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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 29, Number 6 June 2019 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice World History Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Mythology Shelf Biography Shelf Cookbook Shelf
ABC Shelf Counting Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Board Book Shelf Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christian Shelf Philosophy Shelf
Crafts Shelf Environmental Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf LGBT Shelf Native American Shelf
Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

I'm Happy-Sad Today
Lori Britain, author
Matthew Rivera, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9781631983054, $15.99, HC, 40pp,

Happy, and also sad. Excited, but nervous too. Feeling friendly, with a little shyness mixed in. Mixed feelings are natural, but they can be confusing. There are different kinds of happy -- the quiet kind and the "noisy, giggly, jump and run" kind. And there are conflicting feelings, like proud and jealous, frustrated and determined. With gentle messaging and charming illustrations, a little girl talks about her many layered feelings, ultimately concluding, "When I have more than one feeling inside me, I don't have to choose just one. I know that all my feelings are okay at the same time." An extraordinary and original picture book by the team of author Lori Britain and illustrator Matthew Rivera, "I'm Happy-Sad Today: Making Sense of Mixed-Together Feelings" includes a very special section for adults presents ideas for helping children explore their emotions, build a vocabulary of feeling words, know what to do if they feel overwhelmed, and more. Entertaining and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "I'm Happy-Sad Today" is very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-8.

Li'l Booger Buddies Inventors Go to School
Heather Konet
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781981162512, $9.99, PB, 26pp,

The Li'l Booger Buddies from the planet Boogie Woogie rely on inventions that they make from space junk to solve problems and improve their lives on planet Boogie Woogie. All Li'l Booger Buddies start attending Invent School when they reach the age of 5 years old in order to develop their invention skills. In "Li'l Booger Buddies Inventors Go to School", children ages 5-7 can follow a young Li'l Booger Buddy named Roogie Booger through her first assignment at Invent School, and see what Roogie invents to solve a problem at home. The "Li'l Booger Buddies Inventors Go to School" is a fun read for kids and one that deftly introduces the basic steps of inventing while encouraging kids to creatively reuse and recycle old materials. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Li'l Booger Buddies Inventors Go to School" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to family, school, and community library activities book collections. It should be noted that "Li'l Booger Buddies Inventors Go to School" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Vanishing Colors
Constance Orbeck-Nilssen & Akin Duzakin
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
4035 Park East Court SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
9780802855183, $18.00,

Dark, evocative pages of text and story illustrate a world without color in Vanishing Colors, the story of a girl who lives in a cold, old, dreary house. As she listens to her mother's story about a town much changed from the past, it becomes evident that they live in a war zone, their lives fractured by waiting "...for the planes that will come. For the bombs that will fall. The houses that will collapse around us." When the girl responds to a bird and tries to find something "hidden deep inside me", she becomes cognizant of other possibilities. The brooding theme and insights may seem mature for a picture book production and audience, but adults who lend voices to bring this story alive will find it evocative and educational.

The World History Shelf

World War II Told Through 100 Artifacts
Allan R. Millet & Julian Thompson
Cavendish Square
243 5th Avenue, Suite 136, New York, NY 10016
9781502644664, List $55.00 / S&L $38.50, HC, 256pp

This engaging military history for young readers ages 8-12 sheds light on iconic events and lesser-known incidents alike in its study of World War II through the lens of one hundred objects related to the war. Much like the conflict itself, the selected items span the globe, from German U-boats that terrorized the North Atlantic to the bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand, built by British prisoners of war. Young readers will learn about the weapons and vehicles of World War II, as well as be introduced to such counterintelligence artifacts such as the Enigma machine and secret radio. Also featured are items used on the home front such as ration cards. Profusely illustrated, impressively informative, deftly organized and presented, "World War II Told Through 100 Artifacts" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended for both school and community library Military History collections.

If a Mummy Could Talk...
Rhonda Lucas Donald, author
Cathy Morrison, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
9781607187370 $17.95 32 pages

"If a Mummy Could Talk..." is a fascinating exploration of the findings discovered by modern scientific analyses of prehistoric mummies. Written for readers ages 4-9, "If a Mummy Could Talk..." investigates facts found about a variety of animals and human mummies. These include: a prehistoric baby woolly mammoth (Lyuba) from the Arctic Circle, a steppe bison named Blue Babe from Alaska 36,000 years ago, an Ice Age man named Otzi in the Austrian-Italian Alps from 5,300 years ago, King Tut from Egypt 3,300 years ago, Ramesses III from Egypt over 3,000 years ago, Pharaoh's dog from Egypt 3,000+ years ago, a cat mummy from Egypt 3,000 years ago, Tamut, a temple singer from Egypt 2,900 years ago, Tollund Mand from Denmark, 2,300-2,400 years ago, Lady Dai from China 2,200 years ago, an Inca maiden from Argentina 500 years ago, and last, Vladimir Lenin from Russia, 1924. Illustrations include a picture of the mummy as it would have looked when it was alive, a short paragraph of what the mummy might have said or thought, and an illustration of the mummy as it was found later, with additional known facts about the mummy 's life. Each mummy is described by a different learned scientist or physician who has studied the mummy. An additional section called For Creative minds offers a Mummy map to show where the mummies were found on a world map. more information is provided about mummy scientists and their tools, plus a section on how to make a mummy, describing four methods: bogged down, drying out, the Egyptian method, and freezing up. Additional activities include mummy sequencing or unscrambling seven mummies from different eras in order from the oldest to the most recent. Finally the reader is asked to sort pictures of mummies based on whether they are natural or man made. "If a Mummy Could Talk..." is a fascinating book for children to explore the many things that can be learned about the past from mummies through modern tools of science.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Little Larry Goes to School
Gerry Ellis author
Mary Rand Hess, author
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426333163, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Little Larry is an orphaned chimpanzee who doesn't know much about being a chimp. He has to go to his first day at the forest school to learn what chimp life is all about. Nestled in a primate sanctuary in Cameroon, Little Larry and his group of chimp friends go to the school each day to learn how to play, communicate, and climb like they would if they were chimps in the wild. The only trouble is, Little Larry doesn't want to learn how to climb. He's perfectly happy on the ground. Will the sanctuary keepers and other chimpanzees be able to teach Little Larry how to climb so he can graduate from forest school? "Little Larry Goes to School" is sweet story that is beautiful illustrated with photographs and explores the challenges of going to school, learning, and gaining confidence in yourself. A perfect read-aloud tale for children ages 4-8 who are themselves reluctant to try new things, or who are starting preschool or kindergarten for the very first time, "Little Larry Goes to School" is a unique and highly commended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections.

Oscar's Day Out: An Urban Tail
Gina M. Zadrozny, author
Palmetto Publishing Group
9781641112277 $19.95 HC / $9.95 PB, 25pp

"Oscar's Day Out" is the color photo-illustrated tale of a mixed breed (part bull mastiff and part Boston terrier) puppy who was adopted from an animal shelter. Told from the viewpoint of Oscar, the dog, "Oscar's Day Out" is a moving litany of daily activities and pleasures of Oscar's life with his adoptive mom who loves him very much. Oscar describes a special daily outing, a walk with his mom to a coffee shop, a bank, a hardware store, and a farmer's market. Adorable photos of Oscar show a scruffy looking dog with an appealing face and long legs, and a happy tail. Children will love this intimate tale of a much loved dog who found a forever home with a mom who loves him.

The Mythology Shelf

Stories in the Clouds
Joan Marie Galat, author
Georgia Graham, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
9781770502451 $16.95

"Stories in Clouds: Weather Science and Mythology from Around the World" is a collection of traditional lore, stories and myths, about weather, seasons, variety, prediction practices, and more. Stories and sources include; How Raven Brought the Sun (Tlingit), Calabash of the Winds (Hawaiian), The Thunder God (Chinese), The Spider Weaver (Japanese), How Glooscap Found Summer (Mi'kmaq/Wabanaki), Father Frost (Russian), and How the Fog Came (Inuit). Each story is embellished by striking pastel illustrations of the principals. Attractive and informative sidebars highlight additional related knowledge and facts about weather, along with related bits of trivia and weather-related traditions. A strong example is the Mi'kmaq story of How Glooscap Found Summer. Weary of a never ending winter, the Wabenaki tribe master Glooscap, decided to go to the home of the Ice King, to ask him to move further north. Unfortunately Glooscap fell asleep in the home of the Ice King and his people suffered from 6 months more of winter while he slept. He was awakened by a loon named Tatler, the tale bearer, who told Glooscap of a land to the South where it was always warm and sunny. with the help of a whale and other animals, Glooscap traveled to the South Land and met the queen of Summer, who was persuaded by Glooscap to help him persuade the Ice King to retreat to the North. Where the Summer Queen went, the land warmed and the air warmed and ice melted. this made the Ice King sad, but the Queen of Summer took pity on him. Glooscap proposed a compromise: the Ice King would go farther north for six months of the year while the Summer Queen warmed the land of the Wabenaki, then at the end of six months, the Ice King would return. The Wabenaki people would then have a time to work and a time to have pleasure, and they would not become lazy. Everyone agreed, and all were grateful to have the gift of seasons. All these weather and climate related traditional stories help provide a background of theoretical explanation for weather phenomena experienced by earth dwellers far and wide. Supplemented by factual descriptions of weather phenomena and causes, "Stories in the Clouds" does a credible job of weaving a tapestry of weather knowledge, traditional and modern, into a rich heritage for today's students. "Stories in the Clouds" is appropriate for students with reading skills of grade 4 and up, age 9 years and up.

