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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 3 March 2009 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christian Studies Shelf Music Shelf
DVD Shelf Biography Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Fiction Shelf Picturebook Shelf American History Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Mia and Her Kitten Sophie
Faye V. Redd, author
Linette Garrahan, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781434398352, $11.49,

Children learn to bond with animals like no one else. "Mia and Her Kitten Sophie" is a work of love from author Faye V. Redd. Following young Mia and her efforts to find her lost kitten Sophie, Redd tells a warm story, well complemented by the illustrations of Linette Garrahan, drawn in full color crayon art. "Mia and Her Kitten Sophie" is sure to brighten any kitten loving child's day.

Newton's Apples
150 Essex Street, Suite 301, Millburn, NJ 07041
Kid Stuff Public Relations (publicity)
9504 Union Valley Road, Black Earth, WI 53515
Game, $24.99,

Often a game is an effective (and fun!) learning tool to teach young children basic concepts in science. Specifically designed to educate boys and girls about the concept of gravity, "Newton's Apples" from Briarpatch is a gravity strategy game where red and green apples are placed on 'crates' in one of eight rows at the top of an elevated game board. By strategically moving apple crates through applying Newton's law of gravity, the player first to get all of the apples to fall to the bottom row (while blocking the opponent's apples) wins. Players can move crates vertically or horizontally. They can even line up their crates to build bridges to move apples into new rows. Complete game rules are included along with a three dimensional, molded plastic game board, 8 apples, and 16 apple crates. "Newton's Apples" is an especially suitable and recommended science curriculum supplement for preschool enrichment, elementary school, and homeschooling programs.

The Christian Studies Shelf

The New Testament
Envoy House
Envoy House, Publishers
c/o B&B Media Group
189468530X, $15.52,

The second testament of the Bible is the most important to understand for Christians. "The New Testament: Your Guidebook" is a guide for young readers, teaching them how to best understand the words of Christ and the New Testament. Phrasing the New Testament in modern English, and divided into chapters highlighting the most important points, "The New Testament" is an excellent gift for religious parents to bestow upon their children so that they may understand the Bible to the fullest extent.

The Music Shelf

I Love Purim!
Mama Doni
Mama Doni Productions
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD, $4.00,,

Unique, lively, and solid entertainment for children, "I Love Purim!" is comprised of four performances of 'funky music with a Jewish twist' by Doni Zasloff Thomas who, as 'Mama Doni', has been entertaining children with her Mama Doni Band for a good many years now. This particular release showcases The Cooky Cookie; Costumer Conundrum; The Purim Bash; and Hey Man. Each number is a take-off on the Jewish holiday of Purim as Mama Doni blends reggae, rock, folk, country, klezmer, and 'Jewgrass' into a production that weaves Yiddish and 'Jewish Hip' with solid musical entertainment values. The result is a rollicking, toe-tapping CD perfect for kids of all ages. Also very highly recommended for family and community library children's music collections is Mama Doni's previous CD music release "I Love Herring & Other Fish Shticks For Kids" (Mama Doni Productions, $14.99).

Kid's Country Song & Dance
The Learning Station
PO Box 1316, Melbourne, FL 32902
$15.95 1-800-789-9990

Kid's Country Song & Dance: Action, Sing-Along, Hoe-Down Fun! is a music CD with included lyrics and dance instructions, created to help spark some knee-slapping fun at parties or any old time! The sing-along assortment includes a blend of traditional and original songs, performed with country-time gusto. Especially recommended as a way to help young people find fun in moving around while experiencing a bit of American culture! The tracks are "Square Dance Cadence", "Scootin' Dance Boogie", "You Are My Sunshine", "We've Got Country In Our Body", "50 States" (to the tune of 'Oh! Suzanna' and 'America the Beautiful'), "Yodel Lady Who", "My Aunt Came Back", "I Love My Rooster", "Froggy Went A Courtin'", "Shake Your Sillies Out", "The Cat Came Back", "Shoo Fly", "Knees Up Mother Brown", "Cotton Eye Joe", "Patriotic Medley" (Grand Old Flag & Yankee Doodle Dandy), "Country Medley" (Old Gray Mare, Home on the Range, Polly Wolly Doodle, Paw Paw Patch), "Inch Worm" and "Happy Trails To You".

The DVD Shelf

Madam President
Lane Smith, author
Anna Chiodo, narrator
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851
0545106443, $59.95

Bringing the picturebook of Lane Smith to life, Madam President is a brief, animated DVD suitable for young people ages 6-10 about a little girl who imagines what it would be like to be Madam President. A short story featuring lively humor and unforgettably charming imagery, Madam President is further enhanced with a bonus interview of the author. Madam President is a worthy addition to middle school and public children's library DVD collections. 9 minutes, color.

