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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 28, Number 6 June 2018 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Biography Shelf Science Shelf
Art Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Board Book Shelf
ABC Shelf Picturebook Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Agriculture Shelf Christian Shelf
Fiction Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Activity Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Health Shelf American History Shelf
Holiday Shelf Mythology Shelf Books in Series
Story Monsters Ink Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Girls With Dreams
Natasha Ravinand
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781979390989, $7.99, PB, 190pp,

The turn of the twenty-first century has proven humankind's genius. Technology is at its height -- space exploration, stem cell research, and self-driving cars are all normal occurrences. However, there happens to be a problem of incredible magnitude rising quickly in the tech sector: only 29% of science or engineering workers are female, and even less are of minority races. A high school girl with a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), Natasha Ravinand (who is also the founder of She Dreams in Code, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing coding opportunities for middle school girls) has dedicated most of her teen life to closing the gender gap in tech. In "Girls With Dreams: Inspiring Girls to Code and Create in the New Generation", she analyzes societal biases that enlarge the gender gap in the sciences, obstacles in the way of systemic change, and solutions for a better and more inclusive tomorrow. Interviewing successful female engineers, CEOs, and industry leaders, Natasha hopes to send one message, loud and clear, to her peers of today: anyone can learn how to code and create for the betterment of tomorrow. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Girls With Dreams" is especially recommended for young readers ages 7 to 9 and should be a part of every elementary school and community library collection.

Walking is a Way of Knowing
Madhuri Ramesh and Manish Chandi, authors
Matthew Frame, illustrator
Tara Books
9789383145607, $16.95, HC, 56pp,

The Kadars are a small indigenous community in south India. Even though they no longer live deep in the forest, they still walk its paths every day. For them, walking is a way of knowing, not just a way of getting from place to place. "Walking is a Way of Knowing: In a Kadar Forest" is the story of a Kadar elder who takes a young urban visitor through the tangled woods that make up his ancient home. Collaboratively written by Madhuri Ramesh and Manish Chandi, and beautifully illustrated by Matthew Frame, "Walking is a Way of Knowing" fully captures an urban nature lover's experience of learning from a forest-dweller and brings alive the dark richness of an Indian tropical forest. An inherently fascinating, unique, informative, and exceptional read from first page to last, "Walking is a Way of Knowing" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers ages 12 to 16.

The Biography Shelf

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor
Patricia Valdez, author
Felicita Sala, illustrator
Alfred A. Knopf
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780399557255, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets! While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere -- she even brought a crocodile to school! When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children's tea parties--with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor. With a lively text by scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and the vibrant illustrations by Felicita Sala bring, "Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles " brings to life for children ages 4 to 8 Joan Procter's inspiring story of passion and determination. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Many Faces of Josephine Baker
Peggy Caravantes
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613730348, $19.95, HC, 208pp,

With determination and audacity, Josephine Baker was an African-American women who turned her comic and musical abilities into becoming a worldwide icon of the Jazz Age. "The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy" is a deftly crafted biography by Peggy Caravantes that provides the first in-depth portrait of this remarkable woman for young readers ages 12 to 17. Following Baker's life from her childhood in the depths of poverty to her comedic rise in vaudeville and fame in Europe, The Many Faces of Josephine Baker" is informative and entertaining biography that covers her outspoken participation in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, her espionage work for the French Resistance during World War II, and her adoption of 12 children -- her self-described "rainbow tribe." Also included are informative sidebars on relevant topics such as the 1917 East St. Louis riot, Pullman railway porters, the Charleston, and more. The lush photographs, appendix updating young readers on the lives of the rainbow tribe, source notes, and bibliography make this is a must-have resource for any student, Baker fan, or history buff. While very highly recommended for both school and community library biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Many Faces of Josephine Baker" is now also available in a paperback edition (9781613738320, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.64).

Regina Persisted
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, author
Margeaux Lucas, illustrator
Apples & Honey Press
c/o Behrman House Inc.
241 Millburn Avenue, Millburn, NJ 07041
9781681155401, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Charmingly written by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and appealingly illustrated by Margeaux Lucas, "Regina Persisted" is story of Regina Jones who was the first woman ever ordained as a rabbi in Germany in 1935. This is a thoroughly entertaining picture book that will inspire children ages 6 to 8 to pursue their dreams and to persist in the face of challenges. It is interesting to note that the author, Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, was also the first Reconstructionist woman rabbi in the United States. "Regina Persisted" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, synagogue, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Simon Kenton: Unlikely Hero
Karen Meyer
Sable Creek Press
9780999115763, $16.99, HC, 116pp,

Simon Kenton first came to Kentucky in 1772 as a teen fleeing justice. The land captivated his heart and he dedicated the next 28 years to helping settlers, fighting Indians, and scouting for famous military leaders. When Lord Dunmore picked a fight with the Shawnee, Simon and his buddy Simon Girty carried war messages at the Battle of Point Pleasant. They also carried Chief Logan's eloquent speech to the peace negotiations. When his friend Daniel Boone fell from a Shawnee bullet, Simon lifted him like a sack of grain and carried him to safety. When George Rogers Clark led the daring attack on British Kaskaskia, Kenton played a key role. When captured and tortured by Shawnee Indians, Simon showed remarkable courage and endurance. When General "Mad Anthony" Wayne led an army in the Northwest Indian War, Captain Kenton headed the crew of one hundred scouts. When the Greenville Treaty brought peace and settlement of the Ohio Country, Simon headed to this new frontier. When Tecumseh and his brother The Prophet gathered Indians for a final effort to regain their lands, Kenton rode to investigate rumors and kept the nation advised. When Tecumseh joined forces with the British in the War of 1812, Simon, though not a young man, rode with the Kentucky militia as an advisor. An extraordinary and simply riveting biography for young readers ages 8 to 12, "Simon Kenton: Unlikely Hero" by Karen Meyer is unreservedly recommended for elementary school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Simon Kenton: Unlikely Hero" is also available in a paperback edition (9780999115749, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Science Shelf

StarTalk With Neil deGrasse Tyson: Young Readers Edition
Neil deGrasse Tyson
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426330889, $24.99, Library Binding, 224pp,

For decades, beloved astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has interpreted science with a combination of brainpower and charm that resonates with fans everywhere. In 2009, he founded StarTalk, the wildly popular podcast that became an Emmy-nominated talk show on the National Geographic Channel in 2015. Now it has evolved into one of the most popular science oriented series on television. Now in a new edition that is adapted for young readers, Tyson's pioneering book "StarTalk" takes the greatest hits from the airwaves to the page in one smart, richly illustrated compendium. Featuring vivid photography, thought-provoking sidebars, enlightening facts, and fun quotes from science and entertainment luminaries like Bill Nye and Josh Groban, "StarTalk" reimagines science's most challenging topics ranging from how the brain works to the physics of comic book superheroes -- and all in a relatable, humorous way that will attract, entertain, inform and inspire curious young readers. While an absolute 'must' for family, school and community library science collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "StarTalk With Neil deGrasse Tyson: Young Readers Edition" is also available in a paperback edition (9781426330872, $17.99).

Galaxies, Galaxies!
Gail Gibbons
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823420025, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Planet Earth is in the Milky Way Galaxy, the cloudy band of light that stretches clear across the night sky. How many galaxies are there in the universe? For years astronomers thought that the Milky Way was the universe. Now we know that there are billions of them. Gail Gibbons takes the reader on a journey light-years away in this newly revised and updated second edition of "Galaxies, Galaxies!" for young readers ages 4 to 8. While an absolute 'must' addition for elementary school and community library picture book science collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Galaxies, Galaxies!" is also available in a paperback format (9780823439652, $7.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Art Shelf

Phelps Publishing
PO Box 22401, Cleveland, OH 44122

Earl Phelps draws upon his more than 30 years of experience and expertise as an artist to produce two fun and thoroughly 'kid friendly' instructional art books specifically designed for children ages 6 to 12. With "How to Draw for Children and Young Adults: Animals" (9781887627115, $13.95, PB, 66pp) children can easily learn how to draw animals from around the world with simple step-by-step illustrations. It's all about just putting together circles, squares and lines. The illustrations alone will guide young artists through everything. No words are needed to explain. Following the same format, "How to Draw for Children and Young Adults: Supercharacters" (9781887627108, $13.95, PB, 66pp) focuses on how to draw in the particularly 'kid favorite' theme of Super Heros. Offering hours of do-it-yourself fun for aspiring young artists, both of these outstanding do-it-yourself art books are very highly recommended for personal and family art instruction collections.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Secret Key of Pythagorum
Michele Angello
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
9781683507888, $16.95, PB, 224pp,

Savaric doesn't know what to think. Is he a warlock? Is he cursed? Everyone already looks at him strangely everywhere he goes. But all that changes when Savaric discovers that, under the right circumstances, he can become invisible! However, what starts out as a fun talent quickly goes downhill when things start to go missing and he's always to blame. Even his own mother thinks he's responsible for every cooling pie missing from a window ledge (Well, maybe one or two!). That is, until the day when his gift leads him to a mysterious map written in a language he's never seen, and a beautiful golden key. In the whirlwind that follows, Savaric leaves the only home he's ever known, and sets off alone to solve the mystery behind the map and key. He soon makes friends and enemies alike, plans a prison escape, digs for treasure more than once, and meets Kings, Queens, and fairies. Savaric may even help stop destabilizing battles for the throne and save the English kingdom! -- All the more impressive when considering that "The Secret Key of Pythagorum" is author Michele Angello's debut as a fantasy fiction writer for young readers, this imaginative and deftly crafted novel will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both school and community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fans that "The Secret Key of Pythagorum" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.00).