The Biography Shelf

Birth of the Cool
Kathleen Cornell Berman, author
Keith Henry Brown, illustrator
Page Street Kids
c/o Page Street Publishing
9781624146909, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

As a young musician, Miles Davis heard music everywhere. "Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound" is a deftly crafted picture book biography written by Kathleen Cornell Berman that explores the childhood and early career of a jazz legend as he finds his voice and shapes a new musical sound. Children ages 8-11 can follow his progression from East St. Louis to rural Arkansas, from Julliard and NYC jazz clubs to the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival. Rhythmic free verse imbues his story with musicality and gets readers in the groove. Music teachers and jazz fans will appreciate the beats and details throughout, and Miles' drive to constantly listen, learn, and create will inspire kids to develop their own voice. With evocative illustrations by Keith Henry Brown, this glimpse into Miles Davis' life is sure to captivate music lovers young and old -- and is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections.

The Cookbook Shelf

20 Recipes Kids Should Know
Esme Washburn
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791385075, $16.95,

20 Recipes Kids Should Know represents a collaborative efforts by 12-year-old Esme Washburn and 17-year-old photographer Calista Washburn, sisters living in New York City who share a love of food. Kids will appreciate the focus of this recipe collection by and for children that focus on twenty easy recipes from grilled cheese to apple pie. A large-sized color photo on one page accompanies ingredients, directions, and a discussion of the family's interest in the dish. As an introduction to basic, appealing fare the entire family can enjoy, this is a winner.

Vegetarian Food
Claudia Martin, author
Enslow Publishing
101 W. 23rd St., Suite 240, New York, NY 10011
9781978506411 list $27.93/ S & L $20.95, 48 pages

"Vegetarian Food" is a color illustrated book from the Cooking Skills series written for readers age 10 (fifth grade) and up. Principles and rationales for eating a vegetarian diet are explored, along with a review of healthy eating habits and dietary requirements. Color highlighted sidebars such as Store It Up explain basic pantry staples for vegetarians, How Much How Hot? reviews hygiene and food safety, and Switch It Up encourages consuming a variety of healthy vegetables and foods. Lots of color food photos and simple instructions present a series of healthy vegetarian recipes for kids to cook. Some of these recipes include stuffed bell peppers, cauliflower and cheese, mushroom stroganoff, Chinese stir-fry and tofu kebabs (includes tofu), risotto al pomodoro, egg-fried rice, spiced couscous, tabbouleh, Dauphinoise potatoes, bean hot pot, and spicy potato wedges. Other chapters introduce cooking for staples such as tofu, rice, beans, and more. To encourage creativity, recipes include chef's tips to add spice to recipes. "Vegetarian Food" also includes a glossary of terms and further reading section listing books and websites on related information. "Vegetarian Food" is a great resource for vegetarian-interested youth and teens to explore healthy cooking and eating. Also highly recommended are the following titles also by Claudia Martin from the Cooking Skills series: "Piazza and Pasta (9781978506404, S & L $20.95)," "Drinks and Desserts (9781978506312, S& L $20.95)," and "Party Food (9781978506398, S&L $20.95)."

The ABC Shelf

Alphabet Kingdom
Starla Michelle Halfmann
Cameron & Company
9781944903572, $24.95, 64pp,

Starla Michelle Halfmann is a fine artist based in Austin. She grew up on a farm in West Texas, where, immersed in nature, she chased butterflies and collected pretty things: shells, glass, rocks. The only access she had to art was a "P" (for painting) encyclopedia. She loves animals and paints them often. Her licensed work is carried at Anthropologie. With the publication of "Alphabet Kingdom" she has created a large-format alphabet book in which the letters of the English language come alive through her distinctive artwork. Children ages 2-4 will learn and marvel as their ABCs become members of the animal kingdom, and adults will appreciate the beauty of this gorgeously rendered wordless picture book that is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library collections.

The Counting Shelf

How To Two
David Soman
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780525427841, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

A quiet day at the playground turns into a boisterous park-wide adventure as one boy on the slide becomes two kids on the see-saw, then three jumping rope. Before long, ten new friends are playing like they've known one another forever. With its deceptively simple text and a rich visual narrative, "How to Two" by author and artist David Soman is a playful counting and reverse-counting concept picture book as well as an exuberant celebration of inclusive play, friendship, and community for children ages 3-5. While especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, Kindergarten, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "How To Two" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Picturebook Shelf

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves
Lauren H. Kerstein, author
Nate Wragg, illustrator
Two Lions
9781542042925 $17.99 hc / $4.99 Kindle

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves is a delightfully cartoony, full-color picturebook about a young boy who teaches his beloved pet dragon Rosie how to swim. It's an adventure through and through - Rosie has to learn the rules of the pool, how to paddle, how to share inflatable toys, and finally, how to swim without assistance! Lighthearted and charming, Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves is an ideal read-aloud storybook especially in summertime. Highly recommended for both family and public library picturebook collections.

The Long and Short Tail of Colo and Ruff
Diane Lang, author
Laurie Allen Klein, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607187387, $17.95, HC,

"The Long and Short Tail of Colo and Ruff" is a fiction work about a young cougar and a young bobcat who become friends. The young friends notice the difference in the length of their tails. Colo's long tail and powerful hindquarters enables her to make long jumps. On the other hand, Ruff's short tail and stubby body are built for quickness, agility, and moving fast through rocks and obstacles. Colo and Ruff have a fun playtime searching for another tail for Ruff. They experiment with the idea of a hawk's feather tail, a lizard's tail, and even a skunk's tail. Finally Ruff decides that there is nothing wrong with her tail, and that she is made just the way she should be. Both kittens return to their mothers and continue to grow and learn. Beautiful, realistic paintings of Colo and Ruff in their natural habitat are shown on all the pages of "The Long and Short Tail of Colo and Ruff". "The Long and Short Tail of Colo and Ruff" continues with four pages of supplementary information about North American cats, including sections For Creative Minds, Cat Comparisons, Cat Maps, Tail Adaptations, and Match the Tail pictures of animals and tails. "The Long and Short Tail of Colo and Ruff" is written for an audience of young readers age 3-7 years.

My Little Chick
Geraldine Elschner, author
Eve Tharlet, illustrator
c/o Trafalgar Square Books
PO Box 257, North Pomfret, VT 05053
9789888341740, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Lena liked to sit in her mother's garden and watch the chickens. But something is missing in this happy group of hens...a sweet little chick! How fortunate that plump little Alma had just laid an egg. But to Lena's surprise, Alma does not seem interested in hatching it. Lena makes a snap decision and attempts to surprise everyone by hatching the chick herself. However, hatching an egg is more difficult than Lena thinks, and the journey from egg to chick is a long one. This is a sweet book about the challenges and joys of being a parent. A thoroughly charming picture book from collaborative team of author Geraldine Elschner and illustrator Eve Tharlet, "My Little Chick" is a wonderfully entertaining and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 3-5.

The Pirate Tree
Brigita Orel, author
Jennie Poh, illustrator
Lantana Publishing
9781911373872, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

The gnarled tree on the hill sometimes turns into a pirate ship. A rope serves as an anchor, a sheet as a sail, and Sam is its fearless captain. But one day another sailor approaches, and he's not from Sam's street. Can they find something more precious than diamonds and gold? Can they find friendship? A collaborative picture book from author Brigita Orel and illustrator Jennie Poh, "The Pirate Tree" is a delightfully entertaining read specifically intended for young children age 5-8 and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

What Cat is That?
Sandra Harmon
Sandy's Shelf
9780998038742, $18.95, HC, 34pp,

Elly and her mom are going to see Grandma Sarah today, but Elly just wants to stay home and play. When mom reminds Elly of Grandma's pets, Elly gets excited! Once they get to Grandma's, Elly goes on a scavenger hunt to find all of Grandma's cats! Children ages 4-7 will have a great deal of fund as they come along for the adventure in Sandra Harmon's delightful and entertaining picture book "What Cat is That?" While especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "What Cat is That?" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Sadie and the Silver Shoes
Jane Godwin, author
Anna Walker, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536204803, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

With three older brothers to pass along hand-me-downs, Sadie doesn't have much say in choosing her clothes. Her outfits always look interesting, though (even if some kids at school might not think so). But Sadie is allowed to pick her shoes, so one day she buys the most beautiful shoes ever -- shoes that sparkle in the sun, shoes she wears everywhere. That is, until Sadie and her brothers hop down a creek on an adventure, and one shoe falls off and is swept away. Whatever will Sadie do with one silver shoe? The collaborative work of author Jane Godwin and illustrator Anna Walker, "Sadie and the Silver Shoes" is a beautifully presented and fully entertaining picture book story that will have a very special appear to children ages 3-7 making if very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

A Kite for Moon
Jane Yolen, author
Heidi E. Y. Stemple, author
Matt Phelan, illustrator
c/oHarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780310756422, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

What would it be like if the moon was your friend? In the pages of "A Kite for Moon', children ages 4-8 will find out as they walk alongside a little boy who journeys through life to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut. The story begins when a little boy, who is flying his kite, notices a sad Moon. He sends up kites to her, writing notes promising he will come see her someday. This promise propels him through years of studying, learning, and training to become an astronaut. Until he finally goes up, up, up in a big rocket ship with a fiery tail! Beautifully illustrated by Matt Phelan, "A Kite for Moon" is a collaborative picture book written by the team of Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple. While certain to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Kite for Moon" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974969197, $14.99, CD).