Holly Hobbie & Friends: Marvelous Makeover
Sony Pictures
c/o Erin O'Brien,
Jane Ayer Public Relations (publicity)
c/o Irene Dean,
1435928113, $12.99

Rated G for general audiences, Holly Hobbie & Friends: Marvelous Makeover is an inexpensive, family-friendly DVD featuring Holly Hobbie and her "Hey Girls" friends. When Holly's family moves to Clover, Holly has more time to spend with her best friends Amy and Carrie. When she makes friends with the school geek K.T., she and the girls don't shy away from K.T.'s differences - instead, they figure out a way to transform geek into chic! Featuring two playful animated episodes, "Reboot" and "Cover Girl", along with a "Dress Up With Holly Hobbie" bonus game, Holly Hobbie & Friends: Marvelous Makeover is a treat especially recommended for young girls. 44 minutes, full-screen.

PO Box 8082, Shawnee Mission, KS 66208, 1-800-821-3303

MarshMedia is a premier adapter of outstanding children's literature to a narrated DVD format. Four of their newest and enthusiastically recommended titles for young viewers of all ages include "Wash Those Hands!" (9781559423946, $79.95, running time 9:26) which shows the importance of personal hygiene through the step-by-step process washing and drying hands to prevent colds, flu and stomach upsets. Particularly appropriate for children in grades 6 through 8, "Straight Talk About Anger" (9781559423809, $79.95, running time 15:00) is about the necessity of controlling anger as a life skill. Presented in the format of a radio call-in show, illustrative scenarios include common themes encountered by young teens and how to develop the kinds of interpersonal skills that will help to successfully deal with inevitable feels of anger in ourselves and others. "Growing Up! For Girls" (9781559423687, $79.95, running time 18:25) and "Growing Up! For Boys" (9781559423670, $79.95, running time 17:58) are two gender specific DVDs that provide accurate information dealing with the physical aspects of puberty and relevant self-esteem issues that are associated with such a personal transformation. It should be noted that full public performance rights are included with each of these DVDs, making them especially suitable as curriculum supplements for traditional classrooms as well as home schooling programs. Indeed, parents and teachers are encouraged to visit the MarshMedia website at for a complete listing of all their titles for both fiction and non-fiction subjects.

Schlessinger Media
7 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096-0580, 1-800-843-3620

The 20th Century saw some of the most stirring and event changing speeches every recorded in the annals of human history. Thanks to the technologies that allowed for accurate recordings of these speeches they can now be shared with new generations of young listeners. Schlessinger Media has produced an outstanding DVD series showcasing thirteen such speeches given by men and women who played pivotal roles in the events and times that comprised the 20th Century. The individual DVD titles comprising "Greatest Speeches Of The 20th Century" include Winston Churchill; David Lloyd George: The Creation of the Modern Welfare State; Adolf Hitler, Ho Chi Minh; John F. Kennedy; Nelson Mandela; Jawaharlal Nehru; Richard Nixon; Emmeline Pankhurst: Champion of the Women's Suffrage Movement; Ronald Reagan; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Margaret Thatcher; and Woodrow Wilson. Some were infamous, all were famous. Each 23 minute DVD is closed-captioned, features period footage, informed expert commentary, as well as including both English and Spanish language tracks, a chapter select feature, discussion questions, and an investigation data sheet. They are also available individually for $39.95 each. A Teacher's Guide is available for free and online at -- making them ideal as school curriculum supplement materials.

The Biography Shelf

Barack Obama: An American Story
Bob Carlton & Ariele Gentiles
Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310670032, $9.99 1-800-727-1309

Barack Obama: An American Story is a biography of President Barack Obama written especially for teen and young adult readers. Covering his adolescence (raised by a single mother and grandparents), his rise to the top of his class at Harvard Law, his Christian faith, and how he left a well-paying career to enter the realm of public service, Barack Obama: An American Story is more than a true-life biography - it's a motivational story about bettering oneself and reaching for one's dream. Highly recommended for youth collections in both school and public libraries.

Jesse James
Carl R. Green and William R. Sanford
Enslow Publishers
Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398
0766031721, $23.93

The revised edition of JESSE JAMES joins others volumes in the 'Outlaws and Lawmen of the Wild West' series, offering a little over forty pages of facts on Jesse James and his life and times. The lively history reads almost like fiction and is colored with fine drawings and vintage period photos, making for a pick for grades 5-9.

Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 South Elm Street, Suite 223, Greensboro, NC 27406
$28.95 each

Two fine young adult nonfiction books are top picks for libraries seeking biographies of over 100 pages each. Roberta Baxter's FIRE, WATER AND AIR: THE STORY OF ANTOINE LAVOISIER (1599350874) tells of a wealthy Frenchman who planned to become a lawyer, but who curiosity about science led him to pursue chemistry as his career. His choice would help change the face of chemistry, disproving old theories and finding new approaches to make chemistry more approachable even as politics in the form of the French Revolution was changing his life. Jeff C. Young's POLITICAL PROFILES: MICHELLE OBAMA (1599350904) provides a young adult's biography of Michelle Obama, who moved from a poor Chicago childhood to Harvard Law School and her encounters with a summer hire named Barack. Their increasing involvement in politics would lead to the White House in this story of their rise to power. Roberta Baxer's MICHAEL FARADAY AND THE NATURE OF ELECTRICITY (1599350866) offers some 140 pages of biographical facts about the discoverer of electro-magnetism. Michael Faraday was born the son of a blacksmith and was apprenticed to a bookbinder at an early age, but developed a passion for science that led him to a job as a scientist's assistant.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Someone Walks By
Polly Carlson-Voiles
Raven Productions, Inc.
PO Box 188, Ely, MN 55731
9780980104554, $18.95,

