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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 3 March 2012 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Biography Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Metaphysical Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Native American Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Music Shelf
Activity Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Fiction Shelf Environmental Shelf
Board Book Shelf Counting Shelf Christian Shelf
Judaic Shelf Health Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Gardening Shelf Geography Shelf American History Shelf
Theatre/Cinema Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Poetry Shelf Science Shelf Reference Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Stairstep Farm: Anna Rose's Story
Anne Pellowski, author
Roseanne Sharpe, illustrator
Bethlehem Books/Ignatius Press
10194 Garfield St. South, Bathgate, ND 58216
9781932350401, $12.95, (800) 757-6831

"Stairstep Farm: Anna Rose's Story" is book from the beloved 'Latsch Valley Farm Book' series written from the author's family life history about a Polish family who settled to farm in Western Wisconsin, in the Latsch Valley. The era is the 1930's, and Anna Rose is 5 years old, anxious to start school like her older siblings, busy with looking after her younger siblings and endless farm tasks and chores. The life is a full one, with games, outdoor fun, family and community celebrations to balance tornados, world events, lack of money, and other hardships. children age 8-12 will enjoy reading this series independently, while younger children will enjoy having it read aloud to them, chapter by chapter. Comparable to a Laura Ingalls Wilder story series based on real lie experiences, "Stairstep Farm" from the Latch Valley Farm Book series (of five books) is a poignant portrait of immigrant farm life in rural western Wisconsin.

Jumpin' Jackie, the Cow That Jumped Over the Moon
Jack May, author
Jeremy Provost, illustrator
Little Creek Press
c/o Kristin Mitchell Design, LLC
5341 Sunny Ridge Road, Mineral Point, WI 53565
9780982802373, $17.95,

"Jumpin' Jackie, the Cow That Jumped Over the Moon" is an inspiring story about a different calf of a prize winning dairy cow mother named Judy. Little Jackie is not like her siblings, Janice, Julie, Josie and Jeannette, whose prime ambition is to also become champion milk producers like their mother. Jackie loves to jump. It is her dream to jump so high one day that she will jump over the moon. This dream is incomprehensible to her mother and siblings. Nevertheless, despite many adversities, Jackie continues to train for her jumping goal with the help of John, her farm boy friend. John stands by her and protects her from her siblings' scorn and mother's rejection. Jackie was taken to the Iowa County Fair where she was encouraged to break all her previous jumping records, despite her mother's lack of support or understanding. Despite all odds, Jumpin' Jackie jumps her very bet and actually jumps all the way over the moon, thrilling a crowd of thousands of fair-goers. After that, Jackie's mother finally begins to understand. The two Mineral Point champion cows go on a fair publicity tour and Jumpin' Jackie got a chance to talk to other dairy calve about working hard to follow their dreams. Finally Judy was proud of her unusually talented daughter! "Jumpin' Jackie The Cow That Jumped Over the Moon" is a charming, Wisconsin dairy-farming based, illustrated story for children age 2 and up, with an empowering message for unlikely heroes and heroines.

Adventure Publications
820 Cleveland Street South
Cambridge, MN 55008

'Choose Your Own Path' is a popular form of interactive books for young readers where they decide between two alternatives embedded in the story narrative and which affect the story's outcome as they read their way through from beginning to end and back again. Adventure Publications has published a series of four outstanding, 152-page children's storybooks specifically designed for ages 9 through 13. "Lost in the Wild" (9781591930907, $7.95) is a story of being lost in the wilderness. "Storm at the Summit" (9781591932758, $7.95) is about being trapped in a storm on Mount Everest. "Can You Survive: Call of the Wild" (9780977412235, $7.95) features having to struggle against the perils of the far north. "Can You Survive: Sherlock Holmes" presents have to resolve three puzzling mysteries. Every few pages there is a decision to make that can lead to success or disaster. As with all stories in a 'Choose Your Own Path' format, there are alternative endings -- and with these four thrilling tales, there are several highly engaging life-and-death scenarios to play out. All four are highly entertaining and highly recommended.

The Biography Shelf

Wild Women of the Wild West
Jonah Winter, author
Susan Guevara, illustrator
Holiday House, Inc.
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823416011, $16.95,

"Wild Women of the Wild West" is am illustrated collection of brief biographical sketches of 15 famous females who lived in western states of the U.S. A. in the late 1800's. Hand worked sketches and illustrations complement color tinted authentic period photographs of such wild west heroines as Calamity Jane, Mary Fields, Lola Montez, Annie Oakley, Belle Starr and Lotta Crabtree, including some lesser known women of other ethnicity such as Sarah Winnemucca, The-Other-Magpie, Mary Ellen Pleasant, and more. Women are judges, diplomats, saloon madames, Abolitionist slave smugglers, rebellious non-voters (Carry A. Nation), and reporters, as well as singers, dancers, entertainers, casino owners, crack shots, and more. The Wild West was a vast untamed area from 1848 to 1898, and women played a larger part in its history than has been totally reported to date. At the end of the 15 biographies is a Wild West Time Line that records notable historical events chronologically. There is also included a map of the United States of America in 1850, with the territories of Texas, Nebraska, Upper California, and Oregon outlined, along with a large portion of modern day Oklahoma, titled as Indian Territory. "Wild Women of the Wild West" is appropriate for the middle to junior high grade levels, for excellent women's history studies and related areas.

Bold Women in Colorado History
Phyllis J. Perry
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399
Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425846 $12.00

Bold Women in Colorado History presents the life stories of ten courageous Colorado women, including a teacher, a playwright, a doctor, a business leader, and more, who resisted prejudice to achieve success. Accessibly and engagingly written, Bold Women in Colorado History is especially inspiring for young girls. A few black-and-white photographs, a bibliography, and an index round out this exceptional contribution to grade school and public library children's biography collections. Highly recommended.

Bold Women in Texas History
Don Blevins
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425839, $12.00,

Gender is nothing in the face of daring to get stuff done. "Bold Women in Texas History" explores the many women throughout Texas history who made their mark on history. Beating prejudice and conquering barriers, Don Blevins walks young adult readers through these many women changed the ides of wars, ran businesses, spread the word of God, and much more. "Bold Women in Texas History" is a fine walk through history, very much recommended.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Crocodile's Tears
Alex Beard, author/artist
Abrams Books
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419700088, $17.95,

"Crocodile's Tears" is an African environmental animal fable that encourages children to ask "Why are different species of animals becoming threatened and disappearing?" "What can we do about it?" Crocodile is found weeping tears in the sunshine, and Rhino and Tickbird set out to discover why Crocodile is crying. Their quest takes them to many different African animals, some of whom are vanishing and some not. Each has a different answer to the question that leads to further animal research. Finally Rhino asks Crocodile (a dangerous step, not recommended by any of the animals surveyed) why he is crying. The answer is both surprising and inevitable. Children will learn more about each of the different animal species in the story through the photo-illustrated Glossary of Animals at the end of the book. The delicate, whimsical illustrations show each animal's unique attributes and gifts, in the process of completing the Rhino's quest, with the Tickbird's help. One of the best things about "Crocodile's Tears" is that when copies of the book are bought, a portion of the proceeds go to benefit the Shomple Community Trust, a land and animal reserve in Kenya.

The Picturebook Shelf

Breakfast on a Dragon's Tail and Other Book Bites
Martin Springett
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street
Brighton, MA 02135-3303
9781554551934 $18.95

Breakfast on a Dragon's Tail and Other Book Bites is a creativity-stimulating take on the children's picturebook. Instead of a standard story, each two-page spread presents a fabulous "book cover" illustration, and a text page that begins an engaging adventure - for which young readers are encouraged to imagine their own endings! For example, in the 'Breakfast on a Dragon's Tail' vignette, the stubborn Princess Miranda insists on riding her horse despite the return of the Great Golden Dragon, Golmogog. The vignette concludes with "Phew! Either Miranda is very brave or very silly. What do you think happens next?" Parents and children will enjoy extrapolating their own stories from this unique and beautifully illustrated font of inspiration.

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

"Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up?" is a lovely, pastel-tinted illustrated children's story about a curious gray and white kitty who is supposed to be waking up and getting ready to go to school, but finds endless distractions more intriguing than her routine morning tasks. Told in gentle, lilting verse, "Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up?" is a song waiting to be sung, an adventure waiting to unfold. Children will love the little mischievous mouse who distracts Kitty Cat, along with countless other charming details. Children of all ages will adore the message of safe exploration under parental care and supervision, while somehow still arriving at a desired destination.