Cookie & Milk
Michele McAvoy, author
Jessica Gibson, illustrator
Cardinal Rule Press
9780997608588, 16.95, HC, 32pp,

Cookie & Milk are two little girls who are nothing alike but are at their best together. Cookie is a genius, Milk a daredevil. Cookie loves math & science. Milk loves adventure & adrenaline. What could two little girls who are nothing alike possibly have in common? In "Cookie & Milk: A Scientifically Stunt-tastic Sisterhood" by author Michele McAvoy and illustrator Jessica Gibson, children ages 5-7 will enjoy following this dynamic duo as the engage in skateboard stunts and tubular-tastic surfs to discover what lies beneath true friendship. A thoroughly charming picture book story with a valuable underlying message about friendship, "Cookie & Milk" will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cookie & Milk" is also available in a paperback edition (9780997608595, $10.95).

Mo Willems, author
Amber Ren, illustrator
Hyperion Books for Children
9781368019019, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

In "Because", author Mo Willems, composes a powerful symphony of chance, discovery, persistence, and magic in this moving picture book tale of a young girl's journey to center stage. Illustrator Amber Ren brings Willems' music to life, conducting a stunning picture-book debut that will be especially appreciated and enjoyed by children ages 3-6. Unique and wonderfully entertaining from cover to cover, "Because" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Made for Me
Zack Bush, author
Gregorio De Lauretis, illustrator
1254 Commerce Way, Sanger, CA 93657
9781945547690, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

From a child's first uttered "Dada" to his or her first unsteady steps, nothing can adequately convey the joy and awe of watching the birth and growth of a new child. Filled with adorable illustrations and the refrain, "You are the one made just for me", the picture book collaboration of author Zack Bush and illustrator Gregorio De Lauretis, "Made for Me" is a wonderfully charming presentation of tender moments that tie a father and his new child together -- forever. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted (especially for families) that "Made for Me" is also available in a board book edition (9781641702003, $10.99).

Dear Boy
Paris Rosenthal, author
Jason Rosenthal, author
Holly Hatam, illustrator
HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062422514, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Charmingly illustrated by Holly Hatam, "Dear Boy" by the writing team of Paris and Jason Rosenthal is an open love letter to all of the special boys in the world. Boys, too, need a gentle reminder that they are cool, clever, compassionate, and one of a kind. With the same tenderness that was exhibited in their earlier picture book "Dear Girl" (HarperCollins, 9780062422507, $17.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle), Paris and Jason's picture book for children ages 4-8 will make any boy reading it feel that he's amazing just the way he is -- whether he's offering a helping hand, singing in a choir, or reaching for the stars! Certain to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that "Dear Boy" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Pepper and Frannie
Catherine Lazar Odell
Page Street Kids
c/o Page Street Publishing
9781624146602, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Confident Frannie convinces cautious Pepper to give skateboarding a try, but Pepper's attempts are not all smooth sailing. Luckily, she has a supportive and enthusiastic friend to cheer her on and help her realize her potential. Their story is a relatable look at the ups and downs of trying something new, with an encouraging message about the importance of persevering. "Pepper and Frannie" is the debut picture book story by freelance illustrator and author. Catherine Lazar Odell. This charming, energetic story with its lively and charming illustrations shows the power of friendship through the teamwork of a lovably mismatched pair and how they learn to fall and then get back up again. Wonderfully entertaining with an important underlying message for children ages 4-8, "Pepper and Frannie" is a very highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Sakura's Cherry Blossoms
Robert Paul Weston, author
Misa Saburi, illustrator
Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6
9781101918746, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Sakura's dad gets a new job in America, so she and her parents make the move from their home in Japan. When she arrives in the States, most of all she misses her grandmother and the cherry blossom trees, under which she and her grandmother used to play and picnic. She wonders how she'll ever feel at home in this new place, with its unfamiliar language and landscape. One day, she meets her neighbor, a boy named Luke, and begins to feel a little more settled. When her grandmother becomes ill, though, her family takes a trip back to Japan. Sakura is sad when she returns to the States and once again reflects on all she misses. Luke does his best to cheer her up -- and tells her about a surprise he knows she'll love, but she'll have to wait till spring. In the meantime, Sakura and Luke's friendship blooms and finally, when spring comes, Luke takes her to see the cherry blossom trees flowering right there in her new neighborhood. An original picture book story written by author Robert Paul Weston with a Japanese poetry inspired text and charmingly illustrated by Misa Saburi, "Sakura's Cherry Blossoms" wonderfully showcases the beauty of the healing power of friendship -- making it unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 3-7.

Grandpa's Stories
Joseph Coelho, author
Allison Colpoys, illustrator
Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419734984, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

In "Grandpa's Stories", one young girl reflects on a year with her beloved grandpa. She remembers the fields and parks they explored in the springtime and the old toys they fixed up in the summer. She remembers the handmade gifts they exchanged in the fall and the stories Grandpa told by the fire each winter. But this year, the girl must say good-bye to Grandpa. In the face of her grief, she is determined to find a way to honor him. She decides to record her Grandpa stories in the notebook he made for her and carry Grandpa with her as she grows. An honest and relatable depiction of loss, "Grandpa's Stories" by the team of author Joseph Coelho and illustrator Allison Colpoys celebrates life and the ways in which love lives on. Especially recommended for children ages 4-8 and also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.53), "Grandpa's Stories" will prove to be an enduringly appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Wobbly Waitress
Lisa Stickley
Tate Publishing
c/o Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781849765923, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Pop in to the Zoo Cafe for a sandwich or two and meet the waitress, Mabel, and her friends. Mabel is one of the best waitresses you'll ever meet, but today there's a problem . . . Mabel has the hiccups! And suddenly, spaghetti and meatballs are flying and ice cream sundaes are tumbling everywhere, and the customers are not pleased! Will her friends find a way to cure Mabel's hiccups and save the day? Full of zest and humor, this rhyming picture book by Lisa Stickley will have enormous appeal for children ages 3-5 and is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections.

Sparky & Spike
Barbara Lowell, author
Dan Andreasen, illustrator
Cameron & Company
9781944903589, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

"Sparky & Spike: Charles Schulz and the Wildest, Smartest Dog Ever" is a charming picture book story about a boy nicknamed Sparky and his beloved dog, Spike. Spike is the most amazing dog ever. He inspires Sparky to draw. Someday, Sparky will be an artist. Based on the childhood of Charles Schulz, creator of the world-renowned Peanuts comic, and the dog who inspired the most beloved dog of all (Snoopy) "Sparky & Spike" will especially resonate with children ages 4-8. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, parents, teachers and librarians will appreciate that "Sparky & Spike" includes a biographical note, as well as archival photographs of Sparky and Spike, and a letter Charles Schulz wrote to the book's illustrator, Dan Andreasen, when Andreasen was a boy.

