence of summer vacation fun. Inspired by classic 70's and 80's rock and pop, Lollipop Motel shines with sweet, sassy, sun-drenched fun! The tracks are "Your Happy Place" (3:12), "Day at the Beach" (3:24), "Restless Heart" (2:57), "Jam Packed" (3:09), "Lollipop Motel" (3:52), "Little Yellow Plane" (3:01), "My Superpower" (3:19), "The Ultimate Frisbee" (feat. Polka Dot) (3:51), "Jersey Dinosaurs" (3:24), "Summertime Santa" (2:57), "Too Big To Jump on the Bed" (2:49), and "Free to Be... You and Me" (4:08).

Arriba Abajo
123 Andres
Salsana Records

Arriba Abajo is a bilingual, educational music CD designed to stimulate young minds. The first ten tracks are original songs in Spanish; the second ten tracks are the same songs with English lyrics. A 35-page Learning Guide developed with the aid of a classroom teacher enable parents and educators to build upon the simple, singsong lessons in counting, shapes, colors, vocabulary, days of the week and more. Highly recommended for public and elementary school library children's music collections, or for educational fun at home!

Phineas McBoof Crashes the Symphony
Kyle Pickett & The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Doctor Noize Inc.
PO Box 631995, Littleton, CO 80163-1995
Available July 15, 2016

Phineas McBoof Crashes the Symphony is the third installment in the award-winning, family-friendly Phineas McBoof music CD series. A two-act musical on two CDs, Phineas McBoof Crashes the Symphony is a sing-out-loud story of friendship and the search to discover one's purpose. A grand variety of delightful, storytelling songs with positive messages make Phineas McBoof Crashes the Symphony a grand adventure that listeners of all ages will enjoy, especially when played during long car trips or summer chores! 2 CDs, Act 1 (CD #1): 74 min., Act 2 (CD #2), 77 min.

Hello Friend!
The Hollow Trees
Hollow Trees Records
Available July 1, 2016

Ideal for young listeners ages 3-7, Hello Friend! is a lively music CD by Americana folk music indie performers The Hollow Trees. Many of the unique songs are adventurous tales of Nelson, a raccoon-fox-bear creatures and his friends in Nelsonville, a magic meadow within an enchanted forest. Featuring mostly original compositions and a few covers of beloved classics, Hello Friend! is charming, catchy, and just plain fun. The tracks are "What Do You Want On Your Taco?", "Merry Go Round", "My Dog Has Fleas", "I Can't Dance (I've Got Ants in My Pants)", "It Ain't No Fault of Mine", "Hello Friend", "The Whole Thing", "My Metaphor", "Guitar You Going to Sing Along?", "Poor Papa", "Backward Bill", "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain", "I Like to Draw", and "The Harmony Hills". 40 min.

Love Bug!
Valerie Leonhart Smalkin
Small Kin Music
1122 Western Run Road, Cockeysville, MD 21030
Available September 30, 2016
UPC: 888295439237, $15.00, CD,

Award-winning ventriloquist, musician, composer, and performer Valerie Leonhart Smalkin has written, produced, and performed "Love Bug!", an amazing music CD that will simply enthrall young children preschool through first grade. "Love Bug!" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library music CD collections for children ages 4 to 7. In addition to three traditional songs, Hey Betty Martin (2:24), Bumble Bee (1:17), and Tingalayo (1:54), "Love Bug!" adds nine original songs to the children’s music lexicon: How Do You Do (1:21); Zoo 'n' Doo Dah (1:44); Funky Monkey (2:06); Sloth -- Three Toed (1:39); Down Diddley Down (1:51); Barnyard Song (2:08); Birdie (2:12); Touch the Ground (2:23); and the title piece, Love Bug (2:34). Listening to "Love Bug!" is the next best thing to a front row seat at one of Valerie Smalkin's family concerts or school assembly performances! It should be noted for parents and teachers that Val's "Songbook and Activities for Early Childhood," with lead sheets and activities for each song, is available as a free download from Small Kin Music. Val's previous two CDs, "A Gentle Halloween", and "Sing! Sing! Sing!...And Dance!" received a Parents' Choice Fun Stuff, and Approved award, respectively.

The DVD Shelf

Stick and Stone
Written by Beth Ferry
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Weston Woods
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
9780545938143 $59.95

Stick and Stone is the brief DVD adaptation of a children's picturebook ideal for young people in pre-kindergarten through second grade (ages 3-7). In the story, Stick comes to Stone's rescue from an escalating situation with Pinecone. Stick and Stone become close friends, but will Stone remember and repay Stick's loyalty when Stick is in trouble? A simple story with an underlying anti-bullying message, Stick and Stone is a choice pick for homeroom viewing as well as elementary school and public library children's DVD collections. 8 min., optional English Subtitles, close-captioned.

The Multimedia Shelf

Amazing Water
Ana Gerhard, author
Margarita Sada, illustrator
The Secret Mountain
3816 Royal Avenue, Montreal, QC, H4A 2M2
9782924217696, $16.95, HC/CD, 68pp,

Through the works of Vivaldi, Beethoven, Debussy, and others, "Amazing Water" is a CD - Book combination by Ana Gerhard (a concert pianist at the Mexican National Conservatory, and who has taught piano for several years, as well as hosting numerous radio programs dedicated to the promotion of classical music) that introduces children 7 to 9, and in grades 2 to 4 to classical music by demonstrating how water in the form of the sea, rivers, fountains, and rainfall, has inspired the composers. An original and interesting way for younger listeners to discover amazing classical music, "Amazing Water" pairs three centuries of music history with stunning and evocative illustrations. The accompanying CD features 20 excerpts from various recordings performed by world-class luminaries, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, La Scala Chorus and Orchestra, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. A glossary of musical terms and a short biography of each composer are also included. A children's guidebook to the fantastical characters and creatures found in classical music, "Amazing Water" is very highly recommended for family, school, and community library Music History & Music Appreciation collections.

It's Raining Cats and Dogs!
Marie-Eve Tremblay
The Secret Mountain
3816 Royal Avenue, Montreal, QC, H4A 2M2
9782924217740, $16.95, CD/HC, 36pp,

Charmingly and colorfully illustrated by Marie-Eve Tremblay, "It's Raining Cats and Dogs!" is a delightful, lighthearted collection of sing-along songs featuring funny irresistible animal characters, including cuddly cats and dogs who just want to be your friend, even on a rainy day! Share an umbrella with a heartbroken pooch who sings the blues, a tomcat who has a soft spot for sour cream and a rambunctious little kitty who snores and growls. It's full of good cheer thanks to the playful, heartwarming illustrations and an accompanying CD comprised of ten catchy songs recorded by accomplished singers and skilled musicians. Produced specifically for Preschool and Kindergarten children ages 3 to 5, "It's Raining Cats and Dogs!" is enthusiastically recommended for family, day care center, school, and community library collections.

