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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 27, Number 6 June 2017 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Pets/Wildlife Shelf Science Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Multicultural Shelf Counting Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf Judaic Shelf
Christian Shelf Biography Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Art Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Bilingual Shelf
American History Shelf World History Shelf Literary Shelf
Psychology Shelf Math Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Environmental Shelf
Jobs/Careers Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

A True Princess of Hawaii
Beth Greenway, author
Tammy Yee, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628559484, $17.95,

"A True Princess of Hawaii" is based upon historical events which occurred during the 1880-1881 eruption of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii, involving the actions of Princess Luka. A Hawaiian girl named Nani is anxious to see princess Luka, who has come to visit her town of Hilo because it is threatened by the lava flow from Mauna Loa. Nani is just a young girl, but her actions are like those of a true princess, sharing her food, comforting others, helping even a fearful horse to move closer to the volcano flow, and being kind to an unknown elderly woman, again sharing her peppermint sticks. Nani witnesses the princess Luka making an appeasing ritual to calm the volcano goddess Pele, and petition her to stop the lava flow to save the village of Hilo. Princess Luka was a very tall, large, statuesque woman at this time, and Nani's friend Keoki said,"She sure doesn't look like a princess." Because of her experience with the unknown women, and because she knew that the goddess Pele sometimes walked among her people, Nani answered, calmly, "A true princess is known by her deeds". "A True Princess of Hawaii" is completed by beautiful, realistic but imaginative color illustrations plus creative learning activity pages including For Creative Minds, pacific Rim of Fire, Princess Luka and Mauna Loa, Volcanic Vocabulary Matching, and Respect Hawaii's Natural Resources. There is also an informative map showing the five volcanoes on the island of Hawaii. This excellent educational book has great appeal to young readers of all ages, and is part of an extremely successful series.

How Do I Feel Today?
Kay D. Allyn, LCSW, author
Jen Williamson, illustrator
Belle Isle Books
c/o Brandylane Publishers, Inc.
5 S. 1st St., Richmond, VA 23219
9781939930774, $14.95,

Dedicated to the goal of helping children find healthy ways of dealing with their feelings, "How Do I Feel Today?" is a simple guide for kids to become aware of and attuned to their inner feelings. Written in appealing rhyme, the text makes simple practical suggestions for defusing angry or tantrum feelings and impulses. Crayon colored children's illustrations make connections to feelings that kids can easily identify with. Creative ways of dealing with sad feelings are also suggested, in nonjudgmental language. Even feelings of embarrassment can be overwhelming to kids. Here is a lovely quotation to illustrate the inner balance techniques being taught/suggested in "How Do I Feel Today?": "So how do I make this not a BIG deal? The first thing to do is acknowledge how I feel. This feeling is scary and big to me. But moving on will help it pass more quickly. I feel silly and embarrassed, but that is different than angry or sad. Everyone has felt this way and it will pass soon, which helps me feel glad." Reminders are repeated to take deep breaths, and to imagine oneself as calm and strong. For a very little book, "How Do I Feel Today?" offers kids a very solid core of tools to tackle dealing with a whole complex of emotions and feelings in positive, constructive ways.

I Like, I Don't Like
Anna Baccelliere, author
Ale + Ale, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802854803, $16.00, HC, 28pp,

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child in the world has the right to play. Unfortunately, that universal right is not always respected. Engagingly written by Anna Baccelliere "I Like, I Don't Like" presents this reality to young ages 4 to 9 readers by showing how children in varying circumstances can see the same object very differently. With stark illustrations by Ale + Ale that perfectly capture the tone of the book, "I Like, I Don't Like" will inspire meaningful discussions about privilege and poverty. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, as well as thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, "I Like, I Don't Like" is very highly recommended, especially for preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for social issues.

The Baby in Mommy's Tummy
Michelle Cole, author
ISz, illustrator
ACTA Publications
4848 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640
9780879465919, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

"The Baby in Mommy's Tummy" is a whimsically illustrated picture book is specifically designed to help older siblings learn about an unborn baby's growth, bond with their new sibling before the birth, and see God's creating hand in the process of gestation. During her own pregnancies, author Michelle Cole enjoyed the many resources for new parents that teach about the awe-inspiring development that occurs before a baby is born, but she lamented the lack of similar resources for younger family members. She found that young children's books on prenatal development were rare, especially ones that presented God as the author of this new life. She wrote "The Baby in Mommy's Tummy" to help young children, especially new big brothers and big sisters, to bond with their unborn siblings and see God's creating hand. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "The Baby in Mommy's Tummy" is unreservedly recommended for family, school, church, and community library picture book collections for children.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Pup The Sea Otter
Jonathan London, author
Sean London, illustrator
Graphic Arts Books
PO Box 56118, Portland, OR 97238-6118
9781943328871, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

In "Pup The Sea Otter", children ages 4 to 8 will watch Pup grow from his birth to first dive and from rambunctious play with other pups to a frightening encounter with a predator. Pup's story is told by author Jonathan London in a sparse, poetic text with vivid vocabulary which is enhanced with the backdrop of luminous illustrations by Sean London. Together the narrative and the artwork effectively combine to bring the adorable Pup and his loving mother to life within the swirling sea around them. Of special notice is the author's note at the end shares fascinating facts about this popular keystone species. "Pup The Sea Otter" is certain to be an enduringly popular and beloved addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Little Whale in Deep Trouble
Hans Wilhelm
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9780764168512, $9.95, HC, 32pp,

Young children ages 3 to 6 will be riveted by the story of Little Whale, a young calf who goes everywhere with his Mama. Every day as they swim through the waves, Little Whale feels happy and safe whenever he sees their shadows side by side on the ocean floor. One day, Little Whale sees a school of stingrays cruising by and he quickly races after them. He doesn't think he's gone too far when he suddenly looks down and sees only one shadow! Mama Whale is nowhere to be found and he's stuck in a big fishing net! Now Little Whale is in deep trouble! Children will race to the end of this story to learn the outcome, discovering the real-life story that inspired this entertaining book. "Little Whale in Deep Trouble" includes lots of engaging facts about Humpback Whales that will encourage kids to learn more about these gentle giants. It's an excellent and fun-to-read resource for children as they strive to meet state standards in English Language Arts. Informative, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Little Whale in Deep Trouble" is very highly recommended as a picture book addition to family, preschool, day care center, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections for children. It should be noted for parents that "Little Whale in Deep Trouble" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.45).

Hawk Mother
Kara Hagedorn
Web of Life
PO Box 2726, Berkeley, CA 94702
9780988330375, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

"Hawk Mother: The Story of a Red-tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens" by Kara Hagedorn shows young readers ages 5 to 9 just what happens when two baby chickens find themselves in a nest with a hawk. Don't hawks usually eat chickens? Sunshine, a red-tailed hawk, can no longer fly free. But her instinct to be a mother is so strong that she builds a nest in her aviary every spring and lays two infertile eggs. One year, Kara, her caretaker, decides to try something different. She gives Sunshine two chicken eggs. Children in grades K-9 can join zoologist Kara Hagedorn and Sunshine to find out what happens in this delightful story of interspecies cooperation! Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, profusely illustrated with full color photography, "Hawk Mother: The Story of a Red-tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book Pets/Wildlife collections.

Otis the Owl
Mary Holland, author
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628559392, $17.95,

"Otis the Owl" is a beautiful color photo-illustrated story of the fledging of a young barred owl in a nest in a hole in a tree in the forest. Otis' parents, both father and mother owls, bring him and his owlet sister live prey to eat every day, tearing it into pieces so they can eat it in little bits. As Otis and his sister grow, they will gradually be able to eat their rodent meals whole, such as voles, mice or chipmunks. Stunning photographs show Otis and his fledgling sister gradually getting bigger, bravely venturing out on a tree limb from their nest. In time, Otis will learn to fly and to hunt his own live prey by night. This beautifully illustrated owlet story shows Otis and his sister both fighting and preening each other, interacting like many siblings even young humans. Additional enrichment sections at the end of the story includes For Creative Minds, Owl Pellets, comparative animal portraits, and a matching section on owl anatomy. More free learning activities about "Otis the Owl" are available on line at

The Science Shelf

Seven Wonders of the Solar System
David A. Aguilar
Viking Penguin
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780451476852, $18.99,

Seven Wonders of the Solar System explores the seven planets of our solar system using a different approach that considers their various habitats, discusses environmental issues, and includes especially bright color illustrations that stand out as especially eye-catching against the pages' black backgrounds. From the moons of Saturn - some 60 of them - and the mysterious new Planet Nine to Earth's unique ocean history and comparisons between Earth and Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, this is a revealing and lively survey that will reach grades 4-6 with the latest science.

Super Women
Laurie Lawlor
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823436750, $17.95

Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World profiles six prominent female scientists who faced discriminatory practices in the course of their work, but who went on to become notable contributors to their fields despite their gender. Kids in grades 4-6 receive black and white maps, drawings, and photos throughout in a coverage which takes each female scientist's experience and discusses it in the social, political and scientific context of her times. Young readers looking for female heroines of science for basic biographical reports will find this offers an excellent, absorbing introduction to not just these six women's lives and accomplishments, but the changing face of sexism in the scientific workplace over the years.

This Book Stinks!
Sarah Wassner Flynn
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426327308, $14.99, PB, 128pp,

Children ages 8 to 12 will get up close and personal with a wonderful world of waste with Sarah Wassner Flynn's "This Book Stinks!: Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash". From composting and recycling, to landfills and dumps, to how creative people are finding new ways to reuse rubbish, it's fun and informative to talk trash when it's jam-packed with infographics, thematic spreads, wow-worthy photos, sidebars, serious stats, and fabulous facts. Also included are quizzes and activities to inspire kids to take action, be proactive, and rethink the things we throw away. Profusely illustrated and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "This Book Stinks!: Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash" is very highly recommended for personal, family, elementary school, and community library collections. Librarians should noted that "This Book Stinks!: Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash" is also available in a Library Binding edition (9781426327315, $24.90).

Energy Lab for Kids
Emily Hawbaker
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781631592508, $22.99, Flexibound, 144pp,

Written for children ages 10 to 14, "Energy Lab for Kids" by science educator Emily Hawbaker and the National Energy Education Development Project is comprised of 40 discovery-filled and thought-provoking energy projects. More than just a random collection of science experiments that kids can do in the classroom, kitchen, or backyard, each individual chapter contains scientific explanations, discoveries, and hands-on knowledge that make learning fun, ranging from steam, electricity, and chemical reactions, to water, solar, and wind power allowing kids to compare and test the different sources and to discover their strengths and failings. Why is one source of energy is more efficient for a one situation but not for another? How come two energy sources combined might work better than a single source? Which sources are renewable? Additionally, the projects are geared to understanding actual issues in the news today. There is an emphasis on inventive exploration throughout the books, so that kids may learn the reward of discovering that creativity leads to breakthroughs. Profusely illustrated and throughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Energy Lab for Kids" is unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Energy Lab for Kids" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Eddie the Electron Moves Out
Melissa Rooney, Ph.D., author
Harry Pulver Jr., illustrator
Amberjack Publishing
9781944995140, $9.99 paperback,

"Eddie the Electron Moves Out" is a sequel to the exciting atomic science information book, "Eddie the Electron." Eddie is a rare helium atom who has popped out of a balloon and shot out into the world as a personified (cartoon) Helium atom. Outside the balloon, Eddie quickly learned that there were many Nitrogen and Oxygen atoms, but very few Helium atoms. Eddie is amazed to discover that he is a rare element. The history of the creation of elements on earth such as Helium is described and illustrated with colorful cartoons. More important, it is explained," Helium is a nonrenewable resource because it takes billions of years to form under the earth's crust." Even more concerning is the fact that at the present rate that Helium is being used on earth, the supply of it may be exhausted in about 30 years. When Helium is released into the air, it will tend to rise up past the clouds and beyond the outer reaches of Earth's atmosphere. Eddie the Helium atom reacts to his release as he rises high into empty space above the Earth's atmosphere. Eddie becomes one with both empty space and the other space traveling atoms. Eddie's farewell greeting to readers is: "Until then, when you look up in the sky, think of me." Eddie also suggests to readers that they might like to skip the Helium balloons at the next party, because of the scarcity and nonrenewability of Helium. "Eddie the Electron Moves Out" is a creative, educational fun book that delivers a lot of facts wrapped up in a fun illustrated story. The Endnotes are helpful in explaining further background and questions about Helium, atoms, electrons, and earth geologic and elemental history. "Eddie the Electron Moves Out" is great, entertaining science education for readers age 8-9 and up.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Princess Sophie and the Six Swans
Kim Jacobs
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786670, $16.95,

Princess Sophie and the Six Swans: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm is retold for ages 4-8 and requires good reading skills or read-aloud assistance from youngsters who will learn about a spirited young princess whose new stepmother turns her six brothers into swans. It's up to spunky Sophie to save them - but can she maintain an oath of silence and the skills to do so? This story comes live in a new manner with the author's lovely drawings and perspective on Sophie's greatest challenge and the impact of her actions.

