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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 3 March 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Biography Shelf Autism Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf ABC Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Fiction Shelf Board Book Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Bilingual Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
Activity Shelf Meditation Shelf Christian Shelf
Native American Shelf Judaic Shelf Holiday Shelf
Poetry Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Fight Like a Girl
Laura Barcella
Zest Books
35 Stillman Street, Suite 121, San Francisco, CA, 94107
9781936976966 $14.99

Although Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World is written especially for young adults and teenagers, adults will also find this biographical-snapshot compilation of women who dared to make the world a better place enlightening. Fight Like a Girl offers brief portrayals of fifty famous and lesser-known women who worked for justice and gender equality, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Sojourner Truth, Beyonce, Malala, Yoko Ono, Marie Curie, and many more. Hot-topic sidebars and memorable quotes round the educational and inspirational collection, highly recommended especially for public and high school library collections.

The Bunny Burrow Buyer's Book
Steve Light
c/o PowerHouse Books
37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781576877524, $19.95, HC, 16pp,

Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit are having baby bunnies, and their burrow-for-two is just too small to accommodate a growing family. Time to call the forest real estate agent! As anyone searching for a new home must, the Rabbits look at a lot of different places, each one appealing in its own way, but none of them quite is right! Will they find the perfect new home to call their own? A single, black brushstroke that runs through the entire book provides a line that can be traced by little fingers from page to page, and anchors the detailed pen-and-ink style that author and illustrator Steve Light uses to show the forest homes and the creatures who currently inhabit them. The visible above-ground part of each burrow appears above the line, and the underground portion shows below the line. In addition, circular die cuts in each page allow a peek into the next burrow. Especially appropriate for preschoolers and elementary-school age kids feeling significant anxiety about moving to a new house, "The Bunny Burrow Buyer's Book: A Tale of Rabbit Real Estate" will help them anticipate the change with positive feelings. Unique and very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4 to 8, and from preschool to 3rd grade.

The Biography Shelf

President Lincoln: From Log Cabin to White House
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786502, $16.95,

President Lincoln: From Log Cabin to White House will reach ages 6 and older with a story that retells the classic Lincoln life. Fine illustrations accompany the story of Lincoln's life, from his childhood to how he became a lawyer, met his wife, and raised a family. Lincoln was thirty-seven when he was elected to Congress: his story comes to life in a pairing of facts and images designed to attract young reader attention.

Therese Makes a Tapestry
Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs, author
Renee Graef, illustrator
Getty Publications
The J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049
9781606064733, $19.95,

Issued in concordance with the Getty Center's Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV Exhibit, "Therese Makes a Tapestry" is a fascinating fictional juvenile biography of a young girl who is a gifted weaver of a secret tapestry she creates as a gift for her father. Written for readers ages 6-10, "Therese Makes a Tapestry" is filled with narrative detail and lively artistic illustrations of the setting in 17th Century Paris, in the well known Gobelin Manufactory, which created tapestries for the king's palaces. Therese's father is a famous royal artist who must travel to make commissioned paintings and art works for the king. One day on a much anticipated visit home, Therese's Papa gave her a beautiful painting he had made of a scene of a palace in winter, decorated with musical instruments, winter fruits, and exotic birds from the king's menagerie. At the Gobelin, Therese was allowed to spin colored wool yarns on her devidoir with her mother. Women were not commonly allowed to be weavers of tapestries. Therese excitedly told her mother of her dream to create a woven tapestry of the painting her father had given her. She was allowed to begin the daunting project, collecting remnants and extra wool skeins in the factory's dye works. Therese even persuaded her scornful older brother Henri to make a cartoon, a large copy of their Papa's painting to help her make her tapestry. The complex process of Therese creating her tapestry is intricately described and illustrated. Slowly Therese's tapestry brought her Papa's painting to life. Her Maman was so impressed she gave her whole days to work on the tapestry. Needing some special silver thread for her tapestry's border, Therese persuaded a Gobelins metalsmith to trade her some silver thread for vegetables from her garden. Therese's Papa was due to visit the Gobelins Manufactory soon with the King Louis XIV. Somehow, Therese's small tapestry was displayed among other larger works for the King's viewing pleasure and the work caught his eye. The King declared his approval of the small tapestry, saying it reminded him of his Chateau Monceaux. Afraid of losing her tapestry gift for her father, Therese was astounded to hear her brother Mathieu suggest that they would offer to create a much larger tapestry copied from the small one, fit for royal display in the King's new palace at Versailles. A happy ending to the story promises Therese a future filled with weaving, a skill she dreamed of perfecting. A Note the Reader, Glossary and list of French words and phrases completes the lovely volume, based on a real surviving art tapestry, "Therese Makes a Tapestry."

The Autism Shelf

Our Brains Are Like Computers!
Joel Shaul
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849057165 $24.95

Our Brains Are Like Computers! Exploring Social Skills and Social Cause and Effect with Children on the Autism Spectrum is an educational book created especially for children on the autism spectrum. Eighty pages long (including reproducible worksheets), Our Brains Are Like Computers! is designed for children to read along with a parent, teacher, or therapist, with opportunities to discuss its lessons about basic social skills. Colorful illustrations and diagrams help children visualize and comprehend crucial ideas for building positive relationships. "The next part is harder to think about. You will need to find out more about things people don't care for about you. Then, you can try hard to do less of these things other people don't like." Our Brains Are Like Computers! is accessible, reader-friendly, and highly recommended; young children who are not on the autism spectrum can also readily benefit from its simple, invaluable insight into how people's minds work.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

A Dragon's Guide to Making Your Human Smarter
Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder
Illustrations by Mary Grandpre
Crown Books for Young Readers
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780385392327 $16.99

Award-winning authors Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder present A Dragon's Guide to Making Your Human Smarter, which continues the saga of cantankerous, three-thousand-year-old dragon Miss Drake and her recently adopted pet, the human girl Winnie... or is it Winnie who has adopted Miss Drake as a pet? To help the gifted Winnie sharpen her wits, Miss Drake arranges for her to attend a most extraordinary school that educates both humans and magical creatures. While Winnie relishes the opportunity to study science from Sir Isaac Newton himself, and meet the mysterious Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, Miss Drake must foil a plot by Winnie's stuffy, selfish grandfather Jarvis to seize custody of his granddaughter! Although A Dragon's Guide to Making Your Human Smarter is especially intended for readers ages 8-12, dragon fans and light fantasy connoisseurs of all ages will enjoy the upbeat writing style and rollicking sense of adventure. Also highly recommended is the first book in the series, "A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans" (9780385392310 $6.99); both stories are self-contained and can be enjoyed independently of one another, but neither deserves to be passed up!

Alistair Grim's Odd Aquaticum
Gregory Funaro
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484700075, $16.99,

Alistair Grim's Odd Aquaticum tells of Grubb, an orphan and runaway chimney sweep, who enters the Odditorium and becomes apprenticed to Alistair Grim, a character most of the rest of England considers as a villain. Like any good story, nothing is as it seems: it turns out that Grim's plan to expose the real villain sets the wicked mage on a mission to gain the Odditorium's power source for his own purposes. What results is a journey that mixes in a search for the legendry sword Excalibur, realizations about the Odditorium's true powers and expansive abilities, and a journey to Avalon that brings with it killers, monsters, and deadly mages alike. Mature young adult and adult readers alike will find this story satisfyingly complex and engrossing.

The Twelve Coins
Trevor J. Brunsink
Privately Published
9781943907007, $14.95, PB, 402pp,

Upon a distant magical island, seven animal races have taken on human characteristics including sheep, goats, llamas, horses, eagles, wolves, and snakes. Medieval kingdoms have been built and alliances formed. Prince Angor, raised by the evil king, desires justice. However, his plan leads him down a road that he never quite imagined. To make things right, he must journey across Choice Island and back again to find twelve gold coins - or rather, for the coins to find him, based upon the purity of his motive to love in the midst of unexpected circumstances. Will he gather and return the twelve coins to Sheep Kingdom in time to face his destiny, or will he be overcome in the island's untamed wild? "The Twelve Coins" is an original and deftly crafted fantasy adventure that is a riveting entertainment from beginning to end, making it enthusiastically recommended for personal reading lists of fantasy fiction enthusiasts, as well as both highschool and community library YA Fantasy Fiction collections.

The King of Average
Gary Schwartz
Updrift Books
9781513703312, $15.95, PB, 266pp,

James isn't the world's greatest kid, but he's not the worst, either: he's average! When he decides to become the most average kid who ever lived, James is transported to another world where he meets Mayor Culpa, a well-dressed talking Scapegoat who recruits him to become the new King of Average. He's joined on his quest by a professional Optimist and his grouchy companion, an equally professional Pessimist. Together, they set out on a journey of self-discovery that leads them all the way from the Sea of Doubt to Mount Impossible, the highest peak in the Unattainable Mountains. When James stumbles into a Shangri-la called Epiphany, he uncovers the secret of who he really is. "The King of Average" by Gary Schwartz is an hilarious, adventure-packed, epic journey to find self-worth. As thoroughly 'kid friendly' as it is consistently entertaining, "The King of Average" is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Gary Schwartz debut as a novelist. Very highly recommended for school and community library children's fiction collections, it should be noted for young readers that "The King of Average" is also available in a Kindle edition ($1.99).

The Evolution of Glory Loomis
Michael Bassen
Cedar Grove Publishing
9781941958063, $17.95, PB, 346pp,

On a Friday afternoon in early spring, Glory Eleanor Loomis, 13, of Sackatucket, Long Island makes a shocking discovery in a second-hand bookstore. She finds a novel called Invasion Earth! It is set in Roswell, New Mexico (her parents' birthplace) and has a picture of her brother Michael, captioned "George Edward Livermore", and another picture of her space-suited mother and father who are identified as George's parents. Glory is further shaken when the main character's life reads like a horror story version of her own, and then her mother re-enacts a nerve-wracking scene from the book that Glory has just read. But things take an even weirder and more worrisome turn when she's suddenly beset by a flurry of eerie flu-like symptoms, collapses onto her bedroom floor, and awakens twelve hours later, bewildered and terrified, in a hospital bathroom. Unaware that she is caught in the grip of biological forces that no one sees or understands, she begins to change in secret, subtle and stupefying ways, till her transformation is complete -- and her unprecedented journey has begun. Joining Glory in her twenty-first century coming-of-age story are her parents, Joe and Maryann; best friends, Francine Kim and Tiffany Lopez; math teacher Naomi Feldman; bookstore proprietor Milo Barnes; ruthless corporate agents and hirelings; modern-day renaissance genius Omar Merryman; struggling newspaper reporter Walter Paulson; and the best-looking Metasapiens Glory will ever meet. Be careful what you wish for, someone once said. But in the end, Glory could not have wished for more. A terrifically entertaining and original story from beginning to end, "The Evolution of Glory Loomis" by Michael Bassen is very highly recommended for both highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For teen age and young adult science fiction enthusiasts, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Evolution of Glory Loomis" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).

