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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 27, Number 3 March 2017 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Holiday Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Board Book Shelf Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf
Islamic Shelf Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Self-Help Shelf Poetry Shelf
Education Shelf ABC Shelf Science Shelf
Biography Shelf Music CD Shelf Health Shelf
Math Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Books in Series


Reviewer's Choice

True Heroes
Shanon Hale, et al.
Shadow Mountain Publishing
P.O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0178
www.shadowmountain.com
9781629721033, $19.99, HC, 176pp, www.amazon.com

"True Heroes: A Treasury of Modern-day Fairy Tales Written by Best-selling Authors" is unique literary treasury that brings together under one cover the talents of nearly two dozen best-selling middle-grade authors including Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull, Ally Condie and Jennifer A. Nielsen -- all of whom have created original short stories, modern-day fairy tales, based on the lives and dreams of children they have met who all have two things in common: They have very big hopes and dreams and they are all cancer patients. Each individual short story is prefaced by a brief biography of the child and is accompanied by photographs of the child by Jonathan Diaz that are fully costumed and digitally inserted into a background (a baker, a dancer, a superhero, a dragon fighter, a sports star, a princess and more) that makes these children the heroes of their own modern day fairy tale stories written by their favorite authors. Truly exceptional, unfailingly entertaining, inspired and inspiring, "True Heroes" is unreservedly recommended for children ages 8 to 11 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "True Heroes" is also available in a Kindle format ($11.99). Librarians please note that "True Heroes" is also available as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781504717274,$29.95, CD).

Violet's Magical Journey: A Story of Adoption
Aiyana Sequana, author
Mary Toews, illustrator
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall Johnson Road 102-345, Grapevine, TX 76051
www.waldorfpublishing.com
9781944781385, $14.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Violet is a fairy who lives in a magical land complete with both a wizard and wood nymphs. In her travels, she comes across human children. She is so intrigued by them that she decides she wants to become one. The wizard tells her that, in order to become a human child, she will need both birth parents and adoptive parents. She then undertakes the journey to the land of humankind. As a child, when she is about six, she suddenly remembers that she had once been a fairy. Despite once being a fairy, Violet is happy she made the choice to become human. "Violet's Magical Journey: A Story of Adoption" is intended for children ages 4 to 8 and is a very highly recommended (especially for children who are adopted) addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Buzzy and Thomas Move Into the President's House
Vicki Tashman, author
Fatima Stamato, illustrator
Historical Tails
9780997209402 $6.99 www.historicaltails.com

Cheerfully illustrated in full color, "Buzzy and Thomas Move Into the President's House" is a delightful account of the historically documented move of President Thomas Jefferson into the President's house, accompanied by his dog, Buzzy, and his mockingbird pet, Dickie. Written from the point of view of Buzzy, a longhair white Briard dog from France, "Buzzy and Thomas Move into the President's House" is an award winning text at reading level ages 4-8, K- 3rd grade. Awarded five stars by Readers' Favorite, "Buzzy and Thomas Move Into the President's House" presents details from Buzzy's life at Monticello and Buzzy's projected thoughts about the projected move. The detailed illustrations in American primitive style, show many fine embellishments authentic to the period of Thomas Jefferson (1801). Children will identify with Buzzy's concerns about her strange new home, and they will delight in the whistling calls of Dickie. Carefully researched details are incorporated into a historical biography work of famous pets of a famous historical figure, in this first title of a series, Historical Tails. Additional fun facts and figures plus some coloring pages of Buzzy and Dickie are available at http://www.historicaltails.com/free-coloring-download-page.

The Beach At Night
Elena Ferrante, author
Mara Cerri, illustrator
Europa Editions
214 West 29th Street, Suite 1003, New York, N.Y. 10001
www.europaeditions.com
9781609453701, $13.00, HC, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Elena Ferrante (born 1943) is the pseudonym of an Italian novelist. Ferrante's books, originally published in Italian, have been translated into English, Dutch, French, German, and Spanish, among other languages. Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels are among her best known works. She was named one of the 100 most influential people on the planet by Time magazine in 2016. Now in an English translation by Ann Goldstein, and featuring the artwork of Mara Cerri, "The Beach At Night" is available to young readers ages 8 to 12. While very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Beach At Night" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.99).


The Holiday Shelf

The Snow Angel
Christine Leeson, author
Jane Chapman, illustrator
www.ChapmanandWarnes.com
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589254947 $3.99 www.tigertalesbooks.com

"The Snow Angel" is a fresh, nature story for young children that exemplifies part of the spirit of Christmas. Daisy and Sam are two excited little field mice who wake up one winter morning to find their mother offering them delectable Christmas treats, a snack of berries and hazelnuts. Off the mouse siblings scamper to play in the blowing snow for Christmas Day. Imagine their surprise at seeing a falling, white feathered angel from the sky, which turns out to be a tired, lost goose. The goose is a weary straggler, and she asks the mice for help as she is tired and hungry. The two mice scamper off in the snow to find hidden berries and nuts in the snow for the weary goose, and she thanks them for their winter feast. After the snow goose rests, carefully tended by the mice, she awakens, thanks them for their kindness, and flies off into the winter sky. The mice are astounded to find fluttering white feathers surrounding them like a fluffy mini blizzard. Excited, they carry home the feathers to their mother, who uses them to make their cozy sleeping den warm and safe. "The Snow Angel" is distinguished by graceful winter scenes, enticing portraits of small mouse and goose characters, and most of all, a heart of compassion for others, the meaning of Christmas.

How the Rabbit Became the Easter Bunny
Bob Bohlken
Snaptail Books
c/o Images Unlimited Publishing
PO Box 305, Maryville, MO 64468
http://imagesunlimitedpublishing.com
9780930643362, $10.95, PB, 32pp, www.amazon.com

In the far-off Land of Oohs and Ahs, the citizens ask the Wise Man how they can celebrate Easter. Each holiday has it's own way of recognition, but there was no Easter celebration to bring attention to Christ's resurrection into Heaven and the rebirth of Spring. The Wise Man must find appropriate ways to represent rebirth, new life, forgiveness and peace and spread it throughout the land. He meets with different animals to help him decide what to do. Written by Bob Bohlken and charmingly illustrated by Ann Hogue, "How the Rabbit Became the Easter Bunny" is a picture book telling of how the rabbit and colored eggs became a part of the Easter celebration. Children ages 3 to 10 can follow along this journey as the Wise Man searches for a special way to celebrate Christ's resurrection and the rebirth of spring. This rebirth is a celebration of new life, forgiveness, peace, and love. "How the Rabbit Became the Easter Bunny" is especially recommended for children ages 3 to 12 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.


The Social Issues Shelf

Gerome Sticks His Neck Out
L. S. V. Baker, author
M. E. B. Stottmann, illustrator
Baxter's Corner
P.O. Box 223, HarrodsCreek, KY 40027
9781938647116 $14.95 www.BaxtersCorner.com

"Gerome Sticks His Neck Out" is a manners fable with an unlikely hero and an even more unlikely pair of friends. Written in commanding verse, illustrated with splashy painted portraits of animal friends, "Gerome Sticks His Neck Out" challenges readers everywhere to find their inner strength and stick up for a friend, no matter how small. Gerome overcomes his own shyness to come to the rescue of a hairy tarantula, who is threatened high up in a tree by a porcupine with a stick and unfriendly accomplices. "Stop that now. Drop that stick! Quit being so mean," demanded Gerome, his head up in the tree. "Thank you for helping," the small tarantula said as he dropped from the limb, to land on Gerome's head." Additional ideas for parents and caregivers help to teach the lessons of Gerome and his tarantula friend, including fun facts about giraffes, what do you think?, "Amazing Me!" poster, and more pages on math, shapes, giraffe craft, and more. " Gerome Sticks His Neck Out" is definitely character building reading for young readers, teaching respect for others and a positive awareness of community.

Apollo The Misguided Missile
G. W. Wilkins, author
Michelle Rich Williams, illustrator
www.gwwilkins.com
Funder Enlightening Publications
P.O. Box 789, Monument, Colorado 80132
9780997315707 $17.95 www.satiama.com

"Apollo the Misguided Missile" is a creative children's anti-bullying fable with a unique blended approach. Told in straightforward narrative verse, carefully illustrated with colorful story tale pictures of the settings of the warlike tribe of Boar, the peaceful Village of Bliss, and the vast jungle along Whisper Creek. The Boar ruler, King Grump ordered Apollo, a missile, created to destroy the walls of the Village of Bliss so that the Boar could own and control it completely. When the people of the Village of Bliss were warned by a traveling parrot of the Boar King's warlike intent for Apollo to destroy their walls, they were unable to determine a good defensive strategy together. However, one girl named Grace and one boy named Iggy suggested that someone should try to talk to the missile to persuade it not to attack. Amazing as it sounds, Iggy resolved to travel to the site of the Boars and talk to Apollo to try to persuade the missile not to destroy the Village of Bliss and its walls. Braving dangers and four days of travel through a dark jungle, Iggy arrived at the site of the Boars' and Apollo the missile. Finding it quiet because all the Boars were gone on another warlike mission, Iggy politely asked Apollo when he was scheduled to fly. Amazingly, this is what happened: "Apollo was shocked, for you don't usually find people talking to missiles, so pleasant and kind. 'Well gosh, I'm not sure, I believe Christmas Day,' Apollo continued, 'I will be on my way.' Iggy spoke to Apollo of wrong and of right, of love and of peace and that first Christmas night. And when he was finished, when the story was through, Apollo the Missile did not know what to do! 'I can't hurt your people or blow up the land. I won't spoil Christmas. I now understand!' 'I promise you, Iggy, I promise you all, when Christmas arrives, I WILL NOT SMASH YOUR WALL!'" The story continues with some heart stopping twists and turns, but in the end, all works out well, with the final moral summing up: "And so ends our story, but please don't lose sight that being a bully can never be right. Try talking with others and hear what they say, for hurting each other is never the way!" The last page of "Apollo the Misguided Missile" is a discussion page with questions for young readers to debate and answer. Further discussion questions are offered at www.gwwilkins.com/discussionaboutApollo. "Apollo the Misguided Missile" is an excellent, creative resource for students, teachers, caregivers, and parents concerned with approaches to resolving problems of bullying.

I Love Me and the Skin I'm In
Jessica N. Crutcher, author
Richa Kinra, illustrator
www.jessicacrutcher.com
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478770602 $8.95 www.outskirtspress.com

"I Love Me and the Skin I'm In" is a sensitive, yet practical story about girls finding ways to react to racist bullying by their peers. Jessica is a lovely, beloved girl with cafe au lait colored skin. One day as her mother took her home from school, she was upset. Further questioning revealed that Jessica had her feelings badly hurt by fellow students, who told her she was not black, so they did not like her. The story that follows presents some positive options about reactions to racism and bullying among children. Realistic colored illustrations reveal children with different skin and hair colors. Jessica is able to figure out a strategy for going on with her life in elementary school even though her feelings have been badly hurt. She finds new friends who are supportive of her, who share her experiences of bullying. Best of all, their teacher notices and cares about what has happened. She expedites a teaching encounter between Jessica and her new friends who have also been bullied, and the girls who hurt their feelings. Apologies ensue, and Jessica forgives each of the girls who bullied her. "I Love Me and the Skin I'm In" ends with a positive message of self empowerment for kids who experience similar bullying behavior: Learn to love the skin you're in.


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Alexandra the Great
Deb Aronson
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
www.chicagoreviewpress.com
9781613736456 $18.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com

Alexandra the Great: The Story of the Record-Breaking Filly Who Ruled the Racetrack is the true-life story of a female thoroughbred racehorse who thrived and won championships despite the odds against her. At birth, Rachel Alexandra's mother rejected her; she had to be nursed by another mare. Her owner saw her as unsuitable for racing, and tried to sell her, yet an examination revealed a medical condition. It would take a new owner's insight to discover her potential and dare to race her against bigger, stronger male horses. Rachel Alexandra would go on to win the Preakness (the first filly to do so in 85 years) and the Woodward (a feat never before achieved by a filly). Alexandra the Great is an incredible underdog story that offers a glimpse into the demanding world of thoroughbred horse racing, and is highly recommended not only for young adults and high school library collections, but also for horse lovers of all ages.

