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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 29, Number 3 March 2019 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Holiday Shelf
Money/Finance Shelf Biography Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Board Book Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Science Shelf Crafts Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Music CD Shelf Politics Shelf
Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Poetry Shelf Fiction Shelf Art Shelf
Environmental Shelf Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

The Taco Stand
Tim S. Vasquez, author
Linda Kay Ost, illustrator
Toodaloo Publishing Company
c/o Story Monsters LLC
9781732647206, $14.95, HC,

"The Taco Stand" is a picture book story of hard work and the love of family, giving young readers a closer look at what matters most in life. "The Taco Stand" explores what happens when Isabel, known throughout Phoenix for her sensational, crave-able tacos, gets an offer to take those tacos mainstream and open a franchise, but the offer comes at the expense of time with family. As Isabel mulls her options and debates exactly just how much family time is truly worth, young readers will develop a better understanding of the fact that there are some things in life you simply can't put a price on. More than just another picture book, "The Taco Stand" also includes an informative Afterword, a Glossary of Mexican food terms, and succinct biographies of both the author and the illustrator. Unique, informative, inspiring, and entertaining, "The Taco Stand" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Manners and Me
Nancy Dorrier, author
Ralph Voltz, illustrator
Brown Books Kids
9781612542805 $14.99

Manners and Me: An Easy-Peasy Guide for Kids and the Grown Ups Who Love Them is a basic guide to proper behavior, ideal for parents to share with children in grades K-5. Politeness rules include "Always thank people", "Be prompt", and "Do helpful things without being asked", and "Be patient". Cheerful illustrations of cartoon animals and straightforward text help teach these core values. "When you are mad, it helps if you count to ten slowly. Sometimes you can't be patient, and you might need to say 'I'm sorry' afterward." Manners and Me is a choice pick for school and public library picturebook collections as well as for family reading, highly recommended.

Bruno's Hat
Flyaway Books
9781947888135, $17.00, HC, 32pp,

"Sergio said that my best friend Bruno's hat was weird. When I told him to stop, he called me a weirdo! If I had kept playing with Bruno, Sergio would have kept teasing me, too. But now I miss my friend terribly. What should I do?" Told from the point of view of Bruno's best friend, Peter, "Bruno's Hat" is insightful and entertaining children's book that explores bullying -- especially the choices children face in defending others who are bullied. Kids ages 3-7 will see Peter's struggle to overcome his own fear of being bullied as he learns how to help a friend. "Bruno's Hat" features a variety of animal characters and colorful, lively illustrations, while also including a downloadable guide to help children, parents, and educators navigate the challenges of childhood bullying. The in-depth guide, available at, features various questions and activities for children. Unique and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in presentation, "Bruno's Hat" is an exceptional and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Bucketloads of Friends
Mia Cassany, author
Miguel Bustos, illustrator
Prestel Junior
c/o Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791373577, $14.95, HC, 44pp,

Lucas is looking everywhere for a best friend: the park, the circus, by the lake, and at school. He meets a lot of people along the way. But what about a best friend? "Bucketloads of Friends" by the team of author Mia Cassany and illustrator Miguel Bustos is an entertaining and colorful picture book that is full of details for kids ages 4-8 to search and find. Every spread features line drawings that are humming with activity. From an animal hospital populated with every kind of pet to an office filled with workers too busy working to give Lucas the time of day; from a restaurant that appears to serve only sandwiches and salad to a botanic garden where the visitors are just as strange as the plants. As Lucas travels around the city, he meets a lot of people, but will he find a best friend? Fascinated young readers will turn again and again to these drawings, discovering new details each time, and sparking their own ideas about how people interact in everyday situations. Many look and find questions will increase the fun and help to spot even more details. "Bucketloads of Friends" is a unique and very highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Ben's Adventures: Day at the Beach
Elizabeth Gerlach
CharleyHouse Press
9781732703407, $18.95, HC, 28pp,

In his first adventure and from the confines of his wheelchair, young Ben imagines a perfect beach day where he builds sand castles, flies kites, plays with crabs and enjoys special moments with his family. Ben loves the sun on his face and the wind in his hair. He can dream, he can play, and he can interact and have meaningful experiences. Ben smiles, and young readers will too! Charmingly illustrated and very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ben's Adventures: Day at the Beach" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Now You Know How It Works
Valorie Fisher
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338215458, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-6,

Now You Know How It Works: Pictures and Answers for the Curious Mind covers many basics and will excite youngsters always asking "why?" From how toast gets toasted to how flashlights work and the physics of straws, large-size, colorful illustrations and photos do an excellent job of helping all ages explore familiar, everyday objects and how they work.

The Social Issues Shelf

Fake News: Separating Truth from Fiction
Michael Miller
Twenty-First Century Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541528147, $37.32, Library Binding, 112pp,

While popularized by President Donald Trump, the term "fake news" actually originated toward the end of the 19th century, in an era of rampant yellow journalism. Since then, it has come to encompass a broad universe of news stories and marketing strategies ranging from outright lies, propaganda, and conspiracy theories to hoaxes, opinion pieces, and satire all facilitated and manipulated by social media platforms. "Fake News: Separating Truth from Fiction" by Michael Miller explores journalistic and fact-checking standards, Constitutional protections, and real-world case studies, helping young readers identify the mechanics, perpetrators, motives, and psychology of fake news. A final chapter explores methods for assessing and avoiding the spread of fake news. Timely and certain to be an enduringly useful and valued addition to school and community library Contemporary Social Issues collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Fake News: Separating Truth from Fiction" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Sweet Neighbors Come in All Colors
Lisa Blecker, author/illustrator
Based on a song by Dick Grover
Baha'i Publishing
9781618511287 $11.95, HC, 32pp,

Written for young readers ages 2-5 years, "Sweet Neighbors Come In All Colors" is beautifully illustrated story song based upon a famous quotation by Baha'u'llah: "Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony with friendliness and fellowship." The first verse of this popular song by Dick Grover (with adapted lyrics by Lisa Blecker) is: "Sweet Neighbors come in all colors: red, orange, yellow and plum. Our outsides may look different, but it's the Farmers' Market we're from. When a neighbor's at my bin, she may have a diff'rent skin. Even if she is packed in tin, it's good to see her grin..." After three verses, the chorus repeats: "Sweet neighbors come in all textures: soft, smooth, bumpy, and rough, Our outsides may look different, but we all are lovable stuff. Yes we all are lovable stuff!" Heartwarming, cheery pictures of jolly singing pears, apples, oranges, grapefruit and plums dance across the pages, inviting a friendly celebration of diversity and joy. Young readers may visit to watch the video and hear the song whose text makes up this inspiring book. the song even encourages listeners to empathize with a pesky fly who wants to eat a purple plum pie! "Sweet Neighbors Come In All Colors" is an 'absofruitly delightful ' song story teaching acceptance of differences and celebration of diversity.

The Holiday Shelf

Happy Easter, Little Hoo!
Brenda Ponnay
Xist Publishing
PO Box 61593, Irvine, CA 92602
9781532409387, $18.99, HC, 32pp,

Children can help Little Hoo find all of the Easter Eggs in the pages of "Happy Easter, Little Hoo!" by author and illustrator Brenda Ponnay. In this sweet little picture book ages 4-8, Little Hoo looks up and down, over and under to find all of the colorful eggs. Also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "Happy Easter, Little Hoo" is part of the Little Hoo series featuring cute and reassuring texts for toddlers and preschoolers that is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. Also very highly recommended in this same series is "Little Hoo Has the Flu" (978153241105, $18.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp).

The Money/Finance Shelf

The Squirrel Manifesto
Ric Edelman & Jean Edelman, authors
Dave Zaboski, illustrator
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781534441668, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8,

Financial habits form early. Children learn by observing a parent's behavior and through their own experiences. That's why it's important to make sure children are treating money the right way. From allowances and birthday money to cash they'll one day earn babysitting or mowing lawns, "The Squirrel Manifesto" is a children's picture book that provides a platform to set kids ages 4-8 on the path to a lifetime of fiscal responsibility. Just as a squirrel gathers nuts to prepare for the winter - eating some now and storing some for later -- kids can learn the value of money by spending some of their allowance now and saving the rest for later using animals as examples. Exceptionally well written by the husband and wife team of Ric and Jean Edelman, and charmingly illustrated by Dave Zaboski, "The Squirrel Manifesto" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Biography Shelf

Black Women Who Dared
Naomi M. Moyer
Second Story Press
9781772600711, $18.95, HC, 24pp,

In the pages of Naomi M. Moyer's picture book "Black Women Who Dared", beautiful, colorful illustrations tell the inspirational stories of ten black women and women's collectives from 1793 to the present day. Included are leaders who were anti-slavery activists and organizers who promoted basic health care, literacy and scholarship within their neighborhoods. The stories and art celebrate these remarkable women who are not necessarily well known or recognized, but have had profound impacts on their communities. Impressively informative in organization and presentation, "Black Women Who Dared" should be a part of every elementary school, middle school, and community library picture book biography collection for children ages 11-14.

Sweet Dreams, Sarah: From Slavery to Inventor
Vivian Kirkfield, author
Chris Twald, illustrator
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547316, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Sarah E.Goode (1855 - April 8, 1905) was one of the first African-American women to get a U.S. patent. Working in her husband's furniture store, she recognized a need for a multi-use bed and through hard work, ingenuity, and determination, invented her unique cupboard bed. She built more than a piece of furniture. She built a life far away from slavery, a life where her sweet dreams could come true. Beautifully enhanced with the artwork of Chris Twald, "Sweet Dreams, Sarah: From Slavery to Inventor" is author Vivian Kirkfield's exceptionally presentation of the remarkable life story of a remarkable woman and is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections for young readers ages 5-9.

Rocking the System
Siobhan Parkinson
Little Island Books
c/o Trafalgar Square Books
PO Box 257, North Pomfret, VT 05053
9781910411964, $19.66, HC, 196pp,

Showcased with the artwork by Bren Luke and featuring an informative preface by Sabina Higgins, "Rocking the System: Fearless and Amazing Irish Women Who Made History" by Siobhan Parkinson is comprised of 20 illustrated essays on Irish women, both historical and contemporary, who have defied cultural norms around femininity and achieved great things. Included are Irish women ranging from Queen Medhbh to Eileen Gray, from Constance Markievicz to Sonia O'Sullivan, covering stateswomen, artists, writers, activists, and rebels of all kinds. "Rocking the System" is an informed and informative celebration of the centenary of women's suffrage, and Irish women's remarkable achievements over the centuries. Simply stated, "Rocking the System" will prove to be an outstanding and highly recommended addition to family, school, and community library biography collections for young readers ages 9-12.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Fox Wife
Beatrice Deer, author
D.J. Herron, illustrator
Inhabit Media
9781772272123 $16.95

The Fox Wife is a children's picturebook based on Inuit mythology, and the folk song by award- winning musician Beatrice Deer. The story is about a mysterious, magical fox who watches a human family from afar. She takes a liking to their son; when he grows up and sets out on his own, she transforms into a human to become his wife. But he keeps asking his bride too many intrusive questions, with tragic consequences. A timeless parable about the importance of not taking others for granted, The Fox Wife is highly recommended for both personal and public library picturebook collections. Also a choice pick is Noel McDermott's "Kiviuq and the Bee Woman" (9781772272154), an illustrated fantasy for young adults based on Inuit folklore about a young boy named Kiviuq, who must survive the deceptive and ruthless machinations of the monstrous Bee Woman.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Little Monsters of the Ocean
Heather L. Montgomery
Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541528987, $31.99, Library Binding, 56pp,

Everyone knows that butterflies and frogs go through metamorphosis. But a number of sea creatures do too! In the profusely and beautifully illustrated "Little Monsters of the Ocean: Metamorphosis Under the Waves", experienced science writer Heather L. Montgomery engagingly explores wacky details in the life cycles of some of the world's most bizarre and fascinating ocean animals in this fresh spin on a highly curricular topic. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Oceanographic Wildlife Science collections for young readers ages 9-14, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Little Monsters of the Ocean" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Avalanche Dog Heroes
Elizabeth Rusch
Little Bigfoot
c/o Sasquatch Books
1904 Third Ave, Suite 710, Seattle, WA 98101
9781632171733, $18.99, 48pp,

Illustrated throughout with full color photography, "Avalanche Dog Heroes: Piper and Friends Learn to Search the Snow" is a nonfiction picture book that draws parallels between kids' experiences in elementary school and the training days of the avalanche rescue dogs of Crystal Mountain, Washington State's largest ski resort, located in the Cascade Range. Young readers ages 7-10 can follow along with Piper, a friendly border collie who came to the mountain as a smart but timid shelter dog, terrified by everything, as she confidently heads off to school on a chairlift to meet her canine classmates. Over a season they romp together through the snow, learning and practicing the skills they need to be avalanche rescue dogs and earn their rescue certification. Of special note is that with "Avalanche Dog Heroes", children will also learn the warning signs and conditions that cause an avalanche, the four types of avalanches, and the basics of avalanche safety, making it an especially welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections.