The Flyaway Blanket
Allan Peterkin, author
Emmeline Pidgen, illustrator
American Psychological Association
Magination Press
P.O. Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090
9781433810473, $14.95,

"The Flyaway Blanket" is a beautifully illustrated story about a boy's beloved blanket which flies away in the wind after being hung up to dry from its washing. The blanket is a symbol of parental love and care, an example of a transitional toy or comfort object, which a child uses to soothe or comfort himself when facing strange or frightening new situations. Such objects are thought to be very important in helping children to grow, explore their world, and become more independent. The flyaway blanket in this story travels on the wind to several animal babies and their mothers, but eventually returns to the boy and his mother where it belongs. Gentle pastel illustrations follow the drifting blanket in its windy odyssey and help it drift back to land comfortably on the boy and his mother. "The Flyaway Blanket" is available in hard or soft covers, to be treasured by children age 3 and up and their parents and caretakers.

The Best Kind of Kiss
Margaret Allum, author
Jonathan Bentley, illustrator
Walker & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780802722744, $14.99,

An adorable little redheaded girl lists her favorite kisses in this jaunty, sunny whimsical catalog of kisses that masquerades as a delightful children's book. There are many animal kisses, also many friendly kisses between friends at play, quarreling, saying goodbye and saying hello. There are also snuggly-cuddly mommy kisses, smelly-yelly-brother kisses, and rosy-cozy-grandma kisses. "But the best kind of kiss is a great big bristly-growly-daddy kiss!" This charming storybook from an Australian author and illustrator is sure to charm children and parents alike. For age 2 and up.

Zebedee's Balloon
Alice Briere-Haquet, author
Olivier Philipponneau, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
9782733819425, $12.95,

The joys of youth seem like they will never end. "Zebedee's Balloon" is a children's picturebook by Alice Briere-Haquet and illustrator Olivier Philipponneau, telling the story of young Zebedee, a child who has grown to love his red balloon who he calls ball. When Ball vanishes, Zebedee must learn to face loss and grow up a little in the process. "Zebedee's Balloon" is a touching read for parents to read along with a children, highly recommended. Also from Auzou Publishing and Alice Briere-Haquet is "Peter and the Moon" (9782733819401, $16.95), a cute tale of a young man who wants to give the moon to his mother, wonderfully illustrated by Celia Cahuffrey.

Dancing on Grapes
Graziella Pacini Buonanno, author
Gina Capaldi, illustrator
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590788332, $16.95,

"Dancing on Grapes" is a wonderful bicultural children's story about an Italian girl named Claudia who is helped by her family to conquer her fear of heights and joyously participates in the annual rooftop stomping of the grapes with her older siblings and cousins and friends. Filled with luscious Italian words for common words, "Dancing on Grapes" presents an Italian family wreathed in a warm zest for life. The reader can almost feel the warm Italian sunshine all around. An Italian glossary and a writer's postscript add to the background authenticity of the story, based on the author's childhood experiences. Recommended for children ages 5-8, "Dancing on Grapes" offers new material for today's children on a way of life no longer common.

Hero Finds His Path
Susan Amundson, author
Nan Holt, illustrator
Bjelkier Press
1620 Louis Lane, Hastings, MN 55033
9780982821749, $16.95,

"Hero Finds His Path" is a beautiful color illustrated story about a white Samoyed puppy who learns to like himself even when he no longer is considered a prize winning show dog. With its message of profound self-acceptance, "Hero Finds His Path" teaches children to realize that unexpected life experiences can be good for the soul, when the lesson is finally realized. "Hero Finds His Path" is also a teaching story that encourages the extension of compassion to others, animal or human.

Small Medium & Large
Jane Monroe Donovan, author/illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364473, $15.95,

"Small Medium & Large" is a story told almost exclusively in beautiful illustrations, for children age 3 and up. A young girl writes a letter to Santa only asking for a friend to share her holiday with. Her faith and diligence are rewarded by three wonderful boxes left by her Christmas tree, on small, one medium, and one large. Imagine her joy at discovering a kitten, a dog, and a pony in the three boxes. The ensuing pictures show warm, complete details of how she passed time in happy activities with all three new friends. Whether eating breakfast, making snowmen, making cookies, or simply enjoying a warm fire in the fireplace, all things are better enjoyed with friends. The story ends with a thank you letter to Santa, with an added request for a bone, carrots, and a toy mouse, presumably for her new friends. "Small Medium & Large" features beautiful pictures of real animals in the author's family home, e.g. Maylee the seal-point Siamese cat, Grizzly the Chesapeake Bay retriever, and Fern, the miniature horse. "Small Medium & Large" teaches both comparative size concepts and the concept of generosity and thankfulness, in addition to the value of friendship and love.

Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure
Naomi C. Rose, author/illustrator
Lee & Lowe Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600604256, $18.95,

"Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure" is a beautifully illustrated story about a Tibetan immigrant girl who works to help heal her homesick, ill grandfather by recreating a traditional Tibetan flower cure, discovering a new supportive community of friends for the whole family in the process. Expressive, impressionistic style, colorful paintings add to the gentle narrative. Additional notes and facts on Tibet, Tibetan Americans, Tibetan medicine, and Tibetan words are listed at the end of this sensitive and uplifting story for children age 3 and up.

My Name Is Elizabeth!
Annika Dunklee, author
Matthew Forsythe, illustrator
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781554535606, $14.95,

"My Name Is Elizabeth!" is a delightful tricolor illustrated story about a very unique little girl who prefers to be addressed by her correct given name (Elizabeth Alfreda Roxanne Carmelita Bluebell Jones!!) and no nicknames! Truly funny illustrations in shades of light blue, orange, and black and white show little Elizabeth (named after a queen!) interacting with different adults and children who eventually learn to call her just 'Elizabeth.' "My name Is Elizabeth" is a hilarious exploration of growing individuality within a complex world of relationships that will gently amuse and empower or encourage young children to learn to be themselves.

Bustle in the Bushes
Giles Andreae, author
David Wojtowycz, illustrator
Tiger Tales
5 River Road, Suite 128, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589251090, $16.95,

"Bustle in the Bushes" is an amazing introduction in vivid illustrated verse to 15 incredible bugs that live in your back yard. From snail, slug, worm and fly, to grasshopper, dragonfly, ladybug and bee, all the minibeasts hiding in your very own back yard are waiting to astound you with their amazing attributes! Here is nature education for kids at its creepy-crawly finest, with funny rhymes, tales and pictures plus real amazing facts about each creature. Kids age 3 and up will love "Bustle in the Bushes," and they will want to explore their natural environments even more.

My Dad is Big and Strong BUT...
Coralie Saudo, author
Kris Di Giacomo, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592701223, $16.95,

In plenty of time for Father's Day, My Dad is Big and Strong BUT... A Bedtime Story" has appeared, a delightful bedtime story with role reversal featured! With a definite quirk, a twinkle and a smile, kids will love reading "My Dad is Big and Strong BUT..." to their dads at bedtime. You see, this Dad is big and strong, BUT he doesn't want to go to bed! And even after several stories, he begs to sleep in (his son's) bed instead! And he's afraid of the dark! It is certainly an exhausting task to settle down this Dad and tuck him in his own bed and get him to sleep with the light on outside his room just until he goes to sleep. But what can you do, you've got to love this Dad! Muted color whimsical illustrations on thick paper pages make this a solid, masculine feeling children's book that will delight and amuse both dads and kids everywhere.

Pua and the Big White Lua
Debbie Dias Mason, author/illustrator
Bess Press
3565 Harding Ave., Honolulu, Hawai'i 96816
9781573063357, $9.95,

"Pua and the Big White Lua" is an endearing story about a little Hawaiian girl named Pua whose mother believes she is ready, at age three, to use big girl undies and the bathroom lua, or toilet. This plan gravely alarms Pua, a keiki (little girl) whose experience with the lua leads her to believe it will devour whatever comes near it! From old rotten bananas to car keys, neckties and jewelry, Pua has seen the lua flush away a vast variety of items. Pua is afraid she might become a flush victim of the mighty lua. Fortunately, Pua's mommy is able to reassure her and show her how to use a little, Pua-sized potty seat that sat on top of the lua, so she would be safe while she is accomplishing her eliminations, which she calls "shi-shi and doo-doo." All the narrative is written in affectionate verse, while the brightly colored illustrations show a little Hawaiian girl becoming more and more confident in herself as she learns to use the grown-up lua. "Pua and the Big White Lua" has a bright red-orange padded cover that will appeal to any youngster dealing with the issues of how to learn to use the toilet properly.