Butterflies
Stacy Tornio, author
Muddy Boots
MuddyBootsBooks.com
c/o Globe Pequot
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706
www.rowman.com
9781630762049 $7.95 www.RangerRick.com

"Butterflies" is a beautiful nonfiction nature book for young children that is filled with stunning color photographs of caterpillars and butterflies. These helpful enlarged photos illustrated the life cycle of a butterfly through all its stages, including egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly. Many more helpful facts about butterflies are studied, including eating habits, defenses, threats and conservation, and even gardening for butterflies. Helpful tips and sidebars of added interest are presented and narrated by Ranger Rick, a cartoon raccoon, and smart Scarlett, the red fox, Ranger Rick's best cartoon friend. A selection of best plants for caterpillars and butterflies is included, along with some information on moths, a list of fifteen amazing facts about North American butterflies, plus a fabulous field guide with color photos to help identify swallowtails, monarchs and mimics, blues and coppers, fritillaries, skippers, and whites and sulphurs. "Butterflies" is the perfect butterfly guide for young nature lovers' libraries, filled with facts, fun, and further ways to support and study butterflies.

Baby On Board: How Animals Carry Their Young
Marianne Berkes, author
Cathy Morrison, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Road, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584695929 $16.95 www.dawnpub.com

"Baby On Board" is a beautifully illustrated book teaching children how different animals carry their young. Realistic color portraits of many different species of animals carrying their young cover the pages, along with a rhyming narrative full of exciting descriptions and information about the animal's habits and habitat. Some of the animals with their young studied include: sea otter, kangaroo, sloth, opossum, manatee, chimpanzee, common loon, alligators, the wolf spider, emperor penguin, anteater, lion, and finally, human animals as well. Pages at the end of "Baby On Board" over a matching game featuring tiny animal pictures, names, and descriptions of how the animal carries its young. Other learning activity suggestions include a read aloud section, some language arts questions, math study questions, and questions in other categories, including science, engineering, movement, and resources. More learning activities are available at www.dawnpub.com for educators, parents and lucky students.

City Fish Country Fish, second edition
Mary M. Cerullo, author
Jeffrey L. Rotman, photographer
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
www.tilburyhouse.com
9780884485292, $17.95, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Fish that live in tropical seas are like city dwellers, packed into reefs and surrounded by life in great variety and urgent motion, while Fish that live in tropical seas are like city dwellers, packed into reefs and surrounded by life in great variety and urgent motion, day and night. Through color, shape, size, and other adaptations, city fish and country fish have evolved to survive in their own particular habitats. Now in an updated and expanded second edition, "City Fish Country Fish: How Fish Adapt to Tropical Seas and Cold Oceans" by Mary Cerullo uses this powerful analogy and, with a text that is impressively enhanced with Jeffrey Rotman's vibrant underwater color photos, will captivate young readers ages 7 to 10 with the wild variety of ocean life. Featured in this new edition is new information about the effects of climate change on fish and their habitats and about great white sharks, who are among the few species who roam back and forth between cold and tropical waters. Informed and informative, "City Fish Country Fish" is part of the Tilbury House Publishers 'How Nature Works' series and is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections for children. Also very highly recommended in this same series is Sneed B. Collard's "Catching Air: Taking the Leap with Gliding Animals" (9780884484967, $17.95, HC, 39pp).

Soaring Soren: When French Bulldogs Fly
Deborah Stevenson, author
Morgan Spicer, illustrator
Aperture Press LLC
201 Washington Street, Suite #533, Reading, PA 19601
9780997302059 $14.95 www.aperturepress.net

"Soaring Soren: When French Bulldogs Fly" is the unlikely but inspiring story of the author's French bulldog, Soren, and his dauntless quest to become an agility champion despite his breed and handicaps. Symbolic of the determination and inspiration of Soren, little flying pigs carrying green ribbon banners decorate and frame initial and intermittent page illustrations. Written from the dog's viewpoint, "Soaring Soren" tells the amazing story of a French Bulldog born in Denmark who flies to the United States to be adopted by his American owner, Deb, a kind lady with lots of curly hair. Soren was born and bred to be a show dog, so he expected the training that would be an integral part of that. However, Soren also grew and grew, until he had grown bigger than a French Bulldog for showing was allowed to be. This was a sad disappointment to Soren, but there was nothing he could do about his growing, so he accepted it. Deb noticed that Soren could run fast and jump high, so she wondered if Soren could make a great agility dog, not something French Bulldogs are bred or built for. Soren tried extra hard to show Deb that he could be a great agility dog, even if his fast running and high jumping ended up making him sick to his tummy. With Sroen's enthusiastic acceptance, Deb began Soren's agility training, using agility field obstacles such as the A-Frame, jumps, weave poles, the teeter, and the tunnel, Soren's favorite. Soren worked hard with his owner as a team, receiving cheese treats for rewards when he did well on the agility obstacle course. then Soren attended his first agility trial course and did very well. Deb began to think that Soren could become an agility champion, even though no French Bulldog had ever achieved such a thing. With their big heads, short legs, and heavy bodies, French Bulldogs just weren't built for agility achievement, people thought. But Soren thought differently. He knew he could be a champion one day. Soren practiced hard with Deb, hoping to win an agility championship to give her. What an exciting event day! Soren concentrated and worked very hard, making no mistakes on all the obstacles. Soren won a purple ribbon! Plus his owner gave him a new collar with little flying pigs on it! At a fabulous party afterwards for all participating show dogs and owners, Soren was so happy. He loved his agility training work, but he loved his owner, Deb even more. Finally, Soren knew that "if you work hard and believe in yourself and your dreams, you can do just about anything. And if you have someone you love who believes in you too, that's even better." Expressive cartoon color illustrations bring Soren the French Bulldog's amazing and inspiring story to life, bringing joy and inspiration to young readers everywhere.


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Unwanteds Quests: Dragon Captives
Lisa McMann
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781481456814 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle amazon.com

The Unwanteds Quests: Dragon Captives is the first novel in "The Unwanteds Quests" series, which is set ten years after "The Unwanteds" series, and features the younger twin sisters of the previous series' protagonists. Fifer and Thisbe Stowe both have extraordinary yet uncontrollable magic. Shortly after their powers manifest in an accidental yet destructive incident, they befriend the ice blue dragon Hux and set out for the land of dragons, seeking to avoid their brother's wrath and free Hux's enslaves siblings. A majestic tale of adventure and danger, The Unwanteds Quests: Dragon Captives is enthusiastically recommended for middle grade fantasy fans, as well as public and school library young adult fantasy collections.

The Pathway to Dragons: The Portal to Pyranis
Hannah Hoffman
www.HannahBrookeHoffman.com
Dog Ear Publishing
4011 Vincennes Road, New Augusta, IN 46268-3005
www.dogearpublishing.net
9781457548390, $8.95, PB, 72pp, www.amazon.com

Nine-year-old Billy Jones dreams of having a pet dragon! After finding an odd book in the library titled "The Pathway to Dragons", he and his two best friends, Maura and Roy, are off for a summer adventure at his Grandma Meg's beach house. Once there, strange events begin happening, and Billy is reminded that his Grandfather Hugo has been missing for many years. It's a family mystery. While strolling on the beach, the kids discover an underwater stone arch. They decide to swim through it, and...WHOOSH! They are transported to a fantastical forest, with a view of castle ruins on a distant hill! There, they meet young Talia, and Billy learns that a dragon egg belonging to his family is about to hatch. But beware the dragon hunters! Enhanced with ten black/white illustrations, "The Pathway to Dragons: The Portal to Pyranis" by eleven year old author Hannah Hoffman is a charming, exceptionally well written, and unfailingly entertaining fantasy that is especially recommended for personal, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers ages 6 to 12.

Darcy Moon and the Aroona Frogs
Catherine Carvell, author
Michael Scott Parkinson, illustrator
Star Bright Books
13 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
www.starbrightbooks.com
9781595727527, $6.99, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Darcy Moon is an ordinary girl with ordinary problems-she's low on cash and doesn't fit in with the cool crowd. That is, until she finds out she is an Earth Guardian who has to save the local swamp from disaster. Frogs are disappearing, and the food chain is broken. When a freaked-out frog asks for help, Darcy's life is about to take a great leap forward. It's up to her to fix the food chain, save the swamp, and prove that money can't buy everything. "Darcy Moon and the Aroona Frogs" is a quirky, yet glorious adventure set in Australia with environmental themes that young readers ages 8 to 12 can relate to and cheer. An exceptionally well written fantasy tale, "Darcy Moon and the Aroona Frogs" wonderfully showcases author Catherine Carvell's genuine flair for creative storytelling and is an especially recommended addition to elementary school and community library children's books collections.

Sheila: Quest for the Golden Sapphire
Shawn Caldwell
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
www.outskirtspress.com
9781478771036, $16.95, PB, 210pp, www.amazon.com

Sheila Domino is turning 15 and her life will never be the same again. On the twilight of her 15th birthday, while blissing out on the screaming guitar of a Jimi Hendrix tune, tomboy Sheila Domino and her best friend are attacked by a clan of werewolves. Even worse, while fending off the mangy mongrels, Sheila realizes that her body is transforming into the likeness of her attackers. What the hell?! A dark stranger rescues the girls, ushering them into a new land called Thera. Once unsurpassed in elegance and beauty, Thera is now scarred by darkness and poverty. The stranger informs Sheila that her destiny is to save Thera from the tyranny of Benan, leader of the lycan clan called The Devil Dogs, but Sheila is unimpressed. She only wants to know how to make the physical changes stop before her boy crush realizes that they share the same interest in food and movies-as well as an abundance of back hair. But when her foster parents are brutally murdered by The Devil Dogs, Sheila must learn to use her gift of transmogrification to fight back. Will she be able to locate the golden sapphire and save Thera from total annihilation? "Sheila: Quest For The Golden Sapphire" is a riveting read from cover to cover and clearly showcases author Shawn Caldwell as having a genuine flair for original and deftly crafted storytelling, making this fantasy action/adventure novel unreservedly recommended for school and community library YA Fantasy Fiction collections in general, and the personal reading lists of dedicated werewolf fans of all ages in particular!

Freedom's Dragonflight
Diane Carr
Terra Sancta Press
304 Royal Palm Drive, Melbourne, FL 32935
www.terrasanctapress.com
9781939771445, $14.08, PB, 220pp

"Freedom's Dragonflight" by Diane Carr is the story of four young dragons (Freedom, Charity, Joy and Sunshine) who are sent on a quest against impossible odds, all the while keeping the secret oath. Along the way they must learn to use their superpowers. Can the Dragonweb, Mind-Speak, and an unproven strategy protect them from the evil dragon Leviathan? Will Freedom overcome his fears and prevail? An original, deftly crafted and unfailingly entertaining fantasy from beginning to end, "Freedom's Dragonflight" is an especially recommended addition to school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers. It should be noted that there is a companion book available, "Freedom's Dragonflight Activity & Coloring Book" (CreateSpace, 9781536953862, $8.99), from the team of Diane Carr and Debbie Waldorf Johnson.


The Picturebook Shelf

The Curious Fox
Ross McDonagh, author
Conor M. O'Brien, illustrator
Dufour Editions, Inc.
PO Box 7, 124 Byers Road, Chester Springs, PA 19425-0007
9781847306821 $13.00 32 pages www.dufoureditions.com

Written in sparkling couplets of rhyme for young readers ages 5 to 9 years, "The Curious Fox" explores the fascinating story of a young fox in search of himself. Haunting, delicate scenes reveal the young fox embarking on his odyssey in a lavender sky-shaded forest. On his quest, wondering about his special gift, the young fox encounters a succession of wise creatures, including a Pig, a Giraffe, a Croc(odile), a Hare, a Bat, an Owl, and finally, his own mother, Mammy Fox. After searching and comparing all his body parts and attributes to other animals, the little Fox in despair declares: "I can't believe I've not one feature That sets me 'part from other creatures." His Mammy Fox gently encourages him with her observations: "You and you alone are you; Of you there's one - there is not two..... Your special feature, don't you see? It is your curiosity! Your thirst for knowledge whets you wits By far your most important bits....... (adding) Your greatest feature on display...... is all the friends You've made today." The final two pages are a stunning portrait of the little fox surrounded by all his wise animal friends.