How wild animals can survive throughout the winter months is always a fascinating subject for young readers. Deftly written and charmingly illustrated by Polly Carlson-Voiles, "Someone Walks By" takes as its enticement for children ages 5 through 10 a series of tracks in the snow. Following these tracks through the north woods in deep winter, children will learn how animals stay warm, eat, care for themselves, and move about when there is snow on the ground. From frozen wood frogs, to a bear in her den with newborn cubs, to chipmunks in their shelters, to otters swimming under the ice, and so many more denizens of the deep woods, "Someone Walks By" is as informative as it is entertaining. Enhanced with a glossary defining different types of snow and other winter terminology, and also available in a paperback edition (9780980104561, $12.95), "Someone Walks By" is an enthusiastically recommended addition to school, community, and family library collections for children.

The Fiction Shelf

The Longest Feather
Denis Trom
Sapphire Press
2153 N. Sapphire Place, Meridan, ID 83646
9780982190609, $17.95

People grieve in many different ways. "The Longest Feather" is about young Mickey. His father dead from mysterious reasons, he turns to the woods to cope. He enters a contest to find the longest pheasant feather in the woods, but he soon finds that he and his friends may have gotten more than they bargained for. "The Longest Feather" is a riveting thriller for young readers, recommended.

Dragon Wishes
Stacy Nyikos, author
Regan Johnson, illustrator
Blooming Tree Press
PO Box 140934, Austin, TX 78714
9781933831114, $16.95,

A series of huge changes all at once can wreak havoc with any child. "Dragon Wishes" tells of Alex and Isa, two young sisters who have had their world turned upside down. Their parents die, and they are forced to move across the United States to San Francisco, leaving their beloved Oklahoma home behind. Their only comfort is their Aunt Ling's stories. A tale of adjusting and looking to the future, "Dragon Wishes" is a fine story of the coping of youth.

Adirondack Gold II: A Summer of Strangers
Persis Granger
Beaver Meadow Publishing
11 Clarence Russell Road, Warrenburg, NY 12885
9780974208510, $11.95,

A person is the sum of those around them. "Adirondack Gold II: A Summer of Strangers" is the coming of age story of young Hollis Ingraham, who is set to spend a summer with strangers; during this time, he learns much of the world. A followup to the original "Adirondack Gold", "A Summer of Strangers" is a fine work of historical fiction sure to entertain readers well, aimed particularly at young adults.

Graveyard of the Sea
Penny Draper
Coteau Books
2517 Victoria Ave., Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, S4P OT2
9781550503975, $8.95

The weight of many lives are not what's typically thrown on the shoulders of a young girl. "Graveyard of the Sea" is the story of Nell, a girl who lives in a lighthouse on Canada's west coast. Trying to prove her worth to her father, she learns Morse code and puts her skills to good use. But when her father is gone, and her Morse code skills are rendered useless, she is faced with the lives of the Coloma in her hands. Can she rise to the challenge? "Graveyard of the Sea" is a riveting young adult read, highly recommended.

The Addiction Monster and the Square Cat
Sheryl Letzgus McGinnis
Oak Tree Press
140 E. Palmer Taylorville, IL 62568
9781892343543, $12.95,

Addiction changes people. You don't need to be human to see that. "The Addiction Monster and the Square Cat" is a children's novel of addiction told from the perspective of the family cat. Six years ago, Sheryl McGinnis lost her son to drug addiction, and now crafts a story aimed at young readers to warn them against the dangers in a way that will appeal to them as both entertainment and lesson. "The Addiction Monster and the Square Cat" is a fine read for late elementary school readers.

Trouble at Turtle Narrows
Peggy Dymond Leavey
178 Willowdale Avenue, Ste. 201, Toronto, ON Canada M2N 4Y8
9781894917711, $9.95,

Being homeless is not something a thirteen-year-old aspires to. "Trouble at Turtle Narrows" is a young adult novella following Joel Osler. His family is blessed with a new home and dog, but chaos soon shows up to screw up Joel's life. Joel has to save his family, his home, and his dog, or his life won't ever be the same. "Trouble at Turtle Narrows" is a fine novel for preteens, sure to entertain and encourage literacy.

557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Patrick Carman's STARGAZER (0439899516, $11.99) adds to the Land of Elyon with the 4th adventure in the series. Here Alexa Daley has defeated a threat to her home and is off on a sail to adventure; but after a savage attack she's stranded in a strange community known as The Five Stone Pillars. Evil and challenge threatens her every move in this fast-paced saga of struggle, suitable for prior fans of the series. Nahoko Uehashi's MORIBITO: GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRIT (0545005426, $17.99) tells of one Balsa, a fighter who protects kids and adults in the course of her quest to redeem eight lives lost for her. She's a martial arts expert and guardian of the Second Prince Chagum, who has been chosen to journey across the seas to deliver a spirit to its home or face a drought. A fast-paced fantasy will appeal to readers attracted to complex plots and many changes.