Chirri & Chirra, Underground
Kaya Doi, creator
David Boyd, translator
Enchanted Lion Books
67 West Street, Studio 317A, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11222
9781592702442, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Behind a hole in their basement wall, Chirri and Chirra discover a network of tunnels. Join them as they visit moles, discover caves full of glowing flowers, poke at the roots of growing plants, traverse a subterranean lake, and spend the night with a family of badgers! The fourth book in the Japanese Chirri & Chirra series by Kaya Doi, this underground adventure is sure to charm, delight and entertain children ages 3-8. Ably translated from Japanese into English by David Boyd, "Chirri & Chirra, Underground" is a unique and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

A Surprise for Little Mole
Orianne Lallemand, author
Claire Frossard, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
9782733867327, $14.95, HC, 30pp,

Little Mole is surprised one morning to exit her home and find a mysterious bundle on the doorstep. What could it be and who left it there? Children ages 4-8 will enjoy joining Little Mole as she and her forest friends try to uncover the mystery behind the surprise! An impressive picture book collaboration by author Orianne Lallemand and illustrator Claire Frossard, "A Surprise for Little Mole" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

Get Off That Camel!
A. H. Benjamin, author
Krishna Bala Shenoi, illustrator
Karadi Tales Picturebooks
9788193903315, $13.95, HC, 40pp,

From the time Meena was a baby, she's been obsessed with camels. This fixation only becomes stronger when she's gifted a real camel for her birthday! Absolutely thrilled with her new pet, Meena simply refuses to get off that camel! Veteran children's author A.H. Benjamin's delightful story by is charmingly accompanied by Krishna Bala Shenoi's vibrant, colorful illustrations, and promises to take young readers age 4-6 on a ride they will never forget! Wonderfully entertaining from cover to cover, "Get Off That Camel!" is unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Gracie Jane
Janet Squires, author/illustrator
Mindstir Media, LLC
9780998578163 $14.99 28 pages

"Gracie Jane" is the first title of a cowgirl series that is full of action, humor, charm, and character. Written in exciting action prose with a hint of rhyme, and fully color illustrated, "Gracie Jane" tells the tale of a cowgirl who rescues a little lost pup from a flooded river and takes the orphan, named Fifi La Rue, home to the ranch. Now the question was, what could Fifi La Rue do that would be helpful and useful on the ranch? Kids will love the amazing tricks and troubles that just sprout around Fifi La Rue on the ranch. One scrape after another, Gracie Jane's refrain is, " Fifi La Rue, what did you do?" The overwhelming good humor of Gracie Jane is exemplary in view of the many escapades of Fifi la Rue. For a larger than life portrait of an honest Western cowgirl, read the series of adventures that begins with "Gracie Jane."

Your First Day of Circus School
Tara Lazar
Tundra Books
9780735263710, $17.99,

Your First Day of Circus School is illustrated by Melissa Crowton and offers a circus twist on the traditional 'first day of school' picture book story. Ages 3-7, especially kids with a prior interest in circus topics, also receive a gentle primer on how to behave in school, how to find a class, how to handle cafeteria food, and more. The result is an excellent survey of school 'firsts' that holds a compelling big top theme to invite interest and attention.

The Little Rabbit
Nicola Killen
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534438286, $15.99,

The Little Rabbit provides the fun story of a magic friendship between a little girl and her stuffed rabbit. The rabbit comes to life to share delight in the arrival of spring and sunshine, and Ollie puts on her rain boots and sets off for adventure. As magic enters into their explorations of the newly-wet Spring world, kids and read-aloud parents will enjoy this gentle story of discovery.

Not Your Nest!
Gideon Sterer
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780735226278, $17.99,

Not Your Nest! will reach ages 3-7 with a fun examination of sharing, forgiveness, and the challenges of a bird who builds a nest that attracts other inhabitants. Some aren't even birds! But each nest receives a visitor other than herself. How can a tree full of nesting animals bow to the creator who only wanted an attractive nest for herself? A fun story of generosity and adversity evolves, with lovely drawings by Andrea Tsurumi enhancing the fun message.

The Board Book Shelf

Amazing Me! / !Soy Sorprendente! Sing! / !Canto!
Carol Thompson, author/illustrator
Teresa Miawer, translator
Child's Play
9781786283009 $3.99, Board Book, 12pp,

"Sing!/ !Canto!" is a charming English/Spanish board book about the joy of singing. Written for children age 3-6 years, it is filled with inviting action illustrations and rhythmic rhyming lyrics in two languages and also in two colors, English in black letters and Spanish in green lettering. A group of small children, diverse, inclusive, and friendly, sing loudly on every page. Music transcends all, and vocal music is prime in "Sing!/!Canto!" Even more amazing, the lyric verses rhyme in both languages! "Sing to the sky - up high, so high./ Canta hacia el cielo... alto, muy alto. Sing to my toes - down low, so low./ Canta a tus deditos... baja, bajito." The joy, and empowerment of singing is conveyed in many portraits of children vocalizing with musical notes and wonderful sound waves emanating. So children love to be encouraged to sing out loud, in a tub, with a scrub, to their toes, or to the sky. Yes, it is true, "I'm amazing!/ !Soy soroprendente!" This sturdy board book will be beloved by it lucky owner, along with all of its companion volumes, which are: "Music!/!Toco musica! (9781786283023, $3.99)," "Dressing Up!/Me disfrazo! (9781786283016, $3.99)," and "Dance!/ !Bailo! (9781786282996, $3.99)," all by Carol Thompson.

Spring/ Primavera
Ailie Busby, author/illustrator
Teresa Miawer, translator
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
9781786283030, $3.99, Board Book, 12pp,

"Spring/Primavera" is a beautiful bilingual boardbook about a child's experiences of the first season, spring. Charming colorful illustrations showing small children planting seeds to grow in the warming sunshine and playing outside with baby animals. Musical phrases paired in English and Spanish dance across the sturdy pasteboard pages meant for hands of small children age 3-7 years. "I know it's spring when.../ Se que es primavera cuando... I hear the birds singing when I wake up. a los pararitos cantar al despertarme.... It makes me feel like singing too! ! Me dan ganas de cantar a mi tambien!" All the play and fun of being outdoors in warm forgiving weather is displayed in lively pictures of small children gamboling on green grass and flowers. but the most exciting thing about spring/primavera is.... "Everything starts to grow... Todo comienza a crecer..... including ME!...y YO tambien!" Children ages 3-7 will love this wonderful board book about their favorite season for outdoor play after a long winter. Also highly recommended are the following bilingual board book titles by the same author/illustrator and translator: "Summer/ Verano (9781786283047, $3.99)," "Fall/Otono (9781786283054, $3.99)," and "Winter/Invierno (9781786283061, $3.99)."

Hello Animals, How Do You Sleep?
Loes Botman
Floris Books
9781782505518, $8.95, Board Book, 12pp,

Loes Botman is an illustrator in the Netherlands. She has been widely exhibited and runs workshops. Her beautiful board book "Hello Animals, How Do You Sleep?" deftly introduces young children ages 1-3 to a whole host of animals, including a squirrel, a fox, a bear, and a rabbit, and shows how they sleep. Her warm and detailed illustrations bring the different animals alive on the page, and the simple words and concepts make this a perfect bedtime book. "Hello Animals, How Do You Sleep?" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library children's board book collections.

Tatsuhide Matsuoka
Gecko Press
9781776572311, $12.99, Board Book, 36pp,

A frog jumps. Boing! A kitten jumps. Boi-ing! A dog jumps. Boi-oi-oi-oing! . . . "And I jump too BOING!" Tatsuhide Matsuoka's "Jump!" joyful and original board book that gets children ages 4-7 to join in the fun of each animal's jump -- sharing the sounds and actions. Delightfully illustrated and charmingly entertaining, "Jump!" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library board book collections.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Dinosaur
Jeffrey Burton, author
Zoe Waring, illustrator
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534439757, $5.99, Board Book, 16pp,

A roaring twist on the popular bedtime nursery rhyme 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star', the new board book from Little Simon, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Dinosaur" is the second title in a brand-new board book series by author Jeffrey Burton and illustrator Zoe Waring that is perfect for parents and little ones to snuggle up with and share at nap time, bed time, or anytime. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections for children ages 1-5, it should be noted that "Twinkle, Twinkle, Dinosaur" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Fiction Shelf

Britfield & The Lost Crown
C.R. Stewart
Devonfield Publishing
9781732961210 $16.99 softcover / $9.99 ebook

Britfield & The Lost Crown is an adventure-filled novel for all ages. Young Tom has spent most of his life the harsh confines of Weatherly Orphanage, but when he learns that his parents might be alive, he decides to search for them. The only clue to his past is the word "Britfield". His best friend Sara comes with him, escaping in a hot air balloon. Chased by a famous Scotland Yard detective and English police, Tom and Sara travel to Oxford University, Windsor Castle, London, and Canterbury in search of a royal secret! A joy to read to the very last page, Britfield & The Lost Crown is a high-spirited saga, enthusiastically recommended for personal and public library young adult fiction collections.

Girl of the Southern Sea
Michelle Kadarusman
Pajama Press
9781772780819, $17.95, HC, 224pp,

From the time she was a little girl, Nia has dreamed up adventures about the Javanese mythical princess, Dewi Kadita. Now fourteen, Nia would love nothing more than to continue her education and become a writer. But high school costs too much. Her father sells banana fritters at the train station, but too much of his earnings go toward his drinking habit. Too often Nia is left alone to take over the food cart as well as care for her brother and their home in the Jakarta slums. A deftly crafted and inherently entertaining read from cover to cover, "Girl of the Southern Sea" by Michelle Kadarusman is unreservedly recommended for both school and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections for young readers ages 9-12.