Oy Vey! Life in a Shoe
Bonnie Grubman, author
Dave Mottram, illustrator
Apples and Honey Press
c/o Behrman House and Gefen Publishing House
11 Edison Place, Springfield, NJ 07081
9781681155159, $17.95,

"Oy Vey! Life in a Shoe" is a poetic narrative adaptation of a classic Jewish folk tale about enlightenment through overcrowding. Hilarious with sly, tongue in cheek humor, the story is told through lilting, relentless rhyme. Lou is a good Jewish husband with a wife and 12 children who all live together in a shoe. Lou's is grumpy because of the noise of 12 sons and one daughter, and the crowded living quarters. One day, Lou's wife urged him to go to the rabbi to ask him to help him find some peace in his life. Lou does this quite respectfully, according to tradition. The rabbi, who is a very learned and well read man, gives Lou some strange advice, telling him to add chickens, goats, and geese to stay in his shoe house. Finally Lou can bear no more crowding and noise. In tears, he begs the rabbi to help him once again. "We've been chasing goats the whole night through. My nerves are shot and the shoe is stinking. Rabbi or not, what were you thinking?" This time the rabbi smiles and says: "Ask me no questions and do as I say. Your troubles will change for the better today. Take all the animals out of the shoe. They don't belong inside there with you." The result, while comical, is also profound: The father becomes content and happy with his many offspring and busy life: "Singing and laughing, kvelling too, and a baby playing peek-a-boo. Yelling, jumping, a snoring wife; with love in the shoe it's a bustling life!"

Prince Ribbit
Jonathan Emmett, author
Poly Bernatene, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561457618, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Sometimes you've got to kiss a lot of frogs before you'll find a prince! Now it this particular amphibian an enchanted prince or just a plain old frog? Pucker up, princesses! There's only one way to find out Fairy tales are just wishful thinking stories -- or so Princess Martha believes. But when her sisters meet a talking frog, they are convinced that giving him the royal treatment will turn him into Prince Charming. After all, that's what happens in their story books. But Martha isn't so sure. The more she sees of Prince Ribbit, the more suspicious she becomes. Armed with the facts, Martha sets out to expose Prince Ribbit and prove to her sisters that just because its in a book doesn't mean its true. But before The End, Princess Martha might just learn that lesson for herself! Beautifully illustrated throughout by Poly Bernatene, author Jonathan Emmett's clever twist on The Frog Prince theme pits a spunky, bespectacled princess against a sly amphibian to teach a charming lesson on the pitfalls of trusting everything you read. Very highly recommended for children ages 5 to 8, "Prince Ribbit" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

The Multicultural Shelf

Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Three new releases from Barefoot Books offers a fun set of easy reads that pair bright drawings with very different, fun approaches. Anna McQuinn adapts If You're Happy and You Know It! (9781846866197, $9.99), pairing an audio and video cd that animates the story with an introduction to kids from over thirty cultures in a sing-along presentation based on the song. The combination of songbook, story line, and multicultural encounter offers an engaging introduction to other cultures. Hugh Lupton retells the Barefoot Book of Riddles from Around the World (9781782852803, $14.99), which receives lovely drawings by Sophia Fatus as it pairs long and short riddle stories from a range of cultures in a presentation that lends to read-aloud or individual pursuit. Tessa Strickland, Kate DePalma and David Dean's The Barefoot Book of Children (9781782852964) continues the multicultural emphasis as it follows kids around the world and contrasts the language, clothing, and customs of other cultures. A slightly oversized format allows for good-sized color drawings throughout which in turn creates a visually engaging text young picture book readers will find bright and intriguing. All are excellent additions especially recommended for collections looking to emphasize other cultures.

The Counting Shelf

Counting Colorful Shapes
Isabel Hill
Bright Sky Press
2365 Rice Blvd., Suite 202, Houston, TX 77005
9781595727763, $12.99, HC, 24pp,

There is no better way to help children from ages 2 to 5 to learn numbers, colors, and shapes than by looking at the world around them! Buildings take on a new flair when looking for circles, squares, diamonds, and lines. Architectural historian, urban planner, photographer, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Isabel Hill draws upon her experience and expertise in "Counting Colorful Shapes" to utilize art deco designs and shapes found in Miami Beach, Florida to deftly craft this very highly recommended picture book that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, day care center, and community library collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

Sam: The Cat Without a Tail
Gloria Lintermans, author
Kristina Tosic, illustrator
Blooming Twig Books, LLC
9781613431207 $19.95 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Sam: The Cat Without a Tail is a children's picturebook about Sam, a white kitten without a tail - just a stump of fur. Although Sam is adopted into a loving home, he feels shy and ashamed about his lack of a tail. Can Sam learn to develop confidence? A few facts about Max cats and a note to parents and caregivers about supporting children's self-worth round out this charming, purrfectly delightful story.

Olivia the Spy
Ian Falconer
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481457958, $17.99,

Olivia the Spy represents the eighth book in the Olivia series and tells of a pig with a snout for trouble. Olivia's birthday is close, and she wants to know exactly what's being planned - even if it's a surprise. Snooping is never a good idea, and when Olivia learns that instead of birthday surprises, her bad behavior is being discussed, she wonders if she'll be having a surprise punishment instead of gifts. A fun story evolves as Olivia roots into the heart of matters, with engaging drawings and a story line that will draw young picture book readers with good reading skills and their read-aloud parents.

Ollie and the Magic Workshop
Alison Knowles
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785922411, $17.95 HC, $15.62 Kindle,

Ollie and the Magic Workshop receives fun drawings by Sophie Wiltshire which returns to a new adventure the character of Ollie, who uses his superpowers to stand up to bullies. Here he's trying to extend his abilities to helping his friend Mollie learn to love herself. Can his own superpowers and courage transmit to her, so she can be a success - and will his efforts result in another chance to earn a coveted Captain's stripe? A gentle story of understanding and friendship evolves, highly recommended for parents who would use the picture book format to teach young children about self-worth, friendship, and more.

Tinyville Town Gets to Work!
Brian Biggs
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419721335, $16.95,

Tinyville Town Gets to Work! posits a place where everything is just right: everything runs on time and is perfect - until it isn't. When a traffic jam results in a cascade of problems, the perfect people of Tinnyville Town are faced with a dilemma and must work together to solve a problem nobody ever faced before. This is the first picture book in a projected series and is delightful in its easy story of common causes, cooperative efforts, and how a town bands together.

When You Give an Imp a Penny
Henry, Josh, and Harrison Herz
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
97814455621446, $16.99,

When You Give an Imp a Penny features fun drawings by Abigail Larson and provides readers ages 5-9 with a delightful story of an imp who lives up to his troublesome reputation when he's invited into a girl's home and finds every action results in disaster. From a hissing cat who is no match for a determined imp to behaviors that keep going awry no matter what the intention, this is a hilarious and fun read that will keep young readers and their read-aloud parents guessing to the end, with the lovely color drawings perfectly capturing the playful conundrums of an imp who just can't do anything right.

Dinosaur Pirates!
Penny Dale, author & illustrator
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763693305, $15.99, HC, 32pp,

In Penny Dale's charmingly engaging picture book for children ages 2 to 5, The intrepid team of dinosaurs introduced in her early titles "Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure!" and "Dinosaur Rocket!" is back in "Dinosaur Pirates!" -- but this time they are pirates in search of buried treasure! Having navigated their way to a desert island and dug up their booty, they are just sailing away when they are ambushed by a fearsome band of marauding baddy-pirates! Will our goody-pirates save their gold, their ship, and their honor, or will the baddies win out? Of special note are the book's ten end-paper dinosaur images, each with its proper scientific names. "Dinosaur Pirates" is very highly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

Full Moon Lore
Ellen Wahi, author
Ashley Stewart, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369652, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Every month has a full moon, and every full moon has a story. Deftly written by Ellen Wahi and beautifully illustrated throughout by Ashley Stewart, "Full Moon Lore" explores the origins of each full moon's name, from the Strawberry Moon to the Wolf Moon and beyond. Told in rolling prose with delightful nighttime illustrations, this picture book for children ages 5 to 8 is a story is a sweet look at nature, seasons, and the mystery of the full moon. Of special note is the inclusion of 'Moon Facts' and additional background information. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Full Moon Lore" is also available in a Kindle format ($16.99).

Rob Sanders, author
Dan Santat, illustrator
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481457798, $17.99, HC, 48pp,

This just in! There's a Rodzilla on the loose! Is he a monster or just your typical toddler? Tune in for the full report in pages of "Rodzilla", a riotously entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 8 from the team of author Rob Sanders and Caldecott Medalist illustrator Dan Santat. Rodzilla is the mightiest toddler to ever roam the streets of the city. Marvel at the sight of his chubby monstrosity. Gaze at his toothless grin. Take a whiff of his no, don't do that. Only a mother could love such a creature. Rodzilla is taking over the city (that is really his playpen) and causing all sorts of chaos for its inhabitants (um, his parents). Can he be stopped before he toddles one step too far? Told as an action-packed news report, kids will love following Rodzilla on his mighty tear through the city, and ultimately back to his parents' arms. Because sometimes even monsters need a little help! "Rodzilla" is as entertaining as it is 'kid friendly' from cover to cover, making it highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted that "Rodzilla" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

Through the Gate
Sally Fawcett
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335415, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Author and illustrator Sally Fawcett's "Through the Gate" tells the picture book story of a child who has just moved house and is struggling to cope with all the changes in her life. She relates to the dilapidated house she has moved to, as she sits sad and forlorn upon its broken front step. But, as the story unfolds, the house is gradually repaired paralleling how the child's perception of her new situation improves. Each time the child passes through the gate', into the world beyond, she notices more of her surroundings and discovers that her new life has some wonderful things in it. The messages delivered through this story can be understood at different levels - literal and metaphorical. Nothing stays the same and difficult times will pass. A little effort in maintenance can improve our physical surroundings, yet our perceptions also color our world. These messages are relevant to both children and adults, as we all experience many changes throughout our lives and draw on our resilience as we adapt to them. Within the illustrations is a spot the difference' game that encourages interaction with the story and develops observation skills. Younger children can be involved in spotting the more obvious changes and older children will be challenged with the more subtle transformations. Especially recommended for children ages 4 to 8, "Through the Gate" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Chicken Britches!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Billy Barron, illustrator
Zaccheus Entertainment
PO Box 23, Minong, WI 54859
9780996996464, $12.95, PB, 60pp,

How do you fail show-and-tell? Featuring the black-and-white illustrations of Billy Barron, author Donald W. Kruse's newest written in verse picture book for children ages 3 to 12, "Chicken Britches!" is the story of a little boy who fails miserably at show-and-tell, time after time. Each time he tries too hard to impress his classmates, which only leads to chaos and the boy being sent home from school. But one day, he hits on a new idea that changes show-and-tell for the rest of his school days and makes him the school hero thereafter. Thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end, "Chicken Britches!" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for kids.