Black Bear Goes to Washington
Denise Lawson
Brown and Lowe Books
9781732230316, $18.99, HC, 30pp,

Written and illustrated by Denise Lawson, "Black Bear Goes to Washington" is based on the real adventures of Black Bear, a sled dog who spent 11 years in a remote part of Alaska along the Yukon River. Children ages 5-8 will learn about this endearing sled dog's life in the Alaskan bush and her journey of discovery after she arrives in Washington. Through a unique style of illustration, young readers are immersed in the world of Black Bear as she adjusts to her new world. "Black Bear Goes to Washington" inspires teamwork and cooperation and introduces young minds to the concept of adapting to change and new experiences. Through the voice of Black Bear, the story conveys the essence of sled dog life in Alaska and lightheartedly suggests that we could all learn a little something from some old sled dogs. "Black Bear Goes to Washington" is the first in a series. At the end of this story, Black Bear is wearing her life vest ready to embark on her next adventure. Denise Lawson first met Black Bear on an expedition in Alaska and later had the opportunity to adopt her. Black Bear is now retired and lives with the author and her family in the Washington, D.C. area. A portion of the proceeds of the book will be used to support the adoption and re-homing of retired Alaskan sled dogs. "Black Bear Goes to Washington" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections.

Smeagull the Seagull: A True Story
Mark Seth Lender, author
Valerie Elaine Pettis, illustrator
Sea House Press
PO Box 633, Clinton, CT 06413
9781732192904, $25.00, HC, 56pp,

"Smeagull the Seagull" is the true story of a seagull who comes to the house near the shore every day and knocks on the sliding glass door. He knocks when he's hungry, and the people who live there feed him. Smeagull rules the roost! Keeping him fed is an exhausting job, but when Smeagull disappears, it makes clear what an important family member Smeagull has become. There are few places on earth without seagulls, both on shore and inland, and every child will find Smeagull captivating and yet familiar. Smeagull the Seagull teaches young children that animals are precious and have needs and feelings and family, just like us. The planet needs them. Smeagull needs them too! "Smeagull the Seagull: A True Story" is illustrated in full color by the graphic designer, Valerie Elaine Pettis. The text is written in rhyme by Mark Seth Lender, a published author and producer for wildlife content at Living on Earth, which is nationally broadcast on Public Radio. This is a true story. Smeagull is a wild herring gull who does indeed knock at Valerie and Mark's house every day where he is fed scraps from sustainable seafood. A unique and thoroughly entertaining read from cover to cover, "Smeagull the Seagull: A True Story" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library wildlife picture book collections for young readers ages 5-8.

The Board Book Shelf

Puppy Talk: Opposites
J.C. Coates
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580898478 $7.99

Puppy Talk: Opposites is a children's board book that uses photographs of adorable puppies to teach beginning readers about words with opposite meanings. For example, "Masha is big. / AJ is little." is paired with pictures of the large dog Masha and the small dog AJ. Cute and charming, Puppy Talk: Opposites is highly recommended as an educational board book for the youngest of animal lovers.

Precious Baby
Della Ross Ferreri, author
Monique Dong, illustrator
Beaming Books
510 Marquette Avenue, 8thy floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
9781506447735, $7.99, Board Book, 20pp, Ages 1-3,

Inclusive for biological and adopted children alike, "Precious Baby" is a light, rhyming board book for children ages 1 to 3 that celebrates the wonder and joy of welcoming a new baby into the home. Della Ross Ferreri's thoroughly 'kid friendly' text is warm and inspiring ("Welcome precious baby! Our prayers have all come true. That we may hold you in our arms and share the world with you."). Charmingly illustrated with artwork by Monique Dong Perfect, "Precious Baby" will prove a welcome addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections, as well as making an ideal baby shower gift for a new parent!

World of Whimsy with the Little Unicorn
Sheri Fink
Whimsical World Books
9781949213027, $12.95, Board Book

Children ages 1-4 can join the playful Little Unicorn on an exciting adventure through her World of Whimsy as the encounter her friends in the exotic lands of Make Believe (including a mermaid, a dragon, a fairy, a narwhal, and a pegasus). Little ones will discover the most whimsical creature of all in the magical mirror at the end -- a baby! A delightful and charmingly original work by Sheri Fink, "World of Whimsy with the Little Unicorn" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library children's board book collections.

Astro Pea
Amalia Hoffman
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764356988, $9.99, Board Book, 24pp, Ages 5-6,

Imagine what would happen if fresh veggies could go on a cosmic adventure! Well, in Amalia Hoffman's "Astro Pea" board book, children can blast off with Pete the pea and find out what he discovers outside his pod. Pete joins other curiously shaped vegetables such as an eggplant, artichoke, cauliflower, ear of corn, and mushroom as they each take a starring role in this creative tale of space exploration, daring, and friendship. Who knew healthy food could be so much fun? "Astro Pea" allows a child's imagination run out into space and back again as ordinary vegetables take on a whole new meaning! Fun, original, and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "Astro Pea" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections for young readers.

I Love You, Little One
Holly Surplice
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781536205787, $8.99, Board Book, 24pp,

In author and illustrator Holly Surplice's board book for children ages 2-5, "I Love You, Little One", two guinea pigs spend a fun-filled day together, painting, reading, baking, and sharing a picnic. Through it all, they find lots of different ways to show the very special love between them. Wonderfully entertaining, delightfully original, and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "I Love You, Little One" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Wild Bios: Frida Catlo
Courtney Acampora, author
Maggie Fischer, author
Lindsay Dale-Scott, illustrator
Silver Dolphin Books
10350 Barnes Canyon Road, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92121
9781684125586, $17.99, Board Book, 16pp,

In the pages of "Wild Bios: Frida Catlo", children ages 2-5 will meet one of history's greatest figures in this adorable board book with an animal twist! Famous Meowxican painter Frida Catlo was a pioneer for female artists. She always painted from the heart, even in the face of health problems and personal struggles. With hilarious puns and colorful illustrations, "Wild Bios: Frida Catlo" brings Frida's legacy to life for babies and parents alike, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections.

Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Barefoot Books has published a new set of simply outstanding board books for children ages 1-3 that includes Stefanie Paige Wieder's "Baby Food" (9781782857303, $6.99, 16pp); Sunny Scribens' "Baby Dream" (9781782857297, $6.99, 16pp); and Skye Silver's "Baby Play/Jugando con Bebe" (9781782857365, $6.99, 16pp). Each of these thoroughly 'infant friendly' board books is of sturdy construction and features black/white photographic illustrations. Simply stated, this new 'Baby' series is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, and community library board book collections.

Silver Dolphin Books
10350 Barnes Canyon Road, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92121

Silver Dolphin Books has two new board books for children ages 2-5 with a pop music theme written by the editors of Caterpillar Books and illustrated by Lindsey Sagar. "The Story Of Rap" (9781684125081, $8.99, 24pp) reveals that from Grandmaster Flash to Kendrick Lamar, rap has shaped generations and brought a voice to the voiceless. Bop along with the greats in this adorable baby book that introduces little ones to the rappers that started it all! "The Story Of Rock" (9781684125098, $8.99, 24pp) goes from Elvis Presley to Beatlemania, from Janis Joplin to David Bowie as examples of how rock has transformed through generations while ringing true with passionate sound. Rock along with the greats in this delightful baby book that introduces little ones to the rockers that started it all! Fun, original, and sure to please, "The Story Of Rap" and "The Story Of Rock" will prove to be immediate and enduringly popular additions to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library preschooler board book collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

Dragons Get Colds Too
Rebecca Roan, author
Charles Santoso, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
9781681190440 $17.99 hc / $11.09 Kindle

Dragons Get Colds Too is a delightful fantasy picturebook packed with "tips" for caring for a sick dragon. Filled with heartwarming pictures of a little girl tending to her scaly friend until he feels better, Dragons Get Colds Too is a wonderful storybook for personal, elementary school, and public library picturebook collections, and a choice pick for parents to read aloud to sick children. Highly recommended!

I Think I Can
Karen S. Robbins, author
Rachael Brunson, illustrator
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764356919 $14.99

I Think I Can is an easy-to-follow children's picturebook designed especially to be read aloud with two people. Each two-page spread shows the aardvark speaking on the left in blue text, and the mouse speaking on the right in black text. The simple dialogue between an aardvark and a mouse uses brief sentences with repetition, the better to build confidence in the youngest of beginning readers."'Yes. I think I can sing.' / 'What do you think you can sing?' / 'I think I can sing a song.' / 'You think you can sing a song?'" A superb tool to encourage new readers, I Think I Can is highly recommended for family, elementary school, and public library picturebook collections.

Anders Holmer
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
4035 Park East Court SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
9780802855077, $17.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 4-8,

Haiku collections often sound similar; but Rain provides young picture book readers with a different collection of nature-oriented observations depicting scenes from around the world. From a newspaper that falls from a tall bridge to become "old news" when it is finally found to the sound of rain, trains, and musicians, the sounds and sights of the world are brought to life in a compelling manner that introduces the concept of haiku's short power to all ages.

We Don't Eat Our Classmates
Ryan T. Higgins
Disney Hyperion
9781368003551, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 48pp, Ages 4-7,

We Don't Eat Our Classmates tells of Penelope Rex's first day of school, where she looks forward to being introduced to potential new friends who also happen to be attractive food choices. Penelope is a hungry, nervous little T. rex who stands out as the only hungry beast in a room full of children. Her first impulse is to eat them; but this isn't the best way to begin school or gain friends. This whimsical, fun story is a winner for any young reader who seeks a different portrait of the challenges of making friends on the first day of school, providing an accessible, easy, and whimsically delightful story.

It's Not Easy Being a Superhero
Kelli Call, author
Tony Pham, illustrator
Pink Umbrella Books
9781949598032, $24.99, HC, 34pp,

Unlike most superheroes, Clark's is a young boy whose superpowers aren't a secret. And instead of just one, Clark has five superpowers he must learn to control: super hearing, super sight, super smell, super taste, and super touch. He uses his five superpowers to defeat sensory triggers, and his arch nemesis Igor Ance. A beautifully illustrated and impressively entertaining picture book by the team of author Kelli Call and artist Tony Pham, "It's Not Easy Being a Superhero" will helps parents, teachers, students, and friends of young readers ages 5-8 to understand what it's like for these superheroes who have sensory processing disorder and the tricks they learn to control their powers. While "It's Not Easy Being a Superhero" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "It's Not Easy Being a Superhero" is also available in a paperback edition (9781949598025, $14.99).

Gus' Fortunate Misfortune
Susan Pepka, author
Joseph Cowman, illustrator
Full Cycle Publications
9780996642231, $15.00, HC, 64pp,

How do you turn a Very Bad Day into a Hopeful New Beginning? Gus, an ordinary mouse, must find a way to do just that. Following a series of unfortunate events, Gus finds himself trapped, separated from his family, and transported far from home. Alone and frightened, the young mouse must confront his deepest fears. Using his wits Gus solves problems and makes discoveries. Adapting to his new surroundings, Gus receives help from an unexpected friend. Each trial brings a new lesson...but will Gus ultimately succeed? Will Gus find what he's truly looking for? A charmingly entertaining and original picture book for children ages 3-7 by the team of author Susan Pepka and illustrator Joseph Cowman, "Gus' Fortunate Misfortune" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Fifo Today I Feel... Emotion
Hayley Rose, author
Mark Sean Wilson, illustrator
Flowered Press
9780998248370, $18.50, HC, 36pp,

While playing at the park, Zack and Chloe wonder how Fifo is feeling. Little do they know, Fifo is off alone and experiencing a whole range of different emotions, that is until they meet up with him for a much needed hug! "Fifo Today I Feel... Emotion" is a charmingly inspired picture book for children ages 2-4 from the team of author Hayley Ross and illustrator Mark Sean Wilson. Impressively well presented and thoroughly entertaining from first page to last, "Fifo Today I Feel... Emotion" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Fifo Today I Feel... Emotion" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.95).

Benjamin Birdie and the Tree Dwellers
Michael Dotsikas, author
Morgan Spicer, illustrator
Brown Books Kids
c/o Brown Books Publishing Group
16250 Knoll Trail Drive, Suite 205, Dallas, TX 75248-2871
9781612542768, $17.99, HC, 52pp,

After his unsuccessful first flight, Benjamin Birdie is still anxious to fly like all the other birds. With his wings now grown stronger, and support from his mom, Benjamin is ready to give flying another try. Nervously leaping from his nest, he stumbles at first, but recovers just in time after hearing the encouraging voices of all his tree-dwelling friends, cheering him on! Benjamin's newfound flying skills inspire his friends to follow their own dreams and try things once thought they couldn't do. Children ages 3-8 will join Benjamin Birdie and his tree-dwelling friends as they learn to believe in themselves, all while seeing just how important it is to be there for a friend when they're not feeling sure of themselves. Sometimes a friend is all you need to find confidence and courage to soar to new, spectacular heights! Engagingly written by Michael Dotsikas and charmingly illustrated by Morgan Spicer, "Benjamin Birdie and the Tree Dwellers" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library full color picture book collections.