Hana Rescues Misty
Azra Z. Mehdi, author, Sama Nadeem, Izhar, illustrator
Privately Published
9780615553610, $9.99,

Kindness knows no species. "Hana Rescues Misty" is a children's picturebook from author Azra Z. Mhdi and illustrator Sama Nadeem Izhar present a story of young Hana seeing a kitten stuck up in a tree and doing what she can to rescue the cat from the tree. With uniquely water color art style and a good message of doing what one can to help, "Hana Rescues Misty" is a fine pick for very young readers, recommended.

Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll
Sunny Seki
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon VT 05759-9436
9784805311875, $15.95,

Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll tells of a blind orphan who can do amazing things, but who makes a discovery aftr an accident that will lead to saving her village. Sunny Seki illustrates her own story of Yuko-Chan's amazing invention, which allows her village to earn a living by selling unique dolls. Good reading skills lend to a lively story presented in both Japanese and English text.

Goodnight iPad
Ann Droyd
Blue Rider Press
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson St., New York NY 10014
9780399158568, $14.99,

GOODNIGHT IPAD uses rabbits to provide a fun parody for a generation raised on iPads, texts, Facebook, and modern media and is a fun easy read for this group. It's 'time to power down' in this modern bedtime story about putting electronics aside in favor of a good night's sleep. A whimsical, engaging story for the new generation of electronics enthusiasts!

JoJo the Giant
Jane Barclay
Tundra Books
P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887769764, $19.99,

Esperanca Melo illustrates this fun story of a child who is eager to grow larger and who pesters his mother daily asking how big he's grown today. He wants to compete in a race and win against bullies - but he can't do this if he remains small. A warm story of courage and real growth evolves in this fine story.

Joan of Arc
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761459538, $19.99,

Kids ages 8-12 with good reading skills and an interest in lovely illustration will find much to like in this fictionalized account of Joan of Arc's life. Joan's coming of age in a small French town in the fifteenth century is brought to life along with her religious epiphany at age thirteen. Her calling to enter into battle as the Maid of God - and to win many struggles - made her a legend in France, and this title offers many insights into her life and times in a gorgeously illustrated presentation.

Is Your Hair Made of Donuts?
Joy Feldman, author
Beth Slocum and Amanda Mueller, illustrators
Wickford Chiropractic and Wellness Center
610 Ten Rod Rd., Kingstown, Rhode Island 02852
c/o Maryglenn McCombs (publicity)
2817 West End Avenue, Suite 126-274, Nashville, TN 37203
9780615555157 $8.95

Is Your Hair Made of Donuts? is a colorful, flat-spined children's picturebook with a strong message about the importance of eating a balanced diet. Young Matt and Maddie chafe at having to eat the healthy foods their mom feeds them, when their friends often get to enjoy sugary snacks. Then, their mother seems to give in, allowing them to buy and eat as many donuts and other fattening snacks as they want! But pigging out has its consequences, and they soon discover that "you are what you eat" in more ways than one as donuts appear to grow out of their heads! Matt and Maddie learn not only that too much of a sweet thing is a bad thing, but also that there are plenty of delicious, healthier treats that they can enjoy in moderation - recipes at the back of the book for "Maddie's Favorite Corny Tortillas", "Matt's Favorite Sweet & Sour Swiss Chard Extravaganza", and "Mom's New Dessert Idea... The Nutty Roll" teach parents and children how to make some of them! Highly recommended.

The Metaphysical Shelf

I Am A Rainbow
Roseanne D'Erasmo Script, author
Lowell Hildebrandt
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, In 47403
9781456743581, $12.99,

"I AM a Rainbow" is the first of a series of three that addresses young audiences about holistic concepts and energy healing using the seven main chakras or energy centers of the human energy field. To teach school age children about energy healing, Script uses "I AM a Rainbow" to guide two children, Joey and Marissa, through a meditative exploration, in which the children explore meditative gardens in each of the seven different colors of the chakras with their teacher, They begin moving towards the West in the first energy center, or root chakra, which is full of the color red. They stroll on through the sacral energy center, which is full of orange growing things and light. The teacher explains the different attributes of the different energy centers as they move up the spine chakras through the rainbow, until they arrive at the seventh or crown energy center, which is purple, or violet. The children gradually become aware of focusing energy within on their different centers and encouraging their complete rainbows of energy to shine. Delicate paintings illustrate each step along the chain of energy chakra gardens, with all rainbow hues featured and displayed beautifully. "I AM a Rainbow" is a transcendental gift to children and adults that will lead to further education and enlightenment about holistic self healing concepts.

The Social Issues Shelf

A Tale of Two Cookies
Trina Dawkins Patterson, author
Bonnita Wilson, illustrator
Amber Skye Publishing
1935 Berkshire Drive, Eagan, MN 55112
9780981986098, $10.99,

"A Tale of Two Cookies: A Message of Kindness and Acceptance" is a sensitivity study for kids in the form of a cookie fable. Ola, a chewy, dark oatmeal cooky, is new to the town of Confection, a haven of butterflies and happiness for all yellow cookies who look alike, including Liddy, the lemon cooky. Liddy says cruel, hurtful things to Ola, telling her she cannot belong in Confection because of her different appearance. Despite Liddy's unkindness which is so extreme it actually causes a real storm, Ola is good to Liddy, carrying her in to shelter when it is raining. Finally Liddy realizes she doe not deserve a friend as kind as Ola, but that she has one anyway. "A Tale of Two Cookies" has a profound message of acceptance and celebration of differences, Discussion questions at the end of the book address differences, respect, kindness, and meanness. "A Tale of Two Cookies" is ideal for elementary school children, and even older schoolchildren will benefit from reading it.

Sine van Mol, author
Carianne Wijffels, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853943, $17.00,

"Meena" is an unusual children's picturebook about children's fearful reactions to stereotypes. Full of appealing, quirky, lopsided color illustrations, "Meena" is a story about an apparently ugly, scary old woman whom Klaas. Thomas, and Christa fear is an evil witch. Imagine their horror when they discover the "witch" has a captive little girl in her home! Imagine their further surprise when they finally discover this little girl is not a prisoner, but Meena's beloved granddaughter. Finally imagine their total transformation when they realize all their stereotype-based fears are like dust in the wind, empty and meaningless. "Meena" as a story book for children ages 5-9 uses art and literature to awaken children's minds to higher levels of perception and analysis. The quite scary abstract illustrations allow each fearful reaction to bloom fully in a child's mind, before dispelling it as an illusion. Finally two of the children accept the invitation to eat Meena's cherry pie, and when they don't die the next day, the third child, Christa, realizes her error. "Meena" is a wonderful teaching book, perhaps better read to sturdy children who are able to confront their fearful notions.

The Native American Shelf

Children of the Seventh Fire
Lisa A. Hart, author
Joe Liles, illustrator
Edward Benton-Benai, Foreword
McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company
Granville, Ohio
9781935778172, $18.95,