The Board Book Shelf

Walk and See: Colors
Rosalind Beardshaw
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763699178, $7.99, Board Book, 26pp,

Talented artist Rosalind Beardshaw's "Walk and See: Colors" is elegant but sturdy board book that takes very young preschool age children on a lively and entertaining journey to explore the colors of the rainbow. Beardshaw's beautiful illustrations and visual storytelling style follow two children on a summer walk through the countryside, bringing a narrative feel to this simple board book for very young readers. The third in a series of seasonal concept books, "Walk and See: Colors" is a extraordinary board book to visit again and again -- making it unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library collections.

Poor Little Rabbit
Jorg Muhle, author/illustrator
Gecko Press
9781776571772, $9.99, Board Book, 10pp,

Oh no, Little Rabbit has hurt his arm. And there's blood! Can you help him? Blow gently three times, try a bandage, a rhyme, but he's still crying... Let's give his ears a stroke and wipe his tears. There, all better! Off you go, Little Rabbit! This follow-up to two previously published board books from Gecko Press, "Tickle My Ears" (9781776570768, $9.99) and "Bathtime for Little Rabbit" (9781776571376, $9.99), author and illustrator Jorg Muhle's "Poor Little Rabbit" is a perfectly simple, entertaining, and interactive board book for children ages 5 to 6 who love to take care of Little Rabbit. Like Jorg Muhle's two previous board books, "Poor Little Rabbit" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Hello Birds, What Do You Say?
Loes Botman, illustrator
Floris Books
9781782504887, $9.95, Board Book, 12pp,

"Hello Birds, What Do You Say?" by Lose Botman is a bright and lively board book introduces young children to a variety of birds and the special sounds they make. Botman's colourful and detailed illustrations bring the different birds (including a robin, blue tit, swan, pigeon and duck) are brought vividly to life. Children ages 1 to 3 will learn to recognize the birds (many of which live in their gardens, parks and countryside) and be encouraged to try out their distinctive calls. The simple concepts and words make "Hello Birds, What Do You Say?" is perfect for exploring with young children and highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections.

Whose Boat?
Toni Buzzeo, author
Tom Froese, illustrator
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419728358, $9.99, Board Book, 16pp,

"Whose Boat?" is a nonfiction ode to boats features six kinds of workers and their boats (a patrol boat, a tugboat, a car ferry, a lobster boat, a lifeboat, and a fireboat) with important parts properly labeled. The answer to each inquiring refrain lies under a gatefold, engaging the reader in an informative guessing game. With lyrical (and factual!) text by author Toni Buzzeo, and the stylized art of Tom Froese, "Whose Boat" is a sturdy board book is perfect for curious and playful young readers ages 2 to 4. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections, it should be noted that "Whose Boat?" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

The ABC Shelf

Native American ABCs
Colten Lechowicz, author
Lisa Lechowicz, author
Wade Patton, illustrator
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781631774928, $14.95, HC, 62pp,

Colten Lechowicz is a member of the Bois Forte Tribe, a band of the Chippewa, and is also part Lakota Sioux. Colten has lived with Grandma Lisa for most of his 11 years. To enhance Colten's reading ability and introduce him to the native culture, Colten and Grandma Lisa wrote "Native American ABCs". Together, they selected the words to use for each letter and Grandma Lisa created a rhyme to reinforce the learning of the subject and the reading concepts. "Native American ABCs" is dedicated to the Native American culture and the native children who are its future. One dollar from the proceeds of each book sold will be donated to the Rosebud Elementary School in Rosebud, South Dakota. Rosebud Elementary serves 300 students, 98% of which are Native American. 100% of the students come from low-income families. The work of the staff at this school is to be applaud and are the resulting donations associated with "Native American ABCs" will help them obtain the resources they need to ensure strong educational opportunities for their students. Unique, entertaining, instructive, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' for children ages 2 to 5 in organization and presentation, "Native American ABCs" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library ABC picture book collections.

Let's Go ABC!: Things That Go, from A to Z
Rhonda Gowler Greene, author
Daniel Kirk, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9780802735096, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

The alphabet comes to zooming, vrooming life with vehicles for every letter from A to Z in "Let's Go ABC!: Things That Go, from A to Z!" A big, boxy bus drives up for letter B, a kayak floats by for letter K, and a rocket blasts off for letter R. A fun and thrilling range of planes, trains, automobiles, and more take readers on a ride through this charming early-learning Picture book for children ages 2 to 5. Once again beloved picture book author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrator Daniel Kirk join forces to create another preschool appropriate and classic rhyming story for every young fan of things that go! Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and presentation, "Let's Go ABC!: Things That Go, from A to Z" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

Grandpa? I Wanted to Ask...
Alana Dorrell, author
Joan Coleman, illustrator
Lanier Press
9781631831324 $12.99

An exciting adventure from the series, Wondrous Days of the 3 A's, "Grandpa? I Wanted to Ask...." tells the tender story of a busy day on the avocado farm for Alana, helping Grandpa with many projects. Alan and her sisters Amy and Allie. Together they are known as the three A's, on the avocado farm where they live with their mother and grandparents. Every day is an adventure for the 3 A's, filled with fun things like swinging in the tree, making mud pies, playing hide and seek, and more. On her day of being a special helper to Grandpa, Alana learns many special things about her quiet, loving Grandpa. Paying close attention to all the chores and tasks that Grandpa tends, Alana notices that he works hard at fixing the tractor engine, with tools stored in an overstocked, disorganized barn full of tools and things. Alana has many questions she wants to ask her Grandpa, such as, why do you keep putting more junk in the barn but never throw anything away? Because Alana becomes very engrossed in watching her busy Grandpa while helping, she never quite gets around to asking her questions out loud. She decides maybe she will ask him later. At noon and 6 her Grandma calls the family to lunch and dinner on the farmhouse porch. After supper, the family snuggles on the couch in the family room and Grandpa brings bowls of ice cream for everyone. After a long day of working and helping Grandpa, Alana is tired and ready to brush her teeth, put on her pajamas, and say goodnight. She still has so many questions for her Grandpa, but she stops. It is enough to learn to appreciate the quiet, special moments of each day with her loving, quiet grandpa. Pages full of blue outlined thought clouds of colored illustrations recall Alana's busy day of thinking of questions while helping Grandpa. The perfect closing page shows Alana smiling at her Grandpa as he tucks her into bed to sleep. The best messages and answers are sometimes not put into words, they come quality time spent together, with a deep awareness of love.

You're Snug With Me
Chitra Sounder, author
Poonam Mistry, illustrator
Lantana Publishing
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781911373476, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

At the start of winter, two bear cubs are born, deep in their den in the frozen north. "Mama, what lies beyond here?" they ask their mother. "Above us is a land of ice and snow." "What lies beyond the ice and snow?" they ask. "Beyond the snow is the ocean, full of ice from long ago." And as the earth dances on her toes and the nights get longer, the little bear cubs learn from their mother the secrets of the earth and their place in it. And always they know, as they bury themselves in her warm fur, "You're snug with me." A stunningly, beautifully illustrated story by the team of author Chitra Sounder and artist Poonam Mistry, "You're Snug With Me" is set in the snowy landscapes of the frozen north and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

Phil Cummings, author
Shane Devries, illustrator
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
4901 Morena Blvd, Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781610677394, $12.99, HC, 32pp,

The King's battles with the dragon were always mighty and loud! But for a young boy who lived in the kingdom in silence and so couldn't heart the fighting, he could still see the fear in the others around him. How much everyone would be happier around him if the fighting were to end! A deftly crafted and unfailingly entertaining picture book story from the team of author Phil Cummings and illustrator Shane Devries, "Boy" will prove to be a welcome and utterly charming addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

Duck, Duck, Moose
Joy Heyer, author/illustrator
Pink Umbrella Books
9780998516257 $13.99 32 pages

"Duck, Duck, Moose" is a charming illustrated children's tale written in humorous verse about creative solutions to matching different kinds of friends in mutual play. Duck misses his friend Goose who has flown south for the winter. He meets other friends, including a pig, a fish, snakes, a porcupine, and a moose, who offer different ideas of games to play together. Duck found that he was usually the victim in the proposed games. Missing his friend Goose, Duck becomes angry, disheartened, and sad. Then Duck has a wonderful idea for a new game all his friends will enjoy along with him - Hide and Seek! The quirky, nostalgic illustrations perfectly complement the humorous verse in this delightful story of "Duck, Duck, Moose," written for children ages 6-8 years.

Not 'Til Tomorrow, Phoebe
Julie Zwillich, author
Denise Holmes, illustrated
Owlkids Books Inc.
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771471725, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Phoebe's day is full of tomorrows: Mama says they can make pancakes, her teacher announces musicians will visit the class, and Phoebe will get ice cream after her haircut -- but none of it 'til tomorrow. Phoebe feels frustrated and impatient. Why can't these good things happen right now? Later in the day, Phoebe's grandmother bakes cookies and shares the secret ingredient to turn today into tomorrow: a good night's sleep. Phoebe decides she'll try it out. Gracefully written by Julie Zwillich and charmingly illustrated by Denise Holmes, "Not 'Til Tomorrow, Phoebe" is a sweet, practical story that offers a gentle lesson in the meaning of time. It also addresses the sense of unease and injustice kids may feel since they rarely control the way a day unfolds. Bold illustrations full of personality and diversity bring plucky, curious Phoebe's world to life on the page, making this an enjoyable early-learning read -- and very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 7.