A Girl Named October
Zakieh A. Mohammed, author
Andrea Tripke, illustrator
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 910, Shelburne, VT 05482
9780999024959, $17.99, HC, 36pp,

Can empathy be taught? The importance of empathy and its impact are explored in the picture book "A Girl Named October" by author Zakieh Mohammed and illustrator Andrea Tripke. October is a little girl who is ever present as the narrator navigates a life without realizing how even the smallest memories, interactions, and expressions can impact a very large, and often imposing, world. Touching the world is no longer an abstract idea, but a concrete action that reveals how everything we do affects everyone around us. Lighthearted in its approach, but powerful in its message, "A Girl Named October" deftly tells an engaging and entertaining story that will spur conversations with children ages 5-7 and is very highly recommended, especially for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Adam Leitman Bailey
Building Foundations Publishing Company LLC
9780999570401, $14.95, HC,

Charmingly written by Adam Leitman Bailey for children 5-8, "Home" is takes them on a journey using their own eyes to visit many different places to live while providing a touching story about the importance of family over all else. "Home" is the picture book story about a young boy from a small apartment in a big city who dreams about other types of homes. The boy goes out on a colorful adventure to visit many different homes - from a large house in the suburbs to an igloo to a farmhouse - and meets families wherever he goes. The boy enjoys visiting each residence, but at the conclusion of his trip, he comes to a very special realization. Pleasant, thoughtful, delightfully illustrated, and a thoroughly 'kid friendly' read from beginning to end, "Home" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library contemporary picture book collections.

Positively Purple
Linda Ragsdale, author
P. S. Brooks, illustrator
Flowerpot Press
142 2nd Ave. North, Franklin, TN 37064
9781486714674, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Unable to play for a little while when she gets sick, Jeli the bear takes doctor-prescribed medication that turns her fur purple and receives colorful and caring support from friends who help her see that there is more to her than what shows on the outside. "Positively Purple" by the children's picture book team of author Lind Ragsdale and illustrator P. S. Brooks is a thoroughly charming and exceptionally entertaining read for children ages 5-6 and is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition that is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Mario and the Aliens
Carolina Zanotti, author
Tamypu, illustrator
Happy Fox Books
c/o Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
9781641240277, $14.99, HC, 40pp,

Written by Carolina Zanotti and illustrated by Tamypu for children aged 5-7, "Mario and the Aliens" tells utterly charming and original story of a little boy who makes friends with space visitors. Little Mario is a computer geek who is on the computer day and night. He will not leave his computer. Suddenly he hears a commotion in the back yard -- the aliens have landed! These creatures have heard about all the cool things that earth kids do to play, and they want to have fun too. Since the aliens are tired of computers and electronic stuff, Mario must show them how to play with traditional toys. Even though Mario doesn't usually ride his bike or play ball, he soon learns how much fun it is, along with his alien friends. Satisfied at having discovered the secrets of earth children, the aliens return to their planet, while Mario learns the joys of playing outside. "Mario and the Aliens" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections promoting and encouraging children to enjoy the fun they can have outside!

The Storyteller of Damascus
Rafik Schami, author
Peter Knorr, illustrator
Crocodile Books
c/o Interlink Publishing Group
9781623719715, $18.95, HC, 48pp,

An old storyteller roams through the old quarter of Damascus. For only one piaster, he offers to show the children the wonders of the world. The children look through the peepholes of his magic box, which he carries on his back from one neighborhood to the next. There they see and hear the love story of Sami, the shepherd boy, and the beautiful Leyla. But over time, the story changes pictures inside the wonder box become old and start to fade away, replaced by cutouts from recent advertisements. Deftly written by Rafik Schami and featuring museum quality artwork by Peter Knoor, "The Storyteller of Damascus" offers children ages 6-9 an authentic taste of the old Damascene tradition of storytelling that will inspire children's imagination. This is a simply stunningly children's picture book showcasing the love, intrigue, courage, loyalty, and the sounds and smells of old Damascus. Unique and superbly crafted from first page to last, "The Storyteller of Damascus" is unreservedly recommended and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Hello Lilac - Good Morning Yellow
Judith Drews
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791373515, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

Introducing children to colors and in the process expanding their vocabulary, "Hello Lilac - Good Morning Yellow: Colors and First Words" by Judith Dress will delight children ages 1-3, who will recognize the myriad of things that make their world colorful. A sunny morning introduces the color yellow and leads young readers to a light bulb, a fuzzy baby chick, a lemon, and a friendly lion. A snowman, a sheep, an egg, and a soccer ball reveal that white has endless variations. Green takes readers outside to look at a leaf, a frog, and a caterpillar while a brown bear is surrounded by a wooden spoon, a basket, a girl's braid, and a broom. Gorgeously illustrated, "Hello Lilac - Good Morning Yellow: Colors and First Words" is a thoroughly engaging book from cover to cover and is certain to capture a child's imagination. Perfect for young ones to read with their parents (and parents to their young ones), "Hello Lilac - Good Morning Yellow: Colors and First Words" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library collections.

Pansy in Africa
Cynthia Bardes, author
Virginia Best, illustrator
October Press
9780692984574, $21.95, HC, 32pp, Ages 3-7,

"Pansy in Africa: The Mystery of the Missing Lion Cub" is the sixth episode in the classic series of children's picture books from author Cynthia Bardes and illustrator Virginia Best. Pansy the poodle and her human friend Avery have solved mysteries all over the world ranging from foiling a jewel thief in Los Angeles to tracking down one of the Queen's precious corgi puppies in London. Their newest adventure takes them even farther from home, on a safari in Africa, where a beloved lion cub has gone missing. Pansy and Avery volunteer to help find the cub, and set off with their guides to follow paw prints and other clues. Along the way, they see and learn about the exotic landscape and animals of Africa, and even learn a few words in Swahili. When they find little Zuri, they discover that his talent for dancing has turned him into a movie star! In the end, they reunite the cub with his family and friends, and everyone learns a valuable lesson: It is our differences that make each of us special. Pansy in Africa is perfect for teaching reading skills to young emergent readers ages 3 - 7 and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pansy in Africa: The Mystery of the Missing Lion Cub" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.69).

I Love My Colorful Nails
Alicia Acosta & Luis Amavisca, authors
Gusti, illustrator
9788417123598, $15.95, HC, 36pp,

A young boy who loves to paint his nails in cheerful colors is made fun of at school. His father and those around him paint their nails to stand against Ben's bullies, encouraging him to be himself, despite what others think. "I Love My Colorful Nails" is original and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book for children ages 4-8 that touches on emotions, being yourself, and peaceful solutions to negative confrontation. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that there is also a Spanish language edition ("Vivan Las Unas De Colores!", 9788417123581, $15.95, HC, 36pp).

Gran, Gran, Granny
Rae McDonald, author
Eric Groff, illustrator
Clear Fork Publishing
PO Box 870, Stamford, TX 79553
9781946101259, $16.99, HC, 34pp,

"Gran, Gran, Granny" is a moment-in-time story told by Lizzy as she, her two brothers, and her parents hike up the well-worn trail to visit one grand old Douglas fir tree known as Granny. The forest is aflame with fall color and the path is carpeted with fall leaf confetti on the day following a fierce and worrisome storm. A celebration cake swings along in mom's traveling basket as Lizzie, Nick and Sam lead the way. Children ages 6-10 can lace up their hiking boots and get set to catch a swirling leaf as they head up the path to celebrate a very grand old tree. Sam finds a great deal to sing about as he echoes "the chat" on the way to visit a majestic forest friend in Rae McDonald's original picture book story for children ages 6-10. Charmingly illustrated by Eric Groff, "Gran, Gran, Granny" is highly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library picture collections for young readers.

My Heart
Corinna Luyken
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780735227934, $17.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 4-8,

Some days your heart is a puddle or a fence to keep the world out. But some days it is wide open to the love that surrounds you. With Corinna Luyken's lyrical text and breathtaking art, "My Heart" empowers all young children to listen to the guide within themselves in this ode to love and self-acceptance. While very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "My Heart" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

It's Time for Bed
Ceporah Mearns, author
Jeremy Debicki, author
Tim Mack, illustrator
Inhabit Media
9781772272277, $16.95, HC, 36pp,

It's time for Siasi to go to bed, but she doesn't want to brush her teeth or put away her toys. It's so much more fun to play with all the animals of the Arctic! Wouldn't everyone rather dance with polar bear, howl with the wolves, and swim with the fish instead of get ready for bed?
"It's Time for Bed" by the team of authors Ceporah Mearns and Jeremy Debicki is a wonderfully charming and engaging bedtime story in which young readers ages 3-5 will follow Siasi on a nighttime adventure as she comes up with excuse after excuse for why she's not quite ready to go to bed. Delightfully illustrated by Tim Mack, "It's Time For Bed" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections.

When The Stars Come Out
Nicola Edwards, author
Lucy Cartwright, illustrator
360 Degrees
9781944530235, $29.99, HC, 70pp,

In "When The Stars Come Out", children ages 8-11 will delve into the magical realm that is our universe at night, discovering what makes it so extraordinary from moonbows to shooting stars and from the polar night to the northern lights. they will experience how different habitats, from the city to the ocean, come alive when the sun sets. They will meet animals that make their own elaborate beds and others that sleep while swimming or flying. And perhaps best of all, they will explore the history of human sleep across the globe and dive into a world of dreams. A unique and fully entertaining reading experience from first page to last, Nicola Edwards informative and engaging text is beautifully supported with the artwork illustrations of Lucy Cartwright, making "When The Stars Come Out" an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections.

The Baby Beast
Chris Judge
Andersen Press USA
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541555129, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

When an egg arrives on his doorstep, Beast doesn't quite know what to do: feed it? Take it for a nice long walk? Drop it? Doctor Yoko tells him he must keep it warm and just wait, but exactly what he's waiting for is a mystery to the Beast. Children ages 4-9 will thoroughly enjoy the side-splitting humor in this picture book by Chris Judge. While their parents will recognize (some of) Beast's first-time child-care mistakes -- even while the kids are laughing out loud. While certain to be an immediately popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Baby Beast" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Undercover Ostrich
Joe Kulka
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781512497878, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Animals can be sneaky. But do you know who is especially sneaky? Undercover ostriches! They're everywhere, and they're masters at going undetected. You've probably seen one and just assumed it was another woodpecker or owl. The narrator of "Undercover Ostrich" is on the case, following a single ostrich on his many adventures. Not until the final twist does author and illustrator Joe Kulka let his young readers in on the narrator's true motivation -- a peanut collection mission involving undercover elephants! Unique, original, and great fun from cover to cover, "Undercover Ostrich" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-9. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Undercover Ostrich" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Pavel and the Tree Army
Heidi Smith Hyde, author
Elisa Vavouri, illustrator
Kar-Ben Publishing, Inc.
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781512444469, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Even thought the Great Depression has ravaged the economy, Pavel is a new American who excited about his new country. When his rabbi tells him that the Civilian Conservation Corps is hiring young people, Pavel is thrilled. As a member of the Corps, he learns to plant trees, build dams, and take care of the land. But not everyone in the Corps thinks Pavel belongs in America. It's not until he and his immigrant friends learn to sing the country's new national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner" in time for Independence Day celebrations, that they're welcomed as true Americans. A wonderfully timely picture book for children ages 5-9 in this polarized contemporary political and social climate over immigration and immigrants both documented and undocumented, currently playing out with a distinctive undertone of anti-semitism, "Pavel and the Tree Army" is an outstanding and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pavel and the Tree Army" is also available in a paperback edition (9781512444476, $7.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Monkey on the Run
Leo Timmers
Gecko Press
9781776572502, $17.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 5-6,

Papa Monkey and Little Monkey are on their way. But the street is very busy and they are moving so slowly! Little Monkey loses patience and jumps onto the fire engine. Up the ladder from there and he joins a TV crew! Then the garbage truck, an aquarium bus, a food cart for rabbits packed with carroty treats, Arctic animals traveling by snow globe, a jewel thief's getaway car. There is so much going on in the street, it's become a playground! In author and illustrator Leo Timmers' wordless picture book "Monkey on the Run", children will be enormously entertained from first page to last, making this unique picture book very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.

You Make Me Happy
Smriti Prasadam-Halls, author
Alison Brown, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9781681198491, $17.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 3-6,

Fox and Porcupine discover that when they're together, life is ever so much brighter. The collaborative project of author Smriti Prasadam-Halls and illustrator Alison Brown, "You Make Me Happy" is a delightfully optimistic and uplifting observance of that special someone who makes a child happy. Gorgeous, fun, and full of heart, "You Make Me Happy" is an ideal and enduringly charming addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture books collections for children. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "You Make Me Happy" is also available in a paperback edition (9781408878958, $10.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Sock Story
C. K. Smouha, author
Eleonora Marton, illustrator
9781908714596, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

It's Phil and Dale's favorite time of the week - the WASH! These two socks strive impress each other with their acrobatics; flipping, spinning and shrieking -- much to the disapproval of the other clothes in the washing machine. But why should they care? They've got each other and that's all that matters... right? But when Phil goes missing, Dale is left contemplating life in solitude. After a brief encounter with a red shirt, he finds himself alone in the washing machine, lost and pink. When he is finally reunited with his buddy, Phil fails to recognize him and the socks must decide what being a pair means if one of you has changed. A wonderfully charming and original picture book story with a valued underlying message concerning differences brought about by change, "Sock Story" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 3- 8.