"Children of the Seventh Fire: An Ancient Prophecy for Modern Times" is an illustrated teaching story for 9-11 year old children about a group of history elementary school children who visit a Native American reservation and hear an Anishinabe traditional teaching about the Seven Fires Prophecy from an elder named Kinoo, of the Three Fires Midiwiwin Teaching Lodge. The Children of the Seventh Fire Prophecy is an ancient teaching that helped predict what might happen to the Anishinabe People. The wisdom of this series of teachings and visions is presented and experienced as available and applicable to all human races, categorized as red, black, white, and yellow. Kinoo suggests that the time for all peoples of the Earth to work together in "adopting more balanced, holistic world views, such as those of the Anishinabe people, in order to deal with the many social and environmental problems facing the modern world." Indigenous peoples such as the Anishinabe possess a sort of holistic wisdom that encourages them to think with both minds and hearts. Children of all four races can contribute to the Seventh Fire enlightenment. Several practical projects and ideas are suggested for both the children of the Birch River Elementary School and the children from the visiting community school. Some of these include planting and growing gardens using traditional Anishinabe wisdom about the Three Sisters (corn, beans, squash), practicing careful resource use, recycling, and learning to have an attitude of respect for others and gratitude for all things. If all the four races can learn to think and make choices in a new, enlightened way, the Seventh Fire keepers will light the Eighth and final Fire of eternal peace, love, brotherhood and sisterhood. Present technology influences without the wisdom of lasting good and human (and all beings) spirituality has led to an unbalanced and badly injured environment, planet, and society. Thus the time is ripe for the seeking of lasting wisdom such as that of the Seventh Fire Prophecy. "Children of the Seventh Fire" is beautifully illustrated in color and contains brief summaries of Anishinabe history and a glossary of Anishinabe words and a listing of related resources, books, and web sites. There is also a beautiful pledge for the Children of the Seventh Fire: "This is an agreement with myself that: I will do my best to follow the Seven Sacred Teachings which are Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth. I will remember to treat others as I would like to be treated. When there's a conflict, I will listen to others and use reason, not physical violence. I will treat the natural environment with respect. I will treat all animals with respect. I will listen to my elders, for they have wisdom to guide me. I will honor the gift of my life by keeping my body, mind, and spirit healthy. I pledge to make this world a better place to live, one thought and one act at a time (p.36)." "Children of the Seventh Fire" is both a practical, powerful teaching tool and a wonderful gift to present and future generations, a bridge to a better future for all.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Someone Talked!
R. Conrad Stein, author
Chiron Books
9902 Crystal Ct., #107, Laredo, TX 78045
9781935178170, $7.95,

"Someone Talked!" is a chapter spy-thriller for young adults age 8-12 and up that is historical fiction based in 1944 Chicago during World War II. Two 12 year old boys stumble on to evidence that there is a German spy in their midst who may be part of an act of sabotage for the war effort. What can two boys do to prevent the unthinkable from happening? "Someone Talked!" is an exciting interpretation of daily life during a difficult period of recent history. An additional essay titled "The World War II Homefront" is included at the end of the book to provide additional historical and background information. "Someone Talked!" is excellent educational-recreational reading for tweens.

Shield the Heart
T. K. Richardson
Yorkshire Publishing
9731 East 54th Street, Tulsa, OK 74146
9781936750726 $12.99

Shield the Heart is a mystery novel for young adults, with elements of the fantastic. Young Lilly struggles with her gift of being able to read people's hearts - a gift connected to an ancient Russian prophecy. The machinations of the prophecy inevitably draw Lilly to Russia, force her to choose between her love and her loyalty. The shadow of death looms over those she cares about most, in this enthralling sequel to "Return the Heart". Highly recommended.

The Music Shelf

Making Beautiful Music
Norma Minturn Stilwell, author
Tiffany LaGrange, illustrator
Peppertree Press
1269 First St., Suite 7, Sarasota, Florida 34236
9781936343928, $14,95,

"Making Beautiful Music" is the second book in the author's 'Let's Get Along Series', featuring lively, piquant versed text and huge, colorful, exuberant illustrations of quarreling instruments of the orchestra who need to learn to harmonize and get along in order to make beautiful music. Young children and beginning readers will enjoy the story and the message of "Making Beautiful Music." "Making Beautiful Music" is dedicated to Mattie J. T. Stepanik, young (deceased) author of "Heartsongs." Children will instinctively respond to the charming message of the irresistible beauty of harmony in "Making Beautiful Music."

The Activity Shelf

The Kids' Winter Fun Book
Claire Gillman & Sam Martin
250 Wireless Boulevard
Hauppauge, NY 11788
9780764147265 $12.99

The Kids' Winter Fun Book lives up to its title with a wide variety of inexpensive, winter-themed indoor and outdoor activities that young people and their families can enjoy. From crafting sock animals or putting on a shadow play to winter photography and building a snow fortress, static electricity games or picking up an ice cube with a match, or cooking any number of delicious seasonal favorites such as apple crisp, plum pie, crispy cereal cakes, or a chocolate log, The Kids' Winter Fun Book is packed cover-to-cover with engaging ideas. Step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and color illustrations distinguish this fun and family-friendly guide, highly recommended as a positive alternative to TV and video games!

The Magical World of Fairies
Fairy N. Flight, author
Amy Saidens, illustrator
Heather Zschock, designer
Peter Pauper Press
202 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601
9781441306364, $15.99,

"The Magical World of Fairies: A Paper Doll Fold-Out Play Set" is a beautiful book of mystical little paper doll fairies and their outfits, complete with stands and background scenes to help create magical fairy adventures. Designed on study paper pages with punch out perforations, the paper dolls, accessories and costumes are charming, colorful, and completely delightful. The hardcover case with matching purple elastic band attached is designed as both a set of three background scenes and a convenient safe carrying case for the fairies and their costumes, accessories, and animal friends. "The Magical World of Fairies" is sure to bring hours of imaginative play to any child who receives it.

Sambuka Black Activity Book
Dielle Alexandre & Jeff Mulcaster
Privately Published
9780983611523 $5.00

Sambuka Black Activity Book is a consumable, flat-spined activity book filled cover-to-cover with 80 pages of games, mazes, word hunts, puzzles, pictures to color or draw, and more, all inspired by the young adult fantasy novel "Sambuka Black" by Dielle Alexandre & Jeff Mulcaster. Reading the novel is not necessary to fully enjoy the activity book (with the possible exception of its crossword puzzle), although the adventurous story is a treat in its own right. Sambuka Black Activity Book is a delightful companion to the novel and a good way to engage the brains of little ones during car trips, air travel, or shut-in snowy or rainy days.

The Audiobook Shelf

Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe, author
Jonathan Keeble
Retold for younger listeners by Roy McMillan
Naxos of America, Inc.
1810 Columbia Avenue, Suite 28
Franklin, TN 37064
9781843795575 $17.98

Robinson Crusoe is an abridged audiobook adaptation of Daniel Defoe's classic novel of survival, retold for younger listeners by Roy McMillan and performed by radio play, theater, and audiobook veteran Jonathan Keeble. The story follows Robinson Crusoe, who loses his ship in a perilous storm and barely makes it alive to a deserted island, alone and with no hope of rescue. At first he is able to gradually scavenge and craft enough to stay alive, building shelter, hunting food, taming animals, and making his own clothes. Then he spots another person's footprint, his first warning of the pirates and cannibals that threaten him with a most horrific death! An exciting high adventure enhanced with classical music, Robinson Crusoe is a highly recommended pick for junior high school library and public library children's collections. 2 CDs, 2 hours 19 min.

A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L'Engle
Listening Library
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780307916570, $25.00,

A WRINKLE IN TIME provides a fine unabridged audio narrated by Hope Davis, an actress of film, theatre and television. Her performances have led to some award-winning results on stage and her voice spices this engrossing fantasy classic of three children who journey to other worlds on a rescue mission to recover their long-absent, mysteriously vanished father. Recommended for any young adult collection where audio listens are of interest!

Mountain Press Publishing
Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806

Don Blevins' BOLD WOMEN IN TEXAS HISTORY (9780878425839, $12.00) is for readers ages 12 and up and pairs over twenty black and white photos with the biographies of eleven Texan women who made names for themselves. These were artists, ranchers, and more: women who achieved both personal dreams and a degree of local fame and influence. It provides lively biographies recommended not just for Texas collections, but for any library looking for lively accounts of women's achievements. Catherine Weyerhaeuser Morley's WHERE DO MOUNTAINS COME FROM, MOMMA? (9780878425822, $12.00) offers the scenario of a little girl and her mother who take a walk in the mountains, leading the girl to ask questions about geology. Lovely color drawings are the heart of a basic geology of mountains, making this a fine introduction to mountain ecology for any elementary-level reader.

The Music CD Shelf

Little Dragon Tales
Produced by The Shanghai Restoration Project
Cheng & Tsui Company
25 West Street
Boston, MA 02111-1213

Little Dragon Tales: Chinese Children's Songs is a music CD of traditional favorite Chinese songs, including Chinese sing-along vocals that little ones can practice and learn! Even adult students as Chinese will find the blend of language and music an extremely helpful aid to the learning process. Little Dragon Tales is especially valuable for Chinese language teachers of all age ranges, individuals seeking to immerse themselves in the language on their own, or even parents seeking to expose their children to China's rich and riveting culture. Highly recommended. The tracks are "Making Friends", "Where Is Spring?", "Clay Doll", "Two Tigers", "Congratulations", "Sticky Dumplings for Sale", "Selling Newspapers", "Finding Flowers in the Snow", "The Schoolboy", "Feng Yang Flower Derum", "Little Swallow", and "Little White Boat".