Touch the Sun
Emily Conolan
Allen & Unwin
c/o Trafalgar Square Books
PO Box 257, North Pomfret, VT 05053
9781911631033, $10.99, PB, 334pp,

In 2011, in order to find freedom, you must leave behind everything you've ever known. You want nothing more than to be a journalist in Somalia like your aunty. But the truth can be dangerous -- and when you and your little sister are left alone, you find yourself facing life-and-death choices at every turn. Can you escape a terrorist organization and find a safe place to call home? You'll be asked to cross a desert on foot, hide below deck in a leaky boat, and put your life in the hands of people smugglers. At every turn, the choice is yours. How far will you go for freedom? A thoroughly 'reader engaging' choose-your-own-adventure format with many an educational plot twist and turn, "Touch The Sun" by Emily Conolan will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library fiction collections for young readers ages 9-13. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Touch The Sun" (part of The Freedom Finders series) is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Don't Drop the Potato
Geoffrey C. Parks
Palmetto Publishing Group
9781641112680, $15.00, PB, 198pp,

A broken home, with a father in prison, forces sixteen year old Chip, along with his mother and brother, to move from California to Arizona to live with relatives. Chip's mother picks a fight with her sister-in-law, which lands them on the street, only to hitchhike back home to California. Harassed by hoodlums, while hungry, cold, and worn out, they end up sleeping on a park bench in the dismal town of El Centro. Chip's mother and brother fall asleep, leaving Chip alone to stare into the abyss. Emotionally broken, a grief-stricken Chip realizes there is no God, and that he's alone. When he's kicked out of school for fighting, Chip hooks up with two other outcasts, Steve and Frank. One day, as the boys are sitting around Frank's house, they come up with the wild and desperate idea to free the prisoners from the Bay of Pigs. Bonded by this grandiose scheme, they steal a car and head east to Key West, Florida, in search of freedom and glory. Their impulsive adventure forces them to face life's challenges and one another in ways they never imagined. Through laughs, rage, and tragic loss, Chip barely manages to survive, clinging to his sanity via a precious hope to not give up -- to not drop the potato. A deftly crafted and riveting read from cover to cover that is the first volume in a planned trilogy, Geoffrey Park's "Don't Drop the Potato" is the Jack Kerouac 'On The Road'' novel written for this current generation and is an extraordinary, highly recommended addition to both school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Don't Drop the Potato" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

A Long Line of Cakes
Deborah Wiles
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338150490, $17.99,

A Long Line of Cakes isn't about dessert, but tells of Emma Lane Cake who has five brothers, four dogs, and a family on the move that sets up bakeries around the country. When the Cake family comes to Aurora County, Emma vows that she's going to resist all temptation to form new connections, since they just dissolve with a move, every time. But friendship comes despite her wishes in an absorbing story of resiliency, change, and putting down roots.

Eileen Spinelli
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
4035 Park East Court SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
9780802855138, $16.00,

Birdie tells of a twelve-year-old girl who loves birds. She has learned to live life without her father, a firefighter killed in the line of duty, but when all the other significant people in her world begin to form new connections, even the comfort her birds bring her changes. Birdie wishes everything could go back to the way it was, but nothing stays the same forever. Light free verse explores Birdie's world and its many changes in a story recommended to ages 10-14.

Last Girl Standing
Marjory Kaptanoglu
The Book Reality Experience
9780648447146, $12.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle

17-year-old Sierra Mendez doesn't ascribe to her mother's convictions that the tap water from the Los Patos Water Company is dangerous to drink...not until she discovers the body of the water district manager floating in the river. When her neighbors and the town residents begin exhibiting signs of confusion, she finally admits that poisoned water is not an impossibility. But that's before the robots showed up. Last Girl Standing is an apocalyptic young adult thriller that begins where many superior reads start: with the basics of daily life which, one by one, are set aside for impossible developments. Action-packed, engrossing, and satisfyingly unpredictable, Last Girl Standing is highly recommended reading for mature teens to adults. This audience will appreciate the willpower, angst, and struggles of a determined group of teens who are exposed to the impossible, and one girl who faces the choice of murdering the most special thing in the world or sacrificing the human race so it can live. Absolutely riveting.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Jed and the Junkyard Rebellion
Steven Bohls
Disney Hyperion
9781484730485, $16.99,

Jed and the Junkyard Rebellion will appeal to young readers ages 8-12 with the second book in a duology. Jed's past remains a mystery, but this conclusion to the series has him joining forces with other characters to solve a mystery that goes back into history. Strange truths about himself, his world, and his place in it create an engrossing tale that is the second in the Junkyard War series and a fitting addition to the first book.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

RWBY: After the Fall
E. C. Myers, author
Story by Kerry Shawcross & Miles Luna
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338305746 $9.99 pbk / $5.99 Kindle

RWBY: After the Fall is a fantasy novel set in Remnant, the world of the RWBY web original series, where monsters known as "Grimms" stalk and prey upon humans, who use the mysterious power of "Dust" to become "Huntsmen" and protect the innocent. However, not all of the men and women defending humanity are themselves fully human! "After the Fall" is a side-story from RWBY's head writers Kerry Shawcross and Miles Luna, featuring Team CFVY (Coco, Fox, Velvet, and Yatsuhashi). After surviving a merciless massacre from Grimm creatures, the four have made a pledge: "No one else is getting left behind!" When a distress call reaches Team CFVY, they rush to defend refugees from a seemingly endless surge of Grimm, but the heat of battle brings back bitter memories of the friends they lost, and everything that came before. An action-packed story spotlighting memorable characters, "After the Fall" is a "must-read" for RWBY series fans of all ages, highly recommended.

Hello There, I'm Coming Home!
Laurie B. Arnold
Prospecta Press
9781632261021, $9.95, PB, 224pp,

Madison McGee is a young girls who uses her magic fanny pack and the MegaPix6000 to teleport into whatever is playing on the television screen. Madison is on a fateful trip back to Bainbridge Island, where she grew up, to spend the summer with her best friends, Noah and Violet. It's an emotional journey, shadowed with memories of her mother, and questions about her father's disappearance. As she and her dog Leroy travel from New Mexico to the west coast, she opens her fanny pack and discovers a photo of a black-haired boy. Even though she's sure he's a stranger, she intuitively knows that he needs her help. Again, it's the MegaPix6000 to the rescue, and the "Mighty Trio" enters a weird and frightening world of magicians, shapeshifters, and evil doers because the biggest mystery for Madison to solve is a personal one. Her search for answers leads her to discover that sometimes life changes in unimaginable ways, and that the unexpected can finally lead her home. The third and last volume in author Laurie B. Arnold's Hello There trilogy, "Hello There, I'm Coming Home" is a thoroughly 'kid friendly' and entertaining novel for young readers ages 8-12. While very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hello There, I'm Coming Home" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Bone Charmer
Breeana Shields
Page Street Kids
9781624147371, $17.99, HC, 400pp,

On the day of Saskia's kenning (a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds) her worst fear comes true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, a seer, like her mother. Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose the one she knew Saskia wouldn't want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones, with the devastating result of splitting Saskia's future. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously: one where she's forced to confront her magic, and one where she tries to run from it. But when both paths become entangled in the plot of a rogue Charmer, Saskia learns that no future is safe, and some choices have unimaginable consequences. Only one future can survive. And Saskia's life is in danger in both. "The Bone Charmer" by Breeana Shields will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fantasy fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fans that "The Bone Charmer" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Christian Shelf

Bible Promises for Babies
Karoline Pahus Pedersen, author
Alejandra Barba Romer, illustrator
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780825446115, $9.99, Board Book, 16pp,

The collaborative project of author Karoline Pahus Pedersen and illustrator Alejandra Barba Romer, "Bible Promises for Babies" is a bright and colorful board book for children ages 5-6 that provides an entertaining and informative first introduction to the Bible. Told in soothing rhyme, each story is seven words or less, with verse references spanning both Old and New Testaments. Highly recommended for family, church daycare center, and Sunday School board book collections, the children will see and hear how much Jesus loves them and how He came to save the world. Includes a carry-along handle, perfect for little hands. Of special note is the unique inclusion of a plastic carrying handle.

Hildegard of Bingen
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786779, $17.95,

Hildegard of Bingen: Scientist, Composer, Healer & Saint pairs gorgeous drawings by Demi with a biography that follows the journey of a girl who became a nun at age 18, taking the Benedictine habit. For some, this would have ended the story; but Hildegard saw visions and wrote them down, and these provided guidelines to living for God in a different manner than the Benedictine order fostered. Kids with good reading skills and an interest in this educated saint will find this an excellent introduction to her life.