Paola Quintavalle, author
Alessandro Sanna, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
67 West Street, Studio 317A, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11222
9781592702558, $19.95, HC, 104pp,

Intended for children ages 4-9, "Crescendo" is a visual and poetic celebration of the transition to motherhood, featuring 47 gorgeous watercolor illustrations from Alessandro Sanna and a corresponding poem by Paola Quintavalle. Sanna's illustrations follow the transformation of a mother's shape throughout her pregnancy, artfully and gracefully delineated not only by images of a mother's profile, but by rich, sweeping scenes from nature: the curved wingspan of a seagull in flight, the arc of a whale's tail as she swims with her calves, the peaks of verdant, moonlit hills, among others. At last, there is an image of a mother embracing her newborn child, at once lilting and reverent -- a vision of joy and rest at the culmination of an incredible inward journey. Quintavalle's poem, written as a response to Sanna's illustrations, weaves delicately throughout the book. An ode to mothers everywhere, "Crescendo" is especially relevant and unreservedly recommended for children whose mothers are expecting a little brother or sister. A gracefully beautiful and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book, "Crescendo" is appropriate for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Crescendo" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Gunther's Journey: Where the Blueberry Sea Meets the Lemonade Sky
Ginger Neilson, author/illustrator
Ginger Neilson Children's Books
9780578441085 $19.95 pbk

"Gunther's Journey" is a third title in the series Gunther the Underwater Elephant, written to acquaint children with the sensitivity and family orientation of elephants and to develop awareness of paying attention to others' special needs. Gunther is a young elephant who needs a friend his age to have adventures with. He meets and befriends Willow, a young female elephant who has lost her family and her herd and wants to seek them in a far off place where the blueberry sea meets the lemonade sky. without thinking to ask his mother's permission, Gunther decides to journey with Willow to seek her family herd in the mystic place where the blueberry sea meets the lemonade sky. This decision concerns and upsets Gunther's mother, The whole herd decides to seek the lost pair of young elephants, and in the process, they end up helping a village near the river in the jungle to put out a fire of a hut in the village. Gunther and Willow befriend a village boy named Imari. The villagers are so grateful for the elephants' help to put out their fire that they offer help to guide Willow to the place where the Blueberry Sea meets the Lemonade Sky. They also promise never to hunt elephants gain, the problem which caused Willow to lose track of her family herd. Gunther's mother carefully chooses to allow Gunther to accompany Willow to this place with Imari, enjoining him too return home safely once Willow had found her family. After more adventures and obstacles, Gunther and Willow finally arrived at the place where the Blueberry Sea meets the Lemonade Sky. There Willow found her elephant family, and much elephant trumpeting and celebrations marked the reunion. Gunther called on his friend Big Blue the whale to help him return home, where he was welcomed, scolded for leaving home without permission, and assigned extra chores by his mother, which he accepted happily. "Gunther's Journey" explores many interesting values such as interconnectedness, celebrating differences, cooperation between species and friends, and caring for others with special needs. Beautiful, sensitive rainbow-colored illustrations build warmth and empathy in readers young and old. "Gunther's Journey" is complex, engaging, and longer than many similar children's books . It's value is clear and undeniable, with high appeal for readers age 4 years and up.

Finley the Fuzz
Andrew Tolan, author
Juan Mant, illustrator
Runaway Cart Publishing
9780990903383, HC; $TBA
9780990903352, PB; $TBA, 38pp,

Inviting to a young audience of readers (age 2 and up), "Finley the Fuzz" is a heartwarming little story about the search for self identity of an adorable, unique little fuzz named Finley. Written in rhyme, the story details Finley's longing to be an identifiable creature, such as a bird, a bear, or a frog, or a lion, or just something that was generally recognizable. Fortunately the story leads Finley to take stock and ends with the little fuzz accepting his uniqueness in a thoroughly delightful way. Soft, colored illustrations that almost seem textured invite a sense of tactile wonder that permeates the sweet little verse story which ends: "Because no other creature could quite exactly be a one of a find fuzz like Finley."

The Adventures of Mr. Octagon: My First Journey
Parisa Ansari and Joseph Greywolf, authors
Roslen Roy Mack, illustrator
Privately Published
9780578431512 $11.99 24 pages paperback

"The Adventures of Mr. Octagon: My First Journey" is the first of a four part series written for children age 2 to 6 years. Mr Octagon sets off from his other shape friends to gather wisdom, adventure, and experience to share with others. Under the blue skies and green trees he hears a beautiful song. Seeing an old brown stone, he inquires about the beautiful song. An amazing story unfolds. Once the ancient stones were approached by the cloud people and asked to sing a song. The stones were very old, but they came together to sing their song: "Join as one, share our strength and sing you our song." The cloud people were excited to take the beautiful song of the stones and share it with all people. At the end, Mr. Octagon was asked by the stone: "Why do you think their song reached the clouds?" He leaped up and said, "My first lesson, togetherness!" Charming illustrations of the shape friends and the stones and clouds make "My First Journey" a unique delight for young readers. Added learning activities include vocabulary words, a picture of hidden shapes, a singing stones picture to color, Tips for your own Journey (including take along a friend or family member), and a sample journal. This delightful series is creative, educational, and appealing in a fresh new presentation for young readers.

The Box Cars
Robert Vescio, author
Cara King, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335835, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Liam and Kai are the best of friends. They do everything together. Each day in the park they race around in their box cars, pretending to be everything from policemen chasing down bad guys to chauffeurs driving around movie stars! One day they notice a little girl watching them -- she's keen to join in and they're happy to be her friends too, but with only two box cars to play with it seems someone's going to be left out. "The Box Cars" by author Robert Vescio and illustrator Cara King is a fun-filled story of friendship, sharing and creative problem-solving that will appeal to boys and girls everywhere and is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for ages 4-8.

When Day Is Done
Natalee Creech, author
Robert Dunn, illustrator
Beaming Books
PO Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440
9781506447728, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

The sun is setting and it's almost night. Children from various families say goodbye to friends (including the sun, trees, and flowers) and move inside to complete their bedtime routines. With vivid imagery by illustrator Robert Dunn and child-friendly poetry by Natalee Creech, each individual verse ends with the simple refrain, "We sleep when day is done." Unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and elementary school picture book collections for children ages 3-5, "When Day Is Done" is an especially soothing bedtime book that is perfect for calming down a young child after a busy day.

Surprise, I have 3 eyes!
Jenine Lori
Privately Published
9780692040126, $24.95, HC, 34pp,

In "Surprise, I have 3 eyes!", children ages 4-12 will join a young boy named Joey and his magical friends on a journey through an enchanted forest as he uncovers how to see through his third eye. As Joey's friends teach him how to perceive reality uniquely, he begins to discover a new understanding of the powers of creation. "Surprise, I have 3 eyes!" focuses on building self-confidence, imagination and teaching acceptance for being different while embracing the unknown. A playful and original picture book story which seamlessly combines beautifully articulated rhythmic words with bright, vibrant, dynamic illustrations, "Surprise, I have 3 eyes!" features happy smiling, unicorns, fairies, trolls, beautiful rainbows and enchanted creatures throughout every page. An innovative and delightful book, bound to capture the hearts of all ages, "Surprise, I have 3 eyes!" is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Voting with a Porpoise
Russell Glass, author
Sean Callahan, author
Daniel Howarth, illustrator
Books with a Porpoise, LLC
9781732745407, $24.99, HC, 32pp,

A pod of dolphins (and their porpoise friend, Petey) is in trouble. Their reef no longer provides the food they need to survive. The pod can't figure out what to do until Petey suggests they hold an election to decide. The 2018 Parent and Teacher Choice Award winner, "Voting With a Porpoise" is a fun, timeless, and beautifully illustrated story that teaches young children how elections and voting have the power to solve hard problems. The authors, Russell Glass and Sean Callahan, along with illustrator Daniel Howarth, created this unique and thoroughly 'kid friendly' children's picture book to help change the culture around elections and voting. To that end, 100 percent of the profits for "Voting With a Porpoise" will be donated to 501(c)(3) non-partisan voting-related causes focused on getting more people of all backgrounds to the polls, such as Rock the Vote,, TurboVote, and others. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Voting with a Porpoise" is also available in a paperback edition (9781732745414, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

The Night Bear
Ana De Moraes, author
Thiago De Moraes, illustrator
Andersen Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541555099, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

After dark, the Night Bear goes on the hunt for his favorite snack: delicious nightmares. But one night, he almost munches on a dream of unicorns and rainbows by mistake -- yuck! It might not be his cup of tea, but surely there's someone who might like it? An original and charmingly entertaining picture book boy the team of author Ana De Moraes and illustrator Thiago De Moraes, "The Night Bear" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 5-6.

Adopting a Dinosaur
Jose Carlos Andres, author
Ana Sanfelippo, illustrator
9788417123635, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Very highly recommended for family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4-8, "Adopting a Dinosaur" is the picture book story of a little girl wants a pet, but her parents won't let her have one. They jokingly tell her she may have a dinosaur if she can find one, and she does! From the team of author Jose Carlos Andres and illustrator Ana Sanfelippo, "Adopting a Dinosaur" is a thoroughly charming humorous, and original tale about imagination, fantastical pets, and parents who get themselves in trouble.

Logan and Luna Find the Magic Tree
Cristina Hanif, author
Murray Stenton, illustrator
Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615994212 $15.95

"Logan and Luna Find the Magic Tree" is a wonderful story that invites children to dream and to sink deeply into the realm of literature and reading, which has a real magic all its own. Logan and Luna lived in a big city with both parents and spent their weekdays surrounded with people, noise, buildings, and pollution, very busy getting through ordinary life in a city. But on weekends, Logan and Luna traveled with their parents to their grandfather's house by the lake, near the woods. The children loved it there. Logan's grandfather encouraged him in his love of stories and books. One weekend visit found Logan and Luna wandering in woods nearby as the day grew dark. They were amazed to discover a light showing a doorway into a tree, which they found to be a huge library inside, peopled with friendly gnomes. Before they could explore further, they heard their parents calling and they found the tree, the library and the gnomes all disappeared as their parents arrived. Although the darkness was scary, the children loved the wonderful magic tree and described it to their parents, who did not believe their story. They followed their parents to their grandfather's lakeside home and safety. Logan and Luna continued to have wonderful daytime adventures in the country, but at night they wanted to go find the magic tree again. As they tiptoed out the door in the dark, they saw their grandfather coming with them. Just as Logan had described, the three found the light in the woods and the magic tree, filled with a huge library and hundreds of friendly gnomes. Logan's grandfather explained, "It has been here for hundreds of years .....The magic tree can only be seen by those people who really believe in the power of imagination and reading." This love of the power of literature was shared by Logan's grandfather with his grandchildren, the excitement, power, and love of reading. Because Logan and Luna chose to dream, they were able to visit the beautiful library filled with books and gnomes who guarded the tree from intruders who don't believe in magic. "Logan and Luna Find the Magic Tree" is a beautiful story about the treasure of imagination and the power of dreams. In a book filled with mystical images of children wandering in the woods, reading stories, the light of dreams invites dreamers to go deeper.

Little Black Fish
Farshid Mesghali
Tiny Owl Publishing Ltd.
9781910328194, $17.95, HC, 48pp,

Little Black Fish may be small, but he has big questions and a determination to find answers to them. While his fellow fish are too scared to do anything different from their set routine, Little Black Fish swims over the edge of the pool, into the stream and river which will show him much more of the world. He meets wonders and adventures, dangers and beauty. He makes it all the way to the sea, and finds his answers. Even though he doesn't survive to tell his own story, here it is being told to another generation, and the inspiration of it is passed on. A beautifully crafted picture book by author and illustrator Farshid Mesghali, "Little Black Fish" is an original and extraordinary contribution to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers ages 7-12.

Have I Ever Told You?
Shani King, author
Anna Horvath, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884487197, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

Shani King (who is a professor of law and director of the Center on Children and Families at the University of Florida, Gainesville) wrote "Have I Ever Told You?" as a message to his children reminding them that they are amazing in their individuality and that they have the power to choose who they want to be in this world. The illustrations by Anna Horvath (Annabies) create a masterfully visual narrative that is warm, witty, simple, profound, and as ferociously empowering as a children's picture book for children ages 4-8 can possibly be. Charmingly inspirational with its warm and enduring message, "Have I Ever Told You" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school and community library picture book collections.

What Do You Do if Your House is a Zoo?
John Kelly
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680101188, $16.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 5-8,

What Do You Do if Your House is a Zoo? is illustrated by Steph Laberis and tells of Oscar, who is very excited when his parents tell him he can finally have a pet. The only problem is that he hasn't prepared for this event. He hopes a newspaper ad will bring the perfect pet; but when too many candidates show up at the door, Oscar has a big problem. How can he choose the perfect pet from all the pets available? Animal-loving kids who have longed for a pet will find Oscar's dilemma believable and fun.