The Great Wide Sea
M.H. Herlong
c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
9780670063307, $16.99

Ben doesn't want to spend a year on a sailing trip with his father and brothers recovering from his mother's sudden death, but he's on the trip anyway - so when disaster strikes and the father vanishes halfway between the Bahamas and Bermuda, it's up to him and his brothers to survive a storm, a shipwreck, and more. Survival on many levels is a key issue in THE GREAT WIDE SEA, a riveting story for middle to high school leisure readers.

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Sally Lincoln tells the story of life in the Lincoln family which changes when her mother dies and a demanding father's new wife leaves Sally in charge of nine-year-old Abe in Harry Mazer's MY BROTHER ABE (1416938842, $15.99). Can a pre-teen and her sibling face the frontier alone? This fictional story provides a powerful based-on-truth tale of a girl facing many hardships and responsibilities caring for the boy who would someday become President of the United States. Marissa Moss' AMELIA'S SCIENCE FAIR DISASTER (1416964940, $9.99) appears in an appealing hand-written, drawn format much like a child's journal as it provides middle school readers with a fun story of Amelia's greatest challenge: a science fair project. Zany mishaps make for a fast-paced, unpredictable tale.

Delacorte Books
c/o Bantam Dell Publishing Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

Joshua Doder's GRK: OPERATION TORTOISE (9780385733625, $15.99) tells of one Tim, vacationing with his parents and Grk in the Seychelles when he and Grk stumble on a body on the beach. Their search for clues to the mystery lead them to a mad scientist and a dangerous quest for immortality in this fast-paced mystery recommended for middle school readers. Mitali Perkins' SECRET KEEPER (9780385733403, $16.99) tells of Indian girl Asha and her older sister and mother, whose father leaves India to look for work in America. The women come under the jurisdiction of an uncle with all kinds of ramifications as Ma struggles with personal depression and her mother- and sister-in-law, Reet's beauty attracts unwelcome suitors, and Asha herself can't seem to hold the family together. A final novel of politics and personal courage set in India in the 1970s makes for an involving story.

The Stowaway
R.A. Salvatore & Geno Salvatore
Wizards of the Coast Inc.
Box 606, Renton, WA 98057-0707
9780786950942, $17.95

Maimun is marked for death even tho he's not yet a teenager, guarding a secret while a demon tracks his moves. He stows away on a boat hoping to escape his woes and there finds an ally in the dark elf Drizzt, finding newfound meaning in relationships born of mutual need and appreciation. This fast-paced fantasy, set in the popular Dungeons & Dragons "Forgotten Realms" fantasy world, is a perfect pick for high school readers seeking powerful characterization and complex, fast-changing stories.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
Jeff Kinney
Harry Abrams Inc,
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810970687, $12.95

This sequel to Roderick Rules and the Do-It-Yourself Book tells of the rewards and perils of being a wimpy kid. Greg's father threatens to involve him in more 'manly' endeavors, but Greg refuses to be anything more than what he is in this joke-packed story accompanied by cartoon line drawings and fun moments. Perfect for grades 5 and up.

The Picturebook Shelf

Dende Maro: The Golden Prince
Sally Mallam
Hoopoe Books
PO Box 176, Los Altos, CA 94023
9781933779485, $17.99

Dende Maro: The Golden Prince is a wondrous picturebook for children ages 5 and up, inspired by the ancient rock art of Africa. Illustrated with "digital collages" created by rearranging and coloring original images of this ancient rock art, Dende Maro is an original fable about the creation of the world, and the Golden Prince sent to teach the people of the new world how to take care of themselves and each other. Dende Maro the Golden Prince taught the people how to fish, how to cultivate plants for food, how to travel and navigate by the stars, create paint and music, and write down their poems, stories, and dreams. A delightful and panoramic picturebook reflecting the mystique of Africa's ancient treasures, Dende Maro is highly recommended for parents to share with children during storytime or bedtime.

The One and Only Marigold
Florence Parry Heide and Jill McElmurry
Schwarz and Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375840319, $16.99

Marigold wears her coat everywhere; even to bed. Her hobby is inventing ugly faces - and she can really irritate her best friend, too. Four linked stories feature aspects of the hilarious Marigold in this zany book perfect for young readers ages 4-8.

Gobble It Up!
Jim Arnosky
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439903629, $16.99

GOBBLE IT UP! A FUN SONG ABOUT EATING! tells of suppertime in the wild, when hungry animals engage in eating. A music CD accompanies a factual picture book song, illustrating consumption in a fun, zany and easy-reading rollicking rhyme.

Never Talk to Strangers
Irma Joyce
Golden Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780375849640, $9.99

First published in 1967, NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS pairs a zany rhyme filled with unlikely dilemmas reinforcing the rule of why it's important never to talk to strangers. George Buckett's drawings accompany animal/human interactions emphasizing the fact of safety - even under the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up?
Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761454380, $14.99

Kitty Cat should be getting ready for school, but is doing anything but as she moves slowly in the morning and finds plenty of tasks far more interesting than preparing for the rest of her day. Her mother guides her to find her things in this very simple story ideal for young picturebook readers.