The Art Shelf

Fingerprint Princesses and Fairies
Ilona Molnar, illustrator
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781631591426, $14.99, PB, 160pp,

Create engaging art activities with your children - at home or in the classroom. Packed with fun step-by-step instructions, "Fingerprint Princesses and Fairies: and 100 Other Magical Creatures - Amazing Art for Hands-on Fun" teaches children ages 8 to 12, and in grades 3 to 7, how to make 30 classic fairytale characters including nymphs, fairies, princesses, butterflies, and angels with only the tips of your fingers. Now kids can create your own enchanting world with no paintbrush required! Kids aren't the only ones who will enjoy it, artists of all ages can put their fingers on the fun of art, or just use the characters to spice up art journals and doodles. Enthusiastically recommended, extraordinary 'hands-on' creativity is at your fingertips with "Fingerprint Princesses and Fairies"!

The Board Book Shelf

Busy, Busy!
Eileen Spinelli, author
Elina Ellis, illustrator
Worthy Publishing
One Franklin Park, 6100 Tower Circle, Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067
9780824919719, $7.99,

"Busy, Busy" is a cheerful illustrated board book written in verse for young readers ages two to five, about springtime activities of animals and humans. Lushly colored, pastoral images of animated animals and birds frolic through their chosen springtime activities, being busy. " Bee is busy making honey, Squirrel is busy stashing nuts, Peacock's busy looking handsome, feathers blooming - how he struts!" After reviewing all the busy actions of animals, birds, and insects, a page show a young mother busy planting flowers and a young boy helping her with a watering can, while an affectionate gold cat paws at the boy for attention. The happy golden message is that although Mommy is busy, busy, with lots of work to do, "she'd never be too busy for a cuddle-up with you!"

The ABC Shelf

Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z!
Lulu Delacre
Children's Book Press
c/o Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9780892393275 $18.95

Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! is a bilingual children's ABC picturebook in both English and Spanish. Its theme is the plants and animals of the cloud forest, also called montane rain forests, an ecosystem found on mountains in tropical areas worldwide. A bilingual glossary and a few supplemental pages offer amazing insights into the cloud forest, including the 2003 discovery of a new species of raccoon-like carnivore native to the cloud forest, the olinguito. Beautiful, captivating illustrations enhance this educational picturebook, highly recommended especially for public and grade school library collections.

Lana Wayne Koehler & Gloria G. Adams, authors
Ken Min, illustrator
Sterling Children's Books
c/o Sterling Publishing Company
1166 Avenue of the Americas FL 17, New York, NY 10036
9781454914150, $14.95, HC.,

"Ah-Choo!" is a zany, delightful illustrated story in verse about a boy's alphabetically list of potential pets which unfortunately trigger his sister's sneezes! So his sister sneezes her way through an antelope, bobolinks, a cat, a dog, an emu, ferret, goose, hen, and more proposed pets while the boy continues his search for a compatible family pet. Finally a great idea takes shape for the boy. He bought a bearded dragon whom they named Mr. Blue. "He'd got no feathers, fur or hair, so we can hold him too." The boy is happy because he can visit all their old pets at the zoo, "and best of all, they never make my sister go..... AH-CHOO!" The funny, stylized, colorful illustrations are exemplary of the illustrator's Picture Book Honor Award for Literature from the Asian Pacific American Libraries Association (APALA). "Ah-Choo!" is highly recommended for young readers age 4 -8.

C is for Cardinal
Stan Tekiela, author/photographer
Adventure Publications
820 Cleveland St. South, Cambridge, Minnesota 55008
9781591935339, $8,95,

"C is for Cardinal" is an exciting hardbound alphabet book that is filled with letters matched to species of birds, with stunning color photo portraits. Each letter and accompanying bird has a two page portrait plus accompanying fun facts about the bird's nature and habits. Thus we have "A is for American Robin, B is for Bluebird, C is for Cardinal," and so on until we get to "Z is for Zany-looking," which describes many fun birds species, such as the Greater Sage-Grouse, the Roseate Spoonbill, the Wood Duck, and the Purple Gallinule. All bird portrait photos were taken by the author, and they are lovely. What a wonderful idea to simultaneously teach the alphabet and the beginning of literacy coupled with learning about the vast variety of nature's species of birds. A sampler of mini-portraits and accompanying facts is included at the end to refresh the species listed from A to Z.. Letters are large, written in brown, and highlighted in white, against the background bird photo portrait. "C Is for Cardinal" is an ideal beginner's alphabet book and bird book combined, with maximum appeal for early readers and their parents and teachers.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Cave Kiddos: A Sunny Day
Eric Jay Cash, author/illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781523244508, $9.99 PB, $1.99 Kindle,

"Cave Kiddos: A Sunny Day" is a delightful new series about a Paleolithic foursome of children who are discovering communication concepts and language together. Alk, Haha, Lala, and Zee are excited about making sounds and imitating them, then eventually linking the longer sounds to actual referents, or "things." Amusing cartoon illustrations show two girl and two boy Cave Kiddos dressed in skins, trading and imitating word sounds such as "wa" and eventually "ter" while they enjoy refreshing drinks of (guess what) water! Gradually the Cave Kiddos combine their short syllables into one word and connect the word with their precious drink. Presto, early speech is invented! Young readers will look forward to new installments of this innovative series examining very early language and communication development.

Nut and Bolt
Nicole de Cock
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9781554553648, $18.95,

Nut and Bolt, mouse and donkey, are best friends who would do anything for each other; but is their friendship on equal standing? It appears that Nut fulfills the notion of being such a friend, but does Bolt really reciprocate? This easy reader is perfect for new readers who will learn about the basics of friendship's give and take.

My Baby Crocodile
Gaetan Doremus
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701926, $18.95,

My Baby Crocodile offers a picture book format that may require adult assistance, but such an adult will delight in the very different drawings and perspectives created by Gaetan Doremus as he takes several characters and tells about a chance meeting between a crocodile and what may be a baby crocodile. Or is he? Changing perspectives accompany beautiful illustrations in a slightly elongated picture book that will stand out in many ways, recommended for any looking for something truly exceptional in the realm of picture book illustrations and tales.