Sleep, My Bunny
Rosemary Wells
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763692629, $14.99, HC, 24pp, Ages 2-5,

Sleep, My Bunny tells of a little bunny who prepares for bed using several rituals, from eating supper and putting away toys to taking a bath and listening to a story, and creates a moving lullaby that warmly explores a family's nighttime rituals. As noises of the evening and creatures of the night are explored and text, lovely full-page drawings illustrate the family's preparations and interactions.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Barbara Kerley works with Rhoda Knight Kalt's Tigers & Tea with Toppy (9781338134278, $18.99 HC, $11.99 Kindle, 48pp, Ages 4-8), which enjoys fun drawings by Matte Stephens as it provides a fun true adventure in New York City. Good reading skills or parental assistance will lend to this story of Toppy, the famous wildlife artist Charles R. Knight, and his paintings of an ancient world. Caroline Hadilaksono's Surprise! (9781338139198, $17.99 HC, $9.95 PB, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8) tells of three different animals who have been long-time friends. But when a family of city animals enters their world, the surprise welcome party the friends plan may hold more than a few surprises challenging their friendship. A fun story of problem-solving evolves. Kathryn Hahn's My Wish for You (9781338150407, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8) enjoys fun pictures by Brigette Barrager as it reflects the lessons learned by author and actress Kathryn Hahn from her six-year-old daughter. A fine story of positive celebrations of self independent of others' opinions evolves, holding lessons of all ages couched in colorful, appealing drawings. Rafael Lopez's We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands (9781338177367, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 3-5) celebrates multicultural friendships around the world with song and dance. A joyful celebration of different peoples and their connections lends to a lively picture book that embellishes the classic song with different peoples, scenes, and insights. Tony Piedra's The Greatest Adventure (9781338134193, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8) tells of Eliot, who imagines sailing around the world experiencing new sights and big adventures. His grandfather once sailed to far-off lands, but he can't journey any more. Can his grandson return to them both the sense of adventure and excitement brought about by waterways and foreign lands? All are fun, inviting reads parents and kids alike will appreciate for their original themes and compelling illustrations.

Tundra Books

Two fine new cat picture book fiction titles are especially recommended for youngsters who like cats. Nicola Winstanley and John Martz's How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps (9780735263543, $17.99, HC, 40pp, 3-7) provides a fun yet realistic portrait of a little girl and a narrator who are trying to give a kitty a bath. Of course, the cat (Mr. Flea) has other ideas; and so the girl and the mess keep increasing. A fun spoof on cat baths evolves using simple language and hilarious drawings by John Martz. Janet Hill's Life Lessons for a Cat Countess (9781770499225, $17.99, HC, 48pp, Ages 4-8) tells of Miss Marcella Mink and her sixty-seven feline friends who live in her big house. She reflects on a less happy time when her business ambitions affected her feline friends, and also on the lessons they imparted when she turned to them for support and change. Twenty of the "cat-approved lessons" she learned from them make up a fun story which will delight young picture book readers with its vivid, colorful drawings and cat-loving adults seeking a different kind of story.

Simon & Schuster/McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020

Three new titles are fun, appealing reads highly recommended for picture book readers and collections seeking original, colorful works. Ric Edelman and Jean Edelman's The Squirrel Manifesto (9781534441668, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8) receives fun drawing by Dave Zaboski and provides a modern fable that educates kids about spending and saving money and being giving. Parents who would teach the very young adult thrift, saving for a rainy day, and being giving will benefit from a warm story of "honoring ourselves with the gains we earn." Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman's Bear Can't Sleep (9781481459730, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8) tells of a bear who wants to hibernate; but just can't get to sleep. He should be sleeping, but his eyes won't close, and even his friends can't help. Will he miss hibernation altogether? Elizabeth Verdick's Small Walt and Mo the Tow (9781481466608, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8) is illustrated by Marc Rosenthal as it tells of Small Walt, who befriends a tow truck during a bitter blizzard. The friendship leads to great thing in a story of friendship and helping hands.

The Bilingual Shelf

My Bent Tree / Mi Arbol Doblado
Kathy Brodsky
9780997792201, $23.75, HC, 56pp,

A little girl discovers a tree that is less than perfect and a special friendship evolves. Featuring a rhyming text with hand-painted illustrations, "My Bent Tree / Mi Arbol Doblado" is a delightful and bilingual (English/Spanish" picture book story about diversity, friendship, social action and conservation. Life-skill discussion questions pertaining to disabilities, social action and conservation are included. Teachers as well as parents, grandparents and children themselves like the continuation of inter-active dialogue. Charmingly entertaining, "My Bent Tree / Mi Arbol Doblado" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections for children ages 5-9.

The Science Shelf

Hack Your Backyard
Niki Ahrens
The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541539150 $26.96 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Featuring full-color photography throughout, Hack Your Backyard: Discover a World of Outside Fun with Science Buddies is packed with simple science experiments young people can perform right in their own backyards. From transforming a sewing needle, a magnet, and a cork into a working compass, to counting cricket chirps to determine the temperature, to watching colored water move through cut flowers, to observing worms as they tunnel through dirt, Hack Your Backyard is packed with inexpensive, hands-on educational projects perfect for enriching summer vacation! Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children's science collections.

The Wonder of Water
Lucille Newman, author
Vicki Ann Vega, author
Page Publishing
9781644240588, $21.51, HC, 28pp,

"The Wonder of Water " by the team of Lucille Newman and Vicki Ann Vega is an educational and thought provoking science picture book that will prove to be an informative and entertaining read for children ages 6 to 9. "The Wonder of Water" deftly expounds upon an important resource, water, which is all too often taken for granted, but which we cannot do without, since it affects so many facets of our lives, and even life itself. The story is effectively supported by excellent illustrations and promotes an appreciation of this natural wonder. "The Wonder of Water" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library science oriented picture book collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Wonder of Water" is also available in a paperback edition (9781642146882, $12.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Michael Elsohn Ross, author
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613737378 $15.99 116 pages paperback

"Plantology": 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Plants" is a fantastic introduction to a world- widening exposure to the natural world of plants for children. Filled with enticing colorful photographs of beautiful plants in natural settings, "Plantology" offers thirty exciting hands-on projects or activities relating to exploration of the natural world of plants. Sidebars and features like "Try This!" and "Look For" explain a rainbow bouquet of activities, including: starting a plant journal, with plant portraits, an algae expedition, a visit to the world of moss, starting a seed collection, and many more. There are even suggested recipes to try, such as roasted onions and taters. A feature called "Smell It!" outlines a project called Aromarama which encourages young naturalists to use their sense of smell to seek out, collect and record plants by their leaf scents. "Plantology" is filled with innovative ways to observe and enjoy the fantastic variety of plants to be enjoyed in natural settings. "Plantology" is completed with a list of plant terms (glossary), list of resources, Teacher's Guide, and Selected Bibliography. "Plantology" helps young naturalists compile the amazing interdependence of people, animals, and plants, in a positive, educational, and inspirational book. "Plantology" is recommended for readers age 7 years and up.

Lulu Meets the King of Poo
Janice Maximov Condon, author
Steve Ferchaud & Chris Ficken, illustrators
Austin Macauley Publishers
9781786296757 $14.95

Written by a retired occupational therapist with a vital interest in healthy nutrition and wellness, "Lulu Meets the King of Poo" is a creatively illustrated story about a girl exploring her digestive tract to find out why her tummy hurts. Lulu, an African American girl of perhaps 7 or 8, goes to bed with a tummy ache, worried about her science project that is due. She dreams she enters into her mouth and takes a voyage down her digestive tract. Fantastic color illustrations show Lulu tumbling down through the esophagus tot he stomach where she meets Emily Enzyme, who helps break food down so her body can absorb it. Told in spunky verse, "Lulu Meets the King of Poo" traces the actual progress of food through the digestive system, introducing the critical gut microbes who help process foods for digestion. Lulu meets, Abby Acidophilus (who helps digest food in the villi inside the small intestine. Next she meets Benny Bifidus, the King of Poo, wearing boots provided by Emily Enzyme for protection. The King of Poo explains to Lulu what his job is: "We billions of Bifidi help with poop balance/ We regulate liquid, that's one of our talents!/ We do all the things that good Bifidi do/ We push it all out 'cause we tend to the poo." Lulu was very polite to the King of Poo, and also very glad that she was given boots to wear! A final character that Lulu meets is Stanley Stem Cell, her gut repair man always on patrol, who says:"We make your scabs! We're good boy scouts,/We're stem cell repairmen, that's what we're about!/ We live in your bones, we travel through your blood,/ If you have an owie, with stem cells we flood!" Lulu was so happy to meet her digestive tract friends who worked as a team to keep her healthy she decided to make her science project about the microbes and team inside her digestive tract when she got back. Getting back could have been messy, but Lulu opted the choice of burrowing through the colon wall with Stanley and taking the circulation pathway, using stem cell gliding. Lulu came out in a sneeze! She made a great project called How Microbes Work Together and determined to take care of them the best she could for the rest of her life. "Lulu Meets the King of Poo" is crafted with scientific accuracy and lots of humor to appeal to young readers as well as perceptive adults. A glossary of terms completes this helpful health text.

The Crafts Shelf

Crayola Super Easy Crafts
Rebecca Felix, author
Lerner Publications
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781541510999 $27.99 32 pages

"Crayola Super Easy Crafts" is a bright, easy to follow craft project manual for kids ages 9-11 years. Simple projects made from easily available materials are presented clearly with lists of materials, photo-illustrated step by step instructions and bright color photos of final finished craft projects. Combined with crafting safety tips, super easy tips, concepts such as preparation and cleanup protocols, plus scannable QR codes for more detailed step by step photos of each craft, "Crayola Super Easy Crafts" packages easy instructions for eleven adorable craft projects. These include finger figurines, patterned pencil spinners, bitty bricks, woven watercolors, easy emoji pins, homemade mandala mural, coffee filter flowers, cardboard and clay checkers, three-step beads, and wearable art. In addition, a Get Creative! section invites crafters to tryout some different versions of projects to individualize their results. There is also a glossary or terms and a To Learn More list of books and websites for motivated crafters. "Crayola Super Easy Crafts" is a great craft manual for young readers ages 9-11 years. Also highly recommended is another manual in this series: "Crayola Outside Crafts (9781541510975, $27.99)," by Rebecca Felix.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Amy's Diary: Space Alien... Almost?
Veronique Grisseaux, author
India Desjardins, author
Laetitia Aynie, illustrator
c/o Papercutz
160 Broadway, Suite 700E, New York, NY 10038
9781545802151, $14.99, HC, 96pp,

At fourteen, Amy Van Brandt us a teenager that doesn't feel particularly close to anyone. Since her father died, her mother has become some sort of a zombie, except all of a sudden, she's back to life (and even wearing edgy underwear!). Could there be a connection with Dennis Belcher, the school principal? (OMG!) As for her best friend, Kat, love has rendered her brain uncharacteristically mushy. No way that's happening to her, either! But it seems no one is truly safe from love at first sight! And in the middle of all this chaos, there's only one thing Amy really wants: to find her place in the universe. Based on the novels by India Desjardins and illustrated by Laetitia Aynie, "Amy's Diary: Space Alien...Almost?" is Veronique Grisseaux's adaptation into a graphic novel format of a story that is especially and unreservedly recommended for young readers ages 12-14. While very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Amy's Diary: Space Alien... Almost?" is also available in a paperback edition (9781545802144, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.09).

The Music CD Shelf

Now That We're Home
KB Whirly
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $8.91 MP3

Award-wining songwriter and "one man band" KB Whirly presents Now That We're Home: Lullabies & Love Songs, an album of original songs, inspired by Whirly's young daughter. The lyrics bring to mind the wonder-filled moments of family discovery, the deep connection between parents and children, and the dreams that captivate the minds of young and old alike. Now That We're Home is a treasure for the whole family, highly recommended. The tracks are "Just Us Three", "Place Called Home", "Long Long Day", "Your Tiny Hands", "Come Walk With Me", "Oh My Love", "What Will You Do", "Valley of Dreams", and "You Are Love".

The Politics Shelf

Yes She Can
Molly Dillon, compiler
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9781984848451, $18.99, HC, 288pp,

Compiled by Molly Dillon for young readers ages 12-17, "Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House" is comprised of inspiring, never-before-told stories drawn from diverse young women who got to serve in the Obama administration. "Yes She Can" offers an intimate look at Obama's presidency through the eyes of some of the most successful and completely relatable young women who were there. Full of wisdom they wish they could impart to their younger selves and a message about the need for more girls in government, these recollections are about stepping out into the spotlight and up to the challenge -- something every girl can do. With contributions from Jenna Brayton, Eleanor Celeste, Nita Contreras, Kalisha Dessources Figures, Molly Dillon, Andrea R. Flores, Vivian P. Graubard, Noemie C. Levy, Taylor Lustig, and Jaimie Woo, "Yes She Can" should be a part of every school and community library collection. It should also be noted for personal reading lists that "Yes She Can" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

She Persisted
Chelsea Clinton, author
Alexandra Boiger, illustrator
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781524741723, $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle, 32pp,

Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what's right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren's refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In "She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World", Chelsea Clinton (the daughter of former American President Bill Clinton) celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted. "She Persisted" is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small. With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, "She Persisted" shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn't give up on their dreams. Persistence is power. "She Persisted" features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor -- and one special cameo! "She Persisted" will prove in this era of the #MeToo movement and the increasing presence of women in the national congress, to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections for young readers ages 4-8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "She Persisted" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99) and a hardcover book and CD format from Weston Woods (9781338335255, $29.95).