Nina the Neighborhood Ninja
Sonia Panigrahy, author
Hazel Quintanilla, illustrator
www.soniapanigrahy.com
Tiny Sparks Press
9780997595604 $11.99 amazon.com

"Nina the Neighborhood Ninja" is an exciting, inspiring, fun-filled tribute to the incredible, young, black heroine, Nina the Ninja and her trusty sidekick, Fiona Firefly, who knows how to help, just at the right time, just in the right way. Nina is strong, she is smart, she is speedy. Most exciting of all, Nina believes in stepping in to help a friend, even when it is uncomfortable, cold, wet, or dangerous. Ebullient colored illustrations portray Nina and her animal friends in action. On her way home from playing outside, Nina succeeds in rescuing a baby bird who had fallen from the tree, built a shelter for a scared kitty when a rainstorm was threatening, and finally, Nina rescued a family of little turtles who were trapped in a sandbox. The neighborhood is lucky that Nina is smart, strong, courageous, and speedy. Don't forget the helpful Fiona Firefly who always knew how to help, just at the right time, and just in the right way. Nina's and Fiona's day ends with a safe trip home, a warm bath, a nice supper, and a surprise visit from their new friends, who wanted to thank them for their help. A delicious sleep out in a tent with turtles, bird, kitty, firefly and Nina is portrayed. Superheroines need their rest, right? How are you, young reader, going to use your superpowers tomorrow? Do you have superpowers? What are they? This inspiring ending to "Nina the Neighborhood Ninja" completes the exciting tale, which is bound to appeal to female readers everywhere.

A Dog Named Cat
Anne Toole, author
Richa Kinra, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478773399 $14.95 www.OutskirtsPress.com

Written in playful verse, with colorful, cheerful illustrations, "A Dog Named Cat" presents a soul searching tale about a pet dog who was named "Cat" by his adoptive family. This misnaming caused quite a bit of consternation in the little dog, who tried very hard to get his family to rename him, once he learned from many other animals (a mouse, a goldfish, a bird etc.) that he certainly was not a cat. However, nothing he could think of trying worked, not even barking endlessly or not answering when they called him Cat. Finally one day the dog was playing with little Tad near a lake and the two spied a snake, which frightened Tad greatly. However, the dog named Cat was brave and fast, "That's when the dog ran to the snake and with his mouth, grabbed it by the tail, He swung it in the air, and away it sailed." After that, little Tad was so glad and grateful that he decided to rename the dog Lucky! This made Lucky the dog, very happy indeed. Children will enjoy the humor and identity crises in "A Dog Named Cat," along with its basic positive message about searching until you find your true self.

On My Skis
Kari-Lynn Winters, author
Christina Leist, illustrator
Tradewind Books
http://tradewindbooks.com
9781926890036 $12.95

This delightful book for preschoolers tells a breathtaking story in verse and picture of a child's first adventure zooming down hill on his skis. Set in a picture book, typically Canadian mountain/sea setting, the delicate portraits of downhill skiing with friends are exquisitely detailed, with minimal embellishing touches, like feathering snowfall, white trees against the mountains, colored animals and birds against a blue/white background, etc. The scary aspect of the first experience of downhill skiing is balanced by the helpful supervision of the child's ski instructor friend, who offers his pole to grip when things start to slip. What a wonderful ride down the mountain he has! Young children will adore this easy to read book with all its winter charm. Also highly recommended is another title in this series by the same author and illustrator, "On My Bike (9781926890135, $12.95)."

Henry and Lola: A Puppy Love Story
Keith Cohen, author
Roberta Paul, illustrator
www.robertapaul.com
Three Bean Press
P.O. Box 5, Millis, MA 02054
www.threebeanpress.com
9780990331544 $16.99 www.henry-lola.com

"Henry and Lola" is a poetry perfected puppy love story, illustrated with bright, edgy scenes of daily life in a glamorous, busy Boston hotel. For both Henry and Lola were puppies who took residence in a large Boston hotel with their owners. Neither puppy knew about the other. Both Henry and Lola were lonely in their luxurious homes, and their paths did not cross until one dark night, when a horrendous dark storm forced everyone to evacuate the hotel. When the lights came on, and the puppies were finally delivered to the same floor by the elevator, they finally formally met and were each overjoyed to find a friend. "From that day forward Henry and Lola could say, we each have a friend with whom we can play...... Their days were now filled with surprise, joy and glory, for this was the start of A PUPPY LOVE STORY." Faithful puppy portraits show Lola, the fluffy white puppy, and Henry, the black and brown puppy being friends in their hotel home. "Henry and Lola" is an inspiring story of loneliness and friendship that teaches readers unexpected good can come from strange or scary events.

The Boy With the Red Shoes
Katherine Mary Kraver, author
Izumi Yeh-Ling, illustrator
www.katherinemarykraver.com
Dorrance Publishing Co.
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781480932845 $22.00 pbk, www.dorrancepublishing.com

"The Boy With the Red Shoes" is a beautiful current wisdom tale that teaches compassion for others. It's dedication keynote states: "Always remember to cultivate kindness." Illustrated with vivid paintings of a black Haitian boy, living in a temporary tent shelter long after a terrible earthquake had destroyed his home, "The Boy With the Red Shoes" tells a story of fear, destruction, hope and determination. The Haitian boy who awakens in the tent to a horn blowing alarm must struggle to get his woven paper turtles to the market to sell early so that he can earn money to help rebuild his broken home. It is hard for the boy to find his space to spread out his turtles for sale, for others also must make profits from their handicrafts to help rebuild their homes. The boy, who is barefoot, suffers a painful injury to his heel from a sharp stone. No one seems to care about his pain and tears. Then he sees the red sandals on the feet of another boy, who is white. Gradually the Haitian boy begins to tell the story of his turtles woven of newspapers plastered with stories of the earthquake which changed his life. The woven turtles remind him of his pet turtle, Snapper, whom he lost in the aftermath of the earthquake. The Haitian boy explains that his woven paper turtles represent the struggle his people went through and continue to go through since the earthquake. He is determined to earn money by selling these turtles to help buy supplies to rebuild his family's home. Understanding at last, the boy in the red shoes, who has no money, offers his two very fine and comfortable red sandals in exchange for two woven paper turtles. This makes the Haitian boy very happy. His new friend shares his turtles and their story with his sister, who also understands the story of the making of the turtles. In an incredible turnaround of fortune, the Haitian boy is able to sell all his woven paper turtles and take home much money to his parents and grandmother. When she asks, "How?" he answers, "Let me tell you a story about the boy with the red shoes." Thus begins a wonderful series of globally sourced stories for children that endeavor to inspire hope and compassion for others.

The Fussy Little Butterfly
Jaenet Guggenheim, author/illustrator
Azro Press, an imprint of Terra Nova Books
33 Alondra Road, Santa Fe, NM 87508
9781929115327 $19.95 hc www.TerraNovaBooks.com

Creatively illustrated with delicate, abstract paper collages, "The Fussy Little Butterfly" is a delicate dialogue and dance between a little caterpillar become butterfly and her human, whom she calls Blue Eyes. Who would believe such a beautiful yellow butterfly could be so terribly picky about what it will eat! No red poppies, no golden daffodils, and certainly no pretty primroses will please the palate of this fussy little butterfly. But Blue Eyes has an idea. She offers the fussy, hungry butter fly a little spoon of maple syrup water. The butterfly's little rolled up tongue got stuck in the syrup for a while, but it was delicious! A fantastic, spiral patterned butterfly celebration portrait is titled 'Maple syrup water rush!' Join the loving journey to understanding between the fussy little butterfly and Blue Eyes in this whimsical, delightful title and series. Delicious reading for all ages.

Little Sister Rabbit And The Fox
Ulf Nilsson, author
Eva Eriksson, illustrator
Susan Beard, translator
Floris Books
www.florisbooks.co.uk
9781782503781, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

One morning Little Sister Rabbit hops out of her burrow to play. She's having fun rolling about and picking flowers but something is not quite right. What is that odd smell? Is that the sound of a rumbling tummy? Could those be red eyes watching her? It's a hungry fox cub! Little Sister Rabbit is too scared to move. Rabbits aren't meant to be brave. Luckily, just before the fox eats her for his dinner, she realizes just what to do. What are rabbits best at? Running foxes ragged! Ably translated into English from Swedish children's author, Ulf Nilsson, and beautifully enhanced by one of Europe's best-loved illustrators, Eva Eriksson, "Little Sister Rabbit And The Fox" is an utterly charmingly illustrated tale of bravery and trusting one's instincts. Very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 6. Also highly recommended for this same age group is Ulf Nilsson and Eva Eriksson's "Little Sister Rabbit Gets Lost" (9781782503774, $17.95, HC, 32pp).

Speed Bonnie Boat
Alfredo Belli
Picture Kelpies
c/o Floris Books
www.florisbooks.co.uk
9781782503675, $11.95, PB, 24pp, www.amazon.com

Alfredo Belli lives and works in Rome. He illustrates children's books and school textbooks on behalf of different publishers, spanning age ranges from preschool through teens. Expertly adapted and beautifully illustrated by Belli's original art work, "Speed, Bonnie Boat" is based on the true story of Bonnie Prince Charlie's famous journey from the Outer Hebrides to Skye, off Scotland's west coast, after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden. A simply stunning picture book inspired by the lyrics of the traditional Scottish folksong is especially recommended for children ages 5 to 8 and is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school and community library picture book collections for young readers.

The Strongest Man in the World
Lucie Papineau, author
Caroline Hamel, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
www.auzou.biz
9782733846148, $16.95, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Deftly written by Lucie Papineua and charmingly illustrated by Caroline Hamel, "The Strongest Man in the World: The Legend of Louis Cyr" is set in North America, late nineteenth century. It's the story of a little boy who is born with a destiny that will prove truly exceptional. Traveling across the Northeast, Louis Cyr will show off his extraordinary physical strength. Soon, his exploits will spread around the North American continent, then Europe, making him truly the strongest man in the world! A giant poster is included in this wonderfully entertaining picture book for young readers ages 8 to 10. "The Strongest Man in the World: The Legend of Louis Cyr" is especially recommended for elementary school and community library picture book collections.

Beebs Goes Camping!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Billy Barron, illustrator
Introduction by Ernest Borgnine
Zaccheus Entertainment
9780996996426, $12.95, PB, 52pp, www.amazon.com

What happens when Beebs, the bumbling, fumbling grandpa, takes Grandma and his grandson on a camping trip deep in the wilderness? Aren't there bears in those woods? Does Beebs know what he's doing, or what he's getting himself into? What happens when he tries to pitch a tent? Or when he meets a porcupine on a one-way tree? Somehow he manages to build a campfire without setting the woods on fire. But sitting around a campfire at night, listening to a scary ghost story, is the last thing Beebs needs. Children ages 4 to 9 will join in the fun and the laughter as Beebs faces one misadventure after another in "Beebs Goes Camping!". A thoroughly original story by Donald Kruse featuring charming black-and-white sketch art by Billy Barron and an introduction by Ernest Borgnine, "Beebs Goes Camping" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Good Morning, Grumple
Victoria Allenby, author
Manon Gautheir, illustrator
Pajama Press
http://pajamapress.ca
9781772780147, $14.95, HC, 24pp, www.amazon.com

Not every child greets the new day with enthusiasm. Those who don't are called Grumples, and they must be dealt with carefully. Sing very softly, tickle one pinky toe, kiss the scrunched-up forehead. And then a big hug and a singing rhyme to see in the day. Even Grumples cannot resist. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and presentation, "Good Morning, Grumple" combines author Victoria Alleby's imaginative flair for original storytelling with Manon Gautheir's charming illustrations to provide children ages 1 to 3 with the perfect 'go to bed' parent/child bonding experience. Simply stated, "Good Morning, Grumple" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, and community library collections.