Bear and Chicken
Jannie Ho
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762462667, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

When Bear finds a chicken frozen in the winter snow, he brings it home to try to defrost it. As Chicken thaws-um, awakens-he fears that Bear is actually prepping to eat him. Oh no! All signs are pointing to a fateful end for Chicken-being wrapped like a burrito, chopped basil and veggies sitting on the counter, the huge pot on the stove that's just the right size for a chicken to fit inside. It's almost time for lunch, so Chicken makes a run for it! But in the end, Chicken learns that perhaps he too quickly jumped to conclusions. This funny and clever friendship tale teaches kids that things are not always as they seem, while learning a thing or two about making soup with a friend! Combining a throughly charming story with colorfully entertaining illustrations, "Bear and Chicken" by Jannie Ho is an especially recommended for children ages 3 to 6 and would be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bear and Chicken" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Where Was the Big Yellow School Bus?
Guyla Ann Conway, author
Gary Sanchez, illustrator
Heart to Heart Publishing
9781937008512, $18.99, PB, 40pp,

In a very colorful story, twin brothers must be patient as they await the arrival of their older brother from his very last day of kindergarten. What time is it? Is that yellow? Will the bus ever come? Did you hear that noise? Even very young children will enjoy the hint of suspense within the pages of this picture book for children ages 4 to 6. Thoroughly 'kid friendly in organization and presentation, "Where Was the Big Yellow School Bus?" focuses on searching for numbers, time, colors, things that make noise, and more. Unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections, "Where Was the Big Yellow School Bus?" will prove to be an enduringly popular favorite.

Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover
Audrey Penn, author
Barbara Leonard Gibson
Tanglewood Publishing
9781939100115, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Chester the Raccoon is excited about going to his very first sleepover. After his mother drops him off at Pepper Opossumís house with a Kissing Hand in his palm, Chester and his animal friends have a long day of playing games and eating snacks. But when the animals decide to bed down, Chester canít go to sleep. While his Kissing Hand has kept him from getting scared, he isnít in his own bedroom, and he misses his family. When Chester returns home, Mrs. Raccoon welcomes her little cub and reassures him that his home is always there when he needs it. Another delightful picture book story for children ages 3 to 7, "Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover" is the tenth title in author Audrey Penn's and illustrator Barbara Leonard Gibson's outstanding 'The Kissing Hand' series. While enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections, it should be noted that "Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover" is also available in a Kindle format ($11.27).

Bedtime for Buzzy
T. J. Hackworth, author
Sean Baptist, illustrator
Downtown Brown Ventures
9780997739107, $14.95, HC, 28pp,

A young boy is playing with his toys and doesn't want to go to bed. He imagines his toys coming to life one by one, and they convince him that going to sleep is the best way to continue his adventures. As parents of young children know all too well, convincing a child that it is time to go to bed can sometimes be difficult. Engagingly written by T. J. Hackworth and colorfully illustrated by Sean Baptist, "Bedtime for Buzzy" encourages bedtime by helping to lead children ages 3 to 6 to their own conclusion that it s time to go to bed. An ideal and enduringly popular addition to any child's nightly storybook bedtime ritual, "Bedtime for Buzzy" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for parents that "Bedtime for Buzzy" is also available in a Kindle format ($2.99).

Bella Gets Rescued
Ellie Wakeman, author
Melody Knighton, illustrator
Ambassador International
411 University Ridge, Suite B14, Greenville, SC 29601
9781620205495, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Bella is one pampered kitty! She has a warm bed, tasty food, and owners who love her but she was not always that way. In "Bella Gets Rescued", children ages 4 to 7 can follow the humorous story of Bella, a sassy cat who started off as a lonely kitten without a home or a family to love her. From dodging raindrops to running from lawn-mowers, being a stray cat isn't all it's cracked up to be! Bella ventures on a crazy journey as she moves from place to place, never knowing that what she really needed all along was a family to love her. But change is scary! In order to accept her new home, Bella must learn a valuable lesson: God's love and assurance can conquer all fear! Original, engaging, entertaining, and ultimately inspiring, "Bella Gets Rescued" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library picture book collections.

The Crystal Fountain
David Morgan Williams, author
Laura Jenkins, illustrator
Y Lolfa
c/o Dufour Editions, Inc.
PO Box 7, 124 Byers Road, Chester Springs, PA 19425-0007
9781784613488, $11.00, HC, 48pp,

Deftly written by David Morgan Williams and colorfully illustrated with the artwork of Laura Jenkins, "The Crystal Fountain" is a picture book story that is set in Ethiopia and is the story of two children, Omo and Asha, who rescue an ibex from a landslide on Mount Ras Dashen. The children bring it back to health with the help of Henry the hippo, and Crocus the crocodile, and some magical bubbles from the crystal fountain. Original, entertaining, a modern classic in the making, "The Crystal Fountain" is very highly recommended for children ages 6 to 12 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Giant Jumperee
Julia Donaldson, author
Helen Oxenbury, illustrator
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780735227972, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Rabbit arrives home one day to hear a loud voice coming from inside his burrow saying "I'm the Giant Jumperee and I'm scary as can be!" shouts a stranger. Rabbit's friends Cat, Bear, and Elephant come to help, but they're no match for the mysterious, booming voice. But who is the Giant Jumperee? Young children ages 3 to 5 will find out who this mysterious stranger is "The Giant Jumperee". Engagingly written suitable for parent/child read-aloud moments together by author Julia Donaldson, and beautifully enhanced with the full color artwork of Helen Oxenbury, "The Giant Jumperee" will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Fix-It Man
Dimity Powell, author
Nicky Johnston, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335347, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

It's handy having a dad who can fix just about anything. "The Fix-It Man" is the story of a young girl who believes her father is the king of fixing things. But following the death of her mother, she discovers that broken hearts are not as easy to repair as damaged toys and cracked teapots. Together, she and her father find a way to glue back the pieces of her lives. "The Fix-It Man" is a poignantly written and beautifully illustrated picture book for young readers ages 5 to 8 that deftly explores how a child can cope with the loss of a parent (in this case, the young girl's mother). Repairing damaged emotions is not as straightforward as gluing a broken kite back together or sewing up a torn toy. And grief affects all members of a family, with each responding in their own way to the loss. By sticking with her father, the young girl is able to strengthen her resilience and ability to cope with one of life's harshest experiences. It is interesting to note that the author, Dimity Powell, was encouraged to seek publication for this original and compelling story after receiving the endorsement of several grief counselors who work with children and who recognized the need for a picture book approach to loss-based grief such as this. An ideal and enduringly valued addition to any family, elementary school, and community library picture book collection, "The Fix-It Man" is highly and unreservedly recommended.

My Tail's Not Tired
Jana Novotny Hunter, author
Paula Bowles, illustrator
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
9781846439858, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

How can any little monster possibly go to bed when their tail isn't even tired? And when their knees still have plenty of bounce in them? And when their arms still want to fly like a jet plane? Bedtime is surely a long way off! Luckily, Big Monster has a strategy to outwit Little Monster, with the inevitable result! The collaborative work of author Jana Novotny Hunter and illustrator Paula Bowles, "My Tail's Not Tired" is a humorous and charmingly bedtime story that adults and children ages 3 to 6 will love to read (and play out) again and again. Unique, thoroughly 'kid friendly', and consistently entertaining from cover to cover, "My Tail's Not Tired" is especially recommended for family, preschool, day care center, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for parents that "My Tail's Not Tired" is also available in a paperback edition (9781846439865, $7.99).

Bits & Pieces
A. L. Snyder, author
Leah Snyder Leitch, illustrator
Little James
c/o Farcountry Press
PO Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604
9780997720907, $16.96, HC, 24pp,

Engagingly written by A. L. Synder and elegantly illustrated by his sister Leah Snyder, "Bits & Pieces" is a sweet treat for children of all ages and for those who want to show someone special that they are loved. Highlights include bright flowers, darling squirrels and fawns, a moose peaking out from behind a spruce, and elephants, lions, and their young. With these and other colorful illustrations enhancing and backgrounding a rhyming prose, "Bits & Pieces" is sure to be a bedtime favorite for boys and girls ages 5 to 8. "Bits & Pieces" will prove to be a popular addition to any family, elementary school, or community library picture book collection.

Hey, Boy
Benjamin Strouse, author
Jennifer Phelan, illustrator
Margaret K. McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481471015, $15.99, HC, 48pp,

One day a boy finds a dog. He takes him home, already dreaming of the adventures they will have and the games they will play. But when the boy gets hurt, he and his new best friend are separated. Will the boy be able to grow up quickly enough to get his furry companion back, or will life keep getting in the way? With dreamily spare text and sweeping yet simple illustrations, "Hey, Boy" is a reminder that true friends always find their way home to each other. Author Benjamin Strouse and illustrator Jennifer Phelan have successfully collaborated to produce a touching debut picture book for children ages 4 to 8 about the unfaltering love between a boy and his pet with "Hey, Boy". While very highly recommended for family, preschool, day care center, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for parents that "Hey, Boy" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

Zach Hangs In There
William Mulcahy, author
Darren McKee, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9781631981623, $12.99, HC, 32pp,

Zach is a young boy who has set a goal for himself of getting across the tricky trapeze rings on the playground. Every time he tries, he falls off before making it to the end. But with encouragement from his best friend Sonya and positive self-talk, Zach makes a plan to achieve his goal, adapts his plan along the way, and perseveres to the end. Zach feels so great about his success that he writes down the steps he used so he can repeat them next time he faces a tough challenge. The third volume in licensed professional counselor and psychotherapist William Mulcahy's 'Zach Rules Series' and is colorfully illustrated by Darren McKee, "Zach Hangs In There" is a picture book specifically created for children ages 5 to 8 -- and very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Kings of the Castle
Victoria Turnbull
Templar Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763692957, $16.99, HC, 44pp,

George didn't want to waste the night moon bathing. He wanted to build a sand castle that would turn any monster green with envy! But when George meets the strangest creature he has ever seen, the night takes an unexpected turn. Engagingly written and charmingly illustrated by Victoria turnbull, "Kings of the Castle" is a unique, entertaining, and memorably starlit story of adventure, imagination, and friendship. Especially recommended for children age 4 to 7, "Kings of the Castle" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for parents that "Kings of the Castle" is also available in a paperback edition (9781783702596, $2.50).