Instrumental Dreamland
Putumayo Kids
c/o Putumayo World Music
411 Lafayette St., 4th floor, NY, NY 10003
Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Sixth in the popular "Dreamland" series of family-friendly music CDs, Instrumental Dreamland is an album of calming songs by a variety of talented performers; all the tracks are meant to soothe children and help them get ready for bed. No vocals distract from the delightful, gentle remakes of beloved lullabies from around the world. Incorporated instruments range include the acoustic guitar, harp, piano, and kora. A wonderfully relaxing album to play at bedtime, Instrumental Dreamland is a beautiful pick for kids and adults alike, and highly recommended. The tracks are "What a Wonderful World", "Bressay Lullaby", "O Filho Que Eu Quero Ter", 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "Komoriuta", "Kouyate", "Pupu Hinuhinu", "Hand in Hand", "Honu's Dream", "The Lark" and "Brahms' Lullaby".

The Good Ms. Padgett Sings The Little Red Hen & Other Stories
Anna Louise Ogden Padgett
Everything OK

The Good Ms. Padgett Sings The Little Red Hen & Other Stories is a full-length children's music CD featuring celebrated children's performer Ms. Padgett and her original, musical take on classic fables. She brings each story to life with her playful, joyous singing. The Good Ms. Padgett Sings The Little Red Hen is a wonderful album to play during car trips, storytime, or playtime. The adapted story-songs are "The Little Red Hen", "Goldilocks", "Henny Penny", and "The Billy Goats Gruff".

The DVD Shelf

Children of Hangzhou
Boston Children's Museum
Cheng & Tsui Company
25 West Street
Boston, MA 02111-1213
9780887277634 $29.99 (individual)
9780887277689 $159.99 (lab)

Originally created by educators for the Boston Children's Museum to pair with an exhibit, Children of Hangzhou is an educational DVD-ROM that will educate and delight viewers of all ages and backgrounds. Children of Hangzhou follows four teens from Hangzhou in their everyday interactions with Chinese culture and daily life. Consisting of four video diaries (which can be viewed in English or Mandarin), Children of Hangzhou includes interactive maps of China and the world with discussion questions; cultural activities including an opera demonstration, an abacus lesson, and a Chinese shuttlecock-making demonstration; a Chinese vocabulary list and pronunciation guide; and portrayals of a typical school day as well as scenes of the countryside and even a birthday celebration. Children of Hangzhou is an excellent choice for classroom or home viewing, highly recommended.

The Fiction Shelf

Sammy Squirrel & Rodney Raccoon To The Rescue
Duane Lawrence, author
Gordon Clover, illustrator
Granville Island Publishing
212 - 1656 Duranleau, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6H 3S4
9781894694988, $12.95 1-877-688-0320

"Sammy Squirrel & Rodney Raccoon" is the second Stanley Park story written as a starter chapter novel for young readers ages 7-12. Sammy Squirrel and Rodney Raccoon are worried about their friend Judy Crow, who has gone missing from the park. The two book-loving friends bravely embark on an adventurous trek to rescue their crow-napped friend, which ends up taking them to a large city, Vancouver. Short, action- packed, descriptively rich chapters punctuated by charming, detailed black and white illustrations keep reader interest high and make "Sammy Squirrel & Rodney Raccoon To the Rescue" an ideal beginning chapter book read, especially for adventurous nature lovers. In Vancouver, Sammy and Rodney face many challenges and find unexpected help from new friends, Mortimer Mole and Ferdinand Fox. After many twists and turns, the friends rescue Judy Crow, and all ends well back at Stanley Park. There are many delicious little touches of humorous detail, such as the two friends chatty coffee at the Argyle Cafe, where they order hazelnut coffee and polite clam chowder. "Sammy Squirrel & Rodney Raccoon To the Rescue" is a delightful, appealing book filled with real, quirky characters and solid friendship values, which can also be read aloud to children quite successfully.

Perfected by Girls
Alfred C. Martino
Cole Street Publishing
1700 Manhattan Avenue, Union City, NJ 07087
1593166001, $9.95,

Girls aren't suppose to wrestle. But girls aren't suppose to do a lot of things. "Perfected by Girls" follows driven Melinda Radford, the only girl on the wrestling team, who faces pressure from her own team and opponents who don't want to face her. With overbearing parents and nosy family, she finds having a romantic life and everything else the world is throwing at her might be too much for her manage. "Perfected by Girls" is a fine pick for young adult readers about the crushing weight of being a teenager.

Eyes on the Iditarod
Aisling Lara Shepherd
Windward Books
c/o Finney Company
8075 215th Street West, Lakeville, MN 55044
9780893170714, $8.95,

The iconic endurance dog sled race, the Iditarod plays a major place in childhood fantasy for the kids of Alaska and Canada. "Eyes on the Iditarod: Aisling's Quest" follows young Aisling as she seeks her dreams of running dogs in the famous race, facing the challenges as she inches towards her dream. Following the pre-teen through her own struggles, "Eyes on the Iditarod" is a charming pick for young readers that seeks to inspire them to always push for their dreams.

Warren Bull
Avignon Press
41 Shearwater Place, Newport Beach, CA 92660
9780615557397, $7.95,

When the present seems lost, the past can bring reality into views. "Heartland" follows Tom Allen, a young man whose home life seems to be struggling and falling apart. Looking into his family's past, he learns much, and uses what he learns to the table in the modern day. "Heartland" is a fine read of coming of age fiction, highly recommended.

The Prodigy: Greatness Has a Price
A. L. Campbell
Rustic Wood Publishing
PO Box 391521, Snellville, GA 30039
9780984926503, $14.99

Can a high school student balance being a teenager as well as a world wide megastar? "The Prodigy: Greatness Has a Price" follows Miles Starr, who has everyone in the world wanting a piece of him. With corporations and girls out to tear him apart, the pressure on him only seems to weigh more and more heavily on him. "The Prodigy" is an intriguing tale of high school players and the pressures of stardom being put on them.

The Tide Changers
Sandy Green
Penumbra Publishing
4450 Meadowland Drive
Murfreesboro, TN 37127
9781935563778, $9.99,

A mystery of family is a mystery you wan to see solved. "The Tide Changers" is a young adult novel from Sandy Green, telling of thirteen year old Ford and his younger sister Mercedes as they look into the ocean and wonder about the disappearance of their father all those years ago. "The Tide Changers" is a riveting read for younger readers with their own fascination about the world's oceans, very much recommended reading.

The Black Widow
Phyll T.
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781467068659, $16.95,

Hundreds of years of curse can leave people yearning for anyway out of it. "The Black Widow" is a novel of the curse placed on the Guardian, an old pirate legend and the brotherhood behind him. An assortment of young people, with blood of generations descended. A tale of adventure, the sea, and ghosts, "The Black Widow" is a fun young adult read, very much recommended.

Fallen in Love
Lauren Kate
Delacorte Press
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780385742610, $15.99,

FALLEN IN LOVE provides a 'Fallen' novel in stories and intersects four love stories over the course of a Valentine's Day in medieval England. Four very different romances make for an engrossing account recommended for middle school teens who like romance but want something different. The interconnected stories offer something different in style, plot and content and are perfect for readers who want succinct and involving accounts!

In Too Deep
Amanda Grace
2143 Woodale Drive
Woodbury, MN 55125-2989
9780738726007, $9.95,

Can a lie be more just than the truth? "In Too Deep" tells the story of Samantha, whose drunken, stumbling attempt to gain the charms of Carter leaves her rejected and humiliated. When false allegations that Carter had raped her begin to appear, Sam struggles to tell the truth, seeing that Carter hasn't been the most pure of school golden boys. Stuck between whether the truth is worth telling, "In Too Deep" is a fine pick for young adult fiction collections tackling a serious issue in today's youth, and the impact that a lie can have on many lives.