Pearla and Her Unpredictably Perfect Day
Rochel Lieberman, author
Lloyd Jones, illustrator
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
www.jkp.com
9781785927348, $16.95, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Pearla loves to bake! Her favorite foods are cookies and cupcakes, which she sells at her dad's bakery. She always tries very hard to make her baking absolutely perfect, but one day Pearla is so busy that she makes a huge mistake! Children will have fun with Pearla as she learns how to adapt when her day doesn't go to plan and realizes it could turn out to be pretty perfect after all. A wonderfully entertaining tale for children aged 4-12, particularly those boys and girls who experience anxiety or developmental issues, the underlying messages of "Pearla and Her Unpredictably Perfect Day" is that children can't succeed unless they try and that it's ok to make mistakes. Pearla's strategies for solving her problems will help children to overcome their own hurdles. A deftly crafted and charmingly illustrated story about how a sprinkling of mistakes can be a recipe for success, "Pearla and Her Unpredictably Perfect Day" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Little Blue Chair
Cary Fagan, author
Madeline Kloepper, illustrator
Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6
9781770497559, $16.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Boo's favorite chair is little and blue. He sits in it, reads in it and makes a tent around it...until the day he grows too big for it. His mother puts the little blue chair out on the lawn where a truck driver picks it up. The truck driver sells it to a lady in a junk store where it sits for many years until it's sold and put to use as a plant stand. In the years that follow, the little blue chair is used in many other ways -- on an elephant ride, in a contest, on a Ferris wheel, in a tree...until the day it flies away, borne aloft by balloons, and lands in a garden of daffodils where a familiar face finds it. Engagingly written by Cary Fagan and charmingly illustrated by Madeline Kloepper, "Little Blue Chair" is an ideal read-aloud picture book that follows the adventures of a little chair, beginning as the seat of a small child who loves books and circling back to that child's child many years (and bottoms) later. Highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 3 to 7, "Little Blue Chair" is certain to be an enduringly popular and much beloved picture book.

That's What Friends Are For
Suzanne Chiew, author
Caroline Pedler, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
www.tigertalesbooks.com
9781680100402, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Badger, Hedgehog, and the rest of their friends are enjoying a beautiful, hot summer day. Suddenly, Mouse runs up to them. The stream has run out of water! she cries. The friends set off to see for themselves. Badger knows they need to fix things, and quickly. But how? Original and delightful from cover to cover, author Suzanne Chiew and illustrator Caroline Pedler have successfully collaborated to produce an unfailingly entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 8 and is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Alycat and the Thursday Dessert Day
Alysson Foti Bourque, author
Chiara Civati, illustrator
Mascot Books
www.mascotbooks.com
www.alycatseries.com
9781631777448, $14.95 HC, $6.99 Kindle, www.amazon.com

When Alycat's daydreaming causes her to miss out on Dessert Day at school, she will need to rely on her imagination to satisfy her sweet tooth! With the help of her best friend Spotty, she discovers that trying new things can lead to fun adventures and tasty inventions! "Alycat and the Thursday Dessert Day is the first book of the Alycat series. In this series author Alysson Foti Bourque seeks to encourage children ages 4 to 8 to celebrate the joy, innocence, and fearlessness of being a kid. An original and entertaining delight from cover to cover, "Alycat and the Thursday Dessert Day" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted that the next volume in this series is the soon to be published "Alycat and the Monday Blues". More information is available at www.alycatseries.com.

My Daddy Loves Me: I'm His Little Girl
Shanalee Sharboneau, author
Israel Dilean, illustrator
Mascot Books
www.mascotbooks.com
9781631770081, $14.99 HC, $6.99 Kindle, 38pp, www.amazon.com

The message provided to young girls ages 4 to 8 in Shanalee Sharboneau's utterly charming picture book "My Daddy Loves Me: I'm His Little Girl" is -- My daddy shares with me. My daddy cares for me. My daddy teaches me to dream. My daddy plays with me. My daddy stays with me. My daddy loves me all life long. Colorfully illustrated throughout by Israel Dilean, "My Daddy Loves Me: I m His Little Girl is the third book in the 'My Family Loves Me' series and is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Peter and Lotta's Adventure
Elsa Beskow
Floris Books
www.florisbooks.co.uk
9780863153983, $17.95, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

When Peter and Lotta give away one of their kittens, they find themselves having a day full of adventures, including the excitement of going to a fair. But will they manage to get home safely? Elsa Beskow's picture books for children have been known and loved for over a century. "Peter and Lotta's Adventure" is a new addition to author/illustrator Elsa Beskow's 'Peter and Lotta' series that is here published in English for the first time making it available to a whole new generation of American children ages 3 to 7. "Peter and Lotta's Adventure" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Baking with Dad
Aurora Cacciapuoti
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
www.childs-play.com
9781846437557, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Today we're baking with Dad! We have everything we need, including the most important ingredient - Dad himself! But who are we baking for? And who's going to do the clearing up? "Baking With Dad" is an entertaining and engaging picture book specifically written and illustrated by Aurora Cacciapuoti for children ages 3 to 8. A perfect 'story hour' read aloud for preschool and kindergarten students, "Baking With Dad" is unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Baking with Dad" is also available in a paperback edition (9781846437540, $7.99).

Walk With Me
Jairo Buitrago, author
Rafael Yockteng, illustrator
Elisa Amado, translator
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
www.groundwoodbooks.com
www.houseofanansi.com
9781554988570, $18.95, HC, 35pp, www.amazon.com

A deceptively simple, imaginative picture book story by author Jairo Buitrago and artist Rafael Yockteng, "Walk With Me" depicts the complex emotional reality of a girl whose father no longer lives at home. The young girl conjures up an imaginary companion, a lion, who will come with her on the long walk home from school. He will help her to pick up her baby brother from daycare and shop at the store (which has cut off the family's credit), and he'll keep her company all along the way until she is safe at home. He will always come back when she needs him, unlike the father whom she sees only in a photograph -- a photograph in which he clearly resembles a lion. Aptly translated into English, this edition of "Walk With Me" is refreshingly original, consistently entertaining, and very highly recommended for children ages 4 to 7, and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Hattie Peck: The Journey Home
Emma Levey, author/illustrator
Sky Pony Press
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
www.skyhorsepublishing.com
9781510713901, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Hattie Peck is a chicken who adores eggs of all kinds. However, she cannot make any of her own. But no worries, Hattie has collected eggs from all over the world, hatched them, and raised her blended family of cockatoos, storks, owls, anything from an egg -- even reptiles. But now it's time. They all need to leave her big loving nest. So off the flock goes, on their biggest (and saddest) adventure. Even though, in her heart, Hattie knows it's best. Beautifully written and illustrated for children ages 3 to 6 by Emma Levey, "Hattie Peck: The Journey Home" is poignant story about family and differences, making hard decisions, letting go and inclusion. Of special note is a nice twist ending! Bright colorful and lively illustrations and lots of information about egg-bearing animals round out the story, "Hattie Peck: The Journey Home" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hattie Peck: The Journey Home" is also available in a Kindle format ($12.12).

How To Find A Friend
Maria S. Costa
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9780544926783, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

A rabbit and a squirrel are alone and lonely, each wishing for a friend. Obviously they'd be perfect friends for each other. But as they go through their day, they keep missing each other, each totally oblivious to the other's presence. When they finally (and literally) bump into each other, each has found a friend at last. Young children ages 4 to 7 will enjoy being smarter and more observant than these silly characters and will also rejoice at their ultimate success. Impressively original, unfailingly entertaining, and with thoroughly 'kid friendly' illustrations from beginning to end, "How To Find A Friend" is highly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "How To Find A Friend" is also available in a Kindle format ($12.99).

Graduation Day
Piotr Parda
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 86740, Portland, OR 97286
www.RippleGrovePress.com
9780991386673, $18.99, HC, 52pp, www.amazon.com

Through simply, full page, engagingly charming illustrations by Piotr Parda, "Graduation Day", without any text or dialogue, shows a day in a life of a girl who takes the actions of others and grows something beautiful. This imaginative and original story delivers a simple but powerful message that sometimes great things can sprout from the most unlikely circumstances. The author/illustrator's debut picture book, "Graduation Day" clearly demonstrates Parda's genuine flair for visual storytelling, making "Graduation Day" highly recommended for family, elementary school and community library picture book collections.

Fred's Texas Stampede
Diane Shapley-Box, author/illustrator
Apple Pie Publishing
PO Box 1135, Rockwall, TX 75087
9780692208472, $17.99, HC, 48pp, www.applepiepub.com

Fred the Frog and his Apple Bunch buddies had no idea about the Texas adventure that was in store for them when they started their trip to the dude ranch. They learned how to rope and ride, but when one mischievous longhorn left the herd, the pals from Appleton sprang into action. As Fred and his friends Cabbit the Rabbit, Tator the Gator, and Perdie the Birdie searched for the missing steer, they discovered more than they ever imagined. They traveled from the cities to the canyons, from the hill country to the gulf coast, seeing so much more of the great State of Texas along the way. On their journey, Fred and his friends follow clues to rescue the fun-loving, missing longhorn. Children ages 5 to 8 will enjoy this unforgettable picture book story of a trip around the Lone Star State. Thoroughly and delightfully 'kid friendly' from cover to cover, "Fred's Texas Stampede" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Philip & Phoebe
Anne Brandt, author
Annie Poon, illustrator
Spectacled Bear Publishing
www.spectacledbear.com
9780997509908, $9.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Philip isn't crazy about his baby sister Phoebe. He'd rather have a horse to ride. Late one night, Philip makes a wish. Deftly written by Anne Brandt and charmingly illustrated by Annie Poon, "Philip & Phoebe" is a thoroughly entertaining story of sibling rivalry and magic that will prove to be a consistently engaging read from cover to cover for children ages 4 to 6. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, content, and underlying message, "Philip & Phoebe" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

My Pictures After the Storm
Eric Veille
Gecko Press
www.geckopress.com
9781776571048, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

With its funky format, clever rhymes and funny images, "My Pictures After the Storm is a witty and inventive take by Eric Veille on the concepts of "before" and "after". Clever, funny, and unfailingly entertaining from beginning to end"My Pictures After the Storm" will especially appeal to children ages 5 to 8, and will prove to be an ideal and popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.


The Board Book Shelf

Lullaby Farm
Stephanie Shaw, author
Rebecca Harry, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680105124 $8.99 www.tigertalesbooks.com

"Lullaby Farm" is a lovely bedtime story for young children age 2-5 in child friendly board book format. Gentle rhyming couplets describe the animals of Lullaby Farm as they prepare for sleep. Each page that turns shows a deepening twilight, from apricot and violet skies to star studded night dark blue skies over a field of white sheep and their lambs closing their eyes. From the chicks, to the pigs, to the horses, to the dog and puppies, all the animals are preparing to sleep for the night. "Lullaby Farm" ends with the following verse: " Let's tiptoe to bed./ We'll close our eyes, too,/ Until we hear rooster call, 'Good morning to you!'" Each page gently reassures sleepy young readers that the night will fall, sleep will be safe, and the morning will come again.

I Lost My Sock in San Francisco
Russell Ginns, author
Gideon Kendall, artist
Cricket Media
Carus Publishing
9780812615258 $9.95 www.CricketMedia.com

"I Lost My Sock in San Francisco" is a board book visual puzzle excursion by a trusty bloodhound character through seven major U. S. cities: Boston, Miami, New York City, Washington D. C., St. Louis, Hollywood, and San Francisco. In each city, our trusty bloodhound friend lost a different common article, which is represented by a line drawing at the top right page. Young readers are invited to peruse the colorful cartoon illustration of the city's famous scenic features, seeking the hidden lost item. The jaunty verse clue list narrative perks up the pace of the colorful spilling city illustrations. Just in case the search for an item is too frustrating, the final pages present solutions in black and white mini reductions of each city illustration, with the lost item highlighted in color. "I Lost My Sock in San Francisco" invites young readers to have fun, look twice, and consider carefully the differences and offerings of each of the seven great American cities, while searching for the traveling bloodhound's lost items.

A Lullaby for Little One
Dawn Casey,author
Charles Fuge, illustrator
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
www.nosycrow.com
9780763686611 $8.99 www.candlewick.com

"A Lullaby for Little One" is a lushly illustrated board book bedtime story for very young readers. In the evening sun, Big Daddy Rabbit invited his Little One to have a last romp and chase in the grass with their animal friends before it is time for sleeping. Entrancing verse help readers get in the rhythm, while expressive, natural portraits of animals and natural settings add to the pastoral scene with excitement added. However, after the group has grown to include an owl, a mouse, and a bear friend, suddenly Little One whimpered, "Boo-hoooooo!" Then Big Rabbit knew his Little One was all tired out from his fun play and hullaballoo, and ready for his evening "lullaballo." Big Daddy Rabbit tenderly carried hi Little One home in the twilight, and found their safe beds. "Baby snuffled and snuggled. They both curled up tight. "I love you, my Little One. Sweet dreams and good night." Young children will love "A Lullaby for Little One" for their first bedtime board book.