Amulet Books
c/o Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011

David McPhail's BUDGIE & BOO (9780810983243, $15.95) tells of best friends who work in their gardens and help each other out, learning that friendship is all they need to get through their day. The bear and rabbit share adventures - and their fear of dark forests - in this fine story. Deborah Lee Rose's THE TWELVE DAYS OF SPRINGTIME: A SCHOOL COUNTING BOOK (9780810983304, $15.95) enjoys fine drawings by Carey Armstrong-Ellis as it offers a take-off on the '12 Days of Christmas', each school experience ending with 'and a garden to water carefully'.

EDC Publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74146-6515, 1-800-475-4522

Full color picture books are perennial favorites for young readers and their parents. This is especially true for enduring literary classics that have entertained generations of children. EDC Publishing has made available five 24-page picture book titles that would grace any family, school, or community library collection for children ages 3 through 8 and matching simple storytelling with truly exquisite full page illustrations. Whether as a parental gift for a child or as a library acquisition for the benefit of a whole community of children, "The Story Of Black Beauty" (9760794522506, $9.99); "The Secret Garden" (978079452232, $9.99); "Goldilocks And The Three Bears" (9780794522513, $9.99); "The Three Little Pigs" (9780794522537, $9.99); and "The Sun And The Wind" (9780794522520, $9.99) are among the best bargains and most popular additions for any family, preschool center, elementary school, or community library picture book collection.

The American History Shelf

Profiles in Black
Marvin A. McMickle
Judson Press
PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
9780817015084, $22.00,

Black Americans have been a vital part of American history since the country's inception. "Profiles in Black: Phat Fact for Teens" is a look at black history, aimed at teenagers. Famous names in many walks of life, ranging from military to education to government to even great entertainers and athletes, McMickle covers a wide range of great Black Americans, sure to educate and inspire readers. "Profiles in Black" is a fine acquisition for any library catering to teenaged readers and wants to foster appreciation of these great individuals.

Traveling the Freedom Road
Linda Barrett Osborne
Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810983380, $24.95

Illustrations, original documents and first-person narratives blend in a fine survey of Afro-American heritage in TRAVELING THE FREEDOM ROAD: FROM SLAVERY & THE CIVIL WAR THROUGH RECONSTRUCTION. An excellent 'you are there' news-style blend of picture and text emphasizes the many challenges and transition points of the time in this excellent pictorial review of America's greatest period of change.

The Audiobook Shelf

Live Oak Media
PO Box 652, Pine Plains, NY 12567-0652, 1-800-788-1121

A premier publisher of audio book adaptations of children's picturebooks, Live Oak Media has produced audio editions of two outstanding titles by author James Howe and illustrator Marie-Louise Gay. "Houndsley and Catina" (9781430103011, $31.95) is the story of Catina the cat who wants to be a successful writer, while Houndsley the dog is a rather good cook who aspires to winning an important cooking contest. While the two of them seek fame, they find that having a good friend is an even better reward for doing what they love to do and are so very good at. "Houndsley and Catina and the Birthday Surprise" (9781430103080, $18.95) continues their adventures as Houndsley worries that he's made Catina sad by admitting he doesn't know when his birthday is -- and had reminded her that she didn't know hers either! He tries to cheer her up with a birthday cake, and because she is his friend as well, Catina has her own surprise for Houndsley! In addition to being available as a hardcover/CD combination, both of these outstanding and highly recommended titles are also available as paperback/CD, hardcover/cassette, and paperback/cassette editions. School and community librarians would be well advised to visit the Live Oak Media website at for a complete listing of all their titles and ordering information.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Comic Books and Manga
Eddie Robson
Crabtree Publishers
350 - 5th Avenue #3308, New York NY 10118
9780778738138, $26.60

From the creation of the world's first superhero comic book, to famous writers and artists, to how a comic is created, Eddie Robson's "Comic Books and Manga" offers young readers a 32-page all-color introductory history to comic books and manga, and comes packed with photos, comic book covers in full color, dialogue and more. Kids interested in comics will find this irresistible.

Fashion Kitty and the Unlikely Hero
Charise Mericle Harper
c/o Hyperion Books for Children
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor, New York, NY 10011
9780786837274, $8.99 1-800-759-0190

Fashion Kitty's biggest challenge is school uniforms so ugly they defy fashion adjustment. Her fight for fashion freedom leads her to some daring school encounters in this two-color graphic novel of a too-hip kitty's battle for fashion freedom in her school, perfect for reluctant readers and those who love graphic novels.

Classical Comics Limited
c/o Peter Handel
$16.95 each,

In the 1950s and 60's, comic books serving as a forum and format for great works of English literature experienced a 'Golden Age' with publishers such as Classics Illustrated had a tremendous impact on readers of all ages. Now a new company, the British based publisher Classical Comics Limited, is reviving that literary tradition and format with graphic novels based on great literary works and offered in two basic text formats: the classical text and a modern English version. The full color artwork is superb and used for both text versions. The newest additions to this simply outstanding literary graphic novel series from Classical Comics Limited includes Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (original text 9781906332525; quick text 9781906332518); Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (original text 9781906332501; quick text 9781906332495); Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" (original text 9781906332488; quick text 9781906332471). Ideal for school and community library collections, all librarians and graphic novel enthusiasts would do well to visit the colorful Classical Comics Limited website at for a complete roster of all of their very highly recommended adaptations of classical literature.

Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019, 1-800-726-0600
$5.99 each

Two new 'Stone Rabbit' graphic novels by Eric Craddock provide zany plots and full-color comic panels throughout. PIRATE PALOOZA (9780375856600) tells of a cursed pirate leg used to fix a broken coffee table and the chaos and ghostly pirate that results. BIG MAMBO (9780375843600) presents a time portal of doom to be found in Rabbit's bathroom - a portal that leads to prehistoric problems. Comedy and zany encounters keep kids interested in these colorful adventures.

Crabtree Publishers
350 - 5th Avenue #3308, New York NY 10118
$29.27 each,

Six new titles in the 'Graphic America' series provide 32 pages each of all-color American history in graphic novel format, certain to appeal to reluctant readers with vivid covers and exciting titles. INVENTIONS AND INVENTORS (9780778741862) covers Ben Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell and others, FREE AT LAST! (9780778741855) covers slavery events and the rise of both the Clan and Civil Rights movements, RADICAL REPUBLICANS (9780778741879) tells of the Reconstruction period, race riots and reconstruction issues, WESTWARD HO! (9780778741909) charts trails west during the growth of the nation, THE REVOLUTION IN INDUSTRY (9780778741893) considers autos, airplanes, engines, wind power and other influences on industrial growth, and TAMING THE WEST (9780778741885) reveals lawmen, women, and frontier justice alike. With dialogue boxes blended with facts, these read like fiction but are packed with facts.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Rowan of the Wood
Christine & Ethan Rose
Windlass Young Adult Line
c/o Dalton Publishing
PO Box 242, Austin, TX 78767
9780981744315, $14.95,

Fantasy is fine and all until it becomes reality. "Rowan of the Wood" follows young Cullen, an awkward preteen whose only refuge are the forests that surround his home and give him a break from his life as he loses himself in his imagination. Little does he know that he soon encounters a powerful ancient wizard by the name of Rowan. Cullen must reunite a wizard with his lost love, but that seems so much harder than it sounds, and it sounds hard in the first place. "Rowan of the Wood" is a fun children's fantasy sure to be enjoyed by those children who can't get enough of the genre.

Duckey and the Ocean Protectors
John Sexton & Katie Gutierrez, authors
Maciej Zajac, illustrator
Writers of the Round Table Press
8 Sparrow Lane, York, ME 03909
9780981454573, $18.95,

Hydrophobic and duck aren't two words that should go together. "Duckey and the Ocean Protectors" is a novel aimed at the late elementary school audience, complimented with beautiful artwork from Maciej Zajac. The diamond of the ocean has been stolen, and King Neptune needs it found, lest the ocean and all of the creatures of the Earth wither and die. A force of creatures band together to find it, but what they may need to succeed lies in the hands of a hydrophobic duck called Duckey. "Duckey and the Ocean Protectors" is sure to entertain many a young reader.

Books in Series

The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010, 1-800-237-9932

The martial arts has never been more widespread throughout American communities, nor as popular with junior and high school students as it is today. The Rosen Publishing Group has newly published a particularly outstanding series of five martial arts instructional handbooks specifically written at an eighth grade reading level and profusely illustrated to appeal to young readers in grades 7 to 12. Written by martial arts experts in their particular fields, the five titles include The Judo Handbook; The Karate Handbook; The Kickboxing Handbook; The Kung Fu handbook; and The Tae Kwon Do Handbook. Each volume features a library binding for an extended shelf life, full-color photography, an index, and a resource list for further research or study. Although the individual titles are available separately ($39.95 List/$29.95 Library), school and community library collections would be well advised to acquire the entire set (9781404214859, $199.75 List/$149.75 Library) for their collections.

6277 Sea Harbor Drive, 5th fl., Orlando, FL 32887, 1-888-363-4266

The marking and passing of time are basic concepts that should be mastered as part of a preschool preparation for taking on an elementary school curriculum. "Talking About Time" (9781410916433, $74.75) is a new five title series from Raintree directly deals with the subject. Superbly co-authored by Jilly Attwood and Angela McHaney Brown, the titles comprising this outstanding series of 24-page books include Days Of The Week; How Long Does It Take?; Months Of The Year; Seasons Of The Year; and Times Of The Day. The concepts provided with illustrative examples are deftly presented, for example in How Long Does It Take, children are introduced into analyzing the relative passages of time such as considering whether it takes longer to walk to school or ride a bike to school. Although each of the five titles comprising "Talking About Time" are available individually ($14.95 each), families, preschool and daycare center, elementary school, and community libraries would be well advised to obtain the entire series for their collections.