Scaredy Book
Devon Sillett, author
Cara King, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335682, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Book lives at the library and desperately wants to go outside, but is intimidated by all the things that might happen 'out there'. A page might get torn. Book's cover might get dirty. Book might never be returned to the library! Meanwhile, Emma loves visiting the library and delights in the many adventures to be had in the stories she finds there. When Emma meets Book, they find they are just what each other needs. Together, Book and Emma move out of their comfort zone to try new things, meet new people, and enjoy a few quiet adventures - climbing trees, laughing in the rain, and even cheering along at a soccer match. Along the way, they discover that 'out there' needn't be scary if you just take it one step at a time. Children ages 4 to 8 (and their parents) will enjoy "Scaredy Book", a charming story by author Devon Sillett that is wonderfully illustrated throughout by Cara King about being brave, taking risks, and living to tell the tale! Thoroughly entertaining with its beneficial underlying message, "Scaredy Book" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Good Night, Forest
Denise Brennan-Nelson, author
Marco Bucci, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585363889, $16.99, 32pp,

Even the forest has to sleep! This sweet walk through the forest says good night to flora and fauna alike, from the quiet bunny to the howling coyote. With silly, colorful illustrations by Marco Bucci and a soft rhyme by Denise Brennan-Nelson that is sure to lull little ones ages 2 to 7 off to sleep, "Good Night, Forest" will be a favorite bedtime pick. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that "Good Night, Forest" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.14).

The Itchy Book!
LeUyen Pham, author/illustrator
Hyperion Books for Children
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781368005647, $9.99, HC, 64pp,

Triceratops has an itch. So does Pterodactyl and Brontosaurus and T-Rex! But Dino-Mo reminds them all of the BIG rule: Dinosaurs do not scratch! What's an itchy dinosaur to do? Children ages 4 to 8 will find out in "The Itchy Book!", an hilariously funny and absolutely charming beginning reader by author/illustrator LeUyen Pham. A lively, colorful, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' read from first page to last, "The Itchy Book!" is especially and particularly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Look, See the Farm!
Bill Wilson and Katie Fallon, authors
Leigh Anne Carter, illustrator
Hatherleigh Press
c/o The Hatherleigh Foundation
62545 State Highway 10, Hobart, NY 13788
9781578267422, $12.50, HC, 32pp,

Collaboratively written by Bill Wilson and Katie Fallon, and charmingly illustrated by Leigh Anne Carter, "Look, See the Farm!" is the heartwarming story of two sisters visiting their grandparents' organic farm during each of the four seasons, discovering the many interesting creatures that make the farm their home. Children ages 3 to 7 will be introduced to farm life and the animals living on the farm, as well as discovering the wild birds that thrive there! "Look, See the Farm!" teaches children about connecting with nature, as they join Kelsey and Avery in learning about local birds and their habits. Featuring a universal message and an enduring appeal, "Look, See the Farm" is an exciting, instructive, and entertaining journey be the start of a newfound appreciation for nature's beauty! While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Look, See the Farm!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster
Lari Don, author
Natasa Ilincic, illustrator
c/o Floris Books
9781782504856, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Scotland's Loch Ness (Lake Ness) is home to one of the most famous and legendary creatures -- the Loch Ness Monster. Imaginatively written by Lari Don and beautifully illustrated by Natasa Ilincic, "The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster" is the picture book story of two hungry children searching for the gold hidden beneath Urquhart Castle when they discover that treasure isn't the loch's only secret! Very highly recommended for children ages 3 to 7, "The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Bear Child
Geoff Mead, author
Sanne Dufft, illustrator
Floris Books
9781782504764, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

At bedtime a young called named Ursula asks her Daddy to tell her the tale of the bear folk: special beings who can choose to be either a bear or a person, depending if they want to catch a fish or read a book. Bear folk live extraordinary lives, he tells her. They are strong and clever, kind and loving, adventurous and creative -- just like her. Will I ever meet one?, Ursula asks. Perhaps she already has! "Bear Child" is an inspirational picture book story of parental love, belief and embracing individuality. Beautifully illustrated with the artwork of Sanne Dufft, children's author Geoff Mead deftly weaves what will prove to be a truly timeless folktale for children ages 3 to 7 -- making it especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Great Gray
Beverly Davis, author
Linda Cowan, illustrator
thewordverve inc
9781941251935, $18.00, HC, 48pp,

There was much excitement in the village of Anapur. The elephants Saguna and Prabir were expecting a little one -- a perfect calf. The parents dreamed often of their perfect baby and all the perfect things he would do. But when the baby was born he was a little less than perfect! And that's when his life changed for the better! In the pages of "Great Gray", children ages 3 to 12 will follow young Gray on his journey from "not quite right" to becoming Great Gray, a village hero! An inspiring story about exceeding the expectations of others (and oneself), by the team of author Beverly Davis and illustrator Linda Cowan, "Great Gray" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Great Gray" is also available in a paperback edition (9781941251058, $10.00).

A Lion Is a Lion
Polly Dunbar, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763697310, $15.99, HC, 40pp,

Dapper in his hat and flourishing a cane, a very large lion invites himself inside, inquires about Auntie Sue, and spins the two children of the house around the room in a silly dance. He doesn't mind at all if they invite him to lunch, where he gobbles up all his greens and devours the plate, too. When he leans in to ask for dessert, his sharp teeth gleam oh so pearly white, and it seems very possible that he may just bite.... Surely it's time to go-go-go - until, that is, the brave little girl finds her voice in a most satisfying way. A whimsical, rollicking, wonderfully entertaining picture book story for children ages 3 to 7 by author and illustrator Polly Dunbar, "A Lion Is a Lion" is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Frog and Beaver
Simon James, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763698195, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Frog and his friends live happily together on the river. At least they do until Beaver comes along. Beaver is determined to build the biggest and best dam anyone has ever seen, and he doesn't stop to think about what that will mean for everyone else's homes. Frog tries to tell Beaver that his dam is getting too big, but Beaver just won't listen. Before long, Beaver's dam is so huge that it stops all the water in the river, and Frog and his friends must move upstream. But diverted water also needs somewhere to go, and soon Beaver will learn that only one force is stronger than a mighty river -- friendship. With "Frog and Beaver", award winning author and illustrator Simon James has deftly crafted another wonderfully charming story with an underlying ecological message for children ages 3 to 7. "Frog and Beaver" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Good Morning, Harry Good Night, Daddy
Katy Beebe, author
Valeri Gorbachev, illustrator
9780802854506 $17.00

Good Morning, Harry Good Night, Daddy is illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev and tells of a family divided by work: Harry and his family live in their seaside cottage while Daddy works in London on a train. Their schedules are opposite during the daytime, but when Daddy comes home in the morn after working all night, he and his son enjoy their time together. The unusual approach of offering two parallel perspectives side by side allows youngsters to contrast their lives at different times in this lovely picture book family story.

Drawn Together
Minh Le, author
Dan Santat, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
9781484767603 $17.99

Drawn Together is illustrated by Caldecott medalist Dan Santat, whose engaging and different illustrations accent a fine story of a grandson and grandfather trying to communicate over language and age barriers. The thing that brings both together is a shared appreciation of art and stories, and so they overcome obstacles to make the most of family connections in a story that employs a minimum of words and a lot of picture communication to get the message across in a lovely, refreshingly different manner. Drawn Together is highly recommended for multigenerational and cross-cultural families and collections looking for something different.

Dr. Seuss's 100 First Words
Dr. Seuss
Random House
9781524770677 $11.99

Dr. Seuss's 100 First Words is presented in a sturdy board book format that lends to young fingers of ages 0-3 as it surveys basic introductory words babies and toddlers need to know. The artwork of Dr. Seuss is presented, with images from his most beloved books, and nicely accents a fun picture book primer that lends especially well to parent/child interaction.

There Was An Old Giant Who Swallowed a Clock
Becky Davies
Tiger Tales
9781680100761 $16.99

There Was An Old Giant Who Swallowed a Clock receives fun illustrations by Elina Ellis and features cut-away panels revealing clocks throughout as it tells of an old giant who swallows a clock. A lilting rhyme pairs with the fun drawings of clocks, giants, cats, and more that moves from clocks to knitting, nets, and other things he regrets swallowing. Kids will find the appealing drawings and zany circumstances make for a laugh-out-loud read.

Just Like Brothers
Elizabeth Baguley
Barefoot Books
9781782853459 $16.84

Aurelie Blanz illustrates the fine story of a woods where a mother forbids her child to play. The other warns him not to wander in the woods, but the brown-eyed child is "moon-mind and shut-ear" and doesn't listen when he chases rabbits into the forest and becomes lost. Lovely drawings pair with an equally lovely set of images in this appealing story that requires either good reading skills or parental read-aloud.

Elisapee and Her Baby Seagull
Nancy Mike
Inhabit Media
9781772271669 $16.95

Elisapee and Her Baby Seagull is illustrated by Charlene Chua and tells of a father who brings home a baby seagull for Elisapee to care for. She makes friends with him and even helps Nau learn how to fly; but as Nau grows and changes, will his encounters with the outside world lead him to want to lave for good? Based on Nancy Mike's childhood experience, this is a lovely story of wild animals and human caretakers and crafts a pointed message about both as the story progresses.

The Yark
Bertrand Santini
Gecko Press
9781776571710 $16.99

The Yark receives fine black and white illustrations throughout by Laurent Gapaillard, who brings to life the story of a monster who loves children in the wrong way. But his hunger for kids to eat comes with a problem: his digestive system can only tolerate very good children, and they don't usually travel the paths he can reach. Madeleine changes this; but is she too good to eat? A lovely story evolves for young readers past the early picture book stages who can appreciate the power of Gapaillard's evocative black and white accents.

The Golden Glow
Benjamin Flouw
9780735264120 $17.99

The Golden Glow tells of a nature-loving fox who loves to pick flowers, but comes across mention in his botany book of the rare Golden Glow plant, which grows only in the mountains. Fascinated by this little-known plant, Fox decides to leave home and search for it, and encounters many things he did not know about along the way. A surprise when he does reach his goals will keep kids and adult read-along participants charmed and surprised.