Stella and the Bubble Man
Colleen Clancy Hansen, author
Anait Semirdzhyan, illustrator
Privately Published
c/o Farcountry Press (distribution)
PO Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604
9781591521921, $19.95, HC, 32pp,

When young Stella has expectation of the "perfect vacation" is spoiled, she stomps down the boardwalk because of gray skies. When she is surprised to see new and unexpected marvels, however, nothing piques her interest like the man in the red-and-white-striped T-shirt. Before she knows it, Stella is mesmerized and surrounded by a magical moment. The collaborative work of author Colleen Clancy Hansen and illustrator Anait Semirdzhyan, "Stella and the Bubble Man" is beautifully illustrated picture book story with a very special message for children 4 to 7. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, "Stella and the Bubble Man" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

5 Cherries
Vittoria Facchini
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592702220, $18.95, HC, 56pp,

In Vittoria Facchini's utterly charming picture book story, "5 Cherries", a mother gives her two children five cherries each. One is excited; the other a little disappointed. Only five cherries? But wait, says the first. Let's pretend I eat them all at once. Let's pretend I don't, says the other. Let's pretend I cure my patients with special medicine. Let's pretend I'm a jester and make people laugh. One is a girl, one a boy, but they become hard to identify as the game goes on and their game becomes deeper and more revealing. "5 Cherries" is an ideal and enthusiastically recommended addition to family, preschool, day care center, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

Grandmother Thorn
Katey Howes, author
Rebecca Hahn, illustrator
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 86740, Portland, OR, 97286
9780991386697, $17.99, HC, 44pp,

Grandmother Thorn treasures her garden, where not a leaf, twig or pebble is allowed out of place. But when a persistent plant sprouts without her permission, Grandmother begins to unravel. "Her hair became as tangled as the vines on her fence. Her garden fell into disrepair. One morning, she did not rake the path." A dear friend, the passage of seasons, and a gift only nature can offer help Grandmother Thorn discover that some things are beyond our control, and that sweetness can blossom in unexpected places. Beautifully illustrated with the distinctive artwork of Rebecca Hahan, "Grandmother Thorn" is an impressively original picture book story by Katey Howes that is especially commended for children ages 5 to 7 -- and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Bulldozer Dreams
Sharon Chriscoe, author
John Joven, illustrator
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762459667, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp,

After a long day of clearing dirt, rocks, and trees, a bulldozer is tired and ready for bed. He lifts up his blade, his spotlights flash on, he rolls through the gate, and lets out a yawn. He heads to the Wiggle and Shake for a bath, then to the Sip and Slurp for some supper, then chooses a bedtime story -- and soon the bulldozer will be dreaming sweet dreams of finishing his important work! Of special note is author Sharon Chriscoe's engaging and gentle rhyming verse that is superbly supported by John Joven's colorful and cartoon-style artwork, making "Bulldozer Dreams" an ideal and highly recommended addition to family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 6.

At The Cabin
Cheryl Wilke, author
Rebecca Stouffer, illustrator
Raven Productions
PO Box 188, Ely, MN 55731
9780983518983, $17.95, HC, 32pp,
9780983518976, $9.95, PB, 32pp,

"At The Cabin" is the picture book story of a child who is reluctant to leave the electronic entertainment of a city home for the family's rustic cabin up north. But once there, the simple pleasures of campfires, hikes, and dips in the lake win the child over. When the time comes to return home, reluctance returns; the child doesn't want to leave! Featuring spare, finely-crafted writing by Cheryl Wilke that is complimented by Rebecca Stouffer's richly detailed illustrations of a simple cabin and the natural world. Original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and story, "At The Cabin" is especially recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 5 to 8.

Skip and Deanie's Flying Bike Trip
Deanie Sebring
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781631777035, $14.95, HC, 38pp,

While Skip and Deanie were out on a bike ride, They were caught in a twister and began spinning round. The bike was flying way above the town. They landed on an island and looked all around. They meet lots of stars and had a picnic on the ground. But how they got home, none of us could have known. In "Skip and Deanie's Flying Bike Trip", author Deanie Sebring's original and rhyming storytelling is nicely enhanced her colorful artwork in this picture book that is ideal for children ages 5 to 8 and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Kid Amazing vs. The Blob
Josh Schneider
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544801257, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Kid Amazing's secret base is equipped with every gadget a superhero needs to defeat evil, but there is one villain who remains elusive -- the Blob (a.k.a. his baby sister). Will the Kid discover the superpower needed to defeat her before the entire city succumbs to her stink and slime? From Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner Josh Schneider, "Kid Amazing vs. The Blob" is reassuring take on a common childhood issue proves that laughter can defuse even the most epic sibling rivalries. Thoroughly original and consistently entertaining, "Kid Amazing vs. The Blob" is especially recommended for children ages 4 to 7 and highly recommended for family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

It's Just So... Little!
Brenda Fastz, author
Peter Trimarco, author & illustrator
Notable Kids Publishing
PO Box 2047, Parker, CO 80134
9780997085129, $16.95, HC, 45pp,

A little girl named Lizzy faces challenges of growth and change. She and her faithful puppy adopt a frail little sapling tree, taking on the job of protecting and nurturing their new, well-rooted friend' throughout the seasons. In the meantime, Lizzy is outgrowing all of her favorite clothes and watching as Mom seems to be outgrowing her clothes as well. Lizzy's biggest change comes in welcoming the new baby as her family tree seems to be growing too. Charming, original, entertaining, colorful, and a thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book for children ages 3 to 8 by the team of Brenda Fastz and Peter Trimarco, "It's Just So...Little!" will prove to be an ideal and enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library collections.

Owlie Learns to Fly
Meaghan Fisher, author
Tim Rowe, illustrator
Gypsy Publications
9781938768538, $6.99 paperback,

"Owlie Learns to Fly" is a precious story about growth, or learning to fly. Six adorable, plush pastel baby owls have to learn to fly from their nest. Mother Owl is patient and encouraging. all her nestlings take their turn and find their way into the night sky. Owlie does not want to try to fly. Mother Owl suggests practicing, but Owlie does not want to do that either. Finally Mother owl says, "Well then, Owlie, will be alone after your brother leaves our home, for I will have to fly to meet your brothers and sisters." Finally Owlie said, "I sure would like to see the moon,....... Flying doesn't look to hard, I suppose." The upshot is, Owlie finally takes the leap out from his hole in the tree and soars through the night air, under the bright shining moon. He happily joins his sibling owlets on the branch and feels the warm hug of his Mother Owl. "See Owlie! I knew you could fly!" "Owlie Learns to Fly" is a wonderful story for young children, encouraging them to take small risks to achieve growth and dreams.

The Brave Bamboo
Ben Wilder, author
Teresa Ramos, illustrator
Driftwood Tree Press
9780997150728, $19.95, HC,

"The Brave Bamboo" is the exciting story of a delightful puppy with long ears who is not quite as brave and daring as his brother and sister, who have shorter ears. Brody and Bella go outside with their mother, Ella, when she calls them, but Bamboo is afraid of frightening noises he hears from outside, so he always stays inside. Bamboo peeks through the window and sees his mother's long ears sprinkled with water, flakes of snow, bright stickers and grass in the cycle of seasons. But one day, Bamboo heard through the doorflap, his mother Ella whimpering and crying. He was not OK with that, so he trotted out the door to check on her, only to find Ella trapped in a thicket of thorns. Brody and Bella were trying unsuccessfully to help free her by digging, but Bamboo had a better idea. The only puppy with long ears like his mom, Bamboo invited Brody and Bella to pull on one of his long ears while Ella hung on to his other ear with her teeth. It took cooperation, unflinching bravery, and disregard of pain and discomfort, but Bamboo was successful in rescuing Ella from the thorn thicket with the help of Brody and Bella. Thus, he began to become the legendary "Brave Bamboo," celebrated instead of teased for his long ears, just like his mom's. Jolly, happy looking pictures of Bamboo and his family adorn every other page, and brightly colored and highlighted narrative text help make the story of "The Brave Bamboo" even more arresting and exciting.

Una Belle Townsend, author
David Barrow, illustrator
Doodle and Peck Publishing
P. O. Box 852105, Yukon, OK 73085
9780997235128, $ 18.99 HC, $8.99 PB,

"Scanner" is the completely absorbing story of an abandoned little Scottish Terrier who is rescued by a school librarian named Miss Copywright. Although he likes his new owner, the dog is lonely when left home alone all day, so he gets into mischief like tipping over plants, pulling curtains, and chewing table legs. Oh no, will he have to leave his new home? But Miss Copywright, who is crafty and determine, has an idea. She takes the Scottish Terrier to school with her the next day and asks the principal for permission to have the dog listen to children read out loud to him. This is a practice that helps young readers gain confidence in building their reading skills. After a tangle with the scanner, disguised as a toy to the terrier, Miss Copywright lights upon the perfect name for her new pet: Scanner! At his first day on the job, Scanner discovers that he loves being cuddled by kids while they read to him about tractors, princesses, homes, and wonderful things. Scanner decides his new home and his new job are a perfect fit after all, and even school rules aren't so bad when you are so happy. Bright, humorous, action portraits delight the eye with Scanner's comical adventures, while an inspiring narrative catches interest and holds appeal for readers of all ages.

Mighty Melvin the Magnificent Mouse!
Trevor Newland, author/illustrator
Mosaic Press
9781771611800, $14.95,

"Mighty Melvin the Magnificent Mouse!" is another exciting title by the author of "The Scallywag Solution." Written in heroic, dramatic almost-verse narrative, with exaggerated, humongous comic style illustrations, "Mighty Melvin the Magnificent Mouse!" is the unlikely story of a Smally mouse who is under the persuasion that he is a Biggy hero with mousey muscles. Mighty Melvin is afraid of nothing! Aware that he does not fit in with his companion mice who are fearful Smallies, Melvin determines to take off for the circus, to find a super gigantic scary opponent! But Melvin's challenge to take on the Biggest Biggy in all the circus is met with silence! (Did he scare them with his declaration of size and intent?) So Melvin set off to size up potential Biggy opponents. He meets and rejects Gabriel the Gorilla, Krizymandias, King of the Lions, and finally the Big Top itself. Under the Big Top, Melvin meets Elias the elephant, the biggest Biggy of all, and unwittingly sets off a domino series of circus catastrophes, ending in the ringleader, Erasmus, demanding who was responsible for their debacle. Incidentally, the crowd loved every moment of Melvin's inspired cavorting with circus chaos. All that ensued happened because of Melvin, a Smally but Biggy mouse who frightened an elephant, the biggest of the Biggies. When Erasmus discovers it is Melvin who is the cause of all chaos, he is forced to revise his pronounced opinion of mice from Smallies to Biggies! Of course the crowd loved Melvin the Mighty, and roared approval. The ending sums up the action: "Maybe he was small. And maybe not so clever. But Melvin had a mighty heart. And that was enough to make the greatest ..... show ..... EVER. The decorative, fantastic, evolving illustrations take readers on a transporting voyage of magnifying magnificence, perfectly complementing the heroic almost verse of "Mighty Melvin the Magnificent Mouse!"