The Christian Shelf

Brigid and the Butter: a Legend about Saint Brigid of Ireland
Pamela Love, author
Apryl Stott, illustrator
Pauline Kids, a Division of Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819812339 $13.95 www.PaulineStore.org

"Brigid and the Butter" is a child's version of a legend about the early life of Saint Bridget of Ireland, when she was only a child. Brigid was a slave girl born to her mother, Brocca, also a slave, and father, Dubhthach, an Irish chieftain. Brigid led a happy, hardworking life, caring for her master's cows all day every day, and milking them mornings and evenings. Besides being a dairy maid worker, Brigid worked very hard twice a week churning cream into delicious butter. Brigid had heard Bishop Patrick tell stories of Jesus who fed a multitude of hungry people with a gift of five loaves and two fish, given to him by one small boy. Brigid believed that people who were hungry and poor should be fed. Because she remembered what Bishop Patrick taught her about Jesus sharing the loaves and fishes, Brigid was moved to share the small bowl of butter she had made one day with a hungry old lady who stopped by the house on a journey. The butter was the only food Brigid had to share with her mother when she got home that night, so, after giving the old woman the dish of butter and praying that she would be given bread to go with it, she prayed to the Lord for something to replace the butter for her mother and herself, that they should not go hungry also. After saying, "In your mercy, please provide for us, too," she turned to discover two large dishes piled high with more butter that she had not made! This was one of the earliest miracles of Saint Brigid of Ireland, who became the patron saint of Ireland, dairymaids, midwives, and newborn babies. "Brigid and the Butter" is enriched with child-like appealing illustrations and is finished with a lovely Prayer to Saint Brigid.

Maybe God Is Like That Too
Jennifer Grant, author
Benjamin Schipper, illustrator
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Ave. 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
www.sparkhouse.org
www.jennifergrant.com
9781506421896, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Every child wonders where God lives or what God is like. In "Maybe God Is Like That Too", by Jennifer Grant (a writer, editor, speaker, as well as a former health and family columnist for the Chicago Tribune), a young boy asks his grandma where God is in their city. She invites him to pay attention to where he sees the fruit of the Spirit. Where love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are, there too is God. The boy sees God in the kindness of a doorman holding the door for a man using a wheelchair, in the patience of his teacher helping him tie his shoes, and in the love, faithfulness, and gentleness of his grandma. An ordinary day in his city opens this young boy's eyes to God's Spirit at work all around him. For ages four to eight. Enhanced with the charming artwork of Benjamin Schipper that will have special appeal to children ages 4 to 8, "Maybe God Is Like That Too" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library picture book collections.


The Judaic Shelf

How It's Made: Torah Scroll
Allison Ofanansky, author
Eliyahu Alpern, photographer
Apples & Honey Press
c/o Behrman House and Gefen Publishing
11 Edison Place, Springfield, NJ 07081
9781681155166 $15.95 32 pages hc www.applesandhoneypress.com

"How It's Made: Torah Scroll" examines the definition, history, composition, traditions, and intricate detailed steps of making a Torah scroll, the holiest text of the Jewish people. Every page of narrative is accompanied by at least another page or more of colored photographs of the steps and rules for many intricate processes of making a Torah scroll. Because the Torah scroll is the holiest of texts for the Jewish people, it must be made precisely according to Jewish law. One change in tradition that is shown here is that in the past all Torah scribes were traditionally men. Today, some women have been allowed to write Torah scrolls. A person who writes holy Torah scrolls or other holy Jewish texts is called a sofer. Some people believe that every Jewish person should have the experience of writing a Torah scroll, because it changes one's life. A Jewish educator named Gadi Turner believes that writing a Torah scroll connects the sofer to God. Throughout "How It's Made: Torah Scrolls" there are Do It Yourself idea projects for young readers, such as writing straight on an unlined page, or writing with a feather quill pen, or making your own ink. After carefully putting the Torah finished pieces of parchment together and winding them on two sturdy rollers, called eitz chayims, or "tree of life," they are ready for a Torah cover, which is a beautifully decorated specially woven and embroidered tapestry cloth cover. Some Torah scrolls have carved or engraved silver or wooden cases. There are no pictures in the Torah scrolls, but the covers are decorated with pictures taken from Torah writings. Another important piece of equipment used to study the Torah scroll is called a yad, or a pointer, which the reader uses to touch the parchment to keep his place. A yad can be made of glass, metal, or pottery. Finally the Torah scroll is finished, ready for a home in a special cabinet called Aron Kodesh, or Holy Ark. Students learn to read from the Torah scroll before they complete their bar or bat mitzvah, usually around the age of 12 years. A final suggested project is for the reader to design their own Torah cover, choosing materials and themes for decoration. "How It's Made: Torah Scroll" is a faithful modern record of the ancient practice of copying and creating holy Torah scrolls, illustrated with beautiful color photographs of each careful step in the process.

The Sefer Torah Parade
Tzivia Adler, author
Avraham Zmora, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628919 $10.95 www.hachai.com

A Sefer Torah is a handwritten copy of the Torah (the primary Jewish holy book), scribed to exacting standards. The Sefer Torah Parade is a colorful picturebook created especially to teach Jewish children about the tradition of inaugurating a newly created Sefer Torah scroll, involving a celebratory parade. Told from the perspective of a young girl, The Sefer Torah Parade discusses how the rabbi, her zeidy (grandfather), and her father partake in the honor of writing the final letters of the new Sefer Torah; the ornate, silver-crowned vessel to hold the new Sefer Torah; and the festive parade commemorating the Sefer Torah's delivery to its new residence in the shul (synagogue). "When the Torah comes close, I give it a big kiss. // Everyone goes inside the shul to sing and dance around the bimah... // ...and to hear the rabbi read from the brand new Torah." Featuring laminated pages that are easy for little children's hands to turn, The Sefer Torah Parade is a vibrant introduction to this ancient and cherished religious tradition.

Challah vs Matzo
Melissa Berg, author
Shiela Alejandro, illustrator
Eclectic IVRI Press
www.eclecticivripress.com
9780992163785 $14.95

"Challah vs. Matza" is an example of Haggadah, a retelling of the story of Passover that appeals to young readers between the ages of four and eight years. Matza Boy stands up to Challah Boy because he believes in the importance of having a kosher Passover. He is willing to do honorable battle for this religious belief. Because Challah Boy is much bigger, with more upper body strength, he is confident he will beat the cracker thin Matza Boy. But true to his Hebrew tradition and experience, Matza Boy was clever and had hidden strength and determination. Although Challah Boy beat Matza Boy in Rounds 1, 2, and 3, but Matza Boy beat Challah Boy in Round 4. Finally in Round 5, Challah Boy made a special deal: Whoever won Round 5 would win the game on one condition, that the loser eat a huge piece of maror, a very bitter tasting root traditionally eaten at Passover. Although Matza Boy felt very weak and tired, but he agreed to the deal, realizing that he would have to find his own inner strength if he was to defeat Challah Boy and save Passover for kosher celebration by all Jewish faithful. "Punches weren't working as Challah Boy had way too much upper body strength. What did Matza boy have that Challah Boy didn't? Then it occurred to him. His legs. Matza Boy's legs were fast. He left Egypt with everyone else. He had walked for miles and miles while Challah Boy rarely took a step outside. He could do it. he lifted up his leg and he kicked and he kicked and he kicked and he kicked. At the same time he blocked Challah Boy's punches by keeping his hands up and shielding his face. Challah Boy yelped. Matza Boy Couldn't give up there. He had to get Challah Boy on the ground to win. So Matza Boy kneed him and kneed him and kneed him. Challah boy tried to grab Matza Boy's knee but Matza Boy was too fast. Matza Boy kneed him again causing Challah Boy to fall to the ground. Matza Boy jumped on top of him. The bell sounded." Whimsical, humorous, expressive colored illustrations bring the conflict between bully Challah Boy and hero Matza Boy in this exciting duel to determine if a kosher Passover will be allowed to be celebrated by the faithful. "Challah vs Matza" is an excellent children's story that dramatizes important values highlighted in the Passover tradition and story. Highlighting religious freedom, and protection of the right to celebrate one's faith according to one's faith requirements are core values that reflect the highest human endeavors.


The Islamic Shelf

Hassan and Aneesa Go to Masjid
Yasmeen Rahim, author
Omar Burgess, illustrator
Kube Publishing/ Islamic Foundation
9780860375210 $5.99 www.kubepublishing.com

"Hassan and Aneesa Go to Masjid" is an educational book about Muslim worship practices, with simple illustrations, descriptions, and special vocabulary definitions. Written for young children age 2 years and up, "Hassan and Aneesa Go to Masjid" describes a Muslim family's visit to a large, beautiful place to pray called a Masjid. Colorful illustrations portray the large, beautiful, carpeted Masjid with a special place to perform wudu, or washing hands, feet, and face with water before prayer. Brother Hassan and sister Aneesa separate to go with their father and mother because at masjid, women and girls worship separately from men and boys. Both parents take care to teach their children proper respectful behavior while attending worship services and prayer at masjid. Important prayer practices are described and portrayed, and new terms for these are defined in the narrative and again at the end of the book in a glossary. "Hassan and Aneesa Go to Masjid" is a beautiful book about Muslim worship practice for young children, with intriguing glimpses of everyday life in a typical Muslim family.


The Fiction Shelf

Quicks
Kevin Waltman
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
www.cincopuntos.com
9781941026625 $11.95 amazon.com

The last novel in the "D-Bow's High School Hoops" series, Quicks continues the story of Derrick Bowen (a.k.a. "D-Bow"), during his senior year of high school. D-Bow intended to graduate and venture into the realm of college basketball, but his everyday life is full of complications. So- called "quicks" is something D-Bow lacks due to his rehabbed knee. A new point guard has transferred in (who happens to be white, and very, very good at the game). D-Bow's mother is pregnant (another mouth to feed in the family), and his girlfriend is jealous of D-Bow's love of basketball. A snazzy, slice-of-real-life sports story just in time for March Madness, Quicks is highly recommended, especially for young adults with a passion for basketball!

Chuck's Journey Home
Anne Soares, author
Randy Jennings, illustrator
SDP Publishing Solutions
P.O. Box 26, East Bridgewater, MA 02333
www.SDPPublishing.com
9780997285383 $13.95 www.labtales.com

"Chuck's Journey Home" is the touching tale of a beautiful black Labrador dog named Chuck and his search for a forever home, after his first family had to give him up to the animal shelter because they could not take care of him. Four years old, with a healthy appetite for play, fun, food, and human companionship, Chuck suffered loneliness in his animal shelter stay in Kentucky. For a long time he waited for his family to come back for him. Other dogs tried to comfort and encourage him. Chuck learned he was less preferred than other dogs because he was adult, large, and black. People like puppies. However, eventually Chuck was taken on a long journey to a new temporary home where Labradors were cared for while they waited for new forever homes. After many adjustments and new experiences, Chuck finally learned he was to be adopted by a forever family far away in Connecticut . One more long journey by bus led him to a wonderful new family and home, and his life as a family dog was complete. On Chuck's long journey home, he met new friends, both canine and human, that he would not forget. "Chuck's Journey Home" is a wonderful pet adoption story that is appropriate for young readers age 6-9. It helps humans to empathize with the experiences that dogs go through when they need to find new forever homes. A portion of the profits from "Chuck's Journey Home" are dedicated to helping dog and animal rescue efforts.