Andersen Press

Two fine new picture book offerings from this press are highly recommended picks for picture book readers looking for different entertainment. Young dinosaur lovers will relish Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross's The T-Rex Who Lost His Specs! (9781541514560, $17.99), a fun story of a poor blind dinosaur who "can't tell toast from toasted slippers or a towel from an owl" without them. As he looks, his friends help in this fun, rollicking rhyme of discovery. Tony Ross also writes I Want My Dad! (9781541514539, $17.99), which joins others in his Little Princess series about a girl who is proud of her father, the King, who is better than all other dads...for the most part. As her father's faults grow, his little princess learns a lesson in love in this fun story of a stubborn little girl's love for her father.

Orchard Books/Scholastic

Four new picture books from Scholastic provide young readers with lively stories and lovely illustrations, and are recommended for collections seeking lasting value from their acquisitions. Lauren Thompson's Good Night, Bunny (9780545603355, $16.99) provides a bedtime read where Bunny says good night to a world of nature that's nodding off in sleep, from flowers to ducklings. Easy rhymes pair well with lovely watercolor pictures by Stephanie Yue to create an appealing bedtime story. Lori Richmond's Mama's Business Trip/Bunny's Staycation (9780545926891, $17.99) asks where Bunny and Papa will go while Mama is on a business trip, and tells of how the two decide to go on their own adventure while Mama is away from town. Kids whose parents travel will find this an excellent, fun, and happy story of absence and adventure. Molly Bang works with Ann Stern in creating When Sophie Thinks She Can't... (9781338152982, $17.99), the warm story of seemingly insurmountable problems that led Sophie (and her friends) to feel stuck and dumb. It takes a savvy teacher to provide the tools they can use to feel unstuck, and to tackle new things, in this fun story of problem solving and self-discovery. Diane Dillon's I Can Be Anything! Don't Tell Me I Can't (9781338166903, $17.99) tells of playful Zoe, who explores all the possibilities she might become when she grows up. She defies all thoughts that she may be over-reaching, including her own doubts, in this fun adventure of a tenacious and determined little dreamer. All are fine, exceptional picture book stories.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Little Ant and the Butterfly
S. M. R. Saia, author
Tina Perko, illustrator
Shelf Space Books
9781945713002 $7.99

"Little Ant and the Butterfly" is a creative reframing of a fable of Aesop, with fresh, bright illustrations filled with energy and feeling. Little Ant meets a caterpillar one day and is very unimpressed with the slow, friendly caterpillar. Little Ant saw that the caterpillar did not move fast, and did not seem to work hard. All the caterpillar seemed to do was eat leaves. Although Little Ant told the caterpillar she was lazy, the caterpillar explained that her main task was to eat now so she could grow and change. Later Little Ant was the caterpillar hanging from a stem, nearly covered with her cocoon. Again, Little Ant berated and criticized the caterpillar for not working. The caterpillar answered: "Little Ant, you can do many things that I cannot do. But i can do things that you cannot do. We are not the same, and we are not supposed to be." Much later, Little Ant was surprised to be greeted by a beautiful butterfly. Little Ant did not recognize his friend the caterpillar, who said to him: 'We met when I was still a caterpillar. If I remember, you liked to give me advice on how I could be a better insect. Do you still think that I am fat and slow and lazy?" The Ant answered no, he did not, feeling embarrassed and ashamed. The butter fly said: "Appearances can be deceiving, Little Ant. You shouldn't judge others by them. Good luck with your food hunting!" "Little Ant and the Butterfly" delivers its lesson in tolerance of differences and harmonious cooperation in the wise spirit originally intended, with a delightful new presentation. Part of a series of ten titles based on different characters from Aesop's fables, "Little Ant and the Butterfly" is full of fresh appeal for young readers still engaged in the lasting wisdom of the fables' morality.

The Bilingual Shelf

Finding the Music / En pos de la musica
Jennifer Torres, author
Renato Alarcao, illustrator
Children's Book Press
c/o Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9780892392919, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

When Reyna accidentally breaks Abuelito's vihuela (a small guitar-like instrument) she ventures out into the neighborhood determined to find someone who can help her repair it. No one can fix the vihuela, but along the way Reyna gathers stories and mementos of Abuelito and his music. Still determined, Reyna visits the music store, where the owner gives her a recording of Abuelito's music and promises that they can fix the vihuela together. Reyna realizes how much she's learned about Abuelito, his influence in the community, and the power of his music. She returns to her family's restaurant to share Abuelito's gifts with Mama and is happier still finally to hear the sweet sounds of Abuelito's music for herself. With lively illustrations by Renato Alarcao, the tradition of mariachi music comes to life in this bilingual (English/Spanish) story by Jennifer Torres. A charming, entertaining, heartwarming tale of family, community, and the music that brings them all together, "Finding the Music / En pos de la musica" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections for children ages 6 to 10. It should be noted that "Finding the Music / En pos de la musica" is also available in a paperback edition (9780892394067, $10.95).

The Agriculture Shelf

Before We Eat: From Farm to Table
Pat Brisson, author
Mary Azarian, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884486527, $17.95, HC, 36pp,

Before we eat, many people work very hard planting grain, catching fish, tending farm animals, and filling crates of vegetables. Featuring the vibrant illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Mary Azarian, "Before We Eat: From Farm to Table" by children's author Pat Brisson reminds young readers ages 4 to 8 what must happen before food gets to our tables to nourish our bodies and spirits. This newly expanded second edition of "Before We Eat" includes back-of-book features about school gardens and the national farm-to-school movement and is an especially and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It is of special note that "Before We Eat" has been adopted by the USDA's Agriculture in the Classroom program!

The Christian Shelf

Psalms of Praise: A Movement Primer
Danielle Hitchen, author
Jessica Blanchard, illustrator
Harvest House Publishers
2975 Chad Drive, Eugene, Oregon 97408
9780736972345, $12.99, Board Book, 10pp,

With a totally unique board book, "Psalms of Praise: A Movement Primer", parent and Sunday school teachers can help preschool aged children learn the many ways to praise God! Each individual page features colorful, engaging artwork that introduces little ones to powerful Scripture verses from the book of Psalms and teaches them how to use their body to praise God. Deftly combining artistic design with engaging content, "Psalms of Praise" will also help a child learn how to control his or her body. Wholesome, entertaining, thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, "Psalms of Praise" is an extraordinary and an unreservedly recommended addition to family, preschool, daycare center, Sunday school, and community library board book collections.

Beaming Books

Beaming Books is a children's picture book publisher with 'Owlegories Tale' -- a new series charmingly illustrated by Andrea Werntz, created by Thomas and Julie Boto, and showcasing for children ages 3 to 5, just how nature teaches us about God. In "Nora and the Growing Tree" (9781506433097, $12.99, HC, 32pp) Nora is heartbroken when she goes to school and discovers that her baby sapling is sick. With some help from her friends, she'll learn how to help her tree grow big and strong - and get a valuable reminder about what followers of Christ need to grow strong in faith. In "Violet and the Buzzy Bees" (9781506433103, $12.99, HC, HC, 32pp) Violet is smelling the pretty flowers when she's scared away by a bee. With some help from her friends, Violet learns that bees are nothing to be afraid of - and that bees can actually teach her a valuable lesson about spreading God's love! This inspired, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' series featuring utterly charming little owls are an especially and unreservedly Christian themed picture book series for family, Christian daycare center, Sunday School, and community library collections.

The Fiction Shelf

Lies You Never Told Me
Jennifer Donaldson
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, NY, NY 10014
9781595148520, $18.99, HC, 336pp,

Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide. Quiet, shy Elyse can't believe it when she's cast as the lead in her Portland high school's production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn't sure she's up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye -- someone she knows she absolutely shouldn't be with--she can't help but be pulled into the spotlight. Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable -- breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She's not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever. Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive. A deftly crafted and consistently entertaining novel for young readers ages 14 to 18, "Lies You Never Told Me" is an especially recommended addition to both school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lies You Never Told Me" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Missing Mike
Shari Green
Pajama Press
9781772780451, $16.95, HC, 248pp,

He's a rescue, a rust-colored mutt. Maybe there's a little retriever in him, although he's not exactly pretty. He's had a run-in with coyotes and he's missing an eye. But Mike is almost-eleven-year-old Cara Donovan's dog, and they love each other absolutely. Usually her pet follows Cara everywhere, but on the day the family first smells smoke in the air, Mike becomes anxious. Pine Grove is in the path of a wildfire, and the family is ordered to evacuate. In the ensuing chaos, Mike runs off. And then the unthinkable happens; there is no time to search for Mike. They are forced to leave him behind. Shocked and devastated, Cara watches helplessly as the family drives through a nightmare, with burning debris falling from the sky and wild animals fleeing for their lives. Once in the city far from the burn zone, the Donovans are housed with a volunteer host family. Jewel, the hosts' daughter, is nice, but Cara can only think about what she may have lost. What will happen if nothing is left? But as she reflects on what home means to her, Cara knows only one thing. She is not going to lose Mike. With Jewel's help, she is going back to the evacuation zone to search for her dog -- and nobody can stop her! Showcasing author Shari Green's genuine flair for originality and narrative driven storytelling, "Missing Mike" will prove to be of extraordinary interest for children ages 9 to 12, making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections for young readers.