That Selfie Girl
Linda Oatman High
Saddleback Educational Publishing Inc.
3120-A Pullman Street, Cosa Mesa, CA 92626-4564
9781680210606, $10.95, PB, 191pp,

Macy is dead. Selfies while driving never end well. She knows it now #suckstobeme. And she has unfinished business. Her friend Ryan is planning to shoot up the school. But the afterlife is so very unexpected. She gets distracted. Who knew she would find love? Just like prose, a novel in verse tells a story. But verse is unique because readers access the text through short chapters, or poems. The varying lengths of the chapters are ideal for a struggling reader, giving them breaks to collect their thoughts, to imagine the characters in their mind's eye, and to set the scene like a frame in a movie. The structure of poetry makes the books appear less intimidating, with plenty of airy white space. Moreover, the depth and substance conveyed in verse is every bit as deep and real as any prose novel. "That Selfie Girl" is a deftly crafted and consummately entertaining read from beginning to end and very highly recommended for highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that Linda Oatman High's "That Selfie Girl" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Bigfoot Paradox
Rebecca Coyte
Privately Published
9780996666121, $5.99, PB, 124pp,

Onion Weed, Tennessee, population 839 - or more if you count all of the bigfoots living in the woods, and all of the bigfoot hunters that have invaded the town searching for the creatures. J.T. Meeks is a shy 12-year-old kid who has always been interested in finding a bigfoot. When he gets mixed up with Billy Matrix, the self-proclaimed authority on the "North American Bipedal Great Ape", things get interesting -- and dangerous. How will J.T. find his place in this world of bigfoot hunting, a world that is filled with telepathic psychics, spiritual hippie surfers, and self-promoting media personalities. J.T. soon discovers that there is more to the bigfoot legend than meets the eye, as he uncovers his true destiny and learns a lot about himself in the process. Impressively well written and thoroughly entertaining for young readers from beginning to end, "The Bigfoot Paradox" is very highly recommended for both school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Bigfoot Paradox" is also available in a Kindle edition ($0.99).

Sir Princess Petra's Mission
Diane Mae Robinson
Tate Publishing
127 East Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781681870724, $10.99, PB, 106pp,

Sir Princess Petra has already attained her knighthood in the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu and her non-princess-like talent certificate from Talent School, neither of which pleases her father and mother, the king and queen. The king writes up more silly rules in the royal rule book to deter Sir Princess Petra from her knightly ways and useless talent, and turn her into a real princess once and for all. Will the king finally succeed with this newly written, ridiculous mission for Petra? The third titles in author Diane Mae Robinson's outstanding Pen Pieyu Adventures series, "Sir Princess Petra's Mission" is an impressively and thoroughly entertaining read from first page to last and very highly recommended for personal, family, elementary school, and community library children's fiction collections.

Foxcraft: The Taken
Inbali Iserles
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545690812, $16.99,

Foxcraft: The Taken tells of two young foxes living just outside the human realms. Their lives are filled with danger, but when their den is destroyed and taken over by strange foxes, Isla finds herself hunted by a dangerous enemy. It will take magic and a secret resolved to return her life to normal in this fine animal fantasy, recommended for teens who like Watership Down and similar stories of animal kingdoms and quests.

Under Their Skin
Margaret Peterson Haddix
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481417587, $16.99,

Under Their Skin presents the dilemma of twelve-year-old twins whose mother is getting remarried. Though their mother assures them things won't change much, they will have to move and will have new stepsiblings - whom they apparently will not meet. Why? What begins as something to fear evolves into something to question as the twins uncover a mystery that extends far beyond complicated family relationships into the realm of the unknown. The result is an engrossing saga that's hard to put down and riveting from start to finish.

The ABC Shelf

Alphabet Trains
Samantha R. Vamos, author
Ryan O'Rourke, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580895927 $14.95

Alphabet Trains is a rhyming children's picturebook that uses different types of trains to remind children of their ABC's. "A is for Auto Train. Load your car on the rack. // B is for bullet train - high speed on welded track." Brightly colored, slightly cartoony color illustrations enliven this playful, read-aloud ABC book, perfect for train-loving parents and children to share.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Sue Whiting, author
Mark Jackson, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763680985 $16.99

Beautifully illustrated with artwork characterized by sweeping brush strokes, Platypus is a children's picturebook following an ordinary day in the life of a wild platypus. Educational notes about this amazing Australian mammal enhance the story. "The stream flows over a bed of smooth, round pebbles. Platypus climbs onto a mossy log and has a long scratch, his back claws working hard at his velvety fur." Highly recommended, especially for public library picturebook collections and for young readers fascinated by exotic wildlife.

Now You See Them Now You Don't
David L. Harrison, author
Giles Laroche, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580896108 $17.95

Now You See Them Now You Don't: Poems About Creatures That Hide is a picturebook about amazing animals who have adapted to the challenges of survival with superlative camouflage and other hiding skills. Vivid, stylized color illustrations are paired with rhyming, read-aloud poems; the final few pages offer a little more information about each animal featured. "Common Octopus: The octopus is slyly shy. / It's hard to spot it lurking by - / red or brown or murky gray / help it hide or slide away." A treat for young animal lovers to page through!

K9 Karson Comes Home
Abbie Beam, author
Orange Frazer Press
P.O. Box 214, Wilmington, OH 45177
9781939710321, $12.00,

"K9 Karson Come Home" is the heartwarming true story of Karson, a specially trained three-year-old Belgian dog who became an officer for the Wilmington, Ohio Police Department in 2013. Karson's special human officer partner was Officer Popp. On December 23, 2014, Officer Popp was gone and Karson was being cared for by others, but he missed Officer Popp so much that he ran away to find him. It was cold, snowy, dangerous weather, with temperatures below zero degrees. Karson had to use his best instincts and survival skills to stay alive. People across the state of Ohio and even farther away tried to help find Karson, and to look for him. Many days passed, and on February 22, a husband and wife were driving on the highway towards Columbus when the wife spotted Karson in an open field. The wife, a professional photographer, took a picture of Karson. Sure enough, he was identified! Officer Popp and another officer came to persuade Karson to come home in the police truck. It took extra patience, calling, and persuasion, but finally Karson jumped in the truck and was brought home. Everyone was very grateful, especially Officer Popp. Karson had endured much in his sixty-one days in the cold on his own. He lost weight, became very thirsty, and his paws were red. He was thought to have traveled over 200 miles on his own, looking for Officer Popp. Karson had some medical treatment from a vet, then went home with Officer Popp to recover. He was very tired. Soon Karson was ready to resume his daily duties as Officer Popp's K9 partner. On February 27, Karson's return was celebrated at a Welcome Home Ceremony given by the Community at Wilmington. It was attended by 900 people! Karson was appreciated, loved, and happy to be home and back on the job, keeping his community safe. Color photos of Karson are found on every page of this heartwarming true story of a faithful K9 companion and officer. Children age 5 and up will be excited to read this true canine adventure story.

Something's Tugging On My Claw!
Janice S. C. Petrie, author/illustrator
Seatales Publishing Company
20 Pheasant Lane, Topsfield, MA 01983
9780970551030, $15.99,

"Something's Tugging On My Claw!" is a colorful, authentic and accurately illustrated story about a young blue lobster's adventure experience trying to discover what creature was tugging on his claw. Told in rhyming narrative verse, the story immediately describes an amazing ability possessed by blue lobster, when threatened or trapped, they can shed or drop their claw. The young blue lobster does this, then hides all night and day until danger is gone. Hungry, and with only one claw to catch food, he swims on. He observes a Jonah crab, wondering if he is the creature who tugged on his claw. The Jonah crab becomes caught in a lobster trap. Next the blue lobster spies a swordfish and observes him hunting an octopus. Escaping by using his tail to swim backwards, the blue lobster encounters a horseshoe crab, wondering, is this the claw tugger? The blue lobster is warned by another darker lobster that the horseshoe crab is not his claw thief. Instead, his claw was tugged by..... a man! The old lobster counsels camouflage and hiding far away from the shoreline, since the blue crab's color makes him attractive to the curious. Then an amazing transformation happens to the blue crab: his old shell splits and he crawls out with a brand new shiny blue shell. Fascinating facts about sea creatures and lobsters are offered by little observer fish creatures, such as, "He's molting. Once he's out, he'll eat his old shell while he waits for his new shell to harden." Finally the new blue lobster emerges, now with a second smaller claw, a pincher, to complement his crusher claw. The bigger blue lobster wisely keeps his claws under cover. The final two pages of "Something's Tugging On My Claw!" lists fascinating details of lobster facts, including a labeled model of a handsome blue lobster. "Something's Tugging On My Claw!" is appealing to young readers from ages 3-10, and contains many valuable lessons of lobster lore.

The Fiction Shelf

Montgomery Rabbit
Sandy Little, author
David Wenzel, illustrator
Dog Ear Publishing
4011 Vincennes Road, New Augusta, IN 46268-3005
9781457542923 $24.99 hc
9781457541964 $9.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Beautiful color illustrations on virtually every other page illuminate Montgomery Rabbit, a delightful chapter book for young readers about a pet house rabbit who accidentally ventures into the wild world beyond the confines of his rural home. Montgomery is a lop-eared rabbit who befriends the field rabbit Bentley; together they go in search of a legendary raspberry patch. Along the way, Bentley teaches Montgomery how to fend for himself and avoid predators. Montgomery meets helpful animals on their journey, all the while learning how to be independent for the first time in his life. A heartwarming children's story, especially recommended for young readers who are ready to take the next step beyond picturebooks.