175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

Leslie Margolis' VANISHING ACTS (9781599905365, $15.99) tells of celebrity Seth, whose newest film begins shooting in town sparking interest in Maggie and her cohorts. Maggie wants a gig as a movie extra and spends her afternoon on set while retaining her after-school job as a dog walker - until mystery and intrigue draw her into a complex plot. When Seth vanishes, it's up to Maggie to use her newfound knowledge to help him in this fine mystery, especially recommended for advanced elementary to middle school readers. Megan Miranda's FRACTURE (9780802723093, $17.99) tells of a girl rescued from a lake's icy waters, clinically dead - and who survives despite brain scans that show irreparable damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be fine - but she finds herself vastly changed, drawn to the dying and experiencing new abilities nobody will believe in. Uncertain whether her new skills predict or cause death, Delaney must make her way in a changed world in this engrossing fantasy, recommended for middle to high school leisure readers. Kate Kae Myers' THE VANISHING GAME (9781599906942, $16.99) tells of twins changed when one dies. Then Jocelyn receives a letter from her twin using a code they used when they were children. Only one other person knows the code - but a return to the foster home where all three lived reveals dangerous secrets and the possibility her twin faked his death, offering clues to his real whereabouts. A fine supernatural-tinged mystery makes for compelling leisure reading.

The Environmental Shelf

Operation : Reuse It!
Sabbithry Persad, author
Jenny Campbell, illustrator
Firewater Media Group
P.O. Box 65001, RPO Chester
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4K 3Z2
9780981243917, $8.95,

"Operation Reuse It!" is the second book in the EcoAdventures Garbology Kids Series, teaching children wonderful ways to reduce, reuse, and repurpose trash and junk, or old discarded items. The Garbology kids find a new project in Mr. Ogilvy's shed and yard, which are overflowing with discarded or outdated items. Peter, Tiana, Shakil, Adam and others decide to help Mr. Ogilvy by organizing the stuff and finding ways to repurpose or reuse some of it. A fascinating interaction ensues, and the Garbology Kids create new ways to reduce landfill and repurpose or upcycle many unwanted or outdated items. Color illustrations and cheery text make "Operation: Reuse It!" a hit with kids age 5 and up. The EcoAdventures Garbology Kids series encourages broad education regarding waste management and waste technologies.

The Board Book Shelf

Uh-oh! Oh No!
Ann Hodgman, author
Lucy Barnard, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70
Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589258662 $7.95

Featuring simple, warm and friendly color illustrations, Uh-oh! Oh No! is a padded board book ideal for sharing with little beginning readers ages 2-4. As Daddy tries to serve his toddler in a high chair some breakfast, mistakes happen! "Uh-oh! Oh no! I dropped the milk! / Uh-oh! Oh no! The milk splashed on the cat!" The simple color illustrations of the unfolding breakfastastrophe is sure to provoke a smile and a chuckle to parents and children alike.

Smoky Mountain Babies
Ann and Rob Simpson, photographers
Farcountry Press
P.O. Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604
9781560375067, $8.95,

"Smoky Mountain Babies" is a sturdy pasteboard book for children age 2 and up with color photos of thirteen baby animals whose habitat is found in the Smoky Mountains and vicinity. A simple descriptive narrative explains more about each baby. Featured are cardinal, turtle, otter, fox, raccoon, deer, duck, bobcat, rabbit, skunk, flying squirrel, waterthrush, and black bear babies. "Smoky Mountain Babies" is excellent natural environmental education for preschoolers.

The Counting Shelf

Peep in the Deep
R. M. Smith, author/illustrator
Clarence-Henry Books
4135 Teton Place, Alexandria, VA 22312-1125
9780615422978, $7.95,

"Peep in the Deep: Sea Creature Counting Book" is a charming, illustrated sea creature counting book that also works well as a bedtime ritual counting rhyme story. Gently lilting verses count one Goby fish, two seahorses, three clownfishes, dolphins, sharks, stingrays, and more, until a pod of 11 whales beam through. Lost in a sea of blinking, nodding, winking whales, a small boy floats on in his comfortable bed, finding another dream. The illustrations vary from very vivid to a restrained palette of colors in a progression that seems to help induce sleepiness. "Peep in the Deep" is perfect bedtime reading for children from infants up to age 4, and is sure to become a beloved bedtime companion story.

The Christian Shelf

The Jesus Storybook Bible
Sally Lloyd-Jones, author
Jago Silver, illustrator
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49530
9780310708254, $19.99,

"The Jesus Storybook Bible" is an award-winning artistically illustrated retelling of famous stories of the Bible for children age 4 and up. Spanning to cover stories of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, "The Jesus Storybook Bible" finds the center of all stories in the story of the coming of Jesus. All other stories relate to this one, crucially important, beloved story. Bright, cheerfully colored illustrations help children picture the events told in the stories. Here is an example of the author's version of The Lord's prayer for young children: "Hello Daddy! We want to know you, and be close to you. Please show us how. Make everything in the world right again. And in our hearts, too. Do what is best - just like you do in heaven, And please do it down here, too. Please give us everything we need today. Forgive us for doing wrong, for hurting you. Forgive us just as we forgive other people when they hurt us. Rescue us! We need you. We don't want to keep running away and hiding from you. Keep us safe from our enemies. You're strong, God. You can do whatever you want. You are in charge. Now and forever and for always! We think you're great! Amen! Yes we do! (p. 226)" "The Jesus Storybook Bible" is winner of the Moonbeam Award Gold Medal in the religion category and others as well. "The Jesus Storybook Bible" is first rate religious literature for young children.

A is for Adam, the Gospel from Genesis
Ken & Mally Ham, authors
Jeff Albrecht, illustrator
New Leaf Publishing Group
P.O. Box 726, Green Forest, AR 72638
9780890516256, $16.99,

"A is for Adam" is an alphabet Bible teaching book that teaches the Bible chronologically for children age 5 and up. Filled with colorful, humorous illustrations, teaching charts, and explanatory narrative verse, "A is for Adam" presents 26 compact Bible history lessons (letter-based) plus a study guide with starting point, Bible bits, discussion ideas, and related suggested activities, capped with a quick review. "A is for Adam" is invaluable as a curriculum content guide for Christian educators, parents, and homeschoolers. In addition to the large, colorful pages with verse for each letter and lesson, there is an expanded Overview with Directed Discussion and Core Truth Takeaway section at the end of the 26 letters of the Gospel from Genesis. "A is for Adam" is counter-evolutionary in its interpretation of the Bible.

Angels Are God's Helpers
Shelly Morrow Whitenburg, author
Katie Brooks, illustrator
Tate Publishing
127 East Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781613460160, $8.99,

Angels Are God's Helpers" is a gentle, color illustrated book of verse about helpful angels that are present though invisible, always ready to help children through difficult times or situations. Inspired by Christian traditions, "Angels Are God's Helpers" teaches children that angels are present to comfort, protect and guide them when they are vulnerable, or feeling upset. Asking for help is all any child needs to do. "Angels Are God's Helpers" is perfect for children age 4 and up, and is also available in a free audio digital book download (with purchase of the book).

500 Prayers for Young People
Martin Saunders
Monarch Books
c/o Kregel
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
9780857210173, $14.99,

Faith is easily lost in the rush to adulthood. "500 Prayers for Young People: Prayers for a New Generation" is a collection of youth oriented prayers for dealing with the crisis we face in our lives. The prayers subjects address the problems of worship to the problems of relationship, through the struggles of our lives. For those who want to get in touch with their own faith or help another young person do so, "500 Prayers for Young People" is an excellent pick for community library Christian studies collections.

The Judaic Shelf

Tough Questions Jews Ask, second edition
Edward Feinstein
Jewish Lights Publishing
PO Box 237
Woodstock, VT 05091
9781580234542, $15.99,

The Jewish faith has always inspired curiosity, and this generation is no different from the last. "Tough Questions Jews Ask: A Young Adult's Guide to Building a Jewish Life" is a religious discussion aimed at the inquisitive young Jew, asking the questions that all people faith ask, the doubting of God, the meaning of it all, the origin of tradition, and the one that many Jews have asked themselves...why be Jewish? "Tough Questions Jews Ask" is an inspiring read of the Jewish faith, sure to answer many questions and provoke many more.