The Christian Shelf

St. Patrick's Journey
Calee M. Lee, author
Jacob Lee, photographer
Xist Publishing
PO Box 61593, Irvine, CA 92602
9781532411298, $18.99, HC, 34pp,

In the pages of "St. Patrick's Journey", young Christians ages 4-10 can join Peg Patrick as he travels around Ireland in the footsteps of St. Patrick. In this unique and meticulously researched picture book, children will be introduced to the true story of St. Patrick and the ancient sites where Saint Patrick lived and preached. A geotagged pilgrimage guide and instructions for making their own 'Peg Patrick' round out this innovative and original picture book that brings the story of St. Patrick to life. While very highly recommended for family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "St. Patrick's Journey" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Angel on Assignment
Wanda Carter Roush, author
Alicia Young, illustrator
Mike Motz, illustrator
Ella's Pearl Publishing
9781732427204, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

"Angel on Assignment: An Angelic Tradition" follows the angels from the manger to the cross -- and from the playground to bedtime, as it explores the ways guardian angels look out for boys and girls today. With beautiful illustrations and rhyming verse, "Angel on Assignment" encourages children ages 3-12 to act as angels in disguise for friends who may need help. A timeless tale sure to be an enchanting addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library collections, it should be noted that at the end of this original and charmingly entertaining picture book are detailed instructions for making an angel including reproducibles for a paper angel as a reminder that we are never alone -- comforting for the little one who might find bedtime a bit scary. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99), children will enjoy seeing just how many angels they can find -- even when some of them are hiding!

My Key Verse Bible
Vanessa Carroll, author
Cecilie Fodor, author
Fabioano Fiorin, illustrator
Kregel Children's Books
c/o Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780825445828, $12.99, HC, 46pp,

Learning Scripture by heart is simpler when children ages 4-7 learn them in the context of a story! "My Key Verse Bible" is collection of twenty-two essential Bible verses which are accompanied by child-friendly illustrations and a story from the Bible that makes the words come alive, thereby creating a mental picture and making it easier to memorize. The key verse for every story is listed at the beginning of its chapter. Each ends with a devotional paragraph that explains the key verse and the main point. Knowing the truth of God's promises at an early stage lays a foundation for understanding them on a deeper level later. "My Key Verse Bible" teaches children the relevance of God's promises to us through His Word -- and helps children recall them when they need them most. "My Key Verse Bible" is very highly recommended for family and Sunday school collections, regardless of denominational affiliations within the Christian community.

The Judaic Shelf

Wait! It's Friday
Chris Barash, author
Christine Grove, illustrator
Apples & Honey Press
c/o Behrman House Inc.
241 Millburn Avenue, Millburn, NJ 07041
9781681155425, $17.95, HC, 24pp,

Delightfully written by Chris Barash and charmingly illustrated by Christine Grove, "Wait! It's Friday" is a splendidly entertaining picture book story for ages 2-5 about a young boy who waits for something special as he plays with the cat, makes challah with Daddy, paints a picture with Nana, and takes a trip to the grocery story. Finally, the waiting is over. It's Shabbat! Especially and unreservedly recommended, "Wait! It's Friday" is very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed
Obert Skye
Shadow Mountain Publishing
P.O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0178
9781629725291 $17.99

The second middle-grade novel in the "Wizard for Hire" fantasy series set in contemporary America, Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed continues the adventures of young Ozzy Toffy. Ozzy once hired the wise yet mysterious wizard Rin to help find his parents, but now Rin is missing. Ozzy and his close friend Sigi (who is also Rin's daughter) receive a mysterious package, and become convinced that its plane ticket and thumb drive are from Rin, and the gateway to a new adventure awaits! Can Ozzy successfully prove himself by completing the tasks Rin has set for him, and will Sigi be able to trust her repeatedly absent father? Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed is thoroughly engaging from cover to cover, and a prize for personal and public library YA fantasy collections. Also highly recommended is the first novel in the series, "Wizard for Hire" (9781629724126 $17.99 hc / $10.89 Kindle).

The Erth Dragons: The New Age
Chris D'Lacey
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338291926 $16.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

The Erth Dragons: The New Age is the third novel in a young adult fantasy series about a deepening connection between the world of humans and the world of dragons. The human boy Ren had developed powers beyond ordinary reckoning, including the ability to control a magical horse. Yet the rise of the dark dragon Graven threatens both humankind and the noble faction of dragonkind. The climax of a glorious, epic fantasy, The Erth Dragons: The New Age will appeal to dragon fans of all ages, and makes an excellent addition to school and public library young adult fantasy collections. Also highly recommended are the previous two novels in the series "The Erth Dragons: The Wearle" (9780545900188, $16.99) and "The Erth Dragons: Dark Wyng" (9780545900577, $16.99).

Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds
Jeremy Lachlan
Carolrhoda Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541539211, $17.99, HC, 368pp,

John Doe and his infant daughter, Jane, appeared on the steps of the Manor the night the earthquakes started and the gateway to the Otherworlds closed. The people on the remote island of Bluehaven have despised them ever since, blaming Jane and her father for their exile. Fourteen years after that night, the largest earthquake yet strikes. The Manor awakens, dragging John into its labyrinth. Accompanied by a pyromaniac named Violet and a trickster named Hickory, Jane must rescue her father and defeat an immortal villain who is trying to harness the mythical power of the Manor. A deftly crafted fantasy novel by Jeremy Lachlan for young readers ages 10-14, "Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds" is a refreshingly original and consistently entertaining read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Brendan Reichs
G. P. Putnam's Sons
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780525517054, $18.99, HC, 416pp,

The 64 members of Fire Lake's sophomore class have managed to survive the first two phases of the Program -- and each other. Now, they alone have emerged into the dawn of a new era on Earth, into a Fire Lake valley that's full of otherworldly dangers and challenges. Although staying alive in this broken world should force Min, Noah, Tack, and the others to form new alliances, old feuds die hard, and the brutality of the earlier Program phases cannot be forgotten. But being a team isn't easy for the sophomores, and when they discover that they may not be alone on the planet after all, they'll have to decide if they're going to work together . . . or die together. "Chrysalis" is the concluding volume of author Brendan Reichs deftly crafted and original science fiction trilogy and unreservedly recommended for school and community library collections for young readers ages 14-17. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Chrysalis" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Poetry Shelf

My First Book of Haiku Poems
Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, translator
Tracy Gallup, illustrator
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805315156, $16.99, HC, 48pp,

With a bilingual text in both English and Japanese, "My First Book of Haiku Poems: a Picture, a Poem and a Dream" introduces children ages 5-9 to inspirational works of Japanese poetry and art that speak of our connection to the natural world, and that enhance their ability to see an entire universe in the tiniest parts of it. Each of these 20 classic poems by Issa, Shiki, Basho, and other great haiku masters is paired with a stunning original painting that opens a door to the world of a child's imagination. Each haiku poem is accompanied by a "dreamscape" painting by award-winning artist Tracy Gallup. Commentaries offer parents and teachers ready-made "food for thought" to share with young readers and stimulate a conversation about each work. An extraordinary and unique bilingual picture book, "My First Book of Haiku Poems: a Picture, a Poem and a Dream" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library Poetry collections and Bilingual Picture book collections.

The Fiction Shelf

Stanley: A Prairie Dog's Tale
Robert Nehls, author
Robert Rath, illustrator
Sweetgrass Books
c/o Farcountry Press
PO Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604
9781591522218 $14.95

Stanley: A Prairie Dog's Tale (Book One: Legend of the Star) is the first novel in a new series created especially for young readers ages 8-12. Charming black-and-white illustrations intersperse the action-adventure of a prairie dog on a quest to save his colony from an implacable enemy. Exciting and thoroughly engaging, Stanley: A Prairie Dog's Tale is sure to appeal especially to young animal lovers. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's fiction collections.

The Lost Girl
Anne Ursu
Walden Pond Press
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062275097, $16.99, HC, 368pp,

When you're an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark. Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive, dreamy, and brilliant - and from their first moments in the world together, they've never left each other's side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together. When fifth grade arrives, however, it's decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both. Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city around them, things both great and small going missing without a trace. As Iris begins to understand that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides it's up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe. An impressively original and entertaining read deftly written for young readers ages 8-12, "The Lost Girl" by Anne Ursu is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended, especially for middle school and community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Lost Girl" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982608712, $34.99, CD).

Jack Dawkins
Terry Ward
The Conrad Press
9781911546306, $13.00, PB, 255pp,

After Oliver Twist intervenes to save Jack Dawkins (the legendary Artful Dodger) from transportation to Botany Bay, Jack embarks on what proves to be a perilous quest to discover his roots. Before he can say 'Fagin!' he's battling to survive a devastating flood and rescue beautiful black-haired, green-eyed Lysette Godden, the girl of his dreams, from the hands of murderous villains. Jack and Lysette, searching for Jack's parents, head to France and have an adventure there which tests their mettle and mutual love to the utmost and changes their lives for ever. Hampered by her tendency always to want what she hasn't got and an apparent inability to let go of the past, will Lysette ever find her elusive happy-ever-after? This witty, amusing, highly entertaining and fast-paced novel is sure to make you feel Lysette's dilemma, and warm your heart. Brilliantly and evocatively written, "Jack Dawkins" by Terry Ward is a worthy sequel to Charles Dickens's immortal literary masterpiece, "Oliver Twist". While an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists that "Jack Dawkins" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.82).

Secrets of the Casa Rosada
Alex Temblador
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558858701, $12.95, PB, 160pp,

Sixteen-year-old Martha and her mother move constantly, never staying anywhere for long. So she knows better than to ask if they've been evicted again when her mom says they're going on a "vacation" to meet the grandmother Martha didn't know existed. Laredo, Texas, is like no other city she has seen. Driving past businesses with Spanish names and colorfully painted houses with burnt lawns, Martha can't imagine her mother living somewhere so -- well, Mexican. At her grandmother's pink house, she's shocked and hurt when her mom abandons her, even though a part of her had been expecting it. Suddenly Martha must deal with a way of life that is completely foreign. Her grandmother doesn't speak English, so communication is difficult, and she's not the typical, sweet grandma who dotes on her grandchildren. Even weirder, it turns out that her grandmother is revered as a healer, or curandera. And there are tons of cousins, aunts and uncles all ready to embrace her! At her new school, Martha can't be anonymous like before because everyone knows she's Dona Gonzalez's granddaughter. Meanwhile, a girl who has it out for her makes things unpleasant. As Martha struggles to adjust to her new life, she can't help but wonder why her mother left Laredo. No one is willing to discuss it, so she'll have to unravel the secrets herself. A deftly crafted and inherently absorbing novel by an author with a flair for both originality and narrative driven storytelling, "Secrets of the Casa Rosada" by Alex Temblador is an especially recommended addition to high school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Secrets of the Casa Rosada" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.84).

The Three Rules of Everyday Magic
Amanda Rawson Hill
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781629799407, $17.95, HC, 192pp,

Kate has trouble believing in magic, especially since the people she loves keep leaving her. But when Grammy tells her the three rules of everyday magic--believe, give, and trust--Kate can't resist believing, at least a little. Following Grammy's advice, she tries to bring her father, her best friend, and even Grammy herself back to her. Nothing turns out as Kate expects, yet the magic of giving, of trusting that if you love and give, good things will happen, even if you don't see them happen, will change Kate and her family forever. A deftly crafted and consistently entertaining read from cover to cover, "The Three Rules of Everyday Magic" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers ages 8-12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Three Rules of Everyday Magic" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

What Every Girl Should Know
J. Albert Mann
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534419322, $18.99, HC, 240pp,

Margaret Higgins Sanger was determined to get out. She didn't want to clean the dirty dishes and soiled diapers that piled up day in and day out in her large family's small home. She didn't want to disappoint her ailing mother, who cared tirelessly for an ever-growing number of children despite her incessant cough. And Margaret certainly didn't want to be labeled a girl of "promise," destined to become either a teacher or a mother -- which seemed to be a woman's only options. As a feisty and opinionated young woman, Margaret witnessed and experienced incredible hardships, which led to her groundbreaking work as an advocate for women's rights and the founder of Planned Parenthood. "What Every Girl Should Know: Margaret Sanger's Journey" by J. Albert Mann is an inherently riveting and impressively entertaining novel of Margaret Sanger's early life that paints the portrait of a young woman with the passion and courage to change the world. While especially and unreservedly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "What Every Girl Should Know" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Far Away
Lisa Graff
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781524738594, $16.99, HC, 272pp,

CJ's Aunt Nic is a psychic medium who tours the country speaking to spirits from Far Away, passing on messages from the dearly departed. And CJ knows firsthand how comforting those messages can be -- Aunt Nic's Gift is the only way CJ can talk to her mom, who died just hours after she was born. So when CJ learns that she won't be able to speak to her mother anymore, even with Aunt Nic's help, she's determined to find a work-around. She sets off on road trip with her new friend Jax to locate the one object that she believes will tether her mother's spirit back to Earth . . . but what she finds along the way challenges every truth she's ever known. Ultimately, CJ has to sort out the reality from the lies. Another deftly crafted, inherently absorbing, and impressively entertaining novel for children ages 8-12 by Lisa Graff, "Far Away" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to school and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Far Away" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Hoops: Out of Bounds
Elena Delle Donne
Simon and Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534412378, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 176pp,