Salt to the Sea
Ruta Sepetys
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780399160301, $18.99,

Salt to the Sea is historical fiction at its best and fictionalizes and dramatizes the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during World War II. It provides a sweeping saga of the greatest maritime disaster in all of history - an event which has remained largely forgotten compared to the Titanic and other lesser maritime sinkings, and it uses alternate points of view to chronicle the story of different individuals bound on a desperate journey. Mature teens will find this a gripping narrative that brings events to life as ten thousand people struggle for survival against all odds.

Remember to Forget
Ashley Royer
c/o HarperCollins
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780310751717, $16.99, HC,

Levi has refused to speak since the tragic death of his girlfriend, Delia, and can't seem to come out of his depression and hindering self-doubt. Desperate to make some positive change in Levi's life, his mother sends him to live with his father in Maine. Though the idea of moving from Australia to America seems completely daunting, Levi passively accepts his fate, but once he lands faces personal struggles and self-doubt at the same time he and his dad battle through resentment and misunderstanding. And then, while at therapy, Levi meets Delilah, a girl who eerily reminds him of someone he lost. "Remember to Forget" by seventeen-year-old author Ashley Royer is a deftly crafted and compelling story from beginning to end. Due to be published and available to the reading public on April 5, 2016, "Remember to Forget" is very highly recommended for both highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Remember to Forget" will also become available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Lost Celt
A. E. Conran
Gosling Press
c/o Goosebottom Books LLC
543 Trinidad Lane, Foster City, CA 94404
9781937463540, $14.99, HC, 264pp,

Written in the voice of Mikey, a fourth-grader who believes that eating crunchy things will get your neurons to fire, "The Lost Celt" follows Mikey's adventures after a chance encounter with what he thinks is a time-traveling Celtic warrior. With the help of his best friend Kyler, and clues from his military history book, Mikey tracks down the stranger, and in the process learns about the power and obligations of friendship. Full of heart, "The Lost Celt" throws a gentle light on some of the issues facing our veterans and their families, but it's the humor and infectious camaraderie throughout this novel for young readers that makes it so memorable. A deftly crafted entertainment from beginning to end that will have special appeal to children ages 8 to 12, and in grades 2 - 7, "The Lost Celt" is very highly recommended for both school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Lost Celt" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Katie Coyle's Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle (9780544390423, $17.99) continues the story begun in Vivian Apple at the End of the World, which followed a girl's encounter with life after the Rapture. Vivian is finished traveling across the country and encountering the Church of America's secrets - now she's facing a society in panic and on the verge of breaking down. Stranded in the city with her best friend Harp, they find themselves seeking another miracle in this engrossing sequel. Mary Downing Hahn's Took: A Ghost Story (9780544551534, $16.99) tells of siblings who move to rural West Virginia into a rundown old farm surrounded by woods, where the local kids treat them as outsiders and tell them strange stories about their new house and a witch. At first they dismiss the tales as folklore, but when Daniel's sister Erica vanishes, he realizes some of the stories may be true - and he sets out to rescue her. A sizzling ghost story evolves.

The Board Book Shelf

Where Are You Little Red Ball
Patricia Cote, author
Yayo, illustrator
Tradewind Books
c/o Orca Book Publishers
PO Box 468, Custer, WA 98240-0468
9781926890128, $8.95, Board Book, 11pp,

The debut work of author Patricia Cote, "Where Are You Little Red Ball" follows the adventures of a runaway ball. This eleven page board book is specifically written for children ages 2 to 4 and features charming illustrations by Yayo. A simple delight for very young children and their parents, "Where Are You Little Red Ball" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, Head Start, elementary school, and community library board book collections.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Look and Be Grateful
Tomie dePaola
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823434435 $16.95 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Look and Be Grateful is an easy reader children's picturebook with a powerful message, told in very few words. "Have gratitude. // Today is today, and it is a gift." Look and Be Grateful is not an overtly religious book, although the simple illustrations of a young boy and girl sharing the fruit of a tree do include a final picture of both children on their knees in prayer. Look and Be Grateful is a gentle, profound treasure to share with little ones and teach them an important truth.

The Picturebook Shelf

Saying Thank You
Monisha Vasa, M.D., author
Alaina Luise, illustrator
Mascot Books
560 Herndon Parkway #120, Herndon, VA 20170
9781631772641 $14.95

Saying Thank You is a children's picturebook about the importance of being grateful for what one has. This simple message is paired with vibrant artwork of baby animals, and the doting parents who take care of them. "I say thank you every day for... the home that keeps us safe and warm. // I say thank you every day for... the plants and animals that keep this world alive." Saying Thank You is not expressly a religious book; its wholesome message is for children of all faiths and backgrounds. Highly recommended.

Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess
Janet Hill
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781101917930 $17.99

Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess is a whimsical picturebook of life lessons from a woman who dedicates herself to the care and edification of sixty-seven dogs of all sizes, shapes, and temperaments. Each simple, one-sentence lesson is paired with fanciful, full-color painted artwork of the governess and her canine charges, engaged in everything from tandem bicycle rides to archery, scholarship, gardening, and more! " For example, "Lesson Ten: Expect the Unexpected" is opposite an illustration of a canine Halloween costume party crashed by a black cat proudly perched inside the jack-o-lantern centerpiece. Young dog lovers will delight to the unforgettable artwork, which blends the light fantastic with wholesome advice such as "A good book will chase away the dark." Highly recommended.

Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love
Jane Ellen Freeman, author
Eric Hammond, illustrator
Guardian Angel Publishing
9781616337162, $19.95, HC, 68pp,

What a worry! Eight-year-old Jeremiah Lucky plays the frog prince in their third grade play and the princess wants to kiss him! Can he leap away in time? After summer begins, Jeremiah has a bigger worry-the cutest puppy ever is lost. Jeremiah's guardian angel appears. Will their plan work? Charmingly illustrated by Eric Hammond, "Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love" is artfully written by Jane Ellen Freeman (a former language arts teacher who has been creating stories for over fifteen years), is very highly recommended for young readers ages 7-10, and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love" is also available in a paperback edition (9781616337179, $9.95).

Sofia the First: The Secret Library
Craig Gerber and Catherine Hapka, authors
Grace Lee, illustrator
Disney Press
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484706459 $16.99

Sofia the First: The Secret Library is a children's picturebook featuring Sofia the First from the popular computer-animated Disney television series. Young Sofia has a new responsibility when Aunt Tilly tells her about Enchancia's hidden library of unfinished stories; can Sofia give them all happy endings? Her first unfinished story is about a purple pegasus family in trouble. With a little help from Merida (from the Disney movie "Brave") Sofia finds her inner courage and determination to help winged horses in need! Sofia the First: The Secret Library is a gentle, encouraging story sure to appeal to young girls. A free ebook copy of Sofia the First: The Secret Library from is included with the purchase of the hardcover edition.

Over On the Farm
Marianne Berkes, author
Cathy Morrison, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584695486, $16.95,

"Over On the Farm" is an old-fashioned joy to read to young children with multiple sensory educational game possibilities imbedded in its narrative context. A counting verse, with colorful illustrations of all the farm animal families, "Over On the Farm" is also a musical song which can be sung to the tune, "Over in the Meadow. "Over in the Farm" is an imaginative farm adaptation of "Over in the Meadow," by Olive A. Wadsworth. Many different tasks, games, and activities are suggested at the end of the story, which counts the offspring of farm animals from a mother hen and baby chick (one), to a mother pig and her little piglets (ten). There is extra information about the animals included, seasons on the farm, and other suggestions for learning activities related to math, science, language arts, art, and from farm to table. There are also movement and music activities, and more resources and activities can be downloaded from, "Over On the Farm" is suitable for children age 4 and up, with potential for many hours of farm-related learning fun. The delightful colored illustrations hold a surprise rooster hidden or displayed in every number page, providing added visual interest for young readers.

Chloe the Shoe Cat
Sharon Hickey, author/illustrator
Mirror Publishing
6434 W Dixon St - Milwaukee, WI 53214
9781612252506, $9.99,

"Chloe the Shoe Cat" is the enchanting story of a beloved orange and white tabby kitten whose favorite toy and snuggling place was a baby's shoe. As Chloe grew, her shoe bed needed to change to accommodate her size increase. Finally Chloe was full grown and too big to fit in any of the family's regular shoes, so Dad came to the rescue with a size 14 garden boot that perfectly filled the bill for the full size Chloe, a fluffy marmalade tabby who fell in love with shoes and her family, and vice versa. Charming furry-blurry colored illustrations express the love between Chloe and her family in a warm, loving tribute to "Chloe the Shoe Cat."

Leslie A. Susskind
Good Manners Kids Stuff Press
9780985703288, $9.99, PB, 34pp,

In Leslie Susskind's wonderfully entertaining picture book story "Wish", young readers of preschool age will follow the life journey of a fluffy dandelion seed that starts and ends, and starts again with a 'Wish'. Beautifully illustrated with charming and colorful pictures, babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers will love following the seed's adventures in this picture book. They'll also have fun hearing and saying the simple, fun words that go along with the story. "Wish" is an especially appropriate tale for parents to read together with their little ones. Very highly recommended for preschool, Head Start, and elementary school picture book collections, it should be noted that "Wish" is also available to the general reading public in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

The Look Cookers!
Jim Malloy, author
Hannah Stephey, illustrator
3 Dreams Creative Enterprises
P.O. Box 8931, New Fairfield, CT 06812
9780990604501, $14.99,

First in an exciting new series, "The Look Cookers" is an award -winning, imaginative children's book about a boy named Matthew who is terrified of what he calls 'the Look Cookers,' kids who use their gaze to make direct eye contact and see all his private secrets! Matthew decides to be an Eye Spy to avoid the dreaded Look Cookers on his first bus ride to school. Dazzling action portraits show Matthew and all his classmates in dramatic poses enhanced by Matthew's feverish imagination. He names different categories of Look Cookers, such as harmless Glance Dancers, the dreaded Blink Drinkers, a messy Gawk Stalker, a Peek Seeker, A Stare Darer, a bunch of Gape Scrapers, and the super scary Sight Biter! Somehow Matthew survives his scary ride to school and just as the bus pulls up, he remembers his secret weapon as an Eye Spy: It is a pair of dark glasses! A fun part of the package of "The Look Cookers" is a separate, giant post card size Top Secret Certificate for the reader agent Eye Spy, with space for the Eye Spy's name! Winner of a Mom's Choice Award honoring excellence, "The Look Cookers" is an imagination-and- courage-inspiring book for readers ages 5-10.