The Health Shelf

The Breathing Bridge
Anne Buckley, author/artist
Brighter Books Publishing House
4825 Fairbrook Crescent
Nanaimo, B.C., Canada V9T 6M6
9781927004135, $19.95,

"The Breathing Bridge" is a lyrical illustrated story poem that suggests 17 dynamic Yoga poses explained with natural imagery for kids to explore and imitate. "The Breathing Bridge" is explained as breath is a bridge between opposites, or even more, breathing is a connection with all living things, since we share breathed air with all living things. "The Breathing Bridge" is a beautiful educational book for children age 6 and up, with strong core beliefs in improving the world one book at a time. Brighter Books in partnership with Eco-Libris promises to plant one tree per book printed, in addition to following other environmentally sound practices. "The Breathing Bridge" is an excellent investment to begin teaching children the value of breath, life, health and respect for the environment and all living things.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

It's Too Crowded in Here!
Vicki L. Weber, narrator/author
Hector Borlasca, illustrator
Behrman House Publishers
11 Edison Place, Springfield, NJ 07081
9780874418507, $8.95,

"It's Too Crowded in Here! And Other Jewish Folktales: Eight Stories and the Jewish Values They Teach" is a sprightly collection of eight Jewish teaching tales with gently underlined moral and philosophical implications and lessons. Presented in colorful, appealing formats with kid-friendly questions and related activities at the end of each tale, each tale has a specific set of themes plus a statement about why the value being taught is characteristically Jewish. Thus we have the title story, which teaches reasons to be thankful, "Hillel Takes a Bath," which teaches respect, "Why Trees Don't Talk," which teaches helpful work behavior, "The Spider that Saved David," which teaches ways to appreciate others, The King of Songs," teaches acceptance of differences, "The Carefree King," teaches interdependency, "The Goat that Made the Stars Sing," teaching that even the small things we do have meaning, and "The Fishing Lesson," which teaches how we help by teaching others. The resource pages enable teachers and parents to make full constructive use of these deeply enriched midrashic stories and teaching tales for young children.

The Gardening Shelf

Molly's Organic Farm
Carol L. Malnor & Trina L. Hunner, authors
Trina L. Hunner, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Road, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584691662, $16.95,

"Molly's Organic Farm" is a children's picture book based on a true story about a little yellow, stray cat who found a home on a lovely organic vegetable farm. Delicate paintings of Molly in the gardens of her newly chosen home are complemented by occasionally versed narrative to teach the interweavings and workings of nature that help to make an organic farm or CSA. Molly watches the growing season unfold with excited interest, smelling compost, hunting rats, watching insects, and feeling the sun's heat and the sprinkler's wetness. In fall, Molly helps to sell the produce at the farmers' market. At night, Molly hears the bats and a barn owl, who also play a part in the balance of life on an organic farm. Finally frost and snow help put the garden to sleep, and Molly shivers. Luckily, she is given a warm and cozy home for the winter with a young farm couple. In the spring she can once again take part in the joy of growing organic produce on her lovely organic farm. "Molly's Organic Farm" has special teaching pages with information and ideas about organic farm practices that are described in the story. "Molly's Organic Farm" is both an entertaining, compassionate story and a teaching tool for children age 5 and up.

The Geography Shelf

Anna Cavallo
Lerner Publications
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761364160, $29.27,

From Lerner Publications' outstanding Country Explorers series, "Peru" is a color photo-illustrated educational geography book about Peru for middle-elementary ages. Peru is filled with magnificent contrasts; coastal mountains, inland rain forests, ancient First Americans' building ruins and sites and modern bustling cities. Beautiful pictures show details about sites such as Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca abound, with color coded maps and sidebars to provide additional fascinating details about the culture, languages (Spanish and Quechua), foods, cultural-religious festivals, and home settings. Traditional music, dance, crafts, styles of dress, and commerce, sports and education are also briefly explored in this attractive text. For additional learning, a list of fast facts, glossary and bibliography with web sites is included at the end of the book. "Peru" is an excellent educational resource for young geography students or explorers.

The American History Shelf

Presidential Races, revised edition
Arlene Morris Lipsman
Twenty-First Century Books
c/o Lerner Publishing
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9780761373957, $33.26,

Now in a fully updated and revised edition, "Presidential Races: Campaigning for the White House", from the People's History series, is an updated guide, overview, and commentary on the process of electing President of the United States of America, from the early beginnings in a post Jeffersonian era to the present day, with the election of President Barack Obama in November of 2008. Nine chapters condense changes in the process of campaigning for and winning election to the coveted oval office, with highlights from the 250 year history and additional emphasis on technological modifications, updates, and influences on the presidential races. The text of "Presidential Races" is complemented by a list of election results (1789-2008), source notes, selected bibliography, and further readings and websites. "Presidential Races" provides excellent political studies source material for students age 13 and up.

Arizona: Way Out West & Witty
Lynda Exley & Conrad J. Storad
Five Star Publications Inc.
PO Box 6698
Chandler, AZ 85246-6698
9781589850927, $11.95,

There's more than just desert out in Arizona. "Arizona: Way Out West & Witty" is a guide to the fun history surrounding the state that holds the Grand Canyon and its unique wildlife. "Arizona: Way Out West & Witty" is ideal for kids interested in United States history, or perhaps for helping Arizona kids gain a better understanding of their state. Recipes, activities, photos and pictures, and much more make "Arizona" is a strong pick for any American history collection aimed at younger readers.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

The Hugo Movie Companion
Brian Selznick
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545331555, $19.99,

The Hugo Movie Companion provides a fine guide accompanying the movie and is a 'must have' for any collection where middle to high school readers are movie enthusiasts. It provides a behind the scenes look at how Selznick's THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET was turned into a 3-D major motion picture, packs in full color photos from the movie, and contrasts artwork with interviews of cast and crew, sets from the movie, and information about its making. Any collection seeing movie fan enthusiasm or prior interest in the book will find this a winner!

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Collegium Sorcerorum: Thaddeus of Beewicke
Louis Sauvain
Privately Published
9780615503295, $18.95,

Having great power is not the solution to one's problems, but it can create many more. "Thaddeus of Beewicke" is the first entry into the Collegium Sorcerorum series from Louis Sauvain. It follows a young man as he learns the laws of sorcery, its dangers, and how to channel it towards a greater purpose. A fantasy with many intriguing ideals, "Thaddeus of Beewicke" is a fine pick for those looking for a new adventure of fantasy, recommended.

Kristen Simmons
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765329585, $17.99,

ARTICLES provides an engrossing survey of a future America where the Bill of Rights has been revoked, the nation's major cities have been abandoned, and soldiers replace police, with martial law replacing freedom. Teen Ember recalls a different world but knows how to get what she needs from this one - until her mother is arrested by the only boy Ember really loved. An engrossing story of a future world, ARTICLES is a pick for any high school teen reader.

Sambuka Black
Dielle Alexandre & Jeff Mulcaster
Privately Published
9780983611509, $9.00,

Set amid a land beset by the cruelty of slavery, "Sambuka Black" is an illustrated, fantastic adventure in which hope for victory over oppression lies within the innocence and determination of a young girl. "Sambuka Black" follows the young girl as she learns the values of friendship and kindness in making a difference for the world, and ultimately saving it all. "Sambuka Black" is a choice addition to any young adult fiction collection.

The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf
Trisha Sugarek
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781449574055, $19.95,

It's hard to be a hero when everyone just thinks you're trouble. "The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf" is a fantasy fable of friendship and heroism as author Trisha Sugarek crafts a story of Emma, a young girl captive by a cruel spider. Only Cheets, an elf no one trusts, remains as her only hope. A fun read for young readers about to cross over to novellas, "The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf" is a fine and much recommended pick.

Beneath and Beyond
David Stricken
Beachhead Publishing
2455 Norcrest Drive, Norton Shores, MI 49441
9780983584001, $17.99

For a brother, Brian will tempt the mysterious pond. "Beneath and Beyond" is the first entry into the Blackwater Pond series as Brian chooses to pursue his missing brother to the pond and finds that what lurks within the pond awaits to challenge everything he thought he knew about it. A tale of fantasy and adventure, "Beneath and Beyond" is a fine pick for young adult fiction collections.

The Cookbook Shelf

Kid Approved Cookbook
Taste of Home
Reader's Digest Trade Publishing
44 South Broadway
White Plains, NY 10601
9780898219111, $15.99,

Kids have very particular tastes, and parents can often struggle to meet these young critic's demands. "Kid Approved Cookbook" is a cookbook from the people at Taste of Home and Reader's Digest as they give a full color cookbook filled with recipes sure to please the unique palette of young eaters while being fun in their own way, as well as recipes that can encourage young people to get involved in the kitchen. "Kid Approved Cookbook" is an excellent addition to any family cookbook collection, not to be overlooked.