The Sports Shelf

Baseball History for Kids: America at Bat from 1900 to Today
Richard Panchyk, author
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin St., Chicago, Illinois 60610
9781613747797, $16.95,

"Baseball History for Kids" is a fascinating panorama of highlights of baseball history for over a century! "Baseball History for Kids" comes complete with mini-profiles of Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays, as well as a timeline, list of baseball resources, related web sties, and 19 suggested hands on activities to further engage kids in the sport of baseball. Many little known episodes of baseball history are highlighted, such as "Beanball Kills Chapman," a true story of the baseball fatality of Cleveland Indians star infielder Ray Chapman due to a hit on the head by a ball pitched by Yankee pitcher Carl Mays. "Baseball History for Kids" divides the eras of modern baseball into five rough periods: The beginning Modern Era (1901-1939), World War II and Integration (the 1940s), the Golden Era (the 1950s), Expansion (the 1960s), and the Money Era (1970-today). Many interesting side topics about baseball, such as women's baseball, and kids' baseball are also discussed, in addition to the development of professional baseball in America. Integrated into the chapters of baseball history are nineteen separate hands on baseball related activities, including Bunt for a Hit (p. 110), Longest Throw (p. 77), and Calculate ERA (Earned Run Average) (p. 8), plus many more. In addition, "Baseball History for Kids" is filled with fun baseball trivia, related incidents and facts, and descriptions of famous plays, players, and goofy baseball characters and jokes. The history of changing rules and baseball protection, gear, and practices and customs is also part of the fabric of this fascinating narrative of the great American Pastime. For kids age 9 and up.

Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still
Karlin Gray, author
Christine Davenier, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544319608 $17.99

Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still is a children's picturebook about Nadia Comaneci, a Romanian athlete who earned an unprecedented seven perfect scores in gymnastics at the 1976 Olympic Games. But the road to that achievement was long and difficult; she had to train and practice throughout her childhood, and in one competition she embarrassed herself by falling off the balance beam three times. An amazing, true-life story about the virtues of hard work, practice, and perseverance, Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still is highly recommended for public and school library children's picturebook collections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Is a Cat the Right Pet for You?
Emma Milne
5m Publishing
c/o International Specialized Book Services (dist.)
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR, 97213
9781910455173 $15.95

Beautifully illustrated with full color photography throughout, Is a Cat the Right Pet for You? is a reader-friendly guide to the responsibilities of owning a pet cat. Thoroughly accessible to young adults and adults alike, Is a Cat the Right Pet for You? discusses normal behavior for cats, the environment and food they need, how to protect one's cat from injury or disease, the average monetary expenses of feeding and caring for one's cat, and much more. "Humans are social creatures... But cats are not like this, and for a social creature like a human, that can be hard to understand or empathize with. Cats are very happy with their own company and don't need other cats to be feel happy... living with other cats they don't like can even cause lots of health problems for some cats." Is a Cat the Right Pet for You? is a "must-read" for anyone considering adopting a kitten or a cat! Also highly recommended for prospective pet owners and public library collections are other books in the "Pet Detectives" series: "Are Rabbits the Right Pet for You?" and "Are Guinea Pigs the Right Pet for You?".

Sloth Love
Sam Trull
114 Linden Street, Oakland, CA 94607
9781941758496, $18.95,

Sloth Love: An Inspiring and Intimate Visual Journey into the World of Sloths comes from a wildlife conservationist and photographer who moved from the U.S. to Costa Rica in pursuit of work with animals, there to fall in love with the sloth. Her photo portrait of these animals celebrates them with vivid images paired with simple science facts about their habits and habitats, making for a powerful presentation highly recommended for not just elementary-level kids, but for all ages.

The Real Poop on Pigeons!
Kevin McCloskey
Toon Books
27 Greene Street #4, New York, NY 10013
9781935179931, $12.95,

The Real Poop on Pigeons! blends humor and natural science in a fun survey of a creature most kids readily find in their environment. The opener is a grumpy man who hates pigeons because they are messy. But, wait! A few facts will enlighten and possibly convert even those who think they know pigeons well as a whirlwind of pigeon facts flys free through the fun yet information pages of this story, designed to serve as both a leisure reader and as a collection of bird facts.

Lisa L. Phillips, author/photographer
The FisherDawg Company
202 Cobblestone Lane, Gloucester, MA 01930
9780997244403, $12.99,

Written from a real dog's point of view, "FisherDawg" is the action photographed first title of a juvenile series about the amazing daily life of a very special dog. FisherDawg addresses readers directly, telling them exactly what she thinks. (Stuff like "Kids are G-R-R-R great! Woof! Woof!) FisherDawg, or Cilla, is really smart and also enjoys being petted and rubbed, and playing games like fetch the stick and catch the ball. FisherDawg loves to swim in the ocean and bodysurf. Fisherdawg has "dawgitude," a dog version of attitude. FisherDawg also explains the origin of her name, and how she has trained her Madre to help her by rescuing her ball when it gets stuck under the furniture. Fisherdawg likes to go fishing with the Philman in a boat, and even jumps in the ocean to help sometimes, with a life preserver, of course. "FisherDawg" is completed by some jokes about fish, activities like Stuff to Create, and a Dawg Cookies recipe to make. Stunning color photographs taken by the author and owner of the real Cilla/FisherDawg make this excellent children's series memorable.

Ben Beagle Plays
Donna Finch Slaton, author
Donna Brooks, illustrator
Heart to Heart Publishing
528 Mud Creek Road, Morgantown, KY 42361
9781937008437, $18.99,

"Ben Beagle Plays" is a lovely illustrated verse story of a special beagle farm dog who enjoyed guarding his farm family and observing all the animals, people, and birds he saw each day. Ben beagle's favorite activity was to run loose to play in the thicket, chasing a hidden rabbit. Ben chased the rabbit and bayed, BRRRRRR! because "Beagles are hunters by nature you see so chasing rabbits was meant to be." "Ben Beagle Plays" is filled with fun beagle facts and observations, and also has a number of hidden hearts in the fuzzy textured illustrations throughout the book, to remind readers that Heart to Heart Publishing seeks to touch hearts through reading good books. At the end of the verse story about Ben Beagle, there are Facts About Beagles, Memories of Ben Beagle, and key answers to hidden hearts and other questions for learning and enrichment activities for readers ages 3-9.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Blue Jackal
Shobha Viswanath, author
Dileep Joshi, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802854667, $15.00 34 pages,

"The Blue Jackal" is an imaginative retelling of a traditional Indian tale, written in delicate narrative verse. Imaginatively illustrated with Warli inspired art in a limited color palette, "The Blue Jackal" tells a tale of a hungry, bullied, runt jackal named Juno. One night Juno escaped vengeful dogs chasing him into a vat of blue dye. Surprisingly, his fellow forest creatures, formerly scornful of him, hail him as their king when they see his new bright blue fur coat. But will this deception last? Juno at first disbelieves then takes advantage of the deference of the other forest animals. Eventually, his true jackal nature once again emerges, and the forest animals renege on their allegiance and reject his imagined royalty. Although Juno was once again just a small jackal, he will never forget he was once a king.