Busy Busy!
Lucy Scott, author/illustrator
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547255, $15.99, HC,

"Busy Busy!" is a mind-boggling portrait of a day in the life of an active, imaginative, creative, especially busy toddler. The warmly detailed color illustrations reveal exactly how challenging keeping up with such a busy child can be! Kids will adore picking out the telling details in every page, even the colored text for the last sentence of each page of text: "I had a Busy Busy Day!" Only a truly talented child can create quite so much daily chaos while happily exploring her world of toys and play in her Busy, Busy day. Adult readers will imagine in profound detail exactly how tiring and challenging it could be to supervise and care for a child as imaginative and busy as this little girl. After painting the floor with pictures, smearing spaghetti on her stuffed animals, strewing her mother's jewelry about the place, making delightful sounds with noisy music/percussion instruments, and playing in the jungle with more stuffed animals, the little girl scrubs at a particularly dirty penguin in her bath until she finally falls asleep riding a (toy) camel across a sandy desert, interrupting her last "Busy bzzzzzzzzzzz)" to drift in dreamland with an underwater fantasy show. "Busy Busy!" is absolutely top notch for children's bedtime reading (and incidentally parent survival manual) kudos.

Christopher's Kite
Mark S. James, author
Harold Smelcer, illustrator
Chelonian Press, Inc.
1420 Spring Hill Road, Suite 600, McClean, Virginia 22102
9780967696034, $18.95,

"Christopher's Kite" is the second illustrated volume in a creative series for children ages 4-8. Told from the viewpoint of an excited, hopeful rainbow kite, the story of "Christopher's Kite" unfolds through delightful narrative poetry enhanced by nostalgically color shaded illustrations evocative of the sense of joy and freedom present in children's outdoor air play, flying kites. Christopher's kite is a sentient toy who dreams of dancing in the air on the string of his boy. He pictures visions of scenes from the air, diving among clouds shaped like bears, being blown by winds through a fine autumn sky. Fearful that Christopher will not hear the call of the wild air, the kite silently pleads with him to come away from indoor activities to a day of freedom and flying: "Oh Christopher, Christopher, please think of me, and take me out flying so I can feel free!" The poetry, the dancing images of cloud, sky, and wind, all these are reflected in the joy on the face of Christopher as he flies his kite. The sheer exhilaration of kite flying is perfectly captured in these pages of verse and show, ending with "because today was a good day, Christopher turned off the TV, and I went flying and felt so wonderfully free!" This is children's imaginative literature at its best, inspiring young readers to live their dreams each day.

Into the Snow
Yuki Kaneko, author
Masamitsu Saito, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701889, $16.95 32 pages,

"Into the Snow" is a beautiful journey into childhood wonder at the dazzling world of winter. The story is seamlessly unfolded with narrative and astoundingly tender, evocative illustrations. A boy longs to embrace the white wonder of a snowy winter day. A mother sends him out to play with his sled, warmly wrapped against the deadly chill and soft whiteness. Properties of a soft snowfall are experienced and embraced intensely by the boy, delighting in both the fragility and power of the snowfall. Exulting in the blowing wind and falling snow, the boy pulls his sled uphill and slides down the slope in abandoned joy, spinning faster and faster until he is flung free in a snowbank, happy and unharmed. When the wind begins to howl, the boy wants to go home, cold and wet. Just in time, his mother comes to get him, tempting him with a promised snow day treat of hot chocolate. "Into the Snow" is all about experiencing the joy of winter, excitement, danger, and cold contrasted with the safety of warm, maternal love.

Little Banty Chicken
Lynea Gillen, author
Kristina Swarner, illustrator
Three Pebble Press
10040 SW 25th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97219
9780996021913, $15.95,

"Little Banty Chicken" is an inspiring, imaginative story about a little chicken who had very big dreams. First Little Banty Chicken confided her dream of a festival party for the Farmer family with lots of vegetables and food and dancing and storytelling, all on a midsummer moonlit night. With the encouragement of the smiling Moon, Little Banty Chicken decided to share her dream with a friend, squirrel. Again confiding her dreams to a friendly audience under the smiling crescent Moon, Little Banty Chicken was delighted to find Squirrel receptive to the idea of the midsummer night party for the Farmers. Squirrel offered to bring hazelnuts, which they agreed would be delicious! The two friends continued sharing their wonderful idea with other animals, including Cow, Horse, Rabbit, Magpie, the Song Sparrows, and even Cat and Dog. Each animal brought more ideas, including food, dancing, and preparation for celebration. Finally the day and night of the dream party arrived. All the animals cooperated setting the table and preparing for the event. Dog and Cat helped to lead the Farmer family to the table waiting under the Moon with all the food reader. "Surprise!" said all the animals together, and the full Moon smiled, but the Little Banty Chicken smiled even bigger. After a wonderful night of songs, dancing, eating, and storytelling, the animals said good night to the beloved Farmer family. They were surprised when Anna and Jimmy, the two children returned to the party to shyly share some of their dreams with the animals, under the benevolent Moon. Softly painted images of children, framed in kind shadows and lit by fireflies and twinkles shine on each page. The dreams the children shared are left for the reader to discover and wonder about. "Little Banty Chicken" ends with an open invitation to dream, dream big, and share dreams. Two additional pages suggest a moon dream creation activity, plus ways to begin to help the dream(s) become real. "Little Banty Chicken" is a magical book that is sure to encourage young dreamers in following their best visions.

Salad Pie
Wendy BooydeGraaff, author
Bryan Langdo, illustrator
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 86740, Portland, OR 97286
9780991386642, $17.99,

"Salad Pie" is a delightful story about comparing solitary and shared, or cooperative play. Lighthearted, jaunty, colorful illustrations animate the tale of Maggie, who wanted to have the playground all to herself to make Salad Pie, and Herbert, who came, at first unwelcome, to share her Salad Pie creation and celebration. At first Maggie simply warned Herbert not to touch her Salad Pie as she created it, refusing his offerings of extra clover for the hat full of Salad Pie. But when she spilled pieces while tossing the Salad Pie, Herbert picked them up to return, which Maggie ungraciously allowed, still preventing him from touching her Salad Pie. The play time continued, with a surprise assistance from Herbert in a moment of unexpected chaos! From then on, the making, baking, dancing, and singing of the game of Salad Pie became a shared celebration! Even more exciting, the adventure ends with two children singing together, "Sandwich Stew, oh Sandwich Stew. Tomorrow we will brew Sandwich Stew!" Clearly, there are advantages to learning to share play with friends!

Builder Mouse
Sofia Eldarova, author/illustrator
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544357662, $16.99,

"Builder Mouse: A Story of Friendship, Creativity, and the Fine Art of Compromise" is a tongue-in-cheek fabulous illustrated story about two mouse friends with different interests and abilities. Edgar is a talented builder mouse, who loves to build with edibles, such as leftovers, melons, pretzels, cheese, candy, etc. Toby is fond of leftovers and Edgar's creations, but from a consumption viewpoint. Their life together is challenging because of their different interests, and interpretations of food as art, vs. food as food. One day Edgar grew weary of feeling unappreciated and left, packing an amusing green striped cat suitcase to find a better situation for his interests and talents. Although Edgar tried several different venues, such as the subway, the cafe, and the art museum, everywhere other mice ended digesting his building work to appreciate it. Finally he returned to the familiar doorway of his home with Toby, who appreciated his work, even if he always ate it. Toby was overjoyed to see Edgar returning! he gave him a surprise; instead of building blocks of food he gave him a set of wooden building blocks! The two friends found common ground and enjoyed their continued collaboration, with an ending page of exhibit posters from Edgar's many successful projects of building! "Builder Mouse" is a delightful blending of narrative and illustrative talents that will provide entertainment and education for children age 4 and up.

The Secret Drawer
Nancy Gee, author
Raye Ann Saunoris, illustrator
AMPERSAND, Inc. publisher
1030 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois 60610
9780990560319, $18.95,

"The Secret Drawer" is a charming story in narrative verse with zany, fabulous, colorful illustrations that will pique young readers' interest. Based on an actual adventure that happened to the author (and pet cat, Odis), "The Secret Drawer" traces the daring adventures and fly paths of a pair of furry rascals resembling tree bandits who are actually flying squirrels! Fuzzy portraits of a pair of masked tree squirrel friends named Al and Sal illustrated a bouncy rhyming story of forest flying and indoor exploration, ending with the one flying squirrel trapped inside a sock drawer in the house when the lady (author) returned unexpectedly with her curious cat. What follows is sheer Keystone cops comedy with a flying squirrel twist: "Naughty Kitty! Look at what you've done! Getting knocked down isn't much fun! Now the Socks are on the floor, When they should be in the drawer!" "That drawer is open! I can't believe my eyes. From my sock drawer has sprung a surprise! How did it get there? Where will it go? Besides, what is it? I really do not know!" "Sal, I'm trapped... trapped I am! Help, Sal, help! I need to scram. "Kitty has me cornered, I'm his prey! Sal, please come and save the day!" Fortunately the lady intervenes, preventing the cat from pouncing and devouring the tiny flying squirrel, but she is mystified and asks the creature what indeed she is? "You look like a squirrel but you have little flaps. Are you a bat or a rodent, perhaps?" (accompanied by an adorable picture of Al being lovingly cuddled by the furry gray cat!) In both verse and picture, the two flying squirrels joyously answer the lady's questions: "I am Al and this is Sal. With our wide flaps and eyes like black pearls, We are special... we're flying squirrels!" Further nocturnal portraits and descriptions of the fascinating life and aeronautical abilities of the pair complete this fascinating story based of a secret drawer and a suspicious, determined cat. "The Secret Drawer" has all the elements of fantasy but is also a true life natural adventure, showing sensitivity, interaction, and caring between the owner of the secret drawer and her magical surprise guests. The sheer delight and positive messages of reverence for life for children are endless. Indeed, "The Secret Drawer" is a deserving winner of the Mom's Choice Award honoring excellence.