Paul and His Friends: A Child's First Book About the Apostles
Rebekah McLeod Hutto, author
Jacob Popcak, illustrator
Paraclete Press
9781612619453 $15.99 28 pages

"Paul and His Friends" is a wonderful child's introduction to the Apostle Paul and many of his dearest friends. Stories about Paul and his friends from scriptures are told in simple descriptions, with 13 Scripture references listed on page 25 for further reading. In the creative, comic and inspired illustrations, all the characters including Paul and Jesus are represented as animals of the Holy Land. The sources of the animal characters are listed and explained on pages 26-28. The animal portraiture makes Paul and his associates naturally more approachable, or even humble. Paul is depicted as a honey badger, found throughout the Holy land and known for it's toughness. Barnabas is a crocodile, Lydia is a sheep, and Priscilla and Aquila are elephants, known for their wisdom. Jesus is depicted as a lion, according to several traditions. A trio of friends of Paul present at Pentecost are shown as a wild ox, a rhino, and a unicorn. This is also within the understanding of interpretations of the Bible passage. All the pictures and stories of Paul and his friends serve to underline the blessings of Paul, who says to the reader: "You are never alone. God is always with you, even when you are sad and afraid. You are always loved. God loves you. and remember that you are always forgiven, especially when you make mistakes. Jesus will always be your friend." Some how the union of simple Bible Scriptures and stories of Paul and his faithful early Christian friends speaks directly and clearly to the heart of a child. A favorite animal portrait and story is of Saint Stephen, depicted as a caracal, or wild cat native to the Holy Land. Paul remembers Stephen as a great man and church leader who reminded all to care for their neighbors. Stephen was martyred by people who believed mean things that Paul and others used to say about Jesus before he learned to know Jesus. Stephen reminds Paul that sometimes friends make mistakes and everyone needs God's help to learn to make better choices. "Paul and His Friends" can be enjoyed by children of all ages, and even adults. The messages are clear and unambiguous and the message is joyous and filled with faith.

Big God, Little Me
Anne De Graf, author
Jose Perez Montero, illustrator
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780825445958, $17.99, HC, 352pp,

Packed with interactive questions, thoughts to ponder, and ideas for prayer, "Big God, Little Me" is the perfect read-to-me or early read alone Bible storybook for children ages 7-10. Each individual story comprising "Big God, Little Me" is biblically accurate and written to bring joy to young hearts and minds. The kids will especially enjoy the colorful pictures that illustrate and animated the action-filled stories. "Big God, Little Me" is an ideal and highly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all children and their families within the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliation.

The Philosophy Shelf

Big Ideas for Curious Minds
Alain de Botton, editor
Anna Doherty, illustrator
The School of Life
9781999747145, $24.99, HC, 156pp,

Children are, in many ways, born philosophers in that without prompting they can ask some of the largest questions about time, mortality, happiness and the meaning of it all. Yet too often this inborn curiosity is not developed and, with age, the questions fall away. "Big Ideas for Curious Minds " is specifically designed to harness children's spontaneous philosophical instinct and to develop it through introductions to some of the most vibrant and essential philosophical ideas of history. "Big Ideas for Curious Minds " introduces leading figures of philosophy from around the world and from all eras -- and shows children ages 8-15 on how their ideas continue to matter. An ideal introduction to philosophy, as well as a charming way to open up conversations between adults and children about the biggest questions we all face, "Big Ideas for Curious Minds" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

The Crafts Shelf

Curious Creatable Creatures
Sam Haynor
Young Voyageur
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9780760364451, $17.99, Flexibound, 120pp,

What can a creatable creature do? They stick, spit, glide, and one of them can even double as a wallet. Add a pair of legs, subtract a wheel...the best thing about these creatures is that they're part experiment, part imagination, and 100 percent customizable. In the creation of "Curious Creatable Creatures: 22 STEAM Projects That Magnetize, Glide, Slingshot, and Sometimes Scootch", author Sam Haynor draws on his experience with the San Francisco Exploratorium, Oakland Toy Lab, Goldiblocks, and designing STEAM curriculum to create projects packed with features. While, on the outside, most appear to be built completely from common craft materials, they contain springs, circuits, magnets, and much more. The projects are safe and fun for younger kids working with adults, and most of them can be tackled by middle-graders with minimal adult help. This unique project book built for open-ended exploration is perfect for crafternoons, homeschool activities, and parties. While very highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections for children ages 8-12, it should be noted that "Curious Creatable Creatures" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99).

The Environmental Shelf

Habitats Infographics
Harriet Brundle
c/o Trafalgar Square Books
PO Box 257, North Pomfret, VT 05053
9781786372055, $19.99, HC, 32pp,

Harriet Brundle is the author of more than 30 nonfiction books for children, including titles in the Materials series, the World Issues series, and the Your Faith series. With "Habitats Infographics" she has created an information packed picture book on all manner of wildlife environments for children ages 7-11. While very highly recommended, especially for elementary school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that this impressively illustrated, organized and presented edition of "Habitats Infographics" is also available in a paperback edition (9781786376329, $9.99).

The Graphic Novel Shelf

The Secret Life of Pets
Stephane Lapuss, author
Goum, illustrator
Titan Comics
9781787732179 $6.99 pbk / $5.33 Kindle

Written by Stephane Lapuss (author of the official "Minions" comic series) and brought to life with the zany, full-color artwork of Goum, The Secret Life of Pets is a graphic novel packed with original, wacky vignettes featuring the zany animals showcased in "The Secret Life of Pets" animated movie. The personable pets' all-new antics are sure to delight pet lovers of all ages, especially those who greatly enjoyed the movie and want more! The Secret Life of Pets is highly recommended for both personal and public library collections, and also makes an excellent giftbook for fans of the movie.

Minions: Viva Le Boss!
Stephane Lapusse, author
Renaud Collin, illustrator
Titan Comics
9781787730168, $14.99, HC, 48pp,

The Minions are back causing more chaotic catastrophes, more astonishing (mis)adventures, more manic mayhem, and definitely more banana related mishaps and misdeeds in "Minions: Viva Le Boss!". Minion fans will join Stuart, Kevin, Bob and the rest of the Minions in the days before Gru as they travel with them down through history in heroic sagas ripped from the annals of legend (or at least rumor), as they continue their epic search for their perfect leader in the wordless compendium of visual short stories. While very highly recommended for community library graphic novel collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated Minion fans that "Minions: Viva Le Boss!" is also available in a paperback edition (9781787730175, $6.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.47) Also very highly recommended in the Minions series is the Titan Comics edition of "Minions: The Collections" (9781787730250, $12.99 PB, $12.99 Kindle/comiXology).

The Music CD Shelf

Can You Feel It?
Jessa Campbell & the Saplings
Privately Published

Can You Feel It? is a family-friendly album of folk and bluegrass-style children's songs, with a focus on the wonders of nature, ecology, and science. A charming, beautiful celebration, Can You Feel It? is highly recommended especially for public and school library children's CD collections. The tracks are "Can You Feel It?", "Mole in the Ground", "Waltz of Trillium and Ant", "T-Rex in the Forest", "How I Love You Sun", "Shadow Doo-Dah", "The Great Happening", "Fractals", "Water Worth", and "Goodnight Pacific Northwest".

Put Your Arms in the Air
Cowboy Andy and the Salamanders
Salamanders Music LLC
$13.99 CD / $12.00 digital

Put Your Arms in the Air is an original children's music CD filled with upbeat, delightfully wacky tunes brimming with humor, movement, and positive thinking. A great choice for car trips, rainy- day fun, or children's parties, Put Your Arms in the Air is ideal for families and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Put Your Arms in the Air", "Mom Only Counts to Three", "The Letter Why", "Already Great", "Bowl of Eggs", "Countdown", "Pitfall", "Snow!", "Tu Eres Lo Mas Preciado", and "The Passenger". Also highly recommended is Cowboy Andy and the Salamanders' Parents' Choice Gold Award-winning music CD "Bubbles".

En La Radio
Privately Published
$12.97 CD / $9.99 download

En La Radio is an English/Spanish music album for all ages. All ten songs are completely original, crafted in music artist Nathalia's unique style of bilingual songwriting. Unbound by genre, En La Radio is vivacious, inclusive, and a joy to experience. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Sounds of the Seasons", "Que hay en la radio?", "Baila Conmigo", "Luna Lunera", "Que hay en la radio?", "L-E-G-O, Let's Go!", "El Monstruo Verde", "Que hay en la radio?", "Little Hermit Crab", "Emi y el Pulpo", "Que hay en la radio?", "La Rutina", "Tumbleweed", "Amor Amor", "Que hay en la radio?", and "The Green-Eyed Monster".

Amongst the Tall Trees
Pointed Man Band
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $10.00 digital

Amongst the Tall Trees is the third studio album from Pointed Man Band. Listeners of all ages will enjoy this varied, emotional soundscape building on the core themes of the human connection to nature, and how it affects us during the transition from childhood to adulthood. Amongst the Tall Trees is heartwarming, inspirational, and highly recommended. The tracks are "Go!", "Pint Size", "Corvidae", "Slowest Hands", "Yellow Dog", "A minor", "Dark Divide", "Vs. People", "Adventures of Wunderland", "Eagle Creek", "April Fools", and "Unearthed".