The Secret of the Kelpie
Lari Don
Floris Books
2a Robertson Avenue, Edinburgh, EH11 1PZ, UK
9781782502531, $17.95,

Good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will lend complete appreciation to the gorgeous drawings and Scottish kelpie legend illustrated by Philip Longson in The Secret of the Kelpie. Every loch in Scotland has its kelpie - and its dangers. But when the sun shines on these beauties, it's easy to forget this caution... The Secret of the Kelpie will attract any young reader with an affection for horses, Scotland and myths, and provides a superior, engrossing picture book fantasy highly recommended for all ages.

The Science Shelf

Cola Fountains and Spattering Paint Bombs
Jesse Godssens and Linde Faas
P.O. Box 4066, 3006 AB Rotterdam, The Netherlands
9781935954521, $19.95,

Cola Fountains and Spattering Paint Bombs: 47 Experiments to Do At Your Home or Yard provides young elementary-level scientists with a fine collection of fun experiments that illustrate many different concepts, but in new ways. From making paint bombs and elephant toothpaste to growing crystals to make crystal lollipops and creating foaming snow even when the weather's not snowy, these are fun and different experiments kids will relish, and offers a wealth of ideas paired with clear instructions and easily-obtained resources. The book will be perfect for any seeking unusual or engrossingly different experiments.

Pumpus Has a Glowing Idea
Praba Soundararajan, author
Jack Spellman, illustrator
Boon-dah LLC
11009 Tahiti Isle Lane, Tampa, FL 33647
9780692526491, $14.99,

"Pumpus Has a Glowing Idea" is the first title in an imaginative, STEM-oriented series created to inspire and educate the next generation of young children to become scientists and inventors of new technology. The special focus of this series is to integrate STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) principles with imagination and accessibility. To achieve that, the author uses a method of teaching children a new language. "First they hear it, then they speak it, and then they begin to understand its grammatical components." Pumpus is a curious pumpkin man who takes his friends Filbin and Filberta on a Halloween camping adventure. Amusing, unusual illustrations of Pumpus and his friends intrigue young readers to follow the exciting story line. The story develops as Pumpus and friends discover they have neglected to bring along matches to start a fire. Pumpus' glowing idea emerges when he remembers his safety training school training and begins the process of drilling a pointed Aspen stick into a hole in another stick to start an ember which must be fanned into a small flame. Children will be excited to watch the light grow and their imaginations also ignite. "Pumpus Has a Glowing Idea" is excellent, imaginative, educational reading for children entering elementary school grades K and pre-K through 4th grade.

The Native American Shelf

Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing
Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), author
Michael Oren Fitzgerald, adaptor
Heidi M. Rasch, illustrator
Charles Trimble, foreword
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786564, $17.95,

"Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing" is an adaptation of part of the original book by Eastman, "Indian Boyhood," for the purpose of introducing young children of many cultural backgrounds to Ohiyesa, Charles A. Eastman, spokesman for the First Peoples of North America. All author and illustrator royalties for this editions of "Indian Boyhood" will be donated to various American Indian causes. "Indian Boyhood" briefly covers the time of Charles Eastman's boyhood from 1858 to 1873. His mother died shortly after he was born, giving him to the care of his grandmother, a wise medicine woman. Ohiyesa had a traditional Sioux boyhood, kept safe as an infant in an upright movable cradle made from an oak board and wrappings. He experienced hardships at the age of four when soldiers pursued his people across the Missouri River in buffalo skin boats. Later when he was six, his father and two older brothers were taken prisoner by the U. S. Army, and the family believed them to be killed. Ohiyesa learned many things as an Indian boy. He felt like a prince in the wilderness. He was trained to forage for food, track and kill game, and always to be observant of his surroundings. He learned to be a good listener and developed a good memory, learning and repeating important legends and stories of deeds done by past heroes from his elders. He enjoyed playing and living with his younger cousin, Oesedah. They enjoyed lots of curious wild pets, including a squirrel and a grizzly bear . Ohiyesa and others sometimes suffered hunger and privation in their nomadic life. He was also taught secrets of medicinal roots by his medicine woman grandmother. Around the age of 5 or 6 Ohiyesa was given to his uncle, White Footprint for manly training, to learn how to hunt for food and fight in war. He had to learn to endure hardships such as fasting, crossing wild country without losing his way, and running for a day and a night without any rest. At the age of 15, Ohiyesa was ready to begin his life as a Sioux man. A surprise came to him and his family. His father returned from prison, pardoned by President Lincoln. He and his father left the deep woods for a life in the town of white people. He went to another town and began a new life near white civilization with school days beginning. Yet he always would remember his memories of an Indian boyhood, "the freest life in the world." Additional notes on the stunning illustrations give more detailed information about the life of the Sioux on the Great Plains. Additional notes about the life of Charles Eastman explain further details about his later life as Charles Eastman, the first great American Indian author.

The Bilingual Shelf

A Charmed Life / Una vida con suerte
Gladys E. Barieri, author
Lisa Fields, illustrator
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558858275, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Felicia always feels very small when she and her mom walk by the huge homes and beautiful gardens to the house where her mother works as a cleaning lady. "I need you to behave", her mother says, reminding her of all the things she should and shouldn't do. But Felicia gets bored, and in spite of her mother's warnings, begins to explore. She finds a bedroom full of toys. How she wished that her house looked like this! From a window she sees an inviting swing set in the back yard, and soon she's breaking all of her mother's rules. When Mrs. Fitzpatrick comes outside, Felicia can't help but wonder if the woman knows she was roaming through the house. To her surprise, the red-headed woman offers her lemonade and cookies instead of a scolding. Soon the two realize that even though they live in different worlds they have something in common. "A Charmed Life / Una vida con suerte" (English/Spanish) is an utterly charming bilingual picture book for children ages 5 to 8, and will easily lend itself to conversations about hopes and dreams and the differences among people. With its bilingual story on the left page and a beautiful illustration on the right page, "A Charmed Life / Una vida con suerte" is enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school, and community library young children's bilingual picture book collections.