Out of Bounds tells of Ellie and her long-held passion for basketball: a passion which seems to fall apart when she realizes she may be unable to win games even though she's improving. Facing the idea of failure and constant futile struggle, Ellie wonders if the game is really for her, and if she'll be letting down everyone if she quits. A fine basketball saga involves advanced elementary to middle grades ages 8-12 in a fine story of achievement, struggle, failure, and decision-making.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Seven new titles from this publisher provide young adult leisure audiences with exceptional stories hold memorable plots and vivid characters. Jennifer A. Nielsen's Resistance (9781338148473, $17.99 HC, $13.95 PB, $10.99 Kindle, $39.99 Audio Book, 400pp, Ages 8- 12) tells of Jewish teen Chaya, who lives in Nazi-controlled Poland. With her siblings missing and her parents in despair, Chaya becomes part of a resistance movement that will either save or end her life in this vivid story of World War II. Nicholas Bowling's Witch Born (9781338277531, $17.99 HC, $9.95 PB, $11.99 Kindle, 320pp, Ages 12 & Up) tells of Alyce, who is in an asylum. Her mother has been executed for witchcraft and her life seems ruined and purposeless until two masked strangers help her escape into London, where she becomes part of a chilling power play. More than her life is at stake in this involving saga. Victoria Schwab's City of Ghosts (9781338111002, $17.99 HC, $7.99 PB, $10.99 Kindle, 304pp, Ages 9-12) tells of Cass, who almost drowned but returned with the ability to enter the spirit world. Her best friend is a ghost, as well. But when her family heads off to Scotland to participate in hosing a TV show about haunted places, she discovers her dubious gift holds additional dangers and revelations in this satisfyingly complex ghost story. Cherie Priest's The Agony House (9780545934299, $18.99 HC, $9.95 PB, $11.99 Kindle, 272pp, Ages 12 & Up) is illustrated by Tara O'Connor and sprinkles two-color drawings into an intriguing story of a haunted house and a killer ghost. Denise's move back to New Orleans with her mother and stepfather brings them back home after Hurricane Katrina, but restoring their lives comes at a price. The offer to fix up an old rundown house doesn't say that a haunting must be solved, as well, and Denise finds an old lost comic book holds more than a few clues in this riveting, quasi-graphic-novel story that holds more print than a graphic novel and more illustration than a traditional book. Yona Zeldis McDonough's Courageous (9781338226850, $17.99 HC, $8.00 PB, $10.99 Kindle, 182oom Ages 8-12) provides a fine novel about Dunkirk but approaches events from a different vantage point than anticipated. Aidan is the son of a fisherman who holds an intrinsic fear of the ocean, but when radio talk reveals British troops trapped in northern France, surrounded by Nazis, their boat and lives become part of the forces called upon to join and help in Operation Dynamo, which involves a dangerous journey forcing Aidan to confront his worst fears. A vivid tale of courage on many levels evolves. Katrin van Dam's Come November (9781338268423, $18.99 HC, $11.99 Kindle, 384pp, Ages 12 & Up) tells of high schooler Rooney, whose mother has lost her job. She's spending time with the Next World Society, convinced that the Rapture is around the corner and that work is the least of their concerns; but Rooney is worried about his family and how they will survive each day. An engrossing story of living lives on the edge and possibly during the end times invites readers to think about future planning, end-of-world scenarios, and survival. Scott Westerfeld's Impostors (9781338151510, $18.99 HC, $12.99 PB, $11.99, Kindle, 416pp, Ages 12 & Up) tells of Frey and Rafi, twins. Their powerful father has many enemies and Frey's existence is a secret. They've had very different upbringings: Rafi was raised to meet a high level of expectation, while Frey was taught to be a killer. When a dangerous switch happens, the two very different sisters and the secret they harbor threatens everything. All are vivid, memorable stories young adults will relish for unpredictable twists and plot and strong characterization.

The Art Shelf

Leonardo da Vinci: Meet the Artist!
Patricia Geis
Princeton Architectural Press
37 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003
9781616897666, $24.95, Album, 16pp,

In the pages of "Leonardo da Vinci: Meet the Artist!" by Patricia Geis, children ages 8-11 will discover the magnificent art of Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance master. This exquisite volume of art is the newest addition to the popular Meet the Artist! series of pop-up activity books from the Princeton Architectural Press and presents Leonardo's full range of work, from his exquisite paintings and sculptures to his brilliant inventions and codes. Flaps, cutouts, and pull tabs invite young readers and budding artists to engage in a hands-on exploration of history's most creative genius and even create their own ideal city. "Leonardo da Vinci: Meet the Artist!" is original, informative, instructional, fun, and highly recommended.

If da Vinci Painted a Dinosaur
Amy Newbold, author
Greg Newbold, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884486671, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

In this sequel "If Picasso Painted a Snowman", author Amy Newbold and illustrator Greg Newbold once again combine to convey nineteen artists' styles in a few deft words, with Greg Newbold's chameleon-like artistry showing children ages 6-9 Edgar Degas' dinosaur ballerinas, Cassius Coolidge's dinosaurs playing Go Fish, Hokusai's dinosaurs surfing a giant wave, and dinosaurs smelling flowers in Mary Cassatt's garden; grazing in Grandma Moses' green valley; peeking around Diego Rivera's lilies; tiptoeing through Baishi's inky bamboo; and cavorting, stampeding, or hiding in canvases by Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Franz Marc, Harrison Begay, Alma Thomas, Aaron Douglas, Mark Rothko, Lois Mailou Jones, Marguerite Zorach, and Edvard Munch. And, of course, striking a Mona Lisa pose for Leonardo da Vinci. The guide for this wonderfully entertaining tour is an engaging hamster who is joined in the final pages by a tiny dino artist. Thumbnail biographies of the artists identify their iconic works, completing this tour of the creative imagination. While unreservedly recommended, especially for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "If da Vinci Painted a Dinosaur" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.19).

The Environmental Shelf

In Focus: Forests
Libby Walden
360 Degrees
c/o Tiger Tales
9781944530228 $24.99

As beautiful as it is educational, In Focus: Forests is a "lift-the-flap" book that teaches young readers about a variety of different natural forests. From the Amazon rainforest to underwater kelp forests to the Black Forest of Germany and more, each natural location is illustrated with colorful artwork and peppered with fact-filled vignettes about the environment and the animals that call it home. Flaps the size of the full page can be spread out, revealing and even more panoramic scene. In Focus: Forests is a dynamic and enlightening gift for enquiring young minds. Highly recommended.

America's National Parks
Alexa Ward, author
Mike Lowery, illustrator
Lonely Planet Kids
9781788681155 $22.95 hc / $14.52

Filled with striking, full-color photography on every page, America's National Parks offers young adults an eye-opening, educational tour of 60 of America's national parks. Each entry has a brief description of the national park, highlighting things to see and things to do, as well as unforgettable pictures of the natural scenery and wild animals that make their home there. An index rounds out this fun-to-browse tour that readers of all ages will enjoy paging through! Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children's collections.

Books in Series

Graphic Greats Who Changed the World series
B.E.S. Publishing
$12.99 each

Created especially for young adults, yet utterly fascinating for readers of all ages, The "Graphic Greats Who Changed the World" series is a set of four color graphic novels detailing the contributions of men and women who changed history. Dave Shephard's and Emily Sohn's "Heroes of Science" (9781438012001) includes scientific advances by Nicolaus Copernicus, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and more; Dan Green's, Pete Katz's, and Sarah Skeate's "Heroes of Discovery" (9781438011998) includes discoveries by Johannes Gutenberg, Ada Lovelace, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Tim Berners-Lee, and more; Jade Sarson's and Dan Green's "Heroes of Flight" (9781438011981) tells of pioneer pilots George Cayley, the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, Igor Sikorsky, Chuck Yeager, and more; and Charli Vince's and Emily Sohn's "Heroes of Space" (9781438012018) explores the achievements of scientists and astronauts Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Edwin Hubble, Robert Goddard, Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong, and more. Each volume presents its amazing, true-life tales in plain terms while staying true to historical facts, and each volume has an index for ease of reference. The Graphic Greats Who Changed the World series is a choice pick for school and public library young adult graphic novel collections, and an excellent way to teach new generations about the giants whose shoulders they stand on. Highly recommended!

Why Should I?
Sue Graves, author
Emanuela Carletti and Desideria Guicciardini, illustrators
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427
9781631984129 $12.99 28pp

"Why Should I?" is a new title from the Our Emotions and Behavior series for children ages 4-8 years. Arin is a boy who does not respect his belongings, or the belongings and feelings of others, and as a result got into trouble. Arin did not understand why other people repeatedly got upset with him. Arin asked his Grandmother why other people were angry and sad with him. She asked him how he would feel if others treated him the same way he had been treating them. He decided he wouldn't like it one bit, and said he was sorry. He said he would try to be more respectful. He played carefully with his toys and hung up his clothes. He asked his brother first if he could play with his toy, and knocked on his sister's door before going into her room. He apologized to his friend Junior for not respecting his opinions, and listened politely to his talk of his interest in skateboarding. Arin apologized for knocking over the class plants and helped to plant them again. When Arin showed more respect, his friends treated him better. Being respectful to others was much nicer for Arin. "Why Should I?" ends with sequenced pictures which demonstrate what happens when Ellie throws her ball against her neighbor's wall. "Why should I?" is a great exploration of reasons for children to show respect and empathy for others, exploring their feelings and capacity for empathy for others in the process. At the end are helpful notes about useful ways to share the book to teach children why it is important to be respectful, courteous, and considerate of others, and how to accomplish that. Another title from the Our Emotions and Behavior series that is also highly recommended is "I Don't Want to Wait! (9781631984136, $12.99)," by Sue Graves, illustrated by Emanuela Carletti and Desideria Guicciardini.

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

Two new releases from Crabtree promise lasting library reference value, and should be in any serious elementary-level collection where environmental or blended family topics are of interest. Diane Dakers' Environmental Journalism (9780778753490, $31.30 Library Binding, $9.95 PB, 48pp, Ages 8-12) provides readers in the 6th grade with almost fifty pages of detail describing three real case studies of investigative journalism. Each review exposes of environmental hazards and unfair use of resources, and covers not just journalistic processes but the ethical questions involved in making an investigative report. Steffi Cavell-Clarke's Different Families (9780778754251, $23.60 Library Binding, $7.95 PB, 24pp, Ages 7-9) joins others in the 'Our Values' series for grades 3-4, and provides 24 pages of detail on different kinds of families, from adoptive families and blended families to those with same-sex parents. Large print and bright, contemporary color photos lend interest to their stories. Both are outstanding surveys that stand out from any competitors and deserve a spot in any elementary-level collection.

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence through our marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, opportunities for connecting with schools, and the award-winning Story Monsters Ink(R) magazine.

Peppa Pig and the Career Day
Candlewick Press
9781536203448 $12.99 hc

Larissa Juliano

It's Career Day with Miss Gazelle and her students! Peppa and her curious friends are privy to special classroom visitors sharing their careers and how they help people. Lovers of the television show will recognize all the characters and love that Miss Rabbit is in charge of several jobs and keeps making Peppa and her friends smile with her numerous class presentations. The illustrations are delightful and fresh, the text is easy to follow with the perfect Peppa Pig charm that we love, and lots of giggles in between. A must-read for early elementary parents and teachers as they teach our littlest ones about helping hands in the community. (Ages 2-5)

I'm in Charge!
Jeanne Willis, author
Jarvis, illustrator
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick
9781536202595 $16.99

Julianne Black

Winning pair Willis and Jarvis give us a fun lesson on what it means to be in charge! Little rhino is ready to be his own master. He's not going to share, he's not going to listen, and he's not going to take orders from anyone ... that is, until he has an afternoon that changes his perspective completely! Great tale for kiddos who know it all, or are testing those boundaries. Beautiful illustrations cap the feeling tone of the African landscape and the adventure from little rhino's point of view. (Ages 2-5)

Good Night, Forest
Denise Brennan-Nelson, author
Marco Bucci, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781585363889 $16.22 hc / $15.41 Kindle

Larissa Juliano

Beautifully illustrated in watercolor, Good Night, Forest is going to be a staple on every sleepy reader's bookshelf or night table. The story takes readers on a day-long adventure in a beautiful forest, filled with critter friends and majestic trees. Halfway through the book, illustrator Marco Bucci creates a beautiful sunset and we start bidding each animal and element of nature, goodnight. The rhyming in this story is simple, with a sing-song quality, and readers will feel a sense of peace (and hopefully sleepiness) as the creatures curl up for slumber. (Ages 2-7)

Little Owl's Snow
Divya Srinivasan
Viking Books for Young Readers
c/o Penguin
9780670016518 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Julianne Black

As the forest creatures all bed down to sleep through the cold, Little Owl feels like the forest is empty. But when the snow falls and the winter animals come out to play, Owl discovers a winter wonderland! Excellent fall to winter expression for a child's understanding about what happens in nature when the temperature drops, but beyond the lesson on hibernation, there is something about Srinivasan's illustrations that make these books magical. The colors and distilled imagery really land the feeling of a silent forest as well as lively playtime in a fresh snowfall. Little Owl's Snow is a wonderful follow-up to Little Owl's Night and Little Owl's Day. (Ages 3-5)