Final Draft
Riley Redgate
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419728723, $17.99, HC, 272pp,

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he's suddenly replaced by Nadiya Nazarenko, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist that is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed. At first, Nazarenko's eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman's approval. Soon Laila is hiking through the Catskills during a thunderstorm in March and discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity -- but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive. A deftly crafted and riveting entertainment of a read by an author with a genuine flair for originality and narrative storytelling, Riley Redgate's "Final Draft" is unreservedly recommended for highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Final Draft" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Two-Moon Journey
Peggy King Anderson
Indiana Historical Society Press
450 W Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
9780871954244, $16.95, HC, 364pp,

"Two Moon Journey" is an engaging novel for children ages 8 to 12 by Peggy King Anderson that tells the story of a young Potawatomi girl named Simu-quah and her family and friends who are forced from their village in Indiana where they have lived for generations, to beyond the Mississippi River in Kansas. Historically the journey was known as the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Like the real Potawatomi, Simu-quah sees the soldiers set fire to part of her village as she takes her first steps to a distant and frightening westward land. She experiences the heat and exhaustion of endless days of walking; helps nurse sick children and the elderly in a covered wagon. During the journey she turns away from hating the soldiers to seeing them as people. In Kansas, as she plants corn seed she has saved from her Indiana home, she turns away from the bitterness of removal and finds forgiveness, the first step in the journey of her new life in Kansas. Based on real events, "Two-Moon Journey" is unreservedly recommended for school and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Two-Moon Journey" is also available in a paperback edition (9780871954251, $8.95).

Kate Messner
Bloomsbury Children's Books
c/o Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781681195360, $17.99, HC, 448pp,

Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek -- two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town's maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same. Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics (a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project) "Breakout" is a thrilling story by author Kate Messner (who is a former middle-school English teacher) that will leave readers ages 10 to 14 thinking about who's really welcome in the places we call home. While very highly recommended for both elementary school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Breakout" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Scholastic, Inc.

Four new novels provide teen readers with absorbing leisure subjects that linger in the mind far past their initial review. M.G. Leonard's Revenge of the Beetle Queen (9780545853484, $16.99) provides a delightful beetle-based fantasy about a cruel queen and her yellow ladybug spies who plots trouble. Three friends forbidden from investigating persevere nonetheless and soon come to find the fate of the world might be in their hands. The original setting that appeared in Beetle Boy expands in a delightful manner in this sequel. Christopher Paul Curtis's The Journey of Little Charlie (9780545156660, $16.99) tells of a robber gang, a woman who looks like a slave, and twelve-year-old Charlie, whose sharecropper father has just died, saddling his young son with his debt. Charlie saves his life by agreeing to track down some thieves; but when he realizes who the fugitives really are, his life changes. Elly Swartz's Smart Cookie (9781338143560, $16.99) tells of a computer-savvy daughter who posts a dating profile for her father online, against his wishes. Frankie wants her family back together again the way it was before her mother died; but none of the applicants seem right for her father. Can she handle her father's love life, a ghost, and family secrets all at once? Chandra Prasad's Damselfly (9780545907927, $17.9) tells of Samantha Mishra, who opens her eyes in a jungle where she is alone and injured. One moment she was on a plane taking her fencing team to another country for a tournament; the next, she's stranded and lost. To top it off, there's a mysterious force on the island. Reminiscent of the TV series 'Lost' but with better literary development, Damselfly offers some surprises that makes it a fine recommended read for leisure audiences looking for survival stories with a twist.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Maggie, Alaska's Last Elephant
Jennifer Keats Curtis, author
Phyllis Saroff, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607184508, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Elephants are social animals. Maggie and Annabelle used to live together at the Alaska Zoo. But after Annabelle died, Maggie was all alone. For years, zookeepers tried to keep her happy (and warm). But ultimately they sent Maggie to live at a sanctuary (PAWS). Now she is happy and at home with her new herd of other elephants. "Maggie, Alaska's Last Elephant" by author Jennifer Keats Curtis and illustrator Phyllis Saroff is the true and heartwarming story of how zoos ensure the best for the animals in their care even if the best is not at their zoo. Of special note for children ages 8 to 12 is the inclusion of a 4-page 'For Creative Minds' section in the back of the book and access to an online 30-page cross-curricular 'Teaching Activity Guide'. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Maggie, Alaska's Last Elephant" is also available in a paperback edition (9781607184614, $9.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

The Activity Shelf


Two outstanding oversized books will reach a wide age range with fun project-oriented discussions of posters and newspapers, and are recommended as eye-catching display items for elementary-level readers into general-interest collections. Poster Power! By Teresa Sdralevich (9781908714480, $16.95) considers what makes a great poster, from basic typography and succinct information to eye-catching displays. The oversized format is packed with fine examples accompanied by activities suitable for a wide age range. Alice Bowsher's Read All About It (9781908714343, $18.95) pairs newspaper templates with tips on writing news stories and illustrating them, and includes stickers, coloring tips, and more. Over 100 stickers to color accompanies a lively survey especially recommended for homeschool parents who want to help kids create and understand news.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Belle Starr: A Lucky Luke Adventure
Xavier Fauche, author
Morris, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781849183888, $11.95, PB, 48pp,

The latest 'Lucky Luke' graphic novel adventure for young readers ages 7 to 10, "Belle Starr" is a wonderfully humorous and entertaining western yarn with cameo appearances by Billie the Kid, Jesse James, as well as Lucky Luke's usual arch nemesis - the four Dalton Brothers. It seems that Belle Starr is bailing out the outlaws as fast as they can be arrested and brought to trial. But Lucky Luke has a plan -- pretend to be an outlaw and infiltrate Belle Starr's nefarious operation. But the arrival of Judge Parker and his dedicated hangman to take over the court at Fort Smith could make Lucky Luke's plan backfire! "Belle Starr" is certain to be another immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library graphic novel collections from Cinebook.

The Audiobook Shelf

Sci-Fi Junior High: Crash Landing
John Martin & Schott Seegert, authors
Nate Begle, narrator
Hachette Audio
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9781478923770, $18.00, CD,

Kelvin is the new kid at Sci-Fi Junior High--a floating space station filled with alien kids form across the universe. And he arrived just in time for the annual school dance: The Galactic Get Down! Kelvin is desperate to take luminous Luna (her species literally glows), but now that his secret about not being a Mega Supergenius is out, Kelvin doesn't have a shot. He has to think of a way to become super cool so everyone forgets he lied about his average intelligence. Cue mad scientist Erik Failenheimer's escape from his asteroid prison, an army of Pinions (any similarities to the Minions(TM) is purely coincidental), and a battle to save Sci-Fi Junior High from imminent doom! Ably narrated by Nate Begle using a script that was jointly written by the team of John Martain and Schott Seegert, "Sci-Fi Junior High: Crash Landing" is a lively, entertaining, and unabridged science fiction story that will delight young listeners ages 8 to 12 -- and will prove to be a popular and enduringly favorite addition to personal, elementary school, and community library audio book collections.

The Music CD Shelf

I Am Your Food
Gunnar Madsen
Gee, Spot! Records
$11.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Grammy-nominated music artist Gunnar Madsen presents his first family music album in a decade, I Am Your Food, featuring whimsical songs connected to comestibles, from a tune exploring the perspective of a dairy cow to encouragement to enjoy cooking over fast food and thoughts on just how much food is unfortunately wasted every day. An upbeat, cheery album with an important message about respecting and valuing one's daily sustenance, I Am Your Food is highly recommended for personal, elementary school, and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "10,000 Pancakes", "Divine Bovine", "Diet of Worms", "What if I?", "In My Soup", "Egg Salad in the Sun", "I Am Your Food", "Liver (feat. Bill Harley)", "Food Too Fast", "Lunch is in a Paper Bag", "City of Sardines (feat. Frances England)", "Shelf Life", and "The Longest Night (feat. Justin Roberts)".

On a Roll
Tim Seston
Privately Published

The third CD from family-friendly musical storyteller Tim Seston, On a Roll celebrates the challenges of everyday life. Whimsy, insight, empathy, and love shine through the original songs, which draw directly upon the life experiences of children. Highly recommended! The tracks are "On a Roll", "Bright Red Truck", "DNA", "In Walked James", "Rhymenocerous", "Owl's Game", "Bring on the Thunder", "Yellow Room", "Canker Sore", "To Be Kind", "Rumble, Tumble, Grumble", "Jelly and Coral", "Like a Dinosaur", "Little Charlie's Monsters", and "Forward March".

Songs for Sisters and Brothers
Privately Published

Songs for Sisters and Brothers is a family-friendly album about the special bond between siblings. Gentle, carefree, and loving, Songs for Sisters and Brothers is a treasure for personal and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "You're Gonna Be", "Little Bit Tough", "Personal Comedian", "Library of the World", "Brothers and Sisters", "Little Bird", "One Family", "Sharing", "Two Ducks", "Family Hug", "Like It Once Was", "It'll Be", and "PR Agent".

Sun is a Star
Like Father Like Son
L. F. Gallo Records
$15.00 CD / $10.00 digital

Just in time for Father's Day, Sun is a Star is a children's album by father-and-son musician duo Lou Gallo and Frank Gallo. Both have a wealth of experience in the "kindie" musical genre, and their upbeat, irresistibly catchy energy permeates these playful tunes. Sun is a Star is a family delight, highly recommended! The tracks are "Sun is a Star", "Halloween Night", "Day-O", "Shake Shake Shake", "Shake Your Shaker", "Rain Rain Go Away", "Little Bit of Time", "Sharks and Dinosaurs", "Handle with Care", "She's a Dog", "Tennis Racket Song", "I Got a Beard", "Like My Dad", and "Like Father Like Son". 41 min.

Jump in the Puddles
Steve Elci & Friends
Imagination Nation Records
$10.00 CD / $10.00 digital

Jump in the Puddles is the latest children's music album from Parent's Choice award-winning creators Steve Elci & Friends. Jubilant and upbeat, Jump in the Puddles features original tunes that draws from the legacy of quintessential American music, including 60's music, 12-bar blues, country, and more. A choice pick for entertaining young people at home or on the go! The tracks are "Jump in the Puddles", "Teddy Bear", "Supersonic", "Balloons", "Shine On", "Bumblebee", "Baby Get Up", "Hello song", "This Three Chord Song" and "Trampoline". 28 min.