The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003, 1-800-599-7323

Sports books are always popular with boys -- even those that might otherwise be averse to reading for pleasure. The Child's World has published two particularly outstanding sports oriented series that will have appeal for young readers in grades 2 through 9 and which are written on a third grade vocabulary level. "The World's Greatest Athletes" (9781602531116, 162.42 List/$113.70 Library) is a series of six 32-page and superbly illustrated titles showcasing contemporary sports stars from six different sports. These include Tiger Woods (golf); Roger Federer (tennis); Dwayne Wad (basketball); David Beckham (soccer); Shaun White (skate boarding); and LaDainton Tomlinson (football). "Above The Rim" (9781592969951, $171.00 List/$119.70 Library) features basketball teams and their players from the different national divisions of the National Basketball Association and including The Atlantic Division; The Central Division; The Northwest Division; The Pacific Division; The Southeast Division; and The Southwest Division. Author James S. Kelley does a particularly fine job in each of these 40-page titles of reporting the history of each division -- including the sports statistics that are so popular with young fans (and their fathers too, for that matter!). All of the books in both of these highly recommended sports series for young readers feature reinforced library bindings, a table of contents, sidebar facts, event timelines, glossaries, indexes, and lists of resources (including websites) for further research making them ideal for both school and community library collections.

Picture Window Books
c/o Capstone Press
PO Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002-0669, 1-800-747-4992

Two outstanding series from Picture Window Books provide young readers ages 5 to 9 with colorfully entertaining titles drawn from folklore. "Tall Tales" (9781404810815PM, $119.58 List/$89.70 Library) is a set of six stories drawn from American legends associated with both historical and fictional characters. Appropriate for grades K-5, the brightly illustrated, 32-page titles include Annie Oakley: Sharp Shooter; John Henry; Johnny Appleseed; Paul Bunyan; and Pecos Bill. "Folk Tales" 997814048-099-4PM, $139.51List/$104.65 Library) is comprised of seven thoroughly 'kid friendly' 32-page illustrated classics including Chicken Little; The Gingerbread Man; How Many Spots Does A Leopard Have?; How The Camel Got Its Hump; The Little Red Hen; The Pied Piper; and Stone Soup. While each of the titles in both of these highly recommended series are available separately, school and community library collections would be well advised to acquire the sets in their entirety for the cost savings, because they are sturdily bound for an extended shelf life, and for their enduring popularity with children and parents.

Rourke Publishing
PO Box 643328, Vero Beach, FL 32964

With each year that passes, the importance of environmental studies for elementary school children has become more and more recognized as an essential aspect of classroom curriculum instruction. "Studying Food Webs" is unique six volume series of deftly informative and superbly illustrated books employing the concept of integrated and interrelated food systems that provide nourishment for plants and animals. Individual titles showcase particular habitats and the animals associated with them. Each title is enhanced for young readers in grades 3 to 6 with glossaries, 'kid-friendly' and thematically appropriate websites, as well as detailed indexes. The six titles comprising this outstanding and highly recommended series include "Arctic Appetizers: Studying Food Webs in the Arctic (9781604723144); "Desert Dinners: Studying Food Webs in the Desert" (9781604723151); "Forest Fare: Studying food Webs in the Forest (9781604723168); "Freshwater Feeders: Studying Food Webs in Freshwater" (9781604723175); "Grassland Buffet: Studying Food Webs in the Grasslands and Savannahs (9781604723182); and "Makers and Takers: Studying Food Webs in the Ocean" (9781804723199). Although these titles can be obtained separately ($28.50 List/$19.95 Library), school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the entire set (9781604723137, $171.00 List/$119.70 Library).Teachers, librarians, and home schooling parents are also recommended to visit the Rourk Publishing website at for a complete listing of all their non-fiction books in series for children preschool through young adult.

Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002

Children are not immune to the social issues and cultural concerns that afflict their parents. Often by giving children a sound introduction to such issues and concerns, they can be inspired to help their parents become involved in seeking solutions to the problems that beset our society as a whole. "Global Questions" is a six volume series of illustrated titles from Black Rabbit Books that highlights and showcases contemporary stories that are part of our daily newscasts and newspaper headlines. Each individually illustrated, 48-page book provides historical background for its particular issue, is written on a 6th grade reading level, is appropriate for children in grades 5 through 7, offers expert views, forum panels to stimulate debate, features a table of contents, a glossary, and an index. The individual titles comprising this superbly illustrated series includes "Are We Running Out of Energy?" (9781848370135); "Can the War on Terrorism be Won?" (9781848370142); "Do Animals Have Rights?" (9781848370104); "Is Our Climate Changing? (9781848370111); "Is Our Food Safe?" (9781848370128); and "Why Do People Seek Asylum?" (9781848370159". Highly appropriate for and recommended to both school and community library collections, each titles is available separately ($32.80 List/$22.95 Library) or as a set ($196.80 List/$137.70 Library).