Dragonfly Kites: Pimithaagansa
Tomson Highway, author
Julie Flett, illustrator
Fifth House
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd.
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, L3R 4T8, Canada
9781897252635, $19.95, HC,

Written in English and Cree by an award-winning Cree playwright, and illustrated by a talented Cree-Metis artist, "Dragonfly Kites/ Pimithaagansa" is an inspiring story of two creative young Cree brothers who live in the far north in northern Manitoba, in a tent by a lake. Joe and Cody, their papa and mama, and Cody's little dog Ootsie would paddle the lakes and catch fish to eat. Joe and Cody liked to pretend that sticks and stones were their toys. They even gave them names. They put their named stick and stone friends in a circle, and talked, sang, danced, and played games with them. For other pets, they once had an Arctic tern, and another time a baby loon they named Sally. The brothers named many animals that ate from their hands. They even had two baby eagle friends named Migiso, or "eagle" in Cree, and Wagisoo. But their favorite animal pets were dragonflies. They harnessed two dragonflies with thread, and let them fly, while they followed holding the trailing threads. The dragonflies were like magic kites. After playing with them all day, they let the dragonflies go and waved goodbye to them. When they went to bed, they dreamed of flying following dragonfly kites. The gently expressive, serene illustrations in a muted palette of sepia, brown, gray, and dark greens invoke an atmosphere of nature and calm wonder, even magic. Each pair of pages has the English narrative in dark ink and the Cree narrative in a lighter ink, sepia, brown, or white to contrast with a dark background. The spare, graceful style of speech and art adds to the mystery and beauty of "Dragonfly Kites," underlining a theme of transcendence through spirit, imagination, and vision. "Dragonfly Kites" is a gift to children of all ages and all cultures.

The Christian Shelf

ABCs By Jesus and Me
Elizabeth Grapes, author
Elizabeth Scolaro, illustrator
Belle Isle Books
c/o Brandylane Publishers
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781939930576, $22.95, HC, 60pp,

A is for Amen. B is for Bible. C is for Christ. Wonderfully written by Elizabeth Grapes and beautifully illustrated by Elizabeth Scolaro, "ABCs By Jesus and Me" is a spiritual journey through the alphabet that preschool and elementary school children are invited to join in and celebrate the wisdom and teachings of God. "ABCs By Jesus and Me" guides young readers through each letter, imparting Christ's love and lessons along the way. "ABCs By Jesus and Me" weaves powerful meaning into simple, easy-to-understand definitions for kids and parents to explore. An invaluable way for Christian families to spend time together in the Word, "ABCs By Jesus and Me" seeks to educate young readers that Christ truly is everything, from A to Z. "ABCs By Jesus and Me" is very highly recommended to the entire Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations.

Would a Worm Go On a Walk?
Hannah C. Hall, author
Bill Bolton, illustrator
Worthy Kids/ Ideals
c/o Worthy Publishing
One Franklin Park, 6100 Tower Circle, Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067
9780824956776, $15.99,

"Would a Worm Go On a Walk?" is a delightful verse story with funny alliterations and embedded jokes, highlighted by humorous colorful illustrations of worms walking (or not walking), turtles truckdriving (or not), possums polka-ing (or playing dead!), piglets playing piano or singing falsetto (or definitely not doing either activity) and so on. After the hyperbole or ridiculous question, each animal is properly paired with a characteristic activity in a kind answer. At the end of pages of ridiculous animal activity descriptions, there is a scriptural answer in verse and quotation of Genesis 131A: "So turtles wouldn't drive and possums wouldn't dance. Lion's manes look lousy wet, and flying penguins? Not a chance. Bugs don't like to froo-froo, worms weren't made with feet, the rhino's rain -resistant, and the pig can't keep a beat. But each was formed on purpose, but a wise Creator God. He planned their every detail, both the normal and the odd. They look just as he wanted, and they act just as they should. He made them and he loves them, and he calls them very good. But God's designs weren't finished. His special plans weren't through. The ANIMALS were just a start. God's masterpiece is YOU! " "Would a Worm Go For a Walk?" is a joyous celebration of God's love for all creatures, perfectly designed for the pleasure and education of children ages 4-7.

The Biography Shelf

Women of Colonial America
Brandon Marie Miller
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781556524875 $19.95 hc / $15.27 Kindle

Women of Colonial America: 13 Stories of Courage and Survival in the New World is an anthology of true tales about women who lived in a land and a time where the odds were stacked against them. African women arrived in the Americas primarily as slaves; Native American women suffered from violence, exploitation, and disease brought by the colonizers; and European women lived harsh lives as second-class citizens, expected to marry young, work hard, endure frequent childbirth, and obey men. Yet individual women still worked to defy expectations, change the world for the better, and make a name for themselves in history. Here are the stories of Pocahontas, a kidnapping survivor who would be one of the first Native Americans to see London; Elizabeth Ashbridge, who escaped indentured servitude and an abusive marriage to become a Quaker minister; Anne Dudley Bradstreet, mother of eight children and the first female poet published in England or America; Margaret Hardenbroek Phipse, a prominent merchant and ship owner in New Amsterdam whose Dutch citizenship afforded her rights and privileges that most women of the time did not have. Although Women of Colonial America is written especially for teens and young adults, readers of all ages will find these meticulously researched biographical profiles fascinating and inspirational. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library collections.