La Luna
123 Andres
Salsana Records

Latin Grammy-winning performers 123 Andres present La Luna, an album of instrumental and Spanish-language lullabies for children. The website has a translation of the lyrics, and an English language edition is planned for next year. Beautiful and soothing, La Luna is a treasure for multicultural and sleepytime music collections. The tracks are "De 1 a 10", "Un elefante", "La luna", "Benjamin", "La montana", "La Pequena Pilar", "Collar de estrellas", "Las ovejas", "El sueno de Cocorico", "El caballito azul", "Velo que bonito", and "Fly, Shine, Soar".

The DVD Shelf

The Water Princess
Written by Susan Verde
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Narrated by Yetide Badaki
Music by Michael Bacon
Weston Woods
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
9781338243529 $59.95

Based on the true-life childhood experience of Georgie Badiel, The Water Princess is the DVD adaptation of an inspirational picturebook ideal for young people ages 5-8. A young girl in an African village must walk for miles each day to collect water, along with other girls. She dreams of finding a better way to collect clean drinking water for her family, friends, and neighbors. Michael Bacon's music and Yetide Badaki's crystal clear narration bring the story to life; there are also "read-along" and "descriptive video" options. The Water Princess is worthy of the highest recommendation especially for school and public library children's DVD collections, as well as homeroom viewing. 9 min., optional English subtitles, closed-captioned.

Favorite Folk Tales, Vol. II
Weston Woods
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
9781338232257 $59.95

Favorite Folk Tales, Vol. II is a DVD adaptation of three children's picturebooks retelling classic folk stories: "Chicken Little" written by Rebecca Emberley and illustrated by Ed Emberley (9 min.), a classic parable about the dangers of overreaction; "The Red Hen" written by Rebecca Emberley and illustrated by Ed Emberley (7 min.), about a plucky hen's adventures in baking; and "Stone Soup" (13 min.) by Jon J. Muth, a timeless parable retold with three Chinese monks searching for the meaning of happiness. Interviews with the authors and illustrators, and "The Red Hen's Simply Splendid Cake Recipe" round out this delightful anthology, perfect for school homeroom viewing and children's library DVD collections. Also highly recommended are additional adapted-picturebook DVD anthologies from Weston Woods: "Caldecott Collection Vol. IV" with the stories "Time of Wonder", "Inch by Inch", and "Hondo & Fabian"; and "Sing Along Stories, Vol. II", with "Wheels on the Bus", "Chicka, Chicka, 1, 2, 3", "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", and "This Land is Your Land".

The Health Shelf

Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves
Trevor Romain, author
Elizabeth Verdick, author
Steve Mark, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9781631982453, $9.99, PB, 104pp,

Just like with adults, stress can make a kid feel anxious, awful, and afraid. It can leave a child feeling jumpy and jittery, upset and uptight. When kids show signs of stress, they need stress management tools that work. With jokes, fun illustrations, and plenty of authentic examples, "Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves" helps kids understand what stress is -- and then gives tons of 'real world effective' tips to cope. Refreshed to address modern stressors like electronic devices and social media, this edition of "Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves" is an updated classic that helps kids deal with stress like a seasoned panic mechanic. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves" is especially recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 8 to 13.

The American History Shelf

Our Nation's Documents
Time for Kids
c/o Time Inc. Books
PO Box 62310, Tampa, FL 33662-2310
9781683308485 $9.99 pbk / $6.99 Kindle

Interspersed with full-color illustrations, Our Nation's Documents is an educational book for young adults presenting the text of crucial documents that shaped the United States of America, peppered with clarifications in the margins (often in the form of twitter-style dialogue, but nonetheless faithful to scholarship of the documents). The historic documents presented include the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Monroe Doctrine, Emancipation Proclamation, 14 Points, Economic Bill of Rights, and the Truman Doctrine. Additional information about the U.S. presidents and policymakers behind each document and a timeline of pivotal moments in American history round out this "must-have" for school and public library children's collections. Highly recommended!

Strange Fruit: Volume 2
Joel Christian Gill
Marketing Department
Fulcrum Publishing
4690 Table Mountain Drive, Suite 100, Golden, Colorado 80403
9781938486579, $19.95 PB, $14.99 Kindle, 112pp,

Compiled, written, and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill, "Strange Fruit, Volume II: More Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History" is a collection of stories from early African American history that represent the oddity of success in the face of great adversity. Each of the eight illustrated chapters chronicles an uncelebrated African American hero or event. "Strange Fruit: Volume 2" offers historical and cultural commentary on heroes whose stories are not often found in history books, such as Cathay Williams, the only known female Buffalo Soldier, and Eugene Bullard, a fighter pilot who flew for France during World War I. Very highly recommended for family, elementary school, community library American History and Black Studies collections for children ages 12 to 18, these beautifully illustrated stories offer a refreshing look at remarkable African Americans. Also very highly recommended is the first volume in this remarkable series: "Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History" (9781938486296, $23.95 PB, $11.99 Kindle).

The Holiday Shelf

The 12 Days of Valentine's
Jenna Lettice, author
Colleen Madden, illustrator
Random House Children's Books
9780399557354 $6.99

Based on the holiday song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" the verse lyrics illustrated in "The 12 Days of Valentine's" presents twelve happy valentine-themed images that fill young readers age 5 years and up with joy and anticipation. Part of a holiday theme series that includes "12 Days of Kindergarten" and "The 12 Days of Halloween," "The 12 Days of Valentine's" combines counting, singing, and joyous colorful pictures of Valentine's activities such as baking cookies, writing cards, sewing crafts, admiring chocolates and candy hearts, and enjoying sparkles, ribbons, pens, and activities. In addition there is a page of valentine's stickers to use at the end of the book, following the last verse: "On the twelfth day of Valentine's, what sweet thing did I see? Twelve friends smiling, Eleven cookies baking, Ten cupids playing, Nine parents helping, Eight children writing, Seven ladies sewing, Six chocolates melting, Five candy hearts! Four purple ribbons, Three pink pens, Two cups of sparkles, ...and a warm fuzzy hug meant just for me." This charming holiday story enchants, beguiles, and stimulates, appealing to multiple senses.

The Mythology Shelf

Chinese Myths and Legends
Shelley Fu, author
Patrick Yee, illustrator
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9780804850278, $17.99, HC, 128pp,

Retold by author Shelly Fu (a Chinese-American who is fluent in Mandarin) and beautifully illustrated by Patrick Yee (who has won the England's MacMillian Children's Picture Book Award twice and has illustrated more than 100 books), "Chinese Myths and Legends" is a delightful collection of seven classic Chinese stories that make great reading adventures for children ages 5 to 14. From the stories of Pan Gu and Nu Wo, creators of the world, to Bai Su-Tzin, a snake who took on human form and found true love, this mesmerizing book includes myths of creation, mortality, and love. More than just a children's storybook, "Chinese Myths and Legends" also explores the historical impact and roots of each tale, inviting young readers who love to enjoy the many layers of meaning contained within them fully. "Chinese Myths and Legends also features a pronunciation guide, as well as information for further reading, makes this a perfect tool for educators, librarians, and parents. While unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Mythology/Folklore collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Chinese Myths and Legends" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.09).

Books in Series

Javier's Hummingbird
Laura Driscoll, author
Bob Ostrom, illustrator
Kane Press, Inc.
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group (dist.)
9781635920079 $5.95

"Javier's Hummingbird" is a fun new story title from the Science Solves It! series for students ages 5-7 years. Each book tells a fun story, filled with interesting science topics, facts, skills, and can be enjoyed by independent readers or read aloud to younger students. Attractive colored illustrations show children of different ethnicities and abilities interacting to solve science problems. In "Javier's Hummingbird," Javier and his Abuelo notice an early spring rufous hummingbird visitor whom they decide to feed (nectar) while the spring warms up enough to grow flowers. Javier and his friend Ana work together to solve problems of freezing night temperatures and attracting the hummingbird to a new feeder location that thaws the nectar. The spring progress and warms up while Javier and Ana enjoy watching their hummingbird friend grow stronger until another little hummingbird appears, a potential mate. At the end of "Javier's Hummingbird" there is a section called Think Like a Scientist with more scientific activities, observations, and suggestions. "Javier's Hummingbird" is a delightful story that teaches children about nature, science, and human support of inter species interactions. Additional titles from the Science Solves It! series that are also highly recommended include: "Snowball Run (9781635920031, $5.95), by Lisa Harkrader, illustrated by Lynne Avril, "The Space Rock (9781635920055, $5.95)," by Lydia Lukudis, illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez, and "A Real Live Pet! (9781635920093, $5.95)," by Lydia Lukudis, illustrated by Craig Cameron.

The Jupiter Twins: Field Trip to Mars
Jeff Dinardo, author
Dave Clegg, illustrator
Red Chair Press
PO Box 333, South Egremont, MA 01258
9781634402491 $19.99 32 pages

"The Jupiter Twins" is Book One of a fun fiction space series of first chapter books in which Trudy and Tina, the green Jupiter twins, accompany their teacher Mrs. Bickleblorb and classmates on a space bus field trip to Mars. The twins start out by being bored and getting lost, then falling down a hole, finding a baby pet alien friend they name Spot, and meeting a monster Mars Rock Muncher who rescues them from the underground tunnel. Just in time they find their classmates and teacher's space bus being swallowed by another giant alien who looks oddly familiar. Trudy consults her notebook and deduces that the alien is Spot's mother, and the two monsters are happily reunited as the space bus and passengers are released. Trudy and Tina were happy to be home again in Jupiter that night. Though Trudy missed Spot, Tina gave her a present of a picture portrait she drew of Trudy holding Spot. This charming early chapter book is full of delightful humor and gorgeous bright colored illustrations of adorable aliens. Kids will love this early chapter series. Also highly recommended from the same series are the following titles by the same author and illustrator: "Lost on Earth (97816344025070)," "Scout Trip to Saturn (9781634402514)," and "Party on Pluto (9781634402521)."