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: Classic Folk Sing-Along Songs
Performed by Sin and Swoon
Illustrated by Sophie Casson
The Secret Mountain
9782924774243 $7.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

I've often heard it said that there is a story behind every action. The reading of this little book, of a well-known nursery rhyme, reveals such a story. Beyond the visual interpretation of the lyrics lies interesting facts and details of the evolvement of this sweet song. (Ages 3-5)

Misunderstood Shark: Friends Don't Eat Friends
Ame Dyckman, author
Scott Magoon, illustrator
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
9781338113884 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Friendship rests on a tender balance of not giving or taking offense. Shark and Bob still seem to be at odds over an incident where Shark ATE Bob! Bob feels wounded in the friendship due to Shark's lack of self-control, and obvious lack of respect for him, while Shark feels terribly misunderstood. Can they ever resolve the hurt feelings their friendship has stumbled upon? Lots of shark fun facts to be learned while the waters bubble with emotions. (Ages 3-5)

Noah Klocek
9780763694265 $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This darling book takes us on that magical journey when sometimes we're caught awake while searching for sleep. The illustrations are as sweet and tender as Amelie, as she forges the night until she stumbles upon slumber and finds her favorite dream. (Ages 3-7)

Ten Days Till My Summer Vacation
Carine Roch, author
Jeff Gomez, illustrator
Privately Published
9780999002704 $9.95 pbk

Julianne Black

Super fun countdown book designed to teach time, counting, memory, and color through repetition. The growing list of vacation items are relevant and adorable to the age group Carine Roch is targeting. There is an excellent summary at the end of the lesson where the viewer is able to color in the blocks and main character to cement the string of memorizations. Definitely a series to read! (Ages 3-7)

The Boy Who Went to Mars
Simon James
9780763695989 $16.99

Julianne Black

Stanley was replaced by a Martian when his mom left for a work trip. Thankfully, it was just an overnight trip, because the Martian did not do well with Earth's rules and customs. He wouldn't wash up at night. He complained about dinner. He even got in trouble at school. It was a great relief because once mom got home, the Martian went back to Mars and Stanley came back - just in time for hugs. Handling change in his own special way, Stanley is relatable to the kid in us all. Sweet, unusual, and full of love, The Boy Who Went to Mars is a beautiful read. (Ages 3-7)

Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet
Sara O'Leary, Jacob Grant
Random House Books for Young Readers
9781524713317 $17.99

Diana Fisher

This unique alphabet book is so enchanting and sweet, I actually teared up a few times reading it. The whimsical illustrations are a perfect foil for the endearing alphabet animals and their little stories - all mirroring concerns or aspects of life as a small child. Charming, imaginative, silly, funny, and relatable - it's a delightfully fresh look at a much-done subject. It's so engaging and cute, your child may even forget it's about the alphabet ... while reinforcing it nonetheless. (Ages 3-7)

Princess Puffybottom... and Darryl
Susin Nielsen, author
Olivia Chin Mueller, illustrator
Tundra Books
9781101919255 $17.99

Diana Fisher

In this delightful book, a pet cat - Princess Puffybottom - has the "purrfect" life until it's turned upside-down by the addition of a second pet - a dog named Darryl. Princess Puffybottom schemes to get rid of Darryl, while Darryl just wants to be friends. The story is adorable, and a humorous allegory for children who have siblings on the way, or to simply address getting along with others. The illustrations are really cute - especially Princess Puffybottom, whose expressions are priceless. (Ages 3-7)

Designed to Shine! Read Aloud Rhymes for Any Size Heart
Joy Resor, author
Lauren Connell, illustrator
Joy on Your Shoulders
9780984035342 $22.00

Darleen Wohlfeil

Children love to rhyme! Whether singing or reciting, it's so much fun when it rhymes. Poetry is lively and captivating, and the sooner we introduce it, the more joy it brings. The topics skip through laughter and fun, to awaken and discover new things. Illustrations by Connell are whimsical and delightful. (Ages 3-12)

Ame Dyckman, author
Charles Santoso, illustrator
Little, Brown Children's Books
c/o Hachette Book Group USA
9780316362955 $17.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Truly a tribute to dads! A dad and his lawn have a special relationship. That is, until a little girl wins hands down in the great war on Dandelions! The illustrations bring a lively visual aid to the story that every family can relate to with giggles and chuckles! (Ages 4-7)

Chicks Rule!
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, author
Renee Kurilla, illustrator
9781419734144 $16.99 hc / $11.53 Kindle

Diana Fisher

Don't give up, work together, and you can accomplish anything, is what all sorts of different chicks do when they learn there are "no chicks allowed" in the Rocket Club. Left out but not deterred from participating on their own terms, the chicks succeed fabulously as a team, with each one contributing something important. The illustrations are cute and colorful, and the story is set to rhyme, making it a fun and inspirational read. (Ages 4-8)

Franklin and Luna Go to the Moon
Jen Campbell, author
Katie Harnett, illustrator
Thames & Hudson
9780500651469 $17.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

Time and circumstances can broaden the distances between family and friends. Luna and her best friend Franklin the dragon set out on a great adventure to find Franklin's family. It's been a very long time since he has been home, and he's forgotten the way. Together they soar the skies until at last Franklin is reunited, and great fun is had by all. (Ages 4-8)

No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies
Robin Newman, author
Chris Ewald, illustrator
Sky Pony
9781510714809 $16.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Tired of the daily sunflower seeds they are fed from the staff at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Phil, Jim, and Harry decide they want to try something new, so they make a break for it in search of pizza or Chinese takeout. But everywhere they go, they're told "No peacocks!" With some stolen disguises and help from students, they devise a plan to sneak into a school cafeteria to try some mac and cheese! These silly peacocks are penned after the real celebrity birds of St. John's. A truly fun story. Includes a comprehensive curriculum guide. (Ages 4-8)

Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog
Lisa Papp
Peachtree Publishing
9781682630754 $17.95 hc

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is truly a heartfelt story that will linger far beyond its reading. The illustrations capture every delightful word, and tucks it ever so lovingly into the heart. Sweet little Madeline Finn will win you over with her sincere efforts to love and comfort the many waiting animals that fill our shelters. A tender seed worth planting into every child's fresh soil. A kindness expressed, and multiplied. (Ages 4-8)

Good Egg and Bad Apple
Henry Herz, Luke Graber
Schiffer Publishing
9780764356032 $16.99 hc

Darleen Wohlfeil

It's fun to learn quips and sayings. Those clever plays on words that always seem to bring a chuckle or two. They lighten up this heavy subject of bullying, while still giving helpful insight on a very relatable subject. While giggling through vegetables humor, Good Egg shows us there are positive ways to turn an enemy into a friend. Herz also provides fun notes that explain the familiar idioms and puns he uses. (Ages 5-8)

H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z
Sydell Rosenberg, author
Sawsan Chalabi, illustrator
Penny Candy Books
9780998799971 $16.95 hc

Darleen Wohlfeil

This warmhearted memorial to Sydell Rosenberg brings us to a very important message with Haiku. It's a sweet remembrance to stop, draw in the wide angle, and focus in on the small points. Poetry is a language of imagery. It creatively flows through the emotions, bringing form and thought to the beauty it finds there. Haiku is a form of poetry originating in Japan, that seeks to draw the attention away from the whole to capture the smaller parts that could be overlooked. Drawing the reader to a keener awareness of the small joys and wonders of life that may contribute to the whole. (Ages 5-11)

Astrid the Unstoppable
Maria Parr
Candlewick Press
9781536200171 $16.99 hc / $7.75 Kindle

Olivia Amiri, age 12

Astrid the Unstoppable is a heartwarming story about family and friendship. Astrid, whose nickname is "The Little Thunderbolt," is the only child living in the village of Glimmerdal. Her best friend is her godfather, Gunnvald, a grumpy 74-year-old man. But soon Astrid's world is turned upside down by two startling arrivals to Glimmerdal: first a new family, then a mysterious, towering woman who everyone seems to know but Astrid. It turns out that Gunnvald has been keeping a big secret from his goddaughter. (Ages 7-10)

Anh Do
9781338305586 $5.22 pbk / $3.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Weir Do is the new kid in school. With an unforgettable name, a crazy family, and some seriously weird habits, fitting in won't be easy ... but it will be funny! Young readers will surely relate to Weir. Everybody has something they feel is weird about themselves. This book is a funny lesson to teach kids to learn more about each other - they will surely find that they have surprising things in common. (Ages 7-10)

Middle School Misadventures
Jason Platt
Little, Brown Children's Books
c/o Hachette Book Group USA
9780316416863 $24.99 hc
9780316416887 $12.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

In Jason Platt's debut graphic novel, Ferris Bueller meets Calvin and Hobbes in this hilarious and embarrassing middle school caper that asks the important questions - like how long can one kid vamp before he embarrasses himself in front of his whole school? The illustrations perfectly capture the action and the emotions of each character. Except for a few, most kids find Middle School terrifying on a daily basis and will really enjoy seeing how Newell handles his disasters. A great read. (Ages 8-11)

A Drop of Hope
Keith Calabrese
9781338233209 $16.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Times are tough, jobs are scarce, and miracles are in short supply. But something strange is happening in If Only, Ohio. An old well has suddenly, impossibly, begun to grant wishes. And three sixth graders are the only ones who know why. Ernest, Ryan, and Lizzy know they can't fix the world. But in their own little corner of it, they can give everyone a little hope ... one wish at a time. I see this wonderful book as a teaching tool for young readers to put themselves into the shoes of others. Each child's life story weaves together to one great ending in this heartwarming book. (Ages 8-12)

Wicked Nix
Lena Coakley, author
Jaime Zollars, illustrator
9781419728693 $16.99 hc
9781419737039 $8.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Olivia Amiri, age 12

Wicked Nix is a story filled with imagination, tricks, and mischievous behavior by Nix, a fairy. Nix doesn't like humans, especially since he was put in charge of protecting the forest. Nix tries to chase a human man out of the forest by threatening him with his curses and spells, but the man fights back. (Ages 8-12)

The Adventures Of Keeno and Ernest: The Banana Tree
Maggie van Galen, author
Joanna Lundeen Gallant, illustrator
Outskirts Press
9781432779825 $19.95 hc
9781625020215 $12.95 pbk

Darleen Wohlfeil

Rules can feel restricting, and sometimes just don't make sense. But Keeno learns a very important lesson, the hard way! His parents made their rules with great consideration, and concern for his safety. Sometimes, when our desires outweigh common sense, it's a good thing to have a faithful friend like Ernest close by. This story is a great opportunity to open discussions on why rules and structure play such an important part in our lives, and how obedience is often necessary for our survival. (Ages 8-12)

The Potter's Boy
Tony Mitton
David Fickling Books
9781338285390 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Ryo was born the son of a potter, a fate that he is unsure of once a mysterious wanderer and trained fighter comes to his small village and protects them from a band of thieves. Inspired by the events, Ryo embarks on both a hero's quest and a quest to be a hero. Through his adventures, Ryo trains in the art of both fighting and mindfulness under the elusive Hermit of Cold Mountain. But when tragedy strikes, Ryo knows he must use what he's learned to do what is right for himself and his future. This book serves as advice to each of us that we must find our own path in life and that sometimes you must go far away from home to find your way back again. (Ages 8-12)

Super Sons: The PolarShield Project
Ridley Pearson, author
Ile Gonzalez, artist
DC Zoom
c/o DC Comics
9781401286392 $9.99 pbk / $7.03 Kindle

Diana Perry

In this graphic novel book, Superman's son Jon and Batman's son Ian want to be just like their dads. Jon Kent and Damian "Ian" Wayne are opposite in every way except one - they are the sons of the World's Greatest Heroes! To uncover a global conspiracy, this unlikely dynamic duo will need to learn to trust each other and work together to save the Earth. But who is the mysterious Candace, and what secrets does she hold that could be the key to everything? This book has it all: action, adventure, mystery, and plenty of obstacles for our next generation superheroes to overcome. (Ages 8-12)

Seed Savers: Treasure
Sandra Smith
Flying Books House
9781943345052 $10.99 pbk / $5.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

It's 2077. There's no apocalypse, but some things are different. Things like the weather, the Internet, and food. In 12-year-old Clare's world, blueberry is just a flavor and apples are found only in fairy tales. Then one day Clare meets a woman who teaches her about seeds and real food. With Ana's guidance, Clare and her friends learn about gardening. When the authorities discover the children's forbidden tomato plant and arrest their mother, Clare and her brother begin a lonely cross-country journey that tests them both physically and spiritually. Can they help change the world? What a fun-to-read series that teaches the importance of growing our own food. It leaves young readers excited to read the next one. (Ages 9-12)

Catch Me When I Fall
Bonnie Graves
Regal House Publishing
9781947548305 $14.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is truly an interesting tale. Readers will find a friendly gentle pace that keeps the pages turning. So many feel the push of quest, and stumble at the mystery of identity. Emma Monroe's heart was tangled in just such a journey. Trying to solve the mystery of her absent father, she is lead into the amazing world of circus life. Will she find what she's looking for? And will it be worth the cost? Truly an engaging story! (Ages 9-12)

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

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