A Long Pitch Home
Natalie Dias Lorenzi
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
www.charlesbridge.com
9781580897136, $16.95, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Ten-year-old Bilal liked his life back home in Pakistan. He was a star on his cricket team. But when his father suddenly sends the family to live with their aunt and uncle in America, nothing is familiar. While Bilal tries to keep up with his cousin Jalaal by joining a baseball league and practicing his English, he wonders when his father will join the family in Virginia. Maybe if Bilal can prove himself on the pitcher's mound, his father will make it to see him play. But playing baseball means navigating relation-ships with the guys, and with Jordan, the only girl on the team 00 the player no one but Bilal wants to be friends with. A sensitive and endearing contemporary novel about family, friends, and assimilation, "A Long Pitch Home" is unreservedly recommended for students in grades 4 to 7, and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to elementary school, junior high, and community library General Fiction collections. Exceptionally relevant in view of the current national dialogue over Muslim immigration and the presence of Muslim Americans, for the personal reading lists of children ages 9 to 12 it should be noted that "A Long Pitch Home" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

Fire Color One
Jenny Valentine
Philomel
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
http://us.penguingroup.com
9780399546921, $17.99, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Sixteen-year-old Iris itches constantly for the strike of a match. But when she's caught setting one too many fires, she's dragged away to London before she can get arrested. At least, that's the story her mother tells. Soon Iris finds herself in the English countryside, where her millionaire father (a man she's never met) lives. Though not for very much longer. Iris's father is dying, and her self-interested mother is determined to claim his life's fortune, including his priceless art collection. Forced to live with him as part of an exploitive scheme, Iris quickly realizes her father is far different from the man she's been schooled to hate, and everything she thought she knew, about her father and herself, is suddenly unclear. But there may be hidden beauty in Iris's uncertain past and hopeful future, if only she can see beyond the flames. A deftly crafted and consistently compelling read from cover to cover, "Fire Color One" clearly showcases author Jenny Valentine's genuine flair for storytelling and is unreservedly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Fire Color One" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99). Librarians should be aware that there is a complete and unabridged audio book edition of "Fire Color One" (Tantor Audio, 9781515967163, $24.99, MP3 Una).

Hope's Melody
Jeanna Kunce
Windhill Books
www.windhillbooks.com
9781944734084, $14.00, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Eight-year-old Abigail is torn about whether to continue public school or go to music school. While she loves singing, playing her ukulele, and writing songs, she isn't sure she is ready to make such a big change. If she chooses music school, will she make new friends? Will she be good enough? Before she can decide, she wakes to find that her favorite stuffed animal has come to life and needs to go on a quest to find his lost friends who are tied to the magic of children's imaginations. If they don't find the others and return them to their living state, the fate of the world's sparkle and creativity will be undone. Can they do it in time? Ride along with Abigail as she searches for both the missing animals and who she wants to be. Features pen-and-ink illustrations with watercolor. A deftly crafted and consistently entertaining novel for young readers ages 5 to 9, "Hope's Melody" showcases author Jeanna Kunce's impressive flair for originality and storytelling. While also for personal reading lists in a Kindle format ($6.99) it should be noted that the print paperback edition also includes 10 bonus pages of related fun activities.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Until I Break
Kara Bietz
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
www.albertwhitman.com
9780807574386, $16.99, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

"Until I Break" by Kara Bietz is the story of two boys: One is a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other is a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger? A year before the shooting, Sam North has a bright future as well as a problem that nobody else seems to see -- Ace Quinn, his neighbor and teammate. For years, Ace has been bullying and harassing Sam, yet he's managed to conceal his actions and threats from the rest of the world. As Ace's secret rage intensifies, Sam becomes more desperate to stop him. But how far will he go? And what if Ace takes his threats even farther? In a novel that could be ripped from tomorrow's newspaper headlines, "Until I Break" is a deftly crafted and compelling read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended for high school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Until I Break" is also available in a paperback edition (9780807574409, $9.99) and in a Kindle format ($9.49).

My Sister Rosa
Justine Larbalestier
Soho Teen
c/o Soho Press
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
www.sohopress.com
9781616956745, $18.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Seventeen-year-old Aussie Che Taylor loves his younger sister, Rosa. But he's also certain that she's a psychopath - clinically, threateningly, dangerously. Recently Rosa has been making trouble, hurting things. Che is the only one who knows; he's the only one his sister trusts. Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and very good at hiding what she is and the manipulation she's capable of. Their parents, whose business takes the family from place to place, brush off the warning signs as Rosa's "acting out." Now that they have moved again, this time from Bangkok to New York City. Their new hometown provides far too many opportunities for Rosa to play her increasingly complex and disturbing games. Che's always been Rosa's rock, protecting her from the world. Now, the world might need protection from her. An inherently compelling read from cover to cover, "My Sister Rosa" showcases author Justine Larbalestiers genuine flair for originality and deftly created, memorable characters. While very highly recommended for highschool and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "My Sister Rosa" is also available in a Kindle format ($2.99).


The Bilingual Shelf

Rooster Joe and the Bully / El Gallo Joe Y El Abuson
Xavier Garza
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
www.artepublicopress.com
9781558858350, $9.95, PB, 64pp, www.amazon.com

Joe Lopez is in seventh grade, and he dreams of being an artist as good and successful as his grandfather. He's thrilled when the new art teacher compliments him on his pencil drawings of roosters and offers to teach him how to paint with oils. She even suggests that he might want to enter his piece in the county fair. Still thinking about the possibility of painting with oils and not just kids' tempera paint, Joe and his best friend Gary see Luis, a chubby sixth grader, running down the hall. Soon they see why he's running: Martin Corona, the school's biggest bully, is in hot pursuit. They watch as he slams Luis against the lockers and demands money. Much to his surprise, Joe finds himself defending Luis. Luckily, the vice principal shows up just in time to rescue both Luis and Joe. Reluctant to be a tattletale, Joe tries to avoid Martin and his gang. Even though he knows it's just a matter of time before Martin exacts his revenge, fear doesn't keep him from going to football games and trying to impress the girl he likes. And when he meets Martin Corona under the bleachers after school one day, it's a conversation with his Grandpa Jessie about la lucha-or everyone's individual fight-that helps Joe and his friends not only survive the encounter, but put the bully in his place. This bilingual English/Spanish flip book was reading for intermediate readers ages 9 to 12 and features author Xavier Garza's own black and white sketches depicting the bullies, heroes and the roosters that Joe loves to draw. While very highly recommended for both elementary school and community library bilingual fiction collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rooster Joe and the Bully / El Gallo Joe Y El Abuson" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).


The Self-Help Shelf

How to Like Yourself
Cheryl M. Bradshaw, MA
Instant Help Books
c/o New Harbinger Press
5674 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609
www.newharbinger.com
9781626253483, $16.95, PB, 216pp, www.amazon.com

With all the pressures of school, friends, and dating, teenagers are especially vulnerable to low self-esteem. But often, the biggest threat to their confidence is their own inner critic -- whose unrelenting negativity can result in feelings of inadequacy, depression, and anxiety. "How to Like Yourself: A Teen's Guide to Quieting Your Inner Critic and Building Lasting Self-Esteem" is a practical guide offering effective ways to help teens fight back, be kind to themselves, and move forward with confidence. Teens will learn the importance of self-forgiveness, accepting their faults, and how to focus on the things that make them awesome! Teens will also learn strategies for defeating the dreaded ICK (the inner critic know-it-all who keeps knocking them down) and how to escape the common thought traps that hold them back from feeling good about themselves. In "How to Like Yourself" author Cheryl Bradshaw unlocks the mystery of the most important relationship teenagers will ever have -- the one with themselves! Exceptionally well written and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, "How to Like Yourself" is very highly recommended for highschool and community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students ages 13 to 18 that "How to Like Yourself" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.99).

Benji's Messy Room
Diane N. Quintana and Jonda S. Beattie, authors
Page Publishing
101 Tyrellan Venue, Suite 100, New York, NY 10309
9781682132333 $13.98 www.pagepublishing.com

"Benji's Messy Room" is a handy guide book to assist youngsters in tackling the project of organizing and straightening up their room and belongings. Benji is a five year old boy who has lots of fun playing in his room. Sometimes all his toys, books and puzzles end up on the floor, all mixed up together. Then Benji's mother tells him to "Pick up your room." Because the mess seems overwhelming and because Benji does not know how to begin the task, he sometimes stomps his feet, makes fist and a face and generally objects. The mess is too big for him to cope with. "Benji's Messy Room" helps kids begin the organization of the mess by setting up separate categories, like finding shoes, matching pairs, then putting them in the closet. Then Benji finds all his dirty clothes and puts them in the laundry basket. next, Benji's mom asks him to pick up his books, so he hunts under his bed and everywhere for books and puts them back on the bookshelf. Next Benji tackles sorting and picking up all his blocks, starting with the biggest blocks first, and working down to the smaller blocks. In this way, Benji goes on, doing one category of objects at a time, picking up his puzzles, picking up his dinosaurs and stuffed animals, picking up his Legos, picking up his Army men and finally picking up his cars and trucks. Benji's mom suggested that he had too many cars and trucks, and could maybe donate 10 of them to other children who had less than he did. At first this idea made Benji sad, but then his mother showed him he had several car models that were the same. Benji received permission to only give away duplicate car or truck models. When Benji was all done picking up his room, his mother offered to take him to play with a friend at the indoor playroom. In "Benji's Messy Room," a child is shown how to break a large project down into small, manageable steps. He is asked to sort like with like objects, cull collections, find or assign a collection area or home for belongings, and parents are encouraged to offer a reward to kids like Benji for a job like picking up his room completed. Bright cartoon color illustrations and large print text make "Benji's Messy Room" appealing and accessible to young readers age five years and up. Parents, caregivers, and teachers will give high praise for the useful, easy tips for kids to make cleanup a much more manageable chore.


The Poetry Shelf

Happy Mamas
Kathleen T. Pelley, author
Ruth E. Harper, illustrator
CWLA Press
727 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005
9789781587601606 $14.95 www.cwla.org

Published by the Child Welfare League of America, "Happy Mamas" is a tender paean to the many faces of a mother's love for her infant, including pandas, catfish, kangaroos, elephants, monkeys, penguins, ducks, wolves, owls, and humans too. The questions phrased in the songlike poems are all begun with "What makes a Mama happy (at different times of the day and night)?" The many answers are displayed in beautiful scenes and tender compositions of Mamas of all kinds and their children. Happy Mamas rejoice in their children's full bellies, smart learning, playful antics, growing independence, and just happy singing, but most of all,.... "As the moon glows and the stars shine, what makes all Mamas, from desert to jungle, from forest to field, from land to sea, happiest by far? having their little ones next to them, tucked up tight, all cuddled and kissed... from tusk to tail, from beak to claw, from snout to paw, ...from head to toe. That's a - my baby's loved and happy kind of Happy Mama." The lullaby poem ends with a wish for "Happy night, Happy Baby! Happy night, Happy Mama!" Every line of poetry and every oval portrait is laden with mother-child love in this beautiful story of myriad animal and human mothers and their children.

Hugo and Friends: Nice to be Nice but Nicer to be Nicer
Philip Schwartz, author
Denis Proulx, illustrator
Privately Published
9780692799192 $9.95 www.smilinghugo.com

"Hugo and Friends" is an invitation in verse to follow Hugo the hippo on his world travels through poems and pictures, dreams and visions. Hugo has a mission, to inspire all to be nice to each other and to the earth. One lovely poem titled Roundabout conveys Hugo's vision: "Flawless world- a creation for all to see/ Many creatures of land and sea/ Fluffy clouds, clear blue skies,/ seas of waves and rushing tides,/ Forest of green, a carpet grand!/ Frozen north, Sun drenched south,/ a beautiful multi laden roundabout....." There are twelve short poem visions, with ebullient rainbow colored illustrations to dazzle young readers eyes. A lovely poem titled "Fly" enchants the reader midway through the collection: "My feathered friend,/ fly over land and sea./ Softly, you lift the love in my heart./ Fly my feathered friend,/ bring the moon and all you see./ Your world brings on rainbows;/ The sky you fly dreams./ Fly my feathered friend, fly for me." The poetic vision of Hugo the hippo is soft yet demanding, brightly inspiring with a real core of sadness. Readers of all ages will find something to like on each page of poetry.


The Education Shelf

The Survival Guide for Kids in Special Education (And Their Parents)
Wendy L. Moss, Ph.D. and Denise M. Campbell, M.S.
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
www.freespirit.com
9781631981678 $14.99 amazon.com

The Survival Guide for Kids in Special Education (And Their Parents) lives up to its title as a straightforward guide to what special education is, and how it can help young people develop their potential. Filled with practical explanations, advice, and personal testimonies of children with learning disabilities, The Survival Guide for Kids in Special Education never talks down to readers. "Special education teachers are trained to work with students who may struggle with learning. They are experts at matching teaching styles to kids' learning styles and needs. If you took special tests, the special education teachers looked at the results to see how you learn... Maybe they will review lessons with you again after you have been taught these lessons in your class. Or they might teach you special tips and tools that will help you learn better." The Survival Guide for Kids in Special Education (And Their Parents) deserves to be in every middle grade, high school, and public library collection, and is a "must-have" for children with special education needs and their families. Highly recommended!