The Stone Thrower
Jael Ealey Richardson, author
Matt James, illustrator
Groundwood Books
House of Anansi Press
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Berkeley, CA, USA
9781554987528, $18.95,

"The Stone Thrower" is a true story about the life and dreams of an African American boy born in poverty in Portsmouth, Ohio, who became the famous, undefeated football quarterback, Chuck Ealey. Born in 1950, Chuck grew up and was educated in separate schools and neighborhoods for people with black or dark skin. For Chuck, the dividing line between his poorer, run down neighbor hood, the North End, and the rest of more affluent Portsmouth, was the railroad tracks. Chuck's mother worked very hard to make very little money to support him and herself. She dreamed of a brighter future for her son. She inspired him to dream big and aim high. He planned to get out of the North End and get his education, rolling on through all obstacles just like a coal train that didn't stop till it got to its destination. There were times when Chuck was hungry and fearful for the future in their North End apartment. But Chuck was inspired by the chugging coal trains marked N & W for Norfolk & Western. Chuck practiced throwing stones at the letters on the side of the cars going by so quickly. Chuck practiced throwing stones at the letters on the coal cars every day, until he could always hit his moving target. Chuck practiced many long hours with his throwing stones at a moving target until he was playing football in high school. His coach encouraged him to try out for quarterback, in spite of prejudice against African American athletes. Chuck's coach and teammates believed in him. Because of Chuck's long hard training in throwing stones at the train side, he was able to make the winning pass at a desperate moment playing against a lean, mean, harsh competing team. Chuck saved the day with his touchdown pass that day, and went on to win every game as the quarterback for Notre Dame High School. Later he received a scholarship to the University of Toledo and remained undefeated there as well. His star studded career as a winning quarterback paved the way for other African American sports heroes, and inspired his daughter, Jael Ealey Richardson to write "The Stone Thrower."

The Environmental Shelf

Prairie Dog Song
Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781620142455, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

For thousands of years, green and gold grasses covered North America from Canada to Mexico. The prairie and desert grasslands were home to a variety of animals, from small prairie dogs to huge bison. But in the nineteenth century, ranching and farming took hold in the grasslands, and over time many of the animals and plants vanished. Then, in the late 1980s, scientists discovered a region in Mexico where green and gold grasses still waved and prairie dogs still barked. The scientists understood the importance of this grassland ecosystem and the prairie dogs' key role in it. Could they now preserve the area and bring back its lost animals and plants? Enhanced by the collages of Susan Roth, "Prairie Dog Song: The Key to Saving North America's Grasslands" is a moving nonfiction tale of environmental recovery. A cumulative song text plus prose passages combine to celebrate North America's grasslands, their iconic prairie dogs, and the dedicated scientists who work to make the grasslands healthy again. Comprehensive back-matter makes "Prairie Dog Song" perfect for classroom use, with text that hits both Science and Social Studies Common Core Standards. A Teacher's Guide for "Prairie Dog Song" is available at Especially recommended for young readers ages 7 to 10, "Prairie Dog Song" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library environmental studies picture book collections for children.

The Jobs/Career Shelf

What Do Grown-ups Do All Day?
Virginia Morgand
Wide Eyed Editions
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781847808448, $22.99, HC, 64pp,

Featuring more than one hundred jobs, "What Do Grown-ups Do All Day?" is written and illustrated by Virginia Morgand who gives children age 4 to 7 a fascinating insight into what grown-ups do all day. Students in Preschool through 2nd Grade can explore fifteen busy scenes set in diverse work places, then turn the page to find out what each person's job entails. Packed with detailed scenes and information, What Do Grown-ups Do All Day?" is a an instant classic and very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Crafts Shelf

Fairy Houses All Year
Liza Gardner Walsh, author
Amy Wilton, photographer
Down East Books
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781608935802, $16.95, HC, 120pp,

Written by Liza Gardner Walsh and beautifully illustrated throughout with the color photography of Amy Wilton, "Fairy Houses All Year: A Four-Season Handbook" celebrates the year-round pleasures of fairy house building by children ages 4 to 9 and students in Preschool through Forth Grade. Through the use of seasonal varieties, kids and families can engage in this natural and creative endeavor through all seasons. Activities and materials found in each season are highlighted throughout "Fairy Houses All Year ". For example, fall fairy houses feature vibrant colored leaves, pumpkins, and late blooming flowers. Winter fairy houses are built using snow, ice, old birds' nests, or the dried husks of milkweed and seed pods. In spring, fairy houses become abundant with early blooms, bare branches, and lots of mud! Summer fairy houses are perhaps the most decorative because choices for the summer fairy house are boundless. Thoroughly 'user friendly' and filled with snippets of fairy lore, helpful advice and instructions, and lots of information about nature, "Fairy Houses All Year" is the ideal handbook for crafting fairy homes no matter the season. While very highly recommended for Preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for families and individual fairy enthusiasts that "Fairy Houses All Year" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Tip Top
D. G. Stern, author
Deborah Allison, illustrator
Neptune Press
9780990610328, $7.99, PB, 96pp,

The carnival is in town and everyone is super excited about the rides, the cotton candy and the snake lady, that is, until she and all her snakes disappear. Upton and the rest of the Charles family are recruited to examine slithering clues and discover the whereabouts of this potential ravenous group of reptiles. Another wonderfully entertaining adventure in author D. G. Stern's outstanding 'Upton Charles: Dog Detective' series, "Tip Top" is especially and highly recommended for young readers ages 7 to 11 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library fiction collections for young readers.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Outside: A Minecraft Novel
Jason Hewitt and Victoria Hewitt
The Denebian Empire LLC
9780692552957 $9.95

Winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for best juvenile fiction, The Outside: A Minecraft Novel is the second book in the "Bold Minecraft Series". Set in the fantastic realm of Minecraft, where all people and things seem to be crafted from different types of blocks, The Outside opens with the world in chaos. Volcanoes, meteor showers, and zombie attacks plague the people; can the intrepid Jase Bold and his three courageous friends unravel what is unleashing endless disasters? If no solution can be found within Minecraft itself, perhaps the answers like in the greater world beyond - the world of things and people who are not made of blocks, known only as "The Outside". Although The Outside: A Minecraft Novel is written especially for preteens and young adults, Minecraft fans of all ages and backgrounds will enjoy this high-spirited adventure from cover to cover. The Outside is a choice pick for gift-giving or children's public library collections, the better to encourage young Minecraft players to experience the joy reading books! Also highly recommended is the first novel in the "Bold Minecraft Series", Depleting Ore ($2.99 Kindle).

The Seventh Seal
A. J. Dobbs
Mirador Publishing
9781910530740, $13.89, PB, 258pp,

Fifteen year old Daniel Stone's world is turned upside down when he his kidnapped by the villainous Odling Smee. He learns that his late father was one of the seven Keepers of Thera charged with maintaining the balance of life on Earth and its alternate self Arthe and that this great responsibility has now fallen on him. Smee is intent on overthrowing the Keepers and taking control of life itself and Daniel, as heir to the Seventh Seal, now stands in his way! Daniel has to come to terms with the lies and deceit of his parents as well as the burden of his father's inheritance as his life heads uncontrollably into a future he could never have imagined. His childhood now lost he has to face the heavyweight of adult responsibility. The Seventh Seal is a fast paced page-turner that weaves effortlessly between the interconnected worlds of Earth, Arthe and Thera to keep you guessing and questioning as science fact is mixed with fantasy to create new worlds with amazing possibilities. A consistently entertaining and compelling read from beginning to end, "The Seventh Seal" demonstrates author A. J. Dobbs as an exceptionally skilled storyteller and a master of the genre. While "The Seventh Seal" is very highly recommended for school and community library Science Fiction action/adventure collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a Kindle edition ($0.99).