Liberty Street
c/o Time Inc. Books
PO Box 62310, Tampa, FL 33662-2310

Time Inc. Books has now launched a simply outstanding series of biographies for young readers ages 10 to 16 under the Liberty Street imprint called 'Heroes of History'. "Alexander Hamilton: Life Stories of Extraordinary Americans " (9781683300755, $19.99 HC, 9781683308508, $9.99 PB, $7.99 Kindle, 144pp) is the original immigrant success story brought to life in the musical Hamilton is every bit as amazing and controversial now as it was in the 18th century. "Alexander Hamilton tells the whole story of the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, and a founding father with a complicated and ultimately tragic story that didn't end with the duel in Weehawken. With dozens of reproductions of artworks, artifacts from the period, photographs, and illustrations created to bring the subject alive, this first book in this new series. "George Washington: Life Stories of Extraordinary Americans" (9781683300748, $19.99 HC, 9781683308492, $9.99, $7.99 Kindle, 144pp) tells the full, fascinating story of the Virginia planter who fought for Britain in the French and Indian War, led a rag-tag colonial army to victory over the British Empire, and was elected the first President of the United States. As is usual for this outstanding series, "George Washington" also features dozens of reproductions of artworks, artifacts from the period, photographs, and illustrations created to bring the subject alive. An auspicious beginning to an impressively informative and inherently entertaining series, both "Alexander Hamilton" and "George Washington" are unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library biography collections for young readers.

Crabtree Publishing

Linda Barghoorn's Leaving My Homeland; A Refugee's Journey from Bhutan (9780778746843, $27.60) joins other title in the 'Leaving My Homeland' series for Grade 4 about immigrant children's experiences and tells of Amita's memories of her family's homeland, Bhutan. Geographical, cultural, and political insights accompany and personalize her experience and young readers receive both information about the country and thought-provoking first-person reflections along with personal photos. Natalie Hyde's Gold Rushes (9780778747862, $31.32) joins five other new books in the 'Uncovering the Past' series for grades 5-6 and provides an in-depth coverage of not just California's gold rush, but the others which shaped history in Alaska, Georgia, Montana, and beyond. Primary and secondary source materials about these rushes consider issues ranging from how indigenous peoples were displaced to blossoming communities and issues with law and order in the chaotic world of gold. The 'Exploring the Brain' series ($31.32 each) expands with four new titles that consider various aspects of brain physiology for reading levels 10-14. Jeff Szpirglas and Danielle Saint-Onge's Train Your Brain (9780778734987) surveys how brains learn and can be trained; Simon Rose's Heads Up! Concussion Awareness (9780778735083) discuses concussions, their symptoms and effects, and includes personal accounts of recovery processes; Your Brain: Understanding Your Body's Control Center by Szpirglas and Saint-Onge (9780778735090) surveys how the brain interprets messages and how it processes a range of sensory information from all parts of the body; and Your Changing Brain: A Guidebook (9780778734994) considers how the brain changes which affects decision-making processes, communication abilities, and more. All are top recommendations for discriminating elementary-level collections.

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

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

My First Book of Lacrosse: A Rookie Book
By the editors of Sports Illustrated Kids
Sports Illustrated Kids
9781683300786 $11.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

I believe sports have been a universal infatuation since time began. I can imagine cavemen casting lots and rooting feverishly for man and beast alike, as their personal prowess rises to victory. From major league to minors, to tee-ball for the wee ones, sports, agility, and fanfare runs in our veins. Sports Illustrated for Kids has a great series of Rookie books. Every sport that can arouse their interest can be found clearly illustrated and described for the youngest sport fan. Easy brush up for us family members so we can engage with our kids and share their passions.

Sonya Dor: Child Extraordinaire & Dreamer Galore
Saul Stoogenke & Yoga D.C. Ariesta
9781974217106 $14.97

Darleen Wohlfeil

This fun and adorably illustrated book will catch you with its lively rhyme and enthusiasm. Sonya

Dor has let her heart soar, and finds her options limitless and her potential as big as her imagination. The dedication, so pure and loving, echoes the heart of parents everywhere, and in itself is worth its presentation to every child. May all our children find such wonder as Sonya Dor!

Mason Jar Science: 40 Slimy, Squishy, Super-Cool Experiments
Jonathan Adolph
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612129860 $14.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Kids are naturally inquisitive. Their hungry minds feed on the why's of life. Why not direct that budding potential with fun activities to stimulate them with the magic of chemistry and physics, and open the amazing worlds of earth science and biology? The great experiments provided will not only increase your child's learning, but also increase your personal one-on-one time with them in new and creative ways. I found the experiments to be interesting and fun, and easily doable with common household ingredients. A great book to have on hand for summertime slime projects.

Selah's Painted Dream
Susan Count
Hastings Creations Group
9780997088366 $10.37 pbk / $3.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Now, into the third book of the Dream Horse Adventure series, author Susan Count does not disappoint. Her realism and heart continues to engage us, and carry us through to the end with full attention. The book breathes with life, whether in the connect with heart and dreams, with past and present, or the confusion that stirs and overflows the pot from time to time. Count captures the struggle of human emergence as gracefully as a butterfly comes to its first flight. Teen transition carries such a force capable to scatter, connect, and realign even stronger. Selah struggles through her transition, and learns the joy and importance of relationships, both human and equine.

Gracie Brave
Pamela Krikke & Kate Eldean MA MFT, authors
Jane Moore Houghton, illustrator
Mindstir Media
9780999608524 $16.99 hc

Darleen Wohlfeil

Everyone has a bad day once in a while, but what happens when the number of those days increase? What happens when that increase begins to take the lead? Parents and caregivers can become overwhelmed wondering what to do. One in 33 school age children and one in eight adolescents suffer from clinical depression. Gracie Brave brings voice to the child, offering their perspective on their level. It's a more comfortable approach from an understanding peer, while giving understanding and resources to parents and teachers as well.

In the Past
David Elliott, author
Matthew Trueman, illustrator
Candlewick Press
9780763660734 $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a cool look back to what came before us. Elliott's poetic cadence sets our step back through time, and the amazing illustrations of Matthew Trueman set a wide-eyed view of what we'd find there, and maybe even a shiver or two. Fun facts about each entry are provided in the back, offering opportunity for interesting conversations.

The Magician's Secret
Zachary Hyman, author
Joe Bluhm, illustrator
Tundra Books
9781770498945 $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

I loved this book! Everything about it captures the heart and imagination. Illustrations by Joe Bluhm are wonderful and warmly portray the love and magical relationship between a boy and his grandpa. The wonder of imagination comes easy to the young, but we all come to that critical time where we butt heads with reason, and determine if it will remain a compatible lifelong friend. Sweet Charlie has come to such a day. Will he let go of the wonder? Can he leave behind the amazing stories that seem so real? What is real anyway? Could it simply be the love and fun we share with the most special people of our lives?

Scoop the Ice Cream Truck
Patricia Keeler
Sky Pony Press
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
9781510706316 $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Trying to keep up with others can be a tough pace. Some people just seem to shine with no effort at all, and we start to wonder why it's not so easy for us. Scoop's been around a long time, doing what he always did, selling vanilla ice cream cones. But, now there are new guys with bigger trucks, more flavors, and fancy toppings. How will he ever keep up? Scoop tries hard to fit in, but comes to realize he's fine just as he is. This delightful story shows that learning who we are and how we can be our best will always make us shine.

Thunder II: Footprints in the Sand
Erik Daniel Shein and Melissa Davis
World Castle Publishing, LLC
9781629896236 $17.99 hc / $3.82 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Thunder's journey continues. Meeting new friends, and reconnecting with old ones make a delightful story of love and loss, and the journey beyond it. Friends often can be the harness that keeps us from falling, but helps us break through to new adventures. Witty and fun, the characters will again win your heart.

Little Worm: A Story About Worry
Laura Ann Elpers Pierce, author
Armando Loredo, illustrator
Brown Books Publishing Group
9781612549385 $14.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Adjustments can challenge us, and disappointments can undo us, but tucked just beyond hiding is overcoming. Little Worm is filled with anticipation. He has a plan! But, suddenly his plan is challenged. Will he let the new conditions stop him from his achievements? Can he adjust to the changes, and still reach his goal? An inspiring story with simple techniques to help little worriers take a deep breath, and readjust.

Chineasy for Children
ShaoLan Hsueh and Noma Bar
Thames & Hudson
9780500651216 $16.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

Chineasy is a fun way to learn to read Chinese characters. This book will help children to remember the many characters used by teaching them to imagine them as pictures. One hundred basic and useful characters are grouped here in themes, including the body, animals, and nature. Reading and writing this beautiful language with its elegant lines and characters will become easy with its clear illustrations and explanations. Stick with it, and it will be Chineasy!

Bagel in Love
Natasha Wing, author
Helen Dardik, illustrator
Sterling Children's Books
c/o Sterling Publishing Company
9781454922391 $16.95

Larissa Juliano

Who doesn't love bagels? Author Natasha Wing comes up with the hilarious idea of a dancing bagel. Not just any dancing bagel, but a toe-tapping, salty, swirling dancer ... whom no one wants to dance with. Croissant says no. Pretzel, too. Even Doughnut has no interest when Bagel requests their presence at the Cherry Jubilee Dance. Luckily for our Bagel, a sweet Cupcake joins him for the contest and the sprinkles fly. Illustrations are colorful and eye-catching. Bagel in Love reminds readers that there is always someone out there who will share a dance with them, appreciate their quirks, and enjoy their friendship.