The LGBT Shelf

Chicken Girl
Heather Smith
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780143198680, $16.99,

Chicken Girl tells of Poppy, who used to see nothing but good in the world, but now has trouble with life. Her twin brother Cam is adjusting to life as a gay teen, so Poppy makes the decision to accept a job as a sign waver outside a restaurant dressed as a chicken. At this job, she meets a host of new people who have very different views of life's challenges. Topics of gender transition, change, and betrayal test Poppy's resolve and ideas about what life should be in this engrossing story.

The Native American Shelf

Arrowheads, Spears, and Buffalo Jumps
Lauri Travis
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426928, $15.00,

Arrowheads, Spears, and Buffalo Jumps: Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Great Plains introduces young readers to basic archaeology, blending photos of artifacts and excavation sites with details on the history and activities of these early peoples. Eric S. Carlson captures these events in colorful drawings while the photos of artifacts and discussions of their discovery and research allow for an excellent history of early prehistoric communities of the times. The maps, illustrations, and artifacts blend to create an involving history young people will find lively and informative.

Books in Series

Cycles of the Night Sky
Angie Smibert, author
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503828452 $28.50 list $19.95 S & L 24 pages

Written for elementary audiences at grade three reading level, "Cycles From the Night Sky" describes moving star constellations in the night sky from a historic perspective, from a modern viewpoint of the yearly path of the earth, which is called ecliptic, from a perspective of the nightly rotation of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres in summer and winter, and with an emphasis on the phases of Earth's Moon, as seen from the Earth. Fascinating diagrams and color photographs portray the movement of the earth and moon through orbits in space, setting the scene for differing night vistas of ancient constellations of stars. There are additional resources in the page of Fast Facts about Earth's path and the moon's phases, plus eclipses. There is also a glossary of terms and a list of related resources in books and on the web called To Learn More. "Cycles of the Night Sky" is a title from the Nature Cycles series which has 8 titles in all. Also highly recommended are the following titles from the Nature Cycles series: "Cycles of the Seasons (9781503828483)," by Goiriz Golkar, "The Oxygen Cycle (9781503828490)," by Goiriz Golkar, "The Plant Life Cycle (9781503828476)," by Arnold Ringstad, "The Rock Cycle (9781503828506)," by Martha London, "The Water Cycle (9781503828513)," by Maddie Spalding, "The Animal Life Cycle (9781503828445)," by Maddie Spalding, and "The Cycle of Photosynthesis (9781503828469)," by Arnold Ringstad.

Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

Three new series additions expand elementary-grade collections recommended for librarians interested in thought-provoking productions. The 'Get Informed - Stay Informed' series expands with for new titles, of which Heather C. Hudak's Digital Security Data is one example seen by this reviewer (9780778753315, $31.32). 48 pages to this book covers the risks of online activities from shopping to social interactions, examining how identities are stolen, data mined, and how individuals can participate in their own cyber awareness. James Bow's Building a Home in Space (9780778753841, $31.32) will appeal to 5th graders with its addition to the 'Mission: Space Science' series. It considers the basics of what a space home on Mars might look like, and it offers projects and exercises to reinforce both the science and engineering insights involved. Linda Barghoorn's Map and Trap Deserts (9780778753667, $27.60) adds to the 'Map and Track Biomes and Animals' series for grades 4-5, offering a little over thirty pages of discussion about desert environments. Different survival skills and animal homes are surveyed in a colorful scientific exploration that combines mapping and natural history for kids who are studying biomes and their habitats. All are excellent guides that tie in to curriculum objectives and offer much to students and leisure readers alike.

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.

Bathtime Dance
Candace Smith
Warren Publishing
8145 Ardrey Kell Rd., Ste. 207, Charlotte, NC 28277
9781943258758, $15.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

This sweet, brightly illustrated rhyme is sure to bring a tap to your toes, and a happy smile to your little ones. It's fun to read, and to sing along to in their own personal bath time. A perfect way to end a day. (Ages 3+)

How the Farm Wakes Up
Sherry L. Hoffman, author
Jacqueline L. Challiss Hill, illustrator
Self Published
9780578498287, $9.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

A perfect book for spring! It wakes the day with joy and anticipation. It might just become your favorite mantra in greeting each day. It awakes with such appreciation for the life around us. The illustrations are bright and lively, making this an all-around feel-good experience. (Ages 3+)

Sadie and the Silver Shoes
Jane Godwin, author
Anna Walker, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536204803, $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This delightful tale offers a warmth of inviting emotions. The blended feeling of multiple siblings, adjusting to and finding our identity in the midst of it. The pure joy in the small things that are truly ours alone, and for this reader, the love of something sparkly. Sadie discovers a very valuable truth when she loses one of her treasured sparkly silver shoes. Not all things that are gone are lost, but sometimes merely misplaced. And their recovery can often bring even greater treasures. A great story for the heart. (Ages 3-7)

The Little Labradoodle: Puppy Pick Up Day
April M. Cox, author
Len Smith, illustrator
Little Labradoodle Publishing
9781733960519, $14.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

Many of us know the thrill of a puppy pick up day. The anticipation that mounts till the day arrives and we bring our little buddy home. In this story, we find that same excitement, but from the puppy's perspective. Illustrations are bright and lively and will keep young readers engaged to the end. Under the same title is a companion coloring book filled with over 40 pages of fun activities. (Ages 2-9)

The Whole Wide World and Me
Toni Yuly
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763692636, $15.99

Larissa Juliano

I loved this book. A little girl is outside in nature, appreciating the world and all the gifts it has to offer us. The story is told from the little girl's perspective as she compares herself to a flower, fish, cloud, wave, and pebble. Bold and bright illustrations showcase the beautiful outdoors, sparkly sunsets, fluffy flowers, with a sweet girl smiling all throughout the story. This book is also a great kick-off to a nature unit, or an "all about me" study, mindfulness, and more. I am very much looking forward to adding Ms. Yuly to the author and illustrator study rotation in my own classroom! (Ages 2-5)

Life with My Family
Renee Hooker and Karl Jones, authors
Kathryn Durst, illustrator
Penguin Workshop
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781524789374, $17.99

Sherry L. Hoffman

A young girl wonders what her family would be like as various groups of wild animals. Vivid illustrations by Kathryn Durst showcase the family's characteristic features as animals. The little girl soon realizes that no family is perfect and she appreciates her family just as it is. This is a helpful story to bring up conversations about families, differences, and resolutions. (Ages 3-7)

Maximillian Villainous
Margaret Chiu Greanias
Running Press Kids
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762462971, $16.99

Sherry L. Hoffman

Will Max ever fit into his family of villains? In Maximillan Villainous, author Margaret Chiu Greanias unravels a tale about the evil doings of the Villainous Family. Meanwhile, main character Max befriends a soft, cuddly bunny despite pleas from the misguided family. This story allows for a possible discussion of good vs. evil and the importance of making positive choices despite pressures from outside sources. (Ages 4-8)

Manners and Me: An Easy-Peasy Guide for Kids and the Grown Ups Who Love Them
Nancy Dorrier, author
Ralph Voltz, illustrator
Brown Books Kids
16250 Knoll Trail, Suite 205, Dallas, Texas 75248
9781612542805, $14.99

Julianne Black

A great book for kids and parents! Each page is filled with examples of day-to-day situations in which kids find themselves but about which they aren't always taught. In a busy household, it is sometimes hard to take the time to review step-by-step basic manners and easy ways kids can help out. At school, many kids are learning social customs simply by trial and error. This book is a great reminder to stop and review basic acts of kindness, gratitude, and helpfulness. (Ages 3-7)

What If Mercury Had Marshmallows?
Jarrett Whitlow, author
Daniela Dogliani, illustrator
Warren Publishing
8145 Ardrey Kell Rd., Ste. 207, Charlotte, NC 28277
9781886057470, $8.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

The imagery and rhythm of this story are sure to anchor the facts in little readers' memories! With time we've discovered the two have a great impact on learning, and in this case the wonders of the planets will thrill the imagination with delight. Truly a fun way to learn! (Ages 5-8)

Grandpa's Stories
Joseph Coelho, author
Allison Colpoys, illustrator
Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419734984, $16.99

Christine Irvin

In beautiful, lyrical prose, a little girl reflects on the past year she spent with her grandpa. Season by season, she remembers the special times they had together, exploring parks in the spring, putting a race track together in the summer, using the notebook her grandfather made for her in the autumn, and listening to her grandpa tell stories in the winter. A poignant look at what it's like to lose someone special. (Ages 4-8)

Let Me Sleep, Sheep!
Meg McKinlay, author
Leila Rudge, illustrator
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536205473, $15.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a comical new look at sleepless nights and counting sheep. The illustrations are warm, inviting, and fun as we chuckle our way through the story. This award-winning team has done it again! (Ages 5-8)

The Rabbit, the Dark, and the Cookie Tin
Nicola O'Byrne
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
9781536205763, $15.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

What's out there in the dark when we are fast asleep? Does the world stop? Rabbit doesn't want to go to bed, so he decides to trap The Dark, and trap it in a cookie tin so he can stay up all night long. But then The Dark reminds Rabbit of all the good things that darkness brings. This is an original storyline and perfect for a child who is frightened of the dark. There is a purpose for all things in this world and this delightful story explains the purpose of the darkness. (Ages 3-7)