The Poetry Shelf

Puppies and Poems
Nancy Sack, author
Kaitlyn Fuchs, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432784706, $19.95,

Poetry is just another way of telling a story, and imparting solid values. "Puppies and Poems" is a collection of poetry from Nancy Sack, who presents a children's picturebook that embraces poetry as its storytelling method. Charming stories of friendship and festivities with full color illustrations from Kaitlyn Fuchs make "Puppies and Poems" a choice pick and very much recommended reading.

The Science Shelf

Big Book of Science Experiments
Powered by Mad Science
Time for Kids
Time Inc. Home Entertainment
PO Box 11016, Des Moines, Iowa 50336-1016
c/o Goodman Media International, Inc. (publicity)
750 Seventh Ave., 28th Floor, NY, NY 10019
9781603208932 $17.95

Big Book of Science Experiments is packed cover to cover with inexpensive, hands-on projects kids can undertake to learn more about the scientific method, as well as the wonders of the natural world! From learning how paper clips respond to magnets, to how plants drink, why bread rises, how water affect how light moves, how turbines create power, and much more, these hands-on activities are as educational as they are entertaining. Step-by-step, methodical instructions, diagrams, and even full-color photographs on almost every page make Big Book of Science Experiments easy to follow. It should be noted that all the projects in Big Book of Science Experiments require adult supervision, if only because many of them involve working with materials (such as soap) that are potentially harmful if ingested. Big Book of Science Experiments is a user-friendly resource especially recommended for inquisitive young people, and parents who want to help foster an appreciation for amazing science in budding young intellects!

The Reference Shelf

The World Almanac Children's Atlas
David and Jill Wright
World Almanac Books
c/o Infobase Publishing
132 West 31st St.
New York, NY 10001
9781600571565 $21.95

Featuring full-color maps and photography, The World Almanac Children's Atlas examines more than 30 different nations and regions, complete with brief, reader-friendly descriptions of the area's population, topography, culture, religion, and climate. Complementing the up-to-date geographical information and user-friendly format are an index and even quizzes, making The World Almanac Children's Atlas an excellent choice for public and school library children's collections, as well as for classroom use.

Books in Series

Ace Your Math Test series
Rebecca Wingard-Nelson
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 398
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398
9780766037816 $31.93 each (lib. ed.)

Professional mathematics educator Rebecca Wingard-Nelson presents Ace Your Math Test, a five-volume series designed especially for students struggling with the mathematical basics such as fractions or simple geometry (note that more complicated topics such as algebra or trigonometry are beyond the scope of these lessons). Although the Ace Your Math Test series is intended for young adults, readers of all ages will find the step-by-step instructions for solving sample problems invaluable for brushing up on neglected math skills. True to its title, the Ace Your Math Test series is also packed with test-taking tips, tricks and techniques from cover to cover! For example, one hint reads "Put a small mark next to answers you're not sure of or do not finish. When you finish your test, go back to those problems." The Ace Your Math Test series works well for classroom use, home schooling, or individual study, and an absolute "must-have" for middle school library collections. The individual volumes are "Addition and Subtraction" (9780766037786) "Multiplication and Division" (9780766037793), "Fractions and Decimals" (9780766037809), "Percents and Ratios" (9780766037816), and "Geometry" (9780766037830).

The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout DriveMankato, MN 56003

A premier publisher of non-fiction books for young readers and immanently suitable for both school and community library collections, The Child's World edition of 'Animal Migrations' is a twelve volume series showcasing twelve different animals whose life cycle includes traveling over enormous distances. This outstanding series of 32 page, full-color photographically illustrated, reinforced library bound titles include Arctic Tern Migration; Buffalo Migration; Caribou Migration; Dall Sheep Migration; Golden Eagle Migration; Green Sea Turtle Migration; Humpback Whale Migration; Monarch Butterfly Migration; Salmon Migration; wildebeest Migration; and Zebra Migration. Each volume is enhanced with its own table of contents, informative sidebars, detailed migration maps, a glossary, comprehensive index, and internet resources for further study of the featured animal. Specially and deftly written at a third grade reading level and a first through fifth grade interest level, the 'Animal Migration' series is available individually (List $28.50 / Library $19.95), but the highest recommendation is for school and community libraries to acquire the complete twelve volume set (List $342.00 / Library $239.40).

Arkeepers series
W.J. Madsen
Little M Books

Suitable for readers age 9 and up, The Arkeepers is a fantasy series by award-winning author W.J. Madsen. Set in "the Moustachio Universe", a bizarre and amazing place where virtually anything can happen, the Arkeepers series is reminiscent of Lewis Carroll classic flights of imagination "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass". A whimsically adventurous romp through time and space, the Arkeepers series is an excellent gift for inquisitive young readers and a worthy contribution to public or school library collections. The volumes are "Keepers" (9780983048701, $7.95), with renegade ghost knights and a pink elephant; "Angeliks" (9780983048718, $9.30), with a tiara-wearing pig and a lovesick weeping bull; "Darkeepers" (9780983048725, $9.75), with cursed baby pirates and a race across seven seas; and "Guardians" (9780983048732, $10.55), with duplicitous leprechauns and the missing keystone to life itself. Although The Arkeepers is family-friendly, fantasy lovers of all ages will thoroughly enjoy these spirited, reality-transcending adventures. Highly recommended!

Native American Library series
Helen Dwyer, et. al.
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349
New York, NY 10003
$31.95 each

The six-volume Native American Library series vividly portrays the history and culture of various Native American tribes in plain terms, enhanced with striking full-color photography on almost every page. Chapters cover the origins, a brief history, the traditional way of life, modern- day life, and hot-button modern issues pertaining to each tribe. A glossary, timeline, and index round out this excellent, accessible series for young adults, highly recommended especially for grade school and junior high library collections. The volumes are "Mohawk History and Culture" (9781433966682), "Nez Perce History and Culture" (9781433966767), "Sioux History and Culture" (9781433966804), "Cheyenne History and Culture" (9781433966644), "Apache History and Culture" (9781433966613), and "Navajo History and Culture" (9781433966729).

World Mythologies series
The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
29 East 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
$39.95 each

Illustrated with full-color photography and artwork on almost every page, the "World Mythologies" series makes traditional cultural myths thoroughly accessible to readers of all ages. The "World Mythologies" series is written in plain text, retelling classic stories and identifying major mythological figures. The individual volumes are "Ancient India's Myths and Beliefs" (9781448859900), "Ancient China's Myths and Beliefs" (9781448859917), "African Myths and Beliefs" (9781448859894), "Native American Myths and Beliefs" (9781448859924), "Ancient Greece and Rome Myths and Beliefs" (9781448859931), and "Ancient Egypt's Myths and Beliefs" (9781448859948). Highly recommended especially for any lay reader interested in familiarizing themselves with the myths of other cultures, as well as for high school and public library collections.

High Noon Books
c/o Academic Therapy Publications
20 Commercial Blvd., Novato, CA 94949-6191

High Noon Books is a premier publisher of high-interest, low-vocabulary books which are ideal reading skills curriculum supplements for classroom teachers and home-schooling parents. Two of their newest five-book pocket-sized series are by D. K. Akers. 'Copper Canyon' features "Bobcat Trail"; "Down The Stream"; "Getting Away"; "Hay Fever"; and "Party Girl". The D. K. Akers' series 'The Fixers' features the adventures of young teenagers Lena and Shane and includes "Missing"; "Hit and Run"; "Looking for a Home"; "Trapped"; and "Throwing the Game". These are short, entertaining, attention grabbing stories that will be especially attractive to 'reading reluctant' students and are highly recommended as supplemental remedial reading curriculum materials. Reading specialist teachers and school librarians would be well advised to visit the High Noon Books web site at for a complete listing of their outstanding high-interest, low-vocabulary series.

Crabtree Publishing
350 - 5th Avenue, 59th Floor
New York NY 10118

New additions to the 'My Path to Math' series provides additional fine titles exploring math concepts to grades K-3, and is a recommendation for all libraries seeking quality math titles. Six new books add to the existing series with BEGINNER WORD PROBLEMS (9780778752745, $15.95), BUILDING SETS OF TEN (9780778752776, $15.95), COMPARING FRACTIONS (9780778752752), PATTERNING (9780778752783, $15.95), PERIMETER (9780778752769, $15.95) and WHAT COMES IN SETS? (9780778752790, $15.95). Each title provides a basic concept or introduction, offering simple discussions and encouraging readers to build an understanding based on recognizing patterns or solving specific problems. These will prove a fine pick for any collection building different approaches to learning basic, elementary math.

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

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