Moving Time for Nosy
Lucille Newman, author/illustrator
Page Publishing, Inc.
101 Tyrellan Ave., Ste. 100, Staten Island, NY 10309
9781682892985, $21.95 hard cover, $12.95 soft cover 32 pages,

"Moving Time for Nosy" is the story of a long-eared rabbit named Nosy who had his home cabbage patch destroyed by land development machines. After Nosy lost his home, he tried living with relative rabbits, the family of his brother, Bobbie Rabbit, whose wife was Dora Rabbit, with rabbit children Flora and Mora. Nosy was invited to be a member of this rabbit family, so he stayed. But Mora was mean to him because he didn't like Nosy. Finally, after enduring mean treatment from Mora, Nosy had the opportunity to rescue Mora from drowning. After that, Mora decided to be nicer to Nosy and to treat him like a real family member. However, change was coming to the rabbit family, along with the newly built mall which covered Nosy's former home. One day a man from a cement truck came and scooped Nosy up with a net and took him away to a pet shop. In the pet shop, Nosy was lonely and scared, without friends. But his rabbit family went to look for him and they finally found him at the pet store. When they all hopped in to cheer Nosy up, the pet store owner put all the rabbit family in the cage with Nosy. This did cheer him up some, but he was much happier when a boy and his family came to visit and decided to adopt Nosy and all his family and give them a real home. The boy and his mother took Nosy and his family home and gave them good food, shelter, and companionship. All lived happily together as a family, which made Nosy happiest of all. "Moving Time for Nosy" is written in simple language for readers ages 6 to 9. Full page color pictures show Nosy's former home changed by the development and the shopping mall. "Moving Time for Nosy" is a moving pet story that teaches children that while change is scary and challenging, it can also be good.

Choose Your Own Journey
Susie Brooks, author
Tracy Cottingham, illustrator
Kane Miller/ EDC Publishing
4901 Morena Blvd., Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781610675376, $11.99, HC, 32pp,

"Choose You Own Journey" is a fabulous, enticing interactive book that offers four different means of travel to young readers, bicycle, car, train, and boat. By encouraging young readers to track one of the four lines which are vehicle pathways across the pages, sequencing, tracking, and other pre-reading skills are established and encouraged. Because not all paths are level and straight , the four different colored and patterned lines are sometimes wavy and hilly, suggesting early map reading skill establishment. Which vehicle will get to its destination first? Like a colorful layer cake the four patterned pathways unroll page by page, with even an airplane overhead and pedestrians walking on a trail to symbolize other modes of travel. Tons of fun variations occur in each of the four travel modes' pathways, and interest is kept high with the excitement of discovering who will arrive first at the destination! Each traveler needs to stop for food and refreshment and fuel along the way. Traffic jams in the city slow down the automobile travelers, while bike and train travelers continue unhindered. The boat passengers are the first to dock at their destination, then later, the train travelers get off at a train station in a city. The car and the bike travel one, meeting obstacles like a flat bike tire and mud, which washes off in the car wash. At the end of the road a theater, a carnival, and a welcoming apartment are all awaiting different travelers who have reached the exciting end of their journey. "Choose Your Own Journey" is a creative, educational transportation story told in illustrations and narrative for young readers, leaving some of the conclusions and details to each imaginative adventurer.

If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!
Sharon Thayer, author
Linda Nagy, illustrator
Carousel Publishing Inc.
9780976623946, $14.99 HC, 32pp,

Winner of seven different book awards, "If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!" tells a tale of inspiration and empowerment through examples of creatures who really do learn to fly. Beautiful page-filling paintings filled with vivid colors and sights show a hummingbird, a butterfly, a bumblebee, a ladybug beetle, and an eaglet learning to fly. The final portrait is of a young girl, looking out her window at a beautiful scene. "A young woman emerges from childhood's cocoon, with dreams inside as big as the sky. Alone at future's edge, she glances back to her teachers, family and friends. "If you tell me I can fly....." The next page show a spectacular scene of glorious clouds of white, violet and apricot, with sunlight streaming on a set of majestic mountains. In the center, the young woman stands with arms upraised. "And she flew!" The message is empowering, thrilling, and unmistakable. "If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!" delivers its message using layers of meaning. Even the text in the narrative begins with ordinary print, and then changes to graceful text cursive with the words, "I Can Fly!" The underlying message of dreaming about flying, and nurturing dreams of flying are beautifully portrayed in paintings of a ladybug larva, and a caterpillar before it turned into a butterfly. The poetic message of "If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!" is based on scientific animal facts that are further explained in the final pages, with extra information about the humming bird, butterfly, bumblebee, ladybug beetle, and eagle shown in the earlier pages. "If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!" is a beautiful, powerful, inspirational book for young readers. It definitely deserves all seven of its illustrious awards and perhaps a few more for the power of creativity embodied in it.

Penguin/Knopf/Random House Young Readers
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019

Three new books are top, recommended picks for young readers and their parents, offering solid stories and high-quality presentations that promise lasting value. Floyd Cooper's The Ring Bearer (9780399167409, $16.99) tells of a young boy whose mother is getting married, so he will be the ring bearer. But what if he can't do the job - and what if his new stepsister Sophie, who is slated to be the flower girl, doesn't perform her task? A new family's formation and the special assignments to two young children make for an inviting read recommended for read-aloud and those with good reading skills. R.J. Palacio's We're All Wonders (9781524766498, $18.99) tells of Auggie, who is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face. Because of his looks, Auggie stands out - but his good friends know what Auggie isn't the only one who is different. Lovely drawings and simple language celebrate what makes people unique in the world, and why they are all important. Marilyn Singer's Feel the Beat: Dance Poems That Zing from Salsa to Swing (978080374011, $17.99) is illustrated by Kristi Valiant and includes an audio cd of the author reading each poem along to music as it features poems centered upon dance. Different cultures, costumes, and beats are brightly presented in text and music, while dancers move through the tango, two-step, salsa, and more. Parents will find this an especially inviting read-aloud experience and will relish the opportunity to involve kids in other cultures, poetry, and dance.

Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6

Two excellent, different surveys are good additions to any picture book collection and are recommended picks. Marthe Jocelyn's Sam Sorts (9781101918050, $16.99) is all about counting and making categories as it focuses on young Sam, who begins to organize things but quickly comes to realize that real organization by type of item is a challenge. As colors, shapes, and purposes conflict, how can Sam create a system that works for some one hundred things? Young readers help Sam sort as he faces up to the challenge. Linda Bailey and Kass Reich's Carson Crosses Canada (9781101918838, $16.99) tells of Carson the dog and his best friend, who set out from Canada's west coast to visit Annie's sister on the east coast, traveling through each province of Canada. While young Canadian picture book readers will gain the most from this geographic exploration, American kids will also find it an inviting survey that teaches much about Canada's countryside in the course of presenting a fine adventure survey.

Orchard/Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

These new books are highly recommended reads, representing some of the best Scholastic books of the new season. Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson's Spunky Little Monkey (9780545776431, $17.99) is illustrated by Brian Won and tells of a sleepy little monkey who needs exercise, but won't move. What can a mother do? How can a sleepy monkey learn to move? A popular clapping game's rhyme invites young readers to move along with the reluctant little monkey in this winning tale of physical exercise and fun, which ideally should be narrated using a maximum of loud voices and foot-stomping activities. Alyssa Satin Capucilli's I Will Love You (9780545803106, $17.99) is illustrated by Lisa Anchin who provides gentle and fun drawings to accompany the story of a mother telling her daughter how their love came to be from the first day they met. From a moon that winks to just how much a mother loves her daughter, this warm story is certain to bring a smile to many readers. Douglas Wood's Old Turtle: Questions of the Heart (9780439321112, $19.99) receives illustrations by Greg Ruth as it tells of a wise old turtle who considers the purpose of life and how happiness is achieved. The best-selling companions Old Turtle and Old Turtle and the Broken Truth receive another supportive and winning story that pairs Ruth's gorgeous drawings with a bigger picture discussion all ages can readily understand and consider. Parental assistance with text will help open dialogues between these ages.

The Fiction Shelf

Orphan Train Girl
Christina Baker Kline
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062445940, $17.99,

Orphan Train Girl appears in an edition tailored for young adult readers from middle school on up as it follows the story of an orphan train girl, Molly, who has been shipped between foster homes for her entire life due to bad behavior. When she's forced to help an elderly widow clean her attic, she gains an unexpected advocate in Vivian who also was an orphan, put on a train to the Midwest with other orphan children bound for new homes. Through Vivian and Molly's relationship evolves a newfound hope for both in this evocative, compelling saga of two orphans who share more in common than the years separating them portends.

Soda Pop
Barbro Lindgren, author
Lisen Adbage, illustrator
Gecko Press
9781776570102, $16.99, HC, 112pp,

Soda Pop likes bright orange clothes and wears a tea cosy on his head. He has brought up his son Mazarin on sweet buns and love. Grandfather Dartanyong emerges from his woodshed every morning with a new identity, and great-grandfather thins he is a cuckoo. Add an invasion of tigers and you have the makings of "Soda Pop" by Barbro Lindgren. Featuring occasional illustrations by Lisen Adbage, this is a classic Swedish novel for children that is an absurd tale full of playful nonsense in a world where anything can happen. An inherently fascinating and unfailingly entertaining read from cover to cover, "Soda Pop" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library Children's Fiction collections.

Waiting for Sophie
Sarah Ellis, author
Carmen Mok, illustrator
Pajama Press
9781772780208, $10.95, HC, 48pp,

Waiting is hard. Liam waited through half of kindergarten for his baby sister to be born. Then, when little Sophie finally comes home, he discovers she won't be ready to play with him for a long, long time. As the months pass, everyone says that Liam is Sophie's favorite. He is the best at making her laugh and burp, but laughing and burping are not enough for Liam. With the help of Nana-Downstairs, he designs and builds a Get Older Faster Machine. It doesn't seem to work on Sophie, but maybe Sophie is not the only one doing some growing up. "Waiting for Sophie" is an original and heartwarming story for children ages 5 to 8. Nicely enhanced with the colorful artwork of Carmen Mok, and especially appropriate for young readers making the transition from picture books to chapter books, "Waiting for Sophie" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school and community library Children's Fiction collections.

Esme Dooley and the Kirkkomaki Circus
Holly Trechter, author
Jane Donovan, author & illustrator
Sky Candle Press
9781939360052, $27.99, PB, 404pp,

When eleven-year-old Esme first learns that she is going on a journey in search of a dead person she didn't know if she was going to a cemetery or maybe a funeral. By train, by gypsy wagon, and even by ostrich, Esme takes a summer journey. She and her grandmother and her cousin Tommy meet up with a circus that is going through harrowing times, for someone is pulling wicked shenanigans! Caught in the conundrum, Esme and Tommy eagerly don their sleuth's hats to try to solve the mystery. When tragedy strikes, they learn the importance of friendship, and they begin to understand the value of forgiveness. This historical adventure portrays another humorous season in the life of Esme Dooley, a girl that young readers ages 8 to 12 were first introduced to in "Esme Dooley" (9781939360038, $14.99 PB, $5.98 Kindle). "Esme Dooley and the Kirkkomaki Circus" is set in rural Minnesota in 1904, where love is definitely in the air. The illustrations by Jane Donovan are colored in shades of red and gray. Exceptional, original, and inherently entertaining from cover to cover, "Esme Dooley and the Kirkkomaki Circus" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library General Fiction collections for young readers. It should be noted that there is also an accompanying "Esme Dooley and the Kirkkomaki Circus: Coloring Book" (9781939360069, $3.99, PB) available and appropriate for children ages 3 to 12.