Stay, Benson!
Thereza Rowe
Thames & Hudson
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500651537, $16.95

Julianne Black

This book is so full of '70s nostalgia - crisp, bold, primary color graphics; unusual die-cut, peek-a-boo pages; no-nonsense, sans-serif black fonts; a runaway dog; and a pack of helpful animal friends - it's a glorious time machine back to the classics! A fun story told from the dog's perspective and illuminated with excellent design choices, Stay, Benson! is a keeper! (Ages 5-8)

What Do You Celebrate? Holidays and Festivals Around the World
Whitney Stewart, author
Christiane Engel, illustrator
Sterling Children's Books
9781454932130, $16.95

Christine Irvin

Have you ever wondered what kids in other parts of the world celebrate? Learn about some national holidays that take place around the globe. Each holiday description is enhanced by some type of activity (either a craft or a recipe), as well as several photographs, a large, full-page illustration, and a list of vocabulary words. The book is filled with great information about 14 worldwide holidays and festivals and is beautifully illustrated. (Ages 5-9)

The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng
Sophia Gholz, author
Kayla Harren, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781534110243, $16.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The best time to plant a tree is now." This is a true story of a little boy who lives in India. Jadav Payeng was an observant young man who was concerned by the loss of forest and small wildlife. His elders advised him to plant trees to help the animals. He began planting and harvesting his forest. Wildlife returned to his little acreage. They tried to chop his trees down for housing and hunt the animals for their horns and furs. He protected them from devastation and his forest was named "Molai." This is a story of the perseverance of one man. "Only by growing plants, the Earth will survive." (Ages 5-8)

Rocket Out of the Park
Andrea Cascardi, author
The Jim Henson Company, illustrator
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536203127, $4.99

Christine Irvin

Combining science with a good storyline is a winning combination. Dot and her friends go to the Creative Fair, where they learn how to build simple rockets. Dot's mom helps them make their own rockets. Each one is based on the same principles of propulsion, but each one is different and unique. (Ages 5-8)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers
Lyrics by Fred Rogers
Luke Flowers, illustrator
Quirk Books
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106
9781683691136, $19.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Everyone knows the soft sweet tone of Mister Rogers, and sharing a wonderful day in his neighborhood. We all wanted to be his neighbor! The friendly puppeteer in his red sweater made an amazing impact on the world around him. This lovely book shares 75 of his delightful songs, all illustrated with familiar characters and settings that will bring joy to those who remember the happy times they spent in his neighborhood, as well as new friends to glean his wisdom and genuine kindness. (Ages 6-8)

The Nocturnals: The Chestnut Challenge
Tracey Hecht, author
Josie Yee, illustrator
Fabled Films Press
9781944020231, $5.99

Diana Perry

Another great adventure for Bismark the Sugar Glider, Tobin the Pangolin, and Dawn the Fox, who are all competing to be the Chestnut Checkers Champion. Chandler the Chinchilla challenges them to a game claiming that he is the true Chestnut Checkers Champion. Who will win? This is such a fun Early Reader book that is not just entertaining to read, it also teaches the moral lesson of fair play. I believe parents/grandparents will enjoy reading this book to their little ones. Younger readers will love all the Nocturnals books; this is another fun-to-read story in this collection and a great bedtime book. (Ages 6-8)

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems
Selected by Paul B. Janeczko
Richard Jones, illustrator
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763681685, $17.99

Larissa Juliano

This book is so unique and packed with poetry from some incredibly talented and famous writers from the past and present (Nikki Grimes, Helen Frost, Kwame Alexander, Douglas Florian, just to name a few!). Almost 50 poems are compiled and each one is about how to do something: going on a swing, saying your prayers, catching snowflakes, mixing pancakes, toasting marshmallows, and of course, how to meet a hedgehog! Pictures are soft and sweet, with lots of different shading, details, and very creative touches. This super special book will definitely inspire many readers to write their own how-to poems. (Ages 6-9)

Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Pizza of Peril
John Dougherty, author
Sam Ricks, illustrator
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780525515630, $16.99

Diana Perry

This book begins with case files that our two detectives, Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face are working on. The evil criminal Badgers gang is in prison in an abandoned pizza mine, but when one of them discovers that the walls are actually made of old pizza crust, they eat right through and escape. Now our two heroes must track down and capture the Badgers who have grown larger and meaner - and as the Badgers are wreaking havoc, the island is in grave danger of falling into the sea. Young readers will love the nonstop action and will laugh out loud at the many funny situations. (Ages 8-12)

Payback on Poplar Lane
Margaret Mincks
Viking Books
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780425290910. $8.99

Diana Perry

ABC's Shark Tank meets The Terrible Two when a pair of sixth grade entrepreneurs compete to become top mogul on their block. Payback on Poplar Lane is a pitch-perfect comedy, destined to become a middle-grade classic. Young readers will see that healthy competition is a good thing and that sometimes the worst intentions of others can bring out the best in each of us. Middle schoolers will definitely relate. (Ages 8-12)

The Pepper Party Picks the Perfect Pet
Jay Cooper
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338297027, $5.99

Olivia Amiri

The Pepper Party Picks the Perfect Pet is a fun, adventurous read. Annie Pepper, the youngest in the Pepper family, wants to adopt a pet, a Chihuahua. But the rest of the family can't really agree on what pet to get. Will she even get a pet? Read the book to find out! (Ages 7-10)

Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure
Alex T. Smith
Hodder Children's Books
c/o Peachtree
9781682631201, $16.95

Diana Perry

He has a dashing hat. He has a battered satchel. He has a packed lunch of fish finger sandwiches. Now he just needs an adventure! So when Bouddica Bones from the Museum of Extraordinary Objects calls for help, Mr. Penguin swings into action. Can he and Colin the spider find the museum's missing treasure before bandits do? Or is this the adventure Mr. Penguin should have never answered? A great mystery! (Ages 8-12)

To Night Owl from Dogfish
Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer
Dial Books
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780525553236, $17.99

Diana Perry

The only things that Avery Bloom and Bett Devlin have in common is that they are both 12 years old, and are both being raised by single, gay dads. When their dads fall in love, Bett and Avery are sent to the same sleepaway camp in hopes that they will find common ground and become friends - and possibly, one day, even sisters. But things soon go off the rails for the girls when they find themselves on a summer adventure that neither of them could have predicted. This is a great story about becoming a family. (Ages 10+)

Beverly, Right Here
Kate DiCamillo
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763694647, $16.99

Christine Irvin

Beverly Tapinski has run away from home many times, but this time when she goes, she tells herself she is not running away, she is just leaving. Her father left her years ago. Her dog, Buddy, died and left her. And, her friend, Louisiana, left her too. So, she decided to just leave her old life. She has no plans for the future, other than to go somewhere new. She makes it only as far as Tamaray Beach, a couple of towns over from her home. In Tamaray Beach, she manages to find a job and a place to live. Now, she has to figure out what to do right here, right now. (Ages 10+)

October Jones: The Lightning Pines Mystery
J.D. McFarren
Wild Dreams Publishing
9781387382736, $13.99

Diana Perry

October Jones is an adventurous, street-smart, and scrappy boy whose curiosity often leads to trouble, but ends up being his saving grace. When a series of crimes occur in Lightning Pines Cemetery, October thinks he knows who is behind it all, but his mission to solve the mystery is hindered by a meddling teacher, class bullies, false leads, and getting grounded. Young readers will have fun reading this story and trying to figure out the identity of the culprit. (Ages 12+)

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe
Ally Condie
Dutton Books
375 Hudson Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10014-3657
9780525426455, $18.99

Diana Perry

There is something Poe Blythe, the 17-year-old captain of the Outpost's last mining ship, wants far more than the gold they tear from the Serpentine River: revenge. Poe has vowed to annihilate the river raiders who robbed her of everything two years ago. But as she navigates the treacherous waters of the Serpentine and realizes there might be a traitor among her crew, she must also reckon with who she has become, who she wants to be, and the ways love can change and shape you. Especially when you think all is lost. Young Adults will relate to the excitement, romance, adventure, and mystery in this book. I hope Ms. Condie will continue this story as I would love to read the next book. (Ages 12+)

Storm of Rivals
Callie Tobin
Blurb, Inc.
9781388021801 $6.95

Diana Perry

Fourteen-year-old Tempest flees the orphanage where she has lived and heads for the Kingdom of Evenraun. She arrives to learn that the royal family has disappeared and that a competition for the next leader is in place, but no adults are allowed to compete. An evil man named Vicknar is forcing children to be the competitors. Before she can sneak away, she is captured and forced to join the games. Everything gets worse for Tempest, who must find inner strength and bravery that she didn't know she had just to survive every day. Young readers will love the adventure, danger, excitement, and many mysteries in this book. I wasn't able to put it down. A terrific story with a surprising ending. (Ages 14+)

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Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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