That's Not Bunny!
Chris Barton, author
Colin Jack, illustrator
Disney/ Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781423190868, $16.99,

Filled with giant, jagged, zany action shots of the dangerous Hawk and incredibly clever Bunny (with vegetable shields), "That's Not Bunny!" is an exaggerated action story told in large narrative print and bold slashes of color. Swoosh! Hawk drops to attack a carrot-toting rabbit in the garden, and what does he get? Due to Bunny's extremely clever strategy of using the giant carrot as a shield, Hawk gets ... a carrot! This deflates his original terror inspiring attack mode completely, inspiring self doubt. "Now, was he a carrot hawk, or was he a hawk?" Repeating his efforts to dive and attack his prey, Hawk again winds up with vegetable surprises: A cucumber? Lettuce? Disgusted with his results, Hawk rethinks his strategy and craftily offers the clever Bunny a salad, hoping to trap Bunny somehow. Once again, crafty, clever, diabolical Bunny surprises Hawk by accepting the salad (and Hawk nest) and quickly escaping, saying, "Sure.... What are you going to have?" A disgruntled Hawk has been outwitted once again by a very clever opponent. Kids will love the expressive action pictures and pages of this delightful caricature of Hawk and Bunny.

Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo-Pop
Suzanne Francis, author
Stephane Kardos and George McClements, illustrators
Disney/ Hyperion Press
1101 Flower Street, Glendale, California 91201
9781484721025, $16.99,

"Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo-Pop" tracks the stellar career of Judy Hopps as a member of the Zootopia Police Department, with proud friends and fans tracking her progress in colorful rainbow print and jaunty, colorful action illustrations. Judy speeds through busy traffic to her job as traffic director, when a cry for help comes from Ernie Elephant who has lost his Jumbo-pop! Mastering the drive to Tundratown on the trail of the Jumbo-pop, Officer Judy takes the train with Ernie for the fastest way on to Tundratown! Further clues and questions of Ernie elicit an exotic scene with music, drums, and a song about tuna! On the way they pass a clothing optional club called Mystic Spring Oasis where Ernie sees his uncle without pants! Further memory searching details an experience of watching a hockey game in Tundratown, where Ernie wanted a pop from Jumbeaux's Cafe. The fantastic trail of clues leads Officer Judy and Ernie on to a gondola ride, another train ride and a Natural History Museum! Ernie even sees a huge red Jumbo-pop which turns out to belong to Mayor Lionheart's niece, Dandy. Finally Judy asks Ernie how he got in to the Natural History Museum carrying the Jumbo -pop, and in reply she notices a ticket corner in Ernie's pocket which upon further examination turns out to be some very explicit pictures of ....Ernie eating a beautiful red Jumbo-pop! Ernie then confesses he has been a little forgetful, he forgot he ate the Jumbo-pop! Officer Judy declares the case closed and speeds home through Little Rodentia where mice construction workers are maneuvering a red Jumbo-pop stick into place in a new apartments building. Happily, Judy hops into bed at home, anticipating "another busy day full of Mystery, Adventure, and People Who Need Her!" Every page of "Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo-Pop" is splashed with primary rainbow colored portraits of the animal denizens of Zootopia, busily leading their daily lives in perfect synchronicity with (other) parallel worlds. Filled with humor and charm, "Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo-Pop" will delight young readers age 3 and up.

Tokyo Digs A Garden
Jon-Erik Lappano, author
Kellen Hatanaka, illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
Publishers Group West (distributor)
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781554987986, $18.95,

"Tokyo Digs a Garden" is a curious eco-fable about environmentalism, or nature, versus industrialism, or the price of progress. It is also about the use of imagination to bridge the ever widening gap between nature and civilization. Tokyo is a boy who lives with his Grandfather and cat, Kevin, in a small house between tall city buildings. Tokyo's Grandfather could remember long ago when the house overlooked hills, forests, meadows and streams, full of deer, foxes, birds, and salmon. But now all the forests and animals were gone, eaten up by the city. One day Tokyo and Kevin had a curious encounter with an old woman on a bicycle, pulling an old cart full of dirt. Kevin was disappointed because he had expected an ice cream truck, and he loved ice cream. However, the strange old woman gave Kevin 3 seeds, telling him that if he planted them, they would grow into whatever he wished for. Kevin's Grandfather encouraged him to plant them, so he did, digging into the soil underneath a brick in the back yard. Then Tokyo dreamed of riding an old bicycle through a city. "All of a sudden, he tuned into a fox, and the buildings changed into tall creaking pines. Kevin dreamed of ice cream." Soon Tokyo's seeds grew into wildflowers, but they grew amazingly fast. Gradually, but quickly, the flowers became part of a meadow of wildflowers and shrubs, surrounded by trees, vines, and rivers. Animals of all kinds returned to the forests and meadow. Rivers replaced streets. People had to row boats to get to work, and to share their buildings and elevators with strange animals. As Tokyo and his Grandfather looked at the amazing growing forest full of flora and fauna that he had wished for from his seeds, they wondered what they were going to do about it all. Tokyo thought about the answer, and said: "I think ...that we will just have to get used to it." The final pages are a fantastic image of city buildings combined with growing roof gardens, animals and people living together, and people rowing boats on river streets, narrated with one sentence: "Gardens have to grow somewhere, after all." Beautiful, unusual illustrations look like colored construction paper cutouts in fantastic but subdued colors, spreading the eco-growth theme with a combination of man-constructed buildings and fantastic flowers, trees, and gardens, peopled with animals and humans together, navigated by boats on rivers instead of streets. Ad pictures of hamburgers and fast foods have been replaced with colorful pictures of healthy fruits and vegetables, and eco-friendly walking shoes in sunshine. Kids of all ages will respond to the deep messages embedded in the fertile soil of "Tokyo Digs A Garden."

Bigfoot Does Not Like Birthday Parties
Eric Ode, author
Jaime Temairik, illustrator
Little Bigfoot
c/o Sasquatch Books
1904 Third Avenue, Suite 710, Seattle, WA 98101
9781632170040, $16.99,

"Bigfoot Does Not Like Birthday Parties" is a hilarious disaster spoof tale about a gigantic birthday celebration for a huge creature who does not happen to like birthday parties. Told in brisk narrative verse. the story is brilliantly and imaginatively illustrated with a large cast of colorfully dressed human characters (all the people of Mossy Pockets) of multiple racial origins and one oversize, hairy blue crucial character whose birthday it happens to be. As the preparations mount and excitement builds, a parade of celebrators marches up the hill to a clearing in the woods to commence the unwanted celebration when, surprise! The mayor and everyone heard scary sounds like Grrrrrrr, SSSSS, BZZZ, and Grrrp! Everyone asked, "Is that Bigfoot?" (somewhat fearfully). But no, it was only a snake, a frog, a dog, and a fly. Then through a "House That Jack Built" madcap rhyming spree, the party slides towards disaster, with the fly going after the pies, followed by falling people, the frog, the dog, the clown, the band, and everyone! Pies are everywhere, even on Bigfoot's head! What will Bigfoot do (Bigfoot does not like birthday parties)? As the crowd trembles and worries, Bigfoot surprises all by beginning to..... giggle! Why do you think he laughed? "Bigfoot dies not, he absolutely does not like birthday parties! But did you know, or did you guess, Bigfoot loves a party mess!" The closing picture shows a cuddly blue bigfoot hugging a little black boy and a little white girl, all three in striped party hats. "Bigfoot Does Not Like Birthday Parties" dissolves fear in charm and humor to the delight of all young readers.

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Charise Mericle Harper's A Big Surprise for Little Card (9780763674854, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Anna Raff as it tells of a group of different cards for different purposes. Post Card likes to travel, but Giant Card is a folder for the office, for two examples. Only Little Card and Long Card don't know their purposes in life - they're awaiting for their purpose to become clear. Can Little Card find his destiny if it becomes something different than he's assigned? A fun story of life purposes evolves. Emily Jenkins' Tiger and Badger (9780763666040, $15.99) receives fun drawings by Marie-Louise Gay as it tells of two best friends who share their lives. The two squabble over silly things but somehow they manage to work together quite often in this fun story of evolving, simple relationships between two very different creatures.

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Sergio Ruzzier's Two Mice (9780544302099, $12.99) provides an easy counting book as it tells of one house, two mice, three cookies, and a simple adventure. Kids will learn the very basic rudiments of counting as they follow the two mice in journeys that always bring numbers into their lives. Sofia Eldarova's Builder Mouse: A Story of Friendship, Creativity, and the Fine Art of Compromise (9780544357662, $16.99) also tells of two mouse friends, but these mice aren't interested in numbers. They are focused on using leftovers, and their very different approaches to them involve art, lunch, and very different perspectives. How can they compromise when they view life so differently? A fine story emerges. Steve Jenkins & Robin Page's How to Swallow a Pig (9780544313651, $17.99) adopts an unusual format in pairing a how-to book with animal natural history facts. It's difficult to categorize this book, which holds the appeal of fiction and blends its examples with the facts of nonfiction nature books. The 'how to' questions that introduce each section cover such varied tasks as how to disguise yourself like an octopus or a flatfish, how to warn of danger like a velvet monkey, and how to defend like an armadillo. Kids will love the lively approach.

The Bilingual Shelf

The Hornless Rhinoceros/ Badak Tak Bercula
Robin W. Radcliffe, author/illustrator
Living Fossil Productions
9780692273913, $30.00,

"The Hornless Rhinoceros" is a beautiful modern eco-fable about the rarest rhinoceroses in the world, who live in the rainforests of Indonesia under dire threat from poachers who kill them for their horn, which is used to make illegal and ineffective medicine. Written in English and Indonesian, and beautifully illustrated with fantastic color paintings of the rhinoceroses frolicking in the rainforest, "The Hornless Rhinoceros" tells the tale of a boy named Dedi and a rhinoceros named Bulu. Dedi became ill and his father trapped a rhinoceros, Bulu, to remove his horn to make medicine to help Dedi become well again. Bulu lived after losing his horn in the snare, but he could never grow the horn back again. Bulu learned how to find papaya trees and dig underground water pools for other animals even without his horn. Bulu was a hero. Dedi decided not to take the rhinoceros horn pills his father gave him. He got well anyway. When his father left to set snares to get more rhinoceros horns, Dedi stopped him, convincing him that there was no magic in the rhinoceros horn, because he had gotten well without taking the pills. Dedi convinced his father to stop setting snares for the rhinoceroses in the rainforest near their village, and everyone lived together happily, even the papaya bats and the blue jean frogs, who depended on the rhinoceros for making water and fruit available. Each pair of pages tells this lovely story in English and Indonesian, with fabulous colorful illustrations and lots of humor. "The Hornless Rhinoceros" is part of an effort to reeducate people about their precious rhinoceros heritage. It is featured in an international environmental education program known as Children For the Hairy Rhino. "The Hornless Rhinoceros" is also part of a select list of qualifying titles for the 2016 Green Earth Book Award. Destined to become an eco-fable classic, "The Hornless Rhinoceros" provides education and entertainment and enlightenment for children and adults around the world.