Alpha-Mania Adventures, Pirates: Book One Captain Ray and the Rhyming Pirates
Jennifer Makwana, author
Jalisa Henry, illustrator
Ruth Tumack's Learning Space
www.rumackresources.com
9780994763747 $15.00 www.alpha-mania.com

"Alpha-Mania Adventures, Pirates: Book One, Captain Ray and the Rhyming Pirates" is the rhyming segment of an innovative phonological awareness/phonics program called Alpha-Mania Adventures. The first of five phonological pirate adventures begins with Alex, Eddie Izzy, Olly, and Umber, the Alpha-Maniacs, in their home at Letter Lagoon. Each Alpha-Maniac wears their name's first letter on their shirt. As the adventure unfolds, every pair of pages has a searching game to find letters beginning the word for two visual related objects, or to find objects beginning with certain letters. The jolly colorful illustrations depict happy youngsters playing at pirates on a sandy shore of an island. The adventure gains speed when the Alpha-Maniacs encounter a ship full of pirates who need further enlightening with their language skills. However the Pirates have a special skill, they are rhyming pirates. Another asset is the pirates humor and humility. It turns out that they are more than willing to be instructed by the Alpha-Maniacs in learning how to act and speak more like real pirates. Every rhyming line of every page rivets interest and teaches phonic awareness, a crucial reading and word building skill. "Captain Ray and the Rhyming Pirates" ends with several pages of bonus activities, letter formation activities, a guide to letter sounds, and a guide to letter formation. If the readers need help, there is also a Find the Hidden Objects Answer Key. "Captain Ray and the Rhyming Pirates" is the first title in a fun, effective phonological awareness series for young readers age 5 and up.


The ABC Shelf

The ABCs of Yoga for Kids Around the World
Teresa Anne Power, author
Kathleen Rietz, illustrator
Stafford House Books
P.O. Box 291, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
www.staffordhousebooks.com
9780982258781 $22.95 hc www.abcyogaforkids.com

Just in time for the next International Kids Yoga Day on April 7, 2017, "The ABCs of Yoga for Kids Around the World" presents an alphabetical consortium of countries where kids' yoga is practiced and taught, plus different kid friendly yoga poses and poetic explanations of each, illuminated with color illustrations of kids of many different nationalities modeling the yoga poses. In addition, greetings and relevant words from the language of each of 30 countries included in this celebratory world tour of kids' yoga. Yoga is a non-competitive form of exercise that helps teach participants greater calmness, self-awareness, flexibility, coordination, focus and strength. Simple yoga poses are featured that are accessible for children or adults of all ages and abilities. Each page features a country, a letter of the alphabet, a greeting or expression in the language of the country, and an illustrated yoga pose, with one word name and description. For example: "Dd is for Denmark. Hej from this Scandinavian country known for its whirling windmills. Windmill: Standing with legs slightly bent, and my feet wide apart, I bring one hand down to the ground in line with my heart. Sending my other arm up toward the sky, I extend it long and keep reaching up high. Switching arms on the count of three, I am a windmill, twirling and carefree." "The ABCs of Yoga for Kids Around the World" celebrates global awareness, diversity, and our common humanity peacefully. Bonus reading material is available at www.abcyogaforkids.com.


The Science Shelf

De-extinction
Rebecca E. Hirsch
Twenty-First Century Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
www.lernerbooks.com
9781467794909 $35.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com

Written especially for young adults, yet utterly fascinating for readers of all ages to browse, De- extinction: The Science of Bringing Lost Species Back to Life is about advances in scientific technology to potentially bring back animal species that have gone extinct. A real-life "Jurassic Park" scenario doesn't exist yet, but projects to clone recently extinct animals, such as the gastric- brooding frog of Australia, are underway. Alternatively, it may be able to hybridize or genetically modify living animals to make them more like extinct animals, such as a modern Asian elephant that resembles the extinct woolly mammoth. A wealth of full-color photography, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index enrich this ey-opening introduction to a potential revolution of the natural order. Highly recommended, especially for high school and public library collections.

Big Blue Forever: The Story of Canada's Largest Blue Whale Skeleton
Anita Miettunen, author
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada, L3R 4T8
9780889955424 $22.95 www.reddeerpress.com

"Big Blue Forever" is the amazing story of the finding, burial and recovery of a large blue whale female body and skeleton on Prince Edward Island, Canada. This huge undertaking began when the dead blue whale washed ashore on P. E. I. in 1987. It was decided to bury the huge blue whale body in hope that its flesh and whale oil would decay and leave the bones for further examination, and eventual display. However, when Dr. Andrew Trites, marine mammal specialist at the University of British Columbia began seeking a large whale skeleton for the new Beaty Biodiversity Museum, he decided to try to dig up the blue whale carcass buried on P. E. I. The task required united efforts and cooperation between the UBC, the PEI government, and the Canadian Museum of Nature, and others. Also, Dr. Pierre-Yves Daoust from Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of P.E.I. was to lead the field forensics in digging up the whale. Many obstacles were encountered and gradually resolved. The whale carcass and skeleton was found, but the flesh and blubber had not decayed enough. The stench was horrible. Some bones, such as the skull, were so large, they needed to be cut in half to be transported and cleaned. Missing bones were sought for and found eventually, with local assistance. Cleaning the skeleton was another huge challenge and undertaking. After over 2 years of hard teamwork, the skeleton of Big Blue was moved and installed at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver, B. C. on May 22, 2010. "Big Blue Forever" ends with brief bios of the key team members who cooperated in her skeleton's mounting and display. In addition there are ten pages of Essential Blue Whale Facts, followed by a list of more resources to learn more about blue whales. Stunning color photographs document every step of the project from start to finish, completing an excellent educational resource about the largest known living mammal.


The Biography Shelf

Marie Curie for Kids: Her Life and Scientific Discoveries with 21 Activities and Experiments
Amy M. O'Quinn, author
Lindsey Cleworth Schauer, illustrations
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, Illinois 60610
9781613733292 $16.99 www.chicagoreviewpress.com

Written for an audience of kids age 9 years and up, "Marie Curie for Kids" covers the life and achievements of a great woman scientist of the 19th and 20th century. Born the daughter of two teachers in Warsaw, Poland, on November 7, 1867, Marie later attended the Sorbonne in France for her finishing education. Her scientific discoveries and legacy is prodigious. She discovered polonium and radium while completing her PhD on mobile radiology equipment during WWI. Battling depression throughout her life off and on, Marie Curie nevertheless met and married Pierre Curie, another accomplished scientist, and raised two daughters while continuing her work and research on radium and other undiscovered elements. Highlighting her many outstanding discoveries and achievements, documented in 50 period black and white photographs and other assorted illustrations, "Marie Curie for Kids" presents the enormity of Curie's achievements and contributions, touching fields including oncology, carbon dating, and nuclear power. Marie suffered the loss of her husband, Pierre Curie suddenly in April of 1906 due to a tragic horse and cart accident. Following that, Marie eventually took over completing and enlarging on Pierre's research at the Sorbonne. It is well documented that Marie suffered painful, dangerous radium burns on her hands and body due to her relentless research work in discovery and isolation of the new element, radium. "Marie Curie for Kids" also offers 21 experiments and activities for kids to complete that convey parts of the immense discipline, curiosity, and drive that Marie Curie displayed throughout her life. Some of these activities include: profiling a Nobel Prize winner, trying your hand at wycinanki or Polish paper cutting, making an atomic model of carbon, making a model "little Curie' or radiological unit in a truck, exploring Charles's Law by making soap clouds, creating a periodic table of elements scavenger hunt, and making sun prints and elephant toothpaste. A final suggested project is called "Create a Marie Curie Vision Board," using quotations of Marie's own words to highlight her vision, scope, and perseverance and inspiring others to do the same. Chock full of historical information and present perspectives on the amazing life and contributions of a world famous woman scientist, "Marie Curie for Kids" is an excellent science biography educational read for students in the middle grades.


The Music CD Shelf

Curious Songs for Curious Kids
Dorothy Cresswell
Privately Published
www.strikeachordmusic.org
www.pioneervalleysinging.com
$9.99 CD / $9.99 download, cdbaby.com

Curious Songs for Curious Kids is a delightful, upbeat children's music CD of original songs by singer, songwriter, and retired K-3 teacher Dorothy Cresswell. Featuring a strong positive message in support of empathy, learning, and discovery, Curious Songs for Curious Kids is highly recommended. The tracks are "I Sing" (1:32), "All Kinds of Families" (3:56), "First Day Butterflies" (0:41), "Grandmother Tree" (4:17), "Little Sandpiper" (1:37), "Kind and Growing Kinder" (1:08), "So Many Stars" (3:36), "Curious Giraffe" (3:04), "Freeway, the High-Flying Pig" (3:39), "People Can" (1:54), "Morning Winds" (1:51), "First Tooth" (2:55), "Aria" (2:17), "Paddle, Paddle" (2:17), "Question Song" (1:31), "Surviving the Storm" (2:07), "Rama, My Best Dog Friend" (2:15), "With You" (2:44), and "Squashmuck" (7:15).

Dana's Best Jump & Jam Tunes
Dana's Music Playground
danasmusicplayground.com
$14.95 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Dana's Best Jump & Jam Tunes is a jubilant children's music album by award-winning singer, songwriter, and educator Dana. The high-energy songs encourage young people ages 1 to 7 dance, jump, play and sing along. Dana's Best Jump & Jam Tunes is a choice pick, especially for children's parties! The tracks are "Jump and Jive" (2:56), "Wiggle and Workout" (3:35), "Barnyard Hoedown" (3:33), "Do My Part" (3:44), "Jumping Beans" (2:45), "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" (2:39), "Grandma's Kitchen Band" (2:30), "Follow the Leader" (3:18), "Legs" (4:10), "Fish Tale" (4:49), "Shakin' Things Up" (2:36), and "I Love Mommy" (2:37).


The Health Shelf

Ollie Outside: Screen-Free Fun
Michael Oberschneider, author
Guy Wolek, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427
9781631981050 $14.99 hb $9.99 pb www.freespirit.com

"Ollie Outside" is a fun healthy story that teaches kids and adults that a balanced life, with limited electronic or screen time balanced by screen free, active play time, is a healthier life. Ollie is a young boy who wants to spend his free time playing in his back yard, building a pretend fort, calling it Fort Fun. Expressive cartoon illustrations help outline the backyard world of Ollie and his plan for creating and embellishing Fort Fun. When Ollie asks his dad, mom, brother and sister, to come and help him build the fort, or to visit him in the fort, they tell him they are too busy with computer games, T. V., or video games. So Ollie built his fort of a cardboard box, decorated it, and planted flowers around it all by himself. Even his grandparents were too busy downloading photos on the computer to come visit Ollie. Of all the family, only Lucy, the dog came to visit the fort and stayed to play. Ollie felt like he should have named his box Fort Lonely. One night his Dad called him to supper and Ollie stayed in his Fort. Only Lucy came in his door. Finally everyone in Ollie's family came out and admired Fort Fun, amazed that he had built it all by himself. Ollie helped them realize he had asked them to help, but they were all too busy with their electronic activities. Everyone agreed with Ollie's idea that they were all welcome to visit and have supper at Fort Fun, but there would be no screens allowed. Finally Ollie had lots of company in Fort Fun, everyone enjoyed being outside together, and no one missed their screens. "Ollie Outside" ends with tips for parents and caregivers about limiting screen time in the home, complete with screen -free guidelines. Emphasis is placed on reconnecting without screens and the benefits of being active, both for growing children and for adults.