Crabtree Publishers
350 - 5th Avenue, Suite 3308, New York NY 10118

Each of the titles in Penny Dowdy's 'My Path to Math' series ($21.27 each) for ages 5-6 provides a little over twenty pages of introductory detail pairing math challenges to everyday life, and simplifying the entire process. FRACTIONS (0778743381), MEASUREMENT (0778743411), GRAPHING (077874339X), GEOMETRY (0778743403), ESTIMATION (0778743373), PLACE VALUE (0778743438), MONEY (077874342X) and TIME (0778743446) each provide an easy format, large-size print, and plenty of striking visual support. The titles in the' Celebrations in My World' ($26.60 each) series each provides some 30 pages of detail on a range of ethnic holidays, from DAY OF THE DEAD (0778742792), DIWALI (0778742822), CHINESE NEW YEAR (0778742806), CINCO DE MAYO (0778742814), KWANZAA (0778742849) and CONSTITUTION DAY (0778742865) to HANUKKAH (0778742830) and RAMADAN (0778742857). Bright contemporary color photos and large-size print accompany clear explanations. The 'Your Guide to Government' series ($26.60 each) provides a fine basic survey of people and processes. Each book offers over 30 pages of basic information perfect for introductory papers and explorations. HOW IS A GOVERNMENT ELECTED? (077874325X), HOW IS A LAW PASSED? (0778743268), WHAT ARE THE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT? (0778743276), and WHAT IS A GOVERNMENT? (0778743284) each provide contemporary color photos to spice basic facts. Continuing the exploration with more depth are the 32-page books 'Understanding' series by Sally Senzell Isaacs explaining further facets of the government. UNDERSTANDING THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION (0778743721), BILL OF RIGHTS (0778743748), U.S. CONSTITUTION (077874373X) and DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (0778743713) each survey documents of early American history. K-3 grades will enjoy the 'Baby Animals' series ($15.95 each) by Bobbie Kalman: namely TADPOLES TO FROGS (9780778739562) and BABY REPTILES (9780778739548). 24 pages include large bright color photos paired with simple nature facts, a glossary, and information perfect for beginning reports. The 'Extreme Nature' series ($19.95 each) for grades 2-4 each offer some 32 pages of details on extreme environments and nature, from FROZEN EXTREMES (9780778745020) and MOUNTAIN EXTREMES (9780778745037) to DEEP SEA EXTREMES (9780778745013) and RAIN FOREST EXTREMES (9780778745044). Each discusses the extreme environment and the types of life calling it home. Two new 'Crabtree contact' titles include SNAKE BITE (9780778737728, $26.60) and PIRANHAS AND OTHER SMALL DEADLY CREATURES (9780778737704, $26.60). From different kinds of snake bites and the world's most dangerous snakes to snake handling methods, SNAKE BITE pairs dramatic photos with natural science, while PIRANHAS covers oddities such as a man who works with killer snails and how a fish can turn you into a zombie. Crabtree's 'Why Chemistry Matters' series ($26.60 each) expands with lively 32-page offerings packed with color and detail linking chemistry to everyday life. ELEMENTS AND COMPOUNDS (9778742423), ACIDS AND BASES (0778742393), CHEMICAL CHANGES (0778742415), ATOMS AND MOLECULES (0778742407), MIXTURES AND SOLUTIONS (07787423431) and STATES OF MATTER (077874244X) do more than explain theory: they draw important connections between science and daily life. David Jefferis' 'Exploring Our Solar System' titles ($26.60 each) provides vivid covers and descriptions to excite young readers about the solar system. An unusual division offers Mercury and Venus in HOT PLANETS (0778737357), Jupiter and Saturn in MIGHTY MEGAPLANETS (0778737373), Pluto and beyond in ICE DWARFS (0778737365) and Neptune and Uranus in GAS GIANTS (0778737349), comparing the properties of similar planets in our solar system and providing vivid, eye-catching covers and color photos throughout in these whirlwind tours of our solar system.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Marshall Cavendish's books are top picks offering important sets packed with colorful graphics and information perfect for reports. One of their new sets is detailed and packed with insights: John and Jackie Tidey's CHINA: LAND, LIFE AND CULTURE ($19.95 each) uses first-hand personal accounts and viewpoints throughout text, along with contemporary color photos and examples of Chinese and Americans working together on projects. Each book holds some 32 pages including an index and glossary. The complete set includes PLANTS (9780761431596), LAND AND CULTURE (9780761431565), PEOPLE AND CITIES (9780761431589), HISTORY AND GOVERNMENT (9780761431558), WILDLIFE (9780761431619) and ARTS AND CULTURE (9780761431541), each packed with information suitable for beginning reports. 'Math Alive ($19.95 each) offers a series of 32-page books linking math concepts to daily work and history. BUILDING MATH (9780761432104) thus covers buildings and structures around the world and how math has changed since ancient times, TRANSPORT MATH (9780761432111) covers calculations for the transportation world, SCIENCE MATH (9780761432135) surveys how math is used in scientific research, NATURE MATH (9780761432142) considers math patterns evident in nature, BODY MATH (9780761432159) offers figures and facts about body functions, and TRAVEL MATH (9780761432173) considers how travel is calculated and how math is used in different countries. The new 'American Heroes' series ($20.95 each) provides a little under 40 pages each of basic information on selected Americans who made a different. From Sneed Collard III's ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE (9780761430698), Collard's JOHN GLENN: HOOKED ON FLYING (9780761430667), and Collard's THOMAS JEFFERSON: LET FREEDOM RING! (9780761430674) to Larry Dane Brimner's titles BOOKER T. WASHINGTON: GETTING INTO THE SCHOOLHOUSE (9780761430636), CHIEF CRAZY HORSE: FOLLOWING A VISION (9780761430612) and POCAHONTAS: BRIDGING TWO WORLDS (9780761430650), dates blend with biography and history to make for excellent material for basic reports for grades 2-4. The photos and illustrations add interest to facts.

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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