Are You Eating My Lunch? / Manges-tu mon lunch?
Dr. Nicole Audet, author
Kathy Kerber, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781504948487, $26.99,

"Are You Eating My Lunch/ Manges-tu mon lunch?" is an award -winning, engaging story about a boy named Xavier who loses his lunch while visiting a zoo. In seeking the lost lunch, Xavier encounters many different animals and also learns what they eat for lunch. "Written in English and in French, "Are You Eating My Lunch?" teaches children language parallels, elimination processes of logic, and identification of variety in different species of animals and their preferred diets. Teaching with text, picture, and humor, "Are You Eating My Lunch?" has universal appeal to children in its format and imagination. Combining education with entertainment for maximum effect, "Are You Eating My Lunch" has received the Mom's Choice Silver Medal Award, plus five star reviews from Readers' Favorite, and the 2015 Fall Pinnacle Book Award Winner in the bilingual category.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Poptropica: Mystery of the Map
Jack Chabert, author
Kory Merritt, illustrator
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419720673, $9.95, HC, 112pp,

Mya, and Jorge take a ride in a hot-air balloon, only to crash-land on an unknown island filled with extinct animals and a horde of angry Vikings. Welcome to Poptropica, an uncharted group of islands whose existence is hidden from the rest of the world. As the three friends embark on a perilous search for a way home, they quickly discover the shocking reason they were brought there. Something threatens the very existence of Poptropica and their ability to ever make it off the island! "Deftly written by Jack Chabert and superbly illustrated by Kory Merritt, "Poptropica: Mystery of the Map, is a brand-new graphic novel adventure series specifically created for young readers ages 6 to 9. Thoroughly entertaining and 'kid friendly' from beginning to end, "Poptropica: Mystery of the Map" is very highly recommended for elementary school and community library graphic novel collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Poptropica: Mystery of the Map" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.04).

The Multimedia Shelf

Five Little Ducks
Steven Anderson, author
Klaus Bipper, illustrator
Cantata Learning
1710 Roe Crest Drive, North Mankato, MN 56003
9781632903839, $25.49,

"Five Little Ducks" is a charming counting song and storybook, complete with CD and downloadable app for music access, plus music notation and song lyrics for intergenerational sing-along fun. The pastel illustrations illustrate the counting song story line, as young children enthusiastically count, quack, and sing the song of a Mother Duck calling her ducklings to come back. Perfect for teaching counting skills and concepts to children ages 3-8, "Five Little Ducks" is part of a popular educational series of sing-along math songs through Cantata Learning at Capstone. These books reinforce the development of early learning skills, including physical, cognitive, and social and emotional learning. Added educational perks include a glossary and suggested guided reading activities at the end of "Five Little Ducks." Children will enjoy and respond to the fun game elements of the story, as well as the reassuring full circle theme in which the lost ducklings return and are found.

Monique's Boutique
Dorothy A. Whitehouse, author
Francesca & Rick Weber, illustrators
Skippin' Stones
130 Maple Avenue, Suite 6D, Red Bank, NJ 07701
9780615472461, $17.99,

"Monique's Boutique" is a unique verse story about a visit to a charming French inspired boutique, with embedded fabric swatches to touch on each page, adding a linked touch sensory input to the learning process of reading. Entranced young readers are invited to touch red satin, black fur, brown suede, blue taffeta, and black silk and velvet. Introducing the chic world of fashion design, "Monique's Boutique" is an enchanting rhyming verse story that presents a peek at an exciting world.

A Toucan Can You?
Danny Alderman and friends
The Kids At Our House Books
9781942390008, $19.95,

"A Toucan Can You?" is a collection of tongue twisters made of compound words illustrated by multiple talented children's book artists and orchestrated into delightful music for added fun and enjoyment. Including a book and a CD, "A Toucan Can You?" follows such earlier Adlerman Books as "How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck?" and "Oh No, Domino!" A list of contributing illustrators include Lindsay Barret George, Megan Halsey, Ashley Wolff, Demi, Ralph Masiello, Wendy Anderson Halperin, Kevin Kammeraad, Pat Cummings, Dar (Hosta), Leeza Hernandez, Christee Curran-Bauer, Kim Adlerman, and Symone Banks. Music was composed by Jim Babjak. The story begins with a Note to Parents and Teachers explaining the purpose of this delightful book and CD, which is to "make literacy fun through words, pictures, and music." "A Toucan Can You" certainly succeeds in its mission, appealing to children ages 6-10, using humor, color, exaggeration, rhyme, art, music, and jokes, even puns! Following the format of "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" a variety of ridiculous questions are asked and answered, with vivid illustrations. Showcasing a wide variety of illustration styles (every riddle has a completely different illustrator with a different style), every riddle page pair gets wilder and funnier. For example, "How much bow could a bowtie tie if a bowtie could tae bo? As much bos as a bos tie could if a bow tie could tae bo!" is illustrated by a human faced blue bow tie who creates stacks and piles of rainbow ribbons into bows! The final title rhyme is best of all: "How much two can a toucan can if a toucan could can two? As much two as a toucan can if a toucan could can two! Can you?" This last is accompanied by the most fantastic of rainforest illustrations in a woodcut outlined style, wonderfully vibrant and bold. The final pages have brief thumbnail sketches and introductions to all the artists and the author and musicians. The final pages present a songsheet with musical notation for the song of "A Toucan Can You?" the title song. An addendum explains that throughout the book are scattered lots of pictures of compound words, with a list of most if not all the candidates to hunt for. Children and young readers are encouraged to learn more about types of compound words, and to check out the game "Compound It All!" by the same author, winner of the 2015 Parents' Choice Recommended Award.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hardy Boys Adventures: Showdown at Widow Creek
Franklin W. Dixon
Read by Tim Gregory
Oasis Audio
289 Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781613757772 $9.99

Now available as an unabridged audiobook, Hardy Boys Adventures: Showdown at Widow Creek is the eleventh book in a series featuring these classic heroes of children's literature in brand new, twenty-first century adventures. Like virtually all Hardy Boys novels, Showdown at Widow Creek is a self-contained story that requires no prior familiarity with the Hardy Boys - although the two young brothers are well-known icons of ingenuity and courage. Showdown at Widow Creek has a distinctly Western flavor, as it is set during and after Welch's Annual Rodeo and Wild West Show featuring historical reenactments, rodeo events, and an exhibition of the Welch family's prize-winning horse Hondo. When the Hardy Boys stop an attempt to steal Hondo, they are "roped into" helping the cattle drive back to the Welch family dude ranch. But their task is more dangerous than it looks, especially when dirt bike-riding cattle rustlers appear! Exciting and upbeat, Hardy Boys Adventures: Showdown at Widow Creek is a welcome addition to public and school library children's audiobook collections. 3 CDs.

The Music CD Shelf

Holiday and Everyday Songs
Written and performed by Hap Palmer
Hap-Pal Music
$12.97 CD / $9.99 download

Holiday and Everyday Songs is an eclectic music CD for all ages by popular performer Hap Palmer. The songs give tribute to a wide variety of holidays, (although a "birthday medley" of four songs is specifically about the joy of celebrating one's birthday.) Playful and exuberant, Holiday and Everyday Songs is pure fun, and comes with a free downloadable teaching guide from the website, featuring lyrics, activities, and photos. The tracks are "We Have A Dream", "Turkey Tale", "Valentine's Song", "Halloween Hike", "Happy Birthday U.S.A.", "Nature's Sweet Endless Song", "Cinco de Mayo", "Scamper", "Food", "Morning Time at the Zoo", "Put Another Candle On Your Cake", "Out The Candles Go", "Celebrate The Day", "Birthday Boogie", "Xin Nian Kuai Le", "Sheltering Evergreen Tree", "Ki Va Moed", "Witches' Brew", "Every Day's A Special Day", plus instrumental tracks of almost every song. Highly recommended!

Club Called Awesome!
The Singing Lizard, a.k.a. Liz DeRoche
AlphaBeat Records
$15.00 CD / $10.00 download / $8.99 MP3

The third album of Liz "Singing Lizard" DeRoche, Club Called Awesome! is a music CD created especially for children ages 2-7. Featuring thirteen original tracks, Club Called Awesome! is an explosion of fun, encouraging listeners to celebrate, play games, and make new friends. Club Called Awesome! is an excellent pick for children's parties! A full-color comic book of a group of friends rounds out this wonderful, upbeat celebration. A mindful quote from the comic book: "You can be a girly girl, a princess twirly twirl. / You can be a girl who rides her bike in the mud. / You can be a boy who wears pink or a boy who plays with dolls / You can make cookies for your great grandma. / Be yourself, every day, / Be yourself, in every way." Highly recommended! The tracks are "Club Called Awesome", "Beat Bot the Robot", "Growing Up", "Celebrate", "I Spy", "Be Yourself", "My Balloon", "Feeling Blue", "Show Me Your Happy", "Space Race", "Chugga Chugga", "Take a Bite", and "Peace Sign". 38 min.

The Activity Shelf

Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722

Esther K. Smith's Making Books with Kids: 25 Paper Projects to Fold, Sew, Paste, Pop, and Draw (9781631590818, $24.99) features illustrations by Jane Sanders as it explores a range of books parents and kids can make together. From 3-D and movable books to designs that incorporate art and more advanced book making skills, this offers a range of step-by-step projects packed with illustrations and perfect for families and classrooms alike. The result is an excellent collection of varied books and interpretations of books that adults and kids will find filled with creative, fun approaches. Nick Robinson's Geometric Origami Kit (9781631061783, $15.99) is directed to newcomers to origami but focuses on lovely geometric origami art, providing everything need, from 64-page color instruction book to 75 pieces of bright, illustrated origami paper, to make these lovely designs. Most origami books focus on easy figures but this adds a whole new expansion of the origami art of paper-folding by including geometrics.