Donovan Mixon
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781941026465, $16.95, HC, 288pp,

"Ahgottahandleonit " by Donovan Mixon is the story of Tim, a struggling black kid on the mean streets of Newark, who doesn't read as well as his classmates in his inner-city high school. He's got good street creds with his peers from riffing strange rap-rhymes and running like the wind. He's packed into a three-flat with his mother, sister and Uncle Gentrale. His father, a drunk, recently walked out on the family, wanting some "freedom". He says, "Ahgottahandleonit, son." He doesn't. Nor does Tim. He's a sophomore, already two years behind in school. He'll be a sophomore again if he doesn't pass his proficiency exam. He wants to do what is right, but anger boils deep inside him. The last day of school before summer, Tim slaps Mr. Jones, the one teacher who has wanted to help. He doesn't know why. It was just there, a rage born of some dark history. Uncle Gentrale tries to explain, some crazy shit about living back down south. Marie reaches out to him for love, but that doesn't work either. In a fight with some gangbangers, the rage boils over and Tim slams Chucky in the head with a rock. Chucky dies. Tim steals his phone. He carries it, like an albatross, throughout the summer -- wanting to run, to hide, to speak truth, to be free. Maybe Mr. Jones will understand. Tim wants his life to matter. Written with an impressive realism, "Ahgottahandleonit" is a unique and extraordinary novel that will have a very special appeal for young readers ages 12 to 18. While very highly recommended for school and community YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ahgottahandleonit" is also available in a paperback edition (9781941026472, $11.95) and in a Kindle format ($9.51).

Finders Keepers
Andrea Spalding
The Dundurn Group
3 Church Street, Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5E 1M2
9781459737525, $11.99, PB, 128pp,

While walking through a field, young Danny finds an 8,000-year-old arrowhead. After he shows his friend Joshua, who lives on the Peigan reserve at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, the two go on buffalo hunts, powwows, archaeological digs, and break in to the local museum. Grappling with dyslexia and unsure of his place in the world, Danny follows the arrowhead into a distant past and back again as he learns about himself and the people who came before him. In "Finders Keepers", author Andrea Spalding has once again penned an inherently compelling novel that will thoroughly engaging the attention of young readers ages 9 to 12 from cover to cover. While very highly recommended for elementary school and community library fiction collections for children in grades 4 to 7, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Finders Keepers" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.58).

B. Lynn Goodwin
Eternal Press
c/o Caliburn Press
PO Box 8747, Madison, WI 53714
9781629293356, $12.50, PB, 284pp,

Fifteen-and-half-year-old Sandee Mason wants to find her talent, get her driver's license, and stop living in the shadow of her big brother, Bri, who disappeared while serving in Afghanistan. A deftly crafted novel by an experienced author with a genuine flair for creating memorable characters and a consistently entertaining story line, young readers will follow Sandee's journey as she experiences drama onstage and off. While B. Lynn Goodwin's "Talent" is especially recommended for high school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Talent" is also available in a Kindle format ($2.99).

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh
Uma Krishnaswami
Tu Books
c/o Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600602610, $16.95, HC, 288pp,

Nine-year-old Maria Singh longs to play softball in the first-ever girls' team forming in Yuba City, California. It's the spring of 1945, and World War II is dragging on. Miss Newman, Maria's teacher, is inspired by Babe Ruth and the All-American Girls' League to start a girls' softball team at their school. Meanwhile, Maria's parents (Papi from India and Mama from Mexico) can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land. When the family is on the brink of losing their farm, Maria must decide if she has what it takes to step up and find her voice in an unfair world. In this fascinating middle grade novel, award-winning author Uma Krishnaswami (who teaches in the low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, Vermont College of Fine Arts) sheds light on a little-known chapter of American history set in a community whose families made multicultural choices before the word had been invented. Especially recommended for children ages 8 to 12, "Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library General Fiction collections.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Five new titles are recommended picks from Scholastic, each offering different, engrossing stories that will attract young adult leisure readers seeking solid writing, believable protagonists, and engrossing plots. Celeste Lim's The Crystal Ribbon (9780545767033, $17.99) tells of Jing, whose father is a poor village Hunan farmer who can barely support their family. Now eleven, Jing is slated to be a bride to a wealthy family member, which will help matters - or, will they? Now she's the wife and caretaker of a three-year-old, and her situation has only gone from bad to worse. An engrossing story of survival and magic emerges. Dan Smith's Boy X (9781338065640, $16.99) presents the kidnapping of young Ash, who takes up on a remote tropical island in a medical facility. In order to find out the truth about his heritage and his future, he must escape impossible conditions and learn the realities of his condition. Boy X is engrossing, surprising, and filled with tension throughout. Fans of scientific dilemmas intrigue and thrillers will relish it. Maria D. Laso's Otherwise Known as Possum (9780545927956, $16.99) tells of a young girl whose life is turned upside down when she loses her mother and her father sends her to school for the first time - a school where you have to wear certain clothes and behave in certain ways. Possum has been home-taught all her life and has enjoyed much freedom. If she proves to her father she already knows everything, can she quit school? An engaging story evolves that presents a feisty young girl's conundrum. Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins' Upside-Down magic: Showing off (9780545800532, $14.99) is especially recommended for middle school readers as it explores the dilemma of an 'upside-down magic' class where the kids are charged with keeping their magic under wraps, and what happens when a school-wide show causes that magic to go awry. Warped spells, strange animal combinations, and an 'upside down' sense of the world meld in a story that is unexpected and fun. Kate Messner's Ranger in Time: Journey Through Ash and Smoke (9780545909792, $17.99) tells of a time-traveling golden retriever whose training to search and rescue leads him on an unexpected mission to Viking Age Iceland, where he meets a girl who rescues him, for a change. A volcano threatens to erupt and destroy her world: can even a talented retriever change anything for her? Middle school readers who love animals and time travel stories will relish this adventure.

The Judaic Shelf

Shavuos Guess Who?
Ariella Stern, author
Patti Argoff, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781945560002 $9.95

Shavuos Guess Who? is a "lift-the-flap" picturebook designed especially for Jewish children. Shavuos (also written as "Shavuot", or called the "Feast of Weeks") is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the day God gave the Torah (the Jewish holy book) to the entire nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. In Shavuos Guess Who?, children are encouraged to guess the answers to Shavuos riddles, hidden behind the simple flaps. Bright, colorful illustrations and a glossary of Hebrew terms round out this delightful picturebook.

K'tonton's Sukkot Adventure
Sadie Rose Weilerstein, author
Joe Boddy, illustrator
Jewish Publication Society
2100 Arch Street, 2nd floor, Philadelphia PA 19103-1399
9780827612686, $11.95,

"K'tontotn's Sukkot Adventure" is a nostalgic retelling of a beloved traditional Sukkot tale about K'tonton, the tiny boy who has been called the Jewish Tom Thumb. Illuminated with witty, detailed black and white drawings laced with humor, "K'tonton's Sukkot Adventure" presents the tale framed in traditional story -telling style. There are actually two tales presented; the first is a story of how a blessed husband and wife came to wish for a child "even if he were no bigger than my thumb," and how that wish came to be granted to them. The couple named their tiny son Isaac Samuel, but they called him K'tonton because he was very, very little. He was so small that his cradle was the curved, carved lid of an etrog (citron, a fruit from Israel). When Tom grew bigger, as big as his father's middle finger, he was full of joy and mischief. He wanted very badly to go to the synagogue for Sukkot with his father. His father, however, told him he must wait until he was older and bigger. Thus began the brave little K'tonton's Sukkot adventure, for he found a special way to be carried to the synagogue and to be a part of the great Sukkot festival. In the process, K'tonton discovered a way to climb high above the crowds of people to see all the beauties of the synagogue, by climbing up the lulav, or palm branch, which his father carried, on its braided willow and myrtle branch sheaf. Many are the wondrous sights that greet little K'tonton's eyes as he swayed precariously on the lulav waved by his father to the east, west, north , and south, in a traditional blessing prayer . When K'tonton joined in the crowd's singing "Hodu l'Adonai ki tov (Praise the Lord for He is good)," his shrill tiny voice was heard by all. Thankfully, his father scolded him but did not spank him. The last word of the tale is uttered by the mysterious wrinkled old woman who helped his mother fulfill her wish for a child no bigger than her thumb. "A wonder child," she murmured. "Even when he runs away, where does he run to? The synagogue!" "K'tonton's Sukkot Adventure" is a delightful traditional tale for children ages 4-9, completed with a glossary of special terms and phrases in Hebrew.

The Christian Shelf

For The Beauty Of The Earth
Folliot S. Pierpoint, author
Lucy Fleming, illustrator
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Ave. 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
9781506421834, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

The poetry of this classic hymn combine with beautiful illustrations to create a picture book that children and adults alike will cherish. The lyrics of "For the Beauty of the Earth", originally written in 1864 by English hymnist, poet, and teacher, Folliot S. Pierpoint, celebrate creation, family, music, and community. Impressively beautiful, full color illustrations by Lucy Fleming bring the words to life, capturing the rich imagery of the song. "For The Beauty Of The Earth" includes the written music and lyrics so families can sing the song together. An ideal picture book, especially for children ages four to eight, "For The Beauty Of The Earth" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Reformation ABCs
Stephen J. Nichols and Ned Bustard
Crossway Books
1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
9781433552823 $16.99

Although Reformation ABCs is a children's picturebook with an alphabet format, its text is modestly advanced, featuring a whole page of religious information and history of each letter- themed topic. For example, the entry for T is Tyndale, that is, William Tyndale, the martyr who was determined to translate the Bible into English for the people to read, even though translating it from Latin was against the law at the time. Reformation ABCs works especially well as a starting point for Sunday school or home schooling about the dramatic religious transformation that was the Reformation.

The Story of Noah's Ark
Hellen Dardik, illustrator
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762461844, $9.95, Board Book, 24pp,

A long time ago, the people of the world were not treating each other kindly. God was very sad, and so he decided to send a flood to cover the entire world. However, one man, Noah, and his family were very good people, so God told Noah to build a big boat and to gather two of every kind of animal to be kept safe in the boat when the floor arrived. Noah did as God commanded and soon he, his family, and all the animals were drifting in the flood waters. After many weeks of waiting, the flood went away and Noah, his family, and the animals were able to again return to land. God set a rainbow in the sky, promising Noah that he would never again flood the earth. This charmingly illustrated retelling of a classic story of the Bible is especially recommended to the attention of children ages 4 to 6. While very highly recommended for family, preschool, day care center, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library Board Book collections, it should be noted for parents that "The Story of Noah's Ark" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.99).

The Biography Shelf

Karl, Get Out of the Garden!
Anita Sanchez, author
Catherine Stock, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580896061, $17.99, HC, 48pp,

Carolus (Karl) Linnaeus (23 May 1707 10 January 1778) started off as a curious child who loved exploring the garden. Despite his intelligence (and his mother's scoldings) he was a poor student, preferring to be outdoors with his beloved plants and bugs. As he grew up, Karl's love of nature led him to take on a seemingly impossible task: to give a scientific name to every living thing on earth. The result was the Linnaean system which is now the basis for the scientific classification system used by biologists around the world today. Backyard sciences are engagingly brought to life in the beautiful color artwork of Catherine Stock. Deftly written by Anita Sanchez, "Karl, Get Out of the Garden!" also includes back matter with more information about Linnaeus and scientific classification, a classification chart, a time line, source notes, resources for young readers, and a bibliography. Especially recommended for children ages 7 to 10, "Karl, Get Out of the Garden!" is very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to elementary school and community library picture book formatted biography collections.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Wings of Fire: Escaping Peril
Tui T. Sutherland
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545685450 $6.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle

The eight novel in the Wings of Fire fantasy series focused on dragons and their varied societies, Wings of Fire: Escaping Peril features Pril, a dragon whose firescales are notoriously powerful and fatal. Peril was once loyal to Queen Scarlet, even though the Queen used Peril's firescales to slaughter dragons in the SkyWing arena. Now, Peril is loyal to Clay, her only friend. Now, Queen Scarlet poses a deadly threat to Clay and his beloved Jade Mountain Academy. Peril is determined to stop her former queen, but in the process she must decide where her loyalties truly lie, and whether there is value in preserving the firescales that have brought her so much pain. Although Wings of Fire: Escaping Peril is intended for a young adult audience, its story will appeal to dragon fans of all ages. Highly recommended, especially for junior high, high school, and public library fantasy collections.