The Corkscrew App
Max Willi Fischer
Royal Fireworks Press
First Avenue, PO Box 399, Unionville, NY 10988
9780898244809, $9.99, PB, 332pp,

Fourteen-year-old Justin Deveraux thinks Corkscrew is just another role-playing app on his father's phone. When he realizes that it actually transports the player back in time, it is too late-he is already in the summer of 1754. The French and Indian War is in full force and he has been thrown into the middle of it. He now must gain the trust of the English before he is labeled an enemy. Trying to survive the eighteenth century, he finds himself in the forest fleeing from Native Americans, performing manual labor, and working alongside the young George Washington, who Justin discovers is someone completely different than the man studied in history class. Justin also needs to figure out how Corkscrew ended up on the phone, what his family has to do with the app's creation, and how his friend Isabella is connected with time traveling. Is there anyone he can trust? Just as he grasps the truth, he is forced back into the Corkscrew app -- and this time he may not return. A deftly crafted, consistently entertaining, and original novel from beginning to end, "The Corkscrew App" is highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library science fiction collections for young readers.

The World History Shelf

Timeline: A Visual History of Our Word
Peter Goes
Gecko Press
PO Box 9335, Marion Square, Wellington, 6141, New Zealand
9781776570690, $29.99,

Timeline: A Visual History of Our Word may sound like another picture book survey but its oversized presentation and colorful detail make it a standout. Kind in grades 3-5 - and many ages beyond that - will appreciate a clear survey of different dynasties, empires, and world-changing events (such as exploration) over the centuries. These are provided in small-sized drawings over two-page spreads that present images and one-line facts under them, unified by an overview on the bottom of the page introducing the theme or century. Topics from human history to scientific and geographic discovery is covered from the big bang to modern times in a survey that provides a Eurocentric focus designed to attract leisure readers who think history is dull, and who will find out otherwise in a lively and different text. No eye-popping color here; but a lot of intriguing scenarios will keep kids reading.

Books in Series

If You Were Me and Lived In.... Elizabethan England
Carole P. Roman, author
Paula Tabor, illustrator
Chelshire Inc.
9781523229369, $14.99 PB, $1.99 Kindle,

Part of a new series by multiple award-winning author Carole Roman, "If You Were Me and Lived In.... Elizabethan England" takes young readers on a fascinating odyssey through time and space to experience life as a child in Elizabethan England, around 1578. This exciting time travel sampler is aided by fascinating, authentic illustrations with embedded imitation paintings and portraits accurately depicting surroundings, costumes and customs of the time in London, England between 1578 and the early 1600's. Typical names for children growing up in Elizabethan London were Elizabeth or Mary for girls, or Henry or John for boys. Daily life was full of hard work even for children, and London streets were cobbled and often not clean, with garbage and trash that attracted rats and scavengers. Life as a girl or boy in the humble home of a bakery business is portrayed and described, including the modest dwelling, sleeping, and eating places. An earlier rural background of your family is also described. Life in the working class is definitely a contrast to life in the upper classes. Common cooking, backing and daily foods were turnips, parsnips, fruits, eggs, butter, cheese, with a little fish on Friday and Saturday, and some meat. Common peoples' diet consisted of bread, fish, cheese, and ale, never drinking water. Rich people ate very fancy meals with all kinds of meat from game, birds, and domestic animals. No one used forks. Meat was served on a plate made of bread, known as a trencher. Clothing was limited by laws stating colors and clothing allowed for your station, so attire was plain and dark, with white or muslin shifts underneath. Poor people did not wear starched lace ruffs as the rich did. Toys and amusements for children were simple, made of wood, and included outdoor entertainments such as jugglers, puppet shows, and acrobats. Currency was in pennies, shillings, and pounds. Most people earned a few pennies a day, while the queen of England earned 60,000 pounds a year. A baker like your father earned between 150 and 200 pounds a year. A wonderful part of life in Elizabethan London included live theater, acting troupes of mostly men and boys, and incredible plays written by authors such as Marlowe, Shakespeare, and others. Religion was dictated by the ruler of England. Elizabeth I was Protestant, and head of the Church of England like her father, King Henry VIII. During Queen Mary's reign, Elizabeth's older sister, the preferred religion was Roman Catholic, and others were persecuted. Queen Elizabeth's Protestant reign tended to be more tolerant of religious differences, although religious persecution occurred during both types of reigns. At the book's ending is a list of important people to know in the Elizabethan era, with small portraits and thumbnail biographies of each, including Elizabeth I, Elizabeth Talbot, Francis Bacon, Nicholas Hilliard, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, William Cecil, and William Shakespeare. A seven page glossary of terms completes the book, with an invitation to visit for more resources and learning activities, such as printable worksheets, coloring pages, and topics for essays and critical thinking. "If You Were Me and Lived In... Elizabethan England" is an excellent culture and history resource for young readers age 8-12 and will be greatly enjoyed along with other volumes in this imaginative series. Other titles from this highly recommended series include "If You Were Me and Lived in... Renaissance Italy, (9781523234271, $14.99 PB, $1.99 Kindle)" by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Silvia Brunetti; "If You Were Me and Lived in... Ancient Greece (9781523234295, $14.99 PB, $1.99 Kindle)," by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova; and "If You Were Me and Lived in.... Colonial America (9781523230473, $14.99 PB, $1.99 Kindle)," all of which are written by Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Sarah Wright.

Secrets of the Vegetable Garden
Carron Brown, author
Giordano Poloni, illusrator
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
4901 Morena Blvd, Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781610674133, $15.99, HC, 36pp,

A vegetable garden grows under the sun. If you look closely between the stalks, beneath the leaves, and under the soil, you will spot the animals and plants living there. Hold a page up to the light to reveal what is hidden in and around the vegetable garden, and discover a small world of great surprises. An informative and entertaining collaboration between author Carron Brown and illustrator Giordano Poloni, "Secrets of the Vegetable Garden" is the latest addition to the 'A Shine-A-Light Book' series from Kane/Miller Book Publishers. Other highly recommended books in this unique series include: "Secrets of the Rainforest"; "Secrets of the Apple"; "Secrets of the Seashore";"Secrets of Winter". "On the Plane"; "On the Space Station".