The Meditation Shelf

The Enchanted Forest
Patricia May, author
Deanna McRae, illustrator
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781504341547, $15.95,

"The Enchanted Forest: A Seashell Meditation for Children" is a guided meditation for children from a series that introduces children to the practice of meditation for focus, clarity, and balance, and health. After a photo of a seashell which kids are encouraged to cut out for use with meditation, the book continues with a picture of a child holding a seashell to her ear, sitting in a meditative pose, and a list of ten reasons why children should be taught to meditate. They are: "Gain inner peace. Increase self awareness. Become more calm and grounded. Feel more inspired. Improve quality of sleep. Increase clarity and intuition. Create inner happiness. Reduce stress and anxiety. Improve focus, memory and concentration. Decrease aggressiveness." The gentle rhyming text invites the child reader to "Put your shell up to your ear, There's soothing sounds That you will hear. Now close your eyes And breathe in deep, Blow out real slow And count to three. 1,2,3". The child is then invited to step through an imaginary mirror into an Enchanted Forest that is there for him to explore and delight in. The verse images continue with colorful illustrations, as the child goes deeper into the Enchanted Forest Meditation. After many explorations and delightful encounters and images, the child returns from the meditation through the return verse: "Take a breath in Now blow out with ease, Open eyes, put shell down, As we count to three. 1,2, 3". The meditation ends with "Namaste". For added pleasure, the reader may scan the QR code with a smart device for background sounds while reading the story. There are ten total Seashell Meditations for Children, with the following titles: "The Stream", "Playmates", The Secret Garden", "Moon Walk", "The Beanstalk", "Birds of a Feather", "Day at the Zoo", "The Seaside", and "Pathways".

Borning In and Borning Out
Marnie Muller, MLA, author/illustrator
Heart Wisdom Publishers
P.O. Box 367, Leicester, NC 28748 4
9780692580899, $12.99

Part of the You and the Universe Book Series, "Borning In and Borning Out" is delicately illustrated meditational book about the miracle of being, coming into being, and going out of being, life and death. Each human entity is represented as a unique entity at birth, containing a picture of the entire universe inside. The mysterious journey of your own soul and spirit is shown as a vast process in which each individual gives back to the universe all of themselves. "Borning In and Borning Out" is an invitation to children to contemplate the wonder of life, both in its beginning and ending. "Borning In and Borning Out" is filled with expressive illustrations and sensitive observations on the miracle of existence and cycle of life.

The Christian Shelf

Dear Pope Francis
Pope Francis
Loyola Press
3441 North Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657
9780829444339, $18.95, HC, 76pp,

Children have questions and struggles just like adults, but rarely are they given the chance to voice their concerns and ask the big questions resting deep in their hearts. In "Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World", Pope Francis gives them that chance and celebrates their spiritual depth by directly answering questions from children around the world. Some are fun. Some are serious. And some will quietly break your heart. But all of them are from children who deserve to know and feel God's unconditional love. Very highly recommended for young readers ages 6 to 15, it should be noted that "Dear Pope Francis" is also available in Spanish as "Querido Papa Francisco" (9780829444353, $18.95, HC, 76pp).

All Things Bright and Beautiful
Cecil Frances Alexander, author
Katy Hudson, illustrator
Worthy Kids Ideals
c/o Worthy Publishing
134 Franklin Road, Suite 200, Brentwood, TN 37027
9780824956769 $15.99

All Things Bright and Beautiful is a children's picturebook rendition of a beloved Christian hymn shared in churches and Sunday school classes since the 1800's. The charming color illustrations show children and their parents camping amid the beautiful outdoors, as well as the animals who call the majestic forests and fields of nature home. "All things bright and beautiful, / All creatures great and small, // All things wise and wonderful: / The Lord God made them all." All Things Bright and Beautiful is a choice pick for Sunday School libraries and the picturebook collections of Christian families.

The Newbies: Bible Alphabets A-Z
Barbara Denise Hendricks
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781452517391, $20.95, PB, 60pp,

"The Newbies: Bible Alphabets A-Z" by Barbara Denise Hendricks is a delightful children's gospel book that teaches young children their alphabets. Each alphabet has a word that's in the bible that starts with the letter. "The Newbies: Bible Alphabets A-Z" teaches children not only their alphabets but also familiarizes them with an impressive assortment of bible scriptures. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, content, organization and presentation, "The Newbies: Bible Alphabets A-Z " is very highly recommended for family, Sunday School, pre-school, and community library collections.

The Native American Shelf

What the Turtle Told Her Children
Valerie Van Campen
Cedar Grove Publishing
236 West Portal Avenue, #118, San Francisco, CA 94127
9780983507772, $12.95, PB, 90pp,

A timely and contemporary Native American tale for today's teens, "What the Turtle Told Her Children" is the story of Zoe and Zachary Jameson who are fourteen-year-old Native American twins living with their parents and older brother Justin on the Allegheny Reservation of the Seneca Nation in Western New York State. They are children of two cultures, struggling to find their place in the modern world while honoring the traditions of their Native American ancestors. About to begin their summer vacation from school, they prepare for long, hot days of chores, sports, and family gatherings. Every year, it's the same thing, there's never anything new happening. Then their cousin Heather gives them some exciting news. Their eccentric Aunt Fawn is coming for a visit! A story teller, Aunt Fawn always brings fun and a bit of mischief into everyone's lives. Young readers will join the twins as they travel, listening to Aunt Fawn's tales of local ghosts, monsters, and other legends. "What the Turtle Told Her Children" is Native American mythology at its finest and presented within a modern setting. Very highly recommended for both school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "What the Turtle Told Her Children" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).

The Judaic Shelf

A Baby of Our Own
Sara Blau, author
Tova Leff, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628865 $12.95

Featuring laminated pages that are easier for little hands to turn, A Baby of Our Own is a rhyming picturebook written especially for Jewish children. The story follows the perspective of a young boy (with an older sister), as a new baby joins his family. "Mommy's very tired, / So I will do my best- // To play so very quietly, / So she can get some rest. // I thank Hashem for sending us / A baby of our own, / It's so nice to see the way / Our family has grown!" The colorful artwork adds just the right touch to this upbeat, heartwarming picturebook.

The Holiday Shelf

The Funny Bunny Factory
Adam Green, author
Leonard Weisgard, illustrator
Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780448484495 $9.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

The Funny Bunny Factory is an affordable reprint edition of a classic children's picturbook originally published into the 1940's, 50's, and 60's. The whimsical, almost singsong text follows the playful antics of hundreds of cute bunny rabbits who explore an abandoned factory filled with sugar eggs, penny candy, toys, and party hats. But one bunny longs for something else - carrots! Colorful illustrations bring this adorable story to life. The Funny Bunny Factory is an excellent read-aloud gift to share with little ones while celebrating Easter!

Mr. Goat's Valentine
Eve Bunting
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369447, $16.99,

Mr. Goat's Valentine receives fun drawings by Kevin Zimmer as it shows how Mr. Goat decides to search for some special gifts for his first love. But what kinds of gifts would be appropriate? He just keeps making the wrong selections in this story of a first love and gift possibilities, which holds a lovely surprise conclusion.

The Poetry Shelf

The White Cat and the Monk
Jo Ellen Bogart, author
Sydney Smith
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554987801 $18.95

The White Cat and the Monk is a children's picturebook adaptation of a classic Old Irish poem "Pangur Ban", about a dedicated monk and the white cat who befriends him. The monk is passionate about his love of knowledge and books, while the white cat intently hunts and eats a mouse for its dinner. Each finds joy in life in their own way. The stylized artwork captures the timeless beauty of the poem in this simple yet meaningful picturebook, highly recommended.

Books in Series

On the Hunt With Hyenas
Jody Jensen Shaffer, author
c/o The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781634074537, $27.07, 24pp,

"On The Hunt With Hyenas" is an exciting, accurate, photo -illustrated nonfiction, hard -bound library volume from the series, On the Hunt With Animal Predators, for children age 6 and up. Illustrated with many stunning color photographs of hyena cubs and their mothers, in packs in their territories throughout Africa. Chapters quickly unfold on the hyenas' methods of hunting, hyenas' physical adaptation for hunting, the clans of the spotted hyenas, and spotted hyena cubs. Finishing "On the Hunt With Hyenas" is a Glossary, To Learn More section listing books and websites, and a Selected Bibliography. "On the Hunt With Hyenas" is an excellent resource for young naturalists, with added impetus to further investigate the life habits and hunting profiles of these powerful predators. Also highly recommended, further volumes in the On the Hunt With Animal Predators Series include the following: "On the Hunt With Great White Sharks" (9781634074513, $27.07), by Kristen Pope, "On the Hunt With Grizzly Bears" (9781634074520, $27.07), by Nancy Furstinger, "On the Hunt With African Lions (9781634074476, $27.07)," by Kristen Pope, "On the Hunt With Black Mambas (9781634074483<, $27.07)", by Kristen Pope, "On the Hunt With Gray Wolves" (9781634074506, $27.07), by Nancy Furstinger, "On the Hunt With Crocodiles" (9781634074490, $27.07)," by Kristen Pope, and "On the Hunt With Komodo Dragons" (9781634074544, $27.07), by Kristen Pope.

Count On It
Wiley Blevins, author
Elliot Kreloff, illustrator
Rocking Chair Kids
c/o Red Chair Press
P.O. Box 333, South Egremont, MA 01258
9781634400817, $10.31,

"Count On It" is a library bound, brightly illustrated, creative counting concepts book from a Basic Concepts series for children preschool age and up. Blonde heroine Gigi is planning a theme birthday party about Gigi and the Three Bears. Gigi needs help counting zero to 10 for everything she needs to make her party a success. Cheery, rainbow colored illustrations tempt children to help count zero for nothing to supply the party, one for a big cake, two for large tables, three for the three bears, four for juice drinks, five for bowls of food, six for party games, seven for different colored balloons, eight for candles, nine for friends invited, and ten for gifts. Gigi and her friends come from different races and ethnic backgrounds, and all are welcome to this delightful counting theme birthday party. Also highly recommended are the following titles, also part of the Basic Concepts series for young children, by Wiley Blevins and illustrated by Elliot Kreloff: "Colors All Around" (9781634400800, $10.31), "Big Box of Shapes" (9781634400824, $10.31), and "Duck, Duck, Goose" (9781634400848, $10.31).