The Math Shelf

Mouse Math: Albert Helps Out
Eleanor May, author
Deborah Melmon, illustrator
Kane Press, Inc.
300 Park Ave., #14021, New York, NY 10022
9781575658605 $7.95 pb 32 pages www.kanepress.com

"Albert Helps Out" is a delightful story in the Mouse Math series for children age 4 and up, featuring amusing colored illustrations of all the mouse characters and settings and math concepts, such as coin values. Pursuing the math skill of valuing and counting money, the story of "Albert Helps Out" tells of Albert's desire to earn enough money (2 quarters) to use the penny smashing machine at the library to get a penny engraved with a picture of Captain Slime. Because Albert likes to help, Albert's sister Wanda suggests that he earn money by helping someone out. Albert needs some assistance from others to determine what help that he offers is worth charging for. For example, it is not correct to ask for payment for eating a delightful snack offered by a neighbor such as Mrs. Nibble, but it is ok to accept payment for an agreed upon task, such as walking Ringo, a pet bug. Gradually Albert learns what chores and tasks he can do to earn money, and how many pennies equal a nickel, and how many nickels and dimes equal a quarter. Albert earns more money by helping to babysit the Mousley triplets with his cousin Pete. Slowly, Albert's coins begin to add up until he has two quarters. Going to the library to spend his quarters to get a smashed penny with a portrait of Captain Slime, Albert discovers he is one penny short of his goal. Luckily Dr. Crumble offers Albert a penny for helping to pick up fallen books at the library. "Albert Helps Out" is completed with other suggested Fun Activities, and exciting games such as Bankers at Work and playing "Trade-In". Additional titles in the Mouse Math series that are also highly recommended include the following: "Albert Doubles the Fun (97815756583553, $7.95)," by Eleanor May, "Bravo, Albert! (9781575658599, $7.95)," by Lori Haskins Houran, and "Where's Albert? (9781575658582, $7.95)," by Eleanor May. All titles are imaginatively illustrated by Deborah Melmon.


The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Crane Girl
Adapted by Curtis Manley
Lin Wang, illustrator
Shen's Books
c/o Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.leeandlow.com
9781885008572 $18.95 amazon.com

Beautifully illustrated with captivating, full-color art, The Crane Girl is a picturebook adaptation of a Japanese folktale. The main story is written in prose to be accessible to young readers, and enriched with original verses in haiku (a traditional form of Japanese poetry). The folktale is the story of Yasuhiro, a young man who rescues an injured crane in the snow; the next night, a mysterious young girl arrives at Yasuhiro's home and offers to stay. The girl is skilled at weaving silk, and creates fabric that sells for a high price at the local market, but Yasuhiro's father becomes consumed with insatiable greed for more. The Crane Girl is a poignant fable, highly recommended for family storybook time as well as public and school library children's collections.


Books in Series

Making Good Choices
Steffi Cavell-Clarke, author
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778732624 $23.60 www.crabtreebooks.com

"Making Good Choices" is a positive, empowering book about connections between making good choices and values. Written for young readers age 6-7 and up, "Making Good Choices" presents current data about values and choices in color highlighted sidebars with large expressive color photographs of all kinds of children in action, making good choices. Topics include definition of values, defining good choices, changing choices, being responsible, listening to others, choices made at home and at school, and making a difference. The thrust of "Making Good Choices" is to take responsibility and to discover your way to make a difference, through making good choices. Words written in bold in the text are found in the Glossary section at the end. "Making Good Choices" is an excellent resource for individualizing everyone's responsibility to help create an enlightened, improved global community. Other titles in the Our Values series that are also highly recommended include the following: "Respecting Others (9780778732631, $23.60)," "Celebrating Different Beliefs (9780778732617, $23.60)," and "Sharing our Global Community (9780778732648, $23.60), all by author Steffi Cavell-Clarke.

Equality & Diversity
Charlie Ogden
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118
9780778732655 $27.60 www.crabtreebooks.com 32 pages

"Equality & Diversity" is a mid-grade book from the Our Values series which teaches increased understanding of the importance of diversity of cultural beliefs and backgrounds plus the desirability of working towards equality of opportunities for all people, regardless of racial/cultural background. This well presented series text begins with questions such as, What is equality? Why is it important? What is diversity, and why is it important? other types of discrimination that are explored include racism, sexism, religious discrimination, and other types of discrimination. How can we move past inequality? A special case study on Ruby Bridges is presented, showing how a young (6 years old) black girl had to brave verbal and other forms of abuse just to attend a white elementary school in new Orleans, Louisiana. She founded the Ruby Bridges Foundation, an organization that helps to promote the respect and appreciation of diversity. Good suggestions about ways to move past inequality are listed, including welcoming all, showing everyone respect and kindness, avoiding words or actions that reinforce stereotypes, and investigate/research different people who are in your school and community, learn about their cultures, religions and backgrounds. Students are encouraged to think about the issues of discrimination and inequality, and to help communities show that they celebrate diversity. Many colored photos of famous figures are included, and a glossary of terms is provided for terms shown in bold black type. "Equality & Diversity" is an excellent resource to challenge middle grade or younger students to begin the work of acceptance. Additional titles from the Our Values series by the same author (Charlie Ogden) that are also highly recommended include: "Government & Democracy (9780778732662)," "Human Rights & Liberty (9780778732679)," and "Identity & Gender (9780778732686)."

Manners Time
Elizabeth Verdick, author
Marieka Heinlen, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
www.freespirit.com
9781575423135, $7.95 Board Book, $7.19 Kindle, 24pp, www.amazon.com

Manners start with a smile -- then you add the words. There are polite words to use when you greet someone, ask for something, or (oops!) make a mistake. There's even a nice way to say no. "Manners Time / Los louenos modales" gives toddlers a head start on manners, setting the stage for social skills that will last a lifetime. Includes tips for parents and caregivers. The latest volume in the outstanding 'Toddler Tools" board book series for children ages 2 to 5, "Manners Time / Los louenos modales" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, and community library collections. Also unreservedly recommended is another title in this impressively 'kid friendly' bilingual (English/Spanish) series: "Listening Time / Momentio parn escuchar" (9781631981173, $7.95 BB, $7.19 Kindle).

The Legend of Willie Lump
Kathleen Beining, author
www.kathleenbeining.com
Imagery by Thinkstock
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781512759587 $13.95 www.westbowpress.com

First in the Willie Lump series, "The Legend of Willie Lump" begins the adventure with an account of how Willie Lumperton fell into his Uncle Rupert's mysterious green fluid vat and emerged shrunken, and even possibly invisible. Willie's exciting metamorphosis results in a startling interchange with Dunklin the turtle, and Figbee the chipmunk, who are now larger than six inch high Willie Lump. "The Legend of Willie Lump" promises to take young readers on an exciting new tour of a world magnified by this amazing experience. Will Willie be able to get back home with the help of his new friends? Will he be able to be restored to his normal size, and return to his normal life with Uncle Rupert? It doesn't help that people who know Willie seem unable to see or hear him in his new small size. After a meal of raspberries, Willie decides to rest overnight with his new friends underneath a log, preparing for a new day of attempting to find his way back home.

Grandpa's Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone!
Joe Hayes, author
Antonio Castro H., illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781941026557 $7.95 www.cincopuntos.com

"Grandpa's Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone!" is another rip snorting tall tale from Joe Hayes' memories of growing up during the Great Depression in Arizona. Told in florid, fluent exaggerated style, "Grandpa's Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone!" has all its inherent humor underlined and accented by the lifelike detailed, slightly caricatured color illustrations. The story goes that Joe's thrifty, Depression era Mom could make do with very little, and she could stretch that very little very far indeed. Case in point: In a dry year when nothing grew well but beans, people grew very tired of eating meal after meal of just beans. Joe's Dad took bags of beans far away to sell to make a bit of profit, but he didn't make much after travel expenses, so he spent his profit on a nice hambone. His wife used the hambone to flavor the family's Sunday beans, and the results made Grandpa so happy he shouted, "Hal-La-Loo-Ya!" Because Joe's mom was so thrifty, she took the hambone out of the beans and hung it to dry, so she could use it again to flavor next Sunday's beans. However, that hambone's flavor recycling story did not end there. All the neighbors got wind of the hambone and asked if they could use it to flavor their beans for upcoming special events. Permission was granted, and the hambone was safely returned each time. One day Grandpa unfortunately lost his false teeth into the bottom of the well while he was washing up to prepare to attend another festivity being celebrated with the hambone. Luckily Joe's brother Stan came up with a brilliant plan to get the false teeth out of the bottom of the well. he would lower the hambone tied to a fishing line into the well, and the teeth, so used to loving the taste of the beautiful hambone, would clamp down on it and be dragged up on the fishing line. Of course, the plan proceeded successfully, but not with out a crucial hitch. In the recovery of Grandpa's false teeth from the well, there was an ultimate sacrifice of the great mythical hambone. But therein lies the mystic ending of another great tall tale from the pen of award winning storyteller Joe Hayes, meant to be savored and enjoyed many times over, just like "Grandpa's Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone!"

How Far Is the Sun?
Kurt Wallendorf, author
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503816770 $27.07 each www.childsworld.com

Written to encourage early and pre-K readers, "How Far Is the Sun?" from a series about comparison encourages readers concentrate on imagining vast distances and size comparisons between the Earth and the Sun. The top of every page is bordered with yellow marked with measurement lines, to reinforce the concept of measuring comparisons. Dramatic photographs underline the described comparisons, such as: "An airplane cannot fly through space. But if it could, it would take 18 years to get to the Sun." A two page spread shows the eight planets and the sun lined up from the closest planet (Mercury) to the farthest planet (Neptune) from the sun. Further interesting facts about the Solar system, Sun and Earth are given in the Check It Out! section on page 22. "How Far Is the Sun?" is completed by a Glossary of terms, and a section on books and web sites titled To Learn More. Additional titles from this comparisons series that are also highly recommended include: "How Fast Is Cheetah? (9781503816787)," "How Slow Is a Sloth? (9781503816794)," "How Small Is a Hummingbird? (9781503816800)," "How Strong Is an Ant? (9781503816817)," and "How Tall Is a Giraffe? (9781503816824)," "How Big Is Blue Whale? (9781503816756)," by Kurt Wallendorf, and "How Deep Is the Ocean? (9781503816763)," all by Kurt Wallendorf.

Habitats of the World
Sindy McKay, author
Getty Images, iStock, and Dreamstime, photographs
Treasure Bay, Inc.
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9781601152947 $9.95 hc www.webothread.com

"Habitats of the World" explores major animal habitats of the world including savannas, rainforests, coral reefs, deserts, mountains, swamps, Arctic ice, lakes, rivers, wetlands, caves, deciduous forests, coniferous forests, and prairie grasslands. Following the We Both Read format, each pair of illustrated pages shows one with more narrative for the adult reader and one with larger print simple narrative for the early reader. All pages contain multitudes of stunning color photographs of related subjects and areas. Reading assistance tips for parent/adult readers help them encourage young readers to work at sounding out or learning unfamiliar words. Simple icons or symbols for the "talking parent" and "talking child" precede earth of their assigned texts of narrative. "Habitats of the World" is appropriate for child readers at level 1 or Grade 1, and provides enriched learning experiences for beginning readers. Similar additional, highly recommended titles from the We Both Read series include the following: "Secrets of the Old Bones, level 3 (9781601152992, $9.95)," by D. J. Panec, illustrated by Brie Spangler, "Changing Places, level 1-2 (9781601152978, $9.95)," by D. J. Panec, illustrated by Andy Elkerton, and "Little Chipper, level K-1 (9781601152954, $9.95), by Sindy McKay, illustrated by Sydney Hanson.

If You Were Me and Lived in .... the Ancient Mali Empire
Carole P. Roman, author
Mateya Arkova, illustrator
www.caroleproman.com
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781540337276 $16.99 pbk / $1.99 Kindle amazon.com

"If You Were Me and Lived in ..... the Ancient Mali Empire" gives a kids' view of what everyday life would be like in the ancient Maile empire during the 1300's. Filled with exciting colored paintings and illustrations of everyday scenes from daily life in the Mali empire, this award-winning series title takes kids back in time and place to experience life as a daughter of a respected family in the capital, Niani. Clothing, food, entertainment, customs, games, roles for boys and girls and men and women, religious practices, government and cultural practices, all these topics are presented, described, and addressed from the viewpoint of a young (ten year old) girl. Even the history of the Mandinka people is briefly presented through the traditional story telling of the girl's grandfather. When the girl was 12 or thirteen she would be considered ready for betrothal, with an appropriate gift of kola nuts being offered by the bridegroom. Mali was a Muslim culture, and the girl was raised in a tradition of families of one husband and multiple wives. Wonderful foods were commonly consumed daily, including rice, millet porridge, tamarind, fresh vegetables, fish, meat, and chicken. Ginger and the fruit of the baobab tree were also commonly eaten. Additional historical notes on the history of trade in the Mali Empire, plus a list of famous people in the Mali empire, both male and female, along with brief biographies of each figure. A glossary of terms completes this fascinating glimpse of life as a young girl in the ancient mali Empire in what is now Sudan, Africa. Also highly recommended from this award winning series is the following title: "If You Were Me and Lived on ....Mars (9781540869722)," by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova.


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