Ando Twin, author
Lucy M. George, illustrator
QEB Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781609929411, $14.95, HC, 24pp,

It's a busy day for astronauts Jenny, Chen, and Kim. They are going to the space station on an important mission. The crew are there to help them but what is wrong with Robo-bot? Now children ages 2 to 5 can experience a day in the life of an astronaut! Each story comprising "Astronaut" focuses on a different character as they go about their daily work. But each day holds a new challenge for these busy people. It should be noted that 'Next Steps' are included at the back of the book to prompt further discussion and develop vocabulary as well as information about the characters who work alongside the protagonists. "Astronaut" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. Also very highly recommended are two other titles in QEB Publishing's outstanding 'Busy People' series: "Police Officer" (9781609929428, $14.95, HC, 24pp); "Firefighter" (9781609928292, $14.95, HC, 24pp); "Doctor" (9781609928308, $14.95, HC, 24pp); "Vet" (9781609928315, $14.95, HC, 24pp); and "Teacher" (9781609928322, $14.95, HC, 24pp).

What's an Apple?
Marilyn Singer, author
Greg Pizzoli, illustrator
Abrams Appleseed
c/o Abrams/Amulet
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419721403, $12.95,

"What's an Apple?" is the first title in an exciting new junior series to promote fun and creativity in children. With action-filled verse narrative and comic- retro, racially inclusive color illustrations, "What's an Apple?" challenges kids in a fun way to think beyond the box about apples and other objects. Here is a sample, which is greatly fun-amplified by the cute illustrations: " What's an apple? You can pick it. You can kick it. You can throw away the core. You can toss it. You can sauce it. You can roll it on the floor. Engaging and dynamic, the pages of "What's an Apple?" will be a kickoff for creativity, learning and fun for young readers. Also highly recommended in this same series is "What's a Banana?" (9781419721397, $12.95), by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli.

The Grizzbears Make New Friends
Aviva Hermelin, author/illustrator
Mazo Publishers
PO Box 10474, Jacksonville, Florida 32247
9781936778041, $9.95, PB,

A new release from the popular Animals Build Character series promoting compassion, respect, and responsibility from observing animal wisdom, "The Grizzbears Make New Friends: Listen and Learn From the Animals, Book 2" is sure to please an audience of young readers ages 5-10. Using animals from the Golan to teach thoughtful ways of showing respect, compassion for others, and other positive character traits, this original series is written and illustrated by a talented Israeli former preschool teacher. Divided into six illustrated chapters in 39 pages, "The Grizzbears Make New Friends" describes stages of adjustment as the Grizzbears family of four settle down to live among the other animals of the Golan Mountains. Welcomed to the community by many other animals, including Saba Owl, Giveret Deer, Lulu and Momo Fox, and more, the Grizzbears encounter experiences such as homesickness, adjustment to new situations, helping others and encouraging shy friends, and brotherly love vs. sibling warfare. Every chapter ends with a Think and Discuss Questions list that encourage readers to apply story concepts to their own lives. Engaging, creative narrative is amplified by unusually colorful illustrations of the wise animal friends in the story. "The Grizzbears Make New Friends" is a great teaching book for children of different ages, cultures, and backgrounds. The Animals Build Character series demonstrates that wise animals can make good counselors and teachers. Other titles by the same author from this series that are also highly recommended include: "The Grizzbears Discover the Golan," "Momo Fox Learns How To Be a Good Neighbor," and "Excitement In the Air For All!" Also very highly recommended are the following titles from the Animals Build Character Series by the same author/illustrator: "The Grizzbears Discover the Golan, Book 1" (9781936778256, $9.95), by Aviva Hermelin, "Momo Fox Learns How To Be a Good Neighbor, Book 3" (9781936778089, $9.95), and "Excitement In the Air For All, Book 4 " (9781936778195, $9.95).

Saddleback Educational Publishing Inc.
3120-A Pullman Street, Cosa Mesa, CA 92626-4564
$9.95 each, PB,

The Saddleback Educational Publishing "Lifeskills in Action" series is comprised of five nonfiction/fiction flip books that are in a Hi-Lo format. Each one of this 5 book set covers a key aspect of independent living including managing money, finding and keeping a job, completing common household tasks, finding a place to live and moving in, making a grocery list, buying groceries, housekeeping and keeping things clean, and cooking meals. Developed for students reading at the most basic level, the books range in readability from 1.0-1.7 and have Lexile scores of 150 to 240. Each book is actually two books in one, with a nonfiction side and a fiction side. The nonfiction side teaches students about an important life skills topic, and the fiction side helps them generalize the skills as they read about teens in real-world situations. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, the "Lifeskills in Action" series is very highly recommended for school and community library collections, and are ideal for home-schooling parents as well.

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

Two fine new series collections are highly recommended picks for elementary grade level collections, and pair contemporary and eye-catching color covers and contents with facts couched in high-interest, attention-grabbing detail. The 'Go West With' series ($27.60 each) teaches what life was really like on the frontier, using the "news story" format to capture the people, conditions, and experiences of the old West. Tim Cooke's Cowboys and Ranchers (9780778723226) tells of cowboys of all ethnicities and their ranching challenges; Rachel Stuckey's Famous Trailblazers (9780778723240) follows the famous explorers and trappers who opened up the West in advance of settlers; Merchants and Traders by Cynthia O'Brien (9780778723264) surveys the evolution of commerce, trade, and general stores and merchants who found ways of making money on the frontier; her Miners, Prospectors, and Loggers (9780778723288) covers the resources of the West and how they were discovered and used; and her First Contact with Native Nations (9780778723318) surveys different Western Native peoples and different kinds of first contact experiences. All are perfect for any in-depth course on Western history. Bobbie Kalman's 'Big Science Ideas' series ($26.00 each) provides four new titles to the growing series and offers basic discussions of animal classifications. Each book supports primary and junior science curriculum standards and each offers Grade 3 reading levels a little over thirty pages of detail, with contemporary color photos throughout. Animals That Live in Social Groups (9780778727873), Symbiosis: How Different Animals Relate (9780778727859), Invasive Animal Species (9780778727835) and Big Challenges That Animals Face (9780778727811) are all fine, appealing discussions promising a wealth of facts, eye-catching contemporary color photos, and enough information suitable for research reports.

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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