Putting Earth First: Eating and Living Green
Megan Kopp, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778723820, $27.60,

"Putting Earth First: Eating and Living Green" is an exciting and well- presented volume from the juvenile environmental education series, Next Generation Energy. Written at guided reading level S, "Putting Earth First" presents action choices and preferred green options for middle grade students age 10 and up. Filled with informational graphs, maps, and charts, as well as color shaded sidebar features such as Fast Forward (which focuses on long range impact and effect of using more resources per year than the planet Earth can replace) and Rewind (promotes comparative, critical thinking about green living choices, vs. others). The student is asked to make convincing arguments for their created answer to questions about difficult choices, with regard to environmental impact. The positive messages that arise concern what students and young people can do to promote earth protection, such as living and eating green, and redirecting choices towards sustainable changes. One excellent example is the program Donate Don't Dump, begun by 12- year- old Gabrielle Possard when she encouraged grocery stores to donate their surplus food instead of discarding it. 32 pages of text cover such relevant topic areas as the green living movement, energy choices, living green, the four Rs (reduce, reuse, repair, recycle), eating green, compost and grow, shrinking your footprint, and step into action, followed by Power Up! The last chapter has a related activity that demonstrates how the power of the sun can be harnessed to cook vegetables sustainably. Filled with appealing color photos of kids age 11 and up taking action to reduce consumption and increase green, sustainable living, "Putting Earth First: Eating and Living Well" is an exciting, empowering eco-educational quest that invites its readers to think it through, ask and answer questions, and share the experience. A handy Glossary and Learning More section lists books and website resources for inquiring readers. Other titles from this highly recommended, educational series include the following: "Energy From Water: Hydroelectric, Tidal, and Wave Power" (9780778723806, $27.60), by Nancy Dickmann; "Burning Out: Energy from Fossil Fuels" (9780778723721, $27.60), by Nancy Dickmann, and "Leaving Our Mark" (9780778723813, $27.60), by Nancy Dickmann.

Being a Captain Is Hard Work
Carole P. Roman, author
Bonnie Lemaire, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781522781783, $12.99,

"Being a Captain Is Hard Work" is the latest Captain No Beard Story, in which Captain No Beard learns that even though he is captain, he needs to listen to each member of his crew to come up with the best decisions based on knowledge. Captain No Beard wants to travel to dew Rite Volcano, and bad weather or a storm do not figure in his plans, so he gives orders disregarding the warnings and observations of each of his crew members. The result is risking the safety and well being of every member of the Flying Dragon and the whole expedition. Captain No Beard thinks he has to know everything, but his crew point out that they are there to help and advise him. Finally Captain No Beard admitted he was wrong, pig-headed and stubborn as a billy goat, or a little boy who thinks he knows everything. Hallie tells him, "A good friend will always tell you when you are doing something wrong. Nobody knows everything." When the crew all return safely to the carpeted bedroom (transformed from the rough sea), Captain No Beard decides "I may be captain, but I learned a wise leader listens with both ears, so he can learn as much as he can and make the best decisions for his crew." The usual cast of colorful animal and human characters make this Captain No Beard adventure story an exciting journey into the unknown and back to the safe and familiar. At the end a handy Cloud Key gives information and illustrations about different kinds of clouds and what type of weather they may indicate. This award winning series continues to enchant and educate young readers with its charming stories and teachable moments. Also highly recommended is another title by the same author, "If You Were Me and Lived in ...... Italy" (9781519241412, $10.99), illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga, from the series A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World.

The Little Red Octopus
Todd Peterson, author/adaptor
Phil Watson, illustrator
Rakisu Publishing
9780990969402, $12.95,

An adaptation of a well known nursery rhyme (The Little Red Hen), "The Little Red Octopus" is an exciting children's story about the importance of helping. Filled with humorous, quirky, colorful underwater portraits of all characters, "The Little Red Octopus" tells the story of how the Little Red Octopus requested help to make a plankton cake from her friends, the lazy blue Turtle, the fluttery pink Puffer Fish, and the two sneaky Green Eels. Each of the three friends declines to help the Little Red Octopus with each step of the plankton cake creation process. The characters of the three unhelpful friends are suggested in their expressive illustrations: The lazy blue Turtle is insipid and unmotivated, the fluttery pink Puffer Fish is vain and self preoccupied, and the two sneaky Green Eels are opportunistic and shifty. However, when the Little Red Octopus finally finishes baking and decorating her plankton cake and asks, "Who will help me eat the plankton cake?" a different response is heard from the three friends. Although each creature says "I will," (help eat the plankton cake) the Little Red Octopus answers them firmly: '"No....I will." And so she did... all by herself!' The funny final illustration shows the Little Red Octopus using all eight arms to hold six pieces of plankton cake plus a fork, a feat unique to the talents of an octopus! Thus the value of helping others when asked is underlined by this delightful reimagined undersea fable. Another title from this series that is also highly recommended is "The Little Red Octopus Finds a Helper (9780990969419, $12.95)," by Todd Peterson, illustrated by Phil Watson.

Let's Celebrate Memorial Day
Barbara deRubertis, author
Kane Press
225 E. 46th St., #4D, New York, NY 10017
9781575658315, $7.95, PB,

From the educational series for children ages 6-10, Holidays & Heroes, "Let's Celebrate Memorial Day" explains the significance of the Memorial Day holiday in the American calendar. Tracing its origin in Decoration Day, established in 1868 to honor the graves of over half of a million soldiers who had died in the Civil War, on both sides. Decoration Day was transformed gradually to Memorial Day beginning in 1882. It began to honor all members of the American military who died in any American war. Because Memorial Day was associated with the end of May, and the beginning of summer holiday vacations, it is sometimes forgotten what the real significance of Memorial Day is. Further information is offered about Memorial Day Observances, the National Moment of Remembrance, and a list of the wars in which American soldiers have died, including the Civil War (1861-1865), the First World War (1917-1918), the Second World War (1941-1945), the Korean Conflict (1950-1953), the Vietnam Conflict (1955-1975), and the Middle East and Worldwide conflicts (1979- ). Colored photographs of Memorial Day activities enhance the narrative pages, and additional activities and resources are available at, Also recommended from this Holiday & Heroes series is the following volume: "Let's Celebrate Independence Day (978575658308, $7.95 pb)," by Barbara deRubertis.

The Voyager Space Probes
Arnold Ringstad, author
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781634074803, $27.07, $24pp,

"The Voyager Space Probes" covers the exciting story of the planning and launching of the twin Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in 1977, to travel to the outer planets of our solar system, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus, and beyond. Four chapters cover the exciting preparation, planning, and launch of the Voyager Space Probes from early planning stages in 1964 to the recorded data revealing that Voyager 1 had left the solar system in 2013. Still carrying the gold discs with the Sounds of Earth and greetings to other living beings in many languages, plus other information detailing the source of Voyagers 1 and 2, Earth. From a grand tour, and preparing to launch, to Jupiter and Saturn and beyond, "The Voyager Space Probes" explores an exciting mission of travel through the solar system and beyond, while gathering much valuable information about the solar system and space. Striking color photographs, artistic illustrations, and maps and graphs enhance the package of information in "The Voyager Space Probes" for students ages 7 and up. Completing the story are sections containing a handy Glossary, Source Notes, and To Learn More, a bibliography and web site section. This exciting series, Wonders of Space, also contains the following titles which are highly recommended for juvenile educational purposes: "Exploring Beyond Our Solar System" (9781634074754, $27.07), by Patricia Hutchison, "The First Moon Landing" (9781634074766, $27.07), by Patricia Hutchison, "The International Space Station" (9781634074773, $27.07), by Arnold Ringstad, "The Mars Rovers" (9781634074780, $27.07), by Patricia Hutchison, and "Space Missions of the 21st Century" (9781634074797, $27.07) by Arnold Ringstad.

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

Crabtree's books offer lovely sets to elementary grade learners, creating series titles that feature solid reference materials suitable for reports combined with a contemporary appearance that is appealing for young leisure readers. Six new books in Paul Mason's 'Your Brilliant Body' ($27.60 each) series are one example of lasting value. Each features 32 pages of facts in full color which include panels of at-a-glance information, colorful examples of science and physiology concepts linked to a young learner's experiences, and key information. The outstanding additions are Your Mind-Bending Brain and Networking Nervous System (9780778721994), Your Strong Skeleton and Amazing Muscular System (9780778722083), Your Growing Gus and dynamic Digestive System (9780778721970), Your Growing Body and Remarkable Reproductive System (9780778721963), Your Breathtaking Lungs and Rocking Respiratory System (9780778721956), and Your Hardworking Heart and Spectacular Circulatory System (9780778721987). Each book is geared for reading levels 4-5 and each is packed with diagrams, images, and lively at-a-glance details designed to capture attention as well as educate. Natalie Hyde's 'Earth's Processes Close Up' series each provide young readers with 24 pages of information that includes an index, glossary of terms, and good-sized print to simplify basic information. Earthquakes, Eruptions, and Other Events That Change Earth (9780778717256) covers tsunamis, quakes, landslides and more; Earth's Landforms and Bodies of Water (9780778717232) examines land forms and how bodies of water interact with them, How Do Wind and Water Change Earth? (9780778717270) surveys erosion, rivers and streams, oceans, and ice activity and how it changes landscapes while Protecting Earth's Surface (9780778717294) discusses problems in protecting the Earth and how large and small scale efforts work to solve these issues. All are powerful surveys highly recommended for school collections.

What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?
Rana DiOrio & Emma D. Dryden, authors
Ken Min, illustrator
Little Pickle Press
9781939775122 $17.95

Featuring a black child who embarks on the dream of creating a thriving business of her own, What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? is a children's picturebook about entrepreneurial spirit - the will to create a job for oneself and possibly others, benefitting the community as well as earning a living. "Being an entrepreneur means... // asking, 'What if?' // ...taking the initiative to solve a problem. // ...thinking differently and having original ideas." The cheery, colorful illustration bring this inspiring picturebook to life. Also highly recommended are the previous five books in the multi award-winning "What Does It Mean To Be...?" (R) series, "What Does It Mean To Be Kind?", "What Does it Mean to be Safe?", "What Does it Mean to Be Present?", "What Does it Mean to Be Green?" and "What Does it Mean to Be Global?"

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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