Sheep 101
Richard T. Morris, author
LeUyen Pham, illustrator
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
c/o Hachette Book Group USA
9780316213592 $17.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Larissa Juliano

Counting sheep might be a little easier said than done when restless readers are not quite ready for bed. However, a story about nursery rhyme characters and silly, wooly friends will provide a precious bedtime story sure to generate lots of giggles and hopefully some sleepy eyes at the end. When Sheep 101 crashes into the fence, other friends need to keep hopping in order to keep up their bedtime duties! This story does not need to be reserved for bedtime only - it can also be a great mentor text to inspire our own stories. This adorable book has too many special details to count.

Bears and Blossoms
Shirley Parenteau, author
David Walker, illustrator
Candlewick Press
9780763697556 $15.19

Larissa Juliano

A sweet and enchanting springtime story surely to become a favorite for families as they enjoy the rhythmic language and precious illustrations during the blooming season. Big Brown Bear and the four bear cubs are ready to enjoy a picnic adventure with kite flying, but the winds are so strong, they carry the little bears up off the ground and away! What will Big Brown Bear do? The setting of bright green hills, fluffy clouds, and perfect pink blossoms are watercolor picture perfection.

Rabbit Moon
Jean Kim
Arthur A. Levine Books
9781338036398 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Jessica Reino

The rabbit on the moon turns wishes into stars, but soon discovers he has wishes of his own. Rabbit may journey to the moon and back, but the power of hope, wishes, and friendship is infinite. This is an absolutely beautiful book with equally gorgeous illustrations based on Korean folklore. The addition of the author's note gives the story even greater context behind the story and would make a great addition to any child's library.

Nature's Lullaby Fills the Night
Dee Leone, author
Bali Engel, illustrator
Sterling Children's Books
c/o Sterling Publishing Company
9781454921394 $16.95

Jessica Reino

Nature's lullaby fills the night and should also fill your bedtime bookshelf. Leone's lyrical and gorgeous writing is complimented by Engel's whimsical and beautiful illustrations. Together, it feels like being wrapped in a warm blanket and will surely have children calm and ready for bed.

A Couch for Llama
Leah Gilbert
Sterling Children's Books
c/o Sterling Publishing Company
9781454925118 $16.95

Jessica Reino

The Lago family needs to find a new couch and never expects to find a couch-loving llama! Leah Gilbert has created a fun read with absolutely gorgeous illustrations that will elicit laughs and a new appreciation for your favorite furniture. This is definitely a story for the whole family to enjoy.

Little Mouse's Big Breakfast
Christine Pym
Nosy Crow
9780763696269 $15.99

Jessica Reino

We've all been there. It can be hard to decide on that perfect bite to eat. Christine Pym's adorable illustrations and fun word play will take readers on an exciting adventure alongside Little Mouse as he adds to his list of breakfast foods and tries to stay out of trouble.

How Does My Home Work?
Chris Butterworth, author
Lucia Gaggiotti, illustrator
9780763695941 $12.99

Jessica Reino

This book is a must-add to any child's bookshelf. Butterworth's fun and straight-forward text, coupled with Gaggiotti's interesting and colorful illustrations offer a wonderful explanation of everyday tasks that we take for granted and teaches the importance of saving energy. This book is a great springboard for discussions on the environment, clean energy, and personal responsibilities within our homes and the larger world. The author and illustrator notes in the back create for an even greater connection with the reader. It would be a great addition to a personal or school library.

The Golden Glow
Benjamin Flouw
Tundra Books
9780735264120 $17.99

Tynea Lewis

Fox is inquisitive and loves nature. His desire to find out more about the "golden glow" plant leads him on an adventure to find the "fabulously fascinating flower." This fictional story is spattered with information text about different types of trees and flowers. Threads of science were creatively woven into fictional text. There are themes of determination and adventure intertwined into this story as well. This book was translated from French by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou.

Fox and Raccoon
Lesley-Anne Green
Tundra Books
9781101917961 $17.99

Tynea Lewis

This lovable story about two friends shows how those who care for each other will readily lend a hand to help in any situation. Raccoon wants to play with Fox, but Fox is too busy with a variety of projects. To lighten her load, Fox offers to help with anything she needs, only to be surprised at the end. The illustrations add an engaging dynamic. The scenes have been created with needle-felted wool, balsa wood, and fabric.

Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants!
Quvenzhane Wallis with Nancy Ohlin, authors
Sharee Miller, illustrator
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781481458856 $15.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Olivia Amiri

Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants! is a sweet story about family, friendship, and competition. Ms. Englert, the dance teacher at Sweet Auburn School for Performing Arts signs up her class for a dance competition. Shai is paired with her BFF as well as another classmate. Shai makes a secret bet with a frenemy who will win, which changes this competition from being a fun journey to winning no matter what. One of the lessons I took away after reading this book was don't take a competition too seriously and try not to hurt yourself!

Isadora Moon Goes to the Ballet
Harriet Muncaster
Random House Children's Books
9780399558313 $5.99 pbk / $5.99 Kindle

Olivia Amiri

Isadora Moon Goes to the Ballet is an adventurous and imaginative story, much like the entire Isadora Moon book series. I really love the stylized drawings, especially the bunny images in pink, white, black, and grey. Isadora Moon is half vampire and half fairy and she really enjoys this. In this book, Isadora goes on a field trip with her class to see the performance of Alice in Wonderland and the problem is: Her best friend, Pink Rabbit goes missing. Will she find her furry friend and get to see the performance? Read the book to find out!

Sci-Fi Junior High: Crash Landing
Scott Seegert & John Martin
jimmy patterson
9780316315210 $13.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Kelvin Klosmo lives in outer space and his best friend is an alien. An evil genius is rumored to be hunting him to kidnap him, all because it is believed that Kelvin has the all-powerful Zorb. With it, the bad guy can rule the world! To make things worse, his annoying little sister, Bula, has been declared a genius while he has a hard enough time with his homework. But Kelvin soon discovers that he has a hidden awesome talent. Kids will relate to Kelvin and his many mishaps as they learn to believe that even unpopular kids who "mess up" on a regular basis only need to search their true selves to uncover their own hidden talents. I found this book to be the perfect formula to keep any young reader turning the pages.

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond
Sam Hearn
9781338193152 $12.99 hc / $7.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

I really loved the Cast of Characters at the beginning; this helps readers relate to them as they appear in this delightful book. It's a new take on an old tale. Sherlock is a pre-teen who is in the same grade as Martha Hudson and James Moriarity. Along with their teacher and the rest of the class, they go on a field trip to the museum and soon after they arrive, it is discovered that the famous Alpine Star diamond has been stolen! Along with his trusty dog, Baskerville, Sherlock and friends set out to find the real diamond. Not only does this story have well-placed clues for young readers to solve the mystery, there are enough turns and twists and a surprise ending to leave them wanting to read the next mystery by Sam Hearn.

Out of the Wild Night
Blue Balliett
Scholastic Press
9780545867566 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

According to Mary W. Chase, Nantucket Island is not just a location - it has a pulse. Here, the line between the living and the dead is practically nonexistent. Humans and ghosts cross paths all the time. Ghosts really do live here, according to Mary, and she would know ... for she is a ghost. Only the local children and the crows can see them. This story makes readers appreciate history and old things, houses in particular. The ghosts are tied to their homes and when a land developer buys houses to gut them and make them modern, the ghosts disappear. A group of young ghosts call on a group of living children to help them stay in town as their homes are being torn apart. Can they think of a plan that will help the ghosts remain?

Revenge of the Beetle Queen
M.G. Leonard
Chicken House
c/o Scholastic
9780545853484 $16.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Cruel beetle fashionista, Lucretia Cutter, is at large with her deadly yellow ladybug spies - and she has a devious plan. When Darkus, Virginia, and Bertolt discover further evidence of her evil, they're determined to stop her. But the three friends are in trouble. Darkus' dad has forbidden them to investigate any further, and crooks Humphrey and Pickering are out of prison. Hope rests on Novak, Lucretia's daughter and a Hollywood actress, but the beetle villainess is always one scuttle ahead. What kid wouldn't love reading this fun and educational book?

The Parker Inheritance
Varian Johnson
Arthur A. Levine Books
9780545946179 $16.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle... A must-read for any child. It's an enlightening and entertaining story.

Viola Vincent Reporting... Underdog
Anna Kenna
9781978189744 $10.95 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

Jessica Reino

This is the second book in the Viola Vincent Reporting series and it does not disappoint. The protagonist, Caitlin, takes on the charge for social justice under her investigative alter ego, Viola Vincent. With the help of her friends, Caitlin is able to investigate the cruelty and abuse going on in a local puppy mill and is determined to expose the mill for their illegal and cruel practices. Through the character of Caitlin, readers will be able to know that no matter what their age is, it is never too early (or too late) to become involved with something that they are passionate about and create change.

AnnaPolis Summers: Survivor of Bullying
Linda Heavener Gerald
9781975601355 $11.17 pbk / $0.99 Kindle

Anna comes from a wealthy family - overprotected and surrounded by rich friends from "good" families. Far away from rough, "poor" kids from bad neighborhoods, she is the last person you'd expect to be bullied. But she is the victim of bullying in all its despicable aspects, and almost loses her life. Instead of giving up, she faces it with strength and determination. A good moral lesson, this book serves to teach how to recognize the signs of a different kinds of bullying and help those in need.

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

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