Dream Magic
Joshua Khan
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484737620, $16.99,

Dream Magic provides a Shadow Magic fantasy young adults will relish and will reach middle grade readers with a fine account of a heroine and a boy who becomes attached to a giant bat instead of the dragon he's supposed to be slated for. One doesn't expect the humor that permeates this fantasy - such devices are rare in adult circles; let alone young reader fantasy stories - but Dream Magic is a standout in more ways than one, and as readers follow the saga, they'll find much appeal in its unexpected twists.

Revenge of the Star Survivors
Michael Merschel
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823436675, $17.95,

Revenge of the Star Survivors follows the adventures of Clark, who has crash-landed on an inhospitable planet (Festus Middle School) where everyone is unfriendly. Such is eighth grade - and Clark is resigned to his role as an alien outsider in this new realm until he makes some discoveries that change his world. From toughing out hard times and handling school thugs to facing isolation and disaster, Clark has his hands full in this satisfying meld of science fiction and friendship challenges.

The Fantastic Adventures of Sticky
Rene Cournoyer
Sticky's Adventures
9780997468106, $21.00, PB, 120pp,

Sticky the elf has a special gift, he can shoot bubblegum from his hands. Sticky and his two best friends, Dumbley the dwarf and Robyn the elf, are headed on a Fantastic Adventure. They will journey from their sheltered, fantasy village of Shendale, hidden from human eyes in the forest to the real world of humans, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 1776. Along the way, this special elf will help everyone he meets, spreading his special brand of cheer and humor. He also learns a few special lessons of friendship, loyalty, and a touch of human history with bubblegum goodness along the way! Highly recommended for children ages 4 to 12 in general, and 4th graders in particular, "The Fantastic Adventures of Sticky" by Rene Cournoyer is the first volume of a four-book series. Double-spaced for easy reading, the chapters are short to build a young child's confidence in reading. This design is especially great for kids with ADD or ADHD.

The Art Shelf

13 Art Materials Children Should Know
Narcisa Marchioro
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791372600, $14.95, HC, 48pp,

Living in northeastern Italy, Narcisa Marchioro teaches art to young people. In "13 Art Materials Children Should Know" she draws upon her expertise and experience to provide children ages 9 to 12 a fun and educational journey through art history revealing and explaining how the materials artists use in their work have evolved over the centuries, around the world. The earliest artists wielded bones, pieces of ivory, and wooden sticks to create works that tell us much about how ancient civilizations lived and thought. Today artists are using found objects to make elaborate pieces that are equally revealing. "13 Art Materials Children Should Know" offers fascinating perspective that focuses on 13 kinds of artistic materials to trace the development of artistic expression throughout history. Profusely illustrated spreads explore how precious metals and gems were used by ancient Egyptian artisans and how Greek sculptors created beautiful vessels out of clay. It reveals the importance of cast metals to the Romans, and glass to the builders of Gothic cathedrals and Byzantine mosaics. "13 Art Materials Children Should Know" also shows how the same materials were used by artists centuries apart: paper as parchment for illuminated manuscripts but also for artist books. Individual chapters explore the intriguing histories of paint and drawing, ranging from ground pigment to acrylic and from charcoal sticks to pen and ink. Along the way young readers will become familiar with celebrated and lesser-known works of art and the people who created them. Informative and entertaining, this latest addition to the outstanding Prestel Publishing's '13 Children Should Know' series reveals how resourcefulness and ingenuity are the artist's most precious tools. Informed and informative, "13 Art Materials Children Should Know" is thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, making it very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Art History collections for young readers.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

The Movie Making Book
Dan Farrell & Donna Bamford
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613739150, $18.99, PB, 144pp,

Dan Farrell and Donna Bamford are the codirectors of Sparks, a film school for young people based in London. Together they have more than ten years' experience in leading children's film workshops and oversee Sparks' courses and education projects. Since 2010, they have helped over 3,000 young filmmakers to produce their own movies. In "The Movie Making Book: Skills and Projects to Learn and Share", they draw upon their experience and expertise to provide children ages 7 to 12 with a comprehensive and thoroughly 'kid friendly' instruction manual and guide on how to make their own videos using smartphone technology. Kids can also learn how to make "artsy-looking" films on their tablets or take a stab at more in-depth movie making with the family video recorder. This clear, easy-to-follow guide includes fun games and mini-projects that teach kids all the techniques they will need in order to get started in movies. Kids can learn and practice basic shots such as establishing shots and close-ups; creative shots such as high and low angles; panning and tracking; special effects tricks; storytelling skills; the basic techniques of editing; and much more. Then move on to 14 more advanced projects (including making talk shows, superhero movies, video greeting cards, and spy movies) by applying the skills and information provided in the illustrated pages of "The Movie Making Book". Kids won't need fancy equipment or training to become a filmmaker. With "The Moving Making Book" they can simply grab a phone, tablet, or video recorder and a friend of two and get started making and safely sharing their movies and videos with their friends, their families, and anyone else.

Doctor Who: The Dangerous Book of Monsters
BBC Children's Books
c/o Puffin Books
c/o Penguin Random House
1405920033 $16.99

Packed with color photographs and illustrations on almost every page, Doctor Who: The Dangerous Book of Monsters is the official guide to the weird, fantastic, and all-too-often deadly creatures of the popular science fiction television series! Although The Dangerous Book of Monsters is written especially to be accessible to young adults, series connoisseurs of all ages will enjoy browsing through the myriad entries complete with survival tips. (For Daleks, the survival tips are "I don't have any. RUN - they'd exterminate you. HIDE - they'd find and exterminate you. They eye stalk's the only weak point a Dalek has. But you'll probably be dead before you remember I told you that.") The Dangerous Book of Monsters is just plain fun to page through, and highly recommended to Doctor Who fans everywhere.

The Bilingual Shelf

The Little Doctor / el doctorecito
Juan J. Guerra, author
Victoria Castillo, illustrator
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781561457618, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Salvador raced home from school to share exciting news with his abuela: he made an A+ on his science test! But at home, he learns that his grandmother needs his help. She is going to the doctor and wants her grandson to interpret for her. Abuela is nervous because she has never been to a doctor in the United States. In El Salvador, she either saw a curandera or drank te de manzanilla when she felt sick. When he learns that none of the physicians speak Spanish, the boy realizes that he is completely responsible for making sure the doctor understands his grandmother and that she understands his instructions! But in spite of his help, the visit does not go well. The doctor rushes in and out. He doesn't listen to Abuela. And he tells Salvador that she should not eat so much Mexican food! Abuela is so upset that she threatens not to take the medication the doctor prescribes! What can Salvador do to help her? In this engaging bilingual (English/Spanish) picture book for children ages 4-8, a young Salvadoran boy dreams of becoming a doctor who speaks both English and Spanish so that patients like his beloved grandmother aren't afraid to visit the doctor. Paired with lively, colorful illustrations by Victoria Castillo, this entertaining and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book by Juan J. Guerra (a doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology) will encourage children to think about their own futures as well as the role their culture can play in helping the community. "The Little Doctor / el doctorecito" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections for children.

The American History Shelf

Strange Fruit
Gary Golio, author
Charlotte Riley-Webb, illustrator
Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781467751230, $19.99, HC, 40pp,

Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 July 17, 1959), professionally known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz musician and singer-songwriter with a career spanning nearly thirty years. "Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song" takes its title from the occasion that her audience was completely silent the first time Billie Holiday performed a song called "Strange Fruit." In the 1930s, Billie was known as a performer of jazz and blues music, but this song wasn't either of those things. It was a song about injustice, and it would change her life forever. Young readers ages 8 to 12 will discover how two outsiders Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants combined their talents to create a song that challenged racism and paved the way for the Civil Rights movement. Powerfully illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb, Gary Golio's telling of this impressive story is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted that "Strange Fruit" is also available in a Kindle format ($7.99).

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999,

Samantha Seiple's Death on the River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Amazon Adventure (9780545709163, $17.99) offers young adults a powerful, dramatic and true story of a former American president who toured South America in search of adventure. His change to lead an expedition into the Amazon jungle in an exploration with his son and a Brazilian explorer resulted in the adventure of a lifetime, revealed here. Black and white photos pepper a story that is immediate, revealing, and completely engrossing, recommended for students studying Roosevelt's life and leisure adventure nonfiction readers alike. Tod Olson's Lost in Outer Space: The Incredible Journey of Apollo 13 (9780545928151, $12.99) follows the third mission to the moon, when an explosion leaves three astronauts in jeopardy, and provides a dramatic account of events that includes a teen daughter's frightening moments facing her father's danger, and a NASA team charged with bringing astronauts safely home after disaster strikes. Black and white photos accompany a drama-filled story that reads like fiction but is packed with facts. The focus on family and other individuals concerned about the events adds an extra dimension to keep grades 4-8 interested in the story.

The World History Shelf

The Big Book of Canada
Christopher Moore
Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6
9781101918944, $34.99,

This updated edition of The Big Book of Canada enjoys illustrations by Bill Slavin and arrives in time for Canada's 150th birthday as it packs in photos and art to supplement a discussion of the country's provinces and territories. Why should it be considered for an elementary-level American library? Because relatively few books about Canada delve into details about the country, and because the lively format of Canada's politics, peoples, cultures and laws should be required reading for any child in this country who would better know our neighbors.

The Literary Shelf

Moby Dick
Herman Melville, author
Phillip Edwards, author
Adam Horsepool, illustrator
Flowerpot Press
142 2nd Ave. North, Franklin, TN 37064
9781486712007, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

This picture book adaptation of Herman Melville's classic American novel, "Moby Dick" is retold by Phillip Edards and engaging illustrated for children ages 7 to 10 by Adam Horsepool. Part of the Flowerpot Press '10 Minute Classics' series, this timeless tale of a man called Ishmael who joins the crew of an ultimately doomed whaling ship called the Pequod. But little did Ishmael know that he was about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. With Captain Ahab at the helm, Ishmael and his crewmates quickly learned that they weren't simply hunting whales, they were on a quest for the biggest catch there ever was, the great white whale of legend, Moby Dick. This picture book will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Psychology Shelf

Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106

This publisher's books about emotions and difficult situations is geared to young picture book readers in grades 2-4 and the parents who read aloud to them, and offer four new titles that should be in the elementary-level collections of any library seeking to include books about interpersonal relationships and better understanding. Tracey Ross's My Book of Feelings (9781785921926, $16.95) comes from a parent and an artist who join forces to explore the nature of feelings for kids ages 5 and older, and offers some thirty pages of insights about emotions. Language blends with visual embellishments that explore different emotions and how they are present in everyday life. Arlen Grad Gaines and Meredith Englander Polsky's I Have a Question About Death: A Book for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other Special Needs (9781785927508, $14.95) is designed specifically for children with special needs to help them understand death, and is directed to kids ages 5-11 with such needs. From understanding the nature of death and what one can do when someone dies to ceremonies surrounding death and handling ongoing feelings of loss, this is a simply written, simply drawn discussion that opens the doors for adult/child interactions about the subject. Abi Rawlins works with Catherine Frizzell on Is it OK to Ask Questions About Autism? (9781785921704, $17.95), based on actual discussions from autism awareness workshops in schools. It takes the most common question kids ask about autism and designs answers using a blend of simple illustrations and text for ages 5-11, but its best use is as an introductory discussion tool with adult assistance. Friendship and understanding is encouraged. Kathy Hoopmann's All Birds Have Anxiety (9781785921827, $15.95) blends natural history and humor with discussions of bird behaviors and symptoms to help kids understand not just bird facts, but human experiences of anxiety. From dry mouth and an aching stomach to sleepless nights and uncontrollable worries, this is a fine book that introduces the basic concept of anxiety and its symptoms.

The Math Shelf

Let's Estimate
David A. Alder, author
Edward Miller, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823436682, $17.95

Let's Estimate: A Book About Estimating and Rounding Numbers is illustrated by Edward Miller and features cartoon dinosaurs as it encourages kids to learn the concepts involved in math estimation. How much pizza is needed for a dinosaur party, and how do people use rounded numbers in the estimation process? A fun story evolves, perfect for reaching elementary-level kids who view math with reluctance and dinosaur stories with excitement.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt
Ben Clanton
Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6
9781101918296, $12.99,

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt represents Book 2 in the series that tells of a happy Narwhal and a jellyfish who have a series of adventures in this graphic novel chapter presentation. Three underwater encounters are presented as Narwhal reveals his super-powers to his friend and uses his newfound abilities to help others. A story of friendship and good intentions evolves, perfect for elementary-level readers looking for graphic novels to help them into the next step of chapter book reading.

Dog Man Unleashed
Dav Pilkey
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545935203, $9.99,

Dog Man Unleashed provides good-sized, simple full-color graphic novel cartoons to embellish the story of pets, treasure chests, dinosaurs, and a feisty Dog Man, and is a fun read for young fans of the Captain Underpants series who will enjoy a different take on adventure here. Some of the panels are wordless while others fill in plot and action, but the character of Dog Man and his escapades invites all graphic novel readers to enjoy.

The Music CD Shelf

Dessert Island
Froggins and Bug
Privately Published
$12.99 CD / $9.99 download

Dessert Island is a children's music album; its "Froggins and Bug" band is the (fictional) invention of Grammy Award winning producer Dean Jones, his associate Shane Kirch, and other friends. The songs feature wacky humor, jazzy comedy, and pure, lighthearted spontaneity. Parents as well as children will enjoy the tongue-in-cheek clever puns and wacky lyrics! The tracks are "Literal Red Riding Hood", "Get a Job", "Puppets are Controlled by People", "I'd Like to Live in Your Hat", "Red Red Red Red Red", "Birthday Suit", "Sports", "Ecoute", "Dessert Island", "Horace the Horse", "Pseudonym", and "I Wish I Could Eat Pinecones".

The DVD Shelf

Back to School Stories and More
Weston Woods
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
9781338091083 $59.95

Back to School Stories and More gathers three video adaptations of children's picturebooks on a single DVD. The stories are "Miss Nelson Has a Field Day" (13 min.) by Harry Allard, about the willful Viola Swamp's efforts to get a football team in shape for the big game; "Crazy Hair Day" (12 min.) by Barney Saltzberg, about a young boy who unfortunately confuses Crazy Hair Day and School Picture Day; and "Will I Have a Friend?" (8 min.) by Miriam Cohen, about a young person's fears concerning his first day of school. Back to School Stories and More is an excellent choice for homeroom viewing, and highly recommended for kindergarten and elementary school library DVD collections.

Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Weston Woods
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816

Enhanced with a "read-along" option, Friendshape is the DVD adaptation of a delightful children's picturebook about a triangle, circle, square, and rectangle who celebrate the joys of friendship together. Narrated by a talented quintet of actors and enriched with music and simple animations, Friendshape is a choice pick for kindergarten and elementary school homeroom viewing. Highly recommended! 7 min.

The Environmental Shelf

Forest Communities: Living In Harmony with Fire
The Whizpops, composers/performers /authors
Glory Lawson, illustrator
Mountain Press Publishing Company
1301 South Third Street West, P.O. Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426744, $14.00, HC, 32pp,

"Forest Communities: Living in Harmony with Fire" is a popular song by the Whizpops that describes three distinctive forest communities in the West, typified by three different types of pine trees: ponderosa, lodgepole, and whitebark pines. The song lyrics go on to explain who each type of forest community lives and thrives and benefits form a cycle of life which includes fire. Accurate colored illustrations depict flora and fauna at each level of the three forest communities, and after each section description, the song refrain is repeated: "Every living thing growing in the woods agrees that forests need fire to live in harmony! There will always be another seed to grow underneath. It's the never-ending cycle of forest communities." At the end a section titled Living with Wildfires explains how "fire is a natural part of the ecosystem in the West." Things that people can do to help keep the forests healthy include thinning backyard forests, raking up pine needles and cones, an making their houses out of fireproof materials. "Forest Communities" is completed by a glossary of terms., and list of resources. "Forest Communities; Living in Harmony with Fire" is an educational, entertaining, exciting approach to fire awareness and preparedness for students age 5 and up.

Plants in Disguise
Debi Schmid and Lise Hedegaard
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426737 $15.00

Plants in Disguise: Features of Creatures in Flowers and Foliage is a colorful nonfiction children's book about plants that appear at first glance to resemble animals, or parts of animals. From the Cattail, a marsh plant with a brown, furry spike holding its seeds, to the hawksbeard, a flower with pale yellow petals that resemble the tufted feathers of a hawk, these amazing flora are drawn in a simple, colorful, and realistic style, and paired with fascinating botanical facts. Plants in Disguise is entertaining, educational, and highly recommended.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

The Young Adult's Guide to Being a Great Waiter or Waitress
Atlantic Publishing Editorial Staff
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781601389916 $19.95 pbk / $18.55 Kindle

The Young Adult's Guide to Being a Great Waiter or Waitress is designed to teach teenagers and young adults how to excel in food service and hospitality, thereby earning better tips on the job. Its practical advice and instructions are also invaluable to anyone new to waiting tables, whether as a part-time gig or a full-time career. Chapters cover how to deliver quality service (especially when customers' young children complicate matters), how to skillfully take orders, the art of "suggestive selling", serving alcohol, restaurant safety, and much more. A brief bibliography, an index, and a wealth of black-and-white as well as color photographs round out this excellent resource.

Books in Series

Ellie Camps Under the Stars
Marci and Elle Fair, authors
Chloe Fair, coeditor
Nelly Murariu, cover & layout designer
Pacochel Press LLC
9780996363549, $8.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle,

Last title of a popular series written by a mother daughter team, "Ellie Camps Under the Stars" takes the stuffed animal friends on a camping expedition with lots of outdoor fun. Ellie the elephant and Pudgy the penguin packed all they would need and hiked out to their dream campsite in the woods. Setting up their tent proved to be a daunting adventure in itself! Sleeping bags and flashlights, and other comforts and necessities made their campsite just like home. A hike was a fun adventure! Pudgy and Ellie found a secret path and a bridge over a rushing creek, near the mountain rocks. They even saw a butterfly! then it was time to return to the campsite for lunch. After a lunch of grilled sandwiches, the friends decided to play games like cards, dice, and word games. As it cooled off and grew darker, the friends built a campfire and made s'mores with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate. As stars began to twinkle in the sky, two forest friends joined Pudgy and Ellie at the campfire, an owl and a chipmunk! Ellie and Pudgy wished on the stars and named some of their favorite constellations in the night sky. Then they read in their tent with flashlights until they went to sleep, listening to the night sounds of the forest. The next morning, after a good camp breakfast and campsite cleanup, the friends hiked farther and saw their first waterfall. They hiked farther up the mountain to see a spectacular view of the valley below. The friends found that their camping and hiking adventures taught them that they were strong and courageous, embracing exciting adventures and spectacular new sights and experiences that would be a part of their memories all their lives. At the end of "Ellie Camps Under the Stars" are some games that friends like Ellie and Pudgy can play when they are camping too. Color photos of the favorite stuffed animal characters decorate every page of "Ellie Camps Under the Stars" in beautiful natural settings that invite further camping adventures.

The Escapades of Clint McCool series
Jane Kelley
Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014,

Two fine chapter book series adventures receive fun illustrations by Jessika von Innerebner as they follow Clint McCool's story of a young superhero whose passions lead to trouble. Octo-Man and the Headless Monster (9780448487533, $5.99) tells of eight-year-old Walter and his super identity as Clint McCool - and of an imagination gone wild. Walter is impulsive and quick to get into trouble, but his intends on doing good things - and so a combination of imagination and good intentions lead to adventures such as this, in which his penchant for action and invention lands him into trouble on a film set. Sol-Ray Man and the Freaky Flood (9780451533395, $5.99) tells of a broken water pipe, a day off from school, and Sol-Ray Man, who can't enter the school if nobody is there. Clint faces the dual challenges of being a superhero while facing a babysitter's attention and a call to go to bed: can he win despite his obligations? A fun story evolves.

Destination: Middle Ages: Your Guide to the Arts in the Middle Ages
Cynthia O'Brien, author
Tim Cooke, managing editor
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10118
9780778729952, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB, 32pp,

"Your Guide to the Arts in the Middle Ages" is a part of the "Destination: Middle Ages" educational series for elementary and middle school students. Lavishly studded with artwork, photos, and prints from studies of the era (which extended from 500-1500 A.D.), "Your Guide to the Arts in the Middle Ages" covers examples of the arts in literature, music, theater, paintings, wood carvings, sculpture, architecture, and inventions, as well as other areas. Many famous visual arts were created in the Middle Ages, such as stained glass windows, frescos, and stone carvings in churches. They usually portrayed an important Biblical or religious event or narrative. A system of apprentices evolved to help teach the arts and crafts of painting, carving, and sculpting. Young apprentice artists started by the age of 12 to learn their life's craft. Books were written by hand by monks in monasteries, and pages were beautifully illuminated on vellum pages, sometimes using gold and sliver paints. Literacy was taught in monasteries and later in schools and universities. Libraries of books had chains fixed to manuscripts to keep them on the shelves, because they were so valuable. Poems, ballads, and songs were also written and shared by many famous authors, including Geoffrey Chaucer ( of England), Dante Aligheiri (of Italy), and Hafiz (of Iran). Islamic, Italian, and French art flourished with certain leaders of creativity including, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jean Pucelle, Giotto di Bondone and Filippo Brunelleschi, artist and engineer. Examples of studies of philosophy and ground breaking inventions such as the printing press, medical studies through corpse dissection, and gunpowder affected the growth of Medieval civilization and culture. A glossary, list of internet resources and books plus a timeline of famous medieval arts achievements completes "Your Guide to the Arts in the Middle Ages." In addition, the following titles from the series, "Destination: Middle Ages" are also highly recommended: "Your Guide to Medieval Society" (9780778729914, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), by Rachel Stuckey, "Your Guide to Trade in the Middle Ages" (9780778729969, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), by James Bow, "Your Guide to Knights and the Age of Chivalry" (9780778729921, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), by Cynthia O'Brien, "Your Guide to Castles and Medieval Warfare" (9780778729945, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), by James Bow, and "Your Guide to the Islamic Golden Age" (9780778729938, $27.60 HC, $8.95 PB), by Tim Cooke.

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

Four new titles in the 'Leaving My Homeland' series ($20.70 each) are top recommendations. Each holds 32 pages of detail that supports the C3 Framework for Social Studies for grade 4, and each couches individual experience with explorations of different countries' political challenges and why its refugees came to this country. Ellen Rodger's A Refugee's Journey from Iraq (9780778731276) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (9780778731269) and Helen Mason's Syria (9780778731283) and Afghanistan (9780778731252) pair before, during, and after stories of a refugee child with a survey of each country's conflict and struggles. The result is a top, recommended series for any elementary library strong on contemporary immigrant history